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    Real Life

    The Art of Slowing Down: 4 Simple Tips and Tricks

    This post has been sponsored by Cetaphil®. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

    I think I speak for a lot of people when I say this — we glorify being busy. We secretly love running from place to place, while simultaneously juggling multiple projects, calling our moms and checking in with our significant others. Oh, and taking care of adult things like paying bills on time.

    And even though I roll my eyes and claim to hate it, I live for the rush of tight deadlines. When I bump into a friend and she asks me how I’ve been, I find myself almost always responding with, “busy.” Seriously, why do I do this?

    In our modern world that’s driven by social media and constant connectivity, busy has become a badge of honor. And I don’t know about you, but I think we should change this. Because sometimes, you just need a mental and physical break.

    When Cetaphil reached out to me about a collaboration, I immediately starting thinking about self care and why it’s so important. And I know, I know. “Self care” seems to be the phrase of the moment. But it doesn’t require massages or trips to the spa (although, those are nice).

    When I feel like my life is moving a million miles per minute, here are a few simple tips and tricks I turn to in order to slow things down:


    When it comes to skincare, it’s easy to get caught up in the products that are trendy at the moment. And while it’s fun to browse and try new things, I always find myself reverting back to the tried and true. Because when I’m feeling stressed or like I’m constantly on-the-go, products that are simple, reliable and easily accessible are best. If I’m out of town and forget to pack my makeup and skincare bag (this happens more often than I’d like to admit), I love that I can just head to Walgreens and stock up on what I need.

    Through September 27th, you can save $2 on ONE Cetaphil® product at Walgreens!

    Cetaphil® Gentle Skin Cleanser was the cleanser my dermatologist recommended to me back in high school when nothing else helped soothe my sensitive, acne-prone skin. The soap-free formula is as gentle as it gets, so it’s not drying or irritating in any way. It’s also moisturizing, but it won’t leave a nasty film behind like other cleansers I’ve tried. No frills, fragrance or fancy packaging — it just works.

    After cleansing my skin, I’ll follow up with moisturizer. I’m loving Cetaphil® Daily Hydrating Lotion at the moment. My skin has been so dry lately, and I like that this moisturizer is fragrance-free, non-greasy, and keeps my skin feeling hydrated for up to 24 hours. Trust me, that’s not an easy feat. No wonder Cetaphil is the #1 Dermatologist Recommended Facial Skincare Brand.

    Walgreens has a great selection of Cetaphil products, so they’re always easy to find on shelf. I can’t wait to try the body wash and eye cream next!


    I’m not a morning person, but I’ll do anything to fuel my caffeine addiction. Occasionally, I’ll wake up an hour or two earlier than usual and head to my favorite coffee shop before work. I love ordering a cappuccino and posting up near a window while the sun rises. It’s a nice way for me to collect my thoughts and prepare for the day ahead.


    I recently traveled to Asheville with friends for a weekend getaway, and it was so nice to unwind and spend time outside. It’s amazing how a little time in nature helps me calm down and reconnect with myself.


    Eating well makes me feel good mentally, physically and emotionally. It’s hard, though. I’m usually running out the door most mornings (literally), and it’s almost always more convenient to grab whatever’s around. But greasy, sugary or fatty foods leave me feeling lethargic and bloated.

    My favorite go-to snacks and meals when I’m on-the-go are hard boiled eggs for breakfast (they keep me full for awhile!), a kale salad with grilled shrimp for lunch that I prep the night before, and lean protein + roasted veggies for dinner.

    You really are what you eat. So, reach for the good stuff.

    What are some of the ways you practice self care?


    10 Can’t-Live-Without Beauty Products, According to Readers

    I love reading product reviews, and I spend an embarrassing amount of time watching beauty videos on YouTube (FYI: Kathleen is a goddess). I have a long list of  beauty favorites I’ve discovered over the years, from skincare to makeup and everything in between. You can almost always find this priming moisturizer, this foundation, this cream blush and this liquid lipstick in my bag.

