This weekend the weather allowed for exposed ankles. And I was ecstatic about it. I’m trying not to wish for Spring too soon, but let’s just say I’ll take a 50 degree with sunshine anytime January feels like dishing them out.
SHOP THE STORY
I’ve been thinking a lot about what my personal ‘closet classics’ are ever since this post and this trench coat, cap toe heels and distressed denim definitely all make the cut. In fact the only things that’s new here is this pretty lavender silk neck scarf. That and my Instax polaroid camera that I got for Christmas and is proving to be just as much fun as I anticipated. I’ve been dropping it in my purse and snapping little New York moments that would otherwise be fleeting. It’s good to play tourist in your own town.
When I asked what you all wanted to hear more of about New York your answer was a resounding ‘your everyday life!‘. And so I figured to begin, I’d go ahead and address the (expensive) elephant in the room. How much does it really cost to live in New York City?
I can’t tell you how many times Adam and I have been in a social setting outside of NYC and had someone has hinted, with wide eyes, at how much it must cost us to live in this city. Or even flat out asked us how much we pay for rent (side note: unless I’m offering up that info or in turn you’d like to tell me how much your mortgage costs.. this question can be skipped) But nevertheless, I get it – this city is one of the most expensive places to live in the entire country (San Francisco actually takes top prize) so it stands to reason that people are curious about just how much we pay and more-so why anyone would want to pay for it?!?
I have two things to say about that. One – it’s expensive to live here so you better damn well love it. If you’re paying an arm and a leg in rent and spending all your time complaining about it.. then leave. There’s some kid in small town Illinois who would kill to take your spot. I dreamed of living here since I was a pre-teen and almost 9 years after first moving here I still think the sun rises and sets with this city. It’s what routinely softens the blow of the expense of it all. And secondly – if you really want it, be willing to make sacrifices. There were times when I was 22 and broke, living in a studio apartment, working two jobs, eating cheese quesadillas for dinner and selling clothes at Buffalo Exchange just to make my rent each month. It never made me want to leave, it just made me want to work harder. Back to point number one. Get it?
So here it is – a realistic look at what New York City costs me. To note: this is specific to me – you can live for a lot less (and I have) and you can obviously live a lot more extravagantly (looking at you Beyoncé). But I think for an average person in their 20s/30s without kids, this is a fairly good average.
Rent: Ouch. Here’s the big one. I live in a one-bedroom, walk-up (meaning no elevator.. or dishwasher.. or laundry…) building in the East Village. Average rent for an older apartment like ours downtown will set you back anywhere from $2,250-$2,750 a month. Because I’ve got a roommate that I share that one bedroom with, I luck out a bit as opposed to having to cough up the money for a bedroom all to myself. And if you head uptown or to Brooklyn you can easily get yourself some better amenities or more space for that same money. Or of course you can jump up to the $2,800-$3,300 range and secure a balcony or a walk in closet. I love our current neighborhood and the fact that we are within walking distance to most of downtown Manhattan and my office – but as we look for new apartments I’ll be sharing what we find and where we end up!
Transportation: Here’s the great thing – you can ride anywhere you want in this city for $2.75 on the subway or bus (a monthly pass for unlimited rides is $121). You can catch a a crosstown cab for around $15 with tip or buddy up and take an Uber Pool double the distance for just $5.
Because of that East Village apartment, I am lucky enough to walk to work so I personally spend about $30 a month on transportation (a handful of subway rides and maybe a cab or two) which is a considerable savings if you compare what a monthly car payment, insurance and gas cost you out in the suburbs. Adam actually does drive to work in New Jersey so he’s got $5 a day in tolls and gas, but his car is paid off and we park for free on the street.
Food & Drink: Admittedly, a big portion of my money after rent and regular monthly bills seems to go towards food and drink. The great thing about this city though is that you can eat and drink on a dime and still get something great. Or you can reallyyyy #treatyoself and splurge.
An average cocktail is $14 (more if you’re paying for a rooftop view or a hotspot ambience) but you can also find $5 beer and $1 oysters at a great happy hour like the one at Mermaid Inn. Same goes for food – an average dinner for 2 at say, a delicious Italian spot in our neighborhood will run you about $75 before tip (appetizer, two glasses of wine and two entrees), but the $17 large pizza we get in our neighborhood is damn good too. Top dollar steaks or hole in the wall ramen that will knock your socks off. You choose here.
I’ve found grocery store costs to be slightly higher but if you make use of Trader Joes, local farmer’s market and small grocers I’d say these costs can end up being comparable to elsewhere in the country. Except for cereal which is inexplicably almost $7 a box in Manhattan. Why, New York, why?
The Extras: You can easily get a huge armload full of beautiful fresh flowers at any corner bodega for less than $20. But in a good neighborhood a soy chai latte will set you back $6 from Starbucks. Views from the Top of the Rock cost $34 but entry to the Met Museum is technically a donation (so if you can only pay $1 they’ll still let you in). Tickets to see a late night show like Jimmy Fallon are completely free as long as you can grab a spot when the seat lottery opens up and there are major deals on same day tickets for Broadway shows if you wait in line in Time Square. This city has a million things to offer. It’s all about finding which of it falls within your budget – and then getting creative for the rest.
