Posted on

Most Anticipated Movies Of The Summer Season

While the weather outside likely has many wondering when Spring will actually start, summer season is about to kick-off – in the cinemas at least. Yes, the movies business celebrated summer a little earlier than most of us are used to, and the summer season is usually the busiest time for the movie studios. While the warm weather makes it fun to be outdoors once again, it can be nice to escape the heat to an air-conditioned theatre and enjoy some popcorn fun. From the end of this month all the way to the end of August, the biggest films of the year will be released and we have a breakdown of all the must-sees coming to a theatre near you.

Avengers: Infinity War (April 27)

Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo

Starring Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth

That’s right, April is apparently a summer month – at least according to Hollywood. However, if there is one movie big enough to break such rules, it’s this one. After 10 years, Marvel Studios is launching the most epic superhero team-up and the culmination of their last decade of movies. Heroes including (deep breath) Iron Man, Captain American, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, Spider-Man, Black Panther, Doctor Strange and the Guardians of the Galaxy join forces to take on the villainous Thanos who is on a quest to balance the universe by wiping out half its population. Sure to be the biggest film of the year.

Deadpool 2 (May 18)

Directed by David Leitch

Starring Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Zazie Beetz

It wouldn’t be summer movie season without a bunch of superhero movies, so to follow-up after the Avengers extravaganza, we have the return of the most foul-mouthed superhero. The first Deadpool was a breath of fresh air for many superhero fans as the R-rated, outrageous and self-aware comedy felt very different from the rest of the genre. Here’s hoping the sequel will recapture that magic.

Solo: A Star Wars Story (May 25)

Directed by Ron Howard

Starring Alden Ehrenreich, Donald Glover, Emilia Clarke

If there’s not a superhero movie coming out, then there must be a Star Wars movie instead. This spin-off film looks back on the early days of everyone’s favourite smuggling space scoundrel, Han Solo and his famous friends like Chewbacca and Lando. Looking like a Western set in a galaxy far, far away, it could be a fun departure from the Jedi-heavy films of the series. It will be interesting to see how young Alden Ehrenreich will fare in a role made so iconic by Harrison Ford.

Ocean’s 8 (June 8)

Directed by Gary Ross

Starring Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway    

In this sort-of-sequel, sort-of-remake of Ocean’s Eleven, the team of thieves is gender-swapped for a band of female criminals. Bullock plays the sister of George Clooney’s Daniel Ocean from the first film, and she leads a star-studded team of ladies as they look to pull off an elaborate heist at the Met Gala.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (June 8)

Directed by Morgan Neville

In a movie season filled with big blockbuster, it might be nice to quiet down with a documentary. This highly-praised film takes a look at the life and career of Mister Rogers, and while some documentaries of this kind look to unveil the darker aspects of their subjects, this one seems to reaffirm what we all hoped – Mister Rogers was just as nice, tolerate and friendly in real life as he was on television.

Incredibles 2 (June 15)

Directed by Brad Bird

Starring Craig T Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson

Pixar seems to always hit a home run with their films and there is a lot of anticipation about this follow-up to one of their most popular film. Revisiting the lives of the family of superheroes, this sequel looks at the dynamic when Mrs. Incredible takes up the crime-fighting duties while Mr. Incredible acts as stay-at-home dad. Expect plenty of laughs, thrills and heart-warming moments.

Tag (June 15)

Directed by Jeff Tomsic

Starring Jon Hamm, Jake Johnson, Jeremy Renner

Incredibly based on a true story, this star-studded summer comedy follows a group of childhood friends who have stayed connected over the years by playing a never-ending game of tag. An unusual premise with a lot of potential.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (June 22)

Directed by J.A. Bayona

Starring Chris Hemsworth, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall

The second film in this new Jurassic Park series promises plenty of thrilling dino action. When a cataclysmic event threatens to wipe out all of the dinosaurs on the isolated island, a team goes in to save the miracle creatures while trying to avoid getting eaten.

Sicario: Day of the Soldado (June 29)

Directed by Stefano Sollima

Starring Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Catherine Keener

Sicario was tense and captivating thriller set amongst the gray areas of the illegal drug war. The films follow-up promises to delves deeper into that mayhem. As the violence of the drug war spills onto American soil, a covert black ops team is sent in to Mexico to ignite a war between the cartels as a way of bringing them all down.

Ant-Man and the Wasp (July 6)

Directed by Peyton Reed

Starring Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas

The smallest Avenger returns and this time he’s not alone. On the run from the law, Ant-Man partners with another microscopic hero, The Wasp to uncover secrets from the past that could have dangerous consequences. The first film has a fun superhero adventure and the sequel looks to continue with the inventive use of the small world action.

Skyscraper (July 13)

Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber

Starring Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Pablo Schreiber

It wouldn’t be summer with out the world’s biggest star. Dwayne Johnson stars as a former solider turned security contractor working in a luxury skyscraper. When a fire breaks out which threatens to consume the whole building, he must but his life of the line to save the day.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (July 20)

Directed by Ol Parker

Starring Meryl Streep, Lily James, Cher

The sequel to the wildly popular first film, which was itself an adaption of the beloved Broadway musical, which was itself a celebration of the works of 80s supergroup ABBA. This films finds young Sophia facing life-changing events as she looks back on the past of her fun-loving mother.

