The Father Life Grows Team, Pats Self On Back

Have you ever written a press release? Those inane, self-congratulatory things that are an unfortunate and uncompromising staple of the business world? No? Consider yourself lucky.

I wrote one tonight because I had a very good reason to do so. I’ll get to the reason in a minute, but I don’t want to interrupt this rant quite yet. The problem with press releases is that they are so canned, so formulaic, and so blatantly fabricated. Sure, they always contain some valid nugget of useful information. But in order to make that information palatable to the rest of the “industry,” we have to wrap it in the form of something that has gone largely unchanged since teletype machines. But I digress…

The Man, the Myth, the Legend: Adam Cohen

The “very good reason” I had for writing a press release is something I (and the rest of the TFL team) am genuinely excited about: Adam Cohen is now part of The Father Life! You have likely encountered Adam through his blog dadarocks.com. He is a great guy who brings a lot to the table and will really help The Father Life grow to the next level.  His title (at least for the present) is “Director of Development,” and he’ll be actively looking for ways to help us continue to grow TFL and DadTrends.com.

I asked Adam how he felt about becoming part of TFL.  He said,

Drew Carey said “Oh, you hate your job? Why didn’t you say so? There’s a support group for that. It’s called EVERYBODY, and they meet at the bar.”  This isnt a job for me – its a passion! I’m looking forward to all the great changes we’ve got going forward with TFL.

Yeah, that pretty much sums it up for all of us!  If you encounter Adam, give him a hearty “congratulations!” And if you want to reach him, he’s available at acohen@thefatherlife.com.

As for the now infamous press release, if you want to subject yourself to it, you’ll find it here.

Ben Martin

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Helping out with #BagItForward

Elmer’s (yes, the glue people) have put together a great campaign to help out kids whose families may not have the resources to provide a full slate of school supplies for the coming year.  The idea is simple: put together a backpack full of school supplies and donate it to a student in need.  For most families, this is pretty easy to do.  When shopping for your own kids, just pick up an extra set of each item and you’ve got it done.  For those who may not be doing back to school shopping as a matter of course, it’s still an easy thing to do.  Most stores have everything you need right in the same area, and the cost is reasonable.

For our family, this project was really more of the latter.  We homeschool our kids on a year-round schedule, so we really don’t have a “back to school” time on the calendar, and we certainly don’t need backpacks!  For us, then, we picked up a few things we needed, but we were able to focus most of our effort on shopping for the items to donate.  You can check out the whole experience at Whrrl.

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There have been times where our family was hard-pressed to make ends meet, and the generosity of anonymous strangers has made an incalculable difference.  If you have the opportunity, whether you have reason to go back-to-school shopping or not, pick up a backpack full of supplies for a student in need.  You’ll be glad you bagged it forward.

Ben Martin

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I’m a Fantastic Sams-atic. And I don’t even know what that means.

Well, I have an inkling.

The great folks at Fantastic Sams (I say they’re great because picked me… but they’re probably great anyway) have assembled a group of bloggers to help them tell the world about, well, Fantastic Sams. They’ve picked a bunch of great people… and me.

The other great people selected:

What does this mean for you? In the coming months, you should see styling tips, news, and product announcements from Fantastic Sams in the pages of The Father Life and on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.

So stay tuned!

Ben Martin

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Hersheys Helps Make #SummerCelebrations Happen

I love dessert. I also love Hershey’s. So when Hershey asked me to participate with their Summer Celebrations program, saying “yes” was a no-brainer. My task was to create a 4th of July dessert. I turned to my wife for help, and she had a brilliant idea: Red, White, & Blue Parfaits! You can see our shopping experience here:

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And check out the video of our assembly process:

My favorite part of the whole process is my son Benjie’s response: “I love these!”

For more great Summer Celebration ideas, check out http://summercelebrations.info.

Collective Bias provided us with a gift card to cover the costs of this experience, but the opinions are our own.

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Ben Martin Gets a #NorelcoMakeover

See the bottom of this post for a great giveaway!

A few weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to participate in Norelco’s “Makeover Your Man” promotion. I should say that my wife Jen was given the opportunity, since the reality is she was the one making over “her man”! There were two components to the makeover. First, I had to shop for, purchase, and use a new Norelco razor. Second, Jen had to come up with and execute a plan for the rest of the makeover. Jen had complete control in this second part. She almost never has the opportunity to shop for me like this, so she was excited to have the chance. The costs for the razor and the makeover were covered by Norelco and Collective Bias, but the choices and opinions are my and Jen’s own.

