summer

weekend love it – eight years, lots of love, summer adventures & kisses

It is officially Summer and I am absolutely loving it. I love the sun, the warmth, the pool days, the tan and the light. To make it even better, the boy and I celebrated a recent big milestone with a fantastic day full of fun Idaho activities and I am lucky enough to be on vacation this week with some fabulous family. So cheers to many more weeks of enjoying the summer sunshine!

1. 8 years. This past weekend the boy and I celebrated eight years of dating. While it has definitely been one of the more testing years of our lives, it has been a year that continually brings us all back to the fact that love (in any and every form), above all else, is what matters. It seems that as life just keeps getting faster and faster and more technologically obsessed, that basic human connection is what actually keeps us alive. So to celebrate, the boy, Miss Maude Pod and I went on an Idaho adventure.

We went on a meandering 11-mile hike to Hell Roaring Lake and enjoyed a picnic, some pictures and a Maude Pod swim or two. We then enjoyed a beer or two at Bridge Street Grill followed by a fantastic evening on Redfish Lake with some incredible friends. Since we played a bit longer than we expected, we ended up eating a bag of Pirate Booty while cooking Annie’s Mac & Cheese for dinner at 10:00 that evening. We were sun burned, bug bitten and starving but it was well worth every second. Nothing says a fantastic and equally romantic day than a box of mac & cheese for a late night dinner. While we were meandering through the woods that day with Maude Pod, the boy told me that he couldn’t think of a more perfect way to spend the day. And I couldn’t have agreed more. It was just us and a sunny day with endless possibilities ahead. It was definitely one of those days when I relished in sweating the small things.

love bugs <3

love bugs ❤ (we happened to find a brilliant photographer along the trail, thank you!)

miss maude pod being such a champion

miss maude pod being a champion

his & hers (aka the boy carried everything...)

his & hers (aka the boy carried everything…)

2. just breathe. Earlier this year a very wise woman, friend and confidant told me that “your feelings are real because you are feeling them.” While this might just seem trivial and basic, her wisdom just hit me profoundly. Needless to say I have had a lot of feelings this year. And at times I thought I was quite possibly crazy for some of my feelings that I was feeling. But this friend helped me in my “grieving” process quite possible more than anything else did with her saying. Because it just means that it’s okay. It’s okay to have feelings and it’s okay whatever they are. Because the fact that they are yours means they are real.

I think that girls quite often get stereotyped for being sensitive or having too many feelings, both of which have negative connotations. When Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls shared this video it reminded me of the fact that “your feelings are real because you are feeling them.” I know that I would (and maybe most everyone would, female or not) do better to just feel my feelings, regardless of what they are and just breathe. And like I was, don’t be ashamed or feel like you are crazy for them, because they are real and they are yours and they deserve to be felt.

3. zinc. Last week Krista and I had a very spontaneous girls night with our friend Rachel. It already seems like the Summer season is in full force with everyone having so many plans so we just made a last minute dinner happen. We went to Zinc, since Rachel and I had never been, and it was fantastic. Everything seemed garden fresh all while being comforting at the same time. And if dinner and the company wasn’t fantastic enough, we discovered the most EPIC camper trailer outside after dinner that we obviously had to take a picture with. I truly admire the individual who totes it along for adventures.

zinc menu - you can't go wrong

zinc menu – you can’t go wrong

salads to share

salads to share

the most incredible flatbread - avocado, cheese & radish

the most incredible flatbread – avocado, cheese & radish

fried chicken - comfort at it's finest

fried chicken – comfort at it’s finest

my favorite lady friends

my favorite lady friends

cutest little notebook i received from rachel

the cutest little notebook i received from rachel – so happy it has my initials as someone already tried to “borrow” it

4. cake. The other weekend I set out to make a raspberry-rhubarb “right-side-up” cake. Essentially I had big ideas of a beautiful layer of cake with a layer of fruit compote on the bottom. Turns out my cake had bigger plans for me and turned itself into an “upside-down” cake while it baked. Regardless of what side up it was, it turned out beautifully and true to rhubarb form, was delicious! Pseudo-recipe coming soon.

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5. the best way to start a week. Krista told me last weekend that the lupine were blooming on Proctor. I literally had instant FOMO (I thank my sorority days for this (Urban Dictionary) vocabulary word). I am such a sucker for when the wildflowers bloom in Idaho. The colors, the smell (even though it leaves me with the runniest nose…so attractive) and the potential Instagram worthiness of the views is just spectacular. So in order to fit in a quick hike on Proctor before I left for the week, both Krista and Rachel joined me for an early, Monday morning hike. Talk about great friends and the perfect way to start a week. We are thinking that this might just become a much needed ritual…

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the biggest mushroom EVER (zoe for perspective)

the biggest mushroom EVER (zoe for perspective)

pretty, pretty lupine

pretty, pretty lupine

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a handstand & a view

a handstand & a view

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6. coocoo for lulu. I recently received two adorable, lust-worthy Lululemon bras from the boy. While he had a bit of direction, he did a fantastic job (like always). While sports bras may not be the most attractive anniversary gift (if you know what I mean…), the boy truly knows the way to my heart. I love Lulu and pretty much think it’s appropriate for almost any and every occasion. Tip for all the man-boys out there, you can never go wrong with Lululemon. Here are the two bras that I will be sporting all summer long.

free to be *wild bra in jazzy white gator green/white/gator green

free to be *wild bra in jazzy white gator green/white/gator green

true self bra in grapefruit/peach fuzz

true self bra in grapefruit/peach fuzz

7. juice. Maybe it’s the summer heat (which I completely adore) or maybe it’s the death cold that I unsuccessfully battled off for weeks and is now full blown and making my whole face hurt but I have just been loving fresh pressed juice. While not the most budget friendly obsession, my body and my mind have definitely been loving the fix. When I am able to sneak away midday for a hot second, I have been getting a fresh pressed “green” juice from Nourish Me that absolutely kicks my fix.

