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

best of spring — escapes, endeavors, and improvements

simultaneously sunny and stormy

simultaneously sunny and stormy

I haven’t written a general update post in awhile, and I think they’re important.

I was told recently during an argument that I have a hard time “turning off.” That simple observation stuck with me more than whatever we were fighting about, because it’s true. I think I tend to live my life at such a constant break-neck pace — a pace that ensures distraction — because I’m afraid of what will happen, or what I will feel, when I stop. I find that I’m sometimes scared of unstructured time or absolute silence, unless it’s on my own terms. I suppose that’s because I know what feelings seem to creep in during those times…feelings of loneliness, abandonment, and fear.

This spring season has offered several opportunities to reflect on that simple fact, to act on it, and to work at reversing it. The spring, true to tradition, was a time of new beginnings, cleaning (both literally and figuratively), improvements, and escapes. Here’s a look:

1. méxico escape: We booked incredibly-priced tickets to Cabo Pulmo in early May for a long weekend of vacation with Chase’s family. The trip came at the perfect time — just after a major work event, and in the depths of bipolar spring mountain weather. The trip was rejuvenating, but I also came home with the new realization that I have a hard time fully letting go and relaxing when on a brief trip, which is just not ok with me and something I’m going to work on. Regardless, the trip kicked off with an incredible (although belated after a flight delay, three u-turns and misleading road signs) at Flora Farm in San Jose del Cabo. I think I could move there tomorrow and live a happy life between the gardens, orchards, cottages, wine shop, espresso, boutiques, and crazy delicious restaurant. The rest of our Mexico time was spent fishing (although my fishing experience was hindered a bit by a double dose of dramamine), time on the beach, and great food and company. The other lesson I learned: Put sunscreen on your lips. Always.

happy to have made it on the plane!

happy to have made it on the plane!

first stop, flora farm

first stop, flora farm

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shopping for some mother's day treasures

shopping for some mother’s day treasures

had to make a stop at the wine/espresso bar

had to make a stop at the wine/espresso bar

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i think the chairs suited us well, no?

a brief awake/aware moment

a brief awake/aware moment

jenna committing to the fish

jenna committing to the fish

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cabo pulmo bound

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lighthouse beach

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it was a little too crowded…

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Pablo and Ingri

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the cruiser

2. krista detwiler, Stella & Dot Stylist: In April, I signed up to be a Stella & Dot stylist, and I am having a blast so far. I originally fell in love with their products almost exactly a year ago. I hosted a show at my home a few months later, and my admiration for Stella & Dot’s product line and business philosophy grew — I love that Stella & Dot was founded by women, for women. I work in a full-time job, which I’m very fulfilled by, but Stella & Dot offers a fun and flexible addition. My goal is to put some extra cash in the bank for my honeymoon and home improvement purchases. Check out this interview with the founder with my former classmate, Caroline Fairchild, and if you have your eye on some new jewelry and accessories or need a great gift for someone in your life, here’s my Stella & Dot page. Thank you for your support, and keep an eye out for an invite to my “Launch” show on June 14.

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3. home improvements: True to my original Marie Kondo revelation, I’ve been making an effort to make pointed home improvements. I now always have an eye for de-cluttering, and I’ve been able to better prioritize those home purchases that would, you guessed it, spark the most joy. I’ve been doing my best to pair these purchases with my very best bargain hunting so I can strike when the time is right. I purchased these world market atlantic blue dining chairs for a little drama in the dining room (complete with a feather pillow from The Gardens), as well as this incredible west elm chandelier — let there be light! My wedding registry has also created a fun opportunity to imagine my ideal home. Next up, I’m going to paint some walls! Woohoo!

stella & dot plus chandelier

stella & dot plus chandelier

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4. southfork of the snake float: More to come on this most excellent Idaho Adventure, but a group of us took advantage of the three-day weekend and spent two nights on the Southfork of the Snake River in southeastern Idaho. It was an incredible experience with great friends in a beautiful setting, with plenty of yummy camp food and lots of laughs. We can’t wait to go back again this summer for part 2!

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ultimate relaxation

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camp food done right

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hot potato

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parley’s day in paradise

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baby blue

5. wardrobe updates:  Being engaged has done some crazy things to my online shopping habits…Good thing I gravitate toward those sites that have incredible return policies (ahem, revolve, get out of my head). Here are a few of my absolute favorite purchases of late:

enida schutz heel

enida schutz heel

j brand super skinny floral pant

j brand super skinny floral pant

tularosa x revolve charmer plunge romper

tularosa x revolve charmer plunge romper

alice + olivia jaya top

alice + olivia jaya top

nasty gal carousel embroidered dress

nasty gal carousel embroidered dress

breeze to death floral kimono

breeze to death floral kimono

6. may babies and celebrations: turns out many of my favorite people were born in May. I’ve had so much fun celebrating their big days, along with nothing at all — from a “fish fry” to impromptu late night green chef meals, to hikes and dog walks, I am so thankful to be surrounded by great friends and positive people.

