Category Archives: From Mary’s Desk

Today is Swatch And Learn’s 8th Blogiversary

It’s been a few months since I blogged.

For any readers who are still around, I want to touch base with you and let you know that I haven’t hung up the blogging towel. To be completely transparent like I always am with you: I’ve reorganized a lot of my life priorities, and blogging got knocked off the top spot of the totem pole for the time being.

There are lots of projects that I’m working on outside blogging that are mentally stimulating, mentally draining, and that also eat up a lot of my free time after work. Instead of spreading myself too thin and trying to “do everything,” I’m focusing on my top life priorities. I have decided to blog only occasionally. It’s not that I have lost passion for this. I still love it very much, but I’m shifting the time I spend to other things in my life that need the most attention.

In the next few weeks, I plan to bring you some swatches of at least one new nail-polish collection! 🙂 Hehe, I’m still painting my nails and having fun trying all different colours!

Today is a little bittersweet. Usually, on my blogiversary, I have a big worldwide giveaway for my readers as a thank you. I was going to do it again, but then I thought, “I haven’t exactly been blogging recently. Seems weird to celebrate another year when this year, I’ve only published a few posts.”

Instead, I’ve decided to plan ahead for a big fall giveaway to thank the readers who are still around then. As you may know, autumn is my favourite season! The colours are always very inspiring, and I’d like to take my time planning something amazing for you all.

Update: I’ve postponed the giveaway to a latter time. It will happen, but I’m not sure exactly when yet.

If you’re reading this, thanks for your support! 🙂 I am very grateful for all the comments and love you’ve shown me throughout the years.

I will be back. I haven’t left. I love you all!


Wishing You a Very Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas 2016

Dear readers,

Another Christmas is here, and I hope that you have a wonderful day that’s full of love, light, and happiness! 🙂

May you and your loved ones have a very Merry Christmas!

From my heart to yours, I wish everyone the very best, today and every day, regardless of what you’re celebrating during the holidays. Sending all things positive your way!


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My Nails and My Chapman’s Canada Day Cone

Raise your cone!

Happy Canada Day 2016

If you follow me on social media, you saw that last night I shared a photo of the yummy ice cream that I ate. (Also, check out my Snapchat. I posted video clips of the fireworks I watched! You can find me on Snapchat under the username “swatchandlearn”.)

The Chapman’s Canadian Cone was so delicious that I gobbled it up within mere minutes after taking this photo. (Who could ever resist that temptation?) 😉

I’m not sure how long this ice-cream cone has been around, but it’s the first time that I saw it at Loblaws.

How fitting for Canada Day yesterday, right?

It contains vanilla ice cream, and there’s a strawberry filling in the middle that goes all the way down to the tip of the cone.

The sugar cone is lined inside with chocolate, and the top of the ice cream also has some chocolate and cute red sprinkles in the shape of maple leaves! (Nice touch.)

Another awesome thing about the Chapman’s Canadian Cone is that a portion of the proceeds are donated to a charity in support of families of fallen Canadian women and men. I love how I can give back while enjoying a summery treat!

On my nails: Smith & Cult Kundalini Hustle.

Disclosure: This post contains a press sample provided by PR. (It’s the nail polish, not the ice cream. Hehe!)


Happy Father’s Day

Father's Day 2016

This is a photo that I took of my dad around 2000 or 2001. (Unlike me with an extremely heavy eyeglass prescription, my dad had excellent eyesight, even in his 70s. He only needed glasses for reading, and his prescription was very light.)

Today’s post is my annual tribute to my dad for Father’s Day. He passed away in 2010. He had an aneurysm and was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery, but didn’t make it out of the ER. Needless to say, it was devastating, and it all happened so quickly that you couldn’t prepare for this tragedy.

I had a very close and loving relationship with my father, which is why I continue to write about him each year. Sometimes, I sprinkle memories about him in my usual beauty posts, too.

(You can read the previous posts about my dad that I published on the blog in 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012. For those who are only interested in my nail or beauty blog posts, things will be going back to usual in the coming week.)

I almost can’t believe that it has already been six years. Time flies, whether or not you’re having fun. But life isn’t always about having fun and the good times. It’s about growing and learning, as well as having the courage to pick yourself up and carry on, even when your instinct is to curl up in a fetal position.

Each year that I sit down to prepare a Happy Father’s Day post, it’s always a struggle where I’m fighting back tears and thinking about aborting the task several times.

But the drive to honour my father propels me, and I remind myself that I have already accomplished tasks that I previously thought were impossible. (What you are capable or incapable of doing is up to you.)

For instance, when my father passed away, the last thing I wanted to do was to write a eulogy. Emotions were high, and the act of writing seemed trivial at a time when my world was caving in.

But I did it. And I read it aloud to friends and family during the visitation at the funeral home because I wanted to honour my dad’s life, his legacy, and what his love for me meant.

I also was one of the pallbearers.

If I can do that, then I can certainly do this.

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Harbourfront in Toronto for Victoria Day

OPI The I's Have It Swatch Harbourfront

Yesterday was Victoria Day here in Canada, and it was gorgeous with the sun beating down and the mercury rising!

If you follow me on social media, you already saw the above photo that I shared from when I went to Harbourfront in Toronto.

Enjoying the dancing waves, the sunshine making the water sparkle, and feeling the gentle breeze kiss your face are all experiences that everyone must have at some point. It is simply magical!

I only snapped a few photos during the day because I wanted to soak in everything, rather than be stuck behind my smartphone. Live in the moment!

Since I don’t have a nail-polish review for today (it’s coming soon), I decided to instead share some photos from Harbourfront to spread that summertime feeling! 🙂

On my nails: OPI The I’s Have It (from the Alice Through the Looking Glass Collection).

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Happy Victoria Day!

Bikini Nail Polish Victoria Day 2016

To my fellow Canadians who are celebrating the long weekend, Happy Victoria Day!

Whether you’re enjoying the beautiful sunshine at the park, or you’re swimming like I did the other day, I hope that you have a fun time spent with loved ones.

I’ll be relaxing today, but an in-depth nail-polish review is next on my To Do List, so you can expect that soon. (You know that I can’t stay away from blogging for long!)

Nail polishes shown:

Also shown is my favourite bikini that I purchased from La Vie en Rose a couple of years ago. It’s extremely comfortable, and I love this style because, if you’re petite like me, it’s handy to have so many ties that you can adjust to customize the fit.

Disclosure: This post contains nail-polish press samples provided by PR.