Monthly Archives: May 2014

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So I just celebrated a birthday and thought I’d share some of the images from the festivities. I try not to share too many super personal moments here but I felt like this one was special. I hit a milestone birthday and feel like I’m having a milestone year so far and will continue to do so for the remainder of the year and hopefully beyond.

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Pictured above is a woman who has come a long way.  As I gave my birthday toast this year I cracked open a three-year old bottle of champagne. I’m no champagne connoisseur so this was in no way shape or form an attempt to age the bottle for taste.  Rather, I was gifted this bottle years ago by my older brother for my birthday. The gift came at a time when I felt I had nothing to celebrate. I was experiencing setback after setback in my career and personal life that left me feeling like a failure and well, failures don’t pop bottles of champagne. I set the bottle aside and told myself I would open it when I had something to celebrate like a fancy new job. I landed a new job and the bottle sat there, for some reason, still unworthy.

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This year, standing in the presence of a few family members, I made a celebratory toast with that three-year old bottle. Yes, I toasted myself but this wasn’t just about me. I also made it a point to make a toast in honor of the many positive things that were also happening for the ones I love. I expressed how happy and appreciative I am to be where I am at this moment and even how appreciative I should have been at the moments when I thought I had nothing to celebrate. I’m not there yet. My journey isn’t complete. I have tons of goals that I’ve yet to even come close to accomplishing but I’ve realized I have much to celebrate and I have to celebrate now. Every step forward is a reason to celebrate. I have to remember to look away for a moment, from how far I have left to go and instead look back and congratulate myself on how far I’ve come.  I hope you all do the same.  Thanks for reading. Now let’s make power moves ladies.

Sincerely,

J. Daniel

 

Dress: BCBG MAXAZRIA, Belt: Mango

 

Maya Angelou

When it comes to powerful women, there are few as powerful as Dr. Maya Angelou. In a world where power is often exerted in the form of authoritative, domineering, or pushy behavior, it seemed that the remarkable Angelou never needed to employ any of the above in order to display her power. Her power was effortless. It was poised. It was evident in the manner in which she spoke and the intent and the power of the words she ever so carefully chose. Ears perked up when she spoke and anyone within earshot indubitably gave their undivided attention.

I as a young reader and poet, I remember being enthralled by I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and later “Phenomenal Woman”. As a young girl, I knew there was something special about her, even though I didn’t quite understand what it was. I knew she was graceful and full of knowledge that she seemingly wanted to share with the world.  I hoped that one day I could display a presence like that and speak with words that would captivate the masses as she did.

We lost a great one today. Not just the literary world or women or African American’s; We, as in mankind, have lost a great one. She was an inspiration to many and for me personally an inspiration to recognize how phenomenal I am and can be. Rest in peace Dr. Angelou. Your contributions to this world will never be forgotten.

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All right, so where were we? Yes, right...so after Friday’s events, I knew that Saturday would have plenty in store and I was not mistaken. I started the afternoon off with a trunk show. The designers from the Emerge fashion show the night before gathered in the penthouse suite to provide an intimate showing of the pieces in their respective collections.

IMG_1714edit(GSaints Swimwear)

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IMG_1700edit(Renée Fredrique)

IMG_1801edit(Radio personality, Jill Tracey)

At the close of the showing, the event organizers and designers gathered towards the front of the room to formally introduce themselves, provide guests with a bit of background and describe the impact this weekend has had on them.

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IMG_1790edit (Willbourn Sisters)

IMG_1782 (Allusions by A. Lekay)

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Following the trunk show we were led downstairs to a meeting room for a workshop entitled “Living your Life’s Purpose”. The speaker, author Brenda Hill discussed her own personal triumphs and professional successes and also led a discussion that focused on being “pregnant with a vision”, an abridged version of the title of one of her latest books, “Pregnant With a Vision of Life’s Purpose”. This session was definitely empowering and certainly one of my most favorite activities of the weekend. What’s not to love women who are out to help empower other women?

