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Priorities seem to be a buzzword around this time of year. We think about arranging and rearranging schedules, we look at how we can increase our productivity, and we invest time finding new ways to accomplish everything on our to-do lists. Sometimes it feels like there's just not enough hours in the day to achieve everything we've placed on our schedule to do and I've often heard people (myself included) say, "I just don't have time for that/to do that." Can I submit a thought to you? 

We have time for what we value, and we make time for what is important to us. 

This isn't rocket science or even a new concept, but the validity of it really impacted me recently. You see, we all have the same amount of hours in the day, and if we're really honest, we have time that could be utilized or invested differently to accomplish things we "don't have time for". You're probably thinking, I already knew that...
Why then, if we know this, do we not change our schedule to become more productive or to cross those things off our list? The reality is, the reason we don't do those things is because we don't see a high value in them so they aren't priorities of ours. This even includes relationships. We make time for what and who we think is important. Sure, we might say that certain tasks, commitments, or even individuals are a priority, but our actions speak the truth. We define what is important to us by what we commit our time to. Do your habits reflect your priorities as you want them to? If we want to change our life, we must begin by changing our priorities. Choose to invest your time with the people that will inspire, encourage, and motivate you. Make time for the activities that will challenge, grow, and develop you. We're all finding time for something...make sure it's what you want. 

It's A Habit

We often hear about changes that need to be made around this time of year. People want to try new things, do something different, and achieve greater results. Behind all of the goals, changes, and well-meaning resolutions is the idea of making changes to our habits. The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. If we're honest, the real day in and day out challenge is to adjust the things that we've become accustomed to doing. The comfort zone of the familiar is what we must be willing to sacrifice to make the necessary adjustments in our habit patterns. Successful people know that it's not simply the practice of setting goals, or just knowing what we want to achieve that gets us to the accomplishment. Instead, the careful examination and intentional changes made to daily habits will be the critical key to great success and achieving dreams. 

I recently discussed this concept with a couple of friends, and as we talked, we discovered that this was something all of us had encountered in one area of life or another. Sometimes the smallest or most simple of habits are the most challenging to change, but if we're willing to take that first step of action, the following momentum is often enough to propel us forward into the new pattern. It's often said that success is hidden within your daily routine, so I encourage you to take a look at your daily habits and see what to keep and what to change. Remember, when you get rid of a habit, you're making room for the creation of better ones that will lead you to success. Without a replacement, the old habits quickly resume their place, sometimes with unwelcome additions. Take a moment today to think of one small change you can make to your routine that will produce better, more successful results when compounded over time. 

How to Achieve Your Goals in the New Year

Happy 2017! We are a few days into the new year already, and as we begin, many of us choose to set aside time to pause, reflect, and set some goals to help us achieve new heights over the next months. Goal setting is absolutely essential to success, and I often encourage the practice of goal setting over resolution writing. Resolutions never seem to truly stick and tend to fizzle out come March {if not sooner}. Goals are measurable, energizing, and catalysts for actionable change. Want this year to be your best one yet? Your key to success is creating goals that can be broken down into success-building daily habits. 

You see, we often think about goals as these lofty aspirations or big accomplishments, and while some may be, the way to get there is through small actions done consistently. It's often said that it takes about 21 days to start a habit. If we're making changes, we need to examine our habits and see if there's some edits to be made in relation to our new goals.  What does your daily routine look like? Are there some tweaks you need to make to your mindset, input (music, movies, books, shows, etc.), or even waking/sleeping hours? Is this going to be comfortable? No, probably not, but is it going to lead to your success? Absolutely. The success stories we see are never brought about overnight...they are all preceded by consistent, non-glamorous, behind-the-scenes preparation work.  

Is it worth it? Well, that question is something only you can answer. For my own goals, the answer is a resounding yes!! I encourage you to find the things that challenge you to become better, push you far beyond whatever you dreamed possible, and cause you to grow into more of the person you've been created to be! This year is what you make it; let's commit to making it the best one yet!

