SPAM-A-LOT

I have every line of Monty Python's Quest for the Holy Grail memorized. I think I used to watch it three times a day - and I never get tired of it. It's only second to Roman Holiday as my favorite movie because Audrey Hepburn is not in it. Wouldn't THAT have made for an interesting movie!?

I jumped at the chance to see SPAM-A-LOT now that it's at the National Theatre. I had never been to a show at National. And although I once auditioned for a dancing part in the show, I had never actually seen SPAM-A-LOT as a broadway adaptation.

I found myself reciting lines along with the actors (it's that close to the movie), and still loved every minute. Still wish I were up on stage, though... It's definitely a musical for people who don't like musicals...and for those that do!

(Photo - Tim Curry as Arthur in British production - credit Chris Rand.)

Key West, Happy New Year!

Although New Year's Eve plans changed for me (I thought I would be in Anguilla - British West Indies - already by now), a sad occasion and a blessing kept me in D.C. for just a few extra days.
I'll be heading down to Key West, Florida this afternoon to ring in the new year with some sand and sunshine. Expecting no time for posting while on a true vacation... check back after the 3rd of January.
Happy New Year!

Travel and Hindu Temples

If I were to tell you that the largest Hindu temple outside of India is located within the United States in Lilburn, Georgia, I'm sure you wouldn't believe me. I didn't believe it either until I saw it for myself!
Built of Turkish Limra limestone, Italian Carrara marble and Indian sandstone, this 227' (length), 123'2" (width), 73" (heigh from ground) structure was built on site in Lilburn with almost all volunteer manpower. Incredible!

Equally as incredible are the intricate carvings... and the large number of people, of all faiths, who visit each day. I went on Christmas day with my best friend Lillian (who refused to be pictured) and my brother. The most fun fact: each of the religious statues is dressed, undressed, and re-dressed for "bed" each day - like a living being. So interesting!

NYE??

I just got this message from a KStreetKate reader:

Merry Christmas to you, too! Looking for a New Year's Eve idea/fun
party to go to. Any tips? Single, smart, attractive female with no date :-( can
you believe it! All my good friends are either our of town/country with their
husband/boyfriend/family... You can e-mail me directly if you don't want to post
the answer: [redacted]. Thank you and hope to meet you someday!

Well...I was one of those escaping the city, but my New Year's Eve plans all of a sudden went up in the air, too, and as I've looked into some options here in town, I have some great ideas to pass on! Last year, I made the rounds of all of the Latin Concepts resturants in town, and it was a great time. I ended up at Chi Cha, which I think may be sold out already - but any of them Mate, Gazuza, or Ceviche are a great place to ring in the new year.

Some other parties that I know will have good, fun crowds and people worth meeting:
The City Tavern Club New Year's Celebration. I am a member of this club, so I'm biased, but every time I go there, I have a blast, and
Midnight Mischief in the Park. It's black tie optional (why would anyone want to ring in a new year not in their very best??) $75 in advance for two whole floors of fun.
Teatro is having two dinner seatings, and if you are still hungry after that, you can head over to The Space for a $25 open bar from 3-5 am and breakfast - yum!

There are so many I couldn't possibly list them all. Let me know if there are other great places to check out - or if you figure out a way that I can hide myself in my roommate's suitcase to enjoy the sun in St. Barths!!

Still Loving Literacy in the District


Family's magazine has selected the Junior League of Washington (JLW) as the beneficiary of its 2007 Young Author's Competition and book drive!

How can you help?

1- Make a purchase at any DC area Barnes and Noble locations on January 12th and present a "Young Author" coupon so that a portion of the proceeds can go towards JLW literacy efforts.

2- Bring books (new or gently read) to a participating Starbucks or Wholefoods location to be donated to JLW.

Christmas 2007

My oldest brother got a dog (no, not for Christmas) and this is the first pet my family has had in a LONG TIME. His name is Catfish, and I think he wants my present!

These are my adorable nephews. The youngest has absolutely the best reaction to receiving gifts I have ever seen. Makes you want to give him a million more presents. Must be something about being the third child.



