Shed your Skin

Lifestyle/Personal

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Those days are going to come and go. The days where you feel inadequate as a writer, noticing the strides other people are making, wondering why you’re not working hard enough to make them yourself. The days where the words get stuck in your brain, turning into a web of thoughts that cannot untangle. The days when you go to work with the most positive attitude and whimper in the bathroom because you’re making mistakes or feel overwhelmed. The days where nothing you do is right, or even enough. One of those days where you feel like shedding your skin and starting fresh.

Days and weeks where your anxiety becomes so intense it paralyses you, body and mind. You make an appointment with the doctor and the hairdresser on the same day at the same time. You forget about that story you started writing or that you promised to get together with a friend. It gets so bad that you feel sick ever day, your head aches, and your body sore. Those days where you take the anti-anixety pills your doctor gave you, but they just make things worse. They turn you into some kind of zombie, The Walking Dead are more alive than you.

But then there’s a day where everything is okay. Not just okay, but magical in its closeness to perfection. A day where you feel good, write well, and work better. Where a smile doesn’t leave your face and laughter widens your mouth letting through a booming sound known as pure, innocent happiness. A day where you know in your heart of hearts that you are loved, that you love others, and that even the bad days aren’t so bad at all.

Love Always,

Vanessa Xo

*Photo from Pinterest*

The Most Intense Dinner I've Ever Sat Through [BOOK REVIEW]

Book Reviews

I just finished reading The Dinner by Herman Koch, my first February book review for Random House Canada. This is probably the most difficult review I’ve ever had to write…

cover

I found The Dinner to be an exceptionally difficult read for the first 100 pages or so. Why? Well because I didn’t really like any of the characters…and yet I thoroughly enjoyed the book. How is that possible? To be honest I didn’t think I would ever get through a book with characters I didn’t like but it’s an enriching experience. I found that I paid attention to them more, I wanted to dig deeper into who they are and what they bring to the story. I needed to understand why they were written the way they were. By the end of the novel I had a deeper appreciation for Paul, Claire, Babette, Serge, and Michel. I understood the demented and uncomfortable purpose of each of them, as well as the satirical nature of this novel.

The Dinner reminded me immensely of Wild Girls by Mary Stewart Atwell and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. It took me a little longer to sink my teeth into but once the appetizers were over I couldn’t wait to get to the next course — I mean that literally since the book is made up of  five parts (Aperitif, Appetizer, Main Course, Dessert, and Digestif).

I must admit that the writing and the way Herman Koch compares and explains people, emotions, and situations is absolutely brilliant. Like the way Paul describes how different Babette is when he greets her at the dinner,

“Yet there was something else, something different about her this time, like a room where someone has thrown out all the flowers while you were gone: a change in the interior you don’t even notice at first, not until you see the stems sticking out of the garbage.” (Page 31)

See what I mean? You can literally SEE the changes in this woman who you have just been introduced to! Brilliant. As the novel progresses the writing keeps getting better, the characters become more interesting, and the plot gets thicker. The Dinner is probably the most thought-provoking, intense, and shocking novel I’ve read in a while. On the surface The Dinner is just a story about a family trying to find their own happiness but it becomes so much more than that.

“…we would be able to go on living as a happy family. A scar would remain somewhere, true enough, but a scar does not have to get in the way of happiness.” (Page 149-150)

Love Always

Vanessa Xo 

—–
SYNOPSIS (FROM THE RANDOM HOUSE OF CANADA LIMITED WEBSITE)
An internationally bestselling phenomenon: the darkly suspenseful, highly controversial tale of two families struggling to make the hardest decision of their lives — all over the course of one meal.
It’s a summer’s evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. Between mouthfuls of food and over the polite scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse — the banality of work, the triviality of the holidays. But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened.
Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. The two boys are united by their accountability for a single horrific act; an act that has triggered a police investigation and shattered the comfortable, insulated worlds of their families. As the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children. As civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple show just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love.
Tautly written, incredibly gripping, and told by an unforgettable narrator, The Dinner promises to be the topic of countless dinner party debates. Skewering everything from parenting values to pretentious menus to political convictions, this novel reveals the dark side of genteel society and asks what each of us would do in the face of unimaginable tragedy.
** THE DINNER COMES OUT FEBRUARY 12th! **

The Most Intense Dinner I’ve Ever Sat Through [BOOK REVIEW]

Book Reviews

I just finished reading The Dinner by Herman Koch, my first February book review for Random House Canada. This is probably the most difficult review I’ve ever had to write…

cover

I found The Dinner to be an exceptionally difficult read for the first 100 pages or so. Why? Well because I didn’t really like any of the characters…and yet I thoroughly enjoyed the book. How is that possible? To be honest I didn’t think I would ever get through a book with characters I didn’t like but it’s an enriching experience. I found that I paid attention to them more, I wanted to dig deeper into who they are and what they bring to the story. I needed to understand why they were written the way they were. By the end of the novel I had a deeper appreciation for Paul, Claire, Babette, Serge, and Michel. I understood the demented and uncomfortable purpose of each of them, as well as the satirical nature of this novel.

The Dinner reminded me immensely of Wild Girls by Mary Stewart Atwell and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. It took me a little longer to sink my teeth into but once the appetizers were over I couldn’t wait to get to the next course — I mean that literally since the book is made up of  five parts (Aperitif, Appetizer, Main Course, Dessert, and Digestif).

I must admit that the writing and the way Herman Koch compares and explains people, emotions, and situations is absolutely brilliant. Like the way Paul describes how different Babette is when he greets her at the dinner,

“Yet there was something else, something different about her this time, like a room where someone has thrown out all the flowers while you were gone: a change in the interior you don’t even notice at first, not until you see the stems sticking out of the garbage.” (Page 31)

See what I mean? You can literally SEE the changes in this woman who you have just been introduced to! Brilliant. As the novel progresses the writing keeps getting better, the characters become more interesting, and the plot gets thicker. The Dinner is probably the most thought-provoking, intense, and shocking novel I’ve read in a while. On the surface The Dinner is just a story about a family trying to find their own happiness but it becomes so much more than that.

“…we would be able to go on living as a happy family. A scar would remain somewhere, true enough, but a scar does not have to get in the way of happiness.” (Page 149-150)

Love Always

Vanessa Xo 

—–
SYNOPSIS (FROM THE RANDOM HOUSE OF CANADA LIMITED WEBSITE)
An internationally bestselling phenomenon: the darkly suspenseful, highly controversial tale of two families struggling to make the hardest decision of their lives — all over the course of one meal.
It’s a summer’s evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. Between mouthfuls of food and over the polite scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse — the banality of work, the triviality of the holidays. But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened.
Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. The two boys are united by their accountability for a single horrific act; an act that has triggered a police investigation and shattered the comfortable, insulated worlds of their families. As the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children. As civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple show just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love.
Tautly written, incredibly gripping, and told by an unforgettable narrator, The Dinner promises to be the topic of countless dinner party debates. Skewering everything from parenting values to pretentious menus to political convictions, this novel reveals the dark side of genteel society and asks what each of us would do in the face of unimaginable tragedy.
** THE DINNER COMES OUT FEBRUARY 12th! **

Happiness, Pleasure, Sorrow, Love.

Lifestyle/Personal

I had a fantastically lazy Tuesday and watched The Air I Breathe and An American Tail.

I was surprised at how much I loved The Air I Breathe. If you’ve watched the movie Crash, it had the same idea going on. All lives are connected and all stories intertwine. I loved the way happiness, pleasure, sorrow, and love were depicted. They are all connected, you can’t experience any of these emotions without understanding or experiencing the other. You can’t have or appreciate love, happiness, or pleasure, without experiencing some kind of sorrow. Everything is connected.

After watching such a serious kind of movie, I put on An American Tail and found myself obsessed with a line said by Warren T. Rat:

“But remember what Shakespeare said, and I quote: ‘Opportunity knocks but…uh, but… but once. Taken at the tide, t’will lead to fortune. If denied, t’will never return.'”

 

As someone who is often afraid of change or taking chances, it’s no wonder why this quote  affected me. Just because you’re afraid of change doesn’t mean you should let opportunities pass you by – which is why I have been applying to every internship or full-time position posting that has graced my inbox.

