Articles

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By Pat Hammond

For anyone who has ever worked in an office, working from home is the ultimate cube dweller fantasy.

No more hyena-laughing coffee-slurping co-workers. No more nerve-wracking snow day commutes. And no more worrying about whether you have a clean shirt for tomorrow.  People who work from home wear sweats or pajamas all day, right?

In honor of National Coworking Day we are taking a look at the state of coworking in southern New Hampshire and why it’s the perfect solution for anyone who works from home

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By Pat Hammond

MANCHESTER, NH – You may know Chef Joe Grella from the cake pops and over-the-top cake designs at Custom Eats & Sweets, but this local chef is on a mission to bring the magic of the traditional Italian family dinner to your family’s table.

Grella says the idea came from being embarrassed by how often he bought frozen meals or fast food for his own family’s dinners. At work, he can easily make hundreds of meals during lunch or dinner service, but like so many other families, he and his wife work long hours and don’t always have time cook for their kids when they get home.

He says his favorite memories growing up were the Sunday pasta dinners with risotto, his grandmother’s famous chicken legs and thighs with lemon and rosemary, fresh bread from his grandfather’s bakery, salads, and pasta with homemade sauces. The weekly family dinner was a time to relax and enjoy the comforts of home and family, but as delicious as it was, it took all day to cook.

So he came up with Presto Pasta.

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By Pat Hammond

Whether you’re taming the wave, fighting the frizz, or just frazzled by out-of-control curls, Erica Sowa, owner of Tower of Curls & Beyond, is here to show you how to tame your wild locks, no matter how hazy, hot and humid it gets.

Tucked away on the 6th floor of the Wall Street Tower, this boutique salon at 555 Canal St. is a hidden gem in the heart of downtown Manchester.

And when I say hidden, I mean it literally.

They are open six days a week, but hours are by appointment only and while parking is free, you can’t just walk up to the door.

Don’t worry, you don’t need a secret knock or password, but you do have to book ahead and visit the ground level concierge to access the elevator which adds a layer of exclusivity and mystique to the experience.

And have no doubt, a visit to Tower of Curls is almost a spa experience.

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By Pat Hammond

I need your help. Last week I announced a new format for the Weekly Roundup. After taking a couple of months off from the blog, I've come to the conclusion that I can no longer commit a day and a half each week tracking down event listings.

Starting this week the new format will be limited to my top picks and any events you share with me through the event submission form.

The new format is also going to include more community events. 

After attending a lot of roundtables, symposiums, and other similar discussion events, it's become abundantly clear that many of the challenges faced by local businesses stem from the fact that a lot of people feel disconnected from the world around them. 

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By Pat Hammond

It took a few months longer than I expected, but I think I finally wrapped my head around where Queen City Buzz is going...

Before I say anything else I want to thank you for your patience. I know I haven't done a great job with keeping people informed about what was happening at Queen City Buzz.  There are a lot of valid reasons and a few believable excuses, but as my grandmother used to say, it only takes five minutes to pick up the phone and check in. And I didn't. 

Which brings me to the evolution. 

Queen City Buzz originally started as a platform for my web design clients and other local business people to share their expertise and information about their business.  We had five contributors, weekly and monthly podcasts, events, and links to essential business resources. 

Over the years Queen City Buzz adapted to a changing market. I dropped the podcasts and extended coverage to Concord and Nashua. I included arts and the tech sector, and added tools and features to the point where it became an unpaid full-time job. 

I was knee deep in production and oblivious until someone pointed out that Queen City Buzz had lost its focus.

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By Pat Hammond

You snooze, you lose...

I'm a proactive person. My usual modus operandi is to make a plan, commit, and take action.  Only this time I didn't. 

I really wanted to go to Tuesday's Leadership Under Pressure event at the Currier to hear Rick Kaiser, network and introduce myself to some of the other attendees. If I played my cards right, the people I met would springboard the re-brand of NH Business Guild and introduce me to several of Manchester's A-list business connections. 

It could have been a win-win.  But I lost. 

