Thank you, Dear Readers

This blogging thing has been a work in progress. Some of you are OG readers and have been with me since the beginning. The beginning that was Sydney Sundays. I started that during the second semester of my sophomore year in undergrad and maintained it for about a year and a half. I took a break and then decided to rebrand myself with a lifestyle blog, hence SydneyUmeri.com.

But whether you were there from day one or this is your first time, I want to take a moment to thank you for supporting me, my blog, and for reading what I put out every Tuesday and Thursday.

Blogging isn’t easy, but it’s my passion. I love writing, storytelling, and showing myself in a different light.

While that is all great, ultimately, blogging isn’t all about me. Like many things, it takes two to tango and SydneyUmeri.com would be nothing without its readers. Partly because, I can’t tell you how many times kind words from readers and friends have kept me going.

Again, I blog because I love it, but I’d be lying if I told you I don’t look at the numbers. How many people read my post? How many people liked it? Was it well received? Should I have posted that? It all runs through my mind, and on days where I’m discouraged and feel like I shouldn’t blog because no one is really reading my stuff, it never fails, a reader, friend, acquaintance or stranger will reach out and comment on how much they enjoy reading my content.

Words cannot explain how much that moves me because it makes blogging worth it. I blog because I love it, but I love blogging because I can touch the lives of others through it.

So I just wanted to thank you guys for continuing to inspire me to do what I love even when I question if I should. Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read my posts, and thank you for supporting my passion. SydneyUmeri.com would be nothing without you all.

Until next time, get up, get moving, and live your best life!

Thoughts from 40,000 feet

Hey, guy! It’s been a week since I last created a blog post. I traveled the week prior and let’s just say it got the best of me. But I’m back, and while there will be posts about my trip in the future, this post consists of a few thoughts I had on my eight-hour flight across the Atlantic.


As I was on my way to the airport, I couldn’t escape a sinking feeling. I had scrolled through Instagram numerous times that day just to see graduation pictures. Since I graduated undergrad last year and am graduating from grad school this year, you would think this wouldn’t be new to me.

Graduation in 2016 was surreal. I had put in so much work to graduate early, and it was so gratifying, but unlike some, my time in education wasn’t over. I knew I’d pursue a graduate degree.

This year that is no longer true. Which if I’m honest, that wasn’t the reason for my sinking feeling. I think I’ll live without having to take another test or write another paper.

What is difficult to live with is the idea that this chapter of my life is coming to an end. High school came and went, and I didn’t really love it so when it was over I didn’t care too much. But college has been the best years of my life thus far. My time in undergrad and graduate school have truly been fantastic, and I think what scares me most is that in my head I believe life can’t get better than that because life hasn’t been better than that.

I know it’s a sad thought and to some quite dramatic but for me very honest and real. I share this because I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way.

To this day college holds some of my dearest memories with such wonderful people and often times you hear people say, “Those are going to be the best years of your life.” But what about the other 40+ years I’m supposed to live after college? Will they be as exciting or is the best behind me?

I look at my parents and other wonderful mentors in my life, and while they can say college was fun, all of them also say life gets better.

So with that, I have come to the conclusion that life is always getting better. High school was better than middle school, college better than high school, and I guess, the rest of my life will be better than college.

It’s a hard concept to wrap my head around. What could possibly be better than four years of minimal responsibility, major trial-and-error when adulting, and wonderful friends to get you through?

Overall, the uncertainty of this new chapter of post-college living sparked my sinking feeling. But if you feel the same way, we ultimately have to believe that the best is yet to come. College, as great as it was, was simply an appetizer to the main course, the rest of our lives and everything that has yet to come.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that college and its memories will always hold a special place in our hearts, and though it’s hard to see it go, we should look forward to creating a new set of “best years of our lives.”

Until next time, get up, get moving, and live your best life.

Things I’m Loving

Hey guys, it’s that time again. The time were I share some of my wonderful finds from the past few weeks. For this installment of “Things I’m Loving,” my favorites are a little all over the place but still good stuff nonetheless. From music to food to beauty, there is a lot to get to, so let’s get into it.

