Fave Bougie Burgers in DC: Duke’s Grocery

the right proper burger // duke's grocery in washington, dc

The first time I heard about this burger, I was guarding Emily’s bike outside of the Safeway on 17th Street, last summer. She had forgotten her lock, and it was one of those unexpectedly warm days of September, after a cold spell. Emily inherited Joanne, a big cruiser bike — and Joanne has some big hips on her frame. Not judging — but we parked her next to a pretty nice 80s-ish road bike… the kind that super attractive hipsters who live in Bloomingdale ride. I was secretly wishing I had Barbie, my own 80s racing bike that was resting in my bedroom just a block away. You know, because when your imagination runs off, it sprints — to having a conversation with a handsome stranger about each other’s bikes, which would obviously lead to a long and happy life together. Or maybe a few weeks. Dating in real life seems so far fetched these days, but stranger things have happened to me.

Sure enough, while Emily was shopping, a super attractive hipster man with a super attractive beard strolled out of Safeway, and struck up a conversation with me about the weather and this wonderful, super attractive day. Somehow, we got on the topic of best burgers in DC — his idea, not mine. I was still starstruck by the fact that he wanted to talk to me.

His plan was to have a leisurely, breezy bike ride to Duke’s Grocery from Bloomingdale (I was right!), but the summer heat had him sweating bullets. Or maybe it was my California cool attitude. Anyway, at the time, I was very loyal to Le Diplomate’s burger… but mystery man stood by the burger at Duke’s Grocery.

So naturally, the next weekend, Shaeda and I had to swing by to see what all the fuss was about. And oh, what a fuss.

I’ll preface this entire story by the fact that we went to Duke’s Grocery on a rainy Saturday morning, and had to go again 24 hours later. No joke. The burger was that good.

the right proper burger // duke's grocery in washington, dc

We started with the Pimm’s Cups, which is my favorite light-hearted cocktail at any hour of the day. Duke’s Grocery is bright and airy inside, with an industrial Edison bulb chandelier. There’s an upstairs, but we managed to snag a couple of arm chairs on the first floor.

The burger is perfect, really. Pictured is the Brunchy burger — the menu changes regularly, but there’s always an epic burger variation on there — a double patty topped with edam cheese, house pickles, charred red onion, mayo, and arugula. We added a fried egg, because… obviously.

the right proper burger // duke's grocery in washington, dc

the right proper burger // duke's grocery in washington, dc

If you make it there on a weekend during brunch hours, be prepared to wait for your table, and to wait for your burger. It’s a tiny kitchen, and they get backed up with orders. But have a few drinks, and know that it’s worth it.

Duke’s Grocery
1513 17th St NW
Washington, DC 20036


This week, in DC

snow in dc, 2015 // sweetsonian

Everything is prettier covered in snow. Right? Even our government building. Even the Hirschhorn Museum’s front yard kale. Here are a few shots I took on Tuesday morning as the District was dusted with a little bit of snow.

snow in dc, 2015 // sweetsonian

snow in dc, 2015 // sweetsonian

snow in dc, 2015 // sweetsonian

snow in dc, 2015 // sweetsonian

snow in dc, 2015 // sweetsonian

snow in dc, 2015 // sweetsonian

snow in dc, 2015 // sweetsonian

Tech & photography nerd // gift guide

tech gifts

These are all things I’d love to get in my stocking (usually I just get wine and candy, but hey, not complaining) — especially if you’re gifting a photographer, fitness lover, or overall smartphone addict.

 This 8 gb Nikon DSLR flash drive is absolutely adorable — I usually swear by these mini external drives because I can just leave them plugged into my Macbook Air, but if I had a drive that looked just like my camera setup, I’d take that everywhere. Are you on Team Canon? Here’s yours — that one even comes with two lenses. Jelly.

The Ban.do gem speaker is everywhere — and it’s by far one of the most attractive bluetooth speakers out there. If only it came in gold! If you’re in the market for something with better quality, my friend Jen has the Mini Jambox — I was beyond impressed by that little thing. It was more powerful than my whole speaker system at home. Here’s another gorgeous glam speaker option for $60, and this Switch column is something that’s been on my purchase list for ages. It even doubles as a speakerphone (perfect for freelance conference calls).

