A Few Tips Will Help You Enjoy The Great Taste Of Coffee

Did you know that experienced barista who know how to properly prepare coffee, do not bring it to a boil, that is, do not heat it to one hundred degrees. Maximum 98. Boiling kills the taste of coffee! In order to prepare aromatic coffee in accordance with all the rules, you will need a conical shape of a Turk or a small cezve. The narrow neck of the dishes contributes to the formation of airy foam, which is a sign of good, finely ground coffee. There should be a little foam, as its large amount can reduce the aroma.

choose best ground coffee

There are a large number of ways to make coffee. Let's consider in more detail the most popular.

In Turk 

For brewing coffee it is best to use cupronickel or copper Turks.

Recipe for making coffee in a Turk: 


  • Calcify the Turk on fire;
  • Pour ground coffee into it, counting 1-2 teaspoons per cup;
  • Then we add sugar to your taste;
  • Pour cold water into future coffee. Do not forget that the quality of the water will determine the taste of coffee. Therefore, it is better to use purified water to brew coffee. For a richer taste, water should reach only the narrow neck of the turk;
  • Then we put the Turk on a small fire. With a catastrophic lack of time, you can put more on the fire, but you just need to prevent the drink from boiling.




Probably the most difficult thing in making coffee is not to let the coffee run away. And for this, he needs constant monitoring, and as soon as foam forms on the surface and bubbles appear on the edges, we can safely say that the coffee is ready. But if you, after the foam appears, hold the coffee on the fire for several minutes, not allowing it to boil, then this will be called the art of making coffee. In order for the drink to be clear without impurities, it is necessary to use a sieve.

Features of making coffee in Turk 


  • It is important not to miss the moment of maximum heating of water, since coffee should not boil. Focus fully on making the drink.
  • Pour ground coffee into the Turk, add sugar and put on fire. You can also add a pinch of cocoa or cinnamon, they definitely will not spoil the drink, but will give strength and taste.
  • Usually one teaspoon is filled up per cup, but there are coffee lovers stronger. They brew 3-4 tablespoons of coffee, but they should think about the nervous system and heart.
  • If you want to save money, then do not mix expensive coffee with cheap coffee. All the same, the taste of the drink will not improve, and you will not get part of the aroma and pleasure from expensive coffee. In this case, it is better to add cocoa or cinnamon.
  • Real coffee connoisseurs do not brew it in an ordinary enameled coffee machine, but in a copper one. They also do not have an ordinary stove, they make coffee on a special hot stove with sand. But these conditions for making a good drink are not necessary.
  • If you are too lazy to stand above the stove and wait for the preparation, you can simply pour the right dose of coffee in a mug, and pour boiling water over it like tea. Wait ten minutes until it brews, and enjoy a cup of coffee.
  • If there is absolutely not enough time, then you can use instant coffee. At work, everyone drinks such a powder that greatly simplifies the cooking process, but it costs less than regular coffee. But the taste of such a drink will not always meet the expected

In The French Press

Coffee brewing in a French press is a popular way to make this drink. This method is used when tasting several types of coffee, because it extracts all its delicate taste and aroma from coffee grains quite well. This method is popular not only because it produces a natural taste, but also because the cooking process is very easy. Consider how to brew coffee in a French press:



  • Rinse the french press with hot water to slightly warm it;
  • At the rate of 1-2 teaspoons per cup, pour ground coffee into it. To prevent the mesh from clogging, choose coarse coffee;
  • Pour coffee with water, best of all hot, but not boiling in some cases;
  • To get a more intense aroma of coffee, you need to mix everything thoroughly;
  • For better brewing coffee, leave it for a couple of minutes;
  • Pour the drink into cups, lowering the piston of the French press.


In The Cup

Ground coffee can be brewed directly in a cup. Moreover, brewing in a cup is used during professional tasting to determine the organoleptic properties of the drink. How to make coffee in a cup?




  • First of all, the cup must be heated. To do this, it can be rinsed with boiling water. Preheating is necessary to reduce the temperature loss for heating the cup itself, all the heat should go to brewing coffee.
  • Pour finely ground coffee into a cup. Coffee beans should be ground almost “to dust”.
  • Pour coffee with hot water at a temperature of 96-98C. This is the temperature taken a minute ago from the fire of boiling water.
  • Cover the coffee cup with a saucer or other coating of a suitable material and let it brew for 2-3 minutes to settle the grounds and brew the coffee.

With proper brewing of coffee, its taste will be rich and velvety, with a wonderful and persistent aroma.

Disclosure:  This has been a sponsored post. Compensation has been received.

DK Canada Life Stories: Black History (Review & Giveaway)

On May 25, 2020 George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota, during an arrest for allegedly using a counterfeit bill. Since then the last month and a half there has been a demand for justice world-wide in regards to police brutatlity and systemic racism that not only happens in the United States, but all over the world. These last few weeks have been a rollercoaster of emotions as I am a Black American who resides in Canada, but I have family in the states and it's been hard to not be able to be there with my family physically during this time with borders still closed because we are still living in a worldwide pandemic with COVID-19.

One of the things I've noticed on social media is people having uncomfortable conversations with people of colour so that we all can talk about and agree that racism is everywhere and in order for us to move forward, these conversations need to happen so that we can understand one another a bit better and agree that everyone should be treated with equality no matter the race, gender or sexual preference of a person because at the end of the day, we are all human-beings. I've been having conversations with friends and family members of different race as well, sharing my stories, my encounters with racism and trying to figure out a way I can use my voice on this platform to help share and spread information the best way I can, in a safe way.

I reached out to our amazing friends over at DK Canada and they sent me some of their DK Life Story books on a few black leaders in our history to add to my library for my kids to read and learn more about. We already had the DK Life Stories of Martin Luther King Jr. and were sent DK Life Stories on Harriet Tubman, Katherine Johnson and Nelson Mandela.


