As I’ve mentioned previously on my blog, I’m asked all of the time to review products. And as I’ve mentioned previously, I don’t normally say “yes” unless it’s something I believe in or something I genuinely want to try.
I was recently asked to try a new photo app for iPhone/iPad/iPod called Photone.
Photone just released a couple of weeks ago and is an application for enhancing photos and adding effects for user photos. I don’t know about you, but sometimes the filters provided by that certain app we all use just don’t match up with what I want the photo to look like. I’ve actually downloaded a number of other filters and apps, but for the most part they’re either (a) too cheesy with over-the-top effects nobody over the age of 18 would ever want to use or (b) they’re too damn expensive.
Photone is only $1.99 and I’ll tell you my honest thoughts: I like the app…a lot.
The company has put together a really great, simple photo editing experience with this app. Literally one tap can get you results that would normally take HOURS. And the great thing I like about it is that it’s compatible with exporting to Facebook and Instagram in addition to being able to save it to your photo camera roll.
I know…it sounds like I’m trying to hard-sell you on this product. But I’m not just throwing this review out there for the hell of it. I tried and have used the filter a number of times within the past week on my social media accounts.
For example…here’s a picture I took of an “adult beverage” I was drinking last week by the Christmas tree.
A nice picture, I guess…but I added a little “Sun Rays” filter to it and this is how it currently looks on my Instagram account:
Here’s another example. I took this pic of Sunshine and I over the weekend while at the gym. It was just a quick selfie that I took after we both had finished unsatisfying runs…
I know…not the most flattering pic, right? Regardless, I applied a filter called “Cappuchino” and this was the result:
To me, the muted colours make the photo look better overall…and it doesn’t look like the amateurish selfie that it initially started looking like. There are a LOT of different filters to choose from, whether they are considered professional (ProTone), colour-centric (ColorTone), or effects-driven (Effects).
Don’t just take my word for it, though. For the price, what have you got to lose? There are so many other photo effect filter apps out there that either charge a lot more and/or don’t give you the type of quality effects and filters that you’re looking for. I plan on continuing to use this app for a long time.
If you’d like some more information, though, just go toPhotone-App.com and see for yourself.
If you’re anything like me, you can sometimes be over-whelmed by the gluttony of holiday-themed entertainment that’s available this time of the year. It’s so bad that after Christmas shopping this past weekend, if I never hear “that” Mariah Carey song again for the rest of my life it still might be too soon.
But hey, that doesn’t mean I’m a Grinch around the holidays. There are always some great programs available that my family love to watch on an annual basis. And now, as my Christmas gift to you, I want to give you a chance to win SIX MONTHS of FREE NETFLIX (details below) while also providing you with one of my favourite Christmas recipes, along with some of my personal favourite holiday-centric programs that are currently available on Netflix.
First off…I thought I’d share a great recipe that my awesome wife makes for the family around the holidays: chocolate-peanut butter fudge! Total prep time is just over an hour and it’s a SUPER easy recipe that anyone can make! I’ve created a separate post that has all of the details. Trust me…you’ll thank me when it’s all said and done (and your family will, too!!).
Secondly, there are some great titles on Netflix that my family will watch that I’d like to recommend for your family (if you haven’t watched them already)…
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
I fully realize that there is a large group of Dr. Seuss fans who prefer the original cartoon classic over the Jim Carrey remake. I gotta say, though…I absolutely love this version! I think the acting is kitchy and fun, the make-up is incredibly faithful to the book, and the genius of Jim Carrey cannot be denied. This is one of the few movies of his career that fully demonstrate just how incredibly original and entertaining he can be (when he wants).
Jingle All The Way
It’s a Christmas movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger…how can you go wrong? What happens when a desperate dad has to match wits with a sleazy Santa, a stressed-out mailman, and a horde of parents just so he can procure the hottest new toy around on Christmas Eve? Well…you get a pretty entertaining holiday movie!
To me, this is one of the more under-rated animated films that revolve around the big man in red. This 2011 film is a story about how Santa Claus must entrust his son, Arthur, to carry out an ultra-important Christmas mission. It basically gives an updated look at what Santa must probably have to do in order to REALLY travel around the world delivering toys in one night, and I know my son loved it when he watched it the first time.
My wife and I have already watched all ten seasons on a two-month marathon session (seriously), but the one holiday episode I remember the most is from Season 7, Episode 10…titled “The One With The Holiday Armadillo”. The great thing about Netflix is that you can search through all ten seasons to find that one episode you’re looking for. It’s great having that convenience.
