gratitude

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

weekend love it — saying goodbye, new beginnings & outdoor adventures

The past couple of weeks have been marked by tremendous changes. Like daily kinda have a panic attack and realize you need to breathe so you sit on the couch nursing a La Croix several times a day, tremendous, bittersweet, big, deep breaths in a paper-bag changes. And what could possible sway my ever cool, easy going self, without a touch of OCD and anxiety you might ask? I am officially leaving in less than a week for Graduate School.

That’s right. I am moving solo to Seattle to literally live my dream with the Grad School program that I am attending. I repeat that daily x 50 for a little verbal courage. Leaving Idaho, the boy, Miss Maude Pod, my family, my incredible group of friends and my #brassblossom boyfriend after this year may likely be the hardest thing I have ever done but deep down I know it’s right. I have wrestled back and forth with not going or delaying my start or simply becoming a professional hiker to avoid the real world, but alas I know that it is the right next step for for me . This year has been a hell of a year (and to be honest I am already welcoming 2016 with open arms) but it has also been a year that has taught me probably more than I ever really wanted to know.

So with that happy, sad, why the hell am I moving away from the great state of Idaho and sunshine news, here is what I have been adoring recently!

Disclaimer: There are a lot of emotions below…

1. new beginnings. The boy really boiled it down for me one day when I was sitting on the kitchen floor crying about saying “see you soon” to him and my little Miss Maude Pod when he said point blank that he was glad to see me crying because if I wasn’t crying it would mean I wasn’t going and that would mean I would be angry. Angry about giving up an incredible opportunity that I have worked so hard for and wanted so badly for so long. And while I occasionally question his tact, I never question is support. He is a wise boy. Buddha-like.

Even though I am having a difficult time practicing what I preach currently (aka crying hysterically on the kitchen floor…), the one concrete thing that this year has really taught me is that you have to live your own life, your own dreams and your own path. Earlier this year I was so paralyzed by fear that I felt I couldn’t personally function. And while I had a pretty legit reason, I have very slowly come to the realization that I need to live my own life, my own dreams and my own path in order to fully support anyone else. While the life and little family that the boy and I have made here is beyond incredible and will never be replaced, it’s not where I feel 100% complete. I have a burning desire to learn more, be more and accomplish more. So that is what I will be doing, even if it involves some more kitchen floor tears. So cheers to new beginnings and following your dreams!

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2. goodbye 25. Goodbye forever, 25. I just celebrated by 26th birthday and I am happily welcoming a new year of life and thinking 26 will be a dandy year. The only way I wanted to celebrate the day was with no stress. I just wanted it to be simple and happy and like every other normal day (as I am cherishing every second or normalcy right now). So that is just what it was. The boy and I enjoyed a super simple family dinner (plus goats) on Sunday and then I spent my entire birthday indulging in everything I love: sleeping in snuggling Maude pod, peanut butter toast + coffee, Crossfit, reading for several hours by the pool, cocktail hour at Sun Valley Pond and then a nice mellow night at home making dinner and watching the voice. #bestdayever.

best birthday cake ever from my always amazing mother

best birthday cake ever from my always amazing mother

when you go to crossfit and it's your birthday...

when you go to crossfit and it’s your birthday…

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3. stanley adventures. Last weekend I celebrated my birthday just a bit early with three of the most fabulous Idaho ladies around. I couldn’t have asked for better women to help me celebrate. Earlier this year (like in May) we committed a weekend in September to Meadow Creek Spa for their slack special as we had been talking about it for years. And it was absolutely perfect. We all enjoyed a treatment followed by some amazing hot-spring time and a rowdy night out on the town. Not surprisingly we spent the next day feeling not the greatest but that didn’t deter us from getting out and exploring in the Sawtooth’s at Alice Lake. A post to follow as it was definitely one of the best Idaho Adventures to date!

the view from meadowcreek spa

the view from meadow creek spa

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almost to alice lake...more on that to come

almost to alice lake…more on that to come

love these ladeis!

love these ladeis!

