Saturday, January 31, 2009

The site of our wedding ceremony

This weekend my fiance and I walked down to the site of our wedding ceremony, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial.

I think we arrived at the perfect time. The sun was just beginning to set and the light was hitting the columns in all the right places.

I am so moved by the quotations inside the Memorial. Not recognizing the significance of the man surrounding us on our special day would be wrong so I've asked my Dad to pay homage to TJ in his speech at the ceremony.

Sofia Coppola on the cover of Paris Vogue

I have collected nearly 10 years worth of Vogue magazines, mostly American Vogue, but from time to time, when I'm willing to shell out $10 for an amazing issue of UK or Paris Vogue they're added to the collection as well.

One of these days I'm going to frame the covers of the ones I still pick up, time after time, and stare at longingly. Some people collect fine art...I collect Vogue.

This one of Sophia Coppola will most certainly be in the mix.

(Via Black Eiffel)

Friday, January 30, 2009

Part II of why French women are so elegant

The look on this young Parisian woman's face says to me, "Ugh, far too many glasses of red wine last night. And I'm still wearing my clothes from the night before." Been there, done that....except I never looked that sheek after a long night out.

That being said, seeing ladies looking like this, roaming about Paris, fighting through a work day with little shut-eye inspires me to inject my closet with something exciting and new. I'll keep you posted.

(Via Sartorialist)

West Elm gets it right

Sooooooo many companies have used Inaugural or Obama-campaign rhetoric to sell their products in the new year (IKEA's "Embrace Change" campaign being first and foremost in my mind).

I left work this afternoon to grab a bite to eat around Metro Center and on my way back, I did a double take when I saw the above language on West Elm's window. I found myself standing in the middle of the sidewalk smiling. There's just something about the play on words that I really love, especially the "Oval or Otherwise" phrase. So cute.

A birthday gift wish

My birthday is in less than a month! 27 years old. I'm ready for it. Some of my friends are getting to that stage where they dread their next birthday but given that (a) we have no choice and (b) I prefer myself today much better than the person I was at say, 22, I think another year means another opportunity to get to know the core of myself...and be comfortable with it.

Another find from my new favorite site, 20x200! I would love, love, love this print for my birthday (shameless, I know!). The artist, Jennifer Sanchez, does really cool graphical paintings that I'm now a HUGE fan of. What do you think?

Time for a beach getaway

It's been so long since I've been to a beach. If I could be whisked away to a warm part of this world for even 24 hours just to sit on the sand and dive into the sea water I would be one happy gal.

This picture is from my new favorite art/photography website, 20x200. Much of the art sold on this site starts at $20! (Hence, 20x200.....)

The photographer, Christian Chaize, will be selling this photo on 20x200 starting in February but you can pre-order it now. The image appears in the February issue of Domino magazine, which, if you didn't know, is folding :( I know that many, many design bloggers are bummed about this news.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The French make it look so easy

If I could pull this outfit off, I'd do it in a heartbeat. What's not to love? Slouchy pants by Lanvin, messy but sexy hair, killer Balenciaga heels....if only I was a French woman. They do it best.

(Via Le Fashion)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The injustice of the "digital divide"

Last night I had the pleasure of listening to one of my favorite reporters, Jose Antonio Vargas (3rd from left in the pic) of the Washington Post, speak at Johns Hopkins about internet technology in the 'Obama age.' While Joe Trippi, a fellow panelist at the event, spoke at length about what changes we can anticipate seeing at, it was Vargas' eloquent and passionate remarks about the "digital divide" that grabbed a hold of me, leaving me pained, feeling like I've done nothing in my own life to address this problem.

John Edwards often said that there exists "two Americas" - the rich and the poor. But we rarely see, hear or discuss those who go without or carry on in life with very little. Our politicians are happy to talk about the middle class and its current woes in our sour economy, but what about the people living on welfare? What about the single mothers struggling to pay their rent, feed and dress their kids and get by on an hourly wage with no health insurance? Why aren't we inserting them into our political discourse? Is it too tough a subject? Are we ashamed to admit that we don't have the answers to their very serious, very real problems?

