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Currently Listening

favorite podcasts

I know the following statement might seem contradictory to my life (being in communications and writing my blog), but here’s the truth: I can be slow at adopting new digital trends. I’m still not on Snapchat (I simply creep on people through my fiancé’s) and I just recently downloaded Podcasts from the app store. Early on I dismissed podcasts because I deemed them all too boring. And how was I supposed to listen to an in-depth story during my daily public transit commute? But as soon as I heard about an hourlong show that focuses on the Real Housewives franchise, I decided to give them a chance. And boy, am I hooked. (Just two years later than everyone else.) I started searching for more podcasts to listen to in a pretty simple way – I went to the top charts section in the app. I want to share my favorite podcasts with you, but don’t expect them to be groundbreaking. Who knows, though, maybe you’re still adapting, too!

Favorite podcasts

  1. Bitch Sesh: This is the one that got me into podcasts (thanks, Marissa!). Who wouldn’t want to listen to two funny women rehash all of the week’s Real Housewives episodes? Bonus, they always share quirky, silly stories from their lives. By the end of podcast I find myself wishing we were all in the same room so I could talk back over a glass of wine!
  2. Missing Richard Simmons: This one has been top of the charts for several weeks now, and for a good reason. It’s like Serial for workout-aholics or reality show buffs. (I think, I’ve never actually listened to Serial.) I’m a little too young for Richard Simmons, but I do remember how the man in spandex shorts was fascinating. And now he’s been out of the public eye (missing?) for three years! What could have happened? This show host wants to find out.
  3. Pod Save America: Ok, I’m drinking the liberal Kool-Aid. But really, you might not like this one if you’re not a Democrat. The show is hosted by former Obama speechwriters and spokesperson. They deem it “A no-bullshit conversation about politics. This is a political podcast for people not yet ready to give up or go insane.” Not only does this series help me understand the ever-changing political landscape, the guys are actually pretty funny, too.
  4. Another Round: These ladies are fun. Heben and Tracy host a Buzzfeed podcast and bring on fun hosts to shed light on current political and cultural situations.  They recently had Jordan Peele on a guest, but my personal favorite is when Matt Bellassai joins them.
  5. What Watch Crappens: After watching nearly all of the Bravo shows, you wouldn’t think I’d then need to relive them through a Podcast, too. But that’s what I do. These two men recap Bravo shows the day after they air. My favorite parts of listening to their show are voices they use to make fun of the reality stars, which sound eerily alike the Bravolebrities’ real voices!

Do you have any favorite podcasts? What should I add to my rotation?

BTW: See the workout clothes in this post on!


Derma E Charcoal Product Review

Sincerely Jennie Derma E Charcoal

For a long time I wasn’t someone who was clued into the latest in skincare advances or even how to take care of my own skin. Until about a year ago, I used the same cleanser that I’d used on and off since high school. But after a visit to an esthetician taught me that the drugstore cleanser may be hurting my combination skin – not helping it – I started looking for better options to address breakouts and dry patches. During my research, I became really curious about the benefits of products that use charcoal. How could something I associate with as being dirty (I can just picture it burnt on a grill) help your skin? I was really excited to learn more through Derma E’s new purifying products.

Charcoal Formulas

Derma E sent me a Purifying Daily Detox Scrub and Purifying 2-in-1 Charcoal Mask. According to the company, both formulas work like magnets to lift dirt, oils and toxins from the skin. The formulas also contain marine algae extracts to give you that radiant glow. The ingredients and promise of the products sounded great, and I couldn’t wait to try them!

Sincerely Jennie Derma E Charcoal

The Purifying 2-in-1 Charcoal Mask was actually the more impressive of the two. The first time I did the mask I left it on for the longest amount of time recommended, and after I washed it off I realized I should have been more cautious. My face was red! I went to bed worried I might break out, but when I woke up my skin looked cleaner and fresher than it ever had overnight. The mask is a great way to treat yourself with an at-home beauty routine (but I recommend testing a patch of skin first).

What I liked so much about the Purifying Daily Detox Scrub is that it is an exfoliant, but also a gentle formula so my skin doesn’t feel too dried out after using it. It’s been a great complement to the other products recommended by my esthetician. I just feel really fresh after using it.

Thank you to Derma E and BrandBacker for giving me the chance to review these products. Although I received them care of, the opinions expressed are my own and honest. 


