Category: Featured

Debbie E. Louis, M.S.

Photography by: LKY Images

Since the age of five, yes I said five, Debbie E. Louis has had a passion for creating moments to remember. Fast forward to present day, and she has turned her passion and calling into an amazing business and career. As the founder of A’ La Mode Events, Debbie is the Chief Planner dedicated to managing and designing events that her clients will be sure to love and never forget.

Definition of Success:

Success is a process and there is beauty in learning how to fail.  Failure creates a pathway to success. Sacrifices are made daily. I removed myself from many friends and situations to enter into this journey. I have also invested every single dollar that I owned into my business thinking about the aftermath first. 

Healthy Self Esteem:

I look in the mirror a lot. I speak positive affirmations to myself and I dance every day. Even if its for one minute or 10. I find my self dancing and saying positive things to myself or thinking of great ways to make myself feel better. I also, have a regimen for skin and getting ready that really helps me find a healthy balance for my self-esteem. 

Dating Advice:

Take your time! Trust the process and look for someone who is going to wow you! Don’t settle. When you do get into the relationship remember that you are looking for someone you can be in a partnership with. If you can’t build with a person then don’t be with that said person.

What’s in the Future:

Expanding. We are actually going to be hiring and doing a little bit of restructuring. This year is looking up for both of my businesses! God is good

Favorite Shade of Lipstick:

 I have two. A Ruby Red or a nice pop of berry. Although, red is my go to. 

To learn more about Debbie please visit https://www.alamodeevents.com/

Wyvetta Taylor



As a freelance makeup artist in Los Angeles, Wyvetta Taylor is definitely making her mark in the beauty world! With celebrity clients including Cedric the Entertainer and Dominique Perry, Wyvetta’s clientele continues to grow as she ensures all of them leave her makeup chair with glowing healthy skin!

Definition of Success:

I define success having a loving community of family and friends, being financially secure and feeling happy and confident. I don’t believe there is a specific salary you have to make or certain amount of assets you have to acquire. I also don’t believe it’s about living up to someone else’s expectation for your personal life or career either. 

I’ve made large financial investments in my education and in my kit. Doing so definitely took money away from other things like vacations, nights out and beauty luxuries. It was a sacrifice but I’m happy I did it because it helped grow my skills and my business.

Self Esteem:

I ensure I have a healthy self esteem by taking care of myself physically. My hair and skin are important to me so I carve out time every week to take care of both. I wear clothes that make me feel good about how I look. I also exercise regularly. My goal this year is to run 1000 miles. 

Dating Advice:

The best dating advice I can give is believe people the first time they show you who they are. Whether it’s good, bad or indifferent accept it and proceed accordingly. 

What’s in the Future:

In my future I see myself working with more celebrities and doing more advertising gigs for major brands.

Favorite Shade of Lipstick :

It’s really hard to say what I’m favorite lipstick is because I’m way too obsessed with them. My current favorite is MAC Cosmo. On an everyday basis I keep my make neutral so I love that Cosmo looks like brighter version of my natural lip color.

To learn more about Wyvetta please visit https://www.wyvettataylor.com/

Dr. La Shawn Denise Witt

Photography by: Debra Simmons, Diamond Dust Photography

Looking to plan the wedding or event of your dreams? How about taking a trip to an exotic place or somewhere beautiful across the world? Lucky for you the doctor is in, and she can make all of your event and destination dreams a reality!

Mother, motivational speaker, entrepreneur, Dr. La Shawn Denise Witt is a woman making moves! As owner of Divine Diva Events, a very successful event and travel service, Dr. La Shawn is committed to creating memorable moments for her clients. All executed with a touch of elegance and diva style.

Even with all that she has on her plate, Dr. La Shawn is also a committed educator with over eighteen years experience in the field. She is a role model in a variety of ways. Showing us women, especially us single moms, that sky’s the limit if you put in the hard work and truly believe in yourself!

