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.


    Pink Maxi Dress

    Pink maxi dress from VICI Collection also comes in mustard yellow (only $62!) | Jacket: purchased in Florence, Italy (real leather, faux leather) | Shoes: Borrowed (similar)

    It’s officially winter in Ohio (just in case you had any doubts). The temperature reached a balmy 24-degrees this morning. So, while I’m currently sitting at my desk, bundled in my coat and scarf, I can’t help but think back to slightly warmer days, when it was socially acceptable to wear this pink maxi dress from VICI Collection in public (who am I kidding, I’d still wear it!).

    I bought it a few months ago for a wedding in Vegas, and it was so fun to wear. If you haven’t heard of VICI, I’d highly recommend browsing. They have the cutest tops, sweaters, dresses, etc., and everything is reasonably priced. I have my eye on this and this next.

    Pink maxi dress from Vici Collection | Natalie Was Here

    Pink maxi dress from Vici Collection | Natalie Was HerePink maxi dress from Vici Collection | Natalie Was HerePink maxi dress from Vici Collection | Natalie Was Here

    I hope you’re having a great week so far! Thanks for stopping by.

    Photography by Erica Gene Clark

    Real Life

    How to Hit the Gym On Your Lunch Break (When You Work in an Office)

    How to hit the gym on your lunch break (when you work in an office) |

    Feature image via Happily Grey

    Happy December! Can you believe 2017 is just a month away? It’s crazy how time flies. And speaking of a new year, my goal (along with the rest of America) is to get in shape. You know, actually make time for the gym. If you’re in the same boat, then today’s topic is for you!

    I am not a morning person. I’m also not really a “head to the gym after work” kind of person. This makes the chances of me working out at all pretty slim. And staying active is so important. Especially if you’re like me and living that #sedentarylifestyle. So, I made the decision to make exercising a priority. To do this and fit it into my daily routine, I went to the gym during my lunch break.

    If you’re a busy mom who wants to make time for her family and her career and herself, or a twenty-something like me who really values her extra hours of sleep in the morning and the occasional Netflix binge post-work, then listen up! Working out over your lunch break might be one of the best things you can do for yourself. Not only does it help break up the day, and get the blood pumping, but I find it really helps my brain recharge, so I can tackle the rest of the afternoon and avoid hitting the dreaded 3 p.m. slump.

    Are you thinking of giving the mid-day work out a try? Scroll below for some tried and true tips:


    1. Lay out your clothes the night before

    You absolutely have to plan ahead if you want to make this work. The night before, I’ll lay out my clothes for work and pack my gym bag with everything I’ll need so it’s easy to grab and go in the morning.

    2. Pack your lunch

    Because I’m given an hour for lunch, heading to the gym doesn’t leave any time for grabbing something on the way.

    3. Put it in your calendar

    Call me crazy, but I am less likely to blow something off when it’s on my calendar.


    Walk to the gym (3 minutes)

    The gym I go to is right up the street from my office, which is really convenient. If you don’t have a gym near you, grab a co-worker and go on a walk around the block. Or if you’re looking for something a little more intense, slip on your gym shoes and jog or run for 30-45 min. Every little bit helps!

    Change (2 minutes)

    When I get to the gym, I head to the locker room first to quickly change into my workout gear. I remove my makeup with my two all-time fave products, Neutrogena Makeup Removing Wipes and Simple’s Miceller Water (LOVE this stuff). Then, I’ll put on a killer playlist (I’m loving this one) and get ready to go.

    Get a solid HIIT workout in (30 minutes)

    Because my time at the gym is limited, I make the most of it by working out at a high intensity level for 30 minutes. This usually involves weights, squats, jump rope, etc. Tone It Up has some great workout routines that really help you squeeze in a solid workout, no matter how much (or little) time you have.

    Stretch (5 minutes)

    Once my 30 min are up, I’ll grab a mat to do some ab exercises and stretch for about five minutes.

    Shower (3 minutes)

    I’ll hit the shower for a quick 3-minute rinse. I wash my hair the night before, so I don’t have to at the gym. This used to weird me out, but trust me, dry shampoo is a life saver.

    Get dressed, apply makeup (10 minutes)

    This step is pretty self explanatory. I keep my makeup routine as simple as possible so it’s quick and easy. Scroll below to see what’s in my makeup bag.

    Head back to the office (3 minutes)

    After my afternoon workouts, I always feel refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the afternoon!


    This is not your standard makeup bag. Working out should be hard, but applying your makeup after your workout doesn’t have to be. My gym makeup bag is filled with simple, multi-tasking products that help me feel refreshed, but not overdone. Here’s some of the products I can’t live without.



    From the Archives: Corduroy Skirt and Black and White Blouse

    How have you guys been?! It’s officially been f-o-r-e-v-e-r since I checked in with you last. Between traveling and work and side photography projects, I haven’t been able to muster the energy to sit down and write blog posts. Do you ever feel overwhelmed trying to juggle it all? The struggle is so real.

    But, all of that aside, I’m so happy to be back with an outfit post I should have shared a few months ago (oops). I lived in this combo during late summer/early fall and I won’t be putting it away just yet. Black tights and boots are the perfect way to take any warmer look into the cooler months.


    Top: Urban Outfitters | Skirt: American Eagle | Shoes: Target | Bag: Express | Necklace: Emma Jane Designs



    Hope you’re having a great week so far!

    Photography by Erika Gene Clark


    Travel Diary: A Long Weekend in Las Vegas in iPhone Photos

    Because In-N-Out is a must on any West Coast adventure.Las Vegas Travel Diary |

    My friends and I were invited to a wedding in Las Vegas (congrats, Brock and Jenna!), so naturally, we decided to make a long weekend out of the trip. Before I went, people warned me three days would feel more like three weeks. And if you’ve been to Vegas before, then you know three days really does feel like three weeks — maybe four. Vegas is completely overwhelming and visually stimulating (Lights! Casinos! Drinks! Clubs!), but in the very best way.

    We stayed at Mandalay Bay, and each hotel we explored was more extravagant then the next. The casinos (usually located on the ground floor of the hotels) were packed to the gills. Yep, even on a Thursday afternoon.

    There were bright lights and crowds of people. Nightclubs were like something out of a movie. Drinks were at least $15, and even though I’m not a gambler, I couldn’t help but wonder how amazing it would have been to win the $10.1 million jackpot. Seriously, though…
    Las Vegas Travel Diary |

    Oh, and we walked. A lot. Like, 20,000 steps daily, a lot. If you go to Vegas, listen to the people who tell you to pack comfortable shoes. Because if I’m being honest, even though I wore my Puma sneakers every day, my dogs were barking. Big time.

    If you are planning on going to Vegas in the near future, here are some of the things I’d recommend adding to your to-do list.

    The Linq High Roller

    The Linq High Roller is the largest observation wheel in the world. It’s located smack-dab in the middle of the Strip, across the street from Caesars Palace. This is where things get fun…for just $50, you and your friends have access to a pod on the observation wheel that comes complete with its own little bar. It’s own little open bar. If you’re lucky, you won’t have to share the pod with complete strangers.

    We took in the beautiful views of the city from the very top, while Orlando, our amazing bartender from San Diego, made us shots with names that aren’t appropriate for this corner of the web. But they were DELISH. Thanks, Orlando.

    Visit Fremont Street

    Fremont Street is a 5-block area in historic downtown Las Vegas. It feels old, but that’s what gives it its charm. Bars sell drink cups that come in all shapes — from leg lamps to cowboy boots, casinos smell like stale cigarettes, and if you’re lucky, you’ll see a man in a bikini or g-string thong. This place is gritty and a bit tacky, and that’s why it’s a must.

    Zip Line Over Crowds of People

    Why walk Fremont Street when you can glide over it? The Slotzilla Zipline is the perfect activity. Regulars we talked to told us to ride it at night because that’s when everything lights up. They also said to splurge and pay $40 for the express line. FYI if you’re considering between the two.

    See a Show

    We didn’t have enough time to see a show, and to be honest, most of us didn’t have enough money either. But, if you have the chance, there are always so many good ones. It’s hard to go wrong. Um, hellooooooo! Britney Spears?

    Check out the Hotels

    Wander around New York New York (and maybe even pay for a $30 rollercoaster ride). Sip on martinis and take in the views at the Foundation Room. Order the Verbena at the Cosmopolitan’s Chandelier Bar (it’s a drink that literally alters your tastebuds). Hit up the shops near Caesars Palace. Admire the beautiful lobby in the Bellagio. Take a gondola ride at the Venetian…

    Seriously, I could go on and on about every hotel on the Strip. They are all so beautiful, it’s insane.

    Admire the Bellagio Fountains

    Remember the classic scene in Oceans 11? The one where George Clooney and his gang stand overlooking the Bellagio Fountains? Well, yes, they are just like the movie. Touristy and cliche, of course. But what part of Vegas isn’t?

    The Crew before the wedding. Meet Alex, Max, Kari, Danny, (you know me) and Fritz.


    Las Vegas Travel Diary |


    Las Vegas Travel Diary |

    Have you been to Vegas before? If so, what are some of your favorite things to do in the city?


    High-Waisted Flared Jeans + Leather Jacket

    Top: Old Navy (this gray version is just $4!) | Jeans: Old Navy | Jacket: Nordstrom (similar) | Bag: Express (love this one) | Shoes: Target (very similar)| Sunglasses: Forever 21 (similar)

    I’ve been slacking on the blog front, and I feel like I’ve told you this more times than I’d like to admit…

    The truth is, creative funks happen. A lot (this post is a nice little reminder of what to do when that time comes). Lately, I’ve been thinking about where I want this blog to go, and I have a few ideas that I’m really excited about. I love when inspiration randomly strikes. You know that feeling? It’s refreshing.

    By the way, how’s your week going so far? Can you believe we’re halfway through October already?

    Flare jeans and leather jacket | | Fashion blog

    October is hands-down my favorite month of the year. It’s crisp enough for a leather jacket and jeans, but not quite POLAR VORTEX 2.0 cold just yet (we can all pray that holds off a little longer). I love fall for so many reasons. Fashion being high on the list.

