Saturday, December 29, 2012

Skating at The Forks


Yesterday I had an amazing morning at The Forks. As a kid I used to love going skating on the river trail downtown, so when I read in the Winnipeg Free Press that the ice was frozen and ready to skate on, I decided to take a trip to the market.

I began the day with a hearty breakfast from Danny's, walked around for a little while to look at the shops, and then eventually made my way outside. The air was cold, but I was more concerned about falling on my butt than about my ears turning red or my nose dripping.

After a while I started gaining confidence in my skating ability and soon I was doing laps around the ice. I think I probably spent 45 minutes outside just gliding around, going backwards, trying to do the bunny hop. It was a lot of fun!

I feel like I had such a great time there yesterday, I might just have to fit in another visit to The Forks before classes start again. Currently only a portion of the river trail is open, so it'd be nice to go back there again this winter when the whole thing is open.

But enough about skating! I was looking at The Forks' website and it looks like there are a lot of other fun things being planned for this winter. To check out what's coming, click here.

Happy holidays everyone, and good luck in the new year!


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Friday, December 21, 2012

A Review of the Winnipeg Symphony (Mahler No. 7 in E minor)

Ballerinas could learn a few things from the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra's (WSO) conductor.

As Alexander Mickelthwate, the music director at the WSO, conducted the 79 musicians sitting on the stage, he showed such grace and fluid movement from his shoulders to the tips of his fingers, he easily could have brought a tear to the eye of any ballet instructor. 

On Friday, November 16, the WSO performed Mahler No. 7 in E minor to an almost full house of 1,030 at the Centennial Concert hall. Mahler No. 7 in E minor contains five movements, each portraying a different emotion, as Mickelthwate explained to the audience during a brief introduction before the music began. 

The first movement is dark and depressing, beginning with a slow melody, and ending with a crying crescendo. This portion of the piece sets the tone for the rest and informs the audience that they are about to embark on an emotional journey. 

The second movement is more energetic, beginning with a quick tempo and highlighting the horns and trumpets.

The third movement transports the audience to a place even darker than the first, and “brings forth the demons,” said Mickelthwate. Half way through the movement, clanking sounds could be heard from behind the audience, and everyone turned in their seats to see where the noise was coming from.

The fourth movement was my personal favourite and accentuated the percussion instruments, while quieting many of the strings. The fourth movement also featured a brief, albeit spellbinding, accent of a lone guitar which, after the absence of the other strings for several minutes, reminded the audience of the effect of a single instrument from the string family.

The final movement sounded much like the second with its up-beat mood and heavy use of strings. When the performance came to a close, the crescendo was brilliant. It used every instrument on the stage, and the suspicious ones behind the audience, and brought the volume in the house so high that it was difficult to discern the drums from the trumpets.  

The conclusion was fitting for a performance that fulfilled its promise of eliciting an emotional response.

When the music ended, much of the audience rose for a standing ovation, and then over the next five minutes each performer responded by giving a wave and a bow.

The performance, which ran for 80 minutes, lacked an intermission and while the original score doesn't call for one, it's likely a small break would allow the audience some respite from the weighty material and refresh themselves to better enjoy the second half. Without an interlude, after an hour of sitting audience members began shifting in their seats.

While Mahler’s piece is emotionally exhausting, one shouldn’t worry about dozing off during the performance. You only need to keep your eyes on Mickelthwate’s performance to have your eyes, along with your ears, entertained. The WSO offered two performances of the piece, one each on the evening of November 16 and 17.

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

How to Ace a Phone Interview


Can you hear me smiling?

When researching how to prepare for my telephone interview, the number one tip I read was “be sure to smile”. Apparently, the interviewer will be able to hear if you are smiling or not during the conversation.

I wasn’t too surprised because the same theory applies in our radio class, but it was strange to read tips from Human Resource managers describing how they can hear on the telephone if someone is smiling.

I also read that one should stand during a telephone interview as it makes the interviewee more alert and focused. I guess that our natural relaxation gene kicks in the moment we sit down.

Another common suggestion is to have a list of key accomplishments printed and close by the phone. The list will act as a reminder if you blank during a question. If that happens, just look at your list and find an example rather than filling the empty air with “um, oh let me see, I'm sure there was a time I did that ...”.

