District Runway: #BloggerScene

by Jackie

This special edition of District Runway comes to you via the Blogger Scene Spring Cocktail Party. Ashley in DC and The Fashionably Broke hosted DC-area bloggers at Mari Vanna restaurant in Farragut North. I had a great time at my first #BloggerScene! I sipped mimosas, met fun local bloggers, and learned about the business of blogging. I’m already looking forward to the next one!

There were so many fab outfits on the scene. Check out my faves:

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Cancel Monday

by Jackie

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As if Mondays weren’t bad enough, it’s raining and it’s still cold. Ugh. One way that I’m trying to un-suck Monday is to revisit the awesomeness that was this past weekend. Sherria came into town for our annual A*cute professional development workshop at Crittenton. (We’ll tell you more about that later, it was so much fun!) So, we decided to have an impromptu girls weekend, complete with a trip to the spa for springtime pedis, dancing the night away, and a boozy brunch.

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We’re both Francophiles, so I made brunch reservations at Napoleon Bistro & Lounge in Adams Morgan. I could have stayed there all day pretending I was in Paris.  The food is rich and delicious (I had the Crab Benedict,  and stole some steak and French toast from my brunch buddies).  The black and white decor, petite bar, upbeat jazz playing in the background, and French movie projected on the back wall made brunching a true experience.

We decided to work off all the food we ate by shopping (obvi) and stumbled upon Violet Boutique. Boutique shopping is one of my fave activities because it’s intimate and there aren’t a million carbon copies of any item. The Violet ladies made me feel like I was the only girl in the store, though the second-story walk-up was pretty packed with shoppers stocking up for spring (whenever it feels like showing up). I picked up a couple of items and can’t wait to wear them when the sun finally decides to stick around.

violet

 

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Dear Summer…

by Jackie

To everyone that complained about the humidity and the the hot temperatures, you win. Summer, my favorite season, is ending. Though I am sad to see it go, it has truly been one of the best summers I’ve had since I was in school and had three whole months off.  I know it’s not over quite yet, but I couldn’t help but reminisce about some of my favorite summer 2013 moments, and of course, I had to share them with you.

photo(14)I can’t count how many times I’ve been to New York this summer. Every trip has been worth the nearly impossible traffic traveling from DC. Whether it was celebrating my dad’s birthday with a family party in my parents’ backyard, shopping with my mom, chasing July 4th fireworks with my sister in my old neighborhood, or going to throwback parties with my friends, I was home again.

photo(15)For a week, I was beautifully overwhelmed by the sisterhood that I joined more than nine years ago. The 51st national convention of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. was more than just a gathering of sorority women, it was a reunion of epic proportions. DC didn’t know what to do with the tens of thousands of women that descended upon the city in July to celebrate the sorority’s Centennial. It was an experience that I will carry with me forever.

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I got to chat with Jill Scott for an hour about her dreams, her passions, and all the stuff that makes her the dynamo that she is. Ok, not really, but that’s how it felt to attend the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art Director’s Discussion Series featuring the Grammy Award winning singer. It was refreshing to hear her talk about how much she treasures the simple moments in life, and to recall the lessons passed down by the women in her family.

Earlier this year, I was riding in my BFF’s car (during yet another trip to New York) as she was playing Lianne La Havas’s debut album “Is Your Love Big Enough?” A couple of notes in, and I was hooked. I know I’m late to the game, but I was besides myself with fangirl excitement when I saw her perform at SummerStage in Central Park (during still yet another trip to NYC). I play her album every day and get lost in her voice. She’s simply amazing.

photo(16)My all-time favorite summer moments are the ones that I spent with my sister, Maronel. From Sister Sundays to random Starbucks dates, it has been fun to hang out with her. She is a natural comedienne and keeps me up to date with all of the trends. I’m blessed to have a built-in friend like her.

