A Super Long Post about Super Inauguration Weekend. Super Bowl with a Super Photo Bomb

Let me apologize for the length of this post, but that’s just how long my weekend was…
Whew! Too super long weekends back to back already in 2013 and I am exhausted. The pace of 2013 is proving to be full speed ahead. I am almost too tired to recap – almost.
I can say that 4 years ago, I was really into my DSLR camera. I had interchangeable lenses and took loads of pictures, but the getting them to my computer and trying to edit them was a pain! especially since my old laptop didn’t have enough memory to keep up with me .. So I found it interesting that I went through this entire Inaugural Weekend capturing history with nothing more than my iPhone 5. 
So – here is my weekend in photos galore!
I was invited to attend Essence Magazine’s Inaugural Brunch at Acadiana Restaurant in Washington, DC on Saturday morning. SO, if you know you really know me, you know that the only magazine I have on my iPad on the faithful is Essence Magazine. Only thing I don’t like about the iPad version compared to the print version is that the Crossword puzzle is not on the digital version -because clearly thats the only reason why I buy it. (kidding, kinda).
Either way, I was SO excited and super honored to be able to go to their Inaugural Brunch. 
Ya girl had to turn the glam up!
I got laid out my whole make up bag on my mirrored vanity, whipped out the flexi rods and thought about what I would want to wear. 
Decided to do a Purple Smokey eye with NYX Cosmetics and a pink lip with NYX pink lipgloss and Bovanti Yellow lipgloss blended together. (I do plan to do a more comprehensive post on my make up routine, specifically my eyebrow shaping and contouring since I was asked). 
My OOTD: I chose a Purple Lace dress – which always looks great with leopard print, paired with turquoise accessories and neutral shoes. (I’ll update with specifics once I unpack my suitcase, because I really just don’t know).
It was just a really beautiful day on Saturday.. 

I met up with my sister at Acadiana for the Brunch. Essence was celebrating the release of their first hard cover book of a “Salute to Michelle Obama” which is a coffee table picture book filled with nice photo moments of our First Lady.

Brunch was AMAZING! Acadiana is a New Orleans restaurant, so the menu consisted of Bananas Foster French Toast made of these huge pieces of bread, shrimp and grits, andouille sausage, eggs and  mini beignets. YUM!
A few of my favorite people were definitely there – 
Ben Jealous, President of NAACP showed up with his baby Jackson strapped to his chest and I thought it was so cute that he would do that, not to mention Baby Jackson is too adorable for words! His daughter was having a grand ol’ time with her pigtails. Marc Morial, President of the National Urban League was also there. 

As much as I love all things Beauty, I think I was a little too excited to meet the former beauty editor of Essence, Mikki Taylor. 

Lynn Whitfield was also there and let me take this photo with her even though I am sure she just wanted to enjoy her brunch. 

As I was leaving, I saw Chris Tucker had just entered the room… I just saw Silver Linings Playbook the night before so it was like deja vu almost. 

We had a great time – Thanks Essence! … now on to the next Brunch that same day. 
We went to go support The Young Professionals Empowerment Brunch, “Desire to Aspire” event, sponsored by our favorite people at Ciroc. 
This event was held at the Saint George’s Hotel – it was exciting to be around all the young professionals of D.C. who came in town for Inauguration. 
Since I had on the same outfit – why not do a “Outfit of HER day”
Honestly, I love this outfit but I think it was a little early for the tutu – I associate tutu skirts I guess with evening events. But hey its Inauguration so anything goes. 

One of my new favorite people, young entrepreneur Yodit was one of the coordinators for this event… this is what I also call a successful photo bomb by my sister.

Also ran into another Soror, friend, former co-worker Maddie at the event.

Time to get settled into the hotel and eat at one of the hottest restaurants in D.C. – The Hamilton. We called at 6pm and the next reservation was at 9:30pm. No pictures of dinner because it was too dark and I was too hungry to whip out the phone. 
Sunday Morning, we knew that the President was going to be at church at the church where one of my cousins Pastor, Metropolitan AME Church in Washington, DC – so off to church SUPER early because of course you must be in your seat once the President gets there.
During the worship service, the first family was prayed over.

