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!

05/2/13

Totem Park Celebrates Holi

Playlist: Santigold – L.E.S ArtistesPanjabi MC – Mundian to Bach Ke

Totem Celebrates Holi

Some friends from Haida and Salish, post-celebration.

HOLI IS A Hindu celebration of colors that takes place each spring. Participants in festivals commemorating Holi typically throw pigments at each other, resulting in a colorful mess and many smiling faces. This year, I was out of town for UBC’s massive Holi festival but was here to take part in the one we had at Totem Park Residence – which was a total blast! Definitely a fun and carefree way to de-stress before finals.

Love, Nirel

Totem Celebrates Holi

Feeling colorful (:

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

01/16/13

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!

 

10/30/12

Intellectual Curiosity

Playlist: The Black Keys – El Camino, Attack & Release, Brothers; The Head and the Heart

Sam Harris and me!

“The beginning of knowledge is the discovery of something we do not understand.”

-Frank Herbert (1920-1986)

 

FOR THOSE OF YOU whose thirst for knowledge is not quite satisfied with the classes you’re already enrolled in, allow me to introduce to you some more opportunities to learn (right here at UBC!).

Exhibit A:

Last week, I attended my first UBC Philosophy Students’ Association meeting. While I am not an intended philosophy major (and neither were the majority of the other students at the meeting), I very much enjoy reading about and discussing various philosophical topics (ie. epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, free will, existentialism, etc.). We talked about chapter two of Daniel C. Dennett’s book, Freedom Evolves, last meeting – which was really interesting, despite not having had the chance to read the chapter prior to the meeting.

If you’re interested at all in philosophy, drop in on a meeting! Upcoming ones include:

-Tues. 10/30 from 5-7pm in the Henry Angus building (AKA Sauder School of Business), room 235

-Thurs. 11/01 from 4-7pm in Buchanan D229

You can join their mailing list here and be up-to-date on when & where the meetings will take place.

Exhibit B:

This past Friday night – the weekend before Halloween, while many of my floor mates were getting ready to go to a frat party – I headed to Irving K. Barber to attend a lecture on the psychology of good and evil by Dr. Rajiv Jhangiani (who is actually a prof. at UBC!). A few of the beautiful things about this lecture were that:

                 1. The lecture was totally optional, so the people who were there wanted to be there. This made for a more interested and engaged audience – which worked out super well because Dr. Jhangiani created a very comfortable environment free of time constraints and embracing of question-asking and answering throughout the lecture (as well as during a designated Q&A period at the end).

                2. I am a total BRAIN DORK who basically oozes with excitement over psych. lectures – especially those that overlap with elements of philosophy (in this case morality). I took extensive notes, of course. (:

                3. The event was put on by the Vancouver Centre for Inquiry (CFI), which hosts lectures like this one every month!! “Like” their facebook page and stay updated.

                4. It was by donation!! So I contributed $2 – the equivalent of a cup of tea at Blenz – to participate in this extraordinary event!

Exhibit C:

Just yesterday, I had planned on going to another lecture I’d reserved a seat for online. I went to work out at the Birdcoop (our on-campus gym, for those of you who are not familiar with it) and finished with just enough time to arrive at Sauder and step into the elevator just as the door began to close. Once I did, I turned around and realized that Sam Harristhe person giving the lecture – was standing right beside me! I introduced myself to him and the woman I believed to be his publicist and expressed to them both my excitement to attend his talk. This guy has given a legit TED talk before, so he must be good – right?

Anyway, I walked to the main entrance of the lecture hall as Mr. Harris and his publicist (?) walked through a separate entrance – only to find that my seat had been given up since I’d arrived later than five minutes prior to the start of the lecture. Not only that, but a manager of the event had decided to cap off the attendance and wouldn’t let me, or the other elevator passengers, in.

What was I to do?!! I thought quickly and told someone I’d met on the elevator to come with me…[I had an idea]. We went down the hallway that Mr. Harris and his publicist (?) had gone down – and we saw her! I told her the situation we were in and she helped us sneak into the auditorium!! The lecture was incredibly interesting, and I was SO glad I’d had the opportunity to go! Needless to say, I took plenty of notes. (:

Afterward, I ran into them again and was able to snap a photo with Sam Harris! (See photo above). And later I e-mailed back and forth with him regarding an analogy I’d made for something he’d brought up in the lecture – it was SO COOL.

