I’M BACK: Why I Relocated to Saint Paul, Minnesota

Less than two weeks ago, I moved cross country with only the belongings I could fit in my little car. For those of you who know me, relocating back to Minnesota might have come as a surprise.

Well, it was a bit of a surprise for me, too. For years I had rejected the idea of moving back but a little bubble of excitement around the thought of coming home popped up over the summer and grew rather quickly. With so many summer trips home (wedding season) and an extended stay this fall, something about being back became more and more appealing.

Once I decided I wanted to move, it was just a matter of figuring out when. Things fell rather perfectly into place and I made my trip back just before the end of the year.

My final days in NOLA were spent sending out the last of my inventory and attending lots of good-bye brunches, good-bye lunches, and good-bye happy hours!

My last major drop off to my neighborhood post office. (Complete with a holiday treat for my favorite USPS ladies!)

My last major drop off to my neighborhood post office. (Complete with a holiday treat for my favorite USPS ladies!)

Lots of good-bye's! Here with my NLC crew!

Lots of good-bye's! Here with my NLC crew!

Reconnecting with some of my Body Positive FIG students!

Reconnecting with some of my Body Positive FIG students!

Brunch! Brunch! Brunch!

Brunch! Brunch! Brunch!

What convinced me to move. . .

I am from Minnesota. Well, I technically grew up in Wisconsin till 7th grade but moved to MN when my parents divorced. My adolescent life started to get much better when we moved, so that’s probably why I’ve always claimed Minnesota as home. (I am, however, a Green Bay Packer fan. My dad and I have approximately 5 main topics of conversation – the Packers being a major one – so, I couldn’t imagine not being a Packer fan. . .although, I am admittedly a “I’m here for the party not actually to watch the game” and/or score googling kind of fan.)

I’ve been out of Minnesota for 5 years. Halfway through college I knew I wanted to relocate to a warmer climate. Even summers weren’t warm enough for me here. So, I moved to Texas for grad school where I loved the weather but hated ultra-small-town life. Then, I moved to New Orleans, Louisiana. Though I loved the city for lots of reasons (people, culture, food, festivals, sense of community), I didn’t feel a pull to settle down there. Also, the humidity was miserable. I kept waiting for my body to get used to the climate but I was just as frizzy and shiny on the day I left as I was when I arrived. (Athough, now I am having some major issues adjusting back to the dryness here. At this rate, I’ll be going through a jar of coconut oil a week.)

For years I said I would never move back. I loved visiting but didn’t want to settle down here. (And, at this point I suppose I am not committing to that either. I’ve been putting an “at least three years and probably longer” timeline on it.)  But when I visited home at the end of September, it all just clicked. Somehow, there was a perfect mix of variables that made moving back seem like it would be the most natural decision in the world:

  1. My summer was quite lonely and being closer to my people (my close friends and family) felt so good.
  2. The weather while I visited was magical. (Even while I was basking in the sunny-but-just-cool-enough-for-a-scarf-weather I knew this was not typical and a major bait and switch move on the part of my home state. But, I still couldn’t resist it.)
  3. I have always felt a lot of support for my shop and other professional endeavors from folks here. And, not just from friends, but my more extended circles from college and beyond. This is so important and feels so good.
  4. Along with Bella Moxie, I hosted the best attended pop-up-shop I have been part of (so far). The overwhelmingly positive response made it even more clear to me that plus-size women want and need thrift shops that focus on our sizes!
  5. I helped organize my 10 year class reunion which took place over my small town’s Apple Festival weekend and, for the first time, instead of feeling sort of annoyed or above small-town life, I felt extraordinarily nostalgic and happy.  
  6. Oh, and.  . . an old friend from college and I reconnected and quickly decided to become roommates. (Love and thanks to my previous roommate in NOLA who helped me realize that, even as an adult, roommate relationships can be beautiful and helpful.) So, I had a place waiting for me when I got back up here.

All of this, along with the fact that I had moved to New Orleans years earlier for a job and a man. . .neither of which I was with any longer, helped me make the decision to move back to Saint Paul.

The Journey North

Those following my Snapchat story saw the play by play of my packing, car Tetris, and the journey north getting colder and colder. It was an adventure but one that I’ve done before when moving from MN to TX and then TX to LA.  

My car was an absolute champ! (Car-related struggles were also detailed on Snapchat in the days leading up to my departure.) To make it through the 18+ hours of driving,  I listened to lots of podcasts and also Aziz Ansari's book "Modern Romance" - which he hilariously narrates on the audio recording. (LOVE Aziz. Though, I'm not a fan of his subtle fat-shaming. Don't tell me I'm the only one who has picked up on that in his new series, stand up, and in this book!) 

I am so happy to be here!

Personally, this is a great place for me to be right now. Working for myself and mostly from home, it’s important for me to be closer to friends and people I love. This is also an area that is really familiar to me. Instead of learning a new city, I’m simply back in one where I am happy and comfortable.

Professionally, this will be an excellent area to open up a thrift shop. It’s my intention to expand my plus-size thrift shop to a physical location here in the Twin Cities. Boutique thrifting is big here – but rarely do stores have great plus-size sections. I am confident that there are enough customers, fans, and friends here to help me make it a reality. Plus, I know that with all of the young professionals moving and shaking here I can be a great benefit to folks through my style consulting and life coaching services. Oh, and no sales tax on clothing definitely helps my shop’s bottom line.

Here we go. . .

Now that I'm back I am focused on settling in and getting into a good routine. I'll have Cat's Closet back up and running this week. (I already have so many fab items to share!) Some pop-up shops are in the works. And, I am beyond delighted to be closer to my favorite shop owner at The Golden Gurl and am excited to be chatting collaborations already.

Everyday, I am even more convinced that I am exactly where I'm supposed to me.

Speaking of  The Golden Gurl Shop , I am so in love with this cute Minnesota tumbler!

Speaking of The Golden Gurl Shop, I am so in love with this cute Minnesota tumbler!