Lessons Learned in NYC #5

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Photos by Tara

H&M Camel Jacket (Similar Here, Here & Here) // Over the Knee Boots (Similar Here, Here & Here)
W by Worth Black Dress (Similar Here) // Chanel Boy Bag // Topshop Sunnies

Happy Monday guys! This was Saturdays outfit here in New York. I posted it on my Instagram (@retroflame) and lots of you had questions, so I’m happy to share all the details here incase you missed it. This camel coat was an H&M find a few years ago and I still absolutely love it. It’s the kind of jacket that looks way more expensive than it was (I think anyway) and one I keep going back to every Autumn. I love camel with all-black so I paired it with some over the knee boots (I love this really similar pair which are currently on sale FYI) and a simple black sweater dress. Honestly such an easy look! The most similar camel jackets I found online were this Stella McCartney beauty – a little more expensive but one you will have forever, this one from Topshop & this less expensive but still amazing option from Misguided. Oh and if you’re loving the over the knee boot trend as much as me, you might also love this pair I just ordered. So chic!

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I really love this ‘Lessons Learned in NYC’ series I do here on the blog so I figured it was time for the next installment. We’re already at #5! I honestly feel like I’m learning new lessons every single day here – some from the most unexpected of people/places/situations – and I think it’s important to take a step back every now and again to take it all in. So here are 10 recent lessons learned in NYC….

1. I’ve learned that I won’t ever be able to live anywhere else place besides New York. Why? Because I’m ADDICTED to the convenience. It’s 9pm on a Sunday night and I’m just back from getting my nails done (without an appointment). How can I ever move somewhere where places close on a Sunday or I can’t order food at 11pm at night. It’s the city that never sleeps and my last-minute-self loves it for it.

2. I’ve learned that if you don’t ask, you won’t get. Simple as. There is probably someone less talented out there doing exactly what you want to be doing. Not because they’re better but because they spoke up. ALWAYS ask for what you want. The worst that can happen is that you get a no…but then you just ask for something else. New York teaches us all to be braver than we ever thought possible.

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3. I’ve learned that if you stick it out, you CAN make this place a ‘home’. I’ve been living in the same neighborhood in the Upper East Side for three years now and if I do ever move, it’s probably sad how much I’ll miss the lady at the laundry place I go to & the guy who gives me a large coffee even though I’ve paid for the small. Moving to New York was hands down the scariest thing I’ve ever done and I’ll always & ever love going back home to Ireland to visit….but New York has taught me in three years that it’s not such a scary place after all. It takes a little time to settle in, but when you do, it’s like you’ve been here forever.

4. I’ve learned to appreciate the small things. Natural light in my living room on a Saturday morning, half price bottles of wine in Banc cafe on Sunday nights (pro tip), $3 Uber Pools across town, EJ’s French Toast, surprise balloons from Tommy, Sunday strolls in Central Park (never gets old), people watching with Kaelin in the Upper East Side and fresh flowers just because. Time & life just seems to go quicker in New York, so it makes you appreciate the small things even more. Oh and you even start to KIND OF appreciate the overpriced coffee, no matter how much it kills you to buy it. Because let’s be real, none of us would survive here without it…

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5. I’ve learned that if you embrace New York City with open arms and every single ounce of persistence & grit you have, you will win. If not, you will not. I’ve seen people come & go and you can nearly always tell from early on, who’ll last & who won’t. Of course when you’re Irish, visas get in the way…but I promise you, where there’s a will there’s a way in New York (I’m 4 visas in). If you want anything bad enough here, you’ll get it. If not, you just didn’t want it enough. Of course there are exceptions, but that’s my rule in general. New York isn’t easy, it doesn’t hadn’t anything to anyone, but it also gives every single one of us the same chances. We all start at zero when we move here. I interned here for 2 Summers during college and I figured out pretty quickly why I loved it. It doesn’t matter who in the hell you are, or where you’ve come from…if you’re good, you work hard & you don’t give up when things get tough (because they will) – you can do whatever you want here. The big risks always pay off, the hard work doesn’t go unnoticed, the late nights will turn dreams into reality & there are NEVER any limits. If you can make it in New York….

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6.  I’ve learned New York is tiny. Seriously. The longer I’m living here, the more it’s starting to feel like one big town.

7. I’ve learned about what I look for in a real friend. Probably the best lesson living here has taught me, being honest. I always thought I knew but I was really reminded recently. I’ve learned to value trust & loyalty like no other and to ALWAYS appreciate the people who’ve been there from the very start. They get it, they always will.

8. I’ve learned that I don’t want to stop. I don’t want to stop aiming for the townhouse on Park Ave or the big office space in Soho. It’s tiring and some days you really do wonder what it’s all for…but  I never want to settle and New York teaches me every day how NOT to. That life you imagined is literally just around the corner here.

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9.  I’ve learned that meeting followers while walking down the street in New York City will ALWAYS make my day. Honestly still can’t believe this happens.

10. …& finally, I’ve learned that the dreams you hope will come through (but quietly think will probably never happen) DO actually have a chance at coming through. Everything works out like it’s supposed to. You may have to take the scenic route sometimes, but the important things will always find a way. I’m now living with Tommy in New York (we got there eventually, haha!), my Sister & her boyfriend live two streets away, I’m able to work for myself, I’m still best friends with some of  the girls I met in my first months here and without the risk of jinxing myself, I’m happier than ever. You CAN actually live that life you imagined. As I said, New York doesn’t just hand it to you but it always favors the ones who don’t give up.

Love you, New York & your overpriced coffee. Always.

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Have a great week everyone & wherever in the world you are, be brave, appreciate the good people and don’t stop until you make yourself proud.

Erika x

(P.S Keep an eye out here for all of the black Friday sale discounts this week. Some have already started too like this 60% off shoes & accessories promotion on ASOS Today)


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  1. Mary Ni

    25 November

    love it – could you be any cooler?

    Mary Ni

  2. Chloé

    27 November

    Ahhhh each of these are SO SO SO true! It really is such a small city- I always seem to be running into people I know! NYC has ruined me for living in any other city. It really has become home!

    http://beyondblessedblog.com
    instagram.com/ChloeBArnold/

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