    And speaking of fashion — remember these jeans? I talked about them recently on the blog and I’ve been wearing them A LOT offline, too. They’re so flattering, and I can’t believe they’re under $20. If you’re on the hunt for a pair, these are an amazing, affordable option (it looks like they only have one size left, but these are a great alternative). Flare jeans and leather jacket | | Fashion blog Flare jeans and leather jacket | | Fashion blog Flare jeans and leather jacket | | Fashion blog Flare jeans and leather jacket | | Fashion blog

    Hope you have a great week! Fritz and I will be heading to Louisville this weekend for a friend’s wedding and we can’t wait. Weddings are always great excuses to have reunions with friends from all over the country. Follow along on Instagram for more behind the scenes adventures! Flare jeans and leather jacket | | Fashion blog

    Photos by Erika Gene Clark

    You might also like: Wine Colored Romper and Floral Dress + Leather Jacket

    Real Life

    7 Ways to Make New Friends in your Twenties

    I’m a contributor for Gen Twenty, and this post originally appeared on

    Let’s face it – making new friends when you’re younger is relatively easy. For most of your childhood and adolescent life, you’re surrounded by people your own age. On the playground, in the classroom and at football games on Friday nights. You sat next to the same group of people in your math and English classes, walked home from school with your best friend and shared a cabin with a group of girls at sleep away camp.

    Years later, you went off to college, where you were one of many nervous freshmen, open to meeting as many new people as possible. Everyone was essentially in the same boat. You crammed for finals with your classmates, went grocery shopping with your roommates on Sundays and walked to parties with the girls who lived in your hall.

    In grade school, high school and college, friendships were generally valued in terms of quantity, not necessarily quality.

    Then you graduate, move to a different city and start a brand new job. In the real world, you’re in an office, working alongside your coworkers who are all in different stages of their lives  – some are married, some have families and some even have grandchildren.

    You’re no longer in the same setting you were in prior to graduation, and meeting people in the same place as you suddenly isn’t as easy as it once was.

    So, what’s next? How do you meet new people? Where do all the twenty-somethings hang out?

    Making new friends after college can be challenging. But, it’s not impossible.

    Here are seven ways to make new friends in your twenties:

    1. Discover your passions first.

    Before making new friends, it’s important to get to know yourself on a deeper level. Life after college is completely unpredictable, but it’s the perfect opportunity for a little self discovery.

    Ask yourself, what are you really interested in? What drives and motivates you every day?

    If you love running, getting involved with a local running club is a great place to start. If you’re like me and have a blog, connect with other bloggers in your area. Doing things you love makes it easier to connect with others who share the same hobbies as you, and will help you form more meaningful friendships.

    2. Reach out to those with similar interests.

    Once you figure out what it is you really love to do, reach out to others with similar interests. Instagram is a growing community, and as far as social media goes, it’s one of the best tools out there for meeting and connecting with like-minded people in your area.

    Maybe you’re interested in pursuing photography and are really inspired by a local photographer you follow on Instagram. Send her a private message and see if you can meet up for coffee or lunch. Not only will this help you grow your professional network and give you the opportunity to grow your skill set, but it will also open the door to new friendships, too.

    3. Connect with mutual friends.

    Grab drinks with your friend and her co-worker she’s been wanting you to meet for months. Connecting with mutual friends will help you ease into meeting new people, without the fear of things getting awkward.

    Because you share a mutual friend, it’s a little easier to break the ice, and it’s more likely you’ll hang out again in the future.

    4. Join a co-ed sports team.

    Even if you’re not the most athletic person around (yes, I’m totally referring to myself), joining an intramural co-ed sports team is a fun way to let loose after work and meet new people at the same time.

    Most young professional organizations have opportunities to join teams, from softball to sand volleyball, so keep an eye out for what’s going on in your area. If it will make you feel more comfortable, bring a friend with you to help calm your nerves.

    5. Find your school’s local alumni group.

    Every city is filled with alumni groups, and joining one is a great way to meet people who went to the same school as you.

    Even if you move across the country, chances are there is a local alumni group that gets together for trivia, game nights, etc.

    Reach out and make new connections. Cheering on your school over chips, queso and margs is an surefire way to form new friendships.

    6. Get tech savvy.

    Chances are, you know people who have met their boyfriends and girlfriends on apps like Tinder and Bumble. We live in a digital age. There’s no reason why you can’t meet new friends the same way.

    If you’re overwhelmed with your new work schedule and don’t feel like you have the time to dedicate to joining every club out there, sign up for apps like Meetup and Bumble BFF.

    They are great resources, and can help connect you with people in your area. 

    7. Don’t be afraid to make the first move.

    Making friends is a lot like dating. It’s actually hilarious how similar the two are. And while it would be nice for people to always approach you at every networking event, remember that sometimes, it’s up to you to make the first move.

    Be brave and put yourself out there. Go to networking events and proactively introduce yourself to people there.

    It might take some creative thinking and a little extra effort, but you will make new friends in your twenties, thirties, and beyond.

    Just remember, most people are going through the same things you are. You just haven’t met them yet.

    You might also like: On True Friendships and Moving to a New City