when my breathing stopped

Categories, Family Time, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

20130612-200345.jpgWe’d been stopped in the subway tunnel for 15 minutes when my breathing stopped. My heart was being crushed under immense pressure. My lungs – well they said a sweet toodle-oo with a great big eff you! At that point I put up the volume of my music and rested my head on my bag. With my eyes closed I felt a little bit better, in spite of the fact that the B.O. of the man in front of me found its way into my nostrils.

Apparently I can’t handle being confined and helpless. When the train began moving again my head spun, my stomach convulsed, and I nearly lost my composure. For over an hour I was stuck on that train. The train that toyed with my emotions: Go. Stop. Wait. Go. Go. Stop. Wait. Wait. Go slowly. Stop. I could sense the annoyance mount in the other passengers. I saw the roll of their eyes every time the driver explained about the signaling problems and apologized for the inconvenience.

All I kept thinking was; Breathe, Vanessa. Breathe. Don’t get anxious over something you literally have no control over. You think the driver WANTS to be stopped? No. Breathe. You’ll get home eventually. Calm down and take a nap. That mantra (thanks MOM!) was the only thing that kept me from experiencing a full-blown anxiety attack that night.

20130612-200418.jpg

Funny how that all happened on my way home, just after I tweeted: Potential is one of my favourite words. To me it’s hopeful and optimistic; attainable and reachable. Each day has the potential of turning out wonderful or completely shitty. Most things you have no control over but you DO have control over how you react to certain things, which is why I still ended up having a pretty okay evening. I didn’t spend my night complaining about the TTC or that I got home late. I went on with my night as if nothing happened. I wrote a little, worked out, ate a handful (or two) of my mom’s homemade chocolate almonds – the ones I’m not supposed to eat because they’re for my sister’s baby shower (#Sorry #NoI’mNot). Then I climbed into bed and let my mind wander.

I thought about all the wonderful things that could happen. I thought about potential and let the word swim around in my mind. I thought about taking up photography. I thought about taking writing classes. I thought about the novel I’m slowly working on (or maybe it’s a short story). I thought about becoming an aunt. I thought about traveling: New York, England, Italy, and Paris – I’m coming for you. I thought about marriage. I thought about family. I thought about love. I thought about change. I thought about work. I thought about words. I thought about time and reminded myself that all good things can’t come at once — no matter how hard you work for them.

I thought good thoughts and woke up with a smile.

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

Bursting the Bubble [Week 8]

Bursting the Bubble, Family Time

photo 2The fact that I get to see the publishing world as an intern, book lover, aspiring writer, AND book blogger is something that amazes me week after week. I’m starting to understand just how important this internship is and I am so thankful that I have still have about four weeks left!

This week I went to an author event and a few stock signings with my wonderful colleague Anne, Rhidian Brook (author of The Aftermath), and his lovely daughter. We started at The Novel Spot in Etobicoke, where Rhidian signed books and answered questions. This is where I learned that writers should also be great speakers. Having a great sense of humor and a true belief in your story can really engage your crowd. During Rhidian’s talk, he was challenged by someone who read his book. The gentleman wondered if Rhidian had maybe gone too far, to which Rhidian replied, Thats what writers do. They spin plates and see how much they can get away with. I love that line.

That evening I attended our monthly Indigo Bookseller Reception but you can read more about that on the Retreat website next week.

On Tuesday I was lucky enough to attend a blogger lunch with Page Morgan, author of The Beautiful and photo 1the Cursed. I love blogger events like this, they’re small and intimate which allows for the chance to really get to know the author. Page (or should I say Angie — Page is her pen name) answered any question we asked, chatted about various books she’s read, gave us some behind-the-scenes stories from novel-writing, and signed all of our books.

So after all of the fun events this week and the weeks prior, what am I feeling? A little nervous as the job-search has begun but mostly I feel guilty. I swear the printer spews out pages and sounds like a beating heart. If you start the binding machine at the same time, the sound bangs through each beat. Yesterday I thought, now that is the sound of a heart breaking.

Am I the one breaking hearts?

Well, I have been 110% committed to this internship and I don’t really make time for anything else. To make things worse, my family is amazing (yes you read that right). No matter what time I get home, be it 6:15 or 7:00– my family is waiting for me to have dinner with them. I sure as heck wouldn’t wait, not if I was starving.

My VERY pregnant sister never says anything when all I talk about is what happened at work, or what author I met, or what book I brought home. She lets me gab and gab and doesn’t seem the least bit phased if I forget to ask her about her day.

And my boyfriend, that wonderful man, who comes over during the week, knowing very well that I have to eat dinner, workout, and shower before I spend a second with him. Who doesn’t get mad when I fall asleep within five minutes of sitting down in front of the TV. I would probably go into full insecure-girlfriend-mode and freak on him for not putting me at least 2nd.

