Rad Dad Box

A Gift For Dad Not In A Form of Poop: A Rad Dad Box Review

Who likes surprises??

Before becoming a dad, surprises were awesome!

Things like: tickets to see a Raptors playoff game; a new PS4 game; spontaneous weekend trips. These were awesome surprises.

Now surprises usually come in the form of me having to Oxi Clean poop smeared shirts, pants, and onesies.

The Worst Kind of Surprise
The Worst Kind of Surprise

But what if there was something that brought surprises back into a positive light?

There just might be something that turns the tide…a little.

Warning: This post is loooonnnnnnng.

So if you’re looking for the TL:DR version:

This box subscription makes a great gift if you have a dad-to-be in mind, but it could be costly for some people on a budget.

If you stumbled on here looking for a coupon code, I’ll just cut to the chase:

You can use the code “DADMODEON” for 10% off you purchase. However, I highly encourage you to read the rest of the review. ☺️

A Pleasant Surprise – Rad Dad Box

dscf0711
My Box Inspector Checking the Gift

Last month, I was generously sent a sweet gift from a crate subscription company called Rad Dad Box. They asked me if I wanted to do a review on their services and I happily agreed. In a world full of mommy blogs, it was nice for them to approach me with a product that is dad-centric and dad-friendly.

If you’re not too familiar with crate subscriptions services, essentially a company sends hand picked and curated items to subscribers on a recurring schedule. These items typically fall in line with your interests and needs. Yes, there is a subscription fee, but the value you get back typically goes beyond cost.

It’s essentially paying for a personal shopper who will deliver a nice gift of random items once a month.

What makes Rad Dad Box unique?

Their focus is on dads like you and me.

I know moms (deservingly so) get lots of attention, but once in awhile it’s nice for us dads to get pampered.

What type of pampering, you ask?

Well, to get a better idea of what you actually get, here’s a description straight from the source:

The Rad Dad Box is a monthly subscription box containing items to support new dads and their children. We include self-care products, such as soap, deodorant, and hand sanitizer, Dad-themed books and apparel, and Dad-approved toys and products for baby.

Basically, if you don’t have the time or knowhow in purchasing certain items, Rad Dad Box takes care of it for you.

I mean the lack of time and knowhow pretty much sums up my definition as a new dad, so this actually works for me.

What’s inside the box?

At the beginning of my post, I mentioned getting positive surprises. And if you do choose to subscribe, I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you. What I can tell you is that the box I received contained a combination of toys, tools, and essentials for you and your baby.

I won’t go into the items any further, but if you’re really dying to know about one of the items, I’ll reveal one at the end of this post. You’ll find my quick thoughts on one of the items included in the box. So if you really want to know, be sure to read on.

Is It Worth It?

The obvious question here is: is it worth it?

Looking at the cost of it all, here’s a breakdown directly from Rad Dad Box:

The cost of the one-time boxes starts at $20 and goes up to $60. The $60 box is available only as a one-time box. Subscription boxes start from $13/month (for the one-year subscription to Rad Dad Essentials box) and go up to $50/month (for the month-to-month Rad Dad Big Box.)

The box that was sent to me was the Big Box, which was valued at $50/month. Based on my rough estimate of the items that I received, I think it was around the same value.

Beyond trying to figure out the actual value, the thing to consider is that these items are thoughtfully picked with the baby and dad in mind, and that in itself is worth something beyond dollar figures.

Would I personally get it for myself?

Probably not – but the caveat is, I’m pretty cheap and I already have some of these items.  Had I known I would get an assortment of monthly items, I probably wouldn’t have purchased similar items on a regular basis.

Would I get this as a gift for someone?

Absolutely – and the next section explains why!

Who Should Get This?

If I had a friend or a family member who is about to become a dad, I think this would make an awesome gift.

This would also make a great pooled gift from a group of coworkers, if they wanted to chip-in and buy something nice for a for a staff member going on parental leave.

