Current Obsessions

A Weekly Roundup of Kawaii Thangs, Jams and Interweb Finds. 

BEAUTY: As much as I want to devote time to making sure my eyebrows look good and I’ve got the highlight of a glazed donut, I’m lazy. Beauty hacks for lazy broads like me.

DC THINGS: July’s 10 Best Beer Events in DC.

ILLUSTRATION: Discovered this cute Elizabeth Graeber mural (pictured above) at Bakehouse DC. Consider her work: things work checking out.

LIFE: “Rub A Dub Dub, Let’s Talk About Chub Rub!” is a cute title for an article containing tips on dealing with this super  serious summer problem.


Mattress Factory

This story was first posted on The Office Goth‘s blog. 

I can’t seem to get away from photos of Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Dots Mirrored Room at The Broad in LA. Each and every time I see one I have the same reaction of Wow! followed by thoughts of, How can I find cheap enough flights to LA? I must see this thing!

For those of us who can’t make it over to the West Coast for that exhibit, here’s a little consolation for you: the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh.

Mattress Factory actually has two works by Kusama: another Infinity Dots Mirrored Room— this version uses colorful dot reflections instead of lights — and Repetitive Vision, a slightly trippy white room with red polka dots, mannequins and of course the mirrors that make it an ‘infinity room.’ For a lack of a better way to describe them: these installations are EVERYTHING.

And the rest of the Mattress Factory wasn’t too bad either. Some other highlights:

IRIS_SIRI by Kevin Clancy: You walk straight into a fluorescent room to find windows covered in a rainbow film and life-sized resin cats draped across laptops. This exhibit reminds me to quit being so distracted by the Internet to go out and enjoy life for a bit.

Catso, Red by James Turrell: When you’re surrounded by super minimalistic art that uses three-dimensional light, there are tons of photos opps waiting to happen.

The Mattress Factory is one of the things I love about Pittsburgh (along with Randyland), and I’d say it’s one of the biggest surprises I found in a city that I’ve always only associated with universities and manufacturing. If you’re on the East Coast like me and are looking to go on a quick, affordable trip, Pittsburgh is definitely one way to go!

Dupont Underground 

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Right at the corner of Connecticut and Massachusetts Avenue sits Dupont Underground, an abandoned underground trolley system turned events venue and art space.

I must have walked past this entrance so many times, but never even knew of its existence or of its history until everyone from BrightestYoungThings to IGDC and The Washington Post kept talking about it. If you read my post last summer about“The Beach,” a giant plastic ball pit at the National Building Museum, this is it. These are the exact same balls I tossed around like a kid at Chuck E. Cheese’s last summer, except now they’re being repurposed into a real-world version of Minecraft known as Raise/Raze.”

Volunteers donated their time in order to construct some of the 650,000 balls left over from “The Beach” into brick-like structures that  the design firm Hou de Sousa envisioned. With a ticket for a time slot, I was allowed to walk in and build some of my own structures. Those tickets for entry were pretty limited, so when my boyfriend warned me I better make sure my schedule was clear for a certain Saturday afternoon, I was lucky I listened. Raise/Raze is now closed to the public, but I’m eagerly waiting for news on what will go down in the underground next.

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Flower Mart

You wouldn’t normally find me in Glover Park unless I’m stuffing my face with tacos at Surfside, but I decided to wander through the neighborhood for the All Hallows Guild Flower Mart event at the Washington National Cathedral. Somewhere along the way I’ve become obsessed with picking out flowers, which I’m not so sure how that happened to a person who once prided herself on her non-girly girl ways, but it did.

Like many of you out there, I ended up going the flowers route for this year’s Mother’s Day, however, going to Flower Mart at least made me feel a little better that I didn’t just run out to the nearest grocery store as if my gift was an afterthought or something. I think I may have showed up a little too late in the day to walk away with my first pick of bouquets, but I’d still recommend the event for anyone looking to check out (or to see the inside of a Catholic church for the first time, like my case!)


A DC Wall Crawl

I’ve spent a lot of time scrolling through photos under Instagram hashtags like #StudioDIYwallcrawl, #ABMlovesmurals and #Ihavethisthingwithwalls and jealously wondering why DC can’t be on LA’s level with the patterned street art murals.

It turns out I’m wrong.

Over the last few months, I’ve attempted to hit up as many of the murals that we do have, and along the way I’m finding the District has its little pockets of color too. Just like New York, we’ve got a Jason Woodside polka-dotted mural, and also a mural by Australian artist James Reka at the L’Enfant Plaza Metro Terrace. We even have a church turned technicolor events venue, which is pretty cool if you ask me. Here is where to find them:

19th and N. Moore Streets (technically in Arlington, Va.)

