Friday, September 28, 2012

What to Do in the District this Weekend

This week Jules and AppealingKate team up to provide you with a full list of things going on in and around the District.

Friday

Like the federal government, the Smithsonian Museums usually shut down at 5:30 p.m. sharp. But tonight the Freer Gallery on the National Mall is staying open late to host Asia After Dark. This event will highlight Asian film, art and dance music. Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door. In addition, Ping Pong Dim Sum will have not one, not two, but three bars at the event. If you’ve ever had a cocktail from Ping Pong, you know that their bartenders know how to prepare one hell of a drink. If you haven’t, check out the Gamma Girls’ review of Ping Pong.

Have you had a long week and need some dancing in your life to wind down? Check out DC9 in the U Street Corridor for a night of indie music. Best part about this event? It has…wait for it…an open bar from 9-10:30 for only $7. Yup, you can thank me later…and hate me tomorrow when your head is throbbing.

Followers are constantly asking us how we always have content to write about. The short answer? Because we're always looking to check out the newest bars, restaurants, and venues. So, tonight, dear reader, we suggest you take on the challenge of trying out a new bar. The Thrillist released a list of the top ten new bars this week. Check one out with your friends after work. And let us now, via twitter, email, or just in the comments section below, where you go and what you think.

Saturday

Most of us only go to Friendship Heights to check out sales at Bloomingdale's or to look for a discounted designer purse at Loehmann’s. But this weekend there’s another reason: The Taste of Friendship Heights. This event will feature food from Rosa Mexicano, Frosting Cupcakery, Capital Grille, and more. The event begins at noon, tickets are $5, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Community Council for the Homeless at Friendship Place.

As Washingtonians, we're lucky to enjoy free admission to the majority of Smithsonian museums each and every day, but there are a handful that do require an admission fee.  Tomorrow that changes (albeit briefly) when for one day the Smithsonian opens the doors for free to a number of additional museums, including the National Building Museum, the Newseum, the National Firearms Museum, and the Dumbarton Oaks Museum. I recently went to Dumbarton Oaks for the first time. Let me tell you - it's a hidden gem that not enough people know about.

Yards Park (source: www.brownindc.org)
And speaking of undiscovered gems…have you been to the Yards Park on the Waterfront yet? If not, you're missing out. The perfect time to check it out is this weekend during Figment DC. What's this you ask? I am not entirely sure, but my interpretation after reading about this event is that it's like a giant community block party with a bunch of different interactive artistic booths and activities including art installations, bicycle jousting, origami tutorials, deejays and vegan cooking demos. So, put together a picnic basket, grab a few friends and spend the afternoon hanging out along the water. Sounds ideal.

After enjoying your afternoon at the Yards Park, stop by the D.C. fish market. It’s the perfect fall activity. Grab some fresh oysters and lemonade and peruse the various fish stands to find your perfect fillet for dinner.

Yes, it's the end of September, but you can still wear your summer whites tomorrow night at Masa 14’s monthly White Party. The Logan Circle event will feature Latin dance music, creative cocktails, and more. Plus, the event is free and you get a free drink if you wear white.

Sunday

The 8th annual Green Festival returns to D.C. this weekend, and there is so much going on that you could easily spend your whole day there without even trying. The Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Mount Vernon Square will host eco-innovators, speakers like NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous and Rep. Dennis Kucinich, artists, community leaders and green businesses, and feature live music, films, local food, yoga classes, workshops, an eco-fashion showcase, an organic beer and wine garden, vendors selling eco-friendly goods, and more. Doors will be open from 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. on Saturday and from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $10 for a one day pass when purchased online or $15 at the door. Or, ride your bike to the event and get in for free.

Head to Bourbon in Adams Morgan from 1-5 p.m. for PieFest 2012: A Slice of Life. Several years ago, a few friends started a friendly pie-eating competition as an excuse to get together and catch up on each other's lives. One of the gathering’s regular attendees was Jayna Murray. Determined to honor her memory and celebrate her love of good food and good times, the pie fest organizers decided to dedicate future parties to the Jayna Troxel Murray Foundation. So how does it work? Bring a homemade pie to compete for prizes, or just come to eat and be merry. There will be an on-site cash bar. Each pie can be entered into one of six categories- apple, fruit (other than apple), nuts/chocolate, savory (meat), savory (vegetarian), or piepourri (miscellaneous) - and attendees will vote for their favorite. Pie entries must arrive between 1-2 and voting closes at 4. There will be six winners, but with an afternoon of delicious pie, there will be no losers! Tax-deductible tickets are $15 if entering pie and $25 if just bringing your appetite. Tickets must be purchased in advance.


The weather man says that this weekend is expected to be "the perfect fall weather weekend."  We are definitely going to take advantage of that...and hope you all do, too.  

Have a great weekend!








Tuesday, September 25, 2012

When and Where to Dress-up Fancy in the District

Source: www.imagesdisney.
My life was forever changed when I was 6 years old. This was the year that I saw my very first movie in a theater. And what did I see on the big screen? A movie that to this day is still one of my favorites. Yup, this Gamma Girl saw Cinderella. And I fellll in love with Cinderella.

It came as no surprise to my parents the following year when I told them that I wanted dress-up as Cinderella for Halloween. My mom fed right into it. None of this cookie cutter, costume from a box thing. Nope, she went out and found me a discounted formal ball gown. She had to pin it together and cut about 10 inches off of the bottom because I was just a little thing at age seven - but I had my dress, my crown and my gloves, and man did I feel like a princess as I strutted from house to house trick-or-treating with my brothers (I remember my mom telling me the dress cost $20 and I thought I was wearing the most high-end, expensive dress ever. Ohhh, to be a kid again).

