Category Archives: Culture

Our Next Bachelor

I mean as if we didn’t already know this by the end of the last season of The Bachelorette! What took them so long to announce it? Maybe because they didn’t want all of the people auditioning for the show to only be there because of Ben and wanted to still have that element of surprise. I bet that by doing this they eliminated some of the crazies. Ben Higgins was a favorite of mine throughout the last season, but I couldn’t really picture him with Kaitlyn. He reminded me of Catherine from Sean Lowe’s season though in which he kind of stayed under the radar, but was always very classy and a gentleman. It wasn’t until Katilyn had asked him if he was a virgin that Ben started to lighten up a litle bit and show a more humorous side to him. And then all of the girls died and were like Kaitlyn/Nick/Sean who?

Exactly. It’s Ben’s turn now and we can’t wait!

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The Instagram Project

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If you’ve been following my Instagram page for the last four months, then you may have noticed a signifcant change in the way that I’ve been posting my photos as opposed to when I first started my account. My co-worker Emily is someone that I find pretty knowledgeable in Instagram given that she runs an account for her cats that does reasonably well. When I picked her brain awhile back about how I could gain followers for my account so that I could build upon Yow Yow, she gave me a very simple answer: Hashtags.

But wait, doesn’t that look kind of spammy?

Not if you put all of the hashtags in the comment section instead of the caption.” 

Caturday

Interesting. So I followed her advice. We happened to be together on “Caturday” at Dolores Park and after editing my photo and posting it, she helped me line up a variety of hashtags. (#cutecats #Saturday #DoloresPark #SF #adorable #cute #cats #catz etc.) Shortly after, the likes poured in. We ended at 54 and I was hooked. I convinced myself that I could do this experiment for another week, but naturally that ended up being four months. I was really put off by the hashtags at first so after I had received the desired number of likes that I was hoping for, I would go back and delete my hashtags comment. However, I learned that if I kept it there without deleting that users would continue to like my photos even weeks after.

That was just one of the things that I learned from this project, but I actually learned a lot more and have some pretty interesting stats to include in this post as well. Let’s start with the stats:

In my four months of doing this I had:

  • 8 regular photographers (people that have taken at least two photos for me. Most of them were my co-workers)
  • 17 photos of my food
  • 38 photos of my outfit
  • been to 3 different cities
  • staged 15 of my photos (had to rearrange things on a table/the way they would be taken)
  • spilled Jamba Juice on my bed. (This actually happened today so I’m still clearly a n00b)

Takeaways:

  • I still haven’t figured out how to gain a significant amount of followers like I had hoped. I gained more than 48, but if I count all of the followers that have been added since this project and stayed “following” that’s the number I have.
  • I was never going to really take off as an “Instagram” star. Unfortunately when Instagram came out, I think I was still using an old school Blackberry so all other bloggers had a huge advantage over me.
  • If I wanted to continue a following, I needed to post everyday at least once a day. I felt a weird sense of pressure from this and as a result felt like I didn’t have enough clothes to rotate into my shots (had to buy more!) and had to continuously look for inspiration.
  • Doing this project made me a better photographer. When I look back on all of the photos I took prior to doing this, I realized I was just taking photos “in the moment” and of my friends and random things that no one really cared about. Those photos just don’t get likes.
  • I still despise the #nofilter hashtag and refuse to use it ever.
  • I started asking myself the question, “Why would people care about this photo?” Why do people care about a group photo or a single shot of my friend from across the table? They don’t. But random strangers care about it if you hashtag it correctly and they’re the ones who will like your photo.
  • It’s very hard to like your first shot. Sometimes, I would come out of a session with 30 photos that I had to continuously delete in a row in order to get to the $$$ shot. There’s lot of photos in between that just don’t “look right” because a strand of hair is in my face or my eyes are blinking or my mouth is open.
  • I still have yet to post a “selfie!” and I probably won’t just because I don’t think I can get it right and they make me feel uncomfortable.
  • Even though I had a set of hashtags that I always used and knew would do well, I still had some doubts that I was missing out on other hashtags that could do better that I wasn’t using.

