Cannot believe it is time to do outdoor ice skating again!!!

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Reston Town Center opens its outdoor rink on November 1st! That time again! I list this one first, because it has tons of nearby free parking, it is smaller and there are great place to grab food and drinks within steps of the rink.

Pentagon Row outdoor rink opens on November 15th. The parking here is tough, but there are tons of shops and stores nearby. If you are truly desperate for parking, you can part at Pentagon City Mall which is not steps away, but is not really that bad of a walk.

The Sculpture Garden ice rink opens on November 14th and wins 4 stars from me because of how picturesque it is. There are a lot of great older people during the week who can really skate their behinds off! It is kind of surprising, but they are definitely regulars. The view is magnificent, the rink size is decent and the skate rental prices are not astronomical. Parking is tough, so metro or go during the week early like we do if you have that flexibility.

Washington Harbor Ice Skating Rink is fairly new and I have not been there. But I know that it is larger than Rockefeller Center, which means it is sizable because we have ice skate at RFC. This rink opens mid-November, but there is no confirmed date. The view of the Potomac is gotta be pretty rad. When we visit, I will give more info.

Canal Park ice rink is one that I can’t wait to try. It opens on November 8th, and has an odd shape with a figure eight. I think that would be really neat. It is nestled between 295 and 395 by the Anacostia River. This is an emerging neighborhood and the closest metro would be the Navy Yard Stop.

There are year-round skating rinks that are indoor, like Pershing Rink or Fairfax Ice Arena. But to me, there is something to be said for mittens, scarves, scenery and hot chocolate accompanying a wonderful and exhilarating ice skating workout:)

Been gone for nearly a year. I am back this time for real

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So, in the last year, I can hardly tell you what I have done. All I know is time has flown so quickly! Once the new year hit, it seems like time was sped up. Winter finally ended and before I know it summer ended and now, fall has been going on for a few month. My daughter has gotten into acting full time pretty much. So, balancing classes I am taking and 2 part time jobs plus home schooling her, days melt away. One thing I love is that we are together for all of it. She is with me when I work, I am with her when she acts, and all of the time in between. I am so glad that I can be right there while my kid grows up.

About me, I am kind of sort of trying the online dating thing with no luck. I daydream almost every day of meeting the perfect fit for me on a plane, on a train, or at the store. A man who can love me and my life and we just mesh well. End of story. I don’t expect perfection, but I do have higher standards than I did in the past. I just want a person that is smart, fun, drama-free and who is a good man. So, after trying zoosk and a couple of other sites, I am just like blahhh. I don’t know if I am on the sites because I am ready or if I just want to see if I can still catch men.:) I haven’t been on but a few dates, even though I have had hundreds of replies. I am a bit scared because my taste in the past has been less than. (my ex-husband)

Anyway, about D.C. My main hanging spots are Mosaic District, and the city itself. I am over Fairfax Corner, Arlington is pretty cool, but I feel like that scene is more for 20’s/ and young 30’s. I am on the older end of the Arlington crowd. Dupont area is actually my absolute favorite place to be if I my daughter is at a sleepover or camping trip. I checked out Mimosa March a couple of weeks ago, and could not believe how happening some places were at 4 pm! Gryphon and Mad Hatter were like party zones! I also discovered 18th Street Lounge earlier this year. I am afar from a golden girl, but I am not a 20 something. I will say this-I grew up in the 80’s. So I am not trying to hang with 25 year olds. The 18th Street Lounge had a mix of people. There were not just 20’s and 30’s, but people in their 40’s as well. It was eclectic to say the least:)

To be honest, I do not have that much free time away from my kid, so I cannot get out to a lot of events that are not revolved around kids. But one event that is coming up that we are all over is the Concert for Valor. Some of my faves will be there! Well one for sure-Meryl Streep. Rihanna, Eminem and Carrie Underwood, Steven Spielberg are a few more names worth mentioning. The big problem, is we fly back in that day. So getting down to the mall is going to be a real interesting event. They have capped the number of people at 800,000. I have no clue how they will keep up with that! But we are sure as heck going to try to be a part of the crew. I can say one thing, I do not want to be all at the Washington Monument to watch it, or we might as well keep our butts at home. But I encourage those of you in D.C. to try to get down there, and for everyone else, watch it on HBO. It is a concert to commemorate all of our veterans, and that is worth fighting to get down there for, outside of celebrity appearances.

