Holiday Gift Guide: For the Man in Your Life

Let’s face it: shopping for your girlfriends is way more fun than shopping for your husband or dad. After a while, all those v-neck sweaters just start to blur together. This year I’ve curated a selection of gift ideas broad enough to satisfy almost every guy. Most are more substantial gifts, as I’m one for quality over quantity. However, if you’re in need of a stocking stuffer or two, my recommendation is to buy a couple gift cards for his favorite coffee shop or bar down the street. Something useful but also an excuse to treat himself. For more ideas, also check out last year’s gift guide for men.
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1. He’ll stay warm and stylish all winter long with these sherling lined leather sneakers from Frye.
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2. This flask/flashlight combo from VSSL is perfect for camping or game day drinks.
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3. If your significant other is anything like mine, you’re forever finding beer caps strewn about the house. Give him someplace to put them with a fun beer cap map.
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4. Tie Bar’s style boxes make it easy to help him up his workwear game.
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5. I’m obsessed with the Livescribe Notebook by Moleskin. The notebook allows you to take old school notes that sync to your device(s) in real time. Buy it for him and steal it for yourself.
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6. He’ll love repping his alma mater on the golf course with Stitch’s leather golf club covers.
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7. While Nick and I both love our FitBit watches, they don’t add much flair to an outfit. Vector’s Luna smartwatch is classically stylish, in addition to being “smart.”
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Do you know what you’re getting your boyfriend or husband yet? I have a couple ideas in mind for Nick, but have yet to pull the trigger on anything.
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XOXO,
Jules
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For more gift giving ideas, please peruse our other holiday gift guides:

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For the Man in Your Life: Essential Tools for the Grill Master

best grilling tools 2015We recently got a new grill and have been loving it! Dinners have been so easy (just throw something on the grill, honey) and we’re already planning a series of backyard barbecues. While I’m a firm believer that women can do anything, when it comes to grilling I am more than happy to let my husband take the lead. He gets this confidence about him when he’s manning the grill, which I love to see. Most men I know take pride in playing the role of grill master. Maybe it’s empowering for them to take ownership over this piece of the domestic pie.
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When we moved, we sold our grill and assorted accessories, so we’ve had to repurchase some of our favorite tools. We’re not big on having the latest gizmos and gadgets, but there are a few basic items everyone needs to in order to master the grill:
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1. Silicone baster. For grilling newbies, it can take a few tries to before you get the hang of things. You have to learn the hot spots and how to get a good sear on a piece of meat without drying it out. Regularly basting your meat, or veggies, is an easy strategy for keeping things juicy. A silicone baster with a long angled handle is the way to go, as it’ll hold up nicely to the heat and can reach way into the back.
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2. Efficient grill brush. Everyone likes to eat the food, but no one likes to clean up afterwards. I get it and am totally guilty of leaving dirties for the next day. Grilling makes cleanup a total breeze. After we cook, we crank the heat for a few minutes to burn off any remaining food or ashes. Than we let the grill cool and usually clean it with a brush right before its next use. With your grill brush, you want a brush that’s going to efficiently get the job done. No sense in wasting extra elbow grease if it’s not needed. Also, if you have a stainless steel grill, don’t purchase a stainless steel brush as it will scratch the metal. Look for a brush with vinyl bristles.
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3. The perfect tongs. Good tongs should be like an extension of your hand. I use tongs in the kitchen almost everyday for various purposes and they’re essential to getting food on and off the grill with ease. I look for tongs that I can easily open and close with one hand. This particular pair is also a good length for reaching the burgers in the back row.
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4. Welding gloves (no seriously). A typical grill can get up to 650 degrees, which is no joke. Protect your hands with a pair of heat-resistant gloves. The silicone ones work well, but I’m partial to welding gloves which protect your hands up to higher levels of heat.
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5. Versatile grill basket. Grilled veggies are like candy. The caramelization that happens when they start to brown makes them so irresistibly good. Kabobs are a one way to get your vegetables on the grill, but it’s time-intensive to skewer each little piece of pepper one by one. A good grill basket cuts this prep time down by at least half. Our favorite grill basket has a removal handle. We detach it once the veggies are on the grill and then reattach it whenever we want to give them a toss.
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6. Fancy seasoning salt. Good salt is the key to good food. Flavored salts make good grilling easy. Throw everything on, sprinkle it with salt, and bam, you’re done. Plus salts are more versatile than something like barbecue sauce. On Sundays we sometimes grill a big ole batch of chicken breasts for the week and we want flavors that will go with variety of meals.
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Last night’s dessert: grilled vegetables with a drizzle of balsamic reduction on top. Yum.

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There are a host of other accessories that are nice to have, especially if you’re serious about your meat, but this list covers the basic must-haves for everyday backyard barbecuing. One of my favorite optional items is a head lamp for late-night cookouts.

Now one topic I haven’t addressed is the issue of charcoal versus gas. Charcoal grills of course come with an additional set of tools specific to heating and handling the coals, which I’ve excluded from this list. While I enjoy food cooked on both, I’m personally partial to a gas grill for its ease. I like being able to quickly pop something on the grill, and with charcoal you don’t get that instant gratification. What do you think? Do you “do” charcoal or gas? They’ve actually come out with dual charcoal and gas grills, so you don’t have to choose if you don’t want to.
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Also, who’s the grill master in your house?
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XOXO,
Jules

For the Man in Your Life: Shaving Essentials

shaving essentials

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I used to complain about the unfair division of labor when it came to body hair maintenance. Women have to shave their legs, armpits, pluck their eyebrows – all of which are activities socially appropriate for men to forgo.

