1 May 2015

Blog Redesign

I'm excited to announce that Full Belly, Worn Soles is moving over to SquareSpace and getting a long overdue redesign. All 150 posts will be moved over and the domain name will stay the same. The only real differences will be a more appealing site and bigger and better photos :)

I'm thrilled about the changes and content ahead. And I'll be back with a feature on Matt Jenkins of Cloverdale Forge on Monday, May 11th. I got some incredible shots over at his forge and I can't wait to share them with you!

27 April 2015

3 Years of Blogging in Winnipeg

This week marks three years on my blog, 150 posts and my 28th birthday. It's incredible to see how the city has changed for the better over the past three years, and even more so since I first moved here at 18. So in recognition of what this city has to offer, here's a round up of new businesses and exciting events worth checking out in Winnipeg over the next two weeks. And if you see me there, say hello!

Attend the Art City Disco Ball Fundraiser.

See The Crooked Brothers at Times Change(d).

Admire Thom Fougere's beautiful and functional designs at 84 and a 1/2.

Check out Kal Barteski's Script Sale as part of First Fridays in the Exchange.

Visit the brand new Alt Hotel on Portage.

Have your your locks snipped for a good cause at the Prep Hair Cut-a-thon.

Browse the stalls of Third + Bird's spring market.

And check out new businesses Albert Street Cocktail Co, Black Rabbit Bistro Lounge, Miss Browns and Bronuts. (Just a note, Bronuts has been selling out of donuts within the first two hours of business and there was a line out the door and down the street Saturday morning, so arrive early to avoid disappointment.)

20 April 2015

Cocktails with Mike Fox at Albert Street

This past weekend, Winnipeg saw an exciting new development on the cocktail scene: Albert Street Cocktail Co opened its doors.

Head bartender Mike Fox got his start working at pubs in Brandon. When he moved to Winnipeg five years ago, he got on at Peasant Cookery with a lot of bartending experience but, he confesses, almost no real cocktail expertise. Under the tutelage of Kaitlynd Landry, one of the mixologists credited with bringing craft cocktails to Winnipeg, Mike learned more about mixing and fell in love with cocktails. The creative environment that Peasant provided allowed Mike to experiment, eventually developing cocktails of his own for their menus.
 Mike has also been a part of other exciting developments in Winnipeg's cocktail culture. He was a guest bartender at RAW:Almond's cocktail bar this past winter, where impeccably made beverages were paired with amuse bouches. And back in March, he packed the house at Mitchell Block with a specialty, one-night-only drink menu.

So when Richard Krahn approached him about starting up a cocktail bar, Mike had the opportunity to participate in another Winnipeg first: a bar with a dedicated focus on craft cocktails.

Richard, Mike and their partners have created an inviting yet sophisticated atmosphere, where patrons can meet and work over coffee in the daytime (they have wifi), and wind down with beautifully crafted beverages into the wee hours. The decor mixes old with new - original stamped-tin ceilings, furniture Richard helped make with his own hands, art from Zephyra Vun and James Culleton, painstakingly sourced antique crystal glassware, and modern light fixtures.

Mike and Richard hope to fill a gap they see in the neighbourhood. They want to offer the space to meet during the day, but also a relaxed environment to wind down after dinner or a show in the area. (They'll be open until 2am daily, whereas restaurants in the Exchange typically close by 11pm.) They're also the only place in the city where you can browse from a selection of bitters, and they plan on expanding their retail to sell barware as well. Finally, Mike emphasizes the driving motivation for opening the business was "because we had the opportunity to do everything exactly the way we wanted: squeezing all our juices fresh, fresh herbs, fresh everything; we're not skimping on anything. That's the ideal situation - quality ingredients, everything as fresh as possible."

And that dedication to quality certainly shows in the drinks. Of the nine cocktails on the menu, I had the opportunity to try six, and each one was full, flavourful and perfectly balanced. Mike developed the menu together with Peter Hill, who crafted the cocktail menu forPostale and moonlights with The Blind Pig Pop Up. The menu was designed with spring in mind, but also features some heavier cocktails. Mike's particular favourites are the Chef May I, a tequila-based cocktail shaken with an entire egg, and the Blue Bomber, an exciting, flame-poured variation on the Blue Blazer. If you're looking for something lighter and a bit fruitier, I'd recommend the Cadiz Sour or the Triumvirate. In addition to the cocktails developed for the menu, Mike, Peter and their crew will happily mix your classic favourites like old fashioneds and negronis. The menu also features a great selection of wines and beers, and for what you get, the prices are more than fair. Mikes says their goal is "Excellent drinks, but still approachable." And based on my experiences there so far, I'd say they're nailing it.

13 April 2015

Houseplants for Black Thumbs and a Visit to Shelmerdine

Spring has sprung here and Winnipeg, and it's got me in the mood to bring some green indoors. So I made my first visit to Shelmerdine this week to add a few more plants to my windowsills.  As I wandered through the lush, light and airy interior, I was reminded of how far I've come in regards to houseplants.

See, I'm recovered black thumb. It used to be that I would kill any plant that crossed over my threshold with a speed and finality that was almost impressive. I've killed hydrangeas, herbs, succulents; at one point, I even killed a grass centrepiece I'd brought home from wedding in less than a week. My biggest issues were aggressive over-watering combined with complete neglect. I'd forget about a plant, let it dry out completely, notice it all limp and sad, water it diligently for days in a row and thereby cement its death.

