happiness is…?

i think the overarching concept of happiness is something terribly deep and hard to put a single finger on. for me, my faith is what brings my absolute, true happiness, hands-down. but in addition to that, my life is so unbelievably chock full of little bits of happiness to add to the huge mix. everyone always says, “it’s all about the little things,” and as over-used as this phrase is, it is so, so true. it’s those small, tangible happenings that make me appreciate how truly good life really is. i dare you to look for those things around you, those little pieces of life where you find your happiness.

so in the life of tessa kohler, happiness is…

…writing. this has been something that i’ve kind of stumbled into the past few months, but i really do love it. i wouldn’t complain too much if i could quit school and just write pretty words all day.

…daydreaming about romance. 

…unexpected snow. when you wake up to find those gorgeous thick flakes cascading down the sky, especially when they’ve already done a thorough job of coating the whole world already, that’s goodness right there!

…savoring rich moments with family.

…hot chocolate. lots of people drink tea or coffee…mmm yup i’m hot chocolate all the way. in the winter, in the summer, all year long. i’m pretty sure it is a drink full of magical powers. or maybe that’s just sugar…

…being pleasantly surprised in little ways. 

…running in the morning. i’m terrible at waking up early, or even semi-early, but when i’m able to drag myself out of bed for an early-ish morning weekend run, it’s quite stellar. i love running when there’s a little biting chill in the air and when the world hasn’t quite woken up yet. i just let my mind wander around and around and by the time i walk in my front door again my thoughts are much clearer.

…when people you love start to turn their prospects around for the better.

…bright lipstick. yep, you’ve already heard a lot about this one, so i’ll just keep it at that. (if you’re new to the blog, read this post for an introduction to my obssession!)

…talking to people you haven’t seen in a long time. this goes for communication in person, or communication over the internet. either way, it’s a lovely thing indeed to be able to catch up with people you can’t see on a regular basis.

…when pandora gets it spot on. sometimes pandora radio just knows, ya know?

where do you find your little bits of happiness?


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

twitter >>> @tessabrynnk

bloglovin (a.k.a. the best site ever to follow all the blogs your heart would ever want to follow…i’m obsessed) >>> life and loveliness

also! if you’re new to the blog and want to do some fun reading, i recommend going up to the top of this page and clicking on the “about” tab, or on the “favorite posts” tab (if you’re reading this on a mobile device, click on “menu” at the top of the page first to get to those additional tabs)!

this post was inspired by the Daily Prompt (albeit an eternity late)!


smells of freshly-baked bread, and here i am, still writing

the hour is late. my eyelids are starting to droop, but here i am, still writing.

the smell of freshly-baked bread still lingers in the air from earlier this evening. it is a sweet, sweet smell that evokes feelings of comfort and home.

michael buble’s soothing voice sings on, quietly, softly in the background.

i can hear the clock tick-ticking behind me, each tick reminding me that it is late, and that early alarm clock isn’t waiting for anybody tomorrow morning.

i rest my chin on my hand with my elbow on the desk before me. my eyes close for a minute, taking in the relief of relaxation.

but here i am, still writing.


this post was inspired by the daily prompt from the wordpress daily post! http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/daily-prompt-now-2/

mirror mirror…or not?

i spent a good amount of time last summer roughing it in the great outdoors. camping, hiking, boating, et cetera. while i was gallivanting around lakes and through creeks and up mountains, getting terribly dusty and sweaty and considerably disheveled and having a thoroughly fabulous time, i had a thought.

what if we lived in a world without mirrors?

really. think about it.

during my time spent away from proper civilization this summer, no mirrors followed me around. i didn’t have a chance to glance at my hair or makeup or clothes just by stepping into a bathroom.

i got dirty, my hair wasn’t perfectly straight, and my invisible blonde eyelashes were, well, pretty much invisible without a coating of that dark gloppy stuff we call mascara.

and i was totally okay with it. when i didn’t have the chance to look at myself every hour, i actually ended up caring less about how i looked.

the honest truth is that when most of us look in the mirror, we see the flaws. as bad as that is, it is so, so hard not so sometimes.

but what if we had never, ever seen those flaws before? and really, we only consider them flaws based on society’s definition of beauty. so what if we never had the chance to look at ourselves and determine if we had those “flaws” or not?

think of all the depression and the sadness and the self-consciousness that might have never even begun, had people not ever been able to look at themselves.

this summer, i was able to look on people with more love, and with a softer eye because i wasn’t inadvertently comparing my appearance to theirs. after not seeing yourself for even a few hours, i found out that you kind of start to forget the little tiny details of your face in your mind (as weird as that may sound). everything began to soften and blur in my mind until when i thought of my face, i only saw the smile, and the eyes, and the light.

the beauty is what is left behind as everything else fades.

but then you get back in front of a mirror, and the stark reality is staring back at you, and the comparison begins again. suddenly it is so painfully easy to pick out everything that society has told us is far from beautiful, and those nuances seem so painfully obvious.

but what if we didn’t have mirrors? 

there’s my hypothesizing for the day – what do you think?


this post was inspired by the wordpress daily prompt! http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/22/daily-prompt-mirrored/

confessions on reputations and being scared

so the funny thing is, very few people know that i blog. when i started blogging my family eventually found out, but i never told my friends. and as of today, as far as i know, none of my friends know about my blogs.

i’ll probably tell them sometime, or they’ll probably figure it out somehow through twitter or somewhere. the funny thing is that i tweet out a link every time i write a new post, but yet my best friend – the only close friend who follows me on twitter – still hasn’t figured it out. or maybe she has and there’s a reason why she hasn’t said anything haha? anyway, i’m pretty sure no one knows.

