Monthly Archives: December 2009

10 Looks to Bring in 2010 in Style


Not sure what you’re going to wear for New Year’s Eve? Not to worry, here are 10 looks that can help you bring in the new year in style.

1. Embroidered Flutter Dress, Neiman Marcus
2. Knit Tunic Dress, NY and Company
3. Catherine Malandrino Adele Embroidered Dress, Bergdorf Goodman
4. Silk Taffeta Bow Monde Dress, J Crew
5. Great Heights Shift Dress, Anthropologie
6. Pins and Polkas Dress, Anthropologie
7. Evan Picone Sleeveless Ruffle Dress, Macy’s
8. Flore Tunic, Neiman Marcus
9. Animal Print Tunic, Neiman Marcus
10. Max & Cleo Sleeveless Taffeta Dress, Macy’s

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Successful, Single, Black Female Nightline Segment


The story of the number of single, successful, black women has now made the mainstream media — as a news segment on Nightline. Though many of us have experienced it, talked about it, and read about it, seeing the staggering statistics is still tough: 42% of black women have never been married — double the # of white women. Ouch.

Feel free to watch the Nightline segment and read the article. Then tell us what you think. Could you relate or are you sick of seeing/hearing another story about this?

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Spotlight On: Anika Noni Rose


Anika Noni Rose

I remember seeing ‘Snow White and saying to my mother,’Will there ever be a Chocolate Brown?’ She said ‘Probably. Why not?’ I just never thought the first black princess would be me.- Anika Noni Rose

She has been described as a slight (as in petite) actress with a big voice. If you add to that description critically acclaimed supporting actress in an Emmy nominated HBO series and a Golden Globe winning film, Tony Award winner and now the voice of the first black Disney princess…who you have is the incomparable Anika Noni Rose.

Anika is the daughter of Claudia and John Rose, Jr. Born in Bloomfield, Connecticut Anika was bit by the acting bug during her freshman year of high school when she appeared in a school production. She carried her new found passion for acting to college when she attended Florida A&M University and graduated with a  Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre. It wasn’t long before Anika packed up her bags and moved to San Francisco, California to hone her dramatic acting skills at the prestigious American Conservatory Theatre. Alumni of the school include such notable actors as Denzel Washington, Annette Bening, Winona Ryder, Benjamin Bratt and Danny Glover to name a few.

Upon leaving the A.C.T., it was time for Anika to do what any self respecting actress would do…beat the pavement for a job. She relocated to none other than the big apple (New York), sans job, determined to make it on Broadway. After only three months Anika was able to secure the role of Rusty in Broadway’s Footloose. From this point forward she enjoyed a steady stream of roles, workshops and musicals until her big break in 2004 when she played the role of Caroline’s daughter in the hit Broadway musical, Caroline, or Change. It was her break out performance in this musical that won her a Tony award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.

Anika’s movie debut came in 1999 as the “film noir female” in King of the Bingo Game. But it was her turn as Lorrell Robinson in the 2006 film adaptation of the hit Broadway musical Dreamgirls that made everyone stand up and take notice. She stared alongside Beyonce Knowles, Jennifer Hudson, Jamie Foxx and Eddie Murphy. Earlier this year, HBO showcased Anika’s dramatic and comedic talent alongside Jill Scott in the series The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency directed by Anthony Minghella.

As if winning a Tony award and critical acclaim were not enough, Anika is now the inspiration and voice of a character that will live on in the hearts of many young girls for decades to come. She is the voice and likeness for Princess Tiana, the first black Disney princess in the animated hit, The Princess and The Frog. Kudos to Disney for finally making change happen on this front and in our eyes, they could not have picked a better actress.

Check out Anika on Christmas Day in this ABC special featuring music from The Princess and The Frog.

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The Vyne’s Pick: Fantastic Facial Cleanser


Panthenol Cleanser

We’re constantly in search of quality, effective and safe beauty products to take care of our skin. Recently we’ve begun doing some product testing  of different brands and thought you would appreciate us sharing our insights and recommendations on the one’s we like. So here’s a new facial cleanser that we’re loving. It’s called Panthenol Cleanser by evie evan. If you have notoriously dry skin then this is the cleanser for you! It goes on so cool, smooth and with a hint of fragrance then lathers up for a gentle yet deep clean. You’re face is left feeling refreshed and looking rejuvenated. What we like most about this cleanser is that it doesn’t leave your skin feeling tight and stripped of moisture. Rather, your skin is left soft and supple to the touch. This is a great “I just had a long day at work and need to wash the stress off my face” cleanser. See the official product description below.

