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    The Insanely Affordable Solution for Wall Art

    If you know me, you know I have two black thumbs. I love plants, but they would rather die than love me back. That’s okay, though. I still have my art prints.

    When we moved into our place last May, I went into full on decorating mode. And if you’ve ever been in this mode, you know if can get expensive pretty quickly. I wanted to purchase some art, but everything I found cost an arm and a leg and then some. Given my budget, I knew I needed to find a solution that wouldn’t break the bank. And then I remembered engineer prints.

    If you’re not familiar with engineer prints (if you’re not an engineer or artist, you’re probably not), prepare to be amazed. Because not only are they super cheap (like, $1 cheap), but they’re also a great and easy way to supersize some of your favorite photos or prints. $5 Wall Art: Let's Talk about Engineer Prints | Natalie Was Here | Lifestyle Blog

    Isn’t this one cute? I purchased the downloadable file for $5 from this Etsy shop and then printed an 18×24 size engineer print at my local Staples store for a whopping $1.79. All in all, the project cost me around $7 (okay, $17 if you include the frame). I know, right. CRAZY. On regular paper, the print alone would be around $20 or more.

    So, next time you’re looking for affordable art, remember engineer prints are the way to go. I love this little print, but because it wasn’t a huge investment, I know I won’t be sad if/when I change my mind down the road (because that will happen). $5 Wall Art: Let's Talk about Engineer Prints | Natalie Was Here | Lifestyle Blog

    Thanks for reading! I hope you’re having a great week!

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    Living

    Tips for Making Your New House Feel More Like Home

    A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit M/I Homes’ beautiful model home in the new Minerva Park community in Westerville. This house, guys. I could easily see why people would want to live in it. The interior was charming and inviting. I mean, as far as décor goes, Mary Cook and her team knocked this one out of the park. I made a few mental notes for the sake of this blog post.

    Because even though the house is brand spankin’ new, it felt like the kind of home that had been lived in for years. And I mean that in the very best way. There was character and personality, which is sometimes hard to visualize when you’re staring at four blank walls.

    It’s funny thinking back to the first night in our apartment. I remember staring at the ceiling, listening to all the strange new sounds. It definitely didn’t feel like “home.” And, how could it? It was this unfamiliar place I found on Craigslist. It wasn’t lived in just yet.

    If you’ve ever moved before, I’m sure you know the feeling. It can take awhile before a new space feels like home. Luckily, you can speed up the process with a few quick tips.

    Host a House Warming Party

    Invite friends and family over after you move in. Inviting those you love into a new space helps it feel more like you almost instantly. And, it gives you the excuse to create some fun memories in the process.

    Incorporate Personal Details

    You may not have time (or the funds) to tackle all of your projects right away, but incorporating personal details into your décor can help a space feel more like you. I absolutely loved how M/I Homes’ interior designer sprinkled personal touches throughout each room, especially the spare bedrooms. Each room had its own personality, while still maintaining a cohesive feel.

    Choose Your Paint Colors Wisely

    A neutral color is great for the family and dining rooms, while shades of blue are perfect for the bedroom. Color can affect your mood, so choose your paint colors wisely. This home incorporated shades of gray, blue and gold throughout for a look that was warm and welcoming.

    Meet Your Neighbors

    Take the time to introduce yourself to your neighbors. This helps to foster a sense of community, and as an added bonus, you could make some new friends. M/I Homes’ new community in Minerva Park will be home to 250 new houses, so there’s plenty of opportunity to get to know those around you.

    Have you moved recently? What are some of your tips for feeling more at home in a new space?


    Pricing for homes in the new Minerva Park community range from $212,900 – $249,900. To learn more about the community, click here. And to learn more about your home style, take this fun quiz!

    Thank you to M/I Homes for sponsoring this post. And thank YOU for supporting the brands that make Natalie Was Here a happenin’ place to be!

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    Advice, Living, Real Life

    Helpful Tips for First-Time Home Buyers

    Tips for first-time home buyers | Natalie Was Here | Lifestyle Blog

    I currently rent my apartment, mainly because I love the flexibility of being able to pick up and move, and it’s reassuring to know someone will come fix the dishwasher, sink, or other scary appliance when it breaks (which has happened…more than once). But, even though renting is a great option for Fritz and I now, we realize we’re not making a real investment. You’ll hear people say renting is the equivalent of “throwing money away” each month, and it’s true. When I think about how much I spend each year on rent, it’s enough to make me cringe…

    Many of my friends are starting to buy houses, which has encouraged me to think seriously about making the investment in the next few years. If you own your home or are currently in the hunting process, you know that buying a house is a different story – a completely different story. The journey can be long, painful and frustrating, especially if it’s your first time buying real estate.

