No Pics Allowed: Inside the West Wing of the White House

We were waiting to hear for months. Months, on pins and needles. And then, about a week before we were scheduled to descend on the nation’s capital, we got word that we caught a break.

We scored a coveted VIP tour of the West Wing of the White House.

Yep, the West Wing. Not the East Wing that is more widely frequented containing the President’s living quarters. The West Wing; the workplace. Like the show.

And…It. Was. Awesome.

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Because of Them, I Am

“None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here because somebody—a parent, a teacher, an Ivy League crony or a few nuns—bent down and helped us pick up our boots.” 

~Thurgood Marshall


Perfectly said, Justice Marshall.

Many of you know that I am an attorney. I went through the fiery sands of the LSAT, law school (for which I will be paying off student loans for a couple more decades), and the ultimate test that is the Bar exam (two of them actually). And some of you may know that I am also a classically trained journalist.

But what many may not know is that my second undergraduate Bachelor’s degree is a Bachelor of Arts in Black Studies. So when I finally made it back to D.C., after about a decade, there were some things I needed to do. Some sites to see.

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Washington, D.C.: A Marvelously Historical Adventure

*From our teen correspondent, Brooke, in our monthly series, Teen Travel Chat.

I had never thought of Washington D.C. as a fun place to spend a vacation during the cold winter months, mostly because it is not tropical and there are no palm trees that await you once you arrive. To me, a vacation is somewhere warm…with pools, beaches, and palm trees. However, traveling to D.C. gave me a whole new appreciation for all of the nation’s rich history that the city shares with its visitors.

I traveled to D.C. with my classmates during the eighth grade. We took our trip during the brutal, winter months that leave D.C. covered in snow and ice. I personally recommend traveling to D.C. in the warmer months so you do not have to deal with the harsh, cold weather like I did (unless you’re up for that and that’s your thing, and if so, I have major respect for you). Despite the cold temperatures, Washington, D.C. was a really fun and enlightening experience. I got to travel on my own for the first time without my parents, and I also learned an incredible amount of information while being there.

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Food and Wine for a Cause: Park & Palate 2015

Gelato. Wine. Chicken Wings. Sausage. Cooking demonstrations. And the downtown Dallas skyline. It was the perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon. And that is what Park & Palate was counting on.

Park & Palate, Klyde Warren Park’s inaugural food and wine celebration, boasted around 40 chefs and over 30 wineries over the course of the weekend. On Friday evening, there was an outdoor concert and on Saturday was their ‘Grand Tasting’ with cooking demonstrations, book signings and live music on a hot September day.

But the event isn’t just for great food and delicious drinks. Per Park & Palate: ‘The event not only offers the chance to mingle with the premier chefs, winemakers, and sommeliers in the region and beyond, but also give attendees the opportunity to support Klyde Warren Park and all of its free activities. Because all proceeds from the event go directly back into the park, Park & Palate offers Dallas’ new and established philanthropists a unique opportunity to enjoy an exceptional event while giving back to one of the city’s most beloved spaces.’

Here were some of my faves (noting that there were so many stands I didn’t have the time to hit):

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Off the Beaten Strip: Rhythm Kitchen in Las Vegas

When in Vegas, the Strip is the center of the experience. But the local experience is often where you can find some great gems. And Rhythm Kitchen Seafood & Steaks fits the bill.

The restaurant features a New Orleans theme with excellent Cajun food. I first tried this place a couple of years ago when stumbling upon it looking for a furniture store. And recently, I attended Rhythm Kitchen’s Food and Wine Dinner. It did not disappoint.

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