oregon

best of october – a new normal, seattle romps, idaho love forever, hearts & souls

The past six weeks have been a whirl wind. The last time I wrote a “love it” I literally couldn’t imagine what the upcoming weeks would have in store for me. I set off for Seattle at the end of September to begin a new chapter and my life pretty much turned upside down. Not necessarily upside down in a bad way but in a new normal way. Nothing was quite like I knew it.

But I have slowly started to settle into this new normal of city life, taking the bus, walking to the grocery store, finding “hikes” in random corners of the city, eating phenomenal food, having Skype sessions, requesting hundreds of selfies of Miss Maude Pod and the boy and my mom and the goats, and following my literal dreams. Although there are definitely the moments when I seriously question what the hell am I doing with my life and completely panic about everything, I am always brought back to the fact that I am living my dream in the program I am attending. I feel engaged, I feel motivated and I feel like for the first time in a while that I am going in a direction of purpose. So whenever I have those inevitable moments of serious self doubt I always remind myself of this quote:

“do not worry that your life is turning upside down. how do you know the side you are used to is better than the one to come?” – rumi

Cheers to a new side of life, wether up or down or all around, and what I have been loving during the crazy month of October! (PS I will now only be doing monthly “love its” like Krista as Grad School can be a bit intense at times…)

1. seattle romps. Thankfully my wonderful mom helped me drive to Seattle, unpack and get organized. We had a ridiculous amount of fun along the way and I am very thankful that she came along for the ride and adventures. And while she is a fabulous copilot, cart pusher and sherpa she is not the most fabulous canoe steerer. Thank you so much mom, I likely couldn’t survive without you. Here is a look at all the fun we had!

the prettiest flowers that i arrived to from my lovely roommate

the prettiest flowers that i arrived to from my lovely roommate

go ducks!

go ducks!

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no lifevest, no ability to steer, no problem

no lifevest, no ability to steer, no problem

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new turtle friends

new turtle friends

obviously we went under there

obviously we went under there

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we survived!

we survived!

using the cart escalator!

using the cart escalator!

2. new PNW adventures. Now let me tell you, I don’t think that I have ever been so busy in all of my life. Grad School is a completely different type of beast. But it’s been a good busy. One of the things I truly love about living in Seattle is there is so much going on day or night. So many new places to go to adventure, to eat, to drink and to see new things. I have tried to make the most of the time that I have had and get out to do as much as possible like ferry rides, new hikes, Mariners games, celebrating the ducks and the most fabulous weekend on the beach with my favorite most outlandish and loving friend Ali and her family. I am incredibly lucky that I already have a few great friends that live in Seattle that have welcomed me to the city with open arms and I have managed to make a few new friends along the way as well (who would have thought?? but actually making friends as an adult is hard people…).

ferry rides & morning light

ferry rides & morning light

new hikes! to poo-poo point...

new hikes! to poo-poo point…

idaho friends in seattle places

idaho friends in seattle places

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the most delicious happy hour

the most delicious happy hour

so much fun!

so much fun!

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i went for the fireworks

i went for the fireworks

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i caught a ball (obvi!)

i caught a ball (obvi!)

hike to rattlesnake ridge

hike to rattlesnake ridge

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the best friends <3

the best friends ❤

the prettiest bouq

the prettiest bouq

a trip to the seashore

a trip to the seashore

caught it with her bare hands

caught it with her bare hands

seashore selfies in the wind

seashore selfies in the wind

discovery point

discovery point

the best ladies

the best ladies

go ducks!

go ducks!

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loving the scenes out of boys in the boat

loving the scenes out of boys in the boat

3. i couldn’t stay away for long. And while my first couple of weeks in Seattle were great, I was ready to return home to everything that I love so much, the fresh air, the mountains, the familiarity, the friends, the Maude Pod, the boy and the family. So I ventured home over Halloween weekend and had truly the most incredible weekend. I only cried like four times but like three of those were just out of pure joy of being home and surrounded by so much good juju and love and Maude Pod kisses. On a side note flights are like super cheap right now if anyone is wanting to go somewhere or come visit me!

