Sunday, 1 March 2015

13th annual ACTRA awards :)

on friday february 20th, i attended the 13th annual ACTRA awards for the first time.
ACTRA, for those who may not be familiar, is canada's answer to SAG-AFTRA.
which i guess makes the ACTRA awards kinda like the SAG-AFTRA awards...

anyways, it was held at the carlu in downtown toronto and hosted by the fabulous arissa cox.
(any big brother canada fans out there?)
despite it being freeeeeezing, i had an amazing time and met some cool people.
awkward grandma's night out

alright.
back to studying i go.
6 exams in 7 days.
pray for me, y'all.

:)
vanessa

Thursday, 19 February 2015

birthday behaviour.

on sunday, i celebrated my sdofnsd birthday.
*disclaimer: that wasn't a typo.
that's just my age.
in quasi-captcha form.
onwards.

last year, i spent my birthday in sunny malibu.
this year, i spent it in -40 celsisus (and farenheit, apparently) weather *side eye.
however, despite the arctic chill, i had a pretty amazing day.

in the morning, my wonderful dad cooked me the most delicious breakfast and my surrogates gave me their handmade birthday cards.
* nico explained to me that his were pictures of dinosaurs.

my parents gave me the most amazing card with the most touching message.
i debated including the message but decided to keep that to myself.
it was sweet though, haha.

my sister, jenn, took some time out of her busy life to draw a picture of me in celebration of my birthday.
my mom told me that i should start dressing like this drawing because she 
has better style than i do. 
the shade, haha.


my nephew-son also gifted me the most beautiful bouquet of flowers that truly warmed my heart.

in the evening, i went downtown with my friends to bar+karaoke.
though i've been karaoke-ing before, this was my first time doing so in a private room which i quite enjoyed.
it definitely allowed us the freedom to sing like no one was listening.
except that the walls there are paper thin.
i digress - we each took turns selecting songs out of their massive catalogue.
our selections were all over the place - a little destiny's child, followed by some backstreet boys with a little big sean.

random snapshots:
i don't even know what song this is...

the sissy and i

bills, bills, bills

frozen karaoke.
seriously, that room was a freezer.

the face i make when i notice someone is taking my picture...

group shot, minus racquel

random videos:
*warning - none of us are singers...
video
drunk in love as performed by alicia and racquel.

video
crazy in love.

video
toronto's very own beyonce

video
i want it that way as performed by avery.

video
anthem right hurrrr...

all in all, i had an amazing day with the people i love the most.
here's to another year on planet earth!

:)
vanessa

ps. while everyone was out celebrating valentine's day with their lover or christian grey, i spent mine with my children.
squad, aye.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

humans of new york :)

"everyone you meet has a story to tell - a story of loss, of disappointment, of being misunderstood, of losing heart. 
slow down and listen..."

this quote could not be more perfect in describing the magic that is humans of new york.
as my sisters or any of my friends can probably attest, i am obsessed with this photoblog.
i follow humans of new york, or HONY as it's now been affectionately renamed, on twitter, facebook and instagram.
(what can i say, i don't want to miss a post, haha.)

the concept is simple - brandon stanton, the founder of HONY, walks around NYC and takes portraits of people.
he then posts these portraits onto HONY's various sites alongside a quote or story the subject chose to share with him.
depending on the person he encountered, these stories can range from inspirational to down right ridiculous.
he started this project in 2010 and with every year, it grows in popularity.

flash forward to january 20th, 2015 when brandon encountered a teen by the name of vidal in brownsville, brooklyn.
as customary, brandon took his portrait and asked him a couple of questions.
this particular shot along with this quote was uploaded to HONY's various sites:
(who's influenced you the most in your life?")
"my principal, ms. lopez."
("how has she influenced you?")
"when we get in trouble, she doesn't suspend us. she calls us to the office and explains
to us how society is build down around us. and she tells us that each time somebody
fails out of school, a new jail cell gets built. and one time she made every student
stand up, one at a time, and she told each one of us that we matter."

