King Cake

Little Birdies

December 29, 2014

Over the last few years, the best Christmas presents I give are the ones to my nieces, nephew, and five godchildren. Somehow there is something special about shopping for little ones. As always, I prefer to shop in boutiques. In Georgetown, my go to has been Dawn Price Baby, which is truly one of my favorites (I love their loyalty program). However, the thing with kids is that they grow.  The children in my life have outgrown Dawn Price Baby, so I was on the lookout for another children's boutique, ideally located in Georgetown also.

A quick Google search provided the answer and I headed to Little Birdies on P Street. Little Birdies carries clothing, shoes and and accessories for little ones up to twelve years old, so I will be going there for a couple years!

Shanlee Johnson, the owner, was delightful from the start, steering me in the right direction for the five children I was shopping for a couple of days before Christmas. For my nephew, adorable t-shirts that are quintessentially DC, with various monuments and clever verbiage including “Abe” and “1600.” And for my nieces, amazing princes dresses like they don't make in Switzerland. And here comes the best discovery of all: the store also doss consignment, including of amazing brands such as the one preferred by Prince George (this is Georgetown after all!). So instead of getting one dress, Sasha got two.

I chatted for a few minutes with Ms. Johnson. She explained she picked the color yellow as the main accent for her boutique because it is he most cheerful and also unisex. And that business has been more challenging that she thought (she opened early spring). And that her background is indeed in retail, as she worked for Tory Burch for many years.

An overall delightful experience that makes me look forward to going back for he many children's birthdays that 2015 will surely bring.

Some of the new brands carried in the store include: Zebi Baby, Bella Tunno, Earnest Sewn, Rachel Riley, Young Versace , BabyCZ, Igor Shoes, Cienta Shoes, Rowdy Sprout, Tic Tac Toe, Wee The People, Isabel Garrenton, Magil, Chloe, Cavalli Kids, Fendi, Baby Cie, Jonah Love. Consignment brands include Burberry, Jacadi, Olive Juice, Pears & Bears, Lilly Pulitzer, Luli & Me, Bonpoint and more.

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RIP Marion Barry

November 23, 2014

Marion Barry’s death means the end of an era in DC. I moved to DC in 2002 and missed much of Barry’s years in the spotlight, but I nonetheless have been fascinated with him.

I had the pleasure of meeting Barry at a Q&A Café organized by Carol Joynt a couple of years ago. To prepare for that lunch, I read Dream City: Race, Power, and the Decline of Washington (more on that below), and I have to admit that having met the (in)famous Barry, I like him a lot more than when I finished the book. He was charismatic and charming, indeed a man hard to resist, no matter what one thinks of his morals or his politics. Here are some highlights from that lunch.  

On Georgetown

Barry: I love Georgetown, I love every part of the city. Georgetown residents just don’t want to have anything change.

On DC Home Rule

While Barry thought Obama has indeed been good for DC, he wanted more. He wanted statehood for our Capital.

Barry: Democracy depends on democracy, yet we don’t have democracy in our own home. We need statehood.

On DC Politics

Joynt: Are you going to run for reelection?

Barry: I’m smarter than that… than to answer that question.

On Family

Joynt asked Barry about his family. His son Christopher, now 32, lives in Ward 8 and runs a small business. “He is struggling, like most small businesses” admits Barry. And of course he is interested in politics “he’s been around me his whole life…”. About marriage, well, Cora did come up in conversation.

Joynt: Are you still married?

Barry: Technically, yes. [chuckle from the audience, pause] Cora and I separated.

On Addiction

Barry: The FBI spent 10 to 15 million dollars to frame me. The good news is that I have been clean since 1990. Joynt: You can only blame the government for so much.

Barry: I am a victim. They set me up. The jury understood that. Like many, I got caught in an addiction… 90 percent of those who get addicted don’t kick it. I’m proud of that.

Overall, Barry said, that was “just a chapter in my life. Well, maybe two chapters.” It’s just about being a human being, about “human being issues, like traffic problems and girlfriend issues.”

On Racism

Joynt: Where are we on racism?

Barry: There is racial division all over America.

Joynt: Do you think you are being racist when you slur against Asians?

