Learning How to “Leave Your Mark”

Earlier this year, Aliza Licht released her much anticipated book, Leave Your Mark. If you’ve never heard of Aliza, well currently, she is the SVP of Global Communications at Donna Karan International (Licht recently announced she is leaving DKI) and up until recently, the voice behind @dkny. Bet you follow the account, right? Well, then you were talking to Aliza, who really knows how to engage with followers!

I don’t remember exactly when I started following @dkny but I immediately loved how the handle was responding to tweets and not focusing solely on fashion. Now at this time, no one knew who was actually behind the Twitter handle but it was great to just follow along during red carpet events and even while watching some of my favorite shows like Revenge, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder. Then in 2011, the identity behind @dkny was revealed on the DKKNY PR Girl Tumblr. Everyone was excited to finally find out the person behind the curtain, but let’s fast forward to May 2015.

Leave Your Mark

After years of working in the PR business and moving up in the ranks, Licht shared with the world her tips and tricks to leaving your mark and killing it in your career. I couldn’t wait for my copy to arrive and dive right in. Yeah, I have a job but really you should never stop learning and I was intrigued to read what Licht had to say. As someone who frequently networks as an alumnae for my university, I just made sense for me to see how someone with more experience views the daunting task of landing an interview, rocking it in your career and just building up your overall brand.

In writing Leave Your Mark, Licht brings in her personal experiences, from changing majors to internships to becoming the person hiring. Personally, I honestly believe this helps in showing the reader that anything is possible, all you need to do is find your passion, set goals and have focus. She hits on important topics like “Writing a Killer Cover Letter and Rock-Solid Resumé,” “Going for the Promotion and the Raise,” “Surviving People and Politics,” “Being Socially Savvy,” and “Being Your Own Publicist,” all must-knows for getting ahead in your career. Also, one important thing that I noticed was that in a time where social media is EVERYWHERE, Licht knew she couldn’t fall behind on the happenings. I mean, she ran a successfully popular Twitter account and no one knew it was her! Girl knows how to keep a secret! For someone in her position, it was like a breath of fresh air to see someone in a VP role, just get social.

Overall, I agreed with what Licht brought to the table and recommend that everyone pick up a copy. You don’t even need to work in PR because the skill sets in Leave Your Mark can apply in any industry.

Book Review: Big Little Lies

If you couldn’t tell from my last book review, I really enjoy a good murder mystery book. Based on the summary and recommendations from friends, I knew I had to pick up Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty.

The story, which takes place in Australia, opens on the night of the murder which occurs during a trivia night fundraiser.

Credit: Goodreads

Credit: Goodreads

Moriarty doesn’t revel too much but let’s the reader know a murder has taken place and there is complete pandemonium as the local police try to figure out what actually happened. We even get statements from various parents attending the event at the end of each chapter.

To totally through you off, the story jumps back several months to Kindergarten orientation day. New to town, Jane, a young mother with a son named Ziggy, runs into a fellow mother, Madeline, who is on her way to the same orientation with her daughter Chloe. Madeline injured her ankle (on her 40th birthday of all days!) and Jane graciously helps her, making the two instant friends. Once the pair arrive at Pirriwee Public School, it becomes glaringly obvious that Jane is much younger than the other mothers.

While the children are at orientation, Madeline and Jane go to a local coffee shop where they are joined by Celeste, another mother who has twin boys, Max and Josh. Jane and Celeste quickly learn the school politics and the three basically agree to stick together all year. The three learn some more about each other, like Madeline’s ex-husband’s daughter is also attending Pirriwee, Jane is raising Ziggy on her own and Celeste’s husband is constantly traveling on business. As the story continues, Moriarty dives deeper into each woman.

Upon arriving back at the school, Ziggy is accused of injuring another little girl, who’s mother of course is not exactly friendly with Madeline. As a result the lines between parents become drawn and the school kind of takes off from there. Ziggy and Jane become subject to petitions from parents trying to get him expelled and even though she has her own stuff going on Madeline is quick to step up and defend her friend. Additionally, Ziggy is almost at that age of wanting to know his father, a man Jane had a one-night stand with and she’s not even close to letting herself go there with a five year old. She does confide in both Madeline and Jane who are of course sympathetic to the entire situation.

Madeline’s teenage daughter Abigail, whom she raised alone, has started to rebel and doesn’t exactly see eye-to-eye anymore with her mother. Abigail now thinks her step-mother Bonnie is such a role model and starts to emulate her qualities, right down to advocating rights of women and become vegan. Madeline is not too pleased with these developments, especially since her ex-husband decided to start a new family and live in the same town, but grudgingly lets Abigail move-in with her father. I felt as though this change needed to happen in Madeline’s life so she could see things and people a little differently. Her opinion about several parents, including her ex-husband’s wife changes for the better.

