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.

 

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Ski Trip to Whistler

OH CANADA!

Is it bad that I know only two words of the Canadian national anthem? Perhaps. Because a couple weeks ago, Bry and I paid a visit to our neighbors of the north in the form of an epic 3-day skiing spectacular!

We left early Friday morning, the Jeep brimming with all our crap. I settled right in to the passenger seat and navigated us fell asleep all the way there! We arrived at the Cascade Lodge around 2 pm and were able to check in early. Our room was somewhat modest, but did have a kitchenette as well as a fireplace and decent-sized soaking tub so all was well. We tucked away our brews, vodka and nerd ropes safely and decided to head out into the “village” to grab our ski passes for the next day.

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You guys. Whistler Village is just so unbelievably charming. Restaurants, bars, shops, all staffed by friendly (and mostly European) folks with lovely accents. Why does EVERYTHING sound more appealing when described by a dreamy, wavy-haired Aussie? WHY?

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After we picked up our ski passes, we went back to our hotel to get gussied.

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Such a snow bunny right now

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Obligatory fireplace shot

Then we naturally headed to the Irish Pub, The Dubh Linn Gate.

The Whiskey Richards performed (get it?) while Bry and I chugged our pints atop teetery bar stools. I did a jig. Because, I mean. Why would I not?

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I was dying to go in every. single. store but I had to practice restraint as Bryan does not fare well in crowded shopping situations. Especially at L’Occitane. Or Lululemon. Or anywhere besides REI. He did approve a quick stop-off at my absolute biggest shopping weakness – LUSH. The store was giant, empty and looked after by two of the most charming girls in the world. One had a British accent which of course didn’t hurt their cause.

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I picked up one solitary Rose Queen bath bomb and we were on our merry way back to the hotel.

Then we headed down to the hot tub. And can I just say, I haaaate getting in hot tubs at hotels. You start climbing in and everyone is just sitting there, safely under the bubbling water as you uncomfortably stammer down the steps and hope you don’t trip and accidentally show a little nip. Then you settle in and aren’t sure whether you should acknowledge that you have joined the tub, look off to the side or (like me) realize that someone has probably peed (or worse) in there.

That night, we walked around for a bit and then had dinner at Carramba’s.

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Bryan can’t believe it!

Really, we just wanted pizza and this place had it. We had a margarita and pesto + goat cheese. Delish.

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The next morning we woke up relatively early to attack our one and only day on the slopes. I was a nervous wreck, as the last time I had been on skis was 2 years ago. I reminded myself to keep a positive disposition for as long as possible. It was going to hurt. I would want to quit. I would be cold. So I sucked it up, got myself ready and we headed for the gondy.

The line was soooooo long. As a person who has only skiied at Jackson Hole and Sun Valley, I now realize how spoiled I was with lift lines. Since Whistler is so close to 2 major metropolitan areas, you end up waiting forever.

But the runs are worth it.

Right off the bat, I LOVED the fact that there were so many green runs. For any newbie skier or boarder, this is huge. Jackson Hole literally offers ONE lowly green run and it is super short. Whistler is massive and therefore, offers people a huge variety of terrain to ski. Like a good fiance, Bryan dutifully stuck by my side, reminding me to keep my feet on the ground (I have a tenancy to stand on my tippy toes), not pick up my skis as I turn and USE my poles!

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Look at those lovely greens!

I completed the first run and as expected, my muscles were screaming. I cursed the day I decided not to sign up for the free ski fitness classes offered at my gym as I shamelessly bent over my ski poles to try and relieve ANY pain I could from my legs. Despite the fact that I was wearing a modest base-layer, fleece gaiter and ski jacket I was POURING in sweat. And this was only the first run. MAN I wish I had taken a selfie with my hair plastered to my forehead for you guys. But there was no energy. NONE.

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hahaa

After the first run, we headed back up and went in for a hot chocolate. Loosening my boots felt like heaven and I just wanted to stay there. Inside. With slippers and an iPad :).

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But I went back out and the next two runs went wonderfully. I was turning like it was my job (if my job entailed making beginner turns on corduroy green runs) and actually having fun! I even did some ski-humps <- air humping while skiing. It’s a skill.

