marie kondo

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!


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


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.



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.



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



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 february — women rising, sparking joy, investing in health, discarding junk

Phew! It’s been awhile. Between the holidays and the dead of winter, I haven’t felt quite as inspired, or inspiring. I went through a several day period at the end of December when I realized that I hang onto a lot more stress and anxiety than I’d like to admit, and that ultimately, I can’t sustain it on my own. It was a humbling experience to say the least. There’s a reason the brass blossom was born in February two years ago — we need an outlet..and, I still need one.

However, I’m feeling a change in energy recently, and it may be due to some of the things that I’ve loved in February. I’m feeling more like myself than I have in a long time. Here’s a look at some of the things that have brightened my world.

1. I am woman, hear me roar: It’s no secret that I am a feminist, and I hope you all are too. If you need a reminder that “feminist” is not a dirty word, or synonymous with “man hating,” then listen to the wisdom of Hermione:

I’ve been really inspired by the politics of a certain Presidential Candidate recently, especially in comparison to some others, and by several articles my friends have helped me stumble upon. Here are some great links:

The most powerful voter this year, who in her rapidly increasing numbers has become an entirely new category of citizen, is the SINGLE AMERICAN WOMAN” — NY Magazine

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How Society Pays When Womens Work Is Unpaid” — New York Times

“Moms started going home and saying to their husbands, ‘If Bill Gates can drive his daughter, you better darn well drive our daughter or son,’ ” Melinda Gates said {on the topic of ‘time poverty’}. “If you’re going to get behavior change, you have to role-model it publicly.”

What Women Find in Friends That They May Not Get From Love” — New York Times

“They made things I yearned for, like better work, fairer remuneration, increased self-assurance and even just fun, seem more attainable.”

“But the real consequence of having friendships that are so fulfilling is that when you actually meet someone you like enough to clear the high bar your friendships have set, the chances are good that you’re going to really like him or her. That’s what happened to me.”

I am also considering becoming a Stella and Dot stylist, and I was blown away by the powerful sense of community and empowerment so many of the stylist have when I participated in a Facebook event. Stay tuned for more info on this exciting development!

cheers to all my best ladies! (some not pictured of course)

cheers to all my best ladies! (some not pictured of course)

2. beauty routine investments: Blame it on the impending nuptials, but I think I was just long overdue for a bit of a beauty routine update. I’ve always loved my Cosmedix face cleansing routine, my Bobbi Brown hydrating eye cream, Diorshow mascara my BareMinerals face makeup. Here are a couple worthwhile upgrades and investments that I made this last month.

1. Bobbi Brown Makeup Remover — I don’t know how I lived without this for so long. It’s mild, not scented, and nourishing.

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2. Bobbi Brown Rich Caramel Eye Set — I love every single shade in this collection. They’re subtle but powerful and just make me feel pretty.

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3. BareMinerals Skinlongevity — I don’t know about you, but fine lines are well on their way, and the boy has a very strong stance on Botox ;). Beyond that, I felt like I needed to nourish my skin more, especially in the winter. I love this product. It brightens and moisturizes my face without making it oily, smells great, and makes me feel like less of a puffy faced bum when I wake up after a few margaritas…and glasses of wine, if you know what I mean. I’ve only used it for a few weeks, so I can’t speak to it’s long-term effectiveness, but it is clinically proven, which helps.


4. Tria Hair Removal Laser — This is my far the most impulsive buy of my life (or at least the one with the biggest price tag). I was sitting on a bike at the gym, and a commercial came on, and next thing I knew, I had purchased one on my iPhone in a nice turquoise blue. I frequent an esthetician, and my genes aren’t exactly favorable in this department, so at-home hair removal is right up my alley. I took advantage of a Valentine’s Day discount deal, and I am so impressed with this product. I’m only a couple weeks in, and I can already see a difference. The design is sleek, and the product is incredibly easy and non-scary (and pretty pain-free) to use.


5. Taking advantage of my gym membership — I feel so lucky to be a member of the beautiful Zenergy Health Club and Spa. While I’ve been a member for more than a year, I feel like I really just started taking advantage of it in the past month or two. I now frequent a barre class, a yoga class, and my new favorite activity of sitting on a bike for about 45 minutes and reading a book while I exercise. It combines two activities that I often feel like I don’t have time for, but both of which make me feel incredibly happy.

3. sparking joy and discarding junk: I originally saw reference to Marie Kondo’s book “Spark Joy” in a People Magazine when I was dress shopping in San Francisco, and I thought it sounded like a really interesting approach to house cleaning. I saw both of her books,” The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” and the follow-up, “Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up” in Costco a couple weekends ago, and immediately added them to the cart (ha, somewhat conflicting topics).

marie kondo

I read the introduction one Sunday after barre class while eating some toast, and instead of skiing, I discarded an entire massive garbage can’s worth of junk in my house under the rule that if an object does not “spark joy,” it does not belong in my house — anything from furniture to undergarments to a kitchen appliance. The following weekend, I did the same thing. I have never felt better coming home at the end of each day.

I’ve never considered myself a hoarder, but I’m definitely not known for being particularly tidy. I’m still making my way through the second book, which is more useful for reorganizing everything, but I honestly feel like this habit will stick, because it’s simple and effective. Of course, I can’t just throw away my couch because it doesn’t spark joy — I have practical considerations to take into account like my financial reality and the fact that two dogs have made that crappy couch their own. That being said, I can handle a new bedside lamp, a new bench for the end of our bed, and a fun container to keep laundry items in on top of the washing machine.

Anyway, enough said. Pick up these books, and dedicate yourself to a tidying “event.” It’s well worth it!


4. McCall is for Lovers: The boy and I traveled to his home in McCall with six of our dearest friends during President’s Day/Valentine’s Day weekend. We got college drunk in the basement, skied a bit, and had the time of our lives. Thank you to Ingri and Steve for their incredible hospitality. This is going to have to be an annual tradition!

dinner at the Sushi Bar

dinner at the Sushi Bar on Valentine’s Day

clown hot tub

clown hot tub

party pups

party pups


skiing on Brundage

skiing on Brundage & the latest Smith ad



I hope you’re all having a fabulous winter! A couple more recipes to come his week…

cheers krista


brass blossom