On Friday, April 13, 2018, contributing writer, Moraima Bambaren, joins young professionals at the Embassy of Georgia for a ThingstodoDC Culture event that delivers the Spirit of the country of Georgia through refined sips, swirls, and slurps of several different kinds of wines.
As a recent DC transplant from Atlanta, Georgia I still get homesick sometimes. Spring has clearly sprung down South and i’m not within reach.
So when I read on ThingstodoDCwebsite about a wine tasting event held at the Embassy of Georgia that has wine connoisseurs comparing wines from both my home state and the country of Georgia—I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. I get a taste of home and I get to learn more about the specialized dry white and red wines from the Caucasus region.
The wine tasting was held on a Friday and the weather was gorgeous: High 70s’ and clear skies paved the way. Luckily for me, I was the only person riding the Lyft pool (normally the car gets crowded) and, miraculously, traffic was light en route to the beautiful, classically built home of the Embassy of Georgia. I arrived well before 7:00 pm and waited outside along with other wine enthusiasts. We all were ready for some much-needed Friday fun.
After diplomats greeted us at the front lobby, we were escorted to the “wine tasting” room. As soon as I walked inside, I immediately spotted a few bottles by Habersham, an award-winning winery located in Helen, Georgia. Habersham winery is widely recognized as one of the oldest, and largest winery in the state. Later on in my taste-adventure, I learn that my sweet southern wine could not compete with Georgia’s (country) wine-making tradition and history.
Georgia (country) is located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe. Did you know that many empires tried to possess this piece of land due to its strategic position in the fabled Silk Road? Historically, the country boasts of being the first homeland to Europeans after archaeologists discovered the oldest human skull in this region of Europe 1.8 million years old.
Similarly, several archaeological discoveries point to Georgia as the birthplace of wine. Ancient wine vessels made of clay, bronze and silver, and also vine seeds have been found and analyzed to be 5000 years old. Konstatine, our wine expert at the embassy, informed guests of this fact and brought artifacts such as traditional Georgian wine ladle made out of 2 pounds of pure silver (an amazing Ebay find) to share.
Guests passed around the Azarpeshi, a silver wine ladle from the 19th century, use for large Georgian feasts such as weddings and community festivals. Guests took several selfies with the ladle, transporting themselves a few centuries back.We also learned that Seperavi is the leading red grape variety in Georgia, the name translates to “the place of color.”
In total, attendees sampled 2 red wines and 1 white from both the state and the country. After this tasting, I can agree with why journalists have declared dubbed the country of Georgia as the California of the Caucasus.
The embassy also fed guests delicious Georgian entrees and desserts that paired well with my new favorite red wine, Manavi.
Embassy of Georgia Tasting: Georgian (Country) vs. Georgian (State) event made such a great impression with me! The wine, food, culture and people inspired my friend and I into booking our next trip to Georgia, the country and not the state.
Love to wanderlust? Ever want to step onto foreign soil for a night? Join ThingstodoDCCultural Society to get a remarkable privilege of visiting various Embassies throughout the District.
April 27, 2018 I had an exclusive invite to cover the second annual Toast to the First Amendment, sponsored by the National Restaurant Association, Real Clear Politics, The Beer Institute, and The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.
The Toast to the First Amendment is held at the National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) swanky office which is beset with multiple bars, an outdoor veranda, a picture booth area, and multiple food stations fit for even the most discerning food critic.
Activities started around 6:00 p.m with rousing speeches made by Real Clear Politics co-founder Tom Bevan, National Restaurant Association’s executive vice president of public affairs; Cicely Simpson; and The Beer Institute’s CEO and president Jim McGreevey.
Various journalists, PR execs, media personalities, food industry movers and shakers came together on the eve of the White House Correspondence Party. Attendees had the privilege of sampling an array of rare and unique beers, bourbons, scotch, malts, rum, and various other liquors.
I came around the time people were relaxed and simply lounged on the outdoor veranda, and inside by cushion-y seats along the major liquor and beer tasting areas. I took a Lyft from the Mayflower Hotel (1 mile) and got there at a decent time. I wore my Kay Unger, green velvet, floral embroidered blazer and a White House Black Market dress. I was having so many issues with my hair that day that not even dry shampoo or an Instagram filter could save the way it looked.
Before I took the elevator up, I was greeted by the sweetest people ever! Naturally, they work for Real Clear Politics (RCP) so I am not surprised by their genuine nature.
