7 Things About Me: The Stupid School Years {+ 7 More}

Recently, Ms. Sunshine, aka Kristina of the stellar Pretty Shiny Sparkly tagged me in her post, 7 Things About Me: The Stupid School Years. Thanks Kristina! Only for you will I relive and dish the details on a childhood that I’ve almost blocked from my memory! Almost. So here we go…

7 Things About Me: The Stupid School Years

1. Despite the many of inches of hair I am blessed with now, I was actually born bald.
Then my hair came in blond. Well, kind of strawberry blond. But it took a while to grow. So long, in fact, that I corrected people myself when they said I was a cute little boy. “I’m a GIRL!” I’d protest.

Little V, with very little hair.

PS: Notice the requisite big honkin’ cross on me in this photo. And the other bling (baptismal pin, bracelet). Greeks. What can I say.

2. My eyes are hazel, not brown.
Another thing I had to correct people about. Just like my hair is dark brown, not black. But more about that in a minute.

At age two or three. Bling and pigtails. This is a motif, for my mom, at least.

3. According to my birth certificate, I’m a Yankee…born in New York. And with no middle name.
While I’m glad that my parents didn’t follow the idiotic Greek tradition (then) of making your child’s middle name the same as their father’s first name (whether they’re a boy or girl!), having no middle name is kind of a pain in the you-know-what. Let’s just say I never had any monogrammed items. Then again, have you seen my bloody name? Do I really need a middle name with all that already going on?

In New York at Astroland Park, Coney Island

4. Speaking of names, I was always pissed off that “VAHNI” was never available on those little souvenir license plates.
You know the ones for kids that are sold at amusement parks and tourist spots? It wasn’t enough that my monogram was missing a letter—I also had a name that wasn’t “normal”—like Stephanie or Mary. So there were never personalized license plates or pencils or necklaces for me. Boo. I was one cranky little miss, wasn’t I?

In pig tails and hush puppies, with my little brother. Still cute. Kind of.

5. When I  turned 4, we moved south, and my hair inexplicably went brown. And I got freckles overnight.
And my mom inexplicably thought a Dorothy Hamill (aka bowl) cut would be “cute” on me. And inexplicably, I’m dressed in a tennis outfit, though I didn’t play tennis. But I did ice skate, and I hated this haircut. Wow, If I wasn’t wearing a skirt, someone might have thought I was my brother. See photo above.

Rocking my “Dorothy Hamill” cut. Probably why I’m terrified to cut my hair now.

6. My auntie took me to have my ears pierced at age 7.
My mom is still mad about it.

With pierced ears. And more gingham and white hair bows.
Hey ma, what’s up with the gingham?

7. I was a good student. And quiet.
And this is the last halfway decent school photo I took before I got beat with the ‘tween/teen ugly stick.

But I came out the other end OK. Of course, that is a highly subjective deduction.

Around 18, in a “modeling” head shot. Yeah.

Seven Secrets

Jill of Everything Just So also tagged me to divulge seven secrets about myself. Thanks, Jill! So here are seven more things about me, in case you had nothing else to do with your life today.

  1. I went to Greek language school twice a week (after regular school) for about five years to learn the Greek language. I hated it then, but now I’m glad my mom forced me through it as a child. It has paid off.
  2. No, I’m not having kids. But I love my niece and nephew and see them weekly. And I’m a creative and crafty auntie.
  3. I’m terrified of public speaking, but somehow in the past I’ve ended up on local TV and radio, and there’s that little IFB Evolving Influence gig I have coming up. God help me.
  4. I’ve never taken the flu shot. And I don’t get the flu.
  5. I had a really bad car accident when I was 16 that left me with a permanently separated left shoulder. But it’s not that big of a deal. I just can’t sleep on it for a long time.
  6. I used to wear glasses…until I had laser vision correction.
  7. I’m terrified of haunted houses. Like, terrified. I will never go in one ever again. Ever.


  1. Hi fellow yankee!!

    I love it V! The baby pictures are priceless! 🙂 I feel you on the middle name thing. My parents must have thought I would be their only child because they gave me a total of 3 names (not including my last name!) so you can only imagine how that went down in school! LOL

    Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. How cool to learn more about you hunnie!! I know how you feel about the personalized items and never being able to find one….:(
    COLLETTE doesn’t show in many places either, lol…loved this!!!

  3. I have seen you grow from a baby, now…all in a flash how fantastic is that.
    So generous of you to share such a loving memories and photos.
    Much love to you my dearest friend, and 10000000 besos.

  4. Now I feel like I know you since you were a cute bubba!
    As i was reading through this I also have to thank my mum for putting me through Chinese school every Saturday – it’s totally paid off, although I can barely read a newspaper (you need to know at least 2000 characters)! Now, learning Greek is hard too! Cartoons seem to do the trick!
    The no-middle name bit did crack me up… I have a very normal English first name as you know, but I also have my Chinese name and if and when i get hitched i will have the most ridiculously long Greek last name ever!

