Saying Yes!

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I can see the CN Tower in the distance on my drive to work. For a split second it’s as though I’m headed in the direction of my dreams. I’m headed to a place that is big enough to fit my aspirations. A place where it’s okay to still be figuring it out. A place where my bubble can burst and I will be flooded with new experiences, people, and places.

In the spirit of soaking up new experiences and driving toward my dreams, this week was dubbed “the week in which Vanessa does not cancel on plans made and also does not decline any invitation”. It’s not that I’m a flake per say, but plans always sound so exciting until I actually have to put on a bra and leave the house. This week I did not say no, I did not say maybe, I did not concoct and intense diversion or pray for a snow storm. I simply said yes, got dressed, and went out.

I went out almost every week night. I stayed out late and woke up early. I enjoyed dinner with my new aunts and cousins, watched episodes of Impractical Jokers (which is highly addicting!), went to a new restaurant with my old love/new husband (who put on cologne for the first time in YEARS since it was our first date night in months), hung out with my cousin Ashley, AND even traveled south of Steeles to join in on a podcast with Sociphoria and Amanda DiPasquale (from Be The Next Her). It was amazing to chat with Amanda, Amanda, and Patrick about social media, writing, creativity, the impact of full-time jobs on creative endeavors and much more! I don’t want to say anymore about it but I’ll post a link to Instagram and Twitter once it drops.

After a full week of saying yes I am anything but tired. I’m hopped up on the energy and positivity from the conversations I had with some pretty incredible people. Is this feeling available through intravenous?

Most Assuredly yours,

Vanessa xo

 

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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 – 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 

Three Books to Read this Fall

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Although sitting on the dock in the warm summer sunshine with a fancy cocktail in hand is a great way to enjoy any book; I prefer reading in the Fall. Sitting by the window with a view of the red, orange, and yellow leaves, a book propped up on the fuzzy blanket covering my legs, an a warm cup of coffee in my hand is absolute perfection.

I must admit that I have been reading a lot less than usual. I find that the same books is in my tote bag for months at a time, whereas in previous years there would be a new book every week and a half. I’ve read so slowly that even my fiancé has noticed, You’re STILL reading that book? he’ll ask. I’ll lower my head in defeat and remark I blame the wedding planning. Either way, I’ve found some wonderful books that I think you all would enjoy!

Year of YES by Shonda Rhimes – After feeling a bit down and out-of-sorts I ordered the Year of Yes in the hope that it would inspire me to get my ass in gear. Shonda Rhimes tells it like it is. She doesn’t sugarcoat her own shortcomings and reminds her reader that we’re all human, we all have quirks, and we all get scared. Although she lives a very wonderful life (she’s the creative and executive producer of Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, and Scandal. Plus the executive producer of How to Get Away with Murder and The Catch). She is a TV writer who gets many invitations to swanky parties, TV appearances, and loads of talks. One Thanksgiving while complaining about another invitation to an event that she turned down, her sister told her 6 words that would ultimately change her life You never say yes to anything. 

Year of Yes follows Shonda’s most difficult challenge – to say yes to everything. To say yes to all of the interviews, events, parties, travel opportunities, speeches etc. Her journey is an incredible one filled with honesty and an anxiety I can relate to. As a writer Shonda prefers to be out of the spotlight and whenever the spotlight hits her there is a lot of sweat, heart palpitations and tears. I COMPLETELY understand this. But it isn’t her anxiety that I learned the most from, it is a line from the commencement speech she gave at Dartmouth University: LESSON ONE: DITCH THE DREAM. BE A DOER. NOT A DREAMER. 

I once considered myself a dreamer but I now know that I’d rather be a doer. I can dream my whole life away and not work to get what I want. The key is to begin, to keep moving, to strive. To be a successful person you have to put in the work.

Thank you Shonda, thank you.

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue – I bought this novel on a whim at Wal-Mart because I had seen it all over social media. I wasn’t convinced that a novel about a girl who hadn’t eaten for 4 months and believed that she was surviving off of manna from heaven would be the kind of book I’d be into. Was I ever wrong! Suspense, mystery, love, a surprise around every corner – this novel had my mind going a mile a minute.

