Thanks so much to Lauren for offering to feature me in her weekly blogger spotlight! You can check out my interview, along with my thoughts on DC cuisine and how I got into blogging on Lauren’s blog, Capital Cooking.

Ruff & Ready Furnishings, courtesy of IntangibleArts

I need furniture for my new apartment – but don’t have a lot of money to spend. I’d been checking out places like Miss Pixies, which is nicely curated but a bit out of my price range. I even looked at Room & Board and laughed at how unaffordable their pricing is, for me at least (they’re opening mid-June by the way!). I didn’t really want to go to Ikea (in my mid-20s aren’t I beyond it?). So I checked out Ruff & Ready Furnishings for the first time a few weeks ago. Sidewalk sales, a bargain basement, and decent quality, affordable furniture. Sure, the wares are stuffed in there, but the guys who work there will get out whatever your buying from under whatever. And yes, the furniture needs some TLC but for the prices you’re paying, it’s worth it.

When I got there to purchase, I was even more impressed with the quality service the people who work there provide. Friendly and nice, but also really accommodating. When it looked like the furniture we bought wouldn’t fit into the Jeep we had, the guys worked with us to make it all fit in so we only had to take one trip. I also hear they have a $25 flat fee for delivery – which is a pretty amazing deal. I’ve been singing the praises of Ruff & Ready for the past few weeks and couldn’t help but give them more props here.

The store moved to 14th street in 1989, has been around since at least 1979 on 18th street. That’s pretty impressive. I’m surprised I hadn’t been in there more – I guess going to stores that are better maintained/easier to navigate is more of a desirable Sunday afternoon activity. But if you’re a bargain hunter or in need of some affordable furniture, this is the place to go.

Spotlight on is an occasional feature (that I’m trying to do more regularly) in which I spotlight local businesses.

Case with loads of beautiful jewelry, Legendary Beast

So, girls and guys, I have lived in the area for 3 years and before last weekend, had never been to Legendary Beast. What is wrong with me? This little jewelry store on the 3rd floor of a converted townhouse on U street (between 15th and 16th streets) is amazing. Great vintage finds, great range of more affordable and more splurge pieces, and a great owner who is so knowledgeable about every era of jewelry. You can easily spend hours browsing through the cases, the strands and strands of necklaces, the trays of rings and the rows of earrings.

Legendary Beast is only open weekends, so go Fridays, Saturdays, or Sundays from 12-5 (unfortunately they seem to be closed this weekend because of health, I hope everything’s OK!). As I left on Sunday, all I could think was, OK I’m becoming a regular here now. If you haven’t been, you really need to go.

D'brows on U street

D'brows on U street

There are a lot of salons catering towards hair styling, hair removal, nails, spa treatments, you name it on U street. We have Bang, Parlour, Epiphany, Saigon Nails, Shangri-La Day Spa, Mint, Threads…etc. Other than getting my hair cut, I don’t really go to salons. I don’t get my nails done, rather not have someone else doing hair removal for me… and always thought spa treatments were a bit out of my price range.

But I like D’brows. Have you been? They do hair removal, skin care, make-up consultations, and the like. They get high rankings on Yelp, are often recommended on Washington Post chats, and for good reason. Everyone there is friendly, pleasant, helpful, and knowledgeable. Their offerings are affordable, and in my experience, they do a great job. The facial I recently had was relaxing, the stylist gave me good tips about skincare, and I left feeling refreshed and renewed.

Plus, as many Yelp reviewers note, their location can’t be beat. At U street just beyond the corner of 12th street, you’re a few storefronts away from Ben’s. Oh, and you’re across the street from the metro.

Full blogger disclosure: D’brows send me an email with a tempting offer to come in for a gratis treatment, and I’ve used that experience with that treatment to help me write this post. I had mixed feelings about accepting the offer because of journalistic integrity I learned back in J-school classes in college, but hey, I’m a neighborhood blogger on a writer’s budget and it wouldn’t be unusual for me to cover their store if they hadn’t offered me something free. But I wanted to let you know, dear readers, of the full situation.

A regular feature in which I spotlight local businesses.

Dark 'n stormy, courtesy of Matt Feifarek, Flickr

Dark 'n' stormy, courtesy of Matt Feifarek, Flickr

My favorite summer drink? No, scratch that, my favorite drink? Dark ‘n’ Stormy. Dark rum, ginger beer, some lime, and it’s heaven. The best rendition I’ve tasted? Over at Creme on U street. Also, their shrimp and grits are divine. I barely ever order anything BUT their shrimp and grits because they are so good it just doesn’t make sense to eat anything else. And have you tried their coconut cake? Amazing, and I don’t even like coconut that much.

I really like the service, the atmosphere, and obviously the food. I find it a great place to get dinner on a weeknight and also to stop in get a drink later at night and be able to hear your companions talk. And their brunch, when you can actually get a seat (yes there is usually a crowd outside before they open) is fabulous as well.

And of course, I like that it’s a locally-owned restaurant by two chefs who are there to cook. It’s one of my go-to places to get dinner in the ‘hood. So stop on by if you haven’t made it there yet.

A regular feature in which I spotlight local businesses.

Etete, courtesy of Pedro Alcocer

Etete, courtesy of Pedro Alcocer

My first taste of Ethiopian food was at Etete. While I might be quite an eater now (and some may say a bit of a foodie) in college, not so much. I don’t know whether it was of necessity or by choice, but a typical dinner usually included pizza, spaghetti in marinara sauce or maybe a chicken stirfry. I’ve broadened my tastes since then, and when I moved to U street in 2007 I knew I needed to try Ethiopian. Reading that Etete had made it to the WaPo’s dining guide, I chose that as my first foray into the cuisine. It’s totally converted me as an Ethiopian food lover.

What I love is the versatility of the cuisine, how it can be perfect for a meat eater or a vegetarian. How filing it is, and how tasty it is, spicy but not overwhelmingly so. It works on a cold night or on a summer day. And it’s difficult to spend more than $30 on a dinner for two, mostly because the food is so filling.

After going to Etete I’ve tried other Ethiopian in my area (which can be known as little Ethiopia). I still like Etete the most. Maybe it’s because it is a bit sleeker than the other Ethiopian restaurants in the area, maybe it’s because I had a really nice first date there, but I also like the food the most.

A regular feature in which I spotlight local businesses.