As the World’s Manliest Vegan, I Proudly Endorse All-Natural, Essential Oil Based Products from Prep U and Jack Black (Courtesy of Boardroom Salon for Men in Nashville on West End)

As an accidentally popular Nashville-based daddy blogger and YouTuber who happens to be The World’s Manliest Vegan, or at least The Manliest Vegan on the Internet, I’m not “get a free family vacation to Disney World” famous.

But I am “get a free trip for myself to Florida to see the Grapefruit League Baseball Series” famous.

I’m also “famous enough to get a free car with a full tank of gas for a week” anytime my family goes on a road trip or takes a vacation.

And to my delight, I’m also at the point now where on any given day, my wife may announce to me, “Nick, some company set you a package in the mail…”

This week, I got a care package courtesy of the newly opened Boardroom Salon for Men in Nashville on West End, including all natural, vegan-friendly products from Prep U and Jack Black that they sell at their location:

Prep U Body Wash

Prep U Active Dry Powder

Prep U Body Spray

Prep U Natural Deodorant

Jack Black Charcoal Body Bar Messaging Soap

You may remember how about a month ago, I did a special video there when they gave me my first ever clean head shave.

Well now, a month later, they’re still keeping me in the loop. Apparently, they learned how passionate I am about all-natural products; ones that are based from essential oils, not weird chemicals.

In case you didn’t know, about a decade ago, I stopped using personal products that contain shady ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate. I also stopped using deodorant that contains aluminum.

I am a dyshidrotic eczema survivor. In order to be healed of my disease, I had ultimately become a vegan (5 years now) and only use all natural products.

So as you can imagine, the products sent to me this week by Boardroom Salon for Men in Nashville on West End are obviously an extension of my identity and completely inline with my own brand image.

In addition to being all natural, they also smell very clean, in a classy, subtle, masculine way. In other words, not like Axe body spray.

For me, this is like Christmas in June. I’m the 37 year-old dad and husband. I don’t get nice stuff for myself. My money goes to my family- and my attempt to pay off the mortgage early.

Getting these care packages this week made me very grateful and very happy, as you can see in the picture below.

Thank you Boardroom Salon for Men in Nashville on West End. I am honored to serve as spokesman for natural products for men!

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Dear Jack: Catching a Snake, Learning to Ride a Bike and Tie Your Shoes on Your 1st Week of Summer Break

7 years, 6 months.

Dear Jack,

It only took 24 hours into your first week of summer break, which you’re spending at Nonna and Papa’s, to accomplish the two main goals I had for you to be able to do before you start 2nd grade:

To learn how to ride a bicycle without training wheels and to learn how to tie your shoes.

Papa was the one who taught me to do those same things exactly 30 years ago in the summer of 1988. So I’m not surprised he was able to teach you so quickly.

As for you, though, you had some goals of your own, which you revealed to me before you even left for Alabama:

To catch lots of bugs… and a snake.

Yep. You were able to do those things as well, in your first 24 hours of summer break.

What’s funny is, I don’t exactly know all the details yet, as Nonna is very good about sending lots of pictures. But this weekend when we come pick you up, I’ll get a better understanding of how you and Papa conveniently were able to find and catch a non-poisonous snake.

In addition to the snake, you are also very proud of your pet snail, who you went swimming with in the pool in the backyard.

And even your new pet centipede has been quite exciting for you, as Papa let you use his power drill to make breathing holes in the bucket that you’re using for the centipede’s temporary home.

It’s amazing how much you’re able to accomplish in such a short amount of time when you’re at Nonna and Papa’s house.

I think you’re pretty lucky to have such a perfect place to go for summer camp. The rest of the summer will be hard to beat at this point.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: You’re Missing Your Brother This Week While He’s in Alabama

2 years, 1 months.

Dear Holly,

With your brother finishing 1st grade last week, Mommy and I decided it would be a nice change of pace for him to spend this week at Nonna and Papa’s house. It’s only been a few days now, but you’ve made it very clear you miss him.

You ask me each morning, “Where’s Jackie?”

However, it didn’t take long for you to jump up in his bed and play with his toys in his room. It was your way of not only showing you were thinking about him, but that you might as well take advantage of the situation if wasn’t there to stop you.

