My week took a decidedly Asian turn last night, as I celebrated the lunar new year with friends at an exclusive party hosted by the Vietnamese ambassador, Nguyen Quoc Cuong, and his lovely wife, Ha Hoang, at the Vietnamese embassy in Washington D.C. Holding my engraved invitation, stamped with the seal of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, I entered the stately interior of the embassy building outfitted with gleaming crystal chandeliers and gorgeous paintings. I mingled with the other party-goers dressed in their best finery, wearing my Ao Dai (formal Vietnamese gown) that was custom made for me in Hanoi last summer. A beautiful gold brocade set on black velvet over gold satin pants, I wore my Ao Dai with black platform pumps by Call It Spring for JCPenney.com.
|Engraved invitation from the Vietnamese Embassy|
I complemented the gold-threaded embroidery with vintage pearl, black and gold drop earrings that I’ve owned for decades and a black, gold and pearl beaded bracelet from Fire & Ice Jewelers of Baltimore (http://www.fireandice.com/), along with a black and gold rimmed seashell ring I found at the Renaissance Festival in Laurel, Maryland, last fall, and a black and gold Dea Dread hair accessory by Thea Osato of Baltimore (http://deadreads.etsy.com/).
|Ambassador Nguyen Quoc Cuong and his wife, Ha Hoang, make an offering|
|Ambassador Cuong gives his new year's speech|
The food and atmosphere were festive, with wine and whiskey flowing freely. After the ambassador offered prayers to Buddha and Ho Chi Minh and made his new year speech, several singers and a pianist took to the stage to entertain guests, and a buffet of tasty treats including Saigon salad, pork satay and crispy spring rolls, along with no less than a half dozen different rice dishes (rice brings good luck in the new year) rounded out the fun evening.
|The year of the dragon, portrayed in sushi|
|There I am with Ambassador Cuong and his wife|
Chúc Mừng Nǎm Mới,