Alyssa J Cori

January 13, 2021

Artifact Uprising Wedding Layflat Photo Album Review

I've shared wedding photos sporadically on the blog and digitally with friends and family, but I knew I wanted to create a tangible reminder of the day. After a good deal of research I decided to create our wedding album with Artifact Uprising and today I wanted to share what albums I considered, what the process was like of creating the album, and the end result. 
Click to read now or pin to save for later! This post is a review of the Artifact Uprising Wedding Layflat Photo Album

The two albums I considered

I pretty much knew I would either get our wedding album from Artifact Uprising or Shutterfly. I've been a long time Shutterfly customer and have been happy with the quality of items I've gotten from them before, but when I investigated their wedding albums I wasn't sold. They have two different layflat options and a standard hardcover book. I found the prices to be on the higher end and I wasn't into the aesthetic of the page designs. 

At Artifact Uprising there are a few wedding albums to choose from. I narrowed it down to the Signature Layflat Photo Album and the Wedding Layflat Photo Album, which is what I ultimately went with. The price and quality were most in line with what I wanted, and I quickly got to work narrowing down my favorite photos to include. 

How I created our wedding album

Something that drew me to Artifact Uprising was the simplicity of the spreads. I wanted the photos to stand out and was very conscious about not overwhelming the book. I narrowed down the photos I wanted to include and made sure all of the large and small moments were represented in the 10 spreads I had available. You can add more pages, but I wanted to focus on choosing the most special and impactful photos. 

Each spread had a theme. For us it was: 
  1. some details shots to set the scene
  2. photos with my immediate family
  3. a bride spread (yes, I got my own because I'm the bride!)
  4. bridal party and Joe's family
  5. a portrait of Joe and one of me
  6. the ceremony
  7. the first kiss
  8. the first dance, best man's speech, and cake cutting
  9. family photos
  10. friend photos and a final kissing shot

I chose to have some photos the spread across two pages and some that stretched across one entire page. I also switched up the layouts and made sure it wasn't repetitive. 

The end result

I'm in love. The quality is excellent with the Lustre pages, the colors are vibrant, and it's something we will cherish for years to come! I found that the 10x10 size was perfect, and we really didn't need more than 10 spreads to tell the story. It came in a sturdy white box for storage and the photos that were spread across two pages weren't impacted by the seam. The pages are thick and the fabric cover is lovely. I'd definitely recommend using Artifact Uprising and be sure to search for a coupon code. I was able to use one from a YouTuber I follow for 15% off. 

Let me know if you have any questions! I had such a hard time finding unsponsored reviews, so I would be happy to be a resource if needed. 

-Alyssa J

January 6, 2021

2020: Year in Review

This year in review looks different from my previous ones (check out 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019), mainly because I went a lot fewer places. However, there were some amazing, standout moments and I'm excited to keep this tradition alive for the 7th year. 
Click to read now or pin to save for later! Check out the highlights of 2020

The year started off with fun in the city and really settling into my role at Looker. We had our annual sales kick off in San Diego and I was inspired to grow my sales skills heading into the start of the year.

My birthday celebrations were a ton of fun - Joe took me for dinner at the Met and my girlfriends got together for brunch.

We visited with Maddi and Dylan in the city and had a blast eating delicious food and playing games. Looking back and knowing that lockdown was right around the corner, it's even more special to remember that carefree time. 

In March I became a Googler! This year ended up holding great things for me professionally, despite the fact that I could no longer visit customers in person. In fact, I exceeded my personal goal and am really proud of what I achieved.

I learned how to cook more in 2020 and have been making spaghetti and meat sauce nonstop. 

Joe and I enjoyed so many picnics over the summer. 2020 was also a HUGE year for reading. I read the most books and pages since I started tracking in 2014 - 43 books and 16,018 pages.

Socially distanced hangouts were great over the summer! From walks, to getting ice cream, to playing tennis, it felt so good to see friends in person.

