whatever will be, will be

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

Friday is usually my least favourite day of the week – busiest day at a pizza place, but yesterday wasn’t so bad.

IMG_6050

Spent time with this guy.

IMG_6051

Read a bit of The New Yorker then I wrote about a man I know.

(THANKS FOR THE SUBSCRIPTION MOM AND DAD).

IMG_6056

Discovered this guy (JAKE BUGG) thanks to The New Yorker. Downloaded his latest album, Me and You is my new favourite song. His lyrics are amazing and his voice melts into your bones, check it out.

IMG_6052

Received this from my favourite Online Marketing Coordinator at Random House. Review will be up in February <3.

IMG_6063

Headed to my cousin’s new condo to congratulate him on the move. Had a few glasses of Girl’s Night Out (those things were made for hangovers) and chatted with a few of my favourites. So proud of Cousin Steven (love you!).

At work I had a very important conversation with my boss (he’s like a third Nonno to me). We both have goals in which we would like to accomplish by Spring. We both have a good feeling about Spring 2014 (we’re also psycho psychic). The problem is that when you’re desperate for a solution it doesn’t come. It’s like the world feels how badly you want it and decides that you’re going to have to calm down and wait your turn. That’s exactly what my boss and I must do!

Talk soon,

Vanessa Xo

Bursting the Bubble [Week 11]

Bursting the Bubble, Toronto Adventures

Yes, you read that correctly, I just finished WEEK ELEVEN of my internship — next week is the final week. But before I dwell on the sadness that envelopes my heart at the thought of that, I’ll tell you what happened this week.

Random House of Canada, Chatelaine Magazine, and Flare Magazine teamed up to celebrate the launch of Crazy Rich Asians at the Shangri-La Hotel on Tuesday. Although I’m still an intern, I got to attend as a blogger which meant I received a wicked gift bag at the end of the evening. This launch was by far the swankiest I’ve attended. The hotel is GORGEOUS and the Museum room was perfect for the event — plus the hotel is mentioned a few times throughout the novel, so why not!

I started the night out with the signature drink: Shangri-La Lemonade. A delicious concoction of vodka, cranberry juice, ginger, orange juice, and soda. Then I mingled with my fellow bloggers and watched the room get pretty packed with both book people and magazine people. It was great to attend an event where the two worlds intertwined. Kevin Kwan took the stage, as did the publisher of Doubleday Canada, and two seriously fashion forward ladies from Chatelaine and Flare – which was my favourite part of the evening. Kevin Kwan gave a sweet, sincere, and witty speech, mentioning his love for Canada and his gratitude for Canadians who love to read!

Week 11 was FULL of binding and mailings but just as full of good weather, hard work, and a few laughs. I love working with positive, passionate, and upbeat people who listen, answer, and understand. Everyone has taught me something about the world of publishing and I am so glad I decided to come into this internship with an open mind and all the energy and passion needed to back it up. I now understand why internships are so important and how great they can be if you give your all.

Also, this week I’ve been preparing for interviews (that I hope will come up). I’ve been sending out my resume, gathering references, and researching all I possibly can about interviews to ensure that I make a great first impression. This internship has made me want to work, to start a career, and to devote my energy, time, and passion to a job I enjoy.

largeIt’s also helped me appreciate many of the people in my life. I don’t know if I mentioned this before but my family waits for me every single night to eat dinner with them. I get home anywhere between 6:35 and 7:10, and for a family who used to eat dinner at 6:00 on the nose, eating at 7:00 would normally cause a serious kind of HANGER. Even if they’re hangry, they don’t mention it. We eat together and discuss our days and they ALWAYS listen to my stories and to my anxious yammering (even my 16-year-old brother who probably doesn’t care at all). Getting home and talking to my family makes the subway delays and bumper-to-bumper traffic on the 400 disappear. I definitely appreciate the bf and my best friend a lot more too — I don’t see them as often as I’d like and when I do, I usually fall asleep! I always miss them and I appreciate their encouragement and their constant belief in me — I owe you two, forever!

