"Who dares wins" – Second Influencer Session with @CasieStewart

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

On Sunday I went to the Art Gallery of Ontario with Casie Stewart (blogger, mentor, influencer). It felt great to be downtown on my own again but I still felt a littler nervous meeting up with Casie! Thankfully we started off the morning with a mimosa – where I shook it out and relaxed. Seriously, I had to shake out my nerves. I’m such a tense and anxious person, I need to let loose and STOP WORRYING. THIS IS ME, AND I’M AWESOME, LIKE IT OR LEAVE IT. In that state-of-mind I walked around from room to room of the art gallery with Casie by my side. We talked about a lot of things, she showed me some of her favourite artwork, and she told me a few of her stories.

Mostly we talked about this:

Photo from Casie Stewart

Photo from Casie Stewart

About me getting out of my comfort zone and trying new things. About me getting out of my current work situation and finding something that will give me the skills I need to succeed in the field I want to get into (publishing). Casie gave me loads of excellent advice but what hit me hardest was when she politely called me out on my crap. I haven’t been looking for jobs in the right places because I’m comfortable where I am and I am scared of change. BOOM! I said it. Now I need to change it. Easy-peasy.

Another thing that I really need to work on is discovering what I LOVE. I walked through the room filled with self-portraits (the original selfie) and wondered what my self-portrait would look like and how I really see myself. I wondered a lot about what I love, what inspires me, and I realized that I don’t know. But I am going to find out.

I’ve got a brand new notebook and I’m making the right lists, looking for the right jobs, and exploring the city as often as I can.

Next I’d like to check out the aquarium and head to The R.O.M, then maybe I’ll explore the local art gallery (McMichael).

Come with?

Talk soon,

Vanessa Xo

“Who dares wins” – Second Influencer Session with @CasieStewart

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

On Sunday I went to the Art Gallery of Ontario with Casie Stewart (blogger, mentor, influencer). It felt great to be downtown on my own again but I still felt a littler nervous meeting up with Casie! Thankfully we started off the morning with a mimosa – where I shook it out and relaxed. Seriously, I had to shake out my nerves. I’m such a tense and anxious person, I need to let loose and STOP WORRYING. THIS IS ME, AND I’M AWESOME, LIKE IT OR LEAVE IT. In that state-of-mind I walked around from room to room of the art gallery with Casie by my side. We talked about a lot of things, she showed me some of her favourite artwork, and she told me a few of her stories.

Mostly we talked about this:

Photo from Casie Stewart

Photo from Casie Stewart

About me getting out of my comfort zone and trying new things. About me getting out of my current work situation and finding something that will give me the skills I need to succeed in the field I want to get into (publishing). Casie gave me loads of excellent advice but what hit me hardest was when she politely called me out on my crap. I haven’t been looking for jobs in the right places because I’m comfortable where I am and I am scared of change. BOOM! I said it. Now I need to change it. Easy-peasy.

Another thing that I really need to work on is discovering what I LOVE. I walked through the room filled with self-portraits (the original selfie) and wondered what my self-portrait would look like and how I really see myself. I wondered a lot about what I love, what inspires me, and I realized that I don’t know. But I am going to find out.

I’ve got a brand new notebook and I’m making the right lists, looking for the right jobs, and exploring the city as often as I can.

Next I’d like to check out the aquarium and head to The R.O.M, then maybe I’ll explore the local art gallery (McMichael).

Come with?

Talk soon,

Vanessa Xo

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?

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Love Always

Vanessa Xo

Introducing Pizza Vanessa

Lifestyle/Personal, Products and Brands, Restaurant Reviews

Today was a beautiful day. The sky a perfect blue, the air fresh and light, and the sun bright and warm. You’d think walking into work on a day like this would be depressing but it wasn’t. I was inducted into Caruso Hall of Fame. After more than 7 years of work, my boss created a pizza and named it after me.

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Red and white grapes, fresh rosemary, soft goat cheese, and mozzarella (no sauce). Savory, sweet, and a little but weird, like Me! It has a deliciously light, fresh, and odd flavour, one I reckon you should try!

