Flying Fish Coffee Closed in D.C.

Another Independent Business Closed in Washington, D.C. 

This morning I was running errands in Mount Pleasant and decided to drop by Flying Fish to pick up a cup of coffee.

BUT there was no coffee because there was no Flying Fish.

Flying Fish Coffee Shop Closed

Bah! Bah! Bah!

Foot Stomp.

Flying Fish Coffee Closed

I typically don’t write about food businesses that close in D.C. because the restaurant industry is vastly different from retail. BUT.


I’m concerned that the pace of small, independent store closures is at warp speed.

There is good news. Each Peach Market – a grocery store a few doors down – may take over the space. I wrote about Each Peach in Washington City Paper as the Best Independent Grocery Store of 2014. (You can read it here.) Crossing my fingers that Each Peach has great plans for the space.

As long as it doesn’t turn into another cell phone store. Heaven help us.

I’m starting to write more about indy store closures in D.C. with a focus on retail (vs food) businesses. Have any tips? Drop me a line at

Shampoo & Acne

Is Your Shampoo or Conditioner Causing Breakouts? 

My skin is super sensitive. I talk about skincare quite a bit (you can read about the surprising cause of my acne here and products that are helping my skin here). But, did you know that shampoo and conditioner can make you breakout?

Garnier Fructis Grow Strong Shampoo & Conditioner

Recently I switched to Garnier Fructis Grow Strong Shampoo & Conditioner. I have fine hair, so the idea of strengthening it was appealing. But, after two weeks I started noticing pimples along my hairline. They showed up on the sides of my face – primarily where (you guessed it!) my hair touches my face.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had acne-related problems due to hair products. It happened once before in the mid-2000’s when I was trying another type of moisturizing shampoo.

The solution to this problem was simple – I stopped using it. I purchased new shampoo and conditioner and have seen a dramatic skin improvements in only 2 days.

To be clear – this is a fabulous product. I don’t think it causes acne. I just happen to be sensitive to some moisturizing properties in haircare items. If you have dry hair and / or your skin tends not to be finnicky I would encourage you to try it out. I’ve had great success with other Garnier products.

The reason I wanted to chat about this subject it is that sometimes we fight and fight with our skin without realizing that the answer to soothing it is obvious. In this case it was simply putting this down and washing my hair with something new.

Have you had acne caused by shampoo or conditioner?

The Week 3 Retail Stores Disappeared in D.C.

These Independent Stores Closed at the Same Time 

I have a really cool gig at Washington City Paper. My weekly column, The Indy List, lets me highlight independent makers, artists, and retailers within D.C.

Before it was The Indy List the column was called Buy D.C. I wrote, curated, and photographed it for two years.

Last August I had a very odd week reporting for Buy D.C. Every store I went to was closed.

At least that’s what it felt like.

In reality, I popped by three different stores that week and found that there was no *there* there anymore.

  1. First up – Lotus Blooms

This was an adult store in Adams Morgan that featured pretty lingerie, sex-positive products, and educational classes. The staff was GREAT – inviting, warm, and all about education.

Lotus Bloom still has one store open on King Street in Alexandria.

2. Timothy Paul

Timothy Paul in Washington D.C.  
This was a furniture store / interior design company on 14th Street. I was so befuddled about their closing that I contacted them to get a quote about what happened. They never got back to me. My 100%, pure speculation is that rent JUMPED in this area. It’s only over the past two years that developers started building on 14th Street like crazy, more restaurants moved in, and rent prices went through the roof.

3. Books for America

Books for America in Washington D.C.

Technically this was a non-profit, but it operated like a used book store. A message on their website stated, “After 14 great years, and more than 1 million books donated to local schools, shelters, and many other organizations, Books for America has shut down permanently due to financial pressures.”

By the end of the week I was at a loss. What the heck was going on? Was this an aberration, or was D.C. going through a retail change?

Now that time has passed I can confidently say that this city is going through a major retail overhaul. Chains are moving in while independent stores are struggling to remain open. It’s disheartening.

The thing I’ve learned since I started to write about D.C. retail: It is very, very difficult to keep non-chain stores open in this town.


Beauty Truck

Makeup On the Go

I’m in BWI airport waiting to board a flight. While trying to hunt down a cup of coffee I came across this:

Benefit Beauty Truck

A pink truck full of Benefit beauty products. Gasp!

