Creative Coalition’s Right to Bear Arts Gala: The Arts Cultivate Young Minds
April 27, 2018 I had an exclusive invite to cover the 2018 Creative Coalition’s Right to Bear Arts gala held at the Mayflower hotel in Washington D.C. This was during the White House correspondent party season where all the top journalists and communication aids are seen schmoozing with a fine wine and gourmand chicken kebab.
What I particularly love about this gala is the mission behind it. The Creative Coalition works tirelessly to work with national leaders on Capitol Hill on protecting federal funding for the arts across small and undervalued communities across the United States. This issue transcends party lines and brings value back to our communities in that the arts cultivates creative thinking skills in children, independent thinking, modes of expression and higher self esteem. Peer pressure and cyber bullying is at an all time high in schools, and the arts can instill confidence, and solidify individuality among-st kids from various backgrounds. The arts empower artists, creatives, and free thinkers to do what they love.
In recent news: funding was briefly threatened around May/ June of this year but the Creative Coalition is pleased to announce that the House of Representatives as of July 2018 stood behind the Right to Bear Arts (#RightToBearArts) in properly funding the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA). Now, it’s up to the Senate to fully pass this bill. The house passed the Fiscal year 2019 Interior Appropriations Bill and approved $155 million for the NEA. House members voted down the amendment by a vote of 114-297.
For this gala, I wore a White House Black Market black dress and a Kay Unger intricately designed velvet blazer. FYI, I don’t think I would ever sell this Kay Unger blazer because Victoria Justice (From Nickelodeon’s “Victorious”) and Tim Daly (President of the Creative Coalition) liked it a lot!
I drove straight from work and fought monstrous traffic to get to this event on the dot. Street parking was scarce so I shelled massive bucks on garage parking a block away from the hotel. I was nervous about this event in particular because my favorite actress as a young teen was going to be featured at this red carpet event.
I will admit, I was obsessed with the WB’s Roswell in the early 90’s and Liz Parker played by Shiri Appleby is my favorite. The first time I met Appleby was at the Roswell 15 year anniversary showcased by the ATX Television Festival in Austin Texas. Not only was I right in front of Snooki when she gushed her love of Roswell at the panel but when I first saw Shiri Appleby outside the panel, I dont know why but I cried so much. Because of her character, I also kept a diary and that ended up helping me become a more creative writer. She was so sweet and gave me a big hug!
So yeah, it’s a big deal seeing Appleby again and I hoped not to cry again as an older adult.
So when I saw Appleby again as an older adult, I asked her if she remembered a young woman who cried when she first saw her at the 15 year Roswell anniversary and her eyes teared up and she not only gave me a huge hug, but took me aside and ensured I have a one on one interview with her for Sharing the Details. I had to admit, getting VIP treatment from one of my favorite actresses was a personal highlight for me.
I not only had an exclusive interview with Shiri Appleby (UnReal, Roswell, Life Unexpected) but I also had exclusive interviews with Victoria Justice (Victorious), Tim Daly (Madam Secretary), Sara Rue (Popular, A Series of Unfortunate Events), Steve Howey (Reba, Shameless), and Nicholas Gonzalez (The Good Doctor).
Exclusive Interview with Shiri Appleby (UnReal)
Before my interview with Shiri, she was joking around with popular character actor, Richard Kind (he’s that guy you see in every 90’s movie).
SD: Tell us more about your production company?
SA: We sold our first show and that will be announced soon. We’re very excited and it’s just been such an empowering experience. I have been going on at for almost two years. I am starting to figure out how that works. And I feel that I have the opportunity to build a company and with giving other women opportunities. I have been sitting at meetings with other women and they are doing the talking and selling themselves. And they are getting the opportunity. It makes me feel like it’s the greatest thing in the entire world. Like, we (women) need to keep going forward.
SD: So how do you empower women to get into leadership roles?
SA: It’s all about having the confidence. I work on it every day too. It’s all about having the confidence to speak up.
SD: What were the challenges as an actress and director for the recent season of Unreal?
SA: The hardest part was that we shot in Vancouver and my family was in Los Angelas.
SD: What are your thoughts on the Roswell Reboot?
SA: I am like: Ahhhhhh! I am so excited! I want to Reboot ours.
SD: And I have heard you are working on a Roswell reunion?
SA: I am working on it.. I am working on it. We’ll see..
Exclusive Interview with Sara Rue (Series of Unfortunate Events)
SD: Would you ever do Idiocracy 2?
SR: In a heartbeat but I actually think we are living it… so I probably don’t need to do it.. But if they (creators of Idiocracy) ask me to do it than I will.
SD: Can you tell me more about your new series A Series of Unfortunate Events?
SR: The show is based on the Lemony Snickets book series. I feel so lucky to be a part of this production. One thing that is so brilliant about it is so beloved by kids 5 years old to 70 years old. The range of fans that come up to say they binge watched the series. Literally, a 4 and a half year old at my daughter’s daycare to someone just about to become a grandfather is really exciting to me. I also love to play the character I play. She’s a librarian who turns into a real bad ass. I was real proud to play her.
SD: What are your hopes in congress passing funding for NEA (National Endowment of the Arts)?
SR: Our hopes is for them to increase the funding. There are so many kids that feel that they don’t belong. This is why I am here. So many kids are bullied and feel they don’t belong and they cant find their community until they step foot into a theater, or in an art class. These kids need a teacher who can really inspire them with a music class. The arts can really make a person blossom into who they are going to be.
Exclusive Interview with Nicholas Gonzalez (The Good Doctor)
SD: So what your thoughts on Congress passing more funding for the arts?
NG: Before coming in, I thought this was going to be more difficult. That maybe our argument was going to fall on deaf ears but we have a lot of support with the Republican legislatures who said this kinda the way it goes each year. That each year they fight to keep funding and slowly get it all back in together. It ultimately it was something I felt comfortable walking away from.
SD: How do the arts strengthen the economy and build the community?
NG: In just the numbers you hear banded together. Every dollar that is put towards the arts you get seven dollars back into the local economy. When you invest in your community, you are investing in their welfare. The arts are responsible for a lot of that.
Exclusive Interview with Tim Daly (Madam Secretary)
(TD:Your jacket is really nice. What is it? SD: It’s velvet..)
SD: How do the arts strengthen the economy and communities at large?
TD: It’s a fact that the arts strengthen the economy and communities. There has been data collected for decades about this. That the economic impact of the arts can be assessed that for every dollar invested by the NEA that seven dollars goes back to the economy. It’s a winning investment. I used to think that was enough of an argument to stop there. I would take those odds to Vegas just like that. However not everyone believes in that and I am not sure why. Could it be a fear in the arts that it’s hard to quantify in other ways? Certainly, the arts are the second largest export from the United States. The arts are a huge strength to our economy.
I am here with the Creative Coalition and I am the president of this organization and we’re a bunch of people who are successful actors. A lot of us are known in television and in film and it’s important to me that people understand that I am here to advocate for artists and I am not here advocating for Hollywood or for Broadway. We have no stake in this game and we have nothing to gain. What we are advocating for is the NEA which gives grants to every congressional district in the United States of America. These small towns who would other wise have no access to arts are who we are fighting for. Not for places like LA, NY or Miami or Chicago. Those cities are fine. Little towns, especially children, need to be exposed to the arts.
Exclusive Interview with Steve Howey (Shameless)
SD: Tell us about your new show?
SH: This new show is based on a movie I did called Game Over Man. The show is doing well, it was fun. I am also on a show called Shameless that’s on Showtime and we go back in a few weeks for our ninth season.
SD: In your opinion, how do the arts strengthen the economy and build communities?
SH: As you know, for every dollar you donate to the arts the community gives back seven dollars. There’s also a ridiculous amount, like seven billion dollars comes out of the artistic community back into the states. That’s why, it’s a great investment. And the budget that we are going for is only a $150 billion dollars and we’re talking about hundreds of billions of dollars in return. But the more macro answer to it all is that the arts are so important because we are talking about the development of the human spirit.
Exclusive Interview with Victoria Justice (Victorious)
SD: Tell us more about your “Girl Up” Non-profit?
VJ: Girl Up is an amazing organization. This organization empowers girls across the globe and helps provides girls with clean drinking water, school supplies, education and to provide a safe space and community for these girls who wouldn’t have that otherwise. You know that I am all about girl power and it’s something that’s super important to me. I actually wrote a song for them a couple years ago and I went on tour and played the song during the show. We had little girl booths so people can donate and get involved with the organization. The song kinda became the Girl Up theme song. So yeah, it’s a great cause.
SD: Do you keep in touch with the cast of Victorious?
VJ: Yup, we all do keep in touch, occasionally. Not as much as I like to. I guess everyone is in different places and living their own lives. Being an adult. It’s just a different time now for each of us. We definitely do try to support each other whenever we can which is really cool. Yeah, we do still keep in touch.
Feel free to donate to the Creative Coalition right here.
About Creative Coalition
The Creative Coalition was formed for the charitable and educational purposes of bringing together artists and entertainers to learn about pressing issues so they can better inform and influence the community and nation. The Creative Coalition:Sponsors forums for the discussion of central issues such as education policy, violence in America, the role of the media, campaign finance reform and other topics of broad concern. These events ensure a balanced approach that always includes concerned and informed members of the creative professions.Tackles issues of direct importance to the arts and entertainment community, including First Amendment rights, public funding for the arts, and arts education in the public schools.
Recommended Munchies from the Summer Fancy Food Show
The Specialty Food Association’s Summer Fancy Food show is the largest specialty food industry event in North America and the top place to experience the taste of future food. I not only had the exclusive privilege to try various foods at the show but to also sample foods in the comfort of my home.
The Sharing the Details team parsed through various snacks and treats and have finalized a list of our recommended munchies from the 2018 Summer Fancy Food Show. Now, without further adieu…
Tortuga Rumcake. This is a classic rumcake that can be served with icecream, with chocolate syrup or on its own. What I really like most about this rumcake is that you can get a taste of the carribean wherever you are with just one bite.
Amanda’s Tradicional Yerba Mate: The tea comes grounded and you can use a coffee maker to brew yerba mate for breakfast. What I love about this Argentinian brand is that this tea is traditional and made straight to the source.
Little Bird Kitchen’s a Hand full of hot & sweet nuts: This is a New York brand and these candied peanuts with a touch of jalepeno pepper heat serves a swift but delicate kick to the mouth. This is a great snack that can be paired with an IPA.
Dole Snack Bites Cashew Nut Clusters: Dole is a trusted brand and their cashew nut clusters does not disappoint. It’s made with cashews, sesame seeds and sea salt.
Pinky Up Tiramisu Dessert Black Tea: This black tea may not exactly be the same as snacking on a tiramisu but it’s pretty close. Pinky Up tea is a guilt free tea that has a great flavor and no calories. After I drank this tea at home, I felt like a princess for a second because of the taste and the fact you legit feel like sticking out your pink once you savor this chocolate concoction layered with coffee and cinnamon.
MilkBoy Switzerland Chocolate: I have sampled over 30 brands of chocolate at this show and I can clearly see why MilkBoy took the prize for best chocolate at this year’s SOFI awards. Wow! I am not much of a dark chocolate fan but the 85% extra dark cocoa bar was smooth, velvety, with a seductively rich taste. I also sampled the Alpine Milk with Crunchy Caramel and Sea salt and this sweet, gooey, salty medley interplayed a creamy, refined, taste.
Chameleon Cold Brew Vanilla Coffee: After attending this show, I can see why cold brew coffee is a popular trend. I do really like Chameleon’s style of cold brew due to the smooth after taste.
Christine’s Organic Dulce De Leche Milk Caramel Sauce: Authentic dulce de leche sauce is hard to find, especially organic. Christine’s sauce not only has an authentic, milky, taste but it’s easy to spread on breads, fruits, and ice cream.
Nature’s Guru Masala Chai: As I declared in a previous blog post about the food show, this was by far the best chai I had at the entire show. The taste was smooth, the spices didn’t overpower, and the beverage was milky–much like a true South Asian masala chai. Often other stores and cafes sell chai drinks that are too spicy, not as milky, and are more watery in texture. This chai tastes close to home for me.
Vegan Rob’s Jackfruit Puffs: As a self-professed carnivore, I normally dont venture into the vegan or vegetarian world. However, these Jackfruit puffs made that venture not as as painful. This organic, plant-based, treat is crunchy and I didn’t have much guilt afterwards eating the entire bag.
Ozery Bakery’s Lavash Crackers: I’ve never had true lavash bread before but I know this style of bread can be sold at your local Trader Joes. The lavash crackers from Ozery Bakery was fun to try and I enjoyed sampling them with cheese and olives.
Twining’s Winter Spice Herbal Tea: This is a brand new tea from Twining’s and I must say I felt relaxed imbibing in this caffeine free concoction with a subtle blend of apple, cinnamon, cardamom and clove spices.
Road Kill Grill Meat Rub: And.. no, I did not kill any critters when I used this spice. Instead I bought chicken from a store, coated this blend all over, and baked for 30 minutes on 350 degrees. This was a delicious blend and if you do accidentally run over a creature, consider using this spice.
Snow Flakes Candy Mints: This sugar free, all natural, fat free mint has a pretty, magical, snowflake exterior and a tart but sweet taste. The black cherry mint was good. This mint is GMO free, has no wheat, soy, dairy, corn, gluten or sugar. So for that one friend you have is either allergic to a lot, this is a great recommendation for him or her.
Meiji Chocorooms: This is what I like to call a classic snack you can get at your local H-mart or Lotte. These Japanese cookies go great with milk.
Paromi Turmeric Ginger Green Tea: This is a really nice tea that comes in a biodegradable pyramid sachet. This tea has a strong, aromatic ginger and turmeric taste with a crisp, clean green tea flavor. If you want to drink something earthy with healing properties, this is the tea for you.
Cabernayzn dried cabernet wine grapes: This snack has more antioxidants than wine, has no alcohol, no preservatives, no artificial flavors and tastes like a super, fancy, raisin. If you want to taste Napa valley but to err on the side of not getting tipsy, this is the treat for you.
Belgian Boys Mini Cookie Stash: These cookies are sweet and fun to play with. Mini cookie stash are made with cookie butter and are made in Belgium.
Loacker Tortina White Cookies: Whenever I think of gourmet wafer cookies, the only cookie that comes to mind would be Loacker. I am a big fan of their new wafer cookie, the tortina white which has a sweet, caramel sauce inside.
Luke’s Organic White Truffle & Sea Salt Potato Chips: I am all about anything flavored with white truffle, especially potato chips. These chips are made with Urbani Italian White Truffles with French Grey Guereande salt. Not only are these chips tasty, but what I like to call a snack for one who adults so hard.
OH SNAP–I was a Guest Interior Tester for a 2018 Porsche 911 S Cabriolet episode on Motorweek
Motorweek is a show that is one of the first automotive television series that presents car reviews, features, and comparisons nationwide through PBS, Discovery Network, and Velocity and Internationally on the American Forces Network.
I had the exclusive privilege to be a guest interior tester for a 2018 Porsche 911 S Cabriolet on episode 45 of season 37 of Motorweek. This episode premiered nationally and internationally on July 14, 2018 at 5:00 p.m Eastern time. Click to watch the episode for free here.
For this guest starring role, I had to dress the part as a young woman who would actually own this car. The day before, I got my nails done and bought a Vince Camuto Spring dress and Italian made necklace and bracelet from Nordstroms. I didn’t have time to get my hair done so I crossed fingers that the Moroccan argan cream in my hair gave off a socialite vibe.
Although my segment was only 50 seconds long, my shoot took between 1-2 hours. The Motorweek team wanted to make sure the weather had a bit of a downcast to highlight this beautiful vehicle.
Much of what I did was manuevering the interior interface, playing around with the wheel, and adjusting the seat to my liking (I am as short as a leprechaun and I was able to adjust the seat well).
What’s really interesting about the Porsche 911 is that this really is a great Summer vehicle to take the top off. The look is sleek and has a classic porsche look plus the dynamic boost function allows the driver to ease at the throttle.
The longer I sat in the car, the more this felt like this could really be my car. I had a wonderful time working with the Motorweek production team and jamming out acapella to 80’s rock jams. That was a definite magical moment in my life.
If you want to get in touch with nature, you can easily drive down back roads and take the scenic route due to the 2018 cabriolet body style of the car. I legit couldn’t stop grinning when I was in the car. I really enjoyed the leather seats and the first class feeling of the interior. I love this car so much!
