Creating a Life That Looks Pretty on The Inside

I have a love hate relationship with blogging and instagram.  I love it because it allows me to work from home and still be a stay at home mom, I love it because it allows me to be creative and share things I love, and I love it because I gain so much inspiration from others.  I love my community of blogger friends and absolutely love having a sneak peek inside the daily lives of others.

The downside and I have struggled with this quite a bit is comparison.  It is hard not to compare your life to others when you are watching everything they are doing all the time.  I briefly touched on this in my last serious post about coming about the darkness and dealing with my divorce.  I have been dealing with some legit heavy stuff in my life.  No heavier than other people but intense for me.  Heart breaking stuff that made me really depressed.   Ever since I was a little girl all I wanted was to be married to the love of my life and have kids.  I never had crazy big career aspirations but I always knew I wanted to be a wife and mom.  You know live in the big 2 story brick house, have 2 kids, one dog and live happily ever.   That dream shattered for me a year and a half ago.  Ever since then it has been a hard pill for me to swallow that my life is not the norm or what I dreamed it would be.   I felt lost for a long time but I am slowly starting to feel like my self again.

Watching people on instagram with loving and supportive spouses, birth new babies, build huge new gorgeous houses, and smiling like the perfect family was a constant of reminder of things I didn’t have.  From the outside it seemed like everyone had the perfect life but me.  I was a single mom and it felt really isolating and lonely.   I know I had the company of my two kids but it still felt lonely. It was then I realized I needed to step back from social media a bit.  I sat down and thought long and hard about all the blessings I did have in my life: 2 beautiful kids, a job that allowed me to work from home, a roof over my head, my health, food to feed my family, a car to get me places,  and the list goes on.  I realized you can never truly be happy when you are living in the shadow of someone else’s life.  That is not living.  Wanting things others have, wishing for a different life that is a recipe for disaster.

I took baby steps over the last year.  I used to be so concerned what people would think when I told them Matt and I were separating and I was getting a divorce.  In fact I kept it secret for a long time only sharing with my family and best friends.   I was ashamed and embarrassed.  I felt like a failure on so many levels.  Then I realized you know what this is my life, and while it may be messy and complicated and not perfect,  I need to embrace it and  be proud of it.  I slowly started sharing more with others and stopped being afraid to say I was a single mom and going through a divorce.  While I never wish this upon anyone it has been a journey that has brought me strength and I really needed that.  I became proud of my life.  So what if I am not living the typical life,  it is ok.  Everyone walks a different walk of life.   Someone once told me when I was going through my divorce, Life is too short not to be happy and that really stuck with me.  I want happiness.

I think in order to be truly happy you have to focus solely on yourself first.  If you are not happy with yourself it is gonna make all other relationships you enter difficult.  Happiness comes not from others but within.  For so long (and I am still guilty of this sometimes) I looked to others to make me happy, wheter it be my parents, friends or boyfriends.  I relied on them to cheer me up and try to make me happy.  Happiness is an inside job.

You have to not care what others think about you.  It is your life you are living not theirs.  I used to get frequent mean and hurtful comments from people saying I was the reason my marriage had ended and I should have tried harder and been a better a wife.  The audacity of people who didn’t know me really shocked me.  I would never in a million years wish ill upon someone or wish for their marriage to fail.  Nor would I ever take the time to email people some of the hurtful messages I received.  I realize I put my life in the public and eye and share a lot so this comes with the territory.  I finally have gotten to a point where I stopped caring what others think so much.   Don’t get me wrong my feeling still get hurt sometimes but now I quickly brush things off and don’t dwell on them.  In this blogging industry you have to have thick skin.  Unless it is someone like my parents or close friends who have my best interests at heart, I don’t care or take their opinions to heart.  It was a good lesson to learn, don’t put much that much emphasis on what others think of you.  How you see yourself and what you think of yourself is so important.  You need to create a life you can feel good about living.