Okay, so technically it’s a vending machine. I’ve seen these in airports for electronics (a grand idea for everyone who forgot their charger or headphones at home), but never for makeup.*

Benefit Beauty Truck

This one is all Benefit products, and many items are travel size. Brilliant. There is a sign on the truck that guarantees that the prices of products are equal to what you would find at a counter or on the Benefit website.

I struggle with makeup options while traveling. You can only fit so many products in a quart-sized Ziploc bag for security, so it becomes a game of Tetris + “do I need this?” Yes. Yes. The answer is yes, I always need it. But, the reality is that my beauty routine is restricted when I travel.

This type of machine gives people options after security. It also is perfect if you forgot something at home.

Have you ever seen a beauty vending machine? Would you purchase something? Would you want to know if one was in your terminal before getting to an airport so you can plan accordingly?

*I have seen Proactiv vending machines. Does this count as the same thing? For some reason I don’t put it in the same category.

Quick Update

My sister-in-law ran into another Benefit truck at the IAH airport in Houston, Texas.

She took a picture because she is awesome.

If you run into one at another airport let me know. Or, if you find a beauty vending machine with a different brand please send pics!

Nighttime Beauty Products That Help Acne

These Products Help My Skin Heal While I Sleep 

I’ve always had a problem with acne. I wrote about cystic acne and how I got rid of it here. Even though cystic acne isn’t a problem anymore (praise hands) I still have occasional pimples with the added bonus of fine lines and wrinkles.

Mother Nature is so extra.

The number one thing that changed my skin is diet. The quick version: dairy is horrible for it / leafy greens and water help tremendously.

Outside of that, I have a regular rotation of products that help things along. I specifically wanted to share some nighttime items. Except for the toner and face wash these products are not applied on a regular schedule. Meaning, I don’t use one product Monday, another Tuesday, etc. Rather, I just look at my skin, see how it is doing, and decide what is needed.

It has taken YEARS to find out what works best. The biggest surprise is that the best assortment of products are affordable. I’ve tried things that are much more expensive, but my current loves are budget-friendly.

Here is what I use:

1. Toner 

I use a rose petal-based toner as a makeup remover. It’s alcohol-free, so it doesn’t dry out my skin. It has witch hazel in it which removes excess oil from your skin. It also sounds cool. Heck yes good witches named Hazel are working on my face.

Thayers Rose Petal Witch Hazel

It’s kinda like throwing roses all over your face.

Cost: $10.52

2. Face wash

I wash my face every night. Right now I’m all about Yes to Carrots Daily Cream Facial Cleanser. It gets the job done without drying out my skin.

Yes to Carrots Daily Cream Facial Cleanser

Wear vegetables on your face.

Cost: $7.17

3. Retinol 

This is the latest product in my rotation. I use it for two reasons: a) A friend’s dermatologist sister recommended retinol and SPF as anti-aging products b) I kept reading articles that recommended it.


I will wear retinol. It increases cell turnover, stimulates collagen, blah blah blah….we are all getting older and are going to die. I get it. Thus, retinol.

2.5% Retinol

It should be named, “HA! Mortality is FUN!”

This product is thicker than I expected. It’s not quite a gel. It is similar to the consistency of a syrup. Except a syrup you don’t want to eat because it would be disgusting. (Don’t worry, you won’t be tempted.)

There are a ton of retinol products on the market. I’m sure there are some that are more sophisticated, but those typically come with a high price tag. This one is budget-friendly and I’ve enjoyed using it.

Cost: $12.30

4. Rosehip Oil 

WHY AM I GOING TO PUT OIL ON MY FACE? As a person who has been fighting acne all my life, rubbing oil on my skin seemed all kinds of wrong. The ONLY reason I tried this product is that I received it as a free sample from Uhuru Naturals.

Rosehip Oil

Theme song, “It was all yellowwwww…”


Sidenote: Uhuru Naturals is an Etsy store that I highly recommend. They currently don’t have rosehip oil for sale, so I’m using the above product. But, they make a freaking fantastic Vitamin C Serum that I use during the day that you can find here.

When the rosehip oil came out of a dropper it was bright yellow. Which gave me pause. But, I figured why not give it a shot and tried it anyway. The next morning I was excited with the results. My skin was calmer, brighter, and had a glow. Using oil was such a jump for me, but now I know that it is great for my face.

