spring

best of spring — escapes, endeavors, and improvements

simultaneously sunny and stormy

simultaneously sunny and stormy

I haven’t written a general update post in awhile, and I think they’re important.

I was told recently during an argument that I have a hard time “turning off.” That simple observation stuck with me more than whatever we were fighting about, because it’s true. I think I tend to live my life at such a constant break-neck pace — a pace that ensures distraction — because I’m afraid of what will happen, or what I will feel, when I stop. I find that I’m sometimes scared of unstructured time or absolute silence, unless it’s on my own terms. I suppose that’s because I know what feelings seem to creep in during those times…feelings of loneliness, abandonment, and fear.

This spring season has offered several opportunities to reflect on that simple fact, to act on it, and to work at reversing it. The spring, true to tradition, was a time of new beginnings, cleaning (both literally and figuratively), improvements, and escapes. Here’s a look:

1. méxico escape: We booked incredibly-priced tickets to Cabo Pulmo in early May for a long weekend of vacation with Chase’s family. The trip came at the perfect time — just after a major work event, and in the depths of bipolar spring mountain weather. The trip was rejuvenating, but I also came home with the new realization that I have a hard time fully letting go and relaxing when on a brief trip, which is just not ok with me and something I’m going to work on. Regardless, the trip kicked off with an incredible (although belated after a flight delay, three u-turns and misleading road signs) at Flora Farm in San Jose del Cabo. I think I could move there tomorrow and live a happy life between the gardens, orchards, cottages, wine shop, espresso, boutiques, and crazy delicious restaurant. The rest of our Mexico time was spent fishing (although my fishing experience was hindered a bit by a double dose of dramamine), time on the beach, and great food and company. The other lesson I learned: Put sunscreen on your lips. Always.

happy to have made it on the plane!

happy to have made it on the plane!

first stop, flora farm

first stop, flora farm

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shopping for some mother's day treasures

shopping for some mother’s day treasures

had to make a stop at the wine/espresso bar

had to make a stop at the wine/espresso bar

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i think the chairs suited us well, no?

a brief awake/aware moment

a brief awake/aware moment

jenna committing to the fish

jenna committing to the fish

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cabo pulmo bound

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lighthouse beach

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it was a little too crowded…

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Pablo and Ingri

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the cruiser

2. krista detwiler, Stella & Dot Stylist: In April, I signed up to be a Stella & Dot stylist, and I am having a blast so far. I originally fell in love with their products almost exactly a year ago. I hosted a show at my home a few months later, and my admiration for Stella & Dot’s product line and business philosophy grew — I love that Stella & Dot was founded by women, for women. I work in a full-time job, which I’m very fulfilled by, but Stella & Dot offers a fun and flexible addition. My goal is to put some extra cash in the bank for my honeymoon and home improvement purchases. Check out this interview with the founder with my former classmate, Caroline Fairchild, and if you have your eye on some new jewelry and accessories or need a great gift for someone in your life, here’s my Stella & Dot page. Thank you for your support, and keep an eye out for an invite to my “Launch” show on June 14.

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3. home improvements: True to my original Marie Kondo revelation, I’ve been making an effort to make pointed home improvements. I now always have an eye for de-cluttering, and I’ve been able to better prioritize those home purchases that would, you guessed it, spark the most joy. I’ve been doing my best to pair these purchases with my very best bargain hunting so I can strike when the time is right. I purchased these world market atlantic blue dining chairs for a little drama in the dining room (complete with a feather pillow from The Gardens), as well as this incredible west elm chandelier — let there be light! My wedding registry has also created a fun opportunity to imagine my ideal home. Next up, I’m going to paint some walls! Woohoo!

stella & dot plus chandelier

stella & dot plus chandelier

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4. southfork of the snake float: More to come on this most excellent Idaho Adventure, but a group of us took advantage of the three-day weekend and spent two nights on the Southfork of the Snake River in southeastern Idaho. It was an incredible experience with great friends in a beautiful setting, with plenty of yummy camp food and lots of laughs. We can’t wait to go back again this summer for part 2!

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ultimate relaxation

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camp food done right

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hot potato

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parley’s day in paradise

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baby blue

5. wardrobe updates:  Being engaged has done some crazy things to my online shopping habits…Good thing I gravitate toward those sites that have incredible return policies (ahem, revolve, get out of my head). Here are a few of my absolute favorite purchases of late:

enida schutz heel

enida schutz heel

j brand super skinny floral pant

j brand super skinny floral pant

tularosa x revolve charmer plunge romper

tularosa x revolve charmer plunge romper

alice + olivia jaya top

alice + olivia jaya top

nasty gal carousel embroidered dress

nasty gal carousel embroidered dress

breeze to death floral kimono

breeze to death floral kimono

6. may babies and celebrations: turns out many of my favorite people were born in May. I’ve had so much fun celebrating their big days, along with nothing at all — from a “fish fry” to impromptu late night green chef meals, to hikes and dog walks, I am so thankful to be surrounded by great friends and positive people.

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the fish fry master

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coloring with the coloring master

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tori and some beautiful birthday cupcakes

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7. those brief moments: I had a moment when I was driving home from a movie last Sunday afternoon — I’d just eaten a pound of popcorn, had a movie theatre glass of wine, and laughed until my belly hurt. The sun was shining after two days of frigid snow and rain, the windows were down, and driving home was like an instagram sensation. Spring here is both brief and brilliant — the rapid growth of blossoming trees, bright green leaves, bushy wildflowers, and even weeds is the stuff of emo daydreams. Couldn’t tell you what it was, but the perfect song was playing on the radio, and I was headed home to a man (and two dogs) that love me. And basically, that was all that mattered, and in that moment, I was sublimely happy.

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Wishing you all an amazing summer. I know they can fly by, so I hope you can all pause more — like I am trying to — and enjoy the brief moments of simple perfection.

 

let there be light – dinner party

Krista and I wanted to throw a “friend’s dinner” in March and we thought the most obvious holiday to celebrate would be Daylight Savings. We both love that it brings more light during the evening and is the beginning of springtime, good weather and sunshine!

