BADDIES & BOSSES TAKE TULUM: HERE’S ALL THE FASHION TIPS YOU NEED for a summer getaway

As seen on AsiaMillia.com

Fashion and Fitness Influencer @missasiamilia who runs  @curves.n.cardio,  while also writing for InStyle and FashionBombDaily penned a blog for the B is for Boss Squad to prepare for our Baddies & Bosses Retreat in Tulum, Mexico. We're just 16 days away from our all-inclusive baddie boss experience, complete with networking mixers, group and panel discussions, excursions, and relaxation. If you missed out on RSVPing this year for our retreat, then head on over to www.baddiesandbosses.com to get added to the list for next year!  Whether you're attending the retreat or planning your own trip this summer, the tips below are sure to have you ready to SLAY the gram in time for your next vacation. 

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The countdown is officially on! Who’s ready for the Baddies & Bosses to hit Tulum? I know I am. We’re days away from slaying an island and creating new sisterhoods amongst a handful of bosses, who are obviously baddies. I am so elated to be apart of such an amazing group of women as the official influencer on the scene covering all the major moments that will go down (because we already know they will)!

 While I’ve partied it up in Cancun three too many times, I’ve never stayed in Tulum. But, we’re in for a treat and the team is bringing the heat— from the exhilarating views of white sand beaches to the loads of tequila we’ll be drinking (and there will be plenty), this trip will be a memorable one had by all.

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You all know pictures create the perfect memories and who doesn’t want to be flooding their Instagram feeds with straight heat?! Sorry Drake, we’re not “posting pictures for people at home,” we’re showing off for our own damn self! In preparation for shutting the ‘Gram down you know the fits have to be on point right?! Here’s my top 5 fashion tips for when traveling to the official Baddies & Bosses Retreat in Tulum.

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1. Don’t over pack

It’s easier said than done, I get it. But, the reality is you pack 50,000 looks and realistically how many do you really end up wearing? Save some money and carry a carry-on and roll your looks in to save some space. If you have a bomb hat or purse that you want to pack wear it on your flight so you have more space to pack essentials. Speaking of purses—

2. Have one everyday bag

It is absolutely possible to have your beach bag, night bag, and brunch bag be one for vacation. Straw bags are on trend, but if you’re into trying something different try your hand at a more playful straw bag with colors, one that differs from the purse that everyone carries. ASOS has a cute one here.

 3. Pack a few layers

Luckily temperatures will be scorching hot while we’re in Tulum, but don’t get it twisted— the temperature drops significantly on islands for some reason. I’m not saying to pack a hoodie and sweat pants, but definitely pack a maxi dress or 2 and a look with some sleeves, don’t get sick trying to be cute! Also, the airplane is always freezing cold—throw on your cutest leggings to ensure you stay comfortable in-flight.

4. Read the itinerary and prepare your looks now

You didn’t think we weren’t going to be in formation right?! The retreat team worked tirelessly to create a thorough itinerary for the weekend. From Thursday’s flirty PJ’s to Friday’s color coded brunch and Saturday’s hot yellow swimsuits, every event requires a certain attire. Don’t wait until a few days before jet setting to place your order. Place it now so you don’t have to stalk to UPS man. FYI— stalk sales! Zara & ASOS are my go-to’s and they’re both having major sales right now. While you’re at it, be sure to check out for your swim threads priced at $25 and under, issa steal!

 5. Don’t let your clothes be your focus

Yes, we all want to be snapping it up for the ‘Gram, but don’t get so consumed in content that you forget to fulfill your true purpose of being at this retreat. Don’t leave with a bomb Instagram feed, but not a new motivated spirit to keep pushing towards your goals. That doesn’t add up sis! Arrive with the intention of a perfect balance.

Overall your clothes are only a portion of what matters on this trip. Whether you’re a beach boss babe or an edgy baddie, we’re going to manifest straight excellence on this 4 day weekend in paradise. So get ready to have a life changing weekend— understand that you will be returning home better than you left. We will celebrate current and future success and slay while we’re at it.

See you ladies soon! And, for those who won’t be at the retreat, these tips can help you for any luxurious getaway or even a weekend get away with your squad. Bon voyage, boss babe!

 

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BOSS 101: Interview with Alicia West

In honor of Women's History Month,  we're continuing #BOSS101 interviews. Life happened and I didn't post last Wednesday but wanted to make sure I ended off the month on a strong note! I'm honored to finish off this powerful month with Alicia West #JustAceIt, who I first came into contact with at a conference in 2016. However, while we only briefly connected at the conference, her candid IG stories, her ability to speak things into existence and land bomb influencer deals (hey Jordan!) is what made me realize she's def a BOSS in her own right and has an amazing story that I wanted to be sure and highlight. My goal of these #BOSS101 interviews is to give more visibility to everyday women, just like you who are making their dreams come true. It's not luck or by chance, these women work hard!  I'm so honored that Alicia took the time to catch up wand share some boss tips and behind the scenes info on how she's making a name for herself in the entertainment industry, one day at a time.

