Joyful Traditions [Chapters Indigo Media Preview]

Book Reviews, Just for Fun, Products and Brands, Toronto Adventures


It was Christmas in July as me and my date walked into the Chapters Indigo head office last night. The white room was decked out in beautifully decorated Christmas trees, a giant sleigh, books galore, and some delicious holiday treats. According to one of the Chapters associates, the inspiration behind this holiday’s preview was Joyful Traditions. The room was split up between cozy Christmas cabin theme (fur, red, black, grey, camel, ivory, and charcoal colours) and Christmas in the city (icy winter pastels, white, gold, silver, and bronze).

I loved the cozy cottage look and was ready to take a nap in the sleigh filled with pillows. They’ve got some fantastic throw pillows coming up this Holiday, I’m thinking of purchasing one for my cousin and best friend. I paused a little longer than deemed normal at their fabulous desk section filled with beautiful journals, witty mugs, and chic pens. I also loved all of their travel items — beautiful passport holders, a cute case with tweezers and manicure essentials, a jewellery roll, and even sleeping masks.

IMG_7549 IMG_7540 IMG_7541 IMG_7539 IMG_7536 IMG_7535

Along with all of these goodies there were tonnes of books to take a look at. There are so many great books being published this holiday season. I am most looking forward to Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham but I also can’t wait to grab a copy of The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion. I received an ARC of A Sudden Light by Garth Stein yesterday which was one of the books on their shelf too.

What I love about Chapters, apart from the books of course, is the range of products that they carry and the simplistic elegance of everything they sell. They have everything from mugs to great vegan totes, DIY drink kits, scarves, wallets, gourmet sweets, and even some pretty sweet tech gadgets! You can find everything you need and want in one place.


Thank you to Indigo for inviting me to such a great event! I’ve never been to one of your media previews and I am happy to say that you’ve got me itching to do some major shopping when these products launch!

Love Always and Forever,

Vanessa Xo

Christmas is coming….

Family Time, Fashion & Beauty, Just for Fun, Products and Brands

I know that it’s only November but it’s never too early to think about your Christmas shopping list! I’m pretty lucky in the sense that I do Kris Kringle with my family and with my boyfriend’s family. This not only limits the amount spent per person but it limits the number of people I have to buy for. Not that I don’t want to buy gifts for everyone, it just gets extremely expensive and stressful! Since we’re going to be picking names for Kris Kringle soon, I thought I would put together a little Holiday Gift Guide for Her (and under $100).

Good Morning Beautiful Mug $10

Rouge Peony iPhone 5 Case $17.95

Pure Heroine CD $18.28

Well-Read Women: Portraits of Fiction’s Most Beloved Heroines $23.95

Bare Love Beauty Full Collection $28 – $58

GUESS Cross Studded Foil Tee $49

Michael Kors SEXY AMBER Perfume 50mL $75

Hillberg & Berk Aurora Lux Ring $95

So what if this list doubles as my personal Christmas wish list 😉 ? So what if all of the products are from my favourite brands and stores (Chapters, Michael Kors, The Red Bow Shoppe)? I’m sure a few of these products will be loved by someone on your “TO BUY FOR” list! The best part about this list is that no matter your budget, there’s something here for that special friend/girlfriend/bestie/sister/mom/random.

largeHappy shopping and don’t forget to add a personal hand-written note with every gift you give. It’ll make your special someone feel that much more special. It’ll show them that you’re buying them something because they MEAN something to you, not just because it’s Christmas!

Talk soon,

Vanessa Xo

until i became…Myself.

Fashion & Beauty, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

Today while I looked at Steven’s (UNTIL I BECAME) previous blog posts, I thought about the event at Minling Pan Studio and pondered over the wonderful clothes that I get to look at and/or try on at Moda L Boutique. Then I thought about my own style and about the clothes that I like to wear. What is my style?

“Fashion is bought, style is what you have.”

Take tonight’s outfit: jeans from Forever 21, shirt stolen from my sister about four years ago, boots from Walmart, and the purse is my dad’s 35-year-old camera bag. My jewelry is minimum and all three were gifts and I purchased the scarf at Forever 21 in Chicago. My outfit is inexpensive but cute and comfortable. More importantly, it’s me.


