MAKEUP Trap Sushi: Part 1

February 19, 2018

    I have been enamoured with art and makeup since I was about four or five years old. A family friend gifted me what seemed like a pirate’s treasure chest full of makeup. There was more makeup than I could have ever known what to do with, and I haven’t left makeup alone since.

    I was the kind of child who enjoyed playing “dress up” over baby dolls or “house”. My Mom even helped me with my Barbie photo shoots (Yes, we actually got the pictures developed). I was less interested in mother-like play and most interested in play that involved my imagination and creativity.

   In grade school I was all about Art class. Mr. Sweigert adored me and he encouraged my creativity across different art mediums. Whether it was paint, clay, craypas or pencil, I always enjoyed my time in that class. SUN MAGAZINE was a big deal at the time for student artists K-12th grade. Mr. Sweigert and my parents urged me to submit my art work and I was published not once but twice!

   In middle school I had become interested in fashion magazines like Seventeen and Harper’s Bazaar. Editorial makeup was just so edgy compared to the boring way “everyday women” wore it. And it was expressing something that words could not.

    I didn’t dare experiment because I knew damn well it was not going to be accepted. So instead, I settled for Revlon’s ColorStay lipstick in the shade Raisin. The first makeup I ever wore to school. My parents never forbid me to wear makeup, unlike a lot of my friends. Before school they’d always beg me to let them try it on, but fearfully removed all traces of it before we got home from school. Not me.

    In high school I had friends but was rarely invited out on the weekends. So what did I do? I practiced applying my makeup. And I was far from perfect. Practice was frustrating but it was also my “me time”. I was spending time getting to know myself, taking care of myself without any interruptions.

    And that is exactly how I see it today. It’s a form of therapy for me when I sit at my vanity and start applying my makeup. Unbothered. The only difference is now I have a f*ck it attitude when it comes to wearing bolder makeup. It’s never going to be for everybody. But it’s 1000% for me. 



February 12, 2018


  V-Day def inspires MUAs/MUEs to utilize shades of pink...

Makeup TRAP Sushi: Part 2

February 5, 2018


   Where did I get my love for trap music? It really started after I graduated high school. I moved away from an Air Force base in the middle of a Midwestern suburbanite dust bowl  to the eternal sunshine of Orlando, Florida. Gucci Mane, TI and Jeezy were just a few of the hip hop artists I was inundated with down in Florida. It’s also where I learned about Dance Hall and Reggeaton.

    I was attending Valencia College full time and working as a third key for a Fashion Nova-esque boutique at the mall with racks of club attire at our disposal. My new coworkers-turned-besties dragged me to nightclubs from Thursday to Sunday and trap music was the backdrop for everything we got into. Trap was there when we schemed on getting into VIP for free Moët. It was there when we cheered on our girl Iesha in a dance off against another young lady who was certified wasted. It was there when I quit my serving gig at a nightclub and gave every single man the middle finger as I stormed out.

    It was our way of life. In our mind we were the Suzy to Gucci. TI was personally telling us we could have whatever we liked. Future was demanding you turn on the lights in the club because he was looking for us. And as the genre evolves I have grown to love it even more. And sometimes I wonder if I will ever outgrow trap...


Makeup Trap SUSHI: Part 3

January 28, 2018


   So,what exactly is the sushi of Makeup Trap Sushi? Well, I can tell you that it’s more than just my love for delicious salmon nigiri. It embodies the parts of me that are influenced by Asian culture. Primarily Japanese culture.

    I’m Black, and I am also proud of and acknowledge my Japanese heritage. My grandmother (maternal) is Japanese and when I was five we made the move as an active duty military family to Yokota Air Force Base, Japan. The place where we would reside for nearly a decade of my life.

    My childhood memories consist of overnight field trips to Mt. Fuji, all things Sanrio, watching really delayed episodes of American TV, lots of good Japanese food, Sailor Moon and a short stint in modeling. And this was my norm.

