Category Archives: Life, Lately

Life Lately: Filming + Fashion

HGTV Canada's Save My Reno Behind the Scenes

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind!

I’ve gone from being a freelance homebody that barely left home to essentially becoming a nomad; living out of a bag, driving across the GTA from place to place, leaving a trail of granola bar crumbs, drywall dust, and hairspray. And actually wearing shoes on the reg — this, admittedly, is new for me. (In the photo above, I’m donning Aldo’s Sergioa heels while tile sourcing.)

In essence, my life at the moment is go go go, 24/7 — and I’m relieved to discover that I love it. I didn’t come from a background in TV, and I didn’t pursue this path, so there was always a fear in the back of my brain that perhaps I wouldn’t enjoy the work or the lifestyle, but I’m so happy to say that I’m really liking it. (For anyone completely lost on what I’m talking about, read this post fist.)
I’m constantly meeting new people (who become pals), and touring myriad homes that scream with potential. It’s inspiring, and I feel alive. Prior, I was at home all day in front of a laptop, save for the odd time I had to meet a client in person, so to be out and about is a welcome change.

There have been so many moments over the past few weeks I’ve been itching to share, but I’ve either been so flippin’ busy without a second to spare, or I’ve been sworn to secrecy 😉 So while I can’t share photos of the spaces or places or any specifics about what I’ve been working on, I can give you some sneak peeks into my life as of late.


x, S


I adore my makeup artist and hair warrior, Lynne Ryan — although, she’s so much more than that. It’s all the little things she does that make my day better, like her care when it comes to water bottle labeling and her straw-lid-hole technique. My top is from Ted Baker, and the hoops are from Aldo.



Unfortunately, these Serling cage heel loafers are sold out nearly everywhere, but fingers crossed they go back in stock because they are mint and so comfy!

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It Begins.

This weekend is my final weekend before my life takes a new turn — a turn I’ve been anxiously waiting for and anticipating since early 2016.

As I write this, I’m sitting in my backyard listening to the hiss of the cicadas, Piper lying on the grass at my side, and soaking it all in. I’m days away from filming for HGTV Canada. Oh, how I did not see that coming, but oh, how sweet it is!

As exciting as it is, it goes without saying that ignorance, in this case, is surely not bliss. As much as I anticipate that this change will bring opportunity, laughs, joy, it’s also bound to bring stress, exhaustion and challenge. But knowledge is power, and accepting this, I’m just about as prepared and excited as one can be.

Initially, this post was oh-so long and I wrote paragraphs on paragraphs, but in the end, it simply boiled down to wanting to say thank you.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me, rooted for me, and especially those whom smiled and shrugged at the news before adding, “It was just a matter of time — you’ve totally got this.” Thanks to the producers and talented array of people behind-the-scenes who have put their heart and soul into this. Thank you to my stylist who’s helping make me look and feel my best. To Shawn, my fiancé, I don’t even know where to begin, you inspire me to strive for more and push out of my comfort zone. To my amazing family and friends, and even to all those internet pals out there whom comment on and like my posts. Every nice comment that’s been published on my blog and Instagram, every high five I’ve received, I remember them all, and they’ve all added up in tiny ways to bring me confidence.

Even the smallest compliments and gestures of support go a long way — so if you can do one thing today, this weekend, this month, tell someone you look up to or think is talented that you look up to them and/or think they’re talented! I think we all assume those we admire have people tell them how great they are all the time, but you’d be surprised how often these people never hear it. Don’t just assume they’ve heard it before, because I’m telling you, even tiny shows of support mean a lot.

So to everyone who believed in me even when I didn’t, I owe you my sincerest gratitude because, without you, I would not be where I am today. And I am so so so ready for this chapter of my life to officially start. Okay, time to go shave my legs, throw mayo in my hair, relax with Piper in my garden, and get camera ready! 😛

Cheers, everyone! Y’all rule.


Outfit details for those into that:

Life Lately: Moving Parts (Aug.10.2016)

There’s a bunch of moving parts in my life right now.

As I enter filming for HGTVs Save My Reno, I’ll be taking a leave from Design*Sponge as well as most freelance design projects. Conversely, the show is ramping up quickly. I’ve spent the last few days and weeks in Toronto on-and-off in meetings (where the image above was taken) as we prep for filming in t-minus two weeks (ahh, so excited)! Aren’t these doors at the Thunderbird offices a beaut?

Elsewhere in my life, I figured I’d spill the beans on what I’m up to, things I like lately, and what my life looks like at the mo’:

1. I’ve been paying more attention to my diet.

As someone who has a perpetual sore stomach and digestive sensitivities, it’s funny that I’ve never bothered to pay much attention to what I eat and when — and how that makes me feel. Despite eating a healthy diet overall, there are definitely things I eat too much of (cruciferous veggies, I’m looking at you) and things I rarely eat (fruit), so balancing that out vitamin and mineral-wise, eating a wider variety of foods, and timing meals better (even just waiting to have coffee until I’ve digested breakfast or lunch) is helping big-time.

