Blind Whino

Over the weekend J and I were driving down the interstate after running a few errands (mostly my returns) when we decided to take a little detour. Instead of getting off on our usual exit to go home, we veered off a couple exits early, took a few turns, and ended up in front of this magical place.

Just off the interstate in SW DC is this 15,000+ sq. ft. old Church. Originally, the space was, as you can probably tell, a church. The Friendship Baptist Church, built in 1886, has a Victorian and Romanesque facade. The church was reimagined in 2012 and given a very eclectic paint job. It has now transformed into this somewhat hidden gem in the city, the Blind Whino!

The Blind Whino is a space dedicated to supporting the community arts and culture. Local artists and events are hosted in the space year round. Currently the Blind Whino has an exhibit for the Cherry Blossom festival and another with really cool pictures of Nikes! Yes, a whole exhibit full of shoes. Not my favorite type of shoe, but still shoes! This place is magic and you can’t help but let your creativity run wild!

Stop by on purpose or accidently – whichever one feels right to you! The Blind Whino is open every Wednesday at 6pm for free Yoga & Saturday and Sunday for an Open Gallery from 12pm-5pm.

700 DELAWARE AVENUE SW, WASHINGTON DC, 20024 | https://www.swartsclub.org/home

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London Bits ‘n Bobs

Churchill Arms London
© London News Pictures. 26/07/2013 . London, UK. Gerry O’Brien, landlord of the Churchill Arms on Kensington Church road, West London, waters the flowers on his pub on a summers day. Gerry, who has been the landlord of the CHurchill Arms for 30 years, spends 2 weeks every year planting the flowers which are watered twice a day.

{via / Photo credit : Ben Cawthra/LNP}

In just over a month we will be off to explore London! I’ve recently been watching The Crown on Netflix to get me in the right state of mind and it has me itching to hop over the pond now! (If you haven’t seen The Crown, I highly recommend it!) We have our flights & hotel booked but nothing else other than a few super touristy things on our list to do! We’re staying in Soho at Hazlitts which I can’t wait to see in person. From the look of it [& reviews] I have high expectations of it being a super charming, quintessential London boutique hotel! We’ve tossed around the idea of heading out of the city after a few days of exploring to Cotswold or Bath but haven’t decided on that quite yet…

If you’ve been to London, from London, live in London, or just have some London Bits ‘n Bobs to share, we’d love (love!) to hear them!

  1. What are the “can’t miss” spots?
  2. Favorite restaurants and/or pubs?
  3. Is high tea worth the price tag?
  4. Do you have any day-trip recommendations?
  5. And most importantly….What should I buy from Harrods?! 😉

 

I’ve done a bit of shopping for the trip too… Here’s a few things I’ve picked up to pack…

 

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Weekend Trench

I thought when I purchased this cute sweatshirt that we’d be close to saying Bon Voyage to winter weather but instead I’ll be keeping all my sweatshirts and sweaters in my closet – hopefully for not too much longer though! If you’re on the East Coast you’re in the same boat as me – just wishing that all those spring arrivals and pretty dresses could be put to use already! I mean today is the first day of Spring!! I’ve had some major envy reading blogs showcasing new spring dresses, sandals, and skirts. I mean thank goodness for sunless tanner because there’s no way I’d be showing my bare, pale legs without it! I always have a can of this spray tanner & recently tried this mousse by St. Tropez and love it!

Speaking of things you can’t live without… a trusty trench coat! I had a favorite trench that I wore all. the. time. but after years of use, it was time to say goodbye. I wanted a new trench that was actually a waterproof material (my last one was cotton) in a classic khaki shade and style. Pretty easy request right? Ehh not so much. I tried on trench after trench all varying in different lengths, shades, button styles, etc. All cute, but not the one. Finally I found this London Fog trench that is truly a staple trench coat, and I know will get a lot of use this Spring… once Spring actually arrives! And I’m definitely packing it on our trip to London! You can’t go to London without a trench coat!