Ages ago, I got a free brick phone battery from an event for work — it changed my life, especially when I had long interview days in Manhattan, where finding an open outlet is a nightmare. Triple C has been making some gorgeous chargers — like the slate card charger above. That even fits in your wallet. I have this solar charger (energy nerds unite) and this walnut piece will charge two devices at once. Time is money, right?

The message-in-a-bottle USB drive. Because, while it’s not the most practical solution, it is, in fact, adorable.

The estylo bamboo, double-pointed stylus has been on my radar for about a year now… but I have yet to pull the trigger, because I haven’t picked up enough lettering work yet. But, it’s just so pretty.

I first checked out the Misfit Shine on my trip to Montana with CapHillStyle — and she was able to tell us how many calories we burned and how many steps we took on our hike… so I ended up getting one. And then we got one for Emily, for her birthday. The cool thing about the shine is that it runs on a watch battery, so there’s no recharging necessary (until you have to replace the battery). Is $100 a little much? No worries, they just came out with a $50 version.

Last but not least, if you’re like me and don’t have an iPhone 6 yet but want better quality photos, a superwide phone lens could help. Another fun smartphone accessory I’d like to try is this smartphone projector (because watching youtube videos on your phone could be so much better, for $28).

all that glitters // gifts 2014


mug // bottle stopper // cord tacos // rose gold letter holder 
prism frame //  metallic trivets // planner 

I’ve always been a fan of pretty metallics, but lately, all I’ve wanted is everything in gold. I pulled together some great options ranging from stocking stuffers to the trivet set (swoon!), basically, things that would work well for a little glam gift swap.

When it comes to jewelry, I love love love these Kate Spade studs, and this Elizabeth and James crossover ring would be the perfect splurge. Topshop for Nordstrom pretty much nails my geometric, graphic-designery obsession with this gold cuff (and who can beat $22), and these Gorjana earrings are pretty much heaven for me. Being the girl who used to be obsessed with the Middle East, this $12 hamsa ring is adorable (and it better be a gift, or else it won’t ward off all the debbie downer vibes from people who wish they had it). Last but not least, this simple little gem would be perfect to wear to a black tie event… White House Correspondents, anyone? Hashtag, DC.

Looking for gold gifts to decorate someone’s home or kitchen? This mug is simple with just a little sass, and these dotted coasters are super cute — and a great way to get your guests to actually use coasters.

Other favorites in my quest for gold: this reversable tote bag, this tiny notebook (because we shouldn’t hand everything over to our smart phones now, should we?) and these perfect strappy heels. I want. It all.

Office Inspiration

I’ve always taken on my stepmom’s affinity for classic modern decor — you know, dark woods, cozy accents, earth tones. But over the years I’ve spent exploring homes on the East Coast (and working in design), I’ve found myself veering towards the minimalist, all-white scandinavian standards of design. Midcentury modern has been everywhere, and part of me was just so excited to move to New York because I’d be working with a clean slate for decorating a new apartment.

Every now and then, it’s fun to think about moving some things in my apartment around. I have a desk that I made by hand (which I absolutely love), and I’m thinking about painting it white to go with my latest obsession. Luckily, it was easy enough to make (plywood + hairpin legs), so worst case, I just go buy a new slab of wood for the desk top. But in the meantime, a girl can dream about her perfect home office.

And this girl spends a lot of time working, so this stuff is necessary.







Currently Coveting


Happy Monday! Hopefully, you’re in a place where the sun decided to come out. It’s full-blown winter here in DC, and the sudden onslaught of rain and wind chill has made me realize how much I really did purge my closet this over the summer (and how much I failed to replenish it). But, I’ve been trying to stick to a budget lately, so that explains a little bit of the lack of fancy recipes. I’ve been focusing more on work than on blogging… and I’ve been trying to prioritize travel a bit more, now that I’m probably going to be in DC for a while.

In the meantime, here are some things I’ve been coveting on the interwebs as of late. Like the image above? It’s a gorgeous watercolor piece by Shane Willmett, an artist I discovered on the Daily Imprint. Check out his stuff — I’m smitten.

