Creative Coalition’s Right to Bear Arts Gala: The Arts Cultivate Young Minds


April 27, 2018 I had an exclusive invite to cover the 2018 Creative Coalition’s Right to Bear Arts gala held at the Mayflower hotel in Washington D.C. This was during the White House correspondent party season where all the top journalists and communication aids are seen schmoozing with a fine wine and gourmand chicken kebab.

What I particularly love about this gala is the mission behind it. The Creative Coalition works tirelessly to work with national leaders on Capitol Hill on protecting federal funding for the arts across small and undervalued communities across the United States. This issue transcends party lines and brings value back to our communities in that the arts cultivates creative thinking skills in children, independent thinking, modes of expression and higher self esteem.  Peer pressure and cyber bullying is at an all time high in schools, and the arts can instill confidence, and solidify individuality among-st kids from various backgrounds. The arts empower artists, creatives, and free thinkers to do what they love.

 In recent news: funding was briefly threatened around May/ June of this year but the Creative Coalition is pleased to announce that the House of Representatives as of July 2018 stood behind the Right to Bear Arts (#RightToBearArts) in properly funding the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA). Now, it’s up to the Senate to fully pass this bill. The house passed the Fiscal year 2019 Interior Appropriations Bill and approved $155 million for the NEA. House members voted down the amendment by a vote of 114-297.

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For this gala, I wore a White House Black Market black dress and a Kay Unger intricately designed velvet blazer. FYI, I don’t think I would ever sell this Kay Unger blazer because Victoria Justice (From Nickelodeon’s “Victorious”) and Tim Daly (President of the Creative Coalition) liked it a lot!

I drove straight from work and fought monstrous traffic to get to this event on the dot. Street parking was scarce so I shelled massive bucks on garage parking a block away from the hotel. I was nervous about this event in particular because my favorite actress as a young teen was going to be featured at this red carpet event.

I will admit, I was obsessed with the WB’s Roswell in the early 90’s and Liz Parker played by Shiri Appleby is my favorite.  The first time I met Appleby was at the  Roswell 15 year anniversary showcased by the ATX Television Festival in Austin Texas. Not only was I right in front of Snooki when she gushed her love of Roswell at the panel but when I first saw Shiri Appleby outside the panel, I dont know why but I cried so much. Because of her character, I also kept a diary and that ended up helping me become a more creative writer.  She was so sweet and gave me a big hug!

So yeah, it’s a big deal seeing Appleby again and I hoped not to cry again as an older adult.

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Took some star-studded selfies with Steve Howey, Victoria Justice, Shiri Appleby and Sara Rue.

So when I saw Appleby again as an older adult, I asked her if she remembered a young woman who cried when she first saw her at the 15 year Roswell anniversary and her eyes teared up and she not only gave me a huge hug, but took me aside and ensured I have a one on one interview with her for Sharing the Details. I had to admit, getting VIP treatment from one of my favorite actresses was a personal highlight for me.

I not only had an exclusive interview with Shiri Appleby (UnReal, Roswell, Life Unexpected) but I also had exclusive interviews with Victoria Justice (Victorious), Tim Daly (Madam Secretary), Sara Rue (Popular, A Series of Unfortunate Events), Steve Howey (Reba, Shameless),  and Nicholas Gonzalez (The Good Doctor).

Exclusive Interview with Shiri Appleby (UnReal)

Before my interview with Shiri, she was joking around with popular character actor, Richard Kind (he’s that guy you see in every 90’s movie). 

SD: Tell us more about your production company?

SA: We sold our first show and that will be announced soon. We’re very excited and it’s just been such an empowering experience. I have been going on at for almost two years. I am starting to figure out how that works. And I feel that I have the opportunity to build a company and with giving other women opportunities. I have been sitting at meetings with other women and they are doing the talking and selling themselves. And they are getting the opportunity. It makes me feel like it’s the greatest thing in the entire world.  Like, we (women) need to keep going forward.

SD: So how do you empower women to get into leadership roles? 

SA: It’s all about having the confidence. I work on it every day too.  It’s all about having the confidence to speak up.

SD: What were the challenges as an actress and director for the recent season of Unreal?

SA: The hardest part was that we shot in Vancouver and my family was in Los Angelas.

SD: What are your thoughts on the Roswell Reboot?

SA: I am like: Ahhhhhh! I am so excited! I want to Reboot ours.

SD: And I have heard you are working on a Roswell reunion?

SA: I am working on it.. I am working on it. We’ll see..


Exclusive Interview with Sara Rue (Series of Unfortunate Events)

SD: Would you ever do Idiocracy 2?

SR: In a heartbeat but I actually think we are living it… so I probably don’t need to do it.. But if they (creators of Idiocracy) ask me to do it than I will.

