Wednesday Inspiration: The Ever-Changing Nature of Life

Okay, if you are on the east coast of the USA right now then you are probably like WTF. It was summer dreams 70 degrees heaven all weekend, and today we got SNOW FLURRIES and 30 DEGREE WEATHER. Seriously, what is going on?

Besides all of the probable scientific meteorological explanations for the effed up weather NYC has been receiving lately, I feel like we've just been sent a funny message. Life has a sense of humor, and we are on the butt end of the joke right now. It's a little mini-lesson on the ever-changing nature of life. It's hot and it's cold. It's yes and it's no...wait, I'm getting distracted. The point is, we should take today's strange weather conditions as a sign to laugh, be grateful, and keep moving forwards. Change/disorder/entropy is constant in the universe, but we can bring positive energy into the mix and make things better. And in the meantime, take a breath and look around you, taking comfort in the forward moving, always shifting nature of the universe.

xx Nikkidee

Festival Style

The snow is gone, the sun is out, and my favorite season is finally here: festival season. With Coachella happening as I type this, and Warped UK summer music festivals updating their lineups every day, I can’t help but get excited about all of the great spring and summer festivals gearing up to start. If you attended Coachella over the weekend, you probably got two eyeballs full of summer sartorial inspiration for days. But if you didn’t,  here’s a little guide to some perfect spring and summer festival outfits that will carry you straight through the season with coolness, grace, and no sunburn-free skin.

Are you excited for festival season? I'd love for you to leave your festival photos and inspiration boards in the comments! Maybe I'll post some of my favorites!

Hop on over to It's Fashionating! to read the rest of my post on festival style!

xx Nikkidee

Self Love Diary #9: Gratitude and Body Positivity

The Day 9 Lesson is about feeling gratitude for your body. We did an awesome exercise on this with the Love Letter to Your Body, but now it’s time to transform your thoughts and start feeling good about your body every single day. Gala writes a great example of empowering thoughts and disempowering thoughts.


Disempowering: I’m doing squats at the gym & looking in the mirror, & I

think, ‘God, my thighs look enormous. I look so ugly, this is a total waste

of time. This is never going to make a difference!’

When I think this way, it saps my energy & drains me of my power. The

rest of the workout becomes painful, slow, arduous, & I’m looking at my

watch, hoping it ends soon. I am not psyched for my next training session!

Empowering: I’m doing push-ups at the gym & it’s killing me. I think,

‘God, this hurts!’ & then I think, ‘But man, I’m getting so strong! I’m

getting so much better! Go go Gala!’

This is an awesome example and I'm sure that we all have examples like this. I know that for me, I'll often get really tired and cranky when I'm hungry. I'll start to think, ugh, I'm so tired, I don't want to walk up the subway steps, my body is so weak and stupid, etc. But I should be listening to my body, nourishing it, and giving it energy instead of criticizing!

Obviously, the second way is a much more empowering way to think, and will create a cycle of energy and happiness instead of a slow decline into sadness and body hate.

The next time you find yourself thinking a negative thought about your body, try this:

  • Acknowledge the thought.
  • Recognize and accept that it is only a thought that you are having. It is not necessarily the truth in any way.
  • Try to think of a way to spin that thought into a positive one!

Another great practice for every day is to try not to think negative thoughts about other people. Sometime I will catch myself thinking something mean about another woman, and then realize that it actually comes back to jealousy — maybe I was actually jealous of her. Or, I could be putting my own insecurities onto another person. Maybe you made fun of that person’s hair because you’re actually insecure about the amount of time it takes for you to make your hair look good in the morning. Once you own the way you look, it’s easy to appreciate the differences in people. You don’t know everyone’s story, they don’t know yours, so we should all be nice to each other, right?! Well, it starts with being kind to yourself. You are more clever, gorgeous, amazing, and in control than you realize. And so is everyone else!

xx Nikkidee

Link Love: Internet Round-Up

Happy April! It is raining buckets outside my window in Brooklyn right now, but I don't mind at all. At this point in the year, I'd rather have rain than snow! April showers bring May flowers, they say. And if you are stuck inside on a rainy day, I've got a great internet round up for you right here.


