remember?

Lifestyle/Personal

217466_19104940032_3499_n

I remember a time when I felt invincible. I was in the twelfth grade (maybe even first year of university). I finally had my first kiss, been to some great parties, taken some risks by being honest with my friends, and really felt like I could do anything. I remember skipping my first class, it was English and it felt sacrilegious to do, but necessary all the same. I remember going for long drives on my lunch or spare with one of my friends; we’d blare Michael Jackson songs and sing until we couldn’t breathe.

I remember getting my heart-broken so deeply I didn’t think I would survive. I remember standing up for myself and being so unapologetic about it that I felt like a rebel (when did that stop?). I remember getting my first tattoo with my best friend by my side, simply because we could. I remember sneaking out of the house to meet a boy. I remember feeling so young that I wasn’t sure I would know what it would feel like to grow up.

I remember MSN, diaries full of scribbled emotions, and digital cameras. I remember conversations over coffee and plotting the path of our lives. I remember how real it all was; before screens were attached to our hands.

I remember all of those moments with fondness and pride. It was all so innocent that the pain didn’t actually penetrate the innermost layers near my heart. Most days I still feel glimmers of who that girl was, that happy and hopeful wallflower ready to take on the world, I’m just not quite sure what to do about it or how far she’s gone.

Maybe it’s time to send out a search party…

Xoxo,

Vanessa

Tea Please [from HealthSnap.ca]

Products and Brands

unnamed

Nothing tastes better than a cup of coffee in the morning, except perhaps a warm cuppa tea at eight in the evening paired with a great book and freshly baked cookies. A few weeks ago, my friend Victoria over at HealthSnap.ca sent over a box full of teas for me to try out.

You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me ― C.S. Lewis

HealthSnap is a Canadian online retailer based in Toronto. They sell numerous products in various categories (Baby & Mom, Beauty & Skin Care, Diet & Fitness, Household, Medicine, Personal Care, Sexual Wellness, and Vitamins & Supplements). They have even partnered with several pharmacies for their users to order through them for Home Delivery or Pharmacy Pick Up. Since Victoria sent me the teas directly I haven’t actually purchased from the site. They do have some pretty wonderful reviews, free shipping over $50, and great pricing though so I may give them a try.

The Celestial Tea box came with 5 different teas; Chamomile, Lemon Zinger, Peppermint, Honey Vanilla Chamomile, and Sleepytime. I’ve tried them all and wasn’t a huge fan of the Lemon Linger but the Honey Vanilla is the equivalent to having an evening of solitude in the library of your choice (a.k.a HEAVEN). The Sleepytime tea was earthy and minty and worked like a charm! The best part about this brand of tea: no matter how long I steeped it for, the flavour didn’t become too bold or strong. Each tea stayed true to its mild, relaxing, delicious flavour.

I tried the Refreshing Mint the other day at work and was happy when it didn’t taste as though I was drinking a pack of gum. It is calming yet exhilarating (yes, tea can be that too!) and it woke me up enough to get through the rest of my afternoon.

I have yet to try the Detox teas – I’m waiting for a weekend that I know I’ll be at home (just in case) or the Cold & Cough tea since I don’t have a cold or cough! I’m sure I’ll try them another time and I’ll let you know how they were.

Have you tried HealthSnap? What did you think?

Xoxo,

Vanessa

P.S. I was sent these teas in exchange for an honest review, as per my DISCLOSURE, I only write about products I use and things I like.

Blue October

Family Time

c9431ac04b0294ed9f4a89211d1fa156

More often than not, she writes in the third person; it makes her feel anonymous yet powerful. When the word I  becomes she, honesty grows wings. 

She thought that seeing her sister drenched in her own blood and her future husband in a hospital bed crying in pain would be enough turmoil for one month. Unfortunately everything comes in threes.

As she walked into yet another hospital room she held her breath. Her eyes focussed on her father, who lay asleep in a blue gown. The tube in his mouth sat quietly, steadily, allowing him to breathe. He looked like a different version of her father, his toes weren’t twitching and he was far too still. From the corner of her eye she glimpsed the rest of her family wading tears. This would be the trillionth time she cried this month. Instead of allowing them to take over she pressed them back into her head. She could be strong.

Over the next few days she’d come to understand that the saddest sound she’d ever hear would be her mother crying. She’d realize that it would take a long time for her own heart to stop hurting.

She went through the motions and did her best to help out wherever she was needed. She did her best to keep it together. She went to work, she focussed, she repeated.

Yes, she crumbled.

Yes, she felt agitated, angry, and guilty (for what she didn’t know).

Yes, she cried streams that turned into rivers that bled into oceans.

But she was humbled and aware of the fragility of life. Spending the better part of a month in and out of hospitals will do that.

The best way out is always through.

