Behind the blog: The truth about why I stopped blogging & took a break from social media

It feels so weird to sit down and write this because I haven’t written a post in what feels like months. It’s terribly sad, because I love this blog. Heck, I pay almost R500 a year keeping this blog going, but I never really made use of it and I felt that I should explain myself…

When people stop blogging, others assume that they stopped for the following reasons:

  1. It was just a phase, that person didn’t really have the intention of actually becoming a blogger.
  2. It was for the freebies and all those nice perks that come with having a blog
  3. The blogger was just downright lazy and doesn’t actually have what it takes to be a real blogger.

Okay, maybe number 3 is partially true but not enough reason to keep my blog going, so why is it still up? Why am I still here and why on earth am I even writing this?

You see, in 2015, when blogging was still relatively new, I walked into university and I was honestly so unhappy with my classes, I felt that I needed an outlet. I loved writing, from a very young age I always had my nose in a book and every month I would ask my mom to buy countless magazines just so I could read articles and get beauty freebies. So I turned my love for beauty, fashion and lifestyle into a blog. I knew absolutely nothing, but I liked that I had my own little place on the internet where my voice actually mattered. People were leaving lovely comments, following me on social media, asking to know more about me. And so began Sincerely Deeanne.

However, with all of this came its challenges. As my blog and following grew, so did the blogging world and people who also wanted to jump on the bandwagon. My passion that burned so wildly for blogging was slowly but surely being put out and here’s why:

Blogging became a numbers game

Once I had hit about 3000 followers on my old account (which has since been deactivated since my account had been compromised), there was suddenly a large demand for even more numbers. I was so confused. I didn’t understand why I needed a reach larger than what I had already, but companies didn’t care, they needed tens of thousands of followers if not more in order to be reached out to and to work with you. Now don’t get me wrong, if a brand doesn’t want to work with me, I don’t take it to heart. I take it as a challenge. But then it became a regular occurrence. I wasn’t big enough, I wasn’t busy enough and eventually I felt like my blog was not good enough. My favourite occurrence that grates my TITS is when you put your life and soul into a post thinking it’s so good and a brand responds with a heart emoji. Wow, okay. Next time instead of that heart emoji, you might as well send me the middle finger because you basically told me to get lost and take my content with me, because you couldn’t care less. This is what contributed to the lack of posts, as I couldn’t afford to review every brand out there on a student budget. Not to mention the hype around people with fake followers. Even though I read an article that actually supported people buying fake followers, it was just something that I couldn’t see myself doing. Firstly because I felt like it was an easy way out instead of actually taking the time to get to know your followers and secondly because even if for some crazy reason I actually wanted to, I wouldn’t be able to afford it (girl, when I say I’m hella cheap I mean I AM DEAD. ASS. CHEAP.). What hit me the most was that I had learned that people with huge followings were making money off of creating content, even though they weren’t actually content creators. I never went into blogging for money, so I was disheartened to learn that people with fake followers would make money off of something that I genuinely enjoyed doing.

Click, Click, Snap

The average blogger posts almost twice daily. Instagram algorithm, blah blah. So I decided to do it too. What I didn’t realize was that it was becoming so exhausting. I constantly had to have images ready, make sure my feed was in order, manage accounts, tag brands, make sure the picture is good enough to be featured. This lead to me becoming unhealthily obsessed with the way I looked. I would fuss over every picture of myself and would delete almost 30 posts at one point just because I didn’t like how I looked in photos. If friends tagged me in photos that I thought I couldn’t associate with my brand, I’d have that tag removed faster than you can say “selfie”. I became more focused on products and featuring that rather than beauty and lifestyle posts associated with myself. I became a victim of the gram sham. Where my life looked pretty darn dandy on camera but was falling apart in real life. This lead me to take a break from social media to focus on myself.

PR Lists & all the glitz

Who doesn’t love PR? I remember my first PR package. It was a gift from Cosmetix and even though it was probably the smallest gift ever, I was finally being recognized and sent all these nice things. Don’t get me wrong, I love the thrill of being asked for my delivery address and waking up to the delivery man dropping off something nice. That was until I stopped receiving them on a whole. No, I didn’t go into blogging for PR — please don’t come for me. When I would see other people getting PR, I would over analyze and I would think that maybe I was doing something wrong. What if I wasn’t good enough? What can I do to be better? This is what lead to all the unhealthy comparisons and endless nights I would spend crying because I finally felt like my blog had maybe reached its expiry date.

Compensation station

Here’s one of the real kickers. I’m not necessarily angry about this situation but I felt like it did contribute to me asking myself “why the actual heck am I still doing this?”. I was once e-mailed by a brand asking to be featured on my blog every week as promotion for their clothing line. I love clothes so I thought, wow. A brand actually wants me to regularly curate content for them. Then, they continued to say that as compensation, they would offer me a 10% discount code that I could provide to my readers. Yup, you got it ladies and gentlemen. A whole ass 10%. I feel like I need to add that their clothes weren’t exactly cheap. This is another problem that I feel has become an issue in the blogging world. So many companies and brands expect bloggers to work for them for free. Yes, it’s work. We don’t just sit around and take pretty photos and go to events like people think. We take time out of our day to create posts and spend hours shooting products, even though we’ll end up with 50 images and only be happy with one. Not to mention the effort it takes to share our content because it’s not just going to sit on the blog and market itself. The cherry on the cake: I was only offered that discount because I was considered a “small blogger”. As if all the hard work I had done was great but not good enough. I felt like someone had given me a pat on the back and said “yup, that’s nice and all but we don’t really care because your numbers aren’t big enough”.

