Friday, June 29, 2012

Day Trip {Savannah}


Happy Friday, friends! Today I want to share with you some photos from one of my favorite parts of our trip - the day trip into Savannah. We drove about 4 hours from Atlanta to this charming city. We got to see my sweet friend Mary Ann, enjoy historic Savannah, and also head to the beach at Tybee Island. It was so fun!


The day started out at the most adorable eatery, Back in the Day Bakery. I was in love with this place! Everything was vintage. Vintage locker baskets to hold paper goods, vintage tables and chairs, old baking utensils and kitchen items for decor...everything! I only got a few shots but I think they speak for themselves as to how cute this place was!




These shelves held tons of vintage kitchen ware, along with the bakery's own cookbook. I'm sure it's amazing!



Freshly baked bread in antique display cases.



The Miss Hanna cookies at the top were lavender sugar cookies with buttercream frosting in the middle. They were my chosen dessert and were so delicious!



An antique dresser topped with a vintage industrial scale held napkins, straws, sugar etc. I wish I had snapped a few more photos because every inch was truly gorgeous!


After lunch Mary Ann took us on a walking tour around the city. The architecture and history is incredible.


A shot from inside a cool fabric store.


The tallest building in Savannah, a pretty white church steeple.


The town was so very southern, with every street lined in old trees draped in Spanish Moss. It was like something out of a movie. The shopping was also great, and antique stores were everywhere. I'll share photos of my favorite store with you soon, as well as some of my finds. Have a great weekend!

{live beautifully}
Courtney





Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Our Summer Kitchen {Haven Recap And Photo Styling Tips}


{Just a warning, this is a really, really long post! Hang with me!}

At the Haven Conference, I had the awesome opportunity to hear from Kevin and Layla of The Lettered Cottage. Yes, I was totally starstruck : ) Kevin and his business partner Josh from Shoot Fly Shoot Photography gave a session on the basics of how to use a DSLR. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I have taught myself during the six months I've had my Canon Rebel, but there was also a lot of good information to be reminded of. One thing they discussed was using a tripod and timer to take the most crisp images possible. Luckily for me, I had just gotten a tripod for my birthday a few days earlier, so these shots of our summer kitchen were the first ones I tried out my new toy on.


Unfortunately I was so excited about playing with the tripod that I forgot the number one rule in interior photography- turn off the lights. So these images have a lot more shadows on them than they really should because I didn't notice our overhead light was on. And that's why practice makes perfect : )


Layla was super sweet and helpful, and her pointers on photo styling were awesome! I've included my notes from her talk here, but all these ideas are Layla's, not mine, so I really can't take any credit. I tried to put several of them into practice for this particular shoot. I hope they're helpful to you too!


Top Five Photo Styling Tips
{from Layla at The Lettered Cottage}



1. Think in 3D
- Think about perspective and creating depth.
{tip} Shoot with the direction of the floorboards to draw the eye through the room
- Create a visual journey.
{tip} Think about every step, from the front of the photo to the back.
- When shooting closeups, don't forget about the background.



2. Group Things in Odd Numbers
- Accessories and collections should be in odd numbers, rather than even.


3. Use the Rule of Thirds
- A photography trick for what's most pleasing to the eye. Google it for more.


4. Use Contrast and Color
- Layer smooth and rough, shiny and matte, dark and light.
- Tell a story with color.
- Pop the same accent color from side to side and top to bottom (Pottery Barn is great at this).
- Give neutral palettes energy with contrasts and textures.



5. Add Life and Movement
{This was the one that was most helpful to me, and that I tried to incorporate into this shoot}
- Drape a towel or blanket across something.
- Use people or pets.
- Flowers or plants are a MUST.



Aren't those helpful things to think about? There was so much information to take in at Haven, I'm not sure how I'll remember it all! It did help me realize that I don't think I want to make money from my blog. There was a lot of discussion about blog advertising, working with big brands, sponsorships, etc. I think right now I would like to focus on earning income from my etsy shop and The Cottage, rather than from my blog.


That being said, I would like to grow my blog. I love making connections with readers and other bloggers. There were tons of tips on search engine optimization and things like that to help you grow your blog, so hopefully I can begin implementing many of those.


I have a confession from Haven...I was totally starstruck and din't talk to any of my favorite bloggers. The first people I saw when I walked in were John and baby Clara from Young House Love. {John and Sherry were the keynote speakers and they were awesome!} I just smiled and passed by. And I was in a room practically alone with Miss Mustard Seed, one of my idols, and I sort of fled the scene. Totally sissy, I know. And I took a class from Kevin and Layla, but never went to introduce myself. Needless to say, self confidence is something else I'll be working on from here on out : )


I did meet several very sweet girls and got tons of business cards of new blogs to check out. I even met the sweetest friend who was also from Kansas, and we got to hang out together for a good chunk of the conference. {Hi, Brooke!} She doesn't have a blog, but she's a fabulous DIY-er with tons of creativity and an eye for style. It was so fun to get to know her while we were there!



