the brass blossom

wednesday ramblings – just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean you can’t be it

It’s been quite a while since I have blogged. I have been busy with school, trying to make the most of my last couple of months in Seattle and in general, just living life. But whenever I feel like everything is starting to spin out of control, I always return to “The Brass Blossom.” I feel like it is a space where I feel safe, but I also feel like I can stretch my wings. Writing a blog post always makes me feel both grounded and empowered all at the same time. So I return to the trust worthy BB this week to share some thoughts….

This week has just been one of those weeks. I have felt like I was just in a funk. Being in Grad School at the ripe age of 27, I feel like I am just in the wrong place, at entirerly the wrong time in my life. Even though I always try to focus on the present and how “comparison is the thief of joy,” sometimes I just want to give into comparison and by like, “you win!” I see everyone else getting married, getting lady boss jobs, having babies and in general, just kicking ass in life, while I am over here like, what pages do I need to read for economics?

To add to this funk, my best of friends from Idaho are all going to the women’s march this weekend in Boise. I just felt left out and sick of being away. It didn’t help that Seattle decided that this week would be the prime time to start torrentially raining again and I just feel stuck. Both physically in the rain and in Seattle but also mentally.

I also happened to actually be stuck on the bus when all of this came crashing down on me. I was talking to my mom and she asked if something “happened.” I couldn’t even say yes. There wasn’t just one thing or even really a thing. It was just a bunch of stuff. So naturally when she asked if I was okay, I started crying and then it got awkward because I was having a minor public meltdown on a very public bus. And the girl behind me wouldn’t stop staring. This was probably due to the fact that I also chose the one sit that is perpendicular to all of the others and is smack dab in the middle of the bus, because apparently it is the safest. So I just rode it out. The tears, the stares, which probably weren’t even stares but just poor bus seating. But hey, at least I was in the safest spot. It was just a no good, very bad, but really in the scheme of things, not so bad moment. Disclaimer: this is why you don’t have personal conversations on the bus, so you don’t appear to be unstable.

But then later, an amazing friend inspired me. She inspired me out of my funk and inspired my weekend. She proposed that this weekend we celebrate all of the things that women can do. Regardless of your political stance, or what you think about e-mails, health insurance or who to tax, one thing that I hope all women can agree on is that this election was discouraging for at least one reason. That one reason alone is that a woman still is not and cannot be the wholly President of the United States of America. You can’t be what you can’t see.

So as someone who is generally pretty lady boss focused and a results oriented person, I think that celebrating all that I can be is a pretty fine way to turn around my week. I can celebrate wanting to be a lady boss and achieving that. I can celebrate buying a tweed blazer with fantastic elbow patches to one day wear to a board meeting to lean in. I can celebrate drinking whiskey. I can celebrate my body for what it can do, not what it looks like. I can celebrate crushing it at Crossfit. I can celebrate being independent but also being encouraged – by a family, a boyfriend and friends that encourage me to my highest potential. I can celebrate growing up in a home that didn’t solely define gender roles and limit that very potential. I can celebrate choosing to have children or not. I can celebrate reading a health law book just before finishing my trashy romance novel. I can celebrate choosing a career, whether it be a CEO or a calligrapher. I can celebrate that I am intelligent, athletic, strong, motivated and maybe, even witty. And I can celebrate me.

So I encourage you this weekend to celebrate the things that you can do, regardless of your gender. Don’t focus on the funk (or the flu as it is going around like wild-fire – stay healthy people!). Focus on the future and what we can do. And as I’m walking my own walk and talking my own talk, remember, especially all you boss ladies out there, that just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean you can’t be it.

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taylor brass

brass blossom

best of october – unwinding, detox & retox & PNW love

After an incredibly busy summer, I was looking forward to this October. And although the summer was truly amazing, I think I managed to cram about 25 too many activities into each day and was just pooped by the final weeks of September. While my cry count before going back to Seattle was significantly, significantly less that last year, I had a few bouts of hysteria in those finals days, so I knew I was ready for a change.

My body finally decided that after four months of insanity, it was no longer going to continue to function on just fun, so the day I made the trek back to Seattle on October 1st, I got a wicked cold. Like one of those colds you continually stuff tissues up your nose and have to force yourself to pound coconut water and tylenol because your entire body just hurts. Let me just say, it was not a pretty drive.

Along with my body forcing me to slow down a bit, I was ready to return to school just to have a schedule (and to get this last year started!). I was again devastated to leave the boy, my little miss Maude Pod and everyone who I just adore and love in Idaho but I was ready to return to Seattle to crush one more year with the end in sight. I’ve long known that I am a creature of habit and crave schedules, organization and writing it all down. So while this October wasn’t as fancy-filled as any of the summer months, it did hold some incredible “love its,” even if they were a bit more relaxing and kind on the body. Here is what I loved this October!

