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    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?

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    Fashion

    Zara FTW

    On a recent trip to Las Vegas with my family, I made a pit stop in Zara and snagged these jeans, this jacket and these shoes. It was the shopping trip of all shopping trips and I’ve been wearing all of my pieces non-stop since then.

    (Zara, PLEASE come to Ohio. Please.) *Update: Thank you to Lauren for letting me know there is one in Cleveland! Driving there now…

    Sure, the outfit isn’t super fancy. It’s pretty simply, actually. And that’s what I love most about it. The jacket is structured, the heels are comfortable and the jeans have easily become my new favorite thing. They’re distressed in all the right places and make me feel 10x cooler than I really am. Not bad for a pair of jeans.

    Jeans: Zara (only one size left, but they’re on sale for $22.99!) (similar pair here) | Top: Forever 21 (similar here and here) | Jacket: Zara (best money I’ve ever spent) | Shoes: Zara (similar pair in black) | Bag: Old Navy (similar)

    By the way, I can’t believe I haven’t talked to you since last year! Ha, okay, I promise that’s the last of the cheesy new year jokes. How are you? How’s life? Awesome, I hope.

    This past Saturday, Fritz and I drove down to Cincinnati for an annual reunion with our college friends. The day was jam-packed, but that’s how I like to roll. I met up with a former Cincinnati blogger and her sister-in-law to plan a fun photo shoot for their new floral business they’re launching in a few months (did I tell you I’m starting my own photography gig? SO excited), stopped by my parents’ bridal show, drove to Dana’s (a dive bar near Xavier University) and then went out with everyone downtown. It was colder than cold, but I ate Skyline Chili at 3 a.m. so that made up for it.

    Thanks for stopping by. I hope you’re having a great week!

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    Real Life

    Top 10 Posts of 2016

    Oh, 2016. What a year. A lot of people swear it’s a cursed year, one that claimed so many talented musicians, actors/actresses, performers and just all around good people. Then there was the election and Zika and Brexit.

    Maybe everyone is right about 2016. But, maybe not.

    Because as far as I’m concerned, good stuff happened, too. And we all need to focus more on the good stuff.

    2016 was my year for growth. I got settled in a new city, earned a promotion at my day job, moved in with Fritz, chased my passion for photography and made some new, kickass friends.

    It’s true that every New Years Eve is bittersweet. It’s filled with excitement for what’s to come. But there’s also a bit of sadness that another year has come and gone, no matter how ready you are to say goodbye, see ya never.

    Before we slip on our “2017” glasses, pop the champagne and countdown in unison, I just want to take a moment and say thank you for reading NWH. This little space brings me so much joy, even if I’ve recently neglected it more than I’d like to admit. You being here means the world. And I hope to continue to produce more content (more frequently) in the next year.

    Without further ado, here are the top 10 posts of 2016:

    1. DIY TO TRY: MARBLE PLATES AND BOWLS

    2. INTO THE WOODS: FALL STYLE FOR HIM AND HER

    3. HERE TO DISRUPT LLC: THE GROUP THAT’S DISRUPTING THE CULINARY SCENE (IN THE BEST WAY)

    4. COFFEE TALK: ON MOVING TO A NEW CITY

    5. FEELING LOST? THE SIMPLE QUIZ THAT WILL HELP YOU FIGURE OUT “WHAT YOU WANT TO DO WITH YOUR LIFE” 

    6. WINE COLORED ROMPER

    7. FEELING BURNT OUT? HOW TO FIND INSPIRATION AGAIN

    8. FAKE IT ‘TIL YOU MAKE IT: HOW TO GET TAN, GLOWING SKIN AT HOME

    9. CORDUROY MINI SKIRT + WHITE BLOUSE

    10. FLORAL DRESS + LEATHER JACKET

     

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    Real Life

    Coffee Talk: Dealing with “When Are You Getting Married?” and Other Intrusive Life Questions

    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’m 26 and I’ve been dating the same amazing guy for eight years. We met in college, dated long-distance for three years after graduation, and just moved in together this past May. He is my partner in life, and something as simple as splitting dish duty with him, reinforces the fact that we are a team, through and through. I won’t bore you with my sappiness, but he really is the real deal.

    We’re not married, though. We’re not engaged either. And for the past four years, I’ve been asked the same question from family members, friends, co-workers and random strangers at the grocery store. I’m convinced it’s the new form of small talk that goes something like this — “How’s your career? Are your parents doing okay? Oh, and by the way, when are you getting married? When’s he finally going to ‘put a ring on it?'” (key emphasis on “finally”). As if “putting a ring on it” validates that we are in a real, committed relationship.

