Category Archives: Life

Moving On!

Front Porch Sweets, Atlanta, Gluten Free, Mixes

Hello friends! I appreciate all of you who follow this blog and have been kind enough to try the recipes and make nice comments 🙂 As some of you know I started my own Gluten Free mix company that we launched in November 2012! So, I haven’t posted on here in a looonng time just preparing for our launch, and now that we are out there selling I just don’t have time to keep up with this side of everything! So, just wanted to let everyone know for now that I wont be posting anymore recipes, etc. The good news is that I don’t have time because we are creating yummy things for you to buy and eat! 🙂  Some of those things are actually on this blog! So, I would love for all of you to go to for information on us and our products. Please like us on Facebook at Front Porch Sweets, follow us on Twitter @frontporchgf, and Instagram as frontporchgf!! We post regularly about what we are doing and what is coming up! We would love and appreciate all of your support! As far as recipes go, we will be posting recipe ideas for our products, so look for that as well.

Thanks so much,


Taken: Story of the Missing Iphone & Ipad

Ipad, Iphone, Apple
Image from

Well, this story takes place yesterday, Monday, August 20, 2012. Typical Monday at work and I had had two days off the last week so I was recharged and had lots of work to do.  I never get up from my desk unless I have to go to the bathroom or get my lunch (I know this is sad). So, I got up around 12:40 to go to the bathroom and then was going to eat lunch. My phone is always on my desk, but I was going to do some stuff on my Ipad during my break so I set it on my desk, but they were both not visible unless you came looking for them.  I came back from the bathroom and immediately knew there was something missing and thought I had gone crazy for a second. When I realized they were definitely gone I told my boss, called the police and she went looking for our security and maintenance guy. Our building has really bad security, no cameras in elevators or on any floors, only at the front door. Our office is also one of the only ones that it does have a lock and this is the fourth incident in the past couple of years. So, yeah this is the perfect place for thieves.

So, now regular Courtney is nice, mad Courtney, you don’t want mad Courtney. So mad Courtney started the process with the Sandy Springs police that looked thoroughly concerned. We had the Find my Iphone app installed and began trying to trace my belongings. The thief had turned my phone off so the GPS  was no help to us until around 4:30pm when they decided to start playing with it. I hope that when that happened Siri popped up and said ” YOU Jerk!! ” or maybe something a little worse than that 🙂 But I imagine she tried her hardest to get away from those nasty fingers!

The thief had managed to make it all the way down to Clayton County, about 40 minutes from my office, and not a good part of town. As much as I wanted to jump from my seat and beat the snot out of these people, I called the police. The Sandy Springs police department told me it was now out of their hands and that Clayton had to deal with it. So….Austin proceeds to call Clayton and their answer is that I have to be present for them to do anything about it, because I could be being tricky and just sending them out on a wild goose chase. NOT a good answer for mad Courtney.

So..I get home that night and start tweeting & face-booking the heck outta Clayton County Police, and 11alive, a local Atlanta TV station. Some of my friends and strangers were kind enough to help and to start re-tweeting. It is now Tuesday afternoon and I called Clayton County AGAIN and got a completely different answer. Apparently Sandy Springs was wrong for telling me to call Clayton, because that was their job. Now that the thief has turned my phone off again rendering the phone useless and unable to find. I’m sure they are long gone to Tijuana or somewhere that you flee too. My best bet is them selling my things and the police being notified through the serial numbers. I am still keeping in touch with Sandy Springs police to at least see if they can try to keep their eyes out for stolen goods. The management company in my building may also pay for half of the value, so there may be a small piece of justice, but still waiting to see what happens.  Now in the process of trying to figure out how to get another phone in the meantime and hopefully one day saving to get another Ipad in the future.

I’m hoping that this is a great reminder to all of you to keep your stuff safe and be aware of your surroundings, apparently nothing is sacred anymore, not even your workspace! Also a tip: I found a better App last night called iCaughtU and it takes pictures if anyone tries to login and the password is wrong, & will not shut off so you can locate it. I am trying to not let this completely change my views of people and not trust anyone, but for the moment I am weary, and distrusting and that makes me sad. I think it shows what a state our world is in, which is even sadder. I don’t appreciate that I work for a living and had to save up my money to buy those things that I wanted and someone who steals for a living can just get away. I’m hoping Karma comes into play for them one day 🙂 Ok, that is my soapbox for now! But, for now if you need me head over to Facebook or Email and that’s where I’ll be.