One of the RCP employees told me that Sean Spicer as well as other notable political figures made an appearance at this party. I asked how the crowd took him, and I was told that despite how he is viewed on the media, he’s a very cordial and friendly guy. He was around taking pictures and making all sorts of conversation with attendees. Politics aside, I regretted not getting to this party on time!
I was also told to try the burgers, they were legit made medium rare and that’s an uncommon thing when you go to a food-oriented party. Once I came to the right floor, I took a picture, sampled a few limited edition beers (oh my goodness, I am still remembering this really nice pale ale I drank), and scoured the floor for the best bites to munch on.
As a major foodie, I have to report on what I ate (or better yet, pigged out on).
I made a short but memorable trip to the chicken lollipop station and tried the following chicken lollipops: buffalo chicken, korean bbq. chimichurri, corn flake, and thai flavors. My personal favorites were the chimichurri and the korean bbq.
After I ate enough at the first station, I went to the second savory station and gobbled a medium rare cheeseburger slider, and later tried the pork bao buns (kohirabi, cucumber, bean sprout, cabbage slaw, spicy gochuchang mayo) and sampled the Hawaiian Chicken Sliders ( pineapple, chili, lime relish). I did pair these savory bites with beers from Cape May Brewing, and Great Lakes Brewing.
I made a long trip (not a quick trip since I love tacos) to the Taco station and ate Branzino Tacos (cilantro pesto), Braised Pork Belly Taquitos (charred onions, shishito peppers), and Beef Empanadas. I paired these savory treats with tequila, rum, and really nice bourbon shots.
For dessert, I had a pistachio ice cream pop with a white chocolate coating and snacked on a few carrot cake pops. My diet was thrown out the window that day because the NRA is reputable for crafting memorable bites. I was as equally impressed this year as I was last year. Here’s last year’s recap, so click here!
Along with eating enough food to feed a small village, I noticed a lot of fan fare made for local and national media celebrities. Three ladies circled this handsome, tall, analyst from Fox News and stayed with him for my entire duration at this party. A few CNN employees were drinking white wine, chilling on the comfy chairs outside, and laughing. Some of the ladies wore the cutest, color-blocked, dresses I have seen that night.
Overall, I had a wonderful night. I also think the media guests had a spectacular time given the laughter and jovial conversation I heard all around.
About 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 our state restaurant associations, we work every day to empower all restaurant owners and operators to achieve more than they thought possible.
About Real Clear Politics
Founded in 2000 by two news junkies from their Chicago apartment, RealClearPolitics grew out of a passion for combing the internet for the most interesting political stories of the day. Tom Bevan and John McIntyre wanted a site that contained the most pivotal information on the day’s need-to-know issues. It wasn’t long before they discovered they weren’t the only ones with this desire. Today, RealClearPolitics has grown from an intelligent aggregator into a comprehensive media company – RealClear Media Group (RCMG) – encompassing 14 specialty areas of coverage, original reporting from our staff of seasoned reporters, live events, the well-known RCP Poll Average, and original video.
About The Beer Institute
The Beer Institute, based in Washington, D.C., represents the $350 billion beer industry – an industry that includes over 5,000 brewers and more than 2.2 million American jobs. The Beer Institute is a national trade association for the American brewing industry, representing both large and small brewers, as well as importers and industry suppliers. Our organization, founded in 1862 as the U.S. Brewers Association and reorganized as the Beer Institute in 1986, represents the beer industry before Congress, state legislatures and public forums across the country.
About Distilled Spirits Council of the United States
The Distilled Spirits Council is the national trade association representing the leading producers and marketers of distilled spirits in the United States. The Council guards the sector against higher taxes and works diligently to reduce trade barriers across the globe, while supporting policies that increase adult market access for spirits products, provide greater convenience and choices for adult consumers, and encourage responsible and moderate consumption. The Council is a go-to resource for sector data, changes in public policy, cultural acceptance programs, U.S. spirits exports to foreign markets, and alcohol and science.
My name is Emma Hagedoorn, and I am a sophomore at Loyola University Maryland. I am the news editor of Loyola’s student news source, The Greyhound, which is where I heard of this opportunity to work with the Labs@LightCity. The main editor of our University Paper, Nick Cirone, had attended some of the labs, and encouraged me to attend. And I am very happy he did! It was such a cool experience to be a part of this festival. As someone who is not a native to Maryland, and this only being my second year to even see the Light City Festival, it was amazing to see a whole new aspect. I had no idea they did different labs, and being able to interview and listen to different speakers was a great opportunity.
