good reads

wednesday ramblings – just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean you can’t be it

It’s been quite a while since I have blogged. I have been busy with school, trying to make the most of my last couple of months in Seattle and in general, just living life. But whenever I feel like everything is starting to spin out of control, I always return to “The Brass Blossom.” I feel like it is a space where I feel safe, but I also feel like I can stretch my wings. Writing a blog post always makes me feel both grounded and empowered all at the same time. So I return to the trust worthy BB this week to share some thoughts….

This week has just been one of those weeks. I have felt like I was just in a funk. Being in Grad School at the ripe age of 27, I feel like I am just in the wrong place, at entirerly the wrong time in my life. Even though I always try to focus on the present and how “comparison is the thief of joy,” sometimes I just want to give into comparison and by like, “you win!” I see everyone else getting married, getting lady boss jobs, having babies and in general, just kicking ass in life, while I am over here like, what pages do I need to read for economics?

To add to this funk, my best of friends from Idaho are all going to the women’s march this weekend in Boise. I just felt left out and sick of being away. It didn’t help that Seattle decided that this week would be the prime time to start torrentially raining again and I just feel stuck. Both physically in the rain and in Seattle but also mentally.

I also happened to actually be stuck on the bus when all of this came crashing down on me. I was talking to my mom and she asked if something “happened.” I couldn’t even say yes. There wasn’t just one thing or even really a thing. It was just a bunch of stuff. So naturally when she asked if I was okay, I started crying and then it got awkward because I was having a minor public meltdown on a very public bus. And the girl behind me wouldn’t stop staring. This was probably due to the fact that I also chose the one sit that is perpendicular to all of the others and is smack dab in the middle of the bus, because apparently it is the safest. So I just rode it out. The tears, the stares, which probably weren’t even stares but just poor bus seating. But hey, at least I was in the safest spot. It was just a no good, very bad, but really in the scheme of things, not so bad moment. Disclaimer: this is why you don’t have personal conversations on the bus, so you don’t appear to be unstable.

But then later, an amazing friend inspired me. She inspired me out of my funk and inspired my weekend. She proposed that this weekend we celebrate all of the things that women can do. Regardless of your political stance, or what you think about e-mails, health insurance or who to tax, one thing that I hope all women can agree on is that this election was discouraging for at least one reason. That one reason alone is that a woman still is not and cannot be the wholly President of the United States of America. You can’t be what you can’t see.

So as someone who is generally pretty lady boss focused and a results oriented person, I think that celebrating all that I can be is a pretty fine way to turn around my week. I can celebrate wanting to be a lady boss and achieving that. I can celebrate buying a tweed blazer with fantastic elbow patches to one day wear to a board meeting to lean in. I can celebrate drinking whiskey. I can celebrate my body for what it can do, not what it looks like. I can celebrate crushing it at Crossfit. I can celebrate being independent but also being encouraged – by a family, a boyfriend and friends that encourage me to my highest potential. I can celebrate growing up in a home that didn’t solely define gender roles and limit that very potential. I can celebrate choosing to have children or not. I can celebrate reading a health law book just before finishing my trashy romance novel. I can celebrate choosing a career, whether it be a CEO or a calligrapher. I can celebrate that I am intelligent, athletic, strong, motivated and maybe, even witty. And I can celebrate me.

So I encourage you this weekend to celebrate the things that you can do, regardless of your gender. Don’t focus on the funk (or the flu as it is going around like wild-fire – stay healthy people!). Focus on the future and what we can do. And as I’m walking my own walk and talking my own talk, remember, especially all you boss ladies out there, that just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean you can’t be it.

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taylor brass

brass blossom

best of may – mojo, bachelorette mischief, morels & resiliency

May was one of those months where I think I lost my mojo. Jupiter was in retrograde for most of the month but I think it was more than that. All in all it was a fantastic month but nothing quite went as planned…

In the process of tracking down a missing Lululemon Gift Card (for which I probably would have gone to the end of the Earth to find), I managed to lock myself out of my apartment in Seattle wearing nothing but sweat pants and a white tank top and simultaneously kill the battery in my car by leaving a light on (not to be discovered until days later). Thankfully a pizza guy came to my rescue 30 minutes into sitting by the door nipping out with no bra on. And that was just one night.

P.S. You can learn how to jump a car on Google. #modernwoman

Then American Airlines changed my flight suddenly at 11:00 pm the night before I was supposed to fly out and also managed to lose my bag between Seattle and Phoenix. I was on my way to the most fantastic Bachelorette weekend celebrating my favorite dino friend. My bag ended up going all the way to Hawaii without me (seriously sad) leaving me to clothe myself in all of the offered belongings from my very nice friends. And again, naturally I wore yoga pants and a sports bra on the plane so I was pretty defenseless when it came to extra undergarments.

Please learn from my mistakes and make sure when you leave your home to always, always bring keys and wear underwear and a bra and even pack an extra or two in your carry on so you don’t have to nip out to a pizza guy, go commando for several days or borrow what turned out to be a very nice pair of underwear. Also you never give back borrowed underwear. Rule #1 of life.

But enough about my May craziness that seemed to always come back to undergarments and on to the good stuff! Here is what I loved!

1. #dinotribe. Despite not having any luggage for most of the trip and having to deal with American Airlines for too many hours (they were absolute miserable and not at all helpful), the highlight of May was my trip to Phoenix to celebrate one of my greatest friend’s bachelorette party. I also cannot wait to be with her on her wedding day! She was that friend in college who suddenly just appeared like a bright, loving, generous, compassionate, brilliant light and never left (in a good way). She is also my favorite person to snuggle and make pug and dinosaur noises. She is that type of friend.

We spent the weekend enjoying the scorching hot weather, drinking too much alcohol and laughing literally the entire time. Highlights included a run that turned into a two hour adventure lost in the desert, posing with cacti, blowing up giant pool floaties by mouth, strapping down that one friend who had too much to drink on a pool floatie in the middle of the living room to sleep next to a bowl, late night talks, the absurd pictures that were captured and 5 am walks in the sunrise. It was truly one of the greatest weekends where we all fell back into those insanely comfortable relationships we had in college and made some new incredible friends. Love you all!

just the beginning...

just the beginning…

the most beautiful bride to be (& her dino!)

the most beautiful bride to be (& her dino!)

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running with bae

running with bae

we may have been lost but that didn't stop us from impersonating cacti

we may have been lost but that didn’t stop us from impersonating cacti

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my happy place

my happy place

before one of the most fun nights that i have ever had

before the insanity

selfies

selfies

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❤ my bri bird

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bethhhhhhh

5 am sunrise walks

5 am sunrise walks

2. reading on the bus. I’m not certain how it took me so long to figure this one out. I rode the bus everyday to and from school. I spent anywhere between 20-3o minutes on the bus but never felt like it was enough time one be that one person to dig through their bag and pull out a book and spill the bag’s contents everywhere. But when modern technology meets having a gigantic iPhone 6+ it turns out you can read quite comfortably on your phone!

I ended up reading nine books in May. Yes, nine! One of which was Grey (aka 50 Shades of Grey told by the male character). I figured since I went to Grad School and learned useful and smart things everyday that I could read trashy novels on the bus. And yes, it was fantastic just like the first novels and pretty much word for word the first book. Definitely a great summer read!

