THE Dress

There are shows devoted to it,  stores that specialize in it and crazy-ass broads who spend as much as a manufactured home on it. Yes, ladies and gentlemen…I am broaching the ever-so-enlightening topic of wedding dresses.  Piggybacking off my last wedding related post, I felt it only natural to start with the dress, a very good place to start.  I’ll try and spare you the details of this inundating search for a garment I realize, I will only wear but once.   Let’s keep this party polite.

Natalie's 518

And as much as I love Say Yes to the Dress, I will not be following any of their rules.

Please don’t think me a wanna-be wedding guru for trying to abolish rules set fourth by such characters.  I am in know way an expert.  However, having attended a hefty amount of weddings in my time which I think, makes me privy  to certain things at the very least.

To me,  a wedding dress should look like you.  You at your most fabulous, but still remain true to your style.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  According to my personal research, wedding dress shopping is like selecting a diamond.  There are  a multitude of basic characteristics one must consider.  With a diamond, you ponder the 4 C’s.  With wedding dresses I have broken it down into the memorable acronym,  SCFN .  Silhouette, color, fabric and neckline to be exact. These seem to be the maja things to look for in a dress.  For all the crazies, I could include train, hemline, bustle, sleeve, etc.

At Starbucks, “Can I get a fit-n-flare, blush-colored, silk organza, sweetheart, cathedral train, tea-lengthed, swarofski crystal-embellished, empire-waisted gown, to go please?”


NO foam.

I think brides of today get so caught up in searching for the so-called “perfect dress”.  It’s almost as if our culture is encouraging betrothed women to tote around clipboards with their wedding dress checklists.  “I’m sorry but I can’t try that on. It’s Chantilly lace when clearly I asked for Alençon.”

Let’s be honest about one thing here.  Do you remember what kind of neckline the bridal gown had at the last wedding you went to?  Unless your Austin Scarlett, probably not.  What do we remember?

My guess: The way the bride looked overall.

Most brides tend to be emphatically joyous, glowing.  It’s her day and she has likely worked hard for it.  She may have allowed herself to be consumed by the placement of pearls on the bodice, or the bustle not being just right.  But does anyone notice besides her? Sadly, probably not.

It’s really quite a shame that we heap all these expectations upon our mystic-tanned shoulders.  On the other hand, it’s more than running down to Macy’s to get a dress for Sunday Mass.  I plan to employ the if-at-first-you-don’t-succeed method in my quest for the dress (hey, maybe I’ve got the name for a new blog!) and will hopefully emerge victorious.

My expectations?  I’d like to pay homage to all of the different looks I have in my head. I die for blush-colors, lace, bust-enhancing accoutrements, full ball gowns and open backs.  Oh, and I love me a sweetheart neckline.  Shut it down.  Hat tip to Miss Zoe for the vocab.

And while I have no words for the amazingly beautiful couture dresses I see floating down the runway on an Angelina-after-detox look-alikes, I’m fine with procuring myself the knock-off from David’s Bridal #noshame.


Oh haaayy cuz + Nan

My dress bucket-list is short, much like my tolerance for satin.  But that’s a another post.  I’d like the ability to have a reasonable range of motion.  All 6 feet of me forced into geisha strutting? Not happening.  I’d also like to look as girly as possible, which may be a task in and of itself.  Masking my somewhat manish upper-half is gonna take some serious styling and I’d prefer NOT to look like Patrick Shwayze in To Wong Foo.  Ok, maybe a little 🙂  Lastly, the dress must be somewhat light. Although I love the look of heavier dresses, I will not pit out for fashion.

Let’s get to the dresses I’ve been looking at 5X per day once or twice on the internets.

*A huge thank you to Miss Claire Pettibone for constructing what I believe are the most beautiful dresses on earth. If only I could afford you…



claire pettibone 5



More inspiration courtesy of Mizz Lhuillier



*All wedding related posts will now get filed away under the “wedding” tab. Brill.


An Old-Fashioned Wedding

…Blessed in that good ol’ fashioned way!

Oh how I love Ethel Merman.

I think that being an engaged woman constitutes lots of lengthy, emotional posts where I’ll expose each one of you to semi-ridiculous subjects such as tealights and cake-pops.  And no, we won’t be dispensing cake-pops at our wedding.  Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.  I prefer to roam in the pastures of garden lanterns, petite fours and pink champagne, ça va?


Frolicking in Versailles.

Let’s first address the elephant in the room – weddings are expensive.  I realize that for some, dropping over 25 grand on ONE day is child’s play.   For me however, parting with $100 for a completely necessary car repair or vacuum cleaner brings on hives.   I practically break out the xanax each time I undergo a major purchase.  You guys know I shop at Goodwill and 75% off racks at Target, trying to justify adding a belt to a 3XL cardigan, by telling myself it’ll be cute.

