The Next Chapter

Sunset from Brooklyn East River Manhattan Skyline NYC

Outside of making the decision to move to New York, making the decision to leave is one of the most emotional I’ve ever made. Think of a relationship you’ve been in that you know you needed to nix — You may very well still be in love with that person, but you know the relationship needs to end, or exist on a different level, for you to maintain your sanity. That’s where I’ve been finding myself lately. Not with a boy, but with this crazy place that I’ve called home for the past three years.

What I’m starting to realize, though, is that home is where you’re surrounded by meaningful relationships. When I moved to New York three years ago, the relationship that meant the most to me was the one I have with myself. I moved to New York to challenge myself professionally, to catapult myself well outside of my comfort zone, and ultimately, even though I didn’t realize it at the time, to figure out who I am and who I’m not. In some ways, three years has absolutely flown by, and in other ways, I feel like I’ve lived ten years of life in New York City. I could write a few books on all of the crazy shenanigans that Hallie and I have gotten ourselves into, I could write a book filled with all of my unbelievable dating stories, and I could write another book about all of my living situations here in New York.

I’ve had the time of my life in NYC, honestly. I’ve had so many days where I think “Holy F*CK, can life actually get any better than this?!” I’ve gotten the chance to meet and get to know some of the most interesting and influential people in the fashion industry and beyond. I’ve made friends that I know I’ll have for life and friends that will be in my wedding one day. I’ve had some of the most fun, exhilarating, satisfying, and wildly entertaining times of my life here. I’ve explored the city over and over and still somehow get love drunk when I see certain sights. There have been countless days where I feel like I’m on top of the world. But remember that relationship analogy I mentioned before? It’s kind of like when your brain chooses to only remember those really great parts of the relationship and you somehow forget all of the bad times. You know what I mean? When I think back over the years, I’ve had some pretty epic lows here, too. I’ve cried in public more times that I can even count — on the subway, on the bus, on the sidewalk, at work, at the gym, at bars, you name it. And I’m not even a crier! New York has a really sick way of knocking you when you’re down here.

New York is a world of absolute extremes. Rats, dirty streets, weather, jobs, etc. The rats here are the size of cats in the other cities. When it comes to cleanliness of the sidewalks, you just learn to accept that it looks like trash day mixed with an F5 tornado on a daily basis. There aren’t just homeless people in New York — There are people on the street that will yell at you, curse at you, throw things at you, scream just for the hell of it, and actually sleep facedown across the sidewalk. (It’s absolutely frightening when you first move to New York and get accustomed to it.) Don’t even get me started on the weather here — When it rains, it doesn’t just lightly drizzle like it does in London. It downpours so hard that it starts to mimic Hurricane Sandy. (I would know. Remember this post?) When it snows, it blizzards. When it’s hot and humid in the summer, all of the concrete traps in the heat and it’s literally hard to breathe. And then you go down to the Subway, where it’s somehow worse, and for a second contemplate jumping on the tracks because it’s so stuffy and disgusting.

Central Park Boathouse NYC Row Boats

But then there are those days that are truly unlike any other! As I sit here and write this from a bench in Central Park, I don’t think life could get any better (outside of the child screaming a few yards away). It’s 73 degrees, breezy, birds are chirping, flowers are blooming, and the park is alive while feeling so sleepy at the same time. In this moment, I never want to leave the city. You truly can’t find a magical oasis like Central Park amist any other city anywhere else. It’s times like these that make me fall in love with New York all over again and where I can’t see myself ever living anywhere else. But of course, earlier today was a different story. New York is a constant roller coaster ride!

I had always heard that it doesn’t matter where you live in NYC because you’re never home. My question, however, is which came first? It’s a chicken and the egg situation. Are you never home because you over schedule yourself because sitting in your apartment triggers claustrophobia? Or are you never home because your schedule is jam packed? I have been working from home the last month or two, and I can barely concentrate in my own apartment. I find myself leaving to clear my head. Working from a coffee shop brings a new perspective because I feel like I can look around without fixating on the overcrowded countertops, drawers, floors, chairs, and cabinets. When I’m away from home, I can escape the less than 350 square foot apartment that feels like it belongs in an episode of hoarders.

About two months ago, I quit my full-time job in fashion. (Yeah, we’ve got a lot to catch up on. Life has been batshit crazy lately.) Before I moved here three years ago, if you would have told me that I would have had my dream job three years later, I surely wouldn’t have believed you. And if you would have told me that I would eventually quit that job, I would have thought you were f*cking crazy. But life unfolds in the strangest of ways, doesn’t it?

Brooklyn Bridge Freedom Tower Skyline NYC

Since I left my job, I’ve been traveling a ton. Travel has kind of been my escape lately. Traveling and working out. But what I’ve noticed as I’ve been traveling is that something has shifted with me mentally. When I first moved to NYC, I used to get anxiety any time I would leave New York. I would be excited to spend a weekend with my friends or family, sure, but I would get immense amounts of sadness thinking about missing a weekend in my city. And then when I would land back at LaGuardia, I would feel so much joy and so much more at ease. But for whatever reason, those feelings have been opposite since probably October and I’d say they’ve really intensified over the last three months. I have been feeling an immediate sigh of relief the second that the plane leaves New York soil and I have been getting ALL OF THE ANXIETY each time that a trip ends and I have to go back to NYC. Over the years, I’ve gotten pretty good at recognizing, listening to, and following my intuition. These anxious feelings were something that just I couldn’t ignore.

When I was trying to figure out if I should leave New York, I kept Googling things like “How to Know When You’re Ready to Leave NYC” and “Signs You Should Leave New York,” but I think the reality is that there will never really be a right time. But I’ve come to the conclusion, that if you look hard enough and put yourself out there, the right time will kind of find you.

I decided to move to New York in a split second. You can read that story here. In that moment, I knew that THIS was my time. It was as serendipitous as it could have been! While there were so many things that didn’t make sense (quitting my job in Chicago, finding a job in New York, leaving all of my friends and family behind) and plans that I would have to shift around, I knew that this was my time to move and if I didn’t do it then, things might not fall so perfectly into place in the future.

And strangely enough, that’s the exact same situation that I’m finding myself in now. While I’m not 100% ready to leave New York yet, the timing and dates add up in a way that I can’t really ignore. Long story short — I got evicted from my apartment on May 1st. Sounds pretty harsh, and I guess it really is, but they gave me 60 days to leave so I still have a place to live until June 30th. Why was I evicted, you ask? Oh man, you guys, most people don’t even believe me when I tell them. My building decided to “not renew me as a tenant” for the amount of packages I receive. I kid you not! My first thought was, “You’ve got to be f*cking kidding me.” My second was, “Is this even legal?!” Turns out, it is. I rent in a co-op building, meaning that each of the ten units are individually owned but a board oversees the building. So technically, I sublet from my landlord, the woman who owns my unit. And I guess when you’re subletting in a co-op, the board can make you leave at any time for any reason. My landlord didn’t want me to leave, but the board made the decision and that was that. Pretty messed up, right? Lesson learned. Never rent in a co-op.

Manhattan Bridge NYC

I’m going to be really real with you guys. I essentially had a nervous breakdown on April 30th. On that day, I wanted to be ANYWHERE but New York City. It was something random that triggered it on that Thursday morning, but it had been a long chain of events for a few months that eventually led to me kind of snapping and losing my shit. Yes, I get stressed out and have mini meltdowns every so often, but this was bigger. I felt like I was at my breaking point and I knew I needed a change of some sort. I was laying on the floor, sobbing on the phone to my mom for a few hours, but the problem was an overarching sense of suffocation from my current environment. Luckily, I had a two-week trip booked to Illinois a week later and would be able to escape for a bit. The one thing that stuck with me from that tear-soaked conversation? My mom telling me “Jessica, it sounds like it’s time for you to leave New York.” I remember hearing her, but what was I supposed to do? I had signed a lease for another year! Would I be able to sublease since I’m technically a sub-leaser? It seemed like such a hassle. And then the whole part about where would I go? I figured I was definitely going to have to get through this lease, but had decided that this coming year would probably be my last year in New York.

And then, like clockwork, I got a call from my landlord the very next day breaking the eviction news. Can you believe it? It still gives me goosebumps thinking about the timing.

Another factor that’s been weighing on my decision — so many of my friends are leaving. It’s been a mass exodus from Manhattan lately! Julia & Anel moved to Connecticut, Jackie & Jeremy moved to New Jersey, Victoria & Joe moved to San Francisco, Mackenzie & Will moved to Dallas, and my other friends talk about where they want to end up eventually, too. Oh, and Hallie is moving out of New York, as well. I’ll let her tell you that story, but basically we’ve known since December or January that she would most likely have to relocate sometime in the first half of 2015. And as timing has it, her move date is end of June. (Read all about Hallie’s big move here.)

And you know what they say — leave before New York makes you hard. I’m almost afraid that if I stay here until I’m 100% ready to leave, I’ll be way too old and way too senile to go anywhere else. I’ve always had a bit of sass at the surface, but New York has totally intensified it. In a city of 8.5 million people, you see and hear so much that you actually become a little bit numb. People curse you out on the street. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve audibly been called a bitch for walking down the sidewalk and minding my own business. I’ve seen a man masturbate on the subway. I’ve seen a mouse in my apartment. I’ve seen homeless people passed out face down and wondered if they were actually alive as I’ve walked past. All of these things make you crazy after a while. I mean, how can they not? We are all unfazed by the constant bullshit, but these emotions come out elsewhere. I’ve yelled at cab drivers. I’ve yelled at people on the street after they’ve run into me from staring down at their phone. I’ve huffed and puffed at tourists on the sidewalk that have been in my way. I’ve blatantly told cat-callers to f*ck off. Most days, I’ve got a permanent bitchy look plastered on my face as I walk down the street. Am I proud of these things? Certainly not, but it’s just the way it is here. I don’t notice these awful characteristics until I leave New York. When I was in my hometown, I found myself accidentally ignoring someone that was talking to me because I’m so trained to ignore every person that tries to talk to you on the sidewalk in New York. I get hot and heated in the Starbucks line in Illinois because the baristas are so much slower than New York. I find myself generally getting short with people, and not in a mean way, but just in an “I don’t have time for formalities way.” Again, I’m not proud of these things, but I’ve noticed them and acknowledged that I’ve developed some pretty crappy habits from the faster-than-fast-paced culture in NYC.

Sometimes you bitch and moan about your current situation and long for a different one, or at least I’ve been known to do so. But then when you find yourself leaping into a different situation, the old one doesn’t look so bad. Am I right? The grass is always greener. But here I am, with a lease signed in a different city, and I’m really sad about all the things I’ll be leaving behind when I leave NYC. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited for a new adventure, but it’s a bittersweet goodbye.

When I think back, I wasn’t 100% ready to leave Chicago when I moved to New York. I wish I would have written more back then to be able to reflect on and remember more of my thought process, but I know it was a really hard few months before I moved. My Bucket List was still a mile long. There were still neighborhoods I wanted to explore and restaurants I wanted to eat at. I still wanted to ride my bike along the lake. But I also knew that I needed something from a city that Chicago wasn’t giving me. I needed that energy that only New York City possessed. My to-do list didn’t matter as much as what I was longing for deep-down. And now here we are… I don’t think my Bucket List in NYC will ever end. I think I’ll keep it running even after I move. But my priorities have shifted a bit in the last three years. I’ve gotten so high off of that New York energy that I’m not sure that I’ll ever come down. I’ve ran the rat race. I’ve had amazing successes and really deep lows. I will never tire of that unforgettable aura in New York, and I know I’ll come back and visit with only the fondest of memories. Right now, though, deep down I know that I need a change. I know that I need more space and need more organization and neatness in my life. (I’m a Virgo and deeply affected by my surroundings.) While a large part of me doesn’t want to leave New York, a large part of me knows that I need to leave in order to maintain my sanity. When you’re having mental breakdowns on the reg and find yourself thinking about how much you need a vacation, even days after you return from one, maybe you just need different surroundings all together. Ya know?

One of the craziest things for me has been the reaction of others when I break the moving news. So many “Congrats!” (I think I was expecting people to say, “OMG. You’re crazy! Why are you moving?!”) and so many friends that have said that they saw it coming. I keep thinking, “You did?!?!” How did everyone see it coming except me?! I’ve always known that I have absolutely no poker face and tend to wear my emotions on my sleeve. I’m realizing that there was a lot of unhappiness deep down that I wasn’t acknowledging myself, but it was showing.

Empire State Building Sunset NYC

So where am I going? That was the question I kept asking myself, too. Outside of New York, my only other ties to a city are in Chicago. To avoid throwing a dart at a map to figure out where to live, I decided to move back to Chicago when I was visiting a few weeks ago. I was looking at apartments both in NYC and Chicago and they just didn’t compare. My new apartment in Chicago is a true one-bedroom (versus the studio that I have in NYC), the square footage is double, it has in-unit Washer/Dryer (I currently have to send my laundry out to a laundromat), floor-to-ceiling windows, a 6 foot x 8 foot walk-in closet, a rooftop pool on the 35th floor of the building, a gym, package receiving, you name it! And it’s over $500 cheaper per month than I’m currently paying in NYC. Kind of seems like a no-brainer, right? My family is a 3.5 hour drive from Chicago, all of my college friends live in Chicago, there’s finally a SoulCycle in Chicago, and now Hallie will be in Chicago, too.

Let’s f*cking do it, Chitown. I’ll see you in three short weeks! xo

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  1. 6.4.15
    Rena said:

    The reason why they don’t you further want to have you as a tenant is really unbelievable! Wish you by all my heart that your life will nevertheless continue as successful than in the last 3 years.
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

  2. 6.4.15

    Let’s f-cking do it, Chi-town… Indeed. Cheers to the next Chapter!!!!! 🙂

    • 6.4.15
      Chris said:

      You two are definitely “Soul”-mates, aren’t you? lol

  3. 6.4.15

    This is amazing, Jess! You completely deserve this move, will have the best three years to look back on, and yay for being in Chicago with your best friend! Can’t wait to see what your future holds… you’ll kill it 🙂 xoxo

  4. 6.4.15
    Preeti said:

    yay! so happy for you and Hallie! I was born and raised in chicago (also a fellow Illini ;)) and i miss all my friends there so much since I moved right after college! If you need a photographer, let me know! I’ve got a killer one who has experience shooting bloggers!

    xoxo, Preeti

  5. 6.4.15
    Morgan A. said:

    You need to read “Good-bye to all that: writers on loving and leaving New York”
    I don’t know how I read that book, as I never lived in NY (always wanted to have that adventure though) but it was really good. Yours and Hallies stories remind me a lot of their stories. Everyone mentions that you just “know” when it’s time to say goodbye. But as sad as it might be, I think what you’re doing sounds awesome! NYC living is not easy, and you should be so proud that you did it. And did it good! Can’t wait to see what you guys are up to in Chicago. Wishing you all the happiness 😉

    xx. Morgan /

  6. 6.4.15

    Ahh so excited for you and your next adventure! And I don’t know what this says about me but I’m from Pennsylvania (now living in Omaha) and tell catcallers to eff off on the regular. haha It makes me so mad!

    Her Heartland Soul

  7. 6.4.15
    C said:

    Best of luck with the move and too bad New York has lost its luster for you! As a Californian I loved all of your adventures in NYC but I’m glad that you have made a great decision to move back. Good luck!!!

  8. 6.4.15
    Kim said:

    I feel like a lot of us have lived vicariously through your adventures in New York and it has been fun. I know you will do great where ever you are. The apartment sounds great and I’m sure it will be nice being close to your family. One thing you didn’t talk about is what is your new job in Chicago?

    • 6.4.15
      Jessica Sturdy said:

      Thank you! While I’m so sad there won’t be any more NYC adventures as a resident, I am sure the shenanigans will continue in Chicago! Hopefully life will still be as entertaining in the midwest, just a little bit more livable long-term. 🙂

      It’s still TBD with the job! For the time being, I have a handful of freelance clients lined up in the social media consulting realm. I’ll still be blogging and hopefully expanding into even more content once I have the space (decor, food, beauty tutorials, etc.). We’ll see where it leads!

  9. 6.4.15
    Chris said:

    Tears… Yup… Tears…

    Good luck, girl!

  10. 6.4.15
    Barb said:

    Good luck with your move! I know what you mean about NYC. I lived there for seven years before I moved back to my hometown. New York is great, but when it’s not so great it is time to leave.

  11. 6.4.15
    Sarah said:

    Big hug to you and best of luck in Chicago. I feel like I could have written this post. I lived in NYC from 25-29 and understand every single thing you said. I felt like I just hit a wall living there, but – like you say – there were so many things I loved and still miss.

  12. 6.4.15
    Heidi said:

    I work with homeless populations and reading your general characterizations were painful to read. Yes, NYC has one of the largest populations of homeless individuals and families in the world, but it’s a geographically challenged city with an extremely limited housing stock. The latest homeless count indicated that one third of NYC’s homeless population is made up of children under the age of 18. These people need help, not fear mongering.

    • 6.4.15
      Ali said:

      Congrats on the new chapter, I look forward to hearing about your new adventures in Chicago. That being said, I have to agree with Heidi- I was a bit taken back by your harshness regarding the homeless population in New York. I grew up outside the city and know what it’s like to walk down the street in NYC and have your first impression of those experiencing homelessness be one of fear or shock, but I find your comments in this blog about the most vulnerable people in our society to be incredibly insensitive and degrading.

      • 6.4.15
        Jessica Sturdy said:

        Hi Heidi & Ali – Thanks for taking the time to comment. I’m sorry that this is what you’ve taken away from this post. I obviously realize that there is a big problem with housing in NYC and I’ve always tried to do my part — I’ve volunteered at the Bowery mission and I donate all of my clothing to Housings Works instead of re-selling. I can’t count the number of times I’ve given money when asked and have given my extra food to people on the street. I apologize that my comments came across as insensitive and degrading, that was not my intention.

        • 6.5.15
          R said:

          I actually agreed with your comments on homeless people
          From your post. I’m certain it was taken out of context by others. I’m used to DC. I’d be sad though if people called me names in the street, seems horrific. I’ve learned to walk by bc I simply cannot afford to help more people than I already am. But what I do do, always is be kind. Unfortunately, that can he dangerous so you’re right to keep on walking. Sad, but the safest thing to do. This is much higher than our pay grade. But still I’ll
          Defer to always being kind, but having enough common sense to know the world is a dangerous place for beautiful girls.

      • 8.11.15
        Marcus said:

        Heidi and Ally im anctually a “homeless person’ as u refer to me and think ur idea that all homeless people need help is shortsighted because some of us just had a rough shake in life and actualy dont mind being ont he streets with people that recently have become freinds and family in places that we all know needs more of both, Its easy to sit on a high horse but u shouldnt throw stones if u live in an invory horse.

        • 8.31.15
          Ali said:

          No high-horse here-sorry if that was what my post sounded like! I apologize for making an over-generalization based on my own experience working in social services-everyone’s experience is different, I was just commenting on language that had struck a chord with me. Best wishes,

  13. 6.4.15
    Kelly said:

    I always enjoy your posts and I am confident you will find your place in Chicago, as you did with NYC! Congrats on taking the first courageous step in your new adventure! You seem to be the type of person that will thrive in any environment! GOOD FOR YOU! On to bigger and better things!


  14. 6.4.15
    Rachel said:

    Hi Jessica, I have been following your blog for a bit now and I have to say, apart from the fashion, I really enjoy your honesty. You tell it how it is! In the ‘Next Chapter’ post, I appreciate your honesty about the difficulties of living/keeping up with life in NYC. These are all REAL things that other readers can relate to. Life in NYC isn’t as easy as it seems/ appears on blogs. Since we’re on the honestly subject, please post more similar entries in the future with some more insight on what a fashion blogger’s day is really like, all the time it takes for you to prepare, taking pictures, re-taking pictures, editing and other shenanigans – before a post even makes it on the blog. I feel like sometime all we (the readers) see are some pretty pictures or what may seem like the ‘perfect’ life but it’s good to see the other side of the spectrum. Looking forward to seeing new posts from Chicago 🙂

  15. 6.4.15
    Jess said:

    Congrats Jess. Very happy for you (and Hallie). Living in and leaving NY is hard. Chicago sounds awesome. Excited for you and the next chapter. xx

  16. 6.4.15
    Brenda said:

    This is such an amazing post! I currently live in San Francisco, and so many of the feelings you mention resonate with me. When I leave the city I feel such a sense of relief and when I head back, anxiety returns.

    I know that I live in an amazing part of the country, but so many people don’t understand the highs and lows that come with living in a city like New York or San Francisco.

    Thank you for sharing this post, and I wish you the best of luck in Chicago!

    – Brenda

  17. 6.4.15
    Ashley said:

    Such awesome news Jessica! Congrats on the exciting change and cheers to a wonderful new adventure!

  18. 6.4.15
    Shannon said:

    Love this post. Best of luck in Chicago. 🙂

  19. 6.4.15
    Lisa said:

    SO EXCITED!!!!

  20. 6.4.15
    Heidi said:

    Congratulations on what sounds like some really positive changes! It’s funny how life works out sometimes and I really enjoy the honesty of your writing here. It sounds like you’ve come full circle:) I wish you a very easy move and hope to connect at a blogger event sometime in Chicago!

    Wishes & Reality

  21. 6.4.15

    Oh lady, I feel you. You have no idea. I left NYC last year after 6 years there and the universe absolutely showed me it was my time. Good for you for knowing it was yours and best of luck in your next chapter!

  22. 6.4.15

    Congrats, Jess! Making the decision to move is so hard but it sound like this is the perfect time to make a change. I visited NYC a few weeks ago for work and while the city is amazing, I had a new sense of appreciation coming back to Chicago and appreciating how beautiful the city is.

    So excited that you will be joining Hallie in the move to Chi! I’m sure I’ll see you at Soulcycle in the Loop 😉

    xo, Jen

  23. 6.4.15
    Meghan said:

    I’m so glad you moved here so we could meet and experience this insane city together! Thank you for the laughs, all the rose and the friendship these past few years- cheers to new and exciting beginnings and embracing change! Can’t wait to visit you and Hallie!

  24. 6.4.15
    Jill said:

    This is a wonderful post. So refreshing and honest 🙂 So glad you are doing what’s right for you. Chicago is my favorite city. I should have moved there when I was younger. But my sister and I are going to “retire” there once her kids are grown. Hope to see and read about your adventures in this next chapter of your life. And would love to see pics of the new apt lol….Love seeing how other people decorate.

  25. 6.4.15
    Ellie said:

    Congrats on making the leap Jess! I am looking forward to seeing you and Hallie at Soul Cycle!!

    xo, ellie
    with love from ellie

  26. 6.4.15
    Anna said:


    Welcome back to the Great Lakes =)

    (I’m a Michigander!)

  27. 6.4.15
    Jessica said:

    Congrats! I moved from Atlanta to Chicago about 2 years ago now and it’s hands down the best decision I ever made!

  28. 6.4.15
    Lisa said:

    It sounds like the universe was telling you that it was the perfect time for you to begin the next chapter. So excited to have two of my fav bloggers in the city in which I was born and raised! Yay! CONGRATS! Chicago welcomes you back with open arms. 🙂

  29. 6.4.15
    Kayla said:

    Chicago is so great, I know you lived here before, but there are some great outdoor spots around the city (like central park) if you want to get away.

    There is a Lily Pond in Lincoln Park that is absolutely gorgeous, and right by the Lake at Fullerton. Best of Luck and welcome back!

  30. 6.4.15

    Thanks for sharing! It helps to see someone else go thru these struggles that I’m having. Making this jump is amazing and I’m so proud! Can’t wait for updates on the move. Good Luck!


  31. 6.4.15
    Meagan said:

    Best of luck on your move! Life is a rollercoaster; enjoy the ride girl!

  32. 6.4.15
    LaurenJean Rice said:

    Jessica, GAH. This post is everything. I absolutely love reading bloggers “real” posts – when you curse, talk about your struggles, and contemplate your next move – it’s so encouraging and refreshing to read. I found your choice to leave NYC so relatable because I actually had these exact feelings about the college I was attending, and chose to move back home to finish my degree elsewhere. I’m so happy for you and can’t wait to see what lies ahead! Enjoy your new space. 🙂

  33. 6.4.15
    Oks said:

    I always follow you on Pinterest, Instagram and your site but this post couldn’t have come at a better time in my life too. Sometimes you ignore your feelings. I can totally relate with you, I am in my dream job but hate it. And I keep thinking I am crazy that I want to quit because if you asked me where I wanted to be 3 years ago I would’ve said in this job. Thanks for giving me that extra courage I need to be able to make the right decision. Congrats on making this big step, can’t wait to see your posts in Chicago!

  34. 6.4.15
    Susie said:

    That is so crazy that it was over too many packages! How ironic since that’s how you’re affording to live there! But I know what you mean, I’ve never lived anywhere but New York but I’ve been getting that urge to just pick up and go. So incredibly brave of you!


  35. 6.4.15
    samhita said:

    This is SO EXCITING! Change is scary, but sometimes it is for the better. I am so excited to follow along on this new chapter of your life! Welcome back to the windy city!!


  36. 6.4.15
    allison said:

    best of luck to you, chicago is one of my favorite cities! hope to see you again some day!

  37. 6.4.15

    OMG!!! That’s so exciting, good for you! We recently moved, well we’re still in the process of moving…to Chi-Town! There are so many emotions with moving, SO MANY!!! I hope everything goes well for you during the move, sounds like you’ve made a great decision! We’re also moving to a building with a pool on the 35th floor, cray!

    Best of luck over the next few weeks!

    • 6.4.15
      Jessica Sturdy said:

      No way!! Gold Coast? How crazy would it be if we were moving into the same building?!

      I just back-tracked and read your moving post. All of the emotions! I hope you guys get settled into your new home soon. Good luck! xo

      • 6.4.15

        Yes!!! It’s a brand new building…I bet we are moving into the same building, how hilarious! Such a small world if so 🙂

        • 6.4.15
          Jessica Sturdy said:

          Ahhh, we’re neighbors! 🙂

          • 6.4.15

            Awesome! We’ll have to connect once the dust settles from moving 🙂

  38. 6.4.15
    Kierra said:

    SO So happy you and Hallie will be going together. So excited to follow along with both of you on your next chapter!

  39. 6.4.15
    Justine said:

    You and Hallie couldn’t be MORE inspiring, Jess! Good for you for taking a very hard situation and doing something about it. Chicago is SO glad to have you and Hallie back. Good luck with the move – hope to see you at an upcoming event soon!

  40. 6.4.15
    Catherine said:

    I’m so excited for you and Hallie both! I agree with a lot of the above comments – I really appreciate your honesty. So many bloggers only share the good things that are going on in their lives, and while that’s fun and usually what I like to read, it’s also refreshing to read about “real life” things! I’m happy for you that you’re making a change because environment is everything!!


  41. 6.4.15
    Katie said:

    It’s quite a crazy ride when in NYC and I can only commend you for doing what’s best for you and finding your happiness wherever that may be! It’s exciting news and I wish you the best of luck on the big move! Welcome back to the Windy City 🙂

  42. 6.4.15
    Grace said:

    This was such an honest and well-written post. I’ve had many of the same feelings. I can relate in a lot of ways. Good luck to you! Chicago is awesome. 🙂

  43. 6.4.15
    Patricia said:

    Too many packages! I know this was traumatic when it happened but that just made me snort my coffee. the hell!!!!!! def time to move. cheers to new adventures!

  44. 6.4.15
    Melinda said:

    I love the part about how you are getting out of your lease! Wow! I’m an older woman (53) who follows your blog. I visited NY when I was in my early 20’s and got the bug to move there – after I got over the initial reaction to the trash – but alas I never took the plunge. Then I married and had children and am now a grandmother. So besides enjoying your fashion, I have enjoyed hearing about NY. How exciting that you’ll have this experience to look back on!!!!! I wish you nothing but success in your move to Chicago. I certainly hope your blog will make the move with you!

  45. 6.4.15
    Deanna said:

    Loved reading this– congrats on your move! I have to admit, I totally thought you were going to say you’re moving to Paris! 😉

    Deanna | Because I’m Obsessed

  46. 6.4.15
    Elly said:

    You are so lucky to have had the chance to live in NYC, my husband grew up there and I loved every second of every trip we ever took there. I wish I would have listened to him and moved there prior to having kids. I know you will do wonderful in Chicage, NYC will only be a short plane ride away!

  47. 6.4.15
    Sarah said:

    SO excited to have you and hallie in chicago! what neighborhood are you moving to?!

  48. 6.4.15
    Kate said:

    Thank you for sharing! You’re story resonates with me because I had some of the same feelings when I finally decided I needed to leave. I still love it but the city will definitely wear on you after a while and I feel like people don’t always acknowledge that! Looking forward to hearing about your Chicago adventures!

  49. 6.4.15

    So happy for you and Hallie! What an exciting time in your lives!

    Ellen | A Pop of Pink

  50. 6.4.15
    Meghan said:

    I don’t think I’ve ever written a comment on a blog before. But reading your story is like going back in time for me. I had the exact same experiences as you with New York. It kicks you while you are down and then raises you higher than you’ve ever been. I didn’t leave New York. I met my husband and moved to the burbs and now we have a baby. I think it is incredibly courageous of you to leave. I know that I had become that horrible, rude person that yells at cab drivers and people that walk into them in the street. It made me hard and I hated myself when I went home to visit my family in Colorado because I knew I wasn’t the same person anymore. But moving out of NYC brought me back to my true self. And I know you will get back to who you are as well. New York will always be a part of you. And when you come to visit, it will be the New York that you fell in love with, not the one that brought you down. Good luck!!!

  51. 6.5.15
    Ellen Landgren said:

    I’ve so patiently waited for this post for years!!!!! I’m so excited for you bby and proud of you. I can simply not wait to write a new chapter in “Blackout Blondies.”
    I love you and can’t wait to help you make your house a home.

  52. 6.5.15
    R said:

    Amazing journey to realize just when there is plenty of time to find true love somewhere else. Good for you. In this economic climate, following your healthy &
    Happy with your family is a real life change. Good luck in Chicago. Sounds like it needs you.

  53. 6.5.15
    Amanda said:

    Congrats on this exciting news! As someone who has lived in NYC for 8 years, I can relate to this post and feel very similar feelings of loving and hating the city all at once. I know I won’t stay here forever and am excited to eventually change my surroundings, thank you for sharing your story, it’s nice to know it’s not just me 🙂

    The reason you were evicted is so insane and so New York. In my last apartment, my landlord refused to renew my lease because I walked too loudly! Literally that was the reason, my footsteps were too loud for the old man living beneath me. New York, man.

    Good luck as you make the transition to Chicago; I’m excited to read about the process and your future adventures!

  54. 6.5.15
    Joyce said:

    Good luck with your move! I live in Madison, Wisconsin and often fantasize about an NYC move. I really enjoy reading authentic perspectives about living there! All the best in Chi-town!!! 🙂

  55. 6.5.15
    Vicky said:

    I’ve been following your blog and like it. However, it does seem like your time to leave NYC if you see a homeless person and ‘wonder if they are alive’, and instead of doing something, you keep on walking by. Also, a lot of homeless persons have psychiatric issues, hence some of your negative experiences. Some empathy please.

    • 6.5.15
      Jessica Sturdy said:

      Vicky — What I meant by that comment was that it is in NO WAY normal to walk past another human being laying face down on the street. Unfortunately, I am one of millions and millions of people do this every day in New York City. I was speaking to the fact that this is one of the many things in the city that “makes you hard” and how I think these emotions that we suppress (Walking by someone and hoping they’re still breathing, for example.) come out at other inappropriate times, i.e. yelling at a cab driver.

  56. 6.5.15
    Meg said:

    Thank you for posting all of this. As someone who is currently considering leaving NYC for the Midwest, everything in this really resonated with me, and put into words what I haven’t been able to in the last couple months . Best of luck in your new venture!

  57. 6.5.15
    iReply said:

    This entire post it a post from a bitchy little whiner….goodby… NYC is lucky to see the back of you.

    • 6.10.15
      Jessica Sturdy said:

      You really hit the nail on the head with that one! Thanks for your thoughtful comment, much appreciated.

  58. 6.5.15
    Alexa said:

    Best of luck on your next chapter. This is a very exciting time in your life. Enjoy every minute of it!xx

  59. 6.5.15
    Ciara said:

    Woah that’s really harsh! Onwards and upwards though 🙂

  60. 6.5.15
    Alaina Shea said:

    As someone from central Illinois, now living in Chicago, one day wanting to live in NYC for a few years and then come back to Chicago, I feel like you are testing the waters for me! I’m sure your time in New York was great and now you can move on to more adventures (in the best city ever 😉 )!
    Good luck with your move!

  61. 6.6.15
    Denise said:

    So great reading this story. There were so many emotions and it was so incredibly heartfelt and honest! I know that moving to a new city can be tough and living there. I appreciate all the honesty in this article and I am glad eventually all these events helped you lead back to what you need to do. I do hope it works out for you and that writing it all out made it better 🙂

    I have moved around a LOT in the past 5 years or so and it has been rough. I moved to several other countries and now I am back in Chicago and it is definitely a change. If you ever need another blogger to chat with in a similar situation, feel free to let me know!

    Denise | Fashion Love Letters

  62. 6.6.15
    Jen said:

    I found your post through another blogger and my goodness I feel like I wrote this myself. I lived in Chicago for 6 years before moving to nyc and have been here for 4.5. I have been trying to get back to chicago but then always have these pains of guilt over all nyc has to offer. I also feel like I have turned into this awful, short tempered snippy person bc that’s just how toy survive here. The analogy of a bad relationship is EXACTLY what it is. Thank you for this post, it truly captured all I am feeling and is nice to know I’m not alone!

  63. 6.7.15

    Welcome back to the Midwest, whenever you get here! Your adventures in New York were so much fun to follow along with! I’m looking forward to what exciting things are in your future! 🙂


  64. 6.7.15
    Nicole said:


    I loved reading this post. I really love that you always write in your own voice and keep it real: cursing, stories that may not always portray you in the best angle or light and all. Wishing you all the best in your new digs!

  65. 6.7.15
    Anna R said:

    OK this sounds identical to how I felt when I moved back home to Boston in March! I’ll always love NYC but I have no regrets about leaving and I’m sure you won’t either. I’ll be in Chicago for a long weekend in July actually, if you’re around maybe we can connect! Best of luck with the move and CONGRATS!

  66. 6.7.15
    Katie said:

    Sounds like a great plan! I have always loved reading your blog! If you ever want to get coffee, I live in Chicago and would love to pick your fashion-brain!

  67. 6.8.15
    Laura said:

    Congrats on the move! Reading your post brought back so many memories of my move from NYC back to California. So many of the same reasons were in my heart when I decided to leave. Every once in a while I look back nostalgically and wonder if I made the right choice, but reading this brings everything back!

    Be prepared to miss NYC so much, but also know that the visits in your future will be that much better because you will be able enjoy the good things without having to “put up” with the bad things full time.

    Good luck! Looking forward to reading about it all!

    Laura | Surf & Hydrangeas

  68. 6.8.15
    Sarah said:

    I cannot believe the reason you were evicted. That is insane. I totally understand the packages dilemma on our end, but who cares?! Good luck on your new adventure. Sounds like good timing and I love Chicago more than NYC personally 🙂

  69. 6.8.15

    I’m from NY (grew up in Brooklyn) and living there became less romantic with time. I decided to move nearly 7 years ago for many of the same reasons you shared. Best of luck on your move I think the bravest thing is acknowledging when something isn’t working and having the strength to change it!

    – Michelle

  70. 6.8.15

    Wow, I finally read this post and you really nailed it. So much of this was exactly what I was feeling when I made the decision to move from New York to Chicago. I compare it to a bad boyfriend all the time, too – but visits make the “breakup” a little easier 🙂 Also, I know you’ve already lived in Chicago, but it’s such a great city, especially after living in NY. Plus, the blogging community is kind of amazing here. I’ve made some of my best friends since moving back and starting my blog. It’s such an incredible group of supportive and inspiring women.
    Best of luck with the move, and if you ever need someone to miss (or complain about) New York to – let me know! Hopefully we’ll meet at an event soon!

  71. 6.8.15
    Jill O'Dea said:

    Wow! Auntie Jessica can watch Hollyn grow up. I know your mom is happy to have you closer. Praying for next adventure–

  72. 6.8.15

    I didn’t have internet connection this week in Sardinia and boy, did I miss alot!
    Congrats on your new chapter!
    I really appreciate your openness, honesty and candidness with regards to what has been going on in your life and figuring out your next step.
    Can’t wait to see what’s next!

  73. 6.8.15

    Thank you for sharing your story and I hope to meet you in Chicago!

  74. 6.8.15
    Sam said:

    Feeling all of the feelings reading this post! I remember when you first moved here and we had dinner at PJ Clarke’s. You were so excited for a new adventure and ready to take on whatever New York City sent your way. For what it’s worth, if you felt out of place here, no one could tell. It seemed like you found your groove in this crazy city and I’ve loved keeping up with everywhere you’ve gone and everything you’ve done while you were here. All that said, I totally get the need for a change of scenery. I think people have this fantasy of living in New York, but the truth is that it does change you. Living here is amazing, but it’s also really hard. Major props for realizing that it’s time for you to go and wishing you a fantastic new start in Chi-Town!


  75. 6.8.15
    Catherine said:

    Hi! I literally just went through the same thing! I moved back to Chicago from NYC — you’ll be glad! If you’re interested in meeting up with the blogger community here, let me know!

  76. 6.9.15
    Melissa said:

    Good luck Jess! Any move is hard let me tell ya but NYC definitely has it’s expiration date but at least you and Hallie will be back to your roots! Good luck!

  77. 6.9.15
    danielle said:

    Good luck on the move Jessica! I’m sure it will be tough saying goodbye but is there anything better than Chicago in the summer?

    Cheers to lots of happiness (and closet space!)


  78. 6.9.15

    That is so strange that they can evict you for getting to many packages. Strange 🙂 Best of luck to you on your move.

    • 6.10.15
      Jessica Sturdy said:

      Isn’t it crazy? Co-ops can choose to have you leave for any reason that’s non-discriminatory! (In NYC, at least..)

  79. 6.9.15

    Go ‘head Jess! You got this 🙂 Best of luck to you on this next chapter in Chi-town.

    Happy Tuesday

  80. 6.11.15
    ame said:

    Congrats on your move…This is a GREAT post, by the way. While I didn’t move to a “fun city” like NYC, I have had one of those cross country moves (STL to Pittsburgh) and then…back again. I had the same crazyass war with myself…but I am glad I came back. Had I not, I would never have met my husband, I’d never have had the career I had. Who knows what would’ve been but I am pretty sure this worked out for the best.

    As far as the package reception…that’s…the most insane thing ever. I am guessing there is another reason–the person you rent from wants more money, or they can command more money for that apartment/the owner wants to sell it, and they realized that when someone else showed interest in the building or that apartment. But your new place sounds AMAZING. I love Chicago. It’s only a few hours away, and a super fast flight, but I don’t get there nearly often enough. Though, no way will I go there in winter lol. STL just does not compare in terms of ambience and shopping/amenities.

  81. 6.12.15
    Kate said:

    Good luck with your move! I’m thinking of going to school in the NYC area and to be honest, it terrifies me. I’ve noticed a lot of the negative aspects you mentioned about the city, and I’m not sure if I’m ready to leave all of my relationships behind just to be one of those 8.5 million people.

  82. 6.13.15

    Thanks for sharing your story! Can’t wait to see two of my favorite fashion bloggers back to Chicago scenery!

  83. 6.16.15
    Larisa said:

    So. Crazy. Girl – this post hit me hard. I’m a California girl going on EIGHT years in the big apple. It’s amazing how it can change you and how hard it can be. This post was beautiful and refreshing. I’m sorry that this craziness happened to you. But also, thank you for sharing and thank you for being human. I follow you and Hallie and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read your blogs thinking ARE YOU SERIOUS IS LIFE THAT PERFECT WHY ARE THEY NOT TALKING ABOUT RATS AND HOMELESS MEN HITTING ON THEM I CANT BE THE ONLY ONE!!! I’m so excited for you and Hallie to follow your bliss and get the heck outta here! And as I posted on Hallie’s blog… if you need someone to buy your cute dressers or other home goods – I’m your girl!!! hehe

    xx Larisa @

  84. 6.19.15
    Christina said:

    Seriously. I’m from a New York suburb, relocated to the city to ease my commute, but you really hit the nail on the head when you said you were googling, “How to know when you’re ready to leave New York”. I’ve lived in the suburbs since I was born, and in the city now for 4 years. I’ve been feeling this way for such a long time. I’ve come to resent it here and what it has turned me into. Thank you for this post. Good luck with your move. Hopefully, I’m right behind you!

  85. 6.20.15
    Ilona said:

    So sad to see you and hallie leaving NYC! You both are some of my fav bloggers wish you both the best of luck in Chicago and cant wait to read about your adventures

  86. 6.25.15
    melissa said:

    OMG, this post is everything. I feel the exact same way right now and I’ve been beating myself up about if I’m done with NYC. Thank you for this post seeing this let’s me know that my time is coming to an end as well.

    Melissa Chanel

  87. 6.27.15
    Jane said:

    Just finished reading both yours and Hallie’s stories about moving. You have no idea how these stories resound with me even a year after leaving Toronto. I moved to Toronto just after University, had my first big girl jobs, met and married my Husband, had my kids. But even after 11 years it was like we out grew each other. What I needed and wanted just wasn’t there anymore. And yet at the same time I miss being in the big city almost every day. Reading all these emotions about leaving your city to start again brings all these feelings back to the surface for me too. Good Luck in the move and can’t wait to follow through the next chapter 🙂

  88. 7.8.15

    Excited to have you both back in Chicago!! ….but secretly, it was because of the pizza, right?

  89. 7.28.15
    Alana said:

    wow thank you for being so honest and open with your struggles!! Chicago is a great place, I’m a native and I never plan on moving. I just moved into a place in Old Town that is a co-op… if your story doesn’t help me curb my online shopping habit i don’t know what will! Thanks again for sharing and maybe I’ll see you around the Chi!