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3. home for a break. I started the month off with a fantastic trip home. To maintain my sanity in Seattle I tried to go home at least once a quarter to cram in as many Idaho activities and love as possible. This break topped the charts with lots of friend-time, dog hikes, days of morel mushroom hunting and time spent with the boy and my Maude Pod. It literally couldn’t have been more perfect.

birthday love!

birthday love!

my favorite hiking buddies <3

my favorite hiking buddies ❤

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sunrise hikes

sunrise hikes with my brass blossom boyfriend

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a trip home wouldn't be complete without some goat love!

a trip home wouldn’t be complete without some goat love!

4. may morels. During my visit back to Idaho in May, the boy and I spent the majority of two days hunting for morel mushrooms. Other than finding a lone morel hiking last summer I had never gotten into the hunt. But let me tell you, it is one of the most addicting activities that I have ever participated in. The boy and I went with some friends and simply wandered in circles around in the woods for hours and hours with the pups. I now understand the Gold Rush.

The only thing that stopped us both days was when the girls got hangry. Lesson learned boys: always bring snacks for your girlfriends when morel hunting. Wine and cheese would be a great start.

look at this things!

look at this things!

morels!

morels!

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my love bugs + morels = perfect day

my love bugs + morels = the perfect day

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i promise she loves us

i promise she loves us

post-adventures schooners

post-adventures schooners

lovers <3

lovers ❤

5. sheryl sandberg does it again. I was recently asked who I want to be when I grow up? Apparently I’m not grown up but not the point. My first thought was Sheryl Sandberg. Not only because she is a badass COO but also because she seems to just get it. Her recent “getting it” was a Graduation speech she gave to Berkeley. She touched on many things but what got to me most was her note about resiliency:

“And when the challenges come, I hope you remember that anchored deep within you is the ability to learn and grow. You are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. Like a muscle, you can build it up, draw on it when you need it. In that process you will figure out who you really are — and you just might become the very best version of yourself.”

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6. honey. My one major complaint about Grad School is the fact that it has really cut down on my online shopping. While this is sad and all I think that I will survive, especially after coming across this life changing online shopping app, called Honey. I’ve probably spent a good amount of my precious life searching for promo codes to get discounts or free shipping while online shopping. But when you download Honey it does it all for you! Simply install it to Google Chrome and a little icon will appear when you go to check out! I literally saved 60% off the other day when I ordered some paper invites.

Feel free to use my code to join because it also gives you points to redeem when you share with friends!

Code to Join: joinhoney.com/ref/vloyjc

taylor brass

brass blossom

sparking joy — spring cleaning

“As for you, pour your time and passion into what brings you the most joy, your mission in life.”  – Marie Kondo

As Krista mentioned in her Best of February, she devoured Marie Kondo’s books “spark joy” and “the life-changing magic of tidying up” and subsequently discarded a massive pile or two that didn’t spark joy for her. I also recently devoured “the life-changing magic of tidying up” during a pedicure that took far longer than usual since I still have a massive callous from negotiating down from Mount Borah last year but that is besides the point. That callous sure isn’t sparking joy in anyone’s lives.

The point is, I devoured the book because I felt like Marie Kondo was my soul sister. She spoke about her childhood obsession with organization, tidying up, and the concept of spaces, and it spoke to the little girl in me who loved nothing more to an extreme or point mental breakdown for everything to be clean and organized. But I truly think that Marie Kondo feels like everyone’s soul sister because everyone probably has that one special, OCD, person in their lives that they just can’t not love.

And in true sparking joy fashion, Krista and I recently learned about a brilliant company called MakeSpace who share our love and obsession with Marie Kondo. MakeSpace is essentially a brand new service in an app, that offers self-storage in these locations. The brilliant part about it is that they pick up your stuff, take it away to a storage facility and bring it back whenever you want it. Now if only it was available in Idaho and we could pack all of the boy’s gear for activities to store elsewhere…

I can definitely relate to this phenomenal idea as I will essentially be living out of three separate cities in the upcoming months. For all our friends in New York, Washington, D.C. or Chicago this is your new guide to making space!

Since we have both been particularly inspired with Spring Cleaning this year we thought we would share some inspiration, Krista’s Idaho-inspired cleaning to-do list and my personal cleaning must do’s from Kondo! Enjoy!

KondoMakeSpace

We love Life in the Green House summed up Kondo’s entire book in this perfectly pink graphic:

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Krista’s Idaho Inspired Spring Cleaning To-Do List:

1. Embrace the season. This is where MakeSpace can seriously come in handy, and it’s an absolutely necessity living in the mountains of Idaho. We have very distinct seasons here — think fluctuations of a full 130 degrees between the depths of winter and the peak of summer. When the spring weather hits, like right now, giant puffy coats be gone! Well, into storage at least. We like to keep out a mid-weight puffy for those Sawtooth mountain camping trips, but it brings us great joy to switch out our Uggs for a pair of espadrilles. IMG_2721

2. Embrace your inner adult. After reading Marie Kondo’s book, I finally felt free to get rid of my “college furniture,” a.k.a. a more-than-likely flimsy piece that I wouldn’t be sad about if it crumbled after a late-night coffee table dance party. The same goes for second-hand gifts from parents — there’s a reason they didn’t want it either

3. Invest in accessories. I find that I’m always drawn to the plain black, white, or gray top in my closet. Before you call me boring, let me finish — I love those pieces most because they offer a blank slate to accessorize. Pair your plain tee with an amazing statement necklace, a pop of color scarf, or your best booties. The best part? Accessories are much smaller and easier to store.

stella-bracelets

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did I mention that I will be a stella & dot stylist starting next month?!

4. One man’s trash. After my latest closet purge, I created 7 bags of clothing. Two of them went to the Goldmine, our favorite local thrift store that benefits the Community Library, and the other five I will bring to a clothing swap this Saturday (for which I have strict personal rules, more coming). Looking in the bags, I’m occasionally gripped with guilt, because there are some very nice brand names in there. However, they no longer sparked joy for me, and I just don’t wear them enough — be it the fit or particular color. For that reason, I invited a couple close girlfriends to take a look first. It brings me joy to know that they might enjoy my nicer clothes, which is just as satisfying!

keep vs. donate

keep vs. donate

5. Be wary of the “swap.” I am going to a clothing swap on Saturday. My goal is to be as true to my self and tastes as possible and only come home with those pieces that are a great fit and spark joy. Future storage situations rejoice!

6. Find your rustic vs. modern balance. If I had a dollar for every time the boy suggests we mount a taxidermied pheasant on my wall, I could buy the couch we actually need by now. Then again, our home is a shared space, and it’s a top priority for us both to feel comfortable. I’ve found that by reducing clutter on all of our surfaces (do we really need those decorative balls and that metal cow?), we can more intentionally decorate our home to reflect both of our tastes. Our engagement party gift shot skis will soon grace our wall, but we’ve also accepted that a new couch is an absolute next purchase.

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7. Go green. Let me tell you, these winters are looong. By clearing the decks a bit, I’ve created space for some new green friends. Meet Alfred, Penelope, and their mini succulent friends. I invested in some pretty pots so they could look fancy all year round, and I set reminders in my phone to water them.

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8. Be nice to your boots. Before packing up my Uggs and Fry boots for summer (in a clear container, that’s a must!), I clean and treat them so their in tip-top shape while they’re away in storage.

9. Windows to your beloved belongings vs. hiding the ugly. Invest in some clear storage bins with effective tops from your area Target — that will make your storage transition that much easier, and they can easily stack on top of each other. One very important exception to this rule? Utilizing solid storage containers to hide the ugly, for example the eye sore that is my fiancé’s fly-tying table. Yes, that’s a thing, and for the record, I will have my own crafting table one day (although I have taken over 2.5 of our three closets, so maybe we’re even for now). To mitigate the piles of feathers sparkly god-knows-what-it-is and googly eyes, I invested in some simple canvas bins in masculine colors from Overstock.com.

