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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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taylor brass

brass blossom

best of october – unwinding, detox & retox & PNW love

After an incredibly busy summer, I was looking forward to this October. And although the summer was truly amazing, I think I managed to cram about 25 too many activities into each day and was just pooped by the final weeks of September. While my cry count before going back to Seattle was significantly, significantly less that last year, I had a few bouts of hysteria in those finals days, so I knew I was ready for a change.

My body finally decided that after four months of insanity, it was no longer going to continue to function on just fun, so the day I made the trek back to Seattle on October 1st, I got a wicked cold. Like one of those colds you continually stuff tissues up your nose and have to force yourself to pound coconut water and tylenol because your entire body just hurts. Let me just say, it was not a pretty drive.

Along with my body forcing me to slow down a bit, I was ready to return to school just to have a schedule (and to get this last year started!). I was again devastated to leave the boy, my little miss Maude Pod and everyone who I just adore and love in Idaho but I was ready to return to Seattle to crush one more year with the end in sight. I’ve long known that I am a creature of habit and crave schedules, organization and writing it all down. So while this October wasn’t as fancy-filled as any of the summer months, it did hold some incredible “love its,” even if they were a bit more relaxing and kind on the body. Here is what I loved this October!

1. rest & relaxation. I think that the amount of snot and other not appropriate for the internet bodily functions that my body put out at the beginning of October was my way of purging the summer months. All of October I have been back to pounding vitamin C, ginger tea, green tea, as much water as possible and trying to eat everything green in sight. Additionally I attempted to hydrate every ounce of my skin with some fun new products and get back into a Crossfit regimen. Needless to say, this month has been a bit of a painful detox but just what I needed to get my mind and body back to baseline.

I have fallen in love with Aria Starr Beauty. The products smell amazing, work wonders and happen to be within my grad school budget. Win win! I religiously use the Dead Sea Mud Mask two times a week and the Super Vitamin C Serum twice daily! Plus you can get a coupon code for $10.00 off on Amazon by going to their website.

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2. madison & white. I initially started following Madison & White on Instagram for their drool worthy hair photos. But after a while, I got connected with Kamela and quickly fell in love with everything Madison & White. Their brand is all about protecting your locks and they sell the most amazing vegan satin pillow-cases and hair towels. As a HUGE fan of hair towels (I cannot stand water dripping down my back after I shower), I have always used cotton-fiber wrap towels. But after trying one of their t-shirt hair towels, I am officially a convert. It takes a bit of getting used to in order to figure out the best way to secure it to your head but it seriously reduces the frizz by 100%. And when living in Seattle, this is a must!

I cannot say enough great things about this brand and highly recommend every lady out there try testing out their pillow-cases and/or towels to protect not only your head of hair but also your skin at night! No one wants wrinkles either! And the proof is in the pudding, as even Maude Pod is obsessed with sneaking her head onto our pillows with the satin pillow cases.

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(the best pillow cases!)

always trying to sneak her pretty face onto the pillows! <3

always trying to sneak her pretty face onto the pillows! ❤

3. (new) washington adventures. Other than returning to more of a schedule, another reason that I was excited to return to Seattle was the countless adventures I already had planned. Last April, I helped plan a girls day trip to Goldmyer Hot Springs. I thought it was absolutely crazy that I was making a reservation for a hike to a hot springs in April for October but the pictures and stories from a friend who had visited made the effort seem well worth it. And it was! Goldmyer Hot Springs is truly a magical, fairy land. It is one of those places that the trek is worth it ten times over for the experience of soaking in an extremely remote, hot springs with 20 other strangers. It was that magical.

