fall

giving thanks – what i am thankful for in 2015

This year has gone by ridiculously quickly. For me it has been a year of survival, tremendous changes and pretty much just all around craziness. But it has also been a year where I have felt overwhelming waves of gratitude and thankfulness for what has become.

One of my favorite new Thanksgiving traditions has been at “Friendsgivemas” where we share what we all are thankful for. So I figured I would bring that to life again. So here is I am thankful for this year!

1. dreams for the future. This year has been a ridiculous dichotomy of changing and realizing new dreams. Around this time last year I thought I had everything put together. It seemed the cosmic stars were aligned and it had been a fabulous year of successes and dreams come true. But one thing that I am thankful for is that dreams for the future can evolve. Perspective can change. And life paths can change. So moving forward I’ve decided to dream big in a general direction and accept that the course I may take to follow that dream will not in any form be linear. Keep dreaming big enough and don’t become stagnant. I am also forever thankful that I am in a place in life that I am both physically and emotionally comfortable enough that I have the opportunity to dream big.

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2. strong wills. I don’t believe in miracles. But one thing I do believe in is strong wills and hard work. I am ridiculously thankful for those strong wills to get better and to make you better than surround me. You are the ones who have kept me on course this year and helped me will my current life back into something on that not so linear path to my dreams. So thank you from the bottom of my heart.

3. the cult of crossfit. I come from a long line of phenomenal athletes. Like world-class, they still kick my ass athletes and they have several decades on me. And while I have always been athletic I don’t think I ever really found my calling until Crossfit. I know, I know, it totally is a cult. But it’s a cult for a reason. Crossfit has truly changed my life in a way that I know I can never go back. My body perception has changed. My mind has changed. Each and every day I am enthralled by what my body can actually do. I can do hundreds of pull-ups, handstands, crazy things with like weights and boxes and lift my body weight, which is something I never could have even imagined a few years ago as an extremely uncoordinated person. And I can (most days) push through that point of “I’m going to vomit and pass out right here, right now.” Crossfit has taught me to revel in being strong in both body and mind. And it probably saved my life this year. It was truly my outlet on those days when I needed to put my entire energy into something or I would have gone insane. So thank you Crossfit for making me appreciate me. I will forever be thankful for that.

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 4. life’s absurdities. When the boy and my mom insisted on getting goats this year I finally just gave in. I thought what could a few goats really change? But they changed a lot, including our landscaping and doors as they literally eat everything in site. Point being goats are absolutely absurd and just oh so ridiculous. They are purely for fun and provide so much light. So I’m thankful for the absurdities in life that make everything just that much better and I want to be better at recognizing these absurdities and taking far more pleasure in them. Cheers to goats, pugs, funny YouTube videos and anything and everything that makes you giggle.

goat kisses <3

goat kisses ❤

5. opportunities in education. I honestly love school. I love learning and being accountable and feeling a purpose. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity this year to attend graduate school. I am also incredibly thankful that I come from a family that values education and values me as a independent woman to follow my educational dreams. So far I haven’t for one second regretted further pursuing my education. So cheers to getting smarter!

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go ducks!

6. checks and balances. I think we have all established that life is short and the world is a not so pleasant place, I mean just turn on the news. Or accept it and relish in some indulgences with some checks and balances. I am thankful for days that consist of indulging in lattes, pedicures, sunshine, Bri cheese and a drink or two but also so thankful for the balance of that of green juices, yoga and some me time.

cheers from mt borah!

cheers from mt borah!

a little yoga for balance

a little yoga for balance

7. (no) pants. I secretly really hate “real” pants. This might not really be a secret if you have the opportunity to see my lovely face everyday and I am in yoga pants. But point being I am really thankful that I live in an age where as a woman I am not supposed to wear a certain thing like a ginormous corset and skirt and god knows what else and I can choose to be pretty comfortable in what I wear. So cheers to your version of comfort whether it be yoga pants, leggings or long sweaters! They are revolutionizing the world.