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10. Celebrate in style. I cleaned out  my Christmas bin after reading Marie’s book, and good lord…so much of that just needed to go! I’m only 26 and I already had the most random s**t in there. Pair down your holiday décor and keep only the best and most sentimental. Group them by season as you can to make the most of your MakeSpace service.

Taylor’s Cleaning Must-Do’s:

  1. Keep it simple. Although I’m naturally drawn to a very neat and minimal decorating style, I really realized how few possessions I actually need when I moved to Seattle. I only took what I could fit in my car
  2. Color coded. Now this doesn’t necessarily actually make anything actually cleaner but I think that keeping everything color coded just is far more visually pleasing. From your closet to the book shelf it makes a semi-display out of the ordinary. Plus it makes finding that exact sweater you are looking for that much easier!
  3. Find everything a home. Although finding everything a home, from shoes to books to literally cleaning supplies, it makes keeping everything tidy so much easier. All you do is put it back in it’s home after you use it!
  4. Always wipe down the counters. This is one thing that I do daily that I think just makes any space so much nicer. A clean counter or surface makes any room feel so much cleaner. Plus you may be eating food or what have you off of it so shouldn’t it be clean?
  5. Store likes inside of likes. Pretty much anything that can be stored inside of a like frees up so much space. For example, I always store all our bags inside of the biggest bag. It keeps them nice and compact and then you never have to worry about tracking one down.
  6. Fold your underwear.  This might seem trivial in the big scheme of things but opening my underwear drawer to find everything neatly folded and separated makes it seem like there is just a little less chaos in the world. I neatly fold everything from underwear, socks, sports bras, and the list goes on and on and respectively stack everything neatly. At home I went as far as to divide the space with clear bins giving everything a home. Plus it keeps all those lacies wrinkle free and lasting longer!

Cheers to clean spaces and sparking joy everyday!

krista and taylor

brass blossom

best of march – winter wonderland adventures, dirt therapy, goat escapades & thank yous

March was one of those months when everything just seemed to align flawlessly. I finished my second quarter of Grad School and returned home for most of the month to live the life of funemployment.

Funemployment in Sun Valley takes funemployment to an entirerly new dimension. There are just so many activities, incredible people and goats, hills to be climbed, sun to be enjoyed and dogs to be walked that the time just flies by. During my time at home it hit me after a dinner conversation with our friends, how wholesome Idaho life can be. It is simple in the most perfect way with a deep connection to not only the most amazing people with the kindest hearts you will ever meet but also it encompasses a deep connection to literally everything that surrounds you. I fell into a slower pace of life that ironically went by so much faster.

Needless to say being at home for most of March filled my soul with goodness and a new sense of I can take the rest of Grad School by storm, or at least one more quarter for the first year. So here is what I thoroughly enjoyed in the month of March!

1. snapshots from home. So much goodness all the time!

love this place!

love this place!

so much snow, so much fun

so much snow, so much fun

black dogs for days

black dogs for days

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so many dog hikes

so many dog hikes

when your goats live in a winter wonderland

when your goats live in a winter wonderland

goat walks

goat walks

<3

the perfect spring skiing day

the perfect spring skiing day

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no complaints! favorite ladies and favorite place!

no complaints! favorite ladies and favorite place!

2. winter wonderland adventures. I convinced/dragged/demanded that the boy hike into Redfish Lake with me and the Smash Sisters one lovely weekend afternoon. The boy wasn’t too thrilled with the idea but appeased me. So we set off for Redfish Lake and it literally couldn’t have been more lovely.

I absolutely love Redfish in the summer but our friend Abbey has told us about how different yet serene it is to hike into the lake in the Winter. Since she is one of those people I always just believe/trust with my life I figured it was worth a few mile hike in. I white lied to the boy about how far we would actually be walking and we set out from the highway into the lake. It was a perfectly easy walk in hiking shoes on the packed down trail from snowmobiles and we arrived at the lake in no time after “sooooo many miles.”

The lake was pretty much deserted and we took a little cat nap in the sun on the porch of the lodge. Between the sun beating down, the pups running around like wild smash sisters and resting my head on the boy’s legs it was the perfect afternoon cat nap. One of those afternoons when you wish you could press pause. We headed out after a bit and I even got a bit of sun in my tank top. Most definitely an afternoon that cannot be beaten. Moral of the story: hike into Redfish Lake in the Winter even though it is “sooooo many miles.”

ready to roll!

ready to roll!

par pars got to ride up front for a bit

par pars got to ride up front for a bit

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perfection

perfection

the smash sisters weren't as into the cat nap as we were

the smash sisters weren’t as into the cat nap as we were

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post-hike sunburn selfies...

post-hike sunburn selfies…still laughing!

3. playing in dirt. The boy and I have several house plants that I am baffled have made it thus far. We love keeping them alive because they just offer the perfect amount of green and freshness to fill our apartment. By far our favorite is Stanley. Stanley is a lucky bamboo that the boy got for my for Valentine’s Day back in 2010. That’s right 2010. How he is still alive is a mystery to us all. It has been a labor of love.

Stanley is now over three feet tall and a growing machine. He has survived various trips back and forth between Eugene and Idaho as well as various houses in Idaho and various transplants. However, Stanley once again outgrew his home and desperately needed a transplant.

So over my break, I decided that all our houseplants were in need of a transplant along with Stanley. We also received quite a few plants after the boys accident and I have this crazy idea that they have juju and we must keep them alive and prosperous. So naturally on the one day it decided to dump snow and was 30 degrees I set out on my mission. This resulted in the kitchen and me being covered in dirt and rocks but it was well worth the 4 hours of playing in the dirt. It was oddly therapeutic and satisfying at the end when I looked at all of our plant babies in their new homes. Plus I bought a gold leafed pot for our new succulent friends which is just too cute not to share!

stanley goes for a ride to pick a new pot!

stanley goes for a ride to pick a new pot!

stanley's crazy roots

stanley’s crazy roots

new succulent friends

new succulent friends

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just a bit of a mess....

just a bit of a mess….

4. goat escapades. Oh my the goats. Nothing bad can ever be said about the goats but they were quite naughty during March. Goats are fairly smart creatures who have a reputation for liking to escape. We never really saw that side of our goats until they figured out they could walk on top of the snow crust and essentially take flying leaps out of the corral.

From there they decided the next obviously place to go after escaping was climb up the snowbanks onto the garage roof. They would frolic and play and act like watch goats, which are worth less if you were wondering. There were many a days I would go to check up on the goats and find one, two, three or four on the roof. Too cute and actually ridiculous not the share!

Also clearly our goats aren’t the only escapees around! Millie recently took a stroll to Starbucks…

bad goats!

bad goats!

just goating around

just goating around

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wrong way z-baby

wrong way z-baby

what happens when you constantly make jail breaks

what happens when you constantly make jail breaks

5. new obsessions – cauliflower rice + homeland. These two are entirely unrelated other than the fact that I have been binging on both. Trader Joe’s Organic Riced Cauliflower is essentially the greatest thing to hit stores since sliced bread. It has become a staple in my diet and is so, so, so simple to prepare and takes on the texture of grain in any recipe. If you have a craving you are more than welcome to come over and nom on the several bags I have stock piled.

