Happy 2023! I hope you and yours had a wonderful holiday season — this holiday season was great to me, and I am sad that it has come to an end. I took down my Christmas tree and all my Christmas decor today, and my apartment is definitely feeling a little darker today. But on the bright side, I will say, I love that everything feels fresh and clean for the new year. I think I finally got all of the glittery from my ornaments off my hardwood floors.
For this life lately – you can read my other life lately posts here: July, August, September, October, December — I wanted to share a fun round up of some of the holiday festivities that went on in my world over the past several weeks. Most of them, except for my trip to NYC for NYE, are DC activities I love to do every year around the holidays, so I am hoping you can bookmark this page for future use if you’re planning a trip to the area around the holidays or just want to take advantage if you’re a local like me.
And real quick — the sequined dress I have on in the photo above is a pandemic H&M buy that I wore to my family’s annual dinner at Filomena (more on that below!). I went into the H&M Outlet in 2020 quickly with a mask on when the dressing rooms were closed, saw it on the rack, and purchased it on the spot. It’s such a great sequined LBD to have in my closet this time of year and I love pairing it with my favorite Marc Fisher booties. I would recommend sizing a half size up as they run small!
DINING AT FILOMENA —
In 2019, my dinner club went to Filomena as our December restaurant and I was obsessed. The restaurant goes all out for the holidays — the first time I went they literally had half of a 20-foot tree in the dining room. And, unlike some places that really lean into a theme, the food was actually delicious and the service was outstanding. My family loves Italian food, and I knew they would enjoy this spot as much as I did, so in 2020, we started a tradition of dining there the week before Christmas.
A few weeks ago, we went to our third annual Filomena dinner, and it’s always one of the highlights of the season for me! I hosted my family at my apartment for a happy hour beforehand, and my cousin who lives with my sister came along as well — we love having her! We had the best time enjoying our meal. I texted my dad the following day to say thank you, and he said he loved hearing all the laughter, and I think that is the perfect way to summarize our evening.
Because Filomena is such a popular spot — especially during the holidays — I highly recommend getting a reservation. Since we have a larger group, I always get reservations when they open up for the season in September. (Filomena releases reservations 90 days in advance!) If you have a smaller group, you can usually get a last minute reservation during the holidays, but it may be on the later side or during the week.
VISITING ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY —
The Sunday before Christmas, I didn’t have anything on my agenda, so I decided to head over to Arlington National Cemetery to pay my respects to many of our American heroes, and say Merry Christmas to my grandparents, who are buried there. Though my family does have a pass that allows us to drive throughout the Cemetery when it’s open, I didn’t have it on me, so I parked in the visitor parking lot and then walked over to their grave. I went the day after Wreaths Across America — I always sponsor two every year in honor of my Nana and Pop Pop — put up all the wreaths throughout the Cemetery and it was such a moving sight, as always.
After visiting their grave and spending some time in prayer and thought, I went on a long walk around the Cemetery. It was such an emotional experience as many decorate the graves of their loved ones this time of year — which was such a poignant reminder that love never dies.
Whether you’re local or visiting Washington, DC, I can’t recommend visiting Arlington National Cemetery enough — it always makes me so proud to be an American and helps me remember what is most important in life.
A TRIP TO THE NATIONAL CHRISTMAS TREE —
The Wednesday before Christmas was my last day of work for the year, and to ~ celebrate slamming my laptop shut until 2023 ~, my cousin, my sister, and I went down to see the National Christmas tree! I don’t always get down to the White House South Lawn to see it, but I have the last couple of years, and I never regret going. In addition to the large tree in the center of the display, each U.S. State and Territory has their own tree, with ornaments decorated by a school. It’s a fun + festive activity to do before or after dinner — we walked around, enjoyed the trees, snapped a few pictures, and were over to our dinner reservation in about 30 minutes.
Since it’s a block from the White House, we went with DC classic Old Ebbitt for dinner — it was the perfect cozy place to warm up after enjoying the National Christmas Tree. For those of you unfamiliar, it’s a classic DC spot and while it definitely leans somewhat touristy, the food is great and it’s one of those American restaurants that has something for everyone.
PS — in the photo above I am wearing the popular Amazon coat in red. It’s one of my favorite buys and there are often sales. I actually purchased it in June 2021 and was able to get it 50% off. I am thinking about grabbing it in black, too, as it is my most reached for jacket in the winter.
NYE IN NYC —
I am going to write a full recap of my trip to NYC for NYE since we did so many fun things — but one of the highlights was the intimate dinner party that Emma hosted on New Year’s Eve.
There were about ten of us, and she cooked such a wonderful meal — pork tenderloin, potatoes au gratin, Hawaiian rolls with compound butter, and a side salad. She also purchased Senator & Mrs. Kennedy’s wedding cake from Montillio’s on Goldbelly, which was such a special treat for us all to enjoy right before midnight. From her apartment, we were able to see the fireworks in Central Park at midnight and it was such a nice way to ring in the new year.
I do not miss the days of going to those expensive ticketed events where you spend half the night waiting in line for the bar at all — being in your 30s definitely has many perks.
I hope your new year is off to a great start!