Pahela Baishakh: Happy Bengali New Year!


On Thursday, April 12, 2018, contributing writer, Moraima Bambaren, joins young professionals at the Embassy of Bangladesh for a ThingstodoDC Culture event that celebrates Pahela Baishakh, the traditional New Year day of the Bengali people. 

I was lucky enough to attend Pahela Baishakh, the traditional New Year Festival of Bangladesh, held at Embassy of Bangladesh (3510 International Dr NW, Washington, DC 20008). As part of my New Year’s resolution to take full advantage of all the cultural events DC has to offer, I knew the Embassy of Bangladesh would be a great start!

I learned so much about the culture and  even learned how to say Happy New Year or Shubho Nabobarsho!

This year’s Pahela Baishakh will be celebrated on April 14 in Bangladesh and on April 15th in the Indian states of West Bengal and Tripura. The festival is traditionally celebrated with processions, fairs and family time. In fact, Mangal Shovajatra, a mass procession that begins at dawn on the first day of the Bengali New Year, was declared an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in 2016. In lieu of a procession, the embassy gifted attendees with several performances that celebrated the rich tradition of Bengali music and dance. Beautifully dressed women and girls took over the main stage after the ambassador’s greeting to the guests, giving way to other artists who sang and performed for the delighted crowd.

Photos Courtesy of Nandor Nagy 

This year, Pahela Baishakh was celebrated on April 14th in Bangladesh, and on April 15th in the Indian states of West Bengal and Tripura. The festival is traditionally celebrated with processions, fairs and family time. In fact, Mangal Shovajatra, a mass procession that begins at dawn on the first day of the Bengali New Year, was declared an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in 2016. In lieu of a procession, the embassy gifted us with several performances that celebrated the rich tradition of Bengali music and dance.

bangladesh outfit
Photos Courtesy of Nandor Nagy 

For those of us who are unfamiliar with Bangladesh, here is a course on history 101: Located in South Asia and bordering with India and Myanmar, Bangladesh formed part of British India up until the partition in 1947. It then became a province of Pakistan and eventually became an independent nation in 1971. Their culture is immensely rich due to its long history in the region and enthusiasts can find influences of Islam, Hindusim, Buddhism and Christianity in their music, dance, art and craft, language and festivals.

Photos Courtesy of Nandor Nagy 

Women, men and children were dressed in magnificent, colorful garments: men wearing smart dhoti kurta, women and girls in bright saris; I apparently missed the memo and wore a simple blue jumpsuit from J. Crew. After the ambassador’s greetings to the guests, several artists took over the main stage and performed traditional dances and songs for the delighted crowd.

Photos Courtesy of Nandor Nagy 

As you can see above everything was just colorful. The clothing, children’s arts and crafts and  decoration was vibrant. After the dancing and music ended, it was time to eat. The culinary fare of Bangladesh has similarities to North-East Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine. On Pahela Baishakh,  Bengali natives enjoyed festive foods that include panta bhat (watered rice), and Hilsha dishes – Hilsha is the national fish of Bangladesh and is incredibly popular in South Asia.

I have to confess  I don’t normally like spicy food and the few times I have been to restaurants  that served South Asian or Middle Eastern food, I ended up eating the naan, which in my opinion is one of the best breads out there. But because of the few libations I had at the open bar, I knew I had to eat something and the food smelled delicious! And I’m so glad I did! I ate  slightly spicy rice, baked eggplants and fish. Other guests savored the food as you can see below. Plates were packed with food!

In addition, I was also lucky  to meet  Ambassador Mohammad Ziauddin, who emphasized in his speech towards the packed crowd, how the rapid growth of Bangladesh in the international political and economic sector.

Pictures Courtesy of Nandor Nagy 

It was definitely a happy celebration and now that spring is (almost) here, I look forward to exploring the world by attending and writing about more embassy events in the comfort of my new home city: Washington D.C.

Love to wanderlust? Ever want to step onto foreign soil for a night? Join ThingstodoDC Cultural Society to get a remarkable privilege of visiting various Embassies throughout the District.

