Category Archives: Smorgasbord Sundays

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy!

Father's Day TributeThere’s not a single day that goes by that I don’t think about and miss my dad. (He passed away 5 years ago suddenly and unexpectedly.)

(I’ve blogged about my dad here, here, and here.)

It’s my new tradition to pay a special and well-deserved Tribute to My Dad on Father’s Day.

Maybe it’s strange, but when the stores put the Father’s Day greeting cards on display, I still look through a few of them and get a lump in my throat.

My mom and I will be visiting him at the cemetery, which is always difficult for me.

Instead of drowning in sorrow, I choose to celebrate his life because although even remembering the happy memories brings me to tears, I’d rather be inspired by the amazing life that he lived instead of dwelling on life being unfair.

No, my father wasn’t perfect. He was human. But he truly continues to be the biggest source of inspiration for me. Through his unconditional love, ability to see the humour in any situation, and his calming presence, he set the bar extraordinarily high.

He was the best listener. He wouldn’t cut you off, he would provide sound advice when you needed it, and he always put my heart at ease, even when I was going through what I thought was ‘the end of the world’ when I was a teenager and suffering my first heartbreak.

I find, to my dismay, that a lot of people don’t really listen. They rush, use the excuse that they’re “too busy”, or they brush off concerns because you’re the only person who feels the way you do. Even in a professional environment, it’s alarming how even after seconds of the boss saying something, a co-worker will ask a question that the boss literally just explained. Haha, and then there are the people who talk over your voice, and you wonder if they just love listening to themselves.

Listening skills are a lost art.

My dad, though, would let you talk for hours to get something off your chest. But what was even better was that he listened not just with his ears, but with his heart. It didn’t just go through one ear and out the other. He hung onto everything I said because he valued my opinion.

He also loved to talk, and when he seized the opportunity, he could talk for hours to anyone, anywhere. I used to joke that he could have a conversation with a doorknob!

I always admired his social skills – he was charming! (The interesting thing is that even though he wasn’t a doctor or security guard, strangers often would mistake him for working in those two professions, and it’s not like he was talking about medical or security issues. It was just the way he carried himself, I guess.)

It was also awkward when strangers (women and men) used to tell me that my dad is very handsome out of the blue. I would just smile, but then I’d keep my hawk eyes on the women in case they tried anything! Haha, I didn’t have anything to worry about. My father was a loyal husband to my mom and a very devoted father.

To prepare for this post, I looked through some old albums at my mom’s. There were lots of great photographs to choose from, but I picked a few to share with you.

They’re not listed in perfect chronological order, but they go from when he was a bachelor to when he got married to after marriage.

The photos are all from the 1950s and 1960s.

This post contains a little glimpse into what my dad was like before he had me and my brother. And as long as I blog for Swatch And Learn, I plan to pay a special Father’s Day Tribute to him every single Father’s Day.

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Smorgasbord Sundays: Forever 21 Statement Necklaces

Forever 21 Statement NecklacesI’m a huge fan of statement necklaces, and they don’t have to be expensive to excite me.

Sure, I have some pricier necklaces I adore from Ann Taylor that are of very high quality, but the majority of my statement necklaces are more affordable.

Recently, I purchased several new Forever 21 Statement Necklaces, which I can’t wait to style!

I love large necklaces that have a lot of movement or interesting geometric shapes. And if a statement necklace has lots of intricate detailing or reminds me of a warrior, I fall for it real hard! 😉

In today’s Smorgasbord Sundays post, I’ll show you my most recent purchases, and since they’re all still available on the Forever 21 Canadian website, you can get them, if you’re interested.

I’ve linked each photo of the individual necklaces to their corresponding page on the Forever 21 Canadian website to make it easier for you. And, for complete transparency, I want you to know that there are zero affiliate links in this blog post, and I’m not sponsored by Forever 21. Hehe, I wish!

