Ananasa – for the people, by the people

Categories, Fashion & Beauty, Products and Brands


Founded in 2011, is an online marketplace that enables artisans, artists and designers in the Middle East to sell their creations worldwide with no barriers. As a new and potential customer to it’s wonderful to see so many beautiful, unique, and handcrafted products. I have three favourite stores already and I need to share them with you! 

I love accessories so I spent my morning looking through their products and various stores that they deal with. My absolute favorite is Misk. Misk is a story located in Egypt – it is a line of handcrafted women accessories, “each piece is an idea of its own, carefully selected, and designed”. Their lockets are beautifully designed and engraved with heart-felt words like ‘My heart and its key belongs to you’  and ‘May the light within you guide the light within me and may the light within me guide the light within you’. These words are written in Arabic Calligraphy, adding an extra element of beauty to each piece. Their necklaces would make a wonderfully thoughtful gift for any loved one in your life. 

Another store that I love is Peaches by Farah Saheb – located in Jordan. Peaches “is an online store where each item is designed with love. The store provides cushions, mobile covers and canvas artwork”. The artwork is bold, fresh, and exotic. A canvas from this shop would make an excellent focal point for any room in your home. I love the Pink City print and the Earrings print — so different and warm from any prints I’ve seen at our local IKEA store. 

Lastly, Peau Féroce or  Wild Skin is “a high-end fashion brand that creates a limited edition handmade products of 100% genuine leather material at affordable prices for both men and women”. From shoes to handbags to belts, I’m telling you that I’ve never seen anything like them. I know that Vintage is in but I think that unique and limited edition products is more what people want than anything and THIS store (located in Lebanon) is JUST the thing you’re looking for. 


Their Chikes Nili S bag is probably my favourite item of theirs. The colour is so vibrant  — I need to have it!

Have you checked out yet? 

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

Happy 25 Years, Ted!!

Fashion & Beauty, Products and Brands


Last night, Casie Stewart (THIS IS MY LIFE) hosted an event for Ted Baker London at Yorkdale Shopping Centre. Although I would have loved to attend this event, I decided to sign up for a seminar at Ryerson instead (which means I have zero spending money left this month). If you RSVP’d to the event you got 25% off your in store purchase (or any online purchase). I know my wallet is thankful that I didn’t attend since EVERYTHING on their website seems like something I would purchase. Here are some of my favourite pieces – I have a recent obsession with dresses and peplum.

Thanks to Casie I’ve fallen in love with a new brand!

I’m looking forward to walking into Ted Baker London sometime soon to splurge on something special for the summer

— a girl’s got to treat herself once in a while 😉

Love Always 

Vanessa Xo

P.S. What’s your favourite piece from the Ted Baker London website??

I love LOFTing (not loafting, although that’s cool too)

Fashion & Beauty, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal, Products and Brands, Toronto Adventures

Yesterday I got to Party Like A LOFT Girl thanks to Valerie at Charming Media. It was my first time stepping into a LOFT store and only my second fashion event — I’m hoping to attend them more often, I’m learning so much about fashion and I’m finding my own style. You can read my recap on Chic Darling but here’s a sneak peek to hold you over!

Needless to say I had an awesome time, I took my best friend and I was happy to see that she was enjoying herself as well. We shopped, we mingled, then we went to grab a coffee — something we haven’t done in a few weeks. Gosh I missed my best friend, thanks for coming with me Katri! ❤

This happened.

This happened.

Apart from the lovely event I attended I was in one of those moods all weekend — you know those moods where anything can set you off, make you nervous, make your skin crawl with anger? I was the crabbiest person I’ve been in a while and I took it out on the wrong people.

<— And then this happened. My heart melted, puddles formed in my eyes, and I wondered why the heck have I been such a bitch this weekend? I can’t even tell you the answer to that. It might be nerves, it might be anxiety. Either way, I forgot about everything the second I bent down, reached behind my tire and picked up the five dollars that were hidden there.

*Cue goofy smile, guilty heart, and lifted soul.*

Note to self: don’t take out your sadness, fears, or frustrations on anyone — least of all the people who love you and think about you even when you’re being a bitch.

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

P.S Stay tuned this week for some FOODIE FUN! ❤

There’s Nothing MINimal about IT… #Fashion #Giveaway #Toronto

Fashion & Beauty, Giveaways, Just for Fun, Products and Brands, Toronto Adventures

Since attending the Spring Preview of the new label MIN, I’ve been in love with Minling Pan Studio. Have you seen the line of handbags yet?! A few of my personal favourites are:

At the event, I was lucky enough to win the round shape studded purse and I cannot wait to rock this one-of-a-kind piece! The MIN label launches in Spring 2013 and as I mentioned in my post for Chic Darling, each piece was designed by Minling with YOU in mind. Now, more about YOU — the wonderful Minling has offered to give away a gorgeous necklace right here on My Pen, My Voice.;*

You can WIN a Vintage inspired statement necklace worth $45.00!

