One Breath: Freediving, Death, and the Quest to Shatter Human Limits
by Adam Skolnick
"... freediving is both an athletic quest to push the limits of the body and mind, and a spiritual experience."
As a science nerd, water lover, avid scuba diver and wannabe mermaid, I was instantly drawn to this title. One Breathe tells the story of Nick Mevoli, an award-winning free diver who, in 2013, tragically lost his life doing what he loved most - pushing limits and exploring the depths.
For those unfamiliar with the extreme sport of free diving, it is where a trained swimmer packs as much air as they can into their lungs and plunges as deep as they possibly can into the sea, often as far as 100 meters or more. There's no oxygen tank involved, just that one breath to keep him or her going throughout their journey. It tests the limits of the human body in the most hostile environment on the planet. As the first athlete to die in an international free diving competition, Mevoli's death brought into question the impact of diving deep on the body and the ultimate risks involved with the sport. Lung squeeze in free diving is comparable to a concussion in hockey or football - completely misunderstood for so many years, but as it occurs more and more, is being taken more seriously.
In this title, Skolnick dives into our body's physiology and how humans are able to continue to push the limits and dive where no person has dove before. He gives an insight into the sport and its competitive nature, yet shares how everyone involved is very much a family, challenging each other to push their limits and dive deeper. The book did a great job at keeping me intrigued and engaged from beginning to end, alternating between snippets of Melvoli's personal life and his competition life. However, while Skolnick's narrative of this underwater sport makes it sound exhilarating, I think I'll stick to exploring what lies beneath the surface with my air supply strapped to my back.
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MyMederma #CollectiveBias
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It's amazing to see how much little miss has learned in just 5 1/2 short weeks. Im also amazed at how much I've learned in those few weeks. The learning never stops.
10 things I've learned as a new mom:
one. When baby is hungry, she will go for anything nipple-shaped, including your husband's nose.
two. Coffee, breakfast, lunch and dinner are best served cold.
three. Eau de baby spit up is the new perfume, and is oddly comforting.
four. "Nap when she naps" is easier said than done.
five. There is a cry for "hold me". I sometimes like to call it dramatic.
six. The pout gets you, every. single. time.
seven. Midnight feeds are like a scene from the Walking Dead, minus the blood and guts.
eight. It's appropriate to cry over spilt milk.
nine. Breast pumps are very satisfying. ten. The birds start chirping at 3:55am. And one more for good measure...
eleven. Your definition of love and happiness completely change. This picture makes my heart flutter.
Can you believe it's already the end of April? Finally, spring weather has arrived, so let's celebrate with an ad space discount & these TWO awesome giveaways! Interested in sponsoring a new blog? Join T.O. & fro's sidebar this month with the ad space discount below. Check out the ad space options here.
Now to test your luck and meet some new bloggers...
giveaway one. Becca from Becca Dorr & friends are giving away a $170 ULTA gift card! [This giveaway is open to those outside of the U.S. (PayPal $ option), but all those entering must be 18 & over.]
giveaway two. Angie of My So-Called Chaos & friends are giving away a HUGE Instax Mini Prize Pack to one lucky winner! [Prizes shown in photo may vary based on availability. Giveaway ends on May 9th, 2016 at 12AM MST and is open worldwide, international winners will have a $125 cash option instead of the prize due to shipping costs.. Entering below agrees to all terms and conditions within the Rafflecopter widget.]
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #DareToPair #CollectiveBias
During our first weeks home with baby, making dinner was the last thing on our minds. Family and friends played a huge role by bringing over food that we could either eat that night or toss in the freezer for a later date. Pasta dishes were key because they were so easy to just pop in the oven and reheat.
One of my favourite pasta dishes is mac & cheese. Anyone with me on that? However, it's also not exactly the best option when it comes to eating healthy. So, why not kick it up a notch by adding some veggies and protein?
That's right, a healthier mac & cheese - the sneaky way to incorporate some fibre, protein and essential vitamins into your diet. Same old comfort food we all love, with a little side of nutrition.
Whether you're bringing home baby, know someone who is, or are just on the go with limited time to make dinner, this easy, and freezer-friendly, broccoli chicken mac & cheese is the perfect recipe for you!
Broccoli Chicken Mac & Cheese Yields: 6-8 servings
additional 1/2 cup reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese, grated (optional)
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta al dente, according to package instructions. Remember not to overcook, as the pasta will soften slightly while baking.
Approximately 2-3 minutes before pasta is al dente, add in the broccoli florets and allow to cook slightly. Drain pasta and broccoli and set aside.
