Advice

Advice on Moving and Changes

Advice on Moving and ChangesSo many of us are going through major transitions and life changes right now. Maybe you’re moving apartments, selling your home, relocating to an entirely different city, looking for a new job, or just simply managing this “new normal” way of living. I wanted to share a bit of my past experiences for those of you trying to navigate this time. No RegretsIn the past 10 years I’ve moved 7 times – 3 of which were cross country! Though tiring, I have never regretted a single move. That’s what your 20s are for – exploring new places, trying new things and figuring out what you like or don’t like. In the beginning, it has always felt a bit scary acclimating to a new neighborhood, city, and/or state, but it’s also been incredibly exhilarating! Overcoming the challenge of settling into a space is so rewarding and has pushed me to grow and develop in ways I never would have. Benefits of MovingWith each move, I’ve gained invaluable knowledge and skills. I’ve met wonderful people and made lifelong connections. I’ve discovered amazing restaurants, hotels, and boutiques. And I’ve been able to see and experience so many unique places all over the country. Most importantly, I’ve been able to become the independent, capable woman I am today. All of my solo adventures and challenges, laid the foundation for the relationship I have with Thomas. I cannot begin to express how important it is to be able to accomplish certain things on your own before entering into a long term partnership. This advice not only applies to romantic relationships, but also friendships and business ventures. You really need to be able to stand on your own two feet before fully committing to another person otherwise the relationship will always be disproportionate. What I’ve Learned From Each MoveFrom AZ to NYC: Straight out of college, at 22, I moved from my hometown Phoenix, AZ to Queens, NY. I didn’t have a job yet – and barely had a penny to my name (except the cash I made from selling my car.) A friend (who is now one of my best friends and operates all things WLFK!) kindly let me rent a room for next to nothing in the house her mom grew up in. I pounded the pavement applying to a zillion jobs, and was lucky enough to reconnect with a childhood friend who put me in touch with her sorority sister who worked at a jewelry company. And I landed an interview and started working there the very next week – it was meant to be. I took the bus to Herald Square Monday-Friday and lived off 99 cent Ray’s pizza and Hale + Hearty salads. I relished eating my lunch in Bryant Park on a hot summer day and doing happy hours after work with new friends. That first year in NYC was one of the best years of my life. I proved to myself that I could move across country, find a job, navigate the city, and make new friends. From Queens to Upper East Side: After a year and a half of living in Queens and commuting into the city, my long distance college boyfriend decided to move to NYC from AZ, and we found a cute walk up apartment on the Upper East Side. I felt like I hit the jackpot being able to rent a real NYC apartment with exposed brick, walking distance to Central Park. I LOVED exploring the UES and discovered tons of gorgeous parks, museums and shops during my 2 years there. The Carl Schurz park is a true hidden gem in the city if you’re ever in the area. And the Frick Collection will always be a favorite of mine! From UES to West Village: After I quit my job to blog full time, I started venturing downtown more regularly and quickly fell in love with the charm of the West Village. Brick townhouses with ivy growing up the sides, quaint cafes with outdoor bistro tables, and quiet tree lined streets had me longing to move there. I found the most darling 2 bedroom apartment in a building on Waverly Place and Bank that was built in the 1920s. I had the quintessential NYC fire escape and a view overlooking hundred year old townhouses. So I relished every second of living in that space and neighborhood… I still love it just as much today as I did back then. I made friends with my super and all of my neighbors, got to know the local baristas and bartenders, became a regular at so many yummy spots, and really felt at home there. And I would run along the West Side Highway at sunset every night – it was my medicine. From West Village to Paris: After 2 years in the West Village and a devastating breakup with my longtime boyfriend, I needed a major change. The apartment we shared together constantly reminded me of him and us. Although I knew deep down he wasn’t “the one” it was still so painful. He had been my best friend for almost 8 years and to go through life without him for those first few months was gut wrenching. So one of my girlfriends had recently moved to London and invited me to come spend the summer with her and encouraged me to move to Europe. I had always wanted to live in Europe and loved Paris, so I thought of it as the study abroad I never had. I rented an apartment in the St. Germain area of Paris and was able to travel all over Europe – to