That was until my mom and I stopped by my ever so generous and healthy aunt’s house on our way out of town and she gave us each a to-go juice. Now I wont give away her secret ingredients but it was honestly the best fresh pressed juice I have ever had and I have been craving it since. Getting a juicer, and saying goodbye to my beast of a “Magic Bullet,” is now definitely on my radar.

green juice

the most delicious concoction there ever was

the most delicious concoction there ever was

8. goat kisses. Goat kisses are just about as far up in my book as pugs are. They are fantastic, adorable, much needed and will fill your soul with love, laughter and just plain happiness. There is not much else you need in life.

kisses!

kisses!

Cheers to a sunny week!

taylor brass

brass blossom

idaho adventures – the haven’s 2nd year anniversary party + save the farmers

Earlier this month, The Haven hosted their 2nd Year Anniversary Party at it’s usual parking spot at Play Hard Give Back. There was an incredible turnout to celebrate two years of the green food bus, two years of stuff your face and belly food, two years of healthy meets comfort and two years of the culinary genius and kind-hearted spirit of Kellee Havens.

Since my Brass Blossom Boyfriend (aka Krista) was out of town, I asked the boy to join me for the event. It didn’t take much convincing after I mentioned the giant lime green bus, incredible food and beer that would be at the event. I once ate food and subsequent leftovers from The Haven for almost the entirety of a week. It’s that good.

If you live remotely close to Idaho, you need to go find The Haven. While the giant lime green bus and the wonderful Havens are almost entirely booked for summer events on the weekend, you can find them Monday-Thursday, noon-2:00 p.m. at 7th and Warm Springs Road. So if you can’t track them down at an event, go one day (or four) for lunch!

And if that all wasn’t enough, The Haven so generously chose to make the event into a fundraiser for the Ketchum Farmer’s Market as this year, costs have risen to host the market. The Haven collaborated with several local businesses to make a hot raffle everyone present wanted to be apart of (I even won a pair of earrings!). An event like this just shows how far local businesses will go to support other locals. It gives a new meaning to supporting local and shopping local.

Here is a look at the event!

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the lovely kellee havens & her food bus

the lovely kellee havens & her food bus

 

the infamous lime green food bus

the infamous lime green food bus

 

the spread (minus the potatoes and mac & cheese that I went back for....#carbs)

the spread (minus the potatoes and mac & cheese that I went back for….#carbs)

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my first plate

my first plate

 

the boy's plate

the boy’s plate

 

plate 1.5

plate #1.5

 

plate #2 - nom nom

plate #2 – nom nom

 

mini cupcakes - are these not the cutest ever?

mini cupcakes – are these not the cutest ever?

 

drinks (donated from Frenchman's Winery & Sawtooth Brewery) & dessert

drinks (donated from Frenchman Winery & Sawtooth Brewery) & dessert (I believe from the Chocolate Moose)

 

the many prizes

the many generous prizes

 

obligatory "will you take a photo with me?"

the obligatory “will you take a photo with me?”

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Thank you to The Haven for throwing a great party for a great cause. And huge congratulations to Kellee Havens for a spectacular two years of fun and food worth going back for seconds! Cheers to eating and shopping local this summer!

taylor brass

brass blossom

on hunting and gathering — game dinner birthday party

It’s officially hunting season — I have a very love-hate relationship with the concept of hunting, but I’ll save that rant for another time.

Disclaimer: I am a lover of all animals, except probably sharks and snakes. I do not tolerate the mistreatment of animals and think that people like the CEO of Centerplate … and anyone who endeavors to kill an elephant … deserve to rot in hell (ok, mini rant).

That being said, I know how much the boy (and the crazy black dog) loves it, so I don’t interfere. I’d rather he be outside exercising and bringing home food than smoking pot on the couch and watching video games (which he wouldn’t do anyway, but still). There are far worse hobbies.

Due to his passion for hunting, I knew just what to do for Chase’s 25th birthday party last summer: A Game Dinner featuring meat that our friends had hunted themselves, a baked potato bar, cocktails, and hunting-inspired table décor.

At the time, we weren’t blogging, so I took zero photos. Thank you to Rachel for documenting the evening! Here’s how it went:

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  • I opted for a Paperless Post to add some class and (hopefully) receive an accurate head count, as it was a sit-down dinner.

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hunter green envelope lining

hunter green envelope lining

as masculine as I can make my Paperless Post invites!

as masculine as I can make my Paperless Post invites!

decor

  • A “Happy Birthday” sign made with a fish patterned paper background
  • Bar and food buffet tables with similar themes of burlap and hunter green
  • I went for a full hunting theme for the decor but added some sophistication with three round tables (borrowed from work) and about 30 chairs (borrowed from Tara Bella Flowers). The tables featured:
  • Simple white cloths that dusted the grass below
  • A burlap overlay to add some texture
  • A brown unscented hurricane pedestal candle (already decorating my home) in the very center
  • An arrangement of antlers, borrowed from guy friends — each antler is different, so I leaned a few against each other around the candle to create some volume
  • A large, 3D metallic “25,” ordered from Etsy — it would be very easy to use initials in this same format
  • Mason jars filled with shotgun shells (which the boys happily gathered for me) and pheasant feathers (from birds Chase had hunted at a friends’ estate in Weezer, Idaho). These came together organically — my original plan was to weight the shotgun shells and put place cards in a slit I made at the top of the shell, a seen on Pinterest
  • Votive candles — there wasn’t any light out there otherwise
  • Simple place settings including a white plate and napkin, silverware, and water glasses, all rented from Barbara’s Party Rental
  • Place cards with a forest green border and names written with silver sharpie
http://instagram.com/p/ckm-L5S4n2/

table setting with texture and neutrals

"hunting" table setting

“hunting” table settings

all lit up

all lit up

dinner was a little delayed, so the candles came in handy!

dinner was a little delayed, so the candles came in handy!

centerpiece detail

centerpiece detail

mason jars filled with shotgun shells and pheasant feathers

mason jars filled with shotgun shells and pheasant feathers

menu

 

  • Whiskey, a gin cocktail, and a keg from Sun Valley Brewery (not the kind you want to take a keg stand with, but that didn’t stop us) along with bottles of wine on each table
  • Venison (deer) tenderloin bites as an appetizer, cooked by Sagen. I think garlic and butter were the important ingredients here — that’s the only deer or elk I’ve tasted that I’ve enjoyed
  • Duck popper appetizer bites including bits of duck breast, bacon, and jalapeño, held together with a toothpick (thank you, Casey and Taylor!)
  • A baked potato bar (because what’s more Idaho than that) including butter, cheddar cheese, sour cream, green onions, and bacon bits
  • Pheasant with cherry and sage (thank you, Rachel!)
  • Elk steaks (thank you, Cody!)
  • Sautéed zucchini and squash
  • A green salad
  • Beautiful peach and berry pies with duck and fish cutouts (Thank you, Taylor!)
the bar

the bar

the feast

the feast

filling our plates

filling our plates

lighting the candles was a three-person job

lighting the candles was a three-person job

making a wish!

making a wish!

quack

quack

hunting motif pies

hunting motif pies

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casey excited

casey excited

rawrr

rawrr

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zac getting ready for his big  (impromptu) speech

zac getting ready for his big (impromptu) speech

pablo making a speech in honor of his son

pablo making a speech in honor of his son

the night deteriorating...may have been post keg stand

the night deteriorating…may have been post keg stand

It was a super fun night with great food and company. I even admitted to enjoying the venison (deer) that Sagen made — a first for me!

Thank you to everyone for contributing to this group effort and celebrating cha-se!

cheers krista

 

brass blossom

wyo-idaho adventures – outdoor escapades

Early this summer we were invited by our adventurous and brilliant friend Melissa to celebrate the final culmination of her schooling experience, including graduating with a combined MBA/Law degree and taking, and obviously passing, the California Bar. Being the adventurous and Idaho loving girl that she is, Melissa wanted to celebrate in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Needless to say, we were in.

Like always, we were a bit crunched on time but managed to pack our days full of hiking, site seeing, shopping, eating and some more eating. Not only does Jackson Hole, along with the adjacent Teton Village, have amazing natural sites to see, but they have amazing cuisine. All of the delicious food we ate fueled our adventuresome days.

So with our vacation days maxed out and the car completely packed for four days we left town for our little vacation adventure. We are the first to admit that no one would describe either of us as “light packers.” We both prefer to have (all) the comforts of home with us and tend to overpack to the extreme. At least we are usually well prepared.

However, on this trip we both chose to foolishly ignore the weather forecast, which called for rain and daily thunderstorms. Although the wet weather did put a slight damper on our adventures, we dug back to our Oregon roots and didn’t waylay our plans due to the rain.

Fair Warning: Most of the trip involved rain jackets and embracing the rain, which resulted in us looking like drowned rats in a majority of the outdoor pictures.

Here is a look below at our outdoor escapades while in Jackson!

Welcome to "Jackson Hole"!

the brass blossom does jackson hole

Teton Village — We stayed at Teton Village, which is a mere 12 miles from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and located at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. We probably could have spent a majority of our time just exploring and hiking around Teton Village. They have wonderful eats and drinks and plenty of outdoor activities. Staying at Teton Village is a great alternative to staying in the heart of Jackson Hole.

Apparently Teton Village holds weekly Concerts on the Commons, which we stumbled upon after arriving in search of a drink. To our surprise and Krista’s delight (think kid on Christmas morning), Reckless Kelly happened to be on the lineup on the night we arrived. It was fate.

We spent our first night in the ‘Commons’ enjoying the lovely tunes of Reckless Kelly paired with excellent and cheap drinks from the Mangy Moose (more to come on this fine establishment). We were all asked to dance by the same gentleman, who definitely knew his way around the dance floor. The dances provided many good laughs and side stitches but it is still debatable if the request after a request was flattering?

the 'Commons'

the ‘commons’

Krista & Emmy + Reckless Kelly (a friend from Idaho who now lives in Jackson that we ran into)

krista & emmy + reckless kelly (a friend from idaho who now lives in jackson that we ran into!)

The Hostel — Melissa booked us a room at The Hostel in Teton Village for our stay. We had a quaint little room with two bunks, a small bathroom and thankfully a large fan. As far as hostels go, it passed Melissa’s well traveled standards with a clean bathroom. For the price and how little time we actually spent in our room, it was the perfect place to stay.

On a side note, for any of you sleeping porch veterans, The Hostel provided equivalently deep sleep. We had one small window with a curtain and managed to sleep through our alarms two out of the three mornings. It was quite reminiscent of our sorority days when you didn’t received a wake up call on “the porch.”

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Not only is ‘The Hostel’ ideal for young summer visitors seeking adventures, but also it is the perfect place to stay in the winter. They have a ginormous basement complete with a locker room for all your winter gear, a waxing station, a lounge area and a game room. The possibilities are endless.

a place to store your gear

a place to store your gear

late night waxing and wine

late night waxing and wine

Grand Teton National Park — We spent our first day exploring Grand Teton National Park. Melissa brought Lonely Planet – Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks and highlighted (literally) must see adventures and sites. Once a Grad student, always a Grad student. She was far superior to any tour guide with her handy book.

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To get into the park, we purchased a 7 Day Permit for $25.00 that provided us access to both Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park. We thought we were getting a hell of a deal with the permit and access to both parks.

Conveniently the park ranger stapled our pass to a large map of the Grand Teton National Park. Not so conveniently, we managed to misplace this large map after our adventures in Grand Teton, forcing us to purchase another permit for Yellowstone the following day. Prime example of what not to do when traveling…

For good reason, Melissa was set on capturing the reflection of the Grand Tetons in Jenny Lake. The Grand Tetons are adequately described as “the mountains of the imagination.” They truly rise out of no where and are breathtaking. They are a must see for anyone in the area.

