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.
Vision Board Check In
The crazy thing about vision boards is that the visions come true. As we end the 1st quarter of 2019, I want to appreciate what I've done. All while reminding myself of what still needs to be completed.
So far I've.....
1.) Managed to create my monthly favorites (see below),
2.) Stayed on my fitness journey and recently entered into my gyms accountability program, and
3.) Reached the "search for home" step in my home buying process
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)
Ivory Merch is a Chicago based clothing brand ran by 4 high school teens 2 of which happen to be my godsons. Jason Johnson, Jordan Goss, Marquis Belanger and Naji Spiller launched Ivory March 31, 2018 and it has been making waves ever since. These 4 young men have poured their own money and time into the success of their lifestyle brand. Creating 15 and counting made to order original designs all of which can be placed on any color background. Ivory has items ranging from tees long or short sleeve to hoodies to flip flops.
This past Sunday they made their 2nd fashion show debut at the 2nd Annual Charity Fashion Showcase presented by South Shore International College Prep. This fashion Show showcased the best upcoming designers and boutiques across the ChicagoLand area. Ivory Merch was represented both on the runway and with several supporters in the crowd.
Ivory Merch has taken Chicago by storm and soon the world, these kids mean business. Try Ivory Merch today and support the dreams of these young business men.
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.
The Bud was everything I expected it to be, from bands to dance teams, politicians to radio personalities. I was early arriving at 9am and posted right at the corner of 45th and King Drive. I needed to make sure I had a clear view of my oldest neice's 1st performance while being in a drumline. The parade kicked off right on time and from there it was non-stop fun. The royal court rolled down first and then the bands and dance teams had the 2 mile stretch on south King drive lit. I snapped a few dope people and cheered for two hours straight. The crowd was great, consisting of all people young and old and from all areas of Chitown. As each float passed by you could hear sounds of summer...oldies to trap. IT WAS LIT! I even saw a few of Chicago's own, Deon Cole, Kendra G and even Mayoral candidate Willie Wilson. It was so summertime Chi, I had to enter a footwork battle to prove my Chi-ness. LOL!
Next year will be its 90th year and know they have something special, I can't wait!
I was born and raised in the CHI and I have never attended The Bud Billiken Parade. Well my mom says I did as a baby, but who remembers that. As a teenager me and friends would get up, get dressed and attempt to go, but would never make it. And now as an adult with no children I've never had the urge to attend. UNTIL NOW.....my niece and her drum line will be performing and I am GEEKED. My outfit is ready, I have my folding chair and I will be there at 8am ready to cheer at the top of my lungs.
The Bud Billiken Parade is said to be the parade to kick off the school year and has been for the last 89 years. The parade got its name from a fictional character said to been an angel watching over kids detailed in the Chicago Defender newspaper. The parade starts in the historic Bronzeville neighborhood on 39th and King Drive and goes south to 51st in Washington Park. And there is where more fun starts from facing paintings to bbq's Chicago gets lit for the BUD.
Read more about the parade here
Fashion Nova (insert eye roll)
Where do I start? I understand as a curvy girl (size 14) I should appreciate us being represented in the fashion industry and I do! But, Fashion Nova really needs to step up their game.
1.) They have no customer phone line with a live person to inquire about merchandise for sizing, returns or etc.
2.) They have no consistency in sizing; I ordered a 15 in a pair of jeans and they fit but the XL in biking shorts did not, even after their sizing chart says a 15 is a XL.
3.) Not only do you have to pay for return shipping, they don't even send you a return label.
4.) THERE ARE NO REFUNDS just a store credit and for a store that is not consistent in sizing they need to offer refunds.
1.) They have great jeans that fit my butt.
2.) Their clothes are afforable and they always have a sale or coupon code.
3.) They have all the cute trendy pieces.
I know I know, I should deal with the negatives because the positives outweigh them, but can we just get a customer service phone line, $5 return labels and a refund. Is that too much to ask?!