    I love my friends and family more than anything and I know when they ask this, it’s not coming from a malicious place. They’re generally curious about the happenings in my life, and for that I am truly thankful.

    But, I wish I could tell them how these questions make me feel. Or, how their reactions imply that because we’re not engaged, it means we don’t love each other enough, we’re not serious enough or something is legitimately wrong with me for making the decision to cohabitate before saying “I do.”

    I’ve had people tell me “it’s never going to happen” or “I hope it happens before I die.” I’ve even had someone tell me I’m “wasting my time” which is the most hurtful response I’ve received to-date.

    When we do get engaged someday, I don’t want the reason to be, “I dragged her along for long enough and I guess it was just time,” like I’ve heard a few guys say after proposing to their girlfriends. I don’t believe that is a good enough reason. I don’t want to get married because society deemed it the big thing you’re supposed to do next. Societal norms are not one size fits all. And no one is dragging me against my will here.

    Marriage is so much more than a wedding. It’s more than a Facebook post of a girl showing off her new sparkly diamond with the caption, “He asked, I said yes!!” It’s more than a $30,000 party. Marriage is a commitment to doing life — the wonderful, the less than wonderful and the downright ugly — with another person.

    When I think about us getting married, I don’t think about the wedding (the thought of a big wedding makes my palms sweaty). Instead, I picture my life with him — a life that involves traveling the world and growing old together on a beach somewhere, as cliche as that sounds. A life that is less than perfect at times, but one I wouldn’t trade for anything. A life that is similar to what we have now, but instead, involves kids and grandkids and a mortgage.

    But, before I check all of those items off of my list of to-do’s in life, there’s a few things I want to do first. I want to pursue a career that ignites my passion for creativity. I want to continue to surround myself with inspiring women entrepreneurs and business owners who encourage me to push myself every day. I want to venture to the Pacific Northwest. I want to gaze into the depths of the Grand Canyon. I want to see the Northern Lights.

    Do I want to get married someday? Yes. But, I’m happy right now. We’re happy right now. And that should be okay.

    No matter what stage of life you’re in, I’m sure you’ve been asked questions along the way. You know the ones (Are you dating anyone? Are you going to have kids? Are you two going to have another?). You probably know intrusive questions can be hurtful and just downright awkward, depending on who’s asking them (do you really want to know if someone is “trying” to have a baby? Or, do you really want to stand there with your foot in your mouth when they tell you they can’t?).

    Instead of letting the questions and the anxiety over how to answer them get to you, it’s important to remember that everyone has a different life path, and just because your path doesn’t line up with your friend’s, that doesn’t mean your route is the wrong one. Do what makes you the happiest version of yourself.

    You don’t owe anyone an explanation. Others are going to think what they want to think regardless. Let them.


    How do you respond to difficult personal questions? I’d love to know.

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    Fashion

    Pink Maxi Dress

    Pink maxi dress from VICI Collection also comes in mustard yellow (only $62!) | Jacket: purchased in Florence, Italy (real leather, faux leather) | Shoes: Borrowed (similar)

    It’s officially winter in Ohio (just in case you had any doubts). The temperature reached a balmy 24-degrees this morning. So, while I’m currently sitting at my desk, bundled in my coat and scarf, I can’t help but think back to slightly warmer days, when it was socially acceptable to wear this pink maxi dress from VICI Collection in public (who am I kidding, I’d still wear it!).

    I bought it a few months ago for a wedding in Vegas, and it was so fun to wear. If you haven’t heard of VICI, I’d highly recommend browsing. They have the cutest tops, sweaters, dresses, etc., and everything is reasonably priced. I have my eye on this and this next.

    Pink maxi dress from Vici Collection | Natalie Was Here

    Pink maxi dress from Vici Collection | Natalie Was HerePink maxi dress from Vici Collection | Natalie Was HerePink maxi dress from Vici Collection | Natalie Was Here

    I hope you’re having a great week so far! Thanks for stopping by.

    Photography by Erica Gene Clark

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    Real Life

    How to Hit the Gym On Your Lunch Break (When You Work in an Office)

    How to hit the gym on your lunch break (when you work in an office) | NatalieWasHere.com

    Feature image via Happily Grey

    Happy December! Can you believe 2017 is just a month away? It’s crazy how time flies. And speaking of a new year, my goal (along with the rest of America) is to get in shape. You know, actually make time for the gym. If you’re in the same boat, then today’s topic is for you!

