Thursday, December 19, 2013

2013 Explained With Sarcasm and Gifs

Well, 2013 was quite the year, right? If you're like me, you probably felt like it sped by super fast, and now we're sitting here, on December 19th, scratching our heads and going "what the heck just happened?"

Here's the good news: I'm about to recap it for you. We're about to cover all the most important news stories. Politics, entertainment, technology - we're doin' it all.

So, January got off to a pretty slow start. Wait, did I say slow? I meant scandalous. After news broke in 2012 of Notre Dame quarterback Manti Te'o's grandmother and girlfriend dying, people started doing some research, two reporters from Deadspin reported that Te'o's girlfriend never existed. Did he make her up? Was he Catfished? Eventually, a man named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo confessed to falling in love with Te'o and posing as the girlfriend. Even though it was resolved, everyone was still left feeling pretty confused.

In February, we really started to get cooking. Literally. Scientists at Cornell University revealed that they had been using 3D printers and cow cells to grow human ears. Say whaaaat?
The idea is that if a person loses an ear in an accident, or a child is born with a deformed ear, scientists will be able to grow and reattach them instead of surgically altering the existing ear. Being able to totally customize a prosthesis for someone would totally change how we deal with children born with birth defects, adults who have been in accidents, and everyone in between. 

Later in February, Pope Benedict XVI resigned. He's the first Pope to leave the papacy voluntarily since 1294. People were shocked. Shocked, I tell you.
And in March, the world watched closely (even though most of them only knew anything about conclave because they'd watched Angels and Demons) as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was elected the new Pope. He took the name Francis, and he's the first non-European Pope in over 1000 years. In his nine-ish months as Pope, he's spoken about helping the poor, being kind to everyone (several LGBT organizations named him their man of the year. Time Magazine did too), and even criticized capitalism. His open-mindedness has renewed many people's faith in the Catholic Church.

In 2012, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg put forth a ban on sodas above 16 ounces. In March 2013, a judge struck it down, saying that it was "arbitrary" and "capricious." Soda-holics were relieved for obvious reasons, and everyone else was too, because who wants to be regulated on how much soda they can drink? Not me.

In April, two bombs went off during the Boston Marathon. The morning started like any other; police swept for bombs twice, finding nothing. Just before 3pm, a two bombs went off close to the finish line. After scouring surveillance tapes, authorities were able to determine that the bombers were two brothers named Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. After being hunted down by Boston police on April 19th, Dzhokhar is in police custody. Most recently, his lawyers have asked for a continuance while they can decide if they should ask for a change in venue due to the high profile nature of the case. (For what it's worth, I think they should keep the trial in Boston.)
No gif here. Just love to all the victims and families.

In June, a former National Security Agency employee named Edward Snowden leaked over 100 classified documents, alleging (among other things) that the US was spying on our phone calls. At first, there was denial across the board, and then they admitted that they DID spy, but only on suspected terrorists, and THEN they admitted that yeah, they could spy on anyone they wanted to, for any reason, at any time. Edward Snowden was in Hong Kong when the documents leaked, and has since fled to Russia, who has given him temporary asylum. I guess we'll see how his future plays out in 2014. 

Later in June, the Supreme Court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional. DOMA denied same-sex couples the right to federal benefits that heterosexual couples received in states where gay marriage is already legal. The most important plaintiff in the case was a woman named Edie Windsor, a resident of New York who faced a huge estate tax bill when her partner of over 40 years passed away in 2009. Knowing that the estate tax would be much lower if she was straight, she sued the federal government - and won! While there's still much more work to be done, this was a huge step in the right direction. 

In July, news started to circulate on Twitter that Cory Monteith had passed away in Vancouver. It was confirmed a few days later that he had alcohol and heroin in his blood when he died, and doctors suspected that the combination had caused his heart to stop. I'm not a Glee fan, but I know I'll always miss his adorable smile and his passion for life. He will be missed. 

Also in July, George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the shooting death of 17 year old Travyon Martin. I talked about this before, but I'm still angry about it. While I understand that there's no way to REALLY prove what happened that night, the Stand Your Ground law is stupid, and it's been made clear in the months since his aquittal that he's unpredictable and unstable. He didn't learn anything from what happened with Trayvon Martin and, at the very least, he shouldn't be allowed to own a gun anymore. 

And to end July on a good note, the Royal Baby, Prince George was born! As expected, William and Kate are the most adorable parents in the world.