Hope that you all can squeeze in to be a part of it. Who knows? Maybe you will be standing next to us?!

Sandwich shop at the Mosaic is not as made to order as it was…

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Went down to the Mosaic in Merrifield after attending church closer to the District. I love any excuse to visit the Mosaic. We were so headed to this sandwich and salad spot that we love. I was looking forward to my “goat cheese beads” in their yummy salad-can’t remember the name of the salad. My daughter was hyped about getting their mac cheese that is the most scrumptious that we have had without being coated in cheese. It is made with spiral pasta and a lighter color cheese and is prepped on a skillet.

Long story short. They cut the menu. A lot! They took off many of the good salads-most of them. There is now one item for children to eat-grilled cheese. Why do the wonderful independent restaurants do crazy thing like change their menus totally around when what they were doing works?

I love their food still, but wish they would go back to original format of their menu. Hopefully they will see my plea and give in:)

 

Reston Town Center Trick or Treating-not so much a Treat anymore.

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I have been taking my kid out to Reston Town Center for the trick or treating event for years. It used to have a stage with a costume contest, a crafts area, hayride, the whole fall fest vibe. I loved it. My kid loved it. All of our friends loved it. Background on RTC If you have not been out to this area, it is a must see. It is a planned downtown area with the “goodie” stores that malls have and the fab restaurants without the HUGE MALL to contend with. It also has an outdoor rink that opens the 1st of November. There are concerts there during the summer, they have a renovated movie theater and it is essentially a pedestrian area for all to enjoy.

So, we went yesterday which was quite a trek after being at an event in the district, but we were pumped. The costume this year that my child wore was more original than before. We start walking around and quickly notice the costumed kids. But we also noticed that there were not many of them. Which is odd if you have ever been before. So, we walked around for an hour and covered every store and restaurant there. Only about 20 percent of the retailers participated which I found to be sucky. Apple and Starbucks never participate which is soooo annoying being that people that are typical parent ages are the biggest supporters of their stores.

My daughter who is an optimist and happy about pretty much any festival we go to, said: “This is so lame mommy. What happened to all of the places joining in and giving out candy?” I concede completely. What happened? Is the economy so bad that Apple can’t stick a bowl outside of their door with Nestle Crunch in there? I got so annoyed, because I was prepared to shop at some of the places. I had plans to go into Sephora, but decided not to give to their store because they could not be good sports and give out candy. One place that gets HONORABLE MENTION is Red Velvet Cupcakery. They made cute little cupcakes that were minis, perfect for kids, and were busy baking which is a lot more tough that a 5 dollar bag of candy. It costs a bunch more and takes more man power to serve the excited children.

I will go back to Reston Town Center. I will eat at Jackson’s again. I will go back to Brighton, the Running Store, Busara, the cool store across from Panera, the Mayflower florist, Williams-Sonoma, Gap Kids (thanks for coupon and no candy!), Ben and Jerrys  and the other nice and accommodating retailers that got into the spirit. The other places, not so much. I am wondering if RTC should just call it off if people are going to be such sour-pusses about being a part of it.

Annandale Fall Fest on October 26th

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Hi!

Looking for a multi-cultural experience but do not want to venture all the way to the district? The parade starts at 10 am and there is a festival afterwards. The parade is around an hour and appeals to people from all cultures. The festival itself is from10 to 5 at the Safeway parking lot on Little River Turnpike in Annandale if you are not interested in the parade itself. This is the 63rd year. Come and see what all of the hype is about!

 

Want a dose of snobbery? Go to Loft at Fairfax Corner…

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I love Loft as a chain. Do not get me wrong. Cute sweaters, dresses, accessories. I shop there on and off when I can and when I can fit the outfits. I am a 14, so some things do not look good on me. Anyway, the people who work there act as if they stepped out of Downton Abbey. Give me a break! You work in retail. Therefore you cannot be a snob. When you try to, you embarrass yourself and everyone around you.

