Figuring Out Your True Life’s Path: An Authentic You

After graduating from University, I quickly realized that I had my whole life at my finger tips and wanted to live authentically me, while doing something I loved. Because, what exactly is the alternative? I’m really not sure. My fear was waking up when I was 40 and looking back realizing I wasn’t living a life for me. I’m sure a lot of you can relate to this, maybe wondering what you want to do in life, or how to feel fulfilled with what ever it is that you are doing.

What exactly does “an authentic you” mean?
It’s something I’ve taken a lot of time to figure out & work on (and am still working on). But, to me, an authentic you is living your most unique life without a care for how others think you should be living it. An authentic you is waking up each day and making decisions for you & not changing your values/beliefs for anyone else in order to please them. It’s also letting go of what you, yourself, “think” you should be doing & embracing the real you.

I know, that’s a lot to take in. But, it’s a work in progress & trust me, it’s worth the journey.

Over the past year – I’ve learned so much about various ways to find my true life’s path, while living a fulfilled & authentic life. Sure, your definition of an authentic you might change 10 times over again, but keeping these things in mind will hopefully inspire you to be aware of what this all means to you.

1. Spend time with yourself, and A LOT of it.

I had to put this one right at the top of the list because it’s so so important. This has definitely been the key to continuing to find my authentic and fulfilled life’s path.

Spending time alone allows you to reflect and dig deeper into yourself to see what really makes you tick. If you are constantly around other people, where do you get the chance to sit to yourself and think, “what do I want to do with my life?”, Or ,“what makes me happy?”.

I can’t even begin to tell you how many hours I’ve spent to myself just creating vision boards, writing down lists of things I want in life or where I want to take things. However you might want to communicate this to yourself, it will look different to you. But the point here is to spend time with yourself to reflect & see where your mind takes you.

You will be shocked at how much you can learn about yourself.

2. Surround yourself with inspiring & motivating people. 

We all have those people in our lives, whether friends or family, who just love talking about other people, their constant drama or the shitty parts about their lives. Don’t get me wrong, we all need to vent once and a while. But the constant downers need to go, or at least be more limited parts of your daily life. You have to start putting your happiness & mindset before the people you allow into your life. This isn’t selfish, this is having respect for your own well-being and happiness.

Go and find people who want to talk about goals, motivation & being inspired. Their energy will literally leave you feeling like you can conquer the world.

If you don’t have these people in your life yet, start listening to podcasts every day, or, read a book authored by someone who you really relate & look up to. I promise after a while of feeding your mind with these kinds of people, you will start to feel inspired to get out there and just do you. Because hey, if other people can do it, so can you. But you have to start believing it for yourself.

3. Try something completely new on a regular basis.

Change & getting outside of your comfort zone is also such a key factor to figuring yourself out and what kinds of things you are really interested in. You aren’t going to find these kinds of things while doing the same thing everyday, leaving you feeling like, “blah, been there, done that, I’ll see you tomorrow for the same thing”. Try a new class or activity, meet new people, get a little bit uncomfortable.

Whatever it might be that you end up doing, putting yourself out there to try new things will allow you to learn something about yourself you really never knew. Who knows, you just might find your new passion/hobby or even meet some of those really inspirational and motivational people into your life.

4. Visit new places – this doesn’t have to be expensive or mean having to fly across the world- it could be somewhere right next to you that you’ve never seen.

Seeing new places really puts your life into perspective, allowing you to embrace something totally different. This year, I had the amazing opportunities to travel to Los Angeles for the first time and New York City for fashion week. Being there in the hustle and bustle of a brand new city gave me a new wave of motivation unlike any other.

It allows you to realize that there are so many unique people and places doing different things each and every day! This really does give you a new found look into what makes you who you are & what makes you feel fulfilled once you get back into the comfort of your own home.

5. Have a side hustle / hobby.

When I first started my blog and Instagram as a hobby to post fashion content, I definitely had no clue it would lead to being my full-time job.

But, if I hadn’t of had that as a side hustle and hobby at one point, I would’ve never been sitting here today feeling super passionate & living out a fulfilling life through my work.

What is that on thing you’ve always wanted to do? If there was no judgement or fear, what would you want to do right now?

Take some time to think about those questions and find a way to start adding it into your life each week. That side hustle or hobby could just turn into your new career one day…

What Every Girl-Boss Needs This Summer

It’s the first day of summer today and I figured it would be an awesome time to share some of my favs and….have a first day of summer giveaway to kick-off an amazing summer!

