Fillmore School Funds Refilled

April 11, 2016

The Fillmore Center for the Arts has had its full funding restored, saving jobs from being cut and preserving the chance for District students to deeply engage in the arts for another year.

D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced the restoration of funding last week given the “recent, positive changes [to the] budget outlook for Fiscal Year 2014.” Councilmembers Jack Evans and Mary Cheh were very much in favor of restoring the funds and worked with Henderson to restore the funding, even offering to assist with funds if necessary.

Henderson believes the funding will continue to “allow the program to continue to serve students at the level we’ve come to expect from the Fillmore Arts program.” The Fillmore has been a nationally recognized school of the arts since 1974, teaching 3,500 students each year. The Fillmore not only offers school year programs but also has summer classes. There are two locations in order to cater closer to elementary schools. Classes range from drama to dance to drawing.

Parents were alarmed at the announcement of a budget cut, and there was even an online petition started from the Friends of Fillmore to urge Henderson to change her mind about funding. Voices have been heard and now the school will continue to serve District students in the arts and four full-time positions that were at first “excessed” will remain.

InternsROCK! Rocks the Gap

The Washington Center took over the Gap on Wisconsin Avenue Thursday night for a special event as part of their annual InternsROCK program. Interns mingled throughout the store, nibbling on cookies and crudities while enjoying a 30% discount and shopping advice from personal stylists.

The Washington Center started the InternsROCK program four years ago as a way to help interns not just go to work and class, but actually experience what DC has to offer. The first year they had discounts offered from 70 vendors for only 1000 participants, but this year the number of interns reached 4000.

Carmenchu Mendiola, VP of Communications with The Washington Center, says they “try to find vendors students care about” to participate every year. The quality of vendors improves each year, due mostly from the feedback of interns- they asked for cupcakes, and this year interns could get buy one, get one free from Sprinkles.

The Washington Center reached out to Gap this year with the idea that most students need professional clothing to fit into conservative DC, but also are on a college budget. Gap agreed and offered to host the event and the response was great- the store was packed by the first hour of the night and an excited buzz could be heard throughout.

This year the week for the discounts ran June 7-16 and participants needed a keytag to prove they were an intern for the summer. But the InternsROCK program doesn’t just benefit the interns in the city: “It’s a great opportunity for students to know small businesses of DC and become repeat visitors,” urges Mendiola. And with plans for more vendors and more events in the future, the program itself is bound to continue in its repetition each summer.

Washington Circle Underpass Generates Speed Camera Jackpot

It’s official: the speed camera on K Street under Washington Circle had the most revenue out of all of the speed cameras in the District of Columbia since October, the start of fiscal 2013.

Just east of Georgetown, the K Street camera alone raised $8.1 million, according to the Washington Post. This amount sounds like an even larger when you consider the second highest grossing camera, southbound on 295, had an income of $4.6 million. Both of these cameras’ revenue makes up only a fraction of the total $78.8 million the District earned from speed cameras in fiscal 2012, according to WTOP.

This is an impressive number for the District to rake in. Amid complaints that the cameras are not so much for safety but for profit, the District Council moved to adjust fines this past year, reported NBC Washington. Despite the decrease in certain fines (a drop for going 15 mph or less above the speed limit), not all drivers are slowing down with the cameras continuing to generate revenue for D.C.

In research reports by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, cameras do increase safety, while drivers and pedestrians alike agree that cameras can decrease the number of automobile accidents. Could this mean even more cameras in the District’s future?

The Metropolitan Police Department lists all of the speed cameras on its website, and there are indications that it will add more red light and stop sign cameras. No matter one’s opinion on the cameras’ effect on safety, drivers should be aware of the consequences of speeding past a camera or going through a red light and should not be surprised when a ticket arrives at their door.

Rockin’ a Work-Out: Tips From a Pro

January 16, 2015

It’s August. Six months ago, some of us were making New Years resolutions to work out more, but, as we all most likely know, working out can seem like a different world. Everyone has tips and tricks, and it can be overwhelming to know where to start. This is why it is important to touch base with a professional.