Alex Aiana and Connor Maynard 24K Magic Sing Off/Collaboration

I was at the gym when I first heard this song and immediately left the machine I was using to ask the front desk what was playing. It was 24K Magic by Alex Aiana and Connor Maynard. This collaboration is one of the best I’ve heard in a while. They go through a number of popular songs to the beat of 24K Magic by Bruno Mars and they both sound amazing. Are you curious? Well, take a listen. You’re welcome in advance! 😊

Maui & Sons Coconut Chips

I’m a big fan of cocount to the point where if anything is cocount flavored, or has a hint of cocount in it, I’ll most likely eat it. I came across these at TJ Maxx, my go to place if you remeber my last “Things I’m Loving” post (link), and after one bite I was hooked. Honestly, I don’t know what to say other than it tastes great. I enjoy adding them to my oatmeal in the mornings and they make for a great addition to any trail mix you might make. So if you’re interested you can kind them here.

Essie Cortore Nail Polish

The last time I consistantly painted my nails was freshman year of high school. Since then I have gone with a bare nail because it’s easier to maintain. I was tired of re-painting them every other day. Thanks to Essie cortore nail polish, it’s safe to say that the ritual of painting my nails every week is back. This nail polish is so good it can actually last an entire week. Now don’t get me wrong, it might chip here-and-there, but never very badly and usually towards the end of the week. As a person who is very active during the day and not light on my hands, I am very impressed with Essie. They’ve brought the joy back into painting my nail again.

If you’re interested in getting this nail polish you can find them here, but I highly recommend checking eBay for the cheapest prices. You’ll save at least three to four bucks.

Michelle Reed Videos

It wouldn’t be a “Things I’m Loving” post without a mention of YouTube. I found Michelle Reed’s channel early in April and quickly binge watched most if not all of her videos. She is a freshman attending King College in New York City, and she creates wonderful conent. If you need inspiration for outfits, makeup, or just want to hear a bit of girl talk, you should definitely check out her channel. She seems like such a wonderful person and her videos are so well done, you won’t want to stop watching. Here is the link to her channel. I highly recommend checking out her lookbook videos.

Ruff House Art Paperie and Press Shop

Though I am not in Lawerence, Kansas anymore, while I was there I found this wonderful stationary shop that I absolutly fell in love with. As I mentioned in my last post (link), I really like stationary. There is something about crafting a letter on nice paper that is really thoughtful and exciting to me. But with that said, I found some awesome prints, paper, and cards while there and I stocked up. If you are a stationary lover like my self, or are interested in checking it out, here is the link to the Ruff House Art Paperie and Press Shop site.

With that, we have come to the end of another “Things I’m Loving” post. Once again, I hope you enjoyed this post and have a list a new things to check out for yourself. As always, comment below any thing that you’re loving at the moment.

Until next time, get up, get moving, and live your best life!

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Mothers day is around the corner and now is a great time to start thinking about what you’re going to get the woman who brought you into this world. Just think about it, you wouldn’t be here without her, and all she gets is one day out of the entire year? For me, I think every day should be mother’s day (and father’s day as well).

I can never repay my mother for everything she has done for me. I mean, she puts up with me, and that speaks volumes about her character.

But this Mother’s Day, May 14th, I want to make sure that my mom knows she is appreciated and I’m sure you do too. By no means is giving a gift the only way to show appreciation, but if that’s the route you want to go, here are a few suggestions.


Beautiful Stationary

It might just be me, but I love quality stationery. I know, it’s just paper, but sometimes I think it speaks louder than any gift you could give. To some, this might not qualify as a gift, but if it’s done right, it could be. Or it could be supplementary to your main gift.

I think a “Happy Mother’s Day,” card is always a nice touch, but instead of picking it up at CVS or Walgreen’s, try a local stationary shop.

Finding unique cards with good calligraphy, lovely art, and witty sayings that match your personality is always fun. These authentic cards are creative, artsy, and allow you to interject a little bit of your personality into any gift you are giving.

So whether you give it by itself or with another gift, make it slightly more authentic by picking it up from a local stationary shop.


