"Love & Misadventure"

For some strange reason I have a vivid memory from when I was in elementary school. I was at my grandparent's house sitting on the little ledge that separates their kitchen from their living room. It was near the holidays and I had a Toys R Us catalog on my lap, a Sharpie in my hand, and I was enthusiastically circling all of the toys I wanted for Christmas. I specifically remember wanting a Bratz doll.

Years later my wishlists have changed. I'm no longer picking toys out of a catalog (legitimate question: does anyone actually order from catalogs anymore?) but instead I am making wishlists on the websites of my favorite stores. Ninety percent of my wishlist consists clothing items. This year I asked for something I've never asked for before: a book of poetry.

I've always loved to read, and I've always considered myself an "English person" (I was even going to major in English), but poetry was never of particular interest to me. In my various English classes I indifferently read, analyzed, and wrote about the poems we studied, not because I was interested, but because it was required of me. I simply did what I had to do to get through the poetry unit, and soon after pushed all we learned about poetry to the back corner of my mind. It wasn't until my senior year of high school that I discovered a poem that really resonated with me. 

Fast forward a couple years later. I'm sitting in my uncomfortable twin bed in my Sophomore year apartment. My textbook and notebook are sprawled open next to me, and I'm scrolling through Pinterest on my laptop. I pin an interesting recipe I'll probably never cook, a tough workout I'll probably never do, and an outfit that I most definitely will translate into my own wardrobe. Then I came across a poem. It was the same one I read in high school. Years later it still resonated with me.

I couldn't move on without looking up the author of the poem. Minutes later I found the poet, closed my textbooks (I wasn't really getting much work done anyways), and spent the rest of the night reading her work online. By the end of the night I still wanted more to read. So, when it came time to craft my Christmas wishlist, her book of poems titled Love and Misadventure was on the top of the list.

I received the book on Christmas Eve (thank you Aunt Steph and Uncle Tony!), and that night I decided to read a few poems before bed. A few poems turned into the entire book. I was going to dog-ear my favorite poems, but after finishing the book I noticed half of the pages had been dogeared.

I think when most people think of poetry, they imagine their high school years when they were forced to study iambic pentameter and pompous men who wrote poetry (looking at you, William Wordsworth, William Blake, and Lord Byron). Lang Leav changed that for me.

I wanted to share some of my favorite Lang Leav poems. She is refreshing. Her work is thoughtful and beautiful. Love and Misadventure intricately tells a story of the beauty and the misfortunes of love. Well- I'll just let the poems speak for themselves.



Sweet '16

Some of us waltzed into the new year, while some of us stumbled. Despite how we entered 2016- whether gracefully put together, or a disheveled mess from the misfortunes of 2015- one thing we all have in common is the inevitable list we have saved on our smartphones, in our brains, or in a little notebook: New Years Resolutions.

Let's be real: every other year I gave up on my resolutions shortly after I made them. This year I tried making my resolutions more sustainable by figuring out why I am resolving to do these things.
Twenty-Sixteen will be the year I focus on health and happiness by making it a priority to incorporate these small little goals into my life.

Free People BLDG 25
1. Exercise more: This year I will not be exercising more to achieve the perfect "bikini bod" by May. This has been my goal in past years, and it is hard to keep up with and it is easy to lose sight of. Instead, I am exercising for health and happiness. As Elle Woods once said, "Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy."

Natalie Kate
2. Spend more time with friends and family: I grew up as an only child, so alone time is something I enjoy and value. This year, rather than relaxing alone, I will spend more time with my friends and family as it is just as effective for relieving stress, relaxing, and having fun. 

Student Life Network
3. Do something everyday future Alyssa will thank me for: Whether it's applying for an internship, studying for a test, or even just taking my makeup off before bed-- I will strive to do something future me will thank me for. It doesn't matter if it's short term or long term.
4. Read more: When faced with upwards of 50 pages of textbook reading for various classes each night, it's quite easy to lose the motivation to read for fun. I want to remember the joy I used to feel from reading what I choose to read.

