The Bull Bay

Magnolia Grandiflora

The Bull Bay: Gift Guide

I’ve been pretty annoyed by some of the “gift guides” for men that I’ve seen in magazines and on the web lately. If you follow my personal twitter, you my have seen a tweet about a popular magazine’s recent guide and award list being a little absurd.

My goal is to one day open my own men’s store and I have a running log of items that that fit my criteria for purchases and would sell (in no order and yes, I know they tie back into each other):

1) It must be affordable - I’m not going to put myself in a bad financial situation for a fashion/lifestyle purchase. There are too many quality items at a good price if you take the time to look for them.

2) It must be quality - I have never been able to understand why people would buy a product that is made with lower grade fabric or poor stitching. We’re men, we should by buy timeless items that will last for many years.

3) Clothing and accessories must be timeless - If I think something is trendy, I will pass on it unless it is very inexpensive. It’s not worth losing closet space for an item that will only be worn once or twice before it heads to a donation box.

4) It must have a story - You won’t likely catch me shopping at a department store or a big-box. I’m sure there are some great products sold there but I don’t support that mentality. I grew up on a family farm and I understand the love that goes into small batch and locally sourced products.

5) It must be something that can be used frequently or treasured forever- Items must fit into one of these two categories. If the item doesn’t fit into one or the other, the recipient might as well sell it on ebay the day after Christmas.

So, there you go. This is my checklist for items that I would carry in my shop and for items that I’ll suggest you consider when buying gifts for men. I’m not sure how many items that I’ll post but if you want to explain your scenario and get a specific suggestion, feel free to ask.

Click here to see more Gift Guide posts.

The Bull Bay Gift Guide: Zkano Organic Socks


As with most small manufacturing towns, Fort Payne, Alabama stood back and watched as the sock industry and the jobs of many residents moved away due to outsourcing. Going from one of the largest sock producing cities in the country to a town struggling to make it wasn’t easy on any of the residents.

Gina Locklear hated what she saw happening to her hometown and had an idea that would bring her back to her family business. She took her passions for organic living, the environment, her community and fashion and started her own sock company that manufactured organic socks.  Her brainchild, Zkano has continued to grow over the last couple of years and she’s recently incorporated men’s fashion socks into the regular production run.

I’m a firm believer in paying a little extra for good socks to take care of your feet. Gina’s socks might not be from the bargain bin at the big box but they are well worth the cost.  She’s continuing to move the company forward and will be bringing more styles to the table in the near future.

I know you’ve been told to not buy socks but you can trust me on this one.  The colors and styles featured on the site are quality and will not disappoint. If you are still a little worried, look at her athletic socks.  You’ll find a solid gift for whoever you’re buying for.

http://www.zkano.com/

One of the gift guides I look forward to is the Sartorial Advent Calendar from A Headlong Dive.  I didn’t follow his blog last year and saw his first post after I had started The Bull Bay Gift Guide.  There may be some items that I share from his blog and I’m starting with this one.
Oak Street Bootmakers - Fine Footwear Care Kit
Click over and take a look at the current calendar and the calendar from last year.
Click here to see more Gift Guide posts.
aheadlongdive:

Sartorial Advent Calendar ’11 Day 2 | Oak St. Bootmakers Footwear Care Kit

One of the gift guides I look forward to is the Sartorial Advent Calendar from A Headlong Dive.  I didn’t follow his blog last year and saw his first post after I had started The Bull Bay Gift Guide.  There may be some items that I share from his blog and I’m starting with this one.

Oak Street Bootmakers - Fine Footwear Care Kit

Click over and take a look at the current calendar and the calendar from last year.

Click here to see more Gift Guide posts.

aheadlongdive:

Sartorial Advent Calendar ’11 Day 2 | Oak St. Bootmakers Footwear Care Kit

The Bull Bay Gift Guide: No. 5 Cinch Belt by Col. Littleton


A number of the gift guides that I’ve seen feature belts.  And most of those feature a belt with a hook type fastener.  I like the hoof pick and pelican hook belts but when I ran across the Col.’s No. 5, I knew I wanted to share it.
A good belt will last upwards of ten years if proper care is taken.  The most common issues that I’ve seen with belts is that the owner will need to move to another hole with the buckle because of a need for increased length.  
The No. 5 tackles this issue in two ways - the Cinch fastener removes the primary cause of wear by taking away the buckle. No buckle means no wearing of the belt by the metal and no stretching of the leather. The belt provides room for growth by incorporating a two prong adjustment that will distribute any pressure in a way that will decrease isolated wear.
Colonel Littleton’s operation has a great story that you can find here. He started out with a vision for better men’s products and has continued to watch his company grow to meet the needs of customers.
In all honesty, the No. 5 is a little more expensive than what I’d typically pay or suggest anyone else pay for a belt. But the more I weighed the benifits of the belt’s features, I came to the conclusion that the price isn’t only justified but it’s a pretty good deal.
You can find the No. 5 Cinch Belt on Col. Littleton’s website. I’d suggest dropping a few extra bucks on the personalized plate with initials. 
Click here to see more Gift Guide posts.