  • The Dream: Lionheart Mag.  When I was in London I came across Lionheart Mag in a bookshop. It is the loveliest little magazine I have ever seen, and this post about it's beginnings is just dreamy.
  • What You See, What I See: Free People Blog shows us a little something about the power of perspective. 
  • Veronica Varlow with this amazing post about standing up for yourself in the face of manipulative photographers and other creeps: 7 Tricks Manipulators Will Use to Get You to Do Anything. A brave and insightful addition to the conversation about everyone's least favorite celebrity photographer.


Have you seen the new Captain America movie? IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN IT, GO SEE IT! Definitely one of the best superhero movies, probably ever.

Have a great week!

xx Nikkidee

Support Your Legs, Support a Cause: Socks for Charity

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As a blogger, I try not to write about or recommend anything that I don't truly believe is great. And after I watched the video for SoxxyAir, I felt a pull to share it with you guys. SoxxyAir is a new company that makes unisex, performance-fashion compression socks that look cute and give back. They partner with 5 different charity organizations, and you can check out their indiegogo to help them fund their first collaboration with the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation . Click here to check out SoxxyAir's Indiegogo page.

I think that SoxxyAir is awesome because they are doing two amazing things at once: bringing healthy, fun compression socks into the mainstream fashion world, and supporting deserving charities at the same time.  Dream Machine readers can get 20% off their purchase with the coupon code SoxxyAirs.

What charitable fashion brands do you love?

x Nikkidee

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How to Dress for the Changing Seasons: Winter to Spring

Now that the weather is FINALLY warming up on the east coast, another fashion dilemma has arisen: how to dress for the changing seasons. What do you do when you finally want co shed your parka and don some colorful spring palettes, but the sky is gray, rainy, and 40 degree in the morning and 70 degrees and sunny in the afternoon?! The answer is simple: layers.

Pair a colorful pair of spring trousers with layered tops, a light scarf, and bright shoes to get cozy warmth and a happy spring palette all in one. You can also layer leggings or tights with skirts and dresses, or even shorts to keep warm with a springy look. Accessories can help a lot in a transition: sunglasses, hats, socks, and scarves can aid in providing a little bit of extra shield from the elements.

Waterproof shoes are usually my must-have item for spring. I also take advantage of this time to try new layering techniques, pairing things that might not ordinarily go together. Spring is also a great time to experiment with wearing lots of jewelry and accessories before it gets too hot.

Click on over to It's Fashionating to see the rest of the outfits!

x Nikkidee

Self Love Diary #8: A Love Letter to My Body

If you’re confused about your body, or conflicted about your body, caught in a lovin’ & loathin’ tug-o’-war, you’re not alone. ...Throw out everything you’ve ever been told about what you should look like. In my experience, when you focus on making your body happy — & you can do this in a variety of ways, including eating amazing fresh nutritious food, working up a sweat doing something you love, or having magical, daily orgasms — THEN your body will really start to respond positively to you. After all, if you’re eating rubbish, staying sedentary & feeling ashamed of your vagina, how could your body possibly thrive?
— Gala Darling
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Day 8 is all about body positivity and loving your body. It can be really hard not to hate or blame your body for every little thing: "I would have gotten the job if I weighed 10 pounds less. He wouldn't have rejected me if my nose wasn't off-center." The truth is, everyone looks different. And I think that's a good thing. However, I definitely get sucked into the body-hate universe way too often. So today, I've written a love letter to my body, as a reminder of all of the great, amazing, and fabulous things about it.

 

Dear body,

You are beautiful. You are one of a kind, sexy, strong, nimble, graceful, skilled, magical, and amazing. You are connected to the earth. You are filled with life.

I love all of your shapes. I love the curves of your feet, your dark, wild, perfectly and sometimes not so perfectly wavy hair that makes people ask if it's natural. I love your large, dark, warm, bright eyes. I love your small, gentle, quirky face.

I love your nose. I will never try to change it. It is beautiful, interesting, and strong. It has made me a more interesting person. I love your cheekbones and your nearly-impossible-to-find-the-right-makeup-for olive skin. I love your wide hips and .... cushy ass. I love your capable hands, perfect for making things! Your strong dancer legs and feet, your tattooed arms, and that one tiny hair growing out of place,  your tan lines, your stretch marks, your vitiligo that I used to be so self-conscious about that I'd wear jeans in summer and cake on foundation...these things are all perfect. Stretchmarks are a sign of growth. Muscular legs mean I can carry myself anywhere.

I love your callused heels, the shape of your back, your coconut scented skin, the crazy wide eyed face you can make. The time it took to learn to raise one eyebrow. The poise that comes from deep breathing and years of dance training. You are beautiful, cute, sexy, powerful, edgy, strong, graceful, charismatic -- even if you don't always feel that way. I promise to always take care of you and try to listen to you. I promise to take time from my day to nourish and listen to you. You deserve to always feel that way. You worked hard to get here.

Love always,

Me

Loving your body doesn't mean you are required to show it, cover it, share it, hide it. It just means that you have to treat it like something special, to listen to it, and to nurture and nourish it, the way that it deserves. You are not your body, your body is not the whole of your being -- but it is a part of you that deserves to be loved.

More Love Letters:

Style Post: Maps and Motorcycle Rain Boots

When the weather starts to change from winter to spring, I get so, SO excited. I embrace the seasonal allergies, hide away my heavy winter coats, and bust out my favorite spring outfits.

Please excuse my "bored model" face.

Please excuse my "bored model" face.

After being cooped up all winter, I am totally feeling wanderlust. Are you? This Maps shirt from Topshop is one of my favorite items of clothing, ever (they also have this print on a dress!). Paired with a festive, sparkly gold cardigan from Ann Taylor Loft, my new favorite J. Crew black toothpick jeans, and my waterproof moto boots, this casual outfit gave me just the right amount of transition weather happiness. And the funny thing is, the sweater was a gift that I would never have thought to buy for myself, but ended up somehow fitting into my style perfectly! So the next time your mom, auntie or roommate gives you a weird or piece of clothing that's different from your normal style, don't write it off right away!

Stay tuned for a post on Dressing for the Changing Seasons!!

x Nikkidee

Sunday Special: Desktop Backgrounds to celebrate spring!!

I've been taking a few days away from the blog to focus on some personal stuff in my life and re-ground myself. Posts might be sporadic for a week or so, but I have come to learn that times of change and self-realization often lead to great work. So I've got some great things coming to you guys, and in the meantime, here are some springtime desktop backgrounds that I've made to celebrate the changing season!

Have a great week. :]

Art Student Forever: Sketchbook365

an awful lot of pugs have snuck into my work lately

an awful lot of pugs have snuck into my work lately

I decided to make a daily commitment to my art practice. Hence #sketchbook365, a project that I am doing to make sure I commit to practicing art in some form every single day for a year -- and beyond! I draw, sketch, paint, etc., and then post the result to my instagram feed with the tag #sketchbook365.

It's great practice, and it's interesting to see how my work ranges in detail, theme, and ability depending on what day it is and what mood I'm in.  Here are some of my favorite sketches that I've done so far:

little fashion design sketch and some practice drawing dreadlocks

little fashion design sketch and some practice drawing dreadlocks

a particularly bad day produced this grump little guy

a particularly bad day produced this grump little guy

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drew a dude for once

drew a dude for once

Kamala Khan from Ms. Marvel

Kamala Khan from Ms. Marvel

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Want to join me? Comment below with your instagram username and tag your first sketch/sculpture/whatever with #sketchbook365!

x Nikkidee

If You Were Having a Bad Day, Watch This Tiny Bulldog Puppy Roll Down A Hill

I have a scheduled post for today already, but I can't help but share this. I was having a bad week, and then I watched this video of a little springtime bulldog puppy wearing a hoodie and rolling down a grassy hill.

Life is beautiful.

GLAMST Virtual Makeover

I was recently contacted by the new makeup website GLAMST (Glam Street) to write a post about their new online makeup service. GlamSt is a virtual makeover app created by two female engineers from Uruguay. It started out two years ago, when they coded the first version of the software which recognizes a picture of the user. Today is has evolved into an online platform, which, "aims to create a new way of selecting and buying products." I tried it out, and here is how it works. My readers get early access, so go check it out!

