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I met Blake, the TOMS Shoes founder…

…and totally forgot to tell you guys about it until now, so sorry.

That’s me on the left, Blake on the right!

It’s no secret that I love TOMS Shoes. I’ve owned so many pairs that I can’t count how many I’ve actually had. I have so many that I have summer only TOMS that sit in my TOMS Shoes reserve back in Ontario until sunshine hits. I have so many TOMS that I’ve had to leave pairs in Guatemala.

I keep this pair of TOMS unworn and on my shelf. They are signed as a going-away present by members of the Toronto MOB and the Free The Children/Me to We offices.

When Blake came to Vancouver for a TOMS Shoes launch event at Holt Renfrew, one of my best friends Alyssa got word of his appearence and sent me a bbm with the details. A frantic bus ride a few hours later we ended up in his presence. He’s a chill dude, totally in the middle of tons of TOMS promotions, but was nice enough to take time to sign my flag.

I felt like I was at the launch party for the Abercrombie of grassroots movements. Beautiful Holt Renfrew staff members were wearing my primary choice of shoe as they served me hipster bottled cola out of a little red wagon as we hung out next to designer jeans. There was carmel kettle corn that came in little TOMS bags, a TOMS dj, a TOMS air hockey table and TOMS pillows.

I love TOMS for their simplicity, comfort, and that they give a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair you buy. Because of their partnership with Holt Renfrew I know that more shoes go to more children in need but I left with feelings that the TOMS Shoes experience was becoming a little less personal and thoughtful. The personal touch of giving you a TOMS flag and a TOMS sticker with every purchased seemed to see a little less special and I felt that people who were buying TOMS didn’t even know the company values that made them special.

After all of the glitter and glam of TOMS being launched in Holt Renfrew stores that evening, I didn’t stop giving my TOMS back at home the love and attention they deserve. I’m still a TOMS Shoes fan and I’ll still support their mission of giving shoes to those in need. I hope the message of that reaches the masses that now wear their shoes.

I will make you proud and I won’t forget where I come from

My love for the OSLC team. I send you my thanks.

I’d officially like to thank Ontario for inviting me back once again to present at the Ontario Student Leadership Conference. More specifically, Angela from YLCC and the conference organizer, for inviting me back to present for a second year in a row. A few days before Remembrance Day I flew back to Ontario to present to student council members from high schools across Ontario about youth in politics. Trip highlights included sleeping in and missing my first flight to Toronto, meeting a cute boy who works at Wendy’s (how perfect for me, I love Frosties), and  having dinner with my family from my home away from home: the Toronto MOB.

During my presentation, there was this one girl with blonde curly hair who always made eye contact with me and was totally into the nerdy-student-leadership-thing I had going on. Maybe she even got excited when I mentioned longboards. Afterward my presentation was finished, she walked up to me and told me that we are absolutely the same person. She is who I am, but in high school form. WICKED. I gave her my card and I just received an email from her not too long ago. Megan’s working hard to rock a Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee in her city of Cambridge (holla to Cambridge) and wants some advice on how to take it to a new level.

I’m THRILLED to talk to people like Megan and all the students who attended my presentation. I know in my heart that if I continue to talk to these student leaders that massive amounts of change will happen back in my home province. I believe in them 100% and I see how passionate they are about their big ideas that will have no problem becoming reality.

When I was in selection interviews for a scholarship while I was back in grade 12, I was asked by the man interviewing me why I should be chosen for the scholarship. My answer was simple. “I will make you proud and I won’t forget where I come from.” The man smiled, slammed his hand on the table as a symbol of agreement, and shook my hand. I ended my day at regional selections with that interview, went home and awaited to hear if I would move on to national selections.

I will make you proud and I won’t forget where I come from. I haven’t forgotten my past as a student council president, a youth mayor, and a student leader pushing to change the dynamics of her high school. I’m honoured that I’ve had more than one opportunity to return to OSLC, where I was once a delegate, to share my knowledge and “student council wisdom” with hundreds of young versions of myself. I may be in Vancouver, but I haven’t forgotten the other students just like me back in Ontario who are creating a positive impact on their communities. OSLC is my way of giving back.

Angela, if you ever find this on the world wide web, thank you for letting me return to share my knowledge with others. And to the man who did send me to national selections for the Loran Award, I want you to know that I haven’t forgotten where I came from and I hope that I’m making you proud.

Erica Baker
Loran Scholar ’09

when I was born, I didn’t come with a facebook wall.