    Our elementary school had a “Culture” class, in addition to Art, PE and Music. This was where we learned the language, geography and customs of our host country. Ms. Shirasu was my favorite because she taught us origami and let us watch Totoro. I didn’t like Mr. Tsunaga because he snitched on me once for talking too much in class. Luckily, I got home before Mom and Dad and deleted his voicemail ASAP (Nice try Tsunaga san).

    Sakura (cherry blossom) trees bloomed every Spring and lined the streets like soft pink clouds. As the season turned, the petals fell from the trees like light pink snowflakes. Our friend Sueiko came to visit us from Virginia once. She took me with her to visit her family in Osaka. It was my first time experiencing a Japanese bath house. We toured a castle, had a crazy run in with a cicada bug and I (unknowingly) ate fish eggs for the first time.

    I remember walking (sometimes skating) to the “Yen Store” with my brother and friends a few blocks right outside the base. We spent our allowance on Pocky Sticks, Lotte candy, shrimp chips and Sailor Moon cards. I was a serious collector. I mean SERIOUS!

    I’ll always remember walking the massive crosswalks in Ginza, seeing Tokyo Tower, Tokyo Disneyland, taking the bullet train and wearing a kimono for a traditional tea ceremony. In seventh grade I finally learned hiragana and katakana. So, technically I can read and write (very slowly).

    Once we returned back to the states, I soon realized how different our experience had been from most other kids. And as an adult I still find it hard to relate at times. But it’s an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything. My grandma has not been with us for many years and I’m grateful to have lived and experienced first hand the place where she was from. It will always be a huge part of me. 

Unsolicited Dreams... 

January 22, 2018


   Apparently, most folks have a very narrow idea of what a Makeup Artist (MUA) is “suppose” to be. In my experience, the ideas of success that get projected onto me usually include a celebrity clientele and jet setting around the world getting credit for magazine covers and red carpet looks. This narrow minded idea has caused me a lot of stress trying to live up to other people’s expectations. But, ultimately it forced me to decide what kind of Makeup Artist I’d like to be.

    In the age of social media the possibilities are endless. Some artists work in solitary which allows them creative freedom. Some regularly work with clients, but that also means they work around other people’s schedules. There are those who work in film and television, which is a whole ‘nutha beast. And some work in the fashion and editorial realm on shoots and runway shows. Aesthetic, preference and style are an entirely separate conversation.

    What they all have in common are supplemental streams of income. Some collaborate with brands promoting or creating beauty products. MUAs offer workshops or seminars to teach their techniques. Others get paid for making public appearances. The list goes on...

    If you are an aspiring Makeup Artist please explore all of your options and figure out what kind of work is most fulfilling to you. You will make mistakes, and that is okay. If you have an aspiring MUA in your life, be supportive, listen and don’t project. After all, most people don’t like to be told how to do their job, and this isn’t any different. 

Princess Peach

January 15, 2018


   I thought it was going to be impossible for me to pull off peach tones. Mostly because it’s notorious for not being vibrant enough to stand out on darker skin tones.

   Have you seen the wave of peach makeup on the ‘gram? If not, then you should know that this color has been heavily marketed in the last year. It took some time but I played around with it and was pleased with the color payoff from this look. 

Pretty Girls Love Trap Music

January 8, 2018


Trap overload?! I think not. Just feeling playful and experimenting with my color contacts, bamboo earrings and “Trap” hat. I was due for a fill-in at T Nail Bar and I couldn’t resist adding the Cardi B decals!

Issa New Year!

January 2, 2018


   2017 was quite a year. There were some highs and lows. But, what is life without obstacles? It’s how we handle the struggle that’s most important. There are a few things I learned about myself that I’ll be taking with me into 2018. First and foremost is becoming “woke”.

    It started early in the first quarter. I began listening to podcasts for the first time. Gaining more insight about systematic racism, intersectionality, colorism in the Black community, benevolent sexism, overt sexism, etc... I couldn’t stop, which was not good. Not. At. All. Burning myself out by obsessing over all the injustices of the world was a hard lesson I had to learn.

    On a brighter note I was able to really tap into what really inspires me. Thus the change from the old Beauty Edition blog to a brighter and shiny-er MakeupTrapSushi! It feels so good to have an identity and space that really speaks to me. I have some wonderful ideas and additions I want to bring to you all in 2018. I hope your’re ready.

    Sharing is caring, right? I began sharing more of my life on social media than I ever had. Pictures are pretty cool and all. But, you’re only getting a fraction of who I really am. I want to continue connecting with you all personally. I gained so much more appreciation for my audience when I decided to make myself more vulnerable

    I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, but I do hope to resolve my goals for 2018 and beyond. Thank you all for your continued support and inspiring me. I wish you all the best in 2018!


      XoXo - Nicky

‘Tis The Season For...

December 18, 2017


 November and December are times when a lot of Makeup Artists are giving in the spirit of creativity. They are showering us with gimmicky makeup looks that quite honestly are intimidating to the average person. But, they get an “A” for their creative efforts nonetheless. I’ll be posting some hopefully non threatening “holiday inspired” looks like the one below throughout the week on Instagram so make sure to follow me @MakeupTrapSushi!


December 12, 2017


  I wanted to say THANK YOU to all my wonderful, beautiful makeup clients this year! You all have allowed me to challenge myself and grow in more ways than one! 

FENTY Stunna Lip Paint

December 4, 2017


  First I tried the Killawatt highlighter in Trophy Wife. That was a hit! I passed on the ultra glittery Galaxy Palette. But this Stunna Lip Paint was right up my alley! Prior to it’s 11/23 release, FENTY was doing a fantastic job demonstrating this “universal” red on a vast array of skin tones. 

    I love the multi faceted packaging. And you get a lot of product to justify spending the $24. This’ll last you for many, many applications. The applicator itself is like no other. I mean, it gives a precision application without having to use a liner. Riri has done it again ladies and gents! Below are some pics with me in my Stunna Lip Paint.

Nailed It! (Finally)

November 27, 2017


 Since my beloved Nail Tech/Artist Adina moved far, far, away to a land called ATL, l have been to a few different nail techs and salons. Some disastrous and some just so-so.

   First was Naughty Nailz in Humboldt Park. Their Instagram profile warns of the gratuitous used of profanity. Which was fine with me, but the shop was just as dirty as their mouths. They do great work, but the filth was just unbearable.

  Then, l found Michael at a shop in my neighborhood. He’s super friendly and did great work. His sister opened a salon downtown and l followed. l kept asking for more, but he was pretty set on doing conventional/safe nails. No frills. He was nice, but l was bored. I found myself visiting less and less.

   On my trip to and from work l had passed the same vacant nail salon a million times over. And finally, the space became occupied by T Nail Bar. The owner is a sweet girl named Tuyen, who had a dream of owning her own salon. We bonded over sharing stories about living as military dependents. 

   They do ALL the things nail fanatics dream of. Ombré, matte, 3D forms, designs, you name it. And it got even better when she mentioned that her husband is Black. Which technically means I’m supporting a Black business! T Nail Bar is my newfound home and they literally had me at “Issa Grand Opening”! 

Metallic Season

November 20, 2017


 There’s just something about a metallic lipstick. It’s flashy but not overbearing. Maybe your go to is a classic red lip. Why not try a metallic version? Matte... Been there! Gloss... Done that! And glitter is reserved for occasions when you’re feeling really, really extra. These metallic lippes are by Jordana Cosmetics and I spotted them at my local Walgreens. They come in an array of edgy colors and I picked up three for myself. I think you should give them a try. 


