Breakfast at FirstWatch in Westport, Kansas City

Monday, August 11th, 2008 — 4:14pm PDT
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It’s been a tough week for our bellies here in Kansas City, surrounded by delicious food yet at the same time lacking some serious vegetable and fruit nutrients. Since we’re also on a sort of vacation, our late-rising tendencies in the morning have left us with few options for breakfast (say, at 11:00am). All changed this morning when we met John’s parents over at the FirstWatch in Westport – an up and coming heritage district in town complete with multiple coffee shops and sushi bars (which make me somewhat homesick already).

Being a fan of greasy spoon diner breakfast but also healthy food, we had the best of both worlds with this experience and were surrounded by a comfortable, non-pretentious, family dining atmosphere. When you sit down at your table you’re given a coffee carafe and a jug of water with a slice of lemon that remain yours to keep until you leave. The whole coffee pot on the table concept is something I’m truly enjoying as I believe back home you can only find this at the IHOP.

FirstWatch’s menu is purely for lunch and breakfast dinning and contains several trademarked items like the “crepeEgg” which I ordered. A light fluffy crepe filled with egg, smoked turkey, mushrooms, fresh spinach, onions and Monterey Jack cheese all topped (not drenched) with diced tomatoes, hollandaise and dill. The meal also came with their trademarked potatoes and an English muffin. They also do not use trans-fats and have carb-free or gluten-free options. The abundance of veggie omelets and options was also refreshing and for the four of us to eat the bill came to less than $40.

Unless John’s mom is up for making us some chorizo and eggs in the morning, we’ll probably head back there again tomorrow. Great breakfast, never ending coffee – and I’ll also forgive the fact that they have auto-play music on their website because they also offer free wifi.

Social Media for Change: Updates and Upcoming Events

Monday, August 11th, 2008 — 7:42am PDT
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Truth be told, I get a lot of emails from companies, organizations and people around town looking to get some extra promotion for their event. I’m really glad that they turn to me and my blog (or bloggers in general) to help get the word out but sometimes I don’t have the time to address them all. However, even though I’m still out of the country until later this week I have been able to check email sporadically, giving me the chance to spot these two notable causes.

A BC company, Backstage Technologies, has been using their Facebook Application to raise funds for charities, most recently they helped out the SPCA. “The BC SPCA is the second charity to benefit from Backstage’s Facebook ‘Scratch and Win’ application. A big shout out to our game players who helped make this happen. Together we were able to raise $11,284.74″ [Backstage]

They are currently featuring an Easter Seals campaign with the Pull Tabs Facebook application and starting on August 15th they will be running a campaign for Doctors Without Borders.

This weekend there is a benefit dinner for the Alzheimer Society of BC, taking place August 16th from 7:00pm to 11:00pm.

On a final note, here are some great folks (some of which I will be profiling in a later series) who are currently running personal fundraising campaigns.

Keira-Anne: SPCA Paws for a Cause [Blog] [Donate Page] Barbara Doduk: SPCA Paws for a Cause [Blog] [Donate Page] Candice Chamberland: Team Diabetes – Gold Coast [Blog] [Donate Page] Tanya Davis: Team Diabetes – Disney World [Blog] [Donate Page]

Olympic Blogs for the People

Sunday, August 10th, 2008 — 9:27pm PDT
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One of the biggest concerns I have right now is not about keeping up with the Summer Games in Beijing in terms of information and results, but how on earth Vancouver will be able to live up to the spectacle witnessed during this year’s opening ceremonies (mostly since ours will be held indoors).

BC Place to get a facelift for 2010 – Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr

Aside from that, we’ve been following the Olympics when we can during our trip to Kansas City. At random rest stops in hotel rooms during the day we’ll catch some water polo or basketball, but overall I’m missing quite a bit of the action that I have been glued to in past years. Actually, it’s even difficult to see a lot of coverage when we are in front of a television since NBC pretty much only shows events in which the USA is participating as well.

Photo credit: Kris Krug on Flickr

Photo credit: Kris Krug on Flickr – [ /]

I’ve searched around a bit for some blogs, twitters and Flickr photos (most of which are coming from Kris and Scales) but here are some other bits of coverage from the social media realm.

– Robert Scales gives some on-the-ground blog posts over on the BBC.

The Sports Corner is a collection of local journalists and sports enthusiasts have been liveblogging events on their group blog.

Daily Vancouver 2010 coverage, starting years in advance they have some updates about this summer’s games in Beijing.

Tony and his team are doing a great job on the LA Times blogs as well.

Photo Credit: Kris Krug on Flickr

You can Google several other sources however if you already have a website or blog you’re watching for Olympic updates, please feel free to share a link in the comments.

Harmony in Beijing and Kansas City

Saturday, August 9th, 2008 — 11:26am PDT
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We watched the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics from a hotel room in Kansas City last night.

Photo credit: Kris Krug on Flickr

We had to wait about 12 hours to see coverage on NBC since they didn’t air it live in the morning. Surrounded by John’s family, most of which I had just met that evening, I was given tasty samples of tequila and welcomed with open arms. When team Canada entered the stadium during the parade of nations my new family raised their glasses, toasted, and applauded.

Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr

Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr

I know that some Canadians have a certain view of Americans – our nation probably has as many stereotypes of our neighbours to the south as they have about us in the Great White North. During my last trip to the Midwest I wrote about our journey and the people down here. Nancy commented about this country, which pretty much summed up how I felt, “[sometimes]… we forget the stuff that is absolutely wonderful.”

What I haven’t yet mentioned is that the room also saluted Spain, Mexico and of course the US as members of the family hail from all parts of the globe. Even though I couldn’t pick a favourite college football team off the top of my head and I had no comments about the Edwards situation – it doesn’t matter where you go in the world or where you’re from, family is family, and they can make you feel at home in any situation.

West End Block Party 2008 This Saturday

Friday, August 8th, 2008 — 10:00am PDT
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Last year I attended the West End Block Party with Keira (and her hot dog t-shirt). We had a really great time playing some games, touring the transit museum on wheels, and hanging out in our ‘hood on a sunny afternoon.

The Partay

“Gordon Neighbourhood House is holding its 10th annual West End Summer Block Party on Saturday August 9th, 2008 from 11 am – 2 pm on the 1000 block of Broughton Street. This is a free event with live street entertainment featuring Eve Smith, Tropical Heat, a clown, and much more!!! There will also be a huge children’s carnival with games and prizes, face painting and tattoo booths, 25 cent hot dogs, seniors’ tea and tarts, and a youth corner.” [Gordon House] [Upcoming]

Photo credit: Keira on Flickr

The Strong Woman

The event kicks off at 11:00am and if you can’t make it to the West End, there’s always Yaletown… although I cannot speak to its level of fun-ness and potential for hot dog t-shirts.

The Victory Square Block Party will be coming up on September 1st