12 Days of Christmas [Day 3]

Leave a little sparkle wherever you go.

“I think it’s beautiful the way you sparkle when you talk about the things you love.” ~Atticus

xo, Shirina


I don’t think it’s possible to love each other too much. Hugs and kisses and a whole lot of “I love you’s”… maybe even some of those under the mistletoe. : )

β€œGifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.” ~ Peg Bracken

xo, Michele

12 Days of Christmas [Day 1]

Shirina and I have decided to do an end-of-year photography blog together. We’ve both struggled a lot this year with creating (or lack of, I should say)… for me it’s mostly been a time issue and for Shirina it’s been lack of inspiration. To help us break out of this rut, Shirina asked me if I wanted to do a “12 Days of Christmas” blog and my response was a definitive “YES!”. We both love Christmas and what better time of year to slow down, to reflect, to think about loved ones and memories and the joy and light that Christmas brings… and to get our cameras out again.Β  So here is day 1 of 12… we would love it if you’d come along.

Day 1… slowing down with a warm cup of tea. Taking time to breathe, to reflect, to sit beneath the twinkling lights and ornaments on our tree… each ornament holding a memory of a person or a place. Here are some of my favorites… my childhood dog, my camera ornament from my M&D, my Hope angel from a dear friend during a difficult year, a colorful antique bauble that belonged to my great-grandma, a paper star that my niece made when she was a little girl and a bamboo rice basket brought back from our trip to SE Asia to visit Mike’s family.Β  Every ornament on our tree tells a story.

Wishing each of you time to slow down… as we all countdown to Christmas day.

~ Michele


“Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen.”



Our final post… week 52 of 52. What a year it’s been… A year of adventure. And change. And growth. And new. And good-byes. And laughter. And tears. And friendship. And so much more. 

Here are some of my favorite photos from this 2016 blog journey. I am so grateful that my dear friend Shirina agreed to do this with me one year ago. It has been such an honor. I have laughed, cried, sang, danced, screamed, whispered, climbed, experienced and grew over these past 52 weeks, all with my amazing soul sister cheering me on. 

Greeting the day… New Years Day 2016
A gift from miss Shirina… my soul sister
My gratitude jar… I just read all my 2016 notes ❀
Nature’s treasures… the sweetest gifts
Soul searching
Practicing a little Danish Hygge… finding life’s simple pleasures
Hiking Zion’s Narrows… a dream come true
My great-grandma’s 1920 flag… going back to my roots
And again… back to my roots at my grandparents farm
Our sweet tree… ‘Charlie’. A whole lotta love.

Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year. I hope it is filled with love, laughter, new memories, good health and then more love. 

Every year, several of my friends pick a word for the new year. I have yet to pick one, as nothing has really come to me yet. Normally I will dream of something and it will bring me my word. Or I will wake to a word. Or it will just make an appearance, in a really strange way. Nothing yet. I think the Universe brings us what we need, if and when we need it. So for now, I’m patiently waiting…. 

xo, Michele


Loosely based on the movie ‘New Years Eve’ but I like what she said, so sharing it here:
Stop and reflect on the year that has gone by

remember our triumphs and missteps

Our promises made and broken

The times we opened ourselves up to great adventures or closed ourselves down for fear of getting hurt

Because that’s what New Years is all about … getting another chance

A chance to forgive

to do better

to do more

to give more

to love more

And stop worrying about what if…

and start embracing what will be…..

Let’s remember to be nice to each other

 kind to each other 

not just on New Years Day 

but every day 

Wishing you all a wonderful New Year as we move from 2016 to 2017…. I’m looking forward to what will be

xo, Shirina


Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of LOVE.” ~Hamilton Wright Mabie

Christmas means so many different things to so many people, but to me it means the season of giving, spending special time with loved ones whether family or friends or even being with strangers and sharing the gift of giving… I have so many lovely memories of Christmas past shared with so many different people in my life, some are gone now and some are still with me and this Christmas I’ll have new memories to tuck into those places where I’ll pull from when I’m needing the connection or I’m feeling nostalgic, wishing you such a lovely Christmas with whomever shares your heart and the sweet memories you hold so dear ❀️ Shirina


Christmas is such a nostalgic time of year and makes me think back to my childhood… to so many memories… sweet memories… and those memories in turn pull on my heart strings, missing loved ones who are no longer here… but keeping them close, as we talk about them, remembering and sharing stories. I love hearing those stories.  

Christmas for me is all about love, most especially love. It’s about family and friends, and memories and tradition. And making new memories. And welcoming new members to the family. Sharing favorite recipes. And both giving and receiving. I hope your holiday, whichever holiday you are celebrating, is everything you wish for it to be. 

Wishing the world love and warmth and peace. 

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, God Jul,  Joyeux NoΓ«l, Frohe Weihnachten, GlΓ¦delig Jul, Buon Natale, Gledelig Jul, Feliz Navidad, ΰΈͺΰΈΈΰΈ‚ΰΈͺΰΈ±ΰΈ™ΰΈ•ΰΉŒΰΈ§ΰΈ±ΰΈ™ΰΈ„ΰΈ£ΰΈ΄ΰΈͺΰΈ•ΰΉŒΰΈ‘ΰΈ²ΰΈͺ !!! 

❀ Michele 


I love the anticipation and countdown. Christmas is my favorite time of year… so full of magic and mystery. And HOPE. And giving. And LOVE

I hope these days are filled with family and friends and love and memories and everything that the season means to you. 

my uncle Roger’s rose… still blooming so beautifully ❀

xo, michele 


Christmas is coming may it bring you many days with family, friends and loved ones. 