SD: Can you tell me more about your new series A Series of Unfortunate Events?

SR:  The show is based on the Lemony Snickets book series. I feel so lucky to be a part of this production. One thing that is so brilliant about it is so beloved by kids 5 years old to 70 years old. The range of fans that come up to say they binge watched the series. Literally, a 4 and a half year old at my daughter’s daycare to someone just about to become a grandfather is really exciting to me. I also love to play the character I play. She’s a librarian who turns into a real bad ass. I was real proud to play her.

SD: What are your hopes in congress passing funding for NEA (National Endowment of the Arts)? 

SR: Our hopes is for them to increase the funding. There are so many kids that feel that they don’t belong.  This is why I am here. So many kids are bullied and feel they don’t belong and they cant find their community until they step foot into a theater, or in an art class. These kids need a teacher who can really inspire them with a music class. The arts can really make a person blossom into who they are going to be.


Exclusive Interview with Nicholas Gonzalez (The Good Doctor)

SD: So what your thoughts on Congress passing more funding for the arts?

NG:  Before coming in, I thought this was going to be more difficult. That maybe our argument was going to fall on deaf ears but we have a lot of support with the Republican legislatures who said this kinda the way it goes each year. That each year they fight to keep funding and slowly get it all back in together. It ultimately it was something I felt comfortable walking away from.

SD: How do the arts strengthen the economy and build the community?

NG:  In just the numbers you hear banded together. Every dollar that is put towards the arts you get seven dollars back into the local economy. When you invest in your community, you are investing in their welfare. The arts are responsible for a lot of that.


Exclusive Interview with Tim Daly (Madam Secretary)

(TD:Your jacket is really nice. What is it? SD: It’s velvet..)

SD: How do the arts strengthen the economy and communities at large?

TD:  It’s a fact that the arts strengthen the economy and communities.  There has been data collected for decades about this. That the economic impact of the arts can be assessed that for every dollar invested by the NEA that seven dollars goes back to the economy. It’s a winning investment. I used to think that was enough of an argument to stop there. I would take those odds to Vegas just like that. However not everyone believes in that and I am not sure why. Could it be a fear in the arts that it’s hard to quantify in other ways? Certainly, the arts are the second largest export from the United States. The arts are a huge strength to our economy.

I am here with the Creative Coalition and I am the president of this organization and we’re a bunch of people who are successful actors. A lot of us are known in television and in film and it’s important to me that people understand that I am here to advocate for artists and I am not here advocating for Hollywood or for Broadway.  We have no stake in this game and we have nothing to gain. What we are advocating for is the NEA which gives grants to every congressional district in the United States of America. These small towns who would other wise have no access to arts are who we are fighting for. Not for places like LA, NY or Miami or Chicago. Those cities are fine. Little towns, especially children, need to be exposed to the arts.


Exclusive Interview with Steve Howey (Shameless)

SD: Tell us about your new show?

SH: This new show is based on a movie I did called Game Over Man. The show is doing well, it was fun. I am also on a show called Shameless that’s on Showtime and we go back in a few weeks for our ninth season.

SD: In your opinion, how do the arts strengthen the economy and build communities? 

SH: As you know, for every dollar you donate to the arts the community gives back seven dollars. There’s also a ridiculous amount, like seven billion dollars comes out of the artistic community back into the states. That’s why, it’s a great investment.  And the budget that we are going for is only a $150 billion dollars and we’re talking about hundreds of billions of dollars in return. But the more macro answer to it all is that the arts are so important because we are talking about the development of the human spirit.


Exclusive Interview with Victoria Justice (Victorious)

SD:  Tell us more about your “Girl Up” Non-profit?

VJ:  Girl Up is an amazing organization. This organization empowers girls across the globe and helps provides girls with clean drinking water, school supplies, education and to provide a safe space and community for these girls who wouldn’t have that otherwise. You know that I am all about girl power and it’s something that’s super important to me. I actually wrote a song for them a couple years ago and I went on tour and played the song during the show. We had little girl booths so people can donate and get involved with the organization. The song kinda became the Girl Up theme song. So yeah, it’s a great cause.

SD: Do you keep in touch with the cast of Victorious?

VJ: Yup, we all do keep in touch, occasionally.  Not as much as I like to. I guess everyone is in different places and living their own lives. Being an adult. It’s just a different time now for each of us.  We definitely do try to support each other whenever we can which is really cool. Yeah, we do still keep in touch.


Feel free to donate to the Creative Coalition right here. 

About Creative Coalition

The Creative Coalition was formed for the charitable and educational purposes of bringing together artists and entertainers to learn about pressing issues so they can better inform and influence the community and nation. The Creative Coalition:Sponsors forums for the discussion of central issues such as education policy, violence in America, the role of the media, campaign finance reform and other topics of broad concern. These events ensure a balanced approach that always includes concerned and informed members of the creative professions.Tackles issues of direct importance to the arts and entertainment community, including First Amendment rights, public funding for the arts, and arts education in the public schools.