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I was also starting to cool down. Mostly because my nerves stopped going ape-sh*t on me, and I started to relax into my boots a little. We had lunch in the most packed lodge of all time, seriously, it was CRAZY.My noodley legs were shot and so it was decided that I would download from the gondy. But we were pretty far from it. So Bryan grabbed a map and routed the easiest way down. What he failed to tell me was that it was about 218921371203 feet away.

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I started out okay, making decent turns and keeping my composure somewhat. But after about 5 minutes, my legs were just PISSED at me and I began to lose it. Any “form” I had went completely out the door. My ski tips were crossing and my pace was all over the place. Buckets of sweat were pouring down my chest and back like hot flashes on acid. My nose was a faucet, soaking my gaiter and then immediately freezing to my face.

 I skidded to a halt in front of the gondola and realized I was sufficiently upset. I was upset at my legs, my godforsaken boots and most of all – my sweat glands. I hastily muttered a “see ya” to Bryan, snapped my skis off and stumbled onto the gondola. While Bryan skiied for another 40 minutes or so, I rode down to the base, desperately trying to mop the sweat from my brow and pound out the muscle knots in my legs.

Somehow I managed to  schlep my skis back to our hotel, all the while muttering and cursing to myself à la Joe Pesci. I peeled the layers of clothing from my body and literally wanted to cast them into the fire. After a quick, warm shower, I slipped into fresh clothes and met Bryan at the Longhorn for my favorite part about skiing – après!

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A pitcher later and we we headed over to Citta for another round of drinks. When in Rome, my friends.

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Also found THESE BEAUTIES whilst shopping in the vill:

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Afterwards, we headed back to our hotel so we could get in a good amount of hot tub time. Well, the tubs were PACKED. It was like cesspool of sweaty snowboarders who smelled like ham and cheese. NO THANKS. Instead, I opted to utilize my new bath bomb in our room and take my relaxi-taxi there.

And the Rose Queen bath bomb is just that. The BOMB.

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That night, Bryan and I prepped ourselves to “go out”. 22 year old style. We were determined to prove to our 30-year-old selves that we still had it, goddammit. So, we began by taking naps at 6:30 PM. We each slept for about an hour and then took showers and got ready.

After TEE SHIRT TIME (teehee) we ventured to Village Sushi for dinner. The wait was long – nearly 45 minutes, but the food was great and also a good price. We were seated around 9:30 PM and finished eating around 10:30. Whistler is like, très European. Restaurants still take reservations at 10:30 PM and aren’t pushy about getting their tabes turned. We felt SO cool finishing our dinners at 10:30.

After dinner, we headed to the Irish Pub …again, and had a few burrs. Once we felt sufficiently tipsy, we decided we were juuuust inebriated enough to attack da “club”. So, we went to Garfinkles and immediately ordered a vodka + redbull. As you can probably guess, things just got hilarious. We danced a little, we people watched. Twas magical.

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Around 2 AM, we left the club and it was just about that time for SECOND DINNER. I shuffled back to the hotel, drank 7 glasses of water and peeled off my false eyelashes while dear Bryan braved the cold (at my insistence, haha) to pick up a Dominos. I scarcely remember stuffing 4 pieces in my mouth and then promptly PTFO.

I was then rudely reminded of my 30 years of age around 4 AM. Standing up, my head pounded, my feet ached and my hands were trembling. After a 5 minute teeth scrubbing and thorough floss, I popped in my mouth guard like the teeth-grinding, adult that I am. 123894 more glasses of water. 4 IB’s. And sleep. Lots of it.

The next morning we begrudgingly got out of bed and dragged our sorry asses out for coffee. Although I was surly and sick, I felt a pang of pride. I did it!

We went to Purebread for coffee + pastries and my hangover raged as the boy behind the counter told me they didn’t offer brewed coffee. Espresso only. ‘Scuze me, Broseph, an americano IS NOT the same as a slow roasted cuppa drip. You don’t know who are dealing with, sir.

