D.C.


Many moons ago when it was announced that Bravo was going to do a Real Housewives of DC (way before that Salahi hot mess) I wrote this post, outlining who I thought the characters should be. Now that the show has started, let’s compare my original  predictions to what really happened. Also, if you need a brief history of our nation as well as Richard’s take on the characters, please read his recap of the premiere. Oh I abso cannot wait for Richard’s take on the distrcit. And, Richard, if you need a fact-checker please do not hesitate to contact me, as I lived and breathed it from a real DC address for three long years and had daily meetings with Dr. Jefferson Memorial. Let’s get to it!

Original Prediction #1: Foreign Diplomats Wife: A foreign hottie who has been in the USA long enough to know about the show. This will be a leap for BRAVO, but necessary given DC is such a totally cool mixing pot!

I was hoping that this foreigner would also be South American or Persian to add to the intrigue, but I guess Bravo was just not ready yet. Instead they chose an ex-pat from Britain, who has no diplomatic connections, but apparently her ex-husband is BFF’s with Barack (was her husband during the show, but not anymore). So, let me introduce Catherine Ommanney, who unfotch can’t afford a house in the Kalorama neighborhood with all the other diplos and ex-pats, instead she slums it in Chevy Chase. Not posh Cat, not posh at all. At least her last name does sound a little Persian. I give myself 59 points for correct prediction of a foreigner in the cast, but wrong nationality/husband’s occupation.

Original Prediction #2: Chevy Chase Princess: Comes from Old Money, was born and raised in Chevy Chase and lives on a very lovely street near Bloomingdales and Saks, in a house her parents bought for her when she married her high school sweetheart from St. Albans (she went to NCS, obvs) who also came from money and works at family lobby shop.

Yup, this sounds just like Mary, second generation DC, married for 20 years, summered with the Kennedy’s, founded two charities as her job (screams WASP). Has a brood of blonde kids and a very annoying 23-year-old daughter who everyone at Langley High probably wanted to smack and went to Radford (am I right Emily P, leave it in the comments?).  Don’t even need to say more. I give myself 100 points for accurate prediction even though she lives in McLean across the street from Colin P (more on that in a moment)!

Original Prediction #3: McLean Mom: Husband is high up in the Government and will lead viewers to believe he has some high clearance job, maybe at the CIA, but will really just work for OPM or HUD. Lives in a large McLean McMansion next to Colin Powell or a Saudi Prince and will go to exclusive soirees at said houses.

Ummmm so even thought it’s actually Mary who lives in McLean across the street from Colin Powell (yup direct quote, I do give myself some extra points for that), the McLean mom is def more like Stacie (and also I had a hard time fitting Stacie into any of them). She loves her family, her hubs looks like a nice normal guy who did used to work for the Mayor of DC. And, of course she founded a charity, every stay at home mom should have one (along with a Harvard MBA, she has that too).

Original Prediction #4: Georgetown “Scenester” Wannabe: This will be the one single lady on the show and will probably live in a trendy apartment in an “up and coming” neighborhood (ie Anacostia or the H St Ghetto). She has actually done pretty well in her career, first starting out as a hill staffer and now working for a media outlet of sorts, probably in an upper management role, but not an exec of course, or how else would she have time to be on the show and sleep with powerful men?

I’d say this is Lynda, divorce, dating Ebong, who is much younger, and according to her official bio on bravo is a “staple on the Washington social scene.” So was she the cougar I always saw at Smith’s Point? Staple on the scene my ebong, I don’t think so! And, to top it all off, she lives in Georgetown (according to the HuffPo). I give myself  85 point for accuracy, as she owns a modeling agency (cause DC is definitely a place where many models are needed), rather than working on the Hill.

Original Prediction #5: Alexandria Poser: The most insignificant of the bunch. Got on to the show because she worked with Georgetown Scenester 5 years ago (as her assistant). Now is a “working” mom and has two young kids who go to (gasp) public school in Alexandria. Shops on King Street, Pentagon City and Tyson’s Galleria (but only when there is a sale) and mostly at Loehmann’s in Falls Church.

Well, in terms of annoyingness and poserness, I’d say this is Michaele Salahi, the infamous WH party crasher. Basically the epitome of a wannabe social climber, who unfortunately got the wrong kind of press. I’d say Alexandria and Virginia horse country (where she lives in a beautiful McMansion) are pretty similar. And, though we see no children, they would totes go to public school if she had any. In terms of shopping, she does have a stylist, but she probably instructs him to buy everything at Loehman’s, especially since it appears they don’t pay their bills. I’d give myself another 85 points, I didn’t predict the Whitehouse party crash, but I was totally thinking of this type of lady

So, here’s to a season of DC! I totes left at the wrong time, DC is so trendy for reality TV these days, Top Chef, Real World and now Real Housewives! Lastly, check out the article the HuffPo wrote about the ladies (with a focus on silly Salahi), pretty good!

