Archive for March, 2012

The Hunger Games

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

I finally did it – I went to see The Hunger Games in theatres.

I was initially drawn to the books after learning of their hype through friends and social media. Everyone seemed to love them, so over our December break I bought the first book in the series: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

It took less than two days for me to finish it. It was certainly a page-turner. Nonetheless, when school started again things were too busy to continue the series.

Realizing the movie was coming out; I scrambled to find the two remaining books (Catching Fire and Mockingjay) to read before seeing the movie. I wanted a refresher, and I just couldn’t wait any longer to find out the outcome. (For those who are not familiar with the series – a quick tap on the shoulder of a friend will surely fill you in!)

Unfortunately, there were waiting lists for the books at both the Sydney library and the CBU library. Pretty amazing, right? Lucky for me, a generous friend lent me her copy of Catching Fire… that I again read in two days… possibly ignoring my homework for a short time. Soon after, I acquired Mockingjay, which I wasn’t able to finish before seeing the movie, but I am quite excited to finish it over the weekend.

Books aside – the movie lived up to expectations, which isn’t saying much. Book lovers will agree that typically, movie versions of your favourite books are never as good as the book was. This was the case for The Hunger Games.

Don’t get me wrong, there were many aspects of the movie version I really liked. For one, the casting was great. I was especially delighted with Haymitch, Cinna and of course: Katniss. As well, visually the movie was interesting and possibly more in-depth than the book as you can see the scope of the arena well – or the poverty found in District 12.

I think most things were explained fairly well for viewers who haven’t read the books, although, as one of my friends noted, they felt like there was more to the story that was left out. (Yes – there certainly was!)

At any rate, I think the movie version of The Hunger Games can stand alone but I would highly recommend the book series if you are waiting to see the movie, or if you already have and would like to know more.

As for me, I am looking forward to finishing the series –but- I won’t be in a line-up anytime soon to see the movie again.

What were your thoughts on the book series or the movie version?


Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

It’s crunch time. The signs are everywhere: line ups to buy coffee, haggard students in sweat pants, and a busy library.

We’ve got assignments to pass in and exams to prepare for. The pressure is on to make it to the finish line, April 20th: the last day of exams.

To get you there, happy and healthy, I’ve compiled a list of some fast foods (not fast food!) to keep you fuelled and ready to go.

Bon appetite!


  • Oatmeal: This superfood has complex carbs that will keep you energized for hours to come. For a quick morning meal of oats, make a bowl in the microwave or make overnight oats before heading to bed. To up the taste-factor, add in a chopped up banana, a scoop of peanut butter, or some frozen fruit (prior to cooking).
  • Greek Yogurt: This delicious treat comes packed with a punch. For every 3/4 cup of greek yogurt, there is around 16g of protein (and minimal sugar) to keep you full longer. Make a greek yogurt breakfast parfait with berries and granola or add a few spoonfuls to a smoothie.


  • Chocolate: Yes, chocolate is an energy-boosting, healthy snack. However, consume with caution as most chocolates have sugar. Too much sugar will lead you to feel wiped-out. Instead go for a dark chocolate and be mindful to eat it in moderation.
  • Bananas: Bananas are full of protein, potassium, iron and Vitamin A. Have one en route to class for an instant pickup.
  • Almonds: Grab a handful of almonds for a quick snack, or add them to some greek yogurt. The magnesium in almonds will help your body perform tasks (like digestion) so that you don’t feel depleted. Almonds also curb hunger, a bonus if it will be a while before you can get home for dinner.


  • Veggie Wrap: Fresh veggies are the way to go for a quick lunch that won’t make you feel lethargic. My go-to veggies are spinach, avocado, green pepper, and red onion. Add salsa, hummus or cheese as add ons and you’re good to go. Serve with whole wheat tortilla chips on the side for added fibre.
  • Sandwich: For discreet library lunches opt for a sandwich. Choose a healthy egg salad sandwich on whole wheat bread, or a classic, all-natural PB&J sandwich with some sliced banana for good measure.


