Holiday decor for the timely challenged, like myself, has recently left me feeling blah about getting in the spirit of all things merry and bright.  With surgery being two weeks ago, I had every intention of decorating prior to my operation.  But lets be real, that did not happen.   We realized that our tree, sparkly things and fancy disco DIY garlands made from previous years, were in our storage unit, along with our hoards of vintage furniture. And so it goes and here we are. No big deal, you might say. But, in typical Steve and Britt fashion, we lost the key to the unit.

So, from personal experience — it is possible to spread a little holiday magic dust around your house, by using non-traditional item.

We did just that.




I’m a sucker for collecting interesting candle holders — particularly the ones from local shops where the glass is recycled, reused and repurposed.  Once the original candle is dead over alive, I simply put ice in it, set it in the freezer for the day, remove in from the freezer, flip it upside down, leaving the remnants fall right out.  From there the glass holders can be a versatile piece of decor around your home.  For the holidays, I placed two sparkly, red candles in some of my favorite recycled holders.  With the S. Pellegrino as a green backdrop and the red candles gives in their new homes, our house has a little holiday representation on our bar cabinet.


Holiday Wreath

What can I say?  I’m also a sucker for some succulents and decided to turn  an “every day occasion” wall decoration into a beautiful, silver and gold door “wreath”.  Once the holidays have come and gone, I will be able to continue to use the succulent hanging by simply removing the poinsettias and ornaments.  Dingdong!   HOLIDAYDIY + SUCCULENTS + COST EFFICIENCY.  Sounds like a year round embellishment knocking on the door.


Zoila Christmas Dress

Dress up your pup.  I would have never imagined in a squillion years I’d be that lady.  You know, the ones who dress up their dogs. And in Christmas costumes at that.  BUT, I surrender.  I’m officially that girl and I have accepted it.  How could I not?  Red sequins, a white fur collar — all on an adorable, seventeen week, mini-sausage dog.  She would make even the Grinch feel a sense of holly jolly.

Although, Zoi hates me and this dress.  FACT.


Plamtree Lights

In our home, we are all about having bits of greenery year round.  We live behind a beautiful Japanese garden and get an amazing amount of sunshine through the glass doors and terrace of our condo.  Since living here, we have had many indoor plants to give our space an indoor/outdoor vibe.  Throwing a string of lights on one of your larger,sturdier plants that you already own will give that instant glow  and charm of Christmas.  Thus giving you all the holiday feels. A bonus is that you can save a tree, time, money and energy all in the name of a winter celebratory decor.


Holiday Cookies

I’d vote that I’m the least domestic person in the world.  I don’t cook, bake and I am sure that if I did, people would be running for the hills.  Not that I can blame them, but there is something about Christmas cookies. Perhaps it’s the everlasting memories of  my Mum making her famous sugar cookies’; the cookies that I look forward to all year.  Although the cookies above are not my Mum’s, or mine for that matter, I purchased a cheap dozen of grocery store cookies and placed them on a cake stand and on display on the counter.  The visual of something that is season relevant can bring an inexpensive, cheery and dare I say delicious touch.


Take little ornaments and place them on some of your every day home accessories.  Above I found the Christmas ornaments we received as our first year as Mr. and Mrs. Ochoa.  Sentimental value holds no bounds and warms you to the core when thinking back on fond memories of Christmases past.


Britt x

Are you there God, it’s me, Britt…

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I struggle to say this aloud as well as typing it, propelling my thoughts and beliefs into the universe.  For those who I know personally, you would realize that I did not grow up in a religious setting.  My Mum was of the belief that I could make up my own mind about spirituality, religion and who I define as my God.  Holding all of the cards as to who I presume God to be, I have been an extensively spiritual person. There are many things and experiences that I could share in an effort to better outline or host my level of spirituality, but I will spare you of the gritty details.  Lets just say that there have been a number of incidents as to which I was met with my spirituality.

During difficult times, many people cling to what it is they decipher God to be, as well as how they define death in the ended phase of immortalization.  For me, I have remained in tact with my spiritual resolutions, trumping specific identification for which I believe my God to be.  In fact, the spirits that I feel have guided me through this life thus far are the family members with whom have passed onto the other side.  I’m not saying I pray to them in an effort to save my life, but I listen to them deep within my heart and soul and look to my gut feelings on what they would say if they were alive today, as I believe they are marching me through this challenging time.

Just the other night, I lay in bed from the time I rested my head on the pillow, alongside the glimmer of the nearly full moon, and did not sleep the entire night through as I watched the sun arrive with the following day.  As I lay in bed with the slight murmur of my husband and dog’s snores, I thought deeply about everyone who has been in my life, going from the start of my twenty-eight years, all the way through those that are in my life today.  Relying on my faint memories all the way through my large, life impacting recollections, I spent a moment or two on every memory that could be relived inside of my chemo infused mind. Particular and distinct aspects of my reminiscence struck a smile, enticed my nerves and in some cases brought tears to my eyes.  Realizing that every single person I have been lucky to meet and carry a relationship with has made my life up to this point and each held impacts, some more significant than others but nevertheless appreciated and important.

