Friday, June 30, 2017

5 Things

It's the end of another month and I still haven't started on my New Year's Resolutions. Let's call it a fail an move on, shall we? One of these days I'll be able to put my foot behind my head. Just kidding, that's not it.... kinda.

June has been pretty okay to me, including bringing these five stars into my daily routine. First, the new Stella & Dot engravable bangles have me wanting a dozen to stack on my arm, each with a different message. These puppies hold a whooping 45 characters in various fonts and even some cute symbol options. Allllll the bangles, please.

Kate Somerville's AntiBac miracously made it into the top five after a rough start. Note to self: READ THE DIRECTIONS.  My rash from May hung out for a week on my cheeks, but after starting a second time, I'm proud to say all those little milia bumps around my eyes are goners.

In an attempt to change up our metabolism and try something new for our personal health, KJB and I switched to low-carb. After a week of that -ish, I realized I needed some bread and my hunny was begging for biscuits. Enter the most delicious almond flour by Bob's Red Mill. Everything I've made with it has been satisfying and wonderful.

After adding some fun color to my hair (picture here), I needed to find a good shampoo and conditioner that is color safe but also helps out my dry scalp. This Kenra conditioner literally smells like heaven. Ok, I'm not sure how heaven smells, but I hope it's like this. Oh, and no complaints with the shampoo either.

These mirrored sunnies actually found their way to my heart earlier in the year, but I've been popping these on erryday in June because SO. MUCH. SUNSHINE. I love the pinky-purple and the shape really suits me, if I do say so myself.

Tell me your stand out favorite from June in the comments!!!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Summer '17 Tunes

With a glance at my music app, anyone would know I have quite a wide taste of music. Throughout my life my favorites have evolved but also stuck with me along the way. A love of classic rock started when I was young, then came the pop diva's of the mid-90's, followed by boy band swooning (including my first *NSYNC concert and a dozen after that). Late in high school and all throughout college it was country, country, country, along with a little hip hop and rap since I had to know the beats when going out to the club (i.e. a dirty little college bar where your feet stuck to the floor). Country music stuck with me for quite awhile and I still don't mind it too much. But within the last five years I've grasped onto contemporary Christian and 90's hip hop, which is probably a bizarre combination to most. Now, I find myself listening to a little of everything, with the exception of heavy metal, which has never really been my jam.

So for the summer I put together an ultimate summer 2017 playlist. I've linked my actual Spotify playlist here to make it super easy for you. Some upbeat, some dreamy, some old, and some new. All good.

If you prefer to look them up and add some variety to your own summer playlist, here's my list of songs:

Words by Daya
What U Workin' With? by Gwen Stefani and Justin Timberlake
Say My Name by Destiny's Child
Start a Fire by John Legend
Breakfast at Tiffany's by Deep Blue Something
Starving by Hailee Steinfeld, Grey, Zedd
Ain't My Fault by Zara Larsson
We Don't Talk Anymore by Charlie Puth and Selena Gomez
Complicated by Avril Lavigne
Diamonds and Dreams by Castro
Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls
Something Just Like This by the Chainsmokers and Coldplay
Knee Deep by Zac Brown Band and Jimmy Buffett
Despacito by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee
Runnin' Down a Dream by Tom Petty
Where the Party At by Jagged Edge and Nelly
The Cure by Lady Gaga
Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See by Busta Rhymes
The Monster by Rihanna and Eminem
Slow Hands by Niall Horan
There's Nothing Holdin' Me Back by Shawn Mendes and NOTD
Fantasy by Mariah Carey
Lookin' Out the Window by Stevie Ray Vaughan

Friday, June 23, 2017

coming into 31

No, this is not a post about Thiry One bags which I have a love/hate relationship with and could be another blog post on it's own, but I would never bore you with my feelings on that. This is about *gulp* my 31st birthday, which slipped by earlier this week. While I really adore my birthday and typically like celebrating my entire birth-week, this year I've become less enthused. Any other 30-somethings out there feeling the same way? There's just something about being "in my 30's" that feels a little icky to me.

