Monday, February 10, 2014

Playlist of the Moment #10

Yay, new picks! (I know, I know…it's about time.)
Have something you think I should listen to?
Send it to me at:
xxxx Alyssa Marie

Foster The People : "Coming of Age"
Yellerkin : "Solar Laws" (Full EP here)
Woodkid : "Iron"
Dream Koala : "Iron (Woodkid Cover)"
Tree : "Probably Nu It" (Full album here)
Cairo : "Addict"
Tincture : "Similar Circles"
Theophilus London : "Take A Look (Martin Dupont Interpretation)"
Butterfly Boucher : "Table For One"
4e : "Swft."
Tülpa : "T o r"

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Legacies (R.I.P.)

“If you want me again look for me under your boot soles.”

 - Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

Almost two weeks ago...a person I love, & a family I've grown very fond of, lost someone they love. D's Grandmother passed away midweek &, as I prepared myself for the funeral, I felt a strange mix of emotions that I can't really describe. Of course, I was sad. Much of it, though, was attached to the memories of my own paternal grandparents passings…& my brain was flooded with thoughts of these three wonderful people. 
D & I, with his mother & grandmother celebrating his birthday last year.
Though I didn't know D's grandmother for very long, I feel truly privileged to have met such a wonderful woman. We'd shared several conversations at family gatherings, & she had the ability to make you feel as if even the simplest things you'd say mattered. The personality/wit she & her husband possess(ed) are among the best I've ever encountered…& to have met both of them, & be so included in this family, has been a real honor.
My own (paternal) grandparents on their wedding day in 1960.
My paternal grandmother passed away in 2005, & my grandfather followed in 2010. After both were gone, I found/learned so many new things…their handwritten records from breeding dogs while living in 1960s New York…the awards my grandmother received as a city bus driver in Pennsylvania…the handwritten papers of homework she'd completed for her mail-study engineering degree…her wedding rings missing the center diamond, that was pawned during rough times to help put food on the dinner table...the fact that they'd had to legally divorce in the 90's to get adequate help from the healthcare system (she having had cancer, him having had diabetes)…really, I was in awe.
On occasion, I find myself wishing that I had grown up being closer to family (we moved a lot, rarely nearby). More than that, though, I frequently wish I had had the opportunity to visit with my dads parents more, & that I was closer to my moms parents who live in Texas. I'm frequently frustrated that my relatives who live nearby might that for granted & don't visit them too often.
My maternal grandparents are characters, themselves, (at least I think so)…my grandfather has long been retired from border patrol…& my grandmother, who once owned a bakery, has pretty much dedicated her life to her family. I'm sure there are stories they could tell that I may never hear. And I can appreciate the fact that, once I'm finished typing this post, I'm able to call my grandmother on the phone. Though, I'm not saying she'll answer (as a fairly busy lady), & I won't be able to leave her a message if she doesn't (God love her, she will likely never set up her voicemail).
Long story short…be grateful.
And the next time your grandparents (or other family members) go to tell you a story, just listen.
Even if you have heard it a hundred times.

xxxx Alyssa Marie

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Think About It : How $7.90 Changed History

Let's cut to the chase:

Yesterday (Jan. 8) would have been Elvis' 79th birthday.
In 1946, for his 11th birthday, Elvis asked his mother for a 22-caliber rifle.
Instead, she purchased a guitar from Tupelo Hardware for $7.90.

Can you imagine how it may've changed history had Elvis never received that guitar?

Really, it's mind boggling.

Happy belated, Elvis.
(And many thanks, "Momma Presley.")

xx Alyssa Marie

Monday, January 6, 2014

Think About It : All Natural Egg-y Goodness

This article from contains important information regarding buzz words on egg cartons...the bottom line is most of them are not regulated, so they can be used rather loosely.
"Cage-free hens may not ever see the light of day. Similarly, 'free-range' means that hens must have access to the outdoors, but the length of time they are allowed to roam free—& the amount of space they have to roam—can be small. Experts say the term to look for instead is 'pasture-raised.'"