Some other tips include:
  • Have a pen and paper handy and when the interviewer calls, write down their name so that you can repeat it during the interview.
  • Be sure to thank the interviewer by name at the end of the phone call.
  • Jot down notes during the phone call of any important information that you may want to remember afterwards. You don’t have the opportunity of that casual walk back to the reception counter where you can ask to be reminded of the position start date.
  • Have a printed copy of your application letter and resume handy. The interviewer may be looking at it and refer to it during the interview and you may want to as well.
  • Prepare some answers to common questions just like you would for a face-to-face interview. Why do you want this position? What qualifications do you have that relate to this position? Can you provide an example of when you have done this type of work task before? Have you ever had a conflict with a co-worker or customer and how did you resolve it?
  • Make sure that you are in a quiet space for the interview. Clear everyone else out of the house or at least out of the room you will be using.
  • Listen very carefully to the questions and be sure to answer the question you were asked – don’t wander too far off course in your answer.
  • Don’t rush your answers, it is alright to take a moment or two to prepare your response to a question.
  • Speak slowly and clearly, have a glass of water handy for a quick sip if your throat gets dry.
  • As with any interview, phone or face-to-face, be sure to have a question or two ready to ask the interviewer. When do you expect to be making your decision? Would you like to contact my references? How would you describe your organization’s culture? What do you like best / enjoy the most about working for the [name] company?
  • As mentioned above, stand up and smile, smile, smile!

My telephone interview to be one of Disney’s college interns this summer took place Monday afternoon and it went very smoothly thanks to those tips I found online.

The interview lasted about 10-15 minutes and I was asked 6 questions. The questions were pretty standard. Why Disney? Would these dates fit into your schedule? How would you deal with working long shifts and in Florida’s heat? What position do you see yourself doing if you are chosen to be one of our interns? How do you feel about living with a roommate? What can you offer Disney?

In about two weeks they will let me know if I have made it to the face-to-face round of interviews. Woo!
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Monday, November 26, 2012

A Quick Word on Scholarships


I was recently informed by the Minister Responsible for the Status of Women that I am a recipient of a Training for Tomorrow Educational Award. 

This award program is "designed to encourage women to consider careers in math, science and technology. The program provides scholarships to eligible women who have been accepted to study math, science and/or technology at any of Manitoba's four eligible community colleges". 

I am not sure how well publicized this award program is and want to use this blog as a platform to encourage others to consider applying for these types of awards.

The Training for Tomorrow award is listed on the College website with a link to the provincial department granting the award. The application form is straightforward and there is no essay required.

I happened to drop my application off in person at the office listed on the form and took a few minutes to speak to the staff person at the front desk. 

She told me that several people are eliminated from consideration for the award for simply not following the instructions: submitting the application late, not submitting an original transcript, leaving a section of the form incomplete. That's so unfortunate and I'll admit that I left the office wondering if I had forgotten to complete a section of my own application.

I know that it is redundant of me to say this, but every little bit helps when you are a student and have to pay some pretty big bills for tuition and the technology required for our program. At the same time, we've been hearing from our instructors that there are some awards that go unclaimed or have too few applicants. 

One such award is the Jack Matheson Award for a student who participates in sports as well as writes about sports. Applications are due December 8, so get them in fast!

Award or scholarship applications take some time to complete, but it may turn out to be time well spent. 
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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Post From VIMWAC: A Review of Deer + Almond

