idaho

wednesday ramblings – just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean you can’t be it

It’s been quite a while since I have blogged. I have been busy with school, trying to make the most of my last couple of months in Seattle and in general, just living life. But whenever I feel like everything is starting to spin out of control, I always return to “The Brass Blossom.” I feel like it is a space where I feel safe, but I also feel like I can stretch my wings. Writing a blog post always makes me feel both grounded and empowered all at the same time. So I return to the trust worthy BB this week to share some thoughts….

This week has just been one of those weeks. I have felt like I was just in a funk. Being in Grad School at the ripe age of 27, I feel like I am just in the wrong place, at entirerly the wrong time in my life. Even though I always try to focus on the present and how “comparison is the thief of joy,” sometimes I just want to give into comparison and by like, “you win!” I see everyone else getting married, getting lady boss jobs, having babies and in general, just kicking ass in life, while I am over here like, what pages do I need to read for economics?

To add to this funk, my best of friends from Idaho are all going to the women’s march this weekend in Boise. I just felt left out and sick of being away. It didn’t help that Seattle decided that this week would be the prime time to start torrentially raining again and I just feel stuck. Both physically in the rain and in Seattle but also mentally.

I also happened to actually be stuck on the bus when all of this came crashing down on me. I was talking to my mom and she asked if something “happened.” I couldn’t even say yes. There wasn’t just one thing or even really a thing. It was just a bunch of stuff. So naturally when she asked if I was okay, I started crying and then it got awkward because I was having a minor public meltdown on a very public bus. And the girl behind me wouldn’t stop staring. This was probably due to the fact that I also chose the one sit that is perpendicular to all of the others and is smack dab in the middle of the bus, because apparently it is the safest. So I just rode it out. The tears, the stares, which probably weren’t even stares but just poor bus seating. But hey, at least I was in the safest spot. It was just a no good, very bad, but really in the scheme of things, not so bad moment. Disclaimer: this is why you don’t have personal conversations on the bus, so you don’t appear to be unstable.

But then later, an amazing friend inspired me. She inspired me out of my funk and inspired my weekend. She proposed that this weekend we celebrate all of the things that women can do. Regardless of your political stance, or what you think about e-mails, health insurance or who to tax, one thing that I hope all women can agree on is that this election was discouraging for at least one reason. That one reason alone is that a woman still is not and cannot be the wholly President of the United States of America. You can’t be what you can’t see.

So as someone who is generally pretty lady boss focused and a results oriented person, I think that celebrating all that I can be is a pretty fine way to turn around my week. I can celebrate wanting to be a lady boss and achieving that. I can celebrate buying a tweed blazer with fantastic elbow patches to one day wear to a board meeting to lean in. I can celebrate drinking whiskey. I can celebrate my body for what it can do, not what it looks like. I can celebrate crushing it at Crossfit. I can celebrate being independent but also being encouraged – by a family, a boyfriend and friends that encourage me to my highest potential. I can celebrate growing up in a home that didn’t solely define gender roles and limit that very potential. I can celebrate choosing to have children or not. I can celebrate reading a health law book just before finishing my trashy romance novel. I can celebrate choosing a career, whether it be a CEO or a calligrapher. I can celebrate that I am intelligent, athletic, strong, motivated and maybe, even witty. And I can celebrate me.

So I encourage you this weekend to celebrate the things that you can do, regardless of your gender. Don’t focus on the funk (or the flu as it is going around like wild-fire – stay healthy people!). Focus on the future and what we can do. And as I’m walking my own walk and talking my own talk, remember, especially all you boss ladies out there, that just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean you can’t be it.

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taylor brass

brass blossom

best of may – mojo, bachelorette mischief, morels & resiliency

May was one of those months where I think I lost my mojo. Jupiter was in retrograde for most of the month but I think it was more than that. All in all it was a fantastic month but nothing quite went as planned…

In the process of tracking down a missing Lululemon Gift Card (for which I probably would have gone to the end of the Earth to find), I managed to lock myself out of my apartment in Seattle wearing nothing but sweat pants and a white tank top and simultaneously kill the battery in my car by leaving a light on (not to be discovered until days later). Thankfully a pizza guy came to my rescue 30 minutes into sitting by the door nipping out with no bra on. And that was just one night.

P.S. You can learn how to jump a car on Google. #modernwoman

Then American Airlines changed my flight suddenly at 11:00 pm the night before I was supposed to fly out and also managed to lose my bag between Seattle and Phoenix. I was on my way to the most fantastic Bachelorette weekend celebrating my favorite dino friend. My bag ended up going all the way to Hawaii without me (seriously sad) leaving me to clothe myself in all of the offered belongings from my very nice friends. And again, naturally I wore yoga pants and a sports bra on the plane so I was pretty defenseless when it came to extra undergarments.

Please learn from my mistakes and make sure when you leave your home to always, always bring keys and wear underwear and a bra and even pack an extra or two in your carry on so you don’t have to nip out to a pizza guy, go commando for several days or borrow what turned out to be a very nice pair of underwear. Also you never give back borrowed underwear. Rule #1 of life.

But enough about my May craziness that seemed to always come back to undergarments and on to the good stuff! Here is what I loved!

1. #dinotribe. Despite not having any luggage for most of the trip and having to deal with American Airlines for too many hours (they were absolute miserable and not at all helpful), the highlight of May was my trip to Phoenix to celebrate one of my greatest friend’s bachelorette party. I also cannot wait to be with her on her wedding day! She was that friend in college who suddenly just appeared like a bright, loving, generous, compassionate, brilliant light and never left (in a good way). She is also my favorite person to snuggle and make pug and dinosaur noises. She is that type of friend.

We spent the weekend enjoying the scorching hot weather, drinking too much alcohol and laughing literally the entire time. Highlights included a run that turned into a two hour adventure lost in the desert, posing with cacti, blowing up giant pool floaties by mouth, strapping down that one friend who had too much to drink on a pool floatie in the middle of the living room to sleep next to a bowl, late night talks, the absurd pictures that were captured and 5 am walks in the sunrise. It was truly one of the greatest weekends where we all fell back into those insanely comfortable relationships we had in college and made some new incredible friends. Love you all!

just the beginning...

just the beginning…

the most beautiful bride to be (& her dino!)

the most beautiful bride to be (& her dino!)

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running with bae

running with bae

we may have been lost but that didn't stop us from impersonating cacti

we may have been lost but that didn’t stop us from impersonating cacti

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my happy place

my happy place

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

before the insanity

selfies

selfies

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❤ my bri bird

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bethhhhhhh

5 am sunrise walks

5 am sunrise walks

2. reading on the bus. I’m not certain how it took me so long to figure this one out. I rode the bus everyday to and from school. I spent anywhere between 20-3o minutes on the bus but never felt like it was enough time one be that one person to dig through their bag and pull out a book and spill the bag’s contents everywhere. But when modern technology meets having a gigantic iPhone 6+ it turns out you can read quite comfortably on your phone!

I ended up reading nine books in May. Yes, nine! One of which was Grey (aka 50 Shades of Grey told by the male character). I figured since I went to Grad School and learned useful and smart things everyday that I could read trashy novels on the bus. And yes, it was fantastic just like the first novels and pretty much word for word the first book. Definitely a great summer read!