Penny Art
5. Spend less money: My roommates can tell you, my parents can tell you, and the barista at Starbucks who memorized my order can tell you: I have a spending problem. In 2016, I want to budget my money appropriately, and perhaps even follow the 80/20 rule of saving and spending. I'll also be utilizing a budgeting app like Mint. As my mom stresses, it is important I learn how to save now so I don't hurt myself in the future.

6. Brew my own coffee: I thrive on coffee-- my debit card statements can prove that. Corresponding with my above goal, I want to save the money I'd spend on coffee everyday by brewing my own coffee every morning (and mid-morning, and afternoon, and nighttime). (This is just one of the ways I plan on saving money. Most of my money goes towards caffeine so I thought it was important to include.)

7. Take more day trips to Philly (and surrounding areas): Saint Joe's is 0.2 seconds away from Philly, so I'm not exactly sure why my friends and I don't take advantage of all the city has to offer. Museums, cafes, concerts, and more: I want to start seeing it all this year. It's amazing how far a train ticket and $10 can take you in Philly.

8. Drink more water: This one's for my parents (looking at you, Dad). Apparently it's good for you or something?

9. Don't procrastinate: I should win an award for procrastinating because I'm really good at it. Why would I write a paper little by little of the course of a week when I can write it all starting at 9pm the night before it's due and still get the same grade on it? Less procrastination = less stress, less late nights, less tired eyes the next day.

10. Stop trying to be perfect: I'm guilty of trying to be perfect and trying to do it all, which in turn puts a lot of unnecessary stress on myself. I want to plan my life 10 years in advance (I wish I was kidding). Some planning is definitely necessary, but perhaps my idea of planning is overkill. It's stressful to think if I don't get a 100% in every class, if I'm not the president of three clubs, and if I don't land a cool internship then I'll never reach my career goals. Those are not positive thoughts to have.

Have a sweet 2016! 



Dear Juice Cleanse,

An open letter to my juice cleanse, as inspired by Into the Gloss.  

from ryswellness.com

Dear Juice Cleanse,

I want to start off my letter to you by letting you know you suck. Things are not working out between us anymore, and I think it is time to call whatever we are off. We’re too different for each other. You’re too much for me to handle right now and I think we would both be better off going in different directions. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all bad between us. We had such an amazing start, you and I. We were both so hopeful that we would have a long, happy, successful relationship. Perhaps we were almost too hopeful. I decided to try things with you just a short while ago. You were so fun and exciting in the beginning. You were new, you were fresh, you promised to bring to my life what others have failed to. I remember the first time we met- what a happy time! You were tucked away in the back of the grocery store, perfectly presented in your little bottles. You looked so perfect and so happy, which made me happy. I took you home with me and was so excited for what was in store for our relationship. “We can do this,” I thought, “we can make it through.”

You started off amazing, bringing me the happiness, excitement, and freshness you had promised me. Your qualities were unlike anything I’ve ever come across. Cashew, vanilla, cinnamon, and agave-- so perfect. You made me smile with every sip. You weren’t afraid to spice things up either. All of a sudden you had lemon, cayenne, ginger, and agave all in one bottle. It was so new to me and I never wanted to let you go. Until noon came around… 

In order to remain faithful to you and to try to make things work I skipped my usual morning coffee and oatmeal- this was a hard change for me. By noon I was missing the happiness I felt earlier. I thought you were supposed to make me feel happy all the time. But no. I suppose I thought wrong. I was hungry. I was tired. I was grumpy. It was your fault. I wanted to try to make things work, but you were making it so difficult. You made it so hard for me to be faithful. I was nearly falling asleep in the library, and I needed a coffee. I felt so terrible for being unfaithful, but you made me feel terrible. 

Later, I saw another side of you I never wanted to see. The green side of you. I understand you were upset with me for hurting our relationship, but you didn’t need to take it out on me with kale, romaine, spinach, apple, cucumber, celery, parsley, ginger, and lemon. I thought we could make it work, but that side of you was too much for me, and too demanding of me. 

