But I Never Get Sick…

Lifestyle/Personal

Last Wednesday I woke up with drums beating in my ears, an avalanche of bricks falling on my head, and something like gravel stuck in my throat. I realized suddenly that I was soaked in my own sweat, my tank top damp, my p.j. pants stuck to my legs, my hair wetter than when I get out of the shower. This is impossible I thought, I never get sick. My brain felt less than functional, my entire body felt sore. Somehow I got out of bed and made myself a coffee. I looked at my phone, 6:45 A.M. and I couldn’t be more nauseous. I decided to go back to bed.

“Money cannot buy health, but I’d settle for a diamond-studded wheelchair.” ― Dorothy Parker

I spent the entire day taking naps and popping Advil in the sincerest hope for some peace and quiet, for the pounding and aching to subside. I don’t know how my head didn’t explode. The next few days got a little better, then a little worse. The trouble was that I couldn’t focus, writing and reading were excruciatingly difficult. Eating hurt my throat more than I thought it would. Searching for jobs online seemed utterly impossible. I didn’t even workout. Anyone who knows me KNOWS that something is really wrong when I can’t get up the energy to workout.

Like most people I take my health for granted. I wake up at the same time every morning, follow the same routines, and get shit done. I eat healthy foods, workout, and always make time to read and write. Being sick for a week completely threw my life upside down, suddenly I couldn’t do the things I wanted or that I am used to. I couldn’t even cuddle with my niece! It all made me a little depressed. The funny thing about being a wallflower or outsider is that we want to be able to choose when we want to be left alone. We don’t want to be told not to go near someone or not to kiss them, we don’t want to have to stay in our room alone so that no one catches what we have. Choosing to be alone feels completely different than being forced to be alone.

294baf3f04ba8acfadaed3b08bd8ac72

 

It wasn’t all bad though. This SICK-WEEK allowed me to take a step back, to sleep in and rest, to take a breather and put a few things on pause. I like to be busy and I put so much pressure on myself to keep going, so maybe this SICK-WEEK was a blessing in disguise. I feel refreshed, ready to job hunt, ready to write, ready to go out and get it!!

Happy MONDAY!

– Vanessa

Not That Kind of Girl [Book Review/Thank You]

Book Reviews

photo-2

I’ve been excited to read Not That Kind of Girl since my interning days at Random House Canada when the book was first announced. I’ve watched Girls on HBO and love it but my admiration for Lena Dunham has more so to do with her words and her kick-ass attitude than her acting. Not That Kind of Girl feels like you’re reading a script from Girls, except it’s a tad more poetic and 100% real. Lena holds nothing back, sharing insights and stories about love, sex, her body, friendship, work, and family life. She writes with honesty, conviction, and passion. In sharing everything she’s “learned’ you can’t help but learn something about yourself or about the person you want to be.

Lena’s book doesn’t need to be reviewed. No matter what I say fans  will still flock to bookshops and purchase their own copy. In the big scheme of publicity, my review will not boost her sales or gain her fans, so instead of writing a review I’d rather write a thank you.

Thank you for expressing everything that I have ever felt, witnessed, or experienced in a kick-ass, unforgiving way. Thank you understanding the basic human condition, that we are all assholes who are afraid of death. Thank you for making the personal essay cool, valid, relatable, honest, and smart. For publishing the kind of words that fill voids, generate laughter, and banish embarrassment. Reading your book has given me the courage to continue writing personal essays, to share my thoughts with the world, and to challenge myself as a writer. Thank you for showing me that every story is important and that my thoughts are valid.

lena-dunham

 

AND I DECIDED THEN THAT I WILL NEVER BE JEALOUS. I WILL NEVER BE VENGEFUL. I WON’T BE THREATENED BY THE OLD, OR BY THE NEW. I’LL OPEN WIDE LIKE A DAISY EVERY MORNING. I WILL MAKE MY WORK. (201)

 

Vanessa Xo

Lesson Learned: Don’t Half-Ass your Life

Family Time, Lifestyle/Personal

230307_152004958198616_2369167_n

It’s a little-known fact that my mother and I don’t always see eye-to-eye, and yet I’m more like her than my father. I might shrug off her bits of advice and pretend that I don’t care what she thinks, but the truth is that her acceptance and wisdom mean a lot to me. My mom has this way of always doing things perfectly, she puts 100% of effort into everything she does. Whether it’s making dinner, grocery shopping, or reading to my niece, she never looks for a short cut. My mother is always put together. She ALWAYS has a pair of earrings on, long mascaraed lashes, and combed hair, even if she’s walking out of the house in track pants. If my mother had a mantra or a set of guidelines for life, it would look something like this:

Don’t half-ass your life.
Do things the right way, not the easy way.
Clean your room, make sure your clothes match, put on some mascara.
We might not be rich, but we can be presentable. 
Don’t do it for anyone else, Do it for you. 
Take pride in your life. 