Having a bridal shower was such fun and I was grateful to get to celebrate with the women in my life. While everyone couldn't be there and we had to exercise caution, I am so glad it was able to happen. 

A big accomplishment this year was seeing every single section of the Met and documenting it on Instagram! The museum was closed for months, but I was able to visit each section and finished on the very last day of the year!

We got married!!! I finally ordered our wedding album and can't wait to share details on the process of putting that together.

The honeymoon was fun and relaxing and we felt so lucky to be able to go on a short getaway. 

Our first married Christmas followed soon after and was a sweet way to close out what ended up being a very eventful year. 

Looking back on this year, what are you the most grateful for? What stood out? Happy new year!

-Alyssa J

December 30, 2020

December 2020 Monthly Recap

So excited to be writing the last monthly recap post of 2020! Next week I'll publish my annual year end review. While there will be many things that went wrong, I have a feeling I'll realize that there were many more things that went well. Until then, let's dive into the last recap of this wild year.
Click to read now or pin to save for later. Check out what I was up to in December!

More Met photos always, because I can't stay away. 

Joe and I visited the NY Historical Society and that had a very cool exhibit on about Bill Graham, with tons of memorabilia. 

Sheetal and I went to Bryant Park in search of, what else, hot chocolate. 

I got in the Christmas spirit by watching White Christmas, getting hot chocolate, and going to Rockefeller Center. 

Our neighborhood looked so festive and it was especially beautiful after the snow storm. 

More Met.

I got Joe a surprise virtual sandwich making class on Airbnb to celebrate his birthday and we had so much fun!

We went to see family for Christmas, and it was so great to spend our first Christmas together!

Some of the festivities included seeing a home decorated with an unreal amount of blow ups and taking down our tree to prepare for the new year. 

How was your December? Are you ready for this year to be over, or are you sad to see the holiday season go? 

-Alyssa J

December 23, 2020

2020 Blog Post Favorites

Last year I wrote a "Favorites of 2019" blog post and it made me feel completely nostalgic. I wrote about my favorite concerts and live performances, and the photo I used for the post was of a bustling street fair. Little did I know, all of that was to disappear in 2020. This year I've decided to do a roundup of my favorite blog posts, which pretty much represent what was going on throughout the year. Let's jump in!
Click to read now or pin to save for later! Check out the best blog posts of 2020

This pretty much sums up all I did this year: read! There wasn't much else to do in my downtime, so many, many books were devoured. 

I was so excited to announce this series at the start of the year, but completing it got put on hold because of the pandemic. I still have a few sections to go, but made great progress once they opened back up at the end of the summer. 

This was another post that I wrote at the start of the year that quickly became irrelevant 😂

Posted this at the end of March so I could have a time capsule of sorts...little did I know at the time how many opportunities I would have to report from isolation!

If these aren't 2020 posts, I don't know what are. 

This was my one sponsored post of 2020 and it was very appropriate considering that we did in fact, despite the odds, get married this year. I was really happy with how the photography turned out for this post. 

These were two of my most in-depth posts this year and show that all of my energy has been focused on the museum and work!

I am so proud of our wedding and how quickly and beautifully it was planned. Also did a whole post on how I used Google tools to manage it all...are we seeing a theme? This was the highlight of the year and I was very excited to share how we made it happen. 

There you have it, my favorite posts of 2020! Ideally next year will be filled with more travel, going to shows, and another, larger wedding, but we'll just have to wait and see 😅

-Alyssa J

December 16, 2020

The 10 Best Books Of Quarantine (aka 2020)

Ahhh, 2020. One of the happy things that this year brought was more time for reading than ever before, and my reading stats certainly showcase this! I read more than 15,000 pages (to give you context, the most pages I had read in a year up to this point was 12,000+ in 2019) and more than 40 books. 
Click to read now or pin to save for later! Check out the best books I read in 2020

Today I wanted to share my very top reads from this year to inspire you with titles you can add to your to-read-list in 2021. I'm sharing all of my five star books and my top five four star books. 

If you're looking for more reading inspiration, check out this post of a book gift guide and this post about how to read more each year. 

