Monday, March 29, 2010

Community Service: I LOVE Old People!

I don't know what it is but I've always been fascinated with old people.  I could be PC and say I love the elderly, senior citizens, or the wise, but when I say old people you know what I mean.

I remember my first time going to a Nursing Home.  One of the youth groups I was a part of growing up was invited to sing Christmas carols for the residents.  I remember being hesitant at first because I always thought of nursing homes as a hospital for old people and since hospitals freaked me out I was leery.  When we went to sing and I saw the faces of all the seniors and how excited they were to have us, I instantly fell in love.  They were so gracious and thanked us for spending time with them.  That moment fueled my passion to work with the elderly.

In college, it seemed like all the rage was to be a part of Habitat for Humanity or to be a tutor.  While I tried those things, I never got the same satisfaction as what came from that experience I had at the nursing home. 

During the middle of my sophomore year in college, I had an epiphany.  One night I stayed up researching programs that provided services to the elderly and became determined to start my own organization.  I came across a program called Adopt-A-Grandparent and corresponded with the founder who was based in Atlanta for advice on starting my own program.  That December, I along with another young lady and a couple of friends started the first collegiate chapter at Florida A&M University.  Our mission was to provide companionship the the elderly through weekly visits each and every Saturday from 10-12 and included arts & crafts, playing games, pampering parties, even hosting a pageant.

The first interest meeting was a little sparse but I was enthusiastic about undertaking this project and that enthusiasm spread among those who came.  Over the next two years we had over 200 students from FAMU & Florida State to serve as volunteers and went from going to one nursing home to having so many volunteers we divided them up and provided service to 3 senior living facilities in Tallahassee.  Since then I've continued my work with seniors and it never fails to be a rewarding experience. 

Time for my plug...Currently, I work with IONA Senior Services delivering meals one weekend a month to seniors, many of whom live independently, in Washington, DC.  I've been doing it for nearly 3 years now and it continues to be a highlight in my life.  If you're in DC and looking to give back, I would highly recommend volunteering with IONA.  They are always in need of assistance from weekend meal delivery, to assisting with their art and fitness programs, or even going on trips with the adult day care.  If you're elsewhere you can volunteer with your local Meals on Wheels, they're everywhere.  You never know who you'll meet, one of those old people might change your life.

Things to Do: Top 30 Under 30

On Wednesday, March 31 Capital Cause in conjunction with the NMC Consulting Group is hosting a reception honoring the Top 30 Under 30 Young Professionals in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area.  It will be held at the Midtown Lofts (1219 Connecticut Avenue, NW, WDC from 6:30-9:30PM)

The event, which will include live jazz by The Marcus Mitchell Project and art by J Stacy Utley, will honor 29 young professionals within the Washington, DC Metropolitan area who have excelled in the areas of business, government, politics, education and the arts and were recognized by WKYS as a Top 30 Under 30. Capital Cause and the NMC Consulting Group will announce the 30th honoree during the event.

The reception will include remarks by elected officials, business and community leaders, Jamal Simmons, CNN Correspondent, and will include a resolution from the Council of the District of Columbia and a proclamation from the Mayor of the City of Alexandria honoring their awardees.

Top 30 Under 30 Honorees:

Honorees include: Washington Redskin Devin Thomas; Mike Winans, Jr.; Natalie M. Cofield; Harold B. Pettigrew, Jr.; “Coach K” Amleset G. Kidane; Shawn Hay; Shayna Yvonne Rudd; Ryan Richmond; Pharoh Martin; William Lance Blake; Stephen Conti; Fred Howze III; Kimberly Smith; Courtney Maria Savoy; Avery Leake’ Lawrence Elliott Ball; Vallyn Lea Smith; Anthony Dale; Ryan J. Davis; Dontae Cunningham; Kimberly N. Wilson; Anthony Ajayi; Frank A. Bryant; Renaldo A. Chapman; Victoria “Shaqwana” Davis; Mahogany Woodland; Shanel Thomas; Marcus Mitchell.

