ornithological raconteuse. lover of aesthetically pleasing shananagans.

Thursday, August 21, 2014


I had a glorious, glorious 5.5 day break from school, so naturally Joseph and I and a couple of our besties, Sarah and Jack, hiked it on over to NOLA! (and by hiked I mean drove my Jetta, nbd)

We made this trip all about the food, and that was definitely the perfect decision. I'm avoiding studying right now, so let's revisit some highlights!

Day 1: we left at 5 a.m., checked into our hotel at about 2, and headed to Deanie's Seafood for lunch:


I like him.

Then we (duh) went to Pat O'Briens for le famous hurricanes, where I made the men pose all stupid-like:

We went back (shamelessly) every day. Some more:




That night we went to Irene's for dinner where none of us overate or were at all tipsy:

Day 2 we took a trolley across town to eat tasty, tasty oysters at Cooter Brown's:

We saw a billion houses and coveted 99% of them:

And this looked like a commercial to me, so I took a picture of it.


Then we went on a historic ghost/vampire tour, which sounds cheesy but was totally awesome! Our guide was super adorable and really honed in on the historical parts of things rather than just trying to make the stories extra scary or ridiculous.

Here's me and Yosef ready for scary stories:


and here's some scary places:

This place had a crazy story. I don't remember the details, but a few years ago a family was staying there and was sad that they didn't notice anything particularly freaky while they were there. A couple of weeks later when they developed their film from their trip, however, there was a picture of the kids sleeping taken from way above the children, like at ceiling height. WTF THAT'S SO SCARY. I literally just looked behind me while typing this because I'm a wimp. Maybe it's a better story to hear in person.

no story behind this one, I just thought it was funny. Also, who would rent that??

I wish I had taken more pictures; there were some gorgeous places with horrible stories. Ah well, next time, mis amores.

Our hotel was wonderful and brought us wine and cheese at 5 p.m., so we had our own little happy hour back at the room before dinner (note for the moms: we did not drive while we were there):

caution: hot men boozing

caution: wine may cause selfies and photobombs

Turns out one of the stops on the tour was Muriel's, where we had dinner reservations that night! It was delicious. We also got to go up to their seance room, which was currently inhabited by very, very obnoxious drunk people but was still really disarmingly creepy. Not creepy? $35 prix fixe.

Day 3! 

We had coffee at our new "usual" spot- Merchant, right by our hotel. Staffed by hot non-pretentious gay women and serving delicious espresso and crepes.

Then I saw this sign that I love more than I can say:

Then these antiques that I gushed over (surprisingly good prices! Must come back when I get one of those...gosh what are they called? of those...ah yes, jobs).

Then I saw another house to want:

More hurricanes, and then Joseph almost bought me this dress:

It was GORGEOUS, but hard to justify since I just recently bought a lovely fancy dress for a couple of events this fall, so I said no. Who am I??

Later, one billion oysters at Acme:

Joseph's "I just ate a ton of horseradish by itself" face

And even later we had dinner at Atchafalaya. We'd been there last year and had to go back. So, so, so good. There was scallops and duck confit and shrimp and grits and cobbler and delicious rosé and all other manner of things.

Joseph has trouble with normal faces sometimes.

photo courtesy of husband

Sunday we crawled out of bed, wandered around the French Quarter for a bit, took pictures with a parrot,

and then rediscovered my Jetta and drove on back to Austin. 

And, ladies and gentlemen, that concludes this edition of "a glimpse into the life of Natalie, Joseph, Sarah, and Jack". I hope you've enjoyed your stay.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Dreaming of fall...

If I could find a place that had 8 months of fall, 2 months of winter, 1 month of spring, and 1 month of summer every year, I would probably move there immediately (I'd also love a little socialism and a great oyster restaurant). Despite the fact that I own 10 bathing suits (thanks for fueling an unnecessary obsession, J.Crew), I'm just not a hot-weather kind of gal. Anyhow, this usually means that I'm completely on top of the fall/winter runways when they start popping up around February, but there's that whole "nursing school" thing happening in my life until December, which means I'm woefully behind on EVERYTHING ALSO I MISS MY FRIENDS.

So apologies if you've all already seen these, but I literally just discovered Vera Wang's fall ready-to-wear, and it's gorgeous. I've been unimpressed with her wedding gowns lately (she used to be known for beautiful structure, but there's been so much ripped tulle lately it's messing with my brain), so I was shocked that I loved her RTW as much as I did.

