WCW-Victoria Gousse-Real Estate Muse

It is Wednesday, peeps, and you know what that means: Women Crush Wednesday! Today’s post is real estate professional/blogger: Victoria “Vickie” Gousse. Vickie happens to be one my best friends. We met in high school and have remained close friends to this day. We ran our school like Serena and Blair in Gossip Girl. Well, at least, in our heads we did, ha ha!  She was the Wilma to my Betty, the Ethel to my Lucy, and the Gina to my Pam. She was my partner in crime and I am so grateful to have her in my life after all of these years. 

When we graduated, Vickie went on to study at Fordham University and has worked in the real estate industry for 10 years. She is absolutely amazing and I am very excited to share her story with you and tell you exactly what makes her rad! Vickie has had great success as a real estate professional in her career. However, that is not all, she also has a blog where she writes about real estate as well as fashion. With the oversaturation of the fashion blog, this one brilliant, merging two very different genres together. I encourage all of you to go read, you will fall in love with it and learn in the process!

Now, if those are not enough reasons for Vickie to be my Woman Crush Wednesday, I have a few more for you. She is one of the few people who will still call me out if I need it. Let's be honest, we all need an awesome friend like her in our lives. I admire her so much. In a nutshell, she is driven, kind, beautiful, and creative. In between both of us coercing the other to get that “must have item of the week” lol, we managed to pull this Q & A together, enjoy!

O.C.O: Why real estate? What about the industry gave you a connection "BAM" this is what I want to do?

V.G: I started my real estate career as a temp in college, doing marketing for Low Income Housing Tax Credit projects in NYC. When I discovered the lengths that cities and states go to, in order help developers create affordable housing for those in need, I thought it was very special and something that I wanted to incorporate into my career. Its not just real estate, its public policy, and it directly impacted the quality of people's lives.

O.C.O: How do you keep a balance of being fashionable, yet dressing appropriate for the work place?

V.G: The basics of being fashionable is to know who you are and how you want to project yourself to the world. From there, invest in some business wear basics such as a good blazer, high-waisted slacks, and a great watch. Keep it conservative and don't over-accessorize- I'd say that's a good place to start.

O.C.O: What made you decide to start your blog?

V.G: I have a very creative spirit, and it comes across in the way I dress and the way I work everyday. So I wanted to find a way to bring real estate concepts to audiences in a way that was stylish, contemporary, and that incorporated my love of fashion.

O.C.O: With shows like the Million Dollar Listing Franchise inspiring many to draw their hand in the real estate game, do you think this is helping or hurting the real estate industry?

V.G: It certainly makes real estate brokerage more entertaining than I ever imagined! And it’s also helping to recruit lots of aspiring real estate dealmakers and professionals.

O.C.O: Last article of clothing/accessory you have purchased?

V.G: A matching 2 piece knit top and wide legged pant from Zara. The pants fit like a glove and the fabric feels so smooth, I can't wait until the weather is cool enough to wear them. 

O.C.O: What/Who inspires you?

V.G: Being in New York City everyday inspires me. The mixture of old and new architecture, the unique economic drivers behind real estate projects and the availability of the best in design and fashion really keeps me inspired to do and learn more everyday.

O.C.O: What advice would you give someone who wants to break into the world of real estate?

V.G: Do your research. When people think of real estate, they may only imagine the work of a real estate agent. But the real estate industry is vast, spanning from property managers, real estate developers, fund managers, asset managers, lawyers, and accountants to residential and commercial real estate brokers that help us lease, buy and sell all the properties you see around you. Each of these professions requires different skills and education levels. So I would recommend they do research to determine their areas of interest, read the real estate publications and familiarize themselves with the movers and shakers in those fields.

O.C.O: Outlets like Refinery 29 and Time Out NY are writing about real estate developments and the glamour of them. Where do you see the real estate industry in the next 5-10 years?

V.G: In order to keep buildings close to full occupancy at all times, real estate owners are relying more and more on technology to find their next tenants, to manage revenue and to keep marketing efforts going. I see the industry increasingly merging technology and social media into their operating platforms.

