Operation Love Lola | T minus 3 Days | Milwaukee Portrait Photographer

Operation Love Lola in T minus 3 days. Get ready sweet girl, all you have to do on Saturday is stand there and sparkle.

Operation Love Lola by Ristaino Photography of Sarasota FL


You guys. People are GOOD. Really, really, good. We see so much ugliness in the media, on the news, on our Facebook feeds, and no, it won’t go away. But, what if…seriously, WHAT IF we put all that ugly energy toward good? That really is the ultimate mission of Beauty Revived. To find beauty in darkness. To find beauty in hardship. To find beauty in every person. We each have a choice, in whatever we do, to choose LOVE or to choose not to love. I say, CHOOSE LOVE.

Always. choose. love.

I have been blown away by the generosity of you all. Yes, YOU. When I decided I wanted to do a Beauty Revived session, I initially tried to talk myself out of it. Who would listen? You did. You all did. I thought “maybe a few people would send Lola little notes of love and support?” And you rose to the challenge and exceeded every tiny expectation that I had.


I’d love to share with you all just a sampling of the generosity at play here. I hoped with all my heart that at least a few people would drop a card or two in the mail. But you jumped in with both feet and sent cards and gifts and love. I asked you to shower her with love. And that’s exactly what you did.

Shower with love gift box for Operation Love Lola by Ristaino Photography of Sarasota FL


handmade card for young girl's beauty revived photoshootLynn :  I put an envelope in the mail today. My 12 year old daughter included a message for Lola; she loves Paris too! Can’t wait to see how the day goes. Quite the special event Thanks for including me.

Rachel : The mail just came…We are up to 16 card envelopes and 4 packages (of assorted sizes) for Lola!! I still have to bring in my little package too. Woo hoo! I’m so excited for Lola – how fun to open mail from all around the country, all addressed to her! I’m a big mail nerd, so I just get excited sorting the mail!

Annie in New Zealand : Loving operation Lola. It’s on its way

Leola : I just mailed my second card off today!! So excited for her!

Card from New Zealand for Operation Love LolaDawn : I sent out my card yesterday for Lola!

Mona Lisa : We gathered some things up for Lola today, I will be putting them in the mail tomorrow.

Jenni : Gift and card on the way! #whateverlolawants

Karen : Got the French lesson certificate… omg valued at $225. Very nice woman. Went to Michael’s and put together a Paris box.

Gift basket of french goodies for operation Love LolaMeadoe : The kids made her some origami Yodas and R2D2s because “everyone likes Yoda”.  They are going in the mail today. (Oh, how right they are Meadoe. Like Yoda, everyone does.)

Tanya: I sent her present in the mail yesterday. I made her name out of shrink dinks for her to use as a luggage tag for all her life adventures

Lori: Lola sounds a lot like my London who loves Aqua and American Girl. We will be thrilled to send her well wishes on her special day.

A special message and gift from Beauty Revived founder Michelle Gifford: Lola, this bundle of love is coming for you!

Beauty Revived founder Michelle Gifford sends a gift for operation Love Lola


If you haven’t sent a card yet, it’s not too late. I will make sure she receives any love notes that arrive after Saturday. Or if you’d like, simply leave a note here in the comments section and I will print them all out and give them to Lola.

Operation Lola
c/o Cathedral of St John the Evangelist
831 N. Van Buren Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Attn: Rachel

My heart is full to bursting and I know Lola’s “Nama” Donna feels the same way. I don’t think Lola fully understands how much her life and her story have captured my heart and yours. And I can’t wait to be there to capture her taking it all in on Saturday and to share it with all of you.

be joyful,



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  • Gladys Rhodes ChmielJuly 9, 2015 - 9:28 pm

    Dearest Lola… I have to ask your forgiveness since I didn’t get your card sent before coming to North Carolina with some of my family for a beach vacation. But I hope you’ll be able to enjoy an ‘extra inning’ when I am able to get it sent your way! I know I can count on my beloved ‘Hodel’ (Michaela will explain that to you!) to get it to you. I’ll be thinking of you big time on your BIG DAY and sending TONS of LOVE & HUGS your way!!! ALL THE BEST TO YOU FOREVER!!! XOXOXOXOXOX, Gladys ‘Mama’ CmielReplyCancel

  • Tamara RemingtonJuly 10, 2015 - 5:51 pm

    I have been inspired by Lola since the day I was blessed enough to meet her. She truly is a bright light in the darkness and she is beauty and love, and there are so many days and nights that she helps me go on doing what I am doing. I am convinced that during our brief time on this earth, the best thing that we can strive to do is to turn negative times/bad/scary/sad times into positive/happy and joy filled times of love and kindness and to spread that love an kindness to all we meet. it is seeing “Beauty (and love) in darkness” just as Michelle Gifford so wonderfully put it. Lola also says it beautifully in a poem she wrote “I have been happy and I have been sad, but I cannot go back 🙁 I have been happy and I have been sad, but I can go on! 🙂 ” Lola is an inspiration to all those lucky enough to get to meet her. Lola, I wish you much happiness and fun during your special day on Saturday, and much happiness, fun and love always. Love, Tamara Remington (Sheboygan Police Department)ReplyCancel

    • MichaelaJuly 10, 2015 - 6:11 pm

      Tamara – thank you so much for the beautiful words and beautiful message for Lola. She’s a lucky girl to have so many people sending her love and cheering her on. This entire process has been a blessing to me and I know she has touched many others as well. Can’t wait to see her soar!ReplyCancel

    • DonnaJuly 12, 2015 - 5:16 am

      Tam, Thank you! Such beautiful words for our gurl. You have to know that you are a huge part of why Lola continues to thrive! You represent the best of your profession; dedicated & compassionate. I am proud to call you friend. <3ReplyCancel