Mission: Impossible – Fallout (July 27)

Directed by Christopher McQuarrie

Starring Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Simon Pegg

Tom Cruise returns as super-spy Ethan Hunt in his latest attempt to save the world. With a mission gone wrong, Hunt finds his whole life coming crashing down around him as his past mistakes come back to haunt him. Cruise is once-again putting himself front and center for the film’s death-defying stunts – include one which left him with a broken ankle, which you can see in the finished film.

Christopher Robin (August 3)

Directed by Marc Forster

Starring Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell, Mark Gatiss

Who doesn’t love Winnie the Pooh? Even as adults, we can still enjoy the lovable, easy-going teddy bear. In this live action film, an adult Christopher Robin finds himself overwhelmed by his career and drifting away from his family. He is given a chance to reconnect with his childhood and joy for life when he is visited by his old friend, Winnie.

The Meg (August 10)

Directed by Jon Turtletaub

Starring Jason Statham, Bingbing Li, Cliff Curtis

A renowned Naval Commander is tasked with rescuing a group of scientists from a deep-sea research facility. However, in the depths of the ocean, he discovers a much bigger threat than he could have ever imagined – a massive prehistoric shark come back to wreak terror. The trailer for this film dropped just last week and the consensus was clear – this giant shark adventure could only be a whole lot of fun or really bad.

 

Which summer movie are you looking forward to the most?

Posted on

5 Last-Minute Ways To Enjoy Summer

As Labour Day weekend approaches, we must get ready to bid a sad farewell to the summer vacation days for another year. Canadians know all too well how quickly these days can go by before the temperature begins to drop and the snow begins to fall. However, that does not mean you can’t still make the most of what’s left of the summer. Even with only a few days left, there is still plenty of fun to be had. Here are a few last-minute ideas for enjoying the rest of summer.

One last swim.

The window for being able to enjoy a nice refreshing outdoor swim is extremely small in this country. Go too early in the summer, it’s too cold. Wait too long, it’s too cold. So while you might have missed that ideal time to enjoy a swim at the beach, it’s worth getting a little chilly just to enjoy it one last time before the end of the season. Yes, indoor pools are available to avid swimmers all year round but they pale in comparison to the feeling of swimming in a natural body of water. And it doesn’t even need to be a beach. A good swim in a lake, pond or river can be just as pleasant.

Read a page-turner.

There’s no better time of year than summer to sit down with a really good book that just pulls you in. on those warm, relaxing days off that you very much deserve, it’s such fun to spend the afternoon enthralled with some great literature. While there might not be enough summer days left to get through a challenging tome, there’s plenty of time to get obsessed with an addictive page-turner you just can’t put down. Add one more book to you summer reading list and end your vacation reading on a high note.

Road trip.

Summer travelling can be great fun no matter where you are going and how you are getting there, but there’s something extra special about the summer road trip. The days are longer and the weather cooperates for the most part, making for the most ideal driving conditions and beautiful scenery to enjoy. And because it’s a relatively inexpensive way to travel, you can surely sneak in one more adventure on the open road. Go for a week or even just a day trip, whichever way you choose it will surely be a memorable summer send-off.

Outdoor movie.

The summer season is a big time for movies, but with only a few precious hours of summer time left, many people don’t want to spend a few hours in a dark movie theatre. So why not enjoy some great cinema and the great outdoors all at the same time? The outdoor movie trend is at its peak right now, with many cities and towns offering residence big screen fun outside. Have a look to see if there’s any happening around you in these last days of summer. Or better yet, seek out a drive-in movie theatre for a quick nostalgia trip.

Picnic.

Of course, not all of us have the luxury of taking any real time off before the end of summer. For many, the vacation days are all spent up, or maybe there right in the busy months for their job. However, there are still those small ways you can enjoy the remainder of summer, like a nice picnic. Even if it’s just over a lunch break from work, find a nice park, make a nice meal and enjoy the outdoors in a quiet relaxing way for just a little while. While the colder months have a lot of great things to offer, we all miss the summer once its gone.

Posted on

7 Tips For Grilling The Perfect Steak

Last week, in the spirit of barbecue season, we looked at some of the best tips for grilling the perfect burger. Most likely you’re seeing a lot of burgers this summer and there’s nothing wrong with that. They are an easy, inexpensive and delicious summer meal. However, on occasion it is nice to treat yourself to a little something more – to take a little more effort and spend a little more money to grill yourself a nice summertime steak on the barbecue. Now, a steak is a little different from a burger and demands a little more respect. Some people might not think it’s worth it to put in the extra effort and that’s fine. But if you’re looking to make a steak that will rival any restaurant, here’s how you can.

Go out of your way for the right cut.

You can find any old steak at your local grocery store and it won’t be too pricy either. Of course, it also won’t be all that good. For a steak fit for a king (or queen) you’ll have to go a little out of your way. Find a local butcher shop if you can, and if not the bigger grocery chain usually have such a section. Finding the right cut of meat can be tricky. The cut of you steak depends entirely on your own preferences, but if you’re new to this then a safe bet is to go with the ribeye cut. It offers a juicy flavourful piece of meat without having to tend to it too much.

Thickness is key.

