Tag Archive | travel

The Hot Dame Summer Edition

So we are one month into fall and the leaves are steadily changing, I forgot that I planned to recap my Hot Girl* Summer (*more like grown woman with a 401K. So what is that? A Dame?). So I entered the summer, not in the best of moods. In fact, I truly wasn’t feeling anything. But I thought the best way to shake the blues was to actually overschedule myself. Did it work? Maybe.

First, I kicked off the summer – since most consider Memorial Day as the unofficial start – at Linganore for the Reggae Wine Festival. My husband had never been and I thought it would be an easy outing. It truly was and he had fun. We then attended Capital Jazz Festival, which had perfect weather. I repeat. Perfect weather. What did we do to earn such amazing weather – warm, breezy, adequately sunny? Well, the acts were ho hum. No one was really excited for any of the acts, even the headliners for the stages: Brian McKnight and Gregory Porter didn’t elicit any great fanfare. BTW, I adore Gregory Porter, so I don’t count.

Capital Jazz Festival logo

For some reason I couldn’t find my Cap Jazz photos

Hobbies

Another decision I made was to return to golf. I joined another league. They didn’t meet as much as I would have liked but they were way more pleasant than my previous group. I didn’t achieve my goal to improve my handicap, but I realized how much I liked playing, despite the fact I am nowhere near good. This is a revelation for me that I can have a hobby where I don’t excel and it’s okay.

I returned to my paint and sip classes, which soothe me so. I came up with the brilliant idea to create a gallery wall and strategically planned my color schemes to coordinate. I am really proud of the result.

Wall of paintings

My gallery wall. Isn’t it great?

Concerts

I booked a bunch of concerts at City Winery. I can say I see steady improvement. Initially the service was slow and easily confused. I once received three glasses of the same wine from three different servers who didn’t notice they all gave me the same thing but were cognizant enough to charge me for all three. Who did I see? Yahzarah (fun). Christian Scott (late and too chatty). Tortured Soul (so cool). Van Hunt. Omar. In addition, we made it to see Lizzo for only $25. That was the bargain of the year. We traveled up to Baltimore to attend the Nas| MJB concert celebrating the 25th anniversary of their classic albums. We were so overdressed for the evening that we looked like we should be on stage too. Such a true culture clash.

My hubby turned 40 and I was kind enough to throw him a party. Hold your applause. Plus he wanted a birthday trip (see in a bit). He tapped me out. Luckily the DC / Baltimore area is great for something free to do. We wore these out in August and September. First we journeyed to Afram with the main headliner as Rick Rozay or Rick Ross (did he pay for this name yet?). Plus all of Puffy’s kids performed a bunch of mediocre songs. The Fort Dupont Summer Concert season was great this year. We went to see Deborah Bond and Raheem DeVaughan. We also saw Stokely and someone else I am not googling. Both shows were amazing and free.99. I hope they keep the same booking agent next year. We saw the really cool REACH festival at the new venue at the Kennedy Center. While I didn’t make it in to see Robert Glasper, I did spend a great day at the Hip Hop day which ended with a free performance by DeLaSoul. I also was treated to a Don’t Mute DC concert with Backyard Band at my favorite place in DC: National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Picture of Lizzo

Lizzo for $25

Randomness

I also did some typical and out of the box activities. We visited the highly popular but oh so nice new Top Golf. My hubby is terrible at golf. He would not like me to point this out. I went to an HBCU kickball tournament. Sure. It’s a thing. A really silly, fun thing.  I made a pilgrimage to a winery out in VA. You have to do at least one winery day a summer. I  went to northern Virginia more this summer than I have since I stopped working there in 2014. We attended so many of these planned activities that have become the norm over the years: A rose festival. An all you can eat Oyster festival (umm…turns out I do have a limit). The Beer, Wine and Crab festival. There is an entire industry now cultivating events for people who want to leave the house with predefined fun. This doesn’t feel like it was a thing 10 years ago. I attend a game of the WNBA champion Mystics. I always forget how much fun their games are and think: I should go more, then do not. I will fix this next year. Finally, we went to a 70’s themed birthday party. Without irony, I found my costume with ease at a major retailer selling the jumpsuit as an actual outfit they thought people should wear.

Shalina and Omar in 70's gear

70’s costumes

Chicago

As I mentioned earlier, my hubby wanted to visit Chicago for his birthday. I have been in more than 10 years and he hadn’t been since high school. What a great city to visit. We ate so much. Visited the largest rooftop bar in the world. Took a river cruise. Threw axes. Went to a beach party.