About Things To Do DC

Things To Do® is the premiere organization for young professionals to socialize and network.  With a membership of over 175,000, we produce a wide variety of original, interactive social, educational and cultural events that enrich your social and cultural experiences.

A Night in Monte Carlo: A Black-Tie, Thrill-Seeking Affair


On Saturday, April 21, 2018, contributing writer, Moraima Bambaren, joins young professionals at the Embassy of France for a ThingstodoDC Culture event that celebrates Monte Carlo through European style Casino games, a French Bar, and dancing to top 40’s hits from Europe’s nightlife scene. 

I first fell in love with the French language when I first took Madame Wiesandanger’s class in high school. Ever since then that love spawned into a deeper appreciation for  French culture, whether it’s with the world-famous cuisine, the wine selection, the arts, the history, and the music. My love of the country of Liberté, égalité, fraternité, still endures.

Guests at the Monte Carlo. Photo Courtesy of Lucy Wilson. 

As a proud Francophile, I like to be apprised on related festivals and events. Imagine my surprise when I found out about the Black-Tie Monte Carlo and European Gala sponsored by! In my opinion, themed parties are the best kind of parties. I am always “Black-Tie” ready. My closet is filled to the brim with long, gala-worthy, dresses that have never seen the light of day.
And finally, I’ve always dreamed of attending a James Bond movie themed (preferably Casino Royale) party. This day was a long time coming.

Champagne for the Night! Photo Courtesy of Lucy Wilson. 

The Monte Carlo event was  a night full of European glamour: champagne that overflows, decadent chocolates and desserts, ballroom dancing in a luxurious venue and casino games sans real gambling. So I dug through my closet for a black and gold BCBG dress, found my highest black heels and applied Chanel lipstick to complete the French look.  Here’s a Fun fact: Did you know that BCBG stands unofficially for Bon chic, bon genre (good style, good attitude).


After a quick Uber ride, my date and I arrived “fashionably” late due to  technical difficulties with his bow tie. We breezed through security and followed elegantly dressed men and women into the embassy where a long table filled with desserts welcomed us. Why yes, Marie Antoinette, I think I will eat the cake.

After we nibbled on desserts, our second stop was the Champagne bar where a long line of wine-connoisseurs waited patiently for their turn to imbibe a drink worthy of royalty. Champagne and cake in hand, we walked into the ballroom where people were waltzing under soft, romantic lights.

We later visited the blackjack table, where, apparently, I am an ace at. Viva Las Vegas, here I come! Attendees were having  a blast betting at the blackjack table and with craps. What made this excursion even more enticing were the hundred dollar chocolate coins passed around.


After winning several hands,  I decided to explore more of the venue. All of a sudden,  I came face to face with two gentlemen who look like they came straight from the Scottish Highlands. As a big Outlander fan (Starz show, watch it), I knew I had to take a picture with them. Look at them rocking those kilts!

I would have loved to take more pictures of all the beautiful people that attended but my phone’s camera wouldn’t do them much I settled on a selfie, and cake and champagne pics. Not pictured was the delicious Bordeaux wine and refreshing 1664 beers that were available at the open bar. Overall, we had a great time. We met fun people and, magically, ended the night with a dance underneath soft, beautiful lights.

Love to wanderlust? Ever want to step onto foreign soil for a night? Join ThingstodoDC Cultural Society to get a remarkable privilege of visiting various Embassies throughout the District.

Dancing the Night Away at the Peruvian Embassy in DC


On Wednesday,  April 25, contributing writer, Moraima Bambaren, joins young professionals at the Embassy of Peru for a ThingstodoDC Culture event that delivers the thrill of Machu Pichu and the majesty of Lima.

“A picture is worth a thousand words”, and it is through pictures that those who are  dis-empowered and marginalized are given a voice said Andres Longui, a Peruvian artist. He  has been a long-time advocate of sharing camera operative knowledge and use for years. Longui has provided cameras and technical instruction to children and adults in rural communities in Peru so they could document and share with the world their experiences.