Oh! As for the content of the lecture, Harris is a neuroscientist, modern philosopher and author who talked about his belief that free will is merely an illusion. Interesting, huh??

Alsoooo….It was FREE. And he supposedly normally charges hundreds of dollars per ticket to attend his lectures!

THOSE ARE JUST a few examples of the thought-provoking events I attended and participated in – in the past WEEK. If you have a passion or topic you’d like to delve further into, check to see if there is a club or upcoming lecture at UBC that covers or relates to it! If not, start your own club or find a way to organize an event. It’s possible! This is an institution of higher learning, after all.

Love,

Nirel

10/10/12

Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving!

Playlist: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – The Heist; Lana Del Rey – Born to Die

Being from the States, Thanksgiving doesn’t happen for me until the end of November, but I thought I’d celebrate this country’s day of thanks by blogging about some of my favorite food on and around campus (as we all know a big part of this holiday is the food!).

As a student with a pretty busy schedule, sometimes I need a sandwich I can grab-and-go. Bernoulli’s Bagels’ garden bagel on whole-wheat pesto or spinach is THE BEST bagel sandwich I’ve ever had. Ever. Aaaand, stuffed with roasted vegetables with a dash of Dijon mustard, it’s my favorite answer to this on-the-go dilemma. I discovered Bernoulli’s — located on the main floor of the SUB (Student Union Building) — shortly after school started and haven’t looked back since. PLUS: They are incredibly vegan-friendly, especially for a popular bagel joint. Yuuuuumm!

Another awesome grab-and-go place that doesn’t involve sandwiches is Honour Roll, also located in the sub. Fave dishes: yam tempura roll and avocado roll. TIP: Just around the corner from this place is Honour Roll Express, which has both of these dishes and other common, non-specialty dishes – and a MUCH shorter line than the regular Honour Roll during prime hours!

When I want to meet a friend for lunch after or in-between classes, Triple O’s veggie burger and Manchu Wok’s noodles with vegetables are two solid options. The veggie burger is surprisingly good – I get mine without mayo and with mustard, by the way — and the noodles and vegetables are quite tasty as well!

For a weekend girls’ night out or to bring out-of-town friends for a taste of the Kitsilano area (W. 4th in specific), The Naam is hands-down my favorite restaurant. The first four times I went there, I ordered the same Tempeh Reuben Platter – which seems limiting, considering their super expansive and entirely vegetarian (and vegan-friendly) menu, but trust me: with the tempeh steak burger slathered in (vegan) cheese and covered in veggies, plus home-cut sesame steak fries, the best dipping sauce you’ll ever try and a dee-lish house salad, it’s DIVINE. I did change it up last time I went there, ordering the Gold Dragon Bowl with vegan cheese. I must say I’m glad I finally tried something new – which was also SUPER YUMMY! Live entertainment in the evenings is a definite plus, as well. Beware, though: the curry specials can be spicyyyy!

I’ve only been there once, but from what I can remember, East is East has some of the best wraps I’ve ever had. I ordered the Gandhi’s Breakfast and Spice Caravan wraps, which were SO GOOD! (The former filled with spinach and mushrooms and the latter with chickpeas, cauliflower and Afghan rice.) I went there with my dad when he dropped me off at school at the beginning of the year, and I’ve been itching to go back ever since! The laid-back environment and culture-filled decorations makes this is a really great place to take friends/a date who are/is into Indian/other Eastern food. The wrap is vegan, as is their delectable chocolate pudding. The menu is vegan- and vegetarian-friendly – yesss!

Lastly, I am a total sucker for an afternoon (non-alcoholic) drink, and my favorite place to grab one is Pearl Fever in the U-Village, where I can get my usual Taro Slush with tapioca and soymilk, instead of the usual milk that all other bubble tea places on and around campus use. I also love getting a cold Yerba Mate (sort of like an iced tea) from Sprouts – which, by the way, offers free/by-donation lunch every Friday!! – when they have it. Sometimes, I resort to Starbucks in the SUB and get my favorite Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino with soymilk. All options serve as a refreshing pick-me-up when I don’t have the chance to go back to my dorm room and make a smoothie there.

Those are some of my current favorite dishes/drinks – I’ll write about more once I discover more!

Love, Nirel

PS. This past weekend, I went to Seattle to spend time with my family and had so much fun hanging out with them and my friend, Emily, who came along. 😀 What did you do for (Canadian) Thanksgiving this year?