    Before I make any big decision or purchase, I like to do my research and ask around. I turned to the best, most experienced realtor I know (a.k.a., my lovely mom, Nancy), for her advice to those starting the home buying process. Read below for some of her top do’s and don’ts for a first-time home buyer (I’ll be referencing these tips soon enough).

    Tips for a first-time home buyer | Natalie Was Here | Lifestyle Blog

    The Do List

    Take the time to review your credit report

    A strong credit score and financial track record can help you more easily obtain a loan and at lower interest rates.

    Get pre-approved for a mortgage

    It’s important to understand the various options available and become comfortable with an estimated monthly payment for budgeting purposes.

    Think about your lifestyle today and in the near future

    Will your home offer enough space as your family grows? Remember, your first home will more than likely not be your last.

    Make a list of the features you would like in your new home and separate into “must haves” and “would love to have”

    Consider number of bedrooms, baths, garage spaces, private office, etc. This will help you make choices if you have to compromise to fit your budget.

    The Don’t List

    Don’t rush into a decision

    Take the time to review the homes that fit your criteria, but remember to keep an open mind. The best fit might not be your initial choice.

    Don’t be tempted to go over your budget

    Make sure to factor in the down payment you will need, closing costs, property taxes, and monthly expenses so you can make an informed decision. Also, you will want to set aside a budget for cosmetic changes in addition to saving for entertainment and vacations.

    Consult the professionals

    A mortgage loan officer can provide you with detailed information in order for you to understand various financing options to make an informed decision. An experienced real estate agent with years of market and negotiating experience can provide invaluable neighborhood expertise and provide you with one point of contact to view all properties of interest and negotiate the best deal possible.

    Be patient and do your homework

    If you plan and follow these helpful tips, you will know when you see the perfect home. And hopefully, you will enjoy the home buying process along the way.

    Have you recently bought a home or are currently going through the process? What are some tips you’ve learned along the way?


    Thank you to M/I Homes for sponsoring this post. And thank YOU for supporting the brands that make Natalie Was Here a happenin’ place to be!

    I recently visited a model home in M/I Homes’ new community in Minerva Park (Westerville area) and was so impressed with the layout and decor. The community will be home to 250 houses, and pricing ranges from $212,900 – $249,900 — perfect for first-time home buyers. To learn more about the new community, click here.

    Keep up with M/I Homes on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

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    Living

    Here to Disrupt LLC: The Group That’s Disrupting the Culinary Scene (In The Best Way)

    This past Sunday, I had the opportunity, along with eight other bloggers and social media influencers, to attend the most insane rooftop brunch of all time, co-hosted by Here to Disrupt and Kaufman Development. We gathered around a Pinterest-worthy table and enjoyed boozy drinks, sweet treats and savory dishes. It was an experience I will remember for a very long time. Seriously, I didn’t feel cool enough. I still don’t. But, I do have the photos to prove I was there, so maybe that will up my blog cred by a few points.

    If you haven’t heard of Here to Disrupt, I can guarantee you’ll be seeing a lot from them in the near future. They are a group of passionate, creative individuals who are changing the culinary scene in Columbus, one pop-up event at a time. The events are held at restaurants and nontraditional locations and venues, with the goal to showcase sous chefs from across Ohio. And let me tell you, these people are talented.

    Here to Disrupt 4This particular event celebrated the pastry, and as a girl who loves her sweets, I was fully on board. Dishes were prepared by pastry chefs, Aaron Clouse (pastry chef for LBRANDS/owner of Cakes by Aaron), Andrew Worth (owner of WORTH) and Amanda Erckert (owner of Tablspoon). The sweet treats ranged from a German berlinger filled with lingonberry jam, to sweet corn fritters and Greek loukoumades with toasted walnuts and honey. The savory menu option was a quiche stuffed with shitake mushrooms and emmental cheese, with a side of asparagus.

    And to top everything off, we had the opportunity to try a more savory dessert, Bloody Mary sorbet with orange sponge cake, vodka soda and grilled shrimp. The flavors were so unexpected, but worked so well together. The way I think about dessert forever changed the moment I took a bite of that salty and savory sorbet. It was UNREAL.

