Monday, December 26, 2016

A Recap and Coming Up In 2017

Ah, 2017 is on the horizon with under one week left of 2016 and I must say, thank god! So much happened in 2016.

Truth be told, 2016 was a roller-coaster of a year for me. Really high, highs and extremely low, lows. In the last five months, I've been kept from this blog because of head-to-toe body pain which prevented me from typing (still quite painful so using a program to type for me) but, let's do a  brief recap and share what's coming in the new year.

First, I must say, my 2016 year began with a difficult recovery from lung surgery as a result of a pneumothorax. All I've got to say about that: ouch. Just, ouch. I dealt with physical pain I never could have imagined and won't take any time describing the challenging six-month recovery. One thing I learned in those six challenging months, though: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! This might be a given, but many don't do this and honestly, in 2016, I was the YES girl and said yes to some things I should have said no to. (So, I'll be talking about the things I was happy to say yes to). 

By late April, I was swimming and exercising regularly and I took on many projects. One of those projects included making a prom dress, which, that's one project I was thrilled to say yes to. Was it the biggest challenge I've ever taken on? Yes. But, I learned a great deal from it. I learned more about sewing with delicate materials and executed this prom dress to perfection for my customer. Now, I love making special occasion dresses which I may do more of in 2017.  

By the summer time, I was fully recovered from lung surgery, planning a trip to Italy with this incredible organization (another opportunity I'm SO glad I said yes to) and sewing up outfits for children, another learning curve. Designing clothes for children, not like designing for adult women, but actually, I found it to be quite fun. This is also something I may explore more because that's a pretty good market to target. 

In July of 2016, I traveled out to Italy and visited multiple cities in two weeks. It was the most fast paced trip of my life but, I saw so much. My family and I visited first: Venice, Burano, Murano (and more Venice islands) then, Verona, Siena, Assisi, Sirmione, and Florence. Check out some pics below.


I want to show more photos but don't want to post a bunch just yet. We didn't see much of Verona and were exhausted by the time we got there. In 2017, more Italy posts are also still coming which I'll release in January. I wanted to do the posts earlier, but physical pain prevented me from writing on this blog for months. 

By the time August hit, I was utterly wiped out. At the end of September, early October, I started experiencing tremendous pain and swelling in my arms, my hands, my legs, feet and more. Between August and early December, I pretty much took a hiatus from everything because of health reasons. In my down time, I explored fiction writing which I use to do a lot of growing up. 

I began using a program that types for me and in three months, I wrote the first draft of a novel I'm thrilled about! It's a mystery novel and I've always wanted to write a mystery. It took a long time to come up with an idea for one but, I did, and I've got the second draft fully edited and am moving on to the third draft of editing. It takes many drafts to get something perfect enough before moving on to the next level. I'll be keeping the details of this novel a mystery though until I'm well beyond the querying process.

Writing, as you can probably tell, has been a long time passion of mine, but I never truly pursued it. After my near death experience last Christmas, I'm actively pursuing all of my passions and not leaving anything out. 

More things coming up in 2017 include: I'll be making custom prints and patterns, finishing up my catalog and will be submitting to as many stores possible, and am exploring online store possibilities. It's difficult to decide the best online stores and I tried one for a while, but ugh, was not a good one. 

And another thing... an article of mine will be appearing in a huge magazine called xoJane, possibly in the next week or two in which I discuss my mental health struggles, a past suicide attempt (in 2008) and how I've implemented five things that keep me, well, happy! People do not talk about suicide enough and it's an important topic.

Though 2016 was an incredibly challenging year, a lot of amazing things happened too. It's a bit of a yin-yang and a roller-coaster, but life generally is that way. It's important to focus on the positive. The things that didn't go so great, learn from that. Also, every single thing you do is a learning experience and that's my takeaway from 2016. In 2017, I'll definitely be more mindful in general. 

Happy New Year and more posts are coming your way!  

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Italy Travels Volume 1: Three Days in Venice

Wow, well, I've been traveling and running around so much because of family and work stuff, and after being in Italy for just over two weeks, it's been hard getting back to my work routine-designing, photo shooting, blogging etc. I think they call this summer-itis or end-of-summer-itis or something. I've been trying to enjoy the rest of the nice weather while it lasts and though I love the fall season, there's something about summer. There's so much fun stuff to do like camping, being out doors, going to theme parks, traveling and more. So, the last few weeks I've been really focused on my mental health and overall health as this summer is coming to a close. In this post though (as part of a large volume series on Italy) I want to highlight my Italy travels I did this past July.

