borah

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

idaho adventures — the “top” of idaho, mount borah

Fun fact. Idaho only has one area code: 208. So there is always a big bonding moment with anyone you meet from Idaho about the 208. But Mount Borah is another story. Mount Borah should have its own area code. Because it is way, way up there and although absolutely magnificent like the rest of Idaho (for the most part), it feels like another world entirely. After a point there is no life: no trees, no water, no signs of animals (minus chipmunks who prosper off snacks from hikers), no shade, no nothing but rocks, maybe some (or a thousand) other hikers and a long ways down. Standing at 12,668 feet high, Mount Borah is no joke.

Conquering Mount Borah has been on Krista’s and my summer bucket list for a while now. So without further delay, here is the story of that one time #thebrassblossom (almost) summitted Mount Borah:

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#thebrassblossom toyed with the idea of climbing Mount Borah for several weeks. But it seemed like every time #thebrassblossom attempted to rally troops (begged, pleaded, attempted to convince them it would be a fun time with strong, independent, Idaho women…) to go with them there was just too much fun and summer activity going on to spare an entire day. So finally #thebrassblossom bucked up and decided they were going, regardless of if anyone else was going to join them. But as fate would have it, #thebrassblossom’s pleading convinced their fine, fair skinned, Washington born, lovely friend with an infectious laugh, Tori to join. #success.

True to form, #thebrassblossom didn’t just go out without doing some research. #thebrassblossom did extensive internet research and asked many “locals” what was really up with climbing Mount Borah. #thebrassblossom got several responses along the lines of: “heal yeah!” or “oh yeah, I did that in college and drank a fifth of whiskey along the way!” or “five hours at a leisurely pace!” or “the downhill is the worst pain you will ever encounter!” With those thoughts/encouragements/atrocities in mind #thebrassblossom made a plan: leave Ketchum at 6:00 am after getting coffee (no sooner – because let’s be honest, Krista’s finest hours are nowhere near the morning…), drive the hour to the base of Mount Borah and embark! #thebrassblossom gathered snacks (brie of course), some pink champagne (obvi!) and made a bandanna prayer flag for the top. Taylor’s boy even outfitted her with his backpack, a whistle, a first aid kit, a pee-pee kit and trekking poles the evening before. #thebrassblossom and Tori were set for adventure.

The drive was comparable to herding cattle but #thebrassblossom and Tori made it to the base in no time and set off at around 8:00 am. Things were going pretty peachy at a nice and easy (slow and steady wins the race people) pace until Krista forgot her sunglasses on a stump and had to turnaround. Lesson #1: always check your surroundings when you leave! The trail continued literally straight up and there were quite a few curse words said about whoever the eff made the trail. At some point, Tori took her pants off (quickly replaced by shorts of course! but by far the best view the side of Borah has seen in a long time…) as the heat of the day was starting to set in. Finally the timber disappeared and the trail continued through rocky-shale and reached LITERALLY the only flat spot on all of Mount Borah. From that point, it was like another world. There were no trees and #thebrassblossom and Tori were surrounded for miles by rock and level with most surrounding peaks. It honestly felt more like the moon than Idaho. It was truly a time and a place in life that cannot be recreated.

At that flat point with Mount Borah looming in the background and “Chickenout Ridge” appearing to go straight up to the sky, #thebrassblossom and Tori decided jumping photos were necessary. Lesson #2: white girls cant jump. From there, #thebrassblossom and Tori forged on steadily until the bottom of “Chickenout Ridge.” Now let us tell you something about that ridge – it is not for the faint at heart, the sensible, the weak or most of the people who were actually on it. It was also at that point that #thebrassblossom and Tori encountered the super-highway of people on the mountain (mostly men in fact who were packing guns and always greeted us with “Hey ladies!” not joking, kinda creepy?). We kid you not, literally there were 100+ other people from Chickenout Ridge on.

#thebrassblossom and Tori got a bit psyched out prior to crossing the ridge by the other “hikers” that were coming down. The remarks ranged from “it’s only worse from here” to “this is God’s mountain and people aren’t meant to be up here!” (again not joking…). #thebrassblossom and Tori were further psyched out by two young (unattended, like with no parents) tween boys who were tornado-ing off the ridge in SKATE SHOES as we were beginning the ridge. Lesson #3: Do not wear skate shoes to climb Mount Borah. Lesson #4: Do not climb Borah if you are under 16 without supervision. Lesson #6: Do not attempt Borah on a weekend as it is a super-highway of hell.