The result, a collection titled “Ojos Propios” (Translated: Through their Eyes) can be seen at the Peruvian Embassy in DC.

Pictures Courtesy of Nandor Nagy 

Thingstodo.DC and the Peruvian Embassy hosted a cultural Evening at the Embassy of Peru and as a fellow Peruvian, I was eager to set foot on Peruvian soil. Attendees enjoyed a night of diplomacy, art, music, dance ensembles, and of course, Peruvian cuisine.

In 2017, Peru was named the “World’s Leading Culinary Destination” for the sixth year in a row by the World Travel Awards. Therefore, I cannot be labelled as biased when I say that Peruvian food is the best in the world.

The Embassy of Peru, located by Dupont Circle, situated in the Embassy Row Homes, regularly hosts cultural events. I do have to admit that Peruvians do know how to throw a party.

Doors opened at 7:00 pm and once again, I breezed through DC traffic by using Lyft line and arrived on time. Guests were warmly welcomed by the Cultural Events Secretary of Peru, who also asked us to tour the embassy and visit the Ojos Propios. exhibition.

William Gentile, a professor at American University and a visual journalist, said Ordinary citizens of the world now hold extraordinary power thanks to photography. Peruvians aged between 9 to 59 years old were given tools to record their everyday life. The results were breathtaking. Last year, Peru suffered some of the worst flooding in recent decades due to the sudden warming of the Pacific Ocean. I previously volunteered and worked for a disaster relief program that mitigated this situation and helped communities affected by the flood.

Pictures courtesy of Nandor Nagy 

Pictures that captured this tragic event showed Peruvian citizens endurance during rough times and the strength behind a family bond.

Meanwhile, dinner was being served. The menu included: beef empanadas; Lomo Saltado (a stir-fry of  beef sirloin, tomatoes, onions, served with french fries and rice), Aji de Gallina (shredded chicken in spicy sauce); and Dulce De Leche Churros closed the meal as a sweet conclusion. A wide selection of Peruvian wine also accompanied dinner. Guests also had the great opportunity to try Pisco Sour, the country’s national cocktail.

After the glorious feast, event organizers gathered  guests in the main lobby. The Cultural Events Secretary gave a brief speech on the country’s cultural diversity. Diversity influenced Peru’s cuisine, music, and the arts (especially with dance).

And that is when the party really began. Performers dressed in colorful costumes erupted the dance floor with dances from the Andes and the coast of Peru.

Attendees were loving it and clapped along as the dancers engaged into a rendition of the Huaylash, which in Quechua (a spoken language from Peru) means “Youth,”. Huaylash is a dance about and a males pursuit for the females’ attention.  The male dancer demonstrated his youthful energy and strength while,  obviously, the beautiful woman was not very impressed by her suitor.

After the wonderful performances, guests snapped photos with the dancers. If you asked nicely, you could even pose with one of their fantastic hats.

The party ended way too soon! If I am ever in the mood for good food and music, I know I can always go back to the Embassy of Peru.

Gracias Peru for a great night!

Love to wanderlust? Ever want to step onto foreign soil for a night? Join ThingstodoDC Cultural Society to get a remarkable privilege of visiting various Embassies throughout the District.

Georgia (Country) vs. Georgia (U.S State): 2018 Wine Edition


On Friday, April 13, 2018, contributing writer, Moraima Bambaren, joins young professionals at the Embassy of Georgia for a ThingstodoDC Culture event that delivers the Spirit of the country of Georgia through refined sips, swirls, and slurps of several different kinds of wines.

As a recent DC transplant from Atlanta, Georgia I still get homesick sometimes. Spring has clearly sprung down South and i’m not within reach.

So when I read on ThingstodoDC website  about a wine tasting event held at the Embassy of Georgia that has wine connoisseurs comparing wines from both my home state and the country of Georgia—I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. I get a taste of home and I get to learn more about the specialized dry white and red wines from the Caucasus region.

The wine tasting was held on a Friday and the weather was gorgeous: High 70s’ and clear skies paved the way. Luckily for me, I was the only person riding the Lyft pool (normally the car gets crowded) and, miraculously, traffic was light en route to the beautiful, classically built home of the Embassy of Georgia. I arrived well before 7:00 pm and waited outside along with other wine enthusiasts. We all were ready for some much-needed Friday fun.

ga wines
Pictures courtesy of Nandor Nagy 

After diplomats greeted us at the front lobby,  we were escorted to the “wine tasting” room. As soon as I walked inside,  I immediately spotted a few bottles by Habersham, an award-winning winery located in Helen, Georgia. Habersham winery is widely recognized as one of the oldest, and largest winery in the state. Later on in my taste-adventure, I learn that my sweet southern wine could not compete with Georgia’s (country) wine-making tradition and history.

Georgia (country) is located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe. Did you know that many empires tried to possess this piece of land due to its strategic position in the fabled Silk Road? Historically, the country boasts of being the first homeland to Europeans after archaeologists discovered the oldest human skull in this region of Europe 1.8 million years old.

ga wine expert
Konstatine (pictured). All pictures courtesy of Nandor Nagy 

Similarly, several archaeological discoveries point to Georgia as the birthplace of wine. Ancient wine vessels made of clay, bronze and silver, and also vine seeds have been found and analyzed to be 5000 years old. Konstatine, our wine expert at the embassy, informed guests of this fact and brought artifacts such as  traditional Georgian wine ladle made out of 2 pounds of pure silver (an amazing Ebay find) to share.

Guests passed around the Azarpeshi, a silver wine ladle from the 19th century, use for large Georgian feasts such as weddings and community festivals. Guests took several selfies with the ladle, transporting themselves a few centuries back.We also learned that Seperavi is the leading red grape variety in Georgia, the name translates to “the place of color.”

In total, attendees sampled 2 red wines and 1 white from both the state and the country. After this tasting, I can agree with why journalists have declared dubbed the country of Georgia as the California of the Caucasus.

Photos Courtesy of Nandor Nagy 

The embassy also fed  guests  delicious Georgian entrees and desserts that paired well with my new favorite red wine, Manavi.

Embassy of Georgia Tasting: Georgian (Country) vs. Georgian (State) event  made such a great impression with me! The wine, food, culture and people inspired my friend and I into booking our next trip to Georgia, the country and not the state.

Love to wanderlust? Ever want to step onto foreign soil for a night? Join ThingstodoDC Cultural Society to get a remarkable privilege of visiting various Embassies throughout the District.

28th Season of DC Fashion Week: International Flare through a Couture Lense


February 21-February 25, 2018 I had an exclusive invite to cover the 2018 Fall and Winter season of DC Fashion week. Keep in mind, this is right after I covered four to five shows in New York Fashion Week. Let’s just say that I had to keep the fashion momentum going.

D.C Fashion week has been going strong since 2010. Ean Williams, the visionary behind D.C Fashion Week, wanted to highlight brightest stars from DC (and even some of the World)  by showcasing an expansive range of designs, styles, and trends. Here’s a condensed, pictorial, recap of the inventive, imaginative, and immersive couture that I found delicious for the Fall/Winter 2018 DC Shows!

Exclusive Press Event @ Melrose Georgetown Hotel

DC fashion designer square

Haitian Designer Showcase at Embassy of Haiti


Emerging Designer’s Showcase at Crystal Gateway Marriot Hotel

emerging artist

28th International Couture Collections at The Sphinx at K

fashion collage last

What I wore to each show

sherryn fashion

DC Fashion Foundation is the noteworthy non-profit behind DC Fashion week. Feel free to make a contribution here.

