Christmas

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas from thereviewsarein.com and Friends!

This year, to celebrate the holiday season, we asked some of our musician friends to send us pics and videos sharing their best wishes to you!

We would like to thank everyone that helped us out with this project, the artists and their teams, and we would like to thank all of you for enjoying the messages when you’ve seen them on social media.

Now, in case you missed any of them, here are a heap of wishes that we would love to pass on to you!

And from our team at thereviewsarein.com, we would like to wish you Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and a safe and awesome New Year!

Dean Brody

Jessica Mitchell

Chad Brownlee

Madeline Merlo

Panicland

Mabel

Leah Daniels

Kansas Stone

The Lovelocks

River Town Saints

The Dead Love

The Hunter Brothers

Leaving Thomas

The Dead South

Andrew Hyatt

The Katherines

Mike Robins of Autumn Hill

Andrew Allen

Shae Dupuy

Alee

10 months ago Views

WayHome For The Holidays At The Phoenix!

On a Wednesday night in Toronto, the holiday season started with a bang with special thanks to WayHome.

A full house packed The Phoenix to see Darcys, Bear Mountain, and The Beaches… and to check out the Christmas market, take photos with The Edge 102.1’s Santa, drink, sing, dance, and make donations to MusiCounts in exchange for mystery presents.

Note: The fish tacos from Rancho Relaxo – To Go (with a little Frank’s Red Hot) were a fantastic treat sometime after 10pm when I really needed them!

The first shout out needs to go to W.R. Best Memorial Public School from Oro-Medonte who came all the way to Toronto to take the stage to start the show with their ukuleles and leis. They played their little hearts out and were amazing playing one of my favourite all-time Christmas carols – Silver Bells!

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After the choir left the stage, the volume got turned up and The Beaches gave everyone a reason to start a party on a Wednesday night. Jordan, Kylie, Eliza, and Leandra were dripping with cool on stage. There was no holding back. No lack of joy. No messing around.
The Beaches were all in on their fem-rock vibe, and the assembled crowd were all in too.

As they played through their set the talent was clear. The energy was fantastic. And as much as I loved Leandra’s Clark Griswold tee, it was Eliza’s GRL BAND swag that grabbed my attention. With the music these women are making, and the hook of their single, Give It Up, be prepared for a very significant 2017 from The Beaches!

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Second on bill, the filling in our holiday party Oreo, all the way from Vancouver, was Triangle dance band from the future – Bear Mountain.

We saw Bear Mountain in 2015 at WayHome in the woods on the WayAway stage and they impressed us then, in the middle of the afternoon. At WayHome for the Holidays the boys got to plug in at night, which is great because this band makes music you should be dancing to. For real.

Also, Ian’s voice is freaking awesome and I really, really want to hear him play Prince songs at a party. But no matter what Bear Mountain is playing, I mostly just want to hear it in a great crowd, with space to dance and clap my hands, and slip away into the electronic beats and guitar work and drums and sound.

If you’re lucky enough to find a show with Bear Mountain playing a little bit later at night and you’re in the mood for a good time – see the show.

Actually… here’s us suggesting to WayHome that the band hits one of the stages for a late night set in 2017.

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Last, but not least (as they say), came the night’s headliners/highlights/main event… Darcys.

With a new record on shelves, Darcys are hot right now – and with their 80s inspired everything, they are more than just hot – they’re on fire. Dressed in sweet vintage denim and on a stage packed with palms and neon, Darcys gave the WayHomies everything they could have asked for.

If you haven’t taken the time to listen to Centerfold yet, I highly suggest it. And hearing Jason and Wes make it all come to life, live and in living colour put an exclamation mark on the whole thing.

This is a Toronto band that is making noise, and if they’re going to continue to pour the kind of energy we saw Wednesday night into what they do on tour in 2017, Darcys are going to continue to play to bigger and louder crowds from city to city and coast to coast.

Bring your dancing shoes. And wear your acid washed jeans. It’s going to be a good time no matter where you find them.

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AND for 12 hours only, from midnight til noon on Monday, November 28, WayHome 2017 tickets will be available at wayhome.com!!!

More photos of The Beaches from WayHome for the Holidays!

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More photos of Bear Mountain from WayHome for the Holidays!

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More photos of Darcys from WayHome for the Holidays!

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11 months ago Views

Merry Christmas!

We hope that all of your are enjoying Christmas, and we want to send you all of our love and appreciation for hanging out with us on the internet in 2015.

And because we believe that music can help make every day better, we’ve got some of our favourite Christmas songs here for you to enjoy and share.

Best wishes as you celebrate the holiday season.

