festivals

Vive La Festival!

This is my favorite time of year, because when it’s hot, people want to get outside and do fun things. That being said, I’m eager to check out the festivals occurring in Virginia and Washington, DC over the next several weeks.

I’m narrowing down my list of festival possibilities based on when I’ll be out of town and when I’ll have enough time and energy to attend. Surprisingly, the festival that is currently ranking highest on my “must do” list is the Virginia State Peach Festival. I’m usually not a huge fan of produce festivals (heat + sweet fruits = lots of insects) but I adore peaches and the opportunity to try freshly grown, local peaches is too tempting to pass up.

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Mmm, peaches

The only downside is that the event occurs on Friday, August 17, in southwest Virginia, which means I’d have to take time off from work in order to attend (it’s a substantial drive from my home to Stuart, VA). But who knows – maybe things will come together in my favor. I’m open to all of the possibilities!

I’m also thinking about the Seawall Art Show in Portsmouth, VA. The drive is a lot shorter, and the event occurs on the weekend (August 25 and 26). I haven’t been to an art show in years, so I’m sure I’d enjoy it. It’s very likely I’ll attend this event, and if I go, you all know that I will share info about it here on this blog.

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I’m excited to check out the art in Portsmouth

There are two festivals in Richmond that I may check out – but they occur on the same weekend. The Filipino Festival (August 10 and 11) and the Richmond Jazz Festival (August 9 – 12) are two very different events but will give a fresh injection of culture into Richmond for the weekend. Who knows – maybe I’ll be able to check out both events!

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Richmond Jazz Fest is coming up soon!

Any upcoming cool festivals where you are? Let me know in the comments below!

culture · international

Embassy Weekend, EU Style

Well friends, I had another fabulous Embassy Open House weekend experience this year! I went to the European Union (EU) Open House event last weekend (May 12) and had a blast! Last year, I went to the “Around the World” Embassy Tour, but the rain kept me in for most of the day, so when I finally made it to the embassies, I only got to tour Kenya and Haiti. I adored the Haitian Embassy so much that I wrote a post about it. I didn’t see much of Kenya during the embassy tour but I eventually returned for an evening at the Kenyan Embassy. But this time, I tried EU Open House weekend because it had been years since I last visited the European embassies.

This year wasn’t rainy, but boy was it hot! The temperatures soared above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, so after a couple of hours, I was drained. This year, I only got to visit two embassies but it was so worth it!

Outside of the Portuguese Embassy

My first stop was the Embassy of Portugal. This embassy was closing early due to a conflicting event that afternoon, so I had to make the most of my time while I was there. The staff was charming and they had the most amazing cheese tarts to sample! I wish I had gotten a photo of the ladies and gents in their traditional costumes, but maybe I’ll have better luck next year. In any case, it planted the seed in me for a future trip to Portugal . . .

Next, I visited the Embassy of Ireland. We had an excruciatingly long wait, but at least we got to enjoy performances from the local Irish dance classes. Here’s a clip of one of their performances:

I was delighted to enter the embassy and see some great Gaelic books written about a diverse group of children: indeed, children from a variety of backgrounds could come and see books written about children that looked like them. I also loved the charming layout of the historic building.

All in all, I really enjoyed my embassy experience this year! I’m already excited to experience it again next year!

festivals · luxury

Are You Derby-Ready?

Can you believe that the Kentucky Derby is only a few days away? I love horses but I’ve never been to the Derby; however, I’m not letting anything get in the way of my Derby Day fun.

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For starters, I’m going to see whether I can make my way to a viewing party. But, if I can’t I’m going to create my own Derby fun at home. Here’s the plan for a Derby Day in:

  1. I will wear a pretty spring gown and a complementary fascinator. I will have a ball sticking to the “dress code” as outlined on the Kentucky Derby website.
  2. I will make myself a mint julep and sip it like a genteel lady. The Derby-approved mint julep recipe can be found here: Mint Julep.
  3. I’ll check out social media to see the photos of the Derby fashions.
  4. I’ll tune into NBC to watch the race.

julep

A mint julep

Are you going to the Derby? Or will you be attending a watch party? I’d love to hear your Derby Day plans!

festivals · international

It’s Officially Festival Season!

April is such a bittersweet month for me. It’s when spring really starts to kick into gear, and my allergies get assaulted to the nth degree. It’s also still cold and rainy enough to make quite a few days less than ideal.