  • Pasta: Whole wheat pasta with a veggie marinara sauce will keep you going incase of an all-nighter. Whole grains release fuel slowly into your body, which will make you feel less tired and more balanced.
  • Tacos: Have taco night, an easy meal that will result in leftovers (saving you even more time). Throw together some lettuce, tomatoes and onion with a protein of your choice (ground beef, or veggie ground “meat”). The mix of veggies and protein is the perfect pre-bedtime meal that is easy to digest, giving your metabolism some help. You will have a better sleep, and will wake up with a clear and rested mind and body.

These are just some of the fast foods you can eat to keep you going during this crunch time. Remember to drink lots of water, avoid junk, and limit your coffee intake.

Keeping up with healthy practices will make your next few weeks easier and more enjoyable.

What are your go-to healthy fast foods?

Research Week at CBU

Monday, March 19th, 2012

The campus will be abuzz this week as the Student Undergraduate Research Forum (SURF) kicks off as part of Research Week at CBU.

Along with SURF, there will be faculty presentations, as well as a few visiting speakers presenting on various topics. For a full schedule and list of presentation topics, click here.

Student researcher presentations will also be held in room CE265 Tuesday-Thursday.

Make sure to stop by and check out all of the innovative things CBU faculty and students are doing.

I can’t wait to sit in on some presentations – and to present myself. I will be discussing the mechanics of creating an academic database. For the past year and a half, I’ve been creating one with my professor, Dr. Rubina Ramji. It should be a great experience.

Enjoy the week!

Complete the CBU Globe&Mail Survey Today!

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Everyday walking to class I walk by the survey station set up in the cafeteria to remind students to complete the Globe and Mail survey.

Completing the survey has been on my to-do list for the past few days, so yesterday I took less than ten minutes out of my day to answer some questions and rate CBU.

The survey was quick and painless, and got me thinking about my time at CBU over the past four years. (I am graduating this year!)

To say I’ve loved my time here would be an understatement. The people I’ve met have been inspiring and helpful. The classes I have taken in Political Science, Religious Studies, English and Anthro/Soc have made my head spin in the best way possible.

I realized that while I think CBU is a beautiful campus with a great community atmosphere – my favourite aspect of attending the university has been the professors.

What’s your favourite aspect of CBU?

Whatever it is, it is important to credit the good (and the bad) in the survey.

Take time while enjoying a coffee break to get it done. As a bonus, you’ll be entered to win plenty of great prizes, like $500. Not bad!

You can access the survey here: or by stopping in to the survey station – located in the CBU cafeteria.

Have your say!

To learn more about the survey (and the others), click here.

The Vagina Monologues – March 8th

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

The CBU Students’ Union Women’s Centre will be performing Eve Ensler’s the Vagina Monologues this Thursday, March 8th.

March 8th is International Women’s Day – so catching the performance at the Boardmore Playhouse is the perfect way to celebrate!

Tickets are available at the Students’ Union front desk, or you can purchase them at the door. Tickets are $5 or a donation. The proceeds from the ticket sales go to the Cape Breto Transition House.

Doors open at 6:30pm, and the show starts at 7pm.

Hope to see you there!

For more information, visit Facebook.

Cool Caper Q&A with Meghan Finney

Monday, March 5th, 2012

For my next Cool Caper Q&A I wanted to introduce Meghan Finney, a CBU graduate who is following her dreams – and in the most fashionable way!

Here’s what Meghan had to say.

Q: You went to CBU… What did you study?

A: My undergraduate degree from CBU was a Bachelor of Arts with a concentration in English.

Q: What do you currently do?

A: I’m the Communications Coordinator at Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey, an organization that develops alternatives and promotes Mi’kmaq education, interests and rights, and has jurisdiction in Mi’kmaq educational matters for 11 communities in Nova Scotia. That’s a mouthful! I’m also the owner/operator of La Quaintrelle.

Q: Tell us more about your fashionable entrepreneurial venture, La Quaintrelle?

