Category Archives: Review

Review: Ridge Wallet

My wife didn’t realize it at the time… but when the folks at Ridge Wallet sent me one of their Aluminum Gunmetal wallets to review she would end up loving it as much as I do.

You see, my previous wallet was a brown, bulky, leather one that was crammed with cards, receipts, and maybe a little cash. I rarely had it on me mainly because it was too uncomfortable to carry.

If I put it in my back pocket I’d end up sitting awkwardly on a lump situated to one side just like George Costanza in this classic scene from Seinfeld.

Put that bulky, brown wallet in my front jeans pocket and I could sit comfortably but then there’d still be the annoying bulk of an overstuffed wallet.

Most times I’d just keep my wallet in my work backpack… or if I was with my wife I’d ask her to put it in her purse.  She begrudgingly agreed to every time but I could always tell it annoyed her.

That’s initially what drew my attention to the Ridge Wallet.  It’s a minimalist, RFID-blocking wallet made from Aluminum, Titanium, or Carbon Fiber.

When I first got my Ridge Wallet I was impressed with the packaging and presentation of the product.  There was the wallet, of course, but they also included a special screwdriver should I ever want to switch it from having a cash strap to having a money clip.

At first, I was hoping they’d send me the money clip version, but after using it for awhile I really like how slim it is with the cash strap. It has little rubber nubs inside the strap to keep your bills securely in place.

The minimalist design of the Ridge Wallet has you carrying all your cards sandwiched between two RFID plates and bound together with high quality elastic.  

It took me a few days to get used to getting my cards out but now it’s become second nature.

You could carry up to 12 cards but after assessing what I really need I only have 7; my drivers license, debit, Target debit, HSA, Costco, pizza punch card, and health insurance cards.

It’s a lot less than what I had been carrying but it’s all I really need and it takes less space. A lot less space!  All combined it’s just a little bigger than a  package of Tic Tacs that fits comfortably in the front, left pocket of my jeans.

That’s why my wife loves my Ridge Wallet as much as I do.  She no longer has to be responsible for my stuff and she doesn’t have the added bulk in her purse.

It’s not just my wife that loves it. Everyone I’ve shown it to thinks it’s really cool… and I’ve been asked about it more than once by our local grocery store cashiers.

I’ve been using my Ridge Wallet for a few months now and it looks as good as the day I got it. No scratches or anything… but I am careful to keep it by itself in my pocket. I love it’s sleek, clean look and don’t want any keys or change to mess it up.

Whether you’re a guy looking for a minimalist wallet, a wife (like mine) fed up with lugging around your husband’s wallet, or a woman looking to free up space in your purse… the Ridge Wallet is perfect for you.

For the security minded, I should also mention that every Ridge Wallet has RFID-blocking technology.  Not sure what that is and why you should care, watch this video starting at the 9: 00-minute mark. It shows how it easy it is for hackers to access your card info.

Learn more and get your own on the Ridge Wallet website.

*** I was provided with a Ridge Wallet to facilitate this review.  All opinions are mine.

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Album Review: Girl Going Nowhere By Ashley McBryde

It hasn’t even been out a month but Ashley McBryde’s Girl Going Nowhere album has quickly become one of my favorites. McBryde is an excellent songwriter with a knack for writing relatable songs. When she sings them with her powerful voice magic happens.

I’ll be honest Ashley McBryde wasn’t even on my radar until she stopped by my radio station recently to hang out, share some stories, and sing a few songs. She was funny and engaging. The type of person you’d love to sip some whiskey with around a campfire swapping stories and songs.

McBryde either wrote or co-wrote all 11 songs on her debut album. I thought I’d share a few of my favorites on it.

Girl Going Nowhere – This title track is awesome! It’s a see, I told you I could do it anthem whose message is don’t let anyone step all over your dreams.

Radioland – As a guy who spent a lot of time listening to the radio growing up, there’s a lot in this one that I can relate to.

Southern Babylon – This one is interesting. It’s bluesy, sexy, and seductive. I don’t know of any other female country singer that could pull this one off. McBryde does it effortlessly.

The Jacket – This song’s opening riff reminds me of a Tom Petty song and then it works into a sentimental journey. Makes me wish I had a jacket or two to give to my daughters.

A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega – I love the message of hope in this song. It’s a reminder that bad things don’t always have to end badly. You might have heard this one on the radio as it’s the first single from the album.

Andy (I Can’t Live Without You) – This starts out like a bitter love gone wrong song that eventually works its way into a tender story of real, honest love. With just a guitar to back her up… this one really showcases McBryde’s voice and her ability to tell a story and bring emotion to a song.

El Dorado – This song makes me want to turn the radio up, roll the windows down, and cruise.

What’s your favorite Ashley McBryde song?

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Review: Les Misérables At Des Moines Performing Arts

One of the things I love most about attending live theatre performances is you never quite know what to expect. Even if it’s a show you know a lot about or seen before, there usually is some aspect of “newness” every time you go.

When my oldest daughter and I attended the April 17, 2018 opening night performance of Les Misérables at Des Moines Civic Center I really didn’t know what to expect.

I knew it was beloved musical and was highly awarded. I also vaguely remembered singing a song or two in high school or college choir… but I couldn’t tell you which songs they were. The story? Couldn’t tell you a thing about it.

What I discovered was a nearly 3-hour performance of a great story and incredible music and acting. Perhaps the most unexpected thing for me about this show was that all the dialogue was sung. I had never experienced that in a theatrical performance before and it was really interesting.

This music in Les Misérables is very powerful, adding to the action on the stage. Many times I couldn’t believe that such a sound was being created by only a handful of people on stage. It really was pretty cool.

As long as I’m touching on the music, the orchestra deserves a special nod.  They provided a flawless live soundtrack for the performers to sing along with.

When looking at the orchestra members listed in the playbill I was surprised at just how few there really were… considering the big sound they produced. It was also nice to see the conductor watching the show and leading the music. For me, it’s not a distraction, but a subtle reminder that “this presentation features live music and acting”.

Nick Cartell, in the role of Jean Valjean, deserves special recognition. His vocal range and performance were spectacular. There was one particular note in the second act that he held for so long it had me wondering, “how is that even possible”?

According to the Des Moines Performing Arts website, “Les Misérables tells an unforgettable story of heartbreak, passion, and the resilience of the human spirit.”  I found this to be true.

If you’re not familiar with the story, like I was, you should plan to arrive a little early to read the show synopsis in the playbill. I read it and was glad I did.  It really helped me follow along with the story. Had I not read it, I think I might have been a little confused.

The scenery and set changes were impressive. Many happened quickly and silently without me noticing as I was focused on the other action taking place on stage.  There were a few special and visual effects that were so impressive they rivaled anything I’ve ever seen on stage before.

The scenery was based on the painting of Victor Hugo, author of the novel this musical was adapted from.

If you’re attending a  performance of Les Misérables you should plan to get there early because the show starts promptly on time.

It’ll also give you time to review the synopsis in the playbill, like previously mentioned, if you aren’t familiar with the storyline or need a refresher.

 Les Misérables, part of the Willis Broadway Series, at Des Moines Performing Arts runs April 17 through April 22, 2018.  You can learn more about the show and get tickets here.

Are you a Les Miz fan? What are your favorite thoughts, moments, or music from the show?

***I was provided with press night tickets for the show to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.***

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