1. rest & relaxation. I think that the amount of snot and other not appropriate for the internet bodily functions that my body put out at the beginning of October was my way of purging the summer months. All of October I have been back to pounding vitamin C, ginger tea, green tea, as much water as possible and trying to eat everything green in sight. Additionally I attempted to hydrate every ounce of my skin with some fun new products and get back into a Crossfit regimen. Needless to say, this month has been a bit of a painful detox but just what I needed to get my mind and body back to baseline.

I have fallen in love with Aria Starr Beauty. The products smell amazing, work wonders and happen to be within my grad school budget. Win win! I religiously use the Dead Sea Mud Mask two times a week and the Super Vitamin C Serum twice daily! Plus you can get a coupon code for $10.00 off on Amazon by going to their website.

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2. madison & white. I initially started following Madison & White on Instagram for their drool worthy hair photos. But after a while, I got connected with Kamela and quickly fell in love with everything Madison & White. Their brand is all about protecting your locks and they sell the most amazing vegan satin pillow-cases and hair towels. As a HUGE fan of hair towels (I cannot stand water dripping down my back after I shower), I have always used cotton-fiber wrap towels. But after trying one of their t-shirt hair towels, I am officially a convert. It takes a bit of getting used to in order to figure out the best way to secure it to your head but it seriously reduces the frizz by 100%. And when living in Seattle, this is a must!

I cannot say enough great things about this brand and highly recommend every lady out there try testing out their pillow-cases and/or towels to protect not only your head of hair but also your skin at night! No one wants wrinkles either! And the proof is in the pudding, as even Maude Pod is obsessed with sneaking her head onto our pillows with the satin pillow cases.

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(the best pillow cases!)

always trying to sneak her pretty face onto the pillows! <3

always trying to sneak her pretty face onto the pillows! ❤

3. (new) washington adventures. Other than returning to more of a schedule, another reason that I was excited to return to Seattle was the countless adventures I already had planned. Last April, I helped plan a girls day trip to Goldmyer Hot Springs. I thought it was absolutely crazy that I was making a reservation for a hike to a hot springs in April for October but the pictures and stories from a friend who had visited made the effort seem well worth it. And it was! Goldmyer Hot Springs is truly a magical, fairy land. It is one of those places that the trek is worth it ten times over for the experience of soaking in an extremely remote, hot springs with 20 other strangers. It was that magical.

Another amazing adventure I took with my roommate Whitney, who is always up for an adventure, near or far, no matter how crazy it may seem. Whitney and I took to the roads and headed up to the North Cascades along Highway 20. We literally stopped anywhere we felt like sounded remotely cool and spent the day enjoying the sunshine and adventures to be had. Our final stop was Lake Diablo and it didn’t disappoint. We topped off the evening with a late night Chipotle dinner and a quick stop at Nordstrom Rack. It was truly one of those perfect days that could never be replicated again. Cheers to another month of fabulous adventures!

early morning drives

early morning drives

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the entrance to the most magical place in the world (or washington!)

the entrance to the most magical place in the world (or washington!)

slightly awkward make a funny face photo

slightly awkward make a funny face photo

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the best viewpoint

the best viewpoint

just a little selfie action!

just a little selfie action!

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my enthusiasm was a bit out of control...

my enthusiasm was a bit out of control…

thanks to the best roommate / photographer!

thanks to the best roommate / photographer!

4. visits from my favs. Two of my absolute favorites visited me in Seattle this October. Having visitors this year is incredible fun because I feel like I finally know the city of Seattle enough to take them a bit off the beaten path to explore all of Seattle’s gems. Krista visited early in the month during the weekend that was supposedly going to be Seattle Tsunami 2016 so in preparation for bad weather we planned to eat/drink our way around the city. We did just that and topped most nights off with some wine and movies like Pitch Perfect 2. You can’t beat a good girls weekend! Some of the highlights of her trip were: Juicebox for the most amazing juice and toast ever, an incredible Hemingway inspired dinner at Ernest Loves Agnes and a trip up to the Smith Tower.

