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Charles Martin Photography

DCMagazine LIFE

March 2012

Cultural Fusion for Social Change

5 Spring Trends That are Heating Up DC’s Streets

He Said She Said

Is Dating on a Budget Possible?

Mrs. DC America 2012 Arika Burton


Content 14 Whether the Weather Be Fine Fashion writer Mutsa Meda reveals five current trends that will heat up your wardrobe just in time for Spring weather.

18 Mrs. DC America Pageant Mrs. Arika Burton takes the crown as Mrs. DC America.

24 Two of a Kind Fashion designers of Lily & Migs answer how their union created a fashion line.


38 Recipe Box Spinach Salad with Warm Maple Dressing.

40 Chasin’ Tails Jennie Ling Tai discovers Arlington’s first seafood and crawfish bar.

42 He Said She Said Two of DC’s dating experts suggest local options for dating on a bugdet.

48 Events Gallery A look at Howard University Law School’s fashion show.

50 Haitian Artist: Charles Philippe Jean Pierre Charlanna Ray has a Q & A session with a local artist.

56 Music Review Get to know about local indie rock band Bravenoise.


Publisher: Mestizo Media Group, Inc General Manager: Eugene O. Smith, Jr. Managing Editor: Gigi Smith Contributors: Miguel Angel Oyola, Jr., Jennifer Jordan Herrell, Jason (The Daygamer), Mutsa Meda, Destiny Cammack, Monika Pearson, Jem Bahaijoub, Charlanna Ray, Ivy Allen

Advertising Sales DC Life Magazine P.O. Box 272 Dumfries, VA 22026 Phone: 877-275-5569

Subscription Inquiries Please address all requests to Mestizo Media Group, Inc. at Subscriptions are available at $12/year or $20 for two years.

Copyright Š 2012 by DC Life Magazine TA: Mestizo Media Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Editorial We dive headfirst into the Spring season anticipating the return of warmer sunny days. This month we lend our attention to the new life that is all around us in this time of renewal. Our cover pays tribute to the institution of marriage by celebrating Mrs. Arika Burton, crowned winner of the Mrs. DC America Pageant. Successful civilizations have endured because of strong families, anchored by admirable women in the roles of wife and mother. So we take time to honor the regions most incredible married women by supporting the Mrs. DC America Pageant. Congratulations Mrs. Arika Burton, we know you will make Washington, DC proud.

Eugene Smith / Editor In Chief The Mrs. DC America Pageant publicly recognizes beautiful married women, living and/or working within a 25-mile radius of Washington, DC, who have obtained personal, professional and community achievements. An official preliminary pageant to Mrs. America and Mrs. World, the Mrs. DC America Pageant welcomes women from all ethnic backgrounds to compete in a yearly pageant for the title of Mrs. DC America.


5 Spring Trends Mutsa Meda 14

Restaurant Review Jennie Ling Tai 26

"We may have different religions, differen all belong to one human race." 8 DC Life Magazine

Dating on a Budget Ivy Allen 42

Music Spotlight Jem Bahaijoub 56

nt languages, different colored skin, but we By Kofi Annan DC Life Magazine 9

“There are no nations! There is only humanity. And if we don’t come to understand that right soon, there will be no nations, because there will be no humanity.” Isaac Asimov


Whether the Weather Be Fine… A Look at Some of Our Favorite Spring Goodies… By Mutsa Meda There’s something about the thought of spring that ignites excitement within us all. If you surveyed one hundred people and asked them how much they actually enjoy winter in Washington, D.C. for reasons unrelated to its poetic beauty and brief festive charm, you won’t be likely to find an overwhelming number of fans. Winter is brutal. Think about it. Not only is one subjected to extended hours of darkness and frequently frigid temperatures that are comparable to summer weather on a good day in the Arctic Circle, but man oh man, winter is expensive! Preparing to step foot outside in winter is like preparing for battle. You have to suit up in this uniform that consists of layers upon layers of thick, bulky, weighty materials and heaven forbid you forget your gloves or scarf unless you don’t mind potential frostbite or hypothermia. Then there is the ever present predicament that fashion-conscious ladies find themselves in each winter. We could go ahead and wear our leggings paired with a dress and throw a trendy coat on top, but we’re guaranteed to feel the bite of that icy wind chill far more intensely than our bundled up male counterparts. Well never you mind about all those concerns, because winter is in the dust. The city has actually been deliciously mild this past season, which many Washingtonians were more than thrilled about. The weather is the most influential factor when it

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comes to apparel, so now that spring has shown its pretty face, getting cold-weather related illnesses is one less thing to worry about now (translation: time for some fun in the sun)! According to Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, people “look to spring for renewed energy, optimism and the promise of a brighter day. They have learned how color can help them alter a mood and provide the vitality and enthusiasm that enables them to experiment with new looks and color combinations.” The Pantone Color Institute researches and forecasts colors that will best reflect the moods, lifestyles and attitudes of consumers and these colors influence production and design in everything from the auto industry to interior decor to fashion. This spring, fashion ditches the muted shades of winter in favor of brilliant brights, toasty neutrals, sugary pastels, and clean whites, all of which compliment the current conditions perfectly. One of the best things about spring has got be the return of the option to wear open-toed shoes without having to think twice, because after all, what’s more frustrating than being limited to close-toe shoes for months on end? The springtime also allows you to safely tuck away your thick wovens and pull out those skirts and shorts that have been missing you so dearly. If you feel like trying something new, spring is also the perfect time to clean up, donate any unwanted items that have done nothing but collect dust in the back of your closet and start fresh. And for the fashionistas, the arrival of spring means that we can finally get our paws on the flirty and fun trends that have been forecasted and dangled in front of us like carrots since the fall. So what’s in this season, you ask? We’ve compiled a short and sweet list of spring confections to make your closet just a little bit brighter…

Flower Power! The springtime instantly evokes thoughts of sunshine, pleasant breezes, and exotic flowers in bloom. What better way to honor the season than with some uber-feminine floral prints. Headto-toe florals were seen at Fashion Week in the fall, but the look can be a tad overwhelming when worn off the runway (floral-print jackets and pants… really though???) If taking a leisurely stroll beneath the cherry blossoms sounds more like your thing, a cute floral print kneelength dress with cute sandals would be ideal. Keep it simple!

