Friday Favorites 12/6

Happy Friday, I’m Back!

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!

Loved this Forbes Women article, which is a letter to the fashion industry encouraging them to stop treating plus-sized women like second-class citizens

The most hilariously awkward interview Ellen had with Dakota Johnson, cringe worthy but also can’t stop watching

One of my favorite actresses Emma Stone and SNL writer Dave McCary are engaged, and she looks so happy!!!!

Chicago-based fashion, motherhood and travel blogger Ceta Walters opens up about her breast cancer diagnosis and is so raw, brave and inspiring. Truly a warrior and I am praying for her and her family

Wish List

This Tory Burch Green Gemini Link Tote

Skyline Etched Whiskey Glasses

The famous Amazon Slippers

The famous Amazon coat

Love the color of this green Target sweater

On Sincerely-Sydney ICYMI

Friday Favorites 11/22

Starbucks Holiday Drinks

Rent the Runway Review

Sincerely,

Friday Favorites 11/22

Happy Friday!

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!

Kylie Jenner’s $600MM dollar deal with COTY, Inc. (the company who also owns CoverGirl, O.P.I and so much more)

Seth Meyers and Rihanna go day drinking and it’s hilarious

See the full list of 2020 Grammy Nominees

Adam Lamber, AKA Gordo, joins the cast of the Disney+ reboot of Lizzie McGuire with others also making a return

Forbes Women: How To Stay Healthy and Sane During The Holiday Season

Wish List

Gift Guide Edition – Some sneak peaks as to what will be on my Gift Guides coming soon.

Amazon Levi’s Men’s Washed Cotton Hooded Military Jacket

Amazon Back and Neck Massager

Urban Map Whiskey Glasses

Dainty Personalized Name Necklaces

Teddy Bear Faux Fur Robe

On Sincerely-Sydney ICYMI

Instagram Took Away My Likes

How To Wear a Suit

Last Week’s Friday Favorites 11/15

Sincerely,

Instagram Took Away My Likes

Outfit Details: Jumpsuit // Similar Booties // Other Similar Booties

Dear Instagram User,

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.

Sincerely,

Favorite Starbucks Holiday Drinks

Happy Sunday Loves,

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 do!

Sincerely,

Friday Favorites 11/15

Happy Friday Friends!

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!

Alex Trebek gets emotional when contestant answers with “What is we love you Alex”

John Legend named People’s Sexiest Man Alive

Kelly Clarkson’s kids adorably interview their hero Jason Momoa about Aquaman

How Success Can Come From Learning What You’re Terrible At

Apply to earn $1,000 from watching Christmas Hallmark movies

Wish List

Holiday outfit edition

Michael Kors sequin one shoulder jumpsuit

Halogen x Atlantic-Pacific tulle layered skirt

Kohls Vera Wang sequin top

Macy’s faux-wrap midi dress

Spanx faux leather leggings

On Sincerely-Sydney ICYMI

How Conspicuous Consumption Helps The Economy

Last Week’s Friday Favorites 11/8

Fashionable Matching Sets

Sincerely,

Friday Favorites 11/8

Happy Friday!

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!

This adorable Beluga plays catch with a couple of guys cruising by in a boat!

Met Gala theme and costume exhibition announced and I am LIVING for it

Ellen and Nature Valley give thanks to California first responders by surprising them with $250K

New Starbucks holidays cups were released this week, I like the one with the big block letters

If you’re looking for a great and easy Fall recipe, Half Baked Harvest shows off her Coq au Vin Chicken Meatballs with butter mashed potatoes YUM

John Legend gets wine tipsy and performs on stage at Universal Studios

Forbes Women article on What Successful Women Learned About Creating A Career You Love

Wish List

Halogen x Atlantic-Pacific Velvet PaperBag Waist Pants

Polka Dot Tights

H&M Halterneck Bodysuit

Colorful Faux Fur Coat

Topshop Tie Neck Dobby Blouse

On Sincerely-Sydney ICYMI

Last Week’s Friday Favorites 11/1

RoC Retinol Correxion Eye Cream Review

24-Hour Seattle Travel Guide

Sincerely,

Friday Favorites 11/1

Happy November!

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!

Chance the Rapper – a fellow Chicagoan – shows support for the Chicago Teachers Union while hosting and performing on SNL

LeBron James sent food trucks to the first responders fighting the fires in LA

Kanye West and James Corden do Carpool Karaoke on a plane

Democratic Presidential Candidate Elizabeth Warren organizes a campaign and contest that is giving someone a chance to have a drink with her after so many people said this is something they’d love to be able to do

Wit and Delight blog post on How To Compliment Someone Without Mentioning Their Looks

Caulipower Founder Gail Becker Shares Advice For Aspiring Food Entrepreneurs

Wish List

Jeans, jeans, jeans – I need some new ones ASAP

Good American Good Legs Blue265 Jeans

DL1961 Farrow Ankle High Rise Skinny Jeans

Frame Le High Skinny Jeans

Express High Waisted Denim Perfect Wide Waistband

Abercrombie Ultra High Rise Ankle Jeans With Raw Hem

On Sincerely-Sydney ICYMI

Happy Birthday, Mom

Last Week’s Friday Favorites 10/25

The Only Company I Buy Earrings From

Sincerely,