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Vanessa Johnson is “The Plug” for Empowerment in The World of Beauty

To me, first impressions are everything. From the moment I met Ms. Vanessa I knew she was special. Her energizing personality, prodigious intellect, and her gravitating energy for fashion and beauty made an instant connection to my spirit.

A year ago, I was introduced to Vanessa Johnson while attending a birthday party. Like myself, Vanessa has a career and a passion in contrasting fields, a combination that many don’t understand but are interchangeable in many ways. As a High School teacher in Houston, TX  by day, and a MUA by night, she is passionate about the natural beauty of females and using makeup to enchance it,  empowerment of all women, and entrepreneurship for youth worldwide.

Vanessa believes,  “Society constantly pressures girls and women into thinking perfection is the only reality” so she decided to create an outlet for women who need support and inspiration. Ms. Johnson, along with fellow Tuskegee University Alumna Jessica Maner founded The Plug Inc.: a space to interact and stay connected to beauty, profession, and fashion.

With well over 10k view each post, 3K subscribers, and many giveaways, Vanessa exemplify her passion for beauty effortlessly.

As more projects and collaborations bring her to this area it’s only a matter of time that all of  DC will know Vanessa Johnson.

Here’s a message from Vanessa:

 

 

 

Contact/Bookings: Thepluginc.co@gmail.com
Instagram: @nessmonae
Website: www.thepluginc.co
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/vanessamonae

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Holiday Glamour: Company Party Attire

‘Tis the season. With the holidays comes the company holiday parties; the perfect opportunity to show off your polished social skills and mingle with the who’s who of upper management. It’s vital for your appearance to align with the appropriate attire; maintaining a neat and professional look, while still having fun and dressing for the occasion.

 

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By following these three simple tips, you’ll be able to pull off an impeccable look, and have one less thing to worry about.

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4 Winter Coats Every Girl and Guy Must Have

After I experienced my first winter in DC, I am an advocate for having multiple types of coats. You may think you can easily get away with one or two good coats during the winter season, but realistically you’ll need different types depending on the occasion (and weather). If at this point you’re thinking something along the lines of, “Who has money to just be throwing out for coats?!?”, I get it. Good coats are not only hard to find, but they can also be pricey. Thankfully, there are options out there and to help you to pick pieces that you feel are worth the investment, I did some research and put together a list of the top four coats that every man and woman should have in their closet.

A Trench Coat

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Every “must-have” winter list will have a trench coat on it.  It’s an essential transitional piece that can easily take you from fall to winter. When it comes to a trench, stick with a neutral color (black, camel, navy, and gray) because even though surprising colors and patterns are fun, this is going to be a jacket you want to withstand the test of time (and short lived trends).

SHOPPING ON A BUDGET:

SPLURGE A LITTLE:

 

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Business Casual Style: Office Fashion That’s NOT Boring

Whether your career is styling at Nordstrom, salon receptionist, community agent for a local nonprofit, or an agent for the government, most employers abide by a certain protocol for employee attire; usually falling somewhere on the spectrum of business casual. Your first impression is essential in the workplace, yet most people blur the lines of what’s appropriate and what isn’t. The benefits of maintaining a work appropriate image is it allows you access to a promotion, builds a cohesive work atmosphere, and leaves a lasting impression on your employer or client. Yes, certain companies are lenient with business casual, while others may require certain color schemes, but overall business casual is not to be interpreted with the image of street wear with a blazer.

Let’s say you’re a salesperson working in the women’s contemporary department at Saks Fifth Avenue. A customer is browsing the department and simultaneously asks you, “excuse me, do you work here?” In this scenario, the customer wouldn’t questioned your title as associate if you were dressed to reflect the Saks image.

Here at DC WKLY we want our readers to thrive professionally. I’ve put together a grand how-to guide according to personality type. Check it out!

