Note: This post was written Thursday night and, since then, there have been some changes so I’ll share those at the bottom.
WHERE WE ARE MOVING
NC will always, always, always be home (and we will be back long term) BUT we are MOVING. TO NEW YORK CITY. Like, NEXT WEEK. And it feels SO GOOD to finally be able to share this after such a long 4 month process. I don’t even know where to begin. I feel like I have months and months to catch you up on. I tend to be an over-sharer when it comes to a lot of things in life but this situation just felt different and it’s been really hard to not share every detail. I knew I needed to make this decision on my own, with TJ, and take into account a lot of factors. The entire process was also incredibly stressful, challenging, exciting, discouraging, all at the same time and I wanted it to feel real and official before sharing the news! It’s something that feels so right but also so out of character for me at the same time.
HOW THIS CAME ABOUT
First of all, 6-ish months ago TJ asked me if I wanted to move to NYC… after all, he spends the majority of his time traveling there for his job. If you’re not familiar with what TJ does, he works in software sales and his territory is New York City. His job requires 75% travel so, looking back at the last year, I didn’t really see him a whole lot. He flies there every week. Whenever he would mention the opportunity of moving there though, I would give it zero thought and laugh. I wouldn’t even entertain the idea, honestly. Plus, you’ve probably seen how much time we’ve put into our home here in NC and the idea of living more than 30 minutes from my family never even crossed my mind. The idea of downsizing in space never crossed my mind. The idea of living in a different state never crossed my mind, let alone one of the largest cities. And the idea of selling our house 2 years after moving in sure as heck didn’t cross my mind. I mean, we literally just renovated our bathroom to be exactly what I wanted. So, you can say that I was extremely close-minded about moving anywhere any time soon. But sometimes, you just can’t really plan your life. I remember sitting at coffee with a friend just back in July and she asked, “Do you think you guys will stay in the Raleigh area forever?” and I vividly remember believing and saying, “Yes, I really love our little suburb town and I can’t see why we would ever leave”. Isn’t it crazy how much can change in just the course of a few months?!
AT FIRST I WAS 100% AGAINST THE IDEA
Over time, different events led me to slowly become more and more open minded about the idea of moving there. I had an event in New York back in August and we visited friends for pizza and wine later that night on their rooftop in the Financial District. The weather, the view, the food, the company, the energy… everything just felt really right. That was the day when my mind started shifting a little. Just a little! It took me another 3 months though to really be all-in. Day by day, the pros started to outweigh the cons and I realized what is most important to me (spending time with TJ) and that life is just really short so why not?! I envisioned what our life could look like if we decided to make the move: First of all, TJ wouldn’t travel!!!!! I repeat… TJ would. not. travel. I didn’t want another year of seeing him 25% of the time. That right there is the main pro to all of this. I can’t even remember what it feels like to have him come home after work. Then I started to think about walks with Colbie and TJ through Central Park, learning a completely new way of life, attending exciting events for my job, meeting new people, waking up each weekend and exploring a new neighborhood with TJ (and not having to do as many house projects lol), living close to literally every store and food I can think of, the list just goes on. This opportunity began to present itself in a way that I couldn’t ignore and it started to become difficult to picture our life down the road if we didn’t move. It’s a rare opportunity for everything to align so perfectly to move there. His job’s relocation package, the fact that we don’t have kids yet, we even had people wanting to buy our house before we even knew we were going to sell it! It just all seemed to align too perfectly that it was hard to pass up when I knew deep down that years later I would ask myself “what if?”.
BUT WHAT ABOUT OUR HOUSE?!
The hardest part about leaving isn’t that we’ll be saying bye to our first home, although, it did take me a long time to accept that. I know I’ll be getting messages like “but your HOUSE!”. At the end of the day, it’s just a house. When we moved into this house, it was JUST a house… a very basic house. We then took our own skills and design and made it into what it looks like now. We will be taking those skills and ideas with us wherever we go throughout our life. As much as I have LOVED designing our house and using it as a blank canvas for my design style, you only live once and there is more to life than having a “pretty house”. I’d rather spend every day with TJ in a box than live alone most of the time in this house. Home is much more of a feeling… not just walls and a roof and I’m confident that I can make ANYTHING feel like “home” to us, even a little NYC apartment. Yes, of course, saying bye is tough, especially when we’re moving somewhere three times as small and three times as expensive…lol. But I knew that when we bought this house that we would only live there a few years and I still believe that we will want to raise a family down here in North Carolina. My plan is for us to move back down here in 2ish years and we can possibly build a home. Who knows? I might have a baby up in the city. Again, life throws you some interesting curve balls. BUT the hardest part is definitely leaving family. Not being 30 minutes down the road from dinner at my parent’s house or seeing my sister and cousins whenever we want will be the hardest part. Luckily, it’s just a quick 1 hour and 10 minute flight and our family has been really encouraging about all of this. They’re really excited for us and it makes it a lot easier for us to leave.
FINDING AN APARTMENT IN NYC
The first time we looked at apartments back in October, we came back home to Colbie being diagnosed with a splenic tumor and a 75% chance that her life would be drastically shortened to just a few more months. At that point, the moving-to-NYC thing had been put on pause because I really couldn’t see my life there without her and without my family. If Colbie was not going to be around, I didn’t want to move there. I know some people might say “she’s just a dog” but she’s been there with us through almost our entire 20’s, job changes, life changes, graduating, hard times, literally everything. The thought of living in a new city without her and without family was terrifying. It was such a scary and depressing week of waiting for her results to come back and her health was the only thing I could think about. It also didn’t help that during that trip, we didn’t find any apartments that we could see ourselves living in. Everything we looked at was dark and dreary and it rained every day that week we were there. I was like… “is this a sign?”. BUT, after her surgery (which the vets also didn’t think she would make through but we had to try) when we found out Colbie was cancer-free, miraculously, (seriously, I thank God every single freaking day for this…), we planned another apartment hunting trip after she had recovered for a month or so. Life went back to normal and my excitement grew. During that trip, we discovered that we absolutely LOVED the Upper East Side. It felt like a place we could totally see ourselves living in and from then on, it was just a waiting game of refreshing Streeteasy until I found something I loved. I miss it just thinking about it now.
NYC REAL ESTATE IS HARSH
Me trying to find an apartment within our budget in NYC that I actually loved, was close to a subway station, had good natural light, a decent kitchen, dog-friendly, elevator/doorman, in the area we loved, (you can go ahead and forget about washer/dryer in unit) was like me trying to find a hidden treasure. Or a bobby pin in our house…. very, very challenging. And yes, I know we could have found something much easier outside of Manhattan but… I had my heart set on Manhattan (especially since we know we won’t be living there forever). I’ll have to write a whole post on the apartment hunting process there but, for now, just know that it was not the most fun process for me. I’m a very particular person, especially when it comes to home stuff, and if we were going to be paying so much for a place to live, it needed to at least be semi-cute… mmmkay?! I’m not the most patient though and home decor is a huge part of my business too so it had to have potential if ya know what I mean!
WE FOUND AN APARTMENT!
The day we found our apartment I was SO EXCITED… but then we were told that the owners were going to move forward with another couple, and I felt really discouraged. Somehow, the next day they came back and decided to move forward with our application on Dec. 8th. The entire application process took a while, especially with this specific apartment being a “co-op” as opposed to a regular condo… and with the holidays. Co-ops have much stricter approval processes. We had to get 6 letters of recommendation, hand over literally every financial document and statement imaginable, and be interviewed in person by the board of our building before being approved. On top of that, being self-employed doesn’t make these situations any easier. After weeks of waiting for an interview invite, we FINALLY got invited to go meet the board! Once you’re invited to the co-op interview, you’re 95% of the way through the process… just gotta make it through the interview. The next morning after the interview, we found out WE WERE APPROVED by the board and WE HAD AN APARTMENT to live in finally! My dream apartment, really. *please read this post until the end*
I’ve learned so much about NYC real estate but, for anybody interested in moving there, just know that it is a pretty rigorous process and it’s nothing like renting an apartment down here. It was way more stressful than when we bought a house (and that was stressful). So, it is safe to say we are very, very, very, VERY relieved now that we have a home and are going to move in soon! AND it’s the home we both fell in love with. *again, please read this until the end*
I am excited for this next chapter in our life. A chapter that we didn’t even know was about to be written 6 months ago but that’s just how life works I guess! You can plan your days all you want but you can’t plan your life. Pages are written out that you don’t even know exist. I’ve also gotten really excited about being able to focus on making a smaller space a home. I’ve been purging our home for the last couple of months and couldn’t believe how much stuff we had. We have given practically every piece of furniture to friends or family and my creative juices are flowing with ideas for this apartment. I 100% plan on continuing to share home inspiration just as much as I have here… just more renter friendly! I’ve heard that living in NYC isn’t easy but I’m up for all the challenges that it has in store and we’re SO ready for it! 2020 is looking to be the year of spontaneity, new adventures, and personal growth. I can’t wait to take you along with me for it.
OKAY, PLOT TWIST:
Yesterday (Saturday), as I was at the store filling up NYC balloons since we were so excited about our new apartment, we got a call. It was the broker. She was like “This was a call that I never thought I’d have to make but… the owners of the apartment just got a last minute offer from someone wanting to BUY the apartment and it was an offer too high to pass up”. I was in shock. We had already had our movers scheduled, heck, I even ordered a desk from Pottery Barn to be delivered there!
So, we’re back at square 1 with finding an apartment as of today, Sunday the 26th. But, this time, I’ve decided I’m going to bring you along with me for the hunt. Moving to NYC takes resilience and I have found that I’m much more resilient than I thought. I just have to trust that the right one will come along in the next couple of weeks and we’ll hopefully be up there within the next few weeks.
Note: This post was written Thursday night and, since then, there have been some changes so I’ll share those at the bottom.