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Why I am Parting Ways With Inexpensive Chic After Nearly 7 Years + A Highlight Reel

When I announced on IG that things were changing…

When I first started this blog I had no idea where it would take me or the kinds of opportunities I’d have because of it. I certainly couldn’t have fathomed staying with it for 6.5 years (Inexpensive Chic would be turning 7 in June). When I first started this blog I was 16. It was the summer following Sophomore year of high school. I created the blog to have a space where I could express two things I’ve always been passionate about: writing and fashion. While that has remained the core of this website, I noticed that in the past year or so I began interspersing personal stories with deeper meaning. I wrote about my struggles living in New York, ten lessons my mother taught me in honor of Mother’s Day, and my journey fasting from all social media–– all with one common thread: FAITH.

I have a few fashion blogger friends who are also Christian, and they shared with me their dilemma of wanting to incorporate God in all areas of their life, including their blog, but feared losing followers who weren’t interested in the faith aspect. Ultimately, they chose to add a segment to their pages which would allow them to have the best of both worlds. I really admired that and let it sit with me for several months. Through a series of epiphanic events, God revealed to me that I needed to create an entirely different platform with a focus on faith and an element of fashion. I have been working on this new project for 4 months now, and am currently in the research and planning phase. With the balance of school, interning, work, my styling business and this blog, I knew I had to let something go. Plus, with the new community/brand I am creating I will be able to combine and condense several of my passions into one.

Writing this blog post–– a closing chapter–– is a part of this transition. I wanted to end with closure versus just letting the blog go without any explanation. Going through the archives of this blog has been a treat! I have certainly come a long way and I want to share some of my journey for those of you who may not have followed it from the beginning.

My Most Embarrassing Outfit Of the Day’s

*To read the captions and see which year these outfits are from, click a photo to be taken to slideshow view.

My Favorite Outfit Of the Day’s

A Visual History of My Logos 

This was my very first one. Yikes!!!

Slightly better, but doesn’t really convey the message

Almost there….

I really like this one. It’s readable and conveys the message. I had the actual name of the blog above this when it was displayed on the website. Now, I just have it simple with text only.

 My Top 10 Favorite Writing Pieces

Some Fun Stats

  • Since the creation of this blog in 2011, there have been over 1,000 published posts (Note: I deleted some of the one’s from back in the day that were just awful, bringing down the number to 800).
  • My site has had viewers from 6 of the 7 continents. See the map above. It’s reached readers from Cuba to India, Kenya to Germany, and New Zealand to Canada.
  • I’ve had a total of 18 contributing writers throughout the 6.5 years. One of them was a high school friend who wrote under a pseudonym. A few of them I’ve never met before and lived across the world.

A List of Opportunities That Wouldn’t Have Happened If It Weren’t For This Blog

Collaborating with Brands

I’ve worked with brands such as Boohoo, Redbubble, E-Shakti, Mujjo, 7 Charming Sisters, etc. and have received everything from clothing, jewelry, perfume, skincare, and makeup to laptop and phone cases, artwork, books (my favorite blogger mail), a duvet, and wireless speakers.

Speaking With PR Maven, and ANTM judge, Kelly Cutrone Over the Phone About Season 20 of America’s Next Top Model (Click HERE to Read About That)

This! Instyle Magazine Named Me Reader of the Week and S/O the Blog

I First Started Out Styling My Friends From High School on This Blog Which Helped Lead to Me Building the Portfolio You Now See For My Styling Business!

This was for my “2012 Fall Lookbook” blog post. I also created a video to go along with it.

Getting a Handwritten and Signed Note and Free Clothes From Designer, Nanette Lepore

Through my blog, I entered another blogger’s giveaway contest (A little known blogger named Michelle Phan 😉) , I WON and received a bunch of clothes from the designer (my favorite designer at the time) and a personal note from her where she revealed she’s an Ohio girl too.

Fashion Show Invites

Beginning in 2012, I started to receive fashion show (New York, London, Paris, and Milan) invites from PR agencies. Although I was flattered, I was never able to attend because of my conflicting school schedule and the fact the closest one was in NYC. That changed when I lived in New York for a semester-long Internship, and was finally able to RSVP– Yes! I write about those experiences HERE and HERE. 

