NEW YEAR, SAME DREAMS

 
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Happy New Year, y'all! I'm excited to get back to blogging and share even more content with you in 2017! Not gonna lie though, I'm kinda sad the holidays are over. I love how the city transforms into this magical place during the month of December. But I guess all good things must come to an end sooner or later. And maybe that's a good thing, considering all the indulging that I've done the past few weeks with holiday treats and cocktails. Thank GOODNESS for yoga pants!

A New Year is kinda like having a fresh start. Whatever held you back last year or didn't bring you joy, you can leave it all behind in 2016. And that is exactly what I plan on doing. Since leaving my 9-5 corporate job in the Summer of 2015, I have been in this awkward transition phase. I worked from home for awhile and have since been putting ideas together of starting my own business. My dream is to create a Lifestyle Brand that reflects me and has something for everyone's budget. And it has proven to be harder than I ever imagined. Not that I thought it would be easy, don't get me wrong. But having BIG DREAMS also means BIG CHALLENGES. So, here I am, back to the drawing board and pushing myself to do EVERYTHING I can to get this business off the ground this year. 

I was recently explaining to a friend, over brunch, how you loose some of your confidence when you haven't worked in awhile. I have always been driven in my professional life. And I always succeeded in any position I held. But when you strip everything away and get back to the basics, it's easy to forget what you are actually capable of. You constantly fight off doubt and start to question yourself. 

I also, allowed my personal life to overshadow my dreams and goals last year. My parents divorced and the aftermath was more that I could handle at times. I spent months just feeling like my whole world was coming apart and I didn't know how to fix it. And it caused me to be distracted and unfocused on my life.

For me, 2017 is going to be a year of CONQUER. I want to conquer the FEAR, DOUBT, COMPARISON and DISTRACTIONS. And I want this year to be the year I let go of anything that doesn't serve a purpose in my life. It is possible to live your best self, you just have to want it bad enough.

How will you make 2017, your best year yet?!

 

XO, Rae

YEAR 2 OF LIVING IN NEW YORK CITY

 
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On October 10th, 2014 at 3 A.M., I crossed over the George Washington Bridge and into Manhattan. Moving to New York was never something I saw myself doing, but when life brings you opportunities, sometimes you have to take it and RUN! It's hard to even believe that it's been 2 years already. I still feel like I just moved here but also strangely feel like I've been here forever. That's the thing about New York, once you live here you instantly become attached. My first year living in New York was one to remember. It was full of amazing experiences and growth. And year two has been just as memorable. Here are some of my favorite memories over the past year. 

 

STANDING ATOP THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING

Seeing all of New York City from 86 floors up above, gives you all the feels. It also, gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “Empire State of Mind”. It reminded me how lucky I am to be able to call this concrete jungle, home. 

SUNDAY FUNDAY IN BROOKLYN

This Summer, my brother visited NYC for the very first time. I was excited to get to show him around the city. But I also wanted to show him life outside of Manhattan. And Brooklyn is the next best borough. We first walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, then grabbed pizza at Grimaldi's (best pizza in Brooklyn) and finished the day drinking beers at the Brooklyn Brewery. By far, one of my most favorite days.

TAKING MY MOM TO SEE 'THE COLOR PURPLE' ON BROADWAY

The moment I learned that Heather Headley would be taking on the role of Shug, I knew I had to see this show. And what better show to take your Mom to during a girls weekend?! It was one of the best shows I have seen thus far. After the show, I pulled my Mom quickly aside and stood to wait for the cast outside. We got to have our playbills signed by all of the main cast including Heather Headley and Cynthia Erivo. I was freaking out (on the inside of course). Sharing that moment with my Mom was amazing. 

SEEING ALICIA KEYS PERFORM IN ROCKEFELLER CENTER

I may have had to wake up at 4:30 A.M. to only stand in the back of the crowd behind a street light pole. But to hear Alicia Keys sing LIVE made all of it worth it. Not to mention, I got to share the moment with my best friend. We bonded over Alicia Keys music over a decade ago, when we first met and I'm pretty sure we will dance to 'No One' one day at my wedding. 

