A Peek Inside my Apartment

Every rumor you’ve heard about finding an apartment in New York City is true. It was definitely one of the more stressful aspects of moving here in the first place. For someone who really likes plans and knowing exactly what’s going to happen, the experience was extra-stressful.
Some (true) rumors:
Craigslist is your best friend. Even though it seems super sketchy (and likely is in other parts of the country), it is the best way to find apartments (or at least brokers).
It’s expensive. I was keeping tabs of how much each apartment was based on the number of shoes I could buy every month with my rent check. It’s a little disheartening, but I just chalk it up to part of the NYC experience.
Figuring out where you want to live is almost more important than the apartment itself. You know what they say in real estate… Location, location, location! You have to be mindful of how you travel to work. Are you close enough to walk? (And if it is, is it a distance you’d be willing to walk when it’s freezing cold, or raining really hard, or excruciatingly hot?) Is it near a subway station? Four avenues away is actually a pretty long walk… especially if you’re running late in the morning or exhausted after a long day of working.
The apartments are tiny. It nearly killed me to find out how much it would be to rent a three bedroom, three bathroom house in Tampa… how/why was I paying more than that for a little one bedroom??? (I will say here that I think I was super lucky in finding a great Carly sized apartment.)
You have to move fast. In Georgetown, you had to secure your housing for the following year around the same time you were moving into your current house. I’m sure this was the whole student demand thing, but I know in other cities the apartment market moves at a pretty normal pace. You start looking for apartments, you walk through some buildings, there are vacancies, you discuss with your roommates, sign the lease, move in… But in New York, you kind of have to wait until you’re basically ready to move. Apartments are off the market before they’re on the market. (I found mine by chance. I was supposed to be looking at another one but it was already taken by the time I got there at 2pm. The apartment I am currently renting was vacated that morning. It wasn’t even listed anywhere. I walked in and essentially had to say, “I’ll take it.” And then I signed paperwork for about six hours…)
And, finally, it’s worth it. Way worth it.
I took all these pictures at 6:30 in the morning, so it’s pretty dark out! I promise the apartment is normally much brighter! (That’s another thing, some apartments literally have one window and it faces a brick wall. Basically, no light!)
Also, please note that I’ve sort of been adding to the apartment slowly. I’ve realized a few things. 
1) I am terrible at interior design- I know what I like, but I have no idea how to get there. Major props for all you interior design people.
2) It’s expensive- I’d rather make sure my rent check doesn’t bounce (ha. ha.) than have coffee table books.
3) It takes time- I’ve been so busy with work that I haven’t had the energy to hang anything on the walls. It doesn’t help that I have no idea what I’m doing (see #1) and that I stare at my blank walls with a blank stare.
All of my furniture is from Ikea. That’s another rumor that’s true: Ikea furniture is a PAIN to build. (Just hire someone… it’s worth it…. Try Task Rabbit.) We had a great guy come and he built the big stuff while my mom and I put together all the drawers. Pretty proud of ourselves for that!!
My Vogue prints were “borrowed” from the Ladies Lounge
I wanted a big magnetic board. But I ran into a few issues. The first was that I couldn’t carry anything that big and I was impatient about delivery times. I spent seriously a total of six (maybe even seven) hours inside of Home Depot walking around with a magnet finding materials that were magnetic. I settled on these one foot square pieces of sheet metal. They’re cheap. And they’re magnetic. Woo! Ideally, I will get three more to make it a little bigger. I also got circle pieces of cork, which are actually little mats for flower pots. I don’t have any push pins (yet) so they remain empty (for now).
(I hung them on the wall with Command strips; those things are genius.)
My kitchen table expands to fit six people and it also doubles as my desk. It’s a great work space!
I hung a painting I did back in high school, along with a little watercolor I randomly painted last summer, and a Georgetown pennant. Of course, this is another wall that will need some attention at some point down the road.
I’ll do a better tour of my bedroom once I get more things on the wall. I love my little Georgetown print though and my curtains! They seem so grown up for some reason. (A little dorky? Yes…)
In full disclosure, this is what my table has been looking like in the midst of a late night working session. Insanity.
PS I swear I sing RENT songs basically all day every day.

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Stephanie Mendez

Love your space! You should give yourself a pat on the back for what you already have decorated…it takes time to create a dream space, and it's NOT easy. Your post was so helpful. I'm moving to NY next summer, so thank you for all of the tips 🙂


Thanks for being honest about how expensive living on your own is! sometimes I think the cost of living gets a little lost in the blog world between beautiful celine bags and heels (not that I am complaining, I could look at celine bags all day!)

Tory Banknell

I cannot tell you how helpful this post was, I'm planning on moving to New York this year and I'm always looking for advice. Thanks so much!

By the way, your apartment looks fab!


I think the curtains are adorable, not dorky at all 🙂 Have fun at your BCBG and Kate Spade events the next few days!!

xx Emily @ laughliveandshop.blogspot.com


Looks great, but I kind of hate hearing you complain about how "tiny" and "expensive" it is. Obviously you can afford paying both for groceries and rent or you would have to live somewhere cheaper like the rest of us. Your apartment is huge–most people your age either have to share with roommates or live in teeny 10×12 studios. I am a few years older than you and live in Chicago where rent is much less and I can't even afford a studio unless I live in an area where there are multiple homicides pretty much every night. I like reading your blog, but sometimes you need to get a grip on reality.

dc prep

agree!! NY apts are sooo expensive! the fact that you can have your own apartment (out of college no less) and not even share a bedroom- consider yourself extremely lucky! your apartment looks huge compared to mine! lol


Reading this post reminded me exactly of my '08 NYC apartment hunting experience which panned out well in the end (PH at the Magellan by the Empire State Building). I remember what it was like to be a new college grad moving to the city. My major tip is to shop at the midtown Jack's 99 cent store (near Penn Station). It is HUGE and has EVERYTHING. The first floor is all 99 cent stuff and the upper two floors are moderately priced predominantly brand name products. For example, I got some gorgeous large black and white framed and matted wall decor for $14.99 that I've used in different apartments over the course of several years. More importantly, shopping there helped me save extra money so I could hit up all of the best fashion sample sales! Good luck and enjoy every minute of the city that never sleeps. http://jacks99world.com/


Having done my fair share of apartment hunting in New York, I agree with everything you've said except one thing. Craigslist is not your best friend- I've mainly used Craiglist for moving, but I recently discovered Naked Apartments and it's absolutely amazing. Much more user friendly. Between that AND Craigslist AND apartments and lofts, I feel much better about finding places 😉


Cute! I'm totally with you on the expensive thing. Just moving into my own big girl apartment, I still don't have all the pieces I want because I just can't afford them! Even going into Homegoods, which is suppose to be a "discount" home store, I can't justify spending $150+ on a credenza table thing. Seriously!?! It's just going to hold my junk!

But your place is super cute! Love it! I need to find some really good artwork for above my couch.. I was blessed with an apartment on the top floor of my building with high vaulted ceilings, so Command strips + artwork is my friend! 🙂

carelessly graceful

NH Prep

Thanks for the advice! Your apartment looks great and so grown-up! The expandable dining room table is super handy.

I hope you're finding time to have fun in NYC!


PS We followed your tutorial for the tshirt pockets and they turned out great. We have a DIY on our blog today!


People that don't live in New York ALWAYS get on my case for how much I spend living here, but I absolutely agree that it's worth the experience. As soon as I don't believe that anymore, I'll move. This place is simply magical. 😉

Such a smart idea with the sheet metal as a magnetic board. May have to do that. Your apartment looks fabulous for moving in less than a month ago!

I'm excited to finally meet you at Kate Spade tonight. Have a great day.


Amy Blogs Chow

ADORABLE. I love everything. Your assessment of NYC apartment hunting couldn't have been more spot-on. So happy you're slowly but steadily settling into your new life as a Manhattan girl xo


You place is adorable and I love the tips you provided. it's true move-in Fast! my bf and I have been lucky for looking for a place but there was on where there was a waiting list and thankfully we beat it and got the place we wanted! Also I think it's great that you are taking your time to set up your place. Love the idea of the metal sheets to be use as magnetics how much were each piece?

I'm going to be so close to an Ikea so I am very excited!!


I've been trying to figure out how to say this without it sounding like I'm jealous, but I am, so oh well: I hope you know how extremely, extremely lucky you are to be able to afford to live on your own in NYC at 23 (in a decent area). Most of us are with roommates until our late 20s (i.e., two promotions) or a man comes into the picture to split one bedroom rent with. NYC is probably the only place where it's completely acceptable to have a roommate in your 30s.

And again, I don't say this to be witchy, but just – appreciate it (and comment readers, know this isn't the norm for most recent grad).

Anyway, your apartment is adorable. I love it.

Welcome to NYC, Carly!

dc prep

i agree… almost everyone i know that has recently graduated from college is in their mid 20s and share teeny tiny apartments (even bedrooms!) with 2-3 other roomies and its expensive.. that being said consider yourself very lucky you can afford to live and have an apartment all to yourself- let alone your own bedroom!

anyways i wish i knew what apt youre living in since that seems so nice! apt hunting is tough- so many crummy apts in ny or nice apartments but they're not in manhattan. looks like you got yourself a great apt!


I think I definitely have had a hint of luck… but I think it's also relevant for me to mention that I also work EXTREMELY hard. I have two jobs (one of which is my own company) and I put in long hours every day, literally seven days a week. I knew that moving to New York was going to require a huge sacrifice on my end time wise. But, after a little more than two weeks of living here, I realized that this was a move I absolutely HAD to make and it's been absolutely worth it.

While reading my blog/tweets and following my Instagram seem like all I do is talk about clothes and fun little things happening… what you don't really see is the 3am work sessions or the 5am wakeup calls.

I chose to live in NYC knowing that I would have to work extra hard to afford living here (and even harder to afford to live in the exact apartment I have).

Am I very happy with my apartment? Of course. Do I love working with Levo League and running my own company? Definitely. Are the long hours worth it? Absolutely.

Chelsea Kabelsy

I'm glad you've defended yourself, Carly – when I read these comments I thought they were a little harsh! Anyone reading your blog should know that you work hard, and you obviously prioritise your living situation above other things. And, New York is not the only expensive city in the world – it's not even the most expensive city anymore. Tokyo, Moscow, Singapore and Sydney, my city, are all more expensive than NYC these days (and that is not an exhaustive list). I have no doubt that living in New York is tough financially, but there are a lot of others the world over who work hard to live well – and at a young age too.

Megan G.

I love how you decorated! You brought up a ton of good points too, you sound so saavy! I was the same with decorating too… right now it's pretty hodge-podgey and I'm just going to leave it that way. It gives the place "personality" haha. But you look like you've done a great job, it'll all come together soon!

Jordan Price

Your apartment is so cute!

You're totally right about Command strips. I use them to hang EVERYTHING in my dorm. We're *technically* not supposed to put holes in the walls. People say that they won't actually fine us for it….but I'd rather not take the chance. So when I found Command strips my freshmen year, I was ecstatic. lol

Oh, and you're amazing for the RENT comment. Love it!! 🙂

Carly Nasca

Very cute apartment! I just left NYC to move to San Diego and I don't know what to do with all the space I have now. I also lived alone for most of the time I lived in NYC and people would sometimes question how I was able to, especially since I wasn't making a lot of money. First, there is some luck involved in finding an apartment. Second, there is hard work involved in finding it. At one point, I looked at ten apartments in one day! Also, it entails prioritizing living somewhere safe and clean by yourself above expensive bar tabs and cab rides. Yes, I lived alone but I also took the subway almost everywhere for seven years.


I love it! The interior design is adorable and I agree with you about location, if you're not willing to walk in the rain or snow, that it is not a good place for you to live 🙂 LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your blog, it is so helpful and I look forward to reading it!

Dianne Grover

I love New York and wish I would someday live in that great city. However, I heard some negative feedbacks on apartment hunting, and obviously your post just reiterates those comments made by my dear friends. Well, apartment hunting, in any part of this world is never easy. This will be helpful for those who are planning to travel or move (with the help of movers Nebraska for instance). So, I guess all the stress and the difficulties are just a part of it. Anyhow, thank you for sharing this post!