November 2010

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Wedding Colors

By Katharine

When people find out you are getting married, the first question they ask is when and where. Nathan and I now have an answer for that, but I am always surprised by the next question: Have you decided on colors?

Really? That’s the next question? Well, apparently it is, and a vague answer of  “We’re thinking maybe some sort of blue and/or green” doesn’t seem to satisfy the asker. I’m not the only one to find this question rather strange and hard to answer, but sometimes it’s easier to give in than to fight it. So after successfully buying a wedding dress, my shopping helpers took me to the hardware store to mix and match paint chips. We started with all the blues and greens and settled on a dark/medium blue called ‘ribbon blue’ with a lighter green called ‘fennel leaves’. I wanted another accent color and one of my lovely bridesmaids had suggested yellow.  So we mixed and matched a pale yellow and all agreed that it added to the summer feel and helped lighten and brighten the blue and green. So, after getting Nathan’s approval, we have settled on our colors! The girls decided I needed to rename the colors because just saying “blue, green, and yellow” also won’t satisfy the asker. So I can now happily announce that our colors are:


“Blue Jay blue”


“Parrot Green”


“Pale Canary Yellow”

Noticing the bird theme? Don’t worry, the wedding won’t be bird themed!

Note: The paint chips were from Dutch Boy, and I can’t find the exact colors on their website for some reason, so these are just my best approximation using paint.

By Katharine

Nathan already mentioned that I did some wedding dress shopping the weekend our parents were here. It was actually a fun experience for me and I was glad that I got to share it with my mom, Nathan’s mom, and my sister-in-law. I will admit that initially I was a little hesitant about the whole thing… I mean you have to get an appointment, let strangers dress you, and then there is all the emotional pressure to find the dress. Not just any dress will do of course, you are expected to know it’s “the one” when you try it on. You might even cry when you find it! All of which is not really me… I am way too practical for all that!

But as it turns out, maybe I’m not. Because I did find the perfect dress. And even though neither I nor my mom cried when I tried it on, I did pretty much know it was the one… because every dress after that was compared to it! (and really couldn’t compare).

Our search started on Friday in Santa Monica at Dina’s Bridal, a no-frills store run by a mother and daughter. It got great reviews online and I definitely had a good experience. They had a great collection of affordable (<$1000) dresses, with many less than $500. I was the only person in the store (I did have an appointment) so I got all the attention I needed from Gina (the daughter). I actually had brought  a few pictures of dresses that I liked from various bridal magazines and Gina did a great job finding dresses that were similar. She also had me try a few other styles, but apparently I knew what I liked since the first two were our favorites! The only downside is that you can’t take pictures until you buy the dress so my Mom and I had to try to keep it all in our head for comparing later.

Then we headed to Montclair Bridal, a much fancier shop on Montana avenue in Santa Monica. I had guessed that the dresses might be out of my price range but my mom encouraged me to make an appointment anyways just to see the difference. Luckily I’m not the type to fall in love with a dress and justify spending $3000 on it… because there was one that was beautiful. Honestly, I could see and feel the difference… the high quality silk was lightweight and draped perfectly. And they gave me the royal treatment and made me feel like a bride… but really, $3000 for a dress to wear for one day? Not gonna happen! But if you are lucky enough to have a larger dress budget, then I do recommend the store. They were very helpful and knowledgeable. And they do have other dresses in the $800-1500 range as well. (Note: according to their website the store has actually closed even though I was there 3 weeks ago… not sure if that means people just aren’t buying expensive dresses these days or if something else happened.)

On Saturday Nathan’s mom and my sister-in-law joined us to check out Alfred Angelo and David’s Bridal in the Pasadena area. Neither was a particularly great experience. At AA, the person helping me seemed more interested in picking a dress for me that she thought was best rather than listening to what I wanted. After emphasizing that I wanted something very simple for a casual outdoor wedding, she thought this would be perfect:

Everyone else including myself did not agree. She also told me I wasn’t “fun” since I didn’t want a crazy dress… All in all, not a great experience with Alfred Angelo even though I did find one dress in the end that was pretty nice.

Then we went on to David’s Bridal. I hadn’t made an appointment because I didn’t think I was going to want to go, but since AA was so uninspiring we wanted to keep looking. We went to the location in Duarte, and it was pretty hectic. I had 4 different people helping me, they temporarily lost the example pictures I had brought, and I waited about 5-10 minutes in each dress until someone would return to help with the next one. They also didn’t seem to know their stock very well. The one thing I did like was getting to try on my size rather than one that was way too big and made to ‘fit’ with huge ugly clips. In the end, I didn’t find a dress there that I loved although there was one that was ok.  It was also nice to take pictures (both at AA and David’s Bridal) since my bridesmaids don’t live in the area. Still, I kept thinking of the dress from Dina’s which I remembered being so much better, but without pictures to compare, it was hard to know.

Dina’s wasn’t open on Sunday, so I had to wait until the foll0wing weekend to go back with my sister-in-law and a good friend from work to see if the dress was a perfect as I remembered. And it really really was! Generally when making a large purchase like this I have to think it over a lot and basically know I’m going to buy it before I get there. But with help from my two friends and the amazing feeling of being in what was certainly “the dress,” I knew I could go ahead and get it. It was a little more than I was hoping to spend, but definitely within the right range (not $3000!) and very much worth it. I can’t show pictures or give too many details because Nathan will see this, but the dress is exactly what I wanted: simple but flow-y and feminine, plain but beautiful, and it made me feel amazing!