As we all know, snowpocalypse hit DC this week/weekend. I’m pretty jealous of my friends who have gotten to miss 3 days of work this week, though, according to my guest blogger (the same lady who brought you teatime) it can get a little boring. Here are her suggestions for being snowed in.

I am on day 6.5 of being snowed in to my humble abode, thanks to Snowpocolypse/Snowmaggeden/Snowbama/Blizzard 2.0, I thought I would give you some guest bloggie content.

10 Ways to survive a massive snowstorm(s) without committing yourself to the looney bin:

1) DVDs. Note these get boring after day 1 when you realize you have bedsores from sitting down so much.  Also if you are awesome like me and don’t subscribe Netflix (or have watched all your Netflix), then you are a victim of Comcast On Demand and Lifetime movies. Entertainment Value: 2 points.

2) Shovel. The obvious activity once the snow stops and essential if you want to envision the day when you actually may be able to drive on a road. Entertainment value: 5 points (productive and good exercise!).

3) Go for a Snow Hike. I use the word hike as you 1. have boots on that are heavy and add to the strenuousness of the activity and 2. many sidewalks resemble a Mt. Kilimanjaro trail.  This activity is also easily combined with number 4. Entertainment value: 4 points.

4) Mission Impossible. After a few days food items tend to run out and you find yourself doing things like walking 1 mile in a white-out for mushrooms and chocolate chips (for chicken mushroom saute and chocolate chip banana bread, clearly).  I found out early on that the secret Asian mini market under my old building had every ingredient sold out of Whole Foods or Safeway. That place is a lifesaver yet again. Entertainment value: 3 points.

5) Baking. Holy rusted kitchen aid Batman, did I bake. I baked banana bread for the guys who helped me shovel, pumpkin bread for the people at my front desk, bread for Superbowl, and even experimented with whole wheat flour in baked goods (verdict? vetoed). Note that this activity often is preceded by #4 so by the time you bite into your warm slice of chocolate chip pumpkin bread, you are nearing 10 entertainment value points! Amazing!

6) Facebook. Thank goodness for Facebook.  As a single gal in the city who lives alone, I am now even more appreciative of the value of social interaction.  I quickly started using Facebook as basically my only social interaction and pretty much messaged, wrote on the wall, commented on pictures and status, and stalked the Facebook page of everyone of my 700 friends. Okay maybe 25% but that is a lot. Entertainment value: 3 points.

7) IM. Again, thank you for the only social interaction in which I could actually have a conversation… of typed sorts. Thank you to all who entertained me while working remotely as you saved me from a dark deep cave. Entertainment value: 3 points (real time responses! its amazing!).

8 ) Cleaning. Ughs I know. But my hunt for my Hot Chili’s resulted in a massive sweat pant/t-shirt purge.  I was so excited to get rid of it all that I climbed the 6 ft bank in my parking lot at the clothing donation bin to get it in there. Entertainment value: 2 points.

9) TV shows online. Thanks to the past week I am now officially caught up with Private Practice, Grey’s, Real World DC (yup I’ll admit it), and Ugly Betty.  I also have watched the whole Glee season to date 1.5 times through. Entertainment value: 1 point (started as three but 2 are deducted because I am supporting the worst show on TV… RW DC). Note from Lottie: I concur.

10) Online browsing. For vacations out of the snow; for new art for one’s newly re-arranged living room (which I am now fixated on getting since I have looked at the bare wall 17 hours a day for a week); sneakers; cashmere sales; books; things for your friend’s wedding. Side note on this– if you are thinking of getting engaged, I highly recommend doing it before a big snowstorm.  My newly engaged friend and I did quite a bit of wedding conferring and are well on the planning way for Save the Dates, a photographer, cake etc. Entertainment value: 2 points (3 for wedding browsing)

11) Guest Blog for Lottie. Entertainment Value: 6.9 points.

Real World DC premiered last night. I was excited to see all the DC sites in the background. I lived right near the house and even saw them filming before I moved out of the district. I usually don’t give negative commentary on my blog, but Real World stunk.

Maybe I am too old, but they are kids, Andrew is an idiot, and the rest are vanilla, even Ty (no pun intended). Honestly, I’d rather have to spend the rest of my life with the Jersey Shore cast than watch these lame-o’s.  The Sexist at DC City Paper gave a good recap, if you even care to hear what happened and Washingtonian Magazine is also on my side. Consensus, deleted the DVR season pass.

