wth?

Sometimes, listing photos make you scratch your head and say "wth?"  A few of my favorites...
read more

hanoi house

Last night I tried the latest restaurant to hit U St. Corridor: Hanoi House. Located in the former Blackbyrd space, it's a Vietnamese and pho restaurant.  It's the latest spot from the Hilton Brothers and unlike Blackbyrd (the one and only Hilton Brothers venture that's ever had a relaunch), this one will be a roaring success. I immediately loved the decor:  it's dim, richly decorated with dark woods, a black laquered bar and red accents. The music was loud and loungy.  The cocktails were yummy.  I tried the Singapore Sling (redux) and I had to stop myself from inhaling it.  It was the perfect mixture of sweet and tart.   The food was delicious.  I was there with my husband and a friend.  We shared the green papaya salad and the pork and shrimp spring rolls.  Both were good although there didn't seem to be a dressing on the salad.  We were given two dipping sauces but we weren't sure which one went with the salad and which one went with the spring rolls.   I'll chalk that up to being open for three days.  I put both sauces on the salad and it rocked. All 3 of us ordered the Pho Bo or the "Round Eye Special".   I loved the play on words since Pho Bo is the soup that uses beef round eye.  Tee hee.   I really enjoyed my soup.  My husband, who is food critic in the making, had a few things to say about the broth. Specifically that was awfully dark compared to the clear broths that we customarily find in a bowl of pho.  (see picture below of the pho we ate in Paris.)  That doesn't mean it wasn't tasty.  That doesn't mean I won't be going back as often as possible.  Hanoi House is a wonderful addition to the 'hood.     Pho Bo in Paris at Song Heng top photos: POP and Urban Daddy, layout by me.  bottom photo: me via instagram....
read more

latest and greatest

    follow me on...
read more

mini turkey pot pies

My husband is a genius in the kitchen.  I used to cook all the time but his natural talent soon outshone my lackluster results.  His latest creation was the mini turkey pot pies that he whipped up on Sunday using Thanksgiving leftovers.  It was divine!  Chicken can easily be substituted in this recipe and wa-la: you have perfect dinner party fare. Mini Turkey Pot Pies ingredients: 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 1 cup chopped onion 6 ounces button mushrooms, stems trimmed, caps cut in half then thickly sliced crosswise 1 cup thinly sliced peeled carrots (about 2 carrots) 1/2 cup diced leftover cooked vegetables (optional) 1 1/2 cups diced cooked turkey (7 to 8 ounces) 1 to 1 1/4 cups gravy 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme 1/4 cup frozen green peas, thawed 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley plus additional parsley leaves for crust 1 egg white, beaten to blend with 1 teaspoon water (for glaze) 1 9-inch purchased pie crust Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt 1 tablespoon unsalted butter with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and sauté until golden, 7 to 8 minutes. Add sliced mushrooms; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until browned and tender, about 4 minutes. Add sliced carrots; cover and cook until carrots soften slightly, about 2 minutes. Add leftover vegetables, if desired. Add diced turkey, gravy, and chopped fresh thyme. Bring filling mixture to boil; reduce heat to low and simmer to thicken if necessary. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in peas and chopped parsley. Roll out pie crust on a floured surface.  Cut into four rounds the size of the ramekins.  Fill ramekins with filling mixture.  Top with pie crust.  Brush pie crust with egg whites.  Place on a cookie sheet and bake until the crust is golden brown or about 22 minutes. Serve immediately and enjoy! recipe adapted from...
read more

riveting rooms

One of my close friends is pregnant and I'm in the beginning stages of planning her baby shower.  With babies on the brain, I couldn't resist posting this adorable kids room.  Who doesn't want a tree house in their room? I'm also loving the bright colors.   How was your Thanksgiving?  Did you have a ball?  Mine was fantastic.  It was so fun to have my folks in DC. I took them to Fiola (yum), Eastern Market, we went on a lot of walks, visited with my Aunt and Uncle and of course, we had a ton of delicious food.  Back to the gym asap! *photo by Louise Desrosiers for Milk Magazine via sf girl by the...
read more

buying an investment property in paris part 2: an agent’s point of view

While I was researching my "Buying a flat in Paris" post, I discovered a real estate blog called This Paris Life by the Paris Property Group. It was in English, well written and it was the most comprehensive guide I found to investing in Paris real estate.  I was immediately intrigued.   After scrolling through a number of posts, I noticed a tab called "Ask Miranda". It allows you to ask the founder of the group, Miranda Bothe, questions about real estate in Paris. Inspired, I emailed Miranda and inquired if could interview her about working as a real estate agent in Paris.  She kindly agreed and below are the answers. When did you start your business in Paris and why? My husband and I moved to Paris in 2003, and soon after started looking for our own apartment to buy in the city. It took us nearly a year of combing listings, visiting useless properties, and a lot of misleading information and visits with numerous real estate agents and with owners selling their properties directly, before we found the great apartment we were looking for. The process felt all wrong: without an MLS, the market is disorganized and often dishonest, with inconsistent information and incomplete listings. We made dozens of property visits that lasted only minutes, just long enough to confirm that the listing description was way off and the apartment was not at all what we wanted.  The closing process was similarly confusing: unfamiliar laws and procedures, wordy documents in French legalese, building regulations dating back decades that importantly define your rights and obligations as a co-owner… All these overwhelming challenges, and I am a US attorney and we both speak French!  I decided that what the Paris market needed was honest, straightforward buyer’s real estate services, targeted specifically at the international community who otherwise suffer the added challenge of not speaking the language. We bring an MLS approach to real estate buyers in Paris, representing their interests in the market to bring them all the available properties, screening and previsiting properties on their behalf, so that they can see only the ones that match their search criteria the best. For the closing process, we have sourced the best resources for our clients, from legal and financial advisors who ensure that the purchase structure is best suited to their needs, to renovation and decoration experts who realize the buyer’s vision for...
read more

