The Culture Club

Slay the Vacay, Part 2: #Missing Luggage

“Lost luggage is just an opportunity to start afresh…”

Chris Evans


NOT when you are on your dream vacation and you’ve packed every outfit by day and event.  Then it’s no longer a vacation- it’s a trip. Here are some tips and helpful information:

1) Go to the baggage claim office immediately. If your bags are not there, make a report.  Never leave the airport without making a lost baggage report.

2)  If your luggage is truly lost, keep all receipts for replacement items.  Do not exaggerate your claim because airlines won’t pay if they think the claim is fraudulent. Airlines do not pay for sentimental value and some airlines give a flat rate for lost luggage.

3) If the airline is uncooperative, make a claim with the  Department of Transportation.

4) If you made a connecting flight and your luggage was lost, the airline you departed from last is responsible for the baggage.  For example, let’s say the flight you took on Delta to New York was delayed and you barely made your flight to France from New York.  You arrive in France but your bag never made it.  Air France not Delta would take responsibility for your lost bags.

5) The Department of Transportation has $3,300.00 per bag available, but you have to be persistent in getting that money. Check your ticket because some airlines only pay a flat fee for bags and whatever is on your ticket is what they will pay. Only 6% of all claims are paid, and there is a lot of theft going on with baggage handlers and TSA.

6) When filing for compensation, you should include the copy of the PIR (lost luggage form), the boarding card with the attached luggage tag, and other documents such as receipts and photographs. Here’s a timetable for filing your complaint:

  • If your luggage has been damaged or destroyed, make your complaint within seven days
  • If your luggage has been delayed, file your complaint within 21 days of receiving it
  • If your luggage has been lost, make your complaint as soon as possible after it has been missing for 21 days.

7)  Did you know there is an unclaimed baggage center located in Alabama where lost baggage items and unclaimed items are sent and can be purchased?

The website is:

Safe and happy travels.


Slay the Vacay, Part1: Holding On to Your Baggage

First rule of travel: 

Keep your friends close and your bags closer.

 If you have a phone, you have your friends.  With luggage it may not be that easy.  That said, here are some simple tips to keep you tethered to your baggage:

1) Put all important items like, medicine, passports, visas, toiletries, at least one change of clothes, jewelry and anything that is really important to you in your carry on.

2) Take pictures of your non carry-on luggage.

3) Don’t put any electronics or high end tablets, cameras or phones. They aren’t covered by the airlines contract of carriage.

4) If you don’t have space to put your valuables in your carry-on, mail them to your destination. There are a lot of services now that go door to door with your valuables, very affordably and they insure them which the airlines do not.

5) Purchase lost baggage insurance.

6) Buy a luggage tracking device. Lug Loc, Tile Mate, and Tracdot are great alternatives.  The following site gives great feedback on each:

Best Luggage Tracking & Locating Devices for Travel 2017


Next week we will give you the lowdown on lost and damaged luggage.

Be Safe and Carry On: How to Pack a Suitcase

Summer is quickly approaching and if you are lucky you will be going on vacation. Learning how to pack can save you money and prevent the of stress paying for extra bags.  Here are some trip tips:

ALWAYS take a carry-on.  This subject is personal to me because I have lived the LL (lost luggage) nightmare.   I went to Paris and my bags were sent to Tokyo.  I did not get them back until I was ready to go home. The only thing that made my situation believable was that I at least had my meds.  LESSON LEARNED: Your carry on should include meds, jewelry and any thing that  you need to live.  If you can put all of your belongings in a carry on, do so.

P.S. I was miserable until I remembered that I was in the fashion capital of the world and that I would get reimbursed for everything I was “forced” to purchase.  The struggle was definitely real!! LOL

2. Tuck and roll – all of your items so they do not wrinkle.

3. Save samples of perfume and toiletries and pack them in your bags.  This will save you from violating the 3-1-1 liquids rule. (You are allowed to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes through the checkpoint. These are limited to 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item.)

4. Put a copy of your name and itinerary in non carry-ons in case they are lost.

5. Take pictures of your non carry-on bags.

Here is a great tutorial on packing.  Have a great trip -it’s in the bag!



Go Tell It on the Mountain: REI is Having a Grand Opening

Adventure Alert

REI has moved from Rockville to North Bethesda and the Grand Opening is from  April 28 – April 30!

While store doors open at 10 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11a.m. Sunday, the tailgating starts at 8:00 a.m.   There are food, games, classes, and giveaways.   The vendors are phenomenal.  I went on Friday and had a blast.

My favorite vendor was the Eagle Nest Outfitters who featured their deluxe hammock.   I “test rode” the single nest hammock and had a “Zen moment.” I did not want to leave so I interviewed their representative, so I could lay in it just a tad longer. Here is what I learned:

  1. The single nest hammock is lightweight (only 16 oz.) and portable.
  2. It can accommodate up to 400 pounds.
  3. There is a bag attached to hammock for easy storage.
  4. The hammock can be attached to a tree or a car.  There are  also a variety of hammock stands.

Other featured vendors:

Best gluten free cookie.


 Hiking shoes extraordinaire…

SMARTWool T-Shirts amazingly lightweight.

This company sponsored a game. Winners went home took home “the cup.”

The adventure continues when you walk through the doors of REI Coop:

The first 200 people (age 18 and older) through the door on Friday, Saturday and Sunday receive a limited-edition CamelBak water bottle with a single-use $10, $50 or $100 REI promotional card inside.

  1. Apply for an REI Co-op Mastercard 4/28/17–4/30/17 and earn a $20 REI gift card on the spot! Then earn a $100 REI gift card after approval, activation and purchase within 60 days. For complete details, visit the Welcome Center table during the grand opening.

