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.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

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! :)

my favorite things // 01-11-2014

-down time. it’s been a week without very much of this, so the moments where i do get a chance to sit down and let my brain breathe are wonderful.

-blogs. this week i’ve really loved connecting with other people via blog comments and followings. i love reaching my toes out into other areas of the world than just where i happen to live right now.

-twitter. i kind of have a thing for twitter. this relates to the aforesaid love of connecting with people all over everywhere. i love being able to follow other bloggers and celebrities and other random interesting people and not have to know them personally to see all the great stuff they’re up to, which is the opposite of facebook. ha, i tend to just troll and look at all the sweet stuff other people tweet, although i do tweet myself on a slow, increasingly more frequent basis. (do i sound like a stalker yet???) (p.s. follow me! @tessabrynnk!)

i hope you had a fantastic week!

what were your favorite things this week?

the existence of goodness

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

“every day might not be good, but there is something good in every day.”

goodness exists. oooh you better believe it does. goodness exists in abundance.

think of how truly wonderful our world would be if everyone chose to focus on the goodness and the happiness and the beauty instead of the negatives and the sadness and the ugly.

so i guess that’s what i’m trying to do with this blogging thing. i’m trying to highlight the small, oh-so-good things in life as they exist amidst the troubles and turmoils that are equally present. i don’t want this to be a perfection blog. there are numerous blogs out there that portray life as if it is pure perfection, with perfectly decorated houses and perfect outfits and perfect vacations and, sorry, but this blog just isn’t like that. i love reading those blogs and being creatively inspired by whatever perfect things they feature, and i do believe that perfection is present in life, but i also understand that life is much more than that continual perfection, and i want to make sure i show that.

again, i want to portray the beauty and the perfection of life and highlight its existence, while at the same time recognizing that tears and hardships and the days where very few things seem to go right do happen.

and if you stop to think about it, those things that are perfect and beautiful and good are that way because of the things that are less than such. they go hand in hand. if everything was always top-notch, how would we be able to tell? it’s when life throws in some bad stuff that we’re able to truly appreciate the good.

so i’m going to say that life as a whole is wonderful. life is wonderful because of not in spite of – the bad times. the good and the bad fit together in such a way that is beautiful and inspired and necessary. that being said, it is when we praise and glorify and celebrate the good that we’re able to recognize the bad, and accept the bad, and keep it from steamrolling us quite so much. amidst darkness and troubles and living where it feels like a struggle to keep going until the next hour, or even the next minute, seeing the goodness can be our saving grace.

maybe this is all just nonsensical rambling. if it is, then oh well…rambling is what i tend to do best.

and if this is getting too deep, then i guess what i want to say, in more simple terms, is that you. can. be. happy. don’t let your bad circumstances define you. instead, acknowledge them, nod to them, recognize their importance and how necessary they are, and then promptly turn to the goodness and cling to it with all you have in you because that is what will get you through.

yes, this is hard to do, and i am a far far cry from being a master at it and always looking for the good 100% of the time, or even 75% of the time. life is hard. sometimes things come along that totally and completely knock you off your feet, and when you’re lying on your back it’s a tricky business to start looking for all the good around you. but! i speak from experience when i say that looking for the good makes all the difference.

so today, i’m reminding myself to search out the good, because i definitely need as much of a reminder as anyone else. i dare you to to join me. i dare you to be grateful for the storms and the tears, but i also dare you do search out the sunshine and the smiles and the light.

let’s celebrate the existence of goodness together.


whew! i don’t usually get so wordy, so if you are reading this and you stuck through to the end, hugs and kisses and lots of love from me. thank you for humoring me and reading my rant/ramble/combination of the two!

a proper introduction

who am i?

my name is tessa brynn kohler. i am a daydreamer. i am obsessed with hot chocolate. i am a night owl. i am a hopeless romantic. i am a writer. i am a blogger. i am just one person in this marvelous world, trying to become better and brighter and kinder.

i have some dreams. ooooh man, do i have some dreams. i dream of living in new york city. i dream of traveling the world, especially france. i dream of marrying a handsome, wonderful gentleman in a gorgeous temple. i dream of having a family of my very own. i dream of inspiring people, of doing something worthwhile and using the time i’ve been given on this earth to the fullest.

i blog to get out all of my random thoughts and fancies and musings out into typed words. i blog because the idea of possibly reaching someone with the words of my mind is a magical one indeed. i blog because words are beautiful. i keep my own personal journal, where i write on and on about dramas and boys and family and life happenings, but this blog is my space for putting down words with the intent of making something soft and rich to run your mind over. i blog to highlight the reality of life, the reality that life as a whole isn’t perfect, but that it truly contains moments of pure perfection.

i write here about life. and loveliness. i write about the random, lovely bits of goodness that are manifest in abundance, if only we would take the time to look just a teensy bit harder for them. in this space i ramble. i spew forth words through my fingers, turning confusion and mess into something of possible merit.

it is my goal to reach out to people through my words, to possibly inspire someone, to possibly say something that someone out there can connect with, deep down in the rarely-touched depths of that someone’s heart or soul or whatever you want to call those reaches inside of us that are so hard to explain. i dream of connecting with people throughout the world, one bit at a time – people who are real and struggle and have light sparkling inside of them – which qualifies most anyone human.

in 2014 i hope to continue to write more, and write better. i hope for this blogging thing to become more of a habit than it currently is. i also hope to become less afraid of sharing my words with the world, because it’s kind of a going-out-on-a-limb type of thing, and i’m not always the best at those going-out-on-a-limb things. give me normalcy and smoothness and i’m with you all the way, but taking a chance is tough.

i’m just one person, and this is just one blog among many, many other blogs in the world, yet despite is seeming insignificance, i’m proud of it. i really do love this little piece of the internet where i’m free to write and write to my heart’s content and not worry a bit about being the tessa that everyone has always seen me as. these are my words. this is me.