#lululemonforever

#lululemonforever

8. the internet. One word people, Google. I actually do NOT know how people survived Graduate School before the Internet. Probs the library? I Google like at least 43 times a day. Google has the answer to everything. Like how to get places. Moving to a new city is hard. Driving in a new city is even harder especially when you are from a place that no one parallel parks. Praise Idaho for lots of parking. And praise Google and Google maps for teaching me everything and getting me everywhere I need to go. Now if only Google could park my car…

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9. instagram. There has been a lot of negative feedback recently regarding social media and how it only focuses on those “perfect” moments in life. And while most posts might not be an actual reflection of the true shit show that is going on behind the scenes, they represent a celebration in my eyes. The world is like actually a not so nice place but I think one of the true beauties in Instagram and all of social media is that it is remarkable celebration of the good, the pretty, the idealistic life. And while “comparison is the thief of joy,” why not celebrate Instagram for just what it is. Some days there are days when you just need some good. So for that I am especially thankful to Instagram as a place to escape and more often than not, just see beauty.

apparently instagram thinks i only really like pugs and other fuzzy creatures...

apparently instagram thinks i only really like pugs and other fuzzy creatures…

10. support circles. This grouping of “support circles” is all encompassing. I am beyond thankful for all of the circles of support that I have in my life. Friends, family, the boy, my mom, those friends that are family, doggies friends that snuggle you like there is no tomorrow aka my Maude Pod, goat friends and the list goes on and on but I am so thankful for the hammock of support that has held me up this year in both times of sorrow and joy. The boy always tells me that I don’t give myself enough credit. And while I do quite enjoy bragging about myself I truly feel that my support circles have propelled me through this year and helped me to reside in the place that I do. So thank you, forever and always for just being there.

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11. the opportunity to adventure. One thing that I truly love about living in Idaho is the proximity to nature. You can literally step out your door and be on a path to the middle of nowhere in a matter of moments. Unfortunately Seattle doesn’t offer quite that proximity but it’s amazing in other ways. I love the opportunity to be fully engrossed in a slower and more natural world. I am extremely thankful that I had so many opportunities this summer to explore all over Idaho and the west. I semi-joke that a life goal of mine is to become a professional hiker but the idea of being surrounded by wilderness everyday captivates me most days but then my practical side sets in (like how would I pay bills?!). Another adventure opportunity that I am so thankful to have had this year was my trip to Japan with my always lovely and spontaneous aunt and cousin. It was truly the trip of a lifetime and made my remember what it means to adventure. So cheers to many more adventures!

you cant say no to this...

you cant say no to this…

love these ladies!

love these ladies!

❤ idaho

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12. the brass blossom. One true joy that I have found in this year is my love of writing. I am not always the most expressive person when speaking but I have truly found joy, solace and growth this year in sitting down and writing. And “The Brass Blossom” has been a platform for me to share all of that writing. Not only am I thankful for the blog as a platform but I am also so thankful to each and everyone of you that reads and supports our blog because it truly comes from a place of love and passion. #thebrassblossom

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13. realism. One personality trait that I truly appreciate in people is when they are realistic about life. My #brassblossom costar happens to be one of those people and having someone in my life that validates and appreciates my realist view keeps me feeling not so crazy at those crazy times. However even I will admit you need to keep it balanced with a bit of idealism so I also try to surround myself with those fanciful folks as well!

14. not having to date. I straight up would not be able to remotely consider dating in our current day. But really the idea of dating apps, swiping right and the whole shebang literally makes me sweat. So I am utterly thankful that I caught a pretty good one before that all took off. On other note props to everyone that navigates the world wide web of dating!

so thankful for this guy!

so thankful for this guy!

pretty much

pretty much

15. being thankful. Okay hopefully you don’t lose me on this one but I am thankful for having so many things, whether completely ridiculous or not, to be thankful about. From health to education to goats I am thankful. I am thankful that I am in a space in my life where I can be thankful for what I have and even for what I do not have.

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Happy Thanksgiving and I hope you all have a wonderful holiday full of many thanks and gratitude!

taylor brass

brass blossom

best of october – a new normal, seattle romps, idaho love forever, hearts & souls

The past six weeks have been a whirl wind. The last time I wrote a “love it” I literally couldn’t imagine what the upcoming weeks would have in store for me. I set off for Seattle at the end of September to begin a new chapter and my life pretty much turned upside down. Not necessarily upside down in a bad way but in a new normal way. Nothing was quite like I knew it.

