hiking

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

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

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

Here is what I adored this April!

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

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

we found a "maude" bench!

we found a “maude” bench!

mornings with bae

mornings with bae

first time beach explorations!

first time beach explorations!

proof casey also came...

proof the boy also came…

my baby forever

my baby forever

IMG_6007

love bugs <3

love bugs ❤

pretty much our life motto

pretty much our life motto

potato tacos!

potato tacos!

IMG_6093

sunset drinks with these two cuties

sunset drinks with these two cuties

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

when you cant pick just one, or two…

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

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

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

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

IMG_5809

IMG_5810

IMG_5811

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

IMG_7729

perfectly gold and simple

perfectly gold and simple

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

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

mt rainier looming from the top of the peak

mt rainier looming from the top of the peak

IMG_5470

IMG_5479

IMG_5496

tulips <3

tulips ❤

love the rogue tulip

love the rogue tulip

IMG_5678

IMG_5605

the gorgeous lake 22!

the gorgeous lake 22!

it wouldn't be an adventure without a handstand

it wouldn’t be an adventure without a handstand

IMG_6399

portland brunch (so nom)

portland brunch (so nom)

IMG_6173

IMG_6248

IMG_6256

love these ladies!

love these ladies!

our evening spread

our evening spread

and of course cupcakes to top the night off!

and of course cupcakes to top the night off!

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

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

himalayan crystal salt lamp

himalayan crystal salt lamp

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

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

enhanced-19105-1439226601-1

Cheers to (almost) summer and continued sunshine!

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!

IMG_7331

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…

IMG_6509

IMG_6554

IMG_6616

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

IMG_6060

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…

IMG_1795

IMG_1804

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

IMG_5559

quite possibly the prettiest lake ever

quite possibly the prettiest lake ever

IMG_1855

<3

practicing using the bear spray...

practicing using the bear spray…

IMG_5771

IMG_5903

handstands…

bow posing...

bow posing…

bird of paradising

bird of paradising

IMG_5975

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…

400003472_harriet_destructed_l

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:

a89658b3a8a660eb7d0ea5d946039d17

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 ❤

IMG_6418

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

taylor brass

brass blossom

best of the valley — brass blossom edition

Every year the Wood River Valley votes on the best of — the best food, the best drinks, the best place to gather or hike, the list goes on and on. So we figured just as ‘Best of 2015’ is hitting print we would come out with our own best of the valley with a Brass Blossom twist.

Here is our 20-something, female-influenced best of the valley! 

DINING

 

 

best taco — KBs

  • famous for their fish tacos, KBs is a Ketchum (and Hailey) staple – the staff is super friendly, the food is fresh, and you can always go for a burrito in a bowl or make your own burrito bowl (add everything minus the meat) which is what taylor always goes for as a healthier option.

kb-s

best pizza — ENOTECA or WISEGUY

  • go for Enoteca for a more specialty gourmet take on pizza — insanely delicious!
  • wiseguy is your go-to for take-out, delivery, or a quick slice with friends (they also have gluten-free crust!).

IMG_1463

IMG_1478

best burger — POWERHOUSE

  • we often complain that Powerhouse isn’t in Ketchum…the food is fresh, homemade, and inventive, and the price point is manageable.
  • krista loves the classic burger, the chili and the fries, while taylor opts for the oat burger tacos with a large side of truffle fries or two

a slightly intimidating door

best cup of coffee — VELOCIO

  • the baristas at Velocio are geniuses — you can’t find better espresso or foam designs anywhere else in Ketchum! taylor’s favorite is their chai latte’s minus the cinnamon
  • Velocio is also a favorite spot for some studying, work, or blogging — the ambiance is awesome with the big garage door, Baldy views, and contemporary but warm feel.

IMG_8465

 

best locally-sourced dinner — CK’s REAL FOOD

  • everything at CK’s seems to melt in your mouth…in the best way possible. their ingredients are as locally sourced as possible and farm fresh daily.
  • try the gaucho steak as a great go-to. their gluten free bread is also insane…

cksrealfood6898958956564

best “mom-friendly” brunch — CRISTINA’S

  • Krista worked at Cristina’s for 7 years as a hostess, waitress, and “counter girl,” which would be enough to put anyone off of the food of any restaurant for life…not in the case of Cristina’s — the food is just that good. Cristina is a famous cookbook author, chef to the celebs, and quintessential Italian, and her charming salmon colored house is the place of culinary dreams come true…
  • try the chicken milanese sandwich, the San Francisco airport salad, the burrata caprese, or the super thin crust pizzas…YUM! sunday brunch brings lots of delicious sweet breads and weekly specials.

IMG_1444

best “last night was aggressive” brunch — THE KNEADERY

  • at that moment when you realize, “ugh, I went to the casino last night,” you immediately think of breakfast at the Kneadery. the Kneadery is owned by the same family as The Pioneer, and it shows — it is a well oiled machine, which is great when all you need is coffee, water, sprite with a straw, and corned beef hash in your belly asap…

IMG_1472

best sandwich — BIGWOOD BREAD

  • Bigwood Bread is taking over…in the best sense possible. they have two café locations and ship their delicious breads all over the state of Idaho.
  • krista’s favorite is the Cilantro Lime Salad…if gluten was a better friend, it would be a Reuben every time…Taylor opts for the Baldy Power Bowl every time.

