Embassy of Armenia: A Refined Culture & Intellectual Society!

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Awhile back I was awarded the privilege and opportunity to see a lecture from his honorable Grigor Hovhannison (Ambassador) at the Embassy of Armenia on the country’s current political, cultural, economic, and social climate.

This was an exclusive event attended by fewer than 30 attendees ranging from philanthropic, international, legal, and political backgrounds. Attire was business professional since this networking event was designed as a business social. I wore a turquoise dress from Saks, silver strappy shoes from Nordstroms, and a basic business blazer from The Limited.

armenian embassy sherryn again
Photo by Mike Braaten 

Often times by embassy row, parking can be quite a challenge. However, if you park after 5:00 p.m you have a better shot with street parking. I had a long commute so I decided to metro to Dupont Circle and walk close to a mile in the beating sun (this was a Summer event).

At the event, I was greeted warmly by volunteers from The World Affairs Council (they tend to sponsor spectacular embassy events) and had memorable conversation with socialites, embassy staff, and with some movers and shakers. The intimate surrounding made it much easier to learn and mingle.

The Embassy, itself, is housed in a beautiful setting that is multi-leveled, and beset with columns inside the quarters. Sculptures, life size paintings, an antique piano, and a refined bar was a welcoming sight when I walked inside the embassy’s cozy doors.

sherryn power shot armenian embassy
Photo by Mike Braaten 

Before attending this event, I brushed up on basics about the country. Such as cognac being a popular drink of choice and lavash being a popular bread paired with sauces, meat dishes, and soups. Unfortunately, neither the liquor or the bread was available at the event. All was forgiven since Armenian red wine tastes like a liquor from the Gods and the shish kebob, veggie and meat dishes left a delicious after taste with me.

Before I chowed down like a lady, I listened to the ambassadors lecture on how Armenia is faring with the world.  The ambassador is a talented speaker. He was able to punctuate open dialogue on the Armenia’s state of affairs with great humor and verve. For example, he had a riveting  slideshow on famous Armenians.

Naturally, everyone laughed when Kim Kardashian was brought up and I was ecstatic he emphasized that a major bandmate from the 90s rock band System of a Down. The ambassador is way too hip and cool. For those of you who have missed this slideshow, check out this link to learn more about the top 100 Armenians who have changed the world.

His honorable Hovhannison educated the crowd in Armenia’s contributions within the United States and overseas for hundreds of years. Here’s some interesting facts:

1.) Chess is a mandatory course to take in most schools.

2.) Armenia was the first country to have adopted Christianity as its official religion.

3.) Armenia is one of the oldest wine producing countries in the world.

4.) The apricot is a symbol of Armenia.

5.) Cher (YES, the one and only) is Armenian.

I hope to visit the embassy again in the near future. There’s much I would love to learn about the refined culture of Armenia.

About World Affairs Council

The World Affairs Councils of America represents and supports the largest national non-partisan network of local councils that are dedicated to educating, inspiring and engaging Americans in international affairs and the critical global issues of our times. The network consists of almost 100 councils in over 40 states. Each non-profit, non-partisan council is autonomous with respect to their governance, financing and programming but share common values. Founded in 1918, it has grown to become the United States’ largest non-profit international affairs organization.

Beaujolais Nouveau and Beyond at the French Embassy

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Dating back several hundreds (possibly thousands of years ago), countries in Europe commemorate Fall Harvest by throwing a party that celebrates crop growth, success with the weather, and community. Lets fast forward to 2017 (more like 2018 since this is a Flashback Friday entry) and countries like France throw elaborate wine sipping parties that entail delicious beaujolais wine, charcuteries paired with pates, wine-infused coq au vin, as well as dancing, romancing, and art.

Alliance Francaise de Washington teamed up with French-American Chamber of Commerce to throw an enticing Fall Harvest event called Beaujolais Nouveau and Beyond that hearkened a few traditions from back in the day. Such as drinking copious amounts of fresh wine cultivated from the plumpest of grapes.  Money raised from this fundraiser directly went to their respective missions.

french embassy sherryn
Pictures courtesy of Nandor Nagy 

I had a magical time at the Beyond the Black dress fashion show not too long ago so it comes to no surprise that the past must repeat itself. I couldn’t help but have a wonderful time at this fundraiser.

For this party, I decided to wear my black, dotted, White House Black Market, cocktail dress paired with my silvery, strappy 4-inch heels that I found at Nordstrom rack. Parking was a breeze! There was free street parking along the embassy and I made sure I had my driver’s license out and ready. Embassy parties like this demand government-issued ids.

french desserts
Pictures courtesy of Nandor Nagy

The party was full of francophiles from all walks of life, philanthropists, young professionals, and food enthusiasts. As a whole, this was a friendly crowd. Guests were open to mingling and to throwing down knowledge of current affairs. Food was abundant for the first three hours of the event as well.

Imagine walking in to all you can eat pastel colored macaroons, apple glazed tarts, tortes (gateause as the French call cakes) accompanied by the finest dark roast french coffee; adjacent to the endless dessert table is a medley of charcuteries, aged cheeses, traditional French Fare; in the back of the mouth-ravishing tables is a long stretch of wine goblets just ripe for the taking. There was no limit to what you can eat or drink.

french wine
Pictures courtesy of Nandor Nagy 

Art lovers who already had their fair share of scrumptious treats, were able to bid on a wide range of paintings, sculptures, and crafts created within and outside the United States. Prices ranged from $500 to $$$ but there was truly a laundry list of takers. I mean, who doesn’t appreciate fine, French art?