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I Instagramed that photo this morning with the description I call it my second home… Why? Well, not only do I feel safe and comfortable but I always end a shift with some kind of knowledge gained. Today, when the power went out at 11 Am I learned how important basic math skills are. I also learned that there are many things we can’t control, you just have to roll it. Stretch a pizza, make a coffee, serve the customers, and don’t freak out!


Love Always
Vanessa Xo

Posted from the HTC One

BIG NEWS : #HTCOne – Everything your phone isn't

Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

 

In April I entered Casie Stewart’s HTC One Influencer contest and just this week I received an email letting me know that I WON! So what exactly did I win? Well, shortly I’ll be putting away my iPhone5 and trying out my first Android, the HTC ONE, which you know is a pretty big deal for this iPhone-lover. With this new phone I’ll be documenting my life, as well as the other part of my prize — a social and blog mentorship with the one and only Casie Stewart (THIS IS MY LIFE). I’m so excited for that part of the contest, apparently I get to guest post on her blog too! I cannot wait to meet up with Casie (notebook, pen, and laptop in hand) and learn how to take my blog to the next level.

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Thank you to Casie, HTC, and Say Media for this amazing opportunity, I am so excited to be the next HTC One Influencer!

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

BIG NEWS : #HTCOne – Everything your phone isn’t

Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

 

In April I entered Casie Stewart’s HTC One Influencer contest and just this week I received an email letting me know that I WON! So what exactly did I win? Well, shortly I’ll be putting away my iPhone5 and trying out my first Android, the HTC ONE, which you know is a pretty big deal for this iPhone-lover. With this new phone I’ll be documenting my life, as well as the other part of my prize — a social and blog mentorship with the one and only Casie Stewart (THIS IS MY LIFE). I’m so excited for that part of the contest, apparently I get to guest post on her blog too! I cannot wait to meet up with Casie (notebook, pen, and laptop in hand) and learn how to take my blog to the next level.

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Thank you to Casie, HTC, and Say Media for this amazing opportunity, I am so excited to be the next HTC One Influencer!

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

Weekend Recap [I put on my cape]

Family Time, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal, Restaurant Reviews

This weekend was my sister’s baby shower at Casamici Trattoria and although I will never understand the point in any kind of shower, it was an amazing afternoon. Since my sister is barely able to move, my mom, my brother-in-law, my brother, and myself had a lot of work to do. My mom in particular put in months and months of work to get all of the little details to make the baBEE shower absolutely perfect! The best part of events like this is that you get to see your family. I have a BIG family and if you combine them with Richard’s, the family is HUGE, but to have them all in one space, talking, and having a great time is a wonderful experience. I truly believe that family is everything. Thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate with us. We are so excited and thrilled about the baby girl on the way, she is lucky to have such a fun, good-looking (ha ha), and supportive family.

Yesterday afternoon I put on my cape, as I’ve done for many years and walked into my new-old-part-time-temporary-job at the pizza place I’ve been working (on and off) since I was sixteen. Did I say cape? I meant apron. Yes, I put on my apron and walked into the restaurant, my boss smiling — “I’m sorry to be the one to say this,” he says and I immediately thought I had made a mistake, “I’m really happy to have you back here. Even just for a little while.”

I exhaled and returned the smile. It was like walking into a second home and it was almost as if I hadn’t been gone for three months, living a completely different life downtown. That thought depressed me a little but I quickly let it escape from my mind. My boss and I discussed it as I stocked every possible thing in that restaurant. “Things happen when they want to, Vanessa. Every business adventure I’ve ever started has happened when IT wanted to. The more you want something, the more you try to force it, the less likely it will happen. Do what you have to do now and keep working hard.”

