Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Where to Get Scared: The Creepiest Places in D.C.

Jeepers creepers, it's Halloween!
 
 
Just felt like this was necessary.
 
Jules did an EXCELLENT job of laying out the Halloween party scene on Friday. But Halloween is traditionally the holiday for spooks and ghouls, not spritzers and gimlets, so if you'd rather be scared than soused, you're in luck: As old as the District is, we've generated quite a few ghost stories over the years, and there are some truly creepy places around here. The following is a list of my favorites:
 
 
THE ADAMS MEMORIAL, Rock Creek Cemetery
 
 
This stark, moving statue marks the memorial to Marion Hooper Adams, who committed suicide in 1885. Her husband, Henry Adams, commissioned this statue. The hooded figure's eyes are downcast, her face sculpted in distinct despondence. As such, this statue is more commonly known as the "Grief Statue."
 
Due to its shrouded placement deep in a cemetery, it has become somewhat folkloric since its creation. And, definitely a creepy spot to check out.
 
 
THE BLACK AGGIE, the courtyard behind the Dolley Madison House in Lafayette Square
 

Look familiar? It should -- the "Black Aggie" is a copy of the Adams Memorial, made for the grave of Civil War General Felix Agnus and originally placed in Druid Ridge Cemetery in Baltimore. But somewhere along the line, this reproduction of the original "Grief Statue" was moved to the already ghost-laden Lafayette Square, and tales of the spirit world abounded. Apparently, if you get in the way of her gaze at a certain hour of the night, you die.


THE DOLLEY MADISON HOUSE, 721 Madison Place NW


Aptly named because of the awesome first lady who once lived there, the Dolley Madison House is reported to be haunted by Mrs. Madison herself. The legend I've always heard is that late at night, you can sometimes see her ghost through one of the windows in a rocking chair, smiling at passers-by.


THE OCTAGON HOUSE, 1799 New York Ave. NW
 

Built in 1801 by Col. John Tayloe III, the Octagon House is purportedly the most haunted house in D.C. Many people have reported seeing apparitions or feeling a "presence" in the house, and the mythology goes back and forth between the spirits being those of Tayloe and his family or the slaves the family kept. Either way, the house is in the shape of an Octagon, and I'm already creeped out by that. Seriously... no corners. What's that about.

 
THE EXORCIST STAIRS, Georgetown
 

Mentioned in this blog once before and not haunted, per se, but definitely creepy due to its film origin. If you're in Georgetown tonight, you're likely to see a bunch of drunk people loitering in this area. (I was one of them last year.)


So if you're ready to freak yourself out, go check out some of these places. And if you're unable to see them tonight, you're in luck -- they're haunted all year round.

BOO!




 




Friday, October 26, 2012

What to Do in the District this Weekend


It's Friiiiiiiiiiday, Friday!

And not just any Friday, either.  It's the Friday before Halloween, which means that everyone is hard at work shirking their actual responsibilities to finalize weekend plans and last minute costumes.  Figuring out how to make a bayonet out of office supplies is hard enough -- the last thing you have time for now is to search high and low for the top weekend events.

Lucky for you, we've done all the leg work and found the best events devoted to All Hallows Eve (I'll accept payment in the form of all candy except for Good & Plenty, Necco wafers, and anything lemon flavored; ew, no, and DON'T).  So locate your binder full of women and get ready to file away some ideas from our Halloween edition of What to Do in the District this Weekend!


Friday

Brightest Young Things and the Temple of Doom

Join BYT at The Sphinx Club for a costume party with stiff drinks and good times featuring entertainment from Epic Win Burlesque, a hypnotist show, “spooky scareoke”, and DJ sets from Nouveau Riche & Sinister Sound Set. There will also be free zombie costume make-overs and touch-ups, mummy go-go dancers (say what now?), a photobooth, free candy, and more. You can purchase day of tickets for $25.

Halloween Bash at Clarendon Ballroom

Elliot in the Morning's Halloween Bash kicks off at 5:00 pm for those who want to get the party started early, and will feature Junkfood on the main stage with DJ Lil Fos in the lower lounge. Thousands of dollars will be given away for best costumes and all three floors are open all night. The cover starts at $15 and increases to $20 at 10pm.

