As a SheBuysCars Ambassador, I had the pleasure of attending the 2017 Industry and Media day for The Washington Auto Show in D.C. courtesy of Hyundai and Genesis. I was compensated to share my experience but all words and opinions are my own. For 75 years, The Washington Auto Show has been bringing a wide variety of the latest vehicles under one roof. Consumers anxiously attend this show to experience the newest auto designs, features and technology coming to market. This was my first time attending a show and I must say I absolutely loved the environment. It really takes away the buying pressure you normally feel when browsing at your local dealership. In here, you have the freedom get behind the wheel and just dream or ultimately decide on your next big purchase. On social media I asked the audience: “If you could drive off the lot with any vehicle you wanted, what would it be?” The manufacture mentioned the most was none other than Audi. “Audi” is the Latin word for “hear” and their features speak loud and clear being the leader in autonomous vehicles. But their designs are sure to catch the eye as well. When I saw the R8 on the showroom floor, all I could say was “daaaaamn”. Raise your hand if you want and Audi! ☺ Speaking of Autonomy…that seemed to be the key word of the show. Rumor has it that there will be these little autonomous delivery robots on the streets of D.C. as soon as February 2017. That’s right, NEXT MONTH these robots will be delivering food and parcels. It seems like what we always thought as “the future” is more like right now. Check out the robots of Starship Technologies in motion HERE. You will notice manufactures are not only moving towards sleeker designs, they are offering features previously known to be luxury, now as standard in every model. No consumer will be left behind. Even the U.S. Army will be rolling better and in style. Look at this Chevy Colorado. Speaking of “better”. Hyundai intends to give you the BEST. I know because I own one. They already have the best warranty in America but now you can count on their latest model Ioniq for having the first life-time battery warranty as well. Hyundai is giving consumers a second thought on electrified vehicles with performance and features comparable to gasoline vehicles. See me in one HERE. When you think about the best in luxury, don’t forget about the Genesis. This company prides itself as an authentic, luxury vehicle with the utmost respect to the consumer. It. Has. EVERYTHING, including lots of space to make you comfortable. Genesis will guarantee your driving experience with both elite and autonomous features like head-up display, lane-keep assist and active cruise control. I have a feeling we will be seeing a lot more of these on the road.
With D.C. traffic and endless options, automobiles are becoming an extension of us all. In a variety of budgets, we can find a way to define our style and personality while meeting the needs in a space we spend more time than we’d like to admit. The same way we are attached to our phones, we will be attached to our cars as they will be connected with the most sophisticated and secure technology available to the pubic. Would you like your car to tell you when there is a red light, construction or even stop before an accident occurs? That is where we are heading as cars are beginning to think and respond quicker than any human on the road. So what kind of Vehicle would I see myself in next? I think we can all agree that the DMV is horrible for managing any amount of snow. Therefore I need a vehicle that will facilitate my need to get up and go regardless of conditions or terrain. Now that I find myself driving more than ever, I developed a need to feel in control while sitting high. That’s why the Jeep Rubicon speaks to me the most. What automobile speaks to your personality and needs the most? Take your time and make your decision at The Washington Auto Show. Head over to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center between now until February 5. Tickets are only $12 for adults, $5 for children 6-12 years-old. Kids under 6 are FREE! Buy tickets here.
If you like cars all-year-round just follow @SheBuysCars to get your daily auto fix.
This is my second experience with Petal Share and We Feed Our People in Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Since it wasn’t as cold, I brought Noah along to the Children of Mine Youth Center in South East DC. It was rather convenient since the 11th Annual MLK Parade was being held only two blocks over. That means we were lucky enough to serve and celebrate afterwards. A great ending to this day was an impromptu Go-Go music tribute from The Backyard Band in Anacostia Park.
Like last year, the community was served a hot meal, clothing, toiletries, health screens and petals of joy. There was also music to keep everyone moving and staying warm. As Petal Share volunteers, we repurposed centerpieces from a previous event and also made small bouquets to give out in hopes of spreading just a little more joy. It is truly amazing how you can make someone’s day with just a flower or two. I have done this a few times and people are always so grateful and excited to have flowers for themselves. They often say…”I can really have this?” in total awe that we are giving out flowers just because.
Did you know that We Feed Our People has been doing this since 1988? I can show you better than I can tell you. Enjoy the video! 😉
There is much more. If you would like to see more pictures and video of this day, make sure to check out and follow these pages:
It’s been a couple of years since our first White House Holiday tour so I am glad that we made it one last time before The Obama Family leaves. Noah was so excited you would have thought he was going to meet The President. lol
Since this is not a sponsored post, I know you’re wondering how we got so “lucky” right?’
Well… it was a lottery through my husband’s job.
Just like any White House tour, every guest still has to go through all the normal security clearances. You know… full name…DOB…Social…you have to submit all this information before you get the green light for attendance.
On the day of, there are 5 Checkpoints:
Show your boarding pass
Government ID check
Government ID check again – Hey if Santa does it, I am sure it’s no big deal if Secret Service checks their list twice too.
Ben the K-9 sniffs you out – but we never actually saw him lol. We just stood at a designated spot for about 5-10 seconds.
Metal detector screening
And you’re in!
A few years ago, I remember standing outside in the freezing rain for quite some time. This year… everything moved expeditiously. Minors are not required to have ID but I brought Noah’s birth certificate and social JUST in case.
As soon as you walk in you are greeted on the landing by The White House Dogs “Sunny” and “Bo”. Many of the displays following were just as kid-friendly and fun.
I found the 2016 decorations very creative. The decor was provided by Bryan Rafanelli with the help of over 125 volunteers for Rafanelli Events to set up. Rafanelli made huge statements using classic holiday material like ribbons and bows. Check out the ribbon and crystal hanging in the East Colonnade:
Each room in the East Wing is decorated with a theme. Here are a few that I loved:
A WHITE HOUSE HOLIDAY TRADITION
Since 1969, The Gingerbread White House has been a holiday tradition. The 2016 house located in the State Dining Room was created by the White House Pastry Chef Susie Morrison and her team which includes…
150 pounds of gingerbread
100 pounds of bread dough
20 pounds of gum paste
20 pounds of icing
20 pounds of sculpted sugar pieces.
Gorgeous right? I wonder where all of these goes once the season is over?
We were just a few of over four million guests who have graced the East Wing during the holidays since President Obama has been in office. The tour lasts between 45 minutes to an hour when you enjoy the live music at the end. Make sure you check out Our Instagram Page for more pictures and videos.
Official information about The White House Holiday Tour can be found HERE.
It’s free! However to the level of interest, the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) has implemented a timed entry pass system. Unfortunately timed entry passes are now sold out for the rest of the year. However you can secure passes for 2017 HERE. The good news is that there are same day passes available at 9:15 AM on a first come, first serve basis but word has it that people stand outside as early as 5am for a chance. That’s completely up to you. From what I’ve seen, many registered for more passes than they needed so there is a good chance that you will find someone in your circle or a stranger on site with spare tickets last-minute. Just ask around. On the day of your ticket, being on time or early is not necessary. Entry is only granted any time on or after the time stamped pass. I was very impressed with the ease of entry after opening day. However, if you don’t have more than one day scheduled, getting there on time does matter because you WILL need all the time you have. There have been some extended weekend hours but during the week, the museum closes at 7:30pm which actually means 7pm because that’s when they begin directing everyone towards the nearest exit. There are security screenings so please make note of items that are not allowed.
NAVIGATING THE NMAAHC
As I mentioned before, getting in isn’t the hard part. Inside is where you will need to reserve the most patience. The museum is designed to take visitors chronologically from our gruesome past to an uplifting present time and a hopeful future. It would be ideal to begin your experience from the lower concourses with Slavery and Freedom and work your way up through achievements and culture. There is one popular elevator outside of the theater that displays years back in time as you descend to the lowest level. However, your best bet is to take the elevator adjacent to the information desk.
Once you get downstairs, more than likely you will be greeted by a line. Concourse 3 is by far the most congested part of the museum because it is narrow and the most logical starting point in the facility.
At Concourse 2, it will be busy but there will be a lot more breathing room which is rather consistent throughout the rest of the museum. Since the lower concourses progress with ramps, there are no stairs needed until you get back the main level. This makes a smooth transition to the main level for those with wheelchairs and strollers.
THE BIG DEALS AND LONG WAITS AT NMAAHC
We have since gone a third time during normal hours and the flow of traffic was well managed and wait times were extremely minimal aside from the cafe.
Slavery and Freedom: There is a slow-moving and natural flow as visitors appear to read every story and examine the artifacts on their way to the remnants from the São José slave ship. What many people may not realize is that you CAN move around and explore the rest of the floor instead. Wait time can be up to 40 minutes if line extends to the elevators near the restroom.
Contemplative Court: You can easily spend 3 hours covering slavery, freedom and segregation. Most people will find the content mentally draining so I would highly recommend a visit here right across the theater to reflect and restore your spirits. There is no wait to enter. In fact, many people can miss it based on location.
Southern Rail Car: This is one of the two artifacts this building was literally built around. Currently visitors are not allowed to walk through the vintage segregated passenger car.
Emmett Till’s Memorial: You may see a line form by Southern Rail Car like shown above. This is to view Till’s original casket but it is restored. The feel is exactly how one would pay respects to the deceased during a viewing or wake. No pictures are allowed inside. Wait time can be up to an hour if a line forms entirely around the rail car.
