This is a post about those weekends. Specifically, how to do those awesome, work-free 48 hours right. To bring it together, ManMade partnered with Gillette Clear Gel, which provides protection against wetness and odor for 48 hours straight. Which is a good thing, 'cause it's gonna be a busy weekend. Read on for my tips on putting together a couple of days full of things memories are made of...
Look, I like vacations as much as any guy. Week-long explorations of new cities, three-or-four day treks into the backcountry, and even quick weekend getaway trips. But vacations are expensive. And require airplanes, and gas tanks, and time off work, and luggage. But there are always those two magical days at the end of every week just waiting to be seized. Here's how to do it:
Before we begin; this post presumes a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, but you can have an awesome 48 hours any time throughout the week. Also, we presume you'll be spending this time with someone (could be anyone - a spouse, a partner, a buddy, out-of-town guests). And finally - it doesn't require any advanced planning. We're not going to tell you to go spend a ton of money, or simply to just "go do cool stuff." This is about making the most of the city or town you already live in ... a vacation where you stay home. You could call it a staycation. But then you'd have to use the word "staycation."
DO: Stop by the store on the way home from work and pick up a bottle of something. Beer or wine is fine, but this is a true happy hour, so our vote is to go with homemade cocktails. Grab your staple and base spirits if you're out, but if the home bar is stocked with the basics, try a special aromatic spirit or liqueur so you can make something you've never tried before.
Once you get home, turn on some music as quickly as you can. Favorite albums, new Spotify playlist, internet radio station, whatever works for your space; just rock out ASAP. It's Friday, after all.
Even if you haven't broken a sweat today, hop in the shower. You might need it, you might not, but it's a good transition to the weekend, like you're washing away the work week. Don't shave or make it a big deal, just soap up, rinse off, and emerge a new man ... the have-a-good time, weekend version of yourself. Towel dry and turn that deodorant dial a mere two twists to achieve #NOSWEAT confidence that will last you for the next (awesome) 48 hours.
Get dressed, then go experiment with the new bottle you brought home. If you're looking for recipe ideas, check an app like Mixology, Bartender's Choice, or Speakeasy Cocktails. Make one for you, and taste it before you offer it to your lady, or guy, or whomever you're serving. Once it's perfect, walk right to her, and place it in her hand. Now it's the weekend.
EAT: It's Friday night, which means every well-meaning person also wants to check out that sweet new restaurant that you read about in your local alternative weekly. Don't go there! The crowds and hassle aren't worth it. But do go enjoy the experience of letting someone else prepare food for you.
Where to go? Wherever you want, but our vote is for one of three kinds of places:
SEE: Now go do something! Not the movies, but something fun. Go find that bar with all the pinball machines and vintage video games, or walk around downtown or over an awesome bridge. Go ice skating on the city square. Have you ever been to that place in your city that overlooks the whole city? The cliff or the bluff or the top floor of the tallest bank building? Go check it out.
Sleep in, but not too late. Aim to be out of the house by 10:00 a.m. If you need a nap later, there'll be time for that.
EAT: Snag a bowl of cereal or a quick egg or two, unless you especially like going out to breakfast and want to spend the extra dough. Make a stop at the coffee shop, and - 'cause why not? - actually sit there and enjoy your drink. No to-go cups, no travel mugs, but the actual china the barista intended. Do a crossword puzzle, read the news, talk about the day's plans. Have a morning.
Oh, and be sure to stop by the bank or ATM and grab some cash, so you'll have it if you need it.
SEE: Today's the day to be a tourist in your own town. Head downtown and check out a museum. Check out an art gallery, public garden or conservatory. Go to a farmer's market that you haven't tried yet, the one that's not in your neighborhood.
If you've seen everything already, try to spice things up. Try an architecture tour, or download an audio guide or app that will take you around town and explain its historical significance. Challenge yourself to take a picture of a street that starts with every letter of the alphabet, or invent a hashtag like #mewithtenstrangers and see if you can Instagram it throughout the day. Try rock climbing, or take a hot yoga class. Eat a progressive lunch, where you get nothing but sides from every bodega on a block.
Or - and I'm serious about this - if you've done everything you can think of already, see if you can find a place to volunteer. Time is a precious resource ... share it. Find a place that connects with issues you care about or has a need for your skills and strengths, and go act on them.
GET: While you're out and about, use this chance to treat yourself to something - not expensive, but something you've been meaning to get and have been putting off. A new journal or notebook, a fresh pair of sneakers. Check out our list of Things Every Man Should Own: winter , spring, summer , and fall.
