Natalie Steen is the creative behind The Nat Note, a weekly newsletter that delivers ready-to-shop styles for women, kids and home in her signature collages. Nat saves us all many, many hours and endless rabbit holes perusing the internet (from Instagram and The Real Real to Etsy and 1stdibs) to come up with fresh and unique finds each week. When she’s not delivering curated shopping edits to inboxes, Natalie keeps busy by working as a lawyer, spending time with her son, and building on her recently launched children’s clothing line, Polimita Club. We caught up with our friend to chat about summer at home, some of her treasured tabletop pieces and a wildly inventive dream dinner party scenario (we didn't expect anything less).How are you keeping things festive at home right now?
I’d say dance parties in the kitchen with my son, Whit, are as festive as things are getting around here lately. He’s my sunshine on a cloudy (i.e. quarantined, work from home kinda) day.
What’s on the menu this this summer?
Pizza! My husband has mastered making pizza on the Big Green Egg. Not all heroes wear capes – ours wears an apron and doesn’t mind working up a charcoal-fueled sweat for the sake of some good ‘za.
"My favorite tabletop items are those that tell a story: woven rainbow placemats found on our honeymoon in Belize, candlesticks created by a friend who took up a ceramic-making quarantine hobby..Mixing pieces like this together makes for a festive table layered in meaning."
Can you share with us a few of your most loved tabletop pieces – old, new, found or gifted!
My favorite tabletop items are those that tell a story: woven rainbow placemats found on our honeymoon in Belize, candlesticks created by a friend who took up a ceramic-making quarantine hobby, hand-stitched napkins designed by a friend who realized her dream of launching a lifestyle brand (Elizabeth Lake!). Mixing pieces like this together makes for a festive table layered in meaning.
We know you enjoy a good theme and a great statement piece. What are some of your favorite party tricks?
I can’t quit the party goody bag. When I host, I love to treat guests with a playful, unexpected (sometimes a little naughty) something for them to grab on their way out – the party don’t stop when you leave my house.
Go-to hostess gifts?
I prefer to send something to ease hostess duties ahead of time (flowers or a bottle of champagne) and then follow up post-visit with a handwritten note.
You bring joy to our inboxes every Monday (well, Tuesday in Australia). Tell us about the origins of The Nat Note.
Thank you! The Nat Note started in 2017 – I was months in to my corporate law job and found myself awake and waiting for emails at strange hours, with not much else to do but online shop. I was sending a lot of “you should buy this” messages to friends, and eventually channeled this late-night, deep-diving, compulsive-shopping energy into what it is now: a newsletter to share the products and brands that catch my eye each week.
We love that you support small businesses and creatives across the board – from fashion and art to kids and homewares. What are some of the brands that you’re excited about right now?
Elizabeth Lake– it’s fashion for your table! Although the craftsmanship on Elizabeth Lake linens is reminiscent of traditional, age-old embroidery styles, the hand appliqué designs are fun and modern. I’m a big fan of mixing old with new and your label checks all the boxes.
Well, thank you!! For your new clothing line Polimita Club, you’ve designed limited edition collections of children’s resort wear using vintage fabrics! How did this adorable and unique collection come to life?
My love of a retro print and newfound role as a “boy mom” were the main drivers behind the creation of Polimita Club. Everything about childhood should be fun – including getting dressed. The patterns on the vintage fabrics we use pack a punch – they’re as colorful and vibrant as the personalities of the littles ones who wear them, who are bound to have fun while doing so.
You’ve pursued these creative outlets while working as a full-time lawyer and mom to one and a half year old Whit. What advice do you have for women who are interested to dip their toes into something new?
Come on in, the water’s fine! Any new or creative pursuit carries so much “what if” baggage – but try to ignore the negative ones (what if I’m no good?, what if I regret it?) and instead focus on the positives (what if this becomes bigger and better than anything I imagined?, what if this is exactly what I’m supposed to do?).
IT'S THE DINNER PARTY OF YOUR DREAMS.. SET THE TABLE FOR US!
What: Live and Let Dine - a James Bond-themed dinner party
Where: My imaginary mid-century house in Palm Springs
What to wear: All must dress in theme – gentlemen in tuxedos/white dinner jackets, ladies in whatever fabulous outfit they wish; I’m likely wearing sequins and/or feathers.
On the Table: Candles, flowers, a polaroid camera being passed around
Under At the end of the Table: A caricature artist drawing each guest – a memento of the night everyone gets to take home with them
On the Plate: A menu written in riddles and invisible ink – guests are provided with those mini red magnifying glasses to reveal the riddles and break the ice by trying to decipher what’s for dinner (mini red magnifying glasses to also serve as polaroid photo props)
In the Glass: Strong, delicious & never-empty cocktails
Around the Table: Sounds of happy guests having lively conversations over funky tunes – there should also be a pool in the vicinity (for late night shenanigans).