This is of course until I married a “professional” guy who actually needed to look sharp and pulled together on a daily basis. Nick has opened my eyes to the often extensive world of male grooming. Unlike my college boyfriend who maybe shaved once a week, my husband shaves his face every day. When you work at the opera, scruffy is frowned upon. Unbeknownst to me, shaving one’s face is actually quite the undertaking. Unlike shaving your legs, where a botched job can be hidden beneath a pair of pants, a poorly shaved face is on view for all the world to see until those unsightly nicks heal. Messing up his shave job means your guy is heading into that job interview or big meeting looking these than fully pulled together.

The key to a good shave lies in taking it slow and using good quality products. Here are the basic shaving tools and tricks your man, or any man, should have in his bathroom cabinet:

Essential #1: Really sharp razor(s)
This is the keystone of any shaving kit. These days you can find every type of razor: moisturizing, exfoliating, quadruple blades, etc. But when it comes down to it, what matters the most is having a super sharp blade. Everything else is gravy. The Dollar Shave Club is an awesome service we recently discovered. It’s a subscription service that sends new razor blades every month. Right now they’re running a pretty sweet promotion. Get your guy his first month free with the promo code: FMFR41738K9L.
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Essential #2: High quality shaving cream 
Shaving cream helps lubricate the face to reduce that “rug burn” look. If you Google “men’s shaving cream,” you’ll find a whole slew of high end shaving creams, gels, and lotions. I’m sure these are all good, but do you know what my husband loves the best after trying all sorts of fancy-schmancy products? Plain old Barbasol, the kind your dad probably used to use. The packaging may not be as sexy, but the product has been around for decades for a reason.
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Essential #3: Warmth
Warmth opens the pores and prepares the skin to be worked on – hello, facials. Warming up the skin definitely helps decrease post shave irritation. Some guys steam their faces with a warm washcloth prior to a shave, but this definitely requires additional planning and time. Alternatively, this heated shaving cream dispenser will warm his shaving cream up for him, creating a similar effect on the skin with limited additional effort. Plus, it turns the typical shave into more of an indulgent experience.
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Essential #4: Gentle moisturizer
The hallmark of a good shave is walking away with smooth and clear skin. No one looks good with irritated red bumps or a “rug burn” rash. Finishing a shave off with a smoothing moisturizer or balm is key to helping the skin heal. Look for anything with natural and high quality ingredients. Word to the wise, that alcohol burn from some of the aftershaves out there on the market is not a good thing. We’re big fans of the aftershave lotions from Aveeno and Burt’s Bees.

So there you have it! I’d love to hear from you how often your man shaves. Does anyone have a boyfriend or husband who uses a straight razor? I had a roommate in college who used one and I loved watching him sharpen it on his leather strop.

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XOXO,
Jules (and Nick)

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For the Man in Your Life: Spring Wardrobe Updates

spring wardrobe updates

My husband is a basically a male fashion maven (right, honey?). He loves keeping up with the trends and fantasy online shopping. His tastes lean towards preppy/classic, which is great as most of his pieces end up being lifetime investments.

I thought it’d be fun if we partnered on a post to share some of his picks for men’s fashion this spring. The best part about spring and summer is that men’s fashion becomes much more casual. Winter is all about cardigans, pullovers, and suits. The shift to spring allows men to drop the formal jacket and incorporate lighter and brighter colors. Goodbye grays, hello yellow!

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There are some go-to patterns and pieces that work for every guy, year after year. Grosgrain belts, and lightweight gingham shirts create a relaxed, yet pulled together look, that reminds me of our trip a few years ago to Folly Beach, South Carolina. The South does the casual yet polished look so well! Grosgrain belts are a great way to add a fun little pop of color to brighten up an outfit. We recommend finding one in a nice spring blue, green, or pink. Vineyard Vines has some good options. Without a jacket or sweater on top, having a smooth and wrinkle-free shirt becomes much more important – and no guy I know likes to iron. Brooks Brothers has some great non-iron gingham shirts, that are truly wash and wear.

Blue or white oxford shirts, untucked, are another classic spring staple. JCrew and Uniqlo have some good options. I have never met a man who didn’t look good in a blue oxford shirt. If your guy doesn’t have a couple in his closet, change this immediately. The nice thing about oxford shirts is that the cheaper brands still look good, unlike more formal dress shirts.

For nicer events, Nick’s go-to choice is seersucker. Pairing seersucker pants with a casual button up shirt makes it easy to transition from a Saturday morning spent at the farmers market to Saturday evening cocktails on a rooftop deck. Seersucker just takes things up a notch. For something more formal like a wedding, encourage your man to go all-out with a seersucker suit. The fabric is nice and light, so he can comfortably sit through the vows, while you take comfort in the fact that he is not only meeting but probably exceeding the dress code.

Finally, every woman knows that shoes are what really pull together an outfit. The same rule applies to men, although the men I know (barring my husband) seem mostly unaware of the importance of footwear. We suggest either boat shoes or stylish sneakers to finish out a look. Guys really have some striking options when it comes to casual footwear. I particularly love the ones that are coming out with a contrasting sole. Nick is a big fan of Lacoste‘s stylish yet comfortable options.

Overall, your man’s spring wardrobe should be focused around casual yet polished separates – pieces that are easy to wear and can transition from at meeting at the office to drinks on the patio.

What is your guy wearing this season? Is his style classic like Nick’s?

XOXO,
Jules (and Nick)

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