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Filtering by Category: Holidays


Danika Brysha

Lately I feel like my life is moving at a rapid pace.  I love this as I truly get pleasure from working and if I'm working it means I am busy making progress towards some of the many goals I've set out to accomplish.  I've been feeling that there are never enough hours in the day and any minute wasted tends to disappoint me.

That being said, one of my best friends had her Bachelorette Party this weekend and we spent Friday evening thru Sunday morning at Lake Havasu.  We stayed at one of her family friends' home and it was a huge, beautiful, desert oasis.  Complete with massive guest house, perfect lake views, and the coolest man-cave/garage I'd ever seen.  I know the word "Bachelorette Party" doesn't normally go hand in hand with the word "relaxing" but this trip was just that.  We spent time floating in the hot sun on the lake and riding around on the pontoon boat, eating home-cooked meals, and watching movies that involved Ryan Gosling in any way possible.  It was the first time in a while I let myself just hang out and do... nothing.  It was so refreshing to just relax and spend time with good friends and to shut my computer and brain down for at least a few hours.  I'm going to try to force myself to slow down more often and just enjoy the little things in life.  I am trying to remember that doing something good for myself and taking a break now and then is far from wasted time.

Here are some pictures from Lisa's Bachelorette weekend in Lake Havasu, Arizona...

I hope you found some time for yourself this weekend like I did!

Happy Monday!

The Family Christmas Photo

Danika Brysha

(Originally published: December 25, 2010)

You didn't think I was gonna write another blog did ya?  Wellllllll I DID!   What can I say, holidays do that to me....


Most families have one tradition they still hold dear to their hearts.  My friend Carissa's family sits down annually to discuss their life goals.  Her dad brings out a list of what they had discussed the year before and they then converse for the most part regarding why they still haven't achieved the previous years goals.  She says it is humiliating and self-depricating every year but it will never end.  My friend Caroline's family goes to church every Sunday together and then watches the Eagles game.  My family and I have two vodka grapefruits before we go out to El Ranchito three times a week for the Tortilla soup deal.

Regardless of where you're from, there is one tradition that has swiffered the nation and taken all of America with it in its Wet Jet.

And that is the Family Photo Christmas Card.

You'll be happy to hear that my skills for rhyming on Hump Day (and basically any day of the week) are built into my genetics.  My mom includes a poem with a stanza or two about each member of the family along with every photo greeting.  It truly is magical.  You know what I like to say... make the yuletide gay...

Here are a few of the top Brysha Photos over the last 25 years...


I am using this photo first because I really have nothing bad to say about it.  It truly is the epitome of Christmas Card gold.  My older brother Blake's short suit is fashionable to the nine's.  Dad, Andre has an impeccable mustache to face ratio.  Baby Stefan looks drunk which you'll notice will reemerge in his later years.  Mom, Cindi is ever so delicately displaying the matching metallic silver sleeve bows.  And me... well... I have a double chin.  But that is something I learned to work with over the years...


This year my mom decided to accentuate our gorgeous features with a little bit of blush and lipstick.  "Awwww, C'mon kids... no one will notice".  I can't tell if Blake managed to skip out on the lipstick or not.  I'll tell you one thing though, he definitely didn't skip out on the hair gel.  Little Stefan was too young and vulnerable to know the difference and was left looking like a gay ventriloquist.  I must note that this is before Crest Whitestrips and photoshop so any special touches had to be done on the actual day.  Speaking of special touches, cool Santa Hat Danika.... totally original.  I can't blame that one on my mom.


Oh 2004, you were so good to me.  This marked the year they removed my braces and the first year I'd seen my collar bones in a while.  I thought that pink halter-ish top was really flattering and sexy and I remember wearing it to all the parties.  It went really well with my Smirnoff Green Apple Twist.  I'm almost angry that my parents didn't force us to wear Christmas colors.   I remember that we were in Las Vegas at the time and I'm pretty sure we had procrastinated taking our holiday photo until just before the actual day.  We had been out at the mall and there was a store of decoratively lit Christmas trees you could purchase for your mansions.  It seemed like a smart idea.  We would definitely be more respected around the community with a tree like that.  On another note, standing in a Christmas tree store in a Las Vegas, Nevada mall for two hours kind of kills the elaborate tree buzz I had going.


This looks like something they would use on True Hollywood Story: Before They Were Serial Killers.  Bet you can't guess who the killer would be.  It's cool though.  Anytime you put a red satin cumber-bun on a 2-year-old with some classic Reebok hightops, you're alright in my book.


We decided to be very patriotic this season.  The American flag doesn't look strategically placed at all... I might as well have worn it behind my ear but then where would I have suspended those gorgeous brown on top/blonde on the bottom locks.  Today people call this style ombre; in 2001 they called in Hanson brother.  Stefan looks like an asshole here.  I don't know why but I really want to slap him.  Probably because he was going through his prime... and it's pretty safe to say I wasn't.



It looks like this is the year they realized that Stefan was the golden ticket and placed him accordingly on a throne amongst the peasants.  I'm digging the matching pajamas.  Almost as much as I'm digging that phenomenal dinosaur wrapping paper.


