“I just moved to L.A.. It’s funny because I was the only person in my family that was born outside of California, and I’ve always been pretty different because of that fact. Plus, I grew up in Bellevue, Washington so I was really different. I swore I’d never live in L.A. but now that I’m here, it feels oddly familiar. And it’s the perfect place for photography and wearing all the the outfits I was always too self conscious to rock in Washington. Now that I think about it, being a style blogger was kind of written in the stars for me. My husband is even a photographer, I mean it fits pretty perfectly. I actually started out my life singing though. But it’s a shame I didn’t go to Parsons or FIT or FIDM because fashion, design and styling have always been my real loves. I’ll just be thankful that I eventually figured that out at the ripe age of 30. The older a woman gets, the better she looks in her clothing anyway.

I wake up around 7am – no matter what time I go to bed, which is sometimes as late as three. I answer emails and send responses to blog interviews and reread my post for that day. I either go for a run, go to my barre class or do errands. Then I have a protein shake and chill by the pool while my husband swims laps. After work stuff is done, I take a little nap and then either go to work or I spend the rest of the evening sewing. I work at a restaurant down the street from my house a few days a week.

The only professional aspiration I’ve ever had was to work for myself. I have no interest in organizing my life around someone else’s. Plus, even at a young age, I thought it was just weird not being the only authority on how I live my life. I’ve only recently uncovered a few things that I really love and want to put effort towards so I’m leaving it up to passion and determination to see out my professional goals. You have to start out doing what makes you happy. Even if you’re not amazing at it, if you love doing it, keep doing it and work every day to get better so that one day, you have the choice to do it professionally. Being afraid of failure is like being afraid of stubbing your toe or getting a paper cut. Every now and then it happens and if you’re resilient and you love what you do too much to stop, you’ll get over it, learn from it and keep going.

I’ve always been annoyed by the whole concept for women of ‘having it all.’ Obviously, it’s the pre-conceived notion consistent throughout history that women lack the capacity or are just plain not entitled to have everything they want in life – unlike a man. Men don’t talk about this issue. Because historically, men, with the exception of giving birth, have had it all and been doing it all since the beginning of time. I would never say a woman can’t achieve something that a man has been achieving for centuries. Especially since there are thousands of women who are already successfully pursuing everything they want for their lives right now. Including myself.

I’ve been natural since 2008. I went natural because I no longer wanted to feel governed by the unfortunate beauty ideals I’d been living under all my life. I hated being afraid of the rain and having to straighten my hair all the time just to feel like I fit in with all my friends who didn’t look anything like me. I just didn’t like standing out and always being so different. But I realized I didn’t have to change myself to have the life I wanted and that at the end of the day, people are people. Most are going to like me, some won’t and many won’t care but what people are most drawn to is authenticity and a person who isn’t afraid to just be themselves. I wanted to be that person. I wanted to love all of me – not just some of me. I knew the only way to do this was to just go all natural and work with what I was given.

My favorite way to style my hair is wash and go. I am a lazy curly girl. I really never wear my hair any other way except for up in a bun sometimes. I finger comb my hair almost daily in the shower, then put on my conditioner (two handfuls!), rinse it all out then after the shower, I put in my leave-in, style my hair and blow dry on a low heat until dry, voila. For conditioner, I use either Dove Daily Moisture Conditioner or Dove Intensive Therapy Conditioner. For shampoo, I use either Dove Daily Moisture Shampoo or Dove Intensive Therapy Shampoo. My leave-in styling conditioner is Kinky Curly Knot Today Natural Leave-In Detangler and I have a shine serum I use occasionally, Kenra Shine Serum Weightless Polish.

Natural hair is like a child. It changes with every stage of growth giving you new hurdles to deal with. Watch it carefully, keep it managed well always with lots of moisture and conditioner and adapt to it’s changing needs. Don’t get too comfy with any one style. Even I am going to have to give up my wash and go one day when it’s just going to be too long.

My makeup and skin care routines are simple. Everyday I use M.A.C. Concealer, Bobbi Brown Blush, Maybelline Mascara, and Christian Dior Lip Gloss. I love his glosses. Sometimes I will use a brow pencil and on special occasions, I use my Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer Skin Illuminator. That stuff is absolutely amazing. Even in super low lighting, my face glows!

I wash my face with Aveeno Positively Radiant Brightening Cleanser morning and night. And I use it with my Clarisonic Mia2. Just in one week, I am seeing amazing differences from those two products. As a facial moisturizer I used Rose essential oil and Jojoba oil. I don’t like anything too complicated. Sometimes I will use undiluted Isopropyl Alcohol as a toner – I know, yikes but it’s amazing on blemishes.

For my body, I exfoliate everyday with a Salux Beauty Cloth – a Japanese “scrub” towel – and Johnson’s Baby Soap Bar. I then spread on some Neutrogena Sesame Oil while my skin is still damp and I’m done! On the days when I’m showing lots of skin, I put on Burt’s Bees Radiance Body Lotion with Royal Jelly. It has mica which gives me an extra sparkle in the sun.

My favorite feature is my skin. I love it when it’s super dark and rich in the Summer. And I love it when it’s very pale and dewy in the Winter. I think my skin is perfect. My husband would say what makes me a beautiful woman is probably my total adoration for him, my smile and my humor. We have very dark, nerdy humor together.

So five years ago, I was 25 and had just met my husband. I had no idea I’d be a wife by now, no idea I’d be living in L.A. and had no idea I’d be a style blogger, designing and making women’s clothing. Around that time, five years ago, I had decided to live my life only putting my heart and energy into the things that made me happy – and this is where it led me. I am still living my life by that one rule.

My mother really brain washed me into thinking I was the most beautiful girl in the world. She was always so complimenting and encouraging every single day with teaching me to love myself and truly believe I was beautiful just the way I was. One thing I would definitely add to her teachings would be to live life doing things you loved to do with no expectations of the outcome. Just do things because you want to do them and your life will be wonderful.” – Natalie

See Part 2: Natalie Live On Quality Time, Sleeping In Pearls And Letting Your Hair Down

Find Natalie on her blog and Instagram.

Photography by Angel.

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