I was so excited when my good friend and fellow blogger, Jillian invited me to be part of her interview series, "Sitting Pretty With", for her blog, Rhyme & Reason! Ever since our first round of cocktails at Gracias Madre, Jillian and I became fast friends! Although we sadly aren’t able to get together for our monthly girls dinners in Los Angeles, now that I’m living in London and she’s living in Charleston, we were able to catch up recently and chat all things London, grad school, fashion, and travel!
For those of you wanting to see the entire interview, learn a bit more about me, Erie Nick, and what all I’ve been up to lately, feel free to check out the entire piece HERE over on Rhyme & Reason or keep reading below! With my own formal interview in the works for LCF, it was fun to have the tables turned and dive a bit deeper into what motivated me to launch my blog, how I stay motivated, and a little peek into day to day life since my move to London!
SITTING PRETTY WITH ERICA AULDS OF ERIE NICK
Name: Erica Aulds
Neighborhood: London, United Kingdom
Job: Founder of Erie Nick | Graduate Student at London College of Fashion
Instagram Handle: @ericaaulds
LET’S TALK BUSINESS…
What motivated you to start your blog, Erie Nick?
When I first had the idea to launch, Erie Nick I actually had no idea what "bloggers" were. I had just graduated from Pepperdine University and was looking for a career to channel my creative thought process with my bubbly spirit. After discovering a few successful bloggers through Instagram, I did a TON of research and realized how much fun I had curating content. The idea of having an unconventional, self-run career was definitely appealing to me and my deeply rooted love of fashion and travel made the decision to launch a blog feel quite natural. I settled on the name "Erie Nick" after my childhood nickname from my first and middle name, Erica Nicole, and here we are two years later, enjoying the creative process and doors that have opened because of it more than ever!
Describe your blog in 3 sentences or less.
Erie Nick is a contemporary style and travel blog dedicated to fashion admirers and adventure enthusiasts. Filled with fashion round ups, first-hand travel tips, destination guides, and both classic and trendy style suggestions, it’s a digital destination for a dose of style and adventure inspiration within everyday life!
What keeps you inspired at work day-in and day-out?
When in doubt, a good night’s sleep, a good sweat, and a day spent outdoors always gets my juices flowing! Hyde Park or Hampstead Health are two of my favorite places to go for a re-charge.
At the expense of sounding cheesy, I truly feel most inspired when I stay true to me. Of course I pick up on doses of inspiration from the fashion industry, traveling, social media, and day-to-day experiences, but it’s the moments that I look inward, as a creative and as a consumer, and ask myself "what are you seeking?" or "what would you like to see?" that I find a whole new wave of inspiration that keeps the wheels turning.
How do you pick what topics and content to write about on your site?
Erie Nick is filled with all of the things I love — classic, feminine ensembles, noteworthy trends, travel itineraries, lifestyle resources etc. For me, travel content is my favorite and easiest to write about. I love sharing my experiences with others and helping people find inspo for their own trips!
Fashion will always be a key interest and focus of mine so I do a lot of research highlighting collections from contemporary retailers like Rebecca Taylor, Misa, and Maje paired with budget-friendly brands like Topshop, ASOS, and J Crew. The styling side of things is really enjoyable for me. I have several brainstorming/pitching days where I write down a ton of ideas. I’ll venture to new shops and take images of pieces that inspire me and that I’ll want to include in roundups. And I have a TON of notes on my phone for inspiration that I’m constantly picking up daily.
Overall, I never force anything. If it doesn’t feel natural, then I don’t write about it in the first place! Trends will shift, my style will evolve, as will the blog, but I always try to keep things more practical than editorial and definitely want my content to inspire and guide my readers, not just show off my life.
Is there something you know now that you wish you’d known when you started your blog?
Ah this is a little scary because I feel like bloggers rarely talk about this, but I’m going to get really honest here. 100% don’t feed into the fluff and keep your priorities straight! I don’t know if blogging has always been like this from the start, but I feel like a wave has hit the blogging world where a lot of people have become obsessed with the numbers, and the comment pods, engagement rates, Instagram etc.
There was definitely a phase I went through where I totally bought into it. I was in one comment group and thankfully all of the ladies were genuinely sweet, but there was suddenly this pressure to "like" and "comment" everything all the time, to post 24/7 on Instagram myself, and be "on" at all times. It just started to feel really disingenuous and I found myself quite anxious, burning out, and not as present as I could be with people in my personal life.