Ibiza, St. Tropez, London and the English countryside that summer. It was an absolute blast and exactly what I needed to mend my broken heart. The change of pace/scenery/culture was SO refreshing. So I decided I wanted to move there full time and began looking into visas, tax laws, and French classes. Unfortunately, toward the end of the summer, something I’ve never shared is – I got robbed in broad daylight. Suddenly I found myself living in a foreign country with no ID, no credit/debit cards, no cash, and no friends or family nearby. It was a complete shock to my system, and helped me understand that it wasn’t a good idea for me to move to a foreign country when I didn’t have a safety net. I came back to my West Village apartment and realized how much I had missed my friends and life in NYC. The universe works in mysterious ways, and it was a sign that Paris was not meant to be! From West Village to LA: I spent another year in West Village after Paris and had a ton of fun dating and enjoying single life in the city. And I felt like I finally hit my stride and embraced being single. I was going out to dinner and drinks every night and taking full advantage of everything the city had to offer. The work opportunities that were coming my way were once in a lifetime, and it was so special being able to meet in person with brands and founders. But then my digestion/stomach issues hit. Everyday I would wake up doubled over in stomach pain, bloated, and sick. I went from doctor to doctor trying to figure out what was wrong, but no one had the right solution. Frustrated and still single, I realized I really needed to focus on self care and my health. With my nonstop lifestyle in NYC, I felt like I couldn’t. I had always wanted to move to LA and I felt really drawn to the ocean. After road tripping through LA for a month, I knew Venice Beach was the town I belonged in. I found a great house 3 blocks from the beach and moved all of my belongings across country. LA was just what I needed at that time in my life. It was laid back, health conscious, and the weather was to die for! The sunshine, ocean, and overall lifestyle grounded and healed me. A friend I had met there, told me about her stomach problems and histamine intolerance. I had never heard of it before, but as soon as I read about it, I realized that could be what was causing all of my digestion issues. I eliminated high histamine food for a year (and still do to this day), and I haven’t had any stomach issues since. So I am forever grateful for meeting her and being introduced to that. So many good things came from my time in LA; from getting my dog Charlie at Vanderpump Dogs, to reconnecting with one of my best friends from college, to exploring all of the different parts of LA, and falling in love with my next door neighbor! Getting a dog opened my heart up to love again, and helped me find and show love in a relationship. Derek taught me so much and although we ultimately wanted different things in life, I’m so happy I met him. From LA to Soho: After 2 years in LA, I was feeling re-energized and centered. I had visited friends in NYC in the fall, and was surprised to find myself missing it. The hustle/bustle and buzz was intoxicating and I wanted to be back amongst the excitement. Derek and I talked about moving to NYC together, but ultimately realized we weren’t compatible long term, so he took a great job opportunity in SF while I moved to NYC. The second I moved back to NYC I knew in my bones I was where I was supposed to be. It felt so good to be back! I threw a huge housewarming party and one of my friends posted a picture of us on her Instagram. Funny enough, a guy who I had been on 1 date with 5 years prior (Thomas, who btw I liked back then, but the timing was all wrong because I moved to Paris the following week!), commented and said he remembered me and asked if I was still single. Our mutual friend reconnected us and we went out on our “second 1st date” a few days later! It was then that we both immediately knew that was it. We’ve been inseparable ever since and he moved in shortly after. Out of all of the neighborhoods I’ve lived in, Soho has been my favorite. It’s so full of life! The diversity, culture, restaurants, shops, hotels, art, people – it’s just constantly inspiring and interesting. Everyday I see or hear something new. What’s NextSo that was pretty much a long winded way of saying; Don’t be afraid to move! Don’t be afraid of change! Get out of your comfort zone. Open yourself up to new people, places, opportunities. Challenge yourself and grow, learn, progress. You can always move back! You can always move out! And you don’t have to stay anywhere. The world is truly your oyster. So keep an open mind, and trust the process. Lean into uncertainty. You don’t have to have all of the answers, or have everything figured out before making a change. You can figure it out along the way! In fact, that’s what I have always done. I’ve come to really understand what people mean when they say, “Life’s about the journey, not the destination.” Because it’s the journey that opens us up to these