An American Girl in Washington

A Georgetown afternoon

Posted in Cocktails, again, Local Arts and Artists, The Fashionable Life by AGinDC on 29 July 2011

As much as I hate getting to Georgetown, once I’m there I genuinely like it.  I especially love the shopping…  So, although the Circulator ride was as tortuously slow as always, once I got there I had a wonderful time.

First I headed over to Marvelous Market to meet up with the amazing Sharon Glickman, stylist and image consultant extraordinaire.  Sharon and her associate are coming to The Fashionable Life to give free mini-consultations to all of the girls there and I am so out-of-control excited about it.  Most girls our age just do not understand how important image is for our careers, our love lives, our social lives, our confidence, everything.  Having the right style and look can make or break you (especially in a town like DC) and I’m really hoping that even a short meeting with Sharon will change a few minds and a few lives.  I totally love her.

After our meeting I went to Cafe Milano where I had dinner with my new BFF, Elizabeth Kane of Elizabeth Kane Real Estate. Elizabeth could not be more adorable and is incredibly smart to boot.  I’ve only known her for a week and she has already more than doubled my real estate knowledge.  (To be fair, I had almost none to begin with, but that’s still pretty impressive).  Neither Elizabeth nor I were very impressed by the service or food at Cafe Milano.  They have definitely seen better days.  But the company was great and it was right next door to the Peacock Cafe, which was our real destination for the evening.  The Jete Society was having a happy hour!  I haven’t been to a Jete Society event since last summer and it was so nice to be there now that I have been here for more than three weeks.

The people were fantastic and I finally met K Street Kate! I love her website and am always insanely jealous of the marvelous events she seems to attend almost every night.  It turns out that not only is she even more fabulous in person but she is also insanely nice and very, very tall.  Even in my highest heels I was looking up to her!

Now that the Smithsonian has killed the Young Benefactors Society I have to join another arts org and last night the Jete Society clinched it.  Not only did I love the people but the drinks were fantastic (the Great Gatsby was amazing.  Gin, sparkling wine and pink lemonade.  Yum.) and I am already shopping for flapper dresses for the Great Gatsby-themed ball in September!  I absolutely adore the ballet and now that my one year DCversary is coming up it’s time for me to get back into the arts scene.  I can’t wait!

After Georgetown I went home and saw my wonderful and amazing friend who just took the bar exam!  I am so proud of her and of course had to take her out for drinks.  So, we went to Room 11 and sat on the patio (the weather last night was perfect) and had cocktails and split a grilled cheese sandwich.  I remember very clearly the mixed feelings of relief and trepidation and disbelief at the end of the bar exam and she was definitely feeling all three in full force!  But I know she passed and I am looking forward to a November phone call celebrating her scores!

I am so glad today is Friday.  I’m looking forward to a weekend of friends, movies and lots of sleep.

Have a great weekend!

AGinDC

So much to say

Posted in All about moi by AGinDC on 28 July 2011

I cannot even begin to describe how much has happened in my life since Friday morning.  The last five days have been a whirlwind of wonderfulness.  I’ll do my usual daily rundown because it is the only way that I can organize it in my head.

Friday: @evolvingelle had a happy hour at XII on H Street.  Good times, fun people, super sketchy old guy having a launch party for his self-published (and yet, somehow “bestselling”) raunchy and badly written mystery novel.  Love it.

Saturday:  Went to SE to a rally put on by the new group “This is our DC” (I’m not linking to it on purpose).  It turns out it’s an astroturf organization started by a certain big time labor union, of course.  I figured it out about five seconds in when I saw the super-aggressive organizers (labor staff), the hundreds of boxed lunches (labor money) and the fact that they had no agenda and were basically just whining about the Repubs taking away their jobs.  What’s sad is that it’s an issue that seriously needs to be addressed in SE but self-interested unions just trying to amass a mailing list are not the ones to do it.

Later that night I went to dinner at Brasserie Beck.  I hadn’t been but it was amazing and the mussels were to die for.  Great service as well.  I loved it and will definitely be back often.

