Fashion with Passion Fundraising Gala for Women In Need

I’ve worked with Tami Tate from Triple T Consulting last year for Courtnall Celebrity Classis Golf Tournament. We were two of about ten women who helped as Silent Auction cabinet. After the successful event, we got together for a meal and I had an absolute blast meeting and connecting with powerful women in the cabinet.

So I was delighted to hear from Tami, asking me to model for a fashion show for WIN(Women In Need) fundraising gala on Friday, May 4th.

WIN has been in greater Victoria community for 20 years, supporting women and creating opportunity for self-sufficiency. It’s a cooperative; they work together with other organizations such as Bridges For Women Society, Transition House, and Inter-Cultural Association.

I was in WIN Cook Street store the other day to try on various outfits from the consignment store. You wouldn’t believe the quality. Shoko, who works at WIN picked some excellent items for me. I am dying to tell you what I’m wearing, but I’ll leave it as a surprise.

This was my first time to be in a WIN store, and I was reminded that I should shop there often; having a toddler boy means that you are constantly looking for new clothes for him as he wear them out very quickly. You’ll be supporting women in your community by shopping for what you need; it literally is WIN WIN.

I’m excited to be part of Fashion with Passion event – it will be held at Ocean Pointe this Friday, May 4th. Tickets are available online. I hope to see you there.

What: WIN’s fourth annual Fashion with Passion Fundraising Gala

Dinner, Live auction and fashion show

When: Friday, May 4th, 2012

Where: Delta Ocean Pointe Resort

Ticket: $80 for an individual ticket.  Tables of 10 can be purchased.

The man who biked across Canada

Last week, I had a privilage of meeting Ryo Ambe, Japanese man who cycled across Canada.

I didn’t know anything about his trip until I got an email from Mike Abe, president of Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society, and well respected leader in Japanese-Canadian community in Victoria. Soon after that, I found Ryo on Twitter and made contact with him. And I attended the press conference at the city hall the next day.

There were about 20 people gathered, most of them wearing Support Japan T-shirts. Ryo talked about his trip and showed us some slides from his massive photo collection.

Unfortunately, I was unable to accompany the group of cyclists to Mile Zero, Ryo’s official goal of this trip, but you can see the clip from CTV here.

The next day I took Ryo out to lunch at Daidoco (Best Japanse lunch spot in Victoria in my opinion) and got to chat about his experience.

Ryo used to work at the department store Isetan. But after losing his friend to cancer,who told him to follow his dreams, and after the 311 earthquake and Tsunami, he decided to come to Canada, his favourite country, and bike across it from Halifax to Victoria to thank the people in Canada for their support.  He started in May, and arrived in Victoria in late September. That’s 7900Km!

We talked about a lot of different things, my living in Canada, his experience in Canada….we both agreed that this is a very fine country.

He is going back to Japan in October, and hopes to do another quick bike trip in Taiwan, which also helped Japan so much after the disaster, to thank the people there.

He also said he wants to write a book about his ride in Canada. Good luck Ryo!

You can read his blog (mostly in Japanese) here.


Lunch and Learn with The London Chef

If you live in Victoria, you might have heard of The London Chef by now. It’s not quite in the downtown core, but lucky for me, it’s close to my home, and I have enjoyed their delicious salads, baked goods and sauces from their cafe and pantry before. (Try their Smoked Tomato Butter – it’s excellent)

Dan Hayes- The London Chef himself – has kindly invited me over to join his Lunch and Learn cooking class today. I knew he was offering cooking classes but didn’t know much about it. But I have walked by when the class was in session and have been curious. So I accepted his invite in a heartbeat!