Today, take every opportunity that’s thrown at you and be conscious of the quiet ones that are hiding just around the corner

You never know where they will lead.

Love Always
Vanessa Xo

You Can't Live with Him & You Can't Live without Him

Family Time, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

…even if it is quieter and cleaner without him around. Yes, I am referring to my little brother who has been on a trip to France and Spain since last Friday! If you remember this blog, you’ll know that my brother went away last year during March break, with the school, and I missed him a lot. This year I’ve gotten to FaceTime with him a few times, once while he was in Paris and once while he was in Madrid.

HI JOE!! *Waves uncontrollably*

Anywho, the poor kid caught some kind of virus on the way there and hasn’t really been able to enjoy himself as much as he did when he was in Italy last year. He looks a little pale and said that he hasn’t been eating much – I think he should just get his ass back home, in Bolton. Where even though his loud music, messy room, and smarts attitude will indeed piss me off, at least he’s home. At least he isn’t all the way across an ocean, at least he’s close enough for me to smack him one 😉 . It’s true what they say, you can’t live with him and you can’t live without him.

Those who know me will know well enough that my brother and I fight, a lot. As a matter of fact I think we both enjoy pissing each other off BUT we do care when the other person isn’t there, or when we know that they are in pain. The other day when I heard his voice my eyes immediately watered (yes, I have a heart!) and I couldn’t control my tears. Then yesterday as I drove home from Woodbridge, with the sun in my eyes, my windows rolled down, and a delicious coffee in my hand, I began to cry. My sister told me once that this had happened to her, her heart was so full of happiness, so full of light, that she started to bawl like a baby. I (obviously) made fun of her and karma decided that I would pay for it by feeling like an idiot and experiencing the same thing.

I know that good times are often followed by not so great ones but I also know that when you’re happy you should ENJOY BEING HAPPY. Live fully in the moment because each and every moment of your life is important, significant, and will never be repeated. 

Oh, and try to think positively (and not hate me for being happy and optimistic).

Life CAN BE as good as you want it to be.

Love Always 
Vanessa Xo

P.S.

Miss you, Bro.

You Can’t Live with Him & You Can’t Live without Him

Family Time, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

…even if it is quieter and cleaner without him around. Yes, I am referring to my little brother who has been on a trip to France and Spain since last Friday! If you remember this blog, you’ll know that my brother went away last year during March break, with the school, and I missed him a lot. This year I’ve gotten to FaceTime with him a few times, once while he was in Paris and once while he was in Madrid.

HI JOE!! *Waves uncontrollably*

Anywho, the poor kid caught some kind of virus on the way there and hasn’t really been able to enjoy himself as much as he did when he was in Italy last year. He looks a little pale and said that he hasn’t been eating much – I think he should just get his ass back home, in Bolton. Where even though his loud music, messy room, and smarts attitude will indeed piss me off, at least he’s home. At least he isn’t all the way across an ocean, at least he’s close enough for me to smack him one 😉 . It’s true what they say, you can’t live with him and you can’t live without him.

Those who know me will know well enough that my brother and I fight, a lot. As a matter of fact I think we both enjoy pissing each other off BUT we do care when the other person isn’t there, or when we know that they are in pain. The other day when I heard his voice my eyes immediately watered (yes, I have a heart!) and I couldn’t control my tears. Then yesterday as I drove home from Woodbridge, with the sun in my eyes, my windows rolled down, and a delicious coffee in my hand, I began to cry. My sister told me once that this had happened to her, her heart was so full of happiness, so full of light, that she started to bawl like a baby. I (obviously) made fun of her and karma decided that I would pay for it by feeling like an idiot and experiencing the same thing.

I know that good times are often followed by not so great ones but I also know that when you’re happy you should ENJOY BEING HAPPY. Live fully in the moment because each and every moment of your life is important, significant, and will never be repeated. 

Oh, and try to think positively (and not hate me for being happy and optimistic).

Life CAN BE as good as you want it to be.

Love Always 
Vanessa Xo

P.S.

Miss you, Bro.