I know what people share on instagram is not their real life it is an edited version.  Trust me,  I love looking at pretty pictures as much as anyone else.  I love seeing pretty outfits, perfectly styled food plates and gorgeous vacation destinations.  That stuff inspires me and always will.  But we have to find a way to create a life that looks pretty on the inside on too.  True happiness is not from things that are bought (and you and I both know how much I love shopping) true happiness comes from being content in your own skin.  Counting your blessings everyday.  Thanking God for what you do have and not praying for what you don’t.  I still of course have good and bad days, that is life.  But for 2018 I have made it my goal to have a positive attitude every single day and complain less.  No one’s life is perfect even if it seems that way.  I guarantee you everyone has their own struggles.

I recently watched a show on Bravo called Stripped.  The people who participate give up everything.  Everything is moved out of their homes and they are left naked and with nothing for 30 days.  Each day they are allowed to chose one item to bring back.  I found the concept absolutely fascinating because it stripped things from people that they thought were so important to them.  In the end their relationships flourished they grew closer with their partners without the distractions of things. Having everything taken away helped them to realize the items that were truly important to them.

In 2018 it is my goal to be happier than ever.  I shed way too many tears last year and I am ready for a fresh new year.  I realize that the job of my happiness belongs to me and no one else.  This took me long time to figure out as I looked for happiness in so many places only to still remain sad.  I choose to wake up each day and say thank you God.  I choose to count my blessings and not always be looking for what I don’t have.  I am trying to take deep breaths and not yell at my kids as much.  I am trying to read more, exercise more, cook more- all things that inspire and satisfy me mentally.  I want to tell my parents and kids I love them every single day.   I still like to shop way too much, and drink wine and have a short temper sometimes but thats ok.  Baby steps, right??

Do yourself a favor and read this beautiful letter a dying 27 girl wrote, it will change your life and way of thinking.  It really put things in perspective for me.  It broke my heart for her and moved me in so many ways.  This was one of my favorite quotes she shared;

“Also, remember if something is making you miserable, you do have the power to change it – in work or love or whatever it may be. Have the guts to change. You don’t know how much time you’ve got on this earth so don’t waste it being miserable. I know that is said all the time but it couldn’t be more true. ”

You can read the letter HERE– scroll all the way to the bottom to read the letter in it’s entirety.

H A P P Y   T H U R S D A Y



  1. Sarah
    January 11, 2018 / 1:09 pm

    Kuddos to you! And, happy new year!

    • Monuca
      January 11, 2018 / 11:44 pm

      Amazing blog post! You deserve true happiness! I started following your blog a few months ago and your life looks pretty perfect to me!! You are talented in many ways! I enjoy your posts and always get inspiration for food, fashion and home! Keep up being so wonderful at being you!

    • Catherine
      January 12, 2018 / 2:12 am

      Thank you for being real and being brave enough to share !

  2. Sarah
    January 11, 2018 / 1:24 pm

    Wishing you all the best! 2017 was a rough year for me too – I had a miscarriage and often looked back at your posts about it as a reminder that life goes on. Now I’m expecting a baby girl next month. I love these real life posts and think everyone struggles with this on some level.

  3. Grace
    January 11, 2018 / 1:32 pm

    With a world full of “blogger saturation” (I have a hypersensitive radar to fakeness) you are the ONLY one I follow daily because of your authenticity. I hope that gives you a little bit of encouragement – don’t ever apologize for being real and being yourself!

  4. Whitney
    January 11, 2018 / 1:33 pm

    This is my favorite post of to date. Thank you for being so real! I wish you and your children a happy and fantastic 2018!!

  5. CW
    January 11, 2018 / 1:34 pm


  6. Catherine
    January 11, 2018 / 1:38 pm

    I love this post! What a great reminder to everyone.

  7. Ashley
    January 11, 2018 / 1:47 pm

    I have been following you for a long time, and have never left any comments, but after reading your post today…I can’t not. I truly needed to hear this today! I haven’t been going through the same struggles that you have, but I have always been one to always compare myself to others to the point of exhaustion! I am finding out that life is not always what it looks to be, but what you make of it! Thanks again for your transparency! Happy New Year!