Today’s menu was Vancouver Island Seafood in a Thai Red Curry Broth.
How the class works is, basically, you sit around the beautiful kitchen, and Dan will cook the meal in front of you. So it’s not really a “cooking class” par se, it is called “lunch and learn”, and I bet you learn a lot. Dan showed us how to prepare Dogfish – which I have never seen before – and it was really interesting. I have cooked some easy, North Americanized Thai food at home before, but in this class Dan showed us various ingredients, such as Shrimp paste, Palm sugar, Galangal and Kaffir Lime leaf(this was my favourite- smells incredible)…now I know where to pick up these ingredients and I’m so excited.

Dan’s a great teacher and storyteller, I honestly enjoyed watching him cook and listening to him. One thing he said – that he liked watching people eat what he makes at The London Chef, because that doesn’t happen in a restaurant environment so often -made a lovely impression on me. He seemed like he really enjoyed cooking for people.
And here’s the best part – the lunch! 🙂

Lunch and Learn classes are typically $25 per person.
There are other classes/events available – for more info, check out The London Chef website.

My thoughts on Foursquare

If you are not aware of Foursquare, it’s a social networking website where you can “check in” at various locations(shops, restaurants, banks, and any other businesses)using your mobile devices. It’s been around since 2009, and according to Wikipedia, it has 10 million users worldwide.

Despide all the concerns for danger (“Why would you want to tell people where you are? They can stalk you!” “People will know you are NOT at home- they can rob you”), I continue to use it as a fun game. It’s fun because the person who frequents the venue the most will be crowned as a “mayor”. I currently hold 15 mayorships at various restaurants, bars and shops, and aiming to “oust” and become a new mayor at other vanues as well. I just find it fun to play this game and interact with my friends using this app. Yes, you can stalk someone if you want to, but I don’t have time for it, and I do not check in at Every. Single. Place. I go and broadcast it on Twitter and Facebook to bore my friends. I have control over what information I choose to share, and it all comes down to your common sense.

Recently, I had really interesting conversations with my friends. I don’t want to reveal who they are, so I will call the first friend Mike. He was telling me how “influencial” I had become – and to call myself that really makes me break into cold sweats – because I am not that kind of person…it’s kind of funny because Victoria is small, and in the Social Media bubble, it gets even smaller. Mike said, “When you check into certain places, people pay attention”. I was like “Really? No they don’t.” But he is right – I do get comments through Foursquare app on my Blackberry, or on Twitter.  I found this quite interesting. So I could (even though I would never do this) tweet, “I’m not going to Jonny’s anymore because their food is terrible!” and some people might actually believe that. Then again, I assume these sort of manipulation happen daily at review sites like Yelp.

As a personal rule, I try not to tweet anything negative about a venue, unless they really deserve it. If something didn’t taste as good as I’d hoped for, I don’t feel the need to share it, because I believe that is a matter of personal taste.

Foursquare plays interesting role in the consumers’ behaviour. Even though I am not particularly crazy about a venue, I can check in there, just to become a mayor. And if all these people decide to tweet their checkins? Great promo for the business. In other words, businesses don’t have to be particularly great at what they do (customer service, food or drink), all they need to do, is to create the buzz/provide incentive to become a mayor. This worries me a little.

Mike told me he had stopped checking in at one restaurant, because although he loved the food there, he did not like the way restaurant markets itself on Social Media. So he does not want to give any props to this restaurant any more. This was new to me. However, I think I can understand what he means. For me, I don’t like to warn a venue before I head over there. I don’t want to let them know that I’m stopping by. It’s partly privacy thing, and partly because I don’t want the businesses to be “too prepared” for me. Does that make sense? Also who do I think I am? Am I so important the venue better be prepared?

My other friend, whom I will call James, told me that his Social Media savvy regulars stopped tweeting about his restaurant because that would attract too many people. As a business, this is exactly opposite of what you want. He said that Social Media/Foursquare/Twitter is a double edged sword, and I think he is absolutely right. As a mass, consumers now literally have the power to control the reputation of a business on their fingertips. You can manipulate the reputation of a business you do not like, or become their evangelist. Sounds very Spider-Man to me…”With great power….”

Is this a good thing? What do you think?