Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Sometimes we experience things that leave us with no words. We can't explain the emotions we feel and the thought of putting them into words is a daunting and impossible task because we know can't do the emotions justice. It's not devastated or enthused, confused or anxious, or energized or... any of those words and ALL of those words.

It took 12 months for me to truly understand my "one word". It took a weekend trip to a town that desperately needs the Lord's love, for me to realize what being intentional should mean. The past 11 months, time has been prioritized to family and church, because I thought that's what being intentional meant. That spending time with loved ones should always come first and that serving at church is time best spent. And there's nothing wrong with those things.

That is, until the Lord calls you somewhere else and opens your eyes to show you where you could be. To a place where every spare moment makes a difference in someones life. Where children seek your attention because they don't get much anywhere else, and women have a sadness in their eyes because there's only so much they can do. Where YOU give them hope, and God fills you with a desire to share His love and grace.

People always say that mission trips can change your life, but it's not until you actually feel the shift that you realize what that actually means. Every thought, conversation, and experience seems different.

I may not have the words to express my emotions right now, but I know one thing: I hope God keeps showing me how to be intentional. I hope He keeps challenging me and showing up in the most unexpected places. Fortunately, with hopes like those, I can't lose because God will never stop doing those things.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

My Chalk Paint Experience

After this sneak peek on Instagram last week, I thought it was time to show the entire desk. It was my first time using chalkpaint and I'm just going to be honest from the get-go, I'm not crazy about the look of chalkpaint. Now, distressed, crackly, beat-up looking pieces? Absolutely. But there's just something about the chalky look of chalk paint that I'm not crazy about. That being said, I had a piece of furniture that was starting to look not so great and needed to be refinished. At some point I want to sand it all down and stain it a dark espresso color, but since I lack a certain motivation to do that kind of work, chalk paint was the easy way out.

You may remember that I set up a dressing room in our house just after we moved in. It looked like this...

If you're a before and after fan, scroll no longer. Here is the desk after it's chalk paint treatment.

Now, I could have been a really good blogger and photographed all the steps, but that wouldn't be typical Courtney fashion. Also, this is so incredibly easy that you really don't need images.

So, what did I use? Cece Caldwell's paints were being sold at a local furniture refinish shop in town so I stopped in and picked up a container of Nantucket Spray, a really tinted version of seafoam green. (side note: did you know that when a color is lightened, it's referred to as tinted? and when a color is made darker, it is considered shaded? truth.) I also picked up this tiny jar of wax and a jar of aging dust.

After emptying my desk of all her makeup goodies, I wiped the entire thing down with a Clorox wipe. I poured my paint out into a tray because I heard that chalk paint cures quickly, so I didn't want to leave the lid off for too long. I painted one coat, let it set for a few hours then gave her another coat.

The next day I grabbed an old paint brush (you really don't have to buy the $30 round brush the store tries to sell you) and started applying the wax to the entire piece. Work in small sections if you have a large piece of furniture. I worked for about ten minutes, brushing on a thin coat of wax before I went in with an old fluffy makeup brush and the aging dust. The best way I found was to dip my brush into the jar, tap it on the side to remove immediate excess, then press it into the still tacky wax.You will have fall out, so make sure you put down a drop cloth. And that's it. Apply the dust wherever suits you, then move on to the next section. Brushing on wax, pressing on aging dust.

You need to let the wax sit for a week. I know that seems crazy, but you really want it to harden and cure. If you want to apply a second coat of wax, you can probably do that the next day then wait a week, but one coat was fine for me. After a week of waiting (and doing my makeup from my dressing room floor), I took an old rag and brushed away any excess aging dust. Then I buffed down the entire desk.

I added my new hardware and filled her back up with makeup. That's it!

To purchase any of these products click here.

Monday, December 1, 2014

I don't want to just be W O R D S

I want to be about actions. Sharing, loving, giving, doing, and so many other good things. Back in January, I embraced a word, and I've tried so very hard to stick to it this year. Being intentional caused me to stop blogging for awhile and to cut back to only a few posts a week. You know what that extra time gave me?

It gave me the chance to spend time with my husband. We made life decisions together.

The time gave me the opportunity to work harder while I was at work, instead of constantly thinking about my lunch break and what I needed to get done for the next day's blog post.