Quick bridal review. A beautiful Vera Wang from the mid-2000s, modeled in 2009 by my lovely seester (she also got married at our Bastrop cabin). Note the flowy structure and glamorous simplicity:

and the back:

She would like me to share with my readers that she scored big time and got this for half-off on Ebay! She had fallen in love with it at Vera Wang and then on a whim googled and found it in her size about 100 miles away. A girl had WORN IT TO HER PROM. A Vera Wang. TO PROM. But it worked out great for Ann Marie, so thanks, that girl's crazy parents!

Compare seester's dress to this 2015 design:

Can you see the difference? Maybe just a little? Mmmhm.

Moving on, you can see why a perfect fall RTW was pleasantly surprisingly. There's no other way to put it, this collection is cool. And I want it all.

Goth shimmer!

Punk brocade!

Black and grey plaid EVERYWHERE:

Rose metallic!

Rose metallic PLUS PLAID:

Everyday plaid!

And the best look of all- florals, olive, gloves, swingy sleeveless coat, rocker jewelry!

I can't even deal with the fact that I have to wear scrubs tomorrow and Thursday.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

black and white all over

For as much as I love color, I've also always been really drawn to the simplicity of black and white, particularly when used in an otherwise bursting-with-color house. A couple of girlfriends and I went to Midnight Cowboy last night for drinks, and seeing their gorgeous b&w restroom was a nice little bonus. I can't find a picture of it online, but go, drink delicious cocktails, and ogle for yourself; you won't regret it.

When I'm not reading, I spend a lot of time designing my dream house, and it always has a black and white kitchen and at least one black and white bathroom. Kitchen inspiration pics:

I LOVE the contrast of the vintage chandelier with the bamboo shades.

A more traditional b&w that's wonderful (if a little too traditional for my own house). Those barstools, though! Love!


A pretty pretty blend of traditional and eclectic (shut up, perfect range. Just shut up with your fancy self). That backsplash, too, amirite?

Courtney Blanton

And another nice blend of tastes. Just plain cool:

Stephane Charmard

 And powder room/bathroom muses:

Rita Konig. drool.

This Mark Sikes is perfect. The caramel shower curtain and bamboo side table really soften up the look:


And I have literally dreamed about this Nina Campbell "perroquet" wallpaper. If I stick to solids in the kitchen and bathrooms, how killer would this be in a dining room? 

Here's a shot of it in a foyer, which is also a perfect place for it. It's such a great combination of traditional, fun, and a little unexpected.

Heck, even my favorite Cannes dresses so far are black and white!

Zhang Ziyi, beyond stunning as always, in Stéphane Rolland:

no words.

And (surprising me most of all), Kendall Jenner in Chanel:

And thus concludes our study in contrasts and first blog post in many moons! I'm on break from nursing school until the 27th, so I may even post again before the month is up...

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

An ode to paint.

I know I've written a couple of times before about my love for dark paint colors, but I've been thinking a lot about them recently after helping a friend pick some out for his new house. I promise this will be my last post along these lines for a while!

Joseph and I are at least a couple years out from moving, but I've (shockingly, I know) already started compiling my color ideas for when we are in a more permanent house. They just instantly change a room from the expected to a more dramatic and, let's be honest, cool, space. I don't know when the rumor got started that dark colors make a room look tiny, but as the following pictures show, as long as you keep your accessories bright and your furniture mostly contrasting, you end up with a gorgeous look. Plus, whereas you should usually paint your ceiling the same color as your walls, with a dark color leaving the ceiling white will counteract any possible claustrophobia. Again, though, there are wonderful exceptions to that rule!

Onto the ogling portion of the post.

This grey isn't very dark, but combined with the sloped ceiling and darker hardwoods, it approximates an overall "darker" feel. Notice how beautifully the gold chandelier (that's the same one in my dining room!) and white/grey rug contrast.

Brian Alan Kirkland Designs

This next guy is one of my absolute favorites. I'm obsessed with this color, and love the matching etageres, as well as the just-funky-enough animal print rug. The dainty chandelier is surprisingly perfect, too.

Erin Williamson

Staying on the teal + animal theme, you can't help but be wow'd by this library:

Hillary Thomas Designs

A large gilt edged mirror will do wonders for any space, especially a tiny powder room that could use some added dimension:

JL Interior Design, LLC

This bedroom speaks for itself. Small, eclectic, traditional mixed with the unexpected:

Marjorie Skouras

Mmmmmm: navy.

Philpotts Interiors

This moss pushes all my happy buttons. Notice that in almost all of the other rooms they left the ceilings white, but with this slightly lighter shade they went ahead and did the whole thing. Definitely a wise choice, especially given the leeway you have with super tall ceilings.

Plural Design, Inc.

And lastly, a beautiful chocolate bedroom. *swoon*

Tom Stringer Design Partners

And now, back to the nursing school grind! If only I had a deep emerald library to hole up in...