On my first day there the boy took the day off and we had a perfectly relaxing Idaho day obviously filled with a few adventures. After sleeping in and so many Maude Pod snuggles we ventured to Stanley for some time in the hot springs and a romp at Redfish Lake that was completely deserted. We played on the beach, on the dock and Maude played in the water and made a good attempt at burying her face in the sand like a crazy dog. It was literally a day that just cleared your mind and left you wanting more of that perfect Idaho solitude. It was one of those days that I wanted to bottle up to save forever. To bottle up that feeling of pure contentment, pure joy and pure nothingness on the mind. The rest of the weekend flew by with lots of amazing food, family dinners, hikes, working out like three times a day and a Halloween Party for the books. Until next time Idaho!

the most wonderful place in the world

the most wonderful place in the world

idaho love <3

idaho love ❤

i couldn't leave without a handstand

i couldn’t leave without a handstand

this lady completes my life

this lady completes my life

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running on water

running on water

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perfection

perfection

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well hello

well hello

i missed you too goats

i missed you too goats

my favorite co-pilot

my favorite co-pilot

afternoon adventures

afternoon adventures

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when you try to clean the car...

when you try to clean the car…

someone loves her goat herd

someone loves her goat herd

my favorite idaho ladies!

pug trumps flamingo (see what i did there…)

#thebrassblossom

#thebrassblossom

last morning walks

last morning walks

my love bugs

my love bugs

<3

4. home is where the heart is. Idaho will always be one of my true loves. Here are a few “pieces” of Idaho that I have been carrying around, sporting and dreaming under to keep my love for Idaho strong while living in the Seattle rain. Also on a somewhat related note, Krista and I decided that the shape of Idaho is pretty much the coolest state shape ever, right?!

the most amazing idaho necklace birthday present from the boy's parents

the most amazing idaho necklace birthday present from the boy’s parents

the cutest idaho shirt!

the cutest idaho shirt!

washington print by the lovely gina hagerty, idaho string art by me

washington print by the lovely gina hagerty, idaho string art by me

5. addicted to water. I am pretty much addicted to water and drink probably far more than anyone actually thinks is necessary in a day but it just makes me feel better. Another thing that I am addicted to is water bottles. And while I will forever have a favorite water bottle that is a sea green Nalgeen that happens to glow in the dark (the boy got it for me so that I could see it at night being legally blind = the sweetest gift ever), this S’well water bottle might go in for the tie. My mom (who is a fabulous gifter) got me this bottle for my birthday and I am in love with it. It might seem ridiculously pricey for a water bottle but I promise you can’t go wrong. Also since it’s almost that time of the year one of these bottles would make a great gift for that special someone in your life…

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6. a pug bush. What is a “pug bush” you might ask? A pug bush is what my mom and I created to honor our dear, sweet pugs. We had to say goodbye to our second pug during late summer and knew that we wanted to bury them together. If you have ever owned a pug or two or a grumble you will know that pugs love to be on top of you, on top of each other or on top of anything and everything while on top of each other. Pugs love to snuggle so we decided we had to bury our pugs together. And to honor them we bought a bush to bury them under. And not just any bush, we bought the shortest, fattest, most misshapen bush we could find that will apparently bloom bright, red flowers in the Spring and Summer. Thus the creation of a pug bush. Now if only the bush will survive until next Spring/Summer to see the flowers bloom if the goats don’t eat it all first…

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❤ a pug bush

7. broken record + quotes to live by. Other than thousands of pages of text books I haven’t had much time to read this past month but I have come across a few must read articles…I have said it before and I will say it again, I love Cheryl Strayed. So when I came across this LA Times article I knew that I had to share it. Strayed pretty much sums up everything and anything stating, “you have to be brave enough to break your own heart.” Aka even in those times that it really sucks and everything is really hard you have to be brave enough to do what is going to make you and your life better. The quote is from her new book of quotes, Brave Enough, which is a collection of her all time best quotes. Strayed has gotten me pretty far this year so I urge you all in those moments of self doubt or hating life or hating your current position in life to stalk Strayed, read her books or watch the beauty of one of her stories unfold. I promise you wont regret it. Plus she is now friends with Reese Witherspoon so she is clearly a genius.

Another must read I happened across was from the NY Times (clearly I’m currently all about the “Times”) when it was shared by a wise friend with an equally incredible soul on Facebook. The article is a very candid interview with Rihanna and other than the random notes about childbirth, it was truly a beautiful article that left me wanting more. It ends with this captivating idea:

“Souls are funny things. They stay constant even when the outside changes, or when the heart makes mistakes. Souls don’t really care about good or bad, right or wrong — they’re just true. Everlasting…A soul just knows a soul.”

taylor brass

brass blossom

weekend love it – some ups & downs, sweet dreams and forever pug love

The past couple of weeks have truly been a whirlwind of ups and downs and new adventures. I managed to catch a wicked Summer cold that literally flattened me for several days, which was most likely my body telling me I needed to slow down just a bit. So I am definitely welcoming the beginning of Fall and some new and hopefully a bit less hectic adventures.

