A Good Mattress Can Help Your Sex Life

 

This post was brought to you by ChooseMattress.com. Thanks for supporting the posts that support Skinny Dip.

I found a sex related topic I haven’t written about yet: mattresses! I never considered the impact mattress comfort had on my sex life until I moved in with my ex-partner. I went from sleeping on a reasonably comfortable spring mattress to spending my nights atop of an Ikea foam mattress that I’m pretty sure was designed by Satan himself. Every morning I’d wake up with a sore back and achy muscles. I have a back injury and when my back doesn’t feel good, my libido suffers. When we finally made the switch and invested in a super comfy mattress, it had a positive impact on our sex life. (It’s amazing how much sexier you feel when you’re no longer living in a real-life version of the sofa bed episode of Seinfeld.)

So, without further adieu, here are a few pointers on how to choose the right mattress so your sex life never has to suffer.

Comfort

When choosing a mattress for sex, comfort is one of the things you don’t want to mess around with. Anyone who’s ever had the unfortunate experience of having sex on a futon only to wake up the next day feeling like their body was put through a trash compactor, knows exactly what I’m talking about. The last thing you want is to strain your body while making love (this is especially true if you already have an injury like I do.) Some mattresses will strain your knees, buttocks, or hands, and other areas of your body that offer support during sex. When these are strained, you will get tired out more quickly and may even wake up to body pain. Look for a mattress that’s comfortable and supportive so that sex can be as pleasurable as possiblesomething that’s more difficult to achieve when you’re worried about your mattress giving you shin splints.

Noise

While most people have differing preferences when it comes to noise during sex, I think most of us can agree that there’s nothing sexy about a creaky, squeaky mattress. This is especially true if you live with other people and want to keep things, um, discreet. Instead, aim to create an environment that allows you to focus on your partner with minimal distractions. By providing comfort and discretion, a quiet mattress will help increase performance and pleasure for both of you.

Bounce effect

To maintain rhythm and endurance you’ll want to make sure your mattress offers sufficient bounce. A rigid base may not offer this. When you don’t have enough bounce, your partner will feel like they’re being pressed into the mattress — and not in a good way. So, make sure you find a mattress with sufficient bounce for maximum pleasure.

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Edge support

When choosing a mattress to bolster your sex life, you also need to think about edge support — the encasement around the frame that spring mattresses require to support the springs. A good mattress will offer sufficient edge support to ensure safety and comfort, and will be designed to accommodate weight and pressure, without collapsing (I’m not sure what that would look like, but it doesn’t sound fun). Instead of worrying about stuff, a  good mattress allows you to focus on what’s important: great sleep and satisfaction from sex.

So, there you have it. If you’re shopping for a mattress with sex in mind, these tips should help. Think about it: the average person sleeps for one third of their life (if you sleep approx 8 hours a night and live for 75 years, that’s 25 years or 9,125 days that you spend asleep). You owe it to yourself to create the perfect refuge and playground for you and your partner(s) with a good mattress.

Tips For When You’re Literally Living in Your Mom’s Basement

 

We’ve heard the stats. There’s now more adults living at home than ever before.

(As I mentioned in a piece I wrote for the Huffington Post last year, a Pew Research study found that as of 2014, for the first time in more than 130 years, adults ages 18 to 34 are more likely to be living in their parents’ home than with a spouse or partner in their own household. According to their research, this turn of events is fueled primarily by the dramatic drop in millennials who are choosing to settle down romantically before age 35, but also by larger economic issues.)

I am one of those adults.

A few years ago, my Mom helped me turn a ground level storage room into a bedroom and work area. I’ve since learned a little bit about subterranean living.

(Technically, my living space is “garden level.” My Mom always likes to remind me of this. However, I think a  lot of these tips apply to anyone who is living in a small and/or less than desirable living situation.)

Whether you’re living in Vancouver, Barrie or somewhere else in basement-living-land, these lessons and tips are for you.

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1. Surround yourself with things you love. Just don’t go overboard.

For me this means books, books, books and more books, plus a few carefully chosen tchotkes that I’ve collected over the years. If I’m having a bad day – and even when I’m not – it’s nice to look around and see things that bring me joy. With that said, I’ve learned that it’s important to reel in the collecting, unless you actually want to feel like you’re living in a literal bookshelf (hey, maybe that’s your thing though! No judgement!) Personally, I prefer a more minimal space so I’ve had to learn how to balance the desire for “things” with keeping the space as open as possible.

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2. Color is your friend.