This post was originally published on my food blog VIMWAC. To see the post, click here
Last Friday evening I had the chance to experience some really fine cuisine at Deer + Almond, a relatively new restaurant located in the Exchange District on Princess Street. The restaurant boasts high quality dishes made with fresh ingredients, all served at reasonable prices that range from $6-8 appetizers, to $10-30 entrees.
The waitress came to our table as soon as we had sat down and settled ourselves. She told us about the casual style of dining at Deer + Almond and recommended that we eat our meal tapas style since many of the dishes on the menu come in smaller portions that are great for sharing.
After we ordered our drinks she brought out a small bowl of popcorn and explained that everyday the kitchen makes a new flavour of popcorn as complimentary snacks for customers. Today the flavour was brown butter and honey, and it was a nice treat before our meal.
The first thing we ordered was a simple yet very delicious Avocado on Toast made with the focaccia the restaurant makes daily, topped with chucks of avocado, olive oil, lemon juice, and some freshly cracked pepper. Like I said, simple, yet very delicious.
We ordered the baked potato with melty cheese, sour cream, and green onions on top. 
We also ordered the Pumpkin Ravioli with parmesan cheese, greens, and mushrooms. I was really excited for this dish, and it was quite good, but I found the mushroom flavour to be a little overwhelming for me.
The Salmon served with pumpkin puree, cucumber, and various vegetables was well done.
Then we ate the Kale and Quinoa salad with mushrooms, snow peas, chickpeas, cucumber, radish, peppers, and quail eggs, served with a light vinaigrette dressing. This was a huge plate of food and it was well worth the $10 it cost. Perhaps with a little more dressing it would have been my favourite thing at the table that night.
The coconut creme brulee was by far my favourite dish of the evening. Rich, creamy, and with a distinct coconut flavour, this dessert wowed the entire table, until we realized how small the dish was. Unfortunately the bowl was only half a centimeter deep...perhaps less.
And then the Salted Caramel Peanut Butter Ice-Cream served atop a small brownie and chocolate mouse and topped with peanuts and salt was very good. I probably could have eaten an entire bowl of the mouse alone...or the caramel...or the ice cream. They were all so delicious and put together the flavours worked perfectly to create an outstanding dessert.
Overall the meal was done really well and our waitress was such a sweetheart the entire evening, giving us recommendations, checking on us frequently, and patiently waiting for me to take photos of all the dishes. I can definitely see myself going there again to eat, perhaps as an inexpensive way to celebrate finishing first semester of CreComm.


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Friday, November 16, 2012

Christmas Gift Ideas for Everyone

[photo source]
As some of you may know, I've been the writer of a food blog called VIMWAC for a little over a year. Unfortunately the theme of my blog has been limited to items that are edible. That is why I feel so excited to be writing a post about Christmas gifts. I love the holidays and buying presents for my friends and family, so it's always such a joy to find the perfect gift that will make them happy.

Although Christmas is more than a month away, I've begun my shopping early thanks to the Internet. Today it's easy for me to browse the many pages and see what is being sold at different stores.

Here are some of my favourite items that I have found so far.

1. This retractable ping pong set with adjustable paddles from uncommongoods is my number 1 gift idea this Christmas. It's perfect for the person who has everything and can be given to any one between the ages of 6 and 66. It's also inexpensive, costing only 39.95.
Click here to see more about the product. 

[photo source]
2. This "Brain Tin" from denada is my idea of an amazing gag gift that will bring lots of laughs to the whole family. With zombies becoming a popular character in today's movies and video games, I think it would fit well under any tree this season.
Click here to see more about the product. 

[photo source]
3. I put this on the list because almost everyone I know who has an iPad (including myself) all want a keyboard to go along with their mobile device. The prices range from around $150-$50 depending on the features, where you buy them, and what promotions and deals the store might be offering. This one from Brookstone is $99 and looks really, really good.
Click here to learn more about this product. 

[photo source]
4. This 4-in-1 ruler pen stole my heart as soon as I saw it. Some gifts can be played with for a while, but a gift like this can and should be used every day. It isn't cheap though, costing $38.50.
Click here to learn more about this product. 

[photo source]
5. This iPad stand come in lime green and orange and boy is it ever cute! Nuff said.
Click here to learn more about this product. 

[photo source]
6. At first you might think the item above is an iPhone, but look closer and you'll see it's actually a notepad! This is my idea of the perfect novelty gift that people will love. It's also just the right size to pop into a stocking, and it's less than $2.00.
Click here to learn more about this product. 

[photo source]
7. This is a three section lasagna pan that was made for my family...and probably yours too. With everyone having their own food preferences, this pan makes baking lasagna less of a hassle and allows the chef to be creative. It's also reasonably priced at $37.50.
Click here to learn more about this product. 