My mom then visited towards the end of the month and it was so much fun to have her around. We frequented Juicebox (again), did a bit of shopping and took a fabulous afternoon walk at Discovery Park. We also took in all that a morning in Ballard has to offer and explored the locks and spent far too much time watching fish in the fish ladder! There is truly nothing a mom can’t fix!

hot yoga detox (before eating and drinking all of seattle)

hot yoga detox (before eating and drinking all of seattle)

the BEST find in seattle = juicebox

the BEST find in seattle = juicebox

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the prettiest textures (both new & old)

the prettiest textures (both new & old)

so much wind...

so much wind…

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view from smith tower

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the most amazing dinner at ernest & agnes

the most amazing dinner at ernest loves agnes

idaho girls love a hemingway inspired anything

idaho girls love a hemingway inspired anything

juicebox round 2

juicebox round 2

discovery park <3

discovery park ❤

kerry park views

kerry park views

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5. good reads. I read somewhere that Amazon was offering a free month of Kindle Unlimited to anyone with an Amazon Prime account. I manage to do an incredible amount of reading in Seattle thanks to my relatively short bus commute and it has become something that I truly enjoy. Even if I only get in a chapter or two each way and while waiting for the bus or during an hour before bed, I have flown through a crazy number of books this year. And while, Kindle Unlimited doesn’t have the most fabulous book selection, it has a plethora of magazines to choose from. My commute has literally become SO much more enjoyable by having something fun to read. I highly recommend it for anyone who has a bit of extra reading time in their day!

Another great read that I stumbled upon this month was A Letter to the Doctors and Nurses Who Cared for My Wife. This read is a gut-wrencher but truly an amazing read.

6. a little retail therapy. To say I’m obsessed with my October purchase of the month would be putting it lightly. I first saw Dolce Vita’s Shiloh Nubuck Mules last spring and immediately fell in love with them. However, living in Seattle where it is constantly wet meant they weren’t the most practical shoes to dream about. But then I not so casually bumped into them at Nordstrom Rack and was delighted to find them in my size. I once again decided they were so unpractical for my current life and left them behind. #biggestmistakeever

So after days of literally dreaming about them, I raced back to Nordstrom Rack and it was meant to be. They were still there. It was like a long lost love. And while I haven’t had the chance to take this bad boys out for a spin, it hasn’t stopped me from casually wearing them around my apartment in sweat pants.

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true love

taylor brass

brass blossom

summer love it – so many celebrations, spreadsheets & cuddles

This summer was absolutely a whirl-wind. I returned to Idaho just in time for prime hiking season and a summer full of celebrating everyone and everything I adore. While this summer was absolutely delightful and full of so much “love it,” I am now welcoming fall with open arms. I definitely filled my plate with far too many activities, travels, work and obligations, but I just couldn’t say no. It was a summer that just filled my heart with so much of what I feel to be home.

When I left Idaho last fall I knew that I was leaving a truly special place with so many people that I just love. At first I felt like I was abandoning all that I love and care for. Abandoning what I define to be myself and where I feel most at home. However as the year past, I realized that going back to Grad School was truly one of the only decisions I have made for myself. Obviously others were in mind but it is something that I am doing for me, for my passions and for my dreams.

I recently came across a quote that just resonated on every level. It defined the mixed feelings of leaving that I have felt the last year. The quote is that “your growth is not an abandonment of others.” I think that all this time I have felt that by growing and changing that I was abandoning what and where was home for me. So going into this last year of school (ever!), I am going to truly appreciate growth and change for what it is. It isn’t an abandonment of others or those that you love or where you call home, it is just trending in a different yet positive direction.

So without further ado or more sappy thoughts, here is what I just LOVED this summer!

so many snuggles. While I love the boy, love my mother and all my family, and love all of our friends in Idaho, I was probably most excited to have (almost) full access to unlimited Maude Pod snuggles. She is just the apple of my eye, the sweetest little girl ever and kinda a sneaky, spoiled gypsy. There is nothing I love more than her snuggles, sloppy, wet mouth kisses and how much love she truly gives us. But to prove I’m not a crazy dog mom, I also documented people and goat (obvi) snuggles too. So much love this summer!

morning coffee snuggles

morning coffee snuggles

getting out of bed is pretty tough...

getting out of bed is pretty tough…

helping mom with laundry!

helping mom with laundry!

i just cant even!

i just cant even!

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my little lupine lady

my little lupine lady

these two <3

these two ❤

post-wedding naps with the boy

post-wedding naps with the boy

goat snuggles!

goat snuggles!

more goat snuggles!

more goat snuggles + the modern day pioneer woman ❤

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my favorite adventure buddy since day one

my favorite adventure buddy since day one

this guy + idaho <3

this guy + idaho + our friendly photo bomber

being a lady boss. This summer I had two incredible opportunities for internships within the healthcare administration world. I loved both opportunities and couldn’t have asked for a better summer. However doing two internships per week in two different geographic locations probably was a bit much. At times I felt spread way too thin but wouldn’t have changed the opportunities for more sanity. That being said, it wasn’t all work and no play, as displayed by just a few of my lady boss mirror selfies…

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celebrating mrs millemann. To make sure we sent off the, at the time, future Mrs. Millemann off in style, we had her bachelorette party in Austin, Texas. As most of us had never been there and they love country, it was the perfect place to celebrate. While at times it appeared it was a frat party and spray tans were sweating off everywhere as it was SO hot and humid, it was truly so much fun. It was a never ending pool party and the perfect girl’s weekend.

