Saturday, 30 November 2013

i risked my life for a sweater (black friday)

a tad dramatic but let me explain *kevin hart voice*

i try my best to avoid any stores that are having major sales as:
a) i hate line-ups
b) the smalls are always the first to go anyways
c) i fear being trampled

however, seeing how friday was "black friday" and i was already in the downtown core, i decided to give it a go.
now, "black friday" is a fairly new concept to canadians - our day to go buck-wild at shopping centers is boxing day (december 26th).
but in an attempt to keep us on this side of the border, merchants in canada have started to have "black friday" sales like their american counterparts.

after class, i headed to the mall and immediately left after seeing the crowd of people.
i opted to visit a department store called the bay located across from the mall instead.
and that is where i scored what is now my new favorite sweater:

(grainiest photo ever)
sweater - hbc; tank & jeans - forever 21; boots - aldo

standard mirror selfie

i also clearly discovered the mirrorgram app on my iphone.
speaking of iphones, this happened:


my craving self just had to get a quesadilla on my way home.
as soon as it fell, i knew it was a wrap.
i was so mad, i didn't even order my quesadilla.
first world problem.

did any of you guys venture out on black friday?

:)
vanessa



Friday, 29 November 2013

it's a LOVE HAITI relationship.

"what you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
build anyway."
*warning- this post is quite image heavy...

around this time last year, i had the pleasure of going to fonds-parisen, haiti.

 panoramic photo i took while on the roof of our hotel in fonds-parisien.

now, this was in no way my first visit to la pearle des antilles - both of my parents were born there and many a family vacations were spent in haiti.

my sisters and i at 'kaliko beach club' 

what made this particular trip so special was the fact that we went down there on a mission - to build a church and an orphanage.
our first day in haiti (my dad is in the yellow shirt - 'sup JL)

although we found out very quickly that erecting two buildings in two weeks time was a rather ambitious feat. 
but through a lot of team work and prayer, we were able to build the church building from the ground up.

church sign which is now hanging on the new church building :)

the building they used to worship at was deemed unsafe after the 2010 earthquake.
they would meet under this makeshift "building" instead.

trying to figure out where would be best to build both the church and the orphanage.

completed foundation.

we had many locals come and help us lay the cement.
team work makes the dream work.

our littlest helpers :)

after much confusion, we got first section of the building erected!



by the time we finished getting the building up in it's entirety, it was pitch black out.

but that didn't stop the preacher from testing out the new building.
impromptu church service.

i left before the church was completely finished.
but it looks something like this :)

myself and the other ladies would spend the day sorting through the donated items.
we had a party later on in the week with food and gifts :)

another little helper :)


earlier this week, a group of 15 more brethren (including my lovely parents) traveled back to haiti to work on the orphanage.
i'm sad that i'm not able to attend this time due to my exam schedule but i wish them all the best down there.
i can't wait to see the photos of the finished orphanage!

:)
vanessa

ps. some random photos of the children i would have brought back with me were it not illegal...
looooved me some lobens.





"everyone smiles in the same language."

pps. we found one soccer ball in the box of donations.
i couldn't believe how much joy something as simple as a soccer ball could bring to these children.
after they finished their homework, these two boys would come and play soccer with me.
you're looking at the future haitian national soccer team, y'all.






Wednesday, 27 November 2013

"never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful, for beauty is God's handwriting..."

i stumbled upon this poem a couple month's ago while wasting my life away on tumblr.
immediately after reading it, i wrote it out in it's entirety in my quote book.
it's sort of become a personal credo of mine and thought i'd share it you:


happy wednesday :)

vanessa

Saturday, 23 November 2013

"every revolution begins with a spark."


so, i just got back from a late night screening of the hunger games: catching fire.
my thoughts?

as a fan of the trilogy, i was once again impressed with the film adaption.
the cast, led by the impeccable and hilariously candid jennifer lawrence, did an amazing job bringing the characters i fell in love with in the novels to life.

my only issue?
my sister, bro-in-law, cousin and bff decided to spend $19.50 on the imax experience.
i had never seen an imax movie before and everyone was saying that this film MUST be seen in imax.
well, with the exception of the assigned seating which proved useful as we were late, i don't understand the hype.
perhaps we were just sitting too close to get the full experience but i'm pretty sure it's just a cash grab.
next time, this girl will stick to the normal cinema experience...

but just as when i finished watching the hunger games, i now want to take archery lessons because how badass is this?


but all in all, it was amazing film!
if you are a fan of the books, you will not be disappointed.
i can't wait to watch the third book in the franchise, mockingjay, come to life on the big screen.
and, just throwing this out there, if anyone reading is casting for this movie, i'm beyond available and willing to play tree #3.

did anyone else see this film or any other movie this weekend?

