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

Public Service Announcement

Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

There was a time when I could sit on my bed with a notebook and write for hours, or simply get lost in my own thoughts. Now I’m constantly reaching for my phone out of boredom or fear of my own thoughts. My cellphone addiction began the moment I added unlimited texting to my plan. I was 17. Between the ages 18 and 22 I went through more phones than I can remember: I always wanted the latest gadget. When data plans became an option and I learned how to use apps such as Twitter, Facebook, and later on Instagram, my entire social life was no longer based on 3D tangible people, who could talk to me or touch me. It became a vast world that I could hold in the palm of my hand. Over the years I’ve gotten into many fights with my friends, boyfriend, and family over ALWAYS having my phone on me. I realized late last year that I am addicted to my cellphone, social media, and the way I am perceived on such platforms. The internet has taken over my life. It’s made me feel small and useless.

From Pinterest

From Bloglovin

I decided that in 2015 I would take control of my life and my social media habits. As a start, I deleted Facebook. Why? Facebook is a creeping mechanism where I look at people from my past and feel sorry for myself. It’s been about two weeks since my last Facebook sign in and I don’t miss it one bit. It gives me one less reason to reach for my phone, one less excuse to put off this article, that story, or my job hunt. The next step is removing Twitter from my phone and only using it when I go on my computer. I love Twitter and have connected with so many brands and bloggers because of it, but I have a problem: NO ONE SHOULD SPEND 7 HOURS ON TWITTER TRYING TO WIN A NEW PHONE. No one.

After Twitter the next mountain to climb will be Instagram. I share everything on Instagram only the good things on Instagram. I’ve written about this before and it still irks me that I find myself obsessed with capturing, filtering, and sharing every moment. When I scroll through my 1300 photos I see a happy book-obsessed woman, with a loving boyfriend, great friends, and wonderful family. She doesn’t have any bad photos of herself, nor does she have photos documenting the fight she had with her boyfriend over something stupid. She doesn’t have photos representing her insecurities or her failures. She is a photoshopped and filtered version of me. I feel like Instagram has made me lose sight of who am I and what I want. I’m obsessed with other people and what they’re doing. I compare my relationship, job, milestones, and friends to theirs. One of their accomplishments belittles mine, one perfect selfie makes me feel hideous. I realized that Instagram and I had an issue when on the stroke of midnight of New Year’s Eve I was clicking away on Instagram instead of making out with my boyfriend in front of my family. I was too busy looking for the next “I said Yes” photo so I could “like” it and feel utterly jealous. What a way to start a new year.

The truth is that I’m tired of keeping up with the Joneses. I’m tired of trying desperately to be a top blogger (mucking with my content because I think I want to be like this blogger or that one). I’m tired of feeling like I owe the world my privacy. I’m tired of feeling anxious when my phone rings because I don’t speak on the phone too often. Something must change. I’m only a week into the new year and I must say that I find fewer reasons to pick up my phone. Apart from sending out a few tweets and pinning on Pinterest, my phone has become a, well, a phone. Phone calls and text messages only. I haven’t been carrying it around with me, I’ve been looking at phone plans with less data, and I’ve actually had more time to write, work, and read. I feel lighter.

There are some days where I wonder if I’m going the right way about this. I’m a blogger, I SHOULD be on social media. I mean how does a blogger who’s taking a step back from technology, blog? There’s no way I can approach companies or brands and ask to try out products or work with them if I don’t have Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. It’s bad enough that I don’t have Google+, Foursquare, or Snapchat. It’s jarring to think about but I am still committed to reviewing only products that I love (especially books), sharing things that I use, and working with brands that truly understand the sentiment behind my blog. I may not have the same reach as I once did but this blog has never been about gaining validation or reaching the whole world. It started as a place to write, to learn, to grow, and to remember.

That is how it will remain, until my very last post.

Love always, 
Vanessa XX

*Open letter to myself

Bursting the Bubble, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

One life is enough to do and become everything you want. The tough part is figuring out exactly what that means for you. In a world where everything is shared and nothing is private it is so easy to feel like you should want what they want, you should be doing what they’re doing. It’s almost second nature to think that they’re the lucky ones. It’s all bullshit. Privacy is the greatest gift you can give to yourself and your family. Instead of sharing products or counting likes, tweet love.