Panthenol Cleanser

This cleansing gel effectively cleans your face removing make-up, dirt, and dulling dead cells and uses Panthenol and Allantoin to leave skin natural, healthy and silky soft to the touch. Just a small amount is needed for maximum benefit. Use your fingertips to work the luxuriously rich soap-free cleanser gel onto your moistened skin. The foamy action will clean deep into pores, soothe, hydrate, protect from moisture loss and leave skin feeling fresh and comfortable. Works great for combination, normal to slightly dry skin types – though not recommended for extremely sensitive or Rosacea prone skin. Contains Panthenol which helps to seal in moisture and hydrate skin. Also contains Allantoin, a soothing agent derived from the comfrey root. Does not contain potential skin irritants of sodium lauryl, laureth sulfates, or paraben preservatives. Water-soluble foaming gel in a stylish plastic clear bottle 4.5 fl. oz.

Price: $25.00

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A Black “Sex and the City” Coming to Bookstores and the Big Screen


Helena Andrews, DC writer, has received a lot of buzz lately due to her upcoming memoir entitled, “Bitch is the New Black.” Her book is to talk about the struggles of young, successful black women to find love and build a career. Despite the book not being released until June, Grey’s Anatomy’s Shonda Rhimes has already been reported to produce the film.

An attractive young woman with a BA from Columbia, Master’s from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern, and positions at O Magazine and The New York Times, Helena seems to have a very familiar story. She’s been called a “bitch” at work, has had a complicated childhood and, like many other black women like her, has had a very difficult time finding love. From The Washington Post:

The genesis of Andrews’s book came from a conversation a few years ago between Andrews and Gina, a social scientist who lives in Los Angeles. They wanted to start a blog to explore “why black women can’t find a man.” The day she talked to an agent about this idea and pitched it as a book, one of her sorority sisters committed suicide.

It jarred Andrews. “We stopped. Discussed what happened. We think each other’s lives are fine. You got a good job. A good place to live. You will handle it.” But some people can’t handle it. “She looked like any other successful black woman,” Andrews says of her friend. , “Good clothes, stylish. Ivy League degree, master’s.” Nobody saw it coming. She won’t discuss the details, but you can see it in her face, the mind racing over the why.

“People keep talking about the black single woman in D.C. But do you know who she is? Does she know what she wants? They should stop saying we have it all together. . . . I am that single black woman in Washington, D.C. Why is she single? This is who I am. Tell me.”

Read the entire story about Helena Andrews on The Washington Post.

Tell us what you think – are you excited to read/watch Helena’s story? Do you think her story is an accurate depiction of successful black women in America?

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New Music Releases: Robin, Alicia and More


This week brought some highly anticipated R&B releases of the year. First, the talented Alicia Keys released The Element of Freedom – her latest in over two years. Sex Therapy also became available as the latest smooth, sultry and appropriately named release by Robin Thicke. Finally, iTunes released Soul Christmas from their iTunes Essentials library featuring some of the most soulful Christmastime favorites to get you in the holiday spirit. Here are a few of our favorite songs from each of them:
Alicia Keys – The Elements of Freedom
For someone as talented as Ms. Keys it’s difficult to outdo each previous album. Though this may not be her best full release, it certainly has several notable, memorable songs.
Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down – Consider this the acoustic, “quiet storm” version of her Jay-Z collaboration.
This Bed – Could have easily been written for Mariah Carey, this one will get you bopping your head and singing along the first time you play it.
Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart – Upbeat and catchy, this is a  post-breakup legend in the making.
That’s How Strong My Love Is – “The” love song of the album. As a plus, it showcases Alicia’s talent tickling the ivories.

