Tag Archives: Family

Merzybean’s Year in Review: 2013

31 Dec

It feels as though the end of the year is always an appropriate time for reflection. This December 31st is no different. 2013 has been one hell of a year.

Last year, I blogged about whether or not New Year’s resolutions are worthwhile, or simply a waste of time.  While I still hold onto the belief that it is always acceptable and encouraged to take a retrospective approach to an upcoming year, the ideology that a new year brings new opportunities and fresh beginnings is often a little bit idealistic (I’m not jaded).

Why must we wait for a new year to make a change in our lives? I am going to take the opportunity this New Year’s Eve to reflect on my past year’s triumphs and challenges, rather than set myself up for failure with resolutions that I may or may not commit to. I think that resolutions encourage positive change and am not discouraging any of you from making a resolution or two for yourself. I just want to make changes in my life as I am mentally and physically capable of doing so, on a day to day basis, rather than mapping out my entire year before it has even begun. 

Picture 1

I do think that it is important to look back on the year, however. I learned a lot about myself this year. I shall share, without going into too many personal details:

  • I am more capable of overcoming obstacles than ever before
  • Family is everything
  • Friends are family that you choose to have in your life
  • I strive to be the wife that my husband deserves
  • Teaching is truly a vocation in my life (far beyond a career choice)
  • Kids really do say the darndest things; especially my grade 7s
  • Photography is a passion that I definitely want to pursue further
  • Procrastination is my biggest enemy
  • Turning 25 makes me feel like a real grown up
  • I have a backbone and deserve to stand up for myself


I wish all of my readers and friends a safe and prosperous New Year. I hope that you spend the evening with loved ones and I look forward to sharing more posts with all of you, here on Merzybean, in 2014.

See you next year,



The Value of Sharing Photographs

16 Aug

A photograph holds so much value; from the memories that it eternalizes, to the bursts of nostalgia that it ignites, a photograph speaks a lot more than just 1000 words.  My passion for photography began at a really early age and I knew that when it came time to get married, pictures would be a big focus of importance in the wedding planning process.

Having recently been married, I can speak to the importance of photography. Weddings involve several different stages and a photograph is the best way to capture a snapshot of each of these milestones that lead up to the main event. Between the engagement photos, wedding ceremony and the wedding reception, there are several memories to be captured.


Once all of the photos have been taken, what do you do with them? Do they sit on your computer in a folder that gets neglected? Do the pictures stay on a CD or a USB stick that eventually gets lost over time? I am all about printing my photographs and having the memories live on, rather than having the pictures become out of sight and out of mind. One of my favourite ways to keep the memories alive is to create a photo book so that I can enjoy my pictures.

When I was in high school, I went on a trip to Italy and the photographs that I had from that trip were unbelievable. I decided that I needed to do something more than just put the pictures into a photo album. I stumbled across Shutterfly and that changed the way I share my photographs. I put together a beautiful hardcover photo book that I was able to customize and share with my family and friends. Another photo book that I made, also with Shutterfly, was a memory book for my husband on our 1 year dating anniversary back in 2007.


The beauty of a photo book is that the final product is what you make it to be; you can customize the photo book to be unique to you. I plan on making a photo book for my wedding, the tricky part is deciding which photographs to use! Sharing photographs stirs valuable conversation, evokes memories that are near and dear to my heart, and I am able to relive special moments in my life that I never want to forget.

How do you share your photos?


Merzybean’s Favourite Things: Christmas Edition

24 Dec


I decided that if Oprah can share her favourite things, I should do the same! Of course, the definition of Christmas is not rooted in material things. Christmas is about family and loved ones, first and foremost. I think that it is so much fun to spend time with the ones you care about most and I really do mean it when I say that I love picking out personalized gifts for the special people in my life. It is not about the money and how elaborate the gifts are, but it is the thought put into it and the joy of making someone else happy.

Christmas is my favourite time of the year so I decided that I will share some of my Christmas favourites with all of you. From my favourite gifts to holiday treats, I’m sure you can relate to some of the items on my list!

Here we go, in no particular order:

Bath and Body Works candles and candle accessories


One of my favourite things about Christmas is having candles burning that epitomize the scents of Christmas. From Cranberry Woods, with a woodsy and fruity combination, to Vanilla Bean Noel, combining the delicious scent of vanilla beans and luxurious cream. Something that we do in our house is put up an artificial tree every year. This is for a few reasons, primarily being because we usually do not spend Christmas in Canada. While we don’t have a real tree up, we still want to have the beautiful pine smells filling our home. Thanks to the BBW candles, Fresh Balsam and Evergreen, we still get the same beautiful smell of a real tree! As for the candle accessories, BBW never disappoints. This year they have beautiful candle pedestals that sparkle with the candle light and really help to show off a beautiful candle.

Festive Drinks (Starbucks)


Yes, yes…the red cup marketing got to me too! There’s something about having a festive drink in a red cup that makes it that much more appealing. Once the Pumpkin Spice Latte season peters off, and the holiday lattes arrives, you can expect to see Peppermint Mocha, Egg Nog, Caramel Brulee, and my favourite…Gingerbread back at Starbucks. If you’re like me and you don’t have too much of a sweet tooth, the Gingerbread latte is just for you. With the rich flavours of gingerbread and nutmeg, this drink never leaves me feeling disappointed.

Loose Leaf Tea 


Teavana is a new discovery of mine. Well, that’s not true…let me rephrase: I am a new customer of Teavana. My mom purchased one of Teavana’s perfect tea makers recently and it is such an incredible invention; the perfect way to efficiently and cleanly steep loose leaf teas. It’s really quite simple: add the loose leaf tea into the tea maker, add hot water, allow the tea to steep, put the tea maker on your favourite mug and watch in amazement as the tea is strained into your cup, leaving the leaves in the tea maker. The best part is that you can reuse the tea leaves for several cups of tea, depending on how strong you would like your cup of tea to be. This is such a fabulous gift for any tea lover! Some of my favourite loose leaf teas at Teavana are Jasmine Oolong, Honeybush Vanilla, Peach Momotaro, and Blueberry Bliss mixed with Pineapple Kona Pop. I must admit, shopping at Teavana is not always the most pleasant experience because the sales associates can be quite pushy at times. They’re lucky the product sells itself.



This might sound so silly to some, but slippers are one of my favourite parts about Christmas and winter in general. I love feeling cozy, especially since winters can be so bitterly cold in Toronto. A festive looking slipper always makes me feel good. This year I finally got my hands on a pair of the infamous Bath and Body Works lamb slippers. Trust me, they’re as comfortable as they are cute!

MAC Cosmetics


Every year MAC Cosmetics find a creative way to put together glamorous palettes, with gorgeous colour combinations, to make every girl feel luxurious for the holidays, while threading together a specific theme. From eyeshadow palettes, sweet and sassy lip colours, to holiday nail polishes, MAC puts together a collection that ignores no details. This year the collection is called Glamour Daze, with packaging details and marketing that makes MAC girls feel a touch of couture. The fact that the collections are limited edition also add a bit of an appeal factor to the right demographic. For me, some of my favourite holiday looks include a bold red lip, maybe even a berry lip, or a smokey eye with some sparkles. Holiday looks can be unique and playful and when it comes to makeup, I love trying new looks!

Christmas Stockings


I think that stockings at Christmas are such a fun way to share presents! There’s something to be said about cute, tiny presents. This is the first Christmas in a few years that we decided to put up our stockings again and they really make such a statement. They’re a cute Christmas tradition and I’m quite a sucker for tradition. The coziness of the fire and the homeliness of the stockings really paints a picture right of Christmas.

Gingerbread Houses

christmas gingerbread house

We don’t make a gingerbread house every year but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate a good gingerbread house! Not only do they smell amazing, but they’re so festive and are so much fun to make. They never turn out the same and are always a collaborative effort! In the past, when making gingerbread houses, we put on Christmas music and make sure that we have a lot of extra candy on hand. We all became little designers as we work away on our miniature house and watch it come to life.

Nail Polish


I always associate a good red nail polish with Christmas; add some glitter and sparkle and I’m on board! I think that Christmas is a fun time to experiment with different nail polish trends and styles. Some people are more conservative with the way they dress, but when it comes to nails I don’t think there is a need to hold back!


DJ Earworm’s Annual Mashup

Every December, the infamous DJ Earworm brilliantly puts together his mashup of the year’s top pop songs. I always look forward to what he does because he has such a good ear (ha…ha…) and he puts together an incredible song with the perfect mashup of the top songs of the year. He has a knack of turning songs that drive me insane (simply because of overplay on the radio) into something that I can listen to on repeat.

Christmas Cards

Papyrus card

I absolutely love Christmas cards. I think that they’re such a cute way to finish off a beautifully wrapped present. The nice thing about a card is that you can truly put into words your best wishes and love for someone at such a special time of the year. It’s something that takes a little bit more time but I think that it is worth the extra few minutes for the effect that a card can have on someone. I love when Christmas cards start to arrive in the mail, from family and friends from all over the world.

Tiffany & Co. Christmas


That little blue box makes me a happy girl, I can’t deny it. Every year, Tiffany & Co mail out their Christmas catalogue with their unique charms with blue enamel and a hint of colour here and there. The Tiffany & Co charms are my favourite and I am lucky to say that I have a beautiful collection of their charms that I have collected over the last few Christmases as gifts. One of my favourite memories from New York City was visiting the original Tiffany & Co and seeing their elaborate, beautiful window displays at Christmas.



Ghirdaelli Peppermint Squares


Unless you have tried these delectable little chocolates, words really won’t do them justice. Our family became obsessed with Ghirdaelli chocolate when we discovered it in Disney World. The Peppermint squares have just the right balance between mint and chocolate, each flavour enhancing the other. Delicious!

Christmas Movies


I think everyone can agree with me that Christmas movies really help to set the mood! Some of my favourites are The Grinch and Elf because I love a good laugh. No matter what the Christmas movie is, if you’re watching with a loved one, you’re guaranteed to feel warm and fuzzy!

Family and Friends

Lastly, and certainly most importantly, Christmas time would not be the same without my loved ones. Words cannot express how important the people closest to me are, especially at Christmas. On that note, from me to you, I wish you a very Merry Christmas! May your day be spent with loved ones and full of joy and festivity.


‘Twas the night before Christmas,

and all through the house,

not a creature was stirring,

not even a mouse.







Merry Christmas from Merzybean.

Happy Thanksgiving!

7 Oct

It’s hard to believe that Canadian Thanksgiving is upon us already. I absolutely love celebrating Thanksgiving because it is a holiday full of quality family time and delicious food. Not a bad combination, in my books!

When we first came to Canada, the Thanksgiving tradition was very new to my family but we embraced it completely.

While it is important to count our blessings everyday, I think it is nice to have a day dedicated to sharing what we are grateful for with others. So, with that being said, here is a list of what I am grateful for this year:

  • Being engaged to a wonderful man
  • Having two degrees under my belt
  • Planning an exciting wedding
  • Having a family who loves me unconditionally
  • Siblings who, no matter what, will have my back
  • Friends who are loyal and reliable, both new and old
  • Being a part of special friends’ weddings
  • Friends’ engagements
  • New opportunities that have come my way recently

I’m going to keep this post short and sweet, but I hope that everyone has a lovely Thanksgiving with their loved ones.

What are you thankful for?