Monday, March 25, 2013

Presidential Tourist

I may have missed the Inauguration, but I still decided to embrace the cheesiness of the presidential memorabilia in DC.  First stop was the National Portrait Gallery's presidential portrait collection.

It's terrible how many presidents I had utterly forgotten.  With almost each portrait I saw I muttered a little "oh yeah.... forgot about him.  Ooops!"  My 11th Grade American History teacher would smack me upside the head.

It was interesting to the see the variation in portrait styles. From the classics

to the updated Pointillistic 

and the Abstract Expressionism-like brushwork of Elaine de Kooning. Personally I prefer this last one of JFK.  As much as the classic portraits portray power, prestige, etc, I like that the de Kooning offers something brighter and more accessible.

Next stop was the National Museum of American History.  Personally I was beyond smitten by the exhibit on the First Ladies.  There may or may not have been some squealing when I saw that it was a collection of their Inaugural gowns.... 
I could not believe I was so close to Jackie O's gown!  I had a very hard time containing my excitement.  My friend thought I was insane.  

And then the iconic triple-strand of pearls.  Again.... some desperately-contained squealing was involved.

Michelle Obama's gown was also stunning.  I loved the cascading details that shimmered as they caught the light.  

I've already forgotten to whom this ensemble belonged, but it was so simple and classic. 

I may have been the only person there swooning over dishes, but I couldn't get over the fact that my dishes are made by the same company as those chosen by the last handful of First Ladies.  Granted, I'm sure my Lennox Kate Spade set is no where near as extravagant as this set chosen by Nancy Reagan (note the iconic Reagan Red!).

The museum also contained a whole slew of presidential chotchkies, ranging from the gotta-have (like this Kennedys game.... where can I find this?!), to the unbelievably bizarre (like the framed collection of presidential hair).

I felt like I was experiencing history class all over again, but with a rare opportunity to see so many items up close to provide a real-life context for each president.  

Has any one else seen any swoon-worthy or super bizarre memorabilia?


Monday, March 18, 2013

The Awkward Chronicles: Playing with Fire

As promised, the first story in my chronicles of an awkward 20-something.  I'll start small.... with me fulfilling a fear I have had since I was very young.  I'll admit that I'm not wholly secure with my physical self (who really is?).  I've used my long, thick hair as a bit of a security blanket for years.  As such, one of my biggest fears is losing my hair - by stress, by a bad hair cut, or by freak accident.

Well my fear came true - I set my hair on fire!  I'd like to say it's because I was twirling flaming batons, cooking some fabulous meal on the stove, or blowing out candles on my birthday cake.  But nope! I set it on fire with a candle.  I have (or should now say had) a candle on my nightstand.  I was in bed and leaned down to grab something off the floor.... next thing I know I smelled something terrible, jumped up, and saw my braid fly up ablaze with black ashes falling  off the ends!

I suppose I should be thankful I'm so accident prone, because I've developed some cat-like reflexes.  In the end, I only lost a little less than 2-inches off my hair.  After a quick trip to the hairdresser, a repositioning of my candle,  and some graphic and absolutely terrifying nightmares of my hair totally ablaze, I have come to terms with my pyro accident.

So for those ladies with long hair and a penchant for lighting candles to relax in bed - keep them far, far away!

And if you're in the market for a new candle to help you unwind, liven up your space, or simply add to your collection, I recommend checking out the selection from Ralph Lauren.

Not only are the scents divine, but each candle comes in a votive that is so chic and classic that it can be reused to house makeup brushes, pencils, or (as I currently use my empty votive) as a toothbrush holder.  I'm simply smitten by the monogramed silver one!
In the words of the gentleman who saw me run into a pole the other day, "have a safe day!"


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Sights from DC

I really need to stop traveling, because each time I visit another city, I'm terribly smitten.

And of course DC was no exception.

I visited 4 museums within 24 hours, saw the major monuments, got sucked into the romance of the city's history and political significance, and aimlessly wandered the streets of downtown and Georgetown soaking up the character of DC.

And of course the nonprofit conference was very inspirational.  Hearing people talk about the creative ways they overcame the economic crisis, tapped into the stories of their organizations, and even turned around PR disasters (the last session I attended had representatives from Planned Parenthood and Livestrong, so it was incredibly fascinating!) made me happy that I can count nonprofits as clients. And everyone was just so engaging in the panel discussions and question periods.

DC is just one of those cities where you can just feel like the world is turning and people all strive to make a difference in it.  I may be an idealist and sucker in my susceptibility to it, but it helps fuel and inspire my work!

And thank you all for the suggestions!  I think I managed to hit them all!

What is it about other cities that inspires you?


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Soundtrack Sunday: Deals & Steals

I've been called an old soul, a 60-year-old in 20-something body, and, well, a snob (but I'm honest to goodness not!).  Sometimes it's because of the way I dress and carry myself, other times because of my many not-of-this-time sayings (goodness gracious is common one).  My taste in music certainly doesn't help my case.

If, like me, you're a bit of an old soul in your music tastes, you love Cole Porter, Ella Fitzgerald, Dean Martin, and the like.  Well, you're in luck, because iTunes carries a myriad of these artists for incredible prices.  I like to keep a rotation of their songs in my music library for dinner parties, book club nights, weekend mornings working over brunch, and even singing in the shower.

Thankfully iTunes sells "best of" collections with 100 or more songs for less than $8, so you can grow your collection faster than you can say (or sing) C'est Magnifique!

Dean Martin ($5.99) | Ella Fitgerald ($5.99) | The Rat Pack ($5.99) | Frank Sinatra ($7.99) | Louis Armstrong ($5.99) | Billie Holiday ($5.99) | Duke Ellington ($4.99)

So stock the bart cart, invite some friends over, and get the sounds of old Dino (my personal favorite) inspiring a few tapping toes.