It wasn’t until 7 pm as I was in the library studying once again, when I finally saw you for who you were: a stomach ruiner. Was my hunger and my grumpiness not enough? You wanted to hurt my stomach as well? It was at that point I knew we need to end things. So, I went to the cafeteria, ordered chicken fingers and curly fries, and accepted our fate. Like I said: you suck. It’s not me, it’s you. 

Love and hate, 



An Offshore Emergence

Have you ever read something-- a poem, a book, a story, a blog post-- that affected you so magnificently that you had to write about it the second your eyes reached the last period of the piece?

In an attempt to forget about my stressful day and relax before bed, I picked up a collection of short stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald and randomly chose to read The Offshore Pirate. If I had the sense it would keep me up as late as it did with jumbled thoughts and emotions that required me to write about in order to calm them down and keep them at bay, then perhaps I would have chosen a different story. Or, perhaps not. It's been awhile since I've read something that excited me this much, which can be attributed to the overwhelming busyness of the life of a college student. My days are filled with class and work, my nights are plagued by math problems, essays about utilitarianism, and microeconomics readings. Reading The Offshore Pirate was like coming up for air after drowning in a vast and paralyzing sea of "general education program" classes.

The story is romantic in the most naive, but brilliant way. Ardita is bold, confident, rebellious, sarcastic, beautiful, and self-aware of her qualities. She does not want just any average man, or to live just any average life; she wants adventure, which she finds through love.

After pirates board and seize her uncle's ship, she immediately begins to playfully banter with the leader, Carlyle. Carlyle entertains Ardita with a tale of his past as a musician, but refuses to explain what he, along with the rest of the crew, are escaping from. Ardita tells of her desire for adventure and passion, all the while making Carlyle become aware of her beauty, confidence, courage, and stubbornness. Fitzgerald illustrates their interactions and their conversations in such a way that absorbed and enchanted me. With every quick remark and every move the two make, I can only imagine them internally falling deeply (yet, naively) in love with one another.

I couldn't help myself from smiling at the moment Carlyle realizes his love for Ardita. She daringly dove off the side of a cliff into the sea, "and it was with his glad sigh of relief when her light watery laughter curled up the side of the cliff and into his anxious ears that he knew he loved her." Upon reading this sentence, I realized Ardita's emergence from the sea was my re-emergence from my sea of homework. How is it that one sentence could enchant me the way it did? The magnificence of their naive love did not end there.

I won't spoil the story with my excited reflection of the short story, though I may have already done that. My intention was not to summarize or analyze the story, but to express its effect on me. As I mentioned, reading The Offshore Pirate was like coming up for a breath of fresh air and I needed to write about this re-emergence. It feels like decades since I've written on this blog. Consider this as my official re-emergence as well. Schoolwork is my priority, but I cannot forget to take time for myself.


Alyssa Tomasic


A Glimpse at the Successes of Designer Diffusion Lines

The internet has been buzzing lately with news of Lilly Pulitzer's new collaboration with retail-giant, Target. Debates have ensued over this piece of fashion news. Many Lilly fans applaud the new partnership, and can't wait to shop the more affordable collection when it debuts in stores. They praise the decision as vibrant, summery prints will now be made available to a broad range of buyers.

Others had a more negative reaction to the brand's decision to team up with Target, and are speaking out on social media platforms. A Refinery 29 article outlines the different types of Lilly x Target haters, including those who think this new collaboration will decrease the worth of the brand because "basic b*tches" will begin buying Lilly Pulitzer items, those who think Lilly Pulitzer is too classy for the likes of Target, those who are upset by the fact that people will not know the worth of their clothes (is it "real" Lilly, or Target Lilly?-- one must wonder), and people who claim that Lilly Pulitzer herself must be rolling over in her grave. The article by Refinery 29 is hysterically funny, and features the crème de la crème of Lilly x Target Twitter reactions.