But I have slowly started to settle into this new normal of city life, taking the bus, walking to the grocery store, finding “hikes” in random corners of the city, eating phenomenal food, having Skype sessions, requesting hundreds of selfies of Miss Maude Pod and the boy and my mom and the goats, and following my literal dreams. Although there are definitely the moments when I seriously question what the hell am I doing with my life and completely panic about everything, I am always brought back to the fact that I am living my dream in the program I am attending. I feel engaged, I feel motivated and I feel like for the first time in a while that I am going in a direction of purpose. So whenever I have those inevitable moments of serious self doubt I always remind myself of this quote:

“do not worry that your life is turning upside down. how do you know the side you are used to is better than the one to come?” – rumi

Cheers to a new side of life, wether up or down or all around, and what I have been loving during the crazy month of October! (PS I will now only be doing monthly “love its” like Krista as Grad School can be a bit intense at times…)

1. seattle romps. Thankfully my wonderful mom helped me drive to Seattle, unpack and get organized. We had a ridiculous amount of fun along the way and I am very thankful that she came along for the ride and adventures. And while she is a fabulous copilot, cart pusher and sherpa she is not the most fabulous canoe steerer. Thank you so much mom, I likely couldn’t survive without you. Here is a look at all the fun we had!

the prettiest flowers that i arrived to from my lovely roommate

the prettiest flowers that i arrived to from my lovely roommate

go ducks!

go ducks!

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no lifevest, no ability to steer, no problem

no lifevest, no ability to steer, no problem

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new turtle friends

new turtle friends

obviously we went under there

obviously we went under there

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we survived!

we survived!

using the cart escalator!

using the cart escalator!

2. new PNW adventures. Now let me tell you, I don’t think that I have ever been so busy in all of my life. Grad School is a completely different type of beast. But it’s been a good busy. One of the things I truly love about living in Seattle is there is so much going on day or night. So many new places to go to adventure, to eat, to drink and to see new things. I have tried to make the most of the time that I have had and get out to do as much as possible like ferry rides, new hikes, Mariners games, celebrating the ducks and the most fabulous weekend on the beach with my favorite most outlandish and loving friend Ali and her family. I am incredibly lucky that I already have a few great friends that live in Seattle that have welcomed me to the city with open arms and I have managed to make a few new friends along the way as well (who would have thought?? but actually making friends as an adult is hard people…).

ferry rides & morning light

ferry rides & morning light

new hikes! to poo-poo point...

new hikes! to poo-poo point…

idaho friends in seattle places

idaho friends in seattle places

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the most delicious happy hour

the most delicious happy hour

so much fun!

so much fun!

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i went for the fireworks

i went for the fireworks

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i caught a ball (obvi!)

i caught a ball (obvi!)

hike to rattlesnake ridge

hike to rattlesnake ridge

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the best friends <3

the best friends ❤

the prettiest bouq

the prettiest bouq

a trip to the seashore

a trip to the seashore

caught it with her bare hands

caught it with her bare hands

seashore selfies in the wind

seashore selfies in the wind

discovery point

discovery point

the best ladies

the best ladies

go ducks!

go ducks!

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loving the scenes out of boys in the boat

loving the scenes out of boys in the boat

3. i couldn’t stay away for long. And while my first couple of weeks in Seattle were great, I was ready to return home to everything that I love so much, the fresh air, the mountains, the familiarity, the friends, the Maude Pod, the boy and the family. So I ventured home over Halloween weekend and had truly the most incredible weekend. I only cried like four times but like three of those were just out of pure joy of being home and surrounded by so much good juju and love and Maude Pod kisses. On a side note flights are like super cheap right now if anyone is wanting to go somewhere or come visit me!

On my first day there the boy took the day off and we had a perfectly relaxing Idaho day obviously filled with a few adventures. After sleeping in and so many Maude Pod snuggles we ventured to Stanley for some time in the hot springs and a romp at Redfish Lake that was completely deserted. We played on the beach, on the dock and Maude played in the water and made a good attempt at burying her face in the sand like a crazy dog. It was literally a day that just cleared your mind and left you wanting more of that perfect Idaho solitude. It was one of those days that I wanted to bottle up to save forever. To bottle up that feeling of pure contentment, pure joy and pure nothingness on the mind. The rest of the weekend flew by with lots of amazing food, family dinners, hikes, working out like three times a day and a Halloween Party for the books. Until next time Idaho!

the most wonderful place in the world

the most wonderful place in the world

idaho love <3

idaho love ❤

i couldn't leave without a handstand

i couldn’t leave without a handstand

this lady completes my life

this lady completes my life

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running on water

running on water

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perfection

perfection

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well hello

well hello

i missed you too goats

i missed you too goats

my favorite co-pilot

my favorite co-pilot

afternoon adventures

afternoon adventures

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when you try to clean the car...

when you try to clean the car…

someone loves her goat herd

someone loves her goat herd

my favorite idaho ladies!

pug trumps flamingo (see what i did there…)