Sunday:  On Sunday I went to the Butler & Claypool pop-up shop and bought the cutest little silk scarf ever.  They had a wonderful selection of curated vintage items.  You can really tell that the girls at B&C care deeply about the pieces they pick and that they are excited to share them with the world.  I’ll definitely be at the next one!

Monday:  I didn’t go to work on Monday, instead I woke up insanely early and headed to the DCRA.  After long hours (well, long half-hours) of waiting, moving back and forth to a couple of windows and paying about $200, I am finally officially a small business owner!  LilyPad Events and Marketing is now officially an LLC.  Woohoo!!  Of course, I didn’t feel really official until I opened a business checking account, but after a trip to my favorite bank later that afternoon, I felt like celebrating.  So I went to D’vines, where I could take advantage of my neighborhood discount, bought a bottle of the bubbly and celebrated with Chipotle and Champagne.

After the celebrations I headed to a Capital Cause meeting and happy hour at Busboys and Poets before I finally went home to do a lot more work and then go to sleep.  Aside from registering a business and going to meetings I had also been on the phone all day securing more vendors for The Fashionable Life and designing cards and planning for my DC Young Entrepreneurs happy hour and I was exhausted.

Tuesday:  Tuesday was more working from home (it’s funny how much more exhausting it is to work from home than in an office).  I also had lunch with a bookkeeper who, while he is sadly moving and can’t be my bookkeeper full-time, is being extraordinarily generous and helping me set up my business.  We went to Lincoln, which was incredimazing.  Seriously, Tasting Table knocked it out of the park yet again.  From the pennies on the floor and the goat cheese burgers to the homemade chips and the picture of Mary Todd on the door of the women’s bathroom, Lincoln is one of my new favorite places in DC.  And, pleasantly, the lunch menu actually isn’t that expensive.  I’m dying to try their happy hour next…

Tuesday night I went to the launch party for my new favorite non-profit, the Emergent Leaders Network.  ELN is extraordinary because they are actually focused on supporting community college students!  I taught community college for two summers and it was one of the best things I ever did.  No one understands how hard cc students work, how badly they want to be there and how much every little thing helps them improve their lives.  Until I taught cc I had the same opinion of community colleges and their students as every other spoiled private college grad who thinks they know shit.  But after watching my students work full-time jobs while they went to school (and I had the privilege of teaching on an Army base so most of my students were soldiers and war vets), taking care of families, and survive insurmountable odds just to get an education, I was sold.  I loved it, my dearest hope is to teach community college again someday, and I am so, so proud of ELN.  Please check out their website, there are all sorts of small ways that you can help and make a huge difference in someone’s life.

Wednesday:  Wednesday was another full day.  I did a little shopping for myself because, well, I deserve it.  I bought a new bag that I have been coveting for two months now and two crazy adorable pairs of shoes from Nordstrom Rack.  God bless their designer shoes section where I always get heels from my favorite designers for at least 50% off.  Totally worth crossing state lines for (and so little is).  I also had to read a complaint for my new case (thank goodness it was only 70 pages, I was not in the mood for serious reading) and I had tons to do to get ready for the big event of the evening.

I am starting a new networking group for young entrepreneurs in DC (@dc_ye) and last night was our first happy hour at Last Exit.  The event was fantastic.  A lot of young, brilliant, creative DC entrepreneurs came and the feedback about the project was fantastic.  I really think this is going to be something incredible and I am so excited that we’re finally getting started!

After the happy hour I finally came home and crashed.  I was almost excited to be back in the office on Thursday.  Working from home was great, and I got so much done for LilyPad, DCYE and my wardrobe.  But it will be kind of nice to spend the next two days sitting down in an office!

Til tomorrow,

AGinDC

I. Am. So. Excited.

Posted in The Fashionable Life by AGinDC on 24 July 2011

Could this night get any more DC?

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

So, last night started out well.  I went to Lost Society, the new bar and restaurant on 14th and U.  I absolutely love it.  High-end, pretentious, amazing food (the french fries and bourbon bread pudding- OMG), Hendrick’s Gin, beautiful patrons, fantastic rooftop bar that I’ll visit in the fall.  I love it.  My Detroit bestie and I had a great time catching up (we email every day but actually have to Google cal a time to see each other!) and I really could have stayed all night.