For me, it’s a strange concept to just have one child in our house this week.

It’s a glimpse of what life could have been like had you been born first, instead of your brother. In particular, it reminds me that your brother had 5 and a half years as an only child, before you were born.

This week serves as one of the few times in your life where you’ve known what it was like to be an only child. You’re used to being the younger, baby sister. That’s how your brother sees you and treats you; so to a large degree, you adopt that title as your identity.

Granted, the two of you will always be in different stages of childhood; so you’re never really having to compete in the same way that siblings who are closer in age might experience.

In a way, both you and your brother get to be an “only child” to some degree.

In just a few days though, you’ll be reunited with Jackie. I can see you don’t quite feel complete without him. I imagine it’s difficult to feel like a little baby sister when your older brother isn’t right there next to you.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Your Pet Millipede That Miraculously (and Secretly) Survived a Week Somewhere Inside Our House

7 and a half years old!

Dear Jack,

Something I enjoy about writing these letters to you each week is that it’s my way of preserving memories of you at whatever age you are at the time. As of this week, you are now 7 and a half years old. I feel this story perfectly illustrates who you are right now, as a 7 and a half year-old boy in his last week of 1st grade.

As the school year is coming to a close, your teacher has been doing some extra special, extra fun things for your class. For example, she let you bring home (and keep) the class pet:

A millipede.

Nonna and Papa just happened to be in town that weekend. You loved showing off your millipede friend to them.

But then, the next today, Mommy shared this as her status update on Facebook:

The pet millipede escaped. #enoughsaid

That’s because the millipede amazingly escaped through the “breathing hole” that you punched into the plastic wrap covering the Rice Krispies bowl. This meant your pet was able to crawl upside-down along the plastic in order to escape.

I assured Mommy that if your pet millipede was smart enough to escape your homemade aquarium, it would be smart enough to find its way out of our house.

Fortunately, I was partially right, because a week later, Mommy shared this update:

Millipede update– he was found!! Alive and well 6 days after his disappearance. He was spotted hanging out by the front door, so we let him free and we bid him a nice farewell with some cilantro and celery leaves  So glad I never stepped on him 

When I say sometimes how you are a well-balanced kid, this is what I mean.

You’re a smart kid. You’re a well behaved kid.

And you love playing with bugs.

Perfect for a 7 and a half year-old boy, if you ask me!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: Now I Finally Believe That Little Girls Really Do Instinctively Love Tea Parties

2 years.

Dear Holly,

Until now, I always thought the idea of little girls wanting to play “tea party” was just a concept invented by toy marketers to sell more product. And for all I know, perhaps it is. But if so, hey… it works!

Because for your 2nd birthday last month, our good friends Lena and Mohamad got you a tea set, and not only did you immediately want to play with it, but you instinctively knew what to do with it!

In fact, having our tea parties together has become a bit of a ritual. Your tea party set is getting a lot of use!

I will say though, for me, you change it from tea to coffee. That’s because for the past 6 months, with me working from home, you have observed me making my organic instant coffee twice a day.

Whenever you think it’s getting near the right time of the day for it, you always ask, “Daddy, coffee?”

My favorite story so far with this tea set was a few weeks ago when I was finishing up cleaning the bathroom upstairs, as part of my weekend routine. I had been up there for a solid 15 minutes.

Then you stood at the bottom of the stairs, and announced to me, “Daddy, coffee!”

Mommy helped explain that you had just made coffee downstairs for me and you wanted me to come down and take a break.

So I gladly did.

It was one of those precious moments that I just wasn’t expecting.

In your mind, you thought, “Daddy’s been up there a while. I bet he’d like some coffee right about now. I’ll go ahead and make him some…”

You are such a sweet little girl. How can I not be completely in love with my little sweetie?

Love,

Daddy

Is It a Coincidence I’ve Never Spanked My Children and Yet They are Known for How Well Behaved They Are? “Misbehavior” is a Signal a Child is Hungry, Tired, Bored, Lonely and/or Sick

I recently made a video on my YouTube channel for Family Friendly Daddy Blog where I asked everyone for help, tongue-in-cheek, about what I should do since it is normal for parents to spank their children, yet I never have, explaining that my children are known for how well-behaved they are.