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Black Alumni Ball Best Dressed + Style Recap

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DCWKLY Fashion Contributors Kiara Bagley, Derika Crowley, and Janell Henderson

In August the city welcomed The Black Alumni Networking Expo, accompanied by The Annual Black Alumni Ball. The ball stands as a black tie event for professional alumni from various colleges and universities. As always, it’s exciting to see a melanin filled room, complete with Kings and Queens in their best black tie. This year, DCWKLY contributors Derika Crowley (@derikacrowley), Janell Henderson (@theworkingbeauty), and Kiara Bagley (@kilovesvintage) were on the scene to enjoy the experience and scope out this year’s best dressed. Every attendee looked absolutely stunning, but there were some that stood out amongst the rest, this list highlights those standouts! Together we chose The Best Dressed Lady and Gentleman based on originality, willingness to abide by the theme, and lastly, the complete look from head-to-toe. So, without further adieu, here are the contenders and our picks for this year’s best dressed!

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Athleisure Wear: Fall’s Comfy Fashion Trend

The fashion world is constantly changing before our eyes; sometimes for the better. We’re always witnessing the rise of new trends, and the resurface of some of our favorite oldies. What I will say, is I’ve come a long way from the continuous partying in club dresses, to wearing more jeans, cute tops with a chunky heel, or even a great pair of sneakers! For men, it could be a trendy sweat pant with a basic top and a cool sneaker. Fashion for the Everyday Jane like myself has transitioned to being a little more functional.

This brings me to introduce you all to the world of Athleisure Wear. Have you heard? It’s somewhat the new wave. It takes typical athletic wear and turns it into an actual outfit. The real kind, not our usual Adidas or Puma track suits. This new realm allows you to express yourself while still being comfortable. Rather than working out (which many of us should be, but I’ll save that for another day), we’re now able to maintain our comfort without sacrificing our personal style.

Check out these Athleisure looks below!

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Top 4 Designer Boots Trending for Fall/Winter 2016

While you’re flipping through fashion magazines or window-shopping at designer department stores and boutiques, it’s easy to spot pieces and have no doubt that it should be in your closet. It’s a known fact that a woman’s outfit isn’t complete without the perfect shoes to tie it all together.

 

Autumn is a wonderful season to express yourself through fashion. It’s a time when various cities host fashion week, college homecomings, and dinner will be the most important time of day to show off your style at its best. To make things easier for you, we’ve curated a list of the top 4 designer boots to incorporate into your wardrobe this season!  

Laureate Platform Desert Boot by Louis Vuitton

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These boots have been seen on nearly every celebrity with a trendy street style: Teyana Taylor, Cardi B, Marlo Hampton, and Dej Loaf to name a few. Pair these with J Brand skinny fit jeans, a graphic tee, layered with a cardigan.

Green Knit High Boots by Kanye West, Yeezy Season 2

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Kanye West outdid himself when he created these tall, versatile boots. Almost every celeb with style has already snatched them up to compliment their look, including Kim Kardashian, Malaysia Pargo, Rasheeda, and Karrueche Tran. Wear these with high-rise cropped shorts, plain tee, and a long-line bomber jacket.

Metallic Leather Over-the-Knee Boots by Balenciaga

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What woman wouldn’t love these boots? Little North West was caught red handed playing in Mom’s shoe closet, drowning in these mirrored boots by Balenciaga. Rihanna was also spotted frolicking the streets wearing the popular shoe. Hot right? Wear these with a earth toned midi skirt, graphic tee, and denim jacket.

Serge di Nimes Distressed Boots by Twelve AM

Artist Sevyn Streeter was spotted in Twelve AM’s Serge di Nimes Distressed boots while strutting the streets of New York. All white does not stop after Labor Day ladies! Pair these with an all white ensemble to set them off.

Artist Sevyn Streeter was spotted in Twelve AM’s Serge di Nimes Distressed boots while strutting the streets of New York. All white does not stop after Labor Day ladies! Pair these with an all white ensemble to set them off.

Be sure to hashtag #DCWKLY in photos of your outfits!