Tell us a little about yourself…

I am the digital editor for the Detroit market at Radio One. I write, produce, and shoot content for three different radio stations websites and social media. I am also an on-air talent. I host different segments for the websites as well as for my own and interview artists and other celebrities. Pretty much if it’s digital, I do it!

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What inspired you to work in Entertainment?

Ever since I can remember I wanted to work in entertainment. I was always into pop culture, pretended like I was on TV, wrote songs, sang (although I can’t hit a note if my life depended on it) and a bunch of crazy stuff I’ll refrain from mentioning. When it came time in high school to pick your potential careers, I wrote down that I wanted to be a video jock for Much Music, which is pretty much the Canadian version of MTV. I saw talent like Tyra Banks hosting ANTM, LaLa Anthony on TRL, Angie Martinez on HOT 97, Ryan Seacrest hosting American Idol and his syndicated radio shows and wanted to be just like them!

You moved from to Toronto to the U.S., tell us about that journey.

The journey has been hectic and is still crazy to this day! Since I was in middle school, I’ve been researching and planning on how I can move to the U.S. Originally the plan was to go to high school/university on a basketball scholarship but that didn’t work out as planned. After graduating in 2012 from my Radio post-grad program in Toronto, I decided to move to D.C. for an internship at WPGC. I stayed out there for 4 months before I realized I had to go back to Toronto. I didn’t have enough experience to get the work visa I needed to stay in the U.S. Then again, in 2016, after losing my job the previous year, I decided to chase after my dreams and auditioned for a program called the WEEN Academy which was held in New York City. I ended up getting into the program which meant I had to move to NYC for 4 weeks..I decided to stay until I got a job in America (which I totally did!). From there I moved to Detroit, where I have been for just over a year.

What is the craziest thing you've ever done to get a lunch/calendar meeting with someone?

I haven’t done anything crazy to secure a meeting but I do remember the first time I reached out to someone for coffee. Her name is Pauleanna Reid, a super dope writer, motivational speaker, mentor, business owner, etc. Anyways, I ended up being 15 minutes late. She wasn’t pleased and was straight up with me on why it wasn’t a good look especially as a first impression. I don’t think I was ever late for a meeting again.

How important is networking and relationships when it comes to your career?

Networking is EVERYTHING! I needed to build my network particularly in the U.S. in order to get the work permit I needed. A lot of people are scared to take chances on just anyone especially when it comes to industries like this. I feel as if you are able to really hone in on your industry relationships, they will be able to help open the doors. That doesn’t mean you will be automatically get the job, you still have to do the WORK to get those opportunities, but it makes the process of finding jobs and securing the interviews a little bit easier when you have great relationships. Now that I think of it, I’ve gotten all my jobs through references. Most hiring managers look within a company, and ask their network before hiring from external job boards.

What’s one piece of advice you have for women out there that are looking to start a career in radio/entertainment?

Be willing to work! It’s true when they say women have to work 2x hard than a man and black women have to work 2x harder than that. This is such a male dominant industry, so the respect isn’t always there. If you do your work, show your passion and don’t put up with anything, you will be able to gain the respect you need to flourish.

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What challenges do you face as a woman in your field? Specifically, what challenges do you face as a woman of color?

I have seen men be hired over women. I have seen people go to the men for answers before the females (who are actually in charge of the men). Luckily I have yet to face a challenge that was blatantly because I am a biracial female. I work for an African-American company that is owned by a woman. That is pretty empowering and allows me to feel as if I can’t be stopped.

I do feel as if the opportunities aren’t always present but that doesn’t mean we can’t do it. Over the past year we have seen plenty of women of color taking charge, and owning the space. And I believe every female needs to be unapologetic and have faith that they can do whatever they want.

You also have a brand of your own, tell us more about that.

I started justaceit.co because I needed to motivate myself to chase after my dreams. I was stuck working a regular job at an advertising agency. It was okay but it wasn't what I wanted. I knew that I wanted to work in media, so I started the blog to remind myself that whatever goals I have (whether fitness, travel, career) to always go out and just ace it. Since then it has become more than just a blog, it’s a lifestyle, a mantra. I focus on spreading positivity to women of color who are unapologetically badass through different digital mediums. On YouTube, I do videos of my experiences, and tips on how to get into the industry. Interview WOC who work in entertainment/media for my #justaceit podcast (available on iTunes), and I just started this thing called ACE-ism, where I share 30 seconds (ish) of inspiration on Instagram. I have a lot more in the works for 2018. It’s been a learning lessons trying to manage a full-time job and working on my own brand.

When trying to build your brand and expand your outreach, what components do you find most valuable?

Authenticity. If it’s fake it won’t stick. Do something you are truly passionate about. When you do, people will be more drawn to you. And, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. You really can’t become successful without stepping out of your comfort zone. Go meet people, explore your interests, put yourself in uncomfortable situations….that’s when you’ll figure out what your brand truly is.

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What inspires you?

When I see other people living their life to their fullest potential and doing great things. It honestly inspires me to step up my game. I love a person that knows how to hustle.