Speaking on a Panel at Brandemonium

Most recently, I was invited to speak on a panel at Brandemonium, an International Brand Conference & Festival (with the likes of Google, Target, and Kroger executives). I came in with knowledge from my experience as a blogger, and also some of my internship experiences. I honestly didn’t think I was qualified… but it was still an amazing opportunity that wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for this blog, so I am GRATEFUL.

Inexpensive Chic has been my baby! My classmates throughout the remainder of high school would often refer to me as “Inexpensive Chic.” The nickname stuck with me even when my family moved a few states over and I did my junior and senior year in a completely different school. While it’s bittersweet to part ways with it, I am really looking forward to my next few endeavors. I feel like this blog was never meant to be the end goal, but is just a catalyst for the many blessings that have come and will continue to come. I literally couldn’t have gone on this nearly 7 year expenditure without those who have supported this blog. So thank you to all of YOU, the readers, the contributing writers, the brands! I hope you’ve received something out of it.

While I will not be updating this site anymore, I am going to leave it accessible as an archive for anyone who wants to reference an old post (As you may have noticed I switched it from Dotcom to DotWordpressDotCom for this reason).

I have decided to add a blog to my styling business page. I will be blogging twice a month about style tips, fashion week, and pop culture as it relates to fashion in conjunction with my services. Feel free to follow along THERE. 

Before You Go, Here’s How We Can Stay In Touch…

INSTAGRAM: @TheNiyahSimone* (Personal Account) @StylingxNiyah (Business Account)
*If you want to be informed about the launch of my faith community/brand I will announce it here

LET’S WORK TOGETHER TO ENHANCE YOUR STYLE: See a list of my online and in person services at and sign up for a consultation!

EMAIL: Feel free to shoot me a message if you have any questions, comments, or need style advice. Or, If this blog has meant something to you I’d love to hear why 🙂

Thank you Thank You Thank you! It has been real 😘

Why I, An Instagram Fanatic, Deleted All Social Media For a Week + What It Revealed to Me

On Sunday November 5, I did something I never thought I’d do: I deleted all of my social media apps from my phone (and had enough discipline not to look at the web versions). I decided that I would go on a week long social media cleanse.


Snapchat hurt the least (I use IG stories 99% of the time), and Instagram the most, but I felt like I needed to disconnect.  Keep reading to find out WHY I did it, WHAT it taught me, and HOW it changed my perspective.

I, along with many other millennials, was guilty of scrolling through feeds and stories morning through night. It was just a gut reaction. Waiting in line? Open Instagram. Waiting for a browser to load on my computer? Let’s see what’s happening on Facebook. Most of what I was consuming was irrelevant or unhealthy information. My mind was cluttered with memes and gifs, celebrity gossip, stranger’s vacation photos, facebook memories with my ex, rants, etc. Yet somehow I’d been conditioned to crave this overload of uselessness.

Illustrated by Julie Houts

The other side of it is oversharing. I posted on Instagram Stories almost everyday, taking photos of the most mundane things just to have something to contribute to the atmposhere. It had crossed my mind to try this cleanse before, but I convinced myself that it wasn’t the right time. I needed to post the photos from my latest shoot, I’d think to myself. But a combination of things finally made me realize that the time is now.

why I did it…

Firstly, I needed to focus on schoolwork. I’ve been feeling pretty overwhelmed with projects for class and felt that eliminating distractions would be best. Secondly, I’ve been consistently staying focused on my relationship with God and felt this would be a sacrifice I could make to aid in my continuation of this practice. About a month ago I fasted from TV for a week after realizing I made time for my Hulu shows, but somehow couldn’t fit in time to read my bible. It made me realize that we make time for things that are important to us, and as a Christian, God should be placed above everything. 

I decided to keep a log in my phone, so that each time I felt inclined to go on social media I could note it and write about the moment.

 what i learned…


What I often felt the urge to share were things that showed off wealth, status, or beauty… all very vain things. Because I intended on doing it subtly, I felt it was okay, but God knows my heart. And that’s not a very Christ-like thing to do.


You don’t need to give all of yourself to anyone and everyone. Some things should be meant for just you and your camera roll. When I found myself wanting to take a photo for the gram, I realized I couldn’t settle for just taking the photo. The appeal wasn’t in the photo itself, but the satisfaction of getting a reaction from someone else. It didn’t even cross my mind that I could keep it in my camera roll.


