An American Girl in Washington

Sophia Nelson, Helena Andrews, and the Black Woman’s Generation Gap: An Open Letter to Michelle Obama (a parody)

Posted in Politics- as I see it by AGinDC on 30 June 2011

Dear Mrs. O,

Last night two friends and I attended a book talk for Sophia Nelson’s new book, Black Woman Redefined.  I’m sure you’ve heard of it.  In fact, I know you have, because the author mentioned several times that she met you and gave you the book.  She also spent a good amount of time reading from the prologue of her own book, which is, of course, an open letter to you.  You probably don’t remember her, or the book.  And you probably didn’t read the entire open letter, if any of it.  You have better things to do.  Unfortunately, I do not.  So, yesterday I sat in a room with a bunch of church ladies, a couple of church men, a stylist who couldn’t walk in her shoes, an author who was late to her own reading because she was getting a manicure, and a couple of very confused, sad, and insulted looking 20-something year old girls.

Why did we look confused, sad, and insulted, you ask?  (You would ask, because you’re that kind of person).  Because, you see Mrs. O, from Bitch is the New Black to Black Woman Redefined, it’s pretty clear that, like every other demographic, the generational, geographical, and educational gaps between our mother’s generation and ours couldn’t be more different.  While Helena Andrews tried to add a little levity to a situation in which we, as young black women, too often find ourselves (trying unsuccessfully to couple in the big city) using a word that we have proudly reclaimed but perhaps a little more ego than we want to admit we have prefer, she was speaking from a place that only the .05% of black women born after 1980 with one or more degrees from a highly selective school, good jobs, and a West Elm furnished apartment in a good part of the city can understand.

Sophia Nelson, on the other hand, is speaking from the perspective of black women born between 1955 and 1969 with one or more degrees from an institution of higher learning, unsatisfying jobs, and a three bedroom townhouse furnished with imaginary nurseries, unopened hope chests and a shelf full of self-help books and dog-eared Bibles.  The white version of these women are the reason Hillary Clinton didn’t beat your husband in ’08.  They’re cut from the same cloth as Moses, Che, and Jesse Jackson.  They can’t let go of the revolution.  Worse:  they still define everything in the terms of the revolution and expect everyone around them, especially those in the same demographic group, to adapt to their version of the world.  If you want to know how well this works, see, e.g., the South African government.  Because here’s the problem of all successful revolutionaries:  when the war is over and the dust has cleared, you’ve won.  And unless you can adapt, we don’t need you anymore.

This is why the country that is so proud to have you as our First Lady is even capable of having a First Lady.  It’s why we rose to power so quickly and why we are, indeed, the greatest country on Earth.  Because our Founding Fathers understood that they had to change or get out of the way.  And change they did.  They learned to adapt, redo, modernize and innovate.  When the Articles of Confederation didn’t work they didn’t sit in a pew, praying over and over that God fix their lives/pay their bills/send them a man.  They didn’t learn to hate every country with a working government.  They didn’t buy expensive hats and march past the struggling single mother in the back row, nose in the air, white gloves poised for a blessing.  No.  They tried again.  They fought and debated and studied and struggled and worked and worked and worked.  And they got it right.  They wrote the Constitution and in so doing left a legacy of democracy for their children and the world that will never be surpassed.  And then they went away, and let us grow and change and become the country we are today, for better or worse.  Mostly, if I may say so, for better.

The same should be true for our mothers.

I’ll give you a little personal history here, ma’am, if you’ll forgive me.  Partially because I am very proud of my family and talk about them as often as possible, but mostly because I think we illustrate my point quite nicely.