    You’re totally stunning in that last pic doll!

  5. My sister’s name is Abby and we spent COUNTLESS hours on family vacations when I was little trying to find a souvenir with her name on it. I don’t think we ever did. I think she’s mad that Abby has caught on as a more popular name now that she’s an adult!
    I like reading these things about other people, it’s always fun 🙂

  6. V – Love this little break from the norm! And looking back at old school pictures is always a funny and painful experience. I did the awful haircut that was like a bowl and even buzzed in the back, right at the time my hair was trying to decide if it should straight straight and thin or get thick and curly. You can imagine the catastrophe of that haircut. Oh and I’ve inexplicable tried real bangs a couple times, which never works with two front cowlicks. Ah the joys of adolescence. – Katy

  7. OK, so we don’t share the same astrological sign, and were born a few years apart – I am STILL convinced we must have somehow been separated at birth.

    I love your 7/14 facts – but the thing that absolutely makes this post is the photos. ADORE them. Thanks for giving us a glimpse at how little V became the stunning Vahni we all know and love today!

    You are one of the few people that know my real name, so you might guess I had many of the same experiences you mention above.

    1. I have no middle name – because Serbs just don’t DO middle names – but really, what could possibly sound good with mine? Now I am curious about what your middle name would have been!

    2. I always hated the fact my name wasn’t available on key chains. I wanted a keychain with my name. At one point I begged my mother to let me change my name to Michelle just s I could have a keychain.

    3. I had barbie-doll blonde hair with ringlets until I was about 5 or 6. Then it became dark brown and wavy (or as I like to call it today – frizzy!).

    4. My ears were pierced earlier than yours (6 months!) but as a result the holes aren’t even. That is always fun.

    Anyway, sorry for the hijack. Sometimes I really think we must have been separated-at-birth! LOL

  8. Oh my gosh, how funny and adorable are you!? And so beautiful at 18! I was still coming out of the awkward phase… 🙂

    I’m so jealous that your mom made you learn Greek. My mom never taught me Polish, and I still hold it against her haha.

    Such a fun entry, it really made my day! The next time I visit my parents’ house I need to scan some old photos.

  9. AH! This is my favorite post of you yet. You are quite possibly the cutest little Greek girl, ever. I am loving the pigtails – my mom had a thing for them too and sometimes she still begs me to don them. Not so hysterical since I already look 15. And that model shot? AH! You look amazing. You honestly do not look like you’ve aged at all since that photo. I think not having kids has made you quite possibly ageless. (One reason why I am on the fence about kids.. I just don’t think it’s for me)

    Your facts are so fun. I don’t believe in the flu shot, but that is probably the Latina in me who doesn’t really believe in medications either. Any sickness we had was treated with Aguardiente (sugar cane liquor) and a big bowl of soup.

    This was too fun. I could comment all day but I’ll stop 🙂


  10. I love these pictures of you! How adorable! I’m especially appreciative of the Coney Island picture because that’s where we spend a lot of time as a family in the summer. And you look so beautiful in your head shot. Oh, and I totally had the Dorothy Hamill haircut back in the day. Thank you for sharing all of this! What a great post.

  11. This brought joy to my afternoon. I literally laughed out loud about the tennis outfit. I used to LOVE playing dress up in my mom’s tennis skirts for some reason. Very strange! You were an adorable kid and you were a GORGEOUS 18 year old (and you are still just as gorgeous today) so I doubt that there were any ugly stick pics in between. OH, and I also despise haunted houses, except the haunted mansion at Disneyland.

  12. You have come a long way since your “gingham” days…is there any left in your wardrobe? I really like seeing posts like this. To see the difference between the way parents “construct” a look and how YOU “construct” your look.

    And, btw, you’re going to be a big hit at the IFB. Just think of it as a vlog, with a smaller audience.

  13. We’re no middle name twins! I wasn’t born with much hair either, although I certainly made up for that now 🙂 Loved this post, it’s so lovely to read about other bloggers 🙂

  14. This is so fun! And your pictures are so CUTE! I remember my mom chopping my hair into a very short cut that might be cute today but not so much in 3rd grade!! I cannot even count the times I was called a boy. Thanks so much for sharing!!

  15. This is the funniest post I’ve seen in a long time! And what a cutie patootie you were (though I’m really not surprised). Can you believe that they never had “Marissa” on those license plates or pencils either when I was young? I guess my parents were ahead of the curve, but I always wished I was a Michelle so I could just get a damn door sign for my room!

  16. Oh my gosh. I love this. I love this to pieces! And I’m with you on the haunted houses. Why people pay money for those is a wonder to me.

