Attention Laurier Students: Vote Adina

Hi, fellow Golden Hawks!

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Today I want to direct your attention to an important voting system within our school– for student leaders within various bachelor groups. My bachelor is in the Arts, and I am urging you, if you are an Arts undergrad at Laurier, to vote Adina for the Arts internal president.

Here are her promises, taken directly from her website:

– I will get AUS to expand and be much more diverse with the students that volunteer their time. This means students from different arts programs. I believe this will help enhance their experience at Laurier while also helps unite the arts programs together.

– I want film studies students and artists of all kinds a part of AUS more, along with other arts programs that feel less represented. I believe these programs can contribute creatively. AUS needs creativity in order to inspire and prepare arts students for the future! 

– I will bring more events which means more social time for arts students. This will help students enhance their social lives and make friends on campus. I want to also provide the arts student body with opportunities to do academically better such as workshops and guests that can empower students.

– I will introduce more blogging, more social media posts and more contests so that students feel they are gaining from AUS, whether it be knowledge or a short break from studies.

– I will reach out to incoming Laurier students so that they feel less disoriented and feel much more welcomed. I believe incoming students are the future just as much as students in their senior years but this does not mean I will forget about senior year students! I want to be able to share opportunities with incoming students so they feel they are building their future! 

– I will manage the budget fairly so that all clubs under AUS and including AUS feel that their needs are met.

– I will get the name out about AUS effectively so that AUS grows each year rather than getting forgotten about!

Vote Creative, Vote Adina

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Honestly, I have never, since being in university, voted within any student elections. But I know and have experienced that every vote counts, and I urge you to put the time and effort into your degree and school and cast a vote for a genuine, humble leader who cares deeply about this school and her program!

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Check your Laurier email and click “click here to vote” on the email from the Students’ Union to vote now!

Photos by Ashlie Reid

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From Brunette to Blonde… to Brunette Again

The first time I coloured my hair I was in 12th grade, and wanted a change. This was three years ago now, when the ombré look was all people wanted.

It was hard to maintain, and my hair didn’t want to go the ashy, light blonde I wanted– it wanted to go yellow.

Then I was like, I’m going to get highlights and go totally blonde!

This was hair I really liked at the time, but that would also very quickly go yellow, and I used only drug store purple shampoo that dried it out. I thought the solution was to go even blonder!

For a little bit, I maintained this ashy colour, but my hair had never been so knotty and dry, and it again went yellow.

After two years of initially going blonde, I decided to revert back to my roots.

With this caramel balayage! Which was so hard to get used to, but did wonders for the texture of my hair. I got this toned a few times to maintain it, but decided I’d only go to the hair dresser twice a year.

It wasn’t long before I missed the blonde, though, and I got a balayage done again:

This was the best to maintain by far, done by my wonderful friend Morgan, and I loved it! But for winter, and to feel more like myself, next time I saw her I asked her to take me dark again.

Perhaps the strangest change to get used to, but definitely the most I’ve felt like myself. And I’ve added some fun highlights thanks to Morgan too.

If you’re wondering about colouring your hair, consider:

  • Can I afford what I really want?
  • Can I afford the upkeep/is it worth it?
  • Look into the salon or stylist’s products used and read reviews on them before going

Ultimately, I feel best when I feel like me. But hair can be so much fun, and I love supporting local stylists!

FAIR TRADE MATTERS: Rationale

When, in my “Human Rights in Cultural Forms” class, we learned about where most of the world’s cocoa comes from, I knew that I wanted to do a project raising awareness about, and discussing the issue of, fair trade.

This English class has been one of the most relevant and engaging classes I have ever been enrolled in. Explaining the depths of it to peers and friends and even here on the blog, I have often tried to put to words the compassion I see in the course’s prof, Dr. Hron, but one that is almost tired of just teaching, tired of the same looks and responses that are sympathetic toward the issues raised, and wondering herself where real change is.

As cliche as it sounds, real change IS in each one of us starting with the “man in the mirror,” and committing to making lasting changes.

This past month, I have blogged about the reality of where we as North Americans get bananas, cocoa, coffee, and clothes. The style of these posts is different from the style and content I usually engage with in blogging, and so the hope has been that my usual readers would be intrigued, and note the relevance the posts had to their ability to make changes.

Accumulatively, these posts have been viewed by 63 people, and received likes and comments. I made friends and family aware of the posts, and a Facebook event advertising the “Fair Trade Student Meal” I hosted.

To summarize and inform more personally for the blog posts, I wanted to engage with people in “real life,” and so I hosted family and friends for a dinner made entirely from fair trade ingredients for cheap. The goal of this event was to reveal to people, particularly students, that supporting Fair Trade Brands is inexpensive– the only real investment is in being educated and informed.

My guests and I ate enjoyed dinner, a red lentil and sweet potato soup that I made from scratch, while discussing current knowledge and awareness of fair trade, and talking about what we’d learned from my blog posts that I had encouraged each guest to read. I shared how much these issues had been put on my heart, and that I have checked my regular groceries to ensure that I’m buying only fair trade brands, and that I have committed to only buying from fair trade clothing stores for Christmas gifts this year. I also shared that I have personally switched to buying only fair trade cocoa. Everyone was very engaged in conversation, understanding that we were discussing an issue very relevant to their everyday lives.

After dinner, I also showed the video on cocoa processing that we watched in class, and guests were shocked, and again drawn into conversation.

I ended by presenting the guests with common fair trade brands, and asking each of them if there was something they think they could commit to changing within their lifestyle in order to make a difference.

Here, two answers:

“I’m only going to wear and buy clothes from second hand or fair trade stores as long as it depends on me. I love the clothes at Harmony and Lustre and Oak, anyway!”

“I’m going to stop buying American Eagle jeans, and eat only fair trade chocolate.” –(my roommate as she fearfully Google-searched her favourite jeans brand and learned that her jeans are made in sweat shops).

I chose to publish posts about fair trade issues on my blog, because I knew that it was the avenue I would be most likely to truly reach people. Since my readership on this blog has grown tremendously in the past two years, I wanted the opportunity to use it to spread awareness for something such as this.

Then, I engaged the issue personably by hosting a dinner aimed at students, with the goal being to show students that it is easy, affordable, and delicious to eat fair trade food! Here is my recipe:

Sweet and Citrusy Red Soup

Serves 8-12

Ingredients

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 tsp coconut oil

1 1/2 cups baby carrots, chopped

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

2 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder

4 cups red lentils, rinsed

10 cups vegetable broth

2 Tbsp lemon juice

Method

  1. In large soup pot, saute onion in oil for about 3 minutes over medium heat, or until browning. Add carrots and sweet potatoes, and saute another 3 minutes. Stir in spices, lentils, and broth.
  2. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until lentils and potatoes are soft; about 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice.
  3. Serve warm with diced, cooked chicken, crackers, or bread, if desired.

The main challenge I encountered in executing this project was in arranging an evening to host dinner that would engage as many people as possible. With students very busy, and with so many different schedules, it is not easy to find a time that works for more than a handful of people. However, we had a good group of enthusiastic and engaged individuals, excited about spreading their new knowledge.

It has been both disheartening AND empowering to learn more, and engage with, the issue of fair trade. I am grateful for the new knowledge I have acquired, and determined to use it in order to live more in accordance with my beliefs and values.

Student Life: My Go-To Pantry Staples

Let’s face it.

Groceries simply shouldn’t be number one priority as a student. Still, they’re quite important, and I am passionate about advocating for the fun of grocery shopping and equipping your pantry with healthy and affordable options that are fun, versatile, and last long.

Here is the staple grocery list I use when I grocery shop weekly.

Produce/Perishables

Going through the produce aisle, I pick out the necessities/some produce that will last a while, usually buying bananas and apples, leafy greens, another cool new vegetable or two (Bok Choy anyone?), and sweet potatoes.

Bulk

Breads (I love barley/rye bread), quick cook oats, rices, beans, pastas, flours, cereals, sauces, nut butters, and other baking needs are storages I check before leaving the house and buy only if they need to be replenished. I love experimenting with new products, like rice noodles instead of wheat or cashew butter instead of peanut butter.

Snacks

It’s so important to have yummy and versatile snacks on hand! Lately I’ve been loving salt and vinegar chips from Kettle Brand, Simply Protein granola and bars, Vega protein powder for smoothies and smoothie bowls, Alter Eco dark chocolate, and Ben and Jerry’s almond milk ice cream, among other things!

“Dairy”

I am allergic to dairy, but my version of it includes goat milk yogurt, dairy free margarine, almond or goat or cashew milk, and Daiya or goat cheese. I like to have one of each of those stocked at all times.

Meats

I shop at a local farm once a month for all my meat products with my lovely mom. I buy my favourite seasoned chicken breasts in bulk, along with ground beef, eggs, and usually some other sort of cool new meat, such as a sort of seafood, turkey, game, etc.

Frozen

A bag or two of frozen mixed berries is about it!

Spices/Other Condiments

Ingredients for spices, sauces, and baking are important to me, as they keep creativity alive in the kitchen. I like to have spices stocked at all times, so I simply check when they’re getting low.

Wake Up Excited for Breakfast…

that’s the hope of Cassie’s Cookery. That you would wake up feeling creative and ready to hit the kitchen on a brand-spankin-new recipe that’s delicious and satisfying.

And today, I’m leaking some of the photos on the blog.

