Friday Five

1. Brooklyn Bridge: last weekend my husband and I returned to NYC for a few nights—it was my first time back there since we moved to DC in February! We stayed at the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge, which is so close to the pedestrian entrance to the bridge that I couldn’t NOT walk over it. Amazingly, I only walked the Brooklyn Bridge once in the fifteen years I lived in NYC, so I made it a point to do so again as a visitor. I went to the bridge this past Monday afternoon, and though it was a little chilly and overcast it was still a wonderful, quintessentially New York thing to do, and I enjoyed my stroll very much.
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Friday Five

1. Soul Strolls: I can’t remember where I read about this, but the Congressional Cemetery in Northeast DC holds these spooky AND informational tours over two weekends in October. This kind of thing is right up my alley, so I got VIP tickets for my husband and I. The tickets included a one-hour tour plus three drink tickets to the speakeasy set up in the cemetery’s Public Vault. We went last Friday and the weather happened to be absolutely perfect, with just the teeniest hint of crispness on a rather warm night. A tour guide brought us to several different graves, where costumed actors portraying cemetery residents told us their stories. I especially enjoyed the actor pictured below who embodied Mary Hall, a successful madam who opened her brothel a few blocks from the Capitol building (smart). I also loved the stories of Adelaide Johnson, a sculptor and feminist ahead of her time. Getting to step inside a vault to order cocktails after the tour was pretty awesome, too.

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Friday Five

Happy first day of my favorite season, everyone! This Friday Five is coming to you from St. Louis, where I’m visiting my family for a few days.  😀

1. Savannah Bee Mint Julep Lip Balm: Burts Bee’s classic lip balm is my go-to, but recently I decided to give this brand a try after browsing the selection at Whole Foods. I always feel like it’s a bit of a gamble when trying a different lip balm for the first time, but this one is pretty good. It’s not quite as long lasting as Burt’s Bees, but it still gets the job done.

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Friday Five

1. Atlas Obscura, The Book: I ordered this tome as a gift for my husband and myself. We like weird stuff, and when we travel we enjoy going on ghost tours as well as visiting oddity museums and the like, so I figured this book would be right up our alley. I’ve been aware of the Atlas Obscura website for some time now but hadn’t really looked at it much until last week, after I listened to an older Bizarre States episode that had Dylan Thuras, one of the website’s creators, on as a guest. Also, when I went to the terrarium workshop at The Apollo last week, the book was one of many displayed in the rental office area where the workshop took place. The book suddenly felt like it was calling to me, so I had to order a copy! This book is beautiful, and I can’t wait to dig in and read about “the world’s hidden wonders.”

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Friday Five

1. Sackler Gallery and National Museum of African Art: I’ve made it my mission to visit all of the Smithsonian museums in DC, so this week I hit up these two small art museums. They’re conveniently connected by an underground tunnel, which I didn’t realize until I reached the bottom floor of the Sackler. Along with the currently-closed-for-renovations Freer Gallery, the Sackler is a Smithsonian museum of Asian art; one of the reasons I made it the next stop on my Smithsonian tour is that it too is closing for renovations on July 10th (it’ll re-open this October). The current collections on display are fairly small at both the Sackler and the African Art  Museum, but the art is beautiful and the buildings are also pretty cool. The Inventing Utamaro exhibit at the Sackler had some especially amazing pieces—photos aren’t allowed, so you’ve got to go see it for yourself!

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Friday Five

1. Wonder Woman: my husband and I went to see this movie last weekend and I totally loved it! I can’t say I knew much about the character going into the movie, but I’ve already ordered a couple comics and a book recommended by a friend who is a fan. Gal Gadot was absolute perfection in the role.* The movie was a lot funnier than I expected, which gave it more of a Marvel movie tone (I consider this to be a good thing). That scene—you know the one I’m talking about—the one where Wonder Woman appears on the battlefield in her full costume for the first time…was EPIC. Bad ass. Apparently that scene almost didn’t make it into the movie, and director Patty Jenkins had to fight for it to make the cut. WELL DONE!!

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Friday Five

1. National Postal Museum: last Friday I visited this place, which is actually located pretty close to my apartment. The building was a US Post Office from 1914 to 1986, and this Smithsonian museum contains quite a significant stamp collection along with exhibits detailing the history of the United States Postal Service, the Pony Express, and more. I didn’t expect to be as enthralled with the stamps as I was! I had been a little bit interested in stamps as a kid, but seeing the stamp collection here sort of re-awakened that interest in me. I ended up buying a few sets of stamps plus a mystery bag of 500 global stamps at the gift shop, to start my own collection! Needless to say, I’ll be going back for more.  🙂

One of the most significant printing errors in US stamp history, on display.

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Friday Five

1. Smithsonian Castle: I haven’t done any touristy DC stuff in a couple weeks, so yesterday morning I went to check out the gorgeous Smithsonian Castle for the first time. This was the Smithsonian Institution’s original building and it now serves as the main visitor center. There’s not a ton to see inside, but it’s pretty cool as a first stop if you want to learn a bit of history about the institution. It does contain a couple exhibits with pieces from the other Smithsonian museums, plus a cafe and a shop. Bonus: it’s surrounded by lovely gardens.

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Friday Five

1. Statue of Freedom: on a recent lovely day I took a stroll on over to the U.S. Capitol Building Visitor Center and wandered around inside for a bit. I was very impressed by this full-size plaster model of the bronze statue that sits atop the Capitol dome. Just compare the size of the people in the photo to the size of the model. She’s quite grand, isn’t she? What a beauty.

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Friday Five

1. Yayoi Kusama Infinity Mirrors: when I visited the Hirshhorn Musem to see the Orchids: A Moment exhibit I witnessed the insane lines for walk-up passes to the infinity mirrors exhibit, so I decided to start trying online for timed passes. Each Monday the museum releases free timed passes for the following week; I struck out on my first two Mondays, but the third time was the charm! I managed to snag three passes for last Friday, which coincided with a visit from my mom. So my husband, my mom, and I got to see this exhibit, and guys…it is so cool! There’s a lot of line waiting to get into the rooms—there are six of them and you only get 20-30 seconds inside each—but the museum has plenty of Kusama’s other work on display that you can wander around and view as well. The longest wait to enter a room was about 30 minutes, and the shortest was about five. It’s hard to say what my favorite part of the exhibit was, but I’ll go with the Love Forever peep show, pictured below. I highly recommend checking this exhibit out if you can (it runs through May 14)!

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