Joshua & Trish

O Holy Night: Jess Moskaluke ft. The Lovelocks

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus: John Mellencamp

All I Want For Christmas Is You: Mariah Carey

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town: Bruce Springsteen

Go Tell It On The Mountain: Sara Evans

Silent Night: Kelly Clarkson ft. Trisha Yearwood & Reba

Joy To The World: Carpool Karaoke w/ James Corden

2 years ago Views

Christmas Q&A with Bobby Wills, The Lovelocks, and Tim Chaisson!

Christmas is so close we can taste the turkey!

Sure, there’s no snow on the ground here, but we’re in the spirit. And we’re not alone! Are you ready?

This year we’re celebrating with some Q&A fun thanks to some of our favourites in Canadian country music. We tried it last year and had a ton of fun with Tim Hicks, Kira Isabella, Runaway Angel, Meghan Patrick, and Riki Knox… and in part 1 of this year’s Q&A we talked to High Valley, Cory Marquardt, and Livy Jeanne!

So, here’s part 2 of our Canadian Country Music Christmas Q&A with Bobby Wills, Ali & Zoe of The Lovelocks, and Tim Chaisson!

Let’s start with an easy one… do you have a favourite Christmas Carol or hymn?
When The Lights Go Down Toronto Bobby Wills-8043Bobby: Silent Night. The lyric and melody are the perfect match, it is a powerful song.

Ali: I do love that Mariah Carey “All I Want For Christmas” song, which seems to officially kick off the Christmas season for me every year. I also love some of the older gems, who drum up a little more nostalgia from my childhood Christmases, like Bing Crosby.

Zoe: It’s honestly impossible to pick just one! I am still in love with Jewel’s whole Christmas album!  Nothing compares!

Tim: I always loved O Holy Night, especially when there’s some nice 3 part harmonies going on in that chorus.

Food is a big part of the holiday process, will you tell us what your favourite part of Christmas dinner is?
Tim Chaisson February 2015Tim: My mother’s stuffing! It’s to die for.

Bobby: We have a weird tradition of doing Lasagna on Christmas Eve, not sure exactly how or when it got started….

Ali: I gotta go with the classic turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce. But I also love forcing everyone to wear their tacky paper crowns and taking embarrassing photos. 😉

Zoe: Dessert. For sure.

Let’s take it back a little with this one. What was your #1 present when you were a kid?
The Lovelocks Boots and Hearts 2015Zoe: I remember getting a pogo ball. Best. Gift. Ever.

Tim: The GT! We went bonkers for those every year.

Bobby: I have a strong memory of a remote control motorcycle with a Jump….

Ali: We were surprised with a trip to Disney World one year. That was super memorable, and such a dream come true for a kid!

Maybe this one will take us back too… do you have a favourite Christmas movie or TV special?
The Lovelocks Boots and Hearts 2015Ali: It’s either “The Holiday” or “Home Alone”. Both just put me in such a festive mood!

Zoe: White Christmas – I watch it every Christmas Eve!

Tim: The Grinch was something we always watched as kids, but Elf is a more recent tradition. Quickly becoming a classic!

Bobby: Christmas Vacation – gets funnier every year!

Last one, and we think we’ve saved the best. What is your favourite celebratory drink when you’re celebrating during the holiday season?
EggnogBobby: I don’t really have a favourite. My kids all LOVE Eggnog but I can’t even be in the same room with it…  

Ali: I don’t like egg nog either. Bring on the mulled wine! 😉

Zoe: Definitely not egg nog. Definitely spiked hot chocolate 🙂

Tim: Spiced Rum and Egg Nog! Yum.

Big thank you to Bobby, Ali, Zoe, and Tim for playing along… we wish them all a Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas to you. Be Awesome!

2 years ago Views

Christmas Q&A with High Valley, Cory Marquardt, and Livy Jeanne!

The Reviews Are In Stars ChristmasWe love Christmas. It’s such a great time of year to see smiles on people’s faces and when a little kid unwraps a new present – that look is pretty magical.

This year we’re celebrating with some Q&A fun thanks to some of our favourites in Canadian country music. We tried it last year and had a ton of fun with Tim Hicks, Kira Isabella, Runaway Angel, Meghan Patrick, and Riki Knox.

So, here’s part 1 of our Canadian Country Music Christmas Q&A!

Let’s start with an easy one… do you have a favourite Christmas Carol or hymn?

High Valley Boots and Hearts 2015High Valley: Go Tell it on the Mountain

Cory Marquardt: I like a lot of Christmas songs but one that stands out to me isn’t really a carol but “If We Make It Through December” by Merle Haggard.

Livy Jeanne: I would have to say “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” It just makes me super happy… such a in love sounding song as well as “I’ll Be Home For Christmas“.

Food is a big part of the holiday process, will you tell us what your favourite part of Christmas dinner is?

Livy Jeanne CNE 2015 Northern Comfort SaloonLivy Jeanne: Hmmmmmm thats pretty tough… Ive been very blessed to have a fantastic mom who has always made unreal dishes… but i would have to say sweet potato casserole and some of the popular Ukrainian dishes… Nalysnyky, Cabbage Rolls, Pierogies and Perishke. We also have this silly tradition where my mom would buy those crackers filled with usually some random toy/game, a riddle and a paper hat. Its always hilarious watching everyone eat christmas dinner in a paper hat that is either way too tight or way to big.

High Valley: Our sister Cindy makes double crusted chocolate pie. It looks like apple pie, but with home made chocolate custard.

Cory Marquardt: The whole thing is awesome. The amount of different foods and desserts but most importantly enjoying a huge meal with your family. We do Christmas crakers after dinner and read the jokes in them while enjoying our drink of choice. I love that!

Let’s take it back a little with this one. What was your #1 present when you were a kid?

Cory Marquardt CNE 2015Cory Marquardt: When I was about 10 Santa brought me this huge F-14 Tomcat. This wicked looking fighter jet in which the wings would sweep back and forth electronically and with missiles that could fire with the press of a button. For those that are unaware…This was the same jet in the movie Top Gun!

Livy Jeanne: For some random reason I remember getting one of those giant tigers that were usually featured in a sears catalog. It was just sitting under the tree with a big red bow on it. I also always enjoyed opening one gift on christmas eve, which was usually PJs.

High Valley: Brad -> Super Nintendo with NHL 97. Curtis -> Donkey Kong

Maybe this one will take us back too… do you have a favourite Christmas movie or TV special?

Rudolph the Red-Nosed ReindeerHigh Valley: ELF

Cory Marquardt: Home alone. Both movies are timeless!

Livy Jeanne: I loved all the disney christmas movies . The Santa Claus, Home Alone… but the one I remember watching the most was Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer.

Last one, and we think we’ve saved the best. What is your favourite celebratory drink when you’re celebrating during the holiday season?

Jack Daniels Winter JackLivy Jeanne: When I can have booze hahaha champagne…. but non alcoholic my favourite would have to be an Egg Nog Latte.

High Valley: Hot Chocolate with tons of whipped cream.

Cory Marquardt: Rum and eggnog with Dad and the brother. I got my Dad on a new celebratory drink called “Winter Jack”. I think we both enjoy that one, you should try it out!

Big thank you to Brad, Curtis, Cory, and Livy for playing along… we wish them all a Merry Christmas.

Stay tuned for more Christmas Q&A fun coming soon. Be Awesome!

2 years ago Views

Bucko & Toad: Frozen In Your Eyes, Christmas Q&A!

Do y’all know Bucko & Toad?

12243309_876235462459122_2852640350553619412_nKenn and Kelly Coutu are a husband and wife duo, making music that makes them happy, and bringing it to the world.

The band name?

Like most of us (all of us?) Kenn and Kelly had nicknames that their parents gave them – Kenn’s mom would holler “Hey Bucko” and to this day, Kelly’s dad still calls her Toad. It’s adorable.

Note: If you ever see a record with the name Dill Pickle Charlie on it, that’s probably me.

Kenn and Kelly, as Bucko & Toad are gearing up for the holidays with a catchy new country Christmas track, Frozen In Your Eyes – and they agreed to play a little Christmas Q&A with to bring us all a little deeper into the spirit of the season!

Wanna answer the multiple choice questions too? Leave your answers in the comment section!

Rudolph Snowman🎄 Best Snowman?
A) Frosty B) Olaf C) The Narrator from Rudolph
Kenn – The Narrator from Rudolph
Kelly – The Narrator from Rudolph

🎄 Best Classic Christmas Special
A) Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer B) Frosty the Snowman C) Charlie Brown Christmas
Kenn – Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
Kelly – Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

David Bowie Bing Crosby Peace on Earth Little Drummer Boy🎄 Best Classic Christmas Song
A) Elvis: Blue Christmas B) Bing Crosby & David Bowie: Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy C) Burl Ives: Silver and Gold
Kenn – Bing Crosby & David Bowie: Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy
Kelly – Bing Crosby & David Bowie: Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy

🎄 Best Christmas Dinner Side Dish
A) Stuffing B) Sweet Potatoes C) Cranberries
Kenn – Sweet Potatoes (Kelly’s mom makes the best!)
Kelly – Stuffing

Mulled Wine in Pot🎄 Best Holiday Drink
A) Rum and Eggnog B) Baileys and Coffee C) Mulled Wine
Kenn – Mulled Wine
Kelly – Mulled Wine

🎄 Best Christmas Dessert
A) Christmas Pudding B) Pie C) Fruitcake
Kenn – Pie
Kelly – Pie

🎄 Best Christmas present you got as a child?
Kenn – A batman utility belt with a grappling hook, I swear I actually tried to use it and fell down and hurt myself
Kelly – A pink bike with a banana seat and long streamers!

🎄 How do you feel about opening presents on Christmas Eve?
Kenn – We get to open one gift!
Kelly – Love it! We usually open one.. that has turned into two.. and on one occasion that did turn into us opening them all! ☺

🎄 Have you created any of your own Christmas traditions together?
Kenn – Champagne and Orange juice Christmas morning!
Kelly – Every year we drive to our friends and family who live a few hours away, there are a few communities that have huge light displays so we always drive through those then we make our stops visiting everyone! That always gets me in the Christmas spirit!

🎄 What’s the #1 thing on your Christmas list this year?
Kenn – Really the number one thing on my list this year is just health and happiness.. Seriously that’s all that matters!
Kelly – I like Kenn’s answer! Now I suppose I can return his gifts 😉

Bucko and Toad Header

2 years ago Views

Merry Christmas!

TheReviewsAreIn Merry Christmas
2014 has been a helluva year and there are a lot of people to thank for that.

We hope that all of you celebrating today have a great Christmas full of family, friends, food and all the happiness you can handle.

You deserve it!

We can’t wait to get started on 2015 and making it even bigger and better.

Be awesome!

3 years ago Views

Canadian Country Music Christmas Q&A

The Reviews Are In Stars ChristmasChristmas is so close I can taste the turkey… and I know I’m not alone.

In fact, with the help of some great people in Canadian Country Music that we’ve been able to meet and hangout with over the last couple years, we’ve broken down some of the best things about the holidays.

We’ve got answers from 8 awesome people, who happen to also make country music…
Tim HicksBoots & Hearts alum x3, Dierks Bentley tour-mate, and all around nice guy.
Kira Isabella – Uber talented singer, sweetheart of a person, and 2013 CCMA Female Artist of the Year.
Trinity Bradshaw – 2014 SiriusXM Emerging Artist Showcase winner at Boots & Hearts, energetic performer, so kind it’s almost unbelievable.
Riki Knox – Singer/songwriter working crazy hard every day, with new edgy, upbeat, fun & relatable music coming to all of you in January 2015… and a classmate of mine way back in the day.
Meghan Patrick – Super fun singer with The Stone Sparrows AND her own solo material which is coming early in 2015.
Cadence Grace, Ann Chaplin and Stacey Zegers – The super sweet ladies of Runaway Angel, Boots & Hearts alums, passionate performers and hard workin’ musicians.

Question 1. It’s not always easy to narrow it down, but what is your favourite Christmas carol to sing?
Tim Hicks: I’d say my favourite is Silver Bells. My parents have a Bing Crosby Christmas CD that has been playing in their house for 20 years every holiday season and I just love it, and that song in particular. It ain’t Christmas without Bing!

Kira Isabella: White Christmas – Bing Crosby

Trinity Bradshaw: Oh my goodness, I don’t even know if I can narrow it down to one. I love Christmas music … It’s my favourite thing about the winter months – the one thing that I get extra excited for every year. I sang “Little Drummer Boy” at my Jr. Highs annual Christmas show at a 500 seat theatre… It felt amazing and still remains one of my all time favourites 🙂

Riki Knox Christmas in the CountryRiki Knox: My favourite carol was always Silent Night. It was my job to sing it every Christmas Eve before anyone could open gifts. There’s something so magical about that song at Christmas time.
Most recently, my new holiday single ‘Christmas in the Country’ is at the top of the list. I wrote it with songwriting legends Willie Mack & Gilles Godard…I’m pretty excited about it!

Meghan Patrick: My favourite Christmas carol would probably be “White Christmas”…I love a snowy christmas and I LOVE Bing Crosby.

Cadence Grace: All I want for Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey

Ann Chaplin: Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas!

Stacey Zegers: All I want for Christmas is You!

Question 2. Does your family have any awesome Christmas traditions that you can share?
Tim Hicks 2014 CNE Blowout
Tim: Yeah, my wife’s mother is from Trinidad, so we celebrate Trinidadian Christmas on Christmas Eve with her family. The meal that night is always FANTASTIC! There’s samosas, usually we cook Cornish hens, and the best part is this dish called “potato stuffing”- it’s my absolute favourite. Imagine mashed potato mixed with seasoned ground pork and beef. So good!!

Kira: We give each other one thoughtful present on Christmas Eve and spent the evening by the fire just hanging out. Looking forward to it.