While pasta water is coming to a boil, melt better in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute, stirring occasionally.
Whisk flour into butter and garlic mixture until combined. Cook for an additional 1 minute, whisking occasionally.
Slowly add stock and whisk until mixture is smooth.
Slowly add milk and whisk until mixture is smooth.
Continue cooking for 1-2 minutes or until mixture comes to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in cheeses, salt and pepper.
Pour the cheese sauce over top of the drained pasta and broccoli. Add chicken and toss until everything is evenly combined.
Once combined, pour pasta mixture into a greased 9x13 inch baking dish and sprinkle with extra sharp cheddar cheese and breadcrumbs (optional).
Bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes, or until the top becomes slightly crispy and the breadcrumbs are slightly golden.
Remove from oven and serve immediately.
If preparing to freeze for later, omit steps 10 to 12. Instead, pour pasta into appropriate-sized aluminium takeout containers. Don't forget to include the reheating instructions on the container - thaw and bake uncovered at 350F for 15-20 minutes, or bake frozen at 350F for 30-45 minutes. Whoever the lucky recipient is, they will be grateful.
Made from corn and rice, Barilla Gluten Free Pasta has the same great taste and texture as regular pasta, and is suitable for those that are gluten free, egg free, vegan, vegetarian or just looking to eat healthier and be more conscious of what they are putting in their bodies. While we are not a gluten free family (the above recipe may contain ingredients with gluten), what drew me to this product was that it contains no GMO ingredients - something that is very important for my little family unit.
Barilla Pasta can be found in the pasta section at your local Walmart. Be sure to also look for their Whole Grain, ProteinPlus and Veggie varieties, and check out this Ibotta offer before you shop.
What’s your favourite type of Barilla pasta? How do you incorporate healthy into your favourite pasta dishes?
As far back as I can remember, I have always loved spending time outdoors. When I was younger, my grandmother and I used to go on nature walks at our cottage, collecting interesting things and always looking up the names of certain flowers or birds when we got back. Growing up on Lake Huron, I spent my free time at the local beach, not coming home until my fingers looked like prunes. Some may call me a nature nerd, but that's ok with me because being outdoors is what makes my happy. This love of the outdoors has even led my on the career path I am currently on, as an environmental educator.
When was the last time you went outside?I'm not talking a walk to put out the garbage at the end of the driveway. I'm talking when you really went outside - for purpose and pure enjoyment. Hiking, camping, fishing, even a relaxing day at the beach.
Sadly, not many people can remember the last time they really got outside. Nature deficit disorder is real, and is becoming all too common in today's society. Emerging technologies, limited green space and a fear magnified by media are to blame. At a time when we just welcomed our first child, I can't imagine a world where we don't get outside.
I am a total nature pusher and truly believe that being outside in nature is good for the soul. In celebration of Earth Day this Friday, April 22, I'm sharing 8 reasons why YOU should get outside:
To escape the hectic city life. Stressed at work? Leave the to do lists at home and head for the trees. No wifi, no electrical outlets, no problem. Leave the technology at home.Studies have found that those that spend time in nature have lower levels of cortisol, a hormone used as a marker for stress, than those that stay in the city. Give your brain, and eyes, a break, and enjoy the quiet time. A dose of fresh air is the perfect way to reset before the work week ahead.
To explore new places. Whether it is your local park, or a natural area a road trip away, choosing different places to visit allows you to explore what your own city and others have to offer. Do you research - you'd be shocked at the places you can find within a short drive from your home.
To develop a new found love of nature. Being outside isn't just about being in a new environment. It's also about gaining a new appreciation for Mother Nature's beauty. Take a walk in the woods - close your eyes, open your ears and take a deep breathe. Look up, look down, look all around you. Appreciate the small things. Learn something new about the plants and animals that call your area home.
To reset your sleep cycle. With crazy work schedules and the increased exposure to artificial light, our internal clocks can easily get out of rhythm. Studies have shown that we actually sleep better when we set our sleep cycles with those of the sun. Plan a camping trip and leave the alarm clocks at home. Allow your body the rest it deserves.
To spend time with friends and family. Being outside doesn't have an age limit. Taking a walk through the worlds, relaxing on the beach or even sitting around the campfire, telling stories, playing games and having a few laughs is the perfect bonding experience. And don't forget about your pets, sometimes unwinding in nature does them good too.
