Category Archives: Print

Reporter, editor, essayist, poet? A collection of my best work as a writer

These are a few of my favourite things.

In Public Relations, we are constantly being told about the importance of social media. Twitter, Facebook, blogs like this one – they are all important parts of representing yourself or your company online, building your own online brand. But there are those sweet, sacred times when updating your own social media turns into looking at what everyone else does. Whether I’m finding inspiration from the tweets of others, or trolling the internet for new Tumblr ideas, getting inspiration from others is a big part of what I do to involve myself in social media. As my Social Media professor, Andrea Tavchar always says, “you have to listen to the conversation, before you can join it.”

So in honour of the role social media plays in my life, I thought that should share some of my favourite sources of inspiration, time wasting, and envy.

The first thing I want to do when I’ve moved into a new house, like my new Toronto spot, is cook. I want to explore the kitchen, stock the fridge, and unpack my cookbooks. Not Without Salt has given me ample inspiration for recipes to try in my new kitchen.  The bacon caramelsFrench baguettes and fennel pollen shortbread not only have me salivating, but the photography is almost enough to distract me form my cooking dreams. The creator, Ashley Rodriguez, is a chef, author and photographer extraordinaire.  I just wish I could embed pictures!

My amazing, fashionable friend Britt introduced me to the most epic time waster of all time. We Heart It is a crowd sourcing website that allows incredible young photographers and graphic designers upload their creations, and lets photography fans, like me, create their own albums. What I see makes me smile, and with winter fast-approaching, I’ve been trolling the site to  find pretty pictures. Maybe I’ll frame some over Christmas …

A bed fit for a dream from Urban Outfitters.

Dresses to die for from Banana Republic.

With Christmas coming up, I’ve been searching my online repertoires to find the perfect gifts for the people in my life … and maybe looking a little for my own Santa’s list too. Banana Republic, J. Crew and Urban Outfitters have deep online  catalogues that always manage to woo me away from my homework. Even pictures of fashionable people, like from The Sartorialist or Toronto’s very own Blog T.O has a great Street Style section, provide inspiration for what I plan on looking like (or imagine myself to look like) at upcoming holiday parties.

So there you go, a few of my favourite things – online of course. What are a few of your favourite things?


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STU athletes accused of hazing after teammate’s death

For the last two years of my undergraduate degree at St. Thomas University, I was the President of the Student Athlete Council, where I represented student athletes from across campus to the staff, faculty, and other students. My time in this position involved organizing events, fundraisers and holding meetings with the other members; I was lucky to never face controversy.

This year’s president, Jason Cassidy, is not so lucky. He represents a group of student athletes during one of the toughest times that the STU Athletic Department has ever faced; a police inquiry into the accidental death of a male volleyball player, and a hazing accusation.

The Incident

Andrew Bartlett was found dead in his apartment on October 24th, after a night of partying with the men’s volleyball team. Bartlett had just been named a rookie to the team, and was celebrating with his friends and teammates. While autopsy results are still being waited on, accusations of being forced to drink and being hazed quickly followed his death.

Andrew Bartlett, STU men's volleyball team member

As a past student-athlete, I know what reputation rookie parties have.  After violent hazing incidents stemming from football and hockey teams in the US, the public is quick to condemn any parties where first year athletes are welcomed to the team. However, smoke does not always indicate fire.

The Issue

Rookie parties are used to welcome first year players to the team, and build camaraderie and mutual respect within the ranks.  The idea is that while a rookie is dressed up and given tasks, they will become closer one another, and eager to impress the rest of the team. When everything is said and done, the seniors respect the rookies for putting up with embarrassing costumes and games, and the rookie feels welcomed into the family.

In Bartlett’s case, as most other rookie parties, alcohol was clearly involved. However, Bartlett and his teammates were all above the age of majority, and no one was forced to consume alcohol or participate in any of the events. So was his cause of death any different from a regular party with non-athlete friends? Hazing accusations are undeserved when the same results could have happened at a birthday party, or after a night on the town. The mere fact that his death occurred after a party with athletes does not imply that he was hazed.

