best of february — women rising, sparking joy, investing in health, discarding junk

Phew! It’s been awhile. Between the holidays and the dead of winter, I haven’t felt quite as inspired, or inspiring. I went through a several day period at the end of December when I realized that I hang onto a lot more stress and anxiety than I’d like to admit, and that ultimately, I can’t sustain it on my own. It was a humbling experience to say the least. There’s a reason the brass blossom was born in February two years ago — we need an outlet..and, I still need one.

However, I’m feeling a change in energy recently, and it may be due to some of the things that I’ve loved in February. I’m feeling more like myself than I have in a long time. Here’s a look at some of the things that have brightened my world.

1. I am woman, hear me roar: It’s no secret that I am a feminist, and I hope you all are too. If you need a reminder that “feminist” is not a dirty word, or synonymous with “man hating,” then listen to the wisdom of Hermione:

I’ve been really inspired by the politics of a certain Presidential Candidate recently, especially in comparison to some others, and by several articles my friends have helped me stumble upon. Here are some great links:

The most powerful voter this year, who in her rapidly increasing numbers has become an entirely new category of citizen, is the SINGLE AMERICAN WOMAN” — NY Magazine

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How Society Pays When Womens Work Is Unpaid” — New York Times

“Moms started going home and saying to their husbands, ‘If Bill Gates can drive his daughter, you better darn well drive our daughter or son,’ ” Melinda Gates said {on the topic of ‘time poverty’}. “If you’re going to get behavior change, you have to role-model it publicly.”

What Women Find in Friends That They May Not Get From Love” — New York Times

“They made things I yearned for, like better work, fairer remuneration, increased self-assurance and even just fun, seem more attainable.”

“But the real consequence of having friendships that are so fulfilling is that when you actually meet someone you like enough to clear the high bar your friendships have set, the chances are good that you’re going to really like him or her. That’s what happened to me.”

I am also considering becoming a Stella and Dot stylist, and I was blown away by the powerful sense of community and empowerment so many of the stylist have when I participated in a Facebook event. Stay tuned for more info on this exciting development!

cheers to all my best ladies! (some not pictured of course)

cheers to all my best ladies! (some not pictured of course)

2. beauty routine investments: Blame it on the impending nuptials, but I think I was just long overdue for a bit of a beauty routine update. I’ve always loved my Cosmedix face cleansing routine, my Bobbi Brown hydrating eye cream, Diorshow mascara my BareMinerals face makeup. Here are a couple worthwhile upgrades and investments that I made this last month.

1. Bobbi Brown Makeup Remover — I don’t know how I lived without this for so long. It’s mild, not scented, and nourishing.

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2. Bobbi Brown Rich Caramel Eye Set — I love every single shade in this collection. They’re subtle but powerful and just make me feel pretty.

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3. BareMinerals Skinlongevity — I don’t know about you, but fine lines are well on their way, and the boy has a very strong stance on Botox ;). Beyond that, I felt like I needed to nourish my skin more, especially in the winter. I love this product. It brightens and moisturizes my face without making it oily, smells great, and makes me feel like less of a puffy faced bum when I wake up after a few margaritas…and glasses of wine, if you know what I mean. I’ve only used it for a few weeks, so I can’t speak to it’s long-term effectiveness, but it is clinically proven, which helps.


4. Tria Hair Removal Laser — This is my far the most impulsive buy of my life (or at least the one with the biggest price tag). I was sitting on a bike at the gym, and a commercial came on, and next thing I knew, I had purchased one on my iPhone in a nice turquoise blue. I frequent an esthetician, and my genes aren’t exactly favorable in this department, so at-home hair removal is right up my alley. I took advantage of a Valentine’s Day discount deal, and I am so impressed with this product. I’m only a couple weeks in, and I can already see a difference. The design is sleek, and the product is incredibly easy and non-scary (and pretty pain-free) to use.


5. Taking advantage of my gym membership — I feel so lucky to be a member of the beautiful Zenergy Health Club and Spa. While I’ve been a member for more than a year, I feel like I really just started taking advantage of it in the past month or two. I now frequent a barre class, a yoga class, and my new favorite activity of sitting on a bike for about 45 minutes and reading a book while I exercise. It combines two activities that I often feel like I don’t have time for, but both of which make me feel incredibly happy.

3. sparking joy and discarding junk: I originally saw reference to Marie Kondo’s book “Spark Joy” in a People Magazine when I was dress shopping in San Francisco, and I thought it sounded like a really interesting approach to house cleaning. I saw both of her books,” The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” and the follow-up, “Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up” in Costco a couple weekends ago, and immediately added them to the cart (ha, somewhat conflicting topics).

marie kondo

I read the introduction one Sunday after barre class while eating some toast, and instead of skiing, I discarded an entire massive garbage can’s worth of junk in my house under the rule that if an object does not “spark joy,” it does not belong in my house — anything from furniture to undergarments to a kitchen appliance. The following weekend, I did the same thing. I have never felt better coming home at the end of each day.

I’ve never considered myself a hoarder, but I’m definitely not known for being particularly tidy. I’m still making my way through the second book, which is more useful for reorganizing everything, but I honestly feel like this habit will stick, because it’s simple and effective. Of course, I can’t just throw away my couch because it doesn’t spark joy — I have practical considerations to take into account like my financial reality and the fact that two dogs have made that crappy couch their own. That being said, I can handle a new bedside lamp, a new bench for the end of our bed, and a fun container to keep laundry items in on top of the washing machine.

Anyway, enough said. Pick up these books, and dedicate yourself to a tidying “event.” It’s well worth it!


4. McCall is for Lovers: The boy and I traveled to his home in McCall with six of our dearest friends during President’s Day/Valentine’s Day weekend. We got college drunk in the basement, skied a bit, and had the time of our lives. Thank you to Ingri and Steve for their incredible hospitality. This is going to have to be an annual tradition!

dinner at the Sushi Bar

dinner at the Sushi Bar on Valentine’s Day

clown hot tub

clown hot tub

party pups

party pups


skiing on Brundage

skiing on Brundage & the latest Smith ad



I hope you’re all having a fabulous winter! A couple more recipes to come his week…

cheers krista


brass blossom

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