:)
vanessa

ps. i saw this and i laughed because it's true:

Thursday, 21 November 2013

one girl, four guitars.


as mentioned in an earlier post, i love me some tori kelly. 
so, when i caught wind that toronto was a stop on her tour, i made it my personal mission to score some tickets.
well, score some i did and off i went with my sister and my bff avery to the show last night.

my sister elle, avery and i

we all met up after work and headed over to the venue, the opera house, in the leslieville area of toronto.
doors opened at 7:30pm but we wanted to arrive a little earlier to get a good spot as this venue is standing room only. 
we were able to get an amazing spot - on the balcony, centre stage - and waited impatiently for tori to arrive. 
she came out sometime around 8:30pm and put on the most magical show i've ever seen.
no band, no backup singers, no gimmicks - just a mic stand, 4 guitars and her voice.

this would be miss tori

in a world full of half-naked girls twerkin' on stage while lip-synching to some auto-tuned track, tori is truly a breath of fresh air. 
i'm not sure how it's even possible but tori's vocals are even better live (see clips below):

video
pyt (michael jackson cover)

video
all in my head 

video
dear no one

the way she would transition from the craziest falsetto to a luscious belt in a matter of milliseconds was mesmerizing.
i'm stanning hard right now, so let me just end this by saying that tori is an incredibly talent singer-songwriter.
the amount of God given talent she possesses is unreal.
if her tour stops by your town, i would highly recommend seeing her in these intimate venues before she blows up.
the show was well worth the $20 price tag.

:)
vanessa






Monday, 18 November 2013

words of widsom - thelma (79 years young)

i had a lot of fun putting together this blog post.
so much so that while sitting at my desk today i thought to myself, "i wonder how some of the residents would answer these questions?"
nb: i work at a nursing home and love chatting with our residents because, as cliché as it sounds, they are so full of wisdom. 

one of my favorite life lessons came from my home girl, gail - the sassiest 67 year old i've ever met:
"don't be poor.
it's not easy being poor, trust me.
make sure you work hard so you have a little money.

and marry a man with a trade, will ya? 
a plumber or carpenter...not some deadbeat."

hoping to get more gems like this, i decided to pick the brain of another one of my favorite residents, thelma.

the following is a transcript of our conversation:
who is the person who influenced your life the most?
my mother - she brought me into the world and was a great mother.

do you have a lost love?
my first husband died before our first son was born. i'll always love and miss him.

is there anything you regret not having asked your parents? 
no, but i miss spending time with them. i even miss running their errands - my mother lived with me before she passed and i would do everything for her. i miss that.

what was the happiest moment of your life?
when i got married. i was 18 years old.

what are you most proud of?
my grandchildren.

what is the most important lessons you've learned in life?
everyday is a new day, so don't worry too much about things.

did you receive an allowance as a child?
yes, 50 cents a week.

would you spend it all at once or save it?
save it - you should always save for a rainy day.

what was your childhood dream?
i always wanted to be a momma and have children.

if you could give young people any advice, what would it be?
i would tell them to stay on the right way - to not do anything bad.

how would you like to be remembered? 
hopefully they'll say good things about me. oh God, i hope they don't say anything bad.

i wish i could include a photo of my dear thelma but for legal reasons, i'm not allowed to do so.
something about privacy...

hope you're all having a great monday!

:)
vanessa

ps. quick weekend roundup - i took my my three surrogate children to the royal ontario museum on sunday.
after getting trapped in the santa claus parade and begging a police officer to let us across, we finally got into the ROM.
the children seemed to really enjoy themselves - they learned about endangered animals, went into the bat cave and got to see and dig up dinosaur fossils.
grainy bootleg front camera group shot

all in all, it was a great afternoon but can i just say that being a quasi-mother of 3 ain't easy.
hug your mothers people...
:)




Saturday, 16 November 2013

"yesterday you said tomorrow..."

unless those things are illegal, then don't do it!

hope you're all having a great weekend!

:)
vanessa

leibster award :)

i was nominated for a liebster award by the beautiful abbi at 'below the waist' (check out her blog for great hair care and beauty tips!)
i'm not gonna lie, i had no idea what a liebster award was but after a quick google search, all was revealed.
so, enough with the lollygagging.

here are eleven "interesting" facts about me...
one - i am a fount of useless information.
for example, did you know before peter pan was written, the name 'wendy' never existed?
or that dr. seuss coined the term 'nerd'?
hey girl, hey!

two - after watching the miniseries "the jacksons: an american dream", i wanted to have a bunch of children so that they could start their very own band.
but i've since come to my senses and now would like 3 or 4 kids.
they can still start a band though if they'd like.
stop,  the love you save may be your own... #chune

three - i used to run track back in high school but i don't trick off the track right by school
those bangs though, lol.

four - when i was seventeen, i did a summer exchange to france.
i almost died on my way home but made life long friends, so it was worth it :)
sarah (who is a super talented artist), moi et virginie a montreal octobre 2012.

five - je parle français, oui oui.


six - "more times", i'm just looking for that 'corey & topanga' kind of love.

"topanga, if i had to dream up the perfect woman,
she wouldn't even come close to you."


seven - i love me some musicals and was actually in a production of 'hairspray' a couple years ago.
lil' inez and the 'nicest girls' in our dressing room.

eight - i am celine dion's biggest fan.
hashtag WERK!

nine - that "haunted mask" episode of goosebumps gave me nightmares for years.
*shudders

ten - my childhood dream was to become an olympic figure skater.
i wanted to be the first person to ever land a quintuple lutz - that's right, FIVE revolutions.
i had my whole routine choreographed to celine dion's "power of love" - ♫ cause i'm your (quint lutz and lands) ladayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy ♫ - and had actual dreams of people chanting "vanessa, vanessa" as i received my gold medal...

but then my parents recalled this incident with figure skater surya bonaly and decided it would be best to stick with track as it was less subjective, if you know what i mean...

maybe in another life, young vaness.

eleven - i know this entire routine by heart.

♫ by the way, what have you done for him lately?
ooooooooh yeah


now, to answer abbi's eleven questions:
one - what's your goal (length or otherwise) for your hair?
ultimately, i just want to be completely self-sufficient when it comes to doing my own hair.
the prices salons in toronto charge are ludicrous and i'm never satisfied, so i would love to be able to take matters into my own hands.

two - what do you love most about your hair?
the color - it's naturally a lighter brown with goldish (?) highlights.
it makes shopping for hair extensions a nightmare but i love it just the same.

three - what's your favorite deep conditioner?
carol's daughter moisturizing hair smoothie in black vanilla - it works and smells delicious!
four - what's your hairstyle at this very moment?
my hair is currently in a high bun.

five - what's number one on your bucket list?
get married and have kids.

six - how many blogs do you follow?
11.

seven - what's on your christmas wishlist?
i really want to redecorate my room, so i'll say gift cards to ikea!

eight - how will you spend this christmas?
with my lovely family eating yummy food :)

nine - name an interest besides blogging.
i quite enjoy acting - i'm fairly boring in life, so i find it's fun to pretend to be someone else for a bit.

ten - one place (country or city) you'd like to visit.
bali or bora bora.
hell, i'll take florida just to get away from this chilly toronto weather.

eleven - have you ever been to jamaica? would you like to go?
i've never been to jamaica but would love to go!
i've had friends who've been to resorts in ochos rios and negril, and their photos look beautiful!
i mean, i'd be fine waking up to this every morning:
plus, there's the love i have for jerk chicken...


now, for my nominations...
i'd like to nominate:
jennifer of future lawyer girl
elle of elle mejia
josie of straightNOchase
faith of life.love&marriage
georgina of notes on lifestyle

* i thoroughly enjoy reading each and every one of these blogs.
whether it's becoming a wife, mother, lawyer or author, these ladies are all working extremely hard to achieve their dream and i find that so inspiring.
so, i thought i'd pick their brains a bit, haha.

the rules:
- link back to the blogger who presented the award to you

- paste the award on your blog
- choose 5 blogs to pass this award to (they must have fewer than 200 followers)
- let the recipients know about their nomination by leaving a comment on their blogs
- write 11 interesting facts about you
- answer my 11 questions

my questions:
one - which person, dead or alive, would you like to have dinner with and why?
two - what is your favorite memory?
three - what new technology have you found most helpful in life?
four - what new technology have you found most annoying?
five - what is an important lesson you've learned, thus far, in life?
six - if you could go back and tell your teenage self anything, what would it be?
seven - what world event has impacted you the most?
eight - is there anything you have always wanted to do but never have?
nine - what's your favorite quote or motto?
ten - who is the person who influenced your life the most?
eleven - how would you like to be remembered?

well, this was actually quite fun to do :)
i'm looking forward to your answers!
and, if someone wasn't tagged but would still like to participate, please do!
i love talking to new people...you learn so much.

hope you're all having a great weekend :)
vanessa