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Grown Woman-isms

The thirties are a time of moving into your “grown woman-hood”. It means letting go of some of those bad habits built during the twenties. We’re sure all of our Vyne readers are “grown women” <wink wink> but just in case you want to be sure you’re manifesting your “grown woman-hood”, we’ve compiled a few essential “grown woman-isms” and tips:

  • Cleanliness is Next to Godliness – Growing up means your house is in order and ready for company at all times. When your friends ask to come over do you find yourself searching for an excuse to tell them why they can’t because you know your house is a wreck? Unless you’re college age, this is no longer acceptable ladies. Tip: If you find you don’t have time to clean regularly, invest in a cleaning service once a month. It’s not as expensive as you may think.
  • Stock Your Fridge and Pantry – Do you ever remember a time when you were younger and your Mom/Dad didn’t have groceries to make you dinner? Probably not. Growing up means you always have enough food in your fridge or pantry to make yourself and a guest (maybe even a man!) a good meal. Tip: Learn how to make at least one three course meal really well. Then always keep those ingredients on hand so you can make it at a moments notice.
  • Bills, Bills, Bills – If you’re one of those people whose bills don’t get paid on time (for whatever reason) it’s time to put a period to that behavior. Besides the fact that it screws up your credit, do you ever remember your parents’ cable or phone having to get turned off before they paid the bill? Again, probably not. Tip: Most all banks have an online portal that will allow you to pay all your bills on line, from the same place, with just a few clicks.
  • Retirement Saving – Okay so even though 30 is the new 20, you still need to be on top of your retirement savings. So it goes without saying that your 401K should be set up and you should be contributing at least the same amount that your job will match dollar for dollar. Tip: To learn more about retirement savings check out Personal Finance for Dummies.
  • Nip/Tuck – And we don’t mean surgery, we mean tailoring. Every grown woman should have the name and number of a good tailor. No more jeans or pants dragging on the ground, no safety pining or rolling up. Tip: Ask a friend who lives nearby for the name of their tailor. This way you know you can trust their recommendation before you hand over your favorite pants.
  • Pay for Quality – We’re all for a bargain, but when it comes to clothes it’s important not to sacrifice quality for the bargain price. Trust us, once you start to wear quality clothes you’ll wonder how you ever wore anything else. Tip: Start by upgrading your work wear to a few quality staple pieces (e.g. an Ellen Tracy black pants suit, pencil skirt, work dress). And if you don’t have $1K to spend on a dress (given the economy) try using sites like “Rent the Runway” to try out designers before you commit.
  • Edit Your Closet –You probably have a ton of clothes from your last age decade that you’re still hanging on to for no reason. Chances are you don’t even wear these clothes anymore. Tip: Grown women have well edited closets so try going through your closet and getting it down to 100 items.

Do you have more “grown woman-isms” to add to the list? Feel free to share!



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Purse Essentials Part II

It’s time to edit your purse again ladies! If you find yourself digging through your purse only to end up having to ask your girlfriends to borrow random items because you don’t have them, never fear, purse essentials part II is here! Check out our first purse essentials article then add the fab items we’ve listed below. You’re sure to be well prepared and well put together with these divyne little goodies in your purse.

1. Prada Wallet – Every grown woman needs a sophisticated wallet in her purse. We’re loving the zip around wallets from Prada. Their structure and detail allow them to function as a wallet or a clutch! Two for the price of one.

2. Stylish Business Card Holder – A quick way to ruin a business networking moment is to pull out a wrinkled business card or worse yet to fumble around trying to find one in the bottom of your purse. Fumble no more with a stylish business card holder. Most designers make business card holders to match your favorite purses too so be sure to check.

3. Jo Malone Fragrance on the Go – You never know when you need to leave work and go straight for a night on the town. So be sure to have purse-size fragrance handy. Thanks to one of our dear friends, we’re now loving Jo Malone fragrances! Check out their intoxicating colognes online or the next time you’re in Neiman Marcus.

4. Purse Hangers at Macy’s – Whether your purse is designer or not, no lady enjoys having to put it on the <gasp> floor while dining or hold it in your lap. So we suggest giving these handy and stylish purse hangers a try.

5. L’Occitane Mini Hand Cream – Between all the hand washing and hand sanitizing going on these days, a girls hands can get quite dry. We recommend you keep this soothing hand cream nearby. It’s a small tube so use it sparingly.