Barry: No

Joynt: Are there any Asians on your staff?

Barry: No

Joynt: Are there any Latinos on your staff?

Barry: No

On the Media

Barry: The media in DC does not give me a fair shake. Absolutely not. That’s their nature. Newspapers are supposed to report the news, not make the news.

On Power

Joynt: Whoever becomes the next Mayor of DC, do they need you?

Barry: Absolutely. I’m probably the most successful politician in Washington DC.

Joynt: Mayor for life. Who are you really?

Barry: I’m Marion Barry.


Just a few days following that Q&A Café, I had the priviledge of hosting Harry Jaffe and Tom Sherwood one book club evening, featuring that very same book Dream City: Race, Power, and the Decline of Washington. The two authors saw Marion Barry from two very different perspectives: while Sherwood was forgiving of Barry’s actions, and gives him the benefit of the doubt, Jaffe was much less sentimental about this man that so fascinated people. The two best one-liners from that evening describe the two perspectives on Marion Barry:

“What makes Marion Barry Marion Barry are his human frailties.”

“What Marion Barry does not have is discipline.”

RIP Marion Barry.

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Traveling in Beauty and Style

November 18, 2014

I have tallied my airlines miles so far this year, and have already crossed the 100,000 mile marker. This much travel can take its toll on anyone and everyone … on mind and soul and skin. Even if you don’t travel regularly, the holiday season which is upon us brings with it the busiest travel days of the year.

I turned to my girlfriend Alyssa Barrie, the brains behind Travel Beauty, “purveyors of the best beauty from around the globe” for her travel beauty favorites, and included some of my own travel tips (most of these learned the hard way) for traveling in beauty and style.

Marilyn Monroe’s quote “A smile is the best makeup a girl could wear” is never truer than while traveling. Not only do I find makeup dehydrating during flights (especially longer ones), but a smile is the best accessory to deal with delays, angry travelers, and request upgrades. Leave your frown at home!

As much as possible, do try to carry on. It will save on luggage fees, and most importantly will save time (and the aggravation of lost or delayed luggage). If you must check, make sure to pack one change of clothes and bathroom essentials in your carry on.

Hydrate. Inside and out. Buy a large bottle of water as soon as you go through security. They still do serve water for free on most flights… but having your own bottle is so much more comfortable. For your skin, the multi-purpose mist Vine Minus Ion Care Water does it all: antibacterial protection for the close quarters of the plane, refreshing face mist and even a hairstyle refresher.

Another “water” must: eye drops. Nothing dries eyes out more than airplane air. Use moisturizing eye drops to soothe my weary eyes and help you look refreshed when you land (no “red-eyes” for you!).

Wash your hands often. This has always been true, but is even more important these days given the various diseases going around … Also pack Purel and wipes with you. Alyssa recommends the Ursa Major Essential Face Wipes, a unisex product that is cleansing and refreshing with an invigorating blend of essential oils. Great for face, hands and anywhere else that needs a wipe down.

Alyssa also loves the Alchimie Forever Dry Skin Balm, so super moisturizing and nourishing, with the lightest of scent so men can use it too. Airplane bonus – it reduces swelling! Says Alyssa: “I’ve thus been known to discreetly push up the leg of whatever J Crew lounge or sweat pant I’m wearing and apply Dry Skin Balm generously from knee to ankle!”

While I am not a fan of makeup during travel, I cannot leave my red lipstick or highlighter pen at home. Red lipstick will add glamour to even a Southwest flight packed with crying infants. Try NARS Cruella for the fall and winter. And highlighter pens are a saving grace in particular when you need to go from landing to a family party without a pitstop. I have my YSL Touche Éclat in my purse at all times. Again, a few strategically-placed swipes and no one can tell that we’ve just spent an entire flight comforting a cranky preschooler.

Finally, nothing helps me relax and tune out the surrounding craziness as my favorite playlist (ranging from dance music to soothing yoga tunes), and a couple of books. A few books on my nightstand right now include The Idea of Him, The 5 Love Languages, and The Paris Apartment. To think of it, I can’t wait to get on the next plane so I can start one of these!

Happy holidays, happy travel!

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