This month I decided to list my five favorite MUST DO events every Summer, no matter what. These events range for free.99 to no more than $10 each. So grab your girls, guys or significant others and make some dope and inexpensive memories.
Sorry my out of towners these are Chicago based activities; but visit your city's summer event guide and you will for sure find some free things to do.
1. Movies in the park - Right at the beginning of the summer, I print this list and highlight all the movies I want to see. Movies in the park show some of the most recent movie releases (i.e. Creed II) and some of the old school favs like The Wiz. You can't beat a free movie!
2. Beach Day - We have beachs that span 26 miles; offering everything from peace & quiet to a party in the sand. Grab your swimsuit and choose the beach that meets your needs.
3. Jazzin' at the Shedd - Now I must say, that a few years ago I was like "nope I'm never going because my parents went and that was for old people". But then my co-worker and Nicky (MakeupTrapSushi) talked me into going and I loved it. It's like going on a school field trip with no kids and alcohol. BEST THING EVER!
4. Chicago Water Taxi - Chicago is known to have the best public transportation system in the world and while its the best sometimes it gets to be alot (yall commuters know what I mean). So once a month I use the water taxi to get me from point A to point B to break up the daily monotony, while crusing the Chicago River.
5. Picnic - An old fashioned picnic either alone or with someone is always a great idea. It allows you to reconnect with mother nature and just be cute and chill.
The 90's are calling...
And I am answering, two weekends ago I had hella events starting on Thursday night. I wanted to be cute of course but also comfy. So as I skimmed my closet for the perfect look for that weekend I came across my basket of shorts. And then it hit me, "you use to wear biking shorts and gym shoes everyday all summer long when you were a teenager". I think my mom bought me every color pair and print with coordinating tops to match and I keep a pair of fresh white K-Swiss or Reeboks to top match. Boom! A blast from the past. As you can see from the pics below they were a hit, I styled them a few different ways; a tank, a men's oversized work shirt and with a tee and white button up tied around the waist. I think next weekend I'm going to dress the look up a bit with a sleeveless vest. Check me out on my instagram (link above).
One can never have to many pairs of sunglasses. Usually I buy 4 basic pair every couple of years; a gold, silver, rose gold and tortoise shell pair. And then add the more eccentric ones as I spot them. My number 1 rule when buying sunnies is that they cannot be over $20, I mean we lose them, scratch and break them why waste the money.
Gold Pair - Top Shop
Tortoise Pair - H&M
Rose Gold - Express
Silver - Asos
Now this is a throwback, I use to wear all the Calvin Klein sets back in high school before I "developed". I recently ran into a Nordstrom Rack and saw a rack full of colorful sets of matching bralettes and panties. I bought them all! Now, I cannot wear these outside because I need support, but they are perfect for bed and lounging around the house.
Speaking of bras, my everyday bras use to get damaged in the washer even on the delicate cycle. So, I decide to wash them by hand; but they would not come out as clean as I wanted them. So of course I searched Amazon and found these bra bags and they are great! The come in various sizing hold 2-4 bras in each bag. They are mesh and durable so throwing them in the washer is no problem. And my bras are super clean and still in great shape.
Get The Look
Get The Look
Check my IG I cannot stop wearing these army shorts, they go with everything and I can dress them up or down. I got these at my local army surplus store.
(Click on each picture for where to buy info)
My Dear Palm Springs...
You owe me nothing, Thank You! Palm Springs gave me everything I needed this birthday year. I don't know if the Chicago rain and cold had me feenin for the sun but I soooo thirsty to get to the heat. But first I had to start the celebration right here in my hometown.
I wanted my party to be chill & fun and Headquarters Beercade fulfilled that request. I was able to reserve 15 seats for free and guests were able to indulge however they wanted...food, drinks or nothing...their choice. With every old school arcade game one could think of being free my guests where able to feel like kids again. I mean Headquarters motto is "don't grow up it's a trap".
California here I come..me and my friend Lindsay hoped a flight to LA, grabbed our friend Quin and hightailed it to the desert. OMG! Is all I could say as I entered the Palm Springs area, the wind turbines brought in the hot air and the sky was clear as glass. It was beautiful!
Being the skeptic that I am, I did not expect our VRBO home to look like the pictures on the website. And it didn't....the house was WAAAAAAAY better in person. 3bedroom/3bath with a pool, jacuzzi & stocked with everything you need home away from home, perfection. For 3 days...lay at the pool, hop in the jacuzzi, eat, sleep and repeat. My type of turn up, Happy Birthday to me!
My favorite hue is Blue - Jay Z....not really but I couldn't resist this top handle from Henri Bendel. Every season I purchase a new handbag for everyday wear. In the Fall/Winter it is usually a darker color and of course for Spring/Summer a lighter color.
