Monthly Archives: February 2011

A Flurry of a Weekend!

..that’s exactly what I had. Do you ever feel like you need an extra day after the weekend to detox and catch up on sleep? That’s what this girl needs.

And pictures like these from my mom’s phone flooding my inbox don’t help when I’m feeling like I could use a nice relaxing day in the sunshine.

key largo, montego, baaby, why don't we go..

Teleport me, Mom. I need a Spring Break!

arrival in key west

If you feel like you recognize this beautiful hotel,  it’s because that’s where I spent my 21st birthday!

little baby 21 year olds in Key West!

This weekend held lots of fun friend-filled activities. And I loved every minute of it.

I hustled home from work for a long run with Jamie. Our runs are usually nice, distracting, uneventful ones, but this 9.5 miler left us looking a little like this.

(source)

We did a long loop around our ‘hood, and apparently were unaware of the serious wind we’d face on our way back. We even passed some girls walking the opposite way telling us “uh, good luck.”

Don’t you worry. Some Jersey reminiscing and old school playlist singing got us through the serious windstream. We may have sung this song around mile 7. Thank you, S Club 7.

After working up a big appetite, we hit a local bar, Swell, for some dinna and drinks. We also may have split some crab nachos and tuna bites. Who’s jealous?

hungry hungry Jersey girls

Post-Swell, I met up with some friends for some 80’s band dancing with The Deloreans. This was my third time seeing them, and they never disappoint. I even got passed the mic for some Journey and some “Hey Mickey!” I’d include pictures, but you know the situation with my camera.

GOOD THING MY COUSIN KRISTIE IS MAILING ME HER OLD ONE. Wooohoo! My payment for her camera? A cute phillies beer glass. She’s so smart. 😉

sake... bombs! with Laura

The rest of my weekend was filled with some more dancing, sushi, sake bombs, a bath for Chloe, and not enough relaxation.

"water? bath? swimming? can I get in now? please?!"

I did pull myself together enough to add a nice recipe to my repertoire. Enter, the burrito a la Lyssa (it has a nice ring to it, no?).

burrito me, please.

I set out to make a ‘dilla with the new wraps I found at Food Lion. Once I gathered all my goodies from the pantry, I realized I had some nice makings for a burrito. Wooohoo!

low-carb, low-fat wrap find at Food Lion. fist pump!

Into the skillet went:

  • 1 can of chicken (in water, Food Lion brand)
  • 1 egg white, scrambled
  • 1 slice smoked turkey breast, chopped
  • a sprinkling of Kraft fat-free mozzarella cheese
  • about 1/3 cup Hoppin’ John blackeyed peas, tomatoes, onions, and jalapeño mix

the perfect mix of beans, tomatoes, garlic, and onion

mix 'er up

Heat up the wrap for 30 seconds in the microwave after sprinkling some water on it with your fingers to retain moisture. This makes the wrap easy to fold.

ranch and salsa dipping sauce. perfect.

It was a perfect way to WRAP up the weekend! 😉

EDITED TO ADD: Check out hilarious Ashley in her response post to the Blogger Award I passed onto her. She cracks me up!

Coming soon: A bLyss GIVEAWAY! Any guesses as to what it might be?


And what’s the latest successful recipe you’ve thrown together on a whim?

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Calling All Camera Experts!

I need your help. Help!

one of the first pictures taken with my Nikon.. rooooad trip!

As most of you know, my new Nikon Cool Pix went missing before Christmas. As my baby still hasn’t shown up, I’m in the market for a replacement.

I’d LOVE to get a fancy shmancy DSLR, but honestly, it’s a little unrealistic for the typical places I use my camera. Somehow, I doubt I’ll look cute in my skinny jeans, pumps, little clutch, aaaand a huge camera.

(I’ve already started next year’s Christmas list, and a DSLR is at the very top. ;))

So, I’d like to get a nice little inexpensive baby camera that will still take some great pictures. I’m pretty sure I was completely happy with my Nikon, and it’s a little marked down now, but there are some others of comparable price. Does anyone know much about the following?


Nikon CoolPix s3000 (my old baby) – $109

Sony Cybershot W310 -$99


Kodak EasyShare
C195 (14 megapixels instead of 12!) -$99

FujiFilm FinePix (5x zoom instead of 4x, shock/waterproof) -$85 on ebay!

I’m leaning towards my old Nikon, just beacuase I loved the pictures it took. BUT the shockproof camera looks great… and will the Kodak’s 14 megapixels be more impressive than the 12 megapixels of the Nikon?

Obviously, I’m not a pro. So that’s where you guys come in. Hit me with that advice! Please and thank you. 😉

My FIRST Blog Award!

