7 Years in Chicago

Every time August 1 comes around, I can’t help but think about how much things have changed since I made the move from Los Angeles to Chicago. This isn’t the first time I’ve written a post like this one–I do it every single year, because I love looking back every single year. They’re also a reminder that in the uncertainty of your 20s and 30s, things can and will change for the better.

It has been an anything but perfect seven years but no matter how hard things got, I never regretted moving to Chicago. Did I question the move and wonder how I ended up year? All the time, especially during winter. But I also completely changed my career, made the most wonderful new friends, and met the man I’m going to marry.

Seven years and five Chicago neighborhoods later, I’ve made it through several blizzards, break-ups, 2 tragic losses, knee surgery, and more ups and downs than I can count. But it’s been good. Really good. Even amidst the bad. Because I’ve said this time and time again, but there’s always a silver lining somewhere. Sometimes, it just takes a while to find it.

I can’t believe it’s been s e v e n years! Here are some favorite memories.


My first Chicago apartment where I hosted my first Christmas party (and met my cofounder at said party!), made it through my first blizzard, worked until 3AM every night launching The Everygirl, and shot my first home tour.

I never want to forget those first few months when I’d look over at Buddy then out the window, wondering how I ended up here. It was confusing and sometimes lonely but so exciting.

Rue-Stoffer Photography 0078
photo by Stoffer Photography Interiors


Launching The Everygirl, being named by Forbes as a top 100 website for women, so much CrossFit, and moving to my second Chicago apartment. I also went to the hospital alone for knee surgery (felt like a bold, defining moment at the time).

I never want to forget hopping in a cab with a bottle of wine and heading to Alaina’s Southport apartment so we could celebrate the launch of our site at midnight.


My first trip to Europe (London, Paris, and Rome) with Alaina, relaunching The Everygirl, and my first Christmas single/on my own in almost a decade. This is also the year I almost lost Buddy to an autoimmune disorder, but he miraculously pulled through.

I never want to forget seeing Paris for the first time. I remember tearing up a little as we drove over the Seine on our way to our Aibnb. And this is random, but I vividly remember filling out Christmas cards (with Buddy dressed as Santa) with Buddy just a few weeks after he came home from the hospital and feeling so grateful.


That time Alaina and I moved in together, our press trip to Napa and Sonoma, and my first time in the pacific northwest.

I never want to forget my biggest and best Christmas party and summer nights on our patio.

photo by Stoffer Photography Interiors


I moved. Twice. Then I relaunched my blog, met Conor on Tinder, there was The Everygirl’s sofa collaboration with Interior Define, and we hired our first full-time employee.

I never want to forget (sorry if this is cheesy) walking outside my front door and seeing Conor standing there to pick me up for our first date.


The Everygirl got an office in the West Loop, Conor and I moved in together, and I traveled to Argentina, Iceland, Italy, France, NYC, a road trip through CA, and finally, Denmark.

I never want to forget sleeping in a yurt in Big Sur, sitting in our favorite coffee shop in Buenos Aires, the horses in Iceland, and spending the holidays with Conor and his family for the second time. I had only known everyone half a year in 2015 but this year, really knew them and felt like part of the family.

Scroll up in case you need a reminder of how I spent Christmas in 2013.

photo by Stoffer Photography Interiors


I got engaged, traveled to Portugal, and saw Bon Iver in Minneapolis (musical life dream fulfilled), and in just a few months, I’m going to marry this guy.

Photo by Emilia Jane

In most ways, it makes sense that I’ve been here for 7 years, but it’s also crazy to think about the fact that I (kind of) moved here in a whim. My car lease was up, I didn’t need a car (wasn’t in the budget on top of having an apartment) and Chicago seemed like a great city. Nashville was at the top of the list until a 3 day trip to Chicago. There was something about this city.

Have you moved to a new city on your own or done something big that you were afraid to do? I’d love to hear your story in the comments below! 

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