Hi, I'm Vanina. 

That's "Va" as in Va-Va-Voom and "Nina" as in the chunky, lit-loving girl on The Young & The Restless who was married to Phillip and when he died, married Ryan and when he died, started a fiery fling with the writer Tomas.

Professionally, I'm an Art Director at an ad agency in Minneapolis. I work on stuff that makes me happy, like Aveda, Caribou Coffee and Schwinn. I love going in to work each day and learning something new. I'm curious like that, and not very indefatigable.

Personally, I'm a mother/wife/lover of words. I'm charmed and cursed in equal measures. I'm lucky to have married an amazing, romantic guy, have a little girl and a baby boy, and have the passion to pursue a literary career. Balancing it all, however, is a trick I haven't come anywhere close to mastering.

In a typical turn of my fit-and-start life, I've started a blog, The Fruitie. What's a fruitie, you ask? It's a foodie, with a fruit obsession. Fruit, yes. Come for a visit and you'll hear my tales of life, family and digestible plants.

5 Things I Learned About TV and 1 Thing I Learned While It Was Turned Off

Remember that scene from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, the one where Indi is dining at the palace and Kate Capshaw opens the silver lid on a soup bowl to reveal a broth of eyeballs?That’s the sensation – odd, slightly funny, and complete with shuddering – that Mark and I experienced trying longans and rambutans for the first time....more

Hmm. My kids are too young to play together (3 years, 5 months) but I really look forward to ...more

Invasive species or irradiation: what's in your grocery cart?

On September 25, a state of emergency was declared for Santa Clara County, California. The cause was not an earthquake or a forest fire, it was three tiny European Grapevine Moths.This insect – with powdery, taupe-colored wings decorated in spots of blue and brown – was first spotted in Napa in 2009. Native to Western Europe, they feed mainly on grape vines, but will also attack blackberries, cherries, nectarines, pomegranates and prunes. This flexibility of appetite has made it easier for them to survive as they find themselves in the Middle East and Japan and now, California....more