You go to their super-cute homepage, and click GET STARTED. From there you can log in with Facebook, and choose your hair and eye color, and your skin tone, and then upload a picture of yourself.

Then you have to go through a semi-annoying process of moving little dots around your photo with the purpose of outlining your face, eyes, and lips. However, I realized that this process was worth it, because it makes the virtual makeup looks a lot more accurate instead of just having a computer guess at recognizing where your features are in the photo.

Once you've uploaded your photo, you are free to browse the makeup on the website and "try it on" to see how it would look on your face. Here's what GlamST has to say about this:

Say you discovered GlamST and you are looking for the perfect lipstick for your new green dress.
You use our virtual makeover tool to try makeup in your own picture and discover new lipstick shades that you would have never dare to try before. You want to have some fun, play with the Jukebox where you receive smart recommendations based on your style and features. 

You decide to ask for advice to the community on what is the best lipstick for the new green dress that you have just bought, and upload the request along with inspiring pictures for your new look. 
Later, you receive replies from the community and discover the best match for your new green dress purchasing the new lipstick.

They are looking to build a community of makeup-lovers who can help each other find great makeup looks, and feel more comfortable buying makeup online.

Here's my before and after:

What do you think?

x Nikkidee

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Makeup Review -- Kat Von D Everlasting Love Liquid Lipstick in Berlin

Most members of my extended family know two things about me: it can be difficult to give a useful gift to an artistic twenty-something, and that I love makeup. Therefore, smart and thoughtful relatives usually give me a gift card to Sephora. Thanks, thanks, thanks! I went to Sephora recently to cash in on my fantastic gift, and headed to the side of the store to check out what was new at Kat Von D.I usually have mixed feelings about Kat Von D’s makeup line. The lipstick can be a bit dry, but the colors are always vivid and amazing.

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After some deliberation (and the required test blots all over the backs of my hands) I decided to buy some Kat Von D Everlasting Love Liquid Lipstick in Berlin. I like to choose lipsticks with staying power and punchy colors. This one stayed on through my cup of tea but came off during a full meal of waffles. The color is a perfectly matte, strawberry-bright shade of rose. I definitely recommend it, and the Liquid Lipstick comes in a variety of fantastic colors, including: Backstage Bambi -- a vividly hot pink, Outlaw -- a sharp, brick red, and the next product on my wishlist, L.U.V. -- a rich violet shade.

And, in case you were wondering, the eyeliner I am wearing in Mary Kay Kohl Eyeliner in Golden Illusion. It provides a nice subtle bronze shimmer, but shows only faintly on my tannish olive skin. If you have very pale or dark skin, this color would probably look amazing on you if you are looking for a nice, glimmery pop of color for your eyes.

The above images have been taken in natural lighting, with my computer's camera, and haven't been retouched so you can see the true color and vividly of the makeup. They say that in times of economic distress, the only product that has increased sales is lipstick!

x Nikkidee

 

 

What To Wear: Spring Break Edition

Heading off to somewhere awesome for Spring Break, and don't know what to wear? I've got you covered with the perfect outfits for 4 sweet Spring Break destinations. Check it out!

Staying home for Spring Break? Don't be bummed -- catch up on sleep, sure, but make a plan to have a fun week, too! Take a class on Skillshare or at a local yoga, crafts, or other learning center. Learn something new, read a new book, catch up with friends in your hometown, have a  different themed day for each day of the week, and check out these links:

As for me, I'll be heading on a road trip somewhere sunny and quaint...stay tuned!

x Nikkidee

The Last Time I Felt Magic and Wonder, Guess Where I Was?

There were stars floating above me. I was surrounded by things older than I could imagine. Guess where I was?

The American Museum of Natural History, of course!

I have a feeling of eternal love and respect for the AMNH. The museum and I have a deep and beautiful history (ha ha), from visiting the nature sections as a child, to sketching the dinosaurs as an art school student, to visiting the planetarium recently!

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I went to go see the new planetarium show, DARK UNIVERSE, narrated by Neil Degrasse Tyson. I've been reading a lot about space and dark matter lately (including re-reading Diane Duane's Wizards at War... in which my favorite YA heroes fight an evil source of dark matter rapidly increasing upon the Earth..okay.), and the DARK UNIVERSE show really fueled my current obsession with the science of space. Not to mention the AMAZING visuals.