  8. Megan
    January 11, 2018 / 1:51 pm

    Thank you for sharing this!! You are such an inspiration!!

  9. Kari Torstenson
    January 11, 2018 / 1:53 pm

    Inspiring! You go girl, and never be ashamed to be YOU!

  10. Dolly
    January 11, 2018 / 1:55 pm

    Wishing you the best 2018!! I love real life posts! It’s messy sometimes but so nice to have a reminder that life is so much more then a perfect instagram photo!! Feeling extra thankful for my crew today 🙂 xoxo

  11. MMJ
    January 11, 2018 / 1:56 pm

    I couldn’t agree more and am trying to do the same thing! Thank you for sharing!

  12. Noemi
    January 11, 2018 / 2:32 pm


  13. January 11, 2018 / 2:37 pm

    You go, girl! I’ve been reading your blog for years now and love it because it’s REAL! Thank you for sharing!!

  14. Sarah
    January 11, 2018 / 2:37 pm

    I have the same love/hate relationship with social media. It’s hard to not compare yourself to others living this “dream life.” I’m sitting at home with an 8 month old who just threw up on me and this girl is in the south of France on a boat. The comparison game is dangerous. I applaud you for always showing the real side of your life, instaworthy or not. Keep doing you and i’ll keep following along! Best wishes for you and your family in 2018! Also…I strangely love your Trader Joe’s instastories. Why are other people’s groceries so fascinating??

  15. Kim Aull
    January 11, 2018 / 2:38 pm

    Social Media sure does sell us in thinking ones life is perfect at times. We all have a battle of sorts at some point or another. I love that you keep it real and every so often put it out there. We all have good and bad times and that’s ok. Life isn’t perfect. Happiness is within. Thanks for writing this! Best wishes for a great 2018!

  16. Ann
    January 11, 2018 / 2:43 pm

    Thank you for your honesty and insight. I was just thinking that I would take a break from social media for many of the points you mentioned. I am just so tired of the white kitchens with marble islands and perfectly coifed bedrooms with fresh flowers and carefully curated wardrobes. It’s just not interesting, it’s not real and I’m so bored of it all. I do however find the “real” mom’s on IG inspiring! I love the real life authentic stories and tips. Hang in there Natalie! I think you’re doing an amazing job!

  17. Lindsey
    January 11, 2018 / 2:53 pm

    Absolutely loved this post. Thank you for being vulnerable.


  18. Denise Olsen
    January 11, 2018 / 3:02 pm

    I wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed your post. In this world today, it is hard to be so honest. Everyone seems to talk about how great their lives, families, kids are. We do know that it isn’t always the case. We all have struggles and it is ok to talk about them. Thank you for sharing! I hope 2018 is all you hope for!

  19. PG
    January 11, 2018 / 3:02 pm

    Great post!! Love this and needed this today. Thank you for being real.

  20. K
    January 11, 2018 / 3:02 pm

    Thank you for so eloquently putting into words what I have been feeling. It is comforting to know I’m not alone. I am also going through a divorce with two young kids and I still have a really hard time sharing that with people outside of my close circle. You are right that this is my life and it is a life I should be proud of!

  21. Kristen
    January 11, 2018 / 3:15 pm

    Thank you for being real!! We all have our struggles and you have been gracious enough to share yours with the world. I would love to have the courage to start a blog and share my life. Your post was inspirational and I hope you have a great 2018. Keep up the good work.

  22. Rebekah
    January 11, 2018 / 3:20 pm

    I love following you because you keep it real. And I appreciate your honesty about the not-so-pretty parts of life. It is also really hard for me to stay out of the comparison trap of social media and it’s refreshing to come across people who aren’t just here for the highlight reel.

  23. Jennifer
    January 11, 2018 / 3:27 pm

    I absolutely loved this! Thank you for opening up your heart. You are doing an amazing job!!!

  24. Christina
    January 11, 2018 / 3:31 pm

    I also am a single mom of two kids that went through a divorce last year. Heartbreaking, isolating, depressing. Thank you for your courage to speak up about struggles and the steps you take to overcome them. 2018 is going to be a great year! (It really has no other choice than to be better than last year).

