Wednesday, December 16, 2015


Do you remember the presents you got for Christmas when you were a kid?

It’s Easy Being Green
My column for The Promoter

Back in Grade 6 at Langton PS in Mr Somer's class I won an essay writing contest with The Fenelon Falls Gazette about the meaning of Christmas.

I wrote about giving instead of receiving- probably trying to score brownie points to get more presents. If only I had of known all of the things I know now back then...

“Dear 11 year old Julia,

It is me, Julia- the smarter, older you from the future. I'm writing to tell you that I do not remember one single gift that I received at Christmas, or any gift I gave, nor do the people that received these gifts remember what I gave them. 

What I do remember is how my mom let me decorate the house and the tree, and even her restaurant. I remember fondue on Christmas Eve and family meals around my grandparent’s tables. I remember having the whole week to hang out with my brothers and staying in our pyjamas for the whole Christmas day.

I’m telling you this because Christmas is not about giving or receiving, it is about time. Time spent with people that you love, and if I could trade in every Barbie and Ninja Turtle doll that I got, I would trade it for more time with my family to make more memories. So when you write your meaning of Christmas essay and your letter to Santa ask for presence not presents.

Ask for experiences."

This Christmas show your love to your family and this beautiful earth by giving presence not presents.

Thanks for reading my blog!
Julia Taylor
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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

World's Greenest Gingerbread House

This is my entry for the Gingerbread House Competition at Fenelon Falls Santa Day. Not a winner but received an honourable mention and a 'Participant' ribbon.

The judges said allot of people were talking about it and asking about it! There was really awesome entries and I will step it up for next year now that I know how real it is.

Thanks to my friend Wendy for helping me put it together!

Please follow me to read my weekly blog posts about going green in Kawartha Lakes!

Merry Christmas!

Julia Taylor

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Merry Waste-Less

"Let us be protectors of creation, protectors of one another, and the environment" 

-Pope Francis

Since Christmas is originally about Jesus Christ I thought it appropriate to share this quote. As we prepare for the busiest holiday of them all we can prepare also to reduce our waste- a big part of protecting our environment.

Here is a list of wasteful items found at the holiday feast and they're zero waste alternatives.

Paper plates and plastic utensils

Use regular dishes and utensils, if you do not have enough, grab a set really cheap at the Salvation Army, and if you don't have room in the cupboard for sets of extra plates throw them in a box and stash them away until the next family dinner, even if you are not hosting next time you could offer to bring them, reducing waste over and over again!

Paper napkins and paper towels

Use washable napkins and tea towels, you know the fancy napkins are sitting in the drawer for special events, well this is their time to shine!

Saran wrap, Tinfoil, and ziplock baggies

Use tupperwear and cooking dishes with lids, you could also invest in reusable cake/pie trays or bigger tupperwear pieces for these types of occasions. I grabbed a corning wear dish with a glass lid for roasting vegetables at the Salvation Army for $4!

Plastic trays from pre cooked foods

Use reusable containers and take them to shop at a local bakery/butcher. If you do end up buying some save them for next time or fill them with your own home cooked goods. The same goes for chocolate too, find a local chocolate maker- your gonna thank me for this one, you will never eat factory chocolate again!

Grocery and produce bags

Don't forget your cloth bags and try to not use produce bags- I know that allot of people are uncomfortable with this idea, so just try it for produce that you cut the skin off to eat (squash, melons, bananas, ect..)

You might have allot of this stuff kicking around or you might have to invest a few bucks, but for every pound of plastic refused or reused we save a pound of climate pollution from entering our air!

Don't forget to have a plan to deal with all that extra recycling!

Thanks for reading my blog!
Julia Taylor

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

How To Green Your Christmas Décor- No DIY

Save green by going green this Christmas.

I 'Martha Stewart-ed ' this Christmas tree at the Salvation Army in Fenelon Falls.

Real talk- It is definitely missing something. I could tell you that the picture doesn't do it justice, or that I was leaving that last final touch to your imagination, but the truth is I made the super smart decision to attempt this with my 1.5, and 3 year old- big thanks to the staff who put up with us for this endeavour to show the world how much quality, nice, clean, Christmas décor second hand stores have.

The amount of Christmas stuff at this location is insane, I could have decorated 10 trees with just the stuff available for purchase, (tree's included) not including the 6 plus skids yet to be sorted in the back.