The best part about it is, everything mentioned in this blog post is included in my First Day of Summer Giveaway happening over on my instagram @nataliealysa (over $500 worth of product!). WHAT!? So exciting! I took some time picking these amazing items out for you (also are some of my favourites) from beauty to fashion to wine. Yes, I said wine!

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Us hard-working girls all need a bit of pampering and self-love in the summer months, so get ready for a full bundle of items to recharge this summer!

First things first, my fav WINE!

1. Food Truck Wines (The Chardonnay & Shiraz) – a girl needs her options right!?
I was recently introduced to Food Truck Wines , now available at the LCBO, and I will say, I am picky with my wine. But, this Australian wine is sooo amazing, perfect for the summer months! The wine was developed as a perfect compliment to the Australian cuisine. So, I guess this is an excuse for me to make a trip there soon? I think so!

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My favourite is the Chardonnay (I am definitely more of a white-wine drinker), it is super smooth & I can’t help but poor myself a glass and go sit outside on my balcony at the end of the day. For those of you red wine ladies, it is rich, but still such an inviting flavour!

The bottles are also super cute & make for the perfect photo (priorities).

So poor a glass & enjoy the sun this summer, you deserve it girl!

2. Viviscal’s Healthy Hair Products.

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So, I don’t know about you guys but in the summer months (with all of the sun & chlorine), my hear tends to get super dry and blah. So, I was really excited to be introduced to these two lines of product by Viviscal. Here is a bit about each:

Extra Strength Supplements: You take them twice a day for 3-6 months, and they promote thicker, fuller hair (a celeb cult favourite product too so I’m into it lol). I really wanted to add these supplements into the giveaway for you guys and my summer fav list because I have heard so many great things & often hear girl’s complaining that they wish they had longer or thicker hair. It’s a great time to start on the supplements so that you set yourself up for Fall/Winter!

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Gorgeous Growth Densifying Range (Shampoo, Conditioner, & Elixir):
So I am super excited about this range because this is the part in my hair routine where I feel like my hair gets super dry (especially in the summer). If you aren’t using hydrating and quality shampoo & conditioner, I can definitely tell when it just sucks the life out of your hair. This range also helps with the thickness & length, while gently cleansing, overall making your hair healthier. The Elixir, is more of a leave-in treatment, helping to build a healthy look to your hair all day long.

Sign me up for healthier, thicker AND longer hair!?

3. PUR’s 4-in-1 Blush Book

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In the summer months, I tend to stay away from a full face of makeup. But, what I love to do, is add a light coat of mascara, a BB cream, and a bit of a blush for a super light everyday look. I came across the 4 in 1 blush book by PUR a while ago and was so obsessed, I had to add in it for you guys!

It has a range of warm to cool pigments, with a mix of matte & shimmer formula. The great thing about PUR products too is that they are cruelty/paraben/gluten free, & vegan friendly!

4. Straw Bags (Urban Outfitters)

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In terms of fashion favs, I absolutely am obsessed with these straw bags. It turns any summer outfit into a super trendy and cute look. So, I thought, why not throw all of the goodies inside the giveaway inside this bag & give it to one of you lucky ladies! This one is from Urban Outfitters if you are on the lookout!

5. Avatara Face Mask’s

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I recently got to try out a couple of Avatara’s face masks & they are so refreshing. They are a perfect addition to your summer skincare routine, especially if you want to have a little treat to yourself one evening.

The masks are ultra-thin, soft mask material, which makes it super soothing in comparison to some of the other face mask situations out there. So excited to add a bunch of these inside the giveaway for you guys!

6. Saje “Immune” Roller

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One of my favourite parts of my day is when I get to use my Saje rollers. One of my favourites is the peppermint roller (I am prone to migraines and it helps relax the tension and pain). So, I had to add another fav of mine, the Immune roller, which has such a relaxing feel and can be used to fight off any colds or flu like symptoms. They are also amazing to roll onto the palm of your hand and slowly breath in the scent as a de-stresser!

7. GIRL CODE by Cara Alwill Leyba

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Last but certainly not least, is one my favourite books, GIRL CODE, by Cara Alwill Leyba. I highly recommend this book to you ladies who are female entrepreneurs and are looking for new ways to be successful. It focuses on the interaction between women and how important relationship and collaboration is with one another & business. I am so excited to add this in the giveaway & pass it along to one of you!

