May 21, 2013

Engagement Basket

Recently one of my dearest friends Amanda got engaged and I couldn't be happier for her! She and I have been friends since elementary school and being able to share in her excitement has been so much fun. To help celebrate her newly engaged status, I put together a little basket of goodies to gift to her at our monthly girls night!

First, I gathered up the goodies:

{1} wedding cake vodka
{2} champagne
{3} set of champagne flutes for toasting
{4} nail polish - specifically pink diamonds by Essie - to ensure nails are sparkling!
{5} ring pop - so the other fingers aren't lonely!
{6} The Knot magazine - a definite must-have for any bride

The flutes are actually etched with a really pretty wave pattern, but my camera couldn't capture the details. They looked so classy!

I took the supplies, added tons of white tissue paper, a cute banner and added it to a big blue bin. Since Amanda and Justin like to entertain I was hoping they could use the bin for a future party, great to hold drinks, right?

I wrapped the entire basket up in cellophane and added a big white bow to make it as scene-stealing as possible. I wanted everyone in the restaurant to know it was a special day for my friend!

Congratulations, Amanda!

April 30, 2013

Etsy Loves

Anyone who knows me knows that I love to shop, much to my husband's chagrin. In stores, doesn't matter! I love a bargain, I love unique pieces and I love the feeling when I find the perfect gift for someone or the perfect item for me.

After planning my wedding last year I became addicted to Etsy. The creativity of the handmade and personalized items on the site are absolutely incredible! Plus I love to support small business.

The first item I ever ordered from Etsy was our burlap "thank you" banner that we used for our wedding thank you notes.

The banner was purchased from MirtilloShop. Despite the fact that this Etsy shop is in Italy, I was impressed with quick arrival of our banner. It was exactly what we wanted!

Another wedding related Etsy purchase was our return address stamp from ForYoo Designs. It was perfect for all of our thank you notes as well as our Christmas cards.

My most recent Etsy purchase was my monogrammed wine koozie. It was my very first purchase with my married monogram!

It was purchased from Emily of E. Olsen Designs. Working with Emily was absolutely incredible! She communicated with me through all steps of the process and I could not be more pleased with the results. I've only had my wine tote for a week or so now but I've already used it three times. With BYOB patio season upon us, I have a feeling this baby will be getting lots of use. Check out the E. Olsen Designs Facebook page, too! A monogrammed wine tote would make a great gift for a bride-to-be, right?

I have so many other items on my Etsy wish list - husband, if you're reading's a great place for gift ideas {hint, hint}!

I was not compensated in any way by any of these shop owners. I just really, really love Etsy and wanted to share my favorites with you!

March 27, 2013

Currently Reading + Suggestions Needed!

If anyone out there follows me on Instagram you probably already know what I've been reading lately. First up are these two books that I purchased from Amazon a few weeks ago.

Blog, Inc. is a useful little book on (you guessed it) blogging. I started blogging again last year to share my life with my family and friends who were far away as well as trying to document my life as I left a job and got married. However, I've really begun to love the blogging community and I bought this book as a way to help me learn to put myself out there and jump into the world of bloggers as best I could. Despite the fact that I found this book to have a little bit of "leave it" advice for someone like myself, I've really enjoyed reading it.

Nolo's Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home has been shared between Jason & I. It definitely isn't the most exciting material, but it's teaching me a lot that I needed to know about the homebuying process.

I also have a giant stack of magazines next to my bed. I'm slowly but surely catching up with them; I can't believe how quickly I used to plow through them when I was a flight attendant. I used to live for the days that new magazines hit the stands, but now I'm constantly behind!

Now, here's where I need help. Aside from my magazines, Blog Inc and the homebuying book I haven't been reading much at all lately because I'm not sure what I want to read next. I think I blame Andy Cohen's Most Talkative for that. I absolutely adored the entire book. I didn't want it to be over...and now that I've finished it I don't know how the next funny memoir book I read could possibly live up to it.

I also recently read Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close. I honestly am unsure how I felt about this novel, and based on the reviews on Amazon, it seems as if many people feel the same way. The book didn't seem to have a true plot, but I found myself compelled to keep reading. This genre of novels about women in my age group always appeal to me, though. I can't seem to get enough!