Just Another Sports Show

We won't be taping this week - but you can watch the show from last week now that it's been updated on line.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Pictures to come of opening presents as soon as we actually do it...
Santa came for the kids.
He actually found a Wii. Are you kidding me? Even the three year old has mastered it before I did!

National Treasure

I know the sequel, Book Of Secrets came out last weekend, but since I hadn't seen the first one yet (shocking!) I enjoyed watching National Treasure with my parents and brother on a quiet evening at home. How different things are in Georgia! The book reminded me of "home" since it focused on history and D.C., but I think it took some liberties... For example, I don't think the paintings on the wall in the Capitol rotunda are also on display in the Archives. It was good but I hope the sequel is better!

Trivia!


I joined my brothers for their weekly trivia night at Summit's in Snellville, Georgia. I'm the good luck charm... they have never even placed in trivia at Summit's, and they say they go twice a week! With me on the team, we take FIRST PLACE!

A Friendly Lunch

Airports around the holidays can be stressful places. But I found everyone to be MORE than gracious. For example, I met these fine gentlemen in the security line and then joined them for a sandwhich (at the only place in Reagan's Terminal A). They were even nice enough to try to upgrade me so that we could continue our conversation on the ride to Atlanta. Sorry Cleotus Napolean (we got nicknames - it was a super fun lunch bunch!), the Christmas cheer did not extend to seat assignments... I had to stick to economy class.

Over a turkey sandwhich I learned a little bit about United Protective Technologies, LLC (a competitive provider of products which protect and extend the life of aircraft - military and civilian - dedicated to seeking workable solutions to real world problems...) and a lot about how fun the season can be if you take the time to really enjoy it.




My First Fun, Fabulous Fete

Bill let me plan a holiday dinner party for our friends at his house before I left for Georgia to spend time with my family for Christmas. If I do say so myself, dinner was incredible! I can't take credit for the divineness of the menu because the catering service did such an excellent job presenting me with one... and I only made minor changes. I'm absolutely in love with Leah at Fete Accomplie... just look at the little moose centerpieces she made for us!
I think everyone had as much fun as I did... it's just great to spend time with some of those who matter most at the holidays. Now - off to Georgia!

Last Minute Christmas Party


Jennifer Millard and I, pretty in purple, at McFadden's for a "Last Minute Christmas Party" to benefit the CORD Foundation.

D.C. Quarter

I was pleased to report yesterday that we got our postmark stamp back, but today's news is even better for those who have long paved the way for D.C. Statehood. (Not that coinage really means much, but incrementally, it's a step forward, I guess...) D.C. is getting it's own "state" quarter! By 2009 we can add D.C. and Puerto Rico to our collections!

Also in coins... Yesterday, I tried to give a new dollar coin to a tollbooth operator, and they told me they couldn't accept European money. It has Sacajawea on it!

Fire Alarms


The building where I work was evacuated for a fire alarm this morning. Purely by coincidence, the Old Executive Office Building also had a fire this morning (I say also though I have no proof that ours was not a false alarm).

Help Anacostia Get an HGTV Makeover

D.C.'s own Anacostia neighborhood is in the running for a renovation! A current HGTV contest, "Change the World, Start at Home," has selected Anacostia to compete with nine other cities for a major makeover.

Vote here, or go to http://www.hgtv.com/hgtv/ah_change_the_world/text/0,,HGTV_30676_65469,00.html to find out more about the community revitalization and environmental cause effort that could be coming our way!

Thanks to Kathleeen Wiederman for submitting this story!

National Treasure II: Book of Secrets

The Washington Convention and Tourism Corporation is hosting an exclusive advanced screening of "National Treasure II: Book of Secrets" tonight.

I'll be taping for the sports show, but will try to get reactions from some screeners before it is released in theatres TOMORROW. This is not only set in D.C., but about D.C., so it's sure to be AWESOME!

Yeah, Mr. Postman!


We got our postmark back! After the anthrax/ricin/terrorism scare, most of the District's mail was sent to Maryland for processing. A recent article brought this little known (or cared about) fact to light, and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton worked with the Postmaster to make sure that D.C. got its postmark back in time for holiday card mailing. (Umm... FYI, D.C. - if you haven't mailed your holiday cards by now... you're LATE!)

