23 Excellent Reasons To Drink More Wine

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1. You get to use a variety of really cool glasses.

You get to use a variety of really cool glasses.

2. Those who drink moderate amounts of alcohol, including red wine, seem to have a lower risk of heart disease.

The MAYO CLINIC says so and that’s good enough for me.

3. You can’t make cool wine bottle lights without empty bottles.

You can't make cool wine bottle lights without empty bottles.

You can figure out how to make the bottles empty. Instructions here.

4. Kalimotxos are delicious.

It’s red wine and Coca-Cola, and before you knock it, try one! Trust me.

5. The term “one glass” is always relative.

The term "one glass" is always relative.

($17.99 from HomeWetBar.)

6. Because wine bottles come with such pretty labels.

Which, let’s be honest, is half the reason you bought the bottle in the first place.

7. Wine keeps your memory sharp.

Well, maybe not in the short term (i.e., after four glasses). But a Columbia University study found that brain function declines at a markedly faster rate in nondrinkers than in moderate drinkers.

8. Wine drinkers have a 34% lower mortality rate than beer or spirits drinkers.

It’s SCIENCE. Pass the Riesling!

9. Wine enhances the already lovely flavors of your favorite foods.

Wine enhances the already lovely flavors of your favorite foods.

(Click here for larger chart.)

10. Drinking wine can contribute to the atmosphere of any book club.

Drinking wine can contribute to the atmosphere of any book club.

You’re ONLY drinking to have something to do in between discussing chapters, right?

11. You don’t have to spend over $20 (nay, over $10!) to drink something halfway tasty.

12. Because sometimes adults need sippy cups too.

Because sometimes adults need sippy cups too.

VINO2GO cup, $10.49 at Perpetual Kid.

13. Because you can find wine named after all your favorite desserts.

14. Wine is super portable.

Especially with this wine bottle-toting tote. And this flask bra.

15. The polyphenols in red wine can help prevent gum disease.

I am interested in keeping my gums around. Cheers!

16. You can make a chair out of wine corks!

You can make a chair out of wine corks!

It’s urgent that you drink wine so you can fulfill your basic human needs like STRUCTURE and FURNITURE.

17. You can fake wine knowledge pretty easily.

Here’s a starter guide. Say “oaky” a lot.

18. Cabernet sauvignon, petit syrah, and pinot noir have the most flavonoids.

Those are the good antioxidants that have been shown to inhibit tumor development in certain cancers. Better drink up.

19. Because you can’t fill this with beer cans, now can you?

Because you can't fill this with beer cans, now can you?

20. Champagne contains about 10 fewer calories per serving than non-sparkling wine and typically comes in a smaller serving size, making it a healthier choice.

So basically, champagne = a kale salad.

21. You can even consume wine in ICE CREAM FORM.

That’s ice cream containing 5% alcohol. Don’t mind if I do!

22. Because you don’t even have to leave the house to get the full effect.

Because you don't even have to leave the house to get the full effect.

(You need this shirt.)

23. Drinking wine can reduce the risk of depression.

23 Excellent Reasons To Drink More Wine

A study in the BMC Medical journal found that two to seven glasses of wine a week may reduce depression.



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The inspiration behind Chef Shonn becoming a Chef & you won’t believe it.

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A great many big names have been the inspirations behind someone becoming a chef.

Maybe it was one of the all-time legends like Julia Child or perhaps a TV-created “celebrity chef” like Gordon Ramsey, Bobby Flay or Jamie Oliver.

For me, yes, you could say it was a celebrity … but not like you’d think. My inspiration was Jack Tripper. He wasn’t even a real person but he was one heck of cook. I knew from watching him on Three’s Company, probably when I was around eight years old, that I wanted to be like him. My purpose in life was to become a real-life Jack Tripper, a star in the kitchen but with a fantastic sense of humor, too. If you’re old enough like me to remember Three’s Company, you might remember the episode when Jack had to cook for a mobster and thought he’d send him a message by overloading the linguini and clams with piles of black pepper. His eyes bugged out when that blast of spice hit his mouth. Turned out, the mobster loved it. Awesome.

Being a chef isn’t about a lot of laughs, though as much as Jack Tripper made it look so humorous and fun. It takes a great deal of time and effort. Thankfully, the passion that Jack Tripper gave me developed my work ethic and drive to succeed. I wanted to be the best I could be in the kitchen. I worked hard because I wanted to. I cared about being the best I could be and the result of that drive has certainly paid off.

I do want to pass that drive down to my kids, but I would much prefer they find their passion in something other than being in the restaurant business. TV makes it look so easy, so glamorous. Unfortunately, it is not. It is a rough business, ugly at times. The hours. The missed special occasions and holidays. The drug and alcohol abuse. I want to shelter my kids from that as best as I can.

But I would want to pass down certain aspects of being a professional chef. Be dedicated. Be organized. Work hard and work clean. Work smart.

Those capabilities are admirable ones no matter what line of work they choose.

Character ” A set of qualities that make a place or thing different from other places or things.”

