Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Creative Writing Blog: Video Games?

So, when this semester first started, and I looked through the Creative Writing course outline, I couldn't believe what I saw: Video Games as an area of study? Huh.

To be honest, I don't think I've actually ever played a video game from start to finish. And what I remember from high school was going over to my friend's house with a group of people only to be bored out of my mind when the guys of the group would just sit in front of a TV playing a stupid game the whole time.

I never understood the appeal.

Then I thought, one of my favourite things is to read a novel. I mean, I can read for hours on end. I just love the experience of getting to the conclusion. Just how different is that from seeing a video game through to the end?

So, just because I don't spend my time playing video games, I do spend time absorbed in a book. I guess we all have our guilty little pleasures that take us away from our every day lives.

Friday, March 26, 2010

PROVICI Cosmetics at the Magazine Fair!

Hey everybody! So this Thursday, April 1, 2010, is our Magazine Fair in the atrium of Red River College, Princess Street Campus. We worked until midnight every night before the due date, we are tired, spent, and ready for a bit of fun. Well, this is our chance.

My group's magazine is titled URGE: Urban Generation. It's a Winnipeg based, urban development magazine that showcases local businesses and culture. For my feature article in the magazine, I interviewed Anthony Polverosa, who is the guy behind PROVICI Cosmetics. He was absolutely fantastic. I left the interview wowed by him.

Well, I'm very excited to say that Anthony will be at my group's magazine booth this Thursday. So, below is my featured article with the fabulous makeup artist. Check it out, and be sure not to miss a free demo by PROVICI Cosmetics this Thursday.

One Face at a Time

The perception exists out there that Winnipeg’s Downtown is not the thriving city centre of Toronto or Vancouver, but rather a place void of shopping opportunities to stay away from. However, an oasis of creativity in the form of unique restaurants, beautiful architecture, a vibrant nightlife, and individual boutiques and shopping outlets lies within walking distance. The Exchange District attracts people like Anthony Polvorosa, an entrepreneur who created his business, PROVICI Cosmetics, which is now expanding.

PROVICI Cosmetics, located at 233 McDermot Avenue, opened in the Exchange District in April, 2006. Polvorosa has since opened two more locations. First, he opened a kiosk in Kildonan Place, and then the newest at 559 Academy in Advanced on Academy, which opened this past October.

Polvorosa got his inspiration and education from all over North America. “Being in other Downtowns like Vancouver and Toronto can inspire you. If you are entrepreneurial, you can take what they do there and be for-founding here,” he says.

Studying in Toronto at the International Academy of Design and Technology, Polvorosa earned his Degree in Clothing Design. The 34-year-old then came back to Winnipeg and worked as a makeup artist for M.A.C at The Bay Downtown, who sent him to Chicago to be schooled in makeup artistry. “I apply the same principles of clothing design to makeup,” he says, “I tell my story through makeup now.”

He went out on his own when customers and co-workers at M.A.C started to tell him he needed to do so. “I didn’t want to be another freelance makeup artist,” he says, “so here I am.”
At PROVICI Cosmetics, you can work with the makeup artist to custom blend your own foundation. Polvorosa also works with a chemist to create makeup to his own specifications. “We combine the highest grade mineral and synthetic materials with the latest break-through technology,” he says.

Jerrett Storey, Manager of Marketing and Communications for the Exchange District Business Improvement Zone (Biz), thinks this diverse community offers a great experience. “The Exchange is a place that pulls the creative type in,” says Storey, “I think it’s the rich culture, architecture, and heritage.”

The Exchange District Biz is dedicated to improving business conditions. With the use of marketing, cross promotion, and public relations, it brings the area together. “We support the businesses once they’re here. We offer them a sense of community,” says Storey.
Storey thinks the Exchange District has a bright future. He wants to keep bringing people down to the area. The goal right now is, “to keep drawing focus to this gem of the city. It really is our own little oasis,” he says.

Polvorosa sees the Exchange District growing more every year. “When we first came here, there was only two retail outlets, Cake Clothing and Candie & Dolls,” he says, “and now the Exchange is just booming.”

Alana Klein, a Senior Makeup Artist at PROVICI Cosmetics, came from working in a mall environment. She has worked for Polvorosa for two years now. The transition to working in the Exchange District has been a welcome one, “in the mall, you kinda did your own thing. Here we all know each other, and help each other out with events,” she says.

The clientele is also a new experience for Klein. “People come here to spend more money,” she says, “we get people from all over the city who come to actually shop.”

Polvorosa appreciates the feel of community here, a theme he maintains in the marketing and advertising of his company, which is done entirely in-house. “We only use models who are either inspiring or are making a difference in the community,” he says, “like Tara Birtwhistle, who’s a principal dancer for The Royal Winnipeg Ballet.”

“I could do it the easy way and get some big celebrity, but why not celebrate who we have here,” says Polvorosa. He feels that with his business being Winnipeg based, he wants to showcase the city.

PROVICI Cosmetics is making a name for itself outside of Winnipeg as well. It was recognized as one of Canada’s “Best Primping Hotspots” by FLARE magazine. When Polvorosa found out, he was a bit excited, “I was screaming for days,” he says, “I remember seeing the magazine, Fergie was featured on the cover.” At this point, his face lit up, as he showed me the framed cover he keeps on his makeup counter.

What is it that makes a business succeed or fail? Polvorosa doesn’t say he has all the answers, but he does know a few things that got him to where he is today. “Create a reason for your clients to come to you,” he says.

