Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July's Sponsor - Chelsea!


You've probably seen this cutie hanging out on my sidebar this month. And you're probably thinking to yourself "wow she's adorable, I want to know more about her." Well you better start buying lottery tickets, because today is your lucky day.

I got my Katie Couric on and sent her some (admittedly ridiculous) questions. I'm expecting a phone all from CNN any day now. Anyhow, take it away, Chels! (I can call you Chels, right?)

1) I saw on your Instagram that you're into the new Selena Gomez song right now - I am too! What's the #1 most played song on your iTunes? Most played right now it's a tie between Selena Gomez- come and get it and miley cyrus- we can't stop!

2) What's the funniest thing your bulldogs have ever done? ummm when bubba gets up underneath his bed! 

3) You're planning a wedding right now... How's the planning going and what do you love most about being engaged? Wedding planning is actually going awesome! We've got most of all the big stuff taken care of!!!  I love knowing that it's forever! Having the complete feeling.

4) If you could learn to do anything, what would it be? Ummm ski dive!

5) If you won the lottery, what would you buy first?  Buy first? Ummm probably shoes. Lots of boots! (Note from Alyssa: meeee tooooooooooo)

6) Besides blogging, what do you do in your free time?  My free time is spent with my crazy mutts! 

7) In a movie about your life, who would play you? Who would play your fiancé? Play me? Emma stone! Play the Hubbs? Jason sudiekis!

8) What's your favorite thing about living in North Carolina? I love the country feel and the winters are awesome! It's perfect weather in the winter! Too bad it can't stay year round!

Adorable, right? 

So if you're not following Chelsea yet, here's how you can do that:

I hope you guys have enjoyed getting to know her as much as I have!! Have a great Tuesday!!

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PS - starting tomorrow, one of my favorite NC bloggers, Leslie, will be hanging out on my blog all month long!! So exciting. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Lately...

I've been slacking on all blog-related responsibilities lately. I thought I was going to make it through the summer without falling off the wagon, but oh well. I mean, I did post on Sunday, but my Sunday posts are so easy and formulaic and don't require any thought, you know? Totally easy.

I didn't post anything yesterday because the last 36 hours have been a disaster of the most epic proportions. Everything is starting to straighten out now, but man, it's been rough around here. Any time i started to think about a blog post, I closed my computer in like... a minute.

Thanks to everyone who had kind words about my grandfather... things took a turn for the much worse, but have now taken a turn for much, much better. He has a spot on his brain (in addition to the cancer he already had) that was causing swelling around his brain, which was causing slurred speech and blurred vision and lots of nausea. Now that they know what it is and how to treat it, he'll be in a hospital-like treatment facility for the next few weeks. It's still hard, but things are getting better.

In other life-related updates, Garrett and I thought we found an apartment, but the only available unit in the complex we love has a bit of a smokey smell, and we're not too keen on it. So now our options are to 1) get a two bedroom in the same complex (two bedrooms would be great, but much more $$$) 2) wait until an acceptable 1 bedroom opens up (we have places to stay until we find an apt, but waiting? ugh.) or 3) finding a new apartment complex. We both really, really liked this place, but we're not sure how to proceed at this point. I'll obviously keep you posted.

Also, I found out last week that one of my best friends, Jenna, reads my blog! Yeah, that's right... real people have started to discover me here, and you know what? I'm still breathing, and the world is still standing. Imagine that, right? Cuh-raziness. Anyway, hi Jenna!!!!!! I know exactly what you were thinking when you were reading about the apartment smelling like smoke, and I'm totally with you.

I think that's all that's going on in these parts. I know I keep talking about how everything is changing right now, but man, it is just crazy.

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Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Sunday Currently


Watching Fever Pitch on AMC.
Reading Dirty Sexy Politics by Meghan McCain. I just finished it this morning! Review this week!!! (saying it here to keep me accountable, obviously.)
Hearing the occasional dog snore.
Looking at the IKEA catalogue! And lots of other furniture websites. 
Pinning pretty much everything, to be honest. Paint colors and pillows and fabric for curtains, and also DIY projects that I miiiiiight need Garrett's help with. Bahahah.Excited that things are starting to come together for our new apartment! And also about my tray that I finally got yesterday!!!! Do you follow me on Instagram? Did you see it?
Wearing real pants. With a button. On a Sunday. I don't know either.
Typing well... this, duh. But also a post for tomorrow.
Feeling sad that I have to give the puppy back in a little bit. Boooooooooooooooo.
Ready for Garrett to be here so we can go look at furniture and make some plans and all that stuff. Sooooo ready. 

