Archive | June, 2012

Outdoor Movies in DC

28 Jun

There are A LOT of outdoor movie options in and around DC during the summer.  Here is a list of a few of the options:




Smithsonian Folklife Festival

25 Jun

To me, the week leading up to the Fourth of July in DC = the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.  The Smithsonian holds this festival annually on the National Mall and usually includes three to four topics.  Past festivals have included topics like Colombia, Peace Corps, NASA, and “Roots of Virginia Culture.”  This year the festival will be held from June 27-July 1 and July 4-8, 2012.  The topics of this year’s festival are Campus and Community, Citified, and Creativity and Crisis.  The hours are from 11am to 5:30pm.  There will be performances (concerts and dancing), food, demonstrations, and more.  If you happen to be in DC, visit this festival!

Assateague Island, MD

22 Jun

A few weeks ago Matt and I camped with some friends at Assateague (MD).  It is an island near Ocean City that is a state park on the Maryland side and a national wildlife refuge on the Virginia part.  However, the island is most well known for the wild ponies.

You are able to camp on the Maryland side and there are great facilities and campgrounds that include a picnic table and fire pit.  For anyone that likes to camp, I highly recommend this adventure. Click here for information on the campgrounds and to find out how to book a site.

The activities on the island could include swimming, reading on the beach, walking, running, fishing, and much more.  It is a perfect place for people that just love to lay on a nice beach and not have thousands of people, noise, and boardwalks.

19 Jun

Check out Malia’s blog at!

Capitol Skyline Hotel Pool

15 Jun

Capitol Skyline Hotel’s pool is a great hang out spot on Saturdays and Sundays.  Pool parties are thrown by various organizations.  It is a little bit of Vegas in DC.  Last Saturday there was an aerialist, food trucks, DJs, pool toys, and lots of people, perfect for people watching.  In the morning, you will find some children there, but as the afternoon gets on the pool is filled with the 20s-30s crowd.   Click here for information about the Sunday parties.

See you at the pool!


12 Jun

I lived in Brazil for a year from 2003-2004 and I traveled back to Brazil for five weeks in 2007.  I have seen a lot of the country, but I still have a lot more to see.  Here are my recommendations of the MUST SEE spots in Brazil:

Iguacu Falls:  Cute animals.  Beautiful waterfalls.  Easy to get to Paraguay for a day of shopping.

Sao Paulo:  Huge city.  Tons to do.  Recommend exploring for at least a day!

Santos, Sao Paulo:  Beautiful beach town with few non-Brazilian tourists (since most everyone goes up to Rio).  Highly recommend.

Northeast Brazil:  If you love beaches and culture then you must head to the northeast of Brazil.  I especially love the state of Bahia.  Amazing culture, beaches, and food.  MUST MUST MUST!

Rio:  MUST SEE.  Obviously go to Sugar Loaf Mountain.  Hang out on the beaches.  Just explore!  Amazing city!

Florianopolis, Santa Catarina:  Another amazing, beautiful city that does not get a lot of non-Brazilian tourists.  There is an island and main land and so much to do including eating seafood, sand boarding, and tons more.

Curitiba, Parana:  I love this city.  Not a huge tourist destination, but nice to visit if you have time.  Can get really cold in winter.

Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais:   Must see if you like history and/or historical towns!  Lots of culture here!

Enjoy Brazil!

9 Jun

Great post by Nenegogogirl! Check out the blog at!

Around the World X2

You meet all sorts of people while traveling.  All are individuals, but after a while you start to see patterns emerge and people fall into certain categories especially when traveling in groups.

Here are a few of the types of roles travelers play in group travel or (ahem) detected in my own behavior and a few tips on how to engage them. 

The Groupie:  This person has excessive admiration for the leader or the driver of the truck/trip so much that they tend to crowd their space by leaning into them too much, especially in the wee hours of the morning… in hopes of hooking up.  Been there, done that.  My advice: Back off a bit, let he or she come to you. If that doesn’t work, try becoming friends…usually those relationships last longer.

The Loner: These are the people who despite the size of the…

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Shortcut to Europe: European Union Embassies’ Open House

5 Jun

A month ago was Passport DC’s “Shortcut to Europe: European Union Embassies’ Open House.”  As the name implies, the EU countries open their embassies to visitors.  The following is my review of the embassies I visited:

BELGIUM:  Free beer and chocolates – what could be better than that?  Must visit!

CROATIA:  Kind of just a walk-in, walk-out embassy.  We took a cool picture though.

DENMARK:  Tour of ambassador’s residence.  Free cheese and bread.  Ride bikes.  Play with Legos.  A lot fewer tourists due to location so I felt less congested.

FINLAND:  Very eco-friendly building.  The year I went (2010) there was a lot of free food and drinks.  The food was seafood-centric.  The ambassador was there, which is nice since it seems that most of the time the ambassadors do not show up to the event.

HUNGARY:  Beautiful dogs.  Food you can pay for.  Girls dressed in traditional outfits.

ITALY:  Food looked good but you pay for it.  A lot of booths.

NETHERLANDS:  Beautiful ambassador’s residence.  Yummy free cookies.

PORTUGAL:  This was probably my favorite embassy this year.  Beautiful video about the country.  Tour of embassy with tour guide.  Free Portuguese dessert and wine.

SWEDEN:  This is the most beautiful embassy.  It is located on Georgetown’s waterfront.  It is a very bright and open building with windows for walls.  And, the rooftop is amazing – views of the Potomac, Georgetown, Kennedy Center, and Watergate.  They gave away free bags here.  Cookies for sale.

UNITED KINGDOM:  A must visit embassy.  You can tour the property.  When I went in 2010 there was free Pimms (it’s a drink).  Lots of free goodies including a bag I still use today.


Virginia Beach, VA

2 Jun

Every summer Matt and I go to Ocean City, MD for one night – just to get away.  Well, this summer we decided to switch it up and try Virginia Beach, VA.  Neither of us had ever been there so we thought it would be a great, new ocean adventure.  We booked one night at the Econo Lodge on the Ocean and drove down the four hours from DC.

Things to know about Virginia Beach, VA:

  • If you need some place quiet, reasonably priced ($200/night holiday weekend in summer), conveniently located (on the ocean with balconies – if you are a non-smoker – see our view below), and you are ok with a motel, then the Econo Lodge on the Ocean is a good option.  They offered us free bikes to use one hour a day, which was an added bonus.
  • The boardwalk has great biking and walking paths that are separated so you don’t have to worry about hitting anyone.  The boardwalk is three miles long, so it is very bike-able and there are no real “boards” that are coming apart or nails sticking out so it is also walk- and run-able. We spent a lot of time just walking up and down the boardwalk exploring.
  • If you are used to Ocean City, MD or Atlantic City, NJ, get ready for a completely different layout of a beach town.  The cheesy beach shops, eats, and amusement rides aren’t really on the boardwalk.  Instead, they are on a street over called Atlantic Street.   The actual boardwalk is a lot cleaner, smoother, and really just has the hotels with a few hotel restaurants.  Different layout, but easy to learn – just walk the boardwalk for relaxation and walk Atlantic St. back to see all the shops.
  • If you like frozen yogurt, try Sweet Frog.  It was the BEST frozen yogurt I have ever had.
  • There are A LOT of free events in the summer.  The one night we were there, we were able to see two outdoor concerts (there were more, but we only went to two of them) and watch a movie on the beach.  Check out the schedule that they post near the beach and in their local magazine and take advantage!
  • Beach chairs near the ritzy hotels are more expensive.  Two beach chairs + an umbrella in front of our motel was $39 for the day.  The same set up a couple blocks down in front of the Hilton was $50 for the day.
  • Nightlife:  We were told about “the block” where the 21 age group goes = around 21st Street.  We were recommended to go to Calypso.  It was ok.  Can’t really speak to any of the other places.
  • Parking in the Hilton parking garage for the day is $10.  The Hilton is on the beach, so it is a great location.

Enjoy Virginia Beach, VA!