instagram

giving thanks – what i am thankful for in 2015

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

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

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

IMG_8715

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

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

IMG_2831

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

goat kisses <3

goat kisses ❤

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

IMG_6854

go ducks!

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

cheers from mt borah!

cheers from mt borah!

a little yoga for balance

a little yoga for balance

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

#lululemonforever

#lululemonforever

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

imgres

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

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

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

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

IMG_1941

IMG_3573

IMG_5404

IMG_0440

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

you cant say no to this...

you cant say no to this…

love these ladies!

love these ladies!

❤ idaho

IMG_4441

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

IMG_1730

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

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

so thankful for this guy!

so thankful for this guy!

pretty much

pretty much

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

IMG_8622

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

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 — lazy weekend

This weekend was all about relaxing. One of the best investments that the boy and I have made is a ginormous L-shaped couch that intermittently functions as a small island. I am a firm believer that some weekends are just meant for being lazy. So we made the best of our couch this weekend with the colder weather and indulged in a wonderful homemade dinner, lots of baseball and some reading.

Here are a few things that I have been loving, especially during this lazy weekend!

1. Vie Activewear Instagram. This week VIE ACTIVE featured a photo of mine on their instagram as I was wearing their super awesome leggings in Urban Warrior. The boy got me these (as well as a few other awesome pieces) for my birthday and I have been obsessively wearing them since. I wore them on our recent Goat Lake adventure and took a zen yogi photo that I obviously instagrammed. I was incredibly excited and humbled to be ‘regrammed’! Thanks Vie Active!

A look below at my 15 minutes of fame!

featured on @vieactivewear

featured on @vieactivewear

photo 2

2. Siri as a BFF. My incredible aunt Kory, who is the most patient and loving mother to her three kids, recently posted an article on Facebook that I found wonderful and endearing. The NY Times Article is essentially a love letter to Apple’s Siri from the mother of a boy with autism. The article is at times hysterical while being both comforting and optimistic in a technology obsessed world. A great read for anyone.

19SIRI1-tmagSF

3. Comfort Food Dinner. The boy and I enjoyed the most comforting meal at his parent’s house this weekend. It was the perfect way to end the work week and set the tone for the rest of the weekend. We enjoyed a cheese plate (which I ate about 75% of…no shame), a pear and toasted nut salad, homemade chicken/veggie pot pie and gelato for dessert.

The boy’s mom is an overall superb cook/baker/lady who manages to throw a meal together without any apparent effort. I am constantly baffled at her ease and creativity in the kitchen. She topped the homemade chicken/veggie pot pies with cut up Pillsbury Rolls, which she browned to perfection. They were obviously delicious!

I was in heaven. Food porn below of the delicious meal!

creamiest cheese ever

creamiest cheese ever

so creative!

so creative!

browned to perfection

browned to perfection

pear and toasted nut salad

pear and toasted nut salad

before i ate the entire ramekin

before i ate the entire ramekin…

the best gelato

the best gelato

4. Final Fall Walks. The boy and I have been taking full advantage of what has seemed like a never ending Indian Summer with fall walks on a trail near our house. We pack the stroller into the truck (obviously for the pug and not a baby…) and set off in hopes of wearing Maude Pod out. Even when I’m in a horrible mood, walks like these cheer me up with the fresh air, crazy puppy and beautiful scenery.

the harriman trail

the harriman trail

the boy and maude

the boy and maude

pugger lizzie living the life

pugger lizzie living the life

IMG_6997

no words to describe her happiness

no words to describe her happiness

love these two (even though i'm generally the third wheel)

love these two (even though i’m generally the third wheel)

5. Oregon Students Play Beer Pong in Student Section at Oregon Game. Oregon football is no joke. And the student section at Oregon football is serious. There are guards at the entrance blocking the section and I always found it a win to make it in and out in one piece. Even though I enjoyed many a game in this section, I always felt like a slight impostor. I love the social aspect of football but cant quite say that I LOVE football.

But these fans LOVE Oregon football and obviously America. They inspire me to be a better Oregon fan. A high five is in order for these lads.

photo by

photo by @JeffWhitee/Twitter

6. “The Husband’s Secret” by Liane Moriarty. After reading “Big, Little Lies” by Moriarty I was excited to begin another book by the author for our upcoming book club, which could also be termed a wine/social club. Regardless of what really occurs at “book club,” it pushes me to read a bit more, which is always a good thing. I truly appreciate Moriarty’s writing style. Her books are easy reads yet captivating and page turners. I loved reading “Big, Little Lies” and didn’t see the twist in the book coming at all. Great reads for anyone looking for their next book!

51TRcHe8gnL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

7. Pretty Pies. Food52 recently featured 9 Ways to Fancy Up Your Pies to help you up your game for the upcoming Holiday Season. I am constantly looking for baking inspiration and easy ways to up my game for the Holiday Season (who isn’t?). So I am now inspired and on a mission to make a leaf lattice pie if only to take beautiful pictures of it. Inspiration pictures below!

this marshmellow topping is beutiful and would give me good reason to use a torch in baking again

the leaf lattice pie is my favorite

this marshmellow topping is beutiful and would give me good reason to use a torch in baking again

this marshmellow topping is beautiful and would give me good reason to use the torch again

taylor brass

brass blossom