I'm Back! + An Intentional 2022

Hello, hello 👋🏼 Bet you thought you heard the last of me, but I'm back! 

As 2022 begins, I'm eager to be more intentional. I'm not a fan of resolutions, but I am a fan of finding time to reflect and reset. Whether that's January 1st, May 27th or any other day of the year for that matter. 

So since then, I've been doing some wild things like reading more non-fiction (gross), waking up earlier (who am I??) and journaling every morning. flatlines 

I've almost been at my current company for four years now, and goddamn has it flown by. When I reflect back over this time, while there's certainly a lot I'm grateful for, there's a small part of me that regrets not finding the time to keep up with this corner of the universe. 

Which brings me here. Breathing a little life back into this humble, quirky blog. 

Things will certainly be a little different this time around, but for my single reader out there (Hi, Kayleigh!), if nothing else there will be content. 

Still Figuring Out A Better Sign Off,

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Spring Sundress in Brooklyn

Happy Memorial Day weekend! I hope you're having a wonderful weekend full of plenty of rest + relaxation. We had a little rain in NYC today but it's shaping up to be bright and sunny from here on out. Hoping to even escape for a bike ride around Brooklyn at some point. 

Last weekend, after a very anxiety filled internal debate, I rode a city bike to my sister's place in the Upper East Side (where we responsibly distanced in their backyard). It was a bit of a trek, but since then I've been itching to see what other parts of the city I can explore on two wheels. (Pro Tip: Lyft makes it so easy to rent city bikes. It takes something like 30 seconds from start to finish. Wild.) After being cooped up for two months now, we've been trying to find responsible ways to still enjoy the city and get out for a bit.

Which leads me to today's post! A few weekends ago, on a gloriously sunny afternoon, we set out to take advantage of the only outdoor space we have: The fire escape.  I mistakenly referred to this as our "balcony" during a book club meeting -- if only. 🤦🏼‍♀️ I'd still like to add an outdoor cushion or something to make reading out there a bit comfier, but for now it's a good spot to get in a few chapters, have an impromptu photo shoot or simply hangout. 

I snagged this adorable sundress from TJMaxx right before my sister's bachelorette trip in Napa (more on that soon), but was able to find it for you here! It's supposed to hit at mid-length, but at 5.1 it hits me where a normal maxi should. I still love the look, but something to keep in mind you decide to pick it up.

Anywho, as I'm sure you guessed, I had no where special to go that day. But simply dressing up and getting fresh air made for a lovely afternoon. 

What are you doing to keep quarantine interesting?

Positive Thoughts Only

Hi there and happy Sunday! 👋🏼 It's been a while since I've posted last and with everything going on in the world, I thought this would be a good opportunity to stay more in touch with others and stretch my creative muscles once again.

I'm not alone when I say things have been a bit rocky lately. All of the recent changes and uncertainty has been amplified by the serious state New York City - my home - finds itself in. I'd be lying if I said I haven't contemplated an escape plan or day dreamed of being in an house over a one bedroom apartment with a fire escape for outdoor space. It's so easy to focus on worst case scenarios and panic each time a siren sounds. But amidst all of the chaos, I've found myself blessed with supportive loved ones who help me stay positive and make each day beautiful in it's own way.

I've also found it's important now more than ever to prioritize things that make you happy. So in celebration of the small joys of life, here's a list of things I've found keep the negative thoughts at bay and help me destress after a tough day (or week).

Herbal Tea
For the past few month's I've slowly started to switch to exclusively drinking herbal tea. The Republic of Tea has a beautiful array of unique herbals to choose from. If you're feeling stressed or having difficulty falling asleep, would definitely recommend Get Relaxed or Beauty Sleep. Nothing beats sipping deliciously warm tea to unwind and this small bit of comfort has made a world of difference.

Face Masks
When I think of relaxation and self care, face masks come to front of mind -- who's surprised. The Sephora sheet masks have historically been my go to. They're relaxing, have great benefits for your skin, and silly to wear with friends and family. Nothing kills stress better than laughing with loved ones because you all look absolutely ridiculous. If sheet masks aren't your thing, I've also started using sleeping masks. Glow Recipe's Watermelon + Avocado masks -- 10/10.

Yoga + Running
There are a ton of apps giving free memberships while we're all cooped up. Right now the Down Dog app is giving free access until May 1st. This was a huge game changer for me. When I'm tense from sitting in front of my computer all day, a 20 minute yoga sesh is the perfect way to clear my mind, get the blood pumping and just reset. And for days you need something more, a long run through the neighborhood is just what the doctored order.

I am a sucker for puzzles. Have been as long as I can remember. And I am not alone. The amount of people posting pictures of puzzles on social media has skyrocketed in the last few weeks. If you want to take a break from the screens and concentrate on a challenge, Barnes and Noble has so. many. options. Last weekend I finished a 1000 piece puzzle in two days.  👀 Think I need stock up on a few more...

Nancy Drew Games
Okay, hear me out. I know this last one definitely shows off my geeky side, but I've been obsessed with Nancy Drew games for as long as I can remember. If you like mysteries and want a challenge, would 100% recommend downloading one of these games. It's a running joke in my family that we can't beat a single game without looking up some of the answers, but that's because these games are challenging. See if you can beat them without any hints - bet you you can't! In the past few months, I've played Ghost of Thornton Hall, The Silent Spy and Labyrinth of Lies. Currently on Alibi in Ashes - but there all such good games. Pick any one of them. You can't go wrong.

What are you doing to bring little moments of joy to your life?

Travel Guide: Bermuda

Gooood morning! It has been a very hot few days here in the Big Apple. So much so, half of the city had a power outage last weekend. Now, I know some may think that Astoria is not the most glamorous neighborhood, but when it's 90 degrees and your AC is still kicking it makes me very grateful for my small corner of the universe.

Be that as it may, it's still hot. Very hot. So while I'm doing all I can to beat the heat, I can't help but day dream of this perfect little island. I've rounded up all my favorite photos above + detailed everything you need to know below.


Late spring / early summer is the perfect time to take a trip to the island of Bermuda. However, which month you visit during that timeframe depends on what you'd like to do. March and April are great for travelers who want the most bang for their buck. The water is still on the cold side, so if you're not much of a swimmer and want to save a little these months would be perfect. We visited at the end of May - still not in full summer heat + tourist hub, but warm enough to go swimming whenever. If you visit during the summer, be prepared for a lot of heat and even more humidity.


Mickey's Beach Bar & Bistro: After a long day of lounging in the sand or hour long photoshoots, Mickey's is the perfect spot to refuel. This restaurant is right on Elbow Beach - no travel necessary. Not only is it perfectly located, but their food is also ah-mazing and seriously hits the spot. Be sure to snag a pitcher for the table - or yourself.

Blu Bar & Grill: While on the island, we knew there was one night we wanted to treat ourselves to a nice dinner and immediately our hosts recommended Blu. This spot is on the pricey side, but worth every penny! If you find yourself here you have to try the soufflé. We ordered both flavors - the chocolate and the lemon - but I can't honestly decide which one is better. They're both so mouth-watering. If you find yourself in Bermuda and don't try at least one of these soufflés, you're truly doing yourself a disservice.

The Swizzle Inn: The Swizzle Inn is the oldest pub on the island and home to their national drink, the Rum Swizzle. I - like many fun loving tourists - really strive for the immersive, cultural experience and therefore had to take a trip (or two) to The Swizzle Inn for their signature cocktail. Again, pitchers are always encouraged.

Bailey's Ice Cream Parlour: If you happen to be at The Swizzle Inn or have just finished kayaking or even cave diving (see below), Bailey's Ice Cream is a must. I couldn't image a vacation without freshly scooped ice cream and this place delivers. The pistachio inspired parlour with it's retro decor is photo ready, making it the perfect spot to snap a few pictures as your ice cream melts all over your hand. #insta


Elbow Beach: Beaches here are the most beautiful I've ever seen. The stretches of gorgeous pink sand and sparkling blue waters really can't be beat. Almost all of the beach pictures above were taken at EB. Absolutely stunning and surprisingly quiet. If you're planning a trip to Bermuda make sure to pencil in Elbow Beach at least once.

Downtown Hamilton: Downtown Hamilton isn't too big, so it's easy to cover everything you want to see in one outing. I would recommend starting at the Princess Hotel (bright pink - can't miss it) exploring their gorgeous back terrace and then walking the length of downtown. You'll pass plenty of quaint boutiques, restaurants and a very delicious cafe. It was helpful to walk the length of downtown and scope everything out before deciding what to do next. Oh, and as always, plenty of photos ops.

Horseshoe Bay: This was another great spot for a beach day. It's a bit more crowded than Elbow Beach, but you should certainly take the trip there at least once. We did a bit of exploring and found a path that led to a rocky outlook with beautiful vistas.

Gibbs Hill Lighthouse: Another adorably quaint spot on the island. We visited this lighthouse with the family who hosted us and it was so sweet to hike up to the top with the kiddos. Granted, even if you don't have a similar experience, the views are stunning and 100% worth the 185 steps to the top. With panoramic views, you can see the entire length of the 22 mile island.

Crystal Caves: Another activity that should not be passed over should you visit this beautiful island is exploring Crystal Caves. Yes, it was a little nerve wracking to be that far underground with stalactites - some thought to be millions of years old - hanging above your head. After the initial nerves wear off, though, it's a truly amazing experience. One of the caves was found by two teenagers back in 1907. They saw a hole in the ground and naturally thought "Ah, yes. Let's repel ourselves into darkness and then go for a swim in unknown waters." Did I mention is was pitch black when they found it because, well, it's a cave??

Tom Moore's Jungle: Tom Moore's Jungle is an excellent spot to explore the more secluded parts of the island. Sure, there are plenty of spots for more beautiful vistas within the reserve and even a ledge to dive into clear blue waters, but venturing down one of the sheltered, canopy lined paths is a "must take", completely different experience.

Kayaking: I love any excuse to be on the water and kayaking was a great way to explore hidden alcoves and secluded beaches around the island. We were only out for an hour or so, but if you make more of a day be sure to check out the coral reefs and dotted shipwrecks that surround the island. Warning: This is quite the workout and really sneaks up on your towards the end of your trip. You will feel it the next day.

Summer Concert Series: While there are plenty of spots on the island to listen to live music, Sea Breeze Lounge hosts The Big Chill every summer on Saturday nights. We were particularly drawn to Elbow Beach and the Sea Breeze Lounge is conveniently located above Mikey's Beach Bar & Bistro (see above). This weekly series attracts both tourists and locals alike. The Big Chills lineup is pretty solid. They have their own rendition of Havana, by Camila Cabello which we could not get out of heads for the remainder of the trip.


Bermuda is perfect for all easy, breezy and bright outfits, so keep that in mind while packing. You'll definitely want more practical clothes if you plan to explore the Tom's jungle or go kayaking. I think I wore heals once on the trip and that was when we went out for dinner at Blu. TBH, you're better of leaving those at home. I all but lived in comfortable sandals this tip. Do be sure to bring a cardigan or light jacket, as it gets chilly at night - especially if you go in the earlier months. And seriously Do. Not. Forget. Sunscreen.  I wore three layers at all times. The sun on the island is no joke. Lastly, Bermudians accept USD - which is great if you want to avoid bank fees for international travel. If you happen to be traveling from the US, would recommend taking some cash out. Will truly save you time and money once you get there.

Overall, this was a vacation for the books. I could not recommend visiting more. The only caveat I have is that it is on the pricy side and even if you find an inexpensive spot to stay, you can rack up a bill pretty fast with all the taxis needed to get around. Definitely prepare for that going in and just spend some time saving up beforehand. And while it is quite the romantic spot, I would recommend going with friends. We had such a fun girls' trip - exploring the island, catching up on much needed relaxation and of course taking plenty of pictures along the way. In fact, this post would not have been possible without their amazing photography skills. 😉 If I haven't answered all of your questions, be sure to leave them in the comments below! I'm always here to help a fellow traveler find their way to Bermuda.


Athleisure Wedges

Hi friends & welcome back! If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen that last week I ran a casual 10 miles. Long story short: I was about to finish my normal route when I was almost hit by a car, cursed out said car and then (like any sane person) decided to keep running. I was 100% not prepared to run almost twice what I normally do and was unbelievably sore for the rest of that week. The kind of sore where you need physical support walking down steps and then spend the rest of your night shuffling around your apartment groaning like a 85 year old man. Why am I telling you this quirky, but otherwise unrelated story? Since I certainly couldn't run again for a few day, I was able to spend my nights planning and writing! A la, this post.

The world works in mysterious ways... Anyway, now on to the good stuff!

My newest obsession is pictured below. This wedge / sneaker dreamboat gives me life. While that might seem a bit dramatic, a coworker of mine has a similar pair and ever since I first saw hers, I knew I wouldn't rest until I owned a pair myself. Then, after months of waiting - like a sign from God - Steve Madden was having a sale. I knew it was meant to be.

This style screams New York - so chic and effortless. It has an athleisure feel to them (obvs - as they're a sneaker wedge 🙈), but even so, they instantly elevate any outfit without calling too much attention. Perfect to pair with a dress for date night or leggings for all the other days you just want to be comfortable.

These, along with a few others I've had my eye on, are linked below.


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Favorite NYC Coffee Shops

Hello there! I don't know about you, but I am quite chilled atm. January is not my favorite month for weather, so as a mental remedy, we're talking coffee today. Specifically, my favorite coffee shops in NYC.

Since moving to the city, coffee shops have been the backdrop to many events. Whether it was mentally preparing for an interview in 20 minutes, seeking refuge from a downpour, catching up a friend or simply enjoying a few precious moments of rest, I've found myself in many coffee shops since that fateful August day.

Queens Room
It should be no surprise that I absolutely have to start this list at the heart of my stomping ground - Astoria. If you've never heard of it, you have now! Astoria is an adorable, yet hip section of Queens - most recently famous for the mysterious blue light that appeared back in December. Any who, we start our list out in Queens Room & I have more than one excuse to visit this lovely spot. In the morning and afternoon hours, you'll find most patrons sipping coffee and working on laptops. Typical coffee shop vibes. After dark, though, most are sipping wine or enjoying one of their monarch inspired cocktails. I'm partial because of how close it is to my apartment, but it's an adorable spot if you need some inspiration while writing or if you're on a ~casual~ date.

Address: 36-02 Ditmars Blvd Astoria, NY

Martha's Country Bakery
Martha's is fairly well known here in NYC with a few different locations in Queens and Brooklyn. I feel this goes without saying, but my favorite is there Astoria location. While it isn't their original location, the Astoria MCB was where my roommate Madrid and I shared a light lunch after viewing our now apartment. It was an absolutely exhausting day running all over Astoria viewing a bunch of extremely different apartments. After literal hours of walking we finally found our corner of the universe and solidified plans to sign in this very coffee shop. Besides the sappy, sentimental stuff, they also have a dangerous amount of delicious desserts. Sharing an eclair and sipping a cappuccino is such a relaxing way to spend an hour. The sugar rush makes me even more chatty than usual, so I refrain from suggesting any first dates here.

Address: 36-21 Ditmars Blvd Astoria, NY

Think Coffee
I've only been to the location on Mercer, but they have shops all over the city. I stumbled on Think while I was out with the sister last March and have enjoyed every trip back since. This particular location definitely has college vibes. Most likely due to it's proximity to NYU. While I don't attend classes anymore, this spot really makes me rethink applying for grad school.. I could sit in here and read for hours!

Address: 248 Mercer St New York, NY

Ground Support
I absolutely love how witty this name is! If I'm being honest, it's entirely the reason I first stopped in. Sure the coffee is delicious and the prosciutto sandwich gives me life, but I come back for this spot's unique personality. My favorite thing about GS you ask? Oddly enough, their Instagram. Although, maybe it won't seem odd once you check it out. It's not what you're expecting, but everything you need. You won't be disappointed.

Address: 399 West Broadway New York, NY

Optimistic Cafe
This cafe is SO freakin' cute. I shot one of my favorite Insta Story photos here while warming myself from the cold - also last March. An eventful month for coffee discoveries, I suppose. It's pretty cozy in this particular cafe, so you may have difficulty finding a place to sit if you'd like to stay a while. If it's a grab and go, make sure to snap a photo or two in front of their faux vines.

Address: 260 West 39th St, New York, NY

The Coffee Inn
Located in the Upper East Side, this tiny shop is great to refuel during a day of adventures. It's only a few avenues away from Central Park and even closer to arguably the best TJ Maxx around (the real reason I venture to the UES). It's also conveniently located near my sister's place. It's like they always say, "location, location, location".

Address: 1316 1st Avenue New York, NY

Ange Noir Cafe
Last, but certainly not least, we have Ange Noir Cafe. The name itself means Black Angel and the interior reflects a very gothic noir vibe. Sounds odd - for sure, but it's really well done. I went there for brunch a few weekends ago and had one of the best breakfast sandwiches I've eaten in a while. There weren't any bells and whistles and I certainly wouldn't say the food is Insta worthy - at least from a photogenic standpoint - but wow is it good. Right around the corner you'll find Beacon's Closet, a fun, hip thrift store. I found a retro Pitt hat in there and couldn't believe it! Even Brooklyn hails.

247 Varet Street, Brooklyn NY, 11206

I know I have absolutely missed a bunch of great spots. My roommate Kayleigh loves QWNS Cafe in Astoria, Grace Street in K-Town and Bluestone Lane in the West Village, so I already have a few on my list of spots I need to check out. It's safe to say I'm obsessed with coffee shops. Where should I head to next??


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Keanu Reeves + my zero chill

Hey fam, welcome back! While I love fashion, photo shoots and the like, today I'm going to take a moment to tell one of my favorite stories since moving to NYC. Celebrities are just like you and me, right? They eat, sleep, shop and usually own joggers. While it was not by any means the reason why I moved to the big city, I would be lying if I said a celebrity sighting wasn't a pleasant side-effect of dealing with increased daily anxiety.

One of my favorite NYC stories to date is the story of my fateful run in with Keanu Reeves. Yes, you read that correctly, I PHYSICALLY ran into one of the most famous actors in the entire world-- Keanu Reeves! (Sorry--reelin' it in, guys.) It all started when a co-worker of mine invited me to go out for seafood. A large group had decided to get together and make an evening of it. I remember walking to the train station thinking to myself, "Every time I leave the apartment, something eventful always happens"...

When I finally arrived at the restaurant, a few of my friends were at the bar having a drink, waiting for the late-comers. We chit chatted about nothing in particular-- venting about work, the commute, life-- typical things. When everyone finally arrived and we were ready to be seated, I proceeded to go last for some reason and, being the vertically challenged individual that I am, was easily overlooked. Quite literally. So, I'm making my way past the bar patrons when a gentleman had the audacity to back into me!

My initial thought, once I found my bearings, was that I had just run into someone very wealthy, very influential or both. He had that 'effortlessly important, also trying to hide it, but being extremely obvious nonetheless' look about him. Anyway, so this hotshot backs into me and being the mid-western gal that I am, immediately said/sung my favorite word, "ope!". I paused for (what I hope was) a second while I took him in, then proceeded to do this weird 'bow, one foot out, gesturing him forward' thing and stated "after you, sir" in the WORST BRITISH ACCENT IMAGINABLE.

I am historically excellent under pressure.

Back Story: There are only a few celebrities who can ruffle my feathers if I run into them. The only celeb that would really throw me off is John Mulaney. But I would give my left kidney to him if he needed it, so it's a deep-seated, one-sided love affair and that's all I'm at liberty to say. Anyway, I don't like to be that fan girl. I'd rather have a conversation with whomever it happens to be and treat them just like any one else. My intent with this particular gentleman was to be my usual derpy self. 

Clearly, I took the whole "act natural" thing too far.

Parks And Recreation GIF

The best part of this whole interaction was that I could see his thoughts travel across his face. When he first turned around he was on guard and accessed me immediately. He then went from ready to throw down to completely unconcerned in .06 seconds. "Oh, just some small human with zero coordination or social skills." Pretty fast turn around, if you ask me.

After holding eye contact for what felt like an eternity, I saw him realize that I had no idea who he was and then I knew, that he knew, that I had no idea who he was. He politely smiled at me, put his hand on the SMALL OF MY BACK and said, "no, no after you".

Here was my opportunity to gain a little ground from my awkward beginning.

         THE PLAN:

  1. Start it off by being super derpy and "fun"
  2. real it in
  3. graciously and genuinely thank him
  4. give him a 30watt smile
  5. gracefully walk away
  6. leave him to wonder who that mysterious girl from Claw Daddy's was

Great-- Excellent! I had finished my first interaction with an important NYC person unscathed. I could feel him looking after me and was strutting my most confident walk. Heals tapping without falter, back straight, hair curled and flipped. NAILED IT. Until, oh god, oh no. What?! THERES A STEP?!

Following Sequence of Events:
* ~somehow~ catches herself
*leaves dignity on the floor
*takes seat
*orders two glasses of wine
(just kidding, only one glass)

In my head, I'm still not too worried about it. "Whatever, he'll probably forget in five minutes and I have no idea who he is, anyway." I was nurturing my *slightly* bruised ego back to health when I heard commotion at the table. Hushed whispers. Backs turning. Necks craning. "Aaron, what's going on?" "Dude, Keanu Reeves is at the bar. Been here the whole time!"


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My New York City Adventure

Hello everyone and welcome back to the Rachel Lynn Blog! Wow, does it seem like an eternity since I posted last. You all have been such a wonderful support system and have seriously made this move and transition to the big city more manageable. So, today's post is going to be story time-- a little (relatively speaking) recap of what I've been up to the past few months.

A year ago last month, I decided to move to New York City. I was in an odd transition period of my life and wanted to do something I had been too scared to even contemplate before. It was finally time to chase my dream and move to the city that had stolen my heart years before. (I talked a lot about that time in my life HERE if you want to read more about it!) That decision was the easiest part of the whole process. After my heart was set, we had to actually find a place to live... 

Oh. My. God. Finding an apartment in New York City was the most stressful process I've ever experienced. When I was in college, if you didn't have a lease signed at least six months in advance, you were probably screwed.. or living with random people. I started searching for apartments as soon as I decided to move and was laughed at by every broker/ owner I spoke with. There wasn't a single landlord willing to sign a lease for even a month in advance. In theory, it makes sense. There are so many people who are looking for housing in the city, they could have that apartment filled in a week. No way they want it sitting for a few months while you wait for your current lease to end. 

As much as I wanted things set in stone well in advance, there was no way that was possible. We planned to move in August, so come July we were finally able to start looking at apartments. One of my roommates and I took a few days off work and looked at almost 20 apartments in two days. TWENTY APARTMENTS IN TWO DAYS. We walked all over Harlem and then all over Astoria (the most adorable neighborhood, btw) in search of our future home. On the last day we were able to look at apartments, we made a last ditch effort to schedule viewings. As we were walking to the subway, the two of us were furiously calling brokers. 

Up until that point, we had a few options, but none that truly felt like home. The last apartment we looked at on that fateful day was the one. People always say you just know when something is right. I never thought it was true until that day. There was just something about that apartment. I knew it was ours and made no attempts to hide how badly I wanted it. That day-- two weeks before I was supposed to move-- we met with the landlord and started the application process. 

Two weeks, guys! 

After that, I packed up everything I could fit in my brother's truck, left behind anything I couldn't and set off with our two little kittens. Off to take on the big city. 

"Little coffee takes on big city. ðŸ—½"

Since then it's been a whirlwind of applying for jobs, interviewing, networking and acclimating. Career wise, I could not have made a better decision. I've had countless interviews, met with amazing start up companies, sat down and picked apart a CEO's brain and overall found a clearer sense of where I want to take my job search. I've had to work a lot harder to stand out and make an impression, but I've found that to be so much more rewarding. 

Even better, though, all of my interviews here have centered almost entirely around my blog and the work I've done with it! Not only discussing my personal blog at a professional level, but impressing interviewers with my experience enough for them to invite me back has been such a pivotal moment in my job search. It meant the world to hear that the past few years I had spent growing my blog and putting my heart and soul into it has led to more than just a hobby, but a potential career. The writing opportunities here are absolutely phenomenal and I know in the long run this was the best move I could have made!

And, of course, I would be remiss if I didn't talk about actually living in NYC. One of the things I absolutely love about the city and miss every time I leave is the independence I feel. The first week or so was a nightmare trying to navigate the subway system. I missed meetings, was late almost all of the time and had to Uber to my final destination because I had no idea where I was on MORE than one occasion. I even started doing this fun thing where after a week or so I would have way too much confidence in myself, walk 15 minutes in one direction, only to check my phone and realize I'd been headed in the wrong direction the whole time. That was one night I don't ever want to repeat. ðŸ™„

Once I mastered* the subway system, I felt that I could conquer the world. Whenever I go back home or go back to Pittsburgh to visit, I constantly feel like I have to rely on someone else, whether it's friends or Ubers to get around and miss being able to rely on myself to get around. Now, in all fairness, I've been stuck underground, delayed, or have mentally freaked out in trains my fair share, so it's not perfect by any means, but it still feels good to have the confidence to get wherever I need to be with some amount of ease.

*One never fully masters the subway system. It simply lets you believe you have an understanding of it.

Everyone says New York City is the city of opportunity-- a place where anything can happen. They were not kidding, let me tell you! I love the thrill of leaving my apartment on a day off and expecting everything and nothing at the same time. I could head into the city, sit at a coffee shop to do work and simply enjoy the experience. Have nothing extraordinary happen, but still be able to revel in the experience-- still be inspired by the city and it's people. Or, on the other hand, I could leave my apartment, expect nothing and somehow stumble into an amazing experience I never planned for. 

As much as I love running into the occasional celebrity (Oh, yes. There will be an entire post on just that experience.) and hanging out in speakeasies (Of course, I will be writing about this, too!), my favorite New York experience has been singing in bars. And not karaoke, either! An accompanist and you. If you know me, you know how much I love to sing. It's hard not to find me humming along to some tune or another. A friend of mine found out I can carry a tune and has been on a mission ever since to take me to bars with live music. 

These spontaneous trips always turn into him "coercing" me to sing at the piano and I would always, without fail, freak out beforehand. "I have nothing prepared. I haven't really practiced in years! I didn't warm up. I'm going to sound horrible!" And a whole litany of other excuses. We'd start by standing in the back, listening to everyone else take their turn, while I wished I had the courage to do it myself. Slowly but surely, I'd inch closer to the piano and "nonchalantly" make eye contact with the pianist until he asked if I wanted to take a shot at it. 

The first few notes my voice always shakes, but I will never loose the performer's part of me and I always find my footing. There's such a wonderful moment, when you forget to be scared and just enjoy it-- when you let yourself have fun and sing your heart out, connecting with those around you. Everyone there is always so supportive, too. I've even had a complete stranger quietly sing the harmony in support. Just listening to two strangers, who will probably never meet again, vocally support each other and create such a beautiful space gives me such LIFE. 

Now don't get me wrong, things have not been all fun and games. Every day I have to work and really put in the effort. I could never say it's been easy. There have been plenty of nights I've cried in the subway or been genuinely lost as far as where I should take my life next. I had an HR coordinator tell me to my face I wouldn't make it because I don't have the "city instinct" and I've been so close to finally landing my dream job, only to have it slip away over the slightest technicality. Living in this wonderfully crazy city means that I have to wrestle with these facts everyday and make the conscious effort to push through. I've decided to fight for what I want and by doing that I've learned more about myself in this past year than had the past 23 others. 

It's definitely a work in progress, but I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Be on the look out for more updates from the Big Apple! 


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