4. hiking all over wyoming. I have taken a few weeks off before starting back to the grind of school and earlier this month I went to visit family in Wyoming. It was the perfect week filled with sunshine, so many miles hiking and quality time with those I don’t get to see often enough. It was an ideal way to decompress after I quit working. Here is a look at my beautiful adventures (if I do say so myself) as well as a pretty strong reminder that Wyoming is also breathtakingly gorgeous…

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mountains for days

sacred rim in the wind river mountains

sacred rim in the wind river mountains

a hike without a yoga pose is not a real hike

a hike without a yoga pose is not a real hike

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quite possibly the prettiest lake ever

quite possibly the prettiest lake ever

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<3

practicing using the bear spray...

practicing using the bear spray…

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handstands…

bow posing...

bow posing…

bird of paradising

bird of paradising

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5. sway steals. And now for some materialism since I appreciate a good shopping find as much as all this lovey-dovey talk. I bought these jeans Labor Day Weekend at SWAY and am literally in love. I was initially in love when I saw they were only $50 (cheers to Labor Day Sales!) and now I’m in love because they fit amazingly and are so soft and comfortable. Plus it’s super hard to find a cute pair of lighter jeans without looking like you have thunder thighs. As someone who is a die-hard yoga pant/legging wearing person, these jeans come close to that feeling you get wearing a nice pair of lulus…

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6. 1989 (aka best year EVER). 1989 happens to be the year both your #thebrassblossom beauties were born. It also happens to be the year Taylor Swift was born. And this remake pretty much sums up how incredible we all are! #poweryear.

7. happy birthday, cheryl strayed. Even though she wasn’t born in 1989, Cheryl Strayed is still one incredible woman who also just recently celebrated her birthday. Strayed’s work has really touched super close to home this year for me and her words, lessons and wisdom are truly transfixing. So in honor of her birthday, 15 of her greatest quotes were gathered together here. And here is one quote that is really speaking to me now:

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8. moments of gratitude. Maybe it’s because I’m ridiculously nostalgic right now and cherishing every moment of Idaho, family, friends, the boy and Maude Pod snuggles but I am continuously overwhelmed with moments of complete gratitude. Before this year I can’t really ever recall having moments when everything seems to slow and I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the simplest things. Gratitude for just those little moments where you feel complete and like you have all these little happy minions dancing inside of you regardless of whatever is a shit show in your life that day. My one goal going into this new year is to try to continue to recognize those moments and not let the hustle and bustle of life overcome those moments of perfect, little infinity.

love these two <3

love these two ❤

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Cheers to an amazing week and new beginnings! Until next time in Seattle…

taylor brass

brass blossom

okinawa islands, japan – the edge of the world

When my aunt invited me to tag along to Japan (specifically to the Okinawa Islands) with her and my cousin about four weeks before the departure date my first thought was, “there is absolutely no way I can make that work.” But after looking at a few flights and day dreaming of being transported to spectacular beaches at the other side of the world I just decided to make it work. Literally the only thing stopping me from going was myself.

And after the beginning of this year I decided a little break wouldn’t be half bad for me. I will probably never be one of those carefree people that throws everything to the wind and just goes with life. I like to plan. I like to plan the future. Or plan it as much as possible that is. I’ve also concluded that it’s okay to be a bit of a crazy, OCD, planner. It’s okay to like (slash love) to plan and have somewhat of an f-ing idea of what I want to happen. It’s okay as long as I’m open to the flexibility of those plans changing.

So in the end I decided I was just going to Japan, if not only for a bit of a brain break from my life, but also to just try to be present. So that is what I did. I went to Japan and attempted to let go. To let go of all of the planning, to let go of living in the future, to let go of living in the past and to let go of all the anger that I feel towards the world for the cruelty that happens everyday.

And when it was all said and done I would say I did a pretty good job. I wasn’t always present or not crazy with anger but I was there. And I tried to live every moment for just being there and being grateful for a new place, a new culture and a new point in life (literally and emotionally).

So here is a look at our INCREDIBLE trip (without any more self realization talk)!

off to japan!

off to japan!

the people. I cannot think of two better travel companions to go to the edge of the world with than my aunt, Heidi, and cousin, Kailey. Kailey was slowly making her way back to the states after being overseas for 9 months. She is now a PADI dive master after mastering all that diving business under the water in Thailand. She also has a tan that most would kill for. Can we all say jealous? And my aunt. She has always been there for me but in the past months has been one of those people that I know I can rely on. She is like a whirling combination of caring, empathy, reasonable and humorous that never stops moving forward. Both also happen to be great travelers.

Another wonderful part of these two ladies are the laughs. There were so many laughs and fits of hysteria had by all of us during our trip. A laugh a day definitely keeps the doctor away.

heidi & i surrounded by the clearest, turquoise water i have ever seen

heidi & i surrounded by the clearest, turquoise water i have ever seen

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refreshing afternoon drinks in taketomi

refreshing afternoon drinks in taketomi (we were asked to take a picture with a lovely japanese lady, who sat smack dab in the middle of us, shortly after….)