But true to Sun Valley, the weather had other plans for us. It decided to actually slush mass amounts of the heaviest snow from the sky all day long. The joke was on us. Regardless, we didn’t throw away our plans for a “light” dinner and celebrated in style! Here is a look!

decor

Since the weather didn’t cooperate with exactly what we had in mind, we had the boys build a fire while we set the table. Nothing quite says light and spring quite like a fire!

We wanted to keep everything about the décor fun, light and airy so we donned the table with the following:

  • the prettiest pastel colored marbled paper
  • confetti balloons (which, would be amazing for practically any occasion in our minds)
  • new baby succulents/flowers for each setting
  • mini gold mason jar votives
  • fresh, white flowers
  • natural placemats

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can we talk about how AMAZING these balloons are?!

can we talk about how AMAZING these balloons are?!

the cutest little succulents

the cutest little succulents

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menu

We wanted to keep everything light and fresh during the celebration. We decided on a Spring time fresh pasta with a plethora of veggies and organic chicken. Everything happened to be green (except the chicken of course), keeping with the freshness!

  • fresh noodles (gluten free spinach and regular linguini)
  • pasta toppings (pesto, parmesan, mozzarella, salt and pepper, chili flakes, etc)
  • garden fresh salad
  • sautéed fresh vegetables
  • organic chicken
fresh, chopped veggies

fresh, chopped veggies

so green!

so green!

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check out those spring greens

fresh, gluten free spinach noodles

fresh, gluten free spinach noodles

 my veggie, very green plate

my veggie, very green plate

krista's plate

krista’s plate

no party is complete without a coozie!

no party is complete without a coozie!

peach, lemonade pie + ice-cream (recipe to come!)

peach, lemonade pie + ice-cream (recipe to come!)

cheers to all things good!

cheers to all things good!

the company

Like every good party the company was fabulous. However the fabulous company didn’t happen to make it into any pictures, except for the smash sisters. We finished off the night with a round of Cards Against Humanity and so many giggles. It was the perfect way to celebrate the light and Spring time!

par pars was so tired from a long day of fishing

par pars was so tired from a long day of fishing

the smash sisters

the smash sisters

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Cheers to the light, good food, good company and confetti balloons!

krista and taylor

brass blossom

“pop-up” fishing birthday – silver creek brown drake hatch

silver creek, idaho

silver creek – idaho

Our dear friend Abbey recently had a birthday. Since her birthday fell right around Memorial Day it was difficult to find a day to gather the troops. But we knew we had to celebrate Abbey, despite her being quite reluctant. Abbey is one of those friends that you know you can always count on. Not only does Abbey always have her shit together but she is also fun, outdoorsy, domestic and one of the most caring women that I know. She is one of those friends that goes over to your house when you’ve been gone for three weeks to clean our your fridge (and the ensuing mold) and your bathrooms before you come home. Now that is one upstanding friend.

So after extensive consideration we concluded that it would be best to have her birthday coincide with one of the biggest events (according to most local fishermen/women) of the year: the Brown Drake hatch on Silver Creek. It just so happens that during “the hatch” most of our friends are already gathered in the relative vicinity of Silver Creek and Abbey happens to be one of those bad-ass girls that can throw a fly (is that even a saying?) right along with the boys. So it was perfect.

Thus, Abbey’s “pop-up” birthday was born. The place and time were relatively unknown until the day before when the bugs started getting frisky. All in all the idea for a “pop-up” birthday was fantastic. It just took a bit of going with the flow, creativity and lots of communication on where to be and when but fun was had by all.

Last year we celebrated “the hatch” with a night of glamping on Silver Creek and this year I (unfortunately Krista got a death sickness) took it just a bit further with a ton of food, pretty table and good company. There is no reason why a picnic doesn’t need a chalkboard and flowers.

Cheers to an amazing night on Silver Creek!

decor

Silver Creek happens to be one of those places that really doesn’t need accessories. The views are breathtaking and everything is incredibly green right now. Also a sunset worthy of capturing each evening makes any place truly magical. That being said, I couldn’t resist just a few pretty things to add to the picnic. A party is not a party without at least either something gold, a balloon, a chalkboard or flowers…

  • diy “happy birthday” chalkboard made from a mirror
  • freshly picked lilacs courtesy of Rachel
  • a pretty table cloth
not that this view needs much accessorizing

this view doesn’t need much accessorizing

birthday chalkboard complete with a couple of brown drakes

birthday chalkboard complete with a couple of brown drakes

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menu

I originally wanted to keep things light and simple as I knew we would have to pack everything to the Creek. I made a few salads and dessert and asked a few others to bring appetizers. Initially I was worried we might not have enough food but we ended up having a feast! Everyone was encouraged to eat as much as possible to avoid packing up everything again…

  • green salad with red cabbage, raw corn, Parmesan and ranch dressing
  • red quinoa salad with goat cheese, onions and green olives
  • a huge appetizer spread including a plethora of cheeses (there is never enough cheese)
  • rainbow rice krispie treats
  • assorted desserts
green salad - fresh greens, red cabbage, raw corn, Parmesan & ranch dressing

green salad – fresh greens, red cabbage, raw corn, Parmesan & ranch dressing

quinoa salad - red quinoa, goat cheese, onion, green olives with a light olive oil & red wine vinegar dressing

quinoa salad – red quinoa, goat cheese, onion, green olives with a light olive oil & red wine vinegar dressing

the appetizer spread

the appetizer spread

rainbown "fishie" rice krispies

rainbown “fishie” rice krispies

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the company

Like always we had amazing company to help celebrate Abbey’s birthday. Happy Birthday Abbey! We were also accompanied by several BILLION brown drakes, a few fish and a couple of dirty dogs!

happy birthday abbey!

happy birthday abbey!

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no words for this...apparently he was taking pictures of the bugs?

no words for this…apparently he was taking pictures of the bugs?

cuties

cuties

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two of my favorite boys around

two of my favorite boys around

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right of passage - tori dutifully eating a brown drake

right of passage – tori dutifully eating a brown drake

love bugs (no pun intended)

love bugs (no pun intended)

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<3

And here is to all the bug friends that joined us!

brown drake friends

brown drake friends

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the one and only "butt selfie" i will ever take

the one and only “butt selfie” i will ever take

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until next year!

until next year!

taylor brass

brass blossom

weekend love it – vampire weather & goats

The past couple of weeks have been a bit gloomy in Idaho. But unlike the weather my last couple of weeks haven’t been gloomy at all. I recently became a new “mommy” and have loved every hysterical moment so far!