Martin Luther King Jr., will always be remembered for his famous "I have a dream" speech, which he gave during the March on Washington in 1963. But his life before and after that big event, and his other enormous contributions to the Civil Rights Movement in the United States, largely go unspoken. In this biography for kids ages 8-11, learn all about MLK - from his early family life and experiences in education, to his untimely death and the worldwide mourning and riots that followed.



Nelson Mandela became the first black president of South Africa after spending 27 years in prison.
In 1964, Nelson Mandela was sentenced to a lifetime in jail. His crime? Attempting to overthrow a government that openly discriminated against its black citizens. After spending 27 years behind bars, Mandela was released, allowing him to continue his struggle for equality in South Africa-and to become the country's first black president. In this biography book for kids ages 8-11, learn all about Mandela's incredible life, his fight against apartheid, and how he helped bring peace to his nation.


Harriet Tubman was born into slavery in c.1820 and would later run away and help scores of other African American slaves escape to freedom in the North using the "Underground Railroad." A nurse, scout, and advisor during the American Civil War, Harriet co-led the Combahee River Raid, in which 700 slaves were liberated. After the war, Harriet became involved in women's suffrage, or the right to vote, and opened a retirement home for sick and elderly African Americans. In this biography book for 8-11 year olds, learn all about Harriet Tubman's fascinating life, the hardships she endured, her visions, the people she helped and rescued, the battles she fought, and how this American icon of justice and strength continues to inspire so many people today.


Katherine Johnson, famed NASA mathematician and one of the subjects of the award-winning 2016 film Hidden Figures. It was an incredible accomplishment when the United States first put a person on the Moon - but without the incredible behind-the-scenes work of NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, such a feat could not have been possible. Follow her remarkable journey from growing up in West Virginia, to becoming a teacher, to breaking barriers at NASA and receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015.

All four books are filled with great photographs of each of these black leaders who made history. Not only are they filled with pictures, but they also give a timeline of each person's life, as well as a quiz at the end of the book so that your child can test their knowledge of what they read. I also love that each book has a "Who's Who," section that shares information on who and what these leaders came in contact with during their lifetime. I absoutely love having all four books in my home library so that my kids can read about these amazing black leaders who made a difference in the world. Also be sure to click the link for a free Teacher's Guide to the DK Life Stories of some of history's extrodinary people. The guide includes lesson plans, discussion questions and more!


GIVEAWAY!

I'm very excited to share that our friends from DK Canada are teaming up with us to host a giveaway that includes all four books! All you need to do is comment below on which book you think your child and/or you would like to read first. That's it. The giveaway is open to our Canadian readers only. DK Canada Life Stories books are retailed $7.99 CAD ($5.99 US) For more information on the DK Life Stories be sure to head to DK Canada.

Disclosure: All opinions are my own. I received the above mentioned books at no cost for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received

Trolls: World Tour Blu-ray Review & Giveaway


Queen Poppy (Anna Kendrick), Branch (Justin Timberlake), and the rest of your favorite Trolls are back for another musical adventure that’s bigger—and louder—than ever before! In TROLLS WORLD TOUR, Poppy and Branch discover that their kingdom is only one of six musical realms—Funk, Country, Techno, Classical, Pop, and Rock—that were once united in perfect harmony. When the power-hungry ruler of the Rocker Trolls threatens to silence all other music so her tribe can reign supreme, Poppy and Branch must embark on an epic quest to unite the realms of Trollskind, before the songs in their hearts are lost forever! The film is currently available for early viewing on a wide variety of popular on-demand services as a premium rental offering.


MY REVIEW
Queen Poppy, Branch and the rest of our favorite Trolls are back at it again for another great adventure filled with lots of new catchy songs and new colorful characters to love! My five year old and I were so excited when we received a copy of Trolls World Tour on blu-ray. We both absolutely loved the first movie and were so excited to see the movie in theatres when we first saw the trailer for Trolls World Tour earlier this year. As we all know, due to COVID-19, movie theatres were shut down, so Trolls World Tour became available to us to rent on demand. 

I have to say I was very impressed with not just the new storyline for our favorite Trolls, but the way it's told is so relatble to what's going on in the world right now and I believe would be a great movie to introduce kids to celebrating how unique and different everyone is. When we open up to the movie we see Queen Poppy being happy and excited, like always, ready to start her day being the Queen of her kingdom. When she receives an invitation from an unknown troll, Queen Barb, letting her know that Rock Trolls should be the main music for all trolls. Poppy is then told the story from her dad, King Peppy, that their kingdom isn't the only one of its kind, that there are six musical realms of other genre's of musical trolls. 

With this news, Poppy decides to make her way to visit the other kingdom before Queen Barb does to warn them of what she wants to do, but she's also Poppy, and very optimistic about what Queen Barb's true intentions are. What Poppy doesn't know and what Branch tries to warn her of, is to be careful of strangers. Throughout their mission to warn other kingdoms, they are introduced to so many different trolls along the way and what they try to make Queen Barb realize is that being different and unique is what makes us all special. Why not celebrate our differences and still love one another and be happy. 


I have to say I was very impressed with this movie. From the storyline, the amazing new colorful characters we were introduced to, to the catchy songs, my family and I absoultely loved this movie and I promise if you loved the first one, you'll love this sequel as well. 

Join Poppy, Branch, and the rest of the Trolls in the all-new Dance Party Edition exclusively on Digital June 23, 2020 and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-Ray™, and DVD July 7, 2020 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

The Dance Party Edition includes an interactive dance party mode where viewers are introduced to dance moves to learn while they watch the film, lyrics to sing along, and surprises featuring their favorite characters! This special Dance Party Edition includes bonus content, such as an exclusive original short film starring the unforgettable Tiny Diamond, deleted scenes and behind-the-scenes exclusives with the power-house musical cast of Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Kelly Clarkson, Mary J. Blige, George Clinton and many more. This fun and entertaining family film is the must-own movie of the summer.