The mystery can be alluring.


Cutting out the apps helped me to realize I relied on them too much. That’s dangerous as a christian because you can find yourself serving a false god. What you give all of your attention and priority towards is what you value and if you value unhealthy things it can start to tear on you and your relationship with God. Social media for me became a twitch, something I needed to get through the day. When I didn’t have it, I found myself praying more, reading the Bible more, etc. Prior to this, it wasn’t uncommon for me to fall asleep with my phone in my hand or my computer open next to me in bed. On Tuesday I woke up realizing I fell asleep with my bible open next to me. A few days prior, I started my devotionals and journal writing/bible reading around 9pm and when I finished praying, listening to Rick Warren’s podcast series on The Kind of Prayer God Answers, and watching The Bible on Netflix, I looked at the clock and saw it was 1am. That’s never happened before! I had no idea that much time went by. Four hours of just worshipping God, AND I had one of my most productive weekends of the semester handling schoolwork.


I noticed that when I did binge scroll for 10-15 minutes at a time, I just felt empty afterwards. It wasn’t satisfying, it didn’t make me happy, and it didn’t fill me up in a healthy way. In contrast, when I read God’s word, or jam out to gospel music in the car, or listen to a christian podcast, I feel full. Social media was draining me when I needed to be poured into. As you can see on the last note I didn’t even want to redownload everything. I dreaded it and delayed doing so until the evening. I honestly didn’t think I’d have that reaction at the end of this.

a new perspective…

Right now my mantra is “LESS OF ME, MORE OF HIM.” I don’t want to be known for my style or my beauty, or how many likes I have or don’t have, none of that is important in the grand scheme of things. I want to be known for my humility. I want people to see the God in me, or see something different about me and the way I carry myself, how I treat others kindly, and have a giving spirit. I want people to ask themselves what is it about her? And then I can share his glory and the good news. You never know if you may be someone’s first and only encounter with Jesus.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with using social media. It’s when we abuse it that it can become an issue. I am not going to give it up forever, I just want to be more aware of my intentions. Now I like to ask myself why am I posting? What am I posting? Is it bringing glory to God? Am I doing it for attention or solely self expression? Even if you’re not a spiritual person, I hope that after reading this you may feel inspired in some way. We could all use a break from the never ending feeds.

This journey is only just beginning, I am not perfect, I will make mistakes, but I will do it with my father walking next to me, ready to pick me up when I fall. I am making a lot of changes in my life right now, and a BIG one is currently in the works. I am hoping to have it revealed at the start of the new year, so stay tuned. 💕

My Secrets to Self-Care + Relaxation in the Midst of Chaos

I try not to use the phrase “I am stressed” when I am feeling like there’s too much going on and I can’t grasp control of it. Instead, I choose to say “I am feeling overwhelmed.” The difference is the first is claiming an identity, while the second is labeling a temporary experience. Feeling overwhelmed seems less permanent than stress, or at least in my mind it does. My point is our minds have power. Our thoughts have influence. We should be careful what we speak into the world, because we can manifest our own troubles unintentionally. Maybe you can think of a different word that works for you, either way, we all deal with feeling overextended. Here are some of my secrets to staying calm despite it.

Create Ambience 

My room is my sanctuary. When I’m feeling overwhelmed it tends to be a mess. So the first thing I do is clean and declutter and then follow with lighting my favorite candles.

This is my favorite scent at the moment.

Get Cozy 

If I am wearing denim, or something stiff, I immediately have to replace it with something comfortable to lounge in. This usually consists of my plush robe, silk PJ bottoms, a soft t-shirt, and cozy socks.

I love that I can wear these trouser socks by Sheec to work and to bed.

Take My Mind Of The Problem 

Sometimes it’s good just to que Netflix or Hulu and escape into someone else’s world for an episode or two. Lately I’ve been binge watching Modern Family, Black Mirror, Big Mouth, The Voice, So You Think You Can Dance, and The Good Place.

Jog Around the Neighborhood 

When I run, I find that I let go of all of the thoughts that consume my brain. I no longer think about all the things that I have to do, but instead I am able to focus on my music and the scenic environment. This time of year has been especially nice weather to run in. The cool breezes kiss ones skin, and the swaying trees ahead of you show off the intricate hues of the leaves.