He also thinks you cannot be stuck in a particular mould. “You have to be open-minded,” he says, “always learn.”

The Exchange District is a great place to set up shop if you offer something unique. Many businesses that start here expand, like Cake Clothing, which has just opened its second location in St. Vital. But even though the goal, as in Polvorosa’s case, is to go global one day, he says, “I take it one location at a time. One face at a time.”

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Olympic Spirit

So I didn't get to see the gold medal game on Sunday between the US and Canada, but thanks to Starbucks customers I didn't miss a beat.

First of all, I'd like to mention just how dead Starbucks was during the game. Three of us girls were working, and each of us would have rather been in front of a TV cheering on our athletes. But the very few customers who did come in for their coffee all knew exactly how the game was going.

It was amazing. Every single person who walked in the door knew the score. One lady in the cafe had her blackberry out and gave us updates as they came in. So my Sunday at work missing the game turned into an Olympic party.

We even knew the moment Canada won, and so did everyone in the vicinity when our link to the Olympics jumped out of her seat and yelled "Canada just won!"

So there we were, a cafe half full of strangers celebrating our hockey team's win together while earning a day's pay. (We really do live in a fantastic country)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Bring on the Chocolate!

So, I'm pretty sure chocolate can solve anything. Really.

The first case I want to talk about is when you're stressed. You have about a million things to do including, but not limited to, school, homework, work, etc. You look at your agenda, and want to scream. All you need is to pop a little piece of chocolate into you mouth, and voila. You're a tiny bit better.

Secondly, and the most famous reason for chocolate, is a break up. I think chocolate was invented for a break up. I mean not only does the taste help, but the chocolate itself boosts seratonin levels in your brain, which makes you happier. Wow, hey?

But you have to be careful, not all chocolate does this. You have to find the stuff that actually has cocoa in it. For example, white chocolate, which I love, has absolutely none. Therefore, all it does is give you sugar and fat, yikes! You should also look out for milk chocolate; it has too much added sugar and other stuff. It could add to your waistline.

And then there's dark chocolate. I don't have anything bad to say about it at all. So here we have Erika's recipe for all things bad: dark chocolate. But some advice from me, go out and buy a package of individually wrapped pieces. This way, when you need a bit of a boost, you can just have one and not over-indulge.

Oh, I should probably mention that exercising also releases endorphins into your blood, which also makes you happy. So I figure, if you have a small dose of chocolate on the ready, and stairs to climb, you can maintain your happiness and save your sanity.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Face to Face

From now on, I'm going to only talk to people in person. That is, when they are someone I don't know, and I want to interview them for a journalism story. It turns out that my voice on the phone is very easy to say no to. And it must be my voice, because I'm always polite and accommodating.

But, when I meet someone in person, they simply don't say no. It's like magic. A phone call is intrusive, but stopping someone on the street, in the cold, is welcomed. Why?

I've been writing this article, well trying to at least, and I'm not going to lie, I've been pretty stressed about it. Stressed because every time I called someone to set up an interview, they were too busy. And not only too busy that second, or even day, but the whole week!

Then today, out I was in the freezing cold trying to talk to people. By this time, I had given up on the phone. But to my delight, everyone was incredibly nice. They didn't only answer my questions, but did what they could to help me along in my story.

I really shouldn't have expected anything else, I mean, if it came to an unknown entity at the other side of the phone, or a smiling face in front of me, I'd choose face to face as well.

To be honest, this kind of gives me hope. In a world where everything is run by technology and the newest gadget, It's comforting to know that people still appreciate the human connection.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Review on - In The Chamber 2010: Last Men

Imagine you’re all set to see a play. You’re excited to see the actors interact in front of you as the plot unwinds and you can’t wait to get lost in the show. Well, I have some bad news. If this is the experience you want, you will immediately dislike In The Chamber 2010: Last Men, playing at the Rachel Brown Theatre.

That was me. I was expecting to see a huge production and everything that comes with it like an elaborate set, an expensive lighting display, and more than one actor on stage at a time. What I got, however, was a bare set, a few spot lights, and one man speaking.

Initially, I was unimpressed. I was bored. I was disturbed. If you had asked me immediately after the show what I’d thought I would have said it was one of the worst things I’ve ever had to sit through in my life. My opinion has since changed.

You see, I didn’t know what I was about to watch. My unreal expectations were not met because they were just that, unrealistic. The play I witnessed was really two separate monologues preformed by two separate actors. Each was a speech about a big issue presented in a way that made you think, really think, about it.

Some people during the performance laughed, me not being one of them. I simply didn’t see the humour, but others clearly did. Some people were disgusted with the subject matter, and some were even angry they were watching. The thing is, I’m pretty sure every single person left thinking about the issues raised, and with an emotion ready to erupt.

Watching a monologue for 115 minutes is not my thing, but it was quite a thing to have experienced. How talented the actors must have been to cleverly evoke such diverse emotions within their viewers.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

On Stress

Believe it or not, I'm way happier when I'm busy and stressed than when I'm not. I think this is because when I have the time to actually stop and think, I realize how much I have to do and what I'm not doing at that particular second. I like how focused you can be when there is too much to do at once, even though I would like a few extra hours in a day.

I've recently discovered, as you may have guessed, that I like stress. The thing is, however, that I have to be in the middle of it to thrive. If I stop, even for an hour, I realize that I'm stressed and that is when the negative repercussions happen like worrying, cleaning the same space multiple times, and eating chocolate.

I think stress can be a very healthy feeling as long as you're preoccupied with it.