Natalie Carrasco

Meet Natalie Carrasco! Natalie is originally from California, but her family moved to Colorado almost 20 years ago which prompted a long term love affair with the Rocky Mountains. She spent five years living in Bellingham, WA during college, which satisfied her craving for cozy rain and foggy weather, but ultimately Colorado lured her back. Natalie now lives in Fort Collins with her husband of just over a year and their sweet dog, Darwin. When she isn't working at her full-time day job, she has a few side gigs that scratch her itch for creativity including (but not limited to): teaching and practicing yoga, calligraphy, and painting.

What rocks your bliss?

Spending time with family. Making art. Reading a book that's hard to put down. Avocados. Being in nature. Seeing a favorite musician perform live. Deep conversations. The smell of pine trees. Laughing so hard it hurts. Makeup. Summertime at my family's 100+ year old cabin in Northern Minnesota.

Describe your perfect day.

Let it be known that I am NOT a morning person. However, on a "perfect day" it would be lovely to wake up leisurely (read: no alarm) around 6am, watch the sun rise, sip on a tasty hot beverage and snuggle with my husband and my dog. The rest of the day would consist of a long walk or a hike, reading a great book, sharing a delicious meal with my family and friends either at home or at a restaurant (tacos, Indian food, macaroni and cheese would all be welcome options - I'm pretty sure food is my love language), and a hilarious and healing conversation with my sister and/or my long distance best friend. I'd top it off with a warm soak in the bathtub paired with a relaxing glass of wine and a good night's sleep.

When do you feel most creative and alive?

Without fail, watching the sun rise or set sends a surge of inspiration through my soul. Stepping out into nature gives me energy, and I always feel so alive when my lungs are filled with fresh mountain air. Creatively, I love seeing what other artists are doing with their talents, whether it's in a gallery, or a post on Instagram, and it pushes me to explore my own skills and experiment more with my art.

Share a huge goal you are rocking.

Oh, my. The list of goals is long, but one in particular is my priority at the moment. Earlier this year I started my calligraphy business, Avo Ink, and while "Business Owner" is a new title for me and I have a LOT of learning to do, I'm so excited to see what I can make of this new adventure!

If you could get on a plane right now, where are you going?

I've always wanted to visit Scotland. The Outlander book series, written by Diana Gabaldon, has been a favorite since I was a teenager and I ache to see the places she writes about. I've seen so many gorgeous photos of the Highlands, the lochs, the moors, the Isle of Skye, Edinburgh (I could go on and on)... Scotland just seems like the most dreamy place.

How do you handle setbacks?

The "what if" spiral is a huge pitfall for me, so instead of focusing on what I could have and should have done differently, I try to focus more on what I can do differently next time. This sounds really "DUH", but it's the truth and sometimes it can be extra hard to see the truth when you're in the midst of a disappointing setback. I always have to remind myself that the joy of life resides in learning from the mistakes you made yesterday, appreciating where you are today, and setting an intention for how to be better tomorrow. Oh, and a good hug from someone I love goes a long way, too.

How do you come home to yourself?

As an introvert, I need time alone to reset and recharge and often that happens in the act of literally coming home. When my house is clean and I can cozy up in my own space, I feel the most, well... at home! Also, every day before school when I was little, my dad would tell us to "learn something new" and now that I'm older and no longer in school, I still try to make that an intention. I think it's really important to never stop learning. So, if I find that I'm interested in learning more about something I'll treat myself to a book, or a class, or a three hour session of falling down the rabbit hole that is the internet. It's overwhelming to realize you can never know everything, but inspiring to know that you can learn about anything!

What are 3 ways you rock the self LOVE?

1. I. love. makeup. I love watching tutorials on YouTube, I love shopping for makeup, I love playing with makeup, I love wearing makeup... It's never an obligation for me and I don't feel the need to wear makeup all the time, but I really enjoy it when I do.

2. One of the not so wonderful aspects of being a yoga instructor is that it can sometimes be challenging to find time for your personal practice, so I really treasure the time I'm able to spend on my mat.

3. Indulging in a truly fantastic meal is hard to beat. Bonus points if I get to share that meal with the people I love.

Instagram: @readyornat & @avoink

Website: www.avoink.com