The launch control of the car is so great, you can leap of any line. The 2018 Porsche 911 costs around $204, 050, has 580 horsepower, and in just 2.9 seconds you can go 60 MPH.
What made this guest appearance even more memorable was that I get to use the same catchphrase Biz Markie used in the song “Just a Friend”. I only had one line, and that line was, “Oh Snap!”
I thought it was so awesome my catchphrase was promoted on Motorweek’s Instagram and Twitter account.
I hope I made Biz Markie proud…
Refined Goodies Found at the Summer Fancy Food Show
Distinctive, decadent, delightful are just three words that sum up my experience at this year’s Summer Fancy Food Show held in New York City at the Jacob Javitz Center.
From June 30th through July 2nd, I nibbled, sipped and chewed on delectable haute gourmand goodies. Not only that but I had an insider’s peek on upcoming trends coming out in the food industry.
For this trip, I packed lightly. I wanted ample space in all of my carriers so I can bring back snacks, drinks, and goodies to taste test. I did make sure to pack my White House Black Market blouses, Vince Camuto chemises, and Betsy Johnson dress though. Packing lightly doesn’t mean I need to skimp on dressing fab.
So I stayed at Row NYC for the duration of my trip, which was approximately 1 mile from Jacob Javitz Center. I made sure to wear comfortable shoes for this convention because walking up and down Jacob Javitz is no picnic. Previous years I amassed callouses, achy- feet moments, and lost food noshing time by sitting in bleak corners.
Each day brought in some crave-worthy moments, and awe-inspiring foods.
One my first day of the show, the first vendor I visited was Crepini. I am forever in love with their blinis, crepes, and their brand new egg white thins that would go great with scrambled eggs, spinach, and feta during breakfast time. I then walked over to Makoma’s booth, a West African juice company, and sampled fresh green tea moringa, hibiscus mint, baobob guava, and ginger pineapple juices. My personal favorite was the hibiscus juice because of the refreshing tart, crisp, after taste.
Cold Brew was a big trend popping up in different vendor stations. I’ve never had a cold brew and decided to try my first cold brew tea at the Matcha Love booth. I wasn’t left disappointment, the ice-steeped cucumber mint matcha tea quenched my thirst.
I hopped on the turmeric trend and am left impressed. Different exhibits were separated by Sofi award winners, new products, States, and different countries–when I stopped by England, I had a glorious time taste testing wine and sparkly wine-infused gummies. In China, I sampled different ginseng treats and ate lamb milk candies. The epicurean butter spreads I tried would go so good with baked chicken and fish. I later traveled into Thailand where I sampled dried mangoes and drank chai in India.
On the second day of the show, I made sure to grab a protein-enriched breakfast ahead of time. On the first day, there was so much to see that I needed more energy before hand.
So I had an invite from Marky’s caviar to try to their new sturgeon caviars from China. The caviar was buttery, with less of a fresh water fish taste. From there I wanted to meet the famous Sara Beth, known for her jams, and restaurant located by Central Park. I then sampled different foi gois and pates from Les Trois Petits Cochons, an award winning company. I stumbled unto the JellyBelly exhibit and found their brand new ice cream jellybeans to be fun to try.
I tied Stash Tea’s brand new Sweet Honeydew tea and this may be my new favorite green tea I tried at the show. The tea was supple, sweet, and hit the right notes. Mushrooms have always made an impact at the fancy food show, especially black and white truffles. I definitely sampled my fair share of black truffle spreads. I also had a great time trying dried mushrooms such as Woodear, Black Trumpet, Porcini, and Oyster.
I wandered over to Japan, hoping that this section would have wagyu beef from previous years. Although I couldnt find Wagyu or Kobe beef, I did try the popular black garlic known for its healing properties.
I ended my day at this almost private “Eat in Italy” Pavillion where I sampled vintage Italian wines, ate freshly cooked pasta, and had all you can eat gelato.
This third day was my last day. I knew I had to make this day count. As soon as I came in, I sampled the popular Ovina Wine infused Water. I then went over to Jeni’s ice cream and sampled most of their popular flavors. I knew I had to take advantage of this precious opportunity because the Jeni’s in Washington D.C is always crowded and the waiting period is between 25-35 minutes to get a scoop of ice cream. There was no lines and I, literally, seized the moment. I heartily sampled the frose sorbet, churro ice cream, cream puff ice cream, and the brambleberry crisp ice cream. From that tasting, I can say that my favorite was the cream puff ice cream because this tastes close to my favorite ice cream flavor of all time: sweet cream.
Right next to Jeni’s, was the 2018 Sofi Gold winning chocolate brand, Switzerland’s own MilkBoy. I LOVE their chocolate! I tried their Extra Dark Swiss Chocolate and their Alpine Milk Chocolate with Crunch Caramel and Sea Salt.
I later had more ice cream at Noona’s where I sampled crave-worthy sesame seed flavored ice cream. I definitely needed a drink after all the chocolate and ice cream I ate, and found the best masala chai at the show. Nature’s Guru has the best Masala chai, and I sampled more than 10 different kinds at the show. I think I downed 2-3 cups of the chai too that day. I was on an international kick, so I also sampled Austrian waffles, French Truffled infused pasta, Italian charcuteries, and Dulce De Leche from Argentina.
Food Trends for 2018-2019
Turmeric is making waves at the show. Turmeric milk was quite popular at the show and, surprisingly, didn’t have a biting spicy taste. Yerba mate tea from the rainforests of Argentina were widely imbibed by attendees. Snacks made out of cricket flour, were introduced in the Canada section as a new source of protein in town in case you want to cut back on red meat and poultry. Honey from Peruvian rainforests was popular as a pure and natural source of sugar.
The Stroopwafel cookie trend is burgeoning. This brand as well as other noteworthy foods made its way into the what’s hot and trending section of the show. Food trends you need to look out for are: Gray salted chocolates, unicorn themed deserts, paprika flavored chips, almendras flowered almonds, wine infused water, overnight steeped oatmeal, moroccan lemon preserves, Beer Buddy snacks, Roibous tea infused chocolates, butter scotch and bourbon cooking sauces, Siberian sturgeon and white sturgeon caviar, waffle cups, TCHO Chocolate flavors such as: banana nut, snickerdoodle, pretzel crunch, coffee + almond, peppermint mocha, eggnog and rum raisin; goat milk yogurt, organic vegan caramels, organic fruit bars, Loackers blueberry yogurt wafers, lavendar flavored sodas, La Fermiere French style yogurt; fruit, whole grain, and hazelut muesli cereals.
An Evening for the Stars with Starfish Foundation
On April 21, 2018, contributing writer Raquel Davis and her two daughters, social media correspondent, Destinee’ Merritt and photographer Charity Merritt, attended An Evening for the Stars: Starfish Benefit Dinner held at the Red Lion Hotel in Timonium, MD.
Few days before the Starfish Benefit dinner, my daughters, Destinee’ and Charity, and I joined Sharing the Details to cover an event located around my neighborhood in Baltimore County, Maryland. This particular event was hosted by The Starfish Foundation, a safe hub that provides education and leadership development to Ecuadorian high school students who are currently living in extreme poverty.
Being an educator of fifteen years myself, and a mother to a high school graduate (Destinee) and a high school senior student (Charity), I understand the importance of having a good education. And how life changing it could be without it.
The Starfish Foundation was founded in November 9, 2011. Their mission is to “be a premier means for at-risk Ecuadorian youth to achieve a post secondary education.” They provide scholarships to students in Ecuador to finish their high school education and help students develop into strong leaders. Presently, the program has 150 students and is looking to expand space to receive more participants.
Here’s how the The Starfish Foundation stays engaged (and how you can be involved):
- To Sponsor a Scholar – For just $30 per month, one can support a student to attend school along with the necessities required to receive an education.
- Join in the fun! – Locals can participate in the March Madness challenge, attend a Happy Hour on Giving Tuesday after the Thanksgiving holiday, and/or compete in their virtual scavenger hunt Starfish Search in the Fall.
- Volunteer – The Starfish Foundation are looking for volunteers both in the U.S. and in Guayaquil, Ecuador.
- Stay in touch – Connect on social media by sharing and posting on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and blog.
- Shopping on Amazon – Help buy items to donate from their Wish List and/or Add the non-profit as the Amazon Smile program receiver for whenever shopping online!
And of course, the attending the Benefit Dinner dedicated in celebrating and supporting the Students in Guayaquil, Ecuador.
When we walked into the venue, we were greeted by members of the organization. The Welcome Party gave each of us printed and laminated name tags. There were tables with Silent Auctions items to bid on to and a Photo Booth with the Starfish Foundation Logo backdrop, ensuring all guests will be Stars for the night! Even the food was exquisite! We had salad, rice & beans, shrimp, chicken and fried plantain chips from a self serving buffet line. Once we were seated, we noticed recipes placed on each table for guests to try at home.
Here’s a sample recipe on how to prepare Plantain Chips!
- Green plantains
- Salt to taste
- Optional: Chili pepper or garlic gloves to season the oil
- Peel the plantains
- Cut the plantains in thin slices.
- Heat the oil, either in a pot or frying pan, until it reaches around 375 F – 400 F. Use enough oil so that the plantains are completely covered to brown.
- Add the plantains slices to the hot oil. Fry them until they begin to brown.
- Sprinkle with salt to taste. Serve hot or cold
Each table center also had a bulletin that featured students from the program next to the creatively cut lemon and flowers center pieces. My table highlighted a beautiful soul named, Karla.
“Karla enjoys spending time with her siblings, she is fifteen years old and her favorite color is gold. She likes rice with fried chicken.” I only look forward to her success story!
There is a saying that goes, “Teamwork makes the Dream work!” I must say, for The Starfish Foundation it holds true because over 200 people came out to support.
For an organization which started almost seven years ago, the Starfish Foundation has accomplished in making a positive impact in South America. However, there is still so much more work to be done. It was a great pleasure to have met the leaders in the group and join other guests in supporting such a great cause.
An Evening For the Stars, is an annual event held in the Spring hosted by The Starfish Foundation. Be sure to come out and dine with Starfish next year! In the mean time, join the mailing list to be notified of their other annual events.
Pahela Baishakh: Happy Bengali New Year!
On Thursday, April 12, 2018, contributing writer, Moraima Bambaren, joins young professionals at the Embassy of Bangladesh for a ThingstodoDC Culture event that celebrates Pahela Baishakh, the traditional New Year day of the Bengali people.
I was lucky enough to attend Pahela Baishakh, the traditional New Year Festival of Bangladesh, held at Embassy of Bangladesh (3510 International Dr NW, Washington, DC 20008). As part of my New Year’s resolution to take full advantage of all the cultural events DC has to offer, I knew the Embassy of Bangladesh would be a great start!
I learned so much about the culture and even learned how to say Happy New Year or Shubho Nabobarsho!
This year’s Pahela Baishakh will be celebrated on April 14 in Bangladesh and on April 15th in the Indian states of West Bengal and Tripura. The festival is traditionally celebrated with processions, fairs and family time. In fact, Mangal Shovajatra, a mass procession that begins at dawn on the first day of the Bengali New Year, was declared an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in 2016. In lieu of a procession, the embassy gifted attendees with several performances that celebrated the rich tradition of Bengali music and dance. Beautifully dressed women and girls took over the main stage after the ambassador’s greeting to the guests, giving way to other artists who sang and performed for the delighted crowd.
This year, Pahela Baishakh was celebrated on April 14th in Bangladesh, and on April 15th in the Indian states of West Bengal and Tripura. The festival is traditionally celebrated with processions, fairs and family time. In fact, Mangal Shovajatra, a mass procession that begins at dawn on the first day of the Bengali New Year, was declared an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in 2016. In lieu of a procession, the embassy gifted us with several performances that celebrated the rich tradition of Bengali music and dance.
For those of us who are unfamiliar with Bangladesh, here is a course on history 101: Located in South Asia and bordering with India and Myanmar, Bangladesh formed part of British India up until the partition in 1947. It then became a province of Pakistan and eventually became an independent nation in 1971. Their culture is immensely rich due to its long history in the region and enthusiasts can find influences of Islam, Hindusim, Buddhism and Christianity in their music, dance, art and craft, language and festivals.
Women, men and children were dressed in magnificent, colorful garments: men wearing smart dhoti kurta, women and girls in bright saris; I apparently missed the memo and wore a simple blue jumpsuit from J. Crew. After the ambassador’s greetings to the guests, several artists took over the main stage and performed traditional dances and songs for the delighted crowd.
As you can see above everything was just colorful. The clothing, children’s arts and crafts and decoration was vibrant. After the dancing and music ended, it was time to eat. The culinary fare of Bangladesh has similarities to North-East Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine. On Pahela Baishakh, Bengali natives enjoyed festive foods that include panta bhat (watered rice), and Hilsha dishes – Hilsha is the national fish of Bangladesh and is incredibly popular in South Asia.
I have to confess I don’t normally like spicy food and the few times I have been to restaurants that served South Asian or Middle Eastern food, I ended up eating the naan, which in my opinion is one of the best breads out there. But because of the few libations I had at the open bar, I knew I had to eat something and the food smelled delicious! And I’m so glad I did! I ate slightly spicy rice, baked eggplants and fish. Other guests savored the food as you can see below. Plates were packed with food!
In addition, I was also lucky to meet Ambassador Mohammad Ziauddin, who emphasized in his speech towards the packed crowd, how the rapid growth of Bangladesh in the international political and economic sector.
It was definitely a happy celebration and now that spring is (almost) here, I look forward to exploring the world by attending and writing about more embassy events in the comfort of my new home city: Washington D.C.
Love to wanderlust? Ever want to step onto foreign soil for a night? Join ThingstodoDC Cultural Society to get a remarkable privilege of visiting various Embassies throughout the District.
About Things To Do DC
Things To Do® is the premiere organization for young professionals to socialize and network. With a membership of over 175,000, we produce a wide variety of original, interactive social, educational and cultural events that enrich your social and cultural experiences.
A Night in Monte Carlo: A Black-Tie, Thrill-Seeking Affair
On Saturday, April 21, 2018, contributing writer, Moraima Bambaren, joins young professionals at the Embassy of France for a ThingstodoDC Culture event that celebrates Monte Carlo through European style Casino games, a French Bar, and dancing to top 40’s hits from Europe’s nightlife scene.
I first fell in love with the French language when I first took Madame Wiesandanger’s class in high school. Ever since then that love spawned into a deeper appreciation for French culture, whether it’s with the world-famous cuisine, the wine selection, the arts, the history, and the music. My love of the country of Liberté, égalité, fraternité, still endures.
As a proud Francophile, I like to be apprised on related festivals and events. Imagine my surprise when I found out about the Black-Tie Monte Carlo and European Gala sponsored by ThingstodoDc.com! In my opinion, themed parties are the best kind of parties. I am always “Black-Tie” ready. My closet is filled to the brim with long, gala-worthy, dresses that have never seen the light of day.
And finally, I’ve always dreamed of attending a James Bond movie themed (preferably Casino Royale) party. This day was a long time coming.
The Monte Carlo event was a night full of European glamour: champagne that overflows, decadent chocolates and desserts, ballroom dancing in a luxurious venue and casino games sans real gambling. So I dug through my closet for a black and gold BCBG dress, found my highest black heels and applied Chanel lipstick to complete the French look. Here’s a Fun fact: Did you know that BCBG stands unofficially for Bon chic, bon genre (good style, good attitude).
After a quick Uber ride, my date and I arrived “fashionably” late due to technical difficulties with his bow tie. We breezed through security and followed elegantly dressed men and women into the embassy where a long table filled with desserts welcomed us. Why yes, Marie Antoinette, I think I will eat the cake.
After we nibbled on desserts, our second stop was the Champagne bar where a long line of wine-connoisseurs waited patiently for their turn to imbibe a drink worthy of royalty. Champagne and cake in hand, we walked into the ballroom where people were waltzing under soft, romantic lights.
We later visited the blackjack table, where, apparently, I am an ace at. Viva Las Vegas, here I come! Attendees were having a blast betting at the blackjack table and with craps. What made this excursion even more enticing were the hundred dollar chocolate coins passed around.
