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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

Jonathan Adler Boutique [GIVEAWAY With @Papyrus_Online]

Giveaways, Just for Fun, Products and Brands, Toronto Adventures

You don’t have to know my well to understand that I prefer pen and paper to my cell phone, laptop, etc etc. I like being organized, I like writing down important dates or plans, I like highlighting, and I LOVE agendas. So, I approached my favourite stationery store and we’ve partnered up to get you all ready for the next school year, or simply, to get your life a little more organized!


Phone covers, key chains, travel mugs… oh my! The Jonathan Adler boutique showcases a diverse offering of fun gifts with geometric patterns, groovy hues and modern appeal. These handpicked nifty gifties include an assortment of items for home, office or on-the-go. With a variety of Jonathan Adler gifts to choose from, why not add a little colour to your everyday?

PicMonkey Collage

So, obviously I want all of the bright and wonderful products shown above but first and foremost, this blogger needs an agenda. I’m the kind of gal who likes to keep track of blog posts that are due, keep tabs on my appointments or fun events coming up, and I’ve had an agenda every year since JK (or shortly thereafter). I received this bright and beautiful Jonathan Adler 17 month agenda yesterday and literally felt giddy at the prospect of penciling things in! Best of all, I was sent a second agenda to giveaway right here on My Pen, My Voice (hence this post’s title).


To enter you must:

TWEET : I want to start organizing my life with a Jonathan Adler Agenda from @VanessaGrillone and @Papyrus_Online

OR simply LIKE my photo on INSTAGRAM of the JA Agenda I’m giving away!

** Open to Canadian entrants only — winner will be chosen at random on August 19th, 2013**


Love Always

Vanessa Xo

#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

“Nor would it be much fun.”

Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

I saw a picture of this book on Instagram and had to get my hands on it. Normally I don’t love collections of short stories since you don’t have enough time to fall in love with or get attached to the characters. I’m actually enjoying it more than I expected and I really love the introduction by Bob Shacochis.

On smoking, drinking, and screwing:

“They inspire great writing and bring a reader’s blood to the boiling point. Without them, the world might be simple and clean, but it wouldn’t be deliciously, fascinatingly, pathetically human, would it?

– Nor would it be much fun.”

I don’t smoke, I don’t drink very much, and I’m not all for promiscuity but I what I take from this quote is that experience is the best kind of writing inspiration. Writing about good times, bad times, ‘sins’, or mistakes is the only way to get your reader to fall into your words. Nobody is perfect and it is our mistakes that make us truly human. It is the ability to relate them, to share them, and to tell them, that makes a good writer.

Love Always 
Vanessa Xo


P.S. I am totally into this song. Love it?