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3. home for a break. I started the month off with a fantastic trip home. To maintain my sanity in Seattle I tried to go home at least once a quarter to cram in as many Idaho activities and love as possible. This break topped the charts with lots of friend-time, dog hikes, days of morel mushroom hunting and time spent with the boy and my Maude Pod. It literally couldn’t have been more perfect.

birthday love!

birthday love!

my favorite hiking buddies <3

my favorite hiking buddies ❤

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sunrise hikes

sunrise hikes with my brass blossom boyfriend

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a trip home wouldn't be complete without some goat love!

a trip home wouldn’t be complete without some goat love!

4. may morels. During my visit back to Idaho in May, the boy and I spent the majority of two days hunting for morel mushrooms. Other than finding a lone morel hiking last summer I had never gotten into the hunt. But let me tell you, it is one of the most addicting activities that I have ever participated in. The boy and I went with some friends and simply wandered in circles around in the woods for hours and hours with the pups. I now understand the Gold Rush.

The only thing that stopped us both days was when the girls got hangry. Lesson learned boys: always bring snacks for your girlfriends when morel hunting. Wine and cheese would be a great start.

look at this things!

look at this things!

morels!

morels!

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my love bugs + morels = perfect day

my love bugs + morels = the perfect day

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i promise she loves us

i promise she loves us

post-adventures schooners

post-adventures schooners

lovers <3

lovers ❤

5. sheryl sandberg does it again. I was recently asked who I want to be when I grow up? Apparently I’m not grown up but not the point. My first thought was Sheryl Sandberg. Not only because she is a badass COO but also because she seems to just get it. Her recent “getting it” was a Graduation speech she gave to Berkeley. She touched on many things but what got to me most was her note about resiliency:

“And when the challenges come, I hope you remember that anchored deep within you is the ability to learn and grow. You are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. Like a muscle, you can build it up, draw on it when you need it. In that process you will figure out who you really are — and you just might become the very best version of yourself.”

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6. honey. My one major complaint about Grad School is the fact that it has really cut down on my online shopping. While this is sad and all I think that I will survive, especially after coming across this life changing online shopping app, called Honey. I’ve probably spent a good amount of my precious life searching for promo codes to get discounts or free shipping while online shopping. But when you download Honey it does it all for you! Simply install it to Google Chrome and a little icon will appear when you go to check out! I literally saved 60% off the other day when I ordered some paper invites.

Feel free to use my code to join because it also gives you points to redeem when you share with friends!

Code to Join: joinhoney.com/ref/vloyjc

taylor brass

brass blossom

best of spring — escapes, endeavors, and improvements

simultaneously sunny and stormy

simultaneously sunny and stormy

I haven’t written a general update post in awhile, and I think they’re important.

I was told recently during an argument that I have a hard time “turning off.” That simple observation stuck with me more than whatever we were fighting about, because it’s true. I think I tend to live my life at such a constant break-neck pace — a pace that ensures distraction — because I’m afraid of what will happen, or what I will feel, when I stop. I find that I’m sometimes scared of unstructured time or absolute silence, unless it’s on my own terms. I suppose that’s because I know what feelings seem to creep in during those times…feelings of loneliness, abandonment, and fear.

This spring season has offered several opportunities to reflect on that simple fact, to act on it, and to work at reversing it. The spring, true to tradition, was a time of new beginnings, cleaning (both literally and figuratively), improvements, and escapes. Here’s a look:

1. méxico escape: We booked incredibly-priced tickets to Cabo Pulmo in early May for a long weekend of vacation with Chase’s family. The trip came at the perfect time — just after a major work event, and in the depths of bipolar spring mountain weather. The trip was rejuvenating, but I also came home with the new realization that I have a hard time fully letting go and relaxing when on a brief trip, which is just not ok with me and something I’m going to work on. Regardless, the trip kicked off with an incredible (although belated after a flight delay, three u-turns and misleading road signs) at Flora Farm in San Jose del Cabo. I think I could move there tomorrow and live a happy life between the gardens, orchards, cottages, wine shop, espresso, boutiques, and crazy delicious restaurant. The rest of our Mexico time was spent fishing (although my fishing experience was hindered a bit by a double dose of dramamine), time on the beach, and great food and company. The other lesson I learned: Put sunscreen on your lips. Always.

happy to have made it on the plane!

happy to have made it on the plane!

first stop, flora farm

first stop, flora farm

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shopping for some mother's day treasures

shopping for some mother’s day treasures

had to make a stop at the wine/espresso bar

had to make a stop at the wine/espresso bar

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i think the chairs suited us well, no?

a brief awake/aware moment

a brief awake/aware moment

jenna committing to the fish

jenna committing to the fish

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cabo pulmo bound

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lighthouse beach

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it was a little too crowded…

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Pablo and Ingri

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the cruiser

2. krista detwiler, Stella & Dot Stylist: In April, I signed up to be a Stella & Dot stylist, and I am having a blast so far. I originally fell in love with their products almost exactly a year ago. I hosted a show at my home a few months later, and my admiration for Stella & Dot’s product line and business philosophy grew — I love that Stella & Dot was founded by women, for women. I work in a full-time job, which I’m very fulfilled by, but Stella & Dot offers a fun and flexible addition. My goal is to put some extra cash in the bank for my honeymoon and home improvement purchases. Check out this interview with the founder with my former classmate, Caroline Fairchild, and if you have your eye on some new jewelry and accessories or need a great gift for someone in your life, here’s my Stella & Dot page. Thank you for your support, and keep an eye out for an invite to my “Launch” show on June 14.

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3. home improvements: True to my original Marie Kondo revelation, I’ve been making an effort to make pointed home improvements. I now always have an eye for de-cluttering, and I’ve been able to better prioritize those home purchases that would, you guessed it, spark the most joy. I’ve been doing my best to pair these purchases with my very best bargain hunting so I can strike when the time is right. I purchased these world market atlantic blue dining chairs for a little drama in the dining room (complete with a feather pillow from The Gardens), as well as this incredible west elm chandelier — let there be light! My wedding registry has also created a fun opportunity to imagine my ideal home. Next up, I’m going to paint some walls! Woohoo!

stella & dot plus chandelier

stella & dot plus chandelier

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4. southfork of the snake float: More to come on this most excellent Idaho Adventure, but a group of us took advantage of the three-day weekend and spent two nights on the Southfork of the Snake River in southeastern Idaho. It was an incredible experience with great friends in a beautiful setting, with plenty of yummy camp food and lots of laughs. We can’t wait to go back again this summer for part 2!

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ultimate relaxation

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camp food done right

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hot potato

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parley’s day in paradise

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baby blue

5. wardrobe updates:  Being engaged has done some crazy things to my online shopping habits…Good thing I gravitate toward those sites that have incredible return policies (ahem, revolve, get out of my head). Here are a few of my absolute favorite purchases of late:

enida schutz heel

enida schutz heel

j brand super skinny floral pant

j brand super skinny floral pant

tularosa x revolve charmer plunge romper

tularosa x revolve charmer plunge romper

alice + olivia jaya top

alice + olivia jaya top

nasty gal carousel embroidered dress

nasty gal carousel embroidered dress

breeze to death floral kimono

breeze to death floral kimono

6. may babies and celebrations: turns out many of my favorite people were born in May. I’ve had so much fun celebrating their big days, along with nothing at all — from a “fish fry” to impromptu late night green chef meals, to hikes and dog walks, I am so thankful to be surrounded by great friends and positive people.