IMG_1449

best bar — THE CELLAR PUB

  • this is the true local watering hole. whether your in the mood for a cold Budweiser or feeling a little classier and hankering for a martini or greyhound, the super freindly and funny staff at The Cellar will take care of you
  • they also serve food later than others in town — up until a shocking 9:30 p.m. the Ahi Tuna Salad features the same sushi grade ahi that the owners provide to their other restaurant, Sushi on Second. Taylor loves the Vegetarian Burger as the non-meat options are slim pickings…

IMG_1477

IMG_1476

best wine selection — WINE COMPANY

  • if you’re going for class and want a classy bottle of wine, the Wine Co. is your best friend — sample some for yourself and treat yourself to a delicious antipasto platter. they have a great deck in the Summer or a warm and sunny Winter day and a cozy fireside in the Winter.

IMG_1454

best beer — LEFTY’S

  • when we first moved back here, the boys could be found at Lefty’s essentially every night. they have the tall glass “big beers,” and you know you’re a local when you get your own Lefty’s mug that hangs on a hook form the ceiling.
  • they serve a variety of beers on tap, ciders (Stella’s new cider is a great, gluten-free Summer option), and Omission (the best Gluten Free beer), and check out their monkeys and wings for a great “pairing.”

best cocktail — THE CORNERSTONE 

  • the Cornerstone is where you go for a cocktail that doubles as a work of art…they use inventive ingredients, and the result is always delicious. Cornerstone is the home of the ginger margarita and the best dirty martini in town…

IMG_1468

best caterer — THE HAVEN

  • we clearly love The Haven. my god is it delicious! Kellee will elevate any gathering your have with her homey, delicious catering. during a crazy Christmas season last year, Krista’s family enjoyed mac-n-cheese, winter salad with kale, spinach, brussels, squash, goat cheese, and nuts, pigs in a blanket, chicken, the list goes on…you can’t go wrong with some snack from The Haven!

IMG_1489

best date night — ENOTECA

  • we cannot get enough of Enoteca. it’s always packed, so make a reservation, or try your luck at snagging a couple spots at the bar. the ambiance is amazing — compliments of Jennifer Hoey design and our very own Abbey, and the price point is perfect for a cozy yet affordable date night.
  • definitely taste the burrata, the brussels, the duck confit, the mac-n-cheese if you’re pants are feeling loose and any of the pizzas. for dessert, we recommend the affogato. also, we can’t forget about the wine…their friendly and knowledgable staff will help you make the best choice for your dinner and also taste anything you’d like. and top it off with one of their incredible espressos for post-dinner.

Day18DinnerAtEnoteca-1024x768

best slack special — RICO’S AUTHENTIC ITALIAN

  • you may have to ask for the menu and details…but Rico’s has the best slack special in town with a glass of wine or beer, a small salad or cup of soup, and a lasagna, spaghetti, or individual two-topping pizza for just $10. you can’t beat that! definitely the best place for a last minute book club sesh.

IMG_1466

best sushi — ZOU 75

  • you may not think that sushi and a landlocked state would go well together…but in all honesty, Zou 75 has the best sushi we’ve ever tasted, anywhere.
  • try the South Valley roll, “D” style (after our friend Derek, their incredible and inventive executive chef), the tiger rolls, the beef tetaki, and an all-time favorite, the tuna tartar.

best affordable ethnic food — RICKSHAW

  • Rickshaw is best enjoyed family style, and they serve a delicious lunch on Fridays as well. go for the house red for a solid, affordable pour, and order away — you can’t go wrong!
  • we especially love the bok choy, papaya salad, green curry chicken, dan dan noodles, and …everything else!

Rickshaw-Exterior

best not-so affordable ethnic food — GLOBUS

  • globes offers fantastic asian food in a sophisticated setting. their pad thai and curry dish are classics, the brussels are way too good to be true, and their gluten free calamari is soooo yummy. taylor gets the green thai curry every time despite being slightly allergic to eggplant (a non-substitutable ingredient). it’s that good. this is a great place for family style as well, as there are plenty of small plates to share.

IMG_1484

best “i’m 20-something & semi-broke” dinner — PIONEER

  • the saying is that “if you haven’t been to the Pioneer, then you haven’t been to Ketchum.” we’ll back this up. not only is it a Ketchum establishment, it is an ever-popular and truly delicious steakhouse. the best deal in town is likely the Jim Spud — a fully loaded baked potato with pieces of sirloin inside of it…it’s also about the size of your face.
  • their salads are fresh and satisfying, the artichokes are always tender, and we’re still trying to figure out how to replicate that rice recipe. and don’t forget to try a bar marg (which you apparently get a free one with a Magic Lantern Movie Ticket?), and always go for the baked potato! keep an eye out for great discounts like Pio Days and locals specials during slack. it’s always worth the wait!

IMG_1459

best “i need something green after a weekend binge” — GLOW or NOURISHME

  • we live in a very health-conscious community, and Glow and NourishMe is where the true health freaks flock. while both offer great natural products and vegan fare, we love them for their juices and smoothies.
  • NourishMe also carries fresh fava beans, which are Taylor’s go to protein source at the moment.
  • Krista loves the veggie toast from Glow as a great lunch go-to.