On a micro-level thinking of this gap, Vargas has been one of the few national reporters to cover the digital divide between the rich and the poor - "one that's connected to high-speed Internet - socializing, paying bills, uploading debate questions to presidential candidates on YouTube - and one that's not."

Vargas accurately reported in 2008 that "in a presidential election that's being fought as much online as off it" many candidates ignored this critical issue.

Studies have shown that closing the digital divide helps minimize other disparities, including education, health care, housing and economic opportunity.

So what should be done? It has been said before on TechPresident, and I'm throwing my support behind it 100%, that the Internet is a public good in the same way that we think of water and interstates. Our government should commit to providing wireless Internet access nationwide. I believe we can do it too. It's not matter of "can we" it's a matter of "will we."

Look at Estonia! They declared internet access a basic human right, ahead of EU countries such as France and Italy. We have examples to look to for inspiration and guidance. The time is now.

No snow day??

I woke up this morning, peered out my window and saw this scene below me.

Yippeeeeee!!! Snow day in DC!! I texted my boss and a co-worker to confirm my excitement. I mean, come on - how many times do people below the Mason-Dixon line get a chance to frolic in a winter wonderland?

Unfortunately, my hopes were not meant to be matched today. I'm at work and yes, a tad grumpy about it. At least my lovely and hilarious neighbor, Patrice, couldn't help but strike a pose at the bus stop this morning :) She made my day.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Italian Mecca of DC

Have you ever wished that DC had the following - more olive oils to choose from than Italy, aisles and aisles of wine without pretentious employees hovering over your shoulder, a random type of pasta that only you love and no one knows about? If even one of those solicits a resounding "Yes!" please, please, please waste no more time; change your plans for this Saturday and go to A. Litteri in NE DC. I promise, you won't be disappointed.

Talk about an adventure. As I mentioned last week, my Dad has been raving about this place for nearly a year now and I finally took him up on an offer to check out this small Italian grocer. You're left to your own devices as soon as you walk in - customer service, they are not known for - but that's the way I like it. I walked out with three kinds of pasta, a can of good tomatoes, two bottles of red wine, anchovies and pesto --- before I thought I might lose all sense of moderation. After looking at their stock via the pictures, when's your next trip? Count me in.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

I love living in the city but...

Don't these pictures make you want a dog and a small plot by the ocean?

(Via Small Stump)

Meryl Streep is my idol

Nobody gets better with age than Meryl Streep (ok...except for maybe Cate Blanchett and my Mom).

This scene in Out of Africa may be the sexiest non-shower shower scene ever.


Friday, January 23, 2009

Beauty in a bundle

I'm on a roll at the moment of stumbling upon bits of beauty across the blogosphere so I've lost track of how I came across this family-owned business, Saipua (which is Finnish for "soap" ), which makes olive oil soap, notecards and best of all, gorgeous flower arrangements. I included a picture from their blog of these lovely clementine placecards from a New Year's Eve wedding they worked - how clever! They have a shop in Brookyln. Hmmm...maybe it's time I head up to NYC for a visit. Any takers?

Handwritten notes...never out of style

What about handwritten name cards for the wedding? I love these two designers below.

Jenna Hein says, "Since i was a little girl i have been practicing my handwriting (mostly my own name), over and over on anything near me...envelopes, folders, notebooks, and even on my jeans. It wasn't until i became a designer that i realized i was just a lover of fonts all the way back in the first grade."

Betsy Dunlap appears to be worshiped by all those who know her work. Yours truly has now joined the club!

Dream trip

I just got engaged the night before the Inauguration to my wonderful BF, an incredible man.

Pinch...Gasp...It's really real!

While planning a wedding is fun, fantasizing about the honeymoon is truly the best part.

I saw this picture and it captured the essence of how I feel about our first summer together as husband and wife :)

(Via Loveology)

I want this bathroom!

I love, love, love stand alone tubs!
(Via A Merry Mishap)

A Little Piece of Italy in DC

My Dad has been raving about an Italian grocer in NE DC called A. Litteri for months now. it's known for an astounding variety of olive oils, vinegars and meats. You can show up to buy a sandwich or to stock your fridge and pantry with all sorts of Italian goodies. What could possibly be better than that?!?!? I'll be sure to have a full report on our findings later this weekend.

