Long Weekend Loving

Family Time, Lifestyle/Personal
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Long weekends in the summer are perfect for spending time in the sunshine, reading, and partying. This weekend we celebrated Isabelle’s second birthday and attended my aunt’s wedding. Both were lovely affairs filled with laughter, love, and drinks. I cannot believe that my niece is already two-years-old. She has such and incredibly demanding personality that oozes with charisma. She’s funny and loves to make people laugh. She obsesses over music, dancing, and movies. She enjoys my stories about Princess Isabelle and her best friend Waffles. Her smile is infectious, her memory incredible.

As I watched her interact with her cousins I saw how shy she really is, how much fun she has on her own and with others. I held her hand as we stepped into the the kiddy pool and wondered when she’d get to old (or too cool) to hold her Tia’s hand. I thought about how much she’s grown in a mere two years and couldn’t help but wonder who she will become. Then I snapped myself back to the present because she’s only two and time goes by too fast to keep thinking about the future.

“Summer was our best season: it was sleeping on the back screened porch in cots, or trying to sleep in the treehouse; summer was everything good to eat; it was a thousand colors in a parched landscape…”
― Harper LeeTo Kill a Mockingbird

Love Always,

Vanessa Xo

My First Pan Am Game, Blog to Book, and MORE

Family Time, Lifestyle/Personal

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Last Saturday I found myself melting in the stands of a stadium in Hamilton to watch the bronze metal men’s soccer game. It was my first work-outing and even though I didn’t entirely understand what was happening, I cheered when everyone else did and had a great time. The sweltering heat made me wonder why I decided to put on jeans that day but the fiancé’s mellow attitude and constant water/ice purchases got me through it. Side note: definitely nowhere hot for our honeymoon!!! We cannot take the heat!!

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I received some feedback on my blog-to-book manuscript from a wonderful publishing company in the U.K. There’s loads of work to do to polish my manuscript but their kind words and useful criticism has me roaring with excitement to get it done! There’s no guarantee that they’ll publish it, in fact it’s insanely rare for publishing companies to take on new authors who don’t have an agent. BUT that doesn’t mean that it’ll never happen and if I want it to happen I MUST keep trying. According to Alex all I need is a real break, someone to take a chance on me. The hardest part about that is not giving up. My goal is to have it finished by the first week of September and send it back to them then. Might need some extra motivational words my friends!

“Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.”
Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

This weekend is going to be a busy one between Izzy’s second birthday, my aunt’s wedding, and an adventure with Alex on Monday, but I cannot wait!! Remind me to get some blogging, manuscript editing, and reading in too 😉

Wishing you sunshine, love, and uninhibited dance-parties this long weekend!

https://twitter.com/VanessGrillone/status/626509611340853248

Love Always,

Vanessa Xo

The Bride’s Diary – The Guest List

Family Time, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

The Bride's Diary

I’ve dreaded the guest list from the moment I said yes. I never fantasized much about my wedding but I was always under the impression that I wanted a very intimate wedding (let’s say 50 or so people). The only major problem with that is not that I’m European and as such a big wedding is expected, it is that I have a huge family. My mother’s side is fifty-three people and that’s just immediate family; aunts. uncles, and cousins.

With my intimate wedding idea out the window, Alex and I had to pick a number that would work for us both financially and mentally (he wants a small wedding too). 50 people is far too little, 100 people isn’t quite enough, and 200 is more than we could imagine. 150. That would have to be the magic number.

Thankfully our parents are supportive of this and understand why we don’t feel the need to have a huge wedding. We want to be able to enjoy our wedding and to know the person behind every hand that we shake and every cheek that we kiss.

The trouble with any guest list is that there are always people who are going to be left out or offended. Alex and I had one golden rule for the guest list: do not invite anyone we don’t see at least once a year. This means that only family and the closest friends we have are going to be invited. As of right now we have 149 people on the list and we’re pretty happy about it. We refuse to budge on the number and although the names on the list might change slightly, the number will not. Who wants strangers at their wedding anyway? I don’t.

If there’s one thing I recommend when writing up your guest list, do it with your fiancé and then have your parents put in their opinion. At the end of the day it is your wedding.

Love Always,

Vanessa Xo

The Brady Bunch

Family Time, Lifestyle/Personal

My very pregnant sister, brother-in-law, and nearly two-year-old niece moved in this past weekend while their house is undergoing some renovations. My sister moved out three years ago after she got married. Even though it was an adjustment, we all seemed to get used to a quieter house and one less person at the dinner table.

