Archive for April, 2011

Suicide Prevention PSA for military families – world premiere, dinner and “Rock the vote” afterparty

30 Apr

by Yulia Mikhalchuk

On April 28, The Creative Coalition brought their newly created PSA for premiere launch in Nation’s Capital. TCC, in partnership with Blue Star Families, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) and Health Net, Inc, are joining forces to raise awareness and educate military families, veterans and service members about crisis and suicide prevention.

Actors from The Creative Coalition performed live readings from vignettes of military family life highlighting emotions ranging from the joy of homecoming to the frustration of reintegration and recovery at the event. Also speaking at the reception were Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, General Peter W. Chiarelli, Robin Bronk of The Creative Coalition, Kathy Roth-Douquet of Blue Star Families, Mrs. Patty Shinseki from U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and Jerry DeFrancisco the President of Humanitarian Services for the American Red Cross. Event took place in American Red Cross Hall of Service.

Actors from The Creative Coalition in attendance: Tim Daly (“Private Practice”); David Arquette (Scream, Never Been Kissed); Emmy Award-winner Patricia Arquette (“Medium,” Holes); Jason Biggs (American Pie, “Mad Love,” My Best Friends Girl, Over Her Dead Body); Omar Epps (“House,” Alfie, Against the Ropes, Love & Basketball); Simon Helberg ( “The Big Bang Theory”); Cheryl Hines (“Curb Your Enthusiasm,” The Ugly Truth, Waitress, RV); Angus T. Jones (“Two and a Half Men,” Bringing Down the House, The Rookie); Jack McBrayer (“30 Rock”); Alyssa Milano (“Charmed,” “My Name Is Earl”); Marlon Wayans (White Chicks, Requiem for a Dream, Norbit, Scary Movie); Shay Mitchell (“Pretty Little Liars”, “Aaron Stone”) and Ariel Winter (“Modern Family”).

Then there was a dinner hosted by Lani Hay of Lanmark Technology, Inc., in Ritz Carlton. Special guest of the evening was Roberta “Robbie” Myers, Editor-in-Chief of ELLE Magazine.

After that, Lani Hay also hosted “Rock The Vote” after-party at her private DC residence, where Australian/L.A. rock band “Juke Kartel” performed their best tunes and voices.

Enjoy the pictures and don’t forget to visit whole gallery of 191 (one hundred ninety one) images. There is also a mentioned above PSA video, more can be seen on The Blue Star Families youtube channel HERE.

Whole gallery of 191 images of premiere event, dinner and afterparty is available to enjoy HERE


Sustainable fashions at Carbon

30 Apr

Text and photos by Shaun Sargen

Carbon DC was buzzing again Friday evening with yet another classic and stylish presentation. This week’s theme was Eco-friendly fashion and charitable endeavors. Designers included the environmentally sustainable and ever-chic Auralis with proceeds going to DC –based volunteer sewing organization DC Threads whose focus is to maintain sewing and stitching as a viable and evolving art form.

With the help of Ferragut  Event Group,  Carbon Owner Katherine Limon pulled off another exceptional event.

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My Bougie Baby launch party

17 Apr

by Yulia Mikhalchuk

My Bougie Baby line launched on April 15 in Courtyard Marriott on F street. Seven girls demonstrated spring and summer outfits followed by lumbering applauses. Wendy Pittman, the founder of My Bougie Baby, was extremely happy with the outcome, looks like Washington, DC is about to get “fashionized” even more. The venue was packed and sales went on and on for even longer than event was planned for. 10% of all sales benefited Courage for Kids.

Spotted: Wendy Pittman, Sonya Lowery, Andrea Rodgers, Jonathan Thorpe, Andrew Roby

All the models and Wendy Pittman, founder of My Bougie Baby

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Flowers helping Earthquake in Japan

16 Apr

by Yulia Mikhalchuk

L2 once again “arted up” to entertain and to help. On April 14, Don Patron and Ladies DC hosted an art exhibit benefiting Japanese Red Cross Society.  About 10 artists and photographers presented their visions for relief of recent (another yet) earthquake affected our friends in Japan. This is how Cherry Blossoms are paying back! 3000 trees, gifted by Tokyo Mayor in 1912, bloom annually in DC and have become National attraction. Now artists, capturing this beauty and reflecting it on their paper/canvases, return the favor by helping Japan in need. Beauty will continue saving the world forever. Enjoy the pictures and don’t forget to see whole gallery!

