YRTakesDMVpromoI made it to my second hair event:  “Yolanda Renee Takes Your City Tour-Yolanda Renee Takes The DMV.”  Before that, she was in New York and made sure to do something for her area this time.  I found out about the tour from her YouTube channel and checked out her blog to see if any of the cities would be near me.  I was going to push myself into getting over the fear of making it to more events so I could continue to be inspired to blog.  Side note:  For those who may not know, the DMV I’m talking about doesn’t handle driver’s licenses and vanity plates.  DMV stands for DC, Maryland, and Virginia.  Might as well be one giant state altogether, right?  Hubby drove because in usual fashion, I would have been too nervous to drive in that area.  He did not mind, though, because he took D to see the new Disney’s “Planes” sequel, “Planes:  Fire & Rescue,” for father/son time while the event went on.

Saturday, July 26, the Maryland native had her Meet ‘n Greet at Bar 7, a sassy little “all black errryyyttthhang” nightspot with a bar, lounge area, stage and DJ booth located on 7th Street.  I invited my cousin, Pinky, to go with me, so she and my mom arranged to come from NC the night before.  My mom got to spend some girly time with my daughters.  The 6-9pm event was $40 + tax for VIP if you didn’t pay in time for the early bird special at lower rate.  To make sure I didn’t mess up our regular budget, I patiently waited and waited and waited some more for our tax refund to use some of after it was held hostage by the IRS due to my delinquent Federal Student Loan.  Which, by the way, I didn’t know was federal or considered delinquent for the time I attended ODU because the government failed to notify me.  This whole time since I graduated from a different school, I thought all of my loans were in deferment under the Sallie Mae umbrella of student loans. The U.S. Department of Education claimed it has no record of me getting in touch with them before the shutdown to try to settle the matter sooner, but it sure knew to take our refund, the one the hubby earned from his job, away because we file jointly.  What a mess it is to worry about the simplest things to afford when you’re watching every penny you have.  I had to agree to a monthly payment (with no salary of my own) to get out of delinquency.  So, I was grateful when we finally got it late June, and hubby said, “You should still go to the event.  It would be good for networking and your self-esteem.”

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Back on topic:  I could have paid less for general admission, but this was for a vlogger I’ve been watching since I went natural.  My whole family has fallen in love with her and her kids.  Also, no offense to those who paid for gen. admission, but the VIPs received the red carpet treatment, entered before everyone else and were given swag bags full of certain goodies gen. admiss. didn’t get in theirs.  The capacity for the place is 200, but it felt like there were more naturalistas than that in there.  Whoever didn’t fit on the couches or bar stools had to stand right in the middle or hang for dear life near the steps leading down to the restrooms.  ~Natural goddesses packed in like hair shrinkage!~  Pinky and I were served free Pink Moscatos for the 1st hour.  She also ordered a Jolly Rancher.  Whatever was in it made it very sweet just like the candy.  We ate Tempura Shrimp w/sweet potato fries and a tall order of crinkle fries.  Then, we took pictures with Yolanda herself.  I told her that after my mom saw her videos, she knew I had to come see her and in Wendy Williams flair, that she’s my “friend in my head.”  Yolanda laughed, but I got the feeling she didn’t really understand what I said.  I barely understood myself.  Instead of living in the moment without rushing because the pic line was getting longer, my words sounded like gobbledeegoop to me.  Oh well, our pics turned out great.  They’re posted on her blog’s FB page, Et Cetera Blog Magazine.  I had a better experience with this particular photographer versus the one at the last hair event.  He was professional, friendly, even made time to speak personally to Pinky and I while giving us his card.  He also tried to sell us on the whole Instagram thing saying, “Instagram is where it’s at.”  Neither of us have Instagram, but I do have this blog that might benefit from it.  He showed us some of his work and how the outlet gets the word out faster throughout the social media universe while connecting all of your outlets to it, which then means more attention to your business, perhaps becoming “InstaFamous”-truly something to think about.  Shout Out to Jeff Brooks on all social media outlets @photog4naturals.  Whatever pics attendees took, we were encouraged to tag them with #yrtakesdmv and to follow Yolanda Renee as well as the different product sponsors.

