White House Week


On Monday, the White House marked Women's Equality Day by commemorating the 93rd anniversary of the certification of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. Advocates such as Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Ida B. Wells devoted decades of hard work to ensure that women’s voices could be heard. As a result, historic change occurred, forever transforming our nation as we took another step toward a more perfect union.

Official White House Photo

On Tuesday, President Obama Army Staff Sergeant Ty M. Carter with the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry. Carter was one of 53 American soldiers who woke up the morning of October 9, 2009 to an attack by more than 300 Taliban fighters. You can read more about Sergeant Carter's heroic actions here.

Commemorations of the March on Washington fifty years ago dominated the news this week. As well as Political Style's coverage of the events, make sure you read this article by Cecilia Munoz, Director of the Domestic Policy Council where she reflects upon the work left to do on voting rights, jobs and equal opportunity in the USA. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius also writes about the renewed meaning of Dr. King's 'I have a dream' speech.

Behind the Scenes at the White House: July 2013


President Barack Obama greets former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Outer Oval Office, July 29, 2013.

President Barack Obama presents Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., with a birthday cupcake aboard Air Force One, July 24, 2013.

President Barack Obama, with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Chief of Staff Denis McDonough participates in a meeting on the Affordable Care Act in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, July 23, 2013.

President Barack Obama departs the South Lawn of the White House aboard Marine One, July 24, 2013.

First Lady Michelle Obama greets children during a visit to Sterling Farms Grocery Store in Marrero, Louisiana, July 23, 2013.

Marine One approaches the South Lawn of the White House, July 25, 2013.

Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden lay a wreath with Tara Gandhi Bhattacharjee, granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi, and Amb. Nancy Powell, left, at the Martyr's Column at the Gandhi Smriti Museum in New Delhi, India, July 22, 2013.

President Barack Obama walks with Amb. Capricia Marshall, outgoing Chief of Protocol, U.S. Department of State, in the Green Room of the White House after the Diplomatic Corps Reception, July 19, 2013.

First Lady Michelle Obama greets audience members after delivering remarks at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) annual conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, July 23, 2013.

Former President George H. W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush present President Barack Obama with a pair of socks in the Map Room of the White House, July 15, 2013.

President Barack Obama, with former President George H. W. Bush, delivers remarks before they present the 5,000th Daily Point of Light Award to Outreach Inc. co-founders Floyd Hammer and Kathy Hamilton, in the East Room of the White House, July 15, 2013.

First Lady Michelle Obama dances as Rachel Crow performs during the Kids' State Dinner in the East Room of the White House, July 9 2013.

Official White House Photos

President Barack Obama greets young reporters at the Kids' State Dinner in the East Room of the White House, July 9, 2013.

Discovering DC: Dupont Circle


This week's Discovering DC heads to Dupont Circle with Carmen from That Carmen!

What's your history with Dupont Circle and DC?
My first job brought me to Washington in 2007. Before then, I'd only been to DC a handful of (very touristy) times. My husband and I moved here never having lived in a city before, and we were looking for a walkable neighborhood with lots to do. Dupont was a perfect fit, and we've been here ever since.

Discovering Dupont Circle- what are your favourite places to shop/eat/go with friends/people watch?
I've never been to a consignment shop with a better selection than Secondi. The women who work there do a fantastic job of curating trends and investments in their sunny second floor space.

Lou Lou Dupont always has the accessory I need to finish an outfit or give as a gift to a friend.

The women in my writing circles have a recurring happy hour that usually meets at the Tabard Inn, a boutique hotel. It's a great place for brunch, too!

Rosemary's Thyme has a wonderful happy hour as well, featuring Mediterranean small plates and frozen margaritas.

Gelato isn't just an Italian dessert- the Argentine gelato at locally-owned Dolcezza is to die for.

If you're serious about coffee, don't miss Filter.

To squeeze in a mani-pedi with friends, visit Mimosa Salon late on a weekday, especially on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. They have "happy hour" prices, and you'll get more attentive service because the salon is far less crowded than it is on weekends.

The best people watching happens in Dupont Circle itself. But interesting characters can be found sipping vodka at the Russia House.

Perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon in Dupont Circle?
First up, brunch prix fixe with friends and bottomless mimosas at Agora. Then a stroll to Kramerbooks, to find the next book for my to-read list. After that, Hello Cupcake to pick up a Peanut Butter Blossom for my husband. Wrap up the evening together with him on my building's rooftop, watching the sun set over a bottle of Trader Joe's three buck Chuck.

Rosa Loves DC
Discover more editions of Discovering DC in our archive.

J Crew on Regent Street


J Crew
I am BEYOND EXCITED for the opening of J Crew on Regent Street, London later this year. The J Crew team have already been tempting our fashion tastebuds with an excellent art installation from London set designer Shona Heath on the barricade for its new store. Inspired by iconic images from British pop culture, the installation of beautifully crafted taxis suspended above the heart of Regent Street is definitely not to be missed.

New Arrivals at Banana Republic


Another of my favorite new arrivals has landed in my inbox- this time from Banana Republic. Here are the pieces that have piqued my interest...

Get shopping! 

The First Lady speaks at a screening of 'The Powerbroker'


The First Lady spoke at a screening of 'The Powerbroker: Whitney Young's Fight for Civil Rights' yesterday. The documentary narrated by Alfre Woodard, chronicles Whitney Young's civil rights fight of the 1960's that took him from segregated Kentucky to leader of the National Urban League. The First Lady graduated from the Whitney M. Young Magnet High School in Chicago, IL in 1981. August 27, 2013.

Mrs O wore a patterned floral dress, perfect for the last days of summer!

In the Studio with Blair Ritchey


Blair Ritchey is certainly a designer to watch. Growing up in a small town in Pennsylvania, Blair developed a strong interest in fashion from a young age. After graduating high school she was unsure what career path to follow; she opted for a more traditional route and studied Psychology. Unable to deny her strong desire to learn more about the fashion industry, Blair spent her summers in New York interning for various designers.

It was during her first internship with a handbag designer that she discovered her real passion. When Blair decided to finally launch her own line of handbags she knew that she wanted to offer designs that were simplistic and easily transitional from day to evening, as well as season to season. It was also important that each handbag be functional and serve a purpose, while beautifully complimenting an outfit.

Read on for my exclusive interview with Blair, as well as some exclusive behind-the-scenes photos of the designer hard at work in her studio.

How did you establish your business?

One day at a time.  I talked about having my own handbag line ‘some day’ for a very long time.  I was talking to my dad about it for probably the 100th time and he said “ When are you going to stop talking about it and just do it?”  Shortly after that I sat down at my sewing machine and made my first bag.  The months following that I perfected my sewing skills and sourced materials.  Once I felt comfortable and proud of my bags I listed them for sale online.  Through the help of bloggers and promoting myself on social media I began growing little by little.  Day by day it seemed to take forever for things to start rolling, but looking back in 2 years things have really come together faster than I ever imagined.

What inspired you to begin designing a range of leather goods?

I’ve always loved a good quality leather handbag, but I often had difficulty finding one that was well made and didn’t have a ton of hardware and embellishments.  It seemed that there was either simple designs that were unlined with raw edges or ones that had an overabundance of studs and logos.  I saw an opportunity to create handbags that were made of beautiful leather and hardware that served a purpose and didn’t take away from the design.

Do you have a background in fashion design?

I do have a background, I interned for designers while I was in college studying Psychology.  After graduating, I moved to New York to work for Laura Madrigano, a handbag designer that I had previously interned with.  I later decided to get my Associates degree in Fashion Design and Marketing. The program was more of a crash course in multiple areas, however as I began my business it gave me a foundation to build upon.

Where do you find inspiration for your collection?

Much of my inspiration is gathered from my own personal desires in what I want in a handbag or accessory as well as from what I see when observing other women.  For instance, the belt bag allows for your hands to be free so you can be focusing on other things, but since your focus is not on your bag it allows you to be an easy target for someone to swipe your belongings. For that reason the lock was added.  I love meeting a need with a simple stylish solution.

What is the process for starting a collection?

The process varies but typically I begin by creating an inspiration board that includes my sketches, color and leather swatches, and other items that are currently inspiring me.  I tend to gather and build on this until I settle on the bags for the new collection.
What new designs are you working on?

I am really excited about the new belt bag that will be coming out along with the iPad case.  They both have locks that make them unique and functional.
Where do you source your materials?

All my material is sourced within the United States.  I am proud of the fact that my bags are also made in the USA.  It is not always easy to find the hardware that I’m looking for and many times I have to adjust the design multiple times to suit the hardware but that keeps me evolving as a designer and it is important to me to support American suppliers.

Which individuals would you love to see carrying one of your bags or clutches?

Honestly, what I look forward to most is the day that I am walking down the street and randomly spot someone carrying one of my bags.  I’m sure I will turn into a giddy little girl and ask to take my picture with them.

Are there any political that you would like to see carrying one of your items?

Oh my, what an honored it would be to see the First Lady sporting one of my bags and maybe matching ones for Malia and Sasha!

Which companies provide you with inspiration and drive for your business?

There are so many talented designers out there that I find inspiring.  The designer that I love the most is Carolina Herrera.  A few years ago I read a book on her story and she is a true lady through and through. She credits the late Cristolbal Balenciaga as being a huge inspiration to her, another designer that I have enjoyed learning about.  They both understand women and what flatters and accentuates a woman’s body from the meticulous draping to the sharp crisp lines and folds.

How has social media helped to promote and grow your business?

Social media and bloggers have played such a huge part in growing my business.  Small designers, like myself, are so incredibly fortunate to have the ability to get the exposure that use to only be available to companies with large marketing budgets.  In addition, it gives me a way to connect with customers and allows them to get to know me on a more personal level.

What are your hopes for the future of your business?

My hope is that my business continues to grow and evolve.  A lot has recently changed in the past several months, my friend Melissa has come on to head up the marketing and sales which will keep the company moving forward while giving me more time on designing and sourcing.  I look forward to see where we are this time next year!  

What advice can you offer for young women hoping to establish a similar fashion based business?

Start really really small. The most important thing is to just start.  You’ll hear that from almost anyone who has started a company, because just starting is the absolute hardest part. Make a commitment to do at least one thing every day that takes you closer to your goal.

Blair Ritchey

Keep up to date with Blair Ritchey on her blog | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram

Leukaemia and Lymphoma Society Fundraiser to be hosted by Carine's Bridal Atelier


Make sure you support a fundraiser happy hour for The Leukaemia and Lymphoma Society hosted by Carine's Bridal Atelier on August 28th.

The event is to be held at the Town Hall from 7pm-9pm and during the course of the evening, guests will be asked to pay a suggested donation of $10 in exchange for drink specials.

Carine's Bridal Atelier is participating in the LLS's Light The Night Walk on October 19th, in honor of Carine Krawiec's father.

To attend the fundraiser contact Katie via email.

Links of the Week


Kate Spade for Keds


I love my Kate Spade for Keds sneakers, and am so excited for these New York inspired new designs! My only problem will be deciding which one to get... or shall I purchase both?!

Kate Spade

White House Week


Official White House Photo

A new puppy has arrived at the White House! A sister to Bo, Sunny made her debut on Tuesday.

The Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force reported back on its strategy this week, with its Rebuilding Strategy providing information on how it will help guide investment of funds, and assisting communities across the USA in preparing for the increasing risks caused by extreme weather. Read the Strategy here.

President Obama is committed to making college more affordable, and earlier this week he travelled to New York and Pennsylvania to introduce a new set of ideas to rethink the way in which higher education is paid for. This includes connecting financial aid to school performance, supporting academic innovation and competition as well as making financial aid more affordable. Find out further details here.

The White House

Discovering DC: Arlington


This week's Discovering DC heads to Arlington with Elizabeth from Love. Life. Beauty.

What’s your history with Arlington and D.C.?
I attended The George Washington University for undergrad from 2008-2012.  While I lived on campus all four years that definitely didn't stop me from experiencing everything D.C. has to offer from the amazing restaurants, great late night hot spots, and luxurious shopping.  I decided to go straight to graduate school at GW so now I'm a student at GWU's Graduate School of Education and Human Development, studying to get my M.Ed May 2014 in elementary education.  

I chose to live in Arlington, I live in the Columbia Heights neighborhood [less than 1mile from Pentagon City, 5 minute drive from Clarendon], I love my studio apartment so much and the drive into D.C. is literally 5 minutes so I don't feel like I'm too far away!  I want to teach in D.C. so I figure I'll be living here for at least a few more years, we'll see where I end up!

Discovering Arlington- what are your favorite places to shop/eat/go with friends/ people watch?
There are so many places I love both in D.C. and Arlington I have no idea how to narrow them all down!  In D.C. I love going to happy hours all over the city, it's my favorite way to go out and catch up with my girls.  Some of my favorite happy hour places are Zengo, Oya, Chef Geoff's Downtown, and Mad Rose Tavern [Arlington].  Also, I'm a huge foodie and will go to a restaurant any chance I get.  It's my goal to go to every restaurant in D.C., and trust me, I'm well on my way!  

When my mom is in town and I'm craving an absolutely over the top dinner I love Rogue 24, 1789, and Bourbon Steak at The Four Seasons.  When I can't afford an over the top dinner, but still want something incredible, I head to Bodega, Jaleo, Founding Farmers, or El Centro.  In terms of going out, Lost Society [or really any place on U St.] has always been a favorite of mine, as has Park at 14th.  

I love to shop in Georgetown [I really miss Barnes & Noble!]; Blue Mercury and Sephora are my favorites, but I always find myself walking in Cusp "just browsing" and walking out with everything I did not need!  I also love shopping in Clarendon, especially when I used to have off on Fridays.  Market Common Clarendon has LOFT, lulu lemon, The Container Store, Pottery Barn, Origins, and Williams & Sonoma [just to name a few of my favorites].  It's so nice to walk around and then slip into Cava Mezze or Circa for a quick lunch and afternoon glass of vino!      

Perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon in Arlington?
A perfect Saturday afternoon would certainly include a mimosa brunch.  In D.C. my favorites are Zengo, Cedar, and District Commons [I have a ton more places on my list I have yet to go to].  In Virginia you can't have bottomless mimosas [lame] but I recently discovered Whitlows on Wilson in Clarendon, which to many is just a dive bar, but their brunch is actually amazing.  Carafes are inexpensive and their buffet includes crab legs & fried chicken, along with a ton of other options….for $20, perfect hangover food!  Anyway, after brunch I love either just going shopping [most of the time by myself, I just prefer that] in either Georgetown or Clarendon, or taking my dog to my apartment's dog park.  

Saturday is usually the day I'll get my bi-weekly pedicure & gel nail fill- I go to W Nails in Pentagon City, they have so many pedicure options, the staff is friendly and they always have the Travel Channel on, so…I love it.  I also love to try new recipes on Saturday and Sunday afternoons if it's a low-key day…my favorite food blog is How Sweet Eats, I'm obsessed with making her recipes!  I also have just about every cookbook they sell at Anthropologie and I love trying new healthy recipes from those as well!  

Elizabeth from Love. Life. Beauty.
Check out more posts in the Discovering DC archive here.

AERIN launches new website


I'm a big fan of AERIN so was delighted to visit their newly relaunched website recently!

My favorite sections include Fall Home and Home, but all are magical and truly worth a visit!

What are your favorite items from AERIN?


Check it Out: Huffington Post Blog Contributions


Many of you will be aware that I contribute to the Huffington Post's blog section. I've worked on a really diverse set of pieces of late, and wanted to share them with you all!

I pen a Women in Business Q&A Column for Huff Po, and one of my most interesting pieces has been interviewing Cinnabon President, Kat Cole. I've also interviewed Suzy Boerboom, Co-founder and CEO of Welycon and Gretchen Hollifield, founder of The Dog Wizard.

I had the chance to go behind the scenes at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff to see the great work that St John Cymru Wales volunteers do providing first aid for those in need.

I've also been 'leaning in' and looking at the impact of community and technology, as well as the branding of Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In book and movement.

It would be great to hear your thoughts!

White House Week


Before departing for their vacation, the President and First Lady spoke at the Disabled American Veterans National Convention in Orlando, FL.

The First Lady opened her remarks by sharing the joy she has experienced when meeting with veterans and families like those represented in the audience: "I have laughed with your children at barbeques. I’ve gone to baby showers with spouses. I’ve learned so much during my many visits to military bases across this country. I’ve even smashed a champagne bottle to christen a Coast Guard cutter.”

The President began by speaking to every generation of wounded warriors, recounting national conflicts, and commending them for their valor and dedication to American ideals.

This week marks the tenth anniversary of one of the worst power outages in the United States, where much of the East Coast and Mid West were effected by power outages due to severe weather. A new report from the White House Council of Economic Advisers and the Energy Department evaluates the economic cost of power outages and calls for increased cross-sector investment to make the electric grid more resilient in the face of increasingly severe weather events due to climate change.