Neon Nights 80's Halloween Party - P.O.V. Rooftop Lounge at W Hotel Washington DC

W Washington D.C. and Russian Standard Vodka present a Halloween celebration in partnership with Fashion for Paws, benefiting the Washington Humane Society. Enjoy signature cocktails, and rock all night to 80's remixes. There will be live performances by DJ OZ and special guest artists, and a best costume contest, with the winner receiving a W D.C. sleepover package with champagne & breakfast in bed. Limited tickets available for $40.

History Haunt - Tudor Place Historic House and Garden

Join the Tudor Place Historic House and Garden for a haunted evening, animated by the spirit of six generations of one residing family. Stay close to your guide as you wander five acres of ghostly gardens to hear tales of the dearly departed. Retreat for chilling cocktails and refreshments in Tudor Place's historic outbuildings and gardens. Tours are offered every half hour and tickets are $15 for non-members.

AFI screening of Nosferatu

For a more low-key option, check out NOSFERATU, A SYMPHONY OF HORROR at the AFI. This spooky silent film will feature a live musical accompaniment by Not So Silent Cinema. Sparkle vampire Robert Pattinson has nothing on Max Schreck and his pals in this German classic.

Saturday

Rest up during the day, because the biggest events are going down after dusk.

Halloween ZombieFest - The Fairgrounds

In what’s being touted as DC's Largest Halloween Party, the Fairgrounds ZombieFest will feature zombie movies, a zombie dance party, costume party, zombie games, beer, arts, and food trucks. Doors open at 6:00pm. There will be drink specials for everyone who comes as a Zombie, and tickets are going for $20.

4th Annual Halloween Party - George

Details are limited, but the party at George will start at 9:00pm, and feature a 4 hour premium open bar, with a $250 bar tab up for grabs for winners of the best group costume prize. They’ll be showing “gruesome horror films” and Garfield's Halloween on the TVs. At $65, tickets aren’t cheap, but frankly, you had me at Garfield’s Halloween.

Halloween Monster Bash - Penn Social

Everyone is invited to dress up and come play at Penn Social’s Monster Bash. There will be live music and DJs, special drinks, and cash prizes for the scariest, sexiest, most hilarious costumes of the night. Tickets are $20 and available at the door.

The Trail of Mohiki at The Passenger

Head to The Passenger for The Trail of Mohiki, where you can dine on a roasted pig, sip some tiki drinks, and watch a human get sacrificed at the stroke of midnight as The Passenger celebrates Halloween.

Nightmare on M Street

I can’t in good faith recommend this to anyone over the age of 25, but if you’re a young ‘un who has never been to DC’s biggest roaming Halloween party, you should definitely check it out. $2 Coors Lt, $3 Blue Moon & Red Bull, $4 Bacardi, and no cover at 28 different bars. Over 7,500 tickets have already sold, which means there will be long lines but an undoubtedly fun crowd.

Living Social's 7 Deadly Sins Party

Treat yo' self to a night of tricks -- and sins. Pay $59 for general admission to the 7 Deadly Sins Halloween Party, a multi-floor extravaganza including seven themed cocktails, snacks, and unique entertainment. Seven rooms inside the 918 F Street space will be transformed to represent each of the deadly sins; you'll also indulge in a burlesque show, DJ dance party, costume competition, prizes, and more.

Costume Party at Penthouse Pool Club

If you or one of your friends has the good fortune of being a member at the Penthouse Pool Club and Lounge, a membership-only urban resort on the rooftop of VIDA Fitness U Street, then you’ll definitely want to check out the exclusive Halloween party that they’re throwing on Saturday. Members can bring up to 6 friends.

Haunted Mansion Party at Dirty Martini

Dirty Martini and Dirty Bar are throwing a Haunted Mansion party that starts at 10:00pm, featuring DJs and a costume contest at midnight.  Tickets are $15 for general admission to the party at Dirty Martini, and $30 for the VIP Attic Party at Dirty Bar.

Bottle Service at U Street Music Hall

Bottle Service Nightmare is a tongue-in-cheek event that pokes fun at some well-known cliches of bottle service. Each of the "reserved" tables will have a $10 drink minimum, and patrons will have the option of ordering "can service"; a $5 Natty Boh with sparkler attached. Zombie go-go dancers will line the stage while Walker & Royce, Will Eastman and Micah Vellian man the booth. All club-goers will receive one free glow stick upon entry. Entry is free before 11:00pm.



Sunday

If you can get out of bed while the sun’s still out, convene with friends for brunch to rehash the debauchery of the night before. Some Gamma Girl favorites include CafĂ© La Ruche, La Fourchette, Bistrot Du Coin, and Co Co. Sala. Afterward, head to one of the following events to cap the weekend off Halloween-style.

