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!)

IMG_8703

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

IMG_8889

my happy place

my happy place

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

before the insanity

selfies

selfies

IMG_8924

IMG_8928

❤ my bri bird

IMG_8964

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!

41xpSfJm+UL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_

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 ❤

IMG_7115

sunrise hikes

sunrise hikes with my brass blossom boyfriend

IMG_7335

IMG_7338

IMG_7376

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!

IMG_7659

my love bugs + morels = perfect day

my love bugs + morels = the perfect day

IMG_7673

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.”

unspecified

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

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

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

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

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

love bugs <3

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

miss maude pod being such a champion

miss maude pod being a champion

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

his & hers (aka the boy carried everything…)

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

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

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

zinc menu - you can't go wrong

zinc menu – you can’t go wrong

salads to share

salads to share

the most incredible flatbread - avocado, cheese & radish

the most incredible flatbread – avocado, cheese & radish

fried chicken - comfort at it's finest

fried chicken – comfort at it’s finest

my favorite lady friends

my favorite lady friends

cutest little notebook i received from rachel

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

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

IMG_2073

IMG_2077

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

IMG_2336

the biggest mushroom EVER (zoe for perspective)

the biggest mushroom EVER (zoe for perspective)

pretty, pretty lupine

pretty, pretty lupine

IMG_2347

a handstand & a view

a handstand & a view

IMG_2386

IMG_2388

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

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

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

true self bra in grapefruit/peach fuzz

true self bra in grapefruit/peach fuzz

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

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

green juice

the most delicious concoction there ever was

the most delicious concoction there ever was

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

kisses!

kisses!

Cheers to a sunny week!

taylor brass

brass blossom

weekend love it – japan jet lag & indulgences

This past week has been a whirlwind. I got back from Japan (more about that to come) just in time to have one day to get organized and then I was back to work and a busy week full of indulgences. I had family in town and felt a bit insatiable when it came to food and social events this week. I also felt a bit out of it (probably due to jet lag, but I can’t really complain since I was in Japan!) all week so I plan on getting a bit more R&R and healthiness in this week.

Here is everything that I have been loving!

1. japan. My trip to Japan was incredible. But how could it have been anything less than incredible with amazing company, adventuring with no real destination, slight culture shock and a bit of sunshine? As amazing as all of those things were I think the best part about Japan was simply living in the moment of where I was. More about my travels in a post to come.

Here are a few photos as a tease!

new places, new friends

new places, new friends

IMG_0093

IMG_0103

IMG_0356

IMG_0483

handstanding all over the world

handstanding all over the world

IMG_0651

2. orange is the new black. When Season Two of Orange is the New Black came out last summer, I binged watch the entire season in like two days. I saw no sunshine, no social events and pretty much ignored the boy for a solid two days for just one more episode. And it was worth it.

I am ecstatic about Season Three coming out June 12th and have blacked out my calendar for another binge watching extravaganza. Anyone is welcome. Bring snacks. Believe me, if you get past the first episode you will likely give up your first born for just one more episode.

3. beautiful ruins. I received Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter a few months ago when I was pretty much incapable of focusing on anything. I recently got around to picking it up and adored this book. It isn’t really a strenuous read but keeps you engaged with all of the different story lines. It is definitely a good summer read and leaves you with that feel-good feeling.

BeautifulRuins_small-330

4. kentucky derby & hats. I have always genuinely liked the Kentucky Derby. I don’t really like horses or horse racing in general but I do quite like the Kentucky Derby. Maybe it’s the hype of the event and all of those hats or maybe it’s the hope of rooting for the underdog (c’mon, everyone loved Seabuiscuit), but I get giddy for the event each year.

This year, our good friend Abbey hosted a birthday celebration for the main man in her life that coincided with the Kentucky Derby. Derby attire was optional but obviously Krista and I went all out and created some diy derby-inspired hats to wear. Unfortunately I missed the actual derby but celebrated in style and enjoyed some sunshine, a fabulous dinner and birthday cheer. Happy birthday, Zac!

diy derby hats

diy derby hats

sunshine & horses

sunshine & horses

love these ladies

love these ladies

dysfunction

the crowning

IMG_1005

happy birthday zac!

happy birthday, zac!

5. royal baby. Like the Kentucky Derby, I am kinda obsessed with the Royal Family for no particular reason. Everyone needs several guilty pleasures in life. I pretty much think Duchess Kate is the definition of perfect, so her passing-on her perfection essentially ensures I can be obsessed with another generation of royalty and leave the baby making up to William and Kate.