My little blog (at its new domain.. yay!) got its FIRST AWARD!

Thank you, thank you to Jamie and Courtney at Cupcake Dynamite for this baby.

So, without further ado, 7 Random Facts About Alyssa:

1. I was supposed to be on Rachael Ray.
I entered a giveaway on the show’s website, and to do so, I had to write a quick blurb about my cravings. I talked about how when I see my peanut butter in the pantry, I kinda hafta have some. I eat it with one of those little sample spoons you can get at ice cream places…don’t judge me.

I'd make such a great guest at Rachael's kitchen table.

My roommates always used to make so much fun of me, because every time they came out to the kitchen, there I was, snackin’ on pb in the corner. oh, hey, fat kid.

The producers at Rachel Ray thought this was hilarious, wanted pictures, and decided they wanted me on the show! I was BEYOND psyched. They called saying “Congrats! See you soon – we’re flying you out on Tuesday!”

One problem. My best friends and I were going on a cruise on MONDAY for our last Spring Break of college. They wanted to fly me out when I would be on a boat in the middle of the ocean. Womp, womp.

They did say they’d have this “cravings” expert back, and when they do, they’ll call me again. My fingers are crossed. Keep watch for my peanut buttah lovin’ fool self up there with RR.

2. I have so much love and admiration for the long-distance friendships I have that can pick up right were they left off.

good ol' high school graduation with Jules

 

Julie (“Jules” in my phone, or “Jewel,” as I like to call her) and I met in high school freshman year homeroom. We’ve been great friends ever since, and we even got to sit next to each other at graduation (thank YOOU, Gods of The Alphabet!). We’re both crazy busy and not the biggest phone fans, but every single time we reconnect, it’s as if no tame has passed. And I love it.

The same goes for my BFFSD (BFF Since Diapers), Kate. She was my first friend. Of my life. That’s an important title.

we loved that playground. and each other, as evidenced by that awkward pic.

AND the “little sister I never had,” Jenna. Our moms are best friends, and we basically grew up together as sisters.

there we are! Jenna, my mom, and me. we don't look like that anymore.

3. I became an Auntie for the FIFTH time this month!
My siblings are way head of me in the game of life, but I guess that’s bound to happen when you’re 13 years younger than everyone else, huh? Anyway, my sister has 3 girls (6 year old twins plus a 2 year old) and my brother has a 2 year old boy and a brand new baby girl, born at 1:23 a.m. (how cool) on February 9th.

do I have the cutest nieces ever or WHAT?

4. I grew up hating tomatoes.
I’m still learning to really like them, but I am a fan of them intermittently sprinkled on a salad or (especially) in a sammie. It’s a travesty to feel this way about to-maters when you grow up in New Jersey. I’m lucky my family didn’t disown me. They probably just kept me around because it meant more tomatoes for them.

5. I’ve never tried spinning.
(GASP!) I KNOW! How dare I? I just don’t really have the drive to mosey on into the dark cardio theatre on my own having no idea what’s going on. Maybe I’ll bribe some rando to go in with me, but I still think I’d prefer sticking to Power Cut group exercise. Or maybe one of you will just have to grab me by the collar and drag me in.

6. I’ve just added the Disney Princess Half Marathon to my bucket list.
Because my dream was to be Cinderella one day, but you already know that.I wanna run it in full costume, too. So I end up on the programs for that next year’s race. See ya there.

that's the one.

7. I cracked my head open when I was three.
In my delirium, I told the ambulance attendant my name was Humphrey. Also, when the doctor told me to sing my favorite song while he stitched me up, I sang Garth Brooks’ Friends In Low Places at the top of my lungs.

The whole hospital wing could hear me.

I was such a good girl, I got to go to McDonald’s after.

I had the best big sister/babysitter ever!

“blame it all on mah roooots..”

 

So, the deal is, I tag 7 other great blogs to win this award. I’m gonna hit the following great girls with their great blogs:

The following girls are supposed to answer the 7 questions, tag me, the all-powerful award-giver, and then tag 7 other girls. Hip, hip!

Katie @ Yes, I Want Cake
Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn
Meg @ Sunshine & Spice
Jenny @ Peanut Butter And Jenny
Allison @ Happy Tales
Ashley @ Oh, Jones

and a Q for you:
Name one item on your bucket list.
Did you do anything hysterical when you hurt yourself?

I’m MOVING!

That’s right. I’m moving.

Let’s call Spring a fresh start for the life of Alyssa, and therefore, for Life of bLyss as well.