Digger wasn’t getting enough attention when I existed on facebook

I realized my dependence on it one evening. I checked it constantly on my phone waiting for something new to come up on my feed. I refreshed it and dug deep into it when I was in my room. I searched to find something interesting on it, even though I already knew I had seen everything that there was to be seen. I’m now waiting to read a big newspaper article one day in the future about the severe health effects facebook will have had on our generation.

I was and still am addicted. The scary part is that it is socially acceptable to be addicted to facebook. Often, we don’t even notice our dependence on it and when that dependence reaches an unhealthy level. My dependence reached an unhealthy level. It was probably months, maybe even years ago, and it took me until now to do something about it.

I deleted facebook, with more reasons to it than just because I need to study for exams. I realized that I was spending so much of my time building a visual representation of myself that I could of been spending that time investing into the real me. The reason why I was constructing an online identity was to satisfy an other and the time I was investing into it had no significant benefit to my overall well-being.

facebook is there as a tool to connect with your friends. At what point do we lose site of what connecting with your friends really is? When is facebook too much? I found that I was contributing a lot of my time to my friends through facebook instead of face-to-face encounters that I find to have more lasting impressions and prove to have more meaningful interactions. My time could be spent sitting on their couch watching Glee with them, rather than sending them a message about it. I find the time spent in person to me more beneficial which is why I deleted facebook (the tool to connect with your friends) to be able connect with my friends better.

Another issue I find common among my peers on facebook is that we are constantly living through a camera lens and forgetting to take in what is around us in the process. A good example of this is when you are at a party with your friends. Let’s say you are at The Pit, a campus pub in the basement of the SUB with your friends from your forestry class. Instead of soaking in the experience of socializing at The Pit, it is very easy to get pulled into wanting to have the best photographs of the experience to often prove that you had an amazing time to others. In that, we lose the real experience that we are trying to have and then we begin fabricating the experience we wish we had. This often happens because again we are trying to satisfy an other but I realized that I want to satisfy myself. I don’t want to live through a camera lens, I would rather be looking around and taking in the purity of the moment. Through deleting facebook, I hope to come back to the idea of living in the moment.

Let’s return to the idea of dependence on facebook. I’ve currently deactivated my account and with that I’ve removed my facebook bookmark from my web browser. With that came the removal of facebook from my phone and I’ve also put a pause on my twitter account (that too took up a lot of my time for many of the same reasons). This is not to say that I won’t return to either forms of social media. Once I can find satisfaction from within myself and not from the approval of an other, I will then return to both forms of social media. Once I can conquer my facebook dependence I will soon appear again on your wall and in your feeds. I might take it away again after it returns, just to keep me in check with what is really important in my life. I have been dependent on facebook since 2007, I don’t want it to be my only memory of growing up.

All female longboarding crew

Isn’t this video just so happy and fun that it explains my entire life?

If anyone on campus is interested in spending time with me longboarding, I’m interested in bringing my game to a new level and I’d love to be friends with you. Thanks Warren for thinking of me and sending me this link. You rock, buddy.

Tales of first year with mama ebakes

Hello first years, it’s mama ebakes, your wise upper year student who blogs, with tales from her first year of university.

Here’s a good story about my first day of classes.

Things were going well. I had successfully found all of my classes throughout the day without any prep beforehand. Hebb was a little bit difficult of a building to track down, but I did it all on time and with big smiles. That was until my last class of the day, Poli Sci 101, came along.

I couldn’t find Poli Sci 101 and I only had the ten minutes in between French in Buchanan and Poli Sci somewhere in the Chemistry building to find it. I started to ask random students walking by if they knew where my class was. I chose to ask guys that were in flannel (trustworthy survival skills at work) or had nice orange haired beards. None of them could help me find my class and just giggled. I didn’t mind, they looked cool as always.

It was now a half hour into my class. All I wanted to do was learn about the Canadian government and I couldn’t even find the classroom to do so. I couldn’t argue with anyone about policy or Harper, at minimum to say it was very depressing. I stood on the corner of University and East Mall, across from the Bookstore, and called my mother back in Ontario weeping that I’d never learn about the Canadian Government and that I was a major fail. It was actually a very hilarious event now that I look back on it.

I eventually found the class a few minutes after it ended. Turns out, I was looking for a classroom number that didn’t exist but I had the right building. I just had to double check my schedule (good one, Erica). I found the class as it was being let out and found this really cool prof in shiny silver Nike sneakers talking to students as they left. I tried not to show that I had been crying but when I approached the prof he just smiled and handed me the syllabus as he understood that I was a first year distraught with fear of failure. Turns out that Poli Sci 101 was my favorite class of first year and I had my highest mark (and first A) in Professor Baier’s class.

