Advice, Career

    Quit Your Day Job and Chase Your Dreams

    If you’ve ever had a rough day at work (let’s be honest, most of us have at some point), you might find yourself dreaming of doing something different. Something that makes you feel more alive.

    But, what if you were able to turn one of your hobbies into a full-time job? Imagine waking up every day excited to do that thing you can’t imagine not doing.

    The good news is it doesn’t have to be this distant, unattainable goal. With hard work, determination and a little faith in yourself, you can make your dream a reality.

    And if you don’t believe it, just ask my friend, Autumn Theodore. She knows a thing or two about quitting a day job to chase your dreams. She did it.

    After graduating from The Ohio State University with a degree in International Studies, Autumn worked in marketing roles before venturing out to start her own photography business, Autumn Theodore Photography.

    I sat down with her to talk about finding your passion and having the guts to chase your dreams, even when it seems scary. Read our interview below:

    What sparked your interest in photography?

    I was in college when a friend of mine let me play around with her Canon DSLR camera, and it was love at first click! I started thinking that when I had a “real job,” I’d buy my own when I could afford it. Two years later, I did buy my own camera – but to just use for fun. In less than 10 months, people were paying me for photography so frequently that I decided to build a website. The website, in my opinion, was the launch of my business. (August 15, 2012!)

    Quitting Your Day Job to Chase Your Dreams with Autumn Theodore | | Life and Affordable Style Blog

    When did you realize you wanted to pursue your passion full time?

    I remembered thinking that it was the most fun side hustle I could ever have. But I truly thought I’d never be able to leave my day job. It just seemed too hard. Too scary. But then I started spending lots of time with other people who were entrepreneurial, business-minded, strong, kickass people.

    And then I met Adam Lehman of The Wonder Jam, and he became my business coach. I told him I wanted to quit my day job before I turned 30 (which was 14 months away at the time) – and he said that was no problem at all.

    This was shocking to me, and I didn’t really believe him. But then after a few coaching sessions, I really believed him, and in turn, believed in myself. It didn’t take 14 months…it took four (to tell my boss I was leaving) and another four before I walked out the door of a corporate job for the last time. (And I’m still in my 20s!)

    Did you receive any negative comments from family and/or friends along the way? If so, how did you respond?

    Family has never been a problem – they are blindly supportive of what I do and I couldn’t be more grateful. Friends have never been a problem either – they’ve been so understanding and helpful. To be honest, I don’t get a lot of negative comments.

    Luckily, the things that do bother me are things I can fix by educating people on what it means to be a photographer/entrepreneur. Rude comments are usually made by people who are 1) negative always, not just to me, or 2) uneducated on the thing they’re talking about.

    Did you experience self-doubt before making the jump? How did you convince yourself to keep going?

    At some point, I jumped quickly from lots of self-doubt to no self-doubt, and I was actually a bit scared because I thought I needed to feel more self-doubt! Like lots of other people my age, I have a large amount of student loan debt which made me feel handcuffed to my day job. When I realized that all I needed were excellent processes and kindness to have a successful business, I wasn’t scared anymore. (By the way, processes + kindness = referrals. I’ve never done any marketing, and I don’t ever plan to.)

    What has been your proudest moment so far?

    It’s so funny because I don’t often feel pride. I’m kind of just in awe of the fact that I’m my own boss and I get to have fun every single day doing what I love, taking time for myself, and seeing friends and family more often. But there are two things I’m proud of, come to think of it: 1) working 7 days a week for 8 months straight prior to leaving my day job (this was hard, but it was necessary), and 2) landing a photography contract with Ohio State, my lovely alma mater.

    What advice would you give your 25-year-old self, knowing what you know now?

    On my 25th birthday, I’d say, “You’re going to start a photography business two months from today. It’s going to be fun and hard and rewarding and frustrating. But if you work hard (because it’s not just photography, it’s also web design, accounting, legal, education, marketing, publicity, copywriting, graphic design, and customer service), you’ll get to leave your day job and be your own boss. I know it seems hard right now, but keep going. Keep meeting people. Keep being kind. Keep learning new photography tricks. Keep figuring out who/what  inspires you. JUST. KEEP. GOING. It’s just going to take time.” And it did. :)

    What words of wisdom would you tell someone who is thinking of leaping into the unknown and chasing his/her passion?

