Sunday, December 8, 2013

First snow of the season!

It feels so good to be back after a month long blogosphere hiatus!  Winter time and the shorter daylight hours have really taken some adjustment to get used to.  My new job is going wonderfully- I feel like such a lucky girl and am continuing to grow in both my creativity and knowledge on the job.  Autumn was such a powerful transitional time for me- and just a few days ago I turned 26- Twenty-six!  I can hardly believe it.  I celebrated with my friends last Sunday, with Daniel on Thursday (my actual birthday) and with family this weekend.  Wow, I really know how to stretch out a celebration, don't I?! Each year I tend to grow fearful of that additional digit- but honestly, this year I feel excited to be a little older.  I have really learned SO much in my twenties and every year I am uncovering more and more, it is such a whirlwind experience and I am wholly grateful for it.  I feel much more grounded than in my early twenties-  more aware of who I am and what I want to be- yet able to admit that I am inherently flawed and not at all perfect- and it's a pretty freeing realization.   

Coat:  Tulle, Tights:, Dress and Bag:  ModCloth, Hat: H&M, Necklace: Grandmother's <3

I can not tell you how lucky I felt on my birthday this year.  I worked a busy half day at work- where my coworkers sweetly sent me off at 2:00 pm with their well wishes- I hopped into a car with Daniel and drove off to my favorite restaurant in Philly- Vedge.  After our delicious vegetable cuisine (that place is SERIOUSLY my food Cloud 9) we made a visit to Sweet Freedom Bakery and took a stroll down South Street where I discovered a fun 70s poncho for 40% off! That was enough for me- but Daniel went above and beyond this year- surprising me with this amazing camera dress from ModCloth and a gorgeous pink cardigan covered in roses.   I gushed with joy when my in-laws gifted me with the adorable fox purse a few days later, they make the perfect quirky combo in my book ;) The most amazing gift of all? (besides being able to see the people I love most for my birthday).  National Geographic's Geno 2.0- a DNA analysis kit that allows you to trace your deep ancestral roots and reveals specific details about your genetic makeup.  I know, I am such a nerd- but it is something I have been interested in for so long- and to be able to participate is like a dream come true for me.  I can not wait to see my results!  

Getting back to this wintery scene-the first snow of the season fell today and boy did it accumulate fast.  Looking out my window- it finally appears to be slowing down- but not without leaving nearly a foot of snow!  It is officially winter time in Delaware, and while I am enjoying the sight of a white winter wonderland my summer heart longs for the sights of green grass and bright poppies from warmer days.

 It is truly amazing how a little snow can make even the dreariest setting look magical.  Usually I wouldn't find the back of our apartment buildings to be a desirable place to shoot, but admittedly it was the easiest place to walk to- and equally gorgeous in this spontaneous snow-down!
Although I much prefer warmer weather, there is something so innately playful and also comforting about a landscape blanketed in snow- the notion that life outside is slowing down- the perfect time and setting for cuddling up to your favorite book or movie and sipping something warm.  There is something to that carefree, "anything goes" approach to running in the snow, and then coming back inside to feel your wind-chapped cheeks rewarming near a hot fire or beside the heater under a warm blanket.  Winter is a time to nestle, to reccoperate, to nurture and rejuvenate; to layer and bundle, to hug and cocoon; to read,write and lounge and to rediscover life's circular rhythm.  

So now that I have sufficiently given myself a good kick in the pants back to the blog, I plan on keeping up with my posting once again.  It seems that every now and then it takes some readjustment time to get myself back on track.  I am wishing you all a beautiful December and hoping your holiday seasons are going well so far, I can not wait to catch up on all of your recent thoughts, ideas, and adventures!