Fast-forward 24 years (don't do the math) and the little girl in me still loves to put on a ball gown, attend a formal event, and dance the night away. And our dear city is the perfect place to do this. It seems like there's a black tie this or a gala that just about every time I turn around. And even better? So many of these event are hosted by organizations to raise money for worthwhile causes. Dress up fancy, bring a hot man as your date, and support a charitable organization? Seems like a no-brainer to me.

As I was dress shopping for an upcoming gala I'm attending, I started thinking about how many black tie events happen nearly every weekend in Washington, yet so many people (including yours truly) never know about them. This prompted me to do some digging. Read on for a list of upcoming galas/ balls in and around the District. Sure, most are a bit pricey, but hopefully you will find one that works with your schedule, you can spend a night supporting a worthwhile cause, and feeling like a princess. Which is important to do every once in a while...

9th Annual Champions Gala
Oct. 20, 2012
National Theatre (Downtown)

Details: The National Inclusion Project and Co-founders Clay Aiken and Diane Bubel are hosting this event. Special guests include Debbie Gibson, Arsenio Hall and American Idol Ruben Studdard. Along with performances by Clay and the special guests, the event will feature "send-a-kid-to-camp" auctions and funds raised will be used to open doors for children with disabilities. By conducting programs with community partners, the Project teaches others how to be inclusive so that kids with and without disabilities can experience lifelong benefits.

Washington Ballet's Dracula Soiree
Oct. 5, 2012
The National Museum of Women in the Arts (McPherson Square)

Details: Hosted by Sara Lange, Indira Merhpour, Nasim Deylami and Ava Deylami, this event is considered a "highlight of Washington’s fall social season" and attracts many influential dignitaries and arts patrons. Guests will be treated to cocktails, a buffet dinner, live and silent auctions, and performances by The Washington Ballet.

Tigerlily's Annual EmPOWER Ball
October 20, 2012
McLean Hilton (Virginia)

Details: This annual event raises funds for for the Tigerlily Foundation. This organization's mission is to educate, advocate, empower and provide support to young women ages 15-40 who are diagnosed with breast cancer. This event will feature a live auction, silent auction, dinner, and entertainment by singer Tanya Dallas-Lewis.

Halloween Gala and Party at the Italian Embassy
Oct. 28, 2012
Italian Embassy (north of Dupont Circle)

Details: Hosted by Things To Do, this event will feature an Italian themed evening with an open bar, Halloween themed treats, a live deejay and dancing. The evening will begin with an hour of traditional ballroom-style music you would find in an authentic Venetian ball. But, when the witching hour hits a little later, the haunts begin with today’s biggest dance hits. In addition, there is a option to come in costume or masquerade.

American Heroes Ball
Nov. 10, 2012
National Press Club (south of McPherson Square)

Details: This ball will feature an open bar and hors d'oeuvres with live performances by American Idol finalist Ayla Brown and West Point Cadet deejays. The event will include a silent auction and raffle with prizes including a private tour of the Capitol by Ayla Brown’s father, Sen. Scott Brown, wine tastings and wine baskets from local Virginia wineries, jewelry from Premier Designs, a vacation cabin in Deep Creek, Md., various specialty gift baskets and more. All proceeds will benefit Not Alone, a nonprofit specializing in helping veterans suffering from PTSD.

Annual Kidney Ball
Nov. 17, 2012
The Omni-Shoreham Hotel (Woodley Park)

Details: This event will feature gourmet dining, live and silent auctions, open bar, dancing and a special performance by Don Felder (formerly of The Eagles). More than 1,000 people are expected to attend, and funds raised through the event support ongoing programs in medical research, patient and community services, professional and community education, and organ donation awareness.


There you go. Now pick your favorite event, get a dress, find a hot man who owns a tux, and you'll have all the ingredients for a fancy night out on the town. That said, I'm sure there are a ton more formal events this fall that I'm missing, so please include any you know about in the comments section below.

And, yes, I had to have someone help me add in the crown to my avatar (after I spent a solid 30 minutes last night trying to figure out how to do it), but don't I look cute?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Fall into Fall In The District – Corn Mazes

Source
My full-fledged football devotion, and change in the weather, means one thing readers… fall is upon us! Now before you start complaining that oh everyone is “so into fall” and you hate getting out of bed because of the drastic temperature difference or shaving your legs becomes a nightmare since goose bumps take over the minute the warm water is turned off, let’s face it... ANYTHING is better than 100+ degree temperatures in the heatbox that is Washington, D.C. Fall is fantastic, folks. Whether it’s ordering pumpkin spice lattes, going pumpkin picking, heading to an orchard, getting lost in corn mazes, admiring fall foliage, appreciating the chill in the air, or just loving frizz-free hair, sweaters, and boots, most people are all aboard the love of fall express. In fact, I think these little kids explain my obsession with comfy sweaters and cute boots best.. I LOVE MY COMFY SWEATER! I LOVE MY COMFY SWEATER. HOW CUTE ARE THESE BOOTS?



Readers, I invite you to fall into fall in the District with me. For the next couple of weeks, I’m going to outline my favorite places to visit in (you guessed it) the fall. Corn mazes, orchards, pumpkin patches, the best places to look at the fall foliage, etc. I’ve got it all planned out (for those that know me well, none of them are shocked that Captain Always Has A Plan RWB is on top of this.)

Source
This week we’ll start off with one of my fall favorites, corn mazes. It will come as a shock to no one that I’m a kid at heart. Honestly, I wish that one could answer “My Little Pony” when asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I will happily play Barbies with any darling little girl I’m babysitting and love to get makeovers from my nine year old cousin Maddy. I’m also a big fan of Disney movies and sparkly things. So naturally, corn mazes are one of my favorite things in the world, since they bring out the inner-kid in us all. Since most open this weekend, I included a few of my favorite corn mazes in the D.C.-area.

