The Beach Shack

One of the most iconic DC things to do is actually not in DC, but across the river over in Arlington, Virginia. I’m talking of coarse about the State Theater. For about 50 years now the State Theater has hosted several talented acts that appreciate the smaller venue. Located across the street is an outdoor bar called the Beach Shack. There is nothing more peaceful or romantic to do on a Friday night then sit by the fire and listen to some great music. Don’t take my word for it, though. Check it out for yourself.

 

Travel and Enjoy!

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Newport News, VA/ Nawab

Last week I had the opportunity to visit an old stomping ground. Where project Ashley began almost 5 years ago…Newport News. Yes folks, I spent sometime in Newport News at CNU. Being back was a wonderful walk down memory lane.

The tide water area of Virginia has a lot to offer in terms of nature and culture, and Newport News is no exception. I had no problems keeping busy in Newport News. While I was there I got to revisit the CNU campus, admire how much had changed since I left in 2010, and reconnect with some old friends. I had dinner at Nawab, which is a fabulous Indian restaurant that I highly recommend. Everything on the menu is fabulous and the atmosphere is very relaxing. Since I brought friends we shared the Chicken Tika Masala and the Mixed Grill.  Both were absolutely delicious especially when paired with their rice.  Catching up with old friends was great, and we had a fantastic night. Five years is a long time when you think about where we were five or six years ago, as college freshman, and now we have graduated.

The next day I visited the Mariners Museum and took a walk on the Noland trail. Afterwards, I made my way over the City Center where I grabbed a cup of coffee at a great local chain called Aromas. If you have the time City Center is also a great place to shop. Newport News took a little time to grow on me, but after my most recent trip I can say with certainty that I will be returning.

Richmond, VA

If you live in DC, but you’re looking to leave behind the hustle and bustle of the city for a day, think about heading down to Richmond.  Richmond is a town full of southern charm (Quite literally. They are home to the Confederate Museum) which offers a wide variety of culture.  I spent the day at the Virginia Museum of Fine Art. The museum is home to several beautiful art pieces from all across the globe. Two exhibits really caught my attention during my visit: the Himalayan Art exhibit and the Art Deco exhibit.

As I was walking through the Himalayan art exhibit, I was struck by the art portraying many of the same issues which occur today.  Many of the issues that the people of India struggled with thousands of years ago, which they memorialized in their art, we continue to struggle with today. Several of the pieces I saw dealt with the emergence of Buddhism, and with it a new way of life in India. I also saw pieces that dealt with the changing role of women in a changing society. The issues of acceptance and the role of women in society are still issues that we face today. If you don’t believe me just listen to the debates that go on everyday on Capitol Hill such as immigration and Equal Pay for Equal Work.  I thought it was interesting that these issues have transcended time and space and these issues were important enough to be made into art.

You may ask: what is Art Deco?  It is a movement that started in France after World War I as a response to industrialism and the inhumanity of the First World War.  The idea behind Art Deco is that each piece of your home ware should be handcrafted and completely unique.  This movement strove to heal the wounds and shattered illusions brought about by World War I. This movement is a great reminder that art does not merely exist in an abstract bubble. It can be a response to the needs of society.

After my day at the museum, I headed over to the Strawberry Cafe where I indulged in a delicious wood fired pizza and some sweet tea.

And so ends my day in Richmond.  Remember there’s lots more to do than what I did, and it’s just an hour and a half drive down I-95 from Washington DC.

Explore and Enjoy!

Social Activism

Living near DC I try to head into the city as often as I can. The city is a vibrant and happening place.  I enjoyed it when I was in school there and sometimes I miss it for all its excitement.  On a recent trip into DC over the holidays, I got to experience one of the most incredible acts of social activism that I have ever witnessed (and folks I went to the John Stuart rally two years ago J). So for those of you who have never been to DC let me try to paint a picture for you. The Department of Veterans Affairs sits across the street from the White House on the side of the North Lawn and Pennsylvania Ave. In order to walk between the two, you cross Lafayette Square.  On one very cold January night, hundreds of veterans from all different walks and stations of life decided to sleep on the street between the V.A. and the White House. Their bravery spoke volumes to me and reminded me of a lesson that we all should take to heart. The rich and affluent are not the only ones with the power to make a difference. Your paycheck and your place in society do not determine what you are capable of; that is what makes the country so unique. Change can come from anywhere in society. Let me say this loud and clear: You have a voice. Use it!! Stand up for what you believe in. That is how true hope and change will come about in this country; it will come when we recognize that it is not the size of dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog that will ultimately prevail. I’d love to start a discussion on this so let me know your thoughts.

Peace!