Whenever I feel like giving up or convince myself that going out in a ratty sweater and old track pants is okay, my mom’s voice pops into my head, altering my choices. If you can’t show up to your own life and give 150% every single day, nothing awesome will ever happen. I think my mom is my number one (silent) supporter. She believes in me and knows my potential more than anyone else — it may have something to do with me living in her uterus for nine months.

10450175_767997553242944_5339416282891757181_n

When I’m feeling uninspired, self-conscious, and down about my life choices, she sends me little notes of inspiration and positivity. When I don’t believe in myself, she does. When I don’t do my very best, she pushes me to. There’s no way that a daughter of hers is going to waste her life, or half-ass her dreams. She might seem like an overbearing mother, a nag even, but she’s my nag and when her green eyes burst with passion and her hands start flailing, I know she’s about to tell me one of those secrets to life, and I listen with an open heart.

Talk soon,
Vanessa

Lesson Learned: falling into place

Lifestyle/Personal

8612e766c0f1a55aa7c38b7e323b505e

On my 25th birthday I held my breath and blew out the candles with such ferocity that my wish didn’t have a chance to exist…

The clock ticks faster these days and any attempt to slow down my thoughts results in a quickened heart rate and nervous tic. I noticed crows-feet digging lines into the corners of his eyes as I sang him Happy Birthday the other day. A mirror of those lines are in the corner of my own, not to mention the pillows of darkness beneath my eyes. We’re getting older, but we’re so young — the world is still ours.

Every rash decision I’ve made and every opportunity I’ve been afraid to take has led me to this land of mass confusion. All options are in the air — I’m a juggler throwing balls so high, losing them in the sky. I’m waiting impatiently for one to come back down, hit me in the head, and get me back on track. My mind is fatigued most days and this uncertainty isn’t invigorating, it’s a burden. I’m waiting for everything to fall into place.

“Falling into Place:
deciding everything is falling into place perfectly as long as you don’t get too picky about what you mean by place. Or perfectly.” ― Brian Andreas

Talk soon,
Vanessa

Coffee Shop Thoughts

Bursting the Bubble, Lifestyle/Personal

photo

Nervous legs twitch beneath every coffee table in my peripheral. The entire cafe takes another sip of their foamy, double-shot cappuccinos and put down their cups in unison as I breathe a sigh of relief. Their nervous ticks and hipster shades soothe me. After an intense conversation with a fellow writer/friend I see my life, my decisions, my writing, and my blog in a new light. Ideas of substance burst into flames when under intense pressure. It’s time to diminish the stress and thrive on new thoughts and different ventures. I’ve tried this before and failed quite successfully but I deserve a second chance.

This doesn’t mean you won’t hear from me at all.

It just means that I have to put a few other things first.

Talk soon,
Vanessa

Credo quia impossibile… [NEW MANTRA]

Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal, Toronto Adventures

Credo quia impossibile…

I believe it because it is impossible…

I found that Latin phrase on the signed copy of Cloud by Eric McCormack that I won from The Cooke Agency via Twitter. Can a phrase like that be a mantra because if so, it’s mine now. Over the last few years (like many other university graduates) I’ve struggled to start my career. My dreams include working for a publishing company or other bookish establishment and living in the heart of Toronto (with the bf), while writing freelance articles and keeping up with my blog. Right now I’m unemployed,  living with my parents at least 50 minutes from the city, and yes still blogging and freelancing. My dreams seem anything but possible from where I’m sitting, and yet I can’t stop believing that one day it will happen. I don’t think that my dreams are too big, or impossible, or crazy, I just need to keep trying and hope for a bit of luck to come my way…

WP_20140827_006

One day I’ll be able to miss this view…

ENJOY LIFE AND KICK ASS, 
VANESSA XX

* Photo taken with the Nokia Lumia 1020!

stop dickering around.

Lifestyle/Personal

I LOVE spending Sundays in Toronto, well in all honesty I love ANYTIME in Toronto. With every corner you turn you can see something new. It’s my kind of bliss — tiny adventures a block at a time. Yesterday afternoon I went to Gusto 101 with the bf and cousins. We sat on the patio and were pummelled with sunshine — it felt great. I had the burger and a glass of their white wine that’s on tap ($1 an ounce!) my mouth is still salivating. Whenever I’m in the city I tend to think big thoughts, dream big dreams. Everything about Toronto is so much BIGGER and FASTER than anything in Bolton.

This is how it is, you’re stagnant for so long and then all of a sudden everything happens at once. All of a sudden your dreams shift and mould into something completely different. All of a sudden life is catching up to you and you can’t seem to understand how quickly you turned twenty-five. You feel like you were nineteen last week instead of six years ago. All of a sudden every single choice you make has an immediate result and impact on your life. All of a sudden you’ve got to stop dickering around and grow the eff up.