Life happens.

2018 was not the best of years for me. My grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and is currently in a weak state as he is deteriorating, I quit my job as a promoter and no longer had an income to buy products to review, I have no job security for next year and my final year of varsity kicked me so hard in the butt that I didn’t even know if I was coming or going. Yes, there are people in more terrible situations than myself and I count my blessings each and every day but my mental health had taken such a toll at this point that I decided to leave my keyboard for good and focus on my studies. It happens. Yet here we are, 1257 words later and we’re still going.

Call me lazy, silly or even weird for thinking that these reasons justify my absence in the blogging world, but truth be told, it’s the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the damn truth. I love this blog with all my heart and soul and I am grateful for every opportunity that it had afforded me. It’s still my little place on the internet where I matter and that will never change. My passion for creating content still burns wildly inside me and will never die, it’s just that it has to be fueled again. It will, when the blogging world least expects it.

 

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Mental Health, Break-Ups & Fake Friends! TMI Tag [30 day blogging challenge]

 

If there’s one thing I love, it’s being open and honest about issues that matter. In this video, I get real with you about issues like mental health, boyfriends, break-ups and fake friends.

I did the TMI Tag with questions from YouTube Society (if you decide to do this tag yourself, please send me your links so that I can support you) and the questions are as follows:

  1. What are you wearing?
  2. Ever been in love?
  3. Had a terrible break-up?
  4. How tall are you?
  5. How much do you weigh?
  6. Any tattoos?
  7. Any piercings?
  8. OTP? (One True Pairing/Favourite Couple)
  9. Favourite show?
  10. Favourite bands?
  11. Something you miss?
  12. Favourite song?
  13. How old are you?
  14. Zodiac sign?
  15. Quality you look for in a partner?
  16. Favourite quote?
  17. Favourite actor?
  18. Favourite colour?
  19. Loud music or soft?
  20. Where do you go when you are sad?
  21. How long does it take you to shower?
  22. How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?
  23. Ever been in a physical fight?
  24. Turn on?
  25. Turn off?
  26. The reason I joined YouTube?
  27. Fears?
  28. The last thing that made you cry?
  29. Last time you said you loved someone?
  30. Meaning behind your YouTube name?
  31. Last book you read?
  32. Book you are currently reading?
  33. Last show you watched?
  34. Last person you talked to?
  35. The relationship between you and the person you last texted?
  36. Favourite food?
  37. Place you want to visit?
  38. Last place you were?
  39. Do you have a crush?
  40. Last time you kissed someone?
  41. Last time you were insulted?
  42. Favourite flavour of candy?
  43. What instruments do you play?
  44. Favourite piece of jewellery?
  45. Last sport you played?
  46. Last song you sang?
  47. Favourite chat up line?
  48. Have you ever used it?
  49. Last time you hung out with anyone?
  50. Who should answer these questions next?

On that note, this is my first blog post for the 30 day blogging challenge. I have decided to get my views up because for some reason my views and interaction on posts have been relatively low. The last time I did the 30 day blogging challenge, my interaction and stats sky-rocketed and I just enjoyed challenging myself when it came to new and innovative posts. If you would like, I’ll have a post related to a bunch of blogging ideas so that you can start your challenge too!

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22.

This is the part of my life where I silently remove myself from anyone who hurts me more than they love me, drains me more than they replenish me, brings me more stress than they do peace, and tries to stunt my growth rather than clap for it.

As I sit in the library on this Monday morning, after running around to hand in an assignment that I had written down an incorrect due date for (ah, the beauty of age), I can’t help but reflect. I realize that sometimes bad things happen, and that’s okay. I’ve also come to realize that as much as I love being with my friends and going to parties, I no longer enjoy the atmosphere that comes with it. I can be in a room full of people and be there physically but that no longer satisfies my desire for intellectual and stimulating conversation, being in the comfort of my own home and more importantly, preparing for the big bad world out there when I leave UWC. Growing older has taught me that we cannot be there for everyone and that’s okay. It’s opened my eyes to the fact that people can be in your circle, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re your friend. I’ve also come to understand that my mental health is way more important than maintaining toxic friendships because I’m too kind to cut people off.

On the other hand, I’ve learned that being mature is better than making irrational and petty decisions. It’s okay to congratulate your ex for graduating if you were part of the journey with them or wish them for their birthday, even if you’re no longer together. It’s okay to greet people you may have drifted apart from, even if you don’t talk as much as you used to. I’ve come to understand how important it is to remind your family and that you love them and fights are so unnecessary. Maturity is being able to walk away from situations that costs me my peace, because peace is expensive.