  25. Tara
    January 11, 2018 / 3:42 pm

    Loved this post…I never comment but wanted to share this book I read last January in order to help me with some of those “comparison” struggles. Its a 30 day devotional called “the comparison trap” if you haven’t read it, I encourage you too…and if you have a friend or two that wants to read it with you, I would encourage that as I did it with about 30 girls and was so interesting to hear everyone’s comments and feedback to the questions that she asks in this book and realize how very similar all of our struggles really are!

  26. Ali J.
    January 11, 2018 / 3:55 pm

    I’m so sorry that people were awful to you. I went thru a divorce and it was hard because my own mom and brother would not support me in my decision but believed everything my now ex said about me to them. It took 2 years for my mom to apologize because she realized that it was all lies. Every marriage has two people and so that means two stories. I don’t judge people after I went thru because nobody ever gets married to get divorced.

    I also fell down that hole of comparing my home to those of the bloggers I follow and felt like I was just a flunky when it came to design but then I finally realized I just didn’t have the same style and that was ok because I’m an individual and it’s ok if I don’t want white baseboards in my entire house because they are a pain to keep clean and it’s ok to have color.

    In the end you have to live your life as to how it makes you happy. Wishing you a wonderful 2018

  27. Lauren
    January 11, 2018 / 4:02 pm

    Well said! And so very very true…

  28. Sara
    January 11, 2018 / 4:15 pm

    Beautiful thoughts. I am right there with you! It’s so easy to get caught up in all the “perfection” and so important to take a step back and count your blessings. Stay strong and enjoy those precious babies!

  29. Elizabeth
    January 11, 2018 / 4:27 pm

    I am so happy for you that you realized “happiness is an inside job”at such a young age. I understand that the realization was made after enduring tremendous pain as that is also how I came to this understanding. The thing is – you have way more time to enjoy the fruits of this realization as you are young thirties and I am young fifties. So, consider this an added blessing. Another cool thing is that we are role models for our kids so that even though we both suffered loss and hardship we came out stronger than before and can really model our beliefs for our kids. Also, great pain leads to increased compassion and empathy and our world needs more of that. You are kick ass chick Natalie –

  30. January 11, 2018 / 5:08 pm

    I’m so glad you posted her letter! I was thinking while I was reading the first few paragraphs that her words would resonate perfectly with what you’re feeling. I love when you said, “Happiness is an inside job.” How perfectly put! I hope you know that you bring so much joy and happiness through your posts on your blog + Instagram. Shake those haters off – they’re most likely deeply unhappy themselves and feel like they’ll get better by putting you down. Thank you for opening up so much!

  31. Ally Harding
    January 11, 2018 / 5:22 pm

    I loved this post and it’s so refreshing to know you feel the same way us non bloggers do about the fake, perfect lives people portray. I just want to say to them, who are you trying to fool? We all know life isn’t perfect all the time, your house isn’t clean and all white all the time, and your kid isn’t an angel all the time. But people choose to make social media their greatest hits. I hate that it’s become that because it makes the rest of us feel bad about the lives we have although we have plenty to be thankful for. It feels like it’s never enough.

    Coming from divorced parents I can tell you it was the best decision for our family. I’m not going to lie, it wasnt always easy growing up without my parents together but it would have been 100x worse if my parents had stayed married. Kids know when their parents aren’t happy and I admire women like my mom and you who know when to get out. Like you said, life is too short to spend it unhappy and miserable. Sounds like 2018 is going to be your best year yet!

  32. January 11, 2018 / 5:39 pm

    Great post!! My bible study chose A Perfect Mess by Lisa Harper to read over the next 12 weeks, I am excited. Look it up and watch her Youtube videos, especially the one on the today show!

  33. Amanda
    January 11, 2018 / 5:43 pm

    So brave of you to share this! Wishing you happiness and all the good things in 2018! You have a great following and remember so many of us are rooting and cheering for you along your way!