O.C.O: Favorite Vickie/Kosi moment in High School? ;)

V.G: Doing our stage rendition of the "PopStars" audition in our senior year, we were competing for who's V.G: the best member of the group and your name was "Koko Shavita-Jones", I crack up everytime I think about it!

Yes and I posted up that embarrassing pic of us as “PopStars”, my eyebrows were cray haha! Follow Vickie on Instagram, Bloglovin, and Twitter



Into The Mind: Mustard Yellow

Hey Peeps!

How was your weekend! My weekend was rad, went to Afropunk Saturday and my cousin's anniversary party.  Check out my IG for pics!

This week marks the last week of summer, then it's back to school and work for many.  For a lot of us it also means the start of Fall 15 shopping (woo hoo).  Like I said a few weeks ago, I'm excited to wear my scarves, leather jackets and knee high boots real soon!

I have been seeing a ton of mustard yellow, I'm digging it. Years ago, this color made people cringe haha. Now with 70s fashion coming back, the color is becoming that pop of color staple. Mustard Yellow doesn't scream out Spongebob, it's actually more understated. I am trying to incorporate more color into my wardrobe and will give mustard yellow a try in the months to come. Combining this color with my grey's and blacks will be a blast! I love how the color is included in the Zimmermann Blouse below (yes that will be mine this fall) isn't it lovely? 

New season also means start a new book! My friend Jeannine recommended "Girl on the Train" by Paula Hawkins. I was looking for a psychological thriller that makes me escape reality when I'm at the gym haha.  Girl on the Train is a NY Times best seller, Dreamworks brought the rights to the movie last year so we will be seeing it on the big screen!   

How is everyone else spending their last week of summer? Excited for fall?


WCW-Chanese Elifé: vocal powerhouse

Hey peeps!

It’s Wednesday! That means a new WCW post!  This week I am happy to feature Harlem born musician, Chanese Elifé.  I met Chanese at my friend's video release party and we hit it off right away. Isn’t it rad to make connections like that!? Positive vibes, late night jams, and great times were had that night! Chanese is a very talented musician, who started teaching herself the keyboard at age 5, the guitar at age 9 and has been performing and songwriting ever since. But being raised in a strict home, her parents forbade her to play anything outside of Christian based music. At the age of 17 Chanese exploded onto the NY gospel scene and rapidly soared to popularity, while touring hundred of venues and being featured on several albums (many of which she coproduced). For years as a successful minister of music she thrived on connecting with her audience, but eventually grew frustrated by the constraints of organized religion. In 2010 finding herself at a personal and professional crossroads, Chanese went on hiatus and moved to Sydney, Australia to pursue a degree in sacred music and find herself spiritually, absent from familial pressure. 

Chanese Robin Elife'

Red Rooster Harlem with Rakiem Walker Project last nite... If you in Harlem on a Monday why on earth go anywhere else...

Posted by Maurice Bolden on Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A rebel by nature, in her first year of bible college, Chanese began to question theology and the repression often associated with it. Deciding she'd seen and had enough, she dropped out at the end of the semester and left organized religion all together. Pending the loss of support from family, friends and followers back in the U.S., she stayed in Australia and taught herself how to survive as a solo musician, without the comfort of communal support.

Excited, but not really knowing where or how to start life over as a mainstream artist, she began by arranging soulful acoustic covers of top 40 songs and busking in the train stations of Sydney city which lead to many pub and house party gigs. It was through those often rowdy and culturally shocking experiences that Chanese began to feel alive again and reconnect with what she had loved about sharing music in the first place; the excitement of having an entire room united, dancing and singing to the same as one. After three inspiring years abroad she began to long for the raw creative energy that only NYC could offer and returned home in 2013. Since then Chanese has been performing live at various venues around the city, loving her new life and writing about it all. She is currently in the studio recording her first studio project, which is due to drop fall 2015.

Between my cray week and her recording schedule, we manage to do an amazing Q & A:

 O.C.O: What was the first tune(s) you learned?