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.

Planned Parenthood 2018 Gala: Sharing Our Past, Shaping Our Future


April 20, 2018  I covered the 2018 Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington DC’s (PPMW) 2018 Gala held in Union Station. Tickets were $300.00 and that includes VIP reception, a three course meal, the silent auction, and dancing. Attendees invited were donors, board members, socialites, and PPMW advocates.

For this event, I had to leave work early because the VIP reception started promptly at 6:30 p.m. I wore my Anne Taylor floral silk shirt with ruffled sleeves, and a layered, asymmetrical, tiered black skirt from Adrianna Pappel. I think the highlight of my last minute ensemble was my Bruno Magli shoes I bought from Saks.

Courtesy of

I wasn’t sure how parking was going to be around Union Station so I drove straight to Bethesda metro station, parked at the nearby garage, then took a rather long metro ride to the event. As soon as I walked out of the metro station, I was lost for awhile and didn’t know how to find the gala, itself. I was later greeted by an associate of PPMW and she escorted me through a highly secured (police and body guards were everywhere) area. Vocal protesters were within eye-shot so security was a high priority.

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As I walked through the red carpet, I noticed the words “Planned Parenthood” etched in light on the side walls. The exterior decor was impressive and inviting. Inside the venue, I realized how iconic this Capitol Hill setting really was. The reception area was modern, classy with tall ceilings. The walls dripped of opulence, and the veranda that allowed guests to nibble on appetizers, al fresco, brought out rich conversation from notable figures. The venue truly does appreciate natural light–through the skylights in both the East Hall and the side cocktail room. The East Hall was breathtaking, as well.

Naturally, the three bar areas in the reception area were beset by a thirsty crowd. The wait was worth it, my glass of pinot gris quenched my thirst.

CEO Dr. Laura Meyers and Emcee (CNN analyst) Angela Rye. Photo courtesy of

PPMW was founded more than 80 years ago through the idea that access to sexual and reproductive healthcare can enhance people’s lives.  Since 2017, this non profit has served more than 17,000 patients at three of their health centers (Northeast DC, Suitland, MD, and Gaithersburg, MD) by offering services such as breast exams, pap tests, STD testing and treatment, and contraceptive services.

The vision behind this gala is to share PPMW’s rich history. In addition, attendees bared witness to numerous testimonies through speeches, written word, and video as well.

Pictures Courtesy of

After much was shared, dinner started with a bang. A banquet of sorts fed this hungry crowd in the most haute-gourmand way: exotic canapies that experimented with veggies, mousses, and meats; a deluxe donut bar featuring a variation of flavors, and strawberries filled with a luscious cream.  The “Fund Our Future”  silent auction corralled supporters, and helped raise funds to support the Contraceptive Equity Fund which provides low-income women with supplemented costs for contraceptives.

Pictures Courtesy of

Right before the gala, I was whisked away to do one-on-one interviews with two notable women. I was able to learn more about the importance of empowering women from CNN analyst Angela Rye (who was the wittiest emcee with the best one-liners) and learned about the progression and impact of Planned Parenthood from CEO Dr. Laura Meyers. Dr. Meyers has lived a rich life in which planned parenthood services affected her family at a young age.


Exclusive with Angela Rye

SD: So what brought you to host this year’s Planned Parenthood gala?

AR: They (PPMW) have me making remarks for the reception. They reached out through  a traditional booking process and I am elated to be a long-time Planned Parenthood supporter. I respect how they bring access to healthcare services and provide preventative healthcare for women, specifically for women of color. I am grateful to be here.

SD: That’s awesome! We’re glad you can support and emcee the show. So I hear you are famous for the #RyeRoll that gained traction a few years back during Trump’s election. Can you tell us more about this?

AR:  I don’t know if I am famous for it. It was just a moment where I tried to live my authentic truth. In that particular moment I just had enough of people defending Donald Trump’s antics during the election. For a moment, I thought I was off-camera and I just rolled my eyes. I was just tired of it.

SD: I know that you are well known for being a notable figure with women empowerment. Is this part of your mantra for 2018?

AR: Actually, my mantra for 2018.. what I like to say every morning is, “I am Love and Power.” And whatever I do: I want to spread that to people I connect with, people I am in contact with, and people who support me. I always want to make sure that I am empowering women, people of color, folks from my own community.  I think the best way to empower people is to help them to fulfill their own purpose so I work diligently do that; Whether I take on a speaking engagement, spread inspiration through social media, or when I mentor others. I also love to learn from others through feedback from all kinds of people irregardless of position, title, or influence. I believe you can learn from the youngest and the oldest.