Happy Sunday!!!!!
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Friday, July 26, 2013

It's Friday!!


The ROYAL BABY IS HERE. I spent a lot of time talking about it. And about how we should all be nicer. I saw Avenue Q on Wednesday with my friend Meredith and it was AMAZING. Seriously, so funny. Thanks to everyone for responding to my questions about coupons... I think I agree with most of you. It wouldn't be an absolute dealbreaker, but for some reason, it would weird me out a little bit. Maybe this is a good reason I haven't been on a first date in a while. Hmmmmm.
Also, did you see how good I look all the time? I hope I didn't overwhelm you too much with my beauty. 

Speaking of Photoshop, at least none of us have ever done what these people did. Embarrassing. If you love Friends as much as I did, you'll love this list of Philosophical concepts explained by Friends. As bloggers, we appreciate fonts, right? Here are eight awful ones. As a self-proclaimed coffee snob, this definitely made me laugh. Here's an eagle that looks just like Nicholas Cage. I swear. 

Sara Benincasa wrote this article called Sometimes I don't understand Feminists, and it pretty much sums up everything I've ever thought. This will probably make you think twice when you go retouch your lipstick. Yikes. Do you love avocados as much as I do? You'll like this list, then. Apparently, the Royal Baby is expected to boost UK economy by about 370 million dollars. Haters gonna hate, and stuff. Since we're about to move and doing more DIY projects is one of my goals, I'm loving this list of Anthropologie-inspired DIY projects and this list of bookshelf ideas. Looks like I'm going to have a lot to keep me busy the next few months!

I finally got to see a play I had been dying to see for years. I got to see Meredith AND Jenna this week. I got to spend the WHOLE WEEK with the dog... hopefully his people decided while they were gone that they enjoy not having a dog to worry about and they should definitely let him come live with meeeee. I'm loving the weather yesterday and today. I'm actually going to be in town with nothing to do for the WHOLE weekend. 

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PS - My Grandpa is in the hospital again with Pneumonia, so please keep him in your thoughts. 

PPS - did you go check out Chelsea yet?! Go say hi!!!!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

My name is Alyssa and I take ugly pictures.


So, being a blogger is strange, right? We all agree with that. We all live our lives on the internet, and part of having your internet presence is controlling (ha) what you put out there for others to see. 

I know I'm not the only one who takes 9023840923 pictures, and then scours every one, and then Photoshops them and PicMonkeys them to death, until they look good enough for everyone else to see. I do it, you do it, and if you're one of those girls that's all "nope, I'm just that pretty all the time, I don't *neeeeeeeeed* makeup or Photoshop evarrrrrr!" we probably wouldn't be friends. Because you're a lying liar who lies.


And always looking drop-dead gorgeous on the internet can be hard, right? I see other girls pictures all the time and I'm all "gah, she is SO pretty. i love her hair/makeup/clothes/skin/fingernail polish, and her pictures always look sooooo good." to myself. I feel the pressure, and I know you guys do too. It's natural to end up comparing yourself to other people, especially when you're typically only seeing the best parts of someone else's life.

So lest you think that I am a beautiful special snowflake who always looks flawless and my life is perfect, let me drop some truth on you: some days, I look a hot mess.

92382308th picture? Sure, I'm down.


This particular photo shoot had several gems, as you can see.

I don't even know with this one.

I mean, if your margarita was almost gone, you'd make the same face. You know you would.

And then, there's this one. I should really keep my facial expressions in check, right?

So there you have it, my friends. I hope this didn't shatter your flawless opinions about me and how perfect I am. That would really be a shame, right?

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Coupons: yes or no?

So, one morning last week, I was listening to the radio. A guy called in and was saying that he had recently on a date that he thought had gone well, so he was surprised when she never returned any of his phone calls for a second date.

