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.
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.
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 hope I made Biz Markie proud…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.