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Holiday 101: DIY Snowglobes

A major trend I've noticed this year (& have fallen in very total "like" with) has been the apothecary jar with a special "animal/object" lid. Versions of the trend have taken over Pintrest (& much of the internet)...while another DIY trend of custom snowglobes has even been recreated by Martha Stewart.
One thing that really surprised me was that none of the sites I "researched" (translation: surfed aimlessly) showed any thought of combining the two. Because of this, I decided to create my own "mash-up" of these two popular on to learn how to make your own (& impress anyone lucky enough to get one as a gift).
  • Mason jar  (*In order to avoid the "traditional" design of an "official" mason jar, I recycled mason jars I'd bought of Del Monte fruit.)
  • Plastic animal/building/etc for topper (You can use whatever you want for this....I used a squirrel I found in the toy model section at my local Michael's craft store.)
  • smaller plastic animal/plant/building/etc models for inner display (Also purchased at Michael's...the trees came variety packs of 9 & the deer came in packs of 2. Again, use whatever you want...just make sure it fits in the jar!)
  • E6000 industrial glue
  • Krylon ColorMaster Gold Metallic spray paint (found at Ace Hardware...use whatever color you may choose)
  • rubber gloves & paper bag to dry lids on (optional)
  • tinsel glitter (found at Michael's)
  • filtered/purified drinking water (or bottled water)
  • Glycerine (found at Walgreens)
  • ribbon (optional)
If necessary, remove/clean any residue off jar. Leaving the lid on, determine where you want to place your topper (to ensure it will face forward when replaced). Glue object to lid with E6000 & let sit overnight. Next, remove the lid & use spray paint to evenly cover colors on lid (may require 2 coats, do not layer coats heavily). Use gloves if you would like...they definitely help if you're holding the lids to spray them.
Before you glue anything inside your jar, make sure you know how you're going to set up the display. (As you glue each object with the E6000, remember to allow 30 seconds before pressing each object down onto the surface....this will create a stronger bond between the two.) I let mine set for a few days, but give the jar displays at least 24 hours to dry (after gluing).Fill your jar with doesn't have to be to the top of your jar, but at least make sure the water line settles a little bit above your display figures. Sprinkle tinsel glitter into the water (you should only need 3-4tsp worth per jar). Depending on the bottle your glycerin is in, you'll either need to squirt it into the jar or add it by drops (this means, either, roughly 2-3 squeezes of a bottle or 8-9 drops).
Return each lid to its proper jar (mark them beforehand with tape, if necessary). Then, use your E6000 to follow the seal around the lid (if desired). Tie your ribbon around the jar, just under the lid, & make a bow for added fun.
And you're done! Go ahead & try them out with a good shake.
Now you've got your own little winter wonderland in your hands :)
Here's the one I kept for our place:
Want to show me your version? Send a picture!
Email them to:

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Holiday Decor 101 : The (Literal) "Statement Piece"

Hey, all!
As promised, here's a video from the pile of "holiday stuff Alyssa has to post."
I won't feel too bad about waiting to post many of these ideas until (almost) the last minute, as some of the ideas you'll see here in the next few days are taken straight from the gifts I'm giving out this year. And I can't have everyone peeking early on here…let's avoid the classic "surprise ruin," shall we?

While this video is alright for everyone to view...if you know me personally (& managed to stay on the "nice" list this year), I hereby order you to cease blog views after you've finished this post.

So, go ahead. View away. Then go away.
(At least until after Christmas, I mean…give me a break, eh?)

If you decide to do this project, I'd love to see your version.
And send pictures! I love pictures.
I also commend your bravery if you do…we all know it's impossible to get rid of glitter once it's out.
I'm sure I'll still be finding it around the room months from now.
I'll post a few more (giftable) ideas over the weekend.
Until then…enjoy!
xx Alyssa Marie
** In case you're curious, here's the result of my holiday decorating hijinks.
You can't tell a girl lives in this apartment at all….right? Didn't think so. (Can glitter be manly?)**

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Playlist Of The Moment #9 : Playing "Catch Up"

Hey, World!
Now tell me…does anyone else feel like the last few weeks have been strangely blurred together? Between wrapping up the Thanksgiving festivities & preparing for Christmas, this last part of the has gone by ridiculously fast. I hate to admit it, but it's been so much so that I'm sitting on a back-log of (holiday giftable!) project posts & playlists. I'll be filtering through them in the next day or so to get them on here. Some of these projects make great gifts...& might even help you stay off the naughty list! (lol) Check back later today/tomorrow for new ideas :)

