Ask Cait // Q&A V3.
WOAH, it’s been awhile since my last Q&A post! While I’m always answering your questions via Instagram DM and email, it’s nice to round ’em up sometimes in case someone else’s question is something you’ve also been curious about. I’m going to make an effort to do these posts more regularly again so if you’ve got a question for me, ask away.
So let’s get to it —
How did you find your New York apartment? Any tips and tricks for someone who lives not in NYC but hoping to move in the next year?
I’ll be working on a post about my move to New York in the coming weeks (including details about apartment hunting!) but being in the city for a few days is critical for finding an apartment, as well as working with a broker in many cases. I found my apartment through a broker and although expensive, it was helpful to be able to see a bunch of apartments in a short period of time while I was in New York on a work trip, although I’ve heard many others swear by StreetEasy for finding no fee rentals as well.
One big tip for apartment hunting in New York: bring a tape measurer with you + take good notes on the apartments you’re interested in. A lot of New York apartments, especially older pre-war buildings have funky layouts and room sizes, so it’s helpful to be able to measure dimensions and take notes to help determine if the space is truly live-able.
I’m thinking about starting a blog. What are your tips for getting noticed?
In my opinion, there are 3 key factors for standing out and “succeeding” (I put that in quotes because I realize I am hardly a success in the space, but I still love it) in the blog world. #1: Find your own focus and voice. There are millions of blogs out there now and while many create amazing content, there’s also a lot of it that is very similar from one blog to the next. Really think about what you’d like your blog to cover and how you can put your own unique spin on it – hint: it’s by being yourself! #2: Network like crazy! The blog world is actually pretty damn small and an amazing community; engage with other bloggers, attend events and don’t be afraid to reach out and ask someone to coffee or to grab a glass of wine. Relationships and community are both key. #3: Be patient and consistent – blogs can really take a long time to take off and the more you understand that upfront, the better you’ll be. I’ve been blogging for nearly eight years now (holy shit) and published content consistently for about three years before I even received free product or made any income off of the blog. Make sure you’re starting blogging for the right reasons and truly enjoy what you’re writing about and others will take notice!
How do you get free travel? Like your trip with Finnair?!
The Finnair trip was actually my first ever press trip, and I was lucky enough to be invited due to PR relationships I’ve built over the years. All of my other travel is self-funded, and done as affordably as possible by booking trips based on flight deals + staying in Airbnbs vs. hotels. You can read more on my tips for keeping travel affordable here and my advice on solo travel here (and why it’s become so important to me).
While travel has become a huge part of the blogging space, I typically make it a point to not partner with any brands during my travels so I’m able to have a chance to unplug and have a more authentic travel experience, with my itinerary based on my own interests/schedule/mood. Travel is a true passion of mine and since I work full time in addition to blogging, my vacation time is really precious to me and not having an obligation to “work” while traveling is critical for me to unwind.
How do you manage a full time job + running a blog?
I wish I had a big secret to reveal for this one but the truth is, it’s a lot of work… on both sides of things. I’ve always stood firm in my belief that I never wanted to blog full time, and with that decision, been aware of the sacrifices that come with it as I’ve blogged and built my community over the years. Recently I’ve decided to scale back on the blogging front to give myself more time and space for free time and it’s made a significant difference in my overall happiness. Sometimes you’ve really gotta remind yourself tht there truly only are so many hours in the day and that it’s okay to not spend every waking moment working and trying to do it all. Fun and life can also be priorities within your path to success and you don’t have to feel guilty about it – life goes on and I realized I’m much more likely to regret not spending more time with friends or dating during this phase of my life than I am only publishing 3 blog posts a week versus my previous 6.
Are you a natural blonde?
I am! My sister and I are both natural blondes, thanks to our blonde hair, blue eyed father but over the years I’ve loved going a little cooler with my blonde and get partial highlights done twice a year to get as blonde as possible without the commitment of regular bleaching or a lot of upkeep.
Hi Cait! I’m currently interviewing for a position that is completely remote. I’ve seen you post about working from home sometimes but I’m curious, do you have any tips for how to stay focused, stay sane and stay socialized? Thanks!
Working remote definitely offers both a lot of amazing opportunities and challenges – my company started having “work from wherever Wednesday” almost a year ago which has been a really nice way to break the week up and give yourself time to be heads down on things one day a week without the distractions that can come with working in an office. For working remote full-time I’d suggest getting into a solid routine; whether it be a workout class in the morning or just making it a point to get dressed every day, as well as making it a point to work normal, consistent hours. Things can get a bit blurry when you’re working from home and there have definitely been days where I’ve looked at the clock and it’s 8 PM and I’m still in my pajamas! You could also look into co-working spaces in your city to give yourself the option of going into the “office” whenever you’d like, and to get some of the socialization that comes with a typical office environment.
I’m relocating to San Francisco this summer for a job opportunity and looking for advice on apartment hunting and navigating all the different neighborhoods! How did you find the right neighborhood for your interests and lifestyle? Also, suffering from sticker shock moving from the Midwest!
Congratulations on the move, that’s so exciting! First and foremost I’d think about location and proximity to where you’ll be working and the types of things you’ll want to do. Mass transit in SF is pretty terrible and it’s not always the most walkable city with the hills, so your Uber/Lyft rides will add up quickly if you’re needing to get across town all of the time. Craigslist will be your best friend for apartment hunting, I’d suggest spending a day walking around some potential neighborhoods and then setting up IFTTT searches for apartments in those neighborhoods so you can act quickly when something new gets listed. Personally I loved living in both Hayes Valley and NOPA because of how centrally located they were to other things within the city, but both with a great restaurant/shopping scene that made me very happy to hang around my own ‘hood on the weekends. And I feel you with sticker shock! My rent doubled moving from Chicago to SF – you’ll definitely have to make some sacrifices living in the Bay Area but it’s doable if you have some flexibility on “mandatories” or are open to living with roommates.
I’d love to hear from you! You can submit a question via my sidebar or this form and I’ll be sure to answer another round of questions soon.