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.
Okay, I just HAD to share the above photo today in honor of the fact that this time last year I packed my bags with my two best friends and we flew to Iceland on our spontaneous girl’s trip. My first ever international trip. And on this exact day one year ago, we enjoyed a full spa day at the infamous Blue Lagoon. I mean look at how blue that water is!! This was seriously the trip of a lifetime, and I honestly miss that feeling so much. I could cry looking at photos from Iceland because it was truly that magical. There’s really no other word to describe it. Luckily, in a handful of months, I’ll be embarking on my next international trip. Can’t wait to share this destination soon!
I have had a crazy busy day so far and it is only just the beginning of a crazy busy weekend ahead. Today was on of those full maintenance days: hair colored, mani, pedi, the works. Later tonight, it’s the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner for the wedding I’m in tomorrow. Obviously then that means that Saturday is full on wedding day from dusk to dawn. Sunday is a recoup day. Finally, on Monday we are heading up to Michigan on a winery trip for my mom’s birthday. It’s insanity, but a good, fun kind of insanity, ya know? If you are looking for some light weekend reading, I have rounded up my favorite articles on the internet this week and some HOT Fall items on this week’s Wish List. I hope you have a fabulous weekend!
I hope you had a wonderful week and are gearing up for an even better weekend. Whether you’re planning for a big blowout or a relaxing few days at home, there is plenty to be thankful for now that Friday has finally made her appearance. About FIVE hours to go and we are officially signing out for the week! Do you have any fun plans this weekend? I’m going to the Shedd After Hours House Night tonight and then am considering crashing my mom’s Book Club tomorrow. Actually, I guess it’s less of a book club and rather sipping cocktails and eating delicious food gathering, which I’m all about. If you’re looking for some sort reads to get you through the rest of today or light reading for the weekend, here are some of the best articles I found on the internet this week. Hope you enjoy!
I heard of Rage Yoga this morning on the radio and I’m kind of really into it!
You can instantly shop my looks in the free LiketoKnow.it shopping app. Once you’ve downloaded the app, go to Search, switch over to the Influencer Search tab and look for “sincerelysydneyblog”. Once you find my profile, hit follow to shop my daily looks!
One of my favorite things to do after a Fashion Week or at
the beginning of a new season is to take some time and write down what I think
the biggest trends are going to be. I’m talking what are people going to be
walking down the street wearing and what are our stores’ racks going to be
lined with. If you didn’t know, when Fashion Week happens, it’s always
showcasing collections not for the upcoming season but for the season after
that. This past Fashion Week in September showcased all new Spring and Summer
2020 collections. That’s how far in advance the fashion world has to plan for
getting pieces from the runway to producing for consumption.
With this in mind, Fall and Winter 2019 Fashion Week
happened back in February of this year. That was the first glimpse the fashion
industry got of what’s to come for Fall this year. I studied those runways like
I was taking the SATs and have compiled some of my predictions for what I think
we’ll be seeing a lot of this upcoming season. Hint: I’m wearing one of my predictions
I have been seeing so so so much zebra prints lately! I
think this is going to replace the uber popular snakeskin that took over this
past Summer. Ann Taylor recently came out with a capsule collection that
highlighted zebra print in many different styles. Influencers and celebrities
have been seen prancing around Fashion Week, some in head-to-toe zebra looks. I
have a feeling this will be the new go to print this upcoming season. Remember
when we were 13 and everything we owned from blankets to pillows to rugs to
school notebooks were all zebra print? Funny how cyclical the design space is!
2. Puffy Sleeves
This silhouette was very prominent in February’s Fashion
Week. Fashion designers like Marc Jacobs and Ulla Johnson made them staple
pieces in their collections. They add the perfect feminine touch with a hint of
flare. If you are interested in trying this trend out, I recommend making the
puffy sleeve the center of your outfit. Try pairing an over-the-top sleeve with
a pencil skirt or simple pair of jeans. These statement pieces aren’t going
3. Shiny fabrics like leather
I personally saw a lot of shiny fabrics walking down the
runway. Silk and leather were among the most evident. Leather played a leading
role in Alexander McQueen’s show, showcasing full leather dresses. If you don’t
feel comfortable taking that big of a risk, you can remain on trend by wearing
a faux leather pant with a simple blouse or wear a leather shirt in a
minimalistic silhouette paired with your favorite jeans. This season leather
goes beyond just a jacket.
