05/28/13

(Vegan) Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland

Playlist: Rodrigo y Gabriela – Diablo Rojo

I don’t have a huge sweet-tooth, but it’s hard not to be a sucker for delicious vegan doughnuts. Thankfully, I know exactly where to go to satisfy that craving: Voodoo Doughnut in Portland, Oregon.

Voodoo Doughnut box

The notorious pink box, albeit a bit weathered by the rain.

I’ve been to Portland a handful of times since I moved to the Pacific Northwest and I’ve never gone down and not gone to Voodoo – it’s just part of what Portland is to me. So, naturally, I stopped by their hole-in-the-wall shop the day I arrived (I was there over the weekend for Vida Vegan Con 2013, a conference for Vegan bloggers – whadduya know?!).

Voodoo Doughnut vegan doughnuts shelf

Rainbow vegan shelf of awesomeness.

While many vegan doughnut-lovers are excited to discover that Voodoo Doughnut has raised vegan doughnuts, I prefer those that are not raised  – they have a sort of chewy, grainy texture that I fancy. I particularly like the one covered in frosting and crumbled peanut butter-flavored candy crumbles. (:

Voodoo Doughnut vegan doughnuts

Vegan doughnut selection: vegan apple fritter, mini vegan doughnut with peanut butter candy bar crumbled on top and, of course, a signature vegan raspberry jam-filled “voodoo doughnut”!

Vegan or not, if you’re in Portland (or any of their other location cities in Oregon), I definitely recommend you grab one of these rad pink boxes and fill it with doughnuty goodness!

-N

Eating a yummy vegan classic!

Eating a yummy vegan classic!

05/22/13
space needle top - seattle 2

Dream Dance

Playlist: Nahko Bear (Medicine for the People) – Aloha Ke Akua

Imagine a place where artists are invited to paint as they please, musicians encouraged to play to their hearts’ content and where everyone celebrates warmth, happiness and love through dance. Welcome to Dream Dance.

Over the weekend, my parents took me to Dream Dance for the first time. They have been going every month for the past 6 or so months and, being in Vancouver, I was never able to join them until now.

It was awesome.

Going around the huge circle-shaped room, I noticed one area where people were welcome to sit and have tea, an area with a bunch of couches and pillows where people talked and cuddled, a spot for anyone to set up an easel and paint, a stage where attendees could play music and a huge wall that someone broadcasted his art onto (while he was making it on his laptop).

My favorite part was doing AcroYoga for the first time (which you can learn more about here). It was both relaxing and exhilarating to balance and take various poses – all while being held up by someone else’s hands and feet.

I also drummed for a bit on a djembe that someone had brought and left a note on the giant sacred-looking dream catcher that sat at one side of the room. By the end of the dance, it was filled with drawings, what people dream for and why they come to Dream Dance.

I think the best description of ecstatic dance I can think of is that I like to dance wildly around my room, in my underwear, to the pulse of the music (something my roommate would get a kick out of last year)…Now it seems I’ve found a bunch of other people who like to do that, too.

WHAT: Ecstatic dance to a combination of live and DJed trance music in a welcoming, non-judgmental environment.

WHERE: Om Culture yoga and dance studio in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle

WHEN: 3rd Saturday of each month

WHO: Smiley people of all ages (there were children running around and septuagenarians getting their groove on) and walks of life (from corporate-by-day to hippie-all-the-time)

COST: $5 for students; $9-$15 otherwise

If you’re in Seattle on a 3rd Saturday (or close enough to get here one month) and you enjoy free-spirited dancing, good music and art and friendly people, you should definitely check this out. Psssst… Let me know if you do, because I might be in the area and attending, too!

Love, Nirel

03/14/13
research definition

Useful online research resources!

research definition

I am a dork.

There’s no denying it. But why would I want to? I embrace my inner dorkiness – in fact, I celebrate it.

That is precisely why I’m awake at 4:30am, doing way more research than is required for a genetics presentation I’ve been assigned. Because it’s fun!!

Don’t believe me? See for yourself – visit a few of the sites below and browse through a topic that peaks your interest. Check out JSTOR’s collection alone for a few ideas.

Pssst… Even if you can’t find anything interesting enough to read about for fun, these sites will at least be super useful when you need to do any of the following things (at least one of which you will inevitably do, being a university student):

  • (Research) paper
  • Presentation
  • Critical review
  • Other stuff

Some lovely resources for your researching pleasure (in no particular order):

ScienceDirect

JSTOR

Scientific American

Web of Knowledge

PNAS *cue immature giggles*

Wiley Online Library

Oxford Journals

SagePub

Nature

Google Scholar

^ So long as you are a UBC student (and have a standard campus-wide login, or CWL), the links above will grant you FREE access to collections of thousands of journals, containing probably millions of really neat articles and research papers. Thank you, UBC Library!