Even if you can’t be together physically, you’ll always be joined by the love in your hearts… 

many blessings to you and yours~

xo, shirina 


During this last month of November I was inspired by Michele’s gratitude jar and decided I’d like to have one as well and everyday no matter what I look for the blessings and gratitude in each day~ even when things are a struggle or I’ve had a bad day or even a melt down as we all probably do I remember to look for the good in my day no matter how small and insignificant it may seem to others it is my moment and my grace and my comfort or blessing and I slow down to take a moment to say thank you~ thank you for this moment, for this reminder that Im blessed and loved and grateful…. wishing you those moments as well~ they are there for all of us. xo, Shirina

My heart is full and I am so grateful…. for the big and the small, for the people in my life who love me just as I am, for all the messiness that makes up this one and only life I’ve been given… yes, for all of it. 

xo, Michele 


The days are changing and getting moodier~ I truly love this time of year… When the days get colder, when the rain and fog slip in and when I come home and plug my Christmas tree lights on, and wind down from my day… truly enjoying this time of year and all that it holds for us, hoping your enjoying it as well, even just in the small quiet moments of your day I hope you find peace and calm and blessings from your days ❀️

xo, Shirina


Snowy days, a fire in the fireplace, Charlie with his twinkling lights, candles burning, Christmas music in the background, a warm mug of something yummy. December days…

xo, Michele 

Β [48:52]

As we transition from one season of Fall and gratitude into the next season of Winter and giving, as the weather starts to chill we pull out the comforts of home with additional blankets and warm socks…

and soon we go find our treasured boxes of handmade, vintage and ornaments 

from Christmases past and add in the new things from Christmas present, it gives us time to ponder the season and what it all means~ of times with family and friends and those who are no longer with us physically but still in every part of our hearts they are always with us.

As I place my ornaments on my tree I remember my mom’s homemade ornaments which were made out of cardboard egg cartons that she decorated with paint, chunky glitter & sequins, I remember my mom’s handmade snowflakes which she hung on the walls and windows. Which has given me a love of snowflakes… 

I am now a collector of snowflakes for my tree and have collected them for my sisters as well…

memories and traditions are such a lovely part of our lives and fill our hearts with so much joy, nostalgia and comfort in the times when we remember and need it the most…. 

Christmas is a time filled with so many wonderful things and in the season of giving I want to remember to live my life in a way that helps others in need, to bring comfort where ever it is needed and to be a source of light for those who feel alone… 

We are blessed in so many ways in this life and I am making it a focus daily to see those blessings no matter how small….and just know that I carry all of you in my memories, my heart and in my daily blessings

xo, shirina


december…. a month filled with tradition, love, memories, emotions, favorite holiday foods and sweets, stress, joy, nostalgia, for some sadness and loneliness, favorite movies, gatherings, giving, receiving and so much more. 

 right after thanksgiving, i dig out all of my christmas boxes and start to decorate the house with cherished items that only come out at this time of year… things i’ve collected over the years… ornaments from trips we’ve taken around the world, vintage ornaments handed down from my mom, gifts from friends & loved ones… all things that fill my heart and bring me joy.

getting our christmas tree is also one of my favorite traditions.  to drive out to the tree farm and handpick our sweet little tree… this place makes me so happy. 

bringing an actual tree in from the wild brings a little bit of magic into your home.  trees are full of knowledge and life and wisdom and it is a gift to have one in your home.  

when we search for our christmas tree, we avoid all of the picture perfect trees in search of the smallest one, the one that just needs a little extra love.  we got our tree yesterday and we couldn’t love it more… meet charlie. 

wishing each of you a magical month, filled with love and peace~ 

i end this week’s post with a very sad and heavy heart, as i lost my uncle on friday. sending extra love to my aunt, my cousin and my dad… who lost a husband, a dad and a big brother. ❀️

xo, michele 


While so many of my friends and family have seen snow and we’ve had snow in the mountains as well, but in my little town we are in the peak of fall.

Fall always comes late here, and usually peaks the week of Thanksgiving so it is right on schedule.

I’m sharing the last bits of fall with you today and although we don’t have snow it’s still chilly and fabulous and feels like all the things I love about fall,

holding a warm mug of something in my hands, sweaters, boots, snuggling under the blankets, watching holiday movies and for us rain, wonderful rain,

the cold brisk air reminding you to bundle up and prepare for winter… enjoy these simple pleasures and be grateful for the moments that present themselves to us,

whether in a hug from a friend or loved one, a card in the mail, a smile from a stranger, the leaves floating down in the wind or even a text or note from someone you’ve been missing

and wanting to hear from… there are so many beautiful blessings in our life we just need to open our eyes and our hearts to see them because they are there every day waiting to be discovered… xoxo

xo, shirina


It is during this transition from early fall… with summer’s last hurrah and burst of color, to the first snowfall of the winter (which I am as of yet waiting for) that I find a calling to come back inside… back to all the things I have missed over the spring & summer months… that I have put off due to my yearning for adventure, exploring and the beauty of the great outdoors.Β  This time of year, I find myself back in the kitchen again… baking, experimenting with new recipes, savoring hot teas and filling my house with yummy scents of the season.

I am grateful for a lazy weekend afternoon with a fire in the fireplace, a good book, a hot cup of tea in a favorite mug and a cozy blanket… comforts of home.Β  The best of days.


And as we get closer to Thanksgiving, I start to get really excited about the holidays and all that they mean to me.Β  Family, tradition, heirloom decorations, finding my next Charlie Brown Christmas tree, gatherings, memories and a special love that really shines during this time of year.Β  The holidays can be stressful too… trying to find the perfect gifts for those we love, friends & loved ones who are dealing with health problems and people who are missing loved ones who are no longer here.Β  Lets try and spread as much love and kindness as we can… not only this time of year but especially at this time of year.Β  It is needed so very badly in this world of ours.


xo, michele