She went through it all but with luck and silver linings around every corner. Her  father’s quintuple bypass saved his life. Because of her fiancé’s liver donation, his mother would live. And her sister, who hemrroaged for hours, at this very moment, is chasing around her toddler with an infant in her arms.

xoxo,

Vanessa

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Awards

Lifestyle/Personal

unnamed

The lovely Victoria Stacey of Florals and Teacups nominated me for the Sisterhood of World Bloggers Awards the other day and I’m happy to finally get around to participating. My sincerest thanks to Victoria for the nomination – you are a wonderful human being and a fantastic blogger!

“The Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award is an award that celebrates female bloggers. After being nominated by a fellow blogger, you must thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog, and answer a series of ten questions that the person who nominated you has created. Then you create ten new questions for your nominees to answer and make a list of at least ten nominees (blogs that you enjoy reading).”

  1. Describe your blog in one sentence. A memoir in motion.
  2. What is the best place you have ever travelled to? I’d have to say that it’s a tie between Vancouver and New York City. Both beautiful and full of life; I felt rejuvenated and inspired from the moment I landed.
  3. What is the weirdest food you have ever tried (either abroad or at home)? Is liver weird? I’m not too adventurous when it comes to food.
  4. If you won a free trip anywhere in the world, where would you go and with who? Europe. I’ve never been and would love to explore a few places with my fiancé on our honeymoon.
  5. If you could only blog about one specific thing for the rest of your life, what would you choose? That’s a tough one; I write about whatever I’m experiencing at a specific moment in time. To write about only one thing wouldn’t be authentic or me.
  6. Where do you hope your blog will be in the next year? I always hope that it’ll blow up and be turned into a book. THAT is my hope every single year but realistically, I just hope it’s still around and that people continue reading.
  7. Who or what inspired you to blog? One of my best friends inspired me to start this blog. She said that if I wanted my writing to really exist, I’d have to put it online.
  8. Why do you continue to blog? It gives me clarity.
  9. If you aren’t blogging, what are you doing? Writing in my notebook, spending time with my fiancé and family, reading, or painting my nails.
  10. Share your favourite blog post ever (could be your own, or someone you admire!) Most recently: The Crawl by Amanda DiPasquale

I’ll be honest the older I get, the crazier life gets, and the less time I have to follow blogs. I do have a few blogs that I visit whenever I find the time. Here are six female bloggers that I admire.

Victoria Stacey Florals and Teacups (is this allowed?) 

Megan Radisa and Meaghan Onorato The Meg Life

Amanda DiPasquale Not A Model Blog

Karen Viray The Red Bow Blog 

Lindsey Reeder Reeder Reads 

10 Questions: 

  1. Describe your blog in 140 characters.
  2. How do you hope to inspire other women with your blog?
  3. Why did you start blogging?
  4. Why do you continue to blog?
  5. What is the best meal you’ve ever cooked or eaten?
  6. What is your favourite blog post (that you’ve written or that’s been written by someone else)?
  7. What is your favourite book?
  8. If you could tell your 10-year-old self something, what would it be?
  9. Who is your fashion icon and why?
  10. Beyonce or Adele?

xoxo,

Vanessa 

Where have all the good books gone? 

Book Reviews

You may have noticed that book reviews on My Pen, My Voice are virtually non-existant right now. I assure you that this doesn’t mean I won’t write them anymore, nor does it mean that I haven’t been reading. Like all readers, I go through reading lulls from time to time. I either eat a book up or nurse it over a two to three week span. Sometimes I’ll even carry around a book for months and read random passages, short fragments, and chapters whenever the mood strikes me.

That’s the best thing about books though; regardless of how, why, or when, they’re always there for you to open them up. Recently I devoured Room, had my mind blown by Big Magic, laughed through Why Not Me, and nurtured M Train. Each book offered up a different experience that I enjoyed equally, so why haven’t I reviewed them? It’s mostly due to time constraints. The last month or so has been insane and book reviews deserve thought and dedication.

Although each of these books deserve a separate, all I can offer right now is this: read them. Whether it be slowly, quickly, or in fragments; they won’t disappoint.

1594634718


xoxo,

Vanessa 

Giving Thanks 

Family Time, Lifestyle/Personal

unnamed-1 9.21.33 PM

On October 5th, my fiancé became an organ donor. 70% of his liver was cut out and placed inside his mother so that she could live. In the world of live donors it is very difficult to find a match; everything has to be absolutely perfect in order for the recipient’s body to accept this new organ. By some miracle my future husband, his mother’s only son, was that match.

As such, I spent the second week of October in Toronto General Hospital. Although the day of the surgery was emotionally draining; the aftermath is the most taxing. My body, mind, soul, and senses were ahnialted by various sounds, smells, and sights in the days following the procedure. Seeing the love of your life weak, uncomfortable, and in pain is difficult but I had no idea the strength that I would find the moment he was at his weakest.

Words cannot express how profoundly proud I am of my fiancé; my love for him has deepened and multiplied. Yes I am immensely thankful for the success of the procedure but I am also thankful for all that I’ve learned, experienced, and have taught myself over the last week or so. I am thankful for the family and friends I have beside me, for the strength I found within myself, and for love. Now more than ever I cannot wait to walk down the aisle with my best friend, to celebrate our love with his healthy mother by our side.