Exclusive with Dr. Laura Meyers

SD: So what inspired you to be the CEO of Planned Parenthood in the DC area?

LM: Wow, that’s a great question. First and foremost, my grandmother and my mother who are inspirations for my life. My grandmother had a legal abortion in the 1930s. My mother didn’t have birth control options and with her fifth pregnancy, she developed gestational diabetes in which she lived her latter years of her life without legs. They both inspired me because they both taught me to make choices about when or whether you have children, make all the difference in your life. It shapes your life. Women could not participate in the labor force if we (PPMW) didnt have birth control.

SD: Do you have any advice for women who want to be leaders? Who want to be like you? Who want to take on the reign?

LM: Get involved! Get involved wherever you are. For example, you can volunteer for Parenthood. We have so many opportunities to get involved, whether that’s through our developing leaders program or our ambassador program. There’s so many ways that you can get involved to make a difference.

SD: Last question. I know that Planned Parenthood Metropolitan DC re-opened in 2016. Previous locations endured various openings and closings. I know that this location is successful so can you tell us more about the successes that these current facilities have amassed?

LM: Well, what’s been so wonderful since we opened up our DC house center is that it is a beautiful facility and it affirms all of our values around patient care. Patients come to us because they aspire for a better life. Whatever they are doing now, they want to live their own destiny according to their own views and make their own health decisions. So I would say that the success of the facility is how beautiful it is and how wonderful our staff are. Patients who come to our facility know they will get non judgmental care. That when they say anything and they can say anything, no one will raise an eyebrow. And they will get compassionate, non judgmental care.

Feel free to make donations to Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington DC here.

About Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington DC

Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. was founded on the visionary idea that access to sexual and reproductive health care could transform people’s lives. PPMW has provided high quality, supportive reproductive medical care for families in the DC metro area.

PPMW’s mission is to provide high quality, affordable reproductive health care; promote education programs that empower all individuals to make informed & responsible reproductive choices; & to protect the right to make those choices. PPMW is the oldest & largest provider of family planning services in Metropolitan Washington, serving DC, Maryland & Northern Virginia.

Engineers without Borders (DC) Gala: Dress to the Nines and help a great cause March 23, 2018!


There’s a multitude of reasons why charitable giving is always a positive! Did you know that participants who donate, according to a study from NIH, donating even $100 activates pleasure centers in the brain?

Not only that, charitable giving brings more meaning to ones life, helps others in need and sets a strong example for children to follow!

With that said, why not donate and also wear your best gown or tux?

Engineers without Borders- DC Chapter is having a gala at Josephine Butler Parks Center (2437 15th St NW Washington, DC 20009) on March 23, 2018 from 8:00 p.m to 11:00 p.m. Tickets are just $85 and proceeds go to several humanitarian-based projects that the organization is involved in. Street parking is available around the D.C area. Click here to purchase tickets!

Engineers without Borders, (EWB-DC) is a non-profit humanitarian organization that collaborates with community partners to design and build sustainable engineering projects. Their projects are implemented through a community-driven model based on full partnership with host communities.



This year’s Gala will have an open bar ALL NIGHT, hor d’oeuvres by Eat & Smile Catering, silent auction, DJ, photography by Brian Adrian Photography, a trivia give-a-way contest, and a pitch competition where we will be awarding over $6000 to our project teams determined by audience vote!

The Gala is also a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the DC chapter’s many projects:

1.) Current project: Water Supply project in Cameroon 

2.) Current Project:  Community Center in Panama 

3.) Completed Project: Water Supply in El Salvador 

4.) Two New Projects: A Bridge in Burkina Faso and Water Sanitation in Peru.

There will also be a silent auction featuring items in and around DC as well as good from  partner communities.


The Sharing the Details team will be providing live coverage of this event, tune into our website and social media the day of the event!

Pearl Gala : 30 Years and More to Come!


On February 17, 2018, Sharing the Details contributor, Aubrey Shaffner explored a lavish gala in the heart of Belle Haven Country Club in Alexandria Virginia. She wore a stylish black dress with a deep v neck, had her hair tied up to the side, and wore golden, circle, earrings to match the sparkle of the room.

“Despite an intense winter storm hitting the tri-state area Saturday night, the Community Lodgings 30th Pearl Gala Event was a huge success! The gorgeous ballroom of the Belle Haven Country Club was buzzing with conversation and excitement as friends came together to celebrate the non-profits monumental anniversary.

Community Lodgings was founded by 8 Episcopal churches in the Alexandria Virginia area in 1987. Per their website, “Community Lodgings’ mission is to lift families from homelessness and instability to independence and self-sufficiency through transitional housing, affordable housing, and our Youth education programs… to have a world where all families have access to housing, education and resources to achieve and sustain independence and productivity.”

