Category Archives: guys

for the dads: richer poorer

I generally steer away from Father’s Day gift guides, if only because…YAWN. Ties, barbecue accessories, maybe a retro-inspired radio…it just never changes. But, a friend dropped me a line to let me know she’s launched a new venture, and the timing was so perfect, I had to pass it on.

Richer Poorer is a new line of men’s socks. That sounds dull, I realize, but hear me out. Best men’s socks ever! They’re not cheesy or metro, just hip – and a vast deal more stylish than your dad’s old argyle versions (which probably have holes in them anyway). Plus, they’re extremely well-made, with a fine-weave cotton blend that feels soft but sturdy, nicely reinforced toes, and enough elastic that I didn’t have to pull these up once all day when I tried them out. What else could you ask for?

From left: the Bread Winner in navy, Poindexter in black, Sleepwalker in teal, Hunter in blue

Oh, I know…a discount! How about 25% off your order with code PAPA2011, and free shipping on 2 or more pairs? Really, could you ask for an easier Father’s Day gift?

The sad thing is that they only come in men’s sizes…but since my feet are gigantic, that suits me just fine. I have a feeling, if you’re at least a 9 or higher, you’ll be stealing these from your dad’s dresser every chance you get.

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get gifting: geek chic

this entire gift guide is dedicated to a dear friend of mine who is always more interested in reading wired than vogue, happily lines up for the latest “must-have” from apple, and never goes anywhere with less than 3 gadgets in her immediate vicinity.  if you know a girl (or, for that matter, a guy) who fits that description, something tells me any of these goodies will make their eyes light up with glee on christmas morning.

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left to right, from top: belkin mini surge protector with usb charger, $25; jawbone jambox wireless speaker and hands-free speakerphone, $200; ge create camera by jason wu, with leather accent (oh how i want this one!), $200; powersupport iphone cases by tibi and rachel pally, $55; ferragamo ipad case, order at 800.628.8916, $390; tantrum-throwing alarm clock, $50.

{FTC disclaimer: some product samples were provided to help me compile this guide, but as usual, there’s no pay-for-play here.}

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get gifting: for the boys

i can pick great gifts for the women in my life blindfolded.  but men?  they’re an entirely different story.  whether it’s a husband, a dad or a brother, something about buying for guys is just baffling, unless you want to go to the old standby of cologne, a watch or a pair of cufflinks.

i’ve left out the obvious choices…something tells me you don’t need to be reminded that a 52″ HDTV is high on his list.  but if you’re looking to head off the beaten path a bit this year, here are a few that are absolutely sure to make just about any guy smile.

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left to right, from top: marshall major headphones, $99; native(x) pendleton wool scarf, $20; clinique expert shave kit, $31 (love the waterproof dopp kit it comes with); boccalone artisan cured salumi gift box, from $25; logitech harmony rechargeable remote control, $106; ecco personal digital compass GPS locator, $70; merrell guise men’s jacket (converts into neck pillow for travel!), $129;  filson small duffle bag, $225; byrd and belle felt/leather ipad sleeve, $48.

{FTC disclaimer: some product samples were provided to help me compile this guide, but as usual, there’s no pay-for-play here.}

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gift guide: all about dad

ah, father’s day…maybe the most stress-inducing gift-buying holiday outside of christmas.  men are notoriously hard to shop for, and unless your dad’s addicted to golf or bad ties, the usual suspects for men’s gifts are, well, lackluster.

with that said, i’ll freely admit that my ideas here aren’t exactly groundbreaking.  for the most part, i think guys are happiest when they get the coolest, latest toy in the genre they like best, whether it’s sports, tech, tools, or whatever else they’re into. so, assuming you’re not shelling out to get dad an ipad for father’s day (the ultimate way to ensure your name gets to the top of the list in his will), here are a few suggestions to keep dad on cloud nine this father’s day:

haffstreuner watch, by hlaska ($200):  i can tell you that choosing one thing to feature from hlaska for father’s day was no small feat…honestly, i could have written this whole guide from their site.  but if i have to choose, i think a hip new watch is the ultimate dad gift.  if you’re up for a splurge (or, more likely, going in on something with your siblings), my favorite is this super-sized haffstreuner watch, which is sleek and simple, but destined to remain perpetually stylish.  the face actually reminds me a bit of a compass, so it’s sure to bring a flash of nostalgia to dad’s eye, and make him feel like a serious wilderness trekker wherever he roams.