In terms of relationships, I’ve learned that love really is worth waiting for, but it’s not worth missing out on life. The best love stories are ones that happened unexpectedly. With that being said, I will wait for the man who respects me and supports me for who and what I truly am and everything I am yet to become. One day, someone is going to look at me like I am the best thing in the world and when that happens, I’ll be reminded that it was definitely worth the wait. I would rather spend my life living in the moment and be surprised by what happens than expect it every minute of the day, and that’s okay too.

Most importantly, I’ve come to understand the value of being happy for other people’s successes, no matter how small. Before, I would always get despondent when people were doing better than me or moving at a faster pace, but I’ve learned that God has his own timing, and I need to trust that, because “blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her” (Luke 1:45). I want to celebrate the success of others knowing that one day they might want to celebrate with me, I want to be there for people that may not have made it as far as I have but encourage them to keep going. And no matter what happens, I will always treat the cleaner the same way I would treat the CEO, because character is how you treat people who can do nothing for you. I don’t know what God has in store for me, but I trust him and that is all that matters.

Being 22 means that I now have more blessings to count, more challenges to face and a whole world out there waiting to be seen. I cannot wait to make memories all over the world and I already love the people I have not yet met. I promise to let go of things that no longer serve purpose, celebrate the little things and moments, move on from things I have no control over and to find happiness in everything, because nobody is allowed to take my happiness away from me without my permission.

Jen Sincero once said:

“You are loved. Massively. Ferociously. Unconditionally. The Universe is totally freaking out about how awesome you are. It’s got you wrapped in a warm gorilla hug of adoration. It wants to give you everything you desire. It wants you to be happy.  It wants you to see what it sees in you”

So, here’s to the nights that will turn into mornings, friends who become family, my future husband and the amazing family we’re going to have, the places I have yet to explore and make memories in and to everlasting happiness and great success. Also, I couldn’t help myself but to include a late women’s day message which is appropriate for National Women’s day, the day after my birthday.

Here’s to strong women. May we know them, may we be them, may we raise them – Stacey Bendet

Happy Birthday, Deeanne.

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My Realistic Birthday Wish List

If you’re reading this, my birthday is on the 8th of August and you may e-mail me for my delivery address, haha.

I love birthdays. I’d like to think that it’s one of the best days of the year, because you’re the centre of attention and nobody can take that day away from you. Being a Leo, I love being in the spotlight. I always make sure that nothing ruins my day. Doesn’t matter if I have 20 assignments due the week after or if I have pressing errands, this day is all about me and I was fortunate enough to be born the day before a public holiday, so I get to party the night and sleep it off the day after. However, whenever people ask what I want, I always hit a blank. This happens every time and then after my birthday, I always ask myself why I never asked for something simple or pushed people in the right direction. This year I’m leaving it here on my blog, except for my mom and dad. I think it’s about time I started driving car of my own, don’t you think? Just kidding!

The items on this wish list is relatively affordable and things that are quite easy to shop for. With that being said, I don’t HAVE to get these gifts. It’s the thought that counts. This is just an idea of what I’d really like.

Urban Decay Comfort Matte Lipstick in “BackTalk”

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Come to think of it, I have absolutely no matte lipsticks in my collection. I find them quite uncomfortable (apart from The Body Shop Matte Lip Liquids). Nude lipsticks in particular are quite cute and add a subtle look to a dramatic eye (which I have started doing more lately). This is relatively affordable and I think the packaging is so elegant. Due to the fact that I will be heading into the world of business soon, I don’t want to go overboard, so I’ll have to revert back to subtle looks. This is sold on the Urban Decay website and at the V&A Waterfront for only R250,00.

Ardell Wispies

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Being a YouTuber, I am always filming YouTube tutorials. To me, looks aren’t complete without lashes. These double as both natural and dramatic. Not to mention, these are very comfortable to wear. I wore this in my sunset eye look that I did on my channel not too long ago and I have to say that I was so impressed with how easy it was to apply these lashes. I would definitely recommend these lashes, but they are a bit pricey for drugstore lashes. These are sold at Clicks for R79,95.

Yoga Mat

yoga mat

If you follow me on Instagram, you would know that I’ve been getting more serious about my health. High blood pressure and heart ailments run in my family and we don’t always eat very healthily. I genuinely enjoy yoga and Zumba. I go to Zumba every Saturday and when I’m at home, I do the dances on my Xbox. I’d like to start my mornings off by doing yoga, but I don’t have a mat. This is one thing I really need and I feel can be quite affordable if you know where to look. I saw this one on Takealot for R250 and I’m obsessed with the reversible side of it.

You are a badass at making money by Jen Sincero

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You are a Badass was my saving grace this holiday because I didn’t really go anywhere. Practical advice goes such a long way when it comes to changing your life around. I still have to do my book review on it, but I’m not finished and I don’t want to finish it because it’s so good. If I had this book, I’m sure I’d finish up though. I have no idea how to work with money and i’m a very impulsive buyer. I had to get rid of my credit card because it was causing me to spend money that I didn’t have and only made more debt for me, which as a student I could not pay off. I know for a fact that this book will be great if it’s anything compared to You are a Badass. This is available on Takealot and is so cheap when purchased from the right stockist!