Another quick note: There is a chance this product will get on your pillowcase. I try to give it enough time to soak in completely before going to bed, but sometimes I just forget about it and crash. It’s a small price to pay for great looking skin, so I just wash my pillowcases frequently and don’t worry about it.

Cost: $8.95

5. Hydrating Cream

Lisa (aka my co-host on Pop Fashion podcast) introduced me to this product when we were at a conference. We were sharing a room, and after she got ready for bed I thought she smelled SO GOOD. I was like, “What are you wearing? Why do I feel like I’m on a beach?” She told me about Yes to Coconut Overnight Cream and I was intrigued.

Yes to Coconut Ultra Hydrating Overnight Creme Mask

You will smell like you are getting ready to go to the beach. Which is awesome.

Adding a thick moisturizer to my skin was counterintuitive to my acne-prone practices of getting rid of oil at all costs. Turns out, my skin loves moisture AND it helps keep my acne under control.

Cost: $14.99


I don’t think you need to buy a product specifically for your neck. In fact, I think it sounds pretty silly.

BUT, I’ve found that the only way I remember to put moisturizer on my neck is having a product that says “neck cream.” Sigh….yes, it’s dumb. If it is the thing that triggers my memory to put it on, though, so be it. I started using Mario Badescu’s Neck Cream this past year because I’ve seen Real Housewives and everybody’s necks are one age and their faces are another. I don’t mean that as shade, but as a “hey, all skin ages” reminder.

Mario Badescu Neck Cream

Alternative Name: Ha ha – Marketing Works On You

I’m not convinced that I need this product. But, I do like using it. I also have a theory that if it only takes a few seconds to apply that it is worth the trouble, especially if it is affordable. Plus, it makes me feel like I have my life together. Sure, I’m an adult. I wear neck cream.

Cost: $20

To Recap: 

Other than the toner and face wash I don’t use these products every day. Everything is in rotation.

Also, note that none of these items are marketed as anti-acne products. I’ve tried almost everything that claims to kill acne, but nothing has worked as well as diet plus a few basics.

My skin isn’t perfect, but it is so much better than it was even a couple of years ago. If it turns out that there is something that works better I’m up for giving it a go. This combo seems to be working, and I don’t think it’s an accident that everything is simple. I can pronounce the ingredients in most of these products.

What do you use on your skin at night? Have you tried something that seemed completely counterintuitive like serums or oils? Do tell!

J.C.Penney Wins with Beyonce

J.C.Penney’s Big Beyonce Branding Win

Every once in awhile a brand does something great. They take a moment, make it theirs, and win big.


During Super Bowl XLVII there was a blackout. It was an occasion that united sports fans across America, launched hilarious tweets, and gave Oreo their moment in the sun. During 34 electricity-less minutes, Oreo created an ad and put it on Twitter.

Oreo Super Bowl Ad

It was glorious.

It was social media at its advertising best. Funny, relevant, uniting.

Who knew that Beyonce would be the catalyst for J.C.Penney scoring major social media points?

Beyonce revealed this week that she is pregnant with twins, and the Interwebs lost its ever-loving mind. It was a source of joy in the middle of an awful news cycle.

Her announcement was unorthodox in style. Instead of a precious pregnancy photograph, Beyonce gave us something…different. The background drew comparisons to J.C.Penney department store photography.

Picture of Beyonce and Twitter's JCPenney Response

JCPenney + Beyonce

JCPenney + BeyonceInstead of ignoring the comparison, taking offense, or drawing up some silly PR statement, J.C.Penney ran with it. 

JCPenney + Beyonce Wins

JCPenney + Beyonce Win

JCPenney + Beyonce Win

JCPenney + Beyonce Win

It was fun. It was hilarious. And, it was personal.

JCPenney + Beyonce(They responded back to everyone, not just me.)

Here’s why this social media tactic worked:

  • It shows clear knowledge of the subject matter. The Tweets use language that’s both understanding of Beyonce’s work and the people who love her.
  • It’s funny. There is a great sense of humor at work here.
  • J.C.Penney trusts its social media team. This is amazingly important. The team is allowed to act within the boundaries of their brand while reacting to what is happening in real time. When internal people are trusted it can result in amazing brand moments.

Bravo to J.C.Penney for a great series of Tweets and for adding levity to social media during an uneasy time.