Where steak is concerned, the most important aspect of the cut of meat is the thickness. It is the thickness that will determine how well a steak will grill. To thin of a cut and it will cook too fast with nowhere for the juices to hide. Too thick and you risk not getting an evenly cooked steak. Experts say that sticking to a two-inch thickness will allow for the best chances for a perfectly cooked steak.

Start it at room temperature.

When we spoke of the perfect way to grill a burger, we advised that having the burger cold before throwing it on the grill was a good way to go. However, the same technique does not apply to the steak cooking. We want the entire steak to cook as evenly as possible, so starting the with a cold steak means that each side will be grilled in drastically different temperatures. Leaving the steak at room temperature before you put it on the grill makes for a more even cook.

Keep it simple with the seasoning.

Steaks are very flavourful in their own right so there’s no need to help them out in that department too much. If you were dealing with an inferior cut of steak then you can go to town on marinating or seasoning it as you see fit. But if you’re splurging on a prime cut, the simpler the better. Really just a little drizzling of salt and pepper before grilling is all you need. You don’t want too much distracting from those wonderful natural flavours.

Prepare the grill.

For this step, we follow the same instructions as we did with our burgers. Yes, your grill needs more preparation than just a little heat. Firstly, clean your grill off between each cookout. A dirty grill can cause uneven cooking and you get bits of old, overcooked food in your meat. The temperature of your grill is also essential. Too hot or too cold and you’ll have a tough time cooking to perfection. Also, have the grill hot and ready when you are putting the steak on. This ensures there’s no fluctuation with the heat as you cook.

Watch the heat.

It’s recommended that you grill steaks over charcoal, although going out to buy a brand new barbecue just for a steak seems a little much so you can work with whatever grill you have. And whatever grill you have, you need to be weary of the heat. Keep it monitored and under control. In some cases, when juices drip down and cause some flare ups. Some people use a spritzer to calm the flames but that often sends ashes into your meat. Instead adjust the temperature and move the steak temporarily if necessary.

Let it stand.

Patience is a virtue in life and certainly when it comes to enjoying a steak. You might feel tempted to dive right into that delicious smelling meat as soon as it is off the grill, but if you’re willing to wait you’ll be rewarded. Not only will it be too hot to enjoy, allowing it to rest off the heat for a bit lets the juices and flavours build. In 10 minutes time, you’re looking at the perfect steak still on your plate ready to be enjoyed.

Posted on

9 Steps For Grilling The Perfect Burger

It is officially barbecue season so fire up the grills and let’s talk about some good cooking. The odds-on favourite of this wonderful time of year is the burger, and if you disagree, it might be because you’re cooking it wrong. There are a number of ways to cook a burger, and some would suggest the grill isn’t even the best way. However, using the right techniques and taking your barbecuing duties seriously can result in a burger better than any you’ll find at a fast food joint. So if you’re looking to master the grill this summer, here’s what you need to know for making the perfect burger.

Before the grill:

1) Choose the right meat.

Choosing the right meat for your burger can be a challenge. Firstly, you might just have to ignore your healthier instincts if you truly want to make the best burger. I know, that’s not the wisest thing to advise but let’s be honest, if you’re making a burger, you’re no all that health conscious. Lean meat is a great option for some meals, but for burgers, the more fat, the juicier the patty will be. Also, if you can find freshly ground beef then go with that. It’s much better quality and forms a better patty.

2) Mix gently.

When it comes to the spices and accoutrement you want to add to your meat, that remains completely up to your own preferences. However, when you are mixing all the meat and so forth together, you want to be as gentle as you can be. Mixing to harshly toughens up the meat and makes it more likely to break apart.

3) Save the salt for later.

Again, what you add to your burger is completely up to you. Many people like to simply stick to salt and pepper for seasoning, and that’s a great choice. However, don’t mix your salt in with the beef before you’re ready to start cooking. Adding salt to the beef dries out the meat and robs it of some of its natural flavours. Instead, add the salt last, once the patties are made and just before they are about to go on the grill.

4) Pack properly.

Packing the perfect patty is a bit of an art. You want to make sure the burgers will stay together on the grill and aren’t going to fall apart when you try to flip them, so you need to pack them solidly. Also, you need to be aware of the proper size. If you’re using fatty meat (which you should be) they tend to shrink significantly when on the grill so build them accordingly. A good technique to help prevent too much shrinking is to put a little dimple in the patty.

5) Keep things cold.

Once your patties are packed, avoiding throwing them on the grill right away. Put them in the fridge for a while before barbequing. Keeping the beef cold helps to keep them together and will allow them to cook better.

On the grill:

6) Prepare the grill appropriately.

While your patties are cooling down in the fridge, you can start to prepare your grill for cooking. Yes, your grill needs more preparation than just a little heat. Firstly, clean your grill off between each cookout. A dirty grill can cause uneven cooking and you get bits of old, overcooked food in your meat. The temperature of your grill is also essential. Too hot or too cold and you’ll have a tough time cooking the burger to perfection. Also, have the grill hot and ready when you are putting the patties on. This ensures there’s no fluctuation with the heat as you cook.

7) Don’t press the meat.

This seems to be the instinct of many cooks, but unfortunately it is a wrong instinct. Sure, you like flatter patties and your burgers tend to get a little bulbous on the grill. But when you press the burgers, you lose so much of those delicious and flavourful juices.

8) Flip minimally.

