Event Recap: Conversations w/Claire Book Tour (Philly)

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Conversations with Claire Book Tour here in Philly. Claire Sulmers is the Editor-in-Chief of one of the top fashion sites, none other than FashionBombDaily.com. She is also author of The Bomb Life, a personal memoir that details the ups and downs she encountered while trying to break into the fashion industry and ultimately her rise to the top. This intimate discussion was moderated by MinaSayWhat! of local radio station Power 99. Here are a few gems that I took away from this event!

1. Stay true to yourself!

It can be very tempting to want to follow the crowd and do what everyone else is doing, especially nowadays with this insta-fame, social media age that we’re living in. You see girls half naked on the ‘gram with thousands upon thousands of followers and you may feel the pressure to follow suit. Claire stressed the importance of staying true to yourself and never compromising just to ‘fit in’ with what has  become the norm.

2. Have an ‘Accountability Partner’

An accountability partner is just a fancy way to say a person that makes sure you’re getting your Sugar Honey Iced Tea together! Someone who reminds you of your dreams and holds you accountable to your commitments. Whoever they may be in your life, mother, father, sister, brother or friend, it is important to have one. For example, Claire told us that one of her goals was to start waking up at 5am, but due to her being a “night owl,” it’s sometimes a challenge. One of her friends recently reminded her about this commitment and it helped push her to be a woman of her word.

3. Find one thing that you’re good at and master it!

Jack of all trades. Master of none. I’m sure this is a term that we’ve all heard at some point in our lives. There’s nothing wrong with doing multiple things. It shows versatility but sometimes we can be attempting to do so many things that nothing actually ends up getting accomplished, or they’re getting accomplished rather poorly. Sometimes we have to take a step back and focus on perfecting one thing before we can venture into other avenues.

4. Success Doesn’t Happen Overnight

Contrary to popular belief, success does not happen over night! Claire has been grinding at this for ten years! Ten years folks! That alone was confirmation for me to keep doing what it is that I love. There was a time when she was sleeping in a friends tub in Paris (Spoiler Alert) and now she’s rubbing elbows with celebrities and casually throwing fur prayer cloths across her lap!

5. “Have Faith in God. Have Faith in Yourself.”

Claire spoke a lot about having faith, both in God and in self. There were times in her career where different things tried to come up against her, but having strong faith is what really helped her get through those tough times.

Claire was very humble, down-to-Earth, and sweet as can be!  She took the time to take pictures with almost everyone at the event and really listened to each girl’s question, giving great feedback. The next stop on the book tour will be NYC so to all my blogger friends in the Big Apple, I hope you got your tickets because it is sold out! She will be stopping in other cities as well! Get ready bombshells!

Here are a few pics from the event!

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Mimosas, the preferred drink of fashionistas everywhere!

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Swag bag

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Oh, hey Claire!

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About the Outfit

Blazer:: Forman Mills

Skirt:: Charlotte Russe

Shoes:: Forman Mills

-A Black Girl About Town


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Recap: Macy’s Celebrates Black History Month 2017 (Philly)

I must first start off by giving a big round of applause to Macy’s for not only publicly acknowledging Black History Month, but for contributing to the festivities in such a major way. Each year, select Macy’s stores across the country hold in-store events for Black History Month featuring a celebrity guest of some capacity. Last year, actress Jurnee Smollett was in attendance and I was so bummed that I missed out. This year, I was determined not to be left out so I was stalking their website, waiting for the moment that any information about the event was posted!

The evening kicked off with musical selections from a band known as the Rakiem Walker Project based out of Harlem, New York. Rakeim Walker is a saxophonist and also the musical director of the band, not to mention, he’s worked alongside several big named artists in the industry. (Yes, I did a little homework) The group rotates between three lead vocalists. That night, we were blessed with Gloria on the mic as the group covered some crowd favorites from The RootsYou Got Me (Things Fall Apart) to The Jackson FiveI Wanna Be Where You Are and several others. Take a listen!

Following the performance, there was a pre-filmed interview with Saul Williams and a poetry reading from the artist as well.  The special guest of the night was celebrity Chef and owner of the Red Rooster Restaurant in Harlem, Chef Marcus Samuelsson, who’s been on tour promoting his new cookbook. He stopped in to have some thought- provoking discussion about why he chose to open a restaurant in Harlem, the importance of giving back to the community and so much more.

Following the Q&A session, we were able to sample a few of the chef’s recipes!

Double Dragon Rice w/ Grilled Shrimp 

“Mr. T’s Meatballs” 

Squash Salad w/ crunchy Quinoa + Pumpkin Seed Vinaigrette 

You can’t tell me that doesn’t look delicious! In addition, each person who RSVP’D  online for the event received a $10 Macy’s gift card redeemable that night! With my gift card, I purchased this cute travel mug.

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Oh, and did I mention this event was FREE???

I definitely hope to attend some more black history celebrations before the month is over– and just in general! How do you plan to celebrate Black History Month this month and throughout the year? You can follow Chef Samuelsson at on social media at: @marcuscooks and check the Macy’s events page to see how you can get in on the festivities!

– A Black Girl About Town


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Philly Restaurant Week |Winter’17|SOUTH Restaurant

South Restaurant is one of those places that have been on my invisible checklist of places to visit for some time now, so when Restaurant Week rolled around, I figured the timing couldn’t have been more perfect! As if being named one of the Top 50 Philadelphia Restaurants wasn’t reason enough to dine here, South seems to be one of the few places in the city where you can listen to live Jazz. I’m not going to front like I’m this huge Jazz fan, but taking a course as an undergrad in college definitely helped to open my mind up to this genre of music. I also enjoyed some Latin-Jazz while I was in Mexico last summer.