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We shared an apricot + vanilla bean scone which was heavenly and then went back to the hotel to get ready for our day. A stop at Starbucks was necessary after our subpar americanos and I gulped down a venti water. We strolled along for some time, popping in various shops and relishing the beautiful day.

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Respect the Chemistry Point

We stopped for lunch at the Brew Pub and were lucky enough to get a table right next to the fire! We had a burger with fries and a salad and all I could think about was that it was NAP TIME. I convinced Bry to go back to the hotel where we had a hot tub and snoozed for a couple of glorious hours.

After I woke up, I determined the only cure for the hangover I STILL had was of course, more LUSH products. So, we walked down to the shops and I scored this amazing set which I had a gift card to nearly cover the cost of (thanks KC and Bry!):

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I took a bath and we headed out for dinner around 8 to Araxi. We ended up getting a seat in the lounge and having a witty french server who blinked alot. I loved him. We had this delicious appetizer:

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Dungeness Crab Roll in Egg Crepe
wrapped with cold smoked wild salmon, watercress and yuzu mayonaise in an egg crepe with avocado and tomatillo salsa verde

And Bryan ordered the sablefish as his entree. I stuck to the butternut squash soup, 7,000 rolls with butter and plenty of water. Dinner was really lovely with the snow slowly falling outside the windows. After dinner we REALLY wanted the ice cream at Cow’s but they were just closing :(.

The next day we left town after a quick breakfast at BG Urban Grille. Whistler got a ton of snow on Sunday and Bryan definitely DID NOT want to leave. But contrary to how we acted the night prior, we are adults. Who have jobs. And mortgages. And horrible hangovers.

Til next time, Canada!

The Black Friday that Wasn’t

Happy December!

And how about them Hawks?!

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Here’s the haps:

We joined a gym, yet again. And now we are privy to a multitude of exercise classes, torture cardio devices and weights. Surprisingly, I have made my way in there a handful of times and re-discovered my love/hate relationship with the stair-stepper.

Thanksgiving break! Bry and I made the pilgrimage (haha get it) over to Kennewick on Thursday morning with just enough time to help my mom prepare WAY too much food, adorn the table with sparkly pumpkins and drink a few bottles of wine. Dinner was fantastic, but the ensuing game of salad bowl was even better.

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The next morning, per tradition, Megan, my Mom and I hit the Black Friday sales with high hopes of scoring dirt cheap toasters, half priced socks and the freetothefirst50customers SNOW GLOBE. I guzzled down my Starbucks misto and hitched up my gingerbread socks as we pulled into the parking lot at Target around 9 am.

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Oh and a Cranberry Bliss Bar OMG

And…crickets. I swear a tumbleweed rolled through the parking lot.

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Ok this is not my picture. It’s this guy’s. But it looked practically the same.

Where were the hoards of people? The crazy ladies with blue eyeliner, teased bangs and Snoopy Christmas sweatshirts with matching turtlenecks? As soon as we began our “doorbusting” at Target we figured out why: the sales were absolute flaming bags of crap.

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Nothing Will Crush Nan’s Spirits

No $5 toasters. No $3 copies of The Christmas Story. Not even a lowly 10% off Christmas tree skirts.

We retreated to the car reluctantly, clutching our measly %40 off sweaters and dollar section items.

I would like to say that this trend did not carry over to our other Black Friday haunts, but sadly…it did. Black Friday was simply kicking our butts. Our cute, kinda round, but nonetheless charming butts.

We missed the $2.50 hand soaps at BBW by 10 minutes. 10 MINUTES.

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Waaaaaaaaa!!

The sweater I wanted at the Gap was only available in XL.

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So, we did what any good-hearted Amurican Black Friday enthusiasts would do in such a situation. We went to TJ Maxx where everyday is Black Friday! And I found this adorable Christmas decoration at Pier 1, which I might add was FULL PRICE. WTF Black Friday? wtf.

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We then met “the boys” at the Sports Page to watch the Apple Cup and eat nachos. It helped a little. After we had our fill of cheese, grease and ranch dressing we headed to some antique/thrift stores to stare at other people’s crap. This is always a sure-fire way to cheer us Danielson gals up.

