2019 Autumn Trends

It is safe to say that nobody has ever accused me of being particularly fashionable or on-trend. Despite this small set-back, of having zero fashion sense, I am still interested in trends, styles and most importantly, colours!

As my little business continues to grow, I do have an interest in staying in touch with what the best hair trends are.

In terms of the next 9 big hair trends for 2019, as predicted by the experts (and referenced by Harpers Bazaar), they are as follows:

  • Blunt Bobs
  • Grey hair
  • Super-straight
  • Adult accessories (yay for Rock it Like a Redmond!!!)
  • At-home colour
  • Modern top-knots
  • Glossy hair
  • Big volume
  • Lilac makeovers

My hair is thick, heavy, dense and long. It is also red. So the thought of having a blunt bob is terrifying because in 1996 I attempted this and I looked absolutely ridiculous.

Grey hair can look absolutely amazing on some people, I just don’t think it is for me.

Super straight hair just reminds me of the smell of the GHD going through my hair for hours on end, only to go outside, be hit by humidity and putting my hair back up in a bun anyway.

Adult accessories are where I am at, given I am making scrunchies, bandanas, hair wraps and scarfs, I am pretty pumped that these are a real thing at the moment. Plus they look adorable!

At-home colour is pretty much how I spent many hours in my bathroom from 2001-2013, so the thought of dying my hair ever again is also out. I also always managed to bust through the gloves and end up with stained hands/neck/forehead – the works.

Modern top-knots. Look, I have no idea what this means but my hair has pretty much been in a bun since I was 8 years old and I am not about to change that. So I feel like I have this covered.

Glossy hair. Completed unachievable for me. My hair is like horse-hair. Only less impressive and less glossy. Power to all of you that have pretty hair, my jealousy is next level.

Big volume. I am there, no need to work on that! Also willing to donate hair to anyone who needs some. Seriously I could provide wigs for a family of four.

Lilac makeovers – I wish I could do this. I have loved looking at people with pretty pink hair and I hope I see more of the lilac colour!

If you are after any hair accessories, and you like to support charity, then please check out my shop – $1 from each item sold goes to charity, they’re cute as hell and you can be a part of the on-trend movement! #yay.

Shop Hair Accessories

What’s your favourite style?

x Courtney x

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Baxter Blue Eyewear Review – Part 1

I spend way too much time looking at screens, not only with my social media, using my phone and running mybusiness, but I also work in front of a computer for 8 hours of the day, and that is just in my paid employment.

Often i will come home with eye-strain and headaches. I wear glasses at work, but that was to reduce glare, rather than as prescription. I have been seeing the ads for Baxter Blue glasses for a couple of weeks and Ifigured at a relatively affordable cost, it was worth trialling them.

I ordered them on Thursday and here we are on Monday morning and I have them, that is one hell of a fast turnaround! The style I was originally after were sold out, so I went with the ‘Clark / gloss black’ style – gotta love those strong lines and a classic style!

ACS_0575[1]My first impression is they are incredibly light and are a nice fit, I can actually feel (see?) the difference? My eyes feel less strained. I can see the difference looking at the screen, my eyes are hurting some, but I think that is because they are no longer straining, it will likely take some getting used to.

I will trial these for the week and see how I am at the end of the week, I go home with incredibly tired and itchy eyes most days, so if these provide even 10% relief, I will be thankful!

Baxter Blue provides a person in need a pair of reading glasses for each set sold – so seeing as 2019 is all about the year of giving for me, this gives me the warm and fuzzies. They have partnered with RestoringVision to provide this wonderful service, a not-for-profit organisation who has distributed over 7 million pairs of glasses to those in need since 2003.

My gorgeous new frames are going to: filter out 50% of harmful bue violet light, let the good blue light in, alleviate my digital eye strain, add contract to define characters on screen (I can see this already!),  fight reflections, avoid scratches and look pretty darn cute.

I will see how I go for the week, and provide an update for anyone who, like me, is heavily involved in digital screen time!

Courtney Gaye Signature copy

*This is not a sponsored post, I will always honestly review items which I have bought and am trialling for myself.

Kind February <3

IMG_0972[1]Being charitable should be a daily task, like brushing your teeth or having a shower. Sadly, we sometimes only remember to be charitable when there is a particular function/event/drive and there is a chance to promote a particular organisation or cause.

My mission this year is to be charitable every day, in many different ways.

In November & December, I littered our kitchen with canning equipment, trays of fruit, far too much sugar and sterilised jars.

As it approached Valentine’s Day, I can honestly say my Husband is ready to lock me in the backroom to stop me from dropping thread and cotton and pins throughout our two-bedroom unit, as though I am personally shedding these items from my body.

IMG_2609[1]I have no intention of slowing down with my creations, I may have a pretty solid case of #scrunchiethumb and hear the sound of my sewing machine in my sleep, but I feel so good about my creations!