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the fish fry master

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coloring with the coloring master

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tori and some beautiful birthday cupcakes

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7. those brief moments: I had a moment when I was driving home from a movie last Sunday afternoon — I’d just eaten a pound of popcorn, had a movie theatre glass of wine, and laughed until my belly hurt. The sun was shining after two days of frigid snow and rain, the windows were down, and driving home was like an instagram sensation. Spring here is both brief and brilliant — the rapid growth of blossoming trees, bright green leaves, bushy wildflowers, and even weeds is the stuff of emo daydreams. Couldn’t tell you what it was, but the perfect song was playing on the radio, and I was headed home to a man (and two dogs) that love me. And basically, that was all that mattered, and in that moment, I was sublimely happy.

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Wishing you all an amazing summer. I know they can fly by, so I hope you can all pause more — like I am trying to — and enjoy the brief moments of simple perfection.

 

sparking joy — spring cleaning

“As for you, pour your time and passion into what brings you the most joy, your mission in life.”  – Marie Kondo

As Krista mentioned in her Best of February, she devoured Marie Kondo’s books “spark joy” and “the life-changing magic of tidying up” and subsequently discarded a massive pile or two that didn’t spark joy for her. I also recently devoured “the life-changing magic of tidying up” during a pedicure that took far longer than usual since I still have a massive callous from negotiating down from Mount Borah last year but that is besides the point. That callous sure isn’t sparking joy in anyone’s lives.

The point is, I devoured the book because I felt like Marie Kondo was my soul sister. She spoke about her childhood obsession with organization, tidying up, and the concept of spaces, and it spoke to the little girl in me who loved nothing more to an extreme or point mental breakdown for everything to be clean and organized. But I truly think that Marie Kondo feels like everyone’s soul sister because everyone probably has that one special, OCD, person in their lives that they just can’t not love.

And in true sparking joy fashion, Krista and I recently learned about a brilliant company called MakeSpace who share our love and obsession with Marie Kondo. MakeSpace is essentially a brand new service in an app, that offers self-storage in these locations. The brilliant part about it is that they pick up your stuff, take it away to a storage facility and bring it back whenever you want it. Now if only it was available in Idaho and we could pack all of the boy’s gear for activities to store elsewhere…

I can definitely relate to this phenomenal idea as I will essentially be living out of three separate cities in the upcoming months. For all our friends in New York, Washington, D.C. or Chicago this is your new guide to making space!

Since we have both been particularly inspired with Spring Cleaning this year we thought we would share some inspiration, Krista’s Idaho-inspired cleaning to-do list and my personal cleaning must do’s from Kondo! Enjoy!

KondoMakeSpace

We love Life in the Green House summed up Kondo’s entire book in this perfectly pink graphic:

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Krista’s Idaho Inspired Spring Cleaning To-Do List:

1. Embrace the season. This is where MakeSpace can seriously come in handy, and it’s an absolutely necessity living in the mountains of Idaho. We have very distinct seasons here — think fluctuations of a full 130 degrees between the depths of winter and the peak of summer. When the spring weather hits, like right now, giant puffy coats be gone! Well, into storage at least. We like to keep out a mid-weight puffy for those Sawtooth mountain camping trips, but it brings us great joy to switch out our Uggs for a pair of espadrilles. IMG_2721

2. Embrace your inner adult. After reading Marie Kondo’s book, I finally felt free to get rid of my “college furniture,” a.k.a. a more-than-likely flimsy piece that I wouldn’t be sad about if it crumbled after a late-night coffee table dance party. The same goes for second-hand gifts from parents — there’s a reason they didn’t want it either

3. Invest in accessories. I find that I’m always drawn to the plain black, white, or gray top in my closet. Before you call me boring, let me finish — I love those pieces most because they offer a blank slate to accessorize. Pair your plain tee with an amazing statement necklace, a pop of color scarf, or your best booties. The best part? Accessories are much smaller and easier to store.

stella-bracelets

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did I mention that I will be a stella & dot stylist starting next month?!

4. One man’s trash. After my latest closet purge, I created 7 bags of clothing. Two of them went to the Goldmine, our favorite local thrift store that benefits the Community Library, and the other five I will bring to a clothing swap this Saturday (for which I have strict personal rules, more coming). Looking in the bags, I’m occasionally gripped with guilt, because there are some very nice brand names in there. However, they no longer sparked joy for me, and I just don’t wear them enough — be it the fit or particular color. For that reason, I invited a couple close girlfriends to take a look first. It brings me joy to know that they might enjoy my nicer clothes, which is just as satisfying!

keep vs. donate

keep vs. donate

5. Be wary of the “swap.” I am going to a clothing swap on Saturday. My goal is to be as true to my self and tastes as possible and only come home with those pieces that are a great fit and spark joy. Future storage situations rejoice!

6. Find your rustic vs. modern balance. If I had a dollar for every time the boy suggests we mount a taxidermied pheasant on my wall, I could buy the couch we actually need by now. Then again, our home is a shared space, and it’s a top priority for us both to feel comfortable. I’ve found that by reducing clutter on all of our surfaces (do we really need those decorative balls and that metal cow?), we can more intentionally decorate our home to reflect both of our tastes. Our engagement party gift shot skis will soon grace our wall, but we’ve also accepted that a new couch is an absolute next purchase.

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7. Go green. Let me tell you, these winters are looong. By clearing the decks a bit, I’ve created space for some new green friends. Meet Alfred, Penelope, and their mini succulent friends. I invested in some pretty pots so they could look fancy all year round, and I set reminders in my phone to water them.

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8. Be nice to your boots. Before packing up my Uggs and Fry boots for summer (in a clear container, that’s a must!), I clean and treat them so their in tip-top shape while they’re away in storage.

9. Windows to your beloved belongings vs. hiding the ugly. Invest in some clear storage bins with effective tops from your area Target — that will make your storage transition that much easier, and they can easily stack on top of each other. One very important exception to this rule? Utilizing solid storage containers to hide the ugly, for example the eye sore that is my fiancé’s fly-tying table. Yes, that’s a thing, and for the record, I will have my own crafting table one day (although I have taken over 2.5 of our three closets, so maybe we’re even for now). To mitigate the piles of feathers sparkly god-knows-what-it-is and googly eyes, I invested in some simple canvas bins in masculine colors from Overstock.com.

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10. Celebrate in style. I cleaned out  my Christmas bin after reading Marie’s book, and good lord…so much of that just needed to go! I’m only 26 and I already had the most random s**t in there. Pair down your holiday décor and keep only the best and most sentimental. Group them by season as you can to make the most of your MakeSpace service.