Contributors: Aubrey Shaffner and Chloe Shaffner.  Picture by Mark Soriano

Since opening, the churches have been able to purchase 44, soon to be 45, apartments that they are able to provide at below market rent to families in need. Beyond housing the program also works with underprivileged community youth.

In 1998, the organization expanded by opening computer literacy and English Language Learner (ELL) classes for adults to combat the risk of homelessness, gang involvement, substance abuse, inappropriate sexual activity and emotional, physical,and/or sexual abuse. In 2002, the organization again expanded, opening the community-based Fifer Family Learning Center. Built to meet the needs of the surrounding Arlandria-Chirilagua community as well as introducing their Youth Education Program. Elementary, middle and high school students, all living below the poverty threshold, could now attend free daily afterschool programs and summer programs, meet with tutors and mentors, learn valuable life skills, and participate in various enrichment and recreational activities. In 2008 Community Lodgings expanded the center, increasing instructional time for at-risk children and their parents. Community Lodgings was also named “Non-profit service provider of the year” by HomeAid Northern Virginia.

Pictures by Mark Soriano

The Gala is an annual fundraiser for the non-profit. The night was celebrated to the music and flair of the 50’s and 60’s classic Motown group, The Intruders, who had everyone excited to get out on the dance floor! A wonderful buffet dinner was provided by the Country Club. Filled with selections such as fish, and chicken, with a variety of sides like green bean salad, corn, and squash as well. Also available was a dessert display of cannolis, tiramisu, and chocolate cake.

Pictures by Mark Soriano

The staff of Belle Haven were so quick and courteous. I had found a high top table off to the side to be able to observe the general splendor of the evening that happened to be near one of the bar stations. The older gentleman behind the bar kept an eye on me all night, making sure I was well and never without a drink, I do wish I would have caught his name. A silent, and live auction also took place to help raise money for the families in need. Some of the prizes included were a trip to Cancun, a private chef for an evening, and tickets to sporting events. To increase the funds raised some anonymous donors even matched individual’s bids. I watched as thousands were brought in to help such a worthy cause.

Pictures by Mark Soriano

In honor of the 30th Anniversary a special awards ceremony was also held, honoring the contributions of several long-time board members, founding faith partners and other community partners. One stand out award was the “Community Hero,” given to John Porter. Everyone involved in the non-profit, whether they were from the beginning or a more recent addition, were genuinely happy to be a part of helping the cause, and working as a cohesive unit to help the individuals and families in need.

Overall, the night was full of success and happiness in the honor of helping those in the community who need it most. I love that Community Lodgings not only knows that their community is stronger together, but really makes it happen. I wish them nothing but the best for another 30 years of success and happiness helping those that truly need it in the Alexandria Virginia area.”

Click here to donate to Community Lodgings, Inc.

About Community Lodgings, Inc.

For the past 30 years, Community Lodgings has helped homeless and low-income families by providing a variety of affordable and transitional housing options. In addition they offer Youth Education programs and Community Outreach. Community Lodgings’ mission is to lift families from homelessness and instability to independence and self-sufficiency through Transitional HousingAffordable Housing and our Youth Education ProgramsLearn more about our history and values.

Fabretto Children’s Foundation- Masquerade Gala 2018: Night for Ninos


February 2, 2018 at 7:30 p.m I donned my flashiest cocktail dress (it was red, sparkly, and Jessica Simpson) and my flashiest shoes (silvery pointed-toe Badgley Mishka) and attended Masquerade Gala| Night for Ninos sponsored by Fabretto Children’s Foundation and held at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

All proceeds from this sparkly event help “unveil the power of food”. Meaning, Fabretto will be able to continue efforts to lift Nicaraguan communities out of poverty by financing more education initiatives. World Central Kitchen (think famous Chef Jose Andres) is a special partner and has been key in creating environments for children to thrive.  From providing nutritional education to parents and teachers, to helping create local jobs and increase family earnings to families in Nicaragua.

I may need a new curler but I had major hair drama that day. I couldn’t curl the way I dreamed too so I used bobby pins to nab the guilty culprit strands down. I used Not Your Mother’s volume hairspray and that helped keep my hair in control.

Anyways, going en route had its ups and downs. Traffic after work was a bit much but I was glad to see parking garages .4 miles away from the venue. Instead of paying $20 for valet parking at the venue, most attendees opted to pay for parking garages nearby that probably cost between ($12-$16) for the evening.

The National Museum of Women in the Arts has a breath-taking venue.  Much of the party was held inside the Great Hall and the Mezzanine, which has an elegant event space ideal for masquerade galas. I definitely had some “Cinderella” moments when I was beset by the spacious marble reception area and I was enamored by the ballroom decked out with three elegant crystal chandeliers and women-made art from the museum. I could not help but also take a few selfies by the white marble staircases that spiral down to the Mezzanine.

