Motorweek is a show that is one of the first automotive television series that presents car reviews, features, and comparisons nationwide through PBS, Discovery Network, and Velocity and Internationally on the American Forces Network.
I had the exclusive privilege to be a guest interior tester for a 2018 Porsche 911 S Cabriolet on episode 45 of season 37 of Motorweek. This episode premiered nationally and internationally on July 14, 2018 at 5:00 p.m Eastern time. Click to watch the episode for free here.
For this guest starring role, I had to dress the part as a young woman who would actually own this car. The day before, I got my nails done and bought a Vince Camuto Spring dress and Italian made necklace and bracelet from Nordstroms. I didn’t have time to get my hair done so I crossed fingers that the Moroccan argan cream in my hair gave off a socialite vibe.
Although my segment was only 50 seconds long, my shoot took between 1-2 hours. The Motorweek team wanted to make sure the weather had a bit of a downcast to highlight this beautiful vehicle.
Much of what I did was manuevering the interior interface, playing around with the wheel, and adjusting the seat to my liking (I am as short as a leprechaun and I was able to adjust the seat well).
What’s really interesting about the Porsche 911 is that this really is a great Summer vehicle to take the top off. The look is sleek and has a classic porsche look plus the dynamic boost function allows the driver to ease at the throttle.
The longer I sat in the car, the more this felt like this could really be my car. I had a wonderful time working with the Motorweek production team and jamming out acapella to 80’s rock jams. That was a definite magical moment in my life.
If you want to get in touch with nature, you can easily drive down back roads and take the scenic route due to the 2018 cabriolet body style of the car. I legit couldn’t stop grinning when I was in the car. I really enjoyed the leather seats and the first class feeling of the interior. I love this car so much!
The launch control of the car is so great, you can leap of any line. The 2018 Porsche 911 costs around $204, 050, has 580 horsepower, and in just 2.9 seconds you can go 60 MPH.
What made this guest appearance even more memorable was that I get to use the same catchphrase Biz Markie used in the song “Just a Friend”. I only had one line, and that line was, “Oh Snap!”
I thought it was so awesome my catchphrase was promoted on Motorweek’s Instagram and Twitter account.
April 20, 2018 I covered the 2018 Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington DC’s (PPMW) 2018 Gala held in Union Station. Tickets were $300.00 and that includes VIP reception, a three course meal, the silent auction, and dancing. Attendees invited were donors, board members, socialites, and PPMW advocates.
For this event, I had to leave work early because the VIP reception started promptly at 6:30 p.m. I wore my Anne Taylor floral silk shirt with ruffled sleeves, and a layered, asymmetrical, tiered black skirt from Adrianna Pappel. I think the highlight of my last minute ensemble was my Bruno Magli shoes I bought from Saks.
I wasn’t sure how parking was going to be around Union Station so I drove straight to Bethesda metro station, parked at the nearby garage, then took a rather long metro ride to the event. As soon as I walked out of the metro station, I was lost for awhile and didn’t know how to find the gala, itself. I was later greeted by an associate of PPMW and she escorted me through a highly secured (police and body guards were everywhere) area. Vocal protesters were within eye-shot so security was a high priority.
As I walked through the red carpet, I noticed the words “Planned Parenthood” etched in light on the side walls. The exterior decor was impressive and inviting. Inside the venue, I realized how iconic this Capitol Hill setting really was. The reception area was modern, classy with tall ceilings. The walls dripped of opulence, and the veranda that allowed guests to nibble on appetizers, al fresco, brought out rich conversation from notable figures. The venue truly does appreciate natural light–through the skylights in both the East Hall and the side cocktail room. The East Hall was breathtaking, as well.
Naturally, the three bar areas in the reception area were beset by a thirsty crowd. The wait was worth it, my glass of pinot gris quenched my thirst.
PPMW was founded more than 80 years ago through the idea that access to sexual and reproductive healthcare can enhance people’s lives. Since 2017, this non profit has served more than 17,000 patients at three of their health centers (Northeast DC, Suitland, MD, and Gaithersburg, MD) by offering services such as breast exams, pap tests, STD testing and treatment, and contraceptive services.
The vision behind this gala is to share PPMW’s rich history. In addition, attendees bared witness to numerous testimonies through speeches, written word, and video as well.
After much was shared, dinner started with a bang. A banquet of sorts fed this hungry crowd in the most haute-gourmand way: exotic canapies that experimented with veggies, mousses, and meats; a deluxe donut bar featuring a variation of flavors, and strawberries filled with a luscious cream. The “Fund Our Future” silent auction corralled supporters, and helped raise funds to support the Contraceptive Equity Fund which provides low-income women with supplemented costs for contraceptives.