Baby Billboard
Baby Billboard

There’s so much stuff out there to buy for new parents, it can get overwhelming and often times people just don’t know what to get. I remember a few years back when I was tasked with buying a shower gift. I ended up buying a book for the person. I doubt the person even read it, and even if they did, I’m sure they forgot who got it for them as a gift.

At least with the Rad Dad Box subscription, you know you’ll get a variety of items that have been carefully thought out with the dad and baby in mind.

There’s also something nice about receiving a gift that keeps on coming.

Final Thoughts

Being a new dad can be tough.

There are so many things that we have to figure out on the fly, and we are constantly bombarded with new challenges of taking care of a new kid and being a good spouse.

With this new role as dad, we may even feel trapped or isolated. I remember there were times where I needed to take a break and step away from things, and simply think positive.

Besides, I’m tired of mom getting all the attention…it’s about time us dads got a nice gift.

I’m only kidding.

Please don’t put me on a stake.

But seriously though, what’s more fun than getting a surprise gift every once in awhile, not in the form of poop?

I’m not saying getting a box subscription will automatically make being a new dad easier, but having something to look forward certainly helps get your mind out of a rut caused by sleep deprivation.

With that in mind, if you are seeking to purchase a gift for a dad-to be or current dad, I think the Rad Dad Box subscription service would make a wonderful and thoughtful gift.

10% Discount Code

If you really are interested in getting the Rad Dad Box, why not get it at 10% off? Use the code: “DADMODEON” for 10% off your purchase!

I do not receive commission or any monetary return if you use this code, nor am I affiliated with Rad Dad Box.  I’m simply putting this code out here so that you can save a little money to spend on other things like, potato chips or Netflix.

The Rad Dad Box Item Reveal

If you’ve made it this far into the post, kudos!

As I mentioned in my review, I will reveal and give my thoughts on one of the items.

Without further ado my favourite item from the box was…

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SOAP

SOAP

Yep, soap.

I know it might seem a bit strange, but I don’t remember the last time I was gifted soap. Heck I don’t remember any time that I deliberately purchased soup.

Growing up, I just used whatever soup was available. And even now, I just use whatever’s on sale.

As much as I love smelling like Terry Crews, I actually prefer something a bit more unique than Old Spice. The “suds! Bath and Body” soap bar that came from the box was something that I thought was a great item to receive.

Maybe this is a little TMI, but when you’re a dad, the toilet and shower is your sanctuary. Sometimes you just need that tiny escape. What better way to heighten your escape-imagery, than to use a uniquely scented bath and body soap?

I won’t get into too much of the smell, but the soap has a subtle tea leaves and wood smell that I really liked.

So yes, soap.

santa

Easing Into the Holiday Spirit: Santa And His Super Hero

Since diving into this Dad blogging universe, I’ve been given incredible opportunities to work with different companies and dads to either promote or spread their messaging.

Often times, I am fortunate enough to be sent items to either test or keep. This is something that I am tremendously grateful for, and it is something that was totally unexpected when I first started this whole dad blog thing.

But sometimes, it is not just about getting tangible things – sometimes what I get out of connecting with others goes beyond that.

This is something that goes beyond.

santa

Earlier this week, a dad reached out through the site and asked if I wanted to spread the word on a book that he and his son wrote together. As a now avid book reader to my daughter, how could I say no to that?

In speaking to Keven, he gave me a bit more background on what he was doing with this book, and it was something that went beyond just promoting a story. Net proceeds of the sale of his book will go to the BC Burn Fund – which is pretty awesome.

After we spoke Keven had sent me the rest of the details of this campaign which you can find at the end of this post. Feel free to check it out, as 1), the story is pretty darn cute; and 2) it’s for a great great cause.

I have to admit, I’m too keen on celebrating Christmas this early in the year. But spreading the word really warms up the Grinch inside of me.