What could be so bad about a designer and discount retail-giant collaboration? We've seen it done before, including partnerships between Alexander Wang and H&M, Isabel Marant and H&M, Lauren Conrad and Kohls, and Vera Wang and Kohls. These prestigious designers and brands have collaborated with "lower-end" retailers to produce what is known as a diffusion line, and have not been degraded by teaming up with these stores.

Lauren Conrad is proof that collaborating with a lower-end store to produce more affordable pieces is not necessarily a bad thing. The former reality TV celebrity has two lines, Paper Crown and LC by Lauren Conrad. The former is a designer brand with the same price range as Lilly Pulitzer, and is sold at Nordstrom, among other stores. The latter is a brand sold exclusively at Kohls. In a Forbes article, Conrad describes her partnership with Kohls as "great," and "healthy." Her more expensive line has yet to be defamed due to her designs also sold at a more affordable, wallet-friendly store.

Before we make any judgments on the Lilly Pulitzer brand's business decisions (because we're all branding experts, right?) lets just wait it out, and see what the partnership has in store. Literally. Perhaps this could be the best thing for those who cherish pieces that are reminiscent of family vacations to the beach.

- Alyssa


Campus Must-Haves

Campus Must-Haves

So I was thinking about what items are essential for college. In my last post I featured the items that I want, but don't necessarily need. Above I have featured a few key items to bring with you to college. There are definitely many more must-haves, but for now these top my list.

1. Rain boots. For the inevitable rainy days, these boots are essential for walking across campus to class. The red of these Hunter boots is striking, and would definitely make a statement. Not to mention, their vibrance would certainly contrast the dull rainy days.

2. An umbrella. Same philosophy for the rain boots applies to umbrellas. Get a bright umbrella that is sure to stand out. This Lily Pulitzer version is sure to do the trick.

3. Backpack. Getting a backpack for college is obvious. As I mentioned in my last post, they definitely are more functional and responsible than a huge tote or satchel. When buying a backpack, make sure to get one big enough to hold books, notebooks, and your laptop. They don't have to be boring either. This polka-dotted backpack from Herschel Supply Co. is super cute, and colorful.

4. Dry shampoo. This is for the mornings when your dorm bed somehow feels extra comfortable so you hit the snooze button on your alarm once, or three times. A little of this before 8am classes can go a long way.

5. Small cross body or chain wallet. Almost everyone has heard that carrying a lanyard around your neck is "so freshman". In order to avoid this campus faux pas invest in a small cross body or a chain wallet like this one from Tory Burch to hold your college ID, license, money, and anything else you would normally hold in a forbidden lanyard.

Be sure to check back here regularly for more college and campus related posts. 


Fairytale Wish List: College Edition

Today I officially registered for my college courses. For the curious and nosey (don’t worry, I’m a nosey person too) minds out there I am taking Theology, Art History, English, Italian, and Political Science: American Government and Politics. I thought orientation made me ready for college, but this definitely triumphs. I’m at the point of the summer when I’m bummed its over because it means endless summer nights spent with friends doing absolutely nothing are officially over, but I’m also ecstatic because I am starting a whole new chapter in my life.

My four years of high school consisted of obscene amounts of character development for me. Starting out as a naïve freshman I spent the next four years realizing my values and my beliefs, and finding my voice. Looking back at the girl I was to the woman I became is unbelievable. I don’t consider myself a perfect character though. I still have my flaws and I’m certain I always will. 

With the big transition from high school to college coming up, I’ve found myself in need of a state of mind transition. No longer am I the only child from the suburbs. Now I am being thrown into a dormitory with community bathrooms and a roommate. Another transition I’d like to make is a fashion one. In high school I’ve always been apprehensive about wearing certain outfits and experimenting with certain trends. College is my time to start new, start fresh. If I had unlimited money to spend, these are a few items I'd buy for college.

