Ground Control’s Back to School Guide 2016

Ground Control’s Back to School Guide 2016

Tuesday, 02 August 2016

Hey there, dear readers! We’re back once again another Back to School guide in what has certainly become a tradition. A two-year old tradition, but a tradition nonetheless!

With the school year fast approaching there are oh-so many things you’re going to need to make your life easier or just make your dorm room a cool place for you to live. Well, we’ve got you covered. In this guide you’ll see some familiar products and some brand new ones. Whatever the case, we stick by these bad boys. You should check them out! Now, without further adieu…


Magazine subscriptions

At the top we’d like to remind you once again that there’s no measuring the value that you’ll get from a magazine subscription, especially because the internet is full of dubious crap these days (except for Ground Control, of course). For your news sources, we highly recommend the folks over at The Nation and the Progressive who have known the value of journalism for over a century each.

For music, check out Razorcake, which is the best music outlet out there, page-for-page. I read them all and can vouch for their greatness. In addition, you’re supporting the little guy here which is more important that you can imagine. So start off by getting some brain activity going this coming school year, the polish it all off with the goods on this guide.



Descendant of Thieves
Probably what gets us more excited than anything else is getting to work with these guys again. That’s because Descendant of Thieves makes the coolest most comfortable clothes around! Is it formal? Is it dressy? Is it business casual? It’s all of the above, and it looks GOOD. Descendant of Thieves are a lifesaver for people like me who want to dress nice but don’t know how to do it!

I’ve gone on record before saying that I’d like to be buried in Descendant of Thieves clothes and this is still the case. They make some of the most unique clothes there, which are both sturdy and well-made. Don’t believe me? Well have a look at their website. Have you ever seen those designs before?

And not just that, but all their clothes take things up a couple notches. Their shirts have additional stitching on the collar and sleeves which keeps them looking good all day long. Their pants are incredibly comfortable and include not just extra pockets in places I didn’t even know existed, but additional padding in the heels and inseam, so you know these bad boys are going to last. I know because I wear Descendant of Thieves almost every day. Wardrobes just aren’t complete without these guys.

Descendant of Thieves: we’d be LOST without them!



Dr. Squatch Soaps

One thing we’ve learned from doing these guides is that hygiene isn’t just for girls anymore. Yeah, that’s right. Just because you’re a guy doesn’t mean you can walk around stinking up the joint. That’s why we have companies like Dr. Squatch who don’t just have a large variety of soaps to keep you clean throughout the day, but also provide them in natural scents. And I don’t mean that in a holistic way where you can barely smell the soap, I mean it in the sense that they’re called Dr. Squatch. These are scents that have themes like pine tar, moss, and mint. Basically, things you’d find in a forest. And even though they market themselves as soap for men (and the nice brick soaps definitely feel nice to hold), I will say that my wife has gotten as much out of these soaps as I have.

Dr. Squatch has upped their game recently and now also offers a fantastic shaving soap which comes in mint and even cologne, which of course comes in their themed woodsy scent and not fragrances that make you smell like a european at a club.

When you want the best, you want the squatch: Dr. Squatch.



Duke Cannon Supply Company
I’m a guy that loves going to the gym. Well, I don’t love it (no one lives it), but I go fairly often. What I don’t love about going to the gym is running into this guy I call Stinky. Stinky and I have overlapping gym-going times, and I try to avoid walking past him because his BO is enough to kill flowers. Like in those Bugs Bunny cartoons?

Do I stink like that? I am a hairy and sweaty guy. But no! Because I use Duke Cannon. For some serious cleanliness, Duke Cannon knows how to make the right soap for the job. Seriously, to them cleanliness is a military-grade operation. They offer some hard ass bricks of soap and my favorite shampoo for when you really want to get clean. They even have this nice soap carrying pouch that will protect your soap and help generate a lather for those days when you a need a little extra help.

Next time I run into Stinky. I’ll throw one of these brick soaps his way. If he doesn’t get the message, at least it’ll knock him out.



Baxter of California

We love Baxter of California and by now we’re sure you know that. They’ve been there for us since the beginning offering the best in shaving products. The best blades, the best razors, the best everything. So you know they deliver on that front. But did you know that Baxter of California also makes some damn fine bathing and grooming products?

It’s true! This time around we wanted to focus on the softer side of Baxter of California. Let me just start off by talking about their awesome Invigorating body wash. And I mean for the WHOLE body. This is the kind of body wash for guys like me who want one thing to do the job right and for your no-nonsense bathing needs. I even take mine to the gym to reduce the clutter. It’ll get you the kind of clean you want and leave you smelling great.

And when you’re done with your shower, try out some of their AHA Night Cream. Unlike other lotions with go on light and goopy, AHA Night Cream goes on thick and slick. So you’ll stay hydrated and feeling fresh during your nocturnal slumber.

