Christmas Street


This will be your favorite holiday party of the year…


And yes, it is quite like a party…


Free, festive and fun for the whole family…


Where crowds of people come from all over and spill into the streets…


67 years and counting!


Yes DMV, there is a 34th Street.


Located in the Hampden neighborhood of Baltimore, just minutes from the harbor.  Christmas Street lights up every year from November 29th thru January 1st.  You can take in the sights until 11pm on weeknights and midnight on the weekends, but the lights stay on all night both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve!


One of my favorites–the Natty Boh house!  (I have no idea who that woman is, though.)


The entire neighborhood sort of becomes a huge interactive art installation.


In fact, most of the houses allow you to walk right up onto their porch to view and take pics of their massive quirky Christmas collections. One artist in particular (yes, he’s an actual artist) even allows visitors into his home to view more of his work!


This is definitely a “park and walk” deal.  Find a space on the surrounding streets and walk down 34th. Some people do drive through, but you really want to experience this up close.  I think it’s better than driving through scores of people.


Cocoa and refreshments are sold on the corner, with proceeds going straight back into the event. Hampden residents proudly foot the energy bill for this tradition themselves, so if anyone asks you for a donation on their behalf, it’s a scam.  But ya know, ’tis the season for that, too.


There are many more pics that I didn’t get to take.  Like that of the Disney display and the famous hubcap tree…


Again, the harbor is not far away and it’s all lit up and sparkly this time of year, too.

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I don’t care if you’re letting your jingle bells rock or reppin’ hard for that Bah Humbug Squad, who doesn’t like a block party with pretty twinkly lights?

Put this address in your GPS:

720 West 34th Street  Baltimore, Maryland 21211

And go to for more info and updates.


New Music – Kevin Sandbloom

It’s been a long time.
I shouldn’t have left you.
Without a dope beat to step to.*

Let’s remedy that.

But first, this week marks the beginning of the holiday festivities!


Most of you will spend hours, days, or even whole weekends with people you’ve purposely avoided all year long.

Shame on you.

I’m sure you’ve planned ahead.  You’ve got yourself a dietary plan, an exit plan, and secret stashes of liquid happiness tucked in your suitcase.

“It’s for everyone.”


Get help.

But what about the soundtrack for the weekend? What playlist is going to keep you mellow when Aunt Ira gets drunk and starts bringing up 30 year old beefs? And Uncle Moe starts hitting you up for money? Or your passive aggressive mother once again suggests that you just come out of the closet already ‘cuz you haven’t brought home a man since the president was white?

Oh trust me, the last thing you want to add to this dysfunctional fire is hokey, played out, public domain Christmas music. Do you really want Chestnuts Roasting On an Open Fire forever associated with the memory of Lil Mike and RayRay throwing blows over a game of spades?

Do everyone a solid and download something that will CHILL EVERYONE THE HELL OUT.

No this isn’t holiday music.  It’s just straight up good music that’s too hot to listen to with your ear buds in. You’ve got to share this.


Ladies and gentlemen, Kevin Sandbloom.

Take a listen.

Is it soul? Is it jazz? Is it blues? Yes, and so much more.

I saw this man perform live at Bloombars couple of weeks ago and was absolutely blown away. He created richer rhythmic tapestries with a guitar, beatboxing, and a loop machine than most can do with a full band. His CD, Viva Los Angeles, has been on constant replay in my car and I have yet to tire of it.

This is artistry at its best.



Not only is Kevin Sandbloom an engaging performer and soulful vocalist, his music just plain ol’ gives you life.  You simply feel better after listening to it. There’s a pureness and a rawness to his music that’s refreshing. The type of expressive freedom you’re not going to find on the Top 40; it belongs solely to the independent artist.


More of a lyrical poet than your typical songwriter, Kevin Sandbloom can talk about love and sensuality without being vulgar. Yet his lyrics will still hit you in a deep place. The emotion he pours into “Woman” will make you feel like you’re the one lamenting a breakup. His rendition of Prince’s “Beautiful Ones” is a bold remake to attempt (you just don’t mess with the Artist!) but he pulls it off spectacularly.   “All Night Long” is the type of tune you’d play at that backyard party you dream to be cool enough to throw one day. It’s a lively love song with a hook that’ll get everyone dancing. Viva Los Angeles also tosses a bluesy cover into the mix, with lyrics so full of soul you’ll throw your shoe at the speaker and yell out “WELL!” like a grandmother in a southern church.

Each of his tracks flows seamlessly from one to the other and will keep you laid back, kickin’, enjoyin’ the ride no matter the antics of you whacky relatives.

Mere words can’t do this man’s work justice. Do yourself a favor and get hip. Download his music. Any of it–he has 9 albums! Put his latest, Torch Ginger in your repertoire, some bourbon in your cup and be the hero of your holiday get together!