Picture of a Chicago skyscraper.

Chicago Architecture River Tour

Conclusion

And by 23 September, summer concludes and it’s all over. It wasn’t bad. Thanks Megan.  To quote my hubby, “it is time to sit your butt down.”

 

The 2018 Recap Edition

It dawned on me that my 2018 recap which had been roaming around in my head for a month was never put to paper. So how would I sum up 2018, in the immortal words of Dave Chappelle – I’m broke, [word I don’t say]. I’m broke! Wow the hits kept coming.

  1. I got a new car. I worked so hard to keep my beloved Smokey alive at great expense. In the end, my car had this annoying oil leak that three dealerships and several mechanics couldn’t identify. The accelerator pump died which meant I went from 0 to 8 after any complete and total stop for about 30 seconds until it decided to sorta go 50. But I couldn’t let go. But once it got the shimmy shakes when idling I had to let it go at 200,8XX miles. Love live Pearlie Sue.
  2. Black Panther. As an apathetic Hampton grad, the highlight of my first quarter was meeting Ruth Carter – a fellow alum whose career I have been following for 20 years. Being from Hampton really feels like a cult sometimes though. I will see folks I went to school with and the first question I get asked is when is the last time I was on campus. Ummm..what about important issues like is this woman and children next to you your family or what? However, Black Panther had the entire community hype. I still have a Lesotho blanket in my Amazon cart but broke. Wakanda Forever. Peep my General Okoye painting.
  3. Despite my lack of funds, I did a lot of long weekend and day trips.
    1. Went to Dover Downs for my birthday. I really only like to do one thing for my birthday – watch March Madness and eat chicken wings. We discovered that though Dover allows sports betting on football, which is not true for basketball. So watching and no gambling for us.
    2. We traveled to Ocean City for the first time since the first year I moved here. We stayed in a brand new hotel at a discount but truly why does it cost $300 a night to visit there?
    3. We went to New York for Pinknic. Wow was it hot. So really, really hot. I already own cute pink clothes, so I was good to go. It was ridiculously expensive. $70 for a bottle of rose or $12 for a frose. And it was all house music (Yay for me. Boo for other people who wrongly don’t love house music).
    4. I went to Detroit for Labor Day for the Jazz Festival. I made it to tv apparently since we were sitting right by the camera. Thank goodness I love Esperanza and could easily look entertained.
    5. Finally we went Austin for Austin City Limits. I had a bit of an incident the first day of the vacay with an evil scooter. Austin is such a drink and walk around town. We completely wasted money on that city tour as we saw nothing we didn’t see just walking around normally. ACL was great though they swapped Childish Gambino for Travis Scott and I am old and he makes songs I don’t know. Camilla C. (I ain’t googling the spelling) was so cute but her catalog is short. We really were there for Janelle.
  4. I recall counselling my baby cousin (waves if she is reading) that you can go out regularly with ever even thinking of a club or bar. That was certainly true for me. Summer of 2018 was marked by continuous rain, so many of my typical summer activities didn’t happen.
    1. Attended a movie screening. You have to see the movie to understand the earrings.
    2. Painted and sipped. Thank goodness I found a spot that outlines the work because you don’t want to see my previous experience attempting to draw a pumpkin.
    3. I went to fun cooking classes, learning how to make pasta and fry chicken. Honest to heaven, the very first time I made fried chicken, it was absolutely perfect – well seasoned, crispy and juicy. I peaked. I never made chicken that amazing again. But hoping I can try again with confidence.
    4. I took a graffiti and DJ class. Don’t worry all my DJ friends are safe.
    5. I took a poker class and won nothing. Someone gave me a trinket though as she won twice, and I happily took it.
  5. Without trying, I visited three Black-owned hotels. First, I went to Salamander Resort. Smaller than I thought it would be. So ages ago I stayed at the Biltmore in Coral Gables, same problem. It appears to be this sprawling resort and it is amazing, but not truly as huge as I thought. We spent the weekend at Akwaaba Inn in D.C. It’s been there for 14 years and yet never made it there. Plus I have never been to a bed and breakfast in my life. This was so cool. I definitely plan to go to more. Finally, I have been obsessed with the Ivy Hotel in Baltimore since I saw it in a magazine. Happily I found a spa deal and had a lovely spa day and tour of this highly exclusive hotel. I may never afford to stay there, but I can get a massage.
  6. I went to Spain.
  7. I became a boss. It’s much harder than it appears on television. I am no Michael Scott, but I definitely had some odd, exhausting days that felt like weeks that would make it a very funny episode on my version of The Government Office. And good bosses get no glory. It’s all about developing people to be their best or some such nonsense. I did sit down with a really useful executive coach who provided practical advice to ease some interactions.