To make sure she was truly going off in style, we surprised Krista with a somewhat last minute weekend before the wedding at the Meadow Creek Inn and Spa in Stanley. We hiked to Heart Lake with a golden pegasus, ate way too much cheese, hot-springed, dinned until we were seriously full and tipsy, danced the night away and stayed up talking until 4:00 am. It was ridiculously fun and exhausting and the perfect final celebration!

Cheers, to the now, Mrs. Millemann! (more on that to come…!)

invitations for austin!

invitations for austin!

the frat crew

the frat crew

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you can never have enough flamingos…

no words

no words

again, no words

again, no words

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love this lady!

love this lady!

floaties are obviously a necessary hike belonging

floaties are obviously a necessary hike belonging

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pretty much my favorite place ever <3

pretty much my favorite place ever ❤

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so pretty!

so pretty!

hindsight is always 20/20

hindsight is always 20/20

idaho galore. Obviously no Idaho summer of mine would be complete without some serious Idaho adventures. While I didn’t get out on as many hikes or adventures as I would have liked, it’s the quality that counts. And since pictures say a thousand words…

hiking selfies!

hiking selfies!

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the lupine <3

the lupine ❤

#whitegirlsjumping

#whitegirlsjumping

point proven...

and again!

baldy hikes + champs for a favorite lady!

baldy hikes + champs for a favorite lady!

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the brass blossom does the squash blossom farm

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love this crew!

love this crew!

more stanley adventures!

more stanley adventures!

sawtooth lake

sawtooth lake

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good morning chase & krista!

good morning chase & krista!

some fish, some take photos

some fish, some take photos

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patriotic pie!

patriotic pie!

symphony picnic nights

symphony picnic nights

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moose lake = beyond gorgeous (& straight up a mountain)

moose lake = beyond gorgeous (& straight up a mountain)

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<3

obvi, no adventure is complete without a jumping photo

obvi, no adventure is complete without a jumping photo

idaho rocky mountain ranch

idaho rocky mountain ranch

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gold + jewels. At the beginning of summer Rocksbox invited me to be a Rocksbox It Girl. I tend to be pretty minimal when it comes to jewelry, mostly because I tend to be allergic to quite a lot of it, so I was a bit skeptical of renting jewelry. However, I have been amazed by my experience with Rocksbox. Essentially you create an account and for $19.00/month you get three pieces to wear and exchange at any time. You can also buy your rentals for a lesser price than retail! Every piece I have received as been in perfect condition and they really pay amazing attention to your style profile.

And while I am not one for sales, if you would like to try a FREE month of Rocksbox you can with the code “taylorsbff8”! It’s a super great deal and you can cancel after your first month at no charge. So if you’re feeling like you need to spice up your fall wardrobe a bit, I would highly recommend it!

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(please excuse my gnarly crossfit callus!)

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#lahmanlovebirds. I liked to joke that I was on the “wedding tour” this summer, which is something I wouldn’t have changed for the world. I was so honored when I was asked by my dear (dino) friend Bri to be in her wedding in Vail. After the most incredible bachelorette party in Phoenix with some amazing girls I knew that it was bound to be a ridiculously precious and fun wedding to follow. So I made sure I was done being a lady boss just in time to trek it to Vail to send Mrs. Lahman off in style!

It was the most perfect weekend surrounded by so many friends, love and laughter, almost all of which was captured! It was one of those weekends where you actually felt the love. Not only do Bri and Luke radiate love off of each other (literally, so cute!), but all of their wedding guests and every detail of the wedding showed the many years of love and devotion these two have shared. There could not have been a more perfect celebration for those two so cheers to Mr and Mrs Lahman and love in Vail! (wedding photography by the amazing Teresa Woodhull Photography)

vail hikes/death marches

vail hikes/death marches

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uber trunk selfies!

uber trunk selfies!

love these ladies!

dynasty

View More: http://teresawoodhull.pass.us/briannaluke

i mean it doesn't get better than these two <3

i mean it doesn’t get better than these two ❤

View More: http://teresawoodhull.pass.us/briannaluke

View More: http://teresawoodhull.pass.us/briannaluke

so much love!

View More: http://teresawoodhull.pass.us/briannaluke

View More: http://teresawoodhull.pass.us/briannaluke

my little dino lady ❤

View More: http://teresawoodhull.pass.us/briannaluke

View More: http://teresawoodhull.pass.us/briannaluke

how every good night should end (please disregard my horrific dance moves...)

how every good night should end (please disregard my horrific dance moves…)

#millemannsIDo. I topped off my wedding tour with my ever so loved, brass blossom boyfriend tying the knot. At one point, someone, somewhere during one of the celebrations asked me if I was going to be sad to be losing my dear friend. This thought had never crossed my mind because even though she may be a “Mrs,” she is still my brass blossom boyfriend and I happen to know that I can find the Mr Millemann all day, every day sitting next to the boy at work. So while everything changed September 17th, nothing really changed at all.

