What I’m Thinking: Has Life Become Too ‘Customized’?

Overalls | puff sleeve blouse (somethingnavy – sold out! Similar here and here!)| Gucci Loafers | Parisa Wang bag

Algorithms and customizable features – they’re supposed to help us make life easier and “better” to cut down on info/images/options and just get straight to what we already know we like and want. But what if these tools are really just limiting and putting us in even more of a bubble?

Take the infamous Instagram algorithm that has been discussed and dissected ad nauseam. Back in the day (really, only like 5 years ago) your Instagram feed presented the accounts you followed in a chronological order- when an account you followed posted- whether it was fashion, food, travel, inappropriate memes, or your aunt from California- you saw it. As Instagram grew, more and more people used the app, and people started following wayyy more accounts than they could keep up with- hence where the algorithm stepped in. Based on what accounts you “interacted” (liked, commented on at the time of the algorithm’s onset) with, those were the accounts that you see now, and those types of accounts also dominate your “explore” page. The problem is, even though I’m a fashion blogger, and most of the accounts I follow are fashion related, I NEVER see the posts from the “cute koalas” account I follow- or Ina Garten’s latest recipe, or the sick NatGeo landscapes I love, or surf photos, or funny memes or my random relatives or old friends. And my “explore” page thinks I only want to see things that I already know that I like – fashion being the dominant category. Doesn’t that kind of negate the whole point of “exploring”? I’m not a one dimensional person in the non-digital world; so why am I being pigeonholed in the Insta-world?

The same phenomenon can be seen in other areas as well. I’ve been thinking about how almost everything we do/see/buy/use is customizable now. From our coffee orders (wouldn’t our great great grandparents be horrified at the amount of “milk” options there are now?! Dairy free- nut milk- 1.5% lolol), to our Netflix playlists (“recommended for you” based on what you’ve watched) – everything is personalized, pre-sorted and made exactly how we like and want it.

How can this be problematic? Don’t these “services” and algorithms make life easier?

Maybe. But is easier always better?

You know how before the age of GPS and turn by turn directions, people would take the long way to get somewhere and maybe find a cool new place to have a bite and drink? Or see a neighborhood that they otherwise wouldn’t have gone through? Or how back in the day, you had to just watch TV – maybe see a movie that you didn’t think you’d like but ended up loving? Or, god forbid, listened to the radio, hoping your fave Gwen Stefani song would come on, and be “forced” to listen to 8 other songs you may not have heard before? Or even dating- now I’m no expert, being that I married my high school sweetheart that I met at 12- but I’ve seen plenty of single friends struggle with dating in 2018- even though there are more apps/services/ sites to “help you find your MATCH” than ever before. Maybe finding your “match” isn’t the goal- maybe your soulmate isn’t a person that checks off all of the same boxes (almond-milk-loving, gluten free, vegan Libertarian, must love rescue dogs ?!) but someone completely random and different than you! I feel like these hidden limitations and parameters are being built around our options – and we’re strangely VOLUNTARILY participating!

As an efficiency-obsessed person with very little patience for wasted time, I totally get and appreciate time saving services- I mean do I really WANT to waste gas and time driving around not knowing where I’m going? Def not. But it’s also not lost on me that because the fastest way from point A to B is mapped out for me; because my movies and shows are preselected on Netflix, and I only have to hit “reorder” on a takeout app, that maybe I, WE, are missing out on randomly fun, unexpected experiences. Watching/ visiting/ eating / listening to something or somewhere or someone you didn’t know about or think you liked (or hasn’t been logged in an algorithm as a frequent interest!) – don’t those make for the BEST memories?!

So where do we go from here? Not sure. I think it’s about trying to take some control over our already super-controlled environment. Force yourself to do things the hard way, long way, or the different way- I know, I know, way easier said than done! Isn’t the first step always awareness though? I believe the pendulum will eventually swing the other way- that humanity will crave exploration and randomness once again- in the meanwhile, I’ll continue to (try) to do things the ‘old fashioned way’ as much as I can❤️

Xo, ❤

Christine

What I’m wearing: Statement Sweaters

This season, build your look around a quirky statement sweater– while neutral and classic knits will always be in style, kick your winter style up a notch with a bold patterned sweater or one in an eye catching color! Recently, I’ve been styling my looks around pieces like these:

Star print sweater | black skinny jeans | striped heels (old j.crew, similar here)

Pink sweater (also in electric blue) | Levis jeans | white mules | faux fur tote (old j.crew, similar here and here)

Shop some of my fave statement sweaters below, all under $100:

1./ 2. / 3. / 4. / 5./ 6./ 7./ 8./ 9./ 10./ 11./ 12.

Xo, ❤

Christine

Nolan’s Fall/Winter Wardrobe

Like many fashionable moms-to-be, when I found out (three years ago now!) that I was having a boy, part of me was disappointed that I wouldn’t have as much fun dressing him as I would a little girl. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth! There are so many cute boy outfits out there, admittedly amidst lots of cartoony ( just not our style) , corny-ish clothes- you just have to look in the right places! H&M is probably our fave go-to spot to shop for Nolan- most pieces are under $20- many under $10- and the style is pretty much on par with Tim’s and my style. One of the most common questions I get is some version of “where do you shop for Nolan”- so I figured I’d do a whole post dedicated to his fall/ winter wardrobe this year… best of all, pretty much all of these pieces work together and can mix and match in multiple ways!