Feel free to share your thoughts on hazing, and your condolences for Andrew’s family, friends and teammates.

My Toronto Spot

My favorite “Toronto spot” isn’t easily accessible. Up the pathway, around a corner, through the park and down the hill. Finally, when your lungs sting and your eyes water from the wind, you’re there.

There are about 6 km of gravel path that snake between the campus of Humber College Lakeshore, and the Humber Sailing Club. In this nature conservation park, past the bundled up dog-walkers and the Canada Geese, is my favorite spot in the city.  It’s a lookout that juts into Lake Ontario, exactly at the halfway point on my running route. From there, when I turn around, I am stunned by the view that confronts me – Every. Single. Time.

My view from the lookout

I came to Toronto from Halifax, Nova Scotia, so you would think that I came to the wrong place if I wanted a pretty view on the water. But from this spot, I can see a perfectly clear image of the Toronto city skyline, and it reminds me of why I moved here in the first place. I forget about the fact that I’m sweating through my shirt, or that I’ve still got another 5km to run.

The view makes me feel like I’m not that far away from home. Instead of thinking about being overwhelmed with readings and papers and life preparation, I start thinking about how seagulls sound the same on a lake as they do on the ocean.

Toronto and Halifax look eerily similar when you’re looking at them from across the water. What’s your favorite place to go in T.O ?

Home sweet Halifax


Bright lights in the Big Smoke

Bathing suit season: are we fighting a losing battle?

Scene 1: I’m in a tiny, locked room. There are mirrors on all four walls, forcing me to examine myself from all angles. The overhead lighting is making my winter white skin glow and, oh yeah, I’m naked. No, this isn’t a torture scene from a horror movie, and I’m not a prisoner of war – I’m bathing suit shopping (arguably more terrifying than both).

Scene 2: I’m in the checkout line at the grocery store, but I’m not alone. To my right is Jessica Simpson, tanned and toned in a bikini on the cover of magazine a). To my left is a supermodel whose name I’m not familiar with, but whose bared abs I’ve imagined on myself in dreams. She’s calling out to me from the cover of magazine b), telling me to try out her “Top 10 Butt Blasters”. These two ladies in line with me are indicating one glaring truth; bathing suit season is coming.

If there is a woman out there who is unfamiliar with either of these scenes, I’d like to meet her, because I sincerely think she would be fictional. Women of all shapes and sizes are currently sweating it out on the elliptical machine, throwing out their cookie boxes and buying tanning packages in anticipation of having to try on a piece (or two) of polyester-blend fabric.

Photo Courtesy of Glamour Magazine

In society today, women are convinced to believe that they need to lose weight in order to be beautiful. Artfully concealed, the idea often takes the form of magazine articles talking about healthy living, where calorie monitoring and fitness goals are the message. Print and TV advertisements feature thin models with tanned skin and women across Canada take these images to be the ideal.

This month’s edition of Glamour magazine features an article called “Bikini Blast: Four Weeks to Flatter Abs”. The first sentence reads, “Lose weight and tone your tummy, just in time for swimsuit season … you’ll be 100 percent ready to take on the beach—looking and feeling your sexiest.” But wait. What if “feeling my sexiest” doesn’t involve eighteen different kinds of sit-ups? Articles like this, in one of North America’s most popular women’s magazine, lead us to believe that we’re not good enough as we are, but that the key to feeling good is losing weight, and sculpting those abs.

To make matters worse, we are led to believe that the articles in magazines like In Style, Cosmopolitan and Glamour want you to feel comfortable, “dress for your shape” they say. But what does that really mean? If you’re bigger, dress to conceal it. If you have a small chest, push it up. If you’re pear-shaped, read up on what will make you look like a carrot. We are encouraged to make your body look differently than it does naturally, not to encourage our beautiful shapes.

The truth that no one wants to accept is that mourning the loss of your favourite dessert or doing abdominal crunches until you pass out will get you nowhere. You’ll only be cranky and craving sugar once you hit the beach, no happier with yourself than you were before the whole ordeal.