These are my holiday favourites…do you have any that are on Netflix? Sound off in the comment section below or on social media…I’m certainly open to finding a new favourite for the family to enjoy!
Now it’s time for my Christmas gift to all of you.
I have TWO…count ‘em…TWO six-month Netflix gift cards to give away. And it’s super easy to qualify. If you would like to win one of these gift cards, simply do the following:
I thought I’d share a great recipe that my awesome wife makes for the family around the holidays: Chocolate-Peanut Butter Fudge! Total prep time is around an hour and it’s a SUPER easy recipe that anyone can make! Trust me…you’ll thank me when it’s all said and done (and your family will, too!!).
To start off, here are the ingredients you’ll need:
Unsalted butter, softened, for brushing
1 14 -ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
2 pinches salt
2 cups peanut butter chips
Alright…here are the directions!
Simply line an 8-inch-square baking pan with foil (make sure you press it into the corners and up the sides). Leave an overhang on 2 sides, though. Then brush the foil with butter.
Combine 3/4 cup condensed milk, the chocolate chips, and a pinch of salt into a medium saucepan.
Combine the remaining condensed milk, the peanut butter chips, and a pinch of salt in a separate saucepan.
Now put both pans over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally until the chips are all melted and smooth.
Spoon the chocolate mixture into the prepared pan, leaving spaces between the spoonfuls. Spoon the peanut butter mixture into the gaps. Brush an 8-inch square of parchment paper with butter and lay it directly on top of the fudge. You should press to flatten evenly and fill any gaps.
Refrigerate until firm, about 45 minutes. Lift the foil to remove the fudge from the pan and cut into 1-inch squares.
Well, it’s been 7 years since Sunshine and I had our first date. Thankfully, Facebook’s new “On This Day” app has helped me find my reaction to the end of the date once I returned home.
And because I am absolutely still head-over-heels in love with my incredible wife, I thought I would take today to re-post my account of our first date. Unfortunately, the multiple videos I made during the day haven’t survived…but everything else seems to still be there and I’ve added a few pics from myself & social media to make things a bit more “CBG-esque”.
DECEMBER 6th, 2008
We had decided that to make things as “normal” as possible and not overly awkward, I would just drive up for the day and leave after dinner in the evening. We had been talking for a couple of weeks online and were really nervous about whether or not our online chemistry would carry-over into “real life”. There had definitely been a connection online and I really was digging her, but she had some reservations. The “Saturday Day Date” was supposed to be the big test.
I didn’t hit the road as early as I would have liked, but still not too shabby…
I was just pulling up to the half-way point of my journey…a toll booth on the Cobequid Pass when my cellphone rang.
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I answered the phone and the first thing out of her mouth?
“You know you really shouldn’t be answering the phone while you’re driving.”
I asked her to hold just a second as I paid my toll and pulled into a parking lot. A few minutes later, I was back off and running with a huge silly grin on my face…really anticipating the meeting that was less than two hours away.
As I pulled into Dartmouth, I felt the need to make a quick pit stop before going across the MacDonald Bridge into downtown Halifax.
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So I pulled into the Ultramar on the corner of Victoria and Woodland Avenue. I came out, pulled back onto Woodland, and turned left on Victoria when the lights turned green. But then my heart sunk. My stomach flipped. I immediately panicked.
My right front was pulling to the right and I couldn’t steer. OMG!!! I immediately pulled over, threw the 4-way hazard lights on, and got out to see the damage.
FLAT AS A PANCAKE.
Are you kidding me??? Did I not have this exact same thing happen to me just a few short months ago?? I popped the trunk and began getting the spare prepared. A lady in the house I was parked in front of yelled at me to move because she was about to leave. Ugh. So I pulled across the street into a parking lot and surveyed the damage. It was a nail. A long nail.
Oh dear lord…not today. Not today of all days.
So I raised the car and started working over the lug-nuts. I couldn’t get them off. In fact, I was straining so much the car came off the jack (don’t know my own strength, I suppose…lol). I was getting frustrated because at this time it was already 9:15am and I was supposed to be meeting Sunshine.
Luckily, a pleasant passer-by named Tony and his dog Roy stopped by and offered assistance. He asked if I had stood on the bar in an attempt to move the lug-nuts.
“Why no…I hadn’t thought of that.”
Needless to say, he helped me get the lug-nuts off and jack up the car. Once I made the switch and thanked him for being a good person, I stood back to survey the damage.
