Welcome back.

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. It felt weird not to be writing, but it was nice to take a break. A much-needed break. But after going to Chicago and working all summer it feels nice to be back in school and in the full swing of things.

When I started this program, I originally wanted to go into Journalism or PR. I ran into a past CreComm grad (whose name I can’t remember) and told him that’s what I wanted to do. He said to me that I was going to end up going into Advertising. I didn’t think he could be more wrong, but he was definitely right. I’m in Ad now and I couldn’t be happier.

Sure, I had doubts when I was choosing my major last year. I knew I could always switch majors if I had a change of heart over the summer, but I was still a bit weary. “Is this really what I want to do?” “Am I making the right choice?” The thing that scared me the most is the uncertainty. Second year Ad is so different than first. It’s also risky choosing to go  into a major with a new instructor you don’t know or are familiar with.

I rarely, if ever, have those lightbulb moments where you go “aha!” and everything just clicks. Something about today just made me stop and think, “Yeah. I’m where I need to be. I’m in the right place.” It’s probably because we watched a TV show about advertising (The Pitch) and met a real-life client who is actually going to look at our work. But looking back to the classes during the past three weeks of school, the things I’ve learned are so relevant and applicable to my life. Now I know that my Myers-Briggs personality type is ESTJ, and  my sister is an INFP. (We could not be any more different.)

Back in high school and university, I hated taking courses and learning about things that I knew I wasn’t going to use in my daily life after school. As much as I loved English class, I hated having to read literary books that would bore me and having to decipher them for the “deeper meaning.” Don’t even get me started on poetry. I just don’t get it. What’s the point of writing something if there’s another meaning to it? If there’s one thing CreComm has told me, it’s to write what you mean and be clear. And show, don’t tell. I also know I’m in the right place because every time someone brings up math or science everyone just groans.

I’m going to keep this post short and sweet. I needed to get this off my chest, and I feel a lot better now that I’ve written it down and let it out. I probably won’t be blogging regularly throughout the year, but I’ll keep it around for when I feel the need to share.

A note to high school students about online shaming

Hey there.

I know that you’re busy. You have half a book to read, papers to write and group projects to do. It’s nearing the end of the year and you can’t wait to leave school and start summer vacation. But hear me out on this post, I promise you won’t be wasting your time. You might even learn something after reading this.

Have you ever done something in your life that you weren’t proud of, and maybe even felt ashamed about? I’m sure you have, everyone has had something embarrassing happen to him or her. I remember I tripped and fell up the stairs at school (yes, it is possible to fall UP the stairs.) Luckily there were only a few people around, and I just laughed it off after. But maybe the thing you’re ashamed about is bigger than that.

The Internet and the World Wide Web are a big place. Everything and anything that gets posted there lives forever. Even if someone deletes the original post, video, picture, etc., someone else can copy it and keep it for their personal use on their computer or phone. Now this wouldn’t be so bad if the Internet was just made up of cute photos of puppies and kittens, but unfortunately it’s not. The Internet has access to everything, and some of those things hurt and embarrass other people.

Imagine this scenario for a moment: You’ve been dating your significant other for about a year and you’ve gotten pretty comfortable in your relationship, so comfortable that you’ve shared intimate photos with your partner. A few days later, you get a text from your friend saying that your photos have been posted on social media. You immediately go on your accounts to find the person who posted these photos and have them take them down. You hope that no one else has seen these photos, but you find the post and see that others have already “liked” and “shared” it on their accounts. The damage has been done. You see others have left comments on the photos, calling you horrible names like “slut” and “whore” and saying that you did this all for attention. You feel angry, embarrassed and upset all at the same time. You think that no one would be saying these things to you in person, but because they’re behind a screen, they can say anything they want. And because others are humiliating you, they are able to do so as well. You contemplate staying at home for the rest of your life because the humiliation is too much to bear.

When people say hurtful things to attack others online, they’re not only participating in cyber-bullying, but they’re publicly shaming the person as well. To be publicly shamed can be devastating for the victim and can make their life a living hell.

Those hurtful words can lead someone to become a hermit and fear for their safety and wellbeing. They might not want to go to school or work, for fear of being made fun of. The victim of the shaming is already embarrassed enough, so why make them relive the situation again?