I have always been pissed when I shop places and people act as if waiting on customers is such an effort. I have worked in retail and I was kind to people. I wanted the store to do well because I cared and I wanted to keep my job. Do people just not care anymore? Is Loft doing so well that they do not need us, we should need them?

I am sure if I wrote to corporate they would not be happy. Maybe I will. I had to do the same thing at a Lucy store. I do not expect the Nordstrom treatment of personal shoppers and bottled water, but treat people with respect when they come and shop and are in effect keeping people in their jobs.

Take a peek around there. Tell me what you think. This blog is not written from a snapshot shopping experience. I go out to Fairfax Corner several times per month and have been in Loft perhaps15 times or more. Maybe this blog will get back to them and they will fire the sorority sisters and hire real women that need to work and care about what they are doing and how they are treating others…

Why I LOVE the Mosaic District in Merrifield/Fairfax

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Okay, Merrifield used to be somewhat of a dump. Admit it. The post office is the only thing on that street that still resembles the old dumpy days. Now, the Mosaic arrived and all is right in the world of Northern Virginians. The Mosaic is off of 29 and Gallows Road, located near Vienna, Falls Church and Tysons. 

There is a fab glassed facade Target with escalators for the carts and your body. There is ample parking for the Target and surrounding stores and eateries in the free parking garages. Below Target are really yummy and organic style restaurants. Taylor Made is my daughter’s fave kids meal and I love their salad with the Goat Cheese. I can’t remember the name, but that is one cool and unique sandwich and salad place. The industrial look is killer!

Across from Taylor Gourmet There is the beautimous Angelika Theater reminiscent of Soho, or somewhere cool that is too glass all around. There is a chandelier inside and a bar to have drinks and wine and cheese pairings-swoon! Even though I have a kid, I am so glad that there are no kids movies there! Nice to go somewhere in the burbs that are not just for families. Outside of the theater there is an awesome large screen that shows live concerts, cool artsy videos, family movie night stuff, Cartoons and Coffee on Saturdays. LOVE IT!

There are some of the regular chains that are hip like Anthropologie, which is always fun and I love Neiman Marcus Last Call. So much better than Nordstrom Rack. Which is funny, b/c I love Nordstrom and despise Neiman’s probably because I can’t afford it. I digress. I also think that Mom’s Organic Market is cute. Cava Mezze is also there for yum cuisine along with Le Pain Quotidien which is the most darling French style bistro ever.

I cannot forget to mention the specialty chocolate shop and the various clothing retailers below Target. There are too many to put on this page. I will speak of them in detail next time I write of Mosaic. What the Mosaic brings to NOVA is special. DC comes to the burbs literally. There are solid restaurants, good shopping and funky and different events there all of the time. They just had fashion week there. Pretty cool. Also, there is a tiny fountain in front of the movies for the little ones. 

Check it out. Trust me. You will not regret it. http://www.mosaicdistrict.com/

Need a bra? If you are not a woman, send your lady to this place…

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Okay, it is so embarrassing to say that I went to get a bra last week because all of my bras were ‘tore up from the floor up’. If you aren’t from GA, you may not know that term. Anyway, underwire was missing, hooks bent-a hot mess. So I go to Belle Mode Intimates to get a bra because it is a real lingerie store. Not like VS with the spring break collection. A classy ladies store. What VS used to be like before PINK took it over. Anyway, they measured me and looked for bras and I tried on 20-at least.

These people never faltered. They searched and critiqued and helped me immensely. I have large ones, so it was not an easy task!  I even changed my mind and returned one and got the one that I thought worked best the next day. I only spent 48 dollars for the bra. But, the time and energy they spent helping me was worth a hell of a lot more than that 15 dollar Target bra that works for 3 months and I buy it having no clue if it is right for me.

You should check them out. And no I am not getting paid to say this. ( I haven’t written on this blog for 2 years, so I hardly have sponsors.:) )The location is in Fairfax, VA at Fairfax Corner. For those of you in the District who are freaking at the distance, grin and bear it and get in your car for a ride down 66 West to 57 A and it is really not far from the interstate. You can try on a bra and buy one or some new undies or super cute workout wear, go to a movie and then go to Wegman’s to do some fab grocery shopping and eating. It is a win/win!

