5 Tips that will make Spring Cleaning easier

It can sometimes be difficult to know where to start the spring cleaning of our homes. These five tips have helped me clean and tidy up, hope they help you too.

1)  Make a list of what you would like to accomplish

2) Take out your calendar and match up time slots with the activities on your to-do list.

3) Tackle one item (or one room) on the list at a time.

4) Make it fun! Play music, dance or invite friends/family to help you out.

5) Find a place to donate the items that are in good shape. Remember that one man’s trash can be another man’s treasure. I’m having the Ottawa clothing drive pick up bags full of gently used clothing. If you are in Ottawa, you still have time to book a pick up this weekend: http://www.ottawaclothingdrive.com/

Once you are done, pat yourself on the back! It’s time to enjoy your home! It’s especially refreshing to once again have  closet & storage space and in the process you helped someone out!

Spring Cleaning

Awesome Ottawa seeks new Trustee

Awesome Ottawa is seeking a new trustee! Think this gig might be for you? Are you able to give $100 each month to awesome projects and you want to be on the Board? Know someone that is awesome and wants to spread the awesomeness?

It’s a pretty simple concept. People submit their awesome ideas electronically (http://awesomeottawa.ca/apply/). The trustees get together once a month and decide which of the ideas gets the grant.  Each of the trustees gives $100 towards the grant and an awesome project is born on the spot!

The Awesome Foundation started in Boston and has grown quickly. To read the FAQ and learn more go to: http://awesomefoundation.org/blog/faq/

Non Profit Video Awards

YouTube is launching its 5th Annual DoGooder Non-Profit Video Awards with a brand new award aimed at spurring online participation. The competition is a collaboration between YouTube and See3 with participation from Flip and NTEN.

I’m really looking forward to watching the submission videos. From my first hand experience in the sector I know that non profit organizations do a lot with limited resources, some of the most creative people I know work for these organizations. I’m sure they’ll come up with wonderful ways of getting their messages across through video.

Read the full article about the competition on Mashable here.

Ottawa ranked as BEST place to live in Canada!

Photograph of Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, CanadaA  couple of weeks ago I heard that Ottawa-Gatineau ranked top of the list as the best place to live in Canada according to MoneySense’s 2011 list.  I completely agree with the results of the study, but then again I am biased because I live here and have a natural attachment to the area.  The Money Sense list compared things like average household income, unemployment, health services, lifestyle factors, among others.

The one thing that surprised me the most about the things that were measured for the study was that they took into account the weather.   MoneySense counted the average number of days that cities have temperatures of 0 degrees Celsius or below.

Want to know how cold it actually is in Ottawa?

Ottawa has an average of 153 days a year with below freezing temperatures!

Vancouver only averages 35 of these days. The city I grew up in probably averages 2 days of below zero temps a year. So you can see how moving to Canada came with more of a “weather shock” than a “cultural shock” for me.

I use to think weather was a huge factor in happiness levels.  But living in Ottawa has skewed my point of view on the subject. Despite how eye opening these stats are, I still love Ottawa and will continue to wear fuzzy boots, big coats, gloves, scarfs, and hats whenever required by Mother Nature!

I welcome spring with open arms; and for the next six months I will enjoy the greenery and warmth. But come November I know that I’ll be looking up into the sky longingly,  quietly anticipating the first snowflakes of the season to fall.

“All seasons are beautiful for the person who carries happiness within.” —Horace Friess

“Happiness is a conscious choice, not an automatic response.” — Mildred Barthel

Are you new to Canada?

Canadian Flag

Like most newcomers to Canada you are probably trying to juggle all the paperwork to start a life in your new country. You are not alone, about 250,000 people go through the exact same process every year. The good thing is that you don’t have to start from scratch! There are some great blogs that you could benefit from reading.

My favourite blog on the subject is The Ziegler’s Blog; the story of an Argentinian family who now lives in the the Ottawa region. Plus their website has a blogroll that includes 25 other blogs on the subject of immigrating to Canada!

Once you have read (and learned) from the experiences of other immigrants, you will most likely focus most of your energy on finding a job. One of the key ingredients to a successful start of your new life in Canada will depend on finding a job that matches your skills/qualifications. There are many programs that help newcomers for free; use them!

