number 300 + breaking down that box!

good morning, friends! today's post marks no. 300. thanks for sticking around for it all; i am so incredibly thankful for this creative outlet.


earlier this week i experienced a sort-of self crisis- one that leaves you a little uncomfortable & ultimately humbled by the fact that you've still got lots to learn.

i have found that i have the tendency to put myself in a little box, one that i have created & enforce. i was standing in the beauty isle at target in search of some beauty essentials- blush, mascara, concealer. while standing in said beauty isle, i felt guilty about not being able to afford natural make-up from the local health food store. in addition, as the girl with the women's & gender studies degree, i ignored my years of study & instead felt dissatisfied with my outer appearance, wishing i looked like the cardboard cut-out of cute zooey deschanel plastered in front of me. if that weren't enough to sort through as i stood debating in target, i asked myself if these items were really "essentials" & if it would be better to make my own beet blush & go without mascara & concealer, flaunting my natural self. i ultimately decided to make my purchases with the justification that i am moving in three days & don't have the bit of extra time to carve out a beet blush making session.

i wanted to share this with you because i hope that i'm not alone. soon after, i called luke & explained my dilemma & my new-found i-stick-myself-in-a-box realization. i confessed that i worry about others having doubt about my ability to work hard in the garden or at the farm when i'm sporting bright orange nail polish. i admitted to feeling like two people, one who wants to homestead & the other who worries about the perfect shade of peach blush at the store.

he reminded me that i'm a complex person- a living being with various interests, talents, strengths & weaknesses. he admitted to feeling similarly about his choice of clothing & outer appearance, too. i honestly believe this is a struggle of most privileged individuals. we all hope we are that really interesting, incredibly individualized & unique person with a perfect set of morals, beliefs, & interests that are consistent. although i hope to someday feel a little more comfortable in my own skin, i want to seek out & take hold of my ever-changing & complex self.

so, today i admit-
i love nail polish. really bright & sometimes sparkly colors on my toes & fingers.
i am a backyard gardener. i hope to one day look out my back porch & see a farm. i hope to chip a whole lot of nail polish doing the work of my hands in the soil.

maybe this rings a bell...



amy said...

OMG i so get this!!! i have declared myself as a farmer who likes to wear dark red lipstick now for several years. i was tired of hiding the fact that i like to look pretty and grow vegetables. it's all good nat:) i love your style. don't be hard on yourself because it never feels good. but what does feel good is knowing what you like and not giving a darn about what anybody else thinks. you are beautiful. xo

Jenna said...

"Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself. I am large, I contain multitudes" -Walt Whitman.
Go ahead and be a complicated, messy individual, Natalie! The tension is what makes us beautiful.

Oakmoss said...

this totally rings a bell. i've spent most of my adult years trying to discover, embrace and develop all facets of myself. i'm still a work in progress, and i hope to always be.

Gingiber said...

I enjoyed what you wrote and completely understand. And I appreciate what Luke said to you, about how we are all complex people trying to balance our different interests and values.

I think back to who I was 4 years ago. I've changed so much, yet along the way I was always on a journey to find who my "authentic self" was. I think it is the juxtaposition of these contradictory interests (for me, I am an artist, but I am also a total celebrity gossip fiend. And as much as I value the beauty of nature and most of my friends are gardeners, I would rather be indoors with my laptop...) that really do make us unique and different.

Okay, long comment. Thanks for writing this.

natalie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Luke Freeman said...

Congratulations on post # 300! From the moment I met you, you've never fit into a box. You are Natalie, unlike anyone else I've ever met! I love you.

Rin said...

Be yourself. Don't play to the opinions of others. Wear nail polish and garden- so what? No one will judge you if you show them how authentic of a person you are, how much love and expression and freedom you give to yourself to be the person you want to be.

As for beauty supplies, the best beauty supplies that would work even better than store-bought stuff (+ so-called organic store-bought stuff) is the stuff you make at home. THAT stuff is truly organic and works and it usually costs less than $10 to assemble. For example, if you have dry skin, the best thing to do is dab your skin with some olive, sunflower or mustard oil. Works better than store bought stuff AND it takes care of your blemishes, smooths your skin, smells great.

Need a scrub? Brown sugar and olive oil. Works great. It's the small things that make a big difference. If you research it well enough, you can use anything from home as cosmetics. For things like lipstick and what not, save your money and buy a few things here and there. I know that stuff is expensive too, so I rarely buy it. But I personally think natural beauty is beautiful and to go without makeup can be a brave thing.

Rin said...

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention. You should check out "Return to Beauty: Old-World Recipes for Great Radiant Skin" by Narine Nikogosian, it's a great book with lots of recipes to make scrubs and stuff like that at home out of fruits and vegetables!

Another Natalie from Toronto said...

Girl! I totally get. I feel ya. hahaha! I'm not alone- hallelujah! ;) (I started doing this in highschool to myself, this questioning. I dressed like a granola tree hugger-y type of girl but somedays I just wanted to wear a dress and killer shoes ya know?!). We are multi-faceted & THAT'S WHAT MAKES US BEAUTIFUL. Thanks for starting a great conversation. Keep sharing and congrats on your 300th post <3

abby said...

You're so awesome Natalie! YES I can totally relate, in lots of ways. You will often find me gardening in a dress, haha. But really, what this brings up for me, is how hard it can feel sometimes, but how important it is, to just be ourselves and let our light SHINE. And like Amy said, not giving a darn about what anybody else thinks! xo

Jess said...

I go through this too ... especially while buying make-up, I'm serious. There are so many choices, and while I stand there trying to figure out what I want and what I can afford, I just about have a break down every single time. but you know what, it's okay to like nail polish. you are no less of a farmer or homesteader for liking it. : ) a few weeks ago I bought some new nail polish, too, and Finn and Evelyn each chose one as well. then we went home and brightened our toes and outlooks! love you, girl.

Anonymous said...

Hey Natalie,

I had an little letter I wanted to send you but I can't find your email address on here or flickr... would you mind sending me an email at It doesn't feel like something I want to post as a comment.

Thanks! :)

Anonymous said...

my goodness...i can completely relate. i often try not to wear any makeup just so i feel I go against the common grain of female society- i want to be better than makeup. but then, before i know it, i'm sitting in front of a mirror wishing had every perfect body feature advertised in the media. i think we all do this. thank you so much for this post. we all can learn from each other and know that we are not alone in trying to break out of that box!

keishua said...

i wear makeup some times but not a lot. it depends on my mood. i try to be me and if that is odd to be it. that said, now i'm tempted to paint my toes for some reason. hehe

Julia said...

ha! just seeing this now. i recently decided at age just about 30 that i want to paint my nails- for pretty much the first time in my life. after making this decision (but prior to actually doing it) i came in from the garden with dirt filled nails and realized that this may not be the best plan. but i want to do it anyways and so i'm going to. who cares what we look like?! makeup or not, whatever makes you comfortable is what you should do. maybe you don't think that makeup and homesteading go together, but those two things (among much much more) make up who you are, and you make sense. try not to get caught up in what you think you should be (or what you think other people think you should be) just BE. be yourself. (who is an awesome person, by the way). xo

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