Second Blogiversary

blogiversary

I’m so excited to share that this week marks my second blogiversary! With such a busy year at work and in my personal life, the anniversary of this passion project kind of snuck up on me. But of course I still want to celebrate the milestone! If you want to read about the start of Sincerely, Jennie, visit this blog post celebrating my first blogiversary. For my blogiversary week, I plan to focus my posts on this past year and treat you all to a very special giveaway! (Follow along my Instagram for more information.)

Thank you

I would also like to say thank you to everyone who virtually interacts with the blog or have even become my friends IRL through this site. When people hear I have a blog, they often ask if I make money off of it or if it’s a job I’d like to do full time someday. I always answer no, and give them the same answer I’ve had since the beginning. This blog allows me to be owner of my own creative project and share what I find interesting or fun in life. It’s nice to know that there are people out there sharing in my passion and what I post.

While the goal with this blog isn’t to go full time, it’s been nice this year to see influencer marketing continue to be a trend in advertising and communications campaigns. It’s allowed me to work with some cool brands (such as Goldplaited and Cat Footwear), and I aim to continue to bring news to you on brands, products and trends.

Keep following along for more blogiversary content, and please, treat yourself to a piece of cake with me!


Holiday Viewers’ Guide

holiday viewers' guideWe all have that one friend. That friend for who, as soon as it’s Thanksgiving (or maybe sooner), the Christmas lights are up and it’s declared the *hOlidAy sEAson!!!* For me, that’s my former college roommate and blog partner Amanda. (One of the friends in my annual college Secret Santa.) Luckily, her love of the holidays has always really been an added bonus to our friendship. Where else would I get a very tailored Holiday viewers’ guide for the next 20 days?

So, according to Amanda… It’s time to set your DVRs, make a Netflix movie game plan, and clear your schedule to do a marathon TV holiday episode streaming day (complete with a bottle of Bailey’s and Christmas pjs). The holiday viewers’ guide is all wrapped up in a neat little bow below. 🙂

Holiday TV Episodes to Stream

NETFLIX

  • Glee – Season 2, Episode 10. “A Very Glee Christmas”
  • 30 Rock – Season 2, Episode 9. “Ludachristmas”
  • 30 Rock – Season 3, Episode 6. “Christmas Special”
  • The Office – Season 2, Episode 10. “Christmas Party”
  • How I Met Your Mother – Season 2, Episode 11. “How Lily Stole Christmas”
  • Parks and Rec – Season 4, Episode 10. “Citizen Knope”
  • Parks and Rec – Season 5, Episode 9. “Ron and Diane”
  • Scrubs – Season 1, Episode 11. “My Own Personal Jesus”
  • The League – Season 2, Episode 2. “Kegel the Elf”
  • New Girl – Season 4, Episode 11. “LAXmas”
  • New Girl – Season 1, Episode 9. “The 23rd”
  • New Girl – Season 2, Episode 11. “Santa”
  • Gossip Girl – Season 1, Episode 11. “Roman Holiday”
  • Gilmore Girls – Season 2, Episode 10. “The Bracebridge Dinner”

HULU

  • The Mindy Project – Season 1, Episode 9. “Josh and Mindy’s Christmas Party”
  • The Mindy Project – Season 3, Episode 11. “Christmas”
  • The Mindy Project – Season 2, Episode 11. “Christmas Party Sex Trap”
  • Happy Endings – Season 3, Episode 7, “No Ho Ho”
  • Happy Endings – Season 2, Episode 9, “Grinches be Crazy”
  • Blackish – Season 1, Episode 10. “Black Santa, White Christmas.”
  • Blackish – Season 2, Episode 10. “Stuff”
  • Brooklyn 99 – Season 1, Episode 11. “Christmas”
  • The OC – Season 1, Episode 13. “The Best Chrismukkah Ever”
  • The OC – Season 2, Episode 6. “The Chrismukkah That Almost Wasn’t”
  • The OC – Season 1, Episode 13. “The Chrismukkah Bar-Mitz-vahkkah”
  • Modern Family – Season 1, Episode 10. “Undeck the Halls”
  • Modern Family – Season 3, Episode 10. “Express Christmas”

MOVIES

  • Miracle on 34th Street (Netflix)
  • Love Actually (Netflix)
  • While You Were Sleeping (Netflix)
  • White Christmas (Netflix)
  • Serendipity (Netflix)
  • Scrooged (Netflix)
  • Christmas with the Kranks (Netflix)
  • 12 Dates of Christmas (Netflix)
  • Bill Murray Christmas (Netflix)
  • The Muppet Christmas Carol (HBO)
  • Home Alone (HBO)
  • Lethal Weapon (Hulu)

