As promised, it’s finally time for “20 Questions With Alyssa.” I know a lot of you have been submitting some really good questions that you want answered, such as my favorite foods, favorite places to travel, and what I would do if I wasn’t a blogger. While I can’t answer them all, I am very happy to answer some!
Capulet top (also love this striped version on sale), LK Bennett skirt (sold out, similar here), Loeffler Randall shoes (also available here), Chanel bag, Stila lipstick in Perla
20 Questions With Alyssa
1. Did you go to college? If so what did you major in?
I tried out all kinds of schools after I graduated high school. While in high school I always had visions and dreams of attending nearby Princeton and studying history, but that ended up not happening. At age 17, I was offered a scholarship to an acting conservatory in NYC. At the time, I had only done theater but I was interested in acting in film and television. I was able to graduate high school a year early and I moved to NYC to attend the conservatory. Unfortunately after one semester, I realized I wasn’t happy while acting on camera and I dropped out of the school. I then enrolled in a local community college to study history and anthropology. A couple of years later, I found myself attending culinary school in NYC (which I LOOOOOOOOOVED). So, needless to say, I was a bit all over the place after high school. But if I could go back to college now, I’d still study history, French, and maybe PR as well.
2. What do you think your cats would say to you if they could talk?
“Woman, you’re insane.” “Please stop kissing my head.” “WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU TWO BEEN FOR THE LAST THREE WEEKS?!” “How many times are you going to watch Downton Abbey?” “I JUST WANT TO GO OUTSIDE.” “Thank you for the big lovely couch. I shall now take up ALL of the space.” “Hey I just pooped in the litter box. You may want to light some incense.” “I WANT FOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD GIVE ME FOOOOOOOOOOOD.” “Thanks for buying me my own tempurpedic cat bed. I shall now sleep in this Sephora box.”
3. I love food but I don’t want to gain so much weight from traveling and eating. Seeing you love to travel too, do you have tips on how to keep in shape?
First off, I need to acknowledge that everyone’s body is different. My genes are different from yours, from my besties, and also my husband’s. I’ve been naturally thin all my life no matter what I do (also thanks to 3 stomach conditions but I won’t be going into that just now). My advice is to travel as much as you can and eat what you want. The best way to stay in shape while traveling is WALKING. Forget hiring an Uber or hailing a taxi. Walk! When Tor and I traveled to Italy for two weeks on our honeymoon, we never hired a taxi once. We walked EVERYWHERE. If walking isn’t enough for you, squats are an easy workout you can do in your hotel room without needing any exercise equipment.
4. I was wondering if you have ever experienced any anxiety and if you have how do you cope/handle it?
I do suffer from anxiety. I was diagnosed with an anxiety and panic disorder back in 2011. It’s taken me a lot of time with doctors and therapists to get to a better headspace today. It’s not easy, especially when you’re a workaholic like me and anxiety tries to get in the way (it’s happened on many trips). I don’t dwell on my anxiety because I refuse to let it control me or take over me. The best way to calm down during a panic attack is to lay down and ground yourself – imagine a warm sensation blanketing you, starting at the tip of your toes and slowly moving all the way up to the top of your head. I will be honest and say none of this works for me when I fly though – I just have to use Xanax for that!
5. How do you stay so productive working from home?
This is a good question! I am always working, though. I am one of those weirdos who looks forward to Monday mornings because I love receiving emails. Sometimes I will work on the blog until 11:30 at night or even 2 am. When you find something you love to do, your passion kind of takes over and I think that’s what happens with me. I should have a better lifestyle schedule so I make sure work doesn’t completely absorb me, but I always feel inspired at all times throughout the day. I try to get outside as often as I can though, since being cooped up all day in my home isn’t healthy.
6. Who are your biggest style inspirations?
The Duchess of Cambridge, Amal Clooney, Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Kennedy.
7. How do you choose your travel destinations? You visit so many different places, is there any rhythm you do while choosing where to go?
I will elaborate more on this in a future blog post, but for now I can share that I love choosing travel destinations based on time of year and if there is a special occasion. For example, we recently chose Cabo for Tor’s birthday since we were looking for a summer beach escape. We chose Napa Valley a few weeks ago for our anniversary since grapes were in season and vines were in bloom. We chose Austria in December because Tor knows how obsessed I am with the Christmas season and their Christmas decor comes out as well as their Christmas markets open in November. We chose Iceland in January because we wanted to see snow and the Northern Lights, plus it’s the least expensive time to visit. A lot of research goes into these travels to make sure it’s the best time to go for us and what we can highlight/feature that’ll attract our readers to book their own tickets.