iHome app-enhanced alarm clock ($99):  for the seriously gadget-addicted dad, this is guaranteed to keep him occupied for hours on father’s day (and beyond).  it’s an iphone dock and charger, plus alarm clock – but it works with a (free) iphone app to let dad take his naps to a whole new level of tech-supervised sophistication.  he can fall asleep to james taylor and wake up to the beastie boys (your mom should love that).  it will even update dad’s facebook page when he beds down and wakes up (in case you haven’t managed to convince your ‘rents to avoid facebook entirely).  plus, the display is super cool.  i’ve been testing it for a week or so, and while i’ll admit that it may be a little more high-tech than i can handle, that should thrill any geeked-out dad beyond measure.

pizza grill stone, by williams sonoma ($99):  if your dad’s the stereotypical grillmaster, ditch the titanium-cased set of grill tools, and spring for something to really help him up the ante at his next barbecue.  my hubs swears that the only way to make a good pizza at home is with a minimum 800-degree oven, this pizza stone built for the grill seems like a much safer option than dismantling the auto-lock on the oven’s cleaning cycle (an ongoing battle in our house).  if nothing else, it will save you from a summer full of only burgers and hot dogs.  (a very close runner-up here is this smoker box for the grill. at an extremely wallet-friendly $40, it’s virtually guaranteed to banish dry chicken from dad’s grilling repertoire.)

bucket boss tool organizer, amazon ($16):  don’t laugh.  okay, you can laugh…it totally baffles me too.  but i honestly haven’t seen my hubs get more excited about anything he’s bought lately (with the obvious exception of his new ipad) than this weird bucket boss.  it’s basically a tool belt that you attach to, yes, a bucket.  for some reason, it’s as enthralling as a new power tool…especially in my house. throw in a bucket, and maybe even this “super cool” bucket lid seat thing to go with it (also a big hit), and you’ve got yourself one very happy, handy dad, all for about $30.

here’s hoping one or two of these help you add a little creativity to your gift-giving this year.  something tells me your dad has enough neckties.

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valentines worth hearting: for him (slightly NSFW)

i have heard from so many of you this year, begging for help with what seems to be the hardest task of all:  finding a valentine’s day gift for the man in your life.  and i fully admit, it is tricky.  after all, a holiday built on pink hearts and flowers doesn’t exactly scream testosterone.  the key, i think, is to let go and admit that valentine’s day is largely a girl holiday.  with that in mind, stop taking your guy’s gift quite so seriously.  he’ll be much happier getting something that’s sweet, funny and somehow involves you being naked.

i asked my hubs what the perfect gift for a guy was for valentine’s day, and well, his response can’t safely be printed.  but, his point is well taken.  find a cheeky valentine’s day card (my absolute favorites this year are these pun-ny versions from etsy seller westmama, who also happens to be a dear friend!), tie it to a can of whipped cream or a box containing the lacy negligee of your choice (since lingerie gifts really are for him anyway), and make sure you include an explicit proposition or two.  trust me, he’ll never notice (or care) that his gift cost you less than $5.

when in doubt, i tend to err on the side of corny when it comes to men’s valentines – pink champagne and scented candles just aren’t going to cut it.  urban outfitters has some fabulous guy-friendly ideas, but this box of candy hearts from urban outfitters ($8) is my absolute favorite.  it’s funny, just a little sentimental, and guaranteed to make you the coolest girlfriend/wife around.  especially if you pair it with a set of furry handcuffs.  (no, seriously.)

if you’re looking for something a little higher end, another favorite gift of mine for v-day is a really excellent bottle of his favorite liquor.  no, this does not mean champagne.  pick something he loves, and drinks when he’s celebrating.  a great single malt scotch, perhaps, or a fabulous tequila.  this works with nearly any price point – just get the best you can afford.

last but not least, i think guys sometimes get the short end of the stick when it comes to delivered gifts.  how much do you love seeing the florist show up at your office?  sending flowers isn’t the answer,  but try sending a batch of baked goods straight to his desk.  it’s creative, shows you care, and in almost every case, the way to your man’s heart really is through his stomach.  my absolute favorite for gifting are the round brownies from sugardaddy’s bakery in columbus…the flavor options are unbelievable, they’re gorgeous to look at, and they can be on his desk within 24 hours!

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last-minute for the guy who shaves

men are such tricky people to shop for, aren’t they?  we want to get them clothes, and they want video games.  it’s a dilemma for the ages.  but there is one thing i think most men enjoy receiving more than they’ll readily admit, and it’s high quality shaving products.  it’s something they’ll never, ever buy for themselves, but honestly, a great shave can be life-altering (or so i’m told).

origins-Mans Best Friend

i know it feels a little metro to get a guy face products.  but i’ve gotten calls months after the holidays from the (extremely un-metro) men in my life, asking me where i bought “that shaving stuff you got me for christmas”, so they could restock.  i’ve visited their homes and found the bottles, all but empty, strewn around their bathrooms.  they might not squeal with delight on christmas morning, but they’ll use it, and they’ll love it.  really.