When you’re cooking away, knowing when to flip the burger is extremely important. What you want to aim for is one flip and done. It’s daunting, I know. You have to make sure you’re completely done on one side before flipping and finishing it off. Flipping it too often toughens up the meat, while flipping it too soon causes the burgers to stick.

9) Add cheese at the end.

Once more, what you prefer on your burger is totally your business. But if you’re not putting cheese on your burger you are missing out. Of course, you need to apply the cheese at the right moment. Putting it on too early can leave you with burnt cheese and unable to flip your unfinished burger. Once your burger is done cooking, move it off the direct heat and slap a slice of cheese on top to melt it without overcooking your burger.

Posted on

6 Ways To Beat The Heat This Summer

We’re right in the middle of summer now with the frigid memories of winter well behind us. But as nice as it is to wear shorts and keep the windows open all day, the heat can get to you. With the temperatures rising (in some places, to extreme levels) finding ways to escape the heat can be very important. As we get older, these hot days can offer more health concerns. We all want to enjoy the summer days, so know how to get the most out of the sunshine without getting the harms of the heat.

Use sun blockers.

Simply blocking out the sun is a great way to cool down while inside. Getting some dark curtains or window coverings can really lower your room by a few degrees. It might seem a bit depressing to shut out a beautiful sunny day, but it doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy a nice day. Let the sun shine through the windows all you want but close off one room where you can get a nice cool, refreshing break.

Unplug appliances.

This might seem like going overboard a bit but you’d be surprised how much heat your appliances give off just by being plugged in. Any appliance that you are not using should be unplugged and those you need should be used as minimally as possible. It’s nice out, so try skipping the dryer and hang your clothes outside. Turn off lightbulbs or replace them with the energy efficient kind. Not only will you be cooler but you’ll save some money on your next hydro bill.

Keep exercise to the morning.

For some people, exercise is the last thing they would think about on a hot day. But the reality is that the temperature shouldn’t be an excuse to stay on the couch all day. You can still get out for your daily jog or walk, just be wise about choosing the time. Keep the more strenuous activities to the early mornings or as the sun is going down. Heading out for a jog first thing in the morning is a good idea as it is still cool enough and there is less of a risk of overheating or becoming dehydrated.

Try a cool shower.

On some days, there is nothing better than a nice hot shower. On these hot summer days, you can get a similarly wonderful feeling by turning that shower faucet to the colder side. A nice cool shower after you’ve been in the hot sun for a while can be incredibly refreshing and can help cool your overheated body down quicker to avoid the risk of negative health reactions. Plus, it just feels so amazing.

Dress appropriately.

This is not a lecture on wardrobe – just a friendly reminder to dress for the weather out there. When you’re around the house, shorts and t-shirts are the way to go, keeping things as light as possible. Of course, we still have to go to work every now and then, and that means keeping things professional. But there are ways to maintain the work-friendly outfit while keeping things cool. Wear lighter material clothes, as well as lighter colours which attract less heat.

Air condition.

Of course, the best way to fight against the heat is by keeping yourself air conditioned whenever necessary. Make sure your car has an effective and reliable air conditioner because it can get mighty toasty in those things during the summer days. Sure, you might prefer driving with the windows down, but when you hit the highway, you’re going to want something to keep yourself cool and comfortable. Same thing goes for your home situation. Whatever your air conditioning situation, make sure it works. Also, keep a fan by your bed at night. Just because the sun is down doesn’t mean the heat goes away.

Posted on

8 Tips For Safe Summer BBQs

Barbeque season is fully upon us. Food lovers often rejoice at this time of year for the sheer amount of delicious barbeque options that become available in the summer. Hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken burgers, maybe even a steak or two if you’re lucky. And lets not forget that vegetables also taste better on the BBQ.

With all the excitement about the endless food possibilities, we need to remember that barbequing if something that can be dangerous if you’re not being responsible. A gas BBQ especially offers a few dangers for cooks. But there’s no reason to cut back on grilling, just be aware of the necessary safety tips for barbequing responsibly.

Keep your cooking area clear.

Just like your office workspace, it’s important to keep the clutter out of your cooking area. First of all, it helps keep things organized and makes the actual cooking easier, and second of all, it helps to avoid any potential accidents. With too much junk on your BBQ, it’s very easy for something to fall on the grill that shouldn’t and creates potential fire hazards. Also, be sure to keep your BBQ far enough away from your health and ensure there’s no low-hanging branches or flammable materials above it.

Clean your grill regularly.

Sticking with the theme of cleanliness, it’s important to keep your grill clean. Without regular cleanings, there can be a buildup of grease and food pieces on the grill which can easily cause flame-ups. It’s a good idea to clean the grill after every cookout. Not only will it ensure the grill is clean next time, but it’s also the easiest time to clean it.

Never leave your gas on when not cooking.

Some people like to take the easy route for their barbequing but often the easy way is bypassing the more necessary safety precautions. For instance, leaving the propane on and turning off the burners may make it easy to get started next time you cook, it’s extremely dangerous. The burners are much more sensitive and can mistakenly be turned on leading to a gas leak. Take the extra moment to turn the gas off and have that piece of mind.

Remove the lid before turning on the gas.

When turning on the gas, the proper procedure is to open the lid, then turn on the gas and burners before lighting. When the gas is on and the lid is closed, the gas can build up and when you attempt to light it, you could get a big fireball in the face.

