I SPY: Washington, D.C.

Mar 28, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. : March, 2017

When your given only 24 hours in Washington D.C., what would you do?  White House, nah!  Cherry blossoms, yeah if it's in season!!  Yayoi Kusama exhibit, for sure if your going before May 14, 2017!!!



Knowing my day-cation to the Capital would be over in a sneeze, my focus was only on those two things, and if accomplished I'd leave content.  But after my three hour snooze on the Acela train I was energized upon arrival into Union Station, and hit the ground running!  Don't you love it when your blessed by more minutes in a day then you thought possible?  Here's a list of my hits to begin your pre-planning when you go.

SEE + DO

AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSEUM:
If I didn't get into the Yayoi Kusama exhibit my plan was to visit this new, much buzzed about Smithsonian museum.  Timed entry passes must be reserved in advance, or they release a limited number of passes daily online at 6:30am, or at the door at 1pm.  I did manage to get tickets online, but ran out of time since I got into the Infinite Mirrors exhibit.  I will definitely be coming here the next time I'm in town though.  If you don't have time to tour the museum, it is still worth a walk by.  The architecture alone was something to ponder over.  Bronze metal lattice that incases the facade of the three tiered building.  STUNNING workmanship that looked like jewelry.

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GEORGETOWN:
Home of Georgetown University.  Young college town vibe.  Fun neighborhood filled with colorful, historical row houses, lots of shopping, and dining options to spend a whole day there.  When there look out for this wall.  A rendering of Hokusai's wave.  Found at 3510 O street.



HIRSCHHORN MUSEUM:
This is where you will find the current Infinite Mirrors by Yayoi Kusama exhibit I have talked about numerous times!  Besides that highlight you will find a varied collection of modern and contemporary art and sculptures.

wesbite 



JEFFERSON MEMORIAL:
America's version of the Pantheon.  Home to Thomas Jefferson's memorial site.  It is my favorite D.C. landmark, day or night.  The marble steps, ionic order columns, dome and the engraved inscriptions from the Declaration Of Independence on the walls is an architectural Neo - classical stunner.  Open to visit 24 hours.

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THE NATIONAL MALL:
It is not a shopping 'mall'!  It is a 1.9 mile long national park between the Capitol steps and the Lincoln Memorial.  Plenty of landmarks and museums line the street.  The perfect place to check off the tourist attractions and go museum hopping.  Majority of them are Smithsonian museums, which are all free.  That's the beauty of Washington, D.C.  Take advantage of it!

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TIDAL BASIN:
Cherry blossom heaven when in season!  Around the 1.8 mile reservoir you will also spot the big 3: Jefferson Memorial, MLK Memorial and FDR Memorial.  Stroll along the reservoir, or get in a paddle boat and enjoy the scenery.  It's beautiful and makes the perfect photo - op.

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WASHINGTON MEMORIAL:
The elevator to get to the top is closed and under renovation till Spring 2019.  Unfortunate because I'm sure you can get amazing views of the city from up top.

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EAT

ASTRO DOUGHNUTS & FRIED CHICKEN:
Famous for their fried chicken doughnut sandwich.  But UGH it's Lent!  Instead I settled for the flavor of the month doughnut…Cherry Blossom.  So pretty!

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BAKED & WIRED:
This cozy neighborhood coffee shop located in Georgetown, was conceived by a wife who loves to bake and a coffee lover husband.  The perfect match serve scrumptious homemade cupcakes, cookies, and other sweet treats along with your morning or afternoon pick me up.  They're also famous for their napkin wall.  Leave your mark - doodle something and add on to it.

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&PIZZA:
Craft pizza, options to customize, made in a conveyor belt line, and served in an oblong shape.  What does D.C know about pizza?  More then us New Yorkers think they do!  It was good, made from fresh ingredients, organic and gluten free dough, and cheese produced by themselves.  Their 'Gnarlic' white pie was the bomb and their 'Cinnamon Toast' made an awesome breakfast pizza.  Don't judge - they were located in my hotel, and that was the closest to room service I could get!

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SLEEP

HOTEL HIVE:
A brand new hotel that has been opened as long as President Donald J, Trump has been in power!  Yup, they opened the day before inauguration.  Such a cute, fully re-furbished hotel, full of character even though micro sized and compact.  But what makes up for the lack in room size, is the price point, amazing staff who gave me an upgrade to a King size bed room, clean minimalistic designed rooms, and the hipster bar in their lobby.  If you don't plan on spending a lot of time in your room, then I do recommend this gem.

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Washington, D.C. is a beautiful old town, comparable to London.  Definitely not high energy like NYC, but quaint like Boston, and great for lovers of the arts.  Best way to explore is by foot.  Beware though, their blocks are double the size of NYC blocks!  They said ten blocks…uhm I was walking miles!!  HA.  Cherry blossom season is forecasted to peak this week.  The Tidal Basin is going to be absolutely gorgeous in full bloom.  Get down to D.C. soon if you want to catch it.  Don't let the allergies stop you.  That's what drugs were made for!  Happy Spring.

I SPY: Queen Of Dots

Mar 27, 2017

Where there's a will, there's a way?  You better believe it!  I found a way to get into the Infinity Mirrors exhibit I was soooo desperate to see at The Hirshhorn Museum in Washington D.C.



How?  Even though they're sold out online, everyday the museum hands out a LIMITED number of free passes at the door.  A)  You can start lining up at 7am outside the museum, and wait three hours till they open doors at 10am to score free tickets.  B)  You can purchase museum membership at the door that will gain you immediate entry.  $50 with a student or military ID.  $250 otherwise, that will get you  up to four passes max.  Make friends in the line!  We split the cost with another couple in line willing to pay, and it was well worth it.


There are five infinity rooms you can't miss!