Candles

A few years ago candles were more of an old lady gift. But now everyone, from teens to grandmas appreciate a good candle. Moms are no different.

You know your mother better than anyone else, so I highly recommend picking up a scent you think she’ll like. But if you’re completely unsure, here are a couple staples that I love.

Volcano by Capri BLUE

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Roses by Diptyque

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Massages & Facials

I think every mom could use a little rest and relaxation from time-to-time, and nothing can do that better than a spa day. I don’t know about you, but massages are few and far between in my world. It has to be an extremely special occasion to get one and the same goes for facials. So why not give your mom the treatment that every queen deserves by getting her a spa day?

If that’s not in your budget, that’s cool. Bring the spa to her. Sephora has a bunch of great face masks out right now. A few that I like are Farmacy Honey Potion, Fresh Vitamin Nectar vibrancy boosting face mask, and GlamGlow Supermud clearing treatment. While these are not drug store priced face masks, they are definitely cheaper than a professional facial. You can also pick up a few bath balms from Lush Cosmetics for the full pampering experience.


Purses/Handbags

Sometimes I think this gift is a little overdone, but if your mom really likes bags or is in need of a new one, there are a lot of great ones on the market that range in price. Here are a couple suggestions.

Cedar Street Medium Harmony by Kate Spade

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Medium Le Pliage’ Tote by Longchamp

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If none of these gifts sound good to you, I think the best way to go is to write a letter to your mom letting her know how much she means to you. It will cost you nothing (maybe a stamp) and will make her day.

Our mom’s do so much for us and the goal on Mother’s Day is to let them know how much you care. It’s not about how you do it, but that you do it. So no matter which gift or form of appreciation you choose, I’m sure she is going to love it.

Comment down below any Mother’s Day gift suggestions you have, and any unique ways you show your appreciation on Mother’s Day. I’m curious to know! 😄

Until next time, get up, get moving, and live your best life!

Best and Worst of Met Gala 2017

There are two types of people in this world. The people who go to the Met Gala, and the people who judge the outfits from the comfort of their couch dressed in sweats. It’s safe to say I was the latter of the two on Monday night.

But before we get into critiquing the outfits, here is what you should know.

What is the Met Gala?

The Met Gala is formally called the Costume Institute Gala and is an annual fundraising event that benefits the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York City. It takes place on the first Monday of the month each May, and the night marks the grand opening of the Costume Institue’s annual fashion exhibit.

Each year the exhibit has a theme, and it is through that theme that designers create costumes. Ultimately, the style should resemble the theme for the year.  For this year, the theme is Comme de Garcons’s by Rei Kawakubo. If that sounds like gibberish to you, let me explain.

Comme de Garcons’s is a Japanese fashion label based in Tokyo that was founded in 1973 and led in design by Rei Kawakubo.

How can you go to the Met Gala?

Well, you can always pay for your ticket 😞, or you can be the guest of an esteemed designer and wear their work 😄.

If you want to know more check out this video by one of my favorite models, Karlie Kloss.

Now for the fashion. Since I am in no position to truly critique such beautiful work made by many acclaimed designers, I will simply speak my mind. With that said, keep in mind that these comments are coming from a girl who spent her last 4 years looking extremely fashionable in team issued sweats. Clearly I’m, I’m not your most credible source, but Regardless, here we go.


Ummm…

In this category, I had mixed emotions about each costume. They were all very  interesting and truly took on the meaning of the word “costume.”

"Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons: Art Of The In-Between" Costume Institute Gala - Arrivals
Solange Knowles wearing Thom Brown.

At first, when I saw Solange I thought to myself, “What in the world?” But after looking at a few of her Instagram pictures and seeing her outfit from every angle, it slowly grew on me. Some say she was wearing a huge parka, but I say it looks like a sleeping bag. Regardless, people wear sleep items in public every day (blanket scarves, snuggies, oversized sweatshirts). Ultimately, I feel that she was the most comfortable out of everyone there, and I’m always down to be comfortable. I think I would have enjoyed wearing her outfit to the Met Gala if I got the chance, but definitely not anywhere else.

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Rihanna wearing Comme de Garcons.

Would it even be a Met Gala post if I didn’t mention Rihanna? As usual, she was fabulous, but I’m was not in love with her costume. It’s so wide… And busy… And extremely 3D! I would have been super self-conscious about sitting down or even simply seeing over the ruffles to walk up steps. Also, lace-up shoes have never been a style I enjoy, so while she was able to pull it off, I would definitely have to pass.

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Janelle Monae wearing Tulle.

This was an interesting one. I don’t love the top of the dress with the black feathers touching Jenelle Monae’s neck, but the bottom is beautiful, and once again, it looks very comfortable. Janelle Monáe actually looks like she is walking on clouds and I love it. Plus she is fabulous, so she definitely held her own on Monday night.


Yasss…

In this category, all of the outfits and the people gave me life. All I could say was, “yass!” Everything was beautiful.

"Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons: Art Of The In-Between" Costume Institute Gala - Arrivals
Zendaya in Dolce & Gabbana Couture.

I love Zendaya! Don’t we all? I honestly don’t have much to say other than, she killed the look. She is known for switching up her hair styles at significant events, and I think her choice this time around went well with her outfit. She looks so old school, like someone out of a painting, but then again, I couldn’t tell you from what era. I simply love the hints of red in the dress, the pattern and that the dress was off the shoulder.

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Blake Lively in Versace.

The always fashionable Blake Lively did not disappoint. Her dress was stunning! All of the jewels were beautiful, and the blue feathers at the bottom brought the dress to life with a costume vibe. Basically, Blake kept it classy as always and was definitely a highlight for me at this year’s Gala.

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Jennifer Lopez in Valentino.

I pray that I look half as good as J. Lo when I’m in my 40s. She was by far my favorite of the Gala. Not because I feel that I could wear her dress, but because she wore it so well. My biggest take away from her outfit was to find “your color,” and not shy away from it.


Nooo…

I think the title of this category speaks for itself.

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Kendall Jenner in La Perla.

I love Kendall Jenner, but I also love actually wearing clothes. In my opinion, her “dress” was way too revealing, and her backside was completely out. For me, this gown would definitely a no. But hey, different strokes for different folks.

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Jaden Smith featuring no dreads.

This picture has nothing to do with the outfit; black looks good on everybody. But why is Jaden holding his dreads? We get it! You cut your hair! It’s kind of gross, but I wasn’t surprised that he would pull a stunt like that.


While there were many other costumes I could have mentioned, those were just a few that stood out to me. Let me know in the comments which costumes made your “Ummm…” “Yasss…” and “Nooo…” lists, and which one you would have worn if you attended the Met Gala.

Until next time, get up, get moving, and live your best life!

College was….

With graduation around the corner, I can’t help but reminisce about the last four years.

If only I could go back and tell my younger self all that I would do, see and become. That college would be so much fun, but not for the reasons that people tell you. Well sometimes, but as you live through it, you forget about what people told you it would be, and you just enjoy it for what it is. You create your own unique experiences and memories, and gradually shape yourself into the person you’re supposed to be four years later.

For the sake of keeping things short and sweet, I’ve created a list of what college was to me. Hopefully, you can identify with a few of these and this gets you thinking about what the past four (or three or five) years have been like for you.


College was…

Where I regret every 8 AM I ever took. Freshman mistakes, we all make them.

Where late night conversations became routine.

Where I (kind of) learned how to manage my time.

Where my expectations didn’t always become my reality, but things worked out anyway.

Where I met some of my closest friends to this day.

Where inside jokes were in abundance.

Where General Chemistry destroyed my dreams of becoming a doctor.

Where I later found my passions for writing and all things media.

Where darties (day parties) were always a good idea.

Where I learned Burnett’s are cheap, but they don’t taste very good.

Where Latch by Sam Smith became my freshman year anthem.

Where I learned that being an athlete didn’t have to define me.

Where living in what felt like the smallest and most congested living quarters in America (known as freshmen dorms) really brought people together, and for others, tore them apart.

Where I realized life is short, have the Bodo’s bagel, or three, and a chai latte too.

Where sometimes the “easy” classes weren’t so easy.

Where I realized I’m capable so much more than I thought.

Where 6 AM lifts and conditioning made me question why I played a sport.

Where teammates became family and made collge a home away from home.

Where any excuse to throw a party was a good idea. People would come. (Maybe the same holds true as an adult. We’ll have to wait and see.)

Where I had to be responsible, but not too responsible.

Where procrastination and big assignments were the perfect recipe for all-nighters.

Where I lived, laughed, loved, and now I’m leaving.

Where I went in for an education but left with so much more.

To say the least, it was four years well spent!


Comment down below what college was/is to you. Until next time, get up, get moving, and live your best life!

Graduation, the Job Hunt, and A Rude Introduction to Adulting

We’ve all been there before, and if you haven’t, well, you will. You’re at an outing with friends and family, and the dreaded question comes up. You know, the question about your future. “What are your plans after graduation?” It’s a loaded question because while some people have it together, others don’t… most of us don’t.

With graduation less than a few weeks away for some and real adulthood looming in the air, I thought it would be fun to check in with a few of my friends and make sure that I’m not the only one struggling to find my next step.

Figuring out life after graduation can be hard. When you go to college, you know you’re generally locked in for a 3-5 year commitment depending on what plan you’re on. But when choosing a job, and even better, a career, it’s not the same. There is no set timeline and generally no designated path or footsteps for you to follow unless you follow in the footsteps of your parents or a fantastic mentor.

So with that said, I decided to interview a few of my friends about their thoughts on the job hunt process, graduation, and semi-adulting. Here is what they had to say.

Q: Thoughts on the job search?

MORGAN AINSLIE

“The job search. What comes to mind immediately is the line from Friends where Phoebe exhales and says, ‘I don’t even have a pla-.’ Currently, the biggest struggle I find is continuing to fill out applications, usually online, and submitting into the void of the internet without the guarantee of a response.”

WES SUGGS

“It was pretty stressful yet rewarding at the same time. I applied to about nine jobs and got second round interviews with all of them.”

Q: Advice to anyone looking for a job?

ELAINE APAZA

“Don’t let rejection get you down. Be persistent. I applied to 50 places before getting three offers. That’s 6%. That’s rough!”

WES SUGGS

“Be as persistent and prepared as possible when it comes to the interviewing/application process. I found that simple things like following up, asking questions, engaging in constant conversations with the people I wanted to hire me really set me apart. It showed them that I was interested as well as quasi-determined to get hired and contribute to their organization.”

Q: What are you most looking forward to after graduation?

ELAINE APAZA

“Spending a summer with my family, it’s been a long time since I lived at home for more than 2 weeks.”

MORGAN AINSLIE

“Looking forward, a new beginning is starting. My baseline goal for when I start something new is: to leave things better than when I got there. Better cannot always be quantified or calculated, but better can be felt by the people you interact with and the culture you create. It is satisfying to look at this chapter (college) and know that I have made a positive impact and know that there is more out there in the world. It is encouraging to look to the new chapter and envision how to continue to make the next place better.”

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So it’s safe to say that, the job search and adulting are not easy. The big takeaways here are that:

  1. The job search is stressful but rewarding.
  2. Persistence is key.
  3. There is a lot to look forward to after graduation. It’s a time of opportunity.

From my perspective, I echo the sentiments about being persistent. My job hunt process was less than glamorous, and I can say that’s probably true for most graduates looking for a job. It’s hard to submit quality applications and hear nothing back. But I will say networking is essential. The saying goes, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” and that couldn’t be more true for finding your first job, and probably every other job after that.

With that said, if the job hunt and the responsibility of adulting after graduation have you down, know that there is hope. As Morgan alluded to, there is so much opportunity in the new beginnings coming your way. It’ll all be worth it in the end.

I want to say a huge thank you to Morgan, Elaine, and Wes for featuring in this post and for willingly giving honest advice about what it’s like to graduate, look for a job and semi-adult at the same time.

Let me know your plans after graduation in the comments below and your thoughts on the job hunt process. Sometimes it’s good to know you’re not alone in this whole “adulting” thing.

Until next time, get up, get moving, and live your best life.