The wedding day was perfect. It was surrounded by days of the most rain Idaho has seen in years, like tsunami style. But the actual day was truly perfect. From the welcome party to the wedding, no detail was left untouched and it was absolutely magnificent. While there is no doubt that all of the details were spectacular, my favorite part of the wedding was how much love and support came from so near and so far to celebrate Mr and Mrs Millemann. There was so much laughter and quite a few tears but it was a day that was truly meant to be. So incredibly grateful and honored to call Mr and Mrs Millemann my friends that are family. (more photos to come!)

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wedding week hikes

no hike is complete without champagne

no hike is complete without champagne

squad goals

squad goals

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morning yoga

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typical

typical

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already smack dab in the middle of their marriage!

already smack dab in the middle of their marriage!

cheers to the amazing couple!

cheers to the amazing couple!

birthday celebrations. After a summer full of so many celebrations and just going full steam, my birthday happened to fall after all of it. All I wanted to do was have a mellow day. And while the actual day wasn’t the best, the night before we crashed the last night of Mr and Mrs Millemann’s “mini-moon” in Stanley for a little bit of celebration. You seriously cannot beat Stanley, Idaho in the fall. We had a casual hot-spring soak for 8, then a delicious soup dinner followed by a roaring game of “Salad Bowl.” Somehow the boys won and it was the perfect way to continue the celebrations of the summer.

cheers to mr and mrs millemann!

cheers to mr and mrs millemann!

the most perfect of birthday celebrations

the most perfect of birthday celebrations

casual din for one!

casual din for one!

So now after the most amazing summer, I am back in Seattle, ready to power through, grow and change, without abandoning all that is wholesome and so full of love in Idaho!

 taylor brass

brass blossom

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

the best cookie is a giant cookie

At the last book club our group of friends had, our dear friend Abbey who happens to be insanely creative brought the dessert. Naturally we were all excited to see what she whipped up and it didn’t disappoint. She made individual cookies, baked them so that they were just soft and gooey and topped them off with vanilla ice-cream. It was pretty much as good as it gets.

So naturally I had to recreate her perfection the next night but in giant form since the best cookie is a giant cookie! Fair warning that this is not a dessert for bikini season (sorry I’m not sorry!). This recipe is so simple that it can be thrown into the oven during dinner to enjoy just after while it is still warm and gooey! Enjoy!

ingredients

  • one package of pre-made cookie dough or your cookie dough of choice for 24 cookies
  • ice-cream of choice (we had coffee – naturally I dug through both mine and the boy’s to find all the chocolate coverged beans…)

instructions

  1. Preheat oven to temperature specified in the cookie recipe.
  2. Grease a cheesecake pan or any spring pan or you can use individual serving size jars. This allows for super easy “extraction” of the cookie.
  3. Press all of your cookie dough into the bottom of the pan.
  4. Place in the refrigerator until after dinner or simply pop into the oven if you are ready to enjoy.
  5. Bake for the amount of time specified in the recipe or until lightly golden brown and still soft.
  6. Immediately unclasp the spring.
  7. Cut the cookie into servings while still hot.
  8. Top with ice-cream and enjoy!
my cookie dough of choice

my cookie dough of choice

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pressed and ready to be baked!

pressed and ready to be baked!

the best tea towel for cookies!

the best tea towel for cookies!

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this isn't a dessert to consider what a "normal" serving size should be

this isn’t a dessert to consider what a “normal” serving size should be

my cookie topped with ice-cream

my cookie topped with ice-cream

the boy's cookie + ice-cream (i promise there is one hidden in there somewhere)

the boy’s cookie + ice-cream (i promise there is one hidden in there somewhere)

nom nom nom!

nom nom nom!

taylor brass

brass blossom

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!

KondoMakeSpace

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

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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.

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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.

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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 Overstock.com.

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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 march – winter wonderland adventures, dirt therapy, goat escapades & thank yous

March was one of those months when everything just seemed to align flawlessly. I finished my second quarter of Grad School and returned home for most of the month to live the life of funemployment.

Funemployment in Sun Valley takes funemployment to an entirerly new dimension. There are just so many activities, incredible people and goats, hills to be climbed, sun to be enjoyed and dogs to be walked that the time just flies by. During my time at home it hit me after a dinner conversation with our friends, how wholesome Idaho life can be. It is simple in the most perfect way with a deep connection to not only the most amazing people with the kindest hearts you will ever meet but also it encompasses a deep connection to literally everything that surrounds you. I fell into a slower pace of life that ironically went by so much faster.