  34. Lisa
    January 11, 2018 / 5:46 pm

    I’ve never commented, but am a long time reader. This is the best post you’ve ever written. It is will written, well thought out and honest. Having so much of your life as an open book must be hard, but I have to say you did make divorce look easy through your blog and social media, though I am sure it is really not. Thank you for writing this post

  35. January 11, 2018 / 6:05 pm

    Great post Natalie! I can’t imagine how hard of a year 2017 was for you, but know that 2018 – especially with the mindset you have created – will be a far better one. Sometimes (always…..) it’s hard to understand the plan that’s in store, but know it will be great and amazing even if it is different than what we had planned.
    And for anyone that sends ill will and hurtful comments – no positive, kind, loving person would ever think such things, let alone take the time to send them to a complete stranger. Their anger and hurt is a reflection of themselves and their own life and in no way related to yours!
    Keep smiling and thanks for always being such a great source of happiness and inspiration for your readers! I’ve loved being blog “friends” all these years! I admire how you are able to put your life out their so publicly because no matter how hard I try I keep failing and regret not making decisions to put myself out there these past few years! Kudos to you!
    xx Taylor
    The Sarcastic Blonde

  36. Abby
    January 11, 2018 / 6:26 pm

    I love when you share your personal posts. It’s a great reminder to all of us on the “outside” that you’re a real person, dealing with all of the same stuff we are dealing with. Thanks for having the courage to share and taking the time to be real. You’re a great mom to your kids and one of my favorite bloggers (also maybe my food soulmate haha). Happy New Year to you – all good, happy, and genuine things ahead!

  37. Meg
    January 11, 2018 / 8:21 pm

    What a vulnerable post. So nice. Refreshing. Real.
    So nice to see something less curated on the web.

    Truth? I visit daily – for like 4-5years. You always look so perfect – the hair, thin, 30s, the eye makeup. Anyway selfie of you & FM without makeup. Something about that made an impression on me. Like you were letting your guard down. So random I know. Btw – you looked like a college aged girl in that photo – wasn’t certain it was you.

    Thank you for sharing life’s ups & downs. I wish you nothing but the best! ✌️

  38. Caroline
    January 11, 2018 / 8:38 pm

    I’ve read your blog for a while now (since College) and never once commented…. this warranted a comment because it was so REAL and valid and at any age makes sense- I’m 24 and this spoke to me!! Thanks for the insight (and really good quotes!)

  39. Kathryn
    January 11, 2018 / 8:40 pm

    Hang in there! I went through a terrible divorce only to find there was a much better life on the other side waiting for me. I just had to get there which took some time and tears. And your kids will be ok because you will tell them it will be ok. Please let them know every day that it will be ok. Being a single mom is tough at times but time goes by fast and you will turn around and they will be gone. And be a real person in your blogging. Being perfect is totally overrated and a lie. Life is messy. It just is.

  40. Nicole Watson
    January 11, 2018 / 8:56 pm

    Natalie – thanks for sharing this honestly you are doing great and I hope to see more posts like this it’s awesome!

  41. Jan Peters
    January 11, 2018 / 9:03 pm

    Bravo, Natalie! Bravo!!

  42. Melissa
    January 11, 2018 / 10:14 pm

    Natalie- I’m sorry you had to go through last year. And please don’t ever listen to those loser haters!
    This was a great post. I love the More real posts.

  43. Sara
    January 11, 2018 / 10:37 pm

    Something I learned several years ago is that we tend to compare our insides to other peoples outsides. I think that sums up what you’re saying in your post. I started doing a gratitude journal on January 1 this year and in one week my perspective has changed drastically. I’m using the one day app if anyone wants to give it a shot. Here’s to a better 2018!

  44. English Norman
    January 11, 2018 / 11:12 pm

    Beautifully said and felt, Natalie! You have a wonderful way with words. I’m proud of you stepping forward to be happy and sharing your struggles.

  45. Molly
    January 11, 2018 / 11:14 pm

    so beautifully written!!

  46. January 12, 2018 / 12:01 am

    Beautifully written! You are doing a great job being you everday!! Thanks for the inspiration!

  47. Jennifer
    January 12, 2018 / 12:27 am

    Thank you for sharing, July of 2017 I found out my husband was having a 3-4yr affair with his coworker, it shattered me to my core. Single mom, overwhelmed and depressed to say the least, it’s taken baby steps to even get up and cook again for my kids! Divorce and grief is the worst, cheers to 2018 and the future! Always a light at the end of every tunnel, my storm has shown me I’m stronger than I knew. God has a beautiful plan! I will be back making your delicious recipes soon ❤️

  48. Debra
    January 12, 2018 / 12:47 am

    This was an amazing post. I was feeling down today about some pretty negative things that was being said about me. I then thought, the only person’s opinion I should be concerned about is God. I read your post and saw the first quote and that was confirmation enough for me. Continue on.

    I follow several bloggers but I read yours first every morning because I think you are extremely genuine and what you see is what you get. Life is not perfect.

  49. Shannon
    January 12, 2018 / 1:10 am

    People are crazy. Don’t let the assholes bring you down!

  50. Samantha
    January 12, 2018 / 1:12 am

    I love this post, your blog and you for being so transparent !!! I know 2018 will be better for you! God has a plan and His plan is always best. ✌️ , ❤️And for you and your beautiful family . -Samantha

  51. Alissa
    January 12, 2018 / 1:44 am

    Omg!!! I read that same letter after a god awful day at work and literally was bawling!!!! It seriously put so much in perspective!!!! Will it matter in 10 minutes, one day, one week, one month or one year from now?? Maybe seems like the end of the world now but we need to change! My all time favorite quote I LIVE by “life is too short to be anything but happy, kiss slowly, love deeply, forgive quickly, take chances, give everything and leave with no regrets, and never regrets anything that makes you happy!” So helpful in almost any/every situation!

  52. Millicent
    January 12, 2018 / 1:57 am

    So well said. You are a great mom and I really enjoy your blog. Never pay attention to meanies who say hurtful things. You’re doing great.

  53. Christie
    January 12, 2018 / 1:58 am

    I love love love your blog. It is perfect, your beautiful, your kids are amazing and adorable, and it is so good to see you happy and moving on with a person who is hopefully appreciating you for the amazing woman you are. You have so much to offer and I am improving myself by taking ideas, clothes suggestions and especially recipes from your blog (when is your cookbook coming? I would love to have them all in print. 😉 ). Anyway, thank you so much for sharing yourself. Keep being you – it is the best gift to yourself and all of us out here reading your blog. ❤️

  54. Patty
    January 12, 2018 / 2:02 am

    You survived hopefully the hardest year of your life and you have come out ahead- look at how you’ve grown! BRAVO! Thank you for saying what everyone else is thinking but won’t admit. Several months ago, I purged a bunch of bloggers because I couldn’t stand the image that I knew wasn’t the real them. I also was feeling bad at myself but why???? I knew it wasn’t all roses but I let it get to me. So purge I did and never looked back. You are honest, real and amazing. I’m a forever follower! So excited to watch you flourish even more in 2018! Cheers!

  55. Mandy
    January 12, 2018 / 2:09 am

    Hey there! I have been a reader for years. I’ve seen the steps of your life you’ve shared with us. The wonderful and difficult. Just know for every person out there with something hateful to say there are people like me who have seen your blog as an escape, a place to find someone who is real and a person who has ups and downs just like you. It’s brave what you do, sharing your life so publicly. And it’s a gift to a lot of people, many of whom you may never know or hear from. I am so glad to hear that your own personal dark time has lifted. That is such a blessing.

  56. Cat
    January 12, 2018 / 2:09 am

    First time commenter here, de-lurking to add my voice to the hearty round of kudos that this post so genuinely deserves. I think as readers it’s easy to feel like we are “owed” an life update from bloggers on intensely personal subjects simply because we follow, but for what it’s worth I thought you handled addressing your recent rough patch with fortitude and grace. If anything, we readers owe you a thank you for sharing your lives with us through both ups and downs. So thank you!

