Wednesday, May 29, 2013


I have been living in Oklahoma for about 5 months now and I can't even begin to tell you how much I have enjoyed my time here. Moving to OK was a big change, and I'm not gunna lie, I was nervous. Nervous about finding a job, meeting new people, and adjusting to this new state. Everyone in California thought I was crazy for moving out here (family included).. the normal response was "You're moving where?! Why would you EVER do that...". It got to the point where I didn't even want to tell people because their reaction was pretty much always negative.

But now I am here to tell you that Oklahoma is fabulous! No, it's not the prettiest state in the world and no it doesn't have beaches or huge mountains.. so what makes OK so great? Simple.

1. The people. I have never met so many kind and generous people in my entire life. Every one I have met has welcomed me with open arms and has become a friend. By the end of one short conversation I have been invited to BBQ's, OU tailgates, and lunches. I really can't describe what a breath of fresh air it is to be surrounded by such wonderful people. I never thought I would feel so comfortable here so fast.. like I fit right in.

2. The weather. Okay I know some of you may think I'm crazy for saying it, but I LOVE the weather here. I am from Northern California where it gets hot and cold, storms roll in and out, and you carry on. But here the weather is just insane. I have always yearned for more exciting weather and boy have I found it here. The thunderstorms that roll in here in a matter of minutes don't compare to any type of thunderstorm I have experienced in CA. The thunder here is booming, the lightning is non-stop, the hail is huge, and the tornadoes.. well that's a whole other bullet point. I have never spent so much time staring out our apartment window in awe watching the rain pour down and the 70 mph wind whip through the trees.

3. Tornadoes. Wow, they are amazing. I must say, I am not a fan of the destruction they cause or the lives they take away.. but watching a tornado when it blows through open land is quite mezmerizing. To think that this funnel of wind is made by mother nature blows my mind. When one touches down Kellen and I both find ourselves staring at the TV in a trance - watching its every move. I must reiterate that although they can be fascinating to look at from a distance, I am not fond of the hurt they can cause. Like the one that just recently blew through Moore... I am still in shock and my heart hurts for the innocent lives that were taken and for all the people who became homeless in a matter of minutes. I only wish these tornadoes knew to stay away from towns and only whirled around in open fields...wishful thinking, I know. 

4. The restaurants. Oklahoma City has some darn good restaurants! I think even people from Oklahoma are surprised at the leaps and bounds OKC has made in the last few years. Coming from San Francisco I was definitely skeptical about the food selection, thinking I would only be offered the choice of fast food, chain restaurants, and/or any type of fried food...but man was I wrong! Just another Oklahoma stereotype that I fell victim to! Since Kellen and I have been here we have found some great restaurants that have quickly become our weekly date night favs. So to anyone out there who is making a trip to OKC in the near future, don't be weary of the food! OKC is doing a wonderful job :)

5. The sports. Now, I will always be a USC Trojan through and through. No question about that. But I can say that I do love and respect the OU pride. I love it because it reminds me of my USC pride and the awesome university I came from. It's nice to be in a city that has the same love of football and same level of commitment to the sport. I haven't been here during football season yet, but just the amount of times I have heard people talk about the school, the team, and the excitement for the games has me convinced that I will relate. I mean couples literally schedule their weddings around OU home games.. is that not football pride or what?

Same bullet point, different sport - Basketball. I have to mention Thunder bball! To be honest, I have never been a huge basketball fan, but growing up in CA I did love going to the Sacramento Kings games with my friends and family (back when they were half way decent - sorry Kings). BUT I have to admit that being here in OKC and seeing all the Thunder fans has definitely sparked my interest again. Although the season is now over for the Thunder, I had a wonderful time attending the games and supporting a great basketball team. The Thunder is very much loved and supported and I was happy to be a part of it!

