The age old question that has plagued men for years – can, or really should men wear hats?
I’m not talking about beanies (toques), ball caps or even flat caps, but proper brimmed hats that the dapper gentlemen wore back in the days where everyone wore suits for even the most causal of outings.
Any chance I could look this cool? Prob not.
Times have changed, as have the fashions. Now there are five types of men who wear hats:
The Goorin Bros. Hat Shop in Yaletown, BC was quiet and smelled like wool and leather. The couple at the counter were just paying for their hats in preparation for a much-anticipated vacation, I overheard.
Once they’d left, I was greeted by Maddie. She had green hair and a fedora. She looked like she’d know what was stylish and what I definitely shouldn’t wear on my comparatively boring head.
I explained how I’ve never really been able to wear a proper hat due to lack of style, confidence and having a deceivingly large skull. Seriously, it’s huge and in the recent snow, it got very cold.
My head got so cold on the snowy walk from work.
We went through all sorts of hats, from treated, wide brimmed ones that were perfect for camping or being outdoors in a typical rainy Vancouver Spring or Fall, to wool fedoras that would suit a well-deserved musician more than me.
Swing and a miss. Next!
Nobody mentioned the short-brimmed Trilby hats and rightly so.
I love the idea of wearing a hat more than my confidence allows, but Maddie told me she used to think the same way. After some wearing around of her new hats, of which she has many, they became part of her wardrobe. Her confidence grew and now she loves them.
I’d be more comfortable wearing a hat if it were for more practical reasons. That’s why I really like the coated Grenadier. In my pea-coat I look a little like an archaeologist-professor (but far less cool), but it might suit in something less formal.
The flat cap is something much less obvious and trying hard to be stylish, while combining practicality and completing an outfit. This black one was also treated for the rain and had little ear flaps that can fold out in the worst of weather.
What’s it to be then? Something purely practical or a little more trendy?
The best piece of advice was that “If there’s something really calling to you, then get it. Then if you’re still unsure, wear it around a bit and see how you feel.” I know that sounds obvious, but I’ve never been able to wear a hat without it being part of a costume. Maybe I should just take the plunge.
Which one should I get? I’m going to head back in next week and pick one out.
Are you a hat-lover or aren’t you convinced? Go and try some on before you make your mind up.
Note: This post is entirely my own opinion and I’d love to thank Maddie for putting up with my insecurities and ridiculous questions.
As a quick break to my usual Dad-blog, here’s a list of the best 40 FREE resources for bloggers and social media enthusiasts.
I’ve been asked a lot lately about the tools I use, which podcasts I listen to and which newsletters actually give interesting updates about the really fun stuff like social media tools, who changed what with Facebook and how we can use it, or where to get free stock images.
Let’s start with the basics.
The Best Social Media Newsletters:
Before you start anything, get updates and useful industry news delivered right to your email inbox.
The Hustle – sign up for free today!
The Hustle – Marketing Industry news, business updates, social media topics and everything you need to know to sound very, very smart
Buffer Social – Daily updates from one of the leading social platforms with tools, tricks and experiments to boost your engagement
HubSpot’s Marketing Blog – includes articles on SEO, lead-generation, engagement tips and creating content your audience will love
Free blogging platforms:
WordPress – Choose a name for your blog, pick a theme, start writing
Wix.com – Great for very visual designing. Drag and drop everything into place
Blogger.com – Older, more basic than WordPress but easy to use
Pin this please:
Google Analytics – see who’s coming to your site, where in the world they are and how they found your content
Evernote – lets you add notes, files and documents across desktop and mobile apps
Trello – project management platform. It’s like Post-It notes but on your phone and computer
Slack – talk to your colleagues or project partners without the ‘Reply All’ emails
Free stock images for commercial use:
It’s important to remember that unless you have permission from the creator, you can’t use their work for your own benefit. This includes photos, video or music for your blog or content. Instead of saving a photo from Google Images that could get you into trouble, here are a few useful sites that have free stock content that you are free to use.
I listen to Podcasts all the time and they’re fantastic ways of hearing about the latest news, updates on your favourite topics and get some opinions on things that matter. Here are the ones that are really useful for my day-to-day as a Social Media Specialist and Blogger.
Over – Add text to your photos or the free stock photos provided
Snapseed – More editing options for enhancements and corrections
Enlight – Start creating some really cool photo effects
Best Apps for editing video:
VSCO Cam – new update that allows the same filters and enhancements for video
iMovie – easy to use video editing, including slicing, splitting clips and transitions
Video To Gif – make looping gifs from your videos, perfect for use on social media and within your blog
Magisto – Photo editor designed for use on social media, with a free stock video library
Best apps for making Pinterest pins:
Over has presets for all social platforms, including the tall Pinterest pins which get the most engagement.