Obviously, since it's morning radio, they called the girl up (live on the air) to see what happened. She agreed that the date had gone well, and then finally admitted what turned her off about him: he used a Groupon on their date.

I don't know what your reaction is to hearing that, but when I first heard her say it, I was all "woah, what? you used a coupon on your first date? what on earth is wrong with you?"

But THEN I started thinking: why is that? What's so wrong with a coupon on a first date? I mean, I would be weirded out by it, but I can't tell you exactly why. And really, being weirded out by that is a weird societal thing, right? Everyone is expected to be financially stable, but when you use a coupon for something, someone is always there to make fun of you.

I guess I see both sides. Everyone says you're not supposed to talk about finances on a first date, right? Do coupons fall into that category? Does using one give off the impression that you don't have money to spend on a "real" date? Or does it show that you're smart enough to make good financial decisions? I mean, financial security is an important thing to look for in a partner. And also, does it matter what the coupon is for? I think I'd be less weirded out by a "free appetizer" coupon than I would a "buy one entree, get one free" coupon. Overall, I think I'd be worried that the person was TOO frugal. We rarely go on expensive or extravagant dates, but it's nice to know that we CAN if we want to sometimes. If someone doesn't even want to go full price on a first date, where will he want to cut corners later on in the relationship?

To be clear, Garrett and I use Groupons and Living Social vouchers all the time, because we are solidly in the #balleronabudget camp. Also, I don't think it would make me rule out a guy that otherwise, I had a really good connection with.

As soon as I heard this whole thing on the radio, I was like "I GOTTA see what my blog friends think about this." So what do you guys think? Would you be okay with it, or would it weird you out?

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Internet, I got beef with you.


Sooooo. We gotta talk.

You guys know that I believe in positivity and kindness. I don't always practice it (who does, right?), but I believe in being kind. And not being a raging douchecanoe.

And I know the internet is full of trolls. And that's fine, or whatever. I'm mature enough to know that everyone isn't going to agree with me all the time, and that's fine. My issue is when people get all superior when you care about something they don't.

Let's use HRH The Royal Fetus Prince, for example. I don't expect everyone to care. I know everyone isn't as excited as I am. And that's fine. But I saw post after post, tweet after tweet yesterday of people essentially bragging about how they don't care about what's going on. And that's just not cool with me. There are awful, terrible things that happen every day, so when something wonderful happens, we have the right to be excited about it. Making fun of other peoples happiness doesn't make you cool or edgy, it actually just makes you a butthead.

And no one likes a butthead, right?

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Monday, July 22, 2013

There's nothing like having a fetus completely change your Monday, right?


I thought about doing a weekend recap, but I don't feel like wine + netflix + downtown coffee sits was really worth recapping? You guys follow me on Instagram right? You already knew all that.

But now I don't even HAVE to talk about me, because THE ROYAL BABY IS COMING. THE ROYAL BABY IS COMINGGGGGGGGGGGG.

So if anyone needs me, you can use any of the social medias to find me because I will be glued to them until something happens. 


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Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Sunday Currently


Watching the rain. Also the Real Housewives.
Anticipating the mac and cheese I'm about to make as soon as I finish this post.
Reading Dirty Sexy Politics by Meghan McCain. It's pretty freakin' good.
Hearing the occasional clap of thunder
Considering a post for tomorrow. Should I do a weekend recap? Hmmmmm. My weekend wasn't THAT interesting so we'll see. 
Excited to be keeping the dog ALL WEEK LONG. His people are going out of town. I don't promise to give him back next week. And also, 
Excited that Stevie is married now!! I've been stalking all her social networks for a good 24 hours now, and the pictures are amazing.
Wearing legggings, a striped tank and a plaid scarf. Whatever. It's the weekend, and I have a solid "no pants with buttons" rule for the weekends. Especially those that involve rain.
Drinking water, right now. 
Feeling excited about the next few weeks.
Hoping that Garrett will win a gazillion dollars playing poker tonight. I can dream, right?
Wondering what color I should paint my nails for the week. These are the tough decisions I have in my life right now.

Whenever I do these, that Jack Johnson song always pops into my head. "I was sitting, waiting, wishing..." Maybe that should be my new Sunday theme song.

(Linking up with Lauren, naturally.)

