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Feature: Alinely Features Carissa Stephens for “Woman of Houston”

#WomanofHouston – Carissa Stephens

by Aline Pham

 

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It is with great honor to feature Carissa Stephens as the newest #WomanofHouston. Amongst her various roles, Carissa is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of She’s Charissmatic LLC  and Co-Founder of Naturally GG. This fierce and ambitious business woman is also PR and Business Development Professional, loving wife to Kenneth Stephens (Managing Attorney at Stephens PLLC) and mommy to a Maltese puppy named Jojo. Carissa graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Business Management and Marketing from Sam Houston State University in 2009 and went on to earn a Certificate of Accountancy, Accounting and Taxation from University of Houston, C.T. Bauer College of Business in 2012. Carissa is without a doubt a well-rounded and successful business woman. You’ll easily find her personality is as radiant as her smile!

Please tell us about www.shescharissmatic.com and what inspired you to start such an awesome website. 

She’s ChaRISSmatic is a lifestyle blog that serves as a source of inspiration for many things including fitness, food, beauty, love and travel! What inspired me to start the website was my love for writing and storytelling. On my blog, I share things that I experience personally. I enjoy living life every day to the fullest and I hope that my blog can inspire others to do the same. To take risks, to get out of their comfort zones, and to really experience more of beauty of life! The key is in the simple things…

I also believe that my purpose is to empower people with the tools they need to be successful. I hope to continually offer my words of wisdom from things that I learn along my own journey, to equip and empower my subscribers to follow their dreams and live a happier, healthier, purpose-driven life.

Your youtube page, https://www.youtube.com/c/naturallygg, has over 83,000 subscribers!!! Please tell us what Naturally GG is all about. 

NaturallyGG is a YouTube channel that I founded along with my sister in 2011 and was originally intended to simply document our personal natural hair journeys. Prior to 2011, I chemically straightened my hair because since I could remember, it was what I was “supposed to do” as an African American female. I became more enlightened and around this time also had several epiphanies. The main epiphanies that I experienced were:

  1. I don’t know what my hair texture looks like in its natural, God given state and that became a real problem for me…
  2. The standard of beauty that I was living by was no longer acceptable for my life
  3. My natural hair could be so much more VERSATILE and HEALTHIER than my chemical relaxed hair and I wanted to embrace it in all of its kinks, curls and complexities!

So I embraced the journey and have been loving it ever since! There is nothing my hair can’t do in its natural state. For the past 5 years, the channel has shared countless natural hair tutorials, product reviews and lifestyle vlogs. I had no idea back then that the channel would grow to receive MILLIONS of views and open the doors to some AMAZING opportunities!!  Through this brand I have able to work with so many companies, fulfilling my dreams of being an impactful beauty influencer. I am able to travel with my brand, do some spoke-modeling and public speaking while engaging with live audiences and continuing to create engaging, informative and entertaining content for my audience!

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Aside from being a successful entrepreneur you also work full time. What is your secret for managing it all?

Honestly…. Multi-vitamins and Jesus are my saving grace! Also, I maintain a pretty detailed calendar and to-do lists!! Writing things down help me and organization is key! Also, making sure my time is spent doing things I actually want to do is critical. I am intentional about designing the life I want to live.

 

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Passion:  

Personal growth and development is the passion that sums up mostly everything. Getting more fit, sharpening my skill set, being a better mentor, continuing to grow into the woman God is designing me to be, it’s all something I’m passionate about. I seek to maximize my potential while motivating, cultivating and inspiring others to be the very best version of themselves.