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the fish fry master

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coloring with the coloring master

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tori and some beautiful birthday cupcakes

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7. those brief moments: I had a moment when I was driving home from a movie last Sunday afternoon — I’d just eaten a pound of popcorn, had a movie theatre glass of wine, and laughed until my belly hurt. The sun was shining after two days of frigid snow and rain, the windows were down, and driving home was like an instagram sensation. Spring here is both brief and brilliant — the rapid growth of blossoming trees, bright green leaves, bushy wildflowers, and even weeds is the stuff of emo daydreams. Couldn’t tell you what it was, but the perfect song was playing on the radio, and I was headed home to a man (and two dogs) that love me. And basically, that was all that mattered, and in that moment, I was sublimely happy.

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Wishing you all an amazing summer. I know they can fly by, so I hope you can all pause more — like I am trying to — and enjoy the brief moments of simple perfection.

 

golden birthday party — pineapples, party hats, “tags” & a cat suit

Mia and Tag on a tag...duh

Mia and Tag on a tag…duh

Meet Mia, my co-conspirator on this lovely affair.

When our best friend, Kacie, moved home after living in Denver and Boulder after college, we had so much to celebrate. Our wolfpack had (at least mostly) reunited, it was her 27th birthday, and Kacie and her boyfriend, Tag, had just gone into contract on their first home.

Kacie turned 27 on the 27th, which if you don’t know, means it’s her golden birthday. Judging from our average readership age, your golden birthday may have come and gone already, but keep this fun excuse to really go for it in mind for your friends and family.

Thankfully, all things gold are Kacie’s favorite, just like mine. We had so much fun hatching this borderline surprise party plan. Here’s a look!

INVITATION

the paperless post invite that we sent the the birthday girl at the last minute

the paperless post invite that we sent the the birthday girl at the last minute

Envelope

decor

  • Gold letter balloons that spelled out “GOLDEN GIRL”
  • 40″ number balloons for a 2-7
  • Regular gold balloons
  • Gilded pineapples, a brilliant idea of Mia’s
  • Glitter champagne bottles, another brain child of Mia’s
  • Gold votives
  • White flowers in gold vases
  • Photos of Kacie and some of her favorite people
  • Gold striped and pineapple straws
  • Gold rimmed cups and plates
  • Tags made of Tags😉
  • Costumes that also played into the décor
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before and after!

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Conveniently Mia’s aunt is also the very talented lady behind Tara Bella flowers, so the blooms were stunning. I reused a few props from a birthday party last year, including the “k” and a dino friend or two

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These 40″ balloons from “bargainballoons.com” were just that! They were almost more of a rose gold, but that was fine by me!

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dino and polka dots

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the whole décor shebang — balloons, pineapples, votives, photos, and a dino

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more dino

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I found these napkins at local favorite boutique The Gardens…so good

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the company

 

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hostesses and bday girl

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the gang

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#stillgotit

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late night casino love

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the following day included some epic skiing, all decked out in gold.

the following day included some epic skiing, all decked out in gold.

Such a fun couple of days!

cheers krista

 

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

birthday selfie sticks, crowns & colors

Our incredible friend Rachel recently celebrated another year around the sun and we had such a fun girl’s night to celebrate her. While we don’t need an excuse for a party that is super colorful, girly and involves glitter crowns, celebrating such a good friend makes it that much better!

Rachel is one of those friends that you look to in times of both celebration and sorrow. She always manages to know what to say, and we are so thankful to have her in our lives!

Here is how we celebrated the birthday girl!

menu

Since we were going on a pre-dinner hike we wanted to keep things simple. We decided to do grilled cheese, soup, salad and of course cake! It was such an easy meal to throw together and was super simple to have everyone bring a few ingredients. We topped off all the food with some champagne and wine, of course!

  • assorted grilled cheese
  • grilled cheese fillers (avocado, pesto, tomato, pear, more cheese, the list goes on and on!)
  • homemade Christina’s tomato soup
  • the Haven tomato soup
  • amazing farm fresh salad
  • rhubarb cake (so delicious – thanks simone!)

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the prettiest and most delicious cake ever (thanks, simone!)

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so amazing!

so amazing!

decor

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Screen Shot 2016-05-14 at 5.25.20 PM

 

the table

the table

never say no to pastel marbled balloons

never say no to pastel marbled balloons

incredible color-able table runner

incredible color-able table runner

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colored pencils for coloring!

colored pencils for coloring!

presents!

presents!