Holiday dresses: I sadly could not get my hands on this dress before it sold out (do I dare try to squeeze into a 6?). It would be perfect for Thanksgiving with the family, and New Years in Oslo… yes, I’m going to Oslo for New years and cannot wait. But this sequin dress would be great for some holiday parties, as would this sheer sleeved navy piece.

OMG Shoes: obviously. I got rid of a few pairs of heels that I had completely torn up on the sidewalks years ago, and am slowly but surely building up my shoe collection again — emphasis on slowly. These spotted booties are high on my list, but these blue suede and gold-tipped pumps are higher. And if I still lived in a warm climate, these strappy silver numbers would be a staple in my wardrobe.

Coats and accessories: Nasty Gal has been nailing the affordable coat selection this year. When I first moved to DC, I visited the Lincoln Memorial with a friend in town from New York, and we saw this incredibly chic woman wearing a tailored houndstooth coat, hat, and gorgeous heeled boots. I’m pretty sure this is a replica of her coat (which I’m sure, was five times more expensive than this one). This gorgeous black & leather piece was sold out in my size, but maybe I could live vicariously through you. Also, if I weren’t such a knitting fiend right now, I’d be wearing these faux fur mittens with this head band, all day, every day.

Two Videos

While I haven’t been cooking much, my lovely colleague Matty has been showing me the ropes on being the master of all things video.

Last weekend, we did a little video excursion to The Coffee Bar, an exquisite little spot a few blocks from our apartment. It was one of those perfect fall days — a little breezy, but ideal for sitting in a neighborhood bay window, chatting about potential Halloween costumes and a fascination with horror films (and the difference between scary/gory movies, and the actual genre of horror). It helps to have a film expert with you :)

Anyway, Matty did all of the artistic filming (next on my list of things I’d like her to teach me!) but she helped show me the ropes in Final Cut Pro to put these two videos together.

The second video is a compilation of footage from my quick trip to Los Angeles over Labor Day weekend — we had a great family dinner in my parents’ backyard. I can’t wait to get home to see them again for Thanksgiving!

Anyway, hope you all have a great Halloween weekend :)


instalately // sweetsonian

instalately // sweetsonian

1. Cappuccino for breakfast. Not pictured: the almond croissant that I inhaled before my friend met up with me. Yes, I confessed — but only because she tried to get me to split a chocolate croissant at Dolcezza on 14th Street.

2. Too cool — I finally made it to another Creative Mornings DC event. This time, it was at an amazing space called the Blind Whino, located near the Waterfront metro stop. Imagine a church, covered in graffiti and filled with artwork and awesome people.

3. Abe Lincoln with a plane! I’ve been working on toting my big girl camera around with me more consciously. One night, my friend Matty and I biked down to the mall with our Nikons and worked on some night photos of the monuments. It was beautiful! Hoping to start selling some here.

4. The Instagram community of DC is pretty cool, and they do meet ups every now and then. I managed to make one of them at the Portrait Gallery, here in DC. Here’s a tilted photo from one of the American art exhibits.

5. I’ve been doing a good amount of freelance work for Cava Grill lately, and luckily for me, the work isn’t just about the food. They announced a new location at DCA opening in 2015, so Liz and I headed down to Gravelly Point to take some photos to show off the drastic improvement in airport cuisine.

6. The commute to work, depending on the bus, sometimes leads me past the striking Hirschhorn Museum. Check out its beauty on a cloudless morning.

7. This weekend, I spent a couple of hours at Crafty Bastards, a huuuuge artists’ market hosted at Union Market. I did a photo shoot recently for the incredibly talented (and incredibly lovely) Carolyn of Matine. After shooting her lookbook, I spent about a month pining over this spotted calf hair clutch… and I managed to snare the last one she had. Next up? This scallop clutch will be making its way to my collection in the next few months.

8. It’s knitting season again! Oh, who am I kidding? I knit all summer, because I’m 27 going on 84. Here’s a grocery bag filled with wool from the Dupont farmer’s market. Planning on making a ridiculously chunky circle scarf. I’ll need something to keep my face from freezing off when the bike rides down 15th street take a turn towards frigid.