🙂

Here’s Keven’s email and the full details of his book Santa and His Super Hero:

My website is http://www.santaandhissuperhero.ca  .  I have a ”School” page on there that is actually the give-away page. http://www.santaandhissuperhero.ca/schools  The intent of this page is for schools to give the book to their students as a gift.  After filling out the form it will take you to another page that will have the link for the Kindle version as well as the downloadable PDF.  This page will be completed by the end of the day.  My goal is to give away more than 1 million copies next weekend of the eBook.

The books available at CreateSpace at http://bit.ly/SantasBook.  This is the preferred method of distribution as this will give the BC Burn Fund a bit more money.  I also have a promo Code that is valid thru December 15th for 10% off the printed version of the book.  That promo code is KJZ82H62

The Kindle version is available on Amazon.ca at http://bit.ly/SantaBookCanada  The eBook will be free from November 25th to November 29th.  The price of that book is $6.70CDN

Both the Kindle version and the printed book are also available on Amazon.com at http://SantaBookUSA  Again the eBook will be free from November 25th to November 29th.  During that time, Amazon will also be giving out a number of books randomly to shoppers who get the printed copy.

The price on Amazon.com for the eBook is $4.95 and the printed book is $10.95.

 

FrontShot

Why Every Parent Needs a GoPro

This is not an endorsement, I have not been provided any product or monetary incentive to write this. This is simply a dad having an epiphany on the value of recording video of his ever growing baby, and I just so happen to use a GoPro Hero.

 

I suppose the title of this post should be “Why Every Parent Needs to Video Record their Kid”, but that for some reason sounds a little pervy – so here’s Why Every Parent Needs a GoPro.

Front ShotSince the start of summer, I have ventured into the world of video making. No, I have not become a vlogger – my life is far too uninteresting and I do not have the charisma and youthful energy for it. But instead I have made an effort in recording and editing home videos of my family.

I already capture my day-to-day life as a new dad through my instagram feed and this blog. But I discovered recently the wonders of recording video – and that got me realizing that this is something all new moms and dads should do. I don’t intend to make this post a GoPro Hero review, but because it’s been what I’ve been using – so I’ll throw in some thoughts about it.

I purchased the base model GoPro Hero for my recordings and obviously it doesn’t have to be the GoPro brand. In fact it can be of any action-cam variety like Sony’s FDR line or the Xiaomi Yi cameras. It really doesn’t matter the brand, and  I think  most parents who are looking into buy a camera would do enough homework ahead of time.

For instance, my three major criteria for buying an action camera in general are simplicity, affordability, and durability. The GoPro Hero that I purchased just so happened to fit these requirements.

Simplicity

I would say I’m pretty tech savvy. But if I wasn’t, I would still be able to figure out how to use this camera. 

Some would say missing LCD, I would say calculated simplicity
Some would say missing LCD, I would say Calculated Simplicity

And I think that’s the whole point of these action camera, they want to be as user-friendly as possible so that you can focus on shooting.

Although for the uninitiated, I did find for some people (hi wife!) that they pointed the camera the wrong way the first time they used it- which naturally lead to some hilarious close up videos. But truthfully, it would take a regular person maybe 10 minutes to figure out how to turn it on, record, and turn off.

Straight off the bat, you’ll notice that the GoPro Hero does not have a LCD display to view your videos. At first I thought would be disappointed without this feature, but I quickly realized that by not having a display, it allowed me to focus on recording my baby while keeping the camera steady.

With an ultra wide-angle lens shooting at 170 degrees, all I really need to do is to ensure the camera is centred. I simply learned to trust that the camera would capture what I want it to capture – and for the most part it does it’s job.

More importantly, by a simple press of a button, I am able to quickly record whatever is happening.  This has been especially useful, as I been capturing all of those “first-time” moments with my daughter.

Durability and Handling

I’ve taken the GoPro underwater in a lake, let the sun and wind blow at it while driving 100 km/hour, I’ve dropped, slammed, and kicked the device and it’s still going strong. In a bigger endurance test, the GoPro has even been pitted against my 10 month old’s mouth.