Trinity: Christmas Eve traditions have changed since I’ve moved away from PEI. Being on the other side of the country makes it hard to visit home for Christmas every year. As children though, my sisters and I loved Christmas. So much love in the air – which is what it’s all about.

Riki: Being together as one big happy (and sometimes dysfunctional…lol) family, is my favourite tradition! As we get older, life gets busier, and we don’t see each other as much as we’d like to. Christmas is a guarantee that my siblings and I, along with our extended family, will pack into my Dads farmhouse and spend quality time together.

Meghan Patrick The Stone SparrowsMeghan: Every year we go as a family (dogs and all) to cut down our own tree, and we listen to old christmas tunes on vinyl and decorate it together. Every year my Mom gives each of us a new ornament.

Christmas Eve tradition is an awesome big dinner cooked by my dad (usually short ribs and they’re insanely good) then we have a lineup of Christmas movies we watch together… The Grinch, Christmas Vacation (my favourite), It’s A Wonderful Life (I’ve kind of always had a crush on Jimmy Stewart lol), and finally White Christmas.

Christmas morning, my little sister wakes me up at a ridiculous hour and we watch old Christmas cartoons or Elf until we are allowed to go downstairs, and then we all head down together and listen to Bruce Cockburn’s Christmas album and open presents. This is followed by an amazing brunch of homemade cinnamon rolls and potato pancakes and a hike down to the creek behind our house with the dogs.

Boxing day, the mall is the LAST place you’ll find me…instead, my family and I will be out on the local hill skiing and snowboarding!

Cadence: A game of Night Before Christmas Mad Libs!

Ann: We’re pretty traditional. We do stockings and presents under the tree, and usually go for a nice long hike or cross country ski before a big dinner!

Stacey: Baileys and appetizers on Christmas Day while watching movies.

Question 3. Everyone has one, what is your favourite “holiday celebration” beverage?
Tim: Anything within arms reach!

Kira: My dad always makes hot chocolate from scratch with real cocoa!

TheReviewsAreIn Trinity Bradshaw Interview Boots and Hearts 2014Trinity: Egg nog paralyzers!! (1 oz  Bourbon or Spiced Rum – 1/2 oz  Kahlua – Top up glass with ice – Cola – Splash of Eggnog)

Riki: Spiced rum…something I only drink over the holidays. I love the taste of it, so mixed with just about anything works for me!

Meghan: When it comes to holiday celebration beverages with my family I have one word. WHISKEY. Bourbon Sours, Hot Apple Cider Whiskey with cinnamon, and Rye and Gingers. Although my dad has been known to sip a rum and eggnog or two as well.

Cadence: Egg Nog and Rum!

Ann: If you MUST know…I make an ‘Eggnog’ Martini.. but the recipe is a secret;)

Stacey: Baileys!

Question 4. Last one, what’s the number 1 thing on your Wish List this year?
Tim: Time. Time to catch my breath and relax with my family. It’s been an amazing ride these last couple years, and I love every minute of it, but especially around the holidays I look forward to getting off the rollercoaster so I can just spend time at home with my wife and babies. That’s the best part of the Holidays for me.

Kira Isabella CNE 2014 FeatureKira: I’ve spent a lot of time away from my family this year so I just want to spend as much quality time with them as I can, and squeeze in as many hugs as possible.

Trinity: I’ve got everything I need. I’ve never made a list…

Riki: As I get older, my material wishes become less and wishes of the heart become greater. More than anything, I wish for the happiness and health of my loved ones. (although I wouldn’t turn away a new pair of Lane cowboy boots 😉 )

MeghanThe number one thing on my wish list? a Remington 870 Express SuperMag pump-action shotgun and winter tires for my truck.

Runaway AngelCadence: A Vacation!

Ann: My wish is always that my whole family can be together and healthy on Christmas! And of course that my sister’s Stacey and Cadence have a wonderful holiday as well.

Stacey: An all expenses paid trip somewhere warm!

Thank you so much to every one of these awesome artists for playing along. They were a big part of why 2014 was so much fun for me… and why 2015 is going to be even better.

Here’s hoping each of these 8 friends, and all of you have a great Christmas and holiday season.

Be awesome!

3 years ago Views

2014 Toronto Blue Jays Advent Calendar!

Blue Jays Christmas Tree Decorations‘Twas month the before Christmas… and that meant kids were starting to eat chocolate from their advent calendars. But why should kids have all the fun?

Since today is the 1st of December, and we’ve officially entered “Countdown to Christmas” mode, I decided to put together a Blue Jays Advent Calendar with a list of players who have worn numbers 1-25 on their Toronto uniform.

Some of the players are still active. Some have long retired. 1 is in the Hall of Fame. And 1 was a Blue Jay as recently as last week.