The only one who seems to be holding a grudge is my dog, who doesn’t even come to the door to say hi when I get home. I give him treats to sweeten him up though 😉

So, what can a girl do in this situation but give thanks: Mom, Dad, Joseph, Jessica, Alex, and Waffles — I’m sorry for being so selfish lately. Thank you for understanding, for being there, and for loving me. Thank you for believing in me and thank you for not making me feel guilty.

This guilt is all my own creation and with every beat of that printer, I’m learning from it.

There’s got to be a balance somewhere and I will work hard to find it.

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

P.S. Amanda featured me as her latest Everyday Beauty — check it out HERE.

All things BIG

Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

Today I am embracing all things BIG.

Big hair. Big pimples. Big dreams. Big thoughts. Big mistakes. Big failures. Big workloads.

Mostly because I have no choice, but also because at some point in your day you’re going to get so caught up in the GOOD big things that the BAD big things won’t matter. You’ll forget that you have a gross pimple dead-centre of your forehead (until a co-worker can’t stop staring – but then you’ll charm them to the point that they stop noticing it too). You’ll do something amazing and RIGHT and you’ll forget about the mistake you made a few hours earlier.

You’ll forget about your big failures and focus on your BIG DREAMS because it’s the only way to make the most of your day.

large

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

Long Weekend Bliss

Book Reviews, Family Time, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

photo

How is it Monday already? I’m convinced time goes by faster when you get an extra day off work. I love weekends for two simple reasons: sweatpants and messy hair. I love waking up early, throwing on my sweatpants (or staying in my pjs) and basking in the fact that I can be comfy and cozy all the live-long day. I spent this long weekend enjoying an extra day in my sweats, surrounded by my family, my boyfriend, books, and my notebook (all of my favourite things).

I don’t know if you’re aware of this but I am a total homebody. I go through phases where I want nothing more than to stay out of my house all weekend, then the next week I’ll be curled up on the couch with a book for two days straight. This weekend I tried my best to find a balance. I spent a lot of time at home with my family or with my book and also made time to hang out with the boyfriend’s family (and a really tall glass of sangria — thanks for that Rita!). Is it odd that sometimes I forget how much I love being around people? How much I enjoy having conversations with people? Gosh that sounds ridiculous.

I get stuck in this routine of being alone and it’s hard to get out of it, but I’m trying. It helps to surround myself with people who love me, with people who enjoy my company, with people who get me into a fit of giggles, with people I can just be myself around. The kind of people who can pull me out of my own head  — I live a lot in my own thoughts and it’s exhausting.

But enough with this word “exhausting”, enough with the phrase “I’m exhausted”. I say that all too often and it’s starting to get on my nerves. I’m way too young to be tired all of the time and it’s a lame excuse made by someone who is too lazy and too uptight to enjoy her life. Quite silly, isn’t it?

tumblr_mhb5yr3ZRn1s3b7ueo1_500

Looks like I’ve got some work to do, some people to see, and a life to LIVE.

IMG_3508

Love Always 

Vanessa Xo

An Author's Life for me, yo ho, yo ho!

Book Reviews, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

I’ve had a book in my hand since before I can remember. I’ve read many books and all of them have had some small impact on my life, on the person I’ve become. Funnily enough I haven’t acknowledged the person behind the words, behind the book. I always thought my gratitude could be found in the flip of the last page of their novel. I always thought that was enough. I never made a point to obsess over an author and I learned very early on in my English degree that you should never associate an author with a character or belief in their book (or even as the narrator for that matter). So in order to save myself from putting the author’s face to any character I forgot about them altogether — I rarely looked at an author photo or read their biography. It’s funny to me because as an aspiring novelist/author I know that I would want my readers to know who I am, or at very least acknowledge that there is someone (actually many people) behind the book they’re holding in their hands.

Interning at Random House of Canada has changed all of that. I now realize how many people are involved in getting a book out there. I now know how important publicity, online marketing, and media are in getting a novel onto a bestseller list. I understand the importance in having an editor who believes in you and who can guide your writing into the right direction. I’ve seen how many interviews one author can do in a day, I’ve been there when they are shuffled from store-to-store to sign stock, I’ve been to their launches and felt extremely honoured to be there. Now that I’ve spoken to a few authors of books I’ve actually read, I see how important it is to know these faces, to see these people, to support these people, to watch their interviews, to follow them on twitter — their book, their words, have made a difference in my life.

calvin376_2

Their masterpiece is my inspiration.

Their work is my play, my pleasure, and my escape.

And for that I say thank you to every author of every single book I’ve ever read.

Thank you.

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

An Author’s Life for me, yo ho, yo ho!