What Quote do you live by?

I love quotes...so much that I have my own quote book. Every time I find a quote that resonates with me, I write it down in it. One quote that’s really been on my mind lately is “Make yourself at home but don’t get comfortable.” It’s from the TV show Being Mary Jane when she moved from Atlanta to NYC. It resonated with me because I just moved to Detroit at the time of the episode airing. I now have it on a sticky note by my bedroom door so I can read it every morning. I use it as a reminder that it is okay to make a city my home, but to not let it make me complacent. It’s easy to settle when things are going okay….I don’t ever want to settle again.

How do you redefine the B Word/What’s your Boss Word?

#justaceit…..whatever you want to do is possible. Often we give ourselves a grocery list of reasons why we can’t achieve our wildest dreams. In reality, all we have to do is go out and #justaceit.

Do you have any parting words, advice, or tips, to help a millennial woman aspiring to build her brand, her career, and/or a side hustle?

I lost my job in Nov. 2015 and didn’t work for a full year. I didn’t do it because I wasn’t employable. I did it because I was tired of settling and being average. I knew my passions lived elsewhere and I was ready to sacrifice my savings, playtime and whatever other luxury I could have done if I was employed. I knew that it was what I needed to do in order to focus myself on my goals. I made a promise that I wasn’t going to go back to work until I got a job in radio, and I did just that. Anything is literally possible. Your dreams are possible. You have to go out and #justaceit.

 

BOSS 101: Interview with Karinn Chavarria

In honor of Women's History Month,  we're continuing #BOSS101 interviews every Wednesday throughout the month of March, with some bad@$$ women that are redefining the "B" word. I'm honored to continue this month off with a high school friend, Karinn, who I feel like I've witnessed blossom into this Food and Fitness Boss Lady in such a short time. It's crazy, because social media has allowed me the opportunity to keep in touch with people I may have never had the opportunity otherwise -- Karinn is definitely one of those, since I haven't seen her in over a decade; but I get to stay up to date on all her fun shenanigans via her blogging and social platforms. From Karinn's insta stories to her candid and honest posts, she's definitely someone you should be following for motivation, gymspiration, and a good laugh. Her blog and brand @feedthecurves is definitely on the rise and I'm so glad I was able to catch up with her as she offered up some boss tips on how to lean into your passions, hustle everyday, and live as your most authentic self.

Tell us a little about yourself…

My name is Karinn, I'm from Houston, TX and I'm on a mission to inspire women, minorities like myself and entrepreneurs to do what they love. I consider myself to be a hustler. I've been called that many times and I'm coming to terms with being able to say that myself. But what do I do exactly? For starters, I run a blog and brand called Feed the Curves. I'm also the co-founder of the fitness movement #FindYourSweat. I wear many hats from developing recipes for my blog to  restaurant marketing. I also curate and host events and work with companies for social media content!

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Tell us more about your blog/brand FeedTheCurves & FindYourSweat

Feed the Curves is all about celebrating your body by feeding it what it needs from the inside out. I've been overweight to emaciated and the last thing I'd want someone to do when embarking on a lifestyle change is to feel deprived or lost. So, I found a solution-- to advocate a mindful balance between food, fitness and a social life.  I'm a proponent of moderation and keeping it real so you'll find me posting a healthy meal one day then enjoying tasty libations at the newest restaurant the next.

I recently worked with Whole Foods for #VeganViernes, my weekly dose of vegan recipes, which was a highlight of 2018 so far. I'm not a vegan but I find there to be a disparity of education on the subject amongst blacks and hispanics. You can find me blog about ALL things food/fitness/and social events related on Instagram @feedthecurves. Be on the lookout for my website relaunch!

Find Your Sweat originally started as a hashtag and challenge to encourage women to find a workout that they truly enjoy and inspire them to fall in love or back in love with being active. My partner Cori and I completed 30 consecutive workouts in 30 days to showcase the variety of ways to get active in Houston. We tried everything from jiu-jitsu to samba (Brazilian dance) to boxing then posted about it on our social media channels. We quickly garnered media exposure and the response was far more than we expected and very humbling. We made a commitment to ourselves and to each other and found solace and unity when things got tough. We didn't want FYS to end after the challenge. We wanted women to experience the same camaraderie we did when you work together and not against each other. From that, the idea of hosting empowering events through fitness was born. We now host events in Houston and plan on taking it further! You can find more about our story here and subscribe to our newsletter for upcoming events here!

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Give us a little background on who Karinn is and what aspects of your early adulthood guided you to where you are now.

I'm multi-faceted and very complex to say the least. I've dabbled in so many things and experienced a lot in order to realize my potential and purpose. In college, I worked for a start-up gold trading business located inside of a grocery store. I also worked as a brand ambassador for numerous marketing agencies and events. Working both simultaneously equipped me with knowledge of running a small business, people skills and passion for production. The gold trade proved to be lucrative and soon everyone was buying and selling so the company expanded from 1 store to over 100 in a matter of a couple of years. I was there to see this company grow from conception so I fell even more in love with business. I loved it until they went corporate and I had to follow rules like a dress code haha. I received my degree in Journalism and Global Business but upon graduation my life took a different turn. Instead of pursuing journalism, I moved on a whim to Denver start my own business. At 23, I registered my first LLC and opened my first brick and mortar store in Colorado. Having my own business was great but I was pursuing a trade that my heart wasn't in. I thought that I'd be fulfilled monetarily but I hated it. I promised to never go into something that I'm not wholeheartedly willing to lose sleep for. I moved back to Houston and that's when the soul searching and going back to the drawing board began.

