She Regrets Nothing by Andrea Dunlop


Hello, World.

I am so excited about this review because this book was a bit lighter than some of the previous reading I’ve done this summer. She Regrets Nothing is Andrea Dunlop’s second novel, and now I’m hoping to pick up a copy of her first soon. Her writing is captivating and fun and kept me turning pages so quickly. Usually I’m a slow reader, I like to absorb a story slowly, really enjoy the words, but this book kept me guessing I wanted so badly to know where the story was headed, that I blew through 20 or 40 pages during my morning reading session and 60 or 80 pages during my after work reading session.

I was seeing this book all over the Bookstagram corner of Instagram in February and March, but I was still on a book-buying freeze. Then, however, Alyssa of @sweptawaybybooks announced that she was giving away a signed copy of the novel. I entered, thinking I probably wouldn’t win and moved on. Then I got a DM that I’d won! Two days before I left for my DC summer, the book arrived at my home, signed with a little note from Dunlop. I had already purchased some other summer books, so decided to get through them first (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) before starting this one. Once I picked this novel up, I couldn’t put it down.

If you’re wondering what it’s about, the synopsis is as follows:

When Laila Lawrence becomes an orphan at twenty-three, the sudden loss unexpectedly introduces her to three glamorous cousins from New York who show up unannounced at her mother’s funeral. The three siblings are scions of the wealthy family from which Laila’s father had been estranged long before his own untimely demise ten years before.

Two years later, Laila has left behind her quiet life in Grosse Point, Michigan to move to New York City, landing her smack in the middle of her cousins’ decadent world. As the truth about why Laila’s parents became estranged from the family patriarch becomes clear, Laila grows ever more resolved to claim what’s rightfully hers. Caught between longing for the love of her family and her relentless pursuit of the lifestyle she feels she was unfairly denied, Laila finds herself reawakening a long dead family scandal—not to mention setting off several new ones—as she becomes further enmeshed in the lives and love affairs of her cousins. But will Laila ever, truly, belong in their world? Sly and sexy, She Regrets Nothing is a sharply observed and utterly seductive tale about family, fortune, and fate—and the dark side of wealth.

In my words, it’s about a Laila Lawrence, a twenty-three year old who will do just about anything for security, belonging, and comfort. She strikes me as a more mature Jenny Humphrey (in season one of Gossip Girl, not the seasons when she lost it). Once the full cast of characters was introduced, I had so much fun with the story. I kept waiting to see who could be trusted, who was merely there to serve plot, and who was there to stand in for a stereotype. Though I really didn’t like Laila, she’s pretty cold-hearted, I found myself wanting her to redeem herself with her family and have some semblance of home. My favorite character, the one I found to be the most genuine, was Liberty, Laila’s older, literary agent cousin. Some characters made me roll my eyes and others made me want to yell “get over yourself!” but overall, the group was a fun one to follow.

Ultimately this is a story of ambition, sex, and upper-class wealth in New York City. While a lot of people are, for good reason, comparing this book to Gossip Girl, I was getting major Revenge vibes while reading. Laila has a card to play, but she soon realizes the table at which she’s playing is a bit big for her, a bit out of reach, and just slightly too secluded for her to really find her footing on her chair. She orchestrates her life around the fact that she knows a secret and wants to get to the bottom of why she was denied a life she thinks she should have had. In that way, it reminded me of Revenge.

This book is the perfect combination of light and fun while also discussing some really real issues. For example, the book discusses, in pretty good detail, the double standards for men and women and the age gap in relationships and who should hold what role. I liked Cameron and Liberty’s relationship because it felt so much like how this would actually go (up to a point). Liberty’s ambition and drive is what draws Cameron in, but later is what he expects her to tone down so as to not outshine him. This, and so many other moments, highlight that regardless of class the role women are expected to play is often one of the ambitious but willing-to-comprise woman.

This read was so much fun in that it felt like Gossip Girl for grown-ups with a heavy dose of Revenge. I kept wanting to find out people’s motivations and who, ultimately, was keeping the largest secret. I will say, some people had massive issues with the Act Three twist in this novel. While I was kind of like, “hmm seems random,” I didn’t feel it was completely out of left field. Given the already high stakes in the book, it seemed to fit. However, I will say the last few chapters kind of felt a bit disconnected as they shifted focus. I’d been concerned about Laila and her story for most the book, and suddenly I found myself hearing from one of the, previously seeming, lesser characters. I would have liked to experience the ending through Laila, but I understand why the last few chapters focused on a different character. Still, despite this twist, I loved the read and would recommend it!

Callie leigh


An Update: My 101 Things in 1001 Days List

Hello, World.

I wanted to give an update on my 101 Things in 1001 Days list! It’s going along nicely. I ended up changing a few things because of certain changes in my life. I think that may be cheating, but life happens and I think this list should be what’s on my bucket list right now. I wrote this list in September 2016 and some things have changed.

  1. Come up with 101 things.
  2. Go a month without spending money on clothes/fun items.
  3. Publish a blog post every day for a month.
  4. Discover a new TV show. (This Is Us, Sept. 2016)
  5. Work out three times a week for a month.  (Spring 2017)
  6. Try 5 new healthy recipes.
  7. Learn to grill.
  8. Get to bed by 11 p.m. every night for three weeks. (spring 2018)
  9. Partner up with another blogger for a post.
  10. Double my Instagram following.
  11. Do 15 new fashion posts.
  12. Take photos of Williamsburg in the Fall. (October/November 2016)
  13. Spend 20 minutes reading before bed for two weeks. (June 2018)
  14. Do 20 squats every day for two weeks. (Spring 2017)
  15. Visit my friend in Boston.
  16. Visit Virginia Beach.
  17. Take a road trip with friends.
  18. Complete December Daily again. (December 2016. Check it out here.)
  19. Go 48 hours without social media.
  20. Go swimming in the Atlantic.
  21. Go to an amusement park.
  22. Read a non-fiction novel. (Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham, December 2016)
  23. Listen to a podcast series. (Young Adulting)
  24. Play Never Have I Ever with my law school friends.
  25. Host a tea party with friends.
  26. Have a picnic on the main W&M campus with friends.
  27. Host a brunch at the house.
  28. Learn to play golf (this one’s for you, Dad!)
  29. See 11 new movies. (The Post; The Greatest Showman; Home Again; Wonder; Fifty Shades Freed; I, Tonya; The Darkest Hour; Call Me By Your Name; Lady Bird; Love, Simon; I Feel Pretty)
  30. Read 11 new books. (Talking As Fast As I Can; Small Admissions; I’ll See You in Paris; Lunch in Paris; Commonwealth; The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living; Call Me By Your Name)
  31. Re-Read the entire Harry Potter Series.
  32. Do a DIY project for the house.
  33. Learn to braid my hair.
  34. Surprise someone I love.
  35. Give someone a gift for no apparent reason.
  36. Try 4 new restaurants. (Circa, Le Diplomate, District Commons)
  37. Attend a William and Mary Football game. (Sept. 17 2016)
  38. Find the Crim Dell Bridge (and Instagram it, obviously). October 9, 2016
  39. Finish the A Beautiful Mess Photography Course.
  40. Visit 4 new places. (Washington, DC;)
  41. Spend an entire day relaxing with friends.
  42. Spend a full day with my sister and Greg. (Summer 2017)
  43. Make something for my niece.
  44. Improve my handwriting.
  45. Get a good summer job. (Legal Services of Northern CA, Summer 2017; Federal Communications Commission, Summer 2018)
  46. Get out of bed every day at 7:00 am for two weeks.
  47. Stop hitting snooze.
  48. Improve my presence on all social media accounts.
  49. Visit Saint Mary’s when I’m in CA.   (Mar. 2018)
  50. Make a Scrapbook of my 1L year.
  51. Make a law journal. (Business Law Review)
  52. Get involved in at least two things at the law school. (William and Mary Business Law Review, Student Intellectual Property Society)
  53. Be featured on another Instagram account. (History in High Heels, here).
  54. Try fried Brussel sprouts.
  55. Go 2 weeks without sugar (chocolate, etc.)
  56. Connect with a blogger I admire.
  57. Send postcards to my college friends.
  58. Watch a sporting event in a bar.
  59. Feature friends in a law school series. (Evelyn: Taking Law School to Work, Holly: Posted about Graduate School)
  60. Visit New York.
  61. Go to Washington, D.C. for the first time! (Feb. 2018, will be spending summer 2018 there)
  62. Vote in the Presidential Election. (2016 Election; Trump v. Clinton)
  63. Journal every day for a month.
  64. Find a good VA wine.
  65. Go wine tasting in VA.
  66. Get a good job upon graduating law school.
  67. Read the newspaper every day for a month.
  68. Visit 4 new states that are not already included in previous items.
  69. Visit Nantucket.
  70. See Monticello.
  71. Visit Mount Vernon.
  72. Cultivate a more “grown-up” wardrobe. (in-progress as of July 2018)
  73. Get rid of clothing I don’t wear.
  74. Write a children’s story for my niece.
  75. Solidify my personal style.
  76. Go a week without caffeine. (October 2016, after having health issues)
  77. Learn to ride a bike.
  78. Watch the sunset with friends.
  79. Take a tour of Jamestown. (October 9, 2016)
  80. See Yorktown. (October 2016).
  81. Visit my aunt in North Carolina. (Thanksgiving 2016)
  82. Buy someone’s drink behind me at Starbucks.
  83. Try being vegetarian for two weeks.
  84. Overcome my fear of cold-calling. (Stopped caring in Constitutional Law Spring 2017 – I was forced to just be okay with the cold calling *laughs*)
  85. Reach out to a friend I fell out of touch with.
  86. Visit Ireland.
  87. Try something outside my comfort zone. (Soul Cycle in DC! Ended up loving, but was seriously freaked before my first class)
  88. Develop a morning routine.
  89. FaceTime a friend I haven’t seen in a while. (Holly, 2018)
  90. Start sending letters to my pen pal again.
  91. Read 5 classics.
  92. Go to a concert.
  93. Learn a better way to manage money.
  94. Mail a care package to my sister when my niece is born. (January 2017)
  95. Try a spin class. Sept. 26, 2016
  96. Somehow talk to Stephanie Danler & read whatever new release she has.
  97. Graduate law school.
  98. Dedicate more consistent time to blogging.
  99. Get back into a yoga practice.
  100. Create a Williamsburg, VA travel guide.
  101. Start writing again.

The list still has a way to go! I have until next June to complete it, so here’s to hoping I accomplish all 101 things!


Callie leigh

Happy Fourth!

Hello, World!

Happy belated Fourth of July! Here are some photos of my day, I spent my day going around D.C. followed by watching fireworks in front of the Lincoln Memorial!





Callie leigh

July TBR



Hello, World.

I’m here to share my July to-be-read list! Below are the three novels I hope to tackle this month.

She Regrets Nothing by Andrea Dunlop | What happens when you’re at a relatives funeral and family members you’ve never heard of, much less met, show up? Dazzled by the glittering relatives hailing from NYC and the intrigue associated with them, Laila Lawrence goes to NYC to uncover the world she’s never known in the wealthy family she’s been deprived of throughout her life. A story of family dynamics, long-held secrets, and self-discovery, this book is Gossip Girl for the early twenties woman.

I’m so excited to read this! I actually won my copy of this in a Giveaway from @sweptawaybybooks Instagram account. So, thank you to Alyssa, who runs the account, and Dunlop, who sent me my signed copy! This book seems to have all the elements that usually make me reach for a book, so I’m so ready to start it. Also, I’ve read a lot of heavy books this summer, so this one seems like the light, dramatic one I need.

Euphoria by Lily King | Recommended by Stephanie Danler, author of Sweetbitter, I wasn’t sure I would pick this up immediately but made a mental note to read it. I originally planned to read Harvard Square by Andre Aciman this month, but because I have no mailing address this summer, I must rely on bookstores to purchase books. There is an Amazon Books in Georgetown (so cool!), so I popped in to pick up Harvard Square and The Lost Vintage. However, I could only find one. I then spotted Euphoria, which seemed like a fairly quick read. So, I added it to my July TBR. Set in 1933, it follows a love triangle among three anthropologists studying together in New Guinea. I’m very curious to read this, as I know Danler thoroughly enjoyed it!

The Lost Vintage by Ann Mah | After seeing this on the Instagram account @butthechildrenlovebooks, I was intrigued. I’ve been on this wanderlust kick lately where I watch all my favorite movies about American abroad (Under the Tuscan SunThe HolidayEat Pray Love, etc.). I love any story about family, coming-of-age, wine, and Tuscany. So, this sounds like the perfect blend (pun intended). Sweetbitter is one of my favorite novels, so when I saw it compared to that novel, I knew I had to pick it up, The Goodreads blurb describes the book as:

Sweetbitter meets The Nightingale in this page-turning novel about a woman who returns to her family’s ancestral vineyard in Burgundy and unexpectedly uncovers a lost diary, an unknown relative, and a secret her family has been keeping since World War II.”

For those who remember I promised not to buy new books, I received an Amazon gift card that I used to purchase Euphoria and The Lost Vintage! I’m so looking forward to reading some more “fun” reads! I’ve been on a reading kick and loving all the books I chose this summer, so I’m hoping to continue that.

I’m currently a bit behind on my June TBR, so I hope to finish An American Marriage this weekend and then start the next slate of reads! My second to last week in June was a marathon, which hindered my ability to read as much as previous weeks, which is why I’m behind on An American Marriage, but from what I can tell, if I have a few hours, I’ll blow through it.

Looking forward, I will probably try to get through four to five books in August, as I’ll be done working and home with my family. I tend to read a ton when home because my family goes to bed early and there are days by the pool! For July, the month already looks a bit hectic, so I know I’ll want to be realistic about how much time I will have to read. I also want to soak up my time in D.C.

What’re you reading?


Callie leigh

My Beauty Routine

Hello, World.

I haven’t gone over my beauty routine in a while. I alluded to some products I’m using in my post about products I didn’t think I’d need at age 23, but I haven’t done an updated “beauty routine” in a while. So, I wanted to share my routine and the product I’m loving. Currently, I try to keep my routine to a minimum while ensuring my skin is looking healthy and clear. I am blessed with fairly clear skin, but I am an advocate of maintaining healthy skin habits.


So, first up, I’m using Glossier’s jelly cleanser, which I love. I’ve tried so many cleansers over the year, and I rarely stick to one, but this cleanser is a game changer. It’s silky and leaves my skin feeling soft and rejuvenated. I highly highly recommend!

I’m using the Origins eye cream for my dark circles. Law school has made my natural dark circles even darker, so using a brightening under eye cream is a must. I went to Sephora and had them make samples of all different ones, tried each for two weeks each, then decided which to use full time. Origins won by a lot. It brightens and it actually makes a noticeable difference for me.

I’m also using Kiehl’s line reducing serum on my forehead. That crinkle you get from worrying is becoming permanent there, so I’m trying to reduce it a bit. I love this product and feel like it’s working!

I use the Clinique moisture surge moisturizer on my face. It’s so hydrating and I love the feel of it. My skin is significantly drier now that I live in Virginia, so a heavier moisturizer was a must after the move from California.

For makeup, I’m using IT Cosmetics CC cream in fair/light. I use the Urban Decay Naked concealer and a beauty blender to apply it. I then use the Kat Von D setting powder. If I want a more matte look, I add some Smashbox powder over the CC cream. I’m loving the Kat Von D tattoo eyeliner and IT Cosmetics Superhero mascara. For eyeshadows, I’m using the Bare Minerals palette in Gen Nude.

For my hair, I’m taking a multivitamin with biotin to try to thicken my hair back up (I started losing my hair due to stress). I’m also using Kevin Murphy hair products. I alternate between the Restore.Me shampoo & conditioner and the Plumping shampoo & conditioner. After showering, I use the leave-in conditioner, Body Mass spray, and Full Again cream. I then blow dry or air dry my hair. For dry shampoo, I’m using the Dry Bar brand dry shampoo. Since my hair is darker, I usually spray it in, get ready, and then scrub my finger over it to release excess powder!

There you have my full beauty routine. When it’s written out, it probably sounds really long, but the whole process takes me about 30-45 minutes. I tend to watch YouTube videos while doing my makeup. I take a lot of pauses. If I need to be out of the house in 20 minutes, I can, I just prefer slower mornings!

What’s your favorite beauty product right now?


Callie leigh

My D.C. Summer (so far…)

Hello, World!

I wanted to pop in to share some snapshots of my D.C. summer! It’s going really well over here. I’m really enjoying getting to know D.C. and exploring the area. I love that D.C. is a very young, legal city. I have roughly three weeks left of living here and I plan to soak up every minute!

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Have a great day!


Callie leigh

Educated by Tara Westover


Hello, World.

My reading for June is going well. I have one week left and one book left on my June TBR. So, I’m hoping that because the book is a bit shorter, I’ll be able to zip through it this week. Today, however, I wanted to share my review of Educated by Tara Westover. I don’t typically reach for nonfiction and have rarely finished a memoir, but I ripped through this memoir and couldn’t stop thinking about it between reading sessions. This book highly recommended by people who read it. I first hear about this book from Ali Edwards, who shared her praise for this book on Instagram.

What appealed to me about this book was the educational journey that Westover experienced, her desire to learn, what her learning about the world meant for her relationship with her family, and how the family dynamics at play. As I said, I often have trouble getting into nonfiction. I put down Hilbilly Elegy a few months ago and haven’t picked it back up. While interesting, it wasn’t a book I yearned to keep reading. So, I was nervous this book would cause me to hit a reading snag. However, I was sucked in from pretty much the first page.

This book focuses on Westover’s childhood, which was riddled with religious fanaticism, oppression, paranoia, danger, and abuse. I was rooting for Tara throughout the whole novel, and at times wanted to shake her. I wanted to shout, “but you’re so much better than that!” or “ask for help!” and I appreciate the self-awareness this memoir has. Westover repeatedly explains that her actions were not rational and that she had an utter inability to ask for help. Honestly, this book made me feel appreciative of the incredible support system I have while seeking education and made me want to reach out to mentors who pushed me to improve and challenge myself and believe in myself, as I watched Westover gain some really strong mentors.

While some parts of the story are really hard to read (super abusive brother and delusion of her parents), I just couldn’t stop reading and rooting for Tara to overcome the terribleness of her family structure and the oppression they attempted to impose on anyone who challenged her father or older brother. Honestly, the whole time I wasn’t sure why her father was so defensive of her abusive brother. I get not wanting to face hard issues, but it seemed like his relationship with Tara was, initially, much stronger than with the brother. I found his defense of the brother a bit confusing, but it also made sense given the delusion and paranoia documented earlier in the story.

The story has a satisfying ending, and it’s so interesting to watch Westover’s personal growth. I love her writing style, and I love that she’s honest about where she is with her family relationships and where she hopes they go. I thoroughly enjoyed this read and I think it’s so beneficial to accept that we can love people but sometimes it’s better to not have them in our lives. I was so intrigued by this story from start to finish. I may or may not have entered a rabbit hole of interviews with the author on YouTube upon finishing it. Some critics say this book isn’t inspiring. I think it is insofar as accepting that it’s perfectly okay to put yourself first and pursue an education with everything you have.

I highly, highly recommend this read. I think if you want a hard but strong story, this is for you!

Callie leigh

The Great Purge

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Hello, World.

I recently felt like I’ve accumulated too much stuff. I have the desire to cleanse my life of all the stuff that takes up space but isn’t contributing and isn’t giving me anything. I was recently talking to people about the issue I have with unread books. At the beginning of 2018, I decided I would go on a book buying freeze until I’d read all the books that I had that I hadn’t read. But then, I found that I wasn’t reaching for those unread books, but wanted to reach for new books. Some books we buy because they seem good, but we buy them at a time when we don’t have the time to read. So, they take a spot on our shelf, begin to gather dust, and are soon camouflaged by books bought under similar circumstances. So, I think it’s important to accept that some books will never be read because what drew us to them when we bought them may no longer be there. Therefore, I’ve decided to purge myself of books I no longer want to read. Reading novels or “for-pleasure” reading, in my opinion, should not be forced or bear a feeling of obligation. We should be excited to pick up books and lose ourselves in other people’s stories. Therefore, some books I know take space on my shelf that I will never read. I plan to purge myself of the books that fit this category and donate all books to either a local school or used bookstore.

I also have so much clothing. In college, when I was at my peak outfit blogging, I acquired so many clothes. With law school stress and moving to Virginia (where healthy food is hard to come by), I’ve gained weight. While I hope to get the weight off, I think hanging on to clothes with the hope of fitting in them again is unhealthy. When I eventually lose the weight, I’d like to start fresh, seeing as I’ve grown up and my style has changed a bit since my college days. I also have clothes I bought that I just don’t love anymore and that don’t make me feel like my best self. I’d like to grow up my wardrobe a bit and become more “young professional” in my attire. I have a vision of what this looks like, but unfortunately, most of my current clothes don’t fit that vision. For my clothing, I’d like to sell it on Poshmark. Be on the lookout to shop my closet!

I think part of my desire to cleanse my life of things is stemming from the fact that I finish law school next May and it seems like I’ll be entering a new phase of my life. I also will be moving, most likely, so I don’t want to take a bunch of stuff with me that I don’t use and that will just take up space.

Have you ever felt like it’s time to purge?

Callie leigh

How to Handle People with a Superiority Complex

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Hello, World.

Have you ever met someone knew and remember thinking, “wow, this person must know everything?” Or “wow, this person clearly thinks highly of themselves?” Or even, “wow, this person obviously thinks they are better than me?” We all know that person who barely smiles, whose nose is always slightly upturned, the person who acknowledges you when it benefits them but acts as though you’re a random stranger on the street when it doesn’t.

We all have encountered, at one time or another, people who have a bit of a superiority complex. In fact, some of us may have been that person at least once. One of my best friends, upon first meeting me, commented that I was aloof. I used to blame this on being taller than most women (standing at 5′ 11” in flats) and therefore it was easier to shift my gaze than stare down at the person I was talking to, feeling like staring down would make them uncomfortable. It turns out, interestingly, that eye contact is preferred by most people. Regardless, this post is not about my aloofness, but rather about how we navigate those moments and interactions when we feel that someone is treating us like we don’t matter or that we’re beneath them or that we can’t offer than anything they want.

I was recently at a networking function, and a friend of mine commented on how a particular person at the event wasn’t talking to people she knew. Any by not talking, I mean flat out ignoring, pretending like she didn’t know our face from the wall behind us. I was un-offended, as this is not the first time this person has blatantly ignored me, despite us knowing each other. But then, a few days later, another person who attended the same event commented on this person’s behavior. She said, “it’s very clear that this person only talks to people who they feel will offer them something.” I nodded in agreement and basically said that if I’m not worth this person’s time, then they aren’t worth mine.

Upon reflection, however, I think that’s a bad outlook. The whole “if they can’t be bothered, I’ll ignore them just as ferociously,” is actually the weaker approach. People who think they’re better than others are similar to bullies in so far as when you call “bullshit” they often scare. Can you imagine how bad it would look if Miss Uppity, with her nose raised high and her eyes cast through you, blatantly ignored your pleasantries? For example, if you are attending an event and you never interact with the person, no one really knows if you know each other or not. But if you casually say, “hello, Miss Uppity, nice to see you again,” and then you go on your merry way to work the room, what then? In law school, when we give fact patterns the question is often “what result?” So, what is the result of being kind to those who act superior? Either harshness, which speaks volumes about them or a simple “oh hello, insert something artificial here.” Regardless, neither reaction is particularly fulfilling in the sense that you won’t get something from the person. However, you will get something from yourself because you are not allowing someone to look through you and cast you off as they would their used cocktail napkin after a long night of schmoozing “the right people.”

My mom always tells me to be humble and kind (yes, the Tim McGraw song… I am from rural California so can appreciate a country song). When I complain about someone who treated me poorly or made me feel bad, she reiterates that long-held rule: kill ’em with kindness (yes, this was a rule before Selena Gomez made it a song). I always find that what makes me feel better in the moments that someone tries to bring me down is to treat them better than they treated me. I don’t want to sink to their level because, at the end of the day, someone’s upturned nose or ability to see through me does not prove anything to anyone. Are they better than me? Maybe at something, but just generally? We’re all humans who should treat each other with respect.

Additionally, something I’ve learned over time is that the ability to work a room, truly work a room and climb that ever-raised social ladder, should have an effortless quality. If people notice you’re trying to social climb, that isn’t a good look. Obviously, networking, making contacts and moving up in the world is a goal for many young ambitious people, but again, you never know who someone knows. That person that Miss Uppity ignored? Their dad is a congressman and she wants to work on the Hill. That other person Miss Uppity looked right through? Their friend worked for a major company that she’s trying to work for. And that other person? Their cousin’s friend is the CEO at Startup. Obviously, these are extremes, but hey, you may know your network intimately, but you don’t know someone else’s

So, remember to be kind to people and remember that if someone acts better than you, it just shows they aren’t.

Callie leigh

Moving Across the Country

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Hello, World.

I recently received a request for a post about moving across the country and setting up an apartment from far away. I’m not sure why it hadn’t occurred to me to do a post on this, but once a reader suggested it, I was eager to sit down and write it. I’ve done a post about apartment hunting, but that was more how to find the perfect place. I’ve also detailed the best way to make a new place home by decorating it to fit your tastes. But the logical place to start when you’re moving far away to a place you may not be familiar with is starting big picture and then narrowing your scope.

First and foremost, if you need to decide if you’re living alone or with roommates. If you want roommates, which will save cost, find your roommates. I recommend finding roommates who are looking to move somewhere new or are, like you, moving to the city for the first time. Coordinating your apartment hunt with another person can be super helpful, so it’s fun to look for a place with your future roommate. If you are hunting with someone, try to make “must have” lists. Honestly, it’s a bit like an episode of House Hunters.

If you’re moving to a smaller town or city, like I was, it’s not as difficult to pick a location. I wanted to be close to my law school, so I picked addresses to check out based on proximity to the school. However, if you’re moving to a city, like New York, San Francisco, or Chicago, the neighborhood is important. So, I would start by choosing a neighborhood or area that you’d want to live. For example, if I were moving back to San Francisco, I’d want to live in Noe Valley or North Beach (probably). If you’re unfamiliar with the area, I recommend trying to figure out who you know that’s lived in the place you’re moving to or researching to see what neighborhoods are like, how safe they are, how close they are to public transportation and what the general vibe is (is it a younger area with gyms, restaurants, bars, etc. or more residential and quiet?).

Figuring out where you want to live in your new city is the best first step because from there, you can start apartment hunting. I would say gather a list of places that you think you’d like to see. If you are able, go visit them. If you cannot do that, see if there’s someone who can send you photos (a friend, family member, etc.), if you don’t have someone, it may be best to have the realtor send you photos. I recommend going through a management company or realtor agency rather than craigslist or something. If you’re unable to see the place before your move-in, going through a more formal company may save headaches. I never saw my current place other than in photos before move-in. If I had questions about measurements (like what size the laundry room was) or how large my bedroom was, I asked my realtor. I will say, so long as you have done your due diligence and made sure the place is in a nice area and you’ve seen photos, it’s pretty easy to pick a place. Something to note, however, is asking about parking (if you have a car), street access, building access, etc. Nail down as many details surrounding the apartment as possible because you won’t be seeing it before you arrive to move in.

Once you’ve figured out where you’ll be living and have begun the process of signing a lease, my next advice is to pick what items, if any, you plan to take with you. I basically only packed clothing and some books and photos for my move. I bought everything else, furniture, decorations, kitchen supplies, etc. one I arrived or I ordered it and had it delivered after I moved in (look at shipping ranges, I ordered things roughly 5 days before my departure date). For my car, I shipped it. Some people drive to their new place, my family and I flew, so we shipped my car. If you can use a moving service, like PODs, then you may want to buy things in your current city and then ship it all. I see a few cons with this option. First, if you haven’t seen the place in person it may be hard to really plan furniture and decorations. That chair you thought you had room for may not fit! Second, if you buy everything in your new city, you won’t have to pay to ship it all. You would save the cost of using movers and spend money only on the items. Further, if you plan to use a moving service, do a purge of your stuff before you begin packing. It’s amazing how much stuff we collect throughout college and post-grad, so make sure what you’re taking is stuff you want to bring to your new city, and not just stuff you’re putting in boxes that may ultimately get tossed upon arrival. If you haven’t seen your place in person, and don’t have much furniture or bulky items, I’d recommend furnishing the place once there.

This brings me to my next point: I planned out all my furniture and design plans prior to moving in, which made my trips to Target and Homegoods pretty easy because I knew all the stuff I wanted to get. I had a spreadsheet with all the items I would need (couch, bed, bed frame, etc.), my target price, and then an item I liked from a website with its price listed and the name. Some items I ordered online, like my bed frame and dresser, desk, bookcase, and side table. Some items I went to see in person then shipped, like my washer/dryer and bed. Other items I picked out but waited to buy, like accessories for my room, etc. Some things I bought as soon as I saw them, others I swapped for things I liked better once I started shopping. The flexibility I had with decorations worked well for me and saved money because I wasn’t shipping things, then returning them, etc.

I recommend keeping a running checklist of things you need to do prior to your move. Setting up utilities, if not included in the space, is important. I would recommend trying to find a place where laundry and utilities are included, but obviously, this doesn’t always happen. For laundry, ask if it’s in-unit or if you have to go to the basement or another location. If you are flying, coordinate your flight details. If you’re moving to a city, coordinate whether you’re going to get a rental car or take public transit. I would recommend a car, as you’re moving your life across the country so will likely have multiple suitcases. However, ensure there is parking (street or garage) near your new place. Again, there are a lot of small details and choices to make, so keep a list and try to plan your trip from the moment you leave your door to the moment you arrive at the new one. What possible things could come up? How are you getting from point A to point B to point X? Everyone’s move is a bit different, but trying to anticipate potential problems and nailing down as many details as possible is ideal. I recommend beginning the process as early as possible. I worked out logistics of my move, or at least planned my decor, almost daily in the few months leading up to my move. Not only did it make the move easier, it made me excited about the move.

I moved from California to Virginia, almost as far as you could get. So, when all was said and done there were two hiccups I recall: (1) my bed wasn’t delivered on the correct day and (2) my car was a week late, but the company I used set me up with a rental for the interim. Everything else when off basically without a hitch. Planning and preparing are key, in my opinion. I also spent a lot of time reading articles and blogs about moving and kind of picked and chose what I felt would work well for me. I know it probably sounds nerdy and very Type A, but I had so much anxiety about moving so far away that I wanted to be as ready as possible so I could just be excited and not stressed about the moving logistics.

I hope this post helps answer any questions about the move! If you have other questions or need clarification, comment below!

Callie leigh