.finally.

It has been a while, Internets.  Like, over a year.  I could make a plethora of excuses as to why I’ve been too busy to blog, but I’ll sum it all up in one word:  finally.

2017…the year I finally became a mother.  The year we finally put the finishing touches on our new home.  The year (as of last night) that I finally, finally, finally finished my Master’s Degree in Adapted Special Education.

ALL.  THE.  PRAISE.  HANDS.

I have so much catching up to do and so many stories to tell about life, Annabeth, our home, Atlas, and of course, food.  I can’t wait.  I’ve missed writing so, so much, but graduate school had to be a top priority.  Now that I’m free from the chains of my academic bondage, I can write, cook, and create to my heart’s content.

Internet, I’ve missed you.

XOXO,

Court

PS.

This is the greatest moisturizer I’ve ever owned.

This is who I am now.

490 days until I’m here with Annabeth and our favorite people.

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.blogs I love.

Even though I haven’t been the best at updating our blog, I do read a lot of blogs.  Here are some of my favorites:

  1.  Pretty Neat Living

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Technically Jen’s blog, Pretty Neat Living, is more of a segue for her YouTube channel {also called Pretty Neat Living}, but she is such a great resource for beauty secrets, organization tips, holiday planning, and baby stuff {that’s new}.  When we were moving, I watched so many of her videos about home organization and her holiday prep videos are fantastic.  I love her product reviews the most, because she takes a really objective approach to whatever she’s reviewing.

2.  Southern Curls & Pearls

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Caitlin is a Southern gal with a fantastic sense of style.  She posts really regularly and has really pushed me to think outside the box of my basic black wardrobe.  She’s really plugged into what sites and shops are having great sales and her hair is fantastic.  My most recent favorite post is her haircare routine.

3.  Jones Design Company

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I’ve followed Emily’s blog since its inception and I love her vulnerability and her many crafty projects.  I’m not crafty in the least, but even I could manage to make these little flower pins.  My co-teacher and I are obsessed with her Emily font and use it for almost everything and her home decor tips are really tasteful and simple.

4.  Emily Ley

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I love Emily’s products, especially her Home Base Binder and her Contacts book .  I also love her Weekly Top Ten and her Simplicity Series.  Emily is really pro-women in a way that is inspiring:  we should only focus on what matters most.  She’s also a blast to follow on Instagram because she has a really sweet sense of style and her babies are adorable.

5.  Classy Girls Wear Pearls

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Sarah Vickers truly embodies that classic, East Coast style.  She and her husband, Kiel James Patrick are fantastic to follow on Instagram.  Sarah has a more subdued style than Caitlin, but I’ve gotten tons of outfit inspiration from Classy Girls Wear Pearls.

What about you?  What blogs are you currently following?  Obviously I lean more towards design and lifestyle blogs, but I’m open to suggestions!

XOXO,

Court

PS:  this is Josh’s favorite blog.

I also love this Disney blog, because we’re obsessed.

I am so ready.  So, so ready.

 

Self-Care & Why It Matters

Ahem…is this thing on?  It’s been almost an entire calendar year since I’ve posted anything, but I firmly believe that I shouldn’t really say {type} anything unless I have something important to say {type}.  I’m in graduate school right now and my advisor keeps blasting me with emails about attending a Self-Care Seminar for graduate students {which would be pretty hard considering I’m in an online program} and self-care has been on my brain this week, so I thought it would prudent to talk {type} about ways I’m trying to practice self-care.