I worked on the last day, which was the Food Lab, and as a lover of food myself, this was a perfect day for me. I liked how it was not only chef’s speaking or showing how to cook meals, but other speakers who shared their experiences in Baltimore and with different themes of food in relation to the city and life in general. I felt like a real professional when I walked in and got a photo pass by Pixilated and how I was able to take speakers up to chat with me on camera in front of a green screen.
I had the chance to interview some cool people, who all did different things. My first interview was with two women who spoke about The End of the Boys Club. Both Allison Robicelli and Therese Nelson were such beautiful individuals inside and out and I really enjoyed their panel discussion, along with Alison Price Becker and Rachel Waynberg. They had some great things to say within our student interview about being the change in Baltimore and elsewhere, as well as great advice for college students.
I was also able to interview Devin Johns who is the Social Engagement Manager at Broad Street Ministry in Philadelphia. She also had a great personality and it was great to be a part of her first time in Baltimore.
I was finally able to interview the owners of Stall 11 in Baltimore, which serves vegan and vegetarian options. Chef Melanie Molinaro along with Christian De Paco spoke at the Food Labs. Molinaro showed everyone how to make vegan mac n cheese. They were both so open about their restaurant and the city of Baltimore.
Overall, I learned a lot from this experience. I was able to get real time interviewing individuals as well as being on camera. I felt the rush of an event and coming up with questions on the spot and trying to find the speaker before they left. I also get experience on camera and learned some skills about where to stand and how to interview on camera. I would suggest doing this to anyone who is interested in any aspect of communications. I hope to be back next year for more labs!
Food Lab of Labs@LightCity was presented by Visit Baltimore with Wegmans as supporting sponsor. Other members of the Student Newsroom are Nick Cirone, Cache Jackson, Jessi Kim, Naomi Peppers, and Saran Tarawaley.
April 24, 2018, I took a short but sweet trip to Japan. I didn’t necessarily spend $$$ on plane tickets or had to cull out my vacation time either. Instead, I parked my car inside a garage by CityCenter DC ($10.00 evening rate) and took a short uber ride to Drink Company’s Cherry Blossom Pop-Up Bar located on 1843 and 1841 Seventh Street, NW, Washington D.C. For this mini excursion, I wore my Anne Taylor, black and white stripped dress, and basic blue flats.
The bar first opened up March 1 and ends its run April 29, 2018. This floral-lush- haven full of Japanese-inspired cocktails attracted a steady crowd during its first run. When the shop first opened up in March, attendees purchased $20 tickets in order to bypass the long lines. If residents wanted to save cash but grab a spectacular drink, many would go to the bar on a Monday, Tuesday or a Wednesday—lines were non-existent on those days.
The bar decor was indicative of the blossoming relationship between Japan and the United States and of the many reasons why DC resident flock to the tidal basin every year—to see beautiful cherry blossoms vibrantly welcome Spring into the area. I noticed that one-thousand paper cranes adorned one wall facing the more lush-side of the bar. Naturally, I figured guests can make a wish because making 1k origami cranes yields but one, sweet, wish according to Japanese tradition.
Moreover, around 90,000 individual paper and cloth blossoms inhabited the ceiling, the sides, and certain cross sections of the pop-up bar. Once attendees decide to meander farther than the entrance of the bar, a garden wall covered with pink yellow,purple and white flowers hug the top lining of wall and a leafy, astro-turf blankets the rest of the wall. Fluttering, cloth-like, butterflies around globular orbs of light make a spectacular impression– especially when you take the perfect selfie.
Having eye-popping decor is one thing, but it’s all about the drinks by the end of the day.
The drinks are more than just food coloring and a lonely red cherry topped in a small glass. Beverages available to try range from English tea with a shot of vodka, miso-infused rum with coconut, sake, Japanese sodas and Japanese beers. Of course, the ever-so popular Maneki Neko Tiki mugs were brought back this year as well as cocktails such as Chu-hi, and the I Call Yoshi which transformed in 2018 into the Alpha Predator, Godzilla drink. The drinks, much like Spring, represent a time for change.
If you are feeling a bit hungry after downing a couple cocktails, there a wide-range of Food items to try such as Japanese snack cookies, gyoza dumplings, Katsu, and soybeans snacks.