Ready for a few action steps? 
1. Set aside time to write out 8-10 things you are going to accomplish in the next 6-12 months; all goals should be written in the present, positive tense as if you have already achieved them. 
(Example: I am thrilled to be traveling to Hawaii for a fun-filled vacation.) Don't forget to get specific! A simple 'I want to go on a vacation this year' just isn't compelling or action-oriented. Try to keep the "SMART" acronym in mind when writing your goals: Specific Measurable Actionable Realistic Time-bound
2. Commit to reading and visualizing your goals everyday. 
The best way to make this happen is by placing them in a spot you'll see each morning and evening. I place mine by my mirror so I can review them while I get ready or wind down for the day. 
3. Jot down a list of small habits or actions you can take to start working toward the accomplishment of your goals. 
For the Hawaii trip example, setting aside a certain amount of money each month into a 'vacation fund', doing a little research on places you'd like to eat/stay/explore on the trip, putting up a photo of where you want to go, and subscribing to flight notifications from certain airlines when they have good rates to where you want to go are all small, actionable steps to help you start working toward making it a reality. The more you place the goal in front of your mind, the more you'll begin to subconsciously work on it's creation. It may sound crazy, but I can honestly vouch for this technique's success. 

Here's to your most successful year ahead!

Travel Diaries: Christmas in Quebec

Quebec is a charming city at any time of the year, but it's magical beauty truly shines around the holidays. The old cobblestone streets are lined with twinkling lights, trimmed in garlands of pine, and blanketed by a dusting of fresh snow. Locals and guests, alike, duck into quaint shops and cafes to escape the chilly air, while the melodic French language is heard almost everywhere you go. When it's time to venture into the winter wonderland, dogsleds race through the snowy woods, and the jingle of bells is heard as a team of horses pull a wooden sleigh through the swirling snow. Toboggan runs, skiing, snow tubing, and snowball fights are the only activities on the day's agenda until it's time to warm up inside the chateau with a cup of hot chocolate. Come along and explore this snowy winter wonderland with me!

A trip to the basilica of Sainte Anne de Beaupré is definitely a must-do! The cathedral is over 350 years old and welcomes over 1 million guests every year to it's spectacular halls. With glowing stained glass, twinkling rose windows, beautiful arching ceilings, and columns filled with crutches left behind from miracle healings, this place is absolutely breathtaking. One can't help but be in awe of the lavish detail and reverent beauty. 

Sleigh rides through the snow are quintessentially winter, and it is worth braving the cold for a beautiful journey through the forest. We happened upon a kind, french-speaking farmer who was delighted to take us on a tour through his beautiful snow-covered woodland. There's something about the sound of jingle bells on horses that brings to life all the cheerful carols sung over the years.

A short drive into the mountains brought us to Valcartier. During the rest of the year, this place operates as a water park, but in the winter, it transforms into a snowy playground for skiing, snow tubing, sledding, and more. I highly recommend snow tubing down the multiple runs that provide a generous amount of fun and laughter.

We stayed at the Chateau Frontenac, which, in my opinion, is the absolute best place to stay while enjoying the beauty and charm of Quebec City. With a rich history of 123 years of operation; beautifully appointed rooms and suites; impeccable, personalized service; toboggan runs; splendid views; hallways lined with rows of sparkling Christmas trees; and a collection of delicious restaurants, this place is not to be missed.

The streets of lower Quebec are something straight out of a postcard. Cheerfully decorated shops, German Christmas markets, and cafes provide the perfect atmosphere for a little Christmas shopping and dining. Visit Santa and his elves in the main square, and duck into Cochon Dingue for a quick lunch. Before you head back to the Chateau, pick up a sweet treat or two from Madame Gigi's where the most beautiful confectionary delights are made in house everyday! One thing is for sure, Quebec provides a bountiful collection of culinary treasures. From charming French cafes and traditional Canadian eateries, to upscale and trendy dining establishments, brilliant chefs will provide you with dazzling dishes sure to delight every discerning palate. 

A dash through the snow with your own team of highly trained and thoroughly excited huskies is an experience of a lifetime! As the sunlight sparkles through the snowy trees, hold on tight to the sled while you are whisked off on a magical, high-speed adventure, and yes, you get to drive. Be sure to take time after to play with your sweet and talented canine team to say thanks for the fun! I also recommend strapping on some snowshoes and heading out on one of the nearby trails.

