Spring is in the air and we’re getting more sunshine. While 2020 gives us plenty for pause, there is a need for optimism and comfort. For me, once I’m wearing a nice pair of sunglasses, it puts me in a good mood. It’s a bit of a ritual as I look for the last pair I wore or go ahead and buy glasses online. I do a similar thing when I buy flip flops online. Someone stylish wearing a cool pair of sunglasses symbolizes good times. Its a state of mind that I enjoy being in and you probably do too. I must say, if I’m healthy and have no business wearing a mask, I’ll find all the contentment and comfort that I need in a really snazzy pair of sunglasses. That beautiful pair of sunglasses will block away the ugliness and my worries, at least for a short while, long enough to take a stroll and know that all will feel a little more right in my world someday soon. Yes, we’ll be on vacation or some adventure before too long. A really snazzy pair of sunglasses can not only symbolize leisure; it can help give us a healthy dose of hope.
Category Archives: Style
A true curiosity shop is something to behold. Certain things are a given. Antiques. Vintage. Oddities. The magic comes in when you feel that you’ve entered into another world. If you are in Seattle, then you have to go to Ballyhoo Curiosity Shop. I’ve been thinking about doing a post on this shop for a while now. What I’ve always enjoyed about Ballyhoo is its funhouse experience coupled with its orderly presentation. Ballyhoo invites you to discover new and weird stuff while also making it easy to gain access to it. So, see for yourself in person. For now, enjoy my video tour. I welcome your comments, likes, and subscribing:
It’s human nature to want to wander around and explore. Some people take it farther than others. Some people find a particular itch to scratch. What are you in the mood for? Something old with character or something that pushes the envelope? You can satisfy your cravings in so many ways– and with a touch of strange.
Ryan Robbins, owner of Ballyhoo Curiosity Shop, is a gracious beacon of light. The key to success in any endeavor is passion. That is exactly what Ryan has to share with all of his customers. With palpable enthusiasm, Ryan described his vision for Ballyhoo as evoking the feeling of being in another world, one where anything is possible. Maybe something out of the movie, “Gremlins,” or “Indiana Jones,” or a haunted house in New Orleans.
Enter Ballyhoo’s wonderland and you’ve entered a tidy collection of stores within a larger framework: nautical, ethnographic, fossils and minerals. The quirky alongside the esoteric. You’ve entered a museum and funhouse.
We want to be taken out of our comfort zone, at least those of us that like to meet at curiosity shops. We want to slip into the unexpected. And we’re smart, very smart, about it. Maybe we get a tattoo at midnight, but it’s something that we’ve been planning on for months, maybe years.
Whatever you may end up purchasing at a curiosity shop comes with a certain level of commitment. Are you ready to own a significant piece of taxidermy? Or how about a gem, a print, or a t-shirt? Some of the oddest items get snatched up by bar owners and tattoo shop owners. Other items find homes as much from tourists as from local shoppers. Yes, Ballyhoo has its share of regulars. So, rest assured, whatever your tastes, there’s something for you at Ballyhoo Curiosity Shop, in Seattle’s Ballard Avenue Historic District.
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It is always a pleasure to review anything that falls within the category of attire or accessory in the geek lifestyle. So, Comics Grinder is very happy to share with you Dive Bar Shirt Club. As the name implies, this is a club devoted to shirts. Each month you get a quality shirt honoring a dive bar chosen for its distinction and originality. A new dive bar design is featured every month and, once that month is up, that shirt is retired forever.
We all seek distinction and originality. It’s another way of simply saying that we are attracted to things that are cool. I was on the road, during a carefree summer in my youth, when I spotted what had to be the best roadside attraction I’d ever seen. It was an homage to the jackalope, that staple of Americana, the cross between a jackrabbit and an antelope. This sucker was huge and it was perched atop a glorious dive bar. It was a warm summer night that seemed to promise adventure. I had to walk in.