6. My connection to family. This bullet point is a little more personal, as I'm sure not everyone can relate, but one reason I love being here is because I feel super connected to my family. That might seem strange seeing that I moved miles away from my family, but I promise it's not as strange as it sounds! You see, both my gramma and grandpa (my mom's parents) were born and raised here in Oklahoma. They are the true Okies. They told me many stories about growing up in Oklahoma, driving tractors to school and riding their horses around the farm. I was always so fascinated hearing about their childhood on the farm. My gramma passed away 5 years ago and I miss her every day, but being here in Oklahoma has made me feel closer to her than ever. I know she is here with me, probably laughing at the thought of her only grand daughter ending up in good ol' Oklahoma. Not only do I feel closer to my gramma, but also my grandpa. We talk on the phone now more than ever, chatting about the weather, the city, and my life here in OK. Every time we talk he has a new story to tell :)

I never thought in a million years that I would be living in Oklahoma at the age of 24, but I sure am glad that I am. This has definitely been an adventure but I really do feel that Oklahoma is my home. I know we won't be here forever so I am cherishing every moment.. enjoying the people, the weather, and the great Oklahoma City.

Until next time..


Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Wedding Planner

One of my good friends is getting married! I am so excited! In all my excitement I decided that no matter what I was going to help her with her wedding – even if I was states away. I’d like to think that I’ve gained some knowledge now that I have been in the wedding planning industry for a few years and helping her answer questions about the big day has definitely proved that to be true.

There are so many things to think about when you are getting married – so many different vendors to keep track of, to dos to check off the list and deadlines to meet. This is why a wedding planner is so helpful during the process.. they know just the right questions to ask and keep you on track no matter how busy you are.

I could go on and on about how beneficial a wedding planner is, but today I want to talk about the other wedding planner … or should I say the wedding binder. I know we live in a technological age where everything is stored on our iMacs, iPhones and/or iPads (did I miss anything? It’s hard to keep up with Apple..), but there’s something to say about having a tangible binder when it comes to planning a wedding. It may sound stupid to some, but being able to print out a planning timeline checklist and actually check off each item is quite rewarding and helps everyone stay on track. As a bride you will be sent many contracts that need to be signed so no matter how badly you want to fight going back to the 1800’s before the use of computers, it’s going to happen. I promise you, you will have to print and sign that paper. And if you have a binder on hand then BAM anything that get’s printed has a perfectly organized place to go. 

Anyway… my point in all this is that creating a wedding binder is a great start to the wedding planning process. Many people feel very overwhelmed after the excitement of the engagement has died down and the stress of the wedding planning begins – and the best way to dissipate some of the stress is to put in alllll in the binder. 

So back to my friend who’s getting married (shout out to Caleigh woo woo!).. I knew I wanted to help her with her wedding and I wanted to get her something to congratulate her on her engagement so I put two and two together and created a wedding planning binder just for her. Now I want to share that binder with all of you. For anyone who is engaged or may get engaged soon, this binder is a good first step with all the necessary components to get you started. From there you can add, take away, and/or personalize as much as you’d like (you will see what I mean by personalization when you come across the unicorn in the binder... Caleigh loves the unis)!

The Wedding Planning Binder: 

1.   Martha Stewart 1 ½ inch turquoise binder (she has such great taste) 

2.   Martha Stewart dividers (I used 2 sets of 8 but could have used more!)
             The categories I created were:
  • Wedding Schedule
  • Contacts
  • Budget
  • Ceremony
  • Reception
  • Attire
  • Registry
  • Honeymoon
  • Florist
  • Photographer/Videographer 
  • Music 
  • Caterer/Cake
  • Rentals 
  • Hair/Makeup
  • Invitations/Stationary
  • Transportation

3.   A clear zip-up pouch – to store pens, pencils, stickers, labels, fabric swatches, etc.

4.   Checklists and guidelines for each vendor/to do – I used Russell + Hazel’s PDFs (they can be downloaded here) – they provide all the info necessary for each category

5.   A pocket folder – good to store any magazine cut outs and/or design inspiration materials

6.   Lined paper – It’s nice to have some lined paper in the back when you need to jot down notes at vendor meetings

7.   Martha Stewart monthly calendar – Since the binder is storing all your wedding day info anyway it’s convenient to have a calendar to write down meetings in the same place!

