DC Guide: Where to Shop for the Perfect Cocktail Party with car2go

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One of our goals this winter is to have friends over to our house more frequently – it isn’t always easy to go out when you have small kids at home, especially when you just want to stay warm and cozy inside. Last year we were still unpacking and getting settled into the new house, and by the time spring rolled around we felt like we’d spent the entire winter hibernating. Plus, hosting friends is a great excuse to try out some of our new cocktail recipes!


Whether we’re planning a larger event or a smaller gathering, we always want to have something tasty for our guests, but it isn’t always feasible to get around town using public transportation. I’m so glad that car sharing services have become more popular in DC over the last few years. I see car2go all over my Capitol Hill neighborhood, so I was really excited to team up with car2go to try one of their cars for myself. We had a few friends coming over to try some of our upcoming winter cocktails (the best kind of research!), so I jumped into a nearby car2go to gather provisions. Because this was a more intimate gathering of friends and the first time we’d had people over since Alice’s arrival in September, we decided to keep things really simple: two really good cocktails accompanied by a cheese plate and some seriously delicious doughnuts – all around our coffee table (an antique Egyptian brass tray that we found at a flea market!). I try to get as much preparation as possible done during nap time, and car2gocar2go made it so easy to pick up some special treats from some of my favorite DC spots in just a couple of hours!



In case you aren’t familiar with car2go, the entire fleet is made up of smart cars – so they can fit into really small parking spots – that you can access for short trips around town, even one way or by-the-minute trips! I was a bit worried about being able to find a car nearby when I needed it, especially on a weekend, but I just pulled the car2go app up on my phone when I was ready to walk out the door and there was a car just a couple of blocks away. I was in a car with a quick swipe of my member card and on my way in about 10 minutes total!




My first stop was my favorite new addition to Capitol Hill: District Doughnut! I was so happy when they opened up shop on Barracks Row a few months ago – they seriously make the best doughnuts I’ve ever tasted! My personal favorites so far are Brown Butter and Maple Butter Pecan, but they’re always coming out with new seasonal flavors. Lines have been known to form down the block and parking can be really difficult on weekends, but I managed to find a tiny parking spot that was just the right size for car2go.



Next I headed up to Union Market, an artisanal food market in the NOMA area of DC. We love coming up to Union Market for casual meals or to shop at the many specialty stands – you can find everything from produce stands to a fishmonger to ice cream! I made a beeline to Righteous Cheese to pick up the ingredients for our cheese plate, then stopped by the produce stand to grab some fresh seasonal citrus in lieu of flowers. I couldn’t resist popping into Salt & Sundry to pick up a new candle from local candlemaker Sydney Hale Co. and the most gorgeous tiny dipping bowls from Redraven Ceramics.






If you’re planning to host a cocktail party of any kind, you’ll definitely want to visit a well curated liquor store. My final stop was at our favorite liquor store in all of DC: Schneider’s of Capitol Hill. Schneider’s seriously has everything – from small batch distilleries to the more familiar brand names – and the staff is always available to help you find something, answer questions, or make recommendations if you need help navigating the sheer number of options. It’s overwhelming in the best possible way.


My favorite part of running around DC with car2gocar2go? Once you’re done with the car you just park it anywhere and leave! You don’t have to return the car to a specific spot or worry about completing a return trip within a specified period of time. You just drive the car for the amount of time that you need it (even one-way trips) and then you’re done. I found a parking spot right around the corner from my house, so I didn’t have to worry about schlepping a bunch of things for a long walk home. My husband was taking Sophie and Alice for a walk when we pulled up – so Sophie even got a peek inside the car2go! She promptly proclaimed it her tiny car.


I made it home with plenty of time to set everything out before our guests arrived. Andy made up a large batch of one of our favorite drinks – The Martinez – and a bowl of Hot Rum Punch – you’ll have to check back on Friday for the Hot Rum Punch recipe!






Photos by Sweet Root Village for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Flowers + Strawberries

After being cooped up indoors all winter, we’ve been trying to spend as much time outside as possible these days – at least until the oppressive DC summer heat and humidity set in. Over the past couple of weekends we visited one of our favorite DC spots – the Gardens at Dumbarton Oaks – and took Sophie on her first strawberry picking adventure at a nearby pick-your-own farm. She enjoyed exploring the grounds of Dumbarton Oaks, but I’m pretty sure the afternoon of strawberry picking is her definition of the Best Day Ever.





Sophie particularly loved the fountain – and fish! – located within the Ellipse at the center of the gardens. And while we sadly missed most of the spring flowers like peonies, lilacs, and tulips, the roses and iris were at peak bloom during our visit. Heavenly.







Our strawberry picking adventure started with feeding clover to the goats and saying hello to the farm’s piglets. Sophie has been really into learning animal names and sounds lately, so I’m pretty sure she would have been happy if the afternoon had ended here…





…but she was pretty stoked once we got to the strawberry fields. She spent a few minutes pointing out berries for us to pick – “Strawbey!” – and she also enjoyed carefully placing the picked strawberries into our bucket. It didn’t take long for her to start dipping into the accumulated pile of strawberries. Pure joy for this tiny toddler.




My people. I do love these two so very much.

Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper (last photo via Instagram)

DC Guide: Where to Eat, Part 2

A couple of years ago, we shared our very first mini guide to DC – including some of our favorite restaurants in the District. And with the cherry blossom season only a few weeks away, I thought it might be time to share a little update for any of you planning Spring trips to DC. Now, our dining habits have changed quite a bit in the last two years thanks to Sophie, so most of these are either in our Capitol Hill neighborhood or the nearby H Street corridor – but luckily they’re all really good! And while we might not be the best at keeping up with the trendiest new restaurants, we can offer a few tried-and-true recommendations.


Illustration by Molly Jacques for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Rose’s Luxury: I don’t think I could possibly say enough good things about Rose’s Luxury. This amazing restaurant opened up in our neighborhood just a few months ago and has earned rave reviews from every single food critic in town (examples here and here). We visited Rose’s Luxury shortly after their October opening with Sophie in tow, and it’s easily the best meal we’ve had in recent memory. They also have an amazing drink menu with several seriously delicious cocktails. And if all of that wasn’t enough, the staff was amazing with Sophie – even taking her on a little tour of the restaurant so we could have a few more minutes to enjoy our meal! Go, and you won’t regret it.


Rose’s Luxury via EaterDC

The Red Hen: It’s surprisingly difficult to find good pasta in DC (or good Italian food, for that matter), so we were pleasantly surprised when we visited The Red Hen a few weeks ago. We focused in on the pasta, but based just on our one experience I’d wager that everything on the menu at this Italian-influenced American restaurant is incredible. You’ll also definitely want to save room for dessert: Sophie was a big fan of the maple custard with hazelnut crumble. We saw several other families dining there during our visit, and they even have counter-height high chairs for tiny patrons so you don’t have to wait for a table!

Union Market: Union Market isn’t a single restaurant, but rather a large market comprised of shops, artisan vendors, and multiple casual dining options. It’s one of our favorite spots for a casual lunch or dinner. We’re partial to the sandwiches from Red Apron Butcher, the Korean tacos from TaKorean, and the hummus from DC Mediterranean Corner, but you’re bound to find something you love at Union Market.

Graffiato: Graffiato is probably the only non-kid-friendly restaurant on this list, but it’s worth a special night out. We indulged in our last pre-Sophie night out meal at Graffiato and still talk about it today. We went with the tasting menu, but you can’t go wrong here. Just be sure to make a reservation well in advance: it’s one of DC’s most popular spots!

District Taco: For a casual family night out, we’re big fans of food truck turned brick and mortar restaurant District Taco. Everything is simple, made daily from fresh ingredients, and really delicious. From fish tacos to quesadillas to soft tacos, you can’t go wrong here.

Beuchert’s Saloon: We were so happy when this restaurant opened in our neighborhood last year! A re-imagining of an 1800s saloon and Prohibition-era speakeasy, Beuchert’s devotes equal focus to both its food and drink menus. On the food side, Beuchert’s sources most of its ingredients from local farms and co-ops with delicious results, while the house cocktail menu includes several throwbacks to the restaurant’s long saloon history. So good!

Batter Bowl Bakery: Located along the H Street corridor, Batter Bowl Bakery is one of our favorite neighborhood lunch and brunch spots. The menu includes a variety of breakfast platters and open faced sandwiches, along with a range of freshly baked pastries. If you’re a coffee drinker, you’ll love Batter Bowl Bakery: the lattes are some of the best we’ve found in DC yet.

Founding Farmers: Speaking of brunch, we would be remiss if we didn’t recommend brunch at Founding Farmers. You’ll need to make reservations well in advance, but the menu of farmhouse hashes, cast iron skillets, and signature breakfast dishes is well worth the advance planning. We visited with my in-laws just before Sophie’s first birthday, and everyone at the table (Sophie included!) was a big big fan.

p.s. DC is lucky to have two amazing food critics, so if you’re planning a visit to DC you’ll definitely also want to check out both the Washingtonian and Washington Post restaurant sections and even some of the DC foodie blogs like Metrocurean and Eater DC for the latest openings and reviews.

