Black-Owned Businesses to Support

2020 has been a weird year for us all, but the past few days have been truly revolutionary. It’s been so beautiful seeing everyone come together to stand up for what is right. We won’t be perfect, and we won’t understand completely, but how we show up is what matters the most.

Even if you aren’t out there protesting yourself, donating to the right causes and sharing resources with your family and friends to help educate them are some of the small ways you can take action. Even where you spend your money matters and buying from black-owned businesses is one of the best ways you can support the community right now. Black businesses are especially suffering now more than ever due to closures from COVID-19 earlier this year. It’s also harder for black business owners to get approved for loans to help support their businesses during this time – only 12% of black and Latino business owners who applied for the Paycheck Protection Program reported receiving what they asked for.

I want to do my part as a self-proclaimed fashion person to diversify the brands I follow and buy. There are so many amazing black-owned businesses and brands that have been flying under the radar all this time and deserve recognition now more than ever.

Do your part to become a better ally. Below are some black-owned brands you can support now and always.


Sami Miro Vintage

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KIM in our faux denim Sylvester blazer & skirt 🔥

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Oma the Label

Elia Vintage

Cold Laundry

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Brother Vellies

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A bride 🤎🦢 @elainewelteroth in Ivory Olivia Pumps

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Pyer Moss

Jade Swim

Dreu Beckemberg





1929 Galore

Third Crown

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Bodega run in the PRIZM DROP EARRINGS ✨

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Mented Cosmetics




Harlem Candle Co.

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For those who like the holiday spirit all year round…. ⁣ ⠀⠀⁣ Enjoy our best selling Holiday scent in the "A Night Club Map of Harlem" collector's edition green matte glass with gold design. 💚✨ ⁣ ⠀⠀⁣ Strong and full-bodied, yet fragile and dreamy… just like Lady Day. Sets a beautiful mood for holiday time and all year round. ⁣ ⠀⠀⁣ #billieholiday #harlem #harlemnyc #newyork #nyc #manhattan #harlemrenaissance #photooftheday #instagood #happy #candles #design #interiordesign #interior4you #luxury #modernluxury #classy #classicluxury #elegance #glamour #interiorlovers #candlelovers #candlelight #customcandles #scentedcandles #harlemcandlecompany #candle #candlemaking

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The Folklore

Lolly Lolly Ceramics

Marche Rue Dix

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Let’s Talk Business (Cards) Baby!

If you’re anything like me, you’re always on the go – you have five different side hustles in addition to your full-time job and still somehow manage to maintain a (somewhat) social life. In a bustling city like New York, you never know who you may run into on the Subway, who’s sitting next to you at the cute coffee shop on the corner or who just hopped into your Uber Pool. You might score your next big deal or meet your most loyal customer just by talking to them. But how will you ever manage to stay in touch once you part ways? Lucky for you, it’s 2019 and we have things like technology and Instagram, but I love doing it the traditional way and whipping out a good old fancy business card.

I’ve teamed up with Basic Invite to share some of the custom business cards available on their site. You have the option to upload your own personalized design, or you can choose from one of the many templates they have to offer. The best part about using the templates is that they are completely customizable, meaning you can make them truly your own. The site offers over 180 different color options to choose from too, so you can perfectly align with your own branding.

The process of placing an order was so seamless. Designing a card took no more than 10 minutes. The most time consuming part was actually selecting the right templates since there are so many different options to choose from! It’s great if you’re a busy gal and want to get things done quick. My favorite is the clear card. It’s a timeless design that aligns with my personality and my branding. I also love that you can add foil (in gold, silver and rose gold) to any of the designs to give the business cards an elevated, luxe feel.

While designing, you’re able to view a live preview, so you can see exactly what your card will look like as you’re creating. You’re able to change fonts, sizes and placement on the card. You can also change the color of any element on the design and select your paper quality based on your preference too. Basic Invite is one of the few sites that gives you the option to order an exact sample of your design so you’ll know exactly what it will look like before placing a larger order.

Basic Invite is my new go-to for business cards, but they also do wedding invitations, graduation announcements, personalized stationary, website design and so much more! Their offerings are anything but basic.