    1) Do something you love. If you’re not certain that you love it, find something else. 2) ASK OTHERS FOR HELP. 3) Be patient. Be consistent but patient. It will take time unless you’re a biz genius in which case I want to invest! 4) Be kind. No one will want to support you or buy your product or hire you if you suck. 5) Listen to the “How I Built This” podcast for inspiration.

    Shout out to Autumn for being a true inspiration. To follow her on her journey, check her out on Instagram, Facebook and on her website


    Wait Until You See the New Abercrombie & Fitch…

    Abercrombie is back, guys. In a big way, too.

    The new prototype store, located in Polaris Fashion Place (on the lower level near JCPenny) is bright, open, airy and inviting. Not exactly the Abercrombie you remember from years past. Forget feeling like you need a flash light to shop. Forget the overpowering cologne.

    It’s everything you’d look for in a shopping experience, but with a twist. Not only is the new layout easy to navigate – it’s modern, too. The dressing rooms are equipped with phone chargers and lighting you can dial up or down to fit your mood. With the click of a button, you can see what your outfit will look like in different environments, from direct sunlight to a night club. It’s actually the most awesome dressing room I’ve ever been in. Did I mention the phone chargers?

    Now, onto the clothing…(because it’s so good)

    I am obsessed. I had to hold myself back from buying everything, but I did pick up this dress, this vest (love how it looks over the dress!), these jeans, this sweater and this bandana. It was a successful trip to say the least (PSA: everything is 25% off online right now!).

    If you’re in the area, I’d highly recommend you swing by Polaris Fashion Place this weekend and check out the new store for yourself. This is the first A&F of its kind, but the company has plans to open more across the country if they receive good feedback (and I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t). I promise you won’t be disappointed!


    Black Tie, Semiformal, Casual — Pretty, Affordable Dresses to Wear This Wedding Season

    Dress: H&M – $49.99 (no longer available online, but similar here)

    When you reach your mid-twenties, going to weddings becomes (what feels like) a weekly thing. Last year, Fritz and I attended six or seven weddings, and I won’t lie, I wore the same trusty romper for most of them. So, I’ll be the last person to judge you for outfit repeating. You do you, girl.

    If you have several on your calendar for the upcoming season and don’t have a clue what to wear, you’ve come to the right place. I selected some pretty, budget-friendly (all under $100) options for any kind of wedding, whether it’s black tie, semi-formal or casual.




    Advice, Real Life

    Coffee Talk: The World Would be a Better Place if We Focused on Building Each Other Up

    Coffee Talk is a monthly series that dives headfirst into real life territory. Consider it like a deep conversation with a friend where nothing is off limits. Take a seat, grab your mug and let’s chat.

    I shared a post on Instagram recently and it resonated with a lot of people. And that’s probably because most of us have been here at some point. You might even be there now. I know I was.

    Story time…

    I used to work at a PR firm, and as much as I liked it, I wont lie to you, it was pretty stressful at times. One random Tuesday shit had hit the fan. Big time. I was tired. I was frustrated. And I lacked one very important thing: self-confidence. I shuffled into my boss’ office, closed the door and before he even knew what I was going to say, he pointed at a chair in the corner of his office and said, “Natalie, the opportunity chair is open.”

    The opportunity chair? Was this guy serious? Here I was, having the worst day of my professional career and he’s shoving some stupid, metaphorical chair in my face? (I quickly understood this was about so much more than a chair)

    That moment made me realize the sad truth. He believed in me more than I believed in myself. While I spent so much time doubting my abilities, he saw nothing but potential. Potential I was too afraid to face head-on and run with. It’s amazing what you can do when you have the confidence in your abilities and see yourself the way others do. It was a breakthrough.

    And it made me wonder…why do we choose to stand in our own way so often? Why do we hold ourselves back from being awesome? Think about that for a moment.

    Because, here’s the thing — opportunity is everywhere. Or, as my boss would say, “opportunity chairs” are everywhere.

    So, let’s promise each other something. Let’s promise to stop telling ourselves we’re not good enough or not experienced enough. Sure, maybe you didn’t go to school for photography or marketing or astrology or hand-lettering.

    You know what? WHO CARES.

    I know you have drive and passion (that’s probably why you’re still reading this post). And I know deep down, you know that, too. And the “but, I didn’t go to school for [insert dream career path here]” excuse? Puh-lease. Let’s be honest, you can learn anything on the internet these days. And you can also learn from inspiring individuals around you. All it takes is the guts to reach out. There’s plenty of room at the table for us all to learn, grow and do amazing things.

    So, what’s the moral of this long-winded story?

    (I know, I know…you’re probably like, “get to the point already.”)

    The world could use creativity and passion and big ideas. But you what else the world needs? More people like my boss, who are happy to build others up when they need it most.

    So, remember this the next time you meet someone just starting out, struggling to recognize his or her own potential. Take them to lunch and tell them they’re doing a great job. Sing their praises to hiring managers you know. Give them tips to help them grow, so they can then pass that knowledge on to the people they meet.

    The world would be a much better place.

    What is the best advice (i.e. wake up call) you’ve received from a boss or mentor?

    Got an idea for a future Coffee Talk topic? Send me a note at hello [at] nataliewashere [dot] com. I’d love to hear from you!


    Let’s Talk Hair Extensions: First Impressions and What You Need to Know

    People use clothing as a way to express themselves. You could say that about makeup, too. When I’m having a bad day, I typically reach for darker eye shadows or lipsticks (que the emo rock music).

    Sometimes, I’ll go really crazy and bust out the glitter on a Saturday night.

    Moral of the story? It’s fun to switch up your look from time to time.  And just like clothing and makeup, hair is no different. You can straighten it, curl it, crimp it, dye it, braid it, perm it, shave it or chop it all off. You can even add length and volume with hair extensions.

    Irresistible Me Hair Extensions - Natalie Was Here, a life and affordable style blog

    And I’m not talking about your typical “sit in a salon chair for five hours” extensions. Because ain’t nobody got time for that. Nope, I’m talking about clip ins. And they’re pretty genius.

    I should add a little disclaimer here, and if you know me personally, you won’t be surprised. When it comes to styling my hair, let’s just say my skills are lacking. I had never tried hair extensions in my life. So, when Irresistible Me reached out and told me how easy their extensions were to use, I was a little skeptical, but also intrigued. Because if I can put them in, anyone can.

    Irresistible Me Hair Extensions - Natalie Was Here, a life and affordable style blog

    First Impressions

    Ordering extensions, like ordering anything online, can be a bit of a challenge. Especially if you haven’t used them before.

    Here’s a little info for you to reference before buying: the weight of the extensions (100g, 140g, 200g) refers to the total weight of the hair without the clips attached. The thickness of the hair is relative to both the weight and the length you choose. For example, a 14″ 200g piece will look thicker than the 24″ 200g piece. Still with me? Good!

    As far as color selection goes, this video will help give you a deeper dive into the the range they offer so you can pick your perfect match.

    I wanted thickness and length, so after reviewing the selection, I decided to go with the 200g 18” Silky Touch extensions in Chocolate Brown.

    What I Liked

    • These were SO easy to apply. Like, really easy. The pictures in this post were taken right after I put them in for the first time. They’re not perfect as you can see (missed some spots while curling), but overall, not bad for a first-timer (again, if I can do it, anyone can)!
    • The company gives you a lot of hair for the price.
    • And speaking of price, they are relatively affordable compared to other extension brands on the market.

     What I Didn’t Like

    • The extensions I ordered are too long for me personally. On the upside, however, it’s better for them to be too long than too short. Nothing a trim can’t fix!
    • The color was too dark, but that was partially my fault. I colored my hair a month or so before ordering, and the deep, rich color had faded significantly.
    • The hair is a little too shiny, and when curled, I found some of the pieces looked stringy.

    Irresistible Me Hair Extensions - Natalie Was Here, a life and affordable style blog

    nwh-nov2016-hair-18 nwh-nov2016-hair-22 nwh-nov2016-hair-29

    Overall, I was very pleased with the Irresistible Me hair extensions, and would recommend giving them a shot if you’re interested! I’ve only worn them for special occasions (i.e. a recent trip to Las Vegas), but they’re definitely fun to have in my arsenal for those nights when I’m wanting a little somethin’ somethin’ extra!

    What do you think? Would you give hair extensions a try?

    * The hair extensions featured in the post were provided to me for review by Irresistible Me. As always, opinions are 100% my own! Thank you for showing some love to the brands that support Natalie Was Here!

