An American Girl in Washington

A new gig

Posted in emPower News Magazine by AGinDC on 31 August 2011

Starting today I am a new opinion writer for emPower News Magazine! I really like emPower, I think it can be the intellectual’s answer to The Root and Griot, both of which I detest with every triple digit IQ cell in my body. emPower, though, is young, run by a remarkable young woman, and has nothing but bright days and great articles ahead of it. Well, that, and me… Here is the LINK to my first article. Read, share, comment! And in the future, check out my articles on emPower every Wednesday!

And if you haven’t been to the new MLK memorial yet, GO! What are you waiting for?

AGinDC

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Private lessons

Posted in All about moi by AGinDC on 28 August 2011

Did you all survive the Great Sprinkling of 2011? Good. My week as usual, has been slightly insane, plus I got caught up in a Friday Night Lights marathon and then an apocalyptic marathon in which I watched every episode of The Walking Dead and Survivors (Watch Dead, skip Survivors), so I didn’t have time for blogging. =)

In all of the excitement and TV watching, I neglected to write about the in-home cooking class that my roommate and I had last week. A few weeks ago I met a new private chef (currently head chef at a Marriott Renaissance), Adam Williams, who is not only totally adorable but an extremely talented cook, and I invited him to my flat for a private session. It was wonderful.

We made butternut squash soup that basically tasted like liquified sweet potato pie and chicken pot pie with a light and fluffy thick crust. It was so much more fun having a chef in our house than going out to eat because we learned how to make these amazing dishes and we had tons of leftovers. Adam also has wonderful chef bedside manner. I’ve had personal chefs in the past who are either total divas who think they’re doing you a favor by letting you pay them to cook, chefs who try to screw you in pricing, and chefs who think they’re chefs but are actually gas station attendants during the daytime and became chefs because they once heated up a Hot Pocket really really well. Not so with Adam. He’s been a chef for Marriott since college, he’s the head chef at a great hotel, and yet he treats the client like the client and not like someone beneath him or lucky to have him. He explains everything in detail, lays out a beautiful table when it’s time to eat, and even brings his own china! Having Adam at the house was a blast and by the end of the night we had already planned the next lesson!

I will definitely keep inviting Adam to cook for both events and private parties and lessons. And I’ll probably be making butternut squash soup and chicken pot pie all winter!

If you’re interested in hiring Adam he can be reached at: chefadamwilliams@gmail.com. I highly recommend it.

Bon Appetite!

AGinDC

 

 

The Fashionable Life! Be there.

Posted in The Fashionable Life by AGinDC on 25 August 2011

Education policy straight from the horse’s (Secretary’s) mouth

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

Yesterday was a really interesting day. Teach for America and the offshoot alumni political group Leaders for Educational Equality (LEE) hosted an event inviting TFA alums working in education policy, politics, and me (randomly) to come to DC (for those of us not already here) for a day on ed policy. We started with a basic (and still kind of boring) tour of the White House, then there was the obligatory hotel lunch and speakers (although the speakers were actually pretty interesting) and then we headed over to the Department of Education for a convo with Arne Duncan and some of his senior staff.

I have had a lot of issues with Arne and the job he hasn’t been doing over the last 2 1/2 years so I was really looking forward to seeing what he had to say for himself. It turns out, while I still don’t think he’s the end all and be all of education policy in America, they actually have done some pretty impressive things, and they are working hard over there. But, of course, like typical Democrats, nobody knows it. For a while I assumed they were sleeping on the job, but they have big ideas and are fighting to make them a reality. So, we’ll see. Plus, he not-so-subtly dissed Michelle Rhee which automatically made me love him.

Altogether it was a good day, an interesting opportunity to meet current and future educational leaders from all over the country, and I came up with a great project with a friend who teaches in SE that could turn out to be a really good opportunity for her kids! Definitely worth the trip.

And yes, this could have been a much more in-depth report but I missed a day at work and have a lot of catching up to do. =/ Oh well.

AGinDC

Tuesday through Friday

Posted in All about moi, Cocktails, again by AGinDC on 13 August 2011

Another crazy week with no time to write. One of the many reasons I shouldn’t have children is that I am so inconsistent. Can you imagine me as a teacher? Don’t even try.

So, what have I been up to? Well:

Tuesday: On Tuesday I went to a WordPress meetup with @designbyjihee. She wanted me to go so I could see all of the possibilities for making websites using WordPress.org and meet some of the techies in town who know what they’re doing. The meetup was actually super interesting. I didn’t understand half of what they were saying, but attending as someone on the hiring side, it was really helpful to hear the designers talk about their philosophies, the problems they have with their clients, and what should and shouldn’t be expected in a working relationship. I also saw a lot of great examples of incredible work. This was definitely worth attending and I think I’ll be going every month just to see what else I can learn.