So, how can you help? Well, first of all, Lee is holding a pretty bloody cute Pop-Up Kissing Booth with her dutiful and cuddly Aussie Bulldog, Derek. If you are in the South-East Queensland area, then this event is for you – the details can be found here.

Your gold coin donation will go directly to the support of vital medical research products funded by the Australian Cancer Research Foundation.

February and March, my donations will be going to Cancer Research Australia, an organisation I was made aware of through my friend Lee, who is fundraising for this incredible charity throughout 2019. I am hoping to reach the $100 mark for them, as I did for Orange Sky Laundry.

I hope to see all of your gorgeous photos taken with the kissing booth and there will also be a few prizes given out for the winning photo of each location! You will go into the draw to win a dog kerchief + scrunchie combo, created by Rock it Like a Redmond :).

Courtney Gaye Signature copy

My #instabreak (read: #instarelief)

A week and a bit ago, I decided to deactivate my travel Instagram page, @courtney_brisbaneblogger. It was a choice I battled with over and over and for the first couple of days, I honestly was not sure if I had made the right choice.

Now I can honestly say, I made the right choice. I am not waking in the morning and checking Instagram, worrying about the stats. Worrying that I am not getting notifications from the same people, being disheartened by the lack of engagement.

I miss the contact of several people, absolutely – but for the sake of my mental health, I have to tell you – it is the best choice I could have possibly made. I absolutely want to get back on there one day, although I wonder if there is, in fact, a way to clean-out my followers and those accounts I am following – without re-activating my account.

….

So I waited a week before I continued this post, just to see if my opinion had changed at all. It has not, thankfully. This last week I have been able to concentrate on my business, my work, and my I.R.L friends. I have not been caught up in algorithms and phony human-contact, hashtags, and scrolling through the same photos over and over again.

I can slowly feel my creativity coming back to me, I felt porous, leached dry of any genuine creativity when I was playing such close attention to my lifestyle/travel IG. There are quite a few people I have connected with, through text and message – those who genuinely understand the need for a break.

What I find to be completely amazing though, is the gorgeous woman who started our niche #gram tribe, also was going through the same thing! I had no idea when I was at our meetup (the night before I deleted/blocked everything) and looking at this incredible woman in the flesh, that she too was looking at taking a break. I’ve just checked and yep, this woman -who I really admire, has also taken a break from the gram.

The thing is, it is and is not real life, as much as any one thing can be both and both not something. You look at places, some genuine shots, genuine moments and then there are the pre-meditated, posed, screen-show masterpieces which are popular. It is fictitious, it is vacuous and do you know what? It is not inspiring. Not at all. It creates a breeding ground of doubt, of comparison and of an intrinsic sensation of failure.

I know there are people out there who are personally offended by my choice to delete my page or to stop communicating with them. All I can say is it is personal 100%. It was personal to me and I am feeling lighter, breathing deeper and my social media anxiety is fading.

Thank goodness.

Another thing to remember, social media is not real-life and other people’s actions are always made for THEM, not for you and that is A-OK.

Courtney Gaye Signature copy

 

 

 

 

#thegram – an update, it’s time to ditch

The other day I wrote about how I was feeling towards #instagram and my travel/blog account.

Yesterday there was an incredible meet-up, for a travel group I was heavily involved in and truly loved. Given my feelings lately towards Social Media, and Instagram in particular – I was tossing up whether or not to go. I really wanted to meet the woman who had put the group together and had been so incredibly generous, kind and inclusive to all of us. There were a few other local girls I had chatted to on the platform and wanted to meet.

Despite my anxiety being a 15/10, I went and it was so lovely to ‘meet’ these people I have spoken with for a year and a half. Sadly my anxiety got the better of me and I had to leave. I only lasted around 45 minutes and my need to leave and get to my safe-place, home.

captureLast night I was so worked up with anxiety and stress related to my Instagram page that I actually decided this morning to A) delete my travel page I started with another person and B) temporarily (perhaps permanently) deactivate my personal travel / blog page.

This is no reflection on the wonderful members of the community I was part of, however I can honestly say I feel better about it already.

It is time to go back to enjoying my writing, getting my business off of the ground and centering myself. Thanks to everyone who has supported me, read my posts and encouraged me. I may or may not reactivate @courtney_brisbaneblogger / @courtneygaye travels, but for now I think I will just take a break and get back to what I really love.

I hope to see you around the traps otherwise, take care and look after yourselves and the things you love ❤

Courtney Gaye Signature copy

 

The Instagram Algorithm – what it means for you

Instagram – what a love-hate relationship I have with it. On one hand, it has brought together so many fantastic people all on one platform, on the other I seem to constantly be wading through sponsored posts with content that has nothing to do with me. Despite filtering my preferred feed and removing posts of a particular nature, I am still struggling with growing my following and keeping my engagement at a level which I find rewarding.