Once you walk past the manga-lined wall, you see an anima-tronic Godzilla that blows colorful smoke in the air and makes robotic screeches. I swear if that Godzilla was alive, it would easily eat me in one bite. Artist Andrew Herndon designed this cinematic masterpiece, fyi.
The bar to the right of Godzilla, evoked a Japanese alley-way vibe with strewn lights, cryptic decorations and late night street cuisine. Drink Company named this bar Tokyo’s Memory Lane.
The Cherry Blossom Pop-Up Bar was made up of 2-3 bars. Each bar represented an instagram-worthy shot for patrons. Despite the $20,000-$30,000 shelled out on this bar thematic scheme, pop-ups were created to instill a sense of curiosity and wonderment for attendees– much like a new restaurant opening up but without a heftier price tag.
When the Miracle at 7th street first opened up (this bar, much like the Cherry Blossom Pop-Up Bar, overtook Mockingbird’s space) I was floored with the drinks, attention to pop-culture, and the shrine devoted to all things “Stranger Things”. With this incarnation, I am even more enchanted with Drink Company’s eye for detail and erudition for knowing so much about the relationship between the U.S and Japan.
The next Pop-Up bar theme will cover the royal marriage between a Hollywood actress and a crowned prince, May 19, 2018. The Royal Marriage Pop-Up Bar is opening up May 4, 2018 in honor of the upcoming nuptials between Megan Markle and Prince Harry. I know I am extremely excited about both the bar and the upcoming wedding!
About Drink Company
Drink Company is based in Washington D.C. and owns the Spirited Award-winning Columbia Room, and PUB (Pop Up Bar). Well known for showcasing the Miracle at 7th Street, Super Mario, Game of Thrones, Cherry Blossom and Royal Wedding (May 4, 2018) pop-up bars. Feel free contact this award winning company here.
Sharing the Details and PIXofDC were invited to attend a one-night-only gala event fundraiser in the ballroom of the historic National Press Club in Washington, DC. What made this night special was that it included a live concert performance!
Mirroring the Biblical story of an orphan turned ancient Persian Queen and based on a book by Jeremiah and Wendy Ginsberg, Esther, Sweet Esther is an original show with music and lyrics by Jeremiah Ginsberg. The story is about a heroic woman, Queen Esther, who courageously saves the lives of Jewish people — her people — and conquers all the challenges coming her way! She defeats her nemesis, Haman, the man with the little square mustache. The performance is an opera and broadway-esque vibe with comedic and thrilling moments, keeping the entire room engaged in watching such a historic event unfold.
The cast of ten talented and vocally trained performers, along with having the composer as the narrator, brings the story to life. Singers stand in front of a large screen backdrop that serves as a setting to the tale each time the image changes. The performance is in two parts and the arias are vivid and ever so moving. See for yourself in the video of highlights below!
The overall theme of the show is to promote cultural understanding of Israel and the Jewish people. Through songs, Esther, Sweet Esther takes a stand against anti-Semitism and inspires hope for those persecuted. A fun fact of the night is that a portion of ticket sales are tax-deductible! If anyone purchased tickets to the show, they receive a tax-deductible receipt from Jeremiah Theatricals.
So who made this all happen?
Jeremiah Theatricals also known as Jeremiah Ministries, Inc., is nonprofit corporation dedicated to creating and presenting uplifting Biblical stories through music and theatre. From the early 1980s, Jeremiah and Wendy Ginsberg have written and produced four Biblical musicals: Mendel & Moses, The Time of Mendel’s Trouble, Rabboni and of course, Esther, Sweet Esther.
The National Press Club is the leading professional organization for journalists and photojournalists. Members can participate in activities that build their skills, through services that meet the changing needs of worldwide communications and through social events that build a community in the district and across the nation and world. The Club is where news is shared and stands as advocate of press freedom and the First Amendment: Freedom of Speech.
Miss the event last year? That’s all right because Esther, Sweet Esther Returns next month!
Coming to Washington, D.C. again to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Israel’s Independence Day, selections of the musical will be performed by six amazing singers at The Trump International Hotel. The event is on Monday, May 21, 2018, 7:00 PM to 9:30 PM (Light refreshments with the cast & creative team after the presentation.) While Tickets are free, they must be obtained in advance. Seating is limited For an invitation, contact: Jeremiah Ginsberg (954) 263-9127
Friday, April 27, 2018 at 8:00 p.m, The Creative Coalition Arts Team is sponsoring their Right to Bear Arts Gala held at the Mayflower Hotel (1127 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington D.C). Tickets start at $1,000 and can go up to $75,000 depending on the sponsorship package attendees select.