Edit: You may remember seeing my old post from 2011 on a DIY Necklace Holder, where, at the very bottom, I showed you some of my necklace collection. :)

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Smorgasbord Sundays: How I Decorate My Erin Condren Life Planner

Erin Condren Life Planner Decorating IdeasRemember back in July, I shared with you how excited I was to purchase my first Erin Condren Life Planner?

Well, I’ve been using the Erin Condren Life Planner ever since it arrived, and although I mainly use it for function, I also like to spruce up the pages by decorating them a bit. I don’t do anything wild or crazy – I keep it really simple, and I try to leave as much space for writing as possible because I literally fill up pretty much every blank section with words. (Hehe, I am passionate about writing, as you may know!)

I usually like to switch up how I use washi tape to cover up the “Morning”, “Day”, and “Night” sections, as well as add a border, but lately, I’ve been really digging this simple and straightforward approach, which you’ll see in the photos.

Also, you’ll notice that I added a vertical line with the washi tape to divide the weekdays from the weekends. It makes it easier for me to organize my week.

In today’s Smorgasbord Sundays post, I’ll show you How I Decorate My Erin Condren Planner! :)

The other day, I got my hands on some skinny washi tape in lots of fun colours, and I picked up a few new stickers.

(I was really excited to find some Hallowe’en stickers from Michael’s, and I scooped up a book of them. Hehe, so in this post, you’ll also see some pages for October! Yeah, I don’t normally plan that far, but hey, Hallowe’en is my favourite holiday!) 😉

If you decorate your planner, please tell me about some of your ideas. I love seeing people get creative and show off their personality in fun and colourful ways!

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Smorgasbord Sundays: I Love Dexflex Claire Scrunch Flats

Dexflex Claire Scrunch FlatsMy dad used to say that I have “Cinderella Feet” because they’re a size 5, and my pedal pushers are on the narrow side.

When I was a baby, apparently I used to kick my shoes and socks off, much to the frustration of my parents, who kept trying to put the cute shoes on my feet.

The funny thing is now that I’m an adult, it’s a challenge for me to get shoes to stay on! 😉

Finding running shoes and boots are no problem, but when it comes to dress shoes, it can make me feel like Ethan Hunt, and it’s Mission: Impossible!

So imagine my delight and great surprise when, on a whim, I decided to try on some ballet flats from Payless Shoes, and they fit like a dream!

Since my first pair of Dexflex Claire Scrunch Flats, I’ve purchased several. And, thanks to the help of one of my readers (Frosso from Lacquer Me Silly), I managed to get plenty of back-ups of ones that, at the time, were trickier to find here in Canada because of limited quantities.

Payless Shoes has a website, but they don’t ship to Canada. It’s such a bummer because I seriously would be buying a lot more of these shoes if I had an online-shopping option.

Instead, I have to hunt down several different Payless Shoes store locations, and since my feet are women’s size 5, my section has slim pickings. That means if I find the Dexflex Claire Scrunch Flats, I need to buy them then and there, or I’ll miss out. (Looking over at the size 7 section, it’s stocked with several shoes in a given style. Lucky ducky!)

In this post, I’ll show you all the Dexflex Claire Scrunch Flats I have. I’ve been loving them so much because there are different designs and colours, plus they look good with dresses, pencil skirts, and even jeans – very versatile! They can look dressy or casual, depending on the style you choose and what you wear them with.

But the biggest plus for me is that my feet can fit into these shoes perfectly, they have a flexible and padded insole that’s very comfortable to wear all day, and the price is inexpensive. (They run $36.99 CAD, but you can often get them on sale for $29.99/$24.99 CAD. Plus they go for even less when you take advantage of their bogo sales.)

If you have tiny and narrow feet like me, give these a go. (Heck, even if you have wide feet, try them because they also have a wide width available.)

Out of all the styles, my most-worn pair is the standard black because it matches so many things, and it’s a no-brainer.