GIVEAWAY!
Thanks to our friends at Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, we're giving away a copy of Trolls World Tour (Dance Party Edition) on blu-ray to one of our lovely readers. Open to both US and CANADA, to enter, comment below sharing yours or your child's favorite character from Trolls! 

Disclosure: All opinions are my own. I received Trolls World Tour at no cost for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received. 

Celebrating 20 Years of Gladiator (4K Blu-ray Steelbook Anniversary Review)


Originally released in May of 2000, director Ridley Scott’s GLADIATOR celebrates its 20th anniversary. Also a winner of five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, the film is an unparalleled combination of vivid action and extraordinary storytelling. Russell Crowe won the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his portrayal of a Roman general who is betrayed by a corrupt prince (Joaquin Phoenix) and comes to Rome as a gladiator to seek revenge. The 4K Steelbook includes access to a digital copy of the film and both theatrical and extended versions of the feature on 4K Ultra HD, along with two separate commentaries. The two Blu-ray Discs included in the set boast over four hours of previously released bonus content, including commentaries on both versions of the film, a comprehensive documentary about the making of the movie, featurettes, deleted scenes, and more.

MY REVIEW
I can't believe it's been 20 years since I first saw Russll Crowe on screen portraying the strong, skillful and handsome, gladiator, Maximus. This was a film I remember so well and another film that was played in our house very often as my dad was and still is a fan of action/war/battle movies. 

A man robbed of his name and his dignity strives to win them back, and gain the freedom of his people, in this epic historical drama. In the year 180, the death of emperor Marcus Aurelius (Richard Harris) throws the Roman Empire into chaos. Maximus (Russell Crowe) is one of the Roman army's most capable and trusted generals and a key advisor to the emperor. As Marcus' devious son Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) ascends to the throne, Maximus is set to be executed. He escapes, but is captured by slave traders. Renamed Spaniard and forced to become a gladiator, Maximus must battle to the death with other men for the amusement of paying audiences. His battle skills serve him well, and he becomes one of the most famous and admired men to fight in the Colosseum. Determined to avenge himself against the man who took away his freedom and laid waste to his family, Maximus believes that he can use his fame and skill in the ring to avenge the loss of his family and former glory. As the gladiator begins to challenge his rule, Commodus decides to put his own fighting mettle to the test by squaring off with Maximus in a battle to the death.

One of the biggest memories I have when I was a teen and watching Gladiator for the first time, I remember watching Maximus rush to return home to find his family, wife and son, murdered and his town burned to the ground. I remember crying when I saw Maximus finding his wife and son and how he broke down. That was such an emotional scene. Tears filled my eyes then as they did recently when the husband and I watched the movie for the first time in over 10 years. I remember being a  teen and being so invested in watching Maximus fight his way back to face Commodus and when we finally see them reunite, the expression on everyone's face when they realized Maximus is still alive and was the gladiator to beat, is priceless. Throughout the movie we see Maximus at his strongest and weakest and when the fight is finally over, we see him getting to reunite with his loved ones.

Celebrating Gladiator's 20th anniversary this month, now available for purchase, you can add this steelbook copy to your movie collection as well. For more information about Gladiator, be sure to head over to Paramount Pictures Canada.

Disclosure: All opinions are my own. I received Gladiator at no cost for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received. 

Celebrating 25 Years of Braveheart (4K Blu-ray Steelbook Anniversary Review)


Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2020, BRAVEHEART won five Academy Awards®, including Best Picture. The richly detailed saga of power, passion, and the fight for freedom stars Mel Gibson (who also took home the Oscar® for Best Director) as William Wallace, a bold Scotsman who rallies his countrymen to liberation from oppressive English rule. The 4K Steelbook includes access to a digital copy of the film and previously released commentary by Mel Gibson on both the 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray presentations, along with more than two hours of previously released bonus content, including interactive timelines, a making-of documentary, multiple behind-the-scenes featurettes, and more.


MY REVIEW

"Tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take... OUR FREEDOM! "

One of the most famous quotes in movie history, June 2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the movie Braveheart! Braveheart is the 1995 film that stars Mel Gibson, who plays plays William Wallace, a Scotsman who leads a revolt against the British during the 13th century.

I remember being a teen and watching this movie with my family and it brings back so many memories as this was a movie my dad would watch often. Not only did my dad love the movie, but I married a guy that loved it too. So when we received the steelbook anniversary movie of Braveheart, earlier this month, my husband was pretty pumped to watch the movie on 4k as the picture quality would be even better than before.

I hadn't watched Braveheart in years, so watching it again after not seeing it for so long, I rememberd the plot of the movie, but not every detail. I forgot how much blood and gore are in the battle scenes and how intense they are. If your family has never seen Braveheart before, be prepared because it gets bloody and you see lots of characters die. There are also a few scenes that will make you uncomfortable as rape was a form of oppression to women and is shown in this movie as well as a bit of nudity. 

Overall, this is a great movie to watch and the actors did a fantastic job bringing this story to life. As of June 16, 2020, you can now grab your own steelbook anniversary copy of Braveheart. For more infromation on the 25th steelbook anniversary copy of Braveheart, be sure to head over to

Disclosure: All opinions are my own. I received Braveheart at no cost for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received. 

Be Amazing by Desmond Is Amazing (Book Review)


Title: Be Amazing
By: Desmond Is Amazing & Pictures by: Dylan Glynn
Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux
Publication Date: July 21, 2020
ISBN: 9780374312589
Pages: 40


In Be Amazing , drag kid Desmond is Amazing walks you through the history of the LGBTQ community, all while encouraging you to embrace your own uniqueness and ignore the haters.

Desmond is amazing - and you are, too.

Throughout history, courageous people like Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and RuPaul have paved the way for a safer, more inclusive society for LGBTQ individuals, and it's thanks to them that people just like Desmond can be free to be who they really are.


