The Girl's Guide to DC
Issue 15: Pete Buttigieg Is My Roommate
Welcome back! If you missed my last issue, find it here.
I want this newsletter to be about you, the ladies of DC, so send me your healthy lunch recipes, bad date rants, and office style tips by replying to this email.
What They Don’t Tell You
In case you missed it last week, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg faced mockery when his husband Chasten complained about the rent at their Eastern Market building — where one-bedroom apartments start at $4,500 a month.
Don’t be fooled by this complaint — DC prices aren’t THAT high.
However, Chasten used their high rent to point out the unaffordability of the city, and there’s a nugget of truth there. Signing your first lease can be intimidating, and, in DC especially, it’s important to get the maximum value for your dollar.
Here are a few apartment hunting tips for you, whether you’re a new arrival or you’ve been in DC for years and are looking for something new.
Phone a friend.
Growing up, I was always told never to talk about politics or money, but in DC we break that rule every single day.
I’ve compared rents with friends in my area before and it’s a helpful way to find out if you’re getting the best deal. Rent prices can vary wildly in the same area, and some leasing offices offer crazy discounts to get you in the door.
If you’re preparing for a move, use your network. Talk to friends to find out if they’re happy with their landlord, and check for discounts at apartment complexes where you already know tenants — you both could benefit from a referral discount. Besides, it’s always nice to know whether the online reviews for a place reflect real life.
Be realistic about your lifestyle.
Being in the middle of all the action comes at a price. Capitol Hill and Old Town Alexandria are fun spots, but they’re a bit more expensive than surrounding areas that may have less Metro access or walkability.
If you’re up in the air about what neighborhood to pick next, be realistic about your lifestyle. Do you work downtown? Remotely? Do you have a car? Do you hate riding the Metro? Do you prefer going out or staying in?
It’s fun to imagine that we’ll go out every night in the city, but if you’re like me, that sounds just plain exhausting. Be realistic about where you’ll spend the most time, whether that’s at work, with friends, or with a significant other, and make your decision accordingly.
Trust your gut.
This tip is especially for women. Apartment hunting is now a 99% online process, and you may end up communicating with total strangers on the Internet (didn’t our parents warn us about this??).
If you feel like someone may be using fake photos, withholding information, or just generally being shady, tell them you’re no longer interested. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and you definitely do not have to feel bad for appearing “rude” when you’re protecting yourself.
Housing Horror Story
“My roommate sublet her room in our 2 bed, 1 bath apartment to a random dude she found on Craigslist while I was in Iraq for only a few weeks. My door didn’t even have a lock on it, and she was gone when I got back the next week! She definitely knew she wanted to move out early before she left, she just didn’t want to tell me to my face.”
- Emily Domenech
Here’s my apartment hunting horror story (a whole thread, actually):
Interview with Mica Soellner
Meet Mica Soellner, Capitol Hill reporter for the Washington Times! Connect with her on Twitter here.
How did you end up in DC?
I moved to DC to further my career in journalism. I had interned for PolitiFact in DC in 2018, and had been wanting to eventually come back and work in the city, so I made it happen in 2020 mid-pandemic!
What’s your advice for anyone wanting to break into political journalism?
I would say networking is key. Reach out to people whose work you admire and ask for coffee. Being a social butterfly in DC is important because you never know who you're going to meet. Go to everything you can whether that's outside events, talks, press conferences. DC gives you the unique opportunity to be up close and personal with important people sometimes without having to go through all the red tape.
Lastly, be persistent and be a self-starter. Journalism is highly competitive, but if you're passionate about the job and willing to go the extra mile, keep going and you'll eventually land on your feet.
What does your life look like right now?
I worked from home and was pretty pandemic-cautious for about a year and a half before finally getting out to really venture into the city. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be since the summer still offered outdoor seating at a lot of places, and quarantine allowed me and my friends to get creative. We'd often just try and do home-cooked dinners or something that allowed us to see each other in small groups without having to go out too much.
What are your favorite DC eateries?
I love Ambar and Barcelona Wine Bar, both great options for small plates! I love being able to share plates with friends, so DC is great for that kind of dining experience. I also love The Salt Line in Navy Yard for seafood, though it's definitely a treat yourself kind of place. I went there for the first time with my friend who visited from Missouri. (I recommend taking your friends from landlocked states to try some fresh, East Coast seafood!)
Why do you love your neighborhood?
I live in Clarendon. I like it because it's away from the hustle and bustle of DC without being super far away. If I need to get away from the city, I can just venture out in my neighborhood, as well as Metro or bike easily to the Georgetown area.
How would you describe your style?
I love to accessorize and match my outfits by color if I can, though most of the time I try to be relatively comfortable as well as stylish. I'm still a skinny jeans kind of girl (Sorry, Gen Z!) and I like looser tops. Love neutral tones and a lot of black and gray. I'm not too keen on things that are too feminine, so I try to avoid anything ruffly or pink.
Know a lady I should interview next? Email me at email@example.com!
“Love Is Blind” Returns
Remember the Netflix dating show that got us all through the beginning of quarantine? Well, it’s back, and it stinks.
Netflix dropped a three-episode “Where Are They Now?” special of “Love Is Blind,” and I watched it so you don’t have to.
In a nutshell, Lauren and Cameron are still perfect, Amber and Barnett are still crazy, and Damian and Giannina are still dysfunctional. Damian finally blew up their relationship by bringing another woman (Francesca Farago of “Too Hot to Handle,” picking up her Netflix check) to the “Love Is Blind” two-year anniversary party.
Read Giannina’s answer to E! News’ questions by clicking here. My main question, however, is if she and Damian were faking that they were still together for the cameras in the first place?
DC Mayor Caught Maskless
As I’m sure all of you know, masks are back in DC. But apparently, they’re optional if you’re DC Mayor Muriel Bowser. The Washington Examiner caught her at an indoor wedding reception, not wearing a mask, surrounding by maskless guests — and now The Washington Post is calling her out for making excuses.
Here are more links to what I’m reading and listening to these days:
Oak-mite bites: Cicadas may have left D.C. region an itchy gift: Just when you thought it was safe to go outside… If you have unusual bug bites, this may be why. H/t Mary Margaret Olohan.
The Best Beach Hats That Don’t Look Over The Top: It’s not too late to take part in #hatgirlsummer.
Congrats & More
Congrats to REBEKAH and KENT HOSHIKO, who announced they are expecting a little one in December!
Have a question you want me to answer in the newsletter? Click this link to send your question anonymously!
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.
Got feedback, or just need to vent about a bad date? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.