Overall Haven was a great experience and I learned a ton! If you'd like to go to Haven or a similar event, my advice is to bring a friend. Unless you're ridiculously outgoing, it's easy to get lost in the midst of all the gals chatting and hugging and laughing. But it has wonderful information and resources you just can't get anywhere else, so I highly recommend it!



Whew! Are you still reading? If you are you deserve a prize : ) I hope the styling tips and Haven recap was helpful to you. Now tell me, what have you guys been up to lately?

{live beautifully}
Courtney
















Monday, June 25, 2012

{Home Tour} Nancy Fishelson's Renovated Cottage

Good morning everyone! I'm back from the Haven Conference and our trip to Atlanta, and I have so much to share with you! I learned so much at Haven that I'm still trying to process it all. From photo styling to photography tips all the way to super complicated tech stuff (layered ads and Google juice anyone?!) I took in a ton of information while I was there. I can't wait to share what I learned and also some pretty photos from our trip.

Today I wanted to share with you a gorgeous home tour that I have absolutely fallen in love with. It is by designer Nancy Fishelson, who has long been one of my idols. Her signature paired back style, neutral pallet and use of incredible antiques has made her one of my go-to style icons. She recently renovated a Connecticut cottage and the results are nothing less than stunning. Her home was featured in Cottages and Gardens, and you can read the complete article here.



The bath features wide-plank flooring and gorgeous double doors.


This is one of my very favorite gardening images. Her use of natural patina paired with elements from nature is simply stunning.


This salvaged barn door leads to the master bedroom.




Her kitchen. Wouldn't you die to live here?


One of my favorite things about Nancy's designs is the use of clean-lined furniture and antique signs.





The exposed beams add so much depth to the neutral pallet.


The dining room features paired-back elegance.


The master bedroom, adjacent to the bath.


Simplicity always does the trick, as proved by this simple black and white motif.

Isn't Nancy's home gorgeous? She truly is one of the most talented designers I've ever come across. If you want to read more about Nancy and her incredible career, click here for a very in-depth article by Cote De Texas.

{live beautifully}
Courtney

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Haven Bound

Well girls, I'm off to Haven. Yes, the Haven. The conference for home bloggers put on by the likes of Southern Hospitality, Miss Mustard Seed, Centsational Girl, etc.



I knew I wanted to go the moment I saw it advertised. Luckily it was in Atlanta, and my husband is a huge Braves fan. Plus, the conference was right around my birthday/our anniversary, and we were looking to travel somewhere relatively inexpensive. So we decided we'd make a whole trip of it and spend an entire week in Atlanta. 



In January we booked our very inexpensive flight and got a great deal on a 4-star hotel through Hotwire. It was working out perfectly. I thought I'd hold off buying Haven tickets a few more months just to avoid spending so much money all at once.



It never crossed my mind other people might want to go to Haven too...and that there might be a limited amount of tickets. When I went to purchase my ticket the first week of April, I discovered they had sold out the week before. WHAT?!



I was totally heartbroken. I'm sure Atlanta is cool and all, but we probably would have chosen somewhere else to spend a week if it weren't for Haven. I know I should have thought about tickets selling quickly, but it truly just didn't occur to me that a mid-June conference would be sold out by April.



Well, I placed myself on the waiting list and Matt and I made other plans for the week. There's plenty to do in Atlanta to keep ourselves entertained. 



A few months ago, the sweet Rhoda from Southern Hospitality emailed me to let me know that since I had already booked my flights and hotels they were going to offer me a ticket. I was ecstatic!! I had truly given up hope of going, so this was so amazing to me. I now know that God had a plan for me to be there so I'm extra excited to see what I'll learn, who I'll meet and the opportunities that might come from this conference. God has already dropped a business in my lap, so it keeps me wondering what else he has in store!



I am so excited not only for Haven but also for a week on vacation with Matt. Here are our plans for ATL:

- Two Braves games
- Dinner at Bones steakhouse for our anniversary 
- The Georgia Aquarium
- A tour of Turner Field
- A local brewery tour
- Lunch at the Busy Bee Cafe
- Antiquing at Queen of Hearts antique mall
- Shopping
- A day trip to Savannah and the beach!
- Golfing for Matt




If you have any other great tips, restaurants, shops, antique malls, etc. that you know about in Atlanta, I would love to hear about them! Our trip is planned purely on internet research, so we'd love to hear what's fun and unique if you have any ideas!



I'm not gonna lie...I'm pretty nervous about going to Haven. I'm not terribly outgoing in groups of people I don't know and the thought of meeting big time bloggers is really nerve racking to me. Plus I  feel like my blog is so small and "different," so I'm a little worried about fitting in. I know all of that is silly, and it's typical "girl stuff" to think, but I really am kind of nervous. I know it will be great and I am so excited to go, but just send up a prayer for me that I'll make a few friends and feel really comfortable while I'm there : )



I'll be sure to take tons of pictures of Haven, the flea market, Atlanta and more to share with you all. I'll see you guys when I get back!

{live beautifully}
Courtney

PS- the pictures in this post make up my "dream home" - the favorite photo from each of my "room" Pinterest boards. Isn't it pretty? : ) You can check all my boards out here.
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