Spotify has a great running playlist that they coordinate to how many steps you take per minute and the kind of music you like:

Music As Therapy 

For me, gospel music is my go to when I need to decompress. It lifts me up and puts things into perspective for me. I usually start my day listening to a playlist I made with all of my favorite gospel songs on my commute to school. It’s hard to have a bad day when you start it out worshipping the Lord. Click the photo if you want to listen to the aforementioned playlist.

Fun Fact: I also often listen to gospel music when I run. It’s a great motivator.

Mind Over Matter

I’ve just recently got into meditation. I downloaded the Headspace app after doing a body scan exercise for a class. I haven’t been doing it regularly, but I know it’s there when I need it. Something that really stuck with me from the app was the metaphor of our thoughts being a congested highway. There’s so many noises and distractions going on. People beeping, driving crazy, etc. If we were to imagine ourselves sitting and watching all of this, what we often do is get up and chase all of these thoughts and try to get a handle on them, but meditation is acknowledging the thoughts, letting them happen and staying calm as all of this is going on inside your head. 

As an introvert, my ideas of relaxation involve retreating to a reclusive space and being alone. Others may prefer to be around people to refuel. It’s important to figure out what healthy practices you can include into your everyday so you don’t feel bogged down. It’s easy to believe we’re trapped by our circumstance, but there are ways out– even if they are only temporary.

A few more things I do…

  • Journal
  • Read the Bible along with devotionals
  • Take a break and meet up with a friend who will guarantee to make me laugh

Did I miss something on this list? What are some ways you make time for relaxation?

A Week’s Worth of Outfit Ideas For Fall 2017

I am so excited to dress for fall weather. There’s something about the turtlenecks, jackets, and boots that make me want to try a little harder with my outfits each day. Below I’ve styled 7 looks, one for each day of the week to inspire you this season. Be sure to leave a comment and let me know which is your favorite!


Jacket | Donna Morgan

Monday’s are hard, so don’t make it harder on yourself by overthinking your outfit. A classic trench is fail-safe for fall, and It’s a great piece to help transition you into the cold winter temps. I love it with a basic white tee and ripped skinnys.

Where to Wear it: To grab groceries, run errands, go to class


Dress | Free People

Sweater dresses are a must for me when it comes around this time of year. What I love about this one are the sleeves. They’ve got a bell shape that actually fit the length of my arms, a cute little ruffle detail, and the varsity stripe makes it sporty which I always appreciate. Here I’m wearing it free-legged, but they could be paired with tights once the weather cools down.

Where to Wear it: Sports game, coffee run, happy hour


Bomber | BB Dakota

By midweek you may be tempted to reach for the Adidas track pants, but that’s what they want you to do. They don’t want you to look cute (*DJ Khaled Voice*). With this combo they won’t know what hit em. Ha! But for real, looking your best can be the boost you need to get through the rest of the week. A statement jacket and shoe can do just the trick.

Where to Wear it: Date night, campus organization meeting, class


Sweater | Free People

It can be expected that most people will swap their t-shirt and jean shorts for a sweater and jean pants when this time of year comes around, but you don’t have to be like everyone else. You’ll forget you’re even wearing the typical fit with such a unique sweater and jeans such as these. I am all about standing out when it comes to dressing. I like to be a part from the crowd. If you’re the same way look at the details: i.e. materials (this sweater is a combo of a sweatshirt material and velvet) and denim accents (rips in untypical places).

Where to Wear it: Family dinner, shopping, city exploring


Jumpsuit | BCBG

This is a classic example of how to transition your summer clothes into fall. My secret? Just add a turtleneck. Here I’ve done it with this culotte jumpsuit, but the same can be applied with dresses, skirts, etc. Also, side note: These boots are the bomb diggity. I bought them in the middle of summer when they were on sale, and It was a great decision. They’ve served be well in the rain, but they’re also just great for all weather and go with everything. I found them at Nine West.

Where to Wear it: Dinner with the girls, museum visit, client meeting


Dress | Free People

Yay! We made it to Saturday, time to celebrate and hit the town. This dress is sexy, but also practical for fall temps. The velvet material keeps you warm as well as the length. If It ever got lower than the 70/80 degree weather we’ve been having (not sure whether to celebrate a never ending summer or cry because our planet is getting worse and worse), I’d add a turtleneck and/or a better insulated jacket.