Here are a few songs that have kept me going this week.
Have something you think I should listen to?
Email me at:

xx  Alyssa Marie

NZCA/Lines : "Airlock"
St. Lucia : "Closer Than This"
Johnny Thunders : "You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory"
Sombear: "Incredibly Still"
The Colourist : "Little Games"
America : "Ventura Highway"
Eminem : "Without Me"
The Human League : "Don't You Want Me"
The Cranberries : "Linger"
(I know this song catches a bad rap…
but it's pretty nice the one time when you haven't constantly heard it.)
Buggles : "Video Killed the Radio Star"
Talking Heads : "Once In A Lifetime"
Wild Nothing : "Wait"

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Legacy : The Unspoken Words of JFK

R.I.P. John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 19, 1917 - November 22, 1963)
At 12:30p CT yesterday, at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, bells tolled marking the exact moment
President John F. Kennedy was shot 50 years ago. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, we are lucky enough to have the speech he was unable to deliver. It seems only appropriate to remember the man behind these these words by sharing them with you.
" I am honored to have this invitation to address the annual meeting of the Dallas Citizens Council, joined by the members of the Dallas Assembly — & pleased to have this opportunity to salute the Graduate Research Center of the Southwest. It is fitting that these two symbols of Dallas progress are united in the sponsorship of this meeting. For they represent the best qualities, I am told, of leadership & learning in this city — & leadership & learning are indispensable to each other. The advancement of learning depends on community leadership for financial political support, & the products of that learning, in turn, are essential to the leadership’s hopes for continued progress & prosperity. It is not a coincidence that those communities possessing the best in research & graduate facilities — from MIT to Cal Tech — tend to attract new & growing industries. I congratulate those of you here in Dallas who have recognized these basic facts through the creation of the unique & forward-looking Graduate Research Center.
This link between leadership & learning is not only essential at the community level. It is even more indispensable in world affairs. Ignorance & misinformation can handicap the progress of a city or a company, but they can, if allowed to prevail in foreign policy, handicap this country’s security. In a world of complex & continuing problems, in a world full of frustrations & irritations, America’s leadership must be guided by the lights of learning & reason — or else those who confuse rhetoric with reality & the plausible with the possible will gain the popular ascendancy with their seemingly swift & simple solutions to every world problem.

