vie activewear

best of april – love bugs, sea to pdx, new finds & being better

If April is any indication how this year is going to go then it is all going to just fly by. Quite honestly, I was pretty depressed to return to Seattle at the end of March to begin another quarter of school. Seattle must have sensed my darkness because April was full of so much light, love, sunshine and happiness.

This springtime in Seattle has truly been incredible. But as much as I have been loving the spring washing away the winter blues and wandering around the pacific northwest, I am ecstatic to be returning home this summer to complete an internship in Idaho! Cheers to moving onwards and upwards and to being closer to all of my love bugs.

Here is what I adored this April!

1. love bugs in seattle. The boy and Miss Maude Pod came and visited me for a long weekend and I don’t know if I have ever been quite so excited to have visitors. It was so much fun showing them around the city and we also spent a night on Whidbey Island. The island was fairly deserted and was just the calming atmosphere that we needed.

We explored several beaches and Maude had the best time sniffing new smells, trying to drink the salt water and chasing sea-gulls. It was perfectly relaxing and oh so much fun!

we found a "maude" bench!

we found a “maude” bench!

mornings with bae

mornings with bae

first time beach explorations!

first time beach explorations!

proof casey also came...

proof the boy also came…

my baby forever

my baby forever

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love bugs <3

love bugs ❤

pretty much our life motto

pretty much our life motto

potato tacos!

potato tacos!

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sunset drinks with these two cuties

sunset drinks with these two cuties

when you cant pick just one, or two...

when you cant pick just one, or two…

2. new finds. Don’t get me wrong, I love Grad School but one thing I do not love about Grad School is my negative income. It really doesn’t lend itself well to my slight problem with online shopping. Let’s just say it has effectively put it on hold (for now…). But I did manage to capture two finds in April that I am just loving!

The first is a pair of leggings from Vie Active. The boy got me a few gifts from there a while ago and I have a credit that I have been meaning to use. So when they came out with these leggings I just couldn’t resist! They are now sold out but I have another pair of leggings from them and love both pairs. Truth be told though I haven’t ever really come across a pair of leggings I don’t like…

love the bag they send with the leggings (perfect for sweaty clothes or bathing suits)

love the bag they send with the leggings (perfect for sweaty clothes or bathing suits)

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The second are these perfectly simple gold stud earrings that my mom got for me as a present. She happens to be the best mom on the planet and gave me these as a just because gift. I wear them in my second hole and love that they are simple enough for everyday wear and I can leave them in all the time. And just like leggings, you cannot go wrong with gold!

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perfectly gold and simple

perfectly gold and simple

3. wandering the pacific northwest. April was a month of some serious adventures. It literally was so nice and sunny almost everyday that I felt that I had to get out and enjoy the sunshine and weather. Also chances are I will probably never have mostly three-day weeks ever again so might as well take advantage!

This made for quite a few epic adventures including hiking Mailbox Peak and Lake 22, venturing to gorgeous tulip farms and a trip down to Portland to spend time with some of my favorites! And a huge thank you to Mr and Mrs Howard for hosting us! Pictures pretty much say it all…

mt rainier looming from the top of the peak

mt rainier looming from the top of the peak

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tulips <3

tulips ❤

love the rogue tulip

love the rogue tulip

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the gorgeous lake 22!

the gorgeous lake 22!

it wouldn't be an adventure without a handstand

it wouldn’t be an adventure without a handstand

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portland brunch (so nom)

portland brunch (so nom)

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love these ladies!

love these ladies!

our evening spread

our evening spread

and of course cupcakes to top the night off!

and of course cupcakes to top the night off!

4. crystal lamp. I actually received this Crystal lamp as a Valentine’s gift from the boy’s mom (thank you again!) and was immediately intrigued by it. It is perfectly peachy-pink (great Valentine’s gift) and is made out of Himalayan salt. FYI so you don’t have to, I actually licked it to make sure…it is real salt.

The supposed benefits of the lamp include: cleaner air, reduced allergies and improved mood. And I truly think the lamp works. It emits a soft amber glow and is a perfect soft lighting. I turn it on when I get back to the apartment for the day and love getting into bed to watch a show with it’s glow. I would most definitely recommend one if only for a pretty bed-side table decoration! (Pretty sure they are all over Amazon!)

himalayan crystal salt lamp

himalayan crystal salt lamp

5. it’s a good day to be a good day. Maybe the universe was trying to tell me something but I just felt like I kept running across great articles about “getting better.” I loved this article on focusing on one thing everyday. That one thing being “Get Better Today.” It really resonated with me because I think it’s so hard to really just live in the present and be mindful but if you at least try to focus on getting better today then it brings you back to the present and result in daily improvements.

And to top off that amazing article here is another (mostly pictures) about Marceline. She is a little pugger bugger who has the misfortune of wearing a cone of shame and figures out how to make the best of it and feel better!