What inspired you to pursue a job outside of the traditional 9-5?

Because of my free-spirited nature I always knew that I didn't belong in one place but in many and I also don't do well with authority, so I knew I had to be my own boss from the beginning. But when I moved back to the H from Denver, I felt experience and tenure was lacking on resume. It was so frustrating getting back into the job market and receiving denials. That's when I really started hating the corporate world. I worked with temp agencies and couldn't find a job that suited my search for creativity and culture. I knew I was capable of anything and nobody would give me a chance. After each rejection, I thought to myself, "Like, y'all have never met me. I'm badass and can do that job just as good as the next person and probably better."

That's when I landed an Account Executive position with the Houston Press. I worked in digital and print sales with mostly restaurants and bars. This position gifted me more insight into business and events so I loved it but I also hated being a slave to the clock. When I got laid off, that added more fuel to the fire. I felt like a number, so I started thinking how I could turn my passions into a profession. I used my work experience from college and the short stint at the press to reinvent my life and say no-more to the traditional 9-5.

What is the craziest thing you've ever done to get a lunch/calendar meeting with someone?

I needed to find the owner of a bar and he was not reachable via phone. So I decided to become a bar fly and just hang out for a week until he showed up lol. I became a regular.

How important is networking and relationships when it comes to your brand/business?

You've probably heard that your network is your net worth which I can attest to. Networking is so important to your business because it gives you access to a pool of opportunity and can help you form incredible relationships. Relationships and how you nurture them are just as important. I believe having a good reputation will set you apart so be the person that you'd want to work with or for when shaking hands.

What’s one piece of advice you have for women that want to pursue a career outside of the traditional 9-5?

Be passionate about your idea and believe in yourself. The three P's of success are Passion, Persistence, and Patience.

What inspires you?

My mother's valiant and beautiful story of being an immigrant and achieving the American Dream. She moved to the U.S. from another country to live a better life. She had two children and my father left us when we were toddlers. She'd scrub toilets in order to ensure food was on the table. She built her own janitorial business. Wanting to leave that laborious industry, she sought out new opportunities. She then became the Director of Operations for a multi-million dollar company THEN opened up her own business. My mom is a self-made boss and didn't even have the resources that we have now (or know English!). She is my hero and everything I could have asked for when God blessed me with a mother. She is the reason I'm inspired by women and minorities.

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What Challenges have you faced as a woman in your field? Specifically, what challenges have you faced as a minority woman? -- if any?

I haven't personally experienced gender-bias in the blogging field because it is comprised of mostly women. However, this "crowded" space of female influencers can tend to be competitive. I hate to say it, but you'll meet some inauthentic people along the way who only have their best interest in mind. I don't view this as a big challenge though, I view it as unfortunate human nature and personality disorders hahaha.  

When trying to build your brand and expand your outreach, what components do you find most valuable?

I'd say figuring out your niche is highly valuable. You have to target the right audience to create content that connects and receive reciprocation. Without knowing these things, getting traction and engagement will be difficult. Once you have a niche, people view you as an expert in that field so you naturally gain a loyal readership/following. When you do attain this, asking for feedback from time to time is a good idea (ie. what would you like to see more of, how can I improve, how was your experience etc.).

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When we embark on a journey of building any sort of business, we imagine it going a particular way. How do you deal with inevitable disappointments?

Inevitable disappointments should be a part of the business plan. If you painted a pretty picture of your business and how it's supposed to be, let me be the first to tell you that you're in for a rude awakening. What you do with mistakes and disappointments is learn from them. Use them to strengthen your character and be constructive not destructive. Your setbacks and how you overcome them is what makes your journey that much sweeter and better. With the faith of a mustard seed and the strength of a bull, there's nothing that can stop you.

What Quote do you live by?

“A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once." - William Shakespeare

Not the most conventional or modern quote but indeed one of my all time favorites about courage and nobility. A coward has died so many times from not taking risks or standing up for what they believe in, thus dying inside numerous times before their actual death. The courageous only experience death once because they face the challenges and calamities that life throws at them.

What tips do you have for others working to be noticed by brands/partners?

Being authentic and yourself is what can set you apart. You can find me cussing, twerking, then I'm interviewing a restaurant owner. I never felt the need to be cookie cutter because it's not who I am. I'd like to think that brands like authenticity.

How do you redefine the B Word/What’s your Boss Word?

Bold- Bold are those who take risks and get to where they need to be regardless of circumstance. Be bold in your word, your presence, your conviction. I believe that bold women rule the world.