Even just this past week, my 7 year-old son was invited to go to Chili’s with another boy his age in our neighborhood. The first thing the boy’s dad told my wife and I when they returned from dinner was this:

“Your son is so well-behaved! I’m not used to that. Usually, I’m spending my time getting the boys to settle down. But I never had any issues with your son as the friend my son chose to take along! He’s great!”

And for both all of Kindergarten and 1st grade, whenever the teachers have given us feedback it’s always the same:

“He is a very well-behaved boy. And smart, too! Yes, I have to remind him not to talk to his friends during class at times, but he truly is a model student.”

As for my daughter, she just turned 2 years old, but she is also known for being a bright, yet mild-mannered little girl.

So here’s the question:

Is it just a coincidence that both of my children are known for their good behavior; and as their parents, my wife nor I have ever spanked them?

It raises the question of how necessary spanking actually is:

If what I’ve been doing as a parent has yielded a well balanced, well behaved children, what is the point of spanking them?

But if I’m not spanking my children in order to get them to behave, then what am I doing? Because, no, my kids were not just born with some magic gene where they automatically know how to behave.

And granted, they still require much teaching and direction regarding how to behave. But I provide that for them, instead of physically striking them. I accept they are still kids, too.

So I don’t freak out when my son leaves a note on the couch for his sister, with a picture of her with an “x” through it, saying, “go home away“.

The way I see it, it’s not a matter so much of disciplining my children. Instead, it’s about proactively managing their physical, social, and psychological needs.

It’s a simple 5 step program that I invented years ago. When a young child is perceived to be “misbehaving”, I recognize they don’t yet have the emotional intelligence to verbally communicate what they really need. I interpret that “misbehavior” as a predictable signal or warning to the parent that they are at least one of the following:

Hungry

Tired

Bored

Lonely

Sick

So as their parent, I am constantly prepared to feed my children, help them get to sleep, find a way for them to entertain themselves, socialize with them, or restore them to good health.

It’s true that my method isn’t the norm. Only 20% of parents worldwide are like me, in that they don’t spank their children.

I’m okay with not being normal. Especially if my kids are known for being well-behaved without having to hit them.

Here’s the question that I want to close with:

Is it a coincidence I’ve never spanked my children and yet they are known for how well behaved they are? Or am I on to something with my simple 5 step program?

Photo courtesy of April Milan Photography.

Yes, I Accept Guest Blog Posts to Boost Your SEO. I Charge $100. Email Me.

You just Googled, “bloggers who accept guest blog posts” because you are needing to strengthen your website’s SEO. On a daily basis, I get requests from people asking me about this. That obviously proves my website has amazing SEO.

The answer is yes. I do accept guest blog posts. I also accept $100, to be paid via PayPal.

I have the SEO platform you need to link your site to. You have the $100 that I would like to link to my wallet.

So if you’re interested, send an email to nickshell1983@hotmail.com with this headline:

SEO $100

Make sure that you include a photo, as an attachment, not copied and pasted, to accompany your article; which needs to a be minimum of 300 to 400 words and somewhat relevant to the topic of parenting and family.

Also let me know how you want to be listed in the byline, so I know which person and/or brand to draw readers’ attention to.

The concept with your guest blog post is that you want to answer questions that people are already Googling, but you will be using my popular platform to do it, which will refer people back to your website.

Here’s a recent example of a guest blog post here on my site, where someone paid my $100 fee:

And yeah, I get it…

If you’re just starting out, you likely don’t have the budget to afford my service. That’s the paradox:

Larger companies can afford to pay for SEO, so they stay large.

Small companies can’t afford to pay for SEO, so they stay small.

If you can’t afford my $100 free to be featured as a guest blogger on my website, I can at least leave you with a complimentary parting gift, which is my SEO starter kit.

Yet still, it’s inevitable: You can’t get around the fact that you’ll need a stronger website like mine to attach links back to yours.

How much time are you willing to spend searching for other websites that will accept guest blog posts cheaper, or ideally for free?

You have to decide: Is your time worth $100?

Perhaps you’ll decide, like Billy Joel said back in 1977:

I might as well be the one.