Tips:

  • If you’re going to capitalize on the fashion thing and the OOTD, then you’ve got to do it in moderation. I learned this lesson the hard way. I once had 3 outfits posts in a row. It didn’t hurt my likes very much, but when looking at the “whole” page of my Instagram, it looked off and didn’t display a “lifestyle” which is what people would rather see. Imagine a whole feed of outfits. No one really wants that.
  • I’ve heard that taking photos in the “Square” function of your camera gives you the best shots. I’ve tried it a few times now, but since I have so many photos with more of the white space around it, sometimes it looks out of place. What I like about the square though is that it kind of centers everything and makes it a lot easier for cropping. I’ll use this feature more when I’m trying to capture more of my outfit.
  • I definitely prefer having photos with more of the whitespace in the background. When looking at all of my photos as a whole, I just like that they give my Instagram page more of a uniform look, but I’ve read that it also provides people with more “visual relief” when scrolling through their feed. Because of this, it garners more likes.
  • Find a buddy! My friend Alex was also trying to step up his Instagram game around the same time as me so we would go on shoots together, give each other advice and basically lean on each other. When no one else understood what I was doing, it was great to have him around.
  • When possible, always include a location for where you’re at. That gives you a couple more hashtags to use.
  • If you’re trying to break into the fashion market, tag the brands you’re wearing. During the Nordstrom anniversary sale, I Instagrammed a Rebecca Minkoff bag that I fell in love with that I couldn’t afford and Nordstrom sent me a $50 gift card! Uniqlo has commented several times on my photos that they’d like to re-use my photo (they haven’t yet) but I have hope someday that they could so I keep trying.
  • High volume Instagram days don’t mean that you’re going to get likes. ie) Father’s Day. Because everyone is doing it and you’re not special. Your dads are – you just aren’t. On Instagram.
  • Just because your meal tastes delicious doesn’t mean it looks good.
  • Be courteous on Instagram. If someone random likes your photo, try and go to their page and give them a couple likes as well. If they leave a comment on your page, do the same.

This is still my favorite photo from this time period.

This is still the most liked photo at 73 likes and the first photo in the series of “outfit” posts.

Tools that I use: 

  • VSCO Cam for editing
  • Squaregram for the whitespace background
  • Twitter for sharing – most of the time I won’t share to Facebook though

Related articles:

So we’ve done 4 months of this. What now? Well, to be honest, Instagram has been way more fun since I started wanting to take better photos that I don’t really want to go back to what I was doing before. We’re going to continue on with the photos, the outfits, and the hashtags, and we’re looking forward to more learning and what happens next!

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Blog Roundup

– How to run an electronic music festival. Honestly one of the best things I’ve read in a long time and is laying the basic foundation for planning any music festival. [The Fader]

– Cereal Milk Affogato – Yum. [Grubstreet]

– Why you should be a morning person [Medium]

– Millennial men aren’t the dads they thought they’d be [NY Times]

– Bachelorette Andi Dorfman is writing a tell-all about her breakup with Josh Murray [EW]

– According to Facebook research, “Lol” is totally old school. [Refinery29]

– Every single Starbucks Frappuccino flavor ever. [Refinery29]

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Mr. Robot

As if I needed another show to watch. Every time I keep thinking about Mr. Robot, I end up writing “Mr. Robert.” What? I’m currently on episode 2, but I’m obsessed with this show and Rami Malek who is just superb and in some ways kind of a dream boat? We were all thinking it. Where did this guy come from? The last time I remembered seeing him in anything was Short Term 12 and I think he played a completely different character than he does now. Wow. Acting, right?! It’s amazing. A few of my co-workers have told me that they have stopped watching because they find the show to be too dark. But amongst Pretty Little Liars and Bachelors in Paradise, I could use a little dark every now and then.

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Power Couple Alert

So it looks like this is happening today. Apparently Gigi Hadid was the matchmaker in all of this and we’re not totally opposed to it because we really like Kendall Jenner. A part of me does feel very sad for Olivia Culpo though. And then there was a part of me that hoped Nick Jonas would just get back together with Selena Gomez. Oh the conflictions…

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In Random Instagrams of the Day…

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Taylor Swift said Happy Birthday to her BFF Karlie Kloss today and hey – Calvin Harris just happens to be in the photo too. We see you, Taylor.

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Getting Engaged in 2015

Now, when my friends are getting engaged these days, I don’t imagine that they are experiencing a scenario like this one. However, there’s a part of me that thinks that maybe there is some staging happening to an extent. This one takes it a little bit too far, but it’s something to think about isn’t it? I’ve been meaning to write a post on this (and I will soon, I promise) but lately a friend/co-worker of mine and I have been “beefing” up our Instagram game. We’ve taken things to some pretty extreme lengths and it’s almost to the point if it hasn’t gotten there already that our friends are starting to hate us a little bit.

“Are you using VSCO to edit your photo?”

“Can you take this one more time?”

“Did you double share to Facebook? TAG US!”

More on that later though…

[Source]

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Room – Trailer

Based on the best-selling novel by Emma Donoghue. A woman is being held captive with her five-year-old son in a single small room for years.
Directed by Lenny Abrahamson, and starring Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Joan Allen, William H. Macy

Just enough of the trailer to get you interested. I love Brie Larson though so I have no doubts that she won’t do a fantastic job in this.

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According to Science:

According to a new study, couples who drink together are happier! Actually clarification – couples who have the same interest in drinking or share the same distaste for it are actually the happier ones. I find this to be totally believable because imagine if you’re person A and you like to have a couple of drinks on a Friday or Saturday night and then your partner is like “nah, I want to be a wet blanket tonight and have a water.” It sounds like a disaster.

A higher correlation was found for alcohol consumption, suggesting that a couple who shares a similar love (or distaste) for drinking is destined to be happier in their marriage and, conversely, that a discrepancy will often lead to marital dissatisfaction.

The study tracked 634 newly married couples over the course of a seven-year follow-up period and found that while smoking habits stayed relatively the same, and so did not incur mounting levels of dissatisfaction, partners who drank did so with more frequency over the years, thus resulting in increased dissatisfaction at each couple check-in.

I think as long as you’re not a mess and you and your partner don’t become destructive when you drink that this is pretty positive. Here’s hoping that all my future partners are down to have a least two drinks. Doesn’t this naturally just make dates easier because you’re breaking the ice?

[Source]

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Blog Roundup

– I can’t even with these sushi beach towels [Colossal]

– The pain of being in love with someone you can never be with [Elite Daily]

– 15 rules for an unconventional wedding [The Coveteur]

– Things to avoid when eating out [The Guardian]

– The Real World is casting in SF next month, do you have what it takes? [7×7]

– Silicon Valley Dictionary – like Urban Dictionary, but a place where people only in tech can truly relate [Silicon Valley Dictionary]

– The most popular foods across the world calculated by Instagram [Photoworld]

– The best amenity kits in first class by airline [Afar]

– How to recover from an all-nighter

– Calculate how much time you’ve spent watching your favorite television shows [tiii.me]

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UnREAL

In the same week, I read about the show’s reviews and was recommended to watch it by my co-worker who was only watching it because his wife was. I didn’t know much about the synopsis, but I knew Shiri Appleby was starring in it and I’ve loved her ever since Roswell (and of course her character in Girls.) Basically, it’s a fictional show that centers around characters that produce and run a reality dating series. Think The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, but learning more about the people that pull the strings behind the scenes. At first, I felt a little silly watching it, but when you notice the parallels and since I’m currently watching The Bachelorette this season, it’s all pretty interesting. The show has been doing extremely well and it’s also on Lifetime which you wouldn’t think it would be. In some ways, I feel like it belongs on USA or something. The trailer above doesn’t do it justice, but take my word for it – I watched seven episodes in a row today while working.

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Blog Roundup

– Which member of Taylor Swift’s clique are you? [Refinery 29]

– How Facebook changed their “Facebook Friends” icon [Medium]

– Majid Jordan dropped a 20-minute mix on SoundCloud for your listening pleasure [Fader]

– Roy Choi shows us how to make the perfect instant ramen [Tasting Table]

– How men can pull off the baggy t-shirt look [GQ]

– 5 unexpected things happy people have in their homes [Apartment Therapy]

Wow! I think this is the first time we’ve hit all 5 Yow Yow! categories!

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Giuliana Rancic Leaves E! News

E! TV personality Giuliana Rancic announced today that she will be leaving E! News, but will still be a part of Fashion Police and E! Live Red Carpet – two other franchises part of the network. She had this to say about her departure:

For more than a decade, I was fortunate enough to play a role in the success of E! News and will miss my family at the show,” Rancic says. “At the same time, I am excited to not only continue as host of two major franchises on E! but also executive produce the aspirational new show Rich in Faith for Oxygen as well as take my wine and clothing lines to the next level. “This is such a thrilling time for me and I thank the gang at E! for understanding my desire to embark on this next chapter in my life.”

After the scandal that happened earlier this year with Zendaya, I honestly can’t say that I am surprised. I think her way of handling the incident didn’t sit well with most people and it was hard for her to really make a comeback from that. It wouldn’t shock me if in another year or less than a year she exits the network completely.

Her last day on E! News will be Monday, August 10th.

[Source]

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That Last Bachelorette Episode

Since I happened to be in Seattle this past week, I was very lucky to be able to watch The Bachelorette’s most scandalous episode of the season with my 3 favorite girlfriends. Every week, we’ve all watched it from our own homes – me in California and the three of them seprately in Seattle all of us texting each other throughout the two hours for our reactions, but this time it was so much better to be in one living room together!

In case you missed it, Kaitlyn had the sex with Nick Viall on The Bachelorette. Obviously, nothing was shown, but audiences could definitely hear what went on behind closed doors. Someone should remind them to not only take the mics off, BUT to not leave the mics turned on either. In the past, getting to this stage in a relationship on the show usually happens within the last two episdoes at the fantasy suite when there are usually just three suitors left. In Kaitlyn’s case, she had 9 guys left vying for her love and a long road ahead of her. For reference, the last Bachelor/Bachelorette to be intimate before the fantasy suite was Juan Pablo and Claire.

At the end of the episode, I just had to ask the girls: so what did you think?

All of us agreed that what she did was wrong. It was wrong because there were still 9 guys left and essentially still very early on in the process. When you are down to just three contestants, it seems more okay because you are starting to get more serious and having that deeper connection. It doesn’t look great on Kaitlyn because it was on television for the whole world to see it. Do we feel that she is being treated unfairly though or being slut-shamed for what she did? Absolutely. From the very beginning of the season, we saw a preview of this clip as to what we could expect from Season 11 and it seemed like this was a very pivotal moment in Bachelor/Bachelorette history. When this happened to Juan Pablo, we didn’t know it was happening until it happened. Kaitlyn didn’t get the same treatment.

I met with a former professor the next day who also watches this show and engaged in this conversation with me as well. She asked me, “Where does Kaitlyn go from here? How does she redeem herself?”

I thought it was a great question because honestly – if I were in Kaitlyn’s shoes, I wouldn’t know what to do either. Part of why I’m disappointed in what Kaitlyn did was because now this sets an expectation for the other men. In their eyes, they might now feel that they have to sleep with Kaitlyn in order to feel like they’re ahead which puts Kaitlyn in a very uncomfortable position that no other woman really wants to see her have to be in. It feels a bit unfair though as I’m writing this because while she did make herself feel a little “easy” to Nick, she wasn’t doing something that was wrong with regards to dating because when most women date, intimacy is an important part of that. However, the girls and I decided that it is wrong when you are exclusively dating 9 men at the same time.

Readers, would love to hear your thoughts on this on this episode if you have any!

 

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