P.A.R.T.Y.

'Tis the season! And the number of holiday parties on my calendar is making my head spin! Or is that the champagne?! (Thanks, Windy!)

The excitment (and abundance) of candy canes and cocktails is easier to enjoy than to detail. Look forward to snippets (and pictures) from holiday events this week!

Ebong Eka's Hoop Dream


STYLE just posted my feature on my good friend, Ebong Eka, and his efforts with the non-profit Hoop Dreams. Ebong - you're a super star!


Santa Loves Sigmas


Am I the only one who was super involved in my sorority in college only to let the "sisterhood" slip as I got more involved in career and adult life? I paid dues to a alumni group for a while, but sadly was never able to attend a function. But before I relegated Sigma Kappa to just a line on my CV (still there, in hopes that a potential future employer may love me because we're sisters...) I got a holiday get-together invite in my e-mail box.

Stacey Hinton (President on my chapter at UGA) and Erin Mote, two Sigma Kappas keeping the sisterhood alive in DC, organized a small party at Sofitel's swanky, Le Bar in downtown DC. We shared family traditions and sipped some holiday cheer. It was fun to meet some new girlfriends. Maybe I'll renew my alumni membership after all!


Children's Hospitol Toy Drive


Girl Scout troop 1390 collected new toys at the Adventure Theatre today during the last weekend of performances of the Secret Garden. A "Gold Award" girl scout myself, I'm proud of the girls for organizing a drive for such a wonderful cause.

Ruder-Finn Holiday Party

I totally crashed this one, and it may well be the best office holiday party of the season! A snapshot of the awesome affair from one end, courtesy Joe Reblando...
Ruder-Finn is a private, family-owned public relations firm located downtown. They specialize in health and wellness PR, but have a number of other areas of expertise, as well as global offices. And their holiday spread was incredible...

I love PR parties because the people are always so fun and willing to meet, network, and share great stories! Honestly, I only meant to stay for a few minutes - maybe half an hour. Two hours later I had to force myself into the elevator. Gold star!

Bye, Bye Bobby (Boswell)


If you haven't gotten your daily dose of sports news yet today, you might not have heard that Bobby Boswell is leaving D.C. United. He's been traded to the Houston Dynamo for goal keeper Zach Wells and a draft pick.

Let's hope one of the new guys is an entertainer. You have to give it to Bobby - he may not have started many of the last games, but he made us love to watch!

Teatro's Perfect Pairings

I really didn't think Teatro could get any better, but when Executive Chef Nicola Amroune (Teatro's new addition) flexed her culinary muscles earlier this week, I had to sit down and shut my mouth - full of pan seared scallop topped with oxtail raggout!



Starting a tradition of paired wine dinners, the restaurant and DC Modern Luxury magazine hosted the evening with delights from the Antinori Family Winery & Vinyard. My personal favorite dish was the second of the five course dinner, the white truffle risotto. I couldn't get enough - I ate Bill's, too! And the final red wine, the Antinori Tignanello was incredible!

Speaking of perfect pairings, I've been forcing Pamela Sorensen to be the second half of my dyanamic duo lately... mostly just stealing her pictures because I forget to take them. But, be on the look out for further collaborations between the two of us - and others - very soon!

I PASSED!

On an even more personal note than usual, I'm congratulating myself on years of hard work and social sacrifice (yes - I could have been even more social!) as I successfully defended my thesis for a Masters in Government degree today at Johns Hopkins University - and PASSED!

Thank you to all who supported me (and dealt with my stress) throughout the effort. It's done!

Mile High Holidays


Everytime I think back to that summer when my family visited D.C. and made me spend an entire day in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, I say I'll never go there again. I lied. Kind of. And I'm glad I did.

There is a second (expansion) Air and Space Museum in Dulles that opened not long ago - the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, that fills four hangers full of every flight relic you could imagine. Really cool ones, including the Enola Gay! And I bet you can still get space ice cream there, too!