The Bull Bay Gift Guide: No. 5 Cinch Belt by Col. Littleton

A number of the gift guides that I’ve seen feature belts.  And most of those feature a belt with a hook type fastener.  I like the hoof pick and pelican hook belts but when I ran across the Col.’s No. 5, I knew I wanted to share it.

A good belt will last upwards of ten years if proper care is taken.  The most common issues that I’ve seen with belts is that the owner will need to move to another hole with the buckle because of a need for increased length.  

The No. 5 tackles this issue in two ways - the Cinch fastener removes the primary cause of wear by taking away the buckle. No buckle means no wearing of the belt by the metal and no stretching of the leather. The belt provides room for growth by incorporating a two prong adjustment that will distribute any pressure in a way that will decrease isolated wear.

Colonel Littleton’s operation has a great story that you can find here. He started out with a vision for better men’s products and has continued to watch his company grow to meet the needs of customers.

In all honesty, the No. 5 is a little more expensive than what I’d typically pay or suggest anyone else pay for a belt. But the more I weighed the benifits of the belt’s features, I came to the conclusion that the price isn’t only justified but it’s a pretty good deal.

You can find the No. 5 Cinch Belt on Col. Littleton’s website. I’d suggest dropping a few extra bucks on the personalized plate with initials. 

Click here to see more Gift Guide posts.

Red Clay Soul x Smart Turnout - 
I’ve been following Red Clay Soul for a while and we share a number of the same views on clothing. I’ll endorse any of his posts but you might be interested in his post on Smart Turnout.  They’ve teamed up and are providing a discount code to RCS readers.
Read his post here.
And browse the Smart Turnout website here. You’ll likely be surprised by the number of products and color combinations available.
Be sure to follow RCS on Tumblr, Twitter and add the blog to your reader.
Click here to see more Gift Guide posts.

Red Clay Soul x Smart Turnout

I’ve been following Red Clay Soul for a while and we share a number of the same views on clothing. I’ll endorse any of his posts but you might be interested in his post on Smart Turnout.  They’ve teamed up and are providing a discount code to RCS readers.

Read his post here.

And browse the Smart Turnout website here. You’ll likely be surprised by the number of products and color combinations available.

Be sure to follow RCS on Tumblr, Twitter and add the blog to your reader.

Click here to see more Gift Guide posts.

The Bull Bay Gift Guide: Bow Ties by Starboard Clothing Company
The founder of Starboard Clothing Company, Ben Meredith started making bow ties to save a little on new bows and keep a fresh supply for work.  Coworkers and friends started to take notice and planted the seed that would grow into Starboard’s classic and unique product line.
We first crossed paths on twitter through our affinity for bow ties. Not too long ago, there weren’t that many of us that wore bows almost exclusively so we stuck together to push our agenda.  As the number of bow tie supporters has grown, we’ve continued to bounce ideas off each other and I’ve enjoyed getting to know him.
The company is based in his hometown of Annapolis, Maryland but Ben established his connection to the deep south while working on his undergrad at a historic college on Florida’s first coast. 
Check out Starboard’s Winter Line and use the code "December15" for a 15% discount on your purchase.
Click here to see more Gift Guide posts.

The Bull Bay Gift Guide: Bow Ties by Starboard Clothing Company

The founder of Starboard Clothing Company, Ben Meredith started making bow ties to save a little on new bows and keep a fresh supply for work.  Coworkers and friends started to take notice and planted the seed that would grow into Starboard’s classic and unique product line.

We first crossed paths on twitter through our affinity for bow ties. Not too long ago, there weren’t that many of us that wore bows almost exclusively so we stuck together to push our agenda.  As the number of bow tie supporters has grown, we’ve continued to bounce ideas off each other and I’ve enjoyed getting to know him.

The company is based in his hometown of Annapolis, Maryland but Ben established his connection to the deep south while working on his undergrad at a historic college on Florida’s first coast. 

Check out Starboard’s Winter Line and use the code "December15" for a 15% discount on your purchase.

Click here to see more Gift Guide posts.