So first years, the lesson of this story is not to freak out and call your mother in Ontario and think that the world is going to end because you will fail out of UBC when you can’t find a classroom. And you can always, ALWAYS, trust big bearded men in flannel on campus. Remember those survival techniques. You will do fine.

Until next time,
mama ebakes loves you all. have a good rest of your first week.

Dean Gage “Whuddup” Averill

Move over Sauder’s Dean Dan, as sad as I am that we are without our beloved Dean Nancy Gallini as the Arts Faculty, I have to say that Dean Gage “Whuddup” Averill is pretty stellar. Yesterday, I was impressed with his Imagine Day address at the Chan centre. This man showed class and humour and I think him and Brain Sullivan (my favorite man, word to the students) should be best friends and go bowtie shopping.

Dean Gage “Whuddup” Averill, incase you are reading this because I know you sometimes frequent student blogs, I want you to know that I understand it’s not easy being the new guy in a big school, bringing me  to suggest B-Sullivan as a possible new friend for you.

So Dean Gage “Whuddup” Averill, you’re probably asking why B-Sullivan out of all the faculty and staff makes a good fit as a friend for you. Well, since it seems that Professor Alan Sens is already your pal from his funny and thoughtful introduction to your awesomeness yesterday, I thought that B-Sullivan has a lot to offer as he is one of the coolest guys on campus.

The way he sports those bowties and still understands the students after being at the university is something that resonates with me. If you have any say in the matter, please make sure B-Sullivan remains at UBC until after I graduate. Another request if you become bffs, I’m really curious to know how many bowties he actually owns and how he stores all of them. I wonder if it’s more intense than a Sex and the City shoe closet.

So when you do become bffs, and I’m sure that there is no way that two awesome and down to earth UBC champions could not be friends, please let me know how bowtie shopping goes. Dean Gage “Whuddup” Averill, I think you are a cool dude. I sat in that audience and from watching you I think that your speech brought down the academic-house.

PS, I really like the name “The Sipping Point” for the new Arts Cafe. Run with it.

Second Year, this is all a big deal yo.

Today I walked onto the stage on the Chan Centre and openly told new Arts students that I’m in love with chocolate milk but I’m lactose intolerant. I also mentioned my new brand of being a hipster librarian and that I’ve grown more than I could have ever imagined in only one year at UBC.

Only one year ago I was the person in those seats listening to phenomenal students tell me about the things we should be involved with. How much can happen in only one year this year? Before I graduate?

As much as I wanted to keep talking about my cool glasses and my longboard, I stressed that everyone in Arts should be proud of their purple. UBC is only a small part of our lives in the grand scheme of things and we need to take advantage of the time that we have here. That’s why we need to put all of our heart into our degrees. What we put into it is what we get out of it. Arts has heart.

I know that every single person inside the Chan has extreme amounts of potential. They’ve shown it just by choosing UBC. I know that in no time I’ll be cheering on the new class of Arts students at UBC (and all students at UBC for that matter) and blogging about them from here. No “from here” UBC branding intended.

The rules of second year

These are the rules for second year.

1) School (which means all assignments, readings and going above and beyond) must come first.

2) I’ve got goals for my grades, I’ll meet those goals.

3) Every professor must know my first and last name.

4) Boys (even if they are cute and may embody my dream boy) must not take a front seat in my life. This is a warning to all you boys, cute and amazing, that although I’d very much like to have your company, you distract me from my school work. Which isn’t cool.

5) Do not sleep less than eight hours a night and do not take weekends as an opportunity to snooze until the afternoon. Totem serves udon on saturdays for lunch, you know. Wouldn’t want to miss that.

6) Readings may not be a lot of fun to do and research is never easy, but I have to build my bridges before I need them. I will be strictly enforcing this rule that requires me to complete not only all my readings, all the time, but that I must read them in advice, create notes, and then review the night before the lecture as if I knew I was going to be tested on my knowledge of the assigned readings. Makes sense? Oui?

7) I will make several drafts of my term papers, bring them to my professors, ask how to improve, and actually edit my work. I’ll make my papers golden and even bring it to my prof three times if that means I can do well in the course. I’m prepared to do as much extra work as possible.

