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wonders never cease

Year / 2015

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Gift Guide: The Francophile.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Host Guide: For the Gents

The Gentleman Host: He's welcoming you into his home. He's serving you dinner and sharing his private reserve. Good grief, he's probably even letting you stay in his guest room. And yet, his reward is a thank you note or a bottle of wine, or something from the "hostess gift" section in the supermarket (read: chocolates or a fancy assortment of crackers).

May we submit some gifts worthy of your fine host:

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Empowering Women Through Design

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Uncensored Part 2: Songs for Banned Books & Freedom

We are pleased and honored to be co-hosts for UNCENSORED, a party to kick off Banned Books Week and to benefit the DC Public Library. Books are such a vital part of our lives and our business; we are deeply alarmed when the people who oversee the education of our children deign to limit access to them.

For this playlist, we’ve chosen songs named for great books that have been banned or challenged by school systems in the US. We hope you'll read (we’ve included a choice passage from each work), listen (spotify player below), enjoy -- then join us this Friday night at Martin Luther King Library for music, art and crafty cocktails. Tickets are available online or at the door.



Animal Farm by George Orwell
1. Animal Farm – The Kinks
“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” – George Orwell


Howl by Allen Ginsberg
2. Howl – Florence + The Machine
“What is obscenity? And to whom?”  - Allen Ginsberg


The Call Of The Wild by Jack London
3. The Call Of The Wild – David Byrne
“He was mastered by the sheer surging of life, the tidal wave of being, the perfect joy of each separate muscle, joint, and sinew in that it was everything that was not death, that it was aglow and rampant, expressing itself in movement, flying exultantly under the stars.” – Jack London


Stranger In A Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
4. Stranger In A Strange Land – Blitzen Trapper
“The slickest way in the world to lie is to tell the right amount of truth at the right time - and then shut up.” ― Robert A. Heinlein

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Saturday, September 19, 2015

Uncensored, Part 1: A Benefit for the Library

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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

22 Songs For The Best Dog Ever

Five months ago, our beloved store mascot and best friend, Cassady, passed away. Thirteen years ago today, in a dusty town in western Georgia, she was born in the home of our saintly friend David, who had taken in Cassady's mom as a stray, unaware that she was days away from giving birth to a litter of 10 puppies. The poor mom wasn't strong enough to survive the birthing process, but she managed to find a loving soul who would care for her pups like they were his own and find suitable homes for each and every one of them. We were lucky enough to be deemed worthy of one of these tiny treasures, and for that we are eternally grateful. We spent twelve and a half years with the most loving, loyal, sweet creature that has ever graced this earth. We miss her every day, but today especially. We’ll never know what we did to deserve such a perfect companion, but we will always be thankful to our beloved friend Nina Black Reid, who entrusted Cassady’s care to us and still has Cassady’s favorite dog in the world, her little brother Buster. Rest in peace, sweet girl. We miss you.

1. Lucky You – The National

2. Born For Me – Paul Westerberg

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Proper Getaway: A Western Odyssey

A few weeks back, our pal Jenn Barger (fashion writer, style expert and shopping guru at dcstylefactory), and her husband, Callan, spent two weeks out West. Both hail from those parts; Jenn an ex-Texan, Callan a South Dakotan. Escaping DC heat and reconnecting with their roots, they flew into Salt Lake City and took off on a road trip through Montana, Wyoming and Utah (plus a shred of Idaho) that meshed yee-ha cowboy fun with old friends and a lot of terrific trout-eating (and microbrew-trying).

Back in DC, but perhaps still in her denim and boots, Jenn takes the PT Questionnaire:

What was the first thing that caught your eye?

Both Cal and I spent time in the Grand Tetons when we were kids, but coming back as adults was just a reminder of what a beauty queen national park it is — it’s all gigantic, snow-kissed mountains plunging to green, wildflower-filled valleys with postcard-worthy lakes. Oh, and view of moose, beavers and elk. It was nice to come to a place full of memories for both of us and not be disappointed in the least.

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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Proper Getaway: An Indian Adventure

India has been a longtime travel dream for our good friends Kim and James, both PhD candidates at GWU, so imagine how excited the were that "this summer a bunch of magical stars aligned to allow us to go." With stops thus far in New Delhi, Jaipur, Udaipur, Agra and Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), Kim says that "every city has felt like a different country to me. It's been challenging ... and beautiful ... a whole new world!"

