Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Inauguration Day 2013

            Today is not only inauguration day but also Martin Luther King day. The google doodle has MLK on it. I skipped the inaugural parade devoting the entire day towards preparing for tonight’s ball.  I felt like I was in a beauty pageant the whole day: keeping my hair in pins and breaking in my shoes.  I didn’t remove my rollers except to make a CVS run to bandages and Pepsi.  It was crazy to devote so much energy towards one event, but then I realized that there were only two inaugural balls this year and I would be attending one of them!  While others shelled out $100 to $500 for unofficial balls, I paid $65 for an official ticket. 
            As soon as CNN reported that President Obama and the First Lady were en route to the convention center, I put on my gown, slipped in my shoes, got in my coat and headed outside to hail a cab.  The first man told me that I had to walk.  Being an inaugural ball vet, I knew that wasn’t true so I walked to the Courtyard hotel and hailed a second one who took me within 1 block of the convention center.  That was darn good driving with all of those barricades and people getting out of cabs in the middle of the street!  I walked the one block, passed through the metal detector with flying colors and proceeded to stand in line: for everything.  It felt like it was run by the Soviets.  I stood in the line for the coat check (The volunteers dropped that little tidbit that it would cost $5 per item.  I was lucky I had change from the cabbie else I would had to wear my coat on me throughout the ball.).  After dropping out my coat, I stood in another line, this time for photos.  In the beginning, two volunteers were snapping pictures, but the male volunteer talked with his boss who pulled him and the female volunteer.  Rats!  Where there was order was now chaos; but, a man two couples behind took over and starting taking pictures.  Order was restored allowing me to take 2 photos in front of the presidential inaugural seal.

There were cutbacks this time.  Unlike 2009, there was no professional photographer forcing people to have other attendees take their photos.  Also there wasn’t a whole lot of food.  This didn’t bother me because I ate before arriving.  I headed to the ball.  Hearing Stevie Wonder was a very good thing and I boarded the down escalator for the dance floor.  The fact that Stevie Wonder ended his set singing ‘Happy Birthday’, the very same song used to promote the federal Martin Luther King holiday on President Obama’s inauguration, more than compensated because it didn’t get any more historical than that.   Next was Jamie Foxx who serenaded the Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden during their dance.  Afterward it was John Legend and finally, Soundgarden, who truly rocked it out (As much as I loved Darrin Criss from Glee, Amber Riley had not business waddling around with back fat and bad tattoos at this presidential inaugural ball so Glee will be skipped!).

Jamie Foxx with Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden

John Legend with band


Heading back up the escalator, there was a very long coat check line.  It looked like they were handing out free stuff! The line snaked all the way past the coat check sign.  It took me 10-15 minutes just to get my coat.  But I couldn’t even get mine without drama because someone had to take a photo right when I was standing in line in front of the coat check sign.  Sheesh!  Get this over with already!  Then I had a line jumper (behind me of course, because my nerves were getting bad) who stepped on my gown twice! Finally, after getting my coat I had my picture taken and just like that one random scalawag intentionally walks in front of me taking my photo.  She nearly got cursed out.  Well, at least I got another photo. 

I walked through the convention center ready to embark on the ultra fun activity of hailing a cab in winter through the barricade.  I felt like an X-Game event. The cabbie missed the Mass Ave tunnel so I took it to him demanding my 75 cents in charge when I arrived at home.  Normally, I’d let it slide but not this time.  He gave me a whole dollar and I entered my building, turned the corner, took off my heels walking barefoot the rest of the way home.  Frustrating turned into joy because I realized that not too many people get to attend an official inaugural ball.  And I did it twice!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Links Incorporated Inaugural Open House at the Headquarters

Yesterday I attended the Links Incorporated Inaugural open house at its DC headquarters.  Here are some of the photos from the building and the national president's suite.  Enjoy!


National President's luncheon pamphlet


National President's Memorabilia Table

National President's Suite Table

Donor Bricks for the newly renovated building

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Back for More at the Inauguration Store!

I returned to the Obama inaugural store after my grandmother told me that she lost the Seniors for Obama button.  Luckily, I lived in DC and discovered that the store was open until 9pm.  I purchased that plus two more buttons that weren’t available during its grand opening last Friday: postal workers for Obama and bus drivers for Obama.  Tomorrow I will mail father’s and grandmother’s buttons.  They’ll receive them by Tuesday since Monday is Martin Luther King holiday.  I bet my grandmother will be happy and this time don’t lose hers!
More downtown DC inauguration store buttons.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

LivingSocial Rent the Runway Event at 918 F Street NW

            Even though I purchased my inaugural gown earlier this week, I decided that since I paid $8 for the LivingSocial Rent the Runway deal I might as well schlep over there to check it out.  I rode the red line to Gallery Place station walking to 918 F street NW.  I showed the lady my id, handed my coat over to the coat check, received a drink ticket and climbed the stairs to the Rent the Runway boutique.  There were five stacks of dresses, 2 for gowns and 3 for cocktail dresses.  You can also find dresses online.  At the event you could rent a dress for 20% off which was a very big steal.  Seeing the dresses upfront made my happy that I bought my Badgley Mischka gold sequined gown through Zappos because no one the inventory shined that mine did (No peeking!  I will receive it after attending the actual inaugural ball).
            Here are the photos:
I Heart Rent the Runway bag