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Cauliflower rice and Homeland will probably be forever engrained in my mind as one because I generally enjoy them together. If you need a show to binge watch you cannot go wrong with Homeland. I was pretty obsessed there for a couple of weeks and have decided that I need to take a break for air, like fresh air. It’s that good and I can safely say all those Grad School tuition dollars are going to good use.

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6. thank you’s. In the Year of Yes, Shondra Rhimes introduces the baffling yet very simple concept of simply saying “thank you” when given a compliment. When I first read about her describing how she never used to take a compliment and always deflected it a “but…” or something along those lines I didn’t quite get it. It wasn’t until I started noticing the way I receive compliments that it hit me hard. Most always when I receive a compliment I am hardwired to not just say “thank you” but rather I deflect it with something I did wrong or could or done better or some other insanity.

So thanks to Shondra Rhimes I have been trying to be more mindful of simply saying “thank you” when I receive a compliment. No matter how big or how small a “thank you” is always appropriate. I have found this challenged to be far greater than I ever expected and something that I think deserves pointing out. I am a complete perfectionist so to me there is always a bigger or better. But more often than not the job well done that someone else went out of their way to recognize deserves the thank you and period. Nothing less and nothing more, except probably a smile.

taylor brass

brass blossom

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.

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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.

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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!

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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

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skiing on Brundage

skiing on Brundage & the latest Smith ad

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

cheers krista

 

brass blossom

best of 2015

2015 has been quite the year. There have been ups and downs and some more ups. So in honoring #brassblossom tradition (my Best of 2014) and listening to some very wise words from one of my greatest confidants, here is what I consider to be the best of the best of 2015, because when it is all said and done there were a whole lot of bests!

1. best personal achievement – actually going to grad school. This past year I was going to Graduate School at the University of Washington, then I deferred for a year, then with about two months to figure it all out I decided to go again. This was a very “un-Taylor” thing to do but I managed to throw it all together and make it work. It wasn’t always pretty, involved several frantic calls and quite a few tears but I’m not homeless, I love school and I’m so happy that I have found a new normal. So cheers to being a Ducksky (Duck + Husky = ??) and making it work!

beautiful seattle skyline

beautiful seattle skyline

go ducks!

go ducks!

2. best words of wisdom – do you. I can’t even remember where the wisdom of “do you” actually came to me from. But it’s pretty simple. Just “do you.” When things really suck, or when things are frantic and everything is spinning out of control or when all is peachy remember “do you.” It has been my mantra for most of the year and I constantly remind myself that I can’t be anyone worthwhile to myself or anyone else if I don’t “do” myself first. Especially when you don’t know which way is up, just simply focusing on yourself and how you can serve yourself and make yourself be who YOU want to be gives you a fighting chance. Just do what serves your soul, your needs and our unmet desires at that time. Because no one else can do it for you. At least in my highly valuable opinion….

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3. best recipe – homemade ice-cream cake. There are few ways to describe this homemade ice-cream cake that don’t involve swearing due to shear enthusiasm. Point being this cake is phenomenal, it’s so easy to make and will knock the socks off of everyone who has the pleasure of laying their lusting eyes on it. Make it! I promise you wont regret it!

so nom nom nom

so nom nom nom

4. best book – dear sugar. By far the best book I read this year was Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed. It is a book of advice letters and even when you totally cannot in the slightest way relate to the person who is seeking advice, you will get something if not everything out of the stories and advice. Cheryl Strayed speaks directly to your soul in such a frank way. She manages to sum up life, the universe and everything in her words.

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5. best trip – okinawa, japan. Hands down the most fabulous adventure I was lucky enough to take this year was to the Okinawa islands in Japan with my cousin and aunt. We had an incredible time wandering, exploring and not being able to speak or understand a word of Japanese. Plus there were lots of handstands so you cant go wrong with that. There were so many laughs and I cant tell you how happy I am to have such great travel buddies in my life! 

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you can yoga even in japan

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two of the best travel buddies!

two of the best travel buddies!

6. best adventure – mount borah. Hands down, climbing/hiking/scaling the side of the mountain on Mount Borah was my favorite hike of the year. It was humbling, pretty scary at times, incredible to sit at almost the top and enjoy some Bri and champagne and extremely frightening how sunburnt we all got. By far the best #brassblossom adventure in Idaho!

cheers to almost the top!

cheers to almost the top!

so close to the sky

so close to the sky

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7. best clothing buy – j.crew jumpsuit. Once again my favorite purchase of the year was a jumpsuit, this j.crew jumpsuit to be exact. I just love jumpsuits. Like really, really, really love jumpsuits. I keep thinking about branching out from my jumpsuit obsession but I mean you just can’t go wrong with a jumpsuit for any occasion (except if you have to pee really badly…then things get dicey). So I have decided that life is too short so I might as well just continue to adore jumpsuits.

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<3

8. best beauty buy – clarisonic. I was given a Clarisonic by my wonderful aunt (who thus far has made the list twice!) for my birthday and I am obsessed with it. I use it daily in the shower and relish the minute of using it. I was actually disgusted at apparently how bad I am at washing my face after I used the brush after washing my face one night and got so much grossness on it. So if you’re looking for a clean face in 2016 get a Clarisonic.

so fresh and so clean!

so fresh and so clean!

love the color

love the color

9. best local find – idaho dreaming dreamcatcher. I searched high and low for a dream catcher this year to bring only sweet dreams to the boy, Maude Pod and I. And I ironically found the perfect one so close to home. This Idaho Dreaming Dream Catcher was by far my favorite purchase of the year. And since you all need a dream catcher for a stellar 2016, make sure to check out their Etsy Shop for the dream catcher of your dreams!

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love everything about this

love everything about this

10. best party – game dinner 2015. The Game Dinner 2015 that Krista hosted this Spring was my favorite party of the year. There was a TON of game meat, good food and lots of giggles had by all. But really why it was my favorite party (other than the slew of antlers that decorated the table and ribbon chandelier that created the perfect juxtaposition of feminine and masculine) was the fact that it was the first time that life seemed to resemble what it once had been, in a new normal kinda way. We were all surrounded by pure love and it truly brought new meaning to friends that are family. 

the boys <3

the boys ❤

the table

the table

the chandelier

the chandelier

11. best craft – diy wooden banner. I just love a good craft project and this DIY Wooden Banner was by far my favorite project. Perhaps it was because it had a bit of sentimental value to me but making wooden banners to express some love and cheer because one of my favorite things to do. Plus using a wood burner makes you feel like a badass. 

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12. best gift – s’well bottle. I received a s’well bottle as a birthday gift from my mom after lusting over the one that Krista had. This water bottles are pretty much amazing. They are sleek, come in fabulous colors (hello metallics!) and make sure your drink stays fresh. These bottles were definitely #brassblossom’s go to gift this year and for good reason! You won’t even regret buying one for yourself as a much deserved cheers to 2016!

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13. best newest additions – goats! Of course the goats made the list! I think I will forever refer to last summer as “the summer of the goats.” The goats brought so much laughter, snuggles, gallons of milk and love into our lives. So thankful for the craziness, spunk and googling of what to do with goats that they bring to our lives!

crazy goats!

crazy goats!

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goat selfies

goat selfies

someone loves her goat herd

someone loves her goat herd

14. best “i couldn’t live without you people” – each and everyone of you. I admit it, again this is a total stretch of a category but there have been so many friends, confidants and general strangers who give me so much strength, wisdom and room to just let my feelings out this year. I most definitely wouldn’t be standing where I am today without you all. And a very special thank you to all of my lady friends. Those are the fierce ones! So thank you for all the times you all listened, gave me the love I needed, shoveled for us, went on a hike, simply just sat in silence and gave me a push/shove in some direction, regardless of where that might be.

