Thursday, January 17, 2013

Curves, semi-formal style.

Happy Thursday, chirplettes! Is it just me or does today really seem like it should be Friday?

At any rate, I had a request to do a post on cocktail dresses for the curvier among us, so I went to ye olde internet and found some gawgeous frocks to share. I know I'm not plus-size, but for a couple of years I did carry around about 20 pounds more than I do now, so I do have some understanding of the rules of dressing curves.

Feel free to comment if you completely disagree with a choice; I may have a bit of experience but I'm no expert, and I'd love to get some feedback!

My absolute favorite dress that I found has got to be this gem from ModCloth. So sexy, a little retro, and perfect for everything from cocktail parties to weddings to date night.


ModCloth also sells this adorable cherry dress that I think would work just as well on an XS as a 2X. Flaunt it, ladies!


I almost bought this Michael Kors wrap dress for myself last year, but it just didn't quite sit right. Mainly because I'm flat-chested, which makes me think this version would be lovely on a bustier gal.


I think you all know about my affinity for navy. That plus the lace made this dress a win in my book. It's a dress for someone out of their 20s, sure, but it's not matronly.

This next dress is just fun, honestly. I bet the skirt swishes really nicely when you're on the dance floor. Plus you can adjust the top for how much cleavage you want to show, so you can start out the night wrapped up and end the night a little more daring, depending on the circumstances (and the company).


Next up, a trusty wrap dress. If you don't have one, buy one. I have two and I wear them all the time. Work, the ballet, dinner, Christmas church, you name it.


And one from Banana:


This next beauty is shown on a teeny woman, but in my opinion this kind of fit is much more attractive on someone with more than 5% body fat. This much draping can overwhelm smaller frames, but it's a great flatterer when you want to disguise your less-favorite parts.

And it's sparkly!


And I have to recommend everyone check out Asos Curve. They have a ton of great options that are all really affordable, plus they do free shipping and returns, which means you can order multiple sizes and colors and send back what doesn't work without any hassle.

I'm loving this purple one:


Also loving this red guy. The lace is so sassy! It's the same idea as the silver glittery dress above, and I stand by my draping statements.


And I'll end with a really beautiful sexy number. Teal lace? Nom.


Now let's all buy dresses and go out to a fancy dinner to show off, shall we?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Wedding break.

I'll admit something that doesn't need admitting considering how obvious it is: I can't stop thinking about weddings. My brain is all wedding, all the time. Except when it's physiology. Then it's physiology, wedding, wedding, physiology, sandwich.

Anyhow, so the Golden Globes were a welcome distraction! It's still in the same vein considering I'm looking at gorgeous gowns, but you get where I'm headed. I rounded up some of my favorites, and I hope you agree!

Kerry Washington's Miu Miu got a lot of flack from some people, but I actually love it. Is that because it has a whisper of wedding dress about it? Perhaps. Would I have fully lined the skirt or made it a mini dress? Certainly. Still, though, it rocks.

Another hint of wedding dress brought to us by the ridiculously lovely Michelle Dockery, in Alexandre Vauthier. She almost looks too perfect.

Oh wow. I chose another bridal look. I guess I didn't stray as far from wedding as I thought I had.
At any rate, I think we can all agree that even if she seems like not the most pleasant person, Anne Hathaway looked remarkable in Chanel. I am seriously digging that pixie cut on her, and her makeup is flawless.

Oh look! A black dress! I knew I could do it. Kate Hudson in Alexander McQueen. Seriously smokin'.

Continuing on the black looks, I present to you- the coolest women of all time.

Tina Fey looking drop-dead gorgeous in L'Wren Scott:

and Amy Poehler taking an alternate route in a fabulous Stella McArtney tux (although the necklace is a little too prom for me).

And to round it up, at least for now...

Marion Cotillard rocked my absolute favorite look of the night. Not really because of the dress or the shoes on their own (I read somewhere that the shoes were gold, not orange like they look here), but just the overall effect. Her amazing Frenchiness + the loose hair + the subtle makeup + the flat-out cool frock = so much win for me. I'm not even a big fan of strapless dresses, but I'm completely sold on this.

And another look so we don't have to part quite yet:

Ah. What a lovely Tuesday this is turning out to be.

Monday, January 7, 2013



Secondly, I've had many requests for the story, and so that's what today's post is about! Ask and you shall receive.

Let's start with a bit of history- I'll try not to get too long-winded, but I can't promise anything.

Joseph and I started dating when I was 16 and he was 17. We were each other's first serious boy/girlfriend, first love, etc. etc. We dated while he was away at Southwestern and I was stuck in Corpus for my senior year of high school, and then broke up when I went to Rice. 4 years later we dated for about a month (June 2008), broke up again, and then met back up about 2 years after that (May 2010). We decided that the third time was a charm, and that we had to see once and for all where our being together might take us. We moved in together that October, bought a condo last June, and haven't looked back.

Quick memory lane journey-

Joseph surprising me at an Academic Decathlon tournament, circa March 2004:

Us before my senior prom. May 2004:

Sweet hair, lover.
And back to present day.

If you know me at all, you know that I've been waiting for a proposal basically since we moved in together. Obviously I knew it wouldn't be THAT soon, but this past year in particular has been pretty nerve-wracking. 

As my birthday present (my birthday is tomorrow) I wanted to go out to a nice restaurant, so we made reservations at Swift's Attic. We went and gorged ourselves on DELICIOUS food and schmancy drinks, like so:

And then over dessert Joseph started telling me all these wonderful things, and it was so sweet! Of course being completely unaware of what was about to happen, I changed the subject at some point and brought up a crappy work situation. Really romantic, Natalie. Joseph got up and went to the restroom, and then came back and sat on the other side of me. He looked nervous and kind of intense and different than I'd ever really seen, and said "I lied when I said I didn't get you anything for tonight."

