T-Shirt Versatility

T-Shirt Versatility

When it comes to shopping, who else likes to feel good about their purchases? I know I do. When deciding if I should buy something apparel related, I ask myself if it’s an item I already own and if so, how can I get the most use out of it and how is it different than what I already have?

Sometimes that’s a hard question to ask myself because the result usually ends in me not being able to justify the purchase. However, when it comes to t-shirts, I seem to always find a way to justify the purchase ;). Mainly because graphic t-shirts are so different, unique and versatile!

I’m sharing some of my favorite Tees and how I like to style them for different occasions:

Pair with jeans: a simple and easy way to pair your t-shirt is with a pair of jeans. I was dressing up a causal date night outfit and threw on some jewelry, a fedora and a pair of sandals. Cute for dinner and comfy for a movie or a stroll along the river!

Top: Urban Tee Party. 10% off with code GINA10

Jeans: Francesca’s

Purse: Upstairs Boutique

Shoes: YAS Elegance Boutique

Pair with shorts: when the weather is in the upper 90s and your clothes are sticking to you, comfort is key (while still being stylish, of course). I love that this t-shirt isn’t like any others I own. Aside from having a 90s pop icon printed on the shirt, I like the rolled sleeves and cut outs at the bottom. This was a causal outfit I wore to brunch but it can easily be worn with some skinny jeans, heels and a leather jacket for a ‘cool’ vibe (maybe even throw on a mood ring, tattoo choker necklace and rock out to “Baby One More Time” to fully relive the 90s dream).

Top: Urban Tee Party. 10% off with code GINA10

Purse: Upstairs Boutique

Sunglasses: Quay Australia

Pair with yoga pants: I call this my “getting stuff done look”. As I mentioned before, comfort is a priority for me. After all, I need to be comfortable when sippin’ on a mimosa ;). But really, I wear a lot of yoga clothes whether I’m practicing, teaching or running errands in them. The staff at Joriki suggested I tie a knot in my “Look Forward Give Back” shirt to give it more of a fitted and chic look if I’m wearing it out and about. It’s safe to say I always tie this shirt up and I have it in every color available.

Top and pants: Joriki Yoga. 15% off with GINA15

Pair with a skirt: I love a good skirt and t-shirt combo. It easily elevates a t-shirt and makes it appropriate for a dressier occasion. Add some heels and a blazer for the complete work outfit!

Top: Urban Tee Party. 10% off with code GINA10

Skirt: Express

Shoes: Macy’s

Pair with a cardigan: You can never go wrong with throwing a blazer or cardigan over a t-shirt. On days when I’m feeling more casual, I opt for a solid color cardigan. If I’m feeling like kicking it up a notch, I’ll opt for a a dressier cardigan or blazer.

Top: Urban Tee Party. 10% off with code GINA10

Cardigan: Upstairs Boutique

Shoes: Nordstrom

Happy styling!

XOXO,

Gee Nicolette

Designing a Career in Fashion

Designing a Career in Fashion

I had the opportunity to interview the fabulous fashion designer, friend and old college roomie of mine, Brianna Neal! Read more to find out how Bri followed her dreams of fashion design and broke into the industry!

Gina: Welcome Bri! Why don’t you give us a little background of yourself.
Brianna: I am an Indiana native who came to Chicago 5 years ago for college. I conquered that and now I am pursuing my dream of being a fashion designer. Since I was a little girl, I loved dressing my dolls and began sketching garments at a young age. Through the years, I continued to indulge in fashion with drawing, taking a sewing class in middle school and once high school came I knew that’s what I wanted to do! My mom always nurtured my creative mind. She was the one who pushed/encouraged me to pursue this dream.

G: What made you want to pursue a degree in Fashion Design?
B: I was already so in love with clothing/styling and having a high school course where we made beginner things such as pillows, pajama shorts, and one skirt was just not enough.. I just knew there was more to it lol. I wanted to learn how to be able to create my on garments. Ultimately fulfilling the dream of becoming a fashion designer.

G: Where do you draw inspiration from for your collections?
B: As for my inspiration, it can literally come from anywhere. I am always drawn to African culture, the beautiful textiles, colors, and shapes just feeds my imagination. Sometimes even music can inspire an outfit or even a collection.

G: Talk to me about your latest collection or project you’re working on.
B: My latest project is a collection called DAHL (Doll). It is my version of a 2018 African American Barbie Doll. Emphasizing African prints and bold colors she will be showcasing her fearlessness and passion for her heritage.