A few other goodies that caught my eye outside the mirror rooms...






Lastly, you exit through the dot room, and are given a sheet of stickers.  Your encouraged to add to the art, by sticking the dots to the furniture and props.  Your chance to touch the art and get intimate!





A really fun exhibit.  Pinch me; I still can't believe that we got in!  It wasn't luck.  It was strategy!  If you are a fan of the queen of dots and pumpkins you will love this sensory journey.  This was the 5th Yayoi Kusama exhibit I've experienced, the largest one, and by far the best to date.  Praise to the 88 year old Queen!

I SPY: Infinity Mirrors

Mar 24, 2017

Anybody know how I can score last minute tickets to Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirrors exhibition at The Hirshhorn Museum?  I'm heading to Washington D.C. this weekend, and want in!  But all tickets are sold out.  UGH.



You know how much I love this artist?  I've been following Yayoi Kusama around the world the past few years.  OBSESSED.  The last infinity room I was in of hers was last summer in Houston, Texas.  The above photo is from there, at her 'Love Is Calling' exhibit.

All tickets for her latest exhibit, Inifinity Mirrors, in Washington D.C. are sold out until April 3, 2017.  Crazy!  I've checked Craigslist and other re-sale sites and zero luck.  But free tickets for this exhibit go on sale again on Monday, March 27, 2017 @ 12pm for timed entry passes, for the week of April 4 - 10.  Any plans for Spring Break?  If not D.C. could be your go to!

Good luck scoring tickets.  I heard they sell out in less then a few minutes online.  So be ready at 12pm sharp, in front of your computer, if not earlier, to get clicking!  STRESS.  If you don't win the first time, you have a few more weeks to test your luck again.  The exhibit is on till May 14, 2017.

I SPY: Pop Up Surprises

Mar 23, 2017

When your trying to duck the below freezing wind chill walking to the subway, do you pop into a store to defrost?  I do it all the time!  That is the beauty of NYC.  Sometimes I have to pretend that I am interested in the brand to stall me some time, but not this time!

Familiar with the brand Aerie?  This is their first pop up shop in NYC.  Otherwise you usually find them in a corner of American Eagle Outfitter stores, because that's their big Daddy.  The clothing is designed for teenagers and college kids.  A tad young for me!  But the interior of the pop up shop was fun, and full of pop up surprises.  Doesn't that flower wall remind you of Beyonce's pregnancy photo shoot?  HA.






And…there is an AND!!  I walked out with a new pair of shades by Australian designer Quay!  I've seen @golden_barbie and a few other celebs modeling their brand on Instagram lately.  They've got great designs that are super affordable, and are being sold at Aerie's pop up.  Sixty buckaroos to raise the bar to fake movie star status!  HA.



If your in the market for new shades then you should definitely check them out.  Sunshiny days are in the near future.  Didn't feel that way yesterday, but in God we trust!

Aerie
72 Spring Street
New York, NY 10012
T: (646) 416.5492

I SPY: Pescatarian Strong

Mar 22, 2017

Waiting for lobster roll season?  Hang tight, it's Spring; Summer is around the corner.  Coming SOON.  But if your craving a lobster treat now try this at Florian.



Seen this?  For real - a whole lobster on a pizza.  Pescatarian strong!  If your still not full after that I challenge you to order the make your own vanilla chocolate fudge sundae.



Beware it is Texas size.  Meant to be shared.  But between the four of us we still couldn't finish it!  Bottom line…nobody leaves hungry!!

I SPY: Whatcha Matcha 'Bout?

Mar 21, 2017

I'm still on my Lent diet…surprised?  Many are, including myself!  HA.  Who is this girl?!!  It honestly hasn't been hard to go green, and omit meat.  We just have too many good options in NYC that cater to vegetarians and pescatarians, so I haven't run out of options yet.  So whatcha matcha 'bout?  I haven't lost any weight!!  POUT.  That's because I've been eating TOO well.  My bad!  But take notes for healthier dining options in NYC...This was my latest hit.

Coconut Milk Matcha

Avocado & Kale Toast

Soba Noodle Bowl

Spinach Spaghetti


Jean - Georges' new meatless baby - AbcV - been there?  It opened last month after much anticipation.  It's the new vegetarian + vegan sister to Abc Kitchen, which has been one of my favorite go to's for years.  So not really surprised that AbcV is a winner.  If I didn't tell you carnivores about the 'V', you wouldn't even be conscious your missing meat!  Clean, tasty, appetizing plated food, that fills you up.  Doesn't look like mush, nor does it taste like cardboard!  Open for breakfast & lunch, dinner soon, and a bar to order take out, and pick up bakery goods, such as croissants, muffins, or a shake.  Green with envy?  Then you must try!

I SPY: Chi - Town Shenanigans

Mar 20, 2017

When your down town and the kids want to shoot hoops, but the outdoor courts are all piled up with snow…where do you go?  HERE for some Chi - Town Shenanigans.  Discovered during nasty gal Stella (yes they were open!), and demanded a revisit again this past weekend!




Not because of the photo booth.  That's Mama's fun!  HA.  I'm not on Snapchat so this is my Hello Kitty cheese time.  But I'm also addicted to playing Space Invaders.  Child at heart, what can I say!



Brings back memories from your childhood?  The nostalgia is refreshing, and the boys enjoy the competition too.  Obviously they also love the basketball, skee ball, air hockey and other arcade usuals.




Slightly seedy which adds to the old school vibe.  But you know graffiti walls don't bother me!  Rather be here then in touristy Times Square at Dave & Busters.  A down town treat when you need to blow some pent-up energy in kids, and conveniently located next door to 10 Below for a post ice cream bribe to get them to leave the arcade! *wink*.  Remember it for your next rescue with kids when down near Chinatown in NYC.
i * SPY CANDY. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.