Inspiring the Artist (Guest Post: Jamie from Memoirs of a Pilgrim)

Hello lovies! This is Jamie from Memoirs of a Pilgrim! 
Candice asked what inspires me; to make this easier on myself I compiled a list of the top ten things that inspire me as a blogger, artist, traveler and young adult. 

1. Yoga
The practice is so relaxing and mind opening in itself but then all the people you meet are so inspiring. I find them very easy to talk to a relate. They also inspire me to do all sorts of proactive life changes since they tend to be very in tune with themselves and the greater-good of the planet. It's a really great and easy practice to get involved with. And now that I'm starting to do it regularly I can feel myself getting all fit and ready to hit the beach *squeal*

2. Local Art
I looooove when I see a successful artist whose style I absolutely love and then find out they live in the same town/city/school as me! I find it incredibly motivating knowing that you don't need to be some big shot city slicker with connections to get noticed and be a great artist. I'm also lucky to have grown up in a small town that was along a highway that leads to a major tourist destination for a lot people living in Chicago. So within a 15/20 minute drive I had two very incredible galleries, once of which hired me as summer help and always was supportive of me taking time off for road trips and art classes. Can we say best summer job eveeer? 

3. Books
Oh dear, Don't get me started. I'm a junkie. Even with an ebook reader I cannot resist going into book stores and picking up books that vary from leatherbound novels to giant national geographic photography books. The feel, the smell, mmmm I love it! And it inspires me to start new projects. Like I recently just picked up a few sewing books and want to start up an etsy shop!

4. Etsy
Speaking of etsy.... although I have yet to buy something, I absolutely love all the creative goods that get posted on that site. And a lot of times they are actually very affordable. Etsy is a very supportive with a strong community that I think every artist should join, even just to look!

5. Sketch booking and Journaling
I have several sketch books/journals floating around both my parent's house in Wisconsin and in storage in Australia. I love clipping interesting finds from magazines and drawing whatever comes to my mind. I also like to make descriptive entries of my travels, it's fun to look back and see what I was really thinking   while everything was happening. They can even inspire some some later pieces of art that I absolutely love. Whenever I need some motivation, my trusty sketchbooks are always there to help!

6. Weekend escapes
Unforutnately 9-5 jobs , or in my case 8-6, are hard to avoid if you want money. Let me tell you, no matter where you are jobs still suck. Just because I log those hours in Australia does not make it any better. It's the weekend trips that do! I don't think I'd get through  the chaotic work week without something to look forward to on the weekend. It never has to be anything fancy, just a trip to the beach, art gallery or even just drinks with friends. Either way, there needs to be something! 

7. Magazines
Again, I'm a junkie. I stick to one like Glamour, Women's Health and various art related ones like print. They tend to be very positive and have such an array of [usually] useful information. Not to mention the creative displays of photos and clever adverting (prospecting advertising major here!) that goes on in them.

Coffee Shops
Their warm, inviting atmosphere, comfy couches and displays of local art make me swoon every time. I barely even notice I'm forking nearly $5 for a cup of jo. And not to mention it's a great place to meet up with old friends or listening to all the interesting conversations and debates going on nearby. 

9. Nature
From a nature hike through the woods, snorkeling reefs, or just hanging out on the beach inspires all sorts of creative undertakings. They make for great blog posts, give you props for experimenting with art or just refresh and revitalize your mind. 

10. Traveling
The past few years since I've graduated high school have taken me on journeys I could only have dreamed of back then. I never thought I would have dropped out of college to follow a boy and live in Australia. But you have no idea how glad I am that it did. I honestly think I've learned more in this past year and a half traveling than I ever did while I was in college. The people you meet, the places you see and the adventures of getting there are ALWAYS worth whatever trouble it takes to be there. 

I hope you could find this post inspiring! 
If you want some more MOAp lovin' just stop on by my blog!


Finding Your Beauty (Guest Post: Gennean from Loved, Not Lost)

Magazine covers are graced with seemingly perfect figures, media shows us what's "hot" and trendy. With this ever-changing definition of beauty, is it a wonder we feel as though it's never quite attainable? 
Gennean's blog is one of the most encouraging and insightful ones I've come across. Her heart for the Lord is just beautiful, and I'm sure you'll find yourself feeling encouraged after reading below!

"8 In every place of worship, I want men to pray with holy lands lifted up to God, free from anger and controversy.  9 And I want women to be modest in their appearance.  They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves in the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes.  10 For women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do."  1 Timothy 2:8-10 (NLT)

The latter part of this passage (verse 10) is one that I have intentionally hidden in my heart.  It's also decoratively written on a pink post-it note that is on the bulletin board I have hanging above my desk, so I get to look at it everyday.  It has been one that has greatly affected my lifestyle, especially as a young woman of God.  For the last year, I have devotedly been pursuing to become a more "godly woman".  I have fervently prayed prior to and during this time of growth, and the Lord has been faithful.  I have been challenged, stretched, and grown in ways I never thought I would.  He has been guiding me the whole way, and the above passage was one of the first that He used to convict me and speak into my heart.

The first part of this passage is clearly directed toward men, yet I find it encouraging.  A truly godly man is one who never ceases in his worship of and prayer to our mighty God!  And what about anger and controversy?  A godly man will not allow those things to interfere with his relationship with and worship of the Lord.  Rather, he will wholeheartedly seek after God and His will and purpose, which will not only positively affect his life, but will serve as a model to other men and women as well.

The rest of this passage contains an important instruction for women that I have personally taken to heart: to not be consumed by physical/outward appearance.  At the time that this passage was written, women were often guilty of flaunting their wealth through their outward appearance, which undoubtedly caused others to become distracted and possibly even envious, especially when at church.  I find it quite intriguing that these women seriously struggled with modesty and sought to look attractive in order that they might impress others.  Sound familiar?  It should.  It's a mirror image of the world that we live in today!  In a society that thrives off of physical appearances, expensive designer clothing, and the latest trends in dieting, these verses contradict all of what we're told is of "importance".   The truth of the matter is, however, that they world's standards are meaningless; they hold absolutely no value in eternity!

Rather, women are instructed to live their lives devoted to doing God's will and to pursue godliness.  The last verse tells us that if we are truly and wholeheartedly seeking to be godly women, we should make ourselves attractive by doing good things here in our earthly lives.  Much like in Titus 3:8, we must be aware that good deeds are necessary for those who are devoted to God.  It is also important to remember that, as it is mentioned in 2 Corinthians 4:16, our physical bodies are wasting away.  Our outward appearances are not going to be like this forever, for they are fleeting.  Therefore, we as women seeking after God's heart should not rely on wealth or our physical appearance to be attractive, but should adorn ourselves with good deeds and loving gestures, all in the name of Christ!  There is no more beautiful woman of God than one who selflessly gives of herself in order that He may be glorified.

So, allow me to encourage you in your walk with the Lord.  Continue to pursue His will and purpose for your life, and delight yourself in Him (Psalm 37:4)!  I pray that He will speak into your heart, that you may commit to becoming a more strong and faithful woman of God!

"For charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised."
Proverbs 31:30
Thank you so much for that beautifully true reminder, Gennean!
Check out her wonderful blog!


Finding Inspiration (Guest Post: Abi of Cupcake Photography)

One of the things I love about blogging is that it connects you to awesome, talented and creative people! Abi is one of the above people; she's creative, fun and has a charming blog! 
I know you guys are going to love her as much as I do.
Meet Abi!
Hello loves, its Abi here from "Cupcake Photography" filling in for the darlin' Candice! I'm super excited to be able to guest post here on "Teatime Thoughts".
 I'll be talking about what inspires little ol' me.

I racked my brain on what truly inspires me and I thought of 3 main things. Here we go:

1. Volunteering
My biggest inspiration is my volunteer work I do with my church. I have met so many amazing people who are just so thirsty for answers. To think of all the horrible things happening in this world really hurts my heart. If I can give someone the hope of prayer and guidance, the time I spend on volunteering is so worth it! I try so hard to make sure that I put aside time every week. Guiding those in my community to find answers to their problems and every day difficulties is the best feeling in the world. There is truly no other gift greater then volunteering for others. 

 {working with young ones is so rewarding!}

2.  My hubbers
When I got married almost 2 years ago, I was a little nervous. We had many friends who were recently married, and they had these horror stories about their first year. We heard that our first year would be the most difficult, and that we wouldn't be able to stand each other. Needless to say, our first year of marriage was wonderful. We communicated with each other, encouraged each other, and we were there for one another. I now have friends who are dating and ready to take the next step to marriage. They ask me, "Is the 1st year of marriage really that scary?" The answer is, No. It doesn't have to be scary. Marriage does not have to be that difficult. My hubbers is an inspiration. He inspires me to try harder, and to get up when I have fallen. My husband Ivan has truly brought the best out of me, although he will argue other wise. He says that I have done that for myself. We are going through this simple life of ours together: 
happy, sweet, and totally in love.

{We call this the 'Mexican' version of Lady & The Tramp.
Instead of spaghetti, we use a tortilla chip. ha!}

3. Photography
My biggest inspiration as a photographer are my lovely clients. I really enjoy what I do. I love being able to capture a moment just held in time with the press of a button.
Being able to make someone smile with the photos I take, is such an amazing feeling!I have worked so hard on my business. I probably think about it more then anything else. I have so many ideas that run through my mind, sometimes I can hardly sleep. Not only do my clients inspire me, but I am apart of this amazing blogging community- I can't get enough! Every time I see my blogger friends & their beautiful photos, this just inspires me to create magical pieces of Art.

{El Mercado (The Market) in San Antonio, Texas}


Summer Lovin' (Guest Post: Jessica of Creative Index)

I met the beautiful Jessica through a blog swap, and she sent me a fantastic Valentine's day box brimming with goodies. As soon as read her sweet note, checked out her adorable blog, and smelled the amazing candle she made, I knew we'd definitely be friends! She's creative, fun and has a great post for you today!
Thanks for being here Jessica!

Hello beauties!! It's Jessica from Creative Index and I'm so happy to be guest posting for the lovely Candice while she's away on vacay!! Candice's blog is one of my favorites and I am honored to have the opportunity to talk to all of you!

Summer is by far my favorite season of the year, and
I'm excited to share with you what I'm looking forward to MOST this summer...


i love flip flops,
breezy tank tops, and
feeling the sun kiss my skin.


i love refreshing beverages,
coconut lotions and
messy pony-tails


i love giant sunglasses,
fresh cut grass and

ice-cream cones


i love beach days,
lazy afternoons and

bonfire nights


i love dining al fresco,
family get-togethers and

my birthday!!

What do you LOVE about summer??

Thank you so much for having me, Candice! Hope you're enjoying your vacation!

Have a great day, everyone!!
Feel free to visit me at
Creative Index... I love meeting new friends!

(images found here :: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4)


Paradise in Pixels

Hello, hello! I'm back from my vacation, but I think part of my heart was left on the island, for I cannot wait for my next trip back there. I'm actually only home for today, and then shall be leaving for my next adventure tomorrow afternoon, but I wanted to share a few snapshots from the beautiful Hawaiian islands!

A few photos of our gorgeous hotel..
Our view from the room!

On one of the days, we walked through a lava field that led out to a black sand beach. It was a beautiful balance of desolate black, leading up to gorgeous blue water and swaying palms.

We found a cute marketplace in downtown Kona, and did some shopping.
This is really the best place to find pretty things, since most of the shopping by the big hotels is way overpriced! 

On one of the days, we drove to see more of the island, and ended up at a spectacular lookout area. The view was simply incredible, and the water seemed to go on forever..

(my sister had the hippie look going that day..)

One of my favorite things to do is to watch the waves crashing up into the shoreline. There's something so soothing about the consistent chaos of the water. 
Evenings in Hawaii aren't too bad either..

I have so many more photos and a few good stories for you from the trip, so stay tuned!
I'm off to finish packing for my next trip!




Exotic Escape (Guest Post: Dana from Enjoy Yourself)

It's summertime, and one of my fabulous blog favorites, Dana, is here to help you find the perfect vacation...even if you're not planning on leaving town!
Bon voyage!
Hi Teatime Thoughts Readers!  I'm Dana from Enjoy Yourself, and I'm so excited to be guest blogging for Candice today!  I hope she's having a fabulous time on her vacay!

Over at my blog I like to focus on what makes me happy, whether it's quotes, images, or happy lists.  Every once in a while life can get crazy, and it's nice to have some time to escape from it all.  Unfortunately we don't always have the funds or time to truly "escape", so that's when we can go on a virtual vacation. All it takes is 5 minutes, and you can imagine yourself somewhere without even leaving your seat in front of your computer screen.  Today's virtual vacation takes us to Hawaii...   

Imagine warm days spent at the beach.  Swimming with dolphins, learning how to surf {something I've always wanted to do}, and drinking drinks from a coconut.  Exploring the exotic parts of the island, with waterfalls and volcanoes.  and being serenaded by a cute local playing the ukulele. Days where the sun kisses your skin, and nights hula dancing at luaus.  Picture yourself there, relaxed and calm, and escape for a little while.

If you could take a virtual vacation where would you go?

Thanks Candice for letting me guest post! :)

Make sure you check out Dana's adorable blog, and send her your happy list!
I know that vacationing definitely makes mine! 

A Sneak Peek..

Aloha everyone!
I hope you're all enjoying the lovely girls who have been here to hang out with you all so far! Stay tuned for some more awesome posts up ahead!!

My vacation is simply wonderful so far, and I'm in no way ready to come back home...thank goodness we still have some more time to enjoy the islands!
I thought I'd just tease you with a few photos from our adventures thus far...I'm so kind, I know :)
Miss you all!

Hope you're all having a wonderful week! 

Happy Thursday!