On Thursday I will pack up my apartment and leave D.C. for Boston to take some time off and then get my MBA. It’s been a wonderful 4 years in the District and I’m going to miss it a lot! I moved here right after college and started my adult life, I’ve grown from a college student to a card carrying (Amex Blue if you’re wondering) grown-up with her own apartment, sorta cool job and lots and lots of wonderful friends both new and old. I’m excited for the next chapter, but I’m pretty sad to be leaving the place I became a real adult in!

So, without further ado here are some favorite DC places, faces and memories.

Clarendon, don’t hate on Virginia, Clarendon rocks. It was the first place I lived when I moved here. Blocks from the metro and Whole Foods, and lots of fun bars for Happy Hour. We also had an awesome yard, quite conducive to BBQ’s thanks to Sadler’s grill. There was also the time a roach fell on me in the shower and the time our landlord sketched out and moved to Egypt. VA Rocks.

Rosslyn, oh so ugly, but what a great location. I lived “steps from Georgetown” and had a whole floor to myself, along with some lovely roommates. It took me 15 minutes to get to work, I win.

1868 Columbia Rd NW, where I’ve lived for the past two years. I made my way into the actual District and payed more taxes (it’s only really $20 more a year FYI). Living alone is awesome, you don’t have to fight about who is going to buy toilet paper. Living steps from Adams Morgan is semi awesome, except when people vandalize your car (x3).

2123 California St NW, probably the coolest apartment in DC, so mid-century modern, great kitchen and great resident. It even has a fireplace which makes DC “winter” days so cozy. Many fun times were spent there. Also, they don’t charge for laundry, but I probably should have contributed to the water bill since I did it there so much, grac BF.

Russia House, my fave bar that’s full of memories, including but not limited to a DTR, a farewell soiree, a techno violinist and the best martinis outside of Russia.

MINT/Gold’s/WSC, oh my gyms, Gold’s is awesome, but parking sucks, WSC was dirty and I quit, then I found MINT and I never want to join another gym. Nothing is better than their mint and eucalyptus infused cool face towels. Do you think I can suggest that Longfellow in Wayland, MA incorporate them?

Whole Food’s/Teeter/Wegmann’s, the grocery stores in the DC area sure trump the ones in MA (except maybe Sudbury Farms), I love to grocery shop (weird) and having those places to spend my Sunday afternoons with and without MZ were so much fun. Thanks to them (and Ina Garten) I’ve tried many wonderful recipes.

G Town/Ad-Mo/U St, oh the bars. Sorry Boston, but I think DC has a way better bar scene than you. I mean I’m excited to try new places, but I am going to miss all the DC bars terribly. There’s so much variety, lines, but never bad lines, and great people watching. Whether you are with the scensters at S.P., meeting the Bush twins at the Rookery, or being hipster at Bar Pilar it’s always pretty fun (except when you slip on puke at the Guards…).

Cherry Blossoms and the Tourists, I have to admit, it’s kinda fun to see tourists all over your city, to give them directions, and to tell them not to go to a certain restaurant when they are mulling over the menu outside. Even thought the Cherry Blossoms bring WAY TOO MANY people to DC they are so pretty and we’re lucky to have such a beautiful phenomenon every year. Also, in what other city can you just pop into the National Gallery or Botanical Gardens at a moment’s notice? What I won’t miss – getting stuck behind tourists who are walking slowly.

The list could go on and on, but DC I shall miss you. My blog will go on, but I’ll be writing about Boston instead. I have lots of fun summer trips on the horizon as I get to take July and August to live a life of leisure before I submit myself to MBA life, so keep reading!

Capitol

This weekend Marc and I wanted to be turistas, but didn’t want to go far from home. The Hillwood Estate, right in the District was the perfect option. My friend Laura works there and graciously offered to take us around the home and vast gardens. It was absolutely lovely.

Founded by American collector and heiress to the Post cereal empire Marjorie Merriweather Post, Hillwood is one of the finest art collector’s museums in the United States as all the pieces come from Marjorie’s own private collection. I mean the lady had EVERYTHING, including a Dacha (I would too if I’d been the sole heir to Post Cereal).

 dacha

The Dacha

She purchased the estate in 1955 with the intention of making it a museum upon her death. She spent the fall and spring at Hillwood, summered in the Adirondacks and spent her winters at Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, now owned by Donald Trump. I don’t blame her for staying away from DC in the summers!