With 1349 (genuine) followers my engagement has been steadily dropping since April of this year, where it was at its highest. On average it is dropping around 10% per month. Apparently my best time to post is Saturday at 8am and my highest engagement occurs on Sunday’s at 5am.

My most popular post of all time was on 26 November 2017 and it had 515 likes, most of which had occurred in under an hour! I have no idea how it went so crazy in such a small amount of time but it really went off! To date I have been unable to get anywhere near this number of likes for any other posts, despite having grown my following, improved my captions and hashtags and also increased my engagement with others.

View this post on Instagram

Do you suppose she’s a wildflower? 🌸🐰🎩 -Alice in Wonderland • Today I’m missing my girlfriends quite a lot so I’m sharing pics from our last girls pic – I apologise for the influx! ~~~ Growing up in Australia, in many different rural communities – I'm used to strapping myself in for a decent drive to get to the closest town / city / coffee. I'm talking driving 3 hours each way into Mackay just so I could get a decent coffee on Saturdays! ~~~ So when I got to NZ – I was quite shocked to learn that in that same time period you can drive ACROSS some parts of the country! Obviously I'm not going to throw that opportunity away! If you have access to a car in N.Z – I highly recommend using it – pack a bag, grab your camera and drive! I've connected with an absolutely gorgeous lady by the name of Sha @lifetomyfullest through wordpress who has also documented her journeys across N.Z (driving and solo travel) as well! ~~~ Just remember to take care where you pull over – the scenery is beautiful but so are yours and everyone else's lives! ~~~ Canon EOS 550D • #akaroa #southisland #thegiantshouse #happiestgardenonearth #newzealand #nz #girlstrip #findyourtribe #travel #passionpassport #purenz #flowers #tourismNZ #sheisnotlost #beautifuldestinations #igtravel #purenewzealand #NZMustDo #wearetravelgirls #wineandcheese #instatravel #doyoutravel #wanderlust #darlingescapes #travelgram #bucketlist #explorenewzealand #instagood #chasingtheworld #shewhowanders

A post shared by Courtney Redmond 👩🏻‍🦰 (@_alwayscourtney) on

My focus has always been on engagement, the likes and comments are great but ultimately I am using this Social Network platform for exactly that, social networking. I am inspired by so many  incredible accounts out there and am fortunate enough to have met several people from Instagram in real life.

On the other hand, I have gone through the follow-unfollow game, the bots, spam, fake comments and even negative feedback when quite frankly, it was not warranted nor welcomed. I am however a very (super) small fish in a very large pond.

The latest Algorithm – what is it looking for?

Your feed is not based on who you are following alone, it is also based on who and what you like. The system is relying on your past behaviour to create your feed. In addition to this, Instagram is also trying to show you content from your friends and family so they have announced that 90% of the posts shown will be from this demographic (previously it was 50%). So this might explain why your feed has several posts from people you know and then fifteen posts of cake decorating (because you liked that one cake decorating post yesterday). Instagram is kind of like a needy acquaintance trying way to hard to be your BFF sometimes.

The algorithm is not going back to chronological like most of us had hoped, but depending on how often you use the platform it will try to show you the most recent/relevant posts when you log in.

I had some accounts I really loved following for their content and their engagement, but their accounts are no longer about travel and have turned into constantly sponsored product-placement posts (I don’t necessarily want to unfollow them but muting them is likely going to be my next step). My advice would be to unfollow or mute accounts you no longer wish to have dominating your feed.

Gone are the days where posting videos or using Instagram Stories/Instagram Live would help your reach, those features are fun but they are no longer likely going to improve your reach or enagagement. Shadow-banning which was long denied (much like the “non-existent” bell-curve in uni marking 😉 ) has been confirmed as being a “bug” which has since been fixed.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to your content, engagement, captions, theme and brand. If like me, you are simply posting what you love, when you want to then you will likely have a heathy following but you won’t be quitting your day job anytime soon.

Taylor Loren over at Later posted a wonderful article on The Best Time to Post on Instagram in 2018, you can read it here. I have always had better engagement in the morning, I think it takes into consideration transit time for Australian’s getting to and from work and those followers in the Southern Hemisphere who are scrolling their feed during the evening.

Ultimately I think my lack of theme or ‘brand’ is the reason my Instagram is not doing overly well. I just do not seem to have that creative flare. Ideally I would love to have a cohesive theme but I find it to be quite limiting as I do not want to be confined to particular colours or posts. It’s a conundrum. I think I will primarily focus on my blog and Pinterest pages and have IG in the background.

What are your thoughts?

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post.

If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! 

Please note, I have not been paid any sponsorships at all for this post. I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

To follow me on Facebook – you can do so here – Courtney Gaye Travels FB

If you are a Pinterest fan – you can find me here – Courtney Gaye Pinterest

x C x