After winning several hands, I decided to explore more of the venue. All of a sudden, I came face to face with two gentlemen who look like they came straight from the Scottish Highlands. As a big Outlander fan (Starz show, watch it), I knew I had to take a picture with them. Look at them rocking those kilts!
I would have loved to take more pictures of all the beautiful people that attended but my phone’s camera wouldn’t do them much justice.so I settled on a selfie, and cake and champagne pics. Not pictured was the delicious Bordeaux wine and refreshing 1664 beers that were available at the open bar. Overall, we had a great time. We met fun people and, magically, ended the night with a dance underneath soft, beautiful lights.
Love to wanderlust? Ever want to step onto foreign soil for a night? Join ThingstodoDC Cultural Society to get a remarkable privilege of visiting various Embassies throughout the District.
Dancing the Night Away at the Peruvian Embassy in DC
On Wednesday, April 25, contributing writer, Moraima Bambaren, joins young professionals at the Embassy of Peru for a ThingstodoDC Culture event that delivers the thrill of Machu Pichu and the majesty of Lima.
“A picture is worth a thousand words”, and it is through pictures that those who are dis-empowered and marginalized are given a voice said Andres Longui, a Peruvian artist. He has been a long-time advocate of sharing camera operative knowledge and use for years. Longui has provided cameras and technical instruction to children and adults in rural communities in Peru so they could document and share with the world their experiences.
The result, a collection titled “Ojos Propios” (Translated: Through their Eyes) can be seen at the Peruvian Embassy in DC.
Thingstodo.DC and the Peruvian Embassy hosted a cultural Evening at the Embassy of Peru and as a fellow Peruvian, I was eager to set foot on Peruvian soil. Attendees enjoyed a night of diplomacy, art, music, dance ensembles, and of course, Peruvian cuisine.
In 2017, Peru was named the “World’s Leading Culinary Destination” for the sixth year in a row by the World Travel Awards. Therefore, I cannot be labelled as biased when I say that Peruvian food is the best in the world.
The Embassy of Peru, located by Dupont Circle, situated in the Embassy Row Homes, regularly hosts cultural events. I do have to admit that Peruvians do know how to throw a party.
Doors opened at 7:00 pm and once again, I breezed through DC traffic by using Lyft line and arrived on time. Guests were warmly welcomed by the Cultural Events Secretary of Peru, who also asked us to tour the embassy and visit the Ojos Propios. exhibition.
William Gentile, a professor at American University and a visual journalist, said Ordinary citizens of the world now hold extraordinary power thanks to photography. Peruvians aged between 9 to 59 years old were given tools to record their everyday life. The results were breathtaking. Last year, Peru suffered some of the worst flooding in recent decades due to the sudden warming of the Pacific Ocean. I previously volunteered and worked for a disaster relief program that mitigated this situation and helped communities affected by the flood.
Pictures that captured this tragic event showed Peruvian citizens endurance during rough times and the strength behind a family bond.
Meanwhile, dinner was being served. The menu included: beef empanadas; Lomo Saltado (a stir-fry of beef sirloin, tomatoes, onions, served with french fries and rice), Aji de Gallina (shredded chicken in spicy sauce); and Dulce De Leche Churros closed the meal as a sweet conclusion. A wide selection of Peruvian wine also accompanied dinner. Guests also had the great opportunity to try Pisco Sour, the country’s national cocktail.
After the glorious feast, event organizers gathered guests in the main lobby. The Cultural Events Secretary gave a brief speech on the country’s cultural diversity. Diversity influenced Peru’s cuisine, music, and the arts (especially with dance).
And that is when the party really began. Performers dressed in colorful costumes erupted the dance floor with dances from the Andes and the coast of Peru.
Attendees were loving it and clapped along as the dancers engaged into a rendition of the Huaylash, which in Quechua (a spoken language from Peru) means “Youth,”. Huaylash is a dance about and a males pursuit for the females’ attention. The male dancer demonstrated his youthful energy and strength while, obviously, the beautiful woman was not very impressed by her suitor.
After the wonderful performances, guests snapped photos with the dancers. If you asked nicely, you could even pose with one of their fantastic hats.
The party ended way too soon! If I am ever in the mood for good food and music, I know I can always go back to the Embassy of Peru.
Gracias Peru for a great night!
Love to wanderlust? Ever want to step onto foreign soil for a night? Join ThingstodoDC Cultural Society to get a remarkable privilege of visiting various Embassies throughout the District.
The 93rd Virginia Gold Cup Races: Winning on the Horse and Hat Front!
May 5, 2018 Sharing the Details teamed up with Purple People Media to exclusively cover this year’s Virginia Gold Cup (Steeplechase races) at Great Meadows, located in The Plains, VA. Attendees paid around $100 upwards to several thousands (beyond VIP) to attend this Spring tradition and Social event. Pets are not allowed to this event but children under 12 years old can get in for free! Races were also held rain or shine.
Every year, around 45,000 horse (or what I like to call HAT) enthusiasts attend the Virginia Gold Cup to watch hurdle and timber races, Jack Russell Terrier races, participate in the tailgate contest, make massive bets, smoke the finest cigars, and participate in the most creative hat contest known in the DMV area.
Did you know that The Virginia Gold Cup is one of the nation’s largest steeplechase races? The event is held every year on the same day as the Kentucky Derby and is attended by celebrities, socialites, visitors from around the world. This is also one of the Washington, DC region’s largest and oldest outdoor events.
The Virginia Gold Cup event was created by eight athletes who met at the Fauquier Club in Warrenton, Virginia and organized a four-mile race alongside the the nearby hunting countryside on April 3, 1922. This short race was what inspired the first Virginia Gold Cup race.If you want to learn more about the history of the Virginia Gold Cup, click here.
For this event, I knew I had to dress to impress. So I bought a floppy, white, hat and a floral dress from Nordstrom. I also had a gut feeling that traffic was going to be a bit of a head ache so I decided to add an extra 30 minutes to my trip (instead of 1.5 hours, this drive averaged around 2 hours). The Great Meadows park is an hour west from Washington DC and not accessible by public transportation. For those who don’t want to drive up, Lindy Promotions hosted a bus trip.
Great Meadows is a 380-acre field events center and steeplechase course located in the heart of Virginia’s Piedmont countryside.
The park grounds were massive. I parked in lot area 4, around the South Rail and was fortunate to be able to pick up a map before the event. Much emphasis of the map was placed on where to get to your next betting booth, and for novice gamblers, here’s some tips courtesy of TripSavvy and Virginia Gold Cup on How to place a bet.
- Win: The horse must finish first
- Place: The horse must finish first or second
(you collect the amount for second)
- Show: The horse must finish first, second or third
(you collect the amount for third)
- Exacta: You must pick the horses that finish first AND second in exact order
- Trifecta: You must pick the horses that finish first, second AND third in exact order
As I was walking through the course, I noticed there were around 30 vendors selling food, hats, cigars, and beyond! Men and women, alike, smoked cigars in an old-timey-fashion way much like those films you watch in a Turner Classic movie.
Wearing a decked out hat: flowers, curly-cues, and even some Cinco de Mayo inspired flare, was the best way for women and men, alike, to express creativity, tradition, and one’s innate desire to make conversation. Fashion magazines time and time again often advise to always wear a statement piece whenever you go to a social or a gala in order to spark ripe conversation. It was really easy to make conversation at this social because the conversation starter was right above everyone’s heads.
The Jack Russell Terriers were so cute! Watching several of these pooches race made my heart swell. This was a popular race for ladies, such as myself, since these dogs were oh so adorable. Aside from pup watching, I knew I needed a drink to quench my thirst.
After much conversing with notable bloggers, local celebs and even a few socialites, the most popular drink was the mint julep. I had one hand crafted by notable bar- artists from Harry’s Gastro Pub located in VA! This was the first time I ever ordered a mint julep and this may be one of my favorite mixed drinks of all time. Drinking this elixir made me think of something crisp like a fresh glass of sprite yet think of the first bite of a York Peppermint paddy. This drink inspired me to eat more goodies from Harrys!
Harrys was one of the catering sponsors for this event and I have to admit, I do love their food! The cucumber & smoked salmon with lemon cream cheese, bon bons, caramel brownies, avocado and shrimp ceviche, smoked wings, Gochuchang wings, and burger sliders with cheddar cheese won my heart and soul.
Another popular drink and also the official sponsor of the Kentucky Derby was Woodford Reserve Whiskey. All you really need is a few shots and you will feel ready to predict a winner on the first and last race of the day.
Speaking of winners, the big winner of the 93rd Virginia Gold Cup races and the big winner of $100,00 was Casanova-bred Zanclus, bred by Sara and Bruce Collette. Kieran Norris, a Virginia-based jockey, rode the winning stallion. Second in line was Le Chevalier, bred by Julie Gomena and ridden by Gerard Galligan. Ebanour, the clear favorite to win this year and the two-time defending race winner, placed fourth this year.
About Virginia Gold Cup
The Virginia Gold Cup is a non-profit that started in 1922 that holds Steeplechase Racing to support the sport of steeplechase. Steeplechasing in Virginia has been a way of life since early Colonial times when the horse was the primary way of transportation, farming and war. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson met in sporting competition over fences. Organized steeplechase races have run in Fauquier County since 1844.
Georgia (Country) vs. Georgia (U.S State): 2018 Wine Edition
On Friday, April 13, 2018, contributing writer, Moraima Bambaren, joins young professionals at the Embassy of Georgia for a ThingstodoDC Culture event that delivers the Spirit of the country of Georgia through refined sips, swirls, and slurps of several different kinds of wines.
As a recent DC transplant from Atlanta, Georgia I still get homesick sometimes. Spring has clearly sprung down South and i’m not within reach.
So when I read on ThingstodoDC website about a wine tasting event held at the Embassy of Georgia that has wine connoisseurs comparing wines from both my home state and the country of Georgia—I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. I get a taste of home and I get to learn more about the specialized dry white and red wines from the Caucasus region.
The wine tasting was held on a Friday and the weather was gorgeous: High 70s’ and clear skies paved the way. Luckily for me, I was the only person riding the Lyft pool (normally the car gets crowded) and, miraculously, traffic was light en route to the beautiful, classically built home of the Embassy of Georgia. I arrived well before 7:00 pm and waited outside along with other wine enthusiasts. We all were ready for some much-needed Friday fun.
After diplomats greeted us at the front lobby, we were escorted to the “wine tasting” room. As soon as I walked inside, I immediately spotted a few bottles by Habersham, an award-winning winery located in Helen, Georgia. Habersham winery is widely recognized as one of the oldest, and largest winery in the state. Later on in my taste-adventure, I learn that my sweet southern wine could not compete with Georgia’s (country) wine-making tradition and history.
Georgia (country) is located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe. Did you know that many empires tried to possess this piece of land due to its strategic position in the fabled Silk Road? Historically, the country boasts of being the first homeland to Europeans after archaeologists discovered the oldest human skull in this region of Europe 1.8 million years old.
Similarly, several archaeological discoveries point to Georgia as the birthplace of wine. Ancient wine vessels made of clay, bronze and silver, and also vine seeds have been found and analyzed to be 5000 years old. Konstatine, our wine expert at the embassy, informed guests of this fact and brought artifacts such as traditional Georgian wine ladle made out of 2 pounds of pure silver (an amazing Ebay find) to share.
Guests passed around the Azarpeshi, a silver wine ladle from the 19th century, use for large Georgian feasts such as weddings and community festivals. Guests took several selfies with the ladle, transporting themselves a few centuries back.We also learned that Seperavi is the leading red grape variety in Georgia, the name translates to “the place of color.”
In total, attendees sampled 2 red wines and 1 white from both the state and the country. After this tasting, I can agree with why journalists have declared dubbed the country of Georgia as the California of the Caucasus.
The embassy also fed guests delicious Georgian entrees and desserts that paired well with my new favorite red wine, Manavi.
Embassy of Georgia Tasting: Georgian (Country) vs. Georgian (State) event made such a great impression with me! The wine, food, culture and people inspired my friend and I into booking our next trip to Georgia, the country and not the state.
Love to wanderlust? Ever want to step onto foreign soil for a night? Join ThingstodoDC Cultural Society to get a remarkable privilege of visiting various Embassies throughout the District.
Toast to the First Amendment: Freedom to Speak, Eat & Drink (WHCD)
April 27, 2018 I had an exclusive invite to cover the second annual Toast to the First Amendment, sponsored by the National Restaurant Association, Real Clear Politics, The Beer Institute, and The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.
The Toast to the First Amendment is held at the National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) swanky office which is beset with multiple bars, an outdoor veranda, a picture booth area, and multiple food stations fit for even the most discerning food critic.
Activities started around 6:00 p.m with rousing speeches made by Real Clear Politics co-founder Tom Bevan, National Restaurant Association’s executive vice president of public affairs; Cicely Simpson; and The Beer Institute’s CEO and president Jim McGreevey.
Various journalists, PR execs, media personalities, food industry movers and shakers came together on the eve of the White House Correspondence Party. Attendees had the privilege of sampling an array of rare and unique beers, bourbons, scotch, malts, rum, and various other liquors.
I came around the time people were relaxed and simply lounged on the outdoor veranda, and inside by cushion-y seats along the major liquor and beer tasting areas. I took a Lyft from the Mayflower Hotel (1 mile) and got there at a decent time. I wore my Kay Unger, green velvet, floral embroidered blazer and a White House Black Market dress. I was having so many issues with my hair that day that not even dry shampoo or an Instagram filter could save the way it looked.
Before I took the elevator up, I was greeted by the sweetest people ever! Naturally, they work for Real Clear Politics (RCP) so I am not surprised by their genuine nature.
One of the RCP employees told me that Sean Spicer as well as other notable political figures made an appearance at this party. I asked how the crowd took him, and I was told that despite how he is viewed on the media, he’s a very cordial and friendly guy. He was around taking pictures and making all sorts of conversation with attendees. Politics aside, I regretted not getting to this party on time!
I was also told to try the burgers, they were legit made medium rare and that’s an uncommon thing when you go to a food-oriented party. Once I came to the right floor, I took a picture, sampled a few limited edition beers (oh my goodness, I am still remembering this really nice pale ale I drank), and scoured the floor for the best bites to munch on.
As a major foodie, I have to report on what I ate (or better yet, pigged out on).
I made a short but memorable trip to the chicken lollipop station and tried the following chicken lollipops: buffalo chicken, korean bbq. chimichurri, corn flake, and thai flavors. My personal favorites were the chimichurri and the korean bbq.
After I ate enough at the first station, I went to the second savory station and gobbled a medium rare cheeseburger slider, and later tried the pork bao buns (kohirabi, cucumber, bean sprout, cabbage slaw, spicy gochuchang mayo) and sampled the Hawaiian Chicken Sliders ( pineapple, chili, lime relish). I did pair these savory bites with beers from Cape May Brewing, and Great Lakes Brewing.
I made a long trip (not a quick trip since I love tacos) to the Taco station and ate Branzino Tacos (cilantro pesto), Braised Pork Belly Taquitos (charred onions, shishito peppers), and Beef Empanadas. I paired these savory treats with tequila, rum, and really nice bourbon shots.
For dessert, I had a pistachio ice cream pop with a white chocolate coating and snacked on a few carrot cake pops. My diet was thrown out the window that day because the NRA is reputable for crafting memorable bites. I was as equally impressed this year as I was last year. Here’s last year’s recap, so click here!
Along with eating enough food to feed a small village, I noticed a lot of fan fare made for local and national media celebrities. Three ladies circled this handsome, tall, analyst from Fox News and stayed with him for my entire duration at this party. A few CNN employees were drinking white wine, chilling on the comfy chairs outside, and laughing. Some of the ladies wore the cutest, color-blocked, dresses I have seen that night.
Overall, I had a wonderful night. I also think the media guests had a spectacular time given the laughter and jovial conversation I heard all around.
About The National Restaurant Association
The National Restaurant Association (NRA) is the largest foodservice trade association in the world*—supporting over 500,000 restaurant businesses. In partnership with our state restaurant associations, we work every day to empower all restaurant owners and operators to achieve more than they thought possible.
About Real Clear Politics
Founded in 2000 by two news junkies from their Chicago apartment, RealClearPolitics grew out of a passion for combing the internet for the most interesting political stories of the day. Tom Bevan and John McIntyre wanted a site that contained the most pivotal information on the day’s need-to-know issues. It wasn’t long before they discovered they weren’t the only ones with this desire. Today, RealClearPolitics has grown from an intelligent aggregator into a comprehensive media company – RealClear Media Group (RCMG) – encompassing 14 specialty areas of coverage, original reporting from our staff of seasoned reporters, live events, the well-known RCP Poll Average, and original video.