I traveled all throughout northern Italy and will be sharing all the details below! If you're going to Italy soon which I know many of you are, keep reading!

My family and I went first to Venice (visited 4 islands of Venice), then to Verona, Sirmione, Siena, Assisi, Florence, then back to Venice! We covered a lot of ground in Italy and I can't wait to share it all with you. First, I'll start with our three full days in Venice. Though I initially went to Italy for work with this awesome organization, my family and I made a vacation out of it. We are explorers, ya know?

Thursday, August 11, 2016

10 Benefits of Meditation (I've Noticed)

Since I've been back from Europe, it's been extra difficult to get back into my work routine. Walking all through Europe exhausted me, but in a good way. The one thing I maintained on my travels was meditation. No matter where I am, I manage to do at least 10 minutes of meditation. Though I normally go out doors to do this, when I'm in foreign, unfamiliar environments, I stay indoors and meditate in bed for about 20 minutes. It really doesn't matter how you do it, as long as you do it, even for a short while or whatever your schedule allows.

Meditation has done so much for me in the past year or so and felt compelled to share results I've personally notices. The first few weeks of doing it though, I know I hadn't done it correctly. Like anything, meditation takes practice. Patience. Silence. I had to read a lot about it and what to expect from it. Meditation to me is being quiet with myself, focusing on each breath, clearing the mind, being still. Even though I read many, many articles about meditation, the results I've actually noticed in the last year have profoundly affected me in a positive way. Here are the 10 benefits of meditation I've noticed below.


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

5 Things Successful Women Do Daily

First, I want to start by saying, what success means to me might be different than what success means to you. To me, I know I'm being successful when my health and well-being are in good alignment with my day-to-day lifestyle and I am able to accomplish a lot. Needless to say, I've met many so-called 'successful' people that have many health problems and it's mostly because they are eating garbage food while on the run, working till utter burn out, and are driving their health into the ground for a pay check. I think to myself, how great are these people doing at their jobs? Probably not very great.


Thursday, July 14, 2016

In The Studio: Happening Lately

A lot has been happening in the studio lately! An up date first: I am heading to Italy in a few days and can't believe it. I feel fortunate to be able to travel and visit places all over the world and Italy is a place I've always wanted to visit. We will be touring through Milan, Venic, Florence, Sirmione and more! Milan is a fashion capital, almost bigger than New York and I would be stupid to not visit there. I'll be doing a fashion show with the International 22Q Foundation, will be sharing my story, and I'll get to meet a ton more people! This is what I've been prepping for in the studio this week as well and making clothing for the fashion show in Italy.

While I am really excited to go, to be honest, I am not a good airplane flyer. People tend to hate me after long flights (gulp!) so, I promise I'll do something to make me sleep the majority of this flight! Or, stay really, really busy! I usually can't sleep on flights. Don't know why, but the travel too is always the hardest. The last few weeks I've been hardcore strengthening my immune system and keeping my diet crystal clear hoping to prevent getting jet-lag related sick. Every country I'd travel to, the first two days or so I'd be so jet-lagged that I'd feel sick and hated that. With my immune-gut boosting diet, let's see if my efforts minimize the jet-lag discomforts. I'll keep you posted on how that goes; do be following my Snapchat user: tessakoller. Hopefully I can Snap while out of the country, we'll see! My Snapchat is definitely one to follow!

Moving on...I am SO thrilled about the work I produced this week, wow! At first, I was afraid to attempt to create clothing for children. I attempted one time before and didn't go well, so I went and bought some kid's patterns and worked off those. Funny how far off those pattern measurements are. One measurement read: waist: 21", hip 27". Like come on; kids do not have hour glass figures! Those measurements are so darn wrong it's unbelievable but, they helped me get torso measurements and I worked from those. So the measurements should actually have read: waist: 21, hip: 22.5 or 23. That would be more accurate. Ugh! But, the creative process went smooth once I got to sewing! Check out the items below!