This fawning fangirl post has not been sponsored in any way.  I just really like good music.  Kevin Sandbloom has no idea I even exist and may never even see this post. Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

*10 points if you got this throwback. 20 points if you threw it back farther than Timbaland and landed on Eric B and Rakim.

What To Do This Weekend (and Veterans Day)

The weekend starts on Thursday, right?

‘Cuz check this out–

Thursday, November 6th at 7pm


Source: YouTube – Todd Marcus Jazz Orchestra Performance -Still Image

Art Soiree’s Living Room Live Series at the Ritz Carlton in Georgetown features a performance by up and coming jazz artist Irene Jalenti. This event is FREE but you must RSVP.

How’s THAT for a classy after work treat?

Doors open at 7pm. Performance at 8.

Sure, you could stay at home, pour yourself a glug of Trader Joe’s finest and listen to jazz on iHeartRadio, but you could ALSO be awesome for a change.

Put on some pants, and go hear some live music. Fireside at the Ritz.

Friday, November 7th thru Sunday, November 16th


Source: and Brightest Young Things DC

FotoWeek DC 2014

It’s back! The annual week long affair made up of a hundred different events all around town.

Photography exhibits, competitions, short films, lectures, etc.

The kickoff party is Friday at 7pm at the Spanish Ambassadors’ Former Residence on 16th St NW. This site will host the opening party, and also act as the main hub for a lot FotoWeek’s special functions.

You can’t beat the $5 donation for entry to the galleries and exhibits. Please note: tickets for the opening night parties cost a bit more. Check out Eventbrite for details.

For all of you people who say photography isn’t art because all you’re doing is pushing a button (yes, I’ve heard this blasphemy!) maybe drop in on one of the exhibits, learn a thing or two, then shut your pie hole.

I kid.  I kid.

Click here to stay updated 24/7 on all the happenings. You can volunteer, and even register to show your own work!

Saturday, November 8th 12pm to 4pm

Craft Beer


DC Beer Festival

Nope, October did not mark the end of the beer festival.

(Although, mercifully, the end of the lederhosen)

If you missed out, head on down to Nationals Park this Saturday, with $40 in your pocket.

Hey, they can’t all be free, but the fee is well worth it for unlimited pours of craft beer, seasonal ales, live music, and plenty of games enjoyed on the grounds of DC’s beautiful baseball stadium.

Plus, there will be tons of food trucks onsite to help you soak up all that hoppy goodness.

Other boozy events this weekend include:

Rock the Core at Dock 5 at Union Market

Rock the Core, as in apple core ‘cuz this one is all about the hard cider (as well as beer!) $40 for this fest, too.

There are 3 drankin’ sessions, and I have to say the games alone look pretty interesting. I’m curious about this “Giant Jenga”…

Of course, there will be beer pong and food trucks, too.

Mad Fox Cask Ale Festival in Falls Church

Free to get in. $20 to imbibe. Pig roast, moon bounce. Check it out, VA!

That should take you through most of the weekend, but let me give you one more free event so you can’t say I don’t love you…

Hmmm, lemme see…

What’s happening on Veterans Day this coming Tuesday?


Bruce Springsteen!


Jennifer Hudson!

Dave Grohl!

Rihanna! (Is it Rihanna or Rhianna? whatever!)




exclamation points!!!

Ya know, if you happen to be into cool, free shiz.

If not, no biggie.

Just stay at home on your day off.

And watch HGTV.


See you around town!




Dirty Sneaks Vol 3 – Mt. Vernon Trail @ Daingerfield Island


Saturdays just don’t feel right to me unless it begins with a nature walk.

I like to get up and on the road before the rest of the world wakes up.

No radio. Just me and my thoughts. And coffee.  Always coffee.

I love a good woodsy adventure, but being near water is always tops for me.


I could never live in one of those dry square states. I need rivers, lakes, AND the ocean, thank you very much.


Mt. Vernon Trail has the river on one side and the woods on the other. Perfect combination.


My favorite stretch of the trail runs through Daingerfield Island. Which by the way is blatant false advertising. Totally not an island.


More like a park, I guess? I don’t know. You can sail, kayak, windsurf on the water or play football and soccer in the fields. I go for the absolutely scenic, sun dappled paths.


Love a good “dapple”, but it’s hard to capture without the right camera.


Joggers ruining my shot.


The greenery is even better in person.

There’s also a restaurant onsite, Indigo Landing, which has a large deck, an indoor/outdoor bar and a panoramic view. I’ve never been, so I’m not sure whether the vibe is tolerant of yoga pants and sneakers, but c’mon it’s gotta be.  They know people come through there to bike and stuff.