To do something affordable. Getting outside is often cheaper than planning a weekend trip to a popular tourist area. Chances are, it may even be free! If visiting a national/state/provincial park, day use and overnight fees are usually very minimal, and what you do pay often goes right back into caring for the park.
To get some exercise. Being outdoors does not need to be strenuous, but it can give you the opportunity to take a break from your regular exercise routine and try something different. The opportunities for exercise while being outdoors are endless - canoeing, climbing and hiking are just a few. Your body will thank you.
To have fun! No explanation needed.
So do me a favour this weekend - make a pledge to get outside. Whether it is a nightly walk in the park or a weekend camping. Drop the chaos of every day life. Take a deep breath - take in the sights, sounds and smells of the great outdoors. Make a lasting connection with nature. I think you'll like it.
We are currently in a transitionphase as we rent a small, one bedroom apartment and patiently await the construction of our condo. But, just because we are in a temporary space does not mean that we can't make it feel like home. Gallery walls are the perfect way to spice up an empty wall in your home and make it feel just that, more 'homey'.
If you have a ton of family photos and the wall space for all your pictures, you should try putting up a gallery wall in your home. While arranging framed photos on your wall can feel like a big project, it can easily be done in less than a day. Here's how to create the perfect gallery wall, in 6 simple steps:
What You'll Need
Photos & prints
Newspaper or kraft paper
Hammer & nails/drill & screws/adhesive tape (depending on the wall)
What To Do
Step 1: Get inspiration
First, identify the wall that needs the oomph. For us, the large wall in our living room is the perfect canvas for our gallery wall. Grab some quick measurements of the space so that you know how many photos you need, sizes, etc.
Gather the photos, frames and other items (such as posters, prints, collectibles, etc.) that you would like to hang. Remember not everything has to match - the most important thing is that the wall represents you! Look for inexpensive and unique frames in unconventional places, such as thrift stores. Ikea also has a great selection of affordable frames in all different sizes and colours.
I picked up this piece on a recent trip to Hobby Lobby, and it became the inspiration for our wall. We decided to hang photos of our adventures together - from Alaska, to a trip to Hawaii and even our wedding. If you are lacking ideas for what to hang, or how to hang them, check out some inspiration on Pinterest.
Step 2: Lay it out.
Lay out the newspaper or kraft paper on a large flat surface, such as the floor. Begin to lay out the pieces for your gallery - start with a large centre piece and build out. Arrange the frames how you would like them. Remember, there is no right or wrong way, it all depends on your personal style. You can always switch it up when you go to put it on the wall. Have fun with the layout.
Step 3: Trace it out.
Once you have the pieces laid out the way you like them, trace around them with a marker. Don't forget to label each traced frame with a brief description of the photo so that you don't forget when you go to put them on the wall! For ease when hanging, mark where the nail or screw needs to go with an x.
Step 4: Mock it up.
Cut out the traced pieces. Using painter's tape, a level and measuring tape, arrange the paper cutouts on the wall. Again, it will be easiest to start with the largest piece and build out.
Once all pieces are on the wall, take a step back. Ask yourself, does the grouping fit with the nearby furniture? How is the height and the space between pieces? Does the gallery fill the space appropriately? Is there room for growth if I would like to add more pieces down the road? This step is optional, but will alleviate the need for patching errors.
Step 5: Nail & hang.
One of the perks of using the paper mockup method is that you can mark exactly where the nail needs to go on the paper (step 3). Depending on what your wall is made of, use either a hammer or drill to place a nail or screw in the marked location. If you are in a temporary space like us and don't want to patch holes down the road, there are many great adhesive products that will temporarily hang your frames.
Once the nails or screws are in place, tear away the tape and paper. Now the best part - hanging your photos!
Step 6: Sit back and enjoy!
Remember there are no real guidelines or rules when creating a gallery wall—it's all up to you. Feel free to add or take away pieces as you go on, keeping the artwork relevant to your life. Ours is a constant work in progress, but I am so happy with how it has transformed our space from temporary to home.
One of my favourite things about the blogging community is getting to know people from other parts of the world. Today, Rachel from Small Towns & City Lights is participating in T.O. & fro's Big City Q & A. Get to know her below!
Dog, cat or small animal person?
100% dog person! I adopted my dog Sheba from the Humane Society four years ago last week. It was the best decision ever!
What is your favourite season?
I’m probably in the minority on this one, but winter! Living in Florida the temperature never drops too low but we do get some cooler days which is nice. Plus, winter includes Christmas, which is my absolute favourite!
What is your favourite TV show or movie?
