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july 4, 2011 Editor’s Note

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Many women now hesitate (or refuse) to take their husband’s surname, seeking to retain a sense of their own identities and independence. Some men are not perturbed, but others feel it is a slap in the face. Are couples just refusing to compromise? We also show you how to redecorate your bathroom for maximum impact as well as how to reinvent Brand You in

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this week’s issue of Your Style.

Live. Love. Laugh a Lot.

Reinventing Your Personal Brand Freshen Up Your Bathroom with Low-Cost Updates

Its My Name or the Highway

Quote of The Week ”He who walks in another’s tracks leaves no footprints” – Joan Brannon



Your Personal Brand planation of self-interest like “I was bored and decided to try something new.” Rather, explain exactly how your skill and past experience will fit in the present: “I used to write about the business aspect of the food industry.” Rebranding doesn’t mean inventing a new persona – it’s a change in emphasis that should prompt others to say ‘I can see you doing that’.

“We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.” – Longfellow.


ou have worked relentlessly at your career to build a solid reputation. You know you are good at your job and so do your colleagues as they consistently praise your efforts. But there is always room to improve and even to grow in new areas. If you’ve hit a plateau or just want to move in a completely new direction, it’s time to rebrand yourself. Major brands do this all the time and it is no exception for individuals. Perhaps you want to enter a different career or take on a new, more meaningful challenge. Others might find it difficult to take you seriously in your new field or understand the motive behind your rebranding. I present five keys steps that can help you successfully reinvent yourself, whether your desired changes are large or small:


Define Your Destination It is important that you first know what message you want your brand to communicate. There is nothing worse than a brand sending mixed messages. Develop the necessary skill set for your new path. If you’ve been a marketer for the last ten years and wish to enter the financial market, ask yourself what is it that you need to know, then educate yourself about the field. Acquiring the required skills gives you a good boost of confidence to start the rebranding process.



Reintroduce Yourself Upon rebranding, you will find that it is much easier to introduce your new brand to new people. The difficulty will lie in introducing your new brand to your existing network. Find a strategic way to re-educate your friends and acquaintances because “they are going to be your buyers, recommenders or leads for your new jobs. Also, make sure that all your points of contact (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) are updated and consistent. Addressing negative perception may come along with you reintroduction, but don’t be deterred. Be discipline and stick to new behaviours that best reflect your aspirations.


Prove Your Worth Just as every art student has his or her portfolio available upon request, so should members of the corporate world. People may like you, but unless they are 100% sure you will satisfy a client’s needs, they will be reluctant to give you a referral. In essence, there is a wide gap between knowing that you have launched a new brand and knowing that you can do the job. Prepare a collection of some of the best work you have done and one piece may just send the signal that you are indeed the person they should give their business to. PR is also a good way to prove your worth and solidify your rebranding by association yourself with the market leaders in their fields and speaking at conferences within the industry. In short, you have to be fully committed and consistent as you move forward, particularly in today’s internet era when traces of your old brand can be difficult to get rid of completely.

Leverage Your Points of Difference Your unique selling point is what you will be remembered for; hence, use it to your advantage. It does not have to be directly related to your work. You do not have to necessarily abandon your old brand. It would be ideal to reconfigure it and compete in the new marketplace.


Develop a Narrative One of the very first questions people may ask you when you are rebranding yourself is why. Develop a coherent narrative that others will take seriously and not view you as an amateur. This view may seem unfair but it is simply the truth. He goes, “You are an award-winning business writer. Why do you now want to write restaurant reviews?” Try not to give an ex-

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Cover Story

ItsMyName or the highway

“The decision whether a bride will keep her given name should be a choice both parties would have sat down and ratified. There is no hard and fast rule that she cannot keep her name or use both names,”


o one knows exactly when it became standard practice for women to adopt their husband’s surname upon marriage. We only know it’s ‘the norm’. Even though more and more women are breaking the rule, the debate still rages about whether a woman is disrespecting her new husband by holding on to her father’s name.

Recently, a veritable war of words was started on Twitter after a popular American media personality raised the question on his morning show. The question was retweeted by actor Brian White, and his followers went to town. Most of the men responding said it was indeed disrespectful and that they would not marry any woman who wouldn’t take their names. Some women agreed, saying when two become one in marriage, the husband’s last name takes precedence because that’s just the way it’s done. More women argued that they would take their husband’s name but still keep their family name, joining the two with a hyphen. Some just flat out refused to give up the names they have been using all their lives, arguing that with the current divorce rate, they couldn’t be bothered to go to the trouble of switching back their names should their own marriages fall apart. There was also the argument that many women have already built successful careers as Miss X, so a change of status to Mrs. Y could negatively affect their business prospects. Are any of these arguments unreasonable? The man is the head of the household, so shouldn’t the members thereof bear his name? But should the wife have to subsume her entire identity into her husband’s? And what about the children, whose name do they get?

“When we first got married, I kept my last name because of legal reasons. As soon as I was able, I changed it,” said Kimone Insang (nee Brown). “[My husband] has his mom’s maiden name as his middle name, so that’s always an option for who want their kids to have both names. I don’t think it matters either way, if a couple is having issues about surnames it is usually a symptom of a deeper problem.” “The decision whether a bride will keep her given name should be a choice both parties would have sat down and ratified. There is no hard and fast rule that she cannot keep her name or use both names,” said Rev. Neil Morris, a pastor in the New Testament Church of God who is also a marriage counsellor. The primary argument used to justify women giving up their surnames is that it’s ‘tradition’ -that’s the way it’s always been done, hence it is right. But whose tradition is it anyway? How did it even come about? No specific anthropological studies have been carried out on the subject, but many people point back to Africa as the place of origin. Ayanda, a young woman from South Africa who responded to White’s tweet stated, “In my culture (Zulu), marriage is about the joining of two families and so taking hubby’s surname is testimony of [the] union.” However, another woman from a country in northern Africa responded that this is not how it’s done in her culture, which is predominantly Islamic. In Islam, it is not permissible for someone to claim to belong to anyone other than his or her father. Also, in Spain and several Latin countries, women traditionally retain their birth names. Your Style eZine

Cover Story Overall, considering all the factors, there is no right or wrong in this debate. It is up to the couple to decide what works for them. facebook comments

Nathalie Thomas Gabbidon: No hyphen in mine.

I was Thomas, before I met my hussy and will always be Thomas just adding to it. As for my daughter, she gets to choose the last name she wants to add. I will never be defined by a hyphen, it’s just not me. Just don’t call me “Rohan’s wife”. It sounds like I’m his property.

Brian Cuff:

Besides gender, religion and ethnicity, there are other factors in this debate, including age. Typically, older people are more ‘traditional’ in this regard while younger people are usually more liberal. Rev. Morris said that in his experience, about 90% of the young brides he counsels choose to hyphenate both surnames. However, this is by no means exclusive, as was seen in a 2009 story carried by USA Today, where researchers from Indiana University and the University of Utah polled about 815 people and found that 70% believed that brides should take their husband’s names. The study also found that the younger women polled were just as likely or more likely than their older counterparts to change their names.

I think its part of the leave and cleave principle. A man leaves his parents home and cleaves to a woman and the two start becoming one. He took her to be his wife, now she belongs to him and he to her. However, due to the society being male dominated, she takes his name to show ownership (not in a property sense). When the two come together, they are deciding to spend life together, name compatibility is far less important than just being compatible.

Sherian Sharomi: I thought about doing Waite-Sharomi for awhile, but then decided against it because, in my opinion, marriage was the beginning of a whole new phase of my life (the BEST phase) and I thought, “What better way to move into that phase than with a new name?” I have no regrets. advertisment

Another facet of this debate is whether it is acceptable for the husband to take his wife’s surname. A 2007 USA Today article highlighted the stories of three men who have broken the tradition. One man, Michael Buday, had even filed a federal gender discrimination lawsuit against the state of California because the process to change his name was far more complicated than it is for women to change theirs. Currently, only seven states (Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, New York and North Dakota) allow men to change their names upon marriage without a tedious legal process. Of course, this is not the only hurdle the men have to cross. Sam Van Hallgren (nee Hallgren) faced some harsh reactions for his choice. Van Hallgren, who adopted ‘Van’ from his wife’s Van Deest, was even told to “turn in his man card” by an irate listener of his morning podcast.

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Freshen Up Your Bathroom with Low-Cost Updates

ake up a tired bathroom with these quick and easy updates that won’t break the bank.

Wake Up the Walls with Color Give a ho-hum bathroom a color transfusion. The dark wooden fixtures in this bathroom are perfect companions for bright hues, such as the bright peach shown here. A statement mirror is a ‘showstopping’ feature in this bathroom. The mirror, a bold wall color, and vibrant striped towels make for an easy and affordable new look. Install a Dose of Tile Give your bathroom sink star status with a little extra detailing. Rather than tiling a whole tub surround or wall, add just a border of tile above your sink vanity. Here, elegant green and blue tiles introduce color and pattern into the bathroom. The tiles make the space look luxurious and rich. Hang Up Artwork Give an instant facelift by adding personalized artwork to your bathroom. Here, a simple picture in a black frame adds the perfect bit of color and interest to the otherwise plain wall. Artwork is easy to install and a great low-cost update solution. Add Wallpaper Looking for a high-impact update? Wallpaper might be your best bet. With so many colors, patterns, and textures available, your wallpaper options are nearly limitless. Here, a natural color

palette and texture create a soothing temperament and add to the rustic design of the room. Update Cabinet Hardware Your cabinetry’s handles, hinges, and doorknobs are the final touches and style setters for the space. Happily, they’re simple to replace whenever you want a fresh look. You’ll find a wide range of prices for cabinet hardware. Give your cabinet doors and drawers a good cleaning before hanging new hardware. Or freshen them with paint or stain so the new hardware will show to the best advantage. Add a Colorful Shower Curtain A new shower curtain is the fastest way to freshen a stale bath. And a colorful curtain can be a basic white bathroom’s best friend. Here, an orange paisley shower curtain trimmed in raspberry pink shows the dramatic effect color can have on a space. Change your shower curtain tomorrow and the bath has a new personality. For your next refresh step, consider purchasing matching towels or artwork. Replace Fixtures Swap outdated light fixtures, medicine cabinets, and faucets for up-to-theminute versions. Fashionforward fixtures will make your bath feel fresh and fabulous and can help shake off some of the stigma of less desirable parts.

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July 4, 2011

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