Job hunting, failing, and all things necessary

Bursting the Bubble, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal


I’m currently reading #GIRL BOSS by Sophia Amoruso, filled with witty anecdotes, great advice, and life stories, Sophia’s book is just what I need. I’m job hunting again, ya’ll know this, but this time there’s a hint of desperation in my voice, in my cover letters. It’s getting overwhelming.

The other day I was listening to the radio and  heard the hosts talking about college and university. How parents and young people go to school, take Liberal Arts programs, finish school and struggle to find a job. Not only that but they spend FOUR LONG YEARS gaining ‘skills’ that are useless in the workforce. They come out of school thinking that they will be hired for being awesome, that they’ll make great money, love their jobs, and get to spend lavishly. I am was one of those people. The truth is that that doesn’t happen and if you’re taking a Liberal Arts program you have to remember that you might not land the job of your dreams, you might end up doing something a little less glamorous but that’s life. You have to work and work hard until you get somewhere you’re happy with. It’s all about gaining experience, crawling before you walk, and walking before you run.

Please don’t get me wrong I am ALL for dreams. I have big dreams and even greater hopes for my future. I always thought I would be something awesome, working hard in the city, wearing heels to work, living and breathing my job, being recognized for what I do because I’m awesome at it. The problem is that I could never picture the “it”. Yes, I want to write and be known for it. I would also love to work in publishing, spend my days surrounded by books, but I don’t know what exactly I want to do in publishing. I’m not complaining that nothing awesome has happened to me. I’m confident that one day it will. I truly believe that if you find something you love you should find a way to get paid for doing it, you just have to understand that it doesn’t come easy. Nothing ever does and it’s okay to not have it all figured out.

I am in awe of women who seemingly have their shit together. Women that are doing what they love, kicking ass and rocking the world. Valerie from Charming Media, the ladies of TSOQ, my editor at Chic Darling, and the loveable Casie Stewart are women (close to home) that inspire me. What I forget to remember is that they didn’t just land where they are now by sitting around doing nothing and for a time I am certain that they were all a little lost and confused about where they wanted to go in life. BUT they made it, they persevered and they are doing what they love. They gained EXPERIENCE and that is what I must do now.  Maybe if I focus a little less on where I want to end up and focus more on trying new things, something truly wonderful will fall into place.


Your challenge as a #GIRLBOSS is to dive headfirst into things without being too attached to the results. When your goal is to gain experience, perspective, and knowledge, failure is no longer a possibility. Failure is your intention.


– Vanessa Xo

Quote from page 138 of #GIRLBOSS

Liebster Award!

Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

liebster_awardThe lovely Lindsey over at Reeder Reads nominated me (yes me!) for a Liebster Award! Not sure what it is? Well, it’s a way for bloggers to share their favourite blogs and gain a little exposure themselves. It’s kind of a long process but it seems like it’ll be super fun, so I’m ready to give it a go. First I have to state 11 random facts about moi, then I have to answer questions given to me by Lindsey (my nominator), then I must nominate people/blogs that I love, and finally list questions for them to answer. Not sure if they’ll be into it but heck, why not? So here goes nothing…

11 Random Facts about ME!

  1. I recently discovered that I am TERRIFIED of kittens.
  2. I’m hate speaking in public and yet I always made it to the finals when it came to Public Speaking Contests in elementary school.
  3. I am obsessed with my iPhone, notebooks, and books in general.
  4. I decided to become a writer in the eighth grade after I wrote and presented a monologue in front of my class. I got 100% and my english accent was amazing — the monologue was about Harry Potter’s first Quidditch match.
  5. I don’t like massages — being naked and touched by a stranger makes me feel icky rather than relaxed.
  6. In the first (or second grade, I can’t remember) I peed my pants at school, right before I made it to the bathroom. I hid out in a stall until my teacher came looking for me.
  7. I love to travel and hope to head to Europe within the next few years.
  8. I will get married in a bookstore (preferably Ben McNally Books in Toronto).
  9. I cry every single time I watch Lilo and Stitch, even though Tangled is my favourite Disney movie of all time.
  10. I love having my nails and toenails painted.
  11. I work on my self-confidence every single day.

