Lost Girl at Heart — #Travel #Life #Leap

Book Reviews, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

Thanks to Not A Model’s review of The Lost Girls, I decided to pick up a copy. I’m only a hundred or so pages in (I’m trying to enjoy this book rather than swallow it whole), I have already learned a few important things. For starters I need to write better — their descriptions are beautifully written and vivid, without being pretentious. Secondly, I need to take more chances and make a few changes, but changes that are RIGHT FOR ME, right now. I don’t think I could drop my life and travel for a year through South American countries (like The Lost Girls) but my need for travel is still burning strong. I feel like I’m in the same little lost boat as the girls who penned this book — trying to figure out the next step of my life and what I want from it. I’m a little lost and my need to compare and contrast my life with other is hindering my vision. My future is clouded by other people’s decisions, commitments, and destinies. I need to paddle my way through all of their decisions and figure out exactly what I want, for now, and later. Then I need to take a leap of faith (whenever that ‘then’ may be).

‘There’s a Buddhist saying that goes “Leap, and the net will appear.” I didn’t understand what the restlessness was that was driving me, but I was compelled to take the leap. I could only have faith that there would be a net to catch me if I fell.’ 

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Love Always

Vanessa Xo

if you think adventure is dangerous…

Categories, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

photo-1Somehow summer is nearly over and I haven’t done anything that I’ve wanted to do. I wanted to go to a cottage, head over to the beach, have lunch or brunch on a patio downtown, take a stroll down Queen Street and maybe hit up Kensington Market again, and I definitely wanted to plan a girl’s weekend. The only thing I “did” so far this summer was read and visit Niagara-on-the-Lake. I’m not complaining so much as I’m disappointed that I didn’t make the time to do the things on my SUMMER LIST.

After completing my internship at Random House and going back to Caruso’s Gourmet Pizza, I slipped back into a routine. Wake, eat, clean, work out, shower, read, write, eat, read, work, shower, sleep, and it’s been pretty steady for the last month or so. Contiki tours tweeted that Paulo Coelho quote yesterday and it’s been screaming over my thoughts ever since.

If routine is lethal, I’ve been dead for years.

So what can I do exactly? Head out on the open road and wish for an adventure? Try to pack in all of the things I wanted to do this summer in the last few weeks? FINALLY plan that girl’s weekend I’ve been itching to plan?

WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

ADVICE in the comments would be delightful!

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Love Always 
Vanessa Xo

P.S If you haven’t picked up your copy of Twenty-One Truths or My Pen, My Voice on Amazon.com please do so shortly — they will only be available for a few months! XOXO

Vancouver 2013 [Travel Diary]

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

I am a horrible traveller; I hate flying, I end up constipated no matter how long I’m away from home, and if there is any kind of time change you can count me out from any event happening after 9 p.m. That said, I still LOVE to travel. I love to see new places, try different restaurants, and I love being a tourist. I’ve travelled quite a bit in the past four years but I must admit that Vancouver has been my favourite destination. For a quick recap of my trip you can check out my post on Chic Darling (which will be up shortly), for a more intimate recap, keep on reading…

Vancouver is a beautiful city surrounded by picturesque mountains. The air is so clean and fresh I felt I was breathing for the first time. The city is quaint and relatively quiet, yet filled with bikers, runners, rollerbladers, and beautiful people (there must be something in the air). The funny thing about Vancouver is that no one is actually FROM there. When you eavesdrop on conversations that is the first thing you’ll notice. They’ll say “I’m originally from Mississauga or Halifax or Barrie or Nova Scotia”. At first you’ll wonder why exactly they moved all the way out there to be a waiter but after a quick walk around the city you’ll begin to understand their motives.

On our trip we got to spend a few days with my boyfriend’s aunt and uncle. It’s amazing how different a trip can be when you know people who live there. They took us to two fabulous restaurants that we never would have found on our own: Nook (aka the best pizza ever) and Brown’s (aka Moxie’s but with good food). They were also our ride and excellent tour guides to/in Whistler, BC. I am so thankful that they were able to take us to the most beautiful place on earth, a place that will make you understand what it really means to catch your breath. Although I would recommend proper footwear, you should definitely take the ski lifts to the top of the mountain, it is the most relaxing thing I’ve ever experienced. On your way back to the city be sure to stop at all of the viewpoints — you will not believe your eyes.

Thank you Zia Anna and Zio Joe for the best day of our trip in Vancouver, I will never forget your hospitality and great conversation.

We will be back to visit sooner than later 😉

What else can I say about Vancouver?