IMG_1838edit (Author and Business Woman Brenda Hill)

Later that evening we returned to the penthouse for one last hurrah. Bravo’s Bevy Smith made an appearance while the DJ spun some feel good tunes. Guests in celebratory moods danced and sipped on champagne.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t in attendance for the brunch on Sunday morning but I did catch a glimpse of the set up and it was absolutely beautiful. I’m sure all of those in attendance had a fabulous time. If you’re interested in Fashion and female empowerment, this is without a doubt an event you’ll want to check out when it rolls around again this time next year.

For more information on Jambalaya Media Group visit jammy.com

For more information on Jones Magazine visit jonesmagazine.com

MMIM fashion mags

So Miami Fashion week was this past week and I had the opportunity to participate in some of the weekend’s activities.  Specifically, I partook in a weekend conference entitled Meet Me In Miami. The conference, presented by Jones Magazine and Jambalaya Media Group featured a series of events including the Emerge Fashion show, empowerment workshops, spa treatments, brunches and a slue of other parties and gatherings.

MMIM jones mag easel

Jambalaya Media Group, which specializes in African American and Caribbean geared marketing, also crafted this event with a similar demographic in mind. Speakers and participants like Cynthia Baily of Bravo’s Real Housewives Atlanta, Bevy Smith of Bravo’s Fashion Queens, Author Sarah Jakes (daughter of TD. Jakes) and more met in Miami to host events and lead workshops designed to inspire and motivate the driven African American woman.

MMIM runway gsaints (GSaints Swimwear)

IMG_1511edit(The Wilbourn Sisters)

Though my commitment to my day job prevented me from being able to fully take advantage of all of the weeks activities, which officially began on Thursday, I was able to dive in starting Friday evening.  On Friday Cynthia Bailey held a session entitled “Walking in Confidence”.  I wish I could have made this one but it was held at 2:00 pm to 2:50 pm and as you probably can assume I was still 9-to-5ing. Later in the day Cynthia hosted the Emerge fashion show at the convention center. The event showcased some up and coming designers highlighting collections from GSaints Swimwear, Renée Fredrique, Allusions by A. Lekay and the Wilbourn Sisters. I didn't get great shots of the show due to some technical difficulties but I did get a second look at some of the lovely fashions at the truck show party (Part 2 will appear in tomorrow’s post).

MMIM runway Cynthia(Host, Cynthia Bailey)

MMIM Wilbourn models(The Wilbourn Sisters)

MMIM me and backdrop

MMIM me by the mannequins

MMIM Me and Marie(My cousin and I post show)

Post show, a meet and greet reception with Cynthia Bailey was held in a penthouse suite at the W hotel, ground zero for the Jones Magazine/ Jambalaya Media group events.  The small reception sparkled with an elegant ambiance and a few words from Cynthia would conclude the nights events certainly a great way to end the evening.

MMIM penthouse decor

MMIM Cynthia speaking

MMIM me and Cynthia Bailey

I have to say I truly enjoyed myself.  Glad to be a part of an event that’s based on such a great premise and also beautifully executed. Stay tuned for part two. Come back tomorrow, as I’ll be posting my coverage of Saturday’s events.

Thanks for reading & remember to keep making power moves ladies.

Nude pumps high heels

There are a couple of essentials every girls needs to ensure she has a well-rounded wardrobe. One of my favorites is the nude pump. The nude pump is like some of your oldest childhood friends. Sure you have other ones that you can go out with but the nudes, like your old friends are around when you need them the most. Nude color shoes match basically anything so when you’re having a hard time trying to figure out what shoes you’re going to wear to perfectly match your outfit, you can always turn to these neutral besties.

Pictured above are some nude pumps I’m fancying at the moment.

  1. B Brian Atwood, Peep Toe Leida Pump
  2. Stuart Weitzman, Nouveau Pump
  3. Guess, Pointed Toe D’Orsay Pump
  4. Christian Louboutin, Pigalle Plato Patent Leather Pointed Toe Platform Pump
  5. Dolce Vita, Pointed Toe Kalila Pump
  6. Gucci, Lisbeth Platform Pump

 

Nice Girls don't book

This book has been on my to-read list for quite some time. Thanks to the audio version, I finally got around to "reading" it. I've always been the information hungry type and consequently like to gather intel on many of the items I purchase before I commit. I hate the feeling of buyer’s remorse. Personally, it ranks right up there with wasting a first-rate outfit on a second-rate event. So when I started looking at the reviews for this particular book, I grew a little uneasy. They were so mixed I didn't know quite what to expect. Reviews ran the gamut of "very insightful" to "filled with the obvious and outdated".