  8. I started and didn’t finish a lot of television. I started so much and yet finished so little. I don’t even know what I was doing with my nights. Maybe I was overwhelmed. There is so much television. I literally finished a bunch of started television over the Christmas holidays. And am still nowhere near finished. And my book reading suffered. I only read 7 books this year and the only thing that got me that far was some long plane rides.
  9. Did I have a favorite movie this year (Black Panther withstanding)? I cannot say. I didn’t see a lot of the popular and critical darlings. I loved Widows but some people did not (I guess).
  10. Music was good, yet social media makes it so difficult to like certain artists. There were lots of soft, crooning female singers to like this year – Ari Lennox, H.E.R., Ella Mai. I’m old and current hip hop mostly annoys me. I continued my consistent concert tradition independent of those I mentioned earlier with, reverse order:
    1. Anita Baker
    2. Bilal
    3. Zo!
    4. Big Freedia / Tank and the Bangas (saw them twice)
    5. Elton John (Goodbye Yellow Brick Road)
    6. Raphael Saadiq
    7. Hamilton (second time is the charm!)
    8. Capital Jazz Festival (In the rain as always. But a tent this time)
    9. Shabazz Palaces (this was obviously free)
    10. Black Alley
  11. Went to some out there parties.
    1. Attended the Fresh Ball courtesy of a friend and got dress up and listen to good hip hop There is a difference.
    2. NMAAHC held the most fun Derby Day party. We learned about the history of Black jockeys, wore amazing hats and nibbled traditional treats from each of the races. Which meant crabcakes for Preakness; hot browns for Kentucky Derby; pretzels for Belmont.
    3. Went to the worst mud ball of Preakness ever. Some attendees slipped, fell and were covered head to toe in mud. I’m taking a year off.
    4. Diner en Blanc was at Nats stadium, which was extremely unpopular due to the length of time to process in through security, sitting in the rafters and not being able to step onto the field. Dah well. Great parties can’t last forever.
    5. The National Portrait Gallery threw an anniversary party. Sadly the full space wasn’t open to partygoers. So the Michelle Obama portrait continues to elude me. But Amy Sherald was there.
    6. I threw axes at a Christmas Party.
  12. My tribe and I recreated my amazing bridal shower by hiring a driver to visit wineries along the Frederick Wine Trail. These elevated excursions we plan for ourselves are the best.
  13. Let me tell you. This diet from the wedding completely fell off. First of all, weddings are exhausting enterprises so you naturally lose weight with nervous energy and not eating. But that drinking green smoothies and popping mints as snack replacements couldn’t last long. I tried my best with exercise but I went to lamb festivals, and high end steakhouses and cooking classes. It was all so delicious. But at this age, I really need to concentrate all my efforts on dry salad.
  14. I continued my fitness outings. I danced to Afrobeat, Soca, Bellydance and Zumba. So many classes are devoted to dancing. Dancing isn’t the best workout for me because I spend too much time concentrating on if I got the moves right and forget the exercise part. I pounded. This was my favorite. Such a release of aggression. I took a kettlebell class. I didn’t do badly due to my semi-commitment to boot camp. However, this boot camp is ruining me for my preferred exercise – yoga. I truly love yoga, everything else I do is make sure my cute clothes fit. There I was in aerial yoga doing a backflip when my right shoulder gave out and I tumbled right onto my head. My muscles are so tired and achy that my practice is regressing.
  15. I barely golfed this year. I think I let those bitter bitties convince me into not coming back. But the end of the season once the rained cleared, I truly regretted my decision. I am not the best golfer by any stretch of the imagination, but I really liked the challenge it gave me. It took consistent effort and concentration, which isn’t my strong suit and a growth area for me.
  16. I realized that my hobbies weren’t strong. It’s important to have hobbies as I realized after having a pre-adolescent pen pal who constantly asked me what I liked to do. “I am a grown-up, kid! I don’t do anything but start television I don’t finish!” Anyhoo, I attempted to write and stuck to it an entire two months. Someday soon I need to start reciting these story ideas to myself (before my husband thinks I am crazy) and write them down. What is my blockage?
  17. So I mentioned that I was broke. Well, being a landlord sucks on ice. I went two months without a tenant after finally ridding myself of the tenant from hell in late 2017. Plus we had an unfortunate incident with a pipe bursting and damaging the basement. So we got all new pipes and walls. I didn’t want all new pipes and walls. But here we are.
  18. For 2018, I didn’t set resolutions. I didn’t even make a vision board. So there was nothing to judge against by the end of the year. I truly was in a grumpy funk at the beginning of the year, because I felt under water with finances. I made strong ones this year. (Hope I don’t fail).

