Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Taste of Bethesda celebrates 20 years!

What is this?? It's a gigantic pan of paella cooked up by Jaleo chefs for the annual Taste of Bethesda foodie extravaganza. The festival celebrates 20 years (!!) Oct. 3 at Woodmont Triangle. Over 50 restaurants will serve up representative "tastes" from their menus. Look for sushi from Matuba, shepherd's pie from RiRa, wings from Caddies and more. Admission is free; taste tickets come in bundles of four for $5. Not only is there food, there's live entertainment including swing, Motown and jazz music, and Chinese, Indian, Middle Eastern and Mexican dance. Kids get to decorate cookies and of course, get their little mugs decorated too. For more information click here.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Contemporary Art Award Finalists!

Visit Bethesda's Fraser Gallery for a look at the work of eight local artists--all Bethesda Contemporary Art Award finalists. The Carol Trawick prize went to Rene Trevino of Baltimore this year and his work will be showcased alongside seven of his contemporaries, including Laure Dragoul, who did the interactive artwork incorporating light vibration and worms. It's a can't-miss exhibition of eclectic contemporary art. The show runs through Oct. 3. Read the Washington Post review here.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Fashion Week Education

Just coming off the high of Fashion Week, which actually inspired me to part with a few pennies and shop, I got this timely notice from about some books to further enhance my fashion education. Because I go by my sometimes errant eye and instinct, I'm eager to peruse what the experts have to say. Here are a few Amazon chose to highlight:

Glamour: A History

The Sartorialist

Louis Vuitton

Avedon Fashion: 1944-2000

Glamour: A History

The Sartorialist

Louis Vuitton

Avedon Fashion: 1944-2000

Underneath It All

Model, Incorporated

Bag and Shoe Design: Hester van Eeghen

Cartier I Love You

Underneath It All

Model, Incorporated

Bag and Shoe Design: Hester van Eeghen

Cartier I Love You

Friday, September 25, 2009

CityShopGirl Citywide Scavenger Hunt!

CityShopGirl is turning 1 in October! And like most birthday parties, fun and games are involved. But this one, a scavenger hunt, involves the entire metro area, a good cause and fantastic prizes. To join the fun, you must 1. Subscribe to CityShopGirl  2. Follow the clues on @cityshopgirl on Twitter and CityShopGirl emails  3. Show up at the cocktail party at Lotus Lounge Oct. 17 when the winners will be announced and the prize, worth over $2,500, awarded. The creative and enterprising team of Bethesda native Kelly Collis Fredrick, publisher of CityShopGirl, and Sarah Damelio of organic skincare company Skincando teamed up to promote local businesses and support Skincando's Operation Sand Flea. MoCo participants include Ginger, Urban Chic, National Jean Company, De La Ines Salon, ILORI, Sweetgreen, Still Point Spa, Red Dog, Crooked Monkey and LA Boxing, plus more from DC. There will be a suggested donation of $5 (and well-deserved) at the party to support Skincando's Operation Sand Flea, which sends burn- and itch-relieving Combat Ready Balm to our troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Subscribers can sign up as individuals or a team (up to 4 members) by emailing

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cathy Alter on post-memoir consequences

In case you missed the chapter of Fall for the Book that starred literary nonfiction duo Cathy Alter and David Shields last night at George Mason University, you can catch Cathy tonight at 7 pm when she reads from her hilarious, insightful and painfully honest memoir, Up For Renewal: What Magazines Taught me about Love, Sex, and Starting Over, at Barnes & Noble, 1851 Fountain Drive in Reston. Her book begins at a post-divorce low and ends up, well, you have to read it. In addition to the reading, Cathy will be sharing the consequences of writing a memoir before everyone in it has died--and yes, that includes her mother-in-law and parents. With Cathy's intelligence, straightforward style and warm sense of humor, the event is guaranteed to be a winner.

Joyful Bath Co. cleans up Hollywood

Look who's hanging with Emmy Awards host Neil Patrick Harris! It's Rochel Roland of Bethesda's Joyful Bath Co. who presented her therapeutic bath salts and custom-themed rubber duckies to celebs--including Mad Men's Michael Gladis and Gary Cole of Entourage--at an Emmy week swag event at the Luxe Hotel on Rodeo Drive. From brewing up bath salts in the kitchen to Hollywood! Go Rochel! 

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Spa Week is almost here!

It's time to pick up the phone and start booking appointments: Spa Week is coming Oct. 12-18. Local spas are offering a huge array of services for just $50. It's like getting a gift certificate for no reason (other than we all need a  little rejuvenating downtime.) I'm booked and ready to enjoy a much-needed "stress melter" and a facial at my neighborhood Red Door. Other local venues include Hela Spa & Ted Gibson Salon, Jolie Day Spa, Veria Wellness Center, Perez Salon, Renu Med Spa, The Salon & Spa at Saks, Dermatology and Skin Care Center, Roxsan, Massage Heights and many more! Please visit for a complete list of services and locations (nationwide).  

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Basler debuts at Tysons Galleria

Here are some more shots from Saturday's fashion show at ALL ACCESS: Fashion! The first Basler store in the US opened in Tysons Galleria; CEO Armin Fichtel says Basler offers sophisticated, accomplished women high-quality, well-fitting European clothing at sensible price points. Here are a few highlights from Saturday's Basler show:

Moderator Jennifer Barger of FW

Maurisa Turner Potts and Christine Brooks-Cropper of GWFCC

ALL ACCESS: Fashion!

The three-day Tysons Galleria fashion event had its grande finale Saturday with a lineup of fashion shows from the best of the luxe mall's retail shops. Betsey Johnson, 7 for all Mankind and Basler made it work in a fun day that also featured special tents and events including blow-outs and cocktails. The highlight of course was the fashion show featuring looks by Juicy, Kensie, Kate Spade and more hosted at 1 by Mr. Fashion Fabulosity himself, Tim Gunn. He began with a shout out to "Mother's" friends and launched into a running commentary to the show, full of quips and fine advice. He suggested women need a "basic blazer" and a good dress, and said he doesn't really follow trends. "Proportion, fit and silhouette" are what make an outfit work; he also showed how to create different looks from one dress with accessories. He answered questions from the audience with sincere aplomb, and wowed the crowd when he said that he likes to take fashion risks himself--like with a pocket square--that aren't always successful.  "Tim! Take that off! You look like an ass!" As the crowd roared, he went on. "The pocket square is like this little demon in my pocket, 'you look like an ass, you look like an ass.'" We've all felt that way. The culmination was the line outside Chanel to get a photo taken with Gunn and receive a little box of Tim-themed holiday cards. He's as nice one-on-one as he is when working the crowd. I could've spent hours with him. Get more Tim Gunn now on the new Dr. Oz show in addition to Project Runway.
One dress, two looks

LBD Parade

A Kate Spade LBD we loved

Monday, September 21, 2009

Luxury: Reinventing the Dream

Ned Martel, Julie Gajcak, Rohit Bhargava of Ogilvy 360 Digital Influence

The ALL ACCESS:Fashion panel discussion, the Thursday night headliner of a three-day fashion event at Tysons Galleria, was a thought-provoking glimpse into the fashion world as presented by experts both local and international. Moderated by Post Style editor Ned Martel, the panel, including The Ritz Carlton's Julie Gajcak and Basler CEO Armin Fichtel, discussed the state of luxury brands in a time of economic havoc. Martel posed interesting and apt questions about the economy, luxury brands, philanthropy and marketing; his background as an editor for Men's Vogue was evident. Fichtel said he chose to open his first US boutique amid a recession (and at Tysons) because he's confident the German-based Basler has the quality, fit (sizes range up to 20) and price points to succeed. His biggest seller: the cashmere jacket. The next Basler opens in Michigan; when will we seen one in Chevy Chase? The night wouldn't have been the same without my friend, artist Anna Rose Soevik, who did the portraits of Bono, Gunn and Frederique Van der Wal that will be signed and sold for charity. Sitting next to me was new friend Ryan Charchian, the 15-year-old marketing director of Military's Style Guide for Teens (I wish he was around when I was a military brat stationed in a fashion no-man's-land) and Gunn's guest on Saturday. Look out slackers...generation Z is coming at you fast!

Lori Pawley of General Growth Properties and Armin Fichtel

Ryan Charchian

Tim Gunn as portrayed by Anna Rose Soevik

Event coordinator Aba Bonney Kwawu

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday Frienday

It's bring-a-girlfriend day at Bethesda Row's The Waygoose as the store celebrates Women's Friendship Day. On September 20, bring one friend and each gets a 10% discount; two friends scores you each 15% ...and so on. The Waygoose carries beautiful handmade crafts representing artists from all across the country, including stunning pottery, glassware, handturned wooden bowls and jewelry. Also note that The Waygoose is celebrating its 16th anniversary on Oct. 3 from noon-7 pm. Visit either in Bethesda or Rockville Town Square for cake (Bethesda) or Carmen's Italian Ice (Rockville) and special offers. Celebrate this store and owner Deborah Simon who has supported American artisans for so many years.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Dorian Gray Rocks the House