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trucker hats have infiltrated the furthest reach of the world

trucker hats have infiltrated the furthest reaches of the world

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please take note of my whiteness in comparison to the best tan i have ever seen

love these ladies

love these ladies

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idaho friends in japan (obviously)

idaho friends in japan (obviously)

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the hottub that was never hot...

the hottub that was never hot…

 

9 months of luggage

9 months of luggage

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the places. Japan. Japan is a new world. I have traveled through Europe and the Americas but Asia, never Asia. I flew from Sun Valley to Los Angeles to Tokyo to Okinawa. I was extremely surprised by the number of Americans on my flight to and from Okinawa (there is a ginormous base on the northern part of the island). Heidi and Kailey arrived a bit after I did and we made our way by bus a bit north on Okinawa to the Western side of the islands. We were tempted by a magnificent hotel and white sand beach.

But after arriving we realized that this hotel was not quite our dream. It was a very large hotel and very infiltrated with knick-knacks and large crowds. It was an adventurous night and we decided to book tickets to Ishigaki the following day. Ishigaki is a part of a smaller set of islands about an hour flight south-west from Okinawa. Rumor has it you can see parts of Taiwan from the islands. While in Ishigaki we stayed at the most magnificent place (after a bit of a miss booking when we booked a hotel in the middle of nowhere with a view of an alley). Side note: booking hotels is hard in Japan. Websites will say every single last room is booked when it looks like no one is at the hotel. Either everyone rolls in on a tour bus later in the evening (which is entirely possible) or the rooms are held by Japanese websites. A little planning of where you want to stay is reasonable if you are considering going to the Okinawa Islands.

Ishigaki and the surrounding islands literally felt like the edge of the world. We rented bikes that were a bit used (to say the least) and explored Ishigaki port one day. We also scooted over to Taketomi by ferry and explored for the day by bike. Taketomi was by far my favorite place of the trip. It has a village with about 300 inhabitants. The roads of made of crushed coral and wide enough for a water-buffalo cart. The island has spectacular turquoise water, white sand beaches with star sand and apparently hundreds of deadly spiders and snakes, none of which we encountered thanks to some lucky stars. If you ever find yourself on Okinawa you must go to Ishigaki and Taketomi. You will not regret it.

And our last night we stayed back on Okinawa by the airport and went out with some Idaho friends. We had a great dinner followed by karaoke singing in a closed bar, with Mana-sans and Tokito, that our Idaho friends had been to before. We were given copious amounts of chips, strawberries and tomatoes, chocolate and sake. If that’s not a great way to end an incredible vacation then I don’t know what is.

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beach for days

beach for days

star stand from taketomi (we had high hopes of collecting our own sand until we saw a nice man with some for sale!)

star stand from taketomi (we had high hopes of collecting our own sand until we saw a nice man with some for sale!)

the cutest little bar/drink shack in taketomi village

the cutest little bar/drink shack in taketomi village

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bike parking

bike parking

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the hotel in ishigaki (it may or may not have been owned by the japanese mafia)

the hotel in ishigaki (it may or may not have been owned by the japanese mafia)

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exploring at low tide

exploring at low tide

we were kindly given slippers upon entering our room

we were kindly given slippers upon entering our room

shoes off, slippers on = very japanese of us

shoes off, slippers on = very japanese of us

ishigaki street market

ishigaki street market

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chairs wear socks in japan

chairs wear socks in japan

the world peace bell in ishigaki for a non-nuclear world

the world peace bell in ishigaki for a non-nuclear world

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our handy companion bikes

our handy companion bikes

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mongrove forests

mangrove forests

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the edge of the world

the edge of the world

 

the new friends. We made a ton of new friends in Japan. Upon arriving on Ishigaki there was significantly less English spoken. But we got by quite fine. Most people tended to look at us like we were possibly the three craziest, whitest ladies that they had ever seen and I think most questioned how we had gotten so far without a lick of Japanese or a clue of what we were doing. But we didn’t let that stop us.

We quickly realized that the Japanese are very reserved and quiet. We were likely neither. There were very few public displays of emotion that we encountered. But after starting to say “hi” to locals that we passed on our bikes most of the locals would literally light up and give us the most genuine and beautiful smiles. Interacting with little to no verbal communication was literally one of my favorite parts of the day. Imagine the hotel clerk who also cleaned the windows and the pool, gardened and bartended, depicting a water buffalo with his hands and head after we told him we were going to Taketomi. How can that not be a highlight of your day?