All in all, the dress shopping experience was a lot of fun for me despite my initial hesitation. And now one more thing is checked of the list… date, venue, caterer, and a dress! Next up: Colors. More on that to come!

By Nathan

It might be surprising since Katharine and I have been together for over 3 years, but our parents just met for the first time a couple weekends ago.  The weekend was full of sharing stories about our childhood and taking care of wedding stuff. But before my parents arrived, the weekend started off with Katharine and Bryan wedding dress shopping in Santa Monica on Friday afternoon.  Paul then later concluded some business stuff in the area and we all met at Literati for dinner.  Literati has become one of our favorite restaurants because it is within walking distance and it has an incredible mushroom soup that we love.

Then on Saturday morning my parents arrived, and after introductions we headed back to Middle Ranch.  My parents have already toured the venue but this was Katharine’s parents first time.  After walking the grounds and touring the inside of the club house they agreed this was the perfect location for our wedding.  We started laying out potential ceremony arrangements, trying to answer some logistical questions like, which direction we would be facing? where would the sun be during the ceremony? and where would Katharine enter from?  While we were walking around outside, a storm started to roll in, kicking up strong gusts of wind.  This picture was right after Katharine was hit in the face with a flying leaf. One of the few downsides to her beloved trees. Hopefully the winds will be calmer on August 6th!

During this weekend we thought it would be a good time to try some rehearsal dinner locations.  For lunch we then headed east to Dish, a resturant in La Canada Flintridge.  Everyone liked the food and the location was fitting for a rehearsal dinner since you can reserve the whole bar area (which is also about half of the restaurant).  They have great banquet pricing and a nice relaxed atmosphere that we think suits us. We still have quite a list of possibilites to try in the Pasadena area but this one looks promising so far.

After Lunch we split up guys and girls.  The guys headed to the shooting range while the girls went dress shopping.  My brother met up with us at the range and we enjoyed going through almost 200 shells between the 4 of us.  I think this will be a great pre-wedding activity for the guys while the girls spend hours getting ready for the wedding.  Plus I think the pictures will be one-of-a-kind.

For dinner we all met up again at another potential rehearsal dinner location, Green Street Tavern.  It provided a nice atmosphere for the two families to meet, but we didn’t feel like it was quite the right place for our rehearsal dinner since it was pretty small and very dark. But Katharine’s mom was able to impress my dad with her magnifying glass flashlight to read the menu.  Still, the food was amazing, I recommend the wild boar meat loaf, and I think it was a good time had by all.

The next morning we had brunch with our parents at Bread and Porridge and further discussed family histories and wedding plans.  It was a nice ending to a event packed weekend.

More Photos

By Nathan

Halloween sort of snuck up on us this year since we were preparing for our parents visit (more on that later). So we didn’t do a whole lot, but we did keep our pumpkin carving tradition alive (2nd year).  We had a few trick-or-treaters from our building but they were a little young.  I am not sure that they knew what the holiday is really all about…getting as much candy as possible, of course.  We are now stuck with 1 lbs minus 2 pieces of candy.  The toddlers in our apartment building showed their appreciation for our  jack-o-lanterns by kicking them.  Of course they were cute but I wish they took more candy.

Katharine carved an Ansel Adams-esque image of the Tetons and Snake River.  This photo was taken a couple days after it was carved so the sun is missing it’s rays.

I carved “NATE KAT” but the pictures aren’t the best since I had to take them in the bathroom where it was dark but I was too close.   I always forgot to take the photos at night outside.  Maybe next year I’ll remember.

Mustache Fundraiser

I recently participated in a fundraiser for JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation).  Our department at work’s goal was to raise $17,000.  I decided to sacrifice my face for 4 weeks to a mustache competition.   The rules were you had to start clean-shaven and get people to vote for you ($1 per vote).  27 guys entered and within the first week many of them dropped out from embarrassment.  After 4 weeks I was able to raise just over $80.  The top winner raised almost $1,500 and a tightly contested race with second, who raise just over $1,100.  Overall the competition raised almost $4,000 and with all the combined proceeds from other events our department came close to reaching our goal.  It was a fun event and called attention to our cause.  Here are some of the photos throughout the 4 weeks.

This picture was taken after the first 2 weeks.  At this point it was probably most embarrassing.  The first week everyone just thinks you forgot to shave, but after two weeks people know it’s not an accident and wonder what was I thinking.  Everyone I met with I seemed to introduce myself with a disclaimer, which was usually followed by their honest reaction of laughter.

This was my final look.  It wasn’t as bad as I thought but not good enough to keep around.  Plus Katharine was not a fan.  I think everyone was shocked by the different shades or brown and some red.  I didn’t win the contest but it was still fun to participate in the fundraiser.

After the contest was over I shaved the goatee to see what the pure stache would look like.  Katharine thought I should add mascara so people could at least see the stache, but I wasn’t brave enough to sport the stache out of the house.

I think I’ll stick with this clean-shaven 22 year old looking Nathan.  Plus I get more kisses from Katharine without a lemon sour reaction face after the coarse hairs poked her in the face.