IMG_1469

IMG_1487

best “i have to hurry back to work lunch but don’t want something processed or fried” — THE HAVEN FOOD TRUCK

  • if you’re looking for a healthy but filling (and crazy delicious!) lunch, head to the Haven food truck at lunch hour. their falafel is to die for (taylor once ate it for a week straight), and their daily specials keep you interested and constantly coming back for more!

SHOPPING

 

 

best fly-fishing shop — LOST RIVER OUTFITTERS

  • both of the boys are former (slash somewhat current) employees at Lost River Outfitters. this shop is a truly local enterprise that offers great inventory and great fly-fishing trips.

IMG_1458

best “i need a gift” shop —  KETCHUM FLOWER COMPANY or THE GARDENS

  • Ketchum Flower Company never disappoints. you can always go in to find a little or big gift for someone. they have great little books, candles, flip flops, bags, jewelry and clothing galore. plus they are located in the most adorable, shuttered, colonial “house”.
  • The Gardens is a (somewhat) newer establishment to Ketchum but just so happens to be fantastic. whether you are looking for a “garden” type gift or a gift for a mother, this is the place to go. and not to mention everything smells delicious in there!

IMG_1450

IMG_1456

best place to buy a present for yourself (affordable) — GIRL FRIDAY

  • not only is it the best place to buy a gift for someone else, but Ketchum Flower Company/Girl Friday is the best place to buy an affordable gift for yourself! we have both gotten several clothing items and Taylor recently scored an amazing sale deal on a dress she had been eyeing for months.

IMG_1450

best place to buy a present for yourself (may break the bank) —  SWAY

  • we love Sway and will likely always love Sway despite their price point, which seems to be gradually rising. when it first opened down the block by Velocio we both scored several closet staples…summer dresses, wedding-guest dresses, lace bralets, leather pants, jewelry.

IMG_1446

best place to buy something a little special for that someone —  MADELINE & OLIVER

  • whether it is a little something, something (aka lingerie) for yourself or your special someone or a gift for a bridal shower, this is the place to go. it is like lace heaven…

IMG_1480

best place to buy workout gear —  SQN

  • SQN is definitely hitting higher on everyone’s radars recently and for good reason. they make fairly affordable, workout gear that easily transitions to the Ketchum dress-code of “lifestyle wear.” there “tunic” style shirts and long sleeve shirts are incredibly soft and easy to solely live in.

IMG_1442

best home décor store —  HUCK & PADDLE

  • rustic, Idaho, outdoorsy yet still classy home decor. need we say more?

IMG_1474

best “lust-over” home décor store —  PICKET FENCE

  • and while we want one of everything, our pocket books need to be just a bit deeper for The Picket Fence. but it is still very worthy of some lusting and a splurge every now and then!

IMG_1481

best paper store —  WILLOW PAPERY

  • Willow Papery is paper, ribbon and little gift heaven. we both absolutely adore this store and usually frequent it weekly.

IMG_1453

best locally made product —  SUN VALLEY MUSTARD

  • mustard is where it is at. and Sun Valley Mustard never disappoints. the flavors are spot on and it’s perfect to keep in your cupboard for so many occasions.

8476800868_2445ae4431

best grocery store —  ATKINSONS’

  • while a majority of our paychecks goes to this fine establishment we really cannot complain. we have one of the finest grocery stores in probably the world and you can literally buy anything and everything you could ever want in one stop. also true to their family values, they have an incredible return policy.

IMG_1451

best local company —  FIRST LITE

  • we debatably lead quite similar lives as the boys now both work at First Lite, after Cha-se recently joined the man crew there. this company is truly outstanding. their product, their service, their dog policy and the way they take care of their employees (and pseudo-families) is something that every company should strive for. we can’t say enough good things about First Lite. also you will likely see us both sporting some new women’s gear!

IMG_1492

BUSINESSES

 

 

best place to wash your dog —  THE LAUNDROMUTT

  • no one likes a dirty dog and they make the deed so much easier (aka no bathtub, mixing bowls and water all over your house involved).

best veterinary clinic —  SUN VALLEY ANIMAL CENTER

  • another fine family establishment in the Wood River Valley. we cannot give high enough praise to the Sun Valley Animal Center and all of their veterinarians and vet techs. they are like a family and help you through the best and worst of times.
  • plus our lovely friend maggie happens to be a badass vet there!

SVAC-logo

best manicure/pedicure —  IN-N-OUT SALON

  •  there are some things in life that just make you feel better. having your nails done is one of them. they will do a fabulous job and you wont regret it. there are just somethings worth it in life and this salon is one of them.

best place for a facial or massageZENERGY SPA

  • this picture says it all…

Zenergy-Spa-hi-res-TIFF-0050

best haircut/highlights — JOANN AT THIRD FLOOR SALON OR DANIELLE AT MANE MUSE

  • both of these salons and both of these women are geniuses. neither of us are super fussy about our hair and they manage to wrangle our manes for perfect, everyday hair. and this gives an option in Ketchum & Hailey!

best place to go bare —  BARE WAXING BOUTIQUE

  • when it comes to hot wax near precious (or not so precious) patches of hair, you want someone you trust. and lea is your woman for hot wax without regrets.
  • she just had the most adorable baby but will be back in September and I know we speak for most when we say she cant come back soon enough!

url

best nonprofit —  THE ADVOCATES

  • the Advocates mission is to build a community that is free of emotional and physical violence. the organization, the support and annual gala are equally as strong as the mission.

logo_Advocates

best place to stock up on crafting materials —  JANE’S and KING’S

  • while we don’t have a “Michael’s” (probably for the best as it would eat us alive), Jane’s and King’s provide pretty much anything you could ever need for crafting! taylor has also pretty much bought out their supply of chalkboard pens. they are game changers!

Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 9.52.06 AM

map-locations

best photographer —  RAY GADD

  • ray’s images below speak for themselves. he is an extraordinary lifestyle, outdoors, event and wedding photographer. there is nothing that this man cannot capture!

404984_10151215256986380_1679304108_n

best pharmacy —  THE APOTHECARY

  • the ladies (and gentlemen) at the Apothecary will take care of you like you are their own family. this is the place to fill any and every prescription!

IMG_1483

best place to get a deal —  SUN VALLEY REAL DEALS

  • Sun Valley Real Deals is our Idaho version of “Groupon.” it’s fabulous and sends you frequent e-mails with local deals! a must sign up!

svrd_logo_rgb_0

best blog —  the BRASS BLOSSOM…duh

  • obvi! need we say more?

TBB_icons-04

ENTERTAINMENT

 

 

best annual eventWINE AUCTION, VINE AND DINE

  • you pay your entrance to wine and food heaven. about $100 gets you a glass, unlimited pours and a good wine hangover if you so choose. it’s also the Sun Valley Center for the Arts, another incredibly, local organization. Idaho always needs a bit more art and culture…

WA-Picnic-Tasting-2013_116-960x200

best live musicSUN VALLEY SUMMER SYMPHONY

  • the Symphony is brilliant because it lasts most of the summer and is literally whatever you want to make it. you can simply bring a blanket and go horizontal and zone or you can make it into a picnic, extravaganza. the choice is yours but the music, the atmosphere and the views are always spectacular.

Photo

best idaho musicRECKLESS KELLY and MICKY & THE MOTORCARS

  • clearly we love Idaho boys (they technically claim Texas but that’s just absurd)…look them up, become a fangirl (or fanboy), stare at them absurdly in local bars. do it.

recklesskelly

MMC_newband1

best aprés ski/any sun valley approved activity spot APPLE’S

  • located at the base of the mountain, Apple’s has it made. after burning all those calories skiing (and let’s be real, having your legs burn like hell), a post-ski beer just hits the spot.

ApplesSkierLogo2timthumb

best place to see a movieMAGIC LANTERN

  • pretty much the only place to see a movie but it still is the best! they obviously have great movie theater popcorn and provide strong pours of wine. a winning combo.

IMG_1485

best season — SUMMER

  • there is no comparison to a Sun Valley Summer – dry heat, sun shine, big thunder-busting rain showers, wildflowers and views like this…

IMG_2388

best place to liveKETCHUM

  • while neither of us have techincally lived “south,” we still vote Ketchum for best 20-something place to live. super easy access to workouts, bars, restaurants and all those fun things! we will likely feel different in a decade….

best place to instagramBALDY or VIEWS OF BALDY

  •  yes, this really is a category and no, you cannot go wrong with a Baldy view. another do it.

IMG_8488

RECREATION

 

 

best winter activitySKIING, closely followed by hot-tubbing or eating a baked potato at SEATTLE RIDGE

  • too many amazing winter activities but the good news is that you can literally do them all in one day!

cant beat this view

best summer activity — HIKING

  • there is no comparison to a Sun Valley Summer and hiking to places like this where you don’t see a soul and are surrounded on all sides by untouched wilderness. it is an experience everyone should experience (like every weekend). hiking definitely keeps us sane and wanderlusting.

the brass blossom + pars does goat lake

best lake sceneREDFISH

  •  redfish lake was a close runner up for “best place to instagram” as demonstrated below. redfish lake is literally Idaho paradise. there is sun, water, and mountains that rise straight up to the sky. the potential sunburn

Redfish Lake

best gymZENERGY

  •  Zenergy is likely the nicest gym, spa, pool you will ever go to. and for all you nay sayers, they are really making a good effort to make affordable memberships. another do it. we promise there is nothing about zenergy you will regret.
  • they also have amazing classes. from hot yoga that taylor lives for to a barre class with the most lust worthy instructor ever (with a man bun!), you will leave Zenergy feeling like the 50 year old soccer mom just kicked your ass (and that is because she did).

best place to break a sweatSUN VALLEY CROSSFIT

  • in taylor’s opinion there is no better “i have one hour and need to get shit done” workout than Crossfit. literal game changer. #pumped.

IMG_1768

best place to swim and catch some sun raysZENERGY

  • we already raved about Zenergy and this picture proves why. the Zenergy pool is the place to go when you need some vitamin d and self love.