The costs of outages take various forms including lost output and wages, spoiled inventory, delayed production, inconvenience and damage to the electric grid. Continued investment in grid modernization and resilience will mitigate these costs over time – saving the economy billions of dollars and reducing the hardship experienced by millions of Americans when extreme weather strikes. You can find out more by visiting Smart Grid.

Discovering DC: McLean, VA


In this week's Discovering DC we head to McLean, VA with Kirsten from Red White and Bows! 

What's your history with McLean/Great Falls and DC?
I’m fairly new to the area, I moved to McLean during the summer of 2012 and have lived here for about a year. Since moving here I have fallen in love with the area, I never run out of things to do and I love to spend time in DC. I grew up in the New York tri-state area, and go to school in Boston so I love the milder winters in D.C.  and hope to get a job down here after college.

Discovering McLean/Great Falls- what are your favorite places to shop/eat/go with friends/people watch?
In my area of Northern Virginia, one of my favorite places to shop and people watch is in Reston Town Center. I love this area because it’s outdoors, parking is easy, there’s a ton of awesome restaurants and of course great shopping. For starters, they have a J. Crew, which is my absolute favorite store on the planet, so anywhere with a J. Crew is on the top of my list. But they also have South Moon Under, which is perfect for girly pieces, Anthropologie, which I love for accessories and home decor, and Lou Lou, where I always end up leaving with a new statement necklace.

As far as restaurants, I love to come here on a summer night because it’s bustling with people and if you sit on the terrace at any restaurant it’s great for people watching. Some of my favorite restaurants in the area are Mon Ami Gabi for amazing French food and perfect outdoor dining, and Vapiano for home-made pasta and the best salads. They also have a Red Velvet Cupcakery in Reston which I think are the absolute best cupcakes in the area.

One of my other favorite places to eat and people watch in my area is Chef Geoff’s in Tyson’s. I love to come here for happy hour because their appetizers are fantastic and it always super busy and bustling with people. Plus it’s sandwiched between a Hermes store and a Tiffany’s store so it doesn’t get classier than that.

Perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon in McLean/ Great Falls?
The perfect Saturday afternoon in my area would start with a hike at Great Falls National Park. I love to hike here and watch the waterfalls – it’s so beautiful and always amazing to me that something as grand as these waterfalls could be only a few miles from my house. Then I’d probably head over to Sweet Water in Dulles for a late lunch – you literally can’t go wrong with anything on the menu here and the drink menu is great! After, I’d probably head over to Tyson’s Galleria, the smaller mall in Tyson’s Corner, and rummage through the racks of the Lilly Pulitzer, J. Crew and Vineyard Vine’s stores. I much prefer this mall to Tyson’s Corner Center because it’s a lot less crowded and overwhelming.

Red White and Bows
Check out more posts from the Discovering DC archive here.

Michelle Obama covers Parade Magazine


J Crew for High Line


The High Line is one of my favorite places to visit in New York, and the collaboration between J Crew and the landmark is the stuff dreams are made of!

This watercolor map tee is perfect for weekend chic, and why not wear it on your next visit to the High Line?

Check out the other products available here! 

Carine's Bridal Atelier: Monique Lhuillier Trunk Show 22-24th August 2013


Luxury bridal boutique Carine's Bridal Atelier will host a Monique Lhuillier bridal trunk show at their Georgetown boutique on August 22nd till August 24th.

Brides-to-be will have the wonderful opportunity to view the Monique Lhuillier Spring 2014 collection and be guided by Carine Krawiec and her expert consultants; dedicated to making their brides-to-be dreams come true.

Brides will receive a 10% discount with the purchase of a Monique Lhuillier gown during the duration of the trunk show. The Monique Lhuillier Trunk Show at Carine’s Bridal Atelier will feature formal looks including beautiful strapless fitted gowns with floor lenght capes to full skirted gowns done in an ivory-to-champagne ombre effect.

Brides-to-be who attend the trunk show, will also receive a fun swag bag filled with goodies from some of our dear friends like Rodney Bailey Photography, Bloomingdales, The Dandelion Patch, Carl Ray Make-up Design, and more!

Appointments are available by calling Carine’s Bridal Atelier at 202.965.4696 or by emailing an appointment request to info@carinesbridal.com.

Tommy Hilfiger: Fall 2013 Collection


Tommy Hilfiger

The Hilfigers take prep back to its Ivy League roots this season, with classic pieces embracing fresh kicks of color, modern cuts and fall-ready textures.

What are my faves?

One Beat Designs Mlekoshi playground