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Woman to Watch: Cassandra Q. Butts

Born: Brooklyn, NY (moved to Durham, NC at age 9)

Education: B.A. Political Science from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and graduate of Harvard Law School.

Occupation: Senior Advisor to the Millennium Challenge Corporation, appointed by President Obama.

Obama Connection: First met President Obama while standing in line in the financial aid office at Harvard. She still has his constitutional law book, which she seized as hostage back in college when she lent him a Miles Davis/John Coltrane album that he has yet to return.

About the MCC: The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is an innovative and independent U.S. foreign aid agency that is helping lead the fight against global poverty. Created by the US Congress in January 2004 with strong bipartisan support, MCC is changing the conversation on how best to deliver smart U.S. foreign assistance by focusing on good policies, country ownership, and results. MCC forms partnerships with some of the world’s poorest countries and provides them with large-scale grants to fund country-led solutions for reducing poverty through sustainable economic growth. MCC grants complement other U.S. and international development programs.

Career Journey: Cassandra has 17 years’ experience in politics and policy. She was formerly the Deputy White House Counsel for the Obama administration where she focused on judicial nominations. Cassandra was also the general counsel to the Obama-Biden Transition Project. She also served as the Senior Vice President for Domestic Policy at the Center for American Progress. Prior to joining CAP, she was a senior advisor to House Democratic Leader Richard A. Gephardt (D-MO) where she worked on refugee, asylum and immigration issues and served as the policy director on his 2004 presidential campaign. Ms. Butts also served as director of Senator Obama’s Senate transition in 2004-2005.  Previously, she was an Assistant Counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund and also served as Legislative Counsel to Senator Harris L. Wofford (D-PA).

Fun Facts: Cassandra is a car enthusiast and currently drives a sterling gray BMW Z3 coupe, of which only just a handful was made. During her college years at UNC Chapel Hill, she protested apartheid. Cassandra is also a big fan of Carolina basketball.

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Desiree Rogers Named CEO of Johnson Publishing

In June we announced that Desiree Rogers had assumed a new position as a consultant helping her buddy Linda Johnson Rice’s company, Johnson Publishing. Today it was announced that Desiree has been named CEO of Johnson Publishing and that Linda Johnson Rice will continue as chairman of the company. We’re not too surprised as there have been many changes there over the past few months, not only with Desiree’s role within the company but also Amy DuBois Barnett brought in as Editor-in-Chief of Ebony, replacing Harriette Cole and the departure of former president and COO, Anne Sempowski Ward in July.

But will a new regime really save Johnson Publishing? We saw that changes with bringing in Bryan Monroe in 2006 and Anne Sempowski Ward and Harriette Cole in 2007 did not achieve the high hopes once expected. Maybe having someone new at the helm will be able to turn the iconic company around. What do you think?

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Win in the Workplace

Whether you work in corporate America or not, knowing how to avoid political landmines and navigate your way through workplace relationships is essential to making your career journey successful and smooth. Whether you’re in an entry-level position or a Vice President of a department, here area few quick tips to always keep in mind:

Shine Strategically – As you’re doing your best to make a name for yourself, whether its through taking on a project no one else would or creating something new that didn’t exist in your department before, you will naturally begin to stand out or shine. Be strategic in the way that you shine. This means, looking for opportune moments to talk about your abilities in a way that will help others around you be successful. It also means, keeping other’s dignity in tact (including the boss you can run circles around) when you’re demonstrating your ‘know how’ on a particular project, etc. Being strategic is about looking for the right place and time to promote your abilities in a way that doesn’t even look like self-promoting.

Protect Your Brand – Be clear about what you want your personal brand in the workplace to be. Once you’re clear on what you want it to be, establish it and protect it.  You do this by being aware of scenarios, habits or people that can hi-jack your brand. Having an awareness will help you anticipate when your brand may be threatened so that you can avoid doing something that will damage it. If you feel you have already damaged your brand.  Go back to the drawing board and start repairing it one person at a time.

Be Formal and Fun – Being formal in the workplace is a must. It sets the tone that you are responsible, professional and capable of holding your own in the midst of higher-level leadership. However, many corporate cultures need to know that you are a relatable person before they can trust you with more responsibility. So look for ways to show your fun side without damaging your reputation or brand. It will go a long way for those individuals at your job who value relationship over results/process.

