New Year's Eve Handbook

With 2015 right around the corner, New Year's Eve celebrations are on the top of everyone's minds. Here's a few tips for hosting a sparkly soiree--perfect for welcoming in a new year, as well as ideas for what to wear, no matter what your New Year's plans may entail. Consider this your guide to New Year's Eve festivities!

A Christmas Wish

Wishing you all the most wonderful of holiday celebrations, full of happy memories, much joy and happiness, and time with those you love. As we enjoy the time with family and friends, gifts exchanged, twinkling lights and stockings stuffed with care, let us not forget that beautiful night; the reason for the happiness we share. 

1And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Luke 2:10-14
Merry Christmas, friends!

Crimson & Gold Christmas Party

I hosted this crimson and gold Christmas soiree two years ago, and never shared it on the blog! With all the festivities of the season in full swing, I thought it would be fun to bring it out of the archives to enjoy once again! For many years it's been a tradition to have a bunch of my friends over for a fun evening of good food, lots of catching up, a gift exchange, and a little glitz and glam. For this party, a little shimmer and hand-lettered touches were just the thing to pull all the colors together. The menu was quite simple, and guests got to enjoy some divine chocolate hazelnut truffles and mini vanilla bean cupcakes from my dear friend Leigh. We had such fun toasting with sparkling cider to happiness, friendship, and many adventures ahead. I just love this's the most wonderful time of the year! 


Happy Monday, friends! Hope you have had a wonderful weekend! Things have been bustling and busy 'round here! I'm close to finishing up classes for a little bit, so I can understand the intensity that is felt by all students facing exam week. (We can do this!) One of my favorite things to do this holiday season is to take a minute, amidst the Christmas hustle and bustle, and simply reflect on all the wonderful moments and memories from throughout the year. I've got to admit that I was reminded again to do this kind of thing when I started looking back through the photos saved on my computer, and the things shared on my Instagram account. There's a lot of happy memories in life, and it can be easy to simply forget them in the middle of the busy seasons. It is refreshing for the soul to reflect and remind ourselves of the many blessings we've been given. Being a person that constantly has multiple projects underway at once, it is beneficial for my creative process to be willing to simply think, enjoy and create. I hope that you, too, challenge yourself to take a moment to reflect...maybe even jot down a list of 5 things you're grateful for, some happy memories or a few of your accomplishments from the year. It's amazing to see how something so simple can totally change your perspective. Let's reflect on the good things, shall we?
Have a great week ahead!


December Details

(skirt: ShopKonfetti)

Happy December, friends! Can you believe we're into the holiday season? I have to admit that this is one of my very favorite times of year, as everyone is decorating, hosting parties, giving gifts and in a cheerful spirit. This past weekend was spent decorating the house, finding and trimming the perfect tree, picking up a few presents for friends and family, and listening to an abundance of Christmas music. I should also mention that amidst all this festivity, a good friend and I are hard at work, putting the finishing touches on a SUPER exciting project that will be debuting here SO soon! I'm really, really excited to share it with you, and wish that I could divulge more details, but rest assured, it's worth the wait!! Hope you had a fabulous holiday weekend, and here's to a wonderful, new month!


What If We Were Thankful?

As we gather around the table with friends and family this year, let's remember to celebrate the many blessings we've been given! It's easy to brush quickly past Thanksgiving and go straight into the Christmas season, but take a moment and enjoy the time with loved ones, fully experience the moments, make fun memories, cherish the conversations, and make a list of some of the things you're thankful for. I'm reminded of the statement that goes, "what if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you thanked God for?" In light of that, how would that change our prayers? Would we be more attentive to the little things in life? Would we take things for granted as much as we do? I think we would rely less on routine, and be more conscious of every little thing. Life would take on a magical wonder, and there would be a way of graciousness and humility about us. What if we decided to be truly thankful, regardless of our circumstances? No matter where we are in life, we have been given many blessings. Challenge yourself to give thanks for the simple things...breath, sunshine, health, a smile. It will revolutionize the way you view life.

Colossians 3:15-17 says,
"And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Enjoy some good food, fun, and time with friends and family!

The Perfect Holiday Outfit

(Top & Belt: Lilly Pulitzer, Skirt: Shop Konfetti c/o)

I love hosting parties. It is so much fun to celebrate with friends and family. With the holidays right around the corner, there's a lot of events and parties that fill our calendars. Between the office parties, get-togethers with friends, and your own celebrations, finding something fun to wear can sometimes be a challenge. What helps me is to put together a little 'go-to outfit' that will always look and feel great. When I'm hosting parties, the last thing I want to be doing is fussing with my outfit, or worrying about being uncomfortable. This year, I've chosen this adorable plaid skirt and silk top pairing to be my stylish and comfortable ensemble. Party skirts are a real closet staple. Here's a few more ways I plan to wear it this season. 

(click image to view all looks)

Which look is your favorite?


Spaces Between

(for best results, click play then read the post!)

I can picture it so vividly that the sound of breakers crashing on the rocky cliffs below is almost faintly heard. One of my favorite moments was standing on the edge of the coast of the big island of Hawaii, wind blowing my hair, and watching the waves crashing below. There's something about the way that nature is untamed and unbridled that is absolutely mesmerizing. I could have stayed on that ledge for hours simply breathing in the salty ocean air and letting my mind wander off to beautiful places. Sometimes you come across those wildly beautiful, and almost magical places where your imagination can simply run free. When we're back at home, involved with the day-to-day activities of life, it's easy to forget about those spaces between daily activity--the glittering bits of heaven on earth--and simply slip back into routine. Perhaps it's a case of wanderlust, or the fact that I've been studying for so long lately, but oh how I enjoy looking at photos that remind me of the dreamlike places where your mind can do what it was created to do: enjoy beauty and praise God who made it.

The challenge is to find those moments, wherever you are, and enjoy them. Too often we are so quick to document them, or to view them through a lens, but stay in the moment. Drink up the beauty by being fully present. Maybe it's not a perch on a rocky coastline, but perhaps it's a conversation with a good friend, time with a loved one, a favorite song, moments curled up reading a good book, or a walk in the park. Whatever that space between the day's demands may be, find it and enjoy it. We need those moments of imagination and creative wandering. Take a deep breath and d r e a m.

3 Things You Should Do Everyday

Chai Tea Latte, please. Grande. We order our daily coffee, drive to and from work, complete tasks...all almost on autopilot. We're running from here to there, wondering if we have enough time to add this and that. Life gets busy, doesn't it? We keep our schedules full, and our days brimming over with things that need to be done. In the midst of all the areas of life we attend to, it's easy to forget about some simple things that make the most difference. Here's three things that, if done everyday, will benefit you in an incredible way. Want to live an amazing, fulfilling, happy life? Here's how it's done.

1. Choose a good attitude, regardless of your circumstances. 
(Each day presents a choice. Choose to be happy!)

2. Set some goals for yourself. 
(Remember, goals should be measurable, achievable, and passion-filled!)

3. Give to others.
(Time, talent, resources...a smile. You always have something to give.)

Simple, right? It's often the small things that, over time, make the biggest difference.
Try it. I think you'll be delightfully surprised.
Happy Monday, everyone!


He Said, She Said

"Hey, did you hear about so-and-so? I can't believe they would say that! Did you see them at the party...what is she wearing? What did he say about her? Do you think they are friends still? I heard..." On and on the talk swirls...gossip is everywhere. It's often a habit that many don't even realize they have, except when it comes back to haunt them. We talk about others--what they say, how they look, and what they do--but do we ever think about the power that words have? James 3:6 says that life and death can be found in the power of the tongue; this is serious! Gossip is deadly to relationships, success, happiness and to others. If we want to live a fulfilling, abundant kind of life then we need to get a handle on what comes out of our mouths.

It is one thing to watch our words, in the sense that we speak positively about situations, but another to decide to disengage from gossip, and to leave conversations that take a negative perspective on someone else. What would the world be like if we decided to only encourage one another, to use our words to build each other up? Here's the deal: there's a lot of competitive comparison among human beings. For some reason we fear that there's not enough beauty, brains and talent to go around, and so one person's gifts are coveted by another. So many people miss the incredible reservoir of unique talent, incredible potential and ability within themselves because they are so focused on talking about and wanting what others have.

The challenge for you and I is to begin to look at ourselves as individuals, not a product of cultural norms or people who need to meet standards of "beauty" or "talent", but people of purpose. Each person has a reason for being on this planet, and they have been given the perfect mix of abilities and capability to accomplish those tasks, with the help of grace and faith. Instead of limiting our abilities to talking about what other people are doing, let's encourage one another to accomplish great things, become the best versions of ourselves, and speak life into others. Choose to be positive, watch your self-talk, and talk only about things that will benefit you and other people. You'll find that the drama, negativity and poor self-esteem seem to quickly fade when the attention is taken off them. Pursue excellence. You have been given an incredible opportunity: live it!

Blanket Statements

 (Dress: Lovenotes via TJMaxx, Scarf: Target, Boots: Franco Sarto, 
Watch: Michael Kors, Earrings: F21, Sunglasses: Cole Haan)

So blanket scarves are having a moment it seems, which is alright with me. I mean, what's better than a scarf that also doubles as a cozy blanket? Not much. While the infamous Zara option has been floating around the blog world, I was thrilled to find this snuggly piece for under $20! The colors in the plaid are also rather pretty...a pop of aqua is a a fun way to mix up the classic red and black. This weekend we finally had a taste of some cooler weather, so I snagged this super soft, faux suede dress and donned a pair of riding boots, hooray! I also discovered that this is one of the few pieces of brown clothing I own...clearly, I'm more of summer girl, so fall colors don't seem to make much of an appearance in my wardrobe. This dress is quickly becoming a favorite, however, so you just might see it around here once again. 