I used to think that the only way to do small space living was by being as neutral and monochromatic as possible. I’ve discovered that I really enjoy a nice pop of color here and there. Experiment and find what makes you happy. (FYI these Mexican pompoms (above) give me life and are perfect for brightening up a room – whether that’s room is in Cambridge, Ontario or Tulum, Mexico)

3. Warm bedding is key.

Winters on the west coast are damp. Heck, summers can feel pretty damp too. This innate chilliness is intensified when you’re sleeping in a basement or ground level space. But it’s nothing that a warm duvet can’t fix. I prefer natural duck down, but there’s lots of synthetic options that are great too. PS. Sheepskin throws are also great for adding a cozy vibe to your space.

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4. Indulge in a few luxury touches.

Sure, you’re likely living with your family to save money but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t indulge in a little luxury. No, I’m not suggesting that you go out and drop your last five grand on a Cartier serving tray. I’m just saying that adding a few touches that make your space feel special (whatever that looks like to you) is good for your mental health. I’m a big fan of art that brings back good memories (like my Jaguar print by Emma Ruben that I brought back from Tulum) and the gold & mirrored accessories I found at Target.

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5. Edit your possessions ruthlessly.

My space is small — especially my closet — so I’ve had to adopt a “one in, one out policy” when it comes to new possessions. Just because you love something doesn’t mean it has to be in your space. If you have access to storage, pack away everything that’s not essential. Yup, that’s my actual messy closet and yes, I do buy striped t-shirts in bulk. Thanks for asking!

6. Never go to bed angry.

I don’t know what your situation is, but if you interact with your family on a daily basis this rule is golden. Living with other people isn’t easy. If you can let it go (sometimes it’s just not worth the argument), do it. Otherwise, talk it out and apologize if necessary.

7. There ain’t no shame in your game.

Okay, that’s only partly true. I’m super self-conscious about the fact that I live at home (especially after spending so many years living on my own) but most people are really supportive when I tell them. Sure, dating while living at home can be a bit awkward at times, but it’s not that big a deal. This is just temporary. If anyone you’re dating has a problem with your living situation, they’re not right for you anyways.

What are some of your favorite tips for living in a basement or small space?

Making DIY Art Dreams Come True with Bestcanvas.ca

It seems like just yesterday I was fantasizing about turning one of Joe the Intern’s photos into a piece of wall art. Well my friends, dreams really do come true. Almost a year later, the folks over at BestCanvas.ca approached me about turning one of favorite photos into a canvas print. I knew exactly which one I would choose.

IMG_0084The  process was ridiculously simple. After consulting the minimum resolution requirements, I chose a large 40’’x30’’ portrait shaped canvas for Joe’s mug and uploaded my photo (the system lets you play around with different formats to see which works best). It was exactly what I had in mind, so I ordered it.

That’s the beauty of BestCanvas.ca — you can literally take any high resolution photo — a favorite vacation shot, a photo of your pet or even a stock image that you really love and turn it into gorgeous, personalized art. Goodbye, generic home decor. Hello, conversation starting DIY statement piece.

About two weeks later, my print arrived on my doorstep and I ripped open the packaging like a kid on Christmas morning totally normal thirty-something anxiously awaiting a large scale print of their favorite man doll.

You guys, I’m smitten. I had no idea what to expect, so I was totally floored when I saw how vivid the colors are.  It’s so bright and happy and perfect.

IMG_0081I love how large, bold art can add an instant pop to an otherwise blank space. When I move, I envision hanging this piece in my breakfast/eating area because I like the idea of looking up from my smoothie every morning and remembering that sunny day wandering around Beverly Hills. However, since I’m currently without said wall space/breakfast nook, I’ve had fun experimenting with the print in various areas of my current home. Behold the proof that a life-size print of a half-naked G.I Joe is surprisingly versatile!

ACS_0029If I’m feeling lazy or don’t have a lot of wall space to hang art, I’m fond of leaning it against walls. I love how my Joe print looks propped up on my dresser.

Although I still think a large landscape oriented (lengthwise) print would better suit the space above my bed, Joe the Intern insisted I try it in the bedroom anyways — you know, because nothing sets potential lovers at ease like a large scale photo of a plastic man with rock hard nipples the size of quarters.

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It doesn’t look terrible, but I think that I’ll stick to hanging this piece in less intimate areas. Sorry, Joe.

All in all, I really enjoyed my Bestcanvas.ca experience. The only thing I wish I’d known beforehand is that these prints are very high resolution (a good thing!) I wish I’d done a better job photo-shopping Joe before I uploaded the image because the small blemishes (ie. marks on Joe’s face) that were visible on the original showed up on the print. Just something to consider for next time.

Joe on the other hand, has no complaints.

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So, there you have it. Art dreams turned real. What photo would you like to turn into a print?