Here is a look at the past couple of weeks!

1. goats. I am in love, head over heals, with our baby goats. We welcomed Lemon, Farrah, Bernard and Zoro into our family last week and are now all suckers for their little goat faces and tail wags. We just got goats for fun and they have been a bundle of fun since day one. Visits are welcome and gallons of milk are appreciated as these little buggers are quite crazy for the bottle!

Here are a few pictures with a post dedicated entirely to the goats and many goat questions to follow ASAP!

baby goats!

baby goats!

the girls (lemon & farrah)

the girls (lemon & farrah)

my babies

my babies

feeding baby bernard

the boy feeding baby bernard

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goat selfies

goat selfies

2. vampire weather. Long ago when the Twilight movies had millions of people waiting in line for the premiers, Krista dubbed “vampire weather.” It’s weather like the Cullen Family would appreciate and not be called out for being vamps (think rainy, overcast, dark, gloomy, perfect to kill something weather). And Idaho has had just that recently. Although we live in sunny Sun Valley we have had about a week of rain and rain is on the forecast for quite some time. Even though I adore sunshine and all things related, I am thankful for the much needed moisture that it provides and the good excuse to curl up with a good book, some tea, a puppy, a pug, the boy and maybe a goat friend or two or four….

rainy day hike

rainy day hike

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how miss maude pod feels about vampire weather

how miss maude pod feels about vampire weather

3. dr pimple popper. Warning this is not for the weak of stomach. Skip ahead if you don’t care for the popping of bodily fluids. I however, just like the sunshine, love popping anything I can get my hands on. Zits, blackheads or whiteheads I am a picker. The boy doesn’t quite share my enthusiasm and looks at me like I’m Darth Vader every time I come at him with my finger nails.

But for those of you who share my appreciate look up Dr Pimple Popper (aka Dr Sandra Lee). She has the most amazing YouTube and Instagram accounts that you will ever find. She is literally changing the lives of her patients and making millions on popping pimples. You will not regret it. Just like I didn’t regret recently admitting that my current favorite Instagram accounts are Dr Pimple Popper and Bird Dog of the Day.

dr pimple popper

dr pimple popper

4. cancer cards. Life kinda sucks some times. Cancer sucks, comas suck, brain diseases suck and these cards are just for that. When life sucks and an “I’m sorry” or “I’m thinking of You” card just doesn’t seem appropriate, these empathy cards have your back. In light of recent events I found these cards quite comforting and humerous and the maker’s story inspiring.

emily mcdowell empathy cards

emily mcdowell empathy cards

5. cupcakes. A bundt cake that was frosted and sprinkled with cereal has been dancing in the back of my mind for weeks. So when I was asked to make birthday cupcakes for our two good friends, who also happen to be the cutest love birds, I knew cereal cupcakes would be perfect. Cereal is light, fun, sometimes colorful and doesn’t scream engagement cupcakes (not what you are going for at a co-birthday party…).

I asked what their favorite cereals were and while I was hoping for some colorful Trix or Fruit Loops they both picked very respectable cereals (however slightly boring but I suppose that is what life comes to after like the age of 7). Thus, “Captain Cody” and “Honey Bunches of Tori” cupcakes were born. I encourage you all to add cereal to your next cupcake as these were all gobbled right up!

cereal birthday cupcakes!

cereal birthday cupcakes!

6. book club. Every so often Krista’s and my group of friends participate in a book club. At the ripe age of 25 I have found that there always just seems to be a bit less time to open a book and get lost in the pages. And that is why I really love book club. Because it’s an easy way to keep reading and keep my brain firing. Although book clubs can by synonymous with wine club, I think it’s wonderful regardless of what actually happens at “book club.” It’s a good excuse to pick up a book, meet with some friends and enjoy a delicious dinner.

So this last week I hosted “book club” for All the Light We Cannot See. And while only two out of the five of us actually finished the book by our meeting date, we still had a great time. We talked about the book themes and title a little, enjoyed tortilla soup and a garden grown salad and played and fed the baby goats. All in all it was a wonderful evening!

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delicious dinner

delicious dinner

girls love goats

girls love goats

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nightly bottle feedings

nightly bottle feedings

7. pug hates kisses. Pugs. I just love pugs. But this pug doesn’t quite feel the love. For those of you that don’t like popping pimples, I hope you enjoy this video. And if you don’t enjoy bodily fluids popping and pugs you are officially on my black list.

8. the stanley baking co. Nom nom nom. Every year I diligently wait for the Stanley Baking Co to reopen it’s doors for the summer. I check their website several times starting in early spring for their open date. And since they opened their doors this weekend I made it a mission to go. The boy happens to be quite agreeable with my missions so we enjoyed a lovely drive and late breakfast this morning.

The food at the was amazing but the views today were breathtaking. You can’t beat a delicious Sunday breakfast with astonishing views!

view from galena pass

view from galena pass

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the BEST chai latte

the BEST chai latte

breakfast for two

breakfast for two

nom nom noms

nom nom noms

"wall street"

“wall street”

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a handstand a day keeps the doctor away

semi-failed post breakfast handstands

taylor brass

brass blossom

okinawa islands, japan – the edge of the world

When my aunt invited me to tag along to Japan (specifically to the Okinawa Islands) with her and my cousin about four weeks before the departure date my first thought was, “there is absolutely no way I can make that work.” But after looking at a few flights and day dreaming of being transported to spectacular beaches at the other side of the world I just decided to make it work. Literally the only thing stopping me from going was myself.

And after the beginning of this year I decided a little break wouldn’t be half bad for me. I will probably never be one of those carefree people that throws everything to the wind and just goes with life. I like to plan. I like to plan the future. Or plan it as much as possible that is. I’ve also concluded that it’s okay to be a bit of a crazy, OCD, planner. It’s okay to like (slash love) to plan and have somewhat of an f-ing idea of what I want to happen. It’s okay as long as I’m open to the flexibility of those plans changing.