[photo source]
8. The bowl and plate duo from uncommongoods above is by far my favourite item on the list because in my mind it makes so much sense. Soup and salad have been a loving couple for a long time, it's only natural that a bowl and square plate would be a perfect match. The package come with two bowls and two plates and costs $30.00.
Click here to learn more about this product. 

[photo source]
9. Mini popcorn maker. Cute, cool, and the dream gift of any movie lover. Cost is $68.77. 
Click here to learn more about this product.

10. And because I know you'll be looking to give away a home made gift, here's a really cool one I found. All the Harry Potter fans out there will die of happiness when they see a wand that looks like it came out of the movie (I almost did when I saw the photos). From the tutorial here, it looks pretty simple and is clearly not that expensive.
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Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Post From VIMWAC: Fresh "Meat" at Prairie Lights

This is a post that originally appeared on my food blog VIMWAC. To read it there, click here

Last Friday I went out to eat at Red River College's Prairie Lights with my mother and boyfriend. When we went, there was a new batch of students taking our orders and preparing our dishes, an experience I find almost as exciting as eating the meal itself. It's so much fun to ask them about their studies and get to know them as they work through the program over the year and take turns doing the different jobs at the restaurant.

I've blogged about the college's student run restaurant many times before, partly because for a long time I considered entering the Culinary Arts program before I discovered the Creative Communications program. If you'd like to read my posts on all the amazing food I have eaten at Prairie Lights (and boy, are there a lot), simply click here, here, and here.

As always, the lighting is very dark in the restaurant, so the photos are often a little dimmer and out of focus than usual as I try to increase the amount of light in the photos by playing with random settings on my camera. I'm sure with a professional camera (and perhaps a little knowledge of more advanced photography) my pictures could look better.

Hmmm, perhaps I should contact my friend Braiden from braidenwatling.com...

So here are some photos of the meal that I had last Friday. Above is a photo of the Corn Puree with Ginger Lobster and Chili Oil.
Here is the Tandoori Tofu with Chickpeas, New Potatoes and Tamarind Sauce served with various vegetables.
And my favourite part of the evening, The Lavender Creme Caramel with Caramelized Oranges and Blackberry Ice Cream.

As always, if you would like to make a reservation to eat at Prairie Lights or would like to see the menus the students have created, click here; or if you'd like to learn more about the Culinary Arts program at Red River College, click here.
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Thursday, November 1, 2012

The New Summly App Simplifies


"This morning Summly was launched". 

That is an example of the simple and brief messages Summly specializes in. It is a new application focused on simplifying today's news. The app was first thought of by 15-year-old Nick D'Aloisio, and with the help of some experts in artificial intelligence and design, Summly is now a "fully-fledge mobile news app."

"I designed Summly because I felt that my generation wasn't consuming traditional news anymore," says D'Aloisio. "In designing for the mobile generation, I believe we've created an app that will benefit anyone who loves reading news on the go."

I downloaded Summly about ten minutes ago and already I can tell I'll be using it daily. It's easy to use, it's customizable, and it's a huge time-saver. This new app is perfect for me and my classmates because we are students in the Creative Communications program at Red River College. Not only are we pinched for time, we also receive plenty of surprise quizzes on current events every month.

Some interesting things to know about Summly are,
  • Ashton Kutcher, Yoko Ono, and Horizons Ventures are some of the investors backing it
  • D'Aloisio is British-Australian with a gorgeous accent
  • The app is FREE
For more information, read the news release here or watch the video above. 

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dacotah Drive-In Closes for the Cold