Best Halloween Fashion Ad

Balenciaga Accidentally Made the Best Halloween Ad Campaign

Way back in September I was flipping through Vogue and came across the following ad:

Balenciaga September Vogue Ad 2016

And then this one:

Balenciaga Ad Vogue September Issue 2016

Balenciaga took out 4 pages in Vogue for a guy wearing a sheet.

Of course I thought about Charlie Brown.


When non-fashiony people ask about odd fashion things I can usually supply some sort of explanation. Every now and then there is something that comes along where I just have to shrug my shoulders and say, “I dunno!” This is one of those times.

But, to Balenciaga’s credit – I did remember the ad.

Fashion News – Top Stories

Fashion News from This Week! 

This week in fashion news – everyone got fired!

Lands’ End Fires Federica Marchionni 

Lands’ End hired Federica Marchionni 19 months ago to bring some glam to the brand. Marchionni’s background is impressive – she previously worked with Ferrari and Dolce & Gabbana.

When we first reported this hire it sounded like a Reese Witherspoon movie. A high fashion gal moves to the midwest to turn around a company. Cue the high-heels-while-walking-in-snow montage.

Picture of Clothing

This isn’t a picture of Lands’ End clothing, but it looks like it could be, eh?

Except this thing went bust. Profits turned into a deficit and Lands’ End stock went down. Ouch.

If you are keeping track, this past year new creative directors have been named at:

Dior, YSL, Lanvin, Calvin Klein, Oscar de la Renta.

Peter Dundas “Parts Ways” with Roberto Cavalli 

Peter Dundas got dropped from Roberto Cavalli. Formal sources are saying they “parted ways” or are cheekily implying that they are consciously uncoupling. But, it sounds like the dude got fired.

Right after his Milan show.

He showed his Spring 2017 collection in late September and then found out a couple of weeks later that he was gone. Jeezy creezy, this industry isn’t for the faint of heart.

If you want to see his last Cavalli collection check it on The Cut here.

I will leave you with this quote from Vogue’s review of that particular show:

There’s always a niche for this sort of thing. The striped jackets and skinny flares are in sync with fashion, as are the drifty dresses, fringed blankets, and shawls. Considering all the work involved in these pieces, though, young girls like the ones on the runway aren’t going to be able to afford to buy Cavalli. Probably it’s an older customer who might magpie around this collection when it hits stores. – Sarah Mower

Note: “magpie around this collection” is my favorite phrase of fashion criticism this fall.

What’s good 2016?

Amazon Opening Grocery Stores

In the meantime, Amazon is positioning itself to take over the grocery industry.

Amazon Fresh customers will soon be able to go to small convenience stores to shop for fruit, veggies, milk, and meat. Non-perishables will be delivered or customers can go to a drive-through where items will be loaded directly into their car.

Why is this a fashion story? Well, it isn’t. But, this speaks to a larger concept of Amazon changing the game in retail. Right now this sounds like an odd idea. In five years we will all probably will be doing it.

Amazon Knows What We Want

The most upsetting / real quote regarding Amazon

Lisa summed up the Amazon / retail phenomenon in one line that I found frightening and true.

Other Fashion News

  • American Crime Story announced that season 3 will be all about the Versace Murder. YASSS. It’s about time someone took this on in a comprehensive way.
  • Whoopi Goldberg is now designing Ugly Christmas Sweaters with Lord & Taylor. Yes, that is a real sentence.
  • Macy’s is opening even earlier on Thanksgiving Day than anticipated. Good for people who want to get away from their annoying cousins for a few hours, right??! RIGHT?? Honestly, I’m not sure if this a good thing or not.
  • You will soon be able to purchase Ferragamo RTW online. It’s a big deal because most luxury brands have not waded into these waters. Sure, they may sell perfume or bags online. But, high-end fashion brands don’t (typically) sell clothes online. Bold move, Ferragamo. Bold move.

Want to hear more? Hop over to Pop Fashion podcast where we do a deep dive into these stories and more fashion drama! Or, just push play below.

Fashion News – Top Stories

Fashion News from This Week! 

Does the fashion world ever get boring?

Trick question – the answer is no.

Kim Kardashian Jewelry Robbery  

I’m still in recovery from the Kim Kardashian jewelry heist. I’m a secret Kim fan, so I was worried about her emotional health following the robbery.