On the same day that the center welcomed it's 5 millionth visitor, M.C. Dean - one of the nation's premier engineering and integration firms specializing in complex electrical, electronic, and telecommunication systems - rented the site for its annual evening holiday party. The choice of venue wasn't random. M.C. Dean had a hand in completing many of the construction, engineering, and design projects that make the center such a huge success. I'm no engineer - I just enjoyed having the dance floor next to a huge spacecraft in the James S. McDonnell Space Hanger!

The Show Still Goes On!

For those of you who haven't made it out to see a performance of the Secret Garden, you have just one more weekend to see it before the set transforms into 'Narnia' for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe!
Saturday and Sunday performances at 11:00 and 1:30 are filling up fast! Call Adventure Theatre to reserve your ticket NOW!
(Rehearsal photos - credit, Billy Bustamante)

Junior Monumental Milers Program

On Friday, the National Marathon, Greater Washington Sports Alliance, D.C. Parks and Recreation and other supporting sponsors hosted a Kick-Off event for the the Junior Monumental Milers Program (JuMMP) at Kennilworth Parkside in Anacostia.

JuMMP promotes youth health and fitness in the District. Participants will complete the equivalent of a marathon, 26.2 miles over the course of 17 weeks to promote the daily habit of running for fitness and good health. Hundreds of area youth took part in the day's activities as Mayor Adrian Fenty, Councilmembers Harry Thomas Jr. and Yvette Alexander, D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation Director Clark Ray and Greater Washington Sports Alliance President, Robert Sweeney and GWSA Chair, Fernando Murias gave supporting remarks.
A highlight of the day was seeing the children's excitement... and the running of the first lap!

George Mason University DIVAS!


If you're a fan of opera, you might have heard about the George Mason University Fall Opera workshop last Friday evening.

While I ventured to Fairfax (truly not a bad drive to enjoy an artistic evening!) to support my good friend, Miss Virginia 2006, Adrianna Sgarlata (pictured at left), everyone was equally as impressive. Yes, all were DIVAS, which was fitting as it was the theme of the evening!
The first scene was a restaging of a new American opera which comes out of the University of Indiana, "Too Many Sopranos," and showcases four sopranos auditioning for a single spot in the heavenly choir. It was fun to watch them battle it out to see who could sing higher, louder... better.

Bravo!

Magnificence at Miller's (Furs)


Fur fashions are showing up everywhere these days.

Last night, Miller's Furs in Tyson's Galleria Centre held it's annual evening of customer appreciation, and hired me to model the collection. I could have tried on every piece in the store.. In fact, I think I did!
(photo from Miller's Furs online catalog)

The Hattery

Someone I know wants a hat - a very particular hat. And [they] have mentioned it three times, so I know it's serious. And it's Christmastime. And I need to buy them a gift. Viola! You know where this is going.

So... where in D.C. does one go to buy the hat? There is only one place. The Hattery.
I met Anthony Gaskins, Owner and Milliner-extraordinaire tonight at The Hattery in the Georgetown Park Shops. After trying nearly every fabulous hat in the place on my own head, I remembered that I wasn't there shopping for me, sadly. So I left not with the cutest 20's cloche or the 60's Audrey Hepburn widebrim, but definitely with exactly what my friend wanted. And it is PERFECT.
But I'm going back, and so should you. It's cold. Keep your head warm - and tell Anthony I sent you!

It's Snowing!

Not enough for a real snow day - although it looks to be accumuluating! - but it's so beautiful and should cut down on the cold for the rest of the week.

Beets, Beets, Baby! The Department of Transportation says that this year they are going to try something new to clear the streets of dangerous ice. Salt is out, beet juice is in. Haven't heard the research yet on that one, but I'm sure it's the latest in efforts to maintain D.C.'s image as a "walkable city".

Almost Ready to Defend!



This is page one of my almost 100 page "almost masterpiece" on the subject of D.C. school reform under Mayor Adrian Fenty. It's called "Trending Mayoral."

Why an almost masterpiece? 1) When do things slow down enough in D.C. for masterpieces to happen? 2) How does a writer reconcile the extremely different opinions of thesis reviewers? 3) After 100 pages, I still haven't really decided if I'm 100 percent behind the reform initiative...

