Strategic resolutions

I came across this article, “10 Strategies for Achieving your New Year’s Resolution”, courtesy of tweeter extraordinaire @guykawasaki. As I struggle to put my goal list together for 2014, this is an interesting read.

Link | Posted on by | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

And so…

The lucky 13 was actually 11 and it’s true that the more you learn the more you realize what you don’t know. My husband thinks that I should simplify my life, but I have realized that I hate simplicity and thrive on interaction with others, putting myself out there, taking risks and continuing to set myself up for failure with the faint hope that I may succeed at one of those initiatives at some point. It has been a great learning experience and incredibly inspiring to see my friends, family and even complete strangers support me and the community.

This past Christmas, my sister-in-law and brother  were organizing our family get-together, and decided to forego the gift exchange for donations to the Dundas County Food Bank and school supplies for House of Lazarus. The kids and adults were happy with the change and I am sure this will continue in the future. I was able to connect with some wonderful brands on Twitter like Maple Leaf Foods and Butterball, and they donated food coupons to assist two families in the Winchester area. I have learned a lot about myself, my family and what makes me feel happy. Many of my friends and families had difficult challenges in 2013, so I wish them the best of health and happiness next year. Onwards and upwards! Julie

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The lucky 13!

It has been one whole year, and despite my recent lack of blog updates, I have been hard at work on these goals. I didn’t accomplish all of them, but have learned so much and I am working on my 2014 list as we speak. Here is my final update on the lucky 13:

1) Once a month, donate $13 worth of food / money to a local food bank.
This has become a regular part of our shopping. As a careful grocery list planner and coupon clipper, we are able to donate right at the grocery list once a month.

2) Over the year give the opportunity to 13 kids and a grown-up to see a live performance. Total investment would be approximately $208, which only works out to about $17 per month.
This didn’t work out as planned as so many of our school shows were sold out and I didn’t have an opportunity to connect with the right organizations. Deferral to 2014!

3) Perform 13 anonymous random acts of kindness throughout the year.
This became a bit of a silly high for me, and I continue to implement these acts into my everyday life. Helping someone else anonymously is such a rush, and I posted a few examples on this blog earlier in the year.

4) Run, walk or cycle a minimum of 1300 km over the course of the year.
This just did not happen! I have kept up with my 20km or so a week runs and I walk almost every lunch hour at work, but I will need a more comprehensive training plan (and a new bike) if I hope to reach 1300km in 2014.

5) Bring members of my family to at least 13 live performances.
I went through my calendar yesterday and I did go to about 7 shows with family members this year including Randy Bachman, The Nutcracker, and other wonderful shows. This was just too challenging financially to reach 13 performances.

6) Collect 169 toys to donate to the holiday toy drive in December. This is 13 toys per month and a lot of coupon clipping and flyer trolling!
I am pleased to say that I surpassed this goal with the help of so many friends, family, Twitter buddies and other supporters. I even won a contest for $1000 towards this wish that I can put towards 2014. WishforitSpecial thanks to Hollie, Mom, Dad, Nanny, Aunt Connie, Rory, Craig, Lorraine, Laura, Mark, Ying, Steve, Julie, Rebecca, Sylvie and anyone else who supported me this year. It was a thrill!

7) Choose 13 books on my wish-to-read list and actually read them! Cancelling our satellite in August has given me more time to read, and joining a book club was a great incentive to read new selections too. With less screen time, I can read more. Check!

8) Lose 13 lbs. by the end of 2013.
Deferred to 2014! ‘Nuff said. 🙂

9) Donate 13 gently used household or clothing items to charity each month.
This was a breeze with two growing children who are keen to share their gently used items. We have donated boxes of clothes, toys and other items to our local thrift stores and to friends and our garbage has decreased considerably.

10) Try to participate in 13 new activities throughout the year. Could be food from a different culture, a dance class, making a new friend, reading a book from a new author, etc.
I don’t think that I was actually tried 13 new things, alas, but I did take my first university course in many years and received an A- in Creative Placemaking. It was wonderful to be back in learning mode and I am taking another course in early 2014. This is part of the reason for the decline in blog posts. Check out my infographic from my final assignment. Spice of Life infographic




















11) Donate 169 items to Terracycle so those items can be turned into cool recycled products!
I have another big shipment of Tassimo discs and beauty products to be packaged up next week, but so far I shipped 997 items to Terracycle this year! I am now collecting Sally’s cereal bags and diaper packaging and have incorporated this into my regular recycling routine.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

DIY culture

I was excitedly selected to be a guest blogger to cover Kingston’s Culture Days. It was my first experience working with another blog, and it was so much fun and very exciting to see my post ‘in print‘. I approached the Culture Days staff afterwards and asked if I could do some more volunteer blogging for them. They are an incredible organization and are always looking for fresh content for their site. They agreed, and the first of three infographic posts
went live a few weeks ago. Their designer did a super job on the concept and I look forward to seeing the others live in the near future!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Making Christmas cookies for Hallowe’en

Making Christmas cookies for Hallowee'n

My friend Hollie had a wonderful idea to host a Hallowe’en Christmas party. The admission was a toy for my toy drive. We collected more than 30 toys and had fun dressing up, decorating Christmas cookies and having a spooky tree. Here is my friend Laura and our kids dressed up and being creative.

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Editor and friend

Operation Covert SantaHollie, a friend and also the editor of a local weekly newspaper, kindly covered the toy drive story after I connected with Cpl. Langevin and his Operation Covert Santa initiative. It was a heartwarming story, and we are now planning to work together in 2014 to help even more families in Kingston. Along with the toys that I donated, I was able to receive a $25 gift certificate from Butterball through Twitter, and that was donated to a local family for their Christmas dinner. Meeting Cpl. Langevin was a wonderful experience and I look forward to working with him again next year.

Link | Posted on by | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Family’s toy drive reaches final stages

In my defence, I have been so busy the past few months collecting toys that I haven’t had an opportunity to update my blog with all of the wonderful things that have happened for our 13 goals. So, on this last day of 2013, the round-up begins. First up, my aunt connected with a Whig-Standard reporter and I was very pleased to have this article appear in the Whig and Kingston This Week about the toy drive. Thanks Aunt Connie!

Family's toy drive

Link | Posted on by | Leave a comment


Not to spoil the video, but it seems that, sometimes, forgetting you were ever married is exactly what your marriage needs. Amazing!

Link | Posted on by | Tagged , | Leave a comment


Yippee! A lovely member of our Kingston community has agreed to store our bins of toys while we hope to collect more before the Christmas season. I won’t list their names here, but will thank them once the toys are safely in children’s hands in a few months. A happy day to see the progress we have made thus far.

Yay! Over 60 toys loaded up ready to go into storage until December.

Yay! Over 60 toys loaded up ready to go into storage until December.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“They always sa…

“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” – Andy Warhol

Tonight I say goodbye to my work mentor for the past five years, as he moves along to a new job, a new city, and the pursuit of happiness. A few years ago he sent me to a conference in Pittsburgh, where I was able to sneak away and visit the awesome Andy Warho Museum. I put together a letter for him, tucked away in a note card emblazoned with a self-portrait of Mr. Warhol and thought this quote was just perfect for what he has taught me. Best wishes to a dear friend.

Quote | Posted on by | Tagged , , | Leave a comment