AN ODE TO THE WOMEN I MET ON HEY! VINA IN CELEBRATION OF INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

When I first joined Hey! VINA, there was a common theme threading together conversations during each VINA date: how difficult it is to make friends as an adult while working and navigating numerous responsibilities and commitments … #adulthood. Unlike our school days, people no longer seemed to centralize in any specific place with the intention of making new friends. But, VINA has provided us with just that!

It didn’t take long to start building relationships with kickass women from all around the Bay Area. Eventually, I started talking about my desire to be in a book club. This spurred several of my vinas and I to form our own, The Badass Book Club. We were united in our desire to focus on literature with a theme of women’s empowerment.

There were only a handful of us initially, but before long, our little group grew to nearly a dozen women. United in our passion for women’s rights and love for literature, our conversations never lack depth, and I’m often left still pondering the profound words and observations of my vina sisters. Our monthly meetings have become something we all look forward to, and in a beautiful, organic way it evolved into much more than a bookclub. It’s a safe space to be vulnerable, to share triumphs, failures, and ideas. We encourage each other, offer advice, console each other and celebrate each other’s successes.

We all came from different walks of life, and our unique experiences enabled us to share new perspectives. We are united in our desires to grow as individuals, uplift women, and to see women succeed in all aspects of life. This keeps us coming back for more: more fantastic literature, more meaningful conversations and more community with empowered women.

Every single woman in The Badass Book Club is fierce, strong, intelligent, kind and driven. We want to see each other succeed, and we are passionate about building women up and crashing through that glass ceiling. We all recognize that empowered women change the world simply by being themselves–encouraging others, speaking up for minorities, pursuing their passions unapologetically, and reminding others to do the same.

In the end, it’s much more than a book club–more than just exchanging thoughts and perspectives on that month’s read–it’s a community for women to come together, expand our minds, and help each other navigate life’s obstacles. This is why VINA is so important. It not only brings women together, it cultivates empowering communities for women to connect, be heard and make a difference.

Take some time today to reflect on the amazing women in your life and celebrate their strength, courage, tenacity and every little thing that makes them who they are. Always remember, even small, thoughtful acts of kindness and encouragement can have a huge impact. When women empower other women, those women go on to do the same.

Happy International Women’s Day, vinas!! To celebrate, we’re giving everyone a FREE 1 week VIP Hey! VINA membership — and the offer is valid TODAY ONLY🌟🌟By being a VINA VIP, you get instant match–so you see all your Heys upfront, unlimited takebacksies, and the ability to teleport around the world! Upgrade today on the app👉

BRAZEN BOOKS FOR EMPOWERED VINAS

One of my favorite books when I was growing up was “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” by Judy Blume. I remember reading it and feeling like I wasn’t alone. Someone else somewhere felt the same way I did about the awkwardness of getting older. As an adult, my reading material has of course changed, but not my search for great books that teach me something, take me on a journey and make me see something in a different light. There are so many great books that do all of these things, but here are some of my favorites:

UNF*CK YOURSELF: GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD AND INTO YOUR LIFE

Courtesy of delia_timis_ Instagram.

by Gary John Bishop

Besides loving the title, “Unf*k Yourselfreminds you of how awesome you are. It’s a straight-forward, brutally honest approach about why you continue to hit roadblocks in your life. What do you need to thrive? What do you need to get out of your head? Gary John Bishop isn’t shy with his answer.

THE WAIT: A POWERFUL PRACTICE FOR FINDING THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE AND THE LIFE YOU LOVE

The Wait book cover
Courtesy of etnahsa Instagram.

by DeVon Franklin, Meagan Good & Tim Vandehey

Ok, so maybe not for everyone, but “The Wait” was an awesome read for me. We’ve all made mistakes in past relationships that we wish we’d stop repeating. Devon and Meagan are super candid about why they chose this path and how it made a difference in their courtship. If what you’ve done in the past hasn’t worked, maybe it’s time to try something new.

BECOMING

Courtesy of kinokuniya_singapore Instagram.

by Michelle Obama

Do I even need to explain this one?! Hello! It’s basically been sold out since it went to the printers and is so the book every woman needs in her life. Just stop everything right now and go get it! You’ll thank me later.

CAN WE ALL BE FEMINISTS?

"Can We All be Feminists" book cover
Courtesy of booksandpolkadots Instagram.

Edited by June Eric-Udorie

A great question with insightful essays hoping to answer it. This anthology featuring voices of women from varying backgrounds and points of view is a must-read. It questions feminism from the standpoint of race, religion, gender identity and more. I originally thought this book may have been too political for me, but I was pleasantly surprised and came away with my own answer to the question.

WELL-READ BLACK GIRL: FINDING OUR STORIES, DISCOVERING OURSELVES

"Well-Read Black Girl" cover
Courtesy of tbretc Instagram.

Edited by Glory Edim

If you’re reading this post, this book is right up your alley. What made you fall in love with writing, books, discovering new voices? “Well Read” asked the same question. Was it a character in a book you still remember? Was it a gift from a loved-one you cherish? Glory Edim curated this collection of females voices sharing their moments of literary love and appreciation.

Start your own girl-power book club with Hey! VINA today! 

NATIONAL MAKE A FRIEND DAY: 7 THINGS TO ASK YOUR NEW VINA

Happy National Make a Friend Day! Hope everyone is feeling social, as today is the day to make a new friend! I have five questions to help you vinas break the ice. Talking to new people can be riveting yet equally terrifying, for it is hard to figure out what to say. Here are some suggestions to make things a little easier.

1. WHAT ARE YOUR HOBBIES?

This one is easy to say, and easy to put into a conversation effortlessly. It will also show you what you and your new bestie have in common. Asking about their hobbies is a great way to ease into a conversation, as it allows the other person to share their personal passions with you. It will make you closer to this person, too! 

2. IF YOU HAD TO CHOOSE ONE TYPE OF FOOD, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

I suggest asking this one because I find everyone loves food, and many different types! Not only will you and your friend know what foods you like, but it is an easy way to then go get food together. It is a good question to ask to start hanging out more often.

3. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE GENRE OF BOOKS OR TV SHOWS?

You can tell a lot about a person from what they read. You can tell if they like fiction, poetry, non-fiction and more. Maybe if you have read the same book, you can then talk about it. If you don’t read, then ask about their favorite movie or TV show. It’s a great way to learn about a person.

4. WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO TRAVEL ONE DAY?

This question is harder to ask unless you are true future friends. You really must be having a great conversation! Nevertheless, asking it helps you learn about a person’s hopes and dreams, which is a great way to become best friends.

5. WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO STUDY YOUR MAJOR/GO INTO YOUR FIELD OF WORK?

Finally, this is a simple question and easy to start a conversation with. We all decide to study a particular subject for a reason, and there’s no better way to delve into a person than through what they do on a daily basis. Not only, but it’s a great segue into a multitude of other subjects that can arise out of asking this question!

6. WHAT WOULD BE THE MOST AMAZING ADVENTURE TO GO ON?

Adventure buddies are the best buddies, and finding out what they deem to be one is important! Whether that be running around the city capturing photographs of the daily grind, going hiking, or stalking your fave celeb who coincidentally is in town as per their Instagram posts, having a vina that shares these thrills is a major plus. There’s nothing better than having a partner-in-crime on these outings—plus, it’s fun to see how’ll they’ll answer this one!

7. WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU THINK EVERYONE SHOULD DO AT LEAST ONCE IN THEIR LIVES?

This one could potentially reveal two things: the values your vina finds most important in life, as well as their personality. Skydiving? The sense of freedom and thrill, and that they’re badass babes. Walking the pilgrimage Camino de Santiago in Spain? Nature-loving and perhaps trying to find their zen in life. The possibilities are endless, and this question is just vying for an answer that contains a great story!

Overall, I suggest asking these questions in any order you feel comfortable. Be fearless in the making a new vina friend. Be social and be happy. Ask as many questions as you need; just follow the conversation naturally and have fun!

Happy National Make a Friend Day — head over to Hey! Vina to start finding your gal gang!

VINA BOOK CLUB: YOUR HOLIDAY BOOK READING LIST

The thought of sitting next to the fireplace with a cup of some decadent hot chocolate and a good book is pretty cliche – but there’s no denying it’s a good feeling this time of the year. The holiday season calls for relaxation and indulgence. So here’s a list of novels that are on-theme and will induce that warm, cozy feeling this season! 📚 ☕🎄

One Day in December by Josie Silver

For all those hopeless romantics, this is a powerful tale of love, friendship, and loss. Laurie is mesmerized by a man she sees on the bus during a cold, snowy evening. Locking eyes for a moment, her mystery crush is gone forever. Laurie spends a year looking for him. One day, she attends a Christmas party with her best friend Sarah, who can’t stop talking about her new boyfriend. Lo and behold – Sarah’s new boyfriend Jack is the one Laurie has been searching for. This book isn’t your typical love triangle! Beautifully written and cinematic, you’ll gobble up this read as fast as your holiday dinner.

Hark! The Herald Angels Scream: An Anthology by Christopher Golden

Halloween came and went, but that doesn’t mean you have to give it all up now that the holidays rolled along. This one is a collection of 18 Christmas horror stories. There’s a spectrum of eerie and creepy styles, so you’ll definitely find a story you’ll love. From cult holiday parties to a haunted Christmas hotel, this is a light read that will surely transition you from autumn to winter!

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Woman at 1,000 Degrees by Hallgrimur Helgason

This one isn’t holiday themed but it sure is cozy. Herra, an 80-something-year-old Icelandic woman waiting for death in a garage recounts her entire existence. She has lived a full yet tragic life during World War II and through the struggles of immigration. Part comedy and part drama, this novel is a truly poetic piece. Helgason can perfectly paint a vivid scene in his style of writing. You’ll feel as if you’re right there with Herra as she tells you the stories of her life.

The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

A warm tale of growing up and rolling with what life gives you, this novel will keep you feeling cozy this winter. This classic is a story of young Taylor Greer and her mission to leave her hometown. Along the way she encounters a parent-less child named Turtle and makes a new friend on her journey. While trying to find Turtle’s home, Taylor seeks a stable and happy life in this heartwarming tale. If you’re looking for a book with strong character development and female relationships, this is the one.

A Pleasure and a Calling by Phil Hogan

William Heming will be the most interesting and creepy character you read about this season – no, EVER! A successful realtor who is good at his job, he has the biggest secret in his town: he keeps the key to every house he has ever sold. When a dead body is discovered in one of the properties, things escalate at a rapid pace. This shocking mystery will be hard to put down.

Ready for some warm and cozy hibernation with these books? Everything’s better with some good vinas. Go over to the Hey! VINA app now and start swiping in the Lit Lovers community. We see a stellar book club in your future!📚👍

COLORING BOOKS YOU DIDN’T KNOW YOU NEEDED IN YOUR LIFE

Adult coloring books had their moment a few years ago—and the category is still going strong. In fact, there are a ton of new coloring books on the market right now that are creating buzz. We all need to release our inner kid, and lucky for us, psychologists have found that there are many benefits linked to coloring, like helping to reduce stress and improving parts of the brain that control vision and creativity. 

So kick back, check these out and get coloring!

THE BADASS FEMINIST COLORING BOOK

Celebrate these 40 modern-day feminists with this coloring book. In between coloring these badass women, this book also has bonus feminist essays included. It’s perfect for vinas who love to color, empower, and embrace being a woman.

Buy it here.

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE: A COLORING CLASSIC

Jane Austen quotes and beautiful, intricate designs? Count us in! Indulge in artistic renderings of scenes from the iconic novel and accurate depictions of Victorian household objects. And if you haven’t already, pick up the book and enjoy!

Buy it here.

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CHEER THE F*UCK UP: AN IRREVERENTLY POSITIVE ADULT COLORING BOOK

When you’re in need of cheering up, grab this coloring book. It’s full of positive quotes, casual curse words, and ways to lift your mood. With 37 illustrations ranging from simple to complex, you can color-in mermaids, fairies, animals, and abstract designs while expressing all the things you can’t always say. 

Buy it here.

KICK-ASS WOMEN OF HISTORY & MYTH: ADULT COLORING BOOK

If you loved the first coloring book, but desire other historical and mythical #girlbosses, look no further! It’s filed with illustrations of figures like Cleopatra, Sappho, and a Harlem Renaissance star and not to mention, sassy biographies of these amazing women are also included.

Buy it here.

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FRIENDSHIP COLORING BOOK

Whether you buy it for yourself or for one of your vinas, let the zany and fun drawings in this book remind you of the power of friendship that can last a lifetime. This book is perfect for a gift or even a VINA date!