I certainly understand the importance of quality in certain things, however, I am my mother’s daughter.  I have rifled through many a $1 bin and scrounged around in strangers garage’s in 95 degree-heat.  It’s true, I am perfectly able to surrender to a striking black leather Rebecca Minkhoff Mac Bag but it pains me to pay full-price for items such as  socks, casserole dishes and the like.


Worth It

And when it comes to weddings, a person can go proverbially hog-wild.

Planning this shin-dig is overwhelming and kindof makes me want to curl up in my pink snuggie (yes, I own one) and never emerge.  More than that, I sometimes feel a weird competitiony vibe with women + weddings.  We are losing sleep over coming up with the most unique centerpieces and always looking for the new “it” item that no has done yet (i.e candy buffet bars, photo booths, cupcakes, etc).  In fact, the hit show on TLC , Four Weddings focuses on just that.  Yes, lets attend one another’s nuptials and pass judgements to complete strangers on dress, food and venue.   Disclaimer: I do watch this show when it’s on.  I like me m’progrums.

Who am I to hate on a Pnina Tornai ball gown with a see-through bodice? Or potluck-style receptions? You wanna do a keg-stand at your wedding? Sounds great!  You feel it’s right to break-dance in your wedding dress? More power to you!



But that’s neither here nor there. The point is, I don’t blame these broads who go totally apesh*t planning their weddings.

And, I fully realize what you new-agers out there are thinking. That there are ways around all of the “norms”.

Scenario 1:  “Get married in a park and have a potluck.”

Scenario 2: “Rent a community center and do the food and decorating yourself.”

Scenario 3: “Go to ______(insert destination of choice) and tie the knot under a waterfall.”

Or my favorite…”Just go down to City Hall.”


For all of you people, I ask you this: Is that what you’d really choose?  Maybe.  Pre-enganged Natalie might have uttered one or more of these suggestions and tried to convince herself that they were all viable options.  These ideas could be totally amazing and work well for many.

Does it work for me?


I would love to say that I don’t care about all the wedding “crap”.  That I don’t spend hours upon hours parousing the thousands of wedding boards on Pinterest and lusting after mushy pictures and DIY crafts. That I could just as easily scamper on down to the hitchin’ post with a white sundress from Forever 21 and call it good.

But I can’t.

If I am being honest with myself, I want an old-fashioned wedding.  With the sappy ceremony, the white dress and maybe even a signature cocktail.  If I’m being honest with myself, I want the day that every little girl dreams about.  And DON’T say you never thought about it.  We all did.

However,  I am prematurely waving the white flag for any type A’s out there.  Our wedding will be us and thus, not perfect.  We’ll do things that have been done (e.g cupcakes, gasp!) , not everything will match “the theme” and, by George –  if I want cotton candy I’m having it!


Yes. Cotton. Candy.

So in conclusion to this prolonged and colloquial  discourse, I must warn you of this:

  • I will blog honestly an openly about all-things wedding.
  • It may be graphic and upsetting.
  • None of the following will be mentioned: the electric slide, the song “We Are Family”, the chicken dance or (the worst offender) signs toted by the ring bearer, reading “Here comes your girl!”.

No thanks


Bekah + Matt’s Wedding

Happy Thursday Lovelies!

So in the midst of lots of mediocre posts about Hello Kitty mini-plushes from Albertsons and one-man book clubs, I missed one the most important events this year! One of my besties got MARRIED.

Bekah and Matt met when we were in college, at Whitworth. Bekah and Matt were, get this, lab partners. I know, it’s so freaking cute. They were just friends. And what started out as friendly study sessions turned into something more over the years. The couple now resides in an adorably cute apartment in downtown Seattle. I sound like the chick from House Hunters…anyways – Bekah is a PA and Matt is a PT. They’re smart. They know things.

Anywho- their wedding was on November 4th, 2011 and I was lucky enough to be in attendance. The wedding was at a freaking AMAZING venue and was decorated so beautifully, but most importantly so much like Bekah. They went with a vintage circus, almost Moulin Rouge-ish theme.

Before the wedding, we all dashed across the street and took tequila shots. Because that is smart.

Blurry But You Get It

When we got there, we were welcomed into what I like to call basically a rad party. Bekah was donning a sassy white sequined cocktail dress and everyone was enjoying the southern-inspired appetizers that were being passed around. Hello hushpuppies! Check out this awesome treatment they did above the dance floor:

Vintage Umbrellas

Around 7:30, the party was put on pause for the ceremony. The small-ish crowd formed an aisle for Bekah to walk down. It was so incredible. We all teared up a tad when she walked down the isle with her dad (who I love). Bekah obviously looked gorgeous. Duh, she’s a friend of mine.

Tres Glam

The ceremony was awesome because it was SO different from any other I’ve been to. Basically, we all stood there watching in adoration as Bekah married her bestie. It rocked.


