Welcome to Ask Natalie, a series where I answer your questions about style, motherhood, wellness and life. Have a question you’d like me to answer in a future Ask Natalie post? Leave it in the comments below!
This week we’re talking about blog design, some favorite San Diego spots to visit and how I try to keep balance in my home/work/social life.
“I’m an aspiring blogger with a new site that’s look is well, weak. I love the clean and simple design of your blog. Who does your graphic and web design? Do you do any of it yourself? Thanks!” —Jennifer
Thank you! I used to do all of my blog design myself when I used Blogger, but when I made the switch to WordPress I decided to purchase a theme so that the site would have a fresh, clean feel and I would have a lot less work to do. There are tons of free WordPress themes out there, but, if you can’t find what you’re looking for with a free theme (which, in my experience, you usually can’t), I recommend Themeforest as well as Blog Milk—both which offer themes for under $100. Another option is hiring someone to design the site for you, but I wouldn’t recommend that unless you have really specific site needs that can’t be met with the existing themes out there.
“Hi Natalie! My husband and I are planning to extend a business trip (for him) a couple days to explore San Diego. I already have your brunch at Solace & the Midnight Lounge recommendation on our list! I would so appreciate you sharing your favorite coffee shops and restaurants and any other spots that are must-hit places. THANK YOU!” —Bridget Black
So fun! I think you’ll have an awesome time here :) Solace is absolutely at the top of my list, so I’m glad you’re planning on going there. (Do yourself a favor and order the cheddar biscuits!) I’d also recommend Lobster West for lunch, Pacific Coast Grill for dinner and Claire’s on Cedros for brunch. As far as coffee shops go, I love Pannikin and Lofty Coffee in Encinitas. As far as any other must-hit places, the beach is really where San Diego shines. My two favorites are Cardiff State Beach and the beaches in Del Mar near 15th Street. Safe travels!
“How to do balance all the facets of your life? Do you have any favorite apps that keep you on track? Do you keep a paper planner? Would love to hear any tips you have!” —Nicole @ Simply Nicole
Oh gosh, I wish I were better at this than I appear! With a 5 month old, I honestly have to choose every day what will not get done and have learned to accept that. I always prioritize Jack, of course, and after that it’s usually work and/or social things, then house things. To organize my day and stay on top of my commitments and to-dos, I use The Day Designer, and Brian and I also keep a big ‘ol family paper calendar in our room to keep track of things like his business trips, vacations and appointments during the week that we don’t want to forget (like a guy coming to repair our fence, for example). As far as apps go, my must-haves are the WordPress app (for blogging on the go), the Apple Reminders app (for my grocery and errand lists) and the new Gmail Inbox app (for a really simple email experience). Oh, and for all things baby, I use the BabyTime app to track when Jack eats and sleeps so I don’t have to waste precious room in my brain remembering things like that :)
Photo by Josefa Holland-Merten