Voilà (darn wish I had the Hindi word), Kim's answers to the PT Questionnaire:

What was the first thing that caught your eye?
The green of Kolkata -- the first place we stayed for a long time. I knew about the intense poverty and the slums (where I needed to be for my research on this trip) and Mother Teresa's house, but I hadn't expected the tropical feeling of monsoon greenery and the gorgeous old bookstores. (Calcutta was the capital of the Raj and in still the intellectual hub of West Bengal--maybe all of India!)

Most intriguing smells? Sounds?
India has been an assault on every sense! The air smells like it is always on fire, but patchouli and jasmine waft through too, especially if a mala (a floral wreath) is around your neck! There are and a TON of cows everywhere--they are holy and it seems like they know that--and that does make for its own set of smells on the streets! It's monsoon season here, which has made for some interesting weather--sometimes perfect and breezy (which we did not expect!) but sometimes downpouring. That was our weather in Udaipur, where we were staying on a lake, and the sound of that monsoon rain was incredible.

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Friday, July 31, 2015

33 Songs for Our Pals On The Road

It’s been almost 58 years since Jack Kerouac published the adventures of Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty in classic road trip novel On The Road.  The nominally fictitious adventures of Kerouac and Neal Cassady captured the imagination of a nation and inspired countless brave souls to pack a bag and hit the highway. We’ve been checking in with some of our friends to hear about their travels this summer and posting their reports here, so we dedicate this play list to those of you just hitting the road or already relaxing somewhere fun. We’ve paired each song with a quote from On The Road for added inspiration. There are a few more hours of traveling tunes on our Spotify play list to help you reach your destinations. Happy trails, amigos.

1. On The Road – Keane
“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.”

2. Real Gone – Sheryl Crow
“ 'Sal, we gotta go and never stop going 'till we get there.'
'Where we going, man?'
'I don't know but we gotta go.' ”

3. First One In The Car – The Wallflowers
“This was really the way my whole road experience began, and the things that were to come are too fantastic not to tell.”

4. Slow Rollin’ – Lady Antebellum
“... because he had no place he could stay in without getting tired of it and because there was nowhere to go but everywhere, keep rolling under the stars...”

5. Hello? Goodbye! – Lake Street Dive
“It's good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies”

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Proper Getaway: Martha’s Vineyard

As we steep in the thick murky brew that is July/Washington DC, we find ourselves dreaming of friends' magical journeys. Come, armchair travel with us.

First stop: Martha's Vineyard with the sweetest traveling circus ever.

Annie Lou and MJ Berman and their 4 children (8-year-old Charlie, 6-year-old Teddy and 4-year-old twins Scottie and Nellie) have decamped to the Vineyard for the summer ... well, various combinations of them for various parts of the summer, with various grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins ... all adding to the {sweet} circus-like atmosphere.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

14 Songs For Le Quatorze Juillet

Happy Bastille Day, mes amis! Oh wait, what? The French don’t call it that? Boy, are our faces rouge.

It turns out that "Bastille Day" is the name given by English speakers to the French National Holiday, The Fourteenth of July. The French call it La Fête Nationale and aren’t really celebrating the storming of The Bastille in 1789. Apparently, we Yanks are so smitten with that story that we renamed their holiday for them. You’re welcome, France. And thank you for those awesome fried potato wedges.

Here at the shop, we are admitted Francophiles. We plan to celebrate Bastille Day with verve. Think St Patrick’s Day, but replace the Irish stuff with French stuff. French music will play in the shop all day, and we’ll request our lunches on baguettes or croissants. Our dinner will be accompanied by the words Pinot or Sauvignon. And everyone is allowed to eat cake.

Here are fourteen songs for France and the French. We wish you Liberté, Fraternité and Egalité on this and every day. Those in the mood can enjoy the whole list on Spotify, where we’ve gathered more than eight hours of nice French music. Vive la France!

1. La Mer – Charles Trenet
“Free people, remember this maxim: we may acquire liberty, but it is never recovered if it is once lost.”
- Jean-Jacques Rousseau

2. France – Keb’ Mo’
“I draw from the Absurd three consequences: my revolt, my liberty, my passion.”
- Albert Camus

3. Les Champs-Elysees – Chantal Chamberland
“Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.”
- Alexis de Tocqueville

4. Get Lucky – Daft Punk
“We must have constantly present in our minds the difference between independence and liberty. Liberty is a right of doing whatever the laws permit, and if a citizen could do what they forbid he would no longer be possessed of liberty.”
- Charles de Montesquieu

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Thursday, July 2, 2015

27 Tunes for the US Constitution

Like all the country, we have been abuzz with talk of Supreme Court rulings and Constitutional interpretations. In honor of that, and, of course, Independence Day, we present a primer on the amendments to the Constitution, the masterful document that created and governs our nation to this day. To help you remember them, we’ve paired each amendment up with a song.

