Category Archives: Things I Like

BAY DAYS Aren’t Over!

I’m very late to the game (life has been a tad busy lately as you can see from the past 128 blog posts, haha).

But I’d be remiss if I did not keep my annual tradition alive of sharing my top picks from the amazing selection of sale items at The Bay. So without further ado, here you are. Get ’em while they’re red hot and super discounted. And PS: there’s a weekend-only sale happening now, too!

GIVEAWAY: Morning Rituals with Breville’s Barista Express

GIVEAWAY: Morning Rituals with Breville's Barista Express

I’m a picky Polly when it comes to coffee.

Ever since I’ve put the brakes on dairy, there’s something no-so-satisfying about a dash of thin almond milk in a big mug of java—and I’m really not a big fan of the flavored, syrupy non-dairy creamers out there. Lately, I’ve only enjoyed coffee in the form of an almond milk latte, which I’d have to buy from a cafe. But after a while, that really added up—especially when cafes tend to charge an extra buck or so for substituting almond milk. Not to mention, I’d have to leave home for my caffeine fix. A huge issue, no, but a minor pain in the butt that was totally fixable, yes… (Scroll to bottom of post for contest entry details and sources on decor, clothes etc.)

GIVEAWAY: Morning Rituals with Breville's Barista Express

Long story short, I realized it was high time I get a proper espresso machine so I could enjoy lattes at home—and avoid having to leave the house in sunglasses and a hat upon waking just to spend $6. After a few hours of research, Breville kept coming up as one of the best machines you could get. Even my coffee-obsessed dad (and espresso machine fiend) mentioned them as the benchmark brand.

So usher in Breville’s Barista Express. Buy one for yourself here, or take your chances and enter below for a(n espresso) shot at winning one!

GIVEAWAY: Morning Rituals with Breville's Barista Express GIVEAWAY: Morning Rituals with Breville's Barista Express GIVEAWAY: Morning Rituals with Breville's Barista Express GIVEAWAY: Morning Rituals with Breville's Barista Express

Personally, I didn’t want a fully automated machine—I actually enjoy the little morning ritual of making a cup of something—but the thought of going fully manual (having both a machine and a separate grinder) was a bit much for me, and for my humble counter-space. This machine is the perfect amount of automated. It took a few tries to get my preference for bean grind coarseness and amount down, but once you set it how you like it, you simply tap the portafilter in, and it’ll grind the perfect amount of fresh beans every time. But then you get control back for the fun parts—the tamping and locking. After that, it’s a push of a button and voila! I take it a step further and foam almond milk every morning to make a latte, and Shawn adds hot water (also one button) for an Americano, but you get the idea. Once you know your preferences, it’s really easy to set it, forget it and enjoy.

GIVEAWAY: Morning Rituals with Breville's Barista Express GIVEAWAY: Morning Rituals with Breville's Barista Express

There’s also some cute features I didn’t notice at first. When the catch-tray is full of water, a little buoy floats up between the steel grates with a yellow sign that says “empty me!” And tucked behind the catch-tray there’s a little storage bin for all the accessories (the extra portafilter trays, the razor, cleaning kit etc.) Compact and cute. Nice job, Breville!

Soooooo, without further ado, if you want to win a Breville Barista Express machine for yourself, here’s how to enter:

  1. Follow @SabrinaSmelko and @BrevilleCanada on Instagram
  2. Like and tag a pal in this photo

And for bonus entries:

  1. Like Sabrina Smelko on Facebook
  2. Like Breville Canada on Facebook
  3. Follow Breville Canada on Twitter
  4. Follow Sabrina Smelko on Twitter

I’ll tally up all entries in a bag and pull the name from a hat next Sunday, April 23rd, 2017. Winner will be announced then!

PS: My top is from Ted Baker, black jeans from Topshop, mugs from HomeSense, and the wall storage rails are from IKEA. Books are: Jamie Oliver’s ‘Everyday Superfood’, Douglas Coupland’s ‘everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything’, and James Jean’s ‘Rebus’.

Catching Zzz’s With Tempur-Pedic

An Eclectic Boho Bedroom with Tempur Pedic

Sleep is important. Duh.

But only recently I realized the quality of my R&R wasn’t up to snuff. For years, I slept on a crap-tress (AKA a crappy mattress) but a) I was a young new homeowner, so spending money on something I already had wasn’t a priority, and b) I worked from home, so I slept long hours, woke up naturally and had a comfy couch at my disposal at all times, so it wasn’t important to me… then.

Once I signed on to film my HGTV show, I had to completely change my sleep schedule (and, well, my self-care routine too).

I now get up at 5 or 6am daily and don’t get home to bed most nights until late. After a few months of feeling crotchety upon waking,– which should not be the case when you’re 26 — I realized I needed to do something. Between Piper jumping on and off the bed all night and sleeping on popped coils, I simply wasn’t getting a good quality sleep.

So I made a big commitment and decided to update my sleep game with Tempur-Pedic‘s Embrace Queen mattress, a new 4.5″ boxspring (which is awesomely thin), and Soft + Conforming pillows. Naturally, I used this as an opportunity to update my bedroom’s design. And today — two weeks into sleeping on my new Tempur-Pedic products — I’m sharing my honest review and my tips for getting a better night’s sleep.

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A Gift Idea For The Guy In Your Life

Calling all dudes — or ladies buying gifts for dudes!

Every year I post a big gift guide targeted mostly to ladies, so I wanted to throw an idea out there today for that special dude in your life, be it your dad, brother, boyfriend, uncle or husband.

Whether you have no facial hair, or a beard that reaches your belly, Cutthroat‘s selection of awesome men’s grooming products would make a great gift for any guy in your life. (And pssst, there’s a discount code below!)


Shawn uses a bunch of their products and I looooooove the smell of them (and actually prefer it to cologne) — and the fact that they’re handmade in small batches in Canada is a big bonus for me as someone who likes buying local. So if you have a minute, check them out online and use code holiday17 for 17% off!