TV show is tough, but of all-time, I’d probably have to say Friends. Movie is hands down Love Actually!
What is your favourite meal?
Meatloaf with mashed potatoes and carrots. Yum! Also, anything Italian.
If you were stuck on a deserted island, what are 3 things you couldn't live without?
I think a solar-powered radio (so I could listen to music), a blanket, and a knife.
What is your dream job?
I’ve never had a specific company or position I’ve dreamt of working for, but rather, have always wanted to have a job where I’m constantly learning and able to grow.
If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?
Definitely travel! I’d also help friends/family out and donate to charity.
If you could be a celebrity for a day, who would you be and why?
I think Jennifer Aniston! Not only is she on my all-time favorite show, but she's also beautiful, fabulous, and seems like an all-around awesome person.
What is your favourite travel destination, and why?
Oof that’s a tough one. I’d have to say London though. It was on the top of my travel bucket list forever and was the first place I visited in Europe! There’s so much history and it’s a city just bustling with so many awesome things. Plus, Harry Potter!
Any travel plans for 2016?
My 2016 travel plans are still in the works, but right now I’m thinking I’ll be able to cross 2 more states off my list with trips to Minneapolis and Portland, and am trying to narrow down which itinerary I want to go with for my big annual Europe trip later this year!
Oh hey, it's Friday already. Or so my computer tells me...
It's amazing the amount of baby products that are out there. I remember the first time we visited Babies R Us to register, it was like being a little kid in a candy store. So many cute outfits, innovative products and fancy gadgets! How's a pregnant woman to decide what's actually worth it and what's just for fun? We constantly had to ask ourselves what do we want vs. what do we absolutely need?
The things we need are a constant work in progress, but at 3 weeks in to this whole mom & dad thing, we've definitely found some favourites that have made life with baby a little easier on all 3 of us.
The list of favourite and most-used items will obviously vary from mom to mom, baby to baby and family to family, but here are the 5 baby products I'm loving lately...
1 | The Mommy Hook
Out and about with baby? Do you struggle to find space for your bags in your already loaded stroller? The Mommy Hook is a must have! This extra large carabiner, made from heavy duty aluminum, simply hooks onto the handle of your stroller and can easily be loaded with bags, giving you hands-free control. The Mommy Hook comes in a variety of colours.
2 | Carter's Zip-Up Sleepers
Since most of Baby Morley's time is spent eating, sleeping and pooping these days, she has been living in sleepers. With the chilly weather, my favourite have been the fleece zip-ups from Carter's. Carter's also has snap-up sleepers, but when you're exhausted and doing a midnight diaper change, possibly even in the dark, no one has time for snaps. My husband is the king of speedy diaper changes, and I know he would agree - zipper is better.
Tip: While Carter's sleepers are affordable to begin with, make sure to hit up the clearance racks, and don't forget to plan ahead for when baby is older. We found sleepers and other clothing items at a fraction ($3-$4 each!) on the clearance rack.
3 | Sleep Sheep
Does your little one have trouble sleeping? With its hidden sound machine and 8 soothing sounds and melodies (mother's heartbeat, spring showers, ocean surf, whale songs, twinkle twinkle and more), the Sleep Sheep is the perfect companion to help soothe children to sleep. It has a convenient velcro strap to attach to the side of the crib and keep sleeping baby safe. Our apartment can be quite noisy during the day, so I love the Sleep Sheep because it helps drown out noise from outside, other apartments and even my moving around.
4 | aden + anais Swaddles
These swaddles are by far my favourite item. The muslin material is durable, breathable and light-weight, and can be used as a stroller cover, burp cloth, nursing cover and swaddle. Morley is not a fan of sleeping on her back, which, at first, made sleep time a bit difficult. We finally learned that swaddling her before bed helps tremendously, and mom and dad are very thankful for that. Swaddles come in a variety of prints.
Bath time is not Morley's favourite, but the Boon NAKED Collapsible Bathub definitely makes it easier for us. NAKED is the perfect tub for infants to toddlers. Its one piece design makes transitioning between stages easy - reclining to cradle newborns and expanding for sitting babies and toddlers. With this tub, bath time can be easily given on any flat surface, which for us means the living room floor. When not in use, the tub folds flat for easy storage, and has a hook to hang. NAKED comes in blue and green.
Have you tried any of these products? What baby products do you recommend?
Disclaimer: I was in no way compensated for this post, I am simply sharing products I love. If any of these companies would like to provide product for review, I would definitely not be opposed. All opinions are 100% my own.