Needless to say being at home for most of March filled my soul with goodness and a new sense of I can take the rest of Grad School by storm, or at least one more quarter for the first year. So here is what I thoroughly enjoyed in the month of March!

1. snapshots from home. So much goodness all the time!

love this place!

love this place!

so much snow, so much fun

so much snow, so much fun

black dogs for days

black dogs for days

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so many dog hikes

so many dog hikes

when your goats live in a winter wonderland

when your goats live in a winter wonderland

goat walks

goat walks

<3

the perfect spring skiing day

the perfect spring skiing day

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no complaints! favorite ladies and favorite place!

no complaints! favorite ladies and favorite place!

2. winter wonderland adventures. I convinced/dragged/demanded that the boy hike into Redfish Lake with me and the Smash Sisters one lovely weekend afternoon. The boy wasn’t too thrilled with the idea but appeased me. So we set off for Redfish Lake and it literally couldn’t have been more lovely.

I absolutely love Redfish in the summer but our friend Abbey has told us about how different yet serene it is to hike into the lake in the Winter. Since she is one of those people I always just believe/trust with my life I figured it was worth a few mile hike in. I white lied to the boy about how far we would actually be walking and we set out from the highway into the lake. It was a perfectly easy walk in hiking shoes on the packed down trail from snowmobiles and we arrived at the lake in no time after “sooooo many miles.”

The lake was pretty much deserted and we took a little cat nap in the sun on the porch of the lodge. Between the sun beating down, the pups running around like wild smash sisters and resting my head on the boy’s legs it was the perfect afternoon cat nap. One of those afternoons when you wish you could press pause. We headed out after a bit and I even got a bit of sun in my tank top. Most definitely an afternoon that cannot be beaten. Moral of the story: hike into Redfish Lake in the Winter even though it is “sooooo many miles.”

ready to roll!

ready to roll!

par pars got to ride up front for a bit

par pars got to ride up front for a bit

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perfection

perfection

the smash sisters weren't as into the cat nap as we were

the smash sisters weren’t as into the cat nap as we were

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post-hike sunburn selfies...

post-hike sunburn selfies…still laughing!

3. playing in dirt. The boy and I have several house plants that I am baffled have made it thus far. We love keeping them alive because they just offer the perfect amount of green and freshness to fill our apartment. By far our favorite is Stanley. Stanley is a lucky bamboo that the boy got for my for Valentine’s Day back in 2010. That’s right 2010. How he is still alive is a mystery to us all. It has been a labor of love.

Stanley is now over three feet tall and a growing machine. He has survived various trips back and forth between Eugene and Idaho as well as various houses in Idaho and various transplants. However, Stanley once again outgrew his home and desperately needed a transplant.

So over my break, I decided that all our houseplants were in need of a transplant along with Stanley. We also received quite a few plants after the boys accident and I have this crazy idea that they have juju and we must keep them alive and prosperous. So naturally on the one day it decided to dump snow and was 30 degrees I set out on my mission. This resulted in the kitchen and me being covered in dirt and rocks but it was well worth the 4 hours of playing in the dirt. It was oddly therapeutic and satisfying at the end when I looked at all of our plant babies in their new homes. Plus I bought a gold leafed pot for our new succulent friends which is just too cute not to share!

stanley goes for a ride to pick a new pot!

stanley goes for a ride to pick a new pot!

stanley's crazy roots

stanley’s crazy roots

new succulent friends

new succulent friends

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just a bit of a mess....

just a bit of a mess….

4. goat escapades. Oh my the goats. Nothing bad can ever be said about the goats but they were quite naughty during March. Goats are fairly smart creatures who have a reputation for liking to escape. We never really saw that side of our goats until they figured out they could walk on top of the snow crust and essentially take flying leaps out of the corral.

From there they decided the next obviously place to go after escaping was climb up the snowbanks onto the garage roof. They would frolic and play and act like watch goats, which are worth less if you were wondering. There were many a days I would go to check up on the goats and find one, two, three or four on the roof. Too cute and actually ridiculous not the share!

Also clearly our goats aren’t the only escapees around! Millie recently took a stroll to Starbucks…

bad goats!

bad goats!

just goating around

just goating around

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wrong way z-baby

wrong way z-baby

what happens when you constantly make jail breaks

what happens when you constantly make jail breaks

5. new obsessions – cauliflower rice + homeland. These two are entirely unrelated other than the fact that I have been binging on both. Trader Joe’s Organic Riced Cauliflower is essentially the greatest thing to hit stores since sliced bread. It has become a staple in my diet and is so, so, so simple to prepare and takes on the texture of grain in any recipe. If you have a craving you are more than welcome to come over and nom on the several bags I have stock piled.