Our hotel was right down the street and within walking distance of everything, so a few blocks over was Georgia Brown’s Restaurant and they were having a great brunch! (hmm I think i really like Brunch)

This was my catfish entree that I had to wrap up and take with me because the buffet of the rest of the food was so filling but I definitely tasted it while it was fresh! Everything was excellent per usual, and we were serenaded by a nice Jazz Band.

So – my mom hadn’t landed until late Saturday night so we had yet to see our Inauguration tickets and know if everyone had a ticket to everything just yet. 
I talked about in my previous post about having Wife Guilt
I think after reading and responding to the comments I got and emails I got that “Guilt” was the wrong word. Its not that I necessarily felt guilty that my husband couldn’t go to things with me but I did feel bad. It’s what I call “The Marriage Struggle” – that moment where being a wife really makes you think about your spouse and make sure they are straight before you go and do your thing.. honestly I didn’t want to have to deal with the disappointment he may feel so I was praying hard… 
and guess what?? GOD CAME THROUGH!!!
My husband got a ticket to the swearing in! 
Mom and Dad had red tickets, my sister had a blue and we had green… we knew that the hardest part was getting a ticket and the rest of it would fall into place. Because of course in a crowd that large I didn’t want my sister to be by herself. 

We had tickets to the Inaugural all, the Prayer Service and the Parade. 

That night, mom and dad had to go to an Inauguration Worship service and then the Odyssey Ball. 
We did some last minute shopping and then I styled mom and did her make up – 

I even tied daddy’s bow tie and made sure he was sharp. 
They were ball ready!

~~ SUNDAY NIGHT IS FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA!!!!!!~~
I loved celebrating for Inauguration but there was nothing that was going to stop me from watching my team in the Championship Game. 
C’mon now! I am a FAITHFUL Ravens fan!
By now, you know how it went!!!
AND I AM TOO EXCITED – It just doesn’t seem real!
After seeing Silver Lining Playbook, and how the father in the movie was a die hard Philly Eagles fan and how he was so focused on the “Juju” that helps his team win, we decided hey.. might as well do the same. Its like the Bud Light commercial “It’s only weird if it doesn’t work”.
The Boys from Baltimore took the trip to our house the first time and had the typical menu for men who provide their own food: Ledo’s pizza and Hip Hop Chicken Wings with some Banana Pudding that one of the wives made. Since I wasn’t away at Sorority Convention, it meant that all the wives were coming over this time to add to the spirit of The RavensNation!

If only I had the ability to upload the videos from this night – it was straight hilarious!
We had special chants and nicknames for our favorite players. 
For instance, we called Ray Rice “Baby Steps” all night. LOL 
I love being around my Baltimore crew because thats when all my hometown accents and isms come right on out – just feels like home. 

The game had me worried in the first half, but the second half our defense and offense stepped up! 
They were literally playing like the 2000 team that won the Super Bowl. 
The media the whole day said nothing great about the Ravens and totally rooted for the other team in every commentators schpeel.. Blah blah blah. WE WON!
And Tom just sat there with the bitter face when he realized it. ahahhahaa. That smirk looked as dumb as that where’s waldo hat they wear to stay warm. 

The city of Baltimore was TOO HYPE – look at the Fell’s Point area
WE’RE GOING TO THE SUPER BOWL!

YUP! That just happened… an ode to that sign someone wasted money on in New England
~~ Well, after a light night at our house celebrating, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for Inauguration Day – one long and early day~~
This is my “I’m very happy to see this day yet again” face! I was blessed to be there at the first inauguration of our first black president and I can say that I was there when he took his oath for his second term.
Not only that, God really heard my prayer. He knew that I would not have been able to enjoy this day if I couldn’t experience history without my husband by my side. Not that I don’t love my family, but my husband is my best friend. Who wouldn’t on a day like this like to be able to lay next to your man and share stories about this day that you will one day tell your grandkids. 
What made this Inauguration Day different and more special?? The experience and opportunities afforded to us. 
That morning, my mother was slated to be giving the the Blessing of the President and Vice-President at the Morning Prayer Service at St. John’s Episcopal Church right across the street from the White House, per tradition of the President of the United States. And usually my dad would only accompany her because as you can imagine, security is TIGHT.
This time, my mother said she was able to get my sister and I on the list for church with the President and VP that morning – so we were very excited! But of course, my husband had to wait at our hotel until it was time to go to the swearing in.. 
That was until we showed up and was shown favor and was told my husband could come. I texted him and told him to come quick!
Thankfully our hotel was only two blocks away.
He was right there with me, just as proud- 
as you see tired was becoming me…

But when the President entered the room, a bolt of energy came over me (at least for a brief moment).

Favorite part of the private worship service? Ledisi singing “I feel like going on”

and of course, my mom asking the President and Vice President to stand to receive the Blessing and praying down heaven to cover them for their next term. I mean honestly, SO PROUD of her! 

Now the logistics post-private worship service called for us to board buses to head over to the capitol for the swearing in. We literally had to push and pray our way on to these buses because there were some confusing directions given and we were about to be without seats. 
At this point, I am truly exhausted and just knew that once they drop us off, our tickets for the swearing in was going to have us fighting with an already crowded situation at the Capitol.

Our motorcade left the church and took the parade route towards the Capital. 

The Yellow Section was fairly light at the gate-

The Orange Section however, was not.. 
We got to our turn and was able to just get a glimpse of the crowd from afar.

It was awesome to look back and see just how many secret service vehicles were following us.. I mean once in a lifetime do you kinda feel important like this.
We had arrived at our drop point – behind the Capitol building

Now, here is where the favor comes in.. and despite being thoroughly heavy in security with different types and levels of law enforcement at the Capitol, they dropped us off in a place where we were already within the Red Zone checkpoint gate. 
As you know, my sister had blue and we had green. 
Neither of us were going to exit the Red seated section to go to the Green and Blue standing sections… 
So – we felt our way through.. 
Thankfully, once through a few checkpoints no one asked seriously where our tickets were – I mean they asked but we just kept walking with a mission. 
We got to a point that looked good to us. Good meaning there were empty seats. 
So – we sat down. 
Yup, instant upgrade to the Red Seated Section 12.  
Hey its once in a lifetime, might as well try to get good seats until someone tells you to move. 
And no one did. 

We cracked open our hand warmers and got comfy!
Down side: where we decided to sit, there was a heckler who climbed a tree and had an Anti-Obama message on his heart and a voice that travelled and would not quit. He heckled through the prayer, the the oaths- the whole program! He was SO annoying.. 
So when we couldn’t take it anymore, we got up and decided to just walk closer and stand. We could still hear him but thankfully not as clear and therefore not as distracting.
I lost it in laughter when I turned around at one point during that Poem and saw my husband and sisters face looking like this… 
They really were ready to just hear Beyonce. 

As soon as it was over, we walked back to the buses – waited for a good bit and then was dropped off at our Parade seats. 

But honestly, we were tired and hungry and did not want to sit out there for the Parade. I needed food and a nap!
So we walked back to our hotel from here, which luckily was only three blocks away.
We decided to go to this cool new restaurant called Lincoln for lunch. 
What do you do when you go to a new restaurant?
Take bathroom pics of course!
Lincoln was of course the theme of the restaurant decor. 
They had an all penny floor in the main dining space. 

Mom decided to act silly with us and interview us using a knife to ask us about our experience today, which of course we said it was the Best Ever!

They had awesome artwork of Lincoln on the walls. 
My husband gave me this look like, “haven’t you captured enough today?”
So after this point, I stopped taking pics. But it was great food!

LOL, I swear this is the typical husband of a blogger face he is giving me. 
After a brief nap, it was time for me to go to work. 
I did freelance work with the Special Events Department at BET for their Inaugural Ball
Our fellow Bishops Kids were in town for the Inauguration, so why not have a good time at the BET Ball together! And we did have a lot of fun!

My boo came looking good in his Black Tie

and we jammed the night away to:
Celebrity DJ Jermaine Dupri
MC Lyte

Big Daddy Kane

Bel Biv Divoe
Dougie Fresh 
who then starts Beat boxing and Wayne Brady comes out of no where and freestyles
and he was killing!
All in all – I had an exhausting, exciting, awesome Inaguration Weekend where the icing on the cake was my team winning the AFC Championship! 
What’s even more interesting, is that when Beyonce released her photo of the Inauguration, I was able to spot my parents in the crowd. 