Next week is my final week as a publicity intern at Random House of Canada. I’m a little sad at the prospect but you never really know where life is going to take you. It will be the end of a three-month chapter but the beginning of something else too.

I feel like I’m on the edge of glory.

I know that I’ll have to make a leap to something bigger? different? and I have less than a week to do it…

Here goes nothing!

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

“Beyond the Lobby: Bookseller Receptions”

Bursting the Bubble, Lifestyle/Personal

Retreat_Header_384x100

I mentioned on Bursting the Bubble Week 8 that I attended the Random House of Canada Bookseller Reception. I also mentioned that there would be more about it on the Retreat by Random House website.

Well…IT’S UP!

You can check out my post here: The following is a guest post from Vanessa Grillone, Publicity Intern

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

"Beyond the Lobby: Bookseller Receptions"

Bursting the Bubble, Lifestyle/Personal

Retreat_Header_384x100

I mentioned on Bursting the Bubble Week 8 that I attended the Random House of Canada Bookseller Reception. I also mentioned that there would be more about it on the Retreat by Random House website.

Well…IT’S UP!

You can check out my post here: The following is a guest post from Vanessa Grillone, Publicity Intern

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.

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

Bursting the Bubble [Week 4]

Book Reviews, Bursting the Bubble

It wasn’t until I purchased my second Metro Pass that I realized I’m almost a month into my 12-week internship. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?! The weeks are literally flying by! The good news is that I still love it, I’ve haven’t gotten over the sincere calm I feel when I’m on the subway, or the excitement that flutters in my heart as I walk toward my building, or the spring in my step when I hear the church bells ring – people told me that all of that gets old pretty quickly, I’m glad they’re wrong so far. I am thoroughly enjoying every minute.

THIS week I’ve been mesmerized by Paul Auster’s memoir Winter Journal, where he gives a sensory account of his life –

…put aside your stories for now and try to examine what it has felt like to live inside this body from the first day you can remember being alive until this one. A catalogue of sensory data.” Page 1

Screen Shot 2013-04-27 at 10.08.22 AM

This memoir made me think about my childhood and made me wonder about the memories I could conjure up if I sat down and really thought it out. I spent an entire subway ride home in this contemplative state, probably making odd faces as the past resurfaced. Is it odd that my memories are few and far between? I don’t remember anything before the age of 4 (or is it 5?). I remember the first house we lived in (where I was born, not conceived in case you were wondering), my old friends, the musty smell of our huge basement, the blue toy room we spent our days playing in, and the kitchen (also in the basement) that never seemed to be used. I remember our court being very quiet – I remember a wiener dog running around on our patch of grass.

Most vividly, and perhaps only because it pertains to this week, I remember my father taking us all to a Jays game. My brother wasn’t born yet, I wore my favourite red dress with small white polka dots, the dome was open and the sun was blistering hot. We took the subway down, an adventure in and of itself, and I remember seeing people sleeping in the middle of the floor, some sitting up and holding signs, some playing instruments, most begging for money. I remember being afraid of these dirty, loud people (give me a break I was 6). Then I remember my dad, throwing coins into whatever hat, cup, or case sat in front of them. I remember him handing cigarettes to a man when he ran out of change. I remember some of them saying thank you, over and over again. I don’t remember thinking much of it while watching the game but my dad’s small form of generosity stuck with me long after that.

It would be silly to pretend that I haven’t noticed people sitting on the streets since I’ve started interning downtown. I spend a lot of time on my lunch walking around and of the many homeless people I have walked by, I only helped out one of them. Why? In truth, I tend to get distracted when I go for walks — I’m busy taking pictures or admiring buildings. Other times I try to walk by as quickly as possible since I never have change on me (that sounds horrible). BUT the other day I made eye contact with the lady who sits outside the nearest Tim’s and as she wished me good day, I found myself asking her if she wanted a coffee. She replied yes-please-thank-you-so-much. So, I bought her a coffee and a muffin, handed it to her, smiled and walked off.