3500 O St NW (behind the Saxbys Coffee) 

429 L’Enfant Plaza SW (the L’Enfant Plaza Metro Terrace)

1309 5th St NE (at Union Market DC)

66 Rhode Island Ave NE

635 North Carolina Ave SE (at the William H Rumsey Aquatic Center) 

19th Street NW (between Belmont Road and Mintwood Place in Adams Morgan) 

700 Delaware Ave SW (at Blind Whino)

Follow my street art adventures on Instagram, where I’m using the hashtag #DCWallCrawl.

Obscura Day

I spent last Saturday exploring catacombs and rummaging through 1920s morphine prescriptions…

You might say that was a pretty morbid way to spend a spring afternoon, but I was more happy than anything to finally take part in Obscura Day. Obscura Day is an annual event held by Atlas Obscura that gives you access to lots of strange, historical, sometimes abandoned attractions around the world. Think in terms of tours to abandoned theme parks, walks through Chernobyl ‘ghost cities’ or visits to hidden beaches. Just like my obsession with Roadside America, I like to follow Atlas Obscura when I want to explore lowkey spots your typical travel guide wouldn’t include, hence my visit to a gravesite and an oddities shop last weekend.

This year, WONDER COMMONS hosted an Obscura Day event at the Westminster Burying Ground and Catacombs in Baltimore, a place where you can find the gravesites of Edgar Allen Poe and James Calhoun, the first mayor of Baltimore. I’ve been to Poe’s gravesite before, but it was an entirely new experience getting to poke around the catacombs beneath the church and have a guide share quirky historical anecdotes on body snatching.

About a 15 minute drive away was a little shop of oddities known as Bazaar, a store that offers up skulls, taxidermy, vintage Ouija boards and bone jewelry for sale (if you’re into those kinds of things). The shop hosted a “Find The Mole Hand” game for Obscura Day, which sounds more gross than it actually is because trust me, you’d spend a couple hours in there if you stopped by. I showed up too late to claim one of the eight prizes handed out for finding the mole hand, but still ended up spending a good while just looking at black and white photographs and air plants.

Obscura Day only comes around every April, but there are always tons of Obscura events happening all over the U.S. Check out their website before going on your next vacation!

The Beasts of England 

Chances are you’ve had to read Animal Farm at some point in your life. You know, that George Orwell novel you were assigned to read back in the 8th grade about a pack of pigs who overthrow farmers to establish an “equal” and “perfect” society? Well, Brandon Hill of No Kings Collective’s pop-up art installation “The Beasts of England” is a reinterpretation of the Orwell novel that forced us to examine socialism, class stratification and corruption — basically all things we’re still discussing as a society today.

Right off the bat, I knew I liked this exhibit because (a) the lit lover in me got to geek out over references to the novel like the words ‘HORSE GLUE’ written on wood/enamel letters (Poor Boxer!), and, (b) the large scale installations are not only very accurate depictions of pigs, but also plastered in color!

“The Beasts of England” is displayed at Union Market’s Lab 1270 until May 7.

Crafty Bastards

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: Crafty Bastards is like Etsy come to life, which means it’s the DC event I eagerly await every year. I can’t say I don’t long to live in a city with Renegade Craft Fair or Unique USA, but it definitely makes me feel a lot better knowing I have Crafty Bastards, which according to Buzzfeed, ranks up there with the big fairs.

This year, I walked away with a couple items I’m super excited to share information about. My first purchase of the day was from Neogranny, a  maker of vintage/mid-century inspired jewelry, who I’m happy to have purchased camera pins from. At Winthrop Clothing Co.’s booth, I had a tough time deciding whether my pup Tipton needs a gingham, floral or pizza print bow tie. I settled on the pizza bow tie so he’ll be looking real dapper this Thanksgiving. I also picked up a beautifully bound notebook made by Moonlight Bindery, a DMV crafter who makes really cool booklets from Lego pieces, along with a gorgeous ceramic necklace from Mint House and nonsensical (but I’d argue very necessary) donut earrings by Inedible Jewelry. All my purchases were from really great companies, and so are all the Crafty B vendors listed below. If you ever get a chance to check them out, you should:

Dirty Ass Soaps: novelty vegan soap: gummi bear, ouija boards, bacon

Elizabeth Benotti Handmade Ceramics: handmade, hand-painted porcelain plant holders & housewares

Elizabeth Graeber Illustration: wallpaper  and tea towels by a DC-based illustrator

horrible adorables: strange and fantastical faux taxidermy

inedible jewelry: check them out for siracha, macarons, hot dog, etc. pieces

Maslo Jewelry: very modern, very geometric jewelry with a minimalist aesthetic

tljewelrydesigns: jewelry made from recycled broken skateboards