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The Barber Code

It’s Friday afternoon. As you sign off from the job, you slip into “weekend mode”.  The wheels of your mind are spinning with the endless possibilities for the weekend ahead: drinks with the Crew at Marvin’s, and meeting up with Bae (or potential Bae). Hit up a day party on Saturday, maybe even check out a brunch spot on Sunday… but before ANY of that goes down, you have to slide to your barber, “Moe” for your weekly cut. You’re not worried that it’s 4:00, or the possibility of crowds and a long wait time because you hit up Moe earlier in the day and set an appointment for 4:30.

You get to the shop at 4:25, psyched that you’re early because that’ll give you a chance to chop it up with the usual barbershop suspects. You know who they are: the other barbers, the two beauticians who do the press and curls, locs, etc., and Hustle Man who has the DVD’S, fresh gear, colognes, oils, and whatever else he happened to come across that day.

But that’s not what’s happening today. Today Moe isn’t even halfway done with the dude before you; AND THEN he drops the bomb that the dude sitting to your right is next up! Moe totally forgot he booked you 4:30 causing an infamous and horrendous practice known as “double booking”. With one in the chair, and another head to cut in front of you, there is no way you are getting out of the shop before 7. And that’s a no go because that’s when you planned to meet up with the Crew at Marvin’s. 

Predicaments like this pose the question we fellas often ask ourselves, Why don’t I have a backup barber? Why? Because that would be a violation of the “Barber Code.” The unspoken yet universal rule all fellas have; meaning you have to stay loyal to your barber no matter what. Nevermind if you’re looking like Teen Wolf. Nevermind that you had plans for tonight and you wanted to look fresh. Nevermind that the ladies aren’t checking for scruff. You stay loyal to your barber NO MATTER WHAT.

What makes a barber deserve all of this love you may ask? Well, the barber is like your homie outside your main clique. In my case, my barber is my go to for everything: laughs, advice, counseling, black market–well, that’s not important. The point is your barber is pretty much your hair line’s best friend and going to someone else is basically like cheating. I mean the idea of going back to your barber after you’ve been cut by another is like returning home to your wife after a night of passion with the side chick; the evidence of your unfaithfulness is all over your head and it’s the most awkward to try to explain.

However, the once sacred code is starting to be tested. Many friends of mine boast about having Plan B barbers when their main one isn’t  available. Heck, some have Plan B, C, and D barbers. Loyalty or whatever creed is not going to get in the way of them looking good and I don’t blame them; desperate times call for desperate measures.  I’ve been guilty of stepping out here and there, luckily, my barber was cool or at least that’s what he had me believe; still didn’t make it any less awkward.

So, whether it’s right or wrong, it’s all on the gentleman and his scruples. Just put yourself in a situation of 4:00 on a Friday.

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Mission Blush

A lot of people become so caught up in looking for the perfect foundation that they completely forget about the importance of picking the perfect blush. However, the right blush takes a look from “Oh” to “Wow!” within every stroke of product applied. It lightens the face and enhances the cheek bones for a more youthful glow! It provides your face with different dimensions that you possibly didn’t even know were there. Ladies and gentleman, (yes I said gentleman!) the blush provides you with the perfect pop of color that will take your already gorgeous face to the next level. Keep reading to find out which shades work best for you skin tone!

Fair Tones:

For entertainment purposes, clowns are universally known as having white painted faces with red paint on their cheeks serving as their blush. That’s fun and all but do you look to them for make-up inspiration when you’re going out with friends or on a hot date? No! With that being said, people with fair skin tones should stray away from applying dark red/pink blushes. It will appear completely unnatural and give your make up somewhat of a “clownish” finish. “If you have really fair, alabaster skin, other shades can tend to look orangey,” according to make-up artist Quinn Murphy in an Allure online article. To refrain from this, light pink blushes like Bare Minerals Warm Apricot or Peach Poppy blush will definitely give you a vibrant, younger, and fresher (with way less effort) look! However, if you want to spend less than $20, you can also purchase Elf Cosmetic’s blush in shades Tickled Pink or Twinkled Pink for $3!