Right before the gala, I was whisked away to do one-on-one interviews with two notable women. I was able to learn more about the importance of empowering women from CNN analyst Angela Rye (who was the wittiest emcee with the best one-liners) and learned about the progression and impact of Planned Parenthood from CEO Dr. Laura Meyers. Dr. Meyers has lived a rich life in which planned parenthood services affected her family at a young age.
Exclusive with Angela Rye
SD: So what brought you to host this year’s Planned Parenthood gala?
AR: They (PPMW) have me making remarks for the reception. They reached out through a traditional booking process and I am elated to be a long-time Planned Parenthood supporter. I respect how they bring access to healthcare services and provide preventative healthcare for women, specifically for women of color. I am grateful to be here.
SD: That’s awesome! We’re glad you can support and emcee the show. So I hear you are famous for the #RyeRoll that gained traction a few years back during Trump’s election. Can you tell us more about this?
AR: I don’t know if I am famous for it. It was just a moment where I tried to live my authentic truth. In that particular moment I just had enough of people defending Donald Trump’s antics during the election. For a moment, I thought I was off-camera and I just rolled my eyes. I was just tired of it.
SD: I know that you are well known for being a notable figure with women empowerment. Is this part of your mantra for 2018?
AR: Actually, my mantra for 2018.. what I like to say every morning is, “I am Love and Power.” And whatever I do: I want to spread that to people I connect with, people I am in contact with, and people who support me. I always want to make sure that I am empowering women, people of color, folks from my own community. I think the best way to empower people is to help them to fulfill their own purpose so I work diligently do that; Whether I take on a speaking engagement, spread inspiration through social media, or when I mentor others. I also love to learn from others through feedback from all kinds of people irregardless of position, title, or influence. I believe you can learn from the youngest and the oldest.
Exclusive with Dr. Laura Meyers
SD: So what inspired you to be the CEO of Planned Parenthood in the DC area?
LM: Wow, that’s a great question. First and foremost, my grandmother and my mother who are inspirations for my life. My grandmother had a legal abortion in the 1930s. My mother didn’t have birth control options and with her fifth pregnancy, she developed gestational diabetes in which she lived her latter years of her life without legs. They both inspired me because they both taught me to make choices about when or whether you have children, make all the difference in your life. It shapes your life. Women could not participate in the labor force if we (PPMW) didnt have birth control.
SD: Do you have any advice for women who want to be leaders? Who want to be like you? Who want to take on the reign?
LM: Get involved! Get involved wherever you are. For example, you can volunteer for Parenthood. We have so many opportunities to get involved, whether that’s through our developing leaders program or our ambassador program. There’s so many ways that you can get involved to make a difference.
SD: Last question. I know that Planned Parenthood Metropolitan DC re-opened in 2016. Previous locations endured various openings and closings. I know that this location is successful so can you tell us more about the successes that these current facilities have amassed?
LM: Well, what’s been so wonderful since we opened up our DC house center is that it is a beautiful facility and it affirms all of our values around patient care. Patients come to us because they aspire for a better life. Whatever they are doing now, they want to live their own destiny according to their own views and make their own health decisions. So I would say that the success of the facility is how beautiful it is and how wonderful our staff are. Patients who come to our facility know they will get non judgmental care. That when they say anything and they can say anything, no one will raise an eyebrow. And they will get compassionate, non judgmental care.
Feel free to make donations to Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington DC here.
Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. was founded on the visionary idea that access to sexual and reproductive health care could transform people’s lives. PPMW has provided high quality, supportive reproductive medical care for families in the DC metro area.
PPMW’s mission is to provide high quality, affordable reproductive health care; promote education programs that empower all individuals to make informed & responsible reproductive choices; & to protect the right to make those choices. PPMW is the oldest & largest provider of family planning services in Metropolitan Washington, serving DC, Maryland & Northern Virginia.
February 16, 2018 I had this unique opportunity to not just cover one designer for New York Fashion week but four at one show. Christina J. Kim, Selly Djap, AJ Saunders and Blakk April rounded out the tail end of the”Street Fashion” segment of NYFW 2018. This show was held at the Sunset Terrace at Chelsea Piers from 4 p.m to 7 p.m.
The night before, I drove to New York City around 12 a.m and finally came to my hotel, the Eurostar located at the heart of Wall Street, around 5 a.m. I swear I haphazardly packed. I lost my right Italian leather shoe from my suitcase due to the crunch on time. When I woke up by 1 p.m, I dolled up my face, wore black from top to bottom (it’s the New York and D.C thing to do) and sported a sparkly, gold, jacket that was originally sold from a boutique in Los Angeles. Inclement weather (the drizzle and the freeze) didnt stop fashionistas from rocking their best threads.
From the hotel, I took an Uber ($10 price ride) to the location and met up with my photographer. We were covering behind the scenes for this year’s shows. This was my first time seeing models getting their hair done, practicing their catwalk, and lounging with a Starbucks drink before a big show. I learned from behind the scenes, how much work went into getting ready and with how the networking game as changed. Instagram is the best way to connect with Fashion designers, models, stylists, and photographers.
Lighting is key. So much prep work went behind providing enough natural and unnatural light for incoming media. Sharing the Details was able to have a video interview with both designers Christina J. Kim and with Selly Djap. Stay tuned for future exclusives on them and on AJ Saunders and Blakk April.
On top of that, I have never watched a fashion show below an Ice rink before! This was a brand new experience.
This new experience may tie in to a sea change with the NYFW industry. According to Forbes, NYFW and the shows have been dealing with turbulence in attendee turn outs. Brands, big and small, are turning to live streaming a fashion show while others cancel shows on the fly and try to recreate unique parties and fashion experiences at hotels, pop-up locations, and anything else tied to what’s trendy.
The fashion industry, collectively, has to meet changes and demands from a newer generation and from newer transnactional relationships. Customers want to know who created their products. Social media has ensured a transparency in this case. Brands are starting to rethink ways to reach their consumer base and to surprise them. This fashion paradigm has greatly affected the way a NYFW show is produced and executed.
For newer designers, this welcoming change means room for creativity. Instead of most shows following a format of attendees sitting idly in a row where models do a simple catwalk down the aisle at an exclusive venue. More shows, like the one I attended, are held in unique locations like an Ice Rink and have impromptu events–for example, a live engagement parlay between two VIP attendees which actually happened in between Selly and Christina’s show–to revive the shows with a new, verve.
After the video interview, I took a seat at the front. VIP and general admission started to pour in and trickled down to sit, network, and take selfies. The bar from behind served guests wine, beer, and delicious cocktail drinks.
Fashion Designer Selly Djap’s Winter 2018 “Trauma” line showcased an eclectic arrangement of black dresses that portray sexual re-awakening after going through abuse. This fashion line was inspired by her personal history. Asymmetrical necklines, sequence trimmings, sheer/ transparent sleeves, made a bold statement with several dresses worn. Business casual ensembles with tight pants, bare shoulder tops, spark the imagination with the crowd. Selly’s previous fashion line, “Sex” explored a variation of pinks, silks, floral beaded patterns that are also reminiscent to her conservative upbringing in Indonesia.
After Selly’s models sashayed out. A brief intermission was set. I had this wonderful opportunity to meet talented photographers who worked directly with Christina and with Selly. Their passion, eye for creativity, and kindness exuded with each photo they took.
Christina J. Kim’s Winter 2018 line, “Alter Ego” took the audience by surprise. Her contemporary, underground, street fashion line is full of mixed fabrics, bold colors, and mixed mediums. Her garments can work well for both genders. Christina’s past collections focused on details and minimalism and her color palate was primarily an array of neutrals. With her newer line, models paraded floral prints, over sized sweaters with over-stuffed cowl necks, asymmetrical neckline shirts and a splash of gingham.
Blakk April Collection titled “I Got Issues” was inspired by allowing people to reach their dreams. Roosevelt (birth name) used sheer, soft, fabrics that hug and enhance a woman’s natural curves with some of the dresses he designed. Blakk April experiments with capes, multi-high-level slits in the front of dresses, pastels, and shimmering greens that could only bring out a lively gown. His eye for women’s fashion for this line brought out a wave of I-phones out from the VIP attendees. His previous collection, April Wardrobe Raw Edges, experimented with plaids, stripes, and solid toned pieces. His previous collection gave off a casual, going to rock my local indie show vibe whereas his recent line exuded a glittery, awe-struck club going vibe.
Last by not least is AJ Saunders “Maladjusted” Collection took in the known, unknown, and wove in a creative spin with gender neutral clothing. AJ started a gofundme page last year to be able to do a NYFW show this year, and this line paid off in spades. Her mantra for each piece which is “manipulation of the self to make the inaccessible accessible” was exuded due to her eclectic use of material, anatomical structures, and with breaking new ground with gender identification for tops, bottoms, and all kinds of ensembles. Her further experimentation with 3-D printing, chest binders, and human anatomy-inspired shapes evinced a reaction from the audience and even blew up a couple Instagram accounts. AJ definitely thought outside the box with this line.