WITNESSING MY BEST FRIEND PROPOSE TO HIS BOYFRIEND

That dinner, those words and the tears shed will always be a night to remember. I can't wait to help plan their wedding and stand next to my best friend as he says 'I Do'.  Love is Love. 

FINDING NEW FRIENDSHIPS

Moving to a new city means meeting new friends. And although there are millions of people here, it almost makes it harder. Everyone is busy with work and the city hustle, so it's not often you find long lasting friendships. But I have been lucky to meet some amazing people and I am so glad I get to call them friends.

I never could have imagined all the things that would come with living in New York City. Every day still feels as exciting as the next. I can't wait to see what the next 365 days bring!

 

XO, Rae

YOU ARE EXACTLY WHERE YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE

 

Lately, when talking to friends the same words seem to pop up in conversation, 'never say never'. I was reminded of these words again as I scrolled through Facebook this morning & looked back at an old status I wrote in 2010. 

I had no intentions on ever moving to New York City. I was perfectly content with my life in Atlanta. It was only tempting to move because my best friend had literally just moved from Atlanta to New York & I felt lonely. But I knew my life was in Atlanta and I had worked so hard to build that life. My career was just starting to come together & I was surrounded by the people I adored most. 

Fast forward almost 5 years later and life changed drastically. I started to be more open to the possibilities of leaving it all behind to pursue bigger things. Literally over a year's time I would contemplate the move to NYC. I was in a different head space than previously and I was ready to see what more was out there for me. So, I took a leap of faith and made the decision to move to NYC in the fall of 2014. The moment I actually committed to the idea, it seemed like everything fell into place. I didn't have any hesitations from that point on. Everyone was extremely supportive of my decision and not one person tried to convince me otherwise. So, I took all the encouragement and promised myself I would make the most of this new chapter. 

I didn't have a job lined up when I moved to New York. My plan was to take some time to get moved and adjusted to the city. I got anxious to get out there so 3 weeks after, I landed a position with one of the top medical practices. I was ecstatic to say the least. From my first interview, I knew this was the job for me. Immediately, I felt like I was taking NYC head on. But 6 months in, I couldn't do it anymore. I loved the job but the work environment was not ideal. It was not an easy decision for me but after a lot of consideration and countless nights crying over bad days at work, I made the decision to resign. The day I gave notice, I felt like I could breathe again. I didn't feel stressed or bad for what I had just done. I felt like it was what I had to do. I had never quit a job like that ever in my life. I've always held long term jobs ever since I was 15 years old. So, this was new territory for me. I didn't really have a plan B. And I was okay with that, for once. Which if you know me, I never not have things planned out. I'm a planner by default. But I knew I wasn't happy. I also remembered that I promised myself to live a different life here in New York by any means necessary. And I wasn't willing to compromise my happiness after leaving everything behind in Atlanta.

I wrote this Facebook status a year ago today (the day before my last day at my job):

A year later, I haven't looked back since. I took a chance on myself. And honestly I've never been happier. The past year has allowed me to get back to what's important in life. It has made me realize how unhappy I was all those years living at my job that I had always put above everything else. It has given me the opportunity to strip down to what I really want in life and what I never want to settle for. I've been blessed enough to be able to work from home, travel, write my blog and just enjoy living in this amazing city. 

My dream is to be an entrepreneur. And I'm hoping to make that happen sooner than later. I often let fear get in the way, but then I am reminded of how far I've come and all the things I've done that I never thought where even possibilities. So, I'm saying, never say never. Don't hold yourself back from things you want or deserve in your life. Everything happens for a reason. I honestly believe that. Be open to the possibilities of changing your mind. Trust the process and know that you are exactly where you're supposed to be. 

 

XO, Rae

I ❤️ NY: YEAR 1 OF LIVING IN NEW YORK CITY

 
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I recently celebrated my 1 year anniversary of living in New York City. October 10th, 2014 at 3 am is when I officially became a resident of New York. As I drove over the George Washington Bridge into Manhattan, there were so many emotions. Mostly I remember feeling excited for what was to come with living in New York. There I was in a packed SUV with my best friend & my Mom. After 16+ hours of driving up the east coast, I was anxious to get to my new apartment. We pulled up shortly after 3 am and made the decision to go ahead and unload the SUV. 

My first dose of NYC apartment living was carrying boxes up five flights of stairs. I think I cursed most of the way up and down.

 After about an hour we finally had everything unloaded and into the apartment. I had seen the apartment in photos prior to moving but seeing my bedroom in person, it was even smaller than I remembered. I was unsure if any of my things would fit and wondered how could I live in such a small space. I mean here I was literally downsizing to a small bedroom barely big enough for a full size bed from my spacious 900+ sq. ft apartment in Atlanta. I started to break down. There it was, all the months of preparation of moving, leaving my job, leaving all of my friends & my life behind in Atlanta along with being cooped up in a car for 16+ hours all hit me at that exact moment. I remember I just slid down the wall as the tears ran down my face and I began to question everything. This went on for about an hour. Everyone was nice or maybe smart enough to just let me be alone for awhile. I finally pulled myself together and came out of my room, walked into my best friends bedroom where he, his boyfriend and my mom were all siting there drinking wine. My eyes all swollen from crying, I smiled and asked for a glass for myself. 

So there we sat until after 6 am drinking wine and laughing at my meltdown. I knew then that everything would be okay.

I look back on that day now and I think how happy I am that I took this journey of moving to New York. 

Living in New York has been exhilarating. It hasn't been perfect by any means but pretty darn close. The energy you feel here never wears off. That's what I love most about this city. You always feel inspired here. Each day is something different and to be in awe of. I can't describe it in words, you have to feel it for yourself. I hope that feeling never goes away. This past year has also had many

unexpected moments. I landed an amazing job when I first got here and then quit after 6 months, I started a blog about my life and have taken the time to rediscover myself. The Subway once terrified me, now I'm the one getting asked for directions. I can hail a cab even in the rain. And I have even learned how to dress like a New Yorker. So many changes have happened in just a year but in a strange way, I feel it was all meant to be. 

I could not have made it through the past year without the support of my amazing friends and family. 

To my Grandfather, who without him I would not have been strong enough to make the decision to move to NYC and make this life change. He inspired me to have no regrets in life and to him I will always be grateful for instilling that in me. I miss you everyday Granddaddy and I hope I am making you proud. 

To my Mother, who is always by biggest supporter in life. She never tells me my dreams are too big or too crazy. I owe her everything for always being there for me. I love you MOM!

To my brother and my Dad, Thank you for believing in me and telling me how proud you are. It means more than you will ever know. I love you both!

To my best friend Lindsey, thank you for taking my calls on good days and bad days. Most of all, thank you for not letting distance change our friendship! I am so lucky to have you as my friend. 

To Danny, Thank you for taking a chance on living with your boyfriend's best friend after have only meeting me once in person. Thank you for being there on days I needed it most. I am so glad we have become friends over the past year.

To my best friend Will, it was YOU who convinced me over the course of 5 years to move to New York. You knew way before I did that I would love it here. Thank you for always pushing me in life and always being there. I can't imagine my life without you. In the end, its always you & I.

To all of my friends and family who have encouraged me on this journey, who have called, sent cards, letters or just been there for me. Thank you!! Nothing in life is worth having if you can't share it with the people you love most.  

I knew moving to New York would change my life. I just didn't know how. And I'm so glad it did. I am not the same person I was 12 months ago. I feel more confident, more open to change and more willing to let life take me where I am meant to be. My friends tell me how happy I sound on the phone so I guess it shows. Anything is possible if you let it be. Don't be afraid to make a life change. It could just be exactly what you need. Thank you New York for an incredible first year. I can't wait to see what this next year has in store for me. 

