Alyssa Carlson of Duluth, MN
Q: Please tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from and where are you now?
A: For most of my adult life, my husband served active duty in the military, so home has been where the Air Force sent us. But, I was born and raised in Minnesota and it has always been home in my heart and where we have now settled down, though I certainly took a circuitous route back here! We have lived in Cheyenne, WY, Spokane, WA, Desenzano del Garda in northern Italy, Las Vegas, NV, Colorado Springs, CO, and Bellbrook, OH, before landing back in Duluth, MN, which is located at the tip of Lake Superior and a mere 150 miles from the Canadian border!
Q: How did you meet and fall in love with your husband?
A: Troy and I met in college at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, but I knew his brother a few years before I met him, as he was a close friend of my step-brother. Troy and I actually worked together in catering in college (he was my student supervisor for awhile) and one night, after working an event together, he asked me out on a date. We dated for the rest of our time at college and got married the summer that he entered active duty after graduation and so the adventures began!
Q: My favorite thing to talk about is my kids. Tell us about YOURS.
A: I have three fabulous kiddos who are truly my pride and joy! I have 9 year old twin boys, Aren and Ryan. They are the sweetest, most wonderful boys I could ever hope for! Aren is the oldest (by 23 minutes, he’ll have you know!) and he takes on the oldest sibling responsibility role wholeheartedly. He has a tender, generous heart and is very bright. Ryan is my sensitive guy who loves to tell quite involved stories and is currently infatuated with tortoises and turtles! Then, there’s my little red-haired firecracker, Annalise (she likes to go by Anna). She is 6 and is quite the character! She has a sweet, baby face, but is a mischievous, silly, free-spirited, and headstrong little girl. If you’ve seen the Disney movie, Brave, well, in many ways, that’s my Anna!
Q: What did you do in your previous life? Pre-Matilda Jane?
A: I have a Master’s in Library and Information Science and I worked in public and academic libraries prior to having my kids. I’ve spent time at home with my babies while they’re little, but have kept a toe in the library field, because I love working with people and I feel fulfilled when I can help others find what they are seeking. Being a Trunk Keeper, I enjoy being able to assist ladies in finding a fun outfit for the special little girls in their lives or themselves! What can I say? I’m driven to help people satisfy their quest for something, whether it is information or the perfect outfit! 🙂
Q: How did Matilda Jane find YOU?
A: When we were living in Ohio, I saw a little girl with a Molly skirt on and it was the sweetest, most original thing I’d seen in kids’ clothes, so I asked the mother what brand it was. I had not heard of Matilda Jane before, so I went online to find out where I could get these cute clothes. I was put in touch with my local Trunk Keeper, Denee Kochersperger, who invited me to a special photo shoot Matilda Jane party with Picture Fizz Photography. The whimsical clothing captured my daughter’s uniqueness perfectly…and thus began my love for Matilda Jane Clothing!
Q: Who on this earth has been the number one influence in your life?
A: All of the women in my family have been significant influences, with perhaps my grandma Ann having the most impact on me. She is an amazing woman! She was the primary breadwinner to a family of 7 kids, who somehow managed to get her Ph.D. while working and raising her very busy household. She has an indomitable spirit and a great joie de vivre. She has spent the last year celebrating her 90th birthday in grand fashion and I can only aspire to live as full a life as she has!
Q: What are 5 words your friends would use to describe you?
A: I’m not a person who likes to have the focus of attention on me – ha! – sort of ironic that I’m being profiled on Matilda Jane’s Candid Keepers! But, they would likely describe me as compassionate, dedicated, thoughtful, independent, and a bit shy. “Minnesota Nice” would sum it up!
Q: Besides your family, what are you most passionate about?
A: Growing up in a family of environmentalists, protecting and enjoying nature is deeply important to me. Anyone who knows me also knows I have a huge soft spot for animals. Our home is shared with several rescue cats and dogs! I feel compelled to help the creatures that rely on humans to ensure their care and that share their love with us unconditionally.
Q: Chocolate or Vanilla?
A: Chocolate, for sure!! It can be enjoyed in a variety of flavors, which is much more interesting to me!
Q: Are you a dreamer or a realist?
A: Oh, most definitely a dreamer!
Q: Crazy or not, what is one dream that you would most like to make come true?
A: Well, beyond the obvious, like dreams of world peace and cures for deadly diseases, I would say that I would love to be able to freely travel the world! I’ve had the opportunity to travel a fair amount and have developed wanderlust!
Q: If you were gifted $1 million to donate to any charity or organization, which one would you choose? Why?
A: Oooh, that would be fantastic, wouldn’t it?! There are so many worthy charities or organizations, but I would have to say I would split it between something with a global reach, such as CARE or Save the Children, as well as a charity fighting cancer, since I have had family and friends impacted by this horrible disease.
Q: If you could crawl into the pages of any book, what would it be and why?
A: I worried I’d get asked this! It is such a tough choice…asking a librarian to choose a favorite book is almost like asking a parent to choose a favorite child! I guess I’d have to say “Under the Tuscan Sun” by Frances Mayes. When I read the vivid descriptions of life in Italy, I was smitten! I was fortunate enough to be able to live a modified, yet still fabulous, version of that scenario when my husband was stationed at an Italian Air Base in northern Italy, where we lived in a bucolic farmhouse just a few years after reading that book!