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Inauguration 2009 felt like yesterday. That was a great period in my life: I got a new fancy car, a dream job and just returned from a trip to Italy. That job required me to work most of the Inauguration weekend planning an event, not much festivities. While everyone keeps saying it was last year, last time, the weather was downright frigid. For this and other reasons, I had no plans to go to the event though my aunt was in town with tickets. I did make it to a few choice events: we crashed attended a wonderful invite-only PBS brunch honoring Gwen Ifill’s new book on politics based on mere confidence and charm. We then went to the Inaugural concert on The Mall, which featured Stevie Wonder, Bono, Bruce Springsteen and an arctic chill.
Once, I stood as a member of “I wish I had a need to be glamorous” tribe. I was so pressed in college for opportunities to attend Black tie events; however, something happened deeper into my adulthood. I didn’t wanna. My friends signed up in 2001 to volunteer for the official Inaugural Ball for George W and asked if I wanted to join. No interest. There were a multitude of Inaugurations since. No interest. I had a fleeting thought to volunteer for the Hip Hop Inaugural Ball, but gladly decided not to spend a night in Spanx, heels and a full face of make-up while grooving to the unpleasant sounds of Lil Mama.
I missed out on what I know was wonderful: Lil SoSo Productions’ sponsored To Sir With Love event due to waiting to see if my out-of-towners wanted to do anything. They did not. Still mad at Maxwell for his Essence Festival shenanigans from 2009, the very popular Victory ball disappeared from consideration. Despite that I had a ridiculously busy weekend. In hindsight, maybe I should have gussied up and hit a big ball. I mean how many Black presidents will we get?
Friday, I had my usual routine: dance class, tacos and margaritas. I was greeted with awful DC traffic and worried for the ability to accomplish anything all weekend. However things turned out well, traffic wise. Saturday, I considered attending a brunch, really wish I had the gumption to crash, I mean attend, the Essence brunch at Acadiana. I wasn’t paying close enough attention. The weather was lovely for January and this made me think about global warming. I am not one of those people that think that 6o degrees in January is a good thing no matter how tired of the cold I become. I don’t do day parties. They are weird and I don’t like them. Being in a club at 3p on a Saturday is a waste of shimmery sun. Once I peeled myself away from my couch, I got dressed and hit the The Inauguration Appreciation Affair, an art exhibit and party at National Harbor. Yay, no DC traffic!!
Steve Harvey sponsored the event and his adorable son displayed some of his artwork. The event was crowded and I really couldn’t navigate around to see all of the artwork. My loss. I instead concentrated on completely unnecessary for my life goal chicken wings. I really wanted potato salad as I love potato salad, made it once and realized that it is a lot of work. I found the potato salad oddly sweet, much to my disappointment. I find art to be very subjective and my taste is very narrow. The pieces I saw didn’t wow me I’ll admit. When the featured artist unveiled his latest project, this woman exclaimed “Beautiful.” Amazingly, he only revealed about a quarter of the painting at that point, so apparently her taste in art is very broad. As long as something is painted, well – Success!!
Sunday was exhausting. I went to church and then an early dinner at a friend’s home. I was forced to watch football with no other entertainment available: Go Ravens!! My dress was a bit snug (this winter weight must leave). Unfortunately, I spent the event wanting to be in pants that don’t zip since I was sitting on a bar stool watching a sport I don’t like. Later, I became engrossed in an episode of House Hunters, which featured a DC couple. Bad! I finally dragged myself off the couch (recurring theme) to WonderFull. I found a parking spot pretty quickly and headed into another crowded event (recurring theme). DJ Spinna’s celebration of the genius of Stevie Wonder actually attracted Stevie Wonder last time. However, we got 9th Wonder (I recognized him because he was on an episode of Sunni Anderson’s cooking show that I hate but watch anyway, which is doing me no good) and someone mentioned Robert Glasper’s presence, but I don’t remember what he looks like in-person and in the dark. I successfully pushed slid next to the ledged railing and watched everyone dance rhythmically on the level below. Once the event cleared out, I finally ventured to Liv’s main floor and shimmied to my favorite singer. On another note, can Liv get its bathroom situation together? It’s always a wet mess, lacking toilet paper. I actually carry my own toilet paper everywhere, even in my going out bullet purse, but still. Then home by 3a. I recognize this isn’t a life for everyone.