Only as I walked away did I realize that this woman held a genuine kind of gratitude in her eyes. Her hair was ashen with dust, her teeth yellow and chipped, but her eyes were filled with thanks and life.

Moral(s) of my story: be generous like your father (and mother).

The smallest gestures go a long way.

You can see so much if you just OPEN YOUR EYES; if you slow down a little.

Isn’t that what new experiences are about? Isn’t that the only way to burst your bubble?

By looking, seeing, and paying attention.

image copy 2

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

Bursting the Bubble [WEEK 1]

Book Reviews, Bursting the Bubble, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal, Toronto Adventures

I’m happy to call Random House of Canada my 9-5 home from Monday to Friday. The commute isn’t as awful as I thought it would be and I really enjoy taking the subway (believe it or not :P). I normally get a seat which gives me plenty of time to read and relax. I’ve also started walking around my work-hood if I arrive too early or even on my lunch. I’ve found some awesome coffee shops, some restaurants that I want to try, and I’ve started to appreciate the beauty that is Toronto. Yes, I still feel like a tourist but the best part about downtown is no one really cares if you’re taking pictures of buildings they see everyday, or staring in awe at the beautiful church, or smiling broadly when you hear the church bells ring — as long as you stay out of their way no one cares! I love the independence I feel when I’m walking around downtown. I love not knowing what I’ll discover when I walk down a new street. I love it all.

It’s been a busy week but I’m enjoying this whole publicity intern experience even more than I imagined. Yes, my days are filled with filing, answering emails, couriering, mailing out books, binding 900-page manuscripts, and lifting boxes of books but I actually enjoy it — even the binding. There’s something about the monotony of it that allows your whole body to relax and your mind to wander. It’s also placed in the mailroom, a central location in the office which ensures that you’ll always have someone to say hello to. There’s always someone to chat with about a book that you’ve read, there’s always someone to ask if you need help, and there’s a wicked book room that is my kind of heaven.

I’ve learned quite a bit this week but the highlight was helping out at the launch for The Juggler’s Children by Carolyn Abraham. The launch was a wonderful experience and I think I put all of the skills I learned at Caruso’s into good use. I enjoyed setting up the venue with my coworkers at the beautiful Ben McNally Books store and interacting with the attendees who were there to support Carolyn. As an aspiring writer who hopes to have her own launch one day, I got teary-eyed listening to her speech and seeing the happiness in her eyes. I hadn’t read her book yet and just hearing her speech made me want to pick up a copy — you could tell that she has a way with words. I’m sure I’ll have a review of The Juggler’s Children up this month.

Overall I’d say my first week was pretty fantastic. I’ve met some wonderful people, learned quite a bit, and I’m starting to feel more at home. I’m getting into my own little routine and rhythm that will ensure another great week (I hope). Although I know there will be more traffic, a few train delays, more paper-cuts, and more 900-page manuscripts to bind, I’m going to make the most of it — that’s the only way to burst the bubble.

image copy

Love Always 

Vanessa Xo

Bursting the Bubble [New BLOG Series]

Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal, Toronto Adventures

I start a twelve-week publicity internship with Random House Canada tomorrow and I couldn’t be more excited!!!!!! <– notice that’s 6 exclamation points worth of excitement.  I’m even more excited to share this experience with all of YOU. So, I’ve decided to start my very first blog series called Bursting the Bubble. 

image copy

I know the whole little girl, big city blog is a little redundant nowadays but this is a huge step for me. It might only be a three-month chapter of my life but it’s a very important one. So, every Saturday for the next 12 weeks I will be posting my thoughts, challenges, and feelings about the 9-5 life of a publicity intern in one the greatest publishing houses in the world — with a one week break when I go to Vancouver.

If all goes as planned the first post of this series will go up on April 6th!

Until then, I’ll be blogging, working, and embracing this new (life) chapter that I’m about to write.

Wish me luck 😉

Love Always

Vanessa Xo