The Collingwood Beer Scene

Scott visitis Collingwood Ontario to try out some local brews.

10 Tips For Your First Portage Trip

Sam and Ed went on a portaging trip this summer and leave you with some excellent tips and advice to survive your own trip.

Checking out Toronto from the Edge with Ford Canada

Ford Canada invited Scott out to experience Toronto in a truly unique way.

5 Tips to a Successful Homebrew

Scott and Sam; our resident home brewers, offer their top 5 pieces of advice to get on your way with homebrewing.

Packing for a Weekend Canoe/Camping Trip

Ed shows off one of the many ways you can pack up your gear for a weekend getaway into the wild.

Date Night: Athens

Chris takes his lady for a night out on the town in the historic city of Athens where they enjoy some sight-seeing, local dishes and dancing!

Simple Ways to Outfit a Canoe

Scott offers up 5 simple ways to outfit a canoe for comfort and usuability.

The 19th Hole: Varadero Golf Club

A continuation of the 19th hole series; Ed takes in a round on a sweltering day at the beautiful Varadero Golf Club.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Travelling During the Terrible Twos


So, you’re the parent of a two-year-old. You’re just emerging from that wonderful but challenging transitional period between your old, childless life - full of reckless abandon and that “sleep” thing you vaguely recall – into parenthood. You’re figuring it out – you’ve got a killer routine, your kid is developing in the coolest ways every day, you’re starting to find some balance between work, parenting and the other parts of your life – things are good. 

At this point you likely know that the terrible twos are a very real thing. Random, seemingly causeless tantrums; overt grasps at independence;  violent outbursts (both physical and emotional); signs of new, complex and sometimes devastating emotions like shame, rejection and embarrassment; and a plethora of other challenges that come at this stage. 

But you’re handling that. 

Likely, becoming a parent has put something of a cork on your opportunities to travel (unless you took advantage of that sweet spot between infancy and toddlerhood – but more on that for another post).  But you are feeling like, at this stage, taking your kid on one of your forgotten adventures just might be becoming possible. 

Well it is… and it isn’t.  Travel with kids is obviously very different from travelling solo, with a partner or with friend and family, but travelling with a two-year-old is a whole other kettle of hard. But it’s not impossible, and, indeed, can be full of fun, joy and memories. 

Here is what I learned on my first “real trip” with my two-and-a-half year old (and his one year old baby brother to boot). We rented a cottage in Honey Harbour, Ontario with a few members of our family for a week of outdoor fun. 

Wes the Mess. In all his two-year-old glory.
1. Pack your patience 

Try as you may, that perfect little routine you’ve created at home is getting broken. Bed and nap times will be flexed, boundaries will be unclear and you will likely be more permissive of certain things than you are at home. This is necessary for all the fun and exploration travel provides, but it also means trouble. The broken routine will amplify all the terrible twos have to offer. Your two-year-old’s brain will start to explode with possibilities and they will make every effort to explore them. They will be tired-er, hungrier, more distracted, less likely to listen, more willful, etc. Being ready for this will help you roll with the punches, and that leads to #2…

2. Go with the flow

Trying to over plan and keep a schedule will make your trip exceedingly difficult. All the new sights, sounds, experiences and emotions will make your two-year-old desperate to explore. The “big plans” you made might not interest them in the least, while the most mundane tasks will fascinate them; meaning they will want to do them over and over again. On my recent trip, Wes (my two point five year old), became fascinated by boats. All he wanted to do was walk the numerous docks and talk about the countless variety of boats in the harbor. I had to force myself over the tedium of it and look at it through his eyes. In the end, the hours he and I spent chatting about bloody boats (fast boats, big boats, fish boats, “sleeping” boats, little boats, tin can boats  etc. etc.) are a hilarious memory, and time well spent. And that brings us to point #3…

3. Think/be like a kid

It is so easy when travelling with kids to focus on the big things like meals, schedules, itineraries and the like. After all, you feel responsible for ensuring everyone has a good time. In order to survive, however, it helps to think like a kid, and often that means seeing the forest for the trees. You can do this by looking and listening just a little closer. Kids see amazing little details that adults, through conditioning, can miss. Wes was able to spend an amazing amount of time looking under the docks for frogs and fascinating over the ecosystems under there. When I started doing the same, it was amazing what I found, and the experiences we came to share. 

