365 Days of Marriage (WOWZA)

I’m driving along Airport Road toward Collingwood and slouch back as my GPS says continue on this road for fifty four kill-aw-metres. I drive the speed limit so that I can take in the surroundings. I’ve never driven this far by myself and I want to make sure that I don’t get lost, crash into a ditch, or miss anything worth writing about.

A black bird flies above my car and glides in front of me slightly. It’s flying so low that I can see its white underbelly. It isn’t windy but it looks like he’s pushing through some invisible barrier fighting his way through. As I focus on the hilly, winding road in front of me, I lose sight of the bird and wonder if it was a bad omen.

I’m driving back to a place so familiar and foreign that a wave of nostalgia hits me. I spend the next fifty-four kilometres thinking heavily about the last few years of my life. I think about the values I’ve adopted and what has become most important in my life. I think about my current friends and the ones that faded away, I think about my family and what my nieces will be like when they grow up.  But most of all, since our anniversary wasn’t that long ago,  I think about my first year of marriage.

I awoke the day after our wedding ready to feel different. For there to be some huge shift in our relationship that would make us feel married. I’m still waiting for that feeling 365 days later. We shifted into marriage seamlessly. Created an impenetrable routine and sticking by it.  On days my husband isn’t working, we eat breakfast together. Him on his phone, me reading my book. We rarely have a day off together and although we text throughout the day, we don’t actually talk until after work. Unless we’re out, we have tea and a snack at 8:00 sharp, find something to watch on Netflix, fall asleep and begin again.


Vanessa, sometimes you can be so selfish! I’ve heard my mom and siblings say many times and they’re right. This is the part of marriage I’m having the most trouble with: being selfless. Or at least, selfless enough to accept compromises. The moment we said “I do”, I felt free. No longer would I be categorized as part of the Grillone family. My choices, successes, failures and decisions would no longer be tied to my parents. Marriage opened up the idea of being independent and accountable in a way that I had never been before.

Little did I realize that this freedom wasn’t mine alone. This freedom was shared with my husband. I might no longer feel obligated to run decisions by my parents but my husband should be consulted before I do anything that will cost us time or money. Or anything that would cause us stress. Yes, I work. Yes, I make my own money. And yes, I will ALWAYS have a say in anything that my husband and I talk about. However, we decided to be a team. We decided to do things together, to create a life together. We share our money, our time, and our love and by doing so, we chose to make decisions together.

Goodbye are the days of making purchases without taking into consideration how it will affect our bank account or our bills. Any significant purchases, like a writing class or a trip, have to be discussed and calculated. We have our goals as a couple and take our finances very seriously. Sometimes I get annoyed by this.  I get annoyed that I have to run things by someone. Although, I have to admit that we never say no to one another. We never put each other down and look at all of our options.

My problem is that sometimes I just don’t want to think of anyone else.

The worst part of all this, my husband ALWAYS thinks about me. About us and our future. He rarely makes decisions that aren’t for our greater good as a couple. He never thinks about purchasing things for himself and doesn’t understand how to spend money and treat himself. He’s very much selfless when it comes to us. The worst WORST part is that this comes almost naturally for him. It takes me a lot of self-talk to walk into a conversation about money or a choice to be made to think of US and not just ME.


I woke up one morning a few months after the wedding with a start. My husband was getting ready for work and rummaging through the drawers. I looked at my phone which glared 3:00 AM (a.k.a you should be asleep).  A fire burned in my chest as an angry groan escaped my mouth. If he heard, he never let on, just continued with his noise making.

And so began a full two weeks of fighting.

We fought about everything. About him making a mess and not cleaning it up. About not replacing the toilet paper roll. About me complaining about work. About me making faces and snapping on every comment he made. About seeing too much of our families. About toxic friendships. About how we spent our money and our time. About not having enough sex or not having enough time to ourselves.

We. Fought. About. EVERYTHING.  Even our iMessages were filled with dry comments and littered with venom. Our biggest conflict; my unrealistic expectations about my career. My husband is a realist and although he’s never disapproved of my dreams of becoming a successful writer he doesn’t forget to remind me that we can’t afford for me to sit at home writing. I have to make money even if my career isn’t what I thought it would be.

I remember getting to the office early one morning and crying at my desk. Tears flew from my eyes soaking every tissue that crossed its path. I sat there and wept wondering; Why did we even get married? Who is this man? He didn’t think like this before we got married. He doesn’t even know me. WHY THE FUCK ARE WE MARRIED?

