10 May

Links for a Sunday Morning



What Does ‘Middle Class’ Even Mean? – The Atlantic

According to a recent survey from Gallup, about 51 percent of Americans consider themselves middle or upper-middle class, while 48 percent consider themselves working or lower class. That’s the highest share to identify themselves as being on the lower rungs of the socioeconomic ladder since Gallup began gathering such data in 2000.

Smaller Portions Taste Better and are More Satisfying – Big Think

Consumers compensate for small portions by attending more to the sensory properties of the food, altering their eating behavior, and slowing their rate of eating, which has the effect of increasing satiation, hence lessening their desire for more afterwards.

Why diets don’t actually work – Washington Post

After you diet, so many biological changes happen in your body that it becomes practically impossible to keep the weight off. It’s not about someone’s self-control or strength of will.

How Music Evolves – The Economist

There are three periods of rapid change. The first is from 1963 to 1964—the period of the British Invasion. The second is in the early 1980s. The third is around 1991. These revolutions do all correspond with times musical critics would have said change was happening (classic rock, new wave, and hip-hop respectively).

How allowing that early sip of alcohol can influence a child’s mind and future – Globe and Mail

Parental influence only goes so far. And in cultures where “getting wasted” is synonymous with having fun, early tastes of alcohol may not be harmless, researchers say.

30% of People with a ‘Healthy’ BMI Are Actually Obese – Obesity Panacea

Physicians could start paying less attention to weight or adiposity altogether, and evaluate more relevant markers of a patient’s health, including metabolic factors, psychological status, mobility, etc.

06 May

How to Buy Greek Ferry Tickets


Around this time of year when everyone is organizing their summer vacations, I often get e-mails from people reading  my blog for tips on planning a trip. I get a lot of questions, especially about Tobermory and Crete and Norway. I am by no means an expert but I do a LOT of research for every vacation that I plan so I do end up with a wealth of knowledge on certain destinations.

The most recent question I received was from Jacquelynn about travelling the Greek Islands:

Hi Samantha. I came across your blog and I enjoyed it very much. I’m definitely going to try and accomplish your top 5 list. I was wondering if you knew a site or the easiest way to island hop. I’m going to GREECE come this August. I’ll be visiting Crete first then Santorini, and lastly Milos. I was wondering if you knew how much ferries cost and if you have any advice on where to buy tickets. Thank you so much for your time.

Chania Crete (50)

Hi Jacquelynn

First of all, I haven’t been to Milos and know nothing about it. I HAVE been to Crete and Santorini and loved them both though, I must say, Crete has a very special place in my heart. Good choice.

Thankfully, I keep a repository of years worth of plans, websites, travel times, prices, and itineraries handy to revert back to at times like these.

Back in 2012 we paid 48.60 euro for a 2-hour Seajets ferry from Heraklion, Crete to Athinios Port, Thira (Santorini). Prices these days for that trip are closer to 60 euro.

The best website for helping you plan your island hopping is www.gtp.gr. It includes ferry times for all the major lines like Seajets (mentioned above), Hellenic Seaways, and ANEK Lines so you can compare what works best for you schedule.

Note that not all ferry trips between two destinations take the same amount of time. Some ferries are highspeed while others are not. And some routes might include stops at other islands before your destination. Be sure to compare travel time as well as departure time.

The official departure times for summer aren’t posted on gtp.gr until May or even June for some lines, but you won’t have trouble booking a ticket even a couple of days in advance for most ferries.

You can buy the tickets online for most ferry lines or if you want to buy them last minute, they are available from certain travel agencies in major cities. Check out the line’s website for info on the agencies that sell tickets.

I hope that helps!

And if you’re looking for more information on places to visit and things to do in Greece, check out my other posts:

Santorini Travel Tips

Top Things to do in Loutro Crete

Travelling to Heraklion Crete

Top 5 Things to Do in Chania Crete

Safe travels!

03 May

Links for a Sunday Morning



The Canada 150 Logo – Maclean’s

Designers consulted by the Ottawa Citizen offered varying takes on [the] design, one calling it “student work,” another saying it “meets the minimum criteria of a usable logo.”

Wearing a Suit Makes People Think Differently – The Atlantic

Formalwear elicits feelings of power, which change some mental processes.


The Board of Governors have voted on and unanimously approved the $90,000 in penalties be imposed on the Halifax team, coaches, and players for their actions in not playing the game.

How Wealth in Childhood Shapes Personality Later in Life – The Atlantic

The dynamics of inter-class marriages reveal that money predictably influences the way one goes on to think about with work, emotions, and parenting.

For Teenagers, Potassium May Matter More Than Salt – NY Times

The kids who consumed the most potassium had much lower blood pressures by the end of adolescence. What we need to focus on is increasing potassium intake rather than focusing on restricting sodium intake.

Recipe Writers Tell Us How to Spot Reliable Recipes on the Internet – The Kitchn

An experienced recipe writer will pay close attention to the words they choose in the instructions, to make sure they are clear and specific, and provide enough explanation to help even novice cooks.

26 Apr

Links for a Sunday Morning

Peace Quote

Peace Quote

Growing Generational Divisions are a Worrying Millenial Shift – The Globe and Mail

Economists say that those who stumble when they’re young have a steep scramble to catch up, decreasing the social mobility that keeps economies and countries healthy. When class lines calcify, experts contend, society suffers.

Why Asking for Advice Makes People Seem Smart – The Atlantic

Asking for advice only made the participants seem smarter when they asked about something the mentor was a self-identified expert in. When the mentors were asked to weigh in on topics they had no knowledge of, the advice seeker was seen as less competent.

The Shame Game – From the Corners of the Curve

It matters because health isn’t always physical, mental health is just as important and the years of dieting and punishment on myself caused my damage than good.

This meditation teacher has an amazing explanation — and solution — for why so many of us can’t escape the voice in our heads – Business Insider

A commute is a trip where you’re trying to get somewhere, but you don’t really enjoy the journey. You’re not really present for the journey — the journey is kind of garbage time to get you to something that’s meaningful.

Mixed Signals: Why People Misunderstand Each Other – The Atlantic

Chances are how you look when you are slightly frustrated isn’t all that different from how you look when you are a little concerned, confused, disappointed, or nervous. Your ‘I’m kind of hurt by what you just said’ face probably looks an awful lot like your ‘I’m not at all hurt by what you just said’ face. And the majority of times that you’ve said to yourself, ‘I made my intentions clear,’ or ‘He knows what I meant,’ you didn’t and he doesn’t.


24 Apr

Mindfulness is effective for treating depression

Worrying quote

If you’ve never tried a mindfulness practice then you should start.

I try to meditate as often as I can remember because I know it benefits me, even though it can sometimes feel like I’m sitting around and doing nothing.
If I don’t get around to meditating in the traditional sense (seated, in silence, with my eyes closed) then I turn my actions into a meditative practice.


Yoga is an obvious one. Paying attention to my body in space– how it moves, how it feels, how it changes. I do it when I lift weights too.

Sometimes I create a mindfulness practice when I walk the dog. Noticing the temperature of the air, the sounds I’m hearing, and noticing my own state. Am I trying to rush through the walk? Am I thinking about other things? Am I stressed or anxious?

I even work on mindfulness in the shower where, left to my own devices, I would be so scatterbrained that I’d forget whether I shampoo’d and do it twice.

It’s nothing much. It doesn’t seem like it requires a lot of effort but when you actually stop and try pay attention to the present, to how your mind bounces around or fixates itself on something, or to what your body is experiencing it can be a challenge to remain focused. It takes practice.

The benefits of mindfulness are numerous and as more studies come out touting the health benefits of staying present, it’s becoming a no brainer, like flossing your teeth.

For example, a recent study on mindfulness therapy and depression “established that mindfulness-based therapy is equally as good as drugs, which could offer a new option for those who do not want to be on medication for years.”

“It teaches people to recognise that negative thoughts and feelings will return, but that they can disengage from them. Rather than worrying constantly about them, people can become aware of them, understand them and accept them, and avoid being dragged down into a spiral leading back to depression.”

Want to try it?

Here’s a very simple exercise you can try anywhere at any time:

Focus on your breath for one minute.

That’s it.

Breathe in and out slowly. Your mind will drift and, when it does, notice your thoughts then return to your breath.

