Baby Belle’s Baptism

Family Time, Lifestyle/Personal, Restaurant Reviews

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Sunday afternoon we celebrated the Baptism of my niece (and now God daughter ) Isabelle. Dressed in an ivory knit sweater, a flower headpiece, and tiny flats with a rhinestone strap, Isabelle looked like an innocent little doll. Her smile is infectious and melts me to my very core – Godmother or not, this child makes me happier than I’ve ever been. The moment she recognizes me, the second she reaches for my face (normally my big squared glasses) everything else fades away. It’s just me and baby Izzy and I love her more than she’ll ever understand.

After an intimate little ceremony and a hectic day, we headed over to Fabbrica for a delicious luncheon. I absolutely love Fabbrica — last year Alex and I went there for Winterlicious and really enjoyed ourselves. We sat at a long rustic table, surrounded by colourful flowers, and homemade cookies. Somewhere between mouth-watering pizzas, a delicious beet and goat cheese salad, pillows of ricotta gnocchi, and a few glasses of wine, my sister and brother-in-law handed me a lovely gift. With it came the sweetest card I have ever read, a card that I will cherish. In it they told me why they chose me to be Izzy’s Godmother and I truly hope that I live up to everything they wish for.

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To me, being a Godmother is about being there for Izzy when she goes through anything that she feels she can’t talk to her parents about. It’s about being her friend and teaching her things that maybe no one else can. I look at my own Godparents and I hope to be all of that and even more for Isabelle.

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 Thank you for everything, Jessica and Richard, I am so honoured to have been such a big part of this special day. Thank you to all of the wonderful staff at Fabbrica for making Izzy’s Baptism beautiful, comfortable, and delicious. Oh, and Tia Mary — the flowers were beautiful!!

Talk soon,

Vanessa Xo  

Baby Belle's Baptism

Family Time, Lifestyle/Personal, Restaurant Reviews

photo1549533_10152152553601084_717776233_n

Sunday afternoon we celebrated the Baptism of my niece (and now God daughter ) Isabelle. Dressed in an ivory knit sweater, a flower headpiece, and tiny flats with a rhinestone strap, Isabelle looked like an innocent little doll. Her smile is infectious and melts me to my very core – Godmother or not, this child makes me happier than I’ve ever been. The moment she recognizes me, the second she reaches for my face (normally my big squared glasses) everything else fades away. It’s just me and baby Izzy and I love her more than she’ll ever understand.

After an intimate little ceremony and a hectic day, we headed over to Fabbrica for a delicious luncheon. I absolutely love Fabbrica — last year Alex and I went there for Winterlicious and really enjoyed ourselves. We sat at a long rustic table, surrounded by colourful flowers, and homemade cookies. Somewhere between mouth-watering pizzas, a delicious beet and goat cheese salad, pillows of ricotta gnocchi, and a few glasses of wine, my sister and brother-in-law handed me a lovely gift. With it came the sweetest card I have ever read, a card that I will cherish. In it they told me why they chose me to be Izzy’s Godmother and I truly hope that I live up to everything they wish for.

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To me, being a Godmother is about being there for Izzy when she goes through anything that she feels she can’t talk to her parents about. It’s about being her friend and teaching her things that maybe no one else can. I look at my own Godparents and I hope to be all of that and even more for Isabelle.

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 Thank you for everything, Jessica and Richard, I am so honoured to have been such a big part of this special day. Thank you to all of the wonderful staff at Fabbrica for making Izzy’s Baptism beautiful, comfortable, and delicious. Oh, and Tia Mary — the flowers were beautiful!!

Talk soon,

Vanessa Xo  

most like herself

Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal, Restaurant Reviews, Toronto Adventures

She feels most like herself when she walks crowded streets, blending in. She feels most alive when the crisp wind hits her face and her legs pinch with cold. She can see best with her big square glasses, turning and staring at whatever and whoever catches her by surprise. She loves old buildings and tiny restaurants. Restaurants so loud and squished, that you’re in your own little world. When liquid courage is on the menu, a glass of white wine is her choice. She feels stronger, speaks with more conviction, and can say no wrong. Her food of choice is always pasta — gnocchi if you please. Her guest of choice is the man across from her — shaved head, brown eyes, and a smile that puts her at ease.

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A night in the city is what she craves, a job downtown, an event, a cool workspace. To see the CN Tower every single day, to feel alive in the simplest way. She feels most like herself when she’s downtown, breathing in the heartbeat of the city, not living the same day over and over in a little town.

