Welcome back — I hope you were more ready for December to arrive than I was! If you missed last week’s local gift guide, find it here.
I want this newsletter to be about you, the ladies of DC, so send me your career tips and bad date stories by replying to this email. And don’t forget to subscribe to Girl’s Guide with the button below!
The Girl’s Guide to Christmas in DC
I’m not sure if anyone told you, but the holidays are here! Now, I’m the first to admit that I’m not the best at keeping up with all the fun seasonal activities that pop up in DC. Luckily, you readers came to the rescue — here are your top Christmas activity recommendations! (Sorry, I’m sure your office Christmas party is cool, but it didn’t make the cut.)
Downtown Holiday Market
So many of you ladies said the Downtown Holiday Market near the National Portrait Gallery is hands-down your favorite DC Christmas experience! Described as an “outdoor shopping village,” the market features local vendors selling gifts and treats, live music, and loads of holiday cheer.
Reader Clara Johsens recommends taking the metro because parking is limited and stopping by Cafe Riggs for a drink after you’ve shopped to your heart’s content. The market is open every day until Dec. 23 with the exception of Monday, Dec. 6.
The Sculpture Garden Ice Rink
A wintry activity that can help you burn off some of the calories from those Christmas cookies? Sign me up! The Sculpture Garden Ice Rink never opened in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but now it’s back and better than ever! Tickets start at $10 for adults plus a $5 skate rental fee.
Reader Elle Kalisz offered this advice on staying warm while skating: “Definitely a good idea to bundle up! Also leggings under jeans to stay warm and insulate from falling a little bit! It’s the perfect occasion to bust out the blanket scarf and hat.”
Her pro tip? “Mittens will keep your hands more warm than gloves, especially if you fall, because they keep the heat pooled versus separate and wet!”
If the Sculpture Garden Ice Rink isn’t conveniently located for you, don’t fret! The Washingtonian published this list of best places to skate in the DC area.
Handel’s Messiah at Washington National Cathedral
A great way to remember the reason for the season is Handel’s Messiah at Washington National Cathedral! Tickets start at $25. Performances are Dec. 4 and 5 so there’s not much time to waste!
“The music is phenomenal wherever you sit, and even seats with partial view are 100% worth it,” reader Liv Johnson says. “People usually dress up just a tad, holiday church or business casual attire would be appropriate. Bring a coat in case you have to wait outside or if you get cold during the performance.”
“There is an underground parking garage you can utilize for a flat fee. The National Cathedral website has up to date directions and parking,” Liv says. “If you want to grab a bite after, there are plenty of really good restaurants nearby!”
If those dates don’t work for you, the National Symphony Orchestra is performing selections from Handel’s Messiah along with Bach’s Magnificat Dec. 16 to 19 at the Kennedy Center. Learn more by clicking here.
Interview with Mary Brodeur
What do you love about your neighborhood?
I live in the Courthouse neighborhood of Arlington. I love it because it’s only a few metro stops over from the city, right off Route 50, and within walking distance of Clarendon and some of the best foodie scenes in the DMV.
What does your life look like right now?
I’ve lived in Virginia for a little over a year now, in a household of five other ladies I get the privilege of calling friends. In October, I began working in the Communications Office for the Catholic Diocese of Arlington. I’m enjoying the change of pace and adoption back into an office space from over eighteen months of fully-remote work.
What's your favorite coffee shop in the DC area?
One of my favorite spots has to be the Northside Social in Falls Church. They’ve got everything from macchiatos to margaritas, and you can’t help but want to move into their homey atmosphere. (P.S. This question is like trying to offer a favorite song — there are too many good spots to just name one!)
What's your favorite thing about Christmas season in DC?
I love walking down by The Wharf with hot chocolate in hand or enjoying some mulled wine down by the Potomac. Between the lights overhead and the warmth of the s’mores fire pit, it has got to be one of my favorite ways to soak up December in DC.
What’s your beauty routine like?
My beauty routine is pretty modest. I strive to keep products more all-natural than not, so you can be sure to find ingredients like raw coconut oil, charcoal, and artisan soaps in my bathroom. That being said, my guilty pleasure is wielding a berry shade of Elf lipstick for a night out.
How would you describe your style?
My style is rather like my beauty routine — pretty simple. I love keeping things cute but comfortable, oftentimes prioritizing how clothes or shoes feel on my body, but I’m sold if something both feels and fits seamlessly. For that reason, I look up to individuals like Joanna Gaines who seems to keep things pretty basic, but whose style somehow seems effortless and elegant at the same time.
I’m Dreaming of a White House Christmas
Christmas season in DC doesn’t start until the White House decorations are up! First lady Jill Biden’s decorations are getting mixed reviews, but I recommend you check out the photos for yourself in this article from The Washingtonian and decide for yourself.
I personally think the decorations make the White House look like FAO Schwarz, not the center of the free world, but that’s okay!! It’ll all be gone come Jan. 1, and there’s always next year.
Is the Old Capitol Hill Dress Code Dead?
The Atlantic recently published this dispatch from Washington, reporting that Capitol Hill staffers are wearing sneakers, black jeans and — gasp! — even shorts at work. Many of the female Hill staffers I know have used this post-pandemic period to express themselves sartorially at work rather than stick to grey and black pantsuits. This story is about more than just fashion, though.
“Most of the Hill employees I interviewed for this story requested anonymity because they didn’t want their bosses to be associated with a story about what is widely — and incorrectly — viewed as a frivolous topic. But dress-code tweaks can have real economic and political impacts,” Elaine Godfrey writes in Hill Staffers Are Wearing Sneakers Now. H/t Rikki Miller
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I can’t promise to have all the answers, but I will consult with the experts, a.k.a. the plotlines of my favorite 2000s romcoms.