Taylor’s Cleaning Must-Do’s:

  1. Keep it simple. Although I’m naturally drawn to a very neat and minimal decorating style, I really realized how few possessions I actually need when I moved to Seattle. I only took what I could fit in my car
  2. Color coded. Now this doesn’t necessarily actually make anything actually cleaner but I think that keeping everything color coded just is far more visually pleasing. From your closet to the book shelf it makes a semi-display out of the ordinary. Plus it makes finding that exact sweater you are looking for that much easier!
  3. Find everything a home. Although finding everything a home, from shoes to books to literally cleaning supplies, it makes keeping everything tidy so much easier. All you do is put it back in it’s home after you use it!
  4. Always wipe down the counters. This is one thing that I do daily that I think just makes any space so much nicer. A clean counter or surface makes any room feel so much cleaner. Plus you may be eating food or what have you off of it so shouldn’t it be clean?
  5. Store likes inside of likes. Pretty much anything that can be stored inside of a like frees up so much space. For example, I always store all our bags inside of the biggest bag. It keeps them nice and compact and then you never have to worry about tracking one down.
  6. Fold your underwear.  This might seem trivial in the big scheme of things but opening my underwear drawer to find everything neatly folded and separated makes it seem like there is just a little less chaos in the world. I neatly fold everything from underwear, socks, sports bras, and the list goes on and on and respectively stack everything neatly. At home I went as far as to divide the space with clear bins giving everything a home. Plus it keeps all those lacies wrinkle free and lasting longer!

Cheers to clean spaces and sparking joy everyday!

krista and taylor

brass blossom

best of march – winter wonderland adventures, dirt therapy, goat escapades & thank yous

March was one of those months when everything just seemed to align flawlessly. I finished my second quarter of Grad School and returned home for most of the month to live the life of funemployment.

Funemployment in Sun Valley takes funemployment to an entirerly new dimension. There are just so many activities, incredible people and goats, hills to be climbed, sun to be enjoyed and dogs to be walked that the time just flies by. During my time at home it hit me after a dinner conversation with our friends, how wholesome Idaho life can be. It is simple in the most perfect way with a deep connection to not only the most amazing people with the kindest hearts you will ever meet but also it encompasses a deep connection to literally everything that surrounds you. I fell into a slower pace of life that ironically went by so much faster.

Needless to say being at home for most of March filled my soul with goodness and a new sense of I can take the rest of Grad School by storm, or at least one more quarter for the first year. So here is what I thoroughly enjoyed in the month of March!

1. snapshots from home. So much goodness all the time!

love this place!

love this place!

so much snow, so much fun

so much snow, so much fun

black dogs for days

black dogs for days

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so many dog hikes

so many dog hikes

when your goats live in a winter wonderland

when your goats live in a winter wonderland

goat walks

goat walks

<3

the perfect spring skiing day

the perfect spring skiing day

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no complaints! favorite ladies and favorite place!

no complaints! favorite ladies and favorite place!

2. winter wonderland adventures. I convinced/dragged/demanded that the boy hike into Redfish Lake with me and the Smash Sisters one lovely weekend afternoon. The boy wasn’t too thrilled with the idea but appeased me. So we set off for Redfish Lake and it literally couldn’t have been more lovely.

I absolutely love Redfish in the summer but our friend Abbey has told us about how different yet serene it is to hike into the lake in the Winter. Since she is one of those people I always just believe/trust with my life I figured it was worth a few mile hike in. I white lied to the boy about how far we would actually be walking and we set out from the highway into the lake. It was a perfectly easy walk in hiking shoes on the packed down trail from snowmobiles and we arrived at the lake in no time after “sooooo many miles.”

The lake was pretty much deserted and we took a little cat nap in the sun on the porch of the lodge. Between the sun beating down, the pups running around like wild smash sisters and resting my head on the boy’s legs it was the perfect afternoon cat nap. One of those afternoons when you wish you could press pause. We headed out after a bit and I even got a bit of sun in my tank top. Most definitely an afternoon that cannot be beaten. Moral of the story: hike into Redfish Lake in the Winter even though it is “sooooo many miles.”

ready to roll!

ready to roll!

par pars got to ride up front for a bit

par pars got to ride up front for a bit

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perfection

perfection

the smash sisters weren't as into the cat nap as we were

the smash sisters weren’t as into the cat nap as we were

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post-hike sunburn selfies...

post-hike sunburn selfies…still laughing!

3. playing in dirt. The boy and I have several house plants that I am baffled have made it thus far. We love keeping them alive because they just offer the perfect amount of green and freshness to fill our apartment. By far our favorite is Stanley. Stanley is a lucky bamboo that the boy got for my for Valentine’s Day back in 2010. That’s right 2010. How he is still alive is a mystery to us all. It has been a labor of love.

Stanley is now over three feet tall and a growing machine. He has survived various trips back and forth between Eugene and Idaho as well as various houses in Idaho and various transplants. However, Stanley once again outgrew his home and desperately needed a transplant.

So over my break, I decided that all our houseplants were in need of a transplant along with Stanley. We also received quite a few plants after the boys accident and I have this crazy idea that they have juju and we must keep them alive and prosperous. So naturally on the one day it decided to dump snow and was 30 degrees I set out on my mission. This resulted in the kitchen and me being covered in dirt and rocks but it was well worth the 4 hours of playing in the dirt. It was oddly therapeutic and satisfying at the end when I looked at all of our plant babies in their new homes. Plus I bought a gold leafed pot for our new succulent friends which is just too cute not to share!

stanley goes for a ride to pick a new pot!

stanley goes for a ride to pick a new pot!

stanley's crazy roots

stanley’s crazy roots

new succulent friends

new succulent friends

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just a bit of a mess....

just a bit of a mess….

4. goat escapades. Oh my the goats. Nothing bad can ever be said about the goats but they were quite naughty during March. Goats are fairly smart creatures who have a reputation for liking to escape. We never really saw that side of our goats until they figured out they could walk on top of the snow crust and essentially take flying leaps out of the corral.

From there they decided the next obviously place to go after escaping was climb up the snowbanks onto the garage roof. They would frolic and play and act like watch goats, which are worth less if you were wondering. There were many a days I would go to check up on the goats and find one, two, three or four on the roof. Too cute and actually ridiculous not the share!

Also clearly our goats aren’t the only escapees around! Millie recently took a stroll to Starbucks…

bad goats!

bad goats!

just goating around

just goating around

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wrong way z-baby

wrong way z-baby

what happens when you constantly make jail breaks

what happens when you constantly make jail breaks

5. new obsessions – cauliflower rice + homeland. These two are entirely unrelated other than the fact that I have been binging on both. Trader Joe’s Organic Riced Cauliflower is essentially the greatest thing to hit stores since sliced bread. It has become a staple in my diet and is so, so, so simple to prepare and takes on the texture of grain in any recipe. If you have a craving you are more than welcome to come over and nom on the several bags I have stock piled.

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Cauliflower rice and Homeland will probably be forever engrained in my mind as one because I generally enjoy them together. If you need a show to binge watch you cannot go wrong with Homeland. I was pretty obsessed there for a couple of weeks and have decided that I need to take a break for air, like fresh air. It’s that good and I can safely say all those Grad School tuition dollars are going to good use.