Even though I have been living in Canada for almost 4 years, I was recently granted Permanent Residence.  And as soon as I became a landed immigrant I approached World Skills.  The staff have been very friendly, professional and helpful. I personally have been very grateful for their support and feedback. If you are in the Ottawa area make sure you contact World Skills, they will gladly give you a helping hand by letting you know of job fairs, opportunities for networking in the area, etc.

My advice is: don’t be shy, get started quickly and accept all the help you can get!

Panasonic makes you pretty?

Have you heard about the new Panasonic Lumix FX77 camera that went out on the market in Japan last week?

The camera claims to “improve the looks” of people.  It can make your face smaller, whiten yellow teeth, make eyes bigger, remove dark circles, give you a chin lift and even apply makeup instantly!

I am not sure I am convinced that it is the way to go for simple point and shoot cameras, especially if the users are taking pictures of a whole bunch of things and not using it solely for shooting close up portraits of people. But I won’t knock it ’til I have tried it.  When I heard of this camera my first reaction was negative. I thought of the pressure millions of teenagers must feel to try to aspire to near perfect looks.

Most importantly, what are we teaching the younger generations about beauty?

Is Panasonic telling our kids that they need beauty enhancements and profiting from low self esteem? Is it real if you are faking it?

What do you think?

What Valentine’s day means to a Mexican

Valentine’s day is more than just an excuse to celebrate a lover. In Mexico the day is called “Día del Amor y la Amistad”, which means “Day of Love and Friendship”.

Romantic love is indeed celebrated, but so is the love between parents and children, between friends, between family members, collegues, etc.

There are so many different kinds of love, and today I celebrate them ALL!

Thank you to all the special people in my life! You are my inspiration. Your love gives me courage and strength everyday of the year.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Patience paid off

Canadian beaver cartoonYesterday was a very happy day for me. I was finally granted full permanent residence to Canada!!!!

I sent my initial forms filled out to Immigration Canada  489 days ago.  So after a long process that required lots of attention to detail, organization, translating of paperwork and above all patience, I am glad that the wait is finally over!

I should have a Social Insurance number and Permanent Residence card in my hands in about 8 weeks. Which means that I will soon start looking for a job again. I’m excited about rejoining the workforce and can’t wait to see what the future brings.

Thank you Canada!

For information on Immigrating to Canada: http://www.cic.gc.ca/

Super Bowl Sunday

During most of the year I am grateful that my husband isn’t glued to the TV every time a football game is taking place. We spend a lot of quality time together on weekends/evenings. I know that not all wives are this lucky, and many “lose” their husbands during football season.

My dear Canadian husband is more of a hockey fan. And although I enjoy hockey, and really enjoy going to the Senator games, I would describe myself as a basketball and tennis fan.

The only day of the year in which I regret that my husband and I aren’t big football fans is on Super bowl Sunday.

Today, I wish we were part of that huge crowd that gets wild about the game. I am missing being loud, drinking beer and eating nachos with the family down south.  Both soccer and football are such an important part of my Mexican family’s culture. I love sharing the games with them, because it is important for them it is important for me too. It is always a treat to share my family’s devotion and excitement for these competitive sports. That’s what the Super Bowl means to me; great family time.

Enjoy the Super bowl!

We will enjoy it from Canada as well. In our own way.

YOWYOW in Ottawa

My husband and I attended the 1st ever YOWYOW event last night at Raw Sugar Café on Somerset Street in Chinatown. It’s described as an unconference and networking event featuring interesting people and ideas in Ottawa.

The Raw Sugar Café is such a lovely and cozy place (Read Ottawa’s Foodies review on the place). I loved their vintage decorating style and relaxed atmosphere. We had a great time meeting people from all walks of life! We enjoyed it so much that we were the last ones to leave.

It was also pretty cool to hear that one of the speakers, Ian Graham from The Code Factory mentioned Awesome Ottawa as one of his favourite grass roots organizations in the city.

I’m really looking forward to the next YOWYOW event.

Congratulations to Sophé B Poitras and Marc-André Plouffe for putting on a great event!

For more information, check out their website: http://yowyow.ca/ or follow them on twitter: @yowyowca