Now for Celeste. It’s really true what they say, you never know what goes on behind closed doors. Unfortunately for Celeste, her what looks like a perfect marriage is anything but. Her husband, who is frequently traveling for work, hits her and for silly reasons. Of course he swears every time it’ll never happen again and buys expensive things to make Celeste happy, but that peace only lasts for a few weeks, if that. It takes a lot, but Celeste finds the strength to finally talk to someone and starts to plan a life with her twins alone in a small apartment. Sadly for Celeste, her husband finds out the night of the fundraiser and that’s when all of the secrets start to come out…even which child is actually the Kindergarten bully!

But wait, who dies? I can’t tell you that. I’m sure you’re thinking one thing, I know I was while reading, but Big Little Lies provides for one huge twist you won’t see coming. If you love a really good page tuner, this is the book for you!! By the last 50 pages or so, my jaw was basically on the floor but all the developments. Moriarty doesn’t disappoint and I hear her other books are just as good!!

Things We Love This Week – 4/24/15

It’s that time of the week! Here are Things We Love This Week…

Brittany:

I JUST finished a really great book which had been on my “to-read” list for quite some time. Big Little Lies is a story of whodunit and didn’t disappoint. Without giving too much away (I’m definitely doing a book review next week), the story opens the night of a trivia night fundraiser at a school in Australia, where someone is tragically killed. Of course with school politics, the police are unable to get a clear answer on what happened from the parents. Liane Moriarty did an amazing job of going back to the beginning when the school year started and in developing the characters. Her character and story development really turns Big Little Lies into a page-turner. Definitely a book I’d recommend to everyone!

Big Little Lies

Rose:

While I’ve been listening for awhile, I’ve been really addicted to the Strangers podcast lately. The show is a really intimate look at love, heartbreak and the lives of people all around the world. The idea of the podcast is to get listeners to feel compassion for complete strangers. Lea Thau, host, has a really compelling voice. Its scratchy and sexy and, I think, easy to listen to. Which is really funny because she had been told by many people that her voice would never work on radio. If you’re familiar with The Moth, a storytelling program, Lea was a big part of the creation of it and was a director for many years.

The podcast is an interview of someone different every week, with Lea’s insights and feelings woven throughout. Some stories are really uplifting, while others make you just want to climb under blankets and have a good cry. If you have some free time, check out some of the older episodes – especially the ones Lea does about herself (the Love Hurts series chronicles Lea’s love life and investigates why she is single, she even calls old boyfriends!) Check it out online or wherever you get your podcasts!

Photo Credit: KCRW Strangers

Photo Credit: KCRW Strangers

Things We Love This Week – 4/10/15

Hope you didn’t miss us too much! We’ve been super busy and crazed over the past two weeks. As a treat, we’re giving you a double dose of the Things We Love This Week.

Brittany:

So technically both of my things started last week but they’ll be around for awhile….I’m sure.

First off, Younger premiered on TV Land last week and stars Sutton Foster, Debi Mazar and Hilary Duff. It’s also by the creator of Sex & the City so I figured why not give it a shot? I mean I’ve always been a Hilary Duff for years! Hello, Lizzy McGuire! So Younger follows the life of Liza Miller, a 40-year-old in the middle of a divorce with a teenage daughter, who tries to get back in the working world only to discover she’s too old. Thankfully, she has very youthful skin and looks 26, which a cute guy (Nico Tortorella) in the bar believes. Yes, they do start dating. Don’t want to give away any spoilers but it’s definitely interesting to see Sutton try to figure out Twitter and how to make a hashtag trend. The show mainly takes place in Brooklyn and midtown Manhattan. I’ve actually seen some of the signs near my office in Brooklyn, so you know I’m hoping I run into them one day. 😉

Credit: TV Land

Credit: TV Land

Another show premiered last weeks and it’s FILLED with laughs. If you’ve ever watched the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, you know he’s known for creating sketches that are shared all over the internet the next day. One sketch was lip synch battles, which would pit him against his celebrity guests for the night lip synch songs. Since it was a huge success, they turned it into a show on Spike TV. Lip Sync Battle is hosted by LL Cool J and Chrissy Teigen and two celebrities go head-to-head each week performing two songs. The first episode was Jimmy Fallon against The Rock and you have to watch this video The Rock posted. Overall the show is worth watching and the celebs pull out all the stops in the hopes of being the Lip Sync Battle championship belt.