In the meantime, my dear friend Erjona passed along a fabulous foodie blog to me called Nourish Me. If you love gorgeous food photography, lovely, fluid dialogue and delicious recipes (and who doesn't?), then check it out. Lucy, Nourish Me's blogger, is a writer and photographer in Melbourne, Australia. She countrs her greatest accomplishment as her "step-son's love of bitter greens." That certainly is an achievement!

Back in November she wrote about a Jamie Oliver recipe for pangritata - "a peasant substitute for Parmesan cheese born both of necessity and poverty, " according to Lucy. I'm planning on making this after my trip to A. Litteri. Once you see the pictures, you'll want the recipe. Start the drooling now.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Chocolate Scrabble???

My Mom and sister might faint when they see this given that they're the biggest Scrabble fans I know! Courtesy of Chocolate Nerd.

Transparency comes to Washington

"Government should be participatory. Public engagement enhances the Government's effectiveness and improves the quality of its decisions." - Pres. Barack Obama

While on the campaign trail last year Obama often talked about the need for a more open and transparent government, ideals held up by great organizations such as The Sunlight Foundation and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Practicing what you preach is always a tough road to take. I am, however, heartened by early signs that Obama will follow through on his commitment to a more participatory democracy.

On Obama's first day in office, his Administration released two presidential memoranda covering freedom of information, transparency and open government. With respect to the latter two elements, he says:

"Government should be collaborative. Collaboration actively engages Americans in the work of their Government. Executive departments and agencies should use innovative tools, methods, and systems to cooperate among themselves, across all levels of Government, and with nonprofit organizations, businesses, and individuals in the private sector. Executive departments and agencies should solicit public feedback to assess and improve their level of collaboration and to identify new opportunities for cooperation." For more details on Obama's steps towards a more open and participatory government, check out TechPresident's coverage, as well as Boing Boing's.

For this sleep deprived week

After a long weekend of Inaugural festivities, little sleep and lots of standing in long lines I wish DC was granted a National Week of Recovery from the Inauguration. What I wouldn't give for a lazy Friday morning with a warm cup of chai as I read my latest copy of The New Yorker cover to cover.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

In honor of Michelle Obama's style

After witnessing Michelle step out on the Capitol's steps in Isabel Toledo's ravishing lemongrass coat and matching dress, I couldn't help but take a look back at many of the outfits she's worn over the last two years on the campaign trail. As much as I will always adore the style and finesse of Jackie O, there's something more tangible and approachable about Michelle that in some ways, makes me appreciate her fashion even more. Enjoy these beautiful photos. (Via TIME, New York Times)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Concert with Herbie Hancock and others on MLK Day

My Mom and I walked down to Martin Luther King, Jr. Library this morning to donate food to a Capitol Area Food Bank drive. We had no idea that we'd luck out with a free concert put on by Feeding America, our country's leading domestic hunger-relief charity!!

Ben Affleck, David Arquette, Martin Luther King III, Josh Groban anddddd.........Herbie Hancock! OMG. He played one of my favorite songs of his collection, Maiden Voyage, and the crowd was loving it.

There's an amazing feeling in the air right now. I wish everyone could be here to rejoice in the celebration surrounding Barack's inauguration. I'll never forget this for the rest of my life. You can see Groban playing on stage with Herbie in the first picture and a group of visitors to the District rocking out and having the time of their lives just a few steps away from the stage.

Friday, January 16, 2009

What would I want Michelle to wear?

I love this Derek Lam dress to pieces! Michelle's long, athletic arms and strong shoulders would carry this elegant dress with force.


Michelle Obama's Inaugural Dress

What Michelle Obama wears to the inaugural balls next week has been the topic de jour for months. As part of this hysteria, I woke up this morning to an NPR interview by Renee Montagne with Simon Doonan, the Creative Director of Barneys New York, discussing what the new first lady will wear. He seemed most excited about whatever her choice might be given her beautiful "physicality." I couldn't agree more. Michelle has a stunning figure - tall, athletic and elegant. Barack's a lucky guy.