8.   Wedding planning timeline checklist – this I created just for Caleigh and Mike specific to their timeline and needs (you can find general timelines from many sites i.e. Real Simple or Russell + Hazel)

I purchased everything I needed from Staples and printed everything else :) When I put it all together this is what the binder looked like: 

Until next time..


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Good ol’ Austin, TX

When I first moved to Oklahoma one of the things I was looking forward to was traveling to new cities and states in the South and Midwest. In California I was always interested in going to Austin, TX and Nashville, TN but they always seemed a bit out of the way. Now that I am located right in the middle of the country it’s a little easier to get to those awesome cities that I otherwise probably would have never seen.

So a couple weeks ago Kellen and I took a vacation to Austin, Texas and it was…. Awesome! We hopped in the car right after I was offered a job (I will save that story for a later date) and started our 6 hour journey from OKC to Austin. As you can imagine the drive was beautiful, full of lush green trees and rolling hills to drool over as we trekked across the state – PSYCH! It’s Oklahoma people, come on, you should know better. In actuality the drive was very reminiscent of the one I used to make from Sacramento to Los Angeles – a long, straight road with nothing to see but cows and land for miles.

In the end it was all worth it because that long, straight road led us to one of the coolest cities I’ve been to – good ol’ Austin. We pulled into our hotel on a Wednesday night with 4 days ahead of us to experience the city, and a wonderful 4 days it was. Austin is full of young people, many there for work, some there to play and of course most there to work and play. The streets were filled with an array of individuals – from hipsters and hippies to country folk and fashionable trendsetters. From what I learned, Austin is the most liberal city in Texas – allowing people from all backgrounds to come together and “keep Austin weird” (a motto stamped around the city). Kellen described it perfectly when he said Austin is “the San Francisco of the South”. It definitely gives off the same San Francisco vibe through the people, bars and restaurants - oh yeah, and let’s not forget about the food trucks!

Coming from LA, and then San Francisco, I have developed a love for food trucks. Who knew that some of the best food is made in trucks?! Austin kept my love of food trucks alive with some fabulous fish and carnitas tacos. Kellen also hit up a bratwurst food truck that looked amazing but unfortunately I couldn’t fit tacos AND a bratwurst in my stomach like he could. The food trucks we went to had their own parking lot with a variety of different trucks, but you could also find them sprinkled throughout the city on random street corners or even in front of restaurants! I would go back to Austin just for the food trucks – I definitely miss them here in OK.

One of our favorite things to do in Austin was simply walk the streets of the city. On the first night there we were trying to find a place to eat dinner and on our walk passed by the University of Texas longhorn mascot Bevo– just chillen on a street corner in all his glory. It was the largest bull I have ever seen. I understand this is probably normal for people in Texas to come across a bull sitting on the sidewalk, but for me it was definitely a sight to see.

After the bull we found a delicious Italian restaurant and on our walk back came across two guys playing music outside the restaurant next door. They were amazing. One was playing a violin and the other a Spanish guitar. Together they made beautiful music. Kellen and I stopped and listened for a while completely enamored by their talent. It put us in a total trance, transfixed on each note. It’s experiences like that that make me love a city even more. So much to see, take in, and appreciate by simply walking down the streets.

Man oh man I feel like I could go on about this city forever! Did I mention S. Congress Avenue yet? Well let me tell you about it … S. Congress Ave is a street in Austin that has a bunch of cool stores and cafes to check out. One of my favorite stores was Uncommon Objects. It is an antique store full of gadgets and gizmos a plenty and whozits & whatzits galore (name that tune). Seriously though, it has antique chairs, lamps, trays, glasses, teapots, signs, chandeliers, mirrors, cake stands, etc. etc. etc. The list could go on forever. It is a super unique store with stuff to look at in every nook and cranny – a store I will definitely return to. Along with Uncommon Objects there were many other unique clothing boutiques and art stores along with an awesome hotel and a place to adopt a puppy (I almost bought one I swear). S. Congress Avenue has tons of character and culture oozing from the eclectic retailers and restaurants all lined up in a row.