4. Bring a friend

Kids can keep other kids entertained in ways no adults can, which can be a sanity saver for the adults. That said, I’ve found that, at this age, the closer in age the kids are the better. This can be an awkward age for relationships. Two-year-olds don’t know the “rules of the playground” yet, and their still-limited communications skills can cause conflicts, particularly with older kids who find it difficult to understand why young kids behave the way they do. If you can’t travel with others who have children of similar age, encourage your child to befriend other children wherever you are hanging out.  


5. Pre-plan small tasks/activities

Thinking up some simple tasks your child can do during certain parts of your trip can help keep them engaged. Note, chances are your kid won’t engage in all the tasks you plan, so try and think up a few. At the beach on our vacay, Wes collected rocks and filled buckets of water, pouring them in a randomly selected spot on the sand (he came up with that last one on his own, but it kept him in rapture for at least 20 minutes, which meant a bit of relaxing time for mom and dad). 

6. Use extra time to relax

You’ll be tempted during rare periods of inactivity (when the kids are in bed, hanging out with relatives, etc.) to catch up on things or prepare for the next thing to come. It’s important to section some of this time off for relaxation. Try and grab bits and pieces of vacation for yourself. It is deserved. Feel no shame.

7. Dial back your expectations

When I started planning things to do during our week at the cottage I got very excited. It was, to me, an opportunity to expose Wes to a bunch of new things that I thought idyllic for dads and their sons to do together. These things included fishing, canoeing, boating, tubing, hiking, campfires, s’mores and countless others. The reality, however, was that while some of these things held some appeal, Wes' short attention span and general two-year-old-ness meant he simply wasn’t ready for a lot of these activities. Fishing rods splashed in the water and tears were shed over the very concept of going on an inflatable donut being towed behind a boat. When I dialed back my expectations, I was able to enjoy the act of trying these things, even if they were not embraced.

He did love the boat!
Plan ahead but don’t over plan. Have realistic expectations. Keep it simple. Those are the rules I’ll live by on my next trip. Any other tips on travelling with a two-year-old? Leave them in the comments.  


Monday, 18 July 2016

5 Summer Styles of Beer to try Before September Comes Around!

Fruit Infused Wheat Beers

My pick: Watermelon Wheat – Kensington Brewing Company



Anyone who knows me knows that, from the very first sip, this style became my summer beer of choice. I even went on a fruit infused tour at a local pub that used to carry over 75 craft brands (10-15 of which were seasonal fruit wheat beers). In the fruit infused wheat department I am partial to the watermelon style as it leaves just a hint of the flavour and isn't overbearing in any way. I found the apple and raspberry brews to be too powerful and sweet. With the watermelon wheat you get a crisp tasting wheat beer with a hint of a watermelon finish that leaves you feeling refreshed and wanting to drink more. There are some great brands out there in the US and Canada perfecting this style, but my choice is made right here in Toronto in a cool little neighbourhood known as Kensington Market.




Sours

My pick: Collective Arts Gose

I had my initial gose sour experience moments before stepping into one of my first Prud'homme classes. It was completely different from anything I had ever had. The first batch of this particular gose had me sucking in my cheeks, unfortunately the same brand has lost a lot of the sourness it once had. Thankfully more and more gose sours are popping up, like this one from Collective Arts. This style is typically a one off in trendy bars, so good luck hunting them down!

Shandys/Radlers

My pick: Stiegl Grapefruit



What do you drink when you want something refreshing, but also want a low alcohol content? Let me introduce you to the shandy category! Shandies are typically beer mixed with a carbonated beverage, usually lemonade or fruit juice; root beer or ginger ale. For our summer beer choice we are going to focus on a particular style created by our beer drinking genius friends, the Germans!

Essentially they created Radlers by mixing beer and sparkling lemonade to act as a more refreshing beverage (think the Gatorade of beer) during long haul bike rides. A more common practice these days is to mix fruit sodas and other sparkling drinks to beer to get the radlers we know and love today. To me a radler is the perfect breakfast beer. I’m not saying crush one before work every day. But after a long night of drinking, a radler the next morning will get you on the right path for the day. 

Ciders

My pick: None 

What!? I have no suggestions for this category? To be honest, I am just not a fan of ciders. They are either way to sweet and remind me of syrupy juice or too damn dry and reminiscent of poor quality white wine. However, this style is a huge player in the beer market and should not be discredited. If you prefer a sweeter drink I’d point you in the direction of Somersby Apple Flavoured Cider. If you prefer a dryer cider, I’d direct you over to Pommies Dry Cider.

