Seven Branding and Career Tips from Aliza Licht by Erin Baynham

I've been a fan of DKNY PR Girl on Twitter, since, I have no idea when. It's definitely been years. So when I found out that the woman behind the brand, Aliza Licht, was coming out with a book about her career and the ins and outs of social media, I pre-ordered with a quickness. Tonight, I got to attend a book reading for Leave Your Mark, and let me tell you, it didn't disappoint! 21389256903_f13df3c6a8_o

So I'm watching Aliza, in a chic green dress, sky high platforms and a bold red lip. Of course I knew she'd have more insight than I'd be ready for, so it was time to get some lessons. I don't want to take away from the book, so I'm going to give you seven tidbits I learned from the her today.


  1. Aliza started off with an internship in accessories at a major magazine. She knew she wanted to be in PR, so she taught herself everything she could by learning from the PR people she interacted with on a daily basis.
  2. Aliza found her assistant through a blog post that she created. A simple tweet by the blogger led to an organic conversation on social media. She's now been in the position at DKNY for four years.
  3. You can learn a lot from strategically following people. Want to be a beauty editor? Follow every beauty editor you can find on Twitter, and study them.
  4. If you meet someone via networking, connect with them ASAP (the next day) to reaffirm the connection.
  5. Between the ages of 22-30, give it all you've got so you can have an established career in your thirties and beyond.
  6. Build your network before you need it.
  7. When you are writing your resume, skip the fluff. Make sure every sentence has a purpose.

To be honest, I have five pages of notes from the event. She totally blew me away with the amount of info she shared. I walked out of that building feeling like I could conquer the world. If you're looking for tips on scoring your dream job or killing it in social, be sure to follow Aliza on Twitter and/or Instagram, and to buy her book here!

Five Things I Loved at the Essence Best In Black Beauty Awards by Erin Baynham

Scandalous Beauty Covers Essence Best in Black Beauty Awards As you may recall, Essence Magazine held its first Best in Black Beauty Awards in the May issue (and online). I was elated to receive an invitation to the event, so in true Erin form, I jetted up to NYC that afternoon, and came back the same night.

Have you ever seen someone that you think you know, but aren't sure, and semi-stare and look creepy trying to figure out if it's them? Yep, I totally did that in a random coffee shop near the event. Who was the person? Chescaleigh! I've followed her on Youtube for years, and was definitely excited to meet her! Janelle Monae presented an award to Ted Gibson, Rosci Diaz was there, June Ambrose was a co-host. Every one of these ladies is pint-sized.

1. As a social media specialist, I love to see how brands integrate social into their strategy. Essence had a live gift wall, where the winning product was accompanied by the brand twitter handle. They also had a live twitter wall, showing everyone who used the #Essencebeauty hashtag. Did you catch my tweet above?

1.5. Here's a quick video interview with Janelle Monae from the evening. She usually does her own hair and makeup, and she does a great job! She never leaves the house without her peace, positive energy and inner confidence (I'm writing this down on my vision board)! By the way, BaBopByeYa is my favorite JM track ever. If you haven't heard it, check it out. The arrangement and her voice is colossal.

2. We got to see a side of beauty that we don't usually see. We got to hear about careers that we often overlook, and were humbled by what these achievers had to say.

The honorees were: Balanda Atis, Group Leader, and Janine Cherette, Color Cosmetic Scientist, of the L'Oréal USA Research and Innovation team; Ted Gibson, celeb hairstylist to the stars and head stylist on What Not To Wear; Janis Smith-Gomez, Vice-President of Marketing for Johnson & Johnson; Lisa Logan, go-to manicurist for Beyoncé and Pat McGrath (who was not present but sent regards on video), the makeup artist who masterminds the runway’s most sought-after looks from New York to Milan. There are hundreds of jobs like these in the industry.

Scandalous Beauty Covers Essence Best in Black Beauty Awards

3. The assortment of beauty elite was dense and overwhelming. I studied the work of Baze Mpinja for years (hoping to follow in her footsteps), and there she was in front of me. Zandile Blay, who I also follow, was in the mix too. Mikki Taylor, who taught me quite a bit just a few short months ago, was seated at stage right.

4. Lisa Logan's mantra. Always be over prepared, give the client every option, if you don't know it, figure it out. She made is clear that nails are what makes her happy, and that she would succeed no matter what. Good thing she hasn't seen my nails. 

5. Speaking of the live twitter wall, we got to chose 12 products that we wanted to try. I picked L'Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow, Maybelline New York EyeStudio Master Precise Liquid Inkpen Liner, Hard Candy Lashoholic Mascara, HIPP X RGB Nail Tints, and a couple other things.  I'm looking forward to seeing if these products are really the best of the best!

For more information, check out another recap via the Huffington Post and the New York  Times.

10 Things Mikki Taylor Taught Me + Highlights From Her Book, Commander in Chic by Erin Baynham

Mikki Taylor and Erin Bailey, Scandalous Beauty Warren and I went Mikki Taylor's book signing last Friday in the District. It's been months since I've felt so excited or so eager to learn. Her book, Commander in Chic, is an homage and guide to Mrs. Michelle Obama's style. The book gives loads and loads of tips on style and beauty. I tried to purchase the book over and over again for Kindle, but it didn't work. Luckily, I purchased it at Barnes and Noble so I could have it signed. Sweet. This book came out at the perfect time for me, as I am looking to get my work chic look together.

1. Always be photo ready. I had been happily self employed for the past couple of weeks. That equals hours of time to allot to various projects, crossing things off of to-do lists, and so on. This also equals being quite conservative with savings and barely looking decent. It was a typical Friday morning when I realized Mikki Taylor would be so close to home. As panic set in over my laxidasical new look, I realized that had my upkeep been consistant, I wouldn't have to flip out over instances like this.

10 Lessons:

1. Mikki has style running through her veins. Her mother was Sarah Vaughn's hair, makeup and fashion stylist for over 10 years. She opened her own hair salon after Mikki and her brother were born.

2. Know your history. This echoed Billy B.'s sentiments about being familiar with moments in style from the past. She referenced many other first ladies and their fashion stories, as well as a plethora of trends. If I could freeze time, I would have googled everything that I didn't know. And that was A LOT.

3. Be a lady. Understand what it means to be a woman. Put the cleavage away sometimes. Mikki spoke of the process of being the woman, and not taking that for granted.

4. "Don't take trends to seriously. Your more than a season of someone's style wins." -Mikki-ism, SO true. I can't get over some of the trends people buy into, then spend good money trying to be fashionable for the moment. But, if you love the look and you don't mind wearing the look after it has been deemed a faux pas, more power to you, sis!

5. Commander In Chic is a style diary, so you can carry it around with you, write in it, make notes, etc. She said she put lots of effort into the size of the book. I'll have to carry it around in order to grab many of the products and visit the stores that she mentioned. Can't wait!

Mikki Taylor's Nude Nail Lacquer, Commander in Chic

6. Mikki is coming out with a line of nude nail lacquers for women of color, called Forever Nude Collection with Mikki Taylor. It's so hard to find those shades for us, and it's going to be essential in our beauty collections! At the time, she was wearing a shade called Commander in Chic, pictured above.

7." You should dress to entertain yourself!" Such a simple thought, such a no brainer, something that many of us rarely do.

8. I don't know why they are called cocktail rings. Fabulosity knows no hour! -M. Taylor

9. "You show me a woman with a closet full of clothes, and I'll show you a woman who doesn't know how to dress."-M. Taylor quoting an elder. It truly is about having convertible pieces that you can make look brand new over and over again. I must learn this craft!

10. When you're clear about works for you, you can shop anywhere. Ah, so true. Now, I just need to be clear about what works for my body.

Bonus: Mikki Taylor made it quite clear that God makes only one of us, and once we figure out what we're blessed to do, don't take that lightly! Go full throttle, and make it work! Don't settle. Ever. (She talks about this in chapter 10 of the book, and I'm going to highlight the hell out of it.)

Mikki also said she had a kitchen garden, which drove me wild! That's exactly what I do every year, and I can't wait to make it happen again in March. Overall, the book signing was one of the most awe inspiring hours I've spent in a long while. You can purchase Commander in Chic from Amazon or your favorite book store.