#thebrassblossom

#thebrassblossom

last morning walks

last morning walks

my love bugs

my love bugs

<3

4. home is where the heart is. Idaho will always be one of my true loves. Here are a few “pieces” of Idaho that I have been carrying around, sporting and dreaming under to keep my love for Idaho strong while living in the Seattle rain. Also on a somewhat related note, Krista and I decided that the shape of Idaho is pretty much the coolest state shape ever, right?!

the most amazing idaho necklace birthday present from the boy's parents

the most amazing idaho necklace birthday present from the boy’s parents

the cutest idaho shirt!

the cutest idaho shirt!

washington print by the lovely gina hagerty, idaho string art by me

washington print by the lovely gina hagerty, idaho string art by me

5. addicted to water. I am pretty much addicted to water and drink probably far more than anyone actually thinks is necessary in a day but it just makes me feel better. Another thing that I am addicted to is water bottles. And while I will forever have a favorite water bottle that is a sea green Nalgeen that happens to glow in the dark (the boy got it for me so that I could see it at night being legally blind = the sweetest gift ever), this S’well water bottle might go in for the tie. My mom (who is a fabulous gifter) got me this bottle for my birthday and I am in love with it. It might seem ridiculously pricey for a water bottle but I promise you can’t go wrong. Also since it’s almost that time of the year one of these bottles would make a great gift for that special someone in your life…

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6. a pug bush. What is a “pug bush” you might ask? A pug bush is what my mom and I created to honor our dear, sweet pugs. We had to say goodbye to our second pug during late summer and knew that we wanted to bury them together. If you have ever owned a pug or two or a grumble you will know that pugs love to be on top of you, on top of each other or on top of anything and everything while on top of each other. Pugs love to snuggle so we decided we had to bury our pugs together. And to honor them we bought a bush to bury them under. And not just any bush, we bought the shortest, fattest, most misshapen bush we could find that will apparently bloom bright, red flowers in the Spring and Summer. Thus the creation of a pug bush. Now if only the bush will survive until next Spring/Summer to see the flowers bloom if the goats don’t eat it all first…

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❤ a pug bush

7. broken record + quotes to live by. Other than thousands of pages of text books I haven’t had much time to read this past month but I have come across a few must read articles…I have said it before and I will say it again, I love Cheryl Strayed. So when I came across this LA Times article I knew that I had to share it. Strayed pretty much sums up everything and anything stating, “you have to be brave enough to break your own heart.” Aka even in those times that it really sucks and everything is really hard you have to be brave enough to do what is going to make you and your life better. The quote is from her new book of quotes, Brave Enough, which is a collection of her all time best quotes. Strayed has gotten me pretty far this year so I urge you all in those moments of self doubt or hating life or hating your current position in life to stalk Strayed, read her books or watch the beauty of one of her stories unfold. I promise you wont regret it. Plus she is now friends with Reese Witherspoon so she is clearly a genius.

Another must read I happened across was from the NY Times (clearly I’m currently all about the “Times”) when it was shared by a wise friend with an equally incredible soul on Facebook. The article is a very candid interview with Rihanna and other than the random notes about childbirth, it was truly a beautiful article that left me wanting more. It ends with this captivating idea:

“Souls are funny things. They stay constant even when the outside changes, or when the heart makes mistakes. Souls don’t really care about good or bad, right or wrong — they’re just true. Everlasting…A soul just knows a soul.”

taylor brass

brass blossom

weekend love it — savoring the sun

It has been a long, hard week, but it’s impossible to not feel like the luckiest girl in the world when you live in the most beautiful place in the world…and when you have the most supportive friends and family in the world.

Here’s what I’m loving this week:

1. Indian Sun Valley summer. My preparation for fall may have been a bit premature. It has been so crazy beautiful here lately. As a mountain biker said on a recent hike, “The sky here is always blue, but sometimes it is BLUE.” As in the most beautiful, pure, and potent blue you’ve ever seen. Pair that with gold speckled aspen trees, and you have a colliding horizon that makes even the simplest tasks take that much longer, because you want to take a picture of every view. Here are some photos of the lovely scenery:

new neighborhood hike

new neighborhood hike

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trail creek at work

dr. suess tree

dr. suess tree

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failed selfie on proctor with par par

failed selfie on proctor with par par

fun hike with aunt gina, uncle tom, and mom!

fun hike with aunt gina, uncle tom, and mom!

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2. LC’s wedding. I have always admired this lovely lady. Sure, reality TV is silly, but she has always struck me as someone who is composed, graceful, creative, and even genuine and modest. Her wedding, and her as a bride, from what I can tell from these photos was all of those things. I especially love this photo by Elizabeth Messina of Kiss the Groom (which is on my bookmarks bar, check it out for an onslaught of swoon-worthy photos) of their engagement.