For example, I have been carrying this pathetic wallet for six years. My previous one had completely busted, and I replaced it with this sweatshop-produced velcro and nylon joint that I found at the discount store. And it didn't break (yet), and so I kept using it. I've been telling my wife I was going to replace it for the entire time I've owned it, but I just didn't.
And then last weekend, while running around downtown looking at public sculptures, I finally took the plunge, and stopped into the Danner store, a local bootmaker and leather craftsman. And I didn't just browse, I walked up to the dude, said "Hey, I'm Chris, and this is my old wallet. I need a new one."
I had an awesome conversation with the staff, and walked out with a natural, heritage leather wallet made in my own state that will probably last me for the rest of my life. Investment accomplished.
GO: Grab a quick bite, then head to a fun neighborhood to explore. Go check out "the cool part of town." Hint: it's probably near a university, and has a record store, used book store, an Indian restaurant, and that store that sells incense and fair-trade woven baskets.
DO: Park your car (or better yet, if your weather permits, your bike), and go after these three things:
- Support your local record store, and get some physical media rather than just a download. It doesn't have to be new - raiding the dollar bins is totally fine - just expose yourself to something new.
- Find a gift for someone. Grab it for your mom's birthday, or sneak it for your sweetheart and keep it hidden for a Christmas surprise.
- Lastly, and most important, go to the bookstore and head straight to the cookbook section. Look for a title that'll teach you how to cook something you've never tried making at home before. Here are some recommended titles:
Then, on the way home, stop by the appropriate ethnic or world food market and get the ingredients to make a dish. Flip through the pages, and find something you want to make. Try to stretch yourself - look for an ingredient you've never heard of, a vegetable that you couldn't pick out of a lineup, or a cut of meat that you can't actually name where it comes from. You know ... the tasty ones.
Talk to the people who work there. Find out what they like most, what they think you should make. You'll learn a lot.
DO: Head home, and take a quick rest if you need it. Text some friends and see if they want to come over for dinner.
Then, bust out your new cookbook and ingredients, and get going. Again, make sure there's plenty of music, and enjoy the process. These are the things memorable weekends are all about.
DO: After your adventurous meal, spend your time however you'd like to spend an evening at home. Have some friends over to play a game. Go sledding if the season is right (always better in the dark, right?). Gorge on a whole season of a show on Netflix. Take a walk and go get cocoa or ice cream, depending on the time of year.
Sunday Morning and Afternoon
EAT: Fuel up. Grab some breakfast, and pack a lunch. Grab your hiking boots. 'Cause today we're getting out of town.
DO: Where we going? Wherever you'd like, amigo. Pack up your bikes and go for a leisurely ride. Take a hike. Swim. Climb something. Pick fruit. Go to that small town with all the antique shops.
But here's the thing with stuff like this. It might not be awesome. Sometimes you drive for an hour to get somewhere that turns out to be ... boring. It doesn't matter! Make the adventure the point of the day. Put a bunch of places within two hours (literally) in a hat, and draw one. Go check it out. Talk in the car. Philosophize. Goof off. Play a game.
What's the Point of All This?
Memories are made from new experiences. That's why vacations are awesome - they're full of stuff you've never done before. Sure, you can have a comforting weekend - eating at your favorite places, seeing your favorite kind of movie - but if you're looking for something you can reflect back on, you gotta try something new.
The easiest way to do this in your own town is to look at the places and the people with fresh eyes.
So, talk to people. I ended up having a 20 minute conversation with Jayme, the guy at the store, when I bought my wallet. Why? Cause I told him what I was up to, and I let him know who I was. Turns out, we had a lot in common, and we were both interested in the other's experiences.
When I went to the Vietnamese market, I saw an iPod shuffle on the cash register, so I asked the kid what he was listening to. Turns out, his favorite band is Weezer, except he doesn't really "get" Pinkerton (?!). And he told me about his favorite Vietnamese dish, and the way his mom makes it, and now I'm totally gonna seek it out.
Take pictures. Try to capture what you're doing through the lens of your phone or camera. Don't get obsessed with Instagramming everything and finding the right filters. Just snap what you're seeing. If it looks boring, try to make it interesting. That's an adventure in itself.
Come late Sunday afternoon, that'll be 48 hours well spent. Important moments require true confidence. With Gillette Clear Gel, guys can remain cool and collected, and have the confidence to say #NOSWEAT no matter what the situation. Happy Exploring.
Thanks to Gillette Clear Gel for sponsoring this post. Their fast-drying formula instantly eliminates odor-causing bacteria on contact - leaving no white marks and 48 hour odor protection – without compromise- UNLIKE solids or sprays. Check out the Gillette's #NoSweat hashtag on Twitter to learn more.
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