    And may I be so bold as to suggest an addition to your 2018 goals list: cookbook author!!

  57. Rachel
    January 12, 2018 / 2:28 am

    Loved you post, natalie! Shared it with a friend 🙂
    Sorry to hear that people were sending you mean things, I hate the internet sometimes for those reasons. It’s so unnecessary. Hoping for a great 2018 for you and your cute kiddos!

  58. Shannon
    January 12, 2018 / 2:33 am

    I read that letter too yesterday and was telling my dear friend about it. Such good wisdom . We all need to be kind to ourselves and invest our time in people that lift us up.

  59. Jennifer Lawrence
    January 12, 2018 / 2:48 am

    You are truly one of my favorite bloggers. I read your posts everyday and appreciate your honesty and for keeping it real. I think you are an amazingly strong woman and mother. Thank you for opening up and being vulnerable. It takes so much courage to admit our lives are not perfect, share our struggles and disappointments. You are very brave. Don’t ever let anyone steal your joy.

  60. AnnaB
    January 12, 2018 / 3:03 am

    Adore you, your beautiful babies, your honesty and your big heart! It shines through in everything you do. 2018 will be tour year! Xo

  61. Abby
    January 12, 2018 / 3:16 am

    Excellent post!!! Kudos for sharing and being open.

  62. Brigida
    January 12, 2018 / 3:18 am

    Nat – I’m SO proud of you for sharing this.

    Unbelievably raw, real and YOU. Funny how life works. You don’t truly learn what you’re made of – and how much we can bear – until your tested. Rest assured, God never puts more on us than we can bear.

    And you’re right, comparison IS the thief of joy. Learning that you ARE enough is one of life’s toughest lessons (imo). And as someone also in the public eye, I know all too well how brutal and downright awful people can be. And shaking it off is easier said than done. But, like you – I’m getting better at doing that.

    Stay strong, old friend. You are the child of a King, blessed and highly favored and to quote one of my favorite gospel songs, “You ain’t seen your best days yet!”

    I’ve loved watching you flourish from afar. And I’m always proud of you.



  63. Mel
    January 12, 2018 / 7:22 am

    Best of luck to you & your family!

  64. January 12, 2018 / 12:13 pm

    Such an honest, excellent post and timely topic. I think everyone who reads it will be able to relate in their own way. Thank you for sharing!

  65. Kristen
    January 12, 2018 / 2:11 pm

    Thank you for sharing your heart! It is so easy to compare nowadays. That’s what I honestly hate most about social media aside from the desire to want to be constantly connected. It’s so easy to share the good but hard to share the bad. I’m aiming to be more honest and present this year as well.

    Wishing you the best this year!

  66. Olivia
    January 12, 2018 / 2:19 pm

    I’m constantly astonished at how cruel complete strangers can be on the internet. While there is absolutely NO excuse for that kind of behavior, I also feel sad for those people. How much negativity must they have in their own lives to feel the need to push it onto you? Still, it is completely inexcusable.

    This is a beautiful post full of positivity and light. I, for one, am inspired.

    Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. MLK

  67. Toni :0)
    January 12, 2018 / 2:21 pm

    Bravo! You are one of the most real life bloggers out there and I read you every day. Keep up the great work and I agree with others…do a cookbook, I’d be one of the first to buy it! Stay strong and Cheers to 2018!

  68. Lauren Schmidt
    January 12, 2018 / 2:53 pm

    Thank you for your honesty and transparency, you are a beautiful soul inside and out. You are blessing to the blogging wold, we need more real in the social media world. You seem to be such a kind hearted woman, may this year bring you the true love you have always wanted with your self and romantically! xo

  69. Susanna
    January 12, 2018 / 2:59 pm

    I really needed to hear this today. I like to check your blog everyday in the morning (with coffee :)) before I start my day. Something about your writing style and candor I really relate to. I am young, recently divorced with a child and I am learning the same sort of life lessons that you speak about in this post. It is hard AF to walk through, but sharing real stories makes it sting a little less. Thank you for opening up to us, it makes me feel not so alone or isolated. One of my favorite sayings is short but powerful – “Good Vibes Only”. If I could tattoo that on my forehead and get away with it, I would! #goodvibesonlyplease

  70. Melissa S
    January 12, 2018 / 3:22 pm

    Amen! I love your authenticity. While the pretty pictures are fun to look at, it is so much easier to connect with and be encouraged with real, honest communications. Thank you for sharing and hoping this is a happier for you and your family!