The point I'm trying to make is 

The resources and pollution that go into making and shipping all of this plastic décor is terrible for our environment, and by environment- I mean our health. Equally as harmful is this stuff sitting in a landfill breaking down for 500 years after we are through with it, and you know that is where it ends up eventually.

We need this earth more than we need Christmas décor for one month a year, and reducing our consumption of new goods is one of the most powerful things we can personally do to reduce our footprint on this place we call home.

Consider shopping second hand next time you need anything- you are going to be so surprised how much quality used merch is at these places. My favourite for selection and price in Kawartha Lakes is the giant Salvation Army Thrift Store in Fenelon Falls(check out all of the amazing stuff this organization does here)

As always thanks for reading my blog- to see my weekly post's follow me by clicking below
on twitter @sogreenithurts
on Facebook

Julia Taylor

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

We Own The Lakes

Most of us enjoy the lake from time to time for recreational activities- all of us enjoy the lake for clean water, and the choices we are making everyday have an impact of the health of the lake. 

Here are some easy things you can do to ensure we get to kayak, swim, fish, ect, and drink clean water for years to come.

The David Suzuki Foundation has identified a list called the Dirty Dozen. Ingredients found in household cleaners and personal care products that are not filtered out by treatment plants or septic systems and go directly back into our water table, adversely effecting the whole natural system of our lakes. Switching to 'eco' labelled soaps, detergents, cleaners, and personal care products is one of the best ways to keep chemicals out of our water. These products have gone way down in price and way up in effectiveness in the last few years. 

Learn how to clean your home with vinegar here.

Hate weeds in the lake? Don't they just seem to keep getting worse? That is because fertilizers used on lawns take their natural course into our water table and make their way into the lake, feeding the weeds, not just your grass. Also weed killers kill off beneficial organisms and pollute natural systems. Check out these natural lawn care ideas. Consider a natural shoreline if you have a lake front property- everybody is doing it!

Nothing goes better with fishing (or most lakeside activities) than beer and smokes, but just as smoking is bad for us, butt's are bad for the water- makes sense right, you wouldn't drink a beer after it had a butt in it, so why would we want our fish swimming around in it. It isn't just butt's being thrown directly into the lakes either, it is littering butt's anywhere. In the city streets they make their way into the storm water that in most cases is untreated and heads right back to the lake. Same idea in the country only they travel with the water in the ditch. Use an ashtray in your car, your fish hut, your dock, and your pocket if needed- and don't blame anybody else when there is not an ashtray, it is still your garbage. 1 cigarette butt contaminates 1 litre of water!

Most of us live here because of the lakes, people cottage here because of the lakes, people plan trips here because of the lakes, and they eat at our local restaurants and use our local services because of the lakes. Our quality of life here in Kawartha Lakes depends on healthy, swimable, drinkable water bodies. 

Let us give back to the lakes-
they give so much to us!

All of the stunning local images in this post were taken by Jerry Holder- @coolhandjer follow him on twitter to check out his other breathtaking photos!

Thanks for reading my blog!
Julia Taylor

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Stuff- Get Over It

We want it.

We save for it.

We buy it.

We use it.

We put it in the basement.

We forget about it.

We find it again.

We cant get rid of it.

It stays in the basement for a few more years.

We get rid of it. 

We want stuff. 

We are obsessed- more, bigger, better.

It feels good for 5 minutes after you buy it- then that feeling goes away and we need to buy more of it to get the feeling back.

Its cluttering up our lives and adding no value.

Its making us work harder so we can have more of it. Stealing time from family and fun.

Then it is going to the landfill and cluttering up nature.

Detox from stuff.....for your sanity and for the health of the planet....

Do you have any weird attachments to stuff?

Is there a spot in your basement for stuff 
that you will never use but cant get rid of?

I would love to hear you funny stuff stories.

Thanks for reading my blog!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

How To Not Be Judged

It's easy to feel judged- 
and than we judge back. Why not stop the cycle and not feel judged in  the first place.

I was out with my kids in Bobcaygeon and of course the morning had taken me too long and my kids were getting 'hangry'. 

I ordered some food to go and grabbed a muffin to distract the kids while waiting. Instead of being distracted one of them rolled around on the floor, got muffin everywhere, and was pretty much acting like a drunk uncle. 

