date night dc | monument hopping in a convertible

So we went monument hopping on Friday! Inspired by a friend who told me about her recent experience cruising around DC in a convertible, I thought it would be the perfect low-key date night. I renewed our ZipCar membership and booked a convertible near our neighborhood. And that same friend made it happen by babysitting for us last minute. :]

We grabbed dinner to-go at Shake Shack (duh), then drove around to see the monuments, then finished off the night at Pitango Gelato. Nothing fancy, but you see the city through totally different eyes when you drive without a roof over your head. I think we’ll start doing this convertible thing in every city we visit from now on.

DC tourists, you would love this! I highly recommend it for seeing the monuments at night and experiencing the city. Everything is so much more vibrant. And the GW Parkway is probably the most ideal stretch of road for convertible-driving with the most thrilling view of DC.

posted by christine in Marriage + Family and have No Comments

[the shop list: dc] Fleurir Chocolates

We parked on P Street in Georgetown last Saturday and right before getting to our car, I caught a glimpse Fleurir’s whimsical interior. So of course I had to go in to see what this shop was about. The owners (husband and wife duo) make each chocolate by hand with amazing ingredients. And I’m not a chocolate kind of girl, but this chocolate – this chocolate might just make a chocolate girl outta me. They’re so good!

I also left with a spiced white chocolate hot cocoa mix which I fully intend to keep all to myself, but would make an amazing hostess gift this holiday season. You can see Fleurir’s chocolate flavors here (coconut lime… mmmm) and order online too.



shop photos by Christina Bernales

posted by christine in Travel and have No Comments

[the lounge list: dc] columbia room

This post is overdue by about 5 months, but shortly after our fabulous night here for our anniversary, we found out we were expecting. And because of my cocktail cravings, I’ve postponed this long. But I only have 3 months left to go, and the first chance we get to hire a babysitter, our date night will be here to celebrate.

The Columbia Room is an absolute DC must for visitors and locals alike. I have to say, I’m impressed; DC is really knocking it out of the park in the cocktail lounge department. [The Gibson is amazing too.] The Columbia Room is just that… a room that’s tucked away at the back of the Passenger. With reservation-only seating for about 10 at the bar, it’s super intimate and you get a front row seat to see the talented mixologists in action. These guys know what they’re doing and if you ask, you will even get the history behind each concoction. It’s truly a treat to see the unique spirits, methods, time, and skill that go into achieving the perfect balance of flavors.



For $64 a person, three drinks and a small plate are included. The first two are seasonal and the third is a custom drink crafted based on your preferences. I asked for a bourbon cocktail and was presented with a Lion’s Tail. Nothing short of mind-blowing. You can find Derek Brown’s [the genius behind the Columbia Room] recipe here in the Atlantic. Also check out his features in Esquire and the WSJ.

photos from here by Max Cook

posted by christine in Travel and have No Comments

[the sleep list: dc] the jefferson

In Andrew’s limited spare time on deployment, he’s organizing an entire week’s worth of meetings, receptions, and dinners for a large group of foreign dignitaries visiting DC next month. A man of many talents I married. My assignment? Scout out the best accommodations in the District. So I set out on foot and toured a few of the big names.

Conclusion? If you’re looking for THE place to stay when you’re in DC, The Jefferson is hands down the most fabulous. Really, it’s unparalleled. And if you need more evidence, it’s part of the Relais & Châteaux collection, a carefully selected group of the most luxurious 480 hotels and restaurants in the world.

Originally built in 1923 as a residential building by Beaux Arts designer Jules Henri de Sibour, it was converted to a hotel in 1955. Then in 2007, ForrestPerkins Architects began a full scale renovation project that lasted over 2 years.

No detail was spared. Every square inch of the place in both design and culture pays tribute to Jefferson’s legacy, travels, and wide range of interests. Custom fabrics, a private art collection and framed original documents, a private wine cellar, and countless other thoughtful, unexpected details are effortlessly woven throughout this beautiful building that makes you feel like a personal guest in an exquisite Parisian residence.

I couldn’t get over how well done everything was. Any time I enter a place with associated hype, as much as I fight it, I go into snob-mode. Well, this isn’t that great or I totally would’ve done this differently. I had nothing. I just nodded with big eyes and wowed at everything as the concierge gave me the tour.