Budget Hint - Go to your local retail outlet and save at least $100 on your bag.
March is Womens History Month and I wanted to celebrate the things that make me feel more womenly and good about myself. I realized it was when I take time for myself...self care. So ladies, set some time aside, grab the below items and celebrate yourself. Happy Women's History Month!
Start your self care retreat with a very relaxing massge at your local spa. If you are in the Chi, check out Betty O Day Spa.
I know Spanx are hard to get on but once its on you look and feel great under your clothes. A great foundation will take your look to the next level, trust.
How to shop your closet
1. Get Inspiration
You can literally go to Pinterest and type in "Beach Wedding" and hundreds of ideas will pop up.
2.Shop your closet
See an item or items you like, search your closet for it and boom you have that look. EASY PEASY
If you are missing a piece, shop for the items that you need to complete the look.
Out of the 5 looks below Nicky purchased the following;
Who is TeTe Quita? Well that is what my nieces and nephews affectionately call me and I love it. I decided to take some time this month to celebrate my auntieness (I made that up). I have 16 nieces, nephews, god children and little cousins, that I adore. I've been in this role since 2000 with the birth of my 1st godson. And at that time I thought "aw ok, I'll buy some gym shoes and show up to parties..cool". And yes that has happened and will continue to happen. But being a TeTe is soooo much more fun. These kids look up to me, they take my advice and they see how I move. Let me put my TeTe cape on!
In their presence I am always in TeTe in mode, letting them get whatever they want, no adult talking and just kid focused fun. I have even went so far that me and my ex-boyfriend would not sleep together when they spent a night at my house. They can't see their TeTe in that manner, oh no, no, no, no (Whitley Gilbert voice). Being a TeTe is like being a mom with no responsibilities, lol. You can discipline, without being loathed; you can spend time with them and give them back; you can even cater to all their little wishes and come out looking like a saint. And as they get older they will stop wanting game systems and clothes and want advice on love and finances and as a aunt I will still be there.
My goal is to be the rich auntie. I don't want them to want for anything...education, money, outrageous items their parents won't buy whatever I want them to know they can call me for ANY and EVERYTHING. I understand it maybe spoiling them and some may say "how will they make it through life not having to work for anything?". And I say I don't want them to work, I've done it and its not what's up. I want them to dream, live their dreams daily and I want to help fund it.
Read Chiquita Nicole's NYC Recap Here
4. I am somewhat basic when it comes to skin care...soap, Vaseline (see January Favs) and go. But this month she is excited to try The Black Mall‘s African black soap
Thongs? No, Thank you
I remember buying my first pair of thongs as a senior in high school and I felt so womenly, I wanted all colors and styles. Fast foward a year or so and I started working at Victoria's Secret. Of course I purchased as many thongs as could and wore them everyday. Then one day all of sudden, I had an epiphany and was like "this shit hurts". I literaly don't know what happened; I don't know if I gained weight, got older or what but thongs hurt and should be destroyed. I mean it is literally a piece of cloth up the middle of your butt for at least 8 hours a day, IR...RI...TAT...ING.
And I know as women our outfits might need a thong in order to look cute or we want to feel sexy for ourselves, but guess what be adventurous go sans underwear. Its much more comfortable, freeing and you have no panty lines. WIN WIN!
True body goals are the goals you set to have a healthier body, not a "society" deemed acceptable body. As of late social media has body goals as either supermodel thin or video vixen curvy. And everything in between is seen as non-sexy. I want women everywhere to love themselves and appreciate what God gave them. Trying to keep up with what society feels is sexy is making women undergo surgery; which can lead to being botched, permanently scarred or death.
I reposted the below picture of Serena Wiiliams because I feel it represents me the most. Yes, it is a curvy women but her curves are not fake. And REAL is always better! I loved her picture so much it inspired me to post a similar picture of myself. I hope the picture of myself showing my god given curves inspires a woman somewhere in the world to love her natural body, whatever the physique.
2019, Let's Go!
I normally write my goals down in my journel but this year I decided to boardcast them to world in effort to become more accountable. Here goes....
1) To obtain a (or more) brand sponsorship,
2) Create "How to Wear" videos every season,
3) "Perfect" my Red Carpet Review show, and
4) Do a brand update (new mission statement, new highlight covers etc)
Is Natural Dead?
One cannot even look at the explorer page on Instagram without seeing a woman with a fake body in the first 9 photos. And I am sick and tired of it, more than that I am disgusted that we as a society has made this the norm. The norm so much that literally all the women with fake bodies and faces look alike. It is as if, all the plastic surgeons have the same face/body mold and pump these new bodies out like a factory.
Soon enough our little girls will think that those genetically modified bodies are real and then die trying to acheive it. Even adult women know that what they see on social media is not real and still die or steal (yes, care credit) to achieve the "Kardashian body".
Of course, one would think I a size 14 curvaceous woman would be happy that I am respresented more in society, but I am not especially because its repercussions will be grave. From women getting botched or non professional services causing lifetime deformities or death; to the fact that subconsciously society is making women feel like they are not sexy unless their body is shaped a certain way.
To be honest, I wear make-up, weaves, dye my hair whatever color I feel and wear a spanx but those are temporary alterations. I cannot get seriously ill from those alterations. And yes I do believe in plastic surgery, a little nip here and tuck there but as long as you still look like you and not a exaggerated version of yourself.
When will enough be enough? Society seems to not accept women as we were born. First it was size -2 models advertised everywhere, now its these gigantic breast and butts everytime I open any social media page. These things have me asking myself and you, is natural dead?
I would never.......
Rewind about 5 years and I said I would never wear a kitten heel and that I also disliked a wedge shoe. Look at me now, I purchased a pair of metallic kitten heel booties and I want to wear them with everything. I found several looks and even have a look for this week on deck. WHAAAT?! Not Chiquita? Not a kitten heel? Then my mom gave me these leopard pointy toe wedges and I like to have died, I LOVE them too! SMH! Who have I become?
From now on I will take my own styling advice and try it first before I say no, one would be surprised what they like or what looks good on. Follow me on IG to see how I rock the leopard wedges.
Moral of the story....never say never
Who am I Influencing?
Before social media started calling bloggers and such Influencers, I considered myself a stylist for the everyday man and woman. My motto was "Dressing should be a fun experience for all!" I wanted the everyday person who wanted to be stylish but did not know how, to learn to love getting dressed. I wanted the everyday person to understand that you do not need a lot of money, or be a certain size or shape in order to be stylish.
Last week I saw a video on Instagram talking about who are you influencing thru your social media page. Are we portraying unrealistic examples? Then yesterday one of my favorite style bloggers Vanessa Lambert asked herself the same question. Both got me to thinking, how does Chiquita Nicole influence people thru my brand?
I do post filtered and edited pictures, on most of my pictures I am wearing makeup and I do wear a spanx. However I am honest about those things, 100% of my instastory shows my real life. How hard it is to work a 9-5 while trying to get your brand off the ground. Me with no makeup, no shaper and no edits. Me hanging with freinds and family..me just being me. I love myself, my brain, my body EVERYTHING that makes me me and ALWAYS have & will. I have never had hair and always been thick. And guess what I STILL LOVE ME!
I want my audience to yes LOVE to get dressed, be stylish and feel great! But I hope I am influencing self love, high self esteem shit even a level of vanity. Vain simply means to hold yourself to the highest regard. And if you won't who will. I want and need my audience to understand that being stylish starts with loving your whole self flaws and all.
#TBT to Fall 2017/2016
Just Do It!
A few months ago I was sitting at my desk and I received a text message around noon; from one thee best Stylist Ms. BeBe Jones and she asked if I could be in the River North area in a hour. I replied no, I was south of the city and there was a music event in Millennium Park and it would for sure take me at least an hour and a half or more. I told her I could head that way and be there as soon as possible, but she needed someone on set at 1pm exactly. Damn, I thought...no worries can't cry over spilled milk right? A couple more hours went by and she called again, I answered and she said "just get down here as soon as you can". Say less, I gathered my items, hopped in my car drove to the train and was there in about 70mins. Mind you I never asked what or who it was for, I knew it was going to be great. Aaaaaaaand look what happened I was an Assistant Stylist for the Nike x Bank of America Chicago Marathon Collection.
Praise him! and remember Just Do It, you never know where it will lead you.
If I Knew then, what I Know now
When I tell you my hair journey has been a long not so cute path, I wish I had more pictures from the early years. My earliest hair memory was sitting between my grandma's legs, face stuck to her thigh and getting french braids braided to one side, because then I could lay my head down and go to sleep. I got a perm in my pre-teens, thinking ok now I could rock all the hairstyles and my hair would be bouncing and behaving. And it did but only when I would get it professionally done. The other times it was a hot mess. And I would try everything to get my hair to do what my friends hair did; from straight bouncy wraps to wash and go's. My hair would never do what I wanted it do. Then in high school I decided I would get braids, so thru my high school and college years I rocked all braids from dookey braids (google Janet Jackson in Poetic Justice) to micro braids. After college, I was now this edcuated soon to be professional women and my hair needed to match, back to the shop every two weeks for those professional styles.
Until one day I decided I wanted some color. I knew that you could not perm and color your hair in the same day, but I didn't know I couldn't get a perm then a week later get color. But my hair stylist definitely should have known. Needless to say, hair fell out and I had to go super short. I hated it!
