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[GIFTED] Heels Higher Than Your Standards Tank Top

Are you surrounded by idiots who constantly settle in life?  Whether they're settling for a shitty job, shitty boyfriend, shitty bars, shitty food—their standards are decidedly l-o-w.  Let them know that you're onto their subpar lifestyle by wearing this Heels Higher Than Your Standards Tank Top ($39, Fifty5 Clothing).  It would make great attire for a family reunion, high school reunion, get together with slobby college friends, and the like.


[SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION] 14 Statement Socks for Fall

Look mom, I wrote about socks.  Listen up: if you (or your boyfriend) even have your PINKY on the pulse, you know that statement socks are BIG nowadays, which means you’ve probably got a drawer full of striped statement socks.  This Fall, though, it’s time to get a little more brave with your sock game.  So, I put together a round-up on Made Man of 14 non-striped socks that will surely make a statement this Fall.  Read it here.


[GIFTED] Grass is Greener Picnic Blanket

Did you know that August is National Picnic Month, according to some PR person who emailed me?  You didn't?  Well, it IS.  Of course, August was probably designated "National Picnic Month" by the same people who came up with "National S'more Day" or "National Ice Cream Day" or anything else that was thought up by Susan in marketing to sell more product.  Nevermind the fact that August is the hottest month of the summer and it's really less than desirable to sit outside in the sun with no AC but WHATEVER.

The POINT is that it's already August and the summer months are WANING.  If you want to get some quality outside time so you can ensure that you're not hanging on to your Vitamin D deficiency that you got during the Endless Winter of 2014, you better pack a picnic and haul ass to the nearest park.  Bring this Grass is Greener Picnic Blanket ($45, Kate Spade), which is a blanket printed with a picture of grass, allowing you to pretend that you're actually sitting in the ACTUAL grass, which is impossible to actually do if you don't want to leave the park with a grass-stained, damp ass (you don't).  


[GIFTED] Shinola Leather Baseballs

So you're dating someone who's really into baseball.  Like, REALLY into baseball.  This is unfortunate for you, because watching an entire baseball game is like sitting through six pointless marketing meetings IN A ROW. 

Somehow, though, he always convinces you to go to a game, mainly appealing to your desire to sit outside and stuff your face with beer and hot dogs.  You trek out to the ballpark, which is usually at least 17 hours away from your home (give or take).  At first, everything is glorious.  You're outside, you've got a beer in-hand, you're eating high-sodium foodstuffs.  Then, you remember that baseball is THE MOST BORING THING ON EARTH.  You remember that you HATE baseball.  You try to distract yourself by Instagramming photos of the field.  Baseball fields are Instagram gold.  This takes up exactly 2 minutes.  You try to amuse yourself by judging players by their at-bat music.  This is only semi-amusing. 

You try to convince your boyfriend to leave during the 7th inning stretch.  NO DICE.  It's late and you're tired and you start to remember your 17 hour commute back home.  This is what you look like.  You stop rooting for a specific team.  You just want SOMEONE to win so you can leave.  You regret not drinking more—maybe this would be more fun if you were supremely intoxicated.  You get into a fight with your boyfriend because you wanted to leave 3 hours ago and he wants to stay to see the end of the game which will be over in approximately 2 more hours.  You convince him to leave 30 minutes later.  You sit in silence on your 17 hour commute back home.  You never want to be "taken out to the ball game" again.   

Then, you remember that this is supposed to be a joyful pastime, America's pastime, something your boyfriend really enjoys, and that you should have just sucked it up and maybe sucked down a few more beers and Dip N Dots with a smile on your face.  As a make-up gift, get him one of these Shinola Leather Baseballs ($40, Shinola) that wll look handsome on his desk or on a shelf in his apartment.  And next time, just tell him to go to the game with a friend. 


[GIFTED] Hellfire Club Bloody Mary Mix

There are people who passively drink Bloody Marys at brunch every now and then because they like the idea of a Bloody Mary.  Then, there are people who actually LIKE Bloody Marys.  These are the people who are forever chasing the dragon of a good bloody mary because true Bloody Mary afficionados know that there are SO many things that can go wrong when someone makes a Bloody Mary. 

1. How it's served.  Most people will do the right thing and give you a Bloody Mary that's made-to-order.  But some places serve a Bloody Mary from a ready-made batch that's been hanging out in a pitcher full of ice for 45 minutes—typically seen at all-you-can-drink brunch places.  Who wants a watered-down Bloody Mary? Nobody. 

2. The mix.  Some prefer thin, some prefer thick.  Some prefer chunks of horseradish and fresh cracked black pepper, some prefer it smooth and factory-made.  Whatever your preference, you're pretty much guaranteed to be disappointed at least half the times you order one because the bartender's preference on mix won't match your own. 

3. Spiciness.  Same with the mix—some want their Bloody Mary to just have a tiny kick, others want to set their mouths on fire.  

4. Acoutrements.  As the artisanal cocktail movement has reached its fever pitch, bartenders have been given the freedom to serve you a cocktail with a bunch of bullshit sticking out of it.  A Bloody Mary has always been the perfect cocktail for doing just this, because it's probably the heartiest drink you can order outside of a milkshake.  But let's cool it, okay?  Can I eat a stalk of rosemary?  No.  A chunk of pepperoni?  YOU'RE DISGUSTING.  Celery, bro.  Stick to the celery.   

I think I've belabored the point enough—Bloody Marys are complicated mistresses.  That's why you always want to start with a quality base, like what you'll get with Hellfire Club Bloody Mary Mix ($28, Arrowhead Farms).  Buy this for yourself, bring it to a friend's BBQ along with a bottle of vodka—it's a party in a bottle.