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Citrus Splash This spring’s citrus hues provide a vivacious edge that truly epitomizes the season. Tangerine, named the top color for 2012 by the Pantone Color Institute, radiates warmth and immediately presents a burst of energy. Lemon yellows and margarita greens are also excellent choices for clothing going into what’s sure to be a sizzling summer.

All That Jazz That noise you hear is the Roaring ‘20s making a comeback. With pop culture references like Boardwalk Empire and The Great Gatsby movie coming out later this year, fashion is going vintage and capturing the spirit of one of the most stylish decades in history. Loose silhouettes, knee-length skirts, art deco detailing and drop waist dresses will easily help bring out your inner Daisy Buchanan.

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Nice and Pleat Let’s be realistic, miniskirts aren’t for everyone. Pleated skirts provide a welcome alternative for ladies because at the right length, they pretty much flatter every figure. This staple item can be worn with dressy heels or with a cute pair of casual flats.

All White Everything Refusing to be drowned out in the sea of bright colors this season, crispy clean whites are a stand out. If the color is too plain for your taste, pair the look off with a bold spring bag or try accessorizing with some edgy cuffs and bracelets (problem solved)! White on white is a great thing to try out as long as two different textures are being used, like cotton and lace.

Pretty in Pastel Inspiration for fashion can come from anywhere, even cotton candy, sherbet, mint and lemon drops. These pretty pastel colors have arrived just in time for Easter. They are soft and cool, in contrast to the other vibrant hues associated with spring, and they accessorize white clothing like a dream!

DC Life Magazine 17

“For the Mrs. America pageant I plan to do a lot more of what I have been doing, just

stepping it up a whole lot! I’m going to prepare more for the interview questions, and

get some fabulous outfits together and continue supporting the charities that have been supporting me.�

Arika Burton Mrs. DC America 2012 The Mrs. DC America Pageant 2012 was held on March 10 of this year. Over 250 patrons attended the packed-house event held at the Jack Morton Theatre in Washington, DC to see the crowning of the new Mrs. DC America who will represent DC at the Mrs. America Pageant. The Mrs. DC America Pageant publicly recognizes beautiful married women, living and/ or working within a 25-mile radius of Washington, DC, who have obtained personal, professional and community achievements. An official preliminary pageant to Mrs. America and Mrs. World, the Mrs. DC America Pageant welcomes women from all ethnic backgrounds to compete in a yearly pageant for the title of Mrs. DC America.


The contestants were judged in three categories: Interview, Swimsuit, and Evening Gown. The woman with the highest overall score won the title of Mrs. DC America 2012. The judges for the pageant included three top community leaders: Steve Glaude, Director of Community Affairs in the DC Mayor’s Office; Lieutenant Colonel Claude Vann, a retired Army Officer; and Chandler Ramelli, a respected radio personality in the DC metro area. Entertainment for the pageant was provided by Ohana of Polynesia, who gave breathtaking dances to honor the current Mrs. America 2011, Lara Fonoimoana, who is a native of Hawaii. Sponsors of the pageant presented the winner with over $18, 000 worth of prizes. Prizes ranged from a custom designed dress by Kristin Irene to box tickets from the Mayor, Vincent C. Gray. The Mayor also sent a letter of Greeting to the contestants who were humbled by the acknowledgement. After the show, the winner and her family were was whisked off to her reception by a white stretch limo, provided by Jason Tours, LLC. At the reception, sponsored by Aquaviva restaurant, the winner took pictures with attendees and signed autographs. The new Mrs. DC America was then surprised with a custom-designed cake by Sweet Themes Cakes and cupcakes. The cake was made into a pillow with a sash draped around the cake and in the middle was a large silver crown representing the Queens jeweled piece. The Winner: Mrs. Arika Burton was crowned Mrs. DC America 2012. She is married to Bradley Burton and they have been married for one and a half years. Arika has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Maryland in both Finance and International Business. She has also completed the International Finance and European Union Study program in London, England. Arika’s community platform is Financial Literacy. She is actively involved in the National Financial Educators Council to raise awareness and improve financial capabilities. Our History: Since 1977, the Mrs. America pageant is the leading competition for married women! Now in its 34th year, this renowned national competition is devoted to emphasizing that America’s 70 million married women are extraordinarily beautiful, poised, articulate and versatile. Each state (plus the District of Columbia) has a yearly preliminary pageant to select a delegate to participate in the Mrs. America pageant. At the Mrs. America pageant 51 women compete for the coveted title of Mrs. America. The winner of Mrs. America goes on to compete in Mrs. World!

