What About The Alchemy?

A Blog By TADA

Glossy Box April — April 18, 2021
Happy Holidays! (Best of 2020) — December 27, 2020

Happy Holidays! (Best of 2020)

Rejoice! The garbage year known as 2020 is almost over and I cannot be more grateful, just like everyone else.

However, it wasn’t *all* bad. Honestly, it wasn’t. Here are some highlights:

  • There was so much creativity that came from 2020.
    Virtual showdowns to zoom gameshows, the BS from 2020 proved that creativity is indeed the birth of necessity.
  • Remote work is the best work.
    I recently purchased a new pair of jeans and I wish I could turn back time. They are so tight. But to be fair, I did gain a bit of weight and pants fitting tightly is expected. And also rude. But that’s not the point. Everyone working remotely has made employers realized how important it is to offer remote work. I certainly love it and will likely not go back to a work office.
  • People started their own businesses
    Myself included. 2020 quarantine pushed me to start selling on eBay. Then on Depop. Then on Pietra. One of my resolutions for 2021 is knuckling down on my side projects and focus more on advertising and promoting my brand. I also want to make my YouTube channel happen. I’ve ready to start creating things that genuinely make me happy.
  • I got married!
    In your face, Covid! I got married anyway! Granted, we cut our guest list down to 25-30 people (mainly family and some friends), make everyone adhere to the mask mandate in Springfield, and gave out sanitizer as wedding favors. We also had to postpone our wedding reception to August 2021. With the multiple vaccines out in the world, our fingers are crossed we’ll be able to celebrate our one-year anniversary with the people we love dearly (related or not).
  • Kye
    Long before Neal and I got married, we talked about getting a chihuahua dog together. It just so happened that three weeks after we got married, I found Kye from Route 66 Rescue through Petfinder.com. I remember going into our meeting with an open mind. It could be great but don’t force it, I remember thinking to myself as I drove over to the shelter in Ozark. Then I saw his little face the minute I walked in. And I saw how my dog Joe reacted when he met him. And then I learned Kye was a survivor of an animal attack, just like Neal’s dog Petey was. It felt like fate to me. And I’m so glad I took him home that day. It hasn’t been easy, but Kye is hilarious and wicked smart. He loves big, which I relate to. And he silently farts stinky farts, just like Neal. Kye isn’t the perfect dog, but he’s our dog and we love him a lot.

2020 was a rough year, but I hope your 2021 is wonderful. We made it through and we’ll be stronger because of it. I wish you a great year of creativity, strength and kindness.


Vlog: 11/23/20 — November 24, 2020
Vlog: Weekend Recap — November 23, 2020
Refreshing Departure — March 3, 2019

Refreshing Departure

After a lot of consideration, I’ve decided to discontinue this blog. I’ve been blogging off-and-on for several years and I’m ready to make a change and step away from my What About The Alchemy? blog so I can work on making my own personal website and be able to include all of my creative projects. I’ll still have my Facebook page and keep it active with my Instagram until I’m ready to unveil my new endeavor.

Thanks for your support over the years!


— December 20, 2018

I missed a week of blogging. It’s okay, I’ll get back into the swing of things next week. On Saturday, I’m heading to Naples, Florida to spend Christmas with my mom and her side of the family. I write this as I sit in my living room, the thermostat set for 55 degrees so we can conserve on our utility bill. I’m ready for some warm weather!

Update in a week!

– Tess

Day 10518 — December 3, 2018

Day 10518

I find myself with writer’s block tonight.

This weekend flew by with the opening weekend of Junie B. Jones. In the show, I play Phillip Johnny Bob, who is Junie B’s stuffed animal elephant. Being a stuffed elephant has been interesting. Children are either really afraid of you or think you’re awesome. My costume has been incredibly hot! On opening night, I drank four bottles of water and I never had to pee. It was ridiculous how much I had sweat. But it’s been worth it. We’ve gotten through one round of shows, making us more than halfway over with our run.

I’ve done a substantial amount of theatre this year. It’s been good for me as a writer because it’s provided great insight and perspective, which I will then use when writing sketches/plays/stories. It’s also shown me what I’m made of. If you had told me seven years ago that in one calendar year I would be able to memorize numerous lengthy Shakespeare monologues, be in the ensemble and be the understudy for two important roles in Annie, and also be able to flop around as a stuffed elephant toy, I would’ve never believed it. But hey, I did it. And two of those three shows I did it under extreme mental duress and with serious personal issues, so I’m pretty proud of myself.

Also, I want to take this moment that tonight (Sunday, December 2nd) I have been sober for 21 weeks. It’s a good feeling. I made the decision to stop drinking in July and I’ll be honest, there were many times since then where life wore me down enough where I was tempted to drink again. But I found a way to wait and power through. My overall decision to stop drinking was so that I could properly feel and process what’s been going with all my personal issues. It too has been worth it. And I’m proud of me for that as well.

If you are a reader and you don’t already follow me on social media, let’s change that!

