Palm Desert Trip

Hey friends!

Bry and I are back from our amazing 8-day holiday in Palm Desert!

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And YOU GUYS. I played tennis. Like, for real. And I only hit one ball into a cactus garden. I feel very successful. Maybe I should start tweeting the Williams girls or Anna K or someone!?

We left early mornin two Saturdays ago and made it into Palm Springs around 4:30 pm. After we picked up a SASSY rental car we headed to Ralph’s for groceries. Our room had a pretty nice-sized kitchenette so we filled our cart and headed for our hotel.

We pulled in at the Westin Desert Villas and after checking in we sat down to a great dinner at the hotel restaurant, Agave. The hotel continued to amaze us all week, with really friendly staff, beautiful pools and delicious food+drinks. YAY.

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Lots of our trip was spent laying by the pool, playing tennis, grilling burgers and watching Below Deck on Bravo (SO good). I also brought along the Steve Jobs book, by Walter Issacson and devoured the whole thing in 7 days. What a guy. An a-hole, yes. But a genius, and now I want a Mac laptop…

Flank Steak!

Flank Steak!

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Highlinghts from our trip include firstly, a jaunt up to the top of Palm Desert’s popular (rotating) aerial tram. We decided to do a 5-mile loop once we got to the top and I am happy to report that I actually went FASTER than Bryan. I was SO Legolas. Also, we passed a troop of Army guys on the trail in full gear so baaaasically I think that makes me a Marine. Green beret.

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After our hike we did what any Californian would do.

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We also drove the hour or so over to Joshua Tree! Unfortunately my allergies decided to flare up HARD so I was a complete mess the whole time we were there. I could only manage a quick 2-mile hike but lemme tell ya – it was absolutely beautiful. It’s amazing in a way that words cannot describe. The trees and plant-life are very Dr. Suessy which was completely fascinating too. Josh Tree, two enthusiastic thumbs up!

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Feelin like crap

Feelin like crap

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After two days of wilderness adventure I decided it was high time I drag Bryan along for a taste of MY kindof fun. The OUTLET MALL. Palm Desert’s Desert Hills Outlets were the ticket. The place is absolutely enourmous and a bit palatial. Plus, it’s a designer outlet mall so it had the big boys. Prada, Alexander McQueen, Carolina Herrara, Gucci – I was dyyyyying. The most exciting (for me) shops were Nieman Marcus Last Call, Barney’s Outlet, Saks Off 5th, Tory Burch, J.Crew Outlet and of course The Cosmetics Company.

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I ended up with a couple things from J.Crew and 1 Mac Mineralized blush from The Cosmetics Company. Bry was a sport and studied for an upcoming exam he has to take for work at Starbucks. But you guys, I could have spent ALL DAY at this place.

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We had some delicious meals and ended up utilizing the BBQ at our hotel 3 nights too. I learned to swim underwater kindof and do a tennis serve. Bryan learned that sunblock should always go on the back of your neck and why the clearance rack at Barney’s Outlet is something to squeal over.

All in all, an educational and wonderful desert holiday!

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Our Wedding: My Dress

I am so excited to finally be able to show you guys the dress contenders. Choosing my dress was pretty easy after I narrowed down my criteria, which was:

  • To look like a Ballerina

Hahahaaa. But really, I knew I wanted to look hyper feminine, timeless and as much like a ballerina as possible. Not like the polished, face-lifting bun type, but like the beautifully undone, I-just-stepped-off-stage ballerina. After looking online, I noted a few styles from various designers that were MUST-TRY’s. It seemed I was utterly smitten by many of the dresses by Watters, so I sought out the shops that carried the brand.

Here are some of the ones that made the final cut.

Sorry about not remembering all the details of each of these. Detail-oriented, I am not.

This one came from a little shop in Bellevue, La Belle Reve. All I recall was that it was a style called “Megan”. In hindsight…I kinda wish I would have went with this dress. It was simple, really comfortable and the dress I chose was a TORTURE CHAMBER. Plus it was a good boob-dress.