  1.  Make a daily schedule.  Josh will be the first to point out that I don’t do well without a schedule.  I’ve been on Winter Break this week and suddenly it was Thursday and I realized that I hadn’t put on real clothes or makeup {or washed my hair} for days.  Obviously, summer vacation poses quite a problem for me since I don’t work during the months of June and July.  Yesterday I jotted down a quick list of what I needed to do and the timeframes I had to work with and felt so much better.  I didn’t accomplish everything on my list and I definitely still rocked leggings all day, but the sense of accomplishment gave me a sense of worth.
  2. Say no.  Gosh, this has been my mantra.  I’m the daughter of a man with excellent boundaries, so I’ve learned firsthand how liberating the word NO can be.  If it’s not something you want to do or something that you don’t have time for, just say no.  If someone gets mad at you, let them fester while you do you.  Period.  I know so many people {especially women} who make themselves miserable for the sake of being polite.  Just don’t do it.  Your health and sanity are worth a lot more than the opinions of others.
  3. Keep up with the Joneses {appearance wise}.  This one may not apply to you, but I work better, play better, and just do better when I feel good about the way I look.  For me, this means that I don’t let myself feel bad about taking time on my appearance.  I had an excellent example of this in my mother.  Even when we were small {and probably driving her crazy}, she never let us allow her to look tired or worn down.  She took time each day to style her hair, apply makeup, and dress fashionably.  My Daddy helped her with this by making sure she had the time each day to devote to her outward appearance so she felt good inwardly.  *Side note:  didn’t y’all just love watching your Mama put on makeup?  It was my favorite thing growing up.  I loved all the lipsticks and blushers and all that.  My favorite part was watching Mama put on her perfume everyday…one spritz on the left wrist, rub on the right wrist, and a dab at the neck.  When I smell Halston, I smell my childhood.
  4. Keep your space tranquil.  Josh and I recently bought our first home and we finally unpacked the last of the boxes this week.  All the clutter made me miserable during the unpacking process, so we quickly developed a routine of things to do each day to make our home tranquil and neat.  I’m a no-clutter kind of gal {seriously, I recently tried to throw away my yearbooks, but Coach stopped me}, so each evening before I cook supper, I round up anything that is out of place and put it away.  My husband takes Atlas for an afternoon walk as soon as he gets home and then while the pup eats his supper, Coach quickly vacuums the rugs and carpeting and does a quick sweep with the Swiffer.  I really, really try to make the bed each morning before I leave for work, but if I run out of time, I make it my first priority when I get home.  I also try really hard to resist the temptation to change into my pajamas until it’s bedtime because it makes me feel a little more June Cleaver and a little less Peggy Bundy at supper time.  After supper, we load the dishwasher together, wipe down all the surfaces in the kitchen, light a candle {the Chardonnay scent is my current obsession}, and relax.  And as much as I hate doing laundry, it’s a lot better to do a load every day or so instead of waiting until Sunday afternoon.
  5. Take care of your health.  Don’t ignore your body telling you to slow down!  Eat whole foods and drink tons of water!  Schedule an annual physical and actually show up!  For me, 90% of my physical health depends on me setting myself up for success each day.  At night, I refill my water bottles I use during the day and stick them in my bag so I don’t have an excuse not to get my 70+ ounces in.  On Sundays, we {try to} meal prep for our lunches so we’re not dependent on eating out for microwaving a Lean Cuisine.  I take vitamins religiously, don’t keep cash in my school bag {because somebody installed a freaking Dr. Pepper machine in my workroom and holy cow, I cannot resist the call of the Dr. Pepper}, exercise frequently, and see a chiropractor regularly.  We only get one trip before we’re six feet under, so it may as well be a healthy one.  But it’s also okay to occasionally indulge in cookies, because we aren’t all Jillian Flipping Michaels.  

I know what you’re thinking…most of this seems pretty shallow.  And maybe it is.  But I can’t be my best self for my husband, my dog, my students, or my friends if I don’t make myself a priority.  If I take good care of myself, it means that the people I love get me at my best instead of getting me at my meh, this is all I have left to give.  In loving myself enough to take the time to care for myself, I’m also loving others.

What about you?  Do you have strong feelings about self-care?  Any self-care secrets to share?

XOXO,

Court

PS:  Josh bought me some prizes for Valentine’s Day and I’m so ready for Easter and warm weather!

Pride & Prejudice & Zombies was everything I wanted it to be because Mr. Darcy in a leather jacket is > Mr. Darcy in a frock coat.  And Matt Smith made a most odious Mr. Collins.

I’m reading Farmer Boy to Josh every night because he didn’t have sisters and doesn’t know Little House and I forgot how much I love Almanzo Wilder.  Josh’s review?  “All that kid does is EAT!”

.just checking in.

So, we’re still here.  We’ve been woefully absent from our blog, sweet blog, but football season morphed into this all-consuming mountain of work and though I love my cheer gals, spending that much time around twenty-four teenagers day after day doesn’t really cultivate a ton of meaningful blog topics.  I do know how to properly use the term bae, though.