Credit: Spike TV

Credit: Spike TV

Rose: 

I’ve always loved yoga, but after I got hit by a car a few years ago (another story for another day), I’ve been pretty inflexible, especially in my back and hips. I did some physical therapy and it helped a bit, but I’ve been a little embarrassed to go to classes because I’m working my way into poses at a totally different speed than others. But, I discovered Yoga with Adriene, a YouTube yoga class, and I am totally obsessed. Adriene, the woman leading the videos, is super relatable and not at all over the top like some other yoga videos I’ve tried to do, and she really encourages you to do what feels good. So if my back is being iffy one day, she has one or two modifications that really do feel great. And she has a bunch of different videos – some for beginners, some short, some long, some for if you’re feeling sick, some for when you’re at your desk and need a stretch – you will definitely find something your speed. If you’re new to yoga, or at all intimidated by it – I would absolutely check out her channel. It is my new favorite way to start the day!

Credit: Yoga with Adriene

Credit: Yoga with Adriene

Another thing i’ve been obsessed with lately is Padmapper. This is not at all a new tool, but has been a great tool for us as we get closer to our move date. I’m an over-planner and, while we’ve narrowed down where we want to live to two neighborhoods, I want to know more about the walkability, the price range, what the apartments look like etc. Padmapper pulls in posts from several housing-posting sites (including Craigslist) and lays them all out on a map and you can overlay a “Walk Score” so you can see which areas are more walker-friendly. We’re heading to Columbus in May to hopefully find an apartment and sign a lease, so I am anxiously looking forward to that moment.

Source: Padmapper.com

Source: Padmapper.com

Rant: The Overuse of Hashtags

Occasionally, my friends and I will discuss things that really piss us off (normal). I could probably have full on rants every single day if I tried, but for now let’s just leave it to once a week.

This week, I NEED to discuss how people overuse hashtags.

In the past two years, friends have expanded their use of social media to include not just Facebook. (LOVE it!) They’ve discovered the enjoyment of platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.

But with these new social media accounts comes amateur hour. *rolls eyes*

Credit: Social Marmalade

Credit: Social Marmalade

I don’t mind seeing pics from your trips, what you’re eating or throwbacks (there are things but we’ll get to that in another post), but stop excessively using hashtags. Over the past couple of months, I’ve tried to understand the need of 10+ hashtags in one single post and am left scratching my head. Some are trying to gain new followers. But remember, QUALITY over quantity is best!

Personally, I try to use no more than 5 hashtags and they all relate to the picture. This week, I felt the need to beg everyone to calm it down. I get that you love what you posted, but be mindful that not everyone cares to see hashtags the length of a paragraph. And note, I will most likely unfollow you. #NoShame 😉

OK, that’s the end of this week’s rant.

Things We Love This Week – 3/27/15

We’re constantly sharing things with each other throughout the week and thought why not share two things we’re loving each week here on our blog. Below are our inaugural finds!

Brittany:

It wasn’t until I stumbled across Serial that I listened to my first podcast. I know super weird but luckily I was hooked. This week, I discovered another podcast that I need to share with the world – Currently! Hosted by John Trasher and Daryn Carpe, friends who met at work, Currently focuses on life in New York City, pop culture and other happenings. I should mention that I know John, thanks to a little thing called the MTV TJ Search (long story), and he did not put me up to including this on our blog.

Currently

Honestly, I loved hearing their thoughts on issues that every 20-something deals with, especially in New York City. Topics range from how dating or whatever you want to call it is hard in NYC to pop culture events. If you don’t believe me just check it out and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed! You can catch up on all nine episodes on their websites or through iTunes.

Rose:

If you’re interested in the tech or social media spaces at all, you probably have heard about Twitter’s new live streaming app, Periscope (a direct competitor to recent media baby, Meerkat). With this new platform you can follow others (friends, celebrities, news organizations etc.) and get push notifications whenever they are live streaming.

I think Periscope is about to change the face of citizen journalism. The app only launched yesterday and thousands of people heard about the explosion in the East Village seconds after it happened thanks to Periscope; far before it was covered on Twitter or in traditional media.

