Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Holiday Gift Swap

This year I was very excited to participate in my very first Gift Swap! I learned about the gift swap from Freshley Picked, and was quick to jump on board. I love the idea of creating gifts, sending them out to the world and receiving gifts back in return. It's so exciting! Each time a package arrived felt like Christmas. I would have to shoo everyone away, so I could open it in private, in case I was going to gift it to anyone in my home. Which I am. 
These two arrived first. I love gifts that are practical. We don't have a pot holder, and have been using dish towels instead, so this is perfect for us. Not only is it practical, it is also pretty, AND matches our dining room chairs. She makes beautiful crochet items and shares them on her blog which you can find here. The coasters I was pretty excited about. Like practically squealing, because Rob has been bugging me about placing my mugs on the window sills (we really don't have anywhere else for me to place them when I am in the living room) and I had plans to make him coasters for his stocking this year! So seriously! How perfect is this?! They are WAY nicer than anything I would have made, and it will keep Rob of my back:)

This beautiful photo arrived next. It was taken in Jasper national park, so obviously this one is also going to be gifted to our home, seeing as how my 5 year old is Jasper. It's also a beautiful picture, and we don't have any nature shots in our home, so this is perfect. It has a very grand feeling to it, yet serene at the sametime. I really like it. 

All you need is love. A beautiful reminder. I'm on a journey right now of choosing happiness, love and compassion in my life, so this fits perfectly into my world.

This beautiful necklace was made, and sent to me from Beso. They make beautiful jewellery, which I don't have a lot of, so this was a very nice surprise.

And last but not least, a re-usable bag. It was perfect because I went to pick this up from the post office on my way to the grocery store. La Compra means Groceries in spanish. Though probably only in Spain she wrote, which is where she sent this from. 

One of the things that I find so fantastic, is that these gifts came from all over. Women I have never met, all sharing talents to provide gifts for our family and friends. It just feels so right. 

Thank you so much to Say Yes to Hoboken and Freshly Picked for putting this gift swap together!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

An early Christmas present for.....


I don't like to spend money on myself. I always feel a little guilty when I do, so for months I have been pining over this beautiful photography book, and entered a few contests to win it, but without any success. Finally I decided it's okay to get myself a little something, especially because it will help improve my photo taking skills, giving us beautiful pictures to look back on, so it really is for all of us. At least that's how I am justifying it for myself:)

The book is by Katie Evans Photography, and is called The Key to Taking Pictures Like a Professional Photographer.

Just the cover photo sold me on this book!

Here is a quick peek inside the book for a preview of tips she shares:

 I find lenses overwhelming and have no idea where to start, so this information will be useful once I start looking for a new lens.

This tip is fantastic. It's simple, but not something I consider when I am taking a picture, but what a difference it makes.

I have also been spending a bit of time on Katie Evans blog where you can also find some great tutorials like:

so if you aren't ready to buy the book, you can still gain some great tools on her blog, as well as checking out all her beautiful photos. 

I purchased the eBook because I just couldn't wait any longer than I already have. I quickly skimmed through the pages, and can see that there are a lot of helpful tips for lighting (I am super excited to read more about lighting. I really struggle with finding natural light), framing, editing (which I really need help with. Photoshop scares me) and more.

More then anything I am looking forward to experimenting with the tips in this book and hopefully improving my photo taking skills.

The best thing is that right now the eBook and hardcover book are on sale until Dec 31st. Check out the deal here.

P.S. I am in no way being compensated for this post. I am just super excited to share this great book with all of you, and love to promote hardworking, talented women, and give them the credit they deserve. 

Monday, 5 December 2011

Santa Clause Parade

Yesterday was the Santa Clause Parade here in Sooke. 

A super cool chariot!
A Christmas parade would not be complete without candy.
MMM! Candy

It also would not be complete without a carrot!
I thought the pup in the back was adorable:)

A couple of cowboys,

riding off into the sunset.

Jude was excited to see a real life race car.

and comes Santa. We crossed the street, so we wouldn't get stuck on the other side when the parade ended.

Here he is! Jasper was worried Santa might not be at the parade. What a relief it was to see that Santa had time to participate.

We stopped for a snack on the way home.

Jude was pretty excited to get a knife of his own!
Just look at the concentration!
Hat hair. I love it.

Friday, 2 December 2011


There seems to be a theme popping up in my life these days. Maybe it is just a trend in cyber space, but either way, it feels like a wake up call.

I follow a blog called Lil Blue Boo, written by Ashley. If you haven't heard of it, I strongly recommend checking it out. Not only does Ashley share awesome tutorials, make beautiful clothing, but she is also a very inspiring, strong women, with a great sense of humour. Recently she has been dealt some tough blows, which include losing her father, having a miscarriage, and discovering she has cancerous cells in her body, which led to an emergency hysterectomy. You can read more about her struggles on her blog. Through all of this, she has continued to keep a positive outlook, and recently wrote a post about Choosing Joy.

We have a choice in our lives, always. When faced with difficult times, we can make a choice to be happy or not. It's not always an easy choice, and I often forget that the choice is available to me. Our lives are a gift. Each moment we are here is precious, and we can choose to make the most of it. We CAN be happy.

While I have been following Ashley's updates, which are very detailed, and often amusing, I have also come across a video on TED and another article, with the same theme.

The article is called the Top Five Regrets of the Dying and you can read it here.

The video is Louie Shwarzberg: Nature. Beauty. Gratitude. This video brings tears to my eyes every time I watch it.

With Christmas around the corner, I am reminded that it isn't about running around, stressing myself, and my family out to make sure we spend lots of money on materialistic gifts for everyone. Making a gift together for a loved one, with love is much more valuable. Spending time with our families, laughing and eating good food, is what is most important to me. Taking the time to enjoy one anthers company, every moment we are together is more precious than any gift that could be purchased.

I want to make a conscious effort to Choose Joy. Not just today, but everyday, because it is a gift.
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