My Tech Backgrounds

Similar oversized blazer // Another blazer option // Cream lace cami // Light wash jeans // Black and gold belt // Similar mules // Another mule option

Happy Monday,

TBQH (to be quite honest), I never really thought about or frankly cared about the background of my tech devices. iPhone background, iPhone wallpaper, Desktop screensaver, Tablet background…none of the above crossed my mind. All of that changed in one fell swoop when I randomly discovered the ingenious, monthly-themed tech backgrounds from The Everygirl. That’s right, at the beginning of every new month, The Everygirl releases a slew of perfectly curated backgrounds for all of your tech devices. The range of devices you can download the backgrounds for include Desktop, iPhone 8 / Google Pixel, iPhone X / iPhone 11, Samsung Galaxy or iPad / Tablet. A variety is offered so you can choose the one that quintessentially coincides with your personality or aesthetic.

I’ve been rotating my backgrounds now since November of last year, and I’m obsessed! In complete transparency, I almost look forward to the first of a new month, so I can quickly navigate to The Everygirl’s site and download my new screensavers. February first was a magical day for me. It’s the little things that get me excited nowadays.

Here are some of the past tech backgrounds I’ve chosen from The Everygirl’s site. My February choice is in the above image.

If your interest is piqued, and it should be, here is a link to the new February backgrounds. This is one of those tools that help me stay uber organized. I love the background options with a calendar view so I can quickly access the entire month’s outline. It’s one of those things you never knew you needed until you finally got it! Again, I’m OBSESSED, go download your favorite NOW!

Sincerely,

Reflecting on 2019

Hi There and Happy New Year’s Eve,

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.       

Sincerely,

Friday Favorites 12/20

Happy Friday and Happy *almost* Holidays!

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!

Chicago Bears’ Player Kahlil Mack Pays Off 300 Layaway Accounts at Walmart in His Hometown

Old article but Jennifer Lawrence is interview by Oprah and reveals the best piece of advice she ever received was from Oprah herself

Chrissy Teigen posts the most relatable rant on Twitter about John Legend…hilarious!!

Giuliana and Bill Rancic announce the opening date for their next RPM restaurant in Chicago. I am obsessed with her!

Forbes Women article: The 2010s The Decade Women Fought Back

Wish List

This LV Dupe Makeup Case

This Mini Puffer Jacket

This Camel Coat

This Pajama Set

These Sneakers

On Sincerely-Sydney ICYMI

Gift Guide For Him

Gift Guide For Her

Gifts Under $50

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,

Happy Birthday, Mom

Dear Mom,

“I carry your heart, I carry it in my heart.” No truer words could be said to describe the bond we’ve spent the last 23 years building. Well, maybe “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder, but I can’t even hear the tune without shedding a tear. To say that our family was cursed with tumultuous mother-daughter relationships would sort of be an understatement, but as that psychic told you all those years ago, you managed to break through. I could never imagine my life any other way.

Times were rough and the odds were stacked against us. But with hard work, dedication, compassion, lots of love and a hint of sass, as we handle majority of the situations in our life, we persevered. I can now proudly call you my best friend. There’s no one in this world who understands me better than you do. For supporting me and sticking by my side through all my crazy ventures and emotional episodes, I owe you umpteen amounts of thanks.

We are two peas in a pod. Our similarities in interests are uncanny. You are my fellow wine connoisseur, travel enthusiast, city slicking, fancy dinner loving, photography hobbyist. There’s no better feeling than coming back to a home of opulence (lol) after a tough day of work, opening a bottle of red, watch an episode of Supernatural and finding things to make fun of. It’s the best of times.

I will always need you. No matter what stage of my life I journey to next, you are the one person that will remain constant. No amount of time spent together will ever be enough.

The greatest lessons I’ve learned from you are to be strong, to be confident, to be kind, to be the hardest working person in the room, to figure it out when you don’t know the answer and to be unapologetically yourself. I get the honor of learning from you each and every day. Thank you for teaching me to be independent and to fight for the things that I want. It’s the greatest gift you’ve ever given me.

And now we celebrate! You deserve all of the celebrations in the world. I will never be able to truly repay you for the life I’ve been given. I cannot wait for our delicious dinner and drinks tonight. I hope you have the best birthday ever! I love you!

Sincerely,