Tattoo Talk: An Interview with Nikki Dee.

Tattoo Talk: An Interview with Nikki Dee.Nikki Dee, 23, Fashion designer/Shop Girl in NYC

Are you ready to meet an incredible lady who is a beacon of positivity and is blazing a truly inspiring path for herself? That’s Nikki for you. Her blog chronicles her journey as a budding fashion designer and she documents her adventures, insights, and inspirations along the way. It goes without saying that Nikki has killer style but she also has a growing collection of tattoos peaking out from under her lovely threads. Let’s take a closer look.

How old were you when you got your first tattoo? What was it?
I got my first tattoo when I turned 18. It is a hot air balloon on my left wrist that says Sono Libero underneath — “I am free”. (Because freedom is what being 18 is all about, right?) I drew the design myself and then the tattoo artist tweaked it and made it AMAZING.

How many tattoos do you have now?
Now I have 4 tattoos; 3 small ones and a half sleeve design.

Tattoo Talk: An Interview with Nikki Dee.What are your thoughts on tattoo regret? Have you ever had any?
I understand tattoo regret — I’ve seen quite a few drunken tattoo mistakes and, er, relationship oriented tattoos usually seem like a bad idea. However, I stand firmly by the belief that tattoos become memories that eventually absorb into your very being as part of your physical body! So there’s really no point in regretting them, because they are a part of your skin that represent a specific point in time, and who you might have been or wanted to be.

I do have a band album art tattoo that I got with my friend, and everyone told me that I would regret it. However the only thing I regret is that we rushed into the process and chose an artist that didn’t do a great job. She actually scarred the tattoo deep into my skin and I wish we would have planned better, but I don’t regret it! It’s a funny story and I will always think of the time my friend and I flew across the country to dance in a music video together when I look at the tattoo.

Tattoo Talk: An Interview with Nikki Dee.Do you think tattoos need to have a special meaning or can they be purely aesthetic?
I think even aesthetic tattoos say something about a person. My tattoos all have some special meaning, even if they don’t seem like they do.

Do you have a favourite tattoo? What’s the story behind it?
I don’t have any favorites.

Tattoo Talk: An Interview with Nikki Dee.Are there any artists you’re yearning to get work from? There are so many great artists out there. Victor Modafferi in Staten Island does beautiful work and I’m thinking of getting something from him next. I have a few ideas in the works.

Thanks, Nikki! 

If you want more of her dreamy, sunshiney brand, check out Sunshine & Bravado, or follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Love, sunflowers, & cat eye sunglasses,

The Expat Diaries: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

The Expat Diaries: Should I Stay or Should I Go?People often ask me when I decided to stay in London for good (or rather, indefinitely). It’s a hard question for me to answer.

I knew from my very first day visiting London, when we’d come here to work on The MASON, that I had to return here to live. I’d had that feeling before. Any time I’d gone on holiday to a city before and fallen in love with it, I’d wanted to move there. But this time was different. I knew that in my bones and I proved it by doing everything I needed to to make it happen.

Yet even when I first moved here, I only meant to come for a year. Deciding to stay came later, although not much.

It was an idea that crept into my mind during my first few weeks after arriving, as I’d be filled with spontaneous joy just wandering the streets and realized that I lived here now. But it didn’t happen all at once. I wasn’t certain.

Within the first couple of months I’d mostly made up my mind but then that decision was shaken. I found out my brother’s girlfriend was having a baby and my first response was that I needed to move back to Canada. I knew that they’d need my support and I couldn’t imagine having a nephew grow up with me so far away.

But soon there was a nagging decision in my heart that my place was in London. That I wasn’t ready to leave.

I knew that if I moved back to Canada, it wouldn’t be to my hometown. And I didn’t even feel right about moving back to Toronto. I couldn’t pinpoint exactly where I’d want to be because my heart was stuck on London – maybe Montreal or Vancouver, but either way I’d still be far away from my family. It took me a while to accept the decision I was making, but soon enough I gave into it.