Buy it here.

Want to finding a coloring crew? Join the Artists and Designers community or the DIY Lovers community on VINA and get planning!🎨

SEPTEMBER BOOK CLUB: NEW BOOKS YOU HAVE TO READ

It’s that time of year again where you begin to change things up in your wardrobe, swap your morning iced coffee for a pumpkin spice latte, and get in the groove of a whole new season that is upon us. Something else that is perfect to switch up at this time, too, is your bookshelf. With a new season comes new books! Here are some books that should be added to your must-read list this fall.

SEA PRAYER BY KHALED HOSSEINI

A short story inspired by the events of Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian refugee who drown in an attempt to reach safety–Khaled Hosseini made a tribute to those who lost their lives during the Syrian War and those families who were displaced and compelled to face the sea. A story of a father talking to his son before crossing the ocean, this tale will have you reflecting upon the ones you love and just how lucky you truly are.

WE REGRET TO INFORM YOU BY ARIEL KAPLAN

As the school year begins, it’s high stress time for those of you who finishing up high school and thinking about attending college in the upcoming year. And for those of you just starting post-secondary schooling, this one may be all too relatable. This is a story about Mischa, a straight-A student, who finds herself rejected from every school she applied to. Coping with the idea of trying your best (especially when you’re under pressure!), but still failing, may be the best coming of age story to read this month.

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WHAT THE WOODS KEEP BY KATYA DE BECERRA

An intense page-turner full of mystery, fantasy and sci-fi, this whirlwind of a story will keep you captivated until the end. On her eighteenth birthday, Hayden inherits the home she grew up in, only on the basis that she must uncover the darkest secrets within it. Even though she has tried to cover it all up until this point in her life, it inevitably catches up to her.

WHEN: THE SCIENTIFIC SECRETS OF PERFECT TIMING BY DANIEL PINK

A treasure of a how-to book, Daniel Pink dives into ways we can improve our life at work and at home through the concept of time. For instance, did you know there’s an ideal time during the day to schedule surgery? Or that there is a good time to take a nap or coffee break to boost productivity? This is a great book for everyone, whether you’re beginning a new school year this month, starting a new project or just looking for ways to motivate yourself, this book gives you the ultimate tools to maximize your time and create a fresh start for yourself.

WHISKEY IN A TEACUP: WHAT GROWING UP IN THE SOUTH TAUGHT ME ABOUT LIFE, LOVE & BAKING BISCUITS BY REESE WITHERSPOON

Ever wonder what it would be like to be BFFs with Reese Witherspoon? Her part-lifestyle and part-cookbook can bring you just a little closer to that! A charming book about her Southern roots, it delves into how her heritage has shaped her into the woman we know today. From entertaining her guests to her grandmother’s most divine recipes, you can bring a bit of a Southern touch to you life. What, like, it’s hard?

Want to find new vinas to start a book club with? Download Hey! VINA, join the Lit Lovers club and swipe away!

 

30 BOOKS TO READ BEFORE YOU TURN 30

While many people claim to not be into reading, we like to think that those people just haven’t found the right book to curl up with. While we agree that nothing is better than Netflix, a great read can reduce stress and help you learn something new. So before you’re truly adulting (30 is the new 20, right?), check out these classic books!

IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR TALES OF TRIUMPH, READ…

1. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

While it was published in 1969, Maya Angelou’s personal coming-of-age story still stands as one of the best autobiographies you could read.

2. I am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai

After surviving her attack, this young activist started an international movement and won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.

3. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Walls’ memoir depicts her childhood raised by dysfunctional and neglecting parents, and her eventual decision to leave.

4.  Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Before it was a movie starring Reese Witherspoon, Wild was the true story of a young woman tackling loss and the PCT trail.

5.  Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxanne Gay

Confronting society’s issues with her plus-size body, Gay isn’t looking for pity, just understanding.

6. Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World by Ann Shen

You’ll buy it for its illustrations, you’ll keep it for the amazing inspiration it gives you.

IF YOU’RE LOOKING TO IMPROVE YOURSELF, READ…

7. You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero

This self-help book is sarcastic, funny, and just what you might need to hear.

8. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

This book may be old but its lessons still stand, even more so today.

9. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

Manson focuses less on being positive and more on embracing the scary and uncomfortable parts of life.

10. The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking

Having spent years studying what makes Denmark the happiest country in the world, Wiking shares his insights in this book.

11. You Do You by Sarah Knight

Recommended for people-pleasers and perfectionists.

12.  Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett & Dave Evans

Looking to regain some control in your life? These Silicon Valley designers will teach you how to design a life you’ll love.

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IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR A COFFEE TABLE BOOK, READ…

13. The Atlas of Beauty: Women of the World in 500 Portraits by Mihaela Noroc

Take a break from Instagram and lose yourself in this visual collection of beauty as seen around the world.

14. Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton

Based on his popular blog, Stanton mixes his photography with the heartwarming and sometimes painful stories of New Yorkers.

15. National Geographic: The Photographs by Leah Bendavid-Val

Immerse yourself in the magazine’s most memorable photography of the past 25 years, along with anecdotes from the photographers.

16. The Polaroid Book by Barbara Hitchcock

This book showcases more than 400 amateur individual photos taken with a Polaroid.

17. Destinations of a Lifetime: 225 of the World’s Most Amazing Places by National Geographic

Another National Geographic pick, this book showcases the most breathtaking vacation destinations along with information for future travelers.

18. 1000 Record Covers by Michael Ochs

Featuring album art from the ’60s to the ’90s, this book acts as a gallery for record covers and is sure to make you feel a little nostalgic.

IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR SOME CAREER INSPIRATION, READ…

19. Ask a Manager by Alison Green

From workplace gossip to holiday parties, this book is the guide to navigating the workplace.

20. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

This Facebook COO shares her insight after years in the workplace. Recommended for recently-graduated vinas.

21. Mistakes I Made at Work by Jessica Bacal

Everybody makes mistakes—and the influential women in this book share what they’ve learned from them.

22. The Kinfolk Entrepreneur by Nathan Williams

Perfect for aspiring entrepreneurs, this book showcases individuals from different industries and different countries.

23. In The Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists and Entrepreneurs by Grace Bonney

Featuring over 100 women in creative fields, this book is inspiration for any vina with a passion.

24. Little Black Book: A Toolkit for Working Women by Otegha Uwagba

This travel size handbook is perfect if you’re looking for quick, no-nonsense advice.

IF YOU’RE LOOKING TO REVISIT THE CLASSICS, READ…

25. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

This coming-of-age story depicts serious issues like racism, yet still manages to warm your heart.

26. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

We love Leonardo DiCaprio, but this story of love and deception in 1920s America is much better read than watched.

27. 1984 by George Orwell

“Big Brother is watching” will forever be an iconic line with this dystopian novel.

28. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

The love story between Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy is not only iconic, it’s charming and hilarious.

29. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Get ready to cry with this beautiful story of friendship, betrayal and redemption spanning several years and set in Afghanistan.

30. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Following a young shepherd’s journey to find a treasure, this story is one that will stay with you for a long time.

How many of these books have you read and loved? If you’re looking for a friend to talk books with or to start a book club, download Hey! VINA and join the Lit Lovers community!

JULY BOOK CLUB: THE HOTTEST READS RIGHT NOW

If you haven’t found a good summer read to go with your glass of rosé, no worries—we’ve got you covered. Here are some of the best books that are making waves this summer!

Days of Awe by AM Homes

Let’s not pretend that we do not have our eyes glued to the news lately. With all the news lately, Days of Awe will take you into an intellectual collection of anxieties of modern-day America. This is the author’s second collection of stories in three decades. Homes won the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2013, so you know her stories are worth the read.

Florida by Lauren Groff

This reading selection will have you laughing out loud with frequent stops into the wild and mysterious landscapes of Florida. Florida is a collection of essays about the climate and history of the sunshine state. You’ll be introduced to many whimsical and intriguing characters as you learn about love, despair and pleasure mixed with pain.

Uncommon Type: Some Stories by Tom Hanks

One of America’s most beloved actors, Tom Hanks brings us Uncommon Type: Some Stories. This book is fantastic if you are looking for heart-warming, kind stories that are riddled with empathy. Each story features a new typewriter woven into a beautiful tale.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Making Oprah’s book list, An American Marriage introduces us to newlyweds Celestial and Roy. On their journey of Roy’s 12-year sentence, Celestial believes he is innocent. With each day that passes, Celestial takes comfort in her childhood friend, Andre. This is a story of strength, insight and the journey of a soul.

