Tea Please [from HealthSnap.ca]

Products and Brands

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Nothing tastes better than a cup of coffee in the morning, except perhaps a warm cuppa tea at eight in the evening paired with a great book and freshly baked cookies. A few weeks ago, my friend Victoria over at HealthSnap.ca sent over a box full of teas for me to try out.

You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me ― C.S. Lewis

HealthSnap is a Canadian online retailer based in Toronto. They sell numerous products in various categories (Baby & Mom, Beauty & Skin Care, Diet & Fitness, Household, Medicine, Personal Care, Sexual Wellness, and Vitamins & Supplements). They have even partnered with several pharmacies for their users to order through them for Home Delivery or Pharmacy Pick Up. Since Victoria sent me the teas directly I haven’t actually purchased from the site. They do have some pretty wonderful reviews, free shipping over $50, and great pricing though so I may give them a try.

The Celestial Tea box came with 5 different teas; Chamomile, Lemon Zinger, Peppermint, Honey Vanilla Chamomile, and Sleepytime. I’ve tried them all and wasn’t a huge fan of the Lemon Linger but the Honey Vanilla is the equivalent to having an evening of solitude in the library of your choice (a.k.a HEAVEN). The Sleepytime tea was earthy and minty and worked like a charm! The best part about this brand of tea: no matter how long I steeped it for, the flavour didn’t become too bold or strong. Each tea stayed true to its mild, relaxing, delicious flavour.

I tried the Refreshing Mint the other day at work and was happy when it didn’t taste as though I was drinking a pack of gum. It is calming yet exhilarating (yes, tea can be that too!) and it woke me up enough to get through the rest of my afternoon.

I have yet to try the Detox teas – I’m waiting for a weekend that I know I’ll be at home (just in case) or the Cold & Cough tea since I don’t have a cold or cough! I’m sure I’ll try them another time and I’ll let you know how they were.

Have you tried HealthSnap? What did you think?

Xoxo,

Vanessa

P.S. I was sent these teas in exchange for an honest review, as per my DISCLOSURE, I only write about products I use and things I like.

love is everything; period

Family Time, Lifestyle/Personal

unnamedMy September held intense moments of laughter followed by streams of tears. I experienced beautifully tender days and evenings painted with fear. There were warm weekends in the country and star-filled nights in the city. There were cuddles with my nieces and sleepovers with my siblings. There was magic, hard work, and a million curiosities.

This September paved the way for sincere reflection and necessary prioritizing. It put everything into perspective and forced me to do things I never thought I’d have to do. To see things I never thought I’d have to see. To prepare for things I never thought I’d have to prepare for. As such, this September I learned an extensive amount:

  • There are few constants in life; you can’t even count on regular bowel 
  • Life is fragile; even when you’re careful 
  • To be brave you must first feel fear 
  • Things can change at the drop of a hat; for better or worse
  • Moments are meant to be experienced; not Instagrammed 
  • You can be both blissfully happy and terribly sad at the same time; embracing both emotions is important
  • Love is everything; period 

xoxo,

Vanessa 

The Truth About Goodbye [A Narrative]

Fiction


I love when you say goodbye in the morning; your kisses soft,  your voice warm and milky. You say silly things like you smell this morning my princess, which I can only assume means that my morning breath is both repulsive and cute. I know that you don’t want to leave especially since I’m only most affectionate when I just wake up, when I’m still cozy and in the mood to cuddle. I wish we could lounge in bed and hit the snooze button as many times as we want…

I love when you say goodbye in the morning not because I like to see you go but because I can hear the adoration in your voice. I can feel the warmth of your body beside me and see the smile on your lips. When I wake up with tired eyes an hour after you’ve left, I can still hear you whisper the word goodbye.

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

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

Let it ride

Lifestyle/Personal

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There are moments in your life that are challenging; they put you to the test and leave you tired and broken. These moments are the ones that make you. You can give up or you can push through. If you’re lucky you’ll have people in your life that motivate you, that believe in you. People who lift you up and keep you stable. If you’re smart you’ll believe them when they say that it gets better, that everything will be okay, that you’ll be fine. All you have to do is let it ride.

“And yet, anything real, anything strong, was never easy. She’d been taught from an early age that the things that mattered most were the hardest to obtain.” ― Nora Roberts

After weeks of agonizing anxiety and paralyzing self-doubt I finally feel like I’m back to my old self. Words are finally flowing; slowly but with intention. My mind is churning over new ideas for this blog, for a few side projects, and even for some new short stories. My heart is full of joy and excitement for everything that’s coming this year. Wedding plans are in full swing and I’m thinking about documenting the journey on here. I hope you’ll stay tuned. 

Love Always,

Vanessa Xo