#coffeetalk

1. What kind of camera do you each use? 
Brooke: I use a Canon 7D with a 50mm lens. I really want to purchase an 85mm lens, but it's pretty pricey (I've heard it's the best for shooting street style photography).
Meggan: I use a Canon 6D with a 24-105mm lens. We just got this last year and are really happy with it!

2. How do you budget for each season? I always feel like I need to buy so many new items as the seasons change. 
Brooke: I know this is going to be different for everyone based on based on budget, but I'll share what I do. It's so tempting to purchase everything new at the beginning of each season, but I try to only pay full price for basics that I know will last more than one season (denim, leather jackets, coats, boots for fall). For trendy pieces, I head to F21, H&M, and Zara - I certainly do not spend a lot of money on these items (for example - I absolutely love the suede skirt trend this season & just picked up this one, and I have to say the quality is actually great and runs TTS). The best piece of advice I have for budgeting is BUY NOW, WEAR LATER. This means search sales for spring/summer items that will always be in style - you can save SO much money this way, and it's one of my favorite things to do. I know it's hard to spend money on things you can't wear right now, but you'll be so happy once spring rolls around and you've got a brand new pair of nude sandals that you got 50% off. I was eyeing these all summer, and now they are on major sale - SCORE! This is definitely a sandal I will love for years to come, and I'm so happy I didn't pay full price. To sum it all up, my 3 tips for budgeting are: 
1. Only pay full price for basics - denim, leather jackets, coats, boots.
2. Head to budget-friendly stores for trendy items.
3. Buy (sale pieces) now, wear later. 
Meggan: I have to agree with everything Brooke said but will add a couple tips! Save money for big sales like the Nordstrom or Shopbop sale. Nordstrom's anniversary sale starts in July and you can score staple fall pieces (boots, faux fur, jackets) on MAJOR sale. I set aside money from each paycheck to save for shopping. So that way when fall comes I don't have to take money out of my checking account that I use for bills, insurance, etc. If you can save $50-$200 each paycheck (whatever works best for your lifestyle!) you can have a pretty good chunk of change to do some shopping. This summer I saved around $300 each month and had about $1,200 to shop for fall which was more then enough! Also, If you do a lot of online shopping you can almost always find a coupon code - always google before you order!

3. Meggan - any tips on how to create that perfect top knot bun? 
I've been meaning to get a tutorial done but it's been a little cray cray around here lately and I've been traveling every week! Buns are great for second day hair - if your hair is clean I would spray a little dry shampoo or hairspray in it to make it a little "dirty." Pull your hair into a high ponytail, wrap your pony clockwise and secure it with hair-tie (should have a donut shape), tuck in ends and bobby pin stray hairs. I pull down on the front and back of my hair to create a messy look. I will get a video/pics up soon, hope this helps in the meantime!

4. Brooke - any tips on apartment hunting in NYC? 
Uhg - apartment hunting in NYC is no joke! There's no way to sugar coat this - it's unlike anywhere else I've ever lived (Iowa, Arizona, California, Chicago), the apartment game is so different here. There are buildings you can go to that are considered "no fee" apartments which is a great option if you're on a budget. Unfortunately, we didn't find any "no fee" buildings that fit our criteria when we were apartment hunting (but we were still living in CA at the time, and flew in for ONE day to find an apartment, so we didn't have a lot of time). Basically, if you're interested in renting a condo, townhome (or anything "no fee"), you must have a broker. You can't even get an appointment to look at an apartment without a broker - it's all sorts of ridiculous. When we were looking, we thought for sure we could get around this...but you just can't (unless you know the owner of the condo or it's a special circumstance). Just like everything else in NYC, it's expensive...I know, not what you wanted to hear. You end up paying your broker around 15% of your rent cost FOR THE YEAR (which with NYC prices is a ton...and you have to write them a check before you secure your lease). This may be different for different brokerages, but I'm speaking from our experience only - we worked with Douglas Elliman. In terms of neighborhood, your options are endless - we lived on the Upper East Side in Manhattan which is great for families, but I would have loved to live in Tribeca (my absolute favorite neighborhood in NYC). Other great neighborhoods: Upper West Side, West Village, East Village, and SoHo. There are obviously great neighborhoods all over Manhattan (and Brooklyn), so my best piece of advice would be to explore all of the neighborhoods you are interested in, and figure out which one works best for you! 

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