So in the end I decided I was just going to Japan, if not only for a bit of a brain break from my life, but also to just try to be present. So that is what I did. I went to Japan and attempted to let go. To let go of all of the planning, to let go of living in the future, to let go of living in the past and to let go of all the anger that I feel towards the world for the cruelty that happens everyday.

And when it was all said and done I would say I did a pretty good job. I wasn’t always present or not crazy with anger but I was there. And I tried to live every moment for just being there and being grateful for a new place, a new culture and a new point in life (literally and emotionally).

So here is a look at our INCREDIBLE trip (without any more self realization talk)!

off to japan!

off to japan!

the people. I cannot think of two better travel companions to go to the edge of the world with than my aunt, Heidi, and cousin, Kailey. Kailey was slowly making her way back to the states after being overseas for 9 months. She is now a PADI dive master after mastering all that diving business under the water in Thailand. She also has a tan that most would kill for. Can we all say jealous? And my aunt. She has always been there for me but in the past months has been one of those people that I know I can rely on. She is like a whirling combination of caring, empathy, reasonable and humorous that never stops moving forward. Both also happen to be great travelers.

Another wonderful part of these two ladies are the laughs. There were so many laughs and fits of hysteria had by all of us during our trip. A laugh a day definitely keeps the doctor away.

heidi & i surrounded by the clearest, turquoise water i have ever seen

heidi & i surrounded by the clearest, turquoise water i have ever seen

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refreshing afternoon drinks in taketomi

refreshing afternoon drinks in taketomi (we were asked to take a picture with a lovely japanese lady, who sat smack dab in the middle of us, shortly after….)

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trucker hats have infiltrated the furthest reach of the world

trucker hats have infiltrated the furthest reaches of the world

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please take note of my whiteness in comparison to the best tan i have ever seen

love these ladies

love these ladies

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idaho friends in japan (obviously)

idaho friends in japan (obviously)

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the hottub that was never hot...

the hottub that was never hot…

 

9 months of luggage

9 months of luggage

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the places. Japan. Japan is a new world. I have traveled through Europe and the Americas but Asia, never Asia. I flew from Sun Valley to Los Angeles to Tokyo to Okinawa. I was extremely surprised by the number of Americans on my flight to and from Okinawa (there is a ginormous base on the northern part of the island). Heidi and Kailey arrived a bit after I did and we made our way by bus a bit north on Okinawa to the Western side of the islands. We were tempted by a magnificent hotel and white sand beach.

But after arriving we realized that this hotel was not quite our dream. It was a very large hotel and very infiltrated with knick-knacks and large crowds. It was an adventurous night and we decided to book tickets to Ishigaki the following day. Ishigaki is a part of a smaller set of islands about an hour flight south-west from Okinawa. Rumor has it you can see parts of Taiwan from the islands. While in Ishigaki we stayed at the most magnificent place (after a bit of a miss booking when we booked a hotel in the middle of nowhere with a view of an alley). Side note: booking hotels is hard in Japan. Websites will say every single last room is booked when it looks like no one is at the hotel. Either everyone rolls in on a tour bus later in the evening (which is entirely possible) or the rooms are held by Japanese websites. A little planning of where you want to stay is reasonable if you are considering going to the Okinawa Islands.

Ishigaki and the surrounding islands literally felt like the edge of the world. We rented bikes that were a bit used (to say the least) and explored Ishigaki port one day. We also scooted over to Taketomi by ferry and explored for the day by bike. Taketomi was by far my favorite place of the trip. It has a village with about 300 inhabitants. The roads of made of crushed coral and wide enough for a water-buffalo cart. The island has spectacular turquoise water, white sand beaches with star sand and apparently hundreds of deadly spiders and snakes, none of which we encountered thanks to some lucky stars. If you ever find yourself on Okinawa you must go to Ishigaki and Taketomi. You will not regret it.

And our last night we stayed back on Okinawa by the airport and went out with some Idaho friends. We had a great dinner followed by karaoke singing in a closed bar, with Mana-sans and Tokito, that our Idaho friends had been to before. We were given copious amounts of chips, strawberries and tomatoes, chocolate and sake. If that’s not a great way to end an incredible vacation then I don’t know what is.

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beach for days

beach for days

star stand from taketomi (we had high hopes of collecting our own sand until we saw a nice man with some for sale!)

star stand from taketomi (we had high hopes of collecting our own sand until we saw a nice man with some for sale!)

the cutest little bar/drink shack in taketomi village

the cutest little bar/drink shack in taketomi village

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bike parking

bike parking

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the hotel in ishigaki (it may or may not have been owned by the japanese mafia)

the hotel in ishigaki (it may or may not have been owned by the japanese mafia)

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exploring at low tide

exploring at low tide

we were kindly given slippers upon entering our room

we were kindly given slippers upon entering our room

shoes off, slippers on = very japanese of us

shoes off, slippers on = very japanese of us

ishigaki street market

ishigaki street market

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chairs wear socks in japan

chairs wear socks in japan

the world peace bell in ishigaki for a non-nuclear world

the world peace bell in ishigaki for a non-nuclear world

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our handy companion bikes

our handy companion bikes

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mongrove forests

mangrove forests

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the edge of the world

the edge of the world

 

the new friends. We made a ton of new friends in Japan. Upon arriving on Ishigaki there was significantly less English spoken. But we got by quite fine. Most people tended to look at us like we were possibly the three craziest, whitest ladies that they had ever seen and I think most questioned how we had gotten so far without a lick of Japanese or a clue of what we were doing. But we didn’t let that stop us.

We quickly realized that the Japanese are very reserved and quiet. We were likely neither. There were very few public displays of emotion that we encountered. But after starting to say “hi” to locals that we passed on our bikes most of the locals would literally light up and give us the most genuine and beautiful smiles. Interacting with little to no verbal communication was literally one of my favorite parts of the day. Imagine the hotel clerk who also cleaned the windows and the pool, gardened and bartended, depicting a water buffalo with his hands and head after we told him we were going to Taketomi. How can that not be a highlight of your day?

