This post is part of my on-going partnership with Fossil’s new Q Smartwatch #FossilFirsts Series.

On July 1st, 2015, I made the decision to quit my stable corporate job to work on my blog full-time. It was at once one of the most exciting and nerve-wracking days of my professional life (thus far). Making that decision – and knowing that I had ample room for failure – gave me the push I needed to pursue a career in industries I was passionate about. Knowing what I know now (and how much my success came from freeing myself up to explore those passions), I wouldn’t change a thing!

There have been a lot of perks to my job, but one of my absolute favorite aspects to my work is that because I don’t have a traditional schedule (think 9-5’s), I’m able to allot a chunk of my day to exploring and fostering my community. I’ve met the most amazing shopkeepers, restauranteurs, baristas, and even a few roadside vendors that have since become close confidantes of mine, both professionally and personally.

Meeting other professionals in community, seeing how they’ve succeeded, and learning from their wisdom has been exponentially rewarding for me. For the first time in my life, I’m feeling truly fulfilled. I’ve found the balance that you read about in self-help books and think, “that’ll never be me – that’s a bunch of bull!” But it happened… because I listened to my gut, followed my passion, and opened my network up to inspiration!

As part of my on-going partnership with Fossil, I was tasked with showing off my #FossilFirst moment and how I incorporate my Fossil Q Grant Hybrid smartwatch into it. Since I’ve talked so much about my community in this post, I thought it would be fun to include a few of my favorite spots in the East Village of Manhattan where I find my most creative self:

  1. East Village Florist – This neighborhood staple carries just about every variety of flower and plant you can imagine. Walking in feels like you’ve crossed into Narnia – and the friendly staff always comes with a quirky story.
  2. Three Seat Espresso & Barber – This Instagram-worthy café has captured the heart of Avenue A. Residents flood into this marble gem at all hours. And while you may come for the coffee, you’ll stay for the conversations with the friendly Australian staff. If I’m working over coffee, I love having my Fossil Q Hybrid Smartwatch around because it can control my music so I can swap up the song without skipping a beat!
  3. The Lodge – This menswear-only shop carries the latest and greatest in products and accessories, while offering up dapper inspiration to shoppers along 10th
  4. Pouring Ribbons – Step into another era with this uber-cool East Village bar and snack shop. Consistently ranked among favorite bars in the City by those “in-the-know”, Pouring Ribbons is perfect for a neighborhood meetup and a wonderful spot to catch up over a cocktail. (Ps – the Fossil Q also allows me to quickly view my phone’s notifications so I can stay in the conversation without feeling completely disconnected.
  5. Still House – This beautiful interiors and knick-knack shop is a minimalist’s dream. Housing some of the chicest homewares around – even if you don’t snag anything, you’ll walk away feeling inspired.
  6. New Museum – The only dedicated contemporary art museum in Manhattan, the New Museum boasts itself as a leading destination for new art and new ideas. With rotating exhibitions and an incredibly curated permanent collection, you’d me amiss to miss out on this!

EDIT NOTE: Photograph of Three Seat Espresso was mistakenly uncredited. Credit belongs to photographer Abhishek Dekate. Check out his blog -or- Instagram!

Special thanks to Fossil for sponsoring this blog post. You can check out the Fossil Q Smartwatch here, their newest addition to the Fossil family. Or check out the full collection here.