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Talk soon,

Vanessa Xo

Photo 1 Credit: My Pen, My Voice.;*

Photo 2 Credit: Pinterest 

Kick Ass or Chew Gum

Categories, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal, Restaurant Reviews

So many things to tell you guys. Firstly, I was asked to be a bridesmaid for my bestie and cousin. Obviously, I am super excited and cannot wait to go try on dresses, help plan the stagette, and just be there for the bride-to-be! I’ve been Pinteresting non-stop since she asked me!

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On Saturday, the bf and I went for a drive. I LOVE going for drives to little towns, listening to music as we watch the world pass by. We drive slow and sometimes we don’t have a destination in mind, we just drive. Winter drives are beautiful. Up north is like a crisp white desert, you can see trees off in the distance, and abandoned farms every once in a while. It’s quite sublime. We ended up in Alliston (which isn’t too far from where I live) and stopped in at Bistro Burger Joint for lunch.

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The burger was delicious, thick, and juicy. I got the bacon, cheese, bacon burger — topped with tomatoes and a red wine aioli. We shared a poutine, homemade fries, succulent gravy, and huge creamy cheese curds — you gotta eat there. Next I’d like to head over to Paris, Ontario and then St. Mary’s,  just waiting for a day of nice weather for those two.

The bf sent me the photo below, it’s my new matra. I read it at least twice a day and follow it the best that I can. I need to work on #3 and #8… they drive me crazy!

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This week I’m going to finally visit a head hunter to help me find a job, or at least help open my eyes to what else is out there. I’m ready to start the next phase of my life and a career is the first step to that. I’m also looking for some freelance writing assignments and  approaching brands for potential partnerships. I feel like I can do anything I put my mind to, I just a need direction.

It’s time to kick ass or chew gum… and guess what…. I’m all outta gum! 

Talk soon,

Vanessa Xo

Dinner with Santa @ToEatonCentre

Fashion & Beauty, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal, Products and Brands, Restaurant Reviews, Toronto Adventures, Uncategorized

A few weeks ago I won a private dinner with 9 of my friends in Santa’s Log Cabin (thanks to My Fash Avenue). The cabin is located just outside the Eaton Centre, downtown Toronto. I chose to spend the evening with my sister, a few of my cousins, my cousin’s two-year-old daughter, and my best friend. After the missions we pulled getting there (Toronto’s subway system doesn’t really accommodate strollers), we stepped out into the crisp winter evening and spotted Santa’s Cabin. Excitement filled our lungs as we snapped photos of what would be our personal cabin for the next few hours.

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The cabin was exactly how I pictured it, warm and toasty, stocked with gifts, toys, a work station, and the most beautiful Christmas tree I’ve ever laid my eyes on. We sat down to a beautifully set table in the middle of the cabin and did what we do best, eat and talk. It’s not very often that we can all find a day to get together and to have most of my favourite people at one table was truly magical. Call me crazy but I think it was a Christmas miracle.

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After a delicious meal catered by Trattoria Mercatto, we waited patiently for Santa.

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His arrival was epic.

My cousin’s daughter became serene and silent, playing shy at first, but she answered Santa’s questions with thought and precision. She couldn’t keep her eyes off of Santa, seriously I don’t think she let herself blink!

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The best part of the evening was not the food, or jolly old Santa, or the delicious desserts that ended the evening, the best part was spending time with my family and best friend. There were no distractions. There was no drama. Only laughter and smiles all around. It felt so good to spend time with my family, I may have even teared up a few times that evening (my heart grew two sizes that night). There was something entirely magical about the experience, it reminded me of the true meaning of Christmas, and I’ll never forget it.

Thank you to Deanne from My Fash Avenue, the Toronto Eaton Centre, Trattoria Mercatto, and the PR mavens that made the evening possible.

And to my dinner guests…

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Talk soon,

Vanessa Xo

Aladdin the New Musical [Recap]

Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal, Restaurant Reviews, Toronto Adventures

posterYesterday night the boyfriend and I FINALLY used our Airmiles Reward Miles to check out Aladdin The New Musical. Our package included dinner at one of 10 or so restaurants (we chose Fred’s Not Here), tickets to the show, two coat check vouchers, two drink vouchers, and two snack vouchers.

Dinner was lovely but it was nothing compared to the show: the sets, acting, costumes, and songs were absolutely stunning. Each scene blended into the next flawlessly and I was seriously impressed by the number of costume changes (it seemed like they changed into a new outfit every minute or so). Not only was the show a spectacle for the eyes but it was a treat for the ears as well, Aladdin’s voice gave me goosebumps and Jasmine’s voice melted my heart.