Update at 2:35pm:
So there ARE nice people in this world, I just happen to work with one of them! A client gave one of the guys in my office an Ipad. He already had one so he gave it to another guy in our office. He has never used it so he just gave it to me! I am now going to go home and make him 100 chocolate chip cookies!


Until Later….Thanks for reading!


New Venture

Front Porch, Gluten Free, Southern Sweets
Bear with me, this is a prototype 🙂

Hello Friends!! Well, as some of you know if you are Facebook friends with me, I am trying to start my own Gluten Free venture. Its been a thought on my mind since last year, but I am finally taking the leap to do it and I am excited!

My dear friend Eryn has really inspired me to go forward and try this, so a big THANK YOU to her! Also, just every GF person out there that longs to fit in at parties, Christmastime, birthdays, etc. you are my inspiration! Last year through several weddings, family events, etc. I just started feeling frustrated, and SO hungry! Everywhere I would go there would be nothing for me to eat, and I just wanted to sit down and cry. So, this product is meant for those of us GF people that want good, homemade, warm yummy food like our mama makes that wont make us sick. A product for Non-GF people that they can easily make at Christmas, or give as a gift, which makes us GF people warm to the core when you think about us and our food! 🙂

I have started by giving away 12 free samples (seen above) which I am delivering this week along with a survey so that I can figure out if this will work. If you have any comments or ideas please feel free to let me know, would love to hear them! I would love to know if you would purchase anything like this, etc. I hope to report back with good news and plans to move forward!

Until then, thanks for reading 🙂

Don’t Shop, Adopt!!

george clooney, animal rescue, adopt, dont shop

 This is something that is very near and dear to my heart. If you are my Facebook friend chances are you see alot of posts and shares of dogs that are looking for homes. When you are in the business of rescue  and you see stories constantly of abuse, mistreatment, abandonment it breaks your heart into pieces daily. What makes the heartbreak worse is that there are people out there that view the dogs that we save as “damaged” or “unwanted”.

I have been hearing so much from people lately that they dont want a shelter dog because it may turn on them or their children one day, have issues, you have to fix them, or they arent purebred. My purpose in writing this is to reach out to people in a big, public forum and really explain what happens in the shelters and what you get if you are buying a dog from a breeder.

The problem with purebred dogs and breeders is that to create the amazing lineage they have to breed dogs from the same gene pool and thus creates inbreeding from using dogs in the same family. These dogs are bred over and over again which creates further health problems. The most commons problems are: Higher rates of cancers & tumors, eye diseases, heart diseases, skin problems, neurological problems, immune system problems and epilepsy. That is not to say that any dog wont struggle with that, but by having a purebred dog the chances go up significantly that they will develop one of the above issues.

In this article they give great insight into the problems with breeders and also with pet overpopulation in general. It is not only the breeders that are the problem, but once people get their dogs and cats not spaying or neutering them, thus creating more dogs and cats in the world that people cant take care of. I love one of the lines in the article that is talking about shelter animals saying, “These animals are not “reject” animals, but animals that were unfortunate enough to fall into the hands of people who decided they didn’t want the responsibility.” That is truly what it is. People think they are cute, fun, etc. and once they pee on your rug or chew up your chair they are outta there! Pets are a forever thing, not just for now. They count on us to provide them with the best life, because they cannot do that for themselves.

This is why I got involved in rescue one year ago. I have learned so many wonderful things, but I have also seen and heard some gut wrenching things. Many shelters in Georgia that we rescue from are Heart Stick shelters. This is the most painful way to die. The vet will stick the animal in the heart with a syringe of medicine, but the problem is that you have to strap them down and hold them still, and most of the times they miss from the animal wiggling. Ultimately they puncture the lung or some other organ and the animal dies a struggling and painful death. If you dont like reading that, Im sorry, it is the truth. Many of the people in our group have to walk the halls and decide which ones to talk with them. You cannot begin to understand the sadness until you have been there and seen how scared, lonely, and confused they are.

