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.

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POW! WOW! DC 

So there was an event called “Pow! Wow! DC!” and it basically was my wall crawl dreams come to life…

Pow! Wow! is an international street art movement where artists get together to host mural festivals and help make neighborhoods across the globe look beautiful. It’s a movement that’s already taken place in cities like Austin, Hong Kong and Honolulu, and now DC was added to that growing list!

Over the course of 10 days, local artists like No Kings Collective, Cory Oberndorfer and Decoy, along with international artists like INSA and caratoes, went to work making NoMa colorful by painting murals over abandoned buildings, bike trails, and even making the old Ibiza nightclub look good.

Pow! Wow! DC organizers NoMa BID and local artist Kelly Towles hosted a couple happy hour tours so people could catch the muralists in progress during the 10 days of their work, and luckily I was able to attend one with my boyfriend Cesar and some friends right before Memorial Weekend. At that point, the artists weren’t quite wrapped up, but I loved everything I saw so much that I ended up stopping by again after all the murals were finalized. Here are some photos from both times I visited:

For a full listing of Pow! Wow! DC artists, visit the Pow! Wow! blog,
or check out some cool videos and photos on Instagram.

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.

Spring Things 

Recently I’ve been researching “most colorful places to photograph in America” and I’m pretty happy to see the Cherry Blossom Festival in DC makes it onto nearly every one of these lists. Finally something I won’t have to travel for! Although trying to make it downtown when the Washington Post says it’s a “peak bloom” day can end up being a huge headache, I definitely think the people watching and flowers make it all worth it.

Follow Your Heart ♥

If you’ve ever watched the documentary (mockumentary?) Exit Through the Gift Shop, you may remember Thierry Guetta, the clumsy Frenchman with a video camera permanently attached to his hand. After Guetta discovers his cousin is the street artist Invader, he finds himself following along to film Invader + friends putting art out on the streets, eventually meeting guys like Banksy and Shepard Fairey, and compiling his footage into what eventually became Exit Through the Gift Shop. But another thing you may have noticed is by the end of the film, Banksy wants Guetta out of the way so he encourages him to work on his own art, and from that encouragement, the artist “Mr. Brainwash” is born.

I remember watching Exit Through the Gift Shop when it was first released in 2010 and thinking, All of this is cool, but I’m never going to see any of that art here in DC. Yet here I am six years after the release, and the coolest thing has happened! To celebrate International Women’s Day, Mr. Brainwash created a series of murals at DC’s Union Market that highlight Michelle Obama’s Let Girls Learn movement. Each piece of the mural has some inspirational phrase on it like “Follow Your Heart” and “Love is the Answer,” which are all meant to push the White House’s efforts to support access to education for the 62 million adolescent girls around the world who are not in school.

I visited Union Market just a little over a week after the murals were put up. Someone already has splattered paint across some areas of the work, so if anyone out there is interested in seeing these, I’d go soon! To view images of the murals, use the hashtags #lifeisbeautiful, #62milliongirls and #letgirlslearn.

EmporiYUM

Way back in November, I attended The Emporiyum, which I completely forgotten to post about it, but then two things happened that reminded me of my experience. First, someone at work brought up where to find “authentic” tacos in Northern Virginia, to which I responded with, “Uh, nowhere.” I considered rambling on about how nothing beats DC and Maryland, but I remembered tasting this amazing Taco Bamba tostada for the first time at the Emporiyum, so I swallowed my words.

And second, I found out Ekiben — one of the Emporiyum exhibitors — is opening a brick-and-mortar shop in Baltimore’s Fells Point. Ekiben was created by Nikhil Yesupriya, an old pal from my middle school days, and two other UMBC students as a concept revolving around the street food of Taiwan and Southeast Asia. Over the last few years, I’ve seen Nikhil post Facebook statuses about grabbing a bite of his creations at the Fells Point Farmers Market, and now his efforts have grown into this! To see someone who was always so kind to everyone around him reach the success of having his own restaurant at our age is actually kinda amazing.

BUT to give you all more of an idea of what the Emporiyum is… It was a food marketplace laid out very much like a craft fair where you could go from booth to booth taste testing things. The YUM I attended was in DC’s Union Market, but next month another YUM will take place in Baltimore. If you’re anything like me, and you end up stopping by the Baltimore edition, just know your daily diet may look a little something like this:

  • A Korean fried chicken sandwich.
  • Buredo’s “sushirito” sushi burrito. Tempura to be exact.
  • Pork and cabbage dumplings by Pinch Dumplings.
  • Probably one of the most moist cupcakes you’ll ever taste if visit the Savannah Cupcakes booth.
  • A couple of District Doughnut balls.
  • One of milk bar‘s infamous cookies.
  • Some La Tasca sangria to wash it all down.
  • And, of course a Thai chicken meatball steamed bun sandwich from Ekiben.

And whatever other random assortment of cheese, chips, pasta, pizza, cookies and drinks you can find at any of the other booths. In short,  you’ll  feast like a king.