I loved that they took the story that we call grew up with and made it a little bit more modern. Most songs were the same as in the Disney movie but they added some great new ones, like Proud of Your Boy. A song that Aladdin sings to his mother who passed away, a song that shows how great he really is, how he’s more than just a street rat. The song added real depth to the musical.

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With new songs came new characters, like Aladdin’s three best friends. They were hilarious and I loved the way they interacted with the audience! Their jokes were clearly for the new generation but were still understood by the older members of the audience. The children were mesmerized by the various characters and their big personalities — the actors who played the Genie and Iago were incredible.

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My favourite scene in the play was the magic carpet ride, it left me breathless. One second you’re looking at Jasmine’s room and the next the windows break apart and are pulled in all different directions off of the stage. You’re left with a dark sky, a great big moon, and stars everywhere. Jasmine and Aladdin are singing their hearts out on the magic carpet, floating across the stage, as the stars get brighter and brighter.

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And just like that, you’re in a whole new world, wishing you could go for a ride on that carpet with the love of your life.

If I could, I would watch this musical every single night until it’s over.

IT WAS AMAZING! GO WATCH IT. SERIOUSLY.

Talk soon,

Vanessa Xo

Missions in the Big Apple

Bursting the Bubble, Categories, Family Time, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal, Restaurant Reviews

We made our way to the concrete jungle on a cold crisp November morning. I love flying in the morning or during the day, I like to to see the clouds and get lost in them. Once up in the air, we coasted through the white fluffy desert towards our destination. The world below popped in and out of vision, it sparkled and for a second it looked as if it was encased in glass. Sitting there quietly, peacefully, and fragile like it could shatter at any moment.

When the wheels hit the ground a sense of relief flooded my body, as well as, a sense of panic. As soon as the fresh air in the cabin turned off all I smelt was other people’s breath and stale air. It’s a clear fog but thick enough to leave you feeling light-headed. Off the plane we walked and into the first cab we saw. The ride started off fair enough, my bestie and I, bright-eyed and filled with excitement. Well, until we stopped seeing signs for the Queensboro Bridge and were taken down awful side streets filled with garbage and graffiti. Obviously our first thoughts were something out of a Criminal Minds episode, we looked at each other, eyes screaming with fear until finally we found ourselves on crossing the bridge, being thrust toward possibilities. More specifically the possibility of our cabbie getting into an accident. HE DROVE WAY TOO CLOSE TO THE OTHER CARS. He honked like a child just discovering the sounds that a car can make, and when another cabbie cut him off he rolled down his window, screamed, and spit on the other cab. Nothing like a nice hork to welcome you to New York.

Tuning that episode out of my mind I spent the next two days with my bestie power-walking around the city. We didn’t have maps or data on our phones but somehow we always found our way. It was kind of exciting to get lost in a city that we don’t really know. We stayed pretty close to our hotel on the first day, opting for lunch at Shake Shack – they have the best burgers on the planet. The meat is so succulent and juicy. It tastes as meat should, LIKE MEAT, not charcoal or crazy spices. It’s the kind of burger you savour and the perfect fuel for a long day of walking. That day took us through Central Park, to the New York Public Library where scenes from Sex and the City (the movie) popped into my head. The building is absolutely gorgeous, regal and wonderful. The study rooms are filled with books, computers, and eager students studying (or watching Netflix). I felt at home.

On Sunday we walked from our hotel on 40th Street (right beside the bus terminal, which made our neighbours a rather interesting bunch) to Ground Zero and let me tell you it wasn’t a straight line either! We zigged and zagged through various neighbourhoods from Soho to Greenwhich, down Fifth Avenue and back up again, through Madison Square Park and over to NYU, finally (somehow) ending our six-hour walk at Ground Zero. We did a little bit of shopping, treated ourselves to something nice and even stopped in at Strand Book Store. Three floors of BOOKS. The top floor being rare and used books with hefty price tags, musty smells, and literary genius pulsating off of the walls. The best part of that day was stumbling into Eataly on 5th Avenue, across from Madison Square Park. It’s a huge market filled with restaurants and fresh food, cookbooks and imported goods from Italy. PLUS an excellent cafe with the BEST coffee in the world (LavAzza). Kathryn (my bestie) had a hot chocolate which she said tasted like melted chocolate and steamed milk. It was the creamiest, most delicious hot chocolate she ever had! She can no longer have hot chocolate from Tim’s because of this one and it MUST have been good because she didn’t offer me a sip (I’m not mad though and she’s not sorry).