Here are the many friends we made along the way!

a horse with an afro at the edge of the world

a horse with an afro at the edge of the world

 

water buffalo are friends too

water buffalo are friends too

 

water buffalo are friends, not food

water buffalo are friends, not food

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i asked in english if i could ride with him, he didn't respond so i gestured and everyone laughed (how all communication went in japan)

i asked in english if i could ride with him, he didn’t respond so i gestured and everyone laughed (story of how all communication went in japan)]

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goat friends!

goat friends!

 

dive master friends who happened to be sitting at our table at dinner

dive master friends who happened to be sitting at our table at dinner

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dogs that sit at the entrance of most buildings as protection

dogs that sit at the entrance of most buildings as protection

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hermit crabs are friends too

hermit crabs are friends too

tony noodle taking a peak

tony noodle taking a peak…

tony noodle how apparently is a japanese comedian who worked on a spanish fishing boat and was in lonely planet...

tony noodle who apparently is a japanese comedian who worked on a spanish fishing boat and was in lonely planet…

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idaho friends

idaho friends

the food. I am self admittedly a picky eater. The boy tells me frequently I’m picky and I prefer to respond that I just know what I like. Which I do. I like fresh fruits, vegetables, some grains, beans, tea and coffee, lots of coffee. It’s not a bad diet but definitely not the Japanese diet. For someone that hasn’t eaten meat (or fish) for over 12 years, everything tasted a bit fishy in Japan. But I just went with it and tried to be as accommodating as possible of my crazy, freak eating habits.

Japan has quite possibly the most beautiful fruits and vegetables you will ever see. The Okinawa Islands are famous for having the longest living inhabitants. This fact is quite understandable as they just eat the most amazing fresh produce, fish, sweet potatoes, seaweed and a bit of rice. That right there is the diet of champions. We visited several markets on the islands and each time were met by beautiful, clean and clearly not GMO/hormone/antibiotic ridden fresh fruits and vegetables. Most even had baked sweet potatoes for a to-go snack. (Side note: it was clearly not a social custom to munch on the sweet potato as you shop and then pay for it…). However, like the rest of the world Japan has a TON of pre-packaged food. Almost to a point of insane consumerism. We chose to focus on the fresh food instead and feasted like champions…

breakfast of champions with the most incredible view

breakfast of champions with the most incredible view

the only food to be found at 'family mart' that wasn't pre-packaged were giant, crunchy carrots

the only food to be found at ‘family mart’ that wasn’t pre-packaged were giant, crunchy carrots

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the most amazing ginger-ale

the most amazing ginger-ale

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starbucks is everywhere

starbucks is everywhere

you hand the barista a "soy" card in japan for your drink

you hand the barista a “soy” card in japan for your drink

coffee machine?

coffee machine that was literally on every corner next to a beer machine

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never enough coffee

never enough coffee

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a feast we prepared

a feast we prepared

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broke out the translator for our last night in okinawa

broke out the translator for our last night in okinawa

the best beer ever from our hotel clerk friend

the best beer ever from our hotel clerk friend

the handstands. So many handstands were had. Kailey has a bit of an inversion to being inverted (understandable). She is more of an underwater hand-stander. So Heidi and I did handstands all over Japan. I’m certain the locals thought we were insane. But it provided a great new perspective and a bit of fun to be had literally everywhere we went. We are now both on a mission to master the handstand.

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handstand succession fail to follow....

handstand succession fail to follow….

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If you happen to ever venture the world of Okinawa, Japan please feel free to contact me! Also huge thanks and enormous gratitude to my aunt and cousin for letting me tag along to the edge of the world. I can’t think of anyone else I would have rather shared the time, laughs, sore butts and adventures with. Love you both!

And I will leave you with some wise words from Tony Noodle:

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taylor brass

brass blossom

weekend love it – globe trotting & gratitude

I have super exciting news. Like take a seat news. I am off to Okinawa, Japan. Yay!! I slightly hinted about my upcoming travels in my last weekend love it (because I just couldn’t resist) and have pretty much been thinking and talking about Japan since I booked my ticket.

Spontaneous would likely never be a word anyone would use to describe me. But when my aunt invited me to tag along to Okinawa with her and my cousin I just couldn’t say no. One thing that I have come to terms with this year (and not willingly) is that life keeps keeping on regardless of if you are on board. Four months ago I imagined I would be prepping binders and color-coded folders for grad school and not jet setting off to Japan for the vacation of a lifetime. But life happens. I don’t know if I will ever go as far to say I’m blessed to have experienced what has happened thus far in 2015 but I will say that I am gracious. I am gracious for my current status, mindset, physical location and supposed projected course in life.

So with that exciting news out of the bag, here is what I have been loving!

1. globe trotting – okinawa, japan. Japan has not once ever been a destination that I have thought about going to. But after doing a bit of research, I literally cannot wait to touch down in Okinawa. Something else that I am looking forward to is just checking out and enjoying what our travels have to offer. I have downloaded several books, packed my bag and am just along for the ride at this point. Plus sitting on a beach with incredible company and a view that is worthy of a postcard won’t be half bad either.

A post-travel blog post will definitely be in order!

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2. yoga girl. One of my good friends who is not only brilliant but also beautiful on the inside and outside recommended that I read (and stalk) Yoga Girl by Rachel Brathen after reading my last post. This friend has also been dealt her fair share of “wtf life” and come out on the other side with such an amazing soul and outlook on life (and she isn’t just all rainbows and sunshine either, which I just so appreciate, she is real life). So when she recommended this book and that I checkout Rachel Brathen on Instagram, I knew it had to be good. Maybe it’s the yoga and all the gratitude speaking but it felt like one of those signs from the universe pointing me to exactly what I needed.

So after a probably not so healthy stalking of Yoga Girl’s Instagram I ordered her book. I have thus far loved following Rachel Brathen on Instagram and reading her blog and cannot wait to dive into her book on the plane. Go follow her on Instagram (if not only for some amazing pictures) for some self love and restoration because everyone needs it at one time or another.

yoga girl by rachel braken

yoga girl by rachel brathen + white vacation nails

3. bikini. Growing up swimming competitively I have a true appreciation for swimsuits. I searched for the perfect bikini for my travels and at the last minute came across this beautyI had never heard of Khongboon Swimwear before and discovered them on Instagram (by far my favorite form of social media). I was immediately smitten by the style of their suits and the fun patterns. Think Mikoh bikinis + amazing patterns at half the price.