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Official photograph of the event. Courtesy of IG @ photog4naturals

Our seat was full of nice curlfriends.  A videographer was filming all around us, possibly for YouTube.  This event was serious business.  I passed out business cards like a true hustler.  Hubby made them for me at work, and most of our seatmates, including Pinky, won a giveaway.  It seemed like everyone else’s raffle ticket, even for the separate VIP giveaways, won something except mine.  I wasn’t sad, but I did feel the need to jump the ladies who won multiple times for their stuff.  Can’t say that out loud in DC, LOL!  The giveaways were bananas!  Each bag included something different, full-size and super-spectacular like packs of Private Stock Hair Weave, Eden BodyWorks, SheaMoisture, Entwine Couture, BelNouvo, the new EcoStyler Cocktail, LRC-Lawrence-Ray Concepts, Alikay Naturals, Carol’s Daughter, a M3ssy Varnish Nail Set, a Michel Mercier Detangling Brush, Yolanda Renee’s natural hair coloring book for lil’ ones, Curlies Color Too, jewelry from her boutique, etc., etc.  Most of the prizes were basically what’s in the swag bags and then some.  Turns out, Pinky didn’t even need her tickets to win anything, just her t-shirt.  It was a neon green, pink and black shirt from #TeamNatural, perfect for summer.  Once one of the MCs, Sabrina, from the major sponsor of the event, Natural Partners in Crime, asked~“Who has on a natural hair shirt?”~Pinky rushed towards the stage.  She told me that she never wins anything literally seconds before.  Now, it looks like she may want to do a product swap or sell some to reduce that “Apocalypse Ready” stash of hers.  Her bathroom is like a natural hair aisle.  I think I should’ve bought one of those shirts too during the FB group sale, but I didn’t want to spend $20.  Can you believe that?  It would have made choosing an outfit so much easier than having several ideas covering my bed.  In the meantime, I ran behind Pinky to take pics and yell her name as they were trying to get the crowd’s vote.  I think I said her name so much, others even yelled, “Victoria!” too as they took pics with her winning shirt, the other contestants and Yolanda.

YR’s boyfriend, Devon Beck, performed one of his songs, “Let It Go,” and she conducted a Q&A.  She walked up close to our area to answer someone’s question about moisture.  She mentioned that she’s shy, but she was still willing to get up close and personal with as many of us, “curls,” as she could-just down-to-earth.  She spoke a bit about her life.  I did not know she served 4 yrs in the military.  I must have missed that part in her earliest videos. The military and graphic design…she and the hubby would have so much to talk about.  She also had another YouTuber talk a bit, NaturallyGlam.  I knew her as Jonna Scott from Newport News, VA.  She’s been natural for 6 yrs and traveled through heavy traffic from Norfolk to get there.  She looked amazing.  I loved the highlights in her hair.  We had a mutual friend when I was in high school, so she thought I looked familiar.  We did a brief catch-up, I passed her my card.  I haven’t heard from her yet, but hopefully, we’ll get to talk more soon. I would be so humbled to get some blogging advice and the inside scoop on what it’s been like traveling city to city encouraging the natural hair and fashion community.  I was so close to Yolanda Renee so many times that it didn’t make any sense I never got to pass her my card.  I even gave her a hug as we were chilling with some DJ music after the event finished.  Unfortunately, as soon as I was about to pull a card out, her little body scurried away for pics.  Btw, the DJ kept asking for singers to come up for karaoke, but I chickened out.  Stayed in my seat waiting for our ride.  Pinky kept saying in her cute, deep Southern accent, “You’re the singer.  Gone up there!” One fear at a time, cuz.  One fear at a time.  YouTuber Jouelzy showed up after the crowd left to take some pics with YR.  I recognized her even with her long wig on, but didn’t get to take a pic.  She has a very pretty smile.  I believe she lives in DC.

I had some extra money to buy some of YR’s merchandise like a t-shirt sporting her natural ladies and some bamboo earrings.  I couldn’t really tell if the ones on display were for sale that night, so I’ll just go to her boutique online.  To purchase items from #TeamNatural, please visit their FB page or Instagram for more info.  To purchase items from YR’s boutique, please visit her blog’s FB page, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Pinterest, and/or www.etcblogmag.com to find the link or to find out her next tour stop.  Also, check out her makeup tutorials and vlogs about her daily life.  Enjoy the pics.  Note:  a few are credited to @photog4naturals to get an idea of his work.  He said his next gig, “Return of the Curls,” will be in Greensboro, NC later in August.  Please follow him.  Now, back to hustling it is for me.

See you soon,
Smiley

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