Contrary to yesterday's Washington Post review of The Picture of Dorian Gray at the Round House Theatre, I found the contemporary take on Oscar Wilde's novel a sophisticated, thought-provoking winner from every perspective. It's basically about a man who sells his soul to stay young; a portrait of him suffers the ravages of his life instead. I was immediately drawn in by the smart dialogue taking place in the decadent '80s when the art scene flourished, money (and cocaine) still flowed. Though not in London then, I was in Manhattan, and for a few minutes of the opening act, I was back, feeling the club and gallery scenes, which were done to perfection. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa nailed it as far as contemporary context goes. And so did the brilliant actors. Each was perfect in his/her role--especially the coolly beautiful Faustian Dorian, played by Roderick Hill. James Kronzer's staging was art itself--large revolving gray-slab walls provided a bleak canvas for the living art created by the actors prancing about on the paint-splattered floor, subtly alluding to the stage as painter's studio. Which brings us to the thematic elements, which in my mind were intriguing (and kept me awake)--when you push art to the limits, you get cubism. When you live to the extreme, you get...well, less desirable results. We had an upper balcony seat in a corner and had a perfect view. Round House should be commended for staging, seating and accessibility. Kronzer, artistic director Blake Robison and playwright Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa scored a winner. 4 stars.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Bethesda Row Restaurant Week!

Another can't miss!! There is so much going on around town my head is swirling, so I'll calm myself with food. A primal delight we can get for much less during Bethesda Row's Restaurant Week, which runs Sept. 21-27. Bethesda Row has no shortage of great restaurants. Check out this list of participants: Assaggi Mozzarella Bar, Austin Grill, Delhi Dhaba, Lebanese Taverna, Le Pain Quotidien, Mon Ami Gabi (a fave), Raku (another huge fave), Tara a fall makeover party at bluemercury and shopping happy hour at Urban Chic. A two course lunch is $12; three-course dinners are $30. Amazing. Book at individual restaurants or when available at

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

DSS afterglow

The DSS VIP line

What fun it was last night at the District Sample Sale in Georgetown. Just getting out and about is always fun enough for me, but shopping with friends (writer Cathy Alter, publicist Zena Polin, Kelly Collis Fredrick of CityShopGirl, Barbara Saylor of Capitol B, Makeda Saggau-Sackey of The Glamazon Diaries, publicist Jill Collins), plus champagne, great food and tons of clothes just about sent me over the edge. A reticent shopper not in awe of crowds, I surprised myself at the number of terrific buys I found. Fabiana Zelaya of Daisy Too gets the credit for getting me started and giving me that initial push into fashionland. She said she knew a Jae Basilio cardigan would look great on me, and she was absolutely right. So I got the long taupe and plum sweater for $68--marked down from $341. The bargain of the night. I followed that up with a pair of plum suede Bettye Mullers (from Simply Soles). And...I went from there. A black jersey dress from Emily Grace and a teal graphic Donna Morgan (perfect for my upcoming trip to Japan), champagne, a snack and a chance to say hi to many MoCo shop owners. And as always, kudos to Barbara Martin of The Patton Group. Am I gushing? Yeah, a little. Morning-after glow.

Ginger owner Gretchen Hitchner and friend, Cathy Alter

Cathy Alter, Zena Polin, Kelly Collis Fredrick, Maurisa Turner Potts, Jill Collins, Barbara Saylor

Reefer Madness

Check out Bloomie's for different takes on this great fall classic reminiscent of noir films' natty dressers--crisp tailoring, chic grays in menswear-inspired reefer coats that would only look better accented with slick black booties, a hint of ruffle, a great slouchy bag. For Bloomie's card holders it's a matter of "the more you spend, the more you save." Also check out Bloomingdale's exciting event this fall called "Lights, Camera, Action." Bloomingdale's has partnered with motion picture studios, indie filmmakers, classic movie cable networks like TNT, and locally with Women in Film and Video, AFI and others to merge film and fashion in an innovative fall theme, incorporating ticket giveaways, private screenings and more. The store has even commissioned five indie short films, called "BFLIX" to be produced, screened and voted on by customers online at Directors include Emily Abt, Andrew Hunt and Amy Redford. Customers can also put themselves into their own favorite movie scenes via Yoostar. Cool! I'd like to see myself right in between Robert Redford and Paul Newman in Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid. "Lights, Camera, Action" runs through October.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Crooked Monkey Gets Graphic

Oooh, after a long horrible technology drought, I'm back on the keys with lots of catching up to do. First off, must tell about the uber-hip fete Sunday night local T-shirt company Crooked Monkey hosted downtown in a top-secret warehouse location. The invite--a blank t-shirt with the details on the back that arrived with a bag of candy bananas--was the tip-off that the night would be unique. And it was. Company owner Micha Weinblatt treated a group of writers, bloggers, social butterflies, friends and family to vodka cocktails, DJ spun tunes, a much-loved photo booth and a little art-in-progress as we saw our white t-shirts folded into squares and hung into a blank canvas for an artist to make into a giant monkey graphic. Which leads nicely into the point of the evening--the launch of the Crooked Monkey graphic t-shirts, which we absolutely love. No words, just design. Edgy as always. Look for a Crooked Monkey to appear in the new Twilight movie, Eclipse. You can find the T-shirts at Urban Outfitters, Nordstrom, Fred Segal and Lord & Taylor too. Our local boy is hitting the big time. Hey Micha, when will we see Vincent Chase with the Monkey on his back??

