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EXCLUSIVE: First Look at the 2014 POSTES Collection

February 4, 2014

Amore City POSTES (Photo by: claudinesorel.com) Amore City POSTES

We first introduced you to Claudine Sorel in 2012 as she began to launch her line of designer handbags, POSTES, a chic interpretation of the traditional leather mailbag worn for more than a 100 years by members of the French postal service.

As Claudine told The Georgetown Dish, “The seductive part of these bags was their purpose. As all communication was done by mail, they carried many secret letters for professionals ... and lovers. The postman’s bag was not only strong but romantic.”

Vintage French Postman Bag (Photo by: claudinesorel.com) Vintage French Postman Bag

How fitting that the 2014 POSTES Collection, entirely handmade in New York City, comes out just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Here's a sneak peek at the new line by this multi-talented French designer who lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband, Mark Bloomfield and French cocker spaniel, Antoine Bloomfield. Incidentally, Antoine is also a Dish contributor.

The new POSTES Collection is characterized by its luscious, limited edition color palette of sea green, sky blue, clay and amber, as well as vivid scarlet, night black, emerald green, and saffron. All bags are offered in unique combinations of alligator, fur, lambskin and calfskin leathers.

(Photo by: claudinesorel.com)

"POSTES" is embossed on the large size (City Collection) bag, a nostalgic homage to the bag's original purpose. A smaller (Mini Collection) version is currently available in fur and alligator. Claudine's signature hardware, in polished palladium, polished gold or vintage brass, is hand-selected to harmonize with each bag's colorway.

Positano Alligator Mini POSTES  (Photo by: claudinesorel.com) Positano Alligator Mini POSTES

One of the special features of the City POSTES design is the unique way the wearer can adjust the strap length. ‘Bethesda Clips’ (yes, a nod to the Maryland suburb) are elegantly located under the shoulder straps allow the wearer to adjust the chain to be worn on the shoulder or short on the arm.

Crystal City POSTES (Photo by: claudinesorel.com) Crystal City POSTES

And now, the entire POSTES Collection, 100% made in Manhattan, is available exclusively online here.

Hannah Yelland with Hannah City POSTES (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Hannah Yelland with Hannah City POSTES

Sweet Pea City POSTES (Photo by: claudinesorel.com) Sweet Pea City POSTES

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AtlanticLIVE Asks Congress About The State of the Union

January 29, 2014

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)

Following President Obama’s State of the Union Address Tuesday, The Atlantic and National Journal editors gathered early Wednesday morning at the Newseum for the 12th Annual State of the Union Congressional Debrief.

Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE) (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE)

National Journal Group Publisher John Fox Sullivan introduced Atlantic Media Company’s Senior Editorial Director, Ronald Brownstein, AtlanticLIVE's Editor-in-Chief, Steve Clemons, and The Atlantic’s staff writer, Molly Ball. During the hour-and-a-half session, they were joined by five invited Republican and Democratic members of Congress.

Taking turns with the Atlantic Media panel, members gave their views on the President's address and offered predictions on the country's future. Audience guests were invited to ask questions.

Joaquin Castro D-TX United States House of Representatives (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Joaquin Castro D-TX United States House of Representatives

Democratic Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal saw signs of "congressional thawing" on areas of the budget, foreign policy, flood insurance, and immigration reform. Describing the President's tone as aspirational, he emphasized the need to repair the country's aging infrastructure, and reforming health care, especially for returning military.

Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL)

Deb Fischer, Republican Senator from Nebraska, talked about the current policy of "War on Coal" alluding to the fourth proposal of the Keystone Pipeline awaiting government approval. She affirmed her support for the Farm Bill.

Texas Congressman, Democrat Joaquin Castro spoke about economic justice issues including citizenship and job retraining.

Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO)

Aaron Schock, Republican from the 18th District of Illinois, and 2nd youngest member of Congress, felt the President had "spent political capital on healthcare." Explaining that half the country is opposed to Obamacare, with the Department of Health and Human Services deciding "what's deemed adequate health insurance," he suggesting allowing for cross-state options. A big fan of "Birth to 5" early childhood programs, Schock touted the program's proven successful in Illinois. Regarding raising minimum wage for government contractors, Shock explained that would have zero impact for any current workers.

Diana DeGette, Democrat from Colorado's First District, in describing her state's "powerhouse of energy" with its natural gas, fracking, solar and wind power, empahasized the need for a comprehensive national energy policy.

John Hoeven, a pro-life Republican sentaor from North Dakota, talked about his state as the country's fastest growing and second biggest producer of oil (after Texas).

The event was sponsored by AtlanticLIVE.

With Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) (third from left) (Photo by: Judith Beermann) With Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) (third from left)

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DC Mayoral Candidates Debate at Dumbarton House

January 9, 2014

As a standing-room-only crowd of 250 District voters packed into the basement of Dumbarton House, moderator Davis Kennedy of The Current Newspapers introduced six candidates for DC mayor Thursday evening. The event was sponsored by the Citizens Association of Georgetown (CAG) and the Georgetown Business Association (GBA).

Muriel Bowser greets Andy Shallal (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Muriel Bowser greets Andy Shallal

Incumbent Mayor Vincent Gray could not make it, explained Davis, “because he had to address an urgent public safety matter.” Councilmembers Muriel Bowser, Jack Evans, Vincent Orange and Tommy Wells, ex State Department Official under former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Reta Jo Lewis and restaurateur Andy Shallal offered their plans for the city and responded to questions posed by Kennedy.

Tommy Wells and Davis Kennedy (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Tommy Wells and Davis Kennedy

While each candidate cited their qualifications for the position, all agreed that the city needs more affordable housing, better neighborhood schools, a ban on corporate contributions, transit equity, parity across wards especially east of the river, and raising minimum and living wages.

Opinions varied on the merits of Large Retailer Accountability Act (LRAA), which would have required most of the district’s big-box retailers to pay a higher minimum wage. Bowser was clear that she did not support the bill.

Reta Jo Lewis supporting higher minimum and living wage (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Reta Jo Lewis supporting higher minimum and living wage

Shallal, owner of Busboys and Poets and Eatonville Restaurant, talked about a "tale of two cities" with DC being one the nation's wealthiest but also having the highest rate of childhood poverty.

With a general consensus that there was no need for new taxes, everyone vociferously agreed that sales taxes should not include gym memberships. Orange, Bowser and Wells, who had noticably dropped weight, looked trim and fit for the race.

Jack Evans cites his 22 years on the city council (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Jack Evans cites his 22 years on the city council

When it came to Georgetown issues including what should be done with the Whitehurst Freeway, candidates expressed more diversity. Smiling, Bowser noted that “This is when I should say I support Ward 2 Council member. Running for mayor I learned how long it takes to go anywhere. We should be very careful about losing capacity." Evans recalled a visit with former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, “Standing underneath it, it’s very ugly. But driving home it’s beautiful.” Eventually it will come down, he believed.

Vincent Orange talks about the need for growth east of the river (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Vincent Orange talks about the need for growth east of the river

Evans announced that the Georgetown Department of Motor Vehicles office would be reopening in May and that Wisconsin Avenue would soon be reopening with three lanes.

Davis Kennedy confers with Christian Carter (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Davis Kennedy confers with Christian Carter

On building a Georgetown metro stop, “Sounds like a whole lot of construction,” said Shallal, who supports a robust city trolley system. Lewis reiterated her message of equal opportunity across the city, while Orange enthusiastically supported a metro stop and the BID’s 2028 plan.

An hour into the debate, 31-year old Christian Carter, a seventh generation Washingtonian arrived and insisted on taking a seat at the table. Davis Kennedy pointed out that “all major candidates and fringe candidates with reasonable long shots were invited.”

Christian Carter asks for candidates' votes (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Christian Carter asks for candidates' votes

To Davis, Carter said, “Isn’t it hard enough to run for mayor without dealing with you?”

Echoing audience objection to the moderator's characterization of her as a "fringe candidate," Reta Jo Lewis said about Davis, “That was an unacceptable comment. All I’m looking for is a fair shot.”

Carter was then given an opportunity to address all questions.

Next, each candidate was asked “a series of ultra tough questions” tailored to them. To Evans, Davis asked about his initial opposition to Marion Barry’s censure. Evans responded that he ultimately voted to take his chairmanship away but felt his being sanctioned was sufficient.

Candidates shake hands following debate (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Candidates shake hands following debate

Wells was asked about his three or four major accomplishments, to which he cited creating Housing First, my stand on juvenile justice, and being champion for minimum wage.

Bowser was asked about her disagreement with Council member Mary Cheh’s sponsored legislation that would have prevented gas distributors from also operating gas stations. She reiterated her disagreement with Cheh on the bill that was particularly aimed at one local distributor.

Candidates pose for photo afer debate (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Candidates pose for photo afer debate

Lewis, who frequently cited her service in President Obama's administration, was asked about the disparity of her national versus local experience, to which she responded that her 35 years working on issues was local experience.

To Carter, Davis asserted he had trouble answering a number of the questions. Carter responded by inviting everyone in the audience to be part of his team. Turning to the candidates, “I think all of you should vote for me as well.”

All were asked about their views on whether DC should turn over citizenship information to immigration authorities. Shallal, who was born in Iraq, answered that there are already mechanisms in place and applauded IDs for immigrants.

In closing, each candidate asked for residents' votes on April 1.

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