I will take a minute to brag on my two “damaged” doggies 🙂

This is my Angie: or Angel, Boo boo, bear, etc. She has lots of names 🙂 I rescued her in 2005, my second year of college. This was my first dog that was just mine! I remember when i saw her curled up in a ball in the corner of her cage and I was like, thats the one, that is my dog! She had obviously been abused because one I reached out to pet her she cowered. She is afraid of loud noises including thunderstorms. Because of that I dont see her as damaged, I see her as wonderful, and I have been able to help her overcome so many fears in the past 7 years and that makes me so happy. She used to be so afraid of people but now we go to the Farmers Market on Saturdays and she gets so happy and wants to see every person that walks by. She has stolen my heart and there will be a piece missing when she is gone, that is for sure. Like humans, doggies have some baggage too. But, we can help each other by just loving 🙂


 My other little (or big) buddy is Jake. Also known as Jakester, Jakey, Jake Dog, Jake Boo, and he also has his own theme song 🙂 We rescued from the Atlanta Humane Society when he was 5 months old. We dont know anything about his background, but he is super happy and loving, wouldnt hurt a fly. He is afraid of water and vacuums, but hey, we can live with that! He is a little crazy, but we love him. He is just a big goof ball. Jake is a great example of a dog that just was probably stranded as a puppy somewhere and just because he was stranded doesnt mean he is damaged. He was never abused, he just didnt have anyone that wanted him. But, we are so glad that we are the ones that get to love him now!

jakester christmas
The Jakester

I just want to encourage you to really think about your choice before you make one. If you are thinking about getting a pet 1) can you care for it for the rest of its life as best as you can? 2) ADOPT! I couldnt imagine those two faces up there getting put to sleep and never getting to meet them because of other selfish humans. If it is good enough for George Clooney, it should be good enough for YOU! Please don’t shop, ADOPT! You can make a difference by rescuing and saving another animal from being put to sleep and making room for more in the shelters. If you have pets that are not fixed yet, PLEASE get them spayed or neutered, that is one of the biggest problems rescuers face! Please be part of the solution, not the problem!

If you have any questions, comments, etc. I would love to hear them. If you are interested in finding out more about animal rescue I would love to tell you all about!

Get Involved: 

Week 3: Feeling Good!

I know you are thinking where is Part 2?! Sorry, I have been slacking, work has been super busy and I havent had much time to update on our journey!

This week I started finally feeling the way everyone was describing and it is great! Austin has lost 8 pounds, with minimal exercise, so it is just from eating better. I am so proud of him!! I am also proud of him because he has done soo good eating vegetables and not complaining! Gold star for Austin! 🙂

On this journey I am going to be very honest with you 🙂 The biggest change I have seen for me personally is digestively. I was not a “regular” person and being gluten free helped with all the stomach problems I had, but it did not put me on a healthy regular schedule. This has made an amazing difference! In 3 weeks my body has completely become regular and normal and its amazing! I am still having some gas side effects depending on what I eat, but overall that has subsided. We have not had meat at all this week! whoo! It really is all about trying something and changing your perspective and gaining insight. I didnt think that I would be able to feel full without having some sort of meat at dinner. Every night I have been super full! I also dont feel guilty about the things that we are eating. The other night we had a Thai salad and I didnt feel bad for eating another serving because it is healthy!! We are still probably going to remain “flexitarians” but try to not eat meat as much as possible, unless we are at a family function where we have no choice because our GF/DF diet is hard enough! 🙂

The one thing I miss is cheese. We are dairy free, but we would eat mozzarella because that was the only thing that wouldnt cause digestive issues. Now its nothing. I want pizza SO bad! A couple of years ago when we first went GF/DF we tried Daiya cheese. SICK. Im sorry if you like it but it made me gag! So, that is my new mission. I bought some vegan cheese from Whole Foods the other day, but have yet to try it, I will let you know. If there is a cheese that you recommend that is like mozzarella and melts well, please let me know!! I have also found some recipes on making nut cheeses, so I am hoping to try that soon so that we can make some pizzas!