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The New Management: In September 2011, the Mrs. DC America Organization was taken over by a new company, An Officer and Gentlewoman, LLC. The owner, Raquel Riley Thomas, is a former military officer who traded in her boots for bikinis. She won the title of Mrs. Maryland America 2010, then battled 50 state delegates, winning 1st runner up at Mrs. America 2010. The Mrs. America organization asked her to come back just months later, as a celebrity judge for the Mrs. America 2011 pageant. She was then asked to take over the directorship of Mrs. DC America. Mrs. DC America 2012 Award List: Winner: Arika Burton Local Title: Mrs. DuPont Circle Community Platform: Financial Awareness 1st Runner Up: Hermona Kiros Local Title: Mrs. Adams Morgan Community Platform: Benefits of Breastfeeding 2nd Runner Up: Natisha Dawson Local Title: Mrs. Northwest Community Platform: Healthy Living Special Categories: Mrs. Fitness: Arika Burton Mrs. Photogenic: Hermona Kiros Mrs. Congeniality: Jamii Roberson Sponsorship Award: Elizabeth Rice To learn more about Mrs. DC America, visit www.mrsdcamercia. org

Credit: Charles Martin Photography

The Host of the night’s festivities was award-winning anchor, Natasha Barrett, ABC7 News, who dazzled the crown with her professionalism and grace. The announcer, Rick Bernstein, known as the “Voice of DC,” gave the commentary on each contestant and gave special recognition to the judges and the sponsors.

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Two of a Kind A Closer Look at Fashion Label Lily & Migs By Mutsa Meda

Jenn Barron and Lauren Antos were together in the right place at the right time. New York City is full of interns that travel from far and wide with the hopes of breaking into the cutthroat fashion industry, and the story of Jenn and Lauren has the same premise. Under the roof of the Betsey Johnson showroom, the two ladies met while working as interns, and quickly developed a strong friendship. They soon realized how well their skills complimented one another and formed a partnership that led to the birth of the Lily & Migs clothing line. The women’s contemporary line features feminine creations that emphasize the quality and fit of the fabrics, something that women of varying lifestyles and shapes can appreciate. The duo’s design philosophy is partly influenced by a quote from Edith Head, the iconic Academy Award-winning costume designer who stated that “a dress should be tight enough to show you’re a woman and loose enough to prove you’re a lady”, which is definitely an attitude that resonates with Washingtonian women. Jenn and Lauren revealed more details about their brand and their journey to success in our Q&A session.

Lily & Migs Fall Collection 2012

Describe the type of woman that the Lily & Migs clothing line is made for. A Lily & Migs woman wears many hats. She’s the jetsetter, the socialite, the grad student, the fashionista, and in our case the working mom. No matter what, a Lily & Migs woman exudes confidence, femininity, trendiness and originality.

likes and dislikes. Mainly we try to find the voids in our own wardrobes and build upon that. But we are big on collecting inspirational images for months leading up to our initial new collection design meeting. Anything from artistic photography, color pallets/swatches, people watching, and even blogs. How did the two of you realize that you wanted to start a clothing line together?

What are your biggest creative influences? We design what we personally would love to wear. Luckily there are two of us, with drastically different style aesthetics, so we usually tend to have a broad range of

After working New York Fashion Week for Betsey Johnson and living together in Brooklyn for a few weeks in the Fall of 2008, we realized we had some life decisions to make. Lauren was pondering a job offer in the Betsey

“Your dresses should be tight enough to show you’re a woman and loose enough to show you’re a lady”


sales office which would be a move from Boston to NYC with her two kiddos, and Jenn was planning to continue her own line, Garden Apartment. After a long phone conversation, and perhaps a bit of soul searching, Lily & Migs was born in late September 2008. The fashion industry is extremely competitive. What has been the most challenging aspect for you since first entering the business? We started in late 2008 and it was right at the beginning of the dip in the economy. So for us, in the beginning, boutiques were very timid and hesitant on taking any chances on new things-­‐ especially a new designer. As a

designer, you love your collections, they are your “babies”, so it’s hard to understand how someone could not believe in them like you do. So the single most challenging aspect of starting out is finding the ability to take that feedback and keep charging forward. We took every bit of criticism and used it to build a stronger line and a better company, and it’s really paying off! What has been the highlight of your careers so far? Earning the “New Faces” spot and participating at The Tent during Boston Fashion Week 2011 was a great accomplishment for us. It was our largest, most cohesive collection we have put out there thus far and to see it


come to life on that runway in that beautiful venue was amazing. Both of you graduated with degrees in Fashion. What advice do you have for young students and graduates of fashion programs? We have a lot of suggestions. The first would be to select and take your internships seriously; put in the hard work and the extra effort as it will not go unnoticed. This is a great way to get amazing recommendations and even a job offer. Make sure to be upfront at the start if you are open to a potential job at the company. The second piece of advice would be to pay attention in the classes

that you might think are “useless� and to take a myriad of subjects. Excel played a huge part in Lauren’s internship at Betsey Johnson and it comes in handy all the time both personally and professionally. But for her in college, the importance of Intro to Computer Spreadsheets seemed odd to someone who was focusing on buying, design, and visual merchandising classes. She now sees the importance and is extremely glad it was in the curriculum. Jenn always feels that especially for fashion design students, there is a major lack in business education. If you have any desire to start your own label, we highly suggest looking into some form of business classes, as it is just as important as the designing side.

“You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it.”