And the biggest best “i couldn’t live without you…” to my wonderful mother who manages to be the most loving and steadfast person I know. She manages the most unlikely of tasks and always puts me back together. I hope to one day be a slightly more organized, half of the woman that she is. ❤

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the hunters do clean up nice
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15. best boy – the boy. Ughhhh, so cheesy but I just have to say it. The boy wins the year for being the most outrageous, stubborn, indomitable, kinda want to sucker punch him sometimes for being crazy, greathearted boy around. I wrote last year that we had an incredible 2014 and little did we know but 2015 was just going to one up us. So cheers to another year of having the boy by my side, healthy and happy new ventures, many more Maude Pod and goat kisses and a fabulous 2016!

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my loves ❤

2016 life goals: 

Like the past couple of years, I continued my 2015 goal list on my iPhone notes. I love the fact that these “notes” go with me everywhere and can be altered, added to or checked off with a selfie high-five at a moments notice. All in all I feel like I did pretty well for my 2015 goals despite the craziness. But moving forward I want to refocus my goal setting…

I heard an amazing sentiment in hot yoga this last week that I want to bring with my into the New Year. It was the idea of using the Winter and Summer equinox as a time to reset. So with the first day of the days growing longer or shorter you begin working towards whatever your heart desires. Then you progressively work more towards whatever that is so it’s a progression. Aka: you don’t have to be perfect at the beginning of your resolution.

But besides reading more books for pleasure and mastering my handstand, what I want to channel in 2016 as the days get longer are the “four agreements”. I heard about the four agreements from a wise soul and feel like they are just what my 2016 “life goals” need. I need to read up more on the agreements but below are the agreements that I hope to continually refocus on in 2016!

  1. Be impeccable with your word.
  2. Don’t take anything personally.
  3. Don’t make assumptions.
  4. Always do your best.

I wish you all a very happy, healthy and joyous New Year. Cheers to 2016!

taylor brass

brass blossom

giving thanks – what i am thankful for in 2015

This year has gone by ridiculously quickly. For me it has been a year of survival, tremendous changes and pretty much just all around craziness. But it has also been a year where I have felt overwhelming waves of gratitude and thankfulness for what has become.

One of my favorite new Thanksgiving traditions has been at “Friendsgivemas” where we share what we all are thankful for. So I figured I would bring that to life again. So here is I am thankful for this year!

1. dreams for the future. This year has been a ridiculous dichotomy of changing and realizing new dreams. Around this time last year I thought I had everything put together. It seemed the cosmic stars were aligned and it had been a fabulous year of successes and dreams come true. But one thing that I am thankful for is that dreams for the future can evolve. Perspective can change. And life paths can change. So moving forward I’ve decided to dream big in a general direction and accept that the course I may take to follow that dream will not in any form be linear. Keep dreaming big enough and don’t become stagnant. I am also forever thankful that I am in a place in life that I am both physically and emotionally comfortable enough that I have the opportunity to dream big.

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2. strong wills. I don’t believe in miracles. But one thing I do believe in is strong wills and hard work. I am ridiculously thankful for those strong wills to get better and to make you better than surround me. You are the ones who have kept me on course this year and helped me will my current life back into something on that not so linear path to my dreams. So thank you from the bottom of my heart.

3. the cult of crossfit. I come from a long line of phenomenal athletes. Like world-class, they still kick my ass athletes and they have several decades on me. And while I have always been athletic I don’t think I ever really found my calling until Crossfit. I know, I know, it totally is a cult. But it’s a cult for a reason. Crossfit has truly changed my life in a way that I know I can never go back. My body perception has changed. My mind has changed. Each and every day I am enthralled by what my body can actually do. I can do hundreds of pull-ups, handstands, crazy things with like weights and boxes and lift my body weight, which is something I never could have even imagined a few years ago as an extremely uncoordinated person. And I can (most days) push through that point of “I’m going to vomit and pass out right here, right now.” Crossfit has taught me to revel in being strong in both body and mind. And it probably saved my life this year. It was truly my outlet on those days when I needed to put my entire energy into something or I would have gone insane. So thank you Crossfit for making me appreciate me. I will forever be thankful for that.

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 4. life’s absurdities. When the boy and my mom insisted on getting goats this year I finally just gave in. I thought what could a few goats really change? But they changed a lot, including our landscaping and doors as they literally eat everything in site. Point being goats are absolutely absurd and just oh so ridiculous. They are purely for fun and provide so much light. So I’m thankful for the absurdities in life that make everything just that much better and I want to be better at recognizing these absurdities and taking far more pleasure in them. Cheers to goats, pugs, funny YouTube videos and anything and everything that makes you giggle.

goat kisses <3

goat kisses ❤

5. opportunities in education. I honestly love school. I love learning and being accountable and feeling a purpose. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity this year to attend graduate school. I am also incredibly thankful that I come from a family that values education and values me as a independent woman to follow my educational dreams. So far I haven’t for one second regretted further pursuing my education. So cheers to getting smarter!

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go ducks!

6. checks and balances. I think we have all established that life is short and the world is a not so pleasant place, I mean just turn on the news. Or accept it and relish in some indulgences with some checks and balances. I am thankful for days that consist of indulging in lattes, pedicures, sunshine, Bri cheese and a drink or two but also so thankful for the balance of that of green juices, yoga and some me time.

cheers from mt borah!

cheers from mt borah!

a little yoga for balance

a little yoga for balance

7. (no) pants. I secretly really hate “real” pants. This might not really be a secret if you have the opportunity to see my lovely face everyday and I am in yoga pants. But point being I am really thankful that I live in an age where as a woman I am not supposed to wear a certain thing like a ginormous corset and skirt and god knows what else and I can choose to be pretty comfortable in what I wear. So cheers to your version of comfort whether it be yoga pants, leggings or long sweaters! They are revolutionizing the world.

#lululemonforever

#lululemonforever

8. the internet. One word people, Google. I actually do NOT know how people survived Graduate School before the Internet. Probs the library? I Google like at least 43 times a day. Google has the answer to everything. Like how to get places. Moving to a new city is hard. Driving in a new city is even harder especially when you are from a place that no one parallel parks. Praise Idaho for lots of parking. And praise Google and Google maps for teaching me everything and getting me everywhere I need to go. Now if only Google could park my car…

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9. instagram. There has been a lot of negative feedback recently regarding social media and how it only focuses on those “perfect” moments in life. And while most posts might not be an actual reflection of the true shit show that is going on behind the scenes, they represent a celebration in my eyes. The world is like actually a not so nice place but I think one of the true beauties in Instagram and all of social media is that it is remarkable celebration of the good, the pretty, the idealistic life. And while “comparison is the thief of joy,” why not celebrate Instagram for just what it is. Some days there are days when you just need some good. So for that I am especially thankful to Instagram as a place to escape and more often than not, just see beauty.

apparently instagram thinks i only really like pugs and other fuzzy creatures...

apparently instagram thinks i only really like pugs and other fuzzy creatures…

10. support circles. This grouping of “support circles” is all encompassing. I am beyond thankful for all of the circles of support that I have in my life. Friends, family, the boy, my mom, those friends that are family, doggies friends that snuggle you like there is no tomorrow aka my Maude Pod, goat friends and the list goes on and on but I am so thankful for the hammock of support that has held me up this year in both times of sorrow and joy. The boy always tells me that I don’t give myself enough credit. And while I do quite enjoy bragging about myself I truly feel that my support circles have propelled me through this year and helped me to reside in the place that I do. So thank you, forever and always for just being there.

