As the weather chills down, it's always a good idea to pull your cool weather clothing and gear from their summer storage places, and prep them for the season.
Some of the most frequent kind of questions ManMade receives are inquiries like, "I just graduated college and finally have a real income and I'd like to start investing in some long-lasting goods..." or "my fiancée's birthday is coming up, and I'd like to buy him something every guy should have..." So, in 2013, I'll be sharing my take on those essential items, offering a new collection of ten each season: winter, spring, summer, and fall.
If you're anything like me, and 95% of the other men I know, you don't use any sorts of skin care product beyond the occassional aftershave lotion and sunscreen, and perhaps a bit of lip balm. And if that's true, then you, like me and 95% of the other men I know, are terribly, terribly wrong.
Okay, I know. "Chris," you're thinking, "It's nearly the middle of march. Winter's over, man! Spring has sprung."
Precisely. The stores are full of spring clothing now, meaning that all the winter stuff is on a significant discount. So now's the time to stock up on some high-end winter essentials that were (likely) previously out of your budget, but are now much more affordable.
I was a late adopter of the scarf. I wasn't opposed, I just didn't have any, and so didn't wear one. And then, I found myself in New York the week before Christmas, in the middle of a snowstorm, walking about in thirty mile per hour winds, and my coat and gloves just wasn't cutting it. So, I snagged a scarf from a street vendor, and wouldn't you know it:
Scarves really, really work.
Canadian artist Nicole Dextras has created an amazing series of three-dimensional words fabricated by hand in ice. The installations, "speak to how the viewer’s gaze frames and informs the landscape. The installations have varied from 8-foot high ice letters on the Yukon River to 18-inch high letters set in downtown Toronto."
The letters are then left to let the temperature of the space to affect their meaning, altering their scope through the melting process.
I live in a multi-unit urban building, and so share a small yard with three other folks/couples. We have a sidewalk on our street, and a little drive, plus a walkway that unites all of our doors. All concrete, and usually all shoveled when it's snowy out. (By me. You're welcome, guy on the end).
And yet, it never fails. One of my neighbors will walk through the yard when it's snowy out. I have no idea why. One, it gets your shoes unnecessarily wet. Two, it's safer and only takes ten extra seconds to walk on the sidewalk THAT I JUST SHOVELED FOR YOU. But, three, and most importantly,
The world has Peanuts, the Muppets, and any number of 3D computer-animated movie characters, but those of us who were kids in the late 80s and 90s, we have Calvin & Hobbes.
Fans and filmmakers Jim Frommeyer and Teague Chrystie created this stop-motion tribute to Bill Watterson's amazing contribution to pop culture and art, recreating 3D models of some of the strip's most notable recurring themes - Calvin's joyfully demented snow creations.
Click play to watch this awesome video:
Whenever I'm out and about, and opt to have a beer, my go-to move is to ask, "What are your seasonals." They way I figure it, the independent and micro breweries that craft seasonal beers do this as their profession. It's their job to match the flavors and textures of beer to those of the season - the weather, the ingredients available, the kind of food we eat. And while I have a few year-round staples, I've found I always get what I want by inquiring re: seasonals.
It's really cold today. There's snow in 49 states, and I'm doing everything I can not to turn on the thermostat before the program kicks it on at 3:30. And I need something warm to make it through. Not coffee. Not tea.
I need hot cocoa.
But I can't stand instant cocoa mix. Even the fancy ones are way too water-y. I need to be prepared for days like this.
I need to make my own.
Every state in the U.S. is covered in snow, except for poor Florida. Many are saying, "Snow? of course, it's January," while others totally freak out, cancel schools, close down roads, and populations go into hibernation.
But for my money, it gives me an excuse to start cooking. I love to spend winter nights trying new things; complex dishes that come out of the lack of amazing produce you wouldn't want to otherwise mask.
And though it means lots of door openning and closing, and tracking in a bit of extra snow, I love to grill in the winter. Standing outside in blankets of white, warming myself by my roasty dinner, with the smellls mingling just so...
Outside, the ground has been covered in snow since our first fall back in December, and its still falling. Which means my bicycle's been in the garage for six weeks, and I'm getting a little antsy. And the recumbent exercise bike just isn't cutting it.
Twenty years ago, the Jukkasjarvi hotel in Sweden began accepting reservations. And twenty years ago, it melted. Then, nineteen years ago, it was back.
Of course, the Jukkasjarvi hotel is made of ice. And while its the first and still the largest, there are lots of ice hotels this winter worthy of drool. Just don't do it for too long, cause it might freeze.
"If you're imagining simple igloos and snow caves, think again: Ice hotels are an extraordinary, otherworldly exercise in sculpture and design.
There's some fascinating stuff going on in the sky this week: not only was there a full moon last night, at the beginning of the winter solstice, there was also a full fledge lunar eclipse, the first time since 1638. No wonder the idea of light in this season of darkness has spanned cultures and religious communities for thousands of years.
It didn't hit my city until 3:13a, and while I'd like to have stayed awake, I was too exhausted from my Home Alone marathon. Plus, it was super cloudy, and the buzz around town was that there wasn't much to see.
But, thankfully, there are lots of talented photographers from all different time zones, and they're happily sharing their eclipse photos.
Admit it: if you live in a snow-receiving climate, you make at least one snowball a season. Sometimes the closest tree is your target, sometimes its your significant other (which, if you can get away with it, means that individual is a total keeper), and sometimes its just to see how far you can throw it. But if you have gloves, and there's snow, you're gonna make one
But then there are those icy orbs that never seem to form...they fall apart in your hands, or stay in a weird rectangle the whole time, or disintegrate not two feet in front of you. "It's the snow, it's the snow!" you shout. Which, sometimes it is, but that doesn't mean its not something a little technique can't fix.
At ManMade, we've always argued that the DIY approach should extend into all areas of our life, including what we wear. Several well chosen, long-lasting pieces can be transformed into a multitude of appropriate looks, and will always beat a preassembled, off-the-rack deal.
And, as the seasons change, "fall is now upon us, and with winter around the corner, we’re bundling up and breaking out the cold-weather gear. Fortunately, with the recent resurgence of high-quality heritage menswear, there’s never been a better time to invest in classic frost-battling essentials that are built to last. From warm woolen knits to sheltering coats, we’ve rounded up our picks for sustainable garments that will help you withstand the worst that fall—and winter—have to offer. So suit up, boot up, and hit the jump for the greatest green gear to weather the cooler months to come."