There will always be dissident voices heard in the land, expressing opposition without alternative, finding fault but never favor, perceiving gloom on every side & seeking influence without responsibility. Those voices are inevitable.
But today other voices are heard in the land — voices preaching doctrines wholly unrelated to reality, wholly unsuited to the sixties, doctrines which apparently assume that words will suffice without weapons, that vituperation is as good as victory & that peace is a sign of weakness. At a time when the national debt is steadily being reduced in terms of its burden on our economy, they [view] that debt as the single greatest threat to our security. At a time when we are steadily reducing the number of Federal employees serving every thousand citizens, they fear those supposed hordes of civil servants far more than the actual hordes of opposing armies.
We cannot expect that everyone, to use the phrase of a decade ago, will “talk sense to the American people.” But we can hope that fewer people will listen to nonsense. And the notion that this Nation is headed for defeat through deficit, or that strength is but a matter of slogans, is nothing but just plain nonsense.
I want to discuss with you today the status of our security because this question clearly calls for the most responsible qualities of leadership & the most enlightened products of scholarship. For this Nation’s strength & security are not easily or cheaply obtained, nor are they quickly & simply explained. There are many kinds of strength & no one kind will suffice. Overwhelming nuclear strength cannot stop a guerrilla war. Formal pacts of alliance cannot stop internal subversion. Displays of material wealth cannot stop the disillusionment of diplomats subjected to discrimination.
Above all, words alone are not enough. The United States is a peaceful nation. And where our strength & determination are clear, our words need merely to convey conviction, not belligerence. If we are strong, our strength will speak for itself. If we are weak, words will be of no help.
I realize that this Nation often tends to identify turning-points in world affairs with the major addresses which preceded them. But it was not the Monroe Doctrine that kept all Europe away from this hemisphere — it was the strength of the British fleet & the width of the Atlantic Ocean. It was not General Marshall’s speech at Harvard which kept communism out of Western Europe — it was the strength & stability made possible by our military & economic assistance.
In this administration also it has been necessary at times to issue specific warnings — warnings that we could not stand by & watch the Communists conquer Laos by force, or intervene in the Congo, or swallow West Berlin, or maintain offensive missiles on Cuba. But while our goals were at least temporarily obtained in these & other instances, our successful defense of freedom was not due to the words we used, but to the strength we stood ready to use on behalf of the principles we stand ready to defend.
This strength is composed of many different elements, ranging from the most massive deterrents to the most subtle influences. And all types of strength are needed — no one kind could do the job alone. Let us take a moment, therefore, to review this Nation’s progress in each major area of strength.
First, as Secretary McNamara made clear in his address last Monday, the strategic nuclear power of the United States has been so greatly modernized & expanded in the last 1,000 days, by the rapid production & deployment of the most modern missile systems, that any & all potential aggressors are clearly confronted now with the impossibility of strategic victory — & the certainty of total destruction — if by reckless attack they should ever force upon us the necessity of a strategic reply.
In less than 3 years, we have increased by 50 percent the number of Polaris submarines scheduled to be in force by the next fiscal year, increased by more than 70 percent our total Polaris purchase program, increased by more than 75 percent our Minutemen purchase program, increased by 50 percent the portion of our strategic bombers on 15-minute alert forces. Our security is further enhanced by the steps we have taken regarding these weapons to improve the speed & certainty of their response, their readiness at all times to respond, their ability to survive an attack, & their ability to be carefully controlled & directed through secure command operations.
But the lessons of the last decade have taught us that freedom cannot be defended by strategic nuclear power alone. We have, therefore, in the last three years accelerated the development & deployment of tactical nuclear weapons, & increased by 60 percent the tactical nuclear forces deployed in Western Europe.
Nor can Europe or any other continent rely on nuclear forces alone, whether they are strategic or tactical. We have radically improved the readiness of our conventional forces — increased by 45 percent of the number of combat ready Army divisions, increased by 100 percent the procurement of modern Army weapons & equipment, increased by 100 percent our procurement of our ship construction, conversion, & modernization program, increased by 100 percent our procurement of tactical aircraft, increased by 30 percent the number of tactical air squadrons, & increased the strength of the Marines. As last month’s “Operation Big Lift” — which originated here in Texas — showed so clearly, this Nation is prepared as never before to move substantial numbers of men in surprisingly little time to advanced positions anywhere in the world. We have increased by 175 percent the procurement of airlift aircraft, & we have already achieved a 75 percent increase in our existing strategic airlift capability. Finally, moving beyond the traditional roles of our military forces, we have achieved an increase of nearly 600 percent in our special forces — those forces that are prepared to work with our allies & friends against the guerrillas, saboteurs, insurgents & assassins who threaten freedom in a less direct but equally dangerous manner.

But American military might should not & need not stand alone against the ambitions of international communism. Our security & strength, in the last analysis, directly depend on the security & strength of others, & that is why our military & economic assistance plays such a key role in enabling those who live on the periphery of the Communist world to maintain their independence of choice. Our assistance to these nations can be painful, risky, & costly, as is true in Southeast Asia today. But we dare not weary of the task. For our assistance makes possible the stationing of 3.5 million allied troops along the Communist frontier at one-tenth the cost of maintaining a comparable number of American soldiers. A successful Communist breakthrough in these area, necessitating direct United States intervention, would cost us several times as much as our entire foreign aid program, & might cost us heavily in American lives as well.