    BUT, if I had to pick a one and done, can’t-live-without product at the moment, it would be this facial moisturizerespecially in the summer. It’s not fancy by any means, but it gives my face a subtle, tanned glow and helps even out skin tone, so I can skip the foundation and still look fresh. It’s affordable and travel-friendly, too!

    I started thinking of beauty products and how certain products continually blow the socks off of beauty lovers everywhere. So, I wanted to hear from you guys. Because let’s be real — I’m always on the hunt. I posted the following question on Instagram stories, and the responses did not disappoint.

    “If you were traveling somewhere and could only pack ONE beauty product, what would you bring?”

    Here are the top beauty products that made the cut!

    Clinique Moisture Surge

    What is is: An intense moisturizer

    Product claims: Clinique touts its “auto-replenishing technology” and claims this product, with the help of activated aloe water, helps skin rehydrate itself. It also contains hyaluronic acid, and the product is proven to moisturize skin for up to 72 hours, even after you wash your face.

    Rave review: “Best moisturizer in the woooorld. It works so well without being oily. My skin soaks it up and feels so good. It’s spa-like without being a pharmaceutical grade price.” – Kate

    Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer

    What is is: Tinted moisturizer

    Product claims: Works well for all skin types and has SPF 20, so it protects the skin from both UVA & UVB rays. It’s sheer, lightweight, moisturizing and adds a hint of color to the skin, so you can skip the foundation.

    Rave review: “Coverage, moisture AND SPF!” – Alexis

    Urban Decay One and Done

    What is is: Tinted moisturizer and skin treatment

    Product claims: Claims to blur imperfections and even out skin tone with the help of light diffusing spheres and Gatuline® Radiance (derived from the wu zhu yu plant), which helps improve the look of radiance, tone and texture over time. The formula is oil free, and contains nourishing ingredients, like peptides, vitamins and moisturizers. SPF 20 helps to protect skin against UVA and UVB rays.

    Rave review: “It’s the perfect base. I can wear it alone or mix in glow drops or mix in a more full coverage foundation with it. I can customize it for whatever makeup look I’m going for.” – Preeti

    NYX “Worth the Hype” Mascara

    What is is: Mascara

    Product claims: The buildable formula makes lashes appear fuller and longer. It also features a brush that tapers at the tip, making it ideal to reach even the shortest lashes at the inner corners of your eyes.

    Rave review: “It makes my eyelashes look super long without looking clumpy or like I’m trying too hard.” – Victoria

    NARS Multiple Orgasm

    What is is: Cream blush and highlighter

    Product claims: The creamy formula is easy to use and blends effortlessly into the skin. The bit of shimmer in the formula helps give the skin an peachy glow, and it can be applied to the eyes, lips, cheeks or body. It also contains powerful antioxidants Vitamin E and Acai Oil.

    Rave review: “It’s the perfect shade of peachy pink for my lips, cheeks and even eyes! Must have!” – Hailey

    Coco Kind Chia Seed Oil

    What is is: Moisturizing facial oil

    Product claims: This organic, virgin chia seed oil contains a significant source of omega-3 fatty acids. It protects and nourishes dry skin, and delivers a powerful punch of antioxidants and phytonutrients.

    Rave review: “I have the most sensitive combination skin and it is the only thing that doesn’t irritate or make me break out. Plus it’s great on face, body, hair, literally everywhere. Obsessed.” – Natalie

    Benefit “Precisely, My Brow” Pencil

    What is is: Brow pencil

    Product claims: This ultra-fine brow shaping and defining pencil claims to draw incredibly natural hair-like strokes that last up to 12 hours.

    Rave review: “I love how much control you have with the fine tip. It allows me to fill in my brows quickly to get the exact shape I want.” – Karen

    It Cosmetics CC Cream

    What is is: Tinted moisturizer

    Product claims: Delivers color correction and sun protection (SPF 50+) in one convenient tube. The oil-free, lightweight formula is proven to fade imperfections, even out skin tone and prevent future discoloration.

    Rave review: “I love that it has SPF built right in!” – Katharine

    Neutrogena Hydroboost Hydrating Serum

    What is is: Hydrating serum

    Product claims: This formula contains hyaluronic acid, which can absorb up to 1000 times its weight in water. The unique serum formula helps you achieve a fully hydrated skin.