Wednesday: On Wednesday I met the acting director of the DC Small and Local Business Department for the NAACP. He was actually a really great guy. Young, smart, went to Dartmouth (Mount Holyoke’s brother school!) and was really interested in working with the NAACP to get some of their services and opportunities out to the communities on the East side. So I’m really looking forward to seeing what we can do in the future.

I then headed to Local 16 to support two of my favorite DC men. Darius’ org, DC Social Innovation Project hosted a spotlight happy hour to show off three local non-profits, including Austin’s We, the Readers, an amazing new organization that I really think can make a difference in the lives and reading levels of local DC kids. It takes very little dedication that can make a significant change so please, go to his website and join!

After Local 16 I went to Matchbox in Eastern Market to ruin my diet with a delicious pizza and mostly to meet L’Rai, an up-and-coming stylist who will be doing consultations at The Fashionable Life. I am so excited to meet Rai! Not only is she completely adorable, but she’s a fellow Michigan girl (yaay!), she’s getting lots and lots of print work, which is exciting, and she and I thought of like twelve things that we want to do together in the future! I also think she’s incredibly talented and the girls at The Fashionable Life will love her.

Thursday:  On Thursday I met up with one of DC’s deputy mayors, again for the NAACP, which was super interesting. I then had a conference call for the Fashion Law committee for the Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts which was a blast because I think we’re planning some really fun things for the rest of the year. Then my friend Erin came over and we had chips and salsa and wine and watched too many episodes of Awkward Black Girl, because we love it. I ended the night with the hi-larious GOP debate. Those are the moments when I love Twitter the most.

Friday:  Friday morning was a disappointment. I had a hair appointment and, although I showed up on time, the stylist didn’t. This is the problem with trying to support small, local establishments. There are certain things that you accept as a black girl at a salon. You’re going to be there forever. It’s going to cost way more than it should. They’re probably not going to be very professional. Fine. I can deal with that. It’s tradition, it’s the way it is, and even though I am 27 years old, can afford to go to a much more expensive and professional salon, I choose to support a local salon. Well, I should say, chose. I specifically made my appointment at 10am on a weekday because I just do not have time to spend five hours in a salon. So I made the first available appointment. And I showed up early. And waited for 25 minutes. And the stylist never showed up. So I went home.

Then, she called ME at 10.40 and asked if I was going to show up for my appointment!! I told her that I waited until 10.20 and she never came so I left and she didn’t even bother to apologize or ask if I wanted to reschedule. She was just like, “okay, no problem”. No problem indeed. So, now I’m done with tacky local places. I’m going somewhere posh, somewhere expensive, somewhere that will listen to me, somewhere that will give me a haircut that doesn’t look like you got it in a black salon on Georgia Ave. My loyalty to the community only goes as far as I’m not being abused. Once I feel disrespected or that my time and money aren’t appreciated, I’m out. I don’t care. So, too bad tacky salon. There are plenty of women who will let you abuse them because we are just so used to it, but I’m out.

Ugh.

The day got much better from there. I worked from home and then met up with Lindsey Mask, the founder of Ladies DC, at a Cap Lounge meetup with a few local PR professionals and a couple of press flacks. The happy hour was a blast, I met some great people and now that I have LilyPad, it’s fun getting to know a whole new part of DC!

I cancelled everything for the rest of the night because I was so exhausted, I just needed to stay in and work. My plan is to do the same today until DeanBax comes over for our Doctor Who marathon. There’s so little time before The Fashionable Life, plus DCYE and about a million other things that I’m working on that I really just want to stay inside and tackle these projects and get them done!

Oh, I did one other big thing this week. I bought a plane ticket and reserved a Club Med vacation in Turks and Caicos for the end of September! My life is so insane right now and I know that I’ll have a heart attack or get an ulcer if I don’t go on a vacation after CBC week. I have literally been booked with something every day since June and it will continue through the end of CBC week. And then, I’m going far far away, to an island where I won’t have to do anything but sleep, eat, and stare at the lapping waves. I can’t wait.

Have a great weekend!

AGinDC

Marvelous Marvins

Posted in Cocktails, again by AGinDC on 9 August 2011

A short one today.