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the end result!

the end result!

the company

While we originally planned to attend our favorite Wednesday night yoga class, we decided to take a quick pre-dinner hike instead. Between the 8 girls we had about an equal number of (mostly black) dogs and realized that we have turned into those “dog people” that you see with a crazy pack of dogs. We hiked up Heidelberg and had quite a fun time with glitter birthday crowns, a selfie stick and some attempted jumping…

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the birthday girl and "her girl"

the birthday girl and “her girl”

priceless!

priceless!

the hiking gang

thank gosh for selfie sticks

jump!

jump!

so graceful...

so graceful…

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making a wish!

making a wish!

maude pod just captivated by the balloons at the end of the night

maude pod just captivated by the balloons at the end of the night

cheers!

cheers!

 

 

 

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

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.

stella-bracelets

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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

better butterleaf “wedge” salad

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delicious and pretty salad!

Our friend Rachel originally inspired this salad as she wanted “individual” salads for an Oscar viewing party. While these wedges required a fork and knife, the end product was amazing.

I combined a few concepts from other recipes on Pinterest including this Williams-Sonoma Taste little gem salad recipe and added (what else?) bacon and some roasted chickpeas for a little crunch. The combo was incredible.

Here’s a look!

servings

 

12

prep:cook time

 

1 hr. including roasting chickpeas

ingredients yelloe

  • little gem (6) or butter leaf lettuce (4) (you can quarter the butter leaf or halve the little gem)
  • one package bacon
  • two cans chickpeas
  • bundle of radishes

Dressing:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh chives
  • 1/3 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 Tbs. minced fresh tarragon
  • 1 Tbs.+ fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs.+ champagne vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

instructions

  1. Roast your chickpeas following this recipe (although I pulled mine out about 20 minutes after I turned off the oven, and they were plenty crunchy).
  2. Bake the bacon until nice and crispy on another shelf in the oven.
  3. While the chickpeas are roasting and the bacon is crisping, halve or quarter the lettuce, thinly slice the radishes, and combine the salad dressing ingredients in a medium bowl. I used a little extra lemon juice and champagne vinegar than the recipe called for because I like tangy dressings, especially when mayonnaise is involved.
  4. Remove the chickpeas and allow them to cool.
  5. Remove the bacon from the grease in the pan and place them on paper towels. Coarsely cut into crumbles.
  6. Arrange the lettuce wedges in a shallow bowl or large tray, and sprinkle the bacon, chickpeas, and radish slices evenly over the lettuce.
  7. Finish with drizzled dressing (just use a spoon), and keep any extra toppings close by in case your guests want to add more to their serving.
pretty butter leaf lettuce

pretty butter leaf lettuce

arranged lettuce

arranged lettuce

I think radishes are underrated

I think radishes are underrated

salad ready for dressing

salad ready for dressing

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yums!

yums!

cheers krista

 

brass blossom

 

peach lemonade pie

For our “Let There Be Light” dinner I wanted to make a fresh pie that screamed Spring time. It just so happened that the day following the time change was Pi Day. I happen to think Pi Day should be a holiday in itself to celebrate the wonderful dessert, pie!

Nothing says Spring time to me than peach pie so that is what I made. However after making the filling with the peaches and cutting down on the sugar I felt that it was still a bit too sweet. But the only thing I had on hand to balance the sweetness was lemonade. It was definitely one of those life hands you lemon moments and the lemonade was the perfect pairing with the peaches!

I will most definitely be making this pie again this summer!

ingredients

  • 6 cups peaches
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup baking sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • large splash of lemonade
  • pie crust of choice

instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare your preferred pie crust. Remember to always use super cold water, a cold bowl and refrigerate your crust after making.
  3. Mix together peaches, brown and white sugar, vanilla and cornstarch in a large pot. Cook over low to medium heat until peaches begin to break down.
  4. While the mixture is cooling add a splash or two of lemonade depending on your tangy preference.
  5. Prepare the pie crust on a well floured surface. Separate the crust into two balls. Roll the first half out for the bottom of the pie and insert it into the pan.
  6. Carefully pour the fruit mixture into the pie pan.
  7. Roll out the second half of the crust into a large circle.
  8. To make an art deco styled flower, use a shot glass or any other circular object to cut circles out of the second crust. Cover the pie with the second crust.
  9. Press around the edges to seal the pie.
  10. Bake 40-45 minutes or until golden brown.
  11. Enjoy a slice or two with a heaping scoop of ice-cream!

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a ball of dough

the second ball of dough

peaches galore!

peaches galore!

the cutouts

the shot glass cutouts

art-deco (ish) flower pie

art-deco (ish) flower pie!

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baked to perfection!

baked to perfection!

Enjoy!

taylor brass

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.

wn-org-riced-cauliflower

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