I felt like the other people in the cafe were thinking "oh my god handle your kids". Then I realized- no they are not, they are probably thinking "I remember those days, she has her hands full". 

They were sharing compassion with me, not judging me. I was the one who decided how to feel.

Since then I have been training my brain to think differently and in turn my interactions with people everywhere have been improving dramatically. Here is 3 things I do now to not feel judged.

I saw a documentary once about a man who travelled from India to spread good karma (and brought us yoga). He travelled from India to Canada to spread good karma!! Can you imagine the interactions he had with people? If you set an intention like that before you go into any type of situation the results are going to be positive!! 

Every time a negative thought about someone or a situation comes into my head - I think 3 good things about them. To really put this practise to the test I think about the people that drive me nuts the most.

Think about 3 Good things that happened that day then...

Mantra (repeat after me)

I love myself for the good and the bad
I love everybody else for the good and the bad
I will listen
I will have compassion for others and myself

Day dream

Think about all of the things I wish for and doze off

I still have days when I want to tell everybody to f off, and there is always going to be toxic A holes out there- but the more I practise these things the more natural they come to me, and the better I and everybody around me feel. 

From now on I will make a concious decision to not judge people and instead bring positive energy and acceptance to people- and I will receive it in return.

Thanks for reading my blog!
Julia Taylor
on Facebook

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

How Kawartha Lakes People Are Going Green

Green living is spreading in The City of Kawartha Lakes and it is all the David Suzuki Foundation's fault. 

Green Living 101 at the FreeU is over and the world is a little greener. In the 6 week program written by Lindsay Coulter (David Suzuki's official Queen of Green). Students were presented with a little education, allot of discussion, and green living goals to challenge themselves - picked by them, for them.

Check out the small things they will try that will have a huge impact on the health of our lakes...

  • Home-made laundry soap X 5
  • Home-made shampoo
  • Try out vinegar to clean X3
  • Switch to reusable feminine products
  • Switch out Teflon pans for cast iron
  • Stop using produce bags
  • Start composting
  • Stop ironing (to save electricity)
  • Committed to recycling better X 7
  • Take shorter showers

Are you passionate about Green Living? Maybe you would like to have this program or a version of it come to your community?  

Build community
Protect the lakes
Be healthy

I will be happy to facilitate or support you in engaging your community group with this easy, fun, green living challenge. Please contact me.

Julia Taylor

PS- I really enjoyed this group and learned so much from them. I look forward to seeing them out and about and hearing about their green adventures!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

How to Help Save the Rain Forest at Home for Free

Have you seen this footage of the devastating effects of paper use on the rain forest?

I did. It got to me... this is what I'm doing to help stop it.

Ditch These Disposable 
Paper Products for Reusable Ones

Cut Down More Trees   Cut Down Less Trees                                                            
Paper coffee cup                                  Reusable mug
Paper plates                                          Real plates
Disposable diaper's                             Cloth diaper's
Throw away wipes                              Cloth and soap
Wrapping paper                                  Cloth gift bag/newspaper  
Gift cards                                              Email/call/visit                
Paper decorations                               Newspaper
Meat paper (at  the butcher/meat counter)            Reusable containers
Cupcake liners                                     Butter/Oil
Kleenex                                                  Hanky

Buy Recycled Products

Can't live without the disposable versions? Buy the 'Eco' version. Look for 100% post consumer content. If we don't buy products made out of recycled content we have no recycling system. Here is some common things that have 'made from recycled' options (less rain forest killy effects)

Toilette Paper
Paper Towels
Copy Paper
Paper Plates

Go Paperless

Here are some things you can do on-line instead of in print...

Bills Most companies have paperless billing available. You can go paperless with your CKL tax bill and Hydro One here

Magazines Read them on-line, typically an on-line subscription is cheaper too.

411 Do you ever use the print version any more? Cancel your Yellow Pages phone book delivery here

Use Scrap Paper/ Print on Both Sides

Pretty self explanatory!

Recycle Paper (properly)

Make sure what you recycle is actually getting recycled by making sure you are doing it properly. Check your municipal website for details. In CKL? click here

If you are thinking that just you doing this stuff will not make a difference- YOU ARE WRONG! You are that one person, that change that the whole world needs, 
your efforts do count!