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6. thank you’s. In the Year of Yes, Shondra Rhimes introduces the baffling yet very simple concept of simply saying “thank you” when given a compliment. When I first read about her describing how she never used to take a compliment and always deflected it a “but…” or something along those lines I didn’t quite get it. It wasn’t until I started noticing the way I receive compliments that it hit me hard. Most always when I receive a compliment I am hardwired to not just say “thank you” but rather I deflect it with something I did wrong or could or done better or some other insanity.

So thanks to Shondra Rhimes I have been trying to be more mindful of simply saying “thank you” when I receive a compliment. No matter how big or how small a “thank you” is always appropriate. I have found this challenged to be far greater than I ever expected and something that I think deserves pointing out. I am a complete perfectionist so to me there is always a bigger or better. But more often than not the job well done that someone else went out of their way to recognize deserves the thank you and period. Nothing less and nothing more, except probably a smile.

taylor brass

brass blossom

best of february — comparison is the thief of joy, wettest winter & goodness

All in all February was a fantastic month. To be honest though, Grad School is a bit of a roller-coaster with all of the work, emotions and just being at a different point in life than so many of my friends. There are many times when I just feel like I am going nowhere and so far behind in life. It’s especially hard when almost every day your focus is on where you will be in the future and you don’t even have a sense of an answer to this question.

But my mantra of recent months has been that “comparison is the thief of joy.” I tend to get really swept up in where I think I should be in life, rather than just focusing on the present. So I have made it my resolution this year live not comparing and just focus in on what makes me happy and “do me.” So with that in mind I have been loving going out to escape the city on a hiking adventures, enjoying the sunshine or going to yoga or just staying in to binge watch a TV show or just relax!

Also apparently this year has been the wettest Winter on record in Seattle. While the rain hasn’t gotten to me that much, I am so excited to go home for a few weeks this month for Spring Break for some Idaho sunshine and love!

Here is what I have been loving this February!

1. seattle explored. To escape the wettest winter on record I have made sure to take full advantage of any day that looks like it could be remotely sunny. I am very fortunate to have another Idaho partner-in-crime living in Seattle who also enjoys getting up early on weekends to go on an adventure and escape the city for a few hours. We always make sure to pack coffee, snacks, detox ginger tea and beer, our yak tracks (must have Winter hiking accessory!), extra socks and so many layers! So far we have ventured to Lake Serene, Discovery Park and Heather Lake. We ran into oodles of snow at both Lake Serene and Heather Lake. I love being able to hike in the Winter where you start on “dry” ground and end up just a couple thousand feet up surrounded by snow!

Another amazing adventure I went on recently was with a great friend from Grad School where we circumnavigated Lake Union. It ended up being about a half marathon work of walking but was the perfect way to spend an amazingly sunny Thursday afternoon. Seattle is quite possibly the most beautiful city when the sun is shining!

poo poo point for some sunshine

poo poo point for some sunshine

early bird gets the sunrise

early bird gets the sunrise

idaho adventure buddy!

idaho adventure buddy!

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so much snow!

so much snow!

lake serene

lake serene

so excited!

so excited!

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the best way to start the morning

the best way to start the morning

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so much water

so much water

first glimpse of heather lake

first glimpse of heather lake

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hiking selfies!

hiking selfies!

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gas works park while circumnavigating lake union

gas works park while circumnavigating lake union

that skyline!

that skyline!

2. bridemaids x 2. I was asked by two of my very favorite people to stand by their sides during their special days. They are two of the kindest and most loyal friends and I’m soooooo excited! I cannot wait for all the pre-wedding shenanigans and being apart of their big days. Cheers to another Summer on the wedding circuit!

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yes!

yes!

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<3

so pretty!

so pretty!

yes!

yes!

3. love at home. I escaped the wettest winter on record in Seattle early in the month to go home. I happened to get a cold right before leaving but the trek home was well worth it for all the love, sunshine, snuggles and more snuggles. Every time I enter the Wood River Valley I just feel a sense of peace and calm. It continually makes me even more thankful to come from such an amazing place with amazing people. So much love!

morning snuggles with my favorite pirate

morning snuggles with my favorite pirate

when the girls drive the truck

when the girls drive the big truck

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casual game of sledge hockey

casual game of sledge hockey

greatest place ever

greatest place ever

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tricky goats!

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maude pod <3

maude pod ❤

my favorites!

my favorites!

4. good reads. My book choices recently might indicate that the Winter is getting to me a bit more than usual but the Target “self-help” section just really calls my name sometimes. Honestly there have been many times where I have gotten a bit down about living in Seattle by myself and all the stress that comes along with Grad School so I figured a bit of inspiration from Shonda Rhimes and my always favorite Cheryl Strayed couldn’t hurt.

I sped through both of these books and they are staples on my nightstand here for whenever I need a dose of inspiration. I would highly recommend both!

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5. good tv. One name + one word says it all. JoJo + shiplap. For those of you that are similar cult followers you know what I am talking about. For those of you that haven’t been exposed to the greatest show ever let me introduce you to Fixer Upper. It is about a couple who live in Waco, Texas who take the worst house in the best neighborhood and make it into the house of your dreams.

I literally love everything about it, but mostly I just adore JoJo and her love for shiplap, subway tile, distressed wood, white, farm-life and the list goes on and on. I highly recommend a binge watching session right about now. JoJo (yes, we are on a first name basis) also has a blog….
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6. good laughs. For those of you that have Instagram go follow Pumpkin the Raccoon right now. And if you don’t have Instagram, go stalk Pumpkin on whatever form of social media you see fit. You will not regret it.

Pumpkin is a rescued raccoon who lives somewhere tropical where the living is easy. Pumpkin has the best family that consists of two doggie siblings and pretty much just enjoys the finer things in life. If I’m ever having a bad day, Pumpkin cheers me right up!

pumpkin <3

pumpkin ❤

7. pretty blooms. Okay I have to admit that every time I see a tree flower in Seattle I am absolutely amazed. Being from a place where pretty much the only things that really “bloom” are flowers in like July I am constantly amazed that ginormous trees bloom. The current cherry blossoms and other beautiful blossoms in Seattle are literally brightening up the entire city. It makes me so happy every time I see them, rain or shine. And they add to another reason why Seattle is such a gorgeous city.

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so pretty!

so pretty!

inspired by all the florals!

inspired by all the blooms!

the view from my bedroom - so pink!

the view from my bedroom – so pink!

Cheers to March and enjoying most of the month in Idaho for Spring Break! Hope you all are having a fantastic end to your Winter!

taylor brass

brass blossom

to love & be loved – glittering gold engagement party

On New Year’s Eve 2015 I co-hosted, along with seven other fabulous women, an engagement party for one of our favorite couples. The happy couple got engaged in early Fall and happens to be comprised of my lovely co-author Krista and her boy, Chase.

We all consider Krista to be one of the loveliest women that we know. She is kind, loyal, a realist and always by our sides. She is the one we can always count on and always the one to celebrate us in her perfect way. So we knew that we needed to go all out, for not only her but Chase too because he is equally special to us and makes Krista oh so happy, which is really what matters….

