Christmas Traditions

I know that some of you might not like what I’m about to say, and others won’t be surprised at all… so here goes. I don’t like tradition. For the majority of the year, this isn’t much of a problem. I don’t do anything special for any birthday, and never buy anyone else presents (hey, I don’t ask for them either), and just go to the bathroom when I think everyone is going to start singing or cutting the cake. Every other day is normal. I’m a pretty spontaneous guy, and the people in my life know and respect that.

But along comes Christmas. With its holiday time off, shopping becomes a nightmare, and there’s so much expectation. So much. We’re all forced to celebrate some holiday which the pagans are trying to wrestle back from the Christians, but honestly is just as much the billionaire capitalist athiest’s celebration as anyone elses. Including people who religiously disagree but are so bombarded with Christmas marketing and tradition they figure they may as well have the family lunch, or the presents, because what else are they ongoing to do? Nothing’s open.

And unlike Easter, or Halloween, or whatever it is, my family are adamant that I spend Christmas with them. Bless them, over the years they really have tried to accommodate me. I’ve never have turkey, or the usual Christmas spread, presents are exchanged white elephant style, or as prizes for games, or in a game of pass the parcel, and they always find the most unusual Christmas crackers to fill out the table. I do it because I love them, and because at least theres some difference.

That all changes this year. I recently started seeing someone who I really quite like. I’ll say this because I’ll never let her read this blog, but I’ve never fallen for someone like this. It feels special. So of course she has to be obsessed with Christmas. I mean, frightingly obsessed.

She has about seven different Christmas jumpers (which she’ll start wearing the minute it’s officially December), not to even mention the accessories. She buys a real tree every year which she decorates until it can barely stand, and she loves to cook for her family. I mean, why does the perfect woman somehow have to have one fatal flaw?

This story does have a happy ending, I promise. She was equally baffled by my hatred as I was her love, so it stood to reason that we have several long discussions to come to not only an understanding of each other… but more importantly, a compromise. I certainly didn’t get my way. Instead, she asked me why these holiday traditions, especially Christmas, were such a sore point for me. Would you believe it, there was a reason deep down under all that resentment.

Feet in wool socks near fireplace in Christmas time concept

It feels fake. Like I said to her that night, I just hate the idea that we all seem to need a reason to see our families, forced together with no way out, and that growing capitalist greed has taught us to go crazy with presents, that we’ve owed them, even when you really can’t afford it. Don’t get me wrong, I love giving presents to my friends and family. From paying for a meal you shared to giving them things you saw passing by that you thought would make them smile. I like to show my love and affection clearly, without a doubt that my intentions were pure. I know that sounds a bit silly, and not everyone feels obligated to gift one day a year. But it’s just how I feel. I also feel that all this festive tat is just us being conned out of our money for no good reason. Clout on Instagram, or Pinterest, maybe.

She agreed that in our modern age, fun and well-meaning traditions have turned sour in light of mass production, mass markets, and this hunger for things we all seem to have now. Which is why, don’t call me crazy, we designed our own tradition. Well, more of a mix between my parent’s attempts, and my girlfriend’s. No tat! Every decoration must either be thrifted, or made themselves, and be used until they are literally falling apart. Only one small and sensible gift can be exchanged on the day. If you intend on more through­out the year, you may gift cards which have some sort of clue or hint as to what it might be. Then they can be gifted spontaneously. Everyone elects one starter or nibbly, one main, and one dessert for dinner. This ensures everyone gets something they want, and aren’t confined to ‘classic’ foods.

My parents were very happy to hear the changes… and I think they’re already planning my wedding. As you can probably innagine, I’m not a big fan of them either.

Posthuman literature

When I was at University, I did a class on posthumanist literature. I have to be honest, it was the awakening I needed. There’s something about mixing the unknown, and the fear of the future, with current issues and events that just frames our modern existence like nothing else. I think that if you spend enough time on the internet, and reading the news, it can become such a weight to see all the hate and bigotry and malice in the world. But posthuman authors have this fascination and awe for a world free from all our failures. Newness!

Veganism and Technology; so many unanswered questions

I want to get back to my blog roots so to speak with a chat about the advancement of technology. Or rather, I’m left wondering where the advancement is.

Veganism is something we have all seen rise with the 21st century, through fads, crazy animal rights supporters and new alternatives to non-vegan food the average omnivore would accept into their diet. But the main gripe vegans have has not yet been addressed, the treatment and killing of captive animals. Why isn’t there a more humane, automated way to keep chickens out of battery farms? Why are fishermen still using what looks like a primitive tool to kill a fish?

Or maybe the plan was always to transfer completely to lab-made meat, but I can’t see that happening. Farmers need a job, but we need more farmers with less cattle per farm. I think, I’m not really an expert on this… I just have an opinion! Honey is one of those things as well, you can buy local honey so you know it was made ethically, bees naturally make more than they need so its not exactly cruel to eat it. But if all the vegans, vegetarians and socially conscious omnivores starting throwing their money at these local, super ethical businesses, then maybe we could cause a turn in perception.