Corn Maze In The Plains
So what is better than chilly nights, warm hot chocolate or apple cider? Chilly nights, delicious drinks, and a corn maze. The Plains Maze in The Plains, Va., offers all of that. Open Sept. 29-Nov. 4 from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. for the kiddies and also from 6-10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays (Oct. 5-Nov. 3) for the grown-ups, you are sure to have a great time. But don’t worry, you are supplied with a map and a flag (in case you get lost). Also, my word of advice, don’t go with your friend that swears he is “naturally gifted at navigating” and doesn’t feel the need to stay within the plowed lines, this ends badly. For discounted tickets, check the Living Social deal here (two people, only $9).

2012 Witch Maze At The Plains Maze
Temple Hall Corn Maize & Fall Festival
Temple Hall Corn Maize in Leesburg, Va., is one of my favorite corn mazes in the area. It opens this Saturday, Sept. 28, and remains open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through Nov. 6 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The maze is also open on Friday and Saturday nights from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. And what’s better, each weekend has a theme. Like any good preppy princess, I love me some theme parties. In fact, when le roomz (this is what I call my roommate because we’re really classy and fancy) invited me to join her book club her main selling point was everyone gets to host and I knew this is something you would adore (TRUTH). Now if that STILL hasn’t sold you on packing up and heading to Leesburg for a corn conundrum, well then maybe the pumpkin blasters (yes pumpkin cannons) or piggy races are all you needed to commit. For a discount coupon click here.

2012 Maize Maze
Lawyer’s Moonlight Maze
While a little out of the way, Lawyer’s Moonlight Maze is absolutely worth the drive. Located just outside of Frederick, Md. (about an hour drive), I promise you it will not disappoint. Lawyers is the biggest maze in Maryland, with four mazes making up the entire 8.6 mile maze. There is also a fun campfire to warm your bones and delicious cider. Plus, for just seven dollars you are granted admission to the entire premise: corn maze, outdoor movie, and bonfire in a tee pee. Open weekends from Sept. 14 – Nov. 4 (5 p.m. - 10 p.m. on Fridays, noon - 10 p.m. on Saturdays, and noon - 4 p.m. on Sundays), this is well worth the trip (and you could even make a nice little day of it and enjoy a delicious lunch at Volt beforehand). Just take note that this is a cash only maze.

Cows-N-Corn
My sister's Swiss calf, Velvet
As most of you know, I grew up on a dairy farm in western Maryland. So naturally, I have a soft spot in my heart for cows, specifically Brown Swiss calves. Now that I think about it, clearly have a type because my favorite pets tend to be fawn colored, sassy, and stubborn. But, I digress. Since I grew up on a farm, it only makes sense that one of my corn mazes is located on a working dairy. Cows-N-Corn is located south of Manassas, Va., off I-66. It is open weekends only, beginning Sept. 15. Fridays are Hot Dog & Hayride night, so reservations are required. But Saturdays and Sundays are more of a come when you feel like it (Saturday from 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.). Admission is $9 per person and includes corn maze and hayride. I just do need to point out, since this is a working dairy, biosecurity is very important. To protect the health of the animals housed at Cows-N-Corn, if you have been out of the United States within 14 days of your scheduled visit to the farm, please reschedule until such time that your foreign visit will be outside the recommended 14-day waiting period. Safety first, y’all!

Source
So grab your boots and head out to the fields and explore! I promise, you will have a blast. Plus, I heard from a friend that if you have a couple glasses of wine or a few beers before your adventure (and have a willing designated driver of course) corn mazes are even more fun!

Yours In Fall Fabulousness,







Friday, September 21, 2012

What to Do in the District this Weekend

This Gamma Girl has been in a bit of a slump all week, so I'm pretty excited for a weekend full of fun things to get me back to my perky, chipper self. And there are, as always, lots of fun things to do in the District this weekend!

Tonight

Start off your night by stopping by Urban Style Lab’s Doo Wop Beauty Shop. Described as “an evening of DJs, drinks and dress up,” the event will include a number of $25 services (nails, blowouts, makeup), an Instagram photo booth, and FREE cocktails.  Best of all? 75 percent of the proceeds will benefit Dress for Success. Note: call ahead to make your appointment. 

If you’re a child of the '80s like me, you've probably watched The Princess Bride approximately 1,200 times.  And tonight you have the opportunity to watch it again. Grab your guy (or girlfriends if you have yet to find your "Wesley") and head up to Mount Pleasant’s Lamont Park for an outdoor viewing. It’s like Screen on the Green meets fall! The movie starts at 7:30, but get there early to set up your blanket and picnic.  And, because I'm awesome, I've included the original trailer for you to watch on this Friday afternoon:


Saturday 

Start your morning off at the D.C. VegFest. This annual event highlights the benefits of choosing fruits and vegetables over meat. While I’m most definitely a carnivore, this event looks cool. It will feature more than 100 exhibitors, free food samples and cooking demos. And, it’s dog friendly. 

After you stock up on your local fall veggies, head down to the Mall for the Library of Congress Book Festival. This will be my first time attending, but I’ve heard great things about this annual event. The weekend-long festival will feature presentations by over 100 authors, illustrators and poets (I’m excited about hearing Jeffrey Toobin …but I’m also a huge dork); lots and lots and lots of books for sale, storytelling and musical acts … and I'm betting that a bunch of food trucks will be close by. This free festival kicks off tomorrow at 10 a.m. rain or shine. 

Sad you’re not in Germany drinking a beer twice the size of your head? Well, cheer up because there are Oktoberfest events that you can check out locally. Head up to the adorable Bethesda Row for its Oktoberfest celebration. It will feature beer from 15 breweries, live music, a pie-eating contest and my favorite food truck, Luke’s Lobster. Tickets are $22.

