Satisfaction (not) Guaranteed

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WANT NOTHING + DO ANYTHING = HAVE EVERYTHING

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?

 

Yours,

Vanessa xo

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How’s Married Life?

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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

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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

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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.

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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)

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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!

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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!

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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.

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.**

The Bride’s Diary – The Bridal Shower

 

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Words I never thought I would put in a sentence (and actually mean them):

I loved everything about my bridal shower.

Let’s be clear, this is not because I didn’t think we could pull it off, but because I have never been a huge fan of bridal showers. Although I’ve had fun at all of the showers I’ve attended in recent years, I never quite understood the point of them. In fact I’m sure I mentioned once or twice that I didn’t want to have one. They’re A LOT of work, and super time-consuming; especially when your mother and florist are keen on the littlest of details. From making Mad-Hatter hats to cutting the corners of every piece of paper, to flowers and cookies, no detail was left out.

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The theme I chose for my shower was Alice in Wonderland – it’s a book, one of my favourite Disney movies, and after looking on Pinterest I realized that there was so much that could be done with the theme. Over the last year my mom and aunt (who is also my florist) scoured all kinds of stores for the perfect props. With boxes and boxes stacked in the basement I nearly forgot how much was collected until we had to lug it all out again.
After months of planning, collecting, and prepping for the shower I asked my bridal party, mother, and aunt if they could decorate the restaurant without me so that I could see everything put together for the first time. And so they did…

Needless to say I was floored and completely overwhelmed by how nicely everything came together. They created my own version of Wonderland where everything is beautiful and just a little bit weird. As the guests made their way into the restaurant, they were handed their very own hat and asked to play some table games. All of the guests obliged and seemingly enjoyed all of the décor, food, raffles, and games throughout the afternoon. I made my way from table to table to welcome everyone and have a chat or two. I have to admit that I cried. More than once.


When the dessert table opened and everyone was full, I got up to say my thank-yous. Halfway through my written speech, I broke down. I felt such an incredible amount of love and joy in the room that I couldn’t contain myself. All of my family and friends showed up to celebrate Alex and I and the love we have for one another – it left me with a feeling a can’t quite describe. It’s somewhere between undeserving and ridiculously thankful, mixed in with utterly happy and exceedingly overwhelmed.


Thank you again to everyone who attended, to everyone who was there in spirit, and to everyone who helped out. It was a blissful day in Wonderland and I couldn’t be happier.

Madly yours,

Vanessa xo