Out on the Town

November 5, 2017


   It’s been a while since l hit the streets for a girls’ night out with my team. I’ve been feeling more inspired and more like myself than l had been in the past several months. It’s time l stop shying away from public spaces (anxiety is a real thing for me) l was just a hermit for a hot minute. 


Nicky Featured in FairPlay Music Video

Dircted by Billy Kauck!

Halloween Makeup: From Neck Wounds to Comic Book Characters...

October 30, 2017


   It’s that time of year again! IG is inundated with creepy, gore-y looks and there’s so much i want to experiment with. This time I worked with liquid latex and body paints to create this gaping neck wound. On the lighter side I was able to create a Pop Art/Comic Book look for my client Stephanie for a party this weekend. 


Mr. & Mrs. #Guwop!

October 23, 2017


   BET strung fans along on with their heavily advertised not-so-live airing of wedding between rapper Gucci Mane and Keyshia Kai’or.

   If you’ve had the pleasure of living in the south then you probably have a fondness for all things Gucci. He is (and I’m quite sure will always be) a trap classic. After his four year stint in prison, LaFlare came back with hit after hit. Almost as if he never left. Keyshia not only stayed by his side, but managed to flip their money into millions while he was locked up. 

   They’re wedding is estimated to cost $1.7 million! And it was a hood extravaganza! I wish these two health and happiness!

   Just a side note: BET can really step their game up on their production of televised weddings. It was long and drawn out. And the kicker is that they’re going to start airing the events that led up to the wedding as a series... This could’ve totally been included in the airing of the wedding itself. I digress.


Congrats #Wopsters!

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October 15, 2017


   October is synonymous with Breast Cancer Awareness, but did you know it's also the month for Domestic Violence Awareness? Please click below to hear about my own experience with domestic violence and why I won't use the ever popular word "beat" to describe my makeup. Thousands of you have viewed, liked, shared and commented on this post. Thank you so much for your support! 


Instagram Looks @MakeupTrapSushi

My 2017 Beauty Fall Faves!

October 9, 2017


   Last week I gave you my Fall Faves series on Instagram. I've listed the beauty products here for you in case you missed it! Make sure to follow us on Instagram @Team_AINIOM and watch our stories before they're gone!


Day 1 - Fenty Beauty highlighter in Trophy Wife


Day 2 - Cinema Secrets Makeup Brush Cleaner


Day 3 - Ruby Kisses Forever Matte liquid lipsticks


Day 4 - Black Radiance contour palettes / To Dye For glitter lipstick


​Day 5 - Makeup Artist Contracts/Agreements


Make sure you follow me on:


Instagram  @nickynicolebear

Snapchat @nickynicolebear

MakeupTrapSushi x TruVanity

2017 Fall Lookbook

October 1, 2017


  Every season our very own Chiquita Carey gives us a compilation of her favorite style staples, conveniently uploaded for all to see on her YouTube channel TruVanity. I usually work with her on the makeup looks that help pull the looks together (Chiquita has the style part down, no question). Fall 2017 was no exception.

   I used burnt orange and burgundy shadows from my Juvia's Place and Violet Voss palettes on the eyes and kept the lips neautral and matte to avoid competing with the shadow. I really love her rich skin color, so I wanted to make sure it popped. I did that by using a Makeup Revolution balm highlighter on her cheekbones, nose bridge and Cupid's bow. 


Watch her Lookbook below and please like and subscribe!


Make sure you follow me on:


Instagram  @nickynicolebear

Snapchat @nickynicolebear

Special Thanks

I really appreciate the love I've been shown by the Queens Amber J Phillips and Jazmine Walker over at The Black Joy Mixtape podcast! Listening to their podcast has really sparked my passion in resisting in my own way. The work they do is priceless. They are out here educating, resisting and showing us how to find our #BlackJoy. I encourage you to listen, subscribe and support these Black women because they are out here doing the same for us! You can listen to them on iTunes or SoundCloud!



FENTY Has Makeup Brands Shook!

September 25, 2017


  Rihanna's makeup line FENTY hit Sephora stores on 9/8 and it sold out like hot cakes! The two most popular products seem to be the Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation in all 40 glorious shades and the Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter in Trophy Wife. She made it clear she wanted an inclusive line celebrating the those from the most porcelain white to the richest darkest ebony. There is a shade for everyone! Makeup brands were SHOOK and scrambled to get their lives together.

   They took to Instagram to show us they too are inclusive (because we've been begging for more shades for shits and giggles, right?). I've included some screenshots of brands like L'Oréal and Marc Jacobs making a poor attempt at marketing to us during the aftermath of the FENTY launch. It's too late. Our demands went unanswered for decades by you. Rihanna saved the day. So, she can have ALL my money! 


Make sure you follow me on:


Instagram  @nickynicolebear

Snapchat @nickynicolebear

Vegan Recipes Brought To You By @BurnamUpChili

September 20, 2017


  I met Chris Burnam while working at SunTrust Bank in Orlando. One of my fave people of all time to work with! He's got the best sense of humor and is down to earth. And he's originally from Chicago! He's the one who put me on to Issa's Awkward Black Girl series on YouTube!

    Back then he was a vegetarian but has since up his conscious eating game to the world of veganism (or bleganism as he calls it). We teamed up to do a series of recipes for me to try once a week to show you all on Instagram.  So far, I have not been disappointed. I literally don't miss meat or even eggs. They really satisfy my urge for the comfort I had in eating animal products.  Here is the four week recipe rundown:


Week 1 - Vegan Black Bean Burger 

Week 2 - Vegan Tacos 

Week 3 - Vegan Lasagna 

Week 4 - Vegan Dirty Rice 


Follow Burnam on Instagram @burnamupchili for recipe details! Tag us in your creations and let us know how you like them! 


Make sure you follow me on:


Instagram  @nickynicolebear

Snapchat @nickynicolebear

Hey L'Oréal, IDFWY!

September 11, 2017



  I have a really long history as a L'Oréal Paris consumer. When I worked at ULTA as an Esthetician I fell in love with their True Match foundation line. It had the most diverse shade range I had ever seen in a drugstore brand at the time. It was my go-to recommendation for beauty enthusiasts on a budget. Flash forward to 2017 and Imma have to say I am done with L'Oréal. Through!

  Their latest side eye worthy scandal was the hiring (and firing) of model/DJ/Activist Monroe Bergdorf. Who would have been their first Black transgendered spokesmodel (currently they only have one Black spokesmodel). Whom they basically only brought on to collect more coins from us by appealing to women of color and the LGBT community. Her contract was torn to shreds and burned after she made public commentary on her feelings about systemic racism in regards to the horrific events in Charlottesville. Mind you, L'Oréal was aware she was an activist before they signed her. So, what where they expecting?

   Whether it's Monroe or Beyoncé (who also cut her ties with the brand), L'Oréal is only interested in profiting from Black and Brown folks as long as we're quiet and do as we're told. At one point they were accused of lightening Queen Bey's skin in ad campaigns and tried to water down her Blackness by listing her heritage as African American, Native American and French (Her Daddy Alabama, Momma Louisiana duh!). And where is the representation for dark skinned models? It's the exact opposite of the diversity and tolerance their website boasts:


"Our vision, is the idea that beauty is accessible to all, a real way to affirm and accept ourselves as we are, to allow us the opportunity to really be ourselves"  - L'Oréal Paris


  So, if I'm disowning L'Oréal, then that includes ALL of the brands they own. And it's a looooooooong list including some of my long time favorite makeup lines like Urban Decay and Nyx Cosmetics. Not to mention they also own African Beauty Brands which includes haircare lines like Dark and Lovely and Optimum. But I can no longer shell out my hard earned money just to have those same dollars used against me. 


Make sure you follow me on:


Instagram  @nickynicolebear

Snapchat @nickynicolebear

Lashes fuh Days!

August 28, 2017


 I've really been struggling to get my creative juices flowing in the makeup arena this Summer. I've had some really pressing issues on my mind lately (see previous blog post Am I Too Woke) If you follow me on Snapchat then you know I:


A) Can't turn down an opportunity to finesse ULTA


B) I can't say no to a new pair of lashes!


   My current go to lash brand is Eylure. I picked this pair on my most recent trip and they give a great "doll eye" effect. I added just one cluster of individual lashes to my bottom lashes just to do something unexpected. 


Make sure you follow me on:


Instagram  @nickynicolebear

Snapchat @nickynicolebear

Am I Too #Woke?

August 21, 2017


   This year I have really focused on trying to educate myself on social issues. Mostly pertaining to the Black community, specifically Black women. Whether it's a TED Talk about intersectionality, a podcast episode on the history of violence against Black women or watching documentaries about our prison system. I've really tried to absorb enough knowledge to have a critical thought about the world around me.

      So much so, that I haven't given those around me any time to catch up. There's just so much I want to share, all the time. Mind you, my daily commute allows me to listen to my favorite podcasts for an hour and fifteen each way. I would definitely say I'm #woke.

     But is there such a thing as too woke? I'm now more fearless in expressing my views publicly. A part of me does want others to know that I'm not just a pretty face but rather a multi-faceted person with my own thoughts and opinions. I admit I may have ingested too much information too quickly which resulted in a burn out. I often feel angry about all the injustice. I'm terrified about being complacent. And I'm frustrated that everyone else isn't always on the same page.

     I needed to chill basically. Nicky did that. So, hopefully you won't have to go through that (see what I did there). But seriously, you don't want to overwhelm yourself or others when your ultimate goal is to make a positive change. Here are some ways to take baby steps towards getting #woke:


Choose one (or two) causes - You don't have to take on #ImWithKap, Black Lives Matter, Slut Walk and Neo Nazis ALL at the same damn time. 


Dedicate some time, not all your time - Learning is fundamental but set limits on how much you can fully digest. Maybe it's 1-2 hours a week to start.


Check your ego - Of course you were raised right, but that doesn't make you better than anyone else. You can't really be learning if you inherently feel like others are beneath you.


Get ready to be uncomfortable - We can't ask others to do for us what we're not willing to do ourselves for others. And, you can't fully understand something if the only perspective you care to understand is your own. 


Join us in the #SpeakUp conversation! Your thoughts and comments are always welcomed. Make sure you follow me on:


Instagram  @nickynicolebear

Snapchat @nickynicolebear

#WinterIsHere @ AT&T Flagship Store on Michigan Avenue 

August 13, 2017


  AT&T Flagship store on Michigan Avenue brought us an amazing exclusive evening of Game of Thrones! The store has been transformed with props and original costumes from the GoT set. The Iron Throne sat right in the entry way. Danarys, Sansa, Ned Stark's costumes we're on display. And you could get an up close look at the detail on the Dothraki weapons.

    GoT fans (including myself) got to bond over  drinks and small bites courtesy of Grand Lux. Sounds by DJ Nurotic and hosted by 103.5 KISS FM's own Rufio! Around the room were several interactive stations including a green screen, virtual reality castle and Iron Throne photo op. Rufio gave away prizes to fans who answered GoT trivia.

   Behind the scenes I got to observe actor Isaac Hempstead Wright, who plays Brandon Stark, who is now the Three-Eyed Raven, interview with WGN and Fox32 Chicago. Afterwards he later came out for an interview and answered questions straight from the fans. Thank you to AT&T Michigan Avenue for such a wonderful evening! It was a GoT fan's dream come true!  Check out the gallery below and make sure you follow me on:


Instagram  @nickynicolebear

Snapchat @nickynicolebear

My Family (finally) Visits Chicago!

July 16, 2017


I've been living in Chicago going on four years and my Mom and brother are just now visiting. It was a quick weekend but we managed to get a lot in! We enjoyed brunch at Smack Dab in Rogers Park. Took the Red Line to The Field Museum. My Mom was very adamant we see the Jurassic World exhibit. It kinda takes you back to the good ole days of field trips, packed lunches and juice boxes. We ate dinner at a new (to me) ramen spot Slurping Turtle.

Sunday was Swedish waffles, pancakes and meatballs at Ann Sather in Edgewater. We visited and made some new friends at the SGI Buddhist Center on Wabash. Headed to Millenuim Park. Got to see "The Bean" for the first time. The official name of fhe sculpture is called Cloud Gate. We walked down The Magnificent Mile. And ended up at one of my fave Lincoln Park hangouts, The Otherside. The gallery of our quick Chitown adventure is below!


Make sure you follow me on:


Instagram  @nickynicolebear

Snapchat @nickynicolebear

Makeup • Trap • Sushi Top 5

#Summer17 Picks

July 16, 2017


In case you missed out Instagram Stories this week, here are Nicky's five must-haves for #Summer17:


#1) Wella Shampoo & Conditioner


#2) Makeup Revolution Ultra Strobe Balm


#3) Hanahana Beauty Shea Butter


#4) The Black Joy Mixtape podcast


#5) Organic Apple Cider Vinegar


Make sure you follow me on:


Instagram  @nickynicolebear

Snapchat @nickynicolebear

BET Awards/First Trip to LA!

June 26, 2017


   I've never been to Los Angeles and wasn't really at the top of my list until my makeup client gave me an offer I couldn't refuse. She offered me tickets to the BET Awards at Microsoft Theater, passes to BET Fan Fare at the LA Convention Center, BET Live and the featured concerts at Staples Center! I'd have a chance to see a new city, spend some time with my LA friends, werk and experience BET weekend! Here's the flow:



7AM Flight from Chicago (team no sleep)

10AM Land in Los Angeles

12PM Lunch at Ordoñez (open 24 hours)

3PM Hotel check in Hilton Garden Inn

4PM Nap time!

11PM All Black Party @The Reserve



10AM Breakfast... Didn't happen

11AM BET Radio Room JW Marriott LA Live

12PM Brunch @ Yard House

1PM Head back to Hilton Garden Inn

5PM DJ Khalid Day Party @ Penthouse

8PM Bryson Tiller/Jhene Aiko @ Staples Center



10AM Breakfast with Laretta at Sweet Chick

3PM Lunch @ Tom's Urban

4PM BET Experience @ LACC

5PM Fashion + Beauty @ LACC

6PM Cocktails @ JW Marriott



10AM Breakfast @ Ordoñez (again)

1PM Meet @ Viceroy L'Ermitage Beverly Hills

3PM Arrive @ Microsoft Theater

5PM BET Awards start!


Make sure you follow me on:

Instagram  @nickynicolebear

Snapchat @nickynicolebear

Makeup by me!

June 4, 2017


   My lovely client Candace Reed was attending her annual corporate summer outing and reached out to me for makeup. The theme for their outing this year was Casino Night and we came up with this sultry look focusing on the eyes using shadows form my Violet Voss palette. 


And make sure you follow me on:

Instagram  @nickynicolebear

Snapchat @nickynicolebear

How to Finesse at ULTA 101

May 29, 2017


   I make no secrets about being a former ULTA employee and I still prefer this beauty store (most of the time) over its competitor, Sephora. Here are a few tips I've learned over the years to save money on my fave beauty products. I got you boo!


ULTA Rewards

Make sure you're enrolled in the ULTAmate Rewards program. You will start accumulating points with every purchase you make. You earn 1 point for every dollar you spend and Platinum members (like me) earn 1.25 points for every dollar spent. Redemption chart is in the photo gallery above. You need 100 points minimum to start getting dollars off!