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Location: 10257 – 105 Street, Edmonton, Alberta Canada



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Summer is expensive. A weekend trip out of town can easily break the bank, leaving less room in the budget for the fun things to explore in the city. Summer camps can leave you feeling drained, causing you to look for inexpensive and free things to do in Edmonton with kids.

Don’t worry, there’s lots to do in Edmonton, for free, through the summer. We’ve got you covered. Try out some of these activities to have cheap fun in Edmonton.

1. Play at one of the top Spray Parks in Edmonton

2. Cool off and wade at the Legislature grounds. Bonus points if you run through the colored fountains at dusk.

3. Watch the K Days Parade, and get some free pancakes.

4. Scale the biggest slide in the city and cool off at Remax Spray Park and playground in Sherwood Park (pictured above!)

5. Get entertained by the Street Performers at Churchill Square while the kids play in the kids area at the festival

6. Take in an outdoor movie during Movies on the Square, or find scheduled ones on our events calendar

7. Park near Sheriff Robertson Park (111 Ave and 81 St) and take a walk through the Kinnaird Ravine. Look at the murals, and climb on rocks that look like ‘hoodoos’.

8. Enjoy a pancake breakfast for free to kick of K-days

9. Check out the Art Gallery of Alberta. You can get free admission on the last Thursday of the month from 6-9

10. Get entertained, eat, and browse for new home inspiration at one of the Show Home openings in Edmonton (to stay up to date on these fun, and free, events – follow our Events Calendar)

11. Take a walk through Mactaggart Sanctuary

12. Take part in a ‘Playground Hop’ and visit the top ten playgrounds in Edmonton

13. Bicycle through Borden Park and have a look at the sculptures and play at one of our favorite playgrounds in the city

14. Get free admission (for kids) to the Saturday Movie at Metro Cinemas

15. Enjoy Free entertainment at the Fringe Festival

16. Get a Free Lego mini build set from the Lego Store

17. Downtown Walking tours are free and available all summer long

18. Browse through Chapters and discover a new children’s book author

19. Take a free Dance class from Ivivva (Sunday mornings, in-store)

20. Join the free computer camps at the Apple Store and Microsoft stores, through the summer (pre-registration required)

21. Play two free bowling games every single day over the summer

22. Take part in the Bonnie Doon Kids Club (toddlers, little kids) on the third Thursday of the month

23. Get out of town – Bring your tubes and float down Whitecourt’s Rotary Park for an easy way to cool off (that’s free!)

24. Watch a Dragon boat race at the Dragon Boat Festival

25. Drop into your local community association and buy a membership and get free swimming at the local pool(through select memberships, at weekly intervals)

26. Get on the bikes and try a new course at the Strathcona County Bike Skills Park

27. Head over to the University of Alberta Observatory to learn more about the stars

28. Check out the Zipline at the new Dino Park in Leduc (The grand opening is on July 25)

29. Check out the Green Shack programs at a local park – Our favorite is Kinsmen, where there are staff all day to entertain the kids and encourage them to get out and play. Find the full city Green Shack program list, here

30. Head over to the Farmer’s Market at Callingwood for Kids Event days with free bouncy castles and petting zoos to entertain the kids

31. Or, join the Sprouts Kids Club at the Southwest Edmonton Farmer’s Market for free kids fun (and credit to the Farmer’s Market).

32. Take the kids to the monthly workshop at the Home Depot and build something to bring home (activities are themed monthly)

33. Listen to the free Disney Fantasia in the Square, by the Winspear Center

34. Get cultured at the Works Art + Design Festival

35. Visit the St. Albert Botanical Park

36. Follow our event calendar for FREE outdoor movie locations and showings, throughout the city

37. Get introduced to Caribbean Culture at Cariwest

38. Take a free Light Saber Training class (there are kids sessions and adult sessions)

39. Take part in Family Nature Nights in Edmonton, two hour long events in July and August where families can come out, learn something new and have fun.

40. Go on a sustainable walking tour offered through the University of Alberta

41. Make a temporary tattoo stand. Grab some tattoos, set up like a lemonade stand and offer a little bit of summer to passerbys with a free tattoo

42. Take one of the drop-in classes at Michaels. Classes are free, and there are fun things like bracelet making and tye-dye – Even the paid classes are very cheap, $12/3 classes all summer long.

43. Find a makeshift swing on a trail in the River Valley

44. Catch the view at one of the best places to watch the Sunset in Edmonton

45. Take part in the festivities at Edmonton River Day, or other festivals throughout the city. All festivals have many free events for children and families to take part in. Bring your lunch, and have some fun.

46. Take part in an epic water fight. There’s the ‘biggest waterfight’ being planned for the summer – and we will let you know when more details come available.

47. Check out your local Parent Link organization, from free playdates at the park, to ice cream parties and even toy lending libraries – you’ll find many free activities for the kids to take part in.

