Adventure is calling – his name is Alex

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 My husband and I often take separate cars when we make plans during the week since we meet up right after work. On our way home from whenever we are, Alex calls me as soon as we get in the car. We talk as I follow him home or he follows me. With our work schedules being rather different, it seems that these conversations (brought to you in part by Bluetooth), are the longest and most intense ones that we have. The only thing better would be being in the car with him.

On our way home from date-night last week the traffic was haunting; try turning onto highway 50 during rush hour and you’ll know what I’m talking about. I noticed a few cars turning down a street that I’d never traveled down before. I assumed that they were trying to avoid the traffic so I asked Alex if we should follow them. To that he said “Up to you babe.”

“Fuck it. Let’s try.” I said with a confidence that rarely makes an appearance, especially when it is really needed. On we drove. Paved roads turned into dirt ones, assumed roads lead to un-assumed ones. We came across buildings we didn’t know existed, new suburbs and abandoned farms, and a  deranged patch of land with sheds (or miniature homes) littered about. The entire way I kept asking Alex if we should keep going and to that he said “Fuck it babe, you only live once!”

After a series of steep hills and roads that wound so tightly I could barely stay on them, we ended up at a dead-end, nowhere near our home. I stopped the car and looked over at Alex sitting in his. The smile on his face was from ear to ear as he began to laugh. I immediately began to giggle.

Maybe it was the DELICIOUS white-wine sangria I had with dinner or the excitement in finding secret hidden places among the trees, but I felt sheer and utter joy. Nothing clouded my mind, I felt in control and calm and lost and safe. Life should be filled with these little adventures, where you enter into the unknown and find little pieces of yourself that you may have lost along the way.

You only live once.

xo, Vanessa

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!

xo, Vanessa

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 ❤️.

xo, Vanessa

**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.

xo, Vanessa

she rhymes

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She adored the busyness of the city streets even more than the quiet found when nodding off to sleep. She needn’t go away to long for home – she can stay quite put and still feel alone. On and on the days go by; the leaves will change and flowers die. In her heart she feels  the same; her love and happiness are the only game.

There was a time she felt confused, questioned herself, convinced she’d lose. Suddenly, suddenly she’s standing tall, back straight up against a wall. She knows herself and walks with pride through the fear she tries to hide. Her confidence is blooming wide, you can see it in her face that she has nothing to hide.

She says her piece and doesn’t stutter even though her heart may flutter. Perspectives shifted with loads at stake – her mind has strengthened. Her ground won’t quake. She feels like a woman, no longer girl, she feels fucking ready to rule her world. She forgives herself for past mistakes and forgets regrets that have laid their claim. She cares not for foes, drama, or fame: words are her passion, Vanessa is her name.

xo, Vanessa

Slow Down

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I’ve been told many times that I need to slow down. Whether it comes to texting, tweeting, writing, reading, captioning, getting orders out, or simply making decisions, I tend to rush. I feel the need to get things finished quickly so that I can move onto something else; I am beginning to understand that faster doesn’t always mean better.

I have two methods when it comes to decision-making:

1) I think endlessly about the decision. I weigh out the pros and cons either on paper or in my head. I ask myself questions like: How will this affect me emotionally? physically? mentally? financially? Will this decision improve my life? will it burden anyone?

2) I go with my gut: I want. I like. I buy/do.

I can’t tell you which one is better since I’ve been burned by both. With number one I’ve lost out on loads of opportunities because I took too long to commit, or I thought about it so much that I ended up more confused than when I started. With number two I’ve had numerous cases of buyers remorse, regret, and guilt. When I self-published my books, I had certain dates in mind and refused to not meet my goals. As such, my cousins (aka my only fans) found several spelling or format issues, which I kicked myself in the ass for later. If I had given it a few more months maybe the books would have been closer to perfection.

It would make sense to find a method that is somewhere in between but I can’t seem to find that balance. Is there a speed between fast and slow? Maybe this isn’t really about how quickly or slowly decisions are made but more about trust. The trust a person must have in themselves. The kind of trust that builds confidence and assertiveness. Maybe that’s what I need more of.

xo, Vanessa 

The Bride’s Diary – 4 months to go

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With four months until the big day I’m trying to get the shower organized, figure out which balances are due and when, confirming flowers and decor, sending out invitations, and ensuring my wedding dress will fit after the alterations are complete.

Admittedly all of this is stressing me out. I’m unsure if it is the amount we have left to do or just a lot of things happening at once. It could be leftover stress from planning the wedding all year. The hardest part of planning hasn’t been the lists, appointments, decisions, or money, it’s been trying to balance everyone’s opinions.

I’m sure I mentioned this in previous posts but over the last year I’ve listened to many opinions from numerous people. There have been loads of compromises, arguments, and hidden tears (my own) because of this. I am not a traditional bride, Alex is not a traditional groom but we have people in our lives who like the traditional European wedding. There are many things we’ve said yes to in order to make others happy and although I love and value everyone who has given me their two cents that doesn’t mean I want what they want. Some might say don’t be that way, just make ____ happy. But what about the bride and groom?

Yesterday I decided I would not stress over what others wanted or their opinions. Whatever decisions we have left to make will be made by us and us alone. If we offend anyone in the midst of this decision-making I hope they don’t take it personally (but that is their issue at the end of the day).