WordSwag – lots of cool fonts and templates to get started
Survey Your Audience:
SurveyMonkey – find out exactly what your audience or customers want by sending them quick surveys
Facebook polls – you can now create a poll post to ask your fans which they prefer. It’s a great conversation starter
Twitter poll – The same as Facebook. Ask your followers what they want and then give it to them
Make your own newsletters:
Mailchimp – I know there are other platforms, but this is my favourite. It’s super simple to set up and has some nice plug-ins for WordPress blogs.
Social Scheduling Tools:
You can’t be at your computer all the time, so it’s great to be able to send out posts or updates automatically.
Hootsuite – the industry standard for social scheduling. It also has a basic analytics platform which can be really useful
Tweetdeck – only for Twitter, but works well and is easy to use
Buffer – Similar to Hootsuite and has a great app too.
And that’s 40! I thought the links below were worth mentioning too, even though they’re not free.
Best cheap marketplace for creative resources:
These two aren’t free, but you can get incredible value from these platforms. Find people who will make content for you, or are selling their templates for you to make your own media kits, wordpress templates, presentation decks and more.
Fiverr – for $5 you can get a logo designed, a voice-over recorded, an animation created for your website and much more.
Creative market – Buy fonts, templates, blog themes, media kit templates and more.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The Mobile Shop. All opinions are 100% mine.
It seems like Valentine’s Day is one of those occasions that half of most couples care about. Even if it’s not something you’re so excited to celebrate, the chances are your partner may be.
However , sometimes work or travel plans get in the way. Or perhaps you’re in a long-distance relationship and you want to avoid feeling even more separated while your friends are getting all romantic.
Thank goodness for modern tech and our much-loved phones to solve all of life’s problems (not actually all of them, but you know what I mean).
Face to face dinner
You can see each other’s lovely faces while you eat your candlelit dinner. With a mobile phone, you can use video or audio calling to feel more connected to each other.
Make a Mix-Tape
Well, not an actual mix-tape because who still uses a cassette player? Head to your favourite online digital music service and you may be able to make playlists from your favourite artists right within the app. Then share it with your partner or play through a bluetooth speaker to set the mood.
photo via Pexels.com
Order gifts to their office
Everyone loves getting a gift in the mail, but what’s even better is being able to look smug while you get something sent right to your desk. You can order flowers online or select a present and get it gift wrapped and delivered to your Valentine.
Talk for hours, about nothing
Use your hands-free headphone + mic for hours of walking around, cooking, cleaning, shopping or whatever you’re doing and just talk. After a while, it’ll feel weird to not hear their voice.
photo via Pexels.com
Book a flight or find the quickest route to each other.
There’s no time like Valentine’s Day to turn up at their door. Book a flight or open up a Map app to get the quickest route. If you’re flying, don’t forget to download a few shows to watch offline while you’re in the air.
Talking of phones, I love my iPhone 8 and I’d never go back to anything with a smaller screen. I use a lot of data, so I had to make sure to shop around for a great offer. That’s why I love The Mobile Shop, because they’ve got many of the carriers and latest handsets to give you all the latest tools and features that you need. Also, if you are a PC Optimum member, you could get loads of points, and points means you can redeem for rewards at participating stores (note to self – buy chocolates!).
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by The Mobile Shop. All words and opinions are my own. Good luck for getting Valentine’s Day just right. Don’t worry, there’s no pressure. Only joking, there’s all the pressure and you better get some really, really nice flowers. Or just buy your partner a new phone. That’s way better than roses anyway.
There are two possible scenarios where this is mentioned. Either our new pride and joy is being perfectly behaved and you’re keen to be the incredibly annoying reality check, or the baby is inconsolably wailing and you just couldn’t wait to remind us that worse is on the way.
This one was hard enough, can we just have a few seconds to celebrate this one?
5. “Still working on that post-baby weight?”
I’ve heard this said to both mums and dads. I was also told “Looks like someone’s put on a little sympathy weight”. While that was a keen observation, their punishment was swift so I could squeeze in a snack and a nap.
An actual book.
6. “You need to read the new version ‘Things You Didn’t Know About Babies’ book.”
Oh fun, another update on the $60 must-have book I just finished reading. I’ll be sure to sit down and go through it with all my spare time.
If you’re sharing your workouts, gym visits, motivation playlists or run-selfies with #SocialDad90Day, then you’re already in with a chance to win the next prize, which is…. a SocialDad toque (or beanie if you’re not in Canada).
But first, let’s see how a few of you are doing on your challenges. Let your team mates know how you’re doing in the comments below.