MY REVIEW
Hi friends! It's been a while since our last post. With the pandemic of Covid-19 and with what's been happening since the murder of George Floyd, we decided to take a few weeks off and to not post while also educating ourselves about systemic racism. During our time off, we did receive a package from our wonderful friends over at Raincoast Books and in that package was a beautifully written and illustrated book called Be Amazing by Desmond is Amazing in honor of celebrating Pride this month of June.

As a parent with a child in the LGBTQ+ community,  I'm always looking for new books that can not only help educate myself, but also have these books in our home library so that my kids and other family and friends can come and read books about LGBTQ+ whenever they want. 

Be Amazing is a wonderful book written by twelve year old drag kid, Desmond is Amazing and is beautifully illustrated by Dylan Glynn. In the story we are introduced to Desmond and are told his story of being his drag persona, Desmond Is Amazing. Not only does he share with us about his experiences, but he also goes through the history of the LGBTQ+ community, including The Stonewall Riots back in June 28, 1969. 

Along with sharing about the LGBTQ+ history, Desmond also shares stories of some of the heroes in the LGBTQ+ community that includes, Marsha P. Johnson, an African American drag artist, model and LGBTQ+ activist, Sylvia Rivera, a Latin American transgender activist and RuPaul, a drag artist, actor, singer, model and host of the popular show, RuPaul's Drag Race. 

This book is filled with lots of information about the history, heroes and activist in the LGBTQ+ community and about being true to yourself and "Pay the haters no mind, they'll never be as fierce as you and I." 

I encourage you all to pre-order this book and I hope one day I can see this in school libraries, I know how much this put a smile on my face and how much myself and kids learned from it, I can just imagine what it can do for a young kid who is feeling alone or out of place or for kids who just want to learn a bit about LGBTQ+ history. 

Be Amazing will be availabe for purchase July 21, 2020. For more information about Be Amazing, be sure to head over to Raincoast Books. Happy Pride Month! 

Disclosure: All opinions are my own. I received Be Amazing at no cost for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received. 

Q&A with Katey Taylor & Book Giveaway

Following her highly acclaimed debut novel, Inebriated, which was called as "an emotional roller coaster" "heart-wrenching" and "addictive and sexy," author Katey Taylor is bringing her readers back to California and the high-drama, high-stakes world of her characters for her sequel, Neon Nights, which was released March 24th, 2020.

I'm so excited to not only share a Q & A with Katey talking about the sequel Neon Nights and also offer both our US and Canada readers a chance to win a copy of the book. Not only will you be able to win a copy of Neon Nights, but you will be able to win a copy of the first book in the series, Inebriated as well. Below are synopsis  of both books followed by the Q & A with Katey.


Barely seventeen and as pretty as can be: the summer is their playground. Cait and her best friends Steph and Allie take on San Francisco's party scene with fake IDs and short dresses.

When Cait meets Adrien Cross, the charismatic lead singer of her favorite indie band, she's introduced to a hedonistic world of liquor and lust that she never wants to leave.

But then that world spirals out of control and the harsh realities of reckless living take a toll on Cait and the ones she loves.
What will be left when the makeup masks wash off, the bottles are empty, and Cait begins to lose her grip on everything?

Katey Taylor's heart-wrenching debut novel will have you strapped into the intense rollercoaster ride of Cait's life and one chaotic summer that will change it all.



After a harrowing summer riddled with tragedies, seventeen-year-old Cait is forced to deal with the aftermath of poor choices and failed relationships.

Will Cait be able to continue her journey despite the heavy chains from her past, or will she be dragged down by the same mistakes?

In the anticipated sequel to the heart-wrenching novel Inebriated, Neon Nights will keep you on the edge of your seat with another wild ride into Cait's life.



Q&A WITH KATEY TAYOR, AUTHOR OF THE YA NOVEL NEON NIGHTS

Question: Tell us what Neon Nights is all about.

Katey Taylor: Neon Nights is a raw and emotional story that follows seventeen-year-old main character Cait and the serious issues she has to tackle in front of her. Neon Nights is a spiral of events dealing with boys with bad intentions, drugs, and new drama.

Q: This is the second book in the series. How does Neon Nights continue the story of Cait that you began in your first book, Inebriated?

Taylor: Neon Nights picks up right where Cait left off in Inebriated but due to the life-altering incidences that took place in the previous book, Cait’s whole world is turned upside down. Readers will be able to dive right in and see the immediate new challenges she faces, and whether your rooting for her or screaming at her, you won’t be able to look away.

Q: You write about a lot of very real topics. Are these novels based on any true experiences?

Taylor: At first, I strictly denied my life had any relation to my books. Fiction is fiction. But it was getting hard to deny that was true to friends and family who had read the books. I grew up in a San Francisco Bay Area suburb and snuck away to San Francisco to party in my teen and young adult years. Like a lot of teens, I experienced or was around underage drinking, drugs and the aftermath that comes with that. Cait’s story is not my story but a lot of the emotion and experiences she goes through are similar to mine. I think Cait did take on my teenage persona maybe more than I’d like, but I also think I wrote her qualities I wish I had back then. Cait might not be able to see the bad or danger in people at first, but when she does she is willing to stand up for herself and for the ones she loves. I think her inner strength is one of her best traits.

Q: Music is an obvious theme in the books, and Adrien is a musician. Is he inspired by any real-life musicians?

Taylor: Oh boy. Adrien definitely morphed into his own real character, but I will admit when I first started to write him, I was inspired by a particular lead singer of an indie band called The 1975. His aesthetic mostly, and I’ve seen him play live many times and he exudes that sort of the slick, dark, wounded musician vibe that Adrien carries.

Q: Do you listen to any particular music while writing?

