New Beginnings


It’s definitely been a little while since we chatted. Life happens, and before you know it a year has gone by and you’re watching the seasons change and lipstick shades go from light to dark. In one of my last posts, I shared a bit of my story by way of an emotionally charged episode of Being Mary Jane, and truth be told, the downside of that is what has kept me away for so long. You can read more of that story, but in my time away I’ve made it a point to focus on what makes my heart smile again, and this little slice of personal literary heaven encourages that. I’m SO back, because suppressing passion is like a slow leak in a tire, and I have places to be!


One step in the direction of growth and potential power moves was being accepted to LIM College in NYC! It’s the Laboratory Institute of Merchandising, but I’m assuming that in their quest for a “hip”, easy-to-remember acronym, they decided on LIM. In my running away from what I KNOW I needed to pursue, I applied to a program not even remotely related to business or fashion, and I got straight DENIED… by my alma mater, at that. Low blow for sure, but it was for good reason. I am so happy that happened because it caused me to really sit back and evaluate what it was that I really wanted.

I LOVE fashion. I LOVE business. I LOVE learning. Anyone that knows me (or has only been following me on social media for like 2 hours) knows this. I needed to follow my passion, and I am so happy that I went for it! I just started my first week in the Fashion Marketing MPS graduate program, and I couldn’t feel more in my element! It seems like everything is falling back into place. All of a sudden I’m getting invites to NYFW events, feeling inspired to write again, rocking my personal, distinct style (I definitely went through a sweatpants and baseball cap phase, and that was SO not me! Ughh… bad move).

Stay tuned for my coverage of some NYFW happenings, Philadelphia Fashion Week, and whatever else comes my way.

In any event, I’m back, and better than ever! Get ready!


With love,


Fashion Star Frenzy, Try before You Buy!

Hey folks!

I have to say that the evolution of  TV has taken us from the family oriented sitcoms, to the OVER saturated networks of reality TV shows. As annoyed as some of them make me, I’m always partial to the ones  related to fashion. Last night a new reality show, Fashion Star, premiered on NBC and definitely sparked the interest of many, as they compared, contrasted, and made HILARIOUS comments about the show’s concept. In my opinion, Fashion Star has the hype and stage action of American Idol, the judging style of  The Voice, and the fashion designer hustle and bustle of Project Runway! Some said it was like Project Runway on drugs because it was so fast paced, while others said they liked the speed of the show. In any event, my favorite aspect of the show is that they are bringing the business of fashion to the forefront. Along with  judges Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie, and John Varvatos, is a panel of buyers from three major retailers who decide right then and there if they will make an offer to designers for their pieces. The buyers include Caprice Willard (Macy’s), Terron E. Schaefer (Saks Fifth Avenue) and Nicole Christie (H&M), and by the looks of last night’s episode, they are about BUSINESS! As a business student who loves fashion, it’s a breath of fresh air to see both very important aspects in the limelight so people see just how important both sides are. What I love about the buyer’s position is that they are very selective and must consider so many aspects before leaping to place an order with designers, including making certain that the pieces are on trend, will fit the “voice” of their target consumer, and ultimately that it will sell. I also love that each buyer clearly explains their reasoning for either accepting or rejecting designers’ pieces.

Mentors Nicole Richie, John Varvatos, Host Elle macpherson, and mentor Jessica Simpson. Image via


Buyers (L-R) Macy's, H&M, Saks- image via

In any event, the whole show had me on the edge of my seat as we waited for judges to give their opinions and buyers to make decisions. Of course my whole twitter timeline was going IN on the #FashionStar hash tag, both with positive and negative opinions about the show, making predictions as to which pieces they felt would go to which retailer, and just overall commentary that was UBER fun+funny! I even got sent to Twitter jail! hahaha…. The most awesome part about this show (and smartest marketing strategy on their part) is that RIGHT after the show airs, the pieces that were purchased by buyers are immediately available online at the respective retailers and in store the very next day! How cool? How financially smart on their end? How hurtful to my pockets?! Whoever came up with this idea was GENIUS. People love exclusivity, accessibility, the ability to have access in this quick timeframe, and making pieces fresh off the Fashion Star runway available to the people they were designed for is very important and makes viewers feel very special indeed. It helps that the pieces chosen are HOT and will only be chosen if that’s the case, and that they are affordable. I am thrilled that there is finally a show dedicated to designing pieces that are REALLY RTW and not sort of RTW…(lol). The show is about the consumer, and because of that, they have gotten an enormous response if you ask me…one piece sold out in about 7 minutes online last night and today in H&M, the sales rep told me that they expected that they would sell like this (hint).

Here’s the dress in question… Cute, right? via (which is where you purchase online for the H&M+ Fashion Star pieces)Fashion Star® Ep 1 Dress Designed by Sarah





Fashion Star® Ep 1 Dress Designed by Sarah


Speaking of that, let me tell you about my experience trying to get my hands on a piece that was shown on the runway last night. One designer, Sarah Parrott designed a turquoise (and black) structured shift dress, and EVERYONE loved it! It came down the runway and was everything chic, constructed from a woven material with a back cutout, cap sleeves, just all right! H&M made an offer to her, so that made me even more thrilled because I LOVE shopping there. After the show aired, I tried to order 2 online and as they were IN my cart they sold out…in ALL sizes. I decided that I would go to the store today, and after calling and finding out that they were selling out fast, I literally ran downtown in between classes( the things I do for fashion…lol). When I arrived, the rack looked like it had been ramsacked….there were like 6 dresses left, none in my “real”size(10). I thought it wouldn’t hurt to try a size smaller than I wear (I was in denial that my size was gone lol), and NOT to my surprise, I couldn’t even get them past elbows. When I say that this dress is made with not ONE stitch of elastic, I am not exaggerating. It didn’t stretch in any direction, stiff as ever…and that does not suit a curvy girl well.  

When I went to put the dresses back, I came across another rack I’d missed and they had my size! I was so excited and got one in my size and in a 12, just in case, and to no avail….it was a FAIL. First of all, this is the hardest dress I’ve ever had to get on or off in my whole 21 years of life. I felt like I had just got done fighting after I finally got out of the dress! When I tried on my size, the fabric squeezed and bulked in all the wrong places and was just so ill fitting. When I tried the next size up,  it was no better…just more bulk and no BOOM! I have to admit, I was sad because I genuinly love the design of the dress…it just isn’t made for a girl with curves…or maybe my proportions are just not fit for it or something…idk.  I considered taking a photo to show you, but I would be too self conscious to even show it. All in all, I’d say the show will be and already is very successful, almost all of the pieces introduced to the 3 retailers are sold out online, exactly what they wanted and KNEW would happen. I love it!  Any who, here’s some advice I’d give for the Fashion Star fans that plan on buying every piece that gets picked up by these retailers every single Tuesday… -_-

1. Do NOT buy it online unless you aren’t worried about how the garment fits.

2. IF you plan on buying online, have the page open and ready at 10:59pm because the garments were selling out in minutes.

3. if you are going to the actual store, get there early to make sure they have your size so you can try on the garments and make sure they flatter your body type (I would have been PISSED if I got my dresses in the mail only to find out they make me look horrible)

4. Be selective, each week the garments will probably get better and better. Don’t “run and buy” just to be a part of the hype (like I was about to do…lol)

5. Business minds, take note of the concept of this show, SUCH a great marketing/business/financial move…I’m inspired as abusiness student….think smart.

To learn more about Fashion Star, designers, photos, and to see videos+full episodes, click here  

Until next Tuesday when our credit cards become potential victims again, xo



with style~ Sharontina B.

26 Days of Branding: Let’s Start with A

Hey everyone! Long time no blog; I know, I know… I’ve been sort of…BUSY. School has been taking the LIFE from me, but I know it will bring me a great return once I get out into the world! So, today in my entrepreneurial marketing class we discussed branding; one of my favorite topics in marketing!!! I was TOTALLY immersed in what my professor shared with us because I know it is information we can all use in times where our brands are everything. Now more than ever, branding is important because with the increased influence of social media use for personal and business purposes, it can either soar or sink. Today, the most important point my professor made was that EVERYONE gets, and IS, a brand whether they like it or not, but that our actions are what determine how it received and perceived by others. Deep, right?! After a GREAT lesson, my professor gave us a book that she co-wrote called, “AbuLLard’s ABC’s of Branding: 26 Concepts that Capture the Essence of Good Brand Management”. I began tweeting a few tips I learned from class today, and people loved it so I decided to do “26 Days of branding” where I’ll go through the book and highlight tips that will help you become a better brand.

My professor, Jean Wilcox, is PHENOMENAL so I know this book will be amazing and help us all maintain a positive image in our branding and sustainability efforts. Returning to the point my prof made about us all getting a brand even if we aren’t trying to, I am the PERFECT example of that. When I created my twitter account in 2009 and decided on the name “TyrasLilSis’, I never imagined it would have as much impact on MY brand and what it means to people! I simply created the name because I am a HUGE Tyra supporter and thought of how cool it would be to have a big sister like her. When I attend events and introduce myself as Sharontina Brightman and then follow it with, “I’m TyrasLilSis on Twitter” people go crazy! They usually say, “OMG I know who you are!”..and seriously, as many times as I’ve heard it, I still am a little taken aback by it, not realizing just how important branding is. When I realized that I had built a brand around the name “TyrasLilSis”, I embraced it and immediately took action to make sure I continued to preserve the positive image it had thus far maintained. Of course “TyrasLilSis’ is not a company, it’s not a product, but it represents ME. I can’t stress enough to you that branding is just as much individual as it is collective for a company or organization. In other posts I can talk more about my personal journey in branding, but for now I want to introduce to you the “26 days of Branding” so we can journey together! So, are you with me? If so…let’s start with A.


“All aspects of your “brand” must be APPROPRIATE  for your business”
(From AbbuLLard’s ABC’s of branding)

From ME to YOU: You have to make sure that all of your branding efforts go along with what you or your company stands for or else it creates a contradicting message which leads people not to trust you/your brand. You have to know WHAT your core values are, WHO your target audience is, and WHY they need your service or product. You want to establish a sort of culture or understanding between you and your customers; you want them to “get” you and not doubt or question any part of who you are as a brand.

Cheers to DAY 1 of “26 days of Branding”! Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts!
Follow along with the hashtag #BRANDSin26 on Twitter.

Sharontina Brightman