xo, Alyssa

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Autumn spice

 Happy TGIAF!  (Thank God it's almost Friday) haha!  Daniel and I had an amazing time in the Poconos last week, and I am happy to finally be sharing some photos.  First off, it is the peak time in the Poconos for Fall Foliage, the colors are unbelievable; from yellow to amber to fiery red and everything in between, there was no better time to experience the beauty of Fall.  Second off- we had gorgeous weather, though chilly- it was crisp and clean- with just a short burst of rainfall on Saturday.  We had some trouble getting the fire going when we first got up there- but Daniel got it down to a science so I wasn't bundled up in blankets the whole time.  We spent some time in Saylorsburg, where we went to the "Hotel of Horrors" a haunted house attraction, and sailed over to Jim Thorpe, about a half hour ride from the cabin, twice during our stay.  I really came to like Jim Thorpe!  There are so many cute little shops, bakeries, cafe's and historical sites, as well as a gorgeous river and train, and we weren't aware of it but some sort of festival was going on when we went back on Sunday and it was PACKED!  We didn't let that get in our way, though :)   
This coat was a gift from my boss at Clothes in the Past Lane.  I was so flattered that she decided to give it to me since I had been eyeing it for quite some time but had decided to save my money.  It was a going away present as I have accepted a new position that starts next week.  Right now is a huge transition time for me and I am really excited for my new opportunities, but I am trying to take it one step at a time.
This orange polka dot dress is another one of my fall favorites, the orange ruffles remind me of rustling leaves, and with the harvest gold/ peanut butter color of the coat it set off nicely against the Autumn backdrop.
I am quickly coming to see that my flats are not going to get me through the season, I badly need a pair of boots, and soon!  I am dreaming of a gorgeous chestnut brown faux leather tie up pair and a tall flat brown boot that I can wear everywhere- they are officially on the list!
Daniel got new jeans (yay!) since his other ones were completely falling apart.  We were joking that we could sell them as premium distressed jeans.  I got the flannel coat from Switch Skate and Snow on Main Street in Newark, (one of our neighbors at Clothes in the Past Lane) during one of their blow out sales- only $20!!! For a warm coat, I thought that was quite the steal- and it fits my incredibly tall husband perfectly.  Goodness I love this man, so glad we got to spend four uninterrupted days together!!
This was my outfit to Jim Thorpe when we went back on Sunday.  We toured the old Jim Thorpe Jail which is pretty spooky, and went for a wine tasting afterwards at a local winery just down the street, Big Creek Vineyard.  They were just a little place but had an amazing sweet La Brusca wine, and a great collection.  Usually I am all about the rich, deep red wines, but their's were a little too smoky, (even industrial if that makes sense?) so we settled on a bottle of sweet wine instead, and will be storing it for a special occasion. If you are in Jim Thorpe you have to take advantage of their wine tastings, they were quite affordable as well with their bottles starting at only $6.00!

What an incredible get-away it was.  I am so happy we settled on going up to the cabin, as originally we weren't sure where we wanted to go, but it ended up being the best choice.  I think next year we might stay a night or two in Jim Thorpe, we really enjoyed it there and would like to explore a little more.  I highly recommend a trip to the area if you are close by!  

Thanks for reading about my little trip, and I hope you are all enjoying your autumn adventures and still maniacally including pumpkin in each and every meal of the day, haha!  ( I know I am) :)

xo, Alyssa

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Celebrating Two Years!

Yesterday marked my second year wedding Anniversary with my amazing husband, Daniel.  I could not be happier or more in love, and I am so grateful to have him in my life!  We have grown so much these past two years, and I know that we will continue to grow and watch the world change around us.  He has always been there to support me in my dreams, carry me through my ups and downs and inspire me to explore my fullest potential.  Being married is not always easy, but goodness is it wonderful.  It really, truly is.  I can not imagine my life without him and my love for him grows richer and richer every day.  I am so glad that I have this amazing person to ride on the crazy train of life with, and I wouldn't have it any other way!

Ah.  So now that the mush is out of the way- it's time for some celebration! Daniel and I are going to be relaxing in the Poconos for a few days, and I am sooo ready for it!  Walks in the woods, eating pumpkin everything, antiquing and some more Haunted Attractions, just my cup O' Tea.  Autumn is so inspiring and transitional, there are so many ideas swirling around my head, and the prospect of taking off to the mountains in exactly what I need.   Hopefully I will get some shots of my outfits this weekend so I can refresh the blog, sorry that I have been slacking, but I promise to get back to my regular weekly postings soon!  I hope you are all having a wonderful week, and and enjoying this beautiful season!

xo, Alyssa  

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Harvest Moon Festival!

October is already going so fast, can you believe that Fall is in full swing?!  Well, if you were in Delaware this weekend you never would have known- in fact, if you had a case of amnesia you would swear all your money on July or August, but then again the leaves are starting to give it away.  Daniel and I have had a busy weekend, but we were so excited to attend the annual Harvest Moon Festival yesterday, sweltering temperatures or not!  The festival is held on a beautiful farm called Coverdale  (where I also take yoga classes on Tuesday nights!), and features all sorts of fun things like hayrides, food, games, a marketplace, music and arts and crafts.  This year they had these incredible Alpacas and all kinds of homespun garments from their fluffy wool (this does not harm them in any way, it is simply harvested when they get so fluffy that they need a haircut!)  We were allowed to walk up and visit them, touch their fluffy little heads and learn about them from the farmer!  
I was equally excited to style this tapestry and cotton dress that I got from the shop the other day. I was dreaming up all sorts of creative possibilities, but settled on a pair of harvest gold tights, cream floral necklace, blue rosette headband and South American style clutch; but the icing on the cake had to be the adorable acorn pin that I received from Elizabeth of Stoic & Pariah this past week.  I was absolutely delighted to receive her package on Thursday, I was having a sort of hectic day and couldn't seem to get my feet off the ground right; and her sweet gifts and kind letters really meant so much to me.  Thank you for being such an amazing pen pal, Elizabeth!!!! <3  

The shade of these trees really made for some beautiful lighting.  The leaves are slowly turning, the grass is growing golder, and the sun is retiring early.
The farmer told us that the Alpacas are very family oriented and enjoy staying together and being affectionate with one another.  Does it get any cuter than that?!
Autumn is such a wonderful time to get back into creative and adventurous endeavors; cooking, nature, art, music or whatever is inspiring you.  Every new season fresh winds blow in and stale winds blow out.  Look at the world around you, explore, have new adventures, go new places and broaden your horizons.  Try a different exercise class, make an exciting dish, walk further down the trail then before.  Push your limits and discover more about you, and what makes you unique and beautiful.  Celebrate life and the new gifts of the season!

Fall Festival + Alpacas + Kettle Korn = pure bliss!

To usher in the fall and stay active, I recently signed up for a new series of vinyasa yoga classes and Daniel and I have been going on lots of adventures on our bikes.  Unfortunately he popped a tire on our way home today, but hopefully we can fix it soon!  Last weekend we took a 22 mile trip around Newark to Milburn Orchards (hooray apple cider!) it was such a great ride, I love how free I feel on my bike!

Tonight Daniel and I will be heading up to Wilmington to visit with my Grandfather and bring him dinner.  There are so many photo albums over there that I plan to look through again, and a few more family treasures to sort through. I hope you are all having a beautiful weekend and enjoying the Fall;  hopefully the crisper, cooler weather is right around the corner, I have a major hankering for some home-made pumpkin pie! As always, thanks for reading and enjoy your day! :)
xo, Alyssa

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Wearing my Art on my Skirt!

 Ladies and Gentleman....I present to you...the moth skirt!  Piece number one in my moth fabric collection, crafted by yours truly.  I am so excited about this little piece.  If you've been following my blog for a while, you probably know that I've been working on getting some garments made of my moth fabric that I designed back in late spring/early summer.  Life sort of got away from me for a few months while I was working on my practice piece (the Sundae Dress), but as soon as I got that finished I got working on this skirt.   I don't think anything is quite like making garments of a print that you painted, and then converted into fabric.  It gives you such a personal connection to the garment, and is- literally-like wearing your art!  I adore this skirt, and I think I may have found a design that is simple enough for me to start replicating in other sizes in order to make my design available to other lovely ladies.  Starting in late October to early November, I plan to have an Etsy up and running with a few skirts available for purchase!
 This has been a long term dream of mine, and I am excited to see it starting to come to fruition.  This fabric was the perfect way for me to merge my love for painting and Lepidoptera with my unwavering passion for personal style.  It is often hard to find ways to merge those three things, but finishing this garment left me fulfilled- feeling like I could conquer the world with my love of colorful moths :) 