Also on this journey I have fallen more in love with Whole Foods. Just want to give a little shout out to them! I already loved Whole Foods but its like a forbidden fruit because it is so darn expensive. They have an amazing selection of Gluten Free and Dairy Free foods that doesnt even come close to Kroger! My awesome finds for the week were Food for Life GF Brown Rice Wraps. LOVE! I made a veggie wrap for lunch and dinner this week from them and it made me so happy, I love wraps! I also bought Against the Grain GF Baguettes! YES! They taste amazing! I made a veggie sub. That was also wonderful. My last yummy find was EnviroKidz GF cereal the Leapin’ Lemurs brand. It tastes like Reese Cup cereal, and it GF and healthy! OMG its soo good!  I was seriously in heaven going up and down the aisles! They have an amazing choice of vegan mayos, butters, cheeses, etc. I think I will probably just have to give in and go there more often because they have such a great selection of everything we need.

 Just in case you are interested here is a breakdown of the food for this week if you need some inspirations for your breakfast or dinner (my lunch is just leftovers from the night before)! :

Monday:  GF Cereal with Fruit, Chocolate Coconut milk <–yum! Vegetarian Chili with GF Flatbreads for dinner.

Tuesday: GF cereal with fruit, chocolate millk. Veggie Wrap with grapes for dinner.

Wednesday: GF Envirokidz cereal, chocolate milk. Thai Salad with homemade peanut dressing and edamame.

Thursday: GF yummy Envirokidz cereal, chocolate milk. We went out, had a Chipotle Veggie bowl.

Friday: GF EK Cereal and fruit. Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes and Quinoa for dinner.

Enjoy your weekend everyone!!

26th Birthday Recap featuring the Raw Vegan Birthday Cake!


raw, vegan, cheesecake, gluten free, dairy free, egg freeraw, vegan, gluten free, dairy free, cheesecake

Monday, May 7th was my 26th Birthday! Mondays are kind of a sad day to have a birthday. Had to go about my normal work day, etc. and couldnt stay out too late, boo!  Thankfully everyone at work was very nice and I had a HAPPY BIRTHDAY sign at my desk when I arrived at work & my boss gave me a $50 gift card to Kroger, she knows I love to bake 🙂 So that was really nice.

That night we went to Season’s 52, one of our favorite GF restaurants with our wonderful friends Eryn & Jared, who are also fellow GF’ers!! 🙂 We saw the cast from Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta which was really fun, I honestly dont think in the 22 years Ive lived here that I have seen a celebrity, so I was really excited!! Austin was soo sweet and got me & Eryn all day passes to Spa Sydell including a massage, mani & pedi. Now we just need to decide when to go! Cant wait!!

Eryn gave me an awesome shirt from her amazing collection called “So Worth Loving”. If you want to know more about it or purchase an awesome shirt you can go here. The awesome “Cursive Tee” is what I am wearing here:

so worth loving tshirt
Now, for the last part of the night: CAKE! I was a little nervous about this. This was my first time making a “Raw” Vegan dessert, and one that I was going to be serving to other people! I came across this awesome site called Nouveau Raw. Her food is so beautiful and so creative! When I saw the picture of this cake I just had to make it! It is actually super easy and it requires NO baking at all, which is the best part! I changed a couple of things around because some of the ingrediants I didnt have, but it turned out great. Everyone was shocked when I told them that it was made from cashews!! It is also nice to eat a dessert that I feel like is actually healthy for me! This dessert is no gluten, eggs, dairy, oils, or refined sugars!! To make the awesome Chocolate Mocha Cheesecake head on over to here–> Cake Recipe

I am thankful for Austin, family, and friends that made my day special! Thank You! 🙂

Week 1: Wake up call to the body!

