inspiration

I’m Moving!!!

Well, WE are moving!
Garrett, Teddy, and I have packed up the apartment (but not really, it’s still a disaster) to move to Connecticut tomorrow.

If you had asked me three years ago, as I was putting together Ikea furniture and eating takeout on the floor while I unpacked, if I would ever leave NYC the answer would have been a firm no. Of course, life is funny like that. The best things are never planned and it’s way better to be flexible enough to evolve and change instead of staying on the “plan” just because that was, well, what you had planned.
So much has happened over the past three years. I’m emotional as I reflect, yet excited as I look forward. These posts are always the most challenging to write and I’ve been trying to sum up how I feel to share with you– and also because they end up serving as wonderful memories for me. A tiny slice I can reread and remember how I felt at the time. And maybe one of you has felt this way, or is feeling this way, or will feel this way.
As the next crop of starry-eyed kid-adults move into tiny apartments scattered around trendy and up and coming neighborhoods, I smile… I remember that “welcome to New York” feeling. A thumping heart that feels a lot like excitement but could be mistaken as nerves. That feeling of fresh beginnings with a clean slate; a road paved with opportunities and experiences only this city has to offer.
The one thing I promised myself when I moved here, really above anything else, was that I never wanted to become jaded about living in the city. Especially those first few months living here, I saw all these people schlepping to work, dragging their feet down the subway steps, tired, and annoyed. While I’ve had some bad days, I don’t believe that I’ve become jaded. That makes me relieved and happy. I may not be jaded, but I do feel a bit more enlightened. Where I used to think that NYC was the only place to live and the only place to work, I realized it’s not the whole world and that I could be just as successful (if not more) and just as happy (if not happier) somewhere else. A somewhere else where I have a bit more flexibility and freedom, while not completely disengaging.
I think the biggest thing New York City taught me was independence. There is something terrifying about moving and planting your roots in a tiny apartment in a city where you know no more than a handful of people and declaring that you’re ready for adulthood. I think I moved to NYC with guns blazing, blinders on. And while I have been here for three years, a full year short of my time in college, the changes I have seen in myself have been exponential. 
I may be done growing physically but so much about me has grown. My heart has grown. My sense of adventure has grown. My mind has grown. My network, my business, and my bank account have grown. I have grown.
Friends | Finding friends in NYC was something that I was very worried about, but it was probably the easiest transition for me. I was lucky to have started off with a great group of women whom I worked with and an ever-growing industry of bloggers like myself. It didn’t happen overnight but I eventually met people. I said yes to dinners and brunches. I smiled (a smile goes a long way here). I opened up and dropped my walls. I was burned a few times and forgotten a few times more, but I did make friends… great friends.
I strongly believe that friends are what make the city exciting. I do enjoy doing things alone, but it’s the dishing over last night’s event at brunch the next morning, the skipping out of town early from work for a trip somewhere fun, and even the crying with your friend on the stoop of her apartment is what gives your city experiences a bit of color. It’s what gets you through all the grit, and there is no shortage of grit here. 
Stress | There’s no shortage of stress here either. I’ve hit some pretty deep lows due to stress. It’s not completely the city’s fault, but stress seems to breed in the Petri dish streets of the city. I think it’s the claustrophobia and competitiveness of it all. It weighs heavily. 
I hated going through the high stress situations, but the best things happen when I did. That is, the next time something stressful rolls around it wasn’t as bad. And when a more stressful situation popped up, as it always does, I can handle it. Onward and upward.

Self |  Taking care of myself is something I knew I should be doing and I earnestly thought it was something that would just happen. That I’d move into my apartment and automatically be this adult who took care of herself. I’d wake up on time, go for a run, cook a healthy breakfast with produce I bought at the grocery store down the street. I’d work from 9-5, read books, go see plays, go on thrilling dates. It was pretty much the opposite of that. (Except for the waking up early… I woke up really early, but I went to bed entirely too late.)
After ten months, I had completely completely driven myself into the ground. I was exhausted, overworked, unhappy. Burnt out.
It took a few more years of growing up and making mistakes and figuring things out before I felt like I had a better grasp on what it means to take care of myself. Definitely still learning here, but definitely doing a much better job. Drinking water, eating better, doing yoga, reading every night.
(In case you’re wondering, I think moderation is the key for just about everything when it comes to taking care of yourself!)

