Fashionable DC, The District

West Elm Arrives in Georgetown

West Elm has come back. Both in that they are back in the city, opening their first new store in the District since closing an underperforming Metro Center location in 2009, but also in terms of really reinvigorating the design and style of the homewares chain.

The Williams-Sonoma Inc subsidiary debuted in 2002 to considerable excitement. They were positioned as a bridge” brand for those who wanted something more upscale than IKEA, but not as expensive or “mature” as their sister store Pottery Barn. Everything came in the then-essential espresso wood finishes and blocky shapes which would go on to define so many apartments across the country.

However, at some point a few years ago – around the time they opened the Tysons Corner retail location – it seemed like the brand had lost a bit of its way. Designs had leaned hard to the faux-ethnic and zebra-print and too many core pieces from shuttered Williams-Sonoma brand Hold Everything were awkwardly folded in to the West Elm range.
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The Daily Feed

Quarter Life Vintage Pop-Up This Sunday

Columbia Heights art gallery and event space The Dunes has been hosting interesting events just about all the time lately. They host the Open Hours happy hour series (launching last night), there will be a Girls Rock DC fundraiser dance night next month, and local menswear label Derringer Friday are taking over Derringer Saturdays.

Add to all that another reason to stop by: The next pop-up vintage bazaar put together by Quarter Life. While Lisa, the blogger and thrifter-extraordinaire behind the Quarter Life project, is known for her fabulous finds, for this event she is calling in extra reinforcements. Peddling along with her will be Pretty People Vintage, offering selections from their newly-opened Old Town Alexandria boutique. The very same boutique just named “Best New Vintage Store” by Washingtonian.

There will be music, summery rum cocktails, and credit cards will be accepted – just in case the rum lubricates the purchasing of more vintage frocks than you have cash to buy.

The Daily Feed

CB2 Georgetown Opens Tomorrow

The newest location of “affordable modern” furniture and homegoods chain CB2 opens in Georgetown on Saturday, April 30th. This is the ninth location for the Crate & Barrel offshoot and the first in the Washington area.

Catering primarily to a younger demographic with a bright, modern style, CB2 keeps prices considerably lower than its sister chain and makes a point to scale furniture for more compact, apartment-sized living spaces.
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Five Favorites, Media

Five Favorites: Bookshops

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘(afm)’

This may mark me as woefully out of touch with the kids today, but I do adore books – and charming little independent bookshops which sell them. I have no interest in a Kindle or what have you, and I just got back from a vacation where browsing beautiful bookstores was a major activity.

While the founders of Politics & Prose and Olsson’s have recently passed away, there remains a vibrant community of book retailing in the Washington area. It may help that we are a very educated, literate group of people, of course.

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Business and Money, Fashionable DC

Luxury Retailing in a Post-Recession Washington

Photo courtesy of
‘Louis Vuitton Dog @ Atatürk Airport’
courtesy of ‘lrumiha’

While within the District and around the region the recession seems to still be felt terribly – the census numbers reported yesterday, for example, which show a marked rise in childhood poverty – other pockets of the metropolitan area are recovering faster. It was reported recently that, for the fourth year in a row, Maryland ranks second in the nation for millionaire households. Virginia holds seventh place in that ranking, and the District tenth. According to Forbes, six suburban counties in our area are among the wealthiest in the country. Loudon County Virginia, the richest in the region is also top in the nation, followed closely by Fairfax County.

Moneyed suburban Virginia – the flushest area within a region with one of the strongest economies in the country – made an appropriate setting, then, for experts to convene on luxury retailing in the post-recession world. The first event of 2010′s All Access Fashion encouraged journalists and marketers to delve into what is meaningful for consumers today. Even if some individuals still have the cash to buy them, how does one – brand or shopper – justify “luxury” goods?
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Adams Morgan, Fashionable DC, Special Events, The Daily Feed

Indie, Crafty, Punk Rock Shopping

Photo courtesy of
‘Beth Baldwin (Tigerflight) at Crafty Bastards’
courtesy of ‘Carly & Art’

While today suggests the ground might still be soggy come Saturday, the seventh annual Crafty Bastards Arts & Crafts Fair is scheduled for this Saturday, 10 to 5, in Adams Morgan.
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Fashionable DC, The Daily Feed

Shecky’s Girls Night Out

Photo courtesy of
‘Kazuko 05′
courtesy of ‘yospyn’

Do you enjoy spending time with your friends, shopping at amazing discounts, and scoring lots of freebies?  If so, Shecky’s Girls Night Out may just be your idea of a perfect evening.  Experience the newest Spring trends while enjoying cocktails and beauty treatments all in one night.  Sounds pretty good to me!

Shecky’s will be setting up shop in DC at DAR Constitution Hall on Wednesday (14th) and Thursday (15th) — tickets can be purchased here.

The Daily Feed

Haven’t Gone Shopping Yet? You’re Kinda Screwed.

This is a mad house!
Originally uploaded by carlweaver

This was the scene last night in the produce department at the Safeway on Lee Hwy. Lots of thing were still available, but probably not the things you would care to eat if you had a choice. Beets, radishes, papayas and kale were still there. On the shelves were pig knuckles, potted meat, mustard, clam juice and laxatives. That was about it.