BeerTails

My pick: White Summer (50/50 blend of Somersby Apple Flavoured Cider and Kronenbourg Blanc)



BeerTails (Beer-Cocktails) have been around for a while; in fact, us gents at Real Man Travels actually have a signature drink we call Beer Bombsicles. However I cannot disclose the information of said cocktail publicly, so I chose my number two BeerTail, the White Summer. "But wait," you say... "it has a cider in it!?" You are absolutely correct, it does. "But Ed, you’re not a fan of ciders." Also true. But when cut with the Kronenbourg Blanc the sweetness is reduced and we are left with just the apple flavour with a hint of the refreshing citrus notes of the Kronenbourg Blanc. Overall it’s a damn fine drink that even I am able to pound a few of. This is the perfect mix during any backyard activities like ladder ball, bocce, washer toss or horseshoes. Trust me, it's still manly.





Get out to your local beer or liquor store and find some of these styles to crush before it becomes sweater season!

In the spirit of transparency, Ed Arsenault works for Carlsberg Canada Inc and some of his choices may seem biased on that fact. However all these drinks are tasty and you should try them regardless.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Exploring Ontario’s West Coast: Goderich, Ontario

People tend to want to see all that the wide world has to offer. In doing so, however, they can forget about seeing their own country; the surrounding cities, towns and landscapes that make up their own backyard. I live in Ontario, a huge province in Canada that has many different offerings including massive cities, small towns, rugged tundra, vast forests, the Canadian Shield, watersheds and much, much more. I always like to take a bit of time whenever I can to explore all that Ontario has to offer. Each summer, one of my favourite places to visit with a carload of great friends is Goderich, located on Ontario's west coast.

View of the harbour of Goderich
View of the harbour
Located about three hours from Toronto (four hours if there is traffic, which there always seems to be), Goderich is a quaint little town with a lot of history, a booming salt mining industry and a whole lot of beauty. In fact, it was deemed to be one of Canada’s prettiest towns by Queen Elizabeth II which led to the creation of their motto: Canada’s Prettiest Town.

Upon arrival you are greeted into the community with an octagon town square oozing with small town charm.  The courthouse sits proudly in its centre surrounded by local businesses and shops. We recall it looking similar to the 1950’s version of Hill Valley, the town featured in the Back to the Future movies. If you are a fan of architecture and house design, then Goderich will be worth your drive. Every street has incredibly beautiful homes; some of the more prominent ones still featuring original horse rails and ties in front of the properties. There are also a variety of parkettes that feature stories and monuments hearkening back to the town's former life.

A view of Goderich lighthouse.
Goderich Lighthouse built in 1847
On our last visit, our home for the weekend was located minutes from one of the town's best attractions, the three beaches. Main Beach, St. Christopher’s Beach and Rotary Cove Beach are all in walking distance of each other, but all offer a slightly different experience. Main beach is the closest to the harbour activity, so it is a great spot to chill and watch massive ships load up with salt, tug boats roaming around the waters; or simply catch the waves crashing in. St. Christopher’s beach is definitely the family spot. Playgrounds, pavilions, BBQ pits and more make this area more suitable for families or larger groups. There are also rock piers to sit on and soak up the views. Rotary Cove is the furthest of the three beaches but offers a quieter beach experience; better for smaller groups or couples.

Beach in Goderich
The almighty beach! Just one of the few reasons to visit Goderich
You can explore the town by foot to get some hidden views of Lake Huron and come across some gems like the Goderich Lighthouse. Built in 1847 this lighthouse is not of a typical build. It is short and squared off, but because it is situated on a bluff it does its job just fine. Located by the lighthouse are steps that lead down the bluff to St. Christopher’s beach. Goderich lore says you can watch the sun set twice here; once down at the beach and again after climbing up the stairs to the top of the bluff. I didn’t get to test this claim out, but would gladly go back and try.

View of Lake Huron through trees
Hard to believe this is Ontario! A view of Lake Huron from a park in Goderich
Beauty aside, what is a place without food and drink? The town has your typical fare of McDonalds, Subway, etc., but we have found a few gems along the way. The Park House restaurant is located at the top of the road leading to the beach. Here you will find a killer patio with great views. They serve normal pub fare menu, but also offer fish from the lake.