The first item on the list: shop for a new Norelco razor. I’ve never used a Norelco, so I needed to learn more about my options. I logged on to walmart.com to see what they had available and compare notes. There were some pretty interesting models there – the Arcitec line and the razor with Nivea lotion built in caught my attention. I headed to the local Walmart to see what could be had in person. Here’s a slideshow of that experience:

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I wasn’t thrilled with the selection and I decided to think the purchase over for a few days. After all, this razor is likely something that will be a part of my daily life for the next several years – that’s no trivial decision to make! After pondering further, I decided to go ahead and pick up one of the less expensive models whose price had just been rolled back.

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Having procured the Norelco razor, it was time to give it a test drive! I didn’t waste any time and jumped right in that night.

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I liked the results of the shave, but to really pass the test, Jen has to like the results! Let’s get her reaction:

The Norelco passed the test! So far, this has been pretty easy. The next part, though, is out of my control. It’s time for Jen to work her magic. First, let’s introduce you to the “before” Ben Martin. This is my standard dressed-down outfit – t-shirt and jeans. It’s comfortable, and it’s been my style (if you can call it that) forever. I do dress professionally for work, and I’m comfortable in those clothes, too. However, Jen has observed (and you’ll hear it in this video clip) that I don’t really have a look that falls in-between t-shirts and shirt & tie. Her mission: to find my an “in between” outfit!

Jen has her work cut out for her! I almost never shop for new clothes in a brick and mortar store. I’ve purchased most of my clothes online the past few years. But our shopping trip took us to Kohl’s and to the mall – definitely out of the norm for me! Jen and I were joined on this trip by my two oldest daughters, Emma and Grace. Their task: make sure dad looks cool. You can follow the trip in the slideshow below. One note I’ll add is that my daughters had to repeatedly plead with me not to tuck in my shirt as I was trying on clothes! Tough for this old dog to learn a new trick.

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With the shopping done, it was time to reveal my new look and see if I really had found something “in the middle.” I disappeared upstairs to try on the new duds. Grace gave me a final once-over before joining the rest of the family in the living room. Emma introduced me, and I made my appearance.

As it turns out, I really like the outfit Jen picked for me. I’m looking forward to taking her out to dinner sometime soon so I can use it! I also am liking the Norelco razor; I feel I’m getting a closer shave and it’s much more effective on my neck than anything I’ve used before. Thank you, Jen and Norelco, for this makeover!

UPDATE! We’ve got a great addition to this makeover story – one luck reader of this post will get a year’s supply of replacement heads for their Norelco razor! Just comment on this post to enter the giveaway!

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Interview with Melina Kanakaredes

One of the cool perks of being Editor of The Father Life is that, occasionally, a company will reach out to you to be a brand representative.  Hanes did just that last year, and I’ve been a member of the Hanes Comfort Crew ever since.

Last week, Hanes extended an invitation to me to interview Melina Kanakaredes, star of CSI: NY.  Melina has partnered with Hanes to help promote their Passionately Pink for the Cure project, which supports the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization in the fight against breast cancer.

The interview was great; Melina talked about her involvement with the project, the importance of involving family in helping others, and how vital it is for men to advocate for the health of the women in their lives. For me, this is a very real topic.  My wife’s mother is a breast cancer survivor, and the reality of her struggle impacted my family very powerfully.  I don’t want to see my wife or my daughters face that same fight, so supporting an effort like Passionately Pink for the Cure is a no-brainer for me.

You can get involved and make a difference, too!  Hanes has made it fun and easy to participate.  You can log on to hanespink.com and design a t-shirt for the promotion (I did this – see if you can spot mine!) and learn more about the project.   And you’ll also find Hanes Passionately Pink for the Cure product in local retailers; a portion of the proceeds of that sale will go to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

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Hello world!

For years, The Father Life has been lumped-in with blogs in general and dad blogs in particular.  It’s good company in which to be.  However, The Father Life is not a blog; it’s an online magazine.  And yet, we at The Father Life, Inc., frequently find ourselves in need of a place for blog posts.  There’s a lot that’s going on here that we want to communicate, but it doesn’t always fit the criteria that makes a good magazine article.

Thus, after many months of thinking we should do something, The Father Life, Inc. is joining the 21st century and launching an official blog.  I guess that now officially makes us bloggers.

The adventures of starting and running a magazine and the further adventures of launching other sites and online communities has been filled with ups and downs, in other words, quite The Ride.  We want to share that ride with you.  This is where you’ll find it.

Join us as we continue to press on, creating online spaces for today’s parents, especially the dads.  We’ll keep you up to date on what’s going on with The Father Life: The Men’s Magazine for Dads, DadTRENDS.com: The Best of the Dad-O-Sphere, and CamperKids.org: Connecting Families and the Great Outdoors. It’s going to be a great ride.

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