I would come home after work, look him in the eye and think about how satisfying it would be to punch him. I could tell that he felt the same way. There was no love in his eyes; it had been replaced by sheer and utter annoyance. We were on edge, waiting eagerly for the other to say something incredibly stupid. We were itching for a fight. Until one day, we weren’t.

Suddenly I found him funny, adorable, and sweet again. All of my anger toward him disappeared and his to me. We’ve talked about this a lot in the last few months and chalk it up to living together for the first time. Yes, he was always over before we got married, we travelled together, we spend a lot of time together but living together was different. We couldn’t escape each other, I there was nowhere to go we needed a break, there was no place for me to be alone.

I wonder how long it will be until our next fight or spell of hatred. I fear for the day we move into our condo. What if he discovers how boring I actually am? How anal I am when it comes to keeping the house clean? How much I despise laundry? What if he always wants to have company over and I just want them to leave? Is 618 square feet enough space for two hermits?

Here, in my parents’ house, we are surrounded by people. My brother lives at home and my sister (and family) are only a 5 minute drive. My nieces are always over and it is very rare that the household is empty or quiet. My parents like to have a glass of wine with dinner or a beer in the summertime, whereas I don’t drink very much at all. When my husband gets home from work I’ll often find him having a glass of something with my parents. In the summer they would sit outside for hours on end just shooting the shit, refilling their wine classes. I would be downstairs in the basement reading or writing with my tea by my side. What’s going to happen when we move out? Is my husband more into my family than he is to me? Will he get bored?

Due to inevitable building delays, we have at least another year of being tenants in my parents’ house. So while I have 365 more days to contemplate the strength of our marriage and what it will mean for us to really be on our own I try to think positively.  We’ve known each other for nearly ten years. He knows how I am and he loves me in spite of it.


We argued last night. About my selfish attitude, about marriage, and about not having enough sex. I always blame the fact that my parents are right upstairs. It’s kind of hard to enjoy sex, even if we are married, knowing that anyone at any time could walk downstairs and see us OR hear us from upstairs. Talk about awkward.

I woke up the morning after our fight without him by my side, reaching over, touching the cold sheets beside me. He went to work at 4:00 AM, probably because he was still fuming from our fight. Little does he know that I know I’m in the wrong. That even though marriage isn’t coming easy for me that doesn’t mean I want to give up or that I don’t love him. Little does he know that I understand why couples, with their sly smiles, say marriage is a lot of work but its worth it.

Little does he know that I went out that morning and bought pistachio instant pudding and all of the ingredients needed to make a pistachio cake so that I could surprise him with it. I don’t bake, rarely cook, and after nearly 10 years of being together I just learned of his love for all things pistachio.

I worked at a mom & pop pizza shop for ten years, there I learned that food is love. If you make a meal for someone you love and put a genuine effort behind it, it will always taste delicious. Not only that but they WILL remember it. That little green bundt cake was actually a white flag waving in the wind.

My peace sign in an aluminium tin.


Vanessa xo


Satisfaction (not) Guaranteed



If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I’m currently reading The Happiness Equation. I’m trying to figure out how to be happy every single day. First things first – I am NOT unhappy. I am very happy. I have a good family, a wonderful husband, and a steady job. However, there are many mornings where I wake up feeling dissatisfied, where I want more, where my current job, phone, or writing is just not enough.

According to The Happiness Equation, I’m not the only one. We’ve gone from a society who was happy with what they had to a society that is always reaching for more. For society as a whole this is amazing! It’s progress! It’s evolution! It’s change! It’s technology! But as individuals, is it good to always want more? How draining is it to always feel unsatisfied?

When I got my iPhone 5SE I was in love but as soon as the 7 came come, my phone just wasn’t enough. When I self-published my first book I was completely content until 3 seconds after my book launch. That very evening I wanted to write another book but get it published by an actual publishing company this time. When I worked at Caruso’s all I wanted was a full time job and a proper paycheck. Now that I have one, I yearn to make more money, to move up, to move on.

We have a coffee, we want a second cup.

We have sex, we want to do it again.

We achieve a goal, we want to make a new one.

I am all for self-improvement, for growth, for becoming a better person, for pursuing your passions. But shouldn’t that moment of happiness, of contentment, of pride, last a little longer? Shouldn’t we relish in those feelings before we dismiss them and move on?



Vanessa xo

How’s Married Life?


When family and friends ask me how married life is going, I stand there with a blank look on my face  or stare at my phone with a million thoughts running through my head. Most of these thoughts are works of fiction filled with lust, drama, and romance.

