Crazy Town Full of Neon Dreams

Y’all, it’s been a MINUTE since my last post – sincerely apologize for that. Things have been crazy busy these last few weeks. I was in LA visiting my boyfriend for the 4th, and then I had to prepare for my move and get ready for my trip to Nashville! But I’m back, and I know you missed me as much as I missed you πŸ˜‰

Have you ever been to Nashville? If you’re not 21 yet, don’t even bother reading the rest of this post. The most important thing I learned on this trip is that if you’re not 21, then Nashville is a giant waste of money. Unfortunately I didn’t know about this before I took my 18 year old sister here for her high school graduation gift. Whoops. We made the best of it though, considering we were 100% sober the entire time. Yeah, ik, the struggle was real. Age aside, the city was a cool place to visit. First of all, Ubers are dirt freaking cheap down there. What would cost me $25 in NYC cost me $7 in Nashville. Can’t beat that, considering that’s basically what I tip my cab drivers in New York, and that’s when I’m feeling cheap.

Nashville is filled with 3 groups of people. Group 1 are the drunks who are down for a good time. These are the people who are here for Bachelorette parties, girls weekends, etc. They drink way too much and wind up dancing barefoot at Tootsies by 3pm on a Wednesday. Group 2 are the families who had the misguided idea that Nashville was a wholesome place to travel with their young kids and soak up all that country music has to offer. Great idea in theory, but the execution is weak once you realize that outside of the bar scene, there’s about 4 things to do in Nashville and that’s it. Group 3 is your redneck clan. These people can be identified by their American flag (or if they’re thoroughbreds, Confederate flag) t-shirts, rhinestone belt buckles and cowboy boots with an Eagle hand-painted on them. It’s a sight, I’ll tell you that much.

Anyways, I’ve put together a quick rundown of our trip and linked out the places I’m mentioning for you to check out on your next trip to Music City!

Day 1: We landed in Nashville on Tuesday morning and headed for an early lunch at Puckett’s while we waited for our Airbnb to be ready. Puckett’s is a cute spot on Church that’s decently priced and has live music. The menu was good, but I wasn’t impressed by the delivery of it, tbh. Definitely go here if you’re looking to save some money and get a live music experience to pass the time. After we finished, we ubered over to our Airbnb over on Elliston’s. Guys, I fell in love a little bit. It was perfect for us – girly, but not overdone, clean, equipped with the essentials, had an incredibly comfy bed and pullout couch, and our host even had a laminated booklet she put together of her favorite Nashville spots! If you’re ever looking to stay here with a group of 1-4 people, I highly recommend you check this listing out! Anyways, we cleaned up, unpacked, and headed to Broadway (where all the action is). Day 1 spots included the Wildhorse Saloon (a really fun and LARGE (3 stories!) spot that has great live music and line dancing every hour and a half). *Sidenote – they allow you in here at all hours if you’re under 21  –  most places don’t.) We also had dinner at FGL House (the house burger tasted great – it didn’t taste as great when I threw it up 3 hours later though.. ). The space at FGL is really cool as well – Another 3-story building that has a rooftop bar with live music, and a massive screen on the first floor restaurant area that plays country music videos on a loop.

Day 2: We kicked Wednesday off with breakfast at Frothy Monkey– I highly recommend their customizable oatmeal (I added strawberries and apples to mine FTW). We walked about 15 minutes in the hot-as-hades Nashville heat (DO NOT RECOMMEND) to the Country Music Hall of Fame. I’d like to point out that this was my fault in assuming that there would be more modern-day country music attention in this museum. I’m not sure why I thought that, since this is a Hall of Fame and therefore it makes sense that the majority of the focus would be on older stars. What really got my goat was that the first exhibit you see is the Taylor Swift education center. I was BUGGIN about this bc Tay is my girl. Imagine how pissed I was when I walked in and realized it literally had zero to do with T-Swizz – it’s full of classrooms for little kids to do arts and craft projects. I’m stills salty about it.

Two hours later (I had to get my money’s worth, considering the ticket was $25 (UGH) a piece), we headed over to see the Parthenon. This thing is legit just a to-scale version of the Parthenon in Greece… except you’re not in Greece AKA its not the real parthenon AKA it’s cool to take pictures in front of and that’s about it. BUT we met an extremely nice man who was having his first day out after being in solitary confinement for 60 days after a bone marrow transplant. This was probably one of my favorite parts of the entire trip, talking to this man. He’s in his late 60s, had been sick with Leukemia for the last three years, and was so inexplicably grateful for this second chance at life he’d be given from a selfless 25 year old Marine who donated his bone marrow to a total stranger and saved his life. It was incredibly inspiring, and I’m currently researching what the necessary steps are to becoming a donor myself. If you’re interested, you can find more info here.

After the park, we headed back to the apartment for a quick re-charge nap and then went back down to Broadway. Takeaways from night #2 – you absolutely NEED to check out the Wanna-Bs Karaoke bar (you will sing at the top of your lungs and have the best time doing it), and you also need to get ice cream from Mike’s. Every flavor is homemade, and their single scoops are like, three regular people sized scoops. YAAAAS (dairy) QUEEN!

Day 3: By day three we were like, ok Nashville, we get it, ur hot and humid. Kicked it off with the breakfast of champs AKA ice cream sodas from Elliston’s soda shop (world famous bc Reese Witherspoon has been here and anywhere Reese goes gets an automatic approval from me). Then we headed to my 2nd favorite part of the trip, the Grand Ole Opry. This place was the bees knees, man. I personally think $25 a ticket is a little over-priced, but getting a backstage tour of the most famous venue in country music was cool af. Fun fact: most artists who perform at the Opry live in Nashville, so they drive themselves to the venue when they’re scheduled for a show. There’s a back parking lot where only the artists and their team can go that’s blocked off by cones to give them privacy from fans. But the golden part of this is that the artists (I’m talking Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, Carrie Underwood types) have to get out of the car and move the cones themselves, then park their own cars (the Opry doesn’t offer valet parking), and the real kicker: They have to show photo ID when they go inside BECAUSE YEAH, I WOULDN’T RECOGNIZE CARRIE UNDERWOOD EITHER- WHAT?! Apparently, they do it to keep the artists humble. Idk why, but i find this to be easily the funniest thing I’ve heard all week.

The rest of day 3 consisted of: another re-charge nap at the apartment, a return visit to Wildhorse Saloon for a lil bit of line dancing, a performance at the Karaoke bar by me (Gunpowder and Lead by Miranda Lambert is my JAM), and going to Crazy Town for dinner at 8:30 and literally having to stay their the rest of the night bc they start carding at 10pm and my sister wouldn’t have been able to get back in otherwise. It’s actually a really cool bar (again, multiple stories high with different bands on each floor).

The Bottom Line: Nashville is a cool little city that’s good for a 2-3 day trip when you’re 21 years old or older. It’s not outrageously expensive, there are a ton of cool honky tonk bars to hang out in, and the live music aspect is a blast. It’s probably why you see photos on Facebook from 4-7 bachelorette parties every goddamn weekend – the perfect setting for the #FlingBeforeTheRing. Get it, ladies!


Why the apartment hunt struggle is SO REAL for New Yorkers

If you’ve ever had to move, you know that even though you’re so excited to have a fresh space, it’s not an easy task to accomplish. First of all, it’s expensive. There’s the first month/ last month bit, the security deposit, the cost of buying packing materials and then the cost of movers. Basically, if you’re not ready to liquidate some assets, you may start seeing you bank account in the red. #SoBlessed.

Apartment hunting in NYC is an entirely different beast, similar to what I would imagine the Hunger Games was like IRL. There’s 1 of 2 ways you’re doing this. You’re either living with roommates, or trying to live by yourself. And you know what? They both suck. A lot. If you’re trying to move somewhere with roommates, here are some of the scenarios you’ll undoubtedly face:

  • Different budgets- you probably don’t all make the same amount of money, so some of the group will want to ball out for central AC and an elevator building, while others will want to skimp on a 6th floor walk-up. Thank God for the American Dream, amirite?
  • Timing- If you’re not first you’re last: that’s the name of the game for NYC real estate. If you’re looking for an apartment with your roommates, you better all be there to see it and be prepared to sign on the spot because if you decide to wait until Becky can be conferenced into the roomie FaceTime chat later to discuss your options since she couldn’t be at the showing, you’re out. Someone already signed in blood and offered up their first born for it. Better luck next time.
  • Converted spaces- do I really need to say anything else about this? There’s nothing more irritating than a listing saying that there’s a 3 bedroom (and it’s reasonably priced!) available in Murray Hill, and then you find out that they’re a bunch of liars. Do you know how many weeknights I spend sprinting from my downtown office up to midtown, sweat dripping from every pore on my body and a crazed look in my eye, just to see that the place that I thought would comfortably house 3 20-something year old females was actually a “converted” apartment? All that means is that this place was originally only meant for two bedrooms and you decided that future tenants either a) didn’t want you to have a living room or b) didn’t really care if you never see the light of day again because lol your “bedroom” doesn’t have a window in it.

I just battled literally millions of other New Yorkers this last month to find a reasonably priced (lol jokes on us bc those don’t exist) and somewhat safe apartment to sign on for the next 12 months. It was like stab to the heart having to write a check for a full month’s rent (while I’m still living in my Brooklyn apartment) as well as 1.5x rent for the security deposit. Bible, I saw stars. I had to sit down with my head between my knees. Not a drill.

In the hopes of reminding myself what else was out there, I played around with Craigslist and Street Easy to see just how voraciously some of my fellow NYers are being ripped off. I felt slightly better after seeing the below:


First of all, there’s this:


none_for_rent See? I wasn’t exaggerating. THERE ARE LITERALLY 0 APARTMENTS IN ALL OF MANHATTAN $1,250/MONTH OR LESS FOR RENT. Not even a a studio on friggen E. 158th street. WHAT THE HELL NYC!?

Then there’s this – $800/month for a 1 bedroom in a 700 sq. foot 3-bedroom apartment. What a BEAUT!


There’s this one, which I’m 600% sure is an actual walk-in closet that someone is being charged $1300/mo to suffer in



You have this one – which wouldn’t be the worst one on the list… until you notice that there’s a shared bathroom with the rest of the floor -___-


And finally, this iconic $1,000/mo  UWS apartment that literally went viral for how pathetic it is. Sad.

*Listed amenities include: mini-refrigerator, hot plate, closet, large window, shared bathroom


So as I cry over what my savings account could’ve been (but probably never will be thanks to this new apartment I’m moving into), I save a few tears for the poor souls who are stuck with these nightmares. People of New York: When it comes to apartment hunting, may the odds be ever in your favor.

xo, AJ

5 Places You Need to Check Out When You Visit Chicago

Guys. Have you ever been to Chicago? If you haven’t, you need to go, STAT. Up until a couple of weeks ago, I’d never been either. Luckily, I work closely with a few team members who are in our Chicago office and I was able to go out their for some facetime with a handful of our bigger clients – it’s STUNNING!

Don’t get me wrong, I love NYC – there’s really no other city in the world quite like it, and it’s my home. But Chicago is like a cleaner, smaller version of Manhattan – ya know, without the urine-scented sidewalks and trash built up 7 bags high. I took full advantage of my downtime to explore, and here are some of my new favorite spots!

Lakefront Trail

It may sound silly to say this if you haven’t been to Chicago before, but the Lakefront trail was easily my favorite place in the city. It’s this 18 mile long stretch of concrete trail that follows along Lake Michigan, and it’s GORGEOUS!! The view is really what makes it, as the water is a bright blue/green that looks so appealing, you’ll wanna jump right in… until you remember that the water is probably 40 degrees and then you pass. I went for a few jogs along the portion that runs parallel to downtown, and I couldn’t stop smiling. It was honestly creepy, and I prob freaked out the locals, but its fine.


Oak Street Beach

I discovered this absolute gem on my first morning in the city. It’s right along the Lakefront trail and when I saw it, my eyes nearly fell out of my head. Like, ok, I get it, Chicago is pretty or whatever, but this is seriously something I’ve never seen before. It’s a stone’s throw (literally) away from the office buildings in downtown Chicago. Like if you walked about 150 feet (across a majorly busy road) you would be stepping into an office building). The beach is pristine, with cushioned lounge chairs, volleyball nets, lifeguards and a restaurant/bar area. AND ITS PUBLIC. WTF?! In NYC, you’d be charged a $2,500/month membership fee for something like this. Bible, I almost moved just so I could go here every day.



Navy Pier

Yet another incredibly cool part ofΒ  this city. On my first morning, I have about 5 hours to kill until a business lunch, so I was able to take advantage of exploring. Apparently I was in Chicago at a great time, because it wasn’t cold at all, but it wasn’t crazy hot yet (which you should note, because their temps can get seriously toasty in the summer). I was staying in Old Town, so I walked about a mile and a half down to Navy Pier and fell in love! TBH, I wish my boyfriend had been with me because it would’ve been a super cute date, but I managed on my own. My must-do’s of Navy Pier? The Ferris wheel, the Crystal Gardens and the Rolling Stones exhibit (which is open until 7/31!). The Ferris wheel was slightly pricey – $15 for an adult ticket – but worth it, in my opinion.



Crown Fountain in Millennium Park

Millennium Park is somewhere you should visit as a whole, of course, but on a hot summer day, you can’t pass up Crown Fountain! I was feeling a bit ~steamy~ from walking around all day in a black shirt, and felt like a little kid as soon as I saw this fountain! It’s definitely a little quirky- there are 1,000 Chicagoans faces that loop on the massive video screens in the fountain. But the feeling of splashing around like a 7 year old on summer vacation is something that gave me the happy feels.

mill park


The Architecture Tour

TBH, I’m not as obsessed with this as I am with everything else on my list, but it’s a must-do in Chicago. Tickets are not cheap- in fact, they’re $45 a pop. And at some points it can feel a little monotonous. HOWEVER- the scenes are so drop-dead gorgeous that its worth it. This is a boat tour that coasts along Chicago’s famed riverwalk and points out the world renowned architecture that lines the city. The riverwalk is the prettiest body of water I’ve ever had the experience of hanging out in, which is the biggest reason I’d recommend it- the wildly structured skyscrapers are a close second. If you have some extra time, check it out!


Have any really cool suggestions of Chicago must-sees for my next work trip? Comment below! xo, AJ

The Time Someone Broke Into My Apartment to Throw a Party

If you thought that the title of this article would be click-bait, you thought wrong. Someone seriously broke into my apartment last weekend for the sole purpose of throwing a party. Believe me, I’m just as mind-blown as you are.

I came home on the night of Father’s day after being away for the weekend, and when I walked through the door, I could immediately tell something was off. The furniture was out of place, there were photographs missing and other photographs that were in the wrong room. After walking around a little bit, I noticed that my living room window was wide open (which I’d never do bc I don’t have a screen and, ew, pigeons), and there were a couple of joints on the floor – I don’t smoke, so that was an extra lovely surprise for me. TBH, I was kind of mind blown with all of this because when I looked around a bit more, I realized that nothing had been stolen. I have two relatively new large smart TVs, a MacBook Pro, jewelry, etc. and none of it was missing. So someone legitimately broke into my apartment for the sole reason of throwing a party. That’s it. The best part? When I opened the door to my hall closet, there was a pizza box laying on the floor that had a name and number on it. Clearly these criminals were hard core.

This clearly wasn’t an emergency but I do live alone and wanted to take the proper precautions, so I called the non-emergency number for the police station. TBH, I was less than impressed with the response I got, because the operator legit chastised me for not calling 911. I was all, “well nobody is hurt so I didn’t think I should call 911” and she was all, “um you need the cops to come sooo obviously u need to call 911”. K THANKS LADY. ‘PRECIATE YOUR SUPPORT DURING THIS TRYING TIME.

So I call 911 and tell them what happened and they come about 45 minutes later. The cops are literally laughing at my life (and I can’t really blame them bc really, who else would this happen to?!).  Not to sound pathetic or anything but I was like, “uhmmm so I’m sure you get this a lot but I watch a ton on SVU, ya know, there’s always martathons on USA today like every single day, and idk but can you check around and make sure there aren’t any cameras hidden in here or anything?” Call me crazy, but I’m not trying to be on hidden camera so some perv in Brooklyn can watch me binge on Chinese food and re-runs of Gossip Girl, ok?? So they check around and give me the all-clear, and then I ask what my options are. They basically tell me that because nothing was stolen, that this would be Criminal Trespassing, not a B&E, which idc about. When I ask if I can file a report, they for sure did not want to. Like, ok guys I get that this prob isn’t the worst thing you’ve dealt with this week, but A CRIME WAS COMMITTED HERE. File the report so I can sleep at night, amirite? And I reminded that that we have a HOT LEAD – the pizza box with the name + phone number on it. But they just told me that it could be nothing because the person could’ve used a stolen credit card to buy it. And like, ok I get that logic, but also, you don’t know that for a fact sooo shouldn’t we just check it out just to be sure?? But they weren’t into it, so I dropped it. They left, and I checked myself into a hotel for the night.

The next morning, I told the people on my team at work what happened, and the story spread like wildfire. People literally couldn’t get enough of this story. It started bothering me more + more that the police just weren’t going to follow up on this at all. So, if you know me, you won’t be surprised at all with what I did next. That’s right, I took matters into my own hands. I channeled my inner Olivia Benson/Pope. I paid $1 to look up the background info for the name + number on the pizza box. I called Domino’s and pretended to be the person who ordered this pizza and asked what the address was that was associated with the phone number so that I could figure out where this person lived. Then I added the number to my contacts list so I could find them on SnapChat/Facebook/Instagram. I KNEW THEIR WHOLE LIFE IN AN HOUR. Then I downloaded an app called Burner to get myself a fake phone number and texted the girl to tell her what the f*ck was up. This, my friends, is when things got reallll interesting.

I sent a pretty straightforward message about the whole thing. I told her that there was no point in denying the party, because there was a pizza box with her name and number on it. I told her there was video surveillance from my building that had her and her friends on tape coming and leaving the party. I also told her that I had no interest in pressing charges and that I only really cared about them paying for the damages they caused so that I could get my full security deposit back. This girl then tells me that I must be mistaken, because she didn’t host a party this weekend and I must have the wrong number. I tell her, nope, I don’t think so, because THERE’S A PIZZA BOX IN MY LIVING ROOM WITH YOUR NAME AND NUMBER ON IT. Then she calls me, almost in tears, and proceeds to tell me that she didn’t host a party this weekend but that she did attend one that was hosted by a girl she went to high school with. She coughed up a ton of info, including a fancy-ass invitation that I’ve included at the end of this post for your viewing pleasure.

I’ve since tabled my Nancy Drew lifestyle (for now) and handed this over to the police for further investigation. That wasn’t my original plan, but after seeing the invitation to this party, the disrespect was too real for me to ignore. So for now, it’s in the hands of the law. I’ll keep you updated as it all unfolds.

xo, AJ

You’re Invited…