  • If you find a great deal, stay at the Rosewood Georgia Hotel. It’s clean, luxurious, and the staff is unbelievably accommodating. They have a great gym, a large pool, and a spa (which I wish I tried out). They also have a wonderful driver named Jim — he will drive you anywhere in the city (within 15 minutes of the hotel) in his Bentley — for free. AND he makes an excellent tour guide! Thanks for the rides and information, Jim!
  • The coffee in Vancouver is expensive and bitter. I advise a walk to Tim’s whenever you’re in the mood for a cuppa joe, it’s the ONLY good cup of coffee I had all week.
  • For a fancy dinner and incredible meal check out Gotham Steakhouse & Cocktail Bar. The atmosphere is both dark and romantic with a hint of class. They have a great outdoor patio with a fireplace crackling in the background if the weather permits. Alex would probably recommend the steak and mashed potatoes, while I would recommend the salmon and a brownie for dessert.
  • If possible, go to Vancouver with people you love — or the love of your life. Vancouver is a great city to experience with someone, especially someone who loves to explore. Someone who will take you to the art gallery and not rush you through it, who will walk around the mall with you, who will help pick out gifts for your future niece, who will make sure you don’t fall when you’re walking up snow-covered mountains in sandals. Someone who will let you rest when jet lag is kicking your ass all over town, and who will surprise you with cupcakes when you finally wake up from the longest cat-nap ever. Someone who will have flowers delivered to the restaurant just before you sit down for dinner. Someone who will make you laugh, someone who will make sure that you make the most of your trip. Someone who will make your trip unforgettable. Thank you for a great trip, Alex!

Vancouver 2013 – Photo Diary

Obligatory Wing-Shot

Obligatory Wing-Shot

Granville Island Market

Granville Island Market

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Us and Jim's Bentley in Granville Island

Us and Jim’s Bentley in Granville Island

Our Hotel

Our Hotel

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Gastown

Gastown

Stanley Park

Stanley Park

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Until our next travel adventure…

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

Let’s Fly Away — up to 50% on select Porter flights

Categories, Products and Brands, Toronto Adventures

This morning a fantastic deal went live on Buytopia.ca.

porter:buytopia

Here’s how it works:

  • Click HERE
  • Click “BUY” to access this fantastic deal!
  • Use promo code “TOPIA” on flyporter.com
  • Make sure you book by March 11th for flights between April 1st, 2013 and June 26, 2013
  • PACK UP, LET’S FLY AWAY!

Love Always 

Vanessa Xo

Let's Fly Away — up to 50% on select Porter flights

Categories, Products and Brands, Toronto Adventures

This morning a fantastic deal went live on Buytopia.ca.

porter:buytopia

Here’s how it works:

  • Click HERE
  • Click “BUY” to access this fantastic deal!
  • Use promo code “TOPIA” on flyporter.com
  • Make sure you book by March 11th for flights between April 1st, 2013 and June 26, 2013
  • PACK UP, LET’S FLY AWAY!

Love Always 

Vanessa Xo

Always ask ‘WHY?’

Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

Curiosity is amazing. It keeps you awake, it keeps you alive. Although I was a quiet child I remember being full of annoying little questions. WHY? was a constant utterance if you were ever inclined to tell me a fact or a tidbit of information. Thankfully, I have parents who embraced my questions (most times) and always gave me an answer. They taught me that it’s okay to wonder ‘why?’.

Curiosity has this wonderful way of getting you to try something new, to LEARN something, to have experiences. Curiosity allows you to change and grow, to meet new people, to see new places. If you surround yourself with curious people, people who inspire you to do more, to try more, you will never have time to be bored with your life. Curiously is the stepping stone to a life full of stories, diaries full of adventures, and memories with the people you love.

BE CURIOUS, even if it gets you into trouble.

ASK QUESTIONS, even if they’re a little stupid.

GOOGLE SHIT, there’s always an answer.

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Love Always 

Vanessa Xo

Always ask 'WHY?'

Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

Curiosity is amazing. It keeps you awake, it keeps you alive. Although I was a quiet child I remember being full of annoying little questions. WHY? was a constant utterance if you were ever inclined to tell me a fact or a tidbit of information. Thankfully, I have parents who embraced my questions (most times) and always gave me an answer. They taught me that it’s okay to wonder ‘why?’.

Curiosity has this wonderful way of getting you to try something new, to LEARN something, to have experiences. Curiosity allows you to change and grow, to meet new people, to see new places. If you surround yourself with curious people, people who inspire you to do more, to try more, you will never have time to be bored with your life. Curiously is the stepping stone to a life full of stories, diaries full of adventures, and memories with the people you love.

BE CURIOUS, even if it gets you into trouble.

ASK QUESTIONS, even if they’re a little stupid.

GOOGLE SHIT, there’s always an answer.

