Category Archives: Celebrity Chit Chat

Ian Somerhalder’s and Paul Wesley’s Brother’s Bond Bourbon is one of the fastest selling ultra-premium Bourbon brands

The brand shipped 50,000 cases in first 4 months of launch

Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley held a special toast on Wednesday, September 1st on the Brother’s Bond Bourbon official Instagram Channel (@BrothersBondBourbon) to kick off National Bourbon Heritage Month.
Read more about Brother’s Bond here.

Brother’s Bond Bourbon

Ian Somerhalder’s and Paul Wesley’s Brother’s Bond Bourbon, their hand-selected straight bourbon whiskey, continues strong momentum and growth in the first four months of launch, shipping 50,000 standard cases.

The Tasting Panel Magazine (June 2021 edition) concluded that Brother’s Bond Bourbon taste profile is exceptional giving it a 93 Rating.

“50,000 cases shipping in the first four months, is well ahead of plan,” says Vincent Hanna, CEO. “The response with roll outs in every market is overwhelming, the ReserveBar presales sold a retail value of over $1.4 M, within 2 x 24-hour periods, these record-breaking presales set the stage for unprecedented demand. Production has been scaled up to accommodate demand and reorders as online and instore retailers continue to sell out due to the consumer frenzy.

Brother’s Bond is the most followed alcohol brand on Instagram, with over 1.58 million followers.  The Brother’s Bond IG Live session with Ian and Paul was Whisky Advocate’s most viewed session, surpassing 20,000k views. This trend of exceeding expectations continues in many other media experiences, even the Whiskey Neat Podcast has well over 400,000 views to date.

September is National Bourbon Heritage month and Brother’s Bond will be part of Bourbon Heritage history. Rolling into many markets with the Time to Bond™ campaign through social media will drive excitement to the bourbon category.  By September 1, 2021, the brand will be available in 27 states including: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Brother’s Bond is now one of the fastest selling ultra-premium bourbon brands shipping 50,000 cases in first 4 months

Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley by Dean Bradshaw

Ian Somerhalder’s and Paul Wesley’s Brother’s Bond Bourbon Now Available In 17 States

Ian Somerhalder’s and Paul Wesley’s Brother’s Bond Bourbon is now available for sale online, at national and regional chains, and many independent retailers in 17 states including: Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.

The brand name is a nod to their on-screen characters, “The Salvatore Brothers” from CW’s “The Vampire Diaries,” their shared love for great bourbon, and a reflection of the sense of brotherhood they have formed over the years. From the bourbon liquid development to the brand identity, packaging, marketing and advertising, Ian and Paul have been pivotal in every step of producing the bourbon.

Brother’s Bond had the most successful pre-sale launch in the history of Reserve Bar (highest velocity of sales in a 24hr period) following pre-sales last fall and again in January. Brand momentum and excitement have surpassed all expectations and early indicators point to the bourbon being the fastest-selling super-premium bourbon in the USA. In the first 60 days of the launch, over 40,000 cases have shipped. The brand has already accumulated over 1.4 million followers on their official Instagram page (@brothersbondbourbon).

Brother’s Bond Bourbon

“Our characters bonded on-screen over bourbon and so it made sense that we would do the same off-camera. Never could we have imagined that our creation would come this far and help establish new bonds as well as strengthen old ones. We are so proud of the success of our initial release and are excited to say that this is just the beginning,” said Ian and Paul. 

“The positive consumer response has exceeded our expectations,” says Vincent Hanna, CEO. “Everywhere we go people are lining up to buy a bottle, two or three and this is magical. When you see your strategy come to life in such an authentic way, it really gives our whole team the drive to know we are doing something very special.”

Brother’s Bond had the most successful pre-sale launch in the history of Reserve Bar (highest velocity of sales in 24hrs)

Brother’s Bond Bourbon

Brother’s Bond Bourbon is elegant and exceptionally smooth, complex, and balanced with a touch of sweetness and spice. The four-grain, high rye bourbon is 65% corn, 22% rye with the percentage of wheat and barley kept a secret. Aged for a minimum of four years in virgin American oak barrels, the barrel staves with #4 char and the barrel heads with #2 char.

Product description: Hand-selected and rooted in the desire to create the perfect bourbon, Brother’s Bond Bourbon features aromas of baked banana bread, jammy ripe fruit with walnuts and orange honey, and tastes of rich dried fruit and honey sweetness accompanied by hints of black tea and warm rye spice. The toasted cereal grains are rounded out with notes of honeysuckle and the finish of fresh-cut oak is energetic and smooth with perfectly balanced warm spice.