48. Fly a Kite on a Windy Day at Hawerlawk Park

49. Go to the Edmonton Air Show (kids under 6 are free)

50. Scope out the sand sculptures at Sand on Whyte (extended until July 17)

51. Catch frogs in the marsh at the Sherwood Park Natural Area

52. Plan a road trip to go kid friendly tubing at Red Deer Discovery Canyon – bring your own tube, it’s free.

53. Host a movie night in your own backyard. Find a friend with a projector, hang a sheet for the screen and watch movies as the sun goes down.

54. Explore one of these best trails and places to ride bikes, with kids, in Edmonton and area

55. Use our Guide to Geocaching and get out there and go on your own treasure hunt this summer, with the kids.

56. St. Albert kids can take part in daily programming at local parks, with the Cruisin’ Clubhouse

57. Take part in a Saturday morning Physical Activity class for kids, it’s a great way to get active and tire out the kids bright and early

58. Run through the colored rainbow of balls and structures at the Meadows Splash Pad, outside of the Meadows Rec Centre

59. Take your tubes and plan an afternoon spent on the river – at Range Road 23 Park

60. Test the Zipline at one of our newest favourite playground discoveries

61. Catch an outdoor movie, watch The Good Dinosaur outside at Jurassic Forest

62. Check out the FREE kids golf course at Stony Plain Golf Course

63. Check out a local Fire Station open House

64. Attend one of the many free programs to attend at the Edmonton Public Library and while you’re there, sign up for the free summer reading club

65. Ride on the Zipline and climb the fun structure at Florence Hallock School Playground


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Inside the Mind of Chef Shonn Oborowsky Characters Fine Dining

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I’ve been asked a number of times throughout my career what got me into cooking and what made me decide to be a chef.

My answer isn’t very dramatic or at least it wasn’t intended to be. I view cooking, particularly the high-end, dedicated work that is done in the kitchen of Characters is art. I’m not a painter, a sculptor, a musician, or an architect. But I am an artist. My canvas, my clay, my paper, my blueprint is food. My tools are knives, forks, and plates.

I never wanted to communicate what I feel through other forms of art. I wanted to make people understand what’s in my head and my heart through my food, and in turn, I hope they appreciate my art and it makes them happy.

Just like an artist who changes his work, I like to change mine as well. We’ll call it stirring things up. I do that by changing my menu. Something comes into my head or my heart, I get a thought process rolling, and I want to make some changes. I get antsy doing the same thing over and over again, which is the very definition of insanity. I don’t want to ever get bored or complacent with my cooking. It helps a great deal to utilize seasonal changes in food availability to shake up the menu, give it some new twists, and keep the creative juices flowing. Those never go out of season.

How these changes come about vary a great deal. Basically it comes down to just seeing things differently. For example, you and I both see a rock. But the colors, the shape, how it sits, how it feels might spring to mind something to me that I can put on a plate. That’s just how my mind works.- Shonn Oborowsky

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Characters Fine Dining Named One of the 50 Most Romantic Restaurants in Canada by OpenTable

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Characters Fine Dining Named One of the 50 Most Romantic Restaurants in Canada by OpenTable diners

Edmonton, Alberta – February 4, 2016 – Just in time for the Valentine’s Day season, Characters announced today it has been named one of the 50 Most Romantic Restaurants in Canada by OpenTable diners. The list of winners is derived from more than 275,000 reviews for approximately 1,600 restaurants submitted by OpenTable diners across the country.

Experience Fine Dining
“Canadians love to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a special meal,” said Ziv Schierau, Head of National Accounts for OpenTable Canada. Characters restaurant has been chosen by OpenTable diners for its ability to create a culinary experience and atmosphere that leaves diners with memories they cherish all year. Congratulations on being named one of the 50 Most Romantic Restaurants in Canada.”
Based on feedback collected from OpenTable diners between December 7, 2014 and December 6, 2015, all restaurants with a minimum number of qualifying reviews were included for consideration. Qualifying restaurants were then scored and sorted according to the percentage of reviews for which “romantic” was selected as a special feature.

For more information about all of the restaurants on this list, please visit
About OpenTable
OpenTable, part of The Priceline Group (NASDAQ: PCLN), is the world’s leading provider of online restaurant reservations, seating more than 17 million diners per month via online bookings across more than 33,000 restaurants. The OpenTable network connects restaurants and diners, helping diners discover and book the perfect table and helping restaurants deliver personalized hospitality to keep guests coming back. The OpenTable service enables diners to see which restaurants have available tables, select a restaurant based on verified diner reviews, menus, and other helpful information, and easily book a reservation. In addition to the company’s website and mobile apps, OpenTable powers online reservations for nearly 600 partners, including many of the Internet’s most popular global and local brands. For restaurants, the OpenTable hospitality solutions enable them to manage their reservation book, streamline their operations, and enhance their service levels. Since its inception in 1998, OpenTable has seated more than 940 million diners around the world and almost 35 million in Canada. OpenTable is headquartered in San Francisco and available throughout the United States, as well as in Canada, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, and the UK.

Follow OpenTable Canada on Twitter: @OpenTableCanada.