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Fast-forward three years and instead of four people and a dog in one house we’re eight and a half people (including Alex) and a dog. It’s a little hectic and slightly crazy to say the least. Izzy is a handful, a delightful ball of energy just wanting to play with me or workout with me or simply watch her Big Hero 6. As someone who appreciates her me time, it’s going to take a while to get used to.

All in all I’m insanely happy about them all moving in. Izzy brings a smile to my face every time I wake up and I missed having my sister in the same house as me. Yes, my wardrobe has doubled because of it but it’s more than that. When my sister is close by I feel calm, relaxed, and safe. She exerts that kind of energy, that everything will be okay kind of energy. With all of us under the same roof once again the house feels like even more of a home; something I didn’t think was possible.

It’s wonderful to have conversations with both my siblings as adults while still being able to make each other pee with laughter. It’s cathartic knowing that we can all hang out in the basement, one of us blogging, the other on their phone, and the other paying bills and still have so much to talk and laugh about. It’s crazy seeing the way our relationship with each other has changed over the years, how much stronger its gotten.

We might be the Brady Bunch at the end of the court for the next few months but I wouldn’t want to have it any other way. 

“One day you will do things for me that you hate. That is what it means to be family.”
― Jonathan Safran FoerEverything Is Illuminated

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

The Bride’s Diary – The Bridal Party

Family Time, Lifestyle/Personal

The Bride's Diary

Before I got engaged I promised myself that I would never have a bridal party. It is a HUGE honour to be in someone’s bridal party and to have a special status on your cousin’s, sister’s, or friend’s special day but it’s also time-consuming, expensive, and sometimes a pain in the ass for the maids. I’d complained enough times about being in a bridal party that I thought it would be hypocritical if I actually had one. There’s also the whole choosing people to be in your bridal party without offending anyone else.

As with many things I’ve encountered during the wedding-planning process, I had a change of heart and mind. Originally our kind-of-bridal-party consisted of my sister, brother, and two of Alex’s closest cousins, but I have two cousins that I’m especially close with. Cousins that I consider to be more like sisters. The memories we share are countless, the laughter unparalleled, and fights the epitome of epic. I grew up with them and the more I pictured our wedding day, the more I realized how much I needed them by my side.

If you’re an avid reader of this blog, you’ll recognize the faces below. If not, I’d like to introduce you to my lovely little half of the bridal party. From left to right: my sister, me, Sarah, and Ashley. These women are my go-to for support, fun, and gossip and I am so happy that I changed my mind.

IMG_4937When choosing a bridal party I would suggest keeping it small and intimate. Pick people who know you better than anyone else, people you can count on no matter what. Pick women and men that bring out the best part of you, the people who love you for being weirdly awesome. Pick the baddest bitches you know.

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Love Always,

Vanessa Xo 

Learn to Live.Learn to Love

Lifestyle/Personal, Restaurant Reviews, Toronto Adventures

All you really need to do to get to know someone is to let go of all your preconceived notions of them, let go of the stories you’ve heard or told about them, and forget all of your expectations for that person. Only then can you appreciate who they are. Only then will you let them surprise you.

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The more time I spend with my fiancé the more I learn about him, the more I find myself falling in love all over again. The more we do together, the stronger our relationship becomes. Who knew he was so handy? Not me, until we had to take apart my bed and bring my entire room into the basement. Who knew he had such good fashion sense? Not me, until he encouraged me to wear a pair of fancy floral pants that I had purchased a YEAR AGO and was unsure if I could pull it off. Who knew how good he was with kids? Not me, until I saw the way he acts with my our niece.

IMG_0484We had a mini-staycation in Toronto from Sunday to Monday of this week. Although he’s not a huge fan of traffic or a bustling busy city, he knows that Toronto ignites inspiration into my bones so every so often he takes me downtown. We explored Yorkville and enjoyed the beautiful sunny day and the surprisingly quiet city.

In the afternoon we stumbled into the Andy Warhol exhibit on Bloor. Colour popped off of the walls, reminding me how bright and beautiful the world can be. Although small, the exhibit is powerful, filled with life and passion. As I took a photo with Monroe I wondered what my stamp on this world would be. Much like art, words have an immense amount of power; are mine powerful enough to stick? To evoke change? To be remembered?IMG_0477 IMG_0478 IMG_0480

People need to be made more aware of the need to work at learning how to live because life is so quick and sometimes it goes away too quickly — Andy Warhol

For dinner we headed to ONE Restaurant, where my brother-in-law just happens to be the Executive Sous Chef. With a pitcher of pimms and a great spot on the shady patio, Alex and I enjoyed one of the best meals we’ve ever had. Each dish had such different flavours and were cooked to perfection. My taste buds didn’t know what to do with themselves but I’m sure they were happy.