G: Where can we find your work?
B: You can find my work on blashaedesigns.com and on my Instagram @b.lashaedesigns

G: What advice would you give to someone that wants to break into the fashion industry?
B: My advice would be to be ready for hard work/long nights, always be prepared for anything; you don’t know where you next opportunity will present itself, and as cliche as it sounds DO NOT GIVE UP! You can do anything you put your mind to, keep pushing and always be positive.

Thank you so much to Brianna for talking to us about her passion for design and showing us some of her beautiful pieces! Don’t forget to work hard and follow your dreams. 

“It’s a beautiful thing when a career and a passion come together.” 

XOXO,
Gee Nicolette 


Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

One thing that I have been trying to do more of in my life is step out of my comfort zone, whether that be trying new clothing pieces, food, or even in my yoga practice. I was never a fan of the fanny pack trend (yes, I know, I am a child of the 90s, how dare I), but I was willing to give it a try when I saw this adorable (and versatile) version from Enzee Boutique. 
One thing that really drew me to this bag is the fact that you can wear it around your waist OR you can adjust the strap and wear it around your shoulder/cross body. I am a fan of multi-functional pieces, which brings me to the next reason why I love this bag- it’s black! Yes, you always hear people say, black goes with everything, but it really does. You can never say no to a black bag because it truly will match just about every outfit. This little bag is perfect for those days you don’t have a lot to carry around or if you need to work on cutting down the number of items in your purse (guilty as charged)

I invite you to step out of your comfort zone and try something new- even if it’s just switching up an outfit! 
Entire Outfit: Enzee Boutique 
XOXO,
Gee Nicolette 


The Ultimate Hair Experience

The Ultimate Hair Experience

“Invest in your hair, it’s the crown you never take off.”

I was recently invited to come in and experience the Kelly Cardenas Salon in Wicker Park. Let me just tell you guys, my visit was the most relaxing hair experience I have ever had! The services I received were their Wash House Experience, Blow Dry & Style. 
The staff was super friendly and greeted me with a mimosa (which always makes me a happy girl) and gave me a tour of the salon. My stylist, Justice, was an absolute sweetheart! She started off my services by taking me to the Wash House area. I didn’t capture an image of this area in efforts to respect the space for other customers, but it was a relaxing room with dim/candlelit lighting and zen music playing in the background. This was by far the BEST wash experience I have ever had. Not only did Justice wash/condition my hair and massage my scalp, she also gave me a neck and shoulder massage for total relaxation. 
Before my Blow Dry & Style, Justice asked me a few questions to assess my hair -are there any issues I notice with my hair (for me, it’s always the frizziness!), what products I currently use, and what type of style I would like for my service. With the crazy humidity in Chicago, my hair has remained up in a ponytail for most of the month. I love beachy waves, but whenever I try to achieve them at home, I step outside and my hair frizzes (like Monica in the episode of Friends). Justice used products to help control my frizz and I instantly noticed it during my Blow Dry. As you can see in the below photo, the blow dryers hang from the ceiling, which I thought was the cutest decor until I realized they are actually real! 
Here is the beachy wave hairstyle! AND even after dining outside shortly after, it still remained tamed 🙂 I loved my experience so much, I booked my next appointment with Justice for a cut and balayage! 
So cute- the bathroom had a board filled with prayer requests
If you have never been to Kelly Cardenas Salon, you can experience the Wash House, Blow Dry & Style services COMPLIMENTARY. Book today with Justice and mention my name/this post! 
XOXO,
Gee Nicolette
UPDATE 7/29:
I wanted to add in an update so you could see how my hair turned out for my cut/color appointment.  My goal was to brighten up my hair a bit for the summer, so Justice added highlights/balayage. She only took a little length off of the bottom but added dimensions throughout my hair as well as took out some of the thickness (pretty sure my head felt 5 pounds lighter). I really liked my length when I originally visited her for a blow dry & style, so I love that she listened to me and freshened up my cut without taking a drastic amount off. 

Again, if you have not yet been to Kelly Cardenas Salon, you can experience the Wash House, Blow Dry & Style services COMPLIMENTARY. Book today with Justice and mention my name/this post! 