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I allllmost chose this dress because I felt like a southern belle AND a ballerina, which to me, is the most perfect creature imaginable.

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One closed-mouth smile was needed

It was SUPER poof and the bodice was LIFE-CHANGING but I think it was like 18-hundo. Kinda spendy. This dress was in Seattle at a shop called La Belle Elaine’s.

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This one was my and Bryan’s mom’s favorite, also at La Belle Elaine’s. The top was absolutely adorable, with a floral-lace overlay. I loved it too, but felt that it accentuated my linebacker shoulders.

And lastly, here is MY dress, found at I Do Bridal in Seattle. It is by Justin Alexander, style 8670.

In the first photos, I am wearing the sample from the store. You will see how much more POOF was involved in the finished dress.

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Below are some shots from our wedding day.

Overall, I loved my dress. We added tiny rolled satin straps to it because 1.) I do not like strapless dresses on me and 2.) they added to the ballerina-factor. It definitely could have fit me better and was probably better suited for a big-chested gal, but the gals who helped me failed to point out that fact. My advice to any bride would be to choose a dress that speaks to your style and aesthetic, but that also suits your body. My sister had a similar experience when she realized after the fact, that her dress was probably better suited for a taller broad. Whatevs, we choose was we like.

Profesh photos courtesy of Allie Hannah Photography.

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Mother Nancy sewed the straps on after the dress was on me

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Soooo classy with the purple solo cup

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Which one do YOU like best?

ALSO, would anyone like to see a bridal makeup post? I did my own makeup and would be happy to share!!

Currently Coveting

Materialism at it’s worst, guys. I KNOW. But just indulge me 🙂

The list below is compiled of things I have taken a hard liking to over the past couple of months. It’s a bit longer than normal because I haven’t bought anything lately due to lack of job, trips to Potbelly and a teensy dent I put in the Jeep. Oopsa’ daisies!

Mac Blushes!!

I went to the Mac on NW 23rd here in Portland and had a swatchfest. I had ’em all up and down my arm like a lunatic and determined these shades MUST be mine.

Petal Power Mineralized Blush $27

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Check out the new Mac mineralized packaging! I saw Sam Schuerman talk about the beauty of this blush and HAD to see for myself. I am currently REALLY digging blushes that can basically double as highlights, much like my current favorite blush which is Luminoso by Milani. This shade is an absolutely gorgeous pink with goldy undertones. Mamma want.

Sunbasque Powder Blush $22

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Sunbasque is a color I have heard tons about and I finally experienced it’s radiant splendor. It is definitely more of a mauvy, bronzed color with that shimmer I have grown obsessed with.

Margin Powder Blush $22

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To me, margin might be the perfect summer blush of all time. It is rose gold (reminiscent of Benefit’s boxed blush in Rockateur) but MUCH more glowy. It has brownish peach undertones and would PERF with my skin tone right now or with a slammin self tan.

Springsheen Powder Blush $22

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Springsheen. Oh, springsheen. How lovely and coral and perfect and luminous you are. Do you guys see why I need all these blushes? They are all SO me and wonderfully life-changing.

 

Other Stuff

Benefit Push Up Liner $24

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I have never been a fan of gel liners. Back in the good ol’ days, I had Mac’s blacktrack and it completely dried out on me after like 8 months and I was PISSED. I have tried other drugstore brands since then and they’re okay but I always find myself migrating back to my liquids or pencils because it’s just too much work to lug out the pot AND the brush (not lazy at all, here). But then Benefit released this and my distaste for gel liner has been thoughtfully redacted. No need for a brush! No dried-up product! I need this in my life.

Josie Maran Whipped Argan Body Butter $48

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$48 body lotion necessitates a lengthy explanation, so allow me to deconstruct…

Alright gals. Body lotion 101 is in session. You all know I struggle with a couple of agonizing skin disorders. One being my keratosis pilaris otherwise known as chicken skin or those tiny bumps we sometimes get on the backs of our arms and legs. The other being my acute paleness. NOW. Ingredients such as glycerin and mineral oil upset the chicken skin, as the ingredients are not good for the root cause of these bumps – a hard build-up of keratin which plugs up the hair follicle.

