Hells Kitchen, Manhattan

My One Year New York City-versary

naty michele nyc studio apartment

I’m sitting here on my pink sofa typing this one year anniversary post and drinking my third cup of coffee for the day. I’ve got the TV turned off and my phone on silent to limit distractions. I want to soak up this moment and reflect back on my chaotic, challenging, beautiful and life-changing first year that I have had here in New York City.

Wow. One year. I honestly still can’t believe that it has come and gone so quickly. I vividly remember this day last year. The empty apartment was filled with boxes containing all of my belongings with my amazing mama –  right by my side – helping me unpack my new life. April 4th 2018 -April 4th 2019 has pretty much catapulted me into the next stage of my life and for that, I’m beyond thankful.

Living on your own in a place like New York is no easy feat despite what Sex & The City made you think. I still try to channel my inner Carrie Bradshaw though. They say, “if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere” and now I fully understand why. It’s an extremely fast-paced (and expensive) lifestyle that can often leave you feeling completely overwhelmed and challenged. There have been many, many days where this city has kicked my ass. I’ve cursed it more times than I can count and a significant amount of tears have been shed in my apartment.

But you know what? I wouldn’t change it for anything.

I needed this. When I first moved, I craved for change and growth. I felt way too comfortable and complacent living at home for so long. I knew that moving out on my own for the first time, especially in New York, would completely turn my world upside down in a necessary way. I’ve always been a very independent person, but this just brought me to the next level.

naty michele nyc anniversary

“This is home now. It’s just you.”

In the beginning, it honestly felt like I was just traveling solo. It took awhile for me to shake that feeling and let it all sink in. The first couple of months were definitely a huge adjustment period for me. I went back to my mom’s a lot on the weekends. I was so consumed with finding all of my furniture and home decor pieces. I had been in the middle of helping my best friend plan for her bachelorette and bridal shower. My Italy travels were creeping up on me. And a few weeks after I moved in, I went to Jamaica and did a staycation down in Soho for work.

Being distracted is an understatement. I didn’t really give myself the time that I needed to get situated and settled. I don’t think it was until after I got back from my two and a half week trip in Italy that it officially started to feel like home. Coming here to an empty apartment after being away on my own for so long just gave me this realization of, “OkThis is home now. It’s just you.” I cried that day, partly because of jet lag and exhaustion, but also because reality sort of smacked me in the face. They were happy tears mixed with a little bit of sadness and loneliness.

I vividly remember being in the strangest funk for several weeks after. I got hit with this intense feeling of “now what?” and “what comes next?” I finally thought that I had everything figured out for myself. I worked towards this goal for such a long time and now that I had finally achieved it I kept wondering what the next goal was going to be. I think I took away the joy a little bit without meaning to. I also feel that these mixed emotions were a necessary part of the journey and transition. I was going through the motions in a whole new way for the first time in my life.

I didn’t want to write this post based on all the incredible things about moving here because I think it’s pretty evident that this had been a longtime dream of mine that I finally made happen at 34 years old. And while there have been so many wonderful moments and memories that I’ve already been able to create in my new home, the hard truth is that it’s been a struggle for me too and I wanted to share that in a very real and candid way.

I had no idea what to expect once I was living on my own in NYC. I had a few close friends who shared their experiences with me over the years, but you never really know until you’re thrown into it the ways that it will affect you and make you stronger. It’s already given me thicker skin.

naty michele nyc studio apartment

I think one of the most challenging aspects for me was not being able to shoot with my mom every day. Looking back on the last 7 years of creating content I appreciate her even more for all the ways she helped me grow my blog and business. On the flip side though, not being able to shoot every day also filled me with some new insight about being more intentional on social media with the photos and captions that I share. I stopped the habit of posting just to post and instead posted with real purpose and intent. This also gave me the opportunity to take a step back and embrace this whole move instead of throwing myself back into work during the process. I’m thankful that I had the ability to do that.

Another huge adjustment for me was not living with Kiko every day. That’s been extremely difficult for me and one of the main reasons why I think I’ve felt even more lonely at times. I’ve talked about his separation anxiety before and man, it’s tough. Just when I thought that he was improving he took a few steps back again. At this point, my mom and I have decided that it’s best for him to spend time at both places. He gets the luxury of a house and backyard with his furry bestie Mikey and then he gets to come here and experience city life with his mama. It’s not ideal or what I expected to happen, but ultimately I just want what is best for my little love.

My entire lifestyle changed in such a short amount of time. I think the best part about it is that I have been way more consistently active than I’ve ever been in my life. I live on the 3rd floor of a walk-up, so those stairs are my guaranteed cardio every day. I walk everywhere in my neighborhood. I’m always on the train. It’s easier for me to take workout classes now like SoulCycle and Rumble. I actually feel lighter and I don’t even mean that in the physical sense, but in the emotional. There’s just something about the constant moving that releases this energy for me. While chaotic at times, it can also be very calming too.

A few things that I absolutely love about living in NYC?

Everything that I seamless comes in 20 minutes or less. No seriously, I’m spoiled in that aspect. I don’t even want to count the amount of times I have ordered Seamless this past year.

My apartment. I can’t even express how much I love this little nook. It’s become such a cozy haven in the bustling city. I know it took me an entire year to fully furnish and decorate it, but taking my time was the best thing I could have done. It came to life in all the ways I had imagined it would. Living here was totally aligned by God with some guidance by my father. They definitely made all of this possible. (but believe me, things have gone wrong in this apartment too)

Everything is so accessible to me. You’re basically paying for the NYC lifestyle. With the turn of a corner, I literally have everything at my fingertips. I can easily hop on the train and head to an event or meet friends for happy hour without having to worry about driving and parking my car. I never had that experience living in NJ.

It’s extremely diverse. The food, the people, the style, all of it. Just on 9th Ave alone you can take your pick from Italian and Thai to Sushi, French or Indian. 

naty michele nyc anniversary


I constantly feel inspired. I love seeing everyone hustle every single day. You have to make moves here if you want to succeed. And while I’ve definitely had some much needed breaks from work this past year, I’ve also busted my ass a ton too to ensure that I can continue living here.

Some of the things I don’t love?

It’s always so noisy and crowded. The streets are flooded with people and so are the trains. Sometimes it’s hard to find some peace and quiet in such a busy city. There are moments where I actually do love this aspect, but then I have those days where I wish I could walk down the street and not have to maneuver my way around everyone.

It’s expensive AF. I’ll be diving a bit deeper into this in an upcoming post, but it’s definitely no surprise that NYC is on the more expensive end of the spectrum. Initially, I got a little too caught up in this new lifestyle and went out quite often. I’ve learned my lesson though and now I tend to gravitate towards places that align more within my budget. I even hop on the train to head downtown to Trader Joes instead of walking three blocks to my Food Emporium because it’s that much of a price difference.

The mice. Ah yes, I got my very first visit from Ratatouille. I knew that this was a common issue with living in New York, but I never expected to have it happen to me. I keep my apartment so clean, but yet he still found his way here. Turns out it happened recently to several other units in my building. It’s basically inevitable, but I hope and pray to never go through that again.
naty michele nyc anniversary I could go on and on about all the things that I love and hate, but I just realized how long this post is already getting. So let me end with this.

I recently resigned my lease last month. My initial goal was to give myself a minimum of two years here. I know that this next year is going to fly by just as quickly as the first. I truthfully don’t know how long I see myself living in NYC, but I can say that right now I don’t see myself living anywhere else. Ideally, I would love to be here at least another two years or so and can then reevaluate where I’m at financially and with life in general.

My first year here was a transition and I think that this second one will give me more of the feeling of actually living in New York and calling it home. I am settled now. My apartment is 99% done. (I don’t think it will ever be completely done.) Now it’s time to fully take advantage of NY, get back into dating more and embracing everything that this city has to offer me – the good and the bad.

All of this has been a process and one that I am extremely grateful for. I’m so thankful for my core group of friends here and all the new people that I’ve been able to meet along the way. I’ve absolutely loved sharing this entire journey with all of you. Hopefully you keep up with me on insta stories! If you do, then you have definitely witnessed all of this first hand. I can’t wait to see what this next year is going to bring me! Stay tuned for my next post which will be a Q&A all about living in NYC. Thanks so much for reading and for all the continued support!

Happy One Year to me! ❤️

  1. Beautiful, candid post. I was kind of picturing you in a Carrie Bradshaw scene, haha. My one year anniversary is coming up from NYC living to suburbia. I’ve been thinking of reflecting on the past year as well and sharing it with others. I think this gave me the push I needed.

  2. Julie

    So beautifully expressed and written! You are truly a talented writer! You never cease to amaze me! I am ever so proud of all your accomplishments and how incredibly gorgeous you decorated your apartment. Mamá Llama was more than happy to be there for you through it all. You made me come out of my comfort zone to attempt to hang up your gallery wall, mirror, and shelves. Something I never did before not even for myself. I was thrilled to see the results of it all! Yay!! I have you to thank! I miss not having you with me but I knew eventually you had to spread your wings. On the flip side, I look forward to my visits to see you in NY and proud that I am actually driving there. Woohoo!!! So bottom line, we grew together and experienced things I never thought would happen. Thank you my beloved daughter for that! I love you from now to eternity! Happy 1st Anniversary in your own new home!! Congrats!!! God bless you, protect you, guide you and bring you closer to Him.❤️💋🎉🥳🎂🥰😘

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