Monthly Archives: November 2011

Okanagan Start-ups Shine in BC-wide Technology Competition

Article Submitted by Martin J. Yuill / Submit Your Own Article

Eleven Okanagan technology start-ups have made it into the Finals of this year’s Regional BCIC-New Ventures Competition. This B.C.-wide competition offers technology companies and entrepreneurs the opportunity to learn how to develop their idea into a profitable company. It is open to any B.C.-based person, team or business located outside of metro Vancouver with a technology-focused idea.

Photo taken from

This year, the Competition received a record 56 applications. 49 made it through to Round 2, of which 18 were from the Okanagan. The Top 20 Finalists have now been announced. The Top 20 includes 11 start-ups from the Okanagan region. The Okanagan Finalists (in alphabetical order) are:

  1. AAA Internet Publishing, Inc. (DBA WTFast), West Kelowna
  2. Ducharme Landscapes Inc., West Kelowna
  3. Find it EZ Software Corp., West Kelowna
  4. KeepMii, Kelowna
  5. Mazza Innovation Ltd, Penticton
  6. Simple Engine Media, Kelowna
  7. Sirr Excavator Hands Inc, Kelowna
  8. SoKap Community Networks Inc., Okanagan Falls
  9. TanMan Sun Control Products ltd, West Kelowna
  10. Trajectory Design Automation Corporation, Kelowna
  11. UnityJDBC, Kelowna.

The Regional BCIC-New Ventures Competition takes place over three successive rounds, with competitors competing in either Kelowna or Victoria. The format is such that competitors are eliminated after each round, until only 20 remain: with a chance to win $60,000 in prizes. The four-month, three-round competition includes a unique mix of business education, networking and mentoring.

“We are excited to partner with BCIC-New Ventures to create access for Okanagan start-ups to this challenging competition,” said Jason Neale, CEO of Accelerate Okanagan. “The success that so many Okanagan entrants have achieved in making it to the finals demonstrates the high levels of creativity and innovation that exist in the Okanagan technology community,” Neale said.

Hosted by Accelerate Okanagan, the Competition launched October 12th in Kelowna. A gala Awards Ceremony will take place in Kelowna on February 23, 2012.

Andrew Allen and We Are The City at Habitat

Photos by Devon Regier.

Let’s be honest, the Grand Opening of a big box store is, on the whole, rather unremarkable. They’re opening every day, all over the world.

What is somewhat unusual is the support Best Buy recently gave to the local music scene last Saturday by hosting a free concert for anyone and everyone able to win tickets. The show took place at Habitat and featured all local acts in Andrew Allen, We Are The City, Calum Hughes, Jeff Piattelli and Mark Irving.

Supporting the local music scene is something we dig. It’s exciting to see a handful of up and coming local bands (Mark, Jeff and Calum) recently selected for the K96.3 Compilation Volume 2 playing shows in the interior and getting attention.

Catch Mark locally or WATC if you’re in Vancouver in the near-future.

Mark Irving
w/ Lucas Penner at the Minstrel Cafe & Bar, Kelowna
Tuesday November 29th at 8:00pm

We Are The City
w/ Treelines & Fields Of Green at the Rio Theatre, Vancouver (All Okanagan Bands!)
Saturday December 10th at 7:00pm

Continue Reading…

MAC Supporting the LPRC for World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day is held on December 1st each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988.

An estimated 65,000 people (or more) are currently living with HIV in Canada, an it’s estimated that between 2,300 and 4,300 new HIV infections occur in Canada each year. More than 25 million people between 1981 and 2007 have died globally from the virus, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.

Today, many scientific advances have been made in HIV treatment, there are laws to protect people living with HIV and we understand so much more about the condition. But despite this, people do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others from HIV, and stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with HIV. World AIDS Day is important as it reminds the public and Government that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.

MAC Cosmetics has the MAC AIDS Fund (launched in 1994) which locally supports the Living Positive Resource Center (LPRC) by setting up volunteered times at the center with their artists. The Mac AIDS fund also supports the LPRC by matching every cent raised by the MAC Cosmetics team in Kelowna for the annual Walk of Life.

