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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:

    SIMPLIFY YOUR SKINCARE ROUTINE

    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!

    VISIT YOUR FAVORITE COFFEE SHOP

    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.

    GET OUT IN NATURE

    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.

    FUEL YOUR BODY WITH WHOLESOME FOODS

    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?

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    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?

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    Real Life

    5 Lessons I’ve Learned from Living with a Significant Other Before Marriage

     

    Fritz and I have lived together for almost two years. Time flies.

    We’ve been together for a long time, so I was excited at the thought of living with my best friend. But even though we know each other better than anyone else, I’ll admit I was nervous to take this big step. Because I don’t know if you know this, but there are some pretty dismal statistics out there about people who live together before marriage. And so many people warned me that you don’t fully know someone until you live with them.

    If you know me, though, you know I don’t always like to follow the rules. And living with Fritz has been the best decision ever. But like any big life change, living with a significant other can take a little preparation, adjustment and yep, you guessed it — compromise.

    Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned living with a significant other:

    BEING A TEAM PLAYER IS KEY

    When I lived alone, I left my clothes on the floor (still somewhat guilty) and dishes in the sink. I didn’t always go grocery shopping as often as I should, so more often than not, canned soup was what I ate for dinner. I only had myself to think about. When you live with someone else, you become a team. You share responsibilities. Your mess becomes someone else’s mess. I’m not always the best at remembering to pick up after myself, but it’s definitely something I’m working on now that I share my space with another person.

    COMPROMISE, COMPROMISE, COMPROMISE

    I’m messy. He’s not. I prefer to go to bed at 10:30 on week days. He’s a night owl by nature. When you live with someone else, you will quickly realize that you are not going to 100% agree on everything. Why would you? You’re two different people with two different personalities. This is where compromise comes in. Try to meet in the middle on the things you have different opinions on. It’s not always easy to change old habits, but when you work at it together, you can make it work.

    EAT DINNER TOGETHER AS MUCH AS YOU CAN

    Fritz and I both love to cook, so most nights we’ll make dinner together or for each other. It’s a nice way to reconnect after a day at work and as an added bonus, it helps us save money.

    LEARNING YOUR PARTNER’S LOVE LANGUAGE IS CRUCIAL

    I’m not a cheesy person. I’m the girl who rolls her eyes at gushy, over-the-top movies, and I’ve never read a Nicholas Sparks book in my entire life. So when I heard about the 5 Love Languages quiz, I laughed it off at first. Eventually I caved though, and I’m so glad I did. Fritz and I both took the quiz together. It really does give you more insight into how you and your partner give and receive love.

    For example, Fritz’s #1 Love Language is Acts of Service. So he shows love the most by doing things for me, and he appreciates when I do things for him, like help with the laundry or clean the apartment. My Love Language is tied between Quality Time and Words of Affirmation. So I give and receive love by spending time with him and telling him I love and appreciate him.

    CONTINUE TO MAKE TIME FOR YOUR FRIENDS AND HOBBIES

    When you live with the person you love, it’s easy to fall into the routine of doing all of your activities with them. While having a go-to companion for everything is awesome, it’s also important to maintain your individuality, too. Continue to make time for your friends, whether it’s a weekly happy hour, coffee date or workout session. And don’t let your favorite hobby find its way to the back burner. Continue to invest in yourself, your interests and your well being. When you are your best, most-fulfilled, happiest self, your relationship with others will benefit.


    If you’ve lived with a significant other before, or are currently living with someone now, I’m sure you have a few lessons of your own. I’d love to hear them! 

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    Real Life

    Coffee Talk: The Art of Saying No and Why It Might Change Your Life for the Better

    Hi, friend! Long time, no talk. I’ve been completely M.I.A. In the past when I took time off from blogging, I tried to keep up on Instagram. But, I haven’t even done that. If there was a grade scale for blogging, I’d get a big fat F. Or maybe even a G, if that’s a thing.

    To be honest with you, I’m overwhelmed.

    And I know, I know. We’re all overwhelmed. We’re all busy. It’s not an excuse. But if you’re a “yes” person like me, the feeling of overwhelm is something that’s all too familiar. And that can be problematic to your health, your relationships and your sanity.

    So, let me ask you this — why do we keep saying YES?

    I can tell you why I do. I’m a “yes person” and a certified people-pleaser. I’m also afraid if I say no to anything — whether it’s a happy hour, new photography project or assignment at work, I’ll miss out on a killer opportunity that could be the turning point in my career. Most of the time, though, when I bust my ass to take on extra projects, they rarely turn out to be worth the level of stress and anxiety I feel.

    So, for all you “yes” people reading this, here are some tips to break the habit.

    LISTEN TO YOUR BODY

    Stress manifests itself in a variety of ways. If you’re experiencing chest tightness (check), shortness of breath (check) and fatigue (is it time for bed yet?), this could be your body’s way of telling you to slow down. Take a minute to listen.

    TRUST YOUR INTUITION

    One of the benefits of saying no is that you free yourself up to say yes to projects that really matter. Trust your intuition. If you have the opportunity to take on a project you’re feeling lukewarm about, you know in your gut it’s something you should say no to.