That was my 2018. Here’s to 2019 (two months in)! Check the gallery.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Spanish Edition

Happy 6 year and one month anniversary blog! I started this blog mainly because I was in a process-oriented gig and my creative spirit started to atrophy. But now I am so tired from all the thinking that I need to to I can only spend a few minutes a day writing. I bought myself the cute writing prompt book which has helped inspire some creativity from somewhere. I realized that my blog anniversary (October 19) is one day away from my wedding anniversary (October 20). So I really should attempt to write something, anything. This was made easier by the fact that my house is a total cluster and I am currently monitoring (as much as you can) contractors repairing things as a result of a leaky pipe. And the fact that my hubby and I had a great vacation to celebrate our first anniversary. Something to recap! Truthfully I have plenty to recap as there were some really fun events this year, but lazy.

So we went to Spain! This was an inside joke between my husband and I for years and we finally traveled there. We booked this trip through Costco of all places. It was an amazing deal save for the fact that you don’t get a seating assignment on your flights. For one leg we weren’t seated together and had to withstand this annoying Veruca Salt’s little meltdown to sit together for another leg. On a bonus item of note, I plan to always travel on Saturday nights as the plane to Spain was truly empty. Notsomuch on the way back.

Spain is lovely. After going to South Africa last year, we definitely needed to remember the fact that the Euro is stronger than the dollar. We spent money left and right and had to slow down. We arrived at Barcelona first and stayed in an area that was originally run down but became Olympic village in 1992. It is now mixed use with hotels, apartments and nightclubs on the beach. It’s truly a city beach so don’t expect clear blue water and alabaster sand. We (okay I was) were very tired yet our room wasn’t ready yet. We ate on the beach and walked around our neighborhood which was very close to the cruise shipyard. I am usually an extreme planner but truly conducted minimal research for this trip (brain dead). Therefore most of the week in Barcelona and Madrid was spent strolling around the city while on the hop on and hop off tourist bus. Hubby is not a fan of museums, botanical gardens and historic sites and those excursions were quickly nixed. I should have pushed for one though in hindsight.

Life Lessons

I learned a few things. Never take Uber. Taxi drivers take their jobs very seriously there.

Experts project soon that Spain will have the longest life expectancy in the world and the lifestyle is really nowhere near ours in America. They usually pop up around 9 and head out around 10 a.m. They have late lunches, possibly a siesta, eat dinner at 9 p.m. and often stay out to 2a.m., even on weekdays. We weren’t ready! I think our failures was the lack of siestas as we would be exhausted by midnight and that is when nightlife starts. Our taxi driver joked as we ventured out midday that most people were napping and people in Spain don’t stress themselves out much. He continued: people work from 10 – 6 and then don’t work really all that hard during those hours.

Almost everyone in Barcelona speaks multiple languages and we got lazy with our Spanish. Hubby said that he remembered a little bit of Spanish, which actually meant none and we really struggled in Madrid where English wasn’t as popular. I had an unproductive argument with a server as she kept giving me the wrong menu item for lunch with my google translate Spanish and then charged me for every incorrect item that even sat on the table. That day for lunch I ended up with a bowl of garlic shrimp. Nothing else. Just garlic shrimp. Television has nothing in English except for late night American movies, so chilling in your hotel room is not an option.

Food

Being honest, Jose Andres sets too high of an expectation. I thought that food would be in goo goo gobs abundance. Nope. Many of the bodegas (their word for quaint little restaurants) have small, similar menus so it can get repetitive. On the first night, we went to one restaurant in the center of Barcelona with gorgeous rooftop views and TGI Friday’s level food quality. As a result, Hubby swore off of paella forever. Like ever. Do you know how hard it is to eat in Spain if you don’t eat paella? I’ll admit after the debacle in Madrid with the lost in translation server, I ate Five Guys that night. I am ashamed.