Twitter: @tessdevine

Instagram: @whataboutthealchemy

Facebook: What About The Alchemy?

Thanksgiving, Weekend with Mom, and the future — November 27, 2018

Thanksgiving, Weekend with Mom, and the future

I had a good Thanksgiving. Because I passed my 90-day mark at my job last week, I got paid for Thanksgiving AND I got a floating holiday!

On Thanksgiving, my family (including Neal and his mom) came down to Springfield and we had dinner at Village Inn. I worked at Village Inn last year for Thanksgiving, and I know they did a good Thanksgiving meal! I forgot it came with a free piece of pumpkin pie.

Then we had Thanksgiving part 2 over at Neal’s house with his family. It was a good time. My mom and Neal’s mom, Brenda, talked while me, Neal, Neal’s uncle Keith, aunt Sheri, and cousin Madison all watched Christmas Vacation, which is a family tradition for them. It used to be a tradition for me and my Grandma Barb, but it fizzled out over time and the tradition stopped. It was a good time.

I spent Thanksgiving weekend with mom and Neal in St. Louis and we hit up some cool local spots around Kirkwood (and some Jack n the Box for Neal). It surprised me to realize how much I miss Kirkwood and the general St. Louis area.

We took Neal to Strange Donuts since his old job was a similar-style donut shop in Springfield.

Iconic Amoco sign close to Forest Park in St. Louis

My mom is doing well, considering the news she got last month. We talked a lot about her cancer. Mainly we talked about her cancer of the peritoneum which is secondary to her colon cancer. Peritoneal cancer is terminal and its not an easy death. Mom and I talked candidly about what to do after she passes on. We also argued, got mad at each other, made up, cuddled, laughed. So we acted like normal mother and daughter. We’re going to Florida for Christmas to see my mom’s family. Eleven days on the beach will do both of us a lot of good. I got Mom a good Christmas gift that I know she’ll love.

Next month Neal and I celebrate our one-year anniversary. I can’t believe how much time has passed. I’ve never celebrated an anniversary before and boy, what a year it’s been! Neal has been an amazing partner to me. He’s been so supportive and patient with me, especially with my mom’s health issues. Stress/depression/grief can really affect your memory and it absolutely has affected mine. Neal will sweetly remind me of things I’ve forgotten or will listen to me as I tell him a story I’ve already told him. He’s a good egg. I’m excited to be celebrating a year of doing life with him. I hope it’s the first of many years with him.

We love taking goofy selfies

16 weeks — October 28, 2018

16 weeks

Today I celebrated 16 weeks of sobriety. That’s nearly four months. That’s the equivalent to a fall semester of college. It hasn’t been easy in the slightest. But it gets easier whenever I think about what I’ve achieved in that length of time. I feel clearer. I’ve been creating more. I’ve been reading more books. I’m busy but I still find time for people in my life and support their art too. And I’m coping better. I heard some rough news about my mom on Friday and while I am still experiencing waves of emotion about it, I’ve been taking it in stride and honoring my feelings and allowing myself to feel my emotion.

I’m grateful for the support I’ve received from all my friends during the last (almost) six months in terms of the issues with my mom and with my sobriety. Most importantly, I’m proud of myself and I’m proud of anyone else who’s gone sober this year. If you’re reading this and you’re struggling with sobriety, just remember to take it one day at a time. You got this!

– Tess

A close-up photo of a tree I took using the HujiCam app

10465 – 94 days — October 10, 2018

10465 – 94 days

On July 8th, I was at a party drinking cheap beer and watching two grown men (presumably intoxicated) bare-knuckle box. A lot of friends had their phones out to record the fight and one friend was the referee, keeping the fight from getting out of hand.

I sat away from it all and observed. I felt alone and the beer didn’t even taste that good. I wasn’t enjoying myself and it was nobody’s fault but my own. I remember thinking to myself: I think I’m done.

Since that day, I’ve only had a sip of my boyfriend’s ale or a friend’s beverage. I’ve gotten myself a non-alcoholic version of Heineken (meh) and have gotten super into kombucha, both of which had such small amounts of alcohol they’re considered non-alcoholic.

Overall I feel good and I don’t miss drinking. Other times, during a rough day at work or when I see a bottle of wine that one of my roommates put in the fridge, it’s more of a challenge to abstain. But I remind myself the importance of waiting. Sometimes it’s just taking it a day at a time. Sometimes it’s taking it minutes or seconds at a time. Sometimes it’s just saying to yourself “Let me get home from work and see if I still wanna drink then. In that particular example, I usually find a way to decide against it. In that small act of waiting, I find I show up to myself. I’ve been showing up to myself for three months and I’m really grateful to those who’ve supported me and to the art I’ve made as catharsis.

In case you haven’t heard it today:

  • You are loved.
  • You mean something to someone.
  • If you’re feeling sad, you’re not alone.
  • If you’re struggling through a vice, you can do this!

Just remember this: if you are ever feeling sad or loneliness or anger, remember this line from U2’s song “Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of”

It’s just a moment, this time will pass.