Garnier Micellar Water

garnier micellar water

I don’t really need this, but it’s nice to have. I recently started filming more tutorials and that means having to clean my face more and having to take off all my make-up when I’m done. This micellar water is the best make-up remover and does not make my skin break out or irritate it at all. This is one of my holy grail products and I would highly recommend it for all my make-up junkies. It’s sold at Clicks for R63,99 for a full size.

Eyelash Applicator

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Once again, in relation to filming videos, I always need to put my lashes on. If you’ve ever applied lashes, you would know what a pain it is to use your fingers. It can go either way and I hate when my lashes won’t work with me. This one is available from SwiitchBeauty for only R80,00.

Old School Vans

VANS

I have a huge love for shoes, so naturally I’m a sneaker and heels kind of girl. The Vans Old School Sneaker has become somewhat popular recently and I am 100% here for it. I love how versatile it is, as it can be worn with both shorts and jeans. I feel that high tops look untidy with shorts and in the summer they’re just not practical. Oh, and I need new sneakers.

Pop Socket

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Pretty much self-explanatory. My brother sat on mine that has pizza’s on it, so mine looks absolutely horrible. These are great for when I have to take photos of my make-up and I need to hit all the right angles.

Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray

urban decay

Ok, maybe this one isn’t really that realistic. I’ve only ever heard great things about this product which makes it such a wish list item. If anyone has ever used this, please let me know.

Benefit Porefessional Pearl Primer

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For that dew that should come through in the winter time. I haven’t really read the reviews on this but it looks like such an interesting product to use!

Pepsi Top H&M

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If you follow me on Instagram, you would know that I wanted this shirt but when I went back for it, it was gone. I love this top so much and I would do anything to get it back!

 

my social media

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I tried OKCupid (worldwide) for a month and here’s what happened…

The world of online dating has become somewhat humorous to me. After downloading and deeply regretting having Tinder for a while, I deleted it thinking that I was not going to put myself through that ever again. Until I saw an ad for OKCupid. Now, keep in mind that I knew it was a dating app. What I didn’t know is that you can actually use it to meet like-minded people and make new friends from across the world. Having absolutely nothing to lose and add in the fact that I’m on winter break, you have me over here writing my thoughts on my experiences using the app.

HOW IT WORKS:

Unlike Tinder, OKCupid is not the same as diving right in after posting your best selfies. In actual fact, before you can use the app, you have to answer a series of questions so that the app can set you up with people who you have a number of things in common with. Questions can range from what you’re looking for on OKCupid all the way to what you’d like to change about the world, and then some. At first, answering these questions were really cool because it’s almost as if people want to get to know you, but after a while it became very tedious. Once you’re done answering a few questions, you add your best photos of yourself (with a few great compliments every time you successfully upload a picture, I really liked this feature) and there you go, you’re all set.

This is what your profile looks like once you’ve added your photos:

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Once you’ve added your basic information, this is what others will see:

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MEETING NEW PEOPLE:

On OKCupid, you do swipe left and right like Tinder with the added bonus of getting to know new people by reading their bios (Ok, I’ll admit it’s exactly like Tinder but people actually have their act together). Next to their names, there’s actually a percentage match designed by OKCupid to tell you how much you have in common with that person, which could tell you whether or not you’d make a good match. This is great but I don’t think you can accurately match people by percentages when you take into consideration that men are actually really lazy and hate doing these types of things. I can’t tell you how many times my guy friends have told me that they’re willing to lie in their bios simply because they want to impress ladies or that they don’t even bother reading bios in the first place. That I can believe, because when I used to be on Tinder, a lot of guys would send the most disgusting messages despite my bio explicitly stating that I’m not into hook-up culture.

You’re allowed to message anyone on OKCupid, but they won’t know you’ve received it until you choose to answer or they have A-List, which is similar to Tinder Gold, a paid service which allows you to access certain features like boosting your profile to increase your matches or a higher success rate of matching with someone you like. This is the only thing I don’t like about the app. You see, the app will notify you that someone has liked you (so far, I’ve been liked by over 1000 people) but they won’t tell you who it is unless they’ve messaged you, so you basically have to guess. Due to this, you have to sift through all the profiles or you have to state in your bio that you can’t see likes (so the person can message you, you can see messages).

You’d think that because I have over 1000 matches that I’d have found the perfect man by now, right? Haha, wrong. You see, I’ve matched with a few people from all over the world who can’t even string together a decent conversation or people who message me with “hey, how are you?”. Come on guys, you can do better than that. I have however made a few great friends who are nothing short of excellent when it comes to banter. Knowing that long distance isn’t really going to work for me at this stage (I am contemplating teaching English in the Far East/Dubai), knowing that others are on the same page and are in it for the giggles like me is always a plus. I’ve left my favourite messages I’ve received here for you guys to laugh at, or if you’re curious:

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It’s 2018, ok. More power to the females

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Not going to lie, this one kind of freaked me out a bit.