How’s married life? they ask

Oh it’s wonderful! He’s more kind and caring than he’s ever been. He literally cannot keep his hands off me and sends me dirty text messages and brings home bouquets of roses. Only a few months into our marriage and we’ve filled our days with adventure, wine, and music that inspires us to dance.  He spins me around and leaves me breathless.

How’s married life? they ask

Well, it’s nothing like I imagined. It’s like the magician has disappeared and I’m left standing in a reality that I don’t recognize. We’ve let ourselves go and all bets are off. We’re far more gross and weird than we’ve let on and it’s beginning to wear us thin. We don’t go more than a few hours without seeing each other and are constantly getting on each other’s  nerves.

How’s married life? they ask

It’s like having a second full-time job. It’s a lot of work and the work has only just begun. We’re learning how to live together and still stay sane. Some days we want to strangle one another while other days we don’t want to be around anyone else. The hardest part in mixing our two lives into one.

Of course I don’t say any of this out loud. I allow these little stories to flutter around in my head because they seem far more interesting than the current status of my reality. How’s married life? The truth is it’s comfortable. Not much has changed from us dating to us being husband and wife. We have the same arguments, enjoy the same moments, and as much as I wish he was suddenly more weird and gross so I would have something to write about, he isn’t.

How’s married life? It’s wonderful and silly and fun and infuriating and a work-in-progress. What’s married life? It’s different for every couple so it’s difficult to explain.  For us, it’s sweat and farts and morning-breath and smiles and laughter. It’s planning for the future and figuring things out together. It’s comfort and boredom and rare moments  where I still find butterflies in fluttering around in my stomach. 

How’s married life? It’s great!

Happily yours,

Vanessa xo


Name Change


What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other word would smell as sweet.

Before Alex placed a ring on my finger I hadn’t given much thought to assuming my his last name.  Alex and I aren’t the most traditional couple so those around me assumed I would keep my maiden name (or they didn’t want to ask me another wedding question that might make me hostile). It wasn’t until a few days after we’d been married that I was 100% certain I wanted to be a Buccella.

I decided to assume my husband’s last name rather than legally change it (so I’m still a Grillone). Why? Well the long and short of it is simple: I wanted to.  Alex and I are starting our own family with just the two of us and I want to share a last name with him. Some women have told me that that’s old-fashioned while others think that taking his name means that I’ve “lost” myself. Either way, their challenging opinions or support don’t faze me.

my body = my choice

my name = my choice

my pen = my voice (sorry, had to do it!)

The only complication is the whole I’m a writer thing, so what happens to my social media links, my website, my future novels? I will publish my novels under my maiden name Grillone because that is how the writing world knows me. My social media channels will have a little bit of both. I am Vanessa Grillone and Vanessa Buccella, so why not have both? For me it’s all about respecting the chapters that came before November 11, as well as, all of the chapters that will come after.

Does taking my husband’s last name make me less of a feminist? No. My husband and I are equal. We believe in equal rights, we both contribute financially to the household, we both clean and take care of one another, and we encourage each other to have dreams and pursure them. We are a team not a hierarchy.

That’s the best part of being a twenty-something Canadian woman in the year 2017 is that I can make these kinds of choices. I can do what is right for me and if need be I have the opportunity to fight for what isn’t.

Forever yours (regardless of my surname),

Vanessa xo

The Bride’s Diary – In Retrospect


Although my day as a bride has come and gone, I want to share one more instalment of The Bride’s Diary. One more blog post to document the three regrets I have from the BIG DAY.

I wish I hadn’t asked the seamstress to make my dress as tight as humanly possible. As mentioned in my previous post, it fit perfectly in the morning and then by dinner time it was so tight I could barely breathe! There were moments where I felt light-headed and dizzy because of it.

I wish we had planned out our photos more; shots and timing specifically. I had this notion in my head that I only wanted candid photos; very few posed shots, no cheesy old-fashion photos. I don’t regret my insistence on candid photos, they came out beautifully and as my husband tends to pull a Chandler every time I say SMILE, the candid photos were the best option.

GIF Credit: Apparently Ashley

HOWEVER, it wasn’t until a week later that we realized we don’t have any photos with our guests, our immediate families (parents and siblings), or grandparents. Yes, there are candid photos of us around those people but no “proper” photos that will make our grandparents happy. To be honest we barely have photos of the two of us! I cut the photos short because I wanted to spend time with the guests.

One more tiny regret; we had originally chosen Brad Paisley’s Little Moments as our first dance but agreed to change it to some song by U2. It was lovely but it just didn’t feel like it was our song. Urghh.