Pumpkin Carving at the Red Derby

Participants had to enter by 10/21, but you can still go observe the pumpkin carving contest that's going down from 7:00-9:00pm, with judging promptly at 9:00pm. The Derb provides the pumpkins and some carving tools, and of course, hipster beer will be available for purchase.

NSO Halloween Concert

The Halloween Spooktacular concert, conducted by Ankush Kumar Bahl, is a family friendly concert that will featured a "spirited" performance of selections from Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique, John Williams's Imperial March from Star Wars, Dukas's Sorcerer's Apprentice with narration, Prokofiev's Cinderella Suite No. 1, and more.

The Washington Ballet's Dracula

The Washington Ballet presents Michael Pink’s chilling blockbuster Dracula. This wildly theatrical and voluptuous ballet is a story of passion, yearning, cruelty and sacrifice. Dracula stakes its claim as this Halloween’s most thrilling adventure. Pink’s Count is a mesmerizing seducer of the darkest order, providing a fresh interpretation of one of Western culture’s most haunting stories

Wicked at the Hippodrome

After mesmerizing audiences all around the world, the Tony Award winning ‘Wicked’ returns to Baltimore for a run at the Hippodrome Theatre. ‘Wicked’ is a fascinating musical that takes audiences back in time in the wonderful world of Munchkinland long before Dorothy came in the picture, back in time when the Witches of Oz were just a couple of young girls.  Yes, it's all the way in Baltimore, but it's 'Wicked'!  On Halloween weekend!  

Haunted Georgetown Walking Tour (with Oak Hill Cemetery Spook Walk)

Join an expert guide to explore a very scary side of Georgetown. The tour will start at Oak Hill Cemetery and conclude at the famous "Exorcist" steps, where you will learn why the "Office of the Rite of  Exorcism" is so carefully guarded by the Catholic Church. An optional reception with a cash bar will be offered after the tour in Georgetown.  Meet at the corner of 27th & Q Streets. Tickets are $25.

Happy Halloween everyone! 


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

An Updated Doing the District

The Gamma Girls have been working hard to revamp our blog to make it more user friendly. Before I walk you through the changes, we need to give one giant shout out to our friend, Matt, who writes the blog Third Date Cooking.
*I needed an excuse to include this pic...enjoy

In addition to being one hell of a cook, Matt also knows how to write code. What is code? Yeah, I don’t know either. But apparently it’s the “internet language” and the basis of everything online. Who knew? Okay, fine, I bet a lot of you knew that. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m clueless when it comes to technology.

Anyway, when I mentioned to Matt a few weeks ago (while watching my Patriots beat the Broncos*) that we wanted to update our blog so that readers could more easily search for ideas of things to do in the District, he offered to help. And help he has. We could not have done it without him.

That said; let us walk you through the changes...

 First, we created new tabs at the top of our blog.

Each tab contains categories. Each category includes links to our posts that fall under that category.

We did this, dear reader, so that when you are looking for something to do generally, or specifically, you can easily browse our ideas and past posts. Looking for a place to take mom for dinner? We’ve covered that in the "How to live" tab under the "Entertaining/ Acting like a Tourist" section. Need a recommendation for a first date spot? We’ve got that, too, right under the "Where to Date" tab. Want to know where to go on H Street? There’s an entire tab devoted to breaking our posts down by neighborhood.

As you will see, the tabs are set up as follows.

Where to Eat
Individual Restaurant Reviews
We Tested and Reviewed, You Choose
Gamma Girls Love Brunch
Holiday Dining in the District
You Might Want to Avoid

Where to Drink
Wine
Beer
Everything Else Booze Related

Where to Dance

Where to Date
Date Ideas
“Where to Meet Men” Series
Samantha Says Column
The Male Perspective

How to Live
General Living
The Gamma Girls Love All Things Fall
Our Favorite Things
Theater, Museum, Culture, Etc.
Outdoor Activities
Entertaining/ Acting Like a Tourist
Beauty and Style Reviews
Yes, Gamma Girls Like Sports
“What to Do in the District This Weekend” Series

