You know that feeling you get when you run across a witty commenter on Facebook or funky picture taker on Instagram? She could totally be your bestie. Well, that’s how we feel about Juley Le, the food editor at TheEverygirl.com and creator of Upperlyne & Co., a New Orleans-based lifestyle blog. She’s got this super cool elegant minimalist vibe, her food-porn pictures make us drool, and she’s got guts. At 28, she decided she didn’t like who she was becoming, so she took a leap into the unknown: she left her job and began to work for herself. She calls it The Big Quit.
“Sure, I got the big job title and comfortable salary, but life didn’t feel good,” she wrote in a June 14 blog post. “And I became a jerk. I stressed about petty things and didn’t enjoy my life.”
Today, she works as a freelance creative consultant. Her projects run the gamut and include developing a concept store in Houston as well as her editorial job with TheEverygirl.com. She’s also in the start-up phase of developing her own product line, which is still in the hush hush phase. She did, however, let slip that it’s something for the kitchen.
Yep, Juley is high on our list of girls we wish were our bestie. Plus, did we mention that she lives in New Orleans? The Big Easy is not only one of our all-time favorite towns, it also made the list of best purchase markets for millennial homebuyers, as identified by the National Association of Realtors. Who better to give us a peek at New Orleans than the gutsy, stylish, foodie millennial herself?
Girl’s Guide to Real Estate: You’ve bounced in and out of New Orleans a bit over the years. What it is about the town that keeps you coming back?
Juley Le: Living in Chicago and Nashville showed me how a city can have it all: a healthy economy, bustling small businesses, progressing education, and a specific identity. They both pretty much have it figured out. New Orleans, on the other hand, is imperfect and developing in the most promising way. There’s plenty of room for new ideas, businesses, reform, and most importantly, a landscape that welcomes anyone who wants to make an impact. It only made sense to be where I can develop my entrepreneurial dreams in the city I consider home!
GGRE: What are your favorite New Orleans neighborhoods for living, for shopping, and for playing?
JL: Frenchman, Magazine, Freret, and Oak Streets are great hubs for restaurants and an active nightlife. For living, the Garden District and Mid-City are ideal for people who prefer quieter environments and lead active lifestyles. Magazine Street and downtown are the go-to areas for shopping.
GGRE: We saw the amazing windows in your home office on your blog at Upperlyne & Co. Envy-inducing. Please tell us about the rest of your home.
JL: Aw thank you! I rent a one-bedroom apartment in the Garden District that I found on Craigslist. It’s in a converted mansion that holds just eight one- and two-bedroom units. Because the building is pretty old, there’s plenty of charm built in, including those large French windows, crown molding, a sunroom, and wooden floors – along with poor insulation and a closed layout. You have to take the bad with the good! Though I have the world’s tiniest kitchen, the rest of the apartment is pretty spacious.
GGRE: What’s your favorite room in your home?
JL: The newly made-over office is hands-down the best room. With West Elm, we turned the sunroom into a fully functional office. Before, it served as a holding area for clothes and files I didn’t want to deal with. Now, I look forward to working and actually turn to the office for inspiration. There are times when files and look books are tossed everywhere and it’s a big mess, but generally it always feels warm and inviting.
GGRE: Ok, we’ve told you we envy your home office. Please share your own story of house envy. Do you have any drive-by favorites in New Orleans?
JL: SO MUCH HOUSE ENVY. There are so many unique homes here. I’m particularly in love with classic, all white New Orleans homes with black iron details, green striped awnings, and impeccably clean landscaping.
GGRE: Do you have plans to buy any time soon?
JL: I certainly dream of owning my own space in New Orleans, though not any time soon because I’m financially not there, yet. It’ll most likely be an apartment or condo I can renovate. My boyfriend and I would love to have a house in Houma (our hometown 45 minutes south of New Orleans). In our dream world, that house is where we’d raise our future children, and we’d have the New Orleans apartment to escape to on weekends. Wishful dreaming!
GGRE: On Upperlyne & Co., you’ve described your style as minimalist. Where would a fellow minimalist shop in New Orleans for home décor?
JL: Although most interior design and home stores carry a large amount of inventory, I think a minimalist can shop anywhere. The key is to be thoughtful and purchase the best investment or accessory for your home instead of piling a lot of stuff into your cart. I particularly love to browse West Elm, Eclectic Home, Design within Reach, Target, Pavement, and the vintage shops for art on Magazine Street.
GGRE: How about a fellow foodie? Where would she shop in New Orleans?
JL: Homestead Nola for small home goods, Keife & Co for wine and charcuterie plates, St. James Cheese Company for their awesome cheeses, Williams-Sonoma for everything.
GGRE: We can’t let you go without asking about restaurants. Please share three of your favorite dishes in town and where we can find them.
JL: Gouda Beignets at Bouligny Tavern for cocktail nights with the girls. The Damn Good Nachos with a classic margarita at The Rum House to close out hump day. Drop Biscuits at District Donuts Sliders Brew to start your Saturday mornings. Don’t forget the butter and jam!