    Rave review: “It does wonders! Definitely something I’d bring wherever I go.” – Brittnee

    Sunday Riley’s UFO

    What is is: Clarifying facial oil

    Product claims: Formulated with clarifying plant oils like tea tree and black cumin seed oil, this facial serum also works to combat fine lines and wrinkles, revealing a more even and smooth complexion.

    Rave review: “It’s seriously transformed my skin! It’s finally looking better!” – Meredith

    Shop the post:

    What is your can’t-live-without beauty product? Share in the comments!


    43 Eyelet Pieces to Wear Right Now

    43 Eyelet Pieces to Wear Right Now | Natalie Was Here | Lifestyle Blog

    Eyelet Top: Zara | Skirt: Madewell | Earrings: FINOLA | Necklace: H&M

    Eyelet fabric evokes the feeling of summertime. I picked up this top from Zara recently, and it gives me all the warm weather vibes. I love wearing it with just about anything — from this pastel denim mini skirt to my favorite pair of jeans.

    If you ask me, every girl needs an eyelet piece in her summer wardrobe. So to help you get started, I rounded up some favorites you can wear right now through Labor Day.43 Eyelet Pieces to Wear Right Now | Natalie Was Here | Lifestyle Blog




    Linen and Denim: The Easy Outfit Combination That Works Every Time

    Linen Shirt: Urban Outfitters | Jeans: Madewell “Perfect Summer Jean: Destructed Edition” (on sale for $40!) | Shoes: Target (LOVE them and literally wear them all. the. time) | Sunnies: Express at Tanger Outlets c/o | Necklace: H&M (on sale!) | Earrings: H&M | Bag: HOBO Domino Top Handle Cross Body in “Whiskey” c/o

    I used to whine and complain about having to wear a uniform to school every day. But now? I’m all in on the uniform thing — 100% all in. Because in the summer months (or all year-round, really), I’d rather spend less time standing in front of my closet, stressing over what to wear, and more time doing important things, like hanging out with friends.

    This is why I love the combination of linen and denim. Full disclosure: I traded in my jeans for shorts now that the temperature has reached 90-degrees. But these are my favorite pair I’ve ever owned and I need to tell the world. The fit is perfection. I guess that’s why they call them the “perfect summer jean.”

    Linen and Denim: The Classic Outfit Combination That Works Every Time | Natalie Was Here

    Linen and Denim: The Classic Outfit Combination That Works Every Time | Natalie Was Here

    This outfit combination is perfect if you work in a more laid back office environment, and can easily be dressed up with colorful accessories. I’m loving bold scarves at the moment — they can be incorporated into your hairstyle, tied around your neck or your bag. Take a look at this one, this one, and this one (the color palette is my favorite).





    Linen and Denim: The Classic Outfit Combination That Works Every Time | Natalie Was Here

    And speaking of bags, I’m obsessed with this one. The sweet team at Hobo sent it to me and I’ve been carrying it with me everywhere since. The leather is soft and the color is perfect for summer. It can easily be carried into fall, too. I love how it looks with white, denim and everything, honestly. It’s so good. Linen and Denim: The Classic Outfit Combination That Works Every Time | Natalie Was Here

    What are your go-to outfits in the summer months?

    Real Life

    6 Things I Learned After Spending an Entire Weekend Without my Phone



    We spent the weekend in Lake Erie and I left my phone at home. I was without it for an entire weekend. 

    It was embarrassing for me to admit this was going to be hard. But, I knew I wasn’t alone. Did you know that the average person reaches for his or her phone 50 to 300 times per day?

    Think about that for a moment. Think about how attached we’ve become.

    I guess it’s not surprising. I rely on my phone for so many things — for directions, for inspiration, for entertainment, for “connecting.”

    So, why did I decide to leave it behind?

    I was in a bit of a rut these past few weeks and I didn’t know why. I started questioning my work, my worth — everything, really. Eventually, it clicked.

    I spend an exorbitant amount of time on Instagram — 9.5 hours per week, to be exact (also embarrassing to admit). That’s about an hour and 30 minutes per day. And that doesn’t even include the time it takes for me to plan and shoot content.