Each designer’s vision brought down the house, so to speak. Attendees clamored up to each designer up the show for photo opps, Instagram handle shares, and to pick apart these innovative thinker’s brains. This was more than just a memorable show, these showcases stretched my own imagination quite a bit.
Stay tuned to Sharing the Details for exclusive interviews with Designers Christina J. Kim, Selly Djap, AJ Saunders and Blakk April.
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.
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.
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.
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
Ever since I was a young college student, I had a penchant for art museums. I would often frequent the Baltimore Museum of Art and the American Visionary Art Museum (student discounts, anyone?) whenever I had the chance.
Lets flash forward to the present day and Santa granted me an early Christmas gift. I was awarded the chance to attend the unveiling of the American Visionary Art Museum’s newest art exhibit: The Great Mystery Show as both a media guest and art reviewer. The 18-year-old in me was jumping for joy!
I wore a cowl neck sweater dress from White House Black Market, mini Buddha earrings from Rachel Roy, and red Michael Kors flats for the cosmic after party held beside the museum. Parking was a breeze. There’s ample street parking along the side of the museum, and all you need is enough quarters to last you 2-3 hours.
Rusty Scupper and other notable seafood joints are right across the street form the museum. If you wanted to eat inside the museum, Encantada ($15- $30) is upstairs inside the museum but you need to make sure that you want eat several small plates. One plate will not be enough.
The party started at 6:30 p.m so I had 30 minutes to kill. I naturally ventured into the gift shop, and didn’t want to leave. I bared witnessed to the kookiest toys this side of the East Coast: religious bobble heads, Chinese bug toys, post cards with mashed up vintage art, as well as discounted saris, Mr. Rogers mints, and David Bowie retro earrings. I prematurely snacked on vanilla wafers too, knowing full well that the party I was about to attend will have food.
I arrived ten minutes late (not by choice but due to biding my time) and really digged the space theme. There was a sparkly disco ball in the middle of the dance floor, a dj, and a long food table with appetizers, breads, pastas, spreads, desserts and mini sandwiches. Guests were truly Baltimore. Folks from the art world dressed in eclectic fabrics, hairstyles, and jewelry. Philanthropists wore modest yet fashion forward dresses. Lets just say that I had way too much fun people watching. Only in Baltimore!
The gazebo outside was cool enough for lively chatter, and a welcoming queue by the bar where party patrons had the option to purchase beer and wine.
Rebecca Alban Hoffberger, founder of the museum, welcomed the rousing crowd with an anecdote and an official opening of the exhibit. She thanked sponsors from the NASA Space Telescope Science Institute, The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust, as well as other visionary arts, lenders, and sponsors. As soon as her speech ended, the crowd formed a beeline to the museum.
Art patrons were more than just eager to see the art before the general public. There was a not so mysterious curiosity etched on people’s faces. Various pieces spoke to different people. In some ways the lengthy descriptions didn’t do enough justice for what the artists were trying to convey.
The Great Mystery Show, as a whole, skillfully peels away the unknown and leaves observers with enough clues to solve micro and macro-scaled questions in the shape of art forms.
Questions on the moon landing, religion, cats, and different cultures were answered in the shape of mosaic bunnies, iridescent gold agriculture statues, and morbid alphabet stories (Edward Gorey was really popular in the 1960s for his depictions of the afterlife for kids). Quotes from great philosphers, literary greats, and thinkers segued guests into different rooms in which even more mysteries on near death experience, the human heart, cats, and UFOs kept patrons curiosity going. It was unending. Like a thrill ride on repeat but better.
Moreover, I have way too many favorite art pieces from this exhibit to list in a short review.
1.) All of Edward Gorey’s alphabet kid-friendly horror stories made me guffaw inappropriately in front of families. I felt bad but couldn’t help how funny this particular exhibit was. For example: C is for Clara who wasted away, N is for Neville who died of ennui, and M is for Maud who was swept by the sea. Maybe it was the times, but, then again, the book series “All my Friends are Dead” by Avery Morrison and Jory John and “Go the F%&* to Sleep” read my Samuel L Jackson are becoming child literary classics. History repeats itself.
2.) Roominous by Nancy Josephson was made for a ripe imagination. Ornate beads, twisty metals, traditions rooted in Haitian culture inspired three maidens found in the picture above. Josephson changed her previous career, and refocused her creativity in the arts. Her work, oft-times punctuated with humor, as been displayed in several exhibits.
3.) Rabbit Whole by Nancy Youngist reminded me of the rabbit from “Alice in Wonderland. The mosaic beans, wily expression, and story about how this bunny represents a woman’s true independence left an indelible impression with me.