About The Beer Institute
The Beer Institute, based in Washington, D.C., represents the $350 billion beer industry – an industry that includes over 5,000 brewers and more than 2.2 million American jobs. The Beer Institute is a national trade association for the American brewing industry, representing both large and small brewers, as well as importers and industry suppliers. Our organization, founded in 1862 as the U.S. Brewers Association and reorganized as the Beer Institute in 1986, represents the beer industry before Congress, state legislatures and public forums across the country.
About Distilled Spirits Council of the United States
The Distilled Spirits Council is the national trade association representing the leading producers and marketers of distilled spirits in the United States. The Council guards the sector against higher taxes and works diligently to reduce trade barriers across the globe, while supporting policies that increase adult market access for spirits products, provide greater convenience and choices for adult consumers, and encourage responsible and moderate consumption. The Council is a go-to resource for sector data, changes in public policy, cultural acceptance programs, U.S. spirits exports to foreign markets, and alcohol and science.
Cherry Blossom Pop-Up Bar: Vibrant Blossoms & A Life-Like Godzilla
April 24, 2018, I took a short but sweet trip to Japan. I didn’t necessarily spend $$$ on plane tickets or had to cull out my vacation time either. Instead, I parked my car inside a garage by CityCenter DC ($10.00 evening rate) and took a short uber ride to Drink Company’s Cherry Blossom Pop-Up Bar located on 1843 and 1841 Seventh Street, NW, Washington D.C. For this mini excursion, I wore my Anne Taylor, black and white stripped dress, and basic blue flats.
The bar first opened up March 1 and ends its run April 29, 2018. This floral-lush- haven full of Japanese-inspired cocktails attracted a steady crowd during its first run. When the shop first opened up in March, attendees purchased $20 tickets in order to bypass the long lines. If residents wanted to save cash but grab a spectacular drink, many would go to the bar on a Monday, Tuesday or a Wednesday—lines were non-existent on those days.
The bar decor was indicative of the blossoming relationship between Japan and the United States and of the many reasons why DC resident flock to the tidal basin every year—to see beautiful cherry blossoms vibrantly welcome Spring into the area. I noticed that one-thousand paper cranes adorned one wall facing the more lush-side of the bar. Naturally, I figured guests can make a wish because making 1k origami cranes yields but one, sweet, wish according to Japanese tradition.
Moreover, around 90,000 individual paper and cloth blossoms inhabited the ceiling, the sides, and certain cross sections of the pop-up bar. Once attendees decide to meander farther than the entrance of the bar, a garden wall covered with pink yellow,purple and white flowers hug the top lining of wall and a leafy, astro-turf blankets the rest of the wall. Fluttering, cloth-like, butterflies around globular orbs of light make a spectacular impression– especially when you take the perfect selfie.
Having eye-popping decor is one thing, but it’s all about the drinks by the end of the day.
The drinks are more than just food coloring and a lonely red cherry topped in a small glass. Beverages available to try range from English tea with a shot of vodka, miso-infused rum with coconut, sake, Japanese sodas and Japanese beers. Of course, the ever-so popular Maneki Neko Tiki mugs were brought back this year as well as cocktails such as Chu-hi, and the I Call Yoshi which transformed in 2018 into the Alpha Predator, Godzilla drink. The drinks, much like Spring, represent a time for change.
If you are feeling a bit hungry after downing a couple cocktails, there a wide-range of Food items to try such as Japanese snack cookies, gyoza dumplings, Katsu, and soybeans snacks.
Once you walk past the manga-lined wall, you see an anima-tronic Godzilla that blows colorful smoke in the air and makes robotic screeches. I swear if that Godzilla was alive, it would easily eat me in one bite. Artist Andrew Herndon designed this cinematic masterpiece, fyi.
The bar to the right of Godzilla, evoked a Japanese alley-way vibe with strewn lights, cryptic decorations and late night street cuisine. Drink Company named this bar Tokyo’s Memory Lane.
The Cherry Blossom Pop-Up Bar was made up of 2-3 bars. Each bar represented an instagram-worthy shot for patrons. Despite the $20,000-$30,000 shelled out on this bar thematic scheme, pop-ups were created to instill a sense of curiosity and wonderment for attendees– much like a new restaurant opening up but without a heftier price tag.
When the Miracle at 7th street first opened up (this bar, much like the Cherry Blossom Pop-Up Bar, overtook Mockingbird’s space) I was floored with the drinks, attention to pop-culture, and the shrine devoted to all things “Stranger Things”. With this incarnation, I am even more enchanted with Drink Company’s eye for detail and erudition for knowing so much about the relationship between the U.S and Japan.
The next Pop-Up bar theme will cover the royal marriage between a Hollywood actress and a crowned prince, May 19, 2018. The Royal Marriage Pop-Up Bar is opening up May 4, 2018 in honor of the upcoming nuptials between Megan Markle and Prince Harry. I know I am extremely excited about both the bar and the upcoming wedding!
About Drink Company
Drink Company is based in Washington D.C. and owns the Spirited Award-winning Columbia Room, and PUB (Pop Up Bar). Well known for showcasing the Miracle at 7th Street, Super Mario, Game of Thrones, Cherry Blossom and Royal Wedding (May 4, 2018) pop-up bars. Feel free contact this award winning company here.
2018 Creative Coalition: Right to Bear Arts Gala-Come to this Exclusive Event April 27, 2018!
Friday, April 27, 2018 at 8:00 p.m, The Creative Coalition Arts Team is sponsoring their Right to Bear Arts Gala held at the Mayflower Hotel (1127 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington D.C). Tickets start at $1,000 and can go up to $75,000 depending on the sponsorship package attendees select.
The Creative Coalition’s Arts Team will go to Capitol Hill the day before to bring focus on the value of the arts to national leaders. The Right to Bear Art is a national issue that transcends political affiliations. The arts affects everyone! Whether it’s music, ballet, paintings, theater, or the cinema–the arts cultivate a person’s intelligence, identity and critical thinking skills. Skills that are often sought after in several emerging corporations, non-profits and STEM-related industries.
For every $1 spent by the federal government on the arts, $7 comes back into arts communities across the United States.
After the Creative Coalition arts team goes to The Hill, The Creative Coalition will host their #RightToBearArts Benefit Gala.
This year’s co-hosts are: Tim Daly (Madam Secretary) • Alyssa Milano (Project Runway All Stars) Sara Rue (A Series of Unfortunate Events) • Shiri Appleby (UnREAL)Mädchen Amick (Riverdale) • Karamo Brown (Queer Eye) Richard Schiff (The Good Doctor) • Nicholas Gonzalez (The Good Doctor) Victoria Justice (Victorious) • Steve Howey (Shameless) Anthony Carrigan (“Barry”) • Sean Giambrone (The Goldbergs)Richard Kind (Red Oaks) and others.
Honorary Congressional Co-Hosts:
Democratic Leader Charles E. Schumer, Senator Tammy Baldwin, Senator Ben Cardin, Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr., Senator Dianne Feinstein, Senator Kamala D. Harris, Senator Angus King, Senator Ed Markey, Senator Jeff Merkley, Senator Patty Murray, Senator Brian Schatz, Senator Paul Strauss, Senator Chris Van Hollen, Senator Mark Warner, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Representative Mark Amodei, Representative Donald Bacon, Representative Jim Banks, Representative Nanette Barragan, Representative Joe Barton, Representative Karen Bass, Representative Jack Bergman, Representative Don Beyer, Representative Elizabeth Etsy, Representative Bill Foster, Representative Lois Frankel, Representative Tulsi Gabbard, others TBA.
TAKING IT TO THE MAX – $75,000
• Logo inclusion on media wall
• Logo and boilerplate inclusion in press releases
• Opportunity for product placement in gift bag for celebrity welcome gift placed in their hotel rooms (up to 25 gifts)
• 10 VIP seats
• Opportunity for sponsor to gift all dinner guests
• Social media opportunities
• Photo Ops with Celebrities (Sponsor provides photographer)
• Verbal acknowledgements from podium
• Full page Program Ad
• Opportunity for live activation (all technical and staffing provided by Sponsor)
• Opportunity for Executive to accompany talent to Capitol Hill
THE ULTIMATE – $50,000 (limited to one)
• Opportunity for product/issue placement in gift bag for celebrity welcome gift placed in their hotel rooms (up to 25 gifts)
• Opportunity for sponsor to gift all dinner guests
• 5 VIP seats/5 General Seats
• Social media opportunities
• Photo Ops with Celebrities (Sponsor provides photographer)
• Verbal acknowledgements from podium
THE FINEST ARTIST – $25,000
• Opportunity for product/issue placement in gift bag for celebrity welcome gift placed in their hotel rooms (15- 25 celebrities)
• Product placement gifts for all dinner guests
• 8 general seats
• Social media opportunities
ALL FOR THE ARTS – $10,000
• 10 General seats
• Commemorative #RightToBearArts shirts for your guests
INDIVIDUAL ARTIST – $1,000
• 1 seat
Click HERE to order “All For The Arts” and “Individual” Sponsorships online.
For all other Sponsorships please contact Barb Horvath at: BHorvath@TheCreativeCoalition.org
The Sharing the Details Team covered this event in 2017. Click here to read last’s year’s recap. This year the team will get exclusive coverage of the Right to Bear Arts Gala event! Stay tuned for more details!
Planned Parenthood 2018 Gala: Sharing Our Past, Shaping Our Future
April 20, 2018 I covered the 2018 Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington DC’s (PPMW) 2018 Gala held in Union Station. Tickets were $300.00 and that includes VIP reception, a three course meal, the silent auction, and dancing. Attendees invited were donors, board members, socialites, and PPMW advocates.
For this event, I had to leave work early because the VIP reception started promptly at 6:30 p.m. I wore my Anne Taylor floral silk shirt with ruffled sleeves, and a layered, asymmetrical, tiered black skirt from Adrianna Pappel. I think the highlight of my last minute ensemble was my Bruno Magli shoes I bought from Saks.
I wasn’t sure how parking was going to be around Union Station so I drove straight to Bethesda metro station, parked at the nearby garage, then took a rather long metro ride to the event. As soon as I walked out of the metro station, I was lost for awhile and didn’t know how to find the gala, itself. I was later greeted by an associate of PPMW and she escorted me through a highly secured (police and body guards were everywhere) area. Vocal protesters were within eye-shot so security was a high priority.
As I walked through the red carpet, I noticed the words “Planned Parenthood” etched in light on the side walls. The exterior decor was impressive and inviting. Inside the venue, I realized how iconic this Capitol Hill setting really was. The reception area was modern, classy with tall ceilings. The walls dripped of opulence, and the veranda that allowed guests to nibble on appetizers, al fresco, brought out rich conversation from notable figures. The venue truly does appreciate natural light–through the skylights in both the East Hall and the side cocktail room. The East Hall was breathtaking, as well.
Naturally, the three bar areas in the reception area were beset by a thirsty crowd. The wait was worth it, my glass of pinot gris quenched my thirst.
PPMW was founded more than 80 years ago through the idea that access to sexual and reproductive healthcare can enhance people’s lives. Since 2017, this non profit has served more than 17,000 patients at three of their health centers (Northeast DC, Suitland, MD, and Gaithersburg, MD) by offering services such as breast exams, pap tests, STD testing and treatment, and contraceptive services.
The vision behind this gala is to share PPMW’s rich history. In addition, attendees bared witness to numerous testimonies through speeches, written word, and video as well.
After much was shared, dinner started with a bang. A banquet of sorts fed this hungry crowd in the most haute-gourmand way: exotic canapies that experimented with veggies, mousses, and meats; a deluxe donut bar featuring a variation of flavors, and strawberries filled with a luscious cream. The “Fund Our Future” silent auction corralled supporters, and helped raise funds to support the Contraceptive Equity Fund which provides low-income women with supplemented costs for contraceptives.
Right before the gala, I was whisked away to do one-on-one interviews with two notable women. I was able to learn more about the importance of empowering women from CNN analyst Angela Rye (who was the wittiest emcee with the best one-liners) and learned about the progression and impact of Planned Parenthood from CEO Dr. Laura Meyers. Dr. Meyers has lived a rich life in which planned parenthood services affected her family at a young age.
Exclusive with Angela Rye
SD: So what brought you to host this year’s Planned Parenthood gala?
AR: They (PPMW) have me making remarks for the reception. They reached out through a traditional booking process and I am elated to be a long-time Planned Parenthood supporter. I respect how they bring access to healthcare services and provide preventative healthcare for women, specifically for women of color. I am grateful to be here.
SD: That’s awesome! We’re glad you can support and emcee the show. So I hear you are famous for the #RyeRoll that gained traction a few years back during Trump’s election. Can you tell us more about this?
AR: I don’t know if I am famous for it. It was just a moment where I tried to live my authentic truth. In that particular moment I just had enough of people defending Donald Trump’s antics during the election. For a moment, I thought I was off-camera and I just rolled my eyes. I was just tired of it.
SD: I know that you are well known for being a notable figure with women empowerment. Is this part of your mantra for 2018?
AR: Actually, my mantra for 2018.. what I like to say every morning is, “I am Love and Power.” And whatever I do: I want to spread that to people I connect with, people I am in contact with, and people who support me. I always want to make sure that I am empowering women, people of color, folks from my own community. I think the best way to empower people is to help them to fulfill their own purpose so I work diligently do that; Whether I take on a speaking engagement, spread inspiration through social media, or when I mentor others. I also love to learn from others through feedback from all kinds of people irregardless of position, title, or influence. I believe you can learn from the youngest and the oldest.
Exclusive with Dr. Laura Meyers
SD: So what inspired you to be the CEO of Planned Parenthood in the DC area?
LM: Wow, that’s a great question. First and foremost, my grandmother and my mother who are inspirations for my life. My grandmother had a legal abortion in the 1930s. My mother didn’t have birth control options and with her fifth pregnancy, she developed gestational diabetes in which she lived her latter years of her life without legs. They both inspired me because they both taught me to make choices about when or whether you have children, make all the difference in your life. It shapes your life. Women could not participate in the labor force if we (PPMW) didnt have birth control.
SD: Do you have any advice for women who want to be leaders? Who want to be like you? Who want to take on the reign?
LM: Get involved! Get involved wherever you are. For example, you can volunteer for Parenthood. We have so many opportunities to get involved, whether that’s through our developing leaders program or our ambassador program. There’s so many ways that you can get involved to make a difference.
SD: Last question. I know that Planned Parenthood Metropolitan DC re-opened in 2016. Previous locations endured various openings and closings. I know that this location is successful so can you tell us more about the successes that these current facilities have amassed?
LM: Well, what’s been so wonderful since we opened up our DC house center is that it is a beautiful facility and it affirms all of our values around patient care. Patients come to us because they aspire for a better life. Whatever they are doing now, they want to live their own destiny according to their own views and make their own health decisions. So I would say that the success of the facility is how beautiful it is and how wonderful our staff are. Patients who come to our facility know they will get non judgmental care. That when they say anything and they can say anything, no one will raise an eyebrow. And they will get compassionate, non judgmental care.
Feel free to make donations to Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington DC here.
About Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington DC
Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. was founded on the visionary idea that access to sexual and reproductive health care could transform people’s lives. PPMW has provided high quality, supportive reproductive medical care for families in the DC metro area.
PPMW’s mission is to provide high quality, affordable reproductive health care; promote education programs that empower all individuals to make informed & responsible reproductive choices; & to protect the right to make those choices. PPMW is the oldest & largest provider of family planning services in Metropolitan Washington, serving DC, Maryland & Northern Virginia.
28th Season of DC Fashion Week: International Flare through a Couture Lense
February 21-February 25, 2018 I had an exclusive invite to cover the 2018 Fall and Winter season of DC Fashion week. Keep in mind, this is right after I covered four to five shows in New York Fashion Week. Let’s just say that I had to keep the fashion momentum going.
D.C Fashion week has been going strong since 2010. Ean Williams, the visionary behind D.C Fashion Week, wanted to highlight brightest stars from DC (and even some of the World) by showcasing an expansive range of designs, styles, and trends. Here’s a condensed, pictorial, recap of the inventive, imaginative, and immersive couture that I found delicious for the Fall/Winter 2018 DC Shows!