IMG_8467

best weekend getawaySTANLEY and REDFISH LAKE

  • the Stanley Basin is so close, yet such a different world. it might possibly be the most beautiful (along with coldest) place in the United States. when you need to disconnect and recharge head north.

view of the sawtooth mountain range from just outside the bakery

best tourist activityGONDOLA TO ROUNDHOUSE

  •  the Gondola up River Run to Roundhouse is a more recent addition of Sun Valley and it is a good one. not only does if offer the perfect amount of time to get your shit together before skiing but it also offers rides straight up to the iconic Roundhouse if you choose to forgo the skis, and boots, and poles, and helmet, and goggles, and mittens and handwarmers.
  • one word: fondue.

best after-work hikePROCTOR

  • Proctor mountain holds a special place in Krista’s heart with a beautiful cairn for her father. the cairn sits at a spot where there is literally no better view of the valley.
  • Proctor is also the perfect, quick hike. it takes just over an hour and offers just enough uphill to make you feel like you’ve done something worthwhile.

baldy view

best day hikePIONEER CABIN

  • there was this one time that we were rescued from Taylor’s mother while hiking to Pioneer Cabin from Johnstone Creek but other than that, you literally cannot go wrong with this hike. the pioneers, the cabin and the motto are breathtaking and refreshing.
  • make sure to bring a lot of water and maybe leave your doggie friends at home for this hike as there is no water and it is one of those hikes that is all up and then all down. and no, there is no running water in the cabin…

IMG_6116

best place to take the dogs for a walkWARM SPRINGS DOG PARK

  • the picture says it all…dog heaven. #reincarnation?

best place to take the dogs for a swimSUN VALLEY POND

  • while we frequent the Hulen Meadows Pond quite often and it offers a different vantage of Baldy, the Sun Valley Pond gets our vote for the best doggie swim spot because it is safe and you know what you are going to get. Sun Valley dogs literally have the best life ever…

Racing

best deck — LEFTY’s

  •  maybe the boy’s are onto something always hanging out on the Lefty’s deck…it wins for the best deck in town with plenty of both sunshine and shade, good drinks and amazing friends – and you can usually find one or two every time you go!

krista and taylor

 

brass blossom

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

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

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

IMG_1677

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

there is nothing to rival a morning in the copper basin

there is nothing to rival a morning in the copper basin

IMG_4364

IMG_4369

IMG_4370

the beginning...

the beginning…

obvious necessities...thank you mr hawkes!

obvious necessities…thank you mr hawkes! #hydrateordie

IMG_4381

IMG_4397

IMG_4399

mout borah looming in the background

not quite sure about this…

IMG_4404

this is not on you jump

this is not how you jump…

success

success

chickenout ridge leading straight up to the sky

chickenout ridge leading straight up to the sky

IMG_4447

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

the view from our summit!

the view from our summit!

IMG_1725

cheers!

cheers!

"popping" bottles

“popping” bottles

IMG_4457

IMG_1683

IMG_1687

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

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

krista in her element

krista in her element

#thebrassblossom

#thebrassblossom

and tori!

and tori!

some "play hard give back" to compliment the brie

some “play hard give back” to compliment the brie

firstlite + pink champagne

firstlite + pink champagne + brie

IMG_1727

tourist photo #1

tourist photo #2

tourist photo #2

IMG_1734

IMG_1738

our homemade prayer flag

our homemade prayer flag

#teamcasey

#teamcasey

❤ PBD

grandma gigi

aunt gina / grandma gigi ❤

TR <3

TD ❤

peace out mount borah

peace out mount borah

IMG_1745

IMG_1742

going down the final part of chickenout ridge

going down the final part of chickenout ridge

IMG_4480

heart rocks

heart rocks

grumpy's = life complete

the end…

so bad but so good

so bad but so good

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

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

krista and taylor

 brass blossom

weekend love it – so many adventures full of love

The past two weeks and weekends have literally been absolutely amazing. They were chuck full of “little things” that make me completely and utterly grateful. It has definitely been a year of highs and lows and right now I am riding a wave of high that I am just hoping continues on for infinity.

Not only were they long weekends and short work weeks, but they were full of so many adventures, celebrations and love. I have been having some pretty serious withdrawals this week but I am looking forward to another weekend full of love!

Here is a look!

1. hiking for life. I spent almost the entirety of the Fourth of July weekend hiking and it just truly amazing. Plus I got new hiking shoes (INOV8, which fit my baby feet so nicely) so that made it even more amazing. Every day I literally (and physically) felt on top of the world from the hiking, views, slightly sore feet, best company around and post-hike snacks and drinks. I am seriously considering a job change to “professional hiker” so if anyone out there has any connections, please throw them my way.

I tipped off the weekend with an amazing Idaho Adventure to what is literally one of Ketchum’s best kept secret hikes with a few amazing lady friends and then followed it up with a hike to Titus Lake with the boy and one of our favorite couples. Lastly, Krista and I did a short hike to detox on Sunday and it was just what I needed to wrap up the amazingly active weekend.

awesome new hiking shoes (i got them from the clymb for a great price)

awesome new hiking shoes (i got them from the clymb for a great price)

IMG_1524

silver lake

idaho friends in idaho places

idaho friends in idaho places

wildflowers for days

wildflowers for days

evenings on silver creek

evenings on silver creek

IMG_3345

fourth of july watermelon, blueberry & feta salad

fourth of july watermelon, blueberry & feta salad

IMG_3387

titus lake

titus lake

love these two!

love these two!

