OH hi.

So….yes. We got married! We went on our honeymoon! We are now back to the grind and before I get swept up in another random skin care product or list of summer must-haves, I thought I owed it to you all (and myself, really) to make a little post about the wedding. Separate post covering the honeymoon later.

David and I knew we wanted a really small, laid-back ceremony. If you have been married before, you know why. To me, weddings are bullsh*t  errr, I mean a totally unnecessary waste of money.  Large weddings with all the pomp and frills are soooo not me, not David, not US. We knew early on that we were either going to the courthouse with our parents as witnesses and a small celebration after, or doing an intimate ceremony somewhere private. Meghan Markle, I am not.

We ended up choosing a beautiful rental home on the Oregon Coast with a stunning view. We had close friends stay with us in the house and family stayed close by. My best friend Bekah married us on the deck and we had dinner, drinks and cake right after. I will include more random details below.

The night before the wedding, everyone came over and hung out. We had pizza and wine. It was perfect.

The next morning I got up and David and I polished up our vows before heading down to the beach with E, Tate and my fam.

Then we went back, I showered and started my makeup. It is after all, the most important thing about anyone’s wedding day ;). David kept emphasizing that he wanted me to “look like me” so I had to hold myself back from going FULL glam like I may or may not have done. I let my freckles show through, I kept the eyes and lips really natural and I kept everything soft.

Of course I did wear falsies because there was no way that WASN’T happening. These are the Velour Silk Lashes in “Trust Me Try It”. They were SO soft and fluffy and absolutely gorgeous. I got the sparkly flower crown from Ross. I KNOW. Wiiiiig.

Then I put my dress on and without really planning it, did a “first look” with David on the beach. **I LOATHE “first looks” or anything cheesy or remotely resembling sappy wedding traditions like these.** David had already seen me in the dress, so really it was more of  a “hi, i am marrying you in a little bit” moment. Which I loved.

E and I ended up getting Tate dressed which was another highlight of my day because she is just so loving and sweet with him. Meg had picked him out the SWEETEST little ring-bearer outfit and everyone about died when they saw him. Sidenote – isn’t my sister gorgeous? Both my sisters are so darn pretty.

And then we got married. David’s vows to me were amazing and mine were definitely sub-par comparatively. We cried because this marriage and our relationship is so freaking meaningful to us. We’ve gone through so much together so it got emosh REAL fast.

Tate’s face here killlls me

Tate and E held hands the whole time

Clobber-hugging Bekah


Desserts by Kelly wedding cake!

Perfect day. ♥

  • Dress: Anthropologie
  • Location: Tillamook, OR
  • Cake: Desserts by Kelly in Richland, WA (the best!)
  • Flowers: Fake
  • Makeup & Hair: Yers Truly
  • Matching Velour Scrunchies: Claire’s
  • People: The best there is
  • Husbando: My darling David


A couple weekends ago, Bryan and I drove over to Seattle to visit friends and watch the Seahawks training camp with our pals the Lipes. Saturday night we had a scrumptious dinner with the Grims and celebrated their little girl’s 2nd birthday. Elmo cupcakes all around!

On Sunday we drove out to Everett and were bussed in (via schoolbus, SUCH a throwback) to the Seahawks training facility. We spread out our trusty Seahawks towel on the grass, devoured a pulled-pork sammie at 10 am, and watched m’boy Lynchie sag his shorts into man-pries. Them Hawks looked real sharp out there, doing football things and running around. It def got me excited for fall!


Mel and Me!




Hustle Like Russell


When we got back to Portland that night, we discovered that “Bite of Portland” was going on right by our apartment, which took care of dinner plans! I have to say I was pretty disappointed in it overall. $5 to get in, with a smattering of food booths/trucks which were NOT cheap and scant $6 wine pours. We ended up having some good stuff but it was a bit spendy for walking around in goose poop. Spokane’s Pig Out in the Park beats Portland by a landslide.

Clearly over the tiny pours

Clearly over the tiny pours


My dinner: hummus and pita


Bry’s lamb gyro


Street taco to share

Mid-week we also ventured into the out-of-doors for a mini adventure! We drove to Mt. Hood National Park and decided to do the 4 mile-ish Mirror Lake Loop and boy, was it purty!




The next weekend we ventured east, to my ol’ stomping grounds of wonderful Spokane, Washington. One of my besties, Holly was turning 30 on Saturday so we decided to make a little weekend of it and stay at The Davenport Friday night. We arrived late and immediately had drinks in The Peacock Room and then headed over to Steelhead for dinner.


As we walked to dinner down the all too familiar streets of my past, I felt strange pangs of nostalgia. These were the streets I traipsed along what felt like SO long ago – single, with chunky highlights wearing clearance tops from Hollister. Where I went on dates, met girlfriends for drinks and spent my piddley paychecks at River Park Square. Here I was now, 7 years the wiser with a hus-cat on my arm and budding wrinkles on my face. WEIRD.

We plopped down at Steelhead next to two gals in their early 20’s. Bedecked in 5-inch heels and picking at their salads with hopeful eyes and painted lips, they chatted nervously about this guy and that. Which bar they should “start at” and where they hoped to end up (of COURSE I was eavesdropping). I wanted to take these young women by the shoulders, look deeply into their kohl-rimmed eyes and tell them that none of it matters. To go out and have fun and be 23 and not worry about men, or looking as close to a hooker without actually being a hooker as possible. To NOT WORRY about playing “games” and just enjoy life. But alas, I dug into my pizza and fry combo with a smile on my face. An “I’m glad I figured out a little something” kind of a smile.


Most comfortable bed EVER

The next day was Holly’s 30th and we celebrated out in Greenbluff where her fam owns some property. It was right out of a Dixie Chicks music video, sprawling orchards with apricots and peaches, laced with sunflowers and hummingbirds. And a’course like any country song, we had plenty of beer :). Holly’s dad roasted a pig and everyone brought sides and fixins (how great is the word fixins, btw?). We set up a huge tent to keep out of the sun and everyone set up their respective “campsites”. We drank strawberry lemonade-vodkas, had delicious birthday cake and obvs s’mores at the end of the night.

The highlight had to easily be the epic game of Chubby Bunny that Holly and Matt (her fiancé) played around the campfire. No joke, I have never laughed harder. Why is that game SO FUNNY!?





The next day we all packed up and hit the road. I had three marshmallow remnants stuck in my hair, soooo YEAH.

Lastly! I am well on the way to changing my name, which is kindof a major b**** if you ask me. I understand that there are automated websites that do everything for you nowadays, but they also cost money. I waited at Social Security for nearly an hour the other day and today I plan to do the same at the DMV. Lets change this tradition to boys taking the girls’ last names, mmmkay?

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:


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?


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!


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+.


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.


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!


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


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.


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!

My Bridal Shower

Hey Rumplestilskens!

Such a scary little man, Mr. Stilsken. But whatevs, it’s fun to say!

Last weekend was my first ever wedding shower. And what a shower it was. Sister Meg and my mom hit it outta the mothereffin ball-park. The affair was SO completely perfect and wonderful, that I didn’t want it to end. Seriously. Which is probably why at least 50% of the guests left half way through me opening presents…oops.

Anywho! On to the fun.

I got into the Tri and immediately went to a nail place so they could saw off my dead skin and polish my toes. I walked in and there were like 7,432 people there so I said “how long for a pedicure?” “Five miiih!” said the woman. “You pick color!”

I chose Flip-Flop Fantasy from China Glaze (duh) and settled into the chair. 25 minutes later, someone started my pedi. 5 miiih later my ASS. Oh well. I paid and tipped like a good person and then went home to start the agonizing process of getting myself ready.

1.75 hours later and I had my extensions clipped in, crazy eyelashes on and waaaay too high of wedges strapped to my feet.

photo (14)


photo (15)

 Could you just DIE over how well these ‘stensions match my hurr?

Then I went upstairs and GASPED.









First, we sat down to the most adorable “tea” luncheon ever in existence. I say tea with air quotes because while there were mis-matched teacups adorning the table, no actual tea was served. We Danielsons like to stick purely to our Crystal Lights and alcoholic bevs. Finger sandwiches, caprese bites, my aunt’s famous boyos and delicious mini-quiches were among the delicacies beautifully displayed on delicate tea stands. The cuteness was overwhelmingly faultless.


Knowing it was all for me was tough. I tried to quell any sarcastic or self-deprecating comments which usually escape my mouth when I feel awkward or un-deserving of something. It just felt so funny to have this beautiful party…for me. Like, it’s me. The girl who gets lost going to QFC and has dirty feet. The girl who ATTENDS these parties, not the one who is celebrated.

After eating, we played games. And SHUT UP if you hate games at showers. Games are the best part, especially the poopy diaper game at baby showers, that one’s the best. First we played a trivia game all about marriage, I scored a 3/15 so basically- sh*t, I’m doomed. Next, we played the “guess the celebrity couple game” – where we stared at large pictures of our fave celebs (faces blacked-out) and tried to guess their identities.


There were some REAL throwbacks, like Jessica Simps and Nick Lachey. Man, those were the days amiright!?

After that, Megan read off some questions that she had emailed Bryan and I had to guess his answer. For every wrong answer I had to chew a piece of gum. It started out great and I was NAILING IT. Then the tougher questions came and the wad grew larger and larger. I drooled. I did.

