For Columbus Day weekend my sister and I embarked on our first trip together that we call the Grand Adventure. Our long weekend was jam packed with fun activities including flying over Grand Canyon, rafting down the Colorado River, exploring Antelope Canyon, visiting the Hoover Dam, and partying in Las Vegas. Renting a car is great for sight seeing in the Southwest. We flew into Flagstaff, Arizona and drove over to Las Vegas. We of course were on the historical Rt. 66 for some of the way. Rt. 66 is also named the Main Street of America because it was one of the original highways. We stopped at a very weird gas station with alien drawings that clearly was the last stop til we were to arrive in Vegas. Driving through the southwestern part of the United States is a sight to see. There is desert for miles and then random businesses. Not sure how they stay open. My GPS said we were close although there was no sight of Vegas anywhere. I pass through a mountain and on the other side Las Vegas was in site. We went to see a Cirque De Soleil show, partied at a few clubs and went sight seeing. P.S. you can drink in the streets! Major tip - the portions of food in Vegas is beyond insane. I ordered an eggs benefict that came in a pizza box and included 4 utensil packages. A PIZZA BOX! The next day we went to Wet Republic, one of Vegas's premeire Sunday pool party featuring DJ Steve Aoki. I advise you to NOT go in the pool unless you are in one of the VIP pools that rarely has anyone in them. This might be common sense to most but there were tons of peopel in that pool. I suggest RSVPing online unless you "know someone". Some of the "free passes" that are given out by random promoters are just a ticket to the "wait for 3 hours" line. We headed back to Arizona where we got ready for our next big adventure, the Grand Canyon. We stopped by to see the Hoover Dam on our way. I went on Expedia to book this trip and found that they not only have flights and hotels but also fun attractions. I searched through to find the one that best suited what we wanted to experience. This was a long 12 hour day but totally worth it. I am completely afraid of heights BUT I thought it would be EPIC to wake up and fly over the Grand Canyon in a semi-private plane. I was able to sit in the front seat with the pilot which was a cool experience. We then explored Antelope Canyon (the canyons with pretty striations). After that we were taken to raft down the Colorado River and stopped at a place where you can see ancient caveman art. It was definately a great experience. I encourage everyone to explore and travel the world!
I was invited to the Simply Stylist Conference hosted by Catt Sadler and founded by Sarah Boyd.
It is one of the best fashion and beauty conferences featured in NYC, Los Angelos, and Dubai.
This year's event in NYC was at Yotel. The event started with a buffet brunch and passed
cocktails. Next the sessions started including advice from key industry panelists.
After the sessions everyone mingled in the lounge sipping cocktails, getting
glammed up, taking photos, and having fashion illustrations drawn of them!
During the conference I interviewed some of the panelists including fashion illustrator
Holly Nichols, blogger Lauren Bushnell, and entrepreneur Vanessa Simmons.
If you haven’t attended this year you NEED to next year.
Simply stylists also hosts different classes including PR and DIY sessions.
Lauren Bushnell was featured as one of the panelists during the
Simply Stylist Conference. I had a chance to interview her after the session.
Royale Diary: I was really surprised that you said you like to be a fly on the wall. How do you prep yourself for being in the public eye?
Lauren Bushnell: I don't know if there is any way to really prep yourself honestly. For me I never really knew how big the Bachelor audience was. Everyone kept telling me “just wait, just wait, your life will change”. It is hard to fully understand that or prepare yourself for that. Thankfully the way I grew up, my family, and friends have prepared me for it without even knowing it. I have a lot of good people in my life that kept me grounded. Like I mentioned earlier it was really good for me because I do like to be a fly on the wall. Often times I don’t put myself out there and try new things that you need to take in order to follow your dreams. For me it was really good and pushed me to not be afraid. I don’t know if you can really prepare yourself. I think it is best to go head first and do it. I almost feel like the more you try to prepare yourself, for me and my personality, the more anxious you would get. Such as Lilliana Vazquez mentioned “I do not rehearse”. Just go out there, be yourself, trust your gut, and you are good.
Royale Diary: What makeup brand would you love to partner with?
Lauren Bushnell: I love BECCA Cosmetics. I just got a package from Hourglass and I am loving every single product that I am using from their’s. Georgio Armani foundation is always a good one.
Royale Diary: I was watching your brow tutorial because I love your brows! What prepped you to do that? Did you get questions on how you do your eyebrows?
