Thursday, July 22nd, 2010
Ali and I had a long day together full of photo shoots and lots of gabbing. As Ali is 22 and I’m 29, she teaches me about magical things like when Facebook was only for college kids and how there used to be a seperate high school Facebook. What! Who knew. Ali is also an expert on reality TV, particularly Big Brother, The Bachelorette, The Bachelor, the entire Real Housewives franchise, Cheerleader Nation, and Justice for Victims of Crime. So when I like to feel like I am not a shut in and want to know something about the goings on of pop culture, I turn to Ali.
Funnily enough, my favorite reality show ever aired in sunny Belgium. It was the year I was living there working for the trilingual nation’s government that I became obsessed with it. The premise was, who ever stayed awake the longest won a large amount of cash. So they shoved all the contestants into a really warm room with lullabies playing and lots of big pillows and stuffed animals to recline on. Then they had them preform insanely mundane tasks like counting hundreds of beans or repeating the same sentence over and over again. Slowly, people would nod off and face immediate elimination. Whoever could fight the bowls of warm milk and feather beds took home the cash. Now that’s entertainment!
But Ali assures me that we are the kings of reality TV over here and that I should be tuning in always and often for shows where complete strangers screw and agree to marry each other because they are handed a nearly frozen red rose. What a country!
Ali telling me about the wise ways of reality TV after hours at Washington Life.
Thursday, July 8th, 2010
Today, the day that felt like we live in a pot of boiling water, was rather slow at the office. So what do you do when you work at a luxury magazine and there isn’t too much to be done? You read the green book.
For those of you who don’t need to know the who’s who of Washington for your j.o.b., the green book might just sound like a book that is green. And a-ha! It is. But it is also fuzzy and green, like snooty astroturf, and contains all sorts of information needed for established families to contact one another, for social climbers who want to do some scrambling up, or for stalkers who would like to track down the wealthy.
It has all the numbers for every senate and congressional office, The White House, the Department of the Navy (good if you’re drowing), the national holiday of every single country (Lesotho, Oct. 4th, FYI), the address of every embassy in Washington (if you need a visa for Micronesia you will want to head to N street), and then of course there is the social list.
The green book has been produced in Washington for 80 years. Back in the 30s, if you weren’t included “you were simply in Social Siberia. Quelle horreur! Death by shrimp fork.” And of course once you were on, you definitely weren’t always on. If you killed your lover, you would be removed (this actually happened).
Do people still care about the green book? Well, probably the people in it and not that many others. But it’s fun to read it aloud in the office in a pinched nasal British voice and chant about how pesky your race horses are being this time of year.
Ali holding a stack of green fuzzy society bibles!
Friday, April 16th, 2010
Tonight is our biggest event of the year at Washington Life magazine – our annual Young and the Guest list party. This is the soirée where we toast the who’s who of under 40 Washington. It actually gets a lot of press and a ton of people try to crash. We even had a talk in our last meeting on what to do if the Salahis try to come, as they attended last year before all the White House brouhaha. My vote was to let them in with open arms! But my grand idea was shot down.
I’m very excited for tonight’s event because it’s going to be the first time that Craig and Grey meet. So insane. Stacey and I have been blogging for five months now and they still have not met. Also excited that Stacey will be there and many of my wonderful former interns too. Also thankful that this year we were able to borrow dresses from our sponsor Karen Millen, which saved me a nice wad of cash. The only bad news is that I can’t drink a drop because of my marathon Saturday, so I have to rub elbows cold sober. Oh the woes of running.
Of course I shouldn’t complain, for while I post this and the rest of the staff starts the spray tanning, hair straightening, spanks wearing that goes with this kind of event, Kelly Fisher is still stuck in the big bad world of spreadsheets and RSVPs. In fact as I type she is on the phone going “wo, wo, wo calm down. Can I confirm that those are not plus ones? All individuals?” She sounds really scary. She should probably be hired alongside enormous bouncers at prestigious clubs, or be appointed White House social secretary.