What can we expect from the Lily & Migs Fall Collection when it hits stores this summer? The Fall 2012 collection has a bit of a retro, vintage feel with a beautiful muted print, neutrals, copper and, our favorite, a deep, jewel green. You can find ruffles, peplums, lace, and stitching details in the tops, skirts and dresses. Going forward, what are your expectations for the Lily & Migs brand? We are looking to continue to grow our boutique list and will be approaching smaller scaled department stores as well. We have bigger goals for the brand too, but

are happily growing in baby steps and couldn’t be more excited. We have been represented by the Christina K. Pierce showroom in Boston for a year now and give them a lot of credit for our growth over the past 12 months. The brand will also be expanding to 4 collections a year! The Lily & Migs line offers sophisticated and high quality dresses and separates. What must-have item do you think every woman should have in her closet? Trying to pinpoint just one item is tough, but number one would have to be a perfect fitting dress that you can wear with flats, flip-flops, or heels. The piece should have the ability to be dressed up or down effortlessly, should be

4 Lace Detailed Blouse 450FA12 Color Options: Copper, Black, Taupe, Forest

Cascading Ruffle Dress 309FA12

Color Options: Taupe, Black, Forest

comfortable, and it should be one that you can breathe freely in. It should be able to be worn with or without a jacket as well as with or without tights—what we consider “seasonless”.

line was now actually named after Lauren’s daughter and Jenn’s husband. Not exactly the “norm”, but fits perfectly with our laidback, humorous approach to life. And we still laugh about it!

What is one fun fact that Washingtonians don’t know about the Lily & Migs designers and the brand overall? Both of us are mommies! Jenn has a daughter and Lauren has a son and a daughter. Initially, the Lily & Migs line was to be named after our children; Lauren’s daughter, Lilliana aka “Lily” and Jenn’s supposed to be son, Miguel Jr. aka “Migs”. When Jenn surprisingly gave birth to her beautiful daughter Ameila, it became apparent that the

Clothing from the Lily & Migs Spring 2012 collection is currently available at Form in Baltimore, and Kiskadee and An American in Paris in Old Town Alexandria. The Fall 2012 collection will be coming to local stores in the late summer. For more information, visit www.lilyandmigs. com


October Sundress

Color Options: Dark Green, Black


Color Options: Royal Orchid, Black, Emerald, Stone

Pin-tucked Blouse 451FA12 Color Options: Stone, Black, Emerald

Bell Sleeve Blouse 452FA12


Cascading Peplum Dress 308FA12

Color Options: Forest, Black, Taupe

Ruffle Party Dress 458FA12

Color Options: Black, Emerald, Stone


Blocked Print Dress

Color Options: Black, Forest, Taupe


Color Options: Taupe, Black, Forest

Ruffle Party Blouse 458T0PFA12 Color Options: Emerald, Black, Stone

Asymetric Peplum Dress 460FA12

8 Relaxed Cowl Blouse 454FA12 Color Options: Copper, Black, Forest, Taupe

Sunburst Pleat Skirt 455FA12

Color Options: Copper, Black, Forest, Taupe

9 Deep V Godet Dress 459FA12

Color Options: Taupe, Black, Forest

Color Options: Emerald, Black Stone

Boatneck Dress 406FA12 Color Options: Black, Forest, Taupe

Sweetheart Dress 461FA12


Butterfly Sleeve Blouse 453FA12

Color Options: Royal Orchid, Black, Stone, Emerald

Slouched Sailor Dress 457FA12

Color Options: Dark Green, Black

*Quotes by Edith Head

For sales inquiries, please contact Christina K. Pierce 617.369.1924


Recipe Box Spinach Salad with Warm Maple Dressing By Shirley Scrafford Ingredients:


2 tablespoons chopped pecans

1. Toast pecans in a small dry skillet over low heat, stirring often, until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool.

1 10-ounce package fresh spinach, torn, or 12 cups baby spinach

2. Toss spinach and cucumber in a salad bowl. 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch slices 2 teaspoons Suriny Rice Bran Oil 1 shallot, finely chopped 1/4 cup cider vinegar 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste 1/4 cup shredded smoked cheese, such as Gouda or Cheddar 38 DC Life Magazine

3. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add vinegar and maple syrup and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper. 4. Immediately pour the dressing over the spinach and cucumber. Toss well and sprinkle with cheese and toasted pecans.


Arlington’s First Crawfish & Seafood Bar By Jennie Ling Tai Rise and shine, Arlington! Get your thumbs ready, as Friday, March 30th marks the grand opening of your very own, brand-spanking-new Louisiana Crawfish joint – Chasin’ Tails. Brought to you by two ‘pinnacles of the online (poker) game,’ the Dang Brothers (Hac and Di) have taken a break from the ‘high stakes’ to bring Northern Virginia one of the only seafood hot spots that serves fresh Louisiana crawfish, local seafood, and even fried ‘gator bites’. As for the kicker – enjoy a wide assortment of local brews, and some of their very own (original) mixed drinks – such as 40 DC Life Magazine

the ‘Swamp Water’ (which tastes like the juice-version of the ‘pina colada’), and the ‘Voodoo Cocktail’ (perhaps, ‘hard lemonade’s sweeter cousin). Love seafood too much to just indulge in mud bugs? No problem. The menu offers much more of Louisiana’s finest, such as eutofee, fried beignets, fried ‘gator bites’, soft shell crab, lobster, raw oysters, fried calamari – and much more. They even created their own house-made ‘voodoo’ sauce that tastes just like a tangy-mayo combo with a teensy bit of a kick. And for the main finale – fresh, boiled

crawfish (that our server claimed to have been ‘alive and swimming earlier this morning’), that comes in three different flavors (lemon pepper, garlic butter, and original cajun), and in four different levels of heat (mild, medium, hot, and ‘nawlins hot!). After months of driving back and forth from the wharf in DC to get my crawfish fix this past year, I can definitely appreciate the cut in commute for fresh crawfish somewhere closer to home. Note – the emphasis I had on fresh, because in all honesty – you can find a tray full of tiny little crawfish at any

old chinese buffet – but you won’t find them fresh, and plump like the ones pictured (above) for miles. In fact, you won’t find another seafood bar that serves fresh Louisiana crawfish, local beer, original mixed drinks, and other traditional cajun dishes with multiple big screens around the room, and its’ very own hand washing station, anywhere in Arlington for that matter. As for all the crawfish-virgins out there – you’ll want to have your first crawfish at a seafood bar that serves them fresh like they do at Chasin’ Tails, so if you don’t have plans tomorrow night – now you do. You didn’t think they forgot about dessert, did you? Another traditional ‘Cajun’ item on the menu – these little fried bundles of Cajun-style donuts were like pillows of sweet-powderedjoy. Menu Standouts: Gator Bites (Lightly battered cubes of gator that tasted like a chicken that thought it was calamari.) Garlic Buttered Crawfish (although I’m partial to garlic and butter…) Fried Catfish (Tender, and juicy – a reminder of how fresh their seafood is) Swamp Water (Never thought I’d enjoy a drink that looked like someone dipped a cocktail glass into a green lagoon and brought it back to me, but this was actually my favorite drink of the night. It tasted like a liquified pina colada – and even has a gummy worm to enjoy on top.) Next Visit: Snow Crab Legs 

Raw Oysters



If you try any of these before I do, let me know how it is! As for all you crawfish newbies – fear not, as I’ve posted below, a – somewhat – instructional video on how to peel your mud bugs when you stop by. . Cheers!

DC Life Magazine 41

Dating & Relationships

He-Said She-Said Is Dating on a Budget a Realistic Option?

Jason is a Dating Coach and body language expert—his website is Every month, Jason will offer up his advice, and invite one of his female colleagues. Our guest writer is Ivy Allen, Founder of OneLife Coaching, LLC, and this month’s topic is dating on a budget.

He Said Male clients often ask me for inexpensive date ideas in the DC Area since they generally are the ones who plan and pay for dates, and after a while of “trying to find the one” costs can add up. Coach Ivy is also submitting an article for this month’s column, but her article is geared towards having dates in your home, while my article focuses on dates outside of your home. As such, I’m talking about beginning dates, such as first, second, and maybe third dates, while Ivy is talking about dates after the first couple of dates. 42 DC Life Magazine

What is important is that you do your research, be prepared, and get an idea for the kinds of activities or foods your date would enjoy. Check with some of your favorite restaurants and see if they have daily or happy hour specials. This area has enough going on that you can probably find very affordable burger nights, live music, wing nights, salsa dancing, trivia nights, karaoke nights, etc. somewhere on nearly any night of the week. You also want to research areas that have appropriate venues for dates. So,

if you are taking someone on a date for drinks, look into places you can take her afterwards for dinner, dessert, or just to see the sights. I tend to focus on Gallery Place/Chinatown, Eastern Market, and Clarendon, but you can research areas that are convenient for you, keeping in mind that your dates may not live near you. When I’ve had to choose a Maryland neighborhood for dates, I’ve chosen Bethesda. Part of doing research is finding out about the person with which you will be going on the date. Knowing her interests, what she likes to drink or eat, and where she either

hangs out, lives, or works can be helpful when it comes to suggesting particular places. Even then, you are selling the experience and your knowledge. So, if after researching where the restaurant bargains are on a particular night, you can get across that you know a place for great tacos, sangria, beer, or coffee, she will be more interested in the venue because you are being more specific and have knowledge of the venue or menu item. This may explain why many of my suggestions in the below list are Latin.  A great art opening, live band, or book signing can work just as well. Know your audience and the venue.

So how can you be prepared? If you’ve already researched several places to get drinks, coffee, and inexpensive food in several neighborhoods, you are prepared with other options if you suggest something that she isn’t interested in. Maybe she doesn’t like sangria or tacos. Or maybe you get to the venue and it is closed for a private party, out of business, or packed with people--have other options ready. Depending on where you both live and the date venue, you may need to think about transportation logistics. Here are some examples of inexpensive

date ideas: •

The National Zoo, music shows at the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center, free outdoor movies (National Mall, Capital Riverfront, Crystal City, Rosslyn, etc.), and the Smithsonian museums are also good options that are free. La Tasca in Chinatown has $3.75 glasses of a variety of sangrias and (specific) appetizers in the bar area during happy hour, 4-7pm daily. You want to get here early to get a bar table, so you may wind up waiting for your date. I get there at 5:15 pm, and DC Life Magazine 43

• •

read a book till my date shows up at 6:00 pm. Zengo in Chinatown has a happy hour that is 7 days a week 5-8PM, and features $5 Latin-Asian Cocktails and $5 Small Plates. Mate in Georgetown has Half Price Sushi, $6 martinis, margaritas, mojitos and glasses of wine, and $4 beer during their happy hour, Monday-Friday 5-7pm. El Centro D.F on 14th Street NW has a year round rooftop happy hour 5-7 pm daily with $4 margaritas, Mexican beers, red & white wine. They also have a $2 taco night featuring chef’s choice of 3 special tacos all Tuesday evening in the Taqueria & Tequileria. Either Teaism in Penn Quarter or Northside Social in Clarendon are good options to offer along with a bar option like La Tasca or Mate. Eastern Market is a good option for a date on a weekend, when everything is open. Eastern Market works well because you can walk together looking at the stands (joking about the wilder merchandise), and take a break at a coffeehouse or get inexpensive food nearby. Activity dates like hiking, playing pool, or bowling can also be good options, if you are both interested in the activity. Book signings work as well, as long as the date in question is interested in the topic. Some book signings are free, while other venues (such as Sixth and I) charge for their signings. Sixth and I sometimes gives you a discount on the book with the purchase of tickets to a signing.

