Advice

How To Find An Apartment in NYC

Looking for a rental apartment in NYC can be a bit of a nightmare. Sketchy real estate agents, false listings, insane prices, and hidden fees galore are what you come to expect. I’ve lived in 4 different places over the course of 7 years and learned A LOT during this time. I’m going to share all of my tips, tricks and any general information you should know when it comes to apartment hunting in NYC. How To Find An Apartment in NYC You don’t have to hire a real estate agent in NYC to find a rental apartment. I’ve found all of my apartments on my own through either: Streeteasy.com, Zillow.com, or Craigslist.org. I’ve looked on Apartments.com, but never gone to see a listing from there in person. Don’t underestimate Craigslist – there are a lot of sketchy/false listings on there for sure, but if you comb through it, you’ll end up finding a legit listing like I did for my old West Village apartment. Each time I was ready to move, I basically STALKED these websites everyday and pounced on new listings that popped up. The key is acting FAST which I’ll talk more about below… If you don’t have time to be actively searching, looking and sifting through listings, then absolutely hire a realtor – but like I said, I’ve had great luck at finding spots on my own! If you’re interested in buying an apartment and need a realtor for that – email me because I know a great one who specializes in sales! How To Choose An Apartment Narrow your search down based on neighborhoods (I highly recommend walking around TONS of areas so you get a feel for them!), proximity to work, price, size, and amenities. Call and email each agent for the listing you’re interested in, and set up several appointments back to back in 1 weekend. You’ll want to see a handful of spaces so you can compare them. Then do your research. Is the apartment right next to a fire station or popular bar? Has it been infected with bed bugs recently? You can easily find that information by typing in the address to a Google search. Does the management agency have bad reviews online? (Honestly most do, so don’t let that be a total deciding factor…) Once you’ve found the place you love, put in an application immediately because places go quick – as in 1 day quick. A few hours could make all the world of a difference. How To Get The Apartment If you’re serious about moving, then you should have ALL of the paperwork for an application ready to go and saved on your desktop. Typically an apartment will want; past 2-3 paystubs (cross out any secure information), past 2-3 months of bank statements (cross out your account numbers), proof of income (in NYC your annual salary needs to be at least 40x the monthly rent, if you don’t meet that requirement you’ll need a parent or someone who does to co-sign it for you), and a credit report. If you’re trying to rent in a co-op building you’ll need the paperwork I mentioned above, plus letters of reference from past coworkers, friends, and landlords. You’ll also have to write an introduction letter about yourself. I recommend including a “cover letter” in your regular apartment application even if they don’t require it – bonus points! If it’s a co-op building, the approval process can take up to 60 days (usually it’s 30 though); so plan accordingly. Sometimes you’ll have to do an interview with the board of the building so just be prepared! The biggest thing I’ve found is that if you want an apartment you need to ACT FAST and have everything ready to go immediately after seeing + loving it. When To Look For An Apartment You’ll find the best deals aka lowest monthly rent – in the winter. Summer is prime time when all of the new graduates are moving to the city and many people are relocating, so prices and places are higher and more in demand. You should start looking and seeing places about 1 month in advance. Any further out than that would be unnecessary unless you’re set on moving into a co-op building (which could take 2 months for approval), or if you don’t mind paying rent before you’re ready to move in. Most places will approve your application within a few days. If a place is empty it will most likely be ready immediately, or it could take a few weeks until the other tenants move out and they clean/repaint. Be sure to ask the listing agent for details. Things To Look Out For Don’t sign a real estate broker agreement first thing when you walk in the door of an apartment. They often try to rope you into signing one which basically says that you HAVE to pay a commission to that person/their company if you rent the apartment they’ve shown you regardless of how much leg work they’ve done. Tell them you’re looking at multiple apartments and haven’t decided on which real estate agent or agency you want to work with and you’ll get back to them. If you like