Make the trek to REI Co-op and you too can be a happy camper.


The Roosters and the Hen Quarter

It is Wednesday night, the ambiance is  perfect, the  music is as intoxicating as the wine, and the food is tasty. Where am I? If you guessed the Hen Quarter (HQ) in Silver Spring, Maryland, you either saw my tweet or you were there with me.   For those of you who have not had the experience, do not deprive yourself of this treat any longer. This upscale coop is conveniently located in downtown Silver Spring where  there is drama-free parking.

For at least the next four weeks on Wednesdays from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm,  HQ will be hosting three celebrity roosters – the  Marcus Johnson Jazz Trio.  They put the “happy” in every one of those hours.

As you enjoy the music, look over the menu and try a glass of FLO wine – Marcus Johnson’s wine.  Yes, he does that too!  More good news – FLO wine can be purchased in some Giant Food and Whole Foods stores in the Metropolitan area.

The dream continues when you taste the food. The fried entrees are light and crispy, not greasy.  The portions are generous. The service is so wonderful, that the twenty percent tip seems inadequate.

Enjoy a Wednesday evening at the Hen Quarter where the roosters crow at Happy Hour. #cultureclub

#MarcusJohnson  #henquarter

Hotel Lombardy: Stepping Back in Time With All the Modern Conveniences


For New Years Eve, we decided to book a hotel for the night so that we would not have to drive home after the concert at the Kennedy Center.  Rather than to stay at Marriott or Hilton properties, we opted for an adventure and booked Hotel Lombardy, a historic boutique – type hotel in Washington D.C. What a pleasant surprise! When we pulled up, we were immediately greeted by a helpful doorman.  The lobby, while small was decorated elegantly.


The older gentleman at the front desk looked like he was a handpicked extra from a 1940’s Humphrey Bogart movie.   He was stately and very polite.   When we got to our rooms, we recognized that each room had inner and outer doors and the rooms were both decorated with antiques.  The layout of the rooms however, was different.  Apparently, we were in the Parkview Room which offered a living room and a mini bar.



Our friends’ room had separate area with a mini kitchen complete with a bistro table and chairs.  The hotel was quiet , save a small hum of the hotel heating system. The next morning we enjoyed a tasty brunch in the hotel restaurant overlooking a picturesque view of Pennsylvania Avenue.


NOTE: The elevators are small, so if you are in a hurry start early (we were not, so it worked out well) .   All in all, a good experience.  It was definitely worth the money.


The Greenbriar Getaway: A Marriage of Luxury and Intrigue

Nestled in the hills of West Virginia, the Greenbriar offers, panoramic mountain views, timeless Draper décor, a stellar spa, fun activities  and  connectivity for those who are tethered to their electronics. Political junkies, historians and conspiracy theorists, definitely take the bunker tour. No cell phones allowed. It is VERY interesting…. Check their vacay packages for a more affordable experience.  You will not be disappointed.

Fun Times in the DMV!

Black Side of the Moon - Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company - Washington, DC

‘Black Side of the Moon’ – Nov. 12 – Jan. 1, 2017

Second City returns to Woolly Mammoth Theatre to dish out another serving of outstanding improv comedy. Black Side of the Moon features Chicago’s funniest African American sketch and stand-up performers diving deep into the Black experience. Expect a gamut of sketches that cover the past, the present and the future in this special holiday production at DC’s go-to theatre for alternative plays.

Tickets   Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, 641 D Street NW, Washington, DC 20004


Watson Adventures: Murder at the Museum of American History Scavenger Hunt

This public scavenger hunt/murder mystery game hosted by Watson Adventures takes you to the National Museum of American History, immersing you in a whodunit involving a long-lost invention from Benjamin Franklin. Those involved in the discovery of the “infernal machine” have been disappearing, and it’s your job to discover why. This for-adults-only excursion asks that you gather a team of two to six to crack a secret code to solve the mystery and halt the murders. You’ll have a chance to fully explore the museum while also putting your detective skills to the test.

Nov. 12 at 2 p.m. | Tickets National Museum of American History, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20560


Mount Vernon Avenue for “Art on the Avenue” in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria. Experience tents filled with hand-crafted art, clothing, jewelry, photography, paintings and more line the street. There is food — either in restaurants or in the food court — as well as music on five stages throughout the day, part of Alexandria Live Music Week. Nov. 12 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. FREE.

Down Time in the DMV

Here are some interesting leisure picks for this week:

  1. ‘POTUS Among Us’ Washington Improv Theater hosts this interactive, election-themed play at Source Theatre in Logan Circle throughout the weekend. Improvisers let you pick the candidate and tell their story. Then the actors add scandals that made history. If you like Saturday Night Live you will love this. Saturday, 11/5 at 8 p.m. Source Theatre, 1835 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009. Call OvationTix customer service toll-free: 866-811-4111
  2.  ‘STREB Extreme Action: SEA’ Presentation by modern dance company, STREB, is led by Elizabeth Streb. SEA is a mix of dance, athletics, boxing, circus, rodeo and stunt work, as daring performers demonstrate amazing feats. Audience members can contribute to the playlist by way of an interactive sound track component. Saturday 11/5 at 2 p.m. & 8 p.m. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566
  3.  Maxwell and Mary J. Blige will take their King + Queen of Hearts World Tour to Verizon Center, equipped with years of smash hits. Maxwell’s most recent release, blackSUMMERS’night, is being hailed as one of his best, while Mary J. has been conquering the charts since What’s the 411? arrived in 1992. Don’t miss one of the best soul shows of the year. Sunday 11/6 at 7 p.m. Go to Ticketmaster


How about your hometown? Share your most interesting places for entertainment and we will post them. In the DMV we love to travel…