making “me” time

And just like that, it’s the first day of Spring!

Growing up I learned that Spring was all about rebirth; plants and animals coming out of hibernation as the frost melted away into sunshine and warmer weather.

blooms at Lake Elsinore

And while warmer weather might not be there for everyone (just come visit Southern California to get your dose!) there are hints of Springtime popping up everywhere:

ps loving the portrait feature on the iPhone 7!

…Like poppies! Popping up (can’t help myself!) throughout the parks in California. Known as a “super bloom”, the wildflowers are extra happy and vibrant this year because of all the rain we got during winter–see we really did have seasons this year!

..We also “sprung forward” so the days are feeling longer and the nighttime slump comes later.

…There are lots of “spring cleaning” ads. Having been in my new space for a little over a month, I’m taking the time to clear the clutter and get rid of excess stuff I haven’t touched in months.

…It’s March Madness! My Dad is in his, damn I can’t even remember how long he’s run it, but he’s the ring leader (call him the “commish”) of a big NCAA basketball tournament pool. His emails bring me joy everyday. It also helps that my alma mater, UNC, is still in the running and Villanova (last year’s champs who beat us) are already out. YES!

…Pastel colors are everywhere! Stores are gearing up for Easter (hello Reese’s and Cadbury chocolate eggs!) and flowers are blooming.

wildflower cluster

So back to flowers and “me time”. Over the weekend, I decided to drive out solo to Lake Elsinore and see the colorful blooms. Man, did I feel like I was in Oz (not just how colorful, but lotssss of other people had the same idea).

cactus meet flowers

Wanting some time with little human interaction to reflect, soak up the sun and take some pics, I took a slightly steeper path, made it to the top and spread out my things.

alllll by myself (and loving it!)

I CAN’T TELL YOU HOW IMPORTANT THIS IS. For everyone!!!! Making time for yourself-even if it’s just 15 minutes and at your kitchen table- it is so vital to staying grounded. For re-centering, rebirth (hey, hey, Spring connection) and refocusing on you. What brings you happiness and what you need to let go. I’ll write more on this later in the week and the steps I take, so look out.

sunny selfies

In the mean time, on the first day of Spring. I dare you to take some time for yourself. JUST FOR YOU. Because at the end of the day- even with girlfriends, boyfriends, moms, dads, spouses, family, coworkers, etc. If you aren’t making yourself whole and happy it’s going to make it damn challenging for the rest of your circle to bring you that fullness. Find it in yourself. I promise it’s there.

You can start small and:

…buy yourself flowers

…get whipped cream on your coffee

…read the comics AND the sports section from a real newspaper

…sit an extra 5 minutes in your car to listen to your favorite song (again)

…take a walk around your block during your lunch break, or when you’re home from work

…smile

…stay longer post workout to stretch a little deeper or dip into the sauna if that’s available.

Whatever you choose do it for you!

Wishing everyone a great start to their week. Let me know how you take your “me time” in the comments.

xo N

why i marched

photo c/o Sophie Kuller

Because I couldn’t sit at home

For my future daughter and son

Because my female body shouldn’t be as regulated as GUNS

*nasty women unite*

Because there’s a massive wage gap that still exists, especially seen in Hollywood

Because I stand with Planned Parenthood

Because every woman has the right to choose what’s best for her life

*love is love*

Because it’s not ok to be slut shamed

To know that we’re not fighting this alone

Because coming together is the first step in a longer narrative

*girls just wanna have fun-damental rights*

To build bridges, not walls

Because things still aren’t EQUAL across the board

Because there’s strength in numbers

*pussy power*

To feel empowered

To defend and advance human rights world wide

To show there is a peaceful way to fight

*free the nipple*

To open our hearts and raise our fists

To help the broken hearts make art

Because the US sets world wide examples

*and while we’re at it, fuck that dog movie too*

Because this is a marathon, not a sprint–here’s some next moves

Because labels shouldn’t hold us back

For what Meryl said

*my body, my choice*

Because there’s a double standard

For the women and men who’ve already dedicated their lives to equality, and to inspire future ladies and gentlemen to do so

For my dear friends, mother, grandmothers, gay friends, straight friends, new friends, old friends, teachers, male friends and all the people I love- this was about equality and defending our human rights.