The Fate of Tearling by  Erika Johansen – A few years ago I received a copy of The Queen of Tearling from HarperCollins Canada. I immediately fell in love with the story, the characters, and Erika Johansen’s writing. Last month I read the second instalment (The Invasion of Tearling) and was immediately transported back to Tearling with a bit on sentimentality in my heart. The Fate of Tearling is the final novel in the trilogy and although it had been a few years since I read the first one and a months since the second, I was able to pick up exactly where the story had left off. There’s just as much corruption, magic, and mystery as the first two books but there is also a whole lot of explanation. Questions are answered, fates revealed, and boundaries crossed. I would recommend reading the entire trilogy – you won’t regret it! **This book hits shelves November 29, 2016**

Which books are you looking forward to this season?

Bookwormingly 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.**

Pizza Month @qmpizza

Pizza is one of my favourite food groups (pasta and coffee are tied for first). I waitressed at the best pizza place in Bolton for nearly ten years, so when I say that I understand pizza I mean it. From the dough to the sauce to the toppings, everything must be calcualted and made with love. My favourite pizza was made by Domenic Caruso during our lunch breaks. Although the pizza he made was normally thick crust to hold the toppings, for lunch he would make the staff the thinnest crust imaginable. The toppings included broccoli, prosciutto cotto, diced white onions, mozzarella cheese, NO SAUCE, and homemade spicy oil. It was heavenly. I’ve never come close to having pizza I enjoyed as much as my ex-boss’ until now!

Did you know that October is Pizza Month!? To celebrate I was sent a gift certificate for Queen Margherita Pizza by my friends at Brand & Buzzing. Alex and I used it as a an excuse for date night. We headed to the Annette location with nothing but time and empty stomachs.

We started with the grilled kale and fried calamari – both were amazing! Then moved onto the margehrita pizza. The dough was light and thin, the sauce not too sweet, the cheese utterly delicious, the basil and sprinkle of olive oil gave the perfect balance. Alex and I agreed that QMP would be our new go-to pizza place. 

Are you ready to celebrate Pizza Month? QMP is offering margherita pizza + beer = $10 at all 3 locations! 

Carb-lovingly yours,

Vanessa xo

P.S.  This isn’t an ad. I went, I saw, I ate, and I wrote about it. I don’t write about things, places, books, or meals I don’t like. There’s enough negativity in this world. 

Thoughts on Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving is my favourite day of the year. If you’ve been following my blog since 2010, you’ll remember that my family is all about our Thanksgiving day traditions. The day begins with a trip to Downey’s Farm where we scarf down the best fries with gravy (or a hot dog), take photos in the pumpkin patch, and buy 3 different pies from the bakery. Next we head over to the closest apple orchard and pick to our hearts’ content. Then we all head to my parents’ house to snack, nap, and await an epic turkey dinner. Although the day itself has lost some of its magic, I’m thankful for its continuity. We’re growing up and perhaps we’ve exchanged hot chocolate for coffee (or wine) but we still enjoy being together and continuing the tradition that started long before my nieces were born, before my sister was married, my brother graduated high school, or Alex and I got engaged.

Thanksgiving, apart from the family time and overeating, always makes me think about what I’m thankful for, what I’ve accomplished, and how I can better myself. It’s one thing to be thankful for people and the many things they do for us and it’s another  to show thanks – which is something I don’t do enough of. This last month or so I’ve felt extremely overwhelmed, headstrong, and stubborn. Nightmares, thoughts about a disastrous wedding, and planning has me going a little nuts. There is always something on my mind and with the final countdown beginning I’ve turned into a BRIDEZILLA. I’ve been short with a lot of people and stress is no excuse for a bad attitude. This bridezilla has to morph back into the anxious humble little nobody who appreciates all of the help and care people (my mom especially) have put into this wedding.

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As far as my own accomplishments go and the goals I want to set for myself I’m afraid that I’ve become lazy. What happened to the girl who used to blog her heart out, who used to jump at the chance of attending every event she was invited to? What happened to the woman who wanted to make a difference with her words? Who looked to young writers for inspiration and allowed herself to get lost in creating worlds filled with characters that people could relate to? What happened to the woman hell-bent on acquiring a literary agent who could both challenge and help her create beautiful stories? She got a full-time job and a suitcase filled with excuses and used them every chance she could. I’m proud of all I’ve accomplished at work but it’s time to go back to my roots and get excited about words, books, bookish people, and spinning tales. It’s time to get back to being me.

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Thankfully yours,

Vanessa xo