Modeling since the age of 15, Natalie Lim Suarez has been a notable figure in the fashion industry for years. Based in NYC, she is 1/2 Chinese, 1/4 Spanish, and 1/4 Mexican. With her passion for photography, creative direction, design, music, writing, modeling, and style, NATALIE OFF DUTY was born. Completely inspired by the "model off duty" on-the-go lifestyle. Sharing her stories, inspirations, and projects through her own photography and writing. Already noted for her winning fans in Harper's Bazaar UK, featured editorials in ELLE, and WWD for her "Good Taste." Along with campaigns and ambassadorships to top fashion and beauty brands from around the world. Some including COACH, DKNY, L'oreal Paris, Saks 5th Avenue, Sunglass Hut, Levis, and Nordstrom. Her eclectic, unique style has launched many successful design collaborations sold in top retailers around the world. Next to fashion, Natalie's other passion is music. Singing along with piano/guitar continue to pop up in her upcoming fashion campaigns.
It was a super hot afternoon at Rancho Chilamate in Nicaragua. This intimate Eco Lodge has 4 guest of rooms and a pool…located just a 10 minute horseback ride to the beach. I couldn’t help but stop and admire the ranch’s gorgeous horses as I took them on a little walk around the property. I’ve admired horses forever, and very rarely got close to them. My parents always said that this mystical creature was my spirit animal…and not only because I was long and lean with straight hair down to my bum. We had a black stallion painting in my home growing up and I’d stare at it….admiring it’s strength and beauty. It’s also because I’m born in the Chinese Year of the Horse! In my mind, they represent beauty and the freedom to run with the wind. For this afternoon, I blended in with my surrounding with a full linen look and sun hat. Nicaragua was hot and dry this past month as the rainy season will come in the summer months ahead. But I couldn’t have been happier. I plopped down by the pool with a Toña cerveza and looked up at the blue sky. I didn’t want to be anywhere else.
The best place to unwind: at our treehouse at the Aqua Wellness Resort in Nicaragua. My sister recommended we head there with our group for a full 7 night stay of total relaxation. I’m not used to staying a week in any one spot when I’m traveling. I’m used to going here and there and around the world for only few days at a time before heading home to NYC or LA. Sometimes, I don’t like being away from home for over a week, but this time, I needed it. It was my first time at the resort and it was incredible. Trust me, I needed the downtime and little escape because lately, I’ve been working so much. A getaway from the cold city was just what was needed.
Mornings were spent on the yoga platform followed by afternoons dipping in our plunge pool, soaking in the stunning views of our bay. At night, we were either sleeping on a hammock or paddle boarding out into the sunset. It was a balanced combination of being on our feet, working our muscles, followed by total relaxation. My body has never felt better. My skin suddenly felt better. Plus, I was eating a lot healthier than usual. Think mornings of banana cocoa smoothies and dragonfruit bowls. We would slowly indulge in the occasional Toña beer before dinner. Here, we shot at our Sapote villa…2 suites with an amazing outdoor kitchen and even, an outdoor shower. We had a lot of time to hop between the Aqua Wellness beach and the neighboring Playa Gigante beach, but sometimes, we just really wanted to simply relax on our balcony with a good book. The best part was getting to catch up with old friends that I only get to see once or twice a year. These sorts of getaways are necessary for the mind, body, and soul.
Nicaragua is such a special country. It’s a spot that always makes me feel so much closer to the earth. The country fully embraces the simplest parts of life. That includes eating a nourishing meal grown on their very own farmland, along with a simple smile everywhere you go. It inspires me to do the same. I spent a full week at Aqua Wellness Resort in Nicaragua for my annual tropical getaway with my two favorite ladies: my sister Dylana and our best friend Kiara. We have all been in need of a little sun and salt water after a snowy winter and thought, why not get away to Nicaragua…take epic images of this beautiful country and thoroughly enjoy a week by the bay?! In the past, we’ve travelled far and wide to places like Whistler in Canada, Peninsula Papagayo in Costa Rica, and Tulum in Mexico. Every single time, we pack a suitcase of our favorite Teva sandals. Teva sandals are every adventure monkey’s staple. And not just in the summertime…I am talking year round. I even wear them at the airport with socks because why travel with anything else? A top Teva sandal favorite of mine is the new Terra-Float 2 Knit Universal sandal. It has a woven, quick-drying knit with FloatLite technology, meaning it’s ultralight and durable. They feel incredible on the soles of my feet and really mold to them.
They work amazing for girls like us, who live for the outdoors. The beach, the mountains, festivals, wherever. We go anywhere we can hike, swim, run, and fully disconnect from our crazy and hectic city lives. The less wifi the better. We’re constantly moving whether it be morning stretches at yoga or late nights for a little paddle board mediation session. Days were spent eating dragon fruit bowls and photographing the colorful streets of neighboring towns like San Juan del Sur, while nights were spent in our plunge pool, peacefully listening to the monkeys howling beside our tree house. My favorite parts of the day were waking up and falling asleep to the soft sound of the crashing waves in our bay. I have never felt so present and so in tune with Mother Nature and my body before. It’s amazing what friendship and a little Vitamin D can do for one’s spirit. With Teva, I can fully be as the hashtag states, able to #StrapIntoFreedom. Freedom to hop over rocky beaches, freedom to hike the trails to the bustling town of Playa Gigante on a Saturday afternoon, and freedom to simply get lost in a beautiful new place on my own two feet. My Teva sandal tan is the best tan I’ve had yet. Every time I look down I’m reminded of all the beauty in the world these feet have been able to walk through.
How did summer just happen to fly by? Summer for me was all about adventuring, living out of a suitcase, and fully soaking in the present moment. With eyes wide open and an open heart. In Nicaragua, I had my GoPro permanantely glued to my hand. Documenting every lovely moment. From diving into the crashing waves of Playa Maderas to being stranded on the beautiful Jicaro Island. Romantic. Beautiful. Breathtaking. Watch the video below. You may also catch a little glimpse into my forever growing bikini collection. Enjoy.