But #thebrassblossom and Tori decided the safest place for us was as far away from the superhighway as possible and that meant up. So #thebrassblossom and Tori scurried (for the most part) up and across approximately 3/4 of Chickenout Ridge, at which point we called it our Summit. We were done. It had been a little over 4 hours, we were a bit scarred by the passings on Chickenout Ridge and needed some Brie and Champagne to calm our nerves. Plus isn’t creating your own summit even cooler! #thebrassblossomsummit

Before heading down, we enjoyed a fine picnic lunch, took so many pictures and “popped” one bottle of champagne. Lesson #6: Make sure if you hike up thousands of feet and risk your life that the bottles of champagne you intend to “pop” actually pop and don’t twist off. Lesson #7: The altitude kinda makes you drunk so you don’t EACH need a mini-bottle. After a bit of refueling and getting our wits together, #thebrassblossom and Tori headed on down from “our” summit (literally). And it was HELL. Literally worst thing ever on your toes, calves, thighs, soul and sense of self. #thebrassblossom and Tori all agreed we would rather hike up twice than ever do that downhill. But it was a probably a character builder in the end. Lesson #8: Don’t get a nice pedicure before you summit Borah because you will ruin it.

Once down, #thebrassblossom and Tori enjoyed sponge baths to rid the caked layers of dirt on our legs, snacked on pounds of chips, hummus and snap peas and enjoyed a pleasant drive back to the Valley. And since those snacks didn’t even come close enough to filling our bellies that just conquered Mount Borah (pretty much, close enough), we drove immediately to Grumpy’s to nom. #thebrassblossom and Tori may have been made fun of for our slight limps and stiff gaits (somewhat similar to that of the Tin Man) and incredibly sun burned legs. Lesson #9: Public humiliation is worth it for Grumpy’s and even if you already applied it, reapply sunscreen when you are way up there in the sky because you will turn into a little tomato with sock tan lines that peel right before a wedding…awk.

And that’s our story. We had an amazing time filled with so much sun, so little shade, lots of laughs, some highs from lack of oxygen, a few sips of champagne, a pound or two of Brie (each) and a glorifying experience at our summit of 11,601 (to be exact) feet. And while we didn’t make the actual summit of Borah, we made it exactly as far as we all needed. We pushed our limits (both mental and physical), enjoyed a full day of each other’s company and had an experience that led to no regrets. Cheers to Mount Borah!

there is nothing to rival a morning in the copper basin

there is nothing to rival a morning in the copper basin

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the beginning...

the beginning…

obvious necessities...thank you mr hawkes!

obvious necessities…thank you mr hawkes! #hydrateordie

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mout borah looming in the background

not quite sure about this…

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this is not on you jump

this is not how you jump…

success

success

chickenout ridge leading straight up to the sky

chickenout ridge leading straight up to the sky

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the only picture i managed to capture going up chickenout ridge (the beginning)

the view from our summit!

the view from our summit!

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cheers!

cheers!

"popping" bottles

“popping” bottles

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we forgot a knife...thank god casey packed us a firstaid kit with scissors!

we forgot a knife…thank god casey packed us a firstaid kit with scissors!

krista in her element

krista in her element

#thebrassblossom

#thebrassblossom

and tori!

and tori!

some "play hard give back" to compliment the brie

some “play hard give back” to compliment the brie

firstlite + pink champagne

firstlite + pink champagne + brie

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tourist photo #1

tourist photo #2

tourist photo #2

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our homemade prayer flag

our homemade prayer flag

#teamcasey

#teamcasey

❤ PBD

grandma gigi

aunt gina / grandma gigi ❤

TR <3

TD ❤

peace out mount borah

peace out mount borah

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going down the final part of chickenout ridge

going down the final part of chickenout ridge

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heart rocks

heart rocks

grumpy's = life complete

the end…

so bad but so good

so bad but so good

until next time mount borah! (or not and that would be okay too...)

until next time mount borah! (or not and that would be okay too…)

krista and taylor

 brass blossom

weekend love it – inspiring words, ladies & mountain tops

One of the things I love most about blogging (other than randomly sporting the saying “hashtag brass blossom”) is it is an outlet. A creative outlet, an emotional outlet, an “I don’t feel like I’m going anywhere in the world” outlet. It’s no coincidence “The Brass Blossom” started in the month of February in Idaho when it’s cold, the winter is really starting to get to you and according to my Sirius radio it’s the least happy month…

And even though it’s an outlet for both Krista and me, it’s obviously a very public outlet since if you didn’t notice it’s on the Internet and we share it with no shame. But the point being, that even though this blog started as a place to keep us sane and our outlet, I wanted to thank you all for your continued support of our venture. Our last post on Grief and Support blossomed (see what I did there) as an idea from Krista and grew from there. The words, support and love we received were truly beautiful and I wanted to thank you all for that, from the bottom of the #brassblossom heart.

