Living Loved

Alyssa: Interior design major, sustainability minor, casual photographer, lover of Jesus. Engaged to Joey. Occasionally funny. Reader, writer, thinker. Everyone's big sister. INTJ.
Who I'm Following

Someone at Joey’s school started a “humans of” page, and Joey was on it. I love this picture of him. (x)

A Map of the Introvert’s Heart

Sometimes I don’t realize how much of an Introvert I am. Then I see one of these things, and I’m just like… whoa… such an introvert.

(via -theperfectmistake)

NAME: Alyssa 
DOB: May 31, 1994
GENDER: Female
TAGGING: no one, because I can’t remember things right now. Maybe do it if you’ve followed me recently and tag me so I can read about you?

SELFIE: I took like 10 because I couldn’t decide if I should look like I was having fun or not caring. So I went with both. And black and white to disguise my makeup-free face.




FOOD: Cake, probably. Crab. Macaroni and cheese. 

MOVIE: I have a top ten list for this, so I’ll go with my recent Netflix favorites: Short Term 12 (might end up in my top 10), A Royal Affair (good foreign language film/ awesome acting), What Maisie Knew (awesome), Best Man Down (surprisingly good).

TV SHOWS: There’s a list for this one, too. Currently making my way through Leverage, and I love every minute of it. Next up is probably one of the Netflix shows (Orange is the New Black/ House of Cards). 

BAND: Tenth Avenue North (always), currently kind of obsessed with Bastille, also always love Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors and the Kopecky Family Band.

PLACE: Wherever Joey is. Also Minori, Italy. Tivoli, Italy. Venice, Italy. The quiet, beautiful places I went. Yeah… Italy was nice.

SCHOOL SUBJECT: I’ve always aced English. Contrary to my writing in this post, I can generally write pretty well. Sometimes I’m even interesting. (Obviously I like my design classes now that I’m in school to be an interior designer.)

ACTOR: Ummm… Chris Evans. Colin Morgan. I don’t know. I like most movies, so also most actors I guess?

ACTRESS: Maggie Smith, Emma Watson (as a person, mostly?), Jennifer Lawrence (is not overrated)

SIBS: Younger sister. She’s 19 and cooler than me. Everyone agrees. It’s a fact.

DREAM JOB: Photojournalist, probably. 

FEAR: rejection and abandonment 

RELIGION: Christianity

TATTOOS: none. maybe one day, but that day is not today

PIERCINGS: I’ve had doubles in my ears, cartilage, and my nose. Only my singles on my ears are left. 

LANGUAGES: English and enough Spanish to get the gist of what I’m reading.


reason behind my url: I’ve had 3, each representing a different stage in my life, although that wasn’t really my intent at the time of choosing each one. I chose liveasloved because I’m working on living my life in a way that reflects the love that has been showered on me throughout my life— from God, my parents, Joey, and all the other people who have invested in me over the years. yeah.

# of blogs: Lol…. I have 4 blogs. This one, obviously. I also have a college blog (aka my decoy blog), a beauty blog (which has good posts but is generally really neglected), and a blog with pictures of words (idk? I like it and I make all the images).

I don’t think I ever told you guys about Pompeii and how it was the scariest and best day of my life.

Okay, so we were living in Rome, which is less than 2 hours by train from Naples. Naples is on the coast, and you can get to Capri and Pompeii very easily from there.

Pompeii was one of my dream destinations, and when we were planning, all my friends agreed that sure, Pompeii was a good idea. But when it came down to actually booking the trip, no one wanted to go to Pompeii after all— they wanted to see Capri; no one was willing to adjust the schedule in a way that allowed us to do both.

I was upset, to say the least. (Furious if we want to be totally honest… hurt, too.) But I was also feeling particularly stubborn, and I felt that heat in my chest that’s always there when the switch inside me goes from “go with the flow, dude” to “I am not backing down; death first.” 

So I get on the train to Naples with my group. I’ve done a little bit of research. I know I need to get on a particular bus and get off at the Pompeii stop (okay, not that much research). So my friends are heading off to Capri, and I feel my resolve weakening, and I decide I need to walk away before I end up not to go to Pompeii after all. My group kind of waves and they all shout something along the lines of “don’t get kidnapped” at my back. Awesome.

(Side note: after I finally make it back to the group about 10 hours later, they all say they were about to chase me down and not let me go; but none of them cared enough to actually stop me/ go with me, which is bogus in my book.)

If this story is just not matching the picture for you, hold on, I’m getting there. I’m still on the scary part.

So I’m in Naples— which is dirty and run down and reminded me of the places in St. Louis that I try to stay away from; not many people speak English, so I’m relying on my Spanish skills and the little bits of Italian that I’ve picked up in my 3 weeks there. After a lady literally takes me by the hand to the correct bus stop, I have to go find a place to buy a ticket. Approximately 8 bars later, I’m back to the bus stop, almost in tears. If I could have gone to Capri at this point, I would have. But that boat had (literally) sailed.