Exclusive Press Event @ Melrose Georgetown Hotel
Haitian Designer Showcase at Embassy of Haiti
Emerging Designer’s Showcase at Crystal Gateway Marriot Hotel
28th International Couture Collections at The Sphinx at K
What I wore to each show
DC Fashion Foundation is the noteworthy non-profit behind DC Fashion week. Feel free to make a contribution here.
About DC Fashion Foundation
The DC Fashion Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization supporting the fashion business community in the Washington, DC area through educational programs, workforce training initiatives, and networking and mentoring opportunities. The Foundation strives to:
• Develop entrepreneurs’ business skills and workforce preparedness
• Improve the quality and availability of fashion industry opportunities
• Strengthen the connections and networks that form the foundation of the Washington, DC fashion community.
Tune into Sharing the Details for exclusive interviews with House of Churchill, Maison Chazelle, Michael Lombard, Corjor International, Cashmere and Pearls, and Ri Noor.
NYFW: Gerda Truubon’s London Collection 2018
February 16, 2018 I was invited by Exalt Fashion to cover Gerda Truubon’s London Collection at the Plaza hotel on fifth avenue for New York Fashion Week this year. Gerda is a well known Estonian born London-based fashion designer who crafts sexy but stylish frocks for the confident woman. Her mantra is to create dresses for the bold, secure, self-loving woman that aim to uplift rather than cover up who the woman really is.
Truubon was inspired by her mom, who was a tailor, to customize dresses for herself. In fact, her designs have been coveted by American TV star Natalie Nunn, British TV star Gemma Collins, and countless stars across the globe.
Speaking of dresses and fashion, so I wore the same ensemble from the previous show that day to the next show due to limitations on time. I took a taxi from Sunset Terrace at Chelsea Piers to the hotel, and that cab ride averaged around $10.00. I was fortunate both locations were in close proximity of each other. Since I arrived a bit early, we had a little too much fun checking out the high-end stores and taking photos around the lobby.
This is a famous hotel after all. The Plaza hotel is a 20-story luxury hotel and condominium apartment located in Manhattan. Not only is the hotel recognized as a historic landmark but The Beatles stayed at The Plaza Hotel during their first visit to the United States in 1964.
After I had fun checking out the stores, I took the glamorous escalator downstairs to the show. We even had a bellhop assist us to and fro. The interior of the show was wide-spread with shimmery chandeliers, ornate wall decor, pristine floors, and manicured chairs at the front for VIP. Editors, stylists, and bloggers such as myself took over the VIP section and, yes, we all went a little cray-cray with the selfies.
The show started with a talented singer bursting in with backup dancers. Each performer adorned white, lace, body suits; strap stilettos; and had their hair swaying.
Fifteen models from the show wore a similar ensemble, yet, had tightly wounded buns and ponytails that focused more attention on their stylish eye make up and stoic expressions. The singer, herself, swayed her hips and moved in sync to her own songs. For a second, I almost felt like I was at a concert and I applaud Truubon for adding a surprise introduction. The norm for present and future fashion shows is to start off with a spectacular concert, dance, or even stand-up–as a way to break away from the usual, standard, NYFW runway show.
Once the dancing has stopped and the models paraded away in a clean queue, the meaty matter of the show (the fashion) finally commenced. Truubon is well known from her previous collections for using bold colors, exaggerated sleeves, high shoulder dresses, and ensembles with plunging necklines.
Her trademark styles were underscored in her new line but so were lace, silk, and mesh materials, silver studded trims, and the symmetrical neckline with a one-shoulder long sleeve. Much of this show distilled top runway trends such as exploring a range of pastels, ruffles on the ends of skirts and the beginning of sleeve cuffs, flowy-cuffs unconnected to the dress, and iconic use of exposed shoulder lines as a way to juxtapose the contour of the dress to one’s skin. This show had the right dosage of flash too.
This dress collection used an ample amount of slits above the leg to infuse more of a night-time clubbing vibe. Silver studded trims underscored most of her apparel as well as boxed shoulder pads three-inch-high, and ruffled tiers enveloped along the lower neckline and all around the middle of the back. I can safely say her entire collection was devoted to what’s silvery, studded, and long and that’s a unique addition for this year’s show. Overall, this was an iconic show.
At the conclusion of the set, Gerda walked in and I had a hard time discerning her from the rest of the models. She looks just like a model.
Models, press, and VIP attendees were escorted to the lobby. The press had an exciting time snapping photos, grabbing last minute interviews with the designer, and taking selfies with the models. I was fortunate enough to get a selfie with the designer as well but I rue the day I wasn’t able to snag her for a short interview. Darn!
The plaza has a famous eatery downstairs full of international fare such as pasta, ramen, crepes, and beyond. I scarfed down a large bowl of bolognese pasta and my photographer had the most delicious crepe ever. We later caffeinated ourselves, lightly, on tea from Argo Tea a few blocks down and called it a night. Milkbar was nearby and I was half tempted to get some corn cookies and cereal icecream but my foodie self control mode kicked in.
In recent memory, New York Fashion week was most memorable thanks to Truubin’s and other notable designers shows. I will forever want a dress with exposed shoulders, ruffled sleeve cuffs, and silver, studded trimmings hugging my neckline. I mean, that is the key ingredient for a fashionable It-girl!
Embassy of Georgia: A Warm and Welcoming Party Experience!
April 5, 2018 I had an exclusive invite to cover the “Experience Georgian Culture” party held at the Georgian Embassy (1824 R street, NW, Washington D.C).
For this party, I wore a black v-neck shirt from Macys, and a long black skirt, with intricate gold designs embroidered at the bottom from Nordstrom. The commute was long, difficult but worth it. I knew finding parking around certain embassies would be arduous so I decided to park my car at Bethesda metro station, metro to Dupont circle and just walk the rest of the way.
Tickets for this event were around $40 and this price includes authentic food, art exhibition, entertainment, and a complimentary swag bag. The Georgian Center, in partnership with the Embassy of Georgia, sponsored this entrancing party. The embassy, itself, was crowded with a variety of folks ranging from Georgian denizens, DC wonks, and media outlets. The house had expansive floors, an ornate staircase with inscriptions, and a variety of art hung along the walls. There was a complimentary coat check, as soon as you walked through the doors.
An extensive buffet had a hungry crowd, armed with red and white Georgian wines, and well tailored dresses and suits, forming a polite queue. The food emanated a warm touch with the crowd, as many foodies enjoyed sweet and savory treats melded with an array of spices and herbs such as tarragon, dill, flat parsley, and coriander. Kachapuri, a warm, gooey, cheese bread, enticed and evinced a homey-nostalgia with native Georgians. Foods such as Badrijan Nigzit which is roasted eggplant served flat with walnut paste; Pkhali, a paste made from spinach, walnuts, and garlic; and Qababi, grilled minced meat kebabs sprinkled with onion and sumac also made memorable appearance.
The party started promptly by 6:30 p.m. Guests were welcomed by the Ambassador of Georgia, H.E. David Bakradze, who has been serving as ambassador since November 2016.
For the first half of the party, Vlad Bregvadz, president of the Georgian Center honored several individuals for their outstanding contributions to the promotion of Georgian culture abroad. The first ever Georgian stand-up comedian George Bitadze, brought much laughter into the room as he adeptly layered in stories, witticisms, and anecdotes. Mamuka Gogiberidz and Giorgi Popkhadze, performed classical Georgian folk music and the popular and highly animated Georgian Flash mob, led by the talented Maya Monroe, and staged by Veronika Metonidze and Levan Chkheidze brought down the house.
Artwork, jewelry sales, and fashion designs by Ana Tkabladze, Tamar Mosulishvili, Nanuka Gogichaishvili, Gosha Dimitruk, Levan Mosiashvili, and Nana Chikhladze invigorated the networking and wine tasting sessions. Mixed media works such as oil paintings, acrylic portraits, clay sculptures, wood carvings, and combined metals were crafted by established and emerging artists. Proceeds from art sales benefited the Georgian Cultural Center and Bebnisi School for children. Zeg Made and Style Diplomacy dot com sponsored these talented artists as well.
The food, people, and artwork brought me closer to a better understanding of Georgia. The food had a homemade taste, imitable to if I had a Georgian mom making this from scratch at home. The people were easy-going, warm, and wonderful conversationalists. I especially had a wonderful time getting to know the flash mob and learning more about Georgian culture from key figures from the Georgian cultural center too. The art left an indelible impression with me and I was able to see how beautiful the country side through a creative lens. Overall, I had a magical time and I look forward to attending more Georgian cultural events.
Feel free to make a charitable donation to the Georgian Cultural Center here.
About Georgian Cultural Center
The Georgian Center is a charitable 501 (c) (3) non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting Georgian culture, education, and innovation in the United States of America.The Center is not financially supported by any government and relies on contributions from the diaspora and friends of Georgia.
La Grand Fete 2018 by ‘Smithsonian at 8’: Thirty Embassies, One Delicious Night!
March 23, 2018, La Grand Fete, sponsored by Smithsonian at 8, celebrates the tail-end of DC’s Francophone festival by having 30 embassies provide food, drink, and culture to worldly D.C denizens at La Maison Francaise at the Embassy of France. Music was provided by DJ Princess Slaya, who spun songs from around the world.
Tickets were sold for $40. Because this event sold out, no tickets were sold at the door. Tortoise & Hare Bar and Grille were open throughout the night, offering a bevy of beverages such as cocktails, international beers, and wine. Street parking was limited on Reservoir Road, around La Maison Francaise, and several attendees also used public garages available at Georgetown University Hospital.
Traffic was congested from my end. It took me around and hour and twenty minutes to get to this party. I was overjoyed that I didn’t have to wait in a long line since the weather was pretty frigid that day. Due to time and my commute, I was short on time. So I wore a basic, black dress with a scoop neck from White House Black Market, a turquoise tank from The Limited, and a gold colored leather satchel.
When I went through security, I asked the girls in the front what they recommended. Three of them highly recommended the Belgian waffles, French Wines, and Quebec Cotton Candy. As I walked up and entered the embassy, I noticed that the coat racks were packed. Attendance was really high this year.
Women wore the latest in D.C and European fashion, and men wore business casual slacks and shirts. The dance area had various shapes of white balloons bobbing and floating along the ceiling; dancers partied to top 40 U.S, French, and Caribbean hits; and plates of international fare made various appearances across the venue.
From the corner of my eye, I noticed a really long line by the Embassy of Haiti table. When I walked closer, I could easily see what enticed the ravenous, or shall I say, thirst-driven crowd: an endless supply of rum. Haiti is famous for this libation, and I can easily see why. It was worth the wait, since I wanted seconds myself.
More of the European-based countries had fine wine and beer tastings. For instance, Switzerland featured their White Wine titled Fendant Treize etoiles AOC 2015. This was a French port that originated from Martigny, Valais. The most popular beer that night was from Belgium. This thirst-quenching ale attracted a flock, and almost impenetrable crowd, that made it it difficult for me to grab my own sample. In the classiest fashion, I savored each drop since I do crave European beers from time to time.
Along with imbibing liquors, I did get a chance to snack. Quebec had outstanding maple syrup candy, and equally outstanding maple syrup flavored cotton candy. Benin, Ivory Coast, Gabon, and Burkina Faso had outstanding African dishes such as curries, veggies, and fish platters. Serbia had delicious bread in the shape of a circuitous cross. Romania, Armenia, Monaco, and several other french-inspired countries also had delicious fare that gravitated a hungry crowd. After sampling my fair share, I made a quick visit to the Embassy of Cote de Voire (Ivory Coast) and saw some old friends from way back when.
Counrties, like the Ivory Coast, are primarily connected through the French language. Since different regions have various ethnic identities, languages, and customs, the French language unites the country and bridges strong communication.
Speaking of France, I was hankering for some red wine from burgundy, beef bourguinon, and some canales. La Grand fete isn’t La Grand Fete without a visit to the motherland. I so had my fill and then some.
And my last but best stop, was the Embassy of Georgia!
I learned so much about this country in my short visit. Did you know that men wear Chokha, an iconic piece coat made of wool, with long sleeves, laps, hugged with a belt with a stilleto on it? A native citizen of Georgia can always tell a man’s place in society based on the color chokha he wears.
Did you also know that traditional Georgian women’s clothing has often been deemed as being luxuriously beautiful? Women wear a long dress called a kartuli, which is snuggly belted, with a fancy bodice and long laps. Special attention is always placed on the headdress, which consists of a thing, white veil; a thin bolster made of silk, and a large, calico, veil that covers the body minus the face.
The wine industry has a boon in Georgia. The Wall Street Journal (2016) has remarked that Georgia could be a great “Wine Destination” due to the earthy mode of creating these wines. Kahketi, is a province on the foothills of the caucaus mountains that has renown chacha, a grape-skin liquor reminiscent of moonshine; Qveri white wine, which has a sharp taste, and a deep hue color; and Shavi Gvino, a red so dark that it’s known as a black wine.
The Embassy of Georgia had a grand presentation of wine tastings, literature, folks dressed in traditional garb and with a flash mob led by Mamuka Gogiberidze, Dachi Chalabashvili, Lady Vanessa Reyes, Gvantsa Gogiberidze, Tako Rakviashvili, Beka Adamashvili, Gvantsa Turashvili, Tamta Revazishvili, and Tamar Zedelashvili.
This was the big talk of La Grand Fete. Several kids practiced on their routine, and pulled this difficult feat in front of a packed audience. I had a wonderful time learning more about the culture and meeting people from the Embassy! Such an amazing group of people!
If you want to learn more about this fabulous culture and party all night, click here to purchase tickets to their big shin-dig held at the Georgian Cultural Center April 5, 2018. There will be an inclusive wine tasting, a stand up comedian, art exhibition, food, folk music and your chance to see the famous flash mob perform their routine!
Tune into Sharing the Details for special coverage of the Embassy of Georgia party, April 5, 2018!
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan Praises UMBC Men’s Basketball Team in Annapolis
March 26, 2018, Sharing the Details had the exclusive privilege to cover the UMBC Retrievers first with a reception at Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s Annapolis Mansion and, later, witnessing wide-spread recognition on the senate floor from key state politicians.
University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) made NCAA tournament history on March 16, 2018, when the Retrievers became the first No.16 seed to beat a No.1 with a 74-54 win against the Cavaliers (University of Virginia, UVA) in Charlotte, Virginia. No one, except the Governor of Maryland, predicted this win.
The day before the game, the governor tweeted his bracket, boldly stating that UMBC will not only beat No.1 seed Virginia but could also make history and take the national title.
Through grit, determination, and with Coach Ryan Odom’s leadership, UMBC, a school joked as nothing more than a “commuter school” became a national treasure. The team even sported the front page of Sport’s Illustrated! This glory came to a brief cessation when the Retrievers lost their next game against Kansas State, with a score of 50-43. However, that doesn’t change the historical context. This game changed March madness—forever.
It’s also a good thing that Coach Odom will continue to stay with the team for future seasons. There was talk before about the possibility of him leaving but he did declare at this event that he will stay committed to the team.
So an event of this grandeur could only mean that I leave the office before rush hour traffic. I was lucky to find street parking just a few blocks down which is rare since parking tends to be a hassle in the state capital. Moreover, there was no way I was going to be a second late!
I was ill-prepared, fashion wise, for this historical event. What I wore at the office was a black Calvin Klein dress I had since forever, red Michael Kors shoes, and Italian made sterling silver earrings. I didn’t even have time to dab on any make up. I was so au naturale that even R&B singer, Alicia Keys would be proud.
As soon as I parked my car, I ran to the press area. The UMBC bus rolled in with players queuing out, in a dapper style.
Last but not least was the fun, adorable, spirited Chesapeake Retriever mascot who had the crowd laughing with his hilarious antics. Did you know that the Maryland state dog is the Chesapeake Bay Retriever? Did you also know that these dogs are characterized as being loyal, versatile and having great endurance?
This momentous occasion was also the first time I ever went inside the Governor’s home, let alone the Maryland State House. The Government house is actually across the street from the state house, and has been home to several Maryland governors for 145 years. This Georgian style home was built in 1870, of the style of the Victorian era, with majestic doors carved with the Maryland Coat of Arms.