MAJOR KEY: The key is for your blush to be subtle and compliment your skin tone and cheekbones in the most natural and flawless way! Also, I suggest applying your blush with an angled brush directly on the cheekbones so your face can appear sleeker instead of just on the apples of your cheeks which would give it a rounder effect. Keep that fair skin nice and bright!

Medium Tones:

Contrary to people with fair skin tones, people with medium skin tones should stay away from pale pink blushes to prevent an ashy look. Remember we want to enhance the cheekbones not take away from them. In order to do that, use rosy pink or peach blushes like Make Up For Ever’s HD Blush in Peach Pink for $26 at Sephora or Maybelline’s Dream Bouncy Blush for $5.49!

Remember to apply this blush with an angled brush working from the bottom of your cheeks to the top towards the hair line. Some people pat when applying blush and some people swipe when applying blush. It is completely up to you. However, depending on how pigmented the blush is, you want to make sure to apply the blush with a light hand to refrain from putting on too much product.

MAJOR KEY: One word….BLEND! BLEND! BLEND! You can have the absolutely perfect blush for your skin tone but if you do not blend then you can’t win chiiiile! *scarecrow from the Wiz voice*. You want to make sure you’re blending to refrain from one component of your make up sticking out like a sore thumb. Your make up is supposed to be cohesive and flow together like a river in a stream. The only way this can be achieved is if you blend honey!

Deep Tones:

I prefer to use the term deep tones because I personally do not like the term “darker” (bear with me DCWkly readers). I prefer the term deep or rich! Anyways, on a much richer and chocolatier note- where’s the illest girls around? Flawless and brown?! As model and social media heavy hitter Destiny Owusu ( Ohwawa on Instagram) would say #IsYourMelaninOnFleek. If so, you want to make sure you’re using a blush that will compliment your skin to the best of its ability. “For a warm weather vibe, play with a bold red blush, a mid-range orange, or deep pink” according to bustle.com. Some of the best blushes for the deeper skin tones are Lancôme’s Blush in Subtil in Plum Noir for $32 or Black Nyx Cosmetics Rouge Cream Blush in Red Cheeks for $6!

MAJOR KEY: Like most makeup, blush comes in two different forms- cream and powder. You want to make sure you get the perfect blush for your skin type whether it’s normal, oily, or combination. If you have normal skin, you can use cream or powder blush. However, if you have oily skin you want to prevent yourself from using cream like products so your face doesn’t appear too shiny. If you have dry skin, try using a cream brush to prevent your skin from appearing flaky. In this case-opposites attract.

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Inside Unkle Scooty’s World

If you live in DC and haven’t heard of Kevin ‘Unkle Scooty’ Hallums, more than likely you’re new in town. I actually met Hallums for the first time during my interview with LeGreg Harrison for our feature on The Museum. When I was first asked if I was interested in speaking with Scooty, I agreed since I was already there. I hadn’t heard of him or knew who he was; but within moment of him walking into the room, his presence made me think, “okay, maybe he’s a big deal.”

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My premonition was correct. As an entrepreneur, emcee of the cities largest and only Urban Earth Day festival, founder of Premium Co., Unkle Scooty is a household name within the Urban Community of Washington D.C. He is a walking testament of how a vision and dream can take you from a local D.C kid, to a businessman and local public figure.

The name ‘Scooty’ was always Hallums’ nickname, until a friend added ‘Unkle’ and the rest is history. Growing up in D.C during the 80s and early 90s the city was still labeled the “Murder Capital”, Scooty described the presence of drugs, violence, and poverty as everyday life. This upbringing not only helped him develop a business mindset, but served as motivation to become more than a businessman, but a businessman with his own entities.

“[Growing up in D.C. back in the 90’s] can take you in so many directions and can play at so many emotions. [As I started to] get deep into business, I realized that it’s very much like being in the street. If you can survive and overcome all those things, then business should be second nature and life in general is seen through a different scope.” – KH

Although he’s fairly new the entrepreneurial life, Unkle Scooty has always been heavily involved in the community. Combining his passions for working in creative fields and preserving the culture of D.C., Kevin served as a full-time administrator at a local District school and hosted the George Washington University radio show, Funkadelic Freestyle , before concentrating on building his own brands.