It’s funny how rather than the regular carrots and hummus, swapping in some grainy cracker and cheese can actually be a healthier option sometimes. Too much of a good thing — even veggies — isn’t always good.

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I’ve found that an easy way to try new things is to make grain bowls. I always keep both cooked rice or quinoa in the fridge, as well as dressing ready to go. Then it’s as simple as tossing in whatever veggies and protein you have on-hand, and a ton of nuts and seeds. Pictured above is a re-creation of the California Bowl from Lola’s Kitchen using quinoa as a base for chicken, sundried tomatoes, kale, and toasted nuts and seeds (it’s missing avocado — mine weren’t ripe in time). I also pin recipes all the time, so check them out on my Pinterest.

Sidetone perk: Part of this new regime is taking fish oils and B12 supplements, and holy cow, my nails are suddenly growing faster than I can keep up with.

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In addition, I’m regularly kicking my own ass with intense 30 minute workouts every other day (more on that here). Combining just these few tiny changes, I feel more a lot more energetic and have had less tummy-aches. (My shorts are from Gap Canada, which also has a matching bra-top. The bralet I’m wearing is from Nordstrom.)

2. I created better shop pages.


I updated the SHOP section of my website to include: 1) a direct link to a post where you can shop my entire house, 2) a curated furniture and home decor shop page which I’ll update regularly with my favorite finds (pictured above), and 3) the landing page to show my own creations. I also want to share that my better half opened a Society6 shop! Have a browse. Stay a while.

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You’ve Come a Long Way, Champ

You've Come a long way, champ. An essay by Sabrina Smelko

For the past few days, I’ve been undergoing the arduous task of individually editing every single one of my blog posts.

Yes, it was a major pain in the butt. But it also forced me to reflect on how far I’ve come in the last two years — on many fronts.

While looking through old posts, I could have easily let embarrassment overcome me: some of my writing was down-right awful, the thoughts I felt worthy of sharing and how I crafted them were steeped in inexperience, some of my earlier “renovations” were laughable considering how much I thought they were up there with Mt. Everest, and the foul language I used willy-nilly was… okay, it was kind of funny.

And along with embarrassment came surprise. I thought what? I considered that cool? And I don’t mean these questions to come across as self-judgments, but rather, they made me appreciate the person I am today more.

Reading old posts may have been as cringe-worthy as listening to a recording of your own voice, but it was also humbling and rewarding. A sense of pride and accomplishment came over me as I waded through them: I’ve become a far better writer; I’ve gained new skills that were clearly not in place years ago; and my knowledge and wisdom has grown immensely.

Just like Facebook’s memories feature, every photo and anecdote I had published in my recent past left me astounded by how far away those moments felt; how much I’ve experienced in between.

It’s so easy to think with the mind you have today and judge yourself 

Get mad at yourself for not doing or dropping certain things sooner. Or wonder why that thing you’re chasing after isn’t in your grasp yet. And it’s probably because while it’s been on your mind for quite some time, perhaps it hasn’t been out there in the universe for very long.

Looking through my posts, I was also shocked to find little to no evidence of my wishes, my hopes, and my dreams considering how heavy they were on my mind. They were hidden in unclear sentences and barely uttered despite being persistently present and top of mind. And you don’t get what you don’t ask for.

It also presented those things that still stand and hold their own to me in a new light. It echoed and reaffirmed some things, which I found just as helpful.

Insight and hindsight are just as valuable as foresight.

These memories also reminded me that all good things take time. It’s so easy to become frustrated with life and ask yourself, why aren’t I there yet? I still do it all the time, too, but sweetness, look at how far you’ve come.

Our brains are a tricky thing. A thing that has firm blinders in place in regards to the past. Your state of mind from yesteryear is impossible to return to, making it so easy to forget where you came from.

We are so often forgetful of the past, dismissive of the present, and impatient about the future.

So take a moment to remember where you were a year ago, two years ago, or five. You’ve changed, right? Now imagine where you’ll be in another one, two, five years.

Be kinder to yourself, have some patience, and give thanks to your little brain — because it really ain’t so little. You’ve come a long, long way, champ.

Photography by Gundula Blumi

PS: For anyone wondering why I had to edit all of my blog posts, it was because all of the images from my posts were embedded and referenced from my old blog (and the domain expires in a few weeks), so I had to download my old blog’s database and re-upload every single broken image (a fun time I shared on SnapChat: SabrinaSmelko). Once again, a firm reminder of how much I’ve grown and evolved since my previous two blogs. And in case I needed to learn any more lessons from this fiasco, it also taught me to never, ever take shortcuts when it comes to websites, and to always give your files relevant names rather than keeping them as “screen-shot-xxx”.