Robin Thicke – Sex Therapy
Robin’s Sex Therapy made it difficult to select just a few favorites. His style has stayed consistent with the Robin we all know and love but this time has definitely dialed up the sensuality factor.
Sex Therapy –  The name says it all. We’ll keep it clean and leave it at that.
It’s in the Mornin’ (Featuring Snoop Dogg) – The ultimate smooth groove that’s perfect for snuggling.
Rollacosta (Featuring Estelle) – Definitely a hit. This up-tempo song will infiltrate the radio and, quite possibly, the clubs very soon.
Jus Right – With a hint of a “Lost Without You” feel, “Jus Right” is smooth and blissful.

iTunes Essentials: Soul Christmas
Available exclusively through iTunes, this Christmas Soul conglomeration includes the best 25 soulful holiday songs for you to download. Some of the songs listed include:
This Christmas by Donny Hathaway

Someday at Christmas by Stevie Wonder

Deck the Halls by Musiq Soulchild

Silent Night by The Temptations

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The Vyne’s Holiday Gift Guide Part 3: Gifts for You!


We all know this is the season for giving, but we also shouldn’t forget about ourselves. This week we show you some great gifts for you to either ask for on your list or to buy for yourself:
1. Elsa Peretti Diamonds by the Yard Earrings, Tiffany: Every girl loves getting a little blue box. And it’s even better when that little blue box contains diamonds.

2. Rosette Bib Necklace, Banana Republic: This unique bib necklace can become your “go-to” accessory to add some feminine pizazz to your ensembles.

3. Kai Body Butter: This alluring, tropical scented fragrance made into a body butter will make your skin smell and feel fabulous.

4. Tunebo Leather Satchel, Anthropologie: Anthropologie is the epitome of “boho-chic” and so is this bag. Get ready to constant answer the “where did you get that bag?” question by carrying this Tunebo leather satchel.

5. Multi Stone Cuff, Vivre: This beautiful multi-stone bracelet can easily take you from day to night.

6. MacBook Air, Apple: Get the benefits of a MacBook without weighing down your shoulder with Apple’s MacBook Air. A little pricey, but oh so worth it. Merry Christmas to you!

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Are Black Women Really Intimidating?


If you are an intelligent, professional , single or “spoken for” black woman, chances are, you have at some point been referred to as “intimidating”. Whether it was the reason for the surprisingly negative performance review you received at work, the excuse your non-brown co-workers gave for not befriending you right away or the ever popular (and my personal fav – NOT!) unequivocal reason that you are still single. No matter the specifics of the justification for the label, it all speaks to the same stereotypical impression that black women are somehow more intimidating than any other group of women. Even our first lady Michelle Obama could not escape the intimidation label during our President’s campaign for office. Surely you remember the ridiculous caricature of her on the cover of The New Yorker as a gun toting, afro wearing, finger pointing, super black panther from the 70’s. If that’s not enough, then surely you have heard the whisperings from some black men about the reason they choose to date women of other races.

A sociologist might argue that the association between black women and intimidation stems from the deliberate attempt to reverse the roles of black men and women during slavery. A time when black men were emasculated and black women were stripped of their feminine characteristics in the eyes of the masters and later in films, a la’ Hattie McDaniel in “Gone With the Wind”. Clearly we are far from the days of slavery yet this perception of black women as intimidating continues to perpetuate itself be it in pop culture, politics, music, movies or any other facet of life. Could it be that where there is smoke, there is fire? Are black women really intimidating or is everyone else super sensitive? Share your story of “intimidation” and let us know what you think.

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The Vyne Reader Spotlight: Rakia Reynolds


Rakia Reynolds of Skai Blue Media

This week’s Vyne Weekly Reader Spotlight is Rakia Reynolds. Besides being our producer extraordinaire and one of the most fashionable people we know, Rakia is a talented woman on the move! Get to know her below:

Name: Rakia Reynolds         

Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

Roles you play in life: I am a wife, mother of 2 (soon to be 3), daughter, oldest sister of 3 girls; President of Philadelphia Women in Film & Television; Secretary of the Philadelphia chapter of NAMIC; Director of Public Relations at Skai Blue Media; Business Consultant to some of the cities most thriving businesses; Fashion Ambassador of GPTMC, Greater Philadelphia Tourism and Marketing Corporation/ Philly 360 campaign.