Well, if you have read this far- truly God bless you. Sorry for all the pics
and now its time for me to go get my house ready for the Super Bowl
and by ready I mean buy everything Purple and Black that I can find. 
For the next two weeks, it will be Super Bowl preparations!
Hope you had a wonderful weekend!




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Last and Only Election Post of 2012: This one is for my Future Children & Grandchildren

I thought long and hard if I were going to post anything political on my blog, for the sheer fact that it can be very divisive if people do not agree and I am just a person who loves people for their differences and not just their similarities to me and I pray that people think of me the same way.
But, now that the election is over. This post is NOT about who should’ve won, or to try to sway anyone or invoke a political debate. This post is simply to capture on my internet journal my feelings and thoughts about this election for my future children and grandchildren. I know that my experiences are not the same as others and for that – until I write a book or memoir or convince my mother to do the same, I want to remember these thoughts for the sake of my legacy.
So if you don’t want to read this, then feel free to keep scrolling down… because this post is not for the masses, its for my future children and grand children.
****
Dear Legacy,
I can honestly say that when I was growing up that I never thought that I would see the day where the United States of America would elect an African-American President. To be honest, although I don’t live in the civil rights era, I have experienced racism and knew that there would be some who would not vote for a man who looked African American despite being mixed simply because of the color of his skin. I am proud to say that despite the obvious, our Presidential elections are not just about Blacks voting for the Black President and Whites voting for the White Candidate, we vote based on platform and ideals and the character of the person mixed in with personal influence, upbringing and personal values among other things. Last night, for the second time, The United States of America elected Barack Hussein Obama as President. A fact that yes, I am happy about because when I look in the mirror, I see someone who looks like his wife and his young daughters and remember that before him there used to be a time where those images were on television. It was what I grew up on. Not so much these days though and thats fine.  It shows that perhaps you will have a chance to have opportunities that I was not privy too based on the color of my skin but rather content of your character. But bigger then that, a candidate won who I voted for. And for the first (or second time) since I have been of age to vote, I feel like my vote and voice counted for something. My main fear was that the candidate who was running against him did not support wholeheartedly a Woman’s right to choose. Honestly, I never really understood his position on equal pay for women, or Roe v. Wade or any other “Woman” issue. That alone is fearful as this is the time where I for the first time have to check to see what maternity coverage I have through my medical insurance and for the first time my husband was able to get health insurance after being denied his entire 20’s because he had high blood pressure at 25 years old, and so  many other reasons…
But, outside of the election itself, I was privy to a side of Barack Obama that most have not. THIS is what I want to share with you- my experience with the man and not so much the President. It started back in 2006, Easter Sunday. See, I had just moved to Chicago to go to graduate school in Evanston, Illinois to complete my Masters of Divinity. I had decided that I would worship with Trinity UCC while I was there and on that Easter Sunday, as per my usual routine, I drove the one hour trip to the south side of Chicago and decided to stay for two services. At the first service, it was announced that Governor Rod Blagojevich of Illinois would be in attendance so we would need to be seated quickly and that Senator Barack Obama would be coming to second service. By the way, one is presently serving some time in Federal Prison and the other is the President of the United States- I’m just saying. But either way, between services I was invited up to the Pastor’s Boardroom for breakfast. I make my plate and in walks the Senator and his family. Me not being a resident of Illinois, I literally had no idea who this man was nor did I care. His children were cute little girls dressed in those church trench coats that my grandmother used to make me and my sister wear and his wife was TALL. I mean model height forreal. Their only desire was to come and speak to the Pastor and leave.
The Pastor at the time asks him “so are you going to run?” It caught my interest but went back to my grits and eggs because I didn’t know what he was talking about until the Senator said, “You know I can not run for President if Michelle says its ok, and she has not said ok yet.” “HUH?! this man is going to run for President? is he serious? he is Black?!” is what I thought to myself. I mean come on, before him Jesse Jackson tried it and you see how far he got. So it was literally unfathomable to me. Either who, the girls got restless and started to hang all over their father and they left before the motorcade for the Govenor came and shut down traffic.
Fast forward a few months, and next thing you know Senator Barack Obama announces he is running for President. I am in SHOCK! I met him! So, fast forward Easter 2007, Michelle Obama happens to come in Bloomingdales on Michigan Avenue to buy the girls outfits for Easter. At the time I was working there. She slips in and I really didnt even see her, I just saw odd security standing at the bottom and top of the escalators blocking all traffic from getting on with her. Little did they know, we had an elevator. I met her in the Children’s department upstairs and helped gather her items. As I rang her up, I reminded her about the previous Easter in that boardroom – she pretended like she remembered. I simply said to her, “I am praying for you”. Because as you can imagine, they were the first candidate family to have secret service so early on simply because of death threats. I had just met Coretta Scott King the year before her death in 2005 at the Hampton’s Ministers Conference. I did not want Michelle Obama to be the next Coretta.
The following year, July 2008 right before the first election where Barack Obama would be on the ballot, he came to the AME Church General Conference to ask for support. Before he arrived, I was selected to be the church’s liasion to his Lead Team to prepare for his arrival and greet him when he came on site. He arrived at the convention center, and I met him on the loading dock along with my mother and 3 Bishops of the Church. We escorted him into a room of all Active and Retired Bishops of our church where they were lined to greet the Senator. I watched as the mere possibility of this man winning this election brought tears running down the faces of the leaders of our church. This was such an important moment.
Before the Bishops were to leave to take their seats before our 12,000 delegates of our church, Bishop John R. Bryant asked could they cover him in prayer. The Senator said “Please do.” The Bishops circled around him and we prayed. As they were praying, I knew this was a moment I should capture. I grabbed my camera, jumped on the nearest chair and took this picture of the Bishops of the Church praying for him. As you see my mom is to the left. She introduced him that day. And since then they have been really good friends.