To RSVP or for more info:Visit, or call/email Corey Ponder at 202.642.4287 or

A $20 advanced ticket grants attendees access to an enticing buffet, live music, art on display, and a wealth of networking opportunities.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Random: Candied Bacon

Anyone who knows me know that I absolutely love bacon.  While I'm not like those people you see on TV who can eat a whole package at a time, I love truly love bacon and feel like you can't have breakfast or brunch without it.  Oh and it has to be real bacon, no turkey bacon does not count.

Well, today on twitter someone tweeted about a site called The Sticky Pig where they sell candied bacon.  What an interesting concept?!  I've had chocolate covered bacon before at Coco Sala , hey don't knock it to you try it, so I'm sure this would be right up my alley.  I think I'm going to order some just to see what it's all about.  My inner fat kid is getting hungry. :-)

Things to Do: Tossed & Found Rummage Sale

As a member of the Junior League of Washington (JLW), I had to put in a plug for our 18th Annual Tossed and Found Sale, one of the largest fundraisers for the JLW.  The sale is being held this weekend, Saturday, 3/27 and Sunday, 3/28 from 9:00A - 5:00P at the Crystal City Shops (2100 Crystal Drive, Arlington, VA).

Every year the ladies of the League are required to donate items to this huge rummage sale.  The JLW is no different other Junior Leagues.  We have some pretty affluent members so rest assured there will be some amazing items including clothing, jewelry, household goods being sold for a bargain.  This year, I donated designer jeans and small appliances.  I'm sure there will be tons of designer items, art, and furniture available for purchase. 

Proceeds raised from Tossed & Found benefit the Junior League’s literacy programs. Shopping for a good cause, what could be better?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Thing To Do: Porgy & Bess

When I heard the famous African-American opera, Porgy and Bess, was coming to DC I knew I had to get tickets.  During my initial search for tickets, I admit I was being cheap and didn't want to pay $150 for a ticket so I let the opportunity slip through my fingers and the shows sold out.  But luckily for me, due to popular demand a few shows were added to the line-up.  When I did a search somehow I stumbled across amazing seats, only 8 rows from the stage, at half the cost of the other orchestra seats.  I figured it was meant to be and jumped at the opportunity.

I'm so excited to see what all the talk is about.  The show is running at The Kennedy Center from now until April 3, 2010 and I believe tickets are still available.  Visit the Washington National Opera's page on Porgy and Bess for more information about show times and to purchase tickets.

More information about Porgy and Bess taken from Wikipedia
Porgy and Bess is an opera, first performed in 1935, with music by George Gershwin, libretto by DuBose Heyward, and lyrics by Ira Gershwin and DuBose Heyward. It was based on DuBose Heyward's novel Porgy and the play of the same name which he co-wrote with his wife Dorothy Heyward. All three works deal with African American life in the fictitious Catfish Row (based on the real-life Cabbage Row) in Charleston, South Carolina, in the early 1920s.

Originally conceived by Gershwin as an "American folk opera", Porgy and Bess premiered in New York in the fall of 1935 and featured an entire cast of classically trained African-American singers—a daring and visionary artistic choice at the time. Gershwin chose African American Eva Jessye as the choral director for the opera. Incorporating a wealth of blues and jazz idioms into the classical art form of opera, Gershwin considered it his finest work.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Savvy Tips: My Obsessions

I think I have a problem when it comes to shopping.  I really and truly think I'm addicted to it.  I guess I've been able to manage this obsession because I've always paid my bills on time and I save so I feel as though whatever's left I can splurge just a little.

Right now I'm obsessed with some Tory Burch sandals, among some other items. As I'm typing this I'm on the phone with my girl at Saks in New York trying to order them.  Hey they say the first step is to admit you have a problem.  Besides, I never pay full retail price so that makes it better. Right?

I figured I'd share some of my latest obsessions. 