P.S. This sweatshirt is super comfy, super affordable, and perfect for traveling! Love this one too!

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Ankle Jeans | Sweatshirt | Givenchy Antigona Purse | London Fog Trench | Booties | Neck Scarf

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Wedding

 

 

So very cliche to say but, our wedding day was the best day of my life! It was so overwhelmingly wonderful to have every single person who has been with us through our life, and relationship, to share in our special day. The love and support was so abundant and of all the things that went off course while planning, it was totally worth it. Our original wedding venue was scheduled to be built early 2016. Well, 3 months before our wedding in November we had to quickly change plans and find a new venue since the original venue was hardly even a construction site. Along with a new venue came reordering our invitations, programs, working with a rental company for the tent, tables, chairs, etc. and switching our mindset to a new atmosphere. I always wanted our wedding to have a romantic feel to it, and honestly, I think venue #2 achieved this vibe more than we could have hoped. With two cottages for the bridal party to get ready in on-site, a stunning side porch that was lit with candles and the chandelier, and a sunny 67 degree Autumn day, (the kind of weather you pray for) made for a perfect event. Looking out at our guests and saying our vows in front of everyone in the audience was the most special time.

Everyone warned us how quickly the day goes by and they’re 1000% right. It was a full day that seemed like maybe 5 minutes. The best piece of a advice a friend gave us at our rehearsal dinner was to step off the dance floor and together look at everyone enjoying themselves. It was the coolest thing seeing family and friends laughing, cheersing, and dancing together. Thank goodness for all the pictures and our video capturing the absolutely packed dance floor and happy faces of all our loved ones. If I could do it all again I would, but for now I’ll be here just scrolling through all 1200 of our photos, smiling and feeling super grateful for our family, friends and of course, my husband!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photography, Voyage Photography @rachelsimon | Videography, D.P. Weddings |Venue, Historic Rockland Manor | Bride’s Dress, Enzoani via Love Couture Bridal | Brides’s Shoes, Jimmy Choo | Catering, Country Lane Catering |Band, The Bachelor Boys | Rentals, Capital Classic Rentals | Bridesmaid Dresses, J.Crew, Dessy, Show Me Your Mumu, Jenny Yoo, Asos, Joanna August | Hair, Flow Blow Dry & Beauty Bar | Groom & Groomsmen Suit, Tommy Hilfiger | Groom Vest, John Varvatos | Groom & Groomsmen Tie, The Tie Bar
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Italia

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We spent our honeymoon in Italy exploring Rome, Ortigia, and Catania. It wasn’t the honeymoon I envisioned as a little girl sipping frozen drinks out of coconuts, but I am so happy that we decided to spend our two week post-wedding in Italy then on a rainy beach in November. The history, food, and sights were all breathtakingly beautiful and it truly was a trip that we’ll cherish and remember forever, not only because it was our first trip as Mr. & Mrs.

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Favorite Restaurants: 

La Vecchia locanda – Rome, Italy

Tucked away on an alley off of an alley, we quickly knew our first dinner in Rome was going to be a favorite dinner of the trip. A small, two level family owned restaurant made you feel like you were apart of their family. The server was there when you needed something, never pushy, and definitely didn’t disappoint in his recommendations. We had the freshest mozzarella I have ever tasted, gnocchi, Gorgonzola ravioli, and more. Great selection of wines and their chocolate mint mousse was a great way to end the night.

Jerry Thomas Speakeasy – Rome, Italy

J and I love finding cocktail clubs in the places we travel. One of our favorite memories from our trip to Paris was a speakeasy, so I knew that was going to be something we had to do in Italy! Rome made it a little bit more difficult to find a speakeasy but we are so glad that we found Jerry Thomas. Off a back alley, not marked, and password protected (you can find the password on their website) we sipped 3 delicious cocktails (each!) ranging from traditional to Jerry Thomas originals.