The Creative Coalition’s Arts Team will go to Capitol Hill the day before to bring focus on the value of the arts to national leaders. The Right to Bear Art is a national issue that transcends political affiliations. The arts affects everyone! Whether it’s music, ballet, paintings, theater, or the cinema–the arts cultivate a person’s intelligence, identity and critical thinking skills. Skills that are often sought after in several emerging corporations, non-profits and STEM-related industries.
For every $1 spent by the federal government on the arts, $7 comes back into arts communities across the United States.
This year’s co-hosts are: Tim Daly (Madam Secretary) • Alyssa Milano (Project Runway All Stars) Sara Rue (A Series of Unfortunate Events) • Shiri Appleby (UnREAL)Mädchen Amick (Riverdale) • Karamo Brown (Queer Eye) Richard Schiff(The Good Doctor) • Nicholas Gonzalez (The Good Doctor) Victoria Justice (Victorious) • Steve Howey (Shameless) Anthony Carrigan (“Barry”) • Sean Giambrone (The Goldbergs)Richard Kind (Red Oaks) and others.
Honorary Congressional Co-Hosts: Democratic Leader Charles E. Schumer, Senator Tammy Baldwin, Senator Ben Cardin, Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr., Senator Dianne Feinstein, Senator Kamala D. Harris, Senator Angus King, Senator Ed Markey, Senator Jeff Merkley, Senator Patty Murray, Senator Brian Schatz, Senator Paul Strauss, Senator Chris Van Hollen, Senator Mark Warner, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Representative Mark Amodei, Representative Donald Bacon, Representative Jim Banks, Representative Nanette Barragan, Representative Joe Barton, Representative Karen Bass, Representative Jack Bergman, Representative Don Beyer, Representative Elizabeth Etsy, Representative Bill Foster, Representative Lois Frankel, Representative Tulsi Gabbard, others TBA.
SPONSORSHIP LEVELS: TAKING IT TO THE MAX – $75,000
• Logo inclusion on media wall
• Logo and boilerplate inclusion in press releases
• Opportunity for product placement in gift bag for celebrity welcome gift placed in their hotel rooms (up to 25 gifts)
• 10 VIP seats
• Opportunity for sponsor to gift all dinner guests
• Social media opportunities
• Photo Ops with Celebrities (Sponsor provides photographer)
• Verbal acknowledgements from podium
• Full page Program Ad
• Opportunity for live activation (all technical and staffing provided by Sponsor)
• Opportunity for Executive to accompany talent to Capitol Hill
THE ULTIMATE – $50,000(limited to one)
• Opportunity for product/issue placement in gift bag for celebrity welcome gift placed in their hotel rooms (up to 25 gifts)
• Opportunity for sponsor to gift all dinner guests
• 5 VIP seats/5 General Seats
• Social media opportunities
• Photo Ops with Celebrities (Sponsor provides photographer)
• Verbal acknowledgements from podium
THE FINEST ARTIST – $25,000
• Opportunity for product/issue placement in gift bag for celebrity welcome gift placed in their hotel rooms (15- 25 celebrities)
• Product placement gifts for all dinner guests
• 8 general seats
• Social media opportunities
ALL FOR THE ARTS – $10,000
• 10 General seats
• Commemorative #RightToBearArts shirts for your guests
INDIVIDUAL ARTIST – $1,000 • 1 seat
Click HERE to order “All For The Arts” and “Individual” Sponsorships online.
For all other Sponsorships please contact Barb Horvath at: BHorvath@TheCreativeCoalition.org
The Sharing the Details Team covered this event in 2017. Click here to read last’s year’s recap.This year the team will get exclusive coverage of the Right to Bear Arts Gala event! Stay tuned for more details!
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 21-February 25, 2018 I had an exclusive invite to cover the 2018 Fall and Winter season of DC Fashion week. Keep in mind, this is right after I covered four to five shows in New York Fashion Week. Let’s just say that I had to keep the fashion momentum going.
D.C Fashion week has been going strong since 2010. Ean Williams, the visionary behind D.C Fashion Week, wanted to highlight brightest stars from DC (and even some of the World) by showcasing an expansive range of designs, styles, and trends. Here’s a condensed, pictorial, recap of the inventive, imaginative, and immersive couture that I found delicious for the Fall/Winter 2018 DC Shows!