In August, Miley Cyrus, a person most people had forgotten about, twerked her way back into our brains, our hearts, and our living rooms with a totally cringe-worthy performance at the MTV Video Music Awards. Practically everyone with eyeballs was offended, but her performance put the term 'twerking' front and center, so that's... something? She was criticized for appropriating black culture, treating her backup dancers as props, and never being able to keep her tongue in her mouth, but she defended her performance, calling herself a feminist (lol.) and saying that what she was doing was a "movement." (double lol.) While she's a grown woman who can make her own decisions, many people (including yours truly) were left wondering why she felt like she needed to act and perform the way she does. She was one of the most searched-for people on Google this year, so despite most people claiming to dislike her, she's put herself back in the spotlight and was named MTV's Artist of the Year. Maybe the joke's on us? No, she still kinda sucks.

In 2010, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law. Despite heavy opposition, it was deemed constitutional multiple times, so in a last-ditch effort to stop its implementation, Republicans refused to fund the government unless a "compromise" was reached in Congress, even though the compromise they wanted was defunding Obamacare entirely. Since a compromise wasn't reached by October 1st, the majority of government offices were shut down. Members of Congress still got paid, but other government employees were forced to go without a paycheck. After being shut down for 17 days, the government reopened. No real changes were made to the ACA during the shutdown.
Yep. A bunch of middle-aged white dudes didn't get what they wanted so they shut down the entire government, but MY generation is the one that's spoiled and entitled?
So everything's all good, right? The Affordable Care Act will go into effect on January 1, 2014, with people beginning to enroll online in October. All systems are go.
NOPE., the website created by the Obama administration to handle enrollment was, to put it nicely, a total disaster. It crashed almost immediately from all the traffic, and hit issue after issue. President Obama and Kathleen Sebelius (the Secretary of Health and Human Services) were heavily criticized for requiring people to sign up for healthcare, but not being prepared when people actually did so. It was a pretty poor showing. I'm no tech genius, but if I was going to say that people were required by law to do something, I'd surely make sure they were able to do it. President Obama was also criticized for going back on his statement that people would be able to keep the doctor they already had. All in all, it was not President Obama's finest moment.

In October, Apple announced the new iPhones. There was a bit of a twist this time, as they revealed two models instead of just one. The iPhone 5C is a cheaper, plastic model for people who don't want a breakable, expensive phone, and the iPhone 5S is a more expensive, fancier model with a fingerprint sensor and a more advanced processor. Naturally, all Apple fans had the exact same reaction:

This fall, the Panthers won eight games in a row. This isn't relevant to most people, but I'm talking about it because being a Panthers fan is usually full of disappointment, and this is pretty stinkin' exciting. We play the Saints on Sunday, in Charlotte. We totally have the ability to beat them, so keep your fingers crossed!

In December, Beyonce broke the internet by releasing an album in secret in the middle of the night. This is a big deal because 1) no one knew she was recording an album, 2) all the people working with her filming 14 videos and recording 17 songs kept their mouths shut the WHOLE TIME and 3) she didn't spend a single penny marketing it. Not a penny. We did that for her. She knew we would, and she sold a million copies in less than a week. Beyonce's self-titled album outsold albums released this year by Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, AND Britney Spears. For reference, Lady Gaga spent almost 25 million this year marketing Artpop, and it still flopped. In my opinion, there aren't too many artists that could employ this strategy and be this successful; either way, Beyonce has changed the music industry forever.

So there you have it. The entire year, squeezed into one not-so-short post. In your opinion, what was the most important event of 2013? Any predictions for what will ensue in 2014?

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

This Year in Review: Blog Edish

For the rest of the week, I'm going to be wrapping up 2013. I'll still post intermittently between Christmas and New Years, but this is kinda the last "real" week of the year (holy crap), and I wanted to recap all the awesome things that happened around here this year.

Personally, 2013 wasn't too crazy. I mean, the love of my life moved from Norfolk to North Carolina. That's a pretty big deal. We got a super cute apartment and I'm pretty sure he still likes me, despite my obvious flaws.

I also dealt with a death in the family. My blog family was so wonderful and supportive during that time... would it be ridiculous to thank you all again? Because seriously, thank you.  Like I said, I'm continually thankful for all of the relationships that have formed as a result of this blog.

Other than that, 2013 was pretty uneventful. I guess that's what happens as you get older, right? Less big life events? More appreciating the small, everyday things? I think I'm okay with that.

As far as the blog is concerned, it was the opposite of uneventful. It was actually pretty stinkin' awesome over here in blogland. First of all, I started this blog! That's pretty great, right? I was so hesitant to start a real blog, and after almost a year of doing it, I'm so glad I did. I completed the Blog Every Day challenge in May, which was nothing short of a miracle, and in September, I got super legit and registered So exciting! I also spent a lot of time talking about all the things I've learned about blogging this year and why blogging (and blog friends) are both pretty great.