Last Saturday evening I was one of the lucky 24 people that attended Dacotah Drive-In's final showing before it closed for winter. Andrew Paul McCrea (photo below) decided that the last projection of the season would be an epic triple feature containing the films Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, and then The Rocky Horror Picture Show. 
It was so amazing to experience going to a drive-in theatre again!
The movies began showing at 7:30pm. Before that, Andrew had his "lobby" open with lots of free snacks such as freshly popped popcorn from his popcorn machine, deep-fried onion rings from his mini deep-fryer (shown in the bottom right photo), and burgers he was cooking on his griddle from home.
The movies were displayed on the outside of a shed that belongs to Andrew's sister's boyfriend. I was really impressed by how good the movies looked when projected on to the shed. In my mind I was expecting a smaller, less clear image to appear on the "screen", but instead it was large and very clear. The radio system that Andrew had set up was also perfect and only required the drivers to turn to 107.5 on their radios in order to hear the audio of the movie.
Long story short, so many folks came out and the whole evening was a blast! And because Andrew began the movies so early, the last film finished at 12:30am, allowing everyone plenty of time to drive back to the city to get some shut-eye. I can't wait for the next season.
If you'd be interested in going to the Dacotah Drive-in when it re-opens in the spring, check out their Facebook page and take a look at Andrew's previous posts about his drive-in here and here.
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Monday, October 15, 2012

My First Football Game

On Saturday I went to the Canad Inns Stadium to watch a live football game for the first time ever. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers were playing against the Calgary Stampeders at noon and I was there to write an article for my journalism class.
My first time going to a football game was quite the adventure. It started with me arriving downtown at the MTS Centre to make a transfer to Polo Park. At first I thought I would be taking the 11 Polo Park, or perhaps the 24 Ness Express, or maybe the good ol' 21 Portage Express. Oh my naiveté.
Almost as soon as I stepped off my first bus, a "Stadium Shuttle" arrived at the stop. Suddenly the small group of people around me who were also waiting began to cheer, and I knew that that bus was meant for me.
The shuttle quickly arrived at the stadium and I began to walk around, looking for something I could turn into a story. Unfortunately I was over an hour early, so there wasn't anyone to talk to besides tailgaters. But then an hour later I was standing in the crowd singing Oh Canada and thanking the Lord for making the weather so beautiful.
And then I sat down.
Did you know that the highest seats in the stadium are made out of metal? Do you know how cold your butt will get if you sit on those seats in chilly weather?! After about 30 minutes of watching the game I suddenly understood why everyone was carrying multiple blankets. The rowdy gentlemen behind me got a kick out of watching me shiver and bounce my legs and joked about how every time I brought out my cellphone I must be texting my friends to say how cold I was.
They were spot on.
Overall it was a fun game to watch even though the Bombers lost. It was interesting hearing the reactions of the crowd, watching the cannon blow every time the home team scored a touchdown, and seeing the many colourful faces of the fans that sat around me.
But unfortunately I don't feel like I totally understand how the game works and still have a few questions. Like, why isn't the ball round? And how come only some people get to kick it? And I thought only goalies were supposed to wear masks. And why does everyone hate the guys wearing the white and black striped shirts?
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Friday, October 12, 2012

A Post From VIMWAC: Smoke's Poutinerie

This is a post from VIMWAC about my first experience at Smoke's Poutinerie. To see the orginal post, click here.
So last week a classmate and I decided to walk over to Smoke's Poutinerie to grab a quick bite to eat before our next class started. What's that? You say you've never heard of this beautiful place? Well never fear. I was like that too once. Thank goodness I put an end to that sooner rather than later. I already feel sad enough having never heard of the place until this school year, I can't imagine how depressed I'd be if I hadn't eaten at Smoke's Poutinerie until after I graduated. 
This was my first time going to the restaurant devoted to serving specialty poutine and I was so excited.
As soon as I stepped in I was immediately impressed by the interior design, a throwback to old-fashion diners. The menu was equally impressive. From Traditional poutine to Curry Chicken and Philly Cheesesteak, Smoke's has a wide selection that will satisfy any poutine craving. They even have a few vegetarian options for people who can live without bacon, such as the Veggie, Veggie Deluxe, and the Veggie Nacho. 
My friend got the Bacon poutine (clearly she is not one of the people I mentioned above).
And I ordered the Veggie Deluxe poutine, which comes with sautéed onions, mushrooms, and green peas, along with the classic gravy and cheese curds. 
I thought the poutine was delicious and I am definitely going back to try their Veggie Nacho which comes with salsa, guacamole, jalapeños, and sour cream. My friend and I both ordered the small sizes of poutine, and at first I was a little worried it may not be enough and would leave me hungry again later in the afternoon, but it was actually a struggle to finish the entire box. I'm really glad I played it safe, because it would have been a horrible tragedy to waste such delicious food.
If you'd like to visit Smoke's Poutinerie and taste some of their different poutines, they are located in the Exchange District at 131 Albert Street.