Happy Independence Day!

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

First Amendment: Freedom of religion, freedom of speech and the press, the right to assemble, the right to petition government.
1. Say What You Want – Sheryl Crow

Second Amendment: The right to form a militia and to keep and bear arms.
2. Brothers In Arms – Dire Straits

Third Amendment: The right not to house soldiers in one's home.
3. Hit the Road, Jack - Ray Charles

Fourth Amendment: Protection against unreasonable search and seizure.
4. I Hear You Knocking - Dave Edmunds

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Cue the Fireworks

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Friday, June 19, 2015

25 Songs For 25 Years

Where were you 25 years ago? June 19, 1990. It was a steamy DC day, and, in the shiny new marble-lined West Hall of Union Station, a little shop rolled open its gleaming glass doors for the first time.

The hit movie of the summer was "Dick Tracy," starring Madonna and Warren Beatty, starting an ill-advised rush for yellow fedoras. (We didn't sell them.) JK Rowling had just begun to write the first Harry Potter book as future Hermione portrayer Emma Watson turned two months old. The checkpoint booth at Checkpoint Charlie was removed from the border between East and West Germany, two weeks before official reunification. Things were happening all over the world.

Twenty-five years later, we are proud and excited -- and, above all, thankful -- to still be going strong. Much has changed over the past quarter century in the world at large, and certainly in the world of retail. (Online shopping? Who'd have thunk of such a possibility in 1990.)

We are going to take you on a stroll through history in the next few months, starting today with a What We Were Listening To In 1990 Play List. Check back with us when you can ... it should be a fun ride.

We’d like to thank all the people who have taken part in this experience over the last twenty five years. Between our great staff and our wonderful customers, we are grateful and honored that you’ve made us a part of your lives. We hope you continue to do so for the next twenty-five years.

1. Ana - The Pixies
“I think everyone should sell whatever product they want to sell for whatever price they want to sell it for, but ultimately the market will dictate what it is and people will have to charge less money for everything. Record companies have been overcharging people for way too long and now this is the trouble that they're in.”
- Frank Black

2. Nothing Compares 2 U - Sinead O'Connor
“When you're young, you don't really know quite what you're aiming at. You're very impulsive and acting on impulse, which is very important and valuable. But you're kind of swimming in a blind sea. When you get older, you have more of a sense of direction.”
- Sinead O'Connor

3. Born At the Right Time - Paul Simon
“Yesterday it was my birthday.
I hung one more year on the line.
I should be depressed.
My life's a mess.
But I'm having a good time.”

- Paul Simon

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Gift Guide: For Dad

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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

photo shoot: pin-up girl edition

Behold, a peek at some of the gorgeous results of last Thursday's photo shoot with Karissa creating magic behind the lens and Kim channelling Veronica Lake. 

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Twelve Songs for May 13th

May the Thirteenth be with you! It doesn't have the ring to it that May the Fourth has, does it? We’re going to keep our play list nice and simple this week. Here are twelve songs for May 13th, chosen for events that happened on this day in history or for people who were born or died on this day. Beware the ides of May!

1. Mexican–American War – K-Bach, Jah Child, Lyrically Twisted
1846 - The United States declared war on Mexico.

2. The Liberator – The Dimes
1862 – A southern slave named Robert Smalls steals the Confererate gunship USS Planter and delivers it to Union forces. He later is officially appointed as captain, becoming the first black man to command a United States ship.

3. Joe Louis – Joe Nisbet Jr.
1914 – Joe Louis is born.

4. Ballad of Jim Jones – The Brian Jonestown Massacre
1931 – Cult leader Jim Jones, founder of the Peoples Temple is born.

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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Gift Guide: For Mom

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Our Garden Collection in the Post Magazine

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Eighteen Songs For Earth Day


Happy Earth Day, Peeps! We’re not going to wax poetic about our love for our home planet because we’re in a rush to get going to an Earth Day art show at Black Whiskey. Come join us if you like the Earth and good art. Or Whiskey. Here’s a link with details The Earth will be there, along with the good art. We’ll let the songs and quotes speak for themselves.

1. What Are We Gonna Do? – Dramarama
“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”
- Albert Einstein

2. Big Yellow Taxi – Joni Mitchell
“Why should I care about future generations? What have they ever done for me?”
- Groucho Marx

3. Down To Earth – Peter Gabriel and the Soweto Gospel Choir
“Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.”
- Theodore Roosevelt

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wonders never cease