Check the Latest Ad

See what deals are going on before you head to the store. The latest ad always has a coupon. For example 20% off one item or $3.50 off a $15 purchase.


Earn 2x, 3x up to 5x Points!

Check your email often to see if there is a points boost you need to activate. You can earn points faster. Make sure to click 'activate' within the email. This will get you to the 100 points mark faster without having to actually spend $100.


Clip Coupons

ULTA will take a manufacturer coupon on top of any discount you're already getting. So, clip away! This is great if you need to purchase a drugstore brand like Maybelline or L'Oréal.


21 Days of Beauty

Is ULTA's semi annual event that highlights deals on specific beauty brands each day. If you plan accordingly you can catch great deals on brands like Tarte, Urban Decay and Becca Cosmetics.


Liter Event

Is an annual event, usually in the summer, where the liter size of your favorite professional salon shampoos and conditioners are deeply discounted. And they usually throw in a free pump! For example, when I was using Redken, liters will run you $34 each, but during this event they're as low as $12 each. And don't let me have some points to redeem on top of that!


The Friends & Family Discount

A few times a year ULTA employees are allowed to pass down their employee discount of 40% off to friends and family. I suggest you befriend an employee ASAP because this is not a deal you will receive by mail or email.


Return Policy

If you don't like something bring it back. Don't waste money on a product you're not pleased with. ULTA will give you a full refund if returned within 60 days with a receipt. No receipt? No problem. As long as you made your purchase under your rewards program then ULTA can find your receipt. 


And make sure you follow me on:

Instagram  @nickynicolebear

Snapchat @nickynicolebear

Dreams Los Cabos 

Ramen pronounced /Lah•Men/

April 16, 2017


  Say it with me now. Laaaaah-men! Now that we've got the pronunciation down we can discuss one of my favorite comfort foods. Sure I've had to eat the packaged stuff, but, I grew up in Japan which means we had access to real ramen noodles with savory hot broth, fresh noodles and a variety of delicious (oishi) toppings like boiled egg, nori (seaweed) or kimchi.

  For me it's been hard to find Japanese restaurants in the states that are owned/operated by actual Japanese people. It might be a minute detail for some or overlooked because one just simply doesn't know the difference. But it's important to me because that's where my grandma comes from and it's where I grew up. And that's where the whole comfort thing ties in.

  Here in Chicago I've found a few places I really love. And THANK YOU if you've ever made a ramen spot recommendation and it made my list!


#1 High Five Ramen 112 W Green St

#2 Jinya Ramen Bar 553 W Diversey Pkwy

#3 Strings Ramen 2141 S Archer Ave

#4 Ramen-San 54 W Hubbard St #2

#5 Blowfish Contemporary Sushi 1131 W Bryn Mawr Ave 


Instagram  @nickynicolebear

Snapchat @nickynicolebear

The Makeup Artist Tour hits the Windy City!

November 14, 2016


Friday was the big day! Thank you to our beautiful guests, RA Sushi for catering our amazing sushi platters and Hyatt Place Chicago - South/University Medical Center for hosting our event. A very special shout out to my long time friend Myke Silva for geting me involved, DJ Ajonra who provided the sounds and videography for the night, Photographer Tito Garcia, my wonderful team at AINIOM Akisha Lockhart and Chiquita Carey. Thank you to our beauty sponsor To Dye For Cosmetics for being our vendor for the evening! Thank you to our sponsor Ra Sushi Chicago for all the yummy, yummy sushi! Check out our photo gallery below. Of course we had to hit the #MannequinChallenge MUA style! Click here to view our video The MUA Tour #MannequinChallenge


Follow me on Snapchat @nickynicolebear for more Makeup x Trap x Sushi!


#TheMUATour #AINIOM #MUA #TrapMusic #Sushi


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