It’s 11:25 and I’m waiting for the 11:30 bus. And then it’s noon. And I’m standing on the street with all my things for the weekend shoved into my backpack. I’ve got makeup and sunscreen and my camera, but I realize I haven’t packed any food other than a bag of almonds. I’ve already finished most of my water. Where is the 11:30 bus? The man next to me says it’s not reliable on the weekends. I poke my head into every bus that stops, anxiously asking, “a Pompeii?” and get head shakes as the response every time. I keep trying to pick up a wifi signal to let my someone know I’m still alive, but I don’t dare wander too far away from the bus stop.

It’s 12:10, a bus is coming, and the man next to me says this is the 11:30 bus going to Pompeii. I feel instant relief, and I climb onto the coach bus. I sit by myself and jiggle my leg and check to make sure I still have all my money and eat my almonds. For half an hour, I watch the dirty streets of Naples turn into the mountainous countryside surrounding Pompeii. 

Then my bus shrieks to a stop and hits the car in front of it. (I swear I’m not making this up.) Everyone in the bus slams into the seat in front of them, and I hear someone say “Ouch!” 


I lean toward the seat I heard the voice come from and ask the couple, “Are you American?”


I laugh the most relieved laugh probably ever and introduce myself. The bus driver climbs back onto the bus (apparently having solved the issue of the damaged Mini Cooper) and drops us all off in Pompeii. I have now decided that this couple is my new set of friends.

They introduce themselves and Jahtania and Niko, from Vancouver, currently traveling through Europe. They’ve been to Amsterdam, Croatia, Greece, and are now making their way through Italy. (After we part ways and friend each other on Facebook, I watch them make their way to Portugal, Spain, France, and Germany.)

We spend the day hiking through Pompeii. We share stories and tell each other about our lives. We fill our water bottles with Pompeii fountain water. I tell them about Joey, and they say they wish he was here to have fun with us. We take our time, regret not grabbing maps, and tag along with other tour groups to hear the good stories.

We finally end up in the courtyard of an ancient vinyard. It’s been replanted, and a fruit tree grows in the center, creating a shady place to sit. We take our sweaty backpacks off and lean against the stone walls, lingering and enjoying the atmosphere of this ancient space.

I realize that it’s late in the afternoon, and I haven’t really eaten all day… nor did I think to bring lunch (but hey, if we find a swimming pool, I have my suit!)

Niko pulls out a loaf of bread, a hunk of cheese, and a roll of salami. He and Jahtania offer to share with me. (At this point, I could swear I’m in a book. This is what every adventuring heroine eats for lunch, right?)

We eat our sandwiches together, and it’s one of the best meals I have in Italy. Something about the simplicity and contentment of the meal still lingers in my mouth when I think about that day. While we eat, we’re looking at the fruit tree, seeing if we can find any good fruit to pick. They’re all at the top; earlier visitors had stripped the lower branches.

Jahtania and Niko, cracking up laughing, try to get some fruit from the higher branches. That’s when I snapped this picture. 

The rest of the day was a happy blur. We stayed until we were tired of wandering. I found 10 Euros on the ground in one of the houses and used it to buy my new friends lemon ices outside the gates while we cooled off in the shade of a nearby house. I saw lemons as big as watermelons. (That’s the specialty in that area- lemons!) We made our way to the train station and went in opposite directions— I headed toward Positano; they returned to Naples. 

From there, I took the train and two buses to get to Minori, which is a tiny seaside town with two streets and a few restaurants and the kindest inn owner in the world. 

I pulled into Minori on the 9 pm bus, and my friends were all waiting at the corner with worried looks on their faces. They had started to look for me— sending out Facebook messages to people they had heard were going to Pompeii that day, sending me dozens of frantic texts that I received in bulk when I got on wifi next. It was a full-on sorority girl search.

I greeted them with a big, sunburned smile. Alyssa, the solo traveler. Of course I was fine. I can do anything. It was the most empowering day of my life.

I write because I do not know what I think until I read what I say.
Flannery O’Connor

(via certainlittlething)

Um I designed and built this thing. You can read the stuff I wrote about it here. But for now, just enjoy the pictures. I think it’s kind of pretty.

Also, I’m pretty proud, because it was chosen (along with six others) to be built full-scale with a team of my classmates. And, granted, that’s like 1/3 of our class, but it still makes me feel good, because I kind of think of myself as one of the least creative people in my year. Like, I excel in problem solving and the practical aspects of design, but I am not an “outside the box” thinker most days.

So anyway. I like this. It feels like a good start to the year. Now we have to figure out how to build it big.

This video is stupid accurate. Pardon the language.

Currently on step 4. Considering elopement.