Mostly I feel pretty proud of the things I've accomplished in my life and, mostly, I consider myself a confident person. Through my career I've gained experiences that I never imagined, including a bit of travel, really interesting aspects to construction and design, and the pleasure of working with phenomenal people I've grown to call friends. Now, working in a job I can see myself in for the long-haul (which I think is really saying something at my age), I feel a nice balance with my work life and personal life. In my personal life, KJB and I celebrated five years of marriage and in that time we have learned so much about who we are together and discovered our goals for union. One struggle that I've always had that I finally feel like I have a handle on is my introverted-ness and mental health. Accepting that and finding ways to live with it has become one of my greatest achievements, because I now understand my boundaries. Becoming confident in my decisions to protect those things took time, but it is now also in a good balance. Lastly, I allowed myself to release the pressure of this blog, by dramatically relaxing the schedule, and social media, by removing myself from Facebook (except the occasional video of my nephews and niece), Snapchat, and Twitter. Instagram is easy and non-threatening for me, so it's the only place I'm really active.

Unfortunately the insecurities sometimes still sneak in. Regular questioning from others like, "when are you going to have children?" or "are you happy with that job?" can sometimes make me question the decisions I've made. As a young girl, I would often daydream about my adult life, and my current life looks so different from that daydream. It makes me wonder if I did something wrong along the way. These things create huge doubts, tug at my fears, and isolate me into loneliness. It is these things that leave me hesitant to celebrate my birthday loud and proud.

This past week was spent with a gaggle of fifth graders at the church Vacation Bible School. These soon-to-be middle schoolers left me a bit inspired. If you have been around my blog for any length of time you've picked up on the fact that I'm a Jesus-lover, an advocate of love, peace, and hope. Having the opportunity to listen to the questions of young believers can be so refreshing, because generally the answers are so simple. I, and most other adults, tend to over-complicate things. But the simple clarifications were stimulating.

"No one was made to be perfect. Jesus came to be that. Strive to love like He did in every aspect of your life and know that makes you enough."

In my 31st year on Earth, I hope I learn to take my own advice.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Living Room MAKEOVER?!

Okay, okay. Maybe I'm not currently planning to makeover my living room. Actually, let me just reassure my husband who may or may not be having a panic attack at the thought of another room makeover. Side note: three rooms/areas are currently getting a face lift this summer, and KJB might kill me if I suggest another one right now.

BUT there is no reason I can't daydream about the perfect living room. I can't help it; I am an interior designer for a living! It's to be expected. Anyways, my dream living room isn't too far off from what I have now, so it's not like it would be a massive project. Just a few items... am I talking myself into? Shhhh.....

Let's get into the look. It's pretty neutral with lots of texture variations and materials. There is nothing better about a room than successfully combining fabrics, metals, glass, and wood. With these soft colors, it keeps the space natural looking. This encompasses my style pretty well, a bit of glam with the matte gold, my love of the artisan feel with the highly detailed console, and the modern look of low, straight lines. I did go a little out of my comfort zone and pulled a couple of armchairs that are more traditional in style. But the pattern is lovely and the soft tones are perfect. I think they add to the glam feel. Also, a white and black geometric rug goes with everything, so it's the perfect investment piece. It could be switched out to be used in any room.

I love that these pieces provide such a great base for my current accessories. Wooden boxes, ceramic vases, plants, photographs, throw pillows - they will all layer so nicely. Most of these pieces are from Arhaus because their style is (insert hair-flip emoji) perfection. The pieces are super stylish yet classic, and give you that "lived-in" vibe. Toss a blanket over the arm of that couch when you're finished using it and it looks like it's meant to be there. All of their living room offerings are lovely!

What are the components of your dream living room? How would you describe your style?

