"Jingle" Designers Give the Holidays.... a Haircut?

by Casey Valerie Linsey 

"I’ve always felt Christmas is more than just red and green – it’s about bold touches of colors like purple and orange.” explained ASID Interior Design’s Patrick J. Baglino, Jr. about giving the season some color treatment. 

Local interior designers - on a mission to stop limiting holiday decorations to clichéd red and green - are decking the halls of the Four Seasons in Georgetown as part of  the 6th annual Georgetown Jingle.  From angels made out of recycled maps to a tree with more bling than a display at Tiffany’s & Co., the yearly benefit, and its 12 themed trees, brim with innovative holiday spirit through Christmas and benefit the Georgetown University Hospital’s pediatric oncology programs.

Among the dazzlers on display are Gary Lovejoy’s pyramid of personal elements - like favorite hobby and interest items - in clear boxes; SCS Interiors’ Shazalynn Cavin-Winfrey turns to fishing wire: stringing the ornaments, and hanging them from a chandelier in the dining room.  Dee Thronton of Houseworks Interiors found inspiration on vacation, designing a Caribbean-themed tree with a fish frenzy of ornaments. 

Tradition tree or no, the designers stress knowing what fits your personal style. “It’s like finding a good haircut!" notes Rosie Sauser of Cultivated Gardens.  "Look at a bunch of magazines, clip the photos you like, and you’ll discover [your] decorating style.”

Here's your tip: The" trees "on display are also for sale.  But hurry, hotel guests have already snapped one up!

In the Thicke of It

Photo by: GearShift TV
Spotted at club Josephine Wednesday night: Robin Thicke.  The smooth crooner - who has been known to enjoy DC's nightlife on previous visits - didn't just make a quick appearance following his performance at the 9:30 Club (as part of his "Love After War" tour).  

Toasting with fans and Belvedere Vodka, Thicke humbly accepted congratulations on the concert - and his relationship with
Paula Patton
When told they were "the cutest couple in Hollywood," he laughed back, "I don't believe it - but thank you!" 

Magic & Miracles 2011: Well, well, Wells!

Attendees at Ready, Willing & Working's 4th annual Magic & Miracles event weren't expecting literal magic and miracles at the Ritz Wednesday night, but then, they met the miracle Men in Blue... as well as saw slight of hand, Magician Aedryan Methyus' telepathy experiment, and a "performing" politician!

"I am very familiar with the Men in Blue," said Councilmember Tommy Wells, the lone political attendee from the event's honorary Host Committee, speaking of the formerly homeless or incarcerated men who now receive paid work opportunities and supportive services through RWW.  "This program makes me proud of our city."

Guests agreed that Wells should also be proud of his candor... and his stand-up comedy skills.  After his introduction by program host Kojo Nmamdi, Wells, calling the emcee "an old-school throwback," delivered some humble political pie - and some of the best lines of the night.  

"Kojo, you don't even know the word 'snark,' I think... What gives [The Political Hour] extra polish is your contrast with the rough and - kind of not well spoken - Tom Sherwood," he joked.  "I'm proud... that you're keeping our residents informed of the latest things happening in DC government.  Some things are actually good that happen.  But, well... that's not on your show much."

Wells: Ready, willing... and witty.

Morals Across the Map: L'Histoire du Soldat Debuts at Russian Embassy

"Tonight isn't about international trade, or even international economics," suggested H.E. Manuel Sager (Ambassador of Switzerland) as he co-hosted an evening at the Embassy of the Russian Federation with H.E. Sergey Kislyak (Ambassador of Russia) Tuesday night.  "It's about international culture!" 

The political pair presented - in collaboration with the Swiss Global Artistic Foundation - Stravinsky's L'Histoire du Soldat (The Soldier's Tale) to an intimate group in the Embassy's ballroom, preceeded (as well as followed by) a reception featuring some of Russia's best hospitality - vodka and caviar!

"[L'Histoire du Soldat] is seldom heard, and that's unfortunate," shared H.E. Sager. "But it's good for us here tonight!"

The story, based on a Russian folk tale, was written in French by a Swiss writer, C.F. Ramuz, whom Sager claimed - with some degree of sarcasm - was so lauded for his work that he was put on the country's 200 franc note.  In the parable, the soldier makes a trade with the devil and learns just what greed can get you.   
But if the audience expected all to end well, they were in the wrong place.  "That's the difference between Europe and the United States," said a Swiss Embassy official.  "We're not always expecting a happy ending."