Unfortunately the bikini I ordered didn’t arrive in time for my trip, but a trip to Japan can simply not be ruined by a bikini. And perhaps it was for the best though as I was e-mailed just after my order shipped that the bikinis run about 1/3 size small. An exchange may be in order but I plan to wear this suit (if all goes swimmingly – pun intended!) at the pool and lake this summer.

khongboon swimwear - nerja bikini

khongboon swimwear – nerja bikini

4. four five seconds. I cannot tell you why I really like this song. I cannot even tell if I’m even embarrassed that I listen to it on repeat and don’t even know what the song means. It’s just one of those songs that resonates with me and makes me car dance and sing in a way that I should be embarrassed about. Cheers to having a guilty pleasure every once in a while.

Also I’m still confused about what part Paul McCartney plays in the song…

5. balayage. As a natural brunette I have never felt that there is much I could do with my hair without losing it’s natural color. That is until I heard about balayage. Balayage just confirms that blondes aren’t the only ones that can have fun. So I decided to drink the cool-aid and got the most fantastic, hand-painted color in my hair last week by Danielle at Vertu. For anyone looking for a little change without huge commitment I highly recommend balayage!

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waiting in the chair

balayage

balayage

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so many hair pictures

6. spring time sunny hikes. Most people love Sun Valley, Idaho for the winters. There are literally so many snow-filled activities. But I just love the summers. I would love Sun Valley summer all year long and I understand this probably offends many. One of my favorite parts about Summer is hiking. A dirt trail to somewhere breathtaking (since mostely everywhere in Idaho is breathtaking), some people or dog company and the tranquillity that comes with immersing yourself into full on wilderness (ish) is something that is difficult to beat.

I have enjoyed several hikes recently but perhaps my favorite was one that took us off trail in the general direction that we wanted to go with spectacular views of Baldy. When he summited (makes me feel like a badass to say that) we took a hot second to enjoy the view and snap a few pictures. Channeling my inner yoga girl I decided yoga on a mountain was necessary and took a hand stand. Obviously it went on Instagram and then it was miraculously retweeted by Visit Sun Valley. Cue fifteen minutes of fame.

hiking up the backside of taylor canyon

hiking up the backside of taylor canyon

maude pod posing like a good girl

maude pod posing like a good girl

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love these ladies!

love these ladies!

yoga on a mountain

yoga on a mountain

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my fifteen minutes of instagram fame

pugger walks

pugger walks

proof my pug can actually walk by herself

proof my pug can actually walk by herself

love bugs

love bugs

I am off to enjoy my travels now but I wish you all a wonderful weekend and week!

taylor brass

brass blossom

eggs, eggs & feathers – easter dinner

I feel like we have all been a bit busy recently. After a tremendously busy holiday season and a crazy start to the new year, my new resolution is to shave away all the chaos that inevitably surrounds a holiday. So for Easter, I really just wanted to enjoy a relaxing day.

For Easter evning, I boiled my options down to either going to a movie with Krista and overindulging in halfpops and wine or hosting a small dinner. To at least be semi-festive, I decided on the latter. So the boy and I offered to host a very simple Easter dinner for Krista, Chase and Par Pars.

We enjoyed simple fare, a simple table and lovely company – the makings of a perfect Sunday evening and Easter holiday!

(Fair Warning: This post is almost entirely pictures of the decor as I failed to take more than one food picture or “company” picture…#bloggingfail)

decor

A fellow blogger over at barbaraglenfriend, (DG) sister and Oregonian who is currently living in Estonia perfectly summed up my sentiments about pastels when she chose lavender as the one pastel to use for her Easter brunch style post. Being as slate gray is my favorite color, pastels aren’t quite my jam, let alone every pastel color in a smorgasbord that has become Easter.

Here is a look at our natural Easter dinner table with a scattering of eggs, more eggs and some feathers with pops of gold, black and white!

  • floral paper from Willow Papery
  • white gerbera daisies in mason jars
  • large vase filled with gold Cadbury Caramel Eggs and pheasant feathers (courtesy of the boy)
  • white speckled, mild chocolate malted eggs
  • farm fresh, hard-boiled, speckled eggs as name tags (from my aunt, uncle and cousin’s chickens)
beautiful farm-fresh eggs from my aunt, uncle and cousins chickens

beautiful farm-fresh eggs from my aunt, uncle and cousins chickens

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thanks for the eggs!

thanks for the eggs!

hard-boiled egg for name tag

hard-boiled egg for name tag

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cadbury eggs + white, malted eggs

cadbury eggs + white, malted eggs

large feather center-piece

large pheasant feather center-piece

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eggs + extra candy (of course in pastels) for munching on later

eggs + extra candy (of course in pastels) for munching on later

menu

 

Krista brought up a very valid point when we were discussing what to do for Easter – she doesn’t exactly love any Easter food. Being the rabbit eater (pun intended) that I am, I wholeheartedly agreed with her distaste. Thus, a clean, simple and nutritious menu was born.

  • smoked duck, cheddar and local Sun Valley Mustard
  • wild rice with toasted edamame beans
  • baked asparagus with olive oil, sea salt and Parmesan cheese
  • salmon with lemon, onions, fresh rosemary, olive oil, sea salt and white pepper (grunt work done by the boy)
  • arugula, goat cheese, pear and sunflower seed salad
  • a bite of selected desserts from Sun Valley’s Konditorei
the boy's plate

the boy’s plate (from quite possibly the most awkward angle)

the company

While you have probably seen our faces and our boy’s faces enough, I refuse to believe you can never get enough of these darlings. Plus, these happen to be the only pictures I actually took of the “company” for the evening…

miss maude pod

miss maude pod

love pug lizzie

love pug lizzie

taylor brass

brass blossom

double chocolate, blood orange tart

double chocolate, blood orange tart

double chocolate, blood orange tart

Baking is one of those things that really grounds me. Meticulously following a recipe or creating a creation of my own just speaks to my soul. So as things are settling down a bit in my life, getting back into the kitchen and feeling inspired to make something beautiful and just with the right amount of sweet is slowly coming back to me.