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Cheers to (almost) summer and continued sunshine!

taylor brass

brass blossom

weekend love it – globe trotting & gratitude

I have super exciting news. Like take a seat news. I am off to Okinawa, Japan. Yay!! I slightly hinted about my upcoming travels in my last weekend love it (because I just couldn’t resist) and have pretty much been thinking and talking about Japan since I booked my ticket.

Spontaneous would likely never be a word anyone would use to describe me. But when my aunt invited me to tag along to Okinawa with her and my cousin I just couldn’t say no. One thing that I have come to terms with this year (and not willingly) is that life keeps keeping on regardless of if you are on board. Four months ago I imagined I would be prepping binders and color-coded folders for grad school and not jet setting off to Japan for the vacation of a lifetime. But life happens. I don’t know if I will ever go as far to say I’m blessed to have experienced what has happened thus far in 2015 but I will say that I am gracious. I am gracious for my current status, mindset, physical location and supposed projected course in life.

So with that exciting news out of the bag, here is what I have been loving!

1. globe trotting – okinawa, japan. Japan has not once ever been a destination that I have thought about going to. But after doing a bit of research, I literally cannot wait to touch down in Okinawa. Something else that I am looking forward to is just checking out and enjoying what our travels have to offer. I have downloaded several books, packed my bag and am just along for the ride at this point. Plus sitting on a beach with incredible company and a view that is worthy of a postcard won’t be half bad either.

A post-travel blog post will definitely be in order!

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2. yoga girl. One of my good friends who is not only brilliant but also beautiful on the inside and outside recommended that I read (and stalk) Yoga Girl by Rachel Brathen after reading my last post. This friend has also been dealt her fair share of “wtf life” and come out on the other side with such an amazing soul and outlook on life (and she isn’t just all rainbows and sunshine either, which I just so appreciate, she is real life). So when she recommended this book and that I checkout Rachel Brathen on Instagram, I knew it had to be good. Maybe it’s the yoga and all the gratitude speaking but it felt like one of those signs from the universe pointing me to exactly what I needed.

So after a probably not so healthy stalking of Yoga Girl’s Instagram I ordered her book. I have thus far loved following Rachel Brathen on Instagram and reading her blog and cannot wait to dive into her book on the plane. Go follow her on Instagram (if not only for some amazing pictures) for some self love and restoration because everyone needs it at one time or another.

yoga girl by rachel braken

yoga girl by rachel brathen + white vacation nails

3. bikini. Growing up swimming competitively I have a true appreciation for swimsuits. I searched for the perfect bikini for my travels and at the last minute came across this beautyI had never heard of Khongboon Swimwear before and discovered them on Instagram (by far my favorite form of social media). I was immediately smitten by the style of their suits and the fun patterns. Think Mikoh bikinis + amazing patterns at half the price.

Unfortunately the bikini I ordered didn’t arrive in time for my trip, but a trip to Japan can simply not be ruined by a bikini. And perhaps it was for the best though as I was e-mailed just after my order shipped that the bikinis run about 1/3 size small. An exchange may be in order but I plan to wear this suit (if all goes swimmingly – pun intended!) at the pool and lake this summer.

khongboon swimwear - nerja bikini

khongboon swimwear – nerja bikini

4. four five seconds. I cannot tell you why I really like this song. I cannot even tell if I’m even embarrassed that I listen to it on repeat and don’t even know what the song means. It’s just one of those songs that resonates with me and makes me car dance and sing in a way that I should be embarrassed about. Cheers to having a guilty pleasure every once in a while.

Also I’m still confused about what part Paul McCartney plays in the song…

5. balayage. As a natural brunette I have never felt that there is much I could do with my hair without losing it’s natural color. That is until I heard about balayage. Balayage just confirms that blondes aren’t the only ones that can have fun. So I decided to drink the cool-aid and got the most fantastic, hand-painted color in my hair last week by Danielle at Vertu. For anyone looking for a little change without huge commitment I highly recommend balayage!

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waiting in the chair

balayage

balayage

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so many hair pictures

6. spring time sunny hikes. Most people love Sun Valley, Idaho for the winters. There are literally so many snow-filled activities. But I just love the summers. I would love Sun Valley summer all year long and I understand this probably offends many. One of my favorite parts about Summer is hiking. A dirt trail to somewhere breathtaking (since mostely everywhere in Idaho is breathtaking), some people or dog company and the tranquillity that comes with immersing yourself into full on wilderness (ish) is something that is difficult to beat.