*love* NASTY-IER NAT

shop small, give big!

Gift giving is one of my favorite things. In a sense, I do it selfishly because I love love love seeing my friend’s expression when they open their gift. If you’re like me, you’ve done some shopping-but still need to fill out the rest of your holiday presents. My guide below features gifts from some of my dear friends, all of whom are running their own companies. I am not only so proud of them, but they have fantastic products. I hope this makes your shopping a little easier, and more unique: shop small, give big!

allie logan boutique

Miss Allie Logan is not only a dear friend, but my future roommate and I cannot wait to host dinners with all her goods. She has created a curated home goods boutique that will take your entertaining to the next level. I love all of the etched glassware–hello bar cart up grade! And all of the handpainted Gorky dishes can make for an easy art display if not being used.

promouse the code SANTASLIST at checkout for free shipping. act fast! the offer only applies to the first 10 customers.

box fox

This is a one stop shopping destination! The talented ladies behind Box Fox have made it soooo easy to create a custom gift box for anyone in your life- they have men’s products too! Think of it as an amped up Birchbox with notecards, candles, even spiced honey for the foodies in your life.

promo: use the code FREESHIP11 for free shipping on your first BOXFOX

cabi clothing

So I’m definitely biased because my mom sells this clothing line- but I kid you not, some of my favorite go-to pieces are cabi. What’s even more exciting, is this year you can shop with them online. Although if you do want to book a show in your home, invite over your ladies etc. my mom, Sue, will be happy to set that up!

promo: not sure how you want to dress for the various holiday parties coming up? or maybe you need some wardrobe staples- set up a free call with Sue by contacting her at suepelletier@comcast.net

#Hashtats

Started by Melinda of the Curated Cool, her temporary tattoos kick ass. Not only can they be applied on your skin, but I love how you can customize your phone case, laptop, flask etc. More tattoo designs will be up on her shop shortly, but feel free to email shop@curatedcool.com for more information

promo: buy 3 sets, get $3 off, buy 5 sets get $5 off, buy 10 sets, get $10 off. no promo code necessary!

Photos by Michelle Mishina Photography @mishinaphoto

my baby olive juice

I met Jody of My Baby Olive Juice last year when I took her intro to calligraphy class. While I’m by no means a pro- she is!! Her mugs will make your mornings brighter.

promo: use the code Natalie10 at checkout for 10% off your order! Expires Christmas Eve. 

the ripped bodice

Bea and Leah of The Ripped Bodice in Culver City have certainly decked out their store in holiday style. Their romance novel book store is one of a kind. Before this year, I had never read one–now I’m hooked! Pop in and don’t be scared to ask for help. They are super friendly and knowledgable. Great for secret santa gifts too!

brick and mortar location: 3806 Main St, Culver City, CA 90232

saor perfume

When Patty, founder of Saor, first introduced me to her scent I kept lifting my wrist back up to my nose to smell it. It’s such a yummy fragrance. It’s easy to travel with AND it’s oil based which makes the scent last all day. I also love her ode to Gaelic, SAOR means free.

skatie swim

I am in love with these suits. Plus, Skatie created lots of designs to fit all body types. They are all hand made in LA and made from designers overstock of fabric. So not only are they chic, but eco-friendly!

promo: take 15% off your first order with the code MerryChristmas

trussedFun’d

When I first looked at trussedfun’d’s collection I wanted everything- and for all my friend’s birthdays to be approaching so I could give them a piece too. Designs are handmade in LA with love.

promo: take 10% off your order plus free shipping with code FRECKLELOVE offer expires 12/19. email trussedfund@gmail.com or visit their instagram for full selection of jewelry! 

i’m with her

Election Day 2016.

Normally I’m not one to talk politics online, but I recently had an unwelcome incident at work. Ironically enough, before my shift I was watching Amazon’s new show Good Girls Revolt, which revolves around a group of female researchers standing up for their rights to “write” at a Time-like magazine. It made me smile seeing these women convene in bathrooms, coffee shops before work, at consciousness-rising meeting after work. They were collectively standing up for themselves and didn’t want to take the sexist behavior exhibited in the office.