DC Guide: The National Postal Museum

We made an impromptu trip to the Smithsonian National Postal Museum on a rainy Saturday a couple of weeks ago. It was actually my first time at this museum, but I’m so glad we went – it’s now on my must-visit list for DC! The stamp collection alone is worth a visit, but there are also exhibits on the evolution of the postal service, from the original private letter carriers to the Pony Express to the modern U.S. Post Service, and a display of mail delivery vehicles and airplanes. Sophie even had fun at the museum pulling out the displays in the stamp gallery and pretending to drive a mail delivery truck!


The National Postal Museum is located in Northeast DC next to Union Station, and is housed on the lower level of the historic City Post Office Building, which was constructed in 1914 and served as the DC post office from 1914 to 1986. I love these old buildings – the architectural details are amazing! The Museum also houses a 6,000-square-foot research library, a stamp store, and of course a museum shop.



The stamp collection is amazing – not that you’d expect anything else! Everything from the first postage stamp to mail sent from the Moon, examples of engraving dies used to make antique stamps, and tons of international stamps.










As you can probably tell, the National Postal Museum is very kid friendly (which I love!). We’re looking forward to going back!

More fun things to do in DC right here!

Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper

DC Guide: Fun Winter Activities

DC’s tourist season is decidedly in the spring and early summer, when millions of visitors come to see the cherry blossoms (which bloom late March to early April), the national monuments, and other DC attractions. A couple of years ago, I shared some things to do in DC that are not on the National Mall, and I’ve continued to share some of our favorite DC spots ever since. Winter in DC tends to be fairly quiet, which makes it a wonderful time to visit! So today I thought I’d share a few fun winter activities in DC.


Illustration by Molly Jacques for Oh So Beautiful Paper

U.S. Botanic Garden


Photos of the U.S. Botanic Garden by me via Instagram

The U.S. Botanic Garden is one of my most favorite DC destinations in the winter. It may be winter outside, but it’s always summer inside the garden conservatory! The citrus trees and orchids are both blooming, there are poinsettias everywhere (including pretty pale pink and white varieties), and if you happen to visit the gardens around closing time you’ll have a rare opportunity to see the gardens at night – all dressed up with special holiday season lighting. From Thanksgiving to January 5, the Botanic Garden hosts a wonderful seasonal exhibition with a special train exhibit and models of DC historical landmarks constructed entirely from natural materials.

Zoolights at the National Zoo


Photo via the National Zoo

Okay, so the National Zoo is at the top of our DC list any time of year, but from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day the Zoo gets all dressed up to celebrate the holidays. More than 500,000 LED lights transform the Zoo into a winter wonderland with animal silhouettes, musical light displays, and a garden light sculpture. Visitors can take a train tour through the zoo, ride a solar-powered carousel, and visit some of the indoor animal exhibits like the small mammal house and reptile discovery center. It’s fun for adults, but also really super fun if you happen to be traveling with kids. And the best part: admission is free!

Indoor Museums


Air and Space Museum Photos by me via Instagram


Museum of Natural History Photos by Em for Marvelous

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen us playing tourist in DC during our holiday break. While the museums aren’t completely empty, winter is a wonderful time to visit some of DC’s more popular museum destinations. We’re particularly fond of the Air and Space Museum and the Museum of Natural History, which are both great for kids, and both wings of the National Gallery of Art. And like all Smithsonian Institution museums, including the Zoo, the admission is free!

Go to a Caps Game


Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images via Bleacher Report

You may be surprised to learn that I’m a pretty big hockey fan! It hasn’t always been the case (I grew up in Florida, where hockey wasn’t really at the top of the sports hierarchy), but after living in DC for more than 10 years I’m totally on board. All it took was a well-timed HBO series and friends to explain the rules. Maggie and Trevor took us to our first Capitals game, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Tickets can be pricey, but games at the Verizon Center in DC’s Chinatown neighborhood are SO much fun!

Outdoor Ice Skating


Photo by Glyn Lowe Photoworks via Guest of a Guest

The DC area has several outdoor ice skating rinks, but my two favorites are the rinks at the National Sculpture Garden on the National Mall and Canal Park in the Navy Yard neighborhood of Southeast DC. The Sculpture Garden rink is adjacent to the National Gallery of Art, and a few Caps players have been known to stop by from time to time. Since it’s on the National Mall, the Sculpture Garden can get a wee bit crowded – especially on weekends. The ice skating rink at Canal Park is less touristy and can be a more relaxing way to spend an afternoon – and you can step into Park Tavern for a warm meal when you’re done!

p.s. More of our favorite DC activities right here!