Any day that starts with a view like this is gonna be fantastic. How about you break up the routine this Saturday? Get up early! Get out! Bike! Run! Walk! Go get lost in nature before your Saturday to do list talks you out of doing something special for yourself.

“But I have kids! I don’t have time to get up and get out by myself!”

Bring your kids! Nature doesn’t card.

Free and easy to get to. Just hop on George Washington Memorial Parkway.  The sign for Daingerfield Island is just south of the exits for the airport. Minutes away from DC and Arlington. Click here for better directions.

The weather is starting to change so we gotta sneak in a few more outdoor adventures before it’s time to hibernate!


Out the Broke Box – Skyscapes

It’s the middle of the work week.

Payday is two days too far.

Work sucks.

Your fridge is filled with leftovers,

and it’s the same old crap on TV.

Oh, the ennui of our pedestrian lives!

(Also known as First World Problems.)

We wait for that 5 o’clock bell to ring and leap from our desks with the gusto of a modern day Fred Flintsone. Keys in hand, Smarttrip cards at the ready, we prepare to fight our way through traffic and a sea of humans jockeying for that aisle seat on the Green Line.

For what? What exactly are we rushing home for?

To lounge on our Swedish sectionals and await the weekend to free us from this oppressive cycle of Work-Eat-Sleep-Work-Eat-Sleep?

The good Lord gives us 365 days a year, if we’re lucky. Are we only to enjoy 104 of them??

(I’ll wait for the nerds to do the math.  It’s accurate. Let’s move on.)

Nay I say!

F5 yo’ life! Hit refresh and recharge your batteries by taking a little time for you.

Screw rushing home in traffic.  Screw smelling the armpits of the passenger next to you on the train.

And you know what? Screw happy hour. You’re broke.  We discussed that. You don’t have money for happy hour.

Why not do something different?  Why not…perhaps….go take in a view?

You don’t even need money. All you need are eyeballs…


This is the view from the top of the Kennedy Center.


Did you know you can go hang out on the rooftop even if you’re not seeing a show? Yeah, the Kennedy Center is real cool.  Like White House Security. Ziiing!


Sweet skyline and monumental views…


How about a little rooftop picnic by sunset?


The space up top is vast.  You won’t get in anyone’s way.


Plus there’s a rooftop bar and cafe.  But it’s not payday yet, remember?  So pack your own hummus.


Stay until the sun begins to set…


And long after….


There. You showed this workweek who’s boss and it ain’t cost ya nuthin’. I hear the Newseum balcony is another spot with a great panoramic view.  Maybe I’ll try that next.

Where are some of your favorite places to watch the sunset in the DMV?



Labor Day Weekend


Well, I guess you win.

All of you pumpkin lovin’, latte sippin, sweater snugglin’, autumn lovers.

Summer’s over. Are you happy??

You killed it with all of your wishing for cooler weather. WHY? WHY?

Why can’t it be beaches forever? And tank tops and sunnies? Why can’t all footwear be replaced by flip flops?


Ok, fine. It doesn’t HAVE to be summer FOREVER. But since when does AUGUST signal thoughts of pumpkin flavored beverages and fall decorations??

Can I get a Dog Day up in here?

Can we LIVE in the moment, people?


But alas, Labor Day is the symbolic “last weekend” of the summer, so here are some things to do around town for those of us who have eschewed out of town travel and decided to staycay it up.


Jazz in the Garden – Tonight is the last night for the weekly summer series at the National Sculpture Garden.  They’re playing Zydeco, Cajun and Louisiana Funk. Whatever, man.  I’m down.  Will I see you there?

jazz in park

Source: JulesDTD

National Sculpture Garden  9th and Constitution Ave  5pm – 8:30pm


Have you been to that BIG MAZE at the National Building Museum? Yeah I haven’t either, but lookit:

dc maze

Photo credit R. Lopez (

Pretty cool! Tonight is the last night of extended summer hours. It costs to walk the maze but you can join the Summer Block Party with Hill Country’s Backyard BBQ for free on the west lawn.

National Building Museum – The BIG Maze , 401 F ST NW Washington, DC .  Extended summer hours are from 5pm to 9pm. Follow link for admission rates, etc


Hey, you Marylanders:  Greenbelt’s Labor Day Festival starts tonight at 6pm and runs through Monday. Also, it’s FREE!

So there, if you’re a PG County resident and you don’t want to travel too far check this out.  Carnival rides, games, live entertainment, food, art…it’s a festival.  You know what it’s about.



Greenbelt Labor Day Festival Roosevelt Center 101 Centerway Greenbelt, MD  Friday Aug 29th 6pm thru Monday Sep 1st 6pm


If you haven’t made it to the Maryland State Fair, this is your last weekend to go! Not free, but very cheap, plus kids 5 and under are FREE.