Here’s a sneaky sneak preview of my brand spankin’ new WordPress domain:

sneaky, sneaky, sir.
But that’s all you’re gettin’, because I want it to be a nice unveiling when the site is ready.

Blogger’s just leaving a lot to be desired, especially when it comes to bugs, layouts, comments, subscriptions, etc.

A fresh start.
It’s what I’m planning; it’s what I’m grabbing; it’s where I’ll succeed.

“I’ve found you find strength in your moments of weakness.”

Courage is about doing what you’re afraid to do.
There can be no courage unless you’re scared.

“One of the most courageous things you can do is identify yourself, know who you are, what you believe in, and where you want to go.”

Be who you are and say what you feel.
Because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.

“It takes chances to make changes.”

And a few of my all-time personal favorites…

this has been on my fridge for the past 5 years.
“no one can give you courage;
no one can thicken your skin”

“maybe some women aren’t meant to be tamed.
maybe they’re supposed to run wild until they find someone just as wild to run with.

And edited to add from Lisa‘s post today,
I’m totally a thief, Lisa. Forgive me.
But this is perfect.
‘Cause after all, this little girl (and her scrunchies) is counting on me to do her proud.

Dear God,

I don’t know what your plan is, but I’ve finally realized I need to put all my faith in you.
Bring it. I trust ya.

Love, Alyssa

Coming SOON…

HI!

like a fine wine, this blog needs some time.

I’m workin’ on a blog move.

For now, check me out at http://lifeofblyss.blogspot.com/ 🙂

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Truffles

Sounds heavenly, right?

who wants a cute little truffle?
They are.
after I dove in and swam around a little

I must give credit where credit is due. Jessica, a.k.a., master of all things sweet, is who provided me with  this simple recipe. And it doesn’t disappoint.

I challenge you to find a room with three people who all don’t like Reese’s peanut butter cups.  It won’t happen. Unless you surround yourself with loonies on a regular basis.

don’t slobber all over your keyboard. just go make some.

All you need:

  • 1/4 finely chopped salted pretzels
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (I used my new favorite, Naturally More. go get that, because it’s got a fantastic flax seed crunch to it)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate, but dark chocolate would’ve been even better)

I found crushing the pretzels in a ziplock baggie to be most effective. And great stress relief.

don’t chop them finer than this. I almost wish I had bigger pretzel pieces.
Combine peanut butter and pretzels in a small bowl. Chill in the freezer until firm, about 15 minutes. 

Roll the peanut butter/pretzel mixture into little balls. I made them smaller than necessary… because who doesn’t want MORE truffles for a little less guilt? 😉

Place on a baking sheet (lined with parchment or wax paper for less mess) and freeze until very firm.
Roll the frozen balls in melted chocolate. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set.
Thanks to my Aunt Nancy and the Cupcake Kit she gave me (which I’m SO excited to use once I finally have the time to make some little cuppycakes!), I had adorable little wrappers for the truffles.
my aunties spoil me with the best gifts.
the end result was a fancy-tasting peanut butter cup.
cha-ching!
Meggy gave her stamp of approval.
I wish I thought to take a picture of my practically empty Naturally More peanut butter jar

I’m choosing to blame the truffles.

Not my baby spoon-fulls.

That I may or may have not stolen from the jar…

several times a day.

In Other News…

I’ve been very bLyssfully busy! 🙂

Anastasia, AKA Bar Exam Smasher. And A Running Breakthrough!

My beautiful friend Anastasia has been such a wonderful addition to my life for the years I’ve known her.

She’s compassionate, fun, loving, smart, and such a loyal friend I can truly count on. And that’s been the case since the day I’ve met her.

Don’t call her Nas. And it’s not Aaa-nuh-stay-juh, either. Her name is Greek, and it’s pronounced “Uh-nass-sta-see-uh.” If you’re teaching a kid to say it, tell him to say “uh, nice to see ya” really fast.

pretty, pretty Greek friend

Today’s a big one for Anastasia. As this is posted, she’s taking the Maryland Bar Exam to be a licensed attorney in her home state. And although I’d love to selfishly hope she doesn’t get barred anywhere but Virginia (so she can live here and we’ll all live happily ever after), I can’t wish anything but the best for my dear friend.