Finally, Inauguration Day. I was feeling remarkably social and decided to head to Uptown Magazine’s Barack the Toast at Tru Orleans. I was running late because I spent too much time cleaning my kitchen and almost missed the president’s walk to the stage (recurring theme). I ate breakfast as I always do because I wake up hungry. I still wasn’t hungry once I arrived, so I just ordered unlimited mimosas, therefore, no food review. I thoroughly enjoyed the event mainly due to my company, not due to the event’s fabulousness. I loved discussing every aspect of the ceremony from Mrs. Robinson’s Marshall Fields coat to my beloved Sasha’s restlessness to Beyonce’s earpiece flip to the inclusion of so many Hispanics and Latinos. On another note, can you believe Myrlie Evers-Williams is almost 80? Viva le melanin!! There was also a drink tasting and I didn’t care for the chocolate flavored gin/whiskey/tequila/okay I don’t remember. Why are there so many liquor brands and do any of them last? A very hyper hostess begged us to sign up for something that I also don’t remember since I found it best to ignore her for my own sanity. Once viewing the website, I understand she is one of the founders of the Toast series. Well, bless her heart.
Finally, I was famished but meals had wrapped up. I decided to meet one of my friends for yet another brunch at Matchbox Capitol Hill. En route, I met a nice barefoot woman who was lost and tired. I gave her directions (good deed of the week) and drove through the throngs of people coming from the Mall. I noticed people smartly drove as Metro was probably full of annoying visitors who never remember to take their farecard with them.
I had a goodbye dinner with the out-of-towners on Tuesday at Carmine’s. A very nice restaurant (with sad Pomegranate Sparklers) that insists you keep your plate and silverware. Yea, no. And on the sixth day, I rested.
I was paid a high honor over the holidays. My head kiddie said that I give the best Christmas gifts, next to my cousin G. G and I have completely different buying strategies however. My strategy is to watch, listen and observe to pick the perfect present at a reasonable
cost. Her strategy is to ask what you want and buy you something similar but ten times better. I will admit I am not that extravagant. I just like to make people happy. Amazingly, only a handful of my family members are blessed with customized gifts. My family is large and who has that kind of time?
My family is also weird. I noticed this when outsiders and newcomers, usually girlfriends arrive. They buy the completely wrong thing. Or worse, give money or gift cards. This is pricey as in our family everyone gets a gift. Yes, everyone, even your third cousin. And our family is sizable. Next we get these peculiar—what could best be described as—stocking stuffer gifts. Boxes or bags filled with useful but random little items. This year, my bag from my cousin Z included a pumice stone, a small pack of tissues, a leopard print pen, a box of tea, a miniature box of chocolates, a personal calendar, hand wipes and a chapstick. (I think she pilfered some of these ideas from me. See below) Yep, nice and random. I love the concept: a wonderful bag of goodies. However, I am a super “J” (Myers Briggs), so I try to give my gifts a bit more structure or a theme.
Here are some ideas for the people in your life that you love, but don’t really want to spend more than $10 or 15 on. Hey, times are tight. But just because times are tight doesn’t mean buying someone a stupid shrunken martini glass as a present. Dollar stores and clearance bins are your best friends. Do not. I repeat. Do not buy someone a stupid and useless cheap gift.
The absolute worst group to buy for on a budget is teenage boys, followed by adult men. Let’s face it: their tastes are too excessive with minimal return. Once I had a cousin complain that his gifts from the family weren’t up to his standards (he never purchased gifts for others). His behind was banished to underwear land, to never part. Here are my themes:
- Game Night – Buy a pack of Uno cards, regular playing cards, poker chips, dice, and a pack of another game cards, such as Would You Rather or SkipBo. These things often go on sale during the holidays for $4 or less and you can stack up. Get it? Stack up.
- Pocket Fun – One year a big hit was a bag with skull earbuds (I honestly didn’t expect them to be as excited as they were), a camouflage water bottle and a unique keychain. The keychain ideas are endless including digital photo ones I once found in a clearance bin, Swiss Army knife ones I found for 50 cents!, or hard leather strap ones
- Get Comfy – PJ bottoms, socks and a nice undershirt or tank top. Hopefully, if you have guys similar in size, you can get a multiple pack of tee-shirts at a big box store and split them up
Adult men are the bane of my existence. They never like anything. If you ask a man for advice on what to get a nice uncle, he will tell you something ridiculous such as a $50 Sears gift card. Not happening. I don’t try to be clever, I just want to get it done.