Taylor: I have to listen to music while I write, they both go hand and hand so naturally for me. When writing a scene, I usually pick a song that relates to what I’m writing, and I will play it on repeat for hours to help me visualize the setting or express a certain emotion. My music taste is quite eclectic. Indie rock is my go-to, but I love older bands like Fleetwood Mac or Van Morrison. I’m also a huge pop fan probably because I grew up listening to Britney Spears and N*sync. But when writing, I will listen to any song in any genre with deep emotions or lyrics that inspire me.

Q: Social media is such a massive part of teenagers lives these days. What message about social media did you want to portray to your readers?

Taylor: A minor plot point in Cait’s story in the books is she was admired and often criticized on social media. Yet all of those people had not a clue about the hardships she endured on a daily basis. Life isn’t always what it seems, and just because your seemingly pretty and popular doesn’t mean that life is easy or that you don’t make terrible decisions.

Q: Besides a great read, what else do you hope teens get from Neon Nights?

Taylor: Not just teens, but parents of teens could read these books as an eye opener to what teenagers are capable of getting themselves into. You might think your kid – or you! – wouldn’t do things like this but sadly those are the people who end up blindsided by addiction issues, find themselves in a toxic relationship, or make the simple mistake as getting in the car with someone under the influence. These things sadly do happen every day. I hope by tackling some of the harder topics of being a teen with truth and honestly, I’ll help my readers think about their choices when in stickier situations, and think about doing what is best for themselves and the people they love.


KATEY TAYLOR is the author behind the emotionally wrenching young adult novel, Inebriated. Katey's passion for storytelling stemmed not long after she first learned to write with a pencil. Every story she writes is infused with a piece of her heart and her absolute muses of music and travel. She's a San Francisco Bay Area native living in a house that sits on a bayside lagoon with her husband and two cats.

For more information, visit www.kateytaylor.com, and connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.

Neon Nights is available through all major booksellers and online via Amazon.

GIVEAWAY
To enter the giveaway to win a copy of both books, leave a comment below sharing your favorite book series.

Celebrating Over 30 Years of Top Gun! #TopGunDay


The Top Gun Naval Fighter Weapons School is where the best of the best train to refine their elite flying skills. When hotshot fighter pilot Maverick (Tom Cruise) is sent to the school, his reckless attitude and cocky demeanor put him at odds with the other pilots, especially the cool and collected Iceman (Val Kilmer). But Maverick isn't only competing to be the top fighter pilot, he's also fighting for the attention of his beautiful flight instructor, Charlotte Blackwood (Kelly McGillis).


MY REVIEW
I can't believe it's been over 30 years since we first saw Tom Cruise in the movie, Top Gun. I remember watching this movie as a kid, I was born in 1983 and Top Gun came out in 1986, so I didn't actually watch this movie until years later, but I certainly remember watching it and falling in love with the handsome Maverick in this movie. He had a smile like no other and charisma that gave me butterflies.

Now, over 30 years later, we celebrate the movie and that it has been remastered and available on 4K Ultra HD Digital TODAY and on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray to purchase on May 19. I was fortunate enough to get sent a copy of Top Gun on Blu-ray and I have to admit, seeing Maverick on screen all over again gave me butterflies. It was so nice to see watch a movie that reminded me of my childhood and it also got the hubby and I both excited for the Top Gun: Maverick that's set to release at the end of this year. 

Not only do you get to see Top Gun in a much better picture quality, but the bonus features are pretty awesome and include commentary on the 30th anniversary of Top Gun, along with interviews with Tom Cruise and behind the scenes footage as well. 

To join in on the celebration, head over to Twitter, to show off those aviators and tag your wingman and belt out your best version of Danger Zone. Share your favourite quotes, GIFs, and memories using #TopGunDay. Follow @TopGunMovie on Twitter and stay tuned all day for more fun!
Disclosure: All opinions are my own. I received Top Gun on blu-ray at no cost for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received. 

Band Ladies Season One Review #BandLadies

With the world still practicing social distancing, like many of you, I've been home juggling the kids school work on top of making sure they're doing okay mentally and still trying to run my household and keep it somewhat decent looking while trying to keep sane myself. I have to admit, there have been multiple times where I've cried from feeling overwhelmed from it all and just wanted to hangout with my girlfriends and vent, laugh, cry over a glass of wine.

Although we're not able to do that in person, I've been fortunate enough to have a group of girlfriends I chat with daily and we've done videochat ladies night in a few times during this quarantine, which has helped so much. It's always nice when you get to just laugh and chat with your girlfriends and I can't wait for the day when we can do that again in person.


I mention my girlfriends and I because I recently got to watch season one of the new webseries, Band Ladies, which starts streaming tonight, May 13th, at 6pm EST on the new streaming service, Highball.TV.

The show is about five middle aged women getting together for their monthly book club meetings and on a night where they have their meeting at a bar, they have a bit too much to drink, start to open up about the problems and regrets going on in their life and start to let loose. And by let loose, I mean, they all get the courage to get on stage and start rocking out and singing about their problems not knowing that they are being recorded and their video would be uploaded online for people to see. This gives them the courage to turn their book club into a punk band, but not without consequences for one of the ladies and her job.

Band Ladies is a female-driven, original web series about five women: Marnie, an uptight homemaker, Chloe, a disillusioned lawyer, Cindy,a desperate artist, Penny, an infertile millionaire and Stephanie, a love-sick flake. The show consists of six episodes that are about 10 minutes each.

THE HEROINES


UPTIGHT HOMEMAKER - MARNIE (Played by Kate Fenton) A helicopter mom yearning to take control of something more impactful than a bake sale or a Pinterest page. She sets a hurricane inmotion when her honesty inspires the book club to become the BAND LADIES. Empowered by speaking her truth, Marnie starts to push the limits in her relationships. The fragility of Marnie’s marriage and family dynamic is tested when she has to decide if her new awak-ening can exist in the strict mold that used to house her. Can Marnie really have it all or will she have to choose between the people sheloves and becoming the person that she really wants to be?