I adored Kate’s going home dress and cannot wait to find out the name of the little Princess (I wrote this before the name was announced and absolutely love Charlotte Elizabeth Diana)! Also the Princess happened to be born on the 17th Anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts. That pretty much puts her at number one in my book.

Lindo_kate_eddie_p_3289551b

perfection

6. hot yoga. In an attempt to get back into somewhat of a routine, I have gotten back into hot yoga the past two weekends. I hadn’t gone to hot yoga for four months (which was far too long) and didn’t necessarily miss it. But the second I got back on the mat in the heat I remembered why I love it and need it. I love the heat, the humidity and the zen. Even though most people look at you with the most uncomfortable look on their face when you invite them to hot yoga, it’s a wonderful place.

I would encourage you all to give it at least a few chances, because the first class is slightly unbearable. But I honestly think it is a state of mind because I have grown to be addicted to practicing while sweating profusely. After each class I feel cleansed, cleared and ready to take on the world (or just about).

you can yoga even in japan

a little yoga in japan

taylor brass

brass blossom

weekend love it — love, love, love

With a massive work event taking up much of my time this past week, it was one of basic pleasures and time with family and friends. Here’s a look!

1. Life’s a party, rock your body: Marcel the Shell…”with shoes on” is back, and I couldn’t be happier. This adorable, charming, and oh-so-weird little shell friend is sure to bring a smile to your face with her jokes, asymmetrical body and positive attitude.

2. “B” party: We had a lot to celebrate this weekend — a Husky Beatdown (finally, my Ducks looked like my badass Ducks), the “Brennans to Be” (Chase’s sister and her fiancé), and…the 100th post of the brass blossom! More to come on the party deets soon — here’s a sneak peak!

the lovely brennans to be, who we toasted with some bubbly

the lovely brennans to be, who we toasted with some bubbly

the brass blossom's 100th post anniversary!

the brass blossom’s 100th post anniversary!

insanely delicious blackberry and brown sugar creme brûlée that Taylor made — post to come!

insanely delicious blackberry and brown sugar creme brûlée that Taylor made — post to come!

3. Anorak kissing stags: I found this shower curtain online at Target.com and fell in love. I was thrilled when I found a whole line from Anorak of these kissing stags, and a bunch of other kinds of animals for that matter, especially when my precious parley pup decided to rip two holes in our current (well, former) cotton duvet. Only drawback? Turns out our guest bedroom is super yellow. Whoops. Might be time for a painting project.

anorak kissing stags duvet cover

anorak kissing stags duvet cover

4. (Hopefully not always…) a bridesmaid: Chase’s sister, Jenna, asked me to be a bridesmaid in her July wedding this weekend, and it was so sweet and exciting. The “proposal” was all in the packaging with a sugar paper card with a very sweet note and a customized label for one of my favorite bottles of budget wine. Chase will also be a groomsman for his future (only kind of “Japanese”) brother-in-law. Can’t wait for the big brennan wedding, and I’m so excited to be a part of it!

of course my answer was yes!

of course my answer was yes!

gifts from brad and jenna — can't wait to stand by their sides!

gifts from brad and jenna — can’t wait to stand by their sides!

5. “No More Silence”: The Advocates for Survivors of Domestic Violence, a local nonprofit, recently adopted a local campaign that was inspired by the celebrity-supported “No More” campaign. I loved seeing this particular ad featuring my favorite graphic designer that I work with frequently and his adorable daughter, Idabelle.

"no more silence" by the advocates

“no more silence” by the advocates

6. This view: I stopped by my mom’s recently and soaked in this spectacular view. Golden autumn is still upon us!

the big wood river

the big wood river

7. let’s hear it for new york! I am traveling for the week for work. I haven’t been east of Idaho in probably four years…except to go to another country. I love going to cities because it makes me realize (not that I’m not blatantly aware) just how extreme the lack of diversity is in Idaho. Even the flight from SLC to JFK was compelling. Landing at midnight last night in the big city was stunning, with twinkling lights as far as the eye could see. I love my hotel (especially their tagline, “exclusively for everyone”), and catching up with old friends from high school and college is always such a blast. What a wild, noisy, compelling, confusing, humbling and beautiful place!

my room — the prints above the bed are amazing

my room — the prints above the bed are amazing

martha_resto_MWHotel

the hotel restaurant, Marta, which has an amazing looking italian menu!

my dear friend caitlin who I met for lunch right by her office! Oh hey, lady liberty!

my dear friend caitlin who I met for lunch right by her office! Oh hey, lady liberty!

cheers krista

 

brass blossom logo