    Photography by Erika Gene Clark


    How to Style an Overall Dress

    Dress: Target (similar version on sale for $8!) | Body Suit: Abercrombie (on sale for $11!) | Boots: Macy’s

    I’ve never really been an overall girl (well, unless you count my brief stint with my trusty pair in Kindergarten). When they came back in style a few years ago, I was a little skeptical. I did impulsively buy a pair, but they just sat in my closet. I tried to make them work, but they didn’t feel like me.

    But, the overall dress? Now, that’s something I can get behind.

    This one from Target (not exact, but very similar) is a pretty maroon shade, so when styling it, I reached for black and white pieces to help the dress itself really stand out.

    And this brings me to the next part…

    What to wear under an overall dress

    When looking for pieces to layer under an overall dress, I’d highly recommend a body suit because you won’t have to worry about fabric bunching up as you go throughout your day. An off-the-shoulder version is perfect for spring. But if the temps get a little chilly, a turtle neck body suit is also a great option.

    Let’s talk shoes

    I love, love, love over-the-knee boots. So to dress up this look a bit, I reached for my favorite pair. If they’re not your thing and you’re looking for a more casual look, you could easily swap out the boots for sneakers, flats or even ankle boots. The possibilities are endless!

    How to style an overall dress | Natalie Was Here | Life + Style Blog

    How to style an overall dress | Natalie Was Here | Life + Style BlogHow to style an overall dress | Natalie Was Here | Life + Style Blog

    Real Life

    4 Life-Changing Lessons I Learned from Minimalism: A Documentary

    I’ve been really into documentaries lately. Like, so into them. I watched Iris, Twinsters, Jiro Dreams of Sushi and Exit Through the Gift Shop.

    And then I watched Minimalism, a documentary that follows two best friends and creators of The Minimalists, Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Millburn, on their cross-country book tour. It’s crazy good and I seriously can’t stop thinking about it.

    Because I don’t know about you, but the thought of decluttering and living with less is liberating. I’ve been telling myself for a year now that I was going to make it a personal project to clean house. But, I want to do it for real this time. No more excuses.

    I know that a drastic lifestyle change like this won’t happen over night (I’m not making plans to toss my things and live out of a van any time soon), so I decided to start small and focus first on my disaster of a closet. A closet that was filled with clothes I never wore, but held onto because I “might need them for that imaginary event one day.”

    But we all know “one day” never comes. So, why did I hang onto pieces I didn’t love? Why do you keep clothing you don’t wear?

    It’s a mystery, that’s for sure.

    I’ll be sharing more about my downsizing process in upcoming posts, but in the meantime, here are some of the key life lessons I learned from Minimalism:

    1. Living for stuff isn’t living at all

    I love stuff. Most of us love stuff. We work for a paycheck so we can buy more stuff, and then we wonder why our savings accounts don’t look as big as they should.

    That’s because as humans, we’re wired to be dissatisfied. So that one new shiny thing eventually becomes that thing we toss in the trash. Not because it doesn’t serve a purpose anymore, but because it’s not “in” or fashioniable.

    Which brings me to the next lesson…

    2. The hunger for happiness will never be fulfilled by purchasing more things

    Two words: retail therapy. I’m sure you used this coping method before when you had a bad day, right? Don’t worry, I’ve been there, too. More often than I’d like to admit.

    Usually, it involves a trip to Target where I end up buying home decor, makeup, clothing and whatever else I see and feel like I can’t live without. Do I love any of it? Not really. Do I need any of it? No, of course not. Sure, I feel happy in that moment, but that moment doesn’t last for long and then the buyer’s remorse sets in.

    So, what do you do?…

    3. Keep the possessions that serve a purpose and bring you joy, toss the rest

    This tip was key as I went through my closet. I was only wearing roughly 20% of the clothing I owned. The rest I hadn’t touched in months, or even years. And that was CRAZY to me. So I went with my gut on this. I picked up each item, took note of how it made me feel, and if that feeling was less than stellar, into the donate pile it went.

    I filled four large garbage bags with clothing, shoes and accessories and all that remained was the clothing I loved. It’s an amazing feeling.

    4. “Love people, use things. The opposite never works.”

    *mic drop* Because this quote really speaks for itself.

    Have you watched Minimalism yet? What did you think? Would you be willing to give up your stuff in favor of a more simple lifestyle?