My great-grandmother was Sioux, from North Dakota.  Through luck, intellect, a good family and sheer will, she made her way to Kansas, attended medical school, became a chiropractor, and married my black great-grandfather, a pharmacist.  She did this in the very beginning of the 20th century.  My great-grandmother adopted and raised my very handsome grandfather, a man so handsome that he caught the eye of my grandmother, Dorothy, from all the way across a bar in Okinawa.  My grandmother, who decided to marry the tall, handsome stranger across the room right then and there and did, three months later, is a singular woman.  Raised in Burgaw, North Carolina, a town so small that to this day people who are actually from North Carolina have never heard of it, she, like all of our grandmothers, walked back and forth to her segregated school while the White children passed her on the bus.  Malcolm Gladwell talks a lot about the factors that lead to success being made up mostly of luck and circumstance, along with a great deal of ambition and ability, and in my grandmother’s case, this is certainly true.  My great-grandfather was determined to send his children to college. The only problem was, the Greatest Generation was raised in a time of war.  Since he couldn’t send his sons to college, he decided to send his daughters.  I thank God every day that this farmer and seller of moonshine was so forward-thinking as to believe that his Southern daughters should receive a higher education.  And so, my grandmother and her sister were sent to college.  My grandmother, brilliant and determined, had always wanted to be a librarian, so that she could ensure that every black child had access to books, a privilege that the children in her segregated school rarely got to enjoy.  So she got a master’s degree in Library Science, joined the Civil Service, and ended up in Okinawa, where, at 28 years old, she met my grandfather.

Forgive me, Mrs. O, I know you have a birthday party to plan, I promise, I’m getting to the point.

Unfortunately for my grandfather, my grandmother gave him four girls (I’m sure the President can understand his disappointment), the tomboy of which was my mother.  Unfortunately for everyone in my family, my grandfather went to Vietnam, fought bravely, and died of a heart attack shortly after coming home.  It was 1972 and my grandmother had four girls, aged 13, 12, 12, and 7.  She could have packed up and gone home (they were in Arizona at the time).  She could have sent them to live with family members and lived her own life.  She was beautiful and easily could have gotten married.  But she didn’t.  She packed up and moved off base, bought a house, and raised four brilliant girls who all went to college, half of them earning graduate degrees, and lived their own lives.

And so we come to my mother.  At 18 she left Arizona for Mount Holyoke College, met and married my father and gave up a chance for a career to raise my brother and I as we followed the Army’s orders and moved all over the world.  When I was 12 (12 is not a good year for fathers in my family), my parents divorced, my father left, and my mother got a job for the first time in a very, very long time.  She could have gone back to Arizona.  She could have sent us to live with our grandmother.  She could have gotten remarried.  She didn’t.  She got a tiny apartment.  She got a job.  She got an MBA.  She made us meatloaf on the weekends that we could heat up when we got home from school.  She attended every play, concert, sporting event, parent-teacher conference, college recruitment dinner, and took pictures for every dance.  She made me take the PSAT, the ACT, the SAT, and every other standardized test she could think of about 25 times.  And she worked herself to an illness to pay my college tuition.

Everything the women in my life did is remarkable.  Everything they did inspires me to be my best every day.  And since I was 7 and understood where I came from, my only goal in life has been to make them proud, to live up to the nickname “little Dorothy”, and to never let their struggles be in vain.  But the most important thing these women did, for me, and for each other, was to let go of the revolution.

My grandmother didn’t raise my mother to hate White people for the way they treated her in Burgaw.  She didn’t raise her to never fall in love because her husband died and left her alone.  She may have made them hide their Fatback records and listen to Mahalia Jackson on Sunday mornings, but when my aunt brought home not one, but two White husbands, and when my mother brought home a tall, Jordanian, Muslim man, she put them to work fixing doors and oiling cars and puzzled over why on Earth anyone would refuse to eat pork.  In short, she let the future be the future and found her place in an ever-changing world.  I have always thought that she and Nikki Giovanni should teach an AARP class in moving forward.

My mother must have learned from her, because she understood that the Mount Holyoke I was attending was a different world than the one she attended.  She encouraged me to study abroad, to seek new experiences, to major in theatre, of all things.  My grandmother even came all the way to Massachusetts to fall asleep at a play.  They were thrilled when I decided to put law school on hold for Teach for America.  They were there when TFA was the hardest thing I’d ever done.  They have even learned to accept the fact that I will probably never have a traditional job.  Although I’m pretty sure they’re keeping hope alive on that one.  Unlike many of my friends, the women in my family have never (to my face) lamented a decision, given me a blueprint for my life, or ever, ever said, “I didn’t work this hard for you not to be X”.  This, in our community, is remarkable.  This, in our community, is rare.  And this Angela Davis-like ability to let go of the revolution and move on to the next, is something that we did not witness last night at the reading.

And now, FLOTUS, the point.

