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Weekend thoughts

It has been another busy week over here. 
And I have to admit... I am feeling like the Christmas season is absolutely zooming by.  
Christmas is just 2 weeks away already. 

I have so much to share with you in the next couple of weeks- including a closer look at the front door decor and ideas for gift wrapping tomorrow. 
But today, it is all about random weekend thoughts and a few personal reflections
 from the week that was. 

Dreaming of a White Christmas... tree

The most amazing white Christmas tree arrived last week. 
And when I say that- I mean it. I am in complete awe of this tree.
 You probably already know that I am a wee part of the Balsam Hill family and work as their blogger ambassador- but I also do some photography and styling for them and this tree is a brand new tree that just arrived about 2 weeks ago. 
It is called the Denali-  and yes, it definitely backs that name. 

I worked on styling and photographing it yesterday- 
and I cannot wait to share everything with you- but here is a sneak peek- 
and you can find more on my instagram story.


We started the week out in Calistoga- which is at the top of the Napa Valley wine country.
A bit of Christmas shopping, a little wine tasting and vineyard dreaming were all on the agenda- and a quiet evening to simply relax and put our feet up by the fire in one of our favorite little B&B's in the wine country was definitely a good thing. 

We made a quick stop by the flower mart the next morning for fresh greens and flowers-
and then a stop at the Balsam Hill tree lot for holiday home supplies for a special gift.

A Gift

I started to write an entire post about this.
Actually, I did write an entire post about this. haha.
And once everything  goes live on TV I will probably share more details. 
But for now- a few thoughts about the Christmas Tree Decor gift
with Balsam Hill & CBS this week.
Where it started:
There was a contest for a giveaway for a magical Christmas tree makeover with Balsam Hill
and CBS chose the winner based on their entry essay.
This family had been caring for their mother round the clock for the past 2 years
and she recently passed-
and two of the sisters nominated another sister for the makeover as a way
 of saying thank you for all the she did.

I wasn't involved in the choosing process
but when I learned about this family- I felt such a connection with the winners. 
And I have to be honest. 
I fought back tears a bit as they teared up while sharing their story about
caring for their mom on camera.
So much of what inspired me to write this blog is because of my grandmother
and caring for her while she had dementia. 
And this family, this story, and the opportunity to be able to do something kind for someone who is struggling so much like I was just a few years ago at this time 
almost to the exact day  this holiday season- 
well, it got me right in the gut. 

I wrote a loong post about caring for my grandmother yesterday...
and then tucked it away.
The day we first wondered if she had dementia, the 5+ years of taking care of her and my grandfather, their struggles as they navigated life separate from each other 
for the first time since they met.
The sadness, the laughter, and the many gifts  that were included in those 5 years.
And I wrote about when my grandfather passed and how my grandmother came back for a fleeting moment to say goodbye to him. It honestly stopped me in my tracks to see it.
And how I received a similar incredible gift from her before she passed when she told me she loved me and that it was time for me to go and do my own things now.
And how she passed the first week of December and it was the day before my grandfathers birthday,
so we thought maybe she was going to surprise him. 
It was incredibly hard... but being able to give back to them every day and care for them much as they had cared for me when I was little was something I wanted to do.

 And when I first started writing this blog, it was coming from a place where I needed to find a spot to take a break from some of that bittersweet going on.
And it wasn't long after I started blogging, that my blog took on a far bigger role in my life
than I could have ever imagined.
And with this wonderful gift that Balsam Hill gave - and the opportunity to help sprinkle a little holiday magic for this family that was feeling much the same way I was that same week 6 years ago-
something simple like helping decorate a tree while they talked about their mother & shared memories was something that made a big difference for them.

Every single time I have the opportunity to be a part of putting a smile on someones face and making a difference in their world- I am honored and humbled and so full of the
 best kind of feel good emotion.
My blog has brought so many amazing and fun opportunities that I absolutely love and appreciate and the ones where I have the opportunity to do something to help
someone else are some of my favorites.

And when this amazing family thanked us for helping to make their holiday brighter this year,
 I thanked them for letting me be a small part of it.
A huge thanks to Balsam Hill - they are such an amazing company to work with and giving back this way is just another example of that- and also to CBS for sprinkling this family with
 Christmas cheer this season.

Thanks for listening while I rambled a bit today
Stay tuned for a busy full week coming your way- 
with pretty packages, outdoor decor, that white tree styling, the guest bedroom, a Christmas table and much more. 

Happy weekend everyone.

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  1. Your photos are magical, as ever. The story of your grandparents is so touching. The greatest gift we can give back is our time and our love.

  2. What a beautiful story! I do understand about your grandmother -- I took care of my mamma for years. My dad passed away years before. Their age span was 13 years. She didn't drive -- that's the way it was in the old days. But I miss my mamma and papà every day. Anyway, I have a hard time sharing really personal stories. But you've done beautifully. I so admire you and what you've done and you kept a kind sharing heart which sometimes it is hard to find. We have our Balsam Hill tree in our window -- and I'm thrilled. Thank you!

  3. A kindred feeling about this post. My sister is living with our mom. Both their husbands died within 2 yrs of cancer the past 5 yrs. My brother and I are very grateful for our sister to able to take care of our mom, as she had some health issues this year. I'm very happy the 2 sisters nominated their sister:). That's what family is all about, loving each other.
    A stunning White Christmas tree! I can see why it's called Denali.
    A beautiful respite in wine country, sounds wonderful.
    Kathleen in Az

  4. Oh dear, my eyes are leaking. Being able to help people and lift their spirits during the holidays is the true Christmas spirit. I'm so happy you were able to give these ladies a special gift and your time.

  5. A beautiful post and so touching. The holidays seems to remind us of loved ones that have passed and it is so sad...because we miss them so.

  6. What a lovely gift, Courtney! Very touching... I know you must have been crying while you were thinking of your grandparents and writing this post. I think we were all crying a bit while reading it. :)

    My mother died on Dec. 5th, 2004, a victim of lung cancer, and I think of her soooo much this time of year. She really wanted to be home for Christmas, too, but that wasn't to be. We ended up having a Christmas wake/party in her remembrance that year, all my family and her older sister, a bunch of my cousins. It was the best and saddest time! Funny how that happens...

    My dad had gone seven years prior during early summer. She said he walked into the room, but that was at the same time as one of my brothers who shares the same name walked in. Who knows? Perhaps Daddy did walk in then, too. Time will tell. God knows for sure. :) Funny how we look back on things that happen in our lives and some of our best memories are so bittersweet.

    Glad you were able to be there to help this family by gifting them a little Christmas... Balsam Hill ~ thanks for being an upstanding company.

    Merry Christmas to you,
    Barb :)