I’m sure that every bride has a few regrets so I won’t dwell on them. The important part is that the wedding was as amazing as I hoped it would be, even if it wasn’t perfect.

Regretfully yours,

Vanessa xo

Mini-Honeymoon in Toronto

I’ve learned recently that the two questions newlyweds receive most are:

  1. Where are you going on your honeymoon?
  2. When are you having kids? (Please stop asking me this)


With Christmas right around the corner and the simple fact that more than a week off work for myself and my husband wasn’t viable, we decided to spend a few days in Toronto. Alex was in charge of booking the hotel and stumbled on a great deal from The Shangri-La Hotel. I have only been to the Shangri-La once before for a book event years ago BUT I’ll tell you one thing, I COULD GET USED TO LIFE AT THE SHANGRI-LA! Apart from the stunning atmosphere, the location, and the luxurious suites, the service there is above anything I’ve ever witnessed. From friendly hellos, to offering to bring our coffee upstairs, to prompt room service, and giving impeccable directions, the entire staff knows how to treat their guests. If I ever decide to splurge on another staycation, I’d LOVE to have a girl’s weekend down there and really enjoy the pool and the spa too!

Views from our sweet suite! 

We thought we would be all touristy and hit up the ROM, the AGO, and maybe even the Aquarium BUT we were completely exhausted from the wedding night and all of the stress leading up to it that we vegged out as much as we could. I even took a bath, A BATH, for the first time in years I sat down in deliciously scented warm water, closed my eyes, and sat in silence. Best weekend ever.

Apart from relaxing, we ventured out during the day, trying out new restaurants, coffee shops, and simply enjoying the gorgeous November weather. We had lunch at BOSK, dinner at Bestellen, and a late lunch with a few friends on Sunday at Patria.

We were blown away by the beauty and taste of each meal we had. I would recommend all three restaurants to anyone who finds themselves in the city and in need of a good meal.

QUANTUM COFFEE FOR THE WIN – best hot chocolate in the city! 

Since Toronto is not foreign to us and we’ve spent many evenings walzting around town , our honeymoon seemed more like a regular weekend than something extravagent (the only difference was being referred to as Mrs. Buccella! <3). That may sound awful but it’s exactly what I love about us; we find joy in the simplist of things, in quiet evenings, excellent meals, and time with each other. Here’s to many more adventures as husband and wife!

Restfully yours,

Vanessa xo

The Bride’s Diary – WE DID IT


We did it! We travelled a 1.5 year-long road jumping over arguments, dodging (and even embracing) tears, and pausing at crossroads until we reached destination “I DO”.

November 11, 2016 was exactly how I hoped it would be; calm, relaxing, and fun. Since we had the ceremony and reception in the same location (The Hazleton Manor) the day was super easy. Hair at 9 AM (many thanks to Chroma Hair Design), make up at 11 AM, a few mimosa to calm the nerves, and it was time for the ceremony.

Photo by: Victoria Stacey // Flowers and Decor: Paradise Floral Studio

The rest of the day was like a dream. I immediately began to tear up as I walked down the aisle with my parents to the music stylings of Out of the Blue. Seeing the smile on Alex’s face and watching his legs shake nervously filled me with excitement and joy. The ceremony itself was quick, fun, and completely US – it did help that we got to choose all of the readings and write out own vows. The hall was decorated to perfection (thanks to my mom and mostly Paradise Floral Studio), the music was on point, the food was utterly delicious, and the drinks overflowing.  Everyone embraced us with a warm hug and a smile. The entire hall was filled with love, hope, and happiness – I could feel it oozing from our guests.

Yes, there were things that didn’t go exactly as planned; I was grooving on the dance floor when the back of my dress popped open. It may have fit like I glove in the morning but after dancing, sweating, and eating, I could barely breathe!!!! All in all, the wedding was everything I hoped it would be and so much more. Thanks to our family and close friends, we made memories that will last a lifetime.

Thank you to everyone who attended the wedding and everyone on social media who wished us well. Here’s to a new chapter as Mr. & Mrs. Buccella ❤

Wifely yours,

Vanessa xo

Live Every Single Day

I was at my aunt/florists house the other night pretending to help with wedding things when she admitted to me that my blog posts leave her with a heavy heart. I was a little stunned by the comment – I always thought my posts sounded jovial and inspired. I wanted them to say: I’m content with my life and where I am right now but I am working toward something bigger. Something different. That’s the conundrum with writing; it doesn’t really matter how you wanted your words to resonate with people, it matters what they actually get from them.