    I am not a morning person. I’m also not really a “head to the gym after work” kind of person. This makes the chances of me working out at all pretty slim. And staying active is so important. Especially if you’re like me and living that #sedentarylifestyle. So, I made the decision to make exercising a priority. To do this and fit it into my daily routine, I went to the gym during my lunch break.

    If you’re a busy mom who wants to make time for her family and her career and herself, or a twenty-something like me who really values her extra hours of sleep in the morning and the occasional Netflix binge post-work, then listen up! Working out over your lunch break might be one of the best things you can do for yourself. Not only does it help break up the day, and get the blood pumping, but I find it really helps my brain recharge, so I can tackle the rest of the afternoon and avoid hitting the dreaded 3 p.m. slump.

    Are you thinking of giving the mid-day work out a try? Scroll below for some tried and true tips:

    THE TIPS

    1. Lay out your clothes the night before

    You absolutely have to plan ahead if you want to make this work. The night before, I’ll lay out my clothes for work and pack my gym bag with everything I’ll need so it’s easy to grab and go in the morning.

    2. Pack your lunch

    Because I’m given an hour for lunch, heading to the gym doesn’t leave any time for grabbing something on the way.

    3. Put it in your calendar

    Call me crazy, but I am less likely to blow something off when it’s on my calendar.

    THE ROUTINE

    Walk to the gym (3 minutes)

    The gym I go to is right up the street from my office, which is really convenient. If you don’t have a gym near you, grab a co-worker and go on a walk around the block. Or if you’re looking for something a little more intense, slip on your gym shoes and jog or run for 30-45 min. Every little bit helps!

    Change (2 minutes)

    When I get to the gym, I head to the locker room first to quickly change into my workout gear. I remove my makeup with my two all-time fave products, Neutrogena Makeup Removing Wipes and Simple’s Miceller Water (LOVE this stuff). Then, I’ll put on a killer playlist (I’m loving this one) and get ready to go.

    Get a solid HIIT workout in (30 minutes)

    Because my time at the gym is limited, I make the most of it by working out at a high intensity level for 30 minutes. This usually involves weights, squats, jump rope, etc. Tone It Up has some great workout routines that really help you squeeze in a solid workout, no matter how much (or little) time you have.

    Stretch (5 minutes)

    Once my 30 min are up, I’ll grab a mat to do some ab exercises and stretch for about five minutes.

    Shower (3 minutes)

    I’ll hit the shower for a quick 3-minute rinse. I wash my hair the night before, so I don’t have to at the gym. This used to weird me out, but trust me, dry shampoo is a life saver.

    Get dressed, apply makeup (10 minutes)

    This step is pretty self explanatory. I keep my makeup routine as simple as possible so it’s quick and easy. Scroll below to see what’s in my makeup bag.

    Head back to the office (3 minutes)

    After my afternoon workouts, I always feel refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the afternoon!

    THE MAKEUP BAG

    This is not your standard makeup bag. Working out should be hard, but applying your makeup after your workout doesn’t have to be. My gym makeup bag is filled with simple, multi-tasking products that help me feel refreshed, but not overdone. Here’s some of the products I can’t live without.

     

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    Fashion

    From the Archives: Corduroy Skirt and Black and White Blouse

    How have you guys been?! It’s officially been f-o-r-e-v-e-r since I checked in with you last. Between traveling and work and side photography projects, I haven’t been able to muster the energy to sit down and write blog posts. Do you ever feel overwhelmed trying to juggle it all? The struggle is so real.

    But, all of that aside, I’m so happy to be back with an outfit post I should have shared a few months ago (oops). I lived in this combo during late summer/early fall and I won’t be putting it away just yet. Black tights and boots are the perfect way to take any warmer look into the cooler months.

    nwh-sept2016-cordskirt-6

    Top: Urban Outfitters | Skirt: American Eagle | Shoes: Target | Bag: Express | Necklace: Emma Jane Designs

    SHOP THIS LOOK:

    nwh-sept2016-cordskirt-10nwh-sept2016-cordskirt-11nwh-sept2016-cordskirt-13nwh-sept2016-cordskirt-2

    Hope you’re having a great week so far!

    Photography by Erika Gene Clark

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