Where to Wear it: Jazz club, birthday dinner, gallery opening


Sweatpants | Free People

You know I had to add the athleisure in here somewhere. What better day to do it than Sunday? I enjoy running, but if you just want to look the part, this look is for you too. How fun are these pink camo sweatpants?! What I love about this new movement towards athletic streetwear as everyday wear is it’s so adaptable. I can imagine these pants with a white button down and the shoes from Saturday’s look or with sneakers and a crop top like I have it here.

Where to Wear it: On the track, running errands, chilling around the house

So what do you think? Do any of these looks resonate with you? What are you excited to be wearing this fall?

Photography by
Location: University of Cincinnati 
Clothing: Pink Tulip Club Boutique @pinktulipclub

Style Stars of the Week: Bren + Pip Parkins

I’ve been following Bren and Pip on Instagram for a little while now, and am always stunned at their photos! Their style is impeccable, their feed incredibly curated, and poses on point. I had to reach out to them and see if they’d like to be featured here on the blog. They agreed! Keep reading to learn more about the twins and see just what I am talking about. 

Bren and Pip Parkins, 26

“We are Native Floridians. We currently live in East Delray Beach, Florida. It’s a fun little city right near the beach with a touch of historical charm.”

Pip is currently an esthetician student. “I finish in November, so it has been quite hectic, but still very fulfilling.” Bren is an Interior Design student, “though I am always toying with the idea of furthering my studies in writing.” Both sisters have a BA in English/Creative Writing.

The girl’s explain their style is always evolving. “We love so many styles that it is hard to pinpoint one, but I would say we like experimenting with trends and adding a bit of vintage or quirky flare to it. Eclectic would probably be the right word.” I agree. When I look at their photos I imagine them in Paris, not Florida. 

“I always look in my wardrobe and see which of my favorite pieces I haven’t worn in a while. I like to switch things up and give a fresh spin on something that I feel has been neglected in my closet,” Bren shares. 

When asked what item of clothing or accessory makes you feel most like yourself, Pip responded, “pajama style tops and robes are the perfect marriage of comfort and classic style. In a way this style is a bit daring and adventurous in the way that it is unexpected. I just love it and feel most myself in the pajama style.” 

For Bren, It’s all about headwear. “Majority of the time, I don’t feel complete without a hat. Wide-brimmed, newsboy, berets…I love them all. They just seem to be the icing on the cake for any outfit.”

I love asking the style stars I interview what their dream jobs are. While the twins both agree on their goal of being full time fashion bloggers, they differ on a few things. “My dream job would be to have a little bed and breakfast in the UK somewhere. The notion of running a quaint business like that sounds so appealing and somehow romantic,” says Pip. “My dream is becoming a fiction writer. My historical fiction writing is exceedingly important to me and I wish I could give it more of my time,” Bren states. 

When they’re not shooting for their blog, the girl’s enjoy watching Red Letter Media videos on Youtube, shopping, visiting museums, antiquing, and finding new gluten-free bakeries. “We both have an addiction to television shows. We are also geeky movie buffs. We could discuss tv shows and films for hours.”

“We tend to always seem serene and happy on the outside, but we have both struggled with depression, anxiety, and social anxiety for years now. We are open books and think it is important to share so that others can see that fashion blogging isn’t only for outgoing individuals. We strongly believe that it is vital to discuss mental health so it isn’t seen as such a taboo.”

When dealing with stress and anxiety Bren and Pip have mantras that help them get through it. For Pip, “I am always telling myself ‘You can do it’, ‘Take one day at a time’ or ‘Will this [what I’m stressing over] really matter in the future’.

Bren on the other hand, takes to poetry, “I repeat the first line of John Keats’ ‘Endymion’ in my mind – ‘A thing of beauty is a joy forever…’ I repeat many lines from his poetry on a daily basis.”

The girl’s are excited abut the fall trends coming up. “We can’t wait to wear vintage fur, bold red, and Victorian collars!” they share. They both agree that If they had to wear one outfit for a week straight, it would be a graphic tee, jeans, and mules or heels. “It is the quintessential outfit.” With cooler weather approaching, “we can’t wait to pair tees and jeans with our favorite boots!”