So, have a look, count down with me, and make sure to tell me how awful my choices were on some of these numbers!

Happy Holidays!

Tony Fernandez Blue Jays

#1. Tony Fernandez

 

Aaron Hill Blue Jays

#2. Aaron Hill

 

Mookie Wilson Blue Jays

#3. Mookie Wilson

 

#4. Alfredo Griffin

#4. Alfredo Griffin

 

#5. Rance Mulliniks

#5. Rance Mulliniks

 

#6. John McDonald

#6. John McDonald

 

#7. Jose Reyes

#7. Jose Reyes

 

#8. Alex Gonzalez

#8. Alex Gonzalez

 

#9. John Olerud

#9. John Olerud

 

#10. Edwin Encarnacion

#10. Edwin Encarnacion

 

#11. George Bell

#11. George Bell

 

#12. Roberto Alomar

#12. Roberto Alomar

 

#13. Brett Lawrie

#13. Brett Lawrie

 

#14. Derek Bell

#14. Derek Bell

 

#15. Shawn Green

#15. Shawn Green

 

#16. Garth Iorg

#16. Garth Iorg

#17. Kelly Gruber

#17. Kelly Gruber

 

#18. Jim Clancy

#18. Jim Clancy

 

#19. Jose Bautista

#19. Jose Bautista

 

#20. Rob Ducey

#20. Rob Ducey

 

#21. Greg Myers

#21. Greg Myers

 

#22. Jimmy Key

#22. Jimmy Key

 

#23. Candy Maldonado

#23. Candy Maldonado

 

#24. Matt Stairs

#24. Matt Stairs

 

#25. Carlos Delgado

#25. Carlos Delgado

 

3 years ago Views

Christmas Shootout: Brothers Armed

Mery Christmas Nerf DartsI have a big, extended, awesome, hard to keep track of family. It’s been that way for 20 years, and it hasn’t slowed down a minute. So let me break down the cast of characters in this festive fable.

Josh: That’s me.
Chris: My little brother, you may remember him from The Biggest Swing of 1988, a Story of Brothers and Baseball.
Duane: My oldest step-brother, the same age as Chris, 2 years younger than me.
Daina: My step-sister, 4 years younger than me.
Kevin: My youngest step-brother, 6 years younger than me.
Cheryl: My Mom, she’s awesome.
Don: My step-dad, he’s pretty great too.
Mallory: Chris’s girlfriend at the time and now wife.

It was Christmas, not this year, and not the one before that, but definitely sometime in the last 5 years. Our family of 7 was together to celebrate, which isn’t something that happens as much as any of us would like, including Christmas’s over the last decade.

My Parents House, Rural Port Hope, Ontario

My Parents House in Rural Port Hope, Ontario

But here we were, gathered at my parents’ house out in the country. Sitting together in the big family room above the garage with the 10 foot Christmas tree, 2 couches, multiple chairs, fireplace throwing heat via pellet stove, and the dog taking shifts getting attention from everyone and laying down in front of the fireplace.

At some point during the gift opening process Chris reached under the tree and pulled out 4 identical packages and started handing them out. 1 each to Kevin, Duane and I… and 1 for him. At his gentle insistence we all opened our gifts at the same time and revealed Nerf pistols, complete with laser sights and extra ammunition shoved into the box.

Let me take a minute to explain that we were not a house full of toy guns when we were kids. We had a ton of Lego, played sports in the yard 12 months a year, had electric race Ralphie and his Red Rider, A Christmas Storytracks set up in the living room as often as possible, and even plugged in a video game console once in a while. But not a lot of gun play. We played with pellet guns back at the farm, but not at home. I have a feeling that Ralphie would have been pretty disappointed in us.

Fast forward back to 4 adult brother sitting in the same room with brand new pistols in their hands. My mom, Don, Daina, and Mallory are all looking at us, probably not predicting what was coming next (but maybe). And that’s probably for the best, because it hadn’t happened before, and hasn’t happened since.

After quick thanks to Chris and reaches for scissors and pocket knives (thanks to Don for always having his knife handy), my brothers and I were all armed and somewhat dangerous. I don’t remembered who shot first, I don’t remember who was the first to be hit, but I do remember taking part in the greatest foam bullet gun fight of my life over what could have been 5 to 25 minutes.

As we always did, the 4 brothers broke into pairs. I don’t specifically remember, but if I had to guess, I’d say that Kevin and I had each other’s backs as we had thousands of times in the years before. Shots were fired, we were hit and complimented each other on great shots, while simultaneously mocking each other for awful misses.

Yellow Nerf Pistol with Laser SightThere was no theme music like a movie. I started to sweat, unlike a Hollywood movie star. And in the middle of the shootout my mother warned us that if she got hit (while sitting in her chair in the middle of the room) that we were all going to be in so
me kind of trouble.