OKCUPID VS. TINDER

I find these apps relatively similar. Basically it’s photos and a bio, except Tinder is very popular when it comes to hook-ups, which is the main reason I deleted my account. I like OKCupid because it allows you to connect with people all over the world and your profile is tailored to what you’re looking for in terms of friendship, meeting new people, short-term dating, long-term dating or hookup. The only gripe I have is that I can’t see who’s liked me and you’re only allowed to match with a certain amount of people before OKCupid sends you a message to tell you that you have to set up a date with your matches once your number of matches has reached max (because I’m totally going to order chinese with someone in the U.S, living in South Africa). I find Tinder to be faster in terms of matches, but I’d say OKCupid is definitely a step ahead in terms of exploring your options all over the world. If you’re actually looking to find something solid, I’d recommend this app rather than Tinder.

THE VERDICT

Did I find the love of my life on OKCupid?

No.

Did I make new friends across the world (and gain a few Instagram followers in the process? shameless self-promo, ya know?)

Yes.

Keep the app?

No. I find it to be quite boring and although it is a better option than Tinder, I still feel like it’s a way to make money off of people. Realistically, I don’t think I would be able to “fall in love” with someone on the internet without meeting them first. 1 because I am terribly afraid of being catfished (although I know exactly what to look for, some people are repugnant when it comes to playing games with people) and two, I’m a very good judge of character in person. We could have fireworks going off in our conversation and meet up in person and well, crickets. I like the idea of meeting new people, but that’s about it. Love is definitely not on the map (see what I did there?) for me with regards to OKCupid.

RATING

6.5/10.

Have you ever tried dating apps? If so, let me know which ones are your favourite. I personally would just like to meet new people for now, pen pals welcome!

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signing out of my dating profile!

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Return (feelings) to sender.

Ghosted? Don’t worry, me too.

PSA: If my future husband is reading this, appreciate all the things your girl had to go through before she found you.

Ghosted: when someone cuts off all communication with you, after you’ve expressed interest or you’ve been on a date. Usually done without prior notice and with a strong possibility that you will never see that person again.

Ah, my love life. Otherwise known as a series of unfortunate events. I can’t particularly pinpoint when this “ghosting” saga started to happen so I can’t really assume that there’s a reason for all these pathetic instances. I thought it would be fun to put together a few of my favourite ghosters, so you can see that you’re not alone, or you could just have a laugh at my expense!

HE THOUGHT HE WAS TOO COOL FOR A COLOURED

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Tinder. The one place on Earth that allows me to question the male species. However, occasionally you’ll actually find a decent guy or two. Well, I think. You see, I once met this guy that liked me so much that HE started making wedding plans. So, assuming I was wifey material, I decided to see where this would go. Keep in mind that this guy is a plumber, and I didn’t think twice about it (haha, Deeanne, you idiot). Everything goes well and we make plans to meet up and see if we hit it off in person. Until one day, when he went away with his friends for a weekend.

I hate being a mom, so naturally I give him his space and wait for him to come back. I waited, and I waited… Until I got a text saying “hey” to which I responded that I hope he’s having a great time. He says “Yeah, I told my friends about you. they were not expecting me to date a coloured girl. I thought you were white!”. Slap in the face? yup. Assuming that this douche just has foot in mouth disease, I put that behind me and continue the conversation which I watched slowly die, until eventually he just stopped replying.

So not only do I attract idiots, but I attract racist plumbers too.

HE FELL ASLEEP ON ME

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I think one thing I love about my friends is that they’re willing to go above and beyond to make sure I put myself out there. So one day, my friend gives this guy my number. He didn’t message me until a few days later but I thought he was pretty cool, my mistake. He would constantly tell me that he’s super shy and not used to putting himself out there (which was becoming quite a bore, like get it together please). One thing I noticed was that whenever I tried to make plans and move on to more serious topics of conversations, he would “fall asleep” on me and only reply the next morning. Usually when he’d reply I’d be so busy with campus that I’d forget. And one day, as I plucked up the courage to make plans, he fell asleep, and never woke up. Kidding! Although that was probably the last time we spoke.

To this day, I still see him around campus wishing that the ground would swallow me up because clearly, he’s not asleep anymore.

THE GHOSTER WITH THE GIRLFRIEND

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Guys, when someone ghosts you, understand that sometimes it’s for a good reason. One thing I hate about myself is that I always seem to give people the benefit of the doubt. It’s in my nature and definitely a downfall for me because I tend to be blind when it comes to people’s faults. Take this guy I knew from high school for instance. We used to be good friends even though he was older than me. One day he slides into my Facebook DM’s and hits me with this:

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This guy was smooth. I’d like to think that I myself am quite the flirt. So I decide that one more can’t do any harm, right? EH, WRONG. This guy spends the whole weekend making plans, sending a ton of voice notes and even asking to pick me up. Monday rolls around and this guy goes missing off the face of the earth. I don’t really like to read too much into these things because I myself have a life and whatever, but this guy goes missing for about a month. One day, he posts a status update and I decide to ask him where he went. He spins me a story about how he’s been busy with work and I, like the idiot I am, give him the benefit of the doubt. One night, he asks if he can take me out for a Sunday drive and dinner DATE with a sunset view. I tend to get a bit uneasy when someone asks to pick me up so I agree to meet him there the next day. Before I go to bed, he sends me a message saying “I hope my girlfriend is cool with us hanging out”.