Answers to Lindsey’s Questions

What is the one book you could never ever part with or get rid of?

How can I choose just one?? Since interning at Random House and becoming a book blogger, I have so many books on my shelf that I want to keep forever and ever. So, if I had to choose JUST ONE that I could never part with, it would be impossible. There are three books I could never ever part with. I’ve reread Speak and The Alchemist more times than I can recall. They have both brought me to tears and have helped shape the person I have become. They helped me find my voice. As for The Aftermath, it’s a signed advanced reading copy of an amazing read but it’s much more than that to me. I spent a day with Mr. Brook and his daughter, accompanying them to stock signings and bookstores. It was a truly amazing experience with a wonderful author, who shared some advice that I will never forget.

Thats what writers do. They spin plates and see how much they can get away with.”


Paper book or eBooks? Why?

PAPER BOOK FOREVER AND EVER. I love writing notes in my books, I love the smell of the pages, and the sound they make when you flip through them. I love bookmarks and holding a book in my hand — no matter how heavy it makes my purse or my luggage.

If you could travel to one place in the world (all expenses paid), where would it be and why? 

England. It is super literary and I like their accents.)

If you could meet one author (dead or alive), who would it be and why? 

I met Michael Ondaatje at a book signing so I guess the answer would have to be Anais Nin or Dorothy Parker or J.K. Rowling. I just can’t decide.

Do you play music while you read?

Not usually, it depends on my mood or how loud everyone in the house is being.

If you could create a dish with any cookbook author, who would you want to cook with?

I’m not big on cookbooks, although I should be because my cooking skills are lacking quite a bit. I would have to say Chuck Hughes and not just because he’s super dreamy.


Okay, it’s mostly because he’s super dreamy.

If you were given $5000 to spend in one store in the world, where would you do your shopping?


Do you have a favourite quote? Can you share it with us? 

I look up quotes like they’re going out of style but here is one I’m currently obsessed with…


If you had to be a member of a literary family, which family would you join?

The Weasley’s or the Weird’s.

Do you have a bad habit when reading? Twirling hair? Clicking your tongue? Tapping your foot? 

I tend to bite my lip or furrow my brows.

Who is the one author or book that has changed the way you read?

Every book I’ve read has changed the way I read. Every experience is different and I appreciate them all. I can’t answer this one! GREAT QUESTIONS LINDSEY! ❤

Liebster Award Nominations

Kaley from Books Etc. trained me on my first week interning at Random House of Canada. She is a treat! Sweet, supportive, and one of the most bookish people I know! I knew I made a friend for life after only a WEEK of working with her.

Amanda from Not A Model Blog has a writing style that makes me swoon. Her words are like butter on a crusty, freshly baked loaf with an aroma that lingers for days. She’s a lifestyle blogger who writes about everything from fashion to everyday beauties to travel diaries to book reviews. Her posts have a powerful honesty about them and are just as wonderful as the writer herself.

Romi from Confessions of a Chick in Paris is a self-published author with sass and unbelievable whit. Her success and determination has inspired me beyond belief.

Deanne from My Fash Avenue is my go-to blog for fashion inspiration. I’ve been following her blog practically since its conception and to see how far it’s come is truly inspiring! She’s made a huge name for herself in the fashion blogging world and I’ve loved following her along the way.

Casie from This Is My Life is someone you’ve heard me talk about more than once. She’s an influencer and personal friend of mine. She was blogging before blogging was cool and I am so thankful for all of her advice and help since the start of My Pen, My Voice.

* Questions for the nominees *

1. What is one book you’ve reread over and over again?

2. If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it?

3. Who would play you in the movie of your life?

4. Why did you start your blog?

5. What’s your go-to outfit?

6. Who is your biggest inspiration?

7. If you could have coffee with one person in the world (alive or dead) who would it be? What would you ask them?

8. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Thanks to Lindsey for the nomination! I would like to mention that had they not already been nominated, Lindsey and Maria (from I Believe In Story) would have been on my list as well! To all those who had stumbled upon My Pen, My Voice because of Lindsey, it’s nice to meet you! I hope we’ll be seeing each other again soon!

Talk soon,

Vanessa Xo

you were created to be victorious

Book Reviews, Lifestyle/Personal


Pinterest has been a beacon of hope for me lately — funny, witty, and inspiring quotes are what I’m drawn to and I’ve yet to be disappointed. The quote above stuck with me hours after reading it, so I thought I would share it with you. If you keep up with my blog or better yet know me personally, you’ll know that I am going through a bit of a 20-something-crisis (is too a thing!). As I look back on my mentor sessions with Casie Stewart, my internship recaps with Random House, and other projects I’ve worked on, I’m trying to find my focus again. I’m trying to figure out exactly what I want so that I can take the necessary steps to get it. I’ve even reread that post on Not A Model Blog to see if I can understand what Amanda saw in me that day.

She has an exuberant, uncynical view of life that is extremely rare in young people, like finding a constellation in the sky in the shape of Ryan Gosling’s face…There is no FOMO for her; no desire to be at some crowded, fake event or win a popularity contest. She’s honest, and you can see no fear in her lovely almond-shaped golden eyes.

Who is she talking about? Where did that girl go?

The problem: every single time I am asked what I want to do or where I see myself or what I would do if money/family/location wasn’t an issue, I draw a blank. I can’t. I don’t know. I blank. I see white. I see myself standing on a dirt road, staring out into a thick white fog, not sure if I’m going forward or backward, not sure where I am or what I’m doing. I’m in construction boots and jeans with a thick sweater on, staring out into a white abyss. I haven’t let out a breath in quite some time and as I hike my shoulders closer to my ears a tension headache starts to form. And just as I take a step forward my daydream lifts and I’m more confused than ever.

but it’s okay. this too shall pass. i’ll figure it out.

Talk soon,

Vanessa Xo

Photo Credit: Pinterest 

“Who dares wins” – Second Influencer Session with @CasieStewart

Bursting the Bubble, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal, Toronto Adventures

On Sunday I went to the Art Gallery of Ontario with Casie Stewart (blogger, mentor, influencer). It felt great to be downtown on my own again but I still felt a littler nervous meeting up with Casie! Thankfully we started off the morning with a mimosa – where I shook it out and relaxed. Seriously, I had to shake out my nerves. I’m such a tense and anxious person, I need to let loose and STOP WORRYING. THIS IS ME, AND I’M AWESOME, LIKE IT OR LEAVE IT. In that state-of-mind I walked around from room to room of the art gallery with Casie by my side. We talked about a lot of things, she showed me some of her favourite artwork, and she told me a few of her stories.

Mostly we talked about this:

Photo from Casie Stewart

Photo from Casie Stewart

About me getting out of my comfort zone and trying new things. About me getting out of my current work situation and finding something that will give me the skills I need to succeed in the field I want to get into (publishing). Casie gave me loads of excellent advice but what hit me hardest was when she politely called me out on my crap. I haven’t been looking for jobs in the right places because I’m comfortable where I am and I am scared of change. BOOM! I said it. Now I need to change it. Easy-peasy.

Another thing that I really need to work on is discovering what I LOVE. I walked through the room filled with self-portraits (the original selfie) and wondered what my self-portrait would look like and how I really see myself. I wondered a lot about what I love, what inspires me, and I realized that I don’t know. But I am going to find out.

I’ve got a brand new notebook and I’m making the right lists, looking for the right jobs, and exploring the city as often as I can.

Next I’d like to check out the aquarium and head to The R.O.M, then maybe I’ll explore the local art gallery (McMichael).

Come with?