I MUST mention the Whole Foods. Oh my gosh… it’s amazing. I mean I know most everyone has been to a Whole Foods, but if you haven’t been to Austin’s Whole Foods you are missing out! I could spend an entire afternoon in this Whole Foods alone. First off, it’s huge. It has everything you could ever want and more – from a juice bar to wine tasting, gelato, charcuterie station, walk in beer cooler, cheese galore, chocolate fountain and dessert bar, etc. Kellen and I spent quite a bit of time in there walking around in awe. It really made every other Whole Foods look like crap.

Lastly, the night life. On Friday night me, Kellen, and a couple of Kellen’s college friends went out on West 6th Street – a street full of bars and fun. One place we went to was The Dogwood. It was an awesome outdoor lounge equipped with brick & wood counters and steel barstools, giving off a very cool vibe. Everything was out in the open allowing room to sit or stand and space to chat with old friends and new without feeling squished. All in all it had a great atmosphere conducive to fabulous conversation with friends.

Well now that I have practically written a novel on Austin I will provide a few pictures so you can see what I’m talking about for yourself! Austin is a fabulous city and I definitely recommend everyone to put it on his/her list of places to see!

Until next time..



The Capitol

Bevo the Bull
Uncommon Objects!

Bratwurst Food Truck
Cupcake Food Truck - Yes please!

I just want to squeeze him!
The cutest little puppy I ever did see!
Art on the walls
Awesome hotel

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Thinking about the past...

The other day my mom received a phone call from a woman, named Diane, who was putting together a family ancestry album and was in need of photos of my home (in Sacramento - yes I still consider that my home). At first this seemed like an odd request, but it turns out her grandmother got married at our home on May 18th, 1924,  almost 90 years ago.

It's incredible to me to think about my home in the past and just how much history comes along with it. When we first moved to Sacramento 10 years ago I remember my parents telling me that our home was built wayyyy back in the day, but I never really thought about it's old foundation because so much of the inside had been remodeled as the years had passed. Besides the creaky doors, spooky basement (not one dog will go down - they just stand at the top of the stairs and bark - I swear they see ghosts), and backyard sewer floods due to the old plumbing, the house seemed to be in pretty good shape.

When Diane called my mom and told her her story it was a bit of a wake up call for me. I know everyone always says to live in the present and not focus on the future or past, but sometimes I think looking to the past can ground us and inspire us in the present. To think about the individuals who built our home, and the families who lived in it before us, makes me gracious and appreciative of each person and the love they put into it to create what it is today. Throughout the last 90 years each family has left a little piece of themselves & their stories behind, leading to the creation of the best home I've ever known.

I remember having conversations with my friends in the past about our parents and how they had their OWN lives before they met each other. We were always so flabbergasted to think that our moms and dads had an entire childhood and young adult life without each other because all we'd ever known is the two of them together. The same is true of my home. To think that it had a life and story  before I came to know it only makes me intrigued to learn more.

The neighborhood I lived in is known for its tree lined streets, complete with ginormous sycamore trees that tower higher than any house. I never stopped to think that at one time those huge trees were young and small, planted in rows on a wide open street. So much has happened since the day those trees were planted to today. If anything, I hope you take away from this post that life is full of a rich history and we should seize it to learn more about how we came to be today and to inspire us to leave our mark for the future.

Diane ended the conversation by sending some photos to my mom that she passed on to me. The pictures are from her grandmother's wedding that took place at my home. I will add some of the photos below so you can see how much has changed since 1924. See if you can spot the small trees and buggy on the street :)

On another note, I am heading to Austin for a little vacation with the bf so I'll be MIA for a few days, but expect a fun post when I get back! 