View of an older home in Goderich.
John in front of one of the beautiful old style homes you can find in Goderich
Preserving history by converting an old rail station into a restaurant is exactly what the Beach Street Station Restaurant did. While offering up a more high-end menu than the other restaurants, it still manages to stay on a budget friendly price point. It also happens to be a focal point of St. Christopher’s Beach and offers great views of the lake.

Situated in the heart of the town square is a little shop called Cravings. Its name is exactly on par with what they offer, the treats you crave. Be sure to stop by and try out one of their 43 ice cream flavours or some homemade treats.

Goderich is just one of many places along Ontario’s west coast that are worthy of a visit, but with its small town charm; beautiful homes and parks; quiet and friendly atmosphere and top notch beaches, you may just want to make it your first.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Surviving Road Trips: Music




It's summer time which means long drives to the beach, cottage, camping or maybe even cross country! Either way there is always a common factor when driving anywhere with multiple people and that is trying to please each passengers musical taste(s).

Conventional rules say that the front seat passenger is the one who controls the musical flow, but how fair is that when the passenger is the drivers significant other? So to avoid ruining a beautiful drive and possibly some friendships here are some quick tips to please everyone musically.

1. Find a generic station on the radio

Seems easy enough, just work the radio dial and scope out a station that is playing top hits of decades, genres or whatever your group is mostly into. The major drawbacks of this are that stations come and go as you drive, you will need to find a new station once every few hours as you exit cities, towns and cross borders. Oh, and you will have to listen to non-stop commercials! While not ideal, using the radio is still a valid option for some background music.

Radio Dial
Sometimes you gotta go old school and just listen to the radio.

2. Share music time

Everyone has music on their devices, why not come up with a schedule so that everyone gets a turn listening to their own? Dedicate an hour or two to each passenger and pony up the auxiliary cord, Bluetooth signal, USB cable, or if you still have it (which is bad ass if you do) the cassette to 3.5mm adapter. The downside here is that you as a single person will have to listen to up to four other passengers musical preferences. And that can go either way depending on your friend’s taste in music. Again this isn’t ideal, but a better option than the radio.

3. Existing Playlists 

As an avid user of Spotify, I have to say that playlists are life savers when you don’t want to over think what to listen to. Simply pick a loose genre (example 80’s-90’s-00’s hits, Nu-Metal, Pop Punk, Country Hits) and search it up on Spotify. Magically, about 30 playlists pop up that you can now enjoy singing all the hits of. This works with many other genres, bands etc and is a pretty good road trip music solution. However you still have to swap playlists to cater to each passengers tastes. But at least it keeps the obscure tracks that no one has heard away. Downsides are streaming services use data, and we all know data is like gold right now! Tip: Consult with your buds beforehand and download a few Spotify playlists for offline play if you are a premium user. 

4. Creating Playlists

You can take this one step further and actually create your own playlist. You can do this on your computer, phone or through apps like Spotify. If you have extended time before your trip you could email all the other passengers and get them to send you the titles of 30 songs they’d love to hear. Compile them all up into a nice playlist, hit shuffle and enjoy musical freedom. This should cover everyone’s tastes and keep the music balanced (unless your shuffle is as stupid as mine and plays the same band 3 times in a row…c’mon shuffle get it together).

Spotify Logo
Spotify Logo, great streaming service for music.

5. Battle Royale Solution

Lastly you could of course have an epic road trip battle for dominance of the radio. The winner of whatever challenge you create takes full command of the tunes. Last one to need a bathroom break, rock paper scissors, elimination license plate games or pre-drive feats of strength? A true champion of the road deserves the glory of broadcasting the songs of their people, no? This solution isn't for the faint of heart (or ears) but still pretty awesome... if you win.

Regardless of which musical option you choose for your next road trip, just have fun and make the best of whatever may be playing. Remember that the drive and the music is just a means to get to your end destination!

Drive safe folks!

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Escape and Discover: Thunder Bay Edition


I had been expecting a package from Ford Canada the other day; they were being weirdly secretive about it. I knew it had something to do with the new 2017 Ford Escape. When it arrived I tore into it and found a duffle bag emblazoned with the words, "Escape & Discover," along with a postcard telling me to "prepare for the ultimate adventure and an unforgettable night away." That and I was part of "Team Yellow," whatever that meant. I read it three times, trying to discern what this ultimate adventure was all about, but the only instruction was to be ready and waiting for 7 a.m. Then my mind did what it does best when faced with the unknown: it plays games. Where are we going? How are we getting there? What other team colours are there? Is it going to be a scavenger hunt, or perhaps some type of Hunger Games-style affair?