After that we drank some vino and got to it.


Bathroom Pics, Always a Good Idea

Carey's Hubby Chris, This is Totally Normal to Me

Carey Creepily Enjoying Her Popcorn, Again Totally Normal

Whitney also brought along the Flat 4 PHOTO BOOTH! Aka, the other most wonderful time of the year.

Here’s Whit and I…we know how to get down in the photo booth.

Not exactly proud of my face and especially my arms in picture no. 4, but hey, anything for the blog.

All in all, the wedding was perfect.

Did I mention they had mini-doughnuts for dessert? I ate a platter. Don’t tell :-).

Let Them Eat Flan

We are officially on vacation!

Well, technically Bryan is still at work but he will be off in 4 short hours and then it’s really official.

You heard right, at 5 pm, Bryan and I will be flying to Seattle, staying for 2 days and then taking off for Mexico on Monday! Ole!

Other excitements include:

  • Staying at Bryan’s house in Redmond and spending time with his parents (awesome folk).
  • Attending his buddy Spencer’s wedding on Saturday with friends.
  • Getting to see my Mom and sister who are randomly coming to Seattle this weekend.
  • Frolicking.
  • Gallivanting.
  • Slayin wedding cake.

We’ll also be celebrating Bryan’s 28th birthday with his parents and friends. I LOVE birthdays so this makes me happy.


Last Wednesday, I decided to throw Bryan a little surprise party myself!

Cupcake theme, obv

Birthday Irish Trash-Can

Baaad Eyeshadow

Dessert Sampler- Cheesecake, Red Velv Whoopie Pie and Italian Creme Cupcake


‘Twas a great time indeed. Thanks to Holly for helping me set up and Lorie for seeing it through to the end.

In terms of my Mexican adventure studies, here is all I feel I will need to know:

  • Don’t follow a group of random senors down a dark alley way just because they promised chihuahuas and flan.
  • Do not eat a street taco after you ask if it was prepared in sanitary ways and he holds up a bottle of anti-bacterial gel.
  • Always haggle. Always.

In terms of my Spanish?

“Hola. Me llamo Natalie. Uno cerveza por favor.”

And most importantly?

“Me gustaria la golosina”. (I would like candy)

Carey + Chris Wedding Recap

I’ve been to a lot of weddings.

Maybe not as many as my pal Whitney (best photog this side of the Mississippi *bible) but quite a few.

And I’ve seen it all.

  • The bride walking around the outdoor reception barefoot, holding a beer bong in one hand and a lit cigarette in the other.
  • A reception with ZERO decorations, yet there was a giant, gaudy swan ice sculpture.
  • 15 minute- long maid of honor toasts that were dominated 100% by inside-jokes, leaving anyone who wasn’t BFF’s with the bride completely clueless.
  • A wedding where water wasn’t free…in July. Yep, please fork of $3.50 per bottle if you don’t want to pass out from heat exhaustion or…alcohol consumption.
  • Baked potato bar.
  • Vows that included the groom comparing the growing love for his bride to his staggering DVD collection.
  • A wedding which included the mother of the groom playing a professionally recorded version of “That’s What Friends are For” with her singing, replacing the word “Friends” with “Moms” during the mother- son dance (hello run in sentence, ending with parenthesis!). Thus making the title “That’s What Moms are For”. The song also included a monologue of the mother talking to her son.

I’ve also been lucky enough to attend some beautiful, elegant weddings as well. But those pretty much pail in comparison to the ones with pinatas. Sorry.

My friend Carey and her new hubby Chris put on maybe one of the most gorgeous weddings I’ve ever been to.  Carey and Chris got hitched at Carey’s house, which happens to have a historic barn on the property. Every single detail screamed Carey, down to the individually wrapped pears to the locally baked cheddar bread on each table.

We kicked off the festivities with a bachelorette party of course. It was held on the rooftop of a building in downtown Spokane and was totes SATC.


Da Bride

Happy Bachelorette Goers

Thongs are sexy

Helpful Literature


The Church

Crazy Church Choir

Plenty of Kiddies

Wedding Day!

Bridal Hair

Chedda Bread

Bridal Bouquet

Bridal TOMS


Huckleberry Riesling Time

Photo Booth!

Megan LOVES Her Petit Fours

Whitney (Photog) and Nicole - Yee Yee!


Click here to see a sneak peak of their pics (taken by Whit of course).

I love you Carey. I love you Chris. I love you Jackson & Lucy. So happy to share your special day.

PS – I took a picture of my butt on one of the disposable cameras. Don’t be mad.

Totally Whelmed

Chastity: I know you can be under-whelmed and I know you can be overwhelmed, but can you ever just be “whelmed”??

Bianca: I think you can in Europe..!

What a great motion picture. Awww…RIP Heath.  And btw, whatever happened to Alex Mack?

