Your Priceless Guide to Restaurant Week in Washington, DC

Restaurant week is almost here! The biannual promotion featuring 250 restaurants is a foodies dream. It is also great if you’re like me and balling on a budget. Restaurants offer a three course prefix menu for lunch and brunch for $22 and dinner for $35. Considering a nice dinner out in this DC can be $200, this is a steal. However, if you aren’t careful you could still end up paying $200. No worries, I got you covered.  Here are my tips to get the most out of DC Restaurant Week.

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Grilled New York strip loin with oxtail turnover, braised swiss chard, smoked potato puree I had at Charlie Palmer Steak last year during Restaurant Week. AMAZING!
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Why Belize is the Perfect Priceless Vacation

Happy New Year! Last year, I wrote about the baecation goals PJ and I (really just me) had set for us. Those goals were to take a road trip, fly to another US city, and travel internationally. I’m happy to say we accomplished this goal with our last trip of 2016 to the beautiful Central American country of Belize. Rather than insulating ourselves from the Belizean culture by staying on an island resort we chose to stay on the mainland at a resort off Hopkins Village, a quiet fishing town near the beach. Here are some highlights from our trip:

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5 Items on Bae’s Winter Swipe List

It’s finally winter here in the south and I’ve come to inform those who are booed up that after cuffing season comes swiping season. Have you ever heard the phrase “what’s yours is mine, and what’s mine in mine”? I’m sorry to inform you but this doesn’t just apply to married people and their belongings. and your hoodies aren’t the only thing on Bae’s Winter Swipe List .

Check out the album below to see the top 5 coveted winter items that will now belong to bae this winter

Long sleeve t-shirts/Button-downs - For one, hopefully, you're bigger than bae and this shirt will fit like a baggy sleep shirt. This bagginess will come in handy when the bra has been retired for the night and bae needs something to hide the fact that it's no longer there. You can pick up this shirt and many more items on our list at http://www.thesneakerlounge.com/Extra thick socks - Who needs house shoes when I can I just wear your big comfy socks. Also socks, carpet, and annoying bae = a great time on our end.  Check out these socks from the Alabama sock queen at https://zkano.com/Sweat Pants - your basketball shorts will now only be worn to bed as bae steps out to run errands in your favorite sweats.  Check out this sweatsuit from Splashed by DKG at http://splashedbydkg.tictail.com/Head gear - True, we've been wearing your fitted caps on bad hair days for months but winter brings in even more options. Skullcaps, beanies, and trappers, Oh My!!!!  Here's a sneak peak of the Skool Clothes line beanies coming out in 2017. Check them out on FB or online at http://www.skool-clothes.com/Hoodie/Sweatshirt - This should be expected, I have nothing to explain.  You can find this crew neck at https://www.hypkreationz.com/

 

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8 Takeaways From This Season of Insecure

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Its been two days so I’ve had time to process everything that happened in the Insecure season finale. All I could say after watching was “WOW!” Issa Rae has created a true gem. This show has some of the most relatable characters on TV that I haven’t seen in a long time. Over the course of the season you see these characters handle different relationship situations that many of us experience in our own lives. Here are 8 things I took away from this season of Insecure.

SPOILERS AHEAD!

  1. Fight Through the Relationship Rut

In the first episode we meet Issa and Lawrence who are in a long-term relationship that is going through a bit of a rut. Issa is so bored with Lawrence she is considering breaking up with him. A relationship rut is bound to happen no matter how much you care for the other person. The longer you’re together the more comfortable you get. Instead of looking for a way out, Issa should have worked to get the relationship back on track. Maybe if she did, she wouldn’t have cheated with Daniel. Speaking off cheating…

  1. Be Honest

One of the shows biggest plot twists was Issa succumbing to (fine ass) Daniel and cheating on (also fine) Lawrence. We see Issa feeling guilty and unable to stop thinking about what she did. Instead of telling Lawrence as soon as it happened she let him find out through other means. You have to be honest in a relationship no matter how bad the truth hurts. Something as big cheating needs to come from you and not a third-party.

  1. You Can’t Avoid Temptation

No matter how hard you try you cannot avoid temptation. In the age of the Internet and social media temptation is literally everywhere. Social media is where Daniel and Issa first reconnected. There is nothing wrong with have a quick chat with someone, but make sure you resist falling for the bs. Issa did not resist and ended up crying on the bouch with Molly.