Traditions we’re saying no to:

  • corsages/boutonnieres for aunts, uncles, grandparents, parents
  • having our parents’ names on the invitation
  • having a wedding over 200 people
  • getting married in a church
  • having a receiving line
  • having a big bridal party
  • the garter toss
  • speeches
  • the whole entering the hall spectacle
  • the Portuguese midnight fish table
  • traditional thank you gifts

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We’re not against any of these traditions and enjoy going to weddings that include them, they’re just not for us. We don’t like the spotlight and attention gives us the runs. On a personal note; it has become vividly clear that I make a lot of big-life decisions based on what I think other people will think about them. I try to do my best to keep everyone on my side and happy. This is the quickest way to a lifetime of unhappiness. I refuse to let this huge milestone in my life become another burden that I’ve created for myself.

xo, Vanessa

The Bride’s Diary – The Bachelorette

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Another wedding milestone has come and gone. On Saturday my sister hosted my bachelorette party at Lula Lounge in Toronto. My sister struggled with the planning because I’m kind of weird. I don’t like clubs or big groups, I go to bed early and send my spare time in bed reading. I would rather go to the ROM or the AGO then to a busy nightclub. However I highly doubt my best girls would want to spend their evening in a bookstore or library. After intense Googling, my sister found something that we’d all love; something fun but very me.

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We started the evening with dinner and drinks, laughter and drinks, gossip (and did I mention drinks?). The meal was decent but I don’t think you go to Lula Lounge for the food. You go there for the awesome decor, the vibe, and the incredible music. After dinner we headed to the dance floor where we took up an awkwardly large space and danced our hearts out.

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Although we were all pooped by 11 PM I had an amazing time. It’s not often that all of us can get together. We all have hectic lives and most of them have children, so when we do get together we make the most of it. I have an amazing group of women in my life who are super crazy, funny, and down-to-earth. I wouldn’t have wanted to spend my bachelorette with anyone else!

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xo, Vanessa

It began with a phone call

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It began with a phone call, as most adventures do. My brother on the other end of the line, speaking in a hushed tone. He got a flat tire on the highway and needed someone to bring him a spare, some tools, and patience. I volunteered and dragged Alex along.

We found my brother and his girlfriend sitting on the curb beside his car a few minutes from the highway. My brother got right to work, swearing as he accidentally stripped a lug nut. Knowing that there would be no way he could fix it, his girlfriend and I took it upon ourselves to flag down the tow truck driver a few streets away. And by flag down I mean walk ten minutes across a busy intersection, me in my slippers and her in her white converse.

Fast forward 30 minutes and we’re leaning on the hood of my brother’s Miata with a coffee in hand sitting in front of Veer Preet’s auto repair on Dixon Road. With nothing to do but wait, we watched the planes land and take off from opposite directions. The sky was a ombre blue with tinges of golden honey and pink lemonade. A plane flew overhead making me feel incredibly small and vulnerable. As it landed, the wind from the engine nearly blew me over but I held my ground. Feet firmly planted, eyes facing forward.

For the first time in a while I felt steady and strong. It may have been the conversation I had with my friend earlier that day about how much pressure I put on myself. A conversation that reminded me to slow down and stop with all of the expectaitons. Or it could have been this little unplanned evening that took me to a busy mechanic shop where so much was happening, but no one seemed to know what was going on, either way I felt glad.

Glad for that moment of solitude. Glad for a moment where all the pressure I felt disappeared. Thankful for that brief moment of bliss and hope.

“You are your own worst enemy. If you can learn to stop expecting impossible perfection, in yourself and others, you may find the happiness that has always eluded you.” ― Lisa KleypasLove in the Afternoon

xo, Vanessa

Never a Dull Moment

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There are days where I feel incredibly invisible. Days where I take myself so seriously that I literally have nothing nice to say about myself. And then there are moments that bring me down from that lonely dark cloud and into the real world where funny things can happen. Where life surprises me. Lovely moments that make me feel silly, alive, and insanely visible.

I was at Sherway Gardens last week visiting the new Pusateri’s and walking around with my family when I realized how desperately I had to pee. We went to the food court where I immediately ran to the bathroom. It was one of those one-person bathrooms. I ran in, sat down, and picked up my phone to catch up on Twitter when the door began to slowly swing open.

Standing at the doorway was an old woman with white hair, blue eyes, and a blue jogging suit to match. She had hit the automatic door-opener button. It took both of us a few seconds to realize what was happening. Picture me with my jeans around my ankles, my phone in my hand, and my thigh fat spilling over the side of the toilet staring at her like a deer in headlights.

As the door continued to slow-motion its way open, the lady began to apologize and try to pull the door closed. Unfortunately for me, once that button is pressed the door can’t be pulled shut. She pressed the  button again hoping it would close on its own. It most assuredly did not. As people walked by to see what the commotion was I realized that I was going to have to get up and close the door myself. I put my phone down on the floor (ew!), slowly and carefully slipped up my jeans while thanking my lucky stars that I was wore a long and flowy shirt that most likely covered my woman parts, stood up and closed the door. It was only then that I noticed the big red button beside the door with a sign that read PUSH TO LOCK.

…I knew I forgot something.

xo, Vanessa