April showers bring..... snow?! Seriously. The forecast is calling for snow this weekend. I'm starting to feel like a chicken, cooped up because Mother Nature can't decide what to do and baby and I can't get outside to go for a walk. Despite the first day of spring officially arriving almost 3 weeks ago, the weather has been anything but spring-like. Par for the course with a virtually snow-less winter, I guess.
Luckily, it will pass. And in the meantime, I'll just dream up my spring bucket list...
1. Patio season. 2. Strolls with the fam to Evergreen Brickworks Saturday market.
3. Bonfires and sunsets by the lake at my parents.
But seriously, how gorgeous is this view?
What's on your spring bucket list?
This month's Small Town Sponsor Spotlight is extra special because like me, these two lovely ladies also call the province of Ontario home, and are especially familiar with the crummy weather we've been having so far this spring.
Take it away ladies...
Finish this sentence in your own way: "April showers..."
... bring a mix of snow and rain with a low of -4. Seriously. Spring in Canada is just one long April Fools joke.
What are 3 things on your spring 2016 bucket list?
Three things on my spring 2016 bucket list are…1. Shave my legs. It’s been a long, cold winter and it’s time to release the hounds. 2. Pack away all of my winter clothes. And by pack away I mean put the clothes in a bin, but keep it accessible because we all know i’ll be pulling out my mitts again by mid-April. 3. Plan an adventure. If there’s anything you need know about me, it’s that if there’s an adventure involved, I’m in. I live in one of the best places in Ontario to go on outdoor adventures, so hopefully I’ll get to go hiking up a mountain or crawling through waterfall caves before it gets too hot to breathe.
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SkinCareForBaby #CollectiveBias
Bringing home baby is such a surreal experience. One minute you are a family of two, and then all of a sudden you have a tiny human to take care of. Lots of big changes. The past two weeks have been a whirlwind, and slowly, the fog is starting to lift. A huge THANK YOU to everyone for their messages about the arrival of our little beauty, Morley. She may only be 2 weeks old, but she sure is loved.
When it came to 'surviving' the first week at home with baby, there were many items that came in handy. Do you know someone that's expecting? A new family survival kit is a quick and easy way to add some help and cheer to those first few days, or weeks, with baby. Give this kit at a baby shower, take it to the hospital when you visit or have it waiting for the new family when they get home. No matter when you share it, it will be greatly appreciated. Trust me.
How to Make a "New Family Survival Kit" WHAT TO INCLUDE:
The list of what to include in the basket can go on and on, but to keep it simple and useful, here are a few things to include for mom, dad and baby, and some fun, non-essentials:
Items for mom: Reusable water bottle, nipple cream, sanitary pads, witch hazel, nursing pads, razors, epsom salts
Items for mom & dad: Hand soap, hand sanitizer, hand moisturizer, toothpaste, phone charger, snacks
Items for baby: Sleepers and onesies, towels and baby soap, swaddle blankets, soothers, petroleum jelly, diapers, wipes, vitamin D drops (if breastfeeding), socks, hat & mittens
Other fun, optional items to include: mom & dad coffee mugs, single use coffee pods, journal, nail polish and file, non-alcoholic bubbly, hard books, baby toy
WHAT TO DO:
1. To create this 'survival kit', first find a basket large enough for all of the goodies. 2. Add some tissue paper to the bottom of the basket. 3. Place larger items in the back, with smaller items towards the front, so that every item is visible. 4. Fill any empty spaces with extra tissue. 5. Either gift basket as is, or wrap with clear cellophane and bow. 6. Feel free to add or subtract items as per your choice and need.
7. If you know what gender the baby is, you can always tailor the basket.
Since Morley was born, we have tried several different diaper brands trying to find "the one". I can truthfully say, Huggies® has the other brands beat. Huggies® Little Snugglers Diapers (sizes N-3) have a built-in colour-changing wetness indicator that lets you know when baby’s diaper is ready to be changed, without having to remove it, and the GentleAbsorb Liner (sizes N-2) has tiny, soft pillows that provide a cushiony layer of protection. The umbilical cord cutout makes them perfect for newborns because they are perfectly shaped to protect healing little belly buttons. I am very conscious of what I put on my own skin, and also want what's best for baby's. I was drawn to Huggies® Natural Care Wipes because they are hypoallergenic and fragrance-free, perfect for new, sensitive skin. The TripleClean* Layers are thick enough to handle any mess, with a texture that's soft against your baby's skin. These two Huggies® products are best utilized as one solution to deliver great skin care for baby.