I always selfishly talk about how these bar exams have taken my loved ones away from me (copious amounts of studying are not conducive to fun with Alyssa), but it’s more important to highlight just how many months of hard work are put into these tests. I know, just as it did for the Virginia Bar, Anastasia’s hard work is gonna pay off for her.  🙂

Anastasia and I have been through a lot together in the few years we’ve known each other.

many races
and QUITE a few miles…
lots of bottles of wine…
a whole lotta dancin’…
a bunch’a holidays (and the best halloween ever)…
And lots and lots and lots of support and love. I know I’d be lost without Anastasia, and I wish you the very best as you dominate this bar exam today and tomorrow.  🙂 

and after you do, these people will be waiting for you in VB
to come celebrate. 😉

Lots of love and luck to you, Anastasia Theodora! Hip, hip, hooray, you’re almost done!


And some Running News…

I was hitting the treadmill yesterday, I got a text from Jamie proposing an evening run. I hopped off that tread at mile 3, headed home, and ran outside for a run with her.

BIG NEWS. I’m over my wussy refusal to run in the cold! It was a chilly one, and it didn’t bother me at all. And including my quick gym run, I finished yesterday up with 9.5 miles.

I think between running earlier in the morning, running in the cold, and running with no ipod, I’m getting used to swingin’ it and being a laid-back runner.

You don’t phase me, cold!

Jamie’s such a good influence on me. 🙂

What was your biggest recent running breakthrough?


Aaaand… I think I fixed the “comment” bug… users without a blog should now be able to post again (if you can’t, let me know).

Cocktail Ring-1. Alyssa-0

>

thank you, VB fire department and rescue squad. my finger is free at last.

Yesterday morning, I found myself in a little bit of a pickle.

When I got ready to go out on Saturday night, I picked out a ring to match my new Michael Antonio Lovie Pumps. I remembered it was a little small, but it went on my finger fine, so I finished getting ready and hit the town without worrying about the ring.

perfect match, no?

After a fun night with Cynthia, I went to take off my ring. Annnddd.. no luck. I ran my finger under cold water. Still no luck. Butter? Nope.

I figured I’d try again in the morning… no big deal.

This is my finger around 2 p.m. on Sunday.

ouchies…

I tried every trick in the book. I held my (numb) hand in ice water, I tried Windex (the best method out there), I wrapped my finger in tape… and no luck.

After a cry for help via Facebook (what would we do without social networking?) my EMT cousin suggested I hit up the closest fire station to get it cut off.

thank you, Steffie!

So, after realizing my finger was turning colors all too quickly, I trudged up to the fire station and rescue squad near my house. Feeling a little dumb, I rang the little bell to open the door, and a nice fire man answered.

“Hi… uh, this might sound weird, but my cousin is an EMT… and she suggested I come to you… uuumm.. (gesturing to my finger like Julia Roberts does in My Best Friend’s Wedding) I kind of have something I need to get cut off?”

(best. movie. ever.)

He grinned and asked if i wanted the ring or the finger off.

About 15 minutes, 3 cuts into the ring, and a lot of wrenching and pulling later, I was a freeee woman.

Did I mention this process took three firemen?

yes. you may cut my ring off.

So, the moral of the story is… if the Windex doesn’t work, hit up the fire station. It’ll save you a ton of money and time you’d otherwise be spending at the ER.

“mom, take it easy on the too-tight jewelry. I’d rather not wait for you in the car at the fire station.”

Other than my little mishap on Sunday, my weekend was a great, friend-filled one.

We celebrated our love for wine with our usual Tortugas Wine Night…

kisses for the chard

and a few of us attempted several group pre-party pictures…

we try.
carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese filling? peanut butter pretzel truffles? bourbon balls? bruschetta? gosh..

And we enjoyed serious amounts of treats (recipe recap to come)!

Laura used her new bLyss Designs wine glass!
and Meggy and I snuggled and ate copious amounts of bruschetta.
Chloe Bieber
Meghan has a “Beiber yourself” iPhone app. Chloe wanted in. Never say never when you put together a bunch of girls, a dog, and a Bieber Yourself app.

“not until you’re 3, Chloe.”

Speaking of wine love, Chloe wanted in on the action on Saturday night. Cynthia and I decided that we needed to wait until she turns 3, (in dog years, that’s 21, yes?) so she’s eagerly awaiting that birthday.

so she chilled on Cynthia’s furniture while we had our Saturday night fun. =)
kisses for mama!
Chloe’s found a new set of pet-sitters!

Here’s to hoping each of you had a stress-free, relaxing weekend… without a trip to the fire station. 😉

And guess what else happened this weekend?!

soon to be Mrs. Doherty

Remember all the blog love Lisa-Marie got in my last post? Her boyfriend popped the Q and they’re engaaaged! Congrats to Seth and LM…we’re all getting so old.

What lesson did you learn this weekend?

Etsy Enthusiast

>Are you guys all Etsy lovers like I am?

For all of you who aren’t up to speed on the awesome site, I’ll fill you in a little.