Friday, June 16, 2017


Girlboss on Netflix. It's not the best show I've ever seen but hearing the story of how Nasty Gal came to be, and the crazy personality of the main character, I was addicted on the first episode. With only a couple shows left, it was an easy watch and pretty funny.

Already this month I've been to three of the surrounding states which has to be a new record. Cincinnati called to us when I discovered my beloved Braves were playing the Reds. Earlier this week I went to Chicago for the NeoCon trade show and I nearly melted with temps in the upper nineties. KJB is in Tennessee with family and this is maybe the longest we have been apart since we were married! Lastly, later this month we are going camping where I'm sure we will actually melt.

My Stella & Dot Wesley sunnies have been on repeat because I love the mirror lens. They are so on trend for summer and make me feel 10 years younger because of that.

At the beginning of the month, KJB and I decided to try out low-carb life. Surprisingly it's been super easy for me (not quite so much for him) considering our traveling and eating out. While our reasoning for the trial is for health purposes, I've also noticed a change in energy the past couple days. The third and fourth days were the worst because we both had sugar withdrawals, but it's been up-hill since then.

Several new IKEA pieces this month have me constantly assembling in my free time. We unexpectedly picked up a suite for our guest bedroom and it has completely transformed that room. Next up is our new patio furniture, which I changed my mind on several times after I shared my inspiration post. Hopefully I can share a finished makeover with you soon.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


Anyone that knows me will tell you that sunglasses are my weakness. Next to jewelry, it's the accessory I have the most of, which may be slightly ridiculous since you can only wear one pair at a time. Hanging on the wall next to my vanity is a old metal pant hanger where I have all of my sunnies lined up in rows. Having them on display really helps me to rotate them, plus they are easy to put away and can't get piled up on my dresser (like everything else).

Anyways, I really wanted to share Warby Parker's new sunglasses collection, inspired by 1950's fashion. The mixed materials and the bold browline are super on trend for this summer and I. CAN'T. WAIT. to get my hands on a pair. Before I continue with gushing about this line, first some background on Warby Parker. The basis of the company is frames you can try on at home, by ordering up to five sample pairs. They arrive in a neat little box, ready for you to find your perfect pair. My husband and I have both taken advantage of this because I've never loved the frames available at my local doctor, and ordering online can be so risky. These people must be genius because it's incredibly convenient and the best way to find the perfect fit. As if that's not good enough, they also partner with nonprofits to give a pair of glasses to someone in need every time a pair is sold. Shopping with a conscience and getting a great product.

Back to this new collection. There are a couple different styles but I'm a major sucker for tortise shell anything so Addie is my favorite and the pair I've decided to get my hands on. The black pair (Hayes) I'm considering for my husband because I think the black will look classic on him. 

Being a retro fan, I'm really crushing on this collection. The fifties vibes are strong and have me thinking of feminine fit-and-flare silhouettes, wrap dresses, and pastels. When I first saw the images Warby Parker released I had to find some great pieces to pair with the sunnies. Once I get my pair I'm definitely coming back to share a couple of my favorite looks for summer..
Seeing fashion and trends evolve is so fun because while there are similarities to the retro look, there's always something updated about it - like the material, the neckline, or a fresh color palette. Warby Parker definitely got this collection right with timeless, classic designs. Be sure to check out the Insta hashtag #WarbyHomeTryOn to see how others are successfully finding eyeglasses and sunglasses that look amazing on them.

(moodboard items are all linked on my Pinterest)

Friday, June 9, 2017


Maybe it's an heirloom passed down by a great, great grandparent. Perhaps it was a gift, given to you by someone you hold dear in your heart. Or maybe it is something you purchased yourself that signifies a mile-marker in your life. These are treasures; the things we have that stir memories or make us feel love. We all have them and they look different for everyone. What I'm particularly interested in is the way we care for these treasures in our homes. Do you keep the safe and hidden, so that only you can enjoy them? Or do you put them on display for guests to see? And if you do put them on display, do you do so in a way that shows off how special it is to you?

While my day job is in commercial design, one thing I love about residential design is discovering these treasures. They always have a story associated with them and they bring forth some kind of emotion. I once saw a quote on Pinterest that said, "A room should be collected, not decorated," and that fully fits my style in my own home. Slowly over time, I've collected treasures that I love to display. Nearly everything I own has either been gifted to me, I've made, or has been collected. The drawing in the living room from New Orleans, the painting in the guest bedroom is from Nassau, the dining room table cloth is from Los Cabos, and so on. These particular items remind me of travel, but they also let me support local artist from the area I visit.

When considering all my treasures, I think of one in particular, which I call my inspiration wall. To anyone else, it may look no different to any other gallery wall. Various sized images all framed and hung together on a wall. But this gallery wall is special to me. Centered in the middle is the guest book from our wedding. It's a drawing of a small home that my Dad drew for me with dozens of balloons, lifting the house into the air. Each balloon is a thumbprint from a person, couple, or family that attended our wedding. Now, while many people thought I did this because of the Disney movie, Up, which I've unfortunately never seen, I actually had a different purpose in mind. The home signifies our new family - small and quaint, perfect for two lovebirds. The balloons lift the house representing our support system, which helps us and encourages us through our marriage. Each of these people are special to me.

Surrounding that image are various quotes and verses that uplift our spirits when we need it and remind us our our purpose in life. By donning our walls with these words of encouragement, we are reminded of peace and love every time we walk by it. Some of these are purchased by artists, some I've created myself. By locating the inspiration wall here, it is visible to the most rooms possible.

What treasures do you have in your home? If you are needing help finding a way for your treasurers to stand out, or have no idea where to start with designing your home, I encourage you to check out Havenly. This is a service I recently discovered, that includes a fun style quiz and matches your results with designers across the world. They also have a shop with page after page of furniture and accessories. My quiz results said my style was Scandinavian with a touch of Bohemian, which I think is spot on for the type of items I like to buy for my current mid-century modern home. If you take the quiz, let me know what your results say!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Mental health tracker - P R I N T A B L E

Today I wanted to share a fun printable I made for myself to help me track my mental health wellness. The older I get the more I notice how things affect me - both mentally and physically, so I thought it would be interesting to try tracking things. The items I've included on the inserts are things that I need to do for my mental well-being. Some of the items are laid out in a "checklist" style with boxes to mark off, but I don't consider them a to-do list. For example, prayer is not something I do so I have gratification of checking it off my list. It is more-so for tracking, to mark my mindset for the day. There are some days I focus more on prayer and less on praise music. Marking those things on these inserts could be interesting to compare with the other things I'm tracking, like my mood, the amount of sleep I get, etc.

Download the inserts here!

This is for personal use only. If you want to get one for a friend, that's cool, just please don't distribute without checking with me first. This cannot be sold or altered without permission. xo, courtney

Friday, June 2, 2017

Young Professionals Top 5

Hanging up the phone I replay our conversation over in my mind. A massive, goofy grin spreads across my face.

"We are completely swamped. We have more work than I know what to do with. Is there any chance you're interested in a job?" he asked.

"Sure! Should we schedule a time to meet and talk?" My body temperature has risen; I could feel it in my face.

"Actually, if you have 5 minutes we can talk salary and benefits now. I'd really like you to start next week," he said, his words muffled by the confetti poppers and champagne pouring soundtrack I had playing in my head.

"Oh! Of course! Let's do that. I'd be happy to start next week," I said, already forgetting about my part-time gig I started two weeks ago in a desperate attempt for money.

My first job after graduating came three months after I received my diploma, and days before I was starting to hit panic mode since my student loan payments would start in three more months. But at the drop of a hat my anxiety was wiped away and I found myself prepping for my first big girl job. 

