Harcourt Wedding: The Video

The last installment in the wedding posts is our wedding video. I was really on the edge about having a wedding video, many brides I know told me they never watch theirs, however I was compelled to have one last minute (and I regret nothing!).

Thanks again, Alex Houlton for filming and editing this together for us! I’ve watched it about 30 times already, and cried about 75% of the time.

Without any further blabbing or blubbering, here is our wedding video.

Harcourt Wedding: Pre-Wedding

I’m going to warn you now, this whole post is going to come out as a cliche. Our wedding day was special. It was magical. It was all of those perfect, heart-warming moments you dream of when you think ‘wedding’ (I’m pretty sure everyone thinks their wedding was something special. So please don’t confuse my words as meaning “better than everyone else’s”).

For those who don’t know, Brendan and I were engaged for almost 2 years, and I spent almost the entirety of it planning our wedding. Not because I was so worried about having my “day,” or whatever … but because I LOVE event planning. I reveled in the details, I spent an absurd amount of time researching vendors, and I somehow managed to stay in budget and only do one DIY project.

All of the images below are by Nicole and Teddy Wedding Photography. They were the 1st vendor we met with, and I am so glad we had them at our wedding. Teddy and Nicole are the kind of people you would invite to your wedding as your friends, and their talent is incredible. I really could go on for days about how special they are, so please if you’re looking for a photographer, you should shoot them a message — you won’t regret it.

Some of the Details

The flowers were foraged, arranged and dried by Cat of Westerwisp. I found her on Etsy, and for someone I have never met in person, I feel an incredible bond with her and her work. She cares so much about making your floral pieces special, and true to your vision. She sent me countless updates throughout the year while she foraged for our flowers. In turn, all of the seasons were represented in our arrangements, and they’ll keep for a very long time in the exact vibrant condition they were in for our wedding.

The shoes, both Bride and Groom’s, are Clarks; the ties are from CyberOptix TieLab; and the gold hair pin is from HatMade.

Getting Ready

We chose to start the day at the Inn at Pasatiempo, they have a series of suites that are perfect for getting ready — even with 6 people in each room and an entourage of hair and makeup artists.

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My bridesmaid Meg is an excellent bow maker

Our Wedding Party

I can’t leave these pictures out! These people are so special to Brendan and I, and I love that Teddy and Nicole took a moment with each of them.

The Groom

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The Bride

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…To the Wedding!

Brendan went to the venue first in this gorgeous classic car from Monterey Classic Limo.

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Harcourt Wedding: The WEDDING!

Brendan and I chose Quail Hollow Ranch as the venue for our ceremony and reception. It’s owned by the county, so you can visit whenever you want, and the proceeds from the wedding go back into the Ecology programs and maintenance of the hiking trails.

Because our group of family and friends are so closely woven together, we chose to make a spiral, instead of the standard 2 rows and an aisle. One of the benefits of this arrangement was walking by everyone on our way to get married, and on the way out once we were husband and wife.

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Going over his vows one more time before the ceremony

Brendan insisted on not seeing me before the wedding, and didn’t look at me until I finished the spiral and was right in front of him. Our friend Kamryn married us in a short but sweet ceremony. We both cried and laughed during the ceremony, and his vows were beautiful.

And then we were married.

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This look. This moment. This is the transfer of all my trust and all my love. This is the sweet surrender.

I’m so glad to have this moment photographed. I was so moved by it all, the momentum of the day, the love shared between ourselves and all the people who attended–the feeling was incredible and this picture takes me back to that exact moment every time.

As far as the rest of the day, after the ceremony things became a blur of excitement…


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Light Installation and design by Magical Lighting 

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We finished the night with a star party, led by Brendan’s dad.

To wrap this up, I just need to say Thank You! one last time to our photographers, Nicole and Teddy Lapierre. Without you, my memories of this day would not be so vivid and so emotional. You managed to visually capture moments that usually only a heart can record and recall. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for being at our wedding.

Harcourt Wedding: Our Rehearsal Dinner

It was very important to us to have our wedding at our home. I drew elaborate drawings for the wedding planner to explain how we would use every inch of our 5,500 square foot lot to host our ~100 guests. I even incorporated renting the lot behind us, currently an open field, as a space for dinner to be held.

Unfortunately the best laid plans rarely come to fruition and the lot behind us was sold to someone who is planning on developing the land. So we decided that it would be best to hold the wedding elsewhere.

Months went by and the tractors and cranes I imagined never showed up … it seems planning their build is taking longer than expected, and so at the last minute (as a consolation prize to our original vision) we chose to have our rehearsal dinner at our home.

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We were also lucky enough to slip away for a few minutes with our photographer team Nicole and Teddy of Lapierre Photography to take a few shots on the cliffs near our home.

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With the countdown almost complete, I couldn’t believe we were off to get married the next day! Two years of planning was about to unfold!

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Grammar doesn’t matter when you’re getting married, right?

I can’t wait to share the wedding with you in the next post! Want to see more from our wedding planning process? Head over to instagram #HarcourtWedding

The House of Harcourt: our first year of homeownership

1 year, one whole year… 29 more years of mortgage payments to go! haha What’s a better way to reflect than a few before and after shots!

Before And After of the Landscaping

(still a work in progress)

Back Yard before and after Front yard 1st year BandA Front Yard Before and after year 1

Our Kitchen Remodel

Kicthen Before and After kitchen Before and After 2

And the Living Room

Living room before and after

Owning a home is a continual project. I find it so interesting how tasks like planting flowers,  or picking out cabinet fixtures can become to important and staying home on a Saturday feels like a privilege. Here’s to many more years in the House of Harcourt.

Tesla’s 15 minutes of Fame with AvoDerm Natural

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Mark Rogers and Tesla hanging out.

Just wanted to take a moment a celebrate Miss Tesla’s success story being featured on AvoDerm Natural‘s website. Tesla has had some skin problems in the past… she started itching a lot when she was about 6 months and by the time she was about a year she had chewed most of the fur off of her underbelly. Her tummy skin was pink and had little red marks on it from where she had been frantically chewing. Avoderm tesla success story dog food allergies photo by Mark Rogers

It was pretty frustrating because we were feeding her top line food: $60+ bags of organic, grain free, chicken free, corn free, whatever else free, we literally tried it all. Most of the time she would stop itching for 1-2 weeks and then she would get right back to it. I kinda thought, well, she’s just one of those breeds that tends to get skin problems, so maybe she’s just going to be like this no matter what.

One day I was at work and we came across the topic of dog foods, and my boss said her dog was on AvoDerm, and she really couldn’t say anything bad about it. She suggested I give it a try, so we went to the store and bought a bag of lamb and brown rice and started weaning her over to AvoDerm.

Tess is Golden looking gorgeous photo by Mark Rogers

Two weeks in we were blown away by the results- no red skin, scabs were healing, fur was even growing back. I thought “well, let’s just see how long this lasts…” but I can now say we are 6 months in and still going strong. PLUS way, way less shedding, and softer coats for both Finn and Tesla. It’s just a really awesome blessing to have her scratch free AND THEN to have her be a success story on their website is just too cool (plus, how cool to have your dog professionally photographed!)

I took this one :-) She totally knows there's a camera in my phone. What a goober.

I took this one🙂 She totally knows there’s a camera in my phone. What a goober.

Speaking of that, I also wanted to tell everyone about the Facebook Photo Contest they’re doing called Glow and Tell. The grand prize is a photo shoot with the same guy who took Tesla’s photos for their website. So good luck to everyone and I hope you too can get some great picture of your pup!

Glow and Tell Photo Contest

The House of Harcourt Remodel: The Bathroom

Finally moved in, and ready for its debut, here is one piece of our new home!