 We have now done one week of the plant based diet as seen on “Forks over Knives” !! To refresh your memory this is no meat, oils, refined sugar, eggs, or dairy. We definitely have adapted it to our needs and did not go into it 100%. After talking I dont know if we will ever do it 100%, we will probably be flexitarians! I read that flexitarians are people that most of the time do this diet, but if you are somewhere where you cant (ie: family Thanksgiving) that you still eat meat, etc. Being gluten/dairy free is already hard when going out or to family gatherings so we dont want to just add another layer of hassle if we dont have too. All that being said we are for sure limiting meat to only 1-2 days a week and only eating chicken, since beef was really the main cause for concern.

The reason I titled this “Wake up call to the body” is that simply enough, it was! Obviously I thought I was being “healthy” before but when you start really reading labels, and learning about what is good and not good it is eye opening. I learned that we do not eat enough fiber. Women should eat 21-25 grams and men should eat 35-38 grams per day. The average person only eats about 10 grams per day. Now, eating 25 grams of fiber after only eating about 5 is a little bit of a shocker to the digestive system. I am going to be honest here because that is the most helpful 🙂 So I am very sorry if this is TMI!

The first couple of days were definitely the worst. My stomach had sooo many bubbles in it and I had lots of gas and went to the bathroom alot more than I was before! After all of the really annoying and embarrassing side effects subsided it has been alot better and my system feels more regulated. It will take about a week or so to adjust. It’s funny because you would think doing the right thing for your body would make you feel great, but honestly the first couple of days I felt like crap! I also read alot of useful forums about this that said that you should ease into it and eat easier to digest foods like lentils and work your way up to black beans, etc. OOHHH….haha Well the first 3 days I ate probably 2 cans of black beans, that explains it 🙂 haha SO, my advice is to spread out the fiber into all 3 meals if you can that way you dont eat a can of beans at dinner and the next day have crazy stomach bubbles!! These were all things that unfortunately they did not address in the documentary but should have!

Now the most common question I have been getting: WHAT do you EAT?! People are like OMG you eat plants? no meat? It really freaks them out, especially here in the south where everything is meat covered in gravy! It really hasnt been that hard actually. I will say that it is a little of an upfront investment because some of the key ingrediants you need are a little expensive but you are cutting out one of the most expensive products, meat, so it all evens out. Here is what we ate for the week to give you an idea:

Friday: I still ate my GF Rice Chex for breakfast!
We just did PB&J since we still needed to go to the store.

Saturday: I had a chocolate/banana/soy smoothie at Starbucks for breakfast. Went to the store and got all of the goodies! I made myself GF pasta with lots of sauteed veggies & pinenuts and a little Earth Balance.

Sunday: Fruit for breakfast. Homemade GF flatbreads with DF cream cheese & veggies. Inspiration here: Cream Cheese with veggies  Flatbread
Also made this tasty dessert adapted to GF: Cookie Sandwiches

Monday: Smoothie for breakfast.
Breakfast for dinner: GF oatmeal pancakes & fruit

TuesdayVegan Overnight Oats for breakfast (GF)
Salad with lots of veggies & fruits and homemade honey mustard dressing

Wednesday: Rice Chex & fruit for breakfast.
Our one meat meal of Chicken Tacos with rice & plantains
Make this little treat, you will not believe how good it tastes!: Raw Food “Brownies”

Thursday: Rice Chex and fruit for breakfast.
I was home alone so it was a quick sandwich!

Friday: Butternut Ravioli Stacks
Inspiration here: Ravioli Stacks

For snacks I ate dried fruit, larabars, and nuts. Surprisingly I didnt feel starved at all this week, my body was the perfect amount of full 🙂

Now onto the second week..stayed tuned as we continue on the journey & thanks for reading!!

Our New Food Journey!

forks over knives, movie, poster

So, over the weekend Austin and I watched “Forks over Knives” on Netflix. We have watched “Food Inc.”, “Fat Sick and Nearly Dead”, but this film really made me want to change my life. The other films are very condemning and convicting and truly make you think about where our food comes from and what we are putting in our bodies. “Forks over Knives” does the best job giving you the facts and then real life examples of how this type of lifestyle has literally changed people’s lives by reversing cancers, diabetes, and heart disease.

