Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sharing the Details (formerly Sherryn Daniel’s Blog), a comprehensive Gala and red carpet blog that provides the true sparkle with the D.C philanthropic and glamour scene.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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 wasso 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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: