nails en-US 3 Cheap Ways to Win Over the Ladies (by Looking Better) <p><img src="" alt=" " width="233" height="221" /></p> <p>I used to be a slovenly brute. OK, not so much slovenly as... average. My morning routine including a shave, shower, and deodorant. I figured that was all a guy had to do to look good. My chiseled features and bulging muscles didn&#39;t hurt, either.</p> <p>By the way, just scroll down to the bottom if you don&#39;t want to read my justification for man-grooming. I do feel the need to explain, but if you are just looking for tips, they&#39;re at the bottom. </p> <p>Any guy who has ever spent more than 30 minutes near a woman knows that most gals spend a good part of their morning getting ready. Not all women are like this, obviously, but I&#39;d say that the majority are. There&#39;s a vast discrepancy between the genders when it comes to grooming rituals. That&#39;s probably a good topic for another blog post. My point is that women go to a lot of effort to look nice, even if it is artificially nice, whereas men, to quote Dave Barry, pretty much feel that they are always &quot;about 2 push-ups from sleeping with Cindy Crawford.&quot; Such was my situation.</p> <p>So, I always thought I looked nice enough until I got into a relationship with a gal named Lisa. Lisa was really well put-together. She explained to me that she didn&#39;t have time to mess with most of the beauty stuff on her own, so she outsourced it all. Every week, she&#39;d treat herself to the whole barrage of beauty treatments while she listened to books on tape - nails, hair, massage, waxing. It seemed excessive to me, but whatever. Women, you know?</p> <p>Anyway, after we&#39;d been dating for a few weeks, we had a conversation that could only be described as &quot;honest&quot;. I can&#39;t remember exactly how it started, but I remember that it culminated with Lisa saying, &quot;I almost didn&#39;t go out with you because of your nails.&quot; For some reason, my first thought had to do with hardware. My nails? The rusty jar of nails in my garage? </p> <p>Lisa was looking at my hands. </p> <p>&quot;Oh! My nails... what the hell is wrong with my nails?&quot;</p> <p>&quot;It&#39;s your cuticles.&quot; Then she made a face that conveyed the general idea of &quot;<em>Ew</em>.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Lisa,&quot; I patiently explained, &quot;I&#39;m a <em>man</em>. Men don&#39;t get <em>manicures</em>.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Troy,&quot; Lisa sort of sighed, &quot;Lots of men DO get manicures. But you don&#39;t have to have a manicure to have decent looking cuticles. You just have to trim back those bad boys until I can actually see the nail underneath.&quot;</p> <p>Fine, I figured. Thoughts of breaking out the Swiss Army knife once I got back home flashed through my mind. I could use the little scissors on that puppy, and I&#39;d be golden.</p> <p>Lisa must have sensed my plan, because she looked alarmed. Touching my arm lightly, she said, &quot;You know, I&#39;m going to give you a man-over.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;No way!&quot; I think I bellowed this, but it might have come out more as a squeak.</p> <p>&quot;Look, Troy,&quot; said Lisa... and then she proceeded to explain something very explicit. I won&#39;t go into details, but let&#39;s just say that she let me know that my nasty cuticles and the hands that they were attached to would be getting nowhere near her naked skin at any point in the near future.</p> <p>That pretty much sealed it.</p> <p>Lisa told me that the three main things that I needed to take care of were my <strong>nails/cuticles</strong>, <strong>eyebrows</strong>, and <strong>neck</strong>. She said that since I didn&#39;t have ear or nose hair hanging out all over the place, I could cross those off of my list. It&#39;s obvious that <em>I</em> didn&#39;t see any problem with my nails, or my eyebrows or my neck. But Lisa had explained in no uncertain terms what these things meant to her, so I obliged.</p> <p>It turns out that these things matter to a LOT of women. And because men NEED women, not just as lovers and girlfriends and wives, but as friends and coworkers and bosses, we do have to take their concerns into consideration, even if it strikes us as unnecessary and kind of wussy. I say this to point out that I don&#39;t expect guys to go all metrosexual and start getting facials, but there are certain things that we often let slide that women think are downright disgusting. The top three things are actually really easy, and cheap, to fix.