Soho Apartment

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
read more

NYC Rooftop Dinner

Thomas and I celebrated our 1 year anniversary on our rooftop last week! It was the most beautiful night and we enjoyed a delicious meal from one of our favorite restaurants; Carbone. The spicy rigatoni dish is to die for! An Elegant TablescapeI wanted to make our table look elegant and effortless. I put out a white linen tablecloth, navy blue linen napkins, silver napkin rings, and rattan placemats. My glassware is from Hudson Grace, and my silverware is actually from Bed, Bath and Beyond a few years ago! I put simple white hydrangeas in a clear glass pitcher for a relaxed, summery look. Tapered white candlesticks completed the table. Blue Floral Top + Skirt SetThis blue floral top + skirt set has been hanging in my closet for months waiting to be worn! It’s from one of my favorite brands; Misa Los Angeles. They make the most stunning colorful, printed pieces. I modified this top and scrunched the middle together to make it into a crop top. I used a safety pin to hold the fabric together – such an easy little DIY crop top hack! I have 2 of these Misa skirts and they’re even prettier in person. What I love about them is that they have a comfortable elastic waist, flow beautifully when you move, and are super flattering. They’re also made of a wrinkle resistant material so you legit never have to steam or iron them. AccessoriesFor shoes, I wore my favorite Aquazzura lace up sandals. Their heels are 100% worth the splurge because they last forever, never go out of style, and don’t kill your feet when you walk in them! I put on these fun V. Chapman gold cross earrings for a Dolce & Gabbana, Italian inspired look and kept the rest of my jewelry simple. These earrings have quickly become my go-to for date night!
read more

Dining Table DIY

Today’s post has been a very requested one and I am SO thrilled to finally share how we built our dining table! When I first moved into my NYC apartment, I had ordered another table for this space that ended up being way too big. I returned it, and searched for the perfect table for weeks, but couldn’t find one I loved. Shortly thereafter Thomas and I started dating and he immediately offered to build me a table! I thought he was joking at first! Well, he wasn’t and come to find out he is incredibly handy, creative, and determined. We went out to his parents’ house in Connecticut and spent 2 weekends working on the table. It was a labor of love for sure, but SO worth it. Every time I walk by it or sit at it, I am overcome with joy knowing that we built it! Dining Table DIYMaterials Needed5 white oak planks (90″ long, 11.5″ wide, 3.5″ thick) 6 galvanized steel L-brackets 48 2.5″ wood screws 16 felt furniture pads 4 cans of water based matte finish polyurethane 1 bottle of single malt scotch (LOL – T added this in here as a joke ;))Tools/Equipment NeededBelt Sander with 80 grit sandpaper and fine grit sandpaper Power drill Level and square Dish soap Paint roller Circular sawStep 1: Sourcing The WoodWritten by T: “We used white oak for our project. This part of our table journey turned out to be the easiest step in the process for one specific reason: we had access to roughly twenty 8-foot long white oak planks that were given to my father from one of his clients in CT. (The client used to own a local wood mill.) Our table called for the use of 5 planks in total. So we were able to cherry-pick the lot of them to find the most plumb (aka level) and aesthetically pleasing planks for the top and legs.  We also happened to love the natural look of the wood and the character in each plank. My parents got to free up some space at their home (the planks were huge and weighed 100 pounds each!) so it was a win-win.” Step 2: Design“Once we decided to use all white oak planks for the table, we played around with a few design ideas and looks that we liked. We wanted something that would be simple, timeless, and chic—all while fitting the space in our SoHo apartment. We ended up sketching out a few ideas while at Kat’s sister’s wedding in upstate NY—which probably inspired the rustic vibe that the table gives off. The design is fairly simple. Three 11.5″ planks form the top of the table. Roughly 90″ in length by 35″ wide and 3.5″ thick. We used the standard or typical table height of 30″. We went back and forth on the base of the table. But ultimately decided taking the harder route of building our own, versus buying a pre-made frame (metal or similar)—and honestly couldn’t be happier with our decision. So we have a slight overhang on the legs which gives the table a nice depth to it.” Step 3: Cutting The Planks To Size“We used a circular saw to cut down the top to 90″ and then four legs to 26.5″.” Step 4: Sanding, Sanding, and more Sanding“Once the planks were cut to size, the next step was to put some serious sweat equity in—that meant roughly spending 16 hours over two days sanding every square inch of each plank. For the first run on each plank, we used a belt sander with 80 grit sand paper. You can see a big difference even with the first run in the pictures below! Once we gave each board a couple of turns with the belt sander, and put a smooth edge on all outward facing edges, we finished sanding with a fine grit by hand—this helped to smooth out anything the belt sander may have left too rough.” Step 5: Sealing the Planks“We wanted to maintain the same or similar color of the white oak while also protecting it from any glass ring stains, food, etc. So we decided to use a matte finish water based polyurethane (which is great because it has no smell!) We went with three coats in total, and applied it generously as to make sure not to miss any cracks or crevices. (Kat was a pro! See pic ;))” Step 6: The Final Assembly“So our wood was sanded, stained, and finally ready to be assembled—this was definitely the most stressful part of the project! You never know how well things are going to fit together and what the final product will look like—especially since it was our first ever build! We placed four felt furniture pads in each corner of each leg to prevent from scratching the surface it was being placed on. Then placed the four legs at a distance that allowed for room at either end of the table for extra seating. Next, we placed the center plank directly down the centerline and used 10″ galvanized steel L-brackets to secure the legs to table top. 2.5″ wood screws were used to secure the table after we pre-drilled the holes. (PRO Tip: coat the screws in dish soap to screw in with ease!) We repeated the same steps for the two outer planks as well and added a few shims (cedar shingles) to level it out a bit.” Step 7: Sit Back and Enjoy!“After the countless hours of sanding, staining and leveling…our table was finally complete. It was totally worth it. We have a custom made table that we made from the ground up and will have for years to come. We think it turned out well, given our friends still don’t believe we made it until we show them the pictures of the entire process!” I hope you are inspired to build your own table now! It really is a rewarding experience to build a piece of furniture for your home, by hand. For those who would rather purchase a similar looking table, I linked a few options below!
read more

A Blue + White Spring Tablescape

I’ve had these beautiful blue and white dishes for 2 years and I’ve never once used them! I’ve been saving them for a “special occasion” and I finally asked myself “Why the heck am I waiting to use these?!” I realized there’s no time like the present, and they’re just too pretty to be sitting unused in the cabinet! So I pulled them out and styled them on our dining table and had a lovely lunch. If this time at home teaches us anything, I hope that it encourages us to make everyday moments special (instead of waiting for the perfect time that may never come) and really savor the time we get together. A Blue and White Spring TablescapeI’m obsessed with a blue and white color scheme for a tablescape. It’s so classic and fresh. I paired these dishes with white hydrangeas, but I’ve seen them paired with pink peonies before and I absolutely love the contrast of the blue and pink. The blue plates are from Tory Burch (they’re still in stock!) and the rattan cups are from Jenni Kayne (currently 20% off.) The rattan napkin rings and white linen napkins pull everything together making it feel like a bright spring table. Casual Spring Lunch SettingI opted to go without a tablecloth or placemat for a more casual spring lunch vibe, but you could easily add a crisp white linen tablecloth or runner underneath this set up. If I were to do a placemat, I’d opt for a natural rattan or woven material. Glasses + SilverwareThis white silverware is our everyday silverware and has held up beautifully. It’s currently 25% off with code FRIENDS! I always get a ton of questions about the coupe glasses I use for martinis – and you can get them here. I recommend hand washing them versus putting them in the dishwasher! Shop the rest of my entertaining pieces below!
read more