The Bull Bay Gift Guide: God and Football by Chad Gibbs
I’m not really sure of exact time but in 1999, I met an Alabama fan that I actually liked.  I was at church on a Wednesday night and someone introduced me to this curly haired guy named Chad.  I’ll admit that I had my reservations about being friends with an Alabama fan that was was a student at Auburn. But as I got to know him, I figured out that he was the real deal.
Chad’s the kind of guy that can tell a story of an event in such a way that the other people who witnessed it first-hand will learn more and pick up new details that they didn’t even know they missed. There are so many stories about Chad that I share with people when I’m telling them about this book — his introducing me to Mitch Hedburg, the time he pulled out a VHS labeled “Chad’s first Bama game” and made us watch it, the game where he told me he had converted to an Auburn fan — it’s hard to pick just one to discribe Chad or his quirks. I never get tired of him telling stories about a trip he’s planning or his take on his latest endeavor.
There is so much already out there about this book and how great it is so I’ll save you from having to read all the great things I have to say about it.  What you need to know is that Chad took a trip to all of the SEC schools during the 2009 football season and attempted to observe how Christian fans tried to reconcile their love for football and their love for God.  The result was an insightful, humorous and honest look at who we are for twelve Saturdays during the fall and how it affects who we are for the rest of the year.
There are a number of ways you can pick up a copy of God and Football; you can check at your local bookstore or get it at Amazon.  Chad has also authorized me to sell a few signed copies and you can pick those up here. The first two people to buy from me can get a signed copy for a discounted rate (the rest of you have to pay for my gas to pick them up from Chad’s house).
If you get some free time, you can learn more about Chad by visiting his website.
Click here to see more Gift Guide posts.

The Bull Bay Gift Guide: God and Football by Chad Gibbs

I’m not really sure of exact time but in 1999, I met an Alabama fan that I actually liked.  I was at church on a Wednesday night and someone introduced me to this curly haired guy named Chad.  I’ll admit that I had my reservations about being friends with an Alabama fan that was was a student at Auburn. But as I got to know him, I figured out that he was the real deal.

Chad’s the kind of guy that can tell a story of an event in such a way that the other people who witnessed it first-hand will learn more and pick up new details that they didn’t even know they missed. There are so many stories about Chad that I share with people when I’m telling them about this book — his introducing me to Mitch Hedburg, the time he pulled out a VHS labeled “Chad’s first Bama game” and made us watch it, the game where he told me he had converted to an Auburn fan — it’s hard to pick just one to discribe Chad or his quirks. I never get tired of him telling stories about a trip he’s planning or his take on his latest endeavor.

There is so much already out there about this book and how great it is so I’ll save you from having to read all the great things I have to say about it.  What you need to know is that Chad took a trip to all of the SEC schools during the 2009 football season and attempted to observe how Christian fans tried to reconcile their love for football and their love for God.  The result was an insightful, humorous and honest look at who we are for twelve Saturdays during the fall and how it affects who we are for the rest of the year.

There are a number of ways you can pick up a copy of God and Football; you can check at your local bookstore or get it at Amazon.  Chad has also authorized me to sell a few signed copies and you can pick those up here. The first two people to buy from me can get a signed copy for a discounted rate (the rest of you have to pay for my gas to pick them up from Chad’s house).

If you get some free time, you can learn more about Chad by visiting his website.

Click here to see more Gift Guide posts.

The Bull Bay Gift Guide: Antique Textbooks

While I was a student at Auburn, I started reading some work from a pastor in England from the late 1800’s that I thoroughly enjoyed.  In hopes of finding more of his works for less than I could purchase them online, I search on ebay and was startled to find that there were listings for early editions of his works for a reasonable price.

This was somewhat of a gateway for me into my collection of antique books. I fell in love with books that had character and carried the marks of many people that had gone before me.  One of my most prized groupings of books were textbooks that belonged to a civil engineering student at Auburn in the 50’s (also my major).

These books now sit on a shelf behind my desk at work and occasionally provide me with information I need for work and images of how things were done many years ago.  And the best part is that the six books that belonged to the former student cost less than $30 shipped.

I hadn’t thought about books as a gift until a couple of years ago. The first time my stepmother saw my collection (which now spans several topics), I explained to her why I appreciated all of the books. Each book not only carried a story in typeface and illustrations, but also told a story of the previous owners.  When Christmas came around, my gift from her was a three volume set of botanical books for that portion of my collection.

My charge to you is to take a topic that you know will relate to the recipient and look for a book that will provide a glimpse back at how that topic was addressed years ago. Speaking for a number of my friends, we all place great value in our antique books, often times more so than our newer books. 

Click here to see more Gift Guide posts.