sheryl sandberg

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

weekend love it – west coast, best coast, option B & love birds

Summer is officially full force in Idaho. Like most Summers this Summer is off to a busy start with many more plans in the works. I am loving every minute of the sunniness, hotness and busyness and having been in three states in the last couple of weeks, I cant wait to add a few more travels on in upcoming weeks!

Here is what I have been loving all over the west!

1. summer vacation. I spent this past week on a family vacation. It was a wonderful week full of love, sun and a bit (aka a lot) of yard work. My cousin, who was in Wyoming from the very far away state of New York, and I had some wonderful bonding time raking, sunning, handstanding and trying to get in a daily workout. But in true vacation form, we balanced all that work with enough frozen yogurt (some Chocolate, Brownie Ball concoction) for an army. It was a perfectly relaxing week and much needed visit!

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summer running

summer running

standard champion pose

standard champion pose

heaven

heaven

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2. amazing friends & love. Since I was only a hot minute (slash 3.5 hours) away from Boulder, Colorado I was lucky enough to overlap my vacation with one of my dear friend’s engagement parties. This lady is one of the most beautiful people that I know, both inside and out. She has the most wonderful smile that her soul literally shines through. Her man friend isn’t half bad either and they have been sporting their love since Middle School. That’s true love right there people. Congrats Bri and Luke!

And to match such a beautiful couple, the engagement party was spectacular. The décor, the drinks, the food, the fairy lights and the company was amazing. An encompassing look below since I couldn’t only take a few pictures. I topped off my evening with a short night in Boulder with my hilarious and always loving cousin. We had margs at the rio and breakfast at the buff. Literally, all my favorite people, places and food/drinks in less than 24 hours. I think Boulder is the city my soul just may belong in…

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cutest little owl wine stopper for an owl loving girl

cutest little owl wine stopper for an owl loving girl

love these two!

love these two!

love birds <3

love birds ❤

this table was seriously just the cutest

this table was seriously just the cutest

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i ate this handful x a billion

i ate this handful x a billion

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bubbles, sunsets and pretty friends

bubbles, sunsets and pretty friends

best breakfast ever

best breakfast ever

much needed next morning chai

much needed next morning chai

nom nom nom

nom nom nom

some needed greens for the drive home

some needed greens for the drive home

3. kick the shit out of option B. I became a Sheryl Sandberg devotee, admirer and slight stalking after reading “Lean In”. I highly recommend this book (regardless of your gender) as I think that everyone could learn from Sandberg’s wisdom and life, business, sitting at the table advice. I felt that I resonated with most everything in her book and had a bit of an epiphany about being called “bossy” my entire life…

Sandberg’s husband recently passed away suddenly and after a 30 days mourning period of Sheloshim, she shared quite possible the most heartfelt and beautiful reflection to the world on Facebook. And once again, Sandberg’s words deeply resonated with me. Her grit, openness and ability to feel and express her feelings is beautiful. Her letter is a must read for a bit of a reminder of all that life can be (you should likely grab a tissue or two).

Here are my top three take-aways from Sandberg’s letter:

a. “I have learned that I never really knew what to say to others in need. I think I got this all wrong before; I tried to assure people that it would be okay, thinking that hope was the most comforting thing I could offer.”

b. “I have learned that resilience can be learned…Personalization—realizing it is not my fault. He told me to ban the word “sorry.” To tell myself over and over, This is not my fault. Permanence—remembering that I won’t feel like this forever. This will get better. Pervasiveness—this does not have to affect every area of my life; the ability to compartmentalize is healthy.”

c. “Option A is not available. So let’s just kick the shit out of option B.”

4. pretty cards. Since I have recently had quite a bit to celebrate (and more to come!), I have needed several cards, whether they are for thank yous, congratulations or just sending a bit of love. Willow Papery has some of the prettiest cards and I have just been loving sending a bit of snail mail.

how adorable is the antler card?!

how adorable is the antler card?!

5. goats on a tramp. If this doesn’t make you smile, nothing will. After watching this video I have concluded we need a trampoline for our goats and “sproinging” might be my favorite new word ever…

6. pioneer cabin. I convinced Krista that we should summit to Pioneer Cabin from Johnstone Creek this weekend. We have made it an annual hike the past three years so in an effort to switch things up we took another route. And while the Johnstone Creek access to Pioneer Cabin is spectacularly scenic with abundant wildflowers, a waterfall and spectacular views of the Pioneer Mountains, it is steep, long and hotter than Hades in 80+ degrees. Thank god there is an incredible view at the top and we brought a picnic (which consisted mostly of Brie) or we likely would not have made it. It was definitely an adventure (post to come)!

"the higher you get, the higher you get"

“the higher you get, the higher you get”

me & my main squeeze

me & my main squeeze

first view of the pioneers

7. wildflowers & flower crowns. We have written about it several times but the wildflowers in Idaho are just so spectacular. Literally everything is in full bloom (including my allergies) right now. This includes my favorite wildflower, the sego lily (which just so happens to be the state flower of Utah if you were wondering). We have gone on several scampers behind our house to get the dogs a bit of exercise and enjoy the spectacular flowers.

Miss Maude Pod and I also cheered on the boy last week while he was dominating in softball. I literally know negative rules about softball and likely have even less hand-eye-coordination so in my opinion pretty much everyone dominates at the sport…on a side note: it’s really nice to see all the couples that get to play softball together – I’m still waiting on my invite. So while the boy played, Miss Maude Pod and I sat in the grass, made flower crowns and ate a picnic dinner all while sorta watching the game. Romantic date for two. Check.