my pick this year is the “man’s best friends” set from origins ($37.50).  it’s not complicated, which is key – i don’t think most men are up for a five-step facial program.  just two products (you get a full-size and trial size of each): a shave cream and an after-shave skin soother.  the scent is utterly inoffensive (mostly peppermint and eucalyptus).  and it seems to make my hubs’ skin quite happy.  that’s really about it for the list of “musts” when it comes to men’s products.

oh yeah, this one’s also very last-minute-gift friendly – pick it up at any origins counter, but you can also score free shipping online (through today only) on

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for daddy dearest (and those like him)

i got some requests for guy gifts over the weekend and, i agree – they’re trouble when it comes to gifting.  with my hubs, it’s all feast or famine – either i’m filled with great ideas, or i’m desperately without.  fortunately this year, i have a few extras worth sharing.  like, say, this robot:

when i first spotted the tank robot clock ($45), i thought it would be perfect for my gadget/tech-crazed hubs.  but his response was less than inspiring (“so, all he does is tell the time?”).  okay…glad i didn’t order it for you, honey.

so, i now think this robot is better-suited for the guy who dabbles in gadgets, not the guy who’s entirely, obsessively, all-consumed with them (ahem.).  or for a guy with a sense of humor who needs a cool desk clock (perhaps even an especially hip boss).  but personally, i’m calling this one a perfect dad gift.  it feels fun and modern, but has a touch of nostalgia too – like a robot toy he would have played with as a kid.  and it has nothing to do with golf…always a plus with dad gifts in my book.

this might also make a good brother gift – it’s a nice nod to all those years you spent breaking his toys (or was it the other way around?), but a solid step up from replacing his demolished he-man action figure.

(by the way, little tip…the entire perpetual kid website is a fab spot for boy gifts.  give it a browse!)

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gift guide: father’s day ’09

EDIT:  i was duped by my mother wrong, father’s day is not this sunday, it’s a week from sunday:  june 21, to be exact. but still, it’s definitely time to come up with a creative idea or two to make dad smile.

this is actually my least-favorite gifting holiday…i just have dads (and stepdads, and granddads…) in my life that are tough to buy for.  in case you have the same issues, i thought i’d forego the traditional cologne, neckties and golf-themed goodies (i’m sure you thought of those all on your own) to give you a few ideas that should work for just about any dad out there – at a price point that shouldn’t break anyone’s bank.


(would-be) metro dad:  if your dad’s in desperate need of some facial TLC, my hubs swears by the men’s products at kiehl’s.  they’re not at all girly, and very effective (despite some cheesy slogan-ing that he enjoys mocking).  the facial fuel face wash, “ultimate man” body scrub soap” and brushless shave cream all win high marks from the hubs for being high-lather, clean-rinsing and very manly-smelling.  the energizing starter kit kiehl’s put together for father’s day contains most of the hubs’ favorite goodies, and is a gifting steal at $28.50. 

sentimental dad:  if he cried at your graduation, and never missed a ballet recital, a reprint of a favorite childhood photo from chic canvas is an absolutely perfect gift.  the folks at chic canvas tell me they’re still delivering in time for dad’s day, but snap to it.  just upload a photo (the two of you when you were a baby, a dad/daughter wedding dance photo, maybe even an old snapshot of dad playing t-ball as a kid), and chic canvas will print it on canvas, wrap it and mount it, so it arrives ready to hang.  i was lucky enough to test these guys out and, trust me, the results are guaranteed to impress!  prices start at $63 for an 8×10.

hard working dad:  for a dad who secretly loves his days at the office, indulge his inner workaholic with a little goodness from knock knock office supplies, a company that never fails to entertain me.  their “make it work” bundle is the perfect combo of ingredients to add a little levity to his work day, without going overboard.  for $30, he’ll get a to-do notepad, a set of “stuff to…” file folders, a weekly planner mousepad and binder clips to remind him whether he should “read”, “file” or “send” what he’s holding.  bonus points if you tack on a gift card to his favorite office-adjacent coffee shop.

travelin’ man: whether it’s for work or for play, this dad just can’t stay off an airplane.  i absolutely love this switchblade toothbrush from metaphys, which comes complete with three different heads and a leather case.  as the description says, it’s all very james bond…for under $60.  (while you’re there, check out the rest of the fabulous a+r store…dad gifts galore!)

classic dad:  if most of your dad’s stories start with “back when i was a kid…”, he’s probably a sucker for the simpler things in life.  this “back in time” alarm clock (about $45) is the perfect accent for his bedside table or office.  the sleek, ’40s style design will remind him of days gone by, and he’ll never miss his favorite NPR program again.

here’s hoping one of these ideas will fit the bill.  does anyone else have any no-fail father’s day ideas?  i know there must be dozens of other creative ideas out there!

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