The Ultimate Endurance Test
The Ultimate Endurance Test: A 10 Month Old

This speaks to the purpose of this device. In contrast, I have an enormous Galaxy Note 5 as a phone, and to add to my struggle: I have butter fingers. Pulling out my phone with one hand and recording a video sideways is pretty difficult, and often times I risk dropping the phone. With having a dedicated device to record videos while I’m chasing a baby around, I can afford to fumble and drop the GoPro without worrying about a cracked screen.

The ability to start recording with a press of a button is refreshingly simple, and in my dad realm, I need all the simplicity in life, with how complicated life can be as a new dad.

I Got Butter Fingers
I Got Butter Fingers

Affordability

Yes, this is was an older model, and but I still think I got a pretty good deal for it at under $150 CAD. For it’s price, if I ever did break it, or lose it, I won’t be losing too much sleep over it – compared to say losing my X100T, or my Canon DSLR.

These kids are expensive – and we parents need to be fiscally responsible, I simply can’t afford to spend too much on a video camera, and the price point actually fits my needs. In other words: I’m a cheap dad.

By nature of this camera being a base model, it actually works to my advantage, as when it’s time to edit these videos, my three year old computer has enough resources to actually edit the videos at a decent pace.

The newer models record in 4K with image stabilization etc…but if I were to realistically edit those type of videos, I would immediately need a computer upgrade to keep up with the specs. Right now, my videos are recorded at 720P 60FPS and my system handles it just fine.

In an ideal world I would love to record and capture at the highest resolution – but again, I’m trying to be a fiscally responsible parent here. Plus, I don’t think my wife would appreciate me falling down the gear and gadget rabbit hole of… “well now that I have this, I need that to work with it… then I’ll need to buy that!

She ain’t buying it, and therefore neither will I.  😅

Learning Stuff: Video Editing 

The superwide lens means, distorted but unique captures.
The super-wide lens means, distorted but unique captures.

Another totally unexpected thing with recording home videos was the amount of knowledge I gained from trying to figure how to edit the footage. If you were to tell me a year ago that I would know how to produce a short movie with video effects, text, and music synced along the way, I would not have believed you. The fact that I was able to learn and develop video editing skills was pretty awesome. In a generation dominated by YouTube and Snapchat – videos are here to stay. So why not pick up on these skills, so that you can at least try to help your kids when they eventually try to create something with videos down the line?

Granted my baby is only 10 months old, by the time she’s old enough to do this kind of stuff, I’m pretty sure she’ll be doing holodeck-like VR stuff. And I’ll be the cranky old man saying stuff like, “Back in my day,  we recorded in 4K!!”

Conclusion

I honestly did not think I would ever become a “video” person. Whenever I watched videos of people I thought, “Who the heck cares about this bozo in front of the camera?” But you know what? Now I care about the bozo and the baby bozo in front of the camera, and videos have become a thing when it comes to family outings and excursions. I love the ability of reliving the day, or better yet compare my baby’s cheek sizes from one movie to another.

I also get the added bonus of having the future of option comparing my receding hairline from year-to-year. The way I see it is, I might as well put in some work now, so that I won’t regret not doing it.

Hairline aside, I feel very fortunate to realize the benefits of video recording these little and big moments, cause even now I get to compare how fast my daughter is growing up.

So if you’re a parent who is on the fence about whether or not you should do home videos of your kids, there’s no better time to start now. Pick up a camera and start making movies, cause before you know it your kids will grow up faster than your hairline recedes.

Work Sample:

I guess it wouldn’t be a post about a video camera, without video. Here’s proof of the video editing stuff that I was talking about:

 

Feeding time is extra cool when she busts out these moves. 😂

A video posted by Ingus (@snappingus) on

Just look at how cool this thing looks.

A Dad’s Review of the FujiFilm x100T: Great Camera, Just Not Great With Kids

This is a long overdue review of the FujiFilm x100T from a dad’s perspective. I’ve had this camera for well over a year and a half now, using it for street photography, landscape, portraits, and basically as an everyday camera. But with the arrival of our daughter, she became the centre of my focus (#dadjoke), and this camera has become the go to device when it comes to documenting my tiny human.