Josh is now in the midst of wrestling season and we recently spent eleven hours at a wrestling tournament.  Have y’all ever been to a wrestling tournament?  I’m now an expert and I can tell you all about it.  At this particular tournament, the concession stand ran out of food before lunch, the youths picked the hospitality suite clean by noon, and a thirteen year old asked for my number.  When I told him that I’m “nearly” thirty and married, I thought he was going to barf.

A few things of note:

1.  I finished all of my Christmas shopping within thirty minutes of opening my laptop.  It was fantastic.  Major props to Pottery Barn, Marley Lilly, and Amazon for making my life that much easier.

2.  I read Gone Girl last month and we saw the film with some friends.  Holy Guacamole, Batman, both were mind blowing!

3.  I kept my mums alive for the majority of the pumpkin-decor season.  This is a first, y’all.

4.  We’ve been obsessed with How To Get Away With Murder and that last episode made me pee my pants a little.  HOLY crap.

5.  I’ve been using this nipple balm as chapstick and it has officially changed my life.  Weird?  Yes.  Do I care?  Absolutely not.

I hope everyone {especially those with the full week off like me} enjoys their well-deserved time off this week!

XOXO,

Court

.in defense of the summer hat.

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Recently I attended an outdoor wedding that took place in a large field.  The reception was held in an open-air tabernacle and it threatened to rain for the entirety of the ceremony.  I wore a simple J. Crew party dress with pearls and found that my outfit was still lacking.  I added a large, cream colored, wide-brimmed hat that accented the outfit nicely.

Upon arriving at the venue, I was immediately teased for being overly-dramatic.  What felt like confidence was soon squashed by eye-rolls or cutting remarks.  I eventually took off my hat because who likes to be teased?  I felt more than a little crushed and later I felt angry…why let naysayers rain on my parade?  And who made them {mostly men} the fashion police?

As a side note, I’d like to point out that my Daddy wears a hat to nearly every wedding or outdoor event he attends.  Nobody teases him or makes claims about him acting like a drama queen {king?}.  Instead, they remark on his taste.  Why the double-standard?

Exhibit A:  the man wearing the iPhone clip on his belt is praised for his style {no offense, Dad}.  If I wear a hat, I’m called a witch and burned at the stake {now that’s an excellent example of what being overdramatic really is}.

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I’ve never been one to really concern myself with the opinions of others, but being teased is never fun.  After developing a thicker skin {so necessary in the scorching Georgia heat!}, here are several hats I’d love to over-dramatically wear  outdoor events:

Aren’t they all just delicious?  We have several weddings left to attend this summer and I plan to wear a hat to each and every event.  If it’s good enough for Kate Middleton, it’s definitely good enough for me.

What about you?  Do you wear hats to weddings, church, or other events?  Why or why not?  If you knew people wouldn’t make a big deal out of it, would you wear a hat?

XOXO,

Court

P.S.

The greatest hat scene in a film ever, ever, ever.

The best hat of all time.

And the worst.

What Emily Post has to say about hats.

…hello? Is this thing on?

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Just a quick note to the online world…we are in fact, still alive.  When I realized that last week was not January, it dawned on me that I’ve neglected this blog like a bad date.  We’ve entered the busiest season ever of our life together and things like websites just got pushed to the side.  Here are some comings and goings…

  • Josh is back in school and will be finished in December.  It’s tough…especially for me since I thrive on quality time and we maybe see each other one night a week.  So far he’s made the highest marks in his classes and he’ll be interning locally in the fall.
  • Atlas weighs 70 pounds and he’s still a puppy.  His tail is lethal and has a bad habit of knocking my La Croix off the coffee table every. single. time.  Still, he’s the most adorable thing in the world and we take him with us nearly everywhere we go.
  • I’m now the sole coach of the Varsity Football Cheer Squad at my school.  Scary, intimidating, time consuming, and loads of fun.  We recently had tryouts and I wouldn’t wish that process on my worst enemy.
  • We’re 45 days away from summer vacation.  Holy cow.  We’ve got the requisite two weeks at Lake Burton planned for mid-July and we’ll be wedding hopping {again} for most of the summer.  Traveling is different once you’ve got a dog…
  • We’re planning our summer garden and praying that the rain won’t rot away our tomatoes like last year.  Josh wants to add in peppers, zucchini, spaghetti squash, and cucumbers.  Daddy has the requisite asparagus, lettuces, carrots, broccoli, and kale.  Obviously Pop takes the cake with sweet potatoes, tomatoes, corn, Irish potatoes, blueberries, peppers, squash, zucchini, and probably a half dozen other vegetables I’m forgetting to name.
  • My brother is getting married in May.
  • Josh’s brother is getting married two weeks later.