As an art lover who loves whimsy, creativity, uniqueness, and curiosity, I highly recommend this exhibit. If you have a question on the meaning of life and want to see evidence gathered by notable artists, visit the American Visionary Art Museum.
About American Visionary Art Museum
The American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM) is an art museum located in Baltimore, Maryland’s Federal Hillneighborhood at 800 Key Highway. The museum specializes in the preservation and display of outsider art (also known as “intuitive art,” “raw art,” or “art brut”). The city agreed to give the museum a piece of land on the south shore of the Inner Harbor under the condition that its organizers would clean up residual pollution from a copper paint factory and a whiskey warehouse that formerly occupied the site. It has been designated by Congress as America’s national museum for self-taught art.
On April 27, 2017, I had the honor of attending the 6th Annual Garden of Light Gala sponsored by the Bethany House of Northern Virginia at the Crowne Plaza in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.
Garden of Light shined a bright light on domestic abuse and how people can come support the transformation of the lives of women and children suffering from this affliction.
Attendees were treated to a three course dinner, live auction, and listened to inspiring stories of survivors.
All proceeds from this event will benefit women and children served by Bethany House’s Family Assistance Program.
Domestic abuse can happen to any woman. In fact, I borrowed some statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence just to highlight how harrowing and stark domestic abuse really is:
1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men in the United States has been raped in their lifetime.1
Almost half of female (46.7%) and male (44.9%) victims of rape in the United States were raped by an acquaintance. Of these, 45.4% of female rape victims and 29% of male rape victims were raped by an intimate partner.
On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.1
1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.1
1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.1
1 in 7 women and 1 in 18 men have been stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime to the point in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.1
On a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide.9
The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide by 500%.10
Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime.2
Women between the ages of 18-24 are most commonly abused by an intimate partner.2
Domestic victimization is correlated with a higher rate of depression and suicidal behavior.
The Bethany House of Northern Virginia is a non-profit that provides emergency shelter and supportive services to victims of domestic violence throughout Northern Virginia and the surrounding DC metro communities.
Services they offer are:
If you are interested in volunteering with this great organization, please click here.
About Bethany House of Northern Virginia
BHNV has provided safe and confidential shelter and support services to families and individuals recovering from domestic violence for more 38 years. Our mission is to help women and their children who have suffered from domestic violence regain health and dignity and become reestablished in their community by providing temporary housing and support.
For more information, visit www.bhnv.org or call 703-658-9500.
April 28th 2017, I had the privilege of attending the National Restaurant Association’s reception “Toast to the First Amendment” party that honors the White House Correspondent’s dinner, L Street in Washington D.C.
Top media officials, congressional staffers and other notables were in attendance at the event.
Guests partied on the eighth floor of the National Restaurant Association office where the bulk of the party took place. At the top of the stairs, party-goers imbibed specialty mixed drinks and tried an assortment of gourmet beer at the bar.
Guests were also treated to a specialty cocktail made by acclaimed mixologist Zebulon Jones. For foodies, there’re only the finest. Separate rooms had mini tacos, sliders, and chicken lollipops. In addition, the dessert room had sweet bites as well as after-dinner cocktails and coffee. My personal favorite are the Pinot Noir Chocolate bonbons but I know many other attendees strongly fell for the tiramisus in a cup.
The weather was so cool and crisp at night, that much of the party convened by the balcony to partake in a rare liquor tasting sponsored by the Distilled Spirits Council. Guests were privileged to try the rarest and most expensive liquors in the world, including Johnny Walker Blue!
In addition, the Beer Institute took over a large alcove to allow guests to sample rare beers, including Bells Mars and Madam Rose! My personal favorite was this bright ale from the New England area. Other attendees told me that there was this one beer with an extremely high alcohol concentration– it was the perfect dare for newer attendees to try. I didn’t want to try though because I didn’t think I could handle that.
DC’s top media professionals from Washington Post, CNN, The Hill, MSNBC, senior Hill staffers, and staffers from the Trump Administration were in attendance at the party.
Conversation topics ranged from why white wine beats beer any day to why Unicorn shots are immature college aged drinks (some Hill writers were former bartenders). Liquor was the one topic most attendees seemed to chat the most about. And I can see why given that the NRA made sure attendees only drank what’s rare and highly sought after. Johnny Walker Blue, anyone?
Lets say that I learned more than I should that night!
The National Restaurant Association
The National Restaurant Association (NRA) is the largest foodservice trade association in the world*—supporting over 500,000 restaurant businesses. In partnership with state restaurant associations, they work every day to empower all restaurant owners and operators to achieve more than they thought possible.