However, there is a lot to love about April. For starters, it isn’t as cold as the winter months! And, it signals the beginning of festival season in Richmond and DC. And there’s nothing I love more than to be able to pick and choose the festivals that I want to attend!

There are so many festivals that have caught my eye: I’m having a hard time picking a few to mention here. But, as best I can, here are some of the events I look forward to attending during the first two months of this festival season:

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Richmond French Food Festival – Food, wine, music, and supporting a good cause: the French Food Festival has to be one of my favorite hometown events to attend. I went several years ago and enjoyed the dishes, the can-can dancers, and the vendors offering all sorts of delightful objets d’art. This one will be a lot of fun!

strawberry

Strawberry and Wine Festival – this festival combines two of my favorite things: wine and strawberries! It’s wholesome fun for the entire family, with treats, music and activities for all. This year will be my first time going, and I’m really excited to experience this festival!

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Passport DC – various embassies in Washington, DC open their doors for a once-a-year event that allows visitors to tour the embassy offices and ambassador residences. I wrote about my visit to the Haitian embassy during Passport DC last year. Visitors can talk to embassy staff and get to experience a slice of the countries participating. This free event draws a lot of people, but if you are willing to brave the crowds, you will be rewarded!

Do you have any festivals that you love to attend? Let me know in the comments below: I’d love to hear about them!

art · culture · international

Haitian Embassy Tour

Back in May, I participated in the Around the World Embassy Tour event in Washington, DC. This is part of the annual Passport DC event, which allows visitors to tour various embassies during the month of May. Generally speaking, the first weekend of May features African, South American, Caribbean and a couple of Asian embassies, the second weekend of the month is the European Union Open House weekend, and the following weekend is the Festival of Asia.

I’d never toured the Haitian Embassy before, so I was excited to visit this year. Funny enough, I’ve been to Haiti when I cruised with Royal Caribbean in the past, and I always loved the island. In fact, I’ve stated on multiple occasions that Haiti is my favorite Caribbean island. So it’s a marvel that I’d never gone to the Haitian Embassy until this year. In any case, I was eager to go. And the embassy DID NOT disappoint.

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I think the thing that I found most incredible was the prominence of Black mermaids in Haitian art. As a born-and-bred American, the mermaid image I see most frequently is the Disney version, with porcelain skin, red hair and blue eyes. Seeing the Haitian depictions of Black mermaids was deeply moving. These depictions are far more accurate to the creatures that Christopher Columbus reported seeing in his travels, and they also predate Hans Christian Andersen’s tale. Of course, practically every culture has stories of merpeople, but seeing the image of magical brown-skinned beings was surreal.

The embassy is a stately, breathtaking building, and the art that lines every wall is stunning and memorable. It looked more like an incredible museum than a political office space! It has multiple floors, and, sadly, I only toured one level.

My biggest regret? Not allowing more time to tour. But no worries: I will return next year!

 

festivals · relaxation

Weekend Shenanigans

Happy Friday, sweethearts! Yes, another weekend is upon us, and I, for one, am ecstatic! It’s been a hectic week and I’m ready to leap headfirst into the weekend! Also, Monday is a holiday (Columbus Day), so I’ll have an extended weekend. Let’s all do a dance for having an extra day off!

As it turns out, this weekend is extremely popular for Virginia festivals: I counted six festivals in Richmond and the surrounding areas. I have so many options: I don’t know where to start! If you’re in the area, the Richmond Times Dispatch has a list of all of the October festivals going on this weekend.

Saturday evening, I’ll be checking into a hotel and enjoying a change of scenery. I won’t be venturing far, but it will be nice to relax in a space that isn’t so stimulating. As much as I love my loaded-down bookshelves, I enjoy taking a break from looking at them LOL!

Aside from this weekend’s festivals, I should have enough time to get deep into the October book selection and work on the next post in the Preparing for 2018 series. I may even have enough time to squeeze in another vintage movie. The last time I watched an old movie, I saw “Gang Smashers” (I can’t wait to tell you all about that one! It’ll be in another post, pinkie swear!). But I still have to watch “Sepia Cinderella” and “Hell’s Angels“, so maybe this weekend will be a good time to squeeze in another movie.

For now, enjoy a couple of screenshots of the gorgeous Nina Mae McKinney in “Gang Smashers“. And be sure to get out and ENJOY YOUR WEEKEND! These are the perfect fall weekends that we’ll be longing for when winter comes. So SAVOR them, and have some fun!

 

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Nina Mae McKinney in “Gang Smashers”