Since the snow has been delayed a bit from its predicted early morning start, what last-minute items are you heading out for?

Night Life, Special Events, The Features

“Gin, Gents, & Gems”: Bringing Valentines Day’s Shopping To The Bar

Photo courtesy of

‘Valentine’s display behind the bar’

courtesy of ‘brokentrinkets’

It’s never easy to buy a significant other a Valentine’s Day gift. A lot of time and effort go into finding the gift that screams, “This is JUUUUUUUSSSSTTTT right. Perfecto!” To make matters worse for women, a lot of men don’t like to shop. But what if the gifts followed the men to the bar? Men like drinking … don’t they?

Jewelry maker Courtney Weiner and Leopold Bros. Lindsay Marsh think so. The pair met through mutual friends a few weeks ago and now they’re hosting a unique Valentine’s Day themed bar event catered toward the opposite sex.

Guys go to bars. It’s that simple. Or at least that’s what Wiener and Marsh keep telling each other. “Guys go to bars, so if you put jewelry in the bar they’re more likely to buy it,” That is what spawned “Gin, Gents, & Gems.”

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The Daily Feed

Giant getting in on the H1N1 shot trend

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘featherbacon’

If you’ve somehow managed to miss all of the health service offerings but still want an H1N1 shot,well, you’re going to have the opportunity to get one along with your milk and eggs, presuming you shop at Giant. While they’ve started offering it at a few Giant pharmacy locations already, whether your particular Giant is going to have the $15 shot is apparently a secret.

Giant promises that they’ll continue to roll out to more locations in the weeks to come, but as of now offer no guidance as to which specific pharmacies have it already on their website. So either call ahead or wait till you’re going shopping anyway. Better yet, use the Google finder for your region which will also let you identify the local health departments who have it at no cost to you. Since the government – and thereby YOU – already paid for the full supply of shots why pay more on top of that to get it?

The Daily Feed

Holiday Shopping Made Sane

Photo courtesy of

courtesy of ‘erin m’

Soon the holiday shopping season will be in full force — so here’s one way to avoid the crowds at the mall.

Next Thursday, Dec. 3, the Sewall-Belmont House & Museum, headquarters of the historic National Woman’s Party, will hold a holiday bazaar from 4-8 p.m.

You can cruise for gifts from 20 vendors, including female artisans, selling eco-friendly products, jewelry, paper crafts, art, textiles, fine tea and chocolates, plus items from the U.S. Capitol Historical Society. There also will be music, wine, refreshments and free gift wrap.

It’s the perfect excuse to sleep in on Black Friday.

Fashionable DC, The District, The Features

Fashionable DC: MidCity

Photo courtesy of Kelly Collis Fredrick

I recently attended two events held in what I knew as the 14th and U Streets corridor – the Dog Days of Summer in August and about a month later, Fashion’s Night Out. The vibe of these events, the display of unique items from both clothing and home décor boutiques, made these memorable shopping excursions.

Who was organizing these popular events? I traced it back to the MidCity Business Association (BA). MidCity BA represents businesses on the commercial corridors that stretch down 14th Street from Florida Avenue to Thomas Circle and along U from 9th to 17th as well as several side streets way beyond the 14th and U district. Many don’t know that MidCity is actually a historical term for this collection of neighborhoods dating decades back.

Over the past few weeks, I spent time with a few of the boutique owners, as well as Natalie Avery from the MidCity BA, to better understand the neighborhood and community (and was able to sneak in some shopping too!).  As a life long Washingtonian, it was a great experience to learn about the rich history of this neighborhood and the strong sense of community that still exists there today.

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The Daily Feed

Nordstrom Rack to Open in Pentagon Centre

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘ttarasiuk

I really hate shopping for clothes. Partly because everything I buy has to get altered to fit me, and partly because I would rather spend my money on important things. Like electronics. But when I need something, I start with Nordstrom (who I swear is not paying me to say this), because they carry stuff that is flattering to ladies who are, shall we say, voluptuous like I am, IN the store instead of banishing the fat girls to the website, the staff is always incredibly helpful, and you can get your stuff altered to fit properly before you even take it home.

The only way it could get better is with perpetual sales prices. Fortunately, in Fall 2010 a Nordstrom Rack location is opening in Pentagon Centre, that funny little half-mall across the street from Pentagon City. It’ll be directly across from the main Nordstrom’s location. I am thrilled.

I am a realist and do not expect the same level of service and attention from the Rack staff, but I checked, and Nordstrom Rack does offer alterations AND plus sizes, so… I might actually learn to tolerate clothes shopping.

Business and Money

Thrifty District: Getcha Groupon!

For this, my first contribution to We Love DC, I want to talk about a company new to the DC area that is leveraging collective buying power to offer fantastic discounts at local retailers and service providers. “Groupon”, which launched its DC operation on May 26th, is a catchy play on the word “Coupon” (I know this seems plainly obvious, but I’m just playing it safe) and a division of Chicago-based parent company The Point, which harnesses the power of individual contribution to generate large scale impact in a social capacity. The Point’s company slogan is “Make Something Happen,” which is pretty kickass because after all, who doesn’t want to make shit happen?