Talk soon,

Vanessa Xo

You're in a rut and its time to get out of it!

Bursting the Bubble, Just for Fun, Toronto Adventures

Tuesday was my first official mentor session with Casie Stewart thanks to the contest I won from HTC Canada. I walked into the Royal York Fairmont Hotel and wandered aimlessly, taken aback by the sheer beauty of the place. I had arrived at said destination a little early and figured that the best use of my time would be to people-watch. Classy and elegant women sat on sofas with their ankles crossed, a piano player sang her heart out somewhere in the distance, an angry man with grey hair shuffled passed me with his head shaking and mumbling an audible FUCK under his breath, while a young woman stood silently with her suitcases leaning against her — making me want to travel desperately.


As I looked around and stared up at the beautiful boxy ceilings, and shamelessly took a selfie, Casie popped out of nowhere with a big hug and a warm smile. My nerves melted away as we made our way to Library Bar, ordered cocktails and an appetizer to split. We immediately jumped into conversation, like old friends, and admittedly it was one of the best conversations I’ve had in a long time.  As the dark-lit room buzzed with the busyness of businessmen I let it all fade away and opened my mind to everything Casie was saying.

As part of the HTC One contest, I won a few hours with Casie Stewart so she can get me on the proper path to becoming an Influencer with my blog.  But before we got into that Casie wanted to know about me and what I want. When I couldn’t come up with an answer she asked me to visualize where I want to be, what I want to wear to work, what kind of company I want to work for, where I want to live, and not just visualize it but FEEL it. That will be my first step to AWESOMENESS.

Next Casie told me about herself, she told me stories that left me feeling inspired and motivated. She gave me tonnes of advice and really believes in me which left me on a cloud the rest of the evening. She told me to stop coasting, to stop being afraid, and to do things — the more you do, the more inspired you’ll be to write. She told me to make a change and THAT is exactly what I plan on doing. First I must figure out what I want and then make a plan (and work my ass off to get it).

I can’t wait to meet up with Casie again to show her what I’ve been working on.

Her positivity and caring nature made me feel confident and ready to take on the world.

Looks like she’s pulling me out of my rut!


Love Always

Vanessa Xo

the only way out is deeper in.

Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal, Products and Brands, Toronto Adventures

“The only way out is deeper in. It’s what you don’t yet know that can save you.”
Irini Spanidou, Before

Whatever it is that you’re going through, good or bad, pour your whole being into it. Eventually you will get out of the rut, you’ll move onto something better, or you’ll realize that where you are is exactly where you’re supposed to be. I don’t know why that quote pricked my heart, why it made me feel so… hopeful but I hope it does the same for you. I hope it helps you get through your week and pushes you to keep moving forward. Sometimes I feel like with everything I’m doing, I’m getting no results. Did you know that I’ve thought about giving up this whole “blogging” thing? I’ve thought about giving up on a job in publishing (magazine or book) and settling for whatever company will take a look at my resume. But then I realize (thanks to the thoughtful advice of my parents) that you have to keep going if you want something to happen — the only way out (or onto something better) is deeper in. Maybe your path with change, maybe your dreams will alter, but you’ll achieve them (it’s what will save you).

If I had given up I would’ve never entered the HTC One contest, nor would I have won the opportunity to WRITE a post on one of my favourite blogs. But today, that happened. My post is up on THIS IS MY LIFE and I couldn’t be happier, it’s a blogging dream come true and I’m optimistic that slowly but surely — if I keep working hard, good things will come.

Screen Shot 2013-09-10 at 9.19.58 AM


Love Always

Vanessa Xo

tomorrow tomorrow I love ya tomorrow

Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal


And that day will be AWESOME. Thanks to HTC Canada and Casie Stewart, one of my all-time blogging dreams will be coming true. You’ll have to stay tuned for it but basically…


*waiting. I’ve been waiting for this moment my entire blogging career. So check out THIS IS MY LIFE tomorrow morning and you’ll totally understand my excitement. Until then, keep smiling, keep laughing, and keep enjoying your life! It’s all the little moments, little acts of kindness, and little triumphs that matter most, enjoy them.