Thinking Outside the Cubicle: Working Art

Stephanie is turning her childhood dream into her reality.

by Jackie

Some of the world’s most acclaimed talents have been discovered in church. Stephanie Kiah’s skills, however, were to be seen, not heard. Armed with paper and a pencil, the young artist accompanied her mother to Sunday services, capturing fellow churchgoers in detailed drawings in her notebook. Unlike the forgotten doodles in discarded marble composition notebooks the world over, Stephanie’s childhood drawings were just sketches of what was to come.

When did you first become interested art?

After my mother discovered my drawings in church, my elementary school teachers recognized my talent, and I enrolled in the Gifted and Talented Art program. I took part in advanced art classes all growing up.

Art came as a natural choice for a college major, and I attended Norfolk State University where I graduated with a BA in Fine Art in 2009. Surprisingly, it wasn’t until after college that I grew truly passionate about my art.

When did you make the decision to turn your passion into a gig?

Discouraged after not being accepted into the grad program I wanted, working a string of dead-end jobs, and being unsuccessful at landing even a simple “good job,” I decided to relocate to a place where I could try to find myself again. For me, that place was Washington, D.C. Luckily I was able to stay with my cousin in the city for a while as I gained my footing. Once I moved out on my own, my art became a necessary source of income along with my other part-time jobs in order for me to continue living in the city.

What advice would you give other young professionals who feel stuck at a 9-5?

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DC-based DIY Diva Launches Online Store + Giveaway

by Jackie

Quynh’s Instagram feed is an adventure in style, food, and travel. Snapshots of her do-it-yourself projects almost always lead to accessory junkies begging asking her for a custom-made piece. Luckily for me, she sees my Roomie every day, so I often have an edge on the rest of the Instagram crowd. 🙂 But, it’s a new year, and I have a whole new sharing attitude. So, you too, can have your own Q piece.

I've been spoiled, so I'm sharing the wealth!

I’ve been spoiled, so I’m sharing the wealth!

In advance of launching her Etsy store, Ginger n’ Snap, Quynh has gifted a necklace to A*cute for a giveaway!  All you have to do is enter your comment below on how you’d style the link necklace (along with your e-mail address!), and I’ll pick a lucky winner.

The contest ends at midnight on January 31! Enter as many times as you wish. You can also tweet your comment to @AcuteConsulting for more chances to win.

Good luck. May the odds be ever in your favor!

Falling Back in Love with the District

by Jackie

“When something itches my dear sir, the natural tendency is to scratch.” — The Seven Year Itch

Ten years ago in my freshman dorm room. Excuse the picture quality, this is before iPhones existed.

I never intended to stay here. DC was supposed to be a temporary stop away from New York, lasting only as long as it took for me get a degree. Then, I decided to get another. Then, I landed my first job. One thing led to another, and somehow, I’ve been here nearly ten years — long enough to get a DC-issued driver’s license, become a DC-registered voter, and incorporate the occasional “joanin” to my vocabulary. Though I love my friends and the experiences I’ve had here, I was getting the “itch” to try something new.

After a short adventure,  (Thank you, Charlotte) I resolved to try to rekindle the romance with the District and have as many adventures as possible in the city that has become my home (away from home).

Eastern Market

A short walk from its namesake metro station, Eastern Market is a cute scene that’s a warm break from DC’s Romanesque architecture. I almost forgot where I was.

Shopping is usually enough inspiration to get me out of the house, but add good food to that, and it’s a party. Though Eastern Market is a DC staple, my recent trip was my first. After grabbing a yummy crab cake sandwich at Market Lunch, I picked up some local produce, and snagged a necklace in my favorite color for next to nothing.

Pearl Dive

Whenever I want to pretend that I’m on a getaway at a marina, I can just take a 10-minute trip up the road to Pearl Dive. Fueling my obsession with seafood, this restaurant is fast becoming a fave in my book, and my tummy.

Bookettes

Of course, my ultimate escape is a good book, and my book club — the Bookettes — makes sure that I am always on an interesting literary adventure. I was excited to be our recent group leader. Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl is a multi-layered, multi-narrator suspense novel that deceives you at every turn.