Bra Strap Headband? Check.  Pooka Shell Necklace?  Check.  This was our first California Christmas.  The backdrop is very nice but taking the family picture in public places is always a little uncomfortable.  It reminds me of the time when I tried out for America's Next Top Model and I had to have my dad take bikini shots of me out on the public yacht club dock.  Not scarring at all.  Side note:  Blake would have been really successful in West Hollywood at this point in life


To be completely honest with you, I don't think this was ever actually our Christmas card but there was no way I wasn't going to feature a gem like this.  The bowl cuts were very prominent this year.  I especially like how mine touches down and ever so gently sweeps my bifocal frames.  There are two people that deserve most of the credit here though.  #1 is that drunk man who is just trying to pay the bills who somehow managed to balance a family of five on his lap.  And #2 well... It's a pretty bold statement to rock a turtleneck and overalls combo to the mall with matching contrast fanny pack but you gotta do what you gotta do.  Purses were so 95'.


Last year is when my parents started getting a little cocky and inserting themselves into the image.  They'd been hitting the gym and golf course a lot more and decided they were in peak physical condition to gain a place on the card.  Grandpa took the picture, which was a challenge in itself but it turned out nicely.  This year they even have their own solo shot on the inside of the card.  Maybe by next year us kids will be extinct and they'll be GTL'ing somewhere in Miami.  Who knows.


This is perfect.  There is nothing I would change.  Why the Pert Plus offers didn't start spilling in for Stefan after Christmas Card 91' is beyond me.


Oh Jesus.  I don't know where to start here.  This is the final Christmas we spent on Long Island, NY before we moved across the country to Southern California.  I'm assuming Stefan was going with the tropical, California theme with the pineapple shirt.  It is really the only logical explanation I can come up with as to why my parents would allow something like that.  Blake really started blossoming into a young man here.  You can tell by his mock turtleneck, eyebrows, and business professional gaze.  We had to only take horizontal pictures this Christmas because I had a broken ankle.  My cast was neon pink with blue stripes and all my BFFFFFF's signatures.  The cast was cool but even better was when I graduated to the orthopedic black plastic and velcro walking boot.  It really went well with that gorgeous lip gloss and half pony.  Did I mention my parents moved me ACROSS THE COUNTRY halfway through 7th grade with acne, a retainer, a training bra, and a god damned walking boot? Oh ok... I did.


If this blog post had a Facebook profile page, this would be the Default.  I only put this one up to remind you that like a diamond in the rough, we can come together about once every two decades and take a decently attractive picture.  (P.S. Blake- nice shirt choice.  Not distracting at all)


If I were my parents I would have 100% cropped Blake and myself out of this image and just sent out the pure perfection that is little Stefan.  Look at those penny loafers.  Pretty sure this was the year that Christmas and School photos fell around the same time and also the same year that I fell into a bush of poison ivy.  Notice how my right eye is swollen shut like I'm winking at you......  Well I'm not.


It has always amazed me how we managed to stay warm while hanging out in that icy and frosty forest...


I truly cannot decide whether Blake's decision to open his mouth or my decision not to is better in this image.  Nothing says holiday spirit better than that smart ass attitude I have smeared across my face.  I was probably angry they wouldn't just send out a solo shot of me.

Note to Readers:  Blake's head did eventually grow into his teeth


There is a fine risk when you decide to include the family dog in the Christmas Picture because it often gives you a lot less to work with.  Most families just keep the focus on the children and if the dog makes some slightly crooked eye contact then that works out but is not necessary.  Looks like we went a different route.  Everyone looks a little rough (Stefan's back with the drunk look), but Kodi the dog looks so perfect he could be a wax version of himself.  Sacrifices my friends.


Even though Stefan was by far the cutest of all of us, I have never found babies to be attractive until they near the age of 2 so I am voting him off the island on this one.  I think my mom used the same bowl to cut Blake's hair that she used to cut my bangs.  I also think it would be epic to take a Christmas card today of all of us in the same outfits and positioning.  Dad?  Is it too late?


Last... and certainly most amazing.  Yes as a matter of fact those are two white doves.  One resting ever so delicately on Stefan's shoulder, the other mid flight balancing on his thumb.  Something you should know about Stefan is that for the first 12 years of his life he was obsessed with magic.  He was actually really good.  Good to the point that as a family we were forced to move beyond your standard slight-of-hand card tricks.  At some point Stefan got these two doves and named them Siegfried and Roy, naturally.  He would make them appear from things and it was truly a hit for the first couple months.  All they did was quack (?) and poop everywhere and so we eventually gave them to our cleaning ladies who, I feel pretty confident in saying, roasted them for Christmas dinner.  But at least we're keeping with the theme...  Another important side note is that Siegfried on the left there decided Stefan's suit was the perfect place to let a load off.  God Bless Photoshop.  There are obviously other issues with this photo but I'm pretty sure they don't need to be discussed in any further in detail.

I hope everybody has a MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR.