Definition of Success:

Success is when you can stand on a foundation and build something of your own. Success is when you can stand confidently and know that you gave something your all and you persevered. Success is when your brand speaks for yourself. Hard work, determination and prayer are very important to achieving your goals. Sacrifices of investment into growing your brand is very important. That can be finding a mentor, investing in professional development or surveying what is out there. Once you have invested in your brand and assessed your needs – success comes.

Healthy self esteem:

I continue to practice self care. I do my best to eat healthy, exercise and take care of myself. I believe these things are essential to ensuring that you have a healthy sense of your self esteem. I stand in the mirror daily and repeat declarations to myself. If I am my number 1 fan than I can continue to operate in high self esteem. 

Dating advice:

Dating advice is always a hard one. We live in a time where there are so many differences in the way that singles perceive dating. Date yourself first, get to know who you are, what you like and what you don’t like. Enjoy doing you- this is when you will meet people who are like minded and will be great matches for you in this dating life. We as single women should not ever settle for less. Always believe that there is a special someone out there for you who will value you and compliment the woman that you are. 

What’s in the Future?

Expanding into travel has been one of my greatest joys. I am looking into expanding internationally and offering planning services globally. 

Favorite shade of lipstick?

Ecstasy Laquer 603 Giorgio Armani

To learn more about Dr. La Shawn and Divine Diva Events please visit www.divinedivaevents.com

I Support the Girls

Lipstick and Bras is all about female empowerment. I Support the Girls does exactly that! This Nonprofit is a true example of how powerful we can be as women when we support, uplift, and look out for one another. I’m very excited to feature this amazing organization and spread the word about the very important work they do!

History and Mission:

I Support the Girls’ founder, Dana Marlowe, lost some weight and needed new bras. While being fitted at a local Soma boutique, she wondered aloud what she should do with her old bras. The saleswoman said, “Homeless women need bras.” Lightbulb moment.

Dana Marlowe-Founder of I Support the Girls
Photography by D. LAG Photography

Dana went home and posted on Facebook, asking family and friends to send her bras and menstrual hygiene products which would be donated to a local shelter. Products poured in and an initial collection of over 7,000 products was donated.


Dana didn’t stop there, knowing how great the need was across the country. Dana established the global nonprofit I Support The Girls (ISTG) in order to help girls and women experiencing homelessness maintain their dignity.

I Support the Girls impact on the women and girls they serve:

In just 4 short years, ISTG has collected and distributed over 4.7 million products, helping over 410,000 girls and women maintain their dignity at 830 global social service organizations. Our model is to establish affiliates (52 in U.S., 4 globally) and work according to our motto: “Collect locally, donate locally.” This means that donors are having a direct impact on the lives of people in their community.
Or as Felicia, a woman experiencing homelessness in Washington D.C. told Dana when she came to a shelter to choose new bras: “When someone believes I’m worth something, I start to feel as though I’m worth something, too.”  

Photography by D. LAG Photography

How you can support:

Providing essentials not only helps girls and women maintain their dignity. It empowers them by enabling them to stand tall and live their lives without worrying about an ill-fitting bra or their period causing financial or physical burdens. 


Financial donations allow ISTG to expand its efforts and help more people experiencing homelessness. Product donations can be brought to your local affiliate and they will be distributed to those needing it in your community.Readers are encouraged to start a drive or collectionhost an eventvolunteer or raise awareness by inviting our staff to come speak at your company, corporate or other event.

What’s in the future ? 

More affiliates, more products collected and distributed, more girls and women maintaining their dignity and feeling empowered. 
Additionally, ISTG will be expanding its advocacy efforts to – advocate for the rights of people experiencing homelessness – push for schools and public buildings to carry menstrual hygiene products that can be taken for free- campaign for the elimination of the tampon tax across the U.S. Women who are experiencing homelessness often need to choose between tampons or a hot meal.

The tax further hinders their ability to even consider purchasing a box of tampons. Please add your voice and become a strong advocate for women’s dignity and empowerment!

