The Last Chapter


As we begin a new year, it's always good to start with reflection of the one prior. We take into account the joys and victories, the challenges and lessons, the memories and dreams. With the wisdom of days past, we enter with hopeful hearts into the fresh, clean pages of the year to come. Sometimes this shift means that new chapters begin, and other times it means that certain chapters must come to a close.

I have loved writing in this corner of the internet for over nine (yes, nine!) years, and I have to say that blogging has been a wonderfully rewarding way to share thoughts, dreams, and inspiration. Through these posts, I've connected with old friends and also made new ones. It's brought about lots of fun opportunities, collaborations, events, and partnerships that wouldn't have come about otherwise. It's been a place to dream, celebrate, create and encourage. I'm grateful for the many things I've learned and have been able to share with you here. This last chapter here is bittersweet, simply because my blog has been a familiar place that will soon evolve into something different; however, I'm so excited to see all that will come from pursuing something new. The beauty of change is that it challenges us to become different and better. While you won't find my writing here in the new year, I'm thrilled to be sharing plenty of NEW and exciting adventures through Aretios! You can find me on social media @candiceelaineh and @aretiosofficial 
I'll be sharing insider updates of what I'm up to (and trust me, there's some good things coming). To receive the updates, click here.

It has been a joy to share these posts with you over the years, and I hope you'll join me as we begin this new chapter together! 

Sincerely, 

Candice


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Christmas Wishes


Luke 2 
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.


Whether you're celebrating near or far from home, I'm wishing you and yours the most wonderful Christmas celebration! May you feel the warmth of love from friends and family and the joy that comes from Heaven above. 
Merry Christmas!!
-C
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December Inspiration


Happy December! Amidst the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, here's a few good words to encourage and inspire you as they are me! Wishing you a wonderful month!
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Aloha December

Aloha! Things have been a little quiet here for the past few weeks, and that's because I was away in the islands for a little while. It is so valuable to unplug and recharge; a trip to paradise is the best way to do it, in my opinion! Here's a couple of snapshots from my adventures!






Now, the holidays are in full swing, and there's lots to do before Christmas! Time to get all my gifts wrapped, cookies baked, and decorations up! Wishing you and yours the most wonderful holiday season and a very blessed new year ahead!
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Camel & Black





Happy almost December! With Thanksgiving behind us, I'm definitely looking forward to the fun of the holiday season! As things begin to cool down, my favorite thing to wear is a simple yet classic color combination of camel and black. I love how a stylish and chic coat can totally make an outfit, and this gorgeous piece fits the bill perfectly. (p.s. Right now you can grab it for 50% off--making it under $50!!) I added a few accessories in subtle yet complimentary print tones of leopard and tortoiseshell to complete the look. This is going to be my go-to throughout the season!

|| Get the Look ||



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Not Just One Day


As we prepare for Thanksgiving, I am reminded that it's not just a one day celebration of family, good food, and gratitude. This is a way of living--mindful of the many blessings, grateful for life's lessons, and generous with grace because we've been given much ourselves. Here's a few thoughts that are on my mind this week...

"I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds."
Psalm 9:1 

"You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God."
2 Corinthians 9:11 

"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."
1 Thessalonians 5:18 

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. I am grateful for you. 
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Simple Ways To Practice Gratitude


Since it's November, gratitude is on many a mind this time of year. Practicing gratitude is one of the best ways to change your life; I know that sounds dramatic, but it's true! Our perspective is totally changed when we focus on ways we can give to others and recognize the many blessings we've been given. Ready to practice some gratitude? Here's a few simple ways to do it.


1. Make a gratitude journal.
This is something I've been building into my everyday routine for the last year or two, and it's been a wonderful habit. Take a few moments each morning or evening to reflect and jot down a list of things that you're grateful for. I've found that it causes you to be more mindful of your environment or the little moments in life.


2. Clean out your closet and donate your unworn clothes.
Each season, I like to do a edit of my clothes, and clear out pieces that just aren't getting worn anymore. Find some local organizations to support, who are accepting clothing donations, instead of going to consignment or Goodwill.