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My Friend Fear: Finding Magic in the Unknown by Meera Lee Patel

My Friend Fear: Finding Magic in the Unknown enlightens us through inspirational quotes, musings and questions that evoke deep thought. This book is her newest publication on top of her Patel’s best-selling novel Start Where You Are. After opening this book, you will feel inspired to conquer the day!

Feel Free by Zadie Smith

Pick up any Zadie Smith novel and you’re sure to find strength and beauty in every sentence. Her newest collection of essays, titled Feel Free, she questions the modern world. Smith dives deep into the meaning of Facebook and what we will tell the future generation about global warming. This collection of essays will be one that you won’t be able to put down.

Neon in Daylight by Hermoine Hoby

Neon in Daylight is Hoby’s first novel; dazzled with insight, intellect and intrigue. The story follows a young lady named Kate who arrived in New York from England. She finds herself with the daunting tasks of calling her pessimistic boyfriend from back home and watching over a cat named Joni Mitchell. Her days are forever changed when she is introduced to a charming man named Bill and his daughter, Inez.

Get to reading, vinas! We will be back with new selections in August.

Interested in starting your own book club? Start swiping to find some bookworm vinas!

7 BOOKS THAT ALL #BOSSBABES SHOULD READ THIS SUMMER

We know, you probably read Lean In or #Girlboss and thought you’d soaked up all the female entrepreneurial advice there is to read. More vinas than ever are starting businesses and it’s an amazing thing that there are so many #girlboss voices out there sharing their stories!

From Diane von Fustenberg’s 1970s climb to the top of the fashion food chain to Juicy madness in the early 2000s, we’ve compiled a fun list of books written by the female heads of some of our favorite companies, past and present.

Check them out, and let us know you’re thoughts in the comments below!

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I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This, Kate White 

There’s a reason this book is at the top of the list—because if there was just one that I’d want you to pick, it would be this one at the very top of the pile. Kate White was a #girlboss before Sophia Amoruso could even pronounce the word. She speaks openly and candidly about her transformation from pushover to unstoppable editor-in-chief at Cosmopolitan, where she stayed for 14 years. Order your copy here.

Power Your Happy, Lisa Sugarpower you happy

Lisa Sugar is a woman whose secret to success seems simple—she knew what she liked, turned it into a hobby and kept going until it was a business. You may know Popsugar for their engrossing articles and handy craft ideas. Back in the day, it was just a blog, albeit one that she poured her heart and soul into. It’s hard not to be a little envious of her success because she loves the same things so many of us do: pop culture, entertainment news and maybe a dash of gossip, but she’s literally built an empire out of it! Purchase here.

The Woman I Wanted To Be, Diane von Furstenberg 

Before she was 30, Diane von Furstenberg had been both a princess through marriage and a businesswoman featured in the Wall Street Journal … and there would be much more where that came from. Her wrap dress captivated the fashion world and turned it into a craze that eventually died out, but she simply moved onto other creative endeavors.

Lately, she’s been named one of Forbes‘ Most Powerful Women and is president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. If anything, her story is a moving testament to the impact any woman can have at any age. Check out her story here.

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By Invitation Only: How We Built Gilt, Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson 

It’s hard to imagine a time when people thought online shopping was a bad idea, but the women who founded Gilt lived through those times. In their book, these two Harvard blondes dish on how they encountered sexist venture capitalists who looked down on their flash sale-driven business model, started a company, traveled the world, learned Japanese and figured out how to get a few breaths in between. Purchase here.

In My Shoes: A Memoir, Tamara Mellon

Anyone who believes in a woman’s right to shoes has probably enjoyed at least a brief love affair with a pair of Jimmy Choos. Tamara Mellon was a coke-addicted socialite who’d been fired from Vogue when she got the idea to partner up with Jimmy Choo, a cobbler who was London society’s best-kept secret. Princess Diana was one of his clients.

She describes the mad dash to supply the Hollywood elite by setting up a showroom in a hotel pre-Oscar night, all the way to the eventual unraveling of her part in the company by the financiers. Find it here.