But over the years, I've done my research and mended my ways, and I'm here to help my fellow black thumbs (or just those of you who are new to houseplants) do the same.
There are a few key ways to keep houseplants alive. The first is to buy hardy, low-maintenance plants. Succulents - like jade, aloe vera and zebra plants - are drought resistant and excellent for forgetful people. Also, snake and spider plants grow like weeds, and as with succulents, they don't need much watering. And finally, I've had very good luck with money plants. After a move in a freezing car and some overwatering, I thought I had completely killed the plant pictured below. I left in on the windowsill with the intent to throw it out, but forgot about it for several weeks. When I finally got around to throwing it away, I noticed new shoots sprouting from the trunk. Two years later, the plant has completely come back to life.

Once you have your hardy indoor plants, you need to pot them right. For all the plants I've recommended above, you'll absolutely need to buy a pot with a drain hole. If that's not possible, be sure to put plenty of large rocks at the bottom of the pot. Also, spider plants grow quickly, so err on the side of too big rather than small when choosing a pot for them. And although you see succulents featured in many terrariums online, they will die fairly quickly in a closed-air terrarium. Naturally, succulents grow in arid climates, so air circulation is critical.
Now that you've got your plant picked out and potted, you have to do the thing that's hardest for we black thumbs: you've got to stop watering inconsistently. Water your plants once a week, and once a week only. Do it the same way every time. Soak the soil evenly across the top, making sure that you see water draining out of the bottom of the pot. Once the plant's drained fully, dump the excess water (a collecting tray is handy here) and return it to its spot. Don't water it again until next week. Not even if it the plant starts looking dry mid-week. For all of the plants I've recommended above, the soil needs to dry out between waterings, so just ignore them.

You may have to tweak your watering schedule a bit here and there, depending on how much light your place gets. For example, because our windows face directly onto another building, I occasionally skip a watering and will give my plants two weeks without water if they're looking good. So there's room for small tweaks, but if you stick to the once a week schedule, you should be fine either way.
And finally, ask a greenhouse employee for advice. At a good greenhouse like Shelmardine, you should be able to describe your growing situation and needs to a staff member and get a few recommendations and tips that way.

I first noticed Shelmerdine's glorious interior pop up on Robin Ellis's Insta-feed, and after I saw it featured on my friend Sybil's blog, Animated Confessions, I was bound and determined to go. The terra cotta pots in the photos above are cheapies from Dollarama, and the vest I'm wearing in the photos is Tony Chestnut (now on sale!) Crescent manicure by Sarah Gurevich at Prep Hair.
Full Belly, Worn Soles

6 April 2015

An Interview and Giveaway with Color Me Rad

On July 25th, Color Me Rad will be returning to the Red River Exhibition grounds once again. And for the last few summers, photos of smiling, color-streaked faces have been popping up on my Instagram and Facebook feed. I wanted to learn more about the race and how it works, so I reached out to Wyatt Grow, one of the organizers of the event, with a few questions.

Tell me a little bit about how Color Me Rad got started. 
The founding legend of Color Me Rad is, I think, a pretty cool story. It started in Utah, where, despite the predominantly Mormon population, one of the largest Holi Festivals in US takes place. The company founders and I attended the Festival of Colors at the local Hare Krishna temple over the course of our college years, and watched as it grew from 8,000 attendees to close to 80,000 attendees in just a few short years. We were already in the business of organizing 5k fun runs - The Dirty Dash - and saw the flying colors of the Holi festival as something many people would enjoy. And like that, Color Me Rad was born.

We started with 35 events in our first year (2012), and grew to over 100 events in 2013 and 2014.

How do the colors work? What are they made of? 
The colors are launched onto runners by an amazing corps of volunteers that we call the Color Bomb Squad. At several places around the course, we build Color Stations where volunteers throw, spray or otherwise cover our runners in color. Then, as runners cross the finish line, they all receive their own bag of color to participate in the Finale Color Throw as a group.

The colors are made of good old fashioned corn starch and dyed with food coloring. Granted, this is done on an industrial scale but it's all very safe and edible.
What cities are you currently running in? 
We're in many cities all over the world, with events in places as diverse as Scandinavia, Japan, Korea, France, Australia, and Mexico. In Canada specifically, we're in Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Surrey, Calgary and Vancouver.

For those of us who haven't participated in Color Me Rad yet, could you describe the experience of doing the run? 
Color Me Rad is going to be unlike any 5k you've participated in before. For one, it's not timed or competitive in any way, which makes it accessible to a lot of runners and walkers who might be intimidated by a timed race. Secondly, the color stations are music filled zones of just pure fun and revelry. Then at the end, there is food to buy, giveaways and music from the stage, dancing, and color throws. It's a hybrid of festival and 5k, and it's a blast.
What is the goal of Color Me Rad? What are your plans for the future?
Color Me Rad has a number of objectives: to help people become more physically active, to create unforgettable experiences for our participants, and to raise awareness and funds for our charity partners, to name a few. (Ed. note: In Winnipeg, Color Me Rad supports St. Amant.)

For the future, we plan and hope to keep doing what we're doing in Winnipeg and all over the world.
Wyatt was not only gracious enough to answer my questions, but he offered up two free tickets to the event here in Winnipeg! Just leave a comment below! Two winners will be selected at random, and contacted on Monday, April 20th with a code for registration.

Please note, all the photos in this post are owned by Color Me Rad.