image available in the Etsy shop
Hey, guess what? Last weekend I moved! Yup..again. Kind of crazy considering that I moved out of my studio apartment less than a year ago and never even shared a full home tour of the new apartment. Basically the whole thing was kind of a crazy whirlwind and I haven’t really blogged about a lot of it, so I’m going to delve in and if you make it through to the end, kudos to you.
Last June I moved out of the studio apartment on York Avenue that I’d lived in ever since first moving to the city in November of 2011. I absolutely loved that apartment (it provided the name for this blog!), and was loathe to leave it, but I was also itching for a change. A few different things motivated me to move but one of the big ones was that I was just kind of busting at the seams in that space. After living in a studio for over six years, things start to accumulate…and despite my best efforts, things were starting to feel just a wee bit cramped. Besides that, I was also just dying for more space to decorate! I had too much art and not enough walls, too many books and not enough shelves, plus a strong desire to redo a whole new space. Even though I absolutely adored my apartment, and studio apartments in general, I was just dying for an actual bedroom – a space that I could decorate in a separate way from the rest of the apartment. I mean, I’m in my early thirties…a bedroom isn’t completely unreasonable to want, right?! That, combined with a few other things, made me feel like it was the right time to just shake things up and take this step.
So, I searched briefly and pretty luckily found a place after only looking around on Streeteasy for a few weeks. The place seemed great, and in many ways it was – good location on the Upper East Side, a nice kitchen, lots of closets, a great living space with a built-in bookshelf, plus a BIG bedroom. As far as I was concerned, the fact that I was moving from a high-rise doorman building to a walk-up was no thing. Who cares about a lobby and doorman and laundry in the building? I wanted that bedroom! While I still see where I was coming from at the time, it’s just funny how you can think you know exactly what you want and then once you have it, it suddenly becomes crystal clear – what you actually want.
So yeah. I tried to make things work in the apartment, and for a while I rolled along alright. I liked the location, I decorated…but it just wasn’t coming together the way I wanted it to. As time went on, I couldn’t deny that I just never felt at home there. I think it really came down to the lack of light. Something I learned about myself is that almost all I care about in a living space is natural light. The living room of the new place faced north and didn’t get very much light at all, and the bedroom was a dark cave. It was also huge, as far as NYC bedrooms go – huge! But literally almost zero light, and to me that made it utterly useless. I spent very little time in there and had little interest in decorating it. (Me! Not interested in decorating!).
Besides the lack of light, the apartment had various other issues – a super that was completely unavailable, a dingy entrance, messed up windows with no screens (no light and no air! Joy), and, let’s just say, less than friendly neighbors. And believe me, I know that in NYC living situations can be much, much worse than that…which is why I was rolling along and doing my best to enjoy it. Then, I received my new lease in the mail telling me that they were raising my rent $400 at the beginning of June. I was surprised but not shocked, as I knew the apartment was a bit underpriced for what it was and also that astronomical rent hikes are part and parcel of NYC living.
A few weeks later, to make matters worse, the apartment below mine had a pretty massive fire (no one was hurt, thank god) – and was basically destroyed. The building smelled like smoke, my apartment smelled like smoke, there was a massive pile of smoky garbage sitting on the sidewalk in front for weeks after, people’s doors were broken down by the firemen, etc. That was when I knew that I just had to get the hell outta dodge. And so I packed up and moved within the next two weeks – I would’ve happily moved sooner but I was waiting for my new apartment to be renovated.
Ironically, I’m now actually back in my old building, but a different apartment…and I could not be happier. I always appreciated my old (now current) building but it took moving somewhere different to make me realize how very MUCH I appreciate it. It might be tempting for me to look at the whole experience as a huge waste of money and effort (and yup, I went through that), but the fact is that it was actually the most amazing learning experience. I never would have known how incredibly highly I prize natural light and a nice building with some amenities (like a doorman to take your packages and a super who actually comes over and fixes things), over a separate bedroom and more space, if this had’t happened. Turns out I want the exact opposite of what I thought I wanted! Who knew.
So I’m back in a studio but thankfully, it’s a major upgrade from my first one, which helps soften the sting of the whole experience (like, at least even with all the wasted money and effort I did ultimately wind up somewhere better than the original place). This time it’s a corner unit with tons of windows (south and east-facing), including one in both the kitchen and the bathroom (unheard of!), a brand new renovated kitchen and bathroom (I die), hardwood floors, lots more space than the first studio, two big closets…I’m in heaven, guys. I can’t even tell you how grateful I am to be out of that other building and back in a place where I feel comfortable and at home. The light in here is beyond amazing, and it makes me happy every single day.
In case you want to throw up from how gushy I am, I’ll tell you that my view isn’t much to write home about, and the ceilings feel really low since the one-bedroom had really high ceilings, but hey, you can’t have everything. I cannot WAIT to decorate this place and share the process here and on Instagram! And because I know people might want to know how I found an awesome place and so quickly, I have to let you know that it’s actually in employee housing that’s available through my workplace. I could never afford a place like this otherwise and I’m so freakin’ lucky, I could just keep pinching myself.
Anyway! With that long story out of the way, here are some other things that have been going on in my neck of the woods:
One unfortunate thing: Guys, I’m not going to Ireland anymore. Womp, womp. With the completely unexpected move happening right before the trip was supposed to happen, it just became financially impossible and would have been really irresponsible of me. Not much else to say except that I really hope to be able to go on another European trip next year or even later this year!
A photography mentor session: Lately I’ve been feeling like as much as I enjoy photography and as much as I’ve improved over the past few years, I’d been a little stuck and in a rut for a while. I was feeling like for the amount of time I’ve been at it, I should be better at certain things, both artistically and technically. So I booked a half-day mentorship session with my friend and the most talented photographer I know, Kate Ignatowski, and I couldn’t be more pleased with my decision. We met up in the city one weekend while Kate was here for a maternity shoot and a wedding, and spent time discussing everything. I had a list of questions and Kate kind of shaped the session around those things that I most wanted to focus on, while also sharing expanded information that I didn’t even realize I needed to know. It was incredibly valuable and now I can’t wait to get out and put the things she taught me into practice!
Assisted on my first wedding: Another thing Kate did for me that was just beyond amazing was allow me to assist her on the wedding she was shooting here in the city. Best learning experience ever. Wedding photography isn’t something I’d ever been exposed to, and it was truly fantastic to see how Kate works…plus she shoots on film which was also a really cool thing to learn more about. It was such a cool experience but even more than that, pretty essential because the next weekend…
I shot my first wedding! This was the most exciting thing. My sweet friend Kirsten reached out to me and asked if I would photograph her wedding, and while at first I was hesitant (ie, terrified), I ultimately felt that it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I felt a lot of pressure/excitement because Kirsten is literally the most sweet and wonderful human being on the planet, and I was flattered and beyond grateful that she would trust me to photograph such an important day in her life. I made it entirely clear to Kirsten that this would be my first time shooting a wedding, and I wanted her to feel comfortable with that, and of course again because she’s the sweetest person ever she was totally fine with that and completely believed that I could pull it off, which I’m so grateful for. I felt pretty confident about shooting the details (bouquets, flowers, rings, shoes, etc), but the shooting of the ceremony, reception, and couples portraits was going to be pretty new to me. I studied a lot of information online and watched a lot of Youtube videos, learned to use a Speedlite, took what I learned from Kate, and just kind of put it all together and did my best! It was such a fun and cool experience (only slightly stressful) and just reaffirmed my love for photography all over again. And best of all, Kirsten was over the moon about the pictures! That made me happier than anything and I’m really looking forward to sharing some of them here in an upcoming post. The whole wedding was so lovely and Kirsten the most beautiful bride (wait til you see her shoes!).
In terms of entertainment: TV-wise I’m waiting for Handmaid’s Tale to come back (although just the thought of it stresses me out!), and I’ve been watching Chef’s Table on Netflix since they started their pastry series – it’s beautifully filmed, though really not good for my sugar cravings! I’m reading Little Fires Everywhere for book club and thoroughly enjoying it so far. Oh, and did you see A Quiet Place? OMG – so good! I love John Krasinksi more than words and also Emily Blunt, and the movie was just excellent and creepy and really well-done. I also saw Ready Player One and was thoroughly unimpressed – but I absolutely loved the book!
New in the Etsy shop: I recently added some black and white prints to my Etsy shop, including the one at the top of this post that I took at the Palais Royal in Paris when I visited a few years ago. That little girl randomly leapt into my shot and in the process, made the shot (look how chicly she’s dressed!).
In other news…NYC is basically the worst right now. Spring refuses to come and it still feels like winter. It’s very disheartening but I’m hoping it won’t be long before it warms up and Central Park looks like this.
Looking forward to: My mom’s annual visit in May! It’s my favorite time of year – my Mom comes to stay for a week so we can visit the Kips Bay Showhouse, the Met Costume Exhibition, and do tons of other fun stuff like tea at Bergdorfs, a visit to the New York Botanical Garden, dinner at my favorite restaurant in the city, and more. So excited!
So, that’s a little of what I’ve been up to. Sorry for such a narcissistic (and long) post :), but I obviously hadn’t checked in in a while and people on Instagram seemed curious about the move so I wanted to explain it. Hope you all have a lovely weekend and thanks as always for reading!
Thanks for sharing all of this, Jackie! I am a longtime reader and have loved following along with your NYC adventures over the years. I’m sorry your other living situation was so awful, but it sounds like this place is just what you needed. Having lived in NYC myself, I totally get some things just being non-negotiables. Cannot wait to follow along with your decorating process! Also, I love that print of the girl in Paris…may have to add to my Etsy shopping list 😉
Thanks so much for reading Sarah! I can’t wait to share more of this space with everyone! xoxo
Thanks for sharing it all. Can’t wait to see your wedding photos. Photographing a wedding would scare the hell out of me. That’s why I shoot food and flowers. They don’t move! hahaha
So, you’re back next to me (79th & York) now. I face out onto York and the river so I’m flooded with light. I totally understand about hating the dark. I do, too. And my studio is at home so I could never do it without my big windows and light. Welcome back to the ‘hood!
I used to prefer shooting inanimate objects as well – certainly easier :). I’m getting into portraits though, it’s challenging but fun! And thanks, happy to be back on York!
When I come back from haymarket I want to read your post
I can only say you need a stabilized apt so the landvultures can not steal your money you need it for London
Edinbough and Paris then off to italy🍀🌷🍀🌷🍀🌷🍀🌷
That sounds like a blast – hope I can make a trip like tha that happen in the very near future!
I am glad you’re back online and in a happier space. 🙂
Thanks so much April!
Great post so we can catch up on things. Of course I like to do that in person too. Hoping to see the pics from our visit to CP soon.
Enjoyed reading this post even though I knew it all since I speak to you all the time and I’m your Mom 😄. Looking forward to my visit so much!!
I’m right off York and almost exact same thing happened to me except I haven’t found a place to go to post-horrible-burnt-smell-crumlord-building. I’m totally with you – natural light and basic safety are essential!
Ugh I’m so sorry! I hope you find somewhere better soon. NYC real estate is beyond difficult!