3. Write someone a thank you note.
It's easy to think kind thoughts about someone, or even to admire their hard work or dedication from afar, but instead, tell them! A handwritten note is one of the simplest yet often most cherished gestures. You know that person who is always doing things for others, someone who takes good care of you or provides excellent service, a friend who has been there--good times and tough times, yep, that one. Let them know how much you appreciate them! It will make their day (and yours, too)!

Gratitude is something that shouldn't just be reserved for one month or one holiday. It's a year-round practice that truly makes life worth living.

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November Inspiration




Happy November! It's almost the start of the holiday season, and with a new month, comes new goals, new inspiration, and a new focus. Here's a few ideas that are serving as inspiration and creative fuel to me this month! I encourage you to take some time to look over your goals, think about what you want to achieve this month, and do what it takes to make things happen.
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Dressing The Part



It recently dipped down into some cooler temperatures over the weekend, and that got me thinking about all the sweaters, scarves, jackets, and boots I'd like to wear. Usually it's still quite warm this time of year, so hopefully the fall weather sticks around for a little while! This season it's all about beautiful fabrics, luxe detailing, animal prints, jewel tones, neutrals and shades of black and gray. While it's definitely still not cold enough for a coat, here's a few autumn pieces that I think would be perfect for this time of year.
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Opportunity Awaits

I've been thinking a lot about opportunities and how often they come disguised as something else. Sometimes it is the challenging situations, or the seemingly mundane tasks that are there for us to discover an important lesson about others or ourselves, if only we are open to learning. I love how Morgan Harper Nichols (her work is amazing, btw!) says that gratitude and hope can teach us something everyday. Perhaps the moments spent waiting on someone or something, the everyday routines, and things we take for granted are opportunities for hope and gratitude to be a teacher. May they allow us to slow down, savor, and be present. May we see lessons and not hinderances, hope and not frustration, gratitude instead of taking things for granted. Perhaps this perspective shift will show you that there's opportunities all around-- if only we are willing to pause and ready to receive them. I challenge you (and I) to allow gratitude and hope to be our lens through which we see the world. 
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The Questions I Always Ask...


Lately, my schedule has been so full that I've hardly had a moment to sit down and do some personal evaluating. Typically, I like to do this at the beginning of the month, or even at the end of one before the next starts. Autumn is a great season to reflect. With everything going on in the last couple of weeks, I'm just now taking a moment or two to do some journaling, taking a personal inventory of habits, routines, etc., and making a quick edit or two to some goals I'm working on. I was reminded of this post that I wrote some time ago, and found the questions posed there to be rather pertinent to some of what I'm thinking about at this present moment. If you're looking for some other good questions, this one also has some that I frequently add to my monthly checkpoint. Perhaps these will  be thought-provoking posts for you as well.
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How To Be More Positive


A positive life is something that we all desire; I have yet to meet someone who truly wants to be miserable day in and day out. I've encountered so many people who express their desire to become more positive or recognize the need for a better outlook on life. Here's the truth: Our lives go in the direction of our strongest thoughts. 

Sometimes, we may find ourselves in different circumstances than we planned, or perhaps are facing an unexpected challenge, and it can be easy to fall into a 'reactionary' type of mood. Most of the time, those reactionary moods or thoughts are not taking us in a direction of positive growth, so it's important to know how to switch directions quickly! If you want to take your life to the next level, a positive mindset is essential. Here's three simple tips to help you become more positive and less stressed!

1. Edit your environment. 
This is such a great starting point because our environment dictates so much of who we become. Look at the music you listen to, movies you watch, people you invest time with, books you read and social accounts you follow. What sort of messages or ideas are you filling your life with? A negative environment will produce negative attitudes. We live on the level of our input--this is a great time to make some changes. Cutting out the clutter of mental junk (bad music, movies, tv shows or negative self-talk, etc.) will make a major difference in your life. Remember to replace it with good things like new goals, encouraging words, and positive people. You may encounter all kinds of thoughts, but remember, it is always your choice of which you'll entertain. 