At this point it was after 9:30am, and with Sunshine not having a cell phone and us not having made any plans in case something had happened…I was starting to panic.
So I threw everything into the trunk and rushed off to make my way to the Halifax Farmer’s Market. Once I parked and made my way to the building, I was nervous and anxious and going crazy because it was now almost 10am and she was going to be waiting outside for me at 9:00am.
After running around for 10 minutes and immediately sensing how huge this building was, I stopped and thought for a minute. She said that she sometimes liked to eat Chinese food for breakfast at the market (which is something I’ll make a regular occurrence, too, when I go back with her), so I found the Chinese food kiosk next to one of the entrances and stood there; hoping that she’d pop up.
At 10 o’clock, my cell phone rang. I answered with, “I’M HERE!!” Once she found me I gave her a HUGE hug and immediately showed her my grease-covered hands. I tried explaining the story and then she laughed…
She thought it was amusing. I mean seriously…out of all the days to have this happen, TODAY was the day. Heh.
The market (also known as the Keith’s Brewery Market) was awesome. The tour of the market was awesome. The smells and the sights and the sounds of the market were awesome. The crowd? Not so awesome. Long story VERY short, the market was awesome and we had our FIRST KISS!! I’m definitely looking forward to going back with her.
At around 12pm, we decided to stop by her house really quick so she could drop off her purchases and we could be off again.
Once she was done, we drove to Canadian Tire and picked up some tire plug stuff. LOTS of stuff I could go into at this point, but I’m trying to condense as much as possible. Let’s just say that in spite of the situation, we were absolutely making the most of our time together…laughing, talking, and just enjoying each other’s company.
There’s something to be said about making out in a store parking lot. Just sayin’.
Anyway…we pulled into a gas station and when trying to fix the hole with the plug, realized that the hole was on the SIDE of the tire, not the bottom.
OMG…that can’t be fixed.
OMG…I can’t drive all the way back to Moncton on a donut for three hours on the highway.
OMG…do I have any money in the bank for a tire?
OMG…where in the blue hell am I going to find a tire place in Halifax?
I went inside the gas station we were parked at, wrote down a bunch of places out of the Yellow Pages, and immediately thought that the Tire Shack would be the best choice for a cheap, used tire (hey…it’s a shack that houses tires…how much simpler can it get??). It was on Prospect Road.
“Hmmm…uhhh, K? Do you know where that is?”
“I think so, yeah.”
And off we went.
She was 100% correct about the direction. We both just didn’t realize that we’d have to drive half-way to Peggy’s Cove in order to actually find the Tire Shack location. And no…I’m not kidding (although Peggy’s Cove is a gorgeous location).
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Point “A” is where we started at the Canadian Tire…Point “B” is where the Tire Shack was.
It took us (seemingly) forever to find this place. We pulled in and I walk into the office. I explained my situation to the lady and that I was just looking for ANYTHING to put on my car for the trip back to Moncton.
“Well, we closed last February but ask the owner and see what he can do for you.”
Wait……………..what??? Yeah…they were actually closed. Had been since February.
I nervously smiled at Sunshine sitting in the car as I went from the office to the garage area, where the owner appeared to be helping out a friend’s vehicle or something. I explained things and he felt sorry for me (at least I think he did). He said that he didn’t know for sure, but would go out back and check.
He came back with a brand-new all-season tire. Uh-oh…NOT what I had in mind. He said that it retailed for $99 but considering the situation and that he wasn’t actually open or even IN BUSINESS, he’d give me a deal. So he said $88 for the tire, installation, and balancing. Not a bad deal, right?
Oh…did I forget to mention that he was closed? Because if I had mentioned that, it would have become apparent that he had no debit machine and could only take cash.
I had $50 in my pocket. $56.45, to be exact. I sheepishly went to the car and explained the situation to Sunshine. She was doing her best to contain her laughter at the whole story. Then I asked her how much cash she had on her.
Yes…on a first date I was bumming money from my date. “Cads-R-Us” alert!!
Pooled together, we had $84 in cash. BAH! So we were told that there was a bank machine back a little bit at the Irving we passed on the way there. We’ll be right back.
The fucking gas station felt like it was an hour away. So I go in and grab $100 out of the machine…still chuckling at the fact I actually ASKED SUNSHINE FOR CASH. Wow.
We got back to the closed Tire Shack at 1:30pm. Upon further inspection, the “tire guy” realized that I had studded winter tires and would have to rotate the back one with the new front one to make sure I wasn’t all messed up. Because he didn’t notice it before, he wouldn’t charge me any extra.
