Category Archives: From Mary’s Desk

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.


My Exclusive Interview with Maribeth Madron, Makeup Artist & Eyebrow Specialist

Maribeth Madron

Whenever I get the chance to promote smart, successful, and talented women, I leap like a frog at the chance because their examples serve to remind us all of what you can achieve when you embrace potential, push up your sleeves to work hard, set and achieve goals, and never settle for mediocrity.

In today’s post, I share my Exclusive Interview with Maribeth Madron, who is a highly acclaimed makeup artist and eyebrow specialist.

I was honoured that the queen of eyebrows and makeup took the time to answer my questions, so that I could help others get their eyebrows on fleek!

Continuing to make her indelible and inspiration mark on the beauty industry, she has numerous recognitions including Best for Brows by Allure (eight times!), Best for Makeup, Best for Wedding Makeup, and a feature in Vogue’s prestigious beauty listing, “The Guide” for her brow work.

Working hard and remaining dedicated to her passion have always been part of her repertoire, as she began training since she was a teenager!

To date, under her belt, she has 10 years as Laura Mercier’s international makeup artist and educator.

Over the course of her fast-paced career, she has made personal appearances, been a globetrotter for press events, photo shoots, launches, and educational seminars. Clearly, there’s never a dull moment, and her drive propels her to tackle new and greater challenges.

Taking the beauty, entertainment, and fashion industries by storm, her work has been featured on many of today’s popular shows on television: The Today Show, Access Hollywood, The Bachelorette Wedding, the Grammy Awards, the Tonys, Good Morning America, The View, Late Show with David Letterman, Extreme Makeover, and Fashion Emergency.

Her work has been also featured in print in many of the top beauty, fashion, and lifestyle magazines including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar (HK), Vanity Fair, Allure, Marie Claire (UK), and Ladies’ Home Journal.

Being able to juggle everything, she still also squeezed in time to be a frequent panelist for the Women’s Healthy Beauty Product Awards, and she was an Emmy Awards judge in the makeup categories.

Since 2013, Maribeth has been Maybelline‘s Global Brow Expert, and she’s involved in many of their initiatives including product development, as well product launches and print and video shoots.

Keep reading the rest of this post to get the lowdown on tips for keeping your brow game strong and insight into the upcoming brow trends, according to Maribeth in my exclusive interview!

Also, I talk about my eyebrow journey when I was a teen. (Hands up if you also tweezed too much in the 90’s!)

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