I've never felt more "me" than I do in this #ootd. 
allllll about the lbd x stripes combo, and then these booties? 
home fcking run! 


one of my favorite things about my girlfriends is that we constantly find excuses to eat & drink, and thx to one of my closest babes and our need to catch up, I was able to make reservations for us at poco in the lower east side of manhattana restaurant known for its brunch & lobster dishes. 

as if a bottomless brunch option complete w/ lobster dishes wasn't enough to win me over, I learned there was a spiked iced coffee on the menu & fell even further in love. I'll admit, the drinks & party vibes outweighed the food & service, but I've learned that's what comes w/ alcoholic brunch specials...

& with that being said, poco wants you to party @ their brunch so much so that they give out free shots. (you read that right, free shots.) moral of the story: if you're looking for a boozy brunch, poco's your place! 



a few weeks ago, I was having a conversation w/ one of my closest gfs about our wknd mornings. she made a comment about how most saturdays, she purposely wakes up earlier so that she can have 'time for herself.'

this made me realize as of late, I never take time for myself.
& I wonder why I'm on the brink of the anxiety attack of all anxiety attacks. 



for two reasons:
1. I'm finally utilizing my merchandising profession & launching TREND ALERTS on NICOLE LEIGH.
2. my favorite childhood outfit is on trend: the overall dress.

since starting my career, I've experienced many different fashion realms and throughout all of them, one thing stayed true: my love for trends, following & sometimes chasing them. I was always most fascinated with how they trickle through social and economic classesstarting w/ the high-end, couture customer and then ending, years later, with the price-conscious, discount shopper. 


fall weather has been taking its sweet old time coming to the metropolitan area, and despite my impatience for the seasonal change, it isn't happening. so here I sit, anxiously waiting to wear my leather jackets, turtle necks & dark makeup. it's my true obsession I can't stop though: styling my new fall shoes.


the monday after #ldw, my boyfriend & I decided try the whole 30 diet. 
I have good news & bad news. 
I have some success stories, as well as some failure stories.

since summer started, I maintained an idgaf attitude towards what I ate. I moved into my apartment w/ my S.O. and we've been eating, drinking & laughing our way through jersey city. I regret nothing, except for this "bloat" I've had for the past few months. 

I can maintain a strict diet, but geeeez whole 30 tough. you can only eat protein (meats & seafood), fruits and vegetables. no: dairy, carbs, sugars. as raw as it gets ppl! eating like this not only requires a lot of will power, but it takes a lot of spending and prepping too.


two things I can't live without: 
1. hair texturizing spray 
2. sheet masks 

I use a texturing spray every morning & I wear sheet masks as often as life lets me, which I'll admit is not as frequently as I'd like. it's not every day that I have 10-20mins to sit w/ a mask full of serum on my face peacefully.

I'm all about "naturally messy" hair, so I depend on texturizing and/or finishing sprays. I was enough enough to receive bumble & bumble's dryspun finish spray (c/o influenster), and tbh, I have mixed feelings about it. while the spray did provide the advertised "airy" texture, it didn't hold throughout the day. so, I'll consider this a great hair refresh product to keep in my purse, but not depend on for all-day wear.


it's v rare that I wish I had more of something in my closet, but when it comes to slip dresses, 
I don't have enough of 'em.

this dress from H&M is the -only- one I own & I'm not sure why because slip dresses are the easiest #ootd and so versatilekeep it casual during day, or dress up for nighttime. I think they're perfect for date night too, esp. when paired w/ a lace-up shoe. 🔥


imo, the #1 thing you need in your wardrobe = a bodysuit.

buy them in every color, print, fabric, texture, you see because trust me when I say, you can never have too many bodysuits ☝️ or leotards as I tend to call them, no thx to my cheerleading days...


we are in the height of summer in the metropolitan area and my skincare routine has taken a drastic change...and so should yourseveryone's should change w/ the seasons, for that matter.

I'm the first person to get in the sun w/o applying SPF. (I know, I know. how ignorant of me?) sometimes it's just absentmindedness when I'm packing my beach bag, but whatev. with that being said, the laneige water bank moisture cream is my life saver. fun fact: it was an allure best of beauty award winner in 2016!


sry if this sounds a little melancholy but until recently, it was hard to "cheers" much of anything. due to the darkest cards life has dealt me, most days, despite how exciting they might've been, there was a constant weight on my chest. a heaviness that prevented me from feeling anything thrilling, and made it v easy to feel like I was drowning.

after taking time to grow not only mentally but physically, I feel like I'm starting to overcome obstacles I've been needing to, and as a result, the desire to hold my hand high, sparkling drink in it, and toast everything around me is creeping back in.

it's funny what a mindset can do to a person. 

for the longest time, I told myself I didn't deserve happiness, that I was destined to feel dull forever, but that was the craziest lie I could've ever told myself. and I soon realized it was just my brain playing tricks on me.

I've learned that ultimately, you are the only person responsible for how you feelnot your sibling, your parent, grandparent, best friend, SO& sometimes, I think we all need a reminder to stop & take time to turn to ourselves before looking to others. a sticky note of sorts that tells us: dig deep, find out what you need to do, then muster up the energy to actually do it.

don't forget, you can lean on those around you though...and then you can celebrate w/ them once you realize that whether or not you have it "all," you still have a whole lot to be thankful for.

& here's to post-brunch sunday thoughts ✨

x, nicole


pre-shoot: I ran 2mi & then biked another 2mi. 

to say this is something I normally do would be a lie, but as of late, I've had this drive to be as active as possible. I think it's because I'm starting to see the toll that some food, sweets and alcohol have on my body from more mature eyes. my diet isn't too badI eat lean meats, lots of fresh fruits & veggies and try to moderate my carb/sugar intake as much as possible...but I realize the difference in not only my physique, but my mentality too when I over indulge in the bad stuff. 


pleased to announce that it's finally lbd season!
(& that I linked up w/ to bring you this look.)

I'm a firm believer that there's no such thing as 'too many' little black dresses as long as they all have different uses. for ex: one for day, work, party & dress. this simple, cotton LBD c/o of is ideal wknd attire for the summer. 


I don't like to play favorites but...9 bar cafe is my go-to for my preferred cup of coffeespecifically the cold brew. 

lucky for me, both of their locations are within walking distance from my apartment in jersey city. the og storefront is downtown, and that's always my first choice but sometimes I visit their newest location closer to the hudson. it's actually in one of the newest luxury living buildings in the area, urby. (had to call this out because my boyf works there, sry not sry.) 

the coffee is bold & rich, the lattes are smooth and the baked goods are always freshhhh. 
check it out if you're in the area & enjoy a cup of coffee that provides a real kick in the ass.


(btw, you can read more about this coffee spot & other things to do in the harborside area of jersey city in my article that I wrote for have a night's jersey city site here.)


if I have the opportunity to buy anything backless, I'm going to take it.

shirts, tank tops, dresses, leotards that expose my back are my constant go-to for when I go out. (no, I don't wear them to work & neither should you.) I'll admit that it's a combination of things that make me love the look. for starters, I always feel like my best self and then, I get to show off my tattoo which is something I rarely get to do. win, win! 


shameless plug: my little sister works @ this restaurant.
not-so-shameless plug: the food's so good I would've written about it anyway.

I'm all about farm-to-table establishments, especially when it means fresh squeezed oj for my mimosas, & that's what avenue n prides itself onwhich is why my sister loves it so much. while I wish I could show you the lemon-ricotta doughnuts we all shared, the time we were spending together was way more important, so I didn't get any pictures of them. 

what was sooo important that I couldn't pause to take my galaxy out & snap an #onthetable shot? 

for starters, my sister/best friend will continue to live in RI post-college graduation while I'm here in NJ, and she was telling us her next steps @ avenue n and the pantryowned & operated by the same couple, instead of a sit down restaurant, it's a go-to local market/lunch spot. (I scored this awesome peanut butter w/ fresh cacao nibs and omg.) there's so much in store for her & I can't wait to see what she accomplishes!

& tbh, I'm just super excited that I'll always have an excuse to go to RI, have these doughnuts and the smoked salmon/bagel dish. 



lately, I've been gravitating towards lighter tones & as someone who constantly turned to black, it's hard to accept the fact that when I get to a retail rack, I'm looking for nude, white, pastel things. 

consider it dramatic, but I feel like this outer shift is deeper a metaphor for something... 


a little over a year ago, I wrote my first post about my city...& here I sit, still talking about it, just in a different apartment.

I've always known 'a lot can happen over a year,' but holy sh!t did I learn the true meaning behind that these last 365+ days. for ex: when I came to jersey city, I had a reconstructed knee & was going to physical therapy appts 2-3x a week, learning how to walk, run, bike, jump againfast forward to now: this view is a mile & a half from my new apartment, and I ran there & back.

the hardships I experienced over the last few years encouraged me to make the moves I kept talking about but wouldn't act on. a lethal combination of heartache, anger, stubbornness & self-pride pushed me to fulfill the dreams I'd always had.

while the circumstances were incredibly far from the best, I've never been more thankful to walk away & start new. since then, my boyf & I moved in together together, I'm v confident where I am professionally, and I'm making memories w/ some of the most genuine people I've ever met and most importantly...

I've learned more about myself & my uncanny ability to keep going, keep moving despite all the bullshit put in my path. letting go and moving on is not only eye-opening, it's testing, liberating and kind of addicting.

I hope one day, when or if you need to, you'll be able to walk (or run) away from w/e it is that's holding you back. 

x, nicole