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You’ll Wear that Dress ONE time – Bridal Gowns

9 Jan

Calling all brides – DC Bridal Sample Sale

It’s here–the event you engaged ladies have been waiting for is here! January 7th-13th, Chevy Chase Bridal (5300 Wisconsin Ave. NW) will hold its Semi-Annual Sample Sale. Receive up to 80% off dozens of sample gowns from Justin Alexander, Romona Keveza, Simone Carvalli and many more!

Ladies, if you have no idea, gowns can cost in the thousands of dollars. I was personally there when a friend of mine spent $1500 on a dress. A dress. Now yes, it is THEE dress, but it’s a dress. You’ll wear it TWICE if you’re lucky – once for pictures before the wedding and then the day of. And let me tell you that every dollar counts in a wedding budget. That $1500 or at least part of it, could have been spent on another element that you really wanted but wasn’t part of the budget (for me, it was the chocolate fountain.)

So let me share another Soulcialite tip. Please ladies, if you have the good sense, and especially if you DON’T have the budget, consider a Sample Sale for your one time wear gown.

Now personally, I participated in the Filene’s Running of the Brides for my Bridal Gown. It was a fantastic experience. So much so that I encouraged my best friend and a co-worker to go and they both found their gowns too.

My point: while it may be one of the most important elements of your wedding (aside from the pesky love thing) you will wear your bridal gown one time, two times TOPS (if you take engagement photos). You can save a nice chunk of change by looking at Sample sales or participating in the Running of the Brides, where you can buy a gown that would have normally been outside of your price range.

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Tips for A Successful Restaurant Week 8.16-22

23 Jul

These tips will help you navigate Restaurant Week in DC. Photo Credit: http://washington.org/

It’s the time of year that foodies in DC cherish: Restaurant Week; August 16-22, 2010.

Don’t rob yourself of an opportunity to experience some of the greatest dining experiences in some of Washington’s most renowned restaurants. DC has made a reputation for fine dining and these tips will help you navigate Restaurant Week in DC.

Scout NOW – Had your eye on Oya, Cafe Milano, CoCo Sala or some other swanky spot, well, jump to it. Everyone else has been waiting for this week to come too.

Book early. Reservations are being accepted now on OpenTable.com Reservations are free and confirmed instantly. Some restaurants don’t use Open Table, you may need to call directly.

Don’t go in a large group. This is pretty self explanatory. You know how you go to dinner with 10 people and it takes 30 minutes to settle the bill. Well, no one wants to do that during Restaurant Week. The prices are fixed! Stick to a small party. And bring cash.

Lunch: $20.10 for a three-course fixed-price meal
Dinner: $35.10 for a three-course fixed-price meal
Beverages, gratuity and tax are not included.

Stick to the menu. Usually, the restaurants put together a nice menu with multiple selections. But when you start to deviate from the menu, the prices do not remain the same. Also, remember, beverages and gratituity are NOT included. Be prepared. Oh, and know the difference between flat and sparkling water.

Enjoy yourself and your meal. I’d love to hear about what you ate and if these tips helped. Send me more tips at theoriginalnajeema@gmail.com or simply tweet me @OriginalNajeema use #RWDC and I’ll find them.

Savvy Soulcialite Review: Aveda Institute Pedicure

6 Apr

I woke up Friday morning, ecstatic about the nice weather, but terrified about the condition of my toes. The only solution was a pedicure near work . But the bigger dilemma was the fact that there is no decent spa near my job in Chinatown. I mean, I’m not even going to test it out-too dangerous.

So the first thing I did do rectify this dilemma was go to twitter, the fastest source for an answer to a question, in my opinion. And luckily, when I put out the call @loryivey was there to respond with Aveda as a suggestion.

Now, I work in Chinatown, and it is truly my second home. I’m here all the time. Yet, I’d never ventured into Aveda before. No reason; maybe my perception (and other black women’s) is that Aveda is not for me. Not until recently have I ventured into ‘salon brand’ products. Usually they’re more expensive than I’m used to spending. Or maybe I’m just stubborn and under exposed.

I called Aveda and listed to the recorded hold message about 6 times before I had the good sense to call another number. They really should do something about that. I couldn’t hang up, thou, I was desperate. With evening plans that required exposed toes, this pedicure was essential. And I saw it as a chance to try the Institute out for it’s services.

After the long hold on the phone, the receptionist was able to fit me in at lunch time and informed me that there was a 15min grace period for the pedicure. We still hadn’t talked about price, and at this point, I’m not sweating it. I hung up, confident that I would have a good experience and that it wouldn’t cost an arm & a leg.

I arrived on time. I was adamant about that. I checked in downstairs with a polite retail representative who directed me to the massive teaching space upstairs. The small retail shop belies the space upstairs. But having frequented Gallery Place, I was aware of the massive instruction studio.

I waited about 7 minutes before my pedicure specialist came to get me. I was ushered to a small, but not cramped area, shared by no more than 5 cosmetologists. The space and decorations are minimal. I faced a soothing chocolate colored wall. The floors were an industrial pattern that compliments the ambiance.

I was seated in a green woven lounge chair on a bamboo lift. My cosmetologist offered me a lovely tea to drink. The comforting tea is 100% organic and caffeine free soothing blend of licorice root and peppermint.

Aveda is a Teaching Institute
My pedicurist had got a consult, which is the practice and it is the first time learning about the hyper pigmentation on my toes. Surprising. She applied the Aveda products (Cuticle Control) to treat my feet and gave me a nice, adequately pressured foot rub followed by the Foot Relief lotion.

I had selected a vibrant purple to wear on my toes, complimenting my dress for later tonight. Aveda uses SpaRitual products for color. I was familiar and comfortable with that. That product line is 100% natural as well, which is what my cosmetologist (in training) shared with me.

In Summary
Total time in Aveda: one hour twenty one minutes. This includes arrival, wait, 30+min pedicure, and closeout. Too long.

Pros: convenient to my job; overall professionalism of the Aveda name. Environmentally responsible.
Cons: the young trainee still hadn’t demonstrated ease with the procedure. She didn’t appear to use notes like her counterparts, and often she was awkward in applying polish and perhaps was not ready for the solo application.
Biggest Con: the price. Sure, I got to relax for 30 minutes and have someone pamper my feet with some of the best products in the industry, but when the paint doesn’t last the whole weekend, I’m a little perturbed.  The pedicure was not worth the $27 I paid.
Verdict: I will not be returning to the Aveda Institute for a $27 pedicure that exceeded my budget, time frame, and did not live up to my expectations.

Introducing The Soulcialite Series

27 Oct
For months there has been discussion of the Socialite. Since I have dubbed myself as one of such a variety, “Soulcialite,” I feel it is necessary to define and explain. Although, no definition can hold me! So, at the very least, I’ll give some examples.
And I hope you will enjoy the posts as I explore the controversy of this topic and the difference between TV and real life – my life.

The Soulcialite at the Ludacris Foundation Fundraiser and Casino Night
October 2009
Washington, DC