From The Desk Of … Courtney Whitmore

Dec 5 2016

by Paige Minear

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If you know the word stylist you know the name Pizzazzerie and the talented Courtney Whitmore.  The first time I spotted Courtney’s incredible work on her Instagram account I literally gasped at her attention to the details, there was not one thing she had not thought of and created.  For me details are everything and Courtney not only speaks my language but takes it to the next level.   Her blog, Pizzazzerie, is a “go-to guide for entertaining in style from easy and delicious party foods to daily party tips and inspiration”.  Starting her brand in 2010 she has quickly grown to the household name she is today.  When she isn’t styling and producing content for the blog she is creating content for incredible companies such as Target, Pier 1, Lindt Chocolate, Bacardi and more.  A published author with three incredible cookbooks, she is currently working on a new book which I am dying to see.  The sneaks she provides have me more than excited!

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Do you see what I mean about incredible styling?  What I love about Courtney’s style is how attainable it is, everything she uses can be found without breaking the bank. She uses simple things and creates incredible tables, parties and more!  And those details … I told you I have a major crush on her attention to detail.  Since styling is something I have a mad passion for myself I have a secret desire (well, not so secret) to show up one day at Courtney’s house to play. Can you imagine the fun we would have?  If nothing else I just want to be let loose in her prop closet.

Courtney graciously agreed to give us a peek into her office and the center of all the goodness she creates.  I knew it would be just as darling as she is and I was definitely not one single bit disappointed!

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Darling, right?  I just love her board on the wall.  Simple yet elegant, perfection really!  And now my very favorite part … 

First of all, how did your path to Pizzazzerie the stylist/author begin?

So I never had a clue I would ever work for myself, write books,  or start the career that I am so blessed to have. When I graduated from undergrad, I stayed to get a masters in Organizational Leadership as a means of stalling a real job since I had no idea what I wanted to do. After I graduated again, I stayed at Vanderbilt to work as a career counselor bringing companies on campus and helping undergraduate students land their first jobs. After 6 months, I was miserable. I would leave work, come home, watch Lifetime movies and wonder if this was “it”, life. I decided to invite my girlfriends over for a dinner party and instantly was hooked on setting a gorgeous tablescape. From there, I started a very very basic blog called pizzazzerie (combining pizzazz and patisserie). My mother had always styled tablescapes and often submitted ideas to magazines growing up so I had a lot of influence. As the site grew, I did some local television segments here in Nashville, and a few months later, I quit my job. My parents almost died seeing as I was now on my own having said goodbye to a salaried job with health insurance. Thankfully, I landed my first book deal one month later and things took off from there (a lot of luck and hard work too). I began working with brands and various companies to style their products in an entertaining setting and it’s continued ever since! My next book on all things entertaining will release in the fall of 2017, and I’m ecstatic. 
 
Anything you wish you had done and didn’t do?
You know, I don’t think so. I’ve learned so many things even through the stressful times of owning my own business but they’ve all taught me so many lessons. 
 
Anything you would do different?
Though I love the word Pizzazzerie, I might have branded my site as a different name had I known it would end up as a full-time job. It’s a bit difficult to pronounce and most people think it says pizzaria. But hey, it keeps things unique, right? 
 
Share two people who have inspired your career and why?
My mom, hands down. Like I mentioned earlier, I grew up watching her style tablescapes. She had a huge notebook with magazine clippings that she would go through for inspiration. Her name is Phronsie so she had all her tables photographed and called them “Phronsie’s Tables” in a big collection. I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Second, I would say Jennifer Sbranti from Hostess With The Mostess. She was the first “party blogger” and started her site in the early 2000s so she was really the first one to figure out a way to do this party blogging thing full-time. I worked for her site for a short time when I was getting on my feet and she was a true inspiration for my own journey. 
 
What inspires you to create?
Oh gosh, everything. I have this weird innate drive to create and style. If I’ve been traveling or busy with the business side of things, I find myself itching to create. Sometimes that’s just styling a pretty vignette for Instagram, but it’s a bit like a drug! I just have to get in there and style something! I love to flip through magazines, follow people like Paige for ideas, and just keep my eyes open! You never know when some color scheme or pattern will be the start of a major brand campaign! 
 
Favorite thing to style?
Tablescapes, bar carts, and party food! 
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Favorite item on your desk?
Besides my computer because what in the world would I do without it, I would say a big gold pineapple that I store “odds and ends” in. I grew up in Charleston where pineapples are a prominent symbol. I’m pretty pineapple obsessed. 
 
What is our favorite way to unwind?
Full on horizontal on the couch watching Dateline or The Bachelor. 
 
Five must haves.
 1. mascara
2. pink lipstick
3. diet coke
4. laptop
5. leggings 
With those 5 things, you can rule the world. (#amen sister!!)
 
Favorite quote.

“A party without cake is just a meeting.” – Julia Child 

What I love so much about Courtney and her journey to the amazing brand and girl boss she is today is how a simple dinner party changed the course of her career.  The simple dinner party she used to pick up her spirits when she was feeling unfilled turned into a small blog and then a full time job.  Using the example and passion her mother had built in her at a young age along with her own eye and tons of hard work she created an amazing full time career that she truly loves.  I think this is a lesson for us all as another year begins to close.  We should all love what we do and settle for nothing less.  Our days should be filled with inspiration, excitement and joy for all we have and all we do.
If you are not familiar with Courtney then I have just given you a fabulous gift.  Subscribe to her blog, follow her on Instagram and let her fill your inbox and feed with pretty after pretty.  I am counting the days until her book releases in 2017, I know it will be an amazing addition to my growing collection of fabulous inspirational books.    Thank you Courtney for the gift of the post and the incredible reminder. (xo)

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Paige Minear View More Blog Posts from this Author

Paige Minear is the author and preppy creator behind the design blog The Pink Clutch. Paige is known for her home full of color, Palm Beach style and antique treasures. Blogging since 2007, she uses her love for all things design related and her fashion background to channel her love for styling into daily posts. She strives to bring her readers colorful posts and inspiration. She is a lover of a strong latte, champagne cocktails, a stack of magazines, crisp button downs, popped collars, a sweet treat and a house full of fresh flowers and monogrammed linens. She can be seen most days in a gingham button down, pearls galore sporting leopard flats and ready for adventure.

Paige lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and four kids.

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