I have enjoyed several hikes recently but perhaps my favorite was one that took us off trail in the general direction that we wanted to go with spectacular views of Baldy. When he summited (makes me feel like a badass to say that) we took a hot second to enjoy the view and snap a few pictures. Channeling my inner yoga girl I decided yoga on a mountain was necessary and took a hand stand. Obviously it went on Instagram and then it was miraculously retweeted by Visit Sun Valley. Cue fifteen minutes of fame.

hiking up the backside of taylor canyon

hiking up the backside of taylor canyon

maude pod posing like a good girl

maude pod posing like a good girl

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love these ladies!

love these ladies!

yoga on a mountain

yoga on a mountain

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my fifteen minutes of instagram fame

pugger walks

pugger walks

proof my pug can actually walk by herself

proof my pug can actually walk by herself

love bugs

love bugs

I am off to enjoy my travels now but I wish you all a wonderful weekend and week!

taylor brass

brass blossom

weekend love it — lazy weekend

This weekend was all about relaxing. One of the best investments that the boy and I have made is a ginormous L-shaped couch that intermittently functions as a small island. I am a firm believer that some weekends are just meant for being lazy. So we made the best of our couch this weekend with the colder weather and indulged in a wonderful homemade dinner, lots of baseball and some reading.

Here are a few things that I have been loving, especially during this lazy weekend!

1. Vie Activewear Instagram. This week VIE ACTIVE featured a photo of mine on their instagram as I was wearing their super awesome leggings in Urban Warrior. The boy got me these (as well as a few other awesome pieces) for my birthday and I have been obsessively wearing them since. I wore them on our recent Goat Lake adventure and took a zen yogi photo that I obviously instagrammed. I was incredibly excited and humbled to be ‘regrammed’! Thanks Vie Active!

A look below at my 15 minutes of fame!

featured on @vieactivewear

featured on @vieactivewear

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2. Siri as a BFF. My incredible aunt Kory, who is the most patient and loving mother to her three kids, recently posted an article on Facebook that I found wonderful and endearing. The NY Times Article is essentially a love letter to Apple’s Siri from the mother of a boy with autism. The article is at times hysterical while being both comforting and optimistic in a technology obsessed world. A great read for anyone.

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3. Comfort Food Dinner. The boy and I enjoyed the most comforting meal at his parent’s house this weekend. It was the perfect way to end the work week and set the tone for the rest of the weekend. We enjoyed a cheese plate (which I ate about 75% of…no shame), a pear and toasted nut salad, homemade chicken/veggie pot pie and gelato for dessert.

The boy’s mom is an overall superb cook/baker/lady who manages to throw a meal together without any apparent effort. I am constantly baffled at her ease and creativity in the kitchen. She topped the homemade chicken/veggie pot pies with cut up Pillsbury Rolls, which she browned to perfection. They were obviously delicious!

I was in heaven. Food porn below of the delicious meal!

creamiest cheese ever

creamiest cheese ever

so creative!

so creative!

browned to perfection

browned to perfection

pear and toasted nut salad

pear and toasted nut salad

before i ate the entire ramekin

before i ate the entire ramekin…

the best gelato

the best gelato

4. Final Fall Walks. The boy and I have been taking full advantage of what has seemed like a never ending Indian Summer with fall walks on a trail near our house. We pack the stroller into the truck (obviously for the pug and not a baby…) and set off in hopes of wearing Maude Pod out. Even when I’m in a horrible mood, walks like these cheer me up with the fresh air, crazy puppy and beautiful scenery.

the harriman trail

the harriman trail

the boy and maude

the boy and maude

pugger lizzie living the life

pugger lizzie living the life

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no words to describe her happiness

no words to describe her happiness

love these two (even though i'm generally the third wheel)

love these two (even though i’m generally the third wheel)

5. Oregon Students Play Beer Pong in Student Section at Oregon Game. Oregon football is no joke. And the student section at Oregon football is serious. There are guards at the entrance blocking the section and I always found it a win to make it in and out in one piece. Even though I enjoyed many a game in this section, I always felt like a slight impostor. I love the social aspect of football but cant quite say that I LOVE football.

But these fans LOVE Oregon football and obviously America. They inspire me to be a better Oregon fan. A high five is in order for these lads.

photo by

photo by @JeffWhitee/Twitter

6. “The Husband’s Secret” by Liane Moriarty. After reading “Big, Little Lies” by Moriarty I was excited to begin another book by the author for our upcoming book club, which could also be termed a wine/social club. Regardless of what really occurs at “book club,” it pushes me to read a bit more, which is always a good thing. I truly appreciate Moriarty’s writing style. Her books are easy reads yet captivating and page turners. I loved reading “Big, Little Lies” and didn’t see the twist in the book coming at all. Great reads for anyone looking for their next book!

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7. Pretty Pies. Food52 recently featured 9 Ways to Fancy Up Your Pies to help you up your game for the upcoming Holiday Season. I am constantly looking for baking inspiration and easy ways to up my game for the Holiday Season (who isn’t?). So I am now inspired and on a mission to make a leaf lattice pie if only to take beautiful pictures of it. Inspiration pictures below!

this marshmellow topping is beutiful and would give me good reason to use a torch in baking again

the leaf lattice pie is my favorite

this marshmellow topping is beutiful and would give me good reason to use a torch in baking again

this marshmellow topping is beautiful and would give me good reason to use the torch again

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