A Banjo Fool – #IST646 Final Project

The end is near!

The end of this class that is. Today I finished my FINAL PROJECT!!!

I can honestly say that this project was a labor of love! There were many mishaps, miscommunications, and missed nights of sleep. But it’s as done as it will ever be!

My Final Project is titled “A Banjo Fool.” This story is about how I wanted to surprise my Dad and do something special for him. I decided to learn the banjo. This video is my journey, and mishaps, of learning the banjo.


(P.S. Make sure to watch all the way till the end! There is a surprise after the credits 😀 )


The Short Story of a Short Storyteller – #IST646

When I was young, it was thought that I might be a pathological liar, though I prefer the term “avid storyteller.” I would make up the most fantastic or horrific things that had never happened to my family and proceed to tell absolutely everyone. This would be a good time to note that I got in trouble for lying a lot! As I grew older into school age I became the class clown, always good for a funny story and a laugh. In college, on a whim, I decided that my minor would be Dramatic Production and I took acting class for 4 years. I was never in a play. They always had me work backstage crew because I was a terrible actress. It was no surprise that after working in libraries for several years, in 2013 I was asked to cover a story time for our Youth Services Librarian. I’d seen her do it 100 times, but I was still nervous to get in front of these 3-5 year olds with their pouty lips and “judgy” eyes! Apparently it went well because I continued to cover our Preschool and Baby story times for the next 3 years.

YS Room

Where all my previous performances happened.

Who knows if it’s my constant attention seeking ways or my love of entertainment, but I do love having an audience (even if the audience only comes up to my knees). It seemed like a no-brainer to me that my first Grad class would be Storytelling for the Information Professional. Another note, you should really actually read what the class is about before you register. Silly me thought it would be just like all of my story times! How simple. I’d ace this class. Silly me never saw the description about DIGITAL STORYTELLING. Oh boy. What I thought was going to be a cinch class has challenged me in every possible way for the last 3 weeks. I became so out of my comfort zone that I even considered dropping the class!


Maybe reading the title of the text book would have given me a hint.

The first assignment was to make a short video introducing myself to the rest of the class and our teacher. 2 minutes. My video was 2 minutes long… and it took me 2 HOURS to complete it. What is wrong with me? I  thought as I slumped over my computer at my dining room table. Why was it so hard to think of any interesting facts about myself! The comments on my video were gracious and it boosted my confidence to work full steam ahead on our next assignment!

The second assignment was to record myself telling a tall tale. I calculated that my interpretation of the tale I chose would take me about 2 minutes to recite. 2 minutes. It took me 3 hours to complete! With some tips from my rehearsal buddy, I sat at my table and prepared to record myself. Why was my throat so dry? Why was I sweating? How could I be nervous when there was no one here to listen to me (except for my cat)! The first time I recorded myself I messed up. The second time I messed up again. The third time you could hear my cat meowing in the background! After I finally recorded a semi-ok version, I listened to it. BLECH. My voice! Why is it so loud? I tried again, but now my voice sounded too high! Another try and I was reading so fast that I sounded like an auctioneer! Thoughts started to creep in. Have I always sounded like this? Is this what people hear every day? Why has no one told me that I sound like Fran Drescher from the tv show The Nanny?!?!? I slumped over my laptop in defeat, sighed dramatically, drank some water, and tried again. The next recording didn’t sound half bad and I figured I couldn’t do any better than that. I crossed my fingers and toes and submitted my assignment. My teacher was kind and encouraging in her remarks and gave me a better score than I gave myself!


The noisy culprit. 

Now with our third assignment I am faced with the challenge of writing a story about my storytelling journey, and make it seem not as boring as my real life journey actually is. Friday nights at my library tend to be dead. So with my favorite pen in hand, some scrap paper, and a quiet moment (more like a few quiet hours), I dashed out some notes on what I could possibly write to tell my story. Should I make myself sound cooler than I am (there’s that compulsive liar trait again)? I guess you’ll have to tell me what you think, since you just read it.


#IST646 – First Assignment!

Hello People of the Internet,

I have completed my first assignment for my first ever Grad Class – IST 646 – Storytelling for the Information Professional.

This week we had some great reading assignments and our first Exercise was to record ourselves telling a story. It had to be either a myth, tall tale, or a personal story.

I chose the tall tale of “Babe the Blue Ox.” I picked this story because I’ve been thinking about my Grandpa a lot lately. He passed away last November a few days before Thanksgiving. He was a man of few words, but the stories that he told were always so amazing! He was the first person to ever tell me the story of Paul Bunyan. I remember the first time he told it to me, I thought Paul was a real person! Haha! I wanted to go meet him! I’m sure I didn’t tell the story as good as my Grandpa did, but I gave it a shot!


April 2015 – Birchbox

Yes, I am acutely aware that it is July. But I’ve been suuuuuuper busy going to work and watching YouTube videos and basically doing nothing with my life. Nothing takes up a lot of time. (Or maybe you just suck at blogging Alyssa!!!!!)