Thanks for reading my blog!
Julia Taylor

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

It's Easy Being Green- unedited; Don't Feed The Ducks

My whole life I have enjoyed the lakes

The old L dock at the Fenelon beach, boating, and wakeboarding, fishing, and kayaking. Snowmobiling and ice fishing in the winter, soaking in the breeze and cooling off in the summer. 

Never did I feel a responsibility to take care of the lake...until one sunny day a few years ago.

*Cue violin dream music*
It was a Sunday afternoon, and my husband and I were out fishing on our old tin boat in the south end of Sturgeon Lake near the floating cottages. On this day a family of ducks came to say hello and as we watched the baby ducks we noticed one scoop up a cigarette but into his mouth. Oh no, what will happen to that baby duck after eating a butt? Will he die? Then the baby spit the butt out- phew.
I wondered- why is there a cigarette butt floating in our lake?
Then it dawned on me.
Me- that's how!
I have been an on and off smoker since I was a teenager, a terribly hard habit to kick, and even though I would never litter and cared about the environment I threw my butts out the window of my truck. Maybe because my truck didn’t come with an ashtray? Maybe because the butt is so small that I didn’t think it was litter? I don’t know why.
At that moment I visualized the butt landing on the shoulder, eventually making its way to the ditch, that then flowing into the lake that I love so much.
From that day on I had an ashtray in my truck and if I was out and there was no ashtray I put it out and put it in my pocket- from that day on it was my garbage and my responsibility.

1 cigarette butt contaminates 1 litre of water- our lake water, and one cigarette butt is enough to poison an animal. 
Our Kawartha lakes give so much to us- let's give back by taking care of them and keeping litter out of them.

Did you know recycles cigarette butts and gives a charity of your choice money for them? also gives out pocket ashtray's for free to help you keep your butts off the ground and out of our lake. Check them out!

Pocket ashtray

Thanks for reading my blog!
Julia Taylor

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

My 'No Poo' Experience

Blow dried curly, brushed out, and then curled with wand
Lot's of people are asking about it- let me tell you it is one of the biggest changes I have made on my green journey. It is weird, it is completely different, and it gets lots of compliments.

I have not shampoo'd my hair in a 5 months and it looks beautiful. In the years since I switched to natural/organic body care I have searched for the best shampoo and conditioner for my hair, never realizing that the packaging of these products effects the health of the environment and in turn my health- so I set out to reduce my packaging waste and the 'no poo' method fit in perfectly (and did not require me to start up a shampoo lab in my house.)

Frequently asked questions...

Do you need exlax?
No, not that kind of poo,

Does it stink?
No, actually the baking soda has a nice fresh smell.

How did you do it?
I started washing my hair with baking soda and apple cider vinegar every other day. 1/4 cup of baking soda to a 1 cup of water. 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of water.

How long did it take before worked?
Solidly- 2 months. The transition period is a bit painful but once you get used to it (if it works for you) it has great results. I had to mess around with the solution a bit to get it right.
Washed and blown out straight, touched with straitner 

Is you hair greasy?
When it gets greasy it needs to be washed.


  • Your hair literally feels like grease all the way to the tips when it is wet- it is a very different washing and brushing experience and it completely transforms the texture of your hair.
  • You will have to get used to the way it holds different styles.
  • Your brush is pretty much disgusting, washing it doesn't help.
  • Have you ever pet a dog and have a dirty hand after, that is almost what happens when you brush dry hair daily.
  • It is not sudsy washing so you just have to put the mixture in and smush it around.

Pro's (in my experience)

  • No split ends..
  • Looks amazing.
  • Does eventually get soft.
  • Holds styles very well.
  • Eventually you only need to wash it once a week.
  • Saves money not having to buy products. (ps I still use hair spray if I need to- just leave it in there after)
  • Saves the lakes (no toxic by products from shampoos going down the drain)
  • Did I say it looks amazing??

This is not for the faint of heart and does not work for everybody. It is something you have to see through and it is a big change to adjust to. If you commit to this process and it works for your hair type you will love it.

washed and air dried

Tips and tricks

  • Use apple cider vinegar every other wash (my hairdresser warned me it could dry out my hair, also she want grossed out or put off by me doing this- she had heard of it)
  • Brush your hair everyday
  • Make sure you ad warm water or add the water in the shower when you mix your solution- or you could be cold shocked!
  • When you tell people don't just tell them you have "no poo for 6 weeks" like I did- give them some pre context or you will get some funny looks

Side note-
I do not colour my hair, results could be different for regular colourers.