Reviews by Neighborhood
Adams Morgan
Alexandria
Arlington
Bethesda
Capitol Hill
Chinatown
Columbia Heights
Cleveland Park
Downtown
Dupont Circle
Foggy Bottom
Friendship Heights
Georgetown
Glover Park
Greater Maryland
Greater Virginia
H Street Corridor
Logan Circle
McPherson Square
Mount Vernon Square
National Mall
Palisades Northwest
Penn Quarter
Petworth
Shaw
U Street
Van Ness
Waterfront
Woodley Park

We hope that these updates are helpful!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Fall Into Fall In The District: Where to Get Scared

With the arrival of fall comes all things pumpkin flavored (yes, you can even get pumpkin Pringles), chilly nights bundled up in sweaters, football nearly every day of the week, and perhaps the greatest thing of all, Halloween. Whether you’re like me and look forward to marathons of Hocus Pocus and Practical Magic and of course “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown,” or you like getting the bejesus out of you, or you just want an excuse to dress up without people judging you, Halloween is one of the highlights of fall.

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This week I bring you, the greatest place to get your scream on. That’s right, where to get scared in the District.

Six Flags Fright Fest
What could be better than an amusement park, night rides, and all sorts of scary creatures? Yes, that was a rhetorical question. Just a short drive outside of the nation’s capital, you will let out at least one scream during your visit, I assure you. A dense fog covers the park and between the coasters and the zombies, goosebumps are all but guaranteed. Whether zombies, bloodshed, or “carn-evil” workers are your favorite fright, Six Flags has you covered. For more information, including ticket sales, visit: http://frightfest.sixflags.com/america/attractions/.



Markoff’s Haunted Forest
This is the epitome of scary, ladies and gentlemen. Not only is it Maryland’s oldest haunted forest, but is nationally ranked as a terror-filled experience, as well. Located in Poolesville, Maryland, it is easily accessible from VA, MD, and DC. But be warned, you must book in advance because this attraction will sell out on weekends. Folks, this haunted forest is so scary that you have to sign a waiver to participate. During the 20-minute walk by candle light, visitors choose their trail that includes a graveyard, boneyard, shacks, an abandoned circus, and through a swamp. Be ready for sudden jolts and terrifying creatures. If being scared until you “soil yourself” (I pulled this straight from the Markoff website) is something you enjoy, then look no further. For ticket information and directions visit: http://markoffshauntedforest.com/.

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Field of Screams
Dear readers if you’re still not sold on a haunted experience then look no further than Field of Screams. This Olney, Maryland fright night will leave even the strongest and “never scared” shaking in their boots. According to their website, this year’s event is a 35 min walk through a haunted forest best known for being the place where a farmer from Dream City lost his life and was skinned alive by the most powerful werewolf in the world who is competing to rule over all of Scream City. Think zombies, supernaturals, and all sorts of unexpected twists and turns. If I’m being honest, I’m getting nightmares just thinking about it. {Confession: I watched Pet Semetary in the sixth grade and haven’t been able to handle anything remotely scary ever since.} Book your tickets early because just like Marakoff’s, Field of Screams fills up quickly. For more information visit: http://www.screams.org/haunted-house-attractions.php.

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 DC Itself Is Just Plain Scary
If you prefer to stay close to home, why not check out the famous stairs from the Exorcist in Georgetown. For those of you unfamiliar, check out Capital Katie's post here. Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention D.C. Ghost Tours. We all know the historic past of our fair city; but, as the tour site so clearly illustrates, we are blind to the conspiracies, crimes of passion, duels and assassinations that took place in D.C. Professional guides take you on a unique, and frightening tour of the paranormal in D.C. For more information on booking, please visit: http://www.dcghosttours.com/.

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Now don’t expect me to join you, dear readers, as scary isn’t my jam. Instead, I’m dressing up Lola as a chubby Chalupa and handing out candy to darling trick or treaters. Instead of buying tickets to give myself nightmares, I’m just going to search high and low for Halloween carols so people don’t judge me for rushing Christmas.



Yours In Eating Way Too Much Candy Corn,



 

Friday, October 19, 2012

What to do in the District This Weekend

Whenever the weekend rolls around I always get really excited and start singing some old school R. Kelly, “Remix to Ignition.” You know it’s the freakin weekend baby I’m about to have me some fun. Don’t lie, you know you used to rock out to this back in the day, too. But my big ambitions to ‘DO SOMETHIN’ tend to end up like this cleaning, watching football, and breaking into living room dance parties with Lola. {Judge away.}
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But for those of you looking for a great way to spend this weekend the Gamma Girls suggest…

FRIDAY

Looking for some place to spend your lunch hour? What better place than with Naughty By Nature. Yes, that is right folks. Today is Yardfest, the Howard homecoming concert. This year’s edition has up and comers 2 Chainz and Meek Mill and rap mainstays Beenie Man and Naughty By Nature. So take a longer lunch, enjoy this beautiful weather and head to Howard University around noon. The best part, it’s free!