The lady who cut my hair once it started falling out, also colored it for me. She then said "I'll send you to my barber to shape and line you, and you will never go back to a perm." 10 years later I am still rocking my natural hair in various colors and styles.
I have 4c hair and I love it....NOW, had only the Andre Walker hair type system been in place when I was growing up I would have loved my hair earlier. I would have known what products to use and what styles I could wear. I mean, you live and you learn so now that I know better I hairdo better!
Fall on a Budget
This year I did not do any style lookbooks or any major shopping because I am saving to purchase a condo. But of course I had to be stylish, so what did I do?
Below are a few things that helped me stay on budget....
1) Shop your closet
After you've gotten some style inspiration from IG and Pinterest, go thru your closet and see if you can put together those looks. You'll be surprised at how you can wear pieces you already own.
Of course! Thrift stores change their items by season and trends as well, making it easier to shop whats in season and whats in style. Its also the best way to find higher priced pieces for less.
Got a Wedding? or Gala? Rent a look!!!!! Google dress rentals in your zip code and check them out. Rent the Runway has rentals for a low as $50 for 4 days, you will look like a million dollars for a mere fraction of the price.
4) Hand me downs
These are not your older brother's corduroys ( I love corduroys btw). Hit up a friend/family members closet who wears your size and see what they want to give away. My mom gave me 15-20 items that fit seamlessly into my 2018 Summer wardrobe. Can't wait to see what I get for Fall/Winter!
In 1991 my mom, brother and I moved to the southside of Chicago and that move was one that shaped my life tremendously.
I have so many fond memories of the 90's living in Englewood, but what I remember the most were the summers. You know that summer time CHI before it was a hashtag, neighborhoods filled with people on the porch, walking down the block or riding around in their drop top Chrysler Sebrings.
My friends and I would put on our best biking short set, walk to store to get our daily (non nutritional) snacks and hit the block. I mean we were outside from sun up to sun down (or until the street lights came on).
Of course the music, dope as ever! I attended my 1st concert in the 90's, Crucial Conflict in Grant Park (nka Millennium Park). Do y'all remember the Whatta Man video, I had my hair like Salt's; pin curls at the top and finger waves on side. All my friends were so jealous, lol!
But by far the best thing that happned to me in the 90's was that I learned to love fashion and cultivate my own style. It was that decade that introduced me to higher quality pieces, red carpets and street style. Every Sunday after In Living Color would air, I would try to copy the fly girls outfits from items in my closets. My go to look was a bodysuit, baggy jeans and Jodeci boots with a purse to match. I learned that from my older cousin Jennifer, she was the epitome of a 90's fly girl. She was everything and I wanted to be just like her, I even told my mom I wouldn't have kids so that I could have purses to match my daily looks. Still no kids, lol! I was so into clothes and everything fashion, I started asking for specific clothing for Christmas and trips to Lerner instead of Toy-R-Us. I even asked to go school shopping at Barney's, *insert eye roll* , kids.
Aaaaaand then here comes the red carpet, *swoons* I had never saw anything like it. I thought OMG, I LOVE IT! Style, Style, and more Style! And ever since I've been glued to the red carpet. Now that I think about it, I should have been hosting my own red carpet review. Oh well! Can't cry over spilled milk. Watch me here (shameless plug)
Yeah, it was a pretty dope decade if I must say so myself. I guess you could say it was the beginning of Chiquita Nicole.
In Style I Trust
As you can tell I changed the name of my blog to In Style I Trust, which I had been using as a hashtag since forever. The blog name change came about from me changing my company (and social media) name to Chiquita Nicole. Chiquita Nicole is my real name and I was not always happy about it. Chiquita is always spoken in parallel to "being ghetto" and while I am clachet (ratchet and classy) I did not want to be seen as the "ghetto black girl". And we all know Chiquita on a resume will not get called first. So over the years I changed my corporate name to Nicole and when I started my own company I wanted something catchy, unique and not Chiquita...TruVanity.
When I decided to make my company a legal entity I was torn between TruVanity or a version of my name. It was going to be C.Nicole or Nicole C. or whatever else my mind thought of and one day I said NO! Chiquita Nicole is my name and if I want to leave a legacy/wealth I want to be remembered as me CHIQUITA NICOLE CAREY!
Many people from Tracey Reese to June Ambrose use their real names and since I'm working to make my name known in the fashion realm I want it to be my name. Several friends have asked "don't you want to appeal to a more successful clientele?" meaning white...and I said no I want to work with who wants to work with me. My name is only deemed "ghetto" because white society said so. And why do we (all other cultures) have to try to appeal to the majority. I want to appeal to those will come to know and respect my talent, orange, red, black or white.
So for all the Chiquita's, Akisha's and TaShawna's out there let's be us and if we are not accepted we applied to the wrong position anyway.