2. Get outside. 
It is so simple to get caught up in all the activities and work of the week that we miss spending a moment or two outdoors. There's something so peaceful and refreshing about the sunshine on your face, a cool breeze, a hike in the woods, the sound of the waves, or the brilliant colors of sunrise and sunset. If you start to feel overwhelmed or stressed with all that's on your schedule or perhaps need a boost, a few minutes outside will do the trick. Personally, I like to head out to the beach for a sunset after a hectic day; the waves and beautiful colors can transform even the most trying of moments. 
p.s. Leave your phone off for a bit--it's ok (encouraged, even!) to disconnect from tech and reconnect with yourself and nature.

3. Make a gratitude list.
Don't wait for Thanksgiving. It's never too early to start thinking about gratitude. When we take the focus off ourselves and whatever problems we may be facing, it's amazing how our perspective begins to change. One practice I've enjoyed cultivating in my own life is a gratitude journal. I like to take a few moments each day to list 5 things I'm grateful for. In doing so, it places my focus on celebrating the many blessings and great moments I have been given. When you look for the good, you'll find it. We will see an increase in wherever area we place our focus. 
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October Inspiration


Happy October! After an incredible weekend filled with wonderful friends and adventures, September came to a delightful end. As we begin a new month, here's some thoughts and things that are inspiring me lately.


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In the Mood For...


Ok, it's officially fall, so it's time to bring out all the autumn decor, light the fall candles, and wear all the cozy sweaters (with the AC cranked down really low so it's actually cool enough). While I'm waiting for the weather to get the 'fall' memo, I'm enjoying quite a few other autumn-inspired finds that don't necessarily require a drop in temperature.


For the Home: It's no secret that I enjoy having a candle burning in the home, especially as we move toward the fall and winter months. There's something so cozy about a flickering flame and the sweet scent of the season's essence. I was a longtime fan of the Leaves candle from BBW, but I found this pumpkin one from Sand & Fog recently, and I'm absolutely hooked. It's a soy blend which is less heady than most (read: won't give you a headache), and the scent is festive without being overpowering. Also, during the fall season, I enjoy adding a few cozy blankets to my room, and this cozy piece would look so snuggly on the end of the bed, draped on the back of a reading chair, or simply folded in a basket with a pair of slippers, and a couple of good books. One other way that I love to introduce an autumn feel to the house is through a beautiful bouquet of fresh fall florals. I'm inspired by this gorgeous little set-up.

For the Kitchen: It wouldn't be a seasonal edit without some divine autumn-inspired recipes. Here's a couple that are tried and true faves as well as a few I'm planning to test out this season!
Creamy Butternut Squash Soup
Pumpkin Bread w/Cream Cheese Filling
Roasted Apple & Brie Grilled Cheese
Soft & Chewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies


For the Closet: Fall fashion has always been a bit of a challenge to wear around here, simply due to the heat, but I do appreciate a good knit sweater, a dash of animal print, or a well-styled boot. I usually choose to invest in classic autumn pieces that can be worn year after year, especially when it comes to cashmere, handbags, and shoes. It's fun to pick up a few trendy items, but since I don't have a big window of time to wear these looks, I try to avoid purchasing too much of that. Here's a couple playful and wearable picks for this season!



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Purpose In the Present


It is always at this point in the year, that transition between summer and fall, in which I find myself reflecting on all that has happened and dreaming about what is yet to come. I was re-reading a post written around this time last year on seasons of life, and I think it is relevant (for me at least) once again. You see, there's often this desire to be farther ahead--to wish for what is to come, whether that's an exciting event, a holiday, a special age, or even just the weekend. I think about the dreams, goals, and great plans of all the things I want to do and realize it's easy to miss what's happening in the now. It is important to plan ahead and to set goals. I'm reminded, however, that it is in the present--the current season--that there are still lessons to learn, moments to celebrate and enjoy, and space to grow. Perhaps you find yourself in that same place, ready to leap into a new season or wanting to know what comes next, but may this reminder be one for you as well:


There is purpose in the present. 

Don't rush through life, so focused on what's to come, that you miss what's happening right now. Every season of life has value, has a purpose, and is brimming with potential. We must choose to embrace it, learn from it, and decide to be present. Be open, be teachable, be content (and not complacent), for there are things that you must learn now that will be of value you to you in the seasons to come. I am reminded of Jim Elliot's wise words, "Wherever you are, be all there."
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