Will (Shakespeare) Physically Comes to Washington

Photo by:
Nicole Geldart for STC
It's hard to make a personal appearance when you're centuries old, yet if anyone can do it, it's the timeless Bard.  On this trip, he won't be waxing poetic, however.  He'll just be waxing.

The Shakespeare Theatre Company today announced a partnership with Madame Tussauds to bring a wax figure of William Shakespeare to Washington, D.C. - the first U.S. public appearance of the statue - in celebration of STC's 25th Anniversary Season.

Shakespeare arrived just in time for the opening performances of his "Much Ado About Nothing" and will be on display to "meet and greet" at the Company's Sidney Harman Hall (610 F Street NW) through May 31, 2012.

Baby, You Can Light My Fire: DC's Favorite Fireplaces

Looking to cozy up to your own flame during the crazy colder weather ahead?  We've compiled our best bets for burning love... because it's tougher than you might expect to sneak in that snugglefest at a fireplace in DC - unless you happen to have one at home!

10) The roaring fire at the Jockey Club's Fairfax Lounge is a once.. and future... favorite.  Stroke the embers at this Embassy Row location that blazed in its glory days, and now gets the gas going again!

Courtesy, Tabard Inn

9) Would you believe you can get some cozy with your coffee?  Yep, two local Starbucks boast fires to go along with the caffeine fix.  Visit the locations on Capitol Hill SE and upstairs in Georgetown's M Street venue. 

8) To get some flames with your Asian-fusion - or to add some red hot to its winter white decor - check out the long fireplace in Oya's main dining room. 

7) Not one, but two, historic stone fireplaces add some atmosphere to the delicious seafood dishes at SeaCatch.  Turn up the heat while you enjoy that halibut!

6) The Washington Plaza Hotel and its International Bar fight against falling temperatures in the heart of the city (Thomas Circle) with special winter cocktails and noshes near its wood-burning wonder.

5) One part rustic lodge, the other, ritzy lounge, Cure Bar & Bistro is a perfectly relaxing place to hang up the winter hat and mittens while diving into traditional cured foods and that flaming fire you've been craving. 

4) Eight.  That's right, there are eight fireplaces in the Russia House... so you can rest assured something will be burning - if not the logs, then definitely the vodka as it goes down!

Courtesy, Ritz Carlton

3) Whether it's a gathering for telling stories of the ghosts that haunt this historic residence or just dallying before dinner, the fireplace at Tabard Inn has been a consistent off-the-beaten path favorite.
2) With its library, piano bar, spa and suites, there's almost nothing more you can ask of the Jefferson Hotel - except nestling into your own nook next to the fire in its Plume restaurant.  Most inviting!

1) One of the city's most famous hearths takes center stage in the lounge of the Ritz Carlton in Georgetown. Not only do patrons assemble for some welcome warmth, but the hotel takes advantage of its popularity by offering complimentary s'mores and hot cocoa.

The District Dish: Walish Gooshe, Winner TLC's "Who Are You Wearing?"

Style, sophistication and .... reversible dressing??! Joining the hosts this week is local fashion and design celeb Greg Gaten Taylor!  Fresh from opening his Walish Gooshe boutique, the style savant dishes about his time on the design reality show and how that show helped him - or didn't! - to open a flagship in his hometown.

Video embed: http://youtu.be/J6aepVqwkbo

Coy Koi... Needing to Be Caught

It's an unusual rescue mission.  The Washington Humane Society Law Enforcement team has lately been working hard to save the scaly instead of the scruffy, pets with fins instead of fluff.

Earlier this summer, a local resident dumped hundreds of koi into the pond and pools of Meridian Hill Park.  Those stunning swimmers have been delighting guests of the greenspace for months, but danger looms for the pretty pets.

The Park's pools are set to be drained for winter weather this Wednesday (11/30) and a daunting number of koi remain to be caught and relocated.

Wanna go fishing?  The Humane Society welcomes all cooperative rescue efforts - contact here!
*Photos: Washington Humane Society Law Enforcement

Meet the New Miss DC USA

The winners of Sunday evening's Miss Teen DC USA and Miss DC USA talk with K Street Kate immediately after their crowning at the JW Marriott.  Find out what they think they have to do differently to bring home the national crown.. and why Monique Thompkins, a Redskin Cheerleader and now Miss USA contestant, says she's a "cheap date."