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I think that it's really important to always be learning. And if you have a few hours to spare, checking out the Plantarium -- and the rest of the American Museum of Natural History -- is always worth the trip.

What's inspiring you today?

x Nikkidee

What I Wore: Saturday Outfit Post

Yesterday, as I walked 20 blocks to dinner, I thought I was going to literally freeze my butt off. So it's crazy that not too long ago, New York saw a couple of warm days that actually felt like Spring was coming! Of course I jumped at the chance to wear something other than fleece-lined leggings and oversized pullover sweaters, and to try one of my favorite new spring trends: the "kimono".

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I've been seeing kimono-inspired tops and cardigans everywhere lately, and I can not get enough. I went to lunch with a friend at my favorite upstate cowboy-themed bar, Clayton Delaney's, for some delicious nachos and raspberry iced tea. Here's what I wore:

What spring outfit are you just dying to bust out when the weather warms up?

x Nikkidee

How to Wear Overalls and Look Amazing

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Did you ever wear overalls as a kid? If you grew up in the 90's, then I'm sure that you did. Overalls make me think of bucket hats, a flannel shirt tied around my waist, and my favorite outfit from elementary school, which consisted of a black and yellow smiley face t-shirt and blue denim overalls. Overalls are coming back into style, but thankfully there are a few ways to glam them up and make them look modern, fresh, and cool. Check out some of the ways that I would wear overalls. Now I just need to go get a new pair… I don't think my elementary school set will still fit!

Black makes anything look loads cooler, so grab a pair of black overalls to make the look a bit more edgy and sophisticated. Pairing them with a pretty top takes away some of the little-kid-on-the-playground factor, and adding some heeled boots and mixing it up with other trends like a kimono will ensure that you are the most stylish person on the block. Don't forget your sunnies!

For a more casual look, a striped tee is always fun and comfy. Add a bright colored statement necklace and some flats to round it out.

For a frothy, gothy summer look, try a daring pastel shorty set of overalls with some patterned rights, clunky boys, and a collared shirt. A headscarf or other bohemian accessory will add some spunkiness, and you can really go all-out on jewelry and accessories with an overalls look. Might I suggest this Pretty Pretty Princess-esque black gem ring? Side story: when I was a kid, I thought it was stupid that getting the black ring meant that you lose Pretty Pretty Princess,  because that was obviously the best piece of jewelry in the game!

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How are you going to wear your overalls this spring? I would love to see how you guys style them, so send me some photos or leave links in the comments!

x Nikkidee

Self Love Diary: #6 and 7: making a dream board.

Close your eyes and picture this: you are living your dream life. Everything is exactly the way that you want it, and you are completely joyous and content. Now open your eyes and tell me: what does that look like? You may not have realized it, but you were just visually manifesting your future.

Manifesting is the idea that instead of sitting back and waiting for something to happen, you can draw positivity to yourself and make your dreams come true through your own thoughts, ideas, and actions. Visualization is a really important aspect of this. Some might call it daydreaming, but I like to think of it as purposefully and actively imagining your future the way that you want it.

my dream board

my dream board

A really great way to manifest visually is by making a dream board. Designers and lots of other people use mood boards and vision boards as a way to visualize projects and ideas. You can make a dream board by using found or created images and collaging them onto a space that you can look at every day. Make your dream board overflow with positive things, and don't get tempted to go over to the dark side of negative imagery, such as images that make you feel bad about your body. It can be as literal or abstract as you like, and as hand-made or computer generated as you feel. And don't be afraid to change it up if your dreams start to shift or grow!

Pinterest is an awesome way to collect images for your dream board, as well as art and travel magazines, newspapers, and blogs You can make your dreamboard your computer desktop background, it can be the first page in your journal or sketchbook, or an actual board that you hang on the wall. You can make it however you want -- it's your future!

Please LINK your dream board in the comments, or email me an image with your name, and I'll post some awesome reader dream boards here on the blog! Happy dreaming!

x Nikkidee