The Glitter Plan, Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor

This book is an adorable fish-out-of-water memoir reminiscent of Legally Blonde. Two perky, candy-loving LA friends start a T-shirt line…that turns into the velour tracksuit movement of the early 2000s. Juicy Couture took over the world and appeared all over our T.V. screens, and stores couldn’t keep enough in stock. Hear firsthand from the founders how the brand evolved and the fun they had riding that wave of success. Order it here.

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Find Your Extraordinary, Jessica DiLullo Herrin

Jessica DiLullo Herrin, co-founder of direct sales jewelry company Stella & Dot, begins her memoir with a mildly relatable parable: when a high school teacher angrily called her a waste of potential, she abandoned her class-cutting high school habits and dedicated her energy to a university transfer. With her eye on the prize (Stanford), she pulled off the transfer, graduated, fielded the corporate career path for a few years, then decided to start her own company.

Herrin’s transparency about what makes a driven career woman tick is one of the things I liked most about her book. She admits that you can’t have it all—ballet recitals and board meetings will have to be decided between. It takes a village to keep it together, in spite of what modern folklore wants us to believe. Outsource the little tasks in order to make way for the big ones, stay true to the vision you’ve set for your career path, and there should be little that stands between you and your dreams. Get it here. 

Want to form a #bossbabe book club? Start swiping for new vinas here!

VINA BOOK CLUB: GREY GARDENS

For the latest installment of the VINA book club, we’re actually watching a movie! HBO’s rendition of the lives of the infamous mother/daughter duo, the Edith Bouvier Beales. In addition to sharing a name, they practically shared their entire lives. Referred to as Big Edie and Little Edie, they were the aunt and cousin of the beloved Bouvier, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and were definitely the most eccentric women in the Hamptons.

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Beales and Maysles via IMDb

The two lived together at the great family estate, Grey Gardens. Little Edie did not want to get married because she didn’t want a man to make her give up her singing career like her father did her mother (and then he left her). However, Little Edie’s mother kept her away from the spotlight anyways. Big Edie was mentally-unstable and an emotional manipulator; therefore, Little Edie was forever by her mother’s side. They grew old together, in isolation, both continuing to dream of their future lives and alternate realities, as their current ones were going to waste. When the Maysles asked to film a movie about the Beale women, Little Edie loved the idea of the chance to “relaunch her career.” The filming of that documentary could have easily been the most exciting experience of their collective lives.

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Little Edie via Vogue

Their interesting lives makes for a great biopic because they had so much to offer. Their deep mother/daughter connection was sometimes endearing, but mostly strange. Their story is one of those sad ones that we romanticize because of its tragic beauty, as the reality is that the Grey Gardens estate was brimming with garbage, newspapers older than you and me, and a pet raccoon. The Edies were the ultimate shut-ins, hoarders, and unintentional misanthropes. Somehow, life passed them by without their consent.

In 1975, the Maysles brothers made the trek out to Grey Gardens in order to film a documentary about the Bouvier Beales. Grey Gardens became the first of many Edie-themed creative endeavors of artists of all media. This documentary is in part what prompted writer Lois Wright to share her time at the gardens in her book, My Life at Grey Gardens. In 2006, yet another documentary was released: The Beales of Grey Gardens. And finally, in 2009, HBO made their own movie, which was focused around the making of the original Maysles brothers’ documentary.

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Lange and Barrymore via InStyle

The fashion in HBO’s film is to die for. Costume designer Catherine Marie Thomas did an excellent job of representing everything from the Edie’s 40s style to the old-lady aesthetic they acquired over the years. Little Edie looks fabulous adorned with luxurious scarves covering her bald head (due to alopecia totalis), and takes great pride in the versatility of her wardrobe.

The first time I saw the HBO version, starring Jessica Lange (before we all became obsessed with her on American Horror Story) and Drew Barrymore, my imagination ran wild. I had this overwhelming vision of my mother and sister becoming the next Beales. This image is not too far out-there, for not only were my mother and sister conjoined at the hip, my mother was totally obsessed with the beautiful, sad mess that was the Grey Gardens estate. I could see in her eyes, she was imagining the same future (only she wasn’t afraid of it). I doubt this will really happen, but only time will tell.

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Little Edie via GIPHY

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(Feature image via InStyle)

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