IKEA Jones and the Dresser of Doom
36 Weeks. And Also, Poop.

Wednesday Advice Smackdown

But first, a few questions that cropped up from Friday's post about the Big Fancy Photo Shoot:

Q) Come on! Post the Polaroid!

A) No. Am not allowed. It technically belongs to the magazine and they've told me not to post it, so I won't, for I am Obedient and Good.

Q) Will you scan or link to the article when it comes out?

A) I will be allowed to scan the article, but not until the magazine is off newstands (late October). The Washingtonian's website doesn't offer the current issue's contents online, and I'm not sure if they even archive fluffy little articles like this one after the next issue comes out. So basically -- I will let everyone know when the issue is available, but non-locals will have to wait a few weeks before I can scan it or (possibly) link to it. In other words: chill out, I'll do the best I can.

Q) Fuck this photo shoot noise. WHAT DID YOU BUY AT SEPHORA?

My apologies for leaving out this scintillating piece of information.



This is everything I used. From the top: Marc Jacobs perfume (because smelling good totally makes you more photogenic), Sephora volumizing mascara, Nars Creme Blush in Turkish Red, Nars Duo Eye Shadow in All About Eve, Tony & Tina herbal eye base (apparently discontinued, wah), Sephora slim eye pencil in Chocolate Brown, LORAC eye shadow in Garnet, Nars Lip Lacquer in Eros, and my old reliable standby, Sue Devitt Triple Seaweed Gel Foundation in Tanami.

And this is me, trying to figure out which side of my face should not ever face the camera.


I look kind of holy.

Dear Amalah,

I have the same love/hate relationship with Ikea that you do.  Yet I can't say away!  And their big catalogs are like porn!

Anyway, I have been coveting the Hemnes bed for many years but was never sure if it could be used with both a mattress and a box spring.  The display model always just uses the mattress and I honestly don't trust the word of the Ikea employees (because they clearly never warned me that those curtain rods and curtain rod holders I bought that one time WOULD NEVER EVER WORK AND WILL MAKE ME CRY.)

But I do trust you, Amalah.  Will the Hemnes bed hold both the mattress and box spring?

See you in the Ikea returns line!


(By the way, the number one sign that I am indeed trapped in an abusive relationship with IKEA: while dozens and dozens of you chimed in yesterday to bash IKEA, all I wanted to do was jump in and DEFEND THAT DAMN STORE. Sure, we're going through a rough patch right now! But I have dozens of wonderful things from IKEA that I love with all my heart! The expensive pre-assembled actual-wood baby furniture was fucked up too! Besides, it's all totally my fault for not checking the boxes before we left the store! I brought it on myself! I deserve crappy furniture!)

(And on Monday I bought a hot dog there for 50 CENTS, PEOPLE, AND IT WAS DELICIOUS.)

Anyway. The HEMNES bed. No, it won't really work with a boxspring, unless you don't mind having your mattress tower over the footboard. The footboard is very low and a boxspring will practically come to the top of it, and then the mattress will be completely uncontained by the bedframe and will look really weird.

But here's the thing: You don't NEED a boxspring with the HEMNES bed. It's kind of hard to explain, but the bedframe kind of is a boxspring. You buy these wooden slat-things along with the bed (in your choice of "firm" or "springy") and a metal midbeam thing, and they support the mattress beautifully.

We've been using a boxspring we inherited from Jason's GRANDMOTHER every since we've been married (that's how maniacally cheap we are when it comes to furniture), and for years have complained about our crappy mattress. Five minutes after ditching the boxspring and collapsing on our newly-assembled bed, we looked at each other in confusion. Did the bed feel...firmer? What?

Honestly, our mattress feels SO MUCH BETTER now that it's supported by those beam things instead of the boxspring. I can roll my huge pregnant self over without grunting and moaning in agony. Jason swears the last two nights of sleep have been the best he's had in years.

So there you go. IKEA can be mean and spiteful, but DAMN, he's good in bed.

Dear Amalah,

Eeeek.  I've never in my life written to an advice columnist, but after lurking around your blog for a long time and reading many of your Wednesday Advice Smackdowns, I finally felt compelled to take the plunge--mostly because you're the first advice columnist I actually felt could help--or, at the very least--entertain me.  Anyway, I think your blog is one of the very few worth reading.  You're an intelligent, entertaining, and regularly delightful writer, and I truly enjoy salivating over and admiring the pictures of your adorable pets and equally adorable and enviable products, as well as the descriptions,picture, and links of  your various gorgeous handbags, clothes, and make-up products.  And I think your advice is bizarrely pithy and intelligent.

Best of all, your writing regularly makes me laugh out loud (on a side-note: Yah for Snarkywood!).  So, thank you for sharing a part of your life--I think it's a life worth sharing.  And of course, congratulations on your pregnancy! I'm hoping to have a baby some time in the near future, and your blog has been a constant source of encouragement and, yes, education--light years better than any self-help book I've had the  misfortune to come across.