To learn more about I Support the Girls please visit https://isupportthegirls.org/

Nadia Shalini

As a Professional Makeup Artist in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, you can definitely say that Nadia Shalini is an expert in the beauty world. With her work being featured in Magazines, BET, MTV, and Cartoon Network just to name a few, Nadia’s experience extends over twenty years. Her work includes editorial, television, bridal, lifestyle, and grooming. If all of that doesn’t make her sound busy enough, add that she is also owner of Blend Beauty Bar in Las Vegas.

Photography by Lexi Gomez

Definition of Success: 

The definition of success to me is consistently working towards and achieving your goals.  If you can do that and maintain and wonderful attitude and have gratitude, success is guaranteed.  I would say some of the sacrifices I have made to get to where I am have to do with how I’ve chosen to spend my time,  I’ve missed family and friend holiday times and other important dates because of prioritizing my career and not wanting to miss work related work. 

Healthy Self Esteem:

This is a tricky one, I do struggle with self esteem and self worth,  especially as a business owner some days I feel like I can handle anything and anyone and other times I second guess every decision I make.  For me it’s been very important to keep a close group of friends and just people whom’s opinions I value around. I also try to look to remind myself of the bigger picture and look back at what I have accomplished.  I do keep a journal that I use more like a checklist of goals, I don’t write in it everyday, but break down what I am trying to do and how I plan on getting there, once I accomplish something I check it off the list, no matter how small,  it helps me to feel productive and that I am trying. I’ve gotten better as I’ve gotten older at going easy on myself when I don’t achieve a goal or something goes wrong.  

Dating Advice: 

I don’t usually give much advice in this arena, other than to trust your instincts, usually they are right.  As far as dating in 2019 goes, Ladies, let your friends know where you are going when venturing into the world of online dating, it’s better to be precautious these days unfortunately. 

What’s in the future: 

I’d like to grow my business Blend Beauty Bar,  to include more indie, local and environmentally conscience cosmetic and beauty brands.  For me being an educated consumer is very important in today’s market. There are so many products out there all claiming to be the best, unfortunately we can’t always trust what we are told. Doing the research and sharing that info through my business to my customers is what I would like to do and be known for. 

Favorite Shade of Lipstick:

Fav Lipstick shade,  Ruby Roo!

To learn more about Nadia please visit

https://www.nadiashalinimakeup.com/

Lady L.

Photography by Jimmy Goldfingers

Black women make up a very small percentage of the tattoo industry. For Lady L., that wasn’t going to discourage her from showing the world her skills and talent as an artist. With over thirteen years in the industry, and being named “Detroit’s Best Tattoo Artist” three years in a row, her gift and creativity truly speaks for itself . As Founder of Ladies of Ink Tour, Lady L. takes her passion for tattooing on the road traveling the U.S. with a group of black female tattoo artists. Showcasing not just their work, but also female empowerment and the beauty of black women coming together!

Definition of Success:

Success in my eyes is being at peace with your own journey. I feel that people who trust their process (the ups and downs), remain optimistic and work passionately towards their goals are successful. 

In the past I’ve sacrificed rest, time with my family, and self care on the road to success. You have to learn how to balance things in a healthy manner. Entrepreneurship is tough. 

Self esteem:

When you stop comparing your life to others and know you’re valuable and worthy of being loved. Knowing the root of these self esteem issues helps with understanding why they are present and healing from that. Loving, embracing and forgiving yourself is easier said than done at times. 

Dating Advice:

I don’t have all the answers but from my experience I will say “Watch out for the red flags, ladies!”. We see them all the time, a lot of us are empathetic and make excuses for the way we are treated: DONT.  If they aren’t adding value and peace to your life then ask yourself is this a potential headache. Don’t rush at all. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. 

What’s in the future?

In the future, I see myself as a pioneer for black female artists in the industry. I want to continue to inspire other artists and influence them to pursue their dreams/visions. I see myself owning a female operated tattoo shop based off the Ladies of Ink tour. Im bringing something to the industry that hasn’t been done… it hasn’t been done how I’m doing it. 

Your favorite shade of lipstick 

Nude shades…different brands. 