IMG_1563

2. washington love. Ermygawd. Literally the best weekend of my ENTIRE life just happened. I wasn’t sure anything could top my Fourth of July weekend full of Idaho, so much food and amazing company but this last weekend just did. The boy and I were invited to what will likely be the most amazing wedding we will ever go to for two of our dear friends from college. We also did a bit of exploring and I even managed to make it to an early morning Crossfit session for the bride. It was a giant smorgasbord of all of my favorite people and favorite activities all wrapped up into one.

wedding wod

wedding wod

IMG_3620

handstands for love!

handstands for love!

just some crazy chihuly glass

just some crazy chihuly glass

glass bridge

glass bridge

i stole some chalk from some kiddies and got creative

i stole some chalk from some kiddies and got creative

my favorite people!

my favorite people!

the cutest (and best) cookie i think i have ever eaten at 10:00 am on a sunday...

the cutest (and best) cookie i think i have ever eaten at 10:00 am on a sunday…

3. wedding love. Since this last weekend was literally so amazing, it deserves two spots in my Love It. The wedding was truly spectacular. Not that anyone expected anything less as the bride, Gina Paulson (eeekk!), is quite possibly the cutest, most creative and Crossfit, coffee and cat loving person ever. She happens to be the creative genius, manager, owner and soul proprietor (probably?) of Eleven and West. You must check it/her/the website out now.

Since that evening I have been continually flipping back through the photos on my phone in an attempt to relive all the fun, smiles, love, food and hugs. Literally the best night of my life and I didn’t even get married…ahhemm.

gift bags (i know, how cute!!)

gift bags (i might save this paper bag forever…)

IMG_3607

i just cant even…

fairy lights, white chairs and pretty love notes in gina's perfect calligraphy

fairy lights, white chairs and pretty love notes in gina’s perfect calligraphy

so much love for this guy (looking so fresh!)

so much love for this guy (looking so fresh!)

IMG_3666

you cant sit with us...

you cant sit with us…

IMG_3714

so true

so true

is it free advertising if you work for them? coozie and all...

is it free advertising if you work for them? coozie and all…

IMG_3679

i had seconds and then a truck rolled up with these buggers and literally made my life

i had seconds and then a truck rolled up with these buggers and literally made my life

new friend?!

new friend?!

photo booth fun

there is nothing better than a photo booth & sequins

the most amazing couple! so happy for them!

the most amazing couple! so happy for them!

4. national kissing day. National Kissing Day went down on July 6th and there were so many kisses at our house. Goat kisses that is. I captured the boy being loved on / mauled by the goats and thought it was so appropriate as it happened to be National Kissing Day! Too cute not to share!

goat kisses! (please note bernard taking a little tumble in the background)

goat kisses! (please note bernard taking a little tumble in the background)

goat loves <3

goat loves ❤

5. thug kitchen. My aunt originally shared Thug Kitchen  with me and I have been laughing ever sense. I love good clean food and Thug Kitchen is just that mixed with like seventy swearwords and funnies for each recipe. A must read, follow and even cook from for nommy eats and silly times.

51SVCYslQSL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_

6. pretty presents. By far one of my favorite parts of the holiday season is wrapping presents. I just love creating something just as beautiful as the gift. There have been several recent birthday celebrations in our lives and I am still just loving this recent wrap job topped with a fresh flower.

IMG_3505

7. j.crew jumpsuits. If I was to ever categorize my favorite things in life, J.Crew and jumpsuits would be right up there with coffee, 30 minutes of dead silence in the morning, sunshine, beans, Crossfit, Uggs, Lululemon, wearing leggings every day, pugs and green tea. So the other day when J.Crew was having 50% off their sale items, I literally almost cried of happiness that a J.Crew jumpsuit that I had been eyeing for months was only $40.00. I obviously bought it immediately. It was fate. I absolutely adore the fun colors and slightly too big fit (leaves extra room for summer celebrations…).

On another note, the boy thinks this jumpsuit is pretty radical as well. He advised me at 5 am when we were leaving for Seattle, “wooo that is quite a jumpsuit! It looks like it belongs in the 70’s with cocaine!” Why thank you Mr Boy, I really appreciate your compliment? Whatever. I wore the jumpsuit last weekend and just loved ever minute of it but figured since there weren’t any pictures of me in it on the internet that it’s totally good to go for another weekend! Love when that happens! #internetettiquette

c15650c2aca28929f38cf7e7c36d0b48

8. pugs – peanutbutter & instagram. My pug love is never ending so I figured why not keep sharing my recent pugger life highlights…my little pugger Lizzie loves just about anything and everything to do with food. So more often than not when I finish a jar of peanut-butter I pass it off to her. Because when you’re a 13-year-old pug there is no good reason not to lick a jar clean, or as clean as you can when your nose is flat and your tongue is a bit short.

loving on some peanutbutter

loving on some peanutbutter

And speaking of internet etiquette, here is Doug the Pug to teach us 9 things you shouldn’t do on Instagram (unless you’re a pug of course)…take notes!

10300967_700676360017193_8657572330311390442_n

taylor brass

brass blossom

idaho adventures – pioneer cabin from johnstone creek

IMG_2793

Quite possible one of the more epic local “Idaho Adventures” is hiking to Pioneer Cabin. Krista and I have hiked the daunting 2,500 feet the last three summers and the hike (and subsequent sore feet, legs and pride), the flowers, the Pioneers and the view never disappoints.

