French Country Cottage. Powered by Blogger.

The first time I fell in love

Have I ever told you about the first time I fell in love?

Okay... maybe more like one of  the first times I fell for something?

 I remember it like it was yesterday.

It was a beautiful day in Carmel. 
The sand, the sea, the fresh air... and this boy I had a major crush on.
We decided to leave the beach for a bit to go for a stroll
through town to admire all those little storybook houses 
that Carmel has.

Do you remember when you were boy crazy and how you just knew
 that you were going to marry a certain boy when you met them? 
Well, HE was definitely the one in my teenage mind.
I mean, when I wrote my first name with his last name- it was perfect 
and that is a clear indication of future marriage, right?

Just a few steps past the Hog's Breath Inn,
I smiled and nodded and listened to him talk while
 he was kind of amusing himself with his own stories
 when it happened.

Those sandals that were so cute with those shorts I was wearing, well...
they betrayed me.
And my ankle twisted and down I went.
Onto the sidewalk. 
 With a THUD.
 That I was pretty sure everyone heard.
Everyone except that cute guy who was I was sure was going to be my future husband
who kept right on walking for like 10 feet before realizing
that no one was listening to him talk.

And then he looked back and saw that I was on the ground 
way back by the Hog's Breath Inn
and he stopped and stood there
and mumbled something like
'what are you doing...' with a mortified look on his face
and waited for me to stand up. 

It is safe to say that 
my name didn't sound so great with his last name after that
and I stopped planning the wedding.

Thankfully, when you fall in love with something like a set of dishes,
 they love you right back.
With no last name or any other commitment required.
You just enjoy them.
They  look pretty on your table and you love them for it-
 it is a win-win.

 I have had several questions from readers about how to host an inspired beautiful event
with all the magic but without a ton of stress-
like worrying about your sandals betraying you or if that cute boy actually likes you back.

So I am kicking off a new series all about summer entertaining-
table settings, favorite menus, centerpieces, lighting, etc.
I am excited to get to work and share what I have in mind
and today- am starting with a simple- and simply beautiful
all gold all the time
one stop shopping table setting.

You know what I love best about planning birthday 
parties, ladies nights, reunions and just everyday elegant dinners under the stars?
It is planning the table setting. 
Food schmood. 
Let's talk dishes, stemware, flatware and flowers for a minute.

Specifically... these.dishes.
Can we just talk about how much love I am in right now?
The details are amazing.
The gold is bright and bold and so elegant and refined at the same time.
It is almost like they demand attention without asking for it.
Though I don't always use matching sets - this one called for it big time.

I fell BIG time for this set
and there was no thud on the sidewalk.
Just a fluttering in my heart.

I paired it with sleek gold flatware
and these sweet and shabby floral napkins which are almost like perfection themselves.

I don't normally use tablecloths- I prefer the raw wood underneath the dishes as part of the setting
but I wanted something a little bit different for this table.
So, I chose to use linen runners across the table.
 (instead of lengthwise down the center)

I also wanted something a little different for the flower centerpiece.
I always use white pitchers, bottles or mason jars-
but since it is a romantic style garden table

I chose 2 of these gorgeous large metal garden urns

(which are perfect for nearly anywhere)

and filled them with peonies
to use the centerpieces on the table.

This might be one of my favorite soft and shabby table settings.
 Between those dishes and the linens and centerpieces
against the lush green 
with the rustic tabletop peeking out just so...
it is safe to say, 
I am in love.

You can bet that you will be seeing these pop up quite a bit on my blog
being used with everyday elegant entertaining
maybe for the perfect cup of coffee with the Midas touch.


Flatware (similar)

Happy Wednesday everyone!

I partnered with Birch Lane to bring you a one stop shopping party setting
but all designs, opinions, crushes and awkward falling on the streets of Carmel 
are my own

Follow on Bloglovin
Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner


  1. Bonjour chère amie,

    J'aime beaucoup cette table dressée très romantique. La présence des pivoines apporte une touche supplémentaire de poésie. Je suis certaine qu'un petit repas pris avec votre tendre et cher dans une tel décor ne peut qu'attester que vous aviez fait le bon choix !
    Très joli billet.

    Gros bisous ♡

  2. Courtney,
    A beautiful post (of course they are always are) but I loved your tips, the story and ohhh...these dishes.

  3. Your table setting is absolutely gorgeous!
    I got married in Carmel. You brought so many memories of spending so much time with my honey in Carmel!!
    Thanks!! XO

  4. I love Carmel. I also have a huge love affair with various sets of dishes. In fact, my husband wonders if I will soon need an intervention - because I can't seem to pass up lovely plates at flea markets and cute specialty boutiques. However, like a cute boy, cute plates just make our a little crazy. Your outdoor setting is lovely.
    Michelle from

  5. So I'm not the only girl who wrote her name with the boy's last name :) Thank you for the beautiful ideas! We recently moved into our brand new house that we designed, that has a wonderful 400 sq. porch (think country cottage, white clapboard siding, but set in the hot Tucson desert!). The summers are not the best time to entertain outdoors (it can be 100 at midnight), but I will save the ideas for early fall. I've recently inherited a lot of my grandmother's dishes, napkins, and all things entertaining, and plan to have a Madmen style get together soon, but I really love all of the country-cottagey ideas I find on your lovely blog. Thank you - I always enjoy it!

  6. I loved this post and everything you wrote about your name next to his name. Takes me back! The china, the peonies, so lovely. Thanks. Oh and Michelle Mortensen, I need an intervention for sure. Plates, plates. I cannot have enough. Beth

  7. Beautiful sentiment, table and my favorite: peonies.

  8. Beautiful table Courtney. You are making me rethink gold. :D
    Giggling at the story... remembering similar ones of my own. I mean, what was I thinking... first names like Gigi and Butch. Can't even remember some of the last names now... oh youth!!

  9. Ok, I confess I also wrote my name with the boys last name. Looks like I'm in good company. The stories brought smiles to my face. The tables are very classy, and the flowers are beautiful .
    Be blessed

  10. I am seriously in love with peonies. Your love story was darn cute.

  11. Beautiful table and cute story. Love is wonderful, whether it is for a special male or for special table accents. Looking forward to your series and your food.

  12. I don't entertain like I used too but to me the decor including a beautiful table was my main interest. The food was second! I have lots of vintage linens and accessories including a darling set of antique dishes that are white with a cottage and trees on them in shades of green, blue and yellow and they're a darling oval shape. I much prefer these inexpensive dishes to my more expensive dishes. Love your style. And peonies are my fave along with lilacs.

  13. What a fun story ! Those dishes are gorgeous - and your flowers - do all of them come from your garden ? You must have an endless supply out there - they always look so beautiful !

  14. Oh my, this setting is so pretty ! I love dishes as well. So difficult to pass them up. I have some very prettygold dishes I was planning to sell as we rarely use them and my daughters are not interested . Your setting makes me rethink this.