Hey everyone, sorry it has been SO long. I have just about successfully battled the flu, and I am BEYOND ready to get back to life. I definitely do not recommend the flu to anyone and I highly recommend the flu shot. Since I am finally feeling better, I figured I would write a little something while I am stuck up in my apartment on a Saturday night, sparing the city of New York from my germs.
Weeks ago my friend Miranda tagged me in her blog post, "My 5 Words" where she chose 5 words (self-explanatory) that she wants to be inspired by and remembered every day.
I've been thinking a lot lately about the question, "what makes one happy?" I suppose this is also the timeless question of any writer, poet and human on earth. Being happy is a personal thing, it doesn't have to do with anything or anyone but yourself. It is a choice and can only come from you. But that doesn't make it easy because the hardest thing to find in this life, in my experience, is your ever-changing self.
So keeping this in mind, here are my 5 words.
I've been so stressed over the thought of finding my new groove. I find myself worrying that I won't discover where I fit in or where I belong. But I think sitting in my apartment for the past few days really taught me that nothing will change if I don't get out there and find the things that make me happy. A huge part of this is being completely fearless in trying new things. It is so easy to be shy but I know that isn't truly me. Taking the risk and trusting yourself takes a fearless attitude.
I am trying to take the step back and find happiness and satisfaction in the non-materialistic things in life. We don't need things. I downsized moving here for a reason and I am striving to live my life this way from now on. I am also starting to spend more and more time without makeup on. If you know me, you know I love makeup. I love putting it on, trying different products and watching beauty YouTubers. But I am saving the makeup for work and nights out. I am so surprised with how comfortable I am becoming in my own natural skin. The more I see myself with a bare face, the more beautiful I start to feel with it.
I am embracing the simple state of mind, environment and body.
I am applying the word "nourish" into two aspects of my life.
The first is working towards a diet that consists of no processed foods, dairy or anything that does not make my body feel its best. I'm starting to discover a new level of a well-nourished body and how it positively affects one's life. I am learning more each day about the "right" times to eat, the best snacks for the metabolism, exercise strategies and just the overall best well-rounded way to a healthy life.
The second way I think about the word nourish is the nourishment of the mind. I want to focus more on finding "extracurriculars" like writing groups, poetry clubs or maybe a volunteer group that can really help me hone in on mental nourishment. If any New Yorkers out there have suggestions, let me know!
On a semi-related note, does anyone have any meditation tips?
It is very easy to get too wrapped up in wanting a specific way of life that we are too controlling of every move and don't leave room for the unexpected. With any journey or experience I face, I am trying to remember that things can always take a turn and present something never expected. I think a lot of the time these unexpected twists are what change your life the most.
Solitude (a lot of "S" words)
I honestly love spending time with myself. Some people always like being with other people, but I love being alone. Don't get me wrong, I also love hanging out, I have always been quite the social butterfly...I mean, that's what my teachers always told my parents at conferences! I think that it is important to spend time on your own though, really reflect on yourself and your path. Remember that it's ok to just take a walk alone or go enjoy a book or a coffee shop by yourself. When life gets crazy, taking some "me" time is never a bad thing.
Those are my 5 words to live by, for now.
Before I start this post, I just want to say that I am trying to be a little more open and honest /transparent with my blog posts. After the overwhelming response to "Life update: 6 important post- grad lessons," I have a stronger feel for how sharing my thoughts and emotions can help others. So I'm going to try and incorporate that more.
Keep reaching out! I seriously love hearing how you are all relating.
So, I made it. I'm writing my first blog post sitting in my new apartment in the one and only New York City. I honestly still can't believe it happened. OnJuly 14, 2017, I wrote this post on how I had decided I was going to "move" to the city. "Moving" then was just coming here with a suitcase and hoping for the best. And through many ups and downs, learning how to navigate the subway and walking blocks in the wrong direction, the vision came true...I still walk blocks in the wrong direction but that just means I need to do less cardio at the gym. A silver lining, people.
In my mind, I pictured the second I moved here to be some sort of cure-all. As if my life would be suddenly perfect and I would be the happiest human on the earth. Don't get me wrong, I am happy. I have (out of pure luck) an awesome roommate, who happens to be a childhood friend, I work with cool people for a brand that I really love (check it out Jo + Jax) and I am totally loving my new apartment. So, you may ask, "Allie, what could possibly be wrong?"