Heat up the grill.

Once the BBQ is lit, it’s a good idea to let the heat grill heat up for a little while before adding any food. This not only allows the grill to warm up for more efficient cooking but it also allows time for the bacteria and unwanted material to be burned away. The intense heat of the BBQ will kill anything leftover from previous cooks.

Focus on grilling.

You might be doing your barbequing during a party or get-together, but your burden as grill master means you have to stay by your station while the BBQ is on. Never leave the grill unaccompanied while the gas is on. If you need something from inside the house, ask someone to get it for you or have someone else takeover. Without someone watching the grill at all time, your food could burn or something much more serious.

Don’t put too much on the grill.

Even with a big party, you don’t want to overload your grill with too much food. Even a little bit of food can cause the occasional flame-ups due to grease. With a limited amount of food on the grill, those flame-ups can be kept under control but adding more food means it will be harder to handle.

Make sure everything is cooked properly.

Just because the meat looks done, doesn’t mean that it is done. Some people like a little red in their steaks, but that’s about the only meat you can undercook without concern. Hamburgers and chicken need to be cooked thoroughly. Cut them open before taking them off the grill or use a meat thermometer. Sometimes the perfect BBQ needs a little more time.

Be prepared.

While these tips should help you to keep your barbequing safe, you should always be prepared for the worst. It’s suggested that keep a small spray bottle with you in case of flame-ups and for the more serious cases, a fire extinguisher is always a good idea.

Posted on

The Dos And Donts Of Lawn Care

While the warmer seasons offer a lot of benefits, it also means you have to turn your attention to lawn care. While not everyone is looking for a perfectly manicured lawn, it is nice to keep a green patch of grass around your property to enjoy on those beautiful days. But maintaining a healthy lawn isn’t as easy as it might seem. There are a number of essential things you need to do, as well as a few things you must avoid.

DO mow often.

A lot of people struggle with how often they should cut their lawn. Depending on the size of yard your have, it can really be a time-consuming effort, but maintaining a beautiful lawn does require you to sacrifice time out of your weekends to keep it looking great. Best practices suggest you should cut your lawn once a week to keep it from getting out of hand but still allowing it to grow naturally. It’s not the easiest thing to squeeze into your schedule but it’s important if your want your lawn to be the envy of the neighbourhood.

DON’T cut too low.

One method that some lawn owners use to ensure they don’t have to cut too often is to lower their blade and cut the grass extra short. While the look of your lawn is entirely up your own preferences, cutting your grass too short isn’t the best way to keep a healthy lawn. It’s recommended to cut no more than half the stem length or else it shocks the grass causing it to grow improperly. Likewise, be sure to switch up the direction your cut to avoid the clippings preventing natural growth.

DO fertilize.

As with any growing thing, your lawn needs food to stay healthy and strong. There are many beneficial fertilizers out there that help to provide your grass with the necessary nutrients to grow. Begin using fertilizer around the same time you begin cutting your lawn. But be warned, too  much fertilizer can negatively affect the grass roots.

DON’T overwater.

Your lawn needs regular watering to stay healthy and keep growing properly, but too much water can be just as damaging as anything else. In the springtime, the rainy season is usually enough to keep your lawn adequately watered, but when you move into the hotter summer season, it is recommended that you put a sprinkler on each section of your lawn for half an hour every week. Going too much over that recommended amount can leave your lawn soggy and stunt growth.

DO leave clippings.

One of the biggest questions lawn owners ask themselves is what they should do with the lawn clippings. Some mowers bag the clippings but there’s much better se for the clippings than just throwing them away. While it may appear a bit unsightly to keep the grass clippings on the lawn, the mulched grass is packed full of nutrients that are great for your lawn.

DON’T cut wet grass.

Mowing can be a hot and unpleasant chore, especially in the summer. Sometimes, in an attempt to escape some of the heat of the day, you might think about mowing early in the morning when it is still cool. Think again. Before noon, your grass is still wet from the morning dew. Cutting wet grass which is weighed down is bad for the growth of your grass, not to mention the wetness makes your lawn more susceptible to damage. Take a cold drink with you and wait until the afternoon to do your cutting.

Posted on

5 Summer Food Festivals To Visit In Canada

Looking to make some cross-country trips this summer? Also looking to eat some delicious foods? Why not combine the two and visit some of Canada’s best food festivals? Have a look at just a few of the country’s unique, intriguing and delicious festivals to indulge in.

Porkapalooza BBQ Festival (June 10-11)

Nothing says summer more than BBQ and what could be better than having a massive pork-exclusive BBQ? Taking place in Edmonton, this massive outdoor cookout sees teams of BBQ enthusiast showing their skills with pork dishes ranging from simply sausages and ribs, to more gourmet options. Better wear your loosest pants because you’ll be stuffing your face all day long.

Shediac Lobster Festival

As much as BBQ is synonymous with summer eating, in Atlantic Canada, summer is when the lobster comes out! Shediac, New Brunswick is one of the most prolific places to find some delicious lobster dishes anytime this summer, but if you really want to indulge, this massive lobster festival is a must. Lobster tails, lobster sandwiches, lobster rolls, all while enjoying a beach front location.