8) I will not sit on FaceBook all night, or watch whatever TV show I’m into all night. Instead, I will use my time efficiently. This means enforcing strict work hours, lots of bubble gum from Magdas, and using my time wisely.

9) My friends are important to me. The ones that meow, rawr, or act normal. I will spend the out nights I have with them, I will show up to their house to burn the food I cook, and I will remain committed to being their number one fan.

10) I will create mail art to send to my friends across the country on a regular basis. I will bring joy to their mailbox, a smile to their face, and keep my friends close to my heart during times of great distances between us.

This is more important than Music Monday

This is what I lived through this weekend. Please watch.

YouTube Preview Image

Saturday afternoon. Toronto Eaton Centre. American Eagle Outfitters. I show up for work and am told to stand by for notice that we need to evacuate. A protest was moving towards us on Queen street without ANY police present. My manager held the store phone in his hand, waiting for instruction to leave before the protest got to the Eaton Centre and put us in danger.

On their way towards us, Queen Street was destroyed. Store front windows were smashed, The Bay was looted, and cop cars were set on fire. I got these updates periodically over my headset. We knew they were coming.

Shortly after, they arrived at the south end of the mall. Mall security blocked the doors. We were told that the protesters had arrived. Most shoppers in our store had no idea what was happening just a few store fronts away and what had taken place on Queen Street moments ago. They had no idea that there was a cop car on fire in the middle of street or that outside looked like a war zone.

Alerts went out over the mall emergency alert system, broadcasting over the speakers that there was an emergency situation in close proximity to the Eaton Centre. It advised all customers to leave. We had to quickly wrap up all sales and ask all customers to exit the store. Customers didn’t know why they had to leave, we had to inform them of what was taking place.

As soon as the last customer left, we were advised that the protest was moving up Yonge Street towards Dundas Square. We were under lockdown and couldn’t leave until they left, and that’s if they decided to move on from Dundas Square. Yonge and Dundas is like the Times Square of Toronto. It’s at the north corner of our mall where H&M, Adidas, Forever 21 and the plaza sits. CityTV looks into the plaza, the Toronto Google office, and an AMC theatre.

We had to stay in the store. We folded clothes until we got the news that it was safe to leave. From our cell phones, our friends that worked at stores on Yonge street and people who were following the news told us what was happening.

Urban Outfitters. Windows smashed.

One of the Starbucks in the mall. Windows smashed.

Slowly they were making their way along the east side of the mall to get to the square.

The Bank of Montreal. Windows smashed.

Once they got to Yonge and Dundas, they headed north past the mall and onto all the street stores.

Adidas. Guess. Levi’s. Pizza Pizza. HMV. Rogers. Future Shop. All windows smashed. Street signs through their windows.

Once the protest moved north, it reached Yonge and College where the main protest of the day was taking place and why no police were watching this crowd that came and ripped apart the city. Another Starbucks was targeted. Violence and arrests broke out. Yonge and College which is a place I commonly wait for the street car or visit the College Park Metro was now a war zone.

We were soon allowed to leave the mall through a door guarded by security and blocked off with police tape. I walked out onto Yonge Street. Usually filled with cars, it was empty. No police in a city that has been covered with riot police in full gear on every corner. Just citizens walking around in shock, looking at what must of been a bomb that went off in the downtown core. In the distance, smoke from cop cars that were set a blaze was creating a dark haze and camera flashes filled the streets.

I walked up Yonge. The biggest crowd was formed around American Apparel. It was hit the worst. Doors and windows smashed through with signs, bust forms broken and dragged down the street, glass everywhere, and human feces thrown onto their window front. Here are some of the photos I took from the scene on my BlackBerry.

I just have to say that this is not my Toronto. This would never happen day to day. Riot police do not hang out on a street corner. 900 people are not arrested in one weekend. I don’t know what these riots achieved but I do know that we need to direct the energy that we put into these ordeals into something that has real results. We need to teach each other how to take action. We need to find another way that is not violence to express ourselves. I fell asleep Saturday to the constant sounds of helicopters outside of my window, so loud, that I could hardly fall asleep. I do not want to see another weekend like this ever again. It disturbed me that people down the street had no idea what was going on, but they knew the score of the World Cup game. Let’s show some more compassion, let’s take action, and let’s stick to peace.

One funny thing out of this weekend- Our toilet broke inside our American Eagle on Sunday. Marty posted this sign.

For more images and tweets from my weekend of unexpected havoc, and what it was like Friday when I was in the middle of a protest and 100 riot police marched towards me, please read all my tweets at

You might find some stuff on there like this: