A Darling Out of NYC (For now!)

If there’s anything I’ve learned about life after graduating college, it is that there is no “how-to” guide or clear roadmap on what to do next with your new excessive amounts of spare time. As a Type A personality, I thrive off to-do lists. Even while I was in undergrad, I had an ongoing list of all the classes I needed before graduation and would literally cross them off after finals. I’m used to having guidance, structure, and a plan for everything, so you can imagine how 2020 threw me in for a loop.

My 2021 has been marked by trying new things and getting outside of my comfort zone. I moved from Southern California to NYC, opened two tourist attractions in the city, and met so many new friends. I’ve learned a lot about myself, and even more about the world in the process. There’s been times where the growth and realizations have been painful and challenging, but I’m genuinely excited about where I’m headed. I can’t even begin to explain how much I’ve grown in this year alone.

New York City is the most special place in the whole world, and I have loved living here. However, it is with a full heart that I will moving to Orlando, FL for the next six months to work at the Walt Disney World Resort as a Disney College Program cast member. This has been a dream stored in my heart for so many years, and I’m so excited to work at another Disney park. Because of COVID, my Disney journey ended abruptly, and I’m not going to waste this second chance at making magic, storytelling, and savoring the fun and whimsicalness of the Walt Disney World Resort. Throughout my program, I’ll get to witness so many iconic new beginnings for the Resort, including the 50th Anniversary Celebration, the opening of the Ratatouille ride, and Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival. Stay tuned for my role and location reveal soon!

It’s my intention to move back to NYC in February when the program concludes, but until then, I hope you’ll stick around for A Darling at Disney instead.

See ya real soon,

Jules

6 things that made moving to NYC so much easier

Can you believe we are already quickly approaching the sixth month mark of living in New York City? It feels it was yesterday when I packed away everything I owned, hopped on a flight, and started my life in the Big Apple. While I wish it was that simple (there were a lot of late nights, stress, and anxiety throughout the process of moving!), I am grateful for some habits, products and practices I began to incorporate that made the transition from California to New York City much easier.

1) Buying a portable charger!

Although this might sound like an insignificant purchase, it has saved my life on multiple occasions. As I try to become more familiar with NYC, I often rely on Google Maps to know what subway route to take, what you can see/do/taste nearby, or how to get home. Unfortunately, this tends to drain my phone battery rather quickly, and dead phones make getting home unnecessarily stressful. I started carrying a portable charger to help in these moments, and it’s become an absolute gamechanger. You don’t have to break the bank when buying one – I bought mine at Primark for $5, and it still continues to work well!

2) Taking the subway everywhere

One of the reasons why I was so excited to move to NYC was because of the extensive subway system throughout the city. While they are no means perfect, they provide an accessible and affordable way of getting around the city. Taking the subway also helped me become more familiar with where things are, and helped me adjust to a new community. It also felt affirming to have an official subway route that I take for work, as it helped me feel like I’m actually settled in here instead of just visiting. I’ve recently started a new practice where instead of scrolling through my phone on my subway commute, I try to either read or listen to a new podcast. These simple activities have brought fulfillment to my life, and helped me learn something new!

3) Scheduling leisure time

I know I am a terrible millennial because I have to actually schedule time for leisure, but in New York City, it’s really easy to get caught up with working all the time without even realizing it. A few months in, I found myself working so hard that I forgot that I had moved to my dream city because I was always stuck to my desk. I’ve started a practice where on my Google Calendar, I block out time to explore New York. It doesn’t have to be something glamorous or expensive, but I’ll block out time to try a new coffeeshop, take a stroll around the park by my work, or spend my day off doing something fun. There’s nothing selfish about needing to take time for yourself, and you might find some hidden gems of NYC along the way!

4) Getting involved with the community immediately

Making friends in NYC is hard, but it feels practically impossible during a pandemic. When I first moved to NYC, I got involved with the local community as much as I could, which helped me meet more people, establish relationships, and most of all, find community in my new home. I got involved with the Manhattan District Attorney campaign, which taught me a lot about the legal system in NYC and the various reforms it needs. I spent time volunteering at local organizations, starting new jobs, and going to church. These forms of community have helped the move to NYC feel a lot less lonely, and has helped me build a foundation here. Not everyone has the time to work on a campaign or to hang out with their coworkers every week, but if you can find community in small ways, then it’s a positive step forward in making new friends in NYC.

5) Not making NYC my entire personality trait

This one is tricky for me, because I literally only have this blog because of my move to New York. However, I quickly had to realize that while it is absolutely incredible to live here, it is not what defines my worth, my next dreams, or my personality. New York City is both enchanting and exhausting, heartwarming yet humbling, lively and lonely. Knowing that this is one, not the only, dream of mine to come true has helped me in navigating the challenging days, where I’m homesick, where nothing feels right, and where I wonder how long I’ll make it here. Taking a step back and learning not to compare my life in NYC to others has been a huge moment of growth for me. Whether I’m across the street or around the world, I’m learning that where I am physically is not who I am.

6) Purposefully unplugging

I like to listen to music quite a bit. I especially like to listen to music in loud volumes. I’ve realized that I started to use music as a form of escape, that when the world felt too heavy, I would put my headphones in, turn the volume up, and let the music distract myself from what I was feeling. For both my ear health and my mental health, this wasn’t the healthiest way of coping, so I decided to challenge myself to unplug purposefully and become more present. Ever since I did that, I’ve become more attuned to the unique sounds of New York, like taxis honking, pigeons flying through the air, the infamous subway announcement to stand clear of the closing doors. It’s made me more aware of the stories that exist in all of us, waiting for us to unplug long enough to discover.

These daily practices have made my life in NYC more fulfilling, and I hope they help you as well! Take care, and happy Memorial Day weekend! ~Julia

February Favorites

January flew by, and was marked by a season of new beginnings. I packed up everything and moved to New York, met my incredible roommates, settled in, and began this wonderful, new adventure. The world continued to change, with a new presidential leadership, continued vaccine distribution, and the faint hope that one day, the nightmare that has consumed the past eleven months would be over.

May be an image of 1 person, standing and snow

As February continues its course, it could be wrapped up by one word: present. I am working on becoming more present with my surroundings instead of immediately jumping into the next thing. This isn’t easy for me to do, because I’ve always been a believer in remaining three steps ahead of everything else. In some ways, this habit was formed out of survival. I knew that in order to provide for myself while actively bringing my dreams to life, I had to have hindsight into my decisionmaking and the ability to transition from one plan to the next. I often get anxiety when it comes to slowing down, for fear that I’m letting myself down or not taking advantage of every opportunity presented to me. But, in 2021, I want to get better at taking the time to fully be present, immersed in the moment, and appreciative of where I am and who I’m with. And what better way to start this goal off than with a list of the things I’ve been loving this month? So without further ado, here we go!

Music

Like so many, I absolutely rely on music to get through my day, especially while working from home. Normally, my music taste is all over the place and spans different genres, but lately I’ve been re-falling in love with Broadway scores, classic movie soundtracks, and jazz/big band. Clearly, I’m super fun to be around, haha.

Here’s an ongoing list of some of the music I’ve really enjoyed lately:

  • Driver’s License by Olivia Rodrigo
  • Betty by Cabeau
  • Line Without a Hook by Ricky Montgomery
  • The entire Little Women (2019) score
  • Sofia by Clario
  • Motion Sickness by Phoebe Bridgers
  • You Get What You Give by the New Radicals (it’s a classic!)
  • Space Girl by Frances Forever
  • It’s Been A Long, Long Time by Henry James

If you’re like me and like to stay informed with the news, but also struggle with fitting in time to read the news, I’m a huge fan of the Spotify playlist called “Daily Drive.” It combines your favorite songs with different podcasts and news broadcasts, so while you’re listening to music, you can also stay informed with what’s happening in the country and around the world!

Movies/TV

My friends always laugh at me because it takes me quite a bit of time to get interested in a movie or TV show series! Compared to others who binge the show as soon as it comes out, it normally admittedly takes me a few months to get around to it. Needless to say, I’ve been loving the following:

  • Wandavision on Disney+ (it is so GOOD. I am literally in suspense every single Friday)
  • The Good Place (I just finished the show and was in tears by the end of the final episode)
  • Pixar’s Soul (2020)
  • Ladybird (2017)
  • History of Swear Words on Netflix (if you haven’t watched this yet, it’s both educational and hilarious)

I’m always looking for movie and TV suggestions, so if you have any recommendations, let me know! Just give me a few months to actually get through them 😉

Tiny Pockets of Joy

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned in the pandemic so far, it’s that holding onto tiny pockets of joy, small pure moments of bliss and ordinary happiness, can be life-saving. I am much more observant than I was a year ago, and appreciative of the little, sweet moments. Here are some of the things that make me smile:

  • Stepping outside while it is snowing to see people throwing snowballs, building snowmen and enjoying the snowy weather
  • Iced chai tea lattes from local coffeeshops
  • Curling up in bed after a long day with a book (I’m currently reading through The Color of Compromise by Jemar Tisby)
  • The joy of understanding a Subway route to/from somewhere
  • Sweet messages from my family and friends back home, and their constant encouragement towards this new chapter

Life is sweet. Hold onto the moments that bring you joy, and I have a feeling many more will come your way.

Why NYC?

Can you believe I’m only one week away from moving across the country and beginning a new journey in New York? It feels like time has gone by so fast, and yet, not fast enough as I eagerly await what’s next for me in the Big Apple.

Since announcing my intentions to move to New York, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about why I would pack up everything and move across the country, and for good reason. My entire family lives on the West Coast, the state of our world is so incredibly uncertain right now, and I just finished college. To some, it might seem like an absolute worst decision to be moving away, but for me, I began to see it as an opportunity to rebuild from rock bottom and start a new adventure.

Like so many, this year has been so challenging. I was laid off from my dream job due to the pandemic, which set me in a whirl to find whatever my next dream was. I wasn’t prepared to say goodbye to my job so soon and so unexpectedly, so when the time came, there was an increased pressure to keep moving forward, despite how lost I felt.

Whenever I feel lost or unsure of what my next step should be, I find comfort in revisiting all the things that once set my heart on fire. As cheesy as it may sound, every time I visit New York City, it feels like I need to be there longer, like there’s a grand adventure waiting to pull me in if I’d simply allow it. I’ve traveled across the nation and throughout various countries, and yet, every time I visit New York, it feels like I’m coming home, to a place where other dreamers, doers, and visionaries set out on their goals too.

Maybe it’ll all work out, that I’ll find another dream job and allow myself to make this my permanent home. Or maybe it won’t, and I’ll go onto the next adventure with lessons learned and my head held high. But my entire life, I have been so calculated, so prepared, so rehearsed that this leap of faith into something unknown will not be wasted time. Whether it’s 3 months, 3 years, or 3 decades that I spend in this New York City adventure, I know that there’s stories waiting to be told at every corner, and I intend to find them.

I’m ready for you, NYC. Please be good to me.

Welcome to my blog!

“London is satisfied, Paris is resigned, but New York is always hopeful. Always it believes that something good is about to come off, and it must hurry to meet it.” – Dorothy Parker

Hi everyone and welcome to my blog, A Darling in NYC! My name is Jules, and I am so excited to be taking this skydive outside of my comfort zone with you all. As the title might suggest, I am currently in the process of moving across the country, from my humble home to Southern California to a big unknown in New York City.

Before this journey can truly begin, I thought it would be fun to share some fun facts about myself. You know, like during the first day of school when teachers ask for an interesting fact and you spend 20 minutes panicking and trying to think of something memorable. Here it goes:

  1. I am notoriously awful at staying up-to-date with new TV shows or movies. My friends are always reminding me that it takes me literal years to finish a show. Oops.
  2. I’ve lived in quite a few different places throughout the years! I’ve lived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Houston, Texas, and Los Angeles, California.
  3. My favorite Disney character is Mary Poppins.
  4. I’ve written and published six books so far (more on that later!)
  5. Every holiday season, I work as an Elf for malls and holiday events, and it’s something I look forward to every single year!
  6. I’m currently reading through the Harry Potter series for the first time! I’m on Half Blood Prince currently, and I’m not ready for it to end.
  7. I collect funky and funny socks from the different places I travel to!
  8. My dream Broadway role is the Dentist from Little Shop of Horrors.
  9. I have five siblings, and am the second to youngest in my family.
  10. I love writing! I had a blog when I was younger that I would update every single day, and it was such an important way for me to develop my voice and to build community. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to update it as often as I did back then, but I’ve always been a fan of challenges!

I cannot wait to start this journey with you all! Thank you so much for following along, and I hope you stick around for what the Big Apple has in store!