And that support couldn’t have come at a better time, as the last week wasn’t the greatest week, true to the ebb and flow of life.  So when I needed a bit of life inspiration last week I found it (like quite often in recent months) from Cheryl Strayed and thought it was too good not to share:

“You have to pay your own electric bill. You have to be kind. You have to give it all you got. You have to find people who love you truly and love them back with the same truth. But that’s all.”

So with that mushy, gushyness said, here is what I have been loving in recent weeks.

1. torch. I originally had planned to start this book last week on a road trip to Salt Lake City but like always I failed to remember how I literally pass out anytime I am the passenger in the car…so I just started this book at the pool this weekend, and I am hooked. This book is raw and speaks to grief on so many levels. And while I have devoured all of Strayed’s non-fiction works that I have picked up, she proves her writing, her voice and her wisdom has no boundaries. A great read thus far.

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2. astronaut wives. The Astronaut Wives Club is hands down my new favorite show of pretty much all time. Every time the boy and I watch the show I verbalized how much I really love the show. I pretty much check OnDemand daily to see if it is available. The show features a truly challenging time in the world featuring (obv) astronauts and the space race but also the women behind the space race. You know what they say…behind every great man, there is a great woman. And for some reason, I have always felt a bit of a kindred spirit to a 50’s housewife. Maybe it’s the aprons? Maybe it’s the fact it was a huge time for women’s rights? Regardless, if you like me are not a wife, an astronaut or someone really interested in space at all, I still promise you this show will speak to you. Plus I have a huge girl crush on Odette Annable
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3. friends in high (model) places. I know a few pretty cool people who have all recently been blowing up magazine (and internet) spreads with their hot faces. And not only are their hot faces featured, but they are all featured doing something they are passionate about in the outdoors. They are all beautiful, adventurous, Idaho-loving models that I can’t help but share!
that one time the boy was a male model (for beretta)

that one time the boy was a male model (for beretta)

#studmuffin

#studmuffin

SVPN featuring three amazing, local fishing ladies on the latest in fishing fashion

SVPN featuring three amazing, local fishing ladies on the latest in fishing fashion

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love seeing this lady in print!

love seeing this lady in print!

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4. mount borah. #thebrassblossom and our lovely friend Tori almost summited Mount Borah last weekend. Yes Borah, the highest peak in Idaho. And while we didn’t quite make it, it was still an incredible, slightly sunburned and high on lack of oxygen time. Also don’t fret, an “Idaho Adventure” post will be coming soon as it was too incredible not to share (we just had to collect our wits and thoughts).
obvious market necessities for the borah climb

obvious market necessities for the borah climb

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popping a bottle to celebrate!

popping a bottle to celebrate!

5. power house and veggie love. The evening before hiking Mount Borah, I knew I needed to seriously carbo-load, so the boy and I headed to Hailey to the Power House. Two of our favorite people also joined us and we had an amazing time with some amazing beers and delicious food. For anyone that hasn’t been to their new location, it is just as good and I literally wish at least twice a week that this restaurant was in Ketchum. Also huge props to Power House for offering multiple vegetarian options, which just never happens in Idaho. I have been dreaming since of nomming again on those Oat Burger Tacos. Cheers!
a slightly intimidating door

a slightly intimidating door

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truffle fries - so delicious!

truffle fries – so delicious!

oat buger tacos! such a great concept!

oat buger tacos – such a great concept!

6. road trips & seeing eye dogs. I recently read a quote from Heidi Powell that was something along the lines of “it doesn’t need to be romantic to be romantic.” The boy took me to Salt Lake City for my annual eye appointment last week and while it was not in the slightest a typical romantic day (I think I channeled my inner pug with how large my pupils got), but it was still a “romantic” day. We got to spend 10 hours (more like 8 as I slept just a bit…) of uninterrupted car time together and just enjoy a day of him playing my seeing eye dog and chauffeur. It was totes fun had by all. And we even enjoyed pounds of mac-n-cheese for lunch at Whole Foods because there is nothing that their mac-n-cheese can’t make better. Nom nom. On another note, I sadly learned several years ago that careers in public service and even being as astronaut apparently have very strict eye tests to pass and are highly discriminatory against the legally blind, so sadly I will never be an astronaut, police officer, fire-fighter or anything cool like that. So for now, I will live my life vicariously through The Astronaut Wives Club. Also for anyone who feels their eyes need just a bit more attention, the Moran Eye Center is the place to go. I cannot say enough positive things about this institute.
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ermygawd

ermygawd

Hope you all have an amazing week full lots of love. ❤

taylor brass

brass blossom