Lauren Bushnell: Exactly, the number one message I received was "how do you do your eyebrows?". It is interesting I think a lot of the bloggers have say "listen to your audience" because you are essentially writing for others. If you are a successful blogger you are not only giving people advice but also answering some of those questions and filling those needs that they have. For me the number one question included what I used on my eyebrows and how I do them. That sparked the tutorial and is what started the blog. People were asking me many questions such as where I got my outfits and if I have any tips for fall style. That is what makes me want to do a makeup or hair tutorials. I think it is a lot of fun and so many people ask me for help.
By: Selima Smith-Dell
Late fall is full of fun events and holiday parties.
I am obsessed with this elegant dress by Evolue Apparel.
My favorite accent is the red laser cut strips.
I am obsessed with drapery as many of you know,
so this sleeve instantly caught my eye.
I can't wait to wear this to one of my holiday parties or fashion week.
S H O P . T H E . L O O K
Dress: Evolue Apparel / Leather clutch: Kent Stetson / Jewelry: Luca&Danni / Shoes: Christian Louboutin
Royale Diary: So tell me more about your fashion illustration company. Where did you get started?
Holly Nichols: I started after I graduated. I was looking for a way to combine my two passions which are fashion and art. I was always creating fashion inspired art. I thought of a social media account where I could start documenting my art. It gave traction and people showed interest in it which was a surprise to me. It kind of came as a mistake. I started my business from a demand.
Royale Diary: Where do you get your inspiration for different styles?
Holly Nichols: I get a lot of inspiration from the runway. I do two types of illustrations i create: high fashion couture and cozy everyday wear. A lot of my girls are bundled up in different sweaters and that is really inspired by the different seasons. Right now I am drawing a lot of chunky knits. The high fashion drawings are inspired by the runways. Couture week is my favorite week because there are so many great things to draw. I don't know how to make clothes but I enjoy the art process of sketching it out.
Royale Diary: What advice would you give to someone who wants to increase their following on social media?
Holly Nichols: When I started out I used 30 hashtags. That was the max you could do. That started attracting a lot of spam and a lot of people I didn't want to attract such as the "like for like" accounts. So from there I started to tweak my hashtags to ones that were relevant to what I was doing but would still get the attention. Instead of using #art with a category of probably 5million+ I used #fashionillustration which is maybe 500k or less. So you are more likely to show up. Thinking of strategic hashtags that are focused on what you are doing and being consistent with what you are posting are very important. I only post fashion illustrations I don't post anything else. Lighting is also very important. I try to shoot in good, natural lighting so the viewer can see my art in the exact color it is suppose to be in. Therefore I am not putting filters on my art. Stay really picky about what you post. It is ok to say no to someone if they ask you to post something that you are not comfortable posting. Be really vigilant and true to yourself.
Royale Diary: Where do you want your brand to go next? I know you are partnering with different brands.
Holly Nichols: I love partnering with brands but I also like doing my own thing. I have an online store where I can sell products that I am creating. I really enjoy that because I am interacting with the customers one on one. They’re real people as oppose to the brands that may have an art department, social team, and creative team. I am dealing with these customers one-on-one who love my artwork and are supporting a small business.
Check out Holly's Illustrations on her IG page @hnicholsillustration.
My favorite fall addition has been these thigh-high Carlos Santana boots.
They are the MOST comfortable heel boots I own.
I wore this outfit (minus the necklace) to the Simply Stylist Conference, which was beyond amazing.
Check out my Instagram to see the one of a kind Katima necklace I wore.
I was invited to interview some of the celebrities who spoke at the event
including Lauren Bushnell, Holly Nichols, & Vanessa Simmons.
Networking is key.
Exclusive interviews coming soon...
S H O P . T H E . L O O K
Figure Head Clutch - Kent Stetson Handbags available now.
It's November & although it has been chilly, today it hit 70.
Definitely weird weather. Anyways I am getting ready for
this Saturday's Simply Stylist Conference in NYC.
My assistant Selima is attending with me.
It is one of the biggest beauty and fashion conferences world wide.
Industry professionals and celebrities speak about their
experience and secrets of the industry.
I was invited to interview some of the talent there including Catt Sadler.
If you want to attend you can still get your tickets here.
Wish me luck!
S H O P . T H E . L O O K
Kent Stetson Handbag available now.