I know on the Web there are numerous x100T reviews out there, but how many of them have parents in mind?

So for the tiny population out there who wondered whether the Fujifilm x100T a good camera to take pictures of their kids, I’ll try to answer that question with this post.

For those who don’t like to read here’s the TL:DR:

If your main goal is to take exceptional pictures of your kids straight out of camera: get this camera.  

But for the price you are paying for subpar autofocus, and unforgiving video capabilities, it is hard for me to recommend this camera to dad’s and mom’s out there who want to capture those precious moments.

For the rest of you who wants a little more detail, read on and I’ll explain why I feel this way by highlighting three points about this camera.

First, confession time: I bought this camera because of how flipping cool it looked. I mean just look at how well it accessorizes!

I remember browsing through someone’s instagram feed one day and the original Fujifilm x100 caught my attention. I thought to myself, “Damn that camera looks cool. I must have it.”

Basically it was the poor-man’s Leica. But at over $1000, it’s still a hefty price for a fixed lens camera. In fact when I was talking to another dad about cameras and told him I shoot with a x100T, he quipped:

“Isn’t that camera really expensive for a fixed lens camera?”

I remember looking at him with a blank and defeated look and simply said:

“Yeah….so..?

This was yet another example, of my lifelong pursuit of being a closet hipster. But despite that, I’ve stuck with this camera and have not regretted the purchase of it one bit.

Just something for your to consider I would consider myself as a user with some pre-existing photography knowledge and technical know-how. My photography history includes shooting with various point-and-shoot cameras as well as film and DSLR equipment. 

 

Autofocus

The autofocus on this camera is okay at best. In low light or really bright light I find that it struggles a bit with fast focusing. With a kid constantly moving all over the place the focus can be a bit frustrating, especially if you miss that “perfect” shot of your little one. Comparing to my DSLR (Canon 6D), it’s just simply not as quick and accurate.

Perhaps a firmware upgrade could correct this, but you’ll find that you’ll be missing a few shots because the autofocus is simply not there yet on this mirrorless camera.

The AF can get frustrating sometimes, and it takes a little getting used to
The AF can get frustrating sometimes, and it takes a little getting used to

 

Video Capabilities

I’m not a big video guy. But with the recent purchase of a GoPro Hero I’ve been pulled into the video side of capturing moments. With the x100T, the video quality looks quite nice, capable of recording at full 1080p HD at 60FPS. However, what killed it for me was a lack of refocusing option when recording.

You're better off with scenic and landscape videos than to constantly have to refocus on an active kid
You’re better off with scenic and landscape videos than to constantly have to refocus on an active kid

As I mentioned above with the photo taking autofocus, it’s very difficult to keep focus on a moving target and the video is practically unusable because of this, unless you get really good at manual focus. But seriously, which parent has time to sacrifice both their hands on using a device? We need that extra hand to do stuff like catching baby or blocking their barf and pee.

This then brings me to the next point…

 

Size and Handling

This camera is solidly built, but if you’re thinking of one-handing this thing, you’ll need a thumb grip and proper strap. The feel can get a little slippery and you would hate to lose your grip on such an expensive camera. While chasing around a kid, not having a proper handle on the camera is a disaster waiting to happen.

Nothing comical about the price of this camera at $1400CAD
Nothing comical about the price of this camera at $1400CAD

 

Imagine Quality

This is where it matters most for photography aficionados: the quality.

When you get the right light, the IQ is quite spectacular
When you get the right light, the IQ is quite spectacular

And boy do the photos jump out in a great way. If you’re able to mix the right light with your pictures, some shots are pretty amazing. At the end of the day, if you simply care about taking great shots straight out if the camera, you could probably overlook all of the other faults that I’ve mentioned above.

And that’s the beauty of this camera, and it’s a luxury that I have having purchased this prior to having my daughter.

Would I have spent so much for this type of camera simply to take pictures of my kid?

Probably not.