When you’re done top if off with one of their excellent candles. Still the best stuff out there.


Anthony for Men
Well, we’ve had our eye on Anthony for Men for some time right now, and I’m glad we did.These guys have absolutely been taking over and kicking ass in the cleanliness department and we’re so impressed we want to tell you all about them.

Look, I like a nice brick of soap as the next person, but sometimes you just gotta mix it up and discover the glory of body wash.And if you’re going to, you should do it with the best. And those guys are Anthony. Right off the gate, the great thing about Anthony is that they are for both men and women and that’s a good thing. Reduces clutter in the shower, right? But also they have such a wide variety of products that you don’t have to smell the same every day.

Take a look at their Invigorating body wash or Blue Kelp body scrub. You can get a great lather off these guys (always important!), and I’ll let you in on a little secret: they work great as a shampoo too. While you’re in the shower, you should be using their face cleanser as well which isn’t full of harsh chemicals and will leave your face feeling nice. And exclusively for the ladies they also now have a Pearl Souffle shaving cream so that you don’t have to use that disgusting shaving foam anymore. Really I could go on and on! And what’s more, they offer great travel packs which are safe to take on planes so you can have your Anthony on the go. Who wouldn’t want that?

So what are you waiting for? Get Anthony and get it now!


Stumptown Coffee
If there is one global equalizer, it would be coffee. It takes a certain sort of dedication to appreciate coffee, and a certain degree of appreciation to let it in your life so freely. We live in a wonderful time to be a coffee drinker. Good high quality coffee isn’t just ubiquitous, it’s also strong. As the Descendents used to say, you weren’t always able to get the strong stuff, which is why the bonus cup was invented (heaps and heaps of instant coffee in as little water as possible giving you the potent sludge that would fuel the greatest punk band of all time).

While most coffee remains local (which can be a very good thing), some companies have been lucky enough to expand nationally. In the case of Stumptown, their reputation did the job for them. It’s not just that Stumptown roasts a killer bean, it’s that they delivered the idea of artisan coffee to the masses.

Now let’s not kid ourselves, every human being needs some coffee in their life. If you’re a student, you’re going to be needing more than the average human being. And if you’re gonna be drinking a lot of the stuff, you might as well stick to the high quality stuff, the stuff you can actually taste. And that’s where Stumptown comes in. Are you stuck in a college town and can’t be bothered to go out in the snow to get your coffee? Head to the Stumptown website and check out their vast (and I mean VAST) collection of coffee that is available to order right at your fingertips. Their coffee from around the world is available in every conceivable roast style, is made fresh and delivered right to your front door. Let’s be honest, you’re going to be pulling all-nighters in school, and Stumptown is here to help.



Crema Coffee
I truly agonize over the day when the coffee bubble will burst. Getting good coffee is so easy nowadays, you know? And you can even get it delivered at your house. Speaking of great coffee, let me tell you about the folks at Crema Coffee.

We love our coffee here at Ground Control and it’s the purest source for energy to get you all those articles you need. Well, Crema is just about the best around. They offer a wide variety of roasts, from a variety of sources, and roast them fresh when they send them to you, so you know you’re getting top quality stuff. On their site you can pick between all types of coffee, crowdsources, all naturally processed, single origin, and so on. You can figure out the hints of flavor in your coffee and even learn a thing or two about where your coffee comes from and who the roasters are.

Crema Coffee wants you to brew the perfect cup of coffee, and they are most certainly dedicated to getting you there. Stop drinking crap! Drink Crema coffee!


Barrington Coffee
We all have our favorite coffee shops in our neighborhoods. I am particularly lucky because my favorite neighborhood coffee also brews the best damn espresso in the world. And they’re not gloating about it either. They cater exclusively to their customers and nowhere else. In many ways, it’s the secret of Boston. Inside their store is just one advertisement (except for the jazz music they’re playing), and that’s a sign that says Barrington Coffee.

Barrington coffee offers the kind of coffee that if you brew a bad cup it is completely your own fault, because they are the absolute best. I might be a bit biased too because I live in New England. Just browse their website and you’ll see a very select variety of coffee ranging from roasts and origin and various notes. The reason is that Barrington knows what it means to roast a bean right. You can get your coffee whole bean or pre ground, dark, medium, or light, you can get a bag or a tasting mix, and you can get your subscription which is all the rage these days.

And the coffee? Oh boy, it delivers on every front. I love mine hot or brewed cold for those hot summer days which are getting hotter every year.

For tasty, sustainable, affordable, direct and fair trade, get some of that tasty Barrington bean in your life. I have, and I refuse to live without it!