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Post From VIMWAC: The MFB Gathering at Segovia

I originally blogged about the MFB gathering at Segovia on my food blog VIMWAC. If you would like to see the original post, click here.
Last week I was lucky enough to go to a fun and entertaining event at Segovia Tapas Bar and Restaurant. The Manitoba Food Bloggers group held their monthly gathering at the stylish eatery just off Osborne St. last Tuesday from 6pm-8pm. Segovia has been in the news recently after Macleans released a list of what it believes to be the top 50 restaurants in Canada and Segovia was listed as one of the two best restaurants in Winnipeg (the other was Pizzeria Gusto). If you'd like to see the other restaurants in Canada that made the list, click here for the original article.
The event was amazing. The restaurant's interior invited people to relax and socialize with its warm tones and dim lighting, and the food was some of the best I had ever had. The event was titled "Time for Tapas", "tapas" being Spanish for "appetizers", so the evening was filled with an endless supply of delectable one-bite morsels coming from the kitchen. Along with the tapas that were being walked around the restaurant, there were small wooden boards placed on each table containing various cheeses, different types of salami, olives, nuts, and fruit preserves. If you'd like to take a look at Segovia's menu, click here.
I'm excited to announce that I have finally tried blue cheese! I didn't like it though. Even though I loved how smooth and creamy it was, the sharp aftertaste wasn't all that pleasant. I also had the opportunity to try many other things for the first time while at Segovia. Scallops, octopus, sardines! It was both amazing and nerve-wracking. A little warning: octopus is really chewy.
It was also really great to see other food bloggers from Manitoba last Tuesday. Colin from cenquist.com, Adrian from adriantrimble.com, Courtney from The Fig Tree, and Destini from The Healthy Wife were all there, and I also got to meet some new folks too.
If you'd like to learn more about Manitoba Food Bloggers or would like to attend some of their future events, go to their facebook page.
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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The New Bins Are In!

The City of Winnipeg has successfully delivered its new garbage and recycling bins to the South end of Winnipeg. Back in June the first of the new bins, part of Winnipeg's new garbage and recycling services program, were delivered to residents in the northwest part of the city. Since then the media has reported multiple problems such as Winnipeg's yard waste depots closing, upset seniors unable to move the bins themselves, and some homes receiving two sets of bins.
The latest issue that has reached papers is what to do with the old blue boxes previously used for recycling. It's estimated that there are 500,000 blue boxes here in Winnipeg, and the city expects as many as 150,000 to simply be discarded.
I have a pretty optimistic outlook on all of the recent news. Few people get excited when things in their life change, but eventually they get used to it and soon the new change becomes the norm. I also have a feeling that many of the kinks that people have discovered in the new system will be sorted out in time and eventually people will be wondering how they ever took out the trash before this system was introduced.
The issue with the many blue boxes without a purpose is actually very exciting to me. Already some programs have ideas about introducing gardening to young children with the help of the old recycling boxes. Personally, I already have plans to turn mine into laundry hamper. If you'd like to find out some more ideas of what to do with your blue box, check out this piece from the Metro, and if you think of a really great and original idea of what to use them for, submit it to this contest from Simply Recycle Manitoba by September 30th.
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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Post From VIMWAC: The Waffle Guy

Hi there. I originally blogged about my first experience eating from The Waffle Guy on VIMWAC. To see the original post and more delicious photos, click here.
Today an amazing thing happened. During my first class this morning I looked out the window to discover that The Waffle Guy was parked out on the street! Normally this trailer can be found on one of the streets by the University of Winnipeg, but due to popular demand from Red River College students, The Waffle Guy journeyed to our campus for the week.  
As soon as I got out of class, a friend and I walked across the street to get ourselves some Belgium waffles for breakfast. A plain waffle with one fruit topping was $6.00, and then after that each extra topping was $1.00. My friend decided to order strawberries and whipped cream on her waffle, and I opted for strawberries and ice cream on mine, both costing $7.00.
This was the first time I had ever eaten a Belgium waffle, and it was amazing. So sweet and crispy, and deceivingly small, this waffle was able to satisfy both my sweet tooth and my grumbling stomach.  A small warning to folks who order ice cream or whipped cream for their waffles, you can't tell in the picture, but the waffles are piping hot as they are made fresh to order. As well, the fruit that comes on the waffles is fresh and never frozen. At the time I couldn't believe that the gentleman was actually bringing out a cutting board, knife, and container of fresh strawberries, just for our two waffles!
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Sunday, September 16, 2012