1. the bouqs. I discovered The Bouqs after reading about it on Carrots n Cake and I am pretty much smitten with their service. The company is an online floral service that delivers eco-friendly farmed flowers within about 48 hours. For anyone that lives in Idaho or any rural area this is huge. And to top it all off, the bouqs are a flat $50 with shipping (or $60 for a large bouq). I just love the idea that the flowers are eco-farmed and they have so much more than just your run of the mill bouquets. Flowers + succulents = winning. Definitely worth checking out if you are needing to send flowers anytime soon or just wanting to treat yourself! 

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2. idaho dreaming dream-catcher. Several months ago I had this crazy dream/vision/coming of terms that the boy and I (Maude Pod too of course) needed a huge dream-catcher for above our bed. So for several months I searched high and low for a ginormous dream-catcher with no luck. I did have a few hard to meet specifications though: it had to be literally GINORMOUS (like 3 feet in width), it had to be made with good juju (because being made in a factor somewhere in Asia just doesn’t scream good juju to me, sorry Urban Outfitters) and it had to be ethereal. I was beginning to think my vision may have just been a vision that was never going to be reality until I discovered Idaho Dreaming. My vision came perfectly true so close to home with the lovely dream-catcher that I purchased and is proudly making only good dreams come true above our heads nightly.

A full post to come on this beautiful dream-catcher because it is too pretty and perfect not to share the 150 photos I have taken of it…

all wrapped up - i literally couldn't wait to open it

all wrapped up – i literally couldn’t wait to open it

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perfection <3

perfection ❤

3. m + e = oregon wedding love. It has definitely been a summer full of celebrating love for both Krista and I (the boys too). This past weekend the boy and I celebrated one of my best friends and roommate for several years of college marry her incredible man. They are truly a perfect pair and two of the most loyal, generous and kind-hearted individuals I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

The weekend was literally perfect. It was full of so many good friends, good laughs, giant Oregon skies and non-stop festivities. It was one of those weekends that you never really want to end.

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love these ladies!

love these ladies!

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the best "family" around!

the best “family” around!

morning runs with bae

morning runs with bae

oregon skies

oregon skies

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so much love for these two

so much love for these two

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wooh!!!

wooh!!!

#dynasty

#dynasty

so much wind

so much wind

the best of the best

the best of the best

looking hot at cougar rock

looking hot at cougar rock

photo by gina paulson

photo by gina paulson

4. goat friends. If you ever feel like you are a bit low on friends in life, I have some advice for you. Get baby dwarf goats. Literally everyone loves baby goats and baby goats love everyone! The goats have had oodles of visits this summer and clearly they are just loving it…

goat kisses!

goat kisses!

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goat selfies

goat selfies

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no words...

no words…

more goat selfies

more goat selfies

5. smokey, summer adventures. A few weekends ago my cousin came to visit for the weekend and we had a wonderful weekend full of Idaho adventures. And while it was ridiculously smokey, we didn’t let the haze get to us. When we were growing up we pretty much spent some time every summer together either in Idaho or in Minnesota at the most amazing summer camp. Looking back on it summer camp was pretty much the greatest thing ever…our weekend was like an adult version of summer camp with some lake time, pool time, daily ice-cream and board games each evening. Can’t wait until the next time I see this lovely and hysterical lady again!

best cookie ever at the stanley bakery

best cookie ever at the stanley bakery

redfish lake paradise

redfish lake paradise

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6. pug for pres. Trump or pug? I now know who I am voting for…

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7. forever pug love. This past week we said goodbye to my beautiful pugger, Lizzie. It was a ridiculously hard decision but I know that she is in a better place most likely basking in the sun or in a pug snuggle pile. I will forever miss her love with no boundaries and ear piercing bark that only came out this last year. A life without pugs is truly an incomplete life and I hope to one day (soonish) adopt another pugger lover. I love you forever Liz.

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beautiful flowers, a card and wonderful book from the best friends anyone could ask for

beautiful flowers, a card and wonderful book from the best friends anyone could ask for

I hope you all have a wonderful week and make sure to give lots of love to those that are special to you, furry or not.

taylor brass

brass blossom

diy – string-art state boards

Idaho state string-art!

Idaho state string-art!

One blustery fall day two years ago I became suddenly determined to create a string-art Idaho board all in one day. I rummaged through a pile of scrap wood and found a perfect piece of plywood that I stained, hammered and tied, all in one-day. After that epic adventure, my enthusiasm wore off a bit, but I wanted to recreate a few more state boards for birthday gifts.

