Advice, Real Life

    Coffee Talk: The World Would be a Better Place if We Focused on Building Each Other Up

    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 shared a post on Instagram recently and it resonated with a lot of people. And that’s probably because most of us have been here at some point. You might even be there now. I know I was.

    Story time…

    I used to work at a PR firm, and as much as I liked it, I wont lie to you, it was pretty stressful at times. One random Tuesday shit had hit the fan. Big time. I was tired. I was frustrated. And I lacked one very important thing: self-confidence. I shuffled into my boss’ office, closed the door and before he even knew what I was going to say, he pointed at a chair in the corner of his office and said, “Natalie, the opportunity chair is open.”

    The opportunity chair? Was this guy serious? Here I was, having the worst day of my professional career and he’s shoving some stupid, metaphorical chair in my face? (I quickly understood this was about so much more than a chair)

    That moment made me realize the sad truth. He believed in me more than I believed in myself. While I spent so much time doubting my abilities, he saw nothing but potential. Potential I was too afraid to face head-on and run with. It’s amazing what you can do when you have the confidence in your abilities and see yourself the way others do. It was a breakthrough.

    And it made me wonder…why do we choose to stand in our own way so often? Why do we hold ourselves back from being awesome? Think about that for a moment.

    Because, here’s the thing — opportunity is everywhere. Or, as my boss would say, “opportunity chairs” are everywhere.

    So, let’s promise each other something. Let’s promise to stop telling ourselves we’re not good enough or not experienced enough. Sure, maybe you didn’t go to school for photography or marketing or astrology or hand-lettering.

    You know what? WHO CARES.

    I know you have drive and passion (that’s probably why you’re still reading this post). And I know deep down, you know that, too. And the “but, I didn’t go to school for [insert dream career path here]” excuse? Puh-lease. Let’s be honest, you can learn anything on the internet these days. And you can also learn from inspiring individuals around you. All it takes is the guts to reach out. There’s plenty of room at the table for us all to learn, grow and do amazing things.

    So, what’s the moral of this long-winded story?

    (I know, I know…you’re probably like, “get to the point already.”)

    The world could use creativity and passion and big ideas. But you what else the world needs? More people like my boss, who are happy to build others up when they need it most.

    So, remember this the next time you meet someone just starting out, struggling to recognize his or her own potential. Take them to lunch and tell them they’re doing a great job. Sing their praises to hiring managers you know. Give them tips to help them grow, so they can then pass that knowledge on to the people they meet.

    The world would be a much better place.

    What is the best advice (i.e. wake up call) you’ve received from a boss or mentor?

    Got an idea for a future Coffee Talk topic? Send me a note at hello [at] nataliewashere [dot] com. I’d love to hear from you!


    Let’s Talk Hair Extensions: First Impressions and What You Need to Know

    People use clothing as a way to express themselves. You could say that about makeup, too. When I’m having a bad day, I typically reach for darker eye shadows or lipsticks (que the emo rock music).

    Sometimes, I’ll go really crazy and bust out the glitter on a Saturday night.

    Moral of the story? It’s fun to switch up your look from time to time.  And just like clothing and makeup, hair is no different. You can straighten it, curl it, crimp it, dye it, braid it, perm it, shave it or chop it all off. You can even add length and volume with hair extensions.

    Irresistible Me Hair Extensions - Natalie Was Here, a life and affordable style blog

    And I’m not talking about your typical “sit in a salon chair for five hours” extensions. Because ain’t nobody got time for that. Nope, I’m talking about clip ins. And they’re pretty genius.

    I should add a little disclaimer here, and if you know me personally, you won’t be surprised. When it comes to styling my hair, let’s just say my skills are lacking. I had never tried hair extensions in my life. So, when Irresistible Me reached out and told me how easy their extensions were to use, I was a little skeptical, but also intrigued. Because if I can put them in, anyone can.

    Irresistible Me Hair Extensions - Natalie Was Here, a life and affordable style blog

    First Impressions

    Ordering extensions, like ordering anything online, can be a bit of a challenge. Especially if you haven’t used them before.

    Here’s a little info for you to reference before buying: the weight of the extensions (100g, 140g, 200g) refers to the total weight of the hair without the clips attached. The thickness of the hair is relative to both the weight and the length you choose. For example, a 14″ 200g piece will look thicker than the 24″ 200g piece. Still with me? Good!

    As far as color selection goes, this video will help give you a deeper dive into the the range they offer so you can pick your perfect match.

    I wanted thickness and length, so after reviewing the selection, I decided to go with the 200g 18” Silky Touch extensions in Chocolate Brown.

    What I Liked

    • These were SO easy to apply. Like, really easy. The pictures in this post were taken right after I put them in for the first time. They’re not perfect as you can see (missed some spots while curling), but overall, not bad for a first-timer (again, if I can do it, anyone can)!
    • The company gives you a lot of hair for the price.
    • And speaking of price, they are relatively affordable compared to other extension brands on the market.

     What I Didn’t Like

    • The extensions I ordered are too long for me personally. On the upside, however, it’s better for them to be too long than too short. Nothing a trim can’t fix!
    • The color was too dark, but that was partially my fault. I colored my hair a month or so before ordering, and the deep, rich color had faded significantly.
    • The hair is a little too shiny, and when curled, I found some of the pieces looked stringy.

    Irresistible Me Hair Extensions - Natalie Was Here, a life and affordable style blog

    nwh-nov2016-hair-18 nwh-nov2016-hair-22 nwh-nov2016-hair-29

    Overall, I was very pleased with the Irresistible Me hair extensions, and would recommend giving them a shot if you’re interested! I’ve only worn them for special occasions (i.e. a recent trip to Las Vegas), but they’re definitely fun to have in my arsenal for those nights when I’m wanting a little somethin’ somethin’ extra!

    What do you think? Would you give hair extensions a try?

    * The hair extensions featured in the post were provided to me for review by Irresistible Me. As always, opinions are 100% my own! Thank you for showing some love to the brands that support Natalie Was Here!

    Photography by Erika Gene Clark


    How to Style an Overall Dress

    Dress: Target (similar version on sale for $8!) | Body Suit: Abercrombie (on sale for $11!) | Boots: Macy’s

    I’ve never really been an overall girl (well, unless you count my brief stint with my trusty pair in Kindergarten). When they came back in style a few years ago, I was a little skeptical. I did impulsively buy a pair, but they just sat in my closet. I tried to make them work, but they didn’t feel like me.

    But, the overall dress? Now, that’s something I can get behind.

    This one from Target (not exact, but very similar) is a pretty maroon shade, so when styling it, I reached for black and white pieces to help the dress itself really stand out.

    And this brings me to the next part…

    What to wear under an overall dress

    When looking for pieces to layer under an overall dress, I’d highly recommend a body suit because you won’t have to worry about fabric bunching up as you go throughout your day. An off-the-shoulder version is perfect for spring. But if the temps get a little chilly, a turtle neck body suit is also a great option.

    Let’s talk shoes

    I love, love, love over-the-knee boots. So to dress up this look a bit, I reached for my favorite pair. If they’re not your thing and you’re looking for a more casual look, you could easily swap out the boots for sneakers, flats or even ankle boots. The possibilities are endless!

    How to style an overall dress | Natalie Was Here | Life + Style Blog

    How to style an overall dress | Natalie Was Here | Life + Style BlogHow to style an overall dress | Natalie Was Here | Life + Style Blog

    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?


    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!

    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:












    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.