At first I liked to think that this certainty was because London is mine now. In the way you take ownership of a city after having had to struggle to stay there, having learned the curve of her streets, and suddenly finding yourself a local at your favourite pubs and cafes. I liked to think I’d made this great, wild place my own.

But lately I’ve realized it’s the opposite that’s true. It’s me that belongs to London.

This city is full of surprises. Pockets of beauty, secret corners, and hidden mysteries. I’ll never see it all. And there’s something new popping up every day.

My life is being shaped around her energy. My schedule bends to accommodate hers. And somehow I understand that who I am and who I’m becoming is tied to her. I know with the full force of my being that I’m not ready to leave and perhaps I never will be. And so, sometime last winter, I decided to stay.

Have you ever felt the call of a city so strongly that you couldn’t say no? Or is there a place you’re yearning for right now?

Love, glitter crowns, & fields of tulips,

How to Make the Most of a Book or Course & Actually Apply it to Your Life.

how-to-apply-what-you-have-learned1When you’re committed to your own growth and personal development (or building a business, learning a craft, or anything else for that matter) it’s easy to turn into an information junkie. You devour anything you can read, watch, listen to, or participate in on the subject. But at a certain point it all starts to sound a bit samey. You might start saying “Well yeah, I already know that!” even though you haven’t actually applied it to your life. And yet you still pick up another book or sign up for a new course. I know I do, anyway.

But over the years I’ve been honing a strategy for fully absorbing the things that I learn and starting to practice it in my own life. Here’s what it looks like.

Ask Excellent Questions
An excellent question is any question that helps you gain a deeper understanding of the material or figure out how to apply it to your own life. I love that The Blogcademy ladies made it clear that they were completely at our disposal throughout the two-day workshop. This was our one chance to get our questions answered, so I tried to make the most of it. But you can even ask questions when you’re reading a book. Talk about the things you’re reading about with a friend. Create a reading group. Reach out to the author through social media. Find a forum where the material is being discussed. Ask yourself how the lessons being taught apply to your own life. Force yourself to go deeper, rather than just passively consuming information.

Take Thorough Notes
Taking notes allows you to pull out the most important information so that you can come back to it again and again. It also allows you to make the content your own. You can scribble down anything you want to look up or write in ideas of how to apply the information . When I’m reading I love to underline passages and scribble in the margins, but I’ve also made a habit of writing my biggest takeaways into a favourite notebook. This way I’ve got a mini bible of the lessons I’m working on integrating into my day-to-day-life.

Schedule Your Action Steps
Information is useless unless you start applying it and integrating it into your own life. You won’t be able to do it all at once, so instead make a list of action steps of the things that are most relevant to you right now and actually schedule them into your calendar. It’s a simple thing to do and you’re a lot more likely to complete them that way.

Review, Review, Review
This is the one tidbit I gleaned onto recently and it’s having a massive impact for me. I feel like I harp on and on about the need to create rituals for yourself, but they really do make all the difference in designing a life you love. I’ve mentioned before that I have a monthly ritual of reviewing my goals, taking stock of my progress over the past month, and setting targets for the month to come. I’m now incorporating into that process a review of my notes from the key courses and books I’m working on applying. Often there’s too much information to use it all in one go and as you make progress, you start seeing things in a new way. So by sitting down with my notes once a month I can pull out new action steps and figure out where they fit into my plan for the month. Plus regularly reading the information means that I absorb it more fully. Perhaps this isn’t revolutionary to anyone else, but such a simple idea is leading to a lot of progress for me.

So there it is, my four-step process for making the most out of a book or course, and actually applying it to my life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still constantly devouring personal development and business books. But when I am drawn in by a shiny new course, I’m able to ask myself: have I fully integrated the information I already have? Do I even have time to start applying this stuff? Which can offer some great perspective when the information junkie in me just wants more, more, more.

What about you, do you have any tips for taking the information you consume from theory to practice? I’d love to hear!

Love, ink-stained pages, & bottomless cups of coffee,

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