What It’s REALLY Like to Live in NYC

Today’s post is one that has been highly requested by my followers ever since I moved to NYC. Prior to moving to New York, I was thrilled at the thought of new opportunities, a new home and new friends. I could barely contain my excitement. The day I left Miami for my official move, I remember barely looking back. I didn’t want to look back because the only way I was looking was forward. I couldn’t wait for the new adventures that lie ahead in the Big Apple and I had no regrets about my decision to uproot my entire life and move to a brand new city.

Fast forward 8 months… things have, well, changed. 

There is this common misconception that bloggers and digital influencers alike live perfect lives. They receive free gifs, get glamorous photos taken, attend trendy events and have their closets filled with the latest must-haves of the season. Wrong. Something that’s so important to remember is that Instagram is simply a highlight reel. It’s not our real life and that’s what I try to portray to my followers. My life is nowhere near perfect and, to be honest with you, it has felt a bit further from perfect ever since I made the move to New York City.

Now, I know what you might be thinking. “She has the opportunity to live in a great apartment in one of the best cities ever and has an amazing job and coworkers” and yes – that is true. I do have a beautiful apartment and New York City is an amazing city. I do love my job and I’m fortunate to do what I love (social media for an absolutely amazing company that I honestly believe in so much). But there’s something that has seriously suffered since I arrived in New York City. It’s something I anticipated would grow to new heights… and it didn’t. And that certain thing is my blog.

Since I moved here, I have only created 191 Instagram posts. Now, you might think that’s a lot. But think about it. I’ve been here 8 months, which is about 32 weeks give or take. So, it’s about 6 posts a week on average (some weeks I wouldn’t even post on Instagram). When I lived in Miami, I posted 2-3 Instagrams a day. That’s about 21 posts a week. Now you get what I’m saying. My content consistency has gone down, along with my content creation and motivation. I’ll talk more about this below but I wanted to share a few things I’ve learned since living in New York.

If you think it’s expensive, you’re right. 

I’m blessed to have an income that allows me to live in the city. All throughout college, I worked extremely hard to be able to get a great job afterwards. But, let’s give you a little insight into my bills.

  • Rent: $2,995/month
  • Cable: $140/month
  • Electricity during summer: $160/month
  • Gym: $90/month
  • Transportation: average of $120/month

When I moved to the city, I thought I was prepared for the expensive cost of living. Nope. Not one bit. I’ve had to say no to going to dinner with friends, or to doing my nails, simply because I just can’t afford it. And buying clothes to style and share with you on TFD has become nearly impossible. If I buy clothes, I end up having to give up something else – like any kind of entertainment on weekends. And, while I love my apartment, it gets boring staying there on weekend nights because of a lack of money.

Transportation is a pain in the (you-know-what). 

I used to tell my parents that I didn’t care about taking the subway. It was fine. I was fine. Lies. No matter how early I leave, there will always be the possibility of a delay because of train signal problems, a sick passenger, traffic (bus) and more. Oh, and they’re crowded. Don’t get me wrong – I love people. But there have been so many times when someone is breathing down my neck and it gives me the actual chills. Can we say, personal space? Yeah, that doesn’t exist. And, of course, you can walk to a lot of places. But that also means that you’ll either 1) freeze or 2) show up at your destination extremely sweaty, bothered and no longer fresh-faced because of the extreme heat.

Finding spots for photos (on a daily basis) is hard! 

I work and live in an area that isn’t as “Instagrammable.” It’s crowded where I work and there aren’t many pretty settings near my apartment building. In order to get a cute photo, I either have to trek to my parents’ house in Brooklyn, or just hope that an over-the-head shot will do for the day. I mean, if I lived in Soho or West Village, then that would be a different story. But I also can hardly afford my rent in Murray Hill, so might as well not even think about that (insert sad face).

There’s a lot of social competition 

While I am constantly inspired by the people that walk past me on the streets, I also sometimes feel defeated. Defeated because I can’t afford to buy new outfits, get my hair done or paint my nails on a consistent basis. Their outfits are fabulous and I’m here wearing the same LOFT dress I bought two months ago for my first day of work. Now, don’t get me wrong… I love that dress, but you get my point.

There’s not much room for personal space

I think this one speaks for itself. But, if you’re aware and okay with that, then you’re just fine!

Contrary to what you may think, walking so much won’t make you shed pounds

Ugh. This is the part I was mostly looking forward to when I moved here. But, between the delicious weekend meals and brunches, it’s not necessarily what will happen. I walk so much more than I ever did in Miami, but I also haven’t lost any weight. You have to “work out with purpose” as I’ve been told. And, walking/speed walking to get to your destination in your new Sam Edelman sandals isn’t necessarily considered walking with purpose.

It takes a long time to get anywhere. 

Sometimes, I would rather stay home than go somewhere. It just takes so long to get anywhere and if you want to take Uber, there is most likely a high surge and an even higher amount of traffic. Somewhere that would take you 10 minutes to drive to yourself will take about 45 minutes to get to in NYC-time. And that can really be frustrating (and exhausting!).

Weekends become all about bottomless brunch + bar hopping

Don’t get me wrong… I love bottomless brunch – probably more than I should. But I don’t love the tummy I get after drinking one too many mimosas and indulging in deliciously prepared eggs benedict. And I love bar hopping. It’s a great way to spend time with friends, talk, laugh and meet people. What I don’t love is the sadness that is my bank account afterwards.

Commuter rage is a real thing. 

I used to think I had a slight case of road rage when driving around in Miami. Well, in NYC I have commuter rage. Whether it’s someone stopping in the middle of the sidewalk, people taking up the entire walkway or someone not letting me off my stop at the subway, the struggle is real.

The worst part of all: TFD has been put on the back burner 

This is probably the thing that has affected me the most (mostly mentally). For me, my blog is my baby. I’ve grown it since 2014 and it hasn’t been the same since I’ve been living in the city. In Miami, I was able to hop in my car, meet my photographer (or dad) and shoot my looks within 2 hours. Here, I have to lug my stuff to Brooklyn to shoot with my dad and there aren’t really many cute spots in their neighborhood (at least not to walk to). I don’t feel inspired because I’m either always worrying about my bank account or how tired I am. I know, these all sound like excuses. But they aren’t. The reason I’m writing this post is to be real with you. Consider it my public diary entry. Before moving, I thought it was a glamorous place – think Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City status. And it’s far from that. And the worst part, for me, is having to put The Fashionista’s Diary on the back burner while I figure my life out, try to make enough money to be able to enjoy time with friends and juggling anything thrown my way. It hasn’t been easy, but let me let you in on a little secret I’ve been telling myself…

God does everything for a reason. 

Last week, I stopped at a church and prayed. And, oh boy, I felt so good. I felt at peace for the first time in a long time. I asked God for guidance, love and reassurance that I am where I’m supposed to be. Sometimes I question why I left everything I knew for a new city. I question why I left my family, my comfortable life and my comfort zone. Then I read this post. And I remember why I did this. This transition has been the further thing from easy. But, like with everything in life, I have grown, learned and laughed along the way.

One day, I’ll laugh and tell my children about the one time I had a crazy roommate who threw a toaster oven at my door. Maybe I’ll even cry (of laughter or sadness, can’t be sure) at that one time that I burnt 9 inches of my hair off by backing up into a burning candle at the club in the city. I’ll reminisce on the bottomless brunches I shared with the amazing friends I made. I’ll smile thinking about those who impacted my life in more ways than one. And I’ll remember that, despite everything, this city has made me feel alive (unfortunately, my debit card doesn’t feel the same). I’ll take with me everything I’ve learned at my job and thank God for my experiences.

I don’t know where I’ll be in a year or two from now. But what I do know is that I’ll figure it out. And while NYC might not have been what I expected, it’s still a great city filled with adventure, love and opportunities. I’ve made some of my closest friends and created memories that will carry me throughout my entire lifetime.

So, my promise to you, NYC is to focus less on bottomless brunches, bar hopping and watching Jane the Virgin on the couch and focus more on experiences that I can take with me wherever my future may be.

Because, like my dad’s favorite song by Frank Sinatra says, “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere.” And, heck yes. I can make it.

Lauren Ashley
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Comments

  1. Jackie

    I loved how real you were about NYC! Yes girl you can do it, don’t give up! I’ve been following your blog since you first started and have always loved your content! Keep posting as much as you can and don’t give up ❤️

    Xo, Jackie <3
    Themodalista.com

    Reply
  2. Odalys Caballero

    New York is terrible! I remember you were moving to NYC when I was moving back down to Miami. It’s been a year and half later and I don’t miss it not ONE.BIT. Remember God makes beauty from the ashes. It’s good to have gone after what you wanted. Imagine all the years wasted pining over shitty NYC had you not already gotten there. Now you know what to look for moving forward. Best of luck!

    Reply
  3. Mom

    Stay strong my little one and at the end God will make all fine 🙂 life is full of decisions and those decisions have good and bad consequences. But remember there is always something positive even if its a bad decision. Love you all the way to God!

    Reply
  4. Marissa

    Loved this honest post! As someone who will be working in NYC and hope to live there, it was great to read an honest post about the realities about living in the city. I would love to see a post about all of your handbags and your opinions and what you think was worth it!

    Reply
  5. Caroline

    I love this! It’s hard not to romanticize NYC and actually see it for what it is and decide to find your own way to live and be happy there ❤️

    Reply
  6. Paola

    I can not agree more with you, I lived in London, Monaco and now NYC and I can’t find time for my blog or even instagram. I go back to Miami (home) and I post everyday!! I’m always tired here and working non stop! But we can do this girl!! Just less eating out for me aswell lol xx

    Reply
  7. Maia Montes de Oca

    This is was such a great post, Lauren! Thanks for your honesty. NYC can be a tough and overwhelming city, and just like you I moved here with many expectations of what it would be like and boy, was I wrong! I hope that you continue to enjoy and love it. Like you said, God does everything for a reason and he also wouldn’t put you through a situation he knew you couldn’t handle. So keep going! Best of luck xo

    Maia

    Reply
  8. Ruth Ridley

    Oh man! I hear you on so many levels! I lived in CT for most of my life and it was SO expensive. NYC is even worse…. We relocated to CA 4 years ago and as much as we loved it, it was hell adjusting!!! Praying for you as you transition and get settled in!! God is with you and you are so strong!! XO

    Reply
  9. Jamaria

    This was a very transparent post and I really appreciate you for sharing your feelings with us. Making moves are hard and in a city like New York I can only imagine it being REALLY hard.

    You will be back on top of your blogging game in no time! Keep praying and God will see you through this rough patch! Xo

    Reply
  10. Lauren

    GIRL, you couldn’t have explained this more perfectly. I just moved to NYC two months ago post-grad and have been feeling exactly the same way 💕 It’s hard to be spending all of my money on rent, or being too exhausted to shoot photos after work, but I’m trying to find a balance too! Can’t wait to grab lunch with you soon xoxo.

    Lauren // http://www.mylifeaslaurr.com

    Reply
  11. Stephanie Jackson

    Thanks for sharing! As someone who has been dying to move my family there for better job opportunities in my field, these are great things to consider

    Reply
  12. Lindsay

    I totally appreciate your honesty in this post. It’s hard when things change and it feels out of your hands. I struggled similarly after having a baby and my blog hasn’t been the same since. We are all in this together!

    Reply
  13. Lorena

    I’m from Mexico. I have visited only once NYC and I loved it. Buy I imagine how expensive is to live there. This is the fiesta time I visit your blog and I loved your post and to read you that honest. Here’s for you one of my favorite quotes “She believed she colud so she did”

    Reply
  14. Misti

    Great post , life is all about experiences and growth! Ar your parent says moving back to Miami with you?

    Reply

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