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Love Always

Vanessa Xo

Bursting the Bubble [Week 12]

Bursting the Bubble

Looking back on my previous Bursting the Bubble posts I’m amazed at how much fun I had, how many authors I met, how many events I was apart of, how many wonderful people I got to work with, and how hard I actually worked! Week 12, my final week, was all about the race to the finish line. There was a lot to do in the seemingly short four-day week BUT it somehow all got done. Thursday was a little sad to say the least. I know I am going to miss the subway ride to work, walking up the steps from King Station and having the beautiful sun blind me to the point that I nearly trip, walking into my little cubicle and getting to work. I’m going to miss the people at Random House, as well as, just being in Toronto.

As I sit back and re-read my own journey, I can’t help but notice how much I’ve grown and changed thanks to this internship. I went from the girl who never took the subway on her own to the girl who feels completely comfortable and confident with exploring the city by herself. I’m not afraid to wander around and find new things, I’m not scared to hail my own cab if that’s the only way to get home, and I’m no longer afraid to jump in feet first to any situation. That’s what they do at Random House, they trust you enough to throw you right into work and I think that that trust is what allows you to gain confidence both at work and in other facets of your life.

On the subway ride home yesterday I couldn’t help but feel a little excitement well up inside me — there is still so much to see and learn, so much to experience. I’ve become the confident and independent woman I always thought I could be and I’m ready for the next step. I have a feeling that I will be back, back in Toronto (maybe even back at Random House). Even though I was sad to leave it’s not like I could be an intern forever, interning is just the first step. I want to advance and excel, and if I keep perusing my goals and working hard it will all fall into place.

Until my next adventure I’ll leave you with some photos from my final week.

Who knows, maybe this series will be back sometime — there’s always room for growth, change, and bursting your own bubble…

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

Thank you to everyone who followed along with this journey and thank you to the entire Random House staff for this amazing opportunity.

Stay True.

Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal
Dorothy Parker

Dorothy Parker

The most difficult thing about blogging (writing) is staying true to the voice of your blog. It’s difficult to stay true to the brand you created when there are so many other blogs and brands to be intimidated by. I created this blog as a space for my personal thoughts, as a space to practice and improve my writing, as a place to learn more about myself, as a place to share great books. Admittedly I’ve lost sight of my voice a couple of times. Sometimes I didn’t even recognize the woman holding the pen, I didn’t hear my own nasally soften-spoken voice when I read my posts over again. The important thing is that I noticed and I put myself back on track.

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Another difficult part of blogging (writing) is privacy — what do you share? What do you keep to yourself? I’ve had people tell me that they follow my blog in a tone that makes me feel like they know more about me than I think they do. I’ve had people tell me that I should be careful. That my generation doesn’t know the importance of privacy. Well, that’s what social media is, letting people into your life, into your home. It’s scary how BIG social media has become in my life, I’m even applying for jobs with SOCIAL MEDIA in their description.

Sometimes I sit back and think oh my gosh, I’m sharing my thoughts with who knows how many people. On top of that it’s on the INTERNET, FOREVER. After the initial nausea from that thought subsides, I allow myself to think other thoughts. My Pen, My Voice is a brand. It is a brand that I created. It’s ME, it’s who I am and what I represent BUT I get to choose what I share. Along with this blog I have two other notebooks with me at all times. One is a diary and one is the rough beginnings of my novel — neither of which I share on my blog.

I think people forget that there’s a person behind a blog, a twitter account, an Instagram account etc and what they share is only fraction of their lives. They let you see what they want you to see.

I am my truest self when I write.

 I write with honesty, intention, passion, and determination, but please don’t forget —

My Pen, My Voice is just one side of me.

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

All things BIG

Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

Today I am embracing all things BIG.

Big hair. Big pimples. Big dreams. Big thoughts. Big mistakes. Big failures. Big workloads.

Mostly because I have no choice, but also because at some point in your day you’re going to get so caught up in the GOOD big things that the BAD big things won’t matter. You’ll forget that you have a gross pimple dead-centre of your forehead (until a co-worker can’t stop staring – but then you’ll charm them to the point that they stop noticing it too). You’ll do something amazing and RIGHT and you’ll forget about the mistake you made a few hours earlier.

You’ll forget about your big failures and focus on your BIG DREAMS because it’s the only way to make the most of your day.

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Love Always

Vanessa Xo