At the turn of a New Year, I usually never feel any different. It’s not like when the clock strikes midnight that some new wave of revelation and hopefulness swoops over my body. For some reason though 2020 felt different. I did feel hopeful. I had this gut instinct literally at the stroke of midnight that this might just be my year to shine. It was the weirdest thing ever.
So, just in case that is the truth of the matter, I am being very intentional this year. I have come up with three categories: Career-Driven, Personal and Financial. Within those three categories, I’ve established five goals that I want to achieve in 2020. Each goal is specific and quantifiable in an effort to really put all of my focus into checking every single item off my list by December 31, 2020 11:59PM.
I operate off of checklists, so this is the holy grail of checklists for myself this year and I am holding myself accountable. I hope if you have the same feeling I do about 2020 and you too want to be intentional about goal setting this year but don’t know where to start that this post acts as a thought starter for you. Let’s do the damn thing and crush our goals this year!
Career-Driven (This encompasses both my full-time job and my secondary “job” as a blogger):
Participate in 3 learning opportunities related to my full-time job
Take on at least 3 new clients at work
Attend one blogging conference
Post 3-4 times a week on my blog
Get to 10K followers on my Instagram account
Personal (This category encompasses personal goals and relationships):
Read one new book each quarter
Volunteer at least 2 times this year for different organizations
Participate in the “one in, one out” rule (Buy one new thing, one thing I already own has to go)
Start a podcast with my mom by June
Grow my relationship to its next chapter
Financial (This one is self-explanatory):
Save enough money to put a down payment on a house by 2021
Put 10% of my paycheck in my savings account
Save money by only eating out 2-3 times a week (I usually eat out way more so this will probably be my hardest one lol)
Be mindful of spending in order to take at least 5 trips this year
Apply for and start using a credit card (For the credit part but also points for travel)
3 Tips For Setting Your Own Goals:
Categorize your goals to help compartmentalize your mind
Create S.M.A.R.T goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Based)
I often ponder about timing. Are the events that occur in our life due to the romanticized idea of fate or are we strategically placed in acts of randomness. If I weren’t perpetually 10 minutes late, would my life be totally different? This thought especially crosses my mind when I experience a year like 2019. Cause and effect; if I didn’t or did do this, would that of happened? It was filled with a lot of high highs and an abundance of low lows. But in the twisted plot of it all, I learned many valuable lessons.
As 2019’s last chapter comes to an end, I’ve realized that from the things I’ve gone through, I’ve learned:
To revel in the uncontrollable. I lost two grandparents this year, I stayed at a job longer than anticipated because I loved it more than expected, I traveled all over North America all of which was not really pre-planned and so much more happened that I didn’t expect. Instead of wondering why things are happening to us, I have realized that they are actually happening for us. The uncontrollable is inevitable and uncomfortable, but it is necessary in order to become stronger and more adaptable.
To follow your passion. This year I started this blog with no idea what in the hell I was doing. I was nervous and fearful of what others might think. As a result, I’ve found a purpose to help young-professional women, my confidence has doubled, my connections have nearly tripled and I reconnected with something that comes pretty natural to me: writing.
That over communication is key. This year, if I want something, I have learned to ask for it. Although we fantasize about superheroes, no one in the real world can actually read minds. I tend to hold my thoughts in, sweep them under the rug, but by simply stating a feeling or asking for something I want/need, it stops the countdown clock before it reaches ka-boom. I mean the worst thing they can say is no.
I was never one to pick a word for the year, not because I thought it was silly but just because I’m too indecisive to narrow one down. But looking back on 2019, I’ve decided to retroactively choose my word based on the year’s events. I chose discoverability. I discovered a new sense of self; someone I am learning to truly be really proud of. I’ve discovered a new passion and creative outlet. I discovered parts of the world I had never seen before. I discovered connections I never knew I needed. I discovered this confident, strong, opinionated professional woman who speaks up in important meetings. I’ve discovered the ability to ask for what I want. I’ve discovered how important the core relationships in my life really are and how much those select few people really mean to me. I discovered happiness in an extensive closet collection with my Rent the Runway membership, happiness in the sound of a champagne cork pop and having beautiful dinner experiences (hey, you even have to celebrate the small things every now and then).
So, for 2020, I am choosing my word now! I have chosen growth. I want to grow my relationship into the next chapter. I want to grow as a professional by reaching the next milestone. I want to grow my online presence both in numbers and in other verticals. I want to grow my travel bucket list because I just keep scratching off my top destinations. I want to grow my savings account. I want to continue to grow in my relationships with family both close and distant. I want to grow in my wellness journey. I want to be intentional about my growth.
I hope you are entering 2020 with a positive mindset and with intention. It’s not only the start of a new year, it’s the start of a new decade. If that isn’t a clean slate, then I don’t know what is.
We are officially on the 5 day countdown to Christmas! Even better? I officially will not be back in the office until January 6th!!! Some work from home days and lots of PTO has me the happiest I’ve been in a while because this week was brutally busy. I’m looking forward to some major downtown, food, family and maybe a massage (or two) mixed in. Shhhhh.
What am I going to do with all this extra free time? Well if you find yourself any sort of bored over the next few days, here are some great articles I found on the internet this week. I hope you enjoy and have very happy holidays with loved ones!
Life is too short to not celebrate any chance you get and that’s exactly what I capitalized on this year for my birthday. I celebrated my 24th year on this planet not one, not two, but for four straight days. And if I’m being completely honest, I still have one more dinner this weekend. “Extra” would be a word I’d possibly toss around for the constant, busy schedule that was this week.
If you follow along my journey on Instagram (if you don’t, you should and can HERE), then you know that the reason I’ve been absent on my site is because this week I’ve literally been out every.single.night! The week started with a celebratory dinner at Etta with my mom. Etta has been on my list for SO long and it definitely did not disappoint. I will write a more in-depth review soon. On Tuesday, I heard the Jonas Brothers were coming to town, so I dragged my mom to AllState Arena to row 4 on the floor and we danced the entire night away. Wednesday was the monthly Wine Night at one of our favorite local restaurants. The finale, my actual birthday, was yesterday (Thursday 12/5) and I ended my crazy week with PTO from work, a 3-hour spa day and a fabulous dinner at the Princess Café.
This week has been magical and although some people have given me a hard time for celebrating so much, I really don’t mind because I’ve had a blast. Maybe I encouraged you to celebrate some more for your next birthday and for that alone, it was worth it. But, it is time to get back to regularly scheduled programming, which starts with the weekly Friday Favorites. Some of the best articles and videos I found on the internet are below. I hope you enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!
Art Basel is happening right now in Miami, I’ve had fun following along with some of my fave celebs on their social accounts!
It’s officially the most wonderful time of the year! I have to say yesterday, I was meeting my boyfriend at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago where he works and almost teared up when I saw the Christmas tree in the lobby. It was quite literally the first decorated tree I’ve seen this year and it just all set in at once that we are officially in the holiday season. I need to get some shopping done ASAP.
This weekend’s plans definitely reflect my newfound holiday spirit. Tonight, I am going to a Friendsgiving and then tomorrow, I will be at the Stratford Crossing holiday event in Bloomingdale, IL from noon-3PM. This event is one that you are not going to want to miss because Santa is arriving on a helicopter, there are activities for all ages and if you spend $25 or more at any of the Stratford Crossing stores the day of the event, you receive a free photo with Santa. If you are from the Chicagoland area and are available, I hope to see you there. Let me know if you have any questions about the event before then. One last time, it’s tomorrow Saturday, Nov. 23 from noon-3PM at Stratford Crossing in Bloomingdale, IL.
Back to regularly scheduled programming! If you find yourself catching up on this past week’s current events, here is a list of some of my favorite things on the internet this week. I hope you have a fabulous weekend!
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last week,
you know that Instagram has now started taking away the ability to see other
users like counts. My personal account was put on the list as one of the first
groups to get my like count viewability revoked. I have been living with this
new Instagram feature for about a week now and I am here to report that the
Earth is still spinning, I am still breathing and that when it happens to you,
you too will survive. No need to panic.
It’s no secret that social media has the ability to be a
toxic place if used in the wrong manner. The comparison game and constant
highlight reel is inevitable. With that comes some self-esteem issues and thus
even some mental health issues. Instagram is trying to combat that, cue the
like change. Instagram started testing this new feature earlier this year in 7
countries around the world: New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Brazil
and Australia. After a period of time, what was the result of this test you may
ask? Overall, it generally led to positive sentiment. With that, CEO Adam
Mosseri decided it was time to roll out this new update to the U.S.
You now may be asking yourself why this change was even
necessary in the first place. Well, according to Mosseri, the idea was to try
to depressurize Instagram making it less of a competitive space, encourage
users to post, connect and engage more and reduce social comparison and
anxiety. He’s also discussed Instagram’s growing interest in being able to shop
right on the app allowing Influencers and brands a new revenue stream.
If you aren’t aware, influencers usually get on brands’
radars for potential collaborations and sponsored posts (one way they make an
income) by their engagement rate (how many people are liking, commenting,
sharing and saving your post), by your content quality, direct conversions, positive
return on investment and by their follower counts. Mosseri knows that influencers
are a huge part of Instagram’s success as their audiences are the ones that
continue to log into the app day after day to check in on their favorites.
These content creators are vital to the success of the app and Instagram is
aware of the fact that if this new update impacts the success of influencers,
it may reconsider the change. In my opinion, that’ll never happen.
So now you may be wondering how I feel after a week of not being able to see anybody’s likes. Well first let me clarify, I can see my own like count. I can see the exact number of likes all of my posts receive. I cannot see the amount of likes another user’s post receives. Under your post where it used to say “liked by __ and 100 others” for example, it now just says “liked by __ and others”. You still have the ability though to like people’s content. You can still tap that little heart and show your love.
Honestly, I think this update is fabulous. I honestly do feel way less pressure posting content. I honestly feel like I can post whatever I want to whenever I want to. Get ready for 3, 4, maybe ever 5 posts a day (kidding of course, who has time for that).
But in all seriousness, I’m not mad about this change whatsoever. I feel like if anything, it’s encouraging me and pushing me to be more creative. I really have to work for that like, earn that like and when a post performs well, I get personal satisfaction knowing that people didn’t have to like it, but they still did anyway. I even love that I can’t see other people’s likes. It did make me feel bad when I saw other people post shitty quality images and get way more likes than a post I put time and effort into. Now, it doesn’t even matter because I can’t see if your post is performing well or not. From an influencer standpoint, I think this is pushing influencers to step up their game and is forcing brands to work with people who can contribute to actual metrics that matter and are attributable to success. Brands will now have to look at things like direct conversions, reach and click-through rates. If you work in marketing, you know that this is wayyyyy more substantial to businesses than vanity metrics.
If this slight change will help with mental health too, then of course I am all about it. In fact, I’m kind of more inspired than ever. I know people don’t want to see my face every single day, so I’m all for bringing back the creative flat lays, beautiful landscapes and food pics. Heck, maybe I’ll even pick up my camera again and just start snapping away. As new platforms start to gain popularity, like TikTok, Instagram needed to always evolve to remain relevant in the ever-changing world we live in. Evolution is key, not our enemy.
The cons of the update you may ask next? I hate that not everybody has the new update yet. I’m constantly asking people “do you still have likes” “can you see likes on Instagram?” I swear it’s my new form of an icebreaker. I wish they would just roll it out to everyone already so we can all adapt together. It’s coming though, no worries. Some of the influencers I follow are complaining that removing likes will only shift users into playing the comparison game in terms of comments on posts or follower counts. I don’t agree with this at all.
I think if you have a verified, real following (not bots or fake accounts) and if you’ve built a solid following of engaged users (not people who are commenting “love this” or “you go girl”) but rather asking thoughtful questions and conversing in an organic way, then you girl should have nothing to worry about. I absolutely HATE when people say that Instagram is just a highlight reel, like yeah duh!! Bad things happen enough in my life as it is, I don’t want to navigate to my escape space and read about your awful day too. If people are truly making you feel that terrible about yourself, then newsflash you need to start unfollowing and find people who inspire and encourage you to be a better person. Besides that, I really don’t have any other things tearing at my heart. I think I’m pretty good with it.
All in all, there’s truly nothing that any of us can do about this change. If a slight update to an app is making you that pissed off, then in the words of Taylor Swift “you need to calm down.” If you’re worried about the comparison game continuing with other Instagram metrics, well that sounds more like a you problem than an Instagram problem. It’s Mark Zuckerberg’s world and frankly we’re all just living in it. As previously mentioned, the Earth is still spinning, I am still breathing air, my cat still needs to eat food, nothing that earth-shattering is actually happening in our lives. I promise you it will be okay. In fact, I think this a great step in our relationship. Embrace it. Love it. Revel in it and push yourself to create bomb content people want to like because well, you don’t really have a choice either way.
People often become attached to certain brands. If you’re going to buy paper towels and dish soap, you may choose Target over Walmart because you have had a better experience and find the brand more attractive (that’s a real life example for me). When it comes to coffee, I am a loyal Starbucks consumer. I will always choose them over Starbucks’ competitors because I think their products just taste better and I love the crafty variations.
As the seasons change, so do my drink orders. This past Summer, I was an Iced Caramel Macchiato and Very Berry Hibiscus kind of girl. Fall, I’m married to Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Starbuck’s new Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew. Winter has hit hard and fast in Chicago this year, or at least it feels like it has. While I am on my commute to work every morning, I find it a necessity to have a piping hot Starbucks cup in my hand to keep me warm. If you’re the same way, or if you’re looking for a new drink to try as we transition into the holiday season, here are some of my favorite Winter Starbucks drinks!
Caramel Brulee Latte – Starbucks has this holiday drink every season. It is the perfect mix of espresso, steamed milk, caramel Brulee sauce and caramel pieces. It’s sweet while still having that quintessential coffee taste. Basic but delicious!
Blonde Eggnog Latte – This is a classic holiday favorite made with steamed eggnog and the Starbucks Blonde Espresso Roast topped with nutmeg. It feels like Christmas Eve night in a cup.
Vanilla Latte – If you’re not one for fancy concoctions, the Starbucks Vanilla Latte is a staple drink. This is the perfect drink for the coffee lover who prefers a subtle sweet treat.
Hot Caramel Macchiato – In the Summer I drink this cold, in the Winter I get it HOT. I love how frothy this Starbucks year-round favorite is. Steamed milk, vanilla-flavored syrup matched with all of the important espresso notes finished with caramel drizzle. Hands down, probably my favorite overall Starbucks drink!
Cold Chai Tea Latte with Soy Milk and Three Pumps of Cinnamon Dolce – So that was a mouth full…BUT my friend introduced this drink to me a few years back and I always have to get it around this time. It tastes like Christmas in a cup. This is the only drink I’d get cold during the Winter months. It is so good, trust me!
Please leave any of your favorite Winter Starbucks drinks
below! I am always looking to mix it up, so all suggestions are welcomed and
encouraged. I hope you try at least one from my list and love it as much as I
I hope you all had the best week! From dinners to meetings and events, mine was quite the whirlwind. One of the highlights…getting to meet Clay from Bachelor in Paradise last night at the Hubbard Inn grand re-opening party. He was so nice and I even got to snag a picture with him!
This is the time of year that’s the busiest, so it’s hard to make certain things a priority even if it’s something we love. In the midst of all the holiday celebrations ahead, it is still my mission to really get back into posting articles here more often and making them as relevant as possible. I value you so much and value your opinion. Please always stay in touch with me and let me know what you’d like to see more of. For the time being, I have compiled some of the cutest, tear-jerking articles that were on the internet this week. I guess I was just feeling a little more sentimental than usual. If you find yourself looking for entertainment this weekend, start with this list!
This week’s Wish List is also holiday party themed as I know so many people are shopping for the perfect outfits right now. I hope you enjoy and have a great weekend!
I am so happy we are at the weekend! This week, I’ve been inundated with annual planning work and 2020 preparation for my clients. It’s just that time of the year. Thinking about planning for 2020 kind of gives me chills. Where has the time gone?
It is also officially Winter here in Chicago. What was once an enjoyable commute to my office in the Summer has now become my worst nightmare during these cooler, more harsh months. I anticipate a lot fo Lyft receipts coming my way soon. And more Winter coats. Basically, just goodbye to all my money.
Monday night I attended the launch event of the Chicago Blogger Union chapter! I’m sort of a nerd in that I absolutely LOVE going to networking events and meeting new people. I always make the rule for myself to talk to at least three new people each time I attend an event. It sets a realistic objective and gives the event more purpose. My enneagram Type 3 really came out in that sentence lol.
The rest of the week was pretty chill and I even got a night to catch up on my Bravo shows while hanging at home. That never happens. Any RHOC watchers out there, gooooooodbye Tamara!!! This weekend will probably be spent getting my life together and organized because next week we’re back to crazy! What are you up to this weekend? If you find yourself lurking the web, here are some great videos and articles you HAVE to check out!
I cannot believe we only have two months of this year left…Where did 2019 go?!
This weekend, I am staying in the city watching a co-workers house and kitty while she’s out of town. I barely ever get to stay downtown, so I plan on fully taking advantage of this situation. I have dinner plans tonight with a couple friends at a place I’ve never been to before and then tomorrow I am participating in the Cliquish Faces of Content Tour and may stop by the new Uncommon James location in the West Loop. Who knows where else the weekend might take me, but if you follow me on Instagram, you can follow along on my adventures.
If you’re not up to speed on your current events this week, here are some great articles to read this weekend. My Wish List this week is entirely made up of new jeans because I am in serious need of a Fall jean haul. Hope you have a great weekend!