The Oregon and Colorado boards that I made eventually became horribly belated birthday gifts but I figured it’s the thought that counts, right? These boards make perfect birthday gifts, secret santa gifts or even just an easy DIY gift for yourself (because everyone needs to gift themselves once in a while). And the best part about these is that they involve two of my favorite craft essentials: gold & glitter.

For all you glitter haters out there, or if you live with someone who doesn’t think glitter is the bee’s knees, (especially after you spill it all over their new work backpack), I have a life-saving tip for you and your relationships. You can somewhat seal glitter to any surface if you spray a clear gloss finish over it once dry! The clear gloss allows you to enjoy your glitter on any surface all while keeping it contained. Now all of the boyfriends and husbands all over the world can rest easy next time you bust out your glitter…

required materials

required materials

instructions

 

  1. Find a suitable soft wood board for the state that you want to make. A bit bigger than 8.5×11 inches on all sides works perfectly.
  2. Sand the sides and edges of your board to make them as smooth as possible.
  3. Find a paint or stain that you like and paint/stain the top and sides of your board. I did three coats of a darker wood stain and let each coat dry before the next.
  4. Print out your state of choice on a piece of printer paper (8.5×11 inches) or trace from a larger atlas type book.
  5. Break out your ruler or eyeball it and make marks all the way around the state print to mark where to hammer your nails in. I make my marks between .25 to .5 inches apart depending on how large the state outline is.
  6. Once dried to your desired color/stain, center your paper with your state of choice on the board.
  7. Using small nails with a larger head (to hold the string), hammer in the corners of your state to hold the paper down.
  8. Starting at one corner, hammer the nails individually at each marking to complete the outline of your state. To assist in holding the small nails, use pliers to hold the nail as you hammer.
  9. Once your outline is complete, create a heart or other shape of choice on the part of the state you/your friend is from.
  10. Once again, hammer in nails to outline the heart. Attempt to make these nails a bit closer than the outline nails as you will use each of these over-and-over.
  11. Tie your string onto one corner of the outline of the state. Thread string around  one of the heart nails that is relatively directly across and bring back to the next nail in the outline of the state. You will use only one continuous string for this entire process so make sure you have enough.
  12. Double wrap string around this outline nail to ensure it will remain if a string comes loose along the way. Thread string to the same heart nail so that it now has two loops around it.
  13. Continue wrapping around the outline nails. Each heart nail will have many loops on it. Move on to the next when it gets quite full and as you move away from that nail on the outline.
  14. Once you have completed your state in string, tie off the string on the same nail that you tied onto. Trim the excess string as necessary.
  15. Decorate the sides as desired! I painted each side gold and then covered with gold glitter. To “contain” the glitter, I sprayed each side after it was dry with a clear gloss finish.
  16. Hang or display your board to show your state-pride!
stain, paint or enjoy the natural wood of your board

stain, paint or enjoy the natural wood of your board

 

paint/stain as many coats as desired. the type of wood will also contribute to how dark the stain will dry.

paint/stain as many coats as desired. the type of wood will also contribute to how dark the stain will dry.

mark along the outline at ~.5 to .75 inches to mark where to nail

mark along the outline at ~.25 to .5 inches to mark where to nail

 

nail each corner down after your paper is centered

nail each corner down after your paper is centered

pliers makes holding the small nails much easier

pliers make holding the small nails much easier

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once finished with the outline of the state, outline a heart at the desired place

nail down heart. once finished with all your nailing, pull off the paper to see your handiwork!

nail down heart. once finished with all your nailing, pull off the paper to see your handiwork!

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tie off your string on a corner and move around the outline from there

looping to the heart nails that have several loops on each nail

looping to the heart nails that have several loops on each nail

double wrap the string around each outline nail to make it more secure

double wrap the string around each outline nail to make it more secure

keep wrapping! make sure you have time to dedicate to this as it is difficult to take a break

keep wrapping! make sure you have time to dedicate to this as it is difficult to take a break

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tie off the string on the nail you started on

finish the side of the boards as desired. glitter or leaving them plain both look great

finish the side of the boards as desired. glitter or leaving them plain both look great!

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if using glitter, seal the sides with a clear gloss finish

Colorado state string-art for a very belated birthday gift

Colorado state string-art for a very belated birthday gift

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Oregon state string-art as another very, very belated birthday gift

off in the mail in padded envelopes!

off in the mail in padded envelopes!

TIP: Use a softer-type wood for the board. The first couple of boards that I made I used plywood because it was readily available to me. It was very difficult to hammer into and my mom (who is brilliant I might add) suggested I use a softer wood. Using a soft wood made it so much easier to hammer into and cut the headache and project time down.

taylor brass

brass blossom