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    Striped Summer Blouse and Girlfriend Jeans

    Ah, Monday. We meet again.

    How are you? Did you have a good weekend?

    Fritz and I spent the past few days in Sandusky, Ohio. It’s about a two and a half hour drive from Columbus and sits right on Lake Erie. I love spending time there in the summer, because even though we’re still in Ohio, being on Lake Erie really does feel like the ocean. It really is the perfect weekend getaway and I’d highly recommend it to all you Ohioans out there. Hm…maybe I’ll write a post on some of my recommendations? I should definitely get on that…
    Best Summer Blouse from SheIn | Natalie Was Here | Lifestyle Blog

    Blouse: SheIn c/o | Jeans: Abercrombie & Fitch c/o | Shoes: Forever 21 (similar)

    In the meantime, let’s talk about this outfit. I’m all about fuss-free style, lately. I’m a girl who wants to be able to throw something on and go. When I spotted this blouse from SheIn (only $12!), I knew it would be a welcomed addition to my closet. I love the ruffle sleeves and lace up front, and I’ve been wearing it on serious repeat.

    If you’ve heard of SheIn, you might be a little skeptical. I was, too because I’d heard mixed reviews. But honestly, the quality of this top is amazing and you definitely can’t beat the price. I’d highly recommend it if you’re in the market for a breezy summer blouse! It looks just as good with jeans as it does with denim shorts. Pro tip: If you’re thinking of ordering something from their website, go to their style gallery to see how different pieces look on actual customers.

    SHOP THIS POST:

    Best Summer Blouse from SheIn | Natalie Was Here | Lifestyle Blog Best Summer Blouse from SheIn | Natalie Was Here | Lifestyle Blog Best Summer Blouse from SheIn | Natalie Was Here | Lifestyle Blog Best Summer Blouse from SheIn | Natalie Was Here | Lifestyle BlogThanks for tuning in! I hope you have a great week.

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    Fashion

    How to Re-wear Your Bridesmaid Dress

    How to re-wear your bridesmaid dress | Natalie Was Here | Lifestyle blog

    When you’re in your mid-twenties, going to weddings, or being in them, becomes (what feels like) a weekly thing. If you’ve been in a wedding before, chances are your bridesmaid dress is still hanging in the depths of your closet. It probably hasn’t seen the light of day since the “Big Day.”

    Even if you’re convinced you’ll never wear it again, don’t toss it in the donate pile just yet. Read on for tips to make your bridesmaid dress the dress you’ll want to reach for when getting ready for every event, both big (like another wedding) and small (Sunday brunch).

    TAILOR IT

    Would you re-wear your bridesmaid dress if it were just a few inches shorter? Or if the straps were a different style? Take it to a tailor you trust who can tweak the dress to fit perfectly and better suit your personality. My dad is my tailor (it’s true! He owns a men’s clothing store in Cincinnati), so he shortened it about four inches and adjusted the straps. I love how the dress fits now. It’s amazing what a few alterations can do.

    DRESS IT DOWN WITH DENIM

    How to re-wear your bridesmaid dress | Natalie Was Here | Lifestyle blog

    Denim is my favorite way to dress down any look. I love how a denim jacket looks when paired with a fancier dress. Throw on some heels and you’re good to go for date night. Or to keep the look more casual, opt for flats or sneakers instead.

    MAKE IT WORK YEAR-ROUNDHow to re-wear your bridesmaid dress | Natalie Was Here | Lifestyle blog

    Layer an oversized sweater on top and slip into your favorite ankle boots for a fall appropriate look. In the winter, add some tights to the mix. With the help of a few accessories, your dress can easily transition between seasons.

    How to re-wear your bridesmaid dress | Natalie Was Here | Lifestyle blogRE-WEAR IT TO OTHER WEDDINGS

    Because let’s be honest. There will be plenty of other weddings. Instead of running out to buy a new dress the second you receive an invite in the mail, take a minute and shop your own closet first. Your bridesmaid dress might be the perfect option.

    Thank you so much to David’s Bridal for sponsoring this post. And thank you for supporting the brands who make NWH a happenin’ place to be.

    David’s Bridal’s new showroom is officially open at Easton Gateway. Prices are affordable and the team is beyond amazing (shout out to Beth, the store manager for all of her help!). David’s Bridal has a great selection for all of your event, bridal and yes, even homecoming and prom needs. Definitely stop in a take a look around. You won’t be disappointed.