  1. Manage Your Expectations

Molly, Issa’s best friend, is a smart, beautiful, successful attorney but her love life is trash, and its all her own fault. Molly is looking for someone who looks good on paper and is quick to dismiss anyone who doesn’t fit into her perfect picture. This is a common mistake many women (myself included) have made when dating. The issue with looking for a “perfect” partner is that you can miss out on some really amazing people. We saw that when Molly dated Jared, a guy who didn’t attend college and works at Enterprise but treated her well. While it is important to have standards don’t have so many that you disqualify someone who is worth your time.

  1. Keep an Open Mind

Although Molly is smart, she is still ignorant. Her ignorance came out when Jared shared he had a sexual experience with a man, similar to Molly’s girl on girl experience in college. Unable to get past this Molly ends things with Jared. Initially, I sided with Molly until I gave it more thought. You meet a lot of people dating. In 2016 it isn’t crazy to meet a man who had a same-sex experience. Everyone has a past, and if they are willing to share details about that past with you it is important not to judge them.

  1. Do Not Rush the Relationship

I won’t lie, when I first meet a guy I fantasize about our future together. It’s natural to wonder if the person you are casually meeting for coffee could end up being the one you spend your life with. What you don’t do is act like you’re in a relationship with someone after a couple of dates. Molly, more than once, made this mistake. Just let things happen naturally and you will save yourself some embarrassment.

  1. Your Friends Aren’t Always Right

One thing that got on my nerves watching this show was how much Molly let her friends influence who she dates. Molly dumped Jared twice because of what her friends thought of him. Yes, your friends can give some helpful dating advice but they can also project their own ignorance into your situation. So when you meet up with your girls for drinks and share dating stories just remember not all advice is good advice.

  1. Don’t Stay in a Bad Relationship for the Sake of Being In One

Some people’s fear of being alone outweighs their need to be happy. This might be the case for Issa and Lawrence. They may right for each other but after 5 years it’s hard to move on. Starting over is scary, and dating is NOT easy. But wouldn’t you rather be happy looking for someone you’re meant to be with instead of settling?

What did you think of the Insecure season finale? What are your predictions for season 2? Share below in the comments!

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How to Survive Being Single During Cuffing Season

stocksnap_cm9w9uhkkkHalloween is over and the temperature has dropped below 60 degrees, meaning we are at the beginning of “cuffing season.” If you are unfamiliar with cuffing season here is the definition according to Urban Dictionary:

During the Fall and Winter months people who would normally rather be single or promiscuous find themselves along with the rest of the world desiring to be “Cuffed” or tied down by a serious relationship. The cold weather and prolonged indoor activity causes singles to become lonely and desperate to be cuffed.

If you find yourself uncuffed, don’t worry! Here is how you be unapologetically single during cuffing season.

  1. Practice Self Care

If you find yourself feeling more down than usual this time of year, you aren’t alone. Being single during the holiday season is tough! No matter what, you can’t avoid the cheesy holiday movies or the Kay Jeweler commercials with happy couples. Add nosey family members asking about your relationship status in between bites of turkey and you have the perfect mixture for a stressful holiday season. That is why it is important to use this time to focus on your mental health. Get a massage, take a yoga classes, start journaling, anything to keep your spirits up!

2. Join a Gym

Speaking of self-care, cuffing season is the perfect time to work on your fitness. Regular exercise helps improve your mood while getting your body right. Many gyms offer promotions for new members leading up to New Year’s so you can get a head start on your “new year, new me”. So start following some IG fitness gurus, set a goal, and get started on your fitness journey.

3. Solo Travel

Have you ever wanted to travel? This is your time! Many women have embraced taking solo trips around the world as an opportunity to grow and embrace new cultures. You can find some pretty good travel deals this time of year so take advantage of them.

4. Date yourself

Who says you have to be cuffed to have a date night? TREAT YO SELF! Take yourself to the movies, have a steak dinner with dessert, anything you want because it’s all about YOU.