Dress Stack 1

Dress Stack 2

Dress Stack 3

Milly gold and black lace cocktail gown

Presidential Inauguration Committee Downtown DC Store Grand Opening

            I received a presidential inauguration committee (pic) email saying that the inauguration store opened at 1155 F street NW yesterday morning and if I arrived by 3pm I’d received a free button.  I left work at 2pm exiting the Metro Center 12 & G streets NW exit.  Big mistake because I had to go through Macy’s.  When I arrived all of the free buttons were gone!
            I perused the PIC store seeing many items unavailable online. The store carried Seniors for Obama, Veterans for Obama, Office Workers for Obama and many other buttons.  I purchased the seniors for Nana, veterans for Dad and office workers for Mommy along with four inaugural buttons.  The PIC cotton throw captivated me but it cost $165 so I’ll wait until it’s on sale.  It’ll look good on Nana. 
            Here are my grand opening photos: 

Presidential Inauguration Committee Front Door

Presidential Inauguration Committee Front Store Window

Presidential Inauguration cotton throw

Buttons I purchased at the Inauguration Store

Monday, January 07, 2013

Snatching Victory from the Jaws of Defeat (aka How I Avoided the Ticketmaster Disaster and Purchased Inaugural Parade and Ball Tickets)

This Obama Inaugural/Ticketmaster ticket debacle is one for the record books!  First, I received an email from the Presidential Inauguration Committee (PIC) saying that the ticket link would come today, January 7th. Then I receive an email saying that the link was available Sunday night.  The site crashed immediately.  I was using Google Chrome, Internet Explorer and Apple Safari web browsers simultaneously one point.  After receiving several 503 service unavailable frames, I thought about using my Blackberry.  My smartphone was faster.  I reached the screen where it said ‘sold out’ first on my Blackberry.  As a 2009 Western Inaugural Ball attendee, both PIC and Ticketmaster flubbed this one badly!

            During the downtime, I participated in the Twitter discovery/complaint process recounting my tales of woe.  During this time I learned from someone who worked at the PIC that the early email was a mistake, the PIC Ticketmaster phone number was unavailable by 10pm due to people calling in and that after 2 hours some woman purchased inaugural ball tickets.  Reading that I tried the link again only this time using both devices.  After refreshing the screens ad nauseam the inaugural parade tickets emerged (the ball still said ‘sold out’ for the time being).  Rationalizing that half a loaf (parade) was better than no loaf (no ticket), I acquiesced and selected the 10th street and E street NW route ticket.  First, I selected the UPS option but after remembering that I picked up my 2009 ticket through will call deselected the UPS (paying $5 for will call versus $23 for delivery was a contributing factor).  Doing that cost me 3 minutes because the system was dragging at a snail’s pace.  Ticketmaster gave me 18 minutes to complete the process and since it took me nearly the entire time period to pay!

            No sooner did I finish my parade ticket purchase, did the inaugural ball tickets became available.  Once again throughout the process, the screen was either freeze or my ticket would disappear saying ‘sold out’.  As a right-handed person, I never used my left hand to type that much in my life! I bought the ball ticket using my Blackberry. I felt truly accomplished right after that because after 3 hours I was victorious!

            That entire inaugural ticket exercise snafu was the exact opposite from 2009 and it wasn’t because there were 10 balls versus 2 this time.  I didn’t have to deal with Ticketmaster.  PIC administered the tickets directly streamlining the process.  The system didn’t crash and they were free instead of costing $65 ($60 ticket + $5 will-call fee). However, unlike so many other people, I refused to be frustrated by the process and banged it out while helping others along the way. I tweeted my progress to be on Twitter telling them that I was still getting parade tickets until 12 midnight.  Also I learned from someone who previously worked with the Obama administration that there would be some more tickets released this Thursday.  She was credible because she contacted me when I participated in Vote Corps.  Regardless, I was happy that this mess was over with (for me) and that I can get my inaugural gown.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

New Year's Day 2013: Creating a Financial Legacy

My aunt called asking if I cooked greens and black-eyed peas for good luck this New Year.  I said ‘No, but I paid all of my January bills in December.’  It just hit me that financial empowerment will be my family contribution.  It is essential to make the same effort to retain a good rating as it is to keep traditions alive.  This 2013 I will see my second promotion this April, earn my PMP certification after taking off 2012 to adjust to my new job, and work on launching my own t-shirt line and pop-up shop business. All of these objectives are financial-related.  I guess that I have broken out of the whole ‘good-job’ mentality and evolved into creating a tangible financial legacy.