In December of 2012, literally a couple weeks before I was offered the job that I moved to New York for, I did some year-end cleaning. Makeup, shoes, jewelry, if I haven’t touched it in 6 months, it needed to go. But also internally: I rid myself of the things and people that I thought no longer served me.

I stopped writing for places I’d come to resent, entertaining ideas that didn’t align with my vision, and let go of people that if I hadn’t, I would start to resent myself for holding on to. It wasn’t something that I told anyone, it was between my vision book and I.

I wasn’t sure what was coming but I knew something had to be. I was diligent in my prayers, I was diligent in my work, and I knew blessings were on the way.

Man.

Were they ever. I had no idea that 26 would be so amazing. No idea. I had no idea that this is what life would be waiting for me in New York.  And to think, when I was 23, I started this site, as just something to do, and forever changed the course of my life. If little 23-year-old Channing could see me now, or uh, 4-year-old me?

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When I turned 24 and 25, I wrote myself 100 words to live by–here, on the blog. When I turned 26, I was just thankful to be here, calling New York home. I feel like I’ve grown up on this space. I read some of the things I wrote back then and think, you wait, you haven’t seen nothing, yet.

“You’re living out your dream everyday, honey,” my good friend Yasmein told me last night, making me cry before I pressed end call on my iPhone.

Not to say that everyday is Pinkberry, sequins and Chanel nail polish, but I mean, I get paid to write about fashion. I’ve been to Bermuda on a business trip. Jamaica to let loose with the girls. Covered a tech conference. Got kicked out of the Met.  Shopped sample sales. Attended New York Fashion Week. Worked red carpets. Interveiwed celebrities. Laughed so hard, I cried. Cried so hard, I threw up. Shot videos with Target. Saw Jay Z, Justin Timberlake, Drake and Kanye in concert. Broke my own heart. Helped plan dinner parties. Been a drunk at a public pool–sorry, Mom. Got tatted with my girls. Ridden a double-decker bus in London, found the words in Paris, made memories I barely remember in Barcelona, and quietly celebrated my year anniversary in this great city.

Nora Ephron perfectly described this place’s charm when she wrote, “I’d known since I was a child, I was going to live in New York eventually, and that everything in between would be just an intermission. I’d spent all those years imagining what New York was going to be like. I thought it was going to be the most exciting, magical, fraught-with-possibility place that you could ever live; a place where if you wanted something you might be able to get it; a place where I’d be surrounded by people I was dying to know; a place where I might be able to become the only thing worth being, a journalist. And I’d turn out to be right.”

New York, you my dear, are the best birthday gift I could ever ask for. I’m thankful to enter into another year with you, and anxious to see what you make of me before I’m thirty (and officially old–just kidding! Not really, though). Though, I do smell a new blog series, Thirty in 3… a bucket list of sorts.

Now I better go apply an eye cream and get to bed, Fashion Week officially kicks off tomorrow (today?) and just because I’m 27, doesn’t mean I have to look like it.