Felice a Testaccio – Rome, Italy

This restaurant was recommended to us and we are so glad that it was. According to locals, as trends have come through Felice a Testaccio has remained steady in cooking traditional Italian cuisine not worrying about decor or modernizing but creating delicious meals. Since it had this “traditional” reputation we had Rome’s famous Pepe e Cacio here. So. Good. (And I’m 99.9% sure the meatballs were the best I have ever had.)

Macalle – Ortigia, Sicily, Italy

Our Ortigia hotel recommended Macalle for our first night in Sicily. A husband and wife team, Macalle is a contemporary bistrot cooking with authentic sicilian ingredients and recipes. The owner even said that many of his recipes were his grandmother’s. The food was delicious and the plating I give an A+ – really beautiful looking and tasting meals. (And you have to finish off with their house made limoncello!)

Le Vin de l’Assassin Bistrot – Ortigia, Sicily, Italy

We went here on our last night in Ortigia. We were sad to leave this charming little island so we decided on a place that we had passed many times on our stroll. A small, one room Sicilian-French bistrot with smells that drew us in immediately. The chef/owner studied culinary in Paris and moved back to his home fusing the Sicilian ingredients with French techniques and flavors. This was maybe the best steak I have ever had. There was a pepper sauce that had peppercorns that just exploded flavor in your mouth. I will go back to Ortigia one day, and this restaurant is at the top of my list to revisit.

Il Sale Art Cafe – Catania, Sicily, Italy

Pizzeria and Restaurant, J and I agreed that this was the best pizza we had our whole trip! The ingredients at this particular restaurant tasted so fresh and like many of the other restaurants I’ve favorited, the plating was beautifully done. This restaurant is tucked off an alley so don’t miss it!

Fud Off – Catania, Sicily, Italy

We only stayed for a couple of cocktails (we were so stuffed from Il Sale Art Cafe) but if we ever make it back to Catania this would be a stop. Just steps down from Il Sale Art Cafe we stumbled upon a very plain, almost cave like linear room with a neon sign that read “OFF.” There were tables for folks to gather, sip and enjoy themselves and everyone there was definitely enjoying themselves!

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Where We Stayed:

Hotel Artimede – Rome, Italy

Located right on the historic center of Rome, in Via Nazionale, one of the oldest and most vibrant streets of Rome and right next to a delicious gelateria that’s open pretty late! The hotel was recently renovated and the details are wonderful. The rooms are a good size, and modern, and the staff were great at remembering and accommodating our requests!

Algila Ortigia Charme Hotel – Ortigia, Sicily, Italy

My favorite hotel of all the places we stayed. It was so charming, looked authentic, and each room was decorated a little bit different. It’s also located right on the water so the views are stunning and just steps from everything – Ortigia is small, so everything is walkable!

Liberty Hotel – Catania, Sicily, Italy

Full disclosure: Catania was not my favorite stop of the trip. I wish that we would have found a hotel closer to the main drag, but Liberty Hotel’s staff were very helpful and were accommodating.

QC Terme Roma – Rome, Italy

Since we flew back into Rome for just one night we wanted to find a hotel that wasn’t too far from the airport and was relaxing. QC Terme Roma is a former bathhouse in a protected Roman archaeological site, the Oasis of Porto. We started off our stay by changing into their dress code- Robes and slippers – and made our way to happy hour outside near a heated pool with beautiful marble fountains. We then made our way down for a massage and ended our night walking through the underground Roman baths where there were saunas, Turkish baths, and more.

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Highlight of the Trip:

Castelli Romani – The Old Frascati Wine Tour

Just a quick train ride outside of Rome took you to a whole other world. Olive trees and grape vines adorned the rolling hills overlooking Rome. Dominique and Paola took us around the vineyard and into the caves under Paola’s family’s farmhouse. I kid you not, the views are out of a movie. And the amount of history that we learned and witnessed while on this small group tour was astonishing. Since their families have been on the vineyard for generations and generations we heard stories from times of war and even got to hold a lead pipe from the Ancient Roman times, 2000 years ago! We left full of wine and pasta but mostly full of awe for this little town.

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Photography by Roberta via Flytographer 

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