ABV: 40%

Bottle sizes available: 750ml

Suggested retail price: 39.99

It’s Time to Bond with Brother’s Bond Bourbon. Drink Responsibly.

Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley by Dean Bradshaw

From the recording booth of John McEnroe: The Art of Reinventing Yourself. A Basil & Salt “did You Know?”

Did you know John McEnroe has gone from tennis legend to voice legend? When you’ve done it all, what could possibly be next?

If you’re old enough to have watched McEnroe play live in his youth, you either love him or you hate him. His passion for outbursts on the court was unmatched, as was his play. The man is a legend.

Fast forward, McEnroe leads in every field with an impressive list of credentials. But it’s not all about what we see on paper, it’s about that spark of creativity, that fiery spirit, which only a few people possess. Stay an extra minute and watch the video below, as McEnroe and Squarespace team up for a bit of fun.

This is about more than just becoming the most recognizable voice in the world. It’s about creating a lifestyle that everyone can be jealous of.

John McEnroe

Accomplishments? Here are just a few…

  • Number one tennis player in the world for 170 weeks
  • Sports commentator
  • Lead singer and guitarist
  • Talk show host
  • Art gallery owner
  • Dad
  • Narrator of Never Have I Ever on Netflix

Michael Phelps Opens Up to E! News’ Correspondents About Son Boomer and and Talks Wedding Planning with Nicole

AP Photo Lee Jin-ma

AP Photo/Lee Jin-ma

The Rio Games will definitely be something Michael Phelps will never forget.

Not only did the Olympic swimmer continue to slaughter world records and become an athlete who’s made history with 28 Olympic medals (!), but the 31-year-old human fish was also rooted on by one very special admirer in the stands—his baby son Boomer.

The proud dad’s little one continuously watched as his father gained one gold after another, making viewers gush over their cuteness. And it’s something Phelps will cherish for the rest of his life.

“This is the best Olympics. Being able to have my first child be able to watch me swim and be there, he may not be able to understand really what’s going on, but just being able to have his presence here and know that he’s always up in the stands,” he told E! News exclusively while at Rio.

“It was something different and something very special. Before my last race, I have my white shoes that I wear out to every final, and inside the left shoe is his footprint. So every time I would put it on, I would see his footprint. And right before the last time I went out, I saw his footprint and I pretty much started crying because it was my last race and I was happy he was able to make it out for it.”

So we had to wonder: What weighs more? Boomer or all of those medals Michael has won? “The medals might weigh more all together,” he tells us. “Boomer’s probably 16 or 17 pounds.”

Additionally, Phelps tells us that if his son chooses to take on the Olympics one day, he has his dad’s blessing to participate in any sport he wants. “Whatever he wants. That’s something I was very fortunate. My mother, as a kid, I played baseball, lacrosse, soccer and swim. She kinda let me pick which sports I wanted to play. She was never pushy on one particular sport. So once I made the decision to stick with swimming, she was supportive of that, and I think that’s how Nicole [Johnson] and I will be with him.”

The Olympian has already announced that he will not be returning to the Olympics after the Rio Games, and has officially hung up his suit for a tux, as he and Johnson continue to plan their upcoming wedding.

“Planning a wedding has been challenging the last couple of months. We’ve tried to get everything in order before Rio started. I know Nicole has been working very hard when I’ve been traveling, but she’s asked for a lot of input and I’ve kinda given her free reign to make the wedding exactly how he wants.”

Phelps capped off his final Rio competition with a gold-medal earning performance in the 400-meter medley relay. He will take home five gold medals and one silver when he heads back to the U.S., leaving behind a legacy as the greatest swimmers in the world, and earning 23 gold Olympic medals in his career.

 This piece is part of E! News’ continued pop culture coverage of the Summer Games across digital, mobile, social and on the network each night at 7p and 11p with E! News’ correspondents Will Marfuggi and Zuri Hall, along with E! News’ Lifestyle Correspondent for the Summer Games, Camila Alves.

Grant Wilson and Rather Dashing Games; an inspiration for family game night

Spending time with our families is one of the single most important things we can do for our children and each other.  At one time, many years ago in a seemingly different era, family time meant sitting down at the dinner table, sharing not only a meal but also stories from the day. Whether the topic was school, work or other events, families were connecting and communicating with each other.

Electronic ManiaToday, our lives are fast paced and rounding up the entire family in one room can be quite the adventure in itself.  Our communication with each other is nearly all electronic because we have streamlined our family time.  Instead of a voice call on the telephone, it’s a simple text.  Instead of television time together as a family, members have televisions in their own room, or stream Netflix through their iPod, Smart phone, computer or gaming console.

