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Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

There was a time when I could sit on my bed with a notebook and write for hours, or simply get lost in my own thoughts. Now I’m constantly reaching for my phone out of boredom or fear of my own thoughts. My cellphone addiction began the moment I added unlimited texting to my plan. I was 17. Between the ages 18 and 22 I went through more phones than I can remember: I always wanted the latest gadget. When data plans became an option and I learned how to use apps such as Twitter, Facebook, and later on Instagram, my entire social life was no longer based on 3D tangible people, who could talk to me or touch me. It became a vast world that I could hold in the palm of my hand. Over the years I’ve gotten into many fights with my friends, boyfriend, and family over ALWAYS having my phone on me. I realized late last year that I am addicted to my cellphone, social media, and the way I am perceived on such platforms. The internet has taken over my life. It’s made me feel small and useless.

From Pinterest

From Bloglovin

I decided that in 2015 I would take control of my life and my social media habits. As a start, I deleted Facebook. Why? Facebook is a creeping mechanism where I look at people from my past and feel sorry for myself. It’s been about two weeks since my last Facebook sign in and I don’t miss it one bit. It gives me one less reason to reach for my phone, one less excuse to put off this article, that story, or my job hunt. The next step is removing Twitter from my phone and only using it when I go on my computer. I love Twitter and have connected with so many brands and bloggers because of it, but I have a problem: NO ONE SHOULD SPEND 7 HOURS ON TWITTER TRYING TO WIN A NEW PHONE. No one.

After Twitter the next mountain to climb will be Instagram. I share everything on Instagram only the good things on Instagram. I’ve written about this before and it still irks me that I find myself obsessed with capturing, filtering, and sharing every moment. When I scroll through my 1300 photos I see a happy book-obsessed woman, with a loving boyfriend, great friends, and wonderful family. She doesn’t have any bad photos of herself, nor does she have photos documenting the fight she had with her boyfriend over something stupid. She doesn’t have photos representing her insecurities or her failures. She is a photoshopped and filtered version of me. I feel like Instagram has made me lose sight of who am I and what I want. I’m obsessed with other people and what they’re doing. I compare my relationship, job, milestones, and friends to theirs. One of their accomplishments belittles mine, one perfect selfie makes me feel hideous. I realized that Instagram and I had an issue when on the stroke of midnight of New Year’s Eve I was clicking away on Instagram instead of making out with my boyfriend in front of my family. I was too busy looking for the next “I said Yes” photo so I could “like” it and feel utterly jealous. What a way to start a new year.

The truth is that I’m tired of keeping up with the Joneses. I’m tired of trying desperately to be a top blogger (mucking with my content because I think I want to be like this blogger or that one). I’m tired of feeling like I owe the world my privacy. I’m tired of feeling anxious when my phone rings because I don’t speak on the phone too often. Something must change. I’m only a week into the new year and I must say that I find fewer reasons to pick up my phone. Apart from sending out a few tweets and pinning on Pinterest, my phone has become a, well, a phone. Phone calls and text messages only. I haven’t been carrying it around with me, I’ve been looking at phone plans with less data, and I’ve actually had more time to write, work, and read. I feel lighter.

There are some days where I wonder if I’m going the right way about this. I’m a blogger, I SHOULD be on social media. I mean how does a blogger who’s taking a step back from technology, blog? There’s no way I can approach companies or brands and ask to try out products or work with them if I don’t have Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. It’s bad enough that I don’t have Google+, Foursquare, or Snapchat. It’s jarring to think about but I am still committed to reviewing only products that I love (especially books), sharing things that I use, and working with brands that truly understand the sentiment behind my blog. I may not have the same reach as I once did but this blog has never been about gaining validation or reaching the whole world. It started as a place to write, to learn, to grow, and to remember.

That is how it will remain, until my very last post.

Love always, 
Vanessa XX

KISS ME FIRST [Book Review]

Book Reviews

If you follow me on Twitter you might have noticed I posted a pretty creepy book trailer a few weeks ago. This trailer had the whole office buzzing and gave me Goosebumps – I knew I had to read it.


Now that I’ve read it, I don’t really know how to review it. How do you write a review about a book that made your skin crawl, that made you wonder if there really are such crazy and naive people in this world, that made you hate every character in the book? Well, I’ll start by sharing the synopsis:

When Leila discovers the website Red Pill, she feels she has finally found people who understand her. A sheltered young woman raised by her mother, Leila has often struggled to connect with the girls at school; but on Red Pill, a chat forum for ethical debate, Leila comes into her own, impressing the website’s founder, a brilliant and elusive man named Adrian. Leila is thrilled when Adrian asks to meet her, and is flattered when he invites her to be part of “Project Tess.”