The winner will be chosen from people participating and using the #SocialDad90Day hashtag on Instagram and Twitter. For more giveaway entries, enter below:
Driving in the Winter is unlike any other season. Driving through snow or over ice can make your car hard to drive and unpredictable. It’s especially dangerous when you don’t know how other people are reacting to the same tricky conditions you’re dealing with.
Just because Christmas is over, it doesn’t mean that Winter is. In fact, today I drove 30 minutes out of the city and found deep snow on our local mountains. I knew what to expect but it’s super easy to be found off-guard. Icy, snowy roads are something we have to deal with across the country, but there are easy ways you can increase your safety and car control.
OK Tire, the trusted full auto specialists are here to help with a quick overview on everything you need to know. Did you know that each OK Tire store is independently owned and operated, making your experience unique to where you live? That’s pretty cool. OK Tire has been part of Canadian landscape since 1953 and is now one of the largest independent tire retailers in Canada with more than 300 locations, in 10 provinces. Find your local OK Tire here.
1. Know your vehicle. Every vehicle is different, so learning about your car’s braking system and tire traction can help you understand how it will perform in slippery or snowy driving conditions. When reading your car’s manual look for words such as rear wheel, front wheel, or four-wheel drive, as well as anti-lock braking system, to better understand how your vehicle will respond to a skid.
Awesome. Stuck in traffic, in the snow. Glad I filled up with gas before I left.
2. Snow removal is essential. Before getting in your car, it’s essential that you clear snow and ice from everything — windows, mirrors, lights, roof, and even your boots. This will help prevent unremoved snow from sliding forward and blocking visibility during braking or melting and fogging up windows.
3. Mind the gap. Anyone who has driven in winter knows changing lanes in snowy conditions can be challenging. Minimizing your steering angle when merging can help you avoid the ridge of snow that may have built up between lanes from pulling your tires. In slippery conditions, tripling or quadrupling your gap between vehicles can also help you avoid a nasty collision.
4. Don’t panic. Even careful and experienced drivers can skid. When you find yourself skidding, keep eyes on the road and where you want to go. Don’t make sudden, jerking movements of the wheel, accelerator or brake (common things to do when panicking) and keep feet steady.
5. Don’t spin out. If you find yourself stuck, don’t spin your wheels as this can dig you deeper into the snow. Try edging yourself free by gently rocking your car back and forth by shifting into forward and reverse. To regain steering control, take your foot off the brake and focus on gently steering towards the direction you want to go. Ease off the gas pedal and wait for the wheels to grip the road before carefully accelerating.
6. Beware of all-season tires. They may sound like a huge cost-saver, but all-season tires are not designed for rough winter conditions. Winter tires work best when temperatures dip below 7°C and offer the best traction, handling, and braking — especially when it comes to shorter braking distances.
Winter Tires handle the snow far better than “All Season” (plus they look cool).
Croft points out that if driving conditions are really bad, avoiding driving altogether is your safest bet. A regular pre-winter inspection by an auto service provider can also ensure your vehicle can tackle the roads safely.
As promised, here’s a chance to win with the #OKTireWINter contest.
The #OKTireWINter contest goes through February 28th. The contest is open across Canada and prizes include: 2 winners at the end of contest term to receive the total cost of a recent OK Tire visit up to $1000 each, $25 gift card winners each week to use at any OK Tire store. https://www.oktire.com/contest/
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by OK Tire. All photos are property of me, James Smith for use on SocialDad.ca, so hands off! Seriously though, make sure your car is Winter-ready. And for us Vancouver-ites, in a month or two it’ll be time to get our Summer tires back on!
Some of the time it’s really tiring, and I don’t mean that sometimes I really fancy a nap, I mean that I could be laying on the cold floor in the depths of being truly shattered until I’m summoned by cries, and I honestly have to consider how to dig even deeper to find the fumes of fuel to get up.
Then there’s the many, many times that I feel so selfish for just wanting a quick second to mindlessly flick through other people’s life updates on Facebook. I know she’s probably fine, sitting right next to me, quietly playing and oh no, she’s eating soap.
How did she even get that? I swore it was in the cupboard behind a child safety lock. I scoop her up and we scurry to the sink to wash her mouth while my wife runs in and starts looking up the side effects of eating a bar of moisturising, neutral pH balanced soap, which by the way is endorsed by the most successful one from the cast of Friends.
The worst part is being away from her while I’m at work. I spend many moments glancing up at the framed photo of her on my desk from the time we went to my wife’s aunt’s farm for Thanksgiving. It was a misty morning but we’d all woken up and my daughter and her cousins wanted to play outside, so I brought my camera and set it on the hood of the tractor with the timer on.
Now I look at that photo every time I get a little tired, frustrated or just to take a second to remind myself why I go to work every day. I spend my days at the office so she’ll never want for anything.