On a clear day, it is rumored you can see the tips of the Grand Tetons all the way from Yellowstone National Park. Unfortunately, every day we were there it was quite stormy and thus socked in (some mountain town weather slang for you). We had a much better chance of seeing our ‘grand tetons’ than the actual ones.

Jenny Lake — We set off to Jenny Lake first thing in the morning in hopes of capturing views of the Grand Tetons and taking a hike. On the drive through the national park we came around the corner to about 20 cars parked haphazardly on the narrow road. Obviously there was a site to be seen. Melissa jumped out of the car to inform us there was a female moose and her young nestled into the tall grass. The sight was a great start to our day.

When we arrived at Jenny Lake it was drizzling, so views of the ‘Tetons’ were nonexistent. We decided to don our rain jackets and positive attitudes and headed out around the lake to Cascade Canyon, the home of two very popular sites, Inspiration Point and Hidden Falls.

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start of the trail around jenny lake

the boat dock which provides a shuttle across the lake

the boat dock, which provides a shuttle across the lake

Jenny Lake in the rain

jenny lake in the rain

We went clockwise around the lake so it was only about 2 miles of fairly flat trail walking to get to the other side. We managed to beat the next ferry which held the crowds and work off a few of the liquid calories we consumed the night before. The hike around the lake is more of a meander and worth the views and potential wildlife. We came across a man and young boy kayaking that had just encountered a bear! Unfortunately we weren’t quite that lucky, or perhaps unlucky, but did find some wildlife further along the trail.

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almost around the lake!

We scurried up the trail to Hidden Falls. The hoards of people exiting the ferry were fair warning of the crowd that would be enjoying the sites even on a rainy day. But on a positive note, there was always someone to take a picture of our group!

Hidden Falls was true to it’s name. You could hear the falls long before they came into view. The site was incredible and as Krista pointed out, waterfalls are not generally a common site in the west. At times it was difficult to determine if the water was coming from the sky or the mist of the falls.

Hidden Falls!

just a bit wet enjoying Hidden Falls!

hidden falls

hidden falls

Another half mile up the trail was Inspiration Point that looks out over Jenny Lake. The crowds dispersed the higher we got up the trail, as did the weather. After a damp morning, the peak of the sun through the clouds was just the inspiration we needed to continue back around the lake after taking in the views.

krista hiking up to inspiration point

krista hiking up to inspiration point

inspiration point (excuse the wet look)

inspiration point (excuse the wet look)

repping delta gamma - these were the only "anchors" thrown up all trip

repping delta gamma — note, these were the only “anchors” thrown up all trip

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the brass blossom does inspiration point

On our way back, we ran into this fellow. He was a sight to see and very content munching on the shrubbery. The hoards of tourists didn’t seem to bother him, so we took the opportunity to snap a few pictures.

moose friend for the day

moose friend

Yellowstone National Park — Exploring Yellowstone National Park was on the agenda for our second day. It took us more than an hour to get into the Park from Jackson Hole. The heavy rain and pulling over to strip search the car for our lost permit slowed us down a bit. The drive to Yellowstone was equally as breathtaking as the sites of the previous day.

Old Faithful — Obviously we bee-lined for Old Faithful. We learned that Old Faithful is the most predictable geyser and erupts approximately every 91 minutes. Unfortunately, we arrived right after it had erupted so we enjoyed a picnic lunch (in the car due to the rain) and had the opportunity to explore a few of the other geysers while we waited.

Beehive Geyser erupted upon our arrival

Beehive Geyser erupted just upon our arrival (named for it’s cone shape)

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rainy day view from the Lodge

beautiful hot pools that are intermixed with the geysers

beautiful hot pools that are intermixed with the geysers

We decided to get a bit of exercise and observe Old Faithful from a viewing point on a hill across from Old Faithful Inn. It was a bit less crowded on the hill as we waited for the eruption. The time prediction of 3:14 was spot on as the geyser erupted at 3:15. The eruption was truly incredible to see but was a bit scaled due to our high vantage point.

We all marveled at the force of the geyser. As annoying and slow as the crowds were, they demonstrated the draw and force of Yellowstone National Park. It was restorative to see how many people came from afar to just admire the natural beauty of the park.

Mel waiting for the eruption

Mel waiting for the eruption

the beginning

the beginning

the end

the end

the brass blossom does old faithful (note we are not in rain jackets!)

the brass blossom does old faithful (note we are not in rain jackets!)

We had big plans to enjoy a drink on the deck of the Old Faithful Inn; however, the rain didn’t provide for deck lounging conditions. The Inn is considered the largest log structure in the world and has a very gothic, old-world vibe. We did a quick walk through on our way back to the car and you could literally feel the history of the building. For anyone who is a serious planner, booking a room well in advance to stay here would be incredible, if not only slightly creepy.

Grand Prismatic — As incredible as the geysers were, we all really wanted to see the Grand Prismatic. The Grand Prismatic is the largest hot springs in the United States and the third largest in the world. Despite it’s standing and size, the brilliant rainbow dispersion of color is what makes it incredible.

Naturally we entrusted Melissa and the handy guide book to teach us why it is different colors. The colors come from pigmented bacteria in the mineral-rich water and range from red to green. Even with the science lesson/reasoning, the rainbow of colors is astonishing to see juxtaposed in such a natural setting.

To take in the hues, we climbed off the beaten trail (sorry, park rangers) up the hill across from the Grand Prismatic in flash flood type rain. The mud and slip-n-slide terrain were worth the view from above.

the grand prismatic from above

the grand prismatic from above

mud slip-n-slide

mud slip-n-slide

Fairy Falls. In the downpour of rain we set off on the 5-mile roundtrip journey to Fairy Falls. Perhaps it was the downpour of rain that dispersed the heavy crowds or the allusive name of the falls, but the flat and easy hike to Fairy Falls was one of those instances where there was no sense of time. We gave into being soaking wet and tromped through large puddles to get to the falls.