About DC Fashion Foundation

The DC Fashion Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization supporting the fashion business community in the Washington, DC area through educational programs, workforce training initiatives, and networking and mentoring opportunities. The Foundation strives to:

• Develop entrepreneurs’ business skills and workforce preparedness
• Improve the quality and availability of fashion industry opportunities
• Strengthen the connections and networks that form the foundation of the Washington, DC fashion community.

Tune into Sharing the Details for exclusive interviews with House of Churchill, Maison Chazelle, Michael Lombard, Corjor International, Cashmere and Pearls, and Ri Noor.

DC fashion week designers



Embassy of Georgia: A Warm and Welcoming Party Experience!


April 5, 2018 I had an exclusive invite to cover the “Experience Georgian Culture” party held at the Georgian Embassy (1824 R street, NW, Washington D.C).

For this party, I wore a black v-neck shirt from Macys, and a long black skirt, with intricate gold designs embroidered at the bottom from Nordstrom. The commute was long, difficult but worth it. I knew finding parking around certain embassies would be arduous so I decided to park my car at Bethesda metro station, metro to Dupont circle and just walk the rest of the way.

Tickets for this event were around $40 and this price includes authentic food, art exhibition, entertainment, and a complimentary swag bag.  The Georgian Center, in partnership with the Embassy of Georgia, sponsored this entrancing party. The embassy, itself, was crowded with a variety of folks ranging from Georgian denizens, DC wonks, and media outlets. The house had expansive floors, an ornate staircase with inscriptions, and a variety of art hung along the walls. There was a complimentary coat check, as soon as you walked through the doors.

Embassy of Georgia party 1
Photo taken by Kevin Hertle 

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.

Embassy of Georgia 6

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.

Embassy of Georgia 3

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.

Embassy of Georgia 2

The food, people, and artwork brought me closer to a better understanding of Georgia. The food had a homemade taste, imitable to if I had a Georgian mom making this from scratch at home. The people were easy-going, warm, and wonderful conversationalists. I especially had a wonderful time getting to know the flash mob and learning more about Georgian culture from key figures from the Georgian cultural center too. The art left an indelible impression with me and I was able to see how beautiful the country side through a creative lens. Overall, I had a magical time and I look forward to attending more Georgian cultural events.

Feel free to make a charitable donation to the Georgian Cultural Center here.

About Georgian Cultural Center

The Georgian Center is a charitable 501 (c) (3) non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting Georgian culture, education, and innovation in the United States of America.The Center is not financially supported by any government and relies on contributions from the diaspora and friends of Georgia.

La Grand Fete 2018 by ‘Smithsonian at 8’: Thirty Embassies, One Delicious Night!


March 23, 2018, La Grand Fete, sponsored by Smithsonian at 8, celebrates the tail-end of DC’s Francophone festival by having 30 embassies provide food, drink, and culture to worldly D.C denizens at La Maison Francaise at the Embassy of France. Music was provided by DJ Princess Slaya, who spun songs from around the world.

Tickets were sold for $40. Because this event sold out, no tickets were sold at the door. Tortoise & Hare Bar and Grille were open throughout the night, offering a bevy of beverages such as cocktails, international beers, and wine. Street parking was limited on Reservoir Road, around La Maison Francaise, and several attendees also used public garages available at Georgetown University Hospital.

la grand fete 2
La Maison Francaise

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.

I couldn’t stop eating one. I had to eat three!

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.

Lots of dancing.. maybe some romancing? France is known as the country of love after all…

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.

When you think of Serbia, think of all the delicious bread you could possibly eat!

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.

Fam from the Embassy of Cote de Voire!

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!

A special thank you to the Embassy of Georgia for exclusively inviting Sharing the Details as their guests for La Grand Fete 2018! It was both an honor and a special treat!

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!


Learning History & Culture of Bahrain with the New Ambassador


On February 21, 2018, Photographer Nandor Nagy, enters into the Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain joining ThingstodoDC Cultural Society and captures an evening of cuisine, film, art, and music in this Photo Essay. 

The Kingdom of Bahrain is an Arab Constitutional Monarchy located in Persian Gulf. It is one of most liberal cultural heritages worldwide, being home to many ethnically diverse inhabitants.