Our final day was a rough one. We could barely walk from the day before. My shins felt like I had been kicked incessantly by a little brat and Kathryn’s calves kept seizing up. BUT we made most of it with another walk around the city, a delicious lunch at Carmine’s on 44th street and a bit more shopping. So, what was the highlight of this trip? What made this trip different from my last trip to New York? Kathryn. I’ve known Kathryn since the tenth grade and even back then she was one of the few people I could really be myself around. I’ve never travelled with her before so I’ll admit I was a little worried. What if we didn’t get along? What if we fought? What if we ran out of things to say to each other? Thankfully none of my fears were realized. She was the PERFECT travelling companion and we’re more alike than I think either of us knew. It was so nice to have unlimited girl-talk-time with someone who is honest (even when it needs to be brutal), laid back, and who just wants to have a good time. Travelling with her is exactly what I needed at this point in my life. I feel refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to take some more chances, to make some changes, and to figure out exactly what I want.

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Thanks for everything Kpicks, love you!

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Talk soon,

Vanessa Xo

“P like Pneumonia”

Family Time, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal, Restaurant Reviews, Toronto Adventures

A good day for me consists of work, laughter, and love. For a great day, add a bit of hand-holding, a delicious meal, a glass of wine, and a stroll on King Street West. Wednesday was a great day. To celebrate the upcoming birthday of my boyfriend’s mom, we all went downtown for dinner and a show — that show being I LOVE LUCY

I thought the show was absolutely amazing! I loved the audience interaction (since we were the “live studio audience” while they filmed two episodes of the show), the actors (Lucy absolutely nailed Lucy’s mannerisms, laughter, singing, and voice), and the commercials that played between scenes (Chevrolet, Palmolive, and Mr. Clean just to name a few). I also LOVED the costumes and the slapstick comedy that the T.V. show did so well. Seeing Lucy and the gang in colour was a treat and something I think die-hard fans really went wild for. The best part about the show was getting caught up in it, being able to pretend like we’re back in the 50’s, in a simpler time, with simple and sweet gut busting comedy. Anyone who is a fan of Lucy should check out this production, it really is wonderful.

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Talk soon,

Vanessa Xo 

"P like Pneumonia"

Family Time, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal, Restaurant Reviews, Toronto Adventures

A good day for me consists of work, laughter, and love. For a great day, add a bit of hand-holding, a delicious meal, a glass of wine, and a stroll on King Street West. Wednesday was a great day. To celebrate the upcoming birthday of my boyfriend’s mom, we all went downtown for dinner and a show — that show being I LOVE LUCY

I thought the show was absolutely amazing! I loved the audience interaction (since we were the “live studio audience” while they filmed two episodes of the show), the actors (Lucy absolutely nailed Lucy’s mannerisms, laughter, singing, and voice), and the commercials that played between scenes (Chevrolet, Palmolive, and Mr. Clean just to name a few). I also LOVED the costumes and the slapstick comedy that the T.V. show did so well. Seeing Lucy and the gang in colour was a treat and something I think die-hard fans really went wild for. The best part about the show was getting caught up in it, being able to pretend like we’re back in the 50’s, in a simpler time, with simple and sweet gut busting comedy. Anyone who is a fan of Lucy should check out this production, it really is wonderful.

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Talk soon,

Vanessa Xo 

Foodie Day-Date: BURGERS

Just for Fun, Products and Brands, Restaurant Reviews, Toronto Adventures

On Saturday the boyfriend and I decided to try a new burger place. We’re huge fans of burgers and are on a mission to find a burger as good as the one we had in New York three years ago. We have yet to find a burger as delicious as the one we had at Shake Shack (yes, I can still taste it when I think about it).

So far, Burger’s Priest and Five Guys have come the closest but after a rave review from my Uncle, we had to try out The W Burger Bar on Caledonia.

The verdict: I love the way the restaurant is decorated, all of the black and red reminds me of a modern 50’s diner. The photos are pretty awesome as well, Marilyn Monroe eating a burger, Woody Allen and what’s-her-face having a milkshake, etc. The service was great and efficient with the waitresses taking our orders via iPhone but the burgers….well, the burgers I found a little dry, mostly around the edges. The meat itself was tasty although I couldn’t quite pinpoint the spice on it. The fries were probably more enjoyable than the burger, they were thin and salty and had a little potato skin still on them too. I left feeling full but extremely tired and a little bloated, something I’ve never felt after Five Guys. The bill was no more expensive than Five Guys but my disappointment in the burger made it difficult for me to reach for my wallet.

If Five Guys is a 4.5 on my chart and Shake Shack is a 6.5 (out of 5) than I’d give The W Burger Bar a 3.5.

Have you tried any tasty burgers in the city?

Where should we go next to find the BEST BURGER IN TORONTO (and surrounding area)?

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Love Always

Vanessa Xo