I noticed a few of my favorite bloggers to follow (Gal Meets Glam and Pretty in the Pines) recently posted round-ups of the items they wore most in 2017. And I thought it was such a great idea as a way to spotlight the things that really ended up being worth every penny (as opposed to more flash in the pan trendy pieces) and also because I often only post items here a time or two but IRL (in real life) wear them constantly.
This year I’m going to try to be better about sharing how I style my most-worn pieces in multiple ways so you can get ideas about how to maximize your own wardrobe. And without further ado – my most worn pieces from 2017. If you’re looking to build a closet of long-lasting classics, I can’t recommend these enough.
**P.S. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for your chance to win a $500 Nordstrom gift card – and stock up on your own wardrobe staples!
1. Trench Coat: The first trench coat I ever owned was a big investment for me at the time (21 years old) and I wore it for 9 years until it was honestly barely fit to be seen in public. This year I finally replaced it and I absolutely love the classic color and shape of this Lands’ End version. It works almost year round and will never go out of style.
2. Leather Backpack: I ended up carrying this constantly – to work, on weekends, when I travel. It’s the perfect compact size and such good quality.
3. Overalls: When I bought these last winter I worried I’d wear them once or twice. Turns out – I wear them at least a couple of times every month. So comfortable and surprisingly wearable.
4. Suede Sock Booties: These pull-on boots with a wood block heel are so comfortable but still feel really stylish. They work with dresses, jeans.. everything really. I plan on wearing them well into this year.
5.Wide Leg Chinos: Again, I didn’t expect these to get quite as much wear as they did, but I love the high waist and the neutral color. Whether with tiny tank tops in the summer or thin knit turtlenecks in winter they go with basically everything.
6.Leather Satchel: An obvious classic. I needed a good, professional looking bag that was big enough to hold a day’s worth of life supplies (book, lunch, extra lipstick..) and this checks all the boxes.
7. Denim Midi Skirt: Dressier than jeans but just as comfortable, I wore this with suede boots to the office in the Fall and with flat sandals on the weekends in Summer.
8. Cropped Workout Leggings: Honestly the softest leggings I’ve ever worn. I’m slightly ashamed to admit that I’ve deemed them nearly too good to workout in and solely wear them while lounging around the apartment.
9.Leopard Mules: Leopard is a neutral, right? Crazy comfortable I wore these all Spring and Fall and can’t wait to break them out again this year.
10. Suede Jacket: This one I actually eyed up for a long time before I finally bit the bullet and purchased, so I had a good guess that it was going to be something I got a lot of wear out of. The quality and fit is spot on and it’s just heavy enough. Worth every penny.
This $500 Nordstrom Gift Card giveaway is brought to you by the amazing bloggers above. Enter by performing the actions below in the Rafflecopter for a chance to win a shopping spree that will kick your 2018 wardrobe into high gear!
Make sure to do the actions in the Rafflecopter before marking they are done! Marking done doesn’t automatically perform the action.
Giveaway runs from Jan 16, 2018 to Jan 30, 2018 (concludes at 12:00 AM on the last day). Open to the US, UK and CAN. Winner will be announced within 10 days of the conclusion of the giveaway and entries will be verified by the hosts. Thanks for participating, I can’t wait for you to go check out these bloggers pages!
My winter wardrobe is fairly neutral – which is why this rainbow knit sweaterfeels like such a fun addition. A little bit boxy, a little bit 80s, and a lot bit cozy – I lived in this sweater for most of the weekend. And don’t worry Mom, I promise I only unwrapped my scarf and opened up my coat for the 5 minutes it took to snap these photos.
SHOP THE STORY
New York feels so cold out right now that wearing anything but my huge puffer jacket and taking a few photos in our neighborhood honestly feels like a chore. So I’m trying my best to have find joy in winter accessories like this fringe scarf and wool beret (see more of my favorites under $50 here) and shoes. Over the knee boots are my secret weapon in the winter – they look stylish but also act as a thick second layer over jeans which I don’t find to be warm at all. I like that this taupe suede pair feels more casual than some of my other pairs and are really walkable for commuting to work.
Well helloooo there Friday! The first full 5-day week back at work in 2018 and it passed by in a blur of 10 hour days at my desk… anyone else? Needless to say I’m ready for the weekend.
Likewise, I’m ready for ways to dress up my boring black and grey winter coats. And now that the glitz of the holidays has faded, pastel winter accessories feel like a fresh way to do that. I’m especially into the touches of velvet, hits of lavender/baby blue and fun hats (as evidenced in the above photo). Oh – and everything is under $50 because after December’s indulgences – January is a month that, I think we all can agree, was made for healthy eating and minimal spending.