Anyways, the idea behind Groupon came about from a basic problem that many of us busy urbanites suffer from: so much cool stuff to do, but almost too many choices, which means I keep returning to my “usual” spots, only to leave thinking, “man, I really gotta try some new places/things.” But I never did. That is, until I signed up to receive Groupon’s daily deal here in the District. Actually, the first thing I did was buy the hardworking lady friend in my life an hour long massage at Lunar Massage worth $75 for a mere $30 (brownie points on the cheap!). That’s a deal that can’t be beat! Oh wait, sure it can – perhaps by the 60% off Groupon for pilates classes at Mind-BodyFitness, the 71% off at Miracle’s in the City men’s salon, or the 57% off at Posh restaurant. Are you gettin’ what I’m puttin’ down here? Groupon = bigtime savings for patrons + bigtime exposure for businesses, which in turn = win/win for all! Continue reading

Thrifty District

Thrifty District: Salad Bar Shopping

Photo courtesy of Me

courtesy of Me

When the Murky Coffee Kerfuffle erupted last year one of the funniest comments I saw was over on Metafilter and wasn’t so much about the conflict as it was terminology. The writer took issue with the term “ghetto latte,” where a customer buys a cheaper espresso-only drink and dumps in the no-charge milk at the condiment bar.  “‘Latte arbitrage’ is a much better description, since if their pricing was consistent this type of operation would not be profitable.” You’ve got to be a little bit of a finance geek to be amused by this use of the word arbitrage, but I’ve spent enough time listening to Marketplace to be tickled by the statement.

The salad bar at your local grocery is another place where you can practice some consumer arbitrage, though there’s also advantage to be had in not buying things that spoil before you use them all. There’s also some things there that are pure and simple sucker items which you shouldn’t be buying in any quantity if you own a can opener. Continue reading

The Daily Feed

National Wholesale Liquidators Going out of Business

Originally uploaded by carlweaver

Yes, the store where you get close-out deals from other stores that were going out of business is going out of business. Everything is for sale, including the store fixtures and cases of SPAM. If they are selling off the cases of SPAM, you know it’s all over for them. Need a gondola rack, a bunch of shitty Roy Acuff or Stryper cassette tapes or a $2 paint brush? This is the place to go.

When I went today, the cashier said, “$20.61, please.” I swiped my card, signed the receipt and she said, “That will be one penny.”

“What? I just paid with a credit card. How do I owe money?”

“One penny, please.” The fellow behind me spotted me the copper, so I guess I owe him one. Should have gotten his name.

Don’t expect great bargains but definitely expect the same poor service you are used to from that place. National Wholesale Liquidators is in the Eden Center at Seven Corners in Falls Church. Tell them Carl sent you.

Business and Money, Food and Drink, Fun & Games, WTF?!

Gird Your Loins For Battle, It’s Black Friday

an Easter inflection by Intangible Arts

The economy is looking pretty dire. The numbers came out this morning, and both disposable income is down, and so is the rate of growth of the American Economy. But, that means sales are what we’re looking for this holiday season, right? Okay, so what we’re really looking for is good deals. Black Friday will have those deals, provided that what you’re willing to do is get up so early on Friday you’ll think it’s still Thursday, and brave hordes of shoppers whose nearest evolutionary target is either the barracuda or the great white shark. So, with that in mind, get yourself ready. Continue reading

Fun & Games, The Daily Feed

White Rabbit Replaced by Bamboo Carterpillars


Bamboo Carterpillars
I went to the supermarket at the Eden Center this past weekend to buy some delicious, fresh, cheap produce. That place is the negative reciprocal of Whole Paycheck Foods. Great food at a great price – just my speed.

One of the joys I have going to such places is seeing all the stuff you don’t get in the pretentious expensive places like Whole Foods or the Teeter. For example, this can of bamboo caterpillars in brine would never grace the shelves of most mainstream markets, so it’s almost a treat to see such diversity just down the road from my home.

The one thing I didn’t see there that I was expecting to see were White Rabbit candies, which were recently recalled due to their melamine content. I was glad to see that the news had gotten to them and that they, along with other products I used to see there that turned out to have similar issues were now gone.

Thanks for your social responsibility, Eden Market. You will see me there again and again, but very likely not to buy three ounces of drained briny wormy goodness.

Where do you like to buy your produce?

The Daily Feed

Bloomingdale’s is coming to Georgetown

DC Metrocentric reports that a new Bloomingdale’s department store will be taking up residence in the Shops at Georgetown Park. That should make for a nice addition to the mall, fitting right in with the Georgetown shopping crowd (as opposed to my preferred upscale fashion scenes: A.J. Wright at Rhode Island Ave, Marshall’s at Pentagon City, and Ross at Silver Spring). Slated to open in 2011, this will give you more of a reason to go down there than just for Benihana and the DMV.