The Drummondville Poutine Festival

Can’t have a Canadian food festival without a little poutine – or in this case, LOTS of poutine coming straight out of Dummondville, Quebec. Our nation’s most famous and sought-after signature dish is on full display with the fries, gravy and cheese coupled with a lot of interesting toppings. And there’s plenty of concerts and fun to enjoy as your filling your belly with national pride.

La Fête du Chocolat de Bromont

After enjoying all these great variety of foods, you need a little bit of dessert. This Quebec festival is like an outdoor chocolate factory with everyone invited to explore it. And while there are a lot of treats to enjoy, there’s a surprising amount of visual sweets with some very skill chocolatiers sculpting some pretty amazing chocolate designs.

Veg Food Fest

We haven’t forgotten about those non-carnivores out there! With all the pork, beef and seafood out there, there is still plenty to enjoy with those who prefer a little greenery in their food at this Toronto festival. Lots of delicious vegetarian and vegan options alike that are nutritious, while also providing some less healthy but very tempting desserts. Of course, there’s also a lot for meat-lovers to enjoy with veggie twists on hotdogs, hamburgers and more.

Posted on

10 Classic Summer Movies You Should Revisit

The summer movie season has officially start with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 kicking things off with a whopping +140 million dollar open weekend in the first May weekend. These days the summer movie season is filled with superhero movies, big budget extravaganzas and remakes of movies you grew up watching. So if you feel there’s nothing for you at the cinema’s these days, now is the perfect time to revisit some of the best summer blockbusters you remember fondly. The kind of movies you grew up with, bring you back to those hot summer days where you escaped to an air-conditioned theatre.

1. Airplane!

The summer season is usually known for big budget action spectacles, but there’s also been a good deal of comedy classics to come out of cinema’s biggest season, including this film which is considered one of the funniest films of all time. A parody of airport disaster films of the 60s and 70s, the subject matter might be a bit dated, but the laughs are as strong as ever. There’s so many wonderful gags that have done in legend, and the dire situation is filled with so many hilarious characters like the former pilot with an unusual drinking problem, the deadpan doctor, the airport tower supervisor who picked the wrong day to give up his many addictions, and a pilot who may or may not be Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

2. Aliens

1979’s Alien was seen as a sci-fi horror masterpiece upon its release and is just as effective today. So it was no easy task to make a follow-up to it, but James Cameron decided to approach making a sequel like no one has ever attempted. While the first film was a small, claustrophobic thriller, Cameron took the concept to a whole other genre by making it a bombastic, thrilling action film. The effects hold up remarkably well, the scares will still make you jump, and the movie is endlessly entertaining popcorn fun.

3. The Empire Strikes Back

Star Wars was an absolute game-changer for the world of cinema, opening the world to a different kind of spectacle filmmaking. However, when it came time for the sequel, George Lucas upped his game in a big way. As fun and exciting as A New Hope was, The Empire Strikes Back was something entirely different. It was dark, it was surprising, and it had depth. It made the franchise and the mythology so much richer than it had been in and remains the shining moment of the still-running series.

4. Escape from New York

While most of the memorable summer films have millions of dollars behind them, Escape from New York had a very modest budget but stretched it remarkably well. John Carpenter, the king of doing so much with very little money, created a dark and gritty tale of the distant future of… 1997. While the timeline doesn’t match up well, the world it creates and the anti-hero at its center, make it a classic. The story follows a disgraced war hero named Snake Plissken is forced to go into Manhattan, which is now an island prison, to rescue the stranded President. It’s a fun, stylish romp and Kurt Russel makes a great hero.

5. Ghostbusters

Genre mixing is not an easy thing to pull off it films. In most cases, the genres fail to mesh together and end up doing a disservice to both. In those rare occasions when it does work, the genres help to heighten each other. Such is the case with Ghostbusters which looks like the big effect-driven sci-fi/horror film you might see in the summer season, but infused with the Saturday Night Live-style goofy humour. The material of these ill-prepare fighters of the paranormal is bolstered by the great comedic minds of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Rick Moranis.

6. Jaws

This is the film that launched the summer blockbuster, which is even more amazing consider how close the film came to being a disaster. What was supposed to be a B-movie about a killer shark terrorizing a small beach community was elevated by the considerable talent of a young unproven director named Steven Spielberg. Instead of having to rely on the rubber, malfunctioning mechanical shark to scare audiences, Spielberg realized he could get a better reaction from just showing glimpses of the shark and letting imagination do most of the work. The result was an incredibly tense, entertaining film that kept audiences out of the water for years.

7. National Lampoon’s Animal House

If you grew up in the 70s, National Lampoon was likely a well-known entity to itself. It was a comedy enterprise that has since died away due to diminishing returns, but once upon a time they made the definitive college comedy. While there’s little plot to speak of, following a frat house as they bounce from house party to house party, always under the threat of expulsion, the film is oddly captivating. Obviously, one of the biggest highlights that makes this film work is the amazing and hilarious performance by John Belushi as the frat house’s resident madman. It’s the kind of the movie that will make you thankful you’ve left those college days behind while simultaneously making you miss it.

8. Raiders of the Lost Ark

Spielberg’s second appearance on the list comes after he established the summer movies season, but the film is now less impressive. Taking inspiration from the classic adventure serials of their youth, Spielberg and George Lucas created their own franchise of a globe-trotting adventurer. Indiana Jones became a cinematic icon, thanks largely to Harrison Ford’s supremely charismatic performance. It is a non-stop thrill ride that spawned many imitators but none came close to the magic of the original.