wonderful chance encounters, it’s the journey that introduces us to these friends, lovers, and places that will forever be a part of us. So, if you’re feeling like you’re in limbo or not sure what to do next, just know that you are not alone. Trust yourself, and listen to whatever your gut is telling you. For me personally, I’m doing a whole lot of thinking right now (serial over thinker right here LOL.) Thomas and I love NYC, our apartment and our neighborhood, but with everything going on in the world, and so many things changing around us, we too are re-evaluating where we want to be now – and long term. We aren’t making any decisions quite yet, but instead just talking, listening, and paying attention to what feels right for us. We are focusing on all of the things we have to be grateful for rather than dwelling on what is out of our control. That said, it is a really great time to switch things up and try something new. Head to that city you’ve always wanted to live in – even if it’s just for a year. Or relish and enjoy quality time with your family rather than rushing back to your apartment. I know I can’t wait to see my dad in Arizona once it’s safe to fly again! Wherever you are, I hope you are safe. I hope you are healthy. And I hope that you listen to your gut and let it guide you. Helpful ArticlesHow To Find An Apartment in NYC 10 Things That Improved My Life How To Get Over A Breakup How To Find A Therapist What is a Histamine Intolerance? My Travel App
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Learning How To Be An Ally

I am deeply horrified, saddened, and overwhelmed with a feeling of helplessness by the racial injustice taking place in America today. I’ve spent these past few days educating myself, trying to stay informed, and looking for ways to take action against this unjust reality. I am committed to being an ally. I am committed to being actively anti-racist, because simply being “not racist” is not enough. Being an ally to me, means continuing to educate myself, listening to black men and women, signing petitions, donating to charities that advocate for POC, regularly talking to my friends and family about these issues, teaching my future children from a young age how to be an ally, supporting and encouraging brands to show diversity on their platforms, voting, taking the census, calling + writing to representatives, and standing up for injustice when I see it. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. And as I become more informed and educated on this topic, I will be updating and adding to this post. No one should be treated differently because of the color of their skin. No one deserves to be living in fear or suppressing themselves in order to not get arrested, profiled, ridiculed, or killed. I will never be able to know or understand what black men and women in America have been through, but I will stand with them. I will speak up, I will take action. None of us have all of the answers, but we must start somewhere. Learning How To Be An Ally Have conversations about racial injustice with your family and friends – this video really helped me start Talk to your kids or commit to talking to your future children about this – here’s a list of some great books Educate yourself by reading about racial injustice – I just ordered this book Support and encourage more brands to represent and work with POC Support black owned businesses – I have a lot of research to do here Check in on your black friends and let them know that you’re thinking of them and there for them Request an absentee ballot so you can vote without contact Vote during the primaries for state and local officials, not just during the presidential election Take the census – it’s how the government decides how much funding your community will get for schools, hospitals and more Donate to the NAACP Donate to the The Loveland Foundation Donate to George Floyd’s family Text FLOYD to 55156 to sign the petition Contact state and local leaders Take a stand against injustice when you see it Use your voice and your power to bring awareness to this important issue whether it be on social media, or elsewhere Continue having these conversations and taking action weeks, months, years from now The last thing that I will say, is that everyone has a voice. So please use yours in a positive way. Don’t let the fear of misspeaking hold you back. We are all human and no one is perfect. This quote really resonated with me, “Empathy: Let me hold the door for you. I may have never walked in your shoes, but I can see your soles are worn, your strength is torn under the weight of a story I have never lived before. Let me hold the door for you. After all you’ve walked through, It’s the least I can do.” -MHN
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Life As An Introvert

