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Friday, November 24, 2017

CALIFORNIA ICE CREAM

Image result for three twins ice creamThree Twins Ice Cream: Bay Area-based Three Twins is a small, socially conscious makes delicious ice creams.  I recommend buying some in one of their stores, but the stuff at the market is good too.

Straus Family Creamery: Marshall-based Straus provides most of the dairy products that my household consumes.  Their ice cream is as good as store-bought ice cream gets -- other brands may be as good, but I've never found one that's better.

CALIFORNIA INTERLUDE -- HOW TO BREAK IN A PAIR OF RAW-DENIM JEANS

Related imageRaw-denim jeans are magic.  Broken in correctly, they change their shape to fit you like no other clothing item can.  And -- somehow -- they keep that fits-you-perfectly shape even after you wash them.  But the magic only works if you break them in right.

Here's how:

1. DO NOT wash them right away.  Good raw-denim jeans already will be pretty tight when you get them.  If you wash before wearing, then there’s a good chance that they will shrink up so small that you’ll never get them on.

2. DO NOT get them hemmed right away. Raw denim shrinks a LOT when you wash it.  If you get them hemmed before you wash them (which you SHOULD NOT DO right away), then they’ll be too short afterwards. Roll them up.  Endure the compliments from hipsters.

3. Wear them frequently without washing for at least a month.  Raw denim creases and bends a lot like thin cardboard.  Your goal is to make the denim crease's match yours -- e.g., the jeans' knees should bend in the exact same place that yours legs do -- and to grow accustomed to bending where you bend.  The thicker the denim, the longer it will take.  I wore my 11-weight for six weeks before I soaked them, my 14-weight for six months, and my 18-eight for nine months.  If they start to smell, then let them air out outside.

4. Don’t fold them. Hang them straight – I loop one of the back belt loops over the neck of a hanger, and let the jeans hang full length. Two reasons: 1. If you fold jeans that you’re not washing, then they won’t air out at all, and they will start to smell. 2. The whole point of raw denim is to let it form to your body. That doesn’t work if you flatten them out every time that you wear them. After a while, hanging them gets a bit creepy, because you keep seeing – out of the corner of your eye – your own torso-less body lurking in your closet. That’s a good thing.

5. Important Yet Optional Step: Once the creases in your raw denim have set, soak your jeans and let them dry on your body. I have done this in two ways: 1. By wearing them in the bath tub while I read a book, then letting the water out and letting them dry on me as I sat outside and kept reading the book. 2. By wearing them into the swimming pool, then letting the dry on me poolside. This step is important because it will shape the denim to your body like nothing else will. It is optional because you will be mocked by anyone who catches you doing it. If the words “fashion victim” sound bad when applied to you, then you may just have to settle for less-comfortable jeans.

6. Wear them for at least another month. Wear them hard. Climb trees. Do yard work. Go backpacking. Sweat lots.

7. Wash them, inside out, on cold. Don’t wash them with other clothes – the dye will stain everything else in the wash. I never wash my Brave Stars with other clothes. I don’t know how long it takes for all of the extra dye to bleed out of raw denim.

8. Tumble dry on extra low.

9. Try them on.  Be amazed.  Feel bad about rolling your eyes the first time that you read this post.

10. Decide whether you want to get them hemmed. The hipster way is to wear them rolled up, showing off the selvage stitching. I am not a hipster – I get mine hemmed.

CALIFORNIA CANDLES

Image result for goodlight tea lightsGoodlight Natural Candles: San Francisco-based Goodlight makes palm-wax candles in a variety of shapes, scents (including non-scent), and sizes.  We use their tea lights frequently.  They work -- all the flicker with none of the burnt-petroleum-product smell.

Friday, November 17, 2017

CALIFORNIA WORKOUT SUPPLEMENTS

Image result for GU energy gel originalGU Energy Labs: Berkeley-based GU Energy Lab's energy gels are among the most disgusting substances I've ever put in my mouth.  And, as Dumbledore might say, that's saying something.  However: (1) in my experience, all energy gels are equally gag-inducing -- i.e., I've never found an energy gel which I hated less than GU's; and (2) GU's energy gels do a really good job of helping me enjoy long runs.  In fact, the GU-and-endorphins combination that hammers me at mile 6 has been known to make me giggle.  So I recommend GU's energy gels.  Just be sure you're near a drinking fountain when you eat one, and wash it down as fast as you can.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

CALIFORNIA SKATEBOARDS

Related imageBoosted Boards: Mountain View-based Boosted, Inc. makes my dream: an electric longboard that will go 22 miles per hour, up a 25% grade.  Starting December 2017, they’ll upgrade to a new battery pack, and Boosted Boards will be able to go 12 miles on a single charge.  I want one so bad!

Image result for body glove Laser Etched "Laser Wave" 34" Longboard Skateboard 
Body Glove: Redondo Beach-based Body Glove claims that its founders used insulation from the back of a refrigerator to invent "the first practical wetsuit."  I have no idea whether that's true.  But I do know that the Body Glove logo makes me stop, smile, and reminisce.  Their surfing (or, in my case, boogie boarding) wetsuits brought much affordable joy to my Central Coast surf-town childhood, and that Body Glove's diving wetsuits were there for me when I learned to scuba.  They also make affordable cruiser and longboard skateboards.