5. Don’t look for a relationship at all

Usually when you aren’t looking for a relationship you end up in one. Or at least you meet some cool people. You may make some connections, you may not, but it’s ok! Dating is a process you need to let happen organically, don’t force it. If you focus too much on looking for a relationship you will end up settling for something you are not ready for. Enjoy being single!

Have any cuffing season survival tips? Share them below in the comments!

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10 things to do in Birmingham this Autumn

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In the south, it’s time to dress for fall in the morning, summer by midday, and fall again at night. It’s finally getting darker earlier which means it’s most definitely almost my least favorite time of year. While I’m not a big fan of the sweater weather, I am a fan of these fun events that you can only do in fall.

1. Attend a haunted house – It’s October and Haunted Houses are now open on every corner, not literally but it feels like it. My local favorite is Sloss Fright Furnace which now has a zombie section. If zombies aren’t your thing, don’t worry. They still run a traditional haunted house and play your favorite horror movies all night long. FYI, Sloss furnaces is rumored to actually be haunted and has been featured on a few of your favorite paranormal tv shows.

2. Find a Fall/Harvest Event – This is the more family friendly October event. There are usually corn mazes, hay rides, pumpkin picking, and carnival rides. You will have to travel 30+ minutes out of the city limits to enjoy this type of event but it’s worth it. 

3. Attend a college football game – In the South, college football is life. I honestly could have made this 3 events on its own because there are three very specific college football games you should attend. #1 You should attend a Homecoming Game. Whether it’s your Alma Mater or just your favorite college team, homecoming is an experience you don’t want to miss. It can turn any sleepy town into the place to be. #2 An SEC game duh, and living in Birmingham means that an SEC game is 45 minutes to 3 hours away. #3 An HBCU Classic is something everyone should experience. It’s Homecoming on steroids but with better food, drinks, tailgating, and events for all ages. Honestly, HBCU Classics are a lifestyle. 

4. Go ice skating – I know this pick surprises you since I live in a city that shuts down for a dusting but hear me out. There is an indoor rink located in Pelham and tickets are usually bogo all year long. But where you should really consider skating is Railroad Park this winter. They are getting their own outdoor skating rink similar to the one at the Rockefeller Center in NY.

5. Attend a Gala or Ball – It’s officially ball season!!!  Support your local non-profit causes and dress up for a night on the town all in one event. It’s also an excuse to wear that bridesmaids dress you loved but thought you’d never wear again.

6. Go to a drive in movie – If you’re looking for a cuter version of netflix and chill, look no further than your local drive in. The colder weather gives you an excuse to cuddle up close together and keep warm. The drive-In in Leeds has double features for $5 a person.

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7. Wacky Tacky Christmas Tour – I was introduced to this hilarious Christmas tour through my job and our partnership with Fresh Air Family. FAF literally looks for the wackiest tackiest Christmas decorations in the city then lead the best adult school bus tour ever. The tour starts at Avondale brewery, you can also bring your own cooler of beverages on the bus. There are a few family friendly tour slots available.

8. Christmas Tree Lighting – DC and NY aren’t the only cities with Tree Lighting ceremonies. You should really check out your local tree lighting ceremony this year. If you don’t live in your state’s capitol but live close by consider driving up for it’s tree lighting. There’s usually more fanfare and local celebrities at the capitol ceremony.

9. Galaxy of Lights – The Huntsville Botanical Gardens has this amazing display of Christmas lights that they do every year. There’s an option to walk their trails and view or or drive. I’m definitely making the drive up this year.

10. Star Gazing – It’s finally getting dark earlier giving you plenty of time to star gaze. If you live in an urban area dense with nighttime light, search for a local planetarium. Most planetariums also host special Christmas viewings.

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Quick and Easy Fall Inspired Date Night Look

Fall Date Night Look

I’m overdue for a makeup post! I recently wore this look to a wedding and received a ton of compliments so I decided to recreate it for anyone looking for a quick and easy fall look for their next date night. I’ve mentioned before how fall is my favorite season, so I tried to incorporate everything I love about the season in this look. So if you would like to know how  you can create this look keep reading!

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5 Rules to Break When Dating

Monday morning my new favorite, mentions in shambles, blogger @StephRoyalty ‘s mentions once again in shambles. The topic, Pre-Dates.

