Wednesday, June 22, 2016

101 Wedding Shower Gift Ideas

Okay, not literally 101 ideas for Wedding Showers / Bridal Showers / Groom Showers... but it is the thought that counts. We shall add more gift ideas to this list in the future.

The concept of shared husband and wife "wedding showers" is a more modern idea in which gifts for the couple are given, often in his and her varieties. This way the husband doesn't feel left out. The concept of a groom shower is a very new idea, as it is basically replacing the old bachelor party idea with a more manly gift giving event.

The lists below can also be used for buying gifts for couples, or buying generic his/hers gifts for people that maybe you don't know that well. (If you know the person better and know for example that she is into power tools / etc, maybe use the groom list instead.)

Category 1, Traditional Gifts for a Bridal Shower
  • Linen napkins and napkin rings
  • Dessert plates and bake-ware
  • Tea set with teapot, possibly personalized
  • Picture frame
  • Crystal vase
  • Champagne glasses
  • Cashmere blankets
  • Mixer
  • Coffee maker
  • Pie plate
  • Dish towels and China
  • Bedding
  • Barware
  • Platters 
  • Cookware set 
  • Knife set
  • Lingerie
Category 2, Modern Gifts for a Bridal Shower
  • Certificate for a spa day
  • Coffee-table book of her favorite vacation spot
  • Bathing suit for the honeymoon (get her size from the groom)
  • Monthly wine or flower club membership
  • Getting-ready robe embroidered with new last name (i.e., Mrs. Harris)
  • Tent for two
  • Breakfast-in-bed tray and pajamas
  • Relaxation materials: scented candles and magazine subscriptions
  • Travel gear
  • Theater tickets
  • Museum memberships
  • Luggage and honeymoon guidebooks
  • Beach towels and a beach bag
  • Cool clock
  • Gardening set in a cute bag
  • Travel shoe bag
Category 3, Modern Gifts for a Wedding Shower
  • Dual Activity Gifts (eg. if you know they both enjoy cycling, gifts that pertain to cycling would be a good gift, provided you know that they don't already own the items in question)
  • His and Hers carry on luggage
  • Wine Decanter or Wine Rack or Wine Trough
  • His and Hers Watches (possibly with built-in GPS so they can track where their spouse is).
  • Sexy Truth or Dare Game (or other games for couples).
  • Fancy Salt and Pepper Shakers
  • His and Hers Coffee Mugs
  • Personalized His and Hers Coffee Mugs (photos of the couple or their names together on the mugs)
  • Double Sized Travel Hammock, so they can both be lazy.
  • Picnic Backpack or Picnic Hamper
  • Gift Cards that are handy for the Honeymoon
  • Books titled "Two in the Kitchen, a cookbook for newlyweds" and similar titles
  • Cedar chest or "Hope Chest" - perfect for storing linens in. The cedar protects fabric from moths. 
  • 1200 Thread Count Comforter, King Size
  • Airline Gift Card - basically the equivalent of a "Trip for Two to Somewhere")
  • His and Hers Bath Towels, Large Towels are Best
  • Archery Lessons for Two
  • Large two seater porch swing (preferably with cupholders)
  • Book titled "The Seven Principles of Making Marriage Work" and similar titles.
  • His and Hers Pillow Cases, with their names embroidered on the pillow cases
  • Kama Sutra Guide Book (avoid giving this book in front of too many conservative prying eyes)
  • Personalized Cutting Board

Category 4, Modern Gifts for a Groom Shower
  • Fishing Equipment - to be fair, make sure he actually likes fishing first
  • Hunting Gear - for those who like both fishing and hunting, a fishing/hunting gift basket would work nicely.
  • Sporting Equipment - golf equipment, archery equipment, gift card for running shoes, etc
  • Power Tools
  • Hand Tools / Sets of Tools
  • Tool boxes, larger the better
  • How To Guides to "Plumbing" and other household duties
  • Books titled "How to keep the Wife Happy" and similar titles.
  • Electronic gadgets - Bluetooth speakers, mood lighting,
  • Waffle maker with all the trimmings. eg. a Bubble Waffle Maker
  • Baseball Bat Electric Wine Opener, bottle openers of various sports affiliations (make sure the groom likes the team or sport in question)
  • Personalized Pocket Knife or Swiss Army Knife
  • Personalized Tools
  • Personalized Bottle Opener
  • BBQ
  • BBQ set of tools
  • Craft Beer Glasses
  • Beer Crafting Kit
  • Wooden Beer Carrier

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Warcraft, the Movie

I am going to see the movie "Warcraft" tomorrow afternoon.

I am worried it is going to be bad, but so far I have not heard any negative reviews. It might actually be better than Batman Vs Superman (which I liked overall, but was disappointed by the whole "Wait, your mom's name is Martha?!" thing).

The problem I have with movies based off of computer games / video games / board games is that they are often horribly made, have bad plots, often missed the point of the game or story, and/or had very little staying power - as in you watch it one time and then if you ever watch it again you become disappointed with it the second time and never watch it ever again.