Then we had dessert! My sister Ray-Ray made the cupcakes and per usual, they were completely delectable and perfect. I mean, just feast your eyes.

photo (13)

There were also jelly beans, jordan almonds, petite-fours, coconut macarons, mini berry tarts, dutch mints AND these raspberry swirl sugar-coated things. I had everything, obvs.

Then we opened gifts which is really the only thing I was looking forward to (I KID. I kid) I got the best things ever in the world and everyone is too nice to me and I just felt like getting down and washing everyone’s feet like Jesus. I was that grateful.















After that, sister Amy PTFO and went into her room and locked the door to take a nap and I didn’t see her for 16 hours.


Then my good friend Graham came over and he brought wine and we caught up on tour jetés (he’s a real live dancer. like classically trained and sh*t) and talked about high school.

Then we went to dinner at Bookwalter with Bryan’s parents and I had flatbread. It was amazing food and wine and I LOVE that our parents get along so well. I wish we were all next door neighbors (no, I really do).

And that was that!

A Seasoned Bride

I will be 30 years old when I get married.



“Oh my god. Is this bad, is this bad?”

“You got a f***in dart in your neck.”


Lemme start by saying that I don’t think 30 is actually old. It should be 30 years YOUNG. If you don’t believe me, just watch 13 Going on 30 and feast your eyes on  Jenn Garner, as she styles her hair with pencils. However, since I have friends my age who are celebrating 7-year (yes, SEVEN YEAR) anniversaries I think you all can understand my feelings.

Before you judge me, my budding crow’s feet and high-waisted pants, let’s make one thing clear.  I realize the consequences of the timing.  It’s true, I’ll be married at 30 and subsequently a 30-something mother and no, I suppose it’s not idyllic.   However,  I’m acknowledging these things and trying to embrace them.  Sometimes, life aint pretty:

Says it all.Says it all.

I know that our photog will have to use her filters and blurs all over our mugs. And that I will not be able to party until 2 am. I know I will have to work out like crazy and can’t rely on a young, rapid metabolism to get me in shape.  Gone are the days of being 22 and entire loaves of bread dipped in Gold’n’Soft.  Say la vie.

Since 99.9% of my friends are happily wed, I will be among the stragglers.  The people who come to the party , like,  3 hours late. Already drunk, donning a stretched out halter top from Old Navy and smudged mascara.


Or a stretched out wife-beater and sparkly bolero.

To be completely honest with y’all, there were times I thought it would never happen.  I feared I wasn’t worthy, deserving or ready. I pictured myself a living Cathy comic, minus the cats.


Being a 30-year-old bride means slight adjustments that I wish I didn’t have to undergo.  But it also means a wealth of really awesome stuff too.

  1.  We no longer po’. College loans are paid off, credit card debt is non-existent. I’m not tied down to grocery-store generics, jeans from JcPenney’s or having to wait for the semi-annuals at B&BW (even though I still do).
  2. My tastes have progressed.  Gone are visions of  a hot-pink affair, with rhinestones, zebra print and tiaras. I’ll pass along those ideas to the folks at My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.
  3. Thanks to a pretty awesome life so far, I still basically feel like a kid.  Evidence: I would willingly see Disney on Ice…or really anything on ice.

The most valuable?  I feel that I finally know what I want in the love department and otherwise.  I’ve been single, I’ve been in a relationship.  I’ve ignored red flags, made killa mistakes and stayed in bad situations too long… rough pumpkins. I sowed them wild oats and made a quilt (wrong kind of sewing…).

While the pros of marrying young are plentiful,  so are the pros of marrying a bit later in life.  I’m 100% all in.  Would 24-year old Natalie have been so sure? That would be a loud and resounding HELL NAH.


Just a baby.

It was scary to reinvent myself again and please excuse my use of the word, too much Lifetime .  I’d like to think that bravery played a part in all this,  because 3 or so years ago, I hit ctrl+alt+delete on a life I knew and moved to Wyoming to re-boot m’sytems.  Enter Bryan.


Around Bryan, I can be 100% me.  Pure, unadulterated Natalie (pulp-free of course).  I can sing Legally Blonde the Musical in the car really loud including hand motions in his FACE.  He  fetches me pink glazed rainbow sprinkles donuts from Top Pot (maybe this is not a good thing).  He teaches me how to talk with a southern drawl and we hold lengthy conversations whilst using our Lew-siana accents, discussing imaginary situations “down on the bayou”.

I have found my “mullet” of a spouse – Bryan is business in front, party in the back and after a decade or so of searching, I have found my leading man.


Looking especially heroic atop a mothaf*ckin mountain

So, we may be sporting a few fine lines, astigmatism and softer mid-sections, but it’s nothing a little Oil of Olay and the right medications can’t fix.