 

XO, Rae

WHY YOUR JOB SHOULDN'T DEFINE WHO YOU ARE

 

Lately, I dread the question "What do you do?"  It's often the first thing asked when meeting someone for the first time. And it's only natural to ask this question in effort to get to know someone, but it often comes with a reaction based on the answer given. I've never had hesitation of answering what my career is until now. I have always had a job and position in which I was excited to share and speak about. But now that I am not working, this question has made me almost cringe when asked. And I have yet to quite figure out how to answer this question given my current situation.

I made the sound decision to leave my corporate job. But I want people to know more about me and not just how I pay my bills. I don't want to just say, "Well, I quit my high paying job to stay home and write about my life". Doesn't sound so appealing, right? And honestly most people may not understand it. Especially new people that come into my life. I'm pretty sure my parents and friends are still trying to wrap their minds around it. I feel as if no matter how I answer the question, it sounds the same. And my career prior to now almost feels discredited because new people in my life don't know of my prior accomplishments and success.

Let's be honest, when you find out someone isn't working, usually the reaction is negative or envious. You might even make a comment like "Oh, must be nice." I'm sure I have been guilty of this myself. Regardless of the reason why, not having a defined job can have a negative connotation. Often we judge others based on what they do for a living. 

Especially living in New York, career is everything. You walk among movers and shakers on the streets everyday. Most people move here with the sole intention of taking their career to the next level. Don't get me wrong. I have zero regrets about quitting my job. Your job should be what you do, not who you are.

My job was my life. I barely allowed for anything else to take place because I was always putting work first. And most of the time I wasn't happy. 

There is more to me than what I do what for a living. I'm a creative, ambitious, loyal to a fault girl who will always want the most out of life. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared of failure but I want to know that I at least tried. And I am constantly evolving and growing into the person I want to become. Who I am today, is NOT who I was ten years ago or even 10 months ago for that matter. 

I hope to add 'Successful Entrepreneur' to my next resume!

 

XO, Rae

CHASING DREAMS

 
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Let's back up to about 8 months ago...

When I moved from ATLANTA to NEW YORK. I had just resigned from my job of 7 1/2 years.  I worked in the medical field as a manager for a large private practice. This was my career for the past 10+ years and I loved what I did. Most of all, I loved making a difference and being there for my patients and staff. I've always thought being a manager can have its challenges but it also has it's rewards. There are days you question everything and days you feel like you've conquered it all. 

I took a chance moving to New York without a job. I wanted to move first, get adjusted to the City and then seek out a job. I saved money prior to moving to allow myself this time. After three weeks of living here, I was getting restless staying at home and was eager to get back to work. But of course I had fears. What if I couldn't land a job in New York? What if I wasn't good enough for the same type position?  What if? 

These doubts were constantly on my mind but I knew I had to put myself out there in order to see what I was up against. Surprisingly, once I started putting my resume out there, I received some very encouraging feedback. 

Within a two week period, I was hired and started my new job right before Thanksgiving. The company that hired me was actually similar to the one I had worked for in Atlanta, but the position was a huge move up on the career ladder. And I was ecstatic to have this incredible opportunity. I was so unsure of how I would land on my feet here and this was beyond anything I expected. 

I've been with the company now for a little over 6 months. I feel like I've given it my best. But I recently made the difficult decision to resign. Although I love the company, I've come to find that it's just not the right fit for me. For those who know me, know that this decision does not come easy. I have NEVER quit a job. I pride myself on my work. Honestly, for the past 10+ years, work has consumed my life. 

But what I have come to realize, is happiness out weighs EVERYTHING else in life. As I finish up my last week of work, I am unsure of my next move for the first time in my life. And I'm strangely calm about the situation. I feel that I have learned a lot about myself these past few months since moving to New York. I'm not afraid of change anymore. I've already been pushed outside my comfort level and I hope that this will only push me farther. 

I have dreams of finishing a book I'm writing, growing my blog and one day becoming an entrepreneur. As they say in life, sometimes you have to close one door before another one can open. I'm hoping this is true. I feel inspired again for the first time in a long time. And I want to create the life I envision for myself.

No one ever said chasing dreams would be easy but they did promise it would be worth it! 

 

XO, Rae

THE BEST ADVICE I RECEIVED BEFORE MOVING TO NYC

 
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Before I moved to New York, I read countless websites, blogs, and Buzzfeed articles. I did a lot of research in the months leading up to my move. Mostly articles on "What to expect when moving to New York", "Things to know before moving to New York" and "Things you need when living in New York." You get the idea.

I was determined to prepare myself the best way possible. I wanted to come here and succeed but also be realistic. I knew New York was not going to be an easy move so I wanted to read up on everything that  I could find before the big day.

Now that I live here, I feel like I know a lot more of what the reality IS. I did find that I learned some useful tips in my online research, however the advice I received from my best friend, Will, was probably the most honest and helpful to me. He told me that I could plan all I wanted, but that it really comes down to this, "YOU HAVE TO WANT TO BE HERE". Those 7 words have stuck with me EVER SINCE. And it's the truest of anything I read or was told about living in New York. Here's the thing, there are tons of people who move to New York every day. And there are tons of reasons why they move to New York. But if you truly want to be here, you've already separated yourself from those who just move here on hopes and dreams. New York is tough. So, the key is asking yourself, "Why do I want to be here?"

 

What's the best advice you've received before making a big move?  

 

XO, Rae

MOVING TO NEW YORK

 
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Moving to New York has been by far the best decision I have ever made. Well...I say that NOW, maybe I should wait til I have lived here for at least a year, LOL. Moving here was not always part of my plan but life changes sometimes and here I am.

Up until 7 months ago, I was living in Atlanta, Ga. I had a great job, amazing friends and a gorgeous apartment right outside of the city. So what changed?! Well...I changed. Two and half years ago, before turning 30, I began to see my life differently unlike before. I was a few years out of a long term relationship that was on again off again for longer than I like to admit to.

When I was with my ex, I was so sure of my life, my career and wanting to be married and have kids. I had always thought that I would be married and have kids before 30. I think most women feel the pressure of this for all sorts of reasons. But turning 30 was a game changer for me. I stopped worrying about where I was in life and started to focus on where I was going in life. For me, I was so worried about trying to have this list of accomplishments by the time I turned 30 and then realized that my life was just starting. I let go of my preconceived ideas and I let myself be. I actually came to New York to visit my best friend Will (who I live with now) and celebrate my 30th Birthday.

I had no idea that almost 2 years later I would be moving to New York. Will had been trying to get me to move to New York for a few years. I would nicely say to him "maybe" but really knowing in the back of my mind that I had no intentions of moving. (He knew that as well but he still tried to convince me). At that time I was still content with my life in Atlanta and was ready to see what 30 had to offer. I would visit New York a few more times after my 30th Birthday, falling more in love with the city more each time. And then after a major loss in my life, I soon realized that maybe New York wasn't a bad idea after all.

My Grandfather passed away last year May 24th, 2014. A day that I will never forget. He was an amazing man. He traveled the world, had a very successful career and made a name for himself. He was known by a rare nickname and was the life of the party. Shortly before his passing, I had told him about the possibility of me moving to NY. He was surprisingly very excited for me. He traveled to NY often throughout his life and had nothing but great things to say and stories to tell about his trips here. I was still unsure myself if I would actually go through with it but when he passed, I knew I had to do it. Not just for him, but for me. His passing changed my life in more ways than one. But mostly he had always instilled in me to never have regrets in life. He lived life so passionately and I wanted to do the same. So, fast forward to October 2014, I packed up an SUV full of clothes and boxes with my Mom and my best friend. After 16 hours traveled up the east coast, on 3AM October 10th, 2014, I officially became a New Yorker. 

Can't wait to share this journey with you. 

 

XO, Rae