If I’m honest, I’ll be happy to eat vegan meat when they make it actually taste like meat. I had a beetroot burger the other day and as yummy as it was, it tasted like beetroot and not beef. What can you do, the tech just isn’t there yet? But from what I’ve heard beef is the current project, maybe chicken. But those flavours are so standard. Wait until we get to fish! Salmon, swordfish, cod, shrimps and bass, they all have a very distinct flavour and texture, it’s going to take years to perfect each one! So we need some technical help in the meantime.

This might be a ridiculous point, but then there are instances like in Australia, where there are too many Kangaroos. Yes, believe it or not there are too many Kangaroos, and are considered a pest. So, how is that problem helped? They eat kangaroo. Apparently it’s delicious, and I’d like to try it. So what’s going to happen when fake kangaroo meat hits it big and the Aussies are left to be overrun by those hulking boxers? I don’t know. Just as much pain for the animal, but extra waste on our conscience.

I guess the only field I’m even remotely happy with is vegan skincare. Beeswax isn’t so awful, although collagen seems to be, so alternatives are popping up everywhere thanks to sustainable innovation. We get the equivalents without feeling like we’re missing out on quality. Because lets be real, vegans miss out on a lot of quality. Halloumi, for example. Vegan halloumi is just entirely disappointing. I’d like to see how they fix that one!

Water-based Primer vs Oil-based Primer?

I started last week with a tragedy. I was going out to a fancy dinner with my friends from high school, and because it had been a while we decided to treat ourselves to a three-course meal at the nicest restaurant we could find. I was ready to spend more on a bottle of wine than I would be doing my weekly shop, and knew exactly the dress I wanted to wear.

Skip to the day of, I am getting ready and realise I’ve run out of primer. I don’t have time to run out and buy the same one again, so I frantically call my roommate and ask to borrow hers. She says yes (although she calls it a primer makeup??), and my crisis is seemingly averted. I do my makeup as usual, but really splurge on the winged eyeliner and contouring- a few of the girls going had a makeup YouTube channel in high school and I just knew they would still be judging everyone’s attempts at their so-called ‘basics’ even now. 

So I’m looking to die for, a little spritz of setting spray and the taxi arrives (I did mention that bottle of wine was just for myself, right?). The night kicks off with a popped champagne bottle and twenty voices competing for the loudest, most interesting story. I love spending time with my girls, and the time zooms by.

Here’s where the trouble really began… I excuse myself to go to the bathroom, and it’s a good thing I wasn’t alone or else I wouldn’t have had the control not to scream! It looked like half my face was melting, the other clumping and looking like I was covered in powder! I wasn’t sure if I’d been sweating it all off, or maybe my foundation was out of date? Everyone tried to tell me they hadn’t noticed, which was kind of them, but it was a total lie. I had to wash it all off with paper towel and re-join my friends looking as bright as a tomato.

With enough wine I’d forgotten it all, but the photos shared around in the group chat the next day was a stark reminder. I can’t tell you how much I stood out like a sore thumb. Perfect skin, perfect face, perfect eyeliner… me.

I was willing to lock it away as unfortunate timing shrouded in mystery, until my roommate asked if I’d put her primer back in her makeup bag. I had a look at the label and saw something odd.. It as an oil-based primer. I’d seen silicone-based primers before, and more often than not used water-based ones, but oil-based was a new one. 

I asked her about it and it turns out she’d found it because her favourite foundation works best with the oil base. I showed her a photo of my melted face the night before and she blanched! Apologised to me for not realising it would be a problem, as my foundation was water-based! And we all know that oil and water don’t mix… I just wish I’d read the label!

Fast forward a day and I decided to do my research on a new makeup primer, after almost swearing off them altogether (stumbled across this article before that could happen!). And it had to be water-based, no exceptions. I came across one by a brand called Lunar Glow on Amazon. It looked good, not too expensive, so I bought it!

Last night I went on a date and decided to try it out, my thought process was that if it was another disaster… I would never have to see them again! But it was magical! I checked my makeup three times throughout the night, and when I got home, and it never stopped looking like I’d just applied it! Not to mention, when I took my makeup off in the evening, my skin didn’t flare up or look clogged. A definite winner for me.

Coming Back From Your Extended Home Vacation

I don’t like leaving the house very often. It’s not like I’m a recluse or afraid of the outdoors or anything like that just in case you were imagining something like a basement dweller for your mental image of me. I enjoy meeting new people and experiencing new things. I guess the more appropriate statement to make isn’t that “I dislike leaving the house” it’s more accurate to state that “I prefer the comfort of my own home.” Given that we live in the 21st century my specific preferences are in luck.