In My Head – Wedding Photo Edition (2)

Lately my life has been neither extraordinary or ordinary, really. I’m stuck somewhere in between. I feel a bit whelmed, as  described here. As I mentioned in my previous post, Bryan and I are making a large purchase and as a result, my serotonin levels have been suffering. Coupled with the fact that I am also planning a wedding has made my brain into a 24-hour-a-day, non-stop machine. With no off switch.

Usually, when I find myself in times of trouble, mother Mary comes to me I drink a little vodka and buy lipstick. This routine has now become totally blasé. I find myself needing just two simple things. The first thing keeping my mind in the sane category is maintaining a neat and tidy home. I feel the need to banish crumbs, vacuum on the hour and take out the trash when it’s a quarter full. Perhaps it’s the sight of the perfectly proportionate mist from the Windex bottle kissing the hairspray stains on the  mirror. The soft thud of the Honey Nut Cheerios I have swept up into the dustpan hitting the garbage can liner. My worries are wiped away and taken out with the trash. I LOVE IT.

The second theraputic means, I am doing right now! Spewing my thoughts onto the interwebs, in a journal, on a paper towel, WHEREVER – has always calmed me down. List making is another good one. So it is here, where I will attempt to bring solace to my unrelenting case of the worries.

Now it is time to talk about wedding photographers, k?

I have gone through a bit of a journey here. Searching the Wedding Wire directories got me lost and confused in the foreign land of tiered “packages”, photo-journalistic styles and high-res/low-res discs. I know the difference, btw, but where I start getting all messy boots is when I begin to compare one photo to another.

Which is better? How important is a photographer? I quickly learned the answer:


Another annoying habit of mine is figuring out what “style” is fitting. Trends like the Pinteresty washed-out look, to the use of fancy wide-angle lenses and crazy contrasting brings up tough questions. Which is “us”? Which is timeless?





Photos courtesy of Pinterest.

I looked at a million pictures and made a few phone calls. It’s kind of like online dating. YEAH. Where’s the for people to meet their wedding photographers?

Of course (especially with me) price plays another huge factor in this decision. Photography costing upwards of 6-7K these days, it’s no wonder people lose their sh*t over weddings. Yes, it’s your wedding day and hopefully, (unlike 50% of the population) you will only have one. When else will you hire a brigade of (for lack of a better word) minions to order around to do  your makeup, curl your hair and let your dress out another inch because you couldn’t say no to all that pie?

Wedding websites suggest 10-12% of your budget should go towards photography. But with $7,000 price tags, how many of us are shelling out 60 grand for our weddings? I’ll tell ya one thing: WE’RE NOT.

If it’s not already painstakingly clear, I needed help. I dreamed of a wedding photographer consultant – a fairy godmother of sorts, who will wave her magic wand and poof! A smiley, perfectly groomed wedding photographer would appear and take the perfect mix of photos. All while capturing the moment and keeping an immaculate schedule.

Too much to ask?

Luckily, such a person does exist (thanks Alisha!). I am beyond thrilled to have made this decision. Now, onto the other 712,1238912 decisions.

ALSO – More news on the big purchase is coming soon, promise.

Megan and Ben’s Wedding

Hello Mates!

In an attempt to tackle what could easily be the most wordy, emotional and just plain long post – I have wisely decided to go down another path. The path less traveled. The path that is sprinkled with photos and witty anecdotes, free of mile-long paragraphs and steep pitches of run-on sentences.

How do I plan to do this?

I am channeling my inner minimalist and hoping the random sampling of photos will somehow resemble a post that is worthy of such a spectacular day. Like unwelcome wedding guests, nerves, anxiousness and worry somehow reared their ugly heads. Luckily sheer joy, love and laughter persevered above all.

It wasn’t a perfect day. Seams were ripped, sweat permeated satin and raindrops fell. I don’t know about the bride, but I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

So, with no further adieu – I give you, my loyal readers…

Megan and Ben’s Wedding – The Top Ten List

1. Decorating!

photo (10)

photo (11)




2. The rehearsal dinner


photo 2 (8)

The Johnson Siblings

photo 1 (8)

photo 1 (9)

Girls and Boys Girls

3. Getting our Nails Did




4. Getting our Hurrs Did



Ol’ Crazy Eyes







5. Getting Ready






Tiny Chloe










6. The Ceremony


photo 5


photo 3 (5)

photo 1 (1)

photo 2 (1)

photo 1 (2)


photo 2 (2)

photo 1 (6)

photo 3 (6)





photo 1 (7)

photo 5 (3)

image (1)




Double Fisting




Just look at my face.


image (2)

image (3)

image (4)


7. Seeing Friends and Family at the Reception


photo 4 (3)


Bridesmaid Entrance



photo 2 (5)

photo 3 (7)



image (5)





8. Cutting a RUG



photo 3 (3)

photo 4 (2)





Melting my heart.

Melting my heart.

10. Seeing my big sister the happiest ever