Another amazing adventure I took with my roommate Whitney, who is always up for an adventure, near or far, no matter how crazy it may seem. Whitney and I took to the roads and headed up to the North Cascades along Highway 20. We literally stopped anywhere we felt like sounded remotely cool and spent the day enjoying the sunshine and adventures to be had. Our final stop was Lake Diablo and it didn’t disappoint. We topped off the evening with a late night Chipotle dinner and a quick stop at Nordstrom Rack. It was truly one of those perfect days that could never be replicated again. Cheers to another month of fabulous adventures!

early morning drives

early morning drives

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the entrance to the most magical place in the world (or washington!)

the entrance to the most magical place in the world (or washington!)

slightly awkward make a funny face photo

slightly awkward make a funny face photo

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the best viewpoint

the best viewpoint

just a little selfie action!

just a little selfie action!

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my enthusiasm was a bit out of control...

my enthusiasm was a bit out of control…

thanks to the best roommate / photographer!

thanks to the best roommate / photographer!

4. visits from my favs. Two of my absolute favorites visited me in Seattle this October. Having visitors this year is incredible fun because I feel like I finally know the city of Seattle enough to take them a bit off the beaten path to explore all of Seattle’s gems. Krista visited early in the month during the weekend that was supposedly going to be Seattle Tsunami 2016 so in preparation for bad weather we planned to eat/drink our way around the city. We did just that and topped most nights off with some wine and movies like Pitch Perfect 2. You can’t beat a good girls weekend! Some of the highlights of her trip were: Juicebox for the most amazing juice and toast ever, an incredible Hemingway inspired dinner at Ernest Loves Agnes and a trip up to the Smith Tower.

My mom then visited towards the end of the month and it was so much fun to have her around. We frequented Juicebox (again), did a bit of shopping and took a fabulous afternoon walk at Discovery Park. We also took in all that a morning in Ballard has to offer and explored the locks and spent far too much time watching fish in the fish ladder! There is truly nothing a mom can’t fix!

hot yoga detox (before eating and drinking all of seattle)

hot yoga detox (before eating and drinking all of seattle)

the BEST find in seattle = juicebox

the BEST find in seattle = juicebox

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the prettiest textures (both new & old)

the prettiest textures (both new & old)

so much wind...

so much wind…

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view from smith tower

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the most amazing dinner at ernest & agnes

the most amazing dinner at ernest loves agnes

idaho girls love a hemingway inspired anything

idaho girls love a hemingway inspired anything

juicebox round 2

juicebox round 2

discovery park <3

discovery park ❤

kerry park views

kerry park views

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5. good reads. I read somewhere that Amazon was offering a free month of Kindle Unlimited to anyone with an Amazon Prime account. I manage to do an incredible amount of reading in Seattle thanks to my relatively short bus commute and it has become something that I truly enjoy. Even if I only get in a chapter or two each way and while waiting for the bus or during an hour before bed, I have flown through a crazy number of books this year. And while, Kindle Unlimited doesn’t have the most fabulous book selection, it has a plethora of magazines to choose from. My commute has literally become SO much more enjoyable by having something fun to read. I highly recommend it for anyone who has a bit of extra reading time in their day!

Another great read that I stumbled upon this month was A Letter to the Doctors and Nurses Who Cared for My Wife. This read is a gut-wrencher but truly an amazing read.

6. a little retail therapy. To say I’m obsessed with my October purchase of the month would be putting it lightly. I first saw Dolce Vita’s Shiloh Nubuck Mules last spring and immediately fell in love with them. However, living in Seattle where it is constantly wet meant they weren’t the most practical shoes to dream about. But then I not so casually bumped into them at Nordstrom Rack and was delighted to find them in my size. I once again decided they were so unpractical for my current life and left them behind. #biggestmistakeever

So after days of literally dreaming about them, I raced back to Nordstrom Rack and it was meant to be. They were still there. It was like a long lost love. And while I haven’t had the chance to take this bad boys out for a spin, it hasn’t stopped me from casually wearing them around my apartment in sweat pants.

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true love

taylor brass

brass blossom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

just the beginning...

just the beginning…

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

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

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running with bae

running with bae

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

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

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my happy place

my happy place

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

before the insanity

selfies

selfies

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❤ my bri bird

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bethhhhhhh

5 am sunrise walks

5 am sunrise walks

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

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

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

birthday love!

birthday love!

my favorite hiking buddies <3

my favorite hiking buddies ❤

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sunrise hikes

sunrise hikes with my brass blossom boyfriend

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

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

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

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

look at this things!

look at this things!

morels!

morels!

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my love bugs + morels = perfect day

my love bugs + morels = the perfect day

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i promise she loves us

i promise she loves us

post-adventures schooners

post-adventures schooners

lovers <3

lovers ❤

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

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

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

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

Code to Join: joinhoney.com/ref/vloyjc

taylor brass

brass blossom

birthday selfie sticks, crowns & colors

Our incredible friend Rachel recently celebrated another year around the sun and we had such a fun girl’s night to celebrate her. While we don’t need an excuse for a party that is super colorful, girly and involves glitter crowns, celebrating such a good friend makes it that much better!

Rachel is one of those friends that you look to in times of both celebration and sorrow. She always manages to know what to say, and we are so thankful to have her in our lives!

Here is how we celebrated the birthday girl!

menu

Since we were going on a pre-dinner hike we wanted to keep things simple. We decided to do grilled cheese, soup, salad and of course cake! It was such an easy meal to throw together and was super simple to have everyone bring a few ingredients. We topped off all the food with some champagne and wine, of course!

  • assorted grilled cheese
  • grilled cheese fillers (avocado, pesto, tomato, pear, more cheese, the list goes on and on!)
  • homemade Christina’s tomato soup
  • the Haven tomato soup
  • amazing farm fresh salad
  • rhubarb cake (so delicious – thanks simone!)

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the prettiest and most delicious cake ever (thanks, simone!)

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so amazing!

so amazing!

decor

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the table

the table

never say no to pastel marbled balloons

never say no to pastel marbled balloons

incredible color-able table runner

incredible color-able table runner

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colored pencils for coloring!

colored pencils for coloring!

presents!

presents!

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the end result!

the end result!

the company

While we originally planned to attend our favorite Wednesday night yoga class, we decided to take a quick pre-dinner hike instead. Between the 8 girls we had about an equal number of (mostly black) dogs and realized that we have turned into those “dog people” that you see with a crazy pack of dogs. We hiked up Heidelberg and had quite a fun time with glitter birthday crowns, a selfie stick and some attempted jumping…

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the birthday girl and "her girl"

the birthday girl and “her girl”

priceless!

priceless!

the hiking gang

thank gosh for selfie sticks

jump!

jump!

so graceful...

so graceful…

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making a wish!

making a wish!

maude pod just captivated by the balloons at the end of the night

maude pod just captivated by the balloons at the end of the night

cheers!

cheers!

 

 

 

best of april – love bugs, sea to pdx, new finds & being better

If April is any indication how this year is going to go then it is all going to just fly by. Quite honestly, I was pretty depressed to return to Seattle at the end of March to begin another quarter of school. Seattle must have sensed my darkness because April was full of so much light, love, sunshine and happiness.

This springtime in Seattle has truly been incredible. But as much as I have been loving the spring washing away the winter blues and wandering around the pacific northwest, I am ecstatic to be returning home this summer to complete an internship in Idaho! Cheers to moving onwards and upwards and to being closer to all of my love bugs.

Here is what I adored this April!

1. love bugs in seattle. The boy and Miss Maude Pod came and visited me for a long weekend and I don’t know if I have ever been quite so excited to have visitors. It was so much fun showing them around the city and we also spent a night on Whidbey Island. The island was fairly deserted and was just the calming atmosphere that we needed.

We explored several beaches and Maude had the best time sniffing new smells, trying to drink the salt water and chasing sea-gulls. It was perfectly relaxing and oh so much fun!

we found a "maude" bench!

we found a “maude” bench!

mornings with bae

mornings with bae

first time beach explorations!

first time beach explorations!

proof casey also came...

proof the boy also came…

my baby forever

my baby forever

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love bugs <3

love bugs ❤

pretty much our life motto

pretty much our life motto

potato tacos!

potato tacos!

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sunset drinks with these two cuties

sunset drinks with these two cuties

when you cant pick just one, or two...

when you cant pick just one, or two…

2. new finds. Don’t get me wrong, I love Grad School but one thing I do not love about Grad School is my negative income. It really doesn’t lend itself well to my slight problem with online shopping. Let’s just say it has effectively put it on hold (for now…). But I did manage to capture two finds in April that I am just loving!

The first is a pair of leggings from Vie Active. The boy got me a few gifts from there a while ago and I have a credit that I have been meaning to use. So when they came out with these leggings I just couldn’t resist! They are now sold out but I have another pair of leggings from them and love both pairs. Truth be told though I haven’t ever really come across a pair of leggings I don’t like…

love the bag they send with the leggings (perfect for sweaty clothes or bathing suits)

love the bag they send with the leggings (perfect for sweaty clothes or bathing suits)

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The second are these perfectly simple gold stud earrings that my mom got for me as a present. She happens to be the best mom on the planet and gave me these as a just because gift. I wear them in my second hole and love that they are simple enough for everyday wear and I can leave them in all the time. And just like leggings, you cannot go wrong with gold!

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perfectly gold and simple

perfectly gold and simple

3. wandering the pacific northwest. April was a month of some serious adventures. It literally was so nice and sunny almost everyday that I felt that I had to get out and enjoy the sunshine and weather. Also chances are I will probably never have mostly three-day weeks ever again so might as well take advantage!

This made for quite a few epic adventures including hiking Mailbox Peak and Lake 22, venturing to gorgeous tulip farms and a trip down to Portland to spend time with some of my favorites! And a huge thank you to Mr and Mrs Howard for hosting us! Pictures pretty much say it all…

mt rainier looming from the top of the peak

mt rainier looming from the top of the peak

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tulips <3

tulips ❤

love the rogue tulip

love the rogue tulip

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the gorgeous lake 22!

the gorgeous lake 22!

it wouldn't be an adventure without a handstand

it wouldn’t be an adventure without a handstand

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portland brunch (so nom)

portland brunch (so nom)

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love these ladies!

love these ladies!

our evening spread

our evening spread

and of course cupcakes to top the night off!

and of course cupcakes to top the night off!

4. crystal lamp. I actually received this Crystal lamp as a Valentine’s gift from the boy’s mom (thank you again!) and was immediately intrigued by it. It is perfectly peachy-pink (great Valentine’s gift) and is made out of Himalayan salt. FYI so you don’t have to, I actually licked it to make sure…it is real salt.

The supposed benefits of the lamp include: cleaner air, reduced allergies and improved mood. And I truly think the lamp works. It emits a soft amber glow and is a perfect soft lighting. I turn it on when I get back to the apartment for the day and love getting into bed to watch a show with it’s glow. I would most definitely recommend one if only for a pretty bed-side table decoration! (Pretty sure they are all over Amazon!)

himalayan crystal salt lamp

himalayan crystal salt lamp

5. it’s a good day to be a good day. Maybe the universe was trying to tell me something but I just felt like I kept running across great articles about “getting better.” I loved this article on focusing on one thing everyday. That one thing being “Get Better Today.” It really resonated with me because I think it’s so hard to really just live in the present and be mindful but if you at least try to focus on getting better today then it brings you back to the present and result in daily improvements.

And to top off that amazing article here is another (mostly pictures) about Marceline. She is a little pugger bugger who has the misfortune of wearing a cone of shame and figures out how to make the best of it and feel better!