NRA represent and advocate for foodservice industry interests—taking on financial and regulatory obstacles before they hit our members’ bottom line. The association provide tools and systems that help members of all sizes get significantly better operating results. And NRA offer the kinds of networking, education and research resources that are only possible because of our vast, and active, membership base.
As a strong supporter of veterans and of military families, I had both the honor and privilege of attending the Seventh Annual Blue Star Neighbors Celebration on March 22, 2017, held at the United States Chamber of Commerce Building in the White House’s backyard.
The Blue Star Neighbors Celebration is an annual celebration that highlights the kindness of military supporters across the United States. Neighbors, friends, and family members, and embrace military families while their loved ones are oversees defending this great country!
This star-studded event was emceed by CNN Anchor Brooke Baldwin, whom shared her great love for the men and women who serve the United States, and spotlighted Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, who was honored with the Blue Star Families Lifetime Achievement Award for her support of military families and her advocacy of civilian caregivers.
Other VIP guests included Charlie Bolden, former astronaut; Ellyn Dunford, Spouse of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs-General Joseph Dunford; Admiral Paul F. Zukunft, Commandment of the Coast Guard; and General Paul J. Selva, Vice Chair of the Joint Chief of Staff.
Aside from Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter winning top honors, Blue Star Families recognized civilians Judy and Ken Osborne for going above and beyond for Ashley Burnett, wife of U.S Army Captain Chase Burnett. According to Burnett, being a military spouse is “extremely difficult”, especially with two young children, a full time job and a nine month deployment. “Ken and Judy have made the seemingly impossible possible.”
Guests at the event had the privilege of roaming palatial rooms, socializing with government and military influencers; and with dining on delectable goodies created by some of DC’s finest chefs.
Celebrated chefs such as Cathal Armstrong (Restaurant Eve) – Chris Clime (PassionFish),David Guas (Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery) , Todd Gray (Equinox) , Joe Palma (Bourbon Steak), Robert Wiedmaier (Marcel’s) and Mixologist Todd Thrasher (Bar PX) whipped up poke, soup shooters, and other magical goodies.
I am not ashamed to admit that I heavily fan-girled when I met Todd Thrasher. Bar PX is a well known speakeasy in NoVa and he’s renown for his concoctions. I, like, fell in love instantly with what he made that night.
I also knew I was eating for a great cause! Help Our Heroes partnered up with this celebration to pair military chefs with notable DC chefs as a way of bridging both military and civilian life.
Oh what a night!
About Blue Star Families
Blue Star Families strengthen military families every day. Through career development, care giving, and our leading research on military family life, The organization is striving to better understand and provide solutions to the challenges facing today’s military families.
Ever since April 2009, when a group of military spouses got together in the hopes of making a difference in the lives of military families, a platform was created where military family members could join forces with the general public and their communities to address the challenges of military life.
Today, Blue Star Families has grown from a few military spouses around a kitchen table to more than 150,000 members and over 35 communities and chapters around the globe. Our programs and services reach more than 1.5 million military families every year.
The fashion industry is bursting at the seams with models, designers, stylists, photographers, and agencies that are looking for the next Gigi Hadid. However, the industry is scant on multi-faceted agencies that shape models into business moguls. This is where First Model Union World Wide (FMUWW) comes in.
FMUWW is a singular agency, founded by Michael Hutson a.k.a. Monichi, that underscores the importance of the French term Poursuit de la Mode: the pursuit of fashion in business. Michael Hutson is the CEO of FMUWW and a renowned photographer. He believes
“Everyone is trying to pursue some type of industry in the form of fashion.”
With this mantra in mind, he created FMUWW to be an agency that shapes and molds a vast clientele of models, designers, and bookers into business owners. Fashion and sole proprietorship go hand-in-hand with this business concept. It’s unique in that fashion agency clients get real-world business skills, experience, and even contacts to assist them as they go out into the industry to pave their own path.
The overall goal of FMUWW is to educate, elevate, and inspire its clients to be leading future stars that embody true leadership potential. Leaders teach others to succeed, period. In the age of millennial entrepreneurship, this axiom is often not as widely practiced in other fields–let alone the Fashion field.
Often in an office culture, an environment of backstabbing, ruthless competition, and distrust molds into a company’s mission, but FMUWW’s goals and beliefs are a diametrical opposite of society’s norm. In short, it’s a breath of fresh air given the times.
Along with shaping each of its models to be a leader, FMUWW also grooms each to be a brand.
The clientele tends to consist of international models hailing from Ethiopia, the UK, and France, who are given lessons on modeling, posing, and runway etiquette. They are also given courses on how to make their money work for them.
