join the unfiltered family.

Around here, we don’t drink the kool-aid.

We only drink TRUTH JUICE, freshly squeezed, straight to your inbox.

About Sydney

Hi, my name is Sydney and I’m a writer and marketing professional living in sunny southern California. I also like taking #alleyselfies in foreign countries (see above). This blog dates back to 2008, and I’ve been writing online since 2003 (earlier if you count A/S/L in an AOL chatroom as “writing” – but I digress). While some of the older posts (tagged Early Days) are borderline embarrassing to read now, they remain a part of my body of work.

So, what are we doing here? And what is all this Unfiltered stuff about?

The Unfiltered Manifesto

Sydney: Unfiltered is a bullshit-free zone, and it is definitely more than the highlight reel. It’s about living your best life and YOUR version of the dream. Unfiltered is all about being aware of the fact that the dream can (and probably will) change, and if/when it does, THAT IS OKAY AWESOME. I’m a firm believer that we’re all in this together, you’re not alone, and repeat after me: EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OKAY. Unfiltered is about finding your voice, getting comfortable in your own skin, and then using that newfound sense of self to shout from the rooftops about shit that actually matters to you. This is a safe place to have uncomfortable conversations. Comment on what resonates with you. If it pisses you off, speak up. More than anything, show your face. I can take it. And I’ll probably high five you for doing so.

Who I Am

I will warn you right now, the following sentence will cause one of two reactions: HELL YAAASSSS, SHINE ON! -or- GET OVER YOURSELF. Truth is, it’s taken me approximately 31 years to fully own up to this fact:

I am an always-evolving, fire-starting Unicorn.

Seriously – I know it sounds like it’s 2008 and I’m calling myself a Ninja/Guru, but legit, you guys, I’m a unicorn. And if you’re feeling icky about that, I get it. Like I said, it took me a long time to own my shine and appreciate it in others.

When I’m not writing or working, I’m probably sitting on rocks at a beach, drinking cold brew coffee, or making a bomb-ass meal from Savory Made Simple. I’ve only ever mastered two out of the three at once, as it’s difficult to whip up a meal while you’re sitting on rocks on a beach.

Not pictured: cold brew coffee. Also not pictured: a badass meal. Well, you get the idea.

Elizabeth Gilbert best described my life as The Flight of the Hummingbird. Let’s get this out of the way – she described A LOT of people’s lives that way, not just me – but I felt like she was up on that stage speaking directly to my SOUL.

You’d think that name dropping Ms. Gilbert and opening up with the fact that I’m a writer would mean that I’m obsessed with Eat, Pray, Love, but I’m sad to report that I’ve never read it. And as much as I love Julia Roberts, I haven’t seen the movie either.

So hummingbirds. Basically they flit from flower to flower, doin’ the damn thing. And my life is exactly like that. Like the small but mighty hummingbird, I go to one flower, give it all I got (errr, get all the nectar I can?), and then move on to the next flower. I used to think this was a bad thing. And then I woke up and realized I only get so many trips around the sun, so I might as well jam my face into as many flowers as I can. Get your mind out of the gutter.

I am a professional space-holder, which is woo-woo speak for I’m a great friend. I listen so I can hear you and understand you, not to cut you off and shove my opinion in your face. Though, there is always time for opinion shoving, and when it comes to opinions, I have PLENTY.

I am a happy wife, and mama to two Puggles. I won’t go so far as to say “my dogs are my kids” because they’re not snotty brats, but since I’m in the childfree-and-loving-it camp, they are spoiled rotten. Luckily, this little guy doesn’t judge me:


I am a former bartender, and thus a craft cocktail lover, tiki head, and wannabe aspiring wine connoisseur. I had to type connoisseur four times to get the spelling right, which probably knocks me down a few points on the writer AND wine enthusiast scale.

watermelonSU I am obsessed with traveling, and my preferred method of transportation is a cruise ship. Between sophomore year of high school and present day, I’ve been on 18 cruises. To this day, being on a boat (of any size) in the middle of the ocean is my happy place.

Here I am, on Azamara Quest, rocking significantly sucky jet-lag while docked in Stockholm: 


What I Do

Back in the Day

I was the voice of the Wienermobile online (true story), and taught David Arquette how to tweet from the top of Madison Square Garden. I’ve identified influencers for big-ass brands like Yoplait (#yogurt), Pfizer, and Warner Bros., and I have quit two really awesome jobs so I would have more time to jump out of planes.

After leaving the agency life, I set out on my own, jumping (literally) into the skydiving industry where I generated year-over-year increases in event attendance, tandem skydives, and overall jump tickets sold through my wizardry in the social media space. Turns out, skydiving is pretty easy to market, but not many people knew how to do it well.

I’ve spoken at SXSW twice, which used to be something I bragged about. I also speak, every day, in the privacy of my own home, where I currently work. Usually on the phone. Sometimes through gotomeeting or Google hangouts. I’m flexible. But not like, literally flexible. When I go to yoga once a year, I tend to cry.

Now that we’re done pretending to give a shit about my past life, let’s get to the good stuff, shall we?

Present Day

Currently, I am an Account Director at W2O Group, working on a super rad account in the wine industry. I have also worked with luxury travel brands, female entrepreneurs, and basically anyone who needs a trusty sidekick. I specialize in building communities, launching products, and developing marketing strategies that aren’t full of the same old eye-roll-inducing BS. I’ve managed marketing budgets as high as $1.8 million.

My Work Philosophy

I have an aversion to slimy marketing practices. I’m not a fan of the existing “formulas” and I’m hell-bent on finding a better way for the wonderful souls I’m fortunate to call clients. There’s more to life than a FREE SUPER JUICY opt-in, a shitty drip campaign, and never actually caring about or engaging with your customers. You can read more about this on the Unicorn for Hire page.