Thanks for reading! 
Happy Monday!


Time For Change

 There comes a time when changes need to be made, when capacity has surpassed that former space, and now craves a bigger, better challenge; a new opportunity. When I began my blog, Teatime Thoughts, the title was appropriate for the season I was in, and as I continued to learn, grow, and move toward the passion and dreams for my life, it has brought me to a place where that title no longer feels sufficient. While I still do love tea, and the bond that is shared between friends over a warm cup of chai, the overall direction of my blog has changed and matured over the years, and the title needs to fit that transition. So with that said, you'll see some changes around here, beginning with the title, and continuing toward exciting, fresh things! I'm really grateful to all of you who have faithfully read from early on, and for those who have joined along the way. There's a lot more in store, and I cannot wait to share more details soon! 


(Poncho: similar here Pants: Lilly Pulitzer, Shoes: similar here (on sale!), Watch: Michael Kors)

One of the things I love most about classic pieces is the fact that they can get a fun twist for an updated feel. Two such examples would be the anchor motif and ponchos, which, combined are a perfect combination for cool fall days. I'm convinced that white is acceptable year-round, and this simple color scheme is fresh, even among the muted, earthy fall tones. Ponchos and capes are pretty much the best invention (especially if they have anchors on them!), since there's not a whole lot of styling effort required, just throw on and go! This cotton style is so lightweight I could toss it over a swimsuit, or style it with grey skinnies and tall boots...and did I mention it's reversible? Oh, the possibilities!

Bet Your Boots

 (Top: Lilly Pulitzer, Denim: F21, Boots: GoJane, Necklace: , Watch: Michael Kors)

Fall is boot season, and I am so excited to finally get to wear this over-the-knee style that I've been pinning on my style inspiration board since last fall. (I admit, I'm a little late to the over-the-knee party, but it's back for this season again, so I couldn't resist this year.) Since it's not quite cool enough to cozy up in a sweater, this pop of bright pink was the perfect color for that transition between summer and autumn weather. When it gets cold, I'll wear these boots with an oversized sweater, leggings and a big scarf, or swap out the silk tee for a button-down and a vest. For now, it's still deciding if it wants to be fall around here, so bright pink and statement necklace it is! I'm also loving short ankle boots and the ever-so-classic leather riding boots this season...fall weather, where are you??


Everyday Essentials

It's always fun to take a peek into what people consider their daily handbag essentials.
As a writer, it's important to make sure I have pen and paper at a moment's notice for when inspiration strikes, and my job makes it essential for me to have things organized and written down. I'm all about the calendar on my iphone, but still a little old-fashioned and love having a planner so I can write out my activities and schedule for the month and week. When I have events or meetings back to back, there's not time for more than a touch up, so I bring along the essentials like this gorgeous lip color, a slim rollerball perfume, and a dab of lotion. Tortoise-shell shades transition effortlessly from summer into fall, and I love a good cat-eye style. 
(Clearly I have a thing for gold, mint and turquoise! haha)

Bag: Michael Kors (similar), Notebooks: Target, 
Planner: Lilly Pulitzer, iPhone, 
Wallet: Lilly Pulitzer (past season), Lotion: EOS (only $2!), 
Perfume: BCBG, Lipcolor: Stila in 'Carina', 
Sunglasses: Cole Haan 

As fall fashion makes its way into the stores, I begin to search for a fun handbag update for the new season. Throughout most of the year, I'm often found carrying a large tote style since it will fit all my essentials and my ipad. I recently discovered this fabulous Handbag 101 handbook that Rue La La put together, and think it's a wonderful style guide for tips on the latest trends in bags, ideas on how to properly care for your purse, and things you should know about some of your favorite signature brands. Definitely worth a look. What do you consider your handbag essentials? I'm always looking for new favorites. 


How to Handle Stress

I came to a point recently where everything just seemed to be pretty overwhelming, schedules full and stress abounding. Normally I thrive on the rapid shift from event to event and the busyness that fills my calendar with things to do, but this time it felt like a lot of stuff and not enough time to accomplish it all with excellence. This got me thinking about how often we go through life, and when people ask us "how are you?" we respond with "I'm busy"---when did that become an acceptable or even admired response? Are we investing our time into the right kinds of activities and plans that will lead us to accomplish greatness, or do we simply fill our calendars with things that keep us occupied? After a good conversation with some friends, I was inspired to do some planning and self-examination of how I balance my schedule and life. Here's a few of the things that have helped me in the search for finding that necessary wise investment of time.