Au revoir, Quebec! You are truly something out of a fairytale. 
Have you visited before? 

Home for the Holidays

I love having friends and family over for the holidays; it is a wonderful time to catch up on everyone's latest happenings and celebrate one another's successes. Each year I like to come up with a creative and beautiful tablescape for entertaining, and this year I was inspired by the shades of the forest, evergreens, juniper, teal, neutrals, and hints of gold. After creating the perfect invitation with Paperless Post, I got to work creating a table setting that reflected the lovely design. 

(Catch some of my previous Christmas parties herehere, here, and your invite to all other parties I've hosted can be found here)

I began with a simple white and gold runner, small pine saplings, and layered in a few candles at different heights to add extra light and interest. Tall teal taper candles and a big bouquet of white blooms mixed with pine branches created the perfect finishing touch to the minimalistic, elegant feel. Guests always appreciate the thoughtful attention to detail, and a special hand-lettered place card marked each person's seat. When setting the table, I like to take into consideration where guests should sit, and will often seat people by those with whom I think they will connect with. Gold flatware and chargers are some of my most well-loved and highly complimented items in my entertaining arsenal, and this time I added on classic white dinner plates and a special set of gold-rimmed dessert plates that belonged to my great aunt. It's such fun to add in special touches of heirloom pieces or little details that are meaningful to you, and it often prompts great storytelling when inquiries are made about various pieces! After the food has been served and toasts have been made, I always love taking a moment to look around the table, listening to stories being told and laughter being shared. Time spent together around this season is simply the best! 

After all, there's no place like home for the holidays! 

Shop my outfit: similar top | skirt | shoes | earrings |

What to Wear: Holiday Parties

 | Top | Skirt | Necklace |

Party with Friends: I like to be comfortable as well as stylish at a party, and this simple top and skirt combination is what I'm reaching for on my way out the door this season. Emerald green looks great on everyone, and the tulip hem on the skirt adds a little interest to an otherwise classic style. Add a few gold accessories, a fun pair of heels, and voila! Time to catch up with friends and try a few Christmas cookies. 

Office Party: When it comes to the office party, it's a good idea to stick with a classic silhouette in a festive color. Save the playful cutouts and lace-up heels for a get-together with friends. A simple shift dress in a cherry hue is polished and pretty when dressed up with a fun statement necklace and paired with nude pumps. 

Cocktail Party: When it's time to dress up, many of us reach for the classic LBD, but what I love about this one is the full skirt, pockets, and big bow detail that make it more playful and dressy than the simple shift. Paired with a sparkling statement necklace and strappy heels, this combination is festive, stylish, and the perfect piece to wear to dance the night away! A fun fact about this dress is that it's actually a custom piece that I was able to design with Eshakti. I loved being able to tweak things and create a pretty silhouette that I knew would become a closet staple. You can choose from dozens of styles and customize your own dress here!

Thanks to Eshakti for partnering on this post. 

Gift Guide: For Her

Giving gifts is one of my very favorite things to do! I absolutely love going to pick out special items that remind me of my friends or family, and around this time of year, we've all got a best girlfriend, sister, aunt, or coworker that's on our gift list.

Jewelry is one of my favorite things to gift friends, and recently, I've been into a fun statement earring, especially when it comes time to dressing up for the holidays. This gorgeous pair of earrings from Happiness Boutique are so pretty and fun. I've already worn them to a couple of events this season, garnering lots of compliments. The deep sapphire blue is so striking and a brilliant addition to a party dress or hostess outfit. I also picked up this pair. You can get 10% off your purchase sitewide through December 29th with the code: candiceelaineh

Shop more of my picks in the gift guide below! Whether it's a pretty piece of jewelry, a new lip color for the beauty maven, workout gear for your fitness friend, or something fun to delight your jet-setting girl on the go, this curated collection has her in mind! You may even find a few things to stuff in your own's ok, I won't tell! ;)

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