We discover two cool things. First food tours. While pricey, they gave us an opportunity to discover food off the beaten path. You walk with a guide. Hear some history. Sample wine and native cuisine at a few stops (though two of them gave us the same dish). It’s all very relaxed and charming. Our other favorite thing became food halls. Spain loves a food hall and theirs are so elevated. Plus, you just sit and they bring the food from different stalls to you. Yay! Also, they provide entertainment. At La Platea in Madrid, we heard a jazz combo AND saw an aerialist. I highly recommend.

Oh and our hotel gave us this amazing anniversary gift of Cava and chocolate covered strawberries. Yum.

Nightlife

We did the traditional thing and saw a flamenco show. There are so many so we just went to the one recommended by the hotel. We tried clubbing, which is very popular in Barcelona, but we are old and tapped out by midnight just as everyone was arriving. I did get to ride in one of those pedicabs along the beach, nice. Madrid likes live music so we headed to two dive bars on different nights. Black American music is so extremely popular in Spain that you would think you’d see more Black people. In Barcelona a taxi driver spent our entire ride crooning to Al Green and Sam Cooke yet couldn’t speak a lick of English. In Madrid, we saw an R&B cover band who relied heavily on New Orleans-style jazz and Motown. I did spot a Colombian-American from Houston there who told me I was a bad bitch for obvious reasons. The other night we saw weird avant garde band that really reminded me of the band from Yes Man (if you have seen that movie).

Summary

To answer the question everyone poses- which city to you prefer? It depends. Barcelona is much prettier, hipper and easier to navigate with better shopping, Spanish food and wine. Madrid is more metropolitan, has better social activities (especially for more seasoned people), trendier bars, good international food, and happier, chatty people.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

The Birthday Edition

cake

I spent my…ahem…birthday on the lovely island of Jamaica. I didn’t want to do anything but sit on the beach, sip a rum-infused cocktail and catch up on my reading. Of course, everyone thought I should do things: take a tour, go to Margaritaville, learn to swim. Ugh, no. Relax. This has been a stressful three months. It wasn’t like my 2011, which was hellish but I needed to do nothing, to think nothing, to accomplish nothing.

Of course, this did not happen. I was sucked into activities that were remarkably dissimilar from the descriptions on the brochure / website. First, I was forced into snorkeling. I say forced because I cannot swim. I am not one of those people who just never learned or taken lessons. Oh, I tried. Twice. Then at 11, I decided that swimming wouldn’t be included into my plethora of skillsets. So I was about to hit the lazy river, minding my own business, when the water sports crew recruited us to join their last trip. Okay, I am not particularly fearful except when it comes to water and my inability to swim. I seriously think I drowned in a previous life. So snorkeling went…okay. I summoned courage to jump off the boat, then clung for dear life to the ladder. Finally, the aggravated tour guide hit me on the head with a floating thing (See, how often I swim? I have no clue what it’s called.). I kicked with all my might away and looked into the water for approximately 12 seconds. My mask wouldn’t stay on and I couldn’t snorkel properly.

Next, we went horseback riding. I have a two big fears: water and enclosed spaces. Me in an MRI tube is not a pretty sight, which a previous doctor learned the hard way. Then, I have some select stupid fears. One is being off the ground. Not heights. But physically being off the ground without something underfoot. Such as I don’t like being lifted and don’t like rollercoasters with dangling feet. Hilariously, horseback riding plays into this fear as I am off the ground. Granted, I am on a horse, but it was a very discerning first five minutes. They picked the slow, grandpa horse for me and we sauntered off. The problem with the horseback tour was the actual scenery. We got to see a small impoverished village and livestock. The goats were cute, but otherwise, I think I could have easily taken horseback riding lessons somewhere else and soaked up the beauty of my hotel beach. I feel bad for the dunebuggy tour buyers as what was the draw of the village without the horse? Then we would go for a swim on the horse. I switched horses as grandpa likes water as much as I do. Turns out, my new horse tried to make a break for it into the sea. And of course I screamed. The guide had to rescue me. This activity took all day, okay 5 hours. Still.