This post has been generously sponsored by Foodtruck Wines & Viviscal, the opinions are my own and in no way do they reflect Foodtruck Wines & Viviscal.

Why the Number’s Aren’t Everything on Instagram

Often times, us bloggers get SO obsessed over our following counts, to the point we forget about the things that really matter on instagram. We might even delete a photo if it’s not doing well enough (I have been guilty of this – I will admit). Or, we might even go as far to think that we can’t be successful if we don’t have X amount of followers. So. not. true. So, here’s why the numbers aren’t everything on instagram.

Over the past few months, I have totally switched my mindset to not obsess over the numbers and let me tell you, it’s made me so much happier and is definitely one of my biggest instagram accomplishments to date. Better yet, I have totally found my unique voice, story and purpose, along the way because of this change in mindset.

Having a follower-growth only mindset will literally take over your life, putting you in a never ending spiral of comparison, defeat, and limiting beliefs. Often times, this growth can be out of your control, & we put too much of our time and energy into this when it could be spent doing way more effective things.

Now, I am not saying to completely forget about the numbers. They definitely are a factor and you can create strategies to continue to get authentic growth. But, obsessing over them is NOT helpful and you can be 100% successful with a “smaller” & slower-growing following.

Instead, focus on creating a higher engagement with the followers who are showing up to your page everyday!

And hey, having 5,000 followers is not “small”, can you picture that many people in a room listening to what you have to say? Wow!

Here are some typical “limiting beliefs” about having a “smaller” following and my responses as to why the number’s aren’t everything on instagram:


Limiting belief #1:
“I should change up my content to be like hers because she is growing so quickly, so it must work”.

Response:
You have to be true to yourself. Period.

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First things first, copying someone else’s content strategy is a quick spiral down to failure. I mean, a lot of us have probably tried this out when either desperation or inspiration blocks hit. But, you can never do what someone else is doing better than they are. You will also be left feeling super unfulfilled because it didn’t come from your own creativity & your followers will most likely see through it.

Find your own unique spin on things, this is what helps you cut through the clutter of all the other bloggers out there because no one can be YOU. Emphasize the parts of you that make you, you. It’s an unbeatable plan!

Limiting belief #2:
“I probably could never work with that brand because I don’t have enough followers” or “If I don’t have X amount of followers, I won’t be able to be successful & make it a job”.

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Working with McDonald’s Canada this past January! (Dream come true if you know my love for McD’s lol)

Response:
Times have changed and micro-influencers are killing it right now!

A lot of times, you might be looking to some of the biggest influencers in the game and think to yourself “how the hell am I going to get there?”. You have to remember, a lot of the largest bloggers in the world started when instagram wasn’t even a thing and people didn’t even know what a blog was. What worked for them back in the day, is not necessarily what your journey is going to look like, and that’s totally okay!

Because, guess what? Micro-influencers are a hot commodity these days!

A lot of the biggest brands actually strategize to only work with micro-influencers because they tend to have such strong engagement rates & their communities are that much more into whatever you ave to say!

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So, how can you start really putting this mindset into place…

 

1. Focus on creating content that has a PURPOSE.
What a lot of bloggers tend to miss (and something I was guilty of missing for a while too) is having a defined purpose to your brand. What problem are you solving for your followers? Maybe your goal is to inspire young women to find affordable style items and outfits under $100. So, you make it your mission to provide your followers with this value (make sure your bio represents this, your stories are providing this, and your captions tell a story around this purpose).

Let me tell you, having a purpose with your content, will totally lessen the pressure of trying to be “the best” or competing with anyone else because hey, you have a purpose and you are helping your followers in a unique way!

2. Focus on building a super engaged following, who follow you, for you.
Even if it is a slow build, building an engaged following who really do buy-in to what you have to say is WAY more meaningful than having hundreds of thousands of followers who couldn’t give two shits what you have to say. Also, brands are a lot smarter these days and definitely respect the bloggers with real, engaged communities.

3. Stop comparing (I know easier said than done), but really, just stop.
The comparison game is DEATHLY. A lot of bloggers scroll mindlessly on their feeds for hours in a day, constantly comparing themselves to the next girl because they “need to find inspiration”. But, I challenge you to:
1. Start finding inspiration ELSEWHERE. Go out for a walk in your city, read a book, listen to music, find inspiration in other ways & your content is going to come out that much more unique.
2. Only pick up your phone with purpose! Do you need to message someone? Do you need to post? Do you need to engage with your lovely followers? Stop the random scrolling!!