This time, I ghosted him.

Please tell me I’m not the only idiot who attracts the worst guys ever? If so, could someone please remove the sign on my back that says “It’s okay to ghost this one”? Although I must admit, it’s pretty damn funny when I look back on it.

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Gotta Ghost!

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How I beat the Instagram algorithm, even though I started a new account.

DISCLAIMER: The Instagram algorithm will soon be non-existent, as Instagram has heard our cries and endless pleas. However, I still thought I’d post it since I have been asked for it.

February and March were tough months for me. Besides the fact that it’s final year and I’m set on graduating cum laude next year, I had my Instagram password changed and could not get into my old account, even after changing my password on numerous occasions. After much consideration, I made the decision to create a new Instagram account, even though I thought I’d go back to 10 likes per post and no comments or engagement. This was not the case.

When I started my new Instagram account, I did not jump right into posting pictures and trying to boost my follower count by following all my Facebook friends (even the people who bullied me throughout high school), no matter how much I wanted to. So instead, I did what a linguistics and research major is supposed to do, I did my homework. For weeks I watched videos on how I could take new Instagram photos, how I could encourage engagement on my feed and most of all, what exactly was I going to do to get my new profile recognized? So there I was, with my laptop and my phone researching how the Instagram algorithm worked and how I could beat it.

Here are some of the tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way, I hope that until the new update that this will be able to help you in some way. If you would like to know how I edit my Instagram photos then please let me know in the comments.

  1. Hashtags, Hashtags, Hashtags

To be honest, I used to find hashtags extremely annoying and I hate how it looks in my captions. However, they are still extremely effective in terms of growing your audience and making the most of bulking up those likes. The thing about hashtags is that by using a hashtag, you’re allowing everyone who uses that particular hashtag to find you in searches. The key to using hashtags is that you want to use hashtags that aren’t too popular, to avoid your photos getting lost in a flood of other photos. My best advice is to use hashtags that are within the 100k limit or at least under a million. You can use popular hashtags, but the likeliness of a large group of people liking your photos or following you is going to be very slim. Also, I’ve noticed that posting hashtags in your captions is more effective than posting it in your comment section. Instagram can actually detect a bunch of comments as spam and is more likely to get you shadow banned.

Here is my first Instagram post from my new account sincerelydeeanne. Let me just say that I was so surprised that with about 150 followers at the time, I was able to pull off 100 likes. Hopefully that means that with more growth in followers, it will increase engagement and the likes will grow too.

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2. Beware of the Instagram Shadow Ban

Surprisingly, a lot of the people do not know about the Instagram shadow ban. Basically, by using certain hashtags repeatedly or using hashtags that are commonly associated with spam, you could potentially be a victim of the Instagram shadow ban. The shadow ban hides your posts on certain hashtags, which decreases your engagement with others. So if someone who doesn’t follow you searches a hashtag you’ve used and you’ve been shadow banned, they won’t see your post. When you’ve been shadow banned, you are more likely to see less interaction on your feed after posting a photo. To see if you’ve been shadow banned, you can ask a friend to unfollow you and search the hashtag you used to see if they see it or you can use websites. One website I’ve used to check is actually a Shadow Ban Analyzer which searches for your last photo in the hashtags you’ve used to see if you’ve been shadow banned. I’m not sure how accurate this website is but I have noticed that it is down for the time being.

3. Aesthetics & knowing your audience

I’ve always wanted a themed Instagram account. I am crazy about aesthetics and I love when my feed doesn’t look out of place. This does make it harder to post consistently, but it does pay off in the long run because eventually people who are looking at your profile are more likely to follow something that is cohesive and aesthetically pleasing to the eye than an account with hundreds of posts that look rushed and are not good quality. I also recommend knowing what your audience likes. When I started blogging, I had already had an Instagram account and I started posting blog photos to my personal feed. This caused me to lose followers and in turn made growing my account even harder. Then I decided to make a count dedicated to my blog alone, where I do reviews and strictly post products. This allows me to attract different audiences from different spheres. My combined following is about 540 followers which means that I must be doing something right on both pages.

Here is my Instagram feed. I”m currently trying to do a colourful theme but the theme I had before this was dark brown and then when I started Instagram my feed was pink and white. I’m really proud of how my Instagram feed looks and feature a lot of fashion posts and the odd beauty post. I want to get into posting Instagram tutorials soon, as soon as my feed is more put together.

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4. Use your Instagram stories to your advantage

I cannot stress this enough but on average, my new account with 294 followers receives almost 100 views. That means 100 people will see what I post on my stories. Letting your followers know that you have a new post up on your feed will allow others who have not seen your post to interact with your content. This puts it out there that there’s a photo they might not have seen yet. Make it known babe, get adding to that story!