To find out more about Lady L. visit https://ladyltattoos.com/

Ayo Haynes

Ayo Haynes Backstage at the Apollo

Some say the world of real estate is a man’s world, but Ayo Haynes proves it would be nothing without a woman who is on top of her game! With a background as an actress and voice-over artist, a BA in Business Communications and a MBA in Marketing, Ayo is definitely making her mark in the world of real estate. As a Real Estate Broker in NYC for 13 years, she is now breaking into the Connecticut market and loving it! She is dedicated to helping her clients find the perfect place where home and wellness meet!

Definition of Success:

Success for me is when people call to ask me to be their exclusive agent or to work with them as a buyer without me having to go pitch them; your talent and experience speak for themselves. Pitches are like auditions in acting. You know you’ve made it when someone says here’s the listing. 

I love this time in my career because I can make my own schedule which is especially needed as a single mom. Initially, getting into the business you work about fifty to sixty hours a week, especially if you’re on a busy team like I was. Starting out you have to be prepared to not get a check three or four months which can be hard for most people. People see these reality shows and think that real estate is easy and that you only work with a client for a few days.

The real reality is that it is difficult, requires a lot of continuous education and experience, and is very time consuming. Sometimes the time you put in doesn’t match up with your commission check. You have to be willing to put in the work and be persistent. Most importantly you have to love working with and helping people.

Healthy Self Esteem:

I am a true believer in guarding what I take in whether it’s what I’m watching or listening to. I’m in two industries that require people to pick you based on your personality and experience. I need/require positivity around me all the time. If you are coming to the table with something heavy on you and being negative, it will affect your bottom line. 

I also think it is important to use trusted friends and mentors as your mirror, from time to time, when needed. I can be hard on myself so I have to remind myself to treat me like a client and to be gentle with myself. We all have insecurities – physical or other.  If someone I trust can be the voice of reason I listen or at least take what they are saying into consideration.

Speaking of a voice of reason, my 4 year old daughter keeps it real with me all the time. Her bluntness is hilarious but insightful. She’s lucky she’s cute and my daughter! But seriously, I learn so much from her. How she gets over things quickly, she speaks her truth without malice, she’s kind, she apologizes when she’s in the wrong, she shares and she easily tells the important people in her life how much she loves them. I try to take a page out of her book all the time!

Dating Advice:

I probably should be the one taking advice but I think if you are on the fence about someone,  go on three dates to see if there is really something there. Nowadays three dates can take weeks or months to happen so you have to rely on your instincts to gauge if the spaced out dates are happening naturally or because someone is playing a game of avoidance. We are living in a swipe left – swipe right world based mostly on pictures. Pictures don’t tell the whole story. I say the same to my clients when I show them what I know to be a great home but they dismiss it because the pictures didn’t grab them. Sometimes we have to slow down, go deeper, and take things offline when we normally wouldn’t.

What’s in the future:

My business partner and I are working hard on crafting our brand which is all about where Home and Life meet Wellness. For us, that point is WELLNEST. We work with our clients on finding all the ways to make their home and all the other NESTS of their lives as comfortable, healthy, green and empowering as they want or need to be. 

I’m excited to be expanding my 13 years of experience in real estate to the Connecticut market. It’s been a fun challenge to learn a suburban market compared to New York City. My team partner, Ivonne, will be doing the same in New Jersey so the Haynes-Velasquez Team will be able to work with clients in the New York Tri-state area. That, of course, will mean adding to the team which is exciting.

I am also looking forward to more opportunities where my acting and real estate worlds get to play off each other. I recently was asked by the executives at my firm to co-host our semi-annual meeting at the Apollo Theater – it was amazing and a dream come true that I never would have never expected to come from my work in real estate. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next on that front and developing a few ideas of my own. A woman’s work is never done!

Favorite Shade of Lipstick:

I’m more of a gloss person versus lipstick. But for special occasions and business meetings that’s when I put on lipstick. For me, I like a red that has a touch of brown. There is one from Arbonne I love called Dahlia and it’s the perfect combination of gloss and lipstick. Their products aren’t tested on animals, and are paraben and phthalates free which is all right up my alley! 

To contact or learn more about Ayo please visit

https://www.halstead.com/real-estate-agent/ayo-haynes