When the dust finally settled we found Nerf ammo everywhere. Behind the Christmas tree, stuck to windows and the door down a flight of stairs, under couches and so on and so on.

Nobody got hurt, nobody cried, there were no grudges to hold or hard feelings. It was, without a doubt, one of the most spontaneous, outrageous, fun stunts that we’ve ever attempted in front of my mother.

To this day my Nerf pistol with the laser sight remains at the house, at the ready in case any of my brothers decides they want to start things up again.

And if they do, they better make sure they’re ready.

3 years ago Views

Merry Christmas!

Merry ChristmasFrom me to all of you, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

I hope that the holiday season has brought you a chance to be with your friends, family and all sorts of loved ones.

Thank you to everyone who has made it enjoyable for me.

And best wishes to every one of you!

Merry Christmas, Presents Under The TreeMerry Christmas, Snowman and SantaMerry Christmas, Christmas CookiesMerry Christmas, Coffee and Candy Cane

4 years ago Views

All I Want For Christmas Is…

Wool Socks and Batman BoxersEvery year my mom asks me what I want for Christmas. And it seems like every year I have more and more trouble trying to answer the question.

Yes, it’s true, I do want socks and underwear for Christmas. Maybe that’s what happens when you hit your 30s and have a penchant for grabbing the things you want and need at the store throughout the year.

But as much as I love to give gifts, and I do, this is also the season for receiving… because other people want to give too.

So, I’m trying to come up with a Christmas list that goes beyond wool socks and Batman boxers.

Shirt and Buckle Plaid Shirts… for a long time I didn’t wear any plaid at all. But times change. I’m all in now.

 A belt and a new buckle… with Boots & Hearts turning into a yearly tradition and Rock ‘N’ Horse & Boots and Bourbon now open in Toronto, a buckle makes some sense.

Animated DC Universe Movies… Yes I know that I’m getting ready to turn 32 in a couple months, but I still love cartoons that are well written and drawn and directed. In my humble opinion, DC has been doing a good job with their animated flicks, so I’d take a few of those.

Carey Price Jersey Montreal Canadiens A Carey Price Sweater… in my life the only hockey sweaters I’ve ever owned have been from Port Hope High School. A Carey Price #31 would be the top of my list.

Dinner & Hockey at Kilgour’s… I know that most of my closest friends don’t watch much hockey – and the ones that do cheer loudly for the Maple Leafs. But I would love to sit with friends at Kilgour’s, surrounded by Habs fans (maybe in my new Carey Price sweater) to cheer for the bleu, blanc et rouge.

PS4… it’s been a long time since I had a video game system of any kind. And I’m sure that if I had one I would find time to play it. So I guess PS4 is a “yes please”.

A Secret Washer & Dryer… it would be awesome to have a secret washing machine and dryer in my building that I could use instead of needing to haul my laundry to the mat and throw loonies and quarters in the slots and wait and then carry everything back again.

iTunes Christmas iTunes credits… I’ve never been an iTunes buyer, but maybe it’s time that I was.

 Socks & Underwear… I know I said that I was going to build a list that was more than this – but I really do want and need some new socks and underwear this Christmas.

Here’s hoping that you are looking forward to Christmas and the holidays as much as I am. Friends, family, food and a drink or two sound pretty great to me. And a few days away from the office and commute will be nice too.

Be awesome kids.Christmas Wrapping Paper Banner

4 years ago Views

One of a Kind Christmas Show and Sale 2013!

One Of A Kind Christmas Show Logo HeaderOne of a Kind Christmas Show Tree 2It’s back!

The One Of A Kind Christmas Show & Sale has once again opened the doors with 800 Artisans from coast to coast. Trish and I checked out the show for 4.5 hours on Sunday… it sounds like a long time to walk the floor. And it was. But to get from aisle A to Z and stop for lunch, it took that long.

And it was worth it.

Trust me.

It was awesome to see old favourites like…
Rita and Nude Clothes (J3)
Dave Murray (E23)
Mad Batter Bakers (F43)
Coy Depot (T40)
and more, more, more.

And I don’t want to overhype this, but the smoked turkey sandwich from Pickles Deli in the food court was fantastic. Here’s a tip, tell the dude that makes your sandwich to make it how he wants it. I ended up with an extra pickle sliced and on my turkey. Very excellent.

Because my mom reads this thing sometimes I can’t tell you what I may or may not have picked up at the show. But I can tell you that I looked at a lot of ceramics and pottery. If you’re looking for mugs, vases, tea pots, plates and other assorted ceramic wares, someone has it at their booth.

This year my eyes got caught a few times by new and new to me booths too.