Here are the many friends we made along the way!

a horse with an afro at the edge of the world

a horse with an afro at the edge of the world

 

water buffalo are friends too

water buffalo are friends too

 

water buffalo are friends, not food

water buffalo are friends, not food

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i asked in english if i could ride with him, he didn't respond so i gestured and everyone laughed (how all communication went in japan)

i asked in english if i could ride with him, he didn’t respond so i gestured and everyone laughed (story of how all communication went in japan)]

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goat friends!

goat friends!

 

dive master friends who happened to be sitting at our table at dinner

dive master friends who happened to be sitting at our table at dinner

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dogs that sit at the entrance of most buildings as protection

dogs that sit at the entrance of most buildings as protection

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hermit crabs are friends too

hermit crabs are friends too

tony noodle taking a peak

tony noodle taking a peak…

tony noodle how apparently is a japanese comedian who worked on a spanish fishing boat and was in lonely planet...

tony noodle who apparently is a japanese comedian who worked on a spanish fishing boat and was in lonely planet…

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idaho friends

idaho friends

the food. I am self admittedly a picky eater. The boy tells me frequently I’m picky and I prefer to respond that I just know what I like. Which I do. I like fresh fruits, vegetables, some grains, beans, tea and coffee, lots of coffee. It’s not a bad diet but definitely not the Japanese diet. For someone that hasn’t eaten meat (or fish) for over 12 years, everything tasted a bit fishy in Japan. But I just went with it and tried to be as accommodating as possible of my crazy, freak eating habits.

Japan has quite possibly the most beautiful fruits and vegetables you will ever see. The Okinawa Islands are famous for having the longest living inhabitants. This fact is quite understandable as they just eat the most amazing fresh produce, fish, sweet potatoes, seaweed and a bit of rice. That right there is the diet of champions. We visited several markets on the islands and each time were met by beautiful, clean and clearly not GMO/hormone/antibiotic ridden fresh fruits and vegetables. Most even had baked sweet potatoes for a to-go snack. (Side note: it was clearly not a social custom to munch on the sweet potato as you shop and then pay for it…). However, like the rest of the world Japan has a TON of pre-packaged food. Almost to a point of insane consumerism. We chose to focus on the fresh food instead and feasted like champions…

breakfast of champions with the most incredible view

breakfast of champions with the most incredible view

the only food to be found at 'family mart' that wasn't pre-packaged were giant, crunchy carrots

the only food to be found at ‘family mart’ that wasn’t pre-packaged were giant, crunchy carrots

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the most amazing ginger-ale

the most amazing ginger-ale

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starbucks is everywhere

starbucks is everywhere

you hand the barista a "soy" card in japan for your drink

you hand the barista a “soy” card in japan for your drink

coffee machine?

coffee machine that was literally on every corner next to a beer machine

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never enough coffee

never enough coffee

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a feast we prepared

a feast we prepared

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broke out the translator for our last night in okinawa

broke out the translator for our last night in okinawa

the best beer ever from our hotel clerk friend

the best beer ever from our hotel clerk friend

the handstands. So many handstands were had. Kailey has a bit of an inversion to being inverted (understandable). She is more of an underwater hand-stander. So Heidi and I did handstands all over Japan. I’m certain the locals thought we were insane. But it provided a great new perspective and a bit of fun to be had literally everywhere we went. We are now both on a mission to master the handstand.

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handstand succession fail to follow....

handstand succession fail to follow….

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If you happen to ever venture the world of Okinawa, Japan please feel free to contact me! Also huge thanks and enormous gratitude to my aunt and cousin for letting me tag along to the edge of the world. I can’t think of anyone else I would have rather shared the time, laughs, sore butts and adventures with. Love you both!

And I will leave you with some wise words from Tony Noodle:

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taylor brass

brass blossom

weekend love it – globe trotting & gratitude

I have super exciting news. Like take a seat news. I am off to Okinawa, Japan. Yay!! I slightly hinted about my upcoming travels in my last weekend love it (because I just couldn’t resist) and have pretty much been thinking and talking about Japan since I booked my ticket.

Spontaneous would likely never be a word anyone would use to describe me. But when my aunt invited me to tag along to Okinawa with her and my cousin I just couldn’t say no. One thing that I have come to terms with this year (and not willingly) is that life keeps keeping on regardless of if you are on board. Four months ago I imagined I would be prepping binders and color-coded folders for grad school and not jet setting off to Japan for the vacation of a lifetime. But life happens. I don’t know if I will ever go as far to say I’m blessed to have experienced what has happened thus far in 2015 but I will say that I am gracious. I am gracious for my current status, mindset, physical location and supposed projected course in life.