Brendan Mundorf attended the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, plays attack for professional lacrosse team Denver Outlaws, and is a big enthusiast of Rockin’ Refuel protein shakes. Protein shakes­­ are a semi-foreign concept to some of us who don’t stay fit for our careers. Mundorf has been playing with the Outlaws since 2006 and has games throughout the summer but still found the time to talk to us.

RS: What does a daily workout include for you as a professional lacrosse player?

BM: My workouts start with a dynamic warm up followed by some ladder footwork drills. Then my trainer will have some sort of agility or speed work mixed in with some strength exercises like medicine ball slams…I do two of these workouts a week and try to get two lifting workouts in as well.

RS: What is muscle recovery in your own words and why is it important?

BM: During a workout you tear and break down muscle tissue. In order for your body to repair and build your muscle, you must put enough protein in your body to do so. I notice when I use Rockin’ Refuel to recover after workouts and games, I have increases in muscle and I am able to perform at a higher level the next time. If I don’t put a good source of protein in my body after a workout, I never see the benefits of my hard work.

RS: Any recommendations for beginners who might have casually worked out but are trying to get serious and get in shape?

BM: In order to see results, you must take your workouts to the next level. Challenge yourself and take care of your body. Drink a Refuel within 30 minutes of the end of a workout to maximize your results and keep your body healthy.

RS: And for the intermediate exercisers?

BM: If you have been working out for a while and want to advance yourself, I would recommend you mix up your training and try some new types of training. If you have never used a post workout protein shake, you need to. You will be pleased with the results.

RS: Do you have any summer-specific favorite meals or foods to include in a balanced diet?

BM: I eat a lot of chicken. I do a lot of grilling at home and I think it is a really healthy way to eat. Any time you can get some lean meat and a lot of fresh green vegetables, you’re doing good.

I, for one, am inspired to get my act together and start drinking more protein with my workout. Remember that it’s never too late to find your workout routine, and don’t expect to be on an advanced level if you’re just beginning. Challenging yourself is smart, but hurting yourself is not. A lot of gyms offer trial memberships to test the waters, but a gym isn’t always a necessity. If you have a space to stretch, run, and have a pair of weights, you can work out. Like Mundorf said, protein shakes will enhance your workout. You have to break down your muscle in a workout before it rebuilds and you grow stronger, and protein shakes have the amino acids necessary to rebuild muscle. Mundorf’s favorite—Rockin’ Refuel—takes low-fat milk, a natural re-hydrator with nutrients needed to replenish, and enhances it with more protein (20 grams) to make a natural and delicious drink for post-workout. Milk replenishes the body with the electrolytes and carbs lost during workouts and Rockin’ Refuel harnesses and enhances this ability to create a protein shake loved by professional and collegiate athletes alike. There are several flavors and different types depending on how intense your workout was. The easily labeled bottles can be found in the milk section of your local grocer.

So Much Thai, So Little Time: I-Thai Coming to M Street

January 17, 2014

It’s been more than a year since Garrett’s, a beloved bar that catered to Georgetown students and citizens alike, closed its doors for the last time on M Street. Now, the location’s doors will reopen again in 2013, welcoming citizens to I-Thai Restaurant and Sushi Bar.

According to the Washington Post, the building is being remodeled and there are plans to have both a sushi bar and a drink bar on each floor, along with themes for each room. Owner Ann Chevasuttho is planning menus with sushi and Thai food but really hopes to focus on and bring authentic Thai cuisine to Georgetown, adding to the list of other Thai restaurants on the scene.

Chevasuttho owns two other Thai restaurants in Virginia already, which can be visited to see a sample of what is coming to Georgetown. However, Chevasuttho hopes the Georgetown location will have more of an upscale feel and can show its residents true Thai food.

I-Thai will be located at 3003 M St., NW, close to Sprinkles Cupcakes, with a November or December opening day forecasted.

The Damage is Done: Hair Repair in the Summer

Some of the best days of summer are those spent bumming it at the beach, the lake or the pool. Soak up some rays, maybe enjoy some light reading, and definitely enjoy the nice tousled waves that can come from a day by the water. Unfortunately, the beach-y look comes at a price, and summer can damage hair more than help it. Thankfully, there are experts out there who hear our cries for help and have answers. Here are some products to help keep your hair clean and protected from the elements, and they can all be found nearby.