Instead of hearing Kaiser's talk I'm searching the web for interviews and articles featuring his insights and experience with leadership and I'm scrolling through my address book to find connections who may know someone who can introduce me to someone who knows some of the people I wanted to meet. 

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By Pat Hammond

Here's one for New Hampshire artists, musicians, actors, and writers: E-Ops, the best-kept secret from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts

Looking for a grant to pay the bills while you work on the great American novel? The NH State Council on the Arts publishes the monthly E-Ops newsletter with links to grants, fellowships, jobs, and other opportunities for writers, actors, and artists.

Published the first Tuesday of every month, the monthly newsletter provides Granite State artists with a listing of auditions, competitions, fellowships, jobs, grants, internships, and conferences in New Hampshire, New England, and beyond.

Sources represent private companies, non-profits, and government agencies and include a diverse list of opportunities in categories from 

  • Auditions
  • Calls for Entries & Competitions
  • Grants & Funding
  • Jobs, Fellowships, Residencies, Internships & Volunteer opportunities
  • Professional Development: Conferences, Webinars, Workshops, etc.
  • Requests for Proposals & More!

 

 

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By Pat Hammond

It's a sunny Wednesday when I sit down with Manchester Ink Link publisher Carol Robidoux at WBC's Elm Street co-working space. We're in the same networking group and I've been after her for a few weeks to do an interview so we sneak out of our bi-weekly networking meeting to make it happen.

I know Robidoux in the way people in a small community are aware of each other.  She shares my content on her website, but we've never had a conversation beyond a quick smile and hello and I am curious. I want to know why a talented, experienced reporter with no business background would don an entrepreneur's hat to start an online news service in an unlikely market.

It turns out her motivation had as much to do with serendipity as inspiration.

After being downsized out of her job as an editor for Patch - Nashua in 2014, Robidoux says she knew firsthand how fast the traditional news media's footprint was shrinking. It was her second industry layoff since coming to New Hampshire as a reporter for the Union Leader in 2001 and given the choice of changing careers or chasing after dwindling jobs in a dying industry, she took a leap of faith and chose door number three.

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By Pat Hammond

¿Habla usted español?

Are you looking for a fun way to meet some people and pick up a new skill?  Think about dropping by one of the Speak Spanish group's weekly meetings. 

Whether you took two years of high school Spanish or are a native speaker, Manchester's Speak Spanish Meetup is a great way to practice your language skills and have some fun while meeting a variety of people in a laid back, unintimidating environment. 

Meetups are every Wednesday from 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM at Panera Bread, 52 March Ave (TJ Maxx Plaza) in Manchester.  

Member's language skills run everywhere from people trying to teach themselves Spanish to people who took a couple years of high school Spanish, all the way up to language teachers and native speakers.  Typical meetings include open networking, games, and conversation in Spanish with enough English to make a new learner comfortable.  

I am a member of the group and I can attest to how much support the group provides for anyone trying to learn Spanish.  

Networking doesn't have to be business cards and cocktails.  Groups like this a great way to meet a broad cross-section of people while building your confidence.  If you can sneak out of the office an hour early once a week or even once a month, the Speak Spanish Meetup is definitely worth your time. 

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By Pat Hammond

Be a medical superhero! Learn how to improve the quality of life and save lives for people in rural or remote areas with a 3-D printer and a little ingenuity. No medical background required.

Their website says a "Medical Maker is anyone who wants to use their heart, hands, and mind to make healthcare better,"  and they want you to supply your creativity, skills, and ingenuity to collaborate with other people to come up with simple, cost-effective solutions to real-world, and off-world, medical problems using a 3-D printer.

Medical Makers are hosting Manchester's Inaugural Medical Make-A-Thon Saturday, January 6th - Sunday, January 7th at Manchester Makerspace, 36 Old Granite Street, Manchester, NH

This two-day event includes workshops on

  • 3-D printing
  • Design Skills 
  • Use of free and open source software
  • Prototyping

The event is open to people and teams of all ages, no design, 3-D printing, or medical skills required.  All proceeds support Medical Makers humanitarian projects.

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