This letter is not intended to derogate, insult, or deride, although my overly sarcastic tone and unfortunate gift for hard-hitting metaphors may at times make it seem that way.  All of the issues addressed in Sophia Nelson’s book are valid, important, and vitally need to be addressed.  And I certainly do not mean to belittle the significant amount of research, passion, and drive (and, also, according to Ms. Nelson, a measure of sacrifice that led her to neglect her own health, forget to take her pills, and go deaf in one ear) that went into writing this book.  I have nothing but admiration for anyone who can actually finish a book.  I’m still not there.

The problem is, all of those issues and all of those needs and all of that research is  interpreted through one very singular and very traditional worldview.  Which is fine, because everything comes from somebody’s point of view.  That’s the point of writing a book.  But when Ms. Nelson and the women shouting “Amen!” in the Borders bookstore on 12th and E  see the entire world through the rose-coloured glasses of the blood of Christ, they are asking us to conform our behaviour to their expectations.  They are judging us for living our own lives and stuffing every single black woman with all of our history and experience and education and passion and drive and possibility into one very tiny little Pandora’s box.  They complain about the mass media and general public judging us all by one very, very bad example (I believe NeNe was the example used quite often by Ms. Nelson and I hope, for your sake Mrs. O, that you have never heard of her) but then they do the same thing.  Black women are not a monolith.  Never have been, never will be.  My friend Jae said it best when she said that White girls are judged as “Britney”, “Whitney”, and “Ashley” where as Black girls are judged as “ALL BLACK WOMEN, NOW, THEN, AND FOREVERMORE”.  I may have taken some artistic license there, but that’s what she meant.

To these women, there is no individual.  We all relax our hair.  We all wear tights to work.  We all want to be married and have children and will follow Steve Harvey’s advice to do it.  We all go to church.  We all listen to Tom Joyner.  We all either are, want to be, or should be in a sorority.  We all behave as one.  We are Cylons.  When Michael Eric Dyson speaks a radio clicks on in our heads and we all listen and act accordingly.  We are Black fembots.  And if one of us malfunctions, watch out.  We’ll skewer you just like they skewered Helena Andrews.  And NeNe.  And Oprah, that one time.  It is absolutely unthinkable to the fembots that the smart, ambitious, educated and independent young women that they raised might not (gasp!) go to church.  Or that we might like being single.  Or that we might be lesbians.  Or that young men minding their own business on the corner might take offense to a preacher coming by and telling them how to behave.  Or that it actually isn’t acceptable or even legal to “knock out” a black teenager on the Metro for cursing in public.  Or that the village is supposed to raise a child, not brainwash it.  Or that we don’t live in the Black Stepford.  And until they do, until they wake up and realize that the revolution is over, that they’ve won and now they need to adapt, or step back, I’m afraid every book reading will be filled with church ladies with bare left hands and big hats and girls who are disappointed, confused, and just a little bit mad.

I’m sorry to take up so much of your time, Mrs. O.  I know you have better things to do.  And besides, I have a hard time believing that you would ever stop your girls from becoming everything they can be now just because they might make choices that are outside of your experience.  But I’m afraid our only common denominator is you.  We may like you for different reasons, we may talk about you in different ways, we may even disagree on whether we like the fact that you did The Dougie in public.  But as far as we have a North Star, it’s you.  And even after the revolution, we still need something to reach for.

Thanks for listening.
An American Girl in Washington

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The W (again) and Matchbox

Posted in Just another day in DC by AGinDC on 29 June 2011

Last night I had drinks (my favorite, St. Hilaire) at the W with my new friend Austin, who is starting an amazing literacy non-profit that you will be hearing a lot about in the future.  I’m helping him with some of the legal start-up stuff and I am so excited about what he’s bringing to DC middle schools this year.  Austin is just another example of the extraordinary innovation and passion that young people in this town are absolutely full of.  Love it!

Today, I had lunch with… what am I calling him now?  Motown?  Anyways, his wife and two daughters just moved to town and I took them to a Welcome to DC lunch at Matchbox.  The pizza was as amazing as always, of course, but sadly, the ice cream tasted like it was powdered.  It certainly was not the “gelato” that they claim it is.  Sadness.   I had never met Motown’s daughters before but they are the most gorgeous, adorable little girls that I have ever met in my life.  Seriously, now that they’re in DC, the Obama girls had better watch out.  They have some serious competition for the title of World’s Cutest Girls.  And M’s wife is so ridiculously pretty that it’s just so, so wrong.  I’m going to have to step my game up when we go out.  Clearly, I love them all and am so excited that they’re in DC.  I am already counting on us being very good friends.

