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!


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twitter >>> @tessabrynnk

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pinterest >>> tessa kohler


liebster numero 2!


sooo i got onto wordpress the other day and was surprised to see that tameramb from the blog jibber jabber & happenstance nominated me for a liebster award! {fyi: the liebster award is an informal award that is given to up-and-coming bloggers with less than 200 followers by other bloggers, who then in turn nominate their own people…and the love just spreads! fun stuff!} i did already receive one of these (read my post about that one HERE!), but i decided to go ahead and answer her questions anyway. for some reason, i find answering questions about myself fun? maybe because i’m rarely very open about myself with people in real life, so it’s liberating to do it here? or maybe i’m just self-centered? but i really do enjoy sharing the blogger love and nominating other people, though, so that’s a more legitimate reason for why i’m writing another liebster award post.

i’ll try to keep it short and sweet, since i went into a lot of detail with my other post. but then again, this is me we’re talking about, so who knows how long this’ll be!

1. where is your favorite place to be? either in the middle of a big city (preferably new york city), or up at the top of some remote mountain, in the middle of a backpacking trip. yes, i am aware that those are virtually polar opposites. both are amazing nonetheless.

2. name two songs that describe you. “haven’t met you yet” by michael buble (haha, yes, i know this is cheesy, especially if you’ve read this post), and “theme from new york, new york,” preferably when it’s sung by frank sinatra.

3. who is the most inspirational person in your life, and why? my mom. i’m amazed at how good and patient and loving and humble she can be – all the time. she inspires me to be a better, more refined person.

4. do you believe in karma? umm yeees? kinda? i would just say that i believe that everything happens for a reason, and that every action has some sort of a consequence. would that just be the same thing as karma?

5. if you could have a dream job for a day, what would it be? some job where i could live in new york city, pin lovely things on pinterest, drink hot chocolate and smoothies, and write pretty words…all day long (and still get payed for it). and play on steinway pianos. those are always a fun time.

6. name three annoyances currently in your life. negativity (irony, no?), cold weather that needs to hurry up and be spring, and the fact that my electric blanket is so warm in the mornings, but i have to actually get up and do something with my life.

7. what “spirit” animal do you best vibe with? umm otters seem like pretty happy creatures…

8. how has blogging helped you? first of all, it has helped me focus my writing voice, but second, on a deeper level, it has helped me free that part of myself that i rarely share with people.

9. list two things that you are proud of accomplishing. although this isn’t one specific accomplishment, i’d say i’m pretty decent at the piano. also, i’m proud of starting this blog and putting all my random musings out there for the whole world to read.

10. do you have a talent? if so, what is it? looking for the best around me, whether in people or in tough situations.

11. where do you envision yourself in five years? umm maybe married? new york city would be pretty legit. ha, if you can’t tell, i’m obsessed with nyc. but really…

now! since i already did another one of these liebster award posts, i had a tough time coming up with eleven more bloggers who i love, who have under 200 followers (which really means i need to do a better job of getting out and exploring blogs more!). i actually only have three to nominate this time, but they are fabulous blogs, written by fabulous people, so you should click those links and check them out! (also, take a look at the other 10 bloggers i nominated in my original post, and don’t forget to visit tamermb’s blog, which is where i received this second nomination. i actually featured one of her posts in my link roundup this past friday! plus, she runs, and lives in nyc, which just makes her doubly awesome right there.)

here are my nominations!

jenn lost in chaos

velociraptoranna’s blog

life’s little mercies

for you three bloggers coming here to find out more details about what your nomination entails, here’s your job!

1. write your own post answering these same 11 questions, making sure to link back to the person that nominated you somewhere in the post (me!).

2. choose 11 of your favorite bloggers who have less than 200 followers to answer your own set of questions (you can come up with different questions than these ones, but i’m just a tad bit lazy, plus i like these ones i was given, so i didn’t write any different ones for you guys to answer).

thank you again, tameramb, for the nomination! i am honored!

the substance of memories

yesterday morning i came across a beautiful post by allison on her blog, writtenword87, that has stuck with me since i read it. allison wrote about the wonder of memories and about our fascination with items from the past. (click either of the links above and go read it!) when i read her post, i was inspired to dig out my own little stash of memories.

on my closet shelf sits an old, white, paper gift bag that is chock full of little bits of the past. this evening i removed it from that location, where it wasn’t doing much but gathering dust, and took a peek inside.

