Natalie Goel is the Founder of Like Fresh Laundry, a blog made for anyone who appreciates clean and natural style when it comes to travel, interiors, food and fashion. I met Natalie when I was living in San Francisco at a small creative meet-up with a great group of girls. Formerly the marketing director of a San Francisco fashion startup, she’s now a freelance brand strategist and writer, who writes about lifestyle, food, beauty and tech for various sites including EyeSwoon & Refinery29. Originally from Illinois, Natalie has spent the last seven years living in San Francisco and here we chat about her recommendations for the city (I can assure you, these are good ones!), what inspires her and the rewards she takes from blogging.
‘Like Fresh Laundry’ covers the latest in fashion, travel, décor and beauty – when did you found the blog?
I started it back in 2010. I have a journalism background and work in marketing, so I was collaborating with bloggers pretty often in my role. I was already playing in the space a lot, so starting a site of my own was a natural progression. It looked like so much fun, and it is.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
Clean, elegant and ever-evolving.
What do you find most challenging and rewarding about blogging?
I tend to work well with deadlines, so aside from collaborations (where there’s built-in accountability), the hardest part is making it a priority – actually making time to blog. My most rewarding experience overall is just that I have an outlet for creativity, and for meeting inspiring people. Working with fellow bloggers, photographers, business owners and people behind the brands I love energizes me.
What inspires you?
Aesthetic pursuits and learning more about other people. I love psychology, watching documentaries and TED Talks, listening to various comedians’ podcasts and writing — plus all the visual elements that might be involved in that, like styling and shooting. Besides that, I’m totally a pleasure-seeker, so I also crave good food. I love having people over to eat.
What’s next for Like Fresh Laundry? Any exciting trips or projects on the horizon?
Quite a few trips this year! I have friends’ weddings in Mexico City and London and am visiting friends who moved to Hong Kong, plus tacking on a trip to Japan afterwards. On the blog side, I’ve gotten more into cooking so there will be more cooking and entertaining content than there has been in the past.
How would you describe San Francisco to someone who has never been?
It’s an outdoorsy, relatively laid-back city, but still driven. The vibe is all about creating something new and different – and you definitely see that spirit in food and sometimes tech (at its best), which are both major parts of the culture. It definitely is not a cheap place to live, but life is good here. And the weekend trips are amazing. Napa, Sonoma, Carmel, Monterey, Tahoe and tons of other scenic spots are all a pretty short drive away. It’s hilly, there’s a lot of green and it’s a bay, so it’s surrounded by water — it’s a very pretty place.
If you were to give someone a one-day itinerary for SF, how would it look?
This involves not just SF but also elsewhere in the Bay Area. But it’s worth it.
Get out early and put your names down at Outerlands in Outer Sunset for brunch (great food and rustic Californian ambiance). Head to Ocean Beach while you wait for a table to open up. After eating, take a quick trip to General Store to shop their gorgeous, washed-out wares. Then hop in the car and head all the way down to Cowgirl Creamery in Point Reyes – it’s about an hour away. Here you can start packing for a picnic, so get some of their delicious sandwiches and snacks to go. Then pick up oysters and shucking tools from Tomales Bay Oyster Company, make your way to Bear Valley Visitor Center and dig in. After that, head to Bodega Head for beautiful views of cliffs and coastline, and to hopefully spot some whales. Then head over to River’s End in Jenner, an impossibly quaint and cottage-y restaurant perched atop a bluff overlooking the ocean. They’ll be completely booked for dinner but that’s okay, you’re just there for drinks! Get a spot outside and watch the sun set over the water. It’s kind of magical. Then head back to SF and get some late-night burritos at El Cancun. I did almost this exact itinerary when a good friend came to visit. It was the best day.
Also, don’t forget to pack sweaters and jackets, because it gets chilly.
How do you relate to the word ‘adrift’?
I relate to it quite a bit. On a literal level, I love traveling and experiencing new food, terrain and cultures. In day-to-day life, lately I’ve been trying to loosen the reigns more, follow my passions and be open to where it takes me. I’ve been a freelancer for the past year, which has been a huge change. Before that I had always worked in an office.