SET YOUR DVRs

  • Freeform’s 25 Days of Christmas full listings found here 
  • Another really extensive list of Christmas TV and movies here

Monday, December 5

  • Jingle all the Way (Freeform, 5:00 p.m. ET)
  • Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show (CBS, 10 p.m. ET)

Thursday, December 8

  • Deck the Halls (Freeform, 5 p.m. ET)
  • Shrek the Halls (ABC, 8:30 p.m. ET)
  • Holiday in Handcuffs (Freeform, midnight ET)

Saturday, December 10

  • Toy Story 1, 2, 3 (Freeform, starting at 3:45 ET)

Sunday, December 11

  • White House Christmas (HGTV, 6 p.m. ET)

Monday, December 12

  • Christmas Cupid (Freeform, midnight ET)

Thursday, December 15

  • Four Christmases (TBD, 8:00 p.m. ET)
  • Disney’s Prep & Landing (TBD, 8:00 p.m. ET)

Friday, December 16

  • Deck the Halls (TBD, 8:00 p.m. ET)

Saturday, December 17

  • Disney’s Frozen (Freeform, 9:00 p.m. ET)

Monday, December 19

  • Just Friends (Freeform, midnight ET)

Wednesday, December 21

  • The Mistletones (Freeform, midnight ET)

Sunday, December 25

  • A Christmas Story (TBS, all day long)

So seriously, I hope you get some time to enjoy any of these holiday TV shows or movies – or maybe a less traditional one that you watch year after year! And if you’re just looking for shows to binge watch, check out my list.


Secret Santa with Uncommon Goods

secret santa

It’s that time of the year again, the most wonderful time of the year. It’s the annual gift exchange with my college girlfriends! Our Secret Santa began in the dorms our freshman year of college and has since evolved to a long-distance gift exchange. Sure, we miss the fun of sneaking over to each other’s rooms and dropping off little little clues, but it’s just as nice to get a package in the mail from an old friend. Since this is a long-distance Secret Santa, we use an online website to choose each other’s names and upload a wishlist. Last year, the friend I had in the exchange asked for a unique map off of Uncommon Goods. With so many gifts to buy this year – including something for my pick in the Secret Santa gift exchange (ssshhh it’s a secret!) – I thought I’d check the site out again for handmade, recycle and organic Christmas gift ideas.

Uncommon Goods Christmas Gifts for Women

Secret Santa Christmas Gifts

Several gifts jumped out at me, and made me think of of my friends in the exchange. What I really like about the Christmas gifts on Uncommon Goods is they tell the story of who is selling them/made them, and how they’re doing it sustainably. It makes me feel all the more happy about my choices for my college girlfriends:

  1. Constitution Glass – This is kind of a joke, but two friends interned in D.C. one summer during college and when they came back they would not stop talking about how amazing the city was. They were also oddly in love with our Founding Fathers. Well, wouldn’t you know it, they both now live in D.C. and still love America.
  2. Macaron Kit – There are several world travelers in our group and several bakers. I figured either would love having the luxury of making macarons in their own kitchen.
  3. Chocolate Soaps – Ok, truthfully, these soaps really caught my eye as a gift for myself. I’m one of the biggest chocolaholics in our friend group, so much so that I wouldn’t mind bathing in it.
  4. Cheeseboard with Chalk – One of our friends very recently got married and she loves to host. (We both also very much enjoy cheese.) This slate cheese board is so unique and elegant, she should definitely consider adding it to her wishlist!
  5. Flavor Fusion Water Bottle – This water bottle could really be for any of us, as we’re all often sharing work out tips or talking about the new fitness classes we’ve tried. Why not stay hydrated with water infused with a fruit flavor?
  6. 45-second Omelet Maker – One of my girlfriends and I enjoy making breakfast together when we visit each other. Her specialty is omelets. I saw this 45-second omelet maker and immediately thought about how great it would be to have a healthy but quick breakfast option every day!
  7. Wine Pearls – Let’s be honest, we’ve come a long way since college, but that doesn’t mean we don’t still enjoy a nice chilled glass of wine. Thankfully these wine pearls keep it classy.

So those are my picks for the ladies in my life, but there are many more Christmas gifts on Uncommon Goods I didn’t even share. Take a second to browse the site by price or by interest to see what pops out at you. I bet you’ll find something even for that person who has everything!

Photo by Tonya Espy Photography | This post was sponsored by Uncommon Goods. Thank you for supporting the brands that support my side hustle.

