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

#Selfcare Matters

September 4, 2017


 I know that self care is more important for me now than ever. My nerves are on edge constantly and simply receiving a CNN notification makes my eye twitch. What is a woman to do with so much going on personally, professionally and globally? Two words. [Insert hand claps] Self. Care.

   My cousin Nissa offered great support and empathized in my struggle with balancing my new found "wokeness". She suggested we practice #SelfcareSaturday. A day where we don't watch news, partake in any debates on social media, refrain from absorbing any new information on social injustice and do something good for our health and sanity.

    Here are a few ideas that we all can practice to gain some balance in the many facets of lidless we're operating on a daily.


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 lol). But seriously, you don't want to overwhelm yourself 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

Meat or Not to Meat?

August 6, 2017


  It's been about a month since I stepped into the world of veganism. I'm one of millions who have watched What The Health documentary on Netflix. I think it's common sense that too much of anything is bad.

    For several years I've suffered from irregularity, acne, dairy intolerance and chronic  fatigue. I'm always tryng to find out the root of all those problems. And I'll find something that works for a while, but then my symptoms come back eventually.

    Mostly the documentary focuses on how toxic processed meats are. But they briefly touch on a real possibility that we could be making poor Blacks in rural areas sick by eating meat. Even if it's a small possibility, I  can't really mean it when I say Black Lives Matter if I'm contributing to the ailment of some of those lives.

    Renè Miller was interviewed for the documentary. She is a resident of Duplin County, North Carolina. A poor rural community surrounded by nearby hog farms. The hogs' waste and the dumping of their dead carcasses (sometimes diseased) have seeped into their land and water supply and is making their town sick. This sounds a lot like Flynt, Michigan or the Dakota pipeline... Basically, this would never be allowed to happen to white folks.

    So, I'm doing my part to ensure I'm not a part of the problem. Not preaching or encouraging. I'm just sharing what I'm doing.


Make sure you follow me on:


Instagram  @nickynicolebear

Snapchat @nickynicolebear

Summer Glow

July 31, 2017


  It's really hard for me to wear a full face during the Summer months. I've been keeping it pretty simple. I start off with Black Opal foundation stick, conceal under my eyes with LA Girls pro HD concealer, set/bake with Sacha Buttercup powder, make sure my brows are defined.

   Lips should be moisturized. I like using my Hanahana Beauty lip balm. Apply a few coats of my fave mascara. Finish with my Makeup Revolution highlight palette. 


Make sure you follow me on:


Instagram  @nickynicolebear

Snapchat @nickynicolebear

My FamilyVisits Chicago! (Finally)

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:


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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


July 9, 2017


   Instagram is flooded with beauty products. Drawstring bras, waist trainers, silicone sponges and tummy teas. It's a bit ridiculous. But when a good product comes along you'll definitely hear about it. A lot. Dose of Colors and Wunderbrow are two beauty brands that gained their fame on Instagram. Backed by various IG Makeup Artists, bloggers and YouTubers.

   Now these brands are available at ULTA Beauty! This means I can try these products with the benefit of rewards points. They're currently only available online. My hope is that ULTA adopts more cult favorites that cater to Black women like Juvia's Place and Coloured Raine.


And make sure you follow me on:

Instagram  @nickynicolebear

Snapchat @nickynicolebear

DIY Distressed T-Shirt

July 3, 2017


   Distressed tees are everywhere. On the 'gram, H&M, Pinterest, Tumblr... You name it! But it doesn't make sense to overpay for something you can create yourself. It really isn't hard or time consuming. I picked up an Adventure Time tee at Hot Topic for the low. All I needed was a plastic garbage bag (to protect my floor), scissors, a spray bottle and bleach. Reach out to me on IG if you want a tutorial! I even made a creation for our Stylist Chiquita Carey! Don't forget to check out her page TruVanity and Akisha's page She's Gotta Show here on AINIOM to see what what they're up to!


And 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 

May 22, 2017


   I was invited as a guest to the Hardimon/Turner destination wedding to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and was also asked to do makeup for the bride Charish and her sister Chasati. We booked a stay at Dreams Los Cabos. An all inclusive resort with a concept of "Unlimited Luxury".

   Room service was ordered every morning. I layed out in the sun (sunblock applied prior of course) had drinks served poolside. Took a slight dip, you know I wasn't getting my hair wet. Cocktails are even available at the swim-up bar called Manatees.

   We did a group ATV excursion with Wild Canyon complete with dusty/rocky trail, cows and challenge to cross over a 1082 ft bridge hovering 164 ft above jagged rocks not just once, but TWICE. This isn't an excursion for the dainty and I did have to wash my hair because of all the dust and dirt. 

   After the thrill of pending death we enjoyed our lunches and dinners at each one of Dreams' six restaurants. Oceana had a great seafood soup and shrimp egg rolls. Seaside Grill served up a fresh mixed ceviche with fish, shrimp and octopus. My favorite dish was from Portofino. I had a delicious spicy Arrabiata.

   The wedding ceremony was beachside and flawless from beginning to end. Everyone was dressed in white. I must say the melanin was poppin' in Cabo! The groomsman took over the DJ booth during the reception and we all had a great time!

   Dreams Los Cabos is the way to go if it's your first time to Mexico or if it's your first introduction to all inclusive resorts. Check out my photos from my vacation. And make sure you follow me on:

Instagram  @nickynicolebear

Snapchat @nickynicolebear

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


Makeup, Trap, Gore?

October 31, 2016


October seems to be the only time of year that's appropriate for experimenting with Special FX makeup. But I've really been toying with the idea of using it more and more... I was inspired by a lot of work I had seen on IG.


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


#TheMUATourChi #AINIOM #MUA #TrapMusic #Sushi

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