Pick up your own cards at Basic Invite today and receive 15% off your first order using the code 15FF51! Don’t forget to like them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Check out these links for some ideas for retro business cards and personalized business cards.

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Mind the (Gender) Gap

International Women’s Day may be over, but that doesn’t mean we should stop supporting one another. Thursday night, I attended Rebecca Minkoff’s two-part Press for Progress talk moderated by Jill Manoff, editor-in-chief of Glossy. It was so empowering to be surrounded by such strong and intelligent women discussing important issues encompassing the fight for gender equality.

The first conversation featured Anna Auerbach of Werk, a startup that aims to champion flexibility in the workday for women. Today, the standard work day is rigid. We work eight hours (or more) five days a week and there’s little room for play or to even take care of personal responsibilities such as raising a family. Women often get the short end of the stick due to this structure. You have so many amazing women killin’ it at their jobs, but then you begin to lose them along the way because life. They leave their jobs to raise their children for some time, but eventually never come back to work. Shockingly, 30% of women opt out of their jobs because of this, but 70% would have stayed if they had a flexible schedule.

Anna believes that if we close the flexibility gap, we can close the gender gap. It’s going to take a lot to accomplish this, but organizations such as Werk are taking the right steps to bridge that. If we can normalize the flexible workday, more and more women won’t be afraid to continue living their best lives.

The second talk featured Va$htie, a music video director, designer, DJ, social media personality – a girl who does it all. She’s just 36, but she’s done so much in her life including directing videos for Kendrick Lamar and Justin Bieber, working at a tattoo shop when she was only 12, being the first woman to design a pair of Jordans, traveling the world to create short films and DJing a pre-Oscar party recently, just to name a few.

Aside all of that badassness, the work she’s done has changed societal norms for the better and she’s been an activist for women in today’s culture. She broke into the streetwear game early and is dominating an industry that’s made up of mostly males. Her success stems from the fact that she’s always stayed true to herself despite being so different from everyone else.

Over the years, streetwear has been popularized in main society – especially with all the luxury brand collaborations popping up such as Louis Vuitton x Supreme, Off-White x Jimmy Choo, etc. Everyone’s trying to be the next hypebeast (hypebae?). To Va$htie, it’s always been a representation of who you are and where you come from and now it’s all encompassing, even for women. She’s shown that it’s okay to show off your boyish side and dress the way you want if that’s what makes you feel good.

It’s so important to have these conversations to raise awareness about gender inequality. There’s still so much that needs to be done, but with inspiring women like this leading the way, we’re on our way to closing that gender gap.

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Wear This: Badass Feminist Edition


Today marks an important day for women all over the world. A commemoration of the movement for women’s rights, International Women’s Day allows us to remember that we, as women, have come a long way over the years. With last year’s wave-making Women’s March to the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements of today, it’s evident that women are not slowing their roll anytime soon. Seeing females band together to rally behind important women’s issues is nothing but empowering. There’s still so much for us to conquer and we’re not backing down.

In honor of ladies everywhere, I’m sharing a roundup of my favorite female-inspired tees and accessories. Rock these today and every day to show the world what a badass feminist you are.

So who run the world? You already know.

Time’s Up Keychain, $15 at Urban Outfitters

Babe Baseball Cap, $12 at The Style Club

She Came/She Saw Tee, $40 at WildFang

Girl Power Necklace, $68 at SeoulLittle Etsy

Feminin Sweatshirt, $44 at Rebecca Minkoff

Girl Power iPhone X Case, $35 at Shopbop

Overeducated Tee, $25 at The Style Club

Strong Female Lead Pouch, $40 at WildFang

Rebel Rebel Beret, $125 at Cynthia Rowley

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Yayoi Kusama

Express sweater | Madewell coated denim | Mango leopard coat – similar here | Topshop boots | Topshop belt – similar here | & Other Stories hoop earrings

On Saturday, I visited Yayoi Kusama’s highly anticipated Festival of Life exhibit, which is showing for a very limited time in NYC. You may recognize Yayoi’s work from all over Instagram – she is known for her Infinity Mirrors exhibition at The Broad in Los Angeles, so it was really cool of her to bring her inspiration over to the east coast. Definitely a must see if you happen to have 4.5 hours to spare (not kidding)!