If 2 Chainz isn’t your jam, and you can’t sneak away for a long lunch, I’ve heard nothing but good things about Pitch Perfect and Argo. So grab your girls and sing along with my girl Rebel Wilson or make it a date and grab some dinner with your beau and then check out Argo, neither will disappoint, I’m told.


You can also employ the RWB Friday night which consists of red wine and catching up on DVR. My newest obsession: Nashville and Chicago Fire. Country music and firefighters… sign me up.

SATURDAY

I’m sure most DC-area residents know exactly who they will be voting for on November 6. Why not take time to volunteer for your candidate in Virginia? As I’m sure you know, Virginia is up for grabs in this election and there are tons of opportunities for you to get involved in the commonwealth. Knock on doors, make calls, or pass out brochures with like minded voters and help your candidate secure victory in Virginia! For more details on volunteering with the Romney campaign E-mail TeamVA@MittRomney.com and for information on the Obama campaign E-mail dc@barackobama.com.
 
AMERICA.
If politics aren’t your jam, but day drinking and horses are then look no further than the 75th Annual International Gold Cup. I’m sure most of you are familiar with the event in the spring, but it’s held in the fall, too. Tickets are no longer available through Gold Cup, but can be purchased at most Harris Teeter grocery stores. While there will be less seersucker and pastels, you’re guaranteed to find a well-dressed (and well hydrated) gentleman or lady around and have a grand old time. For more information visit: http://vagoldcup.com.

If art is more your style, check out Corcoran’s community day. A free event, guests can try out pottery-making, print-making and book binding. Plus there’s no entry fee for the museum.

Finally, nothing says October like fall foliage and booze. If you’ve got a car, the Northern Virginia BrewFest is just the place to be. Beer tasting, live music, gorgeous weather. Sounds like a nice little Saturday! For more information visit: http://novabrewfest.com/fall/.

As for me, I’ll be watching the Hokies play Clemson and then UGA take on Kentucky. If you’re a college football addict like me, check out the best places to watch football in the district here.



SUNDAY

The leaves are supposed to be simply gorgeous this weekend, so why not take a trip to the Gamma Girls favorite weekend getaway spots? It’s also the perfect weekend for pumpkin picking or a corn maze so make sure you head out of the city and find yourself a good ol punkin.

For those of you that want to stay local, one of my favorite Sunday afternoon destinations is Paint This! in Old Town. First, you can bring your own wine. Second, you can pretty much design anything you want. I always have a great time here and it’s the perfect way to have a low key afternoon with friends. Whether you want to paint a ceramic Jack O’Lantern or create custom coasters from pieces of colored glass, I promise you’ll have a wonderful time. Just call ahead to make sure they have a table reserved for a group.

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The past two Sundays Lols and I have really taken advantage of the gorgeous weather by taking long walks on the Mount Vernon trail. It’s rarely crowded and has a great view of the city, Arlington Cemetery and the Potomac. You can also loop around to Rock Creek Park or walk into Georgetown. It’s a great way to get outdoors without having to leave the area. Roosevelt Island is beautiful this time of year, as well.

Last but not least, Indique Heights is throwing its annual Diwali Mela. So for those of you that are new to the area think food vendors, dancing, henna, karaoke, and so much more. For only $22.00 you get all-you-can-eat food and access to events. For more information visit: http://indiqueheights-diwalimela.eventbrite.com/#.

Happy Weekend,



Thursday, October 18, 2012

How to Have a Successful Coffee Date

I’ll be honest- I’ve never been a big fan of coffee dates. If I were a dude and it was my job to plan first dates, I would never, ever suggest meeting up at a Starbucks. Instead, I’d propose meeting at a nice, centrally located bar, and then I’d go trim my nose hair or whatever it is men do.


There’s nothing exciting about most coffee shops- particularly the chains- and the commonplace vibe they give off can make it difficult to drum up a romantic connection. Soy lattes and tall americanos scream, Let’s talk about our career plans. But a smooth pinot noir in a dimly lit bar? It says, Tell me about your day, baby. A strong dirty martini? Come over here and give me a kiss.