The opportunity to serve was presented and I was gladly able to receive it without the concern of sharing every bit of it here.

Time with my family and friends were not abbreviated because I needed to instagram/facebook/tweet something.

In short, being intentional was a lifestyle change. Am I fully, 100% where I should be? Not by a long shot, but has there been a dramatic difference in my division of time? Absolutely.
So where does that leave me for the last month of this year?

For the past six years, I've made it a point to share love with as many people as possible, especially in the month of December. Whether that was to help them financially through the holiday pressure, to brighten up their day with a note, to hug them extra tight, or to gift them with a coffee in the drive thru, I give anonymously in the hopes that someone will feel blessed by it. God has blessed me, and it is my job to share it with others.

For the next month, I'll be using #bellsgiveback on social media in a way to inspire others to share love. I won't be posting everything, because some things just don't need to be displayed, but I would love to see the trend catch on in a major way.

image by death to the stock photos.

Monday, November 24, 2014

3 Holiday Mantels

This year I wanted to do something different with my mantel. Last year I loaded it with garland and ornaments, and I completely loved it (see photo just below), but a fun Christmas movie quote was just calling out to my barn wood frame, so it was time to switch it up. I also want to play up the hearth with a village or nativity, so less on top will be better for that.

I still have some decorating to do on these mantel, like our stockings (which seem to have gone MIA!), but over all I'm loving these three options for our simple mantel.

First up is this gold and white decor, featuring a quote from my FAVORITE Christmas movie of all time, Home Alone. (what's your favorite?! leave in a comment below!) The texture from the trees and barnwood frame really stand out here, and I love how my DIY straw sunburst (learn how to make your own on the How Does She site) fits in so well.

Super crazy about Home Alone and love this print like I do? Download your own here. My white deer is from Target, last winter but I found a similar one this year. Both trees and the snow globe are from Hobby Lobby. My chrome antlers were a gift but I found some similar ones. Shop this look right here.

For the second mantle, I wanted to play on traditional green and red.

This quote is one of my all time favorites for Christmas. Download the print here. The Santa mugs were painted by my mom years ago for my siblings and I, and somehow I wound up with all three of them. This mantel I consider to be "collected". Everything that's up there, I've picked up over the years. The two trees are from Hobby Lobby, the snow lady was a gift last year, and the sleigh... I don't remember when or where that beauty came from. Find items similar to this theme here.

For the third option, aqua and red were begging to be used. The retro feel looks so good, and my white deer, which is one of my favorite pieces to decorate with, just git it so nice.

For all you Elf fans, download this print to remind you to play. The trees are from Hobby Lobby, as are the glass bottles. I found a few similar items, and you can browse them here.

Which color scheme is most up your alley? What Christmas movie quote would you want to see in your house?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11

And that isn't just a relief? We don't need to understand everything. We need only to have faith in our God.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Can I tell you something The BFF Breakup

Recently I shared my frustrations with making friends as an adult, but what I didn't share with you was a big reason why making friends was such a scary thought to me. That story is called The BFF Breakup.

If you've never experienced a break up with a friend, you may not realize that it can be just a difficult as a breakup with a boyfriend/girlfriend. Friendship among women shape who we are and remind us who we are. We are there for each other to fill emotional gaps and when it's no longer there the history shared is painful to remember and consider replacing. I know; I've been there.

We met through our then boyfriends, and while we were each developing the relationship with our boys, we developed a friendship. At first she was "The Boyfriend's Best Friend's Girlfriend" and so was I. The four of us did everything together. We definitely had our issues: I was (and still am) incredibly shy and not great at small talk and she didn't let people in easily. Over time though, we grew close because we were very much alike. Common interests such as design, DIY, and makeup made it a bit easier on us, and the list of things we wanted to do together grew long. Pretty soon instead of being the tag-along to our boyfriends' hang-outs, the boys were making plans based on us spending time together. KJB and I got engaged and married, and she was there to inspire me along the way. They got engaged soon after and I had just started doing wedding projects for clients. When she asked me to help her out on their big day, I was thrilled. 

Things changed though when she broke up with her fiancé and called off the wedding. He was, of course, heartbroken, and I'm sure she was too. But when I reached out to her to show her support, she let me know that she no longer needed me either. I was shocked and hurt, because I thought we had something stronger than just a connection through our partners. Over the six years we had known each other, she had become my best friend and someone I genuinely cared for. We never verbally shared our feelings with each other, but I think thought we both knew.

Our sudden group of three felt a bit strange. I didn’t want to intrude on guy time but I didn’t want to sit at home on Friday night, either. Most of the time, I just sat through discussions on sports, beer, and food, contributing little to the conversation and feeling like a drag. While missing the fourth side of our square, I couldn’t help but question why I wasn’t good enough, cool enough, supportive enough, funny enough, or friendly enough to keep around. 

I'm not sure that I have great advice on how to get over a BFF breakup but there are a few things I do suggest...

-Don't hold back the tears.
It's okay to cry it out. You're going to feel lonely and maybe embarrassed - just like the end to any relationship. Don't feel ashamed for feeling sad.

-Figure out a way to say good-bye.
If your breakup was like mine, you didn't really have an ending or a chance to say whatever you wanted to say. So write a letter to your former friend and write out exactly how your relationship impacted you. Then put it in a mailbox without an address. You'll feel good for writing out your feelings and sending them out into the world.

-Consider the next time you might see her.
If you live close to each other or have mutual friends, there's a chance you could run into each other. Think of a couple of topics you could use for small talk if you need to. And keep in mind, it will probably be just as awkward for her. By putting on a smile and asking about her hobbies, you're acknowledging the fact that you had history and it meant something to you.

-Cut ties.
For me, it was painful to see my former BFF out with new girlfriends and taking on new adventures. It resurfaced those feelings of not being enough. In order to get over the hurt, I had to remove her from my social media, so I unfriended her on Facebook and unfollowed her Instagram. This may seem drastic and possibly immature but by doing so, I felt better about my own healing process.

-Keep praying for her.
No subtext needed for this one. She needs prayers just like you do and you prayer for people you love. 

And lastly, if you are having those horrible "not enough" feelings, I encourage you to visit this post by Annie Downs, as she has some amazing words of encouragement.

Friday, October 10, 2014

4 Ways to Make a New Place Feel Like Home

1. Put out a new doormat.
Instead of dragging that old worn out doormat with you, pick up an inexpensive and personalize it. A fresh mat for a fresh start in a new home.

a// A trendy monogram.
b// Uneven stripes.
c// I'm loving the look of this wooden slat.
d// The color possibility is endless!
e//A nautical braided mat (don't worry, there are step-by-step instructions!)

2. Mix some new art in with pieces you already love.
Whether you've decided on a collage wall or several vignettes around your place, seeing some of your old favorites along side new ones will give you a feeling of growth.

a // Fun kitchen art looks great on a clipboard; by The Shabby Chic Cottage.
b // I'm practically salivating over this coffee illustration by The Pretty Blog.
c // A few whimsical feathers pair perfectly with anything; by Oh So Lovely.
d // A simple, feminine reminder. By Creature Comforts.
e // Chalkboard isn't going out of style anytime soon with this printable by Fifth and Hazel for Caravan Shoppe.

3. Organize your bathroom.
This may sound silly, but you have to feel comfortable in your bathroom. There is a familiarity in bath-time routines and once you have your favorite products in place, the sooner you can relax into that routine in your new place.
a// Live Simply by Annie always has the best organization tips, including these great shower systems. 
b// A bath tray makes the room nice and inviting, and of course, is perfect for leisure baths. 
c// Perfect for shared bathrooms (think dorms or apartments), consider a cute trolley for all of your bath products and tools.
d// Shanty 2 Chic did an amazing job on this wood storage cabinet with a mirrored door.
e// If you have plenty of counter space, and plenty of products to store, take a tip from Golden Boys and Me and dress up the vanity.

4. Bake cookies.
Break in your new kitchen by baking a batch of cookies. Fill your home with that sweet aroma and maybe share some with your new neighbors for a reverse welcome gift.

a// applesauce chocolate chip
b// peanut butter chocolate chip
c// gluten free molasses
d// lemon shortbread with salted chocolate
e// banana cream pie cookies

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Can I tell you something: The Thief of Joy

As you may or may not know, I tend to dabble in several different things at once, one of them being a mini business adventure that I've (kinda) attempted twice. Since I've only kinda attempted it, of course has been not so successful - a fault that I own. That being said, I did have a friend who encouraged me and supported me in this mini business and I was grateful for her. It lasted about a year and then I completely stopped marketing (if you could call it that) my product.