Why am I telling you this?? They are not paying me to say any of this 🙂 I know there are lots of critics on the other side saying that we do need meat, dairy, etc. to be healthy. This is just my personal opinion and what Austin and I think is best for us. So, with that said we are starting our new food journey this week. Now, you are probably wondering what exactly the new lifestyle is. It is called a Whole Food Plant Based diet. Basically you take meat, eggs, dairy, refined sugars, and oils out of your diet and eat more fruits, veggies, nuts, and foods that are more natural.

The main focus is taking meat and dairy and any animal proteins out. The argument is that the animal proteins actually don’t help us and hurt us in the forms of cancers and heart disease. There were many studies documented in the movie, but I will give you one example. One of the doctors featured in the film and activist for this diet did a trial with 20 people over about 20 years on this diet and he saw cancer reversed, diabetes, heart disease, cholesterol and lots of other little complaints that people had disappear. When they did the study in rats, the animal fats and proteins were causing tumors to appear, when they took them off the proteins and had them on a whole food diet the tumors disappeared. So, maybe I am just an easy person to convince, but doesn’t that seem amazing?! Why wouldn’t you want to do that?!

The nature of my blog will be changing just a bit now. We already do gluten and dairy free, so now we are just cutting out the meat 🙂 So in a sense I guess we are becoming vegan, but i dont like calling it that! I am going to try and get our stats before we truly start this and track our progess here. I will write about our experiance, our findings, and recipes. Mainly, we want to see after a month if this is as great as everyone is claiming it to be! Austin’s mom has diabetes and both of his grandfathers have had heartattacks. He is also trying to lose weight, so we just think that this is something very important that we need to do now! So the recipes maybe changing, but in a good way! I am hoping to post things that are great for your health while also tasting good, AND dont have 20 ingrediants and take 10 hours to make!

So, come along on our newest food journey and hopefully there will be a great outcome for a healthier life!

DIY Monogram Wall Hanger

monogram, pinterest, wall hanger, door hanger, buttons, canvas, DIY

I have always been a lover of crafts, and my major in college was fashion merchandising in which I had to take 2 sewing classes, so I have always loved creating things! Since Pinterest came along I have probably gone a little DIY crazy 🙂 There are just way to many cute things to make and not enough time!!

 Austin and I are really trying to make most of the furniture and decorative pieces in our house now a days. I got a sewing machine for Christmas that will soon be getting used to create curtains and pillows hopefully! 🙂 After Christmas our house just looked so sad with all of the decorations gone. The first thing that needed help was our front door. There was no more wreath and it has been sitting blank for a couple of weeks. I saw a picture like this on Pinterest, but no tutorial since it was pinned from someone’s Etsy shop. I figured it would be super easy to DIY!

It was really easy to do, it only took me an hour. I got everything at Hobby Lobby and it was under $20. Here is what you need:

*Ribbon of your color choice ($3.00 at Hobby Lobby)
*Fabric of any pattern or color (1 yd) ($5.00 at Hobby Lobby)
*Buttons of any color, your choice ($4.99 for a big pack at Hobby Lobby)
*Canvas ($7.99 at Hobby Lobby, but I had 40% off coupon)
*Glue Gun

 1.) Start by covering the canvas with your fabric and then hot glueing to the back of it to secure.
2.) Next, I printed out my letter as big as I could in Word with a font I liked, but it didnt get big enough. So, I just kind of had to free hand it and did a little pencil outline as best I could.
3.) Start putting on your buttons with the hot glue!
4.) Attach your ribbon at the back with hot glue.

Tada! You are done! See, not hard at all right??

Christmas & New Year’s 2011

Sorry, this is REALLY behind I know!! I am totally slacking on getting my Christmas pictures up & doing my thank you notes. ugh. Right after Christmas you just get thrown back into reality again and I feel like I havent stopped!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and had fun celebrating the New Year! This year Austin and I went on a 10 day adventure! The first 5 days we were in Fayetteville, NC at his parents house celebrating with them, his brother, sister-in-law and grandpa. It was a wonderful Christmas and we enjoyed spending time with everyone! Then we headed onto Jackson, TN & Nashville, TN where we spent New Year’s and celebrated another Christmas with Austin’s aunts, uncles, cousins, & grandparents!! Here are some photos from our journey, enjoy!! 🙂