Additionally (because this needs it’s own paragraph), dance is my first love. lol I have danced my entire life. I was in studio dance as a child where I learned ballet, tap and jazz dance; drill team in high school were I learned competitive precision drill/dance and eventually served as the Captain of the team; and in college I danced and directed an ensemble where I primarily did praise, street and open dance. I love to choreograph and see my interpretation of music come to life! I currently enjoy a weekly Zumba class where I do lots of Latin inspired dancing and lots of “twerk”. Judge me. lol

Style: (stores/colors/must-haves)

Whatever I am feeling on any given day is the style that I’m rocking. If you follow me on Instagram @carissastephens, then you know that I keep my style switched up very often. Fashion comes and goes… so I try to dress to how I feel regardless of trends. I don’t have a favorite clothing store because I can spot a jewel almost anywhere! lol The hunt is honestly fun for me.

Work:

Most days I wear an all-purpose dress to work. It can be a wrap dress or have more structure… easy, comfortable and effective. And a blazer. I LOVE a blazer. lol

Non-work:

When I’m not at work I like to dress like a hippie. lol Always comfortable, maybe a crop top and denim shorts most of the time to help tolerate this hot Houston weather. I tend to love hi-waist things and sundresses.

Beauty: (products/tricks)

I love skin care because in my opinion it is the basis for physical beauty. My products are not super fancy by any means. However, when it comes to staples I must have my Neutrogena make-up removing wipes and Clarosonic spin brush.

Make up:

A foundation I have grown to love is Clinique’s liquid make-up in ‘Fresh Golden’. I usually set that with a light dust of MAC pressed powder. I love a “cat eye” using liquid liner and a nice eyebrow which is now made easier with the help of Anastasia brow definer. Throw on a little blush and lip gloss and I’m out!

Food: (restaurants/preparations/must-eats)

I love Creole food, seafood, soul food, pub food, Vietnamese, Mexican, Italian … lol I’m a foodie with a diverse pallet and I love it all!

Fitness:

Dance is my cardio as also mentioned above. I also enjoy squatting and doing light weight training. For me, staying fit is a matter of having a fun and active lifestyle. I’m not a fan of workout machines or dieting but I absolutely love jogging in the park and will take the stairs vs. the elevator as much as I can. Someone hold me to that…

Career:

I am a Business Professional and Entrepreneur

Challenges:

My challenges are making time to do it all… time management.

Awards:

  • Who’s Who Houston
  • Women of Houston
  • Nzuri 100 Carat Diamond Award

Outfit Details:

  • Look 1: This is a look I would wear to work with a closed button up blazer. After work, the blazer comes off and I’m ready for happy hour with my friends.
  • Look 2:  Simple and classic, black and white striped skater dress that makes me feel flirty but is also still classy. I love this look!
  • Look 3: This edgy look is a rarity for me but represents me stepping out of my comfort zone and being bold and daring without fear of being judged by others.

To keep up with Carissa be sure to subscribe to her website and follow her on FB, IG & Twitter! @shescharissmatic, @carissastephens, @charissmatic1

Photos are unfiltered and unedited. Photography by A. Pham

Thanks for reading! xo

Carissa Stephens www.shescharissmatic.com

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Feature: Being in the Afro Bridal Party that Broke the Internet!

If you have found your way to this article, chances are you have been seeing pictures of the wedding party that I was recently a part of, circulating ALL OVER THE INTERNET. Images of the bride, groom and wedding party went completely VIRAL immediately after camera phone pictures were released. A picture that I posted on my social media was the first to receive massive circulation from reposts on Instagram and Twitter and Facebook.

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Since then, full articles have been written by some of the biggest online publications such as Essence.com, BuzzFeed.com and Cosmopolitan.com, Yahoo.com/Beauty, TheKnot.com, HuffingtonPost.com… just to give you an idea! We’ve been featured on countless pages across all media outlets. Projected shares, likes and comments are incalculable. We really BROKE THE INTERNET!