When we do assemble the entire family in the same room, how many handheld devices come with them?  Families can sit in the living room and never utter a word to each other.    I was taken aback not too long ago when a friend of mine was telling me a story about her two teens sitting at the dinner table carrying on conversations with their friends via text, not communicating at all with members of their own family.  She is saddened because electronics have taken over their lives.  I was saddened because as parents, there are steps we can take to pull our children out of the virtual world and back to reality and many of us simply do not.

To cut out electronics entirely, is simply not the answer.  The convenience is something I simply cannot dismiss, and I could not work from home and on the road without them.  Yes, my children have smartphones, laptops, gaming consoles and hand held gaming devices etc….and they utilize them often.  However, there are rules.  There are times when they are permissible, there are times when they are not.  Meal time is a no electronics zone.  Period.

Grant WilsonWe have merged the “electronics free zone” in to another area as well.  One of the new implementations during our week is game night.  The television is off, phones are set to silent and left untouched while we pull out a game, set it up on the table, gather round and set out on an adventure to clobber each other in board game land.  This new addition to our week came about through an interesting venue.

When one of my favorite television programs aired an episode where one of the co-founders was leaving the show to spend time with his family and pursue other adventures, I among countless others, was very curious as to what the other ventures could be.  I was delighted to read what was going to be next in the life of him and his family.

Grant Wilson, co-founder of The North Atlantic Paranormal Society (Taps) and lead investigator opposite Jason Hawes of ScyFy channel’s Ghost Hunters, began his next life’s journey as Art Director and Vice President of the board game company, Rather Dashing Games.  He is part of a great team of talents who accompany and complement each other on this adventure.

Rather Dashing Games:  Four Taverns

Rather Dashing Games: Four Taverns

Rather Dashing Games came out of the starting gate with three games to delight those of all ages.  Four Taverns which is a family friendly adventure for 2 – 4 players , ages 12 and up.  It is an adventurous quest to become the best known tavern in the land, competing against your opponents.  Complete quests, fight dragons, hire warriors and go up against wizards and more.  The entire family can use their imagination and plot against each other.  Quality family time.  This piece of adventure is $29.99

Rather Dashing GamesX Marks the Spot

Rather Dashing Games
X Marks the Spot

X-Marks the Spot is a tile-based strategy game, where you work on creating your own X, but is it your own or are you unknowingly assisting your foe in the construction of his or her X?  Be one of four real life pirates working through layers of strategy.  Game Type:  Abstract Strategy with  2 – 4 players, ages 10 and up.  This adventure on the high seas is $19.99

Rather Dashing Games:Red Hot Silly Peppers

Rather Dashing Games:
Red Hot Silly Peppers

Red Hot Silly Peppers is an educational and entertaining card game of subtraction and addition.  Parents can help them set the game up and watch them learn while having a great time playing with each other.  Game Type:  Math/Party/Education with 2 – 5 players of the ages 7 and up.  $14.99 to keep the little ones entertained and busy for 10 – 20 minutes per play.

There is a new game in the works Tanks which should make its debut in the spring and Grant and Michael have a dozen plus on the drawing board for future release.

The family and I have decided on X-Marks the Spot and Four Taverns to begin our gaming adventures.  While doing research on these games and their origin, I asked Grant Wilson if he was interested in participating in the article with a small Q&A.  I was delighted by his gracious manner as I read his reply “I am all for it!…” as he agreed to a light Q & A.

KE   When designing artwork for the games how do you begin the creative design process , where does your inspiration for each one begin?

GW   Mike Richie can get inspired by anything really, a song, a walk through the park, or even just what pops into his head.  He then shares that idea with me.  As he pours out mechanics and math, I shoot back with art ideas and the “feel” of the game. We are sort of a hive mind, so we see things the same way almost instantly.  We are really good about letting the best idea rise to the top without selfish pride getting in the way.

KE   At GenCon 2012, it was said that Tanks will be released in the spring with a dozen or so other games on the board.  What age group is Tank aimed for and can we expect any other games to release later in the year in time for the holiday season?

GW   Tanks was aimed for around 10 and up.  It really is a game for all ages. But we may decide to put Tanks for Playing on hold in lieu of another game for which we are even more excited!  We will be revealing it within the next few months.

KE   There are many companies out there with family favorite board games that have been around for generations.  They are fun, much loved games, however, with today’s media, for example, Ghost Hunters, as well as Facebook, Twitter etc….people have caught glimpse of the man behind the games vs the large conglomerates that have massed produced games for decades.  Do you feel this gives your team an edge?