Last night, after my Capital Cause meeting, I went to Marvins to meet up with DeShuna Spencer, the founder and editor of emPower News Magazine, my new favorite source of all things news-y. DeShuna is absolutely remarkable. She has an amazing vision to create a news site that is actually unbiased, factual, tells the stories that no one is telling, and relates directly to the community. I love it and I love her and I am very excited to see where she takes emPower in the future. We spoke a lot about where she’s going in the future and I guarantee, you’ll be hearing a lot more about her and emPower on AGinDC!

Now back to work. Afternoon fatigue has set in and I’m barely holding on. Oh yeah, we went to Marvin’s on U. It was good, of course, but everybody knows that!

Until tomorrow,

AginDC

Celebrating my DCversary

Posted in All about moi by AGinDC on 8 August 2011

This weekend was the one year anniversary of my move to DC so I decided to celebrate in style.  I worked with Aiden Baptiste, a young chef who just started his own business and he created a fantastic New Orleans-inspired buffet that probably had a million calories per bite but was totally worth it. I then added lots and lots of gin, wine, champagne, and St. Germaine and a group of 20 of the best and most interesting people I know. The result? Fabulous! The party was a reminder of everything I love about DC. Most of the people in the room didn’t know each other but with great personalities and enough alcohol, before long business cards were flying and everyone made a new friend and great connections.

It is sometimes hard to believe that I’ve only been here a year. It’s more difficult to believe that I spent about six months of that time living the halfway impoverished life of an over-educated and underemployed social butterfly living in a borrowed palace. But now, here I am, paying rent, throwing parties (well, I did that when I was broke too, but the alcohol has improved) owning my very first business and almost my very first non-profit and with a group of friends and acquaintances that I would have been lucky to collect over 20 years. Perhaps only in DC is it possible to become so comfortable and so involved so quickly. Just like at my party, people here are so eager to meet someone new, are so recently displaced themselves, and are so intelligent and accomplished (mostly) that they easily welcome new people into the fold and encourage growth rather than trying to vanquish someone who could become a competitor. I love it.

And now, I have so many plans for Year Two! Next August will be marvelous, not only will we be celebrating the impending win of a second term for FLOTUS, but I have a feeling that it’s going to be a very good year for me, and for DC.

Here’s  hoping for the best!

AGinDC

Pink Feminism

Posted in Uncategorized by AGinDC on 5 August 2011

On Monday night I had the thrill and the privilege of going to see an old favorite- Britney Spears- and a new favorite- Nicki Minaj- in concert.  There were a lot of things about the concert that I loved- the lights, the costumes, the gays, Britney’s insane body- but most of it boils down to the pure, unabashed and absolutely glorious joy of being a girl.

I don’t listen to the radio so I didn’t know much about Nicki Minaj until she was on the ‘Til The World Ends remix with Brit Brit.  Once I listened to it though, I knew I loved her. The sense of humor (You was hot when? Ricki Lake.) and the girl power sold me enough that I bought Super Bass, which sold me so much that I bought Pink Friday.  And OMG did that become my newest theme album.  From “I’m the Best”-

All the girls will come in as long as they understand
that I’m fighting for the girls that never thought they could win.
Cause before they could begin you told them it was the end
but I am here to reverse the curse that they live in.

– an unapologetic celebration of making it out on your own terms, to “Fly”-

I came to win, to fight, to conquer, to thrive
I came to win, to survive, to prosper, to rise
to fly.

– the whole album is surprisingly powerful, surprisingly inspirational, and surprisingly feminist.  And you can see it when she performs. Nicki Minaj is badass. Badass in a pink wig. And heels. With hot girl dancers. And she is having a blast. I have never seen any performer, much less a rapper, much less a female rapper who usually feel like they have to make up for being a girl by being the crudest, vilest, and hardest performer out there, having so much fun. Minaj smiled the entire time like she was having the best day of her life. She engaged in cheesy acting. She killed the bad guy (girl) with a laser. She was strong and beautiful and talented and not wearing a bikini or pasties or twelve-inch heels. She was absolutely marvelous.

And then came Britney.

I already wrote about my love for the Brit Brit here. I wrote about what an inspiration her rise and fall and even more spectacular rise have been for me. So to see her in concert was absolutely thrilling. First of all, whatever drugs they had her on during the MTV awards have worn off and she was her beautiful, talented and absolutely mesmerizing self. Say what you want about Britney Spears but she is clearly a performer and she finally looked like she was free. She also looked like she was having fun, which was the theme of the night and which we haven’t seen from her in a while. The whole concert was a bit of a retrospective of her life thus far and Miss Politesse and I remarked on how amazing it must be to be in her 20s and have lived as many lives both on and off the stage as she has. It also made us wonder what we’re doing with our lives. Dag.

From now on I will always be a supporter of Nicki and Brit Brit. I think they are the manifestation of everything our foremothers fought for for so long. They’re beautiful and strong and proudly feminine and run their lives on their own terms. They make more money than most men can ever dream of and they’ve done it in their 20s and by being themselves. That’s what’s so important, they’ve done it by being themselves. This concert was the visual manifestation of everything that I love about these two women. They show us what strong girls can be. Everything. And they show us what we can do.

Anything.

AGinDC

Happy Birthday Mr. President!

Posted in Politics- as I see it by AGinDC on 4 August 2011

Sigh...

Last night I had the good fortune to attend a DNC fundraiser for the President’s birthday! Held at L2 Lounge in Gtown, the event was your typical happy hour except that Debbie Wasserman-Schulz and Eleanor Holmes Norton were in attendance and there were lots of signs reminding the world that the President is now old enough for an AARP card.

Making a big deal about POTUS’s birthday is fundraising genius. Besides the two ginormous parties in Chicago, there were something like 1,000 parties around the country. How insane is that? Not only did they probably make a boatload of cash, but doing something to celebrate the President’s birthday (and a big one at that) with thousands of other people around the country and, if you were lucky enough to be at an official DNC fundraiser in a major city, with some of his key players, is an amazing way to get people re-dedicated to the cause right when they need to be getting fired up (ps. they’re bringing back that god-awful “Fired up and ready to go” chant and I hated it enough the first time around, I cannot deal with it again. Make a note.). How lucky is PO that his 50th birthday just happens to be the summer before an election?

Personally, I mostly hope he wins so I can have four more years to pray for another beach shot. Well, that and I don’t want my country to blow up. #justsaying

Happy Birthday Mr. President. You deserve 1,000 parties. Well, you deserve about 775. The extra 225 are good luck parties for the next four years.

We really do still love you.

AGinDC

The first half of the week (+ the weekend!)

Posted in Just another day in DC by AGinDC on 4 August 2011

This is another one of those weeks when I was so busy living my life that I forgot to write about it! So much has happened. See below:

Friday:

After visiting a party store for LilyPad (shameless promotion! Buy a tik!) I went out for drinks with a Republican friend who works in the house. This was probably a mistake, since all we talked (read: fought) about was the debt ceiling, and then a little cap and trade, and then the debt ceiling again. But, he’s a great guy and I’m a geek so it was fun. We started at Johnny’s Half Shell, then went to a dive bar I can’t remember and then ended the night at Vinoteca (champagne mint julep, yaay!). After Vinoteca we parted ways and crashed, the Republican had golf and work in the morning and I had to go cry about the debt ceiling.

Saturday:

On Friday night I noticed a sign at Vinoteca that said $10 mimosas, bellinis, and kir royales (a fav of mine) so I headed there with an adorable Texan and we had an amazing brunch. Seriously, the French toast with the bourbon soaked apples was so good, we decided to never again eat apples that hadn’t first been marinated in Buffalo Trace. Yummy.

After brunch I headed downtown for a planning session with a young man who is planning a men’s conference next summer. More on that later.

Then I went to Founding Farmers for dinner. It was as delicious as always. I had the salmon, greens, and mashed potatoes. Out of this world. Seriously, you just cannot lose at that place. Then we hung out on the rooftop of a friend’s apartment enjoying the gorgeous weather. Summer nights… love it.

Sunday:

On Sunday I did a lot of work, had a few meetings, and then went to Ping Pong Dim Sum, which was delicious. I’m used to going to really ratty places in the shady part of town for dim sum but this place was fantastic. I will definitely be back. After dinner I went to the Britney Spears concert (!!!!!), but I’ll be writing a special post about that later.

Monday:

On Monday the girls and I went to a Nats game. Lots of fun. Lots of talk about boys. Lots of gin. No idea who won. Not even completely sure who was playing. I assume it was the Nats against someone…

Tuesday:

On Tuesday I went to lunch at my new favorite place, Lincoln, with one of the new co-founders of Graham and Peters consulting. The food was great, the company was better, and of course I’ll be back. I then had a meeting with someone I met at my last lunch at Lincoln, a marvelous bookkeeper who helped me set up my new netbook (ugh, PCs) with Quickbooks and Neat Receipts and everything else a young entrepreneur needs to not pull a Tim Geithner in 20 years.

So that’s everything up to last night, which I will write about next!

Busy days, busier nights. Just how I like it.

AGinDC

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