*NOTE: If you are not a UBC student, do not be discouraged. You may still have access to many of these articles and papers, even if you don’t have access to all the journals that contain them.

Have fun exploring!

Nirel

01/27/13
books

Freeeee Boooooooks!! (and some music)

Playlist: Gemini – Fire Inside

Martin Solveig – The Night Out

Swedish House Mafia – Greyhound 

(Yes, I’ve caught the electronic music bug that since I arrived here have noticed is super popular in Vancouver.)

books

Oh my gosh. If you’re currently taking an English or philosophy class in high school or university, check out these websites before you buy your required reading books. They allow you to download e-books for free that you can read on your computer, iPhone, iPad or e-reader. This has made me so happy.

http://www.planetebook.com/

http://www.gutenberg.org/

http://www.free-ebooks.net/

http://www.openculture.com/free_ebooks

Psst… It’s worth checking out all the links, as some of the sites only have classic books while others include contemporary ones as well. Also, these are only the first few sites that came up when I google-searched “free e-books” – so feel free to google key words yourself and see what you can find! (Just make sure the websites are legit so you don’t get a virus. The ones above are.)

Happy reading!

-N

01/16/13

Upcoming Guest Lectures!

Hey guys!

I know this is a little short-notice, but here’s a list of the upcoming guest lectures/lecture series/film screenings/discussion sessions that I know of at UBC. Most of them are free or of low cost. Come check one out if it fits in your schedule and you think you might find the topic interesting!

 

Big Mouth Speaker Series

When: TODAY! (Wednesday, January 16 2013)

Where: Buchanan Penthouse – Buchanan B, 1866 Main Mall, UBC

Time: 5:30p – 7:30p + reception

Cost: Free.

Brief description: A Speaker Series about Art and Education
Big Mouth is an evening dedicated to redefining the relationship between the arts and education. Seven speakers from various creative industries will give seven short speeches, sharing their life experiences, perspectives and passions with a crowd of UBC students.
Big Mouth emerges out of a distinct need to shift a specific paradigm in this crucial time for Arts students in Canada. Our goal is to disrupt the stereotypes and doubts surrounding turning an arts education into a career, and to inspire and convince students of real possibilities to direct an arts education into a career and a lifestyle.

Website: https://www.facebook.com/events/458103884226614/?fref=ts

 

“Miss Representation” – Film Screening & Panel Discussion

When: Thursday, January 172013

Where: Room: HA 098 of Sauder School of Business – University of British Columbia 2053 Main Mall Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2

Time: 6p doors open, 6:30 film starts (90 mins), panel discussion to follow

Cost: Students/staff: $5.00
Sauder alumni: $8.00
General public: $15.00

Proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to The Minerva Foundation for BC Women.

Brief description: Written and directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the film exposes how mainstream media contribute to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America. The film challenges the media’s limited and often disparaging portrayals of women and girls, which make it difficult for women to achieve leadership positions and for the average woman to feel powerful herself.

Website: https://secure3.sauder.ubc.ca/events/miss_representation/

 

Mel Chen, Visiting Scholar, GRSJ Institute

When: Monday, January 21 2013

Where: UBC Liu Institute for Global Issues – 6476 NW Marine Drive, Vancouver V6T 1Z2

Cost: Unsure.

Brief description: Associate Professor, Gender & Women’s Studies at U.C. Berkeley, Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect (2012, Duke University Press). “Toxicity Incorporated: Toxic Assets, Privileged Bodies, and the Affects of Toxic Management”

Website: https://www.facebook.com/events/421895057880658/?ref=22

 

Helpful websites for this sort of thing:

The Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Social-Justice-Institute-UBC-Events/512911055409313

Sauder School of Business News & Events

http://www.sauder.ubc.ca/News

 

More to come soon! Busy working on my RA application that’s due today. (:

Love,

Nirel

01/10/13

I want to do something!

For those of you who do not receive the UBC FYI student newsletter, this is the post I wrote for the most recent one, themed: “I want to do something” (as part of the “I want to have fun” campaign).

Some people go to university to get a degree – and that’s it.

I, however, think those students are missing out on a huge part of the overall experience – which includes what you do outside of school. There is SO much to do on and around campus!

One sunny day, I went for an outdoor run and discovered the amazing UBC Botanical Garden. Once the weather got a bit dreary, I signed up for a free splatter-painting class through Healthy Minds at UBC (twitter: @HealthyUBC) and had a blast making art! I have also attended several lectures – outside of class – that have been super interesting (which you can read about here).

Taking time off from academics every once in a while and doing something other than going to class and studying is something I highly recommend. It gives you a chance to unwind and take advantage of all that UBC and Vancouver have to offer.

We live in a beautiful, international city and go to a school that is on the beach, hosts all sorts of events and has hundreds of student clubs and teams to join, as well as forests and gardens to explore.