I understand how important your appearance can be and what it can tell people about you. I feel as though each day I get a little more comfortable in my own skin, I put a little more effort into choosing my outfits, I think about what my clothes will stay about me. Although I love brand names they’re not really me, plus I can’t justify breaking the bank for a new pair of jeans. By the same token, I can feel my style changing, I notice when I’m pulling something out of my closet that I haven’t worn in years or buying something I probably wouldn’t have chosen even a year ago.

I can see that I’m changing and I feel more confident in the clothes that I wear. All of these changes are going a little bit deeper though, a little below the surface. I’m not sure if I’m finally accepting who I am or if I’m really changing but I speak differently, I think differently, I write differently, and I don’t get offended as easily. I have never felt this…well… great about who I am, who I’m becoming. I’m slowly becoming less afraid, I’m slowly taking chances, I’m slowly accepting my mistakes, and I’m not ashamed to make some new ones. It’s not just the clothes or the conscious effort I’m putting into it, it’s everything and everyone around me as well. It’s the fact that I’m growing up and that I’m starting to understand what I want out of life and who I want to be apart of it. 

I never knew how good it would feel to finally become Myself.

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

HOLY CRAP I’m (mostly) Au Naturale

Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal, Products and Brands

I’ve always been a Plain Jane, au naturale kind of gal — minimal makeup, virgin hair, the whole shebang. My one weakness is face products. I love trying out new face washes, creams, sunscreen, ANYTHING that will make my skin soft, smooth, and blemish-free. The problem is that since I’ve entered my twenties, I’ve been more prone to blemishes and pimples than I had been in my teens! To worsen things, I’m a picker — if I see a pimple, I pop it. Then I get scars. Yay me.

My mom suggested that I STOP with all of the products and just use soap and water, her beauty regime since forever. It’s worked wonders for her — she has minimal wrinkles, a nice glow to her skin, and ZERO blemishes or scars. As of late I’ve been following her advice. Dove soap and warm water to wash my face OR natural products like Neutrogena Naturals — no more testing random brands.


I’ve also been turned onto Bio-Oil, which literally gets rid of nasty pimples, blemishes, and scars within a week. It’s a great product, surprisingly light and easily absorbed — it’s fantastic for spot treatment. My aunt bought it for me for Christmas and it has been a lifesaver.



After a December of dry, itchy, and blotchy skin these products (or lack thereof) have got my skin feeling super-healthy. It’s starting to get a nice glow to it and a more even complexion. I’m a strong believer in being active, eating well, drinking lots of water, and using natural products, so in addition to my skin “health-kick” I’m trying to add some more nutritious food to my diet.

** In walks HOLY CRAP**

A_9ohtsCMAEYRaV.jpg-large IMG_1815

I know what you’re thinking, how could that crap taste good? Well, it has a wonderful cinnamon apple taste to it and it adds a great crunch to your yogurt. You can also eat it as a hot cereal (but the texture of hot cereal grosses me out :P).

Wondering what all those seeds and crap are? I pulled this info off of the HOLY CRAP website for your reading pleasure. After only a week or so of chomping down this delicious crap I feel more energetic, my bathroom breaks have been flowing nicely (gross but true), and I’m not sure about the concentration thing but who knows, maybe that takes time.

Screen Shot 2013-01-10 at 1.31.25 PMGiven that we’re at the beginning of a new year and we’ve made resolutions we’re trying  to keep, I thought I would share a few new products for anyone who put BE HEALTHIER or FEEL HEALTHIER on their list.

Good luck! Let me know if you try out any of these products!

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

Christmas Gift-Guide

Just for Fun, Products and Brands

I’ve seen a lot gift-giving blog pots recently but none for people like myself. So here is my first ever gift-giving guide/suggestions for the BOOK NERD BLOGGERS in your life <;3


1. The best books I read in 2012:

2. Volant Large Ruled Notebook by Moleskin from Papyrus (my favourite notebooks to date – seriously I spend a lot of time with them) $12.95

3. Writers are made of 10% water and 90% coffee, so a witty coffee mug will delight them. This “Always Blog on A Full Tank” mug can be found here $10.00

4. Bookish shirts are amazingly awesome. The “GO TO HELL I’M READING” shirt can be found here $28.99

5. Every writer wants a typewriter to display nicely in their lavish office or Beauty and the Beast library. I’m swooning over this vintage typewriter, found it on Etsy $303.39

What are you buying for the book-loving, coffee-drinking, blogging, old-fashion-pen-and-paper-Writer-friends in your life?

