mt borah

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

best of july — wedding weekends, girl power, good causes & great views

BEST WEEKENDS: Chase and I have been on a wedding tour of the West with three weddings out of the five weekends in July. It’s been a wonderful whirlwind full of love, laughter, dancing, happy tears, and just so much fun.

First, we celebrated the marriage of Vanessa Bianco and Tyler Chandler, great friend’s of Chase’s sister’s, and ours, in Lake Oswego, Oregon. It was a quick trip, but we made the best of it. Congrats, Nessa and Tyler!

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adorable favors

adorable favors

my handsome date

my handsome date

Next up was the main event of our summer. Here are just a few of the incredible photos that Ray J Gadd captured of the weekend. Check out the blog post here for more.

Ray J Gadd Photography

there are no words for this one...incredible traditional Japanese dance/chant from the groom, Brad, and his Japanese friends

there are no words for this one…incredible traditional Japanese dance/chant from the groom, Brad, and his Japanese friends

Ray J Gadd Photography

Ray J Gadd Photography

incredible photo from the end of the night

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incredible photo from the end of the night

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our beautiful flowers

our beautiful flowers

Finally (at least for July) we went to an intimate and super fun (more casual) affair back in Sun Valley to celebrate the marriage of two close friends (and former bosses for bother of us), Stephanie and Josh.

lovely reception at velocio ft. beer, wine, and bbq

lovely reception at velocio ft. beer, wine, and bbq

stephanie literally danced down the aisle

stephanie literally danced down the aisle

BEST READS:

My favorite reads this month have been all about girl power, from every angle. I’m using my new friend behappy.me/generator to bring some quotes to life.

Our dear friend Rachel brought this BRILLIANT essay about girls’ confidence to our attention. Read it, please. They are words to live by, with a side of humor, and if they don’t inspire you, then you are uninspirable. That’s not a word.

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This may seem counterintuitive, but my truest guilty pleasure on TV is “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette.” To all you women-shaming bullies out there — many of whom are apparently our fellow females — shame on you. I am a huge Kaitlyn fan because she is unabashedly herself, and she represents a very real woman who makes real decisions, real mistakes, and who (God forbid) likes to have sex. This Bustle article says it better than I can with quotes from Kaitlyn herself. I also thought this older NYTimes article titled “The Marriage Plot” provided an interested take on the ridiculous allure of the show. Finally, this crazy (but is it?!) Bachelorette conspiracy theory from Taylor threw me for a loop…

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I am not on track to be a mother anytime soon, but I thought this article on raising strong girls who are leaders and discouraging gender role stereotypes is an inspiring read for all of us.

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I just finished Paper Towns, which Taylor also recommended, and LOVED it. It brought me back to my melodramatic teen years (although maybe those are never over) but also spoke to me on a very adult level in terms of learning the limits of understanding and idolizing another person without compromising yourself. I can’t wait to see this movie, and this read further solidified the fact that John Green is one of my favorite contemporary authors.

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BEST CAUSE:

I accompanied my lovely mother to “Tuscany on Tenth,” a benefit for Boulder Mountain Clayworks, which is an amazing local nonprofit. We enjoyed a silent auction (I’m the proud new owner of a mirrored tray with six little cups), a raffle, a live “throwing” demonstration, and some delicious pizza from the Ketchum Grill/Enoteca pizza truck. It was an accessible, refreshing, and low-key event that goes to a great group of people who work to bring arts to a wider community. I will definitely go again next year!

every guest got to choose a "wine cup" favor. I chose I beautiful turquoise one that I use all the time!

every guest got to choose a “wine cup” favor. I chose I beautiful turquoise one that I use all the time!

beautiful tray and cups from local artist Jake Addicoff

beautiful tray and cups from local artist Jake Addicoff

You’ve been living under a rock if you haven’t heard of Cecil the Lion. While I echo the feelings of many in that Walter is most likely a horrible person, I’ve been trying to force myself to open my mind, especially as I live in a “hunting household.” I really grapple with the ethics of appropriate hunting (Cecil was of course unjustly killed), and the only firm conclusion I can draw is that I have a distinct issue with hunting when it’s about ego (and probably a small pecker) rather than feeding your family, respect for outdoors and all animals, and basic empathy. There’s a reason serial killers historically are cruel to animals in their youth, just saying. Walter clearly crossed that line, and I worry for the men — and women (ahem, you disgusting “Idaho Huntress”) — who slide down that slippery slope. That being said, Steve Rinella, who I first gained respect for from this article titled “How I Fell For My Complete Opposite,” had some great thoughts on the issue, which as the boy constantly reminds me, deters me from pigeonholing my opinions as I often do. Don’t get me wrong, I signed several petitions online to bring justice to the Cecil situation, but it’s always a good idea to see all sides.

BEST BUYS:

To totally switch gears, I made some great summery purchases this month. Here they are!

pink stitck posey maxi from Sway

pink stitch posey maxi from Sway

seriously on sale (70% off!) at Dillard's, I love this strapless BCBG dress that I wore to Jenna's rehearsal dinner

seriously on sale (70% off!) at Dillard’s, I love this strapless BCBG dress that I wore to Jenna’s rehearsal dinner

the joie opal sandal I lusted over for months until caving in

the joie opal sandal I lusted over for months until caving in

BEST VIEWS:

Taylor and I have continued our hiking tour of our Idaho backyard with a couple recent ventures. Add Summit Creek to my favorite hikes list, and add our attempt up Borah to the “super awesome but super intense and might not need to ever do it again” list.

summit creek summit

summit creek summit

#brassblossom

#brassblossom does borah

the view on the way down chicken out ridge

the view on the way down chicken out ridge

Even on days when I don’t really have time to get my heart rate up, I try to even go on a 15-minute dog walk around the block, especially after I read this article titled “How Walking in Nature Changes the Brain.” Basically, walking in nature vs. along city streets decreases time spent “brooding.” Brooding be gone, I say! Walk in the outdoors!

BEST LAUGHS:

It’s no secret that I am dying to get a French bulldog sometime (soon) in my lifetime. Taylor sent me this short video when I needed a laugh, and it delivered. I will have a French bulldog.

We’re already half-way through August! Yikes! Hope yours is  a great one.

cheers krista

brass blossom