i guess curiosity got the best of brandon because two days later he posted this photo and conversation with vidal's principal, ms. lopez: 
"this is a neighbourhood that doesn't necessarily expect much from our children,
so at mott hall bridges academy we set our expectations very high. we don't call
the children 'students,' we call them 'scholars.' our colour is purple. our scholars 
wear purple and so do our staff. because purple is the colour of royalty. i want my 
scholars to know that even if they live in a housing project, they are part of a royal
lineage going back to great african kings and queens. they belong to a group of 
individuals who invented astronomy and math. and they belong to a group of 
individuals who have endured so much history and still overcome. when you tell
people you're from brownsville, their face cringes up. but there are children here 
that need to know that they expected to succeed."

witnessing first hand the determination ms. lopez and the faculty have in arming their 'scholars' with the tools needed to succeed in life, the idea to start a fund that would give each incoming grade 6 class at MTBA the opportunity to visit harvard was derived.
an indiegogo fundraiser page was created and the link was shared on all HONY's sites with the goal of raising $100,000.

well, as of 8:46pm EST on saturday febuary 7th, this was the amount raised:
and as a result:
- the entire school is going to harvard and will be doing so for at least the next ten years.
- a scholarship fund was created to support graduates of MTBA.
  the fund is named "the vidal fund" and naturally, the first recipient of this scholarship is vidal himself.
- a summer program was created to give 'scholars' a safe place to congregate and continue learning during their break.
- brandon, vidal and ms. lopez were flown out to LA and appeared on the ellen degeneres show where, on behalf of target, MTBA was gifted computers for their entire school.
 - oh and, they also got to fly to washington to meet this guy...
<3 <3 <3

this whole story just reminded me that there's power in one's words.
something you say to someone in passing can have a profound effect on their life - positive or negative.
in one of the posts, ms. lopez shared that she recently felt like everything she was doing was in vain.
she thought about resigning as she felt like her 'scholars' didn't care and that she wasn't making a difference.
while reading her words, i thought of this particular image:
to me, this picture and ms. lopez' words stressed the importance of not giving up on a dream.
because like this picture so greatly depicts, you never know how close you are to achieving them.
imagine how much differently this story would have turned out had ms. lopez quit a couple weeks earlier...

if you have some time to spare, i definitely recommend checking out HONY's site.
many students and faculty were also interviewed and share their stories - some inspirational, others funny.

despite what we're constantly being shown on the news and other media outlets, there is still some good happening in the world.

:)
vanessa

Saturday, 17 January 2015

sh*t nico says...

january 9th, 2014 

me: "nico, what's your favourite part about school so far?"

nicklaus: "wellllll, i like gym and snack and lunch because at snack and lunch we get to eat and in gym we get to play.
play even with toys!
i like toys and food, so gym and snack and lunch are my favourite!"

video
oh, he also sings real songs now.
like alllll the time, haha.


watching this kid grow and develop into his own person is honestly the greatest thing.
i obviously don't know what being a parent feels like but being an aunt is a pretty dope gig.

:)
vanessa

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

"the new year means nothing if you're still in love with your comfort zone."

first off, to anyone that may be reading this: HAPPY NEW YEAR!
i hope you all had an amazing new year's celebration and that your 2015 is off to an amazing start :)
i spent my NYE with some friends and jenn at bowling alley - turnt, i know.
albeit extremely low-key, it was a lot of fun and was exactly how i wanted to ring in my new year - with laughs, good eats and a champagne toast at midnight.

random snapshots:
cheers to 2015.
because what else does one do when they come across a bentley?

this time last year, instead of making resolutions, i opted to create a personal manifesto.
i printed them out and posted them all around my bedroom and my workplace office.
now, i'm not sure if my plastering them around the places i spent the most time had anything to do with it but when i look back on the year that was 2014, i can truly say that i adhered very well to my manifesto.

in the spirit of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it!", i decided to put together a new manifesto for the new year:
there's a quote i came across sometime last year that, for whatever reason, stayed with me.
it's attributed to albert einstein and goes: "if you do what you always did, you will get what you always got."
when i looked back on my 2014, i realized that some of my greatest moments occurred when i ventured outside my comfort zone.
so, this is my sole goal/resolution/desire for 2015: to live outside my comfort zone. 