But if you’re parent who enjoys photography as much as taking great photos of your kid, then this camera might be something to consider.

 

Conclusion

I really really enjoy shooting with this camera as a photography fanatic simple because of the images that come out of this straight out of the camera.

But now as a dad chasing around a nine month old, I really need something that is quick and easy. With over a year of practice, I’ve slowly begun to know about the nuisances and subtleties of the camera to get those great shots of my daughter.

But most parents do not have the time or resources to do so. At close to $1400 CAD, this is a price most parents are not willing to pay, despite the images quality.

This is why I cannot recommend the Fujifilm x100T as a parent-friendly camera to take pictures of their kids.

 

Dusty Sad PS4

A Gamer Dad’s Worst Fear: No More Gaming

Confession time. While my wife was pregnant, I secretly promised myself that I would never change who I was at my core: A Gamer.

I thought, “Yeah, I’ll be a full-time Super-dad and I’ll do it all! But when the baby and mom sleeps, I’ll still have my time to play games.

Ha…yeah that didn’t work out. As I’ve written in the past, once you become a dad, there are so many assumptions that go out the door.

My naivety coupled with my lifelong relationship with videogames led me to believe that I would be able to do it all.  Little did I know, my relationship with videogames would eventually come to an end.

You see, videogames and I go way back.  From the early days of the Game & Watch Octopus handheld game giving me blisters, to me pouring months worth of hours into Final Fantasy, Skyrim, and Call of Duty – video games have been a big part of my life.

Why am I beaming? SNES for Christmas, that's why
Why am I beaming? SNES for Christmas, that’s why.

It is simply in my DNA.

A little fun fact about me, I actually tried to apply to working at EB Games three separate times in my lifetime, and each time I was unsuccessful. To me, I thought it was a dream job for me, but in hindsight it was probably a good thing that I didn’t get hired: It’s like a diabetic working at Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory – not a good combination.

Give it up Dad. Give it up.
Give it up Dad. Give it up.

I wasn’t ready to let it go. In fact, when the baby arrived, I still tried to sneak in a few minutes of Witcher 3 and NBA 2k16 between her naps.

But things felt different. I was playing, but it just wasn’t the same. It could be the weight of the world bearing down on me as a new dad, or it could be that I was sleep deprived.

Gamer Dad and baby
That’s me playing Witcher 3 while my 2 month old naps.

Whatever it was, it just wasn’t the same and I was shocked to believe that I was completely fine with it, but I still wanted to make it work.

You know when someone includes their childhood best-friend in their wedding party, even though they’ve clearly drifted apart? It felt like that, but with video games. Here was my first childhood friend and me desperately trying to hold onto something to keep the memories alive.

Before, I would feel antsy, or even grumpy if I didn’t get the chance to turn on the Playstation for a few days. But now, it doesn’t seem to matter to me anymore if I turn on the system. If you don’t count that week of Pokemon Go, I’ve been gaming free for the past four months. My PS4 and WiiU are no better than Ikea furniture props.

I know there are many dad’s out there who give up hobbies once they have kids, but this was something I never thought I can give up so easily. But it was easy.

Perhaps I knew that in balancing a full-time job, housework, dad blogging, and staying healthy, something had to be sacrificed, and so my childhood friend was let go.

I spend every free minute I have around my daughter when she’s awake, and giving up gaming became a no brainer.

If you were to tell me a year ago that I would willingly stop gaming and still enjoy life, I would think that you were nuts.

Perhaps one day, we will re-kindle our friendship and it’ll just be like old times. But for now, instead of sitting in front of a screen levelling up my character, I watch my daughter levelling up every day right before my eyes.

 

And I have no problem with that as I relish every single moment of it. 🙂

The #NES controller may be my first love in life, but this kid quickly replaced it the moment she stepped into our lives. For the past 8 months video games have been collecting dust and she’s been my go to when it comes to spending any free time I have. That said, she’s still only second to my wife of course. ☺️

A photo posted by ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀Ingus (@snappingus) on