Author: Amber J.

A thirty-something N.Y.C. transplant, Amber J. is a Southern Belle living in an urban space. She developed The Fab Life Project to create a space online where millennials can celebrate the every day adventures while striving to create a life they love.

In This Moment

 

January 21st, is a weird day for me.

Today, I am curled up with my phone, watching footage of thousands of women marching in New York and D.C.  in protest of the presidency of Donald Trump, and in solidarity with the idea of “justice for all”.

Four years ago, I was purchasing my first ball gown. In a stroke of amazingly good luck, one of my friends had been given tickets to the Obama Inaugural Ball. Later that night, I would see Michelle and Barack for the first time, and I would dare to believe in magic.

And seventeen years ago, in this moment, I was hours away from getting into a car with my mother for what would be the last time. Hours away from attempting to make a left turn that instead of delivering us home as we thought it would, delivered me into a new world in which I would have to learn to exist without the woman who brought me into it.

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To New York, With Love

 

Eight years ago, on January 7, 2009, I hopped on a one-way flight to New York City….

Actually, wait. Let me start the story somewhere else.

Nine years ago I jumped on the stage to dance with the band at a bar/live music venue in the West Village. Maybe I was drunk, maybe I was excited because the band was playing the anthem of my hometown hero, Justin Timberlake, but I made my way to the front of the room, climbed on the stage, and showed a room full of tourists and New Yorkers, just how I bring sexy back.

My friend, a pretty straight-laced Columbia student from Ohio, was horrified. I hadn’t prepared him for that. But, I felt liberated. It was as if I had found my space in the world, and when the song ended, I’d made up my mind: I would be damned if I let that feeling, and subsequently this city, go.

So, a year and a half later I bought a one-way ticket, a new giant suitcase, and set out for adventures unknown.

And here I am, 2,920 days later, still ready to jump on a stage at the sound of a good beat, but now knowing that moving to New York, and more importantly surviving in New York takes more than the willingness to shimmy in front of a crowd of strangers.

In the years that I have lived here, many people (all non New Yorkers) have asked me the blanket question, “How is it living in New York?” and at eight years in, I still have no idea how to answer them.

When they ask me this, I have the sneaking suspicion that a montage of every single movie they have ever seen that has been set in New York flashes through their mind. Inevitably a lot of blown up buildings, a giant gorilla, Christmas lights, and a little blond boy jumping on a bed at the Crowne Plaza.

Usually I giggle at the thought, but then the sobering reality that they want an actual answer hits me.

Damn. What to say?

I have to decide if I want to kill off Santa, or pose as a part of the elf posse.

In other words, do I tell the truth, or do I lie as to not shift their perception that living in New York HAS to be cool shit….or why else would anyone put up with those millions of people and those high-ass rents?  I think to myself…

Do I tell them that sometimes the radiator doesn’t work in my building, and I have dreams about central heat systems?

Do I say that a linen closet has become my standard for “good living”?

Do I mention all of the times that I have worried that I would fall flat on my face and chip a tooth as I’ve run after the M60 bus, or slid into the subway car just before the doors close?

Or maybe I lead with how it feels to have various limbs go numb because there are no seats on the train and you are forced to stand for your entire forty minute commute?

I could lead with that, or maybe I say…

How it feels to be on the rooftop of a building in the city, twirl, take in the 360 view, and feel like everything you have ever dreamed about or aspired to be is in the palm of your hand.

How it feels to share a laugh with a stranger you just know you will never see again, only to see that person the next week, city of 8.5 million, be damned.

How it feels to wander through the streets alone at night, basking in the glow of endless lights and wonder what it would feel like to own one of those places.

Sheep’s Meadow in Central Park on the first truly warm day of the year.

Losing control, and accepting that magic means you never had control in the first place.

Knowing that every type of random class, food, music, or person you could ever imagine is steps away from being a part of your consciousness.

Or most importantly, the feeling if you work hard enough, grind more than the next, and believe more than others, that your dreams can indeed come true…it’s just a matter of time.

The truth is that it is all of that.

It’s the snow and the sunshine, the stinky train and the delicious food, the hope of a dream, and the crush of reality. All rolled into one. It is hard to celebrate this city in only a positive light. To do so would be unfair to the essence that makes New York what is is: trepidation mixed with magic….dashed in with a drop of homeless man sweat for flavor.

But clearly, underneath it all, I must still like the taste, as eight years later, here I am, and here I go, right?

 

To my lovely New York City, happy eight years to us! I hate you. You suck….I’m kidding! You know I love you boo…with your crazy ass.

 

‘Tis all,

Amber

 

P.S. Hey you! If you felt this post, please do share with a friend, an enemy, or those random people that follow you on Facebook, Twitter, and Insta. Show a sista some love, ya dig?

P.P.S. I’d love to hear from you too…comment below? Go ahead! Make me smile!

What To Do When You Don’t Feel Like Writing A Damn Thing

 

There will be those days when you look at your blog, and with a quickness, you shut that tab DOWN. You walk away from your computer, look at it sideways, and find recluse in whatever distracting task you can possibly get your hands on as quick as possible.

Yes, you’ve set goals. Yes, you feel as if your readers are virtually giving you the side eye, because the only thing jumping on your site these days is crickets, but you don’t care about any of that because dagnabbit, you just don’t feel like writing a damn thing.

I feel you my sisters (and brothers). There have been many times when I didn’t feel like writing. Didn’t even want to THINK about writing, and I’d be lying if I said I forced myself to do it anyway.  In most cases I didn’t.

But in the good name of all that is delightful, and the shit parade that is about to become a barrage of “New Years Resolution” themed-posts, I wanted you to be prepared.

Introducing, my tips for what to do when you don’t feel like writing a damn thing.

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What Made You Jealous This Year? (A Different Way To Set Your New Year’s Goals)

It’s the last day of the year, and my Facebook timeline is filled with the typical “New Year’s Eve” esq posts about goal setting, gratitude, and well wishes.

I’m going to propose something radical for you to do while you are setting your goals for 2014…ask yourself: “What made me jealous this year?”

We’ve all felt jealous of someone or something at some point, but most of the chatter we see around jealously is about helping people figure out how to bury their jealous feelings, and feel appreciative for all that they have.

I’m a total believer in the practice of being in touch with all of the good in your life, but I also think we should shift our perspective on jealousy. Instead of looking at it as a feeling that should be ignored, or glossed over, why don’t we try getting under the hood of what makes us feel that way?

What would happen if you embraced the moments when you have those jealous feelings,  examine it, and figure out exactly what is is in particular that is bothering you so much?

Instead of running from jealousy, and trying to pretend that it never happens to us, revel in it.
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Battling Mental Burnout-The Flip Side Of My Entrepreneurial Story

 

It’s been months since I’ve written, and weeks of internal debate with myself to figure out how I wanted to write this post.

I always try to bring value and optimism to the table in some way. I’d tried to write this once before with the chipper, “Hey, I’ve been going through some things, but all is well now!” slant.

In the end, I scribbled this out on two sheets of white, legal paper.

It felt more real that way.

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