Tory Burch
Wrap-Up Sandal

For more info or to purchase

Diane Von Furstenberg
Herringbone Wrap Dress

For more info or to purchase

Christian Louboutin
Pigalle Patent Leather Pump

For more info or to purchase

Marc Jacobs
Bruna Classic Quilted Bag
For more info or to purchase

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Event: GWUL Whitney M. Young Gala

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending the Whitney M. Young Gala hosted by the Greater Washington Urban League (GWUL) at the Marriott Wardman Park.  I had always heard about the event and planned on volunteering in the past but was never able to attend for one reason or another, until this year.

As a board member of the young professional auxiliary group of the GWUL, I was fortunate enough to attend this wonderful event which costs the general public $350, for the low cost of FREE.  It was a great opportunity to interact with other members of the Urban League as well as prominent figures in the Washington, DC community, as well as those who are nationally and even internationally known.

The night began with a Silent Auction and guests were treated to a lavish assortment of hors d'oeuvres and a delicious sparkling cocktail (Prosecco, Chambord, and raspberries).  In true DC form, we were welcomed into the Grand Ballroom by an old go-go band, the Northeast Groovers, who played their rendition of some current Top 40 songs.  Who even knew they were still around, they were hot when I was in high school in the 90s.  The room was beautifully decorated and it was nice to see so many African-Americans who have a desire to empower our community through their support of the Urban League and its activities.

The event honored three individuals for their achievement in different arenas; those awarded were Chuck Brown (Godfather of Go-Go), James Brown (Sportscaster) and Virginia Ali (wife of the late-Ben Ali founder and owner of DC landmark Ben's Chili Bowl).  In attendance, there were several local politicians including everyone's favorite former mayor of DC, Marion Barry (I'm sitting here laughing, but I won't provide any comments), Dr. Dorothy I. Height (past President of the National Council of Negro Women and a past National President of Delta Sigma Theta), and Marc Morial (President of the National Urban League, former Mayor of New Orleans, and keynote speaker for the evening).  Even Omarosa, yeah everyone's favorite from The Apprentice, showed her face.

All in all the event was well put together and I look forward to going next year.

A little background on the event...For those who don't know, each affiliate of the National Urban League hosts a Whitney M. Young Memorial Gala or event each March in memory of Whitney M. Young, Jr.  Mr. Young was the Executive Director of the National Urban League from 1961 until his untimely death in 1971.  He worked tirelessly as a visionary advocate for equal opportunities on behalf of African Americans, and he garnered national respect as an outstanding bridge builder among individuals of every race, culture, religion, gender and economic back- ground. Under his dynamic leadership, the Urban League moved into the forefront of the civil rights movement of the '60's. The gala serves as one of Greater Washington Urban League's major fundraisers and a vehicle for communicating the priorities and programs of the Greater Washington Urban League.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Restaurant Review: Flamenco Sundays at Vinoteca

Last Sunday, I went to a cute, trendy wine bar called Vinoteca Wine Bar and Bistro.  From what I can tell it is a fairly new spot on 11th right off of U Street.  My friend/ex told me about the weekly event so we figured we'd check it out.  I hadn't seen any Flamenco dancing since I saw a show in Madrid a few years ago.

We arrived about 20 minutes early for our reservation so we took a seat in the bar area.  Over the last year or so, I've been trying to develop into a wine connoisseur, so  I appreciated the fact they had a very large selection to choose from.  The bar staff was also friendly and very knowledgeable about the wines.  Even better, they have 3 prices for all of the wines by the glass which allowed you to choose from a tasting size, 5 oz, or 8oz.

So quarter to 8 comes and still no table.  The place is fairly small and a large party seemed to engulf most of the dining area so we were left to wait.  Eventually we were seated at a table around 8:00.  It took nearly 10 minute for our waitress to come over.  Fortunately, I had my glass of wine and the flamenco music had just started playing so I was cool.  Around 8:30 I had to ask for bread since it seemed as if everyone around us was enjoying it.  The waitress made an excuse about it not coming out of the oven yet.  Five minutes later the bread arrives at our table and it's cold, as in not even remotely warm.  It sure as hell hadn't come out of the oven in the last hour.

Fortunately, the food saved the experience.  I had the Cornish Game Hen with warm potato salad and my friend had the House-made Sweet Potato Gnocchi.  Both dishes were very good and neither of us had anything left on our plates. After dinner, we got up just in time to see the flamenco dancer's final performance for the evening. (She performs along with the band from about 8-9:30PM).

If we had a better waitress I would give Vinoteca high marks, but the services from her left much to be desired.  My friend had been before and said he had an excellent waitress last time he went.  Fortunately, everything else was good so I won't let having a sorry server spoil my experience.  I will definitely go back.  As a recommendation, you should sit in the bar area.  They were way more attentive and you have a better view of the performers and the interesting, diverse crowd coming in.

Vinoteca also has wine classes on Tuesdays for those who are interested in learning more about wines native to particular regions.  For more information, visit

Food A-
Ambience B
Service (bar) A-
Service (dining) D+

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Trying to Stay Focused (Feedback Please)

So I initially began this blog as a way to write about my random experiences in the DC area.  I've written about everything from dating, to providing Restaurant Reviews and Things-To-Do in DC, as well as what I call Savvy Tips on shopping and finances.

After going to a few presentations on Blogging and Social Media, I've been thinking maybe I should become more focused on one topic and stick to blogging on that particular subject.  Is it okay to have a blog that is very random where one post is about a horrible date, the next is on politics and the next focuses on Community Service?

As a reader of my blog, what do you think?  Which area(s) would you like to see me focus on?  While I am a random person, who can write on practically any topic, I think it's time for me to focus on one or two subjects, okay maybe even three.

Should I focus on dating/relationships, DC Life & Culture, what's wrong with the world, current events, etc? Feedback is needed.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Things to Do: Color Me Mine

Being the semi-artsy person I am, one of my favorite spots in DC is a pottery paiting studio located in Adams Morgan called Color Me Mine.   Color Me Mine is actually a franchise with several locations around the country. 

I've only been to the DC location and especially love the one in Adams Morgan because it's Black-owned by a sister and a brother duo.  In addition, they are always willing to host Fun'Raisers where a percentage of the proceeds (50% to be exact) from the evening is donated to a particular nonprofit organization.  All the nonprofit has to do is promote the event and encourage their members to show up and purchase a piece.

Last week, I went for my second time with Thursday Network (the Young Professionals Auxiliary of the Greater Washington Urban League) of which I'm a member.  It's always a great time because you are able to bring in music, food and wine to set the mood while you are painting and conversing amongst friends.  It's a great place for groups or even for a date. (That's a hint fellas, if you're planning to try something different)

Color Me Mine - Adams Morgan2439 18th Street, NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20009

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Savvy Tip: Good Credit Does Matter

Over the last few weeks, I've talked to colleagues and friends who are Managers within their companies.  Each of them works in different industries from retail to financial services.  They'd tell me the economy is turning around and they're looking to hire people to fill vacant positions but are unable to because of one reason.  The reason is not that they can't find a number of qualified people who are looking for work.  The issue lies in that people are not passing the required credit checks.

No matter what industry you work in credit checks are becoming more common and although you may have a perfect interview, excellent references and are perfect for a position, if your credit is messed up chances are you aren't going to get hired.

Without divulging too much information, I admit I fell for some of those credit card schemes when I was in college.  You know the ones where they'd sucker you into opening a credit card and in return you'd receive some minimal incentive, like a t-shirt or a gift certificate to a restaurant.  Glad that's not allowed anymore.  Even though I opened a few credit cards, I never charged them up and ignored my balances as had some of my friends.  To this day, I make sure my bills are paid on-time every month, whether it was a credit card, utility, cell phone, or student loan bill because all of those can be reported on your credit if you miss payments.

I was taught from an early age that without good credit you will not get far in life.  Good credit is needed to get a job, a mortgage, a car note, and start a business.  The better your credit is the lower interest rates you will have and the less money you'll be throwing away in the long run.

Just felt the need to write this post because I don't think a lot of people realize how important it is to have good credit. Paying your bills on time, keeping track of your finances, and checking your credit report annually are the keys to maintaining a successful track record when it comes to your credit.