After LS I headed to Lima with @EvolvingElle.  We had the world’s latest dinner reservation at The Park so we started at Lima with drinks and conversation.  There were two men in their mid-40s sitting at the table next to ours and of course they started flirting with us.  We kind of talked and the one with his left side to us was single but we couldn’t see the left hand of the guy on the right.  Didn’t matter though, they were in from out of town (of course, it is DC, after all) and we weren’t interested so after our one drink we left.  But not before I went to the bathrooms and Lima is now #4 on the “Best Places to Have Bathroom Sex in DC” list.  Let’s review:  #1: Buddha Bar, #2: Zengo, #3: Napoleon, #4: Lima.  Why?  Well, the first requirement is that there’s no obvious separation between the men and women’s bathrooms.  At Lima there’s just an open doorway and the men’s bathroom is around the corner but the women’s bathroom is actually in that open hallway.  I mean, hello?  Another requirement?  Doors that go floor to ceiling.  Done.  And the thing that makes Lima a unique and special bathroom sex snowflake?  There are LIGHT SWITCHES in the bathroom stalls.  Yep, exactly.  Done and done.  In fact, the only reason that they’re not above Napoleon is that the stalls are really really small (only hipsters need apply) and the reason for the light switches is because it’s bright as hell in there.  Darkness always wins out so Lima is stuck at #4 for now.

After Lima we went to The Park for our incredibly late dinner reservation.  Of course, The Park being The Park, they were unorganized, uncommunicative and late.  We waited over an hour past our reservation because they way over-booked.  They’re like the American Airlines of restaurants.  But the food is so good and it’s where the Bourgie crowd goes so… what’s a girl to do?  While we were waiting, who should walk in but the guy from Lima!  I swear.  So he talks to us for a while, buys us some drinks and, in my defense, I was so tired and hungry and not paying attention that it still didn’t occur to me to figure this guy out.  So we’re talking, it turns out he’s a state senator or some other underpaid, unimportant political position, and he ends up spending like the whole hour talking to me and even sat down with us when we had dinner.  Honestly, he was a pretty interesting guy so I didn’t really mind, but then, as he put his hand on my thigh (yes) and called me a “sexy innocent intellectual” (whatever that means) I noticed a picture of a totally adorable little boy on his phone.  Of course I asked him about it.  Of course it’s his son.  Of course he also has a daughter.  And then it finally occurred to me to look and of course he was married!  Hahahaha.  So pathetic.  I would have been more upset if a) he was cute, b) he wasn’t like 45, c) I had been remotely interested in him or d) it wasn’t past midnight on a Thursday and I just wanted to go home.  Instead, I just chalked it up to an experience as DC as smoking cigars at Shelley’s or pushing past tourists who stand on the left and joked about it in the car with my friends.  I love this town.

Oh, and the late-night dinner at The Park?  Delicious, but not worth the wait.

Have a great weekend!

AGinDC

September 8th. Hillyer Arts Space. Be there.

Posted in The Fashionable Life by AGinDC on 21 July 2011

The website is live and early bird ticket sales are on now through August 1st!  Thanks @ji_hee_ya and @danieldzn!

Visit the website

Buy tickets here

CB2 and BBQ

Posted in Just another day in DC by AGinDC on 21 July 2011

Last night @ji_hee_ya and I joined a Meetup group for a special event at CB2.  Since basically my entire apartment is CB2, I was totally excited about the opportunity to get some styling tips from the staff.  The event was fun but even better was the free wine and the delicious cheese.  Also the free gift, a super adorable and very CB2-like exclamation point vase.

After the event Jihee and I were famished so we headed over to Old Glory BBQ.  I had the pulled pork sandwich and mac and cheese with a mint julep and she had collard greens, mac and cheese, really delicious sweet potato fries and something I can’t remember and a peach sangria.  It was exactly what you would expect from a BBQ place in Georgetown.  The nice thing is that they have bottles with different kinds of BBQ sauce on each table so you can pick your own.  But the thing that makes BBQ great is the slow cooking in the sauce, so getting a bun with dry meat and some seasoning sprinkled on it and having to douse it yourself was not exactly appealing.  The mac and cheese also had shredded cheddar sprinkled on top of it, which seriously made me doubt the contents of the bowl.  Both Jihee and I also thought the drinks were pretty weak.

Anyways, the company was great and I got some bad news yesterday so I really needed some comfort food.  Any mac and cheese would do.

The rest of the night was full of work and delightful conversation before I finally went to bed.  Sigh.  I can’t wait for Saturday.  I need to sleep in.

AGinDC

DC’s latest buzzword

Posted in Politics- as I see it by AGinDC on 20 July 2011

For a while it was “diversity”.  For a sad moment in managerial history it was “synergy”.  For a minute anything with -American at the end was in vogue.  There have always and will always be words that everyone who’s anyone in political correctness says as often as possible.  They write articles, they talk about it in community meetings, and they write poorly thought-out letters to their Congressmen.  Over the last few months, largely, I think, due to coming doom of Wal-Mart, the reports coming out about the census, and the mass of activity on H St, the latest buzzword around DC is GENTRIFICATION.

This blog is by no means the appropriate forum to delve deep into the psychological, political, social and economic conundrum that is gentrification.  But that won’t stop me from adding my two cents.

A few months ago I wrote about an amazing article that very well summed up my feelings on being a young black professional who is also part of the gentrifying class.  And as one of those young people who came to DC because everyone else was coming here, because the city is a hell of a lot safer than it was when I was in high school and college, because it’s one of the few cities in the country teeming with jobs for the newly graduated, and because it’s one of the few cities in the world where almost everyone you meet is doing something that they are passionate about and that actually makes a difference (plus because I’m a giant nerd and I’m slightly in love with FLOTUS), I can definitely understand, appreciate, and benefit daily from the positive change in Washington over the last five or so years.  This city is now a place where I want to raise my children (or my horses, haven’t decided yet, but the horses are definitely winning out), which was not the case when I spent my summers here ten years ago.

On the other hand.  As a young black professional, it is impossible for me not to understand that but for the grace of a remarkable grandmother, I too could have grown up in Ward 8, or any of the many, many equivalents across the country.  It is impossible (unless, apparently, you’re 98% of the Republican party) not to understand the social, political, and economic factors that have kept the original citizens of DC out of the loop for so long that it is now nearly impossible for them to catch up.  From the lack of home rule to the piece of shit local government to the unprecedented complications of merging a national capital with a tiny suburb, the black community is now reaping what decade upon decade of State neglect has sown, and it’s not fair.

On the other hand.  It was terrible the way it was.  The city couldn’t stay that way.  If it wasn’t for the Federal government, we would be Detroit.  Or worse.  We have to allow for progress, we just can’t leave the people who live here behind.  Or kick them out.

And so, here we are.  I find myself in conversations, meetings, committees, and  organizations that are all dealing with this issue.  Some of the people in these groups are young professionals who just really want a Trader Joe’s on their block, some are citizens who have lived in DC for 20, 30, 40+ years and are (justifiably) angry with the way their city is changing without them, and most are people like me: kids who came here to make a life for ourselves, but who don’t want to do it on the backs of anyone else.  But just like we can’t buy an iPad without supporting slave labor in Africa, and just like I felt sick at having $15 cocktails at a rooftop bar in Phnom Penh while homeless Cambodian children starved below us, it seems that no matter what we do, no matter how hard we try to just live our lives the best way we can, somebody is going to get hurt.

And that’s not fair to anyone.

AGinDC

Is this place really that Lucky?

Posted in Just another day in DC by AGinDC on 19 July 2011

Not much to report from last night.  After work I had a phone meeting with someone from Capital Cause- really really good things coming, stay tuned!  Then I headed over to Lucky Bar (yeah, that dive on Connecticut next to Julia’s) to meet up with my usual Monday night group.  It was 50 cent taco night which was a horrible temptation since I’m on this diet, but I’m determined to make my last 20 days as good as the first 20 so I had half a beer and some conversation and went home to work on @lilypaddc.  And yes, I will be shamelessly promoting this expo until September 9th, so just get used to it.

I am basically living out of my living room right now since one of my best friends is studying for the bar in my bedroom.  A few notes:  1) my CB2 twin sleeper is actually pretty comfortable.  2) the TV in the living room is way better than the TV in my bedroom (which is probably the 1st LCD ever) so now I am considering purchasing a new television set. 3) sleeping in a room with lots of light (we have a lot of windows) is a great way to wake up in the morning to work out. 4) There is no 4.

In other news, thank the gods for online chat support.  Otherwise I would never get anything fixed.

I read or saw or heard something yesterday that made me want to write a really deep blog post.  But I forgot what it was about.  Oh well.

Back to work!

AGinDC

Weekend in Review

Posted in Weekend in Washington by AGinDC on 18 July 2011

So, here’s the weekend in review:

Friday:

I did something with someone on Friday but I can’t for the life of me remember what it was.  If I was with you, please remind me.  =/

After I did whatever with whomever I went home and started my weekend Harry Potter marathon.  No need for words about how much I love the Potter, so I’ll just leave it at that.

Saturday:

On Saturday I continued my Potterthon while working on @lilypaddc and actual work stuff.  Then I went to the Boys and Girls Club’s Comedy Night at District on 18th.  The night was a win and a fail all rolled into one.  Three of the comedians were so bad it was painful, but two of them (Ian Brown and Akila something) were so hilarious that it was totally worth the three terrible people.  The edamame and french fries were also super delicious.

After District we headed to Jack Rose for Lisa B’s birthday party.  They opened Jack Rose after I moved out of Adams Morgan and I hadn’t been yet.  It’s actually really nice.  They have a couple of different rooms and rooftops and the views are fantastic.  Definitely recommended.

Sunday:

On Sunday I had a fantastic meeting with someone I’ll be working with a lot in the future with the NAACP and I am super, super excited about some of our ideas.  Then I picked up one of my best friends who is a little over a week away from the NY Bar exam and is staying with me from now until she heads to Albany.

I ended the night with my book club, which I totally love.  In fact, the only thing I don’t like about the book club is that I don’t see some of the girls often enough.  But hopefully that will be remedied soon since we’re planning a few between-book-club meet-ups.

So that was the weekend.  This week, as usual, promises to be a good one. Is anything good going on?

Happy Monday!

AGinDC

Art is War

Posted in Book Learnin' by AGinDC on 15 July 2011

A few weeks ago at Shelley’s, my new friend Austin of We the Readers, a new DC non-profit that I guarantee you’ll be hearing a lot about in the coming months, recommended a book to me.  It’s called The War of Art and it’s one of the most extraordinary things I have ever read.

The book, by Steven Pressfield, author of The Legend of Bagger Vance among and far less embarrassing works (to be fair, I’ve never read it, just seen the previews, which was enough) like his historical novels that have gotten such amazing reviews that I have to read them (see: Gates of Fire, Tides of War, and Last of the Amazons) is a call to arms for anyone who has ever fought that greatest of foes: Resistance.  Resistance, as Pressfield so geniusly defines it, is all of the things that keep you from doing whatever it is you’re supposed to do.  And “supposed” means that which you are DESTINED to do, not just little things like taking out the trash or doing your homework.  Anyone who has ever tried and failed to write a book, start a business, complete a diet, or do anything else that takes discipline, initiative, and especially creativity knows what I’m talking about.  Resistance is the thing that tells you you’re too tired, too busy, too broke, too dumb, too slow, too fat, or too anything to do what you have to do.  I’m not explaining it as well as he does, but trust me, this is a book that you probably need to read.

It’s short, which is nice, and it’s effective, which is nicer.  You will definitely identify with a least 3/4 of the scenarios in this book.  I know I did.  In fact, it was so good, after I read it the first time, I immediately flipped to the first page and read it again.  And I will be reading it over and over and over again.  Every time I don’t want to sit down to read a book.  Every time I make an excuse not to keep up with my diet.  Every time I get too scared to follow through with an idea.  This is the book that will kick my ass and force me to be everything I’m meant to be.

And, as Pressfield says, just imagine what would happen if we all reached our potential?  This world would be an absolutely extraordinary place to live.

Read it. Love it. Do it.

AGinDC

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