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Hearty Peanut Butter Banana Bread (for those who love a dense loaf with melty butter)
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Berry Vanilla French Toast (for those who ate their momma’s delightedly)
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Blackberry Lemon Bear Paws (for risk-taking foodies)
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Chocolate and Vanilla Pancake Stack with Chocolate Strawberry Coulis (for the classic pancake lovers craving a bolder taste)
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Cherry Bakewell Oatmeal (for the lazy breakfast host)
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Cinnabon Smoothie Bowl (for the chic ice cream cravers)

And this is all without even touching on the savoury dishes!
I am so excited about the launch of this cookbook, on October 1st, 2017, where it will easily be available in both print and ebook form. 

Because homecoming is for everyone, and breakfast dates should be more of a thing. Enter to win via Instagram or Facebook as well!

Enjoy the photos, and enjoy your breakfast.

Baby Driver: A Movie Review

“The name’s Baby. B-A-B-Y Baby.”

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Tonight, I saw the movie Baby Driver, starring Ansel Elgort, with two of my best friends, Maddie and Bethany. All three of us LOVED the film.

The film got a 93% from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, and I couldn’t agree more with the rating.

Stylish, exciting, and fueled by a killer soundtrack, Baby Driver hits the road and it’s gone — proving fast-paced action movies can be smartly written without sacrificing thrills.

This movie had me on the edge of my seat and hooked on the plot from start to finish. Easy to get into, and with the motif of music and sound, the script was fresh and lively, full of little quips, but with, in fact, very little dialogue. That being said, the dialogue that did exist was absolutely brilliant, each line witty and serving a purpose. Little bits of music and dancing served as bright spots in what could have easily been a dark and moody film.

The story is of a young adult named Baby, who is working for a crime boss as his getaway driver. Roped in a young age after his parents tragically died in a car crash, “Baby” has to live completely secretively, besides the companionship of his deaf foster dad, and, soon, his newfound love, Deborah.

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Put in your metaphorical earbuds, turn the key in the ignition, and enjoy the cinematic highlight of the summer so far. –Christopher Orr

I personally rate the movie a 90%. The acting was spot on, much of it absolutely brilliant.

The script is witty, fun, and has a clear beginning, middle, and end.

The action scenes are intense, appear high-budget, and incredibly well sequenced.

Overall, this movie is absolute must-see.

Just ask my friends– I was gasping and “oh no!”-ing and oohing and ahhing the whole way through.

Edgar Wright’s start to finish sensation is blessed with killer car chases, a star-making turn from Ansel Elgort, the year’s best soundtrack and the most fun you’ll have at the movies all summer. –Peter Travers

The Glass Castle: A Movie Review

I am not picky when it comes to book-to-movie adaptations.

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As an avid reader, I’ve been told people would guess otherwise; that I get worked up and nervous about whether or not a movie will “do justice” to one of my favourite books. The thing is, I love and appreciate movies in their own right, so I am usually pretty thrilled to see any adaptation of brilliant books.

Jeannette Walls’ “The Glass Castle” was no exception.

  • One of the best movies I have seen in a long time. Great acting, solid story line, does not preach nor give a pat answer. Every movie goer will find parts to relate to and pieces of truth. For a tough subject I left feeling positive. Enjoy. –User Review, Tribute.ca

The movie is based on the memoir by Jeannette Walls; the true story of her breaking free from her abusive family. Life with her parents wasn’t all bad, as we see Jeannette and her three siblings stick together and love on one another, often loving their father and his trust in nature. Jeannette’s father saw the evil in the world, and wanted to keep his children from it; but his demons had driven him to become an alcoholic, abusing any money he made and leaving his family to starve, the alcohol turning him into a raging, physically and verbally abusive man. Jeannette was the only of her siblings to keep faith in her father and his unconventional ways of living, even though he often became a monster.

As cruel as her father often could be, he “had his moments,” and Jeannette agreed wholeheartedly with his constant reminders to stay creative and unstained by the world. Jeannette had always wanted to be a writer, and wrote story after story in her little notebook in her spare time. When she finally escapes her abusive home after saving enough money to move to NYC, Jeannette becomes a successful reporter for a popular newspaper, working with the “big shots” of the world. Successful in the eyes of the world, sure, but convicted that this isn’t what she’s meant to be writing about.

This true story teaches on the dangers of two extremes: believing we’re invincible on our own, unending of community, accountability, or any sort of closeness to the world; and, oppositely, the danger of clinging to the world and listening to society for the basis of success, caught up in its temporariness.

I would rate the movie an 8.5/10.

I thought it was phenomenally acted. Woody Harellson is one of my favourite actors of all time, and no one in the world could have casted the role of Rex Walls better. Brea Larrson and Naomi Watts were standouts in their roles, too, and the cast of children were all also incredible in terms of realism and character development.

The storyline was smooth and captivating. The movie was not too graphic while dealing with difficult and hard-hitting content, and portrayed its themes without being cliche. Its “glass castle” motif, among multiple metaphors, bits of humour, and consistent lighting were among the elements that grabbed and kept audience attention.

I would highly recommend this movie to anyone!

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