Told you it was gorgeous! 😉

To enter YOU MUST:

LIKE Minling Pan Studio on Facebook

LIKE My Pen, My Voice.;* on Facebook

TWEET I’d love to win some neck-candy from @MinlingStudio and @VANESSAGrillone!

(If you don’t have a Twitter account please COMMENT on this post letting me know which purse above is your favourite!)*


Love Always

Vanessa Xo

Contest Rules:

*Contest open to Canadian residents only. Winner will be chosen by – #4 on the list will be the winner. Contest ends February 20th, 2013*

From Clothing to Carbs…

Fashion & Beauty, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal, Products and Brands
  1. One credit away from my publishing certificate and now I think I might want to freelance for magazines instead #perfectTiming
  2. @VanessaGrillone Hahaha. Life is always like that. I’ve changed career paths quite a few times.
  3. @MsMariaVicente lol it seems like every time I’m nearly finished something I want to try something else!
  4. @MsMariaVicente LOL at least we’re narrowing down our options.. At least we always want a challenge 🙂
  5. It’s true, I’m back to square one! I’m enjoying my part-time work (Caruso Gourmet Pizza and Moda L Boutique AKA Clothing to Carbs), part-time school, and full-time writing and reading. I enjoyed studying English at York and I really like all of my Publishing courses at Ryerson. Right now I’m enrolled in my last class, Visual Publishing, and I’m having a great time creating stories with pictures (see assignments below).


     My only issue is choosing my career — picking a future. I used to be the type to live in the future, live by a plan, but now I don’t. I planned on having my career started by the time I turned 24 (April 4th of this year) and that doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen.

    So, it looks like I’ll keep going from clothing to carbs and writing every chance I get!

    Love Always

    Vanessa Xo

I just blog. A lot.

Categories, Fashion & Beauty, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal, Products and Brands, Restaurant Reviews, Toronto Adventures

“So, what kind of blogger are you?” a question that was asked many times at my first fashion event at Minling Pan Studio.

I am a player -- I blog a lot, about everything.

I am a player — I blog a lot, about everything.

I’m still trying to find my place. I’m trying to figure out my niche. I blog, a lot, about everything. I follow the most amazing fashion bloggers, beauty bloggers, food bloggers, book review bloggers, and lifestyle bloggers, and I’m trying desperately to find my place in the mix. I’m trying to stand out in the WORLD WIDE WEB. I started this blog as a compliment to my diary and it has become so much more to me than that. It has helped me meet some amazing people, go to some fantastic book and beauty events, and I am so thankful for that. I hope that I can attend many more and that somewhere along the line I’ll find my niche, my thing.

On second thought, maybe I never will — maybe my thing is writing about everything.

Maybe I don’t really have a niche.

Maybe I’m a Writer and that’s all there is to it.

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

Stay tuned for three new posts on Chic Darling, a review of The Dinner by Herman Koch, a new Buytopia deal, a book review blogger event, and who knows what else!! 😛 🙂

Nails done, hair done, everything DID

Products and Brands, Uncategorized

…Okay so I only got my hair did but I love it! I tried out a deal from Buytopia this morning and feel the need to share it with you right away. Buytopia is running a deal with A&B Creative Looks in Woodbridge:

$29 for a Wash, Cut, Style, Blow Dry, Deep Conditioning Treatment and Partial Highlights

A & B Creative Looks Beauty Salon & Spa ($120 Value)


I did everything but the partial highlights (I have virgin hair and I want to keep it that way). The deep conditioning treatment was fantastic — it felt like a scalp massage. It was so relaxing that I nearly fell asleep and the conditioner smelled GREAT. I’m very picky about who cuts my hair and how they do it, so checking out this deal for ya’ll was a BIG risk on my part.

Thankfully Ranjit took this…


AND turned it into THIS…


GAWD! I hate selfies but I love the way Ranjit cut, styled, and blow dried my hair. It feels smooth and silky, and it’s actually shiny! If you’re looking to purchase this deal please start by using my Buytopia affiliate link — that way they know who sent you ;). Click HERE!

I’ll be checking out an event at Minling Pan Studio tonight with my lovely friend Lina! The recap will be on the Chic Darling website soon.

Hope you’re having a wonderful day, I’m off to part-time job #2!

Love Always
Vanessa Xo

Paying it Forward with Clearly Contacts

Giveaways, Just for Fun, Products and Brands

So, I won these wicked cool Derek Cardigan frames from Casie Stewart and Clearly Contacts not too long ago. In fact, I got them back on Saturday!


Got my glasses back finally! Rockin’ my Derek Cardigan’s from @ClearlyContacts and @casiestewart 🙂

Now enough about my glasses and onto something for YOU. Clearly Contacts have given me the opportunity to pay forward the greatness of sexy eyewear…

Meaning I’m giving away a pair of Derek Cardigan 7019 frames right here on the blog!


