Do Great Things

Every once in awhile I feel like we sometimes hit an autopilot mode, and it seems like we're just coasting through life...not going backwards, but also not accomplishing or achieving either. It's that dreaded neutral gear that seems so comfortable, but can be lethal to dreams and living a life of greatness, should we choose to continue on that path. You see, it's when we're pushing ourselves outside the known, outside of the comfortable, that's where the change's not the familiar that causes us to achieve, but rather the deliberate, daily decisions to change and to move ahead. This summer I was able to invest time in learning some key leadership principles that have truly shaped the way I live my life, and upon a recent reviewing of some notes, I came upon a list that was such a great reminder and catalyst for me to move out of what felt like an autopilot mode. It was so inspiring and motivating, I simply had to share in hopes that it may help you wherever you might be in life.

Keys to Accomplishment:

1. What gets talked about gets done. (Don't be afraid of repetition)

2. What gets trained for gets done. (When preparedness meets opportunity, success happens)

3. What gets measured gets done. (Tracking a goal increases momentum)

4. What gets budgeted gets done. (Both time & money)

5. What gets confronted gets done. (Accountability is key. Don't be afraid to ask yourself the hard questions)

6. What gets rewarded gets done. (Accomplishments should be celebrated)

Get out there and do great things! 


Wishful Thinking

(Boots: c/o Online Shoes, Top: J.Crew, Sweater: Lilly Pulitzer, Skirt: Ralph Lauren)

So I dressed up like it's fall...maybe it's wishful thinking, since it's pretty much an endless summer here, but it was so fun to slip on a sweater and boots. A short while ago, Online Shoes contacted me about participating in a monthly shoe styling contest that they sounded like a fun challenge, and I couldn't wait to put a fun look together for these boots. When I received this pair of women's boots, I was immediately reminded of all the fun times I went hiking in the Rocky Mountains with my family...we had such fun trying new trails and discovering the beautiful vistas of lookouts surrounding the deep blue lakes. After a day full of adventure, we'd often recline by the big fireplace in the resort, cozied up with a cup of tea or hot chocolate and recount the day's memories! A sturdy and comfortable pair of boots is absolutely essential for wherever you go this season, whether it's the trails, apple picking, or just running errands, and I have to say that I'm really impressed by the Merrill Haven Autumn pair! 

As a part of the styling contest, I'm participating with a few other stylish bloggers, and would so love it if you'd vote for my look, pretty please!! (I'll make you cookies..well, maybe not, but I'd love it if you did vote!) Here's the benefit for you, each time you vote, you'll be entered to win a pair of  Merrill's Shoes yourself! It's a total win-win for both of us ;) You can vote everyday if you'd like...hey, more chances for you to win a pair, just saying! Voting ends November 1st

P.S. Do you have a favorite pair of shoes that brings back memories for you? 



(Top: c/o Sunse Apparel, Bottoms: Lululemon, Shoes: New Balance, Sunglasses: Target)

I couldn't have been more thrilled with this shirt..seriously, not only is it super soft, but I absolutely love what it says: Live Courageously. What does that mean for you? To me it's a reminder to not live life in fear, but to go forth with passion and dreams, not holding back because this life is the only one we've got. Timidity has no place in my life. 

Joshua 1:9 says, "This is my command--be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."

This is such an empowering verse...we have nothing to fear for God is with us! No matter what you go through, or where you're going, know that you can live courageously!

(p.s. this shirt is currently on sale for only $10.. oh and, each time you purchase one, they plant a tree in an effort to conserve our should get one, really)


On Loss

We don't often know the day or the hour that life comes to an end, and many times it's unexpected at best, but other times it's a strong finish, peaceful, and a life worth celebrating, for the times together and the memories of that one were too precious and wonderful to think any less. It isn't easy to let someone go, but at times it is necessary, as the the things that await them are far better than what they leave behind. While it was with sadness that I experienced my grandmother passing from this world into the heavenly one, it is also with great joy that I am able to say that she lived a life that was full, brimming with faith, travel, adventure and love. Her legacy is one to be remembered, and it will only be a matter of time until we shall meet once again. I'll never forget how much she loved to travel...France was her favorite, New York City, a close second. Ever since I was a little girl, her stories of Paris, sprinkled with French, caused me to daydream about what it must be like to wander the cobblestone streets, camera in one hand and a croissant in another...sipping coffee in a sidewalk cafe, and taking in the sight of the glittering lights of the Eiffel Tower, as it sparkled in the night. "Someday you'll go here, Candice" she said, as we looked at her pictures of the famous water lily ponds in Monet's garden..yes, one day I'll go, and while I'll take in the beauty of the garden, and the City of Lights, I'll also remember the prayers, encouragement, love & faith of my grandmother.
je t'aime
à la prochaine fois, Grandma Eleanor.