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11. the opportunity to adventure. One thing that I truly love about living in Idaho is the proximity to nature. You can literally step out your door and be on a path to the middle of nowhere in a matter of moments. Unfortunately Seattle doesn’t offer quite that proximity but it’s amazing in other ways. I love the opportunity to be fully engrossed in a slower and more natural world. I am extremely thankful that I had so many opportunities this summer to explore all over Idaho and the west. I semi-joke that a life goal of mine is to become a professional hiker but the idea of being surrounded by wilderness everyday captivates me most days but then my practical side sets in (like how would I pay bills?!). Another adventure opportunity that I am so thankful to have had this year was my trip to Japan with my always lovely and spontaneous aunt and cousin. It was truly the trip of a lifetime and made my remember what it means to adventure. So cheers to many more adventures!

you cant say no to this...

you cant say no to this…

love these ladies!

love these ladies!

❤ idaho

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12. the brass blossom. One true joy that I have found in this year is my love of writing. I am not always the most expressive person when speaking but I have truly found joy, solace and growth this year in sitting down and writing. And “The Brass Blossom” has been a platform for me to share all of that writing. Not only am I thankful for the blog as a platform but I am also so thankful to each and everyone of you that reads and supports our blog because it truly comes from a place of love and passion. #thebrassblossom

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13. realism. One personality trait that I truly appreciate in people is when they are realistic about life. My #brassblossom costar happens to be one of those people and having someone in my life that validates and appreciates my realist view keeps me feeling not so crazy at those crazy times. However even I will admit you need to keep it balanced with a bit of idealism so I also try to surround myself with those fanciful folks as well!

14. not having to date. I straight up would not be able to remotely consider dating in our current day. But really the idea of dating apps, swiping right and the whole shebang literally makes me sweat. So I am utterly thankful that I caught a pretty good one before that all took off. On other note props to everyone that navigates the world wide web of dating!

so thankful for this guy!

so thankful for this guy!

pretty much

pretty much

15. being thankful. Okay hopefully you don’t lose me on this one but I am thankful for having so many things, whether completely ridiculous or not, to be thankful about. From health to education to goats I am thankful. I am thankful that I am in a space in my life where I can be thankful for what I have and even for what I do not have.

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Happy Thanksgiving and I hope you all have a wonderful holiday full of many thanks and gratitude!

taylor brass

brass blossom

best of october – a new normal, seattle romps, idaho love forever, hearts & souls

The past six weeks have been a whirl wind. The last time I wrote a “love it” I literally couldn’t imagine what the upcoming weeks would have in store for me. I set off for Seattle at the end of September to begin a new chapter and my life pretty much turned upside down. Not necessarily upside down in a bad way but in a new normal way. Nothing was quite like I knew it.

But I have slowly started to settle into this new normal of city life, taking the bus, walking to the grocery store, finding “hikes” in random corners of the city, eating phenomenal food, having Skype sessions, requesting hundreds of selfies of Miss Maude Pod and the boy and my mom and the goats, and following my literal dreams. Although there are definitely the moments when I seriously question what the hell am I doing with my life and completely panic about everything, I am always brought back to the fact that I am living my dream in the program I am attending. I feel engaged, I feel motivated and I feel like for the first time in a while that I am going in a direction of purpose. So whenever I have those inevitable moments of serious self doubt I always remind myself of this quote:

“do not worry that your life is turning upside down. how do you know the side you are used to is better than the one to come?” – rumi

Cheers to a new side of life, wether up or down or all around, and what I have been loving during the crazy month of October! (PS I will now only be doing monthly “love its” like Krista as Grad School can be a bit intense at times…)

1. seattle romps. Thankfully my wonderful mom helped me drive to Seattle, unpack and get organized. We had a ridiculous amount of fun along the way and I am very thankful that she came along for the ride and adventures. And while she is a fabulous copilot, cart pusher and sherpa she is not the most fabulous canoe steerer. Thank you so much mom, I likely couldn’t survive without you. Here is a look at all the fun we had!

the prettiest flowers that i arrived to from my lovely roommate

the prettiest flowers that i arrived to from my lovely roommate

go ducks!

go ducks!

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no lifevest, no ability to steer, no problem

no lifevest, no ability to steer, no problem

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new turtle friends

new turtle friends

obviously we went under there

obviously we went under there

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we survived!

we survived!

using the cart escalator!

using the cart escalator!

2. new PNW adventures. Now let me tell you, I don’t think that I have ever been so busy in all of my life. Grad School is a completely different type of beast. But it’s been a good busy. One of the things I truly love about living in Seattle is there is so much going on day or night. So many new places to go to adventure, to eat, to drink and to see new things. I have tried to make the most of the time that I have had and get out to do as much as possible like ferry rides, new hikes, Mariners games, celebrating the ducks and the most fabulous weekend on the beach with my favorite most outlandish and loving friend Ali and her family. I am incredibly lucky that I already have a few great friends that live in Seattle that have welcomed me to the city with open arms and I have managed to make a few new friends along the way as well (who would have thought?? but actually making friends as an adult is hard people…).

ferry rides & morning light

ferry rides & morning light

new hikes! to poo-poo point...

new hikes! to poo-poo point…

idaho friends in seattle places

idaho friends in seattle places

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the most delicious happy hour

the most delicious happy hour

so much fun!

so much fun!

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i went for the fireworks

i went for the fireworks

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i caught a ball (obvi!)

i caught a ball (obvi!)

hike to rattlesnake ridge

hike to rattlesnake ridge

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the best friends <3

the best friends ❤

the prettiest bouq

the prettiest bouq

a trip to the seashore

a trip to the seashore

caught it with her bare hands

caught it with her bare hands

seashore selfies in the wind

seashore selfies in the wind

discovery point

discovery point

the best ladies

the best ladies

go ducks!

go ducks!

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loving the scenes out of boys in the boat

loving the scenes out of boys in the boat

3. i couldn’t stay away for long. And while my first couple of weeks in Seattle were great, I was ready to return home to everything that I love so much, the fresh air, the mountains, the familiarity, the friends, the Maude Pod, the boy and the family. So I ventured home over Halloween weekend and had truly the most incredible weekend. I only cried like four times but like three of those were just out of pure joy of being home and surrounded by so much good juju and love and Maude Pod kisses. On a side note flights are like super cheap right now if anyone is wanting to go somewhere or come visit me!