Elizabeth Messina's photo

Elizabeth Messina’s photo

3. Gone Girl. This book was upsetting to me — it was great, thrilling, twisted, well-written, and I would recommend it, but it also infuriated me for the way it represented gender relations. The main characters, Nick and Amy, are equally horrible. You hate them both enough to agree that they deserve each other. I loved the movie — I thought it was perfectly cast — but both Taylor and I left feeling like something was slightly off. We didn’t hate Nick nearly as much as we hated Amy in the movie which wasn’t the case in the book. There are many more themes and undertones and a level of complexity in the book that were missing from the movie. This article puts it perfectly. Good find, Taylor. That being said, go see it. When has the movie ever been as good as the book?

4. Yoga pants.  Yes, I’m wearing some right now. The recent coverage of dress codes and their connection with slut-shaming has certainly caught my, and any self-respecting woman’s, attention. The fact that these girls are being forced to alter their behavior and compromise their comfort all because “the boys can’t help themselves” is a great example of a lot that’s wrong with society. Here’s a great article that says it better than I can. Also, this makes me laugh…and is also relevant to my point.

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5. Neighbors and baked goods. Moving into a new house brings a new awareness and investment in your new neighborhood. I’m having fun getting to know our neighbors and have been so pleasantly surprised by gestures like this one from our neighbors Liz and Josh. Cookies were inside of this tuperware, and they are insanely delicious. I also made some tasty treats this week, which I’ll post about soon.

thoughtful housewarming gift

thoughtful housewarming gift

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chase’s favorite fall recipe, pumpkin muffins. recipe coming soon!

Have a great week!

cheers krista

brass blossom

taylor’s big 2-5 — harvest inspired feast

the birthday girl!

the beautiful birthday girl!

In honor of my dear co-author’s quarter-century birthday, Rachel and I wanted to return the favor of a great dinner party in her honor. Honoring her favorite season and her vegetarianism, we set out to create a heart vegetarian feast, complete with pumpkins, vodka, and gold.

Here’s a look at the night!

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Though it was a small, all-girls gathering, we couldn’t not send a Paperless Post…We went for the ever classic black and gold template that added a little “hunter-gatherer” flair.

paperless post

paperless post

decor

It was perfect autumn weather for a cozy night. Here’s how we decorated:

  • Pumpkins and more pumpkins
  • Sunflowers and mums in mason jars, wrapped with raffia
  • Mason jar cocktail glasses with orange striped straws
  • Lots of candlelight — in our gold glitter mason jar votives, and with tall white column candles
  • A burlap, gold-painted table runner

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menu

I have to say, cooking a vegetarian meal is quite lovely and stress free — no incessant hand-washing, no fat trimming, no gross bloody packaging…That being said, I couldn’t help but slip some bacon in there! Rachel and I must have exchanged about a dozen emails plotting and plan this evening. Here’s what we decided on, and what our dear friends contributed:

  • A vanilla, pear, and vodka cocktail with a rosebud sugar rim — sweet, but very yummy!
  • Burrata (you can never go wrong with burrata) and an antipasto platter with salami, cheese, and olives
  • Homemade bruschetta from homegrown tomatoes from Sara’s garden
  • A whole roasted head of cauliflower — both cool to look at and totally delicious. The marinade was so good that I dipped celery sticks in it for the next couple days
  • An artichoke, green bean, squash, sunflower seed, roasted garlic, and quinoa salad — this provided a nice light balance to our meal, but we added some champagne vinegar to tarten it a bit
  • Brussels sprouts, Enoteca style — thinly shredded and sautéed with goat cheese and (bacon)
  • The main event, butternut squash soup — a delicious concoction that Rachel made from a fax recipe. That’s legit!
  • Mini mason jar pumpkin cheesecakes — also gluten free, the boy has devoured one of these every night for the last week (I made some extras)
delicious butternut squash soup by Rachel and a brilliant fax

delicious butternut squash soup by Rachel and a brilliant fax

a perfect plate!

a perfect plate!

harvest dinner

roasted cauliflower

roasted cauliflower

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vodka and burrata — what more do you need?

vodka and burrata — what more do you need?

mini pumpkin cheesecake (pre-baking)

mini pumpkin cheesecake (pre-baking)

Happy Birthday, Taylor! We love you so much, and we had so much fun celebrating your big birthday!

cheers krista

brass blossom