Additional services include on-set traveling, designer housing (Virginia, Florida, Pennsylvania), local- and long-distance traveling opportunities, and test shooting.
Are you a model who wants to cultivate your leadership skills? Contact Michael Hutson aka “Monichi” for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
As you get older, it does get harder to celebrate your birthday. Each year that passes by could only mean wrinkles, gray hairs, and a slower metabolism. Although this timely holiday may be hard to stomach for some, for me, it’s a great opportunity to amass great discounts for the month of February and to live it up
If you enter “birthday freebies AND list” on Google you will garner pages upon pages of discounts you can cash in on your birthday that are ranging from burger joints to clothing stores. One year I had a coupon for a free desert ($4.00 in value) at Le Madelines and for a burger ($9.00) at Ruby Tuesdays. If you take advantage of these lists and at least sign up for these deals 30 days before your birthday, you could possibly get away with eating free for an entire month. One caveat is you may get bombarded with spam-ish e-mails but I do have faith that you all will figure out a way around that.
If you don’t feel like typing this simple keyword in, you can also click on the following links to easily access these birthday discounts:
In fact, if you want to take the extra step, download this free app called bdayfreedayapp from the apple store. On the week of your birthday, it tells you which birthday discounts you can cash in your immediate area.
Freebies aside, that’s not the only facet you can take advantage of on your birthday. On the day of your birthday you dictate what you want to do and you have the opportunity to garner a mass following to do so. All it takes is for you to be a bit vocal on what you want.
This year for my birthday, I knew exactly what I wanted to do and where I wanted to be. I was vocal with my best friend, boyfriend, and even close friends over what I wanted to happen; and I also took the extra initiative in planning everything out. Before I get into how I made my mini dreams come true, I do want to say the following: Not everyone can read your mind and not everyone has the time to throw you a surprise party. Life is not always like a Lifetime or Hallmark movie where the lead gets a surprise party thrown at the beginning and her wishes somehow come true just by thinking it.
In real life, you say exactly what you want and throw your own party. By taking initiative and by being confident in what you want, you feel more joy because you are solely responsible for your own happiness.
This year, I went to New York City with my best friend, hung out in Frederick, Maryland with the boyfriend, and threw myself a grand party. My best friend and I planned everything in advance and I was able to do almost everything I wanted to do. In Frederick, Maryland I communicated enough with my boyfriend exactly what I wanted and I was able to eat at the best restaurant in that area. If you guessed Volt, than, yes, I totally ate there. For my grand party, I planned each activity out in advance and was easily able to sway all of my friends to cooperate. Birthday’s are special days that commemorate your existence and it would be such a waste to squander it due to age insecurities or to peer pressure.
New York City
So you all clearly see that I am having a blast, right? Well, I want you to be able to take advantage of your birthday and do exactly what you want.
Here are some tips, tricks, and off-the-cuff ideas to help YOU take advantage of your birthday.
1.) Employ bucket list ideas into your birthday party. When you plan your party, it’s always your rules. Plan activities out in advance and let your guests know what’s ahead and what they should bring. I was reminiscent of my younger days so I wanted to have a massive pillow fight, like the one in Washington D.C last year. I told everyone in advance to bring a pillow and everyone was ready to pretend they were fighters from “Mortal Kombat”. Having a massive pillow fight, as an adult, was on my bucket list and it was sheer joy seeing all of that play out with a willing crowd.
2.) Make it a potluck. If you are worried about costs, assign a dish for everyone to bring. Your birthday is a special day and I am sure everyone is willing to pitch into make it even more special.
3.) Add spontaneity. As we get older, it’s harder to be spontaneous. Catching up with friends tends to be a challenge since it all has to be scheduled in advance. Your birthday party is a special time for you to be random. Let’s say you feel bored for a hot second and want to go out for a chocolate milk shake. You can easily get everyone board and just drive to a local diner. Since you are dictating your own party, you are the leader so what you say goes.
4.) Be Frugal. Parties can be expensive so it’s best to be smart when it comes to decorations, foods, and with everything else. If you want to save massive dollars, go to Michaels on a weekday and check out their clearance items. Also remember that your local dollar store has all the party supplies you need. If you mix those two together, you will be able to aggrandize your home without emptying out your wallet.