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Cauliflower rice and Homeland will probably be forever engrained in my mind as one because I generally enjoy them together. If you need a show to binge watch you cannot go wrong with Homeland. I was pretty obsessed there for a couple of weeks and have decided that I need to take a break for air, like fresh air. It’s that good and I can safely say all those Grad School tuition dollars are going to good use.

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6. thank you’s. In the Year of Yes, Shondra Rhimes introduces the baffling yet very simple concept of simply saying “thank you” when given a compliment. When I first read about her describing how she never used to take a compliment and always deflected it a “but…” or something along those lines I didn’t quite get it. It wasn’t until I started noticing the way I receive compliments that it hit me hard. Most always when I receive a compliment I am hardwired to not just say “thank you” but rather I deflect it with something I did wrong or could or done better or some other insanity.

So thanks to Shondra Rhimes I have been trying to be more mindful of simply saying “thank you” when I receive a compliment. No matter how big or how small a “thank you” is always appropriate. I have found this challenged to be far greater than I ever expected and something that I think deserves pointing out. I am a complete perfectionist so to me there is always a bigger or better. But more often than not the job well done that someone else went out of their way to recognize deserves the thank you and period. Nothing less and nothing more, except probably a smile.

taylor brass

brass blossom

let there be light – dinner party

Krista and I wanted to throw a “friend’s dinner” in March and we thought the most obvious holiday to celebrate would be Daylight Savings. We both love that it brings more light during the evening and is the beginning of springtime, good weather and sunshine!

But true to Sun Valley, the weather had other plans for us. It decided to actually slush mass amounts of the heaviest snow from the sky all day long. The joke was on us. Regardless, we didn’t throw away our plans for a “light” dinner and celebrated in style! Here is a look!

decor

Since the weather didn’t cooperate with exactly what we had in mind, we had the boys build a fire while we set the table. Nothing quite says light and spring quite like a fire!

We wanted to keep everything about the décor fun, light and airy so we donned the table with the following:

  • the prettiest pastel colored marbled paper
  • confetti balloons (which, would be amazing for practically any occasion in our minds)
  • new baby succulents/flowers for each setting
  • mini gold mason jar votives
  • fresh, white flowers
  • natural placemats

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can we talk about how AMAZING these balloons are?!

can we talk about how AMAZING these balloons are?!

the cutest little succulents

the cutest little succulents

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menu

We wanted to keep everything light and fresh during the celebration. We decided on a Spring time fresh pasta with a plethora of veggies and organic chicken. Everything happened to be green (except the chicken of course), keeping with the freshness!

  • fresh noodles (gluten free spinach and regular linguini)
  • pasta toppings (pesto, parmesan, mozzarella, salt and pepper, chili flakes, etc)
  • garden fresh salad
  • sautéed fresh vegetables
  • organic chicken
fresh, chopped veggies

fresh, chopped veggies

so green!

so green!

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check out those spring greens

fresh, gluten free spinach noodles

fresh, gluten free spinach noodles

 my veggie, very green plate

my veggie, very green plate

krista's plate

krista’s plate

no party is complete without a coozie!

no party is complete without a coozie!

peach, lemonade pie + ice-cream (recipe to come!)

peach, lemonade pie + ice-cream (recipe to come!)

cheers to all things good!

cheers to all things good!

the company

Like every good party the company was fabulous. However the fabulous company didn’t happen to make it into any pictures, except for the smash sisters. We finished off the night with a round of Cards Against Humanity and so many giggles. It was the perfect way to celebrate the light and Spring time!

par pars was so tired from a long day of fishing

par pars was so tired from a long day of fishing

the smash sisters

the smash sisters

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Cheers to the light, good food, good company and confetti balloons!

krista and taylor

brass blossom

“will you be my bridesmaid” gift boxes

When Chase popped the big question, one of the funnest things to think about — outside of spending the rest of my life with him of course — was the year ahead with an incredible crew of ladies. They are cousins, confidantes, partners in crime, and best friends, and they deserve the best.

But how to ask them to be a bridesmaid? While part of me wanted to text or call them immediately, I wanted to mark the occasion and commitment (and it is a commitment!) with something a little more special. They are and will continue to be so supportive, giving, and generous to me, so I wanted to at least somewhat return the favor from the start.

Googling and searching on Etsy didn’t return anything all that inspired…and with 11 bridesmaids, buying a $50 customized box that someone else makes without much in it wasn’t really an option.

