What I learned in 2017

2017. Dueces.

At the end of 2016, I simply said ‘it was a struggle.’ While I feel like 2017 is ending on a positive note (minus the fact that I’m sick and in my pjs on NYE), I would be lying if I said it was all puppy dogs and rainbows. One of my most vivid memories of 2017 was sitting on an airplane in tears and saying to myself, ‘Just make it stop.’ Real life folks. There was no magical switch but the clouds are most definitely clearing and joy is becoming more of the every day rather than the far off dream.

The two constants in the clearing of those clouds were taking risks and waiting. While they seem like complete opposites, I believe that they go hand in hand. Wait for the right moment and then jump, risk it all and know that you can fly.

I am thankful for the way the last few months of year have gone and as always, I did learn a few things along the way… So here are a few thoughts on what I have learned.

  1. A simple hug from someone I love means more to me than I ever realized. I need hugs.
  2. Having a normal life (working the 9-5 office life) is kind of nice. Having a life from 5:00p on and not wondering if you are going to be on an airplane in two days, but rather just enjoying your personal life is such a sweet spot.
  3. Fighting (really fighting) for something is the hardest, but most rewarding thing I have discovered.
  4. Never hold back or withhold how you feel about someone, they should always know your heart.
  5. I love being home. I have such a greater appreciation for that simplicity than I ever have.
  6. Taking risks is part of living life. Take the risk and be ok if it ends in a fall.
  7. Invest in the small luxuries like fresh flowers for the kitchen table.
  8. Mat Kearney is still my favorite artist and more people should know who he is.
  9. I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I feel like I can never quite grasp it.
  10. Online shopping has forever changed my life and I love it. No, sir, I don’t want to fight the after 5:00pm traffic to get anything, doorstep delivery simplifies my life in the best of ways.
  11. Sticky Bras > Strapless Bras
  12. You can’t have enough white planters… and they are incredibly hard to find
  13. Unemployment is hard. Don’t underestimate that time or judge a single soul that is going through that. If you haven’t been there, you have no clue – time spent, emotions, finances – don’t’ judge.
  14. Life is never a fairy tale, but don’t miss your own fairy tale waiting for the made-up fairy tale you have in your head. Perfectly imperfect is better than perfect could ever be.
  15. If you have a doodle, do yourself a favor and find a good groomer so your not angry at every shaved haircut.
  16. Cheese should be its own food group. I love cheese, like a lot.
  17. A friend introduced me to Suits and now I’m weirdly attached to the characters and can’t stop watching. It’s the new, ‘How I met your mother’ that I’m addicted to.
  18. Ebates is legit. Cash back every quarter and supporting my online shopping ways. Sign up here!
  19. Getting glasses for eye strain (I otherwise don’t wear glasses) while on the computer all day has changed the headache game epically. Felix Gray is a great choice if you are looking!
  20. A walk is the best medicine.

I’m ready for an amazing 2018, how about you!?


The Sycamore Wedding: Jonathan & Sara

As a photographer, my favorite part of the day is to just be a fly on the wall. I love to be a fly on the wall and watch the groom love his bride. The way his eyes adore her and his arms wrap her up and his heart swoon. Jonathan did just that. Jonathan’s eyes adore Sara and his arms wrap her up and his heart swoons for her.

The Sycamore at Mallow Run Winery presented the most beautiful backdrop and The Wedding Lady made it sweet perfection. All perfection below, including the smiles of the new Mr. & Mrs. 😉

Kortni Marie

Bloomington, Indiana Engagement: Michael & Beth

Indiana University is known for those Sample Gates, candy cane striped pants and basketball. It’s a stunning campus and each year thousands of students come flooding into the campus for another epic year. Mike and Beth were just two of those many thousands that flooded in their freshman year and three more years after that.

They met during their freshman year, Beth from northern Indiana and Mike from southern Florida. (side note: It’s kind of amazing to me to watch lives collide when you would never think there is a chance – news flash, Indiana and Florida are not neighboring states) After a number of frat parties and Kilroy’s run ins, these two gems finally started dating their Junior year living the blissful college life. After graduation, Mike returned to Florida for grad school. And for all those haters that think long distance cannot survive… 💪🏽💪🏽💪🏽

And like the epic romance story, Mike came back to the great state of Indiana after school the continue to pursue his girl (and there are a hundred girls that are still hopelessly wishing for this. Good work Mike). And they lived happily ever after 😉

But for real, they are the happiest and sweetest two people. Living downtown Indianapolis and planning their wedding for the fall of 2017 all love struck and googly eyed and in love with their best friend. We headed back to where it all began, Bloomington, Indiana, on a crisp spring morning for their engagement shoot. After all, this is where it began and where he proposed, so photos here were a must! Enjoy!