them, and are willing to work with them EXCLUSIVELY, then sign it – but READ THE FINE PRINT. I always recommend meeting with several different people in a profession before deciding on ONE to work with. This goes for lawyers, accountants, doctors, therapists, etc. The ball is in your court as the customer. You really want to find a real estate agent who is going to be ON IT and has YOUR best interests in mind. If the apartment you’re looking at is a sublease, which many Craigslist ads are for (my apartment in the West Village wasn’t; it was directly through the building’s management agency), then you need to make sure that the person leasing to YOU is allowed to sublease. You can look into this by seeing their original lease or going straight to the owner/management agency for the building. Make sure there aren’t random building fees that you’re responsible for ON TOP of the rent in a sublease situation too. Again, READ THE FINE PRINT. Check to make sure the building you love hasn’t been repeatedly infested with critters. Often times, what can happen in an older building is, (I’ve heard too many horror stories from friends…) you’ll have a tenant who’s been residing there for 40+ years, is a total hoarder, and refuses to allow anyone inside to spray, so the building continues to get re-infested and the problem never goes away. In addition to critters, you should ask the listing agent or building managers about construction plans for the area; because you certainly don’t want to move into a place and hear drilling for a year straight. Lastly, DO NOT WIRE MONEY to anyone that you are not 100% sure of is legit. Wire transfer frauds happen ALL THE TIME. Be Willing To Sacrifice If you want to live in NYC you’re going to have to sacrifice something. No apartment is perfect. Maybe it doesn’t have a washer/dryer in the building, maybe it doesn’t have an elevator, maybe it’s extremely small, but in a great neighborhood, maybe it’s big, but not in the greatest neighborhood, etc…. You ultimately need to figure out what you’re willing to sacrifice and what’s most important. I will share the things that I sacrificed early on and never cared/minded: no doorman, no microwave, tiny kitchen, no washer/dryer in building, no view, and no AC. Having a doorman is great, but if you can get a PO Box or send packages to your office then do that. Having a tiny kitchen with no microwave honestly isn’t a big deal. You eat out in NYC so much or order take out that it’s just not a huge inconvenience. Not having a washer/dryer in your building isn’t a big deal either because it’s so easy to find a dry cleaner to pick up and drop off laundry. Not having a good view never really affected me as long as I had good natural light. And lastly, barely anyone has central AC in NYC. I always just bought a window unit from Home Depot and installed it in the summer, then placed it in storage for the rest of the year – no big deal. Things that I wouldn’t be willing to negotiate for now (and again this is just me/my personal preferences; we are all different): elevator, neighborhood, good natural light, and low noise levels. Having an elevator is a game changer for heavy suitcases when you’re traveling and God forbid if you ever break something. Decent natural light from windows is important during those dark, dreary winter months. Neighborhood is SUPER important to me because it’s what I’m exposed to every single day when I walk out my door. I want to love the restaurants, shops, hotels, people, parks, architecture, and the overall vibe I’m surrounded by. And in terms of noise; it’s NYC so you’re never going to have total peace and quiet, but of course, there are certain areas that are more quiet than others. Just be cognizant of where your apartment is situated and ask things like; Is it overlooking a busy street or in the back of a building where the noise is muffled? Is it near a fire station? A bar? A nightclub? A school? A hospital? A construction site? All things to be aware of! Cost of Living in NYC + Negotiating Tips It’s no secret that housing in NYC is expensive. I can’t say exactly how much you should pay because I don’t know your financial situation. I also can’t say how much a typical apartment costs because prices vary widely much based on neighborhood, building, amenities, etc. When you’re looking for an apartment, be sure to do ample research and compare the price per square footage of other similar apartments in the area to the one you’re looking at. You should look at past rentals in the same building (Streeteasy provides this info) to see if they compare to the apartment you’re interested in, and what rent those tenants were paying going back as far as 2 years. You can use that as leverage if you’re trying to negotiate the monthly rent. Usually, you can finagle a little bit off the asking price, so