9. The Road Warrior

Road Warrior was a long-shot to become a summer movie classic. It was a sequel to the well-regarded Australian action picture, Mad Max, but that film was so unknown to American audiences, the studio decided calling this film Mad Max 2 would be too confusing. So this was largely the first time Americans were introduced to the silent-but-deadly wandering hero in this post-apocalyptic film. It was also the introduction of the film’s leading man, Mel Gibson, who went on to become one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. The film is a chaotic and wild adventure, filled with some of cinema’s most amazing car stunts that will leave you mystified with how they accomplished it.

10. Stand by Me

Of course, sometimes a summer movie can leave a big impression for doing something much different than all the other big-budget, high-concept film. Stand by Me is a small, simple film that will make you remember what it was like to be a young kid in the summer spending all your days getting into trouble with your best friends. It’s a film filled with nostalgia, lots of heart and humor. It make you laugh, cry and leave you with a big smile on your face.

Posted on

20 Books To Read On The Beach This Summer

 

What’s better than enjoying a good book on the beach on a warm summer’s day? It’s still early in August so there’s still plenty of time to get a few more good reads in before the weather turns against us. You just have to make sure you’re picking the right books. The perfect summer read is a tricky thing. Not just any genre will do and even some of the classics can’t hold your attention with all the beach distractions. The trick is to find a real page-turner and luckily we’ve got a substantial list that should take you to the end of summer. Enjoy!

11/22/63

Author: Stephen King

Genre: Science Fiction

Plot: A time traveler who attempts to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Review: “This is a novel that hooks into the passionate human desire for a second chance—not just for the individual, but for the world as a whole…Beautiful, unsettling…King is an all-night storyteller.” – Chicago Tribune

American Gods

Author: Neil Gaiman

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Horror

Plot: Released from prison, Shadow finds his world turned upside down. His wife has been killed; a mysterious stranger offers him a job. But Mr. Wednesday, who knows more about Shadow than is possible, warns that a storm is coming — a battle for the very soul of America . . . and they are in its direct path.

Review: “Here we have . . . a real emotional richness and grandeur that emerge from masterful storytelling.” –Peter Straub

And Then There Were None  

Author: Agatha Christie

Genre: Murder mystery

Plot: Ten strangers, apparently with little in common, are lured to an island mansion off the coast of Devon by the mysterious U.N.Owen. Over dinner, a record begins to play, and the voice of an unseen host accuses each person of hiding a guilty secret. That evening, former reckless driver Tony Marston is found murdered by a deadly dose of cyanide.

The tension escalates as the survivors realise the killer is not only among them but is preparing to strike again… and again…

Review: The whole thing is utterly impossible and utterly fascinating. It is the most baffling mystery Agatha Christie has ever written. — New York Times

Devil in the White City

Author: Erik Larson

Genre: History, True Crime

Plot: A tale of the architect who led the construction of the great Chicago World’s Fair of 1893, and the prolific serial killer who used the fair as a lure.

Review: “As absorbing a piece of popular history as one will ever hope to find.” —San Francisco chronicle

Infinite Jest

Author: David Foster Wallace

Genre: Satire, Tragic Comedy

Plot: The U.S., Mexico, and Canada have merged into the Organization of North American Nations (their symbol: an eagle wearing a sombrero and holding a maple leaf). In order to pay off the government’s budget deficits, even time itself has become privately subsidized.

Review: “a masterpiece that’s also a monster — nearly 1,100 pages of mind-blowing inventiveness and disarming sweetness. Its size and complexity make it forbidding and esoteric.” – The New York Times

In The Woods

Author: Tana French

Genre: Mystery

Plot: As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children, Rob Ryan. He is gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours. Twenty years later, an eerily similar tragedy gives Rob, now a Dublin Murder Squad detective, the chance to uncover both the mystery of the case before him and that of his own shadowy past.

Review: “With her utterly beautiful and brilliantly evocative prose, Tana French invites us into a murky netherworld so seductive and engrossing that we can’t turn away, even when we try. Ms. French is an extraordinary writer and In The Woods is a stellar debut.”– Lisa Unger

Never Let Me Go by

Author: Kazuo Ishiguro

Genre: Science Fiction

Plot: Kathy, Tommy and Ruth live in a world and a time that feel familiar to us, but are not quite like anything we know. They spend their childhood at Hailsham, a seemingly idyllic English boarding school. When they leave the shelter of the school and the terrible truth of their fate is revealed to them, they must also confront the deep feelings of love, jealousy and betrayal that threaten to pull them apart.

Review: “classic instance of a story that’s horrifying, precisely because the narrator doesn’t think it is.”—Ramsey Campbell

Pillars of the Earth

Author: Ken Follett

Genre: Historical fiction

Plot: In a time of civil war, famine and religious strife, there rises a magnificent Cathedral in Kingsbridge. Against this backdrop, lives entwine: Tom, the master builder, Aliena, the noblewoman, Philip, the prior of Kingsbridge, Jack, the artist in stone and Ellen, the woman from the forest who casts a curse. At once, this is a sensuous and enduring love story and an epic that shines with the fierce spirit of a passionate age.