How to Properly Donate Your Hair

So I made the cut! The haircut that is. This weekend I decided that it was the right time to cut the hair I had been growing out for close to two years. Why did I decide to grow my hair out in the first place? So that I could donate it!
Donating your hair is as easy as growing it out, cutting it, and then sending it off in the mail. Sure it takes time and effort to grow the hair and keep it healthy, but knowing that the hair will become part of a wig given to a woman with cancer makes the struggle a little easier.
Years ago I donated my hair for the first time and learned how rewarding the experience could be. Two years later I cut my hair intending to donate it, only to discover that it was an inch too short! So here I am again and this time I made sure to do things right!
1. The most important thing when donating your hair is to make sure it is long enough. The minimum length is 8 inches. If you have curly hair like me, straighten it to measure.
Now that you have met the most important requirement, it's time to prepare the hair.
2. Thoroughly wash your hair and then dry it. Do not use any product in your hair, just wash it with shampoo and then leave it.
3. Divide your hair into four sections with elastic bands. One on each side of your face, and two at the back. Unlike one ponytail, having four ponytails will allow you to cut off the maximum length of hair from each side of your head.
4. Pull the elastic bands down half an inch below where you would like to cut. This will help keep the hair together and organized.
5. Cut the hair half an inch above the elastic and place it into an envelope to send to whatever organization you like that accepts hair. I donated mine to Pantene which has the "Beautiful Lengths" program where they work with the American Cancer Society to provide real hair wigs to women with cancer.
All that is left to do is have your hair professionally cut by a hair dresser (or maybe your older sister). The hair I donated this weekend was just shy of 10 inches. Now I feel amazing every time I shake my head when saying "no". : )
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Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Post From VIMWAC: Mondragon Bookstore & Coffee House

Hi everyone! Last night I posted a review of the Mondragon Bookstore & Coffee House and decided to share it here on Natasha's Nickelodeon. If you would like to visit the original post on VIMWAC, click here.
Today was another crazy day at the college, but at some point during all the running around, I managed to eat one of the best sandwiches I have ever eaten at a restaurant. Ever!
It all began with a group of us handing in our assignments early and leaving the school to wander for a while during our break. Eventually we decided grab a bite to eat, and this gave me an opportunity to write a blog post about one of the city's strictly vegan restaurants, Mondragon. 
Contrary to what I thought when I first heard the name, this restaurant does not serve Chinese food. Instead, it is a bookstore and coffee house with a small organic market at the back, and a wide selection of vegan dishes you can order at the front counter. There are so many items on the menu, it's actually quite overwhelming for a vegetarian like me who is used to only having three options to chose from when going out to eat.
The photo of the menu board above shows just how many things the Mondragon serves. Not just soups and salads, but sandwiches, burgers, quesadillas, burritos, samosas and pupusas, nachos, and even breakfast food. And if you're in the mood for something to drink, they have different types of smoothies along with caffeinated beverages.
One of the girls in the group ordered the daily soup special with bread...
...and one of the guys ordered the quesadilla. 
I was feeling a little peckish and ordered the roasted vegetable sandwich with soup on the side.
Wow, this was a really great sandwich. I can honestly say I've never been served a sandwich so full of fillings. There were roasted vegetables of every kind, including soft, melt in your mouth sweet potatoes, and the whole thing was covered with a white sauce and large pieces of avocado. The truth is, I couldn't fit the sandwich into my mouth and had to cut it in half and eat it like an open face sandwich. How amazing is that?
If you're interested in eating at Mondragon, it's located at 91 Albert Street, just a short walk away from City Hall.
 
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