C.E: First song I taught myself by ear was "Go Tell It On The Mountain" on the keyboard at age 5. We couldn't afford lessons so my favorite game at that age was trying to recall songs I had heard at church and figuring out how to play them on the keys. I started teaching myself guitar at age 9, but the first song I learned on paper from another person with standard tuning and chord shapes was "Basket Case" by Green Day at age 11 by the school band teacher, Mr. Richard Cohen.

 O.C.O: Describe your personal style

C.E: It's like a finely aged hobo stew really. A little bit of this and a little bit of that I've picked up from here and there. Little messy and spicy with lots of different textures that traditionally haven't been thought to go together but somehow wind up working. I think it comes with being a native New Yorker and musician. I've been (artistically) hustling since I was a kid so I'm a product of that environment. I daily find myself in the most random situations, hearing all kinds of music, chatting with the most fascinating and interestingly dressed people from all over the globe, so I pick little things up along the way, toss them in my trolley and keep moving. Life is too big for boxes. If I like something I rock with it. If I don't like it I toss it. That goes for my music, my fashion and my life.

O.C.O: Imagine you’re watching a concert and one of the band members/musicians spontaneously combusts. You get called to the stage to replace them. Who’s the band/musician?

C.E: That sounds so painful! Oh my. Well,  while I hope she'll live forever(or at least never spontaneously combust during a performance I happen to be attending), I would quickly bum-rush Beyoncé's stage, grab a guitar and rock with her 10-piece all-women band, the Sugar Mammas. And it's not just cause they're women. It's because they're all masterful musicians who happen to be women. As a band, they're really versatile and can play virtually any style and do it with an energy that supports their front woman. That's all I've ever wanted in a backing band because my music fuses several genres and I love to see everybody moving with me. *strokes imaginary beard*  Hmmm suddenly spontaneous combustion doesn't really sound THAT painful after all. JK cause everyone knows Queen Bey (and all of her pieces) would just magically regenerate, kick my ass of the stage and slay the most epic finale ever! 

O.C.O: Do you think that online presence is important for fans to find you and critics to find your music to write about?

C.E: This is such an exciting time to be a an artist of any sort. Our ability to connect through technology is amazing and beautiful when done responsibly.  There is an entire planet of people craving music that doesn't exist where they are geographically. But through online presence they can access the art that truly speaks to them. I'm really looking forward to releasing my first studio project in the fall because I'll finally have something of my own to share with the world that I truly believe people everywhere are going to want groove to (stank face and all). I honestly don't know who my streaming audience will be and that thought alone ignites me. I cannot wait for them to say hello and connect with me online. I can't wait to jump on a plane and go any and everywhere people will want to rock with me. I can't wait to put on epic shows to express my gratitude for their support. And when I get there, I will try my hardest not to spontaneously combust on stage ;)

O.C.O: Is there a particular song or musical passage that never fails to move you emotionally?

C.E: Man like just 2 weeks ago I got amped AF like an angst teen all over again when the beat dropped on "Violet" by Hole! And, I may or may not have air-guitared and fake-moshed in the privacy of my own room. 

O.C.O: Rock on, love Hole! Since everyone was a startup once, can you give any smaller or local bands looking to get gigs and airplay some tips?

C.E: Practice daily. Nail every first impression. Never allow yourself an "off" public performance, regardless of the size of the audience or venue and you'll always be sought after. Word of mouth is always going to hold its own weight (social media sharing is just an extension of that principle when you really think about it) because our reputations precede us.

O.C.O: What is your most valued material possession?

C.E: Definitely my signature Ovation guitar; The Big Lady. She was a gift from the musical director at the college I attended in Sydney, Australia because I couldn't afford to bring mine on the plane when I moved there. When I got back home to NYC I met my good friend, the incredible artist Sarah Coffman who burned the mind-blowingly beautiful designs into The Big Lady. She was the first guitar that Sarah ever burned. I suspect that her beauty will always move me emotionally. 

O.C.O: Any upcoming shows/tours or songs/albums?

C.E: I can be seen semi regularly at Grill On the Hill in Harlem, check my social media pages, I perform all over the city and following me would be the best way to keep up!

 I need to head up to Grill On the Hill in Harlem! Follow Chanese on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.