Don Patron, Maggie O’Neill,  Collander Malone, Walter Grio,  Dominque Fierro,  Aaron Craven,  Junelle Cavero,  Anna Davis,  Rodger Shultz,  Deidree Bennett, Alejandro Martin, Lindsey Mask, Leah Dyrud, Nina Snow, Wendy Gordon, Donna Donella, Alexa Holcombe, Ky Walker, Zara Corutz, Sam Kavenchy, Yulia Mikhalchuk

Wendy Gordon, Deidree Bennett and Donna Donella holding Deidree's triptych

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Don Patron and Ladies DC host Hanami: Flower viewing

14 Apr

by Yulia Mikhalchuk

Join artist Don Patron and Ladies DC for Hanami: Flower Viewing in L2 tonight! Art and Photography exhibit, featuring our special DC Cherry Blossoms captured and interpreted by following artists: Maggie O’Neill,  Collander Malone, Walter Grio,  Dominque Fierro,  Aaron Craven,  Junelle Cavero,  Anna Davis,  Rodger Shultz, and Deidree Bennett. Also film feauture by Alejandro Martin will be showed. Not to mention DC finest crowd and one of the best locations.

$20 donations at the door, proceeds benefit Japanese Red Cross Society.


Fashion District showcase

14 Apr


Heels and paws on the runway raise $520K!!!

14 Apr

by Yulia Mikhalchuk

For the fifth time annual “Fashion for paws” rocked the runway. National Building Museum seemed to be full, having about 1800 fashion and animal lovers under its roof. The_show of the year presented fund raising models and celebrities, dressed in outfits from Tyson’s Galleria’s Saks Fifth Avenue, Betsey Johnson, Nicole Miller, Karen Miller, 7 for All Mankind, Aram, Anne Fontaine, Stuart Weitzman. Syzygy Event Productions transformed the space into spring castle with cherry trees, blooming and glowing, soft white runway with real (at least very real-looking) fire hydrant, and gorgeously decorated VIP tables. Mistress of ceremonies Pamela Sorensen and host Lawrence Zarian, who specifically flew from LA for this event, made sure that spectators had a blast watching from the very beginning. Thanks to DJ Seyhan Duru the whole show was very dynamic and dance-provoking. About 70 fabulous women and men graced the runway with their four-legged friends, and got photographed and recorded by about the same quantity of photographers and videographers. Five over-the-top couture dresses by FIDM’s alumni Clay Sadler opened the show. Pieces were inspired by VitaminWater Zero – one of the sponsors of the event.

Pictures will say better than any words. Don’t forget to visit whole gallery with more than 300 images.

One of the dresses by Clay Sadler

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Carbon Fashion show

13 Apr

by Shaun Sargen

The 2011 Spring Fashion Season is in swing and nowhere more than DC’s own “Sustainable Chic Boutique”, Carbon. New owner, Katherine Limon and local clothing designers Kim Schalk and Angelika Krishna, along with shoe designer Franklin Michael, wowed the crowd Friday evening with stunning designs that mingled classic style with urban originality. Connecticut Avenue was abuzz as passersby and invited guests alike took in the latest local fashion trends and superb offerings from international artisans.  Carbon’s exclusive lines and intimate boutique setting provided the perfect back drop for a very successful evening.

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Cherry Blossom Ball 2011

12 Apr

by Yulia Mikhalchuk

As a culminations of Chery Blossom Festival, annual Grand Ball and sushi reception took place in Renaissance Washington DC Downtown Hotel on April 8, 2011. Honoring the 2011 NCSS Princesses and the official crowning ceremony of the 2011 United States Cherry Blossom Queen Celebrating the 99th Year anniversary of the first planting of Cherry Blossoms trees. Allison Speaker of Shperdstown, West Virginia was chosen as the 2011 United States Cherry Blossom Queen. The crown for the Queen to wear (for about a minute) is a Mikimoto Crown given by the Mikimoto Company to The Washington Board of Trade in 1957 for use at this annual ball.  The crown has 1,585 pearls personally selected by Mr. Mikimoto and they are set in a frame of 14 karat gold and a band of ermine.  Above the base is a coronet of perfectly matched pearls and delicately hand crafted gold blossoms, scrolls and leaves. It was appraised in 2005 for about $300,000.

2010 Cherry Blossom Queen Margo Pfefferle of Wisconsin, Cherry Blossom Princess Varvara Mikhalchuk of Maryland, with Mikimoto Crown

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The Zusmans – zoomed in

06 Apr

Questions and Photography by Yulia Mikhalchuk

Make up and hair style for Ashley – Valentina Gretsova

Photographers are mostly hidden behind the cameras… But today we are going to reveal one and have the lens (and ears) aimed at him and his family. Please give a warm welcome to Moshe and Ashley Zusman, their son Noah and cat Baba.

DressHopper: Please tell me about your lives before you met, and how it changed when you did.

Moshe, Ashley: We actually met on the Jewish dating site  We used to be embarrassed to admit this, but we actually have a ton of friends that have met their spouses on JDate, Match, etc. so but the stigma is
wearing off.

Our lives completely changed after we met.  I (Ashley) was in graduate school at American University at the time. Moshe had just moved here from Israel after spending some time in LA, and we were both smitten with one another and literally after our first date, we were inseparable. I was living with my roommate in Bethesda, and Moshe had
just found a place to live in Germantown, and let’s just say we put a lot of mileage on our car that year, driving back and forth to see each other.