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Cheers to (almost) summer and continued sunshine!

taylor brass

brass blossom

sparking joy — spring cleaning

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

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

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

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

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

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

KondoMakeSpace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

keep vs. donate

keep vs. donate

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

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

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

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

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

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

Taylor’s Cleaning Must-Do’s:

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

Cheers to clean spaces and sparking joy everyday!

krista and taylor

brass blossom

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

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

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

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

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

love this place!

love this place!

so much snow, so much fun

so much snow, so much fun

black dogs for days

black dogs for days

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so many dog hikes

so many dog hikes

when your goats live in a winter wonderland

when your goats live in a winter wonderland

goat walks

goat walks

<3

the perfect spring skiing day

the perfect spring skiing day

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no complaints! favorite ladies and favorite place!

no complaints! favorite ladies and favorite place!

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

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

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

ready to roll!

ready to roll!

par pars got to ride up front for a bit

par pars got to ride up front for a bit

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perfection

perfection

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

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

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post-hike sunburn selfies...

post-hike sunburn selfies…still laughing!

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

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

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

stanley goes for a ride to pick a new pot!

stanley goes for a ride to pick a new pot!

stanley's crazy roots

stanley’s crazy roots

new succulent friends

new succulent friends

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just a bit of a mess....

just a bit of a mess….

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

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

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

bad goats!

bad goats!

just goating around

just goating around

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wrong way z-baby

wrong way z-baby

what happens when you constantly make jail breaks

what happens when you constantly make jail breaks

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

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

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

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

taylor brass

brass blossom

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

best of 2015

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

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

beautiful seattle skyline

beautiful seattle skyline

go ducks!

go ducks!

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

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

so nom nom nom

so nom nom nom

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

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

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you can yoga even in japan

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two of the best travel buddies!

two of the best travel buddies!

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

cheers to almost the top!

cheers to almost the top!

so close to the sky

so close to the sky

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

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<3

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

so fresh and so clean!

so fresh and so clean!

love the color

love the color

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

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love everything about this

love everything about this

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

the boys <3

the boys ❤

the table

the table

the chandelier

the chandelier

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

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

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

crazy goats!

crazy goats!

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goat selfies

goat selfies

someone loves her goat herd

someone loves her goat herd

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

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

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

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my loves ❤

2016 life goals: 

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

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

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

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

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

taylor brass

brass blossom

christmas ball delight – holiday gift wrapping

One aspect of the Holidays that I absolutely love, look forward to and semi-obsess over is wrapping presents. I love the giving of presents but I really love the wrapping of the presents themselves. Hey, like 90% of life is all about the presentation peeps.

So I decided to stick with the craft style paper that I have been oh so in love with for like the past three years and go from there. Krista and I had a little present wrapping party complete with some La Croix, the recent Adele performance and the smash sisters (aka Pars and Maude). It was pretty much the perfect #brassblossom afternoon. The past two years I have tried to pick a theme to draw together all of my present wrapping. Last year it was Bells and this year it was all about holiday balls. Christmas ball ornaments that is.

I took a gold (obvi) metallic marker and got to work writing each person’s name that we were giving a gift to on an ornament. I then attached those suckers to a (perfectly) craft paper wrapped gift and tied it up and down and all over with some twine (I adore twine). The result gave me that special feeling. That special feeling you got when you were just a little wee-one and you got woken up at like 3:30 am to your younger brother violently shaking you and convincing you that you both HAD to get up and sneak down to see if Santa had come. It was that good.

So without further ado, here is some (very last minute) holiday gift wrapping inspiration! Feel free to “borrow” a ball or two from your own tree to make it happen!

materials

  • Craft style gift wrapping paper (or whatever you fancy)
  • Black and white twine
  • Natural twine
  • Christmas ball ornaments
krista and my wrapping selection

krista and my wrapping selection

the necessities

the necessities

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holiday balls

holiday balls

the best pens (from paper source)

the best pens (from paper source)

getting to work

getting to work

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i LOVE this gold arrow wrapping paper

i LOVE this gold arrow wrapping paper

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just a little bow action

just a little bow action

gotta throw in some color!

gotta throw in some color!

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our tree fit for some pretty presents

our 2/3 of a tree fit for some pretty presents!

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas full of lots of love and holiday cheer!

taylor brass

brass blossom