College Wants

1.     This Kenzo sweatshirt is perfect for when the temperature starts dropping. Its warm, effortless and comfortable without sacrificing style.
2.     Because I’ll be carrying around heavy books, notebooks, and my laptop almost everywhere I go, this backpack is perfect. Also, backpacks eliminate the shoulder pain that comes with satchels.
3.     When the temperature drops even more, this Burberry cape will be extra warm. The muted colors are perfect for winter, and to me, warm capes are the acceptable alternative to wrapping fuzzy blankets around myself.
4.     One of my latest style obsessions are kimonos. They are perfect for layering when its not cold enough for a cardigan. I love the mixture of turquois and emerald green in this Anna Sui kimono.
5.     These Dolce Vita booties are perfect for fall and can be worn with almost anything. The height is semi-reasonable for walking around campus, and the thick heel doesn't hurt either.
6.    Never thought I'd say this but I’m giving into the “wear Nike sneakers with anything” trend. Waking up late for class every once in a while is inevitable, so these black Nikes are perfect for the days when I have to sprint across campus to make it to class.


Of Time

Photo from Teen Vogue

I have a lifetime ahead of me
But all I can think about
Are those few hours I spent with you
Closer than ever
wrapped up, lost in sheets together
I have a lifetime ahead of me
But all I can think about
Is sharing the same space, the same air
So close I could feel your heart beat
To the same rhythm as my own
I have a lifetime ahead of me
But all I can think about
Are your arms, embracing me
Your breath on my shoulder
Our hands entwined
I have a lifetime ahead of me
But all I can think about
Are your lips kissing my shoulder
Wandering across my neck
You loved me, I wanted to love you
I have a lifetime ahead of me
But all I can think about
Are those moments we spent
Our bodies close, Our hearts closer
My mind far off in the distance
I have a lifetime ahead of me
But all I can think about
Is how I rolled over onto my side
Facing away from you
Leaving your love behind me
I have a lifetime ahead of me
But all I can think about
Is how you gave me all
But my mind wandered off
To a place where you were not
I have a lifetime ahead of me
But all I can think about
Is how at that moment
As you tried to love me
I thought I had all the time in the world
I have a lifetime ahead of me
But all I can think about
Is how I was wrong
I wasted time I thought I had
Now my heart aches for more time with you
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Fashionable Philanthropy with Angela & Roi

Though my schedule is always busy, giving back to charity is something I try to save time for. I am always looking for ways to give back so it is no wonder that I fell in love with Angela & Roi the second they approached me about their company.

After sending me an email explaining their company and their cause, I decided I wanted to write a little bit about them and their mission.

What is Angela & Roi
Angela & Roi is an online handbag brand founded by Angela and Roi Lee. The company was created on a strong foundation of morals. Rather than worrying about nothing other than profit, Angela & Roi focuses on customers, and charities.

With Angela & Roi, there is no need to break the bank for a new handbag. They sell classic, yet chic, handbags at reasonable prices.  Another cool thing about the company is that all of their handbags are made with vegan leather.

How is Angela & Roi Philanthropic, and Why Are They SO Unique?
You’ve noticed that I’ve mentioned a few times that Angela & Roi gives back to charity, but you’re probably wondering how. A portion from each handbag sold is donated to a cause.

But, “what charity?” you ask. Well, because of their Donate by Color mission, it depends on the hue of the bag.

Angela & Roi emphasizes the energetic and vivid color of their handbags. Each color is linked with a different charity. 

For example, Colon Cancer traditionally corresponds with the color blue. When someone purchases a blue bag (much like this super cute cross body) five dollars would be donated to benefit a colon cancer charity called Colon Cancer Alliance.

With each handbag comes a ribbon of the color of the bag, to further signify the cause it supports and to raise awareness about the cause.

Whether you purchase a handbag of your favorite color, or you purchase a handbag that is linked to your charity of choice- your purchase will be used for a good cause.

This sounds like fashionable philanthropy if you ask me.

So, in summation: Angela & Roi handbags are chic, vegan, and philanthropic.

Check out my favorite styles of handbags (above), and a list of the charities Angela & Roi supports and their corresponding colors (below).

Also, make sure to check out their amazing handbags at angelaroi.com/

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