Dupont Circle’s Heurich House is also hosting its very own Oktoberfest in its “secret garden.” For $15 you get three beers, snacks, a tour of the house and grounds, and live music. 

Guess who's going to see Madonna on Monday night at the Verizon Center? THIS GIRL (yes, I get excited just thinking about how much fun it's going to be). If you're not as lucky as me, you can have your own Madonna dance party at Town, where it will host its annual Madonnarama night. What's this you ask? Oh, just DJs playing all of Madonna's music and videos of the Material Girl playing on large screens. I know, I know -- this sounds amazing (or as Jules would say, "amazeballs"), and I'm not even finished telling you about it yet! In addition to music and videos, guests are encouraged to wear Madonna-inspired costumes! And and and the best-dressed attendees get free drinks! Sadly, I have plans Saturday night and cannot attend this crazy-awesome event, but if you do go, please email your pictures to doingthedistrict@gmail.com. I want to live vicariously through each and every one of you! And yes, I've used more exclamation points in this paragraph than in any other post I've ever written. 

If Madonna isn't really your thing (I will never understand you), how about heading out to Clarendon for a cozy fall dinner at Screwtop Wine Bar? If it's nice out, you can sit outside; if it's chilly, sit inside at the bar.

Sunday 

Sunday is expected to be another gorgeous fall day in and around the District. And the Nationals are in town. Grab cheap tickets to watch our rock star team in one of the final regular season games. 

Source: Washington Post
Baseball not your thing? Sundays are the perfect day to head out to the Maryland or Virginia countryside for apple picking! In fact, I had every intention of doing this last weekend...then I got distracted at the Pentagon City Mall looking for the perfect fall boot. But this Sunday I can wear said boots (yup, I found them) while I apple pick.  And thank you to Capital Katie because I know right where to go.



While I’m not an official dog owner (but an aunt to approximately seven dogs), I sure do love pups. Crystal City is hosting “Pups and Pilsners.” This event will feature beers from breweries like Laughing Dog, Flying Dog and Baying Hound Alework, and it will even have a special “bowser beer” that is a non-alcoholic beer for dogs. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door. Dogs get in for free. 

I already know where I'll be Sunday night: sitting at the bar at Glover Park's newest wine bistro, Slate, watching my Patriots play the Ravens, talking trash and tracking my fantasy team on my iPhone. For the rest of you .... find that cozy neighborhood spot.  Because nothing says fall like sticking close to home with good company, wine (and beer) and football.


Hope you all have a wonderful weekend in our great city!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Where (and How) to Host an Event In D.C.

One of the amazing things about Washington above all other cities is its undercurrent of passionate activism. No matter what side of the political spectrum you fall, there is always a happy hour, a fundraiser, a networking function or some other event designed to make your heart pound to the rhythm of the party line.

Now, if you're with a politically and locationally entrenched organization, you probably have no shortage of bars and restaurants with ample event space flinging filet mignons at you for the chance to host a soiree on your behalf. But the beauty of D.C. and its average residency the span of an election cycle is that there are new organizations touting a new cause every single day. There will always be a political cause du jour, and you might just be the mastermind behind the next one.

Bearing that in mind, if you are the indentured servant passionate activist tasked with getting your fledging organization support, where do you go to host a function in D.C.? And just how do you negotiate the space?

Look no further than this blog post. We Gamma Girls here at Doing the District have figured out the process for you, and I'm going to let you in on our trade secrets.

Yeah!

STEP 1: Select venue

D.C. is awesome for party venues. Seems nearly every bar here has a space that can be reserved for parties of any size. Gamma Girl favorites include:


Sign of the Whale, 1825 M St. NW


Source
Parties are kind of the name of the game for this bar known for packing in GW students like sardines and your uncanny ability to win a free happy hour there after spending even just one hour at the bar. The marketing team here is phenomenal -- they know that the best way to inspire loyalty is to give out gifts (like any good D.C. lobbyist should), and they will come through for your event with exclusive use of the back bar, appetizer platters and drink specials. The Gamma Girls hosted a Halloween party here in October 2011.


Science Club, 1136 19th St. NW



Perhaps you're less interested in parties for the sake of causes than parties for the sake of parties. Just around the corner from Sign of the Whale is Science Club, where I hosted my 27th birthday party in March 2010.

(I'll give you a minute to do the math.)

............

(Moving on.)

Science Club holds several floors of rentable space, which can hold a variety of party sizes. Additionally, if you ask nicely, the owner will coordinate with you and his bartenders to create a cocktail just for the occasion, based on your specifications for base liquor, size and price.

*Personal notes: When I held my birthday, I opted for the second floor, which maxes out at 75 people. The drink created for me was a $9 vodka-based drink with a cherry in a martini glass, which was AWESOME.


Policy, 1904 14th St. NW


I held my final happy hour as a dating blogger at Policy in February 2011 and can confirm that the second floor is a PERFECT place for a large event. The social media team here is very eager to work with you on events, and much like Science Club, the Policy folks will work with you to create specialty cocktails for the evening:

Pretty sweet!



And last but CERTAINLY NOT LEAST: One Lounge, 1606 20th St. NW


If you're reading this blog, you know that the Gamma Girls threw our one-year anniversary party at One Lounge, so we can also say from experience that this is a phenomenal venue for a  private event. They worked with us to create a food menu for the evening and guaranteed us a space for our party. Additionally, they guaranteed us discounted drink prices and gave us our own waitresses. It couldn't have gone better!

To see more photos from the event, check out the album on our Facebook page: One at One Party


So, all of that covers WHERE to host an event. Let's now cover the HOW.