That aside, I’m curious how the incident is impacting tourism in France. It’s not just me who is worried – Parisian Mayor Anne Hidalgo came out said, “No worries, visitors!” and then talked about how tourism is essential to the health of the city. Furthermore, women in Paris are concerned about wearing their jewelry in public right now. Turns out there have been multiple armed robberies of jewelry stores within the city. If people don’t want to wear bling, how is it going to impact the luxury market?

Oakley Attempts to Make World’s Ugliest Sunglasses

In other news, Oakley is apparently determined to make the ugliest sunglasses on the market. The new Radar Pace acts as a coach to the user. If you slow down your run you can now have a robot yell at you for $449.

Oakley Radar Pace Sunglasses

Oakley Radar Pace Sunglasses

The sunglasses also track vital signs, answer questions, text people, answer calls, etc. Voice activated / hands-free devices are where everything is headed. But, do we really need this product? Maybe hard-core athletes will appreciate having a virtual coach. You can purchase a pair here.

Moschino’s Capsule Collection Controversy 

Moschino’s “capsule” collection isn’t going over well. Advocates say the clothing and accessories glamorize drug use, and Nordstrom responded by pulling the brand from stores. You can find the products at Saks Fifth Avenue – for now.

Moschino Chain-Strap Prescription Bottle Bag

Moschino Chain-Strap Prescription Bottle Bag at Saks Fifth Avenue

What do you think? Has Moschino gone too far? Does this line bring awareness to our connection to the drug world (prescription or otherwise)? You can find the Chain-Strap Prescription Bottle Bag here for $950.

Other Fashion News

  • Cambodia’s imports to the United States are declining. A new report by the U.S. Commerce Department states that countries including Cambodia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Honduras aren’t shipping as much apparel to our country. Keep an eye out on this story because it’s tied to labor laws.
  • Chanel’s Spring 2017 show took place in a data center to enhance the technology theme. It’s about time we see some fashionable lanyards! Rejoice!
  • Did you know that pockets are political? This fantastic article by Chelsea G. Summers of Racked goes deep into the inherit sexism of pocket design.

Want to hear more? Hop over to Pop Fashion podcast where we do a deep dive into these stories and more fashion drama! (Or, just push play below!) Navin Vembar (@NavinVembar) is our guest co-host for this week.

Fashion News – Top Stories

Fashion News from This Week! 

It’s the start of New York Fashion Week! The designers just started showing their looks for Spring 2017. Usually it’s too hard to think about spring when I’m excited about fall. BUT, D.C. has had a round of 90 degree weather that has me all crazy-like. Thus, I’m in a mood to see spring clothes.

You don’t have to follow everything that happens at Fashion Week, ya’ll. I got you!

Check out my New York Fashion Week Spring 2017 Pinterest board. I go through the shows and pick looks that are emblematic of the brand, the line, or make me go, “aww, hell naww.”

New York Fashion Week Spring 2017 RTW Pinterest Board

Pinterest for the win!

The biggest hubbub from the start of Fashion Week is Kanye’s show. Apparently models got over-heated, leading to this insightful article by Stella Bugbee on The Cut. (Worth a read.)

Amina Blue also took off her shoes on the runway. Twitter response: Your career is over! My response: Girl, I’ve been there.

Other Fashion News 

  • Walmart is cutting 7,000 jobs, mostly in the back office. Remember how they just bought for $3 Billion? Yeah, ch-ch-ch-channnnges all around that store.
  • Doc Martins are getting an update in the best way. They will be lighter but look exactly the same.
  • Oscar de la Renta announced that Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia will be co-Creative Directors. You guys have to check out this NYTimes profile on how and why this happened. It has romance, drama, revenge, and lots and lots of hustle.
  • PEOPLE ARE STEALING from stores. In fashion crime this week, check out the stats for shrinkage (shrinkage = loss of inventory).  The National Retail Federation said that organized crime retail costs the industry $30 Billion a year. Retail Inventory Shrink Statistics
  • The H&M Conscious Foundation is putting up serious cash for their Global Change Award. Think you have an idea that can change the industry?
  • ModCloth is selling a podcast co-host top. Translation: a regular blouse that they have given a hip name because they are the QWEEENS of product description. As a co-host, I completely appreciate this nod.
ModCloth Podcast Co-host Top

I don’t like the top, but can I have your hair?

Want to hear more? Hop over to Pop Fashion podcast where we do a deep dive into these stories and more fashion drama! (Or, just push play below!)