I was going to try to choose my top three favorite posts, but... only choosing three? That's like asking a mom to pick her favorite child... when the mom has almost 200 kids, and ALL OF THEM ARE AWESOME. Okay, that didn't work at all. Anyway, here are some of my favorite posts from this year:
How To Fight With Your Partner: A Helpful Guide
Don't Be That Guy.
Let's Invite All Our Friends Over! Oh, Wait.
Adulthood: It Can Happen To You
She's Not Jealous, She Just Doesn't Like You (This was my most viewed post this year!)
I Hate Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Why I'll Never Apologize For Taking Too Many Selfies

What post of yours are you most proud of this year? Did you like 2013? Are you ready for 2014 to be here?

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Friday, December 13, 2013

Say what now? (This is a good one, you guys.)

Which character from Friends are you?
I got Rachel. At first, I was pretty meh about it. But then I read the description. "Once, your hair started a revolution."
Here's what: I love it. I had never thought about Rachel and I being Hair Soulmates before (despite seeing each episode at least a hundred times), but now that it's been pointed out to me, it might be my new favorite thing.
Go take the quiz and tell me what you got!

Did you love Lisa Frank as much as I did when you were a kid?
First of all, this is one of the most well written, well researched things I have ever read on the internet. Second of all, THATS KINDA CRAZY, RIGHT? It's a long read, but you really should read it when you have time, especially if you grew up in the 90s and plastered Lisa Frank stickers on everything like I did.
Here's what: On one hand, it's sad to find out that one of your favorite childhood companies, one who showed a lot of promise (if you weren't looking too closely), was actually an awful, abusive place. It's sad to think about such a beloved person as a cocaine-addicted victim of abuse. On the other hand, it's hard to feel too sorry for a person who clearly has a history of abusing their employees. Either way, my mouth was hanging open the whole time I read this article. So interesting!

Confession: sometimes, I drink the haterade. Especially when it comes to heart shaped marshmallows and gingerbread estates.
Every year, Williams Sonoma comes out with their holiday catalogue. And ever year, it gets more ridiculous. And every year, I look forward to reading the Hater's Guide to the Williams Sonoma Catalogue.
Here's what: Are you for real, Williams Sonoma? A beehive starter kit? A butter making kit? Are you still living with us here in reality? I'm not sure that you are. Sure, Christmas is a good time for treats and fun things, but seriously? Seriously? I'd yell at you more, but I'm having a dinner party tonight and I have to brand the steaks and churn the butter before they get here. Because we still live in 1812.

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I had good intentions for blogging this week.

I really did!

But then Garrett and I got super sick this weekend. Like... super sick. gross kinds of sick. It was the worst.
There were 14 of us at a mexican restaurant close to our house on Friday, and 10/14 of the people that were there got sick over the weekend. We were thinking about filing a complaint but... with who? What would the recourse be? Was it just a really weird fluke? Who knows.

So today is the first day I'm drinking any coffee since... Friday. I know. I KNOW. Also, can I confess something? There are three (3!) unopened containers of Pumpkin Spice creamer in the back of my refrigerator right now. I've been hoarding it because it doesn't expire till April or May and I'm not sure when the stores are going to stop carrying it. Embarrassing, I know.

So we've spent the last two days feeling sorry for ourselves trying to rehydrate and get better. What's your favorite way to recharge after you've been sick? I've been drinking lots of Gatorade and water (obviously), and yesterday I tried to put some cucumbers in my water but I just canNOT get into it.

Also, as a total aside, I finally made this soup last night, and Garrett and I agreed that it's one of the best recipes I've found so far. So go make it. It's DELISH.

So anyway, I'm spending today playing catch-up. Kinda. I don't think we have groceries. I definitely don't have any meals planned. I do have blog posts planned though. #bloggerproblems, am I right?

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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

My Holiday Wishlist

Last weekend, when my mom asked me what I wanted for Christmas this year, I responded with "the gold iPhone and a haircut." (I'm totally serious, by the way.)
"That's all you want?"

And seriously, it is all I really need. It's officially been one calendar year since I've had a haircut and I feel like my hair weighs one thousand pounds. And like I've mentioned before, I still have an iPhone 4 that I got in early 2011 that is practically an antique. (Champagne problems, am I right?)
Buuuuut I would be lying if I haven't been seeing some super cute stuff on the internet lately. I definitely don't need any of it, but if you put a gun to my head and made me pick nine gifts (the horror!), I know exactly what I would choose.

1 // J. Crew Downtown Field Jacket: I've had my eye on this for so long, I really need to just pull the trigger and buy it. Maybe after the holidays are over with some Christmas money?
2 // Gap Embroidered Striped Tee: In case you haven't figured it out, navy is definitely my favorite color to wear. Pink accents are just a (super fabulous) bonus.
3 // Lakeland Printed Scarf: Okay I realize that the scarf and the tee are really similar, but... YOLO, or whatever. Navy stripes forever.
4 // Steve Madden 'Heaven' Flat: I have these in several colors already, and I love them.
5 // Love Bangle: I mean, I just really love bangles. (LOL, GET IT?)