I’ve never cared much for things and now more than ever I have to admit that everything is nothing unless you’re surrounded by great people.

xoxo,

Vanessa

Karmic Moments

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

On Thursday, Alex and I decided to head to the newest sports bar in Bolton (Brooks) to have a little date night before his surgery. It’s amazing how comforting an evening out with your fiancé, a turkey club sandwich, and a delicious brownie can be.

When we got our bill I realized that our waitress hadn’t included the dessert on our bill. “Babe, this is a karmic moment – what if the outcome of your surgery depends on what we do in this moment!?” I nearly shouted. After almost seven years of being together, he’s used to my dramatic nature, so with a smile and a laugh he agreed.

We not only paid our bill but we made sure that we covered the cost of the dessert. When we let our waitress know about it she became flustered and confused, as they use iPads to take orders she had no idea where she had entered the desert. After a seemingly brief conversation with her manager, she walked back to our table with wet eyes and said that dessert was on them. We thanked her but didn’t change the amount of money we put in the bill folder (is that what it’s called?).

The next day at work, I decided that I needed a coffee break and went to Tim’s for a French Vanilla. Every time the weather gets cold I crave a French Vanilla. I paid for my drink and had to wait nearly fifteen minutes for it (which I didn’t really mind to be honest). Either I had my resting bitch-face on or the woman who served me is super nice because she gave me a few Tim Bits for free.

ea96f631ca92f94138a00f96a0be1f37

NOW THAT IS A KARMIC MOMENT GOING FULL CIRCLE.

xoxo,

Vanessa 

love is everything; period

Family Time, Lifestyle/Personal

unnamedMy September held intense moments of laughter followed by streams of tears. I experienced beautifully tender days and evenings painted with fear. There were warm weekends in the country and star-filled nights in the city. There were cuddles with my nieces and sleepovers with my siblings. There was magic, hard work, and a million curiosities.

This September paved the way for sincere reflection and necessary prioritizing. It put everything into perspective and forced me to do things I never thought I’d have to do. To see things I never thought I’d have to see. To prepare for things I never thought I’d have to prepare for. As such, this September I learned an extensive amount:

  • There are few constants in life; you can’t even count on regular bowel 
  • Life is fragile; even when you’re careful 
  • To be brave you must first feel fear 
  • Things can change at the drop of a hat; for better or worse
  • Moments are meant to be experienced; not Instagrammed 
  • You can be both blissfully happy and terribly sad at the same time; embracing both emotions is important
  • Love is everything; period 

xoxo,

Vanessa 

Falling into a New Season

Fashion & Beauty, Lifestyle/Personal

“Aprils have never meant much to me, autumns seem that season of beginning, spring.” ― Truman CapoteBreakfast at Tiffany’s

I love the stillness that comes with Fall. I love the silence. I love the idea that hibernation is in the forecast. After a crazy-busy-beautiful summer I am ready for a change of pace. I am yearning for cooler weather, warm sweaters, dark nail polish, and pumpkin-spiced everything. Call me crazy but Fall is my favourite season. It has potential, it radiates happiness with modest charm, and although I’m officially not in school anymore, it still has that air of change, growth, and excitement.

unnamed

I’m looking forward to a Fall filled with new adventures, exploring different styles, and creating new goals. I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving, long drives surrounded by trees with leaves ignited by colour. I’m looking forward to cool evenings with my laptop on my lap, words floating around in my mind, and a hot cuppa tea nearby.

I’m looking forward to it all.

xoxo,

Vanessa 

MaskerAide Virgin #sheetmaskselfie INCLUDED

Fashion & Beauty

When it comes to taking care of my face, my daily routine is simple:

  1. wash face with water in the morning + moisturize with no-name cream
  2. wash face with Dove soap in the evening + moisturize with no-name cream

Seriously. That’s it. I tend to spend more time primping my nails than taking care of my face. The reason: the more I put on my face, the worse it looks. I have very sensitive skin that breaks out easily. I can’t use harsh-smelling lotions or face wash and I refuse to wear foundation or powders. That being said, sometimes my face is in need of some serious TLC.

unnamed-1

Karen Viray is the wonderful woman who sent me four MaskerAide sheet masks – All Nighter, Weather Warrior, Beauty Restore, and Pre Party Prep. I’ve wanted to try them our for a long time (#sheetmaskselfies have plugged up my newsfeeds for months) and I don’t think Karen realizes just how perfect her timing was!

After trying all four sheet masks I am happy to announce that I didn’t break out at all! My skin is a little more radiant and insanely smooth; it even looks hydrated! **EVEN THE FIANCE NOTICED*** MaskerAide sheet masks are easy to use, super gentle, and give you an excuse to close your eyes, blast a Sam Hunt playlist on Youtube, and just unwind. We seem to forget how important it is to have these little moments to ourselves. I promise that twenty minutes with a MaskerAide sheet mask will leave you feeling rejuvenated both facially and emotionally.

Love Always,

Vanessa Xo

**Photo from the MaskerAide website**