Bumble & Bumble Surf Foam Wash Shampoo & Conditioner:
It only makes sense that a product with the words “surf foam” would be a good choice for hair cleansing in the summer. This fresh-scented shampoo and conditioner clear out your scalp and hair and leave it feeling soft, but not flat. The cleaning duo also works together to make your hair prepared for other products that help create beach-y hairstyles. An 8.5-ounce bottle of either costs $25 and can be found at either Sephora or Bluemercury.

Tresemmé Climate Control Collection: Tresemmé’s full collection (shampoo, conditioner, spray and mousse) uses Keratin and olive oil to prepare hair for the weather and prevent frizz. Both the finishing spray and mousse hold hair in place while still maintaining smooth and soft locks. Shampoo and conditioner come in 15- and 32-ounce bottles for prices less than $5 online or at Target. Spray and mousse are sold at CVS for around the same price.

Cynthia Sylvia Stout Shampoo: As if some of us needed another reason to be a beer fan, this shampoo is made from organic vegan beer that leaves hair with a shine and lemon scent. Chlorine can leave hair dry and frizzy, and the cognac and lemon juice in this shampoo replenishes the shine and moisture that your hair is missing. Lush has three sizes to choose from, the 3.3 ounces for $10, 8.4 ounce for $20 and 16.9 ounces for $30.

Fair Trade Honey Shampoo: Boasting an ingredient list of almost 50-percent honey and 20-percent linseed, this is perfect for those looking for a natural way to help themselves and the world. The shampoo is preservative free, but the fair trade honey is what helps prevent frizz, locks in moisture, and gives your hair an extra boost of shine. Three sizes ranging from $10 to $30 can be bought at Lush.

Alterna Bamboo UV+Color Protection Masque: Masks are not confined for only the body or face. This organic hair masque not only protects the color in your hair but also against UV rays. The bamboo extract hydrates your hair while the melon extract leaves your locks silky smooth. Find it at Sephora for $26.

Fekkai After-Sun Daily Mask: This is a brand new product for Fekkai, and the only one to promote detangling as a benefit. It also protects from UV rays and color fading and is best used with Fekkai’s Anti-Frizz Cream. Both products are $25 at Blue Mercury.

These aren’t the only products out there, of course. Bumble and Bumble offers an entire line of color protection sprays and washes, and Lush has a jasmine and henna mask to help control fluffy or frizzy hair. Any shampoo with coconut will help hydrate your hair. If you’re looking for summer hair but don’t want to risk the harm on your hair, try Not Your Mother’s Sea Salt Spray (CVS) for texturized waves or Rita Hazen’s Foaming Gloss (Sephora) for enhanced gold tones in any hair color. [gallery ids="101374,153213" nav="thumbs"]

Exotic Extract Proven to Help Weight-Loss

Say hello to garcinia cambogia, a plant indigenous to the southeast of Asia and a proven appetite suppressor and energy producer. Garcinia cambogia has been a popular ingredient in yogurts and soups for several decades in countries like Sri Lanka and India, a fact that excited researchers and proves that this fruit is, so far as we know, not harmful to your health.

One of the premier doctors researching this fruit is Georgetown University’s Dr. Harry Preuss. Preuss started as a hypertension researcher but soon became fascinated with blood sugar and nutrition. In the early 2000s, Georgetown University conducted a study of 90 people in India on the effects of garcinia cambogia on their body weight. The results were astonishing, showing weight loss, decreased BMI and an increase in the body’s ability to burn fat.

The fruit, known as a tamarind, looks like a small green pumpkin and has a sour taste, but its extract holds the secret. It contains a hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which blocks the conversion of carbohydrates into fat and instead forces them to convert directly into energy. Hydroxycitric acid can either be active or inactive. The active form is what brings in the results, but it can easily become inactive if mixed with a fluid to form into a lactone.To prevent this, HCA is converted into a salt—usually calcium, but it can be potassium or magnesium.