DISILLUSIONED LAWYER - CHLOE (Played by Lisa Michelle Cornelius) An electric high-profile Defense Attorney who finds her career skyrocketing while her integrity plummets. The moral compass that used to guide her has eroded after years in ‘Big Business’ and she finds herself unable to defend her choices and her clients. Defined by her career success, Chloe has an identity crisis when she is forced to step away from her all-encompassing work. As making music revives her inner anarchist, Chloe becomes a ‘breakout star’ as the band gains popularity. Can Chloe maintain some balance as she navigatesher new found fame or will her competitive edge force her to self destruct?

MIGSUIDED MANIPULATOR - CINDY (Played by Vicki Kim) A bartender at a local music venue, Cindy is a struggling musician on the outside looking in. Buried in debt with no real stability, Cindy means well but often makes the wrong moves. The band becomes her lifeline as she throws herself full force into making it a success.Some questionable decision-making begets a pattern of lies that cause more trouble than anyone could have predicted. Scrambling to keep her secrets, can Cindy navigate the band’s success or will she have made so much of a mess in the process that the BAND LADIES split and leave her to clean it all up?

INFERTILE FIRECRACKER - PENNY (Played by Dana Puddicombe) A glorious imposter and well-kept society staple, Penny is a self made Millionaire whose devoted all of her energy and resources into having a baby. A string of miscarriages put Pennys plan for children at a standstill, encouraging decadence and frivolity as she feeds her ego and labido. Penny is handsome, horny and game, making for great adventures on the road, but Penny hits a pothole when she accidentally gets exactly what she’s always wanted. Can Penny follow through or is she as deluded about what she wants as she is about what she needs?

LOVESICK FLAKE - STEPHANIE (Played by Kirsten Rasmussen) A serial monogamist suddenly alone, she’s worked for none of what she had and now has nothing. Crippled by a stability shaking break-up, Stephanie tries to pick up the pieces of her life as she unsuccessfully avoids her ex and unabashedly drowns her sorrows in booze. In the band, she finds the purpose she’s been mercilessly charged with lacking and the independence to fight for the band but as she finds her footing, can Stephanie come clean with the lies she tells herself.


This show definitely made me miss my girlfriends even more and reminded me of the show, Working Moms. It also gave me a small vibe of the hit show, Sex in the City, given no sex, but focusing on the ladies getting their band together, rocking out and discovering true friendship while dealing with their regrets in life and realizing it's not too late to reinvent yourself, no matter how old you are. 

I absoutely loved all of the characters and right now my favorite is Marnie. Out of all of the characters, I feel like she is the one that has come out of her shell the most and has grown the most throughout the season. Like her, I too am a homemaker and it can be a lot to juggle a husband, being a mom, keeping up with all the housework and trying hard to make sure that in the midst of it all you don't loose yourself. 

I would recommend this series to all of my girlfriends looking for a quick show to watch, you binge the entire season in one hour. I can't wait until season two comes out to see the second chapter of Band Ladies! For more information about Band Ladies you can follow them on online on Highball.TVInstagram, Facebook and Twitter

Disclosure: All opinions are my own. I received screener access to season one of Band Ladies at no cost for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received. 

Bubble Guppies: The Great Guppy Games DVD Review & Giveaway


Get ready to dive into five swim-sational episodes packed with fun-filled sports and games as the Bubble Guppies take part in the Summer Camp Games, the Super Ballet Bowl, the royally awesome Glitter Games, and more!

Bubble Guppies: The Great Guppy Games! episodes:
The Summer Camp Games!
The Super Ballet Bowl!
The Elephant Trunk-A-Dunk!
Puddleball!
The Glitter Games!


MY REVIEW
My five year old has been watching Bubble Guppies for years now, so when she saw the DVD get delivered to our home she was super excited to watch The Great Guppy Games. Filled with her favorite school of fish, Molly, Gil, Deema, Oona, Nonny and Goby along with Mr. Grouper and other ocean friends, we got to see them in five awesome episodes. Filled with our favorite catchy songs and loads of swim-tastic adventure, your little one will defnitely enjoy this fun-filled DVD.

We hadn't watched Bubble Guppies in so long and now, it's been played a few times the last couple of days and my five year old even brought out all of her Bubble Guppies stuffies so that she can watch the episides while hanging out with her favorite characters! 

Bubble Guppies: The Great Guppy Games is now out on DVD for your to watch at home and I'm excited to team up with Paramount Pictures to give one of our Canadian readers a chance at winning this DVD for your home. All you need to do is comment below your child's favorite character. 

Also, please enjoy these awesome Bubble Guppies alphabet tracing pages for your little one. Maybe even have them work on the activity sheet while watching an episode of Bubble Guppies!




Disclosure: All opinions are my own. I received The Great Guppy DVD at no cost for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received. 


Like A Boss Blu-ray Review


Best friends, Mia and Mel (Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne) are living their best lives, running their own cosmetics company until a villainous beauty mogul (Salma Hayek) conspires to steal it from under them. When her devious plan drives the besties apart, Mia and Mel learn that sticking together is the only way to turn the tables and take their company back. The beauty business is about to get ugly. The film also stars Jennifer Coolidge and Billy Porter.


MY REVIEW
What do you get when you put Tiffany Hadish, Rose Byrne and Salma Hayek together in one movie, straight comedy! I'm a huge fan of all three ladies in this film, so I was really excited when I got a chance to watch Like A Boss. This movie will have you laughing and keeping you entertained from beginning to the end. Not only was I sent the movie, but I was also sent a few Like A Boss themed goodies that included a compact mirror and an overnight kit, similar to the one they talk about and mention in the movie. 



Mia and Mel have been best friends since they were kids, so it seemed natural for them to open up a cosmetic company together as Mia is a talented makeup artist and Mel is the brains behind the business part of the company. Right a way you can tell both these ladies love to have fun, Mia more so than Mel and we also learn that their business is in financial trouble as Mia loves to help out people buy giving them discounts to their store and her clients she does makeup for. Mel, who is more of the brains of the operation hates confrontation. She hates telling anyone bad news, so it takes her a bit to let Mia know how much financial trouble their company really is in and why they go introduce themselves to Claire Luna, a well known, millionaire in the cosmetic business. If they can get her to pay their debt for a small percentage of their company, will it work out? 