STEP 2:  Contact venue marketing team

This is so much easier than you'd think it'd be:
  1. Get the bar/restaurant's email address from its website and send them a note.
  2. Explain who you are and what your organization is.
  3. Give the proposed date of the event and what exactly you're looking for in terms of a commitment from the venue (i.e. tell them projected attendance numbers and whether you need anything special, like sound system access).
  4. Be willing to compromise. Not all requests can be accommodated.
Et voila! It really can be that easy in this city -- people are generally used to requests like these and are more than willing to work with you.

And as a final thought, when hosting a D.C. event, there is one more thing you should do:


STEP 3: Say THANK YOU

The Gamma Girls would like to extend their sincere gratitude to One Lounge for their help in throwing our One at One bash, to Urban Style Lab, Slate Wine Bar + Bistro, Fornash, Duffy's Irish Pub and Uptown Tap House for contributing to our swag bags, and to Breiana Whittaker, who took photos of the night. We couldn't have done it without you all!







Friday, September 14, 2012

What to Do in the District this Weekend

I don't know about all of you, but the Gamma Girls are just loving this cooler weather. No more frizzy hair, discovering our fall wardrobes again, and long runs outside without feeling like we're going to melt? All good things.


         

And the District has all sorts of fun things going on this weekend that will let us spend some quality time outside in the autumn air.

Tonight

In case you've been hiding under a rock, the big event tonight is Bruce Springsteen's concert at the National's stadium. If you're like me, you are beyond bummed that you are missing out on the Boss. But there's a good alternative. The Feelies are performing at the 9:30 Club in the U Street Corridor tonight. Oh, you've never heard of them? Yeah, me neither (or maybe you all have and I'm the uncultured one in the group). But apparently the Feelies are a kick ass rock band that's been around since the 1980s. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets ($20) are still available. After the show head over to the Brixton, U Street's newest bar, and check out the rooftop, or Thirsty Ivy's favorite wine bar, Vinoteca.

Saturday

The obvious choice tomorrow is to head over to Northeast D.C. for the Annual H Street Festival.  H Street shuts down all day for a full on street party. Last year, this event attracted more than 50,000 people and it's speculated to be even bigger and better this year. There will be live music on five stages, art cars, fashion shows, contests and a huge street parade. Additionally, most restaurants will have booths set up with food and beer. Yes, please.

Looking to escape the crowds? The Green Pig Bistro in Arlington is hosting a home bartending 101 course. The class will teach participants how to stock a home bar and how to make three different cocktails. Additionally, each attendee will get a home bartending kit to take home. Tickets are $85 and the class starts at 3:30. 

After all the day drinking events on Saturday, go for a more low key Saturday night by checking out the DC Shorts Film Festival.  There are a number of times and locations to choose from.  Fun fact: This festival is the largest of its kind on the East Coast and features 140 films from 27 countries.

Sunday

One of the best aspects of the District in the fall is its proximity to some seriously beautiful countryside. And I can think of nothing more perfect to do on Sunday than to pack up the car and head out to the 37th Annual Virginia Wine Festival for an afternoon of sipping delicious wine. The festival features over 50 wineries, wine seminars, and live music. The festival runs from 11 a.m.- 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Like wine but want to stay close to the city? A good alternative is to head to the sixth annual Vintage Crystal: A Taste of Wine and Jazz. This Latin themed street festival will feature tapas, tequila, wine, live music, and street vendors.  That's right ladies and gents - Crystal City is basically telling you it's okay to drink tequila on a Sunday afternoon. I'm not going to argue with that one.

If you're like me, you are beyond psyched that it's football season again. While we all know Red, White & Bourbon's obsession with college football, I'm more of a NFL fan myself. My boys, the Patriots, play at 1 p.m. and you better believe that I'll be watching my future husband Tom dominate the field. Some great spots to watch games include: Buffalo Billards in Dupont Circle, Black Finn in McPherson Square, and of course my favorite spot, Red Line in Chinatown.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Where to Have a Cozy Date in D.C.: Cleveland Park

Last week, Capital Katie told us where to have an exotic date in H Street, NE, and this week, Appealing Kate listed some of her favorite cozy spots in the District. As I walked home from work the other night, the themes of their posts converged in my brain (along with a generous amount of happy hour vodka) and it struck me that my neighborhood is the ideal spot for cozy dates.

I'll be the first to admit that the stretch of Connecticut Avenue from Cleveland Park to Van Ness is not known for being the hippest part of town. But for me, that's part of its appeal. With its tree-lined sidewalks, old school movie theater, and a selection of restaurants, bars and shops that span one main street, it has a contained, calm feel to it, despite being spitting distance from busier neighborhoods like Adams Morgan and Columbia Heights. These factors make it a prime location for cozy fall dates.

OPTION ONE: Outdoor fun 


With the beautiful fall weather comes the urge to spend as much time as possible outdoors. Fortunately, Cleveland Park makes it easy to prolong outdoor time with your date. Though the nearby zoo can make for a fun date spot, it’s the polar opposite of cozy, and trying to navigate the zoo on a weekend is guaranteed to increase your risk of being arrested for punching tourists. I’d recommend saving that date for the winter Zoo Lights, and checking out the lovely Melvin C. Hazen trail instead. During the fall, it is downright delightful, with fiery falling leaves and a close-to-non-existent amount of foot traffic. Better yet? It can be accessed right from Connecticut Avenue, and connects to a number of scenic routes through Rock Creek. 

After exploring, revive your tired legs with an iced coffee in the hidden backyard garden of Firehook Bakery. If you want more of a kick, the patio of Alero is a delightfully cozy spot to enjoy some margaritas on a sunny fall afternoon. If you’re looking to replenish your glycogen stores, grab a bench and a slice of pizza from the incomparable Vace before you treat yo self - and your date, don’t be rude- to some delectable goodies from Sugar Magnolia

OPTION TWO: Indoor fun

Let’s be honest with ourselves here - as lovely as fall is, there are some days that will inevitably be cold and overcast (hey, remember last Halloween when it SNOWED?) But don’t fret! There are lots of cozy spots just beckoning you to come inside and warm up.

If you head a little north of Cleveland Park, you can visit Politics & Prose and browse the aisles of  D.C.'s best bookstore. Then, walk next door to Comet Ping Pong and challenge your date to an old fashioned round of table tennis. Once you’ve worked up a sufficient appetite, head back south to one of the area’s supremely cozy restaurants: established neighborhood classics Palena, Sorriso, Dino, and Ardeo+Bardeo are always good bets, as are the newer offerings Ripple, Medium Rare, Pulpo and Acacia Bistro. Round out the night with a drink or two at the brand spanking new Uptown Tap House, or take in a late night flick at the Uptown theater and try not to piss off your viewing companions by lavishing too much PDA on your hot date.

So there you have it - a D.C. neighborhood that's small on the crowds, but big on the coziness!


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Where to Buy Stationery in the District


A few years ago, my mother bought me a lovely, and super useful, hand-fan in China (the one in Epcot, obviously). I packed it carefully for my crosstown move last winter and couldn't find it again once the warm weather started to melt my face off.

So, I did what any other grown woman would do in this situation ... I called my mother.

"Mombo, if you were my Chinese fan, where would you be hiding?" Mombo: "In your stationery drawer."

Ta-Da!

Now, I've retold this very exciting life story several times, and all but one time I heard "what's a stationery drawer?" in response.

Umm... where else do you keep your stationery? You don't have stationery? On what do you write letters and thank-you notes? You don't even know what a Forever Stamp is? 

Whooooo arrrrre youuuuu?


But seriously... I know that in the age of email, texting, and tweeting, few people take the time to send a hand-written note with more than 140 characters. I, however, am single-handedly trying to reverse this trend and am using this post to gain converts. READ ON!

Let's break it down ... how much effort is really required? 

It took me less than 3 minutes on Thursday to write a  heartfelt note to my college friend to say that I hope her first month with the new baby is going well. The impact? MONUMENTAL. This stressed-out mama was beyond thrilled to receive a non-bill in the mail that was strictly for her, not the baby (yes, I sent a "welcome to the world" card a month ago). 

In terms of gifts/friendly gestures, it's about as cheap as you can get!

Add postage (seriously, learn what Forever Stamps are and stock up!), ink (I write with cartridge pens and even they're very affordable), and the paper or card (Crane half-sheets are my favorite), and you can spend as little as $2 per note. Yes, customized stationery will set you back more, but I save a bit by only embossing my name and not my address (smart when you aren't quite settled yet). 


Where to Buy Stationery in the District (a shortlist)

Check out some my favorite stationery stores in the district and buy your own starter-kit of notecards or personalized stationery!

Georgetown Location of Dandelion Patch: Source

 Just Paper & Tea - 3232 P St. NW
Source

Source


And a few chain-stores that I frequent too often, because they're so close to my house ...
  • Papyrus - 1300 Wisconsin Ave. NW and 40 Massachusetts Ave. NE (Union Station) 

True to form, there are handwritten thank-you notes in each and every one of our AMAZING swag bags for the One at One party TONIGHT!!


If it were feasible to write a note of thanks to each of you that show up tonight and those who wish they could, you know we would! We are so excited to see you and THANK YOU for your support this year! 

We'll see y'all tonight at One Lounge at 6 p.m.! 

No post-party note needed!








Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Where to Feel Cozy in the District

Do you have a favorite feeling? Like how it feels to sit in the sun and soak in the rays? Or how it feels when you cross that finish line after a race? Or what about how it feels when you try on your "skinny" jeans and they fit perfectly? Those are all damn good feelings, right?

Well, I have a feeling that tops them all. It can be summarized in one four-letter word: cozy.

I love feeling cozy. Safe and warm and comfortable and content all wrapped into one. 

Sure, summer is fun. Pool parties. Open bar weddings. Happy hours on the Georgetown waterfront. Tank tops. Outdoor concerts. Margaritas with salt. All good things.

But fall. Fall slows everything down a bit. And it's my favorite season because it just oozes coziness.

Crisp air. Fuzzy sweaters. Making chili. Baking apple pie. Shipyard Pumpkin Head beer. Colorful leaves falling from trees. I could go on and on and on.

Doesn't this picture just make you happy and want to pull out your favorite scarf and pair of boots?

And, as if I needed another reason to love fall, I get to watch these two dominate the field every Sunday:



While I happen to think that my living room is one of the coziest places to be in the fall (well, other than my parents' house in Maine), that doesn't do you all any good. But don't worry, dear reader, for I have compiled a list of some of my other favorite cozy D.C. spots.
2121 P St. NW

Urbana is attached to the trendy Polomar Hotel in Dupont Circle. While the hotel has retro rooms with modern furniture and leopard print bath robes, Urbana has that cozy, wine cellar feel that makes you want to snuggle up with your date, sip wine, and just be content. The restaurant is perfect for a warm, intimate dinner with friends, while the bar is one of my all time favorite spots to get after dinner drinks with a cute man.

Cork Wine Bar
1720 14th St. NW

Cork is another restaurant that I swear was designed for fall. The restaurant is really small, the wine list is really long, and the food oh so incredible. Additionally, the menu features small plates so you and your dinner companion can try all sorts of different delicious dishes. What's cozier that sharing a nice bottle of malbec and a bunch of different dishes in a warm and intimate neighborhood restaurant? 