Five Star Books ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towels
This was the best book I read in 2020. I loved this novel! Adult/child relationships make me so happy and this was the centerpiece of the story for me. The main character, the Count, is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol hotel as communism rises in Russia. His life and the story unfolds within the confines of the hotel, but feels as wide and varied as any tale. From interacts with a famous actress, to statesmen, to the staff, Towles gives us a lifetime of experiences over decades with the Count. Highly recommend!

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
So in love with this book. Normally I don’t read fiction set during WWII, but have heard such good things about this novel and it did not disappoint! It follows two key characters: a blind girl from Paris and an engineering protégée in Germany. From the early rumblings of war, through to the end you follow these two as they survive and live their lives as best they can. Their paths ultimately cross because of their respective duties (don’t want to give too much away) and it’s a very satisfying read. With beautiful language and fast chapters it’s easy to get sucked in.

Music for Chameleons by Truman Capote
I'd forgotten how much I enjoy short stories! In this book you get a mix of short stories, followed by a longer story, followed by more short stories - win, win, win. From conversations with Marilyn Monroe, to unsolved murders, to unusual and ordinary people in unique situations, this book is a delight at each page. The writing is compelling and there's something delicious about just getting a small taste of each character.

Joan of Arc by Mark Twain
I love Mark Twain. I love how much Mark Twain loved Joan of Arc. Therefore, I love Mark Twain’s Joan of Arc. Joan’s story is told by her childhood friend, turned secretary, and it follows her from her young life, to her soldiering days, to her martyrdom. On every page you can feel how much Twain admires Joan and her story is beautifully told. While it’s not quite as humorous as his other works, I did laugh throughout and appreciated the fine use of language Twain is known for. He said he likes Joan of Arc best of all his books, and I’d have to agree.

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie
I re-read this book in 2020 after reading it for the first time in 2014, and it is still a 5 star standout! Dale Carnegie has a way of weaving together advice, stories, science, and faith in a compelling and inspiring way. Putting challenges into perspective and realizing the physical, emotional, and relationship benefits of setting aside worry have re-inspired me to take a look at my life and habits. Highly recommend this book.

Four Star Books ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
I tore through this book in two days - what a thrill! The story, character development, and writing style all made this an immersive read. It follows the life of a girl who grows up completely on her own in a marsh in North Carolina in the '50s and '60s. Her resilience and creativity help her to survive, but she is forever impacted by the way she was abandoned. She gets close to few people in her life, and is misunderstood by many. The story ultimately centers around a murder trial where she is the defendant. Highly recommend this novel!

The Little Friend by Donna Tartt
I love Donna Tartt and was completely taken with her other two works. The subject of The Little Friend was interesting and different than anything I've read before. Her prose is wonderful, her characters captivating, and her stories engaging. The Little Friend follows Harriet, a 12 and a half year old girl who sets out to avenge the death of her brother that occurred when she was just an infant. There is a wide cast of characters and plenty of action, making the long book go by fast.

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
So. Good. This book is in the format of interviews with members of a band and the important people surrounding their rise to fame. With sex, drugs, and alcohol you can’t get much more rock and roll than this! I loved the pacing of the book and the characters, and the '70s was a fun time period to read about (it’s great for fans of Fleetwood Mac...). Highly recommend!

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
The first 3/4 of this book were very good, and the last 1/4 was great! I read The Night Circus and had high expectations for this Morgenstern book. The concept of an underground world where books and stories are treasures appealed to me as a reading lover, and the scenes in Manhattan were up my alley. This was a mystical and ever twisting story in a story that I would highly recommend!

A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allenden
This is a phenomenal novel of a time period I don’t often read about. Spanning the Spanish Civil War, WWII, the fall of dictatorship in Chile, you get to experience so many life altering events. The story follows an unlikely family and their strength and courage throughout all of their experiences across the world. I was invested, interested, and learned much about events I was previously unfamiliar with.

What were the best books you read in 2020? 

-Alyssa J