GW   Well, the table-top gaming field is an interesting one. There actually is virtually no direct competition. We are all fighting a little bit against everything else in a person’s life in order to just get you to sit down and play a game. With that mindset, any game sold by any company truly helps us all. Having been on Ghost Hunters does give us a slight advantage. People might actually stop and see what Rather Dashing Games has to offer because they recognize my face, but they stay and buy them because they truly enjoy them.  We worked very hard to make sure the company stands on its own two feet, rather than resting on the crutch of my fan-base.

KE   People look at your choice to leave a television show where you and Jason created the legacy of Ghost Hunters, to pursue another path for something you love, with awe and respect.  You not only followed your dreams, captured them and made them reality, but you achieved this with your wife and friends as team members in the process.  It is inspiring to see a man with some life experience behind him, completely reinvent himself and achieve his hearts’ desire.  Do you have any advice for folks out there who have a dream they are hesitant to follow?

GW   I love the quote, “If you don’t build your own dreams, someone else will hire you to build theirs”. Obviously, you want to make that leap when it makes sense, but you haven’t truly lived until you are living your dream. Make every action of every day bring you one step closer to achieving it.  I don’t really feel like I have reinvented myself, as much as I feel I have gotten back to myself.

KE   Family life can get hectic what is your secret to keep you and your family sane in the middle of the energetic business world?

GW   This may sound odd coming from someone who was on a reality TV show but the best advice I have is to turn off the TV. If you give up TV for one week, you will be amazed at how much time you have, at how much you can get done.  Heaven forbid, you may actually turn and talk to your family. Other than that we do everything together, we support each other, laugh and cry together. We are one unit.

KE   I have been scouring the gaming sites for reviews on your team’s games.  They are definitely favorable and people are having a great time playing them.  My own three will be receiving Four Taverns and X-Marks the spot to add to our family gaming based upon the favorable reviews on these sites.  Do you have review links you would like added to the article?

GW   HA! That is great! Please let us know if you have any questions! I don’t particularly have any reviews to add, but if people want to leave reviews, please do so on any site you may find the ability to leave a review!

KE   My children and I have always liked your gentle demeanor on GH and I applaud the path you have chosen with your family and teammates.  Thank you for showing the world a small piece of yourself the past few years.

GW   Thank you so much!!

Follow the links to the land of adventure;  Rather Dashing GamesRDG on Facebook Grant Wilson




The Modern Witch a Q and A with Eilfie Music

Fairy tales for centuries have portrayed the witch has an ugly hag, the old crone with ragged hair, hideous features and warts on the nose and chin.  A frightening portrayal of a woman with torn, ink black clothing, who lured, cooked and ate the children of the local village if they were unfortunate enough to wander too close to her home.  The quintessential Wicked Witch.

That image though iconic as it may be, is a myth.  Even during the height of burning times, or witch hunts, 15th through the 17th centuries, the figure of the so called “witch” did not fit this description at all.  The accused were neighbors, friends and even family members who looked and dressed like the other persons of the household or village.   They were old and infirm, pretty and young, male and female.  There was really very little distinction between the accused and the accusers.

Mid October bring us in to the long, cold, dark nights and that special moment of thrills and chills, Halloween.  As a child I loved the idea and the look of the Halloween witch.  Tall pointed black hat, long flowing robes, pointed shoes and the black cat sitting on a broomstick flying against the full moon.  I was fascinated with the idea of snapping your fingers, having all you wanted at your command and cutting down your enemy with the point of a crooked finger. Although the iconic look of the wicked witch is rooted firmly in my imagination, movies and television have propelled the witch in to the contemporary world with a very modern look.

When October begins I bring out the werewolf, vampires and ghost dvd’s and spend the evenings shivering in my skin.  I have a few favorite television programs I watch for thrills, chills and scares.  One of the finest paranormal, ghost hunting shows produced, debuted in December of 2007 and although the final episode aired in May of 2011, it remains one of my top choices to catch on Netflix on a regular basis.

Photo Courtesy of Eilfie Music

Paranormal State is “a student led college club that investigated paranormal phenomena at haunted locations”.  One of the group’s paranormal investigators, the ethereal and enchanting Eilfie Music lives the daily life of the modern witch.   Ms. Music was kind enough to participate in a Q & A for this October article series.

KE:   Society today is filled with misconceptions of the witch.  What do you feel is the most common myth of today’s witch?

