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Rosa Loves… The perfect tote and sunglasses for a day at Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens.

For the final post of my mini tour of DC with Ann Taylor, I have chosen an incredibly beautiful place: Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens. Hillwood is truly spectacular and a place that some people call one of DC’s best kept secrets. 

My friend Anne introduced to Hillwood a few years ago; after a day of exploring the mansion and walking around the gardens, I was in love with the estate. Hillwood is the former residence of socialite and General Foods founder Marjorie Merriweather Post, who was known for her exquisite taste and love for the arts. Marjorie was particularly fascinated with Russian Imperial art and her collection at the museum is one of the best in the world. The gardens are just stunning and the landscape is divided into several garden ‘rooms’ that are intended to feature different historical styles. The French Parterre and the Japanese-style Garden are among my favorite garden rooms and I never get tired of admiring their beauty. In addition to the art collection and the beautiful gardens, Hillwood also offers special exhibitions. A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to see the paper dress creations of artist Isabelle de Borchgrave at the Prêt-à-Papier exhibition. Currently, the museum is showing an impressive display of Marjorie’s collection of Cartier jewelry, which I have seen and I strongly recommend. Sometimes, I feel the need to escape the noise of the city and Hillwood is the perfect place to do so; the estate is hidden away in a quiet residential neighborhood overlooking Rock Creek Park. My day at this gorgeous place, usually involves mini tours of the mansion, leisurely strolls around the gardens, and lunch or coffee at the Café. Therefore, my camera, sunblock, and sunglasses are all essential items that I always carry in my fabulous tote during my visits. 

This concludes my series of favorite spots in DC with Ann Taylor. I sincerely hope you enjoyed the posts and each of the places featured as they are all truly special to me.

Hillwood is located in Northwest DC. The estate can be reached by car or taxi; parking is free. The Van Ness-UDC Metro station is within a 15-20 minute walk. Non-flash photography is allowed inside the mansion and there is a $15 suggested donation.

{Tote and sunglasses featured in this post were courtesy of Ann Taylor}

{Photos by RosaLovesDC}

Rosa Loves… The perfect necklace for dinner at Oyamel. 

Today’s post is the second part of my collaboration with Ann Taylor featuring my favorite places in DC. As you can see by the photos, it involves delicious food and a fabulous sparkly accessory.

My mini tour of DC wouldn’t be complete without Oyamel, an amazing Mexican restaurant owned by local chef José Andrés who has been internationally recognized for his culinary innovation. I spent my childhood in México and the food at Oyamel always brings back wonderful memories and makes me think of my grandmother’s cooking. The quesadilla huitlacoche (Mexican corn truffle), the nopalitos (baby cactus) salad, and the gorditas de pato (masa cakes with duck confit) are among my favorite dishes. In terms of cocktails, I highly recommend the signature salt air margarita and the mojito Dorado. The restaurant also holds an annual Tequila and Mezcal Festival, which features unique dishes and cocktails inspired by these two Mexican spirits. I have been able to attend the festival before and it is incredible. Oyamel is very close to several museums and other attractions in downtown DC so it is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat after a day of exploring the city. I love meeting friends at Oyamel for dinner during the weekend; it is not only a fabulous way to catch up and unwind after a long week at work, but it is also a great excuse to wear one of my favorite accessories, a very sparkly necklace.

Interesting fact: If you are curious about the meaning of name of this fantastic restaurant, oyamel is a fir tree found in the forests of Michoacán, México, where monarch butterflies seek refuge every winter after traveling thousands of miles from the U.S. and Canada. 

Dishes featured in this post:

  • Albóndigas (traditional Mexican meatballs)
  • Chilorio de res (taco with shredded beef braised in sauce of pasilla and guajillo chile)
  • Taco pescado Baja California (seared mahi mahi taco)
  • Quesadilla huitlacoche (traditional folded corn tortilla with Chihuahua cheese and Mexican corn truffle)

Oyamel is located in the Penn Quarter neighborhood of Washington, DC. Reservations can be made online and walk-ins are welcome.

{Necklace and clutch featured in this post were courtesy of Ann Taylor}

{Photos by RosaLovesDC}

Rosa Loves… The perfect pair of flats for an afternoon at the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

The name of my blog says it all: I love DC. I truly believe that DC is such a beautiful city with a rich history and wonderful places to visit. Today’s post is the beginning of a series where I will take you on a mini tour of DC. A few weeks ago, Ann Taylor asked me to share three of my favorite places in the city and I thought it would be a fun project to do. I will also feature some of Ann Taylor’s fabulous pieces which happen to be perfect for exploring DC. I sincerely hope you enjoy my picks.

The National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum are on the top of my list of favorite places in DC. Both museums are located in downtown DC and share one of the city’s oldest buildings, which is a National Historic Landmark and once housed the U.S. Patent Office. The exhibitions offered by the museums never disappoint. Last year, I had the opportunity to see ‘A Democracy of Images’, an amazing collection that explored the evolution of photography in America. I enjoy the new exhibitions, but I often make time to visit the ‘America’s Presidents' permanent collection and the interesting display of modern and contemporary art in the Lincoln Gallery. A coffee break is always a good idea while spending time at the museums and Kogod Courtyard, which is also part of the building, is the perfect place to do so. The courtyard is filled with natural light and the wavy glass and steel canopy is just breathtaking. Since it is easy to lose track of time at this incredible place, a pair of comfortable flats is a must. I can honestly spend an entire afternoon walking around the exhibitions and admiring the building’s architecture.