  71. Melissa
    January 12, 2018 / 3:36 pm

    Wishing you and your family the best in 2018!

  72. Kristine
    January 12, 2018 / 4:05 pm

    Have you ever read Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert?

    The other thing to remind yourself is you DID have a successful marriage! You had two healthy babies, put a roof over your head, started a business, and it brought you to where you are today!

    Happiness is an inside job and even in a committed loving relationship we can’t expect the other person to fill us up, or wait for them to make plans!

  73. Marg Roberts
    January 12, 2018 / 7:45 pm

    Hello from Canada! I luckily stumbled upon your blog a few months ago and it’s a daily favourite. Thanks for the wonderful content, your honesty and for being so real!
    Keep up the great work and much happiness in 2018!

  74. Hannah Hagadorn
    January 12, 2018 / 9:15 pm

    I have been following you on Instagram for a little over two years now and I occasionally reading your blog posts. I have to say I had no idea any of this was going on. I always catch myself laughing while watching your instastories (mainly because of Frances). So, after reading this I found myself crying (not just because I’m pregnant) because I feel like you’ve opened yourself up to your followers in a different way. This is certainly a side I haven’t seen and I appreciate you sharing!

  75. Denise
    January 13, 2018 / 2:29 am

    Thank you for sharing your life and being real when so many aren’t. I wish you and your beautiful family much happiness in 2018! I adore your blog, you are very creative, love it…keep up the good work!

  76. Jill
    January 13, 2018 / 2:52 am

    Another long time reader here who has never posted. LOVED this post and all of the sentiment behind it. I am older than you but have always enjoyed your blog-your sense of style, recipes and down to earth personality. And I’ve always admired that you can put your life out on the internet and deal with all of the backlash. You deserve nothing but happiness and thanks for sharing it with us! Ignore the mean trolls, they are simply jealous of your lovely life :).

  77. Danielle Flowers
    January 13, 2018 / 1:18 pm

    Love your post! Happy New Year!

  78. January 13, 2018 / 5:23 pm

    Thank you so much for your honesty and sharing your life. I have totally looked at you on Instagram and thought, man I wish I could have it all together like her! Lol we all have an edited version of life on there and it’s so important to remember that in this day and age! You are beautiful on the inside and out
    Take care,

  79. January 14, 2018 / 2:10 pm

    As a former single mom and someone who walked through the season of divorce several years ago, I could relate 100% to your feelings in this post. I want to encourage you and tell you that the view from the other side is amazing. Keep being true to yourself and focus on building a life that reflects what you want for yourself and your children. Authenticity is a beautiful thing!

  80. Jill
    January 15, 2018 / 12:36 am

    You are authentic, gracious, and strong. Thank you. Cheers to a 2018 filled with blessings and hope.
    And as a mom stuck in the house with flu AND snow days, thank you for the inspiring fashion and good recipes! They are a great escape (esp with wine!)

  81. January 15, 2018 / 11:10 am

    Thanks for keeping it real! It’s so easy to get caught up in comparison rather than focusing on authenticity. Your honesty is refreshing.

  82. Jenny
    January 16, 2018 / 1:15 am

    Love this post Natalie – it is real, raw and totally relatable. Also a good reminder of the simple pleasures in life, no matter what we are all experiencing or dealing with large or small. Keep doing what you are doing, I always love checking in on your blog and sweet family. xoxo!!

  83. Catherine
    January 16, 2018 / 10:58 pm

    Your post made me tearful. You are so brave and struck a nerve in me because I feel as you do in the comparison thing. Thank you for sharing and many blessings to you and your beautiful children.

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