At this point my heart is going a thousand miles an hour, but I'm determined to not get my hopes up. "He's going to pull out a manicure gift certificate. Or a coffee grinder. NOT A RING DEAR GOD NATALIE STOP THINKING THAT AND PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT HE'S SAYING."

Joseph pulls out this GORGEOUS little jeweled owl and sets it on the table.

Then he says he loves me, gets down on one knee, and asks if I will marry him! He opens the little owl, and the ring is inside.

I literally jumped backwards in the booth with my hands over my mouth. I believe I was thinking "NO EFFING WAY. OH MY GOD. HOLY CRAP. I LOVE HIM. THERE ARE SPARKLY THINGS."

I finally hugged and kissed him and said yes, and after a minute looked at the ring, which is absolutely phenomenal. It's exactly the setting I wanted (thank you for your help and patience, Ann Marie!), and Joseph had it custom made! It doesn't photograph nearly as gorgeous as it is in person, of course, but here are a couple shots.

It's an antique cut cushion cut, so it has gorgeous large facets and looks amazingly vintage, and the halo and band are wonderfully delicate. Joseph went to multiple jewelry stores before settling on using Calvin's (which he more than highly recommends), and he learned more about diamonds than anyone not in the business probably ever needs to know.

The manager and waitress brought us free champagne and congratulated us, but we left after like half a glass- we were too excited to sit still! We got in the car, and Joseph said it would be romantic to drive by the Capitol since it was nighttime. I was on the phone with my mom and staring at my hand in disbelief, so I agreed without paying any attention to where we were going. The next thing I knew, the valet people at The Driskill were opening my car door, and we were staying the night there. Joseph's parents had sent up strawberries and champagne, so we called them and then had a martini at the bar downstairs. Besides the wasted lady telling us about her horrible ex-fianc├ęs (yes, plural. Apparently he couldn't get it up. Just FYI.), it was perfect. It was romantic but not cheesy, and a complete surprise. The first picture of the ring that I put up on Facebook shows my horribly chipped nails, and as someone that gets frequent manicures, that attests to how surprised I was.

I absolutely cannot believe I get to marry my first love. I'm (officially) becoming a part of a family that I've adored since I first met them, and Joseph can finally become the honorary half-Mexican he is.

And there you have it! Story, pictures, etc. My good friend Kelly suggested I bottle up my radiating joy to sell, but I don't think it could be contained in mason jars!

Joseph Guy Mattingly, IV., I'm going to marry you so hard.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Birthday treats.

It's my birthday on Tuesday (the big 2-7, an age that means absolutely nothing!), and Anthro had the audacity to send me a 15% coupon. How dare they?! They know I need to be squirreling money away right now, and then they do a thing like this.

I'm absolutely furious.

You might say I'm seeing red.

Mainly because I'm now seriously eyeing this dress:


Although let's be honest, I'd probably actually get the blue one.

It comes in a petite! It's CALLING OUT TO ME. "Wear me to work!" It says. "Wear me to dinner!" It claims. "Wear me casually!" It squeals.

Then there's this one, that calls out, "You will hardly ever have a chance to wear me and I'm more than you can spend right now, but drool over me anyways!"


I want it. But I can't have it. You buy it! Then send me pictures and tell me it's less awesome in person and that I would regret buying it.

Of course I know I'll end up buying something super practical and most likely on sale (since EVERYTHING at Anthro eventually goes on sale. I guarantee you I'll get that blue dress in about a month at, like, 60% off), so I'm looking at this top, considering 98% of my wardrobe is collared shirts.


And this guy is whispering sweet nothings, too.


Tell me more, shirt I can wear once a week.

Or maybe I'll just invest in a $150 dollar beach towel.

This really exists.

I can't even. Why, Anthropologie, why?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Resolving, etc.

Just a few random bits about my life right now.

My first thought when faced with the idea of a new year's resolution was, "I have too many plans for a resolution!" 2013 is, hopefully, going to be a very big year for me (school and career-wise), and there is so much about to be on my plate that I'm more than a little nervous about it. 

Last night after Joseph left for soccer, I started going over everything that was coming up, and I found myself stressing out about things that hadn't even come up yet. The "what ifs" and "but how will I's" began piling up, and before I knew it a migraine started working its way into my right temple. I was able to catch it before it went full-blown, and it worked to snap me out of my completely pointless stressing. So I put on my pajamas, got out the knitting kit Joseph's mom got me for Christmas, and turned on YouTube. Before I knew it, I was completely engrossed in this simultaneously mindless and intricate task, and I was the most relaxed I've been in months. I actually giggled at myself when I messed up for the fourth time, and I'm not known for handling failure very well.

Thus, I resolve:

1. To find ways to meditate everyday, whether it be through knitting, exercise, while chopping vegetables, etc.


2. To try harder to be comfortable in my own skin. This includes: not defining myself by my weight (although I will be losing these 5 holiday pounds), not beating myself up when I make less than a 95 on a test, and not overly scrutinizing every move I make. I want to be defined by the good that I bring to the world, not some made-up standard of acceptable.

Joseph and I went to church together on Sunday, too, and it seems like it is a place that will really fit the bill for what we're looking for and help me with my resolutions as well. It's a Universalist Unitarian church; the link is here if you want to read about it:

Also, if you'd like a deformed rectangle, I now know how to make them! Stay tuned for pretty things; I'm definitely going to brag when I get to that level.