With such great style, you may wonder who inspires them. When asked “If you could trade closets with anyone who would it be?” They said  Vanessa Hong of The Haute Pursuit has one of the best wardrobes. “Her style is so effortlessly chic, elegant, and unique. We always love her stunning accessories.”

To see more of Bren and Pip head to their fashion blog and a Pinterest – Bren and Pip Parkins – where they pin fashion inspiration and outfits of the day.  

Want to see more style stars of the week? Click Here.

Want to be featured next? Email us at 

Why I am Inspired By Cardi B. Even Though I Didn’t Know She Existed a Month Ago

We were all spread throughout our Airbnb in Washington D.C., getting ready for the first bachelorette-party activity of the weekend when the next song started playing through the TV… One of the girl’s squealed in excitement and made her way from the bathroom to the living room to use as her dance floor. I’d never heard the song before, but she was hype, and the other girls quickly followed suit. If I wasn’t familiar with the song up until this point, I had nothing to fear, for it would play approximately 40 more times that weekend. The song was Bodak Yellow by Cardi B. Little did I know the impact it was having on the rest of the U.S.

Some of you may be surprised that I hadn’t heard of her sooner. And what I want to say to you is: don’t judge me. I’ve never watched an episode of Love and Hiphop a day in my life (which I learned she originally became widely known for). I also don’t really choose to listen to rap music. I much prefer the likes of Corrine Bailey Rae, SZA, Solange, and Willow. Bodak Yellow is definitely one of those songs though that I turn up the volume to when it comes on. The lyrics are powerful, visceral, and resonate with every listener in some kind of way. While watching her music video for the song, I skimmed through the comments section and discovered the “this song makes me wanna…” thread, proving my point.

“This song makes me wanna call Pizza Hut & ask to speak with Papa John for the nearest Domino’s”

“This song makes me wanna loan Oprah money.”

“This song makes me want to make tell my dog to feed me.”

“This song makes me call 911 and ask them if they need help.”

While the song is great and can bring out the bad-ass-ery in anyone, the real reason I am inspired by Cardi has to do with who she is as a person.

Someone mentioned I should look Cardi up on Instagram, that she had some hilarious videos. So I did, and I was not disappointed. I found myself binge watching her rants and stumbled across interviews she’s had that people shared on Facebook. Below is one of my favorite moments from her. A newfound love and appreciation for the artist was forming, and it seemed I wasn’t alone. She’s been featured on websites like Vogue, Time, Vibe, NY Times, etc.

 So, let’s get into these reasons…

1. She’s unapologetically herself 

Honestly, she’s me if I had no self control. She’s goofy and dramatic and doesn’t care what others have to say about it (ie. see video above). 

2. She lifts others up

Cardi’s Instagram isn’t solely self-promotion. She’s been seen shouting out her family and friends on her platform too, giving them recognition for their achievements, or just because she feels like it (no reason). 

3. She knows how to budget while still looking stylish

Cardi knows how to mix high and low. She’s been seen wearing Gucci and Fashion Nova at the same time, and makes a point about it. She flaunts the fact that she does both, when she could probably afford to wear head-to-toe designer.

4. She’s still Cardi from the block

I believe Cardi has the following that she does because she’s authentic. She hasn’t switched up on us because of the recent success of her song. Instead, she chooses to remain humble and appreciative, while still posting her selfie videos that she shared on Instagram way before the days of Bodak Yellow. 

5. She’s Breaking Records

Bodak Yellow has reached the number 1 spot on the Billboard’s Chart, making Cardi the first female rapper to do so since Lauryn Hill in 1998. I mean come on! Just to be able to have your name next to Lauryn’s in a sentence is a mass achievement. 

What are your thoughts on Cardi B?

How Far Could You Stretch $10 At the Thrift Store? | Video

Watch as fellow fashion blogger, Alli ( and I battle it out in a styling challenge. With only $10 to spend, we picked out an outfit from St. Vincent De Paul that best described our personal style.


To check out another collaborative video between us, check out Alli’s channel (…). We styled three looks with different themes. That one is also a styling challenge, so tell us the winner there as well.

My Summer Playlist + Another OOTD

Sunglasses+First Necklace from Shop Libby 

Tri-layered Necklace from Forever21

Sheer Dress + Bodysuit from Shop Libby 

Gemstone Bracelet from Shop Libby

Flats from Nordstrom Rack

I’ve been styling a lot of shoots lately, and one thing that always gets mentioned on set is an appreciation for my taste in music. I usually play one of the Spotify playlists they curate for me based on my taste, and without fail someone asks who the artist is, the name of the song, and “is this your playlist”? If I had to describe my musical preference I’d say it’s a little melancholy. It’s subdued, but powerful. It’s eloquent, yet something you can vibe to. It’s perfect for the commute home, background music when you need to focus, running/working out… just easy listening. But you’ll just have to hear for yourself… Here are some of my favs that I’ve been listening to all summer.

Niyah’s Summer Playlist 2017

1. Carry Me Home by Jorja Smith

2. High by Ledisi 

3. Don’t Matter by August Alsina 

4. Confidently Lost Sabrina Claudio

5. While We’re Young by Jhene Aiko 

6. What You Don’t Do by Lianne La Havas

7. In The Room: Cruisin’  by Gallant and Andra Day

8. All That Matters by Kaleb Mitchell 

9. Ascension by Moses Sumney

10. Mountains by Sean C. Johnson 

11. Biking by Frank Ocean

12. Girlfriend by Nao

13. Every Kind of Way by H.E.R.

14. Still in Love by Kirk Franklin

15. Gin and Juice by Cold Chilling Collective


Photography by Keith Klenowski 

A Week of Serving Looks (I Wore a New Purchase Each Day)

The week before last was a good week. My hairstyles were on point everyday, I actually put thought into my outfits consistently, and I got to sport a new find each day from shopping the weekend prior. Let’s see the lewks…

Day 1 // All in One Piece

Kay, so first the hair. Literally every time I do it it comes out different than the last. So it’s always a surprise to me when I undo the twists or braids from the night before. I also use different products sometimes. I found one that makes my hair super soft, light, and fluffy. I love how full this came out looking while still retaining a coil.

I finally found a pair of overalls that work for me! Hallelujah. It’s only been two years (despite my love of dramatizing everything, I am being so serious. It’s been 2 years). Funnily enough, I found these in Forever21. A place I no longer shop at, but happened to be in there shopping for a client I styled. I love that these have a zipper so it’s easy to get in and out of.

Shop What’s New:

Shop Everything Else:

Day 2 // After School Playdate

This used to be my favorite hairstyle when I was a little girl. Now that I am natural again, and my hair has grown substantially, I can rock it! The puffs and the dinosaurs make it perfect for a playdate. Haha.

I love how cheeky this top from H&M is, and I haven’t worn it in a while so I decided to bring it back out. I paired it with this black sheer top from H&M. I am excited to style it in different ways, there’s a lot I could’ve chosen to wear underneath. The dino tee kept it fun, but I may try a bralette one day for a more adult look.

Shop What’s New:

  • The Sheer Black Top (H&M)
  • The Necklace (H&M)
  • The Boots (Nine West)

Shop Everything Else:

Day 3 // Summer White

This was my first time situating my hair in braids so that when I undid them my hair would fall in front of my forehead like bangs. I love the look! Hopefully I can remember how I did it so I can achieve it again. It was kind of an accident. I complemented the “do” with a new makeup look. I typically do my makeup like you see it in the first outfit, but I pulled out my eyeshadow kit and selected this pink which really paired well with my lipstick. I felt super pretty that day.

In the summer the less I have to think about what I am going to wear, the better. Since it’s too hot to really experiment with layering, I prefer to keep it easy. This dress required zero effort, but was the outfit I was most complimented on out of the five. I think the white worked really well with my skin tone and made my melanin pop!

Shop What’s New:

  • The Dress (H&M)
  • The Earrings (H&M)

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Day 4 // 99cent Jeans

I like to wear a headwrap at least once a week. It either serves to add color to my outfit (which was the case here) or to cover a bad hair day. I did the bare minimum for my makeup which is just a swipe of mascara and a little bit of a brow fill.

So I found these pink pants at a thrift store, tried them on, and immediately noticed I could barely breathe. I bought them anyway. THEY WERE 99cents, how could I not? The waist has a little bit of elasticity in it, so I figured I’d magically adjust. When I sat down at my desk at work, I began to regret my life choices. I actually had to unbutton the jeans. I just couldn’t do it. The pink is so cute though, right? Lol.