Some of us creatives have not reached the point in our career were we are doing what we love full time. Some of us have full time 9-5 jobs that may hinder our careers and most times we pass on opportunities because of our commitment to our day jobs. I am here to tell you, you can make time for your career and still keep your 9-5. Number 1 rule and the only rule:
1. Use the benefits of your job, i.e. you have at least 10-15 paid time off or sick days to use per year. If you get a styling job that requires you on set at 1pm, use your time and take a half day.
Need to fly to LA for a one in a life time opportunity, use a full vacation day or two and fly out, do the work, secure the bag and come back like aint nothing happened.
Use your funds to add to your make up kit every two weeks, building your supply.
You may also have the choice to start later or leave earlier ask HR and then you can plan your career moves around the new schedule. Bottom line; you have opportunities both in your job and your career and if you play them right you can keep your day job (not for long lol) and build your career.
MAKE UP DONE
It was definitely challenging, I was late for work some days and other days I loss out on sleep. But, I DID IT! It has made me aware of the techniques I need more practice with, as well as what techniques I'm good at. So, I am not saying I will do it everyday going forth but I will do it more often than before.
What do you guys think? DM me here
2018 BET Awards Red Carpet Recap!
BOOOOOOO sums up my reaction to the red carpet!
It was 2 hours of up and coming artist performing and I have nothing against up and coming artist but when the host says "We have xxx and she will be covering the red carpet beauty and fashion" and then there is no beauty or fashion. TRAGIC!
Bright side...I hosted my 1st Style Corner Red Carpet Review...detais below.
Dress - Vintage Victoria's Secret (lol)
Shoes - Akira
Earrings - HM (before the scandal)
Rings - Forever 21
Makeup - Done by Moi
We See You!
I have answered yes to all those questions before and I am sure I will answer yes to those questions in the future. We all want success, we all want our hardwork to match our bank accounts but sometimes we can't see how far we have come.
Sunday I was in the mall shopping for a client, just minding my business; when this lady asked excitedly "Are you TruVanity?", I am I answered. She said" OMG I follow your page and think you are doing a great job, congratulations on how far you've come." My face LIT UP, oh my god someone notices me outisde, are you serious? But that is what we want as creatives, we want to be recognized and we want people to talk about us.
That was my reminder to keep pushing. Imagine if she shared my page with her friends and family and now more people know who I am and what I do. So even though it may seem like you are going nowhere fast, remember somebody is somewhere saying you are dope!
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.
(DJ Khaled voice LOL)
This birthday I decided to eat and do all my favorite things in my home town of Chicago. My staycation was in full effect; I started the weekend with a quick trip to gun range to practice my aim. Then I checked myself into one of Chicago's boutique hotels the Raffaello. All weekend long I ate and drank all my favorite foods, desserts and libations. On my actual birthday I woke to a delicious cake, strawberries and champagne; enjoyed a mini photo shoot followed by a thai massage and facial. After I stopped by the best accessory store in Chicago...Accessorize and got of course a emerald bag. Makeup Trap Sushi stopped by painted my face and off I went to have an amazing night on the town. I ended the staycation tatted with a pink bow to remind myself everyday is a present and should be celebrated.
One Time For The Birthday Biiiiih!
Make sure you follow me on IG for this years birthday shenanigans
Actually I don't know when I started celebrating my birthday in such a grand way, I can only remember always doing something very true to who I am. Whether taking a trip to a relaxing beach to being surrounded by my girlfriends at a posh restuarant to a shopping spree sponsored by bae, I make my birthday a day to remember. Depending on what I'm doing I start planning no later that April 1 (January 1 if I'm going out of town). My friends and family loathe it (LOL), because they have to hear about it every few days until its perfectly me.
So make sure you watch my IG live everyday starting now to see what I have planned this year.
Back Down Memory Lane.....
Make sure you follow me on IG for this years birthday shenanigans
Closet Edit....Won & Done!
Style Corner Update
No Meat Week
Maple and Brown Sugar Oatmeal w/Blueberries
1 Boiled Egg
Cup of Tea
2 Belvita Crackers
1 Kale & Quinoa Patty
Mushroom, Shrimp and Asapargus stir fry no rice, or
1/2 Sweet Potato
Get The Look