Money | Oh, money. I wish I could say that I was one of those people who didn’t think money was important. However, financial independence and growth is something that I personally value. 
I moved here with a small savings account that was basically for emergencies only (with money I earned in high school and in college). The first six months or so, I honestly ate a lot of toast and eggs for dinner because I’d spend my food budget on lunch’s out with co-workers. (I don’t regret that by the way, those lunches were how we became close!) Taking a cab was a luxury I literally couldn’t afford and one time when I spent $10 on a small book at Barnes and Noble, I felt insanely guilty for spending the money I really needed for lunch the next day!
Slowly, I continued to work hard and save more and more money. I definitely set the expectation with myself that saving was important and that making financial sacrifices was worth it in the long run. The day my Mint.com account alerted me saying I had saved $50,000 was a big turning point for me. It was when I truly felt like “making it” was possible. I still kept my job at that point though and continued to build my blog on the side with the steady paycheck because the financial pressures of the city can be intense. It was frustrating, and frankly still is on occasion, when I hear friends talk about how much their parents contribute to their rent and the like. But the financial independence I built was freeing and allowed me to really spread my wings. (It also makes big splurges a lot more meaningful!)
Happiness | I know I say this a lot, but my college experience wasn’t what I imagined it to be. Although I’m thankful for everything I’ve gone through as I wouldn’t be the person I am today, I wish I had learned how to be happier sooner.
At some point here in the city, I figured out that happiness is a choice. At least for me, it’s not something that comes naturally. I’m no Little Miss Sunshine. But it’s something I’ve practiced and adopted and now feel unbelievably better about my life. I think a great and simple example of this was when I shattered my phone screen for the first time last year. It was frustrating and annoying, yes. But it was just a phone screen. I even laughed after examining the spider-web screen, Garrett watching with wide eyes as he awaited my reaction. I wasn’t happy about shattering my phone but it wasn’t the end of the world. I didn’t let the phone screen affect my happiness for the evening.
I practice happiness daily and it’s certainly made life more enjoyable!

Business | Although I had started to think I wanted to do The College Prepster full time at the end of my senior year of college, I wasn’t entirely sure that it was even possible. I had, therefore, gotten it in my mind that I would get a job and climb the ranks of the corporate ladder. As luck would have it, I found myself instead working at a tech start up where my first year of work was accelerated at an alarming pace. (See above for the burn out!) It was good though because I learned a LOT about what I thought was important for running a business. I made great connections and really learned how to build a network of supporters. Most importantly, I learned what I didn’t want: I didn’t want to let the opportunity to continue to build something I had started on my own pass by while working to build someone else’s dream.
I made the difficult decision to leave behind my steady paycheck 13 months after I started my first job. I hyperventilated on the way home, scared to death I had made the worst decision of my life. I wish I could go back and tell myself to catch my breath and hold on for dear life because the ride was just beginning. There have been ups and downs, but overall it’s been an incredible, incredible experience to work for myself and grow The College Prepster. I’m thankful that you all have stuck around for the journey and I hope to continue to share more of it with you for years to come!

Love | I think the most unexpected part of living in NYC has been falling in love. When I was 22, I came up with my “thirteen year plan.” The plan noted that I might consider dating at 30. As someone who has never had a real boyfriend, I couldn’t fathom meeting someone I could love so much at this age. That is, until Garrett moved to NYC and really everything changed. It’s not so much that everything changed maybe, but instead everything all of a sudden seemed to make sense. One night, a short while after we met, I had this moment where I thought to myself, “Okay, I get it.” 
I know that sounds cheesy and there’s a whole movement right now that says I should put my career above anything else. But falling, and subsequently being, in love has changed my life for the better. I thank my lucky stars at night that my life story and Garrett’s life story happened to overlap at a dark restaurant in midtown one early summer night more than two years ago. We’ve been living together for the past year (he’s been a good sport about my pink couch!) and we’re both really excited to start this next chapter of our lives together in Connecticut!