don’t be afraid to offer $100-$200 less per month for rent. If you REALLY want the apartment and think it’s a pretty fair price, then be careful not to low ball because you might lose out on it. You can usually negotiate the broker’s fee down too so don’t be afraid to say you only want to pay 1 months rent; not 15% of the yearly rent. I have always had to pay a brokers fee even when they barely did anything. It’s just how this game works, but I’ve never paid more than 1 months rent. If you’re hesitant on getting a roommate in the city – don’t be! It’s extremely cost effective and really nice when you’re just getting started! Where To Live In NYC – Neighborhoods Every neighborhood has something special to offer. And everyone’s preferences are so different. Maybe you have kids and want more of a residential, tree lined street feel. I’d recommend certain parts of the West Village, Tribeca, or Brooklyn; particularly Brooklyn Heights/Cobble Hill. Maybe you are fresh out of college and want something super safe, quiet, and affordable. I’d recommend the Upper East Side. Maybe you’re single and love going out, so you want a lively neighborhood close to the best restaurants and bars. I’d recommend Soho or West Village. Maybe you don’t want to feel like you’re living in the city. I’d recommend Brooklyn. The best way to figure out what neighborhood is ideal for you is to walk around it. And if you’re really unsure, rent an Airbnb or hotel room in the area for a few days to get the full experience. I’ve most recently lived in Soho and West Village and have only amazing things to say about both neighborhoods. If those neighborhoods didn’t exist I’d probably live in Noho or Tribeca. There are SO many wonderful neighborhoods though, so be open and see what sticks out to you! Move-In Tips Before you move in, I recommend doing a walk through to make sure that everything is in tip-top shape. The walls should have been repainted, the apartment should have been deep cleaned, and all appliances should work. Test things out – turn on the hot and cold water, run the dishwasher, open the fridge, and make sure all of the windows lock. Before you move your furniture in, I’d highly suggest getting an exterminator to come in and spray + seal any holes. This is NYC and something we all need to think about. Critters come up through the back of the oven, holes in closets, gaps in doors, etc so be smart and seal your place early on. Also, if you have a fire escape outside your apartment, I would get a wood bar from Home Depot to put in your window as an extra safety precaution. Speaking of fire – get a fire extinguisher to keep under your kitchen sink. You never know when you’ll need it! And lastly, if you don’t have a dead bolt, add one. I hope I covered all of your questions about finding an apartment in NYC! It can be a daunting experience – and stressful for sure, but in the end it’s so worth it to live in the best city in the world. Feel free to leave any questions below!
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How To Clean Out Your Closet

I’ve been cleaning out my closet regularly since I was 10 years old. I remember my mom sitting me down at the beginning of every season to go through my toys, desk and wardrobe. She would have me create 3 piles; Keep, Donate, and Trash. When people ask how I stay so clean and organized today, it is without a doubt because of this system which began at such a young age! Marie Kondo has made cleaning out your closet a “thing” and shown a light on the importance of de-cluttering. I love that she’s made it mainstream and helped me so many people feel more light, organized and SANE! It’s amazing how you can feel so unproductive, stressed, and foggy surrounded by clutter and junk isn’t it? I always say, I can never get anything done until everything is put away and my house feels neat + tidy. Having less STUFF of course makes cleaning WAY easier. Being a blogger, I am constantly inundated with STUFF so I have to be really strategic about how I utilize my space, which is why I routinely clean out my closet. Living in NYC, and being short on space makes being neat, organized, and selective even more crucial! I wanted to share tips on How To Clean Out Your Closet and what specific things I’ve learned over the years! How To Clean Out Your Closet How Often To Clean I clean out my closet every 4 months at the beginning of a season. This allows me to get rid of anything I didn’t wear, make note of anything I’ll need for the upcoming season, and push pieces to the front or back of my closet depending on the weather/frequency they’ll be worn. I usually spend a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. So about 5-6 hours really sifting through everything. How To Physically Do A Clean Out I go through everything one by one on hangers, in drawers, and on