I can totally picture you sitting in Starbucks, scribbling in your notebook, just contemplating  life, wearing these hot cat eye glasses, getting the attention of the very cute hipster-boy that just walked in. Or at your favourite bar looking cute, casual, confident, and totally fierce (once again wearing these cat eye glasses). Or sitting in the boardroom pitching your awesome ideas, commanding the room. Or maybe just watching a movie at home, in your p.j.’s with your dog – why not look cute while doing it?

Personally, I LOVE glasses. They’re a great way to change your look without doing anything major (like chopping off your hair). And now, I’d like to share the love – these cat eye inspired frames are one of 2013’s fabulous eyewear trends.

No one rocks ANYTHING like Marilyn Monroe but there's no denying that these cat-eye frames are fierce! You can try them on the Clearly Contacts website!

No one rocks ANYTHING like Marilyn Monroe but there’s no denying that these cat eye frames are fierce! You can try them on on the Clearly Contacts website!

Okay Vanessa, enough yapping – how do I WIN these frames?

I’m getting there but first I should let you know that this giveaway is open to Canadian residents only! (Sorry ILU <3)

To win TWEET: “Yes, I want to win a pair of #DerekCardigan frames from @ClearlyContacts and @VanessaGrillone!”


If you don’t have Twitter, leave a comment right here on the blog! 

The winner will be picked at random and announced right here on WEDNESDAY MORNING! Good Luck!

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

I can see clearly now, thanks to Casie Stewart and Clearly Contacts!

Just for Fun, Products and Brands

Remember that one time I won frames from Casie Stewart and Clearly Contacts?


Well they arrived today! Merry Christmas to me and a huge thank you to Clearly Contacts and Casie Stewart!

Now, I may not look as hot in big frames as this babe…


Or this one… (yes that’s Mama and me)


But I absolutely love them! What’s more is that they’re designed by Derek Cardigan (a CANADIAN eyewear designer, eh?) and they’re the same style that Alicia Keys wore in her new music video. I’ve been doing some research on the Clearly Contacts website and their frames and contacts are awesome, reasonably priced, and you get free shipping on your contact lenses if you use the code FREESHIP12. I also found that they have a whole Change the View charity mission: For every pair of eyeglasses purchased, someone in need is given a pair of eyeglasses, a pair of sunglasses or Vitamin A tablets.” Awesome right? You can read more about it here.

I can’t wait to get my own prescription lenses in these puppies – I’ll be hipstering all over town!

Have a very Merry Christmas!

Love Always
Vanessa Xo

Reconnecting with Roots!

Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal, Products and Brands

When was the last time you walked into a Roots store? Mine was the other day and I loved the feeling that I got the second I walked in. I felt Canadian. I wanted to grab a pair of boots, a cozy sweater, a few friends, and go up to Muskoka, or for a hike, or on a camping trip.  I wanted to say “eh” a lot and enjoy the changing Canadian weather, the crisp nip of Fall on my face. I don’t think I’ve ever felt all of that when walking into a store – normally I’m overcome with dread.

When I finally got over my feelings and started to check out the clothes and try them on, I remembered why I love Roots so much. Stylish, comfy, and great quality. I live for comfort and I hope to look cute while doing so – Roots can accomplish both.

While walking around I was introduced to their Travel Alberta campaign.

You can check out the Travel Alberta look book here.

I tried on a the Vintage Long Sleeve Tee, a Beaver Intarsia Crew, and the Maple Intarsia Cardigan. The Cardigan is adorable and with a pair of tights and leg warmers, you’d make a great Fall/Winter outfit! I decided on a black Vintage Long Sleeve Tee, a Roots key chain, and a Roots leather coin purse (Thanks Roots!).


I have to admit that I spent the most time checking out their boots, purses, and wallets (Leather Heaven as I named it in my head). I had no idea that Roots carried such amazing leather handbags and wallets. There’s something “woodsy”, Canadian, durable, and yet totally feminine about all of their leather products. Next time I go in, I think I’m going to get a zip-up wallet to match my coin purse *cue drool*.

photo copy

The best thing about Roots is the quality of the clothes. You can tell just by feeling the material that it’s going to last more than a few cycles in the wash, in fact I have a few pairs of sweat pants and sweaters that I bought a good five to seven years ago that are STILL warm and looking new.  So, I’d take a venture into a Roots store next time you’re walking by one, bring the boyfriend with you – their men’s section is super stylish and comfy!

You might be pleasantly surprised at how much you’ve been missing!

Let me know if it makes you feel CANADIAN, Eh?

Love Always
Vanessa Xo

*Post previously on Roots Buzz Blog (September 2012). Roots Canada now has a fabulous Tumblr blog, check it out*