On my first day there the boy took the day off and we had a perfectly relaxing Idaho day obviously filled with a few adventures. After sleeping in and so many Maude Pod snuggles we ventured to Stanley for some time in the hot springs and a romp at Redfish Lake that was completely deserted. We played on the beach, on the dock and Maude played in the water and made a good attempt at burying her face in the sand like a crazy dog. It was literally a day that just cleared your mind and left you wanting more of that perfect Idaho solitude. It was one of those days that I wanted to bottle up to save forever. To bottle up that feeling of pure contentment, pure joy and pure nothingness on the mind. The rest of the weekend flew by with lots of amazing food, family dinners, hikes, working out like three times a day and a Halloween Party for the books. Until next time Idaho!

the most wonderful place in the world

the most wonderful place in the world

idaho love <3

idaho love ❤

i couldn't leave without a handstand

i couldn’t leave without a handstand

this lady completes my life

this lady completes my life

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running on water

running on water

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perfection

perfection

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well hello

well hello

i missed you too goats

i missed you too goats

my favorite co-pilot

my favorite co-pilot

afternoon adventures

afternoon adventures

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when you try to clean the car...

when you try to clean the car…

someone loves her goat herd

someone loves her goat herd

my favorite idaho ladies!

pug trumps flamingo (see what i did there…)

#thebrassblossom

#thebrassblossom

last morning walks

last morning walks

my love bugs

my love bugs

<3

4. home is where the heart is. Idaho will always be one of my true loves. Here are a few “pieces” of Idaho that I have been carrying around, sporting and dreaming under to keep my love for Idaho strong while living in the Seattle rain. Also on a somewhat related note, Krista and I decided that the shape of Idaho is pretty much the coolest state shape ever, right?!

the most amazing idaho necklace birthday present from the boy's parents

the most amazing idaho necklace birthday present from the boy’s parents

the cutest idaho shirt!

the cutest idaho shirt!

washington print by the lovely gina hagerty, idaho string art by me

washington print by the lovely gina hagerty, idaho string art by me

5. addicted to water. I am pretty much addicted to water and drink probably far more than anyone actually thinks is necessary in a day but it just makes me feel better. Another thing that I am addicted to is water bottles. And while I will forever have a favorite water bottle that is a sea green Nalgeen that happens to glow in the dark (the boy got it for me so that I could see it at night being legally blind = the sweetest gift ever), this S’well water bottle might go in for the tie. My mom (who is a fabulous gifter) got me this bottle for my birthday and I am in love with it. It might seem ridiculously pricey for a water bottle but I promise you can’t go wrong. Also since it’s almost that time of the year one of these bottles would make a great gift for that special someone in your life…

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6. a pug bush. What is a “pug bush” you might ask? A pug bush is what my mom and I created to honor our dear, sweet pugs. We had to say goodbye to our second pug during late summer and knew that we wanted to bury them together. If you have ever owned a pug or two or a grumble you will know that pugs love to be on top of you, on top of each other or on top of anything and everything while on top of each other. Pugs love to snuggle so we decided we had to bury our pugs together. And to honor them we bought a bush to bury them under. And not just any bush, we bought the shortest, fattest, most misshapen bush we could find that will apparently bloom bright, red flowers in the Spring and Summer. Thus the creation of a pug bush. Now if only the bush will survive until next Spring/Summer to see the flowers bloom if the goats don’t eat it all first…

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❤ a pug bush

7. broken record + quotes to live by. Other than thousands of pages of text books I haven’t had much time to read this past month but I have come across a few must read articles…I have said it before and I will say it again, I love Cheryl Strayed. So when I came across this LA Times article I knew that I had to share it. Strayed pretty much sums up everything and anything stating, “you have to be brave enough to break your own heart.” Aka even in those times that it really sucks and everything is really hard you have to be brave enough to do what is going to make you and your life better. The quote is from her new book of quotes, Brave Enough, which is a collection of her all time best quotes. Strayed has gotten me pretty far this year so I urge you all in those moments of self doubt or hating life or hating your current position in life to stalk Strayed, read her books or watch the beauty of one of her stories unfold. I promise you wont regret it. Plus she is now friends with Reese Witherspoon so she is clearly a genius.

Another must read I happened across was from the NY Times (clearly I’m currently all about the “Times”) when it was shared by a wise friend with an equally incredible soul on Facebook. The article is a very candid interview with Rihanna and other than the random notes about childbirth, it was truly a beautiful article that left me wanting more. It ends with this captivating idea:

“Souls are funny things. They stay constant even when the outside changes, or when the heart makes mistakes. Souls don’t really care about good or bad, right or wrong — they’re just true. Everlasting…A soul just knows a soul.”

taylor brass

brass blossom

weekend love it — saying goodbye, new beginnings & outdoor adventures

The past couple of weeks have been marked by tremendous changes. Like daily kinda have a panic attack and realize you need to breathe so you sit on the couch nursing a La Croix several times a day, tremendous, bittersweet, big, deep breaths in a paper-bag changes. And what could possible sway my ever cool, easy going self, without a touch of OCD and anxiety you might ask? I am officially leaving in less than a week for Graduate School.

That’s right. I am moving solo to Seattle to literally live my dream with the Grad School program that I am attending. I repeat that daily x 50 for a little verbal courage. Leaving Idaho, the boy, Miss Maude Pod, my family, my incredible group of friends and my #brassblossom boyfriend after this year may likely be the hardest thing I have ever done but deep down I know it’s right. I have wrestled back and forth with not going or delaying my start or simply becoming a professional hiker to avoid the real world, but alas I know that it is the right next step for for me . This year has been a hell of a year (and to be honest I am already welcoming 2016 with open arms) but it has also been a year that has taught me probably more than I ever really wanted to know.

So with that happy, sad, why the hell am I moving away from the great state of Idaho and sunshine news, here is what I have been adoring recently!

Disclaimer: There are a lot of emotions below…

1. new beginnings. The boy really boiled it down for me one day when I was sitting on the kitchen floor crying about saying “see you soon” to him and my little Miss Maude Pod when he said point blank that he was glad to see me crying because if I wasn’t crying it would mean I wasn’t going and that would mean I would be angry. Angry about giving up an incredible opportunity that I have worked so hard for and wanted so badly for so long. And while I occasionally question his tact, I never question is support. He is a wise boy. Buddha-like.

Even though I am having a difficult time practicing what I preach currently (aka crying hysterically on the kitchen floor…), the one concrete thing that this year has really taught me is that you have to live your own life, your own dreams and your own path. Earlier this year I was so paralyzed by fear that I felt I couldn’t personally function. And while I had a pretty legit reason, I have very slowly come to the realization that I need to live my own life, my own dreams and my own path in order to fully support anyone else. While the life and little family that the boy and I have made here is beyond incredible and will never be replaced, it’s not where I feel 100% complete. I have a burning desire to learn more, be more and accomplish more. So that is what I will be doing, even if it involves some more kitchen floor tears. So cheers to new beginnings and following your dreams!

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2. goodbye 25. Goodbye forever, 25. I just celebrated by 26th birthday and I am happily welcoming a new year of life and thinking 26 will be a dandy year. The only way I wanted to celebrate the day was with no stress. I just wanted it to be simple and happy and like every other normal day (as I am cherishing every second or normalcy right now). So that is just what it was. The boy and I enjoyed a super simple family dinner (plus goats) on Sunday and then I spent my entire birthday indulging in everything I love: sleeping in snuggling Maude pod, peanut butter toast + coffee, Crossfit, reading for several hours by the pool, cocktail hour at Sun Valley Pond and then a nice mellow night at home making dinner and watching the voice. #bestdayever.

best birthday cake ever from my always amazing mother

best birthday cake ever from my always amazing mother

when you go to crossfit and it's your birthday...

when you go to crossfit and it’s your birthday…

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3. stanley adventures. Last weekend I celebrated my birthday just a bit early with three of the most fabulous Idaho ladies around. I couldn’t have asked for better women to help me celebrate. Earlier this year (like in May) we committed a weekend in September to Meadow Creek Spa for their slack special as we had been talking about it for years. And it was absolutely perfect. We all enjoyed a treatment followed by some amazing hot-spring time and a rowdy night out on the town. Not surprisingly we spent the next day feeling not the greatest but that didn’t deter us from getting out and exploring in the Sawtooth’s at Alice Lake. A post to follow as it was definitely one of the best Idaho Adventures to date!

the view from meadowcreek spa

the view from meadow creek spa

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almost to alice lake...more on that to come

almost to alice lake…more on that to come

love these ladeis!

love these ladeis!

4. hiking all over wyoming. I have taken a few weeks off before starting back to the grind of school and earlier this month I went to visit family in Wyoming. It was the perfect week filled with sunshine, so many miles hiking and quality time with those I don’t get to see often enough. It was an ideal way to decompress after I quit working. Here is a look at my beautiful adventures (if I do say so myself) as well as a pretty strong reminder that Wyoming is also breathtakingly gorgeous…

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mountains for days

sacred rim in the wind river mountains

sacred rim in the wind river mountains

a hike without a yoga pose is not a real hike

a hike without a yoga pose is not a real hike

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quite possibly the prettiest lake ever

quite possibly the prettiest lake ever

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<3

practicing using the bear spray...

practicing using the bear spray…

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handstands…

bow posing...

bow posing…

bird of paradising

bird of paradising

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5. sway steals. And now for some materialism since I appreciate a good shopping find as much as all this lovey-dovey talk. I bought these jeans Labor Day Weekend at SWAY and am literally in love. I was initially in love when I saw they were only $50 (cheers to Labor Day Sales!) and now I’m in love because they fit amazingly and are so soft and comfortable. Plus it’s super hard to find a cute pair of lighter jeans without looking like you have thunder thighs. As someone who is a die-hard yoga pant/legging wearing person, these jeans come close to that feeling you get wearing a nice pair of lulus…

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6. 1989 (aka best year EVER). 1989 happens to be the year both your #thebrassblossom beauties were born. It also happens to be the year Taylor Swift was born. And this remake pretty much sums up how incredible we all are! #poweryear.

7. happy birthday, cheryl strayed. Even though she wasn’t born in 1989, Cheryl Strayed is still one incredible woman who also just recently celebrated her birthday. Strayed’s work has really touched super close to home this year for me and her words, lessons and wisdom are truly transfixing. So in honor of her birthday, 15 of her greatest quotes were gathered together here. And here is one quote that is really speaking to me now:

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8. moments of gratitude. Maybe it’s because I’m ridiculously nostalgic right now and cherishing every moment of Idaho, family, friends, the boy and Maude Pod snuggles but I am continuously overwhelmed with moments of complete gratitude. Before this year I can’t really ever recall having moments when everything seems to slow and I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the simplest things. Gratitude for just those little moments where you feel complete and like you have all these little happy minions dancing inside of you regardless of whatever is a shit show in your life that day. My one goal going into this new year is to try to continue to recognize those moments and not let the hustle and bustle of life overcome those moments of perfect, little infinity.

love these two <3

love these two ❤

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Cheers to an amazing week and new beginnings! Until next time in Seattle…

taylor brass

brass blossom

best of august

1. too hot to handle

Our second-to-last wedding weekend found us in balmy southern california. All I can say is thank god for wedding programs fashioned as fans and the pacific ocean. Chase’s cousin was married in a beautiful orange orchard close to Dana Point, and we ate great BBQ food, drank some margs and tecate, enjoyed a mariachi band (everybody was talkin’ bout their tight pants…and wigs) and shut down the dance floor. So much fun! Congrats to the (hot) bride, Kenzie, and her incredibly nice husband, Brent!

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impromptu updo…

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thank god for program fans…and I love this quote

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a little prosecco pregame in the car — they were selling these in the Hilton DoubleTree lobby!

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beach lyfe

2. gettin’ country

The boy was finally able to join me for one of my favorite weekends of the year — Braun Brothers Reunion in Challis, Idaho. Really, who needs Stagecoach when you have this delightfully redneck affair ft. incredible music, 6 packs of Keystone Light tall boys, velveeta grilled cheeses, campsites manned by families riding around in ATVs donning mardi gras beads, Oregon flags left and right, and more great music? It’s the stuff of legend, and, well, country songs, and it’s been my favorite Idaho event since I was about 15. Needless to say, we’re going back next year for at least two nights!

Two weekends later, we spent the night camping in Stanley, and I discovered one of my new favorite bars in the Kasino Club and one of my new favorite bands, the Necked Rednecks. YES, you read that right, and YES, they are awesome — even as four of their six band members wear eye glasses.

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miski and me reliving the glory days in challis

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feelin good at Kasino Club

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3. back to school shopping

Working at a school, it’s difficult to not get in the back-to-school spirit. Right on cue, fall is in the air with chilly nights and upcoming forecasts of inclement weather. I may be in my second half of my twenties, but I don’t have a big kid budget…so, in comes Forever21. Here were a few of my favorite purchases:

 

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eyelash lace-trimmed sweater

jersey trapeze dress, which I also have in gray

jersey trapeze dress, which I also have in gray

spiked faux stone earring

spiked faux stone earring

side-cutout shift dress

side-cutout shift dress

4. sweet symphony

the beginning of August brings one of my very favorite things about Sun Valley summers — the Sun Valley Summer Symphony. We’ve blogged about these before, but I think it’s safe to say that I’m a fanatic. They’re almost meditative for me, and they relax me in a way that’s difficult for me to find outside of a beach with a good book. I enjoyed great food and drinks with friends and family each time I went and enjoyed the stunning views of Baldy. I already can’t wait for next year!

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i was up for the symphony, rain or shine!

i was up for the symphony, rain or shine!

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5. good luck and true love

The California wedding weekend brought a couple other treasures — an incredible bracelet, a gift from Jenna and Brad, and a chance to meet baby Makena. The rose gold bracelet is simple, delicate, and features the Greek evil eye or matiasma, and is said to ward off evil spirits and bad fortune. I legitimately think it’s been working, and I wear it to a superstitious point.

I was so grateful to be able to meet miss baby Makena, the newborn daughter of my cousin, Erica, and her fiancée, Carter. She is so sweet and I can’t wait to see her little personality!

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6. reads and views

Here are my favorite reads of the month:

Oliver Sacks: My Periodic Table from The New York Times, which includes this beautiful quote about stars and mortality:

“A few weeks ago, in the country, far from the lights of the city, I saw the entire sky “powdered with stars” (in Milton’s words); such a sky, I imagined, could be seen only on high, dry plateaus like that of Atacama in Chile (where some of the world’s most powerful telescopes are). It was this celestial splendor that suddenly made me realize how little time, how little life, I had left. My sense of the heavens’ beauty, of eternity, was inseparably mixed for me with a sense of transience — and death.”

Op-Ed: How secular family values stack up from The LA Times, which includes this conclusion:

“Many psychological studies show that secular grownups tend to be less vengeful, less nationalistic, less militaristic, less authoritarian and more tolerant, on average, than religious adults. Recent research also has shown that children raised without religion tend to remain irreligious as they grow older — and are perhaps more accepting. Secular adults are more likely to understand and accept the science concerning global warming, and to support women’s equality and gay rights. One telling fact from the criminology field: Atheists were almost absent from our prison population as of the late 1990s, comprising less than half of 1% of those behind bars, according to Federal Bureau of Prisons statistics.”

The Woman’s Guide to the 22 (Yes, 22!) Candidates for President from Glamour Magazine — this one speaks for itself.

How Jeannette Walls Spins Good Stories Out of Bad Memories from The New York Times. This is not a recent article, but one I recently discovered. Walls is the author of maybe my all-time favorite book, The Glass Castle. Rumor has it Jennifer Lawrence will star in an upcoming film version. I can’t wait. Here’s one of Walls’ quotes from this article:

“We all have our baggage, and I think the trick is not resisting it but accepting it, understanding that the worst experience has a valuable gift wrapped inside if you’re willing to receive it.”

cheers krista

 

brass blossom