Paying tribute to Jefferson as a gourmand, Plume is one of the finest dining establishments in the city. Quill, the cocktail bar, is also supposed to be exceptional and I’ve read there’s a MasterMind cocktail option where the mixologist notes all your preferences and crafts a unique cocktail for you.

Nooks and crannies can be found at every turn. Because of my love for libraries, this book room in particular stole my heart. There are also small, intimate rooms called Jefferson Cabinet Rooms that seat two to four people for private conversations.

And the rooms… are glorious. These photos are of suites, but even the standard rooms are pretty swanky.

So that’s all for the blog tour. Andrew and I are already planning our staycation here…

posted by christine in Architecture + Interior Design,Travel and have Comment (1)

field trip to the phillips collection

The Phillips Collection has been on my museum list for quite a while, so when a friend said she had free tickets for Saturday, I said heck yes I’ll go with you. It’s a small, intimate museum with a permanent collection of primarily impressionist and modern art. My two favorites. It’s actually said to be America’s first modern art museum. The building is the Phillips’ old Dupont Circle mansion and throughout his lifetime, Duncan Phillips acquired pieces from the European masters but also from modern artists who were not yet well known or recognized. Definitely one of my new favorites in DC.

posted by christine in Travel and have No Comments

[the shop list: dc] second story books

This little book store on the corner of 20th and P in Dupont Circle is one of my favorite places to go in the city for rare and used books. If I’m ever in the mood for a walk from my usual Metro station after work, I always make sure to pass it on the way home; it’s a rare event if I ever leave empty-handed. And when the weather’s nice, they have books outside for $3-$4 a piece. That’s mostly how I acquired books for our collection. If you’re ever in the area, it’s worth a peek. But you could easily leave with an armful of books. You’ve been warned.


photos by me

posted by christine in Books + Magazines,Travel and have No Comments

potomac massage training institute

In desperate need of a prenatal massage last week, I turned to Yelp. I haven’t had a massage since I worked at a spa back in college and was hoping to find a place that offered them for less than the usual outrageous DC prices. Potomac Massage Training Institute is a school in Friendship Heights right on Wisconsin that offers student massages for $37 and graduate student massages for $55. While more clinic-like than spa-like, everything is super clean and the individual rooms have a very relaxing atmosphere. And when you’re getting a massage for that cheap, does it really matter that there’s no rain shower? The reviews on Yelp all said the students really strive to give great massages and all the techniques are fresh in their minds. I found this to be true for my massage and will definitely be returning. I feel like I’ve struck gold.

posted by christine in Beauty + Health,Pregnancy + Motherhood and have No Comments

field trip to the corcoran gallery of art

One of my resolutions this year was to visit more art galleries and museums. There are still so many here in DC I have yet to visit, so with a little window of free time last weekend, I set out to explore the Corcoran. I left super inspired – it’s such a beautiful building with a well-curated collection.




posted by christine in Personal,Travel and have Comments (2)

date night


We stayed up way past our bedtime last night and had a night out on the town. On a school night. Rebels, we are. This was part two of our anniversary celebration. Monday we stayed home and enjoyed a fancy dinner of shortribs in red wine sauce, polenta, and swiss chard. And yesterday we got all gussied up for our reservation at The Columbia Room. It totally lives up to all the hype (stay tuned for a post on that soon). Then, craving burgers, we realized that Shake Shack just opened that day and went to check it out and stuff our faces. So good.

Both being creatures of habit, we tend to go to the same place around the corner for date night every week. But yesterday made us realize we should be more deliberate about planning, getting dressed up, and going somewhere/doing something unique and out of the ordinary at least once a month. And we really need to make an effort to take more pictures. Even if they’re poor quality Iphone ones like these. What kinds of stuff do you guys do for date night?

posted by christine in Personal and have Comments (2)

pink weekend

Oh Blog, it’s good to be back. Last week was all kinds of craziness. But it ended splendidly – with out of town friends, birthday parties, cherry blossoms, walks through Georgetown, and cupcakes. Life is good. I hope to be around a lot more this week. :]

Happy Monday!

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posted by christine in Personal and have No Comments