19 Apr

Links for a Sunday Morning

THEN & NOW: Watch Detroit change before your very eyes – Detroit Free Press

Amazing Detroit then and now pictures.

A realistic look at monogamy, affairs and the growth of monogamishness – Globe and Mail

The painful truth about long-lasting committed relationships: They offer security and familiarity. Which are precisely the opposite forces that drive passion – novelty, risk and the unknown. And yet we continue to expect both from one mere mortal, our spouse.

Making time for kids? Study says quality trumps quantity. – Washington Post

It appears the sheer amount of time parents spend with their kids between the ages of 3 and 11 has virtually no relationship to how children turn out, and a minimal effect on adolescents, according to the first large-scale longitudinal study of parent time to be published in April in the Journal of Marriage and Family. The finding includes children’s academic achievement, behavior and emotional well-being.

Tough, Cheap, and Real. Detroit is Cool Again – National Geographic

“Detroit offers space and time. Here there’s maybe a chance for young people to build a middle class.”

The Right Dose of Exercise for a Longer Life – NY Times

The sweet spot for exercise benefits came among those who tripled the recommended level of exercise, working out moderately, mostly by walking, for 450 minutes per week, or a little more than an hour per day. Those people were 39 percent less likely to die prematurely than people who never exercised.

Indifference is a power – Aeon

Any misfortune ‘that lies outside the sphere of choice’ should be considered an opportunity to strengthen our resolve, not an excuse to weaken it.This is one of the truly great mind-hacks ever devised, this willingness to convert adversity to opportunity.

15 Apr

The Mama Expo Recap

Mama's Expo Booth

Phew! I made it through the big expo day!

I started out early– with a lot of help from my friend a future step-mother Silvia– setting up my Prenatal Yoga booth.

Mama's Expo Windsor

We laid out all my posters and postcards and brochures for the taking. And, of course, candy tastefully coordinated with my colour scheme (vanilla tootsie rolls and hershey’s kisses) which was my way of enticing people to my booth but really drew children over more than anything else.

Mama's Expo Windsor

Overall I think the expo did well. It was very well organized, especially since it was the inaugural year.
I was surrounded by some really cool booths and chatted with some really awesome vendors like Hot Mama Fitness, Bites for Babies, Ocean Bottom Soap, and the delightful Union Jack Pop-Up Tea Room.

I was on the workshop schedule so I sneaked away from the booth for 30 minutes to teach a Prenatal Yoga sampler to a small (okay, very small) group of ladies. Since the class was right at the start of the expo I expected no one to show. The fact that I got 3 ladies was a win.

I spent the rest of the day working the booth, handing out printouts, fielding questions about prenatal yoga, and smiling so much that I had to unscrew the smile off my face at the end of the day.

It was exhausting.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to teach yoga and I love to talk about the benefits of yoga and I want more people (especially pregnant women) incorporating yoga into their life.  That was the whole point of me being there. However, being social and smiling all day are not my forte. I’m more of the Silent-observer type, the Nose-in-a-book type, the Are-you-talking-to-me?-Please-don’t type. So, yeah, this was work.

But I’m so glad I stretched out of my comfort zone just a little to do it.

Mama's Expo Booth


Thanks so much to everyone who came out to say hi. Thanks to everyone that helped me as I got ready for this big event. Your support means so much.

01 Apr

The Mama Expo – my first show!

Mama Expo

I’m gearing up for my very first expo!

I’m pretty excited and nervous and maybe a bit overwhelmed as I get ready to promote prenatal yoga at The Mama Expo, with my own booth and stage time.

Mama Expo

The Mama Expo is a cool new shopping and pampering experience. New moms and moms-to-be are encouraged to come and have fun and do something just for them.

I’ve been busy designing posters, making business cards, creating a big banner, putting together a raffle prize, assembling brochures and postcards, and generally just trying to keep my shit together. I truly didn’t realize how much stuff I would have to think about.

Once I started planning one thing then I started thinking about another thing to plan and got into this snowball effect of thinking and planning and working and doing. Whew! I need yoga to de-stress.

I’m 12 days out from the expo (April 12) and think I just about have everything together. I’m looking forward to this event being a big success!

I’d love to see lots of faces there so if you do show up, stop by my booth and say hi!