</p> <p class="heading">Nails - $5 Every Month or So</p> <p>I&#39;ve noticed lots and lots of men with nasty, overgrown, or infected cuticles since I started taking care of mine, and frankly, I can sort of see why women wouldn&#39;t want to be touched by those kinds of cuticles. Not only are they rough and gross, they can make handshakes feel odd and reflect badly on you overall. </p> <p>I don&#39;t mean that women see cuticles as the window to your soul, but apparently they think things like &quot;Well, jeez, if he can&#39;t keep those nice, what about the OTHER PARTS OF HIS BODY?&quot;. Only they probably think very specific words instead of dumb phrases like &quot;OTHER PARTS OF HIS BODY.&quot;</p> <p>If you already keep your nails short, that&#39;s good. If you bite them, dude, learn to stop. Not only do you look like a doofus chewing on the ends of your fingers, but the result is pretty hard to look at. </p> <p>Lots of people buy cuticle trimmers. Those are fine, unless you are clumsy and end up cutting yourself with them. Lisa introduced me to something even better. It&#39;s called cuticle cream, and the best stuff is made by <a href=";Detail=007070">Burt&#39;s Bees</a>. It&#39;s only $5, and you basically slap it around your nails before you go to sleep. In the morning, you can scrape away the dead skin with ease. Use it on your toes, too, if you plan on wearing mandals or anything. Not that I would. I&#39;m just sayin&#39;.</p> <p class="heading">Eyebrows - One Easy Installment of $14.95!</p> <p>Eyebrows are tricky. I don&#39;t think any man should be trusted to wield a pair of tweezers near his eyes, but apparently some guys do this well. My advice: find a salon that specializes in men. There are lots of places opening up around the country that do this. They feature manly dark furniture, and they call a manicure something like &quot;handshake maintenance&quot;. You know, so you don&#39;t feel like a pansy while you get your hands dipped in paraffin or whatever.</p> <p>Get your brows waxed (hurts like a beyotch, do it in the afternoon and evening and don&#39;t go anywhere public until the next morning). Make sure that the person waxing your brows doesn&#39;t look like Pamela Anderson. Well, she can look like Pamela Anderson, but it&#39;s not a good thing if they have Pam&#39;s eyebrows. Apparently she doesn&#39;t have good eyebrows. I never noticed. This is just what the women tell me.</p> <p>Anyway, the most important thing to do with eyebrows is to have two of them. Ban the unibrow. Also, the hairs that grow on your eyelids, the ones that hurt like hell to pull out? Those need to go. Men don&#39;t need to have arched eyebrows. Just make sure to get rid of the strays. Once you see how a pro does your brows (this should cost $15), you can do them yourself. Don&#39;t over-pluck! It&#39;s better to have too much hair than not enough. And eyebrows don&#39;t always grow back.</p> <p class="heading">Neck - 0% Down! 0 Lifetime Payments!</p> <p>This is something I certainly never noticed before, even though I&#39;m sure I noticed a unibrow or two before Lisa got ahold of me. But apparently lots of women notice your neck - I&#39;m not sure if this is some sort of sexual thing or not. And <strong>even if you don&#39;t need a haircut</strong>, apparently lots of men need to get their necks shaved every week or so, because they are hairy, hairy bastards. And having hairs crawling out from under your collar makes some women think of spiders. And we know how women feel about spiders. Am I right? Eh? Eh? Anyone? (silence... sound of crickets)</p> <p>Anyway, I am among the hairy bastards, as Lisa kindly pointed out, so I learned to shave my neck.</p> <p>You can do this at home. Just don&#39;t go crazy. You can use your beard trimmer or electric clippers, or if you are double-jointed, you can use a razor. I use clippers and a couple of well-positioned mirrors. You can also go to your barber and get it done for cheap - some guys will take pity on you and do it for free, just make sure to tip big next time you come in for a trim.</p> <p class="heading">What We&#39;ve Learned</p> <p>Not every guy is going to feel like he needs to worry about this, and that&#39;s fine. I&#39;ve just found that women tend to be relieved when we do the things that they traditionally had to take care of, like cooking and making sure that the family walks out of the house fully clothed and presentable to society. And I figure that since women are increasingly bringing home the bacon, the least I can do it make sure that I don&#39;t leave bits of bacon stuck in my teeth when I&#39;m out on a date.</p> <p>Mmmmm. Bacon.....</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Troy Hadley</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Want to Keep Your Disposable Razor Blades Sharp? Use Your Arm</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Pet Peeves Part 2: Good Grooming</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Pet Peeves Part 1: Couture Critters Are Expensive!