Additionally, ingredients such as alcohol and mineral oil actually STRIP the color off of a self-tanned body. Which is NO BUENO.

So, in congruence with these obstacles – I have been on the hunt for skin lotions and butters devoid of these ingredients. And lemmetellya, there aren’t many. Organic or natural brands may not contain alcohol but then they mostly ALL have glycerin and mineral oil.

My discovery is this – Josie Maran body butter. It is free of alcohol, mineral oil and has only a small amount of “natural vegetable glycerin”.

PRAISE THE LORD allelujah! I will happily fork over this ungodly sum for a bit of skin relief – oh yes, I will.

Alex and Ani Bracelets $28 (approx.)

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Let me explain. I have always wanted a charm bracelet. However, I am just not a fan of the Pandora line or the tradition charm bracelets that get all bulky. These bangles from Alex and Ani I find to be quite cute as you can stack them up and wear a bunch at a time. They come in all different styles and metals and I want a million of them.

Maybelline Hip Eyeshadow Duo in Electrified $5

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Kristin Gehm mentioned this duo on one of her recent videos and I need it. Unfortunately it is not available anywhere! If anyone finds this line of eyeshadows anywhere please let me know!

TIGI Bedhead Oh Bee Hive! Dry Shampoo $20

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My sister’s GF Shannon used this on me when she did my hair for our wedding and I am IN LOVE. It smells amazing and I found the result to be smooth and natural. I usually opt for drugstore dry shampoos but this might just make me a convert.

Benefit Maybe Baby Perfume $32

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This perfume is everything to me. It has the same scent as my beloved Bathina Oil Mist from Benefit. An ultra-feminine, sweet, floral scent that makes feel like the ballerina I wish I were.

And that’s it! What have YOU been coveting??

Honeymoon Haul + Wedding Bits

As some of you may or may not know, Bryan and I are going to Bali for our honeymoon. We leave on a red eye basically 24 hours after we say “I DO” and could not be more excited.

We figured since we’re putting ourselves through that crazy red-eye, Hep A shots (which were a little B, btw), typhoid vaccinations, and the possibility of Bali Belly, we deserved a few odds and ends to make our stay a little more comfortable and yes, stylish.

Bry hit the mother-load at the Rack, procuring himself swim trunks, a few tee shirts and maybe the odd tank top. My trousseau shall be filled with travel-friendly (read: comfortable) and fun (read: cheap) vacation-wear. In addition was the SAS at Victoria’s Secret and a pair of falsies spotted at Sephora that I just HAD to try.

Here are the goods!

From Target:

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I chose this bikini for two reasons. One, the top is push-up and two, the bottoms ARE NOT string-tie. Why doesn’t target have a 30 years + swim section?

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I am usually not a fan of maxi skirts (ON ME) because I always end up feeling like they are a bit too short and I don’t think it is appropriate to “sag” your maxi skirt. This one however, I am excited to wear with, wait for it…CROP TOPS. Yes, m’friends. I shall don a crop top and bare my upper tum-tum to the world!

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I decided to grab this little white pocket crop-top to pair not only with the tulip skirt but also with a pair of shorts to wear possibly over a swim suit. We shall see how I feel about it.

From T.J Maxx

There is the classiest T.J Maxx downtown Portland. You wouldn’t think it, but every time I go, I am treated to perfectly arranged clothing racks, sparkling dressing rooms and a well-stocked candle section. A + downtown T.J. A+.

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Boring navy tank. I SWEAR this brand from T.J Maxx makes the softest tees and tank tops. They are always under $7.99 and I mean, you just CANNOT beat that.

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Shorts like these were all over the store. And being the true Maxxinista that I am, I had to partake. Dare I say, they look a bit like pajamas but I feel like Bali will welcome this look. Plus, they have a stretchy waist band. YES please!