So why not just take in a calcium salt? Taking only calcium would require extremely high doses to see minimal results. The best intake would be a supplement with at least 50% HCA in the calcium salt form that includes potassium or magnesium. Dr. Preuss also suggests taking a supplement that includes chromium, a mineral that helps to digest food but, when part of an eating regimen, would help lead to fat loss without muscle loss. Supplements can be beneficial, but Preuss wants to remind users that people want to make money and will sometimes put false products on the market. In general, always double check ingredients and dosages, and talking to a doctor before trying anything is always a good idea.

The study in India tested a brand called Super Citrimax through InterHealth Nutraceuticals, which is 60% HCA and contains both potassium and chromium. While this particular brand cannot be found in our local CVS, it can be ordered online and is reasonably priced (between $10 and $20). A dosage would entail 1.5 grams (two capsules three times a day) of the calcium salt taken on an empty stomach at least 30 minutes before eating.

Dr. Preuss stresses that these are aids in weight loss. Your metabolic rate will naturally lower when you suppress your appetite and Preuss suggest a green tea or coffee extract to increase metabolism again so that your body doesn’t plateau. “It’s a program,” he says. “Be reasonable about it. It won’t work in two or three days.”

So garcinia cambogia isn’t exactly the miracle fat burner that we might be waiting for, but it is definitely one of the biggest advancements in weight loss in the past several years. Like most things, it works best when balanced with exercise and healthy eating, but in the words of Dr. Preuss, “If you don’t comply, don’t complain.” And be sure to stick to the correct dosages for the best results. [gallery ids="101351,152339" nav="thumbs"]

International Club’s Great Gatsby Ball and NMWA

September 12, 2013

On June 15, the National Museum of Women in the Arts seemed to transform into Jay Gatsby’s home itself. The International Club of DC hosted the Great Gatsby Ball presented with the Museum as one of their calendar events for club members, but was also an event for the Young pARTners Circle, a group through NMWA who promotes women artists and connects young professionals through an array of events. There was live music, a photobooth and a variety of delectable desserts served. Drinks began pouring and couples started dancing and suddenly it was 1925 again. About halfway through the night the dance troupe Fidgety Feet took the floor to perform The Charleston and livened up the entire crowd. It was quite a spectacle and memorable night, no doubt one for the books for both the International Club and Young pARTners Circle. [gallery ids="119082,119075,119087,119093" nav="thumbs"]

Does ‘Living Wage’ Bill Mean No Living Wal-Marts in D.C.?

September 9, 2013

On July 10, the District Council passed, 8-5, the Large Retailer Accountability Act, which is, according to the actual signed bill, designed to “establish standards for responsible business practices by large retailers by ensuring that they pay living wages and provide benefits.”

The bill would require any business that has retail stores of at least 75,000 square feet and has an annual gross revenue of $1 billion or more to pay its employees an hourly wage of at least $11.50. The bill gives the mayor power to choose the living wage, provided it never drops below $12.50, and is required to re-evaluate the wage amount every year. The current minimum wage is $8.25.

How does this affect the construction of the three Wal-Marts in the area? After the bill passed, Wal-Mart threatened that it would abandon three of its planned location — and possibly get out of another three buildings now under construction. Wal-Mart was never in favor of the bill and, in a statement of its own, said the mandatory wage increase would “change the fiscal health of” its planned stores. Losing the Wal-Marts would mean losing jobs for these areas: 300 at each location, according to one local news website,

Mayor Vincent Gray could still veto the newly passed bill. He has not said where he stands on the possibility of a veto, but Gray is not the biggest fan of the bill. Also, in the discussion about the bill are concerns of future economic and investment consequences for the District of Columbia. What needs to be considered, and what Mayor Gray must decide, is if the employment and development benefits outweigh these consequences and if the District will indeed turn this bill into law.

¡Festival de Helados Es Mas Delicioso!

Last year, it seemed like frozen yogurt was all the rage, but this summer ice cream remains supreme again. To celebrate this cool dessert and beat the heat, look no further than Rosa Mexicano.