The thing is, these factors don't take away from the fact that a place can't really feel like home overnight. Starting a new job is hard, no matter how great the circumstance may be. Living in a new place is hard, even if it's your dream location. I still miss my friends from school SO MUCH, every day. I miss the feeling of really knowing where I was and what I was doing. It's all a major adjustment.
I had such a strong sense of identity and now that identity, in a way, doesn't exist anymore. It will always be a part of who I am, but it's part of my past now. I have to find myself all over again. This feeling reminds me a lot of my freshman year of college actually. I wanted to transfer after my first year but realized that it would be the same anywhere I went. New is new.
Two weeks ago I moved into this apartment. My dad and I drove his Pathfinder from WeHa to the big apple, packed to the brim. My mom had to take the Metro-North separately because there was no room.
But let's rewind. How did I even find this place?
Let me tell you, apartment hunting in NYC is cut throat af. First of all, if you are looking for an apartment here, you best go see it first. Most listings are actually just stock photos of what the apartment "similar" to. And (shockingly) it is not anything close to similar. I mostly used an app called Street Easy, which is also a website. NYBits is a good resource as well. If you are looking to sublet or find a random roommate there are many Facebook groups you can apply to join, for example NYC Gypsy Housing. The day before I knew I was going to look at places, I scheduled all the viewings via the app. I was planning on seeing 6 places in one day.
I think that is the best way to do it because then you have them all fresh in your mind. Be sure to take video and photos of each place so you don't mix them up in your head. Also, the apartments go very quickly. Out of the 6 I had set up to view, I was only able to see 4 because 2 of them were rented out that morning. The first few places I went to were a complete dump! Hence why you must go look in person. Then we (Colleen and I) got lucky and viewed our current apartment. We knew right away that it was a steal and we told the guy we wanted to apply.
Things to look for in the apartment:
- Where is the closest subway stop? Is it a good subway line?
- How far would your commute be?
- Where is the laundry?
- Where is the grocery store?
- Does the apartment building door lock? And can you buzz people in? (Safer)
- Do the toilets flush?
- Is the shower gross?
- How are the appliances? Do they work? Check. Turn on the stove and sinks.
- Is heat/hot water included? What utilities do you pay?
- Go to the neighborhood at night. Is it sketchy?
- IS THERE A HISTORY OF RODENTS OR BUGS? (Idk about you all, but this was a very important part for me. You can google it for most buildings also.)
Logistical things to know about getting an apartment in NYC:
Have a lot of money saved. You will (possibly/probably) need financially:
- Credit check application fee ~ $100
- First and last months rent
- A security deposit
- A brokers fee which is 12-15 percent of year rent (sometimes not always)
Get ready for HELLA paperwork:
- Photocopy of your ID
- Verification of employment
- Tax Returns
- Bank statement
- Last 3 pay stubs
- A possible guarantor
If you are just out of college, most private places will require a guarantor even if you and your roommate are making (or making over) the annual amount required. Don't dilly dally with this paperwork! If other people come along and apply faster than you do, you'll lose it. We may or may not have done that to someone trying to get this place... YA GOTTA BE QUICKER THAN THAT! (remember that commercial? lol.)
We signed the lease, we had the keys. Next step was moving in. We went and measured the room and I decided on a full-size bed instead of a queen to save space. We also don't have any closets in our rooms so getting a garment rack was key. Also, make sure you measure the width of the door openings because our bedroom doors are only 15 inches wide!
We are in a 5 story walk up on the 5th floor! So moving in was really fun!!
We moved in on a Saturday and I moved in earlier than Colleen which honestly worked out very well. If you try to move in at the same time it would just be so crazy and unorganized. By the time she got here, I had most of my things set up and put away. That gave her space to take over the living room with her things while she set up.
We ended up purchasing a couch on Amazon, my friend Lex gave us a coffee table (amazing) and then using an app called "Offer Up" to find our "kitchen" table. It's an app where people post things they are selling or putting on the street for free and all you have to do is figure out how to transport it. So although the furniture may be cheap, don't forget you'll probably need a $30-$50 Uber XL to transport your purchases. This is still a more economical option to buying it new.
We still aren't quite done decorating, so I don't want to reveal too many shots of the place before I feel we are ready to showcase our place to the world. Don't worry, full apartment tour will happen soon.
Overall, the process is very stressful but also really exciting which takes away from the negative stress energy. Everyday New York City and Lexington Ave will start to feel more like home.
As always, I'll be keeping you posted.