There’s a saying that goes “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” I believe this to be completely untrue. I would much rather get into a fight with someone and break my arm than be publicly shamed. Your bones and body will heal over time, but you will always remember the words people say to you. Those scars are permanent.

So the next time you want to leave a rude and heartless comment online, think about the impact your words will have on that person and their feelings. Practice kindness and empathy, and think before you type.

My love-hate relationship with my phone.

I have a love-hate relationship with a lot of things. School, fast food, exercising (when I actually do exercise), just to name a few. But my love-hate relationship with my phone is the one I feel the most strongly about.

Let me explain.

I got my first cell phone when I was about 17. For someone who grew up in an era of the Internet and cell phones, I was a little late to the game. I remember all of my friends, everyone at school and even my mom had a cell phone before me. I just felt super lame all the time. It was also a bit embarrassing, especially when I was out with friends and my parents had to call my friends to get a hold of me.

Finally, my parents caved and bought me a phone. I remember doing tons of research on what kind of phone I wanted, and I ended up getting a Samsung. I don’t remember the name of the model, but it wasn’t a part of the ‘Galaxy’ line of smartphones. Eventually I ended up getting a Samsung S2, S4, S5 and now I have the S6. So yes. I’m definitely a Samsung/Android user for life.

Even though I love my phone, there are certain aspects to having a phone that I hate.

People not paying attention

One of my biggest pet peeves are people who are always constantly on their phones when they’re with other people. I find it so annoying when you’re talking to someone and all they’re doing is looking down at the screen in their hands. Is what’s happening on your phone really more important than the conversation we’re having right now? Even though I’m probably guilty of it too, I try not to do this and give people my full attention when I’m speaking to them.

If you have bad cell phone ettiequte, or know someone who does, read this article on the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brazenwoman/6-smartphone-etiquette-fails-to-avoid_b_6018670.html

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Does this look familiar? 

Always being reachable

Sometimes, I just want to get away from everyone and be alone. Having a phone prevents that. When you think about it, it’s a bit weird and creepy that people can reach you 24/7 by just pressing a few buttons on their phone. While it is also a convenience, it can get annoying. Maybe I don’t want to reply to your text right now, but if I don’t, then I feel like I’m being an inconvenience to you. It’s weird how phone ettiequte works that way.

Necessity

When I forget my phone at home, I feel as though I’m lost without it. I hate to say this but I rely heavily on my phone, and it sucks. I never thought I would be so dependent on something so small and powerful, but my phone has become such a big part of my life that I would be lost without it. I remember once in university I left my phone at home, and I wasn’t wearing a watch. I remember looking around and feeling so lost because I didn’t have a way of knowing the time and when I needed to get to my next class. Yes, I know this sounds super lame but in that moment, I realized how important this device is to me.

“But Noelle! Why do you keep your phone if you hate it so much? You could get rid of it at any time!”

Although I know this is true, I do still love my phone. I love to be constantly connected on social media and there’s so many useful things your phone is good for. My phone is important, and it’s become a part of me. Until there’s a reason for me to get rid of it completely, I’ll keep it on the table beside me.

Reservations Review

Hey everyone,

Just so you know this week’s blog post is not food related, instead, it’s related to a school assignment.

On Tuesday evening, around 60 Creative Communications took over The Rachel Browne Theatre to watch Reservations, a play written by Steven Ratzlaff and put on by Theatre Projects Manitoba.

The play is split up into two acts focused on the central theme of indigenous issues. The first act, Pete’s Reserve, is about a retired farmer, Pete, wanting to give back his land to the Siksika Nation in Alberta. His daughter, Anna, is a struggling Toronto actress and feels entitled to her inheritance money, which would largely be from the profits of her father’s land. The act shows them going back and forth between whether Pete should give the land back, or if he should keep it. There is no resolution at the end.