In case you were wondering, yes, Lola decided to interrupt my photography session so I had to include the photo in the post. 

If you live outside DC but are planning to visit in the future, make sure to include the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in your itinerary. Non-flash photography is allowed throughout the building with a few exceptions and admission is free.

{Flats and clutch featured in this post were courtesy of Ann Taylor}

{Photos by RosaLovesDC}

Rosa Loves…Vintage Jewelry.

Sunday afternoon was fabulous and filled with beautiful vintage jewelry. After brunch, Arlita, Erica, and I attended a ‘Spark Party’ featuring jewelry from Sweet & Spark and hosted by the lovely Brittney of Hosting and Toasting. I certainly have a weakness for accessories and Sweet & Spark is one of my favorite online places to find unique vintage pieces. The story behind this shop is really special: Jillian, the founder, and her dad started the business in 2012, and together, they travel around the country and visit local flea markets searching for vintage treasures. While sipping on champagne and eating cupcakes with my friends, we tried on the gorgeous pieces that Jillian and her dad have carefully curated for the shop. Just like everyone else at the party, I found the perfect sparkle to take home: a bracelet for me and a gorgeous pair of earrings for my sister.

{Photos by RosaLovesDC}

Rosa Loves… Anthom

It has been a little over a year ago that Ashley, Carla, and Marshall, some of my favorite people in DC, opened the online boutique Anthom. The trio of friends shares an appreciation for fashion so they decided to create Anthom, a store where they could feature interesting under-the-radar designers and independent labels. After participating in a couple of very successful pop-up shopping events, they have now opened their first brick-and-mortar store at Mosaic District in Fairfax, VA (just a metro ride away from DC). All three entrepreneurs worked on the interior design for weeks and built all the displays themselves. Carla had shared a few sneak peeks and when I visited them last weekend, I was astonished by their beautiful work; the store looks so modern and inviting. Of course, the clothes are also just as gorgeous as the shop. Anthom offers a well curated selection of clothing, shoes, and accessories; if you are looking for very unique pieces, this is the place to go. I am a big fan of their accessories and my favorite Anthom purchase is a clutch made from recycled leather. I honestly cannot wait until I visit the store again. Yes, it’s just that fabulous.

Congrats to the Anthom team on the opening of their store. It’s such a beautiful place and I am so happy for all of you. Cheers!

If you live in the DC area, make sure to visit the Anthom store, you won’t regret it. 

If you live outside DC, don’t worry, you can continue to shop Anthom online. 

{Photos by RosaLovesDC}

Rosa Loves… The White House and Map Necklaces.

When I first moved to DC a few years ago, I wasn’t too sure I was going to love it. Let me explain. I was having a very hard time with the move; I was overwhelmed by the new job, personal issues, and most importantly, the fact that I hardly knew anyone in DC. However, spending one night outside the White House gave me a different perspective about my new life in DC.

The White House is indeed one of my favorite places. Not only did I get to meet Michelle Obama and her daughters there once, but I also had the opportunity to explore the West Wing and to enjoy the beautiful Christmas decorations during the holidays. And believe it or not, I was introduced to the Justin Bieber phenomenon during a visit. Yes, I had no idea who the kid was until I saw him performed there. But before the Obamas, pop stars, and West Wing tours, there was Election Night 2008.

The night of November 4, 2008 started like any other night. I went for my usual run, but this time my route included some of DC’s iconic monuments because after all, it was election night. After I got home, I ate some dinner, took a shower, and went straight to bed. As I was trying to fall asleep, I could hear a lot of people in the lobby of my apartment building. I went to investigate and a large group of folks had gotten together to watch the news on the TV’s in the party room. I really didn’t know any of my neighbors, but I saw our friendly concierge who encouraged me to join the party. After the results of the election were announced, the crowd went crazy not only in my building but all around the city. Neighbors brought champagne, cake, cookies, anything they had in their homes to share with the group and to celebrate. Someone had even brought an Obama life size cutout. True story. When we saw on the news that people were gathering outside the White House, one of my neighbors suggested to join that crowd. “Why not?” he said, “We are just a few blocks away, we gotta be there”. I went back to my apartment to pick up a jacket and while I hesitated for a minute I knew I couldn’t pass up this opportunity.

So there I was, walking on Connecticut Ave towards the White House from my Dupont Circle apartment with a group of strangers. By the way, did I mention I was still wearing my pajamas? Yep, I didn’t have time to change. The walk to the White House was incredible, people were cheering everywhere. When we finally got to our destination, I knew I had made the right decision. The energy was insane. I had to get over my OCD pretty quickly because people were hugging me, shaking my hand, and giving me high fives. It was just such an amazing experience to see complete strangers come together and celebrate such an important moment in history. At the end of the night I was exhausted but happy. 

The next day as I was waiting for the metro on my way to work, I reflected on the events of the night before. I thought that DC wasn’t so bad after all. That night outside the White House gave me hope. Hope that I would make new friends. Hope that I would find new places to explore and love. Hope that I would experience new adventures. I will be honest and say that it wasn’t easy, but little by little, I started falling in love with DC. I’ve made fabulous friends along the way and now I have wonderful stories and memories about the city. 

And this is the story behind my love for the White House and the reason why I chose it for my map necklace. From now on, every time I wear it, I can think about that night and how much it meant to me.

{Map Necklace featuring the White House, courtesy of Three Jane NY. White House tours and other visits courtesy of my dear friend C}

{Photos by RosaLovesDC}