If you look at the picture on the right they were standing in between the little orange sign in the grass and the big tree near the sidewalk with their backs to the car in the photo. Do you see the difference in tree size?!

Do you spot the buggy??
This is my home :)
And here's a cute picture of my dog Bode (the big one) and my brother's new little puppy Cooper!

Sunday, March 24, 2013


First off, I want to say thank you for all the kind words and support! As soon as I posted that I started a blog I received so many wonderful words of encouragement from friends and family. It was very unexpected and appreciated :) You have given me much drive to keep this blog alive and kicking! Now to the post...

Moving to a new place with no furnishings in tow (besides my bed of course) has allowed me the opportunity to decorate our apartment any way I like. Well, ok maybe not ANY way seeing that I am a lover of all things pink and sparkly and Kellen.. well he's not. Needless to say I had to tone down the pink and stick with more neutral tones that work for us both.

In the process I have found that neutral is the way to go! I love being able to accentuate the neutral colors with throw pillows, flowers and candles instead of swimming in a pool of color. However, I can't deny that if one day I have my own office it will be bursting with color :)

One of my favorite furniture pieces in our apartment is the dining table. It's simple yet still exudes a sense of rustic/shabby chic charm. I have always been a fan of the long farm tables (probably from all of the beautiful tables I have had the chance to work with at weddings & styled shoots) but our little apartment isn't quite fit for a big table. When I came across this table (thanks to an old roommate) I was smitten. Not only is it the perfect size but it's also just my style.

That being said, I wanted to share with you a few pictures just to give you a taste of our apartment and to show you my tablescape. It's very simple.. still have some things to add, but I figure it's a good start!

That's my table on a normal day-to-day basis. Like I said, it's very simple but still has some fun elements and textures.

As an added bonus I decided to add a few more things to dress up the table as if I were having a couple friends over for dinner. Not too much is different but I just wanted to give you an idea of how some silverware, place cards, and rosé can jazz up a tablescape a bit more :)

I hope you enjoy! Until next time.. 


Thursday, March 21, 2013

An Introduction

I don't even know where to begin but here goes nothing...

I have wanted to enter the blogging world for some time now but haven't had the courage to do it.. until now! Maybe it's that Midwest charm that has finally given me the confidence to expand my horizons and share a little of myself to an audience broader than my mom and my boyfriend (haha I'm lucky they still love me).

Anyway.. for anyone who doesn't know me, I'm Courtney, a wedding planner from San Francisco who just made the move to good ol' Oklahoma City. I left the fabulous San Francisco life behind to start a new adventure with my 9 year (going on 10...CRAZY!) boyfriend Kellen. I have been here in OKC for almost 3 months and let me tell ya, it has been quite a change. Pros and cons of course - but all around a good change.

In San Francisco I worked with a fabulous wedding planner Yelena, who in the end has become one of my closest friends. Many people gasp at the thought of me leaving a life as a "wedding planner in San Francisco" to move to Oklahoma.. with no job.. but I welcome any change with open arms. I'm still young right?

Being here in OKC, and not right in the middle of a wedding planning frenzy in San Francisco, has really made me realize how much I need some sort of creative outlet which leads me to this blog. In this blog journey I hope to share my experiences in life, try fun DIY projects, and to continue my wedding planning past by sharing tips, tricks, and projects that I am working on :) I hope you all stay tuned and help me build this blog together with your support!

For now here's a snapshot of me...

Things I love:
  • Traveling the globe
  • Any kind of chocolate
  • Kellen, of course
  • Spending time with my family
  • Anything that sparkles
  • Kate Spade (everything!)
  • Tea - I have to have a cup every night!
  • My dogs, Bode & Maggie
  • Peonies - How can you not love peonies?
  • USC Trojans! Fight on!
  • Enjoying a fabulous meal with loved ones
  • Painting my nails a different color each week
  • Flowerbomb perfume
  • The color pink, bows & ruffles 
  • Laughing with old friends and new
  • Dressing in style - favs are J.Crew & Anthropologie!