    HTDHere to Disrupt 2Derek Reno of The Reno Reserve kept the drinks coming. Because everyone knows a good brunch usually involves alcohol. Extra props to the bartender when your glasses look like this.

    DSC_1315Here to Disrupt 3 Here to Disrupt 6 Here to Disrupt 7

    Here to Disrupt 8

    I was so honored to be a part of this event. The food was sweet, and the company was sweeter. I can’t wait to see what these guys do next.

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    Living, Real Life

    Apartment Tour (Before): One Month Down

    Fritz and I recently moved into our first apartment together and despite the slight learning curve for both of us (I’m messy, he’s not), it’s been an amazing month. We now have a legit adult apartment to call home. I mean, seriously. The place has a dishwasher, garbage disposal, air conditioning and a washer and dryer.

    My last one bedroom apartment was 100% mine, and while I loved that place and all of the life lessons living alone taught me, I didn’t always love scrubbing melted cheese off of plates by hand, or shoving my arm down the sink to fish out random pieces of food. Or calling the fire department at midnight because the wiring was so old the place literally almost burst into flames. And don’t even get me started on the creepy basement I had to do laundry in. I’m convinced it was at one time a crime scene.

    Read more

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    DIY, Living

    DIY to Try: Marble Plates and Bowls

    I am so into the marble trend lately. Laptop cases, cutting boards, shirts, bags. So into it.

    DIY Marble Plates_NWHWhen I moved into my first place, I made a trip to IKEA and came home with a very blah, very IKEA dinnerware set. The six sets of plates and bowls have held up nicely over the past year, which is impressive considering the $30 price tag. But now that I’m in my mid-twenties, I decided it’s time to step up my style game. I’ll blame my Anthropologie catalog for the sudden shift in perspective…

    DSC_0275I wanted to revamp my set but didn’t know where to start. And then I saw this project…marbleized mugs using nailpolish. Brilliant! GENIUS. Mind-blowingly awesome. Seriously, why didn’t I think of it before?

    Suddenly, my sad little dinner plates and bowls had so much potential and I finally had a serious plan in place for their much-needed makeover.

    DSC_0280

    You Will Need…

    • White ceramic plates and bowls
    • Nailpolish (I recommend you don’t use a quick drying or gel formula like I did…it can get more tacky)
    • Toothpick
    • Bucket
    • Warm water
    • Non-Toxic waterproof sealant (I prefer to use ModgePodge)

    1. Pour nail polish into warm waterDIY Marble Plates 3DIY Marble Plates 2

    2. Gently stir to swirl colors together

    Make sure you work quickly because the polish starts drying almost immediately.

    DIY Marble Plates

    3. Dip into the water and remove, let dry

    Wait for the polish to dry and continue repeating the process until the desired amount of marble effect is reached. *Optional: use a cotton ball soaked in nail polish remover to remove the marble effect from the center of the plate.

    DSC_0299

    4. You’re done!

    Coat with your waterproof sealant and follow curing instructions before using.

    Now just try to refrain from marbleizing everything. I dare you.

    DSC_0268

    Please keep in mind these are not really dishwasher or microwave safe. But they sure are pretty, aren’t they?

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    DIY, Living

    Cheap and Easy Way to Update Your Fireplace

    One of my favorite features of my charming (and very old) apartment is the amount of fireplaces it has — three, to be exact. Now, three fireplaces for one person might be just a tad bit excessive, but I love how they add character to each room.  If you take a look at the “before” photo below, you’d probably agree that the brown tile was downright u-g-l-y. I wanted to brighten things up a bit, but didn’t want to spend an arm and a leg on a place I don’t own (the struggle is real).

    The solution? Paint, of course!

    Before

    Really take in the ugly here, guys. The tile was dark and blah. Talk about depressing.

    FullSizeRender

    After

    See ya never, dark tiles. With a coat of white paint, this fireplace transformed into a focal point that’s bright, fun and inviting.

    fireplace4fireplace5 fireplace2

    Speaking of paint, see how I turned this plastic toy into a chic jewelry stand here.fireplace3 fireplace

    Supplies used:

    • Behr paint in “Ultra Pure White”
    • Paint brush
    • Painter’s tape
    • Paint tray

    And that’s it! What do you guys think of the transformation? Have you done anything similar? Share in the comments!

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