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I never would’ve thought that this would be such a divisive topic. But then again, I should’ve known.  Caleb and I ultimately went on 3 pre-dates before making it official. We had a very unconventional courtship and honestly I think breaking the following 5 dating rules was  the best decisions we ever made.

  1. No Obligation Pre-Date – This is a casual meet up for you and a potential beau. There is no guarantee that he will pay for you and no a guarantee that it will lead to anything. At the most you’ll have an interesting story to tell your friends later. By our 3rd Pre-Date, Caleb asked me to be his girlfriend.
  2. Religion, Sex, and Politics Discussion – Everyone has been warned not to discuss the following topics at dinner with anyone and definitely not a date. Please toss this rule out of everyone’s rule book. These are important details that need to  be discussed ASAP. Discussing Politics is actually how Caleb and I started communicating.
  3. 1st Date Planned and Payed for by the Woman –  I’m a planner by nature with slight control issues. Even when Caleb plans a date, I still handle the logistics and details. It’s one of the reasons why I approached Vanessa about starting this blog.
  4. Discuss your exes – They ultimately change the way you view the opposite sex, relationships, and yourself. By facing our past head on, we were able to grow together and get rid of any hostility we held towards our exes.
  5. Hiding the ugly/family dysfunction – Every argument, breakdown, and embarrassing moment that could happen within the first few months of dating can and will happen. Caleb and I embraced them and rolled with the punches. Going through most of these moments brought us closer together.

What dating rules do you feel should be broken? What rules need updating? What about Pre-Dates? Share your thoughts with us below

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10 Things to do in Washington, DC this Fall

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Fall is my favorite time of year! I love the fashion, fall holidays, and the general feel of the season always makes me happy. Fall is the best time to enjoy the outdoors before winter shuts us inside for three months. Here is what I recommend you do to make the most out of fall in the Washington, DC area.

  1. Celebrate the National Museum of African American History and Culture Opening

If you haven’t heard, the Smithsonian is getting a new museum this fall. In two days the National Museum of African American History and Culture will open to the public as the 19th Smithsonian museum. If you were unable to get timed passes to visit you can still celebrate this historic moment. A free festival will be held on the mall near the museum. It will include music and dance performances, oral history, and a mural wall artist. Every night will end with a free concert featuring Public Enemy, the Roots, and more. You can find more information on the museum and the festival here.

2. Apple picking

Picking apples in fall is so original, right? Ok, I agree this is not unique to DC but it gives you the chance to get out of the city and truly experience the season. You can’t see the leaves change in DC, so take the opportunity to go to an orchard in Virginia or Maryland to take in the fall colors. After you finish getting your fill of fresh cider, you can make some awesome dishes with the apples you picked!

3. Tailgate at a football game

Fall and football are synonymous. While attending the game is fun, I’m a fan of the tailgating. The best part is, you don’t have to do it at an NFL game and pay crazy parking fees. Local colleges and high schools also give the opportunity to tailgate and to see the game for lower cost.

4. King’s Dominion Halloween Haunt

This is another event taking you farther away from the district that is worth the trip. A visit to King’s Dominion is always a good idea any time of the year but their Halloween Haunt is one of the best times to visit. There are discounted admission tickets on Travelzoo for discount admission making this an even better deal.

5.Escape Room DC

Get a group of friends together to get locked in a room to solve a mystery before time runs out! There are two locations in the area, one in Alexandria and another in DC. Each room has a theme and a level of difficulty. If you enjoy playing Clue you’ll enjoy Escape Room. Find out more information and buy tickets here.

6. The Wine and Garlic Festival at Rebec Vineyards

I love wine and I love garlic, so obviously this festival is meant for me. This wine festival will make you drive a little further outside the district but trust me it is worth it. Located in Amherst, Virginia this festival features wine from all over Virginia and specialty dishes whose main ingredient is garlic. There are various stages featuring live music and craft vendors on site. The festival is two days and I highly recommend spending the weekend in the Blue Ridge Mountain region on Virginia. You can find out more information  and buy tickets here.

7. Hennypalooza

Love Hennessey? Then this event is for you! This event is dedicated to everyone’s favorite cognac. The ticket price includes an open bar for all the Hennessey you can drink (responsibly). This event also takes place during Howard Homecoming so it will definitely be a lituation (a lit situation). You can buy your ticket here.

8.Howard Homecoming

Speaking of Howard, their homecoming is a DC institution/tradition. Now, I did not go to Howard (Morgan State, YOU KNOW!) however I have to give props where they are due, their homecoming is LIT. Yardfest, the football game, and all the other events around the city make it a must for the fall.

9. Taste of DC

If you are a fan of the DC food scene Taste of DC where you need to be Columbus Day weekend. This even shuts down Pennsylvania Ave to bring you 60 of DC’s best restaurants, cooking demos, specialty beer and wine, live entertainment, and more. A purchased ticket includes admission to the event, a free drink voucher, and a $10 voucher to use at select DC restaurants. Tickets start at $20 and you can buy them here.

10. People Watch on U Street/Adams Morgan on Halloween

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. While I enjoy dressing up, I’d rather see how creative other people get with their costumes. In DC, U Street and Adams Morgan are two of the best places to watch the parade of costumes. Whenever you get tired of people watching dip into one of the many bars these neighborhoods offer and take part in the Halloween festivities.

What are your favorite things to do during fall in DC or your city? Share below!

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62 Date Ideas for Under $62

bowling-237905_1920 After watching Atlanta last night I was inspired to come up with a list of low cost date ideas. The main character, played by Donald Glover, attempts to take his girlfriend on a date to a fancy restaurant with only $62 and it was a fail. Keeping the number 62 in mind I came up with 62 dates that are less than $62. Some of these are specific to DC but I’m sure you can find the equal in your own city. Share some low-cost/free date ideas of your own in the comments!

  1. Visit a museum (in DC most of them are F-R-E-E)
  2. Pack a picnic
  3. Take a Hike
  4. Bike ride
  5. Matinee movie (bring your own snacks!)
  6. Take a paint and sip class, check out Groupon for deals
  7. Tailgate at a college football game
  8. Apple picking
  9. Hit up a food truck festival
  10. Golfing
  11. Take a workout class together
  12. Go to a library, pick out a book, find a quiet spot to read to each other
  13. Wine tasting
  14. Beer tasting
  15. Walking tour of city/town historic district (many are free)
  16. Coffee date
  17. Netflix and chill (when you’re comfortable with the person)
  18. Happy hour
  19. Grab some ice cream
  20. Cook a meal together
  21. 2 for $20 at Applebees
  22. Bowling
  23. Batting cages
  24. Go carts
  25. Mini golf
  26. Baseball game (Nats tickets are cheap the day of the game)
  27. Bake cookies together
  28. Tour a historic house
  29. Go fishing
  30. Visit the monuments at night
  31. Volunteer at a local food bank, animal shelter, etc.
  32. Take his/her dog for a walk
  33. Find a cheap bottomless mimosa brunch (I recommend Mad Hatter if you’re in DC)
  34. Brunch to expensive? Go to IHOP, Waffle House, or Cracker Barrel and drink at home
  35. When you’re comfortable have an adult sleepover. Build a fort, tell ghost stories, make smores, etc.
  36. Play pool
  37. Live in NY or LA? Go to a live taping of a show (Ellen, SNL, etc.) it’s usually free. 1iota is a great resource for free tickets.
  38. Go to your local high school’s football game
  39. If that same high school is having a school play, go!
  40. Take in a show at your local theater
  41. Stroll through a farmers market
  42. Play Pokémon Go together
  43. See an outdoor movie
  44. Participate in a neighborhood clean up
  45. Do a DIY project together
  46. Check out a local band or group’s show
  47. Play a game of 1 on 1 or H-O-R-S-E
  48. Play chess/checkers
  49. If you have access, spend the day at the pool
  50. Go window shopping
  51. Find a place with heavy foot traffic and people watch
  52. Attend a lecture
  53. Go for a drive
  54. Order some chicken wings and watch football
  55. Attend a showing at a local art gallery
  56. Go on a scavenger hunt
  57. Trivia night at a bar
  58. Go to church
  59. Stop by an open house and pretend your date is an episode of House Hunters
  60. Play video games
  61. It’s homecoming season so many colleges and university’s post their homecoming events, look them up and attend the free ones
  62. Do nothing, talking is free, wow them with your personality!
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