shelves. Anything that I’m not 100% sure of, gets draped on my bed/chair near a mirror so that I can try it on once I’m done. I place everything in 3 piles: Keep, Sell, or Donate. The Keep pile gets immediately hung up again and put out of the way. The Sell pile stays in the corner until I have enough natural light to photograph them for Poshmark, and the Donate pile goes in a shopping bag that I put by my front door which reminds me to get it OUT of the house! How To Decide What To Get Rid Of If you haven’t worn something in a year, get rid of it. I used to hold onto things and make up scenarios of when I would possibly wear it, and 99.9% of the time, those scenarios never happened. Be realistic with yourself and your life/lifestyle. Seriously though, if you haven’t gotten use out of it in a year then sell it and make room for something you will wear regularly! Also, if you’re holding onto things that are too small, you should probably get rid of them. I’m all for motivation, but I don’t think staring at a closet of clothes that are too small is healthy. Trust me, I know! Embrace your figure and be proud of your body. It is beautiful. Outfit your wardrobe with pieces that celebrate your size and body right NOW, not the body you wish you had or you used to have. As women, our bodies and sizes do fluctuate depending on hormones, the time of the month, holidays, etc. so I’m not saying throw everything that’s a little snug out, but if it’s 2-3 sizes too small, it’s probably time to let them go. Lastly, this is a Marie Kondo tip, and something that I’ve always adapted. Ask yourself if that item brings you joy. If it doesn’t feel good or brings up negative feelings for WHATEVER reason – get rid of it. I did a MAJOR closet purge right after my breakup and it felt AMAZING!!!! What To Do With Unwanted Items I first ask my sister, mom or friends if they want my Sell/Donate items. I sell whatever is left on Poshmark. I’m obsessed with Poshmark and LOVE how easy it is sell things. I also love My Sister’s Closet consignment store in my hometown Scottsdale, The Real Real for luxury designer items, and Buffalo Exchange. Anything that’s not in selling condition, gets placed in shopping bags and I ask my cleaning lady if she wants it, or I donate it to a local shelter. I’m a huge supporter of Dress For Success, Goodwill and Salvation Army. Less Is More I’ve always held this philosophy when it comes to both fashion and decor. Like I said, I can’t think straight if there’s clutter around me. I try to be really conscious and mindful about everything I have and bring into my home. It’s so important to invest in fewer, better pieces, rather than tons of trendy, cheap items that will go out of style immediately the next season. Not only does this save you money in the long run, it really teaches you to appreciate what you have, and get creative by mixing and matching items together. Do you ever look at your closet full of clothes and exclaim, “I have nothing to wear?!” If the answer is yes, it’s time to do a major clean out so you can actually SEE what’s in your closet and put together thoughtful, beautiful outfits. Storage Tips I love the Ikea Billy bookcase for storing bags + shoes, these black velvet hangers for clothes, these lucite bins for accessories, old shoe boxes for office supplies, and wicker baskets/bags for miscellaneous items and as decor. I use these Serena & Lily baskets as my hampers and they’re currently 20% off! Professional Organizers It wasn’t until this past year that I realized how AMAZING professional organizers are!!!! I personally love organizing my own closet/wardrobe, but hate organizing my pantry, so for my LA kitchen I used The Home Edit team (they were incredible!!!!), for my LA to NYC move I used Straighten Up by Janelle (she was soooo gentle with my fragile/expensive handbags, hats, and shoes), and for my NYC pantry I used Louisa Roberts from The Neat Method. I highly recommend all of them. Importance of Closet Clean Outs I truly cannot stress enough how important it is to do regular closet clean outs. Don’t get bogged down with junk and clutter! Chaos in your home creates chaos in the mind. Also, being surrounded by things that aren’t enhancing or adding to your life, but are just taking up space, is just not healthy. It sounds dramatic, but it’s the truth. Get rid of anything that has negative memories attached to it, donate the stuff that’s too small and making you feel bad about yourself. Basically, purge anything that doesn’t make you HAPPY. Your closet should be full of things that make you smile when you look at them! Life is too short to have it any other way!!!! Summary Out with the old and in with the new. Less is more. Fewer, better. Say goodbye to the clutter! Let’s all be more mindful about what we buy and allow in our homes! Happy spring cleaning!