This gala was heavily staffed with stewards and stewardesses in white and black uniforms, that either had gold trays of canopies or chill bottles of white wine. I was only 1/4 finished with my drink when a steward walked by me and filled my glass to the brim. All attendees had their table number and bidding numbers etched on the back of their booklets.

Attendees were dressed to the nines. I truly felt dwarfed in size since most guests seemed to tower over six feet. Socialites wore long gowns that kissed the floor and had their hair freshly highlighted and styled for this party.  Ornate, basic, and event feather strung masks were worn by both men and women. Even I couldn’t tell guests apart after they went  incognito.

Here’s an interesting anecdote: This bartender, decked in an all white suit, and a hearty smile was trying to give the tall, actress-like, red head a glass of champagne but accidentally knocked a candle down to her gown. For a good five seconds her dress was ignited with light flames but she was able to kick it off. She was gracious, kind, and forgiving to the bartender and walked off like a true lady. I didn’t know who she was but this was an interesting spectacle to see.

The food was a Michellin star dream come true. I ate a scrumptious egg quiche topped with poach pears, had orzo with fresh tomatoes, sampled five varieties of breads and can declare Greek Olive bread was my favorite, and ate great beef and pork accompanied by cream sauces.

The silent auction, which was on the top floor overlooking the mezzanine, was lined with goodies such as theater tickets, shows, classes, and trips out of state.

After some lengthy hob-nobbing with Fabretto employees, volunteers, and board members I was seated to a beautiful table arrangement. Imagine fluffy black table cloths, gold masks, and candles that seem to have an everlasting flame. The event was spearheaded by the honorary host committee of: Dr. John j. Degioia, President of Georgetown University, His Excellency Francisco Campbell, Ambassador of the Republic of Nicaragua, and prayer from Father Otto Hentz S.J.

Kevin Marinacci (CEO of Fabretto) opened the ceremony by welcoming the crowd, and Brian Macnair (CEO of World Central Kitchen) highlighted the strong partnership between both Fabretto and World Central Kitchen. A live auction featuring inclusive trips to Belize, France, and other exotic locales brought out a verve with the crowd that could only be contained with a lime, green, light saber from the auctioneer.

The silent auction ended to great success: raising 69k for Nicaraguan communities! Live Latin music closed out the party and dancing was immense, magical, and never seemed to end.

Consider donating to this great cause here!

About Fabretto Children’s Foundation

Fabretto’s mission is to empower underserved children and their families in Nicaragua to reach their full potential, improve their livelihoods, and take advantage of economic opportunity through education. This mission is achieved through early education, primary education, and technical vocational education initiatives. Inspired by the legacy of Padre Fabretto, the organization envisions a prosperous Nicaragua where all children and adolescents have meaningful opportunities to grow and learn, in communities that offer access to quality education, so that they may reach their full potential.

For over 60 years, Fabretto has been building relationships within Nicaraguan communities in order to provide hope and a better future to the children and youth in need. Today, the organization serves over 20,000 children and youth through work in seven Fabretto Education Centers and more than 440 local public schools.

Girl Speak: A Murder Mystery Masquerade Gala at the Atrium


January 26, 2018 I joined in a murder most foul. Well, I played a small role as bystander named Sir Tell Alot in a highly engaging Murder Mystery Gala where I deemed the court jester to be the culprit.  This was my first murder mystery masquerade gala and I have to say, this definitely won’t be my last. I had a little too much fun–and all for a great cause.


Picture taken by Lucy Wilson. Founder Sharon Anderson, and WUSA9 Mikea Turner.

All funds raised from “Girl Speak Inc’s An Evening of Mystery at the Atrium, A Murder Mystery Masquerade Gala” go directly to Girl Speak, Inc.

Girl Speak Inc., is a non profit geared towards ladies between the ages of 11 to 24 years old, that empowers young women to ante up their confidence game in the career world.

“Making a Statement through empowering life choices” is the mantra of Girl Speak Inc., founded by Sharon Anderson, to celebrate, educate, empower and unite women.  With the #MeToo Movement gaining traction,  with more women getting into leadership positions in the political realm and with the growing traction with the Women’s Marches, non-profits such as this are the energy force behind a shinier future for all women (no matter what background).