Guests, press, and political figures piled into the home and was warmly greeted by the Governor and Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford (whom I met before at the Black History Month Awards Ceremony). The spiraling staircase, in the Entrance Hall, and portraits of Queen Henrietta Maria (whom Maryland was named), and Cecil Calvert (founder of the state) added an extra allure to this visit.
Half the guests towered over me, since they were basketball players after all. Attendees mingled and networked inside the library, where a newly minted painting of Frederick Douglas was hung in commemoration of Black History month this year. Finger foods that were served in the dining hall were vegetable empanadas w/ chipotle aioli; chilled shrimp platter; skirt steak bruschetta; baked brie w/honey & almonds; chicken, caramelized onion & gruyere tarts, and peanut butter mouse cups. I ate these delicious morsels on dainty china with golden forks and spoons.
Chatter died down and all eyes were on the Governor. He remarked that he heard about the win when he was in his “man cave”. He was jumping up and down and was overjoyed by the news. No one could expect a No.16 seed defeating a No.1 seed.
“All the analysts,pundits and experts were saying that they didn’t really give you guys much of a chance. Well, nobody except me believed in this win. My bracket had you going all the way.”
The Governor later went into how the players played with “true heart” and firm “grit in this immense game. His pride in the team emanated through the inflection of his voice, his smile, and through his soaring speech on embracing the underdog spirit.
Towards the end of the ceremony, the Governor presented the Retrievers with a plaque recognizing their accomplishments and handed out a governor’s coin to each player. The players honored the Governor and later, the Senate, by awarding copies of the Sports Illustrated issue with an image of the team’s win.
After the ceremony, players lined up inside the Maryland State house where senators, teachers, parents, players, and press gave the team a standing ovation. It was a long night, and after the standing ovation, players left to trek back home. However, not without taking the cutest pictures with young fans aged five years through nine.
According to WaPo, Senior Jairus Lyles, who played high school basketball nationally, wont be returning next season. However, starting forward Joe Sherburne, along with 12 players are set to return next season.
The 2018 Final Four is underway. Tune in April 2, 2018 for Monday’s national title game.
New York Fashion Week 2018: Selly Djap, Christina J. Kim, AJ Saunders & Blakk April–4 Designers, A Kaleidoscope of Talent!
February 16, 2018 I had this unique opportunity to not just cover one designer for New York Fashion week but four at one show. Christina J. Kim, Selly Djap, AJ Saunders and Blakk April rounded out the tail end of the”Street Fashion” segment of NYFW 2018. This show was held at the Sunset Terrace at Chelsea Piers from 4 p.m to 7 p.m.
The night before, I drove to New York City around 12 a.m and finally came to my hotel, the Eurostar located at the heart of Wall Street, around 5 a.m. I swear I haphazardly packed. I lost my right Italian leather shoe from my suitcase due to the crunch on time. When I woke up by 1 p.m, I dolled up my face, wore black from top to bottom (it’s the New York and D.C thing to do) and sported a sparkly, gold, jacket that was originally sold from a boutique in Los Angeles. Inclement weather (the drizzle and the freeze) didnt stop fashionistas from rocking their best threads.
From the hotel, I took an Uber ($10 price ride) to the location and met up with my photographer. We were covering behind the scenes for this year’s shows. This was my first time seeing models getting their hair done, practicing their catwalk, and lounging with a Starbucks drink before a big show. I learned from behind the scenes, how much work went into getting ready and with how the networking game as changed. Instagram is the best way to connect with Fashion designers, models, stylists, and photographers.
Lighting is key. So much prep work went behind providing enough natural and unnatural light for incoming media. Sharing the Details was able to have a video interview with both designers Christina J. Kim and with Selly Djap. Stay tuned for future exclusives on them and on AJ Saunders and Blakk April.
On top of that, I have never watched a fashion show below an Ice rink before! This was a brand new experience.
This new experience may tie in to a sea change with the NYFW industry. According to Forbes, NYFW and the shows have been dealing with turbulence in attendee turn outs. Brands, big and small, are turning to live streaming a fashion show while others cancel shows on the fly and try to recreate unique parties and fashion experiences at hotels, pop-up locations, and anything else tied to what’s trendy.
The fashion industry, collectively, has to meet changes and demands from a newer generation and from newer transnactional relationships. Customers want to know who created their products. Social media has ensured a transparency in this case. Brands are starting to rethink ways to reach their consumer base and to surprise them. This fashion paradigm has greatly affected the way a NYFW show is produced and executed.
For newer designers, this welcoming change means room for creativity. Instead of most shows following a format of attendees sitting idly in a row where models do a simple catwalk down the aisle at an exclusive venue. More shows, like the one I attended, are held in unique locations like an Ice Rink and have impromptu events–for example, a live engagement parlay between two VIP attendees which actually happened in between Selly and Christina’s show–to revive the shows with a new, verve.
After the video interview, I took a seat at the front. VIP and general admission started to pour in and trickled down to sit, network, and take selfies. The bar from behind served guests wine, beer, and delicious cocktail drinks.
Fashion Designer Selly Djap’s Winter 2018 “Trauma” line showcased an eclectic arrangement of black dresses that portray sexual re-awakening after going through abuse. This fashion line was inspired by her personal history. Asymmetrical necklines, sequence trimmings, sheer/ transparent sleeves, made a bold statement with several dresses worn. Business casual ensembles with tight pants, bare shoulder tops, spark the imagination with the crowd. Selly’s previous fashion line, “Sex” explored a variation of pinks, silks, floral beaded patterns that are also reminiscent to her conservative upbringing in Indonesia.
After Selly’s models sashayed out. A brief intermission was set. I had this wonderful opportunity to meet talented photographers who worked directly with Christina and with Selly. Their passion, eye for creativity, and kindness exuded with each photo they took.
Christina J. Kim’s Winter 2018 line, “Alter Ego” took the audience by surprise. Her contemporary, underground, street fashion line is full of mixed fabrics, bold colors, and mixed mediums. Her garments can work well for both genders. Christina’s past collections focused on details and minimalism and her color palate was primarily an array of neutrals. With her newer line, models paraded floral prints, over sized sweaters with over-stuffed cowl necks, asymmetrical neckline shirts and a splash of gingham.
Blakk April Collection titled “I Got Issues” was inspired by allowing people to reach their dreams. Roosevelt (birth name) used sheer, soft, fabrics that hug and enhance a woman’s natural curves with some of the dresses he designed. Blakk April experiments with capes, multi-high-level slits in the front of dresses, pastels, and shimmering greens that could only bring out a lively gown. His eye for women’s fashion for this line brought out a wave of I-phones out from the VIP attendees. His previous collection, April Wardrobe Raw Edges, experimented with plaids, stripes, and solid toned pieces. His previous collection gave off a casual, going to rock my local indie show vibe whereas his recent line exuded a glittery, awe-struck club going vibe.
Last by not least is AJ Saunders “Maladjusted” Collection took in the known, unknown, and wove in a creative spin with gender neutral clothing. AJ started a gofundme page last year to be able to do a NYFW show this year, and this line paid off in spades. Her mantra for each piece which is “manipulation of the self to make the inaccessible accessible” was exuded due to her eclectic use of material, anatomical structures, and with breaking new ground with gender identification for tops, bottoms, and all kinds of ensembles. Her further experimentation with 3-D printing, chest binders, and human anatomy-inspired shapes evinced a reaction from the audience and even blew up a couple Instagram accounts. AJ definitely thought outside the box with this line.
Each designer’s vision brought down the house, so to speak. Attendees clamored up to each designer up the show for photo opps, Instagram handle shares, and to pick apart these innovative thinker’s brains. This was more than just a memorable show, these showcases stretched my own imagination quite a bit.
Stay tuned to Sharing the Details for exclusive interviews with Designers Christina J. Kim, Selly Djap, AJ Saunders and Blakk April.
Blue Star Neighbors Celebration Honors Extraordinary Americans!
March 13, 2018, Sharing the Details had the privilege of covering the Blue Star Neighbors Celebration held at the Chamber of Commerce in Washington D.C.
The venue was wide-spread, with red, blue, and white lights beaming from the walls. Stars, stripes, and all sorts of American flag themed decor sparkled the venue. Attendees wore military suits, formal dresses, and business suits.
Programming opened up with words from emcee Brianna Keiler, CNN, Senior Washington Correspondent; and continued with awards with Camille Hymes, Starbucks Corp., Mid-Atlantic Regional Vice President; Dr. Lynda Davis, Department of Veteran Affairs, and Harriet Dominique, President of the USAA Foundation.
As the show continued, the winner for the Blue Star Neighbor award was announced. Erik J. Nelson was the big winner of the night. He was nominated by Shane Clark, a U.S Army Major, commissioned in 2002 as a second lieutenant in the U.S Air Force. When he was activated back to active duty over three years ago, Erik Nelson stepped up to the plate to help teach on behalf of Shane and run the martial arts school in northern Colorado. Nelson, was still a student himself and managed the martial arts studio in addition to his position as Vice President at Engineering Analytics, Inc and his own family.
Notable VIPs that attended the event were General HR McMaster (National Security Advisor) General Joe Dunford (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff), Jessica Moore (The Walt Disney Company), Marianne Downs (Lockheed Martin), Lieutenant General Daniel Hokanson (National Guard Bureau), Steve Schwab (Elizabeth Dole Foundation) and Scott Rice (Air National Guard).
All- star chefs from the Washington D.C area crafted scrumptious treats for all patrons. Food station tables were divided by chefs who work under different military branches:
- The Air Force Table, run by Chef Robert Wiedmaier (Marcel’s) and MSgt Jennifer Medeiros (Air Force), displayed delicious Napoleon of Scottish Smoked Salmon.
- The Army Table, run by Chef Chris Clime (PassionFish) and SSG Michelle Brown (Army), pastrami made from smoked mesquite, piquillo pepper, and N’duja tapenade.
- The Coast Guard Table, run by Kyle Bailey (The Salt Line) and CSCS Derek Johnson (Coast Guard) wow’d the crowds with Hiramasa Crudos made from blood orange ponzu gelee, popped amaranth, and nasturtium leaf.
- The National Guard table, run by Chef David Guas ( Bayou Bakery) and TSgt Tyer Gaswint (Air National Guard), crafted Gulf Shrimp Burgers.
- The Marine Corps table, run by Chef Todd Grey (Equinox) and SSgt Hiram Carrion (Marine Corps) delivered on the Tahini Grits and Lamb Meatballs.
- The Navy table, run by Chef Ris Lacoste (Ris) and CS1 Frida Karani (Navy) fed a warm heaping of New England Clam Chowder.
Along with memorable dishes, renown mixologist Todd Thrasher concocted memorable beverages such as The Pea-triot made from White Rum, Lemon, and Pea Flowers and The Wake up Call made from Bourbon, Decaf Coffee, Sugar, and Orange.
As a whole, this celebration celebrates the kindness of military supporters across the country and their impact on the military family community. Blue Star Families (BSF) is the non-profit behind this great celebration. Blue Star Families mission is to use community as the solution for military family problems. Military life is hard and BSF leverages data-driven insights to curate resources for military families, including career development tools, local community events for families, and care giving support. Because of Blue Star Families, 1.5 million families have been helped.
Blue Star Families is a remarkable non profit that has impacted the lives of several military families across the U.S. Click here to make a donation.
About Blue Star Families
Blue Star Families is a non profit that strengthen military families every day. Through career development, caregiving, and our leading research on military family life, this organization is striving to better understand and provide solutions to the challenges facing today’s military families. This organization started in April of 2009, when a group of military spouses got together in the hopes of making a difference in the lives of military families. They knew the issues surrounding military families and saw a need for a platform where military family members could join forces with the general public and their communities to address the challenges of military life.
Since then, BSF has grown from a few military spouses around a kitchen table to more than 150,000 members and over 35 communities and chapters around the globe. Blue Star Family programs and services reach more than 1.5 million military family members every year.
Tune into Sharing the Details for an exclusive interview with the Founder and CEO of Blue Star Families, Kathy Roth- Douquet.
The Dark Side Bar in D.C: An Intergalactic Drink Adventure
February 11, 2018 I had this exclusive invite by MER events to check out the Dark Side Bar (816 H Street, Northeast, D.C) at Mythology Lounge. This Pop-UP bar was open during this time in honor of the new Star Wars Film “Last Jedi” that came out around then. Admission costs usually run at $33 but MER events had a special discount. The best discount imaginable– they made this exclusive event FREE!
The Dark side bar enticed all sorts of folks ranging from Sci Fi fans, D.C wonks, brunch addicts, and the usual barflys you see around a nice Sunday afternoon. As an ardent lover of all things Star Wars this event was my personal highlight for my Birthday weekend. I decided to wear a silky pink Anne Taylor shirt and black slacks. I invited some of my close guy pals for this once in a lifetime opportunity. We all drove in one car and had some minor traffic issues.
The great thing about going to an event on a Sunday is ample and free street parking.
In celebration of the new Star Wars movie, there was DJ ripping top 40 hits, 90s classics, and some intergalactic beats that had the crowd bobbing heads. Last Jedi themed shots and drinks quenched thirsts. Patrons enjoyed six themed cocktails from different parts of the galaxy such as: Red Force, Blue Force, The Imperial, The Dark Side, The Galaxy, and The Mindtrick.
Drink preparations done by only the galaxy’s best bartenders flared up everyone’s Instagram pages. Because it was my birthday, I was given a complimentary Red Force drink prepared much like a drink prepared at Barmini.
The bartender mixed a few liquors, shook the ingredients in a silver canister, and lit the drink on fire! Smoke erupted from my glass and enveloped into a smog only reminiscent of the good times Darth Vader may have shared with some Storm Trooper he tried to choke hold.
Many of my friends joked that this party rivals Jubba the Hut’s own parties! Burlesque dancers dressed from head-to toe swayed, dance, and even pulled in some EDM inspired moves. Attendees had a ball dancing with the burlesque dancers and even had opportunities for unique photo moments. The entertainment was truly out of this world.
This event had an exhaustive menu with galaxy inspired brunch and dinner items. In addition to fine bites to eat, several patrons took this opportunity to pull out their Awesome Con outfits from last year to wear for this party.
This temporary Pop-Up Bar installation is meant to look like a bar inside the Death Star. As soon as attendees walked in, not only do they chuckle at a “Whose your Daddy” poster of Darth Vader but are welcomed to a lit, red neon sign that evokes both a dark and saturnine vibe only the dark side could bring. A storm trooper that also serves as a security guard stands on guard at the front.
Darth Vader makes his usual rounds and seems to also be a selfie addict. He would surprise attendees by making an unexpected appearance in group pictures and he also challenged a few attendees to a fight over the empire.
A death star disco ball twirled and sparkled atop the ceiling. There was red and black light jutting from the sides of the bar, and Star Wars themed posters taped on different parts of the bar. My personal favorite decor was around the bathroom. A cement replica block of Han Solo made a popular appearance.
Overall, this event by MER Events was my favorite thing about my birthday weekend! This experience was beyond my imagination and definitely satiated the young kid in me.
A major thanks to MER Events and Mer Wacco for inviting ‘Sharing the Details’ to this event.
MER Events Upcoming Parties:
Black Tie Fiesta at the Embassy of Mexico March 24, 2018
Bottomless Brunch at Policy Lounge March 25, 2018
Crypto Happy Hour at Ozio Lounge April 4, 2018
Spring Reception at the Embassy of France May 4, 2018
James Bond Jets and Car Hangar Party May 19, 2018
Holiday Wine Tasting October 6, 2018
About MER Events
MER events is a vibrant Events Planning company that covers galas, parties, and fun bar crawls in the Washington D.C area. Not only are they one of the best promoters in the D.C area but their prime goal is to get you out of the house! Live life by making new friends at crypto happy hour, eat a bottomless brunch at Policy, or be “James Bond” at Jets and Car party! Check MER events website here or check out new events here.
5th Annual Black History Heroes Award Show feat. Maryland Lt. Gov. Boyd K. Rutherford
February 22, 2018 I had an exclusive invite to cover the fifth annual Black History Month Celebration Salutes Black History Heroes Award show held at Maryland Live Casino.
For this event I had to wear an ensemble that worked well for both the office place and for an event so I wore a mauve low neck Anne Taylor Sweater, a black animal print skirt from an Italian designer, and leather boots from Nordstroms. I also wore a new foundation from ULTA called Cover-fx that actually matched my skin tone.