Festival of Life is showing at the David Zwirner Gallery in the Meatpacking District until December 16. Admission is free, but disclaimer: you will be waiting a lot and only get about five minutes tops in the main exhibit, so be prepared with a large hot chocolate and a cozy outfit!


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Something Blue

Zara dress | Zara leather ankle boots – similar here | Michael Kors Runway Oversized watch

Hi everyone! It’s Michelle, back at it again. I took a little break over the summer from blogging to focus on taking three classes for my master’s program at Columbia, chillin’ out maxin’ relaxin’ all cool and enjoying my first real summer in the city. I did manage to squeeze in some traveling – I made it to the 6 for the first time with my closest friends, followed by an epic Memorial Day weekend at Lake George, my first New York music festival experience at Governors Ball, in addition to two trips to Florida – one weekend I’ll never forget in Miami with the squad plus a wedding & quality family time in July. It’s been a hectic summer, but I’m glad to be staying put in NYC for awhile to focus on work and finishing up my last semester.

I decided to put together this look in honor of NYFW, which began last Thursday. I had the opportunity to do a little project for one of our clients, Cane + Austin at the Katie Gallagher show, which was super exciting. Surprisingly, I’m not wearing black, but I absolutely adore the print on this high-neck dress from Zara. It has strikingly similar vibes to the Zimmermann SS18 collection, one of my favorites from the week.

Images courtesy of Zimmermann via Instagram

For someone who wears pants or shorts 90% of the time, I’ve really been feeling breezy, flowing dresses lately. They pair perfectly with a pair of chic ankle boots, such as these nude ones I picked up from the Zara sale awhile back or even a simple pair of white sneakers. I’m taking advantage of this gorgeous weather while I can and wearing all the dresses!

Photos by Chris Hernandez

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Working with Style Fashion Week

New York Fashion Week has come to an end, but the excitement for the alluring spring/summer 17 styles that sauntered up and down the runway is still abound. Runway shows continue in the fashion capitals of the world, wrapping up earlier this week in London and moving full force to Milan with the last shows of the season.

As a new resident of New York City, I was given the incredible opportunity to work as a public relations intern with Style Fashion Week September 8th – 10th, my second week here. It was truly an unforgettable experience and I learned a lot over the course of three days that can translate to a career in the fashion industry in the future.

I was assigned the best volunteer job of them all; working in public relations has its perks. Most of my time was spent posted up on the second floor balcony of Hammerstein Ballroom at the Manhattan Center, watching all of the runway shows, taking notes then writing media advisories and recaps after that would be distributed to a never ending list of media contacts. I also learned how much effort is put into arranging VIP seating charts and the strategy of seating important guests in the front row. Months of planning and work is put into the production of these shows, so it was awesome to be part of it to help make it as seamless as possible.

The runway show schedule was as follows:

Thursday, September 8th:

Friday, September 9th:

Saturday, September 10th:

Each designer was sui generis and brought their inspiration to life right on the runway. Below are some photos of my favorite looks and collections.

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Kalisha Hall is the commander behind the luxury women’s wear brand K. Rashaé. She drew most of her inspiration for this collection from the sport of boxing, bringing a new meaning to the word “fighter.”

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Brothers Adam Thomison and Luke Deenihan showed the audience that urban streetwear can be sleek and sophisticated, but still edgy at the same time.

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Mario De La Torre’s collection was my absolute favorite of the weekend, featuring elegant eveningwear in simple, yet stunning colors. Each piece had its own unique silhouette, like nothing I’ve ever seen before.

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Danny Nguyen’s ready-to-wear line was a sea of gold and white in timeless cuts and styles. It was the most beautiful range of trendy eveningwear in two of my favorite colors.

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Adrian Alicea concluded the week with a leading-edge performance, featuring dominatrix-inspired lingerie, men’s underwear and edgy resort dresses for women. His designs were very progressive and liberal and his models closed out the show with a performance to remember.

