Are You Easily Influenced to Shop on Instagram?

If you had to categorize people into “savers” and “spenders,” I would definitely be in the latter category. I love to shop, and while I am responsible with my money, let’s just say that my building concierge and I are on a first name basis. There’s rarely a day when I don’t have a package with my name on it waiting for me. When it comes to shopping, I tend to spend the most on home decor, clothing, and makeup + skincare — and I do 99% of it online, hence all the packages.

Over the last several years, I’ve made a very conscious effort to be ruthless in my returns. I’ve always been good at returning things on-time, but I wasn’t always been the best about being honest with myself when it came to whether or not I loved an item that showed up at my door. For instance, I’d love a dress online, know in my gut it didn’t work in person, but decide to keep it anyway hoping that somehow it could work — only to wear it once or twice before donating it or selling it on Poshmark. Now, I have to really, really love something for it to stick around.

To complement my ruthless approach to returning, lately, I’ve been making of a more concerted effort to consciously shop. So around the start of the month, I think about where I want to spend some of my discretionary income — whether that’s a new dress for a wedding I’m attending or a pair of beautiful candlesticks from anthropologie (I bought them, by the way) to style my new sideboard. Instead of impulse shopping, I want to make sure I am actually spending my money on things that I really want and have thought about.

Through this particular self-betterment endeavor, I’ve realized, it’s all too easy for me to be influenced by social media — namely, watching other’s Instagram Stories.

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5.17.23 4

Life Lately

I cannot believe how quickly this year is flying – it’s already May and my summer is quickly filling up! It’s been almost two months since I’ve shared a look into my life lately, so I have a lot to catch you up on!

One thing that has been on my mind a lot this year is how to best spend my free time on my creative projects. I’ve been posting on TikTok more and having a lot of fun doing so — but taking video content is still a new skill for me, so it is time consuming to both shoot and edit, and I tend to be a perfectionist, especially when I am picking up a new skill. But one cool thing is that my journey on TikTok as a novice reminds me of my early blogging days — I used to put in so much time to both taking and editing my photos, and now it’s second nature to me, so I am hoping the same can be said for my video content one day.

But then, any time I spend making video content takes away from this sort of written long-form blog content. While the latter can be hard to motivate myself to do after a long day, it is something I want to continue to put effort into — unlike TikTok, which could go away at anytime, or Instagram, which offers up an algorithm that is on my daily shit list, my blog is something I own and control 100%. I do feel like the nature of long-form blogging has changed so much since I writing A Touch of Teal back in 2014, though. I used to spend so much time reading my favorite bloggers — who posted long-form content daily! — and now, I rarely find myself reading a blogpost unless someone links to something compelling on Instagram Stories. So then, part of me, wonders if writing long-form blogposts is worth the effort when sharing on more visual, less-text heavy mediums is often less time intensive and more engaging — both to me and, seemingly, to you.

Concurrently, the older I’ve gotten, the less vulnerable I’ve wanted to be on the internet — and my philosophy has always been to write the blog I would want to read, which often means sharing my heart in some regard. Given my reservations in this arena, I feel like my blog has become more of a resource for travel, book, dining, and home decor recommendations, which is great, but is often the type of content you seek out when you’re in the need for it — not the type of content you read while you’re enjoying your morning cup of coffee, you know?

And then other times, I just want to live my life, and not worry so much about capturing it to share it. (I have always loved taking pictures, even as a kid! But to me there’s a big difference in capturing a photo just for your own memory versus one you capture to share with others.) I am continually impressed by some of the creators on TikTok who are able to share their daily lives or cleaning routines — but I have to think that it must be exhausting at a certain point to always be filming, especially when doing quotidian things. Yet, sometimes, I put pressure on myself and can’t help but wonder as I’m unloading the dishwasher or the afternoon light is hitting just right in my apartment — should I be capturing this?

All that to say, I’m not going anywhere, on any platform — but I am thinking about my overall strategy so I can focus on the places that are most fun for me (this is my hobby, not my job!), while rightsizing the amount of effort I am spending on things that maybe aren’t driving a ton of value — whether monetarily or in my personal joy.

If you have any thoughts on influencers/creators/bloggers — whatever we are calling them these days! — let me know; this is something I think about often and am definitely interested in having a dialogue around the ever-changing landscape.
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An Afternoon at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

At the end of April, my family went to Wilmington, North Carolina for my cousin Caroline’s wedding — and we had the best time. I’ve been to Wilmington twice now, both for weddings, and I would love to visit again when I have more time to explore. It is such a beautiful port city, with lots of great restaurants, beautiful architecture, rich history, and plenty of waterfront views.

To get ahead of the terrible traffic on I-95, my sisters and I drove to the Richmond area on a Thursday night after work and stayed at a hotel right off the highway. On Friday morning, we got up, grabbed Chick Fil A, and hit the road to arrive to the Wilmington area by lunch. Because we didn’t have any plans until Friday evening, we decided to head straight to Wrightsville Beach to spend the afternoon — and I am so glad we did as we had the best time.

You know those days or moments or experiences where you go in with absolutely no expectations, and walk away with a new favorite memory? That’s exactly how this afternoon in Wrightsville Beach was because, other than knowing we wanted to have lunch by the water, we went in with no plan. We hadn’t looked up the restaurant menu, we hadn’t extensively Googled the destination – we just wanted to enjoy a few hours of time at the beach before checking into our hotel and figured we would just see where the day would take us.

Given we had such a great afternoon, I wanted to quickly share the two spots we went to in Wrightsville Beach (and loved!) in case you find yourself headed there — Oceanic and Dockside. More on both below!

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