Tess is a woman Leila might never have met in real life. She is beautiful, urbane, witty, and damaged. As they email, chat, and Skype, Leila becomes enveloped in the world of Tess, learning every single thing she can about this other woman—because soon, Leila will have to become her.

An ingeniously plotted novel of stolen identity, Kiss Me First is brilliantly frightening about the lies we tell—to ourselves, and to others, for good, and for ill.

To say the very least Kiss Me First by Lottie Moggach, is one of the most interesting books I’ve read in a while and it really makes you wonder about social media and the way it controls our lives. What scared me most about this book is that it could possibly happen in today’s society. What bugged me was how naive Leila is, I couldn’t relate to her or even sympathize with her – I felt more pity for Tess and wondered why a happy girl would want to do what she did.

“You would never have guessed from the picture—from any of the photos on Facebook—that she was anything other than happy.” (Page 84 of the ARC)

But maybe that’s the point, maybe we’ll never really know anyone from what they do online. Maybe we’ll never know the turmoil in someone’s head or the sorrow in their heart. Maybe we shouldn’t be so trusting of people, of social media. Maybe we shouldn’t take anyone’s life at face-value (especially via Facebook).

This book got me in a seriously contemplative state, it got me asking a bunch of questions, as all good books do. If you’re looking for a book that will really make you think, a book that you won’t be able to stop talking about, a book that will creep you right out, a book that will keep you on the edge of your seat – Kiss Me First is a great option — it’s on sale TODAY!

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

There’s Nothing MINimal about IT… #Fashion #Giveaway #Toronto

Fashion & Beauty, Giveaways, Just for Fun, Products and Brands, Toronto Adventures

Since attending the Spring Preview of the new label MIN, I’ve been in love with Minling Pan Studio. Have you seen the line of handbags yet?! A few of my personal favourites are:

At the event, I was lucky enough to win the round shape studded purse and I cannot wait to rock this one-of-a-kind piece! The MIN label launches in Spring 2013 and as I mentioned in my post for Chic Darling, each piece was designed by Minling with YOU in mind. Now, more about YOU — the wonderful Minling has offered to give away a gorgeous necklace right here on My Pen, My Voice.;*

You can WIN a Vintage inspired statement necklace worth $45.00!

Told you it was gorgeous! 😉

To enter YOU MUST:

LIKE Minling Pan Studio on Facebook

LIKE My Pen, My Voice.;* on Facebook

TWEET I’d love to win some neck-candy from @MinlingStudio and @VANESSAGrillone!

(If you don’t have a Twitter account please COMMENT on this post letting me know which purse above is your favourite!)*


Love Always

Vanessa Xo

Contest Rules:

*Contest open to Canadian residents only. Winner will be chosen by – #4 on the list will be the winner. Contest ends February 20th, 2013*

#Hashtag #Blog

Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

P.S I want this mug.

We all know The Hashtag. It’s used on various social networking sites to categorize, describe, or explain your blog post, tweet, picture, or status. While checking my Instagram the other day I saw a photo that had about 10 hashtags to describe a cup of coffee – and I’m not talking about a latte with a cool design, it was just your regular cup of joe. I thought immediately, I wonder how many hashtags I would use to categorize or describe my life, right now… 

– I know, I know, who actually thinks of something like that? :$

Since then I have been obsessed with creating my #selfie of hashtags. Well it’s a helluva-lot harder than I thought it would be! How can you categorize your life using something so simple, so vague as a hashtag?

#distraught #confused #dreaming #happy #afraid #drifting #hopeful #writer #reader #ReadyForAChange #inLimbo #excited #floating

Well there you have it… my life in hashtags. Try it out. I know it’s difficult to sit back and look at your life, evaluate how you’re feeling, and where you want to go. It’s a little daunting, like the first steps you take into a haunted house. It’s pitch black, the floors are creaking, and you hear screams off in the distance.

Hidden things will pop out of nowhere, you may even crap your pants but it just might be the wakeup call you need to get motivated. 

Love Always
Vanessa Xo

“Get Up and Live!”

Just for Fun

This morning while I was having a peanut butter and chocolate chip muffin, I checked Facebook to see what was going on. As I did so, I couldn’t help but wonder why I even still have a Facebook account – sometimes it seems so trivial, so silly – and then I saw this status:

Get up and live!

It was posted by a girl that I went to elementary and high school with and I found myself suddenly happy that I had her as a friend (on Facebook and in real life). Thanks for your status update today, Sarina – those four little words made a profound impact on my day and the attitude I went to work with. Get up and live! Such a simple command/idea/mantra.

Get up and enjoy your day.

Get up and DO SOMETHING that you love, with someone that you love.

Get up and live!

This picture is what MY LIFE is all about, following my dreams.

Love Always
Vanessa Xo