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closed mouth smiles are the best smiles

We found a few treasures and hauled them home. Then we put up the Christmas tree and there was peace on earth. The evening was capped off by a viewing of the world’s most underrated Christmas movie: Holiday in Handcuffs.

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This little gem stars Melissa Joan Hart or MJH to those who know her, and Mario Lopez or A.C Slater. The writing, the acting, the all-star cast #oscarbuzz. Then Megan, Amy, Bryan and I stayed up to late watching Marbles Harsgrove.

The rest of the weekend was spent attending Hanukkah parties, seeing old friends and gearing up for Monday Night Football. Next weekend we are getting our TREE and maybe having a tinsel fight. I don’t know.

xoxo

Natalie

Wedding Dress Shopping

Hey there! Hi there! Ho there!

I think it’s high time I posted about wedding dresses again, yes? I have much to say about the subject because I actually went shopping for this garment. And now that it’s over – I have MUCH more to say. So, let’s dish.

Thought No. 1

Wear underwear. Not a thong.

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Yes Ma’am

The night before I ran to Target for essentials like cotton candy air fresheners and Glade products. It was then that I also realized I would be basically neked in front of a complete stranger the following day. So I did what any Girl Scout would do (yes, I was a Girl Scout). I PREPARED m’self. Grabbed me some full-bottomed underwear and my own strapless bra. No, I didn’t already own one SO SHUT UP. And MAN am I glad I did. Homegirls were ALL up in my dressing room. As they neatly packed away each ‘no’ back into the plastic garment bag, I shivered in my skivvies and wished they would HURRY THE F UP.

I digress.

Thought No. 2

Keep an open mind.

While I stuck to my guns with the silhouette, I surprised myself with things like beading, material and embellishments. I went in thinking romantic, sweet and kind of ethereal. I came out favoring glam, sophisticated and well, princessey. With a twist of ballerina. Can you blame me?

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I die.

It is really important to trust your instincts. After all, we have been dressing ourselves for a while. However, shows like What Not to Wear also prove that we can’t always trust what we see in the mirror. Canadian tuxedos are also proof.

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I have learned that my body is not conducive to anything super fitted through the hips and bust. Mostly because I lack both. Therefore, it was easy to rule out SO many types of dresses (trumpet, fit n flare, mermaid, what have you).

Thought No. 3

Throw your Mom a bone.

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Nancy Palin

If your Mom has her little heart set on a flowing chiffon Greek goddess style gown – just try one on. It will do her heart good.

Thought No. 4

Don’t go to salons where every dress is out of your price range.

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Luckily, my research steered me from wasting my time at a salon where dresses start at 5K. The Cinderella inside of me would love to wave a magic credit card and don a designer gown on my big day. However, we all make choices. I choose a trip to New Zealand. Or Croatia. Or a tufted sofa from Restoration Hardware. Thus, I mentally bid adieu to Vera, Monique,  Miss Pettibone and Jen Packham. Adieu. Adieu. To you and you and you.

Thought No. 4

You can’t always have your cake and eat it, too.

When it comes to actual cake, this is completely bogus. However, whilst shopping, I quickly realized that my wedding look “vision board” (so to speak) was not cohesive in the slightest. My ideas of groomsmen in khaki and a birdcage veil received a negative reception once I transitioned from sweet little Pinterest dresses into the more dramatic stuff. While I wish I could have it all, khaki and bling simply do not marry well.

THIS:

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DOES NOT GO WITH THIS:

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you get it

Thought No. 5

It’s YOUR dress.

WORK IT Mama June

After I had found 4 strong contenders, I found myself staring into the faces of my mom, sister and future mother-in-law for some kind of strong decision. Which one should I get? Which one had the “it” factor? Which flattered my body?

And I’m not gonna lie, white aint forgiving. Mentally critiquing every aspect of my body and trying to stifle self-deprecating rhetoric was tough. No matter how many times my loved ones assured me how dazzling I looked, the innate fear of looking like a linebacker in a white dress was enough to cause self-doubt.

It’s true, it is MY dress. I will wear it. It shall hang in my closet where (hopefully) someday my kids will admire it…

Either that or  I’ll decide to pawn it for bingo money. #neversaynever.