So here is a look below at our NYE party to celebrate the future Mr and Mrs Millemann!

decor

You know the saying “less is more.” Well in this case we went for “more is more.” More balloons, more glitter, more gold, more flowers, more votives, more candles, more tulle, more golden ducks, more, more, more. It was New Year’s Eve after all and we were celebrating our of our all time favorite couples…

Since this party wasn’t only about Krista with all the gold and glitter, (Chase, you matter too!) I took on the task of making as many gold origami ducks as possible to decorate the room since they are both avid Ducks. Go ducks!

We were fortunate enough to rent out the “back room” at ZINC for the evening (side note: if you are looking for a phenomenal party spot to rent out in Ketchum, this is your room!). We decked out the perfectly neutral room in the following:

  • 150+ handmade gold origami ducks
  • gold origami duck entry
  • gold and white balloons with hanging “goldilocks”
  • gold votives
  • white flowers (hydrangeas and calla lilies)
  • gold glitter tulle
  • NYE party hats
  • homemade shot skis (more details below!)
the gilded room

the gilded room

the entrance to the room

the entrance to the room (huge shout to my always willing mother for stringing the ducks together!)

go ducks!

go ducks!

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obviously more is more

obviously more is more

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you can never have enough ducks

you can never have enough ducks

tulle + ducks + white flowers

tulle + ducks + white flowers

a new year's eve party isn't complete without party hats!

a new year’s eve party isn’t complete without party hats!

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an "M" for the future millemanns

an “M” for the future millemanns

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so much gold, so much glitter, so much tulle

so much gold, so much glitter, so much tulle

custom shot skis

custom family shot skis

Krista’s brother, Drew, and I made these custom shot skis for the happy couple to keep FOREVER! We gathered a retro ski that belonged to both of their fathers and went to work. Drew used a drill press to make custom holes in both of the skis that fit glass shot glasses. I then painted each one with a black rectangle and wrote the family name and their parent’s wedding anniversary. I shed a few tears and essentially Drew did all of the work while I simply played with the puppies…

Cheers to the prettiest shot skis of all time!

tulle makes for the best bows

tulle makes for the best bows

the "detwiler" ski

the “detwiler” ski

the "millemann" ski

the “millemann” ski

all lit up

all lit up & ready to party!

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menu

Since it was NYE and celebrating Chase and Krista, we knew we needed a plethora of delicious food. We decided to go with some healthy, comfort food catering from the Haven as well as order quite a few flat breads from ZINC. We additionally supplemented with a few cheese plates and desserts (since you can’t go wrong with more of either of those!) Our spread included:

  • pigs in a blanket
  • sautéed brussel sprouts
  • chicken skewers
  • antipasto platter
  • crostini platter
  • assorted flatbreads
  • cheese plates
  • homemade popcorn
  • gluten free cookies
  • local beer, red wine, white wine and of course champagne!
the spread

the spread

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copious amounts of cheese & classy pigs in a blanket – what more do you need?

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gluten free cookies (a single cookie monster ate about 85% of them throughout the party…)

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the company

You know a couple is truly loved when you receive a quarter more RSVPs for an event than expected. Friends and family came from near and very far (shout out to Mendoza coming from LA and Chris and Katja from Bend!) to celebrate and smother Chase and Krista with love. The company at this party was truly an outstanding group of brilliant, fun loving and good hearted people. The type of people you want to party with every night.

Cheers to Chase and Krista!

the future mr & mrs millemann

the future mr & mrs millemann ❤

the brass blossom does engagement party

the brass blossom does engagement party

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the skenes + jenna

rach & anders

rach & anders

the bride and two of her maids

the bride and two of her maids

love this guy <3

love this guy ❤

guests from so far!

oregon family! thanks for coming from so far!

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good looking idaho people

brilliant photo angle (cred: casey hawkes)

brilliant photo angle (cred: casey hawkes)

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no words

no words

taggart & kacie

taggart & kacie

the bride and (almost all of her) bridesmaids

the bride and (almost all of her) bridesmaids

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toasts & cheers!

toasts & cheers!

the detwiler clan <3

the detwiler clan ❤

the millemann clan <3

the millemann clan ❤

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when things started to get dicey (aka even more fun)

when things started to get dicey (aka even more fun)

shot ski time!

shot ski time!

clearly i was paying attention & didn't pour the majority of my shot on the ground....

clearly we was paying attention & didn’t pour the majority of our shots on the ground….

#fail

#fail

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for the win!

for the win!

the always classy detwiler women

the always classy detwiler women + the best photobomb

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legs, legs, legs

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how any good party ends....

how any good party ends….

Cheers to the future Mr and Mrs Millemann! We all cannot wait to continue the celebrations!

taylor brass

brass blossom

best of 2015

2015 has been quite the year. There have been ups and downs and some more ups. So in honoring #brassblossom tradition (my Best of 2014) and listening to some very wise words from one of my greatest confidants, here is what I consider to be the best of the best of 2015, because when it is all said and done there were a whole lot of bests!

1. best personal achievement – actually going to grad school. This past year I was going to Graduate School at the University of Washington, then I deferred for a year, then with about two months to figure it all out I decided to go again. This was a very “un-Taylor” thing to do but I managed to throw it all together and make it work. It wasn’t always pretty, involved several frantic calls and quite a few tears but I’m not homeless, I love school and I’m so happy that I have found a new normal. So cheers to being a Ducksky (Duck + Husky = ??) and making it work!

beautiful seattle skyline

beautiful seattle skyline

go ducks!

go ducks!

2. best words of wisdom – do you. I can’t even remember where the wisdom of “do you” actually came to me from. But it’s pretty simple. Just “do you.” When things really suck, or when things are frantic and everything is spinning out of control or when all is peachy remember “do you.” It has been my mantra for most of the year and I constantly remind myself that I can’t be anyone worthwhile to myself or anyone else if I don’t “do” myself first. Especially when you don’t know which way is up, just simply focusing on yourself and how you can serve yourself and make yourself be who YOU want to be gives you a fighting chance. Just do what serves your soul, your needs and our unmet desires at that time. Because no one else can do it for you. At least in my highly valuable opinion….

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3. best recipe – homemade ice-cream cake. There are few ways to describe this homemade ice-cream cake that don’t involve swearing due to shear enthusiasm. Point being this cake is phenomenal, it’s so easy to make and will knock the socks off of everyone who has the pleasure of laying their lusting eyes on it. Make it! I promise you wont regret it!

so nom nom nom

so nom nom nom

4. best book – dear sugar. By far the best book I read this year was Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed. It is a book of advice letters and even when you totally cannot in the slightest way relate to the person who is seeking advice, you will get something if not everything out of the stories and advice. Cheryl Strayed speaks directly to your soul in such a frank way. She manages to sum up life, the universe and everything in her words.

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5. best trip – okinawa, japan. Hands down the most fabulous adventure I was lucky enough to take this year was to the Okinawa islands in Japan with my cousin and aunt. We had an incredible time wandering, exploring and not being able to speak or understand a word of Japanese. Plus there were lots of handstands so you cant go wrong with that. There were so many laughs and I cant tell you how happy I am to have such great travel buddies in my life! 

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you can yoga even in japan

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two of the best travel buddies!

two of the best travel buddies!