Bahrain’s rich history spans more than 5,000 years and has contributed in many ways to our current day society. Originally home to the Dilmun civilization, Bahrain is marked as  an important Bronze Age trade center which linked Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley. Also, in history, Bahrain is interwoven with the Assyrians and the Babylonians.

Presently, the Kingdom holds an excellent regional and international reputation for its efforts that aim to establish Peace, thanks to the pioneering initiatives of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. Continuously seeking to enhance its cultural and civilized achievements as well as providing a diplomatic introduction, the Embassy of Bahrain invites young DC professionals to dine and network on a Wednesday evening and meet the New Ambassador, Shaikh Abdullah bin Rashed bin Abdullah Al Khalifa.

 [HINT Skip to the next and previous photo using the arrows  ←/→.]

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Photos Courtesy of Nandor Nagy

ARCHITECTURE: The Entrance of the Embassy of Bahrain building.
: Guests enjoying the Specially prepared buffet of Bahrain food.
HENNA ARTIST: Bahrain Henna artist transcribes beautiful pieces of art onto guests’ arms.
BAHRAIN CLOTHING: Beautiful and colorful detailed linens and garments.
BAHRAIN ART: Special paintings, artifacts, regional displays and more artistic work originating from Bahrain.
DIPLOMATIC GREETINGSee the New Ambassador and some of the diplomats from Bahrain!

Love to wanderlust? Ever want to step onto foreign soil for a night? Join ThingstodoDC Cultural Society to get a remarkable privilege of visiting various Embassies throughout the District.

A Night in The Caribbean!


On Friday, February 23, contributing writer, Aubrey Shaffner, joins young professionals at the Embassy of Bahamas for a ThingstodoDC Culture event that delivers the Spirit of Nassau and Paradise Island with a diplomatic touch!

This past weekend I decided to take a step away from the hustle and bustle of reality and head to the Bahamas! Well, actually it was the Embassy Consular Annex of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, but close enough! Between the live music, the food, and the atmosphere, it really felt like I had stepped out of DC and into the Caribbean for the evening.

Held on Friday night, the Embassy hosted a networking event for young professionals in the DC region. The evening started with an insightful speech from the new Consul General of the Bahamas, Mr. Theo Neilly, who not only was so welcoming, but also expressed opportunities for all in attendance to succeed in their business, investment, and networking growth.

His speech was followed by a short video to help get to know the Bahamas a little bit more. It was a great way for everyone there to understand the common wealth and anticipate in finding professional opportunities within the Bahamas. I was lucky enough for a chance to speak one-on-one with Consul General Neilly after his speech. He was wonderful and so approachable. I really appreciated how down to Earth he was. We not only talked about the event but about his time so far in DC, where he described his love of all the “characters “ he found around the city. We also discussed about him coming up to my home city of Baltimore, which I do hope he will soon come to visit!


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Afterwards everyone was free to mingle! Set to the mood of live steel drums, provided by Peter Humphrey from Oasis/Island Sounds, groups began to form around the room as individuals got to know each other. I made many connections and learned about everyone’s different positions. The first gentleman I spoke to helped refugees apply for Asylum in the United States. Especially considering the current tension on the subject these days, it was wonderful learning from someone first hand the steps of the process in which refugees go through. I also met another gentleman who was a medical resident, focusing on Oncology, and two wonderful women who work at Johns Hopkins University focusing on Bioengineering. It was a great mix of individuals and professions.

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Consul General of the Bahamas, Mr. Theo Neilly, and Aubrey Shaffner. Photo courtesy of Hannah Smith.

Quickly after the Consuls speech the buffet opened. Caribbean food is an absolute hit with everyone! All around me quickly moved in to grab a plate of the authentic meal. A selection of spicy cucumber and tomato salad, conch fritters, rice with beans, plantains, and my favorite, curried chicken.