    When you spend so much time scrolling through strangers’ heavily-curated highlight reels, it’s easy to feel like the work you’re producing isn’t good enough. Like you’re not successful enough, not pretty enough, not fit enough or not where you “should be” in life.

    While we’re on the subject of “enough,” I decided I’d had enough of this twisted way of thinking. Because you are enough, and if your phone habits are making you feel less than, it’s important to reevaluate. We all have unique talents and strengths, and it is ridiculous that so many of us, myself included, seek validation through social media.

    I was ready for a break from it all, and it was really nice.

    Here’s what I learned during my weekend away:

    1. I Felt Less Stressed

    There’s this undeniable pressure to always be “on.” To respond to emails right away, to post three times per week, to be connected 24/7. When you cut ties with technology, you cut ties with all of that pressure you put on yourself. It’s freeing, and I plan to do this more often when I’m feeling overwhelmed.

    2. I Listened

    We went to a friend’s house on Friday night. I sat around the table with people and actually listened. Fully listened, without feeling like I needed to reach for my phone every 10 seconds. Think about how you feel when you’re telling someone a story and they’re glancing down at their phone. Doesn’t make you feel that great, does it? It was nice to be present in the moment, and I think everyone else appreciated it, too.

    3. I Slept REALLY Well

    I am not a sound sleeper. I usually toss and turn. Maybe this is because I stare at a bright screen before I go to bed? Maybe it’s not related at all. But what I can tell you is without my phone, I slept more soundly than I have in a really long time.

    4. I Got Bored

    I actually experienced boredom. Typically when I’m bored, or waiting in line for my coffee, I’ll whip out my phone and mindlessly scroll. I couldn’t do that this weekend. But honestly, these were the moments when I also felt the most inspired. Without having something there to distract me, I was able to think and use my own imagination as entertainment. You know, how we used to when we were kids.

    5. I Noticed Everyone Else

    When you’re not staring at your screen, you start to notice how much everyone else is. We’re walking around like zombies. It was a wake up call. While I can’t change everyone else’s habits, I can slowly start to change my own.

    6. I Made an Action Plan

    So I made an action plan to limit my phone use. I am going to allow myself 30 min/day to scroll and will be shutting it off before bed.

    Technology, it isn’t you, it’s me. And I’m ready to find my true self again.

    I’d love to get a conversation going on this topic. Do you feel like technology has taken over your life? How do you find balance?

    DIY, Living

    Ask the Expert: Tips for Making Your Own Bohemian-Inspired Floral Arrangement

    Hey, guys! I’m super excited to introduce the “Ask the Expert” monthly series. I don’t know about you, but I love reading how-to articles on just about any topic. And while I claim to know some things, there are a few things (okay, a lot of things) I don’t know. Luckily, I have some pretty knowledgeable and talented friends who are more than happy to lend their expertise.

    Today, we’re kicking things off with Annie Heath, owner of Ida Blooms, a San Francisco-based floral company that specializes in one-of-a-kind bouquets for weddings and special events. Her approach to flowers is perfect for anyone looking to become an expert in the art of floral design, or for those of you just want to create something special for a loved one. Read on her for tips!

    How to Make Your Own Bohemian-Inspired Bouquet | Natalie Was Here

    How to Make Your Own Bohemian-Inspired Bouquet

    Repeat after me: “fillers, thrillers and spillers”

    When you choose flowers for your arrangement, there are three types of stems you should look for: fillers, thrillers and spillers. Thrillers are the flowers everybody knows: peonies, dahlias, sunflowers, roses, protea, and on, and on. These are going to be the show stoppers of your arrangement.

    Fillers, or secondary flowers, help build out the arrangement. They have less of the “cool factor,” but are very necessary to make a beautiful bouquet. Good examples of fillers are spray roses, carnations, and wax flowers.

    Spillers are the piece that will really give your arrangement that boho feel. Like their name, a spiller dramatically spills off the side of your bouquet – giving it a wild, freshly picked from the garden look. Classic examples of spillers are eucalyptus (of any kind) and amaranthus.

