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How to Make Perfect Tea

A 101 on Making Tea? Absolutely. A 101 on Making Tea + a beautiful space to boot? Um, hello gorgeous! This lovely spread was hosted at the Oxford Exchange and was gussied up to include a tea pairing and 2 yummy recipes, with a design from the fabulous Justin Demutiis, Courtney of Dishie Rentals, & Botanica International Design Studio. And the result is everything that SMP loves in a girl. Or a tea shop.

In just over a year of business, the Oxford Exchange has set the bar in Tampa. Their restaurant is booming for breakfast and lunch during the week, and might just be the most popular choice for brunch on the weekends. They also have the most fantastic shop, bookstore, offices, and coffee shop, but perhaps those will be saved for another SMP Living post. On the weekends, between 3-5 they offer Afternoon Tea. We decided to take it up a notch and add whimsical mismatched vintage plates and glassware, a touch of florals.

The Salted Caramel Latte and Lavender Fog are two of our most popular drinks at Tebella Tea Company and they are both simple and easy to replicate at home. Here are the simple DIY steps:


Begin by mixing 3 teaspoons of our Caramel Black tea with 3 teaspoons of German rock sugar and steep them together in 16 oz of water for 3 minutes. Strain the leaves before adding a dash of steamed milk, 2 teaspoons of caramel syrup and a pinch of sea salt. Top off the mixture with foam and caramel topping (and a sprinkling of extra sea salt if you’d like), and you’ve got a decadent treat for any time of day!


Our Lavender Fog is a delightful variation on the London Fog, a tea drink that was invented by an unknown barista in Vancouver, British Columbia. While a traditional London Fog is made with Earl Grey, we use our Earl Grey Lavender for a modern twist. Steep 3 teaspoons of the tea with 3 teaspoons of German rock sugar for 3 minutes in 8 oz of warmed milk and 8 oz of boiling water. Strain the fog mixture into a teapot and add 2 teaspoons of vanilla syrup. Top it off with foam and enjoy the creamy combo of lavender, bergamot and vanilla—perfect for a rainy day.

Florals: Botanica International Design Studio | Reception Venue: Oxford Exchange | Plates And Glassware: Dishie Rentals | Sweet And Savory Bites: Oxford Exchange Restaurant | Tea: Tebella Tea Company

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Tampa Bay Wedding from Debra Eby Photography

This is one of those days where every perfect detail you’ve ever dreamt of comes together in one fabulous wedding.  Where a gorgeous Vera Wang stands hand in hand with lush florals from FH Weddings and a modern meets classic vibe planned by Elan Event Studio that is all kinds of amazing.  This, my friends, is what we’re calling a “serious lesson in pretty” and you can see every last moment captured by Debra Eby right here in the full gallery.

And a little something special from 829 Films?  Yes, please.


From Debra Eby Photography… Bridesmaids float in their blush Lazaro gowns doting on the bride in all her Vera Wang splendor. The VIP suite of the Grand Hyatt offers a light-filled space for laughter and tears as the girls prepare. Gifts, stories, and sentimental smiles are shared generously.

Holding to tradition, Ryan and Rachel’s first look is on the aisle as they wed. Emotion fills the sanctuary as friends and family stand. Rachel walks on air, as if in a dream, to her groom. The stained glass windows let in streams of sunlight on this perfect Florida day.

There is a quiet understanding in the love shared between Ryan and Rachel. They are full of flirtatious glances and stolen kisses. Ryan elicits beaming smiles of his bride. Rachel’s touch rouses a blush on her groom’s debonair face.

The sun sets over the bay, Ryan and Rachel begin the wedding celebration. The atmosphere is a cocktail party denoting suave elegance. A James Bond esque affair swimming with black, white, and golds. City lights twinkle as the bride and groom dance in each other’s arms.

The perfect beginning to a perfectly dreamy happily ever after.

Photography: Debra Eby Photography | Wedding Planner: Elan Event Studio - Holly Shump | Floral Design: FH Weddings - Stephanie | Wedding Dress: Vera Wang | Wedding Dress: The Collection Bridal | Cake: Chocolate Pi | Stationery: The Write Stuff | Reception: Grand Hyatt | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Bella Bridesmaid | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Lazaro | Hair Stylist: Femme Akoi | DJ: Grant Hemond & Associates - Cory Barron | Groom's Attire: Hugo Boss | Groomsmen's Attire: Vera Wang | Cinema: 829 Films | Make-Up Artist: Femme Akoi | Second Shooter: Sarah Sharpe Photography

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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Style Me Pretty Florida Welcomes Our Advertisers!