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This article is going to be a little bit different than the others that you’ve been reading (up and down your timeline). Here at ShesChaRISSmatic.com you get the EXCLUSIVE inside look into the magic of “Nakyia & Jay’s” BIG DAY from the perspective of someone who had a front row seat to the MAGIC… Me! First off, allow me to express… being the Matron of Honor in the wedding of Nakyia Whitty and Javonte Davis was an unforgettable and simply beautiful experience from beginning to end! I have known the couple for a few years now and I can’t say enough good things about them. They compliment each other so well and balance each other out. They are truly the Yin and Yang. Nakyia has a very bubbly personality while Jay tends to be the more laid back one. Both have a wonderful sense of humor and are so much fun to be around! These two are a couple of my dearest friends and I am so proud of both of them!

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In a brief interview with Nakyia and Jay conducted prior to the wedding, this is what the couple had to say:

  1. How and when did you two meet?

Nakyia: Jay and I met at TSU on “the yard” in 2007. He was standing right in front of the student center with his twin brother with this drawn tight backpack on! Lol! I wasn’t looking at him like that at the time. We were friends for a while first. Who knew!?

  1. How did the proposal go down?

Nakyia: Jay surprised me by getting a penthouse suite on Valentine’s Day weekend at Hotel Icon in downtown Houston. He told me we were hanging with friends for Valentines Day. I was excited about it! So we checked into the hotel and drank some wine and he told me to get ready to leave. He took me to McCormick and Schmicks for dinner and he had given me a pair of pearl earrings in a box that looked like a ring box… Nope! Lol! I remember staring out of the window at the construction and trying to fight back the tears. I couldn’t hold it. I complained about how all the money he was spending on this evening could have been a down payment on a ring. He said he was working on his credit and asked me to be patient with him. He took my hand and prayed for peace and understanding in our relationship and that diffused the fire. We left and eventually made it back to the hotel where I walked into a room with rose petals on the floor in the shape of a heart, and family and friends filled the room. I didn’t get it. I was thinking, “Why are they here tonight? I thought we were hanging out tomorrow!” I turn around to look for Jay and he was in the middle of the big rose heart on one knee. I went blank. I remember looking at the Houston skyline through the window thinking this was unbelievable…. The rest is history in the making!

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  1. When and where will the wedding take place?

We are getting married June 11th, 2016 in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

  1. What do you love most about your future spouse?

Nakyia: I love how he complements me. We definitely balance each other out and that’s something I really appreciate. Not to mention the fact that he’s extra kind and sweet, and sooo handsome! Lol! That’s my boo!

Javonte: Her internal beauty is as striking as her external beauty. She truly has a good heart. I LOVE that!

Being along Nakyia’s journey to the alter with her was quite the experience. Starting with the fact that I was to work side by side with her Maid of Honor who also happens to be my husbands ex… (Cue dramatic sound effect)! I accepted the honor not knowing what to expect but focused on my duty as the Matron of Honor. After meeting the Maid of Honor, things felt only slightly awkward in the beginning but as time progressed everything got more and more comfortable. The bridal party became a pretty close knit group and I was pleasantly surprised with how the 6 of us meshed so well!

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“Our group chat and combined efforts over the course of almost a year, forged a bound that broke down any and all barriers.”

Rewind to the Bridal Shower. We chose Ousie’s Table in Houston, Texas – a quaint and charming American with a twist fair restaurant complete with an outdoor terrace and everything else a bride could want. “Brunch with the Bride” was successfully executed with complimentary lunch for guests, interactive bridal games and of course lots of lovely prizes for game winners. The bridal party spent the night before, finishing the DIY shower favors and games which was another bonding experience. We’d had several of these bonding events leading up to the shower as well. It was a beautiful event!

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The bridal party just so happened to ALL have #naturalhair. We were NOT selected to be in this wedding just because we are natural. 

Bridal Party from left to right: Kaayla Whitty, Alyssa Whitty, Amber Hawkins, Nakyia Whitty (Bride), Carissa Stephens (Me), Montiana Davis, Teandra Hall.