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How To Take Care Of A Dog

It’s been almost 2 years since I brought home my sweet rescue puppy Charlie! If you follow me on Instagram, you know I am madly obsessed with him! I’ve LOVED dogs ever since I can remember. My dad was super allergic to dogs growing up so we could never have one, but I used to go to my next door neighbor’s house and lay on their golden retrievers everyday after school! I dreamt of having my own dog and when I saw Charlie in the window of Vanderpump Dogs it was love at first sight! I know so many of you have dogs or want a dog, so I wanted to share my own personal experience with Charlie, i.e. things I’ve learned, food/treats he loves, and more. Hopefully this will be a helpful resource! I’m still learning and experimenting with new things so this guide will get updated as time progresses. I am by no means an expert – and everyone’s parenting style is different so again, this is just my own experience! I really wish I had a basic how-to guide from someone I trusted when I first brought Charlie home!!! How To Take Care Of A Dog Where To Buy A Dog I’m sure many of you have heard the phrase “Adopt Don’t Shop.” I do recommend – and believe in – rescuing a dog versus buying them in a puppy store/from a puppy mill. There are so many wonderful animals that are abandoned and sitting in a rescue shelter that need a home! I rescued Charlie from Vanderpump Dogs in West Hollywood. The space is equally as adorable as the dogs! To be approved for the adoption, I had to fill out an application and FaceTime with the shelter so that they could see my home. I’m sure each shelter has their own set of requirements so be sure to check! How Much Do Dogs Cost? Prices vary widely based on city, shelter, type of breed, etc. My high school boyfriend purchased his dog from a newspaper listing for $300. I paid $800 for Charlie from Vanderpump Dogs. It really just depends. In terms of annual costs for things like vet visits, food, treats, toys and medicine – I don’t know the *exact* costs I have paid to date, but off the top of my head, I’d estimate it’s been about; $100/year for food, $250/year for treats, toys, water bowls, leash, collar, car seat, bed, and travel carrier, $500 for the *first year of vaccinations/exams* (it’s a lot less after that!), $250 for an emergency vet visit because Charlie ate something bad off the street that made him sick, $250 for grooming/year, and $1200 for a tooth extraction and professional dental cleaning. That last cost was INSANELY high and a huge shock to me, but hopefully I won’t ever have to pay it again (besides an annual tooth cleaning fee!) Charlie had a tooth grow in sideways that was causing a lot of problems so the vet recommended we pull it immediately. Dental work for dogs is crazy expensive! FYI I am in no means trying to scare anyone from getting a dog – your dog may never need to have a tooth pulled! It’s always just good to have an emergency fund or be aware of these unexpected costs. Pet Insurance I’ve had friends who didn’t get pet insurance and wished they had, so I signed up for it immediately. I have Embrace and haven’t had to use it yet, but feel better knowing it’s there. Unfortunately most pet insurance plans do not cover any dental work. Dog Food There are so many varieties of dog food out there. Do your research before choosing one – many are full of crap! I’ve given Charlie a few different kinds of dog food and our favorite one is; Castor & Pollux Grain Free Organic Small Dog Breed Chicken. I say “our” because this is the one that is easiest for me to feed him and that he actually eats. I did give him Farmer’s Dog food for a month, and he really enjoyed it, but the extra step of defrosting it, keeping it in a container in the fridge, and heating it up was a bit too much work if I’m being honest. Plus, I’ve heard dry food is better for a dog’s teeth long term. So I’m sticking with Castor & Pollux for now. I do sometimes mix in plain white rice, chicken, sweet potato, scrambled eggs, coconut oil OR a little mashed up treat with his 1/2 scoop of food in the morning and evening. He gets spoiled and has come to expect it, which is a tricky thing…so I probably shouldn’t have started that in the first place, but oh well. I used to mix a little bit of this wet food in. But it gives him diarrhea every time – poor