    BE REALISTIC

    If you take on more are you going to be able to make your deadlines and deliver quality work? If you say yes to one friend’s get together, are you still going to be able to make it to your other friend’s birthday party across town? If you know you have too much on your plate, be realistic.

    GIVE YOURSELF GRACE

    You can do anything you put your mind to, but accept the fact that you can’t do everything, and that’s more than okay. You’re only one person after all. Give yourself a little grace from time to time. You’re doing the best you can.


    How has saying no helped you? I’d love to know.

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    Fashion, Real Life

    August Challenge: Giving Up Shopping in Favor of Shopping My Own Closet

    I’ll be honest, guys. I spent too much money this past weekend on new clothes and I still can’t shake the overwhelming feeling of guilt. But, the shirt was on sale for 75% off! It’s such a steal. Consuming for the sake of consumption. It’s a problem.

    Do you ever buy something just because it’s on sale? Guilty. Now, ask yourself — would you still buy it if it were full price? Maybe you would, but probably not.

    I’ll be the first to admit to you that blogging and social media do not help with this problem. Instagram, I’m looking at you. It’s all about which outfit will fit the feed, which coffee shop has the best aesthetic, which flowers look the best with a new bag…

    I’m saying this because I’ve definitely had these thoughts before. But, at the end of the day and in the grand scheme of life, it’s really a bunch of crap. And a waste of money.

    This month, I want to do things a little differently. I want to create content for my blog and Instagram utilizing items I already own. That means no shopping. No standing in line at a popular coffee shop for the sake of Instagramming an over-priced latte. Nope, none of that.

    THE CHALLENGE

    Let’s talk about the details, shall we? I will create new looks every day, utilizing only the items I already own. That means no shopping and no repeats (accessories don’t count). I’ll be sharing my weekly looks here every Friday, so tune in if you’d like!

    At the end of the month, I’ll be donating or selling all of the pieces I don’t love. This will help me a) get a better sense of my style and b) clear the clutter.

    I hope this challenge will inspire you to dig into your own closet and spend more time (and less money!) creating memorable experiences.

    If you decide to embark on this challenge with me, let me know by using #AugustShoppingBan on Instagram. I’d love to see what you come up with :)


    You might also like…

    *Feature image via Un-Fancy – another blog you should check out ASAP! 

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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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    Beauty, Real Life

    5 Simple Ways to Practice Self Care

    How often do you practice self-care (a.k.a., how often do you treat yo self)? If the answer is “not very often,” I get it. It can be difficult to make time for yourself, especially when dealing with juggling job, family and personal responsibilities.

    We often get so caught up in pleasing everyone else around us, that our own needs take a backseat. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. And it shouldn’t be! Taking care of yourself doesn’t need to be a lavish endeavor. It could be as simple as squeezing in a morning run or applying a face mask after a long day at work. 

    Below are some of my favorite ways to practice self-care. They’re super easy to incorporate into your own routine, too! 

    FUEL YOUR BODY WITH WHOLESOME FOODS

    5 Simple Ways to Practice Self Care | Natalie Was Here | Lifestyle BlogEating well makes me feel good mentally, physically and emotionally. Sometimes, 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.

    Healthy recipes to make tonight: Anything Goes Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing, Southwestern Rice Bowls with Chipotle Ranch Dressing

    GRAB A BOOK THAT INSPIRES YOU

    5 Simple Ways to Practice Self Care | Natalie Was Here | Lifestyle BlogMost of the reading I do these days is on my phone (not good for my eyes, posture or sanity, to be honest). There’s nothing quite like cracking open a real book. My recent favorites are “Big Magic” and “You are a Badass.” I also love flipping through Apartment Therapy and See San Francisco for a little visual inspiration.

    SHOW YOUR SKIN SOME LOVE

    Winter is rough on the skin. When Patchology reached out to me, I knew I had to give this brand a go. I’m a huge fan of sheet masks, not only because they feel indulgent and are easy to apply, but because they work. 

    I love to apply the Hydrate FlashMasque right after my shower to prevent moisture from leaving my skin (my skin is literally the Sahara Desert in the winter months). The Eye and Lip Gels are also great for adding a little extra hydration to your under eye area and lips!

    Products listed: Hydrate FlashMasque (my all-time FAVORITE product for dry skin) | SmartMud | Eye GelsLip Gels (enter NATALIE25 for 25% off your order at Patchology.com! Offer expires May 1, 2017)

    GET SOME EXTRA SLEEP

    The Mayo Clinic recommends adults get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. I’ll be honest – I don’t get as much sleep as I should. It’s definitely something I’m working on.  If this is something you struggle with, try eliminating distractions from the bedroom such as your cell phone (GUILTY) or the TV. I’ve found reading a book usually helps me nod off faster.

    EMBRACE SLOW, QUIET MORNINGS

    5 Simple Ways to Practice Self Care | Natalie Was Here | Lifestyle Blog

    As much as I hate getting out of bed in the mornings, there really is nothing better than being awake before the craziness of the day starts. Mornings are quiet and peaceful, and one of my favorite things to do is enjoy a cup of coffee and watch an episode or two of my favorite show. Having time to yourself makes the 6  a.m. wake-up call worth it.

    What are some of the ways you practice self care?


    Thank you to Patchology 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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