IMG_7942I’m not the type to dick around. I want different things than I wanted last year and I’ve got to work hard in order to get them. Patience is a virtue but persistence is a necessity. Changes are immediate, with no end in sight. I don’t want to press pause, rewind, or even fast forward because I’m enjoying the uncertainty of my life right now. My story is just getting interesting…

ENJOY LIFE AND KICK ASS, 
VANESSA XX

 

the transformation begins via a fresh coat of paint

Bursting the Bubble, Lifestyle/Personal

photo 4

Last night I went to spIn in Woodbridge with one of my favourite human beings. We chatted for three hours non-stop about life, love, work, travel, and everything else in between. I’ve known Lina for almost three years, travelled with her (and our bfs to Chicago), and have had many adventures with her in between. She’s a creative type (like myself) who is yearning to get into interior design. We’re both working our butts off, taking risks, and just hoping for hard work and luck to thrust us into our desired careers. We’re both a little unsettled and without plans in sight, we’re driving ourselves crazy!

photo 3

Somewhere between coffee/tea and dessert, we had an epiphany. We feel so unsettled because we have so many options and don’t know what to choose. Since my closet purge I’ve been trying to let go of some baggage, allow for little changes to uplift my mood, spark some creativity, and maybe even help me focus a little on who I am and what I really want. My latest project is redecorating my room, I do a lot of writing, blogging, and job hunting in there but recently the dark purple walls have been weighing me down and closing in on me. I want to feel relaxed, confident, and focussed and since colours really do affect your mood the purple has got to go. I choose a different state of mind.

 We can literally do anything we want right now, the toughest part is figuring out the ‘what’ and the ‘how’. Maybe all you need is a fresh coat of paint and an open-mind.

ENJOY LIFE AND KICK ASS, 
VANESSA XX

You can’t predict the weather but you can weather the storm.

Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

I cannot believe how quickly this weekend flew by! I spent my weekend about three hours away from home with a few fantastic ladies to celebrate my bestie’s bachelorette. I packed my bikini and sunscreen in hopes that I would soak up some sun and FINALLY get a tan this summer. Sadly, even after a little sun-dance, it stayed hidden behind the clouds.

A cool wind and constant rain kept us inside but we made the most of the weekend. Eating, sleeping, drinking the most delicious coffee I’ve ever had, watching Bridesmaids, gossiping, and relaxing in my sweats turned out to be exactly what I needed. You never know what can happen when you bring together a group of women (some of which don’t know each other). I’m thankful that well all got along, got to know each other better, and made a few memories over the weekend too.

IMG_7845 IMG_7853 IMG_7852

You wouldn’t think that a Bachelorette would bring about some intense thoughts but as I sat around and observed the conversations being had, I learned more about myself than I bargained for. In order to be successful I need to be as confident as the girls I was surrounded by this weekend. In larger groups I gravitate to the background or stick to the only person in the room that I know and that has to stop. The only one judging me is myself and I need to get over my self-consciousness in order to change and grow as a person and a professional. To be a #GIRLBOSS (although no one used that term this weekend) I need to stop making excuses for myself and to try harder. I need to know that I am doing everything I possibly can to live the life I want and I cannot give up. I also have to learn when to let something go and just have FUN.

Thanks to the Real Party Girls of Kathryn’s Bachelorette for teaching me all of this and so much more!

ENJOY LIFE AND KICK ASS, 
VANESSA XX

#GIRLBOSS [Book Review]

Book Reviews

I haven’t had the urge to carry a notebook around with me while reading a book in a long while, and then I picked up a copy of #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso. I found myself needing to write down all of the important quotes, anything that related to me and my current way of life, and ANYTHING that opened my eyes a little wider or got my heart pumping.

unnamed-1

#GIRLBOSS is Sophia’s story, how she went from selling a stolen book online, to shoplifting, to starting an eBay shop (Nasty Gal Vintage), to where she is today — CEO and Creative Director of a Nasty Gal. It’s the story of how she worked her way from the very bottom to the top by working long hours alone in front of a computer screen or sifting through thrift shops, teaching herself HOW to run her own business. She discusses what worked for her and what didn’t, she talks about all of the shitty jobs she had and how they prepared her for what would eventually become her empire.

BUT it’s not all about her nor is it a guide to becoming her. It’s a guide to becoming your OWN #GIRLBOSS, whatever that means to you. It’s not about becoming an entrepreneur, it’s about becoming entrepreneurial in everything that you do. It’s chalk-full of helpful hints, quotes, and stories from other successful #GIRLBOSSES (Alexi Wasser, Jenne Lombardo etc.). It’s a kick-ass book designed to open your eyes and help you on the road to kicking ass. I totally recommend it to any woman out there who knows that they’re destined for awesome and needs a little push in the right direction. All I know is that the second I put the book down I brainstormed ways to improve this blog, I made a plan to connect better with my readers, I searched up freelancing websites, and I decided to become that 1% (if you read the book, you know what I’m talking about).

Here are some of my favourite quotes from #GIRLBOSS!

you combine hard work, creativity, and self-determination, and things start to happen. (p 16)
There are secret opportunities inside every failure. (P 51)
Life is unwritten, like a great big experiment… I think it’s worth putting up with making some compromises, and even playing by (some of) the rules. (95)
Take care of the little things — even the little things that you hate — and treat them as promises to your own future. (121)
The last thing the world needs is another boring person or another boring brand, so embrace all the things that make you different (143)
Enjoy life and kick ass, 
Vanessa xx