Growing up I was definitely more of a reserved kid. I was a TOTAL bookworm and threw myself into my homework and art projects. I loved playing make-believe in my treehouse, or accompanying my mom antique shopping. And I was happiest either one on one with someone – or completely alone. I loathed group activities and projects. They stressed me out, exhausted me. And I felt like I couldn’t get anything done with everyone talking over one another. Please No Summer Camp!My parents forced me to do group activities though – everything from softball to swimming, volleyball and track. I lasted about 1 year in each sport and would beg them not to make me go back. I wanted to take art classes (which were always calm + quiet). Or focus on my studies from the comfort of my home. I realize I’m making myself out to sound like a total nerd…welp I still am! My sister on the other hand, was SO outgoing. Obsessed with club volleyball, soccer team captain, always blowing off her homework to have huge choreographed dance parties with her friends in our driveway, and would go to sleep away camp for months over the summer. I can’t even begin to talk about how much I hated camp lol…. A Fish Out Of WaterMy best friends in middle school were semi introverted, but not on the level that I was. So I always felt like a fish out of water amongst my peers. That feeling stuck with me throughout high school, college and beyond. I somehow always gravitated to a more outgoing friend or group of friends (maybe because I so badly wanted to be seen as outgoing and also didn’t fit in with the “shy” crowd), and this left me feeling constantly out of place, confused and misunderstood. For basically my entire life, I tried to hide my introversion. It was impossible though. Like clock work, after I’d done too much socializing, I’d eventually get insanely drained and make up an excuse that I had to go home to grab something, had to work, didn’t feel well, couldn’t make it to the party because of X,Y,Z etc… Stigma Around IntrovertsI was always embarrassed to admit I was an introvert because society certainly doesn’t celebrate introverts. Introverts have been mislabeled and misunderstood forever. People think introverts are shy and reclusive, but that just isn’t the case. I’ve never thought of myself as shy – I love meeting new people and feel very comfortable walking into a room full of strangers and striking up conversation. I also LOVE to travel. Exploring new places and discovering hidden gems is one of my greatest passions. A Book About IntrovertsIt wasn’t until I read the book Quiet last year, that I came to fully understood and embrace the definition of an introvert. Susan Cain, the author behind Quiet, defines introverts as having “a preference for a quiet, more minimally stimulating environment. Introverts tend to enjoy quiet concentration, listen more than they talk, and think before they speak, and have a more circumspect and cautious approach to risk. Introverts think more, are less reckless and focus on what really matters – relationships and meaningful work.” Cain shares that between “one-third and one-half of Americans may be classified as introverts, though individuals fall at different places along an introvert-extrovert spectrum.” Those people are called ambiverts. Yep, I’m A Textbook IntrovertUp until this quarantine 51 days ago, I considered myself pretty 50/50 on the introvert-extrovert spectrum. I mean, I love going to a good party, catching up with friends, being out + about in NYC – it excites me and makes me feel alive! However I also really love my downtime at home reading, writing, creating and dreaming. Whether I go in or stay out really depends on my mood or the situation. BUT the majority of the time, as in about 90% of the time, I am perfectly content – actually over the moon – staying home by myself or with one or two people I love. I would choose staying home or doing something intimate and quiet, over a loud event, dinner, or party any day. Embracing IntroversionThe blessing and silver lining behind this quarantine for me personally, has been that after all of these years I’ve finally come to terms with just how introverted I really am. I feel SO grounded and content after this time at home, away from the pressure I have felt for years from both myself and others to go out, out, out and do so.many.things! In reality, my fun is recharging at home. Immersing myself in creative projects, cooking, teaching myself new things, and having low key movie nights cuddled with Charlie and T. May I add that I feel very fortunate to even have the option to stay home while so many others don’t! Anyways, when this is all over, will I be sooooo excited to throw on my heels and attend a fabulous party, dine out at a restaurant, and hug my friends? YES OF COURSE! DUH! But, knowing me, I will probably be ready to kick my heels off, throw my sweats on and get cozy about an hour or two in ;) To My Fellow IntrovertsTo all of my closet, or not-so-closet introverts and ambiverts, out there I feel you and I get you! Let’s change the stigma around introversion and be proud of what makes us who we are. If you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and read Quiet even if you’re not an introvert. My friend Grace wrote an amazing review on it in case you need more convincing. It’s truly an eye opening read that will help you understand not only yourself, but the people in your life.
