the meaning of home

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Home is warmth.

Home is love.

Home is comfort, and all of those other vague, cozy-fuzzy ideas.

Home is also the whoosh and gurgle of a running dishwasher late at night in a darkened kitchen. Home is soaking coats dripping themselves dry in a laundry room after a day in the snow. Home is worn, hardwood floors. Home is dents and scratches on corners leftover from plastic trucks and cars that have long since been given away. Home is toast and hot cocoa on Sunday evenings. Home is bookshelves full of loved Dickens and Shakespeare. Home is wooden kitchen chairs that creak and wobble, but somehow stay in one piece. Home is Christmas trees, and candles, and flowers on the table. Home is freshly baked French bread, sliced with butter melting slowly into it. Home is those simple, mundane sounds and smells that are forever connected to happy memories.

The house that I grew up in will always have a special place in my heart – it’ll always represent a special, idyllic version of “home,” no matter how many other places I grow to call home throughout my life.

What does “home” mean to you?


If you’re a blogger, feel free to join in on #blogeverydayinFEB!


other places to find me (because making friends is fun, right?):

twitter >>> @tessabrynnk

bloglovin’ >>> life and loveliness

pinterest >>> tessa kohler


a story without words








First of all: Holy cow, this was hard…I am not an artist…at all…hopefully that story made even an ounce of sense…

Second: I’ve realized that my stick figures look even more lacking in artistic talent when they’re blown up on a computer screen. Um, I’m pretty sure I need to go back to kindergarten now…


other places to find me (because making friends is fun, right?):

twitter >>> @tessabrynnk

bloglovin’ >>> life and loveliness

pinterest >>> tessa kohler

little-known facts

-I’m not a selfie person. Seriously, it requires so. much. effort. to take a picture of myself, and the act of taking a picture of myself is unnatural to me. Actually, I’m the worst at remembering to pull out my camera in any situation, selfie or not. But! I feel like pictures of things that aren’t trees and ducks and snow and canals are in need over in this here blog, so I need to get working on it. So that being said, I attempted the selfie this afternoon, in an effort to start conquering my selfie fears…

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-I have a strange love for cats. Loving cats isn’t weird at all, except for the fact that I’m allergic, soooo that’s a little bit of a problem I’ve got on my hands. But yeah, I just have a thing for cats. Dogs are so happy all the time (yes, I know I’m generalizing), and cats seem to have a variety of mysterious emotions that I connect with a little better. Maybe someday I’ll get treated for my cat allergy and then fulfill my destiny of becoming that crazy cat lady down the street with approximately seventeen of the furry creatures, give or take a few.

-Frank Sinatra is pretty much the best. And Michael Bublé too, but Frank will always be my favorite. When I was little and no one was at home, I would turn on his CD and slow-dance with a broom in my living room. Because I was just that cool. But really, he never gets old. Classy, classy, classy.

-I’m unashamedly obsessed with New York City. Actually, if you’ve even read this blog a little bit, you probably know this already. I’m, like, really obsessed. I have a “New York” playlist that I listen to frequently, full of songs that have what I feel like is a New York vibe, a large majority of my sentences about the future begin with “when I live in New York…,” and if you’re a blogger, all you have to do is mention NYC somewhere in your “About” section and there’s a 99% chance I’ll follow you in about two seconds flat, especially if you actually live in New York.

What are some little-known facts about you? I love hearing from you, so don’t be shy…leave a comment instead!


If you’re a blogger, feel free to join in on #blogeverydayinFEB!


other places to find me (because making friends is fun, right?!):

twitter >>> @tessabrynnk

bloglovin’ >>> life and loveliness

pinterest >>> tessa kohler

my style…or something like that…

First of all, before I get into all things style-related, even though I already said this to them, I need to say thank you so, so much to the people that left such sweet comments on my post last night. I am so blessed to have connected with such wonderful people through blogging – people that are real, and understand, and are so quick to encourage and lift up. It is a truly wonderful feeling to know that you are surrounded by a marvelous support system, whether it is in real life, or over the internet. Although last night was sort of just one of those nights, what I wrote about, as vague as I was, is still a reality for me, and writing about it helped to alleviate some of that pressure that builds inside me over time. But I promise that overall I’m okay! Pinky swear! Again, I am so overwhelmingly appreciative of the response to that post last night, and I’m sendign lots and lots of love to those people that reached out to me! Thank you again! 

Whew! Okay, back to the lighter side of the world! 

The prompt for today for “Blog Every Day in February” is “Describe your style,” so I’m just gonna go ahead and jump right in! 

My style is pretty much all over the place. Umm, it’s kind of a problem. I went through a phase at the end of last summer when I tried to turn my style vibe into something unique and slightly edgy. Yeah, some sort of life crisis happened there…I cut my hair super-short (like, above shoulder-length), and asymmetrical (which sounds like a bad idea, but there was a vision behind it, I promise, and it actually turned out pretty sweet), and the edgy vibe seemed to naturally show itself. I shopped for tops in blacks, and grays, and army-green colors, and I’m actually pretty proud of myself and my ability to stick to a look and a purpose during that stage of wardrobe re-vamp-ment. It wasn’t really a punk look, but more of an urban-sophisticated look…or at least that’s what I was going for, whether it turned out or not. 

Since then, my hair has grown out somewhat, although the asymmetrical-ness is still there, and my style has slowly migrated back into normality. I miss my long hair, and messy buns, and french braids, and classy curls, so I’m currently working on growing these short tresses out. I am in need of a trim, but I can’t quite bring myself to cut off more of it, after coming even this far, although I know you’re supposed to cut your hair every so often. 