Towards the end of the night, I briefly spoke to the chef in charge of our meal and was  fascinated to learn about how he made some of the dishes. I could have stood there and talked to him all night had we had the time. I even tried to get some recipes but unfortunately he didn’t have them with him. Even dessert was amazing! There were two options: a classic chocolate and cherry cake, as well as a festive coconut and banana bread pudding. I chose the latter and it happened to be the best selection of the entire night! Served warm, the bread pudding was perfectly soft but still provided texture with the crunchy flakes of coconut baked right in. A creamy vanilla rum sauce on top gave it the tropical flair! All together it melted in my mouth and I immediately went for seconds!

To pair with the great meal was a glass of tropical rum punch, that really had everyone in a great mood! Classic options such as red and white wine, and a light beer were also provided. Needless to say the Embassy did an amazing job of hosting; making us feel like we truly were all friends hanging out on an island with no cares in the world. As the event was winding down Mr. Humphrey even gave me a quick lesson on how to play the steel drums! He explained to me how it was similar to learning piano, that both had the same musical scales.

I, along with everyone I connected with, enjoyed the night! Few attendees even shared details about their Embassy event trips through Things to do DC. These events provide a great opportunity to “travel” and truly experience almost anywhere in the world right at home. I do encourage anyone in, or around, the DC area to attend a similar event in the future. My only complaint was that time went by too quickly!

Be sure to head to Islands for the Next ThingstoDoDC Cultural Event at the Embassy of Bahamas: Caribbean Celebration on May 4! 


La Soiree Champagne: More than just sipping bubbly at the French Ambassador’s Residence!


February 6, 2018 from 6 p.m to 9:00 p.m, I attended La Soiree Champagne, an exclusive champagne tasting sponsored by the French Chamber of Commerce of Washington D.C, in its third year! This exquisite cocktail gala was held in the private residence of the Ambassador of France, Gerard Araud, in his presence.

At this party, I had the delightful opportunity to try the best champagne from France’s best, and also mingle with socialites, VIPS, high-ranking diplomats, and  DC event gurus ( Mers Woldemariam from Mers Events, and Greg Bland from, etc…).

Jeanne Hoffman (Le Chic Geek), me, and Greg Bland (

Before I came to the gala, I changed inside the dressing room of a TV station. This fitting room has the brightest lights, longest vanity mirrors, and the best outlet to hookup my 2016, pink, cone shaped curler. So I tried to curl my hair but failed miserably. I may have been using a bit too much Moroccan argon cream in my hair and that could be the reason why I have been failing the hair curl game. Due to the extra lighting in the fitting room, I was able to have my A-game on with my makeup use.

I decided to wear my lacy, cream coffee colored, cocktail party dress that I recently bought from Anne Taylor. I paired this dress with pink earrings from an Italian designer and silvery, sparkly, Badgley Mischka flats from Nordstroms. I am still on the prowl for the perfect gala purse since my shiny, black, Kate Spade purse has been getting a bit tattered here and there.

The drive was decent, given that I did hit some traffic after 5 pm. A great perk with getting my tickets ahead of time was having complimentary valet parking included in the package. There was street parking around the corner of the residence but the valet service was top-notch!

French Ambassador’s residence

The party started at 6, on the dot! Before the doors opened,  a line formed of classically dressed guests in suits, tailored dresses, and well manicured hairstyles. Again, much like when I watched my very first Washington Film Institute film, I was star-struck by the attendees.

Walking through the expansive doors, I was greeted to regal oil paintings, historic busts (Ben Franklin, America’s favorite 100 dollar bill icon) and marble floors. Complimentary coat check was given to all guests and the rest room was conveniently placed by the entrance. Plush, velvet, red seats with a faux gold trimming was placed by the lobby area for guests to sit when they felt a bit woozy from all of the champagne sampling.  Neo-classical tapestries and featured works of art from collections of the Louvre museum  were plastered in different rooms.