Despite some of the negative reviews, I decided to give it a shot and what I found was a book that was perfect for someone like me; a nice girl who for some inexplicable reason not only wants to be a part of this not so nice, dog-eat-dog business world, but also has ambitions of eventually leading the pack.

I wanted explanations as to why women still are where we are in the business world in comparison to men. I wanted to know what it is that the men are doing that we women aren't. I wanted to know how to avoid those career-limiting mistakes and this book took me there. I listened intently and took extensive notes.

Author Lois P. Frankel had me at lesson 1: How you play the game. Business is a game and you can win it, she writes.  This might sound obvious. I mean how many times have we heard someone say something like this? The problem is most people dismiss it. We shake our heads in disgust and act as if it’s the exception to the rule. We say things like "It's a game.”, “It's politics.”, and “It’s not fair." and we go on about our business. As Frankel outlines the 100 plus nice girl mistakes, she starts with a hell of an eye opener: Mistake 1: If you don't play (the game) you can't win. Eureka! If you want to succeed you can't pretend this thing isn't a game. She advises that you should instead be aware of the rules and develop strategies to make them work to your advantage.

Another notable mistake; Mistake 7: Work hard. This one outlines some of the same ideas I covered in my "Why aren't I getting promoted?” post. Here Frankel dismisses as a myth the notion of advancing by working twice as hard. In her words; “No one ever got promoted purely because of hard work. Likability, strategic thinking, networking and being a team player are a few of the other factors that go into crafting a successful career.” So what are the men up to while we’re busy working twice as hard as them? They’re socializing and networking. Men don't just work hard they build relationships that will later work for them. They work smart rather than hard.

What else did I learn? Well entirely too much to outline here. However, I can say that I know I have several mistakes to work on including #12 Waiting to be given what I want, #54 A reluctance to negotiate and #82 Asking permission. All of these topics and more are helpfully covered in Nice Girls Still Don’t Get the Corner Office.

So did it move me? Obviously, yes. Would I recommend it to others? Ya damn skippy. Thanks for reading. Now get this book and let’s make power moves ladies.

Dressing for Cocktails After Work 

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Details close up(Photo credit Sean Griffin Photography)

Got a planned happy hour outing coming up? Not sure what to wear that will transition from day to play?  Here’s a look that I think works equally well in both settings without having to change a thing. A crisp, white, knee-length pencil dress keeps things professional while the addition of bold accents turns things up a couple of notches.

I love a high-waist belt to accentuate the smallest part of my torso. Of course I tossed the boring belt that came with the dress and opted for one my favorite colors instead. I matched the teal belt with some phenomenal teal ultra-high heels and I was ready to go.

..because sometimes I just feel super.

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Blazer

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My schedule is always packed. I’m always working on something. With countless projects in progress and ridiculous to-do lists, I never get enough sleep and I doubt that I ever will. This outfit is a fun little ode to my inner superhero. A Supergirl tee worn under a blazer just in case I have to duck into a cubicle and do a quick change before running off to go do something incredibly awesome.

Blazer: Vince Camuto, Jeans: Almost Famous, Handbag: Furla, Shoes: Nine West

I was never naturally the brightest of students. Then I went to theatre college and I was never the most talented. I have always had to work. Nothing has ever just landed on my lap.”

VBeckham BofF

So I love Victoria Beckham’s style. She is perfection when it comes to owning the chic yet fierce looks. In a day and age where the more skin you flaunt means the sexier you are, her classic elegance is rather refreshing. How can someone so well put together make it look so effortless?  There’s no doubt that she’s a fashion icon but this wasn’t always the case.

There’s a great article on the one and only Posh Spice in Business of Fashion that provides an interesting look into her struggle to be taken seriously in the fashion industry. Now I love a good struggle story. We get so caught up in our own plights sometimes that we forget most success stories don’t start out as success stories. Some start out as epic fail stories. In Beckham’s case her success story led to a fail story that eventually led to another success story.  It’s a great read and a great inspiration for career oriented woman everywhere.  Click the link to read the full article. Victoria Beckham, Fashion Transformer