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    Travel

    Natalie Was Here: Buckeye Lake Winery

    Wine by the water? Yes, please. When you live in Ohio and have to deal with the glorious Midwestern humidity, few things top that combo. Last night, Fritz and I visited his parents, who live on Buckeye Lake, and took their boat to Buckeye Lake Winery for dinner.

    Because I don’t know if you knew this (I didn’t!), but June is Ohio Wine Month. And I’m always up for celebrating important holidays — especially when they’re month-long holidays.

    Buckeye Lake Winery | Natalie Was Here | Lifestyle Blog

    We sat at a table under a big orange umbrella, took in the views as the sun set and the clouds rolled in, and sipped on two of their popular blends — Sweet Lake View and Lake View Red. The food was amazing, the wine was good and the company was even better. If you live in Columbus, I’d definitely recommend driving East to Buckeye Lake Winery. It’s a hidden gem. Buckeye Lake Winery | Natalie Was Here | Lifestyle Blog

    Buckeye Lake Winery | Natalie Was Here | Lifestyle Blog Buckeye Lake Winery | Natalie Was Here | Lifestyle Blog Buckeye Lake Winery | Natalie Was Here | Lifestyle BlogBuckeye Lake Winery | Natalie Was Here | Lifestyle Blog Buckeye Lake Winery | Natalie Was Here | Lifestyle BlogBuckeye Lake Winery | Natalie Was Here | Lifestyle Blog Oh, hi, delicious flat bread. This one came topped with figs, gorgonzola cheese and caramelized onions. It was beyond delicious and was perfect as an entree, but it would be great to share, too. I love how it paired with both wines.   

    Thank you so much to The Ohio Grape Industries Committee (OGIC) for sponsoring this post. Fun fact: did you know Ohio is the 8th largest wine producer in the U.S.? Today, 268 wineries call Ohio home! Pretty cool, right?

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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

    Spring Style with A&F: Two Looks for the Upcoming Season

    Military Twill Vest | White Eyelet Dress | Bandana

    Spring is so close, guys. So close. Soon we’ll all be packing away our sweaters and boots in favor of warmer weather pieces. When it comes to shopping for the new season, I’ve turned to Abercrombie & Fitch (something I didn’t think I’d say after 8th grade). Why? Because a) I’m nostalgic and b) it’s SO GOOD now. Even better than the old days, if you can believe that (the prices are better, too!).

    I put together two spring appropriate looks with some of my favorite pieces from A&F, and I have a feeling I’ll be wearing everything on serious repeat when the temps rise.

    FEMININE MEETS EDGY

    This dress is pretty on its own, but I love how it takes on a completely different vibe when paired with a military vest, ankle boots and bandana. That’s what I like to call versatility. Who says a feminine dress has to stay that way? Toughen it up a bit!

    PRINTED BLOUSE AND GRAY DENIM SKIRT

    Blouse | Skirt

    This blouse is my go-to for literally everything — work, weekend, date night. You name the place or activity, and chances are I’ve been there and worn this (I’m actually wearing it to work today, ha!). It’s my favorite Abercrombie find and it’s such a steal right now! I love the way it looks paired with this denim skirt and my favorite pair of over-the-knee boots.

    Thank you to Abercrombie & Fitch and RewardStyle 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

    Wait Until You See the New Abercrombie & Fitch…

    Abercrombie is back, guys. In a big way, too.

    The new prototype store, located in Polaris Fashion Place (on the lower level near JCPenny) is bright, open, airy and inviting. Not exactly the Abercrombie you remember from years past. Forget feeling like you need a flash light to shop. Forget the overpowering cologne.

    It’s everything you’d look for in a shopping experience, but with a twist. Not only is the new layout easy to navigate – it’s modern, too. The dressing rooms are equipped with phone chargers and lighting you can dial up or down to fit your mood. With the click of a button, you can see what your outfit will look like in different environments, from direct sunlight to a night club. It’s actually the most awesome dressing room I’ve ever been in. Did I mention the phone chargers?

    Now, onto the clothing…(because it’s so good)

    I am obsessed. I had to hold myself back from buying everything, but I did pick up this dress, this vest (love how it looks over the dress!), these jeans, this sweater and this bandana. It was a successful trip to say the least (PSA: everything is 25% off online right now!).

    If you’re in the area, I’d highly recommend you swing by Polaris Fashion Place this weekend and check out the new store for yourself. This is the first A&F of its kind, but the company has plans to open more across the country if they receive good feedback (and I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t). I promise you won’t be disappointed!

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