About 70 percent of our military assistance goes to nine key countries located on or near the borders of the Communist-bloc — nine countries confronted directly or indirectly with the threat of Communistic aggression — Vietnam, Free China, Korea, India, Pakistan, Thailand, Greece, Turkey, & Iran. No one of these countries possesses on its own the resources to maintain the forces which our own Chiefs of Staff think needed in the common interest. Reducing our efforts to train, equip, & assist their armies can only encourage Communist penetration & require in time the increased overseas deployment of American combat forces. And reducing the economic help needed to bolster these nations that undertake to help defend freedom can have the same disastrous result. In short, the $50 billion we spend each year on our own defense could well be ineffective without the $4 billion required for military & economic assistance.
Our foreign aid program is not growing in size, it is, on the contrary, smaller now than in previous years. It has had its weaknesses, but we have undertaken to correct them. And the proper way of treating weaknesses is to replace them with strength, not to increase those weaknesses by emasculating essential programs. Dollar for dollar, in or out of government, there is no better form of investment in our national security than our much-abused foreign aid program. We cannot afford to lose it. We can afford to maintain it. We can surely afford, for example, to do as much for our 19 needy neighbors of Latin America as the Communist bloc is sending to the island of Cuba alone.
I have spoken of strength largely in terms of the deterrence & resistance of aggression & attack. But in today’s world, freedom can be lost without a shot being fired, by ballots as well as bullets. The success of our leadership is dependent upon respect for our mission in the world as well as our missiles — on a clearer recognition of the virtues of freedom as well as the evils of tyranny.
That is why our Information Agency has doubled the shortwave broadcasting powers of the Voice of America & increased the number of broadcasting hours by 30 percent, increased Spanish language broadcasting to Cuba & Latin America from one to nine hours a day, increased seven-fold to more than 3.5 million copies the number of American books being translated & published for Latin American readers, & taken a host of other steps to carry our message of truth & freedom to all the far corners of the earth.
And that is also why we have regained the initiative in the exploration of outer space, making an annual effort greater than the combined total of all space activities undertaken during the fifties, launching more than 130 vehicles into earth orbit, putting into actual operation valuable weather & communications satellites, & making it clear to all that the United States of America has no intention of finishing second in space.
This effort is expensive — but it pays its own way, for freedom & for America. For there is no longer any fear in the free world that a Communist lead in space will become a permanent assertion of supremacy & the basis for military superiority. There is no longer any doubt about the strength & skill of American science, American industry, American education, & the American free enterprise system. In short, our nation’s space effort represents a great gain in, & a great resource of, our national strength — & both Texas & Texans are contributing greatly to this strength.
Finally, it should be clear by now that a nation can be no stronger abroad than she is at home. Only an America which practices what it preaches about equal rights & social justice will be respected by those whose choice affects our future. Only an America which has fully educated its citizens is fully capable of tackling the complex problems & perceiving the hidden dangers of the world in which we live. And only an America which is growing & prospering economically can sustain the worldwide defenses of freedom, while demonstrating to all concerned the opportunities of our system & society.
It is clear, therefore, that we are strengthening our security as well as our economy by our recent record increases in national income & output — by surging ahead of most of Western Europe in the rate of business expansion & the margin of corporate profits, by maintaining a more stable level of prices than almost any of our overseas competitors, & by cutting personal & corporate income taxes by some $11 billion, as I have proposed, to assure this Nation of the longest & strongest expansion in our peacetime economic history.
This Nation’s total output — which three years ago was at the $500 billion mark — will soon pass $600 billion, for a record rise of over $100 billion in three years. For the first time in history we have 70 million men & women at work. For the first time in history average factory earnings have exceeded $100 a week. For the first time in history corporation profits after taxes — which have risen 43 percent in less than 3 years — have an annual level of $27.4 billion.
My friends & fellow citizens: I cite these facts & figures to make it clear that America today is stronger than ever before. Our adversaries have not abandoned their ambitions, our dangers have not diminished, our vigilance cannot be relaxed. But now we have the military, the scientific, & the economic strength to do whatever must be done for the preservation & promotion of freedom.
The strength will never be used in pursuit of aggressive ambitions — it will always be used in pursuit of peace. It will never be used to promote provocations — it will always be used to promote the peaceful settlement of disputes.
We, in this country, in this generation, are — by destiny rather than by choice — the watchmen on the walls of world freedom. We ask, therefore, that we may be worthy of our power & responsibility, that we may exercise our strength with wisdom & restraint, & that we may achieve in our time & for all time the ancient vision of “peace on earth, good will toward men.” That must always be our goal, & the righteousness of our cause must always underlie our strength. For as was written long ago: “except the Lord keep the city, the watchmen waketh but in vain.
Courtesy of the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library, Boston, Massachusetts