The museum (i.e. her house) features the most comprehensive collection of Russian imperial art outside of Russia and a world-renowned collection of eighteenth-century French decorative art and furnishings. The collection includes Fabergé eggs, Russian porcelain, Russian Orthodox icons, Beauvais tapestries, and Sèvres porcelain. Encircled by woodlands bordering Rock Creek Park, the twenty-five acre estate provides visitors a tranquil oasis of luscious formal gardens ranging from a French Parterre to a Japanese Style Garden complete with a pond and waterfall. Her ashes even rest in the rose garden  on the estate!

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When we arrived at Hillwood we watched a short film about Marjorie’s life and collections. She started collecting decorative art at a young age and became fascinated with Russian art when she traveled to Russia with her 3rd husband (GF didn’t mess when it came to men) who was the ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1937 to 1938. At that time the Soviet Government was selling the Tsar and Tsarina’s centuries old possessions like candy and Marjorie scored some awesome stuff. Later she hired her own curator to fill gaps in her collection. The most impressive piece for me was a Fabergé Egg given by Nicolas II to his mother. I’m not sure if she got the it while in Russia, or later, but either way, she got a Fabergé, she wins.

 egg

The Fab

Our first stop on the tour was the gardens. We meandered through the French Parterre designed in the style of 18th century French gardens (think Versailles), then through the Rose Garden and Pet Cemetery, around the Japanese Style Garden, and made a stop in the Dacha, where they had an exhibit of some of Marjorie’s costumes. Back in the 1920’s instead of having cocktail parties in Rand Hall, the rich staged elaborate costume fetes, with hard core outfits. Marjorie’s were pretty awesome, no pictures were allowed inside so you’ll have to go check out her Marie Antoinette and American Indian costumes on your own. The umbrellas on the lawns were also awesome, her originals from the 1960’s

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We also visited the greenhouses full of orchids and the cutting gardens where all the flowers that fill the house are grown. When you’re rich you don’t need to buy flowers at Whole Foods, your gardeners just grow them for you, DUH. Once done with the gardens we entered the mansion. It felt like being somewhere in Europe such as Windsor Castle or the Kaiser Apartments, wow. The entrance hall has a huge portrait of Catherine the Great (the big one over the stairs).

entrance

My favorite was the dining room. Marj had a TON of dishes and different ones are showcased throughout the house and of course on the dining room table. It was also fun to see her bedroom, closet and bathroom, complete with pink toilet paper.

 dining

I could go on and on, but bottom line, her collection is wonderful, the gardens are a perfect escape from a hot DC day, and it’s so close that you have no excuse not to get there stat! You must call ahead to make a reservation for your visit and can go any time of year, but of course warm months are better so you can enjoy the flowers!

If you need me I’ll be figuring out how I can procure my own Faberge Egg…

Now that the heat is on in DC it’s to the pool we go. I’ve already told you all about Sunday’s with Spike at the Captiol Skyline, but if you don’t want to head to the semi-ghetto neighborhood next to the DC Inspection Station, there are plenty of other options.

Marc sent me this blog post from the Washingtonian that lists a few other places such as the Marriot Wardman Park and the Hilton Embassy Row. Everyone seems to charge $10 to $15 for a daypass, but there’s usually plenty of room, plenty of sun, and obvs a pool. What more could you ask for besides an apartment at the Promenade or a friend who lives there (they have a pool)…

If you don’t want to pay $$ and you don’t have a friend at the Promenade or a pool in Arlington you can sneak in to the DC public pools are actually a great bet. The ones where you won’t catch a communicable disease and/or STD are the following:

Georgetown: Feels more like a private pool club than a city one, get there early as chairs are limited and usually taken up by “scensters” discussing who made out with who at SP last night!

Foggy Bottom: HUGE is the best way to describe this pool, like huge. Plenty of seating and a wide array of bathers, from kids to gaybors and everything in between.

East Potomac Park: Run around Haines Point and then go to this pool that’s quiet and usually pretty empty because nobody knows about it. Kinda hard to find, so just refer to DC’s list of pool’s and their addresses right here (the link in the Washingtonian blog is wrong, mine is right, I win).

Don’t forget your floaties!

floaties

 

It’s about time I did a post on all the Pinkberry knockoff’s that have sprung up in DC. and now that summer is in full swing I thought now would be good.  I’m a huge Pinkberry fan, as my regular readers know. In the past year DC has been inundated with every tangy yogurt place possible EXCEPT Pinkberry, the original (or as some may argue Red Mango came fist, but whatever).