IMG_3724 IMG_3725

In April, I opted out of the normal Birchbox choice and I got the special Mad Men box. (Sidenote: I have never watched Mad Men and I know nothing about the show.)

First out of the box was: Not Soap Radio Body Wash, Bathing With Sharks. I picked this out of the box first because it had the word shark on it and the blue color of the body wash was really pretty. Now in this picture I’m sure the bottle looks huge, it is not, look at the picture above for reference. This bottle was tiny and I love to really lather up in the shower. I use way too much body wash all the time, but I don’t care. I love the bubbles. So out of the 3 uses I got out of this, I can say that it was nice. It smelled good, lathered good, and cleaned my body. (Full Size $16)


Next up was: 12 Benefits Instant Healthy Hair Treatment. I’ve heard a lot of good things about 12 Benefits and I know a lot of people swear by their products, but I just wasn’t impressed. I never really saw much of a change in my hair when I used it. I guess it made it a smidgen shinier but that’s about it. (Full Size $21)


Next was: Cynthia Rowley Beauty Brightening Illuminator. I HATED THIS STUFF. I’m still very on the fence about illuminating my cheeks and making them shinier, I feel like if you don’t do it right, it just looks like you have a really sweaty face. (And honestly most of the time I have a really sweaty face.) This stuff was so runny that when I first tried to use it, it looked like I had just put shiny glittery water in my hand. The second time I used it, it was even runnier (is that a word??) and splashed out onto my shorts and stained them. I am not pleased with this product. It’s also almost impossible to blend. No bueno. (Full Size $28)

 IMG_3729 IMG_3728

The perfume scent was : CLEAN. I was not a fan of this scent. It was very musky/mature lady smelling. Not my kind of thing. (Full Size $69)

IMG_3730 IMG_3731

And my favorite thing in the box was: LAQA & Co. Lip Lube Pencil. I love this lip pencil! It is such a pretty bubblegum pink color, it looks amazing on my lips and the color lasts for quite awhile. I HIGHLY recommend this lip pencil for lipstick virgins or for pros!


That’s all for the month of April! Stay beautiful, you fabulous Internet people.

March 2015 – Birchbox


March’s theme for Birchbox was Creativity. On the card it even gave you a little fill in the blank: I feel most creative when I … I never filled the blank in. Just like I never post on my blog. Laziness is an all consuming disease.

First item out of the box was: amika Bombshell Blowout Spray. I would spray this stuff on my hair a few minutes before I would blow dry it in the morning. When I first got this month’s box, I had long hair, later on in April I got 8 inches chopped off (no I don’t know what I was thinking). When my hair was long, I didn’t really see that much of a difference using the spray. It just kind of made my hair smoother. When I had my hair cut, that’s when I started to see the difference. The shorter the hair, the more volume this spray gave me. (Full size $24)


Next I used: Number 4 Clarifying Shampoo and Reconstruction Masque. Now I read up on this shampoo and conditioner before I used it because I’m very wary of what I put on my hair now a days. This stuff is supposed to be some high end French fancy schmancy stuff. Honestly, I didn’t see the big fuss over it. It smelled nice and it lathered great, but I didn’t see this HUGE miracle that it promised me was totally going to happen to my hair. I used it up in about 2 weeks. I don’t think I would ever actually purchase it because it is SO FREAKIN EXPENSIVE. (Full size $32-$72)

IMG_3599 IMG_3602

Next was: Smashbox Cosmetics Be Legendary Lip Gloss in Disco Rose. I love a good lip color… but I hate lip gloss. I know. I’m a failure of a beauty makeup girl. But I just hate lip gloss. It always feels so heavy and sticky on my lips and my hair always gets stuck in it! I will say that for the few minutes I wore it, it has a great color and goes on smoothly. I just hate lip gloss so much. (Full size $20)


Next was the oddly named: Supergoop! Daily Correct CC Cream SPF 40 – Fair/Light. I don’t know who’s in charge of naming things anymore, but Supergoop is not something I would ever call a makeup product. I was hesitant to try it just because it had the word goop in it’s name. This CC cream wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t that great either. It was a nice cream as a primer and as a foundation. It’s most redeeming quality was that it did color correct exactly to my skin shade. (Full size $32)


The last item was: Whish Shave Savour Hair Inhibiting Gel. I really really really wanted this to be some sort of miracle product. When something tells me that it will inhibit me having to shave every day, I get very excited. Honestly, I don’t know if it worked. I shave my legs every day (yes, every day, I’m a hairy beast). I would put this gel on after shaving every morning. The next morning I would still have stubble on my legs… but they weren’t as stubbly? Maybe? I’m not sure. I feel like my judgement was clouded because I wanted this gel to work amazingly and make all of my leg hair disappear. (Full size $26)


And that was my March Box. Stay pretty, people of the internet.

In Response To: Being Called “UnPatriotic”

This post could also be called – “Wow, Alyssa knows a lot of uppity ignorant people on Facebook.”