Any suggestions for a good book to read now? I'm open to nearly anything, please help me out and let me know what you're reading and loving!

March 20, 2013

Wedding || Ceremony

I honestly have to say that our wedding ceremony went by so quickly - it seems as if one second I was heartbroken that it was raining at ceremony time and the next we were already back at the house being introduced as Mr. and Mrs. Thankfully I have these wonderful pictures from our photographers as well as some great candid shots from our friends and family. 

Jason and Jesse {Best Man} were first, followed by the two groomsmen {Jason's brothers}, Kyle, who escorted Grandma Helen, and Shane, who escorted Jason's mother.

My Uncle Chris and Aunt Diana {my godparents} were part of the processional, as well. My Uncle Steve escorted my mom. It was his second time escorting a mother of the bride this year - he walked my Aunt Lynette down the aisle at my cousin Christine's gorgeous Savannah wedding last April. 
]Andrea {Matron of Honor} and Anna {Maid of Honor} did their processional alone. Partly because we had an uneven number in our wedding party, but mostly because I wanted my bridesmaids to have their moment and feel beautiful and special.  I've always adored the non-escorted bridesmaid processional. These ladies deserved it!

At the end of the ceremony everyone walked down to the water's edge for a seashell blessing. Nikki {Jason's sister} was kind enough to hand out shells to everyone as they walked down to the beach for the ceremony. Here is what Bonnie {our officiant} read:Each of you hold a gift from the sea; a Sea Shell that is just as exceptional and special as yourself. As you embrace this shell, we ask that you bless it with intentions of love and wishes for Courtney & Jason and all of mankind. When you toss it back into the sea the blessings you have bestowed upon it will eventually come back into someone else’s hands. So as we cast our shells know that each ripple represents an act of love, kindness & gratitude for each other throughout our daily walk in this beautiful life we all share.
And that was it! I couldn't believe how quickly it went by. I'm thankful to have all of these pictures to help me remember everything about our wonderful ceremony. When brides say their wedding day went by too quickly, I absolutely (and unfortunately) agree!

January 12, 2013

Wedding | Why You Should Do A First Look

Up until the last few weeks before the wedding I was convinced Jason and I would not see one another prior to the ceremony. I was adamant about him seeing me for the first time as I walked down the aisle dunes to the altar designated ceremony area.

However, the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do first-look photos. I completely realize that they're not for everyone, but here are the reasons we chose to do them:

{reason 1} I didn't want everyone else to see me before Jason did. Of course my mom, Andrea and Anna all saw me as I was getting ready. And I had a special moment when my dad saw me, too. Other than that, though, I wanted Jason to have the opportunity to see my excitement prior to anyone else. After all, his opinion matters most!

{reason 2} I wanted the opportunity to spend a few minutes together, just the two of us, before the ceremony. Although it was a fun and exciting day that went by too quickly, it was also very stressful and I needed someone to help calm me down.

{reason 3} Doing these first look photos gave us the opportunity to get emotionally prepared for the ceremony. Having the chance to talk and see one another without the eyes of our guests looking at us was exactly what we needed to stay calm and excited. There was plenty of time for them to watch us later!

{reason 4} I wanted to have pictures of us doing the first look. Something to have and to cherish forever.

{reason 5} Doing the first look gave us the opportunity to take family pictures prior to the ceremony, which turned out great for us. With the freak storm that came through and delayed our ceremony by an hour we saved a lot of time by doing pictures together before the wedding.

It also helped that we had seen each other before the wedding because I was in full-on freakout mode when the rain came. It was the ONE THING I couldn't control that day and when it happened I felt lost. Having Jason there while we had to quickly figure out what to do was necessary that day. Maid and Matron of honor can only handle so much crazy.

Overall, I believe the choice to do first look pictures is something that should be decided by the bride and groom. There are convincing arguments either way, but I can honestly say that I am very happy I changed my mind and that we chose to do the first look. I could not be happier with how our photos turned out.

In the midst of a day that went by faster than I ever imagined it would, these few moments between just us were some of the most memorable and special.

5 Reasons Why You Should Do First Look Photos at Your Wedding

Should You Do First Look Photos At Your Wedding?

Why You Should Consider First Look Wedding Photos

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