    I got tagged to do this. I was going to pass until I got inspired by yours! LOVING your pigtails!

  17. Vahni! This was the Best. Post. EVER! You were such a cutieeee! My mum never subjected me to haircuts, but she DID put me in crazy outfits which is why I was scared of fashion all through high school, haha. I don’t have a middle name either, and I have to keep telling people that my hair is dark brown, not black, too :P. That age 18 modeling shot? Wowweeee, you look stunning!

  18. I see your love of jewellery was kick started at a young age 😛
    This is such a sweet post!! Your mum definitely has a thing for gingham ;P My mum had a thing for florals, nearly every piece of clothing I wore had a floral print of some sort, and I still wear tonnes of florals!
    It’s so beautiful to see the evolution of Vahni!! 🙂 In the last photo you suddenly did a Sandy from Grease and turned into a hot mama!
    My tween photos were AWFUL too so i don’t blame you for not putting yours up, i’m way too embarrased of that period. I’d like to think I came out of it okay, but I’m still only 20 so we shall see in the future!!
    I really love your stories that go with these photos! I can imagine it being annoying not having your name on things, when I was about 8 everyone at school started getting stickers and stationary with their names on. Funnily enough I could never find anything with Megan on, it was quite an unusual name when i was little.

  19. I believe this is the first time I’m commenting on your blog. I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now – and what a perfect name you have chosen – grit and glamour is EXACTLY what it is! you don’t b.s. – you don’t beat around the bush – you are straightup honest – nothing is sugar-coated – and that is what I love most about your blog! I’m not a blogger, but I started a new job several months ago, which is when I “discovered” the world of blogs and I’m so happy I came across yours.

    a little random fact about myself. and you’ll appreciate this. I have no middle name either. just plain, lame, first-name-rhymes-with-last Lynn Zimmerman. my parents, sister and I all have the same initials, and no middle name. when people ask my parents why they didn’t give us middle names, my father’s reply: “we couldn’t afford them”. go figure.

  20. Ok, so we have the exact same hair history. I was also born bald and when my hair did come in it was blond. It got darker over the years and when I was four my Dad got my brother and I the exact same haircut. It was a mushroom cut and I looked like a boy. My Mom was horrified! Thanks for sharing this V. It’s so much fun. And Vahni, that last picture is WOWZA! You are such a mega babe. x

  21. Your stories and corresponding pictures had me chuckling. Oh dear. I was an ugly duckling for the longest time. I can relate to so much of it. I requested cute feathered bangs when I was twelve, à la Ice Castles. I can’t begin to describe what my dad did to my hair. Not to mention being the size I am now by that age. Conclusion: adult’ish body, tween mind, high dorkiness factor. And a pair of 4″ high of Cherokee knock-off wedges. Look out, world.

  22. This was so much fun to see and read. I’ll say you came out okay in your teen years! It’s heartening to know that you were a cute, ordinary, sometimes awkward little girl like so many of us, but you became a breathtaking stunner through nature and self-analysis.

    I never had much trouble locating bric-a-brac with SARAH on it, but my sister ABIGAIL rarely found anything. I remember my mom had to make her a name mug with gold ceramic-friendly pen. The mug, IIRC, had a rainbow with a blank space for writing. Catalogues like Lillian Vernon are also useful for toys and trinkets that can be customized with any name. Just in case you want a pink princess sleeping bag that says VAHNI, you know. 😉

  23. LOVED this! How cute are your childhood pics?! I think we all have childhood pics that we dont like, but are so adorable in hindsight lol. Good to know I’m not the only one who could never buy those keychains, pens, or bracelets with my name in them. Thanks for sharing!

    Twitter: @ConsiderMeLuvly

  24. This was so much fun to see and read. I’ll certainly say that you came out well in your teen years! It’s heartening to see that you were a cute, normal, sometimes awkward little girl like so many of us, but that you became an absolute stunner through nature and self-analysis.

    I never had trouble finding bric-a-brac with SARAH on it, but my sister ABIGAIL didn’t find much. My mom had to make her a name mug with a ceramic-friendly gold pen. It had a rainbow on it, IIRC, arcing over a blank space for writing. The Lillian Vernon catalogue remains a good resource for toys and trinkets that can be personalized with just about any name as long as it’s not super-lengthy. You know, just in case you need a pink princess VAHNI sleeping bag. 😉

  25. I really love posts that give a little glimpse into someones past, its always so interesting! I have a picture of myself age 3 in a nearly identical gingham outfit (except red, which is worse cause i look like a pizza hut tablecloth) complete with pigtails…
    Also, um hello hottie for that model head shot. You look like you’re thinking ‘seductive moi?’ x

  26. I love this post, V. It’s nice to know a bit more about you! Your childhood pictures are so cute. I used to take figure skating lessons when I was a kid, and I also had my ears pierced at 7! Except, my mom took me to get them done, and after they did the first one I decided I didn’t like the pain, so I hopped out of the chair and walked out of the store, only to have my mom come chasing after me, and make me get the other one done. Your model head shot is GORGEOUS. WOW.


