Saturday, April 19, 2014

Vintage Floral Frocks for Spring

In spring 2010, I chaperoned a high school trip to San Francisco.  Among the highlights of our week there - wandering through Muir Woods, stopping by Ghiradelli Square for ice cream, taking a boat tour of the bay, and being berated by a furious teenager for not including a nighttime visit to the Castro on our itinerary - was an afternoon spent browsing the racks at vintage clothing stores in Berkeley.

I snagged two fabulous spring dresses from indeterminate decades and wore them until they literally fell apart in spring 2012.  You can see them in the photos below; the first is from that same trip and the second is from an outing several months later to the Meare at Thorpeness in Suffolk.

I hadn't thought about those dresses since I threw them away while packing to move back to DC two years ago but last week, while walking Charlie, I saw a friendly floral frock on a mannequin in the window of a vintage clothing store on U Street.  I couldn't go into the shop because of Charlie and the dress would have definitely been too small for me anyway, but it brought back memories of that San Francisco trip and of warm weather adventures in England.  To tide me over until I can find an excuse for a rummage in a DC area second-hand store, I had a little poke around the ModCloth website.  I've never worn one of their dresses, but I know they do vintage styles in fun prints so it seemed like a safe bet - and I was right!  Look at these pretty possibilities:

florals for spring

top row, left to right: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4
bottom row, left to right: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

I actually haven't done much vintage shopping in DC - I usually stick to consignment stores like Secondi, which tend to carry more modern styles and/or recognizable brands.  If you want a true vintage experience, though, I've heard these places are great:

Meeps - 2104 18th St NW
Treasury - 1843 14th St NW
Junction - 1510 U St NW
Buffalo Exchange - 1318 14th St NW
Via Gypset - 2311 Calvert St NW

Any other recommendations, DC-area readers?  I know Tacoma Park has some great vintage stores and I'd guess Old Town Alexandria does, too - do let me know where I should go!

 photo 866de425-8336-4c63-9efd-1c4dd8bf0e62_zpsafe0d56b.jpg

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sunrise Over the Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin

I never intentionally visited the cherry blossoms when I was growing up in DC.  I was always aware of them and appreciated them, of course; my mother worked right near the Capitol, so I was regularly by the Mall, and I had friends in Kenwood, where the neighborhood streets are lined with the same Yoshino variety, but we never planned outings and I never watched the parade.  Believe it or not, last year was the first time I ventured to the Tidal Basin specifically to see the trees and that was just because Charlie woke me up early on the weekend of peak bloom and it seemed like a good way to spend a few hours!

This year, though, having experienced the magic of a morning surrounded by the soft pink petals, I knew I wanted to share peak bloom in the heart of DC with my husband.  (What can I say? I'm a romantic.  Spoiler alert: Charlie isn't, as you might have read yesterday...)  I convinced Jon it was worth a pre-dawn alarm and reserved a ZipCar for 6am on Saturday morning - we wanted to catch the sunrise but also hoped to avoid the worst of the infamous crowds.

We parked on Independence Avenue just after 6:30, the sky already lightening, and Charlie gallivanted beside us as we walked past the Holocaust Museum towards the Washington Monument and on to the Tidal Basin.  Despite the early hour, we did have to navigate other tourists on the street, but I was glad to see the paths along the water were relatively empty.  (Interestingly, at 7am the majority of people we ran into were professional photographers, couples taking their engagement photos, and groups on photography courses!)  We meandered counter-clockwise around the Tidal Basin as the sun rose, passing the MLK and FDR Memorials before arriving at the Jefferson Memorial.  It took an hour and a half to complete our loop; by the time we got back to where we started, the paths were packed.  

I'm especially glad we went early because of Charlie - as the crowds increased, he grew more and more overstimulated and became a bit of a liability.  Much to the amusement of people around us, he went into full hunting dog mode whenever we saw ducks or geese, nearly launching himself into the water at one point!  He also went a little bonkers when we met Fala, Roosevelt's dog, which was hilarious.  Charlie made the outing into an adventure - it was crazy, but I loved all the family activities we enjoyed as a threesome while Jon was here.  I'm so thrilled that this can be an annual thing once Jon's visa is granted!


 photo 866de425-8336-4c63-9efd-1c4dd8bf0e62_zpsafe0d56b.jpg