I love the weather today, the lack of humidity is marvelous.  Let’s hope it’s like this through the weekend!

That’s all for now,

AGinDC

Buddha Bar!

Posted in Cocktails, again by AGinDC on 28 June 2011

Last night, after another successful Capital Cause meeting (lots of great events coming July through October.  Stay posted!) I headed to Buddha Bar with my new Monday night group.  We decided to skip Shelley’s this week and my eyes and clothes and hair were thankful for it.  I love Buddha Bar, it’s where I celebrated my birthday last year.  I love upscale dining, a requirement of formality, and over-the-top opulence.  It’s why Vegas is my favorite city on Earth.  So, obvs, Buddha Bar is my kind of hang out.  Sadly, the Monday night crew is mostly made up of laid back guys who wear things like flip flops and cargo shorts, so they weren’t as thrilled with the venue as I was.  In fact, one of the guys had to borrow shoes from someone else before they’d let him in!

The nice thing about Buddha Bar is that they have a pretty decent happy hour, so everyone could drink for a reasonable price.  And their tiny spring rolls are crazy delicious.  I also love that the bathrooms were clearly designed to have sex in (Buddha Bar and Zengo both have sex-appropriate bathrooms.  What is it about upscale Asian fusion restaurants and restroom copulation?).

We finally left Buddha Bar around 10 after the tiny waitress not-so-subtly informed us that we didn’t tip enough, which, after we added up, we realized that we had actually been more than generous.  This, unfortunately, did nothing to further ingratiate the place to the guys.  I have a feeling I won’t be getting them back there any time soon.  But I’ll be back!

In other news, I am exhausted and need to take a social vacay.  Probably some time in November…

Til tomorrow,

AGinDC

Another perfect weekend

Posted in Weekend in Washington by AGinDC on 27 June 2011

After my insane week, I was hoping to have a quiet and restful weekend.  Fortunately, that didn’t happen and I ended up having fun instead.  Here’s how it went:

Friday:  After work drinks at Lounge 201 (ps. they have the most amazing french fries) where we ran into a threesome that had clearly been drinking since breakfast.  I love that Lounge 201 is basically a strip club without poles.  I kept waiting for Snoop Dogg to walk out of a smoke-filled room with a video camera and a couple of girls in bikinis but it never happened.  Such a weird, weird place to find on the Hill.  After 201 we went to… I actually don’t remember.  Another Hill bar for more drinks (we left 201 because the waitress was rude.  So rude, in fact, that I wrote a note on the receipt explaining why she wasn’t getting a tip.  Seriously, a group of 8 spends a couple of hours and quite a bit of money at your bar and you’re rude?  As a former waitress, I take serious issue with that) and then I left the group and went home for some much needed R-E-S-T.

Saturday:  Saturday morning I worked out and then lounged around, working and not cleaning and picking up my mail on U St.  The usual.  In the afternoon I volunteered at the Safeway BBQ Battle for the Boys and Girls Club Next Generation Leaders.  No, I’m not in NGL, but a friend of mine is so I spent six hours standing outside in an ugly red t-shirt (I hate red) asking people born in 1939 for their ID so they could buy a six dollar beer.  And after all of that, I didn’t even get any BBQ!  Sadness.  But it was for a good cause and, notwithstanding the fact that my old boss at the Boys and Girls Club in Arizona was arrested and convicted of stealing from the clubs (I hated that woman), I still have a soft spot in my heart for the BGC.

After watching other people drink all day, I was in desperate need of a beer.  Luckily, some friends were meeting at Buffalo Billiards to watch the tragic USA v Mexico game (I’m only a racist during sporting events but then I hate everyone who isn’t on my team.  You should see me during the World Cup, the Tea Party would be proud).  I can’t believe they beat us.  Ugh.  Whatever.  A couple of Sam Adams from the world’s most hardworking bartender and a giant plate of nachos later and I was feeling much better.  After Billiards we went to 18th Street Lounge which is now on my list of most favoritest places in DC.  I love the hidden, back-alley feel to the place, the plethora of rooms, the vintage Victorian feel, the rooftop bar, the live bands, the DJ in the doorway with the hundreds of records and the crystal chandelier.  Heaven.  We had a blast.  Eventually, we took the party to my house where we drank Sauv Blanc on the roof, lounged in the loungey chairs and admired the view of the Capitol on one side and Target on the other.  Good times in Columbia Heights.