For everyone who has been on Mars for the past few years, the first Pinkberry opened in January 2005 in LA. The tangy frozen yogurt (at only 70 calories per 1/2 cup)  soon attracted a cult following and the Korean-American owners began to expand around LA and then NYC. They now have 72 locations total, mostly in CA, but there are 13 in NYC.

Marc wanted to open one in DC, but Pinkberry said no (he emailed them and they emailed back). Unfortunately before Marc could just start his own TangySweet came on the scene. Their initial website literally ripped pictures off Pinkberry’s website. It tasted exactly the same, but when I met the owner on opening day and compared his product to Pinkberry he got angry, “WE ARE NOT PINKBERRY” he firmly asserted. Oh really? You don’t want to be anything like Pinkberry? Those pictures on your website look pretty PB to me, so does the store, the toppings, the (just see my review below)…

So readers, here are my humble opinions of the Pinkberry wannabe’s in the District!

Sweet Green: This salad place opened by some Georgetown Grads whose Daddy’s gave them money to start a business was the first place in DC to serve up tangy fro-yo.  Their “sweetflow” as they call it is 80 calories per 1/2 cup and is much more tangy  (or tart) than Pinkberry is and they only have one flavor. A small is $4 and a large is $6. They automatically come with 3 toppings and extra toppings are $.50. They have your general topping choices, but no mochi (almost marshmallow like balls, my fave topping). Fortunately their Daddy’s made sound business decisions when giving them money to start the place. Their salads are great too and they now have three locations in the area: Georgetown, Dupont and Bethesda. I like how they actually tried to be a little different than Pinkberry and made salads the focus, rather than the yogurt.

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TangySweet: Even though Sweetgreen beat them to the yogurt punch, Tangy was the first all-yogurt place to open in the district. Though they claim to not be like Pinkberry EVERYTHING about the place screams it. I guess their recipe is more like the original Korean recipe that started it all (says the owner), but it tastes just like Pinkberry to me, right down to the topping offerings and the decor. Really, if you are looking for Pinkberry in DC, Tangy comes the closest. They have 3 flavors: original, green tea and pomegranate, a plethora of toppings, including mochi, as well as smoothies. Their prices aren’t online, but I remember them being just about the same as Pinkberry’s (surprise, surprise). They have two locations, Dupont and Penn Quarter.

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My. Yogato: This guy sprang up right after TangySweet, on 17th street in the heart of the gayborhood. The lines were out the door at first, but their allure soon faded. They have a catchy website and ask you trivia questions in line (or at least they used to). What sets them apart is their flavor offerings. Every day they have tangy and sweet original options and then one or two weekly flavors, all with weird names, such as Kiramel (Caramel) and Razbellie (raspberry). Honestly guys, your names are weird and so is your concept. I guess they are trying to set themselves apart, but come on all the places are mostly the same. That said the one time I went the yogurt was good. I had original tangy and sampled a flavor, toppings were standard and included mochi. As far as prices, they charge $1 for one topping and $1.75 for two, but the base prices are a bit cheaper than say Tangy, so all in all their prices are in line with the competition.

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Iceberry: This is the place I’ve been to the most because it’s somewhat near my office, in Georgetown. The yogurt is a little icier than Pinkberry, but still great. They have mochi and all your other standard toppings, as well as smoothies. It is the priciest of the bunch at $6.75 for a medium with three toppings, but they do have some good flavors, such as Honeydew (which tastes great mixed with original). If you’re in Georgetown it’s a great spot. I think I like it better than SweetGreen just because it is a little sweeter, but if you like tangy then head up the street.

iceberry

Cali Yogurt: This place opened in January right on 18th street in the heart of Adams Morgan. They got the tangy/sweet combo just right. Their website is semi ghetto and still under construction even though they’ve been open for over 6 months now, but just go if you’re in the neighborhood. Prices are the same as the others. I like their atmosphere the best of any of the places in DC. Large, plenty of seating and not cramped feeling like Mr. Yogato and Iceberry can be!

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Ghetto Place in the Asian Market on Columbia Rd: One day I was walking down Columbia Road and noticed a “yogurt” place had opened in a corner of the Asian Market at Columbia and Biltmore St (like literally inside the market). I have yet to try it, but their prices are super low. However, I have no idea what it tastes like and am not even sure if it has an actual name. If anyone has been let us know in the comments section.

Bardo informed me I needed to rank the places in order of favorites, these are my personal opinions based on taste (I prefer it on the less tangy side) so here we go:

1) TangySweet

2) IceBerry

3) Mr. Yogato

4) Cali Yogurt

5) SweetGreen

6) Ghetto place on Columbia (since I’ve never tried it)

Happy fro-yo-ing!

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