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The hardest and easiest thing to be in this world is YOURSELF.

Don’t compare or judge.

Spread love.

Talk soon,

Vanessa Xo

@TheEllenShow broke Twitter

Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

At the Oscars on Sunday night, host Ellen DeGeneres took to Twitter and broke it. Ellen wanted to take the most retweeted selfie, ever.

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And she did. With over 3 MILLION retweets, this photo is the most retweeted SELFIE EVER.

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It’s Tuesday and this is probably old news but I am obsessed with this selfie. Why? Well, obviously all of the beautiful people in it, the celebrities just being normal — in their tuxedos and evening gowns at the Oscars — enjoying life and taking photos. But it’s more than than that, LOOK AT HOW HAPPY THEY ALL ARE. Their smiles are contagious and yes, if I were them I would probably be happy too. But they all started at the bottom, they all had dreams just like ours.

This selfie is an ode to dreams come true, to hard work and dedication, and to success in every sense of the word… or at least that’s how I see it…

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Talk soon,

Vanessa Xo

Lupita Quote: marie claire Facebook page

Fill your head with the right things.

Bursting the Bubble, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

Have you ever had a conversation that rattled you to the core? The kind of conversation that stayed with you for days and struck such a nerve that you couldn’t think of anything else? The kind of life-changing conversation that brought a tear to your eye? I worked on Thanksgiving Sunday and one of our regular customers came in. He and my bosses got on the topic of LIFE. That big bold all-consuming word. Their conversation went from working to cell phones to today’s generation. They touched on how technology is great if used in the right way. They discussed how it’s making us stupid and distracted. They talked about how my generation doesn’t LIVE, they simply EXIST, and mostly online. They feed off the “likes” and “retweets” and “followers”. They are obsessed with keeping up with The Kardashians everyone else. They are sheep who consume before they think, that follow before they question. Then he looked right at me and asked, “When you’re on your death-bed, are you going to regret anything? Are you going to smile because you’ve LIVED instead of existed?”

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I mean come on, how do you get asked that question and expect to fall asleep that night? Thankfully he didn’t expect an answer but he definitely made me think. Not everyone I know is the way my bosses and this gentleman described but I am not going to sit here and say that I’m not. I’m not saying that I have to be a rebel or that I should get rid of social media all together, all I’m saying is that I don’t want to live a distracted life. I want to see and hear and feel everything.

Life is a series of experiences and if you’re too afraid or distracted to have them, what kind of life are you going to live?

__

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

The Circle by Dave Eggers [Book Review]

Book Reviews, Lifestyle/Personal

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I heard about The Circle by Dave Eggers at Bookstravaganza and being a social media lover, I knew I had to read it. This novel is 491 pages of utter brilliance, it is the modern-day 1984 by George Orwell and it depicts everything that can go wrong with social media.

When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company’s modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO. Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in America—even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.

I related to Mae on various levels, I am also a recent graduate, age twenty-four, with a naive mind and an uncontrollable desperation to make my way in the world. But, thankfully, I’m not exactly like Mae. As I turned the well-written pages of this novel, I realized more and more how crazy it all sounded, how silly Mae is, and how scary the world would be if we were constantly monitored the way The Circle wants us to be. The Circle’s ideologies literally creeped me out and it was interesting to see the reactions of various characters every time a new slogan was coined. Mercer you’re brilliant, Francis you’re creepy, Annie you need help girl, Mae you’re so so silly, and Kalden… I’ll let you form your own opinions about him!

I love social media, I share information many times a day, I have a Twitter account, a Facebook, Instagram, Goodreads, Pinterest etc. etc. I also write for this blog and share a lot of my life on here. HOWEVER, there are many things that I keep private, there are many things that I don’t share simply because they’re mine and I don’t have to share them if I don’t want to. I believe in privacy, I believe in communication, and although I love expressing my thoughts in 140 character or less, I much prefer face-to-face interaction. The Circle reminded me of all this. This novel reminded me that some moments are precious and the more you share, the more you document them, the less precious they become.