Battleship - great board game, awesome movie. I have totally watched that movie multiple times.

Conan the Barbarian - The new one is based off the computer game, not the original Robert E. Howard books. I felt the movie is good the first time you see it, but really boring the second time you see it. In retrospect I now consider that movie to be horrible. For multiple reasons, each of which are due to meddling by the video game company Paradox Entertainment.

Dungeons and Dragons - Awesome roleplaying game, horrible movie during which the plot made very little sense, the villains were ridiculous, and it was amazingly cheesy.

Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight - Awesome book / roleplaying game series, but the movie was horribly animated. Done properly, the Dragonlance series could be an amazing series of films - but you would need someone like Peter Jackson to do it justice, and it should be live action, not animated.

Wreck It Ralph - Technically there was never an arcade game with this name, but it was still a pretty good animated movie.

Pixels - No comment. I have not seen it yet.

Review of Warcraft - Four stars out of Five. Not a great movie (like Avatar), but not horribly bad.

The film has an underlying environmental theme, which I feel could have been elaborated more on.

Also the film left it open for sequels, which makes the fans happy. However I should point out that the "artsy fartsy movie critics" will not like this movie, as it doesn't offer much in the way of substance. Fans of warcraft will enjoy it, and myself, someone who is not a Warcraft fan but I am a fan of the fantasy genre, I enjoyed. But it wasn't a "great movie".

But it was good. It is worth watching. But it won't make the artsy fartsy critics happy, but to be fair those same critics thought "LOTR: Return of the King" was a bad movie. Depending on which "reviews" you read people are either saying that Warcraft financially tanked (which is false), or that Warcraft broke records. The latter is true. It is now one of the top 3 most grossing movies based on video games. The mixed responses tell me that some movie critics want the movie to fail and are apparently spreading false rumours about the film tanking. Anyone who can do math will realize the film was extremely popular.

I also feel the burgeoning love story of two main characters could have been explored more. Clearly that is meant to entice us towards sequels, which look likely as the film has already doubled its money - and the director is already talking about prepping for a sequel.

Millwood Wine Works, Making your own Wine in Leaside, Toronto

Millwood Wine Works
905 Millwood Road
Leaside Neighbourhood, East of Bayview Avenue on Millwood Road
Toronto ON

Review by Charles Moffat.

Last year the missus and I went on a wine tour in the Niagara region, of the esteemed Trius Winery. We really enjoyed the tour and for myself it was a reminder that my grandfather had made red wine decades ago and it was fascinating to see the process my grandfather had gone through making his wine - although to be fair, his process was likely much simpler and old fashioned that the modern witchery that goes into Trius wines.

Nevetheless the tour got me thinking. Not from where the missus and I live in Leaside, there are two small "make your own wine" locations.

The first being the aforementioned "Millwood Wine Works" and the second being the "Cellar Door Winery", which is literally across the street from the Millwood Wine Works. (Maybe someday I will review the Cellar Door Winery across the street, but for now this is just a review of the Millwood Wine Works.)

The missus and I discussed making wine last year in the Autumn, but kept putting it off. Thus we got the chance this year I figured enough is enough, lets do this!

So we went in together and picked out a nice gentle Riesling for $140. I wanted red wine, but I rarely win any arguments with the missus and so we got the Riesling instead - with the promise that the next time we make wine, she has to pay for it, and I get to pick the type of wine we are making.

We watched in awe as Kevin Whitaker (owner and "assistant winemaker") prepared everything for us, making everything was clean and shipshape. Then he handed me the yeast and I sprinkled it in "like a pro". Honestly, I was just sprinkling the yeast around like I would do with salt on a plateful of eggs, but whatever, it looked very good with the yeast swirling around in there.

Then everything was sealed up and we waited 4 weeks for our wine to be done.

Yesterday, 4 weeks and 1 day later we got up and went to collect our wine. Purchased 30 bottles for all the wine to be stored in, I disinfected and cleaned the bottles, while Kevin poured the wine into the bottles which were cleaned.

Then came the corking machine. This part I really enjoyed and I even took a selfie of myself for Facebook. The machine was apparently powered by air pressure, but for curiousity's sake I asked if there was an old fashioned was of corking bottles, and I was pointed to a device which was foot-powered. Woot, I love things that are foot-powered.

When it was all done we had 30 bottles of Riesling. Which if we do the math is:

$140 for the wine kit / service, $30 for the bottles = $170 for 30 bottles of wine. Approx. $5.67 per bottle. Each bottle contains approx 750 mL of Riesling, at about 7 to 8 %.

We plan to give away a few bottles for Xmas to family members. The true test came last night when we finally sat down to toast us becoming winemakers. Tasty!

We shall have to do this again sometime. Either at the Millwood Wine Works, which had great friendly service, or maybe we should try the Cellar Door Winery across the street.

Note - It is hard to switch to a different location once you have already found a place where you like the service. Quality service after all is hard to beat when compared to the "unknown factor" of trying a new place you've never tried before.

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