I find that the ones that scrunch the most (i.e. curl upwards) and have a ‘leather’ look are the ones that feel the most comfortable on my feet and are more durable because they don’t get as dirty as fabric ones that attract dirt. (Just a tip when you go shopping – look for those ones!)

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Smorgasbord Sundays: Erin Condren Life Planner 2014/2015 & Accessories

Erin Condren Life Planner 2014 & 2015In June, I pre-ordered the new Erin Condren Life Planner 2014/2015, and I opted for the 18-month version that runs July 2014 through December 2015.

It was a major splurge for me because the Erin Condren Life Planner I purchased is $50 USD. (Yeah, my wallet felt the burn like thighs on a StairMaster!) And it was an extra $5 to get the 18-month version instead of the 12-month version (January 2015 to December 2015).

You can customize your Erin Condren Life Planner to include a lot of bells of whistles, and that’s the advantage of purchasing it compared to a generic kind. This allows for greater self expression.

It has been since university that I used a planner, and now that things are getting really busy for me, I thought it was worth the investment in not only a practical planner, but one that also looks really nice. This is the Rolls Royce of planners, and considering that I intend to use this on a daily basis, I can justify the high price tag.

I’ve been going through a lot of traumatic personal things, and having this planner helps me to look forward to a bright future. It’s my little piece of optimistic sunshine that’s a daily reminder. To me, it represents more than just a way to organize my work, personal, blogging, and other schedules. It symbolizes the fact that I am setting goals to work toward to build and improve my skills and my perspective. Even when life throws curve balls at you, it’s up to you to turn things around and rise above.

This blog post contains tons of photos of the planner I chose to customize, as well as some Erin Condren and non-Erin-Condren accessories that I purchased to use with it.

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Smorgasbord Sundays: Father’s Day 2014

Daddy PhotoMy father is the best man that I have ever known.

Today’s Father’s Day, and it’s a yearly reminder of how amazing he was and how much I miss him. My mother and I will be visiting him at the cemetery later today.

There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about and miss my dad. So today is especially difficult.

He passed away in early 2010, just days after I turned 28. (I blogged about it here and here.)

Although I always cry on Father’s Day, I don’t want this to be a pity party. I want to take this opportunity to share with the world a glimpse into a moment I shared with my dad.

Note: The photo above is a picture of my dad when he was in his 30s.

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Smorgasbord Sundays: Goldfish Grahams Vanilla Cupcake

Goldfish Vanilla CupcakeWhen I go shopping, I am easily distracted when I walk down the aisle and catch sight of interesting or weird snacks. And I often want to blog about them, but then, well, I devour the whole package and forget to photograph them! (Oops!)

For instance, just last week, when I was browsing a European supermarket, I found  Snapea Crisps Harvest Snaps, which are baked wasabi-ranch-flavoured green-pea snacks that have the entire peapod intact. (The brand that makes them is called Calbee, which I’ve never seen before.)

Yeah, they might sound gross, but sometimes those kind of snacks intrigue me, and I just have to try them. (Plus on the package, it said that compared to regular potato chips, these have 50% less fat, are a good source of fibre, and are low-sodium. Also, 70% is made from whole peas.) That being said, I wasn’t eating these to be healthy! Haha, that’s like saying you eat potato chips to get your daily intake of vegetables – that’s stretching it like Gumby! (I ate them because the little kid in me was jumping up and down out of curiosity.)

If I ever see them again, I’ll blog about them, to the disgust of some, I’m sure. 😉

But for today’s Smorgasbord Sundays post, I have something much tamer, but still verrrrry yummy!

I was at Loblaws, and I walked by the cracker and cookie aisle. I literally stopped dead in my tracks when I saw the Goldfish Grahams in a new Vanilla Cupcake flavour!

Cupcake? Count me in! (Yup, in addition to enjoying fragrances that make me smell like vanilla cupcakes, I also like eating things that taste like vanilla cupcakes.)

In this post, I’ll show you a few photos of this new product!

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