On another note, why do printers always break down when something super important is in the que?!

Wish me luck! Defense is next week!

Toys for Tots Holiday Fun at the Park


With more than another excuse to get together, good friends Windy Sheppard and Amanda Walke along with other great hosts, held a holiday gathering at The Park at 14th last night. Everyone was asked to bring a new toy for the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program. By the end of the night, the pile of toys collected would have overstuffed Santa's toy sack!

(Pamela Sorensen, George Muresan, Victoria Michael, and I after donating toys to Toys for Tots.)

Charles Nolan Fashion Show at Saks


Holiday shopping, fabulous fashions, and an incredibly generous cause brought women (and men!) out to Saks in Chevy Chase last night. The annual Saks holiday show featured Charles Nolan designs and benefitted St. Jude - an amazingly worthy research hospital where patients are never asked to pay!

The design line-up was amazing, and Charles Nolan was equally so. He's a designer who takes great pride in his work and his presentation and knows the importance of making fashion fun. I was thrilled to work with him and help make the show a success!

It's official - Happy Holidays everyone!

Miss America Models Ann Hand at Milano

(Miss Americas - Phyllis George (1979) and Lauren Nelson (2007))

Lauren Nelson, Miss America 2007, was in Georgetown at Milano last night modeling the newest jewlery designs from Ann Hand's new Miss America collection. Ann Hand has been named the Official Jeweler of Miss America, and created some incredible pieces to showcase the coveted crown. In addition to the lovely pieces, Miss America wins big, because 25% of sales go to the Miss America Scholarship fund! I'm particulary in love with the long strand of pearls Lauren was wearing on her entrance last night!



(After a long day of events, I am pictured here with Teri Galvez, Executive Director, Miss DC Organization; Art McMaster, President MAO; and Sonya Gavanker, Miss DC 1998.)




Oscar Night DC


Our local Red Cross Chapter was approached by the Academy of Motion Pictures to host the only official Oscar Night party in DC in February. I am so honored to have been invited by my good friend and chair of the event, Pamela Sorensen, to serve on the host committee.


The committee had its first meeting at Teatro Goldoni last night, and the event is already shaping up to be incredible. Our own Pamela Brown (WJLA) will be serving as the Mistress of Ceremonies. You won't want to miss it!


Contact me if you are interested in helping our local Red Cross chapter to raise over $1 million through this and other special events. And be sure to watch for more information as we approach Oscar Night!

Capitol File Holiday Party

Once again at The Park, this time for the Capitol File magazine holiday party with guest of honor and December covergirl Mira Sorvino. The gals and I headed out to the first of many in a busy holiday celebration season. Kudos to Capitol File for inviting a great mix of guests - the evening was a grand success!

Honoring Sean Taylor


Tragic. There isn't much left to say... but to honor the life of the man we loved to watch -who had so much potential - not only in the game, but in life as well.

2nd Runner Up at Miss DC USA

(Photo - Patrick Ryan)

Last night at the Miss District of Columbia USA pageant, I did what I always do. I shined on stage. I gave the competition my all in every phase - there couldn't have been, and wasn't, any better.

I'm proud of myself for taking on a completely new pageant system, with new rules and new expectations. And I took 2nd runner up!
(photo credit- Joe Whiteko)

Thank you to those who came to support me. I can't express how much it means to me to have an audience that appreciates me. As always when I'm on stage, I enjoyed every minute!

What does this pageant mean for me? Not much, really. I'm still Miss District of Columbia 2006, and I had a chance at Miss America. And I said I was going to have a hand in making D.C. a sexy, sophistictated city... I will.

Thanksgiving Eve at the Park


Staying in town for Thanksgiving is not as bad as it sounds (especially if your parents are coming to see you the weekend after!). There are usually a couple of good parties to attend... This year, the place to be was The Park.

Just recently opened at 14th Street at Franklin Park, The Park is a 4 story lounge/club... you may remember it from the MLS Commissioner's party.

With everything going on in life, I hadn't been out in a while, so it was good to see everyone (and solicit attendance for the pageant!).

Thanks for posting pictures, Pat! (photo, Pat Ryan)

Thesis Revisions...Already!

I've gotten comments back from my first thesis reader. Uh oh! Apparently my writing is more "entertaining" than "academic"... which comes as no surprise. I have 15 days to make revisions - major ones, including changing my thesis statement! - and try again to see if I am able to defend this semester. Fingers crossed, please!

Oh yeah, and the pageant is THIS WEEKEND!!!

Interview Outfit FOUND

Days - literally- days of searching for this outfit, and I have finally found something that can work as my interview outfit for the Miss DC USA pageant. Honestly, I had to miss the Pros vs. Joes poker tournament on Saturday night as I went from mall to mall to random store looking for something professional, yet fashion-forward, that reflects my personality yet still says "pageant" - an impossible feat!

If you've been following, this completes my wardrobe.. now I only have five days to complete the final touches and ACCESSORIZE!

Openings and Overtime

A touch out of our comfort zone, Dina and I ventured over to the site of the new Newseum at the recommendation of several friends who have raved about The Source, a two-level 'Wolfgang Puck' restaurant that opened just a month ago. It was suggested that we give our regards to Klaus Puck, and we're so glad that we did! His generosity helped us to have a more than fabulous time at the restaurant... and eat more kobe sliders than we should have. We'll be back often, I'm sure!

The event of the evening was the MLS Commissioner's party to kick off the championship match Sunday (New England Revolution v. Houston Dynamo) at The Park. Some of the greatest in soccer were there, including my good friend Alecko Eskandarian, League MVP in 2004! No Beckham sitings... but there were tons of Revolution fans, as they were bussed in free of charge if they could secure tickets to the game... 40,000 fans would attend the game Sunday - and Dynamo would take it for the 2nd straight year.

Come See the Secret Garden!

I hyped the Secret Garden rehearsals, but never blogged about our opening weekend - no pictures to prove it was a grand success... but it was! Now in our second weekend, we are ready to spill, or- uh...share, the secrets of the garden again. We'll be performing every weekend until December 16th.

Since I have no pictures from the stage to display... here are some rare backstage shots with Andrew and Stacie.


I play many parts... Mary's mother, Rose (who dies of cholera in the first two minutes of the play and returns often as a ghost); a Chinese ancestor; a fox; and sometimes Colin's mother, Lily (who also dies and has some ghostly returns). Doesn't that make you want to come and see how I get through all of those costume changes in only an hour?!

Just Another Sports Show

I love this picture from last night's show taping.

Am I upset because Ruben (Producer) keeps spelling my name wrong? Am I hyped because of the upcoming Redskins/Cowboys game? Am I shocked because Lila mentioned my competition in the Miss DC USA pageant? Actually, I'm ranting about O.J. Simpson... but you should watch this week's show to see my other fun faces.

BIG NEWS NIGHT!

I can't disclose the details of my big news just yet... but its something I've been hoping for since joining Just Another Sports Show! To celebrate, I went to Fritz Brogan's new bar, the Gryphon Room (underneath The Guards) to celebrate Windy Sheppard's birthday. Happy Birthday to one of the happiest girls I know!
Here I am pictured with cute couple Sarah Waites-Elkins and David Miller. As I've been preparing for the pageant, I've been checking out some new trends. Today I was feeling kind of retro... I got so many compliments on the dress and the necklace (thank you for shopping with me, Mom!) but I also got called a bumble bee. Was that a compliment?!

Hmmm... That Dress Looks Familiar!




After Miss America I heard a lot of people say my evening gown made my body look amazing, but that the dress itself wasn't that spectacular. This was mostly because of the cutouts. (I always have a leg slit!)
That critique is why my pageant findings today were so interesting! I've already seen it (a version of it... because no one would be bold enough to repeat a Miss America dress!) win a state competition for the Miss USA system.
Congratulations to my good friend, Amanda Kozak, who did what I'm hoping to do this year - consecutively win the Miss DC and Miss DC USA titles. It's not easy to win one title, much less both - in a row. That's huge, Amanda! By the way, girl, I love your dress!




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