Inside the bar, I did a double-take. The place was immaculate. I was expecting it to be a well-worn, musty, and gaudy place. But, no, this place was classy. And there was no carryover of the jackalope theme. Instead, the red leather booths were nicely kept and all the brass piping was polished. There were a couple of gents in suits looking very retro. Again, I was expecting a far more casual vibe. The waitress was a beauty all done up in a vintage dress. All this seemed too formal for a place in the middle of nowhere. I was outside a little town in Texas, not a Vegas casino in the ’50s.
Her name was Sadie. “What will you have, stranger?” she asked with the longest lashes I’d ever had the pleasure to admire.
I’d had a good look at the list of mixed drinks. When I read it on the menu, I had to have it. “I’ll take The Jackalope.”
Sadie just stared at me. Her eyes grew wide. With a tremble in her voice, she asked, “You mean, The Jackalope, right?”
“Yes,” I said firmly, “I’m here for The Jackalope!”
I must have raised my voice because the two fugitives from “Mad Men” turned to have a good look at me. They proceeded to get up from their booth and walk over to me.
“You’re really here for The Jackalope?”
I think I lost it at that point. “I don’t know what you people mean!” I yelled and ran out the front door.
I was heading for my car when it dawned on me. I slowly turned around and looked up. There it was. It hissed and glared at me. Then, with a mighty leap, that monster flew up into the air like the most lucid nightmare. This was followed by a massive thud which was quickly followed by the lightening speed of a creature from hell. And, hell yes, it was distinctive and original!
If you’re like me, you desire that added spice, that distinction and originality. You too can find it in a unique t-shirt from Dive Bar Shirt Club. In the video below, I’m sporting just the ticket. This Dive Bar Shirt Club t-shirt celebrates Goat Hill Tavern in Costa Mesa, California. This is one awesome combination of style and comfort.
Visit Dive Bar Shirt Club right here.
The Girl in the Cafe and an Ionized Environment
Art and fiction by Henry Chamberlain
She sat at her regular table on the second floor of her favorite cafe. It was the same old crowd. It was a steamy summer day. She had the whole world before her. There was the Space Needle right out the window to keep her company. She made herself comfortable. She wiggled her toes. Someone was overheard saying, “An ionized environment really helps.”
Yeah, it’s true. Nobody cares about your band. Check out other pithy greeting cards from Greenwich Letterpress here. They know style, with the discerning eye of a true New Yorker.
Men in hats. Will the trend continue? I believe it has reached what I lovingly call, “The Flip Flop Factor.” Something happened in 2011. It had been occurring more under the surface for many years. But, now, we’ve reached that tipping point where all bets are off and any guy, at anytime, could be considering wearing a hat. He’s seen enough cool dudes wear hats and he senses something’s in the air. Johnny Depp wears hats. It must be alright. “The Flip Flop Factor” comes into play in the fact that a lot of guys see this as an opportunity to flaunt a bit of their casual side at any given time or place. Just like flip flops are no longer an item to be found only on the beach or at the gym, hats on men are no longer just an item at a club. They are this new staple in fashion: a little annoying to some, a bit audacious to others, but definitely here to stay. Also, we reached the point this year where men’s hats, like flip flops, are being sold everywhere, along with a price drop for this type of sporty/retro hat, that makes them even more tempting and accessible.
You can see from these following photos of yours truly, that any bloke can look a little more interesting with a hat. And these bad boys didn’t set me back at all. All three of these hats were less or around twenty bucks. I bought them in 2011 at different times and different places. I think, with these three, I’ve got my set that I can just wear whenever. I have to say, it took me a while, like a lot of guys, to find hats that I liked. I was willing to spend a little more too but nothing seemed to speak to me. I wasn’t too keen on the ones made out of straw or paper. I’m more into something more solid, made of some kind of cloth. I was always aware of a high end men’s hat shop in town but only ventured in there once. Then, this year, I warmed up to the new boutique chain, Goorin Brothers. In time, I may find the finer quality hat I might still be longing for. Like flip flops, you can get the cheap, but still great, type or you an indulge your senses with something out of this world.