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Year 29

Sincerely Jennie 29th Birthday

Well, it’s here: my 29th birthday! For some reason I was really dreading this one as it got closer. Maybe it’s because 29 is such a final year to me; it’s the last year in your 20s. I know it’s not old by any means, but there’s something about getting so close to 30, a number I did think was old when I was a kid. Up until this past year I still felt like I was a young 20-something exploring the world and figuring it out. Now, with the arrival of my 29th birthday, it seems like a lot is going to change, quickly!

And the reality is, a lot will change in this upcoming year. There’s a lot I’m looking forward to, and lot I can be proud of that I accomplished in the last year. So I thought to celebrate this birthday I’d share five things I enjoyed in year 28, and five things I can’t wait for in year 29.

Sincerely Jennie 29th Birthday

Happy memories in year 28:

  1. Getting engaged. If you had asked me at age 19 where I’d be at 28, I’d probably have told you married and with children. Having just got engaged this year, that’s obviously not the trajectory my love life took, but it was all the better. Steve and I really got to know each other and grow into a strong couple over our three years dating. There was no rush to make that timeline my younger self imagined.
  2.  Getting a promotion. When I moved to Chicago at 24, I was switching professions and taking an internship. In a way that choice set me back, and I’ve struggled at times feeling behind in my career compared to my friends. It was exciting to get a promotion to prove that my hard work paid off, and I was happy to tackle new responsibilities.
  3. Moving in with Steve. Steve and I wanted to wait to move in together until we were engaged, and for us that was perfect. It’s been exciting to build our life in a junior one bedroom apartment and explore a new neighborhood.
  4. Watching my friends get married. This past year two of my best friends tied the knot. I was so happy to be there for them. I love celebrating love, especially when it’s a relationship I got to watch grow!
  5. Staying close with my college friends. In year 28, one of my best college friends (and former blog partner) moved to Chicago. I have had a blast hanging out and doing all of the things that we bonded over originally! Beyond that, other college friends and I have made more of an effort to get together after work, and I stay in touch with my girlfriends near and far through an ever-entertaining text chain.

What I’m looking forward to after my 29th birthday:

  1. Getting married. Steve’s and my wedding is planned for May 2017, and I am very much looking forward to making that commitment together. Right now the wedding planning might have me stressed out, but I keep reminding myself that the party with family and friends and ceremony with Steve will be well worth it!
  2. Getting healthier and stronger. I threw my back out in January, which actually might have been a blessing after it was all said and done. I hear so many people my age complain about back issues or other pains and I really encourage them to see a doctor or physical therapist about it. I in no way have dealt with everything I need to, but by reminding myself to do my PT exercises or make time for even just 20 minutes of physical activity, I can get back to the healthy, strong body I used to have.
  3. Stretching myself professionally. Recently my professional world and blogging hobby has required me to learn much more about social media, design and photography. I want to continue my professional growth to improve my work and my hobby. I’d love to hear how other people fit this in to their day-to-day routine, because that’s the part I’m still struggling with.
  4. Decluttering our apartment. This might seem like a silly, unexciting goal, but when you live in a small apartment you realize what you need and don’t. There are several boxes Steve and I want to store or donate, and I feel like getting rid of them will be a good reminder moving forward that I can be less of a consumer and instead make use of everything I have.
  5. Cheering on Steve in a marathon. I am not a runner by any means. When I first met Steve three years ago, neither was he. Yet somehow, during the time we’ve been together, his love of running snuck up on me, and he signed up for the Chicago Marathon. I still can’t comprehend his drive or desire to run 26.2 miles, but I’ll be out there in October cheering him on!

Images of Sprinkle Cupcakes ice cream sundae

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This Weekend

Things to do this weekend

Happy weekend! What are everyone’s plans? The fiancé and I are taking it easy tonight and hoping to try a tacos and tequila restaurant in the West Loop, Federales. The patio looks amazing and despite it being relatively new, it’s packed every time I walk by. I have to head to bed at a decent hour because I have an early appointment tomorrow for a cut and highlight. It’s about time I freshen up my blonde, and just in time for the bbq Sarah is throwing tomorrow night. After all of this, I’m finishing off the weekend with a short road trip to CycleBar in Burr Ridge. Wow, writing it all out makes it sound like a lot, but I know I’ll have time to relax in there, too. If you’re looking for things to do, this weekend why don’t you…

  1. Get a load of the Cubs players’ wacky outfits for their road trip. Their South Beach style is great!
  2. Stock up on summer styles with Banana Republic’s sale – it’s now an additional 50% off!
  3. Try the color blocking trend with inspiration from Red Reticule.
  4. Remember, you too can fight heat and humidity with my favorite summer beauty products.
  5. Check out the cutest little #tbt bag on Katya and find a similar one for yourself!

