Birthday Staycation [Recap]

Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal, Toronto Adventures


“There’s nothing like deep breaths after laughing that hard. Nothing in the world like a sore stomach for the right reasons.” ― Stephen Chbosky

When you spend your birthday in the city with your best friend/love of your life, exploring, laughing, eating, reading, and thinking about nothing other than the moment — your age doesn’t seem to matter. I thought that turning twenty-six would feel different, that being a little closer to thirty would make me feel old (yes, I’m crazy like that) but it doesn’t. It feels better than I thought it would, it feels like craving something for weeks and then finally getting to eat it, and it tastes just as awesome as you thought it would. That’s what twenty-six feels like to me.

So, the hotel was a little old, but we got a great deal on Expedia and it was in an amazing area — right across from Nathan Phillips Square and a stone’s throw away from all the great shops on Queen West. After a Friday spent going in and out of shops (my new favorite is Lavish and Squalor), tattoo parlours (just in case I felt brave), and eating fries from food trucks, we headed over to Bannock, an O&B restaurant. The food was delicious, well-priced, and the portions left us feeling full and satisfied. Overall, I had an amazing birthday, full of love and little surprises — I hope you had a great weekend too!


Love Always,

Vanessa Xo


I don’t know about you, I’m feeling 26


GUYS! Tomorrow I turn twenty-six, which will technically mark the beginning of YEAR TWO in my latest project This is Almost Thirty (more on that another time). For my birthday, Alex has planned a lovely stay-cation in Toronto, complete with dinner, a hotel, and a few hours of walking around Toronto. I cannot WAIT to be in Toronto again, I miss it. Two years ago around this time I was interning at Random House of Canada and LOVED being downtown everyday. I’d spend the hour lunch I had exploring the neighbourhood I worked, trying out coffee shops, and taking photos of all the new things I’d seen. I wrote SO much when I was working down there!

You may notice that my birthday falls on Easter weekend, which means I’ll be spending a lot of time with my family or with a book in my hand (currently reading Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed). I’m also hoping to plan out a YA novel I’ve been wanting to start FOREVER. I’ll be back on Monday with a weekend recap, a restaurant review, and maybe even a mantra or two!

From My Pen, My Voice

Love Always,

Vanessa Xo

Isabelle’s First Birthday

Family Time

My god-daughter turned one this weekend, as I’m sure you noticed on my Instagram account. We celebrated her birthday at a park in Woodbridge with family and friends. I never realize how much is involved preparing for events like this until I have to be apart of them. Jessica, Richard, and my mom prepared all of the food and salads while the rest of us were on decoration duty at the park.

Isabelle, dressed in a flapper’s kind of romper, ballet slippers, and a beautiful headpiece was the life of the party. She spent a little time with everyone that attended, ran around with her little zombie arms stretched out in front of her, and danced at the first hint of a song being sung.

photo 3Is it wrong to wish that she never grows up? Sometimes I look at her and think You’ve got your entire life in front of you baby girl, don’t rush it! Watching her grow and change so much in only a year has been a wonderful gift. It blows my mind how she understands things. She knows who she’s “talking” to, she recognizes songs and movies, she can even say a few words. She’s at the age/phase where she imitates everyone, she wants to say what they say and do what they do. She loves to share but will tease you with kisses. When she actually wants to cuddle, her body becomes a little heavy marshmallow that you never want to let go of.

1560767_10152528291636084_8102617684228122907_nShe hates when you sing Happy Birthday to her — she shakes her head and keeps saying no! But she has no issue with eating the frosting off of her cake. Baby Girl loves cake and her family. I’m always wondering what she’s thinking and I cannot wait until she can tell me exactly what is on her mind. I can’t wait to take her to shows, bring her to the zoo, take her on the subway with me, take her shopping, or take her to the bookstore. But wait, let me slow down a bit and enjoy her for what and who she is now, a beautiful little one year old with nothing but happiness in her big brown eyes.

“You know what the great thing about babies is? They are like little bundles of hope. Like the future in a basket.”
― Lish McBrideHold Me Closer, Necromancer

Vanessa Xo

Twenty-Five ain't so bad

Bursting the Bubble, Lifestyle/Personal

“You’ll be fine. You’re 25. Feeling [unsure] and lost is part of your path. Don’t avoid it. See what those feelings are showing you and use it. Take a breath. You’ll be okay. Even if you don’t feel okay all the time.”
― Louis C.K.Untitled

I turned twenty-five on Friday and although I’m not big on birthdays this one felt like a big deal. I worked at the pizza place for a few hours where I was given hugs, high-fives, a few “holy shit I can’t believe I met you when you were sixteen”, and a delicious plate of penne alla vodka (made with love by my boss).


I went home to a salivating meal consisting of home-made mac n’cheese, chicken wings, and salad. My birthday was a dairy-fest and my tummy enjoyed every second of it. I spent my birthday surrounded by family, glasses of wine, and endless conversation. I played with my niece, received generous gifts and well wishes, and smiled every time a “Happy Birthday” text popped up — even from complete randoms that I haven’t spoken to in years.


I felt special on my birthday and I took on the day with confidence, an open mind and a full heart. Twenty-five is going to be a good year for me, it’s a great age — being not too young and not too old — it’s the perfect time to start something new, to travel, and to follow my dreams. It’ll be the year that I figure a few things out (hopefully), a year to celebrate so many wonderful things happening in the lives of those who are close to me, and a year to try new things.

IMG_7029With my niece sitting on my lap as I blew out the candles on my twenty-fifth birthday cake, I couldn’t help feeling lucky and thankful. This year I didn’t make a wish, I made a personal resolution. And even though life has been getting me down lately there are so many things to feel happy about and those are the things I’m trying to focus on.

Thank you to everyone who celebrated my birthday with me and to my in-laws for a lovely brunch the following day. I love you ALL! ❤

Talk soon,

Vanessa Xo

Birthday Recap

Family Time, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal, Uncategorized

Below you will find today’s post. You’ll notice that the formatting is a little different, that’s because I typed it up on this bad boy:




My aunt and uncle scoured the streets, flea markets, and various stores to find me the perfect, working typewriter. Although, it may be more of a novelty than anything, I couldn’t wait to give it a try this morning. It’s heavy and it smells old but this 1964 Royal Safari typewriter is what I’ve been dreaming of for quite a while. It clinks, it clanks, and it even dings when it’s time to move to a new line. It’s perfect and needless to say, I’m in love.


Obviously I need more practice on my typewriter :P. What I love most is how it slows down your thinking, rather, how it makes you more conscious of what you’re thinking. You need to be aware of what you’re going to write next, you need to plan out your next sentence so that you don’t make a huge mistake and have to start all over. With time, I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it, perhaps I’ll start writing on it often.

Anyways, I hope you’re having a wonderful Sunday!

Love Always

Vanessa Xo