With that said, young woman are invited to by participate in Girl Speak’s upcoming initiative “How’s Your S.E.L.F.I.E Game”, an interactive six week mini life skills program in the Washington D.C area. Sharon Anderson, founder of Girl Speak, hopes to give young ladies a voice and the skill-set to transform their world. S.E.L.F.I.E is the acronym for the themes that are addressed in the curriculum: Self-Esteem, Engagement (Conflict Resolution), Leadership, Financial Literacy, Innovative Thinking and Employment Readiness. This signature initiative has one day conferences that incorporate Community Building, Self Esteem workshops, Career Building and Career Mentoring, Etiquette and Social Graces, Body Image, and Physical and Mental Health courses.

Picture taken by Lucy Wilson

For this gala, I picked out this brand new  green Calvin Klein cocktail dress that exposes by bare arms despite the frigid weather. I paired my dress with black stalkings and black velvet booties since I couldn’t bare the thought of having any exposed skin touch the frigid windchill outside. I decided to try out my new Smashbox lipstick and eye shadow for this party (but I think I over did it with the gold, I just love gold).


The TreeTops Atrium wasn’t too hard to find. In fact, you can metro to this gala if you take the green line towards New Carrollton. I drove to the gala since I was coming from Baltimore City (had to pick up my photographer, Lucy Wilson after all).  Parking was a breeze! It was complimentary and abundant.

Typical gala selfie

When we rolled in, there was a glamorous pink carpet with a photo booth and friendly smiles welcoming us in. The atrium was covered with long windows on the roof, and there were life-long tropical plants dotted around the venue. These towering plants swished and moved over coteries of beautifully dressed board members, volunteers, and donors. So many well dressed men and women inside a large, plant house. I came just in time to participate in the cocktail hour and had a humorous conversation with one board member on the complexities (and extremities) found inside your run of the mill crab cake. That didn’t stop me from noshing on two, three, or four of these bad boys.


I ate that, and continue to nosh on these slender but delicious egg rolls paired with an orange glaze sauce. There was a beautiful ice tea fountain by the bar, and my glass of white wine was consistently filled by staff.

The silent auction was spearheaded by Mar’Tina Parker who had attendees roaring in laughter over her witty one-liners, and prompt responses to auction sales. Dinner included a crisp salad, salmon stuffed with crabmeat, chicken marsala accompanied with string beans with roasted red peppers, seasoned creamed potatoes, artisan rolls, southern iced tea and creamy cheesecake shooters.

After dinner, all attendees were treated to participate in a murder mystery called “A Royal Affair” presented by Sleuth Ink. The core characters (such as the King from “Coming to America” and the artist formerly known as Prince) danced to the front. Hundreds of movie and music one-liners were peppered into their acting and attendee participation added a whole lotta’ fun.

Special guest host Mikea Turner from WUSA9, a CBS affiliate in D.C, emceed and added more sparkle to this rousing event with her words, and overall presence.

Check out Girl Speak online here  and please donate to this great non-profit!

About Girl Speak, Inc.

Girl Speak, Inc. is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization designed to unite, educate, empower, and celebrate young ladies with and without disabilities through uniquely cultivated training, maximization of one’s potential, enrichment of various skills and transformation of the mind which will create a legacy, and a higher quality of life for themselves, their communities and worldwide



4th Annual AMPA National Gala


On May 13th, 2017, I had the privilege and honor of attending the American Military Partner Association’s (AMPA) annual gala, held at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill.

I was there to support hundreds of our nation’s LGBT service members, veterans, military spouses, allies, from across the country and around the world at the 4th Annual AMPA National Gala, proudly presented by USAA and Comcast NBCUniversal.

ampa gala 6
Courtesy of JK 

AMPA is the nation’s largest resource and support network for the partners, spouses, families, and allies of America’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) service members and veterans.  As a  nonprofit organization founded by the partners of active duty service members, AMPA has grown to the strength of over 50,000 members and supporters and is proud to be leading the nation in education, advocacy, and support for our modern military families.

Through their unprecedented work, they are building strong resource and support networks like no other. Their Mission is to connect, support, honor, and serve the partners and spouses of America’s LGBT service members and veterans – our nation’s modern military families.

This particular gala had ornate architecture and a sprawling bar that showcased delicious wines, great conversation and memorable times.

At the event, I was able to mingle with several modern military families at the reception.  I learned so much about various trials and tribulations military couples endure even to this day.

Although “Dont Ask Dont Tell” has been repealed since 2008, many couples still deal with ramifications and hardships due to society’s constructs.

ampa gala 8
Courtesy of JK 

One of my personal favorite moments was when I met this adorable army couple. They had a riot when they found out I had Power Ranger pez dispensers in my purse and started to play with it, and that brought in a bigger, more boisterous crowd. This gala was a celebration of love and joy and everyone was able to unwind and goof off.

The reception opened up with remarks from notable staff and with military influencers. The gala closed with goals on how to enhance AMPA’s mission and with scoring scholarship funds (thanks to Comcast) for military spouses who want to go back to school.