Review: “A seesaw of tension… impeccable pacing… action, intrigue, violence and passion… a novel that entertains, instructs and satisfies on a grand scale!” – Publishers Weekly

Ready Player One

Author: Ernest Cline

Genre: Science Fiction

Plot: In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenager Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines—puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.

But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

Review: Layered with inside jokes and sly references that will appeal to a wide range of readers, “Ready Player One” is a smart, funny thriller that both celebrates and critiques online culture. – Common Sense Media

Shutter Island

Author: Denis Lehane

Genre: Suspense, Mystery

Plot: A U.S Marshal investigates the disappearance of a murderess who escaped from a hospital for the criminally insane.

Review: “A master of the adroit psychological detail, Lehane makes the horrors of the mean streets pale in comparison to the workings of the human mind”– Joanne Wilkinson, Booklist

The Beach

Author: Alex Garland

Genre:

Plot: Twenty-something Richard travels to Thailand and finds himself in possession of a strange map. Rumours state that it leads to a solitary beach paradise, a tropical bliss – excited and intrigued, he sets out to find it.

Review: “A furiously intelligent first novel … a book that moves with the kind of speed and grace many older writers can only day-dream about” – Washington Post

The Black Dahlia

Author: James Ellroy

Genre: Mystery

Plot: On January 15, 1947, the tortured body of a beautiful young woman was found in a vacant lot in Hollywood. Elizabeth Short, The Black Dahlia, a young Hollywood hopeful, had been brutally murdered. Her murder sparked one of the greatest manhunts in California history.

Review: “Building like a symphony, this is a wonderful, complicated, but accessible tale of ambition, insanity, passion and deceit.” —Publishers Weekly

The Great Gatsby

Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald

Genre: Drama

Plot: A writer and wall street trader, Nick, finds himself drawn to the past and lifestyle of his millionaire neighbor, Jay Gatsby.

Review: “The Great Gatsby” is a magnificent novel on every level. Fitzgerald writes about the Jazz Age in language that beautifully evokes music.”

The Kind Worth Killing

Author: Peter Swanson

Genre:

Plot: On a night flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets the stunning and mysterious Lily Kintner. Sharing one too many martinis, the strangers begin to play a game of truth, revealing very intimate details about themselves, which soon grows into a much darker game.

Review: “[It] would have made a great Hitchcock movie.”—Fort Worth Star-Telegram

The Martian

Author: Andy Weir

Genre: Adventure

Plot: An astronaut becomes stranded on Mars after his team assume him dead, and must rely on his ingenuity to find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive.

Review: “Brilliant…a celebration of human ingenuity [and] the purest example of real-science sci-fi for many years…Utterly compelling.”–Wall Street Journal

The Siege

Author: Arturo Perez-Reverte

Genre: Historical Fiction, Suspense

Plot: Cádiz, 1811: The Spanish port city has been surrounded by Napoleon’s army for a year. Their backs to the sea, its residents endure routine bombardments and live in constant fear of a French invasion. And now the bodies of random women have begun to turn up throughout the city—victims of a shadowy killer.

Review: “Bold . . . [Pérez-Reverte’s] best yet . . . an ambitious intellectual thriller peopled with colorful rogues and antiheroes, meticulous in its historical detail, with a plot that rattles along to its unexpected finale. It’s hard to think of a contemporary author who so effortlessly marries popular and literary fiction as enjoyably as this.”—The Observer

The Talented Mr. Ripley

Author: Patricia Highsmith

Genre: Crime

Plot: In late 1950s New York, Tom Ripley, a young underachiever, is sent to Italy to retrieve Dickie Greenleaf, a rich and spoiled millionaire playboy. But when the errand fails, Ripley takes extreme measures.

Review: “Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley has long had a cult following as a subversive black comedy. It’s time for her novel to be recognized for what it is: a 20th century literary classic.”

The Vanished

Author: Tim Kizer

Genre: Mystery

Plot: On May 6, five-year-old Annie Miller goes missing in a park. On May 7, her father, David Miller, fails a lie detector test. On May 9, during a hypnosis session, David confesses to murdering his daughter and gives the police the location of the knife he used to kill her. The knife has traces of Annie’s blood and David’s fingerprints all over it.

Two weeks later, a man named Ben calls David and tells him Annie’s alive. Ben is willing to let the girl go, but first David has to do something for him–something that would land David in prison for the rest of his life. Can David trust him? Is Ben even real?

Review: “You won’t be able to stop yourself from frantically turning the pages of this absorbing thriller. Just beware of paper cuts.”

Treasure Island

Author: Robert Louis Stevenson

Genre: Adventure

Plot: Young Jim Hawkins finds a map to a buried fortune; to claim it means a perilous voyage, pirate treachery, and the wicked mentorship of Long John Silver.

Review: “The language was clear and expressive, the motives of the characters all too credible, and when I reached the end I was breathless with the excitement of understanding that Silver was still out there. And so was some of the treasure…”

Unbecoming

Author: Rebecca Scherm

Genre: Crime

Plot: A story of a diamond heist and all the things that can go wrong afterward.

Review: “From the first page, you know Rebecca Scherm is the real thing. Unbecoming is an assured exploration of the intricate, intense, risky processes that go into creating identity—and into dismantling it.” —Tana French