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True to its name, South puts its own touch on some classic southern dishes. As a first course, I had a bowl of the chicken and fried oyster gumbo, accompanied with Carolina rice and fried okra. I must admit I was rather hesitant because I don’t think I’ve ever really had oysters before, so I really didn’t know what to expect but I’m happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised. The gumbo was really flavorful! It had the spice that you’d usually expect from a gumbo but an unexpected crunch from the fried oysters and as well as the fried okra that really stood out to me. It was filling but not in a way that made me too full to enjoy the other two courses.

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For the second or main course, I tried the Short Rib Pot Roast, which featured a braised beef short rib, creamed collards and sorghum sweet potato mashed. The short rib wasn’t bad and I really enjoyed the collard greens. With that being said, I am not a fan of sweet potatoes. No matter how my grandmother dressed them up as a child, I just never really cared for them too much. I gave these a try and while I’m still not a fan, I did enjoy the creaminess of them. I admit, the presentation could have been a little better.

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Alas, the third and final course; dessert: Pineapple upside down bread pudding. This dessert was everything I thought it would be! A nice crunch on the outside, warm on the inside, delicious all over.

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Overall, I had a good experience at South and would love to come back to see a Jazz show (the Jazz parlor is separate from the restaurant). My only criticism is the seating. First off, the bar is close to the door, so every time someone entered or exited, I was met with a cold gust of wind. Same for our seating in the dinning area. We were seated at what was considered “The Counter.” It was a cozy little area with a long couch with tables and chairs as well. Not only was it close to the door, it also interfered with the line of people waiting to be seated in the Jazz Parlor. So while you’re trying to dine, you have some people lounging around waiting for the show. Not the most comfortable set up. Nothing a little organization wouldn’t be able to fix.

If you’re a Jazz fan, a foodie or just someone looking to get into something else on a Friday night in Philly, other than the club scene, I would definitely recommend South. While you’re there, you might run into an older gentleman named Charles, as I did. He’s a Jazz musician and a regular at South who gave me the whole run down on the place as well as his love of Jazz music. He definitely helped to keep me company as I waited on my dinner date. Hey, Charles!

Until Next Time,

– A Black Girl About Town

 

Philly Restaurant Week|Winter ’17|CHOPS

Restaurant Week is winding down here in Philadelphia. Did you know participating restaurants offer a three-course lunch for just $20? And a three-course dinner for $35? Honestly, it comes and goes so fast, I think we need to have three weeks instead of two! All in favor, say “I.” Anyway, I’m still grateful. This go round, a co-worker and I grabbed a bite to eat at CHOPS. It’s located in the newly renovated Comcast Center on 17th and JFK, downtown Philadelphia. I’ve passed by it at least a thousand times but this is the first time I’ve actually dined there. It’s amazing that you can spend your whole life in a city but can still explore new places to go!

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I cannot say enough about this restaurant! I had an amazing dining experience. From the doorman, to the bartender, to the waiter, the staff was exceptional. Our reservations were set for 5:30 pm, but my co-worker was late, I mean extremely late. Now, I’m not one to sit at the bar all by my lonesome but with the staff being very accommodating, I didn’t mind too much.  I had a good ole time at the bar, making friends with the bartender, munching on the complementary assorted nuts and sipping on mojito’s. Oh yes, a drink was very necessary after the week I’ve been having!

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When my friend finally arrived, we were seated almost right away.  I started off with what was probably the best Caesar salad I’ve had in a long time! The dressing was light but oddly just enough. This says a lot for someone who has a tendency of drowning my salad in dressing. And the bread was good too! Unfortunately, it was gone before I got a chance to take a picture 😦

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Second course: Filet Mignon, Broccoli and Mashed Potatoes

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Dessert: Apple Pie (Real, fresh apples!) with cinnamon ice cream! To die for!

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Fireplace

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I had a great time at Chops! I would recommend it to a local or someone just here visiting. You will not be disappointed! There’s still one more day left of Restaurant Week! Reserve your spot ASAP!

Does your city have a Restaurant Week? What are some of your favorite places to go?

– A Black Girl About Town


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December Recap!!!

December is always a pretty busy month for me. Not only do we have Christmas to look forward to, my mother and sister’s birthday’s are both in the month of December– one week apart. What did I ever do to get so lucky? In any event, I always try to do something special for the both of them. This year, my sister and I went to see Tory Lanez in concert. If you don’t know who he is, please familiarize yourself, quick! My mother and I had lunch at the Cheesecake Factory.

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I stepped out briefly on Christmas Eve and despite having to work on Christmas Day, I still tried to make the best of it. I decided that I would face my culinary fears and make a whole chicken! The thought of putting my hand inside of a chicken always grossed me out but I woman-ed up and did the darn thing honey! I saw a bomb chicken recipe on YouTube that called for you to marinate your chicken  in a blend of herbs and seasons for 24 HOURS! I let it marinate a little longer and let it bake in the oven for close to 2 hours. It was so flavorful and tender! An instant favorite!

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The older I get, the less presents I expect to receive on Christmas Day. It doesn’t phase me. After all it’s not my birthday that we’re celebrating. I did, however receive a lot more than I thought I would. My mother got me some smell goods from Bath and Bodyworks, a hat from a co-worker, an umbrella from another co-worker, a scented diffuser from my boss and a TJ Maxx gift card from one of my best friends.

New Year’s Eve was pretty quiet. I opted to stay home, even turning down an invite from a friend. I reflected on all of the great things that occurred in 2016 like taking my first trip outside of the country to Mexico and continuing to work on my master’s degree, as well as the blessings I hope will take place in 2017.

Were you happy to see 2016 leave? What do you want to accomplish this year?


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Twitter:: @its_Zeena

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– A Black Girl About Town