Unexpected Gifts of the Season

cute gingerbread house

cute gingerbread house

When putting up the post last week about the Lap of Luxury Giveaway with the Four Seasons Biltmore, I felt a little naked when I hit that publish button. It’s scary to be vulnerable about personal disappointment in the middle of shiny blog land.

Then, you quickly surrounded me with such warmth as you shared all the unexpected gifts in your life. It was an absolute pleasure to read all the thoughtful, heart-warming comments. Every time I checked-in on the blog I smiled and often got teary, as you shared tender moments with me— from the gift of a sweet newborn to cherishing elderly grandparents, to reunions with far away family members, to diamonds(!), cars, horses and job opportunities or letdowns that turned into bliss— so many unexpected surprises to be thankful for— I even found out that a dear friend from college is having a baby!

biltmore beach

It wasn’t surprising to read that the Four Seasons Biltmore holds a special place in many of your hearts. I was excited to partner with them to share this giveaway with my faithful readers. A big congratulation to our winner—randomly selected by a software program that does the picking— Danielle L. What a great stocking stuffer!!

Here are a few snapshots of my favorite presents so far this season. Cheers to a magical holiday and to enjoying all of the small and big gifts it brings.

decorating tree

Decorating the tree with my little angels.

truffle and fresh pasta

White truffle and fresh pasta delight.

pink lights

The Hamilton House ode to a Palm Springs holiday.

puppy dog

This face…

Most especially, I’m thankful for the gift of being home and celebrating my daughter’s birthday with family and friends— a lopsided yet delicious six layer salted carmel chocolate cake, included.

valerie rice cake

Photo by Evan Janke