She’s the warmest greeting when I get home and her smile is so genuine that I sometimes cut my lunch break a little short so I can head home a couple of minutes early.
The weekends are the best though. I get to wake up first, usually. I have a cup of coffee and wait for my daughter to start talking to herself and I know that’s the signal to open up her door and greet her. I usually get an assortment of sleepy demands in return but they come with a hug so I’ll gladly oblige.
Any time spent with her, no matter how upset she gets or how many Bubble Guppies stickers I have to peel off my socks, will always be cherished. Even when she’s having a meltdown because I wont let her eat the cat’s food.
We’re almost at the one-month mark of the SocialDad90Day challenge and I’m so proud of the group’s progress. Whether it’s gaining strength, losing weight or just feeling more confident, we’re all well on our way to reaching our goals.
Part of my success so far has been a low-sugar, low carb diet. This is often really hard to maintain as all the snacks I can think of are full of both. Luckily, I’ve always had a bag of turkey jerky in my desk drawer, in the car, or at home to keep me going.
My friends at McSweeney’s are giving away a case of Turkey Jerky. That’s right, 12 bags of delicious jerky could be delivered to your doorstop (as long as you’re in Canada).
If you’re interested, here are the nutritional values for their jerky.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of ParticipACTION . All opinions are 100% mine.
I’m going to keep this post nice and short. Mainly so that you’ve got less reason to stay sitting and more to get up.
This year, I’m making a conscious effort to move more, eat a little less sugar, put away my phone and make sleep a priority. Easier said than done, right? Well no, not if it’s truly important to you, and it should be.
According to the clever people who developed the new 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth, there are 4-speeds for children ages 5 – 17: Sweat, Step, Sit, and Sleep.
SWEAT – Your child’s best day wouldn’t be complete without at least 60 minutes of heart-pumping physical activity each day.
STEP – You can’t have a best day without several hours of light physical activity, especially outdoors.
SIT – Try not to spend more than 2 hours a day on a screen or sitting for long periods. Get out and be active!
SLEEP – End your day with a night of uninterrupted sleep.
While my daughter is a few years shy of that age-range, she is actively encouraged to run around, play with toys that require her to chase, ride, bounce or run. We know when she has had a good run around that she’ll sleep well, which gives Mummy and Daddy time to unwind until it’s go-time again in the morning.
Building our best day is easy. Just get the building blocks right and the rest should follow.
Get Up & Out
A visit to the city farm to chase after the ducks (or run from them!)
We try and limit TV to one or two short shows while we pack the bags to go out. Then it’s time to get up and stay up. We run, jump in puddles, or when we get a chance, head up to the local mountains to play in the snow. In the summer, there’s always one of the local beaches. We really are spoiled here in Vancouver.
Time to run!
Nap times and bedtimes are super important. As well as giving parents the chance to relax, young people’s brains and bodies are growing and learning at an incredible rate.
According to a new report by Statistics Canada, only 36% of kids aged 5 to 17 years get the 60 minutes of heart-pumping physical activity they need each day. Only 49% met the screen time recommendations of 2 hours of recreational screen-time per day.
In recent decades, children’s nightly sleep duration has decreased by about 30 to 60 minutes. Also, every hour kids spend in sedentary activities delays their bedtime by 3 minutes. And the average 5- to 17-year-old Canadian spends 8.5 hours being sedentary each day.
We’ve just passed the two-week mark from the new year and there’s still a little energy left in the tank, even though it feels like it should be March already.
Did you know that 40% of people who sign up for the gym in the first week of January stop going in February?
I’ve got two giveaways from two incredible leaders in sports and health nutrition – KetoWatt and Vega. As one is based in the US, and the other in Canada, there’s something for both sides of the border.
Firstly – for our American friends, KetoWatt makes the most delicious, keto snacks for those on a ketogenic diet with only natural ingredients. They use coconut oil, flax seeds, chia seeds, almonds, cacao powder and Himalayan Pink salt. They’re low-carb, keto-friendly, paleo friendly and are perfect as a meal replacement or to have as a snack. The bars have 16g fat, 9g protein and 4g net carbs.
Best of all, they taste really good! This giveaway is US only and ends on Jan 21st at 9pm PST. Keep scrolling down to see our Canada only giveaway.
For my local Canadians, the lovely people at Vega are giving away a box of 12 Vega Sport Performance Protein Packs and a Shaker Cup. The Vega brand thinks that shouldn’t have to choose between clean, plant-based nutrition and on-the-go convenience, Vega is a premium brand of convenient, plant-based, real-food alternatives. Check out their shakes, nutrition drink mixes and snacks for more info.
This giveaway is for Canada only and also ends on Jan 21st at 9pm PST.