a simple search on google lead me to an array of images and quotes that stressed the beauty of leaving one's comfort zone. 
it was hard for me to narrow down the selection but here are the "few" that really spoke to me:
so here's to a year of stepping outside my comfort zone, taking risks and seeing where life takes me.
as a quote i saw once read: "i rather have a life of oh wells than what ifs.

happy new year, again!
:)
vanessa

ps. throwback to the time i took a photo with my cousins, tania and ricardo, his wife and their kids at my cousin saturne's wedding.
upon seeing said photo, i mentioned that it should be their 2014 family christmas card.

well, flash forward to today when i get this gem in the mail:
they make me smile.
love me some pierre-pauls <3

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

fab 5 - goodbye 2014.

as mentioned in my first ever blog post, my whole reason for starting my blog was to have a sort online scrapbook of what i was up to at a particular time of my life.
even now, i often find myself scrolling through past blog posts and reminiscing.
so, while brainstorming end of the year post ideas, i decided that i would share some of my favorite moments/songs/movies etc. of 2014.
plus it's been actually forever since i've done a fab 5 post and that is a travesty.

so without further ado, i present to you "fab 5 - goodbye 2014" 
*cue crowd applause...

top 5 moments:
*there were countless other moments that could have made this list but these were the first 5 to pop into my brain.
FINALLY obtaining this laminated piece of paper - more on this in the future...maybe lol / 

top 5 purchases
i shopped wayyyy to much this year (something that i vow to stop in 2015, pray for me) but these five things are the ones i truly don't regret purchasing!
afterlight photo app / gelous top coat (seriously, my polish lasts for days!) / live lokai bracelet

malibu - august 2014

a little more about my livelokai bracelet...
as soon as i came across this bracelet on twitter, i was obsessed.
the design and message are quite simple:
the white bead contains water from mount everest - the highest point on earth.
"sometimes you're on top of the world, stay humble."
the black bead contains mud from the dead sea - the lowest point on earth.
"sometimes you've hit a low, stay hopeful."
there are an equal number of clear beads between the black and white ones.
"life is full of cycles, find your balance."
like i said, i'm obsessed and wear it nearly every day.

top 5 songs:
*except that i actually couldn't narrow it down to 5 and selected 12 instead...
9 - willow smith feat. sza / am i wrong - nico and vinz / blank space - taylor swift /
apparently - j. cole / ugly heart - grl (rip simone battle) / thinking out loud - ed sheeran <3<3
i don't f**k with you - big sean / valentine (cover) - pentatonix / papaoutai - stromae / 
nirvana - sam smith / loyal - chris brown / uptown funk - mark ronson feat. bruno mars
edit: oh nooooo, how could i forget about maps by maroon 5!
shameful.

top 5 movies/tv shows:
gone girl / orange is the new black / annie / how to get away with murder / how to make it in america

top 5 beauty products:
original chapstick (sorry eos balm) / sweet almond oil (use it on my hair, skin, face) / 
anastasia dipbrow pomade / kevyn aucoin sensual skin enhancer / too faced chocolate bar

top 5 memes:
i have a strange sense of humor and am always looking up and saving memes on my phone.
here are some of the ones that made me laugh way too hard this year.
(click to enlarge)
re: the first meme - i think it's safe to say that the general population is very much aware that guac comes at an extra charge.
i'm talking to you, chipotle.

top 5 vines:
i don't even have a vine account but have been known to spend way too much time watching these 6 second videos.
here are some of the ones that brought actual tears to my eyes.

i need to party with this news anchor, stat.

so my beloved 2014, though you did not go exactly as i had planned, you were truly good to me.
here's to more growth, development and fun times in the new year.
2015, leh go!

me, dancing into the new year ^^

ps. my sister and i have wayyyy too much time on our hands *insert crying face emoji here*
happy (almost) new year, y'all!