I sometimes will have a couple of days where I have the luxury of not having to leave the house and the internet allows for all my needs to be taken care of. I’ll entertain myself by watching a few shows on the internet maybe play a game or two online and when I get hungry I’ve got the cuisine of different countries at my fingertips (though pizza seems to win more often than not). This is all well and good but the issue that tends to come up is when I have to deal with the aftermath of my little exit from society. Now the single biggest issue I would come across was the whole lost in the wilderness look that I tend to start sporting by the end of everything. Now for me this all comes down to a bit of a trim and a good long washing of the hair and the beard but for a lot of you this probably comes down to using a razor and being done with it. I want more guys to try out the bearded look but I know that a lot of you out there are either afraid the bearded look isn’t for you or you’re afraid of the responsibility that keeping a beard might entail.

So if you’re being turned away by latter issue I mentioned you might be wanting to include another purchase for your re-entry into society. Beard stuff is a bit more complicated than your average bottle of shampoo and some soap that I know we’re all (hopefully) familiar with so I understand the hesitation. What do I buy? What do I need? Is there a difference if I buy from a bunch of different brands and all I can say about those questions is that you’d be better off just going out and buying the best beard grooming kit, and I know that best is a matter of opinion but hey this is my blog and so my opinion gets to be featured.

How technology is affecting the men’s grooming industry

Millenials are probably the generation that gets the most criticism as of now for a multitude of reasons some valid and some invalid. Whatever your opinion on millennials may be you have to admit they are the most influential generation so far in terms of industries. They are at the age where majority of them are capable and do the majority of their shopping themselves. Understanding this fact means that if you want to succeed with your business ventures you’ll need to take their existence into account.

In the modern world understanding of the importance of technology is not something to be underestimated. In just a few short decades the men’s grooming industry has grown exponentially in size thanks in no small part to the social media generation. The idea of paying attention to your looks is nothing new for the most part but as an industry the drive to look good has never greater on men than it is now. With the readily available means of sharing your everyday life on social media it means having to look your best. Now the definition of what makes a guy attractive is also expanding. The thought of buying beauty products such as moisturizers and the like might have caused people to second guess their decision back in the day but now it’s something that no one would even bat an eyelash at. It’s not limited to one type of look as mentioned earlier you could go for the pretty boy look or you could go for the rugged sexy lumberjack vibe or some hybrid combination of the two, it all really comes down to personal preference.

Different products and different treatments exist for people going for different looks and that means that with the increase in demand there is an increase in opportunities. A simple google search for premium beard oil will probably yield you dozens of results of products available in your general area. And those products could be at your local store or online shopping exclusives, the range is vast. With this coming wave of generation Z perhaps we can look to millenials and the effect they’ve had on the marketplace and find that revolutionary idea that sends men’s grooming or any other market you can think of into its next stage. And isn’t it funny that when that idea is found a decade or so from then it will seem to the people at that time as though it made perfect sense and they’ll wonder why no one thought of it sooner.

Cooking up a storm

Feedback for the blog thus far has been fantastic.

I’ve been constantly beaming over the past few weeks. I want to keep the good momentum going so more will be posted shortly.

I’ve been trying to decide what to write about recently – hopefully I’ll figure it out before too long and the next post will be up.

Taking Advantage of Technological Advancements

Technology is constantly moving in a forward direction and so many aspects of life are affected by this. One of them being media – there’s no question about that. We are directly experiencing this growth and expansion in our daily lives, just like those who lived few decades ago. They witnessed how DVD’s arrived replacing video cassettes. In fact, nowadays this technology is also outdated – Most people tend to stream media on their phones, tablets or laptops!

Technology has brought advancement to the health industry, cosmetic industries and others –  they are too many to mention. Better and improved technology has provided us with various ways to learn, work and relate to each other.

In many aspects, it’s hard to argue that technology hasn’t had a massive impact and affected so many people and places in a positive way. Despite this there are still some saying that technology decreases the need for manpower in many industries, which may be the reason why the number of unemployed people is increasing in some countries.

Personally, I don’t think technological advancement is the root cause of the high unemployment rate in some countries. In many ways it helps us create new jobs, especially through the use of the internet. Online jobs are widely available and remote workers are in high demand nowadays.

For me, It is just a matter of how you deal with technology and how you choose to use it for your own good. I believe we should be grateful we have it in our time. We should take advantage of it in a positive way. Try to think “what would be the use of advanced technology if we cannot even use it for our own advancement or self-improvement?” Agree?

Cosmetics is one specific area that is highly affected by breakthroughs in technology. I tend to take advantage of this by using a plethora of new and high-quality products to pamper my skin and look good.

Actually, I even ended up taking advantage of advanced cosmetics by purchasing a gift for my brother. I gave him a high-quality balm for his beard, and he really liked it.

All I am saying is that, we just have to embrace these advancements and make good use of them. Stop blaming technology for what you are right now. We are humans, we survived before technology, but it’s also not going away – technology still exists now without the brilliant minds that discovered and developed it.

Still thinking about new topics!

Hi readers!

Quickly I wanted to remind you that I posted something new last week. If you’ve read it already, I really hope you enjoyed doing so!

If you haven’t read it yet i’d be really appreciative if you took a moment to check it out.

In terms of my next post, I’m still trying to decide what to write about!

Hoping I will be able post it up this week!