If you saw my Snapchat, you see why I was nervous making a bunch of kids clothes on such short notice. I am not one to just go on a whim and do it. Since I needed to make fast decisions, I did a lot of planning using those pre-made patterns, made a bunch of my own patterns based off of those out of plastic and worked from them. I wound up making 9 or 10 kids dresses and will be showing 25-30 outfits at the fashion show in Italy. I am really anticipating this trip! And, I hope to god these outfits actually fit kids! I'm sure they will!

Enjoy this post? Keep up to date and subscribe to this blog because about five or six posts are on the way including: A Weekend Routine That'll Guarantee a Successful Week and the 10 benefits of Meditation (I've Personally Noticed), so stay tuned, lots of good stuff. Take note though, while traveling around Italy I may not be able to get posts published while on the run. You know how traveling is I'm sure...always on the move! When I return and am settled, by August 2nd I'll have more posts up! This is the place to be for the latest in everything fashion and unique approaches to conducting your lifestyle. If you are new to the blog, do reach out and comment. What do you think about these little kid designs I made? Would your kid want these looks? Let me know. I actually truly enjoyed making these dresses for kids! Can't wait to watch everything manifest! Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

How I am Living Free From Back Pain (with Scoliosis)

First, I want to apologize for my absence. The last three weeks my computer sort of had a big break down and I was in and out of town a whole bunch. It wasn't until a few days ago that my computer got back to its self and got my data loaded back on, but I'm sure you missed me on social media too. Right?? Yeah, this is how hard it's been to get back to my consistent posting schedule. Anyways, now that my whole system is newly updated and got programs restored, I'm finally in business again! Feels good to be. So, I wanted to start off with a post I know you'd benefit from reading. 

Within the last year, I've dealt with severe back pain associated with an S curve scoliosis. My back pain would get so severely debilitating to the point of immobility or until I couldn't function or move. I have an S curve scoliosis, and while I haven't been vocal about it, I want to share with all of you that may have back problems that pain doesn't have to control your life. They (being doctors and physicians) say you can't correct a curvature of the spine after you are done growing. While this is true, you can live your life with scoliosis and have your back feel so amazingly good! You can do a fitness routine that's geared specifically towards balancing your muscles and building strength on both sides of your back.


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

A Convertible Summer Dress That'll Do 3 Important Things

It's getting hot, hot, hot outside now and we are in the full swing of summer! While I love hot weather and prefer it over cold, I find myself always wanting to be in the shade and be at a comfortable temperature that is tolerable. Ninety plus degree weather can feel like you are cooking in an oven on 425 degrees. Really though, the sun is always cooking you and we aren't always prepared for it. One time I went to a concert back in the day (high school days) that was an all day event with over 20 live heavy metal bands (like Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath etc.) and I did not show up prepared. I forgot sunglasses, sunscreen, and by the end of the all day event, (will never do this again) I left the event looking as bright red as a lobster that has been thrown and cooked in boiling water. Not kidding you! My face and arms and legs were so burnt, I couldn't believe it. Yikes! I learned my lesson, lets just say. (I also learned to not go to heavy metal concerts to listen to angry people screaming), so I learned more than one lesson! Even though I was in high school when I attended that not so fun concert, still, even today I find myself forgetting those "summer essentials" that obviously you need, like sunscreen!

Those moments, however, made me wish I had outfits like the one I'm about to show you because whether you admit this or not, people are not always prepared for that sun. Wouldn't you love to have an outfit that did more than just "style" you up? When I create outfits, I am constantly thinking like the customer, what I think a customer wants. This new idea I've developed and design concept meets the needs of people in a way no other clothing item will. I like to call this a convertible dress, and have posted on this before in this post. My convertible dress can be worn in multiple ways and simply, easily adjusted.

A simple added element allows this one-of-a kind style to do three important things and here's what they are:

1. Protect your skin from the sun: The sun is wonderful to bask under, I know, but with all of those events I'm sure you got going on this season, you may not always be prepared. What's nice about this outfit, is you can totally pull over a very light layer that will shelter you from those harsh sun rays. Now days, people say if you want gorgeous, stunning skin, you've got to stay out of the sun! Since my skin is so fair, I can't last more than 10 minutes in the sun (without looking like a cooked lobster). I'm really wondering how I didn't get heat stroke at that concert I can't believe I went to.
2. Keep you cool, like you're always in the shade: The fabric on this garment is so light, the added layer over your shoulders, arms and body will create a gentle breeze while you move. The swing of the fabric as you walk has a cooling feel to it. And, the added layer will feel like you are sitting in the shade.
3. Can get wet without getting damaged: This dress (and fabric I use to create summer convertible dresses) exist for the purpose of protecting you from ALL weather, like rain. You can use the added layer attached on the back to cover your head and though you will get wet, the fabric acts like swim wear and the print and fabric itself won't get damaged. You could swim in this outfit (if you wanted) and if it was hot enough outside, would dry fast.
Like this dress and concept? You may find this outfit does quite a few other things too and you can really do what you please with it. The finished item will allow you to tie that added layer in the back which will create a pretty, subtle gather and have a little dress-up feel to it. The fabric is comfortable and has a relaxed feel as well. Why not look good and actually feel at ease in your clothing! Is this what you want to see in your clothes? Thanks for reading and be sure to subscribe to this blog because more posts are on their way you won't want to miss!

Sunday, June 19, 2016


An entrepreneur's life is always on the grind and always moving. This week for a couple of days, I had to get out of town (for personal reasons). While out though, still, I found time to produce illustrations for my website and truly get my site categorized and organized. I am heavily focused on making my website easily view-able to buyers and professionals in my industry.

The first two days of the week, Monday and Tuesday (if you followed my Snapchat: user tessakoller) you must have seen, most of my time I spent beefing up I even decided to be nice and give away some blogging and WordPress hacks, and even my secret Photoshop hacks (I will do more if you missed them). A brief overview though: I revealed my quick way to achieve a plain white background. Soon, I'll give away another tutorial on the quickest way to colorize a black and white photo. If you have a blog, which many of my Snapchat followers do, you will want to stay tuned for these tutorials. The photo below is an example of colorizing a black and white photo. If you noticed, I only colored my subject and left the background black and white. This was just for practice, so don't miss the tutorial which I will reveal this coming Monday! Don't miss!
If you are not following me on Snapchat, I guarantee, you are missing out. I am constantly revealing the secrets to living a full and healthy lifestyle while also balancing a work life. People think healthy living, blending smoothies, scheduling morning and evening rituals is just too hard or not worth the effort. Trust me, it IS worth the effort to do these things. I share the secrets to making these lifestyle practices simple yet beneficial and rewarding. If you have many stresses in your life, then this way of living you'll want to obtain. If you noticed, one day during the week, I took a long, long nature walk because of back discomfort and walked outside for a whole hour to eliminate stress. A nature walk is the best remedy for stress and helps you regain focus. In the last couple of months, I've started swimming to get in shape and more toned. After three days straight of swimming up to 40 minutes, I eliminated my back pain completely. My Snapchat will motivate you to be your healthiest person while making smart choices in your day-to-day work life.

So, moving on with my Snapchat Style Series (weekly) highlights post; I am so thrilled about what I accomplished on Monday and Tuesday with my website. Did you guys enjoy the fun WordPress tutorials? I hope so. Many people following me on Snapchat I know are using WordPress, so I hope those tips helped you! If you want more in depth tutorials, comment below and I'll make notes to do more. I read two whole books on website design and WordPress (and Blogger) and know a lot of secret little hacks! Throughout the week, my focus was on making custom menus in the footer (bottom) of my website and next week, I'll be redesigning every page on my website and simultaneously working on a catalog and sell sheets. I can't wait to dive in! 
From Tuesday evening to Thursday morning, I was out of town and returned loaded with appointments all day Thursday. By Friday, I finally received the custom pattern I created with this painting (below). On Snapchat I showed how I got custom patterns put on beautiful jersey fabric! My partner in crime painted this and I was obsessed, so I made it into a style. The color combos scream summer and just loved it!
Here is a glimpse of a unique convertible dress I am making (photo below).
It's not the best photo but it's a little glimpse of my biggest highlight of the week. 
Friday, I have to say, it was a hit! When that custom patterned fabric arrived in the mail, I immediately got designing. Creating custom patterns is something I always wanted to do. If you want something bad enough, you will get it. A talented friend of mine told me about this website that produces custom patterns on various fabrics and I got hooked on it! Now, it's endless the patterns I can create! 

I had a great week and am looking forward to what I plan to tackle next week! Also, be sure to subscribe to this blog and don't miss what's coming next, 5 Things Successful Women Do Daily10 Health Benefits of Meditation I've Noticed, and A Weekend Routine that'll Guarantee a Successful Week, and more good stuff! So stay tuned! 

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