This World AIDS Day, MAC will be celebrating life and supporting the cause by doing make up on-demand that day, creating awareness through verbal education and, of course, beautiful make up application. 100% of the retail proceeds from every VIVAGLAM purchase goes into the MAC AIDS fund. Last year they donated $3,000 to the LPRC on behalf. They would like to remind that, even though World AIDS Day is December 1st, every day is World AIDS Day at MAC.

They will be collaborated with local artist and A-OK Contributor Rhys Albrect for visuals this year that support the cause.

A-OK Giveaway! An Evening at Chances Kelowna

Awesome Okanagan was recently selected as a premier Okanagan participant in The BC Lottery Corporation’s Very Important Blogger (V.I.B.) Program. Basically, we get to go hang out, try and win some bucks on slots, enjoy a dinner at Longshots Lounge and let you know all about the night we’re going to have. Well, that’s cool, but what would be better? Giving you, our A-OK readers, a chance to join in on the fun.

So, basically, I expect to win.

As part of the program, we’re also the only blog that will get to give away $25 in slot play and a $100 gift certificate to Longshots to you, one of our avid readers! This is one of my favourite parts of what we do here, finding out things to do in the Okanagan, but more importantly, being able to share it with you!

Here are the deets. Between now and Wednesday, retweet the phrase “RT2WIN! I want to win $25 for slots and $100 dinner GC for #ChancesKelowna from @awesomeokanagan –” to win $25 in slot play and a $100 gift certificate to Longshots at Chances Kelowna. On Wednesday afternoon, one lucky person will be chosen as our winner and be able to take a break from the fast-paced this holiday season and enjoy a night out! Entrant must be 19 or over.

Good luck! Find out more on the BC Casino Facebook page.

My Wife’s Notes: 2010 Joie Farm Riesling – Green Curry Baked Chicken over Quinoa

Click here for recipe
Green Curry Baked Chicken

  • half bunch of cilantro
  • 1 stalk lemongrass
  • 2 scallions
  • 1-2 green chiles with seeds removed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 small piece ginger root
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 can coconut milk
  • juice from 1/2 lime
  • 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts


  • quinoa
  • 1/4 bunch cilantro
  • juice from 1/4 lime
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Finely chop the lemongrass, scallions, chiles, garlic, ginger. Use a food processor to blend the ingredients with soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice and a half-bunch of cilantro, saving a couple of leaves for garnish. Once blended into a chunky paste, add the coconut milk, mix briefly, and pour over chicken in a shallow covered dish.

Bake the chicken at 375 for about 25 minutes until the meat is cooked through the middle.

Finely chop the quarter-bunch of cilantro (discarding the stem ends), and set it aside. While the chicken is cooking, boil the water for the quinoa and cook according to the package (usually takes about 15-20 minutes on the stove top). Once the quinoa is done cooking, set it aside on the stove and add the cilantro, lime juice and olive oil, stirring and fluffing the quinoa as you mix.

Place a large spoonful of quinoa on the middle of the plate. Place a piece of chicken on top of the quinoa, and pour several spoonfuls of the green curry sauce over top. Add a few cilantro leaves and serve with a lime wedge.

My absolute favourite white wine is the 2007 Joie Farm Riesling. I first tried it when I was just getting into wine tasting, and it was then I vividly understood that wine could have flavors that weren’t wine-y.  I remember explosions of green apple and honeydew melon, flavors I’d never experienced in wine before.  Of course my fond memory could have a bit of nostalgia bias, but that 2007 vintage sticks in my head like the Holy Grail.

That wine also broke my heart, as it taught me the cruel lesson of vintage differential.  I was disappointed to find that the 2008 and 2009 versions of this wine had substantially different flavour profiles, with grapefruit and pineapple notes taking center stage; still excellent wines, but not what I’d been hoping for.  Now it’s time to see how the 2010 holds up.

Tasting notes from the winery highlight flavors of lime and ginger in the 2010, so I chose to pair it with a Green Curry Baked Chicken over Quinoa, which has both lime and ginger present in the sauce.  This meal was derived from a Jamie Oliver recipe for Thai Green Curry, and tweaked by myself to better pair with the wine.  As an off-dry and medium-bodied white, I suspected it would stand up to a little bit of spice.