But despite my dislike of coffee dates, they have some real advantages. It’s a lower pressure environment. There’s no risk of beer goggles and next day shame (not, um, that this has ever happened to me). Rendezvousing over coffee offers flexibility on the length of a date. And of course, not everyone drinks.

I've been on a few coffee dates that went so well they led me to rethink my whole stance on the matter.  But then, I've also been on a few that bombed spectacularly.  Here's how you can avoid the latter.

Stay away from big chains

Starbucks is like an expensive version of McDonald's. There’s one on every corner, you pay at the register, and they’re usually filled with screaming children. Plus, I doubt your date is going to be jazzed to meet you at the same spot she stops in every morning before work. But what about Panera or Cosi, you may be thinking. They have funky couches! Sorry, friends, those are out too.

Look for ambiance

Whatever the vibe- relaxed, fun, sultry, sophisticated- make sure the place has ambiance to spare. Ladies love ambiance!

Make it interesting

One of the benefits of meeting at a bar is that you have an automatic topic of conversation (credit for this insight goes to Capital Katie). You can get the ball rolling by pointing out the unusual beers at ChurchKey or the interesting cocktails at The Passenger. It might sound stupid or obvious, but not starting off on an awkward foot will greatly improve your chances for a successful date. Look for something interesting on the menu- like the Nutella espresso at Napoleon- and go from there.

Don’t get stuck at a register

Another problem with places like Starbucks. It can be super awkward waiting in line together and trying to figure out what to order as you do your meet ‘n greet. And what happens if she gets there first and pays for her drink and then has to wait around uncomfortably while you stand in line? You may want to avoid any potential problems by choosing a place that only has table service, or you can choose a spot where your date can sit at a table while you order and pay for your drinks.

Be creative

One thing you CAN do with coffee that you can’t do with booze is drink wherever you want (within reason -- don’t try to get up close and personal with the Lichtenstein exhibit while you have a macchiato in hand).

Here’s an idea: text her before the date and ask what you can get for her. Have both of your drinks in hand when she gets there and take them to a nice spot close by -- the fountain in Dupont Circle, a sunny spot on the Mall, Meridian Hill Park...you get the picture. I guarantee your date will appreciate your thoughtfulness.

Edited to add: an astute reader pointed out that there might be some safety concerns with taking a drink from a stranger.  If you and your date haven't met before, stick with one of the other approaches!

Need ideas on where to go? Here are some Gamma Girl favorites: 

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Have any other tips?  Let us know!


Monday, October 15, 2012

Where to Get a Blow-Dry: Dry Bar

There I was having a nice little Saturday morning doing errands. Farmers market? Check. Pick up dry cleaning? Check. Car wash? Check. Pharmacy? Check, check. I was on my way home and decided to reward my uber productive self with a Starbucks' latte. I pulled into a parking spot right on Wisconsin Avenue when a woman appeared at the passenger side of my car, smiled, and indicated that she wanted me to roll down the window. Feeling friendly and happy, I did. She leaned in and said that works across the street at a new salon called Dry Bar and asked if I had time for a free blow-dry.

I tried to play it off and act like I actually had other things to do like this:




But, because getting a blow-dry is one of my favorite things to do ever in the history of things to do, on the inside I was like this:





Thus, I began my amazing blow-dry experience at Dry Bar.

Dry Bar is a salon that specializes in blow-drys. No haircuts, no color, no other salon services. Just blow-drys. Yes, it's GENIUS. The first location opened in 2010 in Brentwood, California and since then locations have popped up all over the country. Two of the newest locations, slated to open this coming Friday, are in Bethesda, and right here in the District in my north Georgetown neighborhood.

I entered the new salon and immediately loved the vibe. It's modern, sleek, relaxing, and warm-- all at once. A cozy reception area is to the right and to the left is a long bar with white chairs on one side. It legit looks like a bar! Ahh-dorable. Instead of booze on the shelves behind the bar, hair products are lined up and displayed. Again, so cute. My stylist, who was friendly and bubbly, sat me down and took a look at my hair. She suggested the "cosmopolitan" blow out. She then led me into another room where she washed my hair, and then brought me back to her station at the bar.
The end result of my blow dry

Dry Bar has a "menu" so that patrons can choose their preferred blow-dry style:

Manhattan- sleek and smooth finish
Mai Tai- messy and beachy look
Southern Comfort- big hair and lots of volume
Cosmopolitan- loose curls
Straight Up- simple and straight look

 All blow-drys are the same price: $40.

