Friday, February 25, 2011


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Thursday, February 24, 2011


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

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

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.

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! :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

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).

Monday, February 21, 2011

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.

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?

Friday, February 18, 2011

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
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!

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