Like most college graduates, I was starting off in the real world with a fairly empty savings account. I had some graduation money and a new laptop, a gift from my parents for graduation. Knowing I would be receiving a weekly paycheck, I sat down and made a priority list that I titled: Things To Buy. 

Today, I'm sharing an updated version of that list: Top 5 Things a Young Professional Needs to Reach Success and Comfort. I've tried to shorten that name, but I can't, so we're stuck with it. This is of course all relative, because different careers will call for different things, but this is a basic list that should help most college grads. Here we go:

5. Luggage
Whether you're working for a large company with offices across the country/world, or a small business, the chances are good you will take some sort of trip in your first year of working. I found myself on three the first year, and two of those were in the first three months. I was able to borrow from my parents, fortunately, but eventually I bought myself a three-piece set. Luggage can be expensive, so I recommend buying during Black Friday sales. Most would recommend choosing something professional looking, and that could be fine for some. But I would hate picking up every black suitcase off the conveyor belt to find my own. 

1 / 2 / 3

4. Pillows
This one may sound really odd, however, it wasn't until I bought my first pillow (one of those $5 doorbusters at Target/Sears/JC Penny/WalMart on Black Friday) that I realized cheap pillows are cheap for a reason. And that's because they are crap. I was working harder than I ever had, learning more in a day than an entire year at the university, and coming home completely exhausted. To say I was disappointed in my $5 pillows would be an understatement. Invest in a great pillow that provides support and allows for an uninterrupted nights' sleep. My Casper pillows were well worth the money spent. And briefly, while we are on the subject of sleeping, PLEASE DON'T EVER buy furniture from a furniture store that's going out of business. You are basically forgoing the option of a warranty. This comes from experience. *palm to face emoji

3. Professional Network Membership
Finding a group of people who can give insight to the field you're in can be incredibly invaluable. These networks can provide opportunities for continued education, certifications, job openings, as well as friendships. If your job has you relocated to a new city, this could be pushed to the top of the list, as the social aspect can really help you to feel comfortable in your new home.

2. Wardrobe Basics
There's a good chance you bought a suit when you started the interview process. That's a really great start because you can wear the pants with different blouses and the jacket with different pants. A few other basics to consider include a cardigan, a comfortable pair of flats or loafers, several pair of dress pants in different neutrals (navy, black, khaki). Choose simple things that mix and match easily. If your office allows casual Friday, always keep your shoes and tops professional.

1. Reliable Transportation
My car was two years new to me, but ten years old when I started my job. It was reliable in the sense that it got me to and from work easily. However, as things started going wrong with the car, I realized I was putting a decent amount of money into repairs and my money would be better spent on a different vehicle. I needed to transport furniture occasionally, and that little car was too small for that purpose. So I sold my car and purchased another one that was seven years old, but had very low miles. It was a small SUV, so it had decent gas mileage, but plenty of room for the furniture I needed to haul. That car surprisingly lasted me up until last fall, and I paid it off years before that. However, while that worked out well for me, I do wish I had leased a new car instead. Older cars constantly require some kind of maintenance. Looking back I probably paid for the car twice over with the repair bills. A leased car would not require that kind of attention. As long as you have no issues with the mileage restraint, leasing is a great option for a young professional. And if you're in a big city, get yourself a Metro pass. :)

As a bonus option number 1, technology is a great choice. Like I mentioned earlier, I had a new laptop at the start of my career, so this was not necessary for me. It's inevitable that you will work during your off hours, even if it's just independent research or continued education. Invest in a good computer that will last you several years. I'm a fan of Apple products, so I especially recommend an iMac or a MacBook Pro.

I hope this little list is helpful to you. It can be exciting to get your first couple of paychecks and if you're anything like me, it's very easy to blow through a lot in a small amount of time. So make yourself a list of your priorities and consider the things from this wise ol' gal. ;)

p.s. If you are ready to purchase from Casper, I would love for you to use my referral link! It saves you money and also puts something back in my pocket. xoxo