In truth, if I gave myself a rating on the adventurous scale, I wouldn't peg myself at the ultimate adventure end of the spectrum; I'm maybe... a medium adventure type guy. After dwelling on it for awhile I calmed down and became okay with the mystery of it all. All I had to do was get to sleep and find out in the morning.

Morning came and I was whisked away in the back seat of a black, unmarked car. I buckled in and the driver looked back and said, "Heading to Thorncrest Ford?" I give him a straight faced look and said, "Am I?" The driver looked confused and said, "That's what this booking says." I just smiled and replied, "Thorncrest Ford it is my good man."

When we arrived I was greeted by smiles and food. I mingled with the other people and met my teammates. Keeping with the mystery of the event, there was a huge curtain with the Ford symbol on it, and what appeared to be the shadow of an SUV conspicuously shining through. Maybe not such a mystery after all, so we thought. But after a quick welcome they pulled the curtain, and much to the shock of myself and the 11 other guests, there was no Ford Escape, just a table with four sets of three tickets. I grabbed my Team Yellow tickets and brought them back to the group, where we opened them together and found...

I was on my way to Thunder Bay!
So off we went like we were the McCallisters and we had slept in again! Arriving at Billy Bishop Airport on the Toronto Island, I was so happy that I thought I would grab an escalator selfie.


Our smooth flight featured an unexpected treat, an aerial view of Sleeping Giant Provincial Park! You may ask why is it called Sleeping Giant... well that is why they invented Google (that and to make heaps of money). Google it.

You might be able to tell why its called Sleeping Giant now.
We were picked up by Matt and Malcolm who had us cruising in style in the new Ford Escape we had been waiting to see. Ours was a beautiful pearl white with blacked out rims, the new Sync3 entertainment system and a sunroof that starts at the front seat and ends all the way at the back seat! I don't even know what you call that type of sunroof, but I do know that it is awesome.

Nice Ride eh?
Team Yellow's first stop was lunch at a waterfront restaurant called The Bight; a delicious meal with a superior view. Speaking of superior views, we snapped a couple of shots of Sleeping Giant from shore. I tried to point at it in a selfie and came close... and that calls for a "that's what she said."

Not even close to the giant.
After seeing our first bit of wildlife (groundhog), we spotted a fox. Well in Canada he is THE Fox. I was so excited to see the Terry Fox memorial but when we hopped out of the Escape I wasn't expecting the somber, yet enchantingly appropriate music that we heard. A gentleman was practicing his bagpipes at the memorial, and it made our experience a little more emotional and definitely a lot more memorable.

Bagpipes, the Canadian flag and Terry Fox. I think I've got some dirt my eye. Ya, dirt, that's it.
Then it was road trip time. Turn down the windows and turn up the music. (Aside: Do we technically turn down windows anymore? I guess not. Anyhow, back to my #EscapeAndDiscover Adventure, and yes, you should check that hashtag out). We were headed to Kakabeka Falls. If you have seen them before you know exactly what I mean when I say, nature is freakin' beautiful.

FYI, if you are planning to have a stop at the falls on your journey be prepared to pay a small parking fee of $3/hour, but it is worth every penny.


After we saw the falls we stopped into the Kakabeka Falls gift shop. We had a great conversation with the shop owner about how much he loves free advertising from the local bingo that runs six months of the year, so this shout out is for you gift shop guy!


Our next stop had us at the bottom of Mount Mckay looking way way up to the summit. You can get up to the summit somehow, but we never really figured it out. Mount Mckay is the highest, most northern and best known of the Nor'Wester Mountains.


That was our last stop of the day. We checked into the local Holiday Inn Express and had a small rest before dinner. We dined at a popular wine bar and restaurant called Caribou. I had a pairing of wood fired pizza and a Lake of the Woods beer named Firehouse Amber. C'est Magnifique. When we walked out to meet our driver we were blinded by sunlight, even though it was after 9 p.m.!

Lake of the Woods Firehouse Amber
The next morning I was feeling recharged, despite our whirlwind of a Saturday. We were taken to the restaurant Hoito, a Thunder Bay staple known for their Finnish pancakes. I had mine with bacon and, oh baby, was it good. If you go to Thunder Bay, it's a must.