Hobbies: This is always a funny question to me :o) I don’t really have hobbies anymore. My life is consumed with work and family. When I am not working, I am playing mommy and wife to my family. There are brief moments that I would consider my hobbies to be finding great vintage finds, SHOPPING, and styling!   

Education: I graduated with a degree in Marketing and International Business from the Fox School of Business and Management at Temple University.

What is the last movie you saw?:  I just TRIED the 3D experience of A Christmas Carol with my children… When one of the ghosts who visited Ebenezer Scrooge jaw fell off while he was talking, my husband and I quickly grabbed our children and decided that a park outing would be more appropriate.

What is your favorite TV show?: Since I rarely have time to watch TV, my only options are Sunday evenings. I’m embarrassed to say that I am currently into Desperate Housewives, DESPITE their lack of brown woman representation on the show 😦

Shuffle your iPod – what’s the first song that comes up?: SUNSHOWER, by Dr. Buzzard and The Original Savannah Band

What is your favorite travel destination?: In a perfect world, I’d say Paris or The Virgin Islands, but for now, I’ll say Miami because IT IS NY on water

What beauty product can’t you live without?: I most certainly without a doubt cannot live without my concealer and mascara

Finish this sentence, “To feel more centered I…”: usually resort to retail therapy OR more often call my daddyJ

Who is your celebrity fashion inspiration?: I am not really inspired by any current celebs fashion except for Mrs. Obama’s undeniable and detailed look, but I have always been intrigued with the wardrobes of Cyndi Lauper & Madonna,

What is your favorite restaurant?: As a foodie, I have no favorites. However I adore Canoe in Atlanta, Gotham in NYC, Touch in Miami, and Olivier’s in New Orleans

What words do you live by?: No weapon formed against me shall prosper

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Spotlight On: Kamala Harris


Kamala Harris

“You may be the first to do many things, but make sure you are not the last.” – Shyamala Gopalan Harris, mother of Kamala Harris

The woman you see here may become the first female President of the United States. Often touted as the “Female Barack Obama,” this San Francisco District Attorney running to be the next Attorney General of California is has taken a hard look at crime and has already accomplished many “firsts.”

Kamala Harris was born in Oakland, California in 1964 to a Jamaican father, Stanford University economics professor Donald Harris, and an India mother, breast cancer specialist Dr. Shyamala Gopalan. Her parents were graduate students active in the civil rights movement when Kamala was very young and got Kamala involved very early. Her mother described how she would take Kamala to civil rights marches in her stroller, “When we chanted ‘What do we want?’ she would say ‘Fweedom!'” Two years after Kamala was born her mother gave birth to a second daughter, Maya. Donald and Shyamala separated when Kamala was five years old.

The values Kamala’s parents instilled undoubtedly influenced her and her sister in numerous ways. Kamala attended Howard University where during many weekends, she would protest against apartheid. While at Howard she also pledged Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. After graduating from Howard, she went straight to Law School, obtaining a Juris Doctorate from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Her sister, Maya, also practiced law and is currently the Executive Director of the ACLU of Northern California. Though their parents were not directly involved in law or politics, it was “in their blood,” as her grandfather was a joint secretary in the Indian government.

After graduating law school, Kamala took a position with the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, starting her long career in prosecution. Throughout her career she has prosecuted cases for heinous crimes such as childhood sexual assault, burglary, and murder. In 1998 she became the managing attorney of the Career Criminal Unit of the San Francisco District Attorney’s office, then became the head of the San Francisco City Attorney’s Division on Families and Children. In 2003 she ran for and won the San Francisco District Attorney election. This position made Kamala the first female, African American and Asian American District Attorney in California’s history.

As DA, Kamala has fought tough challenges, focusing on violent crimes and gun violence using innovative tactics and programs, some of which have been replicated in other states. In her five years in office, there has been a 50 percent increase in serious and violent offenders sent to prison, and the felony conviction rate is at its highest in 15 years. Despite these results, there have been many critics who have called her “soft on crime.” Her new book, Smart on Crime seems to be a “smart” response to those naysayers.

Kamala’s deep experience, long list of awards, strong accomplishments and commitment to public service all make her well positioned to continue to ascend up the political ranks. Though this may be the first time you have heard of her, it certainly won’t be the last.

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