This year, I convinced Krista we should tackle Pioneer Cabin from “Johnston Creek.” I had heard it was an incredible hike and the hiking book I have from 1994 made it seem pretty legit.

Now the hike was incredible and so much more scenic than the traditional route. We dragged our bodies straight up the dirt trail through loads of wildflowers (the lupine were breathtaking), saw a waterfall, enjoyed spectacular views of the Pioneer Mountain Range from a different view and got a bit of sunshine. But the hiking book led us seriously astray. There is a pretty good reason very FEW people hike to Pioneer Cabin from Johnstone Creek. It is ridiculously hard, long and fairly shadeless.

It was quite an adventure to say the least. Hiking to Pioneer Cabin is slightly daunting from Corral Creek. However, hiking to Pioneer Cabin from Johnston Creek straight up for 6.5 miles in 80+ degree muggy weather with no cloud cover is recipe for so much boob sweat (yes, that really happens), a fairly gross stinging nettle outbreak, ridiculously sore and shaky legs, hot spots on your feet, a Maude Pod that debatably had a slight anxiety/heat attack about 5 miles in, showing off our pure athleticism in jumping photos and that feeling you get when you could eat an elephant. We also ate our pride and called my mom (huge thank you!) from the top, since one perk of being at 9,000 feet is you have cell service, to come and pick us up from Corral Creek. Only hiking 3.5 miles (and 2,500 feet) down versus 6.5 miles (and 2,800 feet) down was worth being bailed out and the hour shuttle ride. No shame. But it was all still worth it. While we might not be ready to do it again tomorrow, on the right day, and even on the wrong day, it is a very worthy Idaho hike and of course, a must do!

Here is a look (please excuse it if we look like the hot messes that we felt like)…

IMG_2738

before we went straight up a peak

before we went straight up a peak

IMG_2745

IMG_2744

IMG_2749

posing in the flowers

posing in the lupine

waterfalls are pretty rare in idaho

waterfalls are pretty rare in idaho so we were pretty stoked on this one

IMG_2766

IMG_2776

lupine meadows

lupine meadows

IMG_2777

first view of the pioneers

first spectacular view of the pioneers

IMG_2785

where things started to get pretty sketchy...

where things started to get pretty sketchy…

we made it!

we made it!

much needed picnic - nothing tastes better than half a wheel of brie at 9000 feet

much needed picnic – nothing tastes better than half a wheel of brie at 9000 feet

picnic view

picnic view

just a bit of stinging nettle...

just a bit of stinging nettle…so attractive

so hot, so tired - i felt like a horrible mom

so hot, so tired – i felt like a horrible mom

IMG_1509

“the higher you get, the higher you get”

jumping photo? fail (too good not to share)

jumping photo? fail (too good or bad depending on how you look at it not to share)

fail #2

fail #2

fail #3

fail #3

fail #4

fail #4 = go home

ready to hustle down!

ready to hustle down!

IMG_2795

the shuttle back out east fork - beautiful cloudy view of hindman peak

the shuttle back out east fork – beautiful cloudy view of the pioneers

krista and taylor

brass blossom

idaho adventures — hell roaring lake + 8 years

“difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.” 

Six months ago, I thought my life would never be the same. All I could think about for quite some time was that I just wanted my life to rewind to “normal.” I wanted day-in and day-out life occurrences. I begged, wished, dreamed, groveled to any life force for what my life was, what we had and what we were going to have. And maybe while nothing will ever be normal, my life has returned to a new normal. And it, despite the somewhat testy road, is beautiful.

Something else quite beautiful is that the boy and I celebrated 8 years of being graced with each other’s presence this month. It has been 8 years full of many wonderful laughs, loves, big things and little things. It has also been 8 years of testing the waters.

So to celebrate we went on an Idaho adventure. We toyed with the idea of a few lakes but finally decided on going to Hell Roaring Lake in the Sawtooth Mountains. Nothing says romantic like a place called “Hell Roaring.” So with the irony upon us we set out on the 11-mile (round trip) hike. The term hike is a relative term as the “hike” is more like a meander through the woods. There is really no elevation gain but by the end of our adventure we were all too ready for some cold water and beer and to get a load off of our feet.

Like all Idaho lakes and adventures there was no disappointment along the way. We meandered along Hell Roaring Creek that was literally roaring (hence the name) for the first mile or so. The creek then turned into a gently flow that Miss Maude Pod had a hay day in and provided the most peaceful setting. It was another one of those times, those places that life seemed to cease. It was quiet, vividly green and we were surrounded for miles by pure, uninhabited (minus the backpackers) wilderness. Another ever so strong reminder of why we choose to live, breathe and coexist in Idaho.

We added onto our adventure with a few beers at Bridge Street Grill, a fabulous night on Redfish Lake and a late night dinner of boxed Annie’s Mac and Cheese. I was even convinced (or deceived by others saying that they would go with me…) to go for an evening waterski on the lake. I managed to use some stored away athleticism and get up on the first try for a little gaunt around the lake. The boy kept making fun of me that I would get my hair wet (as I had earlier that day refused to swim with him in Hell Roaring), so to prove him wrong and obviously “win” I managed to go the entire ski without dunking underwater. #win. The water was smooth and frigid, the sky was crystal clear and the company was ridiculously encouraging. Definitely my type of ski.