Now get out there and plan some good inexpensive dates that both of you will enjoy!

all been to that party where you didn’t know anyone one and somehow the hostess or host made you feel welcome. Think of that feeling, only more it’s more intense since your attention is directed at one person instead of several. And the upside is, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to do it! You can be creative and cost conscious at the same time. So here are a few you actually can try at home. •

As always, direct comments or quests for this column to Dating. Some of the emails we receive will be answered in future columns or electronically.

She Said

Dating on a budget? Like the lady, but don’t have the cash? Want to treat the guy, but not spend a fortune? Not to worry! Invite them to your home for an inexpensive but creative evening of fun. Disclaimer, this may or may not be good for a first or second date. You have to have a certain level of comfort with the lady or gentlemen in question to have them in your home. However, if you feel comfortable this is an excellent alternative to expensive restaurants or clubs and provides cozy setting creating intimacy and furthering trust. The beauty of this is “home court advantage.” You can certainly weave a spell on your intended by creating a sense of openness and warmth when inviting someone into your home. You’ve 44 DC Life Magazine

Cook dinner together. Make it something fun, easy and inexpensive like tacos, or home made pizza, or a salad with grilled chicken, steak, or steamed shrimp. All the ingredients can be purchased for less than $15 dollars and if you go Dutch it’s even cheaper. You do not have to tell your date it’s Dutch, but if they are a true gentlemen or lady, they will of course offer to bring something and you can simply give them 1-2 things to pick up. TV Show Marathon – I once was snowed in with a date and we did an entire season of The Office in one day. The episodes were only 20 minutes each since there were no commercials so we packed in a lot during the course of the day.  In between, we would do mini chores, like make snacks, read email, clean the kitchen, etc. We would see how fast we could get the “chore” done before the next episode loaded. It was great! Pick a favorite show or series that you can down load from Netflix or get via on demand. Plan an activity to do in between that will keep you active and energized. Game Date. I love cards, monopoly, video games, Simon, etc. They are lots of fun! Have a challenge date. Invite them over and ask that they bring their favorite board, card, or video game. Games using the Wii are great for challenges and keeping things active as well. Have a cook off. Ask them to bring the ingredients for their favorite dish and you get the ingredients for your favorite dish and you have a cook off. Or really get competitive and cook the same dish winner takes all! Watch a sporting event. Sporting events create energy, since there can be lots of jumping up and down, hi-fiving, yelling, etc. And you can actually have conversation in between the action. You can do a pay per view event or just watch your favorite team play during the year depending on your budget. You can make side bets –the loser washes the car or gives the winner a foot rub during the next commercial. ;) Complete a Home Project. This won’t seem like a date, but I’ve actually gotten offers from men and I have offered as a woman to help someone with a huge home project. It can be a lot of fun if you make it a good time. I always feed my help, err date and make sure they are well taken care of. The person feels good about helping and you get your house painted, closet cleaned, or car washed. Offer to trade services. This weekend we paint my house, next weekend we wash your car. Get Out and About. Take a walk or run at a nearby park or



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through your neighborhood if it is particularly scenic. For those apartment dwellers with fitness centers, invite them for a workout, or weather permitting a swim. It’s great to get fresh air and get some exercise at the same time. Diner and a Movie. Of course there’s always the old standby. Red box is about the cheapest thing going unless you already have cable and/or on demand. Be sure you have diner first. You want to get the connection and intimacy generated before you settle down into silence for 90 minutes. Couples Night. Have one or two other couples over and try any one or more of the above. Variation to Couples Night – Play Match Maker. Each of you brings a single friend or two and together you create a mixer. You can cook, play games, have a Wii Fit party and see who gets shot by Cupid.

These are all great ways to get to know someone as well. I am less fond of movies as they do not encourage as much interaction. TV series are typically shorter in duration, and even if you watch multiple episodes there are breaks between the episodes for snacking, chatting, snuggling, making out, etc. The other cool thing about any of these ideas is that they can be expanded to include other people. This would also create a safe environment for the lady if this is early on in the relationship and give both parties and opportunity to get feedback from friends and family regarding their potential new partner. Also it can help take some of the pressure off if you haven’t been alone together or you don’t want to be just yet. Great dates don’t have to be expensive; they just have to be fun. Get creative with these ideas and add your own flavor or variation to these themes! Bon Chance!

46 DC Life Magazine

Events Gallery

Images of the Howard Law School Fashion Show at the Mansion on O Street on Friday, March 2, 2012. Photographs courtesy of Monika Pearson.