    Remove Foliage Below the Waterline

    Removing foliage from your flower stems (a step called “processing”) is mega important to a healthy bouquet. First of all, if you’re using a clear vase, it just looks good to have clear water on display. But more importantly, if leaves and debris are stuck in your vase, they attract bacteria and will kill your arrangement long before it’s time. I like to process my flowers before I arrange, removing any extra leaves, stems, or buds lower than the first quarter of the stem.

    Go Green

    My arrangements tend to feature a lot of greens. Since you’re going to remove most of the foliage from your flower stems, you get to make a conscious decision about the greens you want to include. I’m always drawn to eucalyptus in my bouquets.

    Scent Matters

    Ever noticed how the first thing people do when they receive a bouquet is give it a whiff? Actually, not all flowers are scentful, so be sure to include something that is. I like to sneak rosemary, or eucalyptus baby blue into my arrangements.

    Let Your Creativity Shine

    Use your intuition while you’re arranging! Flowers are already beautiful on their own, you’re just enhancing.

    Trim Stems and Change the Water

    Lastly, to keep your arrangement it’s freshest, change the water every day, and trim the stems when the bottoms turn brown!

    And there you have it! Thanks for sharing your tips, Annie! To learn more about Ida Blooms, check out Annie’s website and follow her on Instagram.


    Natalie Was Here: Asheville, North Carolina

    The last time I was in Asheville, I was in the sixth grade on summer vacation with my family. I got a bad case of food poisoning at a Mexican restaurant and then proceeded to accidentally delete all of the photos from our day trip to the Biltmore. The photos that were supposed to be on the Christmas card that year. I don’t think my parents have forgiven me.

    Luckily, this trip was a little different.

    My friend Lauren organized a small photography retreat. I jumped at the chance to go to something like this. So me and five other wedding and portrait photographers packed our bags and drove down south for the long weekend. When you travel with other photographers, you’re bound to take photos of anything and everything without getting an ounce of judgement.

    Planning to do this more often…


    The cutest Airbnb of all time. It’s bright, inviting, smells like cinnamon and even has an adorable little swing in the living room. I really can’t say enough good things about it. Nestled in West Asheville, this little house is perfect for a weekend getaway. It sleeps up to six people. Book your stay here!


    We made breakfast, lunch and dinner at the house the majority of the time we were there. But when we did decide to venture out to restaurants, we went to:

    Farm Burger

    We dropped our bags off at the Airbnb and went straight to Farm Burger. After seven hours of driving, it was just what we all needed. Farm Burger sources their beef from grassfed cows, and that means no growth hormones or antibiotics — something we can all feel good about. They get their ingredients from local farms, so the menu changes with the seasons. It’s fresh, delicious and the perfect place to grab a quick bite.

    Bonfire Barbeque

    After a long evening of shooting, we were all exhausted and starving. Bonfire Barbeque hit the spot. Their variety of sauces can’t be beat, and the mac n’ cheese is out of this world.

    Gan Shan West 

    I’m obsessed with Asian cuisine. I could literally eat ramen and sushi and noodles every day and never get bored. So, when we decided to go to Gan Shan, I was all in. I ordered the veggie ramen and it didn’t disappoint. Also, the palm print wallpaper is definitely Insta-worthy.

    The Owl

    This adorable little coffee shop and bakery was recommended to us by our Airbnb host. They claim to use high quality, whole ingredients, sourced from places close to Asheville, including local farmers’ markets and their own back yards. If you go there, order the Lavender Latte and grab a table out back. Oh, and say hi to Elaine. She’s amazing.

    The Owl Bakery | Asheville, North Carolina | Natalie Was Here | Lifestyle Blog



    Max Patch | Asheville, North Carolina | Natalie Was Here

    Max Patch

    If you’re into hiking, Max Patch is one of the most popular hiking spots on the Appalachian Trail. And for good reason. It’s grassy, covered in wildflowers and is a perfect spot to watch the sun set.

    Looking Glass Falls

    The 60-ft falls are one of the most popular falls in Western North Carolina. Parking can be somewhat limited, but it is well worth the trip.

    Have you been to Asheville before? If so, what are some of your favorite spots?