Shop What’s New:

  • The Tee (Nordstrom Rack)
  • The Jeans (St. Vincent De Paul)
  • Shoes (Nine West)

Shop Everything Else:

Day 5 // Bermudas Are Back

Pulled my hair back in a high puff this day. When I asked my hairdresser for an alternative to the black fabric covered elastic bands that I typically use to pull up my hair (they cause breakage along the hairline), she suggested cutting a piece of hosiery and using that instead. So that’s what I’ve been doing as of late.

With these shorts I have the opposite problem that I did with the pink jeans: the waist is too big. I tried them on prior to buying, noticed it then, and decided since it’s a “boyfriend” fit maybe I’ll just let it pass. Plus they were on sale for $9.99! Dang those sales. I can’t resist. Anywho, the length on these bad boys is what really drew me in. I wanted to make it less boyish with one of my favorite tops and a pair of heels.

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So what do you think? Do you have a favorite look? Let me know in the comments below!

The Trouble With Being Goal Oriented + Future Focused

I started this blog when I was 16 (it turned 6 last month), just 3 years after I decided I wanted to go into a career in fashion. When I was 19 I created a fashion styling business, and now I am balancing both while attending one of the top fashion design schools in the country. I would definitely describe myself as ambitious, a planner, forward thinking… but lately I’ve begun to question whether that’s the right way to live. Because my mind is constantly in the future, I am never focused for long on what’s happening in the present nor do I go back and reflect on the achievements of my past.

Once I’ve completed a goal, I check it off the list, and am already onto preparing for the next steps of another. I get so caught up in what’s next, what’s next, that I really don’t give myself the space to appreciate what I’ve worked so hard to do. In this perpetual cycle, I can never be truly satisfied. I can never be truly happy. While there’s nothing wrong with being focused and having your eyes on the prize, the fact of the matter is there isn’t one prize at the end that I can grab and say, Yes! I’ve got it. I am done. It will never be enough.

That’s why it’s so important to remain in the moment. As cliche as it sounds life really is about the journey. I don’t want to miss the small moments that make up those bigger memories that will always stay with me. It’s like those psychology games where you’re supposed to see how many of a certain thing you can count in a video, but at the end they ask you if you saw the gorilla dance across the screen. I don’t want to miss the gorilla. The joy is in those small, spontaneous moments that I can’t plan for. Often times I deem anything that isn’t productive as invaluable and a distraction. But where does this idea of life-is-all-about-attaining-this-one-big-dream-and-any-and-all-energy-has-to-go-towards-that come from? I always picture the TV shows where the woman is in a powerful position at work. She’s clearly doing well for herself, and everyone seems envious of her style, car, home, and office with an impeccable view, but in reality she’s lonely and isolated. I don’t want that to be me.

Last week I decided to meet up with a friend after work and get ice-cream. I ignored that desire in me to go home and get started on prepping for a photoshoot I needed to style. It wasn’t long before I forgot all about that shoot, because he had me dying of laughter. I literally had tears streaming from my face and people were staring. Even as I think about that moment now I smile. I haven’t had a laugh like that in a long time. I needed that, and I wouldn’t have gotten it if I hadn’t said yes and just lived a little.

Just as important as the present is the past. Reflecting on what you’ve achieved is a reminder of how far you’ve come which can fuel you to see what strides you can make in the future. One thing I really want to do is list out my accomplishments. At the beginning of each new year, we list out what we want to achieve, but how often do we go back and see if anything matches up? 2017 has really treated me right so far, and I’ve been able to cross things off my list that I didn’t think to put on there to begin with. I’ve been featured in Cincinnati Magazine, had my styling work on Who What Wear, and found out I am on a billboard in New York. I’ve also started a new job that I love and never considered, added some new friends into my life, and travelled to Africa for the first time.  

This post is really a letter to myself, with hopes that whoever is reading this can benefit from what I am sharing as well. Haha! I know I can’t be the only one though. My parting thoughts are to hold yourself to high expectations, and break down walls, but at the same time pay attention to the good that’s happening in your life right-now-at-this-very-moment-in-time. Enjoy the beauty of becoming. Reflect on how much you’ve developed. And keep on striving.

Photographed by: Keith Klenowski
Clothing from: Shop Libby, in Cincinnati, OH
Headwrap from: The Wrap Life