Angola Prison Guard Tower:This is the other artifact the building was built around. The average inmate was sentenced to 93 years at this plantation based, Louisiana State Penitentiary. Many housed in old slave quarters. Private individuals could even lease prisoners from here as well.
Point of Pines (Plantation) Cabin: A slave shelter or gathering place.
Sports: Visitors can enjoy seeing how african-americans broke barriers using their talents and the connection their achievements have during the civil rights movement.
Chuck Berry’s Eldorado: The Musical Crossroads exhibit greets you with this stunning beauty.
The Museum Shop: Closes at 5:30pm
Greensboro Interactive Lunch Table: Visitors can learn about the various movements and ways segregation was fought while also exploring the consequences of those actions. Wait time varies up to 15 minutes.
Production and Engineering Console: Visitors get 4 minutes to make their own hit record mixing sounds and adding effects. This was one of my favorite fun activities at the museum. There is usually only about one person ahead of you. To save time, you and a friend can team up on one record.
The Step Show: Learn how to step and perform the routine learned.
São José Search: Search and document artifacts from the sunken San José a slave ship buried in the deep blue sea.
Driving While Black: Learn how to safely travel using The Negro Motorist Green-Book which tells you all the places you can stop for necessities with the least amount of trouble.
THE FOOD (SWEET HOME CAFÉ) AT NMAAHC
Seats 400 Price Range: $8-$15 (Dessert $5-$6) There are four stations representing various areas of cuisine.
The Agricultural South
The Creole Coast
The North States
The Western Range
The average wait to get in AND sit down with your food seems to be about 25-45 minutes. Most of the wait comes directly from The Creole Coast station (po’ boy and shrimp and grits). Yes, the Po’ Boys were HUGE and the shrimp and grits looked amazing but with a kid, I just didn’t want to wait any longer. Fortunately there are attendants that will come to allow those ordering from the other stations to enter sooner. Some of the main dishes are cooked right on the spot! I teased a few people with this video. lol
The desserts and beverages are self-served and there were no straws or plastic – only silverware. Fancy! So here’s the kicker…For the three of us, the damage was about $55. The cost isn’t easy on the pockets but the quality of food made it worth the treat. You may need a tad bit of salt on some of the dishes but there is LOADS of flavor unlike a normal cafeteria. I was pleased.
OPRAH WINFREY THEATER AT NMAAHC
Seats 350 After donating $21 million dollars on your own, its pretty nice to have this simple beauty named after you. The seats were comfortable with a few outlets nearby. As you can see, the corona shape was carried throughout here as well. In the theater, we watched a short film by Ava Duvernay. Only 10 minutes long but it showed an extremely powerful connection in black history told through six stories on the same date throughout a decade in time. I actually would like to see it again.
HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU NEED AT NMAAHC?
One day is simply not enough. Just think…8 levels, 13 exhibits…that is A LOT to cover. Most people will probably need about two trips to see everything and three or four to get the full experience. After about 4 our 5 hours you might get burned out or run out of time. Unfortunately most of us will probably only have one chance to visit before 2017. Everything is worth seeing at this museum so here are a few tips to make the most of your visit:
Eat before you arrive (But leave some room for the cafe if you have time).
Start in the lower concourse levels using the elevator adjacent to the information desk if allowed.
If there is a long line to see something, skip it. Including the food. No disrespect to any of the artifacts or experience but in my opinion waiting in line for 45 minutes is not the most productive use of your time here especially with a ticket after 2pm. See what you can and then go back to what you missed if you have time.
There is usually a bathroom available without a long wait. It will be worth finding.
This might not be most kid-friendly museum so if you find your little one getting restless, take them to the second floor. There was little to no crowd and more than one interactive station to choose from. My four-year old loved it – especially performing in the step show and finding artifacts in the sea.
Have an electronic device to keep your kid busy during the long waits or if they start to lose interest.
Bring a backup power supply or if you must, bring your cellphone charger. I did see quite a few (unofficial) places to give your phone a boost when your battery runs low. 😉
Don’t be afraid to split up. There is so much to see and after the main level and the interest between you can your company can change.
If you’re looking for a party, just go to the fourth floor with for the Cultural Expressions galleries. That is where you find all the art, television, film, broadway and music. It was so much fun!
Although the museum closes at 5:30pm, the gift shop closes much sooner. If you really want a souvenir you have to get there before 5:00pm.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture is now my favorite Smithsonian museum of all time (Natural History is now number two lol). The experience is so moving and fulfilling. This place proves there is still so much us learn and accept about American history.
I’ve been thinking about sharing my family’s story next time we go. There are a few stations for you to record your experience/opinion on black history or of the museum itself.