6. best adventure – mount borah. Hands down, climbing/hiking/scaling the side of the mountain on Mount Borah was my favorite hike of the year. It was humbling, pretty scary at times, incredible to sit at almost the top and enjoy some Bri and champagne and extremely frightening how sunburnt we all got. By far the best #brassblossom adventure in Idaho!

cheers to almost the top!

cheers to almost the top!

so close to the sky

so close to the sky

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7. best clothing buy – j.crew jumpsuit. Once again my favorite purchase of the year was a jumpsuit, this j.crew jumpsuit to be exact. I just love jumpsuits. Like really, really, really love jumpsuits. I keep thinking about branching out from my jumpsuit obsession but I mean you just can’t go wrong with a jumpsuit for any occasion (except if you have to pee really badly…then things get dicey). So I have decided that life is too short so I might as well just continue to adore jumpsuits.

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<3

8. best beauty buy – clarisonic. I was given a Clarisonic by my wonderful aunt (who thus far has made the list twice!) for my birthday and I am obsessed with it. I use it daily in the shower and relish the minute of using it. I was actually disgusted at apparently how bad I am at washing my face after I used the brush after washing my face one night and got so much grossness on it. So if you’re looking for a clean face in 2016 get a Clarisonic.

so fresh and so clean!

so fresh and so clean!

love the color

love the color

9. best local find – idaho dreaming dreamcatcher. I searched high and low for a dream catcher this year to bring only sweet dreams to the boy, Maude Pod and I. And I ironically found the perfect one so close to home. This Idaho Dreaming Dream Catcher was by far my favorite purchase of the year. And since you all need a dream catcher for a stellar 2016, make sure to check out their Etsy Shop for the dream catcher of your dreams!

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love everything about this

love everything about this

10. best party – game dinner 2015. The Game Dinner 2015 that Krista hosted this Spring was my favorite party of the year. There was a TON of game meat, good food and lots of giggles had by all. But really why it was my favorite party (other than the slew of antlers that decorated the table and ribbon chandelier that created the perfect juxtaposition of feminine and masculine) was the fact that it was the first time that life seemed to resemble what it once had been, in a new normal kinda way. We were all surrounded by pure love and it truly brought new meaning to friends that are family. 

the boys <3

the boys ❤

the table

the table

the chandelier

the chandelier

11. best craft – diy wooden banner. I just love a good craft project and this DIY Wooden Banner was by far my favorite project. Perhaps it was because it had a bit of sentimental value to me but making wooden banners to express some love and cheer because one of my favorite things to do. Plus using a wood burner makes you feel like a badass. 

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12. best gift – s’well bottle. I received a s’well bottle as a birthday gift from my mom after lusting over the one that Krista had. This water bottles are pretty much amazing. They are sleek, come in fabulous colors (hello metallics!) and make sure your drink stays fresh. These bottles were definitely #brassblossom’s go to gift this year and for good reason! You won’t even regret buying one for yourself as a much deserved cheers to 2016!

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13. best newest additions – goats! Of course the goats made the list! I think I will forever refer to last summer as “the summer of the goats.” The goats brought so much laughter, snuggles, gallons of milk and love into our lives. So thankful for the craziness, spunk and googling of what to do with goats that they bring to our lives!

crazy goats!

crazy goats!

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goat selfies

goat selfies

someone loves her goat herd

someone loves her goat herd

14. best “i couldn’t live without you people” – each and everyone of you. I admit it, again this is a total stretch of a category but there have been so many friends, confidants and general strangers who give me so much strength, wisdom and room to just let my feelings out this year. I most definitely wouldn’t be standing where I am today without you all. And a very special thank you to all of my lady friends. Those are the fierce ones! So thank you for all the times you all listened, gave me the love I needed, shoveled for us, went on a hike, simply just sat in silence and gave me a push/shove in some direction, regardless of where that might be.

And the biggest best “i couldn’t live without you…” to my wonderful mother who manages to be the most loving and steadfast person I know. She manages the most unlikely of tasks and always puts me back together. I hope to one day be a slightly more organized, half of the woman that she is. ❤

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the hunters do clean up nice
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15. best boy – the boy. Ughhhh, so cheesy but I just have to say it. The boy wins the year for being the most outrageous, stubborn, indomitable, kinda want to sucker punch him sometimes for being crazy, greathearted boy around. I wrote last year that we had an incredible 2014 and little did we know but 2015 was just going to one up us. So cheers to another year of having the boy by my side, healthy and happy new ventures, many more Maude Pod and goat kisses and a fabulous 2016!

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my loves ❤

2016 life goals: 

Like the past couple of years, I continued my 2015 goal list on my iPhone notes. I love the fact that these “notes” go with me everywhere and can be altered, added to or checked off with a selfie high-five at a moments notice. All in all I feel like I did pretty well for my 2015 goals despite the craziness. But moving forward I want to refocus my goal setting…

I heard an amazing sentiment in hot yoga this last week that I want to bring with my into the New Year. It was the idea of using the Winter and Summer equinox as a time to reset. So with the first day of the days growing longer or shorter you begin working towards whatever your heart desires. Then you progressively work more towards whatever that is so it’s a progression. Aka: you don’t have to be perfect at the beginning of your resolution.

But besides reading more books for pleasure and mastering my handstand, what I want to channel in 2016 as the days get longer are the “four agreements”. I heard about the four agreements from a wise soul and feel like they are just what my 2016 “life goals” need. I need to read up more on the agreements but below are the agreements that I hope to continually refocus on in 2016!

  1. Be impeccable with your word.
  2. Don’t take anything personally.
  3. Don’t make assumptions.
  4. Always do your best.

I wish you all a very happy, healthy and joyous New Year. Cheers to 2016!

taylor brass

brass blossom

idaho adventure — a christmas (tree) story

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Christmas is hands-down my favorite holiday. It makes my heart swell in an at-once triumphant, joyous, melancholy, and full-of-life kind of way. Christmas is an equalizer. It puts everything in perspective and reminds us to love, breathe, give, and be thankful.

I learned my enthusiasm for the holiday from my dad. When we first moved to Idaho, his first move was to deck out our new home with a 6 ft. (no exaggeration) wreath, poinsettias on the stairway, and probably 100 ft. of garland. He reveled in Christmas traditions and truly took on a (slightly inappropriate and hysterical version of) santa-like persona, especially when all of his sisters, and (mostly) nieces joined our family at our new home in Idaho for an epic Detwiler Christmas in 2000.

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Our gathering point was our “Idaho” Christmas tree, which was the antithesis of a the super full squat trees from the lot in California. It was 15-feet tall, spindly, and skinny…and it was perfect, especially with the giant and intricate glass balls that helped fill the copious gaps in the branches. It’s just not Christmas without that larger-than-life tree.

the prettiest present I've ever seen under the tree

the prettiest present I’ve ever seen under the tree

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mom, granddaddy, and aun margot

mom, granddaddy, and aunt margot

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When Chase, Cody, Tommy and I lived in our first “house” after college, I insisted we have a Christmas tree. Chase complained that it was too much work, which confused me as all we needed to do was go see Jake at the local tree lot and pay for one. Chase was horrified and said “the only Christmas tree we will have in this house is one we cut down ourselves.”

the hunt in 2012

the hunt in 2012

parley's first christmas under our first christmas tree

parley’s first christmas under our first christmas tree

And so, our own Christmas tradition was born. The past four years, we have tromped into the Idaho forest, often on or around my dad’s birthday or anniversary of his death, and I can’t think of a more appropriate way to honor my father’s zest for life — and Christmas.