EM:   I think one of the misconceptions is that all witches are the same in appearance and practice. Not all follow the same creed or ideas. Many do follow a earth base spiritual path, but not all. You could past by some and not even think they are a witch without asking them. Not all are public about their practice for safety or feeling they don’t need to share with the public.  I enjoy the icon of the witch in entertainment with the pointy hat and the green skin cackling and turning people into newts. This is just a cartoon, but does not define all witches.

KE:   What message would you like most to convey to people to try and dispel this way of thinking?

EM:  To some this is a spiritual path, for others it is a magickal practice with the idea that things can be change through will, and others its a mix of both. Just like any community or culture, they don’t fit in a neat little box. People approach this path for different reasons just like any other spiritual or religious practice. Basically, we are not different than any other person that goes to work and pays the bills in day to day life.

KE:   During the holiday season, families practice many customs that are rooted in times before Christianity.  Quite often they are not aware of the customs roots or what the original meaning was.  What do you find to be the strangest custom followed today.

EM:  In the Western world, Halloween is both entertainment with horror, trick or treating, costumes, and parties. It is also called Samhain, a time to giving offerings to the dead and celebrating the last harvest of the year. I celebrate both the Halloween with horror movies and scare houses, but also Samhain with remembering the dead and giving offerings after sunset.

KE:   Halloween is a wonderful “safe-scary” holiday for children to play dress up and emulate their favorite goblin or ghoul.  What was your favorite “monster” or icon of Halloween while you were growing up?

EM:  When I was little, I usually dressed as a black cat or a witch in the pointy hat and stripe stockings. A favorite monster of mine was Bela Lugosi’s Dracula with the opera cape and accent. The classic black and white horror movies were a favorite during this time of year.

KE:  Before investigating or walking into a location known to be haunted or possessed by a supernatural entity, what precautions do you take to protect yourself and possibly those in attendance as well?

Photo Courtesy of Eilfie Music

EM:   I wear some personal symbols all the time for protection during an investigation and a reminder of my personal path. When I go into a location that is possible haunted, I try to be respectful to whatever is at the location as long as it is respectful to me.  I try not to set myself up to expect activity when investigating, though it’s hard not to. After an investigation or even just an EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) session it is good to say thank you to the entities and ask them not to follow any of the investigators home.

KE:  Things that go bump in the night ~ Out of all of your investigations what has frightened you the most?

EM:  The times I’m most afraid is in a dark basement or attic during an investigation. These are not always my favorite spots, but they seem to be hot spots in a haunting. This is possibly due to the creep factor and how they are not always inhabited other than for storage. Places we don’t think about in a house.

KE:   Do you feel there should be more of a move to educate society on the witchcraft hysteria of Early Modern Europe to further assist people in understand the dangers of mob mentality and the destructive force of fear and its eventual evolution to hatred and mob violence?

EM:   People fear what they do not understand or it does not fit within their reality. Witchcraft hysteria is not just in history but still happening today. The witchcraft hysteria of Europe was not cut and dry. The people being tried weren’t always actual witches and people trying them were just following the laws of that day under the Church, but that does not make it right.

KE:   Every practitioner has his or her own natural strengths and those they need to work hard to develop.  What are your natural strengths and what area do you feel you have to work extra hard at?

EM:   I guess my strength is my work in sympathetic magick, with creating items like poppets, grisgris bags, and anointed candles. I try to study on many different subjects to be well rounded in my occult practice, but that is always ongoing.

KE:  What frightens you—what is your bugaboo?

EM:  What could be in the dark since I dislike jump scares.

KE:   With Samhain / Halloween approaching, what steps do you take to prepare?

EM:  This year I am trying to do more work on preparing my garden for the winter so I can do more the next spring. I also gather food such as squash, breads, white wine, candles, and sweets to give as an offering to the spirits and Gods for Samhain.

KE:   The method of witchcraft varies from practitioner to practitioner.  Learned lessons are modified over time by each witch as they learn, grow and develop their craft to be unique to themselves.   There are many “Book of Shadows” available on the market today, for research and practicing guidelines.  Have you thought about publishing your own?

EM:   I hope to someday publish a book on various subjects, but I think that might be later down the road. I still have much to learn. I do enjoy teaching workshops such as the Tarot and hopefully much more. I try to stress in my classes that I don’t know everything, but here is what I have learn so far. I enjoy people taking what I taught them and going even further with the information.

I would like to extend a very special thank you to Eilfie Music for so graciously participating in my series.  If you would like to learn more about Eilfie, you can find her on FacebookFan Page,  browse her Etsy Shoppe, “Hecate’s Crossroads” where she sells her art and occult items and follow along on her blog.