However after not baking for months, I thought I lost my baking mojo. I’m not kidding. I texted multiple friends in desperation and dispair. I wasn’t sure if I had made a deal with the Devil or what but I had several failed baking attempts in a row. And this like never happens to me. So when the perfectly pressed double chocolate crust for the first attempt at this tart flew out of the oven and splatted on the floor, and I burnt myself on the oven, I was over it.

I threw the first attempt away and (god forbid) bought a store bought dessert for our Game Dinner. Maybe just giving in was all I needed to get my mojo back, but the second attempt the next day went splendidly. Hopefully my mojo hangs around for a bit, because I’m not sure how well received any more manic baking texts will be.

servings

9″ tart

ingredients

Crust:

Curd:

  •  1/2 cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice
  • 1/2 cup bottled orange-mango juice
  • juice from 2 limes
  • 1/2 cup baker’s sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

I slightly adapted a blood orange curd recipe from On A Sweet Sugar Rush. The result was so tasty! Since blood oranges were 2 for $5 at our local market (fresh produce is a definite disadvantage of living through an Idaho Winter), I only bought a few so I had to supplement with some bottled juice…

instructions

  1. Crush the cookies in a plastic bag or food processor until finely ground. Combine with 6 tablespoons melted butter to form the crust.
  2. Press crust into the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan. The 7 ounces of cookies didn’t leave any crust to spare, so using more finely ground cookies wouldn’t hurt!
  3. Bake crust for 10 minutes until slightly hardened and let cool on counter.
  4. In a large saucepan, combine the blood orange juice, orange-mango juice, lime juice, baker’s and brown sugar, eggs, egg yolks and salt, and whisk over low.
  5. When the sauce starts to thicken (to be honest I didn’t see much thickening but figured 10 minutes of whisking was good), add the butter and continue to whisk until the curd thickens (about 15 minutes).
  6. Transfer to another vessel to cool. I didn’t strain my curd but I would definitely recommend it if you don’t prefer a chunkier curd.
  7. Once the curd is cooled, gently poor and spread the curd into the crust. Refrigerate for several hours.
  8. Top with a blood orange slice, and enjoy!
beautiful blood orange

beautiful blood orange

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the fixings

the fixings

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crust pre-baking

crust pre-baking

perhaps the prettiest fruit

perhaps the prettiest fruit

the crust post-baking

the crust post-baking

a twist of blood orange for decoration

a simple twist of blood orange for decoration

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spring floral plates

spring floral plates pair perfectly with the tart

ready to enjoy!

ready to enjoy!

taylor brass

brass blossom

weekend love it — spring break 2015

I miss the days of Spring Break. A lot. However, the spring sunshine and spring break spirit in Sun Valley are infectious right now, and I’ve been taking advantage as much as a can, between work and realizing that I’m not 21 anymore…

It was a great week filled with birthdays, sunshine, spring skiing and benders. Here’s what I’m loving right now:

1. birthdays. Many people in my life celebrate March birthdays, and this week I helped three of them celebrate in unique ways — one with yummy food and some late-night karaoke, one with gold dinos and cheese fondue (blog post coming soon) and one with aprés-ski unicorns and corn hole.

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kacie making her wish

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birthday flowers for tory

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rachel, the hostess unicorn for tory’s aprés ski adventure

trying to outsmart the wind for some candles...to no avail

trying to outsmart the wind for some candles…to no avail

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gold dinos for kacie and katie’s bday celebration at my casa

birthday girls at the gold dino party

birthday girls at the gold dino party

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kyleigh making a wish at knob hill

kyleigh making a wish at knob hill

2. “have courage, be kind.” Anyone who knows me well knows that I love a good fairytale…especially one with a modern twist that departs from a little patriarchy. While I don’t know that I could say that Disney’s live adaptation of Cinderella did just that, it did enough and then a little more. It was beautiful, intentional, and made my heart sing. I watched it with my mother, who certainly made the motif of “have courage, be kind” that much more poignant. I challenge you to not visualize yourself in cinderella’s glass slippers watching this movie.

While I’m not sure the “kindness” part of my #2 applies to House of Cards, courage probably does. I cannot get enough of House of Cards, and I am already counting down the days (but how many?!) until next season. It’s my favorite TV show right now, in a very different way than The Voice or PLL. While Cinderella may be an almost role model, Claire Underwood is one of my favorite characters ever because of her complexity and strength. That walk off at the end of the final episode?! Oh em gee. While I can’t say I agree with all of her fictional decisions, I love her. Claire Underwood for President.

3. sunshine. While I couldn’t join my “spring breaking” (not actually, but it felt that way for awhile there) friends as much on the slopes, I gave my all at the aprés scene and soaked up as much sunshine as possible this weekend.

river run love

river run love

i went down backwards while taggart hauled down the hill like he always does

i went down backwards while taggart hauled down the hill like he always does

tray races

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river run

4. food for thought. I started reading an actual book — not one on my iPad — and there’s really nothing better than curling up in the corner of the couch and flipping actual pages. I’m only half-way through, but I am loving All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.

great read!

I stumbled upon this article titled “Why Your Happiness Has Little to Do With Positive Thinking” awhile ago and thought it was very interesting. While I have a hard time nay-saying positive thinking, the messages of this article really resonated me. #2 on the list is my favorite and advice I try to give and follow: “Love and embrace whatever state you are in.”