13263798_10102386593160315_6434517325793061341_nThen, after booking air fair and hotel, choosing the dresses, deciding on hair and jewels, getting the alterations and final details completed, the BIG DAY approached before we knew it! We had all touched down in the Dominican by that Thursday before the Saturday Beach Wedding. I was so happy to be back in the Dominican as I had spent my honeymoon there only two years ago. #DRreloaded was so beautiful from my husband and I’s perspective as we celebrated the union of our friends in the same incredible place that we had celebrated our own. The mini vacation was perfect in so many ways.

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The Bachelorette Party was on the night most of us arrived to the DR. We came ready in our matching racer back tank tops that read “The Brides Drinking Team” and huge kinky curly afros. The moment we touched down in the DR it was plain to see that we stood out and would be treated like celebrities while there. That night we had continuous lines of people requesting to take our picture as we rampaged throughout the resort. #BlackGirlMagic was in FULL EFFECT! #TeamBride stayed out dancing and laughing the night away at the resident “Club Oro” and all throughout the Hard Rock Hotel, Punta Cana.

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THE BIG DAY was finally upon us! On June 11, 2016, Nakyia Whitty married Javonte Davis, on a flawless day at the beach in Punta Cana, DR. The groom even got a little choked up when he saw his beautiful bride coming down the aisle. The bride wore a mermaid dress with exquisite beading detail and the hair was none other than a fabulous afro with a flower behind her ear. The bridesmaids wore champagne long flowing dresses with hair in an array of natural styles and also flowers in the hair. Of course the bride had the largest fro of all! The wedding was breathtaking! THEY DID IT!!!

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The reception was nothing short of magnificent as well. The food was delicious, guests enjoyed a photo-booth and Polaroid selfie station where they could print out their photos and attach them to their well wishes when they signed the guest book. I gave a heart-felt toast to the newlyweds. Then all guests where directed to head outside where we enjoyed a wonderful fire show!

The couple honeymooned several days after their big day right there in the same place they had gotten married. This wedding was truly one for the ages!!! Congratulations again, Nakyia (@naturally_nakyia) and Javonte Davis (@dr_jay)!!!

Thanks for reading! Xo -Riss (@shescharissmatic)

carissa

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2 Year Anniversary My Nubian Royalty Wedding

In honor of my 2nd year wedding anniversary, May 3rd 2014, I’ve decided to share my wedding highlights video on my blog. I can’t believe how many views it has on YouTube! The day was indescribably amazing… Thank you to everyone who helped make it perfect and thank you for watching!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXGtxvFrXfg

Thanks for reading! Xo -Riss

Carissa Stephens She's ChaRISSmatic

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Feature: Leap Day 2016 & Carissa’s News Feature on CW39

The day this website launched was a magical day… (February 29th, 2016)

I had been working my butt off to produce this website and trying to balance between my Blog and Store, my YouTube channel (NaturallyGG), my Corporate Job and my Home/ Personal Life. The site was actually “late” to launch because I set my own personal deadline for February 7th… then 21st. I never publicized an exact date for launch but became increasingly ANXIOUS when I kept missing my personal goals for this thing! I think I later plan to talk about self-induced stress. lol!

So I set my site to go live on September 27th, a Sunday. As I’m plugging away making my (seemingly never ending) tweaks… I learn that it’s Oscars Night!! Seriously?? I don’t want to launch a website on the night like 65% of all American’s are tuned in to television to watch Chris Rock address the racial issues of the country and see how he’s going to pull off the “Black Actors Boycotting the Oscars” controversy! Not to mention my boy, Leo winning his Oscar!

Without realizing HOW SPECIAL the last day in February would be this year, I decided that was the day to launch. Even if it meant no sleep, I was going to launch (go live) the following day.

Here are the reasons why #LeapDay2016 will always be a Magical Day in my book…

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  1. It only comes around ONCE every 4 years!
  2. The stars aligned and God had the last word on when I would be able to share this website with you. Leap Day 2016 was not in my original plans.
  3. February is a month that celebrates love (Valentine’s Day) and Black History… Even though “In My world, Every Month is Black History Month.”
  4. I was randomly on TV! lol I was walking to lunch with my husband and was stopped by a camera crew! Of course I obliged the crew and winged it.