Back to why this is ironic. The show is set in 1970. Fast forward to less than a week ago, November 2016, and I had a man treat me in a way that took me back 40 years:

As I passed a tray of appetizers, I felt a strong pull gripping my waist. Turning around, I came face to face with a man who had a sheepish grin. My insides were churning. He had no right to aggressively grab at me. But I was at work, slapping him would not go over well. Instead, I forced a smile and asked if he wanted an hor d’oeuvre. He laughed and made a crude comment about “wanting me”. Are you fucking kidding me?? Needless to say, I was in shock, so I made a semi-funny quip, turned around and walked away. You better believe I heard the group of men snickering.

Later, new apps in hand, crude man made his presence known by calling me “Honey Pot” and asking for another beer. My name’s Natalie I said. Really were we back in the 60s/70s??? He didn’t care, he called me “Honey Pot” again.

At that point, a coworker had seen that interaction and alerted management. They were furious at the man, and promptly told me I didn’t have to walk around the floor anymore. Part of me wanted to stay on the floor- was I succumbing and weak to his words/action that I was just going to avoid him? Or was it ok to stay away? Believe me, there was nothing more I wanted to do than tell him off. But I realized I didn’t have to put myself through more poor treatment to prove I was strong, that I could handle the inappropriate verbal and physical behavoir.

In that scenario, I couldn’t vote him off the island. But you better believe that when I hit the polls today I will not stand for anyone who doesn’t see all humans as one class. Woman, Mexican, Elderly, Black,  Arab, Man, White, Asian–we are all equal. And deserve to be seen and treated as such.

I’m standing with HER because no one deserves to feel less than their worth.

It’s 2016, own your sex and raise your voice! #IMWITHHER

bites of life: september

And just like that, we’re more than a week into October. Before it’s too far gone, here were some of my September highlights:

sweet: cake at proof bakery

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This cake, known as “Gateau de Savoie” or commonly “the sponge cake with the whipped cream and blackberries” is heaven sent. Yes-yes, I do have a big sweet tooth so I do deem a lot of sweets amazing, BUT this takes the cake. Literally. It’s so damn light I felt like I was floating after I finished. Ok, maybe that was the combined caffeine and sugar buzz-but, if a slice is available snatch it immediately. Thank me later. @ProofBakeryLA

savory: Sen Chan Pen Pu, aka #18 at sapp coffee shop

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Upon recommendation from my noodle-expert friend, Emily (@FoodLoversDiary) I made my way to Sapp Coffee Shop to try their famous noodles. She suggested the “Sen Chan Pen Pu” stir-fried noodles and I went to TOWN. The dish is so simple but flavorful AF: rice noodles, garlic, chili, egg and crab meat. Squeeze a little lime, request extra cilantro and all of your needs can go “bye-bye”.

drink: topo chico

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Behold the next big thing in sparkling water, Topo Chico. And by next big thing I mean, this stuff is gaining popularity nearly as fast as LaCroix. AND it’s been around longer, since 1895 #hechoenmexico. I had my first while working a restaurant pop-up. The chef “popped” one of these open for me and I was hooked. Feeding my sparkling water addiction one bottle at a time!

restaurant:sapp coffee shop

HOLY $h*T, need to go back stat. As I mentioned above, their #18 was my favorite savory bite this month, but their #23 Drunken Noodles (flat noodles with ground beef, chili and garlic) came in close second. Yes, I ordered two noodle dishes all to myself. Sue me. The leftovers were- dare I say it- even better. Next up I’ll go for the Jade and Boat noodles, which are famed and Anthony Bourdain approved.

entertainment: the infinity mirrored room at the Broad, lA

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This wasn’t my first time in the Infinity Mirrored Room, but it was my first solo trip. Last time I was in artist Yayoi Kusama’s piece was here. And I have to say, second time around was just as infatuating and breath-taking. My tip: get to The Broad at a decently early hour to enter your name in the queue, see the upstairs exhibit and at the end of your trip, ask kindly to enter the line early. No winking necessary 😉

Hope your October is already off to a great start…please send fall weather to LA!