Did you guy’s like this post? Let me know if you want more instagram based posts in the comments!

9 GIRL-BOSS HABITS TO KEEP YOU MOTIVATED DAILY

Habits to keep you motivated daily are SO important. We all have those days that just seem to drag on and on. You know the ones, where we go a little stir-crazy thinking about everything we have to do, but yet, get nothing done. Trust me, I sure have those!!

But, whether you work from home or not, I have 9 girl-boss habits to keep you motivated daily and have more productive, successful days to look forward to.

I have been working from home & running my business for a full year now, and these 9 habits have been my saving grace when it comes to keeping productive & feeling like my true girl-boss self.

Let’s do this!

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habits to keep you motivated daily

1. Make your bed (yeah okay, mom).
I have been doing this one for as long as I can remember. As soon as I wake up, it is one of the first things I do. Why? It get’s me in the mindset of completing a task and gives me the motivation to go and complete more tasks within my day. Within 5 minutes of waking up, you can already have one task completed (YES!). Definitely had to be on the top of my list for habits to keep you motivated daily!

2. Listen to a podcast.
Podcasts have been my most recent obsession (not sure where I have been for the past year on these). But, they keep me soooo inspired and motivated. I especially love to listen to them in the morning when I wakeup and am getting ready for my day OR when I feel myself starting to slow down on my work throughout the day. My favourites are The Influencer Podcast and Girl Boss Radio. This keeps me constantly learning and feeling inspired by other women, female entrepreneurs & creatives!

3. Write down your goals for the day.
Physically writing down your goals each day is SO KEY. Every day, I sit with my coffee and write down 5-7 goals/tasks that I have to complete that day. This keeps me going and it feels great to cross them off as I get things done within the day. Think about if you were to do this every day & how much you would get done in a week!

4. Meditate at least once a day.
I feel like when people hear the word ‘meditation’ they immediately think they need to go sit cross legged and start saying uhmmmmm. But, no, this is not how you have to meditate. Meditation is simply taking a dedicated amount of time, controlling your breathing and your thoughts to the present moment, to bring yourself back to a higher frequency. When I say higher frequency, it means a point of gratitude, calmness, to de-stress. I love doing this when I wake up because it sets the tone of my day and really puts me into a positive state of mind.

Try it: Set a timer on your phone, sit somewhere quiet, and focus your thoughts on your breathing. It can be so simple but so effective!

5. Exercise / go for a walk.
If you are like me, the gym hasn’t really been “my thing”(you go girl if you are dedicated to the gym). I grew up playing competitive sports, but as life changed, that part of my life kind of went to the side. But, with that being said, I love to walk everywhere! Living downtown Toronto, you are kind of forced to walk where-ever you need to go, and I really have built such a love for it. Throughout my day I try to go for one walk all by myself, throw on some music, and totally clear my mind. It is one of my favourite things to do!

6. Habits to keep you motivated daily: Drink your water!
Your mind, overall health & skin will be thankful that you did! Nothing is worse for your mind and overall energy than de-hydration.

7. Use the Five Minute Journal.
If you haven’t heard of the Five Minute Journal, you need it in your life! It is a book which allows you to write down 3 things you are grateful for, 3 things which will make today great, and one daily affirmation in the morning AND 3 amazing things that happened that day, and how you could’ve made today even better. There is even a free app that they recently launched, making it that much easier to use!

Whether you use it every day, or once a week, being conscious of these types of thoughts is SO helpful. It keeps you aware of the things that are making you happy and maybe the things that aren’t. Gratitude is the true key to happiness! & when we are happy & grateful we are more motivated to be our most badass / girl-boss selves!

8. Read a book before bed.
Reading is such a hobby of mine, I was that kid that would have her nose in a book all week long. Then, school hit & my nose had to be in a textbook (bore). So, now that I am out of school, I have found my love for reading again because I have the freedom to read whatever I want, whenever I want! Rather than watching a tv show before bed, try reading a book! It allows you to escape to another world for a little while and is super therapeutic & relaxing if you have trouble falling to sleep.

Having this time to yourself at the end of the night allows you to put your work to the side for a moment & allows you to try to go to sleep with a clear mind. This way, you can wake up ready to kill it in the morning! Nothing is worse than going to bed with a cluttered mind.