But beyond current events, the app is already being used a thousand different ways – I watched a woman cook her “famous” chicken biryani, a speaker at a social media summit and my co-worker at an event. I’m really interested to see how the community grows. I hope I stay up on it and it doesn’t turn into another app that just takes up space on my phone (I’m looking at you Vine).

photorealistic_logo

Book Review: The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the Train Cover

Credit: Goodreads

A few weeks I finished reading The Girl on the Train and honestly it has really lived up to the hype. If you’ve been living under a rock the past couple of months, everyone is calling Paula Hawkins’ novel the next Gone Girl. I mean it’s been on the bestsellers list for weeks now!

While the story starts off slow and sort of confusing, Hawkins develops the complex character of Rachel Watson as she commutes every morning and focuses on one row of houses during her ride. Every morning, Rachel watches “Jess and Jason” as they live their lives, ironically a few doors down from her former home, until one day things change. From what she sees one morning then doesn’t another morning brings Rachel into an intense investigation and has everyone questioning who she is and what she wants. Due to excessive drinking and unreliable information, Rachel isn’t the model witness to help crack the case in this thriller.

It’s honestly very hard to write this review without giving up too much information. Hawkins’ writing style is very similar to Flynn’s style in Gone Girl  and she tells the story through the eyes of three women, leaving readers to occasionally scratch their heads. I couldn’t put the book down and was hungry for more with each page. I would recommend this book to anyone who has read Gone Girl or Reconstructing Amelia. Goodreads rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Live from New York…

…It’s the Saturday Night Live’s 40th Anniversary Special!

SNL 40Credit: SNL Facebook Page

Sunday night Lorne Michaels gave America quite the treat by bringing Saturday Night Live cast members (past and present) and notable celebrities together for an evening we won’t soon forget. To celebrate 40 years of laughter, memorable characters and sketches were brought back for the special occasion. Thanks to my mom, I was introduced to SNL in middle school and was definitely hooked. In my opinion, the early 2000s was definitely one of the best times to start watching as a new viewer. Cast members included Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Jimmy Fallon, Tracy Morgan and countless others who’ve gone on to have successful television and movie careers. Now back to Sunday night…the special definitely made me laugh and I wanted to share some of my favorite scenes.

(*Note: We had trouble embedding some of the videos, but there are links.)

  1. Weekend Update

Since 1975, more than 20 cast members have anchored the Weekend Update desk, leaving behind their own mark. The 40th anniversary special brought Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Jane Curtain back to the WU desk and it was AMAZING! I can’t lie, Jane’s crack at FOX News was so on point. In true Weekend Update form, the ladies made jokes about the special and invited others to pay tribute to some of their favorite SNL characters. Definitely my favorite part of the night!

  1. Opening with Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake

Assuming that you don’t live under a rock, Jimmy Fallon’s friendship with Justin Timberlake shouldn’t be a surprise to you. For a few years now, Justin has stopped by the Late Show and Tonight Show to talk hashtags or rap a few classic songs with Jimmy. Their opening monologue Sunday night was a tribute to SNL catchphrases over the years with some special appearances from characters like Mary Katherine Gallagher and Debbie Downer.

 

  1. Celebrity Jeopardy

It wouldn’t be an SNL special without Celebrity Jeopardy. Will Farrell once again played Alex Trebek and was joined by Sean Connery (Darrell Hammond) and Burt Reynolds (Norm Macdonald). Darrell Hammond killed it and of course misread the categories, like “Who Reads” became “Whore Ads”. A few other characters like Justin Bieber and Matthew McConaughey popped up and added to this hilarious sketch.

 

  1. Tracy Morgan Tribute

As I mentioned before, Tracy was part of the cast when I started watching Saturday Night Live. Unfortunately, he is still at home recovering from the horrific car accident he was in last year. To make sure he was part of this epic night, Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin, two of Morgan’s 30 Rock cast mates, introduced a sketch from one of Tracy’s reoccurring roles, Brian Fellows. I honestly jumped with excitement since Brian Fellows is hands down one of my favorite SNL characters. Definitely YouTube his other Brian Fellows sketches, you won’t be disappointed.

  1. Wayne’s World

Wayne and Garth returned for another round of Wayne’s World and presented an SNL-themed Top 10 List. Along with listing Lorne at number two with a thank you for 40 amazing years, the duo named the SNL crew number one, because let’s face it, nothing would go on without them! Wayne and Garth even threw a few jabs at Kanye, who was in the audience. They let him know they think Beck is better than Beyonce.

 

Overall, the night had so many high points, I didn’t even mind the awkward lows. I can’t wait to see what Lorne and the crew have to offer over the next 40 years! If you missed the special, have no fear; NBC has posted it online in two parts (Part 1 & Part 2). What were some of your favorite moments from the special? Did you feel like anything was missing?