Learn more about Leap Day and see my feature on CW39 which aired Monday, February 29th!

CLICK HERE TO WATCH!!!

The highs and lows of Leap Day 2016

Thanks for reading and watching! See you soon!!

Xoxo -Riss

Travel: 2015 Travel Highlights

 (Bahamas Cruise 1 Year Anniversary and Cabo San Lucas Birthday Adventures)

Before I begin a very extensive year of travel in 2016 (I’m excited) I wanted to recap some of the travel and adventure that took place in 2015. Travel is a BIG part of my life. Growing up my family would go on annual family vacations and it became our tradition. We’ve been to some incredible places and have seen done some incredible things! Now that I am married, I have been able to rub off some on my travel itch on my husband (gratefully). My husband and I love to travel and have been doing so since our very first year of dating. (Some of our favorite trips include Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Bahamas and Cabo San Lucas.)

Carissa She's Charissmatic

In my household, we deem travel and vacationing as MANDATORY. It is so important to unwind and take time away in a remote location with your spouse to kick back and enjoy the simple things. Things like island breezes, exotic drinks, beautiful beaches, different cultures, different foods, and simply… just the quality time. Also there is nothing like sharing new experiences together for the first time.

2015 Was a very symbolic year. In May of 2015, my husband Kenneth and I celebrated our first year of marriage! (Click here to watch our Wedding Highlights Video.) With our 1 Year Wedding Anniversary came our Anniversary Getaway to the Bahamas. We flew from Houston to Florida and then sailed from Florida to the Bahamas. The trip lasted 5 days in total and was a much needed getaway! We had a great time!

The most memorable parts of Bahamas 2015 were:

  1. The food. Conch is amazing… you can make anything with this yummy shelled fish. I’m talking fritters, sandwiches, chowder, etc. conch
  2. Trying to master Black Jack in the casino of the cruise ship! We were both pretty terrible…black jack table
  3. Meeting this incredible Bohemian artist, Leo Brown. I was so inspired by his work. It was all so moving. I personally felt like this piece could’ve been me… it isn’t, but that didn’t keep me from feeling like it could’ve been. lolLeo Brown Art Work
  4. The view from the balcony of our room277aeb63-223b-40ec-8e9e-94d7f118c128
  5. Being able to celebrate one year as Mr. and Mrs. Stephenslove

6. Finding waterfalls in nature. I literally went on a quest for them.Waterfalls

High points from our vacation of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico 2015:

  1. That Boat Party Cabo(The turn up was just TOO real) Check out this short video link from my husbands Instagram page. Here is another: Turn Up! lol

2.  Zip lining! I never thought I’d propel from 300 ft. above ground in a Canyon stretching miles wide… 8 different times. We had to hike to each zip line over rugged terrain. I felt like cutting it short a couple times but preserved! Proud moment!ziplining

3. Recording a music video …on my phone. lol (Click here to watch)

4. Mexican Walmart and buying groceries… there was literally a FULL liquor store in the Mexican WALMART!

5. Our first couples massage! (Not featured…. too precious of a moment.) It was my very first couples massage. So special.

The Stephens on a Camel

We have a lot of travel planned for 2016 and I’m sooo excited to adventure more and share with you here at shescharissmatic.com! Follow me on Instagram for more photos and real time updates!

#ReflectionswithRiss #Travel

Thanks for reading! Xo -Riss

Carissa Stephens She's ChaRISSmatic

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Introduction to She’s ChaRISSmatic!

Welcome to She’s ChaRISSmatic! I am so grateful you are here! I hope you find great information and inspiration here on my personal blog. Watch the video below to learn more about what you’ll find here.

Thanks for watching! xo – Riss

Contact us for business inquiries and collaborations. We’d love to hear from you!

Learn more ABOUT She’s ChaRISSmatic.

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Facebook: She’s ChaRISSmatic

Instagram: @carissastephens

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