I feel so grownup now that I have been properly fitted. Who knew I was a band size up and a cup down!? Anyway, the website is: http://www.bellemodeintimates.com/ Check it out. Support small businesses. They are what make this country. Truly. You get what you pay for. 

National Bookfest never disappoints. Never…

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I am a mega-fan of the National Bookfest. I have been 7 times out of the decade that I have been here. Well technically 8, but we drove down one time and it was raining like crazy and I could not find parking and my 3 year old was asleep. So, we kind of didn’t get out.

This year, some of the notable people were Giada de Laurentiis and Khaled Hosseini. I got to see Hosseini speak, but I missed Giada while standing in line to get my daughter’s book signed by Jon Scieszka. He is a funny, funny guy by the way. He wrote: Spaceheadz, the True Story of the 3 Little Pigs and the most famous of them all, the Stinky Cheese Man. 

I feel like I missed out on a lot this year because I did not plan well. We got there after church and just started walking around aimlessly. Literally. One really does need to plan before coming to this event. Plan on who you want to hear speak and who you want to have sign. One big flaw in this event is that authors speak and sign back to back. It is great for the author because they can get the heck out of dodge in a short time period. But unless you have people to stand in the line early while the person is still speaking, you are screwed. Seriously. People stand in line an hour or more before the author is due to sign. If the author is really famous, if you did not get there an hour and a half before, you may be out of luck.

Two years ago, I got Toni Morrison to sign a book. I am not a huge fan, but she is talented and she is a big wig in the book world. I love signed books by famous authors so I listened to her speak with my friend and we left a bit early and ran to the line. It was a mile long-it seemed. They loop the lines like a snake, so it can really be much longer than a normal line. Lucky for us, she signed over her hour limit-more like an hour and a half. She signed 3 people behind us and then cut the line. We just made it! There were around 200 people that stood in line for nothing. Thems the breaks!:)

So, having a strategically placed adult or 3 would help you a lot. Making the decision on who is going to listen while the other one waits is important. If the person who waits wants to have their turn to listen to someone, you just switch places. Easy peasy rice and cheesy. 

If you have not been and lived here awhile, I do not get it. I really do not. Unless you are not a fan of books. That I definitely do not get.

Oh, by the way, you do not have to own books by these authors before hand. There have been times when I have read books by people and I never owned them. (library, borrowed from a friend) So, Barnes and Noble has a handy tent set up and you can get the books there. Some authors are cool enough to leave a stack of signed books so that you do not have to stand in line! That is awesome. And, B&N takes membership cards if you are a member and want to get your 10 percent off. They do not however take gift cards. I tried.:)

The last tidbit. It is 2 whole days now. The first 5 years I went, I complained that it was only one day. Then it got extended. But it seems from looking at the schedule so far, that you only have one shot for the author you love. They will not be there both days. I thought that Saturday had the best authors until I saw Hosseini was there. I am not sure which day is “better”. All I can say is the festival is wonderful. Going is worth it. I am hoping next year I can be my usual organized self and I hope to go both days.

This year the festival was the 21st and 22nd of September. It usually always occurs around the first day of fall or at least the week of. Hope to see you there!

Been away for awhile. Now I am back with a vengeance…:)

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Hi! I have my Master’s and now I am back at my two blogs. Well actually, I started my other one up a month ago. This time with Dana and the District, I have decided to mention places and events. Sometimes in advance, and sometimes after I have attended them to let you know if it is worth going later that week or weekend or in some cases the next year.  I will give my humble opinion on customer service, prices, quality, annoyances, etc. 

I will list some of my favorite spots to chill. Places that are not worth going to and why, etc. I hope that you guys like this new format. There are tons of blogs on here and facebook talking about upcoming events and I wanted to be different. I will be a critic of sorts.:) I will critique and you can add your thoughts or experiences if you like. The more participation the better because we get a better picture of the business, event or venue.

Thanks for reading and for your patience.