This cinematic approach to my life so far distracted me through the night and inevitably begged the question as to why I was inventorying life, my life.  I have mentioned before that thoughts about the afterlife and dying was a real thought process when battling and balancing life with Stage IV cancer, or any stage of cancer for that matter.  Of course I do my best to put on a smile and tell myself and convince others that I am still the happy go lucky person I once was, believing that I held all the cards for my life and death was a formidable postscript.  However, in the deep, dark hours of the night leaves you discerning things that you wouldn’t dare share with the world, speak aloud or even think of during daylight.  I know that despite my diagnosis, it is not a death sentence, yet it surely comes in the form of a pink slip.  Similar to the dreaded pink slip, cancer clambers itself into your life and you’re left feeling as though you are getting fired in this job that we refer to as life and livelihood.  Suddenly your only job is to rid yourself of the cancer, some are able to find a new “job” and others remain “jobless” and unable to work at being alive anymore.

As the morning approached from the sky up above, the lingering image of myself was in a casket.  It was such an organic and real image that it left me shaking in my boots, or rather my bed.  The representation of that train of thought caught me off guard.  Was it healthy to be having these thoughts, was I giving in and giving up?  Those were some of the questions I asked myself as the thought was imprinted in my mind, almost as though I was soring above myself and found that I was rationalizing as to what I thought my deceased loved ones would advise me, I felt their presence.  Somehow it was an uncomfortable reaction with the thought of them and the feeling of their company.  Frantically attempting to imagine anything else became a difficult task.  I was now confronting my thoughts of the night and reasoning as to WHY I traveled down memory lane.  They say your life passes before your eyes and when you are about to meet your maker, your life’s theatre debut takes place in the cognizance of your mind.  By my own grasp, the momentous sensation of my loved ones that passed were in attendance left me bursting into tears.  In my own, painstaking mind, I viewed their attendance as homage to my significant spirituality, but also a fear that with all of my retention in the night and weighty reminiscence, the loved ones were here to “collect me”.

After catching my breath, I escaped to my bathroom, rinsed my face and told myself that my gut feelings were due to lack of sleep.  Perhaps I needed to relive some of my fondest memories to realize how truly fortunate I have been all of my life.  I was raised with love and care from my family, my friends and now a connection with beautiful peers battling the same disease.  I then chose to stop thinking about death and enjoy what I have in front of me.

This week, Steve decided to take time off of work to comfort me and spend some quality time going on small adventures and enjoying this thing we call life.  They say life is a matter of arrangement and matter.  I am choosing to simply “arrange” my feelings from focusing on what the afterlife is and realized that all that “matters” is that I live everyday to the fullest and compartmentalize thoughts of death to the far corner of my mind.  Feeling refreshed after my optimization of each and every memory and feeling, I have adopted a mantra to get me through.  An object in motion tends to stay in motion; an object at rest tends to stay at rest.”  So, for today and the days ahead, I vow to myself that the key is to stay in motion, keep fighting and assure myself that I can rest when I am dead.


Britt x

Curves and Good Fortune 🔮

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Curves exist in the most atypical forms.  They take shape in many diverse ways and when least expected, the curve manifests itself into your world.  Occasionally, the initial antiphon of the unanticipated life curve ball may leave you feeling uncertain, even perhaps viewing the curve as an undesirable, unconstructive additive to your life.

Just the other day, whilst getting some ice cream with my sugar sweet husband, I got a fortune cookie atop of my fruity pebbles ice cream, scooped in a tiny Chinese takeaway container.  While I typically find fortune cookies delicious in their Americanized entirety, I do not take the thinly printed white fortune too seriously.  However, as I cracked open the soft, sugary cookie, awaiting my vague prophecy and list of lucky numbers, I did not expect the words to resonate with me so deeply.

May life throw you a pleasant curve.”  Simple.  The words so understatedly represented my life, my current situation and the curve in which I was thrown through means of cancer.  While I might have taken my cancer diagnosis and grasped onto all of the negative aspects, I have spun it into a positive and truly could not picture my life without this so called pleasant curve.

Keeping on with my mission for good fortunes and seeking out answers to the bigger picture, I spent Tuesday afternoon with two women who have always helped me on my spiritual quest, my Mum and spiritual guidance counselor, Katie.  Heading north for a day in the brisk fall weather, my Mum and I met with Katie to get intact with our spiritual side and what the cards had to offer.

Nearly a decade ago, Katie advised me that at the age of twenty-seven, life would throw me a curve and something life altering would happen to me.  To say that this beautiful, wise woman isn’t gifted would be a sizable untruth.  Here I am, twenty-seven with the most life altering event that could have possibly happened.

It was almost immediate that Katie picked up on my disease and sense of health problems.  The wonderful news is that she informed me that death was not in the cards and while I have a lifetime of work ahead of me, I will be fortunate enough to live a quality life, with many pleasant curves along the way.  Picking up where we left off from years past, she filled me in on my spiritual state and that my current life events will bring forth great prosperity, knowledge and all around happiness.  My writing was debriefed and foreseen to become something larger than I will ever anticipate, even making it into a magazine at some point, to share my story and journey.  Most importantly, Katie’s calculation of my future was that my experience will be helpful to others and if all else fails, helping others through my journey is all that matters to me.

Whether you deem yourself religious, spiritual or neither, it is always good to know that good fortune lies ahead, whether in a free fortune cookie or a Native American spiritual counselor.  Just remember, even though all curves may not seem pleasant, the curve is there to align you with your vocation and while it may not always look like sunshine and rainbows, you need a little rain to see the rainbow and the feel the sunshine cast upon your face.  So, my wish for you and yours is that you find pleasantry in each curve that life throws you.

May life throw you a pleasant curve.” 


Britt x