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i’ll always be a little bit of a pack rat deep down, and it kills me to deep clean my room and have to go through little odds and ends and decide what to keep and throw away. during one such deep-cleaning episode a number of years ago, i had the bright idea to save some of those memory-filled items in a specific location so they wouldn’t pile up on my dresser or my bookshelf or my headboard anymore, but i so could still keep them. since then, i’ve filled my paper gift bag with all sorts of lovely things.

going through that bag this evening was like paying a visit to many of the happy memories of my life. there is something so truly beautiful in holding something that has meaning and magic woven through it. 

i found letters of whimsy and appreciation and thanks and love – and some a combination of all four – from people i cherish.

i found photographs where i am standing in the midst of ladies i dearly love, reminding me of sweet summers past.

i found a plethora of artifacts from my truly life-altering new york city trip – a lanyard, a photograph from the empire state building, a receipt from an airport on the way home, a phantom of the opera playbill, and a bright yellow plastic bag that once held the play-going outfit i purchased from the forever 21 in times square, to name a few.

i found cds with pictures and i found postcards from traveling grandparents.

i found books full of campfire songs, crumpled and dirt-streaked, relics of warm weeks full of laughter and sleeping bags and altogether-too-much sugar.

i found memories upon memories that have sat in my closet for so long, just begging to be relieved.

apart from my closet stash, i have various bits and pieces of memories paperclipped and glued to journal pages – little things that make my heart smile as i flip through those notebooks of past word-ramblings – two old ticket stubs from a favorite date to a wintry lit-up garden, a copy of the first letter i wrote to a far-away friend, play tickets, letters composed to myself during dull classes, and other such scraps.

i am a self-professed lover of words, but somehow reading journaled thoughts doesn’t have quite the same effect as looking through my memory collection. the words are precious, but the experience is entirely different from discovering tangible treasures. what is it that allures to us through those physical objects that we are so attached to – those items that are virtually valueless to the rest of the world, but are so priceless to our hearts?

if there’s any magic in the world, i believe that those items must certainly possess some of it.

we long to hold something tangible in our hands, to smooth out bent and wrinkled letters, to connect the here and now to a wonderful past, to prove to ourselves that those breathtaking, forever-sparkling happenings really occurred, to reminisce on good times gone that will be forever fairy-dusted and sparkling in our thoughts.

we’re drawn to the reality of a gleaming past, to the evidence of happiness, to the substance of memories.


where (or when) have you found the magic of memories in tangible form?

liebster award!


soooo yesterday morning, i got a lovely little notification on my blog about a comment on my from vida, nominating me for the liebster award! liebster is german for beloved, loved, or dearest, so the liebster award is given to bloggers with less than 200 followers who are up-and-coming in the blogosphere. i was so exited to see that, and i feel so honored! this blog isn’t much, but i’m glad that someone out there enjoys it! :)

lots and lots of thanks to vida for the award…it really means a lot! you should go check out her blog while you’re at it (! she has a very clear writing voice that is smooth to read and her posts are real, which is very refreshing in a blogging world where not a lot of people are able to be really real in their posts.

so my task now is to answer the questions vida gave me, and then i get to nominate ten other bloggers! stay tuned for the end of the post where i do the nominating and give them their questions!

1. why did you start your blog? i wrote a rather wordy post somewhat about this, about this a week or so ago, which you can check out HERE, but the short explanation is that i wanted a space to express myself. i love writing, especially about random things i love, and i wanted to portray life how it really is in words. i have another blog dedicated to all things healthy living (check it out HERE), but i don’t feel like i have as much creative freedom with that blog. sooo yeah! life and loveliness was born!

2. what is your favorite hobby or activity – one that really makes you feel happy and peaceful? this is a bit tricky. i love filling my life with lots of things that make me happy! as of right now, writing is probably tied for first with playing the piano. i’ve been playing for a long time now, and i also teach piano lessons, so piano is stuck pretty strongly in the middle of my heart. i play mostly classical music, (bach and schubert and chopin and all that lovely goodness), and i’d say that spending time at the piano, playing the music i love, is what makes me feel incredibly happy and peaceful. lately i’ve been bad at getting to the piano with all the other things i have going on, but once i get the opportunity to sit down and play, i love it. i am obsessed with classical songs with beautiful, emotional, glorious melodies that are unquestionably inspired.

3. what is your favorite book? i think pride and prejudice still takes the cake with this one. i read it in fifth grade and have been obsessed ever since. it’s just solid, good, classic romance!

4. tell us something about you not many people know. ummm, i have a blog. (duh.) actually two blogs. ha, not many people in my life actually know that. okay, in seriousness, i speak to myself in french while i run. i’ve taken four years of french, and now whenever i run, i automatically translate the music i’m listening to into basic, broken french in my head. sound fun? yeah it was cool for about two months or so, but now i can’t make my brain stop when i want english-only music, ha. the weird thing is that it doesn’t happen when i’m listening to music in the car, or anywhere else. only when i’m running!