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Photography Equipment

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while! I shared a few basic photography tips on my IG stories the other day and was BLOWN away by the amount of feedback and questions I received. I was originally planning on writing a post dedicated to both my photography equipment + tips/tricks but it was WAY too long, so I’ve broken them up into 2 posts. This is Part 1 which focuses on my equipment! Photography Equipment I’ve owned several cameras and photography tools over the years, but the ones listed below are the current products I use. In terms of where I’ve bought them, half have come from Amazon and half have come from B&H or the Adorama store in NYC. What’s great about those stores is that you can trade in your old camera(s) for $ or put them towards credit for a new one. If you’re wondering about buying used/refurbished cameras, I’ve bought several refurbished camera bodies and lenses and been very happy with all of them. It’s a great way to save hundreds – sometimes thousands of dollars on the equipment you want. Just make sure to buy anything from a trusted source like B&H or Adorama. Camera Body Canon 5D Mark III This is the perfect camera body for both amateurs and professionals. The Canon 5D Mark IV is the latest version. It’s essentially the same, but it has wifi which is great for transferring images quickly. Do not skimp on buying a padded travel case for your camera. I have this one from Manfrotto. FYI NEVER check or store your camera in your suitcase. Always keep it secure in your carry on bag or purse – this goes for your lens as well! Camera Lens Canon 50mm f1.2 This is the lens I use to take all of my blog photos with (when I’m not shooting with a professional photographer.) It takes the most gorgeous photos and I cannot recommend it enough. The Canon 50mm f1.4 is essentially the same lens for a fraction of the price BUT it broke on me twice despite being super careful with it because it’s made of plastic. It’s just not a sturdy lens in my opinion and after replacing it twice (it would have cost almost the same to repair it as to buy a new one) I should have just bought the 1.2 from the beginning. If you plan on traveling with your camera at all, invest in the 50mm f1.2. And 100% invest in a lens case to go with it. Every time I travel with my camera, I detach the lens from the camera body and store each separately in padded cases to protect them from bumps, water spills, etc. This set of 4 lens cases will fit a variety of lenses and is only $20. Sigma 18-35 f1.8 for Canon lens I use this lens to shoot wide angle shots like a travel landscape photo or an interior decor shot of an entire room. (The 50mm lens I mentioned before is a fixed lens so you can’t zoom OUT and capture something like an entire skyscraper.) What I love about the Sigma is that it’s relatively affordable, and can be a universal lens if you don’t want to invest in both the 50mm and this one. I’ve never found a lens that can capture both close up/beauty/fashion photos and landscape shots as well as this one can. Video Camera Sony a5100 16-50mm This is a small handheld camera that can fit in your purse. It comes with a flip up screen so you can see yourself when you’re filming which is really helpful. If you’re interested in taking on-the-fly video content or vlogging, this is a great camera. The Canon 5D Mark III has video capabilities but it’s quite heavy and not ideal for vlogging. The pictures come out decent on this Sony camera so it’s a nice option if you don’t want to carry a big DSLR camera around. DJI Mavic Mini If you’re looking for a professional grade drone that’s travel friendly, you’ll want to invest in this one. The DJI Mavic Mini is such a cool device and I’m so happy Thomas got it! It folds up in the palm of your hand and can fit in any purse. It’s small enough to be legal in most places and delivers the clearest, high res video footage. iPhone I take 99% of my Instagram pictures and videos on my iPhone now. The quality has gotten so good and it’s just so convenient! Equipment Riki light This is the small ring light I use for my beauty videos on Instagram or Youtube. I recently got it last month and so far love it. A ton of other bloggers use it as well. It really makes a difference in terms of lighting and skin tone in both photos and video. Your iPhone seamlessly clips into the middle of the mirror. Large Ring Light As I was writing this post, I realized I bought this large ring light 3 years ago and have never used it – oops! It’s sitting in my storage closet untouched. It’s quite big and I’ve just been too preoccupied to figure out how to set it up! Plus I really like shooting in natural light and make sure to only shoot on sunny days. A larger ring light is great if you don’t have good lighting in your home, or if there’s a dark corner in the background that needs to be brighter. It also helps brighten/soften your skin texture in photos. Tripod I bought a tripod for my Canon 5D Mark III in case of emergencies (if I ever needed to shoot myself at home.) I haven’t used it yet because Thomas is a great photographer, but it’s definitely nice to have as a back up. And it’s ideal for filming video, or shooting interior shots if your hand is a bit shaky! Editing Software Lightroom I import any photo I want to use into Lightroom and then edit it with a few easy steps that I will share in my next post. Photoshop After I edit my photos in Lightroom I drag them into Photoshop to finish. I tweak a few things which I will share in the next post! That’s it for my cameras and equipment! I am looking to invest in a Leica in the near future because I’ve been wanting a camera that is smaller than my Canon to travel with, but still right up there in terms of image quality. Everyone who has owned a Leica has raved about it to me, so that will be my next splurge. I hope this post was helpful!
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