You know what to expect at a state fair: rides, games, food, art, karaoke, live entertainment, liveSTOCK. One of the daily events listed is “Birthing Center”.  Like for cattle.  Sooo go and traumatize your kids with THAT.

md state fair


Maryland State Fair  200 York Road, Lutherville-Timonium, MD 21093



DC Blues Festival  The festival is free from 12 to 7.  The after party’s gonna cost ya though, but not much.  So if the names Shirletta Settles and Shakura S’Aida mean anything to you, go on and get your blues on tomorrow at the Carter Barron Ampitheater Rock Creek Park. 3545 Williamsburg Lane, NW Washington, DC


Epicurience Virginia,  This is for you foodie dudies with a little more cash to spare, and I mean more than a little. This food and wine festival is an annual, epic, epicurean experience in Leesburg, VA.


Over 40 food and wine vendors, so lots of vino and bites for tasting and sampling. There are wine classes and tasting competitions, as well as chef demonstrations.  If the the words heirloom, farm to table, Saveur magazine, and Chef Scott Drewno mean anything to you, you’re a foodie. Go treat yourself.  You didn’t do anything all summer–get classy wasted, then Uber home.

Epicurience Virginia 2014 at Morven Park, Leesburg, Virginia.  Tonight’s opening tasting is sold out but the event runs through Labor Day.


Let’s get artsy, shall we?

Kennedy Center’s Page to Stage Festival is an annual event that kicks off the Kennedy Center’s upcoming play season. Sit in on open rehearsals and readings of new plays by local theater companies as well as national playwrights.  FREE!

Kennedy Center Saturday 12 noon–10 p.m Sunday 6–7 p.m. and Monday 11 a.m.–10 p.m.


Let’s get a little nerdy, shall we?

Maryland Renaissance Festival

Roche Renn Fest_1


Travelest thou back in time to a merry olde day wherein which ye…wanderest the…aisles of…

No.  Sorry. I can’t.

RennFest–dress up in Olde English costumes (or not).  Eat big meats on a stick (or less scary food). Take in a jousting. Listen to ancient music. And uh, I’m sure you can make candles and pottery and throw your annoying little cousin in the stocks.  Look, either this is your thang or it’s not.  People seem to like these fests, sooo..

Maryland Rennaissance Festival 1821 Crownsville Road



Last but not least, why not begin the weekend turndown with a little class and elegance?

Labor Day Concert at the U.S. Capitol  A little Pops in the Park on the west lawn of the Capitol. The concert is free and starts at 8pm or come earlier for the rehearsal from 3 to 6.  You can bring food but no alcohol or glass bottles.

Hope you guys have a wonderful holiday weekend!  Goodbye, Summer.  You were gone too soon.


More Virginia Love – Occoquan


I have become everything I have ever mocked.

Thanks to this blog, I have turned into an incessant shutterbug.

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Whenever I go ANYWHERE I have to take a jillion pics before finally putting away my camera, only to whip it out again later and annoy the people around me.


Trust me, I don’t enjoy it. But I do what I must, to bring my little tales of unique excursions to the masses.

I do it for you, beloved readers.

All zero of you.

So after our July 4th kayaking trip, our lil group decided to hang out on Mill Street in Historic Occoquan.

I wholeheartedly recommend finding a quaint, charming, little city just outside of metro area, to do some walking and window shopping.


Occoquan is far enough south to feel like you’ve gotten away but close enough to make it a spontaneous day trip.

We found the historic district to be particularly artsy.  The storefronts and signage alone were so cute and unique!


Coooool window box!   Mill Street Studio  — not only an art studio, but also a gallery, where apparently they have:


This little town has no shortage of galleries and boutiques.  Who knew they were so hip?


vintage boutiques,


artist owned co-op studios,


.international clothing and handmade accessories.

How ADORABLE is this Secret Garden Cafe?  Walk by fast and you’ll miss it!


It’s just raining sunshine in this little hidden patio.  Brunch anyone?

We had the best of luck that day, as we stumbled upon a free wine and beer tasting at Tastefully Yours!

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If memory serves me correctly, they did not skimp on the vino. ;-)

We had a knowledgeable, engaging and hilarious sommelier. She had a ton of stories and she basically told us that we Yanks don’t know jack about how to properly store and serve wine.  Touché.  We left so much the wiser.

Not only do they have free wine tastings but they had artisanal olive oil tastings downstairs.

And gelato.

And fancy pants cheese.

And outdoor seating.

Just GO.

We ended our trip with an outdoor lunch overlooking the river at Madigan’s.

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“Act like you’ve been somewhere.” – said Bday girl’s husband as I snapped this pic.

HA! Ok, ok, I’ll put the dang camera down.


SO!  Any little nearby/faraway feeling towns that I should check out? Let me know in the comments or everywhere @outtheboxdmv . You just may plan my next mini getaway!