Book Reviews, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

I’ve had a book in my hand since before I can remember. I’ve read many books and all of them have had some small impact on my life, on the person I’ve become. Funnily enough I haven’t acknowledged the person behind the words, behind the book. I always thought my gratitude could be found in the flip of the last page of their novel. I always thought that was enough. I never made a point to obsess over an author and I learned very early on in my English degree that you should never associate an author with a character or belief in their book (or even as the narrator for that matter). So in order to save myself from putting the author’s face to any character I forgot about them altogether — I rarely looked at an author photo or read their biography. It’s funny to me because as an aspiring novelist/author I know that I would want my readers to know who I am, or at very least acknowledge that there is someone (actually many people) behind the book they’re holding in their hands.

Interning at Random House of Canada has changed all of that. I now realize how many people are involved in getting a book out there. I now know how important publicity, online marketing, and media are in getting a novel onto a bestseller list. I understand the importance in having an editor who believes in you and who can guide your writing into the right direction. I’ve seen how many interviews one author can do in a day, I’ve been there when they are shuffled from store-to-store to sign stock, I’ve been to their launches and felt extremely honoured to be there. Now that I’ve spoken to a few authors of books I’ve actually read, I see how important it is to know these faces, to see these people, to support these people, to watch their interviews, to follow them on twitter — their book, their words, have made a difference in my life.

calvin376_2

Their masterpiece is my inspiration.

Their work is my play, my pleasure, and my escape.

And for that I say thank you to every author of every single book I’ve ever read.

Thank you.

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

A Girl Who Reads

Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

Chic Darling shared this video on Twitter the other day, I thought it was not only worth sharing but worth writing my own adaptation of it.

I want a man who speaks

A man who can hold a conversation no matter the speed

A man whose voice never deters

No matter the subject, phobia, or fears.

I want a man who can look me in the eye

and command the conversation once in while

A man who’s well-lived and well-versed in modern affairs

who knows facts, people, and worldly cares.

A man that I can learn from and who doesn’t mind being taught

A man I can fight with — right or wrong

A man who loves a challenge, no matter what it be

A man who can make my heart race from the pressure of his palm upon my knee.

A man whose strength, enthusiasm, and desire

matches my own

thank goodness, this man, I already know.

😉

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

The single blue rose in a sea of red

Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your inner voice.” — Steve Jobs

As if finding my voice wasn’t tough enough, I let myself become bombarded by the opinions and thoughts of others. Sometimes their voices overpower my own — an engine roars to life when I start to speak. I guess it helps that my inner voice keeps me going; the pen hitting paper, skating along in unison with my thoughts. It’s that voice that reminds me of my goals, it keeps me on my path, it tells me that it’s okay to be the single blue rose in a sea of red.

image

It’s my inner voice that allows me to NOT get side-tracked by other people’s goals or opinions. I live a lot inside my own head, my inner voice just doesn’t shut up (that’s why I’m always writing). But this voice isn’t lonesome or sad or weak. It is strong and confident and powerful.

My outer voice is still trying to catch up to my inner voice, to my writing.

All in good time.

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

Those who love you, will challenge you.

Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

Those who love you, will challenge you.

They will accept you and inspire you.

They will call you out on your shit.

Those who love you will tell you to start writing another book.

They will tell you to keep writing, to keep trying.

They will make sure that you don’t become lazy.

Those who love you will BELIEVE in you and will help you believe in yourself.

They will never give up on you.

They will give you tough love because they know you can be better.

Those who love you will help you, guide you.

They will let you fall and pick you up.

And in return, they expect deserve the same from you.

553265_452876334761423_428472061_n_large

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

The Captain has Turned on the Seatbelt Sign

Just for Fun, Products and Brands

Ever heard of seatbeltbags? Neither had I until Mama got her hands on this beauty…

photo copy

Harvey’s Original Seatbeltbags started up in 1997 when Mr. & Mrs. Harvey were installing seatbelts into their 1950 Buick and decided to make the Mrs. a matching bag. Apparently everyone loved them and wanted their very own. Now my question to you, are these bags going to be the next big thing to make their mark in Canada? Do you know anyone who has one? Do YOU like them? 

I’ve taken a look at their collection and after seeing my Mom’s bag (the 15th Anniversary Little Messenger) I think I’m starting to like them. They seem pretty durable and easy to clean! When my Mom first mentioned the seatbeltbag I thought that sounds disgustingly tacky but I was wrong (another reason to add being more open-minded to my New Year’s Resolutions).

My favourite bags include the Marilyn Fold Over Tote and the Arm Candy Clutch Lola Glitz.

yhst-83994635520088_2242_4212198

yhst-83994635520088_2242_196857491

So, has this little post got you thinking about what ELSE we can make bags out of?

Or has it got you itching to get your own?

Lemme know, yo’

(Omg did I just type ‘yo’?)

Love Always
Vanessa Xo