Salma Hayek as Claire Luna is unrecognizable. From her contact lens, hair colour and teeth, you wouldn't believe that it's Salma Hayek underneath. Claire is a business woman who wants to remain at the top of the cosmetics in the world, so she agrees to help the ladies by wiping out their debt, but at a cost that if their friendship ends or something goes wrong she will get a bigger cut and will own the majority of their company. Not only do they all agree to the deal, but Claire is on a mission to make sure these best friends turn on one another and make them reevaluate themselves, their friendship and their company they built together from the ground up. Through ups and downs we see these two ladies pull through and come back together, because that's what true best friends do, and show Claire where she can shove it.

This movie was so much fun to watch and definitely made me miss my best friend even more and appreciate our friendship, especally now with whats going on in the world due to Covid-19. You can find Like A Boss available now on digital, bly-ray and DVD. For more information about this movie, be sure to head over to Paramount Pictures.

Disclosure: All opinions are my own. I received Like A Boss and goodies on blu-ray at no cost for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received. 

Dolittle Blu-ray Review


After losing his wife, he hermits himself away behind the high wall of his manor but is forced to set sail on an epic adventure when the queen falls gravely ill. Helping Dolittle in search of a rare cure are his rambunctious animal friends—including Chee-Chee (Malek), an anxious, self-conscious gorilla; Dab-Dab (Octavia Spencer, The Help), an enthusiastic but bird-brained duck; the bickering duo of cynical, neurotic ostrich Plimpton (Kumail Nanjiani, The Big Sick, “Silicon Valley”) and chilly-but-chill polar bear Yoshi (Cena); as well as a headstrong parrot named Polynesia (Thompson).


MY REVIEW
My family and I are big fans of Robert Downey Jr., so when we saw the first trailer for the movie, DOLITTLE, my entire family was very excited to see it. My kids were pretty shocked at the role of Dolittle, especially since they're use to RDJ playing Ironman in the Marvel series. This was completely different and we loved every minute of it. 

From the beginning of the movie we are shown how Dolittle and his wife fell in love, how they owned a place specifically for helping animals in need. Once Dolittle's wife dies his entire world is sort of a blur. He no longer wants to have anything to do with the outside world, except for the animals he lives with. This is where our story unfolds as a young boy, Tommy Stubbins who's an orphan living with his uncle rushes to Dolittle in need of help saving a squirel he accidently injured. While going there he runs into Lady Rose who is also in need of Dolittle's help, but not with an animal, with the Queen of England.

After convincing him to help the Queen, Dolittle, his animal friends and his new appointed apprentice are off to find a plant to help heal the Queen from the poision she was given before it kills her. Through their travel they run into a few different people including his late wife's father, Rassouli, who doesn't quite care for him and blames Dolittle for his daughter's passing. Through the upds and downs of the adventure, we see Dolittle come alive and live again. 

This was such a great film to watch. Definitely a lot different than the 90's Eddie Murphy version of the movie, but nontheless, my family and I really enjoyed it. I think the animals and their different characterisitcs is what really made my kids love this film and I bet they will do the same for your kiddos as well. 

Available now on digital, DVD and blu-ray you can find more information about Dolittle and where to purchase the title over at Universal Pictures Canada

Disclosure: All opinions are my own. I received DOLITTLE on blu-ray at no cost for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received. 


Sonic The Hedgehog Blu-ray Giveaway #SonicMovie


It's been a little over a month since our review on the movie, Sonic The Hedgehog. It was such a great movie that my family is still talking about it. My twelve year old even got out his old Sonic and Tails stuffies to start making fan-fic videos he loves to make. This has helped him pass the time while still being creative since we're all at home right now.

Speaking of everyone being at home and continuing practicing social distancing, I've teamed up with our friends over at Paramount Pictures to offer one of our Canadian readers a chance to win a copy of Sonic The Hedgehog movie on blu-ray.



Powered with incredible speed, Sonic the Hedgehog (voiced by Ben Schwartz), aka The Blue Blur, embraces his new home on Earth. That is, until he accidentally knocks out the power grid and sparks the attention of super-uncool evil genius Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey). Now it’s super-villain vs. super-sonic in an all-out race across the globe to stop Robotnik from using his unique power for world domination. Sonic teams up with The Donut Lord, aka Sheriff Tom Wachowski (James Marsden), to save the planet in this action-packed hit that’s fun for the whole family. Sonic The Hedgehog is now available on digital and will be available on blu-ray May 19th. 


GIVEAWAY:

To enter the giveaway all you need to do is comment below letting us know who you want to watch the movie with. That's it!

The Night Clerk DVD Review


Tye Sheridan stars as hotel night clerk Bart Bromley who is a highly intelligent young man on the autism spectrum. When a woman is murdered during his shift, Bart becomes the prime suspect. As the police investigation closes in, Bart makes a personal connection with a beautiful guest named Andrea (Ana De Armas), but soon realizes he must stop the real murderer before she becomes the next victim. Also Starring Helen Hunt as Ethel Bromley and John Leguizamo as Detective Espada.




MY REVIEW
The hubby and I got the chance to watch The Night Clerk and it was a such a great suspenful thriller. We've seen the actor who plays the main character in a couple other movies, Mud and Ready Player One, so we were excited to see him in a different type of role. 'Bart' played by Tye Sheridan, comes on screen, imitating normal human interaction phrases, from what appears to be home made voyeur video footage. It becomes impressing clear that Bart is on the autism spectrum.