This post was brought to you by Bestcanvas.ca. I received this print free of charge in exchange for my honest assessment of the product. Thanks for supporting the branded posts that support this blog.

16 Unique Last Minute Gifts for Women from UncommonGoods

Anyone who’s ever shopped with me knows that I’m a sucker for a great gift store. The more quirky, handmade goods, the better. The Secret Agent learned this when we travelled to California last year, and I dragged him into every cute looking gift store from Venice to Palm Springs.

Usually I buy my gifts in brick and mortar stores, so my curiosity was peaked when UncommonGoods contacted me about their products. UncommonGoods is an online store that carries creatively designed products from emerging designers, seasoned artists and artisans working collaboratively in a low income countries. The result is an online community chock full of fun, quirky and beautiful made products that each come with their own story. A quick peruse of the site and I found everything from unique Home Decor  and Personalized Wedding Gifts to gorgeous handmade jewelry.

UncommonGoods is also a socially responsible company that sells sustainable, ethical and cruelty free products – something that’s very important to me. They founded the Better to Give Program in 2001, which allows you to select a non-profit organization to receive a $1 donation at checkout. They’re also a founding member of B Corporation, an organization created to help customers understand the social and environmental impact of their purchases. You can read more about their story here.

If you’re still looking for the perfect last minute gift, here are some of my favorite gifts for women (or men!) from the store. 
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For the friend who’s always instagramming tacos.

  • Mismatched Taco and Hot Sauce Earrings: Does your BFF hashtag everything with #tacosarelife? Do you want to let them know that you think you guys go together like Carne Asada and a bottle of Tapatio hot sauce? These adorable taco & hot sauce earrings should do the trick.
  • Break the Bank Piñata: Help your taco-obsessed buddy save up for more tacos with this handy piñata piggy bank. Because #financialresponsibility and stuff.
  • Tacosaurus Knee High Socks: If you have someone in your life who writes or reads a lot…or maybe just really, really loves tacos (me!), these cozy socks are perfect for keeping warm.
  • DIY Tamale Kit:  Fun story: I love tacos (duh) and I love Tamales. One of the things I miss most about Toronto is the Nicaraguan restaurant near my old house that made amazing jumbo sized Tamales. I’d eat them at least once a week. Sadly though, it’s next to impossible to find a good tamale in my hometown. Enter the Tamale making kit! This is perfect for your friend who loves Latin American comfort food or is a total foodie (or both!)

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For the woman who loves reading in bed  and a night of cocktails in equal measure.

  • Bedside Essentials Pocket: I love to read and binge watch shows to my heart’s content, but I hate it when I misplace my remote, headphones or e-reader. This elegant grey felt much helps keep all of your bedside or couch-cuddling essentials handy. Slide the sturdy flap between your mattress and foundation or under your couch cushion, and the soft, open pocket holds everything from books to remote controls.
  • Pineapple Tumbler: Perfect for the hostess with the mostess, this gold pineapple shaped tumbler screams tropical inspired glamour.
  • Simple Sun Studs: I adore these gorgeous gold earrings. They’re incredibly minimal, but I can’t help but think of the Great Gatsby whenever I see them.
  • Simple Sun Necklace: Annnnnd….there’s a necklace too! Both of these pieces are perfect for anyone who loves a touch of understated glamour.

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For that special lady friend who enjoys meaningful, handmade items.

  • Rough Diamond Solitaire Ring: If I was to buy myself a diamond ring, it would look something like this. I adore the combination of organic, imperfect lines and a sparkling stone.
  • Serotonin Necklace: This modern sterling silver pendant is a sophisticated interpretation of our “happiness” molecule, serotonin. As someone who is serotonin deficient, this pendant seems extra special to me and serves as the perfect reminder to be kind to myself when it comes to my mental health. Run your fingers over the braille whenever you need reassurance that everything is going to be OK.
  • “She Believed She Could” Sterling Silver Ring. I love, love, love jewelry that comes with extra meaning. This handcrafted silver ring that’s engraved with the words “she believed she could, so she did” is a wearable reminder to chase your dreams.
  • Floral Batik Kimono Robe. I love me a good robe. Wrap yourself in a bouquet of lush lilacs, blushing hydrangeas, and fuchsia orchids with this gorgeous abstracted robe handmade by artisans in Indonesia.

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For the quirky home decor junkie.