1226 36th St. NW

I've only been to 1789 once and it was back in 2006 to celebrate a special birthday with someone, but it's a memory that will stick with me for a long time. 1789 is romantic but rustic, historic but fancy, all at the same time. In fact, its website describes it as "Refined, cozy (emphasis added) and eclectic in a two-story Federal townhouse with fireplace and gas-lit rooms." I'll warn you, it's pricey and a bit uppity. Meaning that they recommend that gents wear jackets. But they offer free valet parking, exquisite food and wine, and after you can walk down the street to The Tombs to bring you back to reality.

Rustico Restaurant
4075 Wilson Blvd., Ballston*

Sometimes I venture to Virginia. And by sometimes, I mean usually at least once a week (shhh don't tell anyone that NoVA has actually grown on me). Rustico is one of NoVA's restaurants that I always suggest. I discovered this spot thanks to a man I went out with last year. One night he recommended we meet in Ballston. I scoffed. And then realized he was serious, so I reluctantly agreed. But as soon as I walked up to the entrance, I knew I would like it. The interior is dimly lit with hardwood floors and small dining tables. The staff is friendly and the beer selection is impressive. Additionally, there is outdoor seating which is perfect for sweater weather and a giant glass of red wine. The menu is fairly extensive. Wood fire pizzas, salads, amazing hummus. Or you can go fancier with full entrees like Hickory Grilled Pork Chop. YUM.

*Rustico has a second location in Alexandria.

Jack Rose Dining Saloon
2007 18th St. NW

Jack Rose is at the tail end of Adams Morgan. It features over 1,400 bottles of scotches, bourbons and spirits. It has dark floor to ceiling wooden shelves that house all this delicious liquor. It mimics an old library, with the tall ladders strategically places around so that bartenders to can reach each and every bottle. The lighting is dim. The food, rich. And for those of you willing to brave the cool air at night, Jack Rose's has a kick ass rooftop. You can thank me later.

Proof
775 G St. NW

Ohhh Proof. I have so many wonderful memories from this place. Cozy meet-ups after work for glasses of wine and appetizers. Big group dinners. Late night dessert at the bar. I've been at all times of the year. But the best? Yep, you guessed it...fall. Something about the picture windows looking out onto the bustling Penn Quarter and the big wine glasses and the dimly lit bar and the rustic yet modern feel. All the perfect recipe for one hell of a cozy experience.


A few additional favorites include Lyon Hall in Arlington, Tabard Inn in Downtown, Screwtop in Arlington, Ardeo Bardeo in Cleveland Park, and Sonoma on Capitol Hill. 

There you have it. So many cozy spots in and around the District.  Now you just have to figure out where to go first!






Monday, September 10, 2012

How to Prepare for One at One

Now folks the only thing getting me through until Saturday, when I watch my Hokies take on Pitt, is One at One. Yes, the time has arrived and our first anniversary party is just a few days away!! (Insert girlie yelps of excitement here). Remember, this party is free for everyone, but we just ask that you RSVP using eventbrite so that we can give an accurate head count to the venue. (RSVP: oneatone.eventbrite.com). One Lounge is gracious enough to provide us with drink specials and complimentary passed appetizers so we would like to be polite guests and give him guest numbers!



Source
I'm sure most of you are looking forward to our soiree as well. So today's post is dedicated to properly preparing for One at One. Now anyone who knows me at all knows I love me a good hair day. In fact, I sent this message to my friend this morning, "So the crisp weather + low humidity means my hair is perfect. Why can't it be a gameday?" To ensure terrific tresses, the Gamma Girls have all booked blowouts at our favorite salons. Most of you won't be surprised that I plan on telling my stylist, make it big, Carol. As everyone knows, "The bigger the hair, the closer to God." I plan on fully embracing this concept on Wednesday. You can find the Gamma Girls' favorite salons here.

Ladies, if you're still searching for that perfect outfit to wear, have no fear. Jules recommends Turquoise, Violet, and Tangerine to find both cute outfits and accessories. While I've got my outfit all lined up, I still need to accessorize, and you better believe I will be heading to Fornash. In fact, I'll let you in on a little secret, if you follow Fornash on Twitter this week, they are doing a special promo code just to help Doing the District celebrate our first anniversary, so check that out.

Now, if you're looking for a little pre-game action (hey, I don't judge, I pre-game tailgates, so why not pre-game happy hour) Duffy's opens at 4 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thirsty Ivy loves it here. Of course, Dirty Martini is close by and one of Appealing Kate's favorites.

The Gamma Girls are really looking forward to seeing you all on Wednesday and showing you how we DO THE DISTRICT!

Yours in Party Excitement,

Friday, September 7, 2012

What to Do in the District This Weekend!


So I know last week I was all, Summer is over so let's all hold hands and cry into our pumpkin spice lattes, but the truth of the matter is that it's still technically summer!  Just because it's September and the kids are back in school doesn't mean we have to say goodbye to the season before it's gone.  Once it's really and truly over, we can pack up our beach towels and go stare at the fall leaves in perpetual enchantment, a la Taylor Swift.  But in the meantime, let's celebrate the summer while we can.

FRIDAY

What says summer more than Truckeroo and a Nats game?  The monthly food truck festival returns to Half and M Streets today, and it's the perfect pre-game spot to chill out and grab some food, play some cornhole, and enjoy a beverage or two from the Bullpen while listening to live music.  Tonight, Stephen Strasburg pitches his second to last game of the season, so after you've sufficiently stuffed your face with a Fojol Brothers offering, head on over to the stadium to see the Nats face the Marlins.


Alternatively, you can head to Yards Park before the game, where you'll also find live music and food from Red Apron Butchery, Buzz Bakery and Churchkey.  If you haven't been yet, check it out while the weather's still nice- it's beautiful by the water and the perfect spot to bring both your date and your pup.