1. / 2. / 3. / 4./ 5./ 6./ 7./ 8./ 9./ 10./ 11. / 12.

13. / 14. / 15. / 16. / 17. / 18. / 19. / 20. / 21. / 22. / 23./ 24.

Happy toddler shopping!

Xo, ❤

Christine (& Nolan)

Mamahood: Why adventures with a toddler are worth the effort

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I got the idea for this post when a fellow mom asked how we (meaning Tim, Nolan, and I) always had the energy and time to do fun things.  “Isn’t it just overwhelming?”, she asked.  This got me thinking- I guess we DO do a lot of “fun things”- but I didn’t necessarily see our adventures as something out of the ordinary- we’ve always kind of been “get up and go” people— we love seeing new things, trying new restaurants, staying in new places and hotels— I guess it turns out that “having fun” is sort of my hobby!

Let me explain…

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Remember when we were kids, and having fun was easy because, well you were a kid and it was pretty much your only job, other than to go to school.  Even throughout high school and college, it’s still pretty easy to have fun, go on adventures, travel, eat out, explore etc.

Then BAM, you get a big girl (or guy) job, have to pay rent/ a mortgage, maybe have a kid ( or two or three or whatever!) and now you’re just tired AF and it’s just so much easier to stay home. “Having fun” sometimes feels like another line on the old “adulting” to-do list.

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Outfit details: Sandro tee | the BEST faded cropped straight leg high waist jeans | leopard cardigan | headband | Gucci mules

Which I get. Believe me, it may seem like we are always on the go on social media, but we LOVE a good Netflix session as much as the next person.  Of course there are (plenty) of days where we never get “dressed” and hibernate at home too.  But then I get this itchy feeling like I need to go somewhere, do something, see something new- and especially since having Nolan, I want the same for him.

To get right to the heart of this, I think what I’m trying to say is that while it’s not always easy to get out of the house, take a toddler somewhere not necessarily toddler friendly, and kind of just “wing” an adventure, ITS ALWAYS WORTH IT. Never once have we gotten on a plane or train, traveled to a new city, taken Nolan to an event, restaurant or activity and said “gee I really wish we had stayed home.”  The adventures are not always perfect, in fact, far from it.  This past mini- getaway, out to the Hamptons for apples and pumpkins, def wasn’t- we couldn’t control the fact that Nolan wouldn’t nap in the car, that it rained all morning, and that oops, he may have (definitely) rolled off the hotel bed in the middle of the night (ok maybe we could have helped that but hey, didn’t we ALL roll off the bed at some point as kids?!) But the fact that we knew we couldn’t control all of these factors was not a deterrent for us from going.  We just pushed through his nap time and put him to bed early, went out to lunch in Southampton (Sant Ambrose!) while waiting for the rain to end, and well, just moved Nolan right in between us in the hotel bed after he fell off (lol).

On the way back home, we stopped at our fave vineyard, Wölffer Estate, which I would not categorize as “toddler friendly”.  I mean, they were def super nice, and no one looked at us like we were crazy or anything— but it’s not a place with like TVs with Disney channel on, or toys to play with, or even a dedicated place to play.  But we wanted to go (don’t even get me started on people who would claim this is “selfish” and how “when you’re a parent, it’s not about YOU anymore” bc screw that, each member of our little fam is important! And last time I checked, Nolan isn’t the one paying the mortgage amiright?!) SO WE DID. And it was fun- really fun. We brought his sticker books and cars and he just read and stickered and played and ate crackers at our table while we wined and cheesed- I swear, he’s learned that some places are for mommy and daddy and that’s ok.

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My point is, when I think about why some moms/parents hesitate to travel with/ adventure with their babies/ kids it’s because we then have to let go of even more control- the unknown, even if it’s just “will he pick up garbage on the subway and eat it” (maybe) or “will she freak out on the plane” (definitely) or “what if he doesn’t like any of the food served at the restaurant” (almost certainly) – can be really damn annoying to deal with, and down right anxiety inducing for us (especially moms, I think).  What will other people think if my kid misbehaves? What if it ends up being a disaster- we might as well just not go- it’ll be easier.  The thing is, “easier” usually doesn’t lead to “having fun”.  And I’ve found that people are really understanding of babies and toddlers- if they freak out a little, it’s not a reflection of you (not always, at least lol)— and people, most of whom are parents themselves, totally get it.  The more adventures we go on, the better Nolan gets at going with the flow— it’s really the only way he knows- on weekend mornings, he’ll ask “where we gonna go to?!” – he knows that most days bring adventure.  Also, our on the go lifestyle makes the three of us, Nolan included, appreciate and value the Netflix (or in his case, Moana!) marathons even more satisfying 💛
I really hope this post inspires you mamas (or dads) to plan a little getaway, go on a fun day trip, or just have a spontaneous adventure this weekend- I promise, the memories will be worth the effort! 💕
Xo, ❤
Christine