IMG_0502 IMG_0503 IMG_0504Overall it was another successful trip to the city! My taste buds, heart, mind, and creativity drove home nourished and ready to tackle the short (for me) work-week AND get to work on my extracurriculars. You must make time for what you love, am I right?

Love Always,

Vanessa Xo

The Bride’s Diary – Choosing a Hashtag

Lifestyle/Personal

The Bride's Diary

We all know the implications of having a wedding in today’s society — it will live on Instagram and various other social media tools. In fact the my fiancé proposed to me as I asked him what do you think our wedding hashtag will be? True story. On the scale of wedding plans, the hashtag is (or should be) very last on the list. After speaking with our Officiant, I’m realizing how necessary it is.

Think about all of the moments your guests are having that you’ll miss; you can’t be everywhere at once. Think about all the photos that you want to take but can’t because you don’t have your phone on you. Think about all the photos taken by your aunts or cousins that you look awful in. Having a hashtag makes it easy to keep track of the photos that are on the internet. It allows you to call up your aunt and ask her nicely to delete that photo you hate (not that I think I’ll do this but still). It allows you to see your wedding from your guests’ point of view.

Personally I’m not a fan of long wedding hashtags. By the time your guests finish typing it out they’ll have missed another Instagram-worthy moment. I found a website that generates a bunch of hashtags for you based on the names of you and your fiancé. WeddingHashtagWall generated loads of hashtags to choose from. We went with something simple #AV2016, although I also like to include #MrsBuch on all of my wedding related posts as well. What’s your favourite wedding hashtag?

Love Always,

Vanessa Xo

changes: both subtle and honest

Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

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Last weekend the fiancé and I drove up to his aunt’s cottage in Lindsay. As he searched for old music to sing along with (think Ja Rule featuring J.Lo), I put my feet up on the dashboard and exhaled loudly. I had a lot on my mind and a long drive was exactly what I needed. 

Did I tell you that I’ve been working on turning my blog into a books? Well I am. When I look back and read old blog posts my memories fade to black-and-white; showing with subtle honesty how much I’ve changed, how much life has changed. I’ve grown immensely as a writer and a person in the last five years. Many of my relationships have either tarnished or strengthened. I’ve experienced love and pain in many different forms. I’ve failed, tried, and dreamt without limitation. I’ve welcomed change for the most part and when I wasn’t too fond of it, I wrote it out. 

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In mere weeks my living arrangements are going to alter slightly, by September I will have another little niece or nephew running around, in year-and-a-half I’ll be married, in two years I’ll be living with my husband in our condo, and who knows what else! So much to document! Here’s to looking bright, bold, and colourful future. Here’s to accepting new challenges with determination and passion. Here’s to growth and change. 

Love Always,

Vanessa Xo

The Bride’s Diary – The Planning Begins

Lifestyle/Personal

The Bride's Diary

I’ve been in at least one bridal party a year for the last five years. I’ve been apart of the entire planning process from invitations to guest list to DJ to dress shopping and everything in between. In all honesty, planning a wedding seemed both mentally and financially exhausting. It wasn’t until Alex proposed that I started thinking seriously about what I wanted our wedding to be like. We’re a simple, no-fuss couple who isn’t into the huge traditional Italian/Portuguese wedding.

So after a few weeks of deliberating, discussing with our parents, and maybe even a few heated arguments we decided on a Friday ceremony at a hall with a 150 person guest list. We decided on a four-person-informal-bridal-party and an open bar. We agreed that our wedding didn’t need to be a show, a celebration yes, but not a spectacle. That is what we are going for. The trouble is that even a celebration comes with an excessive TO-DO List…

  1. Hall
  2. D.J.
  3. Photographer
  4. Officiant
  5. Cake
  6. Invitations
  7. Guest List
  8. Dress/Suit/Shoes
  9. Flowers
  10. Makeup and Hair
  11. Rings
  12. Honeymoon
  13. Transportation
  14. Bridal Shower
  15. Wedding Gifts for guests

I’m sure I’m missing a few things but you catch my drift. Thankfully, we have so many people around us that are ready to step in and help. The next year is going to be a crazy one so stay tuned.

Weddings are important because they celebrate life and possibility.

— Anne Hathaway

Love Always,

Vanessa Xo