The view of the falls was just as, if not more, spectacular than Hidden Falls. We presumed that there had been a fire within the last decade or so in the area as there was evidence of a heavy burn and regrowth. The juxtaposition of the old, dead and black tree trunks without branches to the new green undergrowth heightened the illusion of the falls.

looking out from fairy falls

looking out from fairy falls

the brass blossom does fairy falls

the brass blossom does fairy falls

fairy falls

fairy falls

All in all, our outdoor escapades were fantastic. Even with the rain, we managed to see many spectacular sites and get in a bit of exercise each day to round out all of our eating. In true form, we concluded our outdoor adventures with listening to country music and enjoying the clearer views on the way back from Yellowstone of the Grand Tetons. The ride and views provided the perfect culmination for our trip.

The ride was a reflection, literally and physically, of the natural landscape and our modest part in such a vast and ancient arena.

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Stay tuned for our indoor escapades, which includes (almost exclusively) eating and drinking!

krista and taylor

brass blossom

weekend love it – scaling mountains and eating cake

After a couple of extremely busy weeks, this past weekend was suddenly here and I realized that I didn’t have a plethora of obligations or plans. So I spent the weekend enjoying the beautiful Idaho sunshine, mountains and an abundance of food and drinks! Here is what I have been loving during this whirlwind of a summer:

1. Hiking Baldy. Each summer I try make it a goal to hike our local ski mountain, Baldy. Baldy is 3,400 vertical feet and obviously a feat. The top elevation is 9,150 feet with breathtaking views. I chose to play catch-up to three of my favorite women and started a bit after them so I scurried straight up about 3/4 of the mountain. It was a challenge and I was incredibly excited to see happy, friendly faces on the side of the mountain to join for the final ascent.

Rather than hike down, we took the lift and gondola down to further enjoy the 360 degree views. Unfortunately it was a bit hazy out yesterday due to forest fire smoke. Regardless, the views were incredible!

Even if your lungs and legs give out, hiking Baldy is totally worth the trek. And believe me, you will definitely feel accomplished by the end!

the "trail" straight up River Run

the “trail” straight up River Run

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meeting up with the group!

a quick break right before the top

my hiking buddy taking a quick break right before the top!

view from the top!

view from the top! (the town of Ketchum below)

2. Easy (Peasy Lemon Squeezy) Summer Cake. Saturday night I had the pleasure of enjoying a few games of cornhole, drinks and dinner at the boy’s parents house. It was not so subtly requested that I bring a dessert. However, after scaling Baldy the last thing I wanted to do was spend much time in the kitchen. So, I made the executive decision to spend the afternoon at the pool and whip up a quick cake while I got ready for dinner.

I entrusted my good friend Betty Crocker and purchased her Lemon Cake Mix which I complemented with some fresh blackberries, whipped cream and a few lemon slices on top. I’m still uncertain if Martha would be proud or ashamed?

the simplest Lemon-Blackberry Cake (directions coming soon!)

the simplest Lemon-Blackberry Cake (directions coming soon!)

such a beautiful, summer table setting!

such a beautiful summer table setting!

3. The Magicians by Lev Grossman. One of the things that I love about the summer is that I find a bit more time to read. Perhaps it is the hours I spend lounging at the pool or in my adirondack chairs on the deck but summer inspires me to turn pages. I am extremely thankful for my love of reading and have full faith that reading anything non-electronic will help keep my brain from turning to technology mush in the near future.

Recently I asked my extremely talented and well-read friend, Jessie, if she had any book recommendations. She recommended The Magicians by Lev Grossman. At first I was doubtful but was hooked by about page 12. This book is like the illegitimate ,PG-13 rated, offspring of Harry Potter and Narnia. For anyone that loves a bit of fantasy with a healthy dose of reality this is the book for you. Plus there is a sequel so what more could you ask for?

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4. Crossfit Parody. I found this video hysterical. Even if you haven’t drunk the Crossfit Kool-Aid, please watch this video if only for the short shorts. You will learn some quality movements, perfect technique and safe practices….

Also for all you Crossfitters or really just anyone interested, take this quiz to find out what your Crossfit Spirit Animal is. My spirit animal is a cheetah, which I thought was pretty awesome until my lovely friend who is a super Crossfitter, Gina, took the quiz and was a Unicorn. Yeah, Unicorn trumps cheetah any day.

taylor brass

brass blossom

hooked — fly-fishing the big wood river

look the part...even with way-too-big wading boots

look the part…even with way-too-big wading boots

To say Chase likes fly-fishing would be a vast understatement…The boy has been known to wake well before the crack of dawn only to put on eighteen layers and brave the downpours and high winds of the Pacific Northwest in pursuit of the elusive steelhead salmon/trout…and not catch a single fish after a few days of endless “spey casting.”

What’s more? Most of the time, you let the fish go (the alternative being illegal). Albert Einstein once defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” Yep, fly-fishing can be totally insane.

It can also be really beautiful, fun and relaxing. I compare my fly-fishing ability to that of my ability to drive a stick shift. I pick it up pretty quickly each time I try, but then I don’t practice for about a year. I’m trying to change that, mostly in regards to fly-fishing, and Saturday was one small step in that direction.

The boy and I headed to the Big Wood River in West Ketchum, just a 3-minute drive from our home, for a fun couple of hours on the water with Pars.

Believe it or not, I really did catch a big, beautiful rainbow trout (although not on my best cast, which really grinds my gears), but the slippery thing slipped right out of my hands when I went to hold him. Chase said he was 16″, but you know how boys exaggerate :). Next time!

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SOME TIPS: 

Look the part: Waders really just aren’t that cool. In the case of balmy temperatures, opt for “wet-wading.” Chase donned some sexy sandals, but in light of a recent knee injury, I played it safe with some wading boots that were way too big for me. Go down a size. Always wear a hat from a local fly shop and some polarized glasses when you can.

Bring beverages: Keep them cool in the river while you fish!

some tasty cider

some tasty cider

Wear bug spray and sunscreen: Your feet will be just about the only thing in the river — plan accordingly. If you’re like me and bugs that bite love you, river banks are a popular place for swarms. Duh.