9. Have a bomb skincare routine (AM/PM).
One of the most exciting parts of the day is my skincare routine. It feels so refreshing to prep your skin for the day or take off all of your makeup at the end of the day. I have been a lot more mindful of the products I am using and staying consistent with my skincare routine because it really does make me feel SO GOOD. When you put time into yourself like this, it leaves you feeling more confident and motivated to take on your goals!

I am definitely going to be sharing my fav skincare products in a blog post soon, so stay tuned!

So, there we have it! My 9 girl-boss habits to keep you motivated daily for success and motivation. OH YEAH.

You guys can totally do this!

What is your fav tip from this “habits to keep you motivated daily” list? Do you already do some of these tips? Comment below!

If you are looking for more girl-boss motivational tips, take a read of my “5 Ways to Start Taking Risks Towards Your Dream Job“. Your girl-boss life is just around the corner!!

 Talk to you guys soon – Natalie xo

 

HOW TO CREATE AN INSTAGRAM THEME & AESTHETIC

When deciding how to create an instagram theme, it doesn’t always come easy and sometimes takes a lot of trial and error before finding a look that feels the most you. Whether you like to post your photos just for fun or are looking to expand your instagram into a business, developing an aesthetic will be the basis of your overall branding & attracting your community!

Here are some of my best tips & tricks for how to create an instagram theme and aesthetic:

1. Pick a filter (or a few) & stick to it!
One of my biggest tips is definitely to pick out a certain filter to keep consistent throughout your whole feed. This really does keep every photo looking consistent & sets the tone for your brand identity. Whether you want a warm look, vibrant look, or cool toned look, VSCO has a ton of amazing filters to choose from. Personally, I use the filter “J5” from VSCO on every photo!

Hack: head over to Pinterest and search “VSCO themes”. They have a ton of boards which layout different theme “looks” and exactly the filter and edits to achieve that theme. These can be a great way to have a base for what kind of look you want to create on your feed:
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Before moving forward, it is important to note to never try to exactly copy someone else’s theme/aesthetic. Yes, it’s totally cool to get inspo from other people, but at the end of the day you want your look to be unique to you!

2. Consistent background imagery.
Another one of my best tips for how to create an instagram theme/aesthetic is to stick to consistent background imagery. For my personal brand, I love to promote the downtown city feel and atmosphere. So, in the majority of my photos, I highlight things like: graffiti, red brick walls, city streets, tall buildings, all within my backgrounds. This keeps my feed looking consistent, while also establishing an overall brand and identity of being a girl in the downtown city:

Maybe you want to go for more of a “pretty, soft & classy” look, so you might want to consider taking photos with a majority of floral backdrops and beautiful, intricate architecture. Whatever it may be, this really does set the “tone” of your brand and what kind of message you are establishing to your community in a visual way.

3. Pick certain colour’s to focus on within the photo.
Now, this one can get super tough at times, especially if you want to switch up the colour’s of your outfits, or, you are travelling and all of a sudden there is blue water from the beach in your background (more on this below). But, where you can, stick to certain colour schemes to keep your feed looking consistent. Maybe you have pops of red with monochrome backgrounds, or you stick to tones of blue and brown’s, for more of a beachy look. Figure out what colour’s you want to focus on and it will help you set the tone of your feed to create a theme/aesthetic.

Implementing new colour’s on your feed:
When implementing a new colour into your feed, it is important to then post that same colour at least 2-3 more times after it within your feed. This will help integrate the colour into your feed and it won’t look like the one random photo with the pop of pink in the middle of your feed. This is great for travelling, especially if you are typically more monochrome but want to add some colourful backdrops from your recent vacay in Hawaii. All you have to do is implement a few more photos with that colour and you are good to go!


(e.g.) Implementing the colour yellow in the bottom row and the colour blue in all three rows (starting from the sky in that bottom left photo).

4. Alternate the depth of your photos on the grid.
Alright, we are about to get real technical here! One of my next tips for creating a more “appealing” looking feed is to alternate the depth of your photos. As you can see in my feed in the photo above, I alternate posting a photo which is more close up to a full body shot. Alternating the depth in this way keeps the eye moving inwards and outwards and creates a more interesting look to your feed overall. Another way to do this is to take a photo up against a wall and then alternating it by having the full depth of a street behind you. Keeping this in mind when planning out your IG feed will be super helpful to creating a more interesting, but consistent look!

Was this helpful? Did it answer your questions about how to create an instagram theme? Let me know in the comments!

For more content: here is a video for how I edit my instagram photos when I used the A9 filter, check it out!