I had to take a deep look at myself in the mirror and be like "Hellloooo crazy girl what are you doing?! remember why you started this in the first place!" Not for the numbers, not to be "insta famous," but to create content that I genuinely love and am proud of and hopefully inspire even a handful of people along the way.
Ever since I let go of the comment pod and all this weird pressure to post X amount of times a week and have it all together, I haven’t been stressed, or burnt out, or discouraged at all. In fact, I’m actually much more happy with the content that I’m putting out there and I’ve found a really healthy and happy balance between blogging and my personal life!
LET’S TALK SCHOOL…
You attend the University of the Arts: London College of Fashion for Fashion and Lifestyle Journalism. Can you tell us a little bit about your studies?
Classes are all day Thursdays and Fridays which gives me the perfect balance to focus on my class work and my blog. Usual days include lecture sessions, often with guests speakers like Ella Alexander (Digital Editor of Harpers Bazaar UK) and Hilary Alexander (BFA Journalist of the Year, Britain’s Next Top Model, Fashion Director of The Daily Telegraph) or trips to fashion exhibitions like the Balenziaga Shaping Fashion Exhibition, currently on at the V&A. There are only 10 of us in the program, which I actually love. It feels like a tight-knit working family, and it’s been so nice to bounce ideas off of and support one another. As far as the curriculum goes I’m specifically studying fashion and lifestyle journalism so we cover everything from runway reporting and industry pitching to interview techniques, trend reporting, principals of journalism, and markets and contexts within the fashion industries.
What do you hope to do with your Fashion and Lifestyle Journalism degree after you graduate? Why that path?
I originally applied for LCF with the goal to improve Erie Nick. I have a background in business, communication, and media production as well as professional experience in social media marketing and photography. So, I overall feel pretty confident in my creative abilities. My writing has always been an area I’ve felt I could improve upon, and this particular program felt like the perfect fit to challenge myself! From here, I plan to use my degree to continue to improve and grow, Erie Nick, but it also feels really rewarding to equip myself to be a more well-rounded individual for whatever doors may open!
Why is studying fashion important to you?
I’ve always had a deep love and appreciation for fashion and clothes ever since I was a little girl. But there’s also a well-respected, deeply rooted industry behind all of the clothes and style choices that I want to pay homage to and be a part of as well. I think it’s incredible that we live in a time where truly anyone can start a blog, and share their passions and interests through a platform with the world. I personally want my content to reflect my own tastes and interests, but also have a credible voice and legitimate knowledge about the industry when I am making suggestions or offering my voice and guidance within the fashion world.
What is a typical day in the life of Erica?
Not one day is the same, which I’m extremely grateful for. I might be rushing to the tube for a day of classes on Regents street, or exploring London for a styled blog shoot, but on a typical day I wake up early, head straight for Hyde Park and start my day off with a jog or horseback riding lesson outside! En route home, I’ll usually pick up a latte from one of my favorite neighborhood spots then get completely ready for the day — even if I’m working at home!
To stay inspired, I alternate between working at home or at a new cafe. Somerset House is one of my absolute favorite places in London when I have a lot of work to do. (I always crank out a lot of writing when I’m there!) Typically each day is filled with a long list of tasks from writing and research to back-end blog work and content shoots. Lately, my school workload has become quite intense so I also have a feature story, interview piece, marketing project, and four more assignments also thrown in the mix!
I used to stay up until the wee hours of the night making sure I got everything done, but after learning I quickly burn out that way, I always end each "work day" around 6:30 with the exception of a few late nights!
Evenings in London are absolutely beautiful! My roommates and I often cook dinner and have movie nights or will enjoy a glass of wine and the sunset from our makeshift "balcony" aka fire escape! It’s been my goal to cook a lot more and dive into a good book during the weeknights, but there’s always that occasional long day that calls for a fun dinner out with friends!
LET’S TALK FASHION…
Describe your style in three adjectives.
Classic, versatile, and boho-feminine
What are your wardrobe staples?
An effortless daytime dress, a trench coat, great shoes, a go-to pair of jeans, and lot’s of classic basics to pair with my trendier pieces.
If I peeked into your closet, what color would be the most prominent?
Lots of white and black basics, soft neutrals, and several florals. In the spring/summer I definitely embrace unsaturated colors and fall/winter is more about understated natural tones and colorful accessories.
What fashion piece would you splurge on tomorrow if you could?
I would LOVE a silk, floral Zimmerman midi dress!
Are there any trends you’re excited about right now?
I really love the prevalence of fall florals! There’s something so romantic and feminine about them even during a darker season.
