Topo Designs Backpacks

I've been looking for a great backpack for my daughter for a while now. My friend Kelsi turned me on to two backpack companies: Topo Designs and GoRuck.

There are a lot of really good made in America packs these days from Tom Bihn and GoRuck. In fact my son has the perfect backpack, a kid's GoRuck that unfortunately is not in stock till 2018. It is a great size for Kindergarten age kids, and doesn't have that giant look to it. He has the 13L pack in gray and red.

Topo Designs is a Colorado company and make their bags by hand. I picked up two bags from them and they are a huge hit with me and my kiddo.

Read More

Ray-Ban Chromance Sunglasses

For the past two years, I have been very happy with the two pairs of sunglasses I own. A pair of Maui Jim polarized for driving, and a RayBan Wayfarer Liteforce. You really can't beat the Wayfarer as they are a classic sunglass that work well for most people. I recommend always going for the polarized versions, and the Liteforce are a thinner and lighter series that are great for traveling. I keep these in my work bag and take them everywhere.

The Wayfarer is also a great unisex sunglass, and they make smaller sizes for middle school aged kids and even little people.

Read More

Beyond Coastal Sunscreen

It's almost that time of year.... in Seattle it feels like maybe we will skip spring and go straight to summer? 

If you have kids, you know that Summer is filled with creamy white sunscreen applications each morning before the kids go to camp, the beach, or whatever. Having sunburnt kiddos is no fun.

Two years ago I wrote an article on my favorite sunscreen, Beyond Coastal.

I explained my reasons for why I chose a chemical sunscreen over a mineral one. After years of trying mineral sunscreen I was done. I could not stand how the products felt, were applied, and how they stained my cars, furniture and everything else. I also found a lot of variability in preventing burns and questionable science that mineral is actually, in balance, better.

When I have questions about cosmetic products, I usually turn to the Environmental Working Group. They do an OK job of giving you a view on how many cosmetic products stack up. In their mind, Beyond Coastal is one of the best chemical sunscreens out there and I have been a happy customer for 2 years.

Read More

Paul Smith Reversible Leather Belt

With Mother's day and Father's day on the horizon, I thought I'd write about something for men. I've been looking for a new dressy belt for a few months. I think the last time I purchased a black or brown belt I was in college. Belt shopping isn't exactly how I would choose to spend my time, but when you need something it will warrant some effort.

However, my attempts have not produced any results. The department store drive by belt investigation did not land me on a belt. On a recent trip I noticed that my friend Tony East was bragging about how his belt does not set off the security apparatus at the airport. While telling me this he also mentioned it was reversible.

REVERSIBLE!!!! you mean the two necessary colors, black and brown, plus a belt you could wear in the airport? I had to know what this magical thing was. 

It also turns out that Tony, as a big fan of Paul Smith (I mean who isn't!), found a reversible belt that fits the bill in so many ways. I ordered mine within minutes from the Paul Smith website and had it a few days later.

I go the belt in the black primary color since that is what I use most. Brown is he secondary color. It's made of Saffiano leather which is a type of leather finishing that produces that shiny bumpy texture with a cross hatched pattern. It is very durable.

Read More

Quip Electric Toothbrush

Since I can remember, I have used some form of electric toothbrush. In the late 90s it was the Oral-B (the brush head that turns) and later the Philips Sonicare. I've been using the Sonicare for probably 15 years.

These tooth brushes come in a dizzying array of options. It's like buying a washer/dryer. And of course, there are always the Costco double pack / special editions.

Lately I've been seeing ads for a new Toothbrush called the Quip and I decided to try one out. The quick is a fairly in-expensive option compared to the ones mentioned so far. They start at $25 for a plastic one or $40 for metal.

Read More