Fast-forward about six months to a text from my friend requesting info on creating my product. Immediately I was hesitant to give away my secrets. That was my thing and I could not show her, my very best client, how to recreate my thing. I would lose any business I might get from her. Blowing her off, I went back to what I was doing, irritated and annoyed.

Three days later, my friend sent me an invitation to join a Facebook page to her new company. Selling my thing that I had sold her so many times. I was furious. 'How dare she? She didn't even know what she was doing! I thought we were friends!' Ignoring her again, I vented to KJB and a few friends. However, much to my dismay her business took off gaining more than 2,000 followers in less than a month. She was constantly posting new product and selling out of items, and because of that, my fury grew. 'How dare she? She didn't even know what she was doing! I thought we were friends.'

That night while feeling sorry for myself, I curled up on the couch and started flipping through the channels. For a reason unbeknownst to me (that would be God) I paused on the Lifetime channel, a channel I never watch, just in time to see a crying girl say, "can't you just be happy for me?!" and I realized that I had turned into the very thing I despise: I had become The Thief of Joy.

You see this friend of mine was doing something I couldn't do. Something at which I had been afraid to fail and so I had only kinda attempted it. She dived headfirst when I had only been able to dip my toes. And for every time I thought, "'How dare she? She didn't even know what she was doing! I thought we were friends,' I was really only angry with myself. Furthermore, I was allowing myself to compare her success to mine.

How dare I? 
Instead of celebrating with her, I had been opposing her. Instead of lifting her up and praying for her in her business adventure, I had been questioning God on why I hadn't had that success. I had been selfish, simple as that.

Why do we do that? Why do we have to gain an advantage over the woman next to us? Why do we have to compare? Looking back, I know what I should have done, but why is our automatic response to put up our walls?

 I'm working on tearing down those walls, as well as preventing them from going up. We all might be a little happier in life if we gave it a try. I don't want to be The Thief of Joy.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Green BEAN Delivery + $15 off coupon code!

Last week we received our first delivery from Green BEAN Delivery, a food delivery service that brings fresh, local produce and natural groceries to your doorstep all year long. It is a flexible membership service that allows you to schedule weekly or bi-weekly deliveries, but also postpone delivery for an extended time (think, eating produce out of your own garden during the summer). I discovered the company through Val from Chicken Scratch Blog and I had to give it a try.

I placed an order for the smallest produce bin and selected a few additional grocery items. Grocery shopping from my computer and avoiding the crowd and lines was the best part of the entire experience. The cooler bins showed up just as scheduled and when I got home at 5 o'clock from work everything inside was still nice and cool.

For the most part, I loved everything I received. There was a bit of disappointment in the size of a few things, including the apples and the potatoes. I was also under the impression that the Butternut Azteca soup and the pasta where going to be larger portions (dinner for two) instead of lunch for one, but that's just part of shopping online. Next time I will be a better judge of sizes. The granola (blueberry flax) is one of my favorite items from the entire order. The portion was generous and tasted delicious. 

The day we received the order, I whipped up some turkey burgers with a large, fresh salad and baked potatoes. For dessert we split a baked granny smith apple (and I didn't skimp on the brown sugar), which was amazing.

This service is one of the few available in my area and while it was a bit spendy for me. $67 for my total order and I can get local produce in larger portions at my local Meijer, but of course then you don't have the convenience. During busy seasons, this service will most likely be my best friend and I look forward to ordering again.

To save $15 on your first order, use the coupon code "15SAml". It expires one week from today. And come back and tell me how you liked it!

*The small produce bin was gifted to me in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Friday Favorites

a // Gold Sutton Necklace from Stella & Dot. b // Candie's Blossom eye glasses. c // Nyx Butter Lipstick in Licorice. d // Abercrombie and Fitch denim vest. e // Pilot Razor Point marker pens. f // Love and Beauty's foot mask.

purchase any of these items right here.