It’s very interesting to me how hats have come back. They went away, had become too attached to a bygone era, too associated with your dad or your grandfather, but now they are back. They are not part of the soul sucking routine of “The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit.” No, they are now a life-saver. As long as they’re not some lame version with flaps to cover your ears, you’re good. As long as they have style, that’s the kind of hat you want.
The balance on supply and demand and trend setting is just right at this time. Guys are fully aware that hats are hot. Retro is hot. Hats are retro. Hats are hot. Not everyone is going to wear them. There will always be a sense of style and of setting oneself apart from the slow and dull herd when donning a hat. You know the slow and dull herd, right? You see them every day of your life, waiting for the bus in the morning, shuffling along, or power walking, up and down, and down and up, the sidewalks as if they really are going anywhere. And then, out of that thick fog, emerges that guy in that hat. That guy with a little something special in his heart that keeps him moving and doesn’t let the petty stares from the ignorant or the smirks from the wanna-bes get him down. He’s the guy with the hat!
Like anything else that is cool, hats have always been around and have been worn by cool people, whether society gets it or not. You’ll find that hats were already back some years back and worn by artists, writers and any number of daredevils and nonconformists. They are a natural for cartoonists and those in the comics and entertainment industry. Big time comics writer Ed Brubaker, of “Captain America” fame among other works, is a long-time hat wearer. And the ultimate hat man in comics must be Seth, known for a body of work that pays homage to the past, as in “Palookaville,” a past with many more hats that we are ever likely to see again. But you never know.
When Ben Affleck grew out his hair, the entertainment press dubbed the hair covering his forehead, “man bangs.” They couldn’t just be bangs. And the same thing happens when a male celeb is seen with a bag. Instantly, that becomes a “man bag.” If it’s sandals on men, they become “man sandals” which doesn’t even make any sense. And it goes on. Just add “man” to about anything that has a guy treating himself to the finer things in life. “Manzilian,” anyone? Speaking for us guys, I believe we’re more than mere man skin.
Men will do whatever they want anyway. If we want to take care of ourselves, we will, because guys have evolved. That’s what leads us to an exciting new line of men’s skincare and grooming products, EvolutionMan.
The founder of EvolutionMan is Marco Berardini, a celebrity groomer whose clients include Patrick Dempsey, LeBron James and supermodel, Marissa Miller. His line of products are used by other celebrity groomers like Sonia Lee who gets stars like Neil Patrick Harris and Anthony Hopkins red carpet ready.
Visit the EvolutionMan Web site and you’ll find an assortment of skincare products to make you look and feel great. “Wash & Buff,” for instance, won the award for best face scrub in Men’s Health Magazine. And EvolutionMan products are packed with natural ingredients that make your skin more attractive and healthy.
Here at Comics Grinder, we’re all about style and taste. We just received a goodie bag from EvolutionMan and we thought we’d share with you what we found.
PURE BLING – We’ll start with the latest addition to the EvolutionMan line: nail polish for men. Again, no need to call this “man nail polish,” unless you really have to. With “Pure Bling,” a guy can test drive nail polish since this is simply a clear varnish, boosted with vitamins. All it does is provide a guy with more healthy and attractive nails. What could be better? I’ve found it to be just fine. My nails look and feel great and I have gotten compliments on them. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Maybe next time I’ll try a color.
CLEANSE & SHAVE, WASH & BUFF AND MOISTURE PROTECT — Yes, this could be your daily regimen. You “Cleanse & Shave” to get that close and refreshing shave. Follow this up with “Wash & Buff” to get rid of dead skin cells and reinvigorate your skin. And then complete the process with “Moisture Protect” to add moisture and protect yourself from UV rays with its SPF 20.
REVITALIZE EYE GEL – You could take things one step further and give your eyes a bit of a lift with “Revitalize Eye Gel.” Just a little dab under both eyes to give you a more refreshed look and up things in a more balanced and healthy place.
LIP BALM – And any guy should have some lip balm handy. Too many guys go around sporting dry and cracked skin in such a prominent place on the face.
That said, all guys should do themselves a favor and check out what EvolutionMan has to offer them. I am inspired by EvolutionMan and you guys will be too.