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Love Always 

Vanessa Xo

I don’t have a vision…

Categories, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

After reading a post by Valerie on I’m Charming You , my bestie and I decided to give the whole VISION BOARD a try. Basically a vision board is a crafty little activity resembling a scrapbook made entirely of dreams, things you wish for, and future goals. The point is to see your dreams and hopefully be inspired to take the necessary steps to achieve them.

I thought this whole activity was going to be easy and painless but after 3 hours of cutting, talking, and pasting, my board is still pretty empty. Most emphasis is on marriage and having a home, which I honestly didn’t think was a big deal to me (I don’t want a wedding, just a happy marriage). The next one is travel. My choice of destination is London, England, although I want to find more pictures of the places I want to go. The top is where things get tricky, the only thing I know for sure is that Grace Coddington and Marilyn Monroe inspire me, that I want to be UNSTOPPABLE, and that I want to be a WRITER OF GREAT BOOKS. That’s all I got.

Diptic

Layla was thoroughly unimpressed with my 'vision'.

Layla was thoroughly unimpressed with my ‘vision’.

My vision is empty and at first it depressed me: where is my drive? my determination? my passion? THIS BOARD SHOWS NOTHING!!!

Maybe I need more magazines or maybe it’s just that I have a lot more living to do before I figure things out. Maybe I’ll piece together the rest of my vision board a little bit at a time. I have my big dream (INTERNATIONAL BEST-SELLING WRITER) and maybe as I work towards it, I’ll find little dreams worth striving for too. Maybe my vision is a little blurry right now — I’m querying (and being successfully rejected by) agents, I’m nearly finished my Publishing Certificate, I’m debating how I can turn being a full-time scholar into a profession, I’m looking for more writing projects, and I’m applying for jobs that I may or may not be qualified for — maybe once I figure out exactly where I’m going my vision will become clearer, my board a little more full.

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

I don't have a vision…

Categories, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

After reading a post by Valerie on I’m Charming You , my bestie and I decided to give the whole VISION BOARD a try. Basically a vision board is a crafty little activity resembling a scrapbook made entirely of dreams, things you wish for, and future goals. The point is to see your dreams and hopefully be inspired to take the necessary steps to achieve them.

I thought this whole activity was going to be easy and painless but after 3 hours of cutting, talking, and pasting, my board is still pretty empty. Most emphasis is on marriage and having a home, which I honestly didn’t think was a big deal to me (I don’t want a wedding, just a happy marriage). The next one is travel. My choice of destination is London, England, although I want to find more pictures of the places I want to go. The top is where things get tricky, the only thing I know for sure is that Grace Coddington and Marilyn Monroe inspire me, that I want to be UNSTOPPABLE, and that I want to be a WRITER OF GREAT BOOKS. That’s all I got.

Diptic

Layla was thoroughly unimpressed with my 'vision'.

Layla was thoroughly unimpressed with my ‘vision’.

My vision is empty and at first it depressed me: where is my drive? my determination? my passion? THIS BOARD SHOWS NOTHING!!!

Maybe I need more magazines or maybe it’s just that I have a lot more living to do before I figure things out. Maybe I’ll piece together the rest of my vision board a little bit at a time. I have my big dream (INTERNATIONAL BEST-SELLING WRITER) and maybe as I work towards it, I’ll find little dreams worth striving for too. Maybe my vision is a little blurry right now — I’m querying (and being successfully rejected by) agents, I’m nearly finished my Publishing Certificate, I’m debating how I can turn being a full-time scholar into a profession, I’m looking for more writing projects, and I’m applying for jobs that I may or may not be qualified for — maybe once I figure out exactly where I’m going my vision will become clearer, my board a little more full.

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

Dreams do come true…

Categories, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

photo“Dreams do come true, if only we wish hard enough. You can have anything in life if you will sacrifice everything else for it.”
― J.M. BarriePeter Pan

Yesterday the brother and I decided to get a little creative – we drew this with the Paper App on his iPad. An app that I’ve fallen in love with since Not A Model introduced me to it — she’s inspired me to scribble, to be creative, to draw a little. I had to draw a lot when I worked at an educational publishing company, we got to write some of the manuscripts and they included pictures. Not to toot my own horn but after 9 months of working there my drawing got pretty good.

Any whoooooo, yesterday I found myself drawing Big Ben, with my heart fluttering and a yearning that’s always been there. I want to go to London, England. Why? I don’t know, it’s just a place that I’ve always wanted to go, for as long as I could remember. It’s on my list, you see – London, New York, Paris, Italy.

I wonder if 2013 will be the year that this dream finally comes into fruition…

Love Always

Vanessa Xo