As of late, I have been feeling a bit whelmed. Allow me to deconstruct:

  • I started helping out coaching volleyball at the high school.
  • I have been working part time in an art gallery.
  • I am still working full time at Elevated Grounds.
  • I have been planning/preparing for Carey’s (bestie) bachelorette party and wedding!

Helping out at the high school for volleyball has been a blast. Apart from my arm literally falling off on the first day, I am loving it. One of my favorite “Top 5” lists of all time, includes “The Top 5 Most Embarrassing Things You Can Do When Playing Volleyball”. I should note that I have not only seen these things happen before me, but also completed each one myself.

  1. Shanking a serve straight into the ground, only to have the ball bounce quickly off the floor and hit you in the face.
  2. Getting faced with a serve.
  3. Setting the ball to yourself and hitting it over…in a game.
  4. Backspin, chicken-winging and running into the ball cart.
  5. Hitting the back wall of the gym with a ball during hitting lines. No topspin.

So far, I have not displayed any of these awesome, yet rare acts in the gym. Thank the Lord.


Moving on, I have started working very part time in an art gallery. Grand Teton Gallery to be precise. I have always been an art-lover. I know about the greats, Picasso, Renior, Dali. However, galleries here in Jackson Hole are quite a bit different. Enter cowboys, indians, mountain landscapes and the occasional billy goat. It’s taken me a little while but I do think the art is beautiful.

Lastly, Carey’s wedding is this Saturday. HOLLA. I am pumped. My other besties Holly and Bekah are hosting her bachelorette party along with me and my sis Megan and mom are helping out too.


I’m also pumped for the wedding day, where the bridesmaids are doing pre-wedding yoga, gettin our hairs did and prolly having a bottle glass of champagne.

Yes, we did this all the time in college

I cannot wait to see my nephew Jackson, who is going to be a little old man by now. I also get to spend some much needed QT with my little sis Amy. She basically rocks my socks off and I anticipate LOTS of YouTube watching, froyo eating and “Wee Sing Christmas” quoting.

The sad part? Bryan cannot make it because he is in another wedding on the exact same day, here in Jackson. I tried to get Lorie (the bride of the wedding he is in) to change her wedding date,  but apparently the fact that invites had already been sent, down payments had been paid and family from all over the US had already purchased plane tickets meant that changing the date was a no-go. Some people can be so selfish :-).

Other recent haps/obsessions of B and myself:

  • Floating in oddly shaped intertubes down String Lake. And downing delicious BLLs.
  • The Tudors.  Which has been contributing to Bryan using his British accent far more frequently and finding myself looking at tiaras on ebay.
  • Eating semi-sweet chocolate chips for dessert. Straight outta the bag.
  • Going to Koshu and roboting hard until 1 am.

It’s a good life.

Grab Bag

Happy Monday skittle-heads!

This post is titled “grab bag” since it will feature a myriad of different topics and recent events. However, it also happens to be one of my grandmother’s favorite things, the grab bag.

This post is dedicated to my beloved Grandma Dorothy who turned 92 yesterday.

Notice her hat

In other news, I have discovered a new baking mix which I adore. Enter, No Pudge Brownie Mix.

Bryan and I Netflixed “Chocolat” and I decided that we needed brownies to commemorate the movie and this mix did not disappoint. I tried to get a picture of the ingredient list to wow you all with how healthy this stuff is, but my GD point and shoot belongs on the failblog.

To accompany our brownie-licious dessert, Bryan concocted his mouth-watering bruschetta for dinner. He made a few modifications this time, using ingredients we had on hand, such as…

Adding Pesto.

And using shallot.

The result?

Heavenly. Crunchy. Flavorful. Great texture. Do I belong on the Food Network, or what?!

We also opened 1 2 bottles of wine…

Which led to some…ahem, shenanigans on my part. Don’t ask.

We also attended Jake and Nacole’s beautiful wedding last weekend.


Delicious food.

Crab cakes, Salmon and 2 rolls

And of course, wine.

Shenanigans made another appearance post-wedding again. What is up with our shenanigans these days?

Lastly, but certainly not least was the chicken fry. This annual event is put on by the Wilson Fire raise funds. They fry chicken in garbage cans.

Oh yes, they do.

Firemen at their best

Since Bryan and Jeremy were climbin the Petzl Ridge of the Grand Teton, I tagged along with Matt and Holly but sadly, did not eat any chicken because the line was cray-cray long. Instead, I partook in the baked goods section and procured myself a peanut butter and jelly bar with a Diet Coke. Sassy.

Holly and I really scamped it up and had a great time.

While other people stock-piled their chicken. Exhibit A:

Maybe because we don’t have a KFC? Maybe because of it’s crispy, salty exterior. Or maybe, they were fixin to make an epic meal, like this: