Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Writer Wednesday - Vanessa Steil

Vanessa Steil is the author of Living in Steil (pronounced "style"), a lifestyle blog about fashion, food, health and wellness. She is a 2009 graduate of The American University and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. Her articles for Living in Steil include "Coming to Grips with Thyroid Cancer," the personal story of her cancer diagnosis at age 26, and "Twenty Things I've Learned in My Twenties." She is also a contributor to The Glamour Department where she writes about beauty and skincare products.

Who are you? I am Vanessa Steil. A native of Long Island, New York, graduate of The American University in Washington, D.C., and author of Living in Steil (pronounced "style").

Where can you be found online? Do you have a blog or other online receptacle for your work? I write the lifestyle blog Living in Steil. My posts cover, for example, fashion: the perfect sweater dress; food: how to make lobster quesadillas; health and wellness: why you should have your neck checked. I am also on Twitter and Pinterest, and I share photos from my escapades on Instagram.

What inspired you to start writing/blogging? When did it happen? I began writing in 2013 when I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at the age of 26. I had been relatively healthy, but after having cancer I found my voice. I thought that by sharing my story (which you can read on my blog), I could offer hope to other young cancer patients and survivors. It was a cathartic way for me to document my journey and path to recovery with my passion for creativity and style.

The first blog I started following, which inspired me to start my own blog, was Wearing White After Labor Day. Its author was a fashionable law school graduate who shared my love of horses and rode at the same barn as I did many years earlier. I looked forward to her outfit posts and considered her blog my daily fashion survival guide. Now she writes a blog called Musings of a Mom, Esq., and I am happy to say that we have become friends.

Why do you write? I write as a creative outlet. I look forward to sitting down to write, and find that planning content for the blog makes me prioritize my days. Living in Steil is where I share my restaurant reviews, tips for what to do on Long Island, and advice for other twenty-somethings. It has also introduced me to a wonderful community of bloggers. I am so grateful to other bloggers who have answered my questions as a novice, and of course, to my readers.

Your writing inspires me. Who inspires you? Thank you. I'm inspired when I read interviews from The Everygirl and Career Contessa about people following their dreams and launching their careers. I've always believed that if you love what you do then you'll never work a day in your life, and I think it's very encouraging to read other people's success stories

In keeping with the admittedly loose travel theme of Not Intent On Arriving, if you could have an all-expenses paid trip anywhere in the world, where would you go? Somewhere warm! To me a vacation must consist of three things: a beach, good weather, and time for relaxation. Hawaii has been on my travel list for a while, so this might be a good opportunity to go there -- and fly first-class! Or I would love to go back to Portugal (Cascais has the most gorgeous beach!). I visited in 2011 and I fell in love with the country. The people, food, and weather were fabulous.

What is your favorite place on earth? I'd have to say my favorite place is the beach. I grew up going to the beach on summer weekends, and it's something I still look forward to doing when I have the time. The sound of the water is so peaceful, and lounging on the sand under the warmth of the sun never gets old. Sometimes when I am longing for summer, I take a quick stroll to the nearest beach just to get my fill of the water until it can be appreciated in all of its glory. Plus, I love landscape photography and there is nothing better than sunset shots at the beach!

Anything else you'd like us to know? Yes! I say this a lot now, but please get your neck checked at your next doctor's appointment. Thyroid cancer is the ninth most common cancer in the United States. In 2014, 62,980 people will be diagnosed with thyroid cancer, an increase of 4.6% from 2013.

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