Video embed: http://youtu.be/OB6-RXAe14s

Black Friday Fete Decks the Walls

In the midst of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday were a duo of artistic divas out to sell some overstock. 
Maggie O'Neill and Dominique Fierro invited art appreciatives and the social set out to L2 Lounge Friday night for a gallery get-together of sorts in an effort to showcase their respective artwork, offering them as bargain buys. The pair, which has worked together on such local projects as Lincoln Restaurant and the upcoming Irish Whiskey Public House, not only needed to clean out their studio spaces for 2012 creativity, but also hoped to help their friends with some unique holiday shopping.

As attendees caught up with one another after Thanksgiving feasts, they imagined decking the walls of their own homes with Fierro photographs or O'Neill paintings... and wrapping them up as well. 

"These are all one of a kinds," said Fierro as she mingled through cocktailers to show some canvases.  "Giving something like this is fun and different."  

More Holiday Happenings... to Get in the Spirit

The Ford’s Theatre presents “A Christmas Carol” through December 31, 2011. In this celebrated telling of Dickens’ ghost-infused holiday tale, audiences hear familiar carols, encounter imaginative stage tricks and discover the goodwill, compassion and charity that inspire the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge on a transformative journey. Acclaimed Washington stage actor Edward Gero returns to play Scrooge in the production...

It wouldn't be Christmastime without a performance of The Nutcracker. The Washington Ballet's one-of-a-kind Nutcracker, set in 1882 Georgetown, stars George Washington as the heroic Nutcracker, King George III as the villainous Rat King, Anacostia Indians, frontiersmen, and many other all-American delights. Set to the iconic music of Pytor Ilych Tchaikovsky, the vibrant performance dances across the stage December 1 through 24, 2011 at the historic Warner Theatre

The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner boasts a life size Gingerbread Wonderland Boutique - through Christmas Eve - with a variety of delights, special gift ideas and exciting culinary creations to browse while shopping...

ZooLights...the Zoo's popular holiday program is FREE again this year, and has been expanded with new activities and added dates. (Weekends Nov. 25-27, Dec. 2-4, and Dec. 9-11, and every night beginning Dec. 16 – Jan. 1 (except Dec. 24, 25, 31).)  One of this year's most exciting features happens on December 11th, when Washington Capitals players Marcus Johansson and Mathieu Perreault skate (7 p.m. to 8 p.m.) on the ZooLights iceless skating rink, sponsored by GEICO, with 50 area-children. “Slapshot,” the Capitals mascot, will also be at the Zoo that evening to sign autographs, skate with ZooLights guests, and provide a unique photo opportunity.

Teen Actress Heather Braverman on Films, Fashion and Food Allergies

Teen role model Heather Braverman was one of the featured speakers at the 6th Annual Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN™) Teen Summit held last weekend at the Key Bridge Marriott.  The actress, who plays “Samantha” in the soon to be released film, Jeremy Fink and The Meaning of Life, addressed teens about living with food allergies.. and answered our questions about some of life's other fun and frustrations.

KSK:  How did you find out you had food allergies?
HB: I was 4 years old. I was at a TCBY and I pointed to peanut butter chips to put on my yogurt. I took one bite and immediately got sick...and learned I had life threatening food allergies to peanuts, tree nuts and shellfish.

KSK:  What's the worst thing you are allergic to... and how does it affect you?
HB: When I was younger I couldn't have the birthday cakes at all the parties I attended because they could contain nuts or have cross contamination. I can't eat in bakeries or have baked goods where other products with nuts are made. So at the parties I would have to bring a "safe snack" to have while everyone else enjoyed the birthday cake.

KSK: That is sad! How about now that you're older?
HB: Being a teenager, I face new challenges. I now have started dating...which means kissing. I have to be sure my boyfriend has not eaten nuts or shellfish or I can possibly have a reaction from a kiss. This is...very frustrating!

KSK:  You're an ideal spokesmodel for this cause because you're in the public eye.  So, let's talk about your acting. What has been your favorite role?
HB:  My favorite role so far had to be playing Sabrina Farber in Law and Order SVU. It was very challenging to be in a closed trunk of a car in 90 degree weather covered in fake blood -- if only for a few seconds. The best part was when Christopher Malone saves me and and pops open the trunk and carries me like a baby to get help.  I loved the cast and especially getting my makeup done with all this blood and cuts.

KSK:  And you have a new movie coming out.  Are you a fashionista like the role you play?
HB:  I loved playing Samantha in Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life. Samantha is a true fashionista... and I have to say that Samantha and I are very similar. We both love clothing, accessories and makeup. The movie is great -- except for the fact that the main character loves peanut butter and speaks about it throughout the movie. He even says his sweat smells like peanut butter because he eats so much of it. Well of course when I was around he could not be eating that!
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