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It’s been 730 days

I arrived in Chicago two years ago today. While I was not ready to commit to a permanent move, a sublease felt like something I could handle. I met some nice people, was thrilled when I made it to Trader Joe’s without getting lost and did lots of soul searching. I only met a few people and didn’t really have a reason to return once my lease was up. As we all know, that is not what happened.

It is amazing to see how much I have changed since writing this post two years ago. I was proud of taking a cab by myself. Sheltered, much? I was so scared but knew what I needed to do, and I did it. Even when I thought I couldn’t do this, things fell in to place. I woke up in tears every day for weeks wondering what I was doing and it didn’t hit me until I woke up by myself in Chicago and looked out the window. This happened for months. It still happens now. I live here.
A few favorite quotes from the past:

As scary as this is, it is an adventure of a lifetime and I want to take it all in. It will shape the person I become. I will meet friends I never would have met and will do things I never would have done. 

I made my plans, panicked, couldn’t sleep, stressed out, dreamed of my new life, shed lots of tears, ordered furniture and sat back as everything fell in to place. I cut off all my hair, walked away from an 8 year relationship and left the only life I ever knew. It was the hardest thing I have ever done but I would not trade the experience for anything.

Here I am two years later with the same little graphic design {& photography} business just weeks away from launching The Everygirl which launches this month!  I have made some wonderful friends and have created a nice little life for myself. It has not been easy & there are still days that I wonder what I am doing here. This move is the scariest/most rewarding thing that I have ever done. I am home.

Thank you to all of my readers who check in with me every day. On those days when I’m feeling lonely, I am able to connect with all of you and know that I am not alone.

xo

PS. My friend Anne is celebrating her blog anniversary with a special giveaway today!

  • diane @ a spot of whimsy

    amen, sister! beautiful words, chicago is glad to have you šŸ™‚

    and LOVE the new work to the blog, as usual!

  • Maria Filar

    I am planning on taking the leap to Chicago sometime this year, you really have inspired me so much to go for it!
    xoxo
    Maria

  • Stephanie Leann

    I remember stumbling upon your blog for the first time shortly after your leap of faith while settling in to Chicago. It's admirable, what you did. And my oh my how many great things have fallen in to place for you! x

  • Jackie {York Avenue}

    Making a big move is definitely something to be proud of! It's tough navigating a new, big city on your own, but as you've seen, I think it just helps a person grow and change in ways that can't be replicated by any other experience. It's an adventure, for sure!

  • christin

    Friend, you just made me cry. It's 8:08am so…too early! I can totally relate to this. I feel like I've done the "move to uncertainity" a ton of times. Ok, so only 4, but still. That's a lot and I'm getting really nervous that another one is in my not-too-distant future. Let's just hope this time we move to Chicago šŸ™‚

  • Lindsey

    It's amazing what we can learn learn about ourselves after taking a leap of faith. Congratulations and you've becoming someone I truly admire.

  • Drew {Coral Cafe}

    From the short amount of time that I've know you through the blogosphere I can tell you have truly made a mark and are encouraging so many women in all areas of their life. Your talent and ambition are quite refreshing and inspiring! I can only imagine how The Everygirl will bring much, much more joy into others lives, as well as your own. So proud of you for taking such incredible risks and the outcome of rewards that are so pleasantly upon you <3

  • Katie

    Lovely Danielle, I am in awe of you. You did not go the safe and traditional route, but took some giant steps to find your happiness. I hope this little four-year-old girl who is sitting beside me (with her sassy, new short hairdo) is a brave and fearless Everygirl when she grows up.

  • Amy Collins @ Fresh and Fancy

    Congrats! Some of the scariest moves in life are the best! So happy life is going so well for you!

  • Liz {Sequins And Stripes}

    So glad that you're here! xoxo

  • Nikki Rappaport

    So proud of you and your fabulous Chicago life! Only more great things ahead!

  • Sheri Ann {Sprinkles and Style}

    Congrats on celebrating something so wonderful!

  • SugarB

    Happy Anniversary! Thank you for virtually introducing Anne and I!

  • cherylpisha

    Happy anniversary!…and thank you for your continued inspiration. šŸ™‚
    cheryl

  • Taylor

    So glad you moved, I've done it too – it's scary, but when you get to the other side it's so much better!!!

    xo-T

  • Caitlin

    So amazing. Moving to a new city is definitely not all a fantasy (I moved from Baltimore to Chicago when I was 18 for a year before College) but the ways that it helps you grow are so remarkable. I remember being there before I really had made any friends, and wistfully looking at girls out together at cafes and missing the steady, safe life I had before I was there. Now that I'm in school in Cincinnati, I want to kick myself for not embracing every single day I spent in Chicago.

    Congratulations on this great adventure. That is all a LOT of change, and considering how successful you are, I'd say you're handling it like a champ (who cares if you shed a few tears? we're women)

  • Viviana

    Happy two year anniversary, Danielle! Your story is so inspiring – it makes me want to move even though I can't see myself anywhere other than here. Congrats on so many amazing accomplishments! I know there's only great things to come for you. xo

  • shamim

    Believe me or not I have been eating my heart out. I would never do such a thing. You are so brave and you should be proud of yourself.

  • Jenny Hileman

    I do read you every day, but this is my first comment. I want to tell you how much I love your blog and that you should be so proud of all you've done!

  • One Stylish Day at a Time

    Just got the biggest round of goosebumps. It's been incredible to watch your journey and you're an inspiration! I'm making my own big move in June and have been reading your old posts to prepare myself.

  • natasha {schue love}

    Wow…can't believe it's been 2 years!! So glad you're doing well there…you've certainly blossomed over the last two years! šŸ™‚

  • birdie to be

    Lovely picture! I have been once and loved it!

  • A Big Little Life

    In my experience, the things that seem the scariest often turn out to be really great. I never thought I would live in Chicago either but I really love it here. Congrats on doing something outside of your comfort zone and really succeeding!

  • Whit

    Chicago is a wonderful city! Glad you call it home! Congrats on accomplishing what you wanted!

    http://www.thewhitlist.blogspot.com

  • Anne Book/Signature Style

    You already know; how proud I am of you, how fortunate I feel that I am to know you, how special it is to share this great city and time in our lives with great girlfriends.

    Your story is a tad on the humble side… from my perspective you have ROCKED CHICAGO! You live it and love it every day and are so loved back!

    Happy first anniversary D!

  • Julip Made

    Congrats on two year! Having grow up in a city I often forget how intimidating it can be at first. I'm also impressed that you moved to a completely new part of the country all on your own. That takes some lady balls!

  • Sarah M.

    That's so exciting! I'm actually in the process of applying for a new job, and Chicago is on my list of cities to check out! I have a phone interview with SmithBucklin on Friday, hopefully that will turn into an opportunity. Congrats on 2 years in what sounds like an awesome city šŸ™‚

  • Cortney

    I get a huge, all across my face, silly grin when someone loves Chicago as much as I do. Even though it can get so bone chilling cold and dreary, I still absolutely love calling it home.

  • Natasha Fatah

    Hi Danielle, I've only been following your blogs for a short while, but it has become one of my daily reads. Thanks for sharing this slice of your life. The things that are the most scary and challenging often offer the biggest pay off. No risk, no reward, right? Congratulations on making it in Chicago! šŸ™‚

    xoxo
    http://www.natashafatah.blogspot.com

  • Alyssa {Second Floor Living}

    Huge congrats on hitting your two year mark! I have been here for just under eight months now, and it's flown by. I'm beginning to really love the city, and hope I'll make it to my two-year mark as well.

  • Susan

    That's really fantastic Danielle! Chicago's an amazing city and I'm so glad that you've found a home in it. Congratulations on all of your success!

  • mollymeetschicago

    Congrats! I've been in Chicago for just under 6 months and I still have "Pinch Me" moments when I'm just walking home from the train. I've moved a lot in my life but this was the first time I made the decision for ME. Also, I can't wait for the release of The Everygirl!

  • Pris

    I am a first time commenter but not a new reader and I must tell you that I think you are so brave for doing what you're doing. I am also very excited about the launch of The Everygirl! Can't wait to check it out!

  • {av} | {long distance loving}

    yay! congrats on hitting this milestone šŸ™‚ you have SO much to be proud of–and I can't wait to see what's coming for you! xoxoxo {av}

  • elembee.com

    I've been so inspired by your move and hope to follow suit soon. Congrats on the milestone!

  • erika

    Congrats on your accomplishments! Not many people can say they've faced their fears and left their comfort zone.

  • sarah @ design me daily

    Congratulations! I'm from the suburbs and moved to the city two years ago and couldn't be happier! Chicago is amazing and I love meeting people who appreciate its beauty and uniqueness šŸ™‚

    Oh, and I'm super excited for your launch!!

  • Emily

    so inspiring for a girl like me trying to find her way. thanks for the much needed words!

  • sydney85

    Congrats to you. My husband and I will be retiring soon and we are doing the absolute opposite of most people. We live in Austin, Texas and plan to move to Chicago and live downtown. I am so excited about living in this great city.

  • evelyn.

    Congrats on such a huge milestone and cheers to many many more days to come! E

  • Hello Lover…

    Happy 730 days! I'm so glad Chicago has come to feel like home, there really isn't a better feeling, is there?!

  • Alaina @ Live Creating Yourself

    I for one am so happy you made this brave and admirable decision.

    Couldn't do it without out, lady.

    šŸ™‚

  • Leesh

    That's a big leap you took and although it was scary back then, looks how far you have come and all the changes you made.

    A lot of girls would be envious of you.

  • grace

    i just did the same thing a few months ago, and came to chicago — taking the leap was difficult but very necessary! congratulations on making it through, danielle! šŸ™‚

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