Category Archives: Thoughts, Curiosities + Advice

A Thank You Note

Currently: Lying on my basement floor catching my breath after an intense workout.

Also currently: Feeling grateful.

In the hustle and bustle of life, I took pause today (involuntarily in a very unglamorous, sweaty way). And whether it was the endorphins kicking in (likely a factor) or not, I was compelled to write a thank you note—to both everyone and no one in particular.

In this modern age of creative garbeldy-gook (did I make that up or am I right in thinking that’s a saying?) it’s so easy to look ahead at the next thing without acknowledging the hard work you put into what just happened.

We think we’re only as great as our latest work.

And while this tendency may motivate and drive us, it’s also important to pat yourself on the back from time to time for that thing you did yesterday and yesteryear. Because without that under your belt, you would not be where you are today.

Only when you give due credit to where you are now can you make the right moves towards where you should be heading in the future. If you’re always only dwelling in comparison, and wrestling with yourself, you’ll continue running in circles. At a certain point you have to be objective and reflective.

So I just wanted to express my gratitude: to everyone who reads this blog, to everyone who follows me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, the works, to everyone who’s supported me, and yes, to even myself, which is very weird to say but totally necessary.

If you can do one thing today, take a mo’ and thank yourself for working hard and being nice. It may be a given (hopefully) but that doesn’t mean it should go unnoticed or uncelebrated. That’s all for now.

x, S

Why You Have a Creative Block (+ How To Kick Its Ass)

Why You Have a Creative Block (+ How To Kick Its Ass)

It happens to the best of us.

Creative blocks come without warning—and more than just frustrating, they can be downright terrifying if your career depends on your craft.

In order to get out of a creative rut, it helps to find out why you go there in the first place. Not all creative blocks are created equally, and defining the cause is just as important as pulling up your boot straps and giving that block all the fight you have in you.

Today I’m sharing plenty of tips for getting over a block, plus I’ve explored the “why” to help you determine the perfect fix. (All photos are from my office)


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Enter into Wayfair’s 2017 Trade Tastemaker Awards

They’re baaaa-aaaack!

Yes indeedy, the Wayfair Trade Tastemaker Awards are back for a third year—and this year they’re shaping up to be stupendous. With five different award categories you can submit your projects to, submissions are open to Canadians as well (cheers).

As for how the winners will be chosen? Well, look no further than yours truly! That’s right, I’ll be helping determine whose interiors reign supreme a la Iron Chef—only nix the knives and flames and add in the company I’ll be alongside: the amazing Chip Wade and Alison Victoria.

As part of the campaign (deliberations are February 9th and awards in late March), I’ve been asked to write a few articles and give me two design cents for others, so click the following images to check out each article:

So if you’re a designer who takes risks, has a unique voice, and you’re brimming with talent, submit your projects today. I just may cast my vote for you to win. 🙂

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”.