The dance floor was spun by a fun-loving DJ who mixed tradiational French music, dance, and even top 40 hits. Young and old danced underneath neon colored orbs in somewhat mashed up groups. What’s also great about the French embassy that some party-goers may not realize is that if your feet ache from dancing on 4-inch heels, there’s always an abundant resting corner not too far from the dance floor. The cushiony seats relaxed my achy self. French dance music somehow gravitates me to the dance floor more so than the average person.

One of my favorite DC party trends is to walk the red carpet and to take pictures (with props, of course). The embassy had professional photographers take glam-shots of all party-goers and I definitely had a ball with that activity.

The party set-up was detailed and precise. I look forward to next year’s “Fall Harvest” where I can simply imbibe wine and dance the night away!

About Alliance Francaise de Washington & French American Chamber of Commerce (DC Chapter)

The French-American Chamber of Commerce, Washington, DC is a not for profit organization with a mission to support strong economic relations between France & the U.S., and promoting our member companies. Our Chapter is one of 19 French-American Chambers of Commerce in the U.S.

The Alliance Française de Washington, DC is dedicated to providing the highest quality of French language training through a multi-faceted approach that promotes lifelong learning and cultural dialogue in an increasingly multicultural society. For more than 60 years, the Alliance Française has been proudly serving the local community, offering quality programs, services and events in close partnership with community, educational and cultural DC partners.

Beyond the Little Black Dress: Francophile-Dream Fashion Show

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As a self-professed Francophile, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to attend and cover this exclusive Fashion show sponsored by Alliance Francais of Washington D.C. This sparkly event was held at the French Embassy on October 7, 2017. Beyond the Little Black Dress is an exclusive gem that D.C trend-setters and fashionistas usually attend.

Whenever I cover an exclusive event, my biggest worry tends to go to parking. However, street parking was abundant and free for this show.  I was quite surprised since Washington D.C is notorious for street parking conundrums (towed cars, hefty tickets, and usual antics).

Sherryn in red
Courtesy of Nandor Nagy 

As soon as I walked in, I was awe-struck by all of these glamazons decked in black attire.  Albeit, Black is the go-to color to wear to all D.C events. For a quick second, I thought I was covering a NYFW show in New York City due multiple fashionista, blogger, and press coteries spanning the party.

Beyond the Little Black Dress had an impressive VIP reception before the show. The reception included complimentary cocktails, goody bags, a silent auction and fun red carpet opportunities. The silent auction featured a Saks Fifth Avenue shopping spree, a hand-made silk couture dress, Parisian food goodie bags, and a romantic trip to Paris and Prague. My heart was totally gunning for the romantic trip to Paris!  Whomever won that bid is one lucky human being.

Models in Black
Pictures courtesy of Nandy Nagar

The show, itself, heralded remarkable D.C fashion designers and companies such as Zophia, Mindy Lam, Le Bustiere, SK Paris, and The Jarmal Harris Project. Lucky for me, the French embassy had both high-end coutour and red wine. I was able to savor aromatic notes of cherry while falling in love with Jarmal Harris’s golden gown ensembles being paraded by some of the most beautiful models I have seen in D.C.

Dani Sauter, founder of Blonde in the District, emceed the event to a packed audience. Her heartfelt words on confidence, inner beauty and on supporting designers who create fashion for women of different body types won the audience over. Her powerful words opened up the audience to some memorable eye candy.

I, as well as various bloggers on scene,  were mesmerized by Stephanie Jacek of Le Bustiere’s handiwork. Her European-inspired lingerie opened up a vortex of opportunities for black hued camis, bras, and undies to make a comeback. My personal favorite was the black, silk, lingerie suit paired with a floppy bunny eared-headpiece. Le Bustiere Boutique is located in Adams Morgan and I hope attendees of the show also check out her hosiery, corsets, and swimwear at her store. Her passion for fashion was quite evident that night.

Designer Mindy Lam, of Mindy Lam Couture, weaves swarovski crystals into her signature metal lace jewelry pieces. Her work has a fresh modern take on florals and vintage style. Much like a magician, she grabbed ocean colored blues, twisty metals, and shiny crystals and transformed these earthly wonders into an ensemble inimitable to most. Her pieces were highly sought after at the silent bid and can also be purchased at http://www.MindyLamCouture.com

One wouldn’t think of wearing aluminum dresses to a party but Stephane Koerwyn of SK Paris opened up this possibility after having several models parade in designs. His aluminum inspired dresses are designed to evoke emotion by allowing enough light to appear through varied forms and reliefs. His work has been displayed in several exhibitions over the past years in Paris, Brussels, London, and Washington DC.

After the show attendees were treated to iridescent macaroons, tarts, and mousse-based desserts in dainty cups from Michel et Augustin. Naturally, this delicious experience was paired with legendary teas from Kusmi Tea. I was privileged to have tasted the Anastasia (orange-blossom-flavored black tea with bergamot & lemon) and the Prince Vladimir (black tea with citrus fruits, vanilla & spices) and I can attest those two teas left a great impression with me.

About The Alliance Francaise De Washington DC

The Alliace Francaise de Washington DC is a 501cs membership-based, non-profit and non-governmental organization. The non-profit’s mission is to build connections through French language and culture. Beyond the Little Black Dress is the alliance Francaise’s largest benefiting cultural programs.