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They had a TON of makeup brushes this time around. Some off-brands that I had never heard of, but also ones by Borghese and Models Own. I decided to grab this little blending brush because it was $2.99 and it looked decent.

Sephora & Victoria’s Secret

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I spotted these at Sephora a few weeks ago and was all, “yeah right”, they cannot be real mink. Well, jury’s still out. I haven’t the slightest idea of what they are truly made of, but really, I don’t care. Just look at that crazy lash action. I think these might be a wedding-day contender, and at $10, they didn’t break the bank.

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I spent a mere $13 on ALL of these goodies (gotta love that SAS). A VS Heavenly (my FAVE VS scent) body wash, Lip Plumper in Baby Pink, purse-sized Heavenly Body Mist and a nail polish in String Bikini. Don’t mind if I do!

And that’s it for my haul – check back soon for a re-cap of our awesome weekend!

Bargains at Ulta and Macy’s

Something about the word bargain gets me excited. As do the words, “additional 90% off”.

The other weekend before I hopped on the plane at GEG (with a dream and my cardigan), we made a pit-stop at one of Spokane’s finest establishments – Macy’s Clearance Center. Not many know about this place, accessed only by rickety elevator at the store’s  downtown Spokane location. The air up on the 8th floor is thick and hot. The floors creak under dated carpet and clothing racks from the late 80’s. But if you can see past all that, you can truly find some treasures…marked down to $5.99.

The day we wandered in was (lucky for us) the first day of a massive sale. 90% off original prices. NO JOKE. And since I had to catch a flight back to Seattle, we had only 30 minutes. We were a circus. Veritable lions, tigers and bears among the racks, on the prowl.  There were GOOD Macy’s headlining brands like Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, Splendid and tons of others, marked down to just dollars.

I ended up with only two dresses, which I happily paid $18 for both. The first is a Tommy Hilfiger shift, which I promptly wore on the first sunny day after I got it.

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With Lou!

It’s a little short on me (surprise surprise) but I don’t currr. The print is too fresh.

The other dress is by Rachel Roy and I thought was something  I could wear to work. Also black and white is totes on trend.

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This isn’t the exact one, but it’s darn close

On to the Ulta stuff!

Sorry if anyone is sick of me bragging about the bargains I find at Ulta. I can’t help it. SO —

Recently Ulta had Revlon, Maybelline, Physicians Formula and a few other brands on sale for 40% off. Which is  huge. Usually they do a BOGO on these brands so 40% on anything is a real treat. Additionally in my last Ulta online order, I was given a $5 off any $15 purchase coupon. On top of that, I have been clipping coupons from weekly Redplum ads.

As a result, I was able to get these three products for stupid cheap.

Physicians Formula Mineral Glow Pearls in Translucent Pearl $13.95

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Kandee Johnson used this in an old tutorial and it looked so lovely on her. I wasn’t about to pay full price for it, so when it went on sale – I grabbed it.

Revlon Parfumerie Nail Polish in Pink Pineapple

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I mean. The bottle is enough to make me want the entire line. I decided to get this light pastel pink because the color has become such a staple for me. I would even go so far as to say it’s my signature color. Unfortunately the color is pretty sheer and I needed three coats to get it opaque.

Maybelline Color Elixir in Breathtaking Apricot

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I am fully on board the orange/coral lip trend for this spring. And if you haven’t tried one of these color elixirs from Maybelline, you are srsly missing out. They are beyond amazing and almost feel like gel on the lips. Smooth, rich and really pigmented – the apricot color adds the perfect pop of color to my face. I love wearing it with a dewy, bronzed look.

The original total for all three of these products would be roughly $30 (inc. tax).

On sale, the total came to about $18 (inc tax).

With my $5 off coupon AND $1 Maybelline coupon – I was outta there for about $12 (less than the original price of the powder alone). The girl at Ulta was even like, “Wow, you got a really good deal.”

WORD to yer mother.

 

Things I Don’t Want

You know, we all spend so much time thinking, talking and lusting about things WE WANT. Which is just sad, really. Not because we shouldn’t be materialistic (there are worse things, me thinks), but because desperation is not a good look on anyone.

So in light of this, I have decided to show you all some things I definitely do not want.

Like, at all. 

THIS DRESS

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asdWhat is up with the whole neoprene trend? I don’t get how is it cool to wear scuba fabric in our daily lives. While doing scuba? Sure. Washing the dishes? Applying for a loan? No.

The garment pictured, combines the lovely neoprene trend with what appears to be an un-snapped body suit (you know the ones, girls) sewn into the silhouette of a skater dress. Annd, what girl wants a butt-stripe? NOT ME.

THESE JEANS

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^And these shoes^

I’ll admit it. When skinny jeans first came out, I was a big skeptic. It wasn’t until months later that I finally caved and gave into that ankle-hugging glory. But this jean trend? It didn’t work on women in the 80’s and it doesn’t work now. Plus, if you have even the semblance of a saddle bag, skintight high-waisted pants aren’t really your BFF anyway.

I have nothing against a combat boot when worn with the appropriate pairing. The above platform versions look like a castoff from that movie The Craft.

The new Velvetines from Lime Crime

velvetine-salem_1_2I want to make it clear that I am NOT hating on Lime Crime. I frigging love their makeup and philosphpy and just, everything. And because I love them so much, sometimes it is nice when they come out with something I don’t like. The above pictured velvetine in Salem is from the new “Clueless Witch” line which has three dark, vampy shades. One of the shades would work for me, but this deep brown, matte lip color? You can guess what I think it looks like.

The Marc Jobs Lolita Palette

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Oh, how I wanted this when it came out last August. I died for it. The packaging is bliss, the colors looked amazing. I was SURE the eyeshadows would be velvety soft, super pigmented and blendable. I have swatched the shadows and tried them on at Sephora a good 87263 times, and you know what? I was not impressed. Not at all.

THESE HAIR TRENDS

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This looks like her colorist was drunk. Or high. And you are probably too if you find this hair stripe to be a nice looking trend.

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I mean. COME ON. Do I need to say anything about this mushroom pictured above? YEAH, didn’t think so.

 Oh and lastly…

HAREM SWEATPANTS

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On men, especially. I mean, are regular sweatpants not roomy enough? All I can think about when I see these are DIAPERS. You could have diapers on under there.

Or these, on anyone besides Aladdin.

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Any new trends you can’t stand or things you don’t want?

What We Did Last Weekend

Hellllo my cotton candy Jelly Bellys!

So, last weekend was kindof a doozie.

Friday I found a pair of wedding shoe candidates at DSW and texted my casual friday OOTD to Megan per usual.

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After work, I did not feel like cooking. But then again, I never do. So, we decided to try out North Bend Bar & Grill which is not far from us. Anytime we go out for dinner, I turn into a 12 year old girl on the night of 8th Grade Celebration. I get all excited and want to dress up. So I did (well, dressed up for me).

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Kate Spade lipstick in Parisian Pink (a gift from Ray-Ray!)

We arrived to patrons donning Looney Tunes lettermans jackets and women in banana clips. My wine came in a water goblet and was massively over-poured. YASSSS. Bry had a burger and I chose the panzenella. Both were great and we will definitely be back, but I will probably wear a North Face fleece.

We got froyo on the way home and I went insane on the toppings. At home, we switched on a movie and I fell asleep halfway through my pistachio with a chunk of Heath on my lip. ‘Ttractive.

Saturday morning was glorious. As is the case with all Saturday mornings. I finished this book and wasn’t thrilled with the ending.

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As some of you may know, Bryan is prepping for CFA III. His third and final exam to become a bone-a-fyed Chartered Financial Analyst. This is the big leagues here guys. The CFA is to Finance as Dumbledore is to wizardry. Or as Miley Cyrus is to buttcheeks.

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Wait.