Any parting words for the #BossTribe?

Don't compare yourself to someone else and don't give yourself excuses. Excuses and comparisons has killed many dreams. I know it can be daunting to take a risk but face your fear and do it anyways, pave your own road of success. You're never too old or too late in the game so start now! As I like to say, one persons chapter 27 is another's first page.

 

BOSS 101: Interview with Maya Allen

In honor of Women's History Month,  I'm bringing back #BOSS101 interviews every Wednesday throughout the month of March, with some women that are redefining the "B" word. I'm so excited to kick this month off with this gem, that I met last year at a mutual friend's birthday party. I was instantly in love with her personality (and bomb highlighter). She is creating waves in the beauty industry and truly redefining the "B" word when it comes to beauty, branding and a being boss. You have probably read one of articles or seen one of her viral videos on the likes of Cosmpolitan or Byrdie. When we met, my blog hadn't launched but I knew then, when it did I definitely wanted to feature her. I'm so glad I was able to catch up with her as she offered up some boss tips... get your pen and paper ladies! Maya took us to school with this interview. Class is in session!

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Tell us a little about yourself…

I’m Maya. I’m originally from Portland Oregon and a proud Howard University alumna where I majored in journalism. I’ve always been inspired by the power of words and using storytelling as a way to uplift humanity, particularly women. I truly believe in radiating self-love and spreading positivity. The world needs more love so I put forth that philosophy first in everything I do.

Give us a little background on who Maya Allen is and what aspects of your early adulthood guided you to where you are now.

I’m constantly evolving. But being a dreamer has always been a constant in my life. I truly believe I was destined to become a writer. I was born with an undeniable connection to words. Growing up, I collected every issue of American Girl, Seventeen, and Teen Vogue magazine. My adolescent eyes would be entranced by the covers of my mother’s monthly subscriptions to Jet, Ebony, and ESSENCE magazine. The stories I read inside of these slick, glossy pages greatly contributed to my womanhood. I also collected journals and writing became a very personal and therapeutic hobby for me at a young age. And it still is today. I always yearned to see more women who looked like me in the magazines I felt so deeply connected to. This propelled me to pursue a career in editorial. Now as a beauty editor,  I use my voice and platform to tell the stories I needed to read as a young woman. In the cultural climate of today’s society, I take my responsibility to spread representation in mainstream media as an honor. It’s what keeps me going.

Tell us more about your job at Byrdie and what the transition from Cosmopolitan has been like.

At Byrdie, I work on a team of the most talented editors creating fresh, forward-thinking content for the beauty-obsessed woman. I cover beauty, health, and wellness. The transition from Cosmopolitan.com has been amazing, because I’m still in the digital editorial space learning new ways to tell stories that will resonate with our readers. I’m fully immersed in the beauty world covering well-reported features, interviewing celebrities, and beauty experts. It’s been so fulfilling to see my writing transform overtime.  

Speaking of Cosmopolitan, you were making waves there, creating a true lane for women of color before you decided to go. Why the switch?

I wouldn’t trade my time at Cosmopolitan.com for the world. It was my first “big girl” job in the industry and my experience was incredibly valuable. There, I learned how to think visually and package my feature stories on a bigger level. It was the most ideal start to my journey of becoming an exceptional editor, storyteller, and most importantly a hard worker who knows how to think strategically and critically in today’s digital age. My former bosses and team members at Cosmo have become mentors and close friends. I’m always seeking new challenges and ways to professionally stretch myself while building my digital repertoire. I’ve been an avid reader of Byrdie since its inception a few years ago. Learning how to cater my writing and editorial skills to a more niche, beauty-obsessed audience of smart women intrigued me to make the jump. It’s been an amazing experience thus far.

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I had a similar situation, where I left a dream job for another job and people couldn't believe it. But I knew in my heart it was right. What piece of advice do you have for women who stay in jobs/CAREERS because of the influence of others?

I was so taken back by the overwhelming amount of responses I received after I made the announcement that I’d be starting a new job. I knew that I’d successfully tapped into a new demographic at Cosmo, which built a lot of my loyal readers who follow my work. But I had no idea that so many people I didn’t know were so personally invested in my career. To be honest, I didn’t know how to handle the overwhelming amount of Instagram DMs, text messages, calls, and emails that flooded my inbox inquiring about my transition and my next step. Some people’s unsolicited advice about my choice to evolve professionally were negative. And this feedback was coming from people I didn’t even know. I had to take a step back, center myself, and realign my thoughts away from all of the noise. I’m naturally an extrovert, but when it comes to my dreams I’m an extreme  introvert and selective about who I share them with. This was a decision I made for myself and I knew that it’d serve me well and the millions of potential readers I was doing it for. My advice is to live life on your own terms. A strong sense of self will elevate you higher and higher. You’re the author of your own story so write it however the hell you want.

You have had a couple videos/photos go viral. What's your secret?