Thank you to the Style Fashion Week team, Veronica, Lee, Stephanie, Ivan, Emily & Ken for such an unforgettable experience! Hope to work with you again next season!

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What’s In My Bag: Festival Edition

Festival season is at its peak, with many different events happening all over the country to kick off the summer.

Thousands of electronic music fans are flocking to Tampa Bay this weekend for Sunset Music Festival, an event that has grown a lot in the past few years.

Artists will be taking over three stages over the next two days, with DJ sets starting at 2 p.m. and lasting till midnight. Sounds exhausting, right? Luckily, everyone has an extra day to recover before getting back to the grind.

This weekend will fly by and be over before you know it, but in order to make the most of your experience, you must come prepared!

It’s best to carry as little as possible into the festival because no one is responsible for your belongings but yourself. I recommend carrying a crossbody bag or a fanny pack to keep your hands free so you can dance your little heart out.

I picked up this saddlebag from Forever 21 for $22. Here, herehere and here are other cute and affordable options!

From my experience, SMF security is a lot stricter than other festivals I have attended, so here is a complete list of items you can and can’t bring inside. There’s no mention of makeup and cosmetics in the guidelines, so try not to bring in anything valuable that might get thrown out. Last year, I had to toss a rollerball perfume and hand sanitizer, while another girl had to throw out all of her MAC products (I would die).

If you just HAVE to bring in that eyeliner or lipstick, hide it in your bra or your sock. I would hate to see perfectly good products go to waste!


Here’s what I’m carrying in my bag this weekend:

I’ll be posting my outfits from each day next week, so stay tuned!


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Lipkit by Kylie Giveaway

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In honor of the launch of my new site, I’ve decided to give away a True Brown K Lipkit by Kylie! I was sent an extra by mistake and don’t want it to go to waste. I’m not advocating Kylie in any way; I’m just really satisfied with this purchase and want to share with everyone how great it is!

Anyway, to participate in this giveaway you must like the original giveaway photo in my feed, follow my Instagram account @michelle.manco and SUBSCRIBE to my blog with your email address in the sidebar to the right. You must do all three because I will be checking! The contest ends Sunday at 5 p.m. EST. I will choose a winner then, so keep an eye on your DMs!

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Style: "Disable"

Not many people know this, but I’ve been involved with Dress for Success Tampa Bay for the past few months and it has really made an impact on my life. I’ve used my passion for styling to volunteer on Saturdays as a personal shopper at their boutique and stepped on as their social media coordinator managing their FacebookTwitter and Google+ pages back in August.

Dress for Success is an amazing nonprofit that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and development tools that will help them get back into the workforce. It warms my heart to see the faces of some of my clients after I help them find the perfect outfit. The clothes and shoes give them the boost of confidence they need to score the job that will change their lives.

#GivingShoesDay is a worldwide campaign that Dress for Success affiliates all over the world will be participating in. We’re asking women in the local area to bring their gently-worn professional shoes to donate on Tuesday, December 1st at the boutique.

This year, ALDO has teamed up with Dress for Success to give something back to those that donate their shoes on this distinguished day of charity. The top 10 individual donors throughout the U.S. and Canada will receive $250 in gift cards.

By endowing their shoes to Dress for Success on #GivingShoesDay, donors have the potential to do double good—ALDO will also be awarding the top three Dress for Success affiliates that garner the most total shoe donations throughout North America with gift cards for brand new shoes, meaning that even more disadvantaged women will be able to put their best foot forward in the workforce.

Joining the ranks of post-Thanksgiving campaigns such as Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, #GivingShoesDay has proven to be a tremendous #GivingTuesday success for Dress for Success. Since its inception in 2012, this campaign has overwhelmingly amassed more than 8,400 pairs of shoes donated through the organization’s affiliates around the world. An almost 400% increase in shoe donations was seen globally last year and the organization is hoping to continually increase this level of giving.

My local affiliate, Dress for Success Tampa Bay is in dire need of all shoe sizes. If you have any gently-used shoes you can spare, you can drop them off at the boutique at 1705 N Howard Avenue, Tampa, FL 33607 by 4 p.m. on December 1st.

Thank you for your support. Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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