  • Handwoven Friendship Basket: Hand-woven by craftswomen using traditional techniques, these cathedral-shaped “friendship” baskets are the signature vessel of Rwanda and add a beautiful, unique touch to any room.  While you’re at it, check out some of the other gorgeous handmade baskets available.
  • Neon State Art: Let your love for a beloved state shine with this neon wall art. The iconic silhouettes of your choice of New York, Florida, or California are rendered in radiant neon tubing accented with an illuminated heart. I’m biased to the California one, natch.
  • Hand Embroidered State Pillow: I saw these vintage inspired embroidered State pillows at a store in Santa Monica and have been obsessed ever since.
  • Black Cat Pillow: a cat lady at heart, I couldn’t resist this pillow that looks just like my Matilda. The pillow is knit from 100% baby alpaca wool by a self-managed collective of women in Bolivia. Production of these pillows provides a living wage that helps bring health care and education to their families.

Which gift is your favourite?

*This post was sponsored by UncommonGoods. All views are my own because that’s how I roll. Thanks for supporting the branded posts that support this blog. 

How to Create The Perfect Reading Nook With O.co

You may have noticed that things look a bit different around here! I’ve been craving a different look for this site for a while now, so yesterday I made the jump and changed things up. I’m kind of in love with the new design!

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about self-care.

When the term “self-care” started to make the rounds in the popular lexicon, I initially envisioned sepia hued scenes featuring lengthy candle-lit bubble baths, cucumber slices delicately placed on eyelids and gallons of herbal tea – all set to an Enya soundtrack.

My reaction was, “ain’t nobody got time for that” and “Enya? Really?”

I knew that self-care was important, but the more I was reminded that I wasn’t doing these things that everyone told me I should be doing, the more I felt like I was failing at being an adult human.

What I didn’t understand, was that not everyone’s approach to self-care is going to look the same.

For example, I love to read – especially new fiction and memoirs by female writers. I used to think my obsession with books was just that – but I’ve learned is that it’s so much more. I read every weekend morning and every night before bed. It’s not only an enjoyable hobby – it’s become part of my own self-care ritual. I go to the gym and do other things to look after myself but reading is always a constant.

Taking time to slow down and treat myself to new stories, perspectives and ideas, feels incredible. As someone with a naturally anxious mind, reading is my go-to reset button. Whenever things get foggy in my brain, I can always focus on someone else’s words. Re-set. Repeat. Plus, reading voraciously helps me grow as a writer.

I love the idea of having a specific area in my home to enjoy books (although, let’s face it – I read everywhere: the sofa, in bed, on my patio..) To my delight, the lovely people over at Overstock have once again stepped in to help me create the perfect reading nook in my home office/bedroom.

Because I’m all about keeping things budget friendly, I used some pieces I already had from O.co and mixed them with new items to create (what I think) is a pretty cozy nook in the corner of my office.

Here are some of my ingredients for the perfect reading nook.

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A comfortable chair.

This is going to be different for everyone. But, I decided to go with this Eames style armchair from O.co that I already had in my office, with the plan to upgrade to something more plush when I have a bit more square footage. 

Good Lighting

Even if you’re reading on a back-lit e-reader, good lighting is key. I’m a big fan of floor lamps. For my reading nook I chose this Catalina Chrome Arc Floor Lamp. I love the look of this lamp in person, but as you can see from the photo below, it’s much bigger than I expected (that’s what she said!) It’s a bit too big for the room and I’m pretty sure if I stay seated under it long enough I’m going to get beamed into space, but I love it and I’m excited to use it as over-the-sofa lighting in a different space. 

Glam Ottoman

There’s something really nice about being able to kick your feet up. I was so excited when I found the perfect Moroccan style Ottoman for my space. The gold leather adds a dramatic pop and doubles as a side table where I could rest a tray or a small stack of books. I’m kind of obsessed. 

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Luxurious Textures

The perfect reading nook needs to have a certain degree of coziness. I’m all about adding luxurious textures to your space. My go-to white mid-century chair got 110% more comfy when I draped this New Zealand Sheepskin Throw across it’s back.

Coffee

Always.

Great Reading Material

If summer had a literary theme, it would be “the summer Simone read all the female memoirs.” I really enjoyed This is Not my Beautiful Life by Victoria Fedden and am looking forward to picking up Jessi Klein’s You’ll Grow Out of It in the near future.

Unplug

Grab a good book, some coffee and unplug! Although I like to keep my iPhone handy so I can update my Goodreads account and take #bookstagrams of whatever I’m reading, I try to keep my reading time as free of tech as possible. Taking some time to unplug from your phone is an act of self-care in and of itself.

Et voila! 

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As you can see, the scale isn’t exactly perfect but everything is versatile and I’m excited to use all of these pieces when I move into a new space.

What do you guys think?!

Thanks to O.co for making this post happen. An alternate version appeared recently on the Huffington Post. I received all the items free of charge in exchange for my honest assessment of the product.

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