I wanted to include items that had some kind of significance or than symbolized something, so I settled on:

materials

  • Ivory and gold polka dot boxes from PaperSource
  • Ivory tissue paper
  • Monogrammed mugs from Anthropologie
  • Le Pen pens in rainbow colors
  • Mini bottles of champagne
  • Christmas ornaments with stars on them
  • 3×5 photos from throughout the years
  • Pink satin ribbon
  • “Will You Be My Bridesmaid” cards from Rifle Paper Co.
  • Navy and Ivory cardstock/envelopes from Willow Papery

Each item connected to something in the first card on the box:

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outside of the first card

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front side of the first card

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back of the first card, which connects to the contents in the box

Box for “keeping my shit together,” mugs for “comfort”, pens for “writing my story” and “bringing color to my life,” champagne for “celebrating,” stars for being like “stars,” and photos for “amazing memories.”

Here’s a look at everything!

incredible boxes from PaperSource that I got for 20% off

incredible boxes from PaperSource that I got for 20% off

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the assembly line

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maybe my favorite monogrammed mug for Rachel

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starry ornaments from anthropologie

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the main parts

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I think everyone's favorite part was looking through the photos — probably mine too!

I think everyone’s favorite part was looking through the photos — probably mine too!

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the second card they opened, inside of the box

boxes ready for bows!

boxes ready for bows!

erica's

erica’s

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finished off with a satin (or silk) bow!

finished off with a satin (or silk) bow!

Thanks to all my favorite ladies for saying YES! You are the best, and I love you all so much!

cheers krista

 

brass blossom

thanksgiving centerpiece inspiration — gilded pumpkins

thanksgiving centerpiece inspiration

thanksgiving centerpiece inspiration

One of my favorite parts of the holidays is the decorating. As much as I love to plan a menu, planning the centerpiece is half the fun when friends and family gather around one dinner table.

I was so excited about the centerpiece I created for Anna’s baby shower, that I couldn’t imagine throwing the pink pumpkins in the garbage. However, pink doesn’t exactly “go” with the rest of our house, and the boy wasn’t stoked about having baby shower décor lingering in the house.

So, I repurposed them with another coat of spray paint and switched out the flowers a couple times to make them more suitable for two separate table settings.

This versatile centerpiece inspiration is fun to create, and relatively time and cost-efficient. Here’s a look at exactly what I did, but feel free to mix up the quantity, colors, etc!

materials

  • 7 medium-sized pie pumpkins
  • pumpkin carving set (the kid friendly kind will do)
  • newspaper
  • gloves
  • spray paint in 3-6 your colors of choice (I recommend at least one metallic color and then an ombre of another color depending on your color-scheme)
  • 3-5 small aluminum cans that have been opened, emptied, and rinsed out (small mason jars also work)
  • 2-dozen assorted flowers of your choice
  • 5 assorted candlesticks with a wide base on either end in varying heights
  • 20 additional mini pumpkins in white or orange

instructions

 

  1. Using the pumpkin carving set, the newspaper to cover whatever table surface you’re on, and gloves, carve 5 pumpkins, making sure the opening on the top is large enough to fit the aluminum can. Carefully scrape out all the “innards” of the pumpkin so they last as long as possible. Wipe them clean and dry when finished.
  2. Spray paint the carved pumpkins and any additional un-carved pumpkins according to you color scheme. I recommend wearing gloves and holding the pumpkin by the opening to ensure spray paint coverage. You can also leave some of the “naked” and in their original orange color. Let them dry for at least 30 minutes.
  3. While the pumpkins dry, arrange your flowers into equal size bouquets for each pumpkin in the tin cans or mason jars, and fill the can or mason jar with water.
  4. Once the pumpkins are dry, ease the mason jar or can into the opening in the pumpkin.
  5. Arrange the candlesticks in the middle of the table, alternating heights as possible. I also chose to stagger mine so that there was more depth.
  6. Carefully balance the pumpkins on the candlesticks. Arrange additional pumpkins (mini and normal size) around the candlestick pumpkins. Add sparkly votives for nice dimension.
  7. Gather and enjoy!
carved and spray painted pumpkins ready for their flowers

carved and spray painted pumpkins in a range of pinks, ready for their flowers

the first version of this centerpiece, pretty in pink

the first version of this centerpiece, pretty in pink

version 2, that same day, using pretty copper and metal colored spray paints

version 2, that same day, using pretty copper and metal colored spray paints

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I saw these dark purple and blood red blooms at the local grocery store and was inspired to update the pumpkins one more time for Rachel’s Halloween party

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red wine also inspired the color scheme…and the creative process 🙂

bouquet ready to be put in a pumpkin

bouquet ready to be put in a pumpkin

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Here are a few more gilded pumpkin inspiration photos Taylor recently pinned to our Brass Blossom Pinterest (check it out!)
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Have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

cheers krista

 

brass blossom