Thanks for reading my blog! I would love to hear your experiences with 'no poo'!
Julia Taylor
Washed, air dried, hot rollers- on day 2

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Learn to Read Music for Free in Lindsay

How To Read Music

Wednesday nights 
Sept 23 to October 26 2015
6 pm  

How to Read Music (for beginners and experienced musicians who skipped that step). 
Instructed by Wendy Mortimer

Musicians communicate precisely how to play a song by writing notes in a way that is a “code” that can be learned by anyone.
Over six weeks we will develop your knowledge of that code by building an understanding of musical notation, writing that notation, and playing what’s written. People of all musical backgrounds are welcome.
We will use various instruments (quietly – we’re in the library!) to illustrate what we are learning to write and to read.
*Rhythm. Time value of notes and rests, time signatures. Practice playing various rhythms using claps, slaps and drumsticks.
*Pitch. Treble and bass clef, names of notes. Practice naming notes and combining pitch and rhythm. Whole tones and semitones. Accidentals. Ledger lines.
*Scales and Intervals. Key signatures and octaves. Practice.
*Musical Terms and Signs. Practice, and more practice!

For more info email

Rochelle's Glorious Garbage Journey- Guest post

Changing the World One Piece at a Time

When I think back to a year ago, I certainly didn’t expect my life to have turned out the way it is today. I pick up litter almost on a daily basis and it is the most rewarding thing I’ve done with my life so far. 

After graduating from an environmental science program I leapt around from contract to contract without finding any solid work, which is the case for many graduates in my field. I felt the need to have something more stable in my life, but what? I started doing litter cleanups everywhere I went and documented the results through social media, my friends and followers loved this. There’s something very gratifying about seeing a mess, cleaning it up, and leaving the space better than it was before. After a few weeks of litter cleanups I was hooked. I couldn’t wait to see what I’d find the next time I went out. I travelled around from place to place with a garbage bag and a clipboard, taking note of each item collected. It’s been a year now and this glorious garbage journey has flourished into a non-profit organization that focuses on raising awareness about the issues surrounding litter around the globe.

When people ask me what I do and I tell them about “A Greener Future” they’re usually surprised that I started and run the organization all on my own. It wasn’t very long after I started picking up litter that I realized that I was doing something that I loved and cared about and I decided why not take it to the next level? It is a lot of work but even if A Greener Future hadn’t come to be I’d probably still be out there picking up litter. Is it worth it to put so much time into something without being paid? Yes, if it’s something you love. I couldn’t imagine my life without A Greener Future. It’s my voice, my inspiration, my community, and a way to help improve the future by bringing like-minded people together. 

Once you’ve taken part in litter cleanups regularly your eyes become more focused on seeing every little piece. You wouldn’t believe how much litter you pass on a daily basis and probably don’t notice, especially cigarette butts. It’s literally everywhere, even in places you wouldn’t think it could end up. While the issue of litter can be depressing I do my best to keep posts positive, lighthearted, educational, and even mix a bit of humour in there should I pick up something particularly interesting. Being an advocate for the environment definitely has it’s ups and downs. I love making an impact and seeing positive change, but you would not believe the number of people who actually stand up for litter. I’ve heard every excuse in the book: there aren’t enough trash bins around, my litter creates employment, or it’s just going back to nature. The thing is litter affects everyone in one way or another. It has negative health impacts especially when it contaminates our water sources, it depreciates property values, increases pest infestations, reduces tourism, harms wildlife, imbalances ecosystems, destroys natural beauty, and even promotes crime.…..You know littering is a crime, right?

I am completely overwhelmed with the amount of support I have received over the past year from friends and strangers alike. After a full year of collecting trashy treasures on my own and with the help of some fabulous volunteers the litter total has reached over 150,000 pieces. I have cleaned up litter in Canada, the US, The Bahamas, Spain and Portugal. And I have reached millions through social media. I couldn’t be happier with the way things have turned out and I encourage others to follow their hearts and do what matters to them. I hope if I put in enough time and passion I can grow this non-profit into a global movement that is sustainable and gives people something to talk about. The environment affects everyone, and I’m going to do my part to help create A Greener Future for generations to come, even if it is just one piece at a time.

Rochelle Archibald
Founder/Executive Director
A Greener Future