This skirt is crafted from an Organic Cotton Sateen with a soft hand and slight sheen.  The fabric is very comfortable and highly saturated.  The skirt is gathered with a fitted waistband and panel of elastic in the back for comfort and a flexible fit.  This piece is perfect for the park, paired with a fun blouse at work, or for a lunch date out with friends.  The perfect conversation piece, spectacular for bug lovers and colorful gals of all kinds!
Each moth on this skirt is a depiction of an actual, real life moth.  Many are native to the United States, and a few are native to Madagascar!
I think my not-so-pleasant cold this week gave me that extra kick I needed to get this collection on a roll.  Thursday I stayed at home with the sniffles (and with a serious case of laryngitis, ahhh!), and it was just the right amount of time I needed to get this piece sewn. I also had time to work on some jewelry, so now I have more moth necklaces available, including a Luna Moth, Cecropia, and Imperial moth, as well as Luna Moth earrings.  My plan next is to get working on a dress out of my mint colored moth fabric, hopefully it will be done by my second Wedding Anniversary (October 16th) so stay tuned.  Please let me know how you like the design, I would love to hear some feedback.  I am hoping that there are some gals out there that love colorful bugs as much as I do! As always, thanks for reading and enjoy your day!

xo, Alyssa

Monday, September 16, 2013

A rainbow bike and a Sundae dress! :)

This was the weekend of getting things done!   Consequently, those two days flew by like they were nothing.  Saturday I reserved to meet with Daniel's grandmother and work on my Sundae dress, and we worked on it...for almost seven hours!  There were many interruptions as there was a lot going on that day, but we managed to construct (almost) the entire dress and by the time I left I was exhausted.  That night Daniel and I drove up to my friend Diana's house for snacks and movies, and in the morning I had grand plans to attack another project - my bike - by painting it into a rainbow!  Sure, I had the concept down; but I really had no idea how much effort and time it would actually take.  The painting part was pretty easy, but the whole taking the bike apart and putting it back together thing was a little more complicated.  Luckily for me, I have an amazingly handy husband, so with our powers combined we were...captain Rainbow!!!  Or something like that.. So here are some behind the scene pictures of the process (before it was so pretty!).  
1.  Well, here it is upside down- looking pretty frumpy.  First Daniel helped me to take the wheels off and lay everything in the grass behind our apartment complex.  We then bagged the parts we didn't want to spray, like the seat, pedals and handle bars.  
2.  The second step was to sand off as much rust and dirt as we could in order to have a fresh surface for the spray paint!
3.  Daniel and I lined up our spray paints in order of color and discussed placement of each color and then took turns spraying away (him on one side and I on the other) it really helps having one person on each side to spray the spots you can't see.
4.  We waited a half hour and then applied a second coat of paint and touched up spots that still needed to be done.   We also sprayed the inside of the tires and let them dry before putting them back together.

And then, we took her for a stroll around the neighborhood and snapped some photos!!  
And boy, does she look magnificent!
 I actually found this dress in my grandmother's hallway closet in my grandfather's house.  She passed away about a decade ago now but my 92 year old grandfather still lives in the house, so a lot of her things are still around.  I was ecstatic when I found it and a slew of other really beautiful vintage garments.  It really means a lot to me to have some of her things to remember her by.   I believe this one was actually something she purchased for my Aunt back in the day, as it appeared to be from the 70s and still contained the original tag and everything!  It was a maxi, but I knew it would look great as a mini, I am really glad I found it and did the hem before the end of summer!  Fall is quickly approaching...

 Dress:  Vintage, Grandma's closet, Pin & Necklace: Vintage, Tights: Target, Shoes:, Bike:  Newark Bike Project, self-painted! 
And now the Sundae Dress...I am so excited about unveiling this!  I have been working on this dress for so long, bit by bit over time, and I finally hunkered down and got it done last night.  I am so happy with how the dress came out- and so glad that I saw it through.  Now I can really begin to focus on my own textiles, and complete more garments.  It will not be fast (or easy) but now I have the confidence to push forward and get it done.  I can not thank Daniel's grandmother enough for all of her help!! (Especially on the zipper, which I had quite a time with!)

I am really in love with this fabric.  Polka dots and Sundaes, does it get any better?!?
Sundae Dress:  Self-made, cardigan: Forever 21, Headband: Claire's, Necklace: TopShop, Shoes:  ModCloth
These are the flats that I swiped from the Cabin Fever Sale on a few weeks ago.  I have already gotten SO much wear out of these puppies, and they are holding up wonderfully! (I have lost one stud, but that's not bad considering how clumsy I am!).  They seem to go wonderfully with so many of my outfits, the colors make them pretty versatile! 

I have gotten a little behind on blogging these last few weeks, and am developing some sniffles (eeek seasonal cold coming??) but I will be sure to check out all of your blogs and get back to commenting soon.  As always thanks for being wonderful friends and for reading my post!  Have a lovely rest of your Monday!

xo, Alyssa