An academic, I am not. So while Bryan busted his behind, clocking hours upon hours watching classroom videos and doing practice tests, I put makeup on. Another kind of studying.

I got Bryan to help me move my vanity back into my new freshly painted lady room. I hung up pastel fairy lights and channeled all the YouTubers I love as I buffed 75 different eyeshadows on to my lids. As evidenced here:

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Notice the new white walls??!

After a good chunk of studying, Bryan decided that he wanted to make fish tacos for dinner. I said sure as long as I didn’t have to handle the fish. So we went to the Q and filled our basket with raw fish, tequila and Cholula. Then we came home and Bry mixed up margaritas. You guys. Bryan makes the most PERFECT margarita ever. Of all time. Plus infinity.

Then we decided to have a wedding-update convo whilst buzzing in the late afternoon.  It went something like this:

  • Natalie: “If we have any wedding money leftover after everything is paid for, I want to book a videographer.”
  • Bryan: “I don’t want a video of our wedding! Who cares??”
  • Natalie: “Don’t you care about having a video of our wedding we can show our kids someday and watch each year on our anniversary?!”
  • Bryan: “Our kids won’t want to see that.”

Haahahahaaaa.

Then we had dinner and watched another movie and I fell asleep at 8 PM.

In a word, Sunday was odd. In a good way. We started saying, “Sunday? Funday!”. GOD we are such nerds and not in a good way. Things started out innocently enough. Bry began his studying regime while I holed up in bed with coffee and Dexter (the show, not another man named Dexter).

Then we went to the gym where I halfheartedly ellipticaled through a couple episodes of this new peach of a show:

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Then we came home, had sandwiches and Bryan started making margaritas again…

And then we were day drunk 🙂

We blasted gangster rap on the Bose, clinked glasses and basked in the glory of being childless 30-somethings. *Yes, we realize that as soon as we have a child, these days are O-V-E-R. We are trying to take advantage now.

A little while later, we took shots.

I don’t know.

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After the haziness faded a bit, I decided it was time to go shopping at the outlet mall. I had two extra 40% coupons for Gap and Banana that were burnin a whole in my pocket. The odds of getting Bryan to agree to a shopping trip with me are about 10,243 to 1 so I was surprised when he said it sounded like fun.

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We both got a few new things and I got a cardigan at Banana for $4.30. No big deal.

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After the shopping, I figured we’d make our way home. When Bryan missed the turn for our house I knew our Sunday Funday was not over. He made a few turns and before I knew it, the neon Snoqulamie Casino sign was slowly coming into focus.

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Oh law.

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Bryan is so cute and I look like Sloth from The Goonies

The place was buzzing. Why. WHY may I ask was a random casino SO packed on a Sunday at 5 o’clock? We entered the casino and I knew I wouldn’t last long…you see, it’s a smoking facility. Bryan went to go see if they had our ol’ standby, video blackjack – while I made my way through the mullets crowd to find the bathroom.

And this is when I found the crown jewel of the Snoqualmie Casino.

THE TOILETS

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A fresh piece of plastic just for me!? I wanted to talk to the other women in the bathroom about it. “Did you see the toilet seats!? So cool!!”. But I didn’t. Instead, I went to the bar where I hoped Bryan was feeling the same way I was about having smoke blown in my face by a man wearing a Margaritaville tee shirt 2 sizes too small.

We decided on one drink and one slot machine.

I DON’T understand the appeal of slot machines. It’s like a reverse ATM. There’s not even a cool handle anymore. You just press a button and it takes your money. We lost $10 and I couldn’t take it anymore. END THE MADNESS, I declared.

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Kathy ROCKS

We went home and threw our clothes in the washing machine (circa 2005 when we all did this after a night at the bars). And Bryan made us his amazing pizza and we turned on Rush Hour. I promptly fell asleep at 7:30 PM on the couch. Clearly tuckered out from Sunday Funday.

What will next weekend hold?! Cosmic bowling? A trip to Ikea? You just never know with us.