-Create a system for everything (daily habits, school, writing, work..etc.)
-Assess where you have put the majority of your focus up to this point in your life. Is it a direction that will benefit you in the future? Determine how to shift that focus by adding time, money and attention to the activities that will benefit and grow you in those areas and develop your character.

Ask yourself 4 questions:
1. Who are you becoming?--What are you doing everyday to develop a habit of character growth?
2. What are you doing?--Are you investing time in activities that will lead you to your goals?
3. Who do you hang out with?--Do you surround yourself with positive, encouraging and inspiring people?
4. Are you growing?--Are you asking enough questions and challenging yourself to do hard things, or do you simply stay within your comfort zone?

Once I've answered those questions, I move on to creating a schedule that gives me more time to do what I want and need to be doing.
Here's a few tips I've picked up over the years to create more margin in life:

Delegate: Work smarter, not just harder. Do what you do best and drop the rest. Operate within your areas of strength.

Plan: What gets planned for, gets done. Get control of your calendar; otherwise, other people will.

Collaborate: Work with others that you like so you are energized. Surround yourself with people who uplift and inspire you. Invest time with others who are ahead of you on the journey, in the areas where you want to grow, and learn from them.

Reduce: Look at your calendar, examine your daily and weekly activities, and decide which ones are keeping you from being productive...and eliminate them. This frees up your time and energy to be focused on what really matters and will make a world of difference for you! (This concept also applies to relationships with others...sometimes it's best to simply move on when friends aren't growing in the same kind of direction as you. Don't try to drag people along to a place where they aren't willing to be.)

"It honors God when we enjoy life and live it well. That means taking risks--sometimes failing, sometimes succeeding, but always learning. When you enjoy your life, the lines between work and play begin to blur. We do what we love and love what we do. Everything becomes a learning experience."--Tom Peters

Perhaps you've been in that same stressed situation like I was. It was so beneficial to invest some time in assessment of my priorities, calendar and goals. Challenge yourself to look at your life, examine your daily routine, habits, and schedule, and apply some of these ideas to create the life you really want.
How do you handle stress? What helps you to stay focused on your goals?

New Season, New Beginning!

Happy Fall, everyone! It's officially a new season, and a welcome to cooler weather, all things pumpkin, boots, scarves and apple cider. I love the arrival of this season of the year because it seems like a fresh start, and a good opportunity to do some reflection on the memories of summer, as well as providing time to plan for what's coming ahead! With the arrival of fall, I'm going to be debuting a few new things here on the blog, so keep looking for some exciting writing projects, new design, and more fun things soon to come! Have a fabulous start to autumn!


Mermaid Life

As an avid ocean-enthusiast and mermaid at heart, I fell in love with this darling tank
from the fabulous SS x Eluxe collection While I've enjoyed it through the summer weather, it's not something I want to stash away upon fall's arrival, so I decided to style it for the transitional temperatures. A colorful cardigan and black skinnies take the tank from beachy to polished, and I paired it with some jewelry in ocean-colored hues as well as a buttery, caramel-colored bag to finish the look. For those of us who live in an endless summer, this is a great way to transition those well-loved, warm weather pieces into cool, fresh looks for fall. How do you wear your summer staples into autumn?


Fall Fête

Autumn is quickly arriving, and I've got a few fun ways for you to celebrate this cozy season!
Whether you're hosting friends and family for dinner, or a few of the girlfriends for a fun evening in, you'll want to check out these fall fetes I've styled! 

Happy Fall entertaining, everyone! 


Shades of Green

(Top: Old Navy, Shorts: Lilly Pulitzer, Sunglasses: GlassesShop c/o
Shoes: Zara, Hat: purchased in the Caribbean)

How was your long weekend? Hope it was fantastic! It sure was nice to take a day off from the crazy amounts of work I've had recently and just escape to the beach for the afternoon. Summer has always been my favorite season, and while everyone toward the north prepares for Fall, I'm kind of glad that the cooler temps won't be stopping by here until about mid-October (if we're lucky). One of the ways that I like to transition into Fall is through fashion, and while jackets and sweaters sound nice, it's just not practical yet, so I like to use accessories to make the style switch. Emerald has been picked as a hot shade for the new season, and these gorgeous gold-rimmed sunglasses, in a brilliant shade of green, are the best way to incorporate a hint of it into my wardrobe. There's something about mirrored frames that makes you look chic and put together, even if you were running late ;) Oh, and did I mention they're only $20?! (Seriously, I know. You'd never guess it by looking at them) Come grab a me, you'll love them! 

Also, don't forget to receive an extra 20% off sitewide when you enter the code: Candice20 at checkout! 

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