To play along with the "bar" feel even more, all the stations at the bar face giant flat screen televisions. Instead of sports, chick flicks. I know, sounds amazing, right? I watched The Devil Wears Prada and part of The Notebook while I had my hair styled. Heaven. My stylist was in training (hence the free blow-dry) and various managers came over and gave her different pointers. Everyone was friendly, nice, and knew their stuff.

I can't stress enough how impressed I was throughout the experience. Basically, the entire time I was thinking:



Additionally, all you busy D.C. ladies, Dry Bar opens as early as 7am Monday- Friday! I don't know any salons in the District that open that early. The Georgetown location also has a private room that can be rented out for parties. You better believe I'm going to take advantage of that.

Bottom line, ladies--- this place is legit. And for $40 you get one hell of a blow-dry. My plan was to hang out on my couch that night, but after having my hair did? I quickly made plans so that I could go show off my pretty hair.  Because lets face it, after a good blow-dry, we all feel like this:

Gina Carano lip bite

Even if the night ends with us sending inappropriate text messages to someone and stumbling home like this:




And, if you need some additional entertainment on this cloudy Monday, check out this video of Justin Bieber prank calling the Dry Bar. Trust me, you'll giggle.


P.S. Yes, I'm currently obsessed with incorporating gifs into my posts. How'd I do?

Friday, October 12, 2012

What to do in the District this Weekend

After spending the past two nights out until last call, I feel like this today:




And would love to spend my entire weekend doing this:






But, alas, I'll rally and by 9pm tonight I'll be like this:




And it's not really going to be that hard to rally because there's so much fun stuff going on in and around the District this weekend, AND the weather is expected to be gorgeous.

Friday

Tonight it's Nats night! Game is at 8:30 so if you weren’t one of the lucky few that snagged tickets (or you were like me and just couldn’t justify spending $80 on standing room only tickets) find your favorite neighborhood joint, or a big sports bar and root on the Nats! If you want a loud, hooting and hollering crowd, check out Buffalo Billards, Red Line, Black Finn, Penn Social, Liberty Tavern, or Thirsty Ivy’s favorite spot, Duffy’s.

If you want a more laid back scene to watch the game, I recommend Maddy’s in Dupont Circle (or their new location downtown at 13th and L), Cleveland Park Bar and Grille, the Poor House on the hill, Star and Shamrock on H Street, or make it a fancy baseball watching experience and drink wine in the bar at Urbana.

I’m not going to offer any other ideas of things to do tonight, because this is the first time the playoffs have come to the District in 79 years. As Washingtonians we need to stick together and support our home team.  I might even trade in my cute going-out top and heels for my Nats t-shirt and flats tonight. I know, woah.

Saturday

Last week, Katie shared all the fun Oktoberfest activities going on. And there are even more this weekend. Four of the Gamma Girls’ favorite bars are joining forces to host the Snallygaster Oktoberfest at the Yard’s Park. And, wait, it gets better. Not only will the event feature just craft beer, there will be over 153 different types. Yup, pretty much heaven for beer lovers. After, swing through the D.C. fish market for some fresh fish for dinner. Or head over to Haynes Point driving range to hit some golf balls.

You know what I have a love-hate relationship with? Haunted forests. I love them because they are sooo fall. It’s fun to travel out of town with friends to the middle of nowhere. To drink hot chocolate under a dark, clear sky. To smell the clean, crisp air. To wear boots and scarves and do something different for the night. But I also hate them because I am such a little scaredy-cat. I’m the girl that screams the entire time and insists on a giving the person next to me a death grip (Two years ago I may have been chased through the haunted forest by one of those crazy guys with the chain saw and my friends found me curled up in a fetal position under a hay stack. #truestory). That said, by the far the best haunted forest around is Markoff’s Haunted Forest in Poolesville, Maryland.  Get together a group of friends and head out to the boonies for the night.

If you’re not obsessed with all things fall like me, or you don’t want to lose your voice from screaming, Sign of the Whale is hosting a “Little Black Dress Party.” What is this you ask? Wear a LBD and get $3.00 drinks from 8pm-11pm. And if you can scrounge up a group of four or more, you get a free bottle of champagne.