My final activity was the Dunns River Falls. You climb the Falls. That is about the extent the event. It is difficult to describe the Falls as I was imagining Victoria Falls and it was more like a rock climbing wall except with water and in bathing suits. This activity reminded me of wilderness camp in high school. I hated wilderness camp. I also don’t really like doing things without a proper bra, so it was an adventure. The whole thing was videotaped. I don’t care for being on camera. And being on camera, currently 10lbs over, in a swimsuit? Yea, that video wasn’t purchased. My friend purchased the video and as I oddly suspected, there were a lot of cleavage shots. Of my cleavage!! I knew something was up when the videographer kept trying to chat. This is why I say it was false advertising. If I knew it would be photographed, I would have worn a different full coverage swimsuit with a little cover-up skirt to eliminate any potential Girls Gone Wild implications. After this, I was done with activities. No drinking, no bars, just sitting. Nothingness. Of course, this was with only one day left.

The best story of the trip was the airport. As I cannot escape any trip without drama: a fight broke out at the airport. Not really a fist fight, but a heated verbal disagreement between passengers at the check-in counter.  Losing this loud discussion, the poor woman resorted to a complete temper tantrum with:

  • Yelling – “I refuse to move and demand attention.” Oh honey, you got it.
  • Paper throwing – That’s right girl! Grab those papers stacked on the counter and throw them at the mean lady and airline worker because that will show them.
  • Balled up fists – You know what helps? When security guard comes over to calm you down, make baby fists and pound at his chest like in a 1920’s movie. Then when he holds your wrists and asks why are you so mad, just ignore him and keep trying.

Meanwhile, her travel companion seemed to be occupied living out some How Stella Got Her Groove Back fantasy with a semi-interested local to be of any assistance. And we all know how well that turned out. Finally, when you discover that the mean lady who bested you and all the witnesses to your showing your ass are on the same flight, just bury your head in your hands while at the gate, hoping no one remembers you. The electric blue pants you are wearing are not memorable at all and all Black people look alike anyway.

Then I came back to America. Nothingness over.

beach

The Discount Edition

Last weekend was a burn off weekend. We decided to burn off all of those pesky discount deals we purchased that quickly became annoyance. I already have wasted two in the last year as the parameters are strict and finding other discountpeople to help with these twofer deals is quite difficult without a stable plus one. I’m convinced these things are for the long-term marrieds who can force each other to do anything. I love deals as I have mentioned in the past and cannot seem to pass up anything that seems truly awesome.  I am a discount site retailer’s dream client.

First the most difficult: a two tickets to West End Cinema for $10 voucher. This was problematic for several reasons. One, it is an independent movie theater. Lately, there have been no movies that I would even consider seeing. Two, it is tiny. I discovered some don’t like the tiny. That means getting to the theater early. Three, people buy tickets online. With a voucher, I cannot. This means unless I get there super early, the movie I want could sell out. I actually attempted to use this voucher previously without success because we got there late and the movie was sold out. This time I was nervous. We were running so late that I didn’t stop by the ATM en route. (Sorry, cabbie I couldn’t tip).  We made it into Life of Pi, barely. There were only two seats left together, in the front. Not ideal, but still together. Later groups came in and didn’t have the chance to sit together, so we had perfect terrible timing. Life of Pi was lovely. I adore Irrfan Khan, so I was quite pleased with the film.

Then we cabbed it over to Mova Lounge (sorry again cabbie). We had a martini tasting for two voucher for $17. This was however expired but it gave us $17 off our purchase. We purchased two very inventive martinis a piece. The venue was lovely and empty. Despite the emptiness, there are only about 4 non-VIP chairs, so I couldn’t sit in the pretty yet sparsely populated venue. I really wanted to sit, because I was getting over a cold and easily winded. We weren’t sure if the venue became hopping after midnight or on other days of the week, but it was awfully apparent why they were offering vouchers to entice visitors. The coolest feature of the space was the showing of videos to coincide with the music playing. I actually have no idea what videos for songs look like outside of VH1 Soul’s rotation. I appreciated seeing videos for popular dance hits outside of my nemesis, Ke$ha.

On Sunday, I used my free.99 voucher for two tickets to the Travel and Adventure show. Sunday was perfect because there was track work on the metro and I was able to find rather close parking in the neighborhood, which is allowed on Sundays. The show could have been better in my opinion. However, I am biased because I find the Washington Convention Center, despite its relative newness, rather ugly. This is my professional opinion as a marketer who has attended many tradeshows in many cities. I gathered good information about potential trips and got an opportunity to see an adorable penguin courtesy of the Orlando Sea World. I hoped for some instant deals aha moments for vacations, but didn’t find anything that I must do, just some nice to haves. I then spent a wonderful Sunday in DC having brunch, going to yoga and visiting my favorite bartender. Unfortunately, I was forced to pay full price those activities.