DC Life Magazine 49


Charles Phillipe Jean Pierre By Charlanna Ray In the mood for reflective and inspiring art, look no further DC lifers. Haitian American artist, Charles Phillipe Jean Pierre is the district’s very own Basquiat. Using a perfected blend of folk, graffiti, graphic, and multimedia; Jean Pierre’s talent breathes a distinct and refreshing air of life onto any canvas. A down to earth and soulful artist, Jean Pierre’s work will have you marveling at the cross product of passion and inspiration. With a radiant palette of colors, Jean Pierre’s art work has become the talk of numerous media outlets including but not limited to NBC, the Washington Post, and NKH TV. Hailing from Chicago, Jean Pierre’s work can be publicly seen throughout the nation’s capital and has even ended up in the hands of numerous politicians and celebrities. While teaching art at Macfarlane High for the past 3 years, Jean Pierre has also served as an artist in residence for a local DC nonprofit Bloom Bars and the National Arts Director for the Young and Powerful group. More recently, Jean Pierre has become involved with organizations like United Nations Association and continuously remembers to reach back into his community. Charles Jean Pierre is a highly acclaimed local artist that has managed to remain humbly grounded in his roots. It can be difficult for individuals to realize what it is they want to do in life, but it’s obvious that art has always been what you wanted to do. Why art, and when did you realize that art was it for you? Art was never what I wanted to do. It’s always been what I did. I remember branding myself with a hot iron and a crayon, just because I wanted to experiment and mix my own colors. I remember creating stories to go along with the paintings in my home. I’d practice by recreating the Haitian paintings on our walls. Art is a pretty large part of our culture. The reason I viewed as art as a plausible career path is because I had examples. Several of my family members are respected artists in their fields. I would be lying if I told you my parents did not push me towards a more traditional career path, but they collect art and have a certain respect for the arts, so it was pretty much inevitable. Of all things your mother could have gotten you involved in, why do you think she chose art classes? I don’t think my mother thought I’d be a professional artist. I think she wanted me to be a priest or a doctor. That’s funny. Actually, my mother originally enrolled me in piano lessons. Piano was a big part of family gatherings and holidays. Long

story short, the piano and I did not get along. My piano teacher, Mrs. Mims, suggested that I take art classes. I was too young for the classes, so it took some time and patience, but they eventually allowed me to participate. I gained my foundation in art from this class, I learned about acrylics, collage work, and carving. Besides your mother, were there other people who saw your talent and potential? Who were these people and what did they teach you along your artistic journey? If I had to name one person it would be my piano teacher Ms. Mims. She never gave up on me. She saw my potential and knew god didn’t bless me with musical talents but she constantly reminded me that I was blessed. She definitely took me under her wing, helped groom me, and exposed me to American culture. She’d take the students from the Positive Youth Development program out to dinners and plays downtown. She gave me my first job and also helped me start my first business. She contacted the city and got a group of us a contract to cut the grass on abandoned lots. She is one of the main reasons I am so adamant about giving back. Rejection comes with pursuing your passion and getting your dreams out, for any individuals that have a burning desire to pursue a passion what would you tell them about rejection? Did you experience any rejection on your path, and if so how did it shape you as an artist? When you’re not looking for acceptance, it’s hard to get rejected. I was the guy wearing Chucks before they were cool (laughs). Being who you are is one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned in life. It is so important when it comes to acceptance. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been turned down but it’s usually followed by encouragement. I’ve been blessed in that aspect. I will say that my biggest critic has been my mother. She is more into classical art and always thought my art was too urban. It keeps me grounded because the people that happen to love me most are my biggest critics. I’m just Philippe at home. Well Phillipe, do you feel your talent has exposed you to anything? Any lessons learned or wisdom gained along the way? I learn something new every day and I’ve definitely been exposed to different circles and rub shoulders with a lot of people that I would not normally mingle had it not been for my talent, but at the end of the day they are all driven and like-minded individuals. I’ve realized that a lot of people look to their past as the highlight of their lives. I look forward to the future. I am confident that I DC Life Magazine 51

will be better tomorrow than I am today. Your artwork reflects a lot of different concepts. I know that musicians like Run DMC and Michael Jackson influenced you. What exactly is it about these influences that allow you to come up with these concepts. How exactly does the birth of these concepts come about? I paint what moves me and music tends to do that often. The morning after the BET Honors I woke up and started to paint. I decided to paint a 1942 Bomber inspired by the Tuskegee airmen that were honored the night before. That’s how it works most of the time. I have a sketchbook with concepts and ideas that I pull out for whatever I’m currently working on. My variety is from my background. I can’t just stay in one box or under one label. I really just want to share my light. You’re originally from Chicago how did you end up in the lovely District of Columbia? Tell me a little bit more about how you ended up in DC doing the art thing? Well, after I graduated college I ended up landing a manager in training program with a popular athletic shoe company who shall remain nameless (laughs). I was a huge hip-hop and sneaker head at the time. I was a top seller and got moved to the flagship store

in Downtown Chicago in Oprah’s building. I was still painting like three days a week; I was doing great at the time. I had a pretty good buzz. I painted portraits for some high profile folks and I was doing shows around the city. One day the regional manager came to visit my store and asked me where I saw myself in five years. I had an epiphany. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was like a Kanye & GLC Spaceship moment. Long story short, I paid all my bills, put everything in storage, and drove to DC. I only had $900 dollars in my pocket, an acceptance letter from Howard University, and my paintings in the back of my truck. It was do or die at that point. You’re a part of something known as Culture District; can you explain what that is for all of the DC lifers out there? When I got to Howard I met two other Howard art students Johnnie Best and Brock Horne and we formed Culture District. We came up with the name at Brock’s house. Chicago is known for its African American culture and DC is its own district so we came up with Culture District. Our first art show was the spring of 2006 at Howard University’s Spring Black Art fest. Everybody fed off of each other and we had great success with it. Johnnie is doing his thing down in Miami. Brock is based out of Atlanta and I’m holding down DC & New York. Culture District can be an interview all in itself with all its moving parts, but all in all it’s the family that we continued on page 57 made for each other here in D.C.