It’s so exciting working in digital media because I’m staying submerged in all corners of the internet every single day. I’m a beauty girl at heart, so I always know what’s having a moment. It’s not only about knowing the latest trends, but becoming an expert on how people like to digest and consume content. In terms of video and photo-heavy features, I credit lots of my viral content to being on the pulse of beauty. But I like to package things differently in ways that haven’t been done before. I always think to myself: how can I elevate this concept and tell this story visually in a new, authentic, and innovative way? I stay abreast of up-and-coming hairstylists, makeup artists, and influencers that haven’t been discovered yet. I’m constantly seeking inspiration and I use my sharp visual aesthetic with my editorial eye to create relatable content that speaks to all women.

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What inspired you to work in your industry?

Growing up, I never felt included in the conversation in mainstream media. I grew up in a predominately white environment and was always the token black girl. Outside of my immediate family, I didn’t see the celebration of black beauty anywhere. Our rich culture, skin tones, hair textures, body shapes were excluded. You could barely find us on the covers of magazines, on advertisements, or on big screens. I wanted to change that. I wanted to use my infinite love of words to inspire women who don’t deserve to be an afterthought.  It’s so fulfilling to work in beauty and create concepts that celebrate and empower women of color. There’s truly no greater feeling.

How important is networking and relationships when it comes to your brand/business?

Good relationships are one of the core values of success. I wouldn’t be where I am today without my mentors who’ve been there for me through every step of my professional journey. There’s a big difference between organic and forced relationships, though. Since the beginning of my intern days over six years ago, I’ve made it a point to be kind to every single person I come in contact with—from the Editor-In-Chief down to the messenger who delivers packages all day and the janitors who are at the office with me late at night when I’m still working. I’ve made it a priority to build authentic relationships and friendships with people in the industry because it’s important. I’ve cultivated those relationships because you never know where that person will end up or how that relationship can professionally propel you further. My former bosses while I was interning have turned into close colleagues and friends of mine. However, people make the mistake of strategically building relationships with only themselves in mind. I can’t stress enough that it’s not only about you. I wish I could show some of the messages I’ve recieved that simply state: Hi, I know you don’t know me but how can you help me? When approaching someone for professional advice you have to come correct. Do you read their work? Or do you just follow them on Instagram and think they’re cool? Those are two very separate things. I’m a strong believer that all relationships need to be reciprocal. My mentors teach me things and I learn from my mentees, it’s a constant exchange of knowledge, which comes from experience, and I value that. My “brand” (I use that word loosely because I feel like it’s used too fluidly nowadays) is not about me—I do everything to be of service to other women. When you realize that the core of your career is bigger than you, you’ll excel. You’ll naturally want to connect and collaborate with dope people and do dope shit. It truly takes a village.

What’s one piece of advice you have for women that want to work at A magazine?

You better get ready to work, girl. And I truly mean you need to be willing to put in the work. Lots of women reach out to me and tell me they want to work for magazines but nine times out of ten they have such a glamorous perspective of the industry—it’s not 100% glam. Actually, if we’re being honest, most of my career has been a combination of sleepless nights and early mornings at the office. With that being said, enter in the industry for the right reasons. Interning is so incredibly valuable. Take your internships seriously because they can turn into your job. Be the first one at your office and the last one to leave. Build a good rapport and solid trust with your editors so they allow you to take on responsibilities beyond the traditional “intern” role. To do that, act as if you’re an integral member of the team and allow your work to show for it. Pay attention to detail, go above and beyond, know when to speak up and when to be a sponge on the wall and soak up your experience. Understand that to write well, you must practice the craft daily with the intention to improve.

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What Challenges do you face as a woman in your field? Specifically, what challenges do you face as a black woman?

Black women, understand that we’ll always need to work twice as hard. If everyone’s at 100%, I’m aiming for 150%. It’s the way of the world we live in, and we’re more than capable to handle everything that comes our way. As a black women working in the media, I truly believe it’s my innate responsibility to put on for my sisters every single day. I’m constantly pushing our stories to the forefront of my coverage because the world needs us. With that being said, I feel a lot of pressure from that duty to push representation forward and tell our stories the right way, since they’ve historically been told the wrong way or not told at all. However, I’m so fortunate to be surrounded by magical black girls in my life who constantly pour into me. That love I receive transcends and touches every aspect of my life—professionally and personally. So, in retrospect every challenge becomes a blessing in disguise.

When trying to build your brand and expand your reach, what components do you find most valuable?

Be genuine. With the rise of social media, everything is becoming oversaturated and clouded by a facade. People are judging your life based on your Instagram page, which is nothing but a highlight reel and not real life. In order to move and maneuver in these waters, showcase authenticity. When your purpose goes beyond the surface of self-righteous pursuits, everything will fall in line.

When we embark on a journey of building any sort of business or brand, we imagine it going a particular way. How do you deal with inevitable disappointments?