Because this post is already long enough, I’m going to share a little bit more about why Connecticut in the next couple of days!


xoxo
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83 Comments

Caroline Anderson

Congratulations! I love following your journey, and I know that great things are going to happen for you, no matter where you end up! Be happy, Be in love, and happy moving day!

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Barbara Neumann

Have an amazing time in Connecticut!

I don't know why but this made me cry…I have been reading your blog for a long time I feel like I know you! You and Garrett are one day going to make a beautiful family. (Not that Teddy doesn't count!)

Xoxo Barbara Neumnann

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Caroline

Of course this comes the same week I realize I only live about two blocks from you. 🙁 But congratulations and best of luck! I'm from Connecticut (Ridgefield, check it out if you get the chance!) and it's wonderful. You are moving at the perfect time too – you'll be all settled in by the time the leaves start changing! Fall in Connecticut is the best.

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Tracy Heather

Wishing you, Garrett, and of course Teddy a lifetime of health and happiness! May your move to CT be easy, may you find yourself truly content!

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Erin Murphy

Great post! I've been reading your blog since you were a senior in college (and I think I was a first-year at the time), so I almost feel like I'm saying this to a friend: Best of luck in all your future endeavors in connecticut! I've really enjoyed reading about how you transitioned into and seemed to thrive in NYC, and I'm looking forward to reading about how things go in your new home, this time with Garrett and Teddy!

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Sabrina Book

This post was everything I needed to read right now. I can definitely relate to some of the things you mentioned, and it's nice to know that I'm not alone. I love hearing that you are doing something for you and not what is "expected" at your age. Go your own way and do what makes you happy. Congratulations and happy moving!

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bottledcreativityblog.com

Congratulations and best of luck in Connecticut. You, Garrett, and Teddy are beginning an awesome adventure, and I'm excited we (as readers) get to follow along. For some reason I had a feeling you might pick Connecicut, but I'm excited to hear the why. Reading about your NYC adventures is great, and I've always appreciated your honesty, especially as someone from California, who visited NYC five years ago and thought it was pure magic. It's refreshing seeing the lows of living in such a fast-paced, busy, and competitive place. Anyway, I'm so happy for you and can't wait to see what your new start in Connecticut brings the three of you! 🙂

– Callie Leigh
http://www.bottledcreativityblog.com

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Jadoregrace

I absolutely love following your journey and am so happy for you! Best wishes on the move and can't wait to see what great things happen in Connecticut! xo

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Mia M

Carly, reading this blog post literally brought me to tears. You have showed me how meaningful life is, and to appreciate every second and all of the aspects of life. Best of luck in Connecticut! I can't waitto here more about it! xoxo mia

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Julie Beattie

Oh how I loved reading this! I had a feeling the move might be to CT…I grew up in Stonington (living in San Francisco currently) and I think CT is just the greatest place. I hope you, Garrett, and Teddy enjoy the Nutmeg state!

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lynnh gerber

What an awesome post! I am incredibly happy for you. You should definitely share your love story with you! How did everything start with Garret, where did you meet, how was the first kiss? etc. 🙂 (Just if it does not get to personal for you…
Greetings from Germany!

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Emily L

Congrats Carly! Connecticut is such a wonderful state, you're going to love it! Here! I know I do 🙂 I love your honesty in this post and I am so excited to see what you cook up in CT! Best of luck to you and Garrett! 🙂

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Lindsay

Carly! I'm so so happy for you! Your strong sense of self is such an inspiration. Good luck with the move and I can't wait to hear about your adventures in Connecticut!

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Lindsey Saxby

This was such a great post! It seems like things are going really well and I'm so excited to read more about your next adventure! Best of luck on the big move and whatever else comes your way. Your blog is so wonderful and I love the personal updates too. 🙂

Best wishes,
Lindsey | Finding Balance in Life

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Alex B.

Congratulations! This was such a heartfelt post, thank you for sharing it! I think we're all excited to see where this next adventure takes you, Garrett and Teddy. Best of luck as you move!

-Alexandra

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Lauren Ruzinsky

Congrats, Carly! I've been following your journey since your Georgetown days and I'm happy to see your journey is continuing onto something new and exciting, especially with your two loved ones (Garrett and Teddy ;).

Also, I'm glad you mention the movement of women putting their careers above anything else. My boyfriend and I have been dating for over two years and while I credit a lot of my success to myself, I credit so much to him too. He has taught me to be more confident and to not stress so much over the small stuff. Being with him makes me happy, just as I'm sure being with Garrett has made you happier. Who says we can't have it all anyways? I'm for that movement!

Again, congrats and best of luck with your move!

Lauren | http://www.alilstyleblog.com

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Martha Pietruszewski

Thanks for sharing Carly! So excited to hear "why Connecticut" – I've only been to the east coast a handful of times and it's a completely different world from Minnesota. 🙂

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MissEmily

Congratulations! This makes me so happy!!
I have been a loyal reader for a long time and I must admit I teared up a little while reading this (tears of happiness of course). I've always found you super relatable and real and I can't wait to see what adventures Connecticut brings for you and Garrett and Teddy!
Best of luck on your move!

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Samantha {socialbysam}

Congrats Carly! As one of those bright eyed, just moved to New York types, its so fun to read about life from someone just a little bit ahead-thank you for all the great tips and for your candor. Watching your adventures makes me even more excited for my years to come. I'm so excited to see this next phase of your life- best of luck!

Samantha
socialbysam.com

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Sarah

So awesome Carly! Such a wonderful reflection on your time in NYC. I'm so happy for you three and cannot wait to hear more about life as you transition to your new home together!

Sarah
Sweet Spontaneity

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Sammy Malone

Wow good for you! I can definitely relate about the stress of living here and working full time for a steady pay check while also working on side projects that you love. There is definitely a certain level of stress that I think comes with living here and is one of the only things that makes me sometimes wonder if venturing elsewhere would be worth it! Good for you and good luck!

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A&A

Hi there! I've been a long time reader and love your blog. I lived in CT for a year and am moving back in the next few months. I'd love to meet up once you're there! I have all sorts of recommendations for you.

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A&A

Hi there! I've been a long time reader and love your blog. I lived in CT for a year and am moving back in the next few months. I'd love to meet up once you're there! I have all sorts of recommendations for you.

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Allison Perlman

Congrats Carly! Like Caroline posted above, I am also from Ridgefield and agree that you would love it! CT has so my in store for you I can't wait to hear how you feel about it. It has treated me well for the past 21 years so I know you will succeed!

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Jaime Costilow

Congrats girl! New adventures await you in Connecticut. I'm sure it will be hard leaving NYC, but you'll always have the opportunity to visit your old stomping grounds. I'm impressed with your section on saving. I am a HORRIBLE saver and I'd love to be better with my money. I'd love see your tips on building a savings plan.

XO, Jaime | RegallySoled.com

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Carly Montecalvo

You are such an inspiration, I mean that with my whole heart. I am starting college this fall (as well as blogging my experiences), and reading your posts make my goals actually seem attainable.

Remember: wherever you are, be all there

Toodaloo!
Carly Montecalvo

thecollegiatestartup.blogspot.com

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Kristen Woolsey

How exciting! I started reading TCP right about the time you moved to NY, so it's really cool to follow you into the next chapter. It's so funny how somethings seem so important for so long and then as you grow your priorities shift. I hope you love this next stage!
-Kristen
http://www.pugsandpearls.com

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Olivia Stieren

Being a long time reader like many others, this post also made me tear up! In the short times I've spent in Connecticut, I've been amazed by its beauty and culture – so excited for your new journey.

Your reflections on your time in the city were also super inspiring to me. I'm about to get married, and we are a young couple who are really wanting to experience a true city life. We live in Atlanta and love it here, but we also don't like the way our city is laid out and how we can't do typical city-esque things such as walk everywhere, experience a variety of cultures, and so much more. We are interested in moving to either DC or NYC. Leaning towards DC because it's a smaller scale of city life, and we also have some close friends there. I had this moment the other week where I thought, "why would I leave my life I've built here?" Then with this post and some other realizations of my own, I remembered mine and my fiancé's dreams…thank you, Carly, for encouraging others through your writing to follow their dreams!

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Amy Marie

Carly!! I am so excited for you! I think after college we all grow *a lot* my past two years after college my life change drastically. I accepted a job that was way over my head (and ended up hating it), I turned down a job and a chance to move to the amazing city of Boston, I got laid off and for the first time found myself in the unemployment line, I changed career paths, got into graduate school, and too fell in love. Now falling in love was crazy as I was for sure going to be single for the rest of my life and was very happy with that. Life is crazy. I have loved reading your posts and watching you progress these past years. I can not wait to see where your next adventure takes you. From a current Connecticut resident to a new one, welcome 🙂

Amy
Champagne and Pearls

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Ane I.

Congratulations Carly, I'm so happy for your move! As a longtime reader, I was inspired by you to start my own blog, and I can't wait to see what your move will have in store for The College Prepster! 🙂
Love,

Ane | Basque Prep

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Tabby Guarnieri

Congratulations! And I will say I'm quite interested as to why you're moving to Connecticut – as a born and raised (and still living here) Nutmegger 🙂

Hope your move goes well and welcome to our little state!

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Abby Ingwersen

Congratulations on your move, lovely! I can't wait to hear more about it…

and reading all this as a girl about to start college in a small apartment in a big city was comforting. <3 xoxo

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Adrienne

Congrats on your move and your savings! Do you have any investment tips – mutual funds, etfs, how to get started, etc? Maybe you could do an investment series.

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Lauren

Congrats Carly!!! I hope your move goes as smoothly as it can! Best of luck! I can't wait to see what the future holds for you in Connecticut!

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Rachel S.

I'd love to hear more about how you managed your money while living in an expensive city. With high rent, bills, and the ever present urge to shop, it can be tough to save money in a high cost of living area.

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helenmireyka

Congratulations on the move!! It's all so exciting! Can't wait to hear more about your adventures in Connecticut.
Greetings from Belarus!

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LC

Congrats!! I have been reading your blog for a little over two years now and during that time I have been able to tell how happy you have become through your tone and writing style. (Sorry if that sounds weird!) I originally found your blog by googling "J. Crew chino shorts sizing help" and have been a follower ever since. I really enjoy that the topics you cover are not just merely fashion but also a little more substantial and reflective. You are an excellent writer and I wish you all the luck in the world on your move!

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WyoBelle

Carly, I am so excited for you!!! Congrats! This is going to be an amazing change, and I can't wait to watch where it takes you. You always have great life tips and have helped me grow, going through college and internships. This is fantastic and I will send prayers for a smooth move and a great settling in time!

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Kristen D

Congrats Carly! I grew up in NYC, and moved back after college. I too realized that both my career and NY were not for me anymore. There is an odd shaming culture in NYC, that you somehow "couldn't hack it" if you left. Well, I did, and a year later I am 1 semester away from my master's degree and love my life in winter-free Miami. As one as my friends said to me before I moved – "No one is going to give anyone a medal for living here!"

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Kate Maccio

Welcome home! I grew up in Connecticut and spent seven years in NYC for college. NYC is great but there's no place like CT! You'll love it here!

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Kyra

I loved reading this!! You have been my favorite blogger for some time now and I always love reading and viewing pictures from your blog. You have inspired me in so many ways. I wish you the best of luck on this new chapter of your life and can't wait to learn more from you!

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Mercedes Krietsch

Love this post, life is so amazing and making big changes like that are a great part of it! It's an inspiration to your your blog! Check me out @ confessionsofthelostandfound.wordpress.com

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Here for a Year - The College Prepster

[…] We have lived in Connecticut for just over a year. This year has flown by!!! I’d say it’s gone by too quickly, but I think it went so fast because it was filled with so much good. It feels like living in the city was a lifetime ago. I remember feeling a little apprehensive about moving, which now, looking back, I can attribute solely to my fear of change. I was actually completely ready to leave city living behind and try to find a more “normal” lifestyle. (I think normal is relative and, for me, living in NYC felt more like a fun challenge than a normal life.) […]

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