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.
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.
Et Voila, meet my new Chanel. I saw it in Beverly Hills when I was home in LA, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I officially picked it up on my recent trip to Paris. Because when in Paris: get a Chanel. Gosh, it’s so pretty, I can’t stop looking at it! I’ve already taken it around the world with me and here, in London. It goes with just about everything. London was incredibly cold this past week. All I wanted to do was snuggle up at the hotel, hop from restaurant to cafe, and hit up the sauna and steam room. I didn’t get much sleep this time around either! There was too much to do and see in such a short amount of time and my internal clock certainly wasn’t wanting to adjust. I was back in town with Armani Beauty yet again for another killer photoshoot that I can’t wait to share with you for their new Face Fabric foundation. I spent a lot of time in and around the Rosewood London, our home base for the trip. It’s a new spot in London for me and I absolutely loved it. I stepped out to explore realizing how very Elton John-esque I looked: tiny sunglasses and a look that somehow didn’t match, yet completely matched. How very English of me.
I just rediscovered all of these unpublished photos from my latest trip to St. Maarten and couldn’t help but share them during New York City’s coldest weekend to send a little sunshine your way. Boy, I can’t wait until the return of summer. It was June. Butterflies were zooming by everywhere we turned. The orange blossoms of the Flamboyant trees covered the sidewalks. The water was absolute heaven on earth. The French/Dutch culture gave this island a flare that just oozed chic. I had an incredible time shooting here, meeting it’s people, and becoming one with it’s surroundings. Since Hurricane Irma hit it’s shores, it’s hard to believe that so much of it has been blown away. It may be a while until the island can get back on it’s feet. Though the island has gone through a lot of disaster and sadness in these past few months, there is still so much hope. I believe St. Maarten will come back stronger and more beautiful than ever. For now, all I have are my memories and some of the most beautiful images to grace the blog. I can’t wait to visit again.