The second act, Standing Reserve, is about a white couple (Jenny and Mike) who are fostering three siblings in the CFS system. They meet with Denise, a CFS worker, who lets them know that there is a possibility their foster children may get taken back to the reserve, where their extended family is. Jenny doesn’t understand why CFS would do this, and is upset after the meeting. Also, Denise and Jenny used to be former students of Mike, a philosophy professor at the University of Manitoba. The act ends with Denise doing a talk about a talk about Martin Heidegger, and his concept of “standing reserve.” Jenny shows up at the talk and asks Denise questions at the end, eventually calling her the c-word. The audience learns that Jenny and Mike’s foster kids were taken back to the reserve, which is why she is so upset at Denise. Again, the play ends abruptly with no resolution. We don’t find out the status of Jenny and Mike, and if she and Denise ever reconcile.

If there’s anything I dislike about stories, it’s ones that don’t have a resolution. I didn’t like that both acts left questions unanswered and the audience doesn’t find out what happens with the characters.

Between the two acts, I enjoyed the second one more than the first — but just on the premise of conflict. For Jenny and Denise, they both have valid sides to an argument. It’s hard to say who is right and who is wrong in the situation. But what I didn’t like about the second act was the long-winded, confusing talk Denise did on Heidegger. I got completely lost, which took me out of the play.

After the play ended, there was a talkback session with the cast. I personally didn’t find the session that useful. The questions asked to Ratzlaff, the playwright, he sometimes danced around the answer, or would’t have anything to say to the question. He did address the unresolved endings, though. He said both plays didn’t have endings because these issues don’t have a definite answer, which makes sense. But for the purposes of the play, I think there should have been an answer so you don’t leave the audience wondering what happens with the characters.

All in all, I thought the acting in the play was wonderful, but ending the acts on an abrupt note is something I didn’t enjoy.

Reservations is on until March 20.

 

 

 

Donuts, gelato and wings, oh my!

Hi everyone,

It’s that time of year. The CreComm travel assignment. For those who don’t know, each year they send students to a small town outside Winnipeg to find a story and make an ad for the town. This year, I ventured off with some of my classmates to St. Adolphe and St. Pierre Jolys.

We got to St. Pierre and the first place we went to was the bakery and picked up some donuts. They looked awesome, and they were super cheap. (Fun fact: the bakery also sells pizza!) We headed on to the library afterwards, and learned that the grocery store (St. Pierre Bigway) has some of the best gelato in the province. Apparently they’ve sold more gelato than any other place in the province. Naturally, we went and checked it out to see if this gelato was story-worthy.

It definitely was. If you’re ever in St. Pierre or driving through there, stop by the Bigway and get some gelato. It was a nice creamy texture and there was a good variety of flavours. Also, it’s very affordable. Prices range from $2 for a small one-flavour cup, to $12.50 for a 1 kg take-home container. I’m excited to write a journalism piece on something that I have knowledge about and excites me. (Because who doesn’t love ice cream, right?)

For lunch, Jon wanted to try these hot wings, that claim to be THE hottest wings in Manitoba, at the St. Adolphe Motor Inn. They have over 65 different flavours of wings on the menu, and other pub food like burgers, sandwiches, poutine, etc. I ordered a basket of wings, 6 of them Thai (peanut sauce and sweet chili), the other 6 wasabi (soy sauce and wasabi). Even when I’m removed from an Asian restaurant, Asian flavours still somehow creep into my food-making choices.

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My wings order, Thai and Wasabi.

When these hot wings came out, I was feeling a little scared, not gonna lie. They were covered in habanero sauce and they smelled super hot. We all started eating them at the same time and the flavour immediately started to set in. My mouth was burning and all I wanted to drink was water, but I knew that wouldn’t help. I started to cry (yes, the tears were very real) and my nose started running. I think people in the restaurant thought we were crazy, and I’m sure the owners enjoyed watching us suffer a bit. I couldn’t even finish one hot wing, so I don’t know how Jon ate 7 of them. Not something I would recommend, unless you enjoy eating unbearably hot food.

All in all, it was nice to get away from the city for a day and explore new places. I’m definitely going back to St. Pierre in the summer time for that gelato and explore more of the town.

Have a good weekend everyone,

Noelle

Bubble Tea Adventures

Hello friends,

This week has been a bit of a “breather” week in CreComm. I’ve had a lot of free time on my hands because there aren’t any big assignments/projects due this week (at least for my class.) I know next week is going to be busy, so I’m enjoying a little break while I can.