Communicate Effectively – Being a strong and effective communicator is essential for success. Your words should be able to convey confidence, inspire trust, build momentum and get results. If you struggle in this area, it would serve you to invest in your development by attending a class on how to communicate effectively in the workplace. If your job won’t pay for it, consider paying for yourself. The return on the investment is immeasurable. Recommendation: Speakeasy

Know the Unwritten Rules – Knowing the unwritten rules in your workplace can often be a challenge to discern but if you enlist the help of a mentor it can be much easier. Find a mentor that you can trust, outside of your department, who has been successful at your company. Once you’ve built up your mentoring relationship, ask them questions about the unwritten rules and how to navigate them.

Manage Your Emotions – Even the calmest person can get ticked off about something that happens at work. Whether it’s a particular co-worker or a micro-managing boss, your emotions may be tested every day. Do your best to manage them. Recognize in the moment when your emotions are being tested and look for ways to diffuse the situation. Be it by ending the conversation and scheduling a time to pick it back up or simply taking a deep breath in the moment, learning to manage your emotions will ensure you don’t do or say something that may damage your brand.

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Music…A Non-partisan Magic

By Allison Brooke Gordon

“America the Beautiful” was one of several songs performed by soul singer Aretha Franklin and former U.S. Secretary of State and classical pianist Condoleezza Rice at a recent one-time only performance with the Philadelphia Orchestra. The 2-hour concert shared by this dynamic duo reminded me how truly beautiful America is.

Before the performance I was curious how Ms. Rice and Ms. Franklin would share the stage. How exactly do you compose a musical program of classical and soul, diva and conservative, Democrat and Republican? I wasn’t the only one anxious to find out.

Nearly 8,000 people filled the seats and sprawled the lawn at the Mann Center in Philadelphia to hear these unique artists. It was a beautiful site not only because proceeds from the tickets were a benefit for children in music and arts, but also beautiful because of the diversity of the audience. It was a joyous gathering of people of different ages, ethnicities, religions and political affiliations. I doubt anyone cared. What mattered were the melodies. It’s amazing how music just does that.

The diversity of the audience was matched by the diversity of the musical selections played. The Philadelphia Orchestra opened with a soothing “Candide” overture, later followed by a variety of genres. Classical, soul, gospel hymns, and even opera crossed the lips and or finger tips of Ms. Franklin and Ms. Rice.

The audience was pleased. A sea of heads bobbed, swayed, and at times some even looked to the heavens in praise. Hands clapped, fingers snapped, a few hundred air tambourines played along, I’m sure. It was a small reflection of the diversity of our country; the diversity of its people and its talents—coming together to celebrate music and the arts.

Music has the power to make us all feel as one. Though some of us prefer certain sounds or instruments over others, music in general is a non-partisan magic that brings us all together… from sea to shining to sea.

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Avoiding the Bouquet

By Kailei Richardson

Don’t you remember the days when, in the not so distant past, many women looked forward to the bouquet toss at weddings? Women would fight over the flowers – sometimes harming the bouquet or each other in the process. But recently there has been a noticeable change. I’ve noticed many weddings don’t even have the traditional bouquet/garter toss. And those that do seem to have much different outcomes than years past.  Which is what happened at a lovely wedding I attended this past weekend in Dallas. Attendees of the wedding included many of the bride’s girlfriends, many who were single, beautiful, and successful with advanced degrees from top institutions.

After dinner, we hit the dance floor, did the Cupid Shuffle and the likes, when “Single Ladies” came on and the bride approached the dance floor holding her bouquet. As I looked around I realized that the women around me knew what was coming next and there seemed to be a reluctance and hesitation as they entered the dance floor.

So there we were, the “single ladies.” Some women were playing the part, looking like they would participate, while others were there with their arms folded, standing in the back. But I still expected that all would change once the flowers were airborne. Then the moment of truth came. The bouquet was in the air and descending towards the crowd, when it starts to land to my left. Though it looked like it was going to land between my two friends, it was like the parting of the seas when they split in the opposite direction to avoid it! To my surprise there were no “‘bows throwed,” nor did anyone rush to pick up the bouquet on the floor. After about five or so seconds, once this was clear, someone came to pick it up, realizing that she might as well claim it as clearly, no one else was.
This episode made me think, is it that we are so jaded by the stats about marriage rates of black women that we don’t even want to get our hopes up, or are more of us becoming okay with forever being single ladies? Let us know what you think.


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