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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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    Fashion, Real Life

    Brunch at Hotel Covington with Hannah Breidinger

    I hung out with Hannah (lead photographer and owner of Hearts and Color Co.) a couple weekends ago and it was the best. If you don’t know her or haven’t seen her work, you definitely should look her up, stat. All of the images she produces are stunning (think deep, moody, romantic and full of emotion), and she is just as sweet as she is talented. I’m so happy we had the chance to meet IRL, and I’m looking forward to many more photo adventures to come! Shout out to Instagram for bringing us together.

    We met at Hotel Covington for brunch, talked about photography and took turns in front of and behind the camera.

    The hotel lobby was the perfect backdrop — it’s a gorgeous space. It’s bright, open and inviting with a modern contemporary vibe. If you’re in the Cincinnati area or plan to take a trip there in the future, I’d highly recommend making a pit stop, even if it’s for brunch, lunch or dinner. The food is amazing. I’ve heard the drinks are, too.

    Sweater: H&M | Jeans: Banana Republic | Boots: Target | Rings: American Eagle | Hat: Forever 21


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    Advice, Real Life

    Adulting 101: Things to Consider when Shopping for Insurance (+ a video!)

    This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. I purchased my own insurance at normal prices and all opinions are 100% mine.

    Insurance. It’s something everyone needs, but you probably won’t hear your friends strike up a conversation on the topic at a bar on Saturday night. When I graduated college and started my first job in the real world, I knew nothing about insurance. Literally, nothing. And looking back, I really wish I did.

    If you’re in the same boat and don’t even know where to begin, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve asked a lot of questions and learned some valuable lessons the hard way. Scroll below to read some of the tips I’ve gathered over the past few years:

    DETERMINE WHAT YOUR NEEDS ARE

    Things happen. Fender benders and break-ins and trips to the emergency room happen. That’s why we have insurance. It protects us if and when we end up in these types of situations.

    When shopping for insurance, it’s crucial that you find the right plan that will cover you when you need it to. A lot of times, people go with the plan that’s the least expensive, but if you don’t have adequate coverage, this could end up costing you more.

    WHEN IN DOUBT, SAY YES TO RENTERS INSURANCE

    Peace of mind. It’s a beautiful thing. And when it costs roughly $15-$22/month (depending on the value of your belongings), it’s a no-brainer. I’m talking about renter’s insurance. Something I thought I didn’t need when I moved into my first apartment, but after most of my closet was ruined after a sudden stream of water leaked from my ceiling, I quickly realized I made a major mistake.

    So, what do you need to know? Here’s the 411: Most renter’s insurance is on a “named perils basis” which typically covers things like fire, vandalism, wind, hail, theft, and smoke damage. A Special Form, also known as “all risk” policy can protect you against additional perils than those provided under your standard policy, for an additional premium.

    You will want to consider adding replacement cost coverage. Without out this, your belongings will only be covered for their depreciated value. With replacement cost coverage, your belongings will be repaired back to it’s current condition or replaced with a new, similar item.

    You really never know what can happen, so if you ask me, $15-$22/month is well worth the cost.

    GO WITH A COMPANY THAT LISTENS TO YOU

    A couple months ago, I had the opportunity to attend one of Nationwide‘s Member Connections meetings at Coffee Connections in Hilliard. I didn’t know this at the time, but Nationwide has been hosting these meetings for over 60 years. The core mission of the Member Connections meetings is to give Nationwide members the opportunity to provide honest feedback and build relationships with other members and Nationwide leaders. It’s actually a really great idea when you think about it. And it made me wonder…why aren’t more companies doing this?

    First things, first. I loved that the event was held at a local coffee shop. The atmosphere was so relaxed, and I had the chance to grab coffee and meet with other members of the community and people who work at Nationwide. It was a great way to start the morning before I went to work.

    One of the key takeaways I learned from my experience is this: it’s so important to go with a company that listens to you. Prior to this experience, I thought of insurance companies as these giant, faceless corporations with long customer service wait times. My entire view of them changed that morning. I had a voice. I had coffee with people who have voices too and can implement change within the organization. They were receptive to my ideas. And I left the event feeling energized and excited. Everyone wants to feel heard, and Nationwide really listens.

    After the event, I had the opportunity to sit down with the team and share a little more about my experience. Take a look!

     

    Visit Sponsors Site

    Feature image by Erika Gene Clark Photo

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    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 | NatalieWasHere.com | 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

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