1 // Gold iPhone 5S: I mean obviously, right?
2 // French Bull Lazy Susan: To match my tray and my Crock Pot, of course. I'm not sure where we'd put it, as we have the Tiniest Drawers Ever Manufactured (TM), but I'm certain we would use it.
3 // Voluspa Cut Glass Jar: I used to buy these at a little store close to my apartment, but they've stopped carrying them, so I haven't bought one lately. Santiago Huckleberry is a kinda floral/kinda vanilla scent that is perfect. Candles are a good splurge-y type item that make it a perfect Christmas present, right?
4 // Don't Worry, Be Happy Print: A 'happy' print in bright colors? Yes and yes.

What's on your list this year?

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Datevitation: A Review + Giveaway!

I've always prided myself on being a pretty good gift giver. I look all throughout the year for the perfect presents for the people that are closest to me. When I was younger, one of my favorite things to do was make coupon books for people. They were always perfect because they let me really reflect on my relationship with each person and focus on the things that person loves.
Note: I received this product free of charge for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

But as a 25 year old, some construction paper and glitter isn't going to cut it anymore, right? Enter: Datevitation! When Datevitation contacted me about discussing their product on my blog, I was so excited. If you're looking for a small, creative gift for someone, there really isn't anything better. There are lots of coupon books that you can purchase on the internet, but none are as customizable as the ones you can make on
The people at Datevitation gave me the chance to create my own coupon book, and let me tell you guys, I was impressed from start to finish. There are over 500 date ideas that you can choose from. 500!!! Don't let that overwhelm you though: they're sorted by category. Whether you're looking for all adventure, romantic date ideas, or a variety, they'll be sure to have something for you. I decided to choose a variety of activities. I like adventure, but I also like wine. You feel me?
Like I said, everything is super customizable. You choose a cover first, and then a short greeting on the inside, and then it's time to choose your dates! Once you choose your five dates, you can change the text on each coupon. For example, if you're going to a vineyard, you can name that specific vineyard on the coupon! I was able to incorporate one of our inside jokes into one of the coupons, and I just love that.
My favorite part about Datevitation coupon books is that you can add your own faces in! How adorable, right? (This part is easy, but when you're doing it, I found that the best thing to do is use the same picture for both of your faces so the lighting/coloring is the same.)
Super cool, right? Like I said, the fact that everything is SO customizable is really what sets Datevitation apart from other companies.
You really can't go wrong with a Datevitation coupon book this Christmas. Datevitation is run by an adorable husband and wife team (read more about them here), so you'll be buying a product from a small family company as opposed to a huge company who doesn't care about you. And books start at only $25, so it's super affordable in addition to being totally cute.

As a special treat for my followers, you can use the code  ALYSSA10  for $10 off your purchase plus free shipping (total value of $13.50)  That means you can get your loved one a one-of-a-kind gift for Christmas starting at just $15!  The order cut-off date for guaranteed delivery by Christmas is December 13 so make sure to get your order in before then! I ordered mine on a Wednesday and got it on Saturday afternoon, so shipping is super fast.

And the best part? Datevitation is giving away a book to one of my readers! You know the drill - enter on the Rafflecopter below. Do it fast, the giveaway ends in just two days!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Monday, December 2, 2013


Every single month of the year, I go "I can't believe [month] is already here!" so maybe this is really played out, but seriously, you guys? I CAN'T BELIEVE that December is here.

So anyway, did you have a good Thanksgiving?! I sure hope so. I did... as I mentioned, I went to the beach with my family. Thursday was my mom's birthday. Since it was just the four of us, she decided she didn't really want to cook stuff, so we got hibachi. Yep, I had sushi on Thanksgiving. And it was some of the best sushi I've ever had. #truestory. Friday, we did the Thanksgiving thing, and Saturday morning, my brother and I headed back.

And then Saturday night, Christmas vommed all over our apartment and it is the absolute best ever.

Garrett bought a huge Christmas tree. Like, legitimately enormous.

We decided that we were going to forgo Christmas presents this year (we did the same thing last year), but we would buy each other a few stocking stuffers and an ornament (or two). We each got a serious-ish one and a funny one. (Does your Christmas tree have a sparkly hamburger on it? It probably should.)

And the rest of the weekend was for watching a lot of football, drinking a lot of coffee and doing a lot of relaxing.

This week should be pretty low-key. Tomorrow, I'm going to share one of my favorite products with you, which I'm so excited about. Also, I have some pretty great things planned this week for dinner, so I'm super excited about that.
Monday: Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup
Tuesday: Baked Salmon
Wednesday: Chicken Florentine Casserole
Thursday: Carbonara (This is a new recipe I'm trying. I've had a standby carbonara recipe for a few years now, but I've been wanting to try something new lately.)

Happy Monday!! I hope you have the most wonderful day.

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