And these two are model status am I right!?

Xo, Kortni Marie

Greenwood, Indiana Newborn: Sadie Mae

Babies and their squishiness just melt any heart. Then add the pretty pink bows and you are fully swooning, yes swooning. Just this fall, the Smith’s had a little family photo session with the leaves in their full glory. Mama just barely had her baby bump and chasing after the energetic toddler. I feel like we blinked and that little baby bump is here in real life to have and to hold. The little family of three grew to a family of four and mom and dad are owning the transition, like they are for real champs, folks. I guess when you have two beautiful baby girls everything else just falls away.

So little miss Sadie Mae was born at the end of January and has been warming hearts ever since 🙂


xo, kortni marie

Brevard Zoo Wedding: Kristen & Danny

Kristen and Danny are two of those people that you just want to squeeze. They are simply the sweetest people. They are that movie, fairy tale couple where nurse found fire fighter and now make the ultimate super hero couple. (if you missed their engagement photos where they so perfectly dressed in uniform, you can check those out here) I met Kristen and Danny through a sweet friend of mine and was able to get to know them a little better as we planned their engagement session in Ybor City, Tampa and made final arrangement for their wedding in Melbourne, Florida at the Brevard Zoo. Danny is unlike most grooms and actually stepped in and handled some pieces, photography in particular, for his bride. If you have not experienced the details of a wedding, this is a shocker. He is a good communicator and planner and always had Kristen at the top of mind. Kristen has the sweetest soul and had things under control without the panic (that sooooo speaks to my heart). And together they are both the best huggers. Yes, they are all things fabulous too, patient, kind, great communicators, but dang, a good hug goes a long way. Fist pumps to the both of you on that 👊🏽

And then we come to their wedding day…. The most perfect Florida, winter day. The Brevard Zoo added the most epic sheet of green for backdrops that is bound to make any heart swoon. The details were to perfection. She looked stunning. He loved her so well. Enjoy a little snippet of the day 🙂

Xo, Kortni Marie

Indianapolis, Newborn: Teagan Rose

Something about those baby snuggles melts your heart in an instant. I met Brittany when I moved back to Indiana in the spring of 2014. She has since become a sweet, sweet friend of mine with the most amazing heart. Since that spring she met an amazing man and got married last winter. (Check out their engagement and wedding images for the whole story). To watch them both step into parenthood and rock that roll and love on Miss Teagan Rose has been a sweet time for me.

Miss Teagan Rose came into the world on the evening of December 27, 2016 and is stealing hearts everywhere. Take a look. Let her wrap you around her pretty little finger.

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Xo, Kortni

What I learned in 2016

Typically to recap the year I include my favorite photos from a variety of shoots, but this year I decided to do things a little differently. You see the images and we all have our individual favorites. So instead, I thought I would recap the year on what I learned. What I learned as Kortni Marie, a small business owner, a photographer, a friend, a coworker, a part of Corporate America, a new home owner, a daughter and so on and so on. 2016 was a tough one. I want to say is straight up sucked, but a friend put it so perfectly over cocktails last night, ‘2016 was a struggle.’ With the struggle comes many lessons but also many tears and countless other emotions that you can fill in the blank with.
2016-12-30_0004So I have listed 25 things that I have learned in 2016 through the struggle (and some not so much on the struggle train) and you can take them or leave them, but from my experiences and my heart, here they are….