So I say, forget it. Wear what you want to wear, and don’t stress out if you’ve picked up a couple of extra pounds of the winter months. Enjoy the weather, take a walk, have a cookie (or three) if you want to. It’s time for women to decide what we want to look like, not have someone else tell us.

Two Peas in a Vlog

Tara Correia and Hilary Creamer are used to packing a suitcase. Hilary spent eleven months in Germany for on a Rotary Exchange in high school, and they both have traveled extensively throughout Europe. This week, the girls are packing for another trip. It’s arguably the most exciting trip either of them has ever been on, but they don’t get to go overseas, or even into another country. Tara and Hilary are going to Vancouver, but more specifically, these two students from Rothesay, New Brunswick are going to the Olympics.

Photo Courtesy of Hilary Creamer


The girls are getting a free 20-day trip to Vancouver courtesy of Samsung, as one of five teams of two in the company’s “Mobile Explorers” competition. Ten finalists have been chosen from across Canada to go to Vancouver to compete, as well as 47 others from around the world. Both Hilary and Tara have already won round-trip airfare to Vancouver, meals while they’re at the Games, and two Samsung Omnia II cell phones.

The grand prize is $5000.00 per team member, but the girls agree that the chance to go to the Olympics is enough of a prize.

“I didn’t even know about the money at the beginning,” Tara says. “I thought the prize was going to Vancouver.”

The friends got together, and filmed their entrance video to the competition on December 1.

“I heard about the contest on a Thursday, I think it was, and we filmed our video Saturday night,” Tara says. “It was during finals, but we stayed up all night and submitted it at, like, 5am on Sunday.”

They titled their submission “Two Peas in a Vlog”, and got the call as national finalists on December 21. The name stuck, and their website will be up and running for the duration of their stay in Vancouver.

The girls will be judged on originality, quality of interviews and the amount of hits that their blog gets during the Olympics.  They both agree that the biggest challenge will be creating a hook, something that will bring viewers back to their page day after day.

“We’re thinking if we get some interesting things to say, we’ll be able to hook people in so that they keep coming back,” Tara says.

The competition is emphasizing social networking through Samsung’s Wireless Olympic Works. It’s a new application that aims at connecting Olympic officials, athletes, fans and the media.

“The neat thing about it is that it has the WOW application on it,” Hilary said of the phone.  “Wireless Olympics Works, it’s the point of the whole competition.”

Benjamin Lee, President and CEO of Samsung Electronics Canada, says that the prize “will allow the eventual winners to use Samsung mobile technology, including the Samsung Omnia II Olympic hero phone, to interact and share their personal WOW moments.”

Photo Courtesy of Tara Correia

Although the competition has already started, and they leave in two weeks, Tara says that they still don’t know exactly what their tasks will be, or what equipment they’re going to use.

“The phone also has a five megapixel camera, so we’re wondering if they’re expecting us to use that for videotaping. But we know that the US part of the competition is getting a camera and a video camera, so we’re really unsure,” Tara says. “There’s a lot of stuff that they said they can’t tell us yet.”

While the contest is aimed at promoting the use of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, the girls say that it didn’t take much convincing for them to build on their use of the internet.

“None of this would have been possible without social networking,” Hilary says.

When their original video had to be voted into the Top Ten in Canada, they used Facebook and Twitter to spread the word and encourage their friends and family to keep voting.

“ Each of us has almost a thousand friends on Facebook, so the emails got passed around quickly,” Hilary says. “Way more people than we ever thought saw our video and voted for it.”

They’re hoping that the views and voting will continue once they get to Vancouver. But according to Hilary, that’s not the most important part of the trip.

“We just want to have fun and experience as much as we can. I don’t want to forget anything!”

Visit the “Two Peas in a Vlog” site, and share in their Olympic experience at http://twopeasinavlog.com/

Kelsey’s Olympic Torch Run – Nov. 27, 2009

Kelsey Knowles, from Janeville, NB, was given the amazing opportunity to carry the Olympic Torch as it passed through Riverside Albert. From small town to small town, the torch was held by hundreds of deserving individuals. Politicians, athletes, celebrities, and hundreds of exceptional Canadians, like Kelsey, experienced the rush of carrying the Olympic spirit across the country.