Anyways, so the drive from Baltimore to Arundel Mills was fraught with challenges. The rain down poured that day, and I was stuck in mindless traffic on 695. All I could see was red for miles on my GPS. Once I arrived to Maryland Live Casino, I drove up the steep ramp and found a decent parking spot. The perks of covering an event at Maryland Live Casino is free parking and also a free coat check.
Before the show commenced, I was able to snag an exclusive interview with WHUT General Manger, Jefferi K. Lee.
Before his current role as General Manager of a notable PBS member-station, he also previously served as President of BET. In his 17 year career with the station, he helped transition BET from a 3-hour, one-night a week cablecast to a 24-hour, seven-day a week network.
SD: It’s an honor to meet you! Congrats on being an honoree.I know that you’re not only the General Manager of WHUT, but you have helped with the formation of BET as the channel’s previous President. Can you please tell us more about that?
JKL: My time in BET was enriching. I really enjoyed my time. I was able to help bring the company from a start-up to a publicly traded company that goes the distance. So I really enjoyed the BET experience. I am now doing public media. I am the general manager of WHUT and I am enjoying the mission driven environment that we have in public media.
SD: So what is it about WHUT that you love?
JKL: There are several thing about WHUT that I love. WHUT is the only HBCU that owns a public station in the country. We are proud of that. We are also proud of the overall service of public television that we provide to the community. The station is also a great opportunity for college students to get media experience and to know what it’s like to be in media.
The award show was well adorned with candles, table decorations, and drapery. Seating was boundless, multi-leveled, and awarded a great view of the show. Appetizers were made with distinguished hands– multi-colored olive platters, delicately folded charcuterie platters, sun dried tomatoes, an antipasto salads were centered at the venue.
All attendees were also given complimentary drink tickets and credits to use the casino that night.
First District Representative of Anne Arundel County, Pete Smith, served as master of ceremonies for the night. He did a great job of seguing remarks, presentation of awards, and acknowledgments from notable speakers such as Zed Smith, COO of The Cordish Companies, Wayne R. Frazier Sr., President of the Md. Washington Minority Companies Association, and of the keynote speaker, Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, Boyd K. Rutherford.
Rutherford closed the ceremony with a rousing speech on past, present, and future African American trailblazers.
“We are not just embracing African American History but our current history, ” said Rutherford.
Trailblazers like Harriet Tubman led to freedom (he also added that attendees should check out the newly minted Harriet Tubman museum), Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, was the first African American to serve on the court, and Frederick Douglass was a powerful leader. A week before the awards, Frederick Douglas would have celebrated his 200th year birthday. In honor of this remarkable trailblazer, Gov. Larry Hogan declared 2018 as the year of Frederick Douglass. The Governor will erect statues of Douglass, Marshall, and Tubman around the state capital.
Rutherford urged Marylanders that although February is African American History month, there’s always much work to do and to use today to make a great change.
Moreover, The Lt. Governor is one of many award winners of the night that also includes:
- Cynthia Brooks, Executive Director, Bea Gaddy Family Centers
- The Jonathan Ogden Foundation
- Jonas Edward Brooks, Investigator, Fire Marshal’s Office, Annapolis, Md.
- Jefferi K. Lee, General Manager, WHUT
- Pastor James E. Rollins
- Ramsey L Harris, Vice President, PNC Bank in DMV area
- Jeanne Hitchcock, Special Advisor, local government, community and corporate affairs, Johns Hopkins University.
- Bishop Doctor Abraham Shanklin, Jr., Founder and President, The Center of Transformation.
Travis Lamb, General Manager of Maryland Live Casino, announced that Maryland Jr. and U.S state senators such as Sen. Ben Cardin, Sen. Chris Van Hollen, Anne Arundel Co., and Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford created honorary citations to honor award winners.
After the award ceremony, I was able to snag a quick interview question with the Lt. Governor of Maryland.
SD: Lt. Governor, you have had a very successful career not only in office but overall. What has inspired your career trajectory? Who has inspired you to reach the stars?
LT Gov: My family has been very supportive of me since day one. They have inspired me to go far with my career and my dreams . They are my heroes.
The ceremony was a joyful experience. Each award winning honoree had a touching story on how to succeed despite the odds. The most important lesson from the event is that people can start making history now, in their communities.
Engineers without Borders (DC) Gala: Dress to the Nines and help a great cause March 23, 2018!
There’s a multitude of reasons why charitable giving is always a positive! Did you know that participants who donate, according to a study from NIH, donating even $100 activates pleasure centers in the brain?
Not only that, charitable giving brings more meaning to ones life, helps others in need and sets a strong example for children to follow!
With that said, why not donate and also wear your best gown or tux?
Engineers without Borders- DC Chapter is having a gala at Josephine Butler Parks Center (2437 15th St NW Washington, DC 20009) on March 23, 2018 from 8:00 p.m to 11:00 p.m. Tickets are just $85 and proceeds go to several humanitarian-based projects that the organization is involved in. Street parking is available around the D.C area. Click here to purchase tickets!
Engineers without Borders, (EWB-DC) is a non-profit humanitarian organization that collaborates with community partners to design and build sustainable engineering projects. Their projects are implemented through a community-driven model based on full partnership with host communities.
This year’s Gala will have an open bar ALL NIGHT, hor d’oeuvres by Eat & Smile Catering, silent auction, DJ, photography by Brian Adrian Photography, a trivia give-a-way contest, and a pitch competition where we will be awarding over $6000 to our project teams determined by audience vote!
The Gala is also a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the DC chapter’s many projects:
1.) Current project: Water Supply project in Cameroon
2.) Current Project: Community Center in Panama
3.) Completed Project: Water Supply in El Salvador
4.) Two New Projects: A Bridge in Burkina Faso and Water Sanitation in Peru.
There will also be a silent auction featuring items in and around DC as well as good from partner communities.
And The Winner Is…DC Film Society for Best Oscar Night!
On March 4, 2018, Connie Stevens attends DC Film Society’s “And the Winner is…” Oscar Viewing Party in The Arlington Cinema ‘N’ Drafthouse in Arlington, VA. She interviews well-known Washington, D.C. Film Critics: Tim Gordon of Film Gordon and Travis Hopson of Punch Drunk Critics.
What does a girl do on one of the most anticipated nights of the year? Attend a LIVE Red Carpet Oscars viewing party, of course! The 26th Annual Washington DC Film Society Live Academy Awards viewing party at the Arlington Cinema ‘N’ Drafthouse, co-hosted by renowned film critics Tim Gordon and Travis Hopson, was a smashing success. Each year the DC Film Society hosts the event to promote support of FilmFest DC and critics love for film everywhere. Their annual flagship event consists of a “Predict the Winners” contest where film lovers can guess who they think the winners will be and a Silent Auction featuring autographed memorabilia and tickets/passes to future events. All proceeds generated help support the DC Film Society.
I met many of the DC Film Society committee members such as Michael Kyrioglou, Larry Hart, Adam Spector and Cheryl Dixon. The members were so welcoming, professional and passionate regarding the organization’s achievements. Adam Spector enlightened me to some of the additional events that DC Film Society partakes in. One being two trailer events that take place in the summer and winter that show trailers for upcoming blockbusters. Another is the monthly film discussion group called the Cinema Lounge. This is a place where film lovers unite to review, discuss and embark on a wondrous adventure through the love of film. Cheryl Dixon added that they are continuously looking to grow the organization which will only lead to success for this establishment for many years to come.
The Red Carpet broadcast is projected real-time on the Big Screen with live coverage prior to the Oscars telecast. I knew this was going to be a grand event with many intriguing people to interview as well as noteworthy moments to capture, so my attire needed to be on point. For the event, I chose a service that my cousin recommended called Rent the Runway. It is an affordable way to rent high end designer gowns and accessories for events at a fraction of the cost. For just over $100, I rented a Monique Lhuillier gown, silver mesh glam clutch, diamond drop earrings and a bracelet – an ensemble that retails for over $1300. I highly recommend this service for those who want to look a million bucks, but not break the bank.
Traffic was light and my commute from Baltimore to Arlington was a breeze. On the drive, I listened to a few songs from Three Billboards Outside, Ebbing Missouri starring Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell, which was nominated for several awards. Carter Burwell’s solemn original score perfectly reflects the mood of the movie (even if it’s a little spaghetti westernish). I definitely recommend checking out both the movie and the score. Little did I know later that night both actors would take home academy awards for their astounding performances in the film; Frances McDormand for Best Actress and Sam Rockwell for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role.
As I arrived in Arlington, I found off street parking easily located behind the venue. Much to my dismay, the strap to my heel broke on the first step out of the car! I was determined not to let anything ruin my evening. Channeling my inner MacGyver, I quickly repaired my shoe by using the sticky non-slip heel inserts to the strap and back to the heel. Crisis averted! As I entered the venue, I was greeted by the most amazing architecture that made my eyes dance with excitement. The beautiful antique curvature of the ceiling was most thrilling. The old film equipment displayed in the lobby reminded me of old Hollywood. I immediately envisioned Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers dancing in Monkey Business.
As I continued around the corner there were tables set up for the silent auction and a hip bar area that served drinks and popcorn to the right. I stepped into the stunning open theater that displayed tiers of seats and tables that party goers could relax and enjoy the big screen event. The chatter throughout the theater was a good indication that the love for film is very much still alive. During the breaks, live commentary and film trivia was generated by Travis and Tim. A witty and comical duo best known for their WETA All Around Town broadcast. They kept the audience full of laughs and on their toes.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with these gentlemen prior to the event to get the skinny on the most notable Oscar highlights of 2017. Both very charming and charismatic individuals, they were very vociferous regarding their opinions for Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor/Actress and Best Supporting Actor/Actress. Tim highly regarded Three Billboards and The Shape of Water as standout films for 2017. Travis agreed the The Shape of Water had many extraordinary high points but remarked Three Billboards on not being a potential front runner. Travis noted that, “Historically a movie rarely wins when the director is not nominated.” Tim added that, “Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell delivered knock out performances,” in the film and knew Three Billboards would be a game changer.
On another note, Travis mentioned the Oscar marketing seemed to push critics to vote for Lady Bird, but thought that Hollywood would snub the film. Travis noted that Laurie Metcalf has done “surprisingly well this year” and Tim agreed that he felt her nomination was well deserved. Though she did not win, she has come a long way from her Roseanne days.
Tim also spoke of another extraordinary film and performance; Gary Oldman in The Darkest Hour. Gary Oldman’s adaptation of Winston Churchill sealed the deal winning him the award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Tim commented that, “Sometimes an Oscar can be a lifetime achievement, not a one shot deal.” Travis agreed that though The Darkest Hour “fell flat when it first came out, it rose back with vengeance making this a very good indicator Gary Oldman would be a force to be reckoned with!” Recalling his performance as a corrupt DEA agent in The Professional, Travis and I had a moment to banter about this iconic film with him mentioning he has a shirt with Oldman on the front that says, “Everybody”- I loved it!
Both gentlemen agreed that Get Out was a culture phenomenon and provided sustainment throughout the year since first coming out at Sundance. Tim celebrated Allison Janney for her role in I, Tonya emphasizing she was “SO good” in the role. With her taking the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, clearly these gentlemen know what they are talking about! Evidently, Tim and Travis have the natural ability to see when films, directors, actors and actresses are worth mentioning. I thanked them both for their time and walked away a happy girl having the opportunity to banter with these gentlemen for the night. I felt honored to be part of such an incredible event. There is no doubt this show stopping night was a hit!
If you wish to support the DC Film Society and its affiliates, please consider becoming a member. All proceeds for the event support the DC Film Society and its sponsorship support of Filmfest DC. The Washington, DC International Film Festival (Filmfest DC) is the longest running film festival in the nation’s capital. The 32nd edition will take place April 19-29, 2018 offering a diverse selection of world wide films in addition to discussions with guest filmmakers and special events.
La Soiree Champagne: More than just sipping bubbly at the French Ambassador’s Residence!
February 6, 2018 from 6 p.m to 9:00 p.m, I attended La Soiree Champagne, an exclusive champagne tasting sponsored by the French Chamber of Commerce of Washington D.C, in its third year! This exquisite cocktail gala was held in the private residence of the Ambassador of France, Gerard Araud, in his presence.
At this party, I had the delightful opportunity to try the best champagne from France’s best, and also mingle with socialites, VIPS, high-ranking diplomats, and DC event gurus ( Mers Woldemariam from Mers Events, and Greg Bland from ThingstodoDC.com, etc…).
Before I came to the gala, I changed inside the dressing room of a TV station. This fitting room has the brightest lights, longest vanity mirrors, and the best outlet to hookup my 2016, pink, cone shaped curler. So I tried to curl my hair but failed miserably. I may have been using a bit too much Moroccan argon cream in my hair and that could be the reason why I have been failing the hair curl game. Due to the extra lighting in the fitting room, I was able to have my A-game on with my makeup use.
I decided to wear my lacy, cream coffee colored, cocktail party dress that I recently bought from Anne Taylor. I paired this dress with pink earrings from an Italian designer and silvery, sparkly, Badgley Mischka flats from Nordstroms. I am still on the prowl for the perfect gala purse since my shiny, black, Kate Spade purse has been getting a bit tattered here and there.
The drive was decent, given that I did hit some traffic after 5 pm. A great perk with getting my tickets ahead of time was having complimentary valet parking included in the package. There was street parking around the corner of the residence but the valet service was top-notch!
The party started at 6, on the dot! Before the doors opened, a line formed of classically dressed guests in suits, tailored dresses, and well manicured hairstyles. Again, much like when I watched my very first Washington Film Institute film, I was star-struck by the attendees.
Walking through the expansive doors, I was greeted to regal oil paintings, historic busts (Ben Franklin, America’s favorite 100 dollar bill icon) and marble floors. Complimentary coat check was given to all guests and the rest room was conveniently placed by the entrance. Plush, velvet, red seats with a faux gold trimming was placed by the lobby area for guests to sit when they felt a bit woozy from all of the champagne sampling. Neo-classical tapestries and featured works of art from collections of the Louvre museum were plastered in different rooms.
As someone who is petite in size (5’1), I measured out my samples to smaller tastes. There were approximately 6-7 bartenders dressed in tuxedos, cocktail dresses, or in prim black garb. Tables were neatly pleated with white cloth, and an endless supply of champagne glasses. Underneath the tables were champagne bottles and cases of Perrier (delicious carbonated water for those who needed to nurse any tipsy spells).
During the duration of my stay, I sampled the following champagnes: Roger-Constant Lemaire Magnum Rose de Saignee ($675 retail value), Roger-Constant Lemaire Cuvee Roger-Constant 2008 Limite ($485 retail value)Thienot Garance Vintage 2007,Canard-Duchene Brut Authentic,Canard-Duchene Rose Authentic, and Canard-Duchene Charles VII Blanc de Blancs. In between sips, I drank as much Perrier as possible and nibbled on several appetizers and desserts. The popular drink of the night, according to several attendees, was the French 75 which was a concoction of champagne, citrus, and the finest cognac known to man. This was a strong drink.–so strong that I felt the effects after one sip.
Along with sampling drinks, The appetizers that I tasted was the duck foie gras on toast, the black truffle squares, caviar on mini blinis, blinis with a citrus cream, and tomato, parmesan confits. Wherever I walked there was a kind server dressed to the nines, serving me all you can eat appetizers (made by the Ambassador of France’s personal chef). A part of me felt that I left the United States and was on an episode of “Rick Steves Europe” show.
There was a room that was filled to the brim with French oil paintings from several centuries ago. A vast cheese, bread, and charcuterie platter was planted in that room and several party-goers nibbled in a finely tuned circle.
Much of the crowd was easy-going and nice to chat with. I had a wonderful time getting to know several ladies, such as a notable travel blogger, a house wife in Frederick, the Ambassador’s right hand women, and a budding blogger who is already immersed in the DC philanthropic gala scene. Along with loving champagne, most of us had one, simple thing in common: we loved dessert!
We all talked about how perfect these mini confections were. A popular choice was the mini chocolate sticks with the raspberry jam filling and my personal favorite was the mini canales (the mini brown mountains). Authentic french desserts are so hard to find in the D.C area so sampling them inside the confines of the ambassador’s home was a pure treat.