5.) Plan Multiple Outings. Your birthday doesn’t have to be just one day–it can span a month with the right kind of planning. My best friend and I love New York city so we both planned everything in advance. Since our trip was in celebration of my birth, we were able to eat at my favorite Korean, Falafel, and bakery-type spots. Not only that but our instagram game was point. In fact, use your birthday as a personal excuse to get out of town for a day or two. Go to that exotic spa in Arizona, ski down the best slopes in Vermont, or even go skydiving in California. Because this your birthday, your pals will want to support you in your endeavors and join you in all of the fun. Life is truly short and there isn’t enough time to celebrate the beauty of life. Just saying.
6.) Look and Be at your Best. Confidence can be found inside out. When you dress your best you do feel your best. No matter what, whether you are having a party with friends or you are at the office, wear your best outfit. If money is an issue, Goodwill and Amazon can take care of that (they often sell high-end clothes for pennies). If you are naturally slovenly, make it that on the day of your existence you dress to the nines since we all need to celebrate your life. Once you get this step taken care of, you will emotionally feel like you have a stronger control of your day and be able to helm all birthday activities.
7.) Eat like royalty. Go on Yelp or Google Reviews and pick the best places to eat. Invite all of your friends out too. Not everyone goes out to eat and when they do, it’s often to a chain restaurant or a local diner. When it’s your birthday, you need to treat yo’ self. If you have a hard time picking the best place to eat, look up who your local food bloggers are and see what they say. Whatever is the snootiest response, that’s where your dollars gotta go. It’s your time to eat foi gais on croquettes.
8.) Give yourself a Surprise Party. Yup. You can totally get away with this. Just tell one of your trusted friends to help you plan your party and they can tell everyone else you have no idea that this party is going on. When it’s D-day and you are walking through that golden door, that’s when you can use your best acting skills to pretend that you had no idea. For your pretend surprise party, tell your friends (hosts) to make sure that everyone is using confetti poppers once you enter inside. You can even have them lay out activities that you haven’t done in awhile (chocolate flight, twister, truth or dare, paint ball, etc). If you really want to go above and beyond, you can theme the party and have everyone dress up as someone from a favorite movie you like. There was this one episode of Community where Jeff (smarmy but kind lawyer) planned a Pulp Fiction themed party and demanded that everyone dress up for their friend Abed. If you have seen the episode, just know that you can have the same exact party like him if you plan in advance and coral everyone involved.
9.) Get Outside of your Comfort Zone. Have you always wanted to have a food eating contest but were too afraid to do so? Or better yet, are you terrified of snakes? Use your birthday as an excuse to plan those activities so you not only entertain your friends and family but you can also make yourself a stronger person that year. When you are able to push your own internal boundaries, on the day of your birth, you feel emotionally exulted and free to take on any other challenges in your life. This is also a smart career move if you need that extra boost of confidence in working towards that promotion.
10.) Make Unruly Requests. It’s the only time of year you can get away with doing this. You can’t really do this during Christmas and you can’t really get away with this on Valentines day either. On your birthday, if you want to spend the entire day at the spa than do it. You can try to have a family member take care of your personal errands for that day. We all understand. Better yet, if you have a friend who sings well, you can request on that day that they sing songs by Queen, David Bowie or even the Backstreet Boys. It’s your birthday, and you can demand if you want to.
11.) Everywhere you go. Tell the world it’s your birthday. This bit of advice works well at ski resorts, bowling alleys, and especially at all restaurants. So many businesses have quiet deals for birthdays and you may not know about them since they aren’t always advertised. Not only that, you can get away with asking for the entire month since your birthday is too much of a grand event to isolate for just one, short, day.
12.) Remind people over and over again that your birthday is coming up. Not everyone has a scheduler on hand and not everyone goes on Facebook. Remind enough but don’t be whiny about it. When people remember your special day, they will take it upon themselves to treat you right.
13.) Save up. With all great endeavors comes financial responsibility. Plan what you want several months to a year in advance. Create an estimated budget and allot an ample amount of cash. This may seem like common sense but many do forget to save for their big day and just opt for free meals or for parties that are too kitschy due to egregious costs.
14.) Openly declare what your birthday dreams are. This may sound childish but it does work. Let’s say you dream of riding an elephant on your birthday. You keep communicating that to everyone and you keep reminding yourself what you want, that it’s bound to happen. Whether you save up money for this activity or if one of your friend’s started a kickstarter program to get you that dream, anything can happen if you declare it. I mean, look at Kanye West. Albeit, he did work hard for his successes but he did declare what he wanted in life and got it. I am not advising to have a Kanye-sized ego but I am advising to dream big and to go after what makes you happy.
So there you have it. This is how you take advantage of your birthday. You squeeze all opportunity out and use your time wisely.
If you want to follow more tips or just want to say hi, follow me on Twitter (@SherrynDaniel) or check out of my foodie pics on Instagram (SherrynBlog).