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">The 5 Best Tweezers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">The 5 Best Shaving Creams</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks cuticles eyebrows grooming hair haircut metrosexual nails neck plucking salon shaving unibrow waxing Fri, 30 Mar 2007 17:48:51 +0000 Troy Hadley 425 at Pet Peeves Part 2: Good Grooming <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/pet-peeves-part-2-good-grooming" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="dog in towel" title="dog in towel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Dogs are by far the most expensive pets to groom. Cats need a good brushing and maybe the occasional bath, birds clean themselves (as do rodents) and fish LIVE in a bath. So, dog grooming is where a lot of pet owners drop a wad of cash. It doesn't have to be that way.</p> <p>I used to take my dogs to Petsmart for a good all-over grooming &mdash; bath, trim, nails, ears, tooth brushing. Petsmart grooming fees differ depending on the breed you have, not the type of grooming that is performed. Because I have two small dogs that might be considered high-maintenance breeds (a Shih Tzu and a Pekingese), my fees run about $50 per dog, plus taxes. I always thought that this was a bit unfair &mdash; I can see charging $50 each if I wanted the dogs to have long, silky hair that was brushed out and swooped up in bows, but I have my dogs clipped short all over. That doesn't matter to Petsmart.</p> <p>All in all, I used to spend over $119 every three weeks to have my dogs groomed (nearly $2070 per year).</p> <p>Once I calculated that total, I realized that grooming my own dogs was going to be key to saving myself some moo-lah. After a bad experience with $30 Costco dog clippers, I found that although an initial investment in grooming supplies might cost me more than a couple of groom sessions, the purchase would pay for itself within the first four months of ownership.</p> <p>DIY pet grooming isn't nearly as difficult as it sounds. If you just set aside a little bit of time each month, you can save a bundle and still have happy, clean pets.</p> <h2>The First Cut is the Priciest</h2> <p>First, clippers. The groomers at Petsmart were happy to tell me which clippers they used in the doggie salon, which were conveniently sold at Petsmart for roughly $220. I wrote down the model number and found them on eBay for $160, less than the cost of two grooming sessions. These clippers do require maintenance and replacement blades, but they are still much cheaper than having someone else trim my dogs. Also, I can give my Shih Tzu a Mohawk whenever the whim strikes me.</p> <p>Now, I'm not claiming that I as good a job trimming my dogs as the people at Petsmart did. But my dogs aren't that vain, and they look good enough that so far, no one has laughed openly at them.</p> <h2>Rub-a-dub-dub</h2> <p>Next, bathing. I had tried unsuccessfully to bathe my dogs by setting them in the bathtub and shampooing them while pouring pots of water over their heads. My little guys are small, but absolutely determined to be nowhere near the water flowing out of the faucet. Turning on the shower did no good because the spray was too dispersed and difficult to aim at such a small target. And they were just too big (and gross) to wash in the kitchen sink. Because I had to do so much fighting, I ended up wasting a lot of water, and I'd usually run out of hot water halfway through bathing the second dog, so that one of them was guaranteed to be shivering and miserable when I was finished (as opposed to just miserable).</p> <p>Thus, I was delighted when my sister gave me a <a href="">Rinse Ace Indoor Pet Sprayer</a>, which she had started using on her large dog after it got too cold to simply hose him off outside one winter. An ingenious little device, the Rinse Ace is a hose with a showerhead that you can plug into your current showerhead. The hose is long enough to reach into the tub for bathing small dogs, and you hold down a little switch to the turn the water on. When you let go, the water stops, thus saving dozens of gallons every bath. Having to hold the button down does cause some hand fatigue, but it's better than using all the hot water, and struggling to keep the dog in the tub while pouring water over its head.</p> <p>I also like using this when I occasionally have to bathe the cat. Since we got her when she was a kitten, she's easier to bathe than a cat that has never been in the water. I have to wear rubber gloves and long sleeves for the process, but it significantly cuts down on her shedding and my allergies.