My sister and I had a craving for bubble tea Tuesday evening, so we decided to venture out to other end of the city and try out a couple bubble tea places there.

We first went to Popocha, a tea house next door to Dim Sum Garden. The last time I was there was over 2 years ago, so I was looking forward to trying it out again. But no such thing happened.

I pulled into the parking lot and all the businesses surrounding it were lit up, but Popocha was empty — all the lights were out. Nat and I were surprised. On Zomato it said they were open 7 days a week, and Tuesday was an odd day for them to be closed. Nonetheless, we left the parking lot a little disappointed, but ready to move onto a place we had been before, Panda Tea.

Panda Tea wasn’t busy. After all, it was a Tuesday night, there was no reason for it to be. For the purposes of this blog post, I wanted to try out a flavour I hadn’t had before, but something I was familiar with. So, coconut slush it was.

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My coconut slush (L), and Nat’s milk tea (R).

Obviously I got my drink with bubbles, because it’s called bubble tea for a reason. If there’s no bubbles in your drink, it’s just a smoothie. (I could go on about this, but you see my point.) I got my drink with 70% sugar, which would prove to be a mistake later.

I started drinking it, and thought, “hey, this isn’t too bad! It’s a bit sweet, but fine otherwise.”

No. I could not have been more wrong. I was drinking my bubble tea and I could taste the creaminess of the coconut milk. You know then you’re eating/drinking something and it’s too sweet, and the taste becomes too unbearable to continue? Yeah. That’s how I felt about my bubble tea.

We left Panda Tea to satisfy our craving for popcorn chicken and french fries at KFC (kind of random, I know.) I continued drinking my bubble tea while there, but I ended up throwing it out with about one third left. Thinking back on my bubble tea, I would order coconut again, but with less sugar.

Until next week,

Noelle

I don’t normally bake, but when I do..

Hi everyone,

A couple weeks ago, I was feeling super ambitious. I had some extra time on my hands, and I didn’t have any assignments to worry about for the next week. So, I decided to bake.

You know those “Tasty” videos that always pop up on your Facebook news feed? Well I’ve seen more than a few of those, and I decided to try out this one:

Looks pretty simple right?

I followed all the instructions, and I thought everything was going to turn out okay. But this should have been my first warning.

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Nope. I still didn’t think anything of the super dry looking mixture. I proceeded to make the recipe, and put everything into the pan for baking. I thought “the oven will fix this, they’ll turn golden brown in the oven.”

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No such thing happened. I took it out of the oven and it still looked like this.

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At this point, I realized that I probably didn’t add enough butter to hold everything together. My mom suggested mixing everything together so the oats would cook, and then re-baking it for the second time. (Sorry for the blurry photo!)

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Thankfully, it worked this time. The bars ended up turning out a little differently than in the video, but they still tasted great. I still have a few of them leftover. Even though I haven’t tried it yet, I think these would taste great warmed up with some vanilla ice cream.

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So, from this I have learned a few things:

  • Measure accurately
  • Baking is a science which I will never be good at
  • Moms always know how to fix things when you’ve messed them up

Have you ever tried baking something and it didn’t turn out the way you expected, or wanted to? Let me know down in the comments.

Noelle

Canoes on Ice

Hi everyone,

This week’s post is going to be a bit different. For journalism class, we were asked to attend an event at Festival du Voyageur and take photos.

On Louis Riel Day, the first Wild Winter Canoe Race took place at the Rendez Vous on Ice at the Forks. There were 12 teams of five that competed against each other for a chance to win a round-trip to Churchill by Via Rail and of course, bragging rights. One team member is situated at the back of the canoe for steering, while the other four are on the sides. The people on the sides have one leg inside the canoe, while their other leg is outside moving them down the 200m racetrack toward the finish line. To be successful, the entire team needs to be in sync and have enough stamina to last the short, but intense, race. The winning team, Canoe Snafu, came in first place with a time of 45:09 seconds. Next year, the event will have more teams competing in the wild race.