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Saturday, July 20, 2013

It's Stevie's Wedding Day!!!!!


Happy wedding day, my love!!! I hope everything is great and perfect and everything you want it to be!!! I love you!!!!

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Friday, July 19, 2013

FridayFridayFriday!!


First of all, I'm guest posting today over on Stevie's blog, so go check it out! While you're there, send her some good vibes and congratulations because she's getting MARRIED tomorrow!!!

On Saturday, I drove home from Norfolk for the very last time. Garrett had an interview on Monday, so we got to meet up and have lunch after. Honestly, that's all that's been happening in Alyssaland lately. I hope your weeks have been much more interesting!!!

Baby wigs? Oh, okay. Tumblr users get pretty deep sometimes. If you want to laugh and happy-cry, watch these kids react to the Cheerios commercial. Did you know that July is Heterosexual Awareness Month? You really cannot make this stuff up. If you're one of THOSE girls who always dates dumb dudes, here's some advice on how to stop.

Here is a GREAT article about the benefits of social media. Seriously, one of the best ones I've ever read. Lauren shared it last week, and I couldn't help but repost it here! In case you were losing faith in humanity as a whole, you should read this article about how two boys found a five year old girl who had been kidnapped. You should definitely read this really, really important article about how impossible it is to get by on minimum wage. I feel like there's a pretty common theory that poor people are just lazy - tell me how someone who works two jobs and 74 hours a week is lazy? Finally, if you want to cry, you can read about David Rakoff's final deadline. Then, go buy his book. It came out this week.

I'm hanging out with Meredith tomorrow. I'm actually home for the weekend - the WHOLE weekend. I have a fresh new batch of Passion Tea Lemonade in the fridge. Stevie gets married tomorrow. I have my first official, real blog sponsor. I finally passed 200 Twitter followers! And oh yeah - GARRETT GOT A NEW JOB! Things are happening, my friends.

Finally, check out this month's sponsor, Chelsea! She has two adorable bulldogs and loves drinking boxed wine, so naturally, she fits right in over here!! Go over and say hi!

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Totally Unsponsored, Totally Unbiased Post About Things That Are Awesome


1. Maybelline Color Sensational Vivids
I had been wanting to try the bright lip trend for a while. when I started to do research on the best bright lipsticks out there, MAC lipstick was far and away the most highly recommended. I don’t have a problem spending money on higher end makeup (buying the Naked2 palette was the best thing I ever did ever), but since I’m not a huge lipstick wearer anyway, I didn’t want to spend a ton of money on something I knew I might not use that often.
This lipstick is amazing, you guys. I’ve never used Mac, so I provide a comparison, but I can’t imagine that MAC is any brighter than these colors. I purchased Vivid Rose and Brazen Berry and love them both. They last a long time and the color payoff is just AMAZING. See?
If you’re looking for something bright but you're not ready to splurge, you should definitely give these a try. And then come visit me and we can have a bright lip party and be Those Girls when we go out that night. 

2. SO... Eyelet Shorts
I had been on the hunt for some white shorts for a while, but as I've said before, I wanted them to be pretty cheap because white clothing just doesn't last more than a season or two. I stumbled upon these at Kohls a few weeks ago and INSTANTLY fell in love. They're comfy and exactly the right length for my short body. I might go buy a few pairs, just so I can stock up for the next few years and and you should too, because for $9, why the heck not? BONUS: they are almost IDENTICAL to these Lilly Pulitzer shorts that retail for $94. That's a big deal, you guys.

3. Jergens Gradual Tanning Lotion
I’ve actually been using this for a while, but they recently changed the formula so it’s much less stinky. It maintains the color that I got at the beach without turning orange or ridiculous, which is no easy feat on my normally fair skin. 

4. French Bull Sleigh Tray
I actually got this for free because I had a ton of Birchbox points saved up, but I think for $23, this tray is a steal anyway. When I saw the bright colors and the chevron, I knew I had to scoop it up for our living room. It’s totally normal to plan your entire living space around a serving tray, right? 
It's not available on Birchbox anymore, but I found it at Macy's for only $3 more here.

5. Ralph Lauren Aimon Sandals

I ordered a few pairs of boots at Christmas, so I had a $30 rewards certificate for DSW. (If you’re not a member of the DSW rewards program, you most definitely should be.) I had been looking for a new pair of gold sandals anyway, so when I saw these in my size, I knew I had to have them. They were on sale for $50, so I was only going to have to pay $20. Not too shabby for a pair of gorgeous Ralph Lauren sandals, right? When I got to the register, they were an additional 40%, so my grand total was…. one penny. ONE PENNY! Can’t even deal with how awesome I am at shopping. I really can’t, you guys.

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM.
Have you gotten anything awesome lately? Anything I should go scoop up immediately? Tell me all about it.

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Monday, July 15, 2013

Living Room Inspiration by Veronica

As I mentioned yesterday, Garrett and I are about to move in together. And let me tell you a secret: we are poor. Not "I don't know where our next meal is coming from" poor, but still. Our first place together isn't going to be super fancy, but I want it to look nice and pulled together. We're real adults now, you know? Adults are supposed to have matching furniture.

But I was kind of at a loss for what to do. I know exactly what I would do if I had a gazillion dollars and a huge house. But a small apartment and a smaller budget? That was going to be a little harder. So when I saw that Veronica over at Passion, Pink and Pearls was offering free design boards a few months ago, I jumped on it and I gotta say: I LOVE everything she came up with for us!!

Product List:
Sofa Chair: Overstock.com
Sofa: IKEA
Floor Lamp: CB2
Pillows: Target, Target
Bowl: CB2
Lamp: Pier1
Blanket: Pier1

I love that this look is in the gray and yellow color scheme, which is super popular right now, but adds a unique touch with the teal. I LOVE teal, but this is never something I'd think to pair with gray and yellow myself. That's what Veronica is the professional, right?

The coffee table is something I'm taking from my grandparents. It was in their first house, and I'm so excited to have them in mine. We'll probably restain them once we figure out exactly what furniture we have.

Now, go check out Veronica's blog!!! She posted this living room on her blog today as well, with much more detailed explanations and lots of design talk. You will love her, I guarantee it. And if you're interested in her design services (which I highly recommend, obviously!) you can check out her Pearl Design Services page to learn more.

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See you soon - but hopefully not THAT soon.


On Saturday morning, I drove home from Norfolk for the last time ever.

I don't know how many of you have ever visited Norfolk, but I'm not a huge fan. There are parts that are really nice (Ghent, anyone?) but overall, neither Garrett nor I like it that much. It's dirty, it's crowded, and it's too big and too small, all at the same time. But still - it's where Garrett and I fell in love (awwwwwwwww) so it's special.

(Here I will tell you that Garrett says that Norfolk isn't where we fell in love because we knew before I ever got to Norfolk that night. But that's neither here nor there.)

Any way you slice it, that city has been a major part of our lives for the last nineteen months. It's been the place where the love of my life has lived this whole time. Despite my feelings for the city, every time I cross the bridge and see the ships and the skyline spread before me, I get all tingly because I KNOW that we're finally in the same city again, and it feels really freakin' good.

It's something that became very familiar to me. I know my way around. I have friends there. Even the drive became comfortable to me. It was super long, and BEYOND boring. But I can do it with my eyes closed now. And I can estimate, to the minute, what time I'll arrive at Garrett's apartment.

I'm not kidding. To the minute.


For real, I think I'm hilarious.

Anyway, it's weird. This is the point in our relationship we've been looking forward to literally since it began. But always seemed like a really far-off, unreachable time. "When we live together" was something nice to think about, but it was hard to think of it as a real thing that was going to happen. Don't get me wrong - I'm thrilled. But it's all very "holy crap, really? like... really? for real?" to me. It won't seem REALLY real until we move. It is just craziness. (Anyone have any advice for cohabitating people? Send it my way!)

Okay, that's the sappy, ridiculous portion of this post. Other highlights from last week(end) include:

Some of the best macaroni + chicken and dumplings EVER. 

Margaritas as big as your FACE. 

Emergency 11pm runs to the grocery store for cheesecake.

Anyway, that's what's happening in my half of the world. Still consuming cheese in all forms, still in love with a really tall guy. Everything is changing, but then again, it's always the exact same. 

Happy Monday!
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