A New New Yorker | Tale 1

Well, I’ve done it – I’m a New Yorker! At least, as much as I can be five days into my move here. I’ve mostly spent my first week here taking a mental break from work, actually hitting the gym, going out on solo expeditions and giving an excessive amount of love to my puppy nephew Kingston.

The more time I spend in this city, the more I come to see the difference between New Yorkers and the rest of the world. It first hit me at a Moth GrandSLAM event – where people take the stage to share their own personal stories with the audience. There I realized, through both the stories and audience participation, that New Yorkers are unapologetically themselves. They aren’t afraid to (in my Midwest opinion, over) share tidbits of themselves with complete strangers – no matter how dirty the truth is. People sent slips, though anonymous, up to the host during judging breaks telling tales of “that time I got stuck in a sand dune during a threesome” or “when I did cocaine with the guy that I was in love with…and his girlfriend”. Actual performers shared in their struggles with depression, losing loved ones and accidental viewing of child pornography.

On the streets of New York, you’ll see completely normal city dwellers fully embracing themselves – whether that means wearing what I perceive to be a ridiculous outfit, having open and loud conversations about their weekend activities or driving down the street with the windows down, putting on a Beyonce-inspired show for everyone.

At times I would have found all of this alarming and, for lack of better word, improper. I have not been raised to catch attention of strangers or overshare my personal stories. But now, just five days into my move, these people make me smile. To be yourself, so unfiltered for the world to see, is such a beautiful thing.

As I’ve shared with all of you before, one of the things I’ve personally been seeking is a better understanding of myself. Maybe it’s because I’m 23 and that’s too young to truly know you, or maybe it’s because I stayed in one city for eight years, not pushing past my comfort zone. Whatever it is, I’m confident that taking a few years to grow in a place where people are comfortable to explore and be themselves is just what I need.

A Farewell to Chicago

I’m not sure how to break the news, so I’ll just dive right in…

I have officially decided to move to New York City!

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It’s literally a dream come true on so many levels. The first level being that I would have never imagined having the opportunity to join such a sharp, passionate and kick ass team at Droga5. It’s been my agency crush ever since I entered the ad world. As a writer and quite frankly a chatterbox, it is very rare that I am at a loss of words. But here I am, speechless by this chance I’ve been given.

Another reason why this is – let’s be honest – the best thing that has ever happened to me is because I finally get to be in the same city as A! We’ve only been talking about this for the past four years and finally, it’s happening! I am so lucky to have her as my #1 person (she is my self-proclaimed lucky star), I would be crazy not to try my best to be with her. For years people have been telling me, “You two need to be in the same place – you’re always happier together,” and it is entirely true. I’m also thrilled to be joining a few of my favorite ladies – K, S & S. Is anything really better than taking on (what some call) the greatest city in the world with some of your oldest friends?

To be completely honest, the opportunity couldn’t have come knocking (well, it didn’t really knock – I sort of chased it down and tackled it) at a better time. Over the past few months I’ve slowly been uncovering more and more truths about myself that I failed to realize for the first 22 years of my life. It’s hard to face these truths, and it’s even harder to share them, but A and I have always wanted to be honest and real here, so here goes. I realized that never in my life have I made a decision based solely off of what I want. There has always been at least one person influencing my biggest life decisions. I wouldn’t necessarily say that’s a bad thing. But I can say that it’s tolling to constantly be working for others. I’ll admit it – I sometimes focus so much on other people that I completely lose myself. I’m so lost that I can’t even begin to tell you who I am. And it seems like there is no place better than New York City to discover yourself.

There are many reasons why this move felt right to me. But the biggest one of them all is that it is completely for me. I had an idea and I pursued it. There’s a thought I like to recite to myself these days – I want you to rediscover yourself in the absence of all those that have defined you. This is incredible and something we don’t consider frequently. At this moment, I don’t think there is anything more important than understanding your past, present, and future self outside of external influences.

So – all of that being said, I am currently wrapping things up in the city that has given me so much. Chicago has seen me grow from a young girl of 15 to an independent adult. It’s given me lifelong friendships and unforgettable memories (and many other cliche emotional things).

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But now doesn’t feel like the time for comfort and settling, now feels like the time to experience.

The move is right around the corner – less than two weeks until I hop on that one-way flight! I promise to try my best to keep you all updated on the move and my transition into becoming a New Yorker!

Lots and lots of love,

K

We Got Baked in San Francisco

I’ve been in a mood this week. A crappy mood. Did you know bloggers could have bad moods? Yeah, this is the real shit people. In fact, the lack of bad moods in the blogosphere (like the lifestyle blogosphere) was exactly why I was hesitant to start another blog. Where’s the realness? But I made a deal with myself that I could be as real as I wanted here. So even if it doesn’t make for the most uplifting, inspiring, enjoyable content, life isn’t all cupcakes and crinkle chips, y’all.

I think my mood stems from vacation-withdrawl. It has been just a few days since mom, K, and I returned from what I now know as undeniably amazing San Francisco. K and I had never been before, and it was RESPLENDENT. Like drop dead delightful. Coming from New York and Chicago (and Mom from Cleveland), the weather played a definitive role. Seventies, and not a cloud in the sky. No fog. Just crisp, clear, freakin’ California.

We really had an incredible time. The Gautam Girls hadn’t taken a trip in quite some time (if ever?). And we’re just GOOD travel partners. We enjoy the same sorts of things – wine, tacos, ice cream. We get tired around the same time. We don’t push each other to do more. We don’t hold each other back.

We got in late Thursday night and spent Friday roaming around The Mission. Taking snaps with murals, wandering into interesting stores, drinking coffee.

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And then we walked up some mad hills to the Painted Ladies. Which were okay. But the walk itself, the fresh breeze, the sunshine, was so so pleasant. And laying on the hill after all that huffing and puffing was also pretty great.

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We had Mexican for dinner, obviously. And they had this amazing gluten-free beer from Moonlight Brewery… so I had my first ever Michelada!

On Saturday we were super touristy, and went to the Golden Gate Bridge, which is truly a sight to see. It’s more impressive than I expected. We also look super touristy. In fact, my husband, after a boozy brunch, quite eloquently told me I looked like I belonged in the FBI. In retrospect, that’s exactly what I looked like…

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We then stopped in Sausalito.

From there, Mom, K, and I explored the Marina. We walked along the water and marveled at all of the extremely fit people of San Francisco (there were SO many six-packs). We stopped at the Palace of Fine Art, which is incredible, and then had an amazing lunch with a massive pitcher of margaritas, and… TACOS. We ended the afternoon with an insane walk all the way to North Beach, the Italian District.

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We slumped home sweaty and sore, and then took some time to recharge before some drinks and a really tasty Thai dinner.

Sunday was specially for me – wine country! We drove to Sonoma, stopping briefly at Lands End where I happened upon a very serendipitous “A+A” carving, and missed Mr. P.

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Sonoma was amazing. It was almost like being transported to Italy. It was extra special to me because my best friend got engaged in Sonoma, so the whole time I had this warm, lovey dovey feel (though it could’ve also been the wine). We had chocolate wine shots, gluten free burgers, and then drove home with the windows down playing Ne-Yo and Rihanna (dream).

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And then, sadly and suddenly, it was Monday. We were all in a slump, but our uncle (who is seriously the best host), took us out of the house for a final look around town. We stopped by Union Square, got baked at Mr Holmes Bakehouse (see Instagram here hehe), and then had one final delicious meal together.

The meal was super memorable, because something BIG happened while we were there… Super big. So big that it merited this face from K.

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She’ll be sharing in our next Jointly post.

Love,

A