Teams start pushing their canoes in the first heat of the Wild Winter Canoe Race on Monday, put on by Community Living Winnipeg. /NOELLE VONG

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Teams at the starting line of the Wild Winter Canoe Race held on Monday, put on by Community Living Winnipeg./NOELLE VONG

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Teams begin the second heat of the Wild Winter Canoe Race./NOELLE VONG

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The Red River Renegades (right) pull ahead of the other teams in the second heat of the race./NOELLE VONG

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Team Les Voyageur Heho are having a good time, even though their canoe is going slightly off course. Teams that raced in lane four seemed to have the most trouble steering in all the heats./NOELLE VONG

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Will Johnston (front) and his team Cool Runnings came in second place in their heat./NOELLE VONG

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Canoe Snafu push their way toward the finish line. They came in first place and took home a trip to Churchill on Via Rail./NOELLE VONG

 

 

 

 

 

Chinese New Year

If you haven’t heard, this past Monday marked the start of Chinese/Lunar New Year. It’s a holiday I look forward to every year for many reasons.

The evening before New Year (this year it was Sunday, February 7) it’s a tradition that my entire family gets together for supper at my grandma’s house. There’s always lots of food and tons to take home for leftovers.

One thing that there’s never enough of is duck, which my sister, cousins and I absolutely love. There’s this special sauce that comes with the duck when you order it, and it makes the duck taste better, instantly.

What I love most about this holiday is getting together and seeing my family. Being in CreComm, I don’t get to see much of anyone; except for my classmates and instructors.

And another bonus are the red envelopes (Hong Bao in Mandarin) that children and unmarried people receive from couples and elders. Inside the envelope is money, and depending on who the envelope is from, there’s a different amount inside.

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Overhead view of the table. 

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Close-up of the pork, chicken, shrimp and duck. 

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Various vegetables such as tofu, mushroom and bamboo. 

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Setting the table and getting ready to eat. Closeup of the duck in front. 

This is so late, but I hope you have a great (Chinese) New Year. And happy year of the monkey!

Noelle

 

Lao Food

Hey everyone,

I’ve been wanting to do a post about Lao food for a while, so this is long overdue.

If you guys don’t know, I’m part Lao, part Chinese. Most of the meals that I eat at home fall into the category of “Chinese food.” But occasionally, my mom will make Lao food and it’s quite a bit different than your normal fried rice and noodles.

 

Now, this picture is no where near a true representation of what Lao food is, but the dishes are typical of what Lao family would have for dinner on any given day.

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Starting at the top to the right of the cucumbers is kiep moo, which are basically deep fried pork rinds. They’re usually a little bit salted, and you eat them with your meal to add that little bit of extra “crunch.” Moving counterclockwise from that are seaweed strips. This isn’t usually something Lao people eat, but my family and I like to eat it cause it adds a bit of texture to the rest of our meal. Next to the seaweed is some cabbage. Again, this is just for texture.

Now, the plate with a spoon is a true Lao dish. The Lao people call it tam maak hoong, but in English it’s papaya salad. What gives the salad a weird brown colour is crab paste and shrimp paste. To the right of that are Filipino sausages, LongganisaI know they look a bit overcooked in the picture, but you can always cut off the burnt pieces and the sausages taste perfectly fine.

In the centre of the table with the paper towels is cooked fish with sesame seeds. They’re a bit sweet, and I think there’s some sort of glaze on them. Also, I’m not sure if they’re called anything special in Lao, I’ll have to look into that. Second to last above the fish is yum moo yaw, which is a boiled pork sausage. Personally, I think this meat tastes better when it’s pan-fried and not uncooked (like in the picture.)

And finally, you can’t talk about Lao food without mentioning khao niao, which is basically sticky rice. This is the base of your meal that holds everything else together. You eat this with the sausage, fish, salad and the seaweed. Not all at once, but in your hand you get a bit of sticky rice with some fish and cabbage and you’re good to go.

If you’re still confused about what Lao food is, or you just want more information, watch this video by the Fung Bros. They cover more Lao foods in the video than what I had for supper that night.

Leave me a comment down below and let me know if you’ve ever tried Lao food.

Have a good week everyone!

Noelle