President Barack Obama became our 44th President November 2008. November 6, 2012 he was re-elected. The hype died down over his promises for Change. No more “Yes We Can” or any other catch phrase this Election season. This was definitely a different race. The media truly beleived that the Republican candidate was going to win. And although it may not be my party, its what makes our nation unique. We can agree to disagree about that.
The business of elections changed when “Social Media” came into play. You can believe what the major networks report to you if you want to, but if you are not on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram seeing and reading what everyday America is saying about the elections then you will have NO idea. President Barack Obama knew that and used it to his advantage.

Obama had his way of getting the message out and other people had their own unique ways of making a point via social media by sharing stories and other motivational ways to get people just to vote- like the man who dressed as Big Bird to the polls after Mitt Romney said he would cut funding to Sesame Street. A woman in labor went to the polls instead of the hospital to make sure she voted. A man went into cardiac arrest in line, presumably dead and when they revived him the first thing he said was “Did I vote?”

A lot of people in my generation didn’t vote for one reason or another simply because the fact that people died and fought for their right to vote falls not close enough to home. But Legacy, do not let that be you. Its not simply that at one point African Americans were not allowed to vote. My Great-grandmother marched along white women in March 1913 just so that women would have the right to have a vote and say in this country and now after this historic election night there are more women in the Senate then ever before.
My facebook status the day before the election read:
I Vote because my great-grandmother marched in the Women’s Suffrage March; I Vote because my grandmother never got the chance to see an African American President in her lifetime; I Vote because my mother always taught me that you can not complain about something without doing something about it; I Vote because I once had the chance to observe from a distance, in a private room, a man who was considering running for President – and on my first Easter Sunday away from home, in walked a Senator; and prior to him announcing his candidacy, without him even knowing I was listening as I quietly sat in a boardroom eating breakfast, this man whom I never heard of before, talked about his apprehension for running for President and joked that he could never do so without his wife’s approval and that if he did run that he would be a man about Change. I thought to myself, “is he serious? does he know that he looks nothing like our Presidents?” and yet, He was a loving husband, father and visionary behind closed doors, that when God opened the door he came bursting through, invoking us to chant about Change. When God allows moments like that to happen in your life, you don’t just sit on your couch while others make decisions for you, you get up and YOU VOTE! Don’t take tommorrow lightly. Even if you are not sure who to vote for, you MUST vote because there are people who died behind closed doors for you even to have the chance to choose to Vote. And if you do not know who to vote for, vote for someone who is the same behind closed doors (as I have been a witness) when he speaks and not just disregard 47% of persons when he is speaking before his supporters.