XOXO,
Gee Nicolette

Spring Cleaning Fashion Favorites

Spring Cleaning Fashion Favorites

In preparation for Spring, I’ve decided to do some closet cleaning. I tend to hold onto clothes for way longer than necessary. I was able to gather A LOT of items to donate to Goodwill. There’s something about Spring cleaning that is therapeutic and leaves you feeling more positive. Letting go of the old to make room for new things is the way that I look at it both mentally and physically. However, there are always pieces that don’t end up in the Goodwill bag. I wanted to share some of those items that did make the cut during my cleaning binge!
Items for keeping:
1. Pom Pom earrings from Charming Charlie
The Pom Pom and tassel trend was huge last Summer and it doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. These were definitely a must-keep for me because they’re fun, colorful AND lightweight (always a plus for statement earrings).
Earrings: Charming Charlie
Photography: Denise Kokinis

2. White Pointed Toe Heels 
Okay I have to admit, I’ve had these heels for two and a half years now and they are one of my favorite pairs! Aside from being comfortable, they are also versatile and can be worn to work as well as for a night out. Again, the white shoe trend is huge this year, so these babies will not be leaving my closet anytime soon. White is also such a classic color, making these pair well with different outfits.
Shoes: Ralph Lauren from Macy’s
3. Silver Purse
When it comes to purses, if you’re like me, you have your everyday purse that you wear until it either breaks or you get sick of it and need a new one. You also probably have other purses that you pair with different outfits or for special occasions. I always like to keep neutral color purses in my closet because they go with just about every outfit. This silver Kensie purse is the perfect example of a bag that can compliment just about every outfit. 
Purse: Kensie
Photography: Danielle Heinson
Have you started Spring cleaning yet? Let me know which items made the cut in your closet! 
XOXO,
Gee
White Boot Love is True Love

White Boot Love is True Love

My Chicago folks! What has been happening with this crazy weather? Snow one week, then rainstorms, sunshine, and now upper 80s! It leaves me waking up in the morning wondering what the heck should I wear? I stored my winter coat in the back of the closet and do not plan on taking it out until next Winter. Since the Winter seemed to be never-ending, I did a lot of shopping and ended up with way too many boots and booties. However, I am definitely not having buyers remorse about my white booties I picked up from Nordstrom! (but then again, I never have second thoughts about any of my purchases haha). I love these booties so much that I refuse to put them in the back of the closet with my Winter coat. With that being said, I will be wearing these booties this Spring and Summer (and basically until I can’t wear them anymore).

White is such a classic and season-less color that you can get away with wearing any white merchandise all year long! (Don’t let anyone fool you with that no white after Labor Day nonsense). 
Here, I paired my white booties with my new favorite Spring jumpsuit. OH, and my new Spring haircut! 
Jumpsuit: T.J. Maxx. Find other styles here
Sunglasses: Find similar here
Shoes: Nordstrom. Find here (and on sale now!)
Gold Cuff Bracelet: Find similar here
Fashion Fixer Upper

Fashion Fixer Upper

Some people like to spend their days watching people flip homes on TV, I like to spend mine by shopping and flipping clothes. Just give me my own TV show and call it The Fashion Fixer Upper. I love a good bargain, but also enjoy having unique clothing pieces. I haven’t always been a huge fan of online shopping, but when I learned about Shoptiques, a website that sells clothing from different boutiques around the world, I had to give it a try!

I came across a very interesting denim patchwork dress for only $3.00 (see below)! There was something about this piece that really intrigued me. I wanted to purchase it so I could fix it up and style it to be more flattering to me and my body. This is something I’ve always done since I was a little girl. I would by the fashion pieces that were left over on the sale rack and would challenge myself to style and bring them to life in a new way. Something about this has always been fun to me. 
In the next few pictures you will see how I styled and personalized this piece to make it more flattering to my body shape and personal style. 
Before:
(Image via Shoptiques)
After:
The first thing I did when I received this dress was cut the three hanging fabric/ribbon pieces off on the side. Since this dress is one size fits all, it’s more of a looser fit (as seen in the original photo). I paired it with a belt and rolled up the sleeves to make it hug my figure more. I left the first few buttons undone and added my go-to favorite necklaces, a fun clutch, and velvet booties (of course).
This dress is my new favorite “fun” addition to my closet. I can’t wait to wear it again! 
I encourage everyone to switch up their day-to-day fashion pieces by styling them differently or pairing with new accessories. You will see just how new you can make your clothes look! Maybe challenge yourself to hit the sale rack or a thrift store and see if you can “fix up” something to make it your own. Rock your new masterpiece and send me your pictures 🙂 
XOXO,
Gina

Dress: Shoptiques. Find here
Shoes: Steve Madden. Find here
Necklaces: Pink Jules Boutique
Clutch: Diane Von Furstenberg 
Belt: Macy’s
Location: Catalyst Ranch