Halloween Part 2: My Roommate Meghan

Danika Brysha

(Originally Published: November 1, 2010)

Because I am obsessed with Halloween and today is the only day that I can still get away with posting more Halloween paraphenelia, that is what I am going to do.

This weekend I took a very last minute road trip from LA to San Francisco with some friends for no good reason whatsoever.  My roommate Angela and I were originally going to be Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick (guess which straw I drew...) but the trip happened so quickly that I decided to be Marilyn Monroe.  I think this is the first time I have ever been anything that you can buy at Spirit Halloween Store or any Halloween store for that matter.  My mom might disown me.

I like to believe I pulled the costume off well, but I was consistently getting "Anna-Nicole" shouts from across the streets.  Now, I think Anna Nicole Smith had some good points in her life but I'm pretty sure those things aren't what she is recognized for.  I don't know about you but the first things that come to mind for me are TrimSpa, Larry Birkhead, and the fact that she is DEAD.... I'm sure they meant well though... um... yeah, I'm sure they did.

Anyways, to distract you guys from the fact that my Charlize Theron in Monster/Scott Disick costume didn't quite work out, I thought I would highlight 20 of my roommate Meghan's top costumes over the years.   She is single and on the market so please send all boyfriend/date night/casual sex applications to

Just so you know, this is what she looks like in real life....

  1. Colonel Sanders

2.  Santa Claus

3. Nacho Libre

4. Elephant with complete with Beer Bong Trunk- Meg is all about practicality

5.  Marie Antoinette

6. Da Bears

7. Charlie Chaplin

8. Bjork

9. Mexican

10. Kung Fu Panda

11. Christina Aguilera

12.  I don't even know what this is other than creepy

13. Michael Jackson (RIP)

14. Shirley Temple-  Considering Meghan aged about 15 times slower than the rest of us I'm assuming she was about 27 when this picture was taken

15. Man-  She probably got laid this night...

16. Prostitute Innocent Hawaiian Hula Girl

17. Zombie

18. Cupid... This must've been during her sorority days

19.  Centaur-  completely homemade might I add  (sorry for the darkness... this was last night so we don't have a great image yet)

20. And last but certainly not least, one of this years award winners... George Costanza

I'm assuming at this point you probably want to come over.  Good news.  We have decided to throw a Quinceanera.  You have about a month to pic up a neon rhinestone encrusted poof dress or matching neon striped tie/pocket square combo and to find an amigo guapo.

Until next time...

Halloween- Beyond the Sexy Schoolgirl

Danika Brysha

(Originally published: October 25, 2010)
In honor of the holiday, I have put together my TOP 20 most prized costumes over the years.
Hopefully it will inspire you to have a totally radical 2010 Halloween Costume. At the very least, it may inspire you to consider having an intervention with me about how I choose to use my free time.
I love Halloween. I don't know if it is the chubby kid inside who just gets excited about free candy, or the fact that on the very day, a stellar costume can get me more attention than the next blonde in a tube top.
Obviously this post is very important so be sure to read it completely and thoroughly.
#1 BALD EAGLE- to give it a more realistic effect, try painting your feet neon yellow and going barefoot


#2 SMURF- be prepared to scrub down all your toilet seats and any sort of sitting paraphernalia you will be using unless you are working with a blue color scheme in your home
#3 BUNNY My parents probably had no idea years ago when they put the bunny idea in my head... To this day I am regularly embarrassed that I ever attended a "playboy bunny" frat party. If you stop reading now I understand.

#4 ZEBRA I recommend not using Sharpie on your face... especially if you have a commitment the next morning, like, say, oh I don't know, visiting an orphanage in rural India.

#5 OPRAH I hear designated body paint stays on a little better than Acrylic. Next time...

#6 FIREMAN This wasn't really Halloween, we just locked our keys in the car in the mountains so we killed some time while the firemen got them out
#7 CHOLA Cheeto Crumbs are an essential detail to complete the look

8 RON BURGANDY & VERONICA CORNINGSTONE (ANCHORMAN) - you have to hang out with people of the opposite sex to do a couples costume. Luckily at this point in my life I had a lot of guy friends since all my female friends were really hot


#9 RICHARD SIMMONS You can only pull this off if you have a VERY UNBELIEVABLY athletic body, like myself

#10 MISS PIGGY... child abuse

#12 IN-N-OUT EMPLOYEE- as most of you know this was not Halloween either.. it was my real life... (The roller blades were an added touch in college but definitely a safety hazard)

#13 CHRISTMAS GIFT- my bag ripped immediately upon my first bathroom visit. Apparently these aren't one size fits all.
#14 EMO No one talked to Molly nor I that night.... I think we were in bed by 11
#15 NERD Most people went as sexy nurses...
#18 WHERE'S WALDO Try to find him in pictures #2 and #3

#19 DOUBLE DOUBLE Locked the top bun in my minivan in High School. Had to wait for the AAA guy in the bottom half of the costume.

#20 and finally... PILLSBURY DOUGHBOY clearly I slutted it up a little when I got to college.... had to fit in in the sorority...