Hopefully we’ll both have time to breath before the school year ends and holiday begins.  I hope to document our garden for the summer as well as both family weddings.

XOXO,

Court

P.S.

The Old Try is Josh’s new favorite.

The Joyful Life Library is worth checking out.

These Kate Spade earrings are on sale.

Emily at Jones Design Company has the sweetest hand drawn Easter clipart available.

Josh just received these note cards and he’s obsessed.

Advent

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This year we are terribly behind with all things Christmas.  I’ve completed my shopping, but the gifts are all piled on my dining room table, unwrapped.  I haven’t even pulled the Christmas mugs out of the cupboard!  I’d like to blame my tardiness on having such a late Thanksgiving, but I’m also a little nervous to pull out Christmas decor with my ever destructive cats.

Though our home is unadorned, we’ve been preparing our hearts for the Christmas season.  Growing up my favorite part of Christmas was lighting the Advent candle each week at church.  I’ll never forget how special I felt when I was asked to light the pink candle, the joy candle at the age of eleven.  We don’t have an Advent wreath for our home yet, but I’m always shopping around online to find the one that will fit our family best.  I love the idea of gathering around the Sunday dinner table to light the candles, read scripture, and pray.

This December, we’ve been reading together using Laken’s Advent printable.  It’s a nice add-on to our nightly devotion time.  In addition, my Mama and I have been following along with She Reads Truth, an excellent source for women in any age bracket.  I have it sent directly to my inbox each day and I love the dainty look and words of truth.

What about you?  How are you preparing your heart for Christ’s birth?  Do you celebrate Advent in your home?

XOXO,

Court

PS:

–I love this Advent garland.  It’s free!

–More information on Advent and how to celebrate.

–Last year’s very popular Advent post.

Good Tidings of Great Joy

The Top 5 Christmas Books {that aren’t about Santa}

 

 

 

#TerrificLadyDay

Recently you may have noticed that Court and I used this hash tag:  #TerrificLadyDay.

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#TerrificLadyDay is exactly what it sounds like–a day to celebrate my terrific lady wife.  And to be honest, I got the idea from The League, but that’s neither here nor there.  Every #TerrificLadyDay, we do things that Court enjoys.  In December, we went to the ballet and I surprised her with a new dress.  In February, we had brunch at her favorite eatery and made a trip to Franklin’s to purchase a Ruger LCR .38 that Court keeps in her purse.*  This month, Court had a manicure with her mother, we had lunch at The Last Resort, and then we spent the afternoon shopping for sundresses.  You dudes can call me every the name in the book for participating in such activities, but my motto is, “Happy wife, happy life.”

And it’s not like I have to bribe my wife with Terrific Lady Days.  I plan them because it makes me happy to see her happy.  It also pleases me to celebrate her femininity and uniqueness.  Here are five things I love about Courtney Anne:

1.  She can carry on a conversation about everything from designer shoes to weaponry.  She’s very intelligent and well-versed in literature, music, art, and Star Wars (very important!).

2.  She understands that silence is sometimes a virtue.  Courtney always seems to know when I need space and silence.

3.  I adore Courtney’s ability to make me try new things and be a better man.  Her spunky and adventurous spirit have taken me places I’d never dreamed of going.  Plus, she twirls a lot and it’s pretty.

4.  Courtney loves those that many others deem unlovable.  She sees individual worth in each human being regardless of intellect or socioeconomic status.  She exercises incredible patience when dealing with her students and it’s absolutely gorgeous.

5.  Her unique spirit and undeniable femininity and grace are gifts from God.  She was created to love me–that’s incredible.  I am a blessed man.

#TerrificLadyDay is a time to celebrate all of those things and more.  I love my wife and I want to show her in tangible ways.  Quality time is the love language that she requires, so I keep my phone in my pocket and leave my pager at home–I want to make sure she feels special.

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You should plan a #TerrificLadyDay of your own.  It doesn’t have to include brunch or purchasing firearms.  Just plan out something that your lady loves and make the whole day all about her.  I guarantee that she’ll be surprised and touched.  If you do plan a #TerrificLadyDay, use the hash tag and let us know.

*For you single guys out there, marry a lady that can shoot a gun.  It’s hot.