Happy Blogiversary

Sincerely Jennie Blogiversary

Today is so exciting for me! It happens to kick off the week of my one year blogiversary. That’s right, 365 days ago I started Sincerely, Jennie, my first blog on my own. When I decided to create this little space on the Internet I was coming off of another blog that I’d shared with a friend. That blog was ending so I decided to go out on my own. I wanted to continue sharing glimpses into my life with (virtual and IRL) friends with shared interests.

This past year with Sincerely, Jennie has been fun. I’ve gotten more involved with the Windy City Blogger Collective and gained some close friends, I’ve found my voice and my groove in posting, and my boyfriend and I may have gotten even closer through my blog outfit shoots (if you can believe that). I’ve gotten to work with brands I never would have met otherwise, such as Blumoss Swimwear, Irresistible Me Hair, Modern Table Meals and Chicago local businesses. I’ve learned a lot about blogging and picked up tips that have also helped me at my real life job of communications. There have been weeks when keeping up with a blog has been too much, but you know what, I’ve allowed myself to take a break when I needed it. I don’t ever want to stay away too long, though, because I actually enjoy keeping up with this hobby!

This week I’m going to take a look back on some of my favorite posts, talk about what I see in the future for the site and host a giveaway to say thank you to all of you for making this so much fun. It’s definitely a lot more enjoyable to have a blog when I actually know that my content connects with people out there. So thanks for stopping by and reading along. I look forward to the next year to come!


New Year’s Eve Outfit Ideas

I’m so excited to bring you a blog post today from a friend and fellow fashionista, Marissa. She asked if she could pen a post about New Year’s Eve outfit ideas and I was more than happy to accept so that we can all be dressed to the nines this NYE no matter the occasion or budget. Take a look below for some New Year’s Eve outfit inspiration!

New Year's Eve Outfit Ideas

No matter your fashion faux pas from the past 12 months (looking at you, girl in culottes), New Year’s Eve is a night to refresh your look. So whether you are partying at a new night club, going to a black tie soiree, headed to a dinner party or just staying at home for the evening, here are a few suggestions to make sure your outfit welcomes 2016 in style:

Bar Package
Moto jacket | Gold sequined dress | Steve Madden heels

Black Tie Soiree
Ponte dressMini messenger bagBronzer and highlighter kit

Dinner Party
ASOS jumpsuit | Faux fur jacket Rebecca Minkoff clutchM.A.C. face kit (special holiday pricing!)

Night In
Pajama pantsTurban | Sequin slippers

Marissa Ellenby

Marissa Ellenby is a public relations professional at a full service marketing communications agency Monday through Friday. On the weekends, you can find her at brunch, shopping and growing her social media following. As Kanye says, she’s a Chicagoan until Chicago ends … but she wouldn’t mind a vacation home in Miami. (Twitter / Instagram)

 


Grateful

Chicago-Theatre-4

Hi there! I hope you’re reading this between helpings of turkey and pie. I’m spending Thanksgiving with my boyfriend’s family so while I’m not in Chicago at the moment, I couldn’t help but get excited with all of the holiday decor that started popping up in the city. Macy’s has installed Christmas window displays, the Loop decorated with Christmas greens and we already had our first dusting of snow.

I thought that before all of the chaos of the holidays it’d be good for me to take some time to reflect on the past year. There were a lot of changes (a new job, my parents moved to a new state), and also some things that I’m happy stayed the same. So here’s my list of 10 things I’ve been grateful for in the past year – from the big to the small.

  1. Starting a new job that has afforded me a lot of professional and personal growth possibilities.
  2. Having a boyfriend who makes an effort to be empathetic and considerate of me, but also helps keep things light.
  3. Having a family I talk to nearly everyday, even if we’re all spread out.
  4. Nearing the end of my first year blogging alone and getting to say I’ve really enjoyed this as a personal, creative outlet.
  5. Celebrating several friend’s weddings and having several more on the horizon in 2016.
  6. Having a best friend (and former blog partner) move to Chicago.
  7. Being a part of the Rent the Runway Unlimited program and getting to wear hundreds of designers.
  8. Paying more attention to my health and taking steps to improve even the littlest pains that were bothering me.
  9. Meeting a hair stylist who gets my hair and suggested I try a keratin treatment for the first time. I’m glad I did!
  10. Having many fun holiday plans to look forward to with all of my friends and family.

What have you been grateful for in 2015?