I really dug what Yasmine Louis (E4) has going on with her prints (pillows, t-shirts) AND you can find her shirts at Fresh Collective.

Gingerbread Studio (C36) was also awesome. I love streetcar art. A lot. And there is a great selection hanging on the wall. It made me wish I took 3 or 4 pieces home with me to hang up and give as gifts.

Coach House Shortbread (F20) has an excellent selection of sweet and savoury flavours. And I can tell you from experience that the original flavour is a safe and tasty bet. You won’t regret it at all.

Here’s the thing, with 800 artisans there are a lot of options. You’re going to have favourites that I missed. I’m going to love things that you miss.

But if you want a show, make sure you go see the dudes running the Pook and Hockey Sockey (C38) booth. They put on a show and offer some great Canadian mitts, hats and onesies.

And the cutest part of the day was most certainly the kids fashion show that we caught just as we arrived. An entire ton of adorable!

I Only Like You Sometimes - One of a Kind Christmas ShowBig Boat Bakery - One of a Kind Christmas ShowCoats by Mary Ellen - One of a Kind Christmas ShowOne of a Kind Show Christmas Tree 1One of a Kind Christmas Show Kids Fashion ShowOne of a Kind Christmas Show Map

4 years ago Views

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from TheReviewsAreInTo all of my friends and family, near and far, I would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas. I hope that your day is filled with joy and happiness and that those feelings continue through the holiday season and the New Year.

Cheers.

– Joshua Murray

5 years ago Views

In Love With The Holidays – Friends and Family 2012

Port Hope Christmas in the ParkThis is a special time of year for many people. Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or Festivus, tis the season to see your loved ones and share time together and make memories that will last forever.

This year I feel extra fortunate to have a busy schedule that sees me spending time with Trish and great friends AND all the sides of my mixed-up, extended, expanded, lovely family.

Last night I put in time with the Davis (mom’s) side of the family with a dinner out in the country. It was nice. With cousins and aunts and uncles and toddlers and grand-parents, we had a full house and a tasty dinner with laughs and good times. I’m sometimes anxious to get together with everyone, but this was a good start to the season.

Christmas MimosasNext up will be Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with Trish. I can’t tell you too much about what’s going to happen or what I’m getting her because there’s a chance that she’ll read this and then I’ll have egg on my face. I’m looking forward to it. Coffee on Christmas morning with some wrapping paper and smiles will be a great start to a special day.

Then it will be on the GO and out to Port Hope to spend some time unwrapping and eating and drinking with mom, Don, Chris, Duane, Daina, Mallory, and assorted other gatherers. Tradition will have mimosas and speciality coffees to go with some lunch. It’s a terrific way to enjoy Christmas morning/afternoon. You should try it. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed and you may even find a new tradition to add to your holidays.

Next stop will be Bowmanville to see dad and Robyn and Christine with Chris and Mallory. We’ll eat more, maybe have a couple more drinks, open some more gifts and laugh. It’s too bad that my niece and nephew won’t be there with us (at their dad’s) but I’ll be sending back Roxx Skillz for the boy and Disney Princesses for the girl. I hope they like them… it’s good to be a liked uncle.Roxx 2012 Hot Toy

After Christmas day is over it’s back to Toronto for a couple days to enjoy some downtime, outdoor skating, eating, sleeping and writing. I’m looking forward to those days. They will be good days. I will be awesome on those days. I will drink a lot of coffee on those days. I will enjoy them. I will make the most of them. I will make the least of them. I will miss them when they are gone.

Then we get to December 29th and the big old fam jam skating party that my mom is putting together. There will be friends and family and ice (I hope) and fire and food and very good times. I am really excited about this one and I know that some other people are as well. I just hope I don’t embarrass myself on the ice. That’s always a fear that I have when I strap on my blades of steel.

it’ll be “quick & dirty” and an excuse to wear long johns instead of pants.

The next day we’ll open presents and makes jokes with Jay Chan and Rayanne and Chris and D and Rannie and Seth. Again, I can’t talk much about the details in case one of them gets bored and reads this post. But we (Trish & I) are looking forward to giving everyone their gifts this year.

And that leads us to NYE and a 3rd day in a row with very good friends. In the words of our host, it’ll be “quick & dirty” and an excuse to wear long johns instead of pants. I love these people so it’s the best plan and place I can think to want to be.

And while there won’t be a Winter Classic to watch on January 1st… I may sneak in a college football game while I relax and get ready to go back to the Blog Studio office on the 2nd. It’s going to be an exciting year there too. Be ready for me to spew some info about that in the next couple months. Yay!
The Blog Studio at HoHoTO 2012Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Have an Amazing New Year everyone. You’re Awesome!

5 years ago Views
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