Be patient: Again, that insanity thing….You will cast again and again, to the same spot, with no action whatsoever.

Listen: To your guide, I mean. If that’s not making sense, ask them to demonstrate.

chase in guide mode

chase in guide mode

Accept defeat: Even if you manage to catch one of these creatures, they’ll slip out of your hands or off the hook in a nano second.

No “muscle” needed: Chase often says that women are better natural casters because they listen and don’t try to “muscle” the cast. Contrary to what my cousin Erica thinks (“It’s like regular fishing, but more of an arm workout?”), no “guns” are needed.

Watch out for trees…and rocks…and bushes…and people: Sorry, Chase! No, I didn’t actually hook him, but he probably unhooked my line from objects other than fish about a dozen times.

Get your hands wet: Before you hold a fish, get your hands wet in the river they live in — your dry hands can remove important bacteria from their skin. Then again, maybe that’s why I missed my fishy photo!

believe it or not, there's a fish on that line!

believe it or not, there’s a fish on that line!

SOME TERMS:

Mending: Positioning your line to give your fly the optimal drift — you don’t want your fly to drag, and you want it to appear as natural as possible. So, if your line if moving faster than your fly, or vice versa, you mend the line by flicking it upstream or downstream.

Dry fly: Fly-fishing purists only use dry flies, which means they rest on the surface. You also get to see the fish eat the fly this way.

Hooked: Not the same as “caught” — many times you will hook a fish, only to have it unhook itself before you can “land it”

Foul-hooked: About as bad as it sounds. The first time I “caught” a fish, I foul-hooked it in the belly. Poor fishy. Chase thought it was hilarious.

Rising a fish: Getting a fish to come up and eat a fly.

Dry-dropper: When you have both a dry fly on your line and a “dropper” below that, which sinks. We fished a “parachute adams with a dropper nymph”…Nymphs are always droppers.

little nymph — "the dropper"

little nymph — “the dropper”

obligatory dog photo

obligatory dog photo

cheers krista

 

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idaho adventures – ‘sun valley center for the arts’ wine picnic

panoramic of the festivities

panoramic of the festivities

The Sun Valley Center For the Arts held its 33rd annual Wine Auction in Sun Valley this past weekend. For a bit of background, the Wine Auction is considered one of the premier wine auctions in the country. It unfolds over three days, ending with the “Wine Auction Vine & Dine.”

The Sun Valley Center For the Arts sums up the event perfectly with “it’s a true community gathering — with tapas from select local restaurants, grand tasting and music  — a quintessential summer event with something for everyone.”  Needless to say, the ‘Center’ is an incredible local nonprofit that really knows how to throw an event for all to enjoy.

We did our fair share of enjoying at this year’s “Vine & Dine,” also locally known as the “Wine Picnic.” Krista volunteered prior to the event so she had a chance to grab our group a prime spot on the lawn at Dollar Mountain Lodge. We enjoyed an evening with copious amounts of wine, local cuisine and good company.

So, as with any audacious Idaho adventure, we went fully prepared (mentally and physically) for an evening in the beautiful Idaho outdoors.

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Location. The event was held at Dollar Mountain on the lawn leading up the ski mountain. Nothing beats an event at the base of a ski hill. For all of you anti-ski bunnies out there, this is the obvious mountain event for you.

Shelter. Although the weather was perfect with just a slight breeze to abate the beating sun, the weather in Sun Valley is known for unpredictability. One minute it’s sunny and the next it’s snowing. So, the event had a plethora of white tents for the food vendors, including a large white tent that housed all the wine.

If you are like us and don’t see significant sun for nine months out of the year, we recommend wearing sunscreen and/or a cute hat and bringing an umbrella. There were also a ton of large beach umbrellas set up for the event to provide a bit of shade to share with your lawn neighbors.

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Dollar Mountain

leading up to the event. all that was missing was the red carpet.

leading up to the event — all that was missing was the red carpet.

large wine tent

large wine tent

gold bracelets for the evening

gold bracelets for the evening

menu

Wine. Every attendee received a commemorative Riedel wine glass upon entering. Your glass was your glass slipper to the evening, providing you with unlimited wine. The sky was the limit. But everyone kept it classy in their ode to Dionysus.

There were a plethora of options for everyone from red to rosé to white. The event served wines from near and far, including California and the North West. Unfortunately it may be worth taking notes next year, as our specific recollection of individual wine names is limited.

We did try a great Rosé from Blackbird Vineyards that wasn’t overly sweet and provided a great transition to red wine towards the later evening.

Rosé from Blackbird Vineyards

Rosé from Blackbird Vineyards

Colleen (Rachel's mom) pouring glasses for the evening (we LOVE her hat)

Colleen (Rachel’s mom) pouring glasses for the evening (we LOVE her hat & apron with room for bottles)

Anna getting a "refill"

Anna getting a “refill”

Food. We may have been some of the first and definitely last people in line for food. When it comes to all you can eat picnic-style, we will be there. All of the fare was incredible and featured amazing local restaurants including:

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the “menu”

Rasberrys, the havenil Naso, Enoteca, Ketchum Grill, The Sawtooth Club, Elevation 486, Globus, Zou 75, Sun Valley Resort, Java Coffee and Cafe, The Chocolate Moose, Rolling in Dough, Toni’s Sun Valley Ice Cream, and Cristina’s Restaurant and Bakery.

the first in line for the evening

the first in line for the evening

and the last...

and the last…

Although the vegetarian options were somewhat limited, Taylor was full by the end of the evening enjoying multiple plates from both Rasberrys and the haven.

green machine kale salad & cucumber soup

greens for the evening – kale salad & honeydew melon and cucumber gazpacho

Rasberrys featured an well-massaged kale salad with a side shot of honeydew melon and cucumber gazpacho. For those who don’t enjoy your pyramid of fruits and veggies daily, this kale salad and cucumber gazpacho were unreal. There were both fresh and crisp and perfect for a sunny, summer evening. Dare we say palate cleansers.

vegetarian tostada

vegetarian tostada (a few bites in)

Remarkably, the only time that Taylor had enjoyed food from the haven before was at about 2:00 am with Krista one evening after the bars (mac & cheese never tastes better). Sadly, it is likely the only “drunk” food that you will ever find in Ketchum (past 10:00 pm) if you can track this stellar green truck down. However, it has become quite popular, obviously, and has been rented for many recent local events such as late night wedding food. Such a brilliant idea. the haven managed to produce a highly complex, flavorful vegetarian tostado that was a hit throughout the crowd. They were clearly well-prepared, most likely due to cooking in a lime green truck everyday.