  1. We waste a whole heck of a lot of time in our days with unnecessary red tape and the glorification of busy. It is totally NOT necessary and is a joy stealer
  2. Avocado toast with an egg on top brightens my morning.
  3. I need to become more digital and ditch the paper notes I have covering my calendar and computer. Notes app on my Mac and iPhone are about to become my new best friend.
  4. The best tip to keeping a plant alive is to not water it. I water and it dies. I leave it alone, it lives.
  5. I love interior design more than I imagined I could. Owning my own home has launched that love so very much. I love tweaking spaces.
  6. A dog is the best therapy. Without Miss Nina…… I won’t even go there. Let’s just say it wouldn’t be pretty
  7. I didn’t host as much as I should have. I love hosting and welcoming people into my home, but I let life get too busy and the non-priority items took priority. Rerouting in 2017 for people to become the higher priority and not the things you think are important (but are not at all).
  8. My all time favorite thing to make for dinner is peach, balsamic and goat cheese pizza. OBSESSED. Check out the recipe here.
  9. No matter what happens, I will survive. There are a lot dumber people our there that are still making it just fine. So even when I have no idea what I am doing or I think the worst thing just happened, it will be ok.
  10. The song ‘Thy Will‘ can send me into tears at any time.
  11. theSkimm is the greatest start to your morning. News that is funny and witty and to the point. Perfect morning coffee ritual.
  12. No matter how travel savvy, you will probably get your purse stolen once in your life. When it does happen. Laugh it off, it will be a good story and go ahead and ride in the back of a foreign cop car for bucket list purposes.
  13. Keep fighting for what is right even if you are never rewarded. You are doing it for you and what your heart knows to be right not for the praise or rewards of others. Keep fighting no matter what.
  14. Paris is even more beautiful than I expected.
  15. Wake up every morning for people, not the job, not the paycheck, not what you may think success is, not anything else but people. People and the influence you have by existing is the greatest reward.
  16. I never cut correctly as a kid slalom skiing. Why did no one help me? Reteaching myself started this year and my body hates me after, but it also feels so good.
  17. Buy an inflatable swan as an adult. They are not just for kids.
  18. London is still one of my favorite cities to visit (even after 2 visits this year).
  19. I love to read, but I can’t stay awake to read no matter how amazing the book is.
  20. Weekend getaways are sometimes better than week getaways. Make them happen, don’t make excuses.
  21. Welcome mats are made much to small. Small is pointless, go with oversized and make a statement.
  22. Saying no is a good thing, a good thing in business and in life. Saying no sets boundaries and sets you up for success more than 100 yes’ will.
  23. Airplanes are the best places to think and to sleep. Nothing can touch you up there. No dream is to small. No dream is impossible when your up in the air. Then take a nap.
  24. The new MacBook Pro has an emoji touch icon so you can add emojis to anything you like. I love that.
  25. I should have added a garden tub to my master bath. An adult bath with bubbles and candles and red wine is always necessary.

What did you learn this year? Any take aways? Cherish the lessons but let’s be serious, 2017 is bound to be a good one. More joy is coming.

Xo, Kortni Marie


Family Cookbook

How many of our moms have recipes on little note cards, tabbed on a dozen random cookbooks and can never find the one she is looking for? Can I get a raise of hands!? This year for Christmas, my siblings and I were able to compile a pretty neat gift to give to our mom. We took a variety of old family recipes, note card recipes and random cookbook recipes that our mom has been using for years and even in the past years. We gathered her favorites. We then took the time to photograph each recipe in its own way to accompany the written recipe. Those that know much about the creative process know…… this took FOREVER. And when I say forever, I mean forever. I was photographing with every drop of light available and editing every night. But like all good things, the completion was totally worth it. A 150+ page book packed full of recipes that have memories and joys attached to each.

Our friends at Blurb created a fabulous product. It printed so perfectly. Be sure to sign up to get their newsletters and coupons to print your own memories and joys. Here is a short look at the cookbook and some of the images inside. Enjoy!


Xo, Kortni Marie

Tampa Lifestyle: Leighton & Alexandra

True lifestyle shoots are such gems. When I say true, I mean, just a day in the life, no formal family pose. I was asked to come to Tampa to shoot these sweet little girls in true lifestyle fashion. We added mommy to the mix on some for some extra cuddles. Any mom’s out there want to preach about taking all of the family photos but never in any? (Anyone want to add an Amen!?) So we had a girls day of doing sweet girl things. Your heart bursts when you have photos of those little ones doing every day life with you. The formals are great and oh so necessary, but the sweet, normal day attire and activities are what your heart hangs on to as they grow up.

So here is a day in the life of Leighton & Alexandra……

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Xo, Kortni Marie