Speaking of the ambassador, he had a rousing speech in his foyer to a packed audience. He spoke of how France’s economy has been strong for the past 6 years and how strong the country is given precarious times with the world. France has impacted the world, at large, through more than just champagne. France has contributed to creating jobs oversees, with enhancing the arts, and with massive contributions to the scientific world.
After the Ambassador of France concluded his speech, Denis Chazelle (a native of Champagne, France) and the Executive Director of the French Chamber of Commerce of Washington D.C, gave an informative speech on French-based businesses in the United States. He opened up his speech with a humorous joke pertaining to Nutella that had the crowd smirking.
Around 9:00 p.m, the crowd thinned out and several attendees waited outside for an uber. I had an arresting time, having my vision filled to the sight of fine oil paintings created by Stephane Koerwyn, listening to airy vocals from Barbara Papendorp, eating only the finest foods that the chef to the Ambassador of France would make, and drinking top-notch champagne from France’s finest wine makers. This event was a true feast of the senses!
The French Chamber of Commerce of Washington D.C holds galas like this as well as similar events that promote networking, promote French culture, and promote businesses. Interested in learning more? Click here!
About the French Chamber of Commerce of Washington D.C
Since its founding in 1896, the French-American Chamber of Commerce (FACC) has been promoting and developing sound economic, commercial and financial relations between the United States and France.As a private, not-for-profit, commercial service organization (501(c)6), the French-American Chamber of Commerce is funded solely through membership dues, sponsorships, and proceeds from events and services.
The FACC consists of 19 U.S. chapters, all dedicated to supporting companies and organizations with bilateral needs and interests. Our members are businesses, organizations and individuals with a stake in French-American trade policy, economic relations and market developments.Founded in 1987, the Washington D.C. Chapter of the French-American Chamber of Commerce (“FACC WDC”) is committed to providing the highest level of service to our members.
Fabretto Children’s Foundation- Masquerade Gala 2018: Night for Ninos
February 2, 2018 at 7:30 p.m I donned my flashiest cocktail dress (it was red, sparkly, and Jessica Simpson) and my flashiest shoes (silvery pointed-toe Badgley Mishka) and attended Masquerade Gala| Night for Ninos sponsored by Fabretto Children’s Foundation and held at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.
All proceeds from this sparkly event help “unveil the power of food”. Meaning, Fabretto will be able to continue efforts to lift Nicaraguan communities out of poverty by financing more education initiatives. World Central Kitchen (think famous Chef Jose Andres) is a special partner and has been key in creating environments for children to thrive. From providing nutritional education to parents and teachers, to helping create local jobs and increase family earnings to families in Nicaragua.
I may need a new curler but I had major hair drama that day. I couldn’t curl the way I dreamed too so I used bobby pins to nab the guilty culprit strands down. I used Not Your Mother’s volume hairspray and that helped keep my hair in control.
Anyways, going en route had its ups and downs. Traffic after work was a bit much but I was glad to see parking garages .4 miles away from the venue. Instead of paying $20 for valet parking at the venue, most attendees opted to pay for parking garages nearby that probably cost between ($12-$16) for the evening.
The National Museum of Women in the Arts has a breath-taking venue. Much of the party was held inside the Great Hall and the Mezzanine, which has an elegant event space ideal for masquerade galas. I definitely had some “Cinderella” moments when I was beset by the spacious marble reception area and I was enamored by the ballroom decked out with three elegant crystal chandeliers and women-made art from the museum. I could not help but also take a few selfies by the white marble staircases that spiral down to the Mezzanine.
This gala was heavily staffed with stewards and stewardesses in white and black uniforms, that either had gold trays of canopies or chill bottles of white wine. I was only 1/4 finished with my drink when a steward walked by me and filled my glass to the brim. All attendees had their table number and bidding numbers etched on the back of their booklets.
Attendees were dressed to the nines. I truly felt dwarfed in size since most guests seemed to tower over six feet. Socialites wore long gowns that kissed the floor and had their hair freshly highlighted and styled for this party. Ornate, basic, and event feather strung masks were worn by both men and women. Even I couldn’t tell guests apart after they went incognito.
Here’s an interesting anecdote: This bartender, decked in an all white suit, and a hearty smile was trying to give the tall, actress-like, red head a glass of champagne but accidentally knocked a candle down to her gown. For a good five seconds her dress was ignited with light flames but she was able to kick it off. She was gracious, kind, and forgiving to the bartender and walked off like a true lady. I didn’t know who she was but this was an interesting spectacle to see.
The food was a Michellin star dream come true. I ate a scrumptious egg quiche topped with poach pears, had orzo with fresh tomatoes, sampled five varieties of breads and can declare Greek Olive bread was my favorite, and ate great beef and pork accompanied by cream sauces.
The silent auction, which was on the top floor overlooking the mezzanine, was lined with goodies such as theater tickets, shows, classes, and trips out of state.
After some lengthy hob-nobbing with Fabretto employees, volunteers, and board members I was seated to a beautiful table arrangement. Imagine fluffy black table cloths, gold masks, and candles that seem to have an everlasting flame. The event was spearheaded by the honorary host committee of: Dr. John j. Degioia, President of Georgetown University, His Excellency Francisco Campbell, Ambassador of the Republic of Nicaragua, and prayer from Father Otto Hentz S.J.
Kevin Marinacci (CEO of Fabretto) opened the ceremony by welcoming the crowd, and Brian Macnair (CEO of World Central Kitchen) highlighted the strong partnership between both Fabretto and World Central Kitchen. A live auction featuring inclusive trips to Belize, France, and other exotic locales brought out a verve with the crowd that could only be contained with a lime, green, light saber from the auctioneer.
The silent auction ended to great success: raising 69k for Nicaraguan communities! Live Latin music closed out the party and dancing was immense, magical, and never seemed to end.
Consider donating to this great cause here!
About Fabretto Children’s Foundation
Fabretto’s mission is to empower underserved children and their families in Nicaragua to reach their full potential, improve their livelihoods, and take advantage of economic opportunity through education. This mission is achieved through early education, primary education, and technical vocational education initiatives. Inspired by the legacy of Padre Fabretto, the organization envisions a prosperous Nicaragua where all children and adolescents have meaningful opportunities to grow and learn, in communities that offer access to quality education, so that they may reach their full potential.
For over 60 years, Fabretto has been building relationships within Nicaraguan communities in order to provide hope and a better future to the children and youth in need. Today, the organization serves over 20,000 children and youth through work in seven Fabretto Education Centers and more than 440 local public schools.
Washington Film Institute: “In Order of Disappearance” screening at Arts Club of Washington D.C.
January 27, 2018 I watched my very first Washington Film Institute screening at the Arts Club of Washington D.C. I had an exclusive invite to attend the showing of “In Order of Disappearance” (Kraftidioten), a 2014 Norwegian Comedy, Crime, Thriller about a mild-mannered snow plowman, whose sun was mistakenly murdered. The plowman, Nils Ploughs, unknowingly ignites a war between vegan gangster “The County” and the Serbian mafia boss Papa.
The venue, the Arts Club of Washington D.C, formerly the home of President James Monroe, has celebrated and promoted the visual, performing, and literary arts in the George Washington University area for over a century. The movie screening was held in the Monroe Gallery, which features ornate contemporary art all around the walls, and a stage with full audio visual support. The gallery seats 120 guests. Movie goers were even treated to sit on the balcony to watch this humorous film.
For an event of this magnitude I wore my White House Black Market plunging neckline cocktail dress, and draped an intricately sewn black drape to hide my own plunging neckline.
I wore my black, Italian, leather boots from Nordstroms and some Kate Spade stalkings. It’s still Winter after all and I couldn’t wear stilettos in this weather. Street parking was a bit difficult to find but I did find a parking garage that only charges $12.00 (after 5pm) .3 miles from the venue. Attendees primarily dressed in luxurious black sweaters, business suits, trendy black leather jackets, and had fresh haircuts that could only be defined as clean and pristine.
I unfortunately missed the social before the movie (it was from 7:00 p.m to 8:00 p.m) and tried to grapple for a decent seat. The movie attendees were full of decorum and helped me and my friends find the best seats by the front. Almost everyone inside had a glass of red or white wine, and several attendees non-discreetly snacked on hummus and veggies, Greek dolmas, as well as other haute-gourmand treats. The bar was well staffed, dressed and had sparkly smiles. A part of me felt like I was in a movie although I was watching one on screen.
John Hanshaw, founder of the Washington Film Institute, and wearer of a fashion forward Chinese suit top, flicked the projector on with cinematic ease. The movie came on without a hitch– to roaring applause from the crowd.
All attendees for this showing are ardent film lovers. So watching a movie (especially an international one) would be thoroughly consumed, and also digested into weighty conversation full of stories, anecdotes, and memories of traveling overseas.
I have never watched a Norwegian film before, but I think this won’t be the last. I laughed so hard throughout this film. Whenever a character died there was a quirky nickname and a death symbol flashing on screen. The vegan crime boss had the best one-liners and reactions throughout the film. I doubt he could even get away with half the quips he was spouting if this was an American-made film. I could only imagine the creative freedom the director had with this film.
The Washington Film Institute often carries art-films like this on a monthly basis. This institute was founded in 2007 by John Hanshaw, as a way to inspire DC audiences through film education and the cultivation of the cinematic arts. Hanshaw has worked in film and television for over ten years at NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation), PBS, and most recently National Geographic. If you are a lover of fine cinema, and want to meet like-minded souls, definitely join the Washington Film Institute!
About the Washington Film Institute
The WFI is an organization created to inspire audiences through film education and the cultivation of the cinematic arts. The institute does this by developing educational programs and programming film events throughout the year. You can join their EMAIL LIST for Event Invites at: http://dcfilminstitute.org/
Sharing the Details will be covering the Washington Film Institute’s Oscar Red Carpet party March 4, 2018. Tune in for details!
Girl Speak: A Murder Mystery Masquerade Gala at the Atrium
January 26, 2018 I joined in a murder most foul. Well, I played a small role as bystander named Sir Tell Alot in a highly engaging Murder Mystery Gala where I deemed the court jester to be the culprit. This was my first murder mystery masquerade gala and I have to say, this definitely won’t be my last. I had a little too much fun–and all for a great cause.
All funds raised from “Girl Speak Inc’s An Evening of Mystery at the Atrium, A Murder Mystery Masquerade Gala” go directly to Girl Speak, Inc.
Girl Speak Inc., is a non profit geared towards ladies between the ages of 11 to 24 years old, that empowers young women to ante up their confidence game in the career world.
“Making a Statement through empowering life choices” is the mantra of Girl Speak Inc., founded by Sharon Anderson, to celebrate, educate, empower and unite women. With the #MeToo Movement gaining traction, with more women getting into leadership positions in the political realm and with the growing traction with the Women’s Marches, non-profits such as this are the energy force behind a shinier future for all women (no matter what background).
With that said, young woman are invited to by participate in Girl Speak’s upcoming initiative “How’s Your S.E.L.F.I.E Game”, an interactive six week mini life skills program in the Washington D.C area. Sharon Anderson, founder of Girl Speak, hopes to give young ladies a voice and the skill-set to transform their world. S.E.L.F.I.E is the acronym for the themes that are addressed in the curriculum: Self-Esteem, Engagement (Conflict Resolution), Leadership, Financial Literacy, Innovative Thinking and Employment Readiness. This signature initiative has one day conferences that incorporate Community Building, Self Esteem workshops, Career Building and Career Mentoring, Etiquette and Social Graces, Body Image, and Physical and Mental Health courses.
For this gala, I picked out this brand new green Calvin Klein cocktail dress that exposes by bare arms despite the frigid weather. I paired my dress with black stalkings and black velvet booties since I couldn’t bare the thought of having any exposed skin touch the frigid windchill outside. I decided to try out my new Smashbox lipstick and eye shadow for this party (but I think I over did it with the gold, I just love gold).
The TreeTops Atrium wasn’t too hard to find. In fact, you can metro to this gala if you take the green line towards New Carrollton. I drove to the gala since I was coming from Baltimore City (had to pick up my photographer, Lucy Wilson after all). Parking was a breeze! It was complimentary and abundant.
When we rolled in, there was a glamorous pink carpet with a photo booth and friendly smiles welcoming us in. The atrium was covered with long windows on the roof, and there were life-long tropical plants dotted around the venue. These towering plants swished and moved over coteries of beautifully dressed board members, volunteers, and donors. So many well dressed men and women inside a large, plant house. I came just in time to participate in the cocktail hour and had a humorous conversation with one board member on the complexities (and extremities) found inside your run of the mill crab cake. That didn’t stop me from noshing on two, three, or four of these bad boys.
I ate that, and continue to nosh on these slender but delicious egg rolls paired with an orange glaze sauce. There was a beautiful ice tea fountain by the bar, and my glass of white wine was consistently filled by staff.
The silent auction was spearheaded by Mar’Tina Parker who had attendees roaring in laughter over her witty one-liners, and prompt responses to auction sales. Dinner included a crisp salad, salmon stuffed with crabmeat, chicken marsala accompanied with string beans with roasted red peppers, seasoned creamed potatoes, artisan rolls, southern iced tea and creamy cheesecake shooters.
After dinner, all attendees were treated to participate in a murder mystery called “A Royal Affair” presented by Sleuth Ink. The core characters (such as the King from “Coming to America” and the artist formerly known as Prince) danced to the front. Hundreds of movie and music one-liners were peppered into their acting and attendee participation added a whole lotta’ fun.
Special guest host Mikea Turner from WUSA9, a CBS affiliate in D.C, emceed and added more sparkle to this rousing event with her words, and overall presence.
Check out Girl Speak online here and please donate to this great non-profit!
About Girl Speak, Inc.
Girl Speak, Inc. is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization designed to unite, educate, empower, and celebrate young ladies with and without disabilities through uniquely cultivated training, maximization of one’s potential, enrichment of various skills and transformation of the mind which will create a legacy, and a higher quality of life for themselves, their communities and worldwide
La Soiree Champagne: Come to this Exclusive Cocktail Gala on February 6, 2018
Washington D.C is world famous for their exclusive galas especially ones hosted by notable non-profits such as the French-American Chamber of Commerce. For the past three years, this organization has been spearheading this exclusive Champagne party at the residence of the Ambassador of France to much fanfare.
Wear your most dazzling cocktail attire and best golden dancing shoes on February 6th! The party commences at 6:30 p.m and ends at 9:00 p.m (potential snow date is February 20th). The event is held at The Residence of France: 2221 Kalorama Rd, NW
Washington, DC 20008 and ticket fees are $195 for French American Chamber of Commerce Members and $259 for the general public (prices can go up at anytime). A major perk is that complimentary Valet Parking is included in your ticket purchase.
This coveted event is open to the public and tickets can be purchased here.
The event will be hosted in the private Residence of the Ambassador of France, Gérard Araud, in his presence. Only here will attendees divulge ones sense to rare champagnes from France’s best, while also mingle with high-ranking diplomats, VIPs, and the French American community at large.
This party is also a best kept foodie secret and here’s a sample of what’s to come: duck foie gras, mini crepes with caviar, parmesan tomatoe confits, champagne infused truffles, delectable French cheeses, an array of macaroons, and chocolate strawberries.
Haute gourmand cocktail finger-foods will be prepared by the Residence’s Chef to perfectly pair with each champagne selection.
Be prepared to dabble in a wide range of champagnes such as: Pol Roger Reserve, Thienot Brut, Thienot Rose, Thienot Garance Vintage 2007, Canard-Duchene Brut Authentic, Canard-Duchene Rose Authentic, Canard-Duchene Charles VII Blanc de Blancs, Roger-Constant Lemaire Rose de Saignee NV, Roger-Constant Lemaire Magnum Rose de Saignee (only 120 magnums released in 2017 – $675 retail value per bottle), Roger-Constant Lemaire Cuvee Roger-Constant 2008 Limite ($485 retail per bottle) Roger-Constant Lemaire Select Reserve Blanc de Meuniers.
Along with imbibing on the bubbily and noshing on gourmet treats, attendees will be able to dance the night away to live music by singer-actress Barbara Papendorp, who has appeared at venues including the Harman Center of the Arts, the Phillips Collection and the Arts Club of Washington and be immersed in a lovely art exhibit by French Artist Stephane Koerwyn, who will be exhibiting his painting throughout the Residence.
Sharing the Details will also be at the event to provide live coverage on the champagne tasting, foodie moments, and any best kept secrets. Stay Tuned for more details…