so why the secrecy among the people i know? i guess it’s not so much secrecy, just a choice not to broadcast my blogging. but why shouldn’t i be proud of what i write, and be happy to share it with people?

the thing is, i am proud of my writing (if i’m allowed to say that). if nothing else, i’m proud of it because it’s something i love to do and i hold dear this little creative outlet i’ve grown for myself.

but in all honesty, i’m terrified to share. 

and the deep down issue with all of this is that i’m honest-to-goodness scared about what people might think of me, despite how badly i want to pretend that other people’s opinions don’t matter to me, despite all the motivational messages that are shoved in our faces telling us that it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about you. i know, i know, i know, but try telling that to a brain that has emotions all wrapped in it, plus a life full of conforming to the reputation the world has placed on it. it sounds so petty, but i’m scared, and it’s the truth.

with my healthy living blog, (www.thehealthynotes.blogspot.com) i’m scared that people might think that it’s silly of me to be blogging about living a healthy life when i’m not an “athlete,” or a registered dietitian, or a personal trainer, or a health coach, or anything similar. i’m just one random person out there who sees the value of healthy living and wants to share it with others.

and then there’s this blog. i can’t decide which one i’m more afraid to tell my little world about.

and to level with you, i’m scared that people that know me might read my words on this blog and find me ridiculous.

there, i said it. that, right there, sums it up. i’m afraid of the snickers, of the behind-my-back-comments, of not being taken seriously. “you wrote some stupid flowery thing on lipstick???” 

okay, i basically pour out about seven-eighths of my heart into these words. the other eighth i keep to myself, since some special heart-secrets are good for a person, but i’ve put the rest out there, for anyone that cares to take the time to read it. (which, by the way, if you’re reading this, thank you thank you thank you for sparing a moment out of your day to hear me.)

so i give a lot of myself with my writing. and with all the giving, giving, giving, i feel like the defenses i’ve had in place my whole life are going down, one-by-one, post-by-post. it’s left me feeling exhilarated, and alive, and liberated…but also very exposed, in a way i’ve tried to avoid my whole life.

and i just can’t shake this feeling of vulnerability. 

to those acquaintances that know me from a distance, even a semi-close distance, i have a reputation, and a facade, and the internal pressure to keep it up. i’m seen as reserved. i’m known for being “smart,” however you want to take that. i’m known for niceness, and i’d venture to say that i’m perceived as being passive.

and i suppose there’s some truth to those statements, but that’s not me in a nutshell – in reality, the perception is very far from the truth that i see inside myself. that reputation – that outward perception – is only lightly touching the surface of me.

and for some reason it scares me to think of taking a step outside of that reputation, which is currently operating as my safety net. “tessa kohler” is liked, and accepted, and i don’t mind that in the slightest. “tessa kohler” has friends. “tessa kohler” isn’t criticized. “tessa kohler” is safe.

but “tessa kohler” also doesn’t write fiery blog posts about chivalry or happiness or other such deep matters in life.

so to take that step, and share what i write, is – to me – the equivalent of stepping out of a plane with a sketchy parachute, where you’re not quite sure if the whole falling-through-the-air-until-you-hit-the-ground thing was a smart idea. to share what i write with those people that already know me as a certain person, who acts a certain, predictable way – that would rock the ground just a little bit and suddenly i wouldn’t be that safe “tessa kohler” anymore.

and sometimes i can’t decide how badly i really want to share this with everyone. sometimes i really love coming here to write, and knowing that i can write whatever i please, because no one who reads this has those preconceived notions that terrify me so much. in those cases, my outward reputation is something i can hide behind, so while i stay safe and predictable in the real world, i’m also safe and free in the writing world that i adore.

but then again, sometimes i want to stand up in front of everyone i know and do some legit heart-and-guts-spilling, like i do here, in hopes that maybe i’ll actually be understood. and on those days, my stable reputation in my own little world doesn’t seem to loom over me as something that’s keeping me from expressing myself.

and yeah, i’ll probably end up sharing this completely unknown side of me someday. it probably won’t stay a secret forever. a friend will finally look at my tweets, or maybe i’ll drop a hint in a conversation, and people will figure it out eventually.

but for now, this is my place to be the real, legit, unrefined tessa, as cheesy and idealistic as that sounds. conquering those fears of altering the perception and the reputation is my mental and emotional work in progress at the moment. i’ve come to the realization that the more i write, the closer i draw to accomplishing that goal, so you can bet that’s what i’m going to keep doing.

here, i’m writing my heart, and my life. here i’m writing my true story.

here, i’m writing my reputation. 


this post was inspired by the wordpress daily prompt: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/daily-prompt-you/ 

closeness. and choice.


reaching, reaching.

so close, but not quite touching.

that small amount of distance seems as wide as all the oceans and as vast as any cavern in the earth below.

a closeness of hearts and ambitions and intentions, very nearly aligned.

almost, almost.

closeness speaks of optimism, a testament of the days and tears of the process, of the journey.

but. closeness also speaks of absence, of a gap. because no matter what’s behind, there’s still that ever-present chasm in front.

so it comes down to choice.

there’s choosing to stop. choosing to let that closeness, that not-quite-all-the-way-ness govern my heart. choosing to succumb to the daunting pressure piled on top, all that is standing in the way of inching a foot forward.

or there’s choosing to close the gap, even if it’s on the last gasping breath. choosing to reach toward the light.

choosing to let the presence of “close” be a motivation, a nudge in the right direction, something that adds fire to the already-present longing.

onward, ever onward, forever in the cause of the close.


this post was inspired by the wordpress daily prompt! http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/16/daily-prompt-close-2/