So recently on Facebook I posted a status about the World Cup. I enjoy soccer a lot, I follow it regularly, and I thought I’d be a little funny. But yet again, my sarcasm always seems to be lost on Facebook. I posted this status as a joke and maybe 1% of people took it as a joke and 99% thought I was serious.


Lord help me the comments I got… In some of my friends/family’s defense – some of them got that it was a joke and left jokey and funny responses. But some people left very VERY very ignorant responses. Most of those idiotic comments got deleted – about 5 or 6 of them. One person even got unfriended because their comment was so ludicrous I physically couldn’t look at it without rolling my eyes. What did most of these comments say? How unpatriotic I was.

UNPATRIOTIC…. Because of soccer.

Do you even know what patriotism is? I don’t think you do…

So… Let’s look at a few definitions: 1. Patriotism – Attachment to one’s homeland or devotion to one’s country. (Gosh, it doesn’t   mention sports teams in there at all.)   2. Patriot – Person who loves, supports, and defends his/her country. A person who regards himself/herself as a defender, especially of individual rights against interference by the federal government. (Man, there is still no mention of soccer in these definitions at all.)   3. Anti-Patriotism – Belief that patriotism is wrong since people are born in a country, whether they like it or not regardless of their individuality, and that they should not be encouraged to live for the country or sacrifice themselves for it. (Gosh darn it the World Cup isn’t in here at all.)

So one could even state that a “true patriot” is someone that loves and defends their country, but does not stand idly by and find no fault in their country or leaders. A “true patriot” will stand up for what they know is best for their country and stand by the best leaders.

I’m so sorry that I will not stand idly by and support a subpar soccer team. Shame on me. How could I. I must be deported immediately. 

Saying you are a patriot, or you are patriotic for that matter, doesn’t make you one. Waving a flag, while wearing red white and blue, listening to “Sweet Home Alabama” played by a middle aged rock band after the National Anthem has just played at a 4th of July parade does not make you patriotic.


My status was a joke aimed at how the average ‘soccer-ignorant’ American is only cheering for the US team because it’s the US. I was not trying to mock those who have supported the US team for awhile and are knowledgeable about soccer. I was poking fun of how all of a sudden all of America is into soccer when about a month ago, most Americans wouldn’t even know anything about it. I was not making fun of those who love America, it’s soccer team, and all it has to offer as a country. My status was set up to prove the point that most of the general American public has no idea what’s going on in the World Cup and that they blindly support their country team. That’s the backbone of America now-a-days : Everyone wants to be included, even if they have no idea what’s going on. 

The current “betting odds” of the US team winning the World Cup are 150/1. Those aren’t the worst odds, but they are far far far from the best. 

I grew up with a sports loving Father, who encouraged me to cheer for who I thought was the best, and who I loved. He told me never to choose a team just because he liked them, or a friend liked them, or the majority liked them. Hence why my Father’s favorite football team is the Oakland Raiders… 

My World Cup support is split right now between Brazil and Argentina. I enjoy watching both teams play, they are energetic and fun to watch. They both have amazing players and I’ve always been fond of Brazilian soccer players. Argentina was an added bonus after I saw some clips of the team on YouTube. I’m happy that both teams are doing well at this point. Most professionals – no matter what country they are from – predict that Brazil or Argentina will win. In fact, the only people who think the US team will win the World Cup, is your average American on the street. (If I’m wrong, I’m wrong. Here’s to hoping that if the US team wins, my terrible error in judgement will soon be forgotten and I will be forgiven of my traitorous ways.)

Is it unpatriotic if I don’t cheer for my home team because they aren’t my favorite? How is turning my back on what I personally like, making me more American? As someone who loves watching and playing soccer, and considers myself at least a little bit knowledgeable about the sport, is it wrong that I view my country’s team as subpar? Does my happiness with Brazil and Argentina make me unpatriotic? 

I don’t think so. 

My Hobby

One of my (very few) hobbies is making friendship bracelets. I started years ago, developing the talent from being a counselor at summer camp. My sister and my friend Becky taught me how to do 3 different patterns and after that I would make bracelets constantly.

When I lived in South Carolina, I was alone a lot and as someone who has anxiety attacks, being on my own was very stressful. But I found that if I was constantly occupied with something, I couldn’t dwell on the fact that I was alone or lonely. I would sit for hours and listen to music or binge watch a TV show and just make bracelet after bracelet. I would send them off to my camp friends in a huge package. The summer and fall of 2011 was quite possibly one of the worst times of my entire life and I think I made about 300 bracelets during that time. It became an obsession. Even after I moved back to New York I would sit on my bed and make bracelets. I wasn’t alone anymore, but it became like an obsession to me – almost like a security blanket. Something I needed to do to feel better. 

And as I sit alone in my apartment now, I feel the familiar tug to sit and make bracelets and occupy my mind so I don’t dwell on other things.

But what is one to do, with hundreds of friendship bracelets, and no one to give them to.