As someone who is petite in size (5’1), I measured out my samples to smaller tastes. There were approximately 6-7 bartenders dressed in tuxedos, cocktail dresses, or in prim black garb. Tables were neatly pleated with white cloth, and an endless supply of champagne glasses. Underneath the tables were champagne bottles and cases of Perrier (delicious carbonated water for those who needed to nurse any tipsy spells).

During the duration of my stay, I sampled the following champagnes:  Roger-Constant Lemaire Magnum Rose de Saignee  ($675 retail value), Roger-Constant Lemaire Cuvee Roger-Constant 2008 Limite ($485 retail value)Thienot Garance Vintage 2007,Canard-Duchene Brut Authentic,Canard-Duchene Rose Authentic, and Canard-Duchene Charles VII Blanc de Blancs.  In between sips, I drank as much Perrier as possible and nibbled on several appetizers and desserts. The popular drink of the night, according to several attendees, was the French 75 which was a concoction of champagne, citrus, and the finest cognac known to man. This was a strong drink.–so strong that I felt the effects after one sip.

Along with sampling drinks, The appetizers that I tasted  was the duck foie gras on toast, the black truffle squares, caviar on mini blinis, blinis with a citrus cream, and tomato, parmesan confits. Wherever I walked there was a kind server dressed to the nines, serving me all you can eat appetizers (made by the Ambassador of France’s personal chef). A part of me felt that I left the United States and was on an episode of “Rick Steves Europe” show.
There was a room that was filled to the brim with French oil paintings from several centuries ago. A vast cheese, bread, and charcuterie platter was planted in that room and several party-goers nibbled in a finely tuned circle. 

Much of the crowd was easy-going and nice to chat with. I had a wonderful time getting to know several ladies, such as a notable travel blogger, a house wife in Frederick, the Ambassador’s right hand women, and a budding blogger who is already immersed in the DC philanthropic gala scene. Along with loving champagne, most of us had one, simple thing in common: we loved dessert!


We all talked about how perfect these mini confections were. A popular choice was the mini chocolate sticks with the raspberry jam filling and my personal favorite was the mini canales (the mini brown mountains). Authentic french desserts are so hard to find in the D.C area so sampling them inside the confines of the ambassador’s home was a pure treat.

Speaking of the ambassador, he had a rousing speech in his foyer to a packed audience.  He spoke of how France’s economy has been strong for the past 6 years and how strong the country is given precarious times with the world. France has impacted the world, at large, through more than just champagne. France has contributed to creating jobs oversees, with enhancing the arts, and with massive contributions to the scientific world.

After the Ambassador of France concluded his speech, Denis Chazelle (a native of Champagne, France) and the Executive Director of the French Chamber of Commerce of Washington D.C, gave an informative speech on French-based businesses in the United States. He opened up his speech with a humorous joke pertaining to Nutella that had the crowd smirking.

Around 9:00 p.m, the crowd thinned out and several attendees waited outside for an uber. I had an arresting time, having my vision filled  to the sight of fine oil paintings created by Stephane Koerwyn, listening to airy vocals from Barbara Papendorp, eating only the finest foods that the chef to the Ambassador of France would make, and drinking top-notch champagne from France’s finest wine makers. This event was a true feast of the senses!

The French Chamber of Commerce of Washington D.C holds galas like this as well as similar events that promote networking, promote French culture, and promote businesses. Interested in learning more? Click here!

About the French Chamber of Commerce of Washington D.C

Since its founding in 1896, the French-American Chamber of Commerce (FACC) has been promoting and developing sound economic, commercial and financial relations between the United States and France.As a private, not-for-profit, commercial service organization (501(c)6), the French-American Chamber of Commerce is funded solely through membership dues, sponsorships, and proceeds from events and services.

The FACC consists of 19 U.S. chapters, all dedicated to supporting companies and organizations with bilateral needs and interests. Our members are businesses, organizations and individuals with a stake in French-American trade policy, economic relations and market developments.Founded in 1987, the Washington D.C. Chapter of the French-American Chamber of Commerce (“FACC WDC”) is committed to providing the highest level of service to our members.