- Car Kit – A nice travel mug, unscented hand lotion, lip balm and a small pack of tissues. They won’t like it anyway
- Desk Kit – A sensible picture frame, a nice ball point pen and leather bound notebooks. Marshall’s sells really nice notebooks for $6 and they are genuine leather. It’s a bit of a waste of leather but oh well
- Wardrobe Accessories – Handkerchiefs (I had a friend who loved these), black dress socks, a leather belt (I often find these for $2. Seriously!) and/or a simple scarf
Yay! Teenage girls are so much fun.
- Pedicure Set – There are often these pedicure sets at discount stores that include toe dividers, pumice stones, etc. I buy one of these plus a pretty nail file, some foot lotion and some stand-out nail polish
- Bath Set –Body wash, bubble bath, lotion, and cute bath accessories from the dollar store: back brush, a shower poof and a bath mitt. Of course, women get of a lot of these smell goods, so be prudent. And remember never give this to me as I break out in hives. If you want an alternative, give one of those wearable towels in place of bath products. I know these are popular, because I received three in one year once
- Cool at School – I find a pretty tote bag, often on the clearance rack after the back to school run-up. I also add brightly colored hat and glove sets. Oh my goodness, H&M had the cutest hats this year
Women are rather easy, because they like almost anything other women give them. Unfortunately, men this isn’t always true for you.
- Ready for Bed – Big box stores sell cute pajamas in a multitude of colors, add a snarky eye mask (Dollar Store) and cozy, fuzzy socks
- Purse Pack – Buy a nice make-up bag. I got these gorgeous ones at Victoria’s Secret at their sale for $3 one year. Never to be replicated. Stuff with chapstick, a nail file (I like the big Emory boards with fancy designs), hand sanitizer, breath mints, small hand lotion and a small pack of tissues. Z’s pilfering. Her random gift bags started having these items after I gave out purse packs a few years in a row.
- Relax Set – A beautiful mug (I like off the beaten path boutiques for these), gourmet tea and a wonderfully scented candle
Those are some of my tricks. I love a stress-free holiday.
“Have more fun in 2013” – Nas
I spent my last day in 2012 at Radio City Music Hall listening to Nas. The concert was amazing (a little too short) and being in NYC on NYE is an experience all its own. It was the end to a unique, but not quite, year. 2012 occurred with no major life changes: no new job, romance, accomplishment. That could be why I was so disenchanted with it. 2012 marked a significant birthday as I graduated from the cool kids club, without feeling it at all. I spent the aforementioned birthday at the opening of a new supper club, that I am not sure still exists. I wasn’t impressed and didn’t check on its progress.
I decided that I needed to push myself more, personally. I am the kind of person who can stand up to a 6’4” screaming E9 in the office or climb a mountain in a foreign country, but won’t speak to a stranger at a party. Thus, I vowed to go out more and take chances. None of these things I like, by the way.
To recap my year, I am using the same system I’ve employed since 3rd grade. It first starts with best friends and new friends. I did make a few new friends, so go me!
Favorite TV Shows:
- Parks and Recreation
Least Favorite Show:
Who has time for that?
Favorite New Show:
- Ridiculous VH1 Reality Shows
- over-the-top nails,
My Pistons weren’t good this year and my Tigers were swept at the World Series
So difficult… as I went to a lot of great shows, but I’ll give it to Nas, since he was last
Summer Spirit Festival, since I went free and Sharon Jones is awesomeness
This was not a great new music year for me, meaning that I really haven’t been exploring music like I should. That should be something I vowed to change in 2013
Honestly, the only movie I thought about a week even after viewing was The Silver Linings Playbook. I just loved it.
The Avengers, because I was so amazed that they pulled it off
There will be a ham. This line represents the ridiculousness of my work environment perfectly
That awful wind storm in June, plus I was stuck driving in it
Having my car towed, darn it
- All the moments on this blog, of course
- The annual Boo Bash
- Finally visiting South Beath
- Panera, which shouldn’t be shared but I eat there once a week, lol
- My beloved yoga studio, a good one is hard to find
- Queen Makeda/1920, who knew I’d be happy going to the same spot every week
Drag Brunch in Miami, honey
- Achieving a headstand in yoga, I joke that this is my single biggest accomplishment this year
- Completing The Warmth of Other Suns, as that was a long book