5. Don’t buy your followers, but find ways to up your count

I have a love-hate relationship with this aspect of Instagram. In the latest South African issue of Cosmopolitan, it was said that buying your followers will help you get noticed by brands because most PR people do not do their homework and are more interested in massive numbers than genuine engagement. In recent times it’s actually been harder to spot the fakers due to the fact that engagement can also be bought. Likes and followers are so easy to get hold of these days so brands are easily fooled. The problem with a fake Instagram account is that at the end of the day, you’re only fooling yourself. Whether you’re buying likes, views or comments, it only allows some engagement and it’s hard to keep up. It’s not illegal to buy followers, however it does violate Instagram’s terms of service. I’m a student who doesn’t work and I still can’t seem to wrap my head around how people would pay for fake engagement. It is, however, illegal to enter into contractual agreements with a brand in exchange for money, as a company can sue you. I would recommend tagging brands in your photos and even pages similar to your niche so that you might get featured. Paying for features is one thing but there is no guarantee that you’ll get likes and followers. I personally love tagging Clicks South Africa in my blog photos because they always do a weekly round up of the posts they’re tagged in. This also allows me to find similar pages I’d like to follow. Being reposted by brands allows the brand and other users to find your profile. Who knows, if you’re lucky, you might be able to work with a brand or two!

How have you been beating the algorithm? I would love to hear your thoughts.

 

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South African Bloggers I’m Surprised You’re Not Following & Why I Love Them

Look, I have a love-hate relationship with blogging in general. When the term “blogger” or “influencer” comes to mind, I know what you’re thinking. Millions of followers, an Instagram feed with professional photos and only a few names in the South African blogging community. This is so upsetting to me because I honestly feel that there are so many beautiful women who hardly ever get the credit they deserve for their work. In today’s post I share with you my favourite South African bloggers and why I’m surprised you have not discovered them already.

LOVE, KAYLYN

Kaylyn Van As is a lifestyle and cruelty-free blogger from Cape Town. I discovered Kaylyn on Twitter and as soon as I came across her aesthetically pleasing white feed, I was smitten. What I love the most about Kaylyn is that she’s not someone who only claims to be a cruelty-free blogger, but she really educates you on what to look for or where you can go if you’d like to find out if the brand you’re using is truly cruelty-free. Her passion for cruelty-free beauty has led her to write posts such as interrogating famous local brands which really goes to show how passionate she is. Oh, and we’ve also been featured on the Clicks page together, WINNING. I love Kaylyn, she’s so easy to talk to and I’d love to collaborate with her in future, you know… When I plan on going cruelty free!

 

Kaylyn’s Blog: Love, Kaylyn

Kaylyn’s Instagram: kaylynvanas

BURGUNDYBEAUTYZA

Honestly, I have no idea where to start with Simran. Although Simran does not have a “beauty blog” per say, she posts daily reviews on her Instagram about beauty and skincare, making her an Instagram blogger, and not one to mess with. What stood out for me last year, was when there was an issue regarding cultural appropriation and instead of everyone jumping on the bandwagon and bashing the person in the wrong, Simran took this opportunity to educate people on what was going on and how we could avoid making the same mistakes in future. When someone can take a very serious situation and turn it into something we as people can learn from, THAT my friend is talent. Sticking to my love of white feeds, I love that Simran’s Instagram feed has dark tones to it, making it very different from plain white feeds. Definitely a blogger to watch in my opinion.

 

Simran’s Instagram: burgundybeautyza

LILYSTORMBLOG

Although I only discovered this blog late last year, I have to thank Lily for the appreciation she has shown my blog and YouTube channel. How could I not feature her? I recently read her post about her top tips for saving money and what I loved was that it was far from the usual. Her take on writing is definitely not mainstream and I hope she blogs more in future so that I can definitely collab with her one day!

Lily’s Blog: Lily Storm Blog

TOPKNOTCHBLOG

Rachael Williams is a lifestyle and beauty blogger from Cape Town. I only discovered her blog on my other Instagram account (If you did not know, I now have both a personal and business account). If I could hire Rachael for literally one day so that my personal Instagram photos can look as good as hers, I would. Her recent post about her new year’s resolutions were so honest and open. One thing I genuinely look for in a blog is the fact that they can be relatable. Rachael seems like such a sweet and honest person, personally a blogger I would like to get to know better in future!

 

Rachael’s Blog: Top Knotch Blog

Rachael’s Instagram: topknotchblog

PERILOUSLYPALE

I think that I only have two words to describe Megan’s Instagram feed. Flower Power. Megan Smith is a Johannesburg based beauty blogger. Not just a pretty feed (see what I did there?), but brains to boot! Megan is also a student at Wits studying Chemical Engineering. More power to the students because your girl is final year and she knows the struggle of keeping a blog and making sure you still have time to keep those grades up. I love Megan’s blog because she really goes into detail when it comes to beauty and does not give you a brief overview of products. She also posts in-depth tutorials about make-up which I absolutely love, because I can never explain my make up tutorials in posts. Most definitely on my bloggers to watch list!

