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!

5 Ways to Start Taking Risks Towards Your Dream Job

I get a lot of questions about how I managed to become a full-time blogger right out of school. I can see the apprehensive looks on people’s faces when they hear me say that I blog and create content on social media for a living, almost like they are calculating how I could possibly live off of a “blogger income”. Or, the typical response is, “Oh wow…you do that? full-time, for real?”. Yes, FOR REAL!

When I think back to how I did it, a lot of it came down to taking risks & trusting my passion and work ethic to figure things out. We all have that little voice inside of our gut telling us that we have a bigger purpose or passion, it’s just believing in it that most of us find to be the tricky part.  Trust me, at time’s I too, doubted myself, but once I took that risk, I haven’t looked back.

I recently finished reading the book, You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero (p.s. a must read for any one wanting to go after the life they want, aka all of us), and I read this one quote that hit me so hard (it’s pretty deep, so be ready lol).

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K, can we take in how true that is!? We all literally walk through life being scared to make meaningful changes because we are scared of financial impacts, what people may think, or our limiting beliefs that we might not be able to do it. But, the only truth we know is, we all have one shot at this life so why not make it the most badass version we possibly can for ourselves? I can already hear people saying things like: “but I have rent to pay”, “but it’s just SO competitive”, “but I want to buy a house”. BUT, BUT, BUT. Have you ever thought that you could buy a house while also making money doing something you love? You can literally make money doing anything you want, as long as you have a ton of passion & drive.

Ok, I won’t get too too deep on that anymore, but for real though, think about that!!

Basically, I just feel super passionate about this whole topic and it makes me upset when I can see people who are just so scared to take a risk, when I know for a fact they will succeed in whatever they do. So, here are 5 ways that you can start building up the courage to take risks towards your dream job and ultimately, live your dream life!

1. Surround yourself with other badass people who are living out their dreams.

This one is so important. For me, this was a big way I felt inspired and courageous enough to take the risk. When you are constantly surrounded by other people who are living out their dreams, it makes you question why you aren’t doing the same for yourself. The motivation, passion and drive from these kinds of people will start to rub off on you, giving you those same positive feelings.

Think about hanging out with someone who is a total drag, is negative about life, hate’s their job and just goes on and on about it. How would you feel after hanging out with them? I know the feeling & it makes you want to climb into bed and drown in their same misery.

But, picture hanging out with a friend who just started her own business, is travelling a ton, & her passion radiates, making you feel confident, refreshed and inspired knowing there’s people out there living like that. THOSE are the people you need in your life right now.

2. Listen to podcasts & read books about other successful people in your field.

Listening and reading about other entrepreneurial women’s success stories is a great way to gain that confidence in yourself. Hearing about the struggles, the ups/downs, & how fulfilled they are today, is super motivating. Keep feeding your self with these stories!

A couple of my favourite podcasts to listen and learn from other entrepreneurial women are: The Influencer Podcast, & Girl Boss Radio. You won’t be disappointed!

3. Write down your goals, read back your goals, envision your goals, go to sleep thinking about your goals, BE YOUR GOALS.

Did you know that you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down? Grab your pen and paper guys!! I am a total believer in this because I swear it is true. I usually write a yearly goal list, and a monthly goal list, and for the most part, I look back and see that I have checked off if not most, all of the goals on the list. There is something about writing things down that really allows you to put it into practise and believe it to be true.

After sitting down and writing these goals down, read them back when ever you are feeling uninspired. Go to sleep at night picturing what it would look like for you to have these goals happen and be your truth! It may sound crazy, but the more you think and believe something to be true, the more you put intention into these goals on a day to day basis.

4. Just START. Prove to yourself in small ways that you can make it a success.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from working for myself is to simply just start. Whether you have dreamt of making a blog and you have been putting it off, or you want to start posting your outfits on instagram, just do it! It will never be perfect at the beginning. Trust me, when I look back at my first blog posts and outfit photos on instagram, I can’t believe how much I have evolved (scroll down my feed on IG if you dare lol!). But, the point here is, I wouldn’t have gotten here today if I was too focused on having the perfect chance to start taking photos.

The best part about this is, you will start proving to yourself that you can be successful even if its in small ways. Maybe you start posting outfit photos and you have a few people comment how much they love your style! These are small wins that add up to the bigger goal in the end! Prove to yourself that you can do it, even in the smallest ways and you will be surprised at how that risk-taker inside of you might just wake up one morning wanting to take over!

5. Practise Self LOVE.

The more confident you are with yourself, the more you trust your ability to make things happen for yourself. This is something I have learnt over time (and am still learning), but will take you places you only dreamt of.