Bring a friend, or don’t, and just have fun!

-N

01/1/13

Be Happy Being Alone

Playlist: Dirty Pretty Things – Waterloo to Anywhere, The Black Keys – Brothers

When I first arrived at UBC, it was the first time in as long as I can remember that I was not surrounded by the hustle and bustle of a big family. Trust me, I love that excitement – but shortly after moving here, I realized that I also really enjoy being alone.

Doing things on my own gives me time to think, wander and appreciate my surroundings in a way that is distinct from when I am with other people. It gives me more of an opportunity to learn what I like to do, rather than which activity is the most convenient compromise among whomever I am with at the time.

And, if I do desire the company of others, there is always the option of starting up a conversation with a stranger. I have actually made some of my closest friends that way. My only disclaimer is to use your better judgment to elect someone you’re fairly sure would be safe to interact with (ie. accepting candy from creepy old men = probably not the safest way to make new friends).

Some of my favorite adventures that I have embarked on by myself so far at UBC have been:

  • Going for a run on a beautiful sunny day and discovering the UBC Botanical Garden
  • Meandering around Kitsilano and finding the quaintest/yummiest ice cream and sipping chocolate café
  • Signing up for a free splatter-painting workshop through UBC Thrive and having a blast making art
  • Being at Wreck Beach with a good book on a gorgeous afternoon and reading/watching the sun set
  • Attending several interesting free/$5 lectures (outside of class) and meeting many of the speakers afterward
  • Going to the UBC Jazz Café and Swing Club Halloween event and enjoying the liveliness of the music and people

Keep in mind that your plans don’t have to be (and probably shouldn’t be) contingent on your friends’ plans. While it may be reassuring to go everywhere with friends, breaking out of your comfort zone and exploring somewhere independently can be a very liberating experience. If you haven’t done so already, I recommend you give it a try!

-N

Splatter Paint Art by Nirel

My Splatter Paint Art

12/19/12

My heart just melted.

Playlist:  The Frames – Lay Me Down

Wilco – I’m the Man Who Loves You

The Beatles – Girl

I’VE JUST discovered this wonderful Facebook page that someone at UBC recently created, through which people at our school anonymously post positive messages directed at an individual or group.

This page gave me such great reassurance that despite what I’ve heard/experienced about Vancouver being somewhat of a “cold” city (in regards to the way people interact with one-another – ie. waving goodbye rather than hugging/kissing on the cheek), UBC is filled with kind, loving and compassionate individuals.

Anyway, this page is something you’ll have to see for yourself. Even if you’re not affiliated with the school, the heart-warming posts are sure to brighten your day.

It’s called UBC Compliments. (:

Love,

Nirel

 

Edit: I mean, I don’t want to give you the wrong idea about Vancouver – the people here are overall very nice and polite. It’s just that the “warmth” that exists in some other cultures (ie. in Latin America) doesn’t exist as prominently here.

Edit x2: I should give credit where credit is due! As I found out after writing this, Queens University in Kingston, Ontario started the whole “university compliments page” trend. Thanks, Queens U!

 

12/7/12

I hate silent hours.

And I don’t use that word lightly. It’s pretty much 24-7 quiet hours in first-year residences during finals. While I understand and respect that students should be comfortable studying in silence in their own rooms, it’s just not for me. Growing up with 3 younger siblings, my house has always been loud and crazy and fun. I like it that way.

That is why I’ve come up with a solution to silent hours. A few, actually:

1. Discover practice rooms. I don’t know if upper-year residences have this, but Totem Park and Place Vanier have a couple practice rooms in their respective commons blocks. Take a study break and GO SING/PLAY YOUR HEART OUT. I brought my guitar and djembe drum the other day and was in there for two hours.

2. Have a silent dance party in your room. What you’ll need: an mp3 player loaded with your favorite tunes (you can even use your laptop, as long as you don’t mind the limited range of dance moves you’d be able to exercise) and a pair of headphones. Plug in and silently dance your heart out!
This can be done by yourself or even with friends – just make sure each person you invite brings his/her own mp3 player with headphones.

3. Go to a concert. Check websites like Songkick and Ticketmaster (and subscribe to their e-mail list if you want to make it easy!) to see what major concerts are coming up around the area. Note: If you’re looking for smaller, more intimate shows, websites like LiveVan and The Georgia Straight’s website are great resources. Many of the shows they advertise are super inexpensive, too! ($5-15 for a show)

Hopefully that’ll help you create an outlet (or multiple!) for those urges you have to BE LOUD during these next couple weeks.

Love,

Nirel

PS. Playlist: My brother’s playlist (which includes artists like Lupe Fiasco, Chiddy Bang & B.O.B)
ALSO GUESS WHAT I GOT TICKETS TO SEE ALT-J!! EEEP SO EXCITED.