</p> <p>As far as canine beauty products go, I really like the <a href=";field-keywords=Lavender+and+Mint+Buddy+Wash&amp;x=0&amp;y=0">Lavender and Mint Buddy Wash</a> shampoos and conditioners by Cloud Star. They cost between $9-13 per bottle, but they are concentrated so that they last a long time, and leave my dogs smelling great. And, one of my dogs has terrible allergies that cause him to chew and scratch, but the Buddy Wash Conditioner soothes his dry skin and keeps him from scratching.</p> <p>Towels. Never fall for the ruse that your dogs need special towels. Just use your old ones.</p> <h2>Grin and Brush It</h2> <p>Tooth care. This aspect of pet care is often overlooked, but you should brush your dog's teeth at least once a week, if not <a href=";aid=384">every day</a>. If the process is followed by praise and treats, your pooch with probably endure it. You don't need to get an Oral B Extra Sonic Ultra Laser Boom Brush like the one that you use &mdash; a simple doggie toothbrush and some dog-happy toothpaste is enough.</p> <h2>I am Canine, Hear Me Bark</h2> <p>Ears. Cleaning your dog's ears is actually easier than it sounds. Simply take some tweezers and pluck out most of the small hairs that crowd your dogs' inner ears (not inner-inner &mdash; you're not plucking out their eardrums or anything). Pulling the hairs out is remarkably painless for most dogs. Then swab the inside of the ear with a soft cloth (or Q-Tip, if you have good aim and your dog has small ears). An ear cleanser should be relatively inexpensive and <a href="">free from alcohol</a>.</p> <h2>Putting Their Best Feet Forward</h2> <p>Pedicure. This is my least favorite part of caring for my dogs, and I will occasionally take them to Petsmart with me when I go to pick up their special, hypoallergenic prescription diet, and pay $5 to have someone trim their nails. If you are brave enough to do it yourself, has <a href="">instructions</a>. Remember that it is uncomfortable for dogs, as they have nerve endings in their claws that we don't in our fingernails, so be gentle and patient, but firm.</p> <h2>Flea Market</h2> <p>When I went to Petsmart grooming, I often paid extra for anti-flea treatments, in addition to using Advantage flea-treatment capsules (I use <a href="">Advantage</a> rather than the better-known <a href="">Advantix</a> &mdash; it's cheaper and safer around cats). The combination of a flea bath AND flea medication is not necessary. Stick with whatever your vet gives you (Advantage, Advantix, whatever) and forgo anything else. You will need to wait about a week after bathing your dog before using any flea treatments. And all dogs should be protected against fleas, unless you want to deal with worms some day. You don't, trust me. Grossest thing ever.</p> <h2>Smells Like Wasted Money</h2> <p>Perfumes. Bunk. Unless your carry your precious poochie in your handbag, or unless your dog is exceptionally stinky, and your vet has told you that it's not a medical problem and you just have a stinky dog, dog perfumes are simply a waste of money. They can cause skin irritation, and probably cause your dog immense embarrassment around other dogs.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Pet Peeves Part 1: Couture Critters Are Expensive!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">3 Cheap Ways to Win Over the Ladies (by Looking Better)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">15 Smart New Uses for Hair Clips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Blood, gore and hairy warts; a DIY Halloween makeup guide.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">10 Ridiculously Overpriced Pet Products</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Life Hacks bathing cats clippers conditioner cost-saving DIY dogs ear grooming nails paws shampoo solution trimming Mon, 26 Feb 2007 21:45:14 +0000 Andrea Karim 299 at Pet Peeves Part 1: Couture Critters Are Expensive! <p><img src="" alt=" " width="199" height="273" /></p> <p>All totaled, my dogs cost me $600 every month last year. </p> <p>Between vet visits and allergy meds and their special diet and grooming and the dog walker and new bedding and a bark collar and having to replace my entire first floor carpet because of one doggie&#39;s explosive bowels, I spent more on my dogs each month than I did on my own health and beauty needs. </p> <h4>Doggie Vogue </h4> <p>Just so you don&#39;t think that I&#39;m one of those curmudgeons who refuses to dress her dog up for Halloween, I would just like you to remember this: I contemplating paying over $1000 to give my dog a facelift. And for the record, <a href="">it&#39;s not that unusual</a>.</p> <p><img src="" alt="copyright Ben Huh" title="copyright Ben Huh" width="331" height="355" /></p> <p>My current home, Seattle, has more dogs per household than children. I don&#39;t think that this is a bad thing - we&#39;re just a dog-lovin&#39; town. Although most Seattle dog owners are probably the fleece-wearing, kayak-owning, large-dog caregiving types, we are no stranger to the coddled cutesy canine - we&#39;re home to several <a href="">excellent boutiques</a>, some of which sell outrageously-priced but fantastic doggie paraphernalia. </p> <p><a href="">High Maintenance Bitch</a> features some of the <a href="">greatest items</a> you will ever find for your precious little Poopsie (note: the store is having a fight with some no-humor, overly-sensitive parents regarding the store&#39;s name - apparently, parents are horrified that children might see the b-word on a sign while walking down the street). There&#39;s no shortage of <a href="">online shops</a> in which <a href=";DEPT=1136424771&amp;CAT=1144602175&amp;ADMIN=YES">you can blow tons of money</a> on <a href="">unnecessary bling</a> for your little things (for the record, my shih tzu is named Little Thing, as in &quot;You&#39;re such a cute little thing!&quot;). Even <a href=";asin=B000ENEEHS">Target</a> carries a frighteningly adorable array of <a href=";asin=B000GLI7NK">fashion for Fido</a>.</p> <p>Pets get everything these days. Pet therapists will tell you what weighs on your critter&#39;s mind. Dogs get massages.</p> <p>I don&#39;t get massages myself, but if I heard that I needed one for my dog, I would consider it.</p> <h4>Resistance is Not Futile </h4> <p>But we must resist! Or if not resist, then definitely evaluate. Childless dog owners like me often have a misplaced parental necessity to dress up and coo over our little precious puppies, but to what end? </p> <p><img src="" alt=" " width="336" height="370" /></p> <p>Some dogs love to dress up (my sister&#39;s dog, a Lab-Sharpei-Chow mix pictured here with my sis), likes to strut around in my brother-in-law&#39;s t-shirts. You&#39;ve never seen a dog with prouder body language than Zero once you put a t-shirt over his giant head. But of my own dogs, only one tolerates his rain slicker; the other throws himself bodily against any available surface in an attempt to remove any stitch of clothing on his long, fat little body. </p> <p>Neither of them particularly likes being dressed up as a pumpkin, as much as I want to subject them to it. Believe me, I love the idea of getting them dolled up and photographed.</p> <p>But I also think it&#39;s important to figure out what is best for your pet. Take the rain coat example - I finally determined that it simply wasn&#39;t going to work with one of the dogs. He doesn&#39;t mind getting rained on, and it only takes me a minute to towel him off, so now I know not to waste my money on buying clothes for him. </p> <p><img src="" alt="copyright Ben Huh" title="copyright Ben Huh" width="281" height="391" /></p> <p>A local Seattle blogger named Ben Huh (whose family moniker has officially eclipsed Momofuku as Best Last Name Ever) runs a cutey-petooty site called <a href="">Itchmo</a> that tracks Seattle pet happenings, and he posted a helpful article about <a href="">saving money on pet food</a> that I found useful. That&#39;s his wife Emily, with their pooch Nemo in the picture. It was because of Ben&#39;s site that I decided to start a five-part series of posts on the <a href="">cost of pet ownership</a>, and include some tips on how to reduce those costs. Well, that, and finding out <a href="/balancing-act-the-perils-of-budgeting">what our Sarah spends</a> on her turtle every month. </p> <p>I&#39;ve gone from spending hundreds on my dogs every month to spending maybe $100 a month, including vet care. I&#39;ve learned a thing or two about caring for the fussiest creatures, and I&#39;ll be sharing that with Wise Bread readers.</p> <p>So, starting next week, I&#39;ll offer some how-to&#39;s on saving money while still providing the best care for your pets. Food, grooming, vet bills and insurance, and boarding will all be covered over the course of next week. I&#39;ve interviewed friends, family, and vets on the best ways to trim your pet spending without depriving your cat of her condo or your Chihuahua of her leopard-print cape. After all, your pet&#39;s happiness matters, and if Lola can&#39;t be without her rhinestone-studded collar, then we have to find a way to keep her in it.</p> <p>Next up: Saving money on pet food</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Pet Peeves Part 2: Good Grooming</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">10 Ridiculously Overpriced Pet Products</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Flashback Friday: The 107 Best Breakfast Hacks to Start Your Day Off Right</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">5 Surprising Ways Your Dog Can Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">4 Pet Expenses That Aren&#039;t Worth It</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Life Hacks bedding birds budget care cats daycare dogs Food grooming nails pampered Petco pets turtle Fri, 23 Feb 2007 22:35:37 +0000 Andrea Karim 294 at