This past Friday, I was invited to attend the first Capital Solstice event in Washington, DC, put on by TTC POPUPS. It was a black-tie affair with a 9-course dinner with proceeds going to Becky’s Fund and appearances by local celebrities like Guy Lambert from WPGC 95.5 and Korto Momolu, 1st runner up of Project Runway season 5.
I know I just threw a lot of information at you, so let’s take it slow.
GETTING READY for a black-tie formal event was a little bit stressful for me. I didn’t have any good option at home to wear, so I actually went to the mall Thursday evening trying to find a dress. I got so sick of looking at dresses that I felt physically ill. I found a dress that was okay, but with time running out and my patience (and stomach) wearing thin, I didn’t have much of a choice. We had been at the mall for something like 2 hours already, but the cashier that I took the dress to was busy with the customer in front of us, who had something like 20 articles of clothing to get checked out.
All righty then. Off we went in search of a free cashier. When we found one, I realized we were next to a clearance section of dresses that we hadn’t checked out yet. Despite how literally sick of dress-shopping I was, I wandered over and started looking. It was Ben who, upon realizing that I found a yet-untouched-by-us trove of dresses, found a dress in my size. It was fate. It fit perfectly, was formal enough (if you don’t wear a floor-length gown to a black-tie event, then when?), and guess what.
It was cheaper than that first dress because it was on clearance! Oh man, I perked up immediately after buying it and celebrated with a bubble tea and a huuuuuuge smile on my face.
Friday rolled around, I left work a little early, and I met my friend Monica to get ready. (Ben, upon seeing how much anxiety prepping for the event was giving me, made the wise decision to stay home Friday evening.) My hair didn’t quite cooperate, but it still behaved. We primped and left fairly early, fully prepared to hit a lot of traffic on our way to the venue.
Well, we arrived half an hour early, which we definitely did not expect, but it was a great chance to catch up with Monica, who I hadn’t seen in a long while.
And then we were in!
THE VENUE looked amazing. Announced only 48 hours prior to the event, Echostage had been transformed from one of DC’s most popular music venues into what I can only describe as swanky-dank. The venue where I had just last year seen Stromae perform live, and where many of my friends had seen huge EDM acts, was softly lit with candelabras with lounge chairs and sofas. A really amazing singer/violinist was up on stage doing jazz numbers and channeling Ella Fitzgerald beautifully. It was unrecognizable.
Then our host of the evening, Guy Lambert, came out. I haven’t heard his voice in a long while, since my commute is now all walking and subway-riding, but when I drive, I only listen to two types of radio stations: classical music and hip-hop + R&B. Guy’s voice would tell me the news when I listened to WPGC 95.5, so it was really exciting to get to see more radio people in real life. (There were a lot of local radio celebrities and it was VERY exciting for me.)
He introduced Becky Lee, the Survivor alumna who used her show winnings to found Becky’s Fund, an organization dedicated to aiding victims of domestic violence. She introduced to us a survivor who works closely with Becky’s Fund and told us her powerful story.
At this point, food had (finally) started being served! It was served throughout the evening, with this dessert table tantalizing us all night because dessert wasn’t served until 10:30. (We arrived at 6:30 for a 7:00 start-time. So… we really wanted that dessert.)
Shoutout to Mia, Samantha, and Taj for guarding the table until dessert was served and for just being awesome ladies.
In the meantime, we sipped on soup and nibbled on salad while Cecily put on an amazing show for us. (Seriously, look her up!)
THE FOOD was really delicious, thank you Chef Tim Thompson! His staff is really impressive, winning competitions left and right for their delicious dishes. They were taking a while with the entrées, so I wound up with a lot of the delicious chowder. (I was starving but it was sooooo delicious.) While I went to chat with the ladies at the dessert table and sate my curiosity about who Carla was, I missed the first entrée. (SIGH.) But here’s a little snapshot of our meal throughout the evening. (Apologies for the weird coloring, the lighting was really difficult to work with.)
Not pictured (or sampled…): the salmon entrée
In the middle of the meal, Monica and I were asked to leave our table so that fashion models could walk through. This was already pretty awkward, as a man told us we didn’t have to leave right that minute, and then about 30 seconds later a different man told us to move. Now. And then several other people went to our table after we left. So……….
We wound up with an amazing view of the models. As in… they literally walked in a straight line directly at me and stopped about 3 feet in front of me while photographers reached over my shoulder to direct them and shouted “Work it girl!” into my ear.
But it was amazing listening to Korto Momolu talk about her story and pursuing her dreams. Her designs were so bold and beautiful, I just had to stop her when I walked past her to let her know. Cecily came back out and we enjoyed dessert as the dinner melted into the after party.
Then I awkwardly debated whether to interrupt Guy Lambert’s conversation with someone else to ask for a photo.
Although the tunes were bumpin’, our feet were killing us and we were completely pooped at 11, so we headed home.
All in all, it was a really great night! However, I do have to point out where it wasn’t perfect:
- In general, the event seemed a little less organized than I would have liked. I didn’t really love that we were in black-tie formal and then eating small plates (ugh how I tire of small plates…) while seated on couches or at standing tables. I would’ve preferred if this was a sit-down dinner or if there was a more formal social aspect. I didn’t find the person who invited me until the end of the evening, at which point it was too late for me to conduct any interviews for the event.
- For example, the chaos with when we were asked to leave our table…
- The dessert should not have just been sitting out all evening at the back of the venue…
- … and it should’ve been lighter. I couldn’t eat much of it at all because it was so sweet and heavy after several heavy courses.
Otherwise, this was a lot of fun and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Capital Solstice in DC!
Thank you for inviting me to cover this event!