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crazy lady

crazy lady

pretty sego lilies

pretty sego lilies

softball picnic

softball picnic

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flower crown love

flower crown love

all star

all star

Cheers to wonderful and warm week celebrating America! Be safe!

taylor brass

brass blossom

weekend love it — quarter century life happenings

This past weekend, I turned the big ole 25. Growing up, I was fortunate enough to go to an amazing school that had an incredible outdoor program. The not so incredible part as an 17 year year old, or incredible part now looking back on it, is that I was generally tromping through the woods in somewhere, USA on my birthday as every year we had a fall trip. Looking back now, I cannot complain that I was lucky enough to celebrate my birthday surrounded by friends and the great outdoors.

This year the celebrations were plentiful, although simple, which is just what I wanted. Needless to say, the past couple of weeks have been full of love, well wishes and more fall-inspired fare and decorations, all of which I adore. Below are just a few things that I have been loving lately!

1. Quarter Century Birthday. My birthday was everything that I could have asked for. The celebrations were mellow, which is just what I wanted. So thank you for all of the beautiful birthday wishes and cheers to an even better next quarter century!

Leading up to my birthday this year I knew I just wanted to keep it simple. We had a small “family” gathering on the night of my birthday with amazing food and company and then to top my birthday week off, Krista and our dear friend Rachel threw me a little girls birthday bash. The theme was appropriately a fall inspired, vegetarian harvest feast. Both celebrations were wonderful and pointed my next quarter century in a wonderful direction!

birthday treasures: just a few of the wonderful cards i received with loving birthday wishes, garden picked sunflowers and a decorative white pumpking

birthday treasures: just a few of the wonderful cards i received with loving birthday wishes, garden picked sunflowers and a decorative white pumpkin

end of the night girl's birthday celebration

end of the night girl’s birthday celebration

incredible new workout "pants" from the boy + birthday wishes from maude

incredible new workout “pants” (from vie activewear) from the boy + birthday wishes from maude!

2. Thought Catalog — Early 20’s versus Late 20’s. After our girl’s birthday celebration ended when the kitchen was cleaned and all the candles were blown out, Krista and I happened along the topic of feeling older. By no means do I feel like an old maid, even though I have always been more of a home body, but I have recently felt that I am teetering (slash 10-steps ahead of) the line towards Late 20’s. So cheers to a clean kitchen, farmer’s markets, sleeping and kale!

This ‘Thought Catalog’ by Jamie Varon had me laughing out loud and fairly accurately sums up how I’m feeling about Early 20’s versus Late 20’s. A must read for a chuckle.

You’ve aged like a fine wine that you hopefully paid more than $3 for…

You’ve aged like a fine wine that you hopefully paid more than $3 for…

3. “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg. During the past year, Sandberg’s book Lean In has come into many conversations. The book has been in the back of my mind as a must read when I get around to it. But after my friend, Rachel, asked me if I have read Sandberg’s book I felt like the universe was not so casually telling me that it was finally time to get around to it.

In an attempt to be practical (now that I am 25) I put the book on hold at the library and completely forgot that I had done so. So when it finally arrived back and I received the e-mail it was available I immediately dug into the book. Ironically I had already bookmarked Fortune’s Most Powerful Women in Business to include in my next “Weekend Love It,” which Sheryl Sandberg is featured as #10.

I’m not finished quite yet but recommend this book to anyone, male of female, business oriented or not.

Lean In - by Sheryl Sandberg

Lean In – by Sheryl Sandberg

Another side note: Apparently Lean In Org is an Instagram, which I now follow and recommend that all of you do to receive some daily inspiration!

4. Powerful Women. I wasn’t intending to highlight a theme of powerful women but after reading Fortune’s Most Powerful Women in Business last week I knew that I needed to share it. I was particularly captured by the trend that these powerful women are pushing boundaries into heavy industries (i.e. tech, energy, defense, and autos) and not solely focused in creative industries. In college I received a few Federal Grants for simply being a “woman in science,” which I gratefully accepted. The trend and actual happenings of supporting women in more “heavy fields” is something I firmly believe in.

Side note: One of the authors is the one and only Caroline Fairchild, who I fortunate enough to grow up with. Make sure to follow this lady as she is going places.

Most Powerful Women of 2014

Most Powerful Women of 2014

On a tangent, Business Insider’s recent article on How Your Name Affects Your Success highlighted the trend that “if you are a woman with a sexually ambiguous name, you are more likely to succeed.” As a woman with a sexually ambiguous name, I found this portion of the article fascinating. Although, I think that it takes far more than just a name to succeed the trends are fascinating.

5. Pumpkin Spice Donuts. On a note slightly less related to life growth and powerful women in business, let’s talk donuts. This spring I made heavenly (if I do say so myself) Buttermilk Lemon Poppyseed Donuts. Yesterday I cleaned out under my oven to organize the plethora of oddly shaped bakeware that I have and washed everything. After coming along the donut pan, the boy exclaimed “we have a donut pan?” I felt slightly hurt that he had already forgotten my previous donut adventures but vowed to make him some donuts due to his excitement over the donut pan. I’m a strong believer that women can be powerful CEO’s and still make a mean donut.

To add to the enjoyment of this Sunday, I made perhaps the most simple, gluten-free Pumpkin Spice Donuts that left my house smelling of fall. Recipe coming soon!

pumpkin spice donuts

pumpkin spice donuts

taylor brass

brass blossom