A: La Quaintrelle is a boutique carrying vintage-inspired clothing and accessories for women. I have an online shop at and a bricks-and-mortar store in downtown North Sydney.

The idea of La Quaintrelle came to fruition from my own difficulty in finding clothes that I really liked and wanted to wear. I was often unable to find anything at a mall or outlet store that I felt fit my personal style, and I soon began looking elsewhere – online, family closets, and vintage stores – for pieces to incorporate into my wardrobe. I soon realized that this was an opportunity. It was an opportunity to help others with the same problem and to infuse something new and different into the local market.

A quaintrelle is defined as “a woman who emphasizes a life of passion expressed through personal style, leisurely pastimes, charm, and cultivation of life’s pleasures.” The best thing about a “quaintrelle” is that any woman is able to be one. I believe that creating personal style is much more important, and true to one’s self, than attempting to, perhaps, conform to a latest trend, magazine spread, or what’s on a big-box mannequin.

La Quaintrelle focuses on this idea of personal style, and each item is hand-picked so that they are unique in design and have some feature that is “enchanting”, whether it’s the fabric, buttons or belt detail. They’re chosen this way because I believe each and every one that’s selected is a something that helps someone better express who they are and feel comfortable while doing so. It’s very interesting, and fulfilling, to see people of very different backgrounds, sizes, tastes and ages come into the shop and find something they love and that speaks to them.

Q: What tips can you offer CBU students looking to follow their dreams, post-grad?

A: Go for it! Make it happen. It’s very easy to get stuck in the dream phase. I think a lot of people have great ideas, the only difference between them and an entrepreneur is the next (albeit, scary) step of putting in some $$ and getting the idea out there.

Surround yourself with people who support what you’re doing. Don’t worry if there are people who don’t encourage you along the way. Instead, listen to what they say. There is probably wisdom you can take from these critiques and use them in a way that will help you grow. Expect to make mistakes. Be patient. There will be discouraging days, but then there will be excellent days that keep reminding you that it’s all worth it!

Read, read and read some more. Do your research. Seek out information about the business’ field from books, blogs, mentors, classes, market research, reviews, and networks. Expect to always be learning. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Use your personal resources. You may know a photographer, a web developer, or a financial advisor, for example, who can help you at a lower cost. Get feedback on ideas and take it into consideration. Make sure you have a polished look and that you’re on top of the business legalities and finances – get the assistance of an accountant. Prepare and save money.

Most importantly, believe you can do it!  Despite how nervous or apprehensive you may be, absolutely go for it. It may be the most liberating and self-fulfilling thing you do. Stay positive and surround yourself with things and people that inspire you. Gamble on different opportunities, but also stay focused on what you want. Make personal connections with people, and always be honest and nice.

Q: What would you say are wardrobe essentials for stylish –yet cash strapped- CBU students?

A: Money goes a lot further with classic looks! Avoid cashing out the big bucks for a fad that won’t be around in a few months. A cardigan and boyfriend shirt is always in style, and it can easily be dressed up for a presentation or casual interview, or thrown together with jeans for a day out.

Q: Coffee or tea?

A: Definitely coffee.

Q: Favourite thing to do in Sydney?

A: One of my favourite things to do is to go for a run around Sydney. I’ve been able to see a lot of the nooks and crannies that aren’t on my daily commute or are accessible by car. I’m also loving all the new international/alternative restaurants popping up lately! I’m just waiting for the day Thai comes to town. (Editor’s Note: I am too!)

Q: Anything exciting planned for 2012?

A: 2012 has been pretty exciting so far! I’m excited every day, of course, to watch the business grow. I am working with a few brides-to-be on their weddings in 2012. I will also be partnering with a few local businesses for several events this spring. A line expansion may also be in store for La Quaintrelle in 2012. A nice trip in and around there sounds pretty good, too!

Thanks Meghan!

Readers, you can hear more from Meghan by following her on Twitter at @meghanfinney.