I’m the Crazy Guy who Actually Buys the $6 Fluoride-Free, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate-Free Toothpaste

That’s right. When you see those expensive “natural” toothpaste brands without all the mysterious chemicals and think, “Seriously, who would waste money on that?!”…

Well, now you’ve got a face. It’s me.

Though I’ve got most people fooled with my Facebook pictures, having them think I’m just a regular married man with two kids, as we enjoy a leisurely outing at the Nashville Zoo on the weekend, the truth is… I’m secretly buying that hippie toothpaste.

For the past decade, I have refused to buy “normal” toothpaste. I want some toothpaste with some character. I want some toothpaste with soul.

So whether it’s the legendary half-Jewish Dr. Bronner’s All-One Toothpaste, or some other seemingly obscure brand that also refuses to put fluoride in the product, I just typically go with the one that’s on sale. So if I’m lucky, I might only have to spend 4 or 5 bucks…

Plus, I have found that these vegan-friendly brands of toothpaste tend have more interesting flavors.

despise mint flavored toothpaste. It’s too demanding. I don’t want to have to be consumed by the flavor of my toothpaste.

So natural cinnamon is a great fit for me. I also enjoy the anise flavor as well.

Oh, and today, I lucked out at Whole Foods and found “coconut chamomile” flavor on sale for $3.49, which was nearly 50%.

Seriously, how cool am I? Tonight I will get to brush my teeth with Jason’s “Simply Coconut Soothing Toothpaste” made with coconut oil, aloe vera juice, chamomile extract, and witch hazel water.

But no fluoride and no sodium lauryl sulfate.

Perhaps by default, I have spent most of my life being obsessed with brushing my teeth. I always brush my teeth a minimum of twice each daily, sometimes more.

I keep a toothbrush and toothpaste in my desk drawer at work, just in case the moment feels right.

As for the rest of the world, let him use minty Colgate or Crest. Let them spend half the amount of money as I do on toothpaste.

Meanwhile, I’ll be the crazy guy declaring, “It’s all a big conspiracy, man. The government’s been secretly putting small amounts of toxic fluoride in our drinking water…” as I brush my teeth with six dollar toothpaste void of such similar evil corporate agendas.

I am So Excited about the 2017 Toyota 4Runner I Get to Drive This Week!

“Give me fuel, give me fire, give me that which I desire!”

Those were the magic words I spoke, which caused my 2004 Honda Element to mysteriously morph into a 2017 Toyota 4Runner 4X4 Limited V6.

It’s like how Cinderella’s pumpkin turned into a wondrous carriage pulled by horses. Only way cooler.

So for the next nine days, until the clock strikes 11:30 AM on July 6th, I will get to be the proud driver of this undeniably tough (yet charming) machine of glory.

In the dozens of vehicles of featured on my blog over the years, my very favorite was the Toyota Tacoma. So obviously I have been looking forward for months now, knowing that a Toyota 4Runner was being delivered to me this week; as I find the two vehicles to be similar to each other.

This thing has the elegant look of a Storm Trooper, yet the unpredictable great power of Darth Vader.

Seriously, I am going to be so cool this week.

I’ve already had several co-workers stop me and tell me how jealous they are.

This 4Runner taps into a pocket of my psyche that I typically keep subdued on my blog.

After all, I’m the Family Friendly Daddy Blogger. Readers have certain demographic expectations of me:

Take lots of cute pictures of my kids while telling cute stories about them. Rinse and repeat.

And that’s what I will provide for my readers over the next week or so, as we enjoy some awesome upcoming adventures, being the Chip and Joanna Gaines kind of family that we truly are.

But this is me, breaking the 4th wall, to say, “I am a conservative husband and father living in the Suburbs… hear me roar!”

I suddenly feel so in control.

So powerful.

So… alive.

So, Basically Get a PureClean XL Rolling Steam Cleaner for Free: Full Reimbursement Offer for First 20 People…

Okay, so you didn’t win the PureClean XL Rolling Steam Cleaner, but…  you can still kind of get one for free through Pure Enrichment:

Send an email to mat@pureenrichment.com and if you’re one of the first 20 people, you’ll receive a follow-up email with the details.
Pure Enrichment can offer a reimbursement for the FULL amount of the purchase on one of the following sites: Amazon.com,Walmart.com, or Target.com.
You buy the unit, submit your receipt, and they send them a check for the full amount of their purchase.
A big factor is to help generate reviews on websites like Amazon.com,Walmart.com, and Target.com. Although it is not required, is it kindly requested by Pure Enrichment.
The goal would be to encourage you to leaveyou honest reviews online. Although it isn’t mandatory, they greatly appreciate their support.
But don’t forget to take the first step, and that’s to first email Mat:

mat@pureenrichment.com

Dear Holly: Your Very 1st Haircut at Great Clips!

1 year, 1 month.

Dear Holly,

Since you turned one year-old back in April, your hair has been growing in strong. It didn’t take long before you had grown a baby mullet. Mommy and I saw no point in letting it get worse, just for the sake of, “Oh no, our baby girl is too young to get her first haircut…”

So this past Saturday morning, our entire family was there at 8:00 AM when the doors opened at Great Clips. All four of us got haircuts. Your brother and I got the same exact haircut. Mommy got a trim.

But as for our Little Goldie, you got the most noticeable haircut; almost like a longer version of a pixie haircut.

It was funny though, when I told the girl at the front desk what all of our names were for the list, they thought I said Hollywood for your name! That’s hilarious!

Mommy and I are so happy about your 1st haircut. You look so pretty.

I like the hairstyle because I know it’s designed to look good as it grows out, to help you transition into your hair growing longer. The proportions are right for that.

Now here is what’s truly amazing about your very first haircut: You never cried or got upset!

Anna, the girl who cut your hair, was completely confident in not only what she was doing, but also how to make you feel comfortable the whole time.

We didn’t even have to tell her how to cut it. She just knew, after we told her this was your first haircut.

As you sat on Mommy’s lap, Anna showed you the comb and let you feel it, so that you would know it was nothing that would hurt you.

 

Actually, you seemed to just like the all the action. By the time it was finished, you didn’t actually realize what had happened.

That was way too easy! I had expectations of you crying and screaming, and everyone in the place looking over at us. But, nope.

You had fun. And Mommy and I are not sad or sentimental about it all.

We are so happy our beautiful little girl got her first haircut.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: What I Learned from Father’s Day 2017

6 years, 7 months.

Dear Jack,

Father’s Day morning was quite special, as my very first gift was getting to sleep in, thanks to Mommy. I didn’t wake up until 9:30. It was glorious!

We then made our way to the living room, where I was bombarded with goodies from you and your sister. I now have a Captain America dad shirt. (He’s my favorite super hero.) Plus Mommy got me some vegan treats too.

And of course I was especially delighted to see crafts from you and your sister. You made me a special “shrinky dink” keychain, featuring a drawing you made of your and me; where you’ve again drawn us the same size. I’m so happy because I was a little jealous when Mommy got one for Mother’s Day last month…

Your sister made me a glittery “World’s Best Dad” award, based on the shape of her hand.

I took special care to read through all the questionnaire answers you gave,

as they reveal how you perceive having me as your Daddy:

My dad’s hair is black. (That’s darker than I realized!)

He’s as tall as a boy. (Are you saying I’m short?)

He weighs about 60 pounds. (Last time I checked, I was closer to 160. Guess I recently lost 100 pounds!)

My dad looks handsome when he wears hair gel. (I think you gave this answer because I fix your hair and mine at the same time.)

My dad always says “no.” (Hey, just trying to balance out how nice Mommy is to you. Though on the next page, you said, “My dad is my superhero because he is nice.”)

He’s not very good at cooking. Once Daddy was cooking before I was born and Mommy didn’t like it. (Very true- and very good memory!)

My dad’s favorite song is Metallica. (Yes, just Metallica. I’ll always think of you when I think of them because I really got into them back in January when I stayed overnight without you in the hospital, of all things!)

My dad’s favorite place to go is Whole Foods. (True, I’m there nearly every day, picking up groceries on my mountain bike during my lunch break.)

He always forgets… I don’t think he forgets anything. (True, unless it relates to where some obscure kitchen utensil goes in the drawer. In that case, I need Mommy to draw me a diagram with directions and instructions!)

He really likes to hike. (Yes! And I love the creative way you drew us hiking together, with our backs turned. That’s cool.)

My dad’s job is truck driving. (Actually, I’m the manager of the retention department for a trucking company- but that’s a mouthful!)

He likes to wear plaid shirts. (Right on, good eye!)

He reminds me of a bozo. (If you’re saying I’m funny, I’ll take the compliment!)

I love my dad because he plays Hungry Sharks with me. (Not only did I spent countless hours of our Christmas vacation earning you extra points on that game, it also was a game we took turns playing while you were in the hospital.)

Father’s Day really was special. It actually reminded me of a birthday or something.

I very much enjoyed celebrating fatherhood with you and your sister, and gaining your personal perspective.

Love,

Daddy

Is The Pfunky Griddle in Nashville a Vegan Friendly Restaurant?