So with all of this hair-talk, I guess you could say my hair is a huge part of my style. I’ve figured out that even a simple t-shirt and jeans can look put-together if the hair looks good. I like to think that I put some effort into my outfits on a regular basis, but in reality, I’m usually more on the casual side. I do love dressing up, though, so maybe if I could afford all of Old Navy and J. Crew, I’d do the dressing up-thing more often…

I’d describe my style (or my attempt at style) as relaxed-classy. If that even works, ha. I’m not always dressed to the nines, but I do enjoy looking nice and at least slightly put-together. 

I do have a couple signature components of my outfits that show up on those days when I try a little harder, as well as on those days where I don’t try at all. So I suppose that describing my style involves describing those as well!

-FLATS. Every. single. day. I wear ’em with grungy t-shirts and jeans, or with dressier outfits. When I’m feeling really lazy and my feet are cold, it’s socks with flats all the way. Even better if the socks are neon-colored. Flats rule. 

-RINGS. My hands feel naked if there isn’t some kind of a ring on at least one finger. I definitely wear pretty rings on lazy days, too. There’s something so elegant about a ring, whether it’s a simple band, or a huge statement ring.

-SCARVES. So versatile. So comfy. So cute. One of my few complaints about summer is that it’s too hot to wear scarves, so it’s a sad party over here when the scarves slowly migrate to the back of my closet when the thermometer climbs. 

-MAXI SKIRTS/DRESSES. These are amazing, if for no other reason than the fact that you don’t need to worry about shaving your legs to wear them. They also fulfill my little-girl desire to feel like a princess, so it’s a win-win. 

And to finish it off with a vision that’s a little bit more legit and consistent than mine, if I could look perfect and ultra-put-together every day of my life, here’s some Pinterest inspiration that I {think} reflects my style…or at least what I’d like my style to resemble someday…







WHAT IS YOUR STYLE? Leave a comment and tell me about it! I love hearing from you! 


If you’re a blogger, feel free to join in on #blogeverydayinFEB!


other places to find me (because making friends is fun, right?!):

twitter >>> @tessabrynnk

bloglovin’ >>> life and loveliness

pinterest >>> tessa kohler

brokenness in late-night moments

Tonight I’m in the mood for writing words. It’s 11:37 at night, and I have an essay that needs written, but right now my need to write real words is greater than my need to write the cold, lifeless bits of that essay.

Emptiness. Emptiness denotes an absence, and sometimes a lack of fulfillment. Or sometimes the state that comes before the fulfillment. At 11:37 p.m., right now, I’m currently trudging my feet, and my heart, and my soul through a field of emptiness. Through a field full of unfulfilled dreams, and goals, and late-night broken heart-cries.

Efforts. Sometimes I feel like I try so, so hard. So hard. And with all that trying, all that heartache…nothing. I look around me, and think, ‘It shouldn’t be this difficult. There is no way.

And I feel helpless. There is something so heart-wrenching, and leveling, and painful about being faced time and time again with failure. It’s a feeling that stretches right down to the bottom of your soul, something that has dug its way down there over time, until now it is securely lodged and it feels as if nothing in the world could root it out. The future is stretching on and on in front of me, and no matter how hard I desperately search, and move forward, I’m seeing nothing but that failure. It’s a feeling of inadequacy. It’s a feeling of lacking. And it feels so permanent, as if that is all I have ever known, and ever will know – this crawling and enduring sense of failure.

I hate feeling helpless. I despise that feeling above most others. I enjoy being capable, and competent. But there’s this one particular area of my soul where helplessness abounds. I’m usually good at ignoring it, at moving forward in life, with an ever-cheerful spirit and hope for the future. But then every so often, in the quiet moments where it’s just me, and myself, looking at each other in a mirror, I stumble onto that vast field of achy feelings, that realm of helplessness. And then I am broken. The wall of protection I try to build up to keep myself away from that realm turns to rubble around me, and I am left staring at that shadowy field, knowing what is to come. Sometimes I can propel myself past that landmine, but when these moments happen late at night, my propelling abilities weaken and that’s when the tears come out.

Broken. A state of cracks, and holes. That’s what I become in those late-night moments. In those moments, the helplessness, and the circling thoughts, and the emotions pour through the holes in my self-confidence. I pray so, so hard, and I feel the comfort of my Savior as if He were kneeling right next to me, and I know without a shadow of a doubt that He knows me personally, but I still struggle. If it were a matter of belief, or faith, or anything of a more spiritual feel, I would know what to do. I’ve gotten over those types of inadequacies. Not that I’m perfect in those areas at all, but the solutions to those struggles seem more evident in my eyes.

I keep reaching, though. I. know. it. must. get. better. It must, it must, it must. There has to be a turn-around point, a point where all of this work, and all of this endless and seemingly fruitless effort will be worth it. There has to be. I’m working on trust. Trust is that little thread that I cling to in the late-night moments. Trust in my Savior, and the knowledge that He is right there beside me, so it’s going to be okay. I know that He has the infinite power to heal, and to help, and so out of all the things in the world that I can turn to, He is by far the best choice out there.

It’s going to be okay. You are okay. I whisper this to myself in those late-night moments. I will myself to believe it. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. Actually, to level with you here, as of late, it hasn’t been quite as foolproof as it used to be. But I’m trying. And trusting. And moving forward. Those late-night moments happen. Maybe, hopefully, there will be a time when that particular field of shadows is dispelled and I will stumble upon it no more. As of right now, 11:37 p.m., that field is still alive and well,

But I have faith that it will get better. It has to get better. I know it will get better.


After-note: I know that a lot of people that know me in real life read this blog, so just FYI, I am okay. Writing helps get all of my emotions out, and I am doing fine! :)

other places to find me:

twitter >>> @tessabrynnk

bloglovin’ >>> life and loveliness

pinterest >>> tessa kohler