Earlier this week, I was asked to be interviewed about getting started in making things, and the conversation turned towards the best tools for the money. The guy asked me what I think the best thing to invest in, and we naturally discussed how, once you have all the tools you need, you tend to think the things that support your workflow are more important that the cool-looking trappings of the woodworker. Like, how my favorite power tool is actually my two horsepower dust collector on its own circuit, because that's the machine I use on every single process. Or how I'd rather have an inexpensive Japanese dozuki saw and a really nice mechanical pencil and Starrett combination square vs. low grade measuring and marking tools and a fancy dovetail saw. (Though, to be fair, I do have both.)
But, it got me thinking about the truly best value in woodworking, the craft process, etc. Like what's something that's entirely inexpensive yet you use on every single project?
Like many of you, I suspect, I'd never heard of Fire Cider until a few weeks ago. It's a homemade tonic, and it wasn't historically something you could buy, and it wasn't a tradition in my family.
I can't say I can recall the ingredients on a basic can of shaving cream. It's pungent smell and pearly white appearance can only make one wonder if you're putting healthy chemicals on your face. Lucky for you, controlling what you put on your face is as easy as this recipe for your own jar of shaving cream.
Anyone who's read ManMade for more than a week or so can attest: we're never gonna wax poetic about the beard. Some men look better with them, some do not. Some can grow a full one, and some can't. There's no magic in the beard. It's a choice, and if yours looks nice, it's good to have options. Personally, I tend to wear one in the fall and winter, and then go clean shaven in the warmer spring and summer.
What we do know is: having a beard is much more than just not shaving. You've got to care for it, clean it, trim it, and keep it healthy.
It's the classic finish to every story. The hero overcomes the odds, beats the villain, and rises victorious from the ashes of his enemy. But is that how life really works? The real world doesn't seem to support such a clear-cut approach to how we "win". My experience so far tells me a very different story, and we'd all be better off if we marched to a much different rhythm.
Says Ernest Hemingway, "it is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.”
We couldn't agree more. Nowhere looks more like itself than the way it looks on two wheels. And no matter your pursuit, there's a bike for it. Whether you're looking to spin for miles through country lanes on a road bike, run errands on a stout commuter bike built for comfort on city streets, or zip down tree-lined single track on a mountain bike, at the end of all the fun and adventure, you're going to have to get back to where you started. Safely, efficiently, and, hopefully, comfortably.
We're no sports scientists, but every one of us here at ManMade are athletes - runners, climbers, cyclists, lifters, and hikers. And what those hours on the road, gym, or trail have taught us is: you need energy to keep going, perform high-intensity intervals or bursts, and do the work to get yourself to your destination. And then get yourself home again.
That means that if you're exercising for more than 30-60 minutes, you need to consume more than just water.
The older we get, the harder it becomes to start new habits...and break old ones. We begin in earnest, but soon we fall back; the good seem to slip, and the bad seem to creep in. The best way to keep yourself accountable is to ask yourself this simple question (looking into a mirror is optional):
Am I doing what I want?
In college, my roommate Adam returned from the holiday break with a new alarm clock he'd received as a Christmas gift. (My dorm days were a bit before the smartphone era and we all still used actual bedside clocks to wake up for our 8:00am classes). This particular alarm clock was special; it featured a
Healthy Breakfast, Made Easy: 5 Flavorful, Fitness-Friendly Smoothie Recipes to Make in the Mornings
Starting off the morning with something fresh and healthy sets the tone for the entire day. I've been blending my breakfast for most of the past 6 months, and it's changed my day. It's fast, easy, and tastes great. Plus, you can make the mornings hum along faster by preparing the portions ahead of time. I use single-serve sandwich bags packed with the ingredients, store them in the freezer, then just add water and blend.
It's been a few months since you made your New Year's resolutions, and chances are you're starting to get tired of the fitness grind. It happens to all of us, so here are a few tips to push past the hump and stick with those fitness goals for the long term.
I'm a big fan of a glass of DIY fire cider to help keep your system in prime fighting condition during the winter months. It's the single best way to keep your immunity up as best can be. (We love you, too, flu shot!)
But, still, sometimes you get sick. And you feel terrible. And all the OTC bottles in your medicine cabinet just don't seem to be doing anything.
This ManMade guest post was written by Ben Robbins of Silas Jackson
It ain’t easy being a short guy. Women “swipe left” on our dating profiles based on height alone, we don’t make as much dough as their taller peers, and there’s no shortage of nicknames that seek to box us in (“shrimp,” “small fry”…I could go on and on). This isn’t fair, of course, but you as a fellow shorter dude actually have some power to fight back – it’s called the ability to “dress taller.” Now, I didn’t coin this term, but I do have some unique insights into how shorter guys can share in some of the benefits that taller guys take for granted. All you have to do is follow these five simple tips for making tweaks to what you wear and how you wear it:
My dad taught me many things when I was growing up. Here are five important standards I took from what he had to say about money, and a few I've learned on my own.
I developed pretty intense insomnia during my junior year in college. Admittedly, I was a way-too-involved workaholic at the time, but even when my life chilled out a bit more, I still had lots of trouble sleeping. Like, intense months of sleep issues. So I've spent a lot of time investigating ways to improve my sleep schedule and here are some of the top tips I've found…
Guys guys guys-- did you know Walt Whitman published a fifty-thousand word serialized guide to "Manly Health & Training" that has recently been compiled by a PhD candidate? It started in 1858 in the New York Atlas but was pushed deeper and deeper into the newspaper with each issue due to lack of interest. However, it's great for both its practicality and its utter impracticality,
This year Chris and I both started meditating, independently of each other. We got into the practice for different reasons, and with different approaches, but the thing we definitely both agree on is this: meditation is great. Since we're both newbie meditators who are getting a lot out of it, we thought we'd share a little about our experiences in hopes of encouraging a few of you out there to give it a try.
How did you start?
Bruno: I actually have tried meditation a few times over the last ten years or so, but never stuck with it for more than a couple of days. A few years back I picked up a copy of Mindfulness in Plain English (which
Pesto is a mighty Mediterranean-style sauce and condiment that’s super versatile and easy to make. It's amazing all warm weather season long, when the fresh ingredients are bountiful, and tastes fantastic on anything from the grill, on pizza or fresh pasta, or, as many will confess, a spoon.
Healthy protein intake is essential for all of us, and especially important for adult men. Unfortunately, for lots of us, the standard delivery system - namely, the muscles of animals - can be high in fat, cholesterol, and other baddies that need to be taken in moderation. So? Try these meat-free protein-laden alternatives that are worthy of a Game of Thrones warrior. True fact. Or something....