i’m thankful for…

On this thanksgiving day, I'm thankful for a number of things:  my husband, family, and friends.  The fact that all of them are funny and make me laugh daily. My job, even though it drives me absolutely crazy. Although I constantly complain about it, it allows me to take wonderful trips, have a flexible schedule and interact with a lot of interesting people.  I'm also thankful that I'm relatively healthy, I live in a great city and I'm able to do cool stuff on regular basis.  Have an amazing day! *photo by me.  my first thanksgiving table in my house.  i've always gone to WV or NC for the holiday and hosting thanksgiving in DC is a novelty....
read more

‘hood happenings

links top to bottom: Urban Turf, Eater, POP, DC Mud, Borderstan, Globe St. DC photos top to bottom: Urban Turf, Eater, POP, DC Mud, Borderstan,...
read more

riveting rooms

Mention Thanksgiving and I immediately think "dining room".  Initially, the over sized light fixture caught my eye.  Then the wide plank wood floors and the beautiful buffet/shelves.  Magnificent! photo via Bo...
read more

buying an investment property in paris

While we were in Paris, one thought kept circulating:  why aren't we buying an investment property in a foreign country?  I've always wanted to live abroad and one of my biggest dreams is to live six months in the US and six months somewhere else.   The owners of the apartment we rented in Paris are American.  Intrigued, I emailed the owner after our visit and asked if I could interview her about her experience of buying and owning a Paris investment property.   The owners are Bill and Julie Boston.  They currently live in San Jose, California and Paris has a special place in their hearts.  It's where Bill proposed and they love the city.  They bought the apartment as a "possible retirement home and as an excuse to return as often as possible."  Below is my interview.   Why did you decide to buy an investment property in Paris vs. somewhere in the US? We love it there and wanted to visit as often as possible. Since it is the #1 tourist destination in the world and if we were able to rent it when we are not there, it made sense. We would like to spend more and more time there as we grow older and even retire there, if possible. We find it not as costly as people think. When you rent an apt. and don't have to eat as many meals out, it can be more comfortable than a hotel room. You have quality down time which recharges you faster and you can be out seeing Paris. Is the apartment a condo?  If so, are there by-laws you have to follow?  Our apt. is one of 12 in the building. The building is much like here in the USA in that it has a Syndic (same as an HOA) and a board. Our meeting is once a year and we have someone attend the meeting on our behalf if we can't make the trip. How did you find it?  Did you use a real estate agent?I/We did a lot of research on buying property in France before we made our 2nd trip. We intended to just look on this trip but stumbled upon the property we ended up purchasing and we were in a position to make it happen. There are agents that will find property for you that typically charge a fee. Real estate in France...
read more

right about now

I wish I was sitting in a boulangerie and having a coffee and a little bag of chouquettes.  What are chouquettes?  Delightful little balls of dough with big chunks of raw sugar.  Can we all say "yum?". Instead I've been running around doing nonsense.  I'm prepping for Thanksgiving which is very exciting.  For the first time, I'm hosting.  Yep..my parents are coming to DC next week for the big extravaganza and I can't wait.  My brother is spending the holiday with his wife's family so it's the four of us plus my aunt and uncle. I have plans.  Lots and lots of plans.  Entertaining is so fun. I've also been catching up on work.  One deal is threatening to blow up.  I'm in the midst of a home inspection negotiation, prepping for a closing at the end of the month and brain storming with my graphic designer about holiday cards.  Exciting stuff!   Meanwhile, I'm still day dreaming about those chouquettes....
read more

paris: part 2

As I mentioned, Paris was visually captivating.  It is so picturesque.  These are a few of my favorite images that I captured while visiting. row one from left to to right:  street view…love the church peeking between the two buildings, fruit stand on rue monotorgreuil, baby shoes at bonton, street view 2. row two from left to right: houses on the Seine, fancy Metro stop, street view 3, Colette (I wanted everything in there!  Seriously swoon worthy and it all cost 1,000 euro. eek!) row three from left to right: Palace des Voges, cool sign, statues outside Musee d'Orsay, Notre Dame from the river. row four from left to right: the Louvre courtyard from inside the Louvre, my favorite meal was at Verjus Restaurant, Les Puces flea market, sculpture at Le Pompideu museum. row five:  Tuileries garden.   *all photos by...
read more