Here’s a look at our latest Christmas tree hunt on what would have been my dad’s 65th birthday.

After a very spirited evening the night prior, Chase and I loaded up the dogs and set out for Eagle Creek, which I found especially appropriate. The first winter after my dad passed — it was a magical white Christmas — my dad’s sisters, nieces and my family were gathered around our iconic Christmas Tree. My aunt remarked on how much she wished my dad was there, and at that moment, a bald eagle flew up the river and perched in a tree across from our house, as though he was looking over us. There wasn’t a dry eye in that living room, and we’ve found solace in a glimpse of a bald eagle ever since.

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Chase came prepared with a permit (a whopping $10 for a tree up to 20 feet), borrowed a saw from close friends…we should really just buy our own after four years… and drove as far out Eagle Creek as we could and then set off on foot. The weather the night prior had crystallized the brush poking out of the snow, and Eagle Creek was lazily bubbling. The pups frolicked — Parley went crazy and Zoe battled snow balls in between her toes.

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The struggle was real when we finally accepted the fact that we’d have to walk uphill to find our tree. The other contenders were either too short, too sparse, or too close to Eagle Creek to haul out to our home.

We tromped up a narrow canyon — thank goodness we didn’t wait another week, or the snow would have been above our knees — and weaved through stumps, branches, and snowy boughs in search of the perfect tree. Zoe and I scouted the situation up the (very) steep wall on the right. The winner came into view about one hour into our hunt. It stood alone, and at about 15 feet (!), and actually split into two about 2/3 of the way up, but that only added to its charm. It was a tree with character, and it was love at first sight.

We “timbered” our tree, and Chase and I carefully (or clumsily) finagled all 15 feet of our new friend down the hill, a treacherous task. When we got back to Chase’s truck, we realized just how tall our tree was when we had to strap it to the roof of the truck rather than put it in the bed of truck, as about 8 ft. would be hanging out the back.

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The worst part of this process? Waiting until the tree has dried out so the decorating can begin. I even sacrificed my car’s spot in the garage for a night to speed up this process.

The next night, exactly fourteen years after my dad passed away, the trimming of the tree began with wrapping some warm white lights around each branch (a very important step) to the sweet sounds of The Santa Clause on ABC Family…and some red wine consumption. As our tree was a little taller than past years, the completion was postponed until the following night after a trip to the drug store for a strand of 100 more lights.

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On Monday, December 7, our tree was complete after some questionable “ladder” tactics and balancing acts. While we’ve only shared our own tree for four years, it’s amazing how nostalgic and meaningful even our thrift store ornaments are. We have some red glass balls from The GoldMine, a par par and a zozo, some c’s and k’s, an american flag, hearts, antlers, and my favorite, a mini pink pair of ballet slippers from when we saw the Nutcracker together in Seattle, a Christmas surprise from Chase in our first “official” year.

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While many finish off their tree with a star on top (or in our case, a bow) we tied up our tree with a new gift this year, a tree skirt that says “Millemanns” on it, from my soon-to-be sister-in-law. S**t got real in that moment, but in the best way possible.

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Christmas trees aren’t just silly symbols, they’re stories…Everyone’s is different and speaks to tradition, family, inside jokes, memories, and exciting futures. Ours is no exception, and all I know is that my heart feels fuller than usual every time I plug it in at the end of the day. That twelve feet of twinkling lights, glitter, glass, and mementos is a reminder to pause, breathe, honor loved ones, and count our blessings.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a holiday season full of love.

cheers krista

 

brass blossom

 

 

thanksgiving centerpiece inspiration — gilded pumpkins

thanksgiving centerpiece inspiration

thanksgiving centerpiece inspiration

One of my favorite parts of the holidays is the decorating. As much as I love to plan a menu, planning the centerpiece is half the fun when friends and family gather around one dinner table.

I was so excited about the centerpiece I created for Anna’s baby shower, that I couldn’t imagine throwing the pink pumpkins in the garbage. However, pink doesn’t exactly “go” with the rest of our house, and the boy wasn’t stoked about having baby shower décor lingering in the house.

So, I repurposed them with another coat of spray paint and switched out the flowers a couple times to make them more suitable for two separate table settings.

This versatile centerpiece inspiration is fun to create, and relatively time and cost-efficient. Here’s a look at exactly what I did, but feel free to mix up the quantity, colors, etc!

materials

  • 7 medium-sized pie pumpkins
  • pumpkin carving set (the kid friendly kind will do)
  • newspaper
  • gloves
  • spray paint in 3-6 your colors of choice (I recommend at least one metallic color and then an ombre of another color depending on your color-scheme)
  • 3-5 small aluminum cans that have been opened, emptied, and rinsed out (small mason jars also work)
  • 2-dozen assorted flowers of your choice
  • 5 assorted candlesticks with a wide base on either end in varying heights
  • 20 additional mini pumpkins in white or orange

instructions

 

  1. Using the pumpkin carving set, the newspaper to cover whatever table surface you’re on, and gloves, carve 5 pumpkins, making sure the opening on the top is large enough to fit the aluminum can. Carefully scrape out all the “innards” of the pumpkin so they last as long as possible. Wipe them clean and dry when finished.
  2. Spray paint the carved pumpkins and any additional un-carved pumpkins according to you color scheme. I recommend wearing gloves and holding the pumpkin by the opening to ensure spray paint coverage. You can also leave some of the “naked” and in their original orange color. Let them dry for at least 30 minutes.
  3. While the pumpkins dry, arrange your flowers into equal size bouquets for each pumpkin in the tin cans or mason jars, and fill the can or mason jar with water.
  4. Once the pumpkins are dry, ease the mason jar or can into the opening in the pumpkin.
  5. Arrange the candlesticks in the middle of the table, alternating heights as possible. I also chose to stagger mine so that there was more depth.
  6. Carefully balance the pumpkins on the candlesticks. Arrange additional pumpkins (mini and normal size) around the candlestick pumpkins. Add sparkly votives for nice dimension.
  7. Gather and enjoy!
carved and spray painted pumpkins ready for their flowers

carved and spray painted pumpkins in a range of pinks, ready for their flowers

the first version of this centerpiece, pretty in pink

the first version of this centerpiece, pretty in pink

version 2, that same day, using pretty copper and metal colored spray paints

version 2, that same day, using pretty copper and metal colored spray paints

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I saw these dark purple and blood red blooms at the local grocery store and was inspired to update the pumpkins one more time for Rachel’s Halloween party

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red wine also inspired the color scheme…and the creative process 🙂

bouquet ready to be put in a pumpkin

bouquet ready to be put in a pumpkin

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Here are a few more gilded pumpkin inspiration photos Taylor recently pinned to our Brass Blossom Pinterest (check it out!)
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Have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

cheers krista

 

brass blossom