Autumn's Arrival Party

I recently hosted a seasonal celebration to welcome in the cooler weather and pumpkin spice...haha but really, all things fall are welcome here! We had such fun sharing laughter, conversation, and sipping on sparkling apple cider in celebration of a new season! One of the things people usually mention to me is the fact that entertaining can seem intimidating or overwhelming...but the best thing about this party was the ease with which it came together. There's no need to stress out over something this simple! Read along, and I'll give you the step-by-step so you can host one yourself!

Set up your table: Simplicity is best when it comes to imagining a tablescape. Begin with a plaid or tartan tablecloth, and a vase of some floral arrangements from your local farmer's market or grocery store. I personally love Trader Joe's for their beautiful, yet budget-friendly floral bunches. I then added a Pumpkin spice candle, and then set up my place-settings. For this event, a simple gold and white combination was elegant, but not stuffy, so we layered the napkins on top of the plates and set a cream ramekin with a Pumpkin muffin at each place. I happened to have these amber-colored glasses in one of the cabinets at home, so I chose those for guests to drink from, and we toasted to a new season with champagne flutes filled with sparkling apple cider.

Set up your buffet & drink station: This wasn't an elaborate 5-course meal, so the buffet area was a quick set up. We chose to use apothecary jars in different sizes to hold the various popcorn flavors, and guests could fill up mini burlap bags with their custom combinations. Mini pumpkin pies were the perfect finger food, and spiced apple cider or water was available to sip on. I found the majority of the food items at Trader Joe's and also asked some of their employees for suggestions of fun little things to try, leading me to the purchase of the mini pies. (They were so cute and so delicious! Highly recommended!) As long as things look pretty, you really don't need to stress about making lots of things in the kitchen. Pick up a few pre-made pieces, and no one will know you didn't spend hours over the oven!

Gift Your Guests: We decided to paint instead of carve pumpkins, and it was a colorful, glittery activity that made a cute gift for guests to take home. One thing that always makes a good party is a special send-off favor for those who attended. Each guest got a tiny burlap bag with specialty tea and dark chocolate!

Cheers to more celebrations! 

The Perfect Party in 10 Tips

I get asked often for party planning advice, so I thought I'd put together a list of some things that help with hosting a fun event! Here's my top 10 tips to a fabulous party! 

Top 10 Entertaining Tips

1. Choose your theme. What inspires you? Colors, seasons, holidays, books, movies...the list is endless!

2. Make a list of things you'll need: Menu ingredients, decorations, favors..etc

3. Choose local: Bakeries and farmer's markets usually have the freshest ingredients and a different selection to choose from

4. Create atmosphere with lights: Candles, strands of cafe lights, and lanterns can all add to the mood of the events

5. Simplify your appetizers: Save the excitement for the entree! A cheese plate of specialty cheeses, seasonal fruits, chocolate and nuts is usually a perfect way to begin

6. Beauty is in the details: Find a way to add the extra touches, whether that's personalized place settings, mini favor bags, or tiny labels for assorted cheeses; the little things make a big difference.

7. Stick to the basics: A simple set of gold chargers, white dinner plates, and gold flatware should be in everyone's entertaining arsenal.. this is a combination that can seamlessly transition from a beach party to high tea with a swap of table decor. 

8. First impressions are everything: Set everything up, and do a walk through of your event to catch any details that you may have overlooked in the planning process. 

9. Create a pretty tablescape: Fresh flowers are a simple and inexpensive way to brighten up any table! Choose the mixed bouquets from your local grocery chain, and arrange them in a pretty vase or two.

10. Enjoy: The fun is in enjoying the event..don't stress if things aren't exactly perfect or go differently from the plan. Just relax, enjoy your company and appreciate all your hard work!

Do you have any helpful hints for hosting events? I'd love to hear them! 
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