guy – so I don’t anymore. I also don’t give Charlie any gluten/grains. He is allergic sadly, which I found out after he kept breaking out in a rash when he had anything with grains/gluten in it. Charlie likes to graze and doesn’t scarf his food down in one sitting unless it’s chicken. All dogs are different that way. Charlie prefers when I sit next to him while he eats – I think it makes him feel more safe/comfortable? So sometimes I do, and sometimes I don’t. Many dog owners have a set feeding schedule where they put down the bowl and pick it up after a certain amount of time, but I leave Charlie’s bowl out all day- that’s just our style. He gets fed once in the morning and at night. Treats I like these Natural Balance treats, and these treats in the Sweet Potato + Chicken flavor. Also, I like these Honest Kitchen Chicken + Cranberry treats for something special every once in a while. I give Charlie 1/2 of these dog bone shaped dental chews to clean his teeth (he goes crazy for them!) every other day. Some people like to go the more natural route and give their dogs plain carrot sticks to clean their teeth. I’ve tried that, but Charlie kept throwing up the carrot. My vet said that rawhides/bones aren’t good treats or toys because they’re way too hard on their teeth so I don’t give Charlie anything like that. Grooming I used to drop Charlie at Dogromat in LA every other month. If I don’t have time to drop him at the groomer, or if he’s really dirty, I give him a bath using this soap. I use these wipes to clean his paws after we go for a walk since the street is so dirty. I give Charlie NexGard flea medicine once a month prescribed from my vet. Charlie got fleas a year ago (before I knew about the medicine) and it was an actual nightmare. Hundreds of little black bugs crawling all over his body – pure HELL. I’ve heard that NexGard can be harmful long term to dogs, so it’s something that I need to research more, but some people do opt for a topical medicine versus oral. If you have any insight please feel free to share below! I brush Charlie’s teeth 2-3 times a week with this brush using this toothpaste. It’s so important to brush dogs teeth, but it’s hard and I honestly forget or get preoccupied. Charlie doesn’t like it at all, but I try to just quickly give his teeth a brush down so he doesn’t get too much plaque build up. Potty Training I bought Charlie when he was 3 months old. He wasn’t completely potty trained and he did have a few accidents at my house the first month or two, but he got the hang of it really quickly. It helped having a backyard and working from home, because I kept the door open and constantly reminded him and coaxed him to go outside – probably every hour and a half. I kept repeating “Let’s go potty, let’s go potty!” and “Good boy!” when he went, then rewarding him with a treat. Charlie can now hold it for 8 hours when we sleep or travel, but I generally try to take him out every 4 hours if I can. I use these bags for when he goes to the bathroom. I recently got this patch of artificial grass for my balcony, but he hasn’t really gone on it yet – he’s still getting used to it. If he ever has an accident or throws up, I use this Nature’s Miracle cleaner – it works SO well! Walking/Exercise I take Charlie out about 5 times a day. 3 out of 5 of those times I usually take him on a very short loop around our block where he feels familiar and has already marked his territory. 2 out of 5 times I take him on longer walks to meetings, run errands, or a park. I really like having him be a part of my schedule and day and I feel fortunate that I have the flexibility to do this since I work from home. When I lived in LA, I used to take him on fun hikes every few weeks, or to the beach to run in the sand (which he LOVED!) Now that we are in NYC, I try to schedule puppy play dates and long walks with friends at the park on the weekends so he can get out + about and socialize. I keep Charlie pretty close to me at all times since big dogs scare him. And you never know if another dog will be aggressive or jump towards him. He sometimes still does stop and shake because he’s scared of large objects and loud sounds, but when that happens, I just pull him closer and in a deep, stern voice let him know it’s ok and that I’m in charge. Basically, he’s trying to protect me and gets overwhelmed. So I just remind him that I’m in control and that he doesn’t need to worry! I’m still working on building up his confidence and hope that the gets more acclimated to city life soon! Sleeping I bought a crate for Charlie and planned on fully crate training him after reading about all of the benefits, but I couldn’t stand hearing him cry night after night for a month straight. Eventually, I gave in and let him sleep in my bed, and I have never regretted it. He snuggles up right next to me every night in bed and it’s such a special bonding time for us. He is sooooo cuddle-y and sweet, and I love giving him kisses and belly rubs in the morning. I can’t imagine not sleeping with him. It really is one of my favorite parts of the day. He can’t get enough of this fuzzy blanket which I’ve had since I got him. It’s like his security blanket and he feels comfortable and safe every time he lays on it. I recently tossed Charlie’s dog bed because it was falling a part. But I picked it up from Petco and it looks similar to this one! Dog Accessories Charlie is IN LOVE with this lamb toy. He has several other toys like this rope, and this bear toy, but he just can’t get enough of the lambs. He shreds every single one a part and stuffing gets everywhere, but I put up with it haha. Just be careful. They do have plastic squeakers in them which dogs may be able to choke on so I always throw it away when he rips it out. For leashes and collars – I use this really simple leash. Charlie got freaked out from the large retractable leash. I think it’s best if you keep small dogs close by your side when walking anyways, so this little leash is perfect. I got his collar from Petco along with a custom name tag with my phone number on the back. Also, I got him a micro-chip through my vet. I use a harness to walk him because it’s better for his neck. I bought this anti-anxiety jacket for him since he gets nervous walking sometimes, but it didn’t really do a whole lot… I’ll continue testing it though! Traveling with Dogs If you’re flying with dogs, each airline has a different set of rules. So make sure to read the fine print, and always call your airline to ask them if they have room for your dog/will allow your dog on board. I know that American Airlines charges a $125 fee each way if your dog isn’t an Emotional Service Animal. You’ll need to get a certified carrier for them – I got this one. Charlie was totally fine traveling back and forth from LA to NYC. He wouldn’t use the designated potty area in the airport, but ended up going right before and after we stepped outside the airport. He refused to drink water on the flight, but I brought a little water bowl anyway. I learned the hard way – not to feed him before boarding a flight because the motion made him throw up after we got off the plane. I highly recommend spending a little more on the *extra legroom* feature because it does get cramped with the carrier. When I’m in the car with Charlie, I have a car seat for him. I used to drive with him on my lap, until I researched and realized how dangerous that was! He’s been great on long road trips and I just make sure to let him out when I stop for gas every 4 hours or so, and again not feed him because of the motion sickness. Training/General Tips Even though I never grew up with a dog, and didn’t really know what I was doing when I first got Charlie, I adapted quickly and learned as I went. Your animal instincts do kick in when you bring home a dog – and you just sort of figure it out! I read part of Cesar Millan’s book, but ultimately put it down halfway through because I like my own personal parenting style. Cesar does have tons of helpful tips and I absolutely respect his expert opinion, but I couldn’t realistically see myself implementing most of the things he suggested. Just being honest! I think listening to your own intuition, instincts, and lifestyle is key. Each dog has such a different energy though! If a dog is really problematic and acting out, then training of course is a great idea. I’m personally looking into training for Charlie to adapt a bit better to the loud noises of city life. But I’ve never done any formal training classes or programs with Charlie. Dogs really are a (wo)man’s best friend! Charlie completely changed my life in the best way possible. If you’re thinking about getting a dog – I hope this post helped clarify any questions you may have!