We love Monday through Friday on SMP Florida, but Saturdays are equally special.  Because that’s when we get to cozy up with some of the nearest and dearest members of our SMP family who just happen to be right in your backyard. And today, we get the pleasure of spending some serious quality time with Isabel O’Neil Bridal Collection. A bridal boutique that we couldn’t possibly adore more, and might be a tad bit jealous of all the brides-to-be that get to experience their one-of-a-kind boutique. But it gets even better lovelies, because they are hosting some note-worthy events right in their store – allowing those brides-to-be to get the dress of their dreams at a discount. Now that, my friends, is fabulous.

About Isabel O’Neil Bridal CollectionThe belief at Isabel O’Neil Bridal Collection is to provide a unique and personalized shopping experience for brides that will be enjoyable and unforgettable. Isabel O’Neil carries an exclusive assortment of couture gowns, veils, and accessories. It’s is the only one in the bay area featuring wedding gown designs by Romona Keveza, Ines Di Santo and Alyne.

An Isabel O’Neil bride has an eye for detail, admires quality and design and has an appreciation of service. She is a bride who is looking to reflect her amazing style in her entire wedding. She doesn’t want to feel like every other bride and is looking for a gown that speaks to her style and personality.

The inspiration behind the design and styling of the boutique was to create a modern and luxurious space where brides and their parties would feel welcome and relaxed. It has an intimate feel with a great seating area for the brides’ loved ones.

We would love to announce two exciting events happening in our boutique! Our Romona Keveza Trunkshow will run from November 22 thru 24 , and we will be offering a 10% discount on new gown orders during the event! Additionally we have a sample sale event on November 29th with  30% to 50% off select sample gowns! We hope to see you there! 

Photography: Amy Pezzicara, Pezz Photo | Wedding Dress: Isabel O'Neil Bridal Collection | Reception Venue: Oxford Exchange | Make Up: Linny Correa | Hair: Ty at David Gavin Salon


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Tampa Fall Wedding from Jillian Tree Photography

It’s always amazing to me how I seem I get to know the couples that grace the pages of SMP. It’s like meeting a new group of friends each day, and getting a peek at their personalities through images as gorgeous as these from Jillian Tree Photography is just the icing on the cake. With a wedding this lovely, and a couple this darling this gallery is one fabulous way to spend a day. See it all here.


From the Bride… Gabe and I met and became friends through the Lighthouse Church youth group when we were both in high school. Those were the days! I used to leave to go to school really early every morning in order to get a parking space (Cypress Bay was a very overcrowded high school), and Gabe would get there early on the bus most days…so he would come sit with me in my car until the bell rang. My mom encouraged him to do this so that I would not be alone in the “scary” parking lot; she referred to him as my body guard. Now, if you know anything about Weston or Cypress Bay (or my mom for that matter), you know that this was a ridiculously unnecessary precaution…but I did start looking forward to seeing him every day! Sometimes I would even bring him hot chocolate or some tasty breakfast treat =D Also, our houses were pretty close together, so a lot of times I would drive him home after school or he would just come home with me and we’d do homework together…

One particular day in January, my mom invited Gabe to come to the beach with us (us = me, my mom, and my sister). And yes, I said January (one of the perks of living in South Florida)! Upon arriving at Hollywood beach, we got some delicious pizza, and then my mom and sister decided that they were going to go for a walk (a total set-up!)…so, once they left, Gabe and I walked toward the water and plopped down in the sand. And, following some nervous stalling, Gabe told me that he liked me. After keeping him in suspense for a bit, I eventually told him that I liked him too! Then I asked him if we could take 2 months to pray about our developing relationship before we became “officially” boyfriend and girlfriend (of course, he agreed).

After a little over two months, on April 7th of 2007, Gabe took me out (on our first “official date) to an Italian restaurant called Tarantella. After dinner, we walked over and sat in front of the big fountain in Weston Town Center, and I told him that I would love to be his girlfriend. I will never forget how Gabe then prayed aloud the words that were in my heart for our relationship, and how I felt that God was smiling down on us – as HE was beginning to write our love-story.

Since then we have made tons of memories together – from our high school graduations, to road trips, to birthday parties, to cooking together, to theme parks, to picnics, to walks around IWU campus (sometimes in the snow), to concerts, to coffee runs, to classes together and LOTS OF STUDYING, to my college graduation, to ring shopping, to our epic engagement story – we haven’t stopped falling in love.

Sure, we’ve faced some challenges: many miscommunications, the living long-distance thing, times of sickness, excessive loads of stress at times, etc. but I can say that I am thankful for each and every challenge because they have been opportunities for our relationship and our love to grow deeper and stronger.

It is so wonderful to know now, without any doubt, that Gabe is so perfectly “right” for me, that He loves and respects me, and that He has chosen me to be his bride. And I would have never been able to imagine – at the start of our relationship 5 years ago – how very much I would grow to love and appreciate this man. But it is even more wonderful to know the love of God for me and to have Jesus as the foundational ROCK of Gabe’s and my relationship! In fact, this is what our “wedding logo,” the three roses, is all about! It is a symbol that God must be the center rose who intertwines us (the outside roses) – for we know that ONLY HE can satisfy our deepest needs and ONLY HE can give us the ability to love each other selflessly.

So, even though our upcoming wedding is a celebration of Gabe’s and my earthly romance and commitment to be faithful to one another for life…if you look a little closer, you will see that it is really a celebration of our heavenly “romance” and the never-failing faithfulness of God in our lives. In summation, “we love because He (Jesus) first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

Photography: Jillian Tree Photography | Cinematography: Life's Highlights | Floral Design: Sherwood Florist | Ceremony Venue: Brooksville Wesleyan Church | Reception Venue: Brooksville Country Club

Florida State Fair Engagement from Sarah & Ben

Carnival engagement sessions are sooo much fun.  The kind of fun that can only be had when you pair two adorable cuties with a ferris wheel, stuffed animals and a whole lot of cotton candy.  And when those two adorable cuties are as stylish as these two (tulle + denim = fabulous), it takes it to an entirely new level of lovely.  See every last fun-filled moment captured by Sarah & Ben in the full gallery.


From Sarah & BenWe are SO excited to share this fair engagement session with you! These two are having a circus-themed wedding later this year, so the fair was the perfect setting for their engagement session. We loved how easily they interacted with each other, and the effortless style they both seem to have. We were obsessed with the bride-to-be’s tulle skirt and the Anthropologie necklace she wore with her second outfit. All in all, it was a perfect couple in a truly perfect setting! Here are a few words from the bride-to-be about their session . . .

From the Bride… When deciding where to do our engagement photos, we knew we wanted a fun, whimsical backdrop. Although I tried to imagine a few settings, we kept coming back to a carnival feel, and after discussing it with Sarah & Ben we decided The State Fair was the perfect setting for us. The day of our engagement pictures was the most romantic day EVER. Sarah & Ben did so much work, and we didn’t have to do anything but steal the occasional kiss and be silly with one another – two of our favorite things! The whole day was full of fun and adventure, and was topped off perfectly with a nighttime ride on the ferris wheel. While we were riding the ferris wheel it stopped for a moment, and we were stuck at the top. We turned to each other and kissed, and all of a sudden fireworks started going off in the background! Real, live FIREWORKS. It was by far the most romantic moment I’ve ever had, and we were fortunate enough to have Sarah & Ben there to capture it!

Photography: Sarah & Ben | Location: Florida State Fair at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, Florida | Hair + Makeup: Marissa Bernal with Holly Nazario | Engagement Ring: Jewels by Erica Grace | First Outfit:  Skirt by Shabby Apple, Necklace from J. Crew, Shoes from Target, Groom’s Outfit by Banana Republic | Second Outfit: Dress + Necklace from Anthropologie, Shoes by Tahari, Bow Tie from April Look, Groom’s Shirt by Banana Republic

Ybor City Museum Garden Wedding from Raquel Sergio Photography

This wedding is all about the romance.  The kind of romance that makes you absolutely weak in the knees.  From the lush florals from Events in Bloom to the breathtaking Ybor City Museum Garden setting to the gallery of beautiful images captured by Raquel Sergio Photography, it’s a non-stop day of romance-filled lovely.  And, really, is there a better way to spend your Friday?  (Answer: no.)  See every last glorious moment in the full gallery.

From Raquel Sergio PhotographyLovebirds. When I first met them that was the word I used to describe them. I knew right from the start of our journey together that being a part and documenting their day would be such a pleasure . We had so much fun getting to know each other while we did their engagement photos and in this wonderful journey to their awesome styled wedding. From Kelleigh’s beautiful gown to every detail in the reception, their day fit their personalities and story like a glove. I loved every single detail that was knit together to make their day. Cheers to the newlyweds and lovebirds!

Wedding Photography: Raquel Sergio Photography | Ceremony Venue: Lady of Perpetual Help | Reception Venue: Ybor City Museum Garden, Tampa, Florida | Event Coordination: Kimberly Hensly Events | Floral Design: Events in Bloom | Catering: Good Food Catering | Wedding Cake: Publix | Hair + Makeup: Michelle Renee | DJ + Lighting: RJ Vida | Rentals: US Tents