Good Hair
Growing up, I'd have one of my sisters try to subdue my unruly mane. Now I go to the salon every week, so I don't panic when it's humid and my hair does its best imitation of a giant dandelion.

The Occasional Splurge
For years I carried around ratty purses, but this year I sprang for a designer handbag—and let me tell you, there's something to be said for looking the part. With my new bag over my shoulder, I practically strut.

Giving Back
I got through college on scholarships, so when I speak at a university or nonprofit, I like to repay that generosity by donating some of my fee to the organization. It's a much bigger thrill than simply getting a check.

Having a Fan Club
Conservative businessmen don't generally pay a lot of attention to middle-aged black women. But now they stop me on the street to debate issues or gush like schoolgirls over my most recent TV appearance. Be yourself and you'll be surprised who you can win over.

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