I’m my biggest critic so this is tough. Being a perfectionist is a double-edged sword because not everything is going to go as planned and I’m still learning how to be completely unafraid of failure. When I’m in the midst of disappointment, I hold on tight to the belief that everything that is for me is for me and will not pass me by. I’ve gotten so many NO’s and doors slammed in my face (literally and figuratively) but I’m so grateful that I didn’t let that stop me. People are surprised when I share my disappointments because for some reason it seems like I’ve had the ideal career. There have been times when I’ve felt so low in my career. I’ve nearly lost myself in my work before, which became a vicious and unhealthy cycle. I’ve learned to never lose who I am working to please someone else, no matter the job, position, or title. I had to pick myself back up. Instead of sitting in my thoughts for too long and harboring self-doubt, I step away and remind myself of my why. Being gentle with myself, practicing gratitude, and self-care has saved me.

What inspires you?

Black excellence. I’m so proud of US. I jump at the opportunity to sing our praises, showcase our beauty, and remind everyone of our magic. I truly believe Black women are God’s gift to the earth, so my sisters are my number one source for inspiration.

What Quote do you live by?

It’s impossible for me to pick just one. From the woman I was named after: “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”—Maya Angelou

From Marianne Williamson: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

How do you redefine the B Word/What’s your Boss Word?

Be unapologetic. I know that I have a gift and I’m on a mission to reach the highest, truest, fullest expression of myself.

Any parting words to inspire and help a woman reading this that is inspiring to build her brand, her career, and/or a side hustle?

Know that you’re that girl. You have a superpower and no one can take that away from you. Celebrate your life, your losses, your wins, and your failures, because they’re all a part of your testimony. I don’t look like what I’ve been through because I know my very best is yet to come. This is just the beginning.

If you're not already, go follow this gem @mayaalenaa to catch her glowing up your insta feeds with her latest beauty photos and articles.

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5 LESSONS I LEARNED FROM LIVING IN NYC FOR 5 YEARS

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This month marks 5 years since I hopped on a one-way flight with two suitcases to my new home, in the city that never sleeps. To celebrate this momentous occasion, I've been reading a book: Where will you be five years from today? It's really had me reflect on all I've experienced these past five years, and what the next five have in store. 

To say that the time has flown by, would be a slight exaggeration, however I honestly am in awe at how much time has actually passed. It's really allowed me to reflect on the trials, tribulations and triumphs I have experienced in this wonderful city-- and most of all, it has made me extremely grateful for all I have experienced.

Every single thing -- from losing my wallet, to being laid off, to looking for an apartment, to being homesick, to finding a new job, making friends, losing friends, heart break, to the dancers on the subway, I wouldn't take back a single thing. 

You see, when I set out on this journey, I knew two people. I wasn’t planning to stay for five years. I wasn’t really planning my future at all. I was only focused on the present: getting a job in sports and entertainment and then I'd figure out everything else along the way. 

Suddenly, five years passed -- and while this city has drove me crazy at times and there were days I called my mom sobbing and mornings I could hardly get out of bed, more than anything, thing I feel an immense amount of gratitude toward this city for helping me grow into who I am today. It’s become part of my identity, and has been worth all the struggles that come along with it.

While living in New York isn’t easy by any means, I believe that if you can last here long enough so it feels like home, you can look around and marvel at how far you’ve come, and the city will pay you back for all it put you through — and more. Here are five lessons I’ve learned from the big city about work, love, and life in general.

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1. Do what you love! Figure the rest out later.

When I left home, plenty of people thought I was making a mistake (including my parents, although they would likely deny it today). I had a good job working at Google, but I was unfulfilled. I knew deep down, I wanted to work in Sports and that I wanted more out of life. I desired a career I loved and to experience something new and different. 

New York, definitely gave me WAY more than what I bargained for, but I know without a doubt that the trajectory of my career, my views on the world, politics, people and life in general has grown exponentially more than they would have, if I had stayed in Texas where I was more comfortable.

I am now living a life that I love because I created it to resemble my passions. From my job, to this blog,  New York taught me to always do what I love. Being surrounded by so many people doing the same doesn't hurt. NYC has definitely introduced me to some amazing people and entrepreneurs that show me everyday that it's possible to do what you love as long as you have the drive to pursue it.

2. Network, Network, Network

New York can be very lonely, if you're note careful. You’d think that because New York City is so crowded, it would be impossible to feel lonely but at times I've felt the loneliest, in spite of constantly being surrounded by people.

Personally, I’ve learned that networking is essential to both my professional and social life. While, it's expensive to eat out and meet up for dinner multiple nights per week, networking events and meeting people for coffee is a creative way to make sure you are getting the much need social time, while creating friendships and hopefully forging new business relationships if you're lucky.

It's crazy to me that I moved here knowing two people, and now I literally know hundreds. Since being here, I've been able to connect with people, be presented with job and businesss opportunities, speaking engagements, non profit and volunteering endeavors, you name it. 

In New York, the opportunity to network is endless if you are willing to break out of your shell and make the connections.

3. Be Open to Others Differences

In New York City you can find people from all over the world and from all walks of life. And everyone has a story (debatable on which ones are real or not). But regardless, the diversity in this city is what I feel makes it so great. I've met people from various backgrounds, countries, cultures, and religions. Some I've never even heard of, and it's been a game-changer for my own personal growth.