Hi, I’m Nick Shell, the manliest vegan on the Internet. (No other male vegan has ever disputed this!) And yes, I can confirm that a vegan can indeed dine at The Pfunky Griddle. Because I recently did…

A few weeks ago, my family had a great time at the Nashville Zoo. But first, we had a splendid breakfast at The Pfunky Griddle, which is only 4 miles away.

I admit, I had my doubts whether or not I would just be assisting my wife and kids in preparing their meal, yet myself not having anything to eat.

So before I left the house, I had some coffee and made myself my famous “Manly Vegan Smoothie”, which consists of a banana, a cup of blueberries, a cup of unsweetened almond milk, a tablespoon of peanut butter, a tablespoon of chia seeds, and a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder.

That way, I had a solid base of vegan protein and fat already in my system in case things didn’t work out for me at The Pfunky Griddle.

My main role in being there was ultimately indeed to prepare and serve my family their pancakes. They are vegetarians, so they can have eggs and dairy, which I can not.

That is the reason I specifically didn’t order the pancakes. Instead, I had the hash browns and the veggie sausage.

I assume that you know the whole premise of The Pfunky Griddle is that you make your own breakfast, thanks to a griddle which is built into every table.

Now, was my meal perfectly vegan? No.

It could have been, but I knowingly let two things slide:

I assume the veggie sausage contained egg whites. While I would never choose to eat egg whites, I will overlook it if there is a trace of it in the food, as I did with the veggie burger last month at Mellow Mushroom.

But I refuse to eat egg yolks, which contain the cholesterol.

I am a vegan because it allows me to consume 0% of my daily cholesterol; not for animal rights’ reasons alone.

Also, the spray for the griddle contains butter as an ingredient, though it’s so little that it still registers as 0% cholesterol on the nutritional label. (This spray is not necessary to even use, but it definitely makes the food easier to cook.)

We had fun as a family and we will definitely be going back. As is the norm with my vegan lifestyle, I made it work and I refused to be a stick in the mud.

Because not only am I the manliest vegan on the Internet, I’m also the coolest vegan anyone has ever met in the history of the world!

Our Family’s 1st Visit to the Nashville Zoo, as a Family of 4

The original plan was to take our daughter Holly to the Nashville Zoo on her 1st birthday back in April…

But between the rainy weather that weekend, and her being sick the next weekend, and our family being out of town after that, it took until this month to finally make our family’s first visit to the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, as a family of four.

It actually suddenly made sense though, to buy an annual family zoo pass, since it pays for itself by the 3rd visit. We live in Spring Hill, which is about a 45 minute drive for us; not so bad of a trek.

It pretty much takes at least that long to get anywhere in the Nashville area anyway, if you’re lucky.

Something I didn’t realize was how much the Nashville Zoo has expanded since the last time our family was there, a couple of years ago when we were only a family of three.

They have this new swinging rope bridge that our whole family loved, for starters.

Our 6 and a half year-old son Jack was pleasantly surprised to see the Nashville Zoo now has a Komodo Dragon. To him, that’s one of the most fascinating animals, because it’s ultimately a living dinosaur.

He also really liked seeing the porcupines, which I don’t remember from our last visit back when he was only about 3 years old. His hair actually looks like a porcupine, right?

Which, speaking of, Jack was so excited to be able to feel an actual porcupine quill. Coincidentally, the high school intern who showed him the quill was also named Jack.

Oh! And the kangaroos…

The last time I had taken Jack to the Nashville Zoo, the kangaroo exhibit had just opened. He obviously was in his element, being able to pet the tame kangaroos.

I also don’t remember him being able to see the giant turtles up close until this time either. He could have chilled out with those guys all day!

As for our daughter Holly, she was equally thrilled by the whole experience. She is currently fascinated by any kind of animals, especially birds. Right now she’s working real hard on trying to say the word bird. So it was a big deal to see big birds up so close.

I think in her mind, every other kind of animal is basically a mouse, a cat, or a dog. She loved pointing at each new creature she discovered.

Perhaps by default, her favorite bird was the flamingo. Why wouldn’t it be? A giant, funny, pink bird… perfect.

So naturally, her souvenir was a small stuffed animal version of one.

As for Jack, he choose a clouded leopard, as ultimately, that was the animal he was most enthralled by during this visit.

We were at the zoo for only two hours and only saw half of place. Good thing we have a year-long pass.

Obviously, we had so much fun and are looking forward to our next visit. And yes, it’s a complete coincidence that our last name is Shell, and the zoo just happens to have a section now called The Shell Station. (In case you were wondering.)

As for our next visit, maybe we’ll get around to sharing our experience in seeing the other half of the Nashville Zoo.