Native Union

Let’s be honest, we could all stand to live less cluttered lives. My apartment is filled with speakers and wires and all kinds of electric contraptions, and I’d do something about it if I could. Lucky for us, with Native Union, there IS something we can do!
So what about all these wires and chargers you have lying around the apartment, the house, or your dorm? You know, you wouldn’t need so many different wires from so many different companies if you bought the right stuff the first time. Native Union chargers are where it’s at, people! Their chargers (for Android or iPhone) are made from durable bendable cables that go up to 10 feet! So you can charge your device from wherever you’re sitting in the room. And as far as charging stations for iPhones go, Native Union makes a cool, slick, classy charger that works wonders! It’s like Donald Trump would endorse it, except this is for actual thoughtful people and not shameless assholes!

And while you’re at it, check out the rest of the accessories that Native Union carries to help you with your music device like phone cases and phone charging cables which are actually made out of durable material and are tangle-free. Not to mention, your phone will actually LIKE being hooked up to them. Do it!



LSTN Sound Earbuds

Oh boy, I love a classy looking earbud! We’re a music site here at Ground Control or at least, we’re mostly a music site. As such, we take pride in not just what we listen to but also how we listen to our music. Look, you don’t want to walk around with those dumb white earbuds that come with your iPod. Those things are uncomfortable bulky and have shitty sound. You want something that looks nice, sounds nice, and represents a good cause. That’s what LSTN is all about. And even though they have some badass looking headphones, it’s the earphones that we really want to talk about here.

And speaking of cool again, LSTN makes the listening part of the music experience cool again. Caring about your earbuds is like caring about the tires on your car. The car itself might be top quality, but the tires are the only parts that are actually making contact. And wow, do these earbuds look great. Like a work of art, am I right? The ear buds are such that they isolate in your ear which makes it ideal for quiet listening (you can catch every detail of your music), and the nylon cables make them tangle-free and durable, because let me tell you, it’s the cable that actually breaks when your earbuds stop working. So clearly LSTN cares about the process of making their products.

Maybe most importantly is LSTN’s mission: with every purchase of a LSTN product, your money goes on to support a worldwide campaign to provide hearing aid to those in need. So it’s not just you that gets to enjoy music in the long run. How cool is that? Don’t be a douchebag! With a purpose like that, everyone should own a pair of LSTN ear buds.


Jabra Move Bluetooth Headphones
As anyone who has an MP3 player will tell you, the earbuds that are automatically included with your player are the cheapest, and clunkiest pieces of crap you’ll ever encounter in your life. After all, they’re focused on the MP3 player itself and not the earbuds.

And what about those dangling wires you struggle with all the time. And think your only choices are with some former rapper’s cheap headphone company? Forget about all that with the Jabra Move Bluetooth Headphones.

Haven’t you ever gone to work in the morning, and on your morning commute you can hear the clunking of the wires as they slap against you when you’re walking to the train stop? That’s why God created bluetooth! No mess, no fuss! As far as audio is concerned, this is Jabra we’re talking about so you know you’re getting quality from these guys. So not only will you get the best audio during your commute or workout, but you won’t miss a beat either.


Kikkerland Design Inc

We are so excited to be working with a cool new company for this guide and that company is Kikkerland. Sound strange? Shut up and hear me out! You know Kikkerland. They’re that company that makes every single little cool gadget imaginable. Things you didn’t even know about!

If it’s for your house or your dorm, you KNOW you’re going to need some badass Kikkerland products for both practical and aesthetic purpose. Seriously, these guys have it down to a science. And just looking at their website at all their cool products will blow you away. Did you remember to get some ice cube trays? How about a fan for those summer walks? What about a backscratcher? A nice spray bottle for your plant by your desk? Kikkerland has it all creatively beautifully designed ready for you. And can I also say they have the perfect gift for a loved one?

Yes! Buy yourself some Kikkerland products! You’ll get them for a friend but keep them all to yourself!


Palomino Blackbird Stationary
There’s classic and then there’s classic.

Everything from Palomino and Blackwing oozes style. Maybe it’s because they’re German made. It’s what one would expect from the kind of people that have been making products for almost 90 years. And we’re not talking lead tips here, but Japanese graphite for a soft and smooth feel. And even though these are still pencils we’re talking about here, these are some damn fine pencils. After all, Chuck Jones used these in his cartooning days – so you’ve got a practical reliable product here that’s also a conversation piece. Maybe also a source of inspiration. And while you’re at it compliment these pencils with their pencil sharpener which looks like a BMW.

But the fun doesn’t end there. Blackwing also makes the Slate sewn and bound hardcover journal for those times when that mental stimulus just needs to get onto the page.

I think their branding is onto something here. These really might THE pencils to own.


Oh man, I’ll be damned if it isn’t the decade of socks. That’s right. Socks have made a huge comeback. You read that right. Just go into your local Target or Newbury Comics and see just how crazy outrageous socks have gotten. There seem to be plenty of companies popping up too sporting their own styles. But instead of focusing on those posers who who don’t have a leg to stand on, we want to talk about Psockadelic because we’re impressed as hell with what they’re doing.

First let’s talk quality, which is definitely what you’re paying for with Psockadelic. Thick and comfortable and made to fit you comfortably, so you don’t have to jam your feet in there. And the padding is made so that your socks stay on instead of slipping off uncontrollably. I use mine for casual or formal occasions, or even to the gym, where I’m sure I’m the envy of the other folks there.

And these designs are fun as well. Who says socks have to be boring? Psockadelic has designs to fit in with their psychedelic theme, music themes, and some badass pizza themed ones as well, so there’s something for everyone. Stuff your shoes with Psockadelic!



You know, I have a confession. I used to be that guy who would always visit those tshirt sites that would feature a design for only one day. Day after day I would be checking all these sites, pondering their designs and being disappointed at what I saw. And then when I would forget to check the site one day, I’d find out that they just happened to feature a badass design that I just happen to love! How frustrating, am I right?

Well this is where Teepublic comes in. They’re a site that not just features all those designs from those sites but also have cool unique designs of their own. Look, your tshirt collection needs a desperate overhaul and Teepublic are the ones to help you get that done. Just check out their site and you’ll get lost in a wormhole of cool designs and pop culture references. Their shirts are just so creative and unique.

And when you find your perfect design, you even get to custom pick the kind of shirt you want, the color, the cotton content, and the style. How cool is that? You get what you want, when you want, and how you want it. What more could you ask for. Teepublic has you covered!




And now that you have your casualwear taken care of, it’s time to get serious. Look, it’s great having your tried and true clothes that you rotate through every week. I would know, because I’m one of those guys. I love shirts as much as the next guy, but there comes a time when we need to step up to the plate and dress up a bit. Like for that special occasion, you know what I’m saying? Sometimes you need a tie and accessories! But do you want to go shopping just for accessories? All the way to Target?
Fear not, because the Tie Bar is here to help. Have a fancy event, a gathering, a date, or simply trying to impress the folks, well you probably need to head on over to the Tie Bar. And it’s not just that these guys have got an absolutely extensive collection of everything you need for a situation where you need to impress. These guys have got you covered whether it’s ties of any style, socks, pocket squares, belts, and even cool details like cuff links and tie clips. Don’t know where to start? Well that’s the genius Tie Bar: they have an automated stylist on their website that helps you find the right look based on some very simple questions. Not sure how your accessories will look with your shirts? No problem, as Tie Bar will match what you’ve picked with what you already have.
And even better, they these preassorted boxes with matching ties, clips, cuff links, and accessories that match your color palette. Just pick a style color and occasion and Tie bar takes care of you with a whole box of goodies!
So next time, do yourself a favor. Skip the formalities (or don’t) and head over to the Tie Bar for your next special occasion.




Dr Martens

Reunited and it feels so good. Dr Martens were one of the companies we just loved working with in the past and we’re so glad we get to do so again. Why? Because in an age of absolutely butt ugly terrible shoes, Dr Martens has managed to make shoes that are classy and practical and that look good. Not just that, but they’ve really updated their catalog over the years with new and exciting styles inspired by mod and punk culture. The result is badass looking shoes and not the clown sneakers that are all the rage with the hipsters these days.

I’ve already gone on record and told you that absolutely everybody needs to own a pair of Dr Martens boots, especially if you live anywhere that is known for snow or other shitty weather. Only Dr Martens makes shoes that are comfortable and can handle weather that wants to keep you indoors. And their catalog caters to both men and women, so what are you waiting for?

But once you’ve gotten your boots, check out their regular shoe catalog for some fancy casual or formal low top shoes that won’t break the bank. No matter what you pick, you can rest assured that it’s going to be comfortable and stylish and that you’re going to be coming back for more. Few things in life are as essential as Dr Martens.


Tokyo Bay

I thought long ago that watches were a thing of the past. Just think about your daily life and how you’re constantly surrounded by the time. In the office, on your phone, on your TV. So watches are obsolete, right? Wrong!

I never knew until I got a watch that I wasin desperate need of one. I like to be punctual, and as a matter of fact, I’m super anal about it. I thought I would just look at my phone whenever I need to find the time, or my computer screen. Guess what? I don’t work in front of a computer and my phone is in my pocket, so there’s really nothing easier than carrying a watch and looking good while you’re doing it. Even when I’m biking to work and I need to know how I’m doing on time, I’m not going to reach into my bag and check my phone! I already got hit by a truck once!

And you need to check out the badass watches they have at Tokyo Bay. I absolutely love them and they make a perfect gift for that special person in your life. We’re not talking those big clunky sports watches, but sleek classic ones that actually help you dress up and not dress down. They have women’s and men’s watches in every style and every occasion. Pick one up and see what we’re talking about. You’ve been living a lie! Tokyo Bay watches!

Comments are closed.