Growing up, I didn't realize how much I had been sheltered from. I don't think it was all intentional, however I do believe it was very narrow. Being in New York City, I feel like I have a new appreciation for things different than me, because I've learned so much from others. Similar to the same feeling/awareness that I experience when traveling outside the country, New York is its own little hub of awesome people and experiences. 

When I came here five years ago, I was in awe and willing to learn. After some self discovery and reflection, I think I've helped shape a more well rounded view of the world and I'm a better, more educated person because of it.

4.  You have to be able to stand on your own.

Living in New York has taught me that nothing in life is guaranteed and you’ve got to be able stand on your own two feet. It may sound cynical, but I’ve learned you can’t necessarily expect anyone—a boss, a friend, a building superintendent—to be there for you.

At one job, I was called in a room with eight other people and they let the entire room go, and had a police escort us out the building. Talk about RUDE! This was the second time in my first year in NYC, that I had gone unemployed but first time I had been "let go".

I definitely had fears this would be the nail in the coffin that would send me back to Texas, but luckily God had other plans. I've been blessed to not experience it again since I've moved here, however in 5 years, I've seen two of my bosses get fired. At another job, I had a handful of close friends get laid off, which while it didn't effect my income, it definitely impacted my day-to-day. We get in these routines with our coworkers, so when they are suddenly gone, it's definitely jarringn and can effect how much you enjoy a job with some of my "work besties" no longer there. At another job, I left right before a huge round of layoffs. It's a cold world, but nobody cares. 

My landlord doesn't care that I lost my job. The person on the subway doesn't care that you're having a bad day. And your boss had to struggle to, so they are just as ready to say, thank you but no thank you! At the end of the day, no matter how many times I got knocked down, I was able to stand on my own (eventually).

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5. Expect the unexpected (and Save $$ for it)

You know that layoff I was just telling you about. I definitely didn't walk into work expecting it. Thankfully, I had some money saved up to help me the two months I was unemployed. However, it wasn't hardly enough. If I had went another two weeks without a job, I would have been screwed. 

You know what else I didn't expect? To owe $2,000 in taxes after I got laid off. I also didn't expect to come home from a trip to Thailand and the apartment above me to have leaked for two days straight because they were also out of town. Or the time I was locked outside of my apartment and had to call a locksmith, or the time I lost my wallet, the day before I had a trip planned out of the country. (Thankfully, someone used my business card inside to contact me after I left it on the subway -- there are good people in this city.) 

I didn't expect to be ripped off, the countless times I have been smh. I also didn't expect for my metro card to inflate (it used to be $110.50 when I first moved here, it's now $121, because NYC decided to.  Or for the toll to be $40 when I had Uhaul when I was moving into my apartment. But it happened, and I was ready-ish.

But at the end of the day, I've survived. Thanks to my ability to always put away something for emergencies.

6. (*BONUS) If You Can Make It Here, You Can Make It Anywhere

JayZ said it best -- this place truly is the "concrete jungle where dreams are made of". If you embrace it, this city will allow you every opportunity to chase your dreams, to explore, to push the boundaries, to laugh, to love, to grow up, and to act younger than your age. New York will raise you up and it will knock you down. And in the end, what they say is true…if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. 

I've never felt so empowered, capable, and confident in my life than I do in New York City. Literally everything I could think of, I've either seen, faced, or encountered during my time in NYC.  

Cheers to the next 5 years and whatever the future holds!

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THE GRIND ISN'T ALWAYS GLAMOROUS

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It's been a minute since we had the Conquer Your Year Webinar Part 1 & 2, and I wanted to  check-in and see how my tribe was doing on their goals. I hope you're still using your Conquer Your Year ebook to keep you on track.If you still haven't purchased the Conquer Your Year Ebook, it's not too late. Purchase it here. I promise it will change the way you set and accomplish your goals. 

Since we are 40 days into the new year, now is the time you should be doing a check-in to make sure you are on par for your Q1 goals. 

I know for me personally, January kicked my a**. I hit a lot of goals, but I missed a lot too. Between coming off of the holidays, hosting my first event, planning a second event, on-boarding a new person to help me out with @TheBisForBoss and Super Bowl with 13 clients for my 9-5 (read 9-8), I had a busy month. Unfortunately, I didn't get to dedicate as much time to several of the goals I sought out to do outside of my job.  

However, the beautiful thing about goals, is that you don't have to throw the whole goal away. Sometimes you just need to adjust the timeline.

Last weekend I made a choice, I sat down and did a progress report to recalibrate and see where I hit my goals and where I fell short last month. It was a humbling exercise but very necessary. I was reignited with some of that new year excitement I had just 4 weeks ago to crush my goals. 

Comment below and let me know how you have been doing on your goals? What were your BIG wins in January? What's been challenging these first 40 days into the new year? Accountability? Feeling Uninspired? Time Management? I want to hear from you.

Also, if you have any questions you would like to ask me live, I'm bringing back Tea With My B's and I've revamped it and I am adding in a IG Live element to make it more interactive. Join me each and every Thursday at 8:30pm EST.