We finally got finished at 2pm…just as we had hoped. I wish I could really explain how amazing Sunshine was during this entire time, but I can’t. Let’s just say that this particular part of the day was one that we both will remember forever and smile (it included cheesy 80s music, a dancing lady, pretending to be married, and LOTS of stolen kisses).
Sunshine had passes to the museum so it was the least expensive part of our entire day. I shouldn’t really laugh at that part, but looking back it’s pretty funny.
So after the museum, I forced Sunshine to pick a restaurant for us. We got there at 3:30pm and the front door was locked.
WTF is it now?!?!?!?
It opened at 4pm. We looked at our watches…3:30pm. Dang it. Let’s walk around for a bit. So we went into Sweet Janes. Wow. It was part candy store, part gift store, part sex shop (lol). Half awesome, half creepy.
There were toys for tots (kazoos!), toys for adults (candy-thongs!!), and toys for the odd (a Jesus action figure and bobble-head doll….seriously). Oh…and there was a TON of candy, too. Honestly…this was almost as much fun as anything else we did that day.
So after learning of her sock-fetish (which will come in handy to know come Christmastime), we made our way back to the restaurant for supper (it was called The Fireside). Two hours later, we realized that the date had to come to an end (and no, Sunshine…I didn’t RUSH you through your coffee…lol).
So to summarize? I wish I could. In spite of EVERYTHING that could have possibly gone wrong (and she totally makes light of the day in her own blog post), I had one of the best days I’ve ever had.
Honestly…this totally ended up being the greatest first date I could have ever asked for. Sunshine is an absolutely amazing woman and I can’t tell you the relief I feel knowing the connection we have isn’t limited to “online only”. Regardless of where this ends up, it’s gonna be a fun ride.
As I have mentioned before in this blog, I am contacted all the time and asked to do sponsored posts or product reviews or author interviews and things of that nature. I do not jump on every opportunity because I only want to write about things that are relevant and/or interesting to me. When I was contacted by CanvasPop and asked to do a product review, it took me all of two minutes to check out their website, write a reply, and agree wholeheartedly.
Simply put, I knew immediately what picture I wanted to put on a canvas. In fact, Sunshine and I have blown up this photo already but had failed to put it up on our way bedroom wall (probably due to procrastination and general laziness).
Getting everything set up was extremely easy to do. I just had to click “Get Started” on their website’s home page, find the product that I wanted, choose the size I want it, and then upload the picture.
The awesome thing about the site is that there were multiple options to choose from. Not only could I just have a single canvas made, but I could also include text, create a collage, or make a triptych canvas with one large photo.
I went with just the “Photo Print” option. And just in case I didn’t happen to have the photo I wanted on my computer anymore, I was given the option of also using Facebook or Instagram for uploading.
Once that was done, I simply had to choose the type of layout (whether a canvas print or a framed paper print), choose a size (there are a LOT of different sizes available), and decide on frame options…
…before choosing an edging option.
I originally picked the “Photo Wrap” option simply because I thought it would look really cool with the photo. The great thing about CanvasPop is that they sent me an email once the order was processed and showed me what it would look like when completely finished. They also gave me some time to change my mind if I didn’t quite like what I saw.
In this case, I thought the picture looked a little bit too stretched for me and Sunshine agreed. So I asked if we can get it changed to a black border to shrink the photo a bit. Without any issues or problems, I was sent a new email a couple of days later showing me what it would look like.
I confirmed my order and did not have to wait very long for it to arrive at my home. As you can see from the photos below, the canvas was wrapped up very nicely and in a way that ensured it would not be damaged during transit.
Needless to say, both Sunshine and I were extremely happy with the end result. The canvas is of excellent quality and the photo turned out really great. Just see for yourself!
I did take it out of the bubble wrap to get a closer look at it, though. I wanted you to see the quality that was put into the canvas itself.
This post isn’t just about me telling you how great this product it. CanvasPop has been gracious enough to provide a discount code for YOU, which is perfect considering the time of the year. If you’re looking for a very unique gift for someone special in your life, I couldn’t recommend this idea more. And if you jump on this right away, use the discount code and you’ll get an extra 35% (!!!) off of your order simply by entering the coupon code CBG35.
A big thank you to CanvasPop for allowing me to review their great product, and I really hope you, the reader, will take it vantage of this great discount for a gift this holiday season…whether it is for yourself or someone else.
Please take the time to review their social media accounts for more information and examples of what they can do!