 In the 2000s, Hallums devised a plan to work with, and create events that targeted the unique millennial community within the city; Rock Creek Social Club was one of the first ventures produced from this vision. Since inception, the Club has worked with some of the top brands in the lifestyle and entertainment arena including: Crown Royal, BET, Soul Cycle, the W Hotel, Reebok and more.  A brainchild between Hallums and his business partner Jerome Baker III, RCSC is a full service creative and lifestyle organization responsible for some of the city’s most famous events including: The Grilled Cheese Social, F.A.M.E., and Broccoli City Festival. All these events plus the countless others under the organization work together to unite the city by celebrating individual differences and similarities in respect to fashion, art, music, and entertainment. Since the Club’s initial creation several years ago, it continues to remain one of D.C.’s top creative and lifestyle brands. In addition, it continues to develop events and activities catering to many communities overlooked in the city. From the hipster kid with dirty vans and a bike lock in their pocket, to the guy in a suit who works on The Hill, Scooty (along with Rock Creek Social Club) prides himself on creating things any Washingtonian can enjoy and relate to.

“One thing about the [Grilled Cheese Social] is that it’s for everyone.  Anyone can enjoy it. There’s no VIP, no dress-code, and no judgment.  That’s why people love it.”  

Premium Co., a men’s clothing brand,  is another project Scooty is involved in.  The brand offers unique pieces currently on shelves in some of the hottest retailers out right now like the DOPE shop of Los Angeles and Monumental, based in Richmond, Virginia. Premium Co. has been featured on CBS WUSA 9’s D.C weekday morning show Great Day Washington, Complex Magazine, The Washingtonian, Northern Virginia Magazine, and the Washington Business Journal. The brand’s pop-up events at Union Market have always been a continuous hit receiving attention from What Do I Wear, Guest of Guest, and The Fab Empire.

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“Premium Co was started in 2011 by my partners Tyler Hundley and Davin Gentry. I joined the team in 2013 originally as help for sales & marketing. Premium was transitioning from jewelry to men’s essential clothing company. Being that they were starting a new chapter in the company’s story, it was almost perfect timing for me. Within the first 2 months we were traveling the country planting seeds that would build an amazing network. After a year I would become managing partner.”

While both Rock Creek Social Club and Premium Co. are booming, Scooty is best known for hosting the Broccoli City Festival. He has hosted the event since its birth four years ago, sharing the stage with Erykah Badu, Big KRIT, Future, Camron, Jhene Aiko, and many other artists who have graced the Broccoli City stage. As the popularity of the festival grows, so does the brand that is “Unkle Scooty”.  

“Other than Trillectro, there were no other festivals in D.C. that catered specifically to Millennials or had a message behind it.  So, when we were approached by Broccoli City to host a music festival [Rock Creek Social] was all for it.  We felt as though an event like this was needed in the city.  If you think about it, D.C. is a major city…but not a lot of people think of it as a major attraction spot.  [Broccoli City Festival] provided a means for people to finally see D.C. as an all-around dope place to be.”

Scooty makes sure to keep in mind he has younger kids looking up to him. Inspiring the next generation continues to be one of his top priorities. He regularly speaks on school panels and is always around to lend an ear and share advice to young students. When asked what advice he would give to someone looking to make it in the city and/or start their own business Hallums said:

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“Respect, honesty, credibility, and loyalty will carry you a long way (in D.C) [it] is a melting pot. Almost like a baby NYC as it pertains to culture. So many people from so many different places all over the world migrate to our city every single day. Accepting these people and being open to change makes us better individuals because growth comes from experience and exposure.”

 

Keep up with Unkle Scooty –

Social Media @unklescooty

Rock Creek Social Club
Premium Co
Grilled Cheese Social
Broccoli City Festival

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