Every person I know should read this novel. It will scare you, it will give you goosebumps, it will actually upset you at some points, it will keep you on the edge of your seat, and it will definitely leave you feeling a little uneasy.

___

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

** Synopsis from the Random House of Canada website **

Sometimes it gets to be too much for me.

Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

By “IT” I mean the Internet. I mean the hours I spend online or on my phone tweeting, updating my Facebook status, and scrolling through an endless amount of Instagram photos. Sometimes I sit and stare at a blank WordPress post and wonder: should I write about this? Do people care? Why should they? Do I WANT to share this? Sometimes my blogging seems so vain, who really cares what is going on in the life of Vanessa Grillone? Sometimes I just want to shut it all down, log out of everything, go outside and read a book, or take a trip without feeling the need to document it. I remember what it was like to not have the Internet, to not have my phone attached to me. I actually wrote, in notebooks, every single day. I wrote stories. I created worlds. I wrote — probably better than I do now. I had time to feel things, to let my emotions take over, to think about things and write them down instead of tweeting it 3.5 seconds after it occurred. Sometimes I think the Internet is too fast for me. It gives me this anxious sort of high, like I’m hyper all the time. Remember when riding your bike gave you that same kind of high?

Social-Media-in-Business-Social-Media-Applications-Guide

But wait, I like documenting. It feels good to get a comment on a post, or a Retweet, or a “Like” on one of my photos. I like it. Don’t you?

I’ve read articles that state how social media and constant online presence can hinder your emotional state. It can actually depress you. I’m not depressed by the Internet or social media or my constant use of it, I’m just at the point of wondering, what else is out there? I don’t plan on not posting anymore, I don’t plan on cancelling my Twitter or deleting my Instagram account but I think I might take a little INTER-WEB DETOX once in a while.

Sometimes it just gets to be too much for me.

___
Love Always

Vanessa Xo

KISS ME FIRST [Book Review]

Book Reviews

If you follow me on Twitter you might have noticed I posted a pretty creepy book trailer a few weeks ago. This trailer had the whole office buzzing and gave me Goosebumps – I knew I had to read it.

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Now that I’ve read it, I don’t really know how to review it. How do you write a review about a book that made your skin crawl, that made you wonder if there really are such crazy and naive people in this world, that made you hate every character in the book? Well, I’ll start by sharing the synopsis:

When Leila discovers the website Red Pill, she feels she has finally found people who understand her. A sheltered young woman raised by her mother, Leila has often struggled to connect with the girls at school; but on Red Pill, a chat forum for ethical debate, Leila comes into her own, impressing the website’s founder, a brilliant and elusive man named Adrian. Leila is thrilled when Adrian asks to meet her, and is flattered when he invites her to be part of “Project Tess.”

Tess is a woman Leila might never have met in real life. She is beautiful, urbane, witty, and damaged. As they email, chat, and Skype, Leila becomes enveloped in the world of Tess, learning every single thing she can about this other woman—because soon, Leila will have to become her.

An ingeniously plotted novel of stolen identity, Kiss Me First is brilliantly frightening about the lies we tell—to ourselves, and to others, for good, and for ill.

To say the very least Kiss Me First by Lottie Moggach, is one of the most interesting books I’ve read in a while and it really makes you wonder about social media and the way it controls our lives. What scared me most about this book is that it could possibly happen in today’s society. What bugged me was how naive Leila is, I couldn’t relate to her or even sympathize with her – I felt more pity for Tess and wondered why a happy girl would want to do what she did.

“You would never have guessed from the picture—from any of the photos on Facebook—that she was anything other than happy.” (Page 84 of the ARC)

But maybe that’s the point, maybe we’ll never really know anyone from what they do online. Maybe we’ll never know the turmoil in someone’s head or the sorrow in their heart. Maybe we shouldn’t be so trusting of people, of social media. Maybe we shouldn’t take anyone’s life at face-value (especially via Facebook).

This book got me in a seriously contemplative state, it got me asking a bunch of questions, as all good books do. If you’re looking for a book that will really make you think, a book that you won’t be able to stop talking about, a book that will creep you right out, a book that will keep you on the edge of your seat – Kiss Me First is a great option — it’s on sale TODAY!

Love Always

Vanessa Xo