I Heart …

{Top: c/o American Eagle Outfitters LST & FND New York Muscle Tank. Skirt: Shopblush.com. Shoes: Airwalk sneakers. Bag: c/o Tous Love Day bag. Necklace: Forever21. Photographed by me.}

I have always loved New York. I loved it before I even lived there. Why? Because I thought I was supposed to live there. You see, as a kid, all I ever wanted to be was a writer who lived in the city. It was my dream to go there and turn stories into my livelihood. So, when I graduated from U.F., I packed up my life and moved to New York to intern at Madison magazine in Midtown. I had never even visited the Big Apple before I moved there. I sold my car to have cash to live off of, packed my life into boxes and set out on my great adventure. In the beginning, I lived on someone’s couch in their guest room in Astoria, Queens. It was a friend of a friend of a cousin or some such something. And it was expensive, like here’s-a-bumpkin-from-the-Panhandle-who’s-never-lived-in-New-York-let’s-gouge-her expensive. Eventually, I sublet an apartment for the summer and early part of fall, and I went to work as an intern. In a pre-Devil Wears Prada world, I was the girl at the magazine who was trying to figure out the ropes. I sustained life on $1.30 butter bagels and whatever my mom mailed me in monthly care packages. I slept at my friend’s apartment in Washington Heights as often as I could so I could bypass trips home on the N (for never) and the R (for rarely). Eventually, the magazine hired me to work at the front desk and they let me write for a section of the mag, too. It was like my whole life plan was coming into action. I even met one of my best friends to date, Nadine, who is now Milly’s godmother.

We had adventures unlike any I’ve had to date. I’ve never been so happy and so miserable in my whole life. Yes, every day had something new to do, but in a big city where I knew no one, it was lonely, too. Eventually, I made the decision to make my way back to Florida. I chalked it up to the timing not being right. And it was a hard pill to swallow to let go of a dream I’d had for so long. Looking back though, I’m amazed at my courage. At 22, I chased my dream without even thinking twice about it. I went to the biggest city in the U.S. without knowing a soul. I did it all on my own. Fearless. New York captured a part of my soul. Maybe it wasn’t my time to be there, but I gave it a shot. And it was a chapter of my life I wouldn’t trade for anything. So do I love New York? I sure as hell do. And if I had it to do all over again, I would in a heartbeat.