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Month: September 2014

Oats & Ivy: Healthy Street Food at its Finest


Toronto has a variety of things to do and see, but most of all I enjoy the variety of things to eat! I love finding new restaurants that offer options I know will provide wholesome fuel for my body. As a pescetarian (someone who eats fish and seafood, but no other animals), it can be hard to find fast, healthy, tasty, affordable food. Many vegan and vegetarian restaurants have opened up recently, but none of them compare to Oats & Ivy.

Oats & Ivy is a Toronto-based company that uses a bike cart as its storefront! Each day their employees can be found riding to different corners in the downtown core. This fast food joint offers a variety of healthy goods and everything is made from scratch! You can quickly grab cold-pressed juice or almond milk, lunch items, and heavenly desserts including the “Black Bean Brownie” and “Chocolate Maca Bites”. My personal favourite is their “Thai Noodle Bowl” featuring extremely delicious kamut noodles – and house made sriracha sauce!

Their focus – health food meet fast food – is revolutionizing the streets of Toronto.

To find out where Oats & Ivy will be next visit www.oatsandivy.ca or follow @oatsandivyTO on Twitter.



According to the World Health Organization, food security exists “when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life”. This summer, I had a life changing opportunity to travel to rural India with Me to We. My trip was funded through the Potashcorp Food Security Youth scholarship.

What I saw in India was like nothing I had ever imagined; from the cows in the streets to the hollering rickshaw drivers, it was quite an experience! The bustling streets of the city Udaipur did not move me, but I was definitely changed by the children and community in the village of Kalthana. Our work in this village included planting a school garden, repairing existing infrastructure on school grounds, visiting farmers, and learning the impact of Free the Children’s work in the area. Although there was a language barrier, there was one phrase I learned very well – “dhanya wad” which means “thank you”.

From a traditional prayer ceremony before we began working on a build site, to visiting one of the biggest Jain temples around, experiencing the culture was one of the highlights of my trip.

Going to India has not only opened my eyes to a new culture, it has made me more passionate about global activism. If I could give advice to anybody considering volunteering abroad, I would say, “do not hesitate for a second” it has truly changed the way I see the world.

Interested in food security? Find out more about the PotashCorp Food Security Youth Trip:  PotashCorp Youth Trip Scholarship 

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Top 5 Reasons To Apply to GEM

Now accepting applications for the Class of 2014-2015! GEM has seen a lot of changes since wrapping the pilot. We have expanded to include 30 girls from Flemingdon, Thorncliffe, and Regent Park! We have also extended our program from 3 months to 9 months, providing lots of time with your mentor. GEMgirls asked for more interaction and exposure to diverse careers – and we have delivered. Looking for more? Here are a few extra reasons to apply:

  1. Mentorship: Where else can you meet Toronto’s best and brightest women? Each GEMgirl is matched with an amazing female mentor for 9 months!
  2. Network: Join a community of ambitious, creative and interesting girls who will encourage and help you reach your full potential.
  3. Opportunity: GEM will help expand your horizons and inspire you through our engaging speaker series, coffee chats with professionals, and our brand new arts program.
  4. Perks: Each GEMgirl will receive a membership to The Aga Khan Museum, a Birkman assessment and personal analysis session (valued at $400), and yoga classes – for free! Plus tons of additional freebies throughout the year.
  5. Satisfaction: Do you want to feel ready for your future?

Last year, GEM alumni told us the program:

    • Helped them gain insight into careers that interested them
    • Exposed them to careers that they did not know of before
    • Allowed them to explore issues of self-esteem and confidence
    • Prepared them for the next chapter in their life
    • 100% of GEMgirls said they would recommend the program to their friends!

Applications are open now through September 15th. If you have any questions, feel free to email us at info@girlsementorship.com.


Two months of relaxing in the sun, working, or doing absolutely nothing is coming to an end. The start of school is here which makes many of us anxious.  Don’t worry – we intend to prepare you for the best first week back and the best year ahead. Whether you are just starting high school, going to the next grade, or heading to university or college, these tips will help you get off to school with a spring in your step.

Keep it Simple 

Classroom essentials are: pencils, erasers, pens, highlighters, notebooks, binders, & an agenda. You don’t need the latest sneaker, smart phone or laptop… to help you get an A.


  • Clean up your room and have a study space free of distractions
  • Set goals.  What do you want to achieve this year?
  • Pack your backpack the night before and keep it by the door
  • Create a fun playlist to listen to on your way to school
  • Write down big projects, tests and assignments in your agenda immediately
  • Get a good night’s sleep
  • Come to GEM’s “Organize Your Life” workshop in October


No matter what your style you should be able to embrace it to the fullest. Pretending to be something or someone you’re not won’t allow you to focus on school. When you feel good on the inside you will feel good on the outside too!

Back to School Resources:

Check out this Study Tip Sheet from Seneca College –


Break down your project into manageable steps with this Assignment Calculator –


If you are an app junkie there are lots of back to school apps for you!  CTV news highlighted a few including:  Mental Case and LunchBag.

Have a fabulous year!


FRANQ GIRL is a digital beauty & lifestyle magazine for girls 14-19. It was created to be a positive place for girls to be heard and seen as they really are. Here is my exclusive interview with the founders Jessica Nicholson and Kristin Grimshaw!

How did the FRANQ GIRL Founders meet?

KG: Jessica and I met at Holt Renfrew. I ran the World Design Lab, a cool section of Holt’s that hosted new and upcoming designers, and Jessica worked in the Vintage Couture section.

Why did you decide to start up this magazine?

KG: Jessica and I both have young daughters and we often discussed our concerns for their futures. We decided to combine our talents and create something that could help change how girls are represented in the media and show them that they are more than just how they look.

What makes FRANQ Magazine unique?

KG: We use real teens as our models, we are Photoshop free, and we deal with the issues and topics that are important to them.

JN: We focus on girls as holistic beings – not just their physical appearance. In addition, we understand that we don’t need to make girls feel badly about themselves in order to sell them products.

What are some challenges you face creating this magazine?

JN&KG: There are several challenges we are facing at the moment. First, we are only two people doing everything – promotion, finances, business and media contracts.  Second, the fashion industry is not set up for diversity in body shapes, which makes it difficult to do our fashion shoots. Third, telling the world about FRANQ GIRL!

What is the biggest mistake you’ve ever made?

JN: I’ve made tons of “mistakes” that worked out for the better. I would say giving up my styling career after having my daughter. I had a tough couple of years, especially when I tried to get back to work. Instead of giving up, I did a lot of personal work, went back to school, and discovered my potential. I figured out new ways to put myself out there, ultimately giving me the knowledge and confidence to create FRANQ GIRL. I believe there are no coincidences in life.

Do you have a secret talent?

KG: I can make a clover shape with my tongue!

JN: I am able to imitate animals especially chickens cats and sheep!

What do you find to be life’s greatest pleasure?

KG: Sunday mornings in bed with the family.

JN: Being absolutely present in each and every moment.

What advice would you give to a girl chasing her dreams?

KG: Nothing comes easy. It’s going to take hard work but it will be so worth it in the end.

JN: The road to success is not a straight one, there is no such thing as overnight success, and what happens in between is much more important than the end goal.

Selina McCallum is a GEMgirl in the 2014/15 cohort,  student at Marc Garneau C.I. and a Digital Journalism Intern for GEM.