If I could tell 10 year old me that after graduating college I’d be living in New York City, I don’t think she’d be able to contain her excitement. If I continued on, though, to tell her that my version of sticking out an arm weighed down by a black Saks Fifth Ave bag to hail a cab is actually lugging brown paper bags six subway stops from Trader Joe’s because that’s all I can afford…she’d probably have a few choice words for me. I may live in the UES, but by no means am I living the luxury NYC fantasy that avid Gossip Girl viewers have come to expect. I DO, however, have firsthand experience in getting just enough of a taste for that lifestyle to keep the dream alive. So consider this the fake it ’till you make it guide to navigating the Big Apple in your 20s. I may not be spending weekends at the Plaza just because, but I do know my way around bottomless brunches, post-work entertainment, and influencer supported fitness classes (which are a must for anyone who eats as many buffalo chicken pizza slices after a night out as I have since moving here).