DH: Moshe, was photography always your passion or it came on the way? What was your first camera? First experience – were you happy with the results? First models? First wedding? First paid job?

M: No, it wasn’t my first passion, but once I started taking pictures, I couldn’t stop!  I used to take photos of my dog, and I wanted more performance out of my point-and-shoot, which led me to buy my first DSLR. As soon as I bought it, Istarted taking nightlife photos at some of the local clubs in my hometown of Haifa.  Then I started second shooting weddings with a photographer I admired. I was hooked. When I decided to move to the U.S., I knew that I wanted to pursue photography, but photographing full-time felt like a pipe dream! My first paid job in the U.S. was second shooting with a photographer friend.

My 1st pro camera was an Olympus C4000.

DH: Moshe, what qualities, do you think, are the most important for professional photographer? Is it technical knowledge or artistic vision?

M: These days I think that you need to have both in order to really be a talented photographer. You need to not only have an artistic eye, but you also need to understand the fundamentals of photography before you can then be creative.

I believe the most important quality is to be a professional human being before being a professional photographer.

DH: Ashley, is it difficult to be Moshe’s model? Does he “set” a lot or just let you be yourself?

A: I actually hate to be photographed so I’m very rarely on the other side of the lens. Now that we have Noah, I’m definitely in my share of photos, but I’m okay with that since people aren’t even looking at me – they’re smiling at Noah (note from DH: yes she is also modest as well as beautiful)

DH: Moshe, how your hectic schedule weaves into more stable family schedule, and how do you work it out?  ………. Ashley, now tell your side of the story.

M: I’m not going to lie – it’s a challenge, but one that we’re figuring out. Given my irregular schedule, I’m not always there for typical family time, but we make adjustments. Plus, I try to schedule around the important things – the doctor trips, the birthday parties, and I always try to be around for dinner. I’ve never been much of a morning person, but Noah loves climbing around in the early hours, so my personal clock is adjusting.

A: I’m used to the hectic and irregular hours by now, but we still do manage to schedule the day so that we spend a good amount of time together.  Now if only Moshe wouldn’t go to bed so late, we could get up an have breakfast together in the morning.

DH: Ashley, tell us about your work?

A: I’ve been the communications managers for the the U.S. Green Building Council, a non-profit organization based in DC for the past 4+ years. I manage media relations, PR efforts, communications, etc. Since returning from maternity leave, I’ve been much better about not being as glued to my Blackberry, which makes a work/life balance much more achievable.

DH: Moshe, Ashley, have you ever worked on a project together? Not meaning Noah, of course! What kind of project was that?

A: The photography business is our ongoing project together – we both play a part. Of course Moshe plays the major role, I do support in many ways, especially with the opening of the new studio.

DH: Moshe, you see so many families being started… Madly in love, romantically, beautifully getting married… However, according to the statistics, about 40% of couples end up divorced in the US. Would you happen to have an advice for couples, how to preserve love in marriage (which you seem to have at great level in your family?)

M: Have fun and don’t take yourself too seriously.

DH: Moshe, have you ever had the same client  hiring you again?
M: Yes, I’ve had many wedding clients that have invited me in their life many times post-wedding — for maternity photos, family portraits and events, etc. I even have clients that Ashley & I have maintained as good friends!

DH: Moshe, what is the most common mistake among emerging photographers? Why, do you think, many of them “deflate” and give up, saying it is a “bad business and it is impossible to make a living out of it”? Didn’t they push hard enough, are they just unlucky or what?

M: Sometimes, photographers jump in head first and call themselves professional photographers before they master the craft and know how to run a business.  You  really need to train as an assistant for a long time and not  immediately jump into making photography your full-time career.

DH: How strong is religious aspect in your family? Will you teach Noah the same?

M,A: We’re both connected to our faith, and we will definitely teach Noah to be the same.

DH: Does photographer’s family get enough photographer’s attention? I mean, are you being photographed a lot? Sometimes, I know, families miss that attention since “they are not going anywhere, next time, next time…”
M, A: Not nearly enough!

DH: Have you ever been involved in charity and what kind?
M: Yes, I try to donate my services when I can. Washington Humane Society, Got Your Back Network,  Chris4Life. This year I’m an official sponsor for Fashion For Paws.

DH: Ashley, tell us some secret about Moshe that you (and him) don’t mind to share?
A: He watches an episode of Seinfeld on his laptop each night before bed.

DH: What is your favorite entertainment? You like to stay in or go out?
M, A: We love going out to the movies, concerts, restaurants and just exploring the neighborhood!

DH: How you want to expand your business, what are your plans and dreams?


M: The opening of the studio in DC will hopefully help expand the business.  We’ve already begun renting the studio to the professional community and offering workshops – something I never would have been able to do if I had continued working from home.


Whole gallery of pictures is HERE

Make up and hair style for Ashley were kindly provided by

Valentina Gretsova