Today’s Real Women, Real Balance interview is one that I’ve been wanting to share for quite some time. You’ve heard me mention Natalie before as she is the brains and beauty behind Nellie Magazine.

A little intro:

Natalie is a blogger, editor, wife, dog mom and pregnant mama of a real, live human baby (due in September!) named Jack. A lover of the written word, avocados, beach picnics and champagne, she believes that beauty comes from who we are—not what we look like—and lives life accordingly. You can find her sharing honest talk about beauty, style, wellness and life at Thoughts By Natalie.

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Let’s dive in…

Hi Natalie! I’m a big fan of your blog, but I’m curious, how did Thoughts By Natalie come to be?

I started Thoughts By Natalie in January 2011. After a couple of years of dabbling in blogging, I decided to start something brand new that would be a positive place for women. Over time, I added in style and food/wellness posts, and it just sort of evolved as I got to know my readers more and better got a grasp of the type of content I enjoyed creating. It’s always a work in progress!

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What does a typical day look like for you?

I usually wake up between 6am and 7am and make (organic decaf) coffee and breakfast. I love a long, slow morning, so I try not to rush into intense work or projects right away. Ideally, I’ll do some reading, or even hop on Pinterest to get some creative juices flowing. I also usually schedule social media posts for the day in the morning so that I’m not totally tied to my computer for the day. I find I have the most creative juices flowing in the morning as well, so if I feel inspired, I’ll start working on blog content right away.

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By 10am I usually take my dog, Maggie, to the park, as she makes sure my day is non-productive if I don’t! If I’m meeting up with a friend for coffee (something I try to do often so I don’t get stuck in the house by myself all day like a hermit), I usually do so in the early afternoon. And if I have the energy (which, admittedly is on short supply now that I’m pregnant), I go for a jog, get cleaned up, and then ideally start prepping dinner. I say ideally because I’m still working on getting into a good routine with making dinner every night. Much like my blog, I, too, am a work in progress, haha.

What do you do when you’re not working?

I love to grab coffee with girlfriends, go for a walk or hike near my house, or binge-watch shows on Netflix with my husband. My favorite part of the week is Saturday morning, when Brian and I just lounge around for hours, sipping coffee and reading in bed. It’s so restful and the perfect way to transition into the weekend.

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As you know, The Balanced Life is all about empowering women to approach health & fitness with a balanced mindset. How do you handle the pressure as a woman to look or act a certain way?

Gosh, this is truly one of the biggest battles in my thought life—especially when it comes to looking a certain way. It has been especially hard being pregnant and experiencing so many body changes that are out of my control. It’s funny—I felt like being pregnant would give me so much freedom from the pressure to conform to our culture’s beauty standards, but I feel it just as much (only in different forms).

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Honestly, the biggest ways I combat the pressure are through prayer and affirmations of truth (where I basically identify a lie I’m believing about myself, and focus instead on what is true). My husband plays a huge role in this, and is always asking how he can better encourage me with his words and actions. For example, he’s intentional not to only compliment me on how I look, and often will tell me he loves my kindness, or my curiosity or my brain. I love him for that!

That answer sounds a lot like my own. I love it. What does balance mean to you during your current season of life?

Now that I’m pregnant, balance looks totally different than it did before. There is so much more (necessary) rest in my day, which often includes sitting and reading, or even going to bed early to get plenty of sleep.

Food aversions have made it hard to eat as well as I did when I wasn’t pregnant. Rather than feel bad about not always getting enough vegetables in my life, I’m instead focusing on just finding the most nourishing foods that are appealing.

I’ve been able to incorporate a bit of exercise, which has been nice, but of course it is nothing like the 5-mile trail runs I did before!

Balance in this season includes a lot of grace, and also understanding that my limited abilities at the moment are temporary.

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That is so true. Pregnancy is full of so many great lessons isn’t it? Especially lessons in listening to your body. Who/what inspires you to keep living well?

Right now, my biggest inspiration is my baby boy, Jack! Knowing that what I do with my body impacts him is more motivating than anything. While eating the right foods has been super difficult, I have found that it’s easier to be disciplined with rest and hydration, two things that are very important while growing a little person inside :)

What is your best tip for maintaining a healthy lifestyle in the midst of a busy life?

Plenty of sleep! This will admittedly be difficult once Jack arrives, but all in all, I believe in the power of sleep and make it a priority in my life. Without adequate sleep, it feels impossible to make healthy food choices, get adequate exercise and be kind to others. Solid, regular sleep is truly the foundation of healthy living in my opinion!

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What projects are you currently working on that you’d like us to know about?

​I’ve noticed a real lack of style inspiration for fashion-oriented mamas out there, so in the coming weeks, I’ll be adding regular style posts featuring chic ways to dress a bump.

And starting next month, I’ll be partnering with my favorite maternity brand to show off their incredibly versatile clothing on a growing bump, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. ​Though the blog isn’t a “mommy blog,” there will be more motherhood and pregnancy related posts in general, as that’s just the place I’m writing from at the moment. I hope it’s something people enjoy reading!

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Very exciting! Thank you, Natalie. You are an inspiration and a great example in balanced living.

To keep up with Natalie be sure to follow her on Instagram / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest and check out her blog for regular inspiration.

Have a great weekend beauties!

xo,

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PS – You may also enjoy my past Q & A’s with fashion blogger, Megan Elliot, Barre Pump instructor, Christy Miller and nutritionist, Corinne Dobbas.

PPS – The countdown is on…9 days until the Pilates Summer Series kickoff!