You cannot begin to imagine the amount of people who try to fake RSVP to the event. And sadly, the last organizing of any guest list at Washington Life falls on Kelly’s shoulders. It’s a pretty thankless but very very important job and I just want to say THANKS KEL for being the muscle behind the list. As we learned from Crashergate, two wrong guests can get you top billing on CNN as the social disaster of the season. But not with Kelly “the muscle” Fisher at the helm.
As I basically sit on Kelly at work, I was able to covertly snap this pic as she was hard at work in spreadsheet hell.
Saturday, April 10th, 2010
Ah the glamorous life of an intern. Being a born and bred Washingtonian, I spent many a summer working long hours for no pay doing important things like sorting the mail and cleaning the mold out of the office fridge. I interned for NPR and got to crawl under desks and switch radio wires. I interned for the Belgian government and wrote a very long report about international drainage systems, and I interned for The Kennedy Center and really honed my stalking skills.
I don’t know if the people I interned for liked me or not, but I can honestly say that my interns at Washington Life are absolutely fantastic. They work really hard, many have become very good friends and constant sources of entertainment, and all brought something unique and positive to the work place. Ali, who is currently one of my interns, has been with us for a year in May and has done a super fantastic job. She stays late into the night with us on deadline, finds typos that our bleary eyes are too tired to see and knows my job inside and out. Which is why we offered her a full time job today!
Ali graduates from GW this May and I’m thrilled that she will be joining the staff she is already very much a part of.
A very prim, proper, and maybe a tad blotto Ali and I at a recent work event. I can't wait till she starts working at the mag full time!
Friday, March 26th, 2010
Tonight was the party for our 2010 Fashion Awards. I’ve wanted to do a best dressed list since I came to Washington Life mag in 2008, and while I only got to highlight 35 people, it was still one of my favorite Washington Life projects. We celebrated those who don’t dress like color blind hill staffers at the gorgeous Textile Museum and I got to run around with an enormous grin plastered to my face. While I babbled about why we did the list, and what an honor it was to have folks in our city who don’t consider Ann Taylor high fashion, my interns Carley, Ali, and Ansley worked the door under Kelly Fisher’s watchful eye.
We had some practice at the office before the actual event, being sure to pick out people on the list we weren’t fond of and mock asking them to step to the side while we dealt with some VIPs. Clearly we have all been to snotty bars far too often because we had the routine down pat. “What did you say your last name was? We just don’t have you on the list. Please step to the side while I check in these guests.” It’s so fun to be a keeper of a list. Oh the power!
Of course the four of them were sweet as pie muscling the check in, but I know not one party crasher made it through. No one at Washington Life wants a Salahi scandal on their hands!
A gem in Kalorama is how I described the Textile Museum. Mostly because I tend to have verbal vomit when giving speeches, but also because the place is a gem.
Wednesday, January 27th, 2010
I am bleary-eyed as I compose this after working two twelve hour days and all weekend (insert sympathy here). This would be all well and good if I was rescuing orphans in Haiti or preforming life-saving surgery, but I’m not. I work for a luxury lifestyle magazine that just happens to take up my entire (not so luxurious) life. This issue was more of a doozy than usual because it’s our who’s who under 40 issue and we are currently sans a designer to make the magazine. So what do you do in a down economy when magazines are dropping like flies? Free labor! That’s where Erika and Ali come in. Two brilliant college students who we coerce into designing and copyediting the entire magazine in their spare time. Never mind that when I was in college I spent my hours between classes hot boxing my car and painting murals with my feet.
Students today don’t seem to have a second to kill their brain cells or make toe art. It’s a tragedy! In between writing papers on god knows what, they work three days a week at the magazine, toiling over the rants and raves of socialites. Tonight, Erika, our design intern, and Ali, my editorial intern, were the last two in the office with me. They caught typos, designed pages, and actually kept me from trying to stab myself with a butter knife. I’m so glad this bad boy is to the printer, and I am so so lucky to have wonderful, brilliant, over-worked interns who make sweatshop labor fun.
Date: 1/26/10. Time: 10 P.M. Who: Erika and Ali, unpaid intern geniuses who just created an entire magazine.
After Saint/Intern Ali and I left the office at an extremely late hour, there were about six fire trucks attending to a fire we couldn't smell or see. Very mysterious and rather exciting after you have been copy editing for 12 hours.