Hoito has been in business for almost 100 years
After breakfast we were on our way to Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. We finished our trip off testing out the impressive handling of our Ford Escape while winding through pristine Canadian wilderness, occasionally dodging the odd deer or stray rock. We found ourselves at the Silver Islet store that sits on the site of a former silver mining operation from the 1800s. 

Shhhhh. Don't wake the giant.
Silver Islets Store
Our last stop before the airport was at the Thunder Bay lookout right smackdab in the middle of Sleeping Giant. A perfect view for saying goodbye to Thunder Bay.


That's a wrap folks. Our #EscapeAndDiscover adventure ended on a very high note. It was nice to be in a place where cell reception was so bad but the nature was so good. It reminded me that we live in such a huge beautiful province. A big thanks to Ford Canada for including me in this awesome adventure.

Shout out to Team Yellow!!

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

The Real Man Travels 2016 Father's Day Gift Guide

The Real Man Travels 2016 Father's Day Gift Guide.

We here at Real Man Travels consider ourselves experts of sorts when it comes to buying gifts for Dads. With 60% of our staff being dads, and 100% of us having fathers you could say we have the required experience to make such a bold claim. Without further delay here is this years gift guide:

Gift Ideas from Ed

1. BBQ Light 

If your dad is anything like mine, then drinking in the sunlight trumps cooking in the sunlight. For the dad who doesn’t spark the grill until 8:30-9:00pm a BBQ light is the solution to night time cooking. These come in a variety of styles, the most common being an attachment to the BBQ’s handle. You can pick one up for as little as $10, just remember you get what you pay for!


Grill anytime with Weber BBQ light


2. Mounted Beer Opener 

You could take the easy route and buy a pre-made mounted beer opener for your dad. Or you could finally show off all the skills your dad taught you throughout the years by making him a custom one. Look around the interwebs for any opener that suits your needs and get out into the workshop to make a custom mount that your dad will not only be proud of, but use every day! My tips for this gift is to have a cap catcher on it and tie in some elements that speaks to your Dad, favourite sports team, favourite brand of beer, etc. Bonus if you end up making one that your Mom doesn’t mind having on the wall.



Mounted beer opener available on Etsy.


3. Secrid Wallet 


It is time for your old man to lose the bulky wallet system he currently has (he probably still has a Blockbuster membership card in there). Bring your old man into the present with Secrid’s line of sleek and sexy wallets. I’ve personally been using the Slimwallet for almost a year now and people always look at me when I press the button to slide my cards out like I have some space age contraption. The main compartment can hold 5-6 cards and it has slots for an additional 6. There is also a plastic fold for any cash your Dad may need to carry. The best part is the amount of pocket space that is freed up, and how much more comfortable sitting for long periods has become.


Secrid Slimwallet in Brown


Gift Ideas from Sam


1. Gillette Shave Club 

About a year ago I used a gift guide to recommend dollar shave club, So what's changed you ask? Up until recently if you wanted a razor delivered to your door you were restricted to Dollar Shave Club. Finally an entry from a major name in men's grooming is entering the subscription razor market, and I am in favour. I would describe myself as someone with sensitive skin, so other than finding a barber to offer a straight shave, the Gillette fusion was the pinnacle for me. Quite frankly my first shave was with a Mach 3, and it still might be the best shave on the market. Gillette Shave Club options are available on a subscription basis, as well as the most recent addition, the fusion ProShield, offering lubrication before and after the blades. for as little as $16.99 every 5 months (Gillette's cartridge may last up to one month each depending on your shave schedule) you can send your "Old Man" the best a man can get.


Gillette Shave Club package, the best a man can get.


2. Solar Powered Bluetooth Speaker

Bluetooth Speakers have been all the rage for over a year now. With every passing month they have been made smaller, longer lasting, more colourful, more powerful and even waterproof . Well now there's even solar for the dad who enjoys the outdoors. Now he can enjoy enjoy soaking up the rays while pumping out the kind of music that embarrasses you in front of your friends.
Eton solar powered Bluetooth speaker

3. Beer and Meat 

Sometimes it's the simple things that bring us the most joy. Plus, what dad doesn't enjoy grilling steaks while sipping back a cold one. Vegans and vegetarians, that's who. Alright, so there's a few dad's this won't work for, but if your dad is the carnivorous type, pick up some T-bones, or tenderloins, and pair it with a 6 pack of his favourite beer, and you'll be good to go.