Sunday

Now that the humidity is finally gone and the chilly weather is setting in, it’s about that time to really start assessing your fall and winter wardrobes. Put together the list of new things you need and then head over to Violet Boutique in Adams Morgan to meet up with the Ladies Who Lush for a…wait for it… shopping crawl!  This event will include stopping at boutiques, restaurants, and bars up and down 18th Street and U Street…ending with a boozy brunch at Masa 14. Fact: Masa 14 has one of the best boozy brunches in all of the District.



There you go.  A full weekend of fun stuff to do in and around the District. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

How to Find D.C. Speakeasies

If you're reading this blog, it is entirely likely that your daily life ebbs and flows along with two particular amendments to the Constitution.

No, ladies, I'm not referring to the 19th, though I'm sure you're all so profoundly affected by that annoying "routine doctor's appointment that stops you in your tracks" radio commercial currently airing ad nauseam right now (my child has ASTHMA?!!?? THE HORROR!!!) that you'll be sure to exercise your right to stuff a ballot box in November.

And, no, Virginians, I'm not referring to the 2nd either (so it's probably best to shove that handgun a little lower in your purse, Grandma).

I'm not even referring to the 5th (please fast-forward video to 4:28 and watch until 5:47):

There are sooooo many amendments in the Constitution
of the United States of Americaaaaaa. I can only choose one...
I can only choose OOOOOOOOOOONE!


Nay, the amendments in question here are the 18th and the 21st, aka Prohibition and its repeal. From after-work happy hours to lobbying coups, everything in Washington appears to hinge on a swirling cocktail (or four).

And without both of these amendments, the country would have never given rise to one of the coolest bar trends: The speakeasy.

In the beginning, speakeasies only existed because people needed hidden places to gather to drink illegally. Today, obviously, alcohol is no longer verboten, so these booze-slinging establishments only exist to make you feel as though you carry a certain social cachet. And truly, it's pretty cool to be in a place you have to know where it is to know where it is.*

So where are these places in D.C.? Without further ado:



The Gibson, 2009 14th St. NW

I've mentioned this speakeasy before in terms of first dates, and with good reason: Every time I've gone to The Gibson, I have hardcore made out with the man who took me there. The only time I didn't make out with someone at The Gibson was when I went with a group of my girlfriends, and frankly, if they'd have been down for it I'd have made out with them too. There's just something about this place that gently whispers "seeeeexxxxxxx" across your earlobes and down your neck.

To find it, locate this black door right next to Marvin, just around the corner from the U Street Metro:


Once inside, there will be someone waiting with a clipboard. The Gibson requires that every person in the establishment have a seat, which is nice for those in heels but may mean you have to wait for an opening if you didn't make a reservation.

But this is what you get once they open up:


The cocktails and service are amazing. Seriously, take me here, and I'll make out with you. Guaranteed.



PX, 728 King St., Alexandria

That address is a bit misleading -- that will actually take you into Eamonn's, an Irish pub that owns PX. To get to the speakeasy, turn the corner onto Columbus Street and look for this door:


When the blue light is on, PX is open. Knock on the door and someone will open it and ask you how many people are in your party. It's the same rules as The Gibson, meaning that they will give you an assigned seat.

And, much like The Gibson, it is equally lovely inside:


PX boasts some of the best mixologists in the area, so you won't be disappointed by the cocktails here. (Though, watch out for cocktails that contain tobacco if you're not a smoker. Trust me.)

PX is accessible from the King Street Metro.



Jimmy Valentine's Lonely Hearts Club, 1103 Bladensburg Road NE

Jimmy Valentine's Lonely Hearts Club has the unique distinction of being both a speakeasy and a dive bar. And from the look of the front door, you'd never think this place was anything other than an abandoned building:

That's the bouncer. His name is Marcus. Saturday was his first day on the job :)

Enter that door and pull open another door immediately to your right. You'll then find yourself in the midst of a dark bar:


Reminded of Little Miss Whiskey's? Jimmy Valentine's is owned by the same people, so it definitely has the same sort of vibe. And much like the former, Jimmy Valentine's also serves frozen drinks, most notably a root beer slushie.

Jimmy Valentine's is a little further out of the way than the other two. For anyone who does not live in the H Street Corridor already, you'll have to Metro to Chinatown then hop the X2 Metrobus out to the 15th/H/Bladensburg/Maryland/Benning Road intersection, then walk up Bladensburg until you see the aforementioned door. (Or, of course, take a cab.)


And now, you have the keys to the kingdom, so to speak. Go check out some of these places!



















*I realize I'm taking away some of the allure by highlighting these places, but... live and let live, people.