    P.S. I LOVE haunted houses!!! I used to work in a professional one for a few years before I stage managed a show at Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream a few years back. I’ve always loved horror/scary/creepy stuff. I guess I like being scared?? 🙂

  27. Hmm, I’m surprised to hear you don’t like haunted houses. They’re so much fun! Once, I got into some trouble in one. There was an irritating clown in there, and I hit him. I hate clowns. I kick clown ass. Lol.

  28. Ha Ha I completely related to the whole name thing. Obviously you don’t get many kids with Iranian names in the UK like mine so there was no chance of me getting anything like a keyring with my name on it.

    It was cool to see the pictures of you growing up, it’s always nice to find out and connect with the person behind the blog and this helped show us more about you.

  29. No middle name for me, either! My parents pretty much ran out of creative naming juice after struggling to come up with “Vanessa.” It’s totally fine by me, though. My grandmother and my sister also do not have middle names so it’s kind of become our “thing.”
    Cute photos! I love seeing old-school pics!

  30. I hate that I could never find my name on those little license plate things, and I could never just find a V for Vanessa like for a key chain. I think all moms think their daughters will look cute with short hair. I got bowl cut once, it was awful. I also can’t do haunted houses. I can’t watch scary movies either. They freak me out too much.
    My Heart Blogged

  31. ..this was adorable and hilarious! I was born with 3 peach fuzzes of brown hair and nothing else, but by age two I had a ton of hair haha. I still laugh at my baby pics. You look almost the same as you did at 18! I love it- so typical V. and the only time in the last 10 yrs I’ve gotten the flu was with the flu shot! never again….

  32. First off, you are an adorable baby boy!
    I’m glad that all worked itself out. LOVE these pics of you- you are a doll, doll, doll, and trust me, with a last name that is longer than the alphabet, I don’t think you needed a middle initial. You are perfection in two numerals/letters: VV, like an emperor or Ceasar only waaay hotter in a toga.

  33. This is one of those posts where you pause and look around quickly because you’ve realized you have a stupid grin on your face, haha. Heart.This.Post. I’m still bewildered that your hair was strawberry blond-ish for so long!! I adore your long “dark-brown” mane.

    I don’t have a middle name either + I could NEVER find my name on any plates!! However, since Disney’s ‘That’s So Raven’ show, I’m sure that has since changed!!

    Looks like you took that head shot yesterday — Wow [pause] za


  34. Thanks for sharing these baby and childhood photos and for the hilarious take on those growing pains which we can all relate to I’m sure! I was also regularly mistaken for a boy when I was a young girl and my teen ugly stick was way bigger than yours!!

  35. vahni-these pics are too cute! i am getting into NYC just after the IFB is over, but would so love to meet up anytime that weekend-a few of us talked about getting together for a blogger din or fri or sat night-let me know if you’d like to join! also-you on are my blogroll-saw that you wanted to be informed if you are 🙂 hope to meet you next week girl!



  36. So many fun stories! Thank you all for sharing. As you can see, I’m being a total slacker on my individual comments back to you. Prepping G&G for IFB next week is kicking my you-know-what!

    I have read all your comments and aside from loving them, and struck by:

      1. How many of us have no middle names.
      2. How many of us could never get personalized items as kids. We were clearly deprived, I say!
      3. How many of you truly liked this post. I’m glad my geeky kid photos were entertaining.

    Thanks, y’all!

  37. “V,’ I love this! Look at you in your leather and glamour head shot! Isn’t it funny how Mom knows somethings… haha!
    I never wanted to learn German because of my father’s family, but later it payed off when I’d visit my sister in Austria….
    You will do wonderfully at the IFB-con! Best of luck beautiful! 🙂

  38. Hey there V! I loved this post and the childhood pictures you included in it and… you can add me to the long list it seems of folks who never can find their first names on any personalized items. I was hoping to actually find something touristy-personalized when in Scotland and then when in Australia since Lachlan is getting to be more and more popular of a guys’ name but alas, no such luck.

    Got a chuckle to see a “Lachlan” cited as one of the London Ballet’s annual youth competition’s most recent medal winners and, but of course, it was a guy. If I ever see another Lachlan as a girl, well then, whoopie….would be super psyched about that indeed 😉 Best to you as always!

    1. Thanks, Lac! Yeah, I know you have felt my pain! For the record, you’re the only female Lachlan I know too! But I LOVE your name. And I’m sure you do now too!

      Hope you are well!

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