 

Tommy’s Hamburgers

So, I am sad to report that this is my last post from LA. I will be on a plane back to the Nation’s Capital very shortly. Before I leave LA, though, I wanted to leave you with this one last post.

So for those of you who are familiar with Tommy’s I think you would agree that this was a great last stop in LA. For those that are unfamiliar, Tommy’s, along with Tito’s Tacos, is one of two big LA food landmarks. The only way I can think to describe a Tommy’s hamburger is by calling a belly buster. The burger is about the size of a small plate topped with the most delicious chile I have ever tasted. My recommendation LA compadres is to grab a burger and go to the beach.

 

Surfs up!! 🙂

P.S. I never got a chance to make it to Tito’s, so, if one of my readers does let me know how it is.

 

Should I Stay or Should I Go??

Well readers, I have had a good run out here in LA, but it looks like I will be returning to DC to pursue other opportunities on the East coast. I want to talk a little bit about my decision because it is one that I have been struggling with slightly. I have talked to a lot of people about my decision, and understandably, there is some shock that comes over them when they hear that I am leaving LA (one of the entertainment capitals of the world) for DC. Don’t get me wrong the decision was not an easy one to make, but it was more thoughtfully made then people understand. I thought long and hard before deciding on this path.  This is not a knock to my peers that have decided that this is what they want to do, but working a triple shift at El Pollo Loco while hoping to someday hear a yes is not the way I want to live my life. DC has a wealth of career opportunities for a writer and performer that LA has yet to offer. There is a theater community that exists in DC that I have yet to find in LA. Community and career growth are what I’m looking for. One of the biggest misconceptions about a life as an artist is that there is no money in it. That is false. It simply means that you must be more discerning about the decisions you make and you can not be closed off to opportunities that will help you grow as an artist and offer you career mobility. That is why I am moving. I am seizing what I think is the right opportunity for me. That’s all I think anyone can ask of me at the moment. Fear not, though, because I’m still here. Stay tuned for how things go in our nations capital.

Oh there’s no place like Santa Monica for the Holidays!

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There is no happier place on Earth for me than the beach for me. It is one of the reasons I decided to move to LA. I’ve mentioned this in other posts, but the beach holds so many fun childhood memories for me. I couldn’t ever imagine myself living too far from the ocean.

I was talking to my dad yesterday and it was cold and sleeting back in DC. Realizing that it was 70 degrees outside I decided to take advantage of some of the beautiful SoCal weather and I headed for the Santa Monica pier. Fear not, though, loyal readers. I was thinking of you guys and I scouted out some places while I was in Santa Monica.

If you’re ever in Santa Monica and craving breakfast the Omelette Parlor on Main Street has amazing eggs and croissants. Don’t worry about prices here if you’re on a budget because the amount of food they give you will last you at least three meals. Right next door is a great vintage clothing store called Varga, where I did some of my Christmas shopping. If you’re just up for hanging on the pier at the end there’s a great margarita bar right on the ocean. Nothing could be as relaxing as sipping a frozen margarita while listening to the sound of the waves.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Where everybody knows your name!

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So, time for another little confession. I am a total sitcom junkie. As such, it was incredible to get to experience the Cheers in Boston. This is the location that inspired the show by the Charles brothers. What can I say? The food was great and the service lived up to it’s reputation. I had a great time catching up with an old friend over drinks while over looking the beautiful Common. This is a landmark you must hit if you’re ever in the Boston area.

Cheers! 🙂

One very broke girl!

So once again I am here to give a little advice on living on a budget. My advice is this… cook at home. I know people have probably told you this before, but it holds tried and true, cooking at home is cheaper and much healthier.

I met up with my friend Christine on Thursday night. Rather than going out and spending a lot of money at a restaurant we decided to go to the local grocery store and cook dinner at my apartment. For $20 we got wine, salmon, salad, and strawberries for dessert. The only other places that could beat the price we paid for our dinner are all fast chains. Our strategy was much healthier. So, there you have it folks! As long as you keep your crib entertainment ready, cooking at home is a great option:)

Spirit Yoga

Ok so the secret is out…I’m a yogi. I starting doing yoga when I was 16 and have loved it ever since. One of the most fabulous yoga classes I have ever taken is a weekend yoga class on the beach in San Diego with Steve of Spirit Yoga.

Steve is a very talented yoga instructor who knows how to get the best out of his students. There is also no better way to start your Saturday or Sunday than with a yoga class on the beach:) Spirit Yoga is entirely donation based, so you can give according to what you can afford (which is great for a struggling young undergrad). If you are interested check out Steve’s website to learn more about him and Spirit Yoga.

http://www.namasteveyoga.com/

Namaste!