Love Always

Vanessa Xo 

BIG NEWS : #HTCOne – Everything your phone isn't

Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal


In April I entered Casie Stewart’s HTC One Influencer contest and just this week I received an email letting me know that I WON! So what exactly did I win? Well, shortly I’ll be putting away my iPhone5 and trying out my first Android, the HTC ONE, which you know is a pretty big deal for this iPhone-lover. With this new phone I’ll be documenting my life, as well as the other part of my prize — a social and blog mentorship with the one and only Casie Stewart (THIS IS MY LIFE). I’m so excited for that part of the contest, apparently I get to guest post on her blog too! I cannot wait to meet up with Casie (notebook, pen, and laptop in hand) and learn how to take my blog to the next level.


Thank you to Casie, HTC, and Say Media for this amazing opportunity, I am so excited to be the next HTC One Influencer!

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

Happy 25 Years, Ted!!

Fashion & Beauty, Products and Brands


Last night, Casie Stewart (THIS IS MY LIFE) hosted an event for Ted Baker London at Yorkdale Shopping Centre. Although I would have loved to attend this event, I decided to sign up for a seminar at Ryerson instead (which means I have zero spending money left this month). If you RSVP’d to the event you got 25% off your in store purchase (or any online purchase). I know my wallet is thankful that I didn’t attend since EVERYTHING on their website seems like something I would purchase. Here are some of my favourite pieces – I have a recent obsession with dresses and peplum.

Thanks to Casie I’ve fallen in love with a new brand!

I’m looking forward to walking into Ted Baker London sometime soon to splurge on something special for the summer

— a girl’s got to treat herself once in a while 😉

Love Always 

Vanessa Xo

P.S. What’s your favourite piece from the Ted Baker London website??

Paying it Forward with Clearly Contacts

Giveaways, Just for Fun, Products and Brands

So, I won these wicked cool Derek Cardigan frames from Casie Stewart and Clearly Contacts not too long ago. In fact, I got them back on Saturday!


Got my glasses back finally! Rockin’ my Derek Cardigan’s from @ClearlyContacts and @casiestewart 🙂

Now enough about my glasses and onto something for YOU. Clearly Contacts have given me the opportunity to pay forward the greatness of sexy eyewear…

Meaning I’m giving away a pair of Derek Cardigan 7019 frames right here on the blog!


I can totally picture you sitting in Starbucks, scribbling in your notebook, just contemplating  life, wearing these hot cat eye glasses, getting the attention of the very cute hipster-boy that just walked in. Or at your favourite bar looking cute, casual, confident, and totally fierce (once again wearing these cat eye glasses). Or sitting in the boardroom pitching your awesome ideas, commanding the room. Or maybe just watching a movie at home, in your p.j.’s with your dog – why not look cute while doing it?

Personally, I LOVE glasses. They’re a great way to change your look without doing anything major (like chopping off your hair). And now, I’d like to share the love – these cat eye inspired frames are one of 2013’s fabulous eyewear trends.

No one rocks ANYTHING like Marilyn Monroe but there's no denying that these cat-eye frames are fierce! You can try them on the Clearly Contacts website!

No one rocks ANYTHING like Marilyn Monroe but there’s no denying that these cat eye frames are fierce! You can try them on on the Clearly Contacts website!

Okay Vanessa, enough yapping – how do I WIN these frames?

I’m getting there but first I should let you know that this giveaway is open to Canadian residents only! (Sorry ILU <3)

To win TWEET: “Yes, I want to win a pair of #DerekCardigan frames from @ClearlyContacts and @VanessaGrillone!”


If you don’t have Twitter, leave a comment right here on the blog! 

The winner will be picked at random and announced right here on WEDNESDAY MORNING! Good Luck!

Love Always

Vanessa Xo