MEAT!

Gift ideas from Chris


1. Muskoka Brewery's SummerWeiss

Is your dad a Weiss man? If so then he will love this unfiltered nectar of the gods.  If you are unsure of his taste get him a beer mixer pack, you're bound to get one or two that he will like

Muskoka Brewery Summerweiss

2. A Super Sweet Hawaiian shirt

If your dad has a good sense of humour and a terrible sense for fashion, BOOM! Perfect gift. Just promise me one thing, make sure that you get him a shirt that fits him properly. Everyone will at least thank you in advance for that.

A Hawaiin Shirt...actually looks good!

3. Matching Kid and Dad outfits

I may be a huge sucker for cuteness but I love matching my kids sometimes. Sometimes it feels like we are Luke and our little one is Yoda on our back. Or we are Arnold and he or she is Danny Devito. Or in this instance we are Maverick with your partner goose. Totes Adorbs.

Matching Dad and kids clothes

Gift Ideas from Scott

1. Power washer 

Dads like to keep their stuff clean. Cars, patio, siding, lawn mower – Dads know they all look, feel and function better when well maintained. Don’t worry, a power washer won’t be looked upon as a judgement of the current level of maintained cleanliness, or as an implication of work expected; it will be valued as a secret acknowledgement, a carefully directed wink and gun if you will, of Dad’s manly value of steadfast meticulousness.

Power wash all the things!


2. Undershirts

Dads have a lot on the go. They also tend to hate shopping for anything that doesn’t have 250+ horsepower or 80,000+ BTUs. Thus, Dads tend to wear underwear past its best before date. Consider picking up some high quality small clothes for the man who tackles the big stuff with ease.

If you must walk around the house with no pants on Dad, please look good doing it!

3. SoundTouch® 520 home cinema system from Bose 

For those who really want to make Dad happy, consider automating his life with a sweet home entertainment system from Bose. Give Dad the gift of controlling his music from anywhere in the house, including the backyard and garage. I’m not saying you’re going to win kid-of-the-year for this, but, really, you probably will.

Loud noises thanks to Bose.



Monday, 6 June 2016

Gillette's Go Ask Dad Campaign

Alright Gillette, you got us. No tears... nope, none at all, just a bunch of stuff in our eyes... yeah that is it. 

Check out this video and keep a handkerchief at the ready, err, I mean a grease covered rag... purely precautionary. 


Nice job Gillette. Happy Father's Day all. Watch for our upcoming Father's Day gift guide.


Friday, 15 April 2016

The Outer Banks, North Carolina: In Pictures

Last year, my girlfriend, her sisters, brother and I all packed into a Ford Explorer and drove for 15 hours from Toronto, Ontario to The Outer Banks of North Carolina. It was probably the most relaxing vacation I've had in quite a while. Probably because instead of partying I made this trip all about unwinding from the day to day grind.

We would spend all day on the beach reading, cooling off in the water on our tubes or hunt down some of the best sea shells I've ever seen. We'd spend the evening watching sunsets, having some hearty meals and partaking in a few adult beverages by the pool or in the hot tub. We'd cap everything off with a few competitive games on the billiard table and then hit the hay to repeat it all over again the next day. The Outer Banks is a hell of a good escape if you just want to keep things quiet and relaxing.

Here are a select few photos of the hundreds I took on that trip:


The beach has a mix of small grassy dunes and flat spots to set up camp for the day.

I love the way the homes were painted to be bright and give off that beach town feel.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. It's pretty crazy that they actually moved this lighthouse due to land erosion. 

Just one of the many different sunsets we experienced over the sound. The colours change so frequently and so quickly it is best to grab a seat and enjoy the entire process wherever you are.

One of the best reasons to visit The Outer Banks; the beach!

There is very little light pollution once you're off the main land, so all the stars come out to play!

Day or night, this is the spot to catch some fish!

Another sunset over the sound. 

With a proper permit you can drive and camp on certain sections of the beach. This has been added to my bucket list!

Stunning beach homes everywhere!

I spent the majority of my time lounging on the beach, sipping on some cold ones and enjoying my time off work and let me tell you, I cannot wait to head back next year!

If you've ever been, or are lucky enough to live there be sure to let me know in the comments below.