Exclusive Press Event @ Melrose Georgetown Hotel
Haitian Designer Showcase at Embassy of Haiti
Emerging Designer’s Showcase at Crystal Gateway Marriot Hotel
28th International Couture Collections at The Sphinx at K
What I wore to each show
DC Fashion Foundation is the noteworthy non-profit behind DC Fashion week. Feel free to make a contribution here.
The DC Fashion Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization supporting the fashion business community in the Washington, DC area through educational programs, workforce training initiatives, and networking and mentoring opportunities. The Foundation strives to:
• Develop entrepreneurs’ business skills and workforce preparedness
• Improve the quality and availability of fashion industry opportunities
• Strengthen the connections and networks that form the foundation of the Washington, DC fashion community.
Tune into Sharing the Details for exclusive interviews with House of Churchill, Maison Chazelle, Michael Lombard, Corjor International, Cashmere and Pearls, and Ri Noor.
February 16, 2018 I was invited by Exalt Fashion to cover Gerda Truubon’s London Collection at the Plaza hotel on fifth avenue for New York Fashion Week this year. Gerda is a well known Estonian born London-based fashion designer who crafts sexy but stylish frocks for the confident woman. Her mantra is to create dresses for the bold, secure, self-loving woman that aim to uplift rather than cover up who the woman really is.
Truubon was inspired by her mom, who was a tailor, to customize dresses for herself. In fact, her designs have been coveted by American TV star Natalie Nunn, British TV star Gemma Collins, and countless stars across the globe.
Speaking of dresses and fashion, so I wore the same ensemble from the previous show that day to the next show due to limitations on time. I took a taxi from Sunset Terrace at Chelsea Piers to the hotel, and that cab ride averaged around $10.00. I was fortunate both locations were in close proximity of each other. Since I arrived a bit early, we had a little too much fun checking out the high-end stores and taking photos around the lobby.
This is a famous hotel after all. The Plaza hotel is a 20-story luxury hotel and condominium apartment located in Manhattan. Not only is the hotel recognized as a historic landmark but The Beatles stayed at The Plaza Hotel during their first visit to the United States in 1964.
After I had fun checking out the stores, I took the glamorous escalator downstairs to the show. We even had a bellhop assist us to and fro. The interior of the show was wide-spread with shimmery chandeliers, ornate wall decor, pristine floors, and manicured chairs at the front for VIP. Editors, stylists, and bloggers such as myself took over the VIP section and, yes, we all went a little cray-cray with the selfies.
The show started with a talented singer bursting in with backup dancers. Each performer adorned white, lace, body suits; strap stilettos; and had their hair swaying.
Fifteen models from the show wore a similar ensemble, yet, had tightly wounded buns and ponytails that focused more attention on their stylish eye make up and stoic expressions. The singer, herself, swayed her hips and moved in sync to her own songs. For a second, I almost felt like I was at a concert and I applaud Truubon for adding a surprise introduction. The norm for present and future fashion shows is to start off with a spectacular concert, dance, or even stand-up–as a way to break away from the usual, standard, NYFW runway show.
Once the dancing has stopped and the models paraded away in a clean queue, the meaty matter of the show (the fashion) finally commenced. Truubon is well known from her previous collections for using bold colors, exaggerated sleeves, high shoulder dresses, and ensembles with plunging necklines.
Her trademark styles were underscored in her new line but so were lace, silk, and mesh materials, silver studded trims, and the symmetrical neckline with a one-shoulder long sleeve. Much of this show distilled top runway trends such as exploring a range of pastels, ruffles on the ends of skirts and the beginning of sleeve cuffs, flowy-cuffs unconnected to the dress, and iconic use of exposed shoulder lines as a way to juxtapose the contour of the dress to one’s skin. This show had the right dosage of flash too.
This dress collection used an ample amount of slits above the leg to infuse more of a night-time clubbing vibe. Silver studded trims underscored most of her apparel as well as boxed shoulder pads three-inch-high, and ruffled tiers enveloped along the lower neckline and all around the middle of the back. I can safely say her entire collection was devoted to what’s silvery, studded, and long and that’s a unique addition for this year’s show. Overall, this was an iconic show.
At the conclusion of the set, Gerda walked in and I had a hard time discerning her from the rest of the models. She looks just like a model.
Models, press, and VIP attendees were escorted to the lobby. The press had an exciting time snapping photos, grabbing last minute interviews with the designer, and taking selfies with the models. I was fortunate enough to get a selfie with the designer as well but I rue the day I wasn’t able to snag her for a short interview. Darn!
The plaza has a famous eatery downstairs full of international fare such as pasta, ramen, crepes, and beyond. I scarfed down a large bowl of bolognese pasta and my photographer had the most delicious crepe ever. We later caffeinated ourselves, lightly, on tea from Argo Tea a few blocks down and called it a night. Milkbar was nearby and I was half tempted to get some corn cookies and cereal icecream but my foodie self control mode kicked in.
In recent memory, New York Fashion week was most memorable thanks to Truubin’s and other notable designers shows. I will forever want a dress with exposed shoulders, ruffled sleeve cuffs, and silver, studded trimmings hugging my neckline. I mean, that is the key ingredient for a fashionable It-girl!
April 5, 2018 I had an exclusive invite to cover the “Experience Georgian Culture” party held at the Georgian Embassy (1824 R street, NW, Washington D.C).
For this party, I wore a black v-neck shirt from Macys, and a long black skirt, with intricate gold designs embroidered at the bottom from Nordstrom. The commute was long, difficult but worth it. I knew finding parking around certain embassies would be arduous so I decided to park my car at Bethesda metro station, metro to Dupont circle and just walk the rest of the way.
Tickets for this event were around $40 and this price includes authentic food, art exhibition, entertainment, and a complimentary swag bag. The Georgian Center, in partnership with the Embassy of Georgia, sponsored this entrancing party. The embassy, itself, was crowded with a variety of folks ranging from Georgian denizens, DC wonks, and media outlets. The house had expansive floors, an ornate staircase with inscriptions, and a variety of art hung along the walls. There was a complimentary coat check, as soon as you walked through the doors.
An extensive buffet had a hungry crowd, armed with red and white Georgian wines, and well tailored dresses and suits, forming a polite queue. The food emanated a warm touch with the crowd, as many foodies enjoyed sweet and savory treats melded with an array of spices and herbs such as tarragon, dill, flat parsley, and coriander. Kachapuri, a warm, gooey, cheese bread, enticed and evinced a homey-nostalgia with native Georgians. Foods such as Badrijan Nigzit which is roasted eggplant served flat with walnut paste; Pkhali, a paste made from spinach, walnuts, and garlic; and Qababi, grilled minced meat kebabs sprinkled with onion and sumac also made memorable appearance.
The party started promptly by 6:30 p.m. Guests were welcomed by the Ambassador of Georgia, H.E. David Bakradze, who has been serving as ambassador since November 2016.
For the first half of the party, Vlad Bregvadz, president of the Georgian Center honored several individuals for their outstanding contributions to the promotion of Georgian culture abroad. The first ever Georgian stand-up comedian George Bitadze, brought much laughter into the room as he adeptly layered in stories, witticisms, and anecdotes. Mamuka Gogiberidz and Giorgi Popkhadze, performed classical Georgian folk music and the popular and highly animated Georgian Flash mob, led by the talented Maya Monroe, and staged by Veronika Metonidze and Levan Chkheidze brought down the house.
Artwork, jewelry sales, and fashion designs by Ana Tkabladze, Tamar Mosulishvili, Nanuka Gogichaishvili, Gosha Dimitruk, Levan Mosiashvili, and Nana Chikhladze invigorated the networking and wine tasting sessions. Mixed media works such as oil paintings, acrylic portraits, clay sculptures, wood carvings, and combined metals were crafted by established and emerging artists. Proceeds from art sales benefited the Georgian Cultural Center and Bebnisi School for children. Zeg Made and Style Diplomacy dot com sponsored these talented artists as well.
The food, people, and artwork brought me closer to a better understanding of Georgia. The food had a homemade taste, imitable to if I had a Georgian mom making this from scratch at home. The people were easy-going, warm, and wonderful conversationalists. I especially had a wonderful time getting to know the flash mob and learning more about Georgian culture from key figures from the Georgian cultural center too. The art left an indelible impression with me and I was able to see how beautiful the country side through a creative lens. Overall, I had a magical time and I look forward to attending more Georgian cultural events.
Feel free to make a charitable donation to the Georgian Cultural Center here.
The Georgian Center is a charitable 501 (c) (3) non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting Georgian culture, education, and innovation in the United States of America.The Center is not financially supported by any government and relies on contributions from the diaspora and friends of Georgia.