Etsy is like the Ebay of handmade goods. Their “About” page reads, 

Our mission is to enable people to make a living making things, and to reconnect makers with buyers.
Our vision is to build a new economy and present a better choice:
Buy, Sell, and Live Handmade.

check out my etsy! 🙂
And gosh, am I thankful for Etsy. This is where I started bLyss Designs, my hand-painted glassware business!


Although it was a great starting point, I definitely have re-vamped the biz, and I make way more personalized “to-order” glasses. So… I made a Facebook Page. 🙂

I WOULD, however, like to highlight a few of my faves from Etsy!


I stumbled upon Emily’s shop, ERM Originals, a few months ago. I fell in love with the gorgeous little necklace, and have pined over it for a while.

how adorable is this?

I finally pulled the trigger on the “Check Out” button about a week ago, and I just received my little beauty in the mail yesterday.

Naturally, I’m sporting mine at work today.

“A” is for “Alyssa” and an “Awesome” necklace.

Lulubug is another favorite store of mine. She makes the cutest little dainty necklaces, and I wear my daisy flower all the time!

Lulubug Jewelry
Chloe and me sportin’ the Lulubug!

My friend Lisa-Marie and I stumbled onto Lisa’s shop, Whimsy and Ink one night when we decided we needed flasks (don’t judge; there is always a time and place for one, and trust me, we were there). We were so excited to see Lisa’s funky designs on handmade flasks as seen in Real Simple Magazine. They’re pretty hysterical, and to go with my little thing for Ke$ha, I got a beard flask.

I own this. in hot pink. “I like your beard.”
and Lisa-Marie’s mustache flask. gosh, are we cute.

Morgan Prather’s shop is chock full of adorable jewelry, as well. I’ve purchased several of her necklaces, including this one Lisa-Marie wears all the time (gosh, it just sounds like LM is my Etsy buddy, huh?).

photo by http://aliciawhitephoto.com/

Isn’t Morgan’s necklace perfect?

And FINALLY, my friend Katherine, shop, Kakalina Rose. She’s got the most adorable Vintage clothing store on Etsy, and the most beautiful pictures to boot! If you’re a vintage girl, you must check out her stuff. It’s so cute, and her prices are awesome. You can get coupon codes if you check out her blog, too!

pretty Katherine and her  vintage 70s flower maxi dress

I’m done rambling about fantastic Etsy. But seriously, check those girls out. I love their stuff!

Do you have some favorites on Etsy? Share them with me! I’m at Etsy-holic, and I wanna see ’em!

P.S. The fit academic is having a PB & Co. giveaway! Pretty timely, since I just tried these for the first time!

Muzak on the Blog, a PB Overload, & The Bachelor

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That is how I’ve felt since my Naturally More peanut butter discovery.

I want it. But I think if I have one more obnoxious spoon-full, I might have peanut butter coming out of my ears.

Bad idea.

toothpaste for dinner
(thank you, toothpastefordinner.com)

Chloe, however, apparently prefers the flavor of Creamy Coconut lotion. Straight off my legs.

coconutty vanilla, maaaah fave!

And I finally tried the Peanut Butter & Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams and Smooth Operator flavors I picked up from Wal Mart recently.

I’m not sure if it’s because it’s coming from a packet, but the Dark Chocolate Dreams left a lot to be desired on the texture side.  Smooth Operator, however, found its way onto my pb&j english muffin this morning…
…as well as on the remaining banana I had left over.

What can I say? I’m obviously a sucker for banana & pb.

There’s MUSIC on my blog now!
 

toothpaste for dinner
 toothpastefordinner.com

Didja notice the little iTouch in the right column of the blog? It’s filled with a mix of some of my all-time and current favorites. Check ‘er out!

Michelle from The Bachelor on Ellen

Was I the only Bachelor fan who was completely psyched to see crazy loon Michelle was slotted to be on Ellen yesterday?

sure, you’re not crazy. at all.

In Michelle’s interview (which you can watch here on Ellen’s site), she claimed anyone would look crazy on TV with some creepy music in the background. Ellen disagreed.

Michelle also claimed she had a real conversation with Brad before getting in the limo, but that part was edited out.

Whatever. I kind of prefer the dramatics of her laying down in the back of the limo silently rocking herself back and forth. Michelle also feels that Brad’s heart belongs to Emily. Ooooh, insider deets!

I’m having fun figuring out all these gadgets I can add to my blog, but I’m considering switching platforms and going to WordPress. Although I love my banner, I’m thinking it’s time for an upgrade. Thoughts? What would you like to see added to this blog?