Part of its yearlong celebration Flavors of Mexico, the Festival de Helados — Ice Cream Festival — offers multiple ice cream flavors, popsicles, cocktails and more.

Everything on this menu is worth trying once, but to entice your taste buds, here is a preview of some flavors.

There are four new ice cream flavors for the season, but if you want to get the most out of your experience try one or both of the following:
Mexican Sour Gherkin & Jalapeno Sorbet: Don’t write off the unusual flavors without trying this sorbet first. The gherkin gives is a slight sweet and vinegar taste at first, until the heat of the jalapeno kicks in. Either taste could be overpowering, but they instead balance each other out and are made milder by the coolness of the iced sorbet. It’s not heavy at all and would be the perfect ending to a summer meal.

Sweet Cream with Shaved Mexican Chocolate & Cajeta Swirl: Cajeta is a thick caramel-like syrup that, in this ice cream, melts into the chocolate and combines perfectly with the sweet cream ice cream base. It tastes very similar to a Mexican hot chocolate, with its hint of cinnamon and has a creaminess very similar to coffee creamer. This flavor tastes best when served in the delicate homemade cones.

Each popsicle, or paleta, is served in a white chocolate and sprinkle-rimmed glass with a layer of granola on the bottom. They are very adult-updated versions of every kid’s favorite summer treat.

Papaya & Passion Fruit: This is the least creamy and most fruity of the popsicles. It has chunks of fruit frozen in juice that has more of a gelatin consistency. It has great flavor but is reminiscent of the fruit jello that someone always brings to a holiday potluck.

Arroz con Leche & Peach: A two-layer popsicle, the sweetness of the peach is a perfect complement to the cinnamon and milk of the, essentially, rice pudding bottom. This one tastes best if dipped back into the cinnamon granola in order to get a crunch to go along with the smoothness.

Guava, Chile de Arbol & Huckleberry: Fair warning — this is the spiciest popsicle you will ever enjoy. Also a layered creation, both parts have a strong kick to them, which doesn’t compete with the fruit flavor but does overpower it. It is certainly a good choice for the most adventurous customer.

Raspado comes from the Spanish word for scrape and is the name of these Mexican snow cones. The ice is hand-scraped from a block making it extremely fine and perfect for absorbing the flavors. Once the ice is shaven, choose from mocha caramel horchata, passion fruit and lime, orange creamsicle, or mango, mint and chili as your “syrup” and then top it with condensed milk, chocolate or fruit. Espresso and tequila are also offered as toppings. The consistency is like a frappe and unfortunately refreezes very fast.

Rosa Mexicano, like any good Spanish restaurant, has fantastic guacamole. It is made tableside, where you can see the fresh ingredients added and combined. The Festival de Helados answer to this is dessert guacamole. Avocado ice cream — yes, there is such a thing; no, it is not a powerful taste — is mixed with white chocolate chunks, strawberries and mint so that it has the same colors and appearance of actual guacamole. It is served with divine cinnamon sugar tortilla crisps, which are the highlight of the dish and you will want to munch on all night. A chocolate sauce and strawberry sauce are also served with it, to replace the traditional salsas that come with the actual guacamole.

Last but not least, there are two new cocktails for the festival. They are very different, although both have fantastic presentation.

Verano: A summer mojito of sorts, this cocktail is tequila with just slight citrus, mint and sweet flavors. At first, it may have a bit of a sour taste, due to either the lime or blood orange sorbet. It is a beautiful rose color and is garnished with three blueberries.

Chavela Especial: Beer cocktails are a favorite in Hispanic nations, and they have yet to catch on in the U.S., but here is Rosa Mexicano’s twist on them. Modelo Especial beer is poured over a popsicle sitting in a snifter. The popsicle is essentially a frozen gazpacho, and when it melts into the beer or is enjoyed with the beer, gives the drink a frozen Bloody Mary taste. The glass is rimmed in chipotle and chili flakes, adding more flavor and spice to the unique drink.

Rosa Mexicano’s Festival de Helado runs through Aug. 25. There are two locations to enjoy the delectableness: Penn Quarter (575 7th St., NW) and Chevy Chase (5225 Wisconsin Ave., NW).
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