Love Always
Vanessa Xo

Moda L Boutique, Where Fashion meets Love

Fashion & Beauty, Just for Fun, Products and Brands

I found this place that I really don’t want to tell you about. Yes, you read that right, I don’t want to share it with you. Why? Simply because I’ve finally found a boutique (close to home) with unique pieces for every occasion and I don’t want you to end up wearing the same thing as me, that’s why!

Fine, fine, you broke me down – I was being a little bit crazybeautiful  selfish.

The boutique is Moda L Boutique in Woodbridge. The owner is a lovely lady named Linda Lupo and the boutique is beautiful, simple, and chic (decorated by Dianne Carbone).

The jeans are to die for, I wanted to purchase about three pairs!

PERFECT for an evening out or a day in the office – depending on your accessories and shoes!

See that blank spot in the top right box? I bought the necklace that was hanging on the mannequin as a Christmas gift – beautiful and affordable.

Favourite evening look. Sexy, simple, and classy.

Favourite casual look – the vest is so soft!


As you can see, Linda carries a huge selection of clothing, jewelry, scarves, bags, and shoes. She carries a long list of great brands including Valentino, Missoni, Etro, Pink Violet,  Paracuso, Sevens, Miss Me, and many more.

There is so much to choose from, whether you’re looking for work clothes, evening wear, a date-night outfit, a prom dress, or everyday costume jewelry. Now do you understand why I didn’t want to tell you about this place?!

I got a chance to talk to the owner (a friend of my Mama) and asked her if I could write about her store; she was humbled. She told me that she’s always loved working in retail, and dressing people – making other women look and feel great. She owned a boutique  for about 12 years but decided to close because she wanted to raise her two boys. She always knew she would do it again and lucky for us, she has.

So, what’re you waiting for?

Check out this FAB boutique and tell Linda that I sent you! 😉

Love Always
Vanessa Xo

Lattes, Sunshine, and a total Buzzkill

Book Reviews, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal, Restaurant Reviews, Toronto Adventures

Self-imposed stress can do some wonderful things to your complexion and even give you that sexy eye-twitch you’ve always wanted. Yes, that was sarcasm but a trip downtown Toronto on a beautiful Fall day may be the cure for all that ails you.

You may have read about my trip to Kensington Market on Vintage Living Magazine but there are a few things that I forgot to mention. For starters, everyone in Kensington Market is so youthful, friendly, and accommodating – they even overlooked the i’m-a-small-town-girl sign that looms un-auspiciously over my head. The shops and cafes are divine and for a place that doesn’t have a lot of garbage cans or recycling bins, it’s exceptionally clean (gosh I’m such a priss).

I thoroughly enjoyed my Tuesday downtown and even learned a few things…

  • A skinny, half-sweet pumpkin spice latte is the best thing about Fall – apart from scarves, sweaters, ankle boots, and watching the leaves turn fifty shades of red.
  • Popping into a restaurant you’ve never heard of IS a great idea.

  • Your taste buds will give you a round of applause when you try something new – even if you look silly for eating with a fork instead of chopsticks.

  • Finally, bees that won’t leave you alone when you’re trying to enjoy a wonderful meal on a patio are a total buzzkill! But don’t let that get you down!

Smile, bee happy, and move your meal inside before you get stung!

Love Always
Vanessa Xo

Today I Fell in Love…

Just for Fun

Today I have no profound statements for you. No advice or words to live by. Today I found fashion. Today I fell in love with a store. So I’ll tell you a little about that 😉

I went to Sherway mall with my Mom to find something for her to wear for my sister’s shower and lo and behold we found BCBG Maxazria. Not that we actually purchased anything from that store (she found a gorgeous black maxi dress by Jessica Simpson from The Bay) but I am absolutely in love with every item of clothing in that store. And the SHOES and BAGS. I walked to the middle of the store and time stood still, the heavens parted, and the angels sung… then my wallet yelled a little louder and I was forced to walk out of the store with a heavy heart. One day Vanessa, one day.

As a side note: while walking around the mall we heard the song My Little Runaway by Del Shannon. Since I can’t get it out of my head I would like to share it with you. Goodness gracious I love old music.


With all that said I think I’ll end my post here. I hope you had a fantastic Tuesday. I’m going to spend my night with a plate of pasta, the bf, and a new episode of The New Girl.

Love Always 
Vanessa Xo