My Tea Transformation (Guest Post: Jenni Austria Germany)

Today one of my favorite bloggers is here to hang out with you all! 
Jenni is one of those people who is 
a.) super gorgeous in all of her photos...(this girl can't take a bad photo, seriously!)
b.) has a totally awesome European lifestyle...(totally jealous? I am!)
c.) is one of THE nicest people you'll meet. 

I know you'll love her, and feel the need to hurry over to check out and follow her blog, if you're not already. (You are following her already, right? Good.) 

So here's the thing about me and tea. 
First, you should know 2 things:  1)  I am, quite possibly, the most smell-oriented person on the planet Earth and 2) I hate, hate,hate drinking anything that is lukewarm or warmer.  Now, where was I?  Oh, yes.  My history with tea.

I have this memory of being a very small child and sitting with my dad, who, at the time, was holding and drinking a cup of tea.  He was recovering from pneumonia and this is the only time I can ever recall seeing him with a teacup (as opposed to a rifle, a dead bird, a screwdriver or a pair of muddy boots - we're Oklahomans, okay?) in his hand.  He made me take a sip (should I have been drinking after a person recovering from pneumonia?  probably not) and not only did I hate both the taste and the fact that it was so warm but I hated the smell as well.  And when I say I hated it, I mean I abhorred it.  Since that moment (which was, I'd say...18 years ago?), I haven't been able to smell a cup of tea, let alone drink it, without wanting to throw up a little bit.  Until.....wait, no, I'll come back to that.  Just let it be known that for a long, long time, I despised tea.

This was never a problem for me growing up in Oklahoma.  See, the thing is, no one really drinks tea in Oklahoma.  I mean, sure, some people drink it, but no one really drinks it.  Know what I mean?  In Oklahoma, most people drink iced tea or lemonade or milk or water or beer or soda or milk or pop or milk or maybe coffee or milk or coke.  Get the picture?  

So I lived the first 2 decades of my life tea-free and didn't think twice about it.  Until.....I moved to Europe.....

People in Europe love tea.  They love coffee, too.  But they love tea.  For me, coffee is out of the question.  Sometimes I wish I liked it (oh, how I love the smell of it!) but usually I'm glad to have never had a cup of it.  I'm of the opinion that if your body needs coffee to wake up - if itneeds coffee to function - then you have a problem  (Maybe you are addicted to caffeine?  Maybe you are sleep deprived?).  But I'm not here to talk about the dangers of regularly consuming a highly acidic beverage that lays a welcoming mat for the cancer cells which thrive in acidic environments -- on the contrary, I'm here to talk about tea!

My abstinence from tea became a hindrance to my European lifestyle rather quickly.  What do you do when your Polish boyfriend's grandmother invites you over for "a tea"?  What do you do when your German colleague asks you to stop by after work and "catch up over a cup of tea"?  What do you do when your Austrian hosts serve your breakfast alongside a big, steaming - you guessed it - pot of tea?  Well, here are your options.  You either politely decline and explain that you just don't drink tea but would love a glass of non-carbonated (good luck with that) water OR you drink it.  At first, I said to myself, "No!  I can't, I won't!  These are my values and I will die for my values!  Without my values, I am nothing!".  And then, I realized something; tea is good for you.  Yeah, it's really good for you.  Also, values?  What values?  I wasn't drinking tea because I was being a baby, not because it clashed with my beliefs.

So I started reading about the miracles that decaffeinated green tea can perform on your body:  It's anti-aging...  It's good for your skin....  It fights cancer...  It combats allergies...  It lowers your blood pressure.  I started reading more and more and I liked what I read.  The only thing I didn't like?  The taste.  The smell.  The temperature.

And then...I started to get over all of that.  Once I really thought about how beneficial it would be to drink a cup of tea each night before bedtime, the taste and smell and temperature didn't matter so much.  I trained myself by adding a lemon slice or a tablespoon of raspberry juice every now and then.  

And that's where I am now.  While I don't know if I'll ever be one of those people (like the Polish boyfriend mentioned 2 paragraphs ago) who can drink 4 cups of tea per day, I no longer have to stifle a gag when someone offers me a cup.  I accept the offer...and I drink the tea....and I like it.  And then I feel really classy and sophisticated and grown up.  And maybe I even feel a little bit British.

So, for those of you who might struggle with a self-imposed tea allergy, fear not (Or maybe I am the only person in the history of the world who at one point in their life, couldn't stand the thought of drinking tea?  It's possible).

This concludes the story of my transformation.  It's riveting, I know.  And now you get to look at a picture of me and a tea kettle because, well, we're talking about tea.  And because, though this photo is at least 3 years old, it's the only one I have that remotely pertains to this topic.

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