  • Joey and I will be married 3 years before we can rent a car. So I guess we’ll travel internationally for a few years then do stateside travel after? Or road trip our newly married selves everywhere. (Joey loves the idea of road trips. I love the idea of making playlists for road trips. I also love sleeping in the car.)
  • I need my car to last at least two more years, so I can drive myself right up to the point where we can afford a car payment.
  • We’re getting married before he’s finished with school but after I’m finished with school and I don’t know how that’s going to work, but I know it’s going to and this relationship is consistently my biggest leap into the void… and I think that’s a good thing.
  • I’m taking a break from wedding planning right now, and I’m so glad I asked that Joey allow time for a long engagement so I could take my sweet time planning this thing. Will resume after fall break to maintain sanity and perspective.
  • My new roommate does not speak for more than one sentence at a time and changes under her robe. I know nothing about her except that she likes classic rock and still wears mismatched socks and tries to help her little sister with trig homework and doesn’t wear any makeup and I don’t know if she’s just quiet or doesn’t like me.
  • I was sick all weekend, and it was the loneliest I’ve felt in a very long time. All I wanted was to be held, but there was no one here to hold me. Or get me medicine or remind me to eat or bring me my inhaler when I was gasping for air through a barrage of coughs.
  • I miss human touch. I am rarely, if ever, hugged while I’m at school, and I feel that absence like an aching in my chest. 
  • I try to be really conscious of my consumerism and keep it to a minimum. Like, I rarely buy new clothes and still have an iPhone 4 and limit my purchases to necessities and things I can get for free with Birchbox points. But I really really would like an iPhone 6; I can’t decide if that’s a justified want or not… But I’ve been using this dang thing since 2012, and I watched all my friends get a 5 that year, and then get the 5s/c the next year and then all get iPads in that time and I’m still sitting here with a 4 and a notebook.
  • It’s possible that I overthink everything. My mom is going to read this some time tomorrow and roll her eyes at me. But she won’t say that to me because I made her agree that if she’s going to read my blog, she’s not allowed to bring it up in daily conversation. (Hi, Mom. I love you.)
  • I designed this cool work module thing in studio, and it was kind of an inter-class competition, and mine was chosen to be built full-scale. Which is really an honor and is kind of validating as a designer… but a) I’m scared it’s going to crash and burn when we try to build this thing and b) I think some people don’t think mine deserved to be chosen.
  • I have the most dualistic perception of self. Because on one hand, I’m very confident in my mind and my ability to think/reason/understand. And I also think I’m a generally kind person who makes a good friend. But on the other hand, I 100% hate myself and the way I look and I’m pretty sure I’m the most annoying person ever. I just have literally zero understanding about how other people think of me, but I just always assume they despise me and that I deserve that? But also screw them because I am a cool person? How do these feelings both exist inside me at the exact same time?
  • I want to give every girl a tutorial on eyebrows because I have it down to a science and I have actually done research, but like I would never be rude and point out that someone doesn’t have the correct shape for their face because WHAT IF THEY LIKE THEM THAT WAY? I. don’t. even. know. But also, I’ve considered putting up signs and waxing people’s eyebrows on the cheap in my dorm room as a little side business. 
  • I am having a hard time reconciling myself to the fact that I’m almost like a real adult who will have to cook for herself and have a rent payment and a job and not measure my life in semesters. And like, what is that even like? I do not feel prepared for real life or however it is that people refer to life after college. But I’m also glad I get to figure it out with Joey. And also that my mom is so smart. Praise Jesus for my mother.

Face. Desk. Please tell me no one read the whole thing?

We don’t learn to love each other well in the easy moments. Anyone is good company at a cocktail party. But love is born when we misunderstand one another and make it right, when we cry in the kitchen, when we show up uninvited with magazines and granola bars, in an effort to say, I love you.
Shauna Niequist, Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table, with Recipes

(via at--treelevel)

Dead Sea, Israel

Photograph by George Steinmetz, National Geographic

Swimmers float effortlessly in the salt-laden waters of the Dead Sea near Ein Bokek, Israel. Ten times saltier than seawater, the lake is extremely buoyant and a popular destination for holidaymakers. It’s also Earth’s lowest point on land.

(via -theperfectmistake)

8,359 plays
Imaginary Friend,
Fire Escape

I Knew This Would Be Love - Imaginary Friend

(via aladylostinlove)

But God has told us for centuries now, that the fundamental problem with man is his very heart. This is something twisted, almost demonic, within the very heart of man. The Bible uses the word sin. It makes it explicit that this is the heart of man, and implicit is that statement, that the bent of man is towards evil, and imagination.
Ravi Zacharias

(via johnnyis)

Last night: sleepy, feverish, and voiceless Alyssa convinces Joey to tell her a bedtime story. But not just any story; sick Alyssa wants to hear “the story of us.”

Joey tells the first chapter, which spans six months, about how two fifteen-year-olds bonded over music and flirted in Spanish class and fumbled their way into a first date… where their parents drove. He leaves off after that fateful night in late May of 2010, when he asked his future wife if she will be his girlfriend. 

succulent // devra

fibonacci sequence. I love how visible it is in succulents.

(via elentaire)

My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

(via cafespirit)