No Occasion Needed

“What’s the special occasion?” I’m sure you have heard this question when someone sees you dressed up, if you mention an upcoming trip, bake a cake, or purchase something out of the ordinary. I think it is more fun to do something special spur of the moment rather than on an expected occasion. I love random cards, unexpected gifts, spontaneous adventures and little surprises. An exciting part of life is the unknown and what a new day will bring.

Noah and I spent last weekend with his younger brother, Kerm, and wife, Trinity, who were visiting from our home state of PA. Trinity is an extraordinary professional photographer. She has captured several monumental events in my life, from the launch party for my biography to engagement photos and our wedding at Yosemite National Park. We decided to do a fun, random photo shoot while she was here. Trinity made me a gorgeous artificial flower crown, created with olive branches and beautiful colored flowers. We raided my closet and picked out just the right outfits for Noah and myself to complement the crown and the backdrop we discovered while exploring Auburn, a gorgeous lane lined with stunning olive trees. Trinity joked that she crowned me “Queen of the Olives.”

Everything came together beautifully and the four of us set off on our adventure at the “golden hour” when the sun was setting. We had a blast capturing breathtaking photos on the picturesque lane lined with olive trees. We then headed to the dock at Lake Clementine. The sun was just about to set behind the mountains, which helped create stunning shots. While we were on the dock, a man asked, “Are these for wedding photos?” I smiled and responded, “No, we are both married and this is my best friend and sister-in-law who is a photographer. We are just celebrating love and having fun.” I felt so grateful to be healthy, happy and able to provide such a response.


Trinity is amazingly talented and captured our love in the most beautiful, genuine way. It was such a delight to spontaneously do this photo shoot. To get dressed up, be crowned “Queen of the Olives,” and have our love captured just because.

CALIFORNIA-summer15-WEB-5781Looking at the pictures warms my heart and makes me so grateful for this life I have been given. Every day deserves to be celebrated. I encourage you to celebrate whatever makes you happy. If that means get dressed up and do a random photo shoot like we did, or getting out of your routine and going on a little adventure. Maybe bake a cake just for the taste of it, because sometimes no occasion is needed.

How will you celebrate today?



  1. Julia Adams

    I agree with this philosophy! The gift of our challenges is the opportunity to be grateful for simple things and days when we and our loved ones are healthy. Mary Oliver says, “Joy is not meant to be a crumb. Give in to it. …very likely you notice it in the instant when love begins. …don’t be afraid of it’s plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.” 🙂 We just celebrated my daughter’s (recipient) and husband’s (donor) first Kidneyversary with specially printed t-shirts, flowers, lobster and many “cheers” all around! Always looking for reasons to celebrate at our house! I love this post, it touches my heart with it’s sentiment and the BEAUTY of the photography, of you and Noah, your love, and the love of your family. You are SO precious dear Valen,”Queen of the Olives”! XO

    • Valen Keefer

      Your thoughts were so beautifully said. You hold such a special place in my heart Julia. Your sentiments touched me greatly. You and your family are amazing and I love how you are always looking for reasons to celebrate at your house. I feel so lucky to have you in my life. Thank you for your continued love and support. I hope you have a wonderful weekend! Big hugs!

  2. Maureen Gardner

    Hi Valen
    Love the photos and could not agree more!

    • Valen Keefer

      Thank you Maureen! 🙂 Cheers to celebrating today!

  3. Karin

    Valen, you should be a model!! You are a natural!!
    Beautiful pics and wonderful post:)

    • Valen Keefer

      You are so sweet, thank you very much Karin! 🙂 So happy you enjoyed the pictures and the post. Have a great weekend!


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