A Prayer in Spring Robert Frost (1915) Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today; And give us not to think so far away As the uncertain harvest; keep us here All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, gives us pleasure in the orchard white, Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night; And make us happy in the happy bees, The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happing in the darting bird Tha suddenly above the bees is heard, The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill, And off a blossom in mid-air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love, The which it is reversed for God above To sanctify to what far ends He will, But which it only needs that wee fulfill.

Music Review

Local Talent Review Submitted by Jem Bahaijoub Bravenoise are a DC/Baltimore pop-rock band that blend reggae, funk, and good old fashioned Rock nʼ Roll. Their debut album “Everything Was and Everything Will Be” is out now. Bravenoise is frontman and guitarist Andrew Bell, drummer Andrea Spadafora, and bassist Garron Marsh. What makes your standout from other musicians? ANDREW: We all bring something quite distinct to the table. Garron’s Midwestern roots meant he grew up on bluegrass, western swing, and Jazz standards. Andrea’s from Southern Italy and brings that Neapolitan flare and precision to the rhythm section. I’ve got a background in Classical Music, spent years playing Brazilian music and Bossa Nova, and grew up listening to 80s/90s Rap, R&B, and Rock. But more than anything else, I think our dance moves really set us apart from crowd (ha ha!). What are your biggest musical influences individually and collectively? GARRON: Individually I’ve probably stolen something from everyone I’ve listened to... Certainly Motown’s James Jamerson, Sting, Aston Barrett (Bob Marley) & I’m a huge admirer of Edgar Meyer. Collectively I’d definitely have to say The Police are a big influence. They were kind of the common denominator that brought the band together musically. ANDREW: My influences range from classical composers like Joaquín Rodrigo, J.S. Bach, Prokofiev and Samuel Barber to Brazilian masters like Antonio Carlos Jobim and 56 DC Life Magazine

Jorge Ben Jor. I also love Motown music and rock bands like Radiohead, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Police, U2, to name a few. What have been your greatest challenges as a band, and what is your work ethos in the studio? GARRON: Our greatest challenge is cutting through the noise and getting heard. In the studio, the initial tracking on our first album was kind of a marathon session of 12hour days, meals delivered, no sunlight. That was followed by weeks of revisions and tweaks in Andrew’s home studio, until we had something we were happy with. Lots of work, but lots of reward... What impression do you want your listeners to go away with after listening to your music? ANDREW: That we really care about making meaningful music. We’ve put a lot of work and thought into creating these songs. A lot of them are quite deep and nuanced and that might not come through on a simple casual listen. It’s always the hope that people will pick up on all of that extra stuff that’s in there.

What are your plans for the future? GARRON: We’d like to get back into the studio soon. More immediately, it’s about getting onstage in the best rooms DC has to offer, then setting our sights further.

Buyer’s Guide Items that are listed but not priced are from private collections. Whether The Weather Be Fine... Page 15: Flower Power: Paul smith floral dress – - $550 Giuseppe Zanotti floral print sandals – - $750 Lois Hill cuff – - $468 Page 16: Citrus Splash: Antik Batik bracelet – - $49 Luxe Leather City Bag – - $248 Tangerine pump – - $79.80 Tangerine wrap & twist dress – – $23 All That Jazz: Olive Brisa dress - $137 Galliano drop waist dress - - $370 Tinley Road deco earrings - - $26 Page 17: Nice and Pleat: Black Dolce Vita skirt - - $49.99 Color block pleated skirt - - $40 Green pleated skirt – - $39 Dorothy Perkins pleated tunic – - $44 All White Everything: Vanessa Bruno Athe dress - - $82.25 Lauren Merkin - - $295 Tibi maxi-dress - - $198 Seychelles Arden Wedge - - $69.95 Pretty Pastels: Strapless mint dress – - $84.99 Moto Zip Hem 7/8th Jeans - - $76 Pink blazer - - $79 Alex Bittar “Dew Drop” earrings – - $90 continued from page 57

I’ve seen your art gallery and a lot of the events you’ve been involved with; I know you’ve done live performances and open canvas events. You are also heavily involved with Bloom Bars, Culture District, and you’ve been teaching art for three years now. Can we expect to see Charles Jean Pierre involved in anything else anytime soon? Anything upcoming we can look forward to? I am working with the United Nations Association Black history celebration. I am creating three unique paintings honoring the achievements of African American women. They will be honoring Barbara Lee, Rosa Whitaker, and Ruby Bridges. It’s an honor to even have my name associated with these regal women. I am also extremely excited about teaching at the Alvin Ailey Dance School this summer. I will work to develop their mental and cultural skills during the six-week camp. I’m also working with Passport Carriers, which is a non-for-profit based out of Chicago. It is a program that promotes exposure to inner-city youth through international travel. We will be taking a group to Germany in July. DC Life Magazine 57

DC Life Magazine - March 2012  

We dive headfirst into the Spring season anticipating the return of warmer sunny days. This month we lend our attention to the new life that...

DC Life Magazine - March 2012  

We dive headfirst into the Spring season anticipating the return of warmer sunny days. This month we lend our attention to the new life that...