5. what was the most magical day of your life and why? ooh this is tricky too. truly magical days are pretty rare. if i had to choose, i’d say one day a couple years ago when i was in new york city with some pretty awesome people. we were in nyc for a few days, but one particular day stands out. the breakfast conversation that morning was refreshing and new and i’d venture to say it started a few things. we visited the 9/11 memorial, where i had an awesome experience, the gives-you-chills-kind, where i felt some strong, indescribable connection that nyc has with all of its people that stems from 9/11. that was when i knew i wanted to live there someday. we spent the afternoon shopping the black market for purses in chinatown, and then went to see “memphis” on broadway in the evening. most of us dressed up for the play, and i had the privilege of sitting by someone very nice during it. after the play, we went to ellen’s diner, where the inch-away-from-broadway waiters and waitresses sang us songs while they served us. it was just a pretty darn surreal, solid day that rang with magic.

6. do you believe in love at first sight? why or why not? yes, i do. i say this somewhat hesitantly because i haven’t actually experienced it firsthand, but i do believe it’s possible. and the why? i believe in it because i believe that love is something magical and wonderful that can defy expectations and logic and everything that is supposed to happen. if you’re only using your brain, and not your heart, love at first sight seems very illogical and ridiculous, but you’ve gotta remember that this is love you’re dealing with! does love ever really make perfect, logical sense? nope, but it happens anyway. love at first sight is legit in my opinion.

7. what is your favorite childhood memory? my little siblings and i used to perform plays together. i’d write them and then we’d put so much time and effort into getting together costumes and props and going the whole nine yards before performing the plays for our parents. fun stuff, right there!

8. describe yourself in three words. independent, loving, positive.

9. if you could spend a day with one person, living or dead, who would it be and why? mmm kay, i hope this isn’t creepy, and i certainly don’t mean it to be, but i would love to hang out with natalie holbrook. i discovered her blog a couple months ago ( —- you better go check it out!), and i’m pretty much obsessed. she writes absolutely beautifully about real, marvelous, beautiful life, lives in new york city (my future location of residence, for sure), has an adorable little boy, aaaand her bio on twitter says “what would anne shirley do?” i. love. anne. shirley. i read all of those books multiple times, and it’s sad that anne of green gables has kind of faded off into the distance in the world. anyway…i’m not sure what we’d do for that day, but even just a chat would be great! and now that i sound like a stalker, let’s move on to the next question!

10. who is the one person who can always make you smile? so i have this one friend, who’s on a 2-year mission right now to the philippines, and he’s pretty great. i have lots of awesome people in my life who make me smile, but narrowing it down i’d say he can always make the smiling thing happen.

now it’s my turn! if you are nominated by me, here’s what ya gotta do!

1. thank the person who nominated you (me!) and link back to their blog in your post.

2. answer the 10 questions i give you (they’re slightly different than the ones i just answered).

3. nominate 10 of your favorite blogs that have less than 200 followers and let them know about their nomination via a comment or message or something similar.

4. come up with 10 more questions for your nominees to answer.

here are my nominees for the liebster award (should they choose to accept…which i hope they will)! along with the other few things i’ve told you to go check out already, you should also give these links a click and see the great stuff these people are writing!

with all our hearts

human shoes


my elegantly cluttered chamber

the girl with the red bag

a nourished artist

i love gypsy life

my life is beck

deerey me!

good to be grateful

now before i end this insanely long post, here are the questions for my nominees to answer in their posts! and if anybody else wants to answer some of these questions in the comments section of this post, go right ahead! i’d love to hear from anyone!

1. why do you blog?

2. what is your favorite song and why?

3. describe yourself in three words.

4. who is the one person that can always make you smile?

5. describe your idea of a perfect day.

6. if you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why?

7. where do you find inspiration in life?

8. if you could spend a day with one person, living or dead, who would it be and why?

9. what would you like to be remembered for?

10. have you ever experienced a turning point in your life? if so, what caused it, and what have you learned from it?

i’m excited to read everyone’s posts! :)

nighttime thoughts

tonight i’m in a writing mood. i could probably crank out a few fairly thought-provoking essays right now if so called upon. instead, since i kinda need to try to go to sleep, here’s just a summarized version of all the random thoughts floating around in my head…

1. snow is glorious. but cold. very, very cold. (duh.)

2. my electric blanket is equally glorious.

3. the christmas season is wonderful. the hard part comes during the rest of the year. i think everyone, to a certain extent, exits december with convictions to do better in the new year and carry on the christmas spirit, it’s just difficult to keep it up. i really want to succeed at keeping christmas in my heart this year, so i’m on a mission to make it happen.

4. as i’ve mentioned before, crossroads in life are dang scary. exciting, but scary. right now i feel like i’m at the edge of a cliff, looking down but unable to see what’s below me. or maybe i’m at the bottom of a mountain, looking up? is that a more positive comparison? at any rate, it’s exciting to have such amazing possibilities right in front of me, but it’s freaking me out just a tad, not gonna lie.

5. dark nail polish (not black, just dark blue or red) has become my thing over the course of this evening after i purchased some, painted my nails, and now i feel like i could conquer the world. is this similar to my lipstick sentiments?

6. i really, really, really want to move to a big city. preferably new york city. like, right now.