So with that exciting news out of the bag, here is what I have been loving!

1. globe trotting – okinawa, japan. Japan has not once ever been a destination that I have thought about going to. But after doing a bit of research, I literally cannot wait to touch down in Okinawa. Something else that I am looking forward to is just checking out and enjoying what our travels have to offer. I have downloaded several books, packed my bag and am just along for the ride at this point. Plus sitting on a beach with incredible company and a view that is worthy of a postcard won’t be half bad either.

A post-travel blog post will definitely be in order!

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2. yoga girl. One of my good friends who is not only brilliant but also beautiful on the inside and outside recommended that I read (and stalk) Yoga Girl by Rachel Brathen after reading my last post. This friend has also been dealt her fair share of “wtf life” and come out on the other side with such an amazing soul and outlook on life (and she isn’t just all rainbows and sunshine either, which I just so appreciate, she is real life). So when she recommended this book and that I checkout Rachel Brathen on Instagram, I knew it had to be good. Maybe it’s the yoga and all the gratitude speaking but it felt like one of those signs from the universe pointing me to exactly what I needed.

So after a probably not so healthy stalking of Yoga Girl’s Instagram I ordered her book. I have thus far loved following Rachel Brathen on Instagram and reading her blog and cannot wait to dive into her book on the plane. Go follow her on Instagram (if not only for some amazing pictures) for some self love and restoration because everyone needs it at one time or another.

yoga girl by rachel braken

yoga girl by rachel brathen + white vacation nails

3. bikini. Growing up swimming competitively I have a true appreciation for swimsuits. I searched for the perfect bikini for my travels and at the last minute came across this beautyI had never heard of Khongboon Swimwear before and discovered them on Instagram (by far my favorite form of social media). I was immediately smitten by the style of their suits and the fun patterns. Think Mikoh bikinis + amazing patterns at half the price.

Unfortunately the bikini I ordered didn’t arrive in time for my trip, but a trip to Japan can simply not be ruined by a bikini. And perhaps it was for the best though as I was e-mailed just after my order shipped that the bikinis run about 1/3 size small. An exchange may be in order but I plan to wear this suit (if all goes swimmingly – pun intended!) at the pool and lake this summer.

khongboon swimwear - nerja bikini

khongboon swimwear – nerja bikini

4. four five seconds. I cannot tell you why I really like this song. I cannot even tell if I’m even embarrassed that I listen to it on repeat and don’t even know what the song means. It’s just one of those songs that resonates with me and makes me car dance and sing in a way that I should be embarrassed about. Cheers to having a guilty pleasure every once in a while.

Also I’m still confused about what part Paul McCartney plays in the song…

5. balayage. As a natural brunette I have never felt that there is much I could do with my hair without losing it’s natural color. That is until I heard about balayage. Balayage just confirms that blondes aren’t the only ones that can have fun. So I decided to drink the cool-aid and got the most fantastic, hand-painted color in my hair last week by Danielle at Vertu. For anyone looking for a little change without huge commitment I highly recommend balayage!

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waiting in the chair

balayage

balayage

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so many hair pictures

6. spring time sunny hikes. Most people love Sun Valley, Idaho for the winters. There are literally so many snow-filled activities. But I just love the summers. I would love Sun Valley summer all year long and I understand this probably offends many. One of my favorite parts about Summer is hiking. A dirt trail to somewhere breathtaking (since mostely everywhere in Idaho is breathtaking), some people or dog company and the tranquillity that comes with immersing yourself into full on wilderness (ish) is something that is difficult to beat.

I have enjoyed several hikes recently but perhaps my favorite was one that took us off trail in the general direction that we wanted to go with spectacular views of Baldy. When he summited (makes me feel like a badass to say that) we took a hot second to enjoy the view and snap a few pictures. Channeling my inner yoga girl I decided yoga on a mountain was necessary and took a hand stand. Obviously it went on Instagram and then it was miraculously retweeted by Visit Sun Valley. Cue fifteen minutes of fame.

hiking up the backside of taylor canyon

hiking up the backside of taylor canyon

maude pod posing like a good girl

maude pod posing like a good girl

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love these ladies!

love these ladies!

yoga on a mountain

yoga on a mountain

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my fifteen minutes of instagram fame

pugger walks

pugger walks

proof my pug can actually walk by herself

proof my pug can actually walk by herself

love bugs

love bugs

I am off to enjoy my travels now but I wish you all a wonderful weekend and week!

taylor brass

brass blossom