Finding Passion…and Living It

This morning I came across a Huffington Post article titled “6 Ways to Find Your Passion and Live Your Purpose,” which I thought was so timely considering what I have been deliberating in my mind about my quarter-life crisis and going after what I love.

There list of 6 includes the following:

  1. List what you love and connect the dots.
  2. Identify what you do with ease.
  3. Look at your past.
  4. Play like a child.
  5. Do what makes you happy…all of it.
  6. Ask others for help.

All 6 items on these list stood out to me, and when you read the article the explanations for each truly make a well-rounded argument for how these items can help you find your passion. Yet, still, I find myself baffled. How can 6 things that seem so simple make such a big impact?

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I think the problem, for me at least, when I read these types of lists is that I automatically assume these are things I am already doing. Of course it’s easy to say that you truly know what it is you love in life and that you try to focus on what makes you happy and do these things. However, how fully are you really embracing this kind of lifestyle?

There are so many things I love to do – travel, eat, write, explore – that I don’t do enough (well, besides eat). And, if I do them, I don’t necessarily allow myself to “live” them. This lies hand-in-hand with my risk-averse personality. I am scared. I am scared to go after what I love, and I think that is because there are so many things I love that seem so “basic” that it is hard to imagine making a life out of these passions. As in, how could I ever get a job doing any of these things?

I want to make a difference in this world, and I think that if every person were to embrace and live their passions, the world would be a better place. We are all so unique and bring such a different perspective to the world, if we were to harness these passions and live them, just think of how bright and beautiful this earth would be.

That said, I love this short and sweet list, but it makes me wonder what more there is to do to find and live your passion. If you have suggestions, let me know, because I am still chasing after mine.

XOXO

Risks & Rewards

I often ask myself, “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” Haven’t we all asked that question – what risks would you take if you knew there would be no consequences?

The hardest part for me, though, is coming up with the answer to the question. I have so many things that I want to do in and with my life, but I often let fear inhibit me from taking the plunge and doing these things.

Those who know me well, and likely even those who have only briefly encountered me, know that I am an anxious person by nature. I worry and I fret and I often let my worry paralyze me. But, as I reflect on my “quarter-life crisis” and think about the worry I have about the unknown that lies ahead of me, it’s made me realize all the more that I can’t let my fear stop me from going after what I want and love.

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At 23, I have most of my life ahead of me (God willing), which seems odd considering people say college is the best time of your life, etc. How can the best time of my life already have passed when I still have three quarters left to live?! I certainly hope what’s best is yet to come.

So, now that I am my older and wiser 23-year-old self, I want to issue myself a challenge, and perhaps you too. Embrace the trial and error of life. Take risks, knowing that you may (and likely will) make mistakes. But, without taking these risks, you might not know what you’ve been missing out on. I guess the way I look at it is, I would rather take a risk than live with regret. Or, at least that’s what I am telling myself from here on out. Plus, with so much life left to live, can’t I afford to take a leap of faith and perhaps fall a few (million) times?

It’s easy to let anxiety stop you from trying new things or taking new adventures. It’s easy to let the fear of failure stop you from even trying. It’s easy for me at least. But, and taking one from Babe Ruth here, with this new year of life ahead of me, I am pushing myself (and you!) to not let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game. Cliche, but true.

XOXO

The Quarter Life Crisis

In one week I turn 23 years old. That’s in 7 days. 10,080 minutes. 604,800 seconds. And, don’t they say, nobody likes you when you’re 23? Thanks, Blink 182.

But, do you want to know what else nobody likes?  Nobody likes to tell you how hard your 20’s can be. Yes, I am still young enough to go out and drink until 2 a.m. and, sure, I don’t have a family or a mortgage. Hell, I don’t even have a car payment (#bigcityperks). But man, life is still throwing me some curve balls.

Before now, life has been pretty prescribed. Elementary school. Middle school. High school. College. Class at this time. Sports (or if you’re me, student government) at this time. Babysit at that time. Study. Get a grade. Pass your class. Look for a job. Graduate. Move on. Start your job…

Suddenly, though, the path ahead isn’t paved – and you’ve got to figure out the direction you’re headed in on your own. And while you may have people guiding you, there’s no one there to tell you exactly how it should be done. Instead, you’re told there’s no right answer, and you’ve got to decide for yourself what lies ahead. And what happens if you mess up and decide you’ve gone the wrong way, or made the wrong choice? Sadly, it’s no game of Monopoly; there’s no get out of jail free card.

Nobody tells you that it’s scary. It’s scary to make these choices and to venture into the unknown with little to no safety net. You embark on your journey into the “real world” at such a young age. Suddenly, the bubble you’ve been living in for approximately 21 years is burst. You take your first real job. You hope you listened well enough in school as you sit in meetings across from people twice your age. You hope you don’t make a fool of yourself or sound too much like a “millennial,” all too often perceived as narcissistic, gadget-obsessed fools with their heads stuck in the clouds.

You hope you’re not seen as too young to know, but reality is, you are young. And there’s a lot of life you’ve yet to have experienced, so therefore…you might not know, simply because you haven’t lived it. But that doesn’t mean you’re dumb, or does it?

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This decade is a hard one to navigate. And nobody seems to tell you that. You teetering between being a child and a full blown adult, navigating a fine line that you may not even want to cross. Seemingly overnight you’ve gone from a few homework assignments and essays to bills and errands and real life work tasks (no more hypothetical problems anymore). How are you expected to do it all, and more importantly, to do it all right?

And there in lies in the real challenge. You’re not expected to do it all right. And, chances are, you probably won’t. You’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to make the wrong choice. You’re going to have to change your mind and pave a new path for yourself. Sometimes, in doing so, you’ll let people down. Sometimes, you will get hurt. But, in the end, you’ve got to make the choices that put you on the path towards your own success. And, what is success in life but being the happiest version of yourself? Yes, you’ll want to make money to live off of, and yes you’ll want that good ol’ American dream, but at the root of it all, if you’re not happy, what is any of it worth?

Note, though, that I write this not necessarily believing every word above. That is, I am in the midst of the struggle myself. Yes, I am certainly enjoying life – I have a great job, I live in a wonderful city, I have an amazing family, wonderful friends, a great boyfriend – but I still get worried. I worry about the three quarters of my life that lie ahead. I wonder what I truly want to be when I “grow up,” all while hoping I don’t ever really have to grow up, teetering that fine line we do in our 20’s.

But, I write what’s above believing deep in my heart that the best is yet to come. And that I can find that ultimate happiness if only I remember that it won’t happen overnight. And there will be hurdles. And I will trip over said hurdles (klutz by nature) and fall flat on my face. But, if I can pick myself up, if I can wipe the dirt off and keep moving, what lies ahead will be wonderful, if I only remember that the journey to get there won’t be perfect, as nothing ever is.

23, I am scared for you, but I am ready. Let the countdown begin. (And please, greet me with a pitcher of margs.)

Turning the Page

A bad workman blames his tools, right? Well, sorry to say it but this working woman is going to blame her tools. I don’t have a functioning computer which has led me to ignore my blogging and go about my New York life without updating my blog in AGES. It makes me sad, though, especially as my time in the City That Never Sleeps comes to an end.

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                         Midtown Sunset

Comes to an end?! What?!

On July 1st, I will officially be a resident of the City of Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love.

I can hardly believe how quickly a year has passed. It seems like it was just July 3rd, 2014 and I was moving myself into my Manhattan apartment and then POOF, I blinked and now I have two weeks left in this city. How in the world did that happen?!

It’s true, though, that with each passing year time seems to go faster. And I hate it.

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     God Bless America

This year was a whirlwind. At first I was confused and alone, and I felt like a small fish in a pond that was far too big. But, as the months passed, I came to find a place for myself in this city of millions. I found friends and things I enjoyed doing, and suddenly I can’t imagine leaving this place.

While I admit I would never live in New York long term (too far from family, too busy to raise a family, TOO EXPENSIVE, etc.), I can’t imagine leaving quite yet. I feel I still have people’s company to enjoy and things to still explore (and fun food to still try). It truly is bittersweet.

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Brooklyn Bridge Walks

While there is much to look forward to in Philadelphia (hello brand new apartment!), there is a lot to be missed about NYC. If you would have asked me a few years ago if I thought I would ever live in New York City, my guess would’ve been no. But, now that I’ve done it, I can’t imagine this past year any differently. I’ve learned a lot about myself and my strength, and I have grown empowered living in this city. I am excited for this new chapter, but it certainly is hard to turn the page on this one. But, like they say, if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere…

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Bushman in the Big Apple

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Central Park Sailboats

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Gal Pals

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City Slicker

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Lobster Benedict at Hotel Chantelle

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Parents Visit!

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Rink Bar at the Rockefeller Center

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Frozen Marg O’Clock

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Bifflez

Time to enjoy these last couple weeks! XOXO.

Mid-February, Already?!

Oh, ya know me, just doing that thing where I say I will start blogging again and then fall off the face of the earth for a month. Dare I say typical? Le sigh.

Needless to say, life has been pretty busy! This is my team at work’s “busy season” filled with many 12-hour days, and I simply haven’t devoted time to ze blog world. But, I really want to and am going to do my best to get back in the swing of things! (Deja vu??)

Here are some highlights from the past month:

January 10 – Got to cheer on the Panthers with some fellow Carolinians in Manhattan at Sidebar. Tough loss, but good to be in the Big Apple with some hometown fans!

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January 16 – My sweet Uncle Tom came into town for a visit, which was lovely! On Friday, we ate Dinner at Casa Nonna in Hell’s Kitchen – it was phenomenal! After, we saw the new Broadway musical, “Honeymoon in Vegas.” Although neither of us had heard of it, we both LOVED it! It was modern and fun – definitely worth seeing!

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January 17 – Happy Birthday, Daddy! With my Uncle still in town we met up with my Great Aunt Marilyn, Great Uncle Michael and second cousin Tyler for lunch at Sardi’s followed by a matinee performance of “Rock of Ages.” It was a wonderful day followed up with a night in New Haven, CT with delish pizza and Marilyn’s oatmeal raisin cookies.

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January 24 – ‘Twas a busy and fun Saturday. I started my day at the Brooklyn Brewery (as someone who doesn’t *love* beer, I highly recommend their Greenmarket Wheat), followed by drinks and snacks at The Whiskey Brooklyn.

BBSaturday concluded with an amazing dinner at the trendiest and most chic restaurant I have ever set foot in, TAO Downtown. Just being there I felt instantly like a celeb. I went with dear friends from Charlotte who were in town and it was so lovely to see them! We ate and drank well of course, too, and I highly recommend the Satay of Chilean Sea Bass and the Angry Dragon sushi roll. Both were phenomenal!

taoJanuary 27 – Ah, the epic NYC blizzard that never was. While it was predicted we’d see 3 feet of snow, we managed to get about 7.5 inches in the City. But, due to the overwhelming panic before, the Big Apple all but shut down meaning a “work from home in pajamas” day was in order.

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January 30 – While I don’t have any pictures from this night, I went to my dear friend Emma’s 23rd birthday celebration. Our night began at the Fat Buddha in Alphabet City and ended at Los Feliz in the Lower East Side. Between the lychee martinis and the jalapeno-cilantro margaritas, it was a great night had by all.

February 6 – Another night of margs at El Camion in Alphabet City and La Palapa in the East Village. Margs + tacos = my favorite nights. These spots have the best margs I’ve found in the City thus far!

February 7 – Finally caught up with my best girl, Tara, and enjoyed drinks and Bareburger. Gal time is the best time. The night concluded with seeing Birdman with my friend Peter! Definitely a good movie, much more “artsy” and “Academy Award worthy” than my typical viewing of “Mean Girls,”

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February 14 – Celebrated Galentine’s Day (duh) with Emma and Joanie and it was wonderful! We noshed on baked brie, salad, Skinny Spinach Lasagna from Pinch of Yum (SO GOOD.) and chocolates. Oh, and we may have consumed a copious amount of red wine. Whatever.

brieOtherwise, life has been pretty ordinary. Trying to balance work and socialization, while constantly being back and forth to our offices in Philadelphia each week. The nice part about that, though, is that I have tried some amazing restaurants in Philly and I am getting a feel for what may potentially be my new home starting in July. That, and a huge hotel bed never heard anybody.

Hopefully I will be back sooner than I was this go round. In the meantime, Go Heels. Go America. Go to hell dOOK.

Back, Back in the New York Groove

Hello-Im-backSo you thought I was dead, didn’t you?! I mean I know you’ve woken up countless times in the 6 MONTHS since I last blogged in a cold sweat thinking to yourself, “that Katherine girl, I mean she must not be alive.” I am here to inform you that your anxiety was falsely based, and I am, indeed, very much alive.

You’re welcome.

So, why has it been HALF A YEAR since I blogged? Great question. I don’t really have an answer though…

Adjusting to life in New York City, finding a new rhythm as yopro (young professional, duh) and life in general have gotten the best of me. That, and my college computer is simply the most frustratingly slow piece of technology I have ever laid my hands on.

But, a good workWOman never blames her tools (or her circumstances), so I really don’t have an excuse. I just plan old didn’t blog. Simple as that.

In an effort, though, to be a more well-rounded individual in 2015, I think I shall pick up blogging again. I don’t know how frequently or what about necessarily, but probably just tidbits from my life in the Big Apple and such. Nothin’ fancy of course, but I’ve just missed having this outlet.

In the meantime, here are some photos of my life as of late…

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Mid-Santa Con Pizza Run

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NBCUniversal Holiday Party at Universal Studios Hollywood

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The Christmas Tree at 30 Rock

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Panthers vs. Browns with my mama!

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Delivering Christmas meals with these crazy elves

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New Year’s Eve celebrations at the Gansevoort Park Avenue with my best

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Nick & Kat cheer on the ‘thers from Manhattan

Hope you have a happy weekend! xoxo

Empire State of Mind

Helllllo my internet friends! I hope you didn’t think that I fell off the face of the earth, or that I’d forgotten about you. I merely took some time off from blogging to completely enjoy being at home in the interim between graduating from UNC (Go Heels!) and moving to NYC to begin work with NBCUniversal. Now bear with me, as this is an aggressively long post.

My, oh my, how busy I have been! I spent May and June trying to get myself organized to make the big move from my hometown of Charlotte, NC (born and raised, baby!) to the Big Apple. Basically that consisted of me stressing about all the things I had to do, but waiting until the very last minute to do all of them. Typical. So, I passed time lounging by the pool, reading Gone Girl and hanging with my friends and family. ‘Twas lovely, truly.

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The ending to this book had me feelin’ all kinds of crazy.

 

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Ah, the Queen City in all her glory.

 

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A Charlotte sunset.

 

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Home sweet home.

On Thursday, July 3rd, I flew from CLT to LGA with a heavy heart. Yes, of course I am thrilled about this new adventure – I am in the capital of the world with a big girl job right out of college – but nonetheless, it is hard to say goodbye to those you love. With tears in my eyes, I hugged my parents and boarded my flight. And, honestly, there were more tears in the cab to my apartment. Like my beloved Mimi, I am just not one for goodbyes. I am sad to leave the South, where my parents, sisters and closest friends live, but I am looking forward to the fun to be had in the Big Apple!

You’d think that once I arrived at my apartment that I’d unpack, but alas, my “stuff” (AKA bed, dresser, hangers, EVERYTHING I OWN) doesn’t arrive until July 14th. Sigh. So, for now I am living out of two suitcases and sleeping on an air mattress. Could be worse – at least I’m not homeless!

The very first night I got to the City, I met up with my best friend from UNC, Tara, who is a native of New York. She had invited me to go on a river cruise around the City with her and her friends from home. Knowing I would have nothing to unpack, I attended and had a blast. Also on the cruise was our friend Emma who also went to UNC – bringin’ the South up North.

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Me, Tara and Emma

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What a view!

This July 4th was not quite the Independence Day I am used to. My roommate, Kelley, and I spent the day tackling a rather long t0-do list trying to get some items together for our apartment. We visited Kmart and Bed, Bath & Beyond, which are conveniently located near our apartment. We got everything from a kitchen trash can to a window AC unit for our main living area. We walked blocks and blocks and were utterly exhausted, but managed to shower and head down to the Manhattan Bridge to watch a spectacular fireworks display. Then we crashed.

The following day, I went on an excursion to Queens to purchase a love seat. After having THE WORST shopping experience with Ashley Furniture Home Store in Charlotte, I had to start from scratch in finding living room furniture. Ugh. So, I decided I’d make the subway trek to the Macy’s Furniture Showroom out in Queens. After having a bit of trouble finding the right subway entrance (and getting laughed at by a subway worker) I finally found the correct “R” train headed to Queens. I hopped off the train and found that the Macy’s Furniture Showroom was in the same complex as a Target #blessed. I found a darling love seat that is set to arrive soon and spent some more dollars in “The Red Mecca” (which by the way has an escalator just for shopping carts – lolz!).

Again, I was dead after that excursion, so I came home, had some dinner and watched Netflix on my little air mattress. I promise I’m not really this lame (well, maybe I am?).

Today (July 6th), I woke up early and went to church at 9 a.m. Conveniently, there is a Catholic Church right around the corner from me. However, it is a Polish Church that only offers two masses per week in English. I checked it out, and while it is a beautiful sanctuary, I had such difficulty understanding the priest that I may have to continue “church shopping.” Still, though, it is nice to know that there is a church very close should I ever want to pop in for some quiet prayer time.

After church, I unfortunately had to haul myself to the Walgreen’s Health Clinic. Like a five-year-old, I woke up with an outrageous ear ache, and sure enough, I have an ear infection. I thought people were immune to those after, like, age 10? I’ve officially been proved wrong and now have some antibiotics in my arsenal.

Post doctor’s visit, I had some lunch and tooled around my neighborhood aimlessly. It was so lovely to just be able to stop and look around, without any true place to be. The highlight of my day was visiting Washington Square Park, which is about a 15 minute walk from my apartment. It is quite the destination for people watching, and it is truly a beautiful park. I really do love that, despite being such a “concrete jungle,” New York does have some stellar community parks.

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Washington Square Park – a must see in NYC!

 

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That’s me creating “bubble art” in the park!

 

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Pollination and what not.

Tomorrow I’m off to Philadelphia for the week for training for work! The real world is officially knocking at my door – I can’t believe it!

Be sure to follow my adventures on Instagram – my username is @tarheelinthecity and I’ll be hashtagging with #tarheelinthecity as well.

A True “Pick Me Up”

If you know me, or any of the 6 lovely ladies I live with in “The Cottage,” we love our coffee. The seven of us probably consume 3 pots a day. No shame, gotta get by somehow. 

So, would you buy a “social” coffee mug? One that displayed a sweet picture or an inspirational quote each time you filled it with hot liquid? I know I would.

Well, this is no longer a dream, you can make this a reality

Introducing the Muki, a social coffee mug created by Paulig, a small Finnish coffee roaster, and TBWA\Helsinki, the Finnish arm of the international advertising agency.

This mug adds an additional perk to your morning java, by giving you a sweet surprise with every cup. Each time it’s filled with hot liquid, an e-Ink image appears that can, from there, be uploaded to social media sites. Users control the mug through an app, and can choose whether they want their mug to show them inspirational quotes or fun pictures.

Of course, the Muki, being a new form of technology, has to go through beta testing before hitting stores. The cool thing is, though, you can be a part of the testing by applying at Pauling’s website. So far, about 2,500 people have applied to be a part of the tests.

If all goes well, this mug could hit shelves in Finland in 2015. I think this calls for a European trip next year.

The Power of the Network

When I look back on the semester of JOMC 240, I can’t even put into words the amount of things I learned from Professor John Robinson. This class was so fascinating and rooted in discussion, and I found it so valuable to learn from my professor and my peers in such a setting.

I learned a great deal about media this semester – most importantly, I learned where we all think it is headed in the future. Media has been disrupted over the years, with new forms of media emerging to replace the old. A lot has changed with media, even since I was born, and only time will tell where things are headed. I do know, though, that media will be more advanced and much more rooted in technology as the years pass.

One thing that really stuck with me was the idea of the power of the network, and how we can utilize our online networks to spread our stories and share our information – and ultimately, make something go viral.

Social media is a powerful tool, and it can connect us to people across the globe and it can lead to a story going viral. Just like we saw with Kristin’s catfishing incidence, once a story is shared on Facebook and retweeted on Twitter, it reaches a whole new audience and garners a great deal of attention.

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People will be willing to share your story or your piece of news on these networks if they feel compelled by what they see. Is it sexy? Is it emotional? Does it make people feel “in the know”? Does the story involve people (and show photos of said people)? 

Essentially, you have to share your story with the right audience if you want it to garner any attention. Once it is seen by the right people, and shared by these people, the possibilities are endless thanks to the Internet and social media. Both have changed the way stories are spread and the way people communicate.

The power of networking – it’s important in more than just the job hunt, it’s also important in making your stories known.

So, thank you John Robinson, for an amazing semester and for the lessons you bestowed on all of us. I will miss you and this class terribly, but I know we will see your lessons in action as we go forward.

streeteasy.com Saves the Day!

Hello world, it’s me, Katherine, and I have officially begun my last week of college classes. Cue panic attack lol (but seriously where does the time go? FREAKING OUT). I am a basket case of emotions right now – scared, sad, sentimental and excited – but I really am grateful for technology, once again, for allowing me to finish out my senior year at UNC and for helping me get excited about my big move to NYC in July.

Yes, I have already thanked email for connecting me to my future employers, but today I’d like to thank the site streeteasy.com for allowing me to house hunt in NYC without leaving the comfort of my home (and pajamas) in North Carolina.

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I was alerted to the site by a colleague of mine (I am old enough/mature enough to have colleagues?!) who used the site to help him find an apartment rental when he moved to NYC last July. 

The site is unique in that in hones in on housing in New York. That is, as opposed to sites like Zillow.com or realtor.com, it is specific to the neighborhoods and boroughs of New York. This has been extremely helpful to me and my future roommate (hey Kelley!) as we try to search for housing in particular areas of NYC that will be close to our work. 

The site is really awesome, too, in that it knows New York housing and will allow you to search for apartments that don’t require you to pay a broker fee, as this is common in the NYC house hunting voyage (AKA I am going to be even more broke than I already am).

This site has made me all the more thrilled about my move to New York, though. It is exciting to know that I won’t be homeless, and although my rent payments will force me to have a lifestyle equivalent to a person without money, I am excited and grateful to know that I will have a place to call my own and to relax after work. 

So, if you are moving to NYC, I highly suggest giving streeteasy.com a whirl – you won’t regret it!

Overall, technology has connected me more than I could even imagine to my future home and it has made me excited to take on this new journey. I am looking forward to July and can’t wait to be a city gal!