Lifestyle, Styling

Spark Joy

Unless you live under a rock, by now you’ve watched – or seen enough memes to know – the Marie Kondo special on Netflix. This petite Japanese woman has simultaneously inspired and shamed all of us into getting rid of stuff that doesn’t “spark joy.” So while doing my own household purge, I began to consider the Konmari Method in terms of life and mental health. If we say Thank You and let go of a shirt that doesn’t serve us, why can’t we do the same to friends and activities that leave us feeling like a deflated balloon?

Think of it like this: what events do you participate in that spark joy? That you find energizing and fulfilling? Do more of that! And surround yourself with friends who support and encourage you versus the ones who thrive on drama and negativity. In addition to my yearly resolutions to work out more and drink less alcohol, I’m making a promise to myself to get involved with people and projects that make my heart happy!


In the digital age, social media has us hanging on every like and share. We get FOMO seeing other people’s party pics and spiral into overthinking when a crush doesn’t text us back (but follows all of your IG stories??). Do these actions make us feel good? Hell no! So thank you, next. This year is about trying the new restaurant alone instead of not at all. It’s about staying in for a little R&R on a Saturday night instead of feeling obligated to go out. Above all else, this year is about putting your mental and physical health before your social (media) status.


A hobby I seem to always go back to is singing. I’ve been singing since I was a kid and have performed numerous times, but at the end of the day I sing for me and no body else. Sure, the applause is nice (credit to my Leo Rising), but nothing beats the feeling of pouring your heart into a song that conveys the emotions you can’t quite explain. Maybe that’s why, as I’ve grown older, my taste has shifted from early 2000’s emo classics to jazz standards of the early 20th century.


About five years ago I began singing with a jazz band which transformed into starting a group including my dad and brother, Olive & the Martinis. We recently had a photo shoot to update our website and it’s so cool to see how we’ve all changed. A big difference for me is my body, as I’ve recently embraced my curves instead of trying to fight them. While quite a contrast from my slim collegiate figure, it’s nice to have the sense of self and confidence to know I am more than my physique. I want to treat my body well and keep it healthy, because it allows me to do all those things I enjoy, but I no longer base my value on my ability to conform to society’s very narrow ideals of female beauty. As long as I can sing and dance, garden and create, I’m happy!


So say Thank You to the friends who taught you that you deserve better, because they did not value you. Thank you to the experiences that helped shape the person you are today, because they showed you how you don’t want to live. This year, embrace yourself and remember that no one but you can define your own success. Continue to find ways to bring joy to your life and spark joy in other’s!



Special thanks to Cortez Raleigh (location) & Megan Long (photography).

Wardrobe styling by your’s truly 😉


23 Years of Style

Hello digital universe!

For some time now I’ve been meaning to start a blog, but I always got stuck on where to actually start. Of course, it should be fashion related; but should I dive right in to common faux pas or ease into it by giving you an outline of what I plan to teach you over the course of my posts?

Finally I decided to start by introducing myself via my style through the years. You see, I have always been a fashionista even though it took me until high school to realize that’s what I wanted to do as a career. Now you’re probably thinking I had dreams of becoming a fashion designer and you are incorrect. Anyone can design clothes: fashion trends cycle over the years and what is in now was influenced by something from fashion history. Everyone borrows from the late greats (Balenciaga, Dior, Chanel, Schiaparelli, etc.) and collections are intended to go together, but what happens if you take two very different designers and collide their collections? What if you were to take something old and pair it with something new? Those are the thoughts that get my creative juices flowing, because I am a stylist.

I am a stylist and I use articles of clothing and accessories as my paint colors and textures. I aim to create visually appealing ensembles that take your mind to a foreign location or challenge your current perception of what “goes together.”

My two biggest influences are opposing forces: punk rock and ballet. 

When I was little I had a pair of pink Chuck Taylor high-tops that I wore with everything.

Around age 5 I refused to wear pants. It was all pink and yellow dresses.

Between ages 6-10 my favorite game to play with friends was “dress up” or “makeovers.” We would rummage through my dress-up box, full of my mothers old dance costumes, and put on layers of fabric topped off with a fabulous hat. I was introduced to makeup in fourth grade when I started doing competitive dance and my best friend had a makeup birthday party. Every attendee went home with a Caboodles case of eyeshadows and lipsticks and the newfound skills to apply these cosmetics properly. After that, I insisted on going to school wearing silver eyeshadow and spent all of my allowance on lipgloss.

As I got older, I experimented with just about every style. I went from preppy and trendy to emo/punk/goth/scene (which worried my mother). I found my own later on in high school, which led to my peers constantly asking why I was “so dressed up.” I never thought it was weird to wear mascara (which I was the first to do in 6th grade) or heels to school. I dressed for me, for how I felt that day, and for who I wanted to be.

My current style is a reflection of my evolution. I still hold on to little influences from my past and my closet contains everything from 1950’s housewife dresses to slinky LBDs to studded shirts and pastels galore. This is my personal style. It is no one else’s, because it is an accumulated representation of my own relationship with fashion. That is the beautiful thing about style: no one can copy exactly. It is truly personal. This is why when I work with a client my first step is to pinpoint their personal style. Not the random pieces that they purchased on a whim because it was “in” or the outdated, unflattering garments from their younger years that they hold on to for nostalgia. Believe me, I know the sentimental value of clothing, but that does not mean those clothes should be mixed in to you everyday wardrobe.

With that said, now that you know a little more about me, I will share with you my purpose of this blog. I do not aim to be another 20-something so-called fashionista. My goal is to educate my readers: on how to dress for their body type, how to put things together, and how to organize your clothes and accessories within your space. Amongst these posts you will find that I’ll get sidetrack and post about my other loves; food and design. It will be more like a lifestyle blog, but informative. If anyone should have specific questions about any of my posts I encourage you to ask me. Hell, I may even start an “Ask Tessa” column. My point is, I am here to help you by sharing my trial and error, successes and failures, and nerding out on fashion history. How can you know where you are going if you don’t know where you’re coming from?

From my most recent photo shoot (2014).

From my most recent photo shoot (2014).


PS: Not all posts will be this absurdly long.