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How To Find A Therapist

I’m so excited to get back to regular programming with my Wellness Wednesday posts. I’ve let them take a back seat these past few months as I’ve been busy sorting out my move, but they’re actually one of my favorite parts of the blog so it feels good to be writing them again. Today’s post is a topic I’ve touched on briefly through my “Self Care” and “How I Got Over My Breakup” posts, but I wanted to delve into it further and share my own experience with therapy! My dad has been a psychologist for over 30 years, so therapy was never taboo or something I was unfamiliar with growing up. I’m incredibly proud of the positive impact my dad has made on hundreds of people’s lives so I’ve always been very open and supportive of therapy. Within this post, I’m going to talk about a few of my own personal experiences with therapists, and of course, how to find the right therapist for you! How To Find A Therapist I’ve used two different methods to find a therapist; I’ve gone through my insurance company’s website, and I’ve done an independent search on ZocDoc. The benefit of going through your insurance company initially, is that they list out doctors within your area that accept your insurance. Some insurance plans cover a therapist’s fee, others cover part of it, and some cover none of it – so be sure to check online and call your insurance company to confirm. Once you’ve created a login through your insurance company’s website, click on the psychologist/psychiatrist section, and then type in your area. Browse through the list of names that pop up, and copy and paste the names that jump out at you into Google. Many therapists today have reviews from other patients online or have written articles which will give you a sense of their reputation and style. After you’ve settled on a therapist or two, call them to check that they do in fact take your insurance, ask what their fee is, and book an initial consultation. If it’s your first time going to therapy, it’s probably a good idea to book consultations with 2-3 different people, and then see which one you like best. If you don’t want to go through the insurance route, or you already know your insurance doesn’t cover therapy costs, then I like to use ZocDoc. You can narrow therapists down by neighborhood (pick somewhere close to work or home because if it’s far away, you’re not going to go – trust me!) and read over their patient reviews. Once you’ve found a few potentials, reach out to them and ask what their rate is, see if they happen to take your insurance (they just may!), and schedule your appointment(s.) How Much Does Therapy Cost?Therapy can be really expensive. But it’s an investment in yourself. Therapy has made me happier, more positive, more thoughtful, more accepting, calmer, wiser, a better daughter, a better sister, a better girlfriend, a better friend, a better boss, and a better human. Therapy costs vary widely by city, insurance plan, and doctor, which is why you need to call both your insurance company and the doctor you’re interested in to find out. Online articles state that therapy can be anywhere from free (or a small co-pay like $15) to $600 a session. I’ve personally paid everything from a $30 copay for an in-network therapist to a $300 fee for an out-of-network therapist. This article does a great job explaining why therapy costs so much in case you’re curious. Therapists have to pay for; malpractice insurance, office space (which in NYC is $$$), office supplies/furniture, advertising, and of course their own health insurance, rent and other expenses. Often times, if they do take insurance, filling out that paperwork and filing claims becomes a full time job in-and-of itself thus stopping them from having time to see more clients so it’s extremely generous of a therapist today to take insurance. Bottom line – do your research on both in-network and out-of-network doctors – and set up appointments with the one that feels right for YOU. Sometimes out-of-network doctors will give you a break on their fees depending on your income, so don’t be afraid to ask! How To Choose The Right Therapist For YouThis all comes down to a gut feeling when you’re one on one with the person. Again, if you’re new to therapy, I suggest seeing a few people so you can compare them and think about how you feel after each session. Every therapist has a different style. Some therapists are more hands on, interactive and vocal, while others are more hands off, observant, and ask a few poignant questions per session. I’ve had therapists who I don’t vibe with at all – and therapists who I totally clicked with and who felt like mentors/friends. After seeing both male and female doctors of all different ages over the years, I have found that I work best with a female who is relatively close to my age. Being relatively close in age has been helpful when communicating about current social situations, social media, social norms, dating in the modern world, etc. AKA they just get me more! How Often Should You See A TherapistThis really depends on you and your situation, but most people go once a week. I’ve gone more than once a week in the past and didn’t like it because I like having a few days to process and decompress after each session – sometimes they can be really intense! Many New Yorkers, due to their busy schedules, make it to therapy 2-3 times a month which is totally normal/fine too. You can also do phone or Skype sessions if you’re out of town. Again, everyone’s schedules, needs and preferences are different so do what works for you + your life. Lastly, if you’re wondering what period of time you should go to therapy – this is also solely based on the individual and situation. I’ve gone to therapy anywhere from 2 months at a time, to pretty consistently for a year. Again, it just depends on what you’re going through. Sticking with therapy consistently for a long period of time has definitely been the most beneficial for me. I hope this post helped answer some of your therapy questions!Remember you don’t have to be depressed to go to a therapist – therapy is for anyone and everyone – and can be a great place to just vent, bounce ideas off of a neutral person, or process changes! The right therapist will have such a positive impact on your life and give you the tools you need to get through anything. Therapy is a safe place, free of judgement – where you can just be yourself. I encourage you to give therapy a try if you haven’t already – and feel free to leave me any other questions you may have below!
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