Articles by: Regan HarneyRegan Harney
Regan Harney was born and raised in Toronto Ontario but moved to Ottawa in 2008 to study music and communications at the University of Ottawa. She has been living there ever since and has enjoyed exploring the capital city. Regan’s interests include running, writing, music, and eating (specifically cheese). She’s a solar powered human who feeds off of interactions with other people and has a serious case of wanderlust.

Real Sports Bar & Grill Grand Opening: The Ottawa Chapter

November 26, 2012 12:00 pm
Real Sports Bar & Grill Grand Opening: The Ottawa Chapter

Now open in Ottawa is the second Real Sports Bar & Grill in all of Canada. It is similar to the one in Toronto but has its very own elements of excellence. The opening night celebration started at 8pm on Thursday, November 15. The 14,000-square-foot sports bar was packed. Located at 90 George Street in the ByWard Market, this is the perfect location for a new, classy establishment.

The bar is two floors with the main focus an enormous TV screen surrounded by many other smaller screens. A total of 99 HD TVs! The largest screen towers over the bar which has 85+ beers on tap! Having such a large inventory practically guarantees the customer that his favorite beer is served on the premises. Along with the multifarious drink options, appetizers and snacks were served all night. There were six different sliders, oysters, wings, deep-fried macaroni and cheese, and a personal favourite: deep fried Nutella and banana sandwiches. Another decadent treat was a cascading chocolate fondue fountain surrounded by an assortment of delicious options to dip in: strawberries, marshmallows, brownies, bananas and donuts.

This intricate ice sculpture was one of the first things guests saw as they entered Real Sports Bar & Grill Ottawa for the first time. PHOTO: Denis Drever

The servers were all friendly and attentive. Watching them waltz around with trays filled with glasses in that mad swirl of activity was a spectacle in itself.

I highly recommend a visit to Real Sports Bar & Grill. It’s another milestone in Ottawa’s evolution towards becoming an exciting city where the sidewalks aren’t rolled up at 5pm.

TOP PHOTO: Denis Denver

Cocktails and Conversations: The “do’s and don’ts” of work-related cocktail parties

November 16, 2012 10:00 am
Cocktails and Conversations: The “do’s and don’ts” of work-related cocktail parties

On September 27 at the Novotel Hotel, Praveeni Perera, chief executive officer of Professional Edge Consulting, hosted a workshop about networking. Praveeni Perera was with her partners Louise Jackson and Priyan Perera, but she was the one running the show. The event was called Cocktails and Conversations. Praveeni began a presentation about the “do’s and don’ts” of work-related cocktail parties. She referenced a very interesting article written by Brian Uzzi and Shannan Dunlap titled How to Build Your Network.

The first topic was why and how to form a network, which was then further dissected into the principles of networking and the different types of connectors. One of Praveeni’s central points was the importance of organizing your networks. She suggested prospective networkers remember to always find somewhere to write down the name of new contacts, how you met, who introduced you, what their designation is, and if provided, the contact’s email address or phone number. This is very useful information, especially when you go to connect your “networking web.” After you meet someone new, it is always important to form a connection, whether by exchanging business cards or adding them on LinkedIn. Praveeni has a very strong opinion against adding people from your business/work life on Facebook.

The next big topic of the presentation was cocktail etiquette. I was unaware of the stress put on appearance at after-work cocktail parties, but apparently it is very important. I thanked my lucky stars I had opted to wear all black and nothing too flashy. Praveeni had slides with little black dresses and suits to demonstrate good cocktail wear. She had a very helpful segment on going straight from the office to a cocktail party and how to jazz up what you are wearing. She recommended ladies put on a little makeup, jewelry, perhaps change their shoes and definitely change their bag to a smaller classier bag like a clutch or purse. She did not have as many tips for a quick change for men but Praveeni did recommend that they touch up their hair, wear a suit and maybe add cuff links for a classier look.

Praveeni then moved on to address the seemingly simple task of giving and receiving handshakes, which I came to realize bore much more social weight that I had previously believed. The force you apply to a handshake should be the same force you would use to open your fridge – no bone crushing or limp fish handshakes. Ladies have the right to refuse, and not be considered rude, and clasping the top of the other person’s hand can make the handshake too touchy and very awkward – even uncomfortable.

After discussing the etiquette of dress and greetings, we moved on to the cocktail segment, which after learning I had been going about networking all wrong for the better part of 22 years, I was more than ready for. After Praveeni finished up her presentation, Louise Jackson took over and gave a very impressive display of how to hold different kinds of glasses, from the familiar red wine glass to the more eclectic brandy snuffer. She showed us how to hold a glass, plate, napkin and fork in our left hand, making it look effortless balancing four items in one hand, but when I was applying my newly acquired skills, I was more of a walking hazard than an elegant cocktail partier!

Throughout the evening, an air of confidence and ease permeated the presentation, leaving me certain that I still have much to learn when it comes to networking and the subtleties of social graces. One thing I can be sure of after Cocktails and Conversations is that when it comes to Professional Edge Consulting, the old cliché – those who can’t do, teach – certainly does not apply. For now, I will be in the kitchen, practicing opening my fridge with a firm but not clasping grasp and will begin carrying a clutch with me wherever I go.

Ottawa Writers Festival: One on One with Jian Ghomeshi

November 6, 2012 12:08 pm
Ottawa Writers Festival: One on One with Jian Ghomeshi

Jian Ghomeshi, the host of CBC Radio Q (a national arts magazine show), was in town on October 27 to discuss his 1982 memoir.

1982 is the story of Ghomeshi’s life in grade nine while living in Thornhill, a Toronto suburb. Ghomeshi tells stories of girls, concerts, school, parents and how he wanted to be David Bowie. Wendy, his dream girl and a female version of Bowie, played a very dominant role in his life in 1982. Ghomeshi said it was difficult having a crush on a girl who was two years his senior and “way cooler” than he was. While his relationship with Wendy never lasted beyond high school, Ghomeshi recalled what an important influence she had on him during his early adolescence. Ghomeshi met up with his dream girl years later. While writing the book, Ghomeshi realized he would need her permission before publishing the story. He contacted her and she said she remembered a very different version of the events he described. But, she still gave Ghomeishi permission to publish the story, telling him to write the book however he wanted, since it was his story to tell.

While he didn’t repeat anecdotes already related in the book, the author reminisced about his life before a large audience at Knox Presbyterian Church. When the floor was opened to audience questions, Ghomeshi shared more about his life after 1982, including his assessment of his infamous interview with Billy Bob Thornton.

One thing I really admired about Ghomeshi was how much he praised the arts. His parents immigrated from Iran a short time after the Iranian hostage crisis of the late 1970s. Ghomeshi talked about his difficulties with his parents, who wanted him to be a successful doctor or engineer. Ghomeshi candidly told the audience that this was a path he never wanted to follow and was thankful for the opportunities he had in contributing to Canadian arts and music. Ghomeshi believes that his interaction with artists, actors, musicians and authors allowed him to become a critical thinker, never taking answers for granted and questioning the accepted norms of society on a regular basis. This is one of the reasons Ghomeshi has become such a successful interviewer on Q, and now, such a successful author.













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