Dessert. The evening of self indulgence wasn’t complete without dessert. We were a bit late to dessert, as we detoured to talk to some friends, so we managed to snag a few last minute bowls of what we presumed to be cobbler. We obviously didn’t stop there and topped our cobbler with a few scoops of Tony’s Sun Valley Ice Cream Co.

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bright dessert (again a few bits in)

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Dress Code. As with many Idaho events, the dress code was Sun Valley semi-casual. For all of you non-locals, this ranges from shorts and collared shirts for the guys to sun dresses or nice jeans for the ladies. We both featured favorites from SWAY, arguably both of our favorite local boutiques. Krista donned a floral dress with just the perfect amount of skin with a cutout back and Taylor took the opportunity (again) to wear her Indigo Chambray Jumpsuit.

pink & blue attire for the evening

pink & blue attire for the evening

Krista & Taylor (aka 'the brass blossom')

Krista & Taylor (a.k.a. ‘the brass blossom’)

Rachel and her wonderful mother

Rachel and her wonderful mother

Rachel's sun hat provided not only glamour but much needed protection

Rachel’s sun hat provided not only glamour but also much needed protection

highlighter summer hues

highlighter summer hues

always the model, Ky in white

always the model, Ky in white

everything from flats to boots to wedges

everything from flats to boots to wedges

Things to Bring.  Here are a few “Wine & Dine” necessities:

  1. Picnic Blanket
  2. Sun Hat
  3. Sunglasses
  4. Camera
  5. Dancing Shoes
  6. Appetite
cheers to a wonderful and Idaho adventure worhty event!

cheers to a wonderful and Idaho adventure worthy event!

krista and taylor

 

brass blossom

america’s birthday

Fourth of July is the epitome of an Idaho Summer. The weather is generally incredibly hot and dry, and all local festivities capture the spirit of the Fourth. Krista plans to enjoy the local parade, BBQ crawl and enjoy a bit of the “wild west” with a night at the rodeo. Taylor is taking a bit of a break and heading over Trail Creek to the Copper Basin to celebrate the Fourth and a birthday, all while “glamping.”

Whether you are wearing your cowboy boots to a party or donning a sun hat to relax, there is something for everyone to enjoy on the Fourth. Here is our guide to the day, which includes some inspiration to perfect your day as well as what we are enjoying, planning and looking forward to during the long weekend!

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Nothing screams America’s birthday like the combination of red, white and blue. As much as we love the association of these colors, adding a bit of gold or silver really adds to the festivities. Below are just a few décor ideas to spruce up any party or BBQ you may be planning!

Touch of Gold – In our opinion, gold glitter or gold spray paint are necessities when prepping the décor for any party.  Our diy gold votives made from mason jars are incredibly multi-functional and will provide the perfect glow while watching the fireworks. Or consider a spray-painted “U S A” for your mantel or table!

gold votives

gold votives

spray-painted gold USA

spray-painted gold USA

American Flags – Need we say more? American Flags obviously serve as an ode to America and simple decoration but also provide a great backdrop for photos! When in doubt, ask Siri or Martha on how to properly fold a flag when the party is over.

Krista & Taylor celebrating America!

Krista & Taylor celebrating America!

Add some simple patriotism to a table with a blossom vase full of miniature American flags, which you can buy just about anywhere right now,

Add some simple patriotism to a table with a blossom vase full of miniature American flags, which you can buy just about anywhere right now.

Paper Sign – a homemade paper sign with a simple ‘Happy Fourth’ can add the needed personal touch to any party. Feel free to get creative with your saying such as ”merica’ or “land of the free.”

create a red, white and blue paper sign!

create a red, white and blue paper sign!

Flowers – Grab a bundle of flowers from your local florist or go on a nature walk to collect some red, white and blue!

"red, white & blue" flowers

“red, white & blue” flowers that Taylor gathered to add a bit of patriotism to her table!

Party Inspiration – Need a bit more inspiration? Our Going Gold – USA Olympic Party features everything American. Plus, Krista’s Not-So-Grown-Up Housewarming Party celebrates summer and all things related.

menu

After all, it is technically a birthday celebration, and you only get so many of those. We want to keep it simple to enjoy the day, so we are planning on BBQ burgers and brats, beers or cocktail of choice, potatoes and pie!

Potatoes – Maybe we are partial as we live in Idaho, but potatoes are a Fourth requirement. Freedom friespotato salad or Red, White & Blue Chips are all sure to be crowd pleasers.

freedom fries

freedom fries

potato salad (obviously no mayo)

potato salad (obviously no mayo)

red, white & blue chips!

red, white & blue chips!

Pies –  Nothing says America like (Rose) Apple Pie, or make a “Freedom Pie” by adding cutout stars to the top of your pie!

Rose Apple Pie

Rose Apple Pie

individual mason jar pies are great for late nights

individual mason jar pies are great for late nights

Freedom Pie! (post coming soon)

Taylor proudly displaying a “Freedom Pie”! (post coming soon)

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Headband – Want to avoid hat hair? A red, white and blue headband tops off any outfit choice. But obviously make sure to put on sunscreen to avoid any post-Fourth celebration regrets. If you are creative, make sure to check out Gina’s post on how to make a diy no sew hair turban (can we highlight the ‘no sew’ part?) or support ThreeBirdNest on Etsy with one of her bands with a vintage vibe.

check Gina out at curriouslycaffeinated.com

check Gina out at curriouslycaffeinated.com

ThreeBirdNest on Etsy

ThreeBirdNest on Etsy

Flask – A spirited flask will get you and your party through any epic day of celebration!