4. Fall 2019 Colors: Cheddar Yellow, Pistachio Green, Grayish Blue, Cream and Lavender
Tons of variations of these colors walked down the Fall 2019
runways. I wouldn’t consider these colors all “jewel” tones, but they have more
of a softness to them this season. I almost envision this as taking your
typical Fall color palette and putting the Fade filter on them to make the
palette more muted. Since the colors don’t make as much of a statement as in
year’s past, I think the best way to wear them this season would be with loud
statement pieces. Compare and contrast with accessories to knock a look out of
the park. Also, don’t be afraid of monochromatic looks meaning top down all the
same color or different levels of intensity of the same color. This is
5. Plaid and Preppy
Just looking at those two words together makes me think of
Gossip Girl. But in all serious, that is exactly what will be returning this
Fall. Clueless inspired matching plaid sets and absurdly good plaid outerwear.
Many designers, like Burberry of course, showed off their plaid best. Ginghams,
Madras and Houndstooth of all varieties will be all the rage. My
recommendation…go for it here! The more the merrier. Wear head-to-toe plaid,
even incorporate the same plaid print in your hair accessories. You’ll totally
be the cool kid.
What do you think will be a prominent Fall trend this year?
Put your prediction below!
You can instantly shop my looks in the free LiketoKnow.it shopping app. Once you’ve downloaded the app, go to Search, switch over to the Influencer Search tab and look for “sincerelysydneyblog”. Once you find my profile, hit follow to shop my daily looks!
Dear Dreamer and Pop Culture Admirer,
What is your dream job? When I think of my dream job, a specific person comes to mind. That usually happens right? You often have said dream job because you’ve idolized someone currently holding that role and wishing for that to be your reality. My person is Giuliana Rancic.
Full-time entrepreneur and the OG E News correspondent. I have admired her for as long as I can remember. I used to stay up way past my bedtime every night to watch the E News second airing before hitting the hay. I love that her every day is encapsulated with fashion, pop culture and celebrity news, all topics that I am truly passionate about. She works for one of the most prestigious networks, which has provided and allowed her to create a platform that she gets to utilize daily to speak to the masses. How cool is that.
As someone who’s always loved those things, loves the world of publicity and isn’t afraid of public speaking, I’ve dreamt of one day being able to stand next to her and work my tail off. I tell people today, “someday, I will be the next Giuliana Rancic.” That’s how much I love her.
What made me think of this topic was that the Emmy’s were on TV last night. I sat on my couch and watched celebrities arrive on the purple carpet via the E News coverage and was glued to Giuliana interviewing some of my favorites. The preparation, the glam and research it took her to stand there and talk to these stars even for such a short amount of time amazes me.
So, in light of the inspiration I felt last night watching my idol yet again kill it on an award show carpet, I thought I’d take a stab at reporting out on some of my favorite looks of the night. All listed below! I’m curious to know, did you watch the Emmy’s last night and if so, who were some of your favorite looks?
*Images were obtained and are credited to E Online, Elle Online, @streicherhair Instagram, Today.com, @csiriano Instagram and VanityFair.com
From top left across and then down: Daniel Levy // Emilia Clarke in Valentino // James Van Der Beek // Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Oscar de la Renta // Kit Harington // Kristin Cavallari in Nicole + Felicia Couture // Mandy Moore in Brandon Maxwell // Naomi Watts in Dior // Patricia Clarkson in Christian Siriano // Phoebe Walker Bridge in Monique Lhuillier // Rachel Brosnahan in Elie Saab // RuPaul // Sophie Turner in Louis Vuitton // Taraji P. Henson in Vera Wang // Zendaya in Vera Wang
Some of my other favorite moments from the Emmy’s include: Alex Borstein sharing a family story and encouraging women to step out of line, Michelle Williams talking about equal pay, the compilation montage of series that departed this year (I was in tears), RuPaul’s Drag Race winning an Emmy and Bob Newhart sharp as ever at 90 years old in a bit with Ben Stiller when handing out the first award of the night. These moments and more can be seen at eonline.com (my fave site ever!).
To be completely transparent (because that’s what we like around here), my mom is the one who actually pushed publish on this post due to the fact that I am currently in Michigan City wine tasting for a work outing. My whole team is together and likely around this time, we are eating lunch and at our first winery of the day. But that doesn’t stop business as usual, the show must go on. I hope you all had a fabulous short week, I know I did. Got lots done in the three whole days I was in the office, so that’s something to celebrate. Just think, a few more hours and you are in weekend mode again. I’m raising a glass to you right now! Some of the best things I found on the internet this week are below, enjoy!
You have made it through the week and are hours away from
enjoying the weekend! How exciting is that. Just take a quick moment and
reflect on all of the tasks/projects you’ve completed this week. You killed it
and I am proud of you.
I am a firm believer that consistency is key. Whether you are writing content, consuming content or trying to adapt a new habit, consistency will get you there. One of the aspects I love about my favorite bloggers is their ability to consistently engage their readers with series that they’ve implemented. I love staying with a blogger through their journey of a series, almost like watching a new episode every week of your favorite show or listening to a new podcast released every Thursday. I have dreamt up some series I would love to start working on, but in the meantime, I thought we could dip our toe in the water and start with what I’m calling my Friday Favorites series.
Friday Favorites are going to be exactly what they sound
like. They are going to be short and sweet linking to some of my favorite
things that I’ve discovered on the Internet in the past week. Topics will range
from world news, pop culture, articles I read and loved, Instagram content,
other blog content to products I currently have on my “wish list”. I’m really
excited to launch this and hope you will return every Friday around noon to see
some of the best things on the internet for the week. Hold me accountable!
Let’s get started with my first Friday Favorites:
Margo and Me’s collaboration with Michael Kors at the TWA Hotel. You can see her gorgeous images via her Instagram feed
As a result of the terrifying fires happening in the Amazon right now, my best friend wrote a blog post that’s both informative and chalk full of ways you can show your support. Here is the post
The first time I ever felt feelings of anxiousness was around the time I was a freshman in college. Something about having to pack up my childhood room and now having to live 3+ hours away from my family and friends threw me for a complete loop. I lost a lot of weight, my thoughts paralyzed me from leaving my door room, I couldn’t focus in class, my grades suffered (which had never happened to me ever in my life) and I cried once a day for about 6 months. It was one of the toughest times in my life. From the time I realized there was an issue, I made some lifestyle adjustments like transferring schools and learned to cope with feelings of anxiousness the best way I could for those 4 years. Since then, I’ve been so much better, but my anxiety still comes to visit like a long-distance relative.
Now, I am no doctor by any means. I have no clinical definition of anxiety and I have never officially been diagnosed with anxiety, but to me, I experience feelings of anxiousness whenever I am faced with a situation or life decision that is uncontrollable or unpredictable. I have intense feelings whenever I think about if I made a bad decision in the past, how I am going to cope with what’s happening to me in the present or the uncertainty of what may happen in the future. I am pretty Type A for all intents and purposes of the definition. I love and crave control. I like things a certain way and if it doesn’t happen as such, anxiety comes. It’s when I experience the ability to control a situation being robbed from me that anxiety comes. It’s when I don’t know how to crawl my way out of an undesirable fate that life often throws at us that anxiety comes. There come slices of time in any given day where my mind often wanders and hypothesizes all these different scenarios. It completely throws me off track in that moment. I feel shortness of breath, very emotional, my heart races, I lose sleep and sometimes my line of vision can even become blurred. It can be debilitating and from what it seems, from personal stories and articles online, that my “case” is very mild. I can’t imagine what some others have to go through.
As my day job is very analytical, I find my critical
thinking also becoming very analytical. I often ask myself why I am
experiencing this feeling or what has happened to catapult me into this state.
But rather than trying to pick apart the intricacies in what’s happening inside
my head, over the years I have found coping mechanisms that ultimately bring me
back down to Earth so to speak. Everybody’s experience with anxiety is so
different and should be handled as so, but sometimes I think when we share stories
of the practices that have helped us to cope, we can feel less alone and work
towards the root of the cause.
Tip #1: It may sound crazy, but classical music has helped with my anxiety SO much. I used to be very musical in my childhood. I was in every school play, I could read music, I played the piano and I played the flute in my school’s symphony orchestra. I love music with purpose and that changes direction to take you on a magical journey. Whenever I feel anxious, one of the ways I try to relieve myself from those feelings is to play some of my favorite classical pieces. I take time to remove my thoughts from what’s currently going on and immerse myself into the sounds. I try to decipher each musical instrument being played and focus my mind on the tempo, crescendos and decrescendos to shift my focus on only what I am hearing at that moment. It removes me from life for just a few minutes, enough time for the anxiousness to pass, and by the time the song has ended, I feel better. Here are some of the playlists I listen to on Spotify:
Tip #2: Another way I’ve learned to cope with anxiety is to clean. I know it may sound odd but tidying up my room or even the files on my computer have helped alleviate feelings of anxiousness. There’s something about cleaning up the physical aspects of your life that help you feel more in control of the psychological ones. When you are clear in one area, the physical space around you, you have more time to clear the space in your head and work through your feelings.
Tip #3: The 5,4,3,2,1 rule has also helped me tremendously with fighting anxious feelings. You have probably seen this circulated on all social channels, but the 5,4,3,2,1 rule helps in going through the numbers in order to ground yourself in present thinking. Here is how it works: you start by acknowledging 5 things that you can see around you at that moment, then you identify 4 things you can touch around you at that moment, then 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste. This technique ultimately helps with symptom relief because after you have taken the time to identify these things in your physical surrounding you often will have taken long enough for the symptoms to pass.
I hope this helps anyone reading who too experiences or suffers from anxious feelings or anxiety. Our thoughts are almost always directly linked to how we are feeling at that moment. Although sometimes we can lose control of our thought process and where our mind takes us mentally, there are tools and cognitive exercises that we can enlist in our daily routine to pull us out of the hole we feel that we are falling into. I can promise you; those feelings may come but they will go away. You and your mind are strong enough to fight through those feelings. You totally got this, and I am here for you!
Writing is like therapy to me, so this is a different kind of Father’s Day message. Today was hard, I knew it would be. For the past 5-ish years, I have always dreaded this day. That’s about how long it has been since the last time I talked to or saw my own father. I elected to spend as much time off Instagram today as I could. Something that’s a habit, that seems natural to me like opening up my Instagram on a Sunday to peruse what everyone was up to over the weekend, became my worst nightmare. Father’s Day message after Father’s Day image, old wounds began to sting as if they were freshly torn open.
It was always like this. I had a great relationship with my
father when I was younger but I never lived in a “normal” household. As I was
brought into this world in an unusual circumstance, it sure never felt like it
does now. I would spend summers out at his house, never wanting to leave. But
as I grew older and more established with school activities and friends, we
grew apart. Year after year until a relationship just ceased to exist. There
was resentment and anger. A lot of the
person I am today is because of the very hard times I had to go through. Things
I’m not ready to talk about yet on this site, but so much crap that I could
write a novel and have genuinely thought about it.
There comes a time when you have to realize that the past is the past. What was once a joyful time has now turned into a distant memory. I’m not going to lie; I’ve cried a few times today. As I gaze at images of women I admire being walked down the aisle by their dads, I can’t help but think who’s going to walk me down. Do I modernize my wedding and have my mom walk me down since she’s played both roles majority of my life? Do I Meghan Markle it and walk myself down? Regardless, I think I’m finally at the age where I can come to terms with the relationship as it is and not what I want it to be and finally move on. Never say never. Things could happen. One simple text or call could totally change the trajectory of my life, but I’m not wasting time or energy thinking about that anymore.
I’m thankful for those in my life that have never made me feel without. My mom has some amazing friends, people I consider my true family now. With their constant support and unwavering love, the holes in my heart were filled by my modern family. “The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.” This quote resonates more with me than you will ever know. Alternative father figures and second, third, sixth “moms” in my life are who have shaped and completed me. You know who you are.
I wrote this post not for sympathy, I’m past that point, but to show other people struggling today that you are not alone. We all have our own issues. That’s just the nature of family, but when we realize that others out there too are going through the same or similar feelings we are, it can help us when we feel completely isolated. This is me telling you that you are not alone. I’m going through it too. It wasn’t in God’s plan for us, but that’s kind of exhilarating. He knew that we’d be just fine and go on to conquer the world even with that piece of us missing. That shows that He has a lot of faith in us.