My aunt has known me for twenty-seven years. She’s been extremely involved in my life and is quite possibly the only one who still reads my blogs. As she is my mother’s sister, whatever I don’t tell her, my mother does. It’s safe to say that she knows and understands many aspects of my life. She’s seen me go through a crazy year and listened to me complain, cry, or question my life choices. As my florist, she’s been with me (and my mom) through every step of the wedding planning process. It’s understandable that when she reads my writing she doesn’t take it at face value or even relate it to her own life. What she sees is a niece who is constantly striving for more, a niece that isn’t as happy as she should be, a niece who cares too much about everything and doesn’t live for today.

Tia Mary, I get it. After reading my posts over from the last few weeks, I completely understand how you’re reading my work and why you feel the way you do. I don’t mean for my words to leave you or anyone with a heavy heart and the look in your eye the other night almost brought tears to my eyes. I am not unhappy. I’m just unfulfilled. I’m content with where I am right now but know that once I allow myself to get comfortable I will not challenge myself to move on or try new things.

I also understand what you mean when you say: Live for today. Enjoy every moment! That is something I need to work on. Bringing little joys to every part of my day is one thing I aspire (and NEED) to do. What I am trying to say here is thank you, for hearing the sadness in my words and providing advice that I can take to heart and use.

On Monday morning, I won’t grumble or allow my anxiety to skyrocket. I will smile, turn on some tunes, dance in the hallway, and get shit done! I will open my eyes to everything I am experiencing and be happy about it.

Life is too short not to.

Lightheartedly yours,

Vanessa xo



The Bride’s Diary – ONE WEEK TO GO


It’s safe to say that I’ve been rather distracted lately. Apart from all of the last-minute wedding details (which my mom has graciously taken charge of) there’s also this heavy cloud of confusion weighing on my heart.

Let me explain…

The confusion has nothing to do with the wedding. That is the only thing that I am certain of at the moment. What I’m unsure of is where I’m headed. I’ve had several conversations with people in the last few weeks about my writing, life, and my future. I scroll through LinkedIn and Indeed like my life literally depends on it. I click-through vacation packages on Expedia like I can actually afford to go on every trip I have in mind. I frantically search for apartments for rent in Toronto since the condo Alex and I purchased won’t be ready until 2018. The truth is that I’m feeling rather lost, UNaccomplished, and as if I haven’t taken enough risks. No amount of coffee or wedding plans have been able to distract me from this feeling.


My current boss said something that I just can’t shake – she said that she hopes that I’m living- really living. That I take chances and have no regrets. She wants me to keep writing and following my dreams. My old boss used to say that to me all the time and I can’t help but wonder why people keep telling me this. Can they tell that I’ve been distracted? That I’ve thrown my passion project to the side without any regard for my dreams? Maybe.

Good news is that the entire universe seems to be pushing me toward my dreams. I received an email from a literary agency in Toronto asking if I had anything I want to share with them. Thankfully, I do and I am going to use every waking hour I have (after the wedding) to put together the book I’ve been writing on and off for what seems like years. Perhaps the more I work on it the less I’ll feel like I’m failing…

So with one week to go until the wedding, THIS is what I’m preoccupied with!  OY VEY!

Preoccuppiedly yours,

Vanessa xo 

The Bride’s Diary – 28 Days to Go!


As I sat down at La Bamboche with my fluffy cappuccino I realized that I was about an hour early for my final wedding dress fitting.


Which meant that I would get to take my dress home because it’s so close to the wedding that there’s no point in keeping at the store. Because I’m getting married in less than a month. In less than a month I get to marry my best friend, but not only that, I get to see what all this planning actually accomplished.

It feels completely surreal. Where did this year go?! Didn’t we just get engaged? Every time I try to picture what the day will look like I either get a bout of anxiety or I cry with happiness. I’m nervous about the big day and hope everything goes as planned but I’m also excited. Excited to finally say the vows I’ve written a million times, excited to walk down the aisle with my mom and dad, excited to watch my friends perform a song or two, excited to dance the night away with my family and closest friends. I’m also excited for the relief I’ll feel once the day is over. I’m looking forward to not worry about seating charts or floral arrangements or offending anyone. I’m excited for what happens after I DO.

Wait, what happens after I DO?! I guess we’ll find out ❤️.

Excitedly yours,

Vanessa xo

**A special thank you to all of the wonderful women at Ritché Bridal for your patience, support, and magical alterations. I felt like an old friend every time I went for a fitting and I am sad for all of the future brides out there that won’t get to have the Ritché Bridal experience. Congratulations on your retirement and thank you for the dress of my dreams.**