 

Megan’s Instagram: perilouslypale

Megan’s Blog: Perilously Pale

Who are some of your favourite bloggers? I always love finding new feeds!

PERSONAL INSTAGRAM | BLOGGING INSTAGRAM | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

Snapchat: just_deeanne

 

In Case You Missed It – What I Got For Christmas 2017 & Helping Animals In Need

— DISCLAIMER: I do not intend on bragging in this video. If you know me, you would know that I only make these types of videos for entertainment purposes and because they do well in terms of views around Christmas time in general. If you do not like these videos, please do not feel obliged to watch it —

–CLICK PLAY TO WATCH, PLEASE LIKE AND SUBSCRIBE ♡–

I’M BAAAAAACK.

Hello and welcome to a new and improved version of Sincerely, Deeanne. I wanted to get one last video of 2017 out in the open so I thought I’d leave this little video here for you to watch. You know the drill, I would love for you to like my video and subscribe to my channel. My goal for 2018 is to hit 1000 subscribers so if you could make that happen, I would be really grateful.

As much as I love receiving gifts for Christmas, I wanted to give back throughout 2018. Animals have a very special place in my heart. In 2013, my pitbull, Shylow was stolen out of my grandma’s yard while we were away on vacation. I searched and searched, but to no avail. I can only hope my baby boy is in a better place or that he is safe and unharmed. As I am sure most of you are aware, dog fighting is a common occurrence and a sick pleasure a lot of people take part in. I will list a few of the South African shelters down below, if you are able to donate, these organizations are in dire need and are not funded by the state, so money is very tight for them. Alternatively, if you are looking to give a furry friend a forever home, that would be great too.

Animal Welfare Society Cape Town: https://awscape.org.za/

Good Hope SPCA: https://capespca.co.za/

Oscars Arc WOOF Project: http://www.oscarsarc.org/woof-project.html

TEARS: http://tears.org.za/

My wish for you in 2018 is nothing but good health, good times, great memories and the biggest blessings. Thank you for all your support in 2017, I hope to come out with so much new content for you.

 

 PERSONAL INSTAGRAM | BLOG INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

SNAPCHAT: just_deeanne

 

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2017 – Year In Review.

I wanted to do a video on this, but to be honest, writing has always been my true passion.

2017, wow. Where do I begin? Everything I have achieved, lost and learned has added so much value to my life. I also wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported my blog, YouTube channel or even a simple follow on social media. Your kind words mean more than you will ever know.

Let me start by saying that my 2017 started off really well. I walked into the year with good health, passing my 2nd year of university, with distinction, (pops collar). I was not expecting 2017 to change my life so dramatically that it in turn changed the way I felt about myself and how I looked at life. I was invited to 2 The Body Shop events, which opened many doors for me and my blogging career. I am so grateful for every company who has reached out to me and I look forward to the events that lie ahead.

Although my year started off well, in April 2017 I came out of a 4 year relationship. This not only made me lose my best friend, but my only friend at the time. I spiraled into a deep, dark place for a while. I refused to go to campus, I would lock myself in my room and I would sulk all day and feel sorry for myself — BORING.

I took this as a learning curve and out of fear and desperation, I plastered signs all over campus looking for a lift club. Little did I know that this would in fact lead me to finding 3 of the best friends I have now. Nicole, Tamzen and Zahraa, you are truly my highlights of 2017.

Then, embarking on something a little bit out of my comfort zone. Tinder. I don’t know how I managed to find this gem of a guy, but I happened to match with a British stud muffin who I still remain friends with to this day. Unfortunately, love was not on the cards for me this year – which I am not mad about. It just means that I had more time to focus on my own goals and most importantly, myself.

Stamp passport – check. For the first time, I spread my wings and traveled to Thailand with my family, which is a memory I will cherish forever. I fell in love with the people, the culture and the food (food poisoning aside, I really hate my stomach sometimes). I got to experience a beach I have never been to, went on a walk in the middle of the night to get souvenirs (which is something you cannot do in Cape Town, because the crime rate is ridiculous) and even went snorkeling with thousands of tropical coloured fish in 3m deep water (I’m 1’54 so you can imagine how terrifying this was for me!). I crossed Krabi, The Phi Phi Islands and another island I really can’t remember the name of off my list and I really cannot wait to go back.

To end off my year, I decided to have my own giveaway in order to grow my channel and really gain a little bit of exposure for my new Instagram which I plan on posting regularly (once I get out of my slump. Ahh January) and plan to use only for reviews. If you like white feeds, my handle is sincerelydeeannetheblog. I ended off my year with 165 followers and 645 subscribers to my channel. I am so grateful for all the support, no matter how small.

I have no idea what this year holds for me, and to be honest it has not started off that well. I am just going to go with the flow and whatever happens, happens. All in God’s timing x

PERSONAL INSTAGRAMBLOG INSTAGRAM–  TWITTERFACEBOOK

Snapchat: just_deeanne

 

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