Sunday:  On Sunday I probably should have slept in but instead I decided to wake up and work out like the idiot that I am.  After my workout I made and ate an omelet and then promptly fell back asleep.  When I woke up again I worked a little, had a mini-Columbo marathon in honor of the late, great Peter Falk, and was getting ready for coffee at Busboys and Poets with HUB DC co-founder Allison Basile when she called and asked if I wanted to go kayaking instead.  Ummm… hells yeah!  So, Allison and her bf and housemate and I all headed over to Jack’s Boathouse in Gtown where for $14 per person we went kayaking on the Potomac for an hour!  It was completely awesome.  The weather was perfect, kayaking is a great arm workout, and we saw ducks and herons (or something) and all kinds of wildlife and wild people.  Even Marine One was out for the day, and they must have been doing training exercises because I swear at least one of those helicopters was flying over us the entire time.   But the day was gorgeous and I am absolutely doing it again this summer, hopefully more than once.  In fact, as soon as I got home I browsed REI.com looking for a kayak!

After kayaking we headed up to Booey’s for lunch and then finally headed home.  Now that I was totally exhausted I of course cleaned my room, did some laundry, and Skyped with my mom.  I then watched one too many episodes of Columbo, tried in vain to drown out my roommate’s TV (she was BLASTING the BET Awards) with Adele, and finally fell asleep.

Yep, weekend perfection.  And this week is shaping up to be almost as exciting as last week, except hopefully with at least one day when I can just go home.  I have too much work to do for all of this partying!

Did I miss anything good this weekend?

AGinDC

 

Motiv at The Blaguard

Posted in Cocktails, again by AGinDC on 24 June 2011

Last night I had drinks and pizza at Vapiano, which you know I love.  Then I headed over to The Blaguard in Adams Morgan for the Motiv Strategies launch party!  I first heard about Motiv when Carl, one of the founders, came to my party a few weeks ago.  Sadly, I didn’t get a lot of time to talk so I was super excited when I got an invite to their official launch party!

Motiv is one of those great new DC businesses that is focused on providing innovative strategies for corporations and government offices that have gotten a bit… old/boring/moldy/sad/ineffective/insert word here.  How exciting is that?  If there is anything that the establishment in DC- and around the country- needs, it’s a little bit of shaking up and thinking outside of the box.  Enter: Motiv.

I’m excited to see where this business goes, and also excited for any future super awesome open bar parties they may have.  I also really liked The Blaguard.  Our bartender was one of the owners and he was just ridiculously nice and very proud of his bar.  And the food was fantastic.  I’m definitely keeping them on my list of “places to have happy hours”.

Personally, this has been an incredibly fun week but I am soooo glad it’s Friday.  I slept an hour late today because I just could not wake up.  Tonight, drinks on the Hill and then I’m turning in early.  Tomorrow, I’m volunteering at the Safeway BBQ Battle on Penn (come! BBQ and it’s for a good cause, the Boys and Girls Club!) and early, early, early on Sunday morning I’m volunteering for my people, Teach for America.  And then I’m sleeping and reading and cleaning my neglected bedroom.  I may even walk into my kitchen for the first time all week…

Have a great weekend.  There’s an insane amount of stuff going on.  For the best listing, I recommend Brightest Young Things.  Oh how I wish I had gone to Dude Fest.  Sigh.

Ciao til Monday!

AGinDC

Samba and Sangria

Posted in Cocktails, again by AGinDC on 23 June 2011

Last night I went to a happy hour benefiting the Young Benefactors Group for the Institute for Responsible Citizenship.  I love going to events where this group will be present because it is primarily made up of young black men in the city who happen to be very professional and have a slightly higher quotient of good-looking members than most DC organizations.  Also, the sangria was free.

The party was at Eden, on 17th and I, on the roof, which was perhaps a little too hot for my tastes.  But the drinks were delicious, the cupcakes were moist and yummy, and the company, as always, was wonderful.  I spent most of my time talking to a girl who I met a few weeks ago and really think I may end up loving.  But, with my week-long party crusade starting to wear on me, and with the heat causing me to sweat like a mad woman, I bounced by 8pm and took my tired behind home.  With a little salmon in me and Rachel Maddow lulling me to sleep, I was in bed by 10.30, texted until 11, and then slept like a rock.

Tonight, Vapiano and The Blaguard.  I will report back tomorrow.

Happy Friday Eve!

AGinDC

A Capital Success

Posted in Cocktails, again, Just another day in DC by AGinDC on 22 June 2011

Last night a new organization I’ve joined, Capital Cause, had their first event of the summer: a happy hour at Tabaq on U St.  I really like Capital Cause because their goal is to encourage DC’s young professionals to get involved in philanthropy and give of their time and (very little) money.  It’s a fantastic idea and also happens to be one of the best-connected young professional organizations in DC.  It’s actually kind of amazing how many extraordinary young DCers they have on the board and as members.  So, I was excited about the happy hour because I knew I would get to hang out with some of the great people I’ve met so far, and that I would meet tons of new folks over cocktails and networking bingo (my favourite game!).

Another thing that I really like about CC is how quickly they turn ideas into action.  I’m on the events committee and we just thought of having the happy hour a month ago or so.  But, with regular meetings (another wonderful logistical practice that so many people don’t do these days), lots of communication, and a Google group, the party was up and running in just a couple of weeks.  We very quickly had a venue (and Tabaq was awesome and gave us 10% of the bar), gorgeous posters, and 400 RSVPs within 72 hours of announcing the event thanks to the incredible network of fellow CCers.  I must have gotten about 12 emails about the event from every other listserv that I belong to.  Talk about powerful (and free) marketing.

When I first came to DC I tried to curate exactly the right kinds of memberships to help me develop a well-rounded group of friends, contacts, and experiences.  I’m still looking to round out a couple of my goal genres, but with CC I definitely found a group of intelligent, ambitious, and highly capable young professionals who are all committed to making philanthropy a part of their daily lives.  I love it!

If you want more information about Capital Cause or want to join (it’s only $30!), click HERE.

Another great event tonight, this time at Eden.  I’ll report back tomorrow!

AGinDC

There are hotels, and then there’s the W

Posted in Cocktails, again, Just another day in DC by AGinDC on 21 June 2011

I love hotels.  Just in general.  I like being catered too, I like the possibility of meeting exciting new people, I like really really good sheets.  I also love style, sophistication, jet set ambience and the fact that I’m never more than an elevator’s ride away from a good cocktail and french fries cooked in truffle oil.  So yes, I like hotels.  But I love the W.  Especially the one here in DC.  Besides its near-perfect location, the W is like a little AG dream world come true.  Handsome and complimentary doormen outside?  Check.  Modern Victorian decor in the lobby? Check.  Bliss spa? Check.  More bars than bathrooms?  Check.  Rooftop party spot? Check.  Small, quiet, sophisticated jazz bar with a view of the Mall and five different kinds of ice cubes?  Check.  Seriously, what’s not to love?

I would spend every waking second in the W if I could, but, sadly, I’m not independently wealthy.  Yet.  So, instead, I just go to the bar whenever I can.  Which means that I was thrilled when my two favorite people in DC (isn’t it nice when you meet people who just get you?), the Lombardis, were cool with having our meeting in the lounge.  While sipping on St. Hilaires (a note to anyone out there who may want to impress me some day, I love any cocktail made with champagne and St. Germaine.  Any.) and making good use of the W’s free wifi (my non-3G iPad thanks you), we discussed my narcissistic, power-hungry plans for the future (more on that later, but the only thing I love more than Jihee is her fabulous ideas), the genius of Richard Branson, and how much we love the W.  It was a fantastic meeting and reminded me yet again that the smartest thing I ever did was a) decide to hire a brand management team and b) start this blog so Jihee could find me.

After the W I headed over to Shelly’s, where I hung out drinking scotch and eating reubens and getting cigar smoke in my clothes, my hair, my lungs and my eyes with the same group of guys (give or take a few) with whom I went last time.  We’ve decided to start a Monday thing for the summer, which I love because it’s so much fun hanging out with a great group of men who like to do things like rant about politics and swap statistics on the death penalty in Texas over scotch.  Funnily enough, I just can’t find a group of girls who will do that with me.  Odd…

Around 10pm I finally went home and got there in time to catch the rerun of Olbermann’s new show.  I didn’t think it was possible but he’s actually more narcissistic and obnoxious now than he was when someone else was holding the reins.  And I was offended enough when he had the gall to channel Murrow by saying “Good night and good luck” on the last show but now he’s got all of those pictures of him in his studio and I want to be sick.  Edward R. is probably rolling in his grave.   I’ll be sticking with my nightly Maddow/Stewart/Colbert cocktail.  I’m never home by 8pm anyways.

Tonight Capital Cause is having a happy hour at Tabaq!  It’s free and 10% of the bar proceeds are going to us!  Plus, free cupcakes for everyone, and the first 75 are from Red Velvet!  If you’re interested, get the deets HERE.

Have a great Tuesday,

AGinDC

The Perfect Weekend

Posted in Weekend in Washington by AGinDC on 20 June 2011

This weekend was one of those weekends when I am so happy when I go to bed on Sunday that I don’t mind getting up for work the next day.  Of course, I’m so happy that I even have a job, tenuous as it is, that I’m always happy to get up and go to work.  So what happened that made this weekend so great?  Well, I’ll tell you:

Friday:  After work I headed over to Last Exit, the new speakeasy under the Tonic on Mt. Pleasant.  By now you should know that I loves me a speakeasy (although I’m dying for one with live jazz.  Am I going to have to start one myself?) and this one was adorable.  Super small (a bar, two couches and a few chairs, they feature the specialty crafted cocktails that make a modern-day DC speakeasy what it is.  I had the mint infused bourbon with simple syrup (served with a side of chocolate chips) and my friend had a peppercorn cocktail with grapes.  The drinks were good, if a little strong (and not in the good way) and it was a nice place to sit and chat.  It’s no Gibson, but since Last Exit is only a few blocks from my house, I’ll probably be hitting it up on the regular.  Plus, it’s under Tonic, which means there are always tater tots upstairs!

After Last Exit I stayed in (I hate going out late on Friday nights), watched the Star Wars marathon on Spike and texted and gchatted with friends.

Saturday:  On Saturday morning I headed to Bethesda where I had signed up to wrap Father’s Day presents at Barnes and Noble for the Washington Literacy Council.  As far as wrapping presents go, nothing is easier than books, and I love the WLC, so even though I had to cross state lines, it was worth it for them.  Sadly, this was only my second time in Bethesda and I got hopelessly lost (of course my ATT GPS wasn’t working in the boonies).  I stopped at a little local stationery store that was on the same road as the bookstore, as it turns out, and both clerks at the store claimed they didn’t know where B&N or Bethesda Row was.  Really?  It’s four blocks away assholes.  F you very much.  This is why I don’t travel to the suburbs.  Anyways, I finally made it and I wrapped my little presents and did my community duty.

After B&N I headed to Friendship Heights where I indulged in a little shopping.  I’ve been working my ass off (literally) on this Tracy Anderson diet and halfway through the program I’ve dropped 10 pounds and a size!  I thought this was worthy of celebration (although I’m hoping to drop another 20 and 2 sizes by the end of the summer) so I went to Bloomie’s and bought a new DVF dress, my first ever.  It’s gorgeous and I can’t wait to find somewhere to wear it.  I also got a pair of shoes at Nordstrom Rack and a couple of tops at Bloomie’s and AT Loft and then I was shopped out and exhausted.

I headed home where Battlestar Galactica had conveniently just started on BBC America.  After unwrapping my purchases and fixing up a grilled chicken breast, some guac and chips and a bottle of Shiraz, I took some time off of my feet and watched Caprica get blown up, watched Gaius Baltar lose his mind and fell in love with Adama all over again. Two hours later I was feeling rested and ready for the night.

Darius (of DCSIP fame) had planned a triple header and the first stop of the night was a roof party at the apartment across the street from mine.  The party was a blast.  Tons of new people, great music, and a Caribbean spread that caught my attention with its jerk chicken and home made corn pudding.  Yummy.  Sadly, we couldn’t stay for long and soon after I started flirting with a super cute industrial engineer we were cabbing it to Ceiba.  The cabbie was hilarious and blasted K-E-dollar-sign-Ha for us as we made our way down.  At Ceiba, which I love for their post-10pm $5 cocktails, Darius’ friend was having a birthday party and I found myself once again surrounded by new people, my favorite state of being.  While downing the $5 mojitos I quizzed a couple of gentlemen on what exactly a man is thinking when he approaches you and the two of you first start talking.  Their answers confirmed for me that Why Men Love Bitches is the truth.  It also confirmed that now that winter is over, the hotties are out in full force.  It was a loooong winter, but I feel like I am finally reaping my reward.

Last call of the night was at Bar Code, which is always a good time.  More new people, but this time with more dancing than talking.  I like ending my night at a club because I prefer to sit around talking and can only jump around to the same music for about an hour before I’m done.  So, like a tardy Cinderella, I chucked the deuces at 1am and cabbed it back home.

Sunday:  Sunday is usually my day to stay in and get centered, especially now that this diet has prohibited all brunches.  I don’t work out Sunday mornings, I sleep as late as possible (8am is the best I can do before I get restless) and I spend the day working, emailing, writing to do lists, reading, and watching TV.  This week I read Nice Girls Don’t Get Rich, which is probably more appropriate for a middle-aged woman born before the zenith of feminism than for a 27-year-old who kept laughing out loud at all of the stories of smart women who kept giving their money to men.  I’m sorry.  I went to Mount Holyoke.  That ish just doesn’t ring true to me.  But there were definitely some good points and since I’m trying to learn as much as I can about being financially saavy, I definitely took the good with the old-fashioned.  I’m also in the midst of my hero, Richard Branson’s, Business Stripped Bare, which I will be writing a full review of later.  Spoiler alert: It’s amazing, he’s amazing, I love.

I always try to Skype with my mom and beautiful, perfect niece on Sundays and yesterday I was treated to a half-hearted rendition of Itsy Bitsy Spider, a fashion show displaying how her hair looks when treated with Mixed Chicks Tangle Tamer, which I bought for her last week, and a lot of running around and attacking the dog.  I also watched all of Series 5 of Top Gear, which is one of my favourite shows of all time, and I finished off my Star Wars marathon with Return of the Jedi before going to bed.

This, for me, is a perfect weekend.  Drinks, friends- both old and new, cute boys, down time, lots of work, a few books, and a few minutes with my West Coast fam.  Love it.  However, this week promises to be exciting and I am really looking forward to some of the nights I have planned.  And as for work, I’m happy to do it.

I hope your weekend was as fab as mine.  Happy Monday!

AGinDC

ps.  My AZ fam is currently evacuating because some asshat didn’t listen to Smokey the Bear.  Please people, put out your fires.  My state is burning down, it’s nearing my town and my grandfather’s park and there is nothing we can do to stop it.  Put. Out. Your. Fires.

Dolly Madison House and Bread for the City

Posted in Just another day in DC by AGinDC on 17 June 2011

Last night I had two incredibly different DC experiences.  First, I went to a Michigan Law reception at Dolly Madison House on the corner of Lafayette Park.  The building is absolutely beautiful and of course, the location can’t be beat.  I love MLaw receptions because a) there’s always free wine, b) the food is always delicious and c) I run into my friends and into people I didn’t know were in DC.  This time was no different and I spent part of the evening enjoying the expensive munchies and the conversation until it was time for me to brave the rain and the mosquitos to head to my second event of the evening.

I walked from Lafayette Park to 7th and S to go to the kickoff for the HubDC Citizen Circles at Bread for the City.  First of all, Bread for the City is an extraordinary space and the second I walked in I was imagining all kinds of events there.  The building is spacious, contemporary, and beautifully appointed.  I met the director of HubDC at the DC Social Innovation Project launch last week and the idea sounded like something I would definitely be interested in.  So when she invited me to the Citizen Circles launch, I jumped right in.  CC’s are basically small, community learning sessions where everyone picks a topic and studies it together.  Sort of like a mini-seminar without a professor.  There are a couple of groups that I’m interested in so I’ll keep you posted on which one I join and how it turns out.  I love the idea of community continued education and I’m totally down with getting to know a really progressive part of the population that I may otherwise have missed out on.  So I think it will be exciting.

I also love that in one night I attended two events that could not have been more different.  One was a reception for lawyers in a historic building just moments away from the White House where we all wore business casual and talked about the ACS Convention and how much we love free Chardonnay.  Then I went to a community center where a bunch of people in tank tops and flip flops sat around a table and talked about whether or not our children are getting enough indigenous oral history in their educations and how we can regain our sense of wonder in our every day environments.

Both sides are a little silly.  Both sides are a little pretentious.  Both sides are hilarious.

I love this town.

AGinDC

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