5. new duds. With wedding season on the horizon, I have had an eye out for great pieces for the last couple months. Using many gift cards that I’ve been hoarding for awhile, I invested in some solid additions to my wardrobe…from Joie to Mossimo, Panache to Nordstrom Rack. Here’s a look:

rebecca taylor onesie

rebecca taylor onesie

bb dakota dress

bb dakota dress

joie romper

joie romper

some steve madden shoes I may not be able to walk in

some steve madden shoes I may not be able to walk in

some fun lace shorts from target

some fun lace shorts from target

top and shorts from a cabi trunk show

top and shorts from a cabi trunk show

6. looking back. As we mentioned repeatedly, it’s been a strange few months, filled with the ultimate highs and lows. It was fun to look back over the past months of photos on my phone today. Life goes on, and I’m more thankful than ever for my friends, family and beautiful surroundings. In many ways, I’m feeling more alive than ever, and I can’t wait for a glorious spring and unforgettable summer. Life is good.

depth-of-winter hike with my cousin

depth-of-winter hike with my cousin

boise escape with rachel before seeing the worst movie of all time

boise escape with rachel before seeing the worst movie of all time

beautiful evening walk in the dog park

beautiful evening walk in the dog park

valentine's day with all kinds of couples

valentine’s day with all kinds of couples

par par and a much bigger stick...just as I slipped and got a concussion

par par and a much bigger stick…just as I slipped and got a concussion

skiing on dollar with isla and drew

skiing on dollar with isla and drew

isla's basketball game

isla’s basketball game

a new cute iPhone case

a new cute iPhone case

a delicious recipe from the book "clean slate" by the editors of Martha Stewart

a delicious recipe from the book “clean slate” by the editors of Martha Stewart

a housewarming gift for jenna and brad

a housewarming gift for jenna and brad

himalayan salt block that we've been grilling on since christmas — they're amazing!

himalayan salt block that we’ve been grilling on since christmas — they’re amazing!

valentines all the way around the world!

valentines all the way around the world!

lovely spring tulips for mom

lovely spring tulips for mom

my mom's new cat, Henry

my mom’s new cat, Henry

a new dedication to eating fresh fruit

a new dedication to eating fresh fruit

I hope you have a wonderful week!

cheers krista

 

brass blossom

 

weekend love it — the little things

Happy Weekend! It seems like a century since I wrote my last “Weekend Love It.” Something that I love about crafting a ‘love it,’ is collecting tidbits of life that make me happy. So here are just a few things that I have been loving in recent weeks!

1. Being Home. While I’m truly behind the saying “home is where the heart is,” there is something magical about the physicality of “home.” Since the boy came home three weeks ago, thus ending our two month tour of southern Idaho, I have relished just being home. Being home and not being in the midst of the constant fury of packing, unpacking, and traveling has been rejuvenating.

Plus, having the boy home isn’t half bad either. Now our physical home is literally where my heart is…

love being "home"

love being “home”

2. Brain Injury Awareness Month. March is “Brain Injury Awareness Month,” and March 18 was “Brain Injury Awareness Day.” Prior to this year, brain injuries were about the furthest thing from my mind. However, now the growing awareness about brain injuries is something near and dear to my heart. Brain injuries are actually far more prevalent than I could have ever imagined with 1.7 million people in the US sustaining a traumatic brain injury annually.

Kevin Pearce was a professional snowboarder who suffered a near fatal traumatic brain injury in 2010 and he founded LoveYourBrain “to improve the quality of life for people affected by a brain injury.” The foundation has a great Facebook page as well as very “readable” literature on brain injuries. This is just one incredible resource to bring more light to “brain injury prevention, recovery and brain health.”

TBIINFOGRAPHIC-NL

3. Love Has No Label. Every time I watch this video it chokes me up. At first I watched it because I thought it was just skeletons dancing around, which is awesome but it is so much more than that. I encourage you all to watch it and forget about labels in the name of love.

4. Spring Walks. Cheers to the first days of Spring! I am 100% ready for anything but snow and cold. The boy and I have been going on lots of walks, with Maude Pod in tow, negotiating through all of the slush, ice and mud that come with Spring in Idaho. Regardless of the terrain, enjoying the fresh air, sometimes sunshine and Maude Pod going crazy makes these walks quite fantastic. I cannot wait for plenty of Summer hikes.

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5. Florals. Maybe it’s because it’s Spring, but I am just loving florals. Apparently Lululemon always has my back because the second I saw the Garden Party High Times Pants I knew that they most definitely had to be my Valentine’s Day present to myself. Hey, sometimes you just need something that makes you really happy. Here are a few other items I am loving (and quite possibility adding to my summer wardrobe):

lululemon - high times pant * full on luon

lululemon – high times pant * full on luon

asos - barely there jumpsuit in floral texture

asos – barely there jumpsuit in floral texture

zara - floral printed t-shirt

zara – floral printed t-shirt

j.crew - spring bikini in floral

j.crew – spring bikini in floral

6. Game Dinner. At the rate I’m going I will most likely be a vegetarian for life. However I have such admiration for those that harvest their own meat. And as winter turns to spring, our freezer is quite full of game meat. So this weekend we had a “Game Dinner” with some sides of greens to welcome Spring and cleaning out our freezers! Obviously a blog post will be coming soon.

romantic floral-themed table

romantic floral-themed table

7. KitchenAid’s New Stand Mixer – Champagne Gold. Along with florals I am just loving gold. Each year, KitchenAid releases new colors for their wonderful stand mixers. This year they released a single color, champagne goldObviously there was no need for any other colors to be released because champagne gold trumps anything and everything. This beautiful mixer tugs on every baking desire I have ever had. I have vowed that I won’t purchase a stand mixer until I have a lovely and perfect fit drawer to store it in, but this mixer just may change my mind…

kitchenaid's champagne gold stand mixer

kitchenaid’s champagne gold stand mixer

8. New Planner. Last year I happened upon a black Leather Desk Datebook from Graphic Image in our local paper store, Willow Papery and fell in love. While I love my iPhone, there is just something about writing in a datebook (a.k.a. planner) that I just can’t give up. I’m a total sucker for “To Do” lists and keeping everything neat and tidy, so my datebook is pretty much my best friend.

Since the beginning of this year was a bit crazy I never got around to purchasing another datebook until like mid-February. I was beginning to feel lost without one so I purchased a random datebook, but it just didn’t live up to loveliness of my previous Graphic Image. Since there are still another 9+ months to go I gave in and ordered this beauty. You can never say no to rose gold, gilded pages and something to keep you sane. I have been happily writing in it each day.

Side note: Graphic Image datebooks are quite spendy for a datebook but apparently if you wait until February they are 50% off. #win.

so pretty & gold

so pretty & gold

love the crisp pages

love the crisp pages

taylor brass

brass blossom