My Notes:

Pale gold in the glass, this Riesling has a tangy and citrusy nose; not exactly delicate but not overbearing either.  The first sip is a hit of sweet lime, melon and just a touch of apple, with a surprisingly medium-to-full body in the mouth.  Minerality is moderate, less than one would expect from an Okanagan Riesling. The signature mouthwatering acidity with the off-dry sweetness lingers long on the tongue and leaves you wanting more and more; this wine would disappear quickly while engaged in good conversation.  With lime and melon flavors in the forefront, this wine is closer to my beloved 2007 vintage than the last two years…I sure do miss that blast of green apple though.  The food pairing is exceptional – the lime in the quinoa brings out all kinds of crisp citrus flavors in the wine, and the sweetness cuts through the spice very well.  88 points on its own, 90 with the food.

My Wife’s Notes:

“Fruity and sweet…and citrusy I think?  It’s really good, but that quinoa was AMAZING.”

2010 Joie Farm Riesling. $23.00 from

RTOWN: Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre

We are very fortunate here in the Thompson Okanagan to enjoy a world class ski venue such as Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre.

Fashionate: Holla-Day Dressing

‘Tis the season to deck the halls, bling out your trees and most of all, dress to impress those co-workers you see every other day of the year! That’s right ladies it’s Christmas party season!

I have heard time and time again from my girlfriends and guests alike complaining there are no good stores in Kelowna to purchase dresses that are on trend and within their budget desires. I have always stood strong with my argument; if you take a few steps away from the mall walls you will find a Mecca of amazing local boutiques that you will not only find something to wear, you will fall in love with shopping local again.

Located in the heart of the Mission, Frakas is an excellent boutique for everything from the perfect party dress to a pair of the hottest winter booties of 2011.

With party season in full swing it’s time to get down to business and get yourself a dress to show off your best assets!  Like many things in 2011, the world of dresses has been reinvented…again! The little black dress is no longer a simple go-to black dress, and we found some traffic stoppers nestled in the racks of Frakas. A classic shape with a lot of drama is a great choice when you are picking your seasonal frock.  V-necks are great necklines that look fantastic on almost any body type. *V-neck rule of thumb * If it’s too low SAY NO. Colours are often not explored as the mercury drops, although adding a splash of colour and wearing a bold hue is such an easy way to turn an otherwise simple dress into a show stopper. Colour creates mystery and adds excitement back into a simple silhouette such as an a-line cut dress, or a Grecian wrap.

If you are the kind of girl that stays close to what she knows and holds a strong relationship with the LBD you wear year after year, it is still a great way to make your entrance into the party. The only difference between last year and today is how you will accessorize that fabulous frock of yours.  Adding a couple of your top 2011 accessories will take any classic black dress and transform it into a show stopper.

When you are blinging yourself out choose accessories that all go in synergy together, although your earrings are not right next to your bracelet if the colours or style clash you will become an unfortunate miss. Pick one feature piece, if you are showing off a bold fabric or style of frock, choose bold earrings or a chunky bracelet, those accessories are no in direct contact with your exciting dress so you will not be taking away from it. You don’t want to go overboard with a bold necklace against a bold dress; it can become a fashion hohono rapidly.

Living in Kelowna we can never really predict the temperature, although we all know it will be chilly as December rolls into town.  Of course we need to add a few essentials to keep those gorgeous gams and arms toasty.  Cropped fur vests paired with metallic tights or an electric primary colour are great ways to keep yourself warm while keeping it cool.

Whether or not you enjoy time spent with co-workers, you are going to look fantastic at your dinner, dance party or the dreaded bowling party in one of your favourite new items. The best part; there is no battle with the coquihalla to get it!

We are all fashionistas on the inside! xo

Focus Friday: High Country

Isn’t it a bit weird that most of us only spend time at high elevations in the coldest, most hostile months of the year? Now that the snow is flying, everyone is dusting off their skis and snowboards and getting ready to ascend out of the valley. Through the warm months, we forget about the Okanagan’s legitimate alpine spots — especially in the Monashees east of Vernon, and the Cascades west of Osoyoos. The Mark Berger Traverse is probably under a pile of snow by now, but when Ryan took this shot last month, it captured the mystery and epic scale of experiences above the treeline.

The Mark Berger Traverse by Ryan and Sabina