Its true. For the last 18 months the campaign commercials and the divisiveness on both parties prayerfully will now come to an end as we as country try to move on. Some will remain to be upset and thats fine. Some will be overly celebratory and thats fine also. But at the end of the day, I pray that God will allow this country to be more UNITED then divided. I pray that our Economy will get better and that we will all be able to see a better America begin to unfold over the next 4 years and beyond.

What really made this election different for me personally this time around is that my mother prayed with the President more then people even knew. Before every debate, the President prayed with her and another Pastor. He took feedback and advice from a group of persons, he inquired about his performance and asked for scriptures and prayer to help him get through when he knew that he didn’t do as well as people had hoped. People try to say that he is Muslim because of his name, however, I know for a fact that the President has a relationship with Jesus because I have been a witness.
My parents were invited out to Chicago to fellowship with the President on Election Night and once again, my mother prayed before the President took stage. This time she did so at the podium before the crowd of supporters awaited the results of the campaign. She started by saying “This is a great time to pray.”
Shortly thereafter, the election had been called a Victory by a landslide for President Barack Obama depsite two states who we waited all night to report their totals, thinking they would be the determining factor. Barack Obama would be our President for four more years.
This is the first picture released when they heard that they had won.

And when the President took the stage with his family, my prayer was simply that now that he has nothing to lose let him continue to help this nation get back on track, pray that the parties will come together and more importantly my prayer is that this is not the last time I am able to feel what I feel on this another night of history but that you my Legacy will also get the chance to as well. If Barack Obama can be a two term President then truly the sky is the limit and there are no boundaries as to what my children and grandchildren can aspire to be.
I celebrate not simply because the First Family looks like my family, but I remember in 2008 that once school was over, the economy was so bad that I didnt have that part-time Bloomingdales job to go to and no forseeable source of income- and I had TWO degrees! I moved back to Washington, D.C. area upon graduation and still was only able to get temp work. It was not until 2010 that I became a full time employee with the Federal Government, when the economy began to shift towards a positive direction. I was able to purchase a GREAT home and new vehicles and live the life I dreamed about post college with a household salary that I never even thought we would reach in our twenties.
I sit exhausted at work the day after election wondering how I recovered last Election Night when I watched the results come in on U Street in Washington, D.C. then remembered, I didn’t have a job last time so I could sleep all day. THIS fact alone is why I cast my ballot to move Forward with Barack Obama. Sure it feels great that the candidate I voted for won, but it is SO much more then that. Its about the fact that I was able to vote in an election with options and opportunities all around me that my great-grandmother couldnt fathom and that my grandmother could only dream about.
I understand everyone doesn’t have my same story or experiences and thats fine… God allowed it to happen to me and I am SO thankful because I would not trade it for the world! It is written.

Sincerely,

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Shoutout: My Mom Spoke at the DNC 2012

I am so very proud of my mother and I had to share the excitement with you. There are moments in my life that I can look back and say that I have been proud of my mother for reason or another, but I have to admit that seeing her give the Crendentials Report at the Democratic National Convention this year has to be at the top of the lengthy list.
It makes such a grand moment in the scheme of the Elections of the Presidency of the United States such a personal one for me, a family moment so to speak. I can honestly say that I remember helping my mom shop for this special day. Calling, her getting the play by play and telling her that we will be excited to see her on TV yet again. DVRing every broadcast that would be airing so that we would be able to watch it over and over again.

Democrat or Republican matter not… my mom definitely represented for her Family, her church (being an AME Bishop, on a national platform as such), her sorority, her delegation and women every where on a stage that I can honestly say has not been opened for such in the past.

She co-chaired the Credentials Committee along with Mayor Julian Castro.
I wish I could’ve been there to see it in person, but you best believe that I was sitting at home standing in front of the television like I was standing on the delegation floor.

Mom, this post is for you! I love you and once again… SO VERY PROUD.
My mom rocks!

And today, she is praying for the close of the business session around 5pm so tune in!
And no worries, this blog is not about to be the place where I want to discuss politics… this is not what this is about.. this is just a post about a job well done.

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