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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Lace Pencil Skirt

I bought this white lace pencil skirt from Intermix last summer and have been able to wear it on so many different occasions. I wore it to an event at The Surfrider Malibu Hotel (which is on my Travel App!) last year, and most recently to a brunch at Claudette last month. It’s such a classic, elegant piece – and would also make a stunning bridal shower skirt! White lace pencil skirts will never go out of style – and this one just went on major sale for under $100! I have a feeling it will sell out FAST ;) I paired the skirt with the softest silk Jenni Kayne blouse that I wish came in more colors because I would buy them all! You could also pair this skirt with a bodysuit, crop top, short sleeve blouse, or something colorful with ruffles that’s ultra feminine. The possibilities are endless! I got this Kayu bag as a gift years ago and it’s the perfect neutral piece to go alongside an outfit like this. It doesn’t compete with the dainty lace details of the skirt, and instead just blends beautifully. Kayu makes the best clutches for date nights, cocktail parties, events, brunches, or vacations. I rarely go on a beach trip without a Kayu clutch. Shop more of my favorite white lace skirts for spring and summer below!
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White Linen Dress in Montauk

Happy Friday! I was in Montauk last weekend checking out the new Gurney’s property with my best friend Talun. We had such a fun trip out east soaking up the sun, strolling through town, and laying on the beach. I ordered this dress right before my trip and was so happy it came in time. It was the perfect piece to wear for an afternoon of shopping in town. I love a white linen midi dress and this one is made of such thick, high quality linen. It feels sturdy and is super flattering around the waist with the tight fitting bodice. A few of you were asking if the price was worth it compared to other less expensive white linen dresses on the market, and my answer is 100% Yes. I’ve owned several white linen dresses over the years, but this one really stands out. It’s not too sheer, fits like a glove, and just feels easy + breezy on – everything a summer dress should be! I just updated my Travel App with my new favorite Hamptons spots. One spot that stuck out in particular from this trip was a new store; The 8th Drifter. It’s this darling boutique (where these pictures were actually taken!) that has tons of bohemian chic home decor and beauty items. Sage, crystals, African tribal headpieces, straw totes, wicker baskets, candles, CBD oils, jewelry and more… It’s always more fun to shop when you’re traveling and I picked up a ton of one-of-a-kind pieces for my Soho apartment. For links to everything I wore in the Hamptons, that don’t always get blogged you can always check my Like To Know It page. This straw bag has been selling like crazy and it’s truly the best market totes I own. I love that it has both short and long handles so you can wear it either way depending on the occasion. And it’s a total steal! Have a great weekend!
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What Is A Histamine Intolerance?

It’s been 1 year since I found out I have a histamine intolerance. My life, body and digestion have completely changed in the BEST way possible since finding this out so I wanted to share exactly what it is with all of you. For 3 years I struggled with horrible stomach pains, bloating, and weight gain for no apparent reason. I visited countless doctors, naturopaths, nutritionists and gastroenterologists to try and find out what was wrong. I spent thousands of dollars only to end up frustrated and more sick. Eventually I gave up and decided to take matters into my own hands. I read and researched EVERYTHING I could about what causes stomach problems and bloating. I learned a TON and became more and more interested in health, wellness and digestion. Through sharing my struggles, I found out so many of you – and so many women in general suffer from stomach pains and bloating too! It’s something that not many people talk about, but instead silently suffer from. It makes me so sad to think about how my stomach problems negatively effected my life. I had brain fog for years and couldn’t fully focus like I used to, I was constantly inflamed/puffy, I started gaining weight despite eating super clean/healthy and working out almost everyday, I felt depressed/down way more than usual so I started canceling social plans, I was always tired/low energy, I felt self conscious because my stomach would expand and I would look pregnant after eating just a few bites of food, I never had hunger pangs/signals like I used to, and overall I felt completely out of tune/out of whack with my body. Now, I wake up clear headed. I have hunger signals and am able to listen to my body’s cravings, I have energy, I pretty much never get bloated, and my digestion is 100% back to normal – if not even better than it was 3 years ago. So what changed? A friend of mine; Bianca Cheah of Sporteluxe, told me she had been struggling for years with the same issues, and had been misdiagnosed with IBS, and all sorts of other digestion problems. She finally visited a nutritionist who asked her what she ate in a week, and realized that while she was eating a TON of healthy food, the food was all high in Histamines or released Histamines. The nutritionist told her to eliminate all Histamine food for 1 week and see how she felt. Thank goodness she shared her journey on Instagram, because I realized I ate pretty much the same exact healthy food as she did (smoothies, probiotics, coffee, fruit, nuts, avocado, spinach, the occasional glass of wine etc.) I immediately researched Histamine Intolerances and couldn’t believe that no doctor had ever even mentioned this as a possibility! I had all of the symptoms and my entire diet pretty much consisted of only Histamine food! I realized I had nothing to lose by eliminating high Histamine food from my diet for 1 week so I did – and within 3 days I felt like a new person. The brain fog was GONE. The bloating was GONE. The lethargic/tired feeling was GONE. The sluggish digestion was GONE. IT WAS A MIRACLE. I do want to mention, of course I am not a doctor and you should consult with your doctor before making any drastic diet or health changes! I love sharing what’s worked for ME/my body on here, but everyone’s systems are different! Is There A Test for Histamine Intolerance? Yes there is, but I’ve never taken one. I’ve taken SO many tests over the years and I personally have found many to be inaccurate or inconclusive. For example, I took a food sensitivity test (an igG blood test which tests the protein in your blood against certain food items to see if they’re inflammatory for your specific body), and many high Histamine food items came up on the “Anti-Inflammatory” aka “Good” list, but in reality they completely bloat me and make me sick. While some of the food items they did list as “Anti-Inflammatory” or “Inflammatory” were accurate (for example “Inflammatory” aka “Bad/No-No” items were things like shellfish that I’m allergic to and always hated as a kid), I would say about 25% of the items were just not accurate at all. Like I full on get hives when I eat walnuts, but they oddly came up as “Anti-Inflammatory” or “Good” for me. Health journeys can be really, really frustrating for this reason. We all want either a “YES” or “NO” “POSITIVE” or “NEGATIVE”, definitive answer, but sometimes it’s pretty tricky to get one. There are several things that could be interfering with 100% accurate results… you could have had a high dose of a certain food item days before the test which could alter it, or, if you’re combining certain types of food in high amounts, the test may not take that combination into account and say that each food item is individually “Good” for you. The only way, I feel, to truly find out what works or doesn’t work is through trial and error. Eat something and see how it makes you feel after. This is also known as the Elimination Diet. What Foods are High in Histamine/Release Histamines? There are several different lists floating around the internet. Most of them have the same “No-No” food items listed, but some of them have items others don’t, and some also are a bit contradicting. For example one list I found says Probiotics are GOOD for you, and one list said they’re BAD for you if you have a Histamine Intolerance. I personally trust Dr. Amy Myer’s list the most, and have found that Probiotics only contribute negatively to my stomach issues, so I have eliminated them completely as of 1 year ago – and my digestion/health is great without them. The high Histamine/Histamine releasing food items that I found to effect me in high doses are (and again everyone is so different so this may not apply to YOU!); avocados, tea, coffee, wine, champagne, bone broth, nightshades, garlic, onions, probiotics, collagen and protein powders, nuts, spinach, kale, fermented food, vinegar, fruit, and anything that’s not super fresh/has been sitting out because the older a food is, the more histamine it develops over time! What Can You Eat? Surprisingly, since eliminating high Histamine/Histamine releasing food I can actually eat WAY MORE than I used to! Because I was always bloated I pretty much eliminated; dairy, gluten and alcohol, but since I am no longer constantly in pain/bloated and have healed my digestion, I can enjoy a little bit of dairy, gluten and alcohol here and there without any negative side effects. It brings me SO MUCH JOY to be able to indulge and eat yummy pizza and pasta dishes, desserts, and cocktails like I used to!!!! Before finding out I had a histamine intolerance, I always felt deprived, but I was SO full from eating “healthy” food that was actually toxic for me/my body. Do I stay away from foods high in Histamine 100% of the time? No of course not. It’s just not realistic/or feasible with my lifestyle. Luckily, since I’ve worked hard at healing my gut, I can enjoy things like 1 glass of wine occasionally – or have a little soy sauce with my sushi without feeling totally sick, bloated, and in pain. But I certainly do not eat copious amounts of high Histamine food anymore. What Exasperates A Histamine Intolerance? Combining multiple food items that are high in Histamine/release Histamine, eating them everyday, and/or eating them in high volume. For example, if there’s a raspberry fruit tart that I REALLY want I will eat it, but I’ll just make sure I don’t have other high Histamine food with it or on that same day. For me, it’s just about being more aware and varying the levels of Histamine food items that are going into my body. Are Certain People More Likely To Have It Than Others? Yes. If you have Candida, SIBO, leaky gut, or other stomach issues you’re more likely/vulnerable to having a Histamine Intolerance. Dr. Amy Myer’s talks more about this on her website and has a lot of great resources should you be interested in learning more about that. I used to have Candida, but when I was recently re-tested it said I didn’t have it, yet I do still have a sensitivity to Histamine. So, because I know I’m still sensitive – despite having a healthy gut – I choose to pretty much stay away from high Histamine food inevitably. I hope this helped answer any questions you may have had on the topic. I’m so passionate about creating awareness about Histamine Intolerances because doctors don’t talk about them enough! Simply eliminating a few food items CHANGED MY LIFE. I now start the morning with a green juice and eat a balanced diet (mostly free of histamines) throughout the day. I don’t take any pills, supplements or vitamins and have more energy than I did in my 20s. If you’ve ever had a Histamine Intolerance or do try eliminating them and feel great after – please let me know! I would love to hear about your experience below!
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