SATURDAY

Take a morning stroll to one of the area's plentiful farmers markets.  Markets are currently teeming with delicious end-of-summer produce, so get your fill while you still can.  Appealing Kate put this handy guide together that spotlights some of the best markets in the District, and on Saturday, you can choose from the markets in Adams Morgan, Glover Park, Arlington County and more.  

In the afternoon, head on over to the National Museum of Women in the Arts to see the "Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power" exhibit.  In addition to artifacts from musical icons like Stevie Nicks, Cyndi Lauper and Madonna, this is also your chance to see the infamous Lady Gaga meat dress.  You know you want to!


As the afternoon wears down, make your way over to Georgetown for a twilight tour at Jack's Boat House.  Kayak your way past the Georgetown Harbor, Watergate, Kennedy Center, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and the Memorial Bridge leading into Arlington Cemetery.  On your return, you'll paddle around Roosevelt Island and head towards the Three Sisters Island.  As the sun goes down, look out for wildlife like eagles, beavers, turtles, night herons, foxes and more.

SUNDAY

Check out the recently opened Union Market, an artisanal, curatated, year-round food market featuring over 40 local vendors, including Rappahannock Oysters Co., Buffalo & Bergen, Righeous Cheese, Peregrine Espresso, Almaala Farms, and many more.  The market is open from 8 a.m. -8 p.m., so you can take your sweet time getting there, but if you go between 1 p.m. - 4 p.m., you'll get the chance to taste (and judge) D.C.'s best ice cream, gelato, custard, frozen yogurt and more.

Next, head to the Adams Morgan Day Street Festival, featuring music, arts, crafts, kid's activities and more.  You may not know this, but 18th Street is actually quite lovely during the day when there are no hair-pulling fistfights taking place outside Jumbo Slice.  Plus, the recently completed construction has resulted in a lovely new streetscape, all the better for checking out the Arts on Belmont, where you'll find paintings, jewelry, glassware and more, or the Green Pavilion, Kid's Fair, or Health and Fitness Pavilion.      

At night, take advantage of the fact that our city is home to the largest short film event on the East Coast and check out the D.C. Shorts Film Festival and Screenplay Competition.  Over 140 films are showing, and you can use the Film Finder to search for films, read descriptions, view trailers, and connect socially.  There's also something special for foodies this year -- selected food-themed films have been paired with local chefs and mixologists, who are putting together special treats for patrons to enjoy after the films’ screening (the cost is included in the ticket price).

What are you doing this weekend?



Thursday, September 6, 2012

Where to Have an Exotic Date in D.C.: H Street Northeast

Don't get me wrong: I love my routines. I love coming home from work each day, kicking off my heels and pulling on my gym shoes, and going for a run. And I love my newer routines of cooking brunch for my boyfriend on the weekends and staying in at night to cuddle on the couch with him and the latest episode of "Storage Wars."

But variety is the spice of life, right? And oh, how I do like it spicy. (You can take that any way you like.)

If you're looking to break out of your routine, or even go on a non-traditional date with a new romantic interest*, I've got a spicy date itinerary for you -- based on the up-and-coming awesomeness that is H Street Northeast -- that will be sure to tantalize your senses and leave your loins afire.



FOR DINNER: Souk Restaurant, 1208 H St. NE

MMMMMmmmmm, harissa. For those whose taste buds may not be as adventurous as mine, harissa is a hot chili sauce found in a lot of Arabic cuisine from North African countries, such as Morocco and Tunisia. And it's found in much of the food served at Souk, a Moroccan tapas restaurant on H Street.


I loved the interior design -- the picture here betrays how dark and romantic it truly is. And the small plates are perfect for picking out a deux and sharing.

My recommendations: The hummos with harissa, stuffed grape leaves, falafel and anything with lamb in it.



FOR COCKTAILS AND HOOKAH: Sahra Lounge, 1200 H St. NE


Sahra Lounge just opened earlier this summer, offering another spot for hookah in D.C. And you're in luck, because the hordes haven't caught on yet -- when I visited a few weeks ago, it was, sadly, without business.

But as I said, that's good news for you! No waiting for a table, and no waiting for a hookah either!


And even more than that, EXCELLENT SERVICE. The people behind Sahra are the same people behind Souk, so if you hop from one to the other they get very excited to see you and take extra special care of you (and if you're trying to impress a lady, don't you want to show her you know how to take care of her?).

The flavored tobacco is $20 for two pieces, which is awesome (at Gazuza, for example, it's about that cost for just one). Everyone gets his or her own mouthpiece, so no worries about spreading germs (unless you want to.)

My recommendation: The mango-flavored tobacco was delicious.



FOR THE FINAL, SEXY STOP: A burlesque show at Red Palace, 1212 H St. NE

I was disappointed when Palace of Wonders joined forces with the Red and the Black because even though it created a larger performance space and better access to bathrooms, the merger and construction stripped away much of the character Palace of Wonders initially had.

However, luckily for EVERYONE, the burlesque shows -- when they have them -- are just as naughty and titillating as they always were.


Burlesque is artful stripping -- the idea is to tease, not overwhelm. And the burlesque dancers do just that, winking and pursing their supple red lips and placing their hands in just the right places to cover up their precious parts. It's beautiful, and it's sexy, and it's HOT.

My recommendation: Go home and bang it out afterward.

Note: Shows range from $12 (for tickets purchased in advance) to the occasional $20 at the door. Moreover, burlesque shows are interspersed with indie rock bands, so be sure to check Red Palace's events calendar before planning your date.



And with that, go out and break your routines wide open and add a little SPICE to your life. When you're sweaty and panting at 3 a.m., you can thank me later.



















(*Not recommended for a FIRST date because of cost, location, commitment and personal preferences. If you want ideas for a first date, go here or here or here or here or here.)