Here’s what I’ll be providing:

- A sample 30 minute class at 10:15am on the main stage. BYO mat.

– Information about all the proven benefits that are associated with practicing yoga during pregnancy: how the practice will help women learn to handle stress and anxiety, have a better night’s sleep, and even improve the birth weight of their baby.

– Details about all my prenatal yoga classes and workshops at Downtown Yoga Studio and Breathe Pilates & Fitness

Candy! (Come to the booth before I eat it all)

A raffle for a basket of goodies for new moms valued at over $150 including a prenatal yoga DVD and a 6 class pass for Prenatal Yoga with me at Downtown Yoga Studio

– A yoga selfie contest! Post a photo of you in your favourite yoga pose. Tag yourself and Samantha Menzies Yoga (facebook) or @SamanthaYoga (twitter) for a chance to win a 6 class pass to Prenatal Yoga at Downtown Yoga Studio.

29 Mar

Links for a Sunday Morning

Be Fearless

Be Fearless

Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories – Washington Post

The ingenious method, which at its core is just a simple manipulation of chemistry, involves only a couple easy steps in practice. “What we did is cook the rice as you normally do, but when the water is boiling, before adding the raw rice, we added coconut oil—about 3 percent of the weight of the rice you’re going to cook

Take the Habit Personality Quiz – NY Times

How do you form your good and bad habits? Are you a people-pleaser, willing to take on a task for others, but less willing to take care of yourself? Or maybe you’re a rebel, and you are less likely than others to do as you are told when it comes to taking medication or adopting a healthful lifestyle.

Catholic priests are stirring up an epidemic of yogaphobia – Quartz

When powerful, charismatic religious leaders are publicly cited insisting upon apparently irreconcilable differences between them (that is, Hindus) and us (that is, Christians), we can also expect real social consequences.

Mapped: 10 years of unprecedented change in Canada’s Cities – Maclean’s

Canadian cities have seen a decade of major demographic changes, creating challenges for anyone looking to understanding how people live, work, and think

Even in Nursing Men earn more than Women. - NPR

Women outnumber men in the nursing profession by more than 10 to 1. But men still earn more, a new study finds.

How Obesity Became a Disease – Atlantic

For one thing, obesity doesn’t fit the definition of a medical disease. It has no symptoms, and it’s not always harmful—in fact, for some people in some circumstances, it’s been known to be protective rather than destructive.

22 Mar

Links for a Sunday Morning

The Do’s and Don’ts of Cardio – Girls Gone Strong

It seems like most people come down on one side or the other—it’s either ‘cardio is an essential part of your programming’ OR ‘cardio makes you fatter.’ So, which is it? And how can you, as a recreational exerciser, know what kind to do, how often and how much to get the results you desire?

Ontario minimum wage workers set for another raise: rate to rise from $11 an hour to $11.25 – Windsor Star

The province announced Thursday that its standard minimum wage will rise from $11 an hour to $11.25, effective Oct. 1.

Medicating Women’s Feelings – NY Times

Women’s emotionality is a sign of health, not disease; it is a source of power. But we are under constant pressure to restrain our emotional lives. We have been taught to apologize for our tears, to suppress our anger and to fear being called hysterical.

Essex man calls 911 to report himself for drunk driving – Windsor Star

“In all my years of policing, I’ve never heard of anybody doing this before”

Economic redistribution is our only hope – Salon

New technologies aren’t just labor-replacing. They’re also knowledge-replacing. The combination of advanced sensors, voice recognition, artificial intelligence, big data, text-mining, and pattern-recognition algorithms, is generating smart robots capable of quickly learning human actions, and even learning from one another. If you think being a “professional” makes your job safe, think again.

Why are white people expats when the rest of us are immigrants? – Guardian

Africans are immigrants. Arabs are immigrants. Asians are immigrants. However, Europeans are expats because they can’t be at the same level as other ethnicities. They are superior. Immigrants is a term set aside for ‘inferior races’.

#Yoga Does More Harm than Good – The Varsity

Timed selfies of the eagle pose are supplemented with a “#yoga” hashtag, and what once would have been considered a humbling experience is tainted with the intention of ego and imagery.

12 Women With Perfect Responses for Why They Don’t Have Kids – mic

“I don’t know why women need to have children to be seen as complete human beings.”