8. Who was the first person or what was the first thing you thought of when you won Miss USA?
First person: Torrance
First thought: “Holy crap, who is going to drive my car back to LA?”
9. If you could only keep 5 pieces of clothing, what would they be?
10. Is there anything you would change about your modeling career in the past?
I probably would have moved to LA first before attempting it in NYC, and I wouldn’t have let myself feel pressured to pose in certain ways. I also probably would have complained less.
11. What is your favorite part about being married?
Honestly, marriage doesn’t feel completely different from our dating life except now we share a last name and call each other “husband” and “wife”. We were living together for four years before we got married, and we have been working together on the blog for the last three years. With that said, I’d say my favorite part now is we get to share a last name.
12. What is your favorite breakfast food?
Fluffy, buttery, chocolate chip pancakes. Banana bread French toast is a close second.
13. What is your advice for long distance relationships?
This is a great question, considering Tor and I have been in one since we met in 2010. We have discovered communication is KEY KEY KEY. Tor and I realized the other night that we have spoken to each other, whether in person or on the phone, EVERY SINGLE DAY since we first met in person in July 2010. While a voice isn’t the same as being able to hug someone you love in person, it’s definitely helpful when it comes to distance.
14. What is your favorite part about traveling and sharing your experience on the blog?
There are two things I have always loved – scrapbooking/photo albums and travel. I have always wanted to travel. My parents could even tell you that when I was a child, the only store I wanted to visit in the mall was Waldenbooks (RIP) and I’d run straight to the travel section. That’s still the case whenever I walk by our local Barnes & Noble – I head straight for the travel books. I love getting to see the world, and the blog is a way for me to share these parts of the world with my dedicated readers. For me, the blog is like a great big online photo album. Some readers have been to these places and it brings back memories, and others have it on their list and needed some inspiration to head there themselves. I am someone who loves to encourage others, so the blog’s travel category is a way for me to encourage people to see the world.
15. What’s your favorite TV show?
At the moment it’s a tie between Downton Abbey and The Crown.
16. How did you manage to turn The A List from a blog to a business? Was that planned from the beginning when The A List was rebranded?
I started blogging more as a hobby while in Canada as Tor filmed Reign (see that story here). When I realized it was becoming more of a business than just a website to post my favorite outfit pictures, I rebranded and gave it a new name titled The A List. We also registered it as a business. I always had hoped that the blog might become something bigger than what it was when I first began in 2014, and after growing an audience and realizing what more I could offer on the site, we took it to the next step.
17. How did you and Torrance meet?
Read the story here.
18. Who is your favorite royal?
Currently, I love the Duchess of Cambridge (obviously) and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark. In history, I can relate to being a traditionalist like Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II, but lately I find myself more and more fascinated with King George V’s wife, Queen Mary of Teck.
19. Out of all the amazing things you’ve done in your life, which is your favorite?
Besides adopting my two cats and meeting my husband? Just kidding. My favorite thing I have ever done is start my own business at age 24. If you had told me 10 years before that that I would one day be running my own business in my 20’s, I would have laughed in your face and also probably sweated at the prospect of all the hard work that would have to go into it. I love knowing that many years from now, I can look back on all of my triumphs, my failures, my successes, and my mistakes with a smile on my face knowing I did it all myself.
And for the most asked question of all (85% of your questions included this one!):
20. When will you and Torrance have a baby?
I’ll be honest, we find this question a bit rude since we get asked this CONSTANTLY. The answer is, who knows when we will? We aren’t planning for a family at the moment. While I have felt some “pings” in my womb here and there (aka a yearning for a baby) since all of our besties have already welcomed their first or second child, we simply aren’t ready to have a baby yet. There are still so many places we want to check off our bucket list first before we have a mini Coombs, since Tor and I both know I won’t want to go anywhere once I pop out a wee one. There are also goals we have for this blog that we want to accomplish before we find ourselves expecting, and there are goals Tor has for his acting career as well. We are also still young and have plenty of time (I just turned 27). I can tell you right now that we have already decided whenever we do have a baby that they will NOT be featured on this site to protect their privacy. We do appreciate all the support, enthusiasm, and love from all of you about our marriage and the prospect of a baby, but it’ll be a while before there’s a fifth member of this family (Renly and Dany are #3 and #4).
Thanks again for submitting your questions for the first “20 Questions with Alyssa”! I have a feeling if we do this again a year from now, a lot of these answers could be very different!