Our tees are hung on the wall and made into a graphic design--a monkey, of course.

Micha; The King of Top & me; Glamazon Makeda Saggau-Sackey with a monkey on her back.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A New Picture of Dorian Gray

Looking for something different to do this weekend? Expand your literary horizons at Bethesda's Round House Theatre and see Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's world premiere of The Picture of Dorian Gray based on the novel by Oscar Wilde (one of my faves). A nice break from the political swirl going on just outside in D.C. Here is what Artistic Director Blake Robison has to say about the play (straight from Round House):

"I grew up reading Spiderman comic books and 19th century British fiction. So you might say that my tastes are eclectic. But when I met Roberto, I realized that these two forms are not really so far apart. If one of today's most accomplished young playwrights can also write for Marvel Comics and HBO's Big Love, then Wilde's gothic masterpiece and Roberto's distinct vision should be a compelling theatrical marriage...Roberto is the right guy for the job. His sensibility is everything that Dorian Gray needs to catapult it into the 21st century: it is sharp, clever, provocative, and visual. When I learned that the novel has been an artistic touchstone for him, it became an opportunity for collaboration that we just couldn't pass up. Roberto and Wilde co-exist in a world of bravado and style, and this Dorian Gray is born from the intersection of their lives....Today's Dorian Gray is indeed a new play, inspired by Wilde and filtered through the unpredictable landscape of Roberto's imagination."

Sounds like a winner.

September 9 - October 4
Tickets start at $25; Click here or call 240.644.1100

District Sample Sale Next Week!

There are still tickets available for the biggest sale event of the season, D.C.'s District Sample Sale, which benefits Rachael's Women's Center, a D.C. daytime shelter for homeless women. The sale takes place Sept. 16 in Georgetown at 3336 M Street, NW. Browse designer names from fave MoCo boutiques like Daisy Too, Ginger, Imagine, Luna and Urban Chic and get huge discounts on apparel, shoes and accessories. There are a host of other shops there as well, including Wink, Periwinkle, Caramel and Simply Soles. While VIP tickets are gone, you can still enjoy the sale for $40 or as a benefactress for $250. Enjoy nibbles from DC restaurants, cocktails, a silent auction and bargains, bargains, bargains.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Plaiding It

I did plaid way back when. I sported a bright plaid maxi coat that was not only fit for inner-tubing down mountainsides, it caught my then-boyfriend's eye. So with a rich plaid history that cannot be outdone, I prefer to try something new. But then I saw these Bettye Muller shoes at Sassanova:

and this Nanette Lepore "Walk of Fame" coat (which kind of, in name at least, reminds me of my famous coat):

and suddenly I'm less plaid-resistant. Both of these make a fabulous foil to basic black, which except for chocolate brown, is my constant winter-chic color of choice. Plaid away, little schoolgirls!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Making fall fashion dreams reality

A couple of posts ago I was waxing poetic on the dreamy vintage romance of fall fashion. I snapped back to affordable reality when I received the new White House Black Market catalog. They nail it. I get the same feel--ruffles, jackets, cloche hats, rows of pearls--with an updated modern sensibility that I'll feel good in while eating sushi outside at Raku. And we're lucky here in MoCo. There's a new White House in Wisconsin Place in Chevy Chase and another (with tons of free parking) at Congressional Plaza in Rockville. I'm off to the races. (Plus, the prices sure beat haute couture. Now I can get a matching gamine haircut... )

Friday, September 4, 2009

From Project Runway to Target

Nina Garcia (former fashion director at Elle magazine, now at Marie Claire) dispenses in-store fashion tips Fridays at Target, which seems to be an "in" designer hangout. Today is Target's "Frugalista Friday" and undoubtedly as a tie-in to Garcia's new book, The Style Strategy: A Less-Is-More Approach to Staying Chic and Shopping Smart, she comes up with an on-the-spot look for an unsuspecting shopper in the store. I like the look, but, even though I usually work in big glasses, workout clothes and no makeup, might I have been able to come up with that? Maybe not the belted sweater grande finale. Will we see Nina Garcia prowling around the Rockville store? What fun that would be! Keep your eyes peeled. Click here for the Frugalista Friday shopping video.