Krista found this at our local grocery store. Their merchandising at checkout is dangerous! How could you not buy this?!

Krista found this at our local grocery store. Their merchandising at checkout is dangerous! How could you not buy this?!

Pets – last but obviously not least, make sure to adorn your pets with a bit of spirit to hopefully ease any firework anxiety!

American Flag bowtie!

American Flag bowtie!

 krista and taylor

brass blossom logo

rhubarb upside-down cake

large rhubarb plant growing in my yard

large rhubarb plant growing in my yard

After my recent rhubarb harvest featured in my Weekend Love It, I tackled a Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake inspired by Martha. However, I went with a semi-homemade version that Sandra Lee would be proud of. I figured that since I harvested the rhubarb with my own two hands it made up for using a cake mix.

I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Vanilla Cake Mix which is divine. It is as simple as any Betty Crocker Mix and even the pickiest of gluten-free haters will compliment you being none the wiser.

fresh from the "yard"

fresh from the “garden”

servings

~12 slices of cake

ingredients

  • 2-3 cups rhubarb (washed & chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (melted)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • Cake Mix of choice + required ingredients

instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9″ circular pan. I chose my cheesecake pan to aid in the flipping of the cake.
  2. Buy or harvest your rhubarb. Here is a helpful website on how to care and harvest rhubarb. If you are like me and provide no care to your plant all you have to do to harvest is simply grab the base of the stalk and pull while gently twisting the stalk. Four stalks provided approximately 2 cups for me.
  3. Cut off rhubarb leaves. These leaves can be toxic so make sure you discard of them before anyone or anything (i.e. a puppy) gets a mouth around them.
  4. Clean, dry and cut rhubarb into small chunks.
  5. In a small bowl, combine rhubarb, 2 tablespoons butter and sugar together until well combined. My mixture had a bit of extra sugar so I may add more rhubarb next time.
  6. Pour rhubarb-sugar mixture into the bottom of your greased pan spreading around evenly.
  7. Make cake according to cake directions.
  8. Pour cake over rhubarb-sugar mixture.
  9. Bake according to cake instructions or until cake is golden brown.
  10. Let cake cool for ~10-20 minutes. Flip cake onto cake plate!
  11. Enjoy with ice-cream (I chose strawberry)!
giant toxic rhubarb leaves

enormous rhubarb leaves

if you harvested your rhubarb correctly the base of the stalk should resemble these

if you harvested your rhubarb correctly the base of the stalk should resemble these (dirt and all)

brilliant red and green hues

brilliant red hues

chopped rhubarb

chopped rhubarb

rhubarb-sugar mixture & prepared pan

rhubarb-sugar mixture & prepared pan

a touch of mint adds just the perfect touch of green

a touch of mint adds just a perfect touch of green

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rhubarb upside-down cake with strawberry ice-cream!

rhubarb upside-down cake with strawberry ice-cream!

The eventual top of this cake with the rhubarb is absolutely incredible. A few pieces of the rhubarb stuck to the sides of my pan as I pulled it off which gave me the opportunity for a small taste test. The rhubarb transforms from a bitter stalk to a small bite of perfect sweetness. I cleaned up the sides of the pan but managed to have a bit of self control and leave the rest on the cake for friend’s lovely housewarming party!

taylor brass

brass blossom

idaho adventure — redfish lake

Redfish Lake

Redfish Lake

I jumped at the opportunity to head north to Redfish Lake with my friend Rachel and a group of friends this weekend. Much like Taylor, I will not have a free weekend until probably mid-August. Then again, I can’t complain, because those weekends will be filled with great times with friends and family, travel, wine picnics, concerts and camping.

A trip to Redfish Lake is almost worth it for the drive alone. You head up over Galena Pass, which offers fun curves and a stunning view of the Stanley basin at the top. You can take in the beautiful Boulder and Sawtooth mountains on your way as well, and enjoy some wildlife, blue skies, fluffy white clouds, and maybe even a delicious (though overpriced) milkshake at Smiley Creek Lodge in Sawtooth “City”.

While Redfish Lake is a worthy tourist attraction with a lodge, restaurant, water rentals, general store, live music on Sunday nights, and guest cabins, even a simplified outing to Redfish is enough to satisfy. We took Rachel’s boat out (lake ettiquette: always offer gas money) on the (freezing) water and enjoyed some adult beverages, snacks, country music, conversation, scenic views, and most of all, relaxing time on the water. On other trips we would probably endeavor to surf, wake board, tube, water ski, and even stay the night at a nearby campground, but for early summer, soaking up sun before bombing back to Ketchum for the USA game vs. Portugal would all we could manage. Fine by me!

A trip to Redfish Lake is always worth the trip — it’s about an hour and ten minute drive, door to door. You can also enjoy the amenities and activities that nearby Stanley offers. I’m sure Taylor and I will blog about the Stanley Bakery and maybe even the Meadow Creek Spa in posts to come.

Here’s a look at my day at Redfish. I can’t wait to to go back. Thanks so much, Rachel!

 

Beautiful blue sky

beautiful blue sky

while the red fish (salmon) are not really present any more, you can catch a good sized bull trout, especially at the mouth of streams

while the red fish (sockeye salmon) are not really present any more, you can catch a good sized bull trout. i’ve seen it!

lovely white sand pieces

lovely white sand beaches

our fearless captain

our fearless captain

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what I like to call “sunshine in a can” — Stiegl Radlers

appetizer platter

appetizer platter complete with Vermont cheddar, Humboldt Fog, Columbus salami, and Mary’s Gone Crackers

redfish lake

view from the dock

butterfly friend on Jack's foot

butterfly friend on Jack’s foot

majestic mountains

majestic mountains

cheers krista

brass blossom