If you want to support the American Military Partner Association, visit their website here

About American Military Partner Association

The American Military Partner Association is the nation’s largest resource and support network for the partners, spouses, families, and allies of America’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) service members and veterans. As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded by the partners of active duty service members, AMPA has grown to the strength of over 50,000 members and supporters and is proud to be leading the nation in education, advocacy, and support for our modern military families. Through our unprecedented work, we’re building strong resource and support networks like no other.

Right to Bear Arts Benefit Gala: Red Carpet & Advocacy


MSNBC’s Greta VanSustern

The White House correspondents dinner tends to be a huge event in the Washington D.C area. What many non D.C residents may not know is that there’s the main dinner and there are are sprinkling of exclusive dinners connected to the big event.  With many White house Correspondent parties getting cancelled, the Creative Coalition stepped up to open up their gala.

I had an exclusive invite this year to attend the 4th annual Creative Coalition #RightToBearArts gala on April 28, 2017. This star-studded event was held at Flavio DC, one of Georgetown’s premier Italian restaurants.

Here I am with Christine Social!

This year’s gala was relevant to the times,  especially since the recent  proposed budget cuts  may eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and this program is responsible for kids across the nation to visit art museums, learn literature, music, theater, design and beyond. NEA is an independent federal agency that funds funds, promotes, and strengthens the creative capacity of our communities by providing all Americans with diverse opportunities for arts participation.

Corporation for Public Broadcasting President, Patricia Harrison.

The event was attended by  The Creative Coalition’s celebrity delegation headed to Capitol Hill earlier that day in an effort to bring  their “#RightToBearArts” campaign to elected officials.  The delegation was comprised of:  Tim Daly (“Madam Secretary”), The Creative Coalition CEO Robin Bronk, Sarah Wayne Callies (“Prison Break”), Wendi McLendon-Covey (“The Goldbergs”), Chad Lowe (“Pretty Little Liars”), Alyssa Milano (“Mistresses”), Denis O’Hare (“American Horror Story”), Nick Sandow (“Orange Is the New Black”), Aaron Staton (“Mad Men”),  and Matt Walsh (“Veep”).

Wendi Mclendon-Covey (The Goldbergs & Bridesmaids)

Along with the delegation, leading Washingtonians, top celebrities, and media convened to dine on a delicious 3-course menu.

The sweltering heat, did not stop me from having some interesting one-on-one interviews with Chad Lowe, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Matt Walsh, and Sarah Wayne Callies. 

Chad Lowe

Each star had their own views on federals cuts towards the arts. What we can all agree upon is that a slash to art funding will  not only upend the nations future by depriving a healthy outlet for children to expand their minds but will also curb resources in poorer regions to be able to cultivate one’s critical thinking skills.

Question:  What are your thoughts on the federal cuts to the arts programs?

Chad Lowe: So, ironically, enough the Federal Government wants to increase spending on Defense but wants to cut the Arts funding. Keep in mind spending for the arts is only just 0.004 percent of the budget. The federal government must set an example of prioritizing funding for the arts. What most people don’t realize is that the arts funding is not going directly, per se, to Hollywood. This funding goes directly to theaters, museums, dance classes, workshops, and other outlets that let children from all walks of life be able to participate in. Funding of the arts spreads to the greatness  of the country and even secures our status as a great nation to the world. Where we are placed in the history books is how we value and treat our citizens.  The arts shape history and also preserve our culture. The arts withstand the test of time by cultivating a society and enriching those to find their potential. By cutting out the arts from people’s lives, we are taking away a basic human necessity for further growth.

Matt Walsh: Money has been going into this infrastructure for quite some time.  A contribution to the arts directly correlates with college enrollment, top university success, and with creative minds ready to embark on making a change for the world. Without enough resources for the arts, kids will not be able to develop stronger independence skills or be able to have the confidence to make their own path, whether if it’s in the arts field or elsewhere.

Wendi Mclendon-Covey: So we all went up to the Hill today to advocate for the Arts. This is unsurprising but both parties were on our side. There’s bipartisan support for having the arts.

Sarah Wayne Callies: The arts balances out children, adults, everyone. We need the arts in order to thrive as a collective society and to get even better.



This event was also sponsored by  Hollywood on the Potomac, Maestro Dobel Tequila, Line 39 Wines,Blue Moon Brewing, and Blackwing Pencils.

About The Creative Coaltion

The Creative Coalition is the premier nonprofit, nonpartisan social and political advocacy organization of the entertainment industry. Founded in 1989 by prominent figures in the creative community, including actors Alec Baldwin, Ron Silver, Christopher Reeve, Susan Sarandon and Blair Brown, TCC educates and mobilizes leaders in the arts community on issues of public importance, specifically in the areas of First Amendment rights, arts advocacy and public education.