The acting portrayed in this movie by Tye Sheridan was astounding. His dedication to this role was obvious, and the writing and plot of the movie show more depth into the personality of someone on the spectrum, in a relativaly realistic manner while making a thought provoking movie to watch.
What we found to be compelling is the manner in which Bart interacts with even his own mother, 'Ethel' played by the iconic Helen Hunt. Helen Hunt does a fantastic job playing a supporting role; the pain, anxiety, and fear that is never fully put to words is still expressed in a realateable way.

John Leguizamo has always impressed us as a serious actor, this role of intelligent 'Detective Espada' was no different. Ana De Armas performed very well, and the chemistry between her character 'Andrea' and 'Bart' was exciting, awkward, and seemingly genuine.
We do not want to give too much of this plot away, the way the movie is written and the reactions of the characters leaves so many small differences available you wont be able to know exactly what happens at the end.

For that reason alone this movie is an absolute watch, however we have an affinity for movies that point out the not so obvious view points. The representation of how lonliness effects people was layed out in the writing beautifully, and was performed splendidly by the cast. 

The Night Clerk is available now on digital, on demand and now DVD. 

Disclosure: All opinions are my own. I received The Night Clerk on DVD at no cost for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received. 

Family Puzzle Time with Mudpuppy (Review)

My family and I, just like many other families around the world right now, have a new daily routine. With all this time at home, we have been enjoying each others company watching lots of family movies, playing board games, baking, crafting and our latest rekindled love, putting together family puzzles. We use to work on puzzles together at least a few times a year, but with two busy teens (one in sports and one in arts) in the house, our family puzzle time got shorter and shorter.


A couple months ago, our friends over at Raincoast sent sent us two Mudpuppy family puzzles for us to enjoy. We were sent the Kaleido Beetles 500 Piece Family Puzzle and the Little Artist 500 Piece Family Puzzle. Both puzzles grabbed the attention of my five year old, who wanted to get started right a way.


The kids voted on which puzzle we got started on first. The Little Artist puzzle won and it was such a great puzzle to start with. It's comprised of colorful illustrated portraits of inspiring artists who have made a historical impact with sculpture, music, performance or painting. I loved starting with this puzzle first because as we put together each artist in the puzzle, my husband and I would share what information we knew about that artist or look up the artist to give our kiddos some fun facts.

We did the puzzle on our coffee table in our living room. Having the puzzle in a common area worked out great as it allowed the entire family to come and go as they pleased and work on the puzzle for a few minutes here and there. I have to say the hubby and five year old did the most work on this puzzle and it turned out great.





Once the first puzzle was done we started on the Kaleido Beetles puzzle. This puzzle has a gorgeous illustration of colorful beetles arranged in a pattern inspired by the dazzling view through a kaleidoscope. It was great to work on this puzzle because with this puzzle we took what we did with the first puzzl and applied it to the beetles puzzle and was able to learn about the beetles on the puzzle as the puzzle came together.

I'm very impressed with not only how colorful and vibrant each family puzzle is, but the quality of the puzzle was great, not too flimsy and each matching piece slid in easy to its place. I also love that we were able to learn fun facts together as a family about famous artist and about beetles. From insects to animals and inspiring people from our history, Mudpuppy's family puzzles has lots of options to choose from. Ranging from 500 to 1,000 pieces, you can pick up any of these family puzzles betwen $13.99 - $16.99.

For more information about Mudpuppy and their family puzzles, be sure to head to Mudpuppy.com.  For those of you readers located here in Canada, you can find Mudpuppy puzzles online at Raincoast or Indigo.



Message from Mudpuppy: 

We regret to inform you that we are sold out of all of our FAMILY puzzles due to the COVID-19 pandemic and high-demand. We know puzzles have kept you all busy and relaxed during isolation and we are so sorry for not being able to provide you with more puzzles at this time.

If you want to be the first to know when family puzzles come back in stock please sign up for "notify me when available" which you can find on any product page underneath the Sold out button.

Disclosure: All opinions are my own. I received the above mentioned puzzles at no cost for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received. 

Celebrating 40 Years of Rubik's Cube! (Review & Giveaway)

It has definitely been a long month! We've been in the house now practicing social distancing for about a month now due to Covid-19, like the rest of the world, and we are trying to make the best out of the situation we are all in because we're all in this tpgether.

On a positive note, we were sent a few goodies from our friends from Rubik's Cube to help celebrate their 40th anniversary. Can you believe the Rubik's Cube has been around for 40 years?! That's crazy to see something we played with as a kid still around decades later and still grabbing the attention of both kids and adults from around the world. If you see a Rubik's Cube, nine times out of ten, you'll pick it up and try to mess around with it, amirite?! I know I do every single time and that's definitely the case when we were sent an original and a mini. My middle child, Charles, was the first one to claim the cubes as his and wanted to play with them as soon as he got them out of the package.


Times sure has change since we were kids. I absolutely love that the cubes no longer come with the stickers and that each tile is hard plastic. In the past when we were kids, the stickers would come off and leave the cube damaged or useless since it no longer maintained the color. This makes a big difference now with the colors on permanent.  Overall this fun and challenging puzzle is great for children as it encourages lots thinking and strategy. Definitely something that's great to have when you need a small break from the screen, especially when being stuck in the house. This is definitely a classic that will bring family's together testing one another skills and having fun all at the same time.


Not only does the Rubik's has the original cube available, but they also have the mini, the edge and lots of other different cube sizes and they also have multi player games like, Rubik's Race, which is a fun game two people can play together. The fast-paced game puts players head-to-head to shift and slide the tiles to create a pre-scrambled pattern. Like all other Rubik’s items, this may look easy but this is a true test of speed, dexterity and skill.


We're excited to team up with Rubik's Cube in celebration of their anniversary to give one of our Canadian readers a chance at winning the game Rubik's Race. All you have to do is comment below who you would play this game with. For more information about Rubik's and all of their many products, be sure to check them out online.

Disclosure: All opinions are my own. I received the above mentioned products at no cost for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.