Background: We purchased our 860 sq ft,1940’s farm-town bungalow from a woman in her 80’s who had lived there for 35 years! Her realtor told us she would’ve stayed, but the few stairs between the kitchen and bedroom spaces were hard on her arthritis. She loved her garden, and told many people that she hoped whomever bought it wouldn’t scrape the lot and build a giant home (like many people in this area have). Lucky for her, Brendan and I fell in love with the existing home and its lush gardens, we never considered destroying it… but it did need a HUGE facelift.

The first piece of the project we will be featuring on the blog is the bathroom. This is the smallest room in the house

Here are the pictures from the listing:


Looking in from one of the bedrooms, you can see the majority of the bathroom. The shower is just to the left of the vanity. One of the huge challenges of this house was this bathroom because it is so small and has two access doors, one for each bedroom.


All the contractors we brought in to look at the project all paused when they saw the shower. It appeared to be only coated in stucco with a sealant. No one had seen anything like it before.

I’m not going to lie, I kinda loved the 60’s flower power wainscoting, the mustard counter top and matching vent… but no one loved the flooring.

The bathroom also came with the most inspection issues: we had dry rot in the floor under the sink, toilet, and shower (so basically the entire room), the wax seal on the toilet was desperately needing to be replaced, the walls were made of plaster, and we were really not sure if the shower was actually water tight at all.

So we demo’d the entire thing, down to the studs.


mmm… old glue

Once the wainscoting was off the guys began in on the shower and discovered that it was built like a bomb shelter: stucco, tile, 6″ of concrete, chicken wire. The wall had to be smashed with a sledge hammer, then the individual chunks had to be cut free by clipping the pieces of chicken wire… it was a pain in the rear end.



Next the plaster was removed from the walls

In a moment of exuberance, Brendan smashed the wall with such a mighty blow that a huge chunk of cement flew off and broke the bowl of the toilet, the only piece of the bathroom that we weren’t planning on removing. SIDE NOTE: if you ever break a toilet, be very careful the shards are EXTREMELY sharp and will cut your hand, limiting the amount of demo you can do that day, and possibly sending you to the urgent care for stitches. In our case we just used super glue, no stitches were “needed.”

and before you know it… we were down to the studs. IMG_0996 IMG_0984While the house was barren, we had all the pipes updated to current code so the shower and the toilet would be good to go for another 20 years. Then we rebuilt. 

photo 3746 photo 2photo 20948photo 31] photo 4


We included a secret laundry chute; covered by a medicine cabinet mirror (pictured in the next photo).
photo 1[121]photo 1[11]photo 41]photo 4[35]

Yep… the toilet didn’t come with a toilet seat… photo 2[9s]

At this point, we moved in. The kitchen was not done, the lights hadn’t come in for the bathroom, but we had running hot water, and that was more than we could say the week beforehand. photo[7876] photo 5[4456]

I would like to say that since finishing the bathroom it’s been smooth sailing… unfortunately it has not. The shower fixture we purchased began leaking, 2 plumbers later we found out the part that needs to be replaced isn’t made in the US and now we are waiting for it to come from China. If I could do it over again, I would not overlook where the replacement parts come from as the shower has now been leaking for 2 weeks and the part has yet to arrive.:-/ Great way to conserve in a draught.

We also hit a snag with the glass shower door and for sometime we had a makeshift shower curtain. Then the door showed up, but it was scratched. Finally, when they replaced the door they didn’t line up the weather stripping on the bottom, so our shower leaked out onto the bathroom floor whenever you took a shower (the golden retriever was in HEAVEN).

As with any new renovations, the house has begun settling into the remodel and we have had to re-grout and caulk sections of the bathroom as well.

What I’m saying is: being a homeowner is really just asking for endless amounts of tasks to be added to your to-do list.🙂


Hope you enjoyed this little section of our remodel!

-The House of Harcourt.