While we were hiking that day, the boy (next to the ever so romantic “Hell Roaring Creek” told me) that it was a perfect day. And that it truly was. We were engulfed by Idaho wilderness with wildflowers blooming, enjoying each other’s pure company with Miss Maude Pod trotting along with no real worries, cares or commitments to attend to. It was definitely one of those days that I pleaded for and I am ever so thankful for that day and everyday that I get to spend with the boy. It’s a beautiful destination.

ready to embark!

ready to embark!

IMG_2235

hiking along "hell roaring creek"

hiking along “hell roaring creek”

IMG_2238

IMG_2239

letting maude pod cool down with a swim

letting maude pod cool down with a swim

being responsible and signing us in

being responsible and signing us in

not being as responsible and taking secret selfies

not being as responsible and taking secret selfies

always the model

always the model

giving maude a bit of water - sharing is caring

giving maude a bit of water from the camelback – sharing is caring

we made it!

we made it!

IMG_2265

IMG_1397

IMG_2268

the finger of fate (the pinnacle to the center left)

his & hers (i only carried mine for looks...)

his & hers (i only carried mine for looks…)

IMG_1432

IMG_1411

IMG_1414

champion

champion

the lonesome morel we found!

the lonesome morel we found!

IMG_2284

good bye hell roaring

good bye hell roaring, until next time

IMG_2311

so idaho

so idaho…

the best post-hike view & drink in stanley

the best post-hike view & drink in stanley

great company...

my fabulous company

IMG_2314

IMG_2316

beautiful evening on the lake

beautiful evening on redfish lake

IMG_2323

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 – 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!

7201_01b

okinawa_map

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!

IMG_9548

waiting in the chair

balayage

balayage

IMG_9553

FullSizeRender

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

IMG_8488

love these ladies!

love these ladies!

yoga on a mountain

yoga on a mountain

IMG_8540

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

weekend love it – scaling mountains and eating cake

After a couple of extremely busy weeks, this past weekend was suddenly here and I realized that I didn’t have a plethora of obligations or plans. So I spent the weekend enjoying the beautiful Idaho sunshine, mountains and an abundance of food and drinks! Here is what I have been loving during this whirlwind of a summer:

1. Hiking Baldy. Each summer I try make it a goal to hike our local ski mountain, Baldy. Baldy is 3,400 vertical feet and obviously a feat. The top elevation is 9,150 feet with breathtaking views. I chose to play catch-up to three of my favorite women and started a bit after them so I scurried straight up about 3/4 of the mountain. It was a challenge and I was incredibly excited to see happy, friendly faces on the side of the mountain to join for the final ascent.

Rather than hike down, we took the lift and gondola down to further enjoy the 360 degree views. Unfortunately it was a bit hazy out yesterday due to forest fire smoke. Regardless, the views were incredible!

Even if your lungs and legs give out, hiking Baldy is totally worth the trek. And believe me, you will definitely feel accomplished by the end!

the "trail" straight up River Run

the “trail” straight up River Run

IMG_5638

meeting up with the group!

a quick break right before the top

my hiking buddy taking a quick break right before the top!

view from the top!

view from the top! (the town of Ketchum below)

2. Easy (Peasy Lemon Squeezy) Summer Cake. Saturday night I had the pleasure of enjoying a few games of cornhole, drinks and dinner at the boy’s parents house. It was not so subtly requested that I bring a dessert. However, after scaling Baldy the last thing I wanted to do was spend much time in the kitchen. So, I made the executive decision to spend the afternoon at the pool and whip up a quick cake while I got ready for dinner.

I entrusted my good friend Betty Crocker and purchased her Lemon Cake Mix which I complemented with some fresh blackberries, whipped cream and a few lemon slices on top. I’m still uncertain if Martha would be proud or ashamed?

the simplest Lemon-Blackberry Cake (directions coming soon!)

the simplest Lemon-Blackberry Cake (directions coming soon!)

such a beautiful, summer table setting!

such a beautiful summer table setting!

3. The Magicians by Lev Grossman. One of the things that I love about the summer is that I find a bit more time to read. Perhaps it is the hours I spend lounging at the pool or in my adirondack chairs on the deck but summer inspires me to turn pages. I am extremely thankful for my love of reading and have full faith that reading anything non-electronic will help keep my brain from turning to technology mush in the near future.

Recently I asked my extremely talented and well-read friend, Jessie, if she had any book recommendations. She recommended The Magicians by Lev Grossman. At first I was doubtful but was hooked by about page 12. This book is like the illegitimate ,PG-13 rated, offspring of Harry Potter and Narnia. For anyone that loves a bit of fantasy with a healthy dose of reality this is the book for you. Plus there is a sequel so what more could you ask for?

jpeg

4. Crossfit Parody. I found this video hysterical. Even if you haven’t drunk the Crossfit Kool-Aid, please watch this video if only for the short shorts. You will learn some quality movements, perfect technique and safe practices….

Also for all you Crossfitters or really just anyone interested, take this quiz to find out what your Crossfit Spirit Animal is. My spirit animal is a cheetah, which I thought was pretty awesome until my lovely friend who is a super Crossfitter, Gina, took the quiz and was a Unicorn. Yeah, Unicorn trumps cheetah any day.

taylor brass

brass blossom