Truth be told, no one is more opinionated about what dress is best for Michelle than my girlfriends. Lesley (and Lesley's work colleague, Frederique), Erjona and Samantha sent me their picks for Michelle's dress. None of them have seen each other's choices...until now. What do you all think?!

Lesley and Frederique's Pick - These coworkers chose a bold Monique Lhuillier number because they "think it would be a great color on Michelle and it is very elegant but 
not toooo skimpy. At first we were going for "what would Jackie O wear" and went only for Oleg Cassini-esque designs but were not inspired. Michelle has her own thing going." 

Erjona's Pick: She described this Elie Tahari number as " beautiful, serious for the occasion" while carrying "a streak of her style". 

Samantha's Picks: According to Sam, "The thing about Michelle Obama is that she's a perfect mix of what we all strive be: classy, flattering, fashionable...with a tweak of something 
edgy, girlish, and unique. She's also got a fantastic figure. This makes dressing her relatively easy, but come on... the Inauguration is a big deal, and Michelle has to exude the glamour and sophistication of the White House royalty she's become. I'm actually in favor of the Gianfranco Ferre gown. Unfortunately, while i can't see the front, i'm completely obsessed with the structured, cascading back that reminds me of a mixture of sand dunes and a waterfall." 

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Ultimate Oyster Bar

Unfortunately, this Oyster Bar is in NYC, not DC. I know, I know. My blog is about DC places, things and people I love, but sometimes, I have to break the trend and I think you'll understand why after looking at these pictures. 

The Oyster Bar in Grand Central has been around since 1913. It's known for its fantastic seafood and really cold beer. Just look at how beautifully historic it looks! Union Station should do the same! Big thanks to A Continuous Lean for this one.

The Perfect Mug for Chai

My Mom gave me a yummy Chai spice mix that just requires an addition of warm milk. I've been looking for a great mug to enjoy my favorite tea drink in and these, by Gemma Whightman, may be the winners. What do you think?

(Via Frolic, via Cup of Jo)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

'A New Era' in DC comes with a price tag...or does it?

“It’s such an interesting time for the real D.C., because for years there has been a whole lot of nothing going on."

Gillian Clark, a soon-to-be restaurant owner in Petworth and author of the above quote, knows a 
thing or two about how DC has made dramatic changes in a remarkable period of time. Even five years ago I cringed and speed-walked when heading east along U Street past 10th Street. My how things have evolved for the better.

In that small period of five years I've seen the rise in popularity (and availability) of wine bars (i.e. Urbana, Cork, Veritas) and cool neighborhood joints in areas that used to be off limits because of crime (i.e. Red Rocks Pizza, Vegetate, The Red Derby, Locolat).

With a new infusion of great restaurants, bars, coffee shops and cultural happenings Washingtonians are defintiely having a great time living in the city. Dare I say we're having the best time we've ever had here? 

Problem is, many of these places price too many people out from enjoying the fruits of their existence and what they have to offer. 

Case in point: Last night a couple girlfriends and I 
had a well 
overdue and much-needed catch up at Marvin on 14th Street (see picture with Obama on the side of the building). If you love a place with a dark, moody ambiance and great jazz or funk music (depending on whether it's during the week or Fri/Sat) and nooks and crannies to get comfy in, then it's a great place to be. But as much as I cherish all of that, I can't justify spending 
$9 on a glass of Pinot Noir or Bordeaux more than once in a blue moon. As part of my New Year's resolution to save money, laying down that kind of cash just isn't going to work. 

So, is it possible to eat, drink and socialize in DC on the cheap?

Feel free to disagree, but I think the answer is a resounding YES!!!

A couple of great examples:

El Paraiso on 14th, just south of U Street. As one reviewer
on Yelp put it: "This is one of my favorite 'I do not want to cook tonight" and "let's meet 
for margarita" restaurants! I truly believe the name is apt for this great little unfussy neighborhood gem."

El Sol, 9th and T. Great chips and salsa, carne asada and shirmp tacos. Cheap, cheap, cheap!

Stetson's, 16th and U. An old-crowd favorite. 
Cheap beer and wings; nice outdoor space for summer get-togethers.

What other places do you love that don't require half your paycheck