LET’S TALK BEAUTY…
What are your beauty must-haves?
The Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask is the #1 skincare product that I’ll always swear by! And I’ll forever love Laura Mercier’s Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer, Bobbi Brown’s Eye Opening Mascara, and Charlotte Tilbury’s Matte Revolution Lipstick in "Pillow Talk" (Back in stock!).
What perfume do you spritz on as you walk out the door?
Chance by Chanel.
What color nail polish are you currently wearing?
I’m usually a Ballet Slippers girl but I’m currently wearing "Lady is a Tramp" by Deborah Lippmann.
LET’S TALK TRAVEL…
Beach or Mountains?
Mountains & fresh air!
East Coast or West Coast?
West Coast! Santa Barbara, Laguna, and La Jolla will forever be some of my favorites!
What is your favorite destination?
Telluride, Colorado for skiing! Costa Rica for adventure! Italy for everything — Portofino, Lake Como, Tuscany, and Florence are some of my favorites and don’t even get me started on Italian food!
Are you planning any upcoming trips?
I hit the ground running as soon as I moved to London with trips to Madrid, Ibiza, Amsterdam, Ireland and Munich already under my belt. So I’ve definitely been recharging my batteries and soaking in my time here. Once school mellows out a bit, I’m really looking forward to visiting Budapest, Austria, and the English Countryside this winter when my family comes to London for Christmas!
Do you have a top bucket list destination?
After I take on Europe for a while longer I’m dying to explore South America, New Zealand, and Japan. Machu Picchu has always been on my list, and I wouldn’t mind a trip to Thailand while we’re on the bucket list topic!
LET’S TALK LONDON…
You used to live in Los Angeles but you recently packed up and moved to London. What was the most challenging and most rewarding part of that experience?
I think off the bat it was really tricky to figure out their health care system. I got really sick right when I moved here and had to figure things out on my own right away. Despite that initial obstacle, most of my time here has been far more rewarding than challenging.
I was actually expecting to feel way more homesick than I did/do. Having incredible roommates, plugging into a church group, and connecting with people and putting myself out there really helped me get plugged in with planted roots right away.
Even during my many solo days, I get out and about and challenge myself to try 3 new things a week. Whether that’s a new activity, new restaurant, new dish, or new workout class. It’s been really rewarding to see how resilient and happy I can be out of my comfort zone not to mention how rewarding living in this beautiful city actually is! I love the beautiful buildings, history, culture, the free museums and countless things to see! It’s a beautiful city to live in and I feel really really lucky that I get to call it home!
What does living in London mean to you?
After growing up in Texas, and spending the last 8 years in Los Angeles, I found myself a bit too comfortable and craving some sort of change. As someone who appreciates both urban and rural elements of life, I decided moving to London would be my dream, and so far it truly has been. I feel like my soul really comes to life here. I’m constantly inspired, feel more stimulated than ever, and feel like it’s been really rewarding to gain a fresh perspective on life.
After dreaming about the days that I could live here for over 3 years, actually living here now is the most surreal feeling in the world! Taking those leaps of faith in life is so worth it! I’m just really happy and feel like London is already home!
Fill in the blank: "On the weekend, you’ll find me at _____________."
On the weekend you’ll find me traveling, exploring London, or soaking in the beautiful parks!
If you could live in any London neighborhood, which would it be?
I love our little flat just steps from Hyde Park and Notting Hill, but if I could own my own London flat I would love to live in South Kensington.
Best London Restaurant?
Sketch is the ultimate posh destination for high tea or a splurge-worthy meal!
There are too many to name! Farm Girl in Notting Hill is so yummy and cute. Railhouse has the best egg dishes. The Ivy is a London classic + the interior decor is everything. Pavilion Cafe is my favorite brunch/work spot with a view of the park.
Best boutique(s) or shop/shopping?
Liberty London takes the cake as the most beautiful retail space in all of London! Wild at Heart is the best for flowers. Kings Road to Sloane Square has some the best high street shops. Regents Street/Oxford is the most magical and quintessentially "London." Harrods will forever be a classic, although I personally find the crowds a bit overwhelming if you’re tight on time!
The Wallace Collection! (The Arab Tent and the Mrs Mary Robinson portrait are my two favorite paintings) I could spend hours here and the glass ceiling cafe has the most delicious food!
Anything else we need to know about London?
There really is SO much to do, see, and eat here. I’m exploring more every day, so I guess a detailed London Guide is next up for Erie Nick… stay tuned!