Okay, enough already with the ass-kissing.  Now comes my plea for advice: As much as I love your whip-smart writing, I must admit to feeling a bit (ummm... bitterly) fixated and--well, to be even more blunt--blinded by jealousy regarding Jason's sweet propensity to shower you with flowers for no apparent reason (well, besides his obvious love for you).

So here's the question: How does a woman encourage her otherwise dear, loving, and considerate partner of two years to give her the occasional bouquet of flowers? I mean, short of stomping into his office, hands on hips, and demanding that he give me the occasional damn bouquet of bright, lovely, sweet-smelling flowers--hell, at this point I'd even settle for those sad, wilty  arrangements they sell at the grocery store. 

In fact, at this point even the occasional bouquet of wildflowers would suffice. I've tried everything short of the most obvious solution: making a reasonable and straightforward request that he occasionally hand over the flowers. Maybe it's silly of me, but I resist that scenario because it seems to detract from the romance of the experience.  I've bought flowers for myself and made a big production about how much they delight me (part of a desperate attempt to send him a much needed--and ill-headed-- message).  I ruminated on this subject with my mother, grandmother, and aunts, who sweetly, regularly, and pointedly compensate by  sending me lovely arrangements--and again, I always make an extravagantly effusive and dramatic production of conveying my delight for these thoughtful gestures, futilely hoping that my unbridled enthusiasm will send him a message. Recently my mother suggested that perhaps I'd just have to buy my own flowers.  But buying flowers for oneself just isn't the same as being surprised by receiving thoughtful and unnecessary gestures from one's significant other.

I've even resorted to buying flowers for myself and then oohing and awing over my purchases, as well as pointedly informing my partner that the only other time I received flowers from a man was when my psycho ex bombarded me with six dozen roses--a deeply depressing experience, as my tiny apartment reeked with the sickly sweet smell of desperation (and the next day I eagerly donated these flowers to a nursing home).  This rather depressing experience, I think, reasonably calls for some kind of nice, compensating flower experience from a man I truly love and cherish, and to whom I am whole-hearted committed. But alas, I've made no headway.  Apparently, from what I've been able to drag out of him diplomatically, he would rather give gifts that last for longer periods of time: necklaces, rings, clothes.  He thinks that flowers are wasteful because they have such a short shelf-life.  I don't mean to suggest that this is a one-way street; I really enjoy giving him little tokens of my love.

So what should I do?  Personally, I would like to receive a pretty bouquet when it's not the requisite holiday time: just a little something every now and then, particularly when I'm having a rough week.  Here's the rather silly quandary: a good part of the allure of receiving flowers is that, at least according to my own perhaps misguided thinking, they should come as a sweet surprise, and not as a grudging acquiescence to an emphatic demand. I would really appreciate your advice on this matter.  Bottom line: I want flowers! Not all the time, not huge expensive bouquets, not the the obligatory dozen roses on V-day or my birthday.  Maybe you or your readers could give me some advice.  In the big scheme of things, I grudgingly acknowledge that my complaint is embarrassingly bourgeois and maybe just a little petty.

Nevertheless, I want flowers! Thank you so much for any advice you or your readers might offer, and I hope you have a joyous pregnancy and a delightful experience with the new-born babe.


I'm of two minds about this. One, you acknowledge that you want flowers because, to you, they represent a "thoughtful and unnecessary gesture." This means something you HAVEN'T demanded or nagged about or done any sort of clever trickery to "get him" to send you flowers. If you have to resort to subterfuge (i.e. signing him up for email coupons from ProFlowers, inventing a coworker who's flirting with you) or flat-out demands, then the flowers you'd receive would actually not mean anything and thus be besides the point entirely. Right?


The best thing to do is to simply TELL HIM that if he's ever thinking of doing something nice for you, he should know that you would really, really love to get some flowers. And then DROP IT. If he doesn't send you flowers, you need to accept that he is just not a flower-sending-kinda guy. And then move on and don't read into this as him not listening to you and withholding affection and blah blah blah but HER boyfriend sends HER flowers pout pout pout.

But of course, I do have a secondary opinion. And it's that guys should send girls flowers if they want them and shut the hell up about it. That whole "I want to give you gifts that LAST" thing is a fucking cop-out, especially since 90% of you aren't actually out there buying those elusive gifts-that-last on a regular basis.

(It's like people who refuse to celebrate Valentine's Day or Mother's Day because they're "Hallmark Holidays" and "we should be expressing our love and gratitude every day," which, FINE, BUT ARE YOU? NO? THEN BUY A BOX OF CHOCOLATES AND A CARD ALREADY.)

Face it, girls like flowers. We know they don't last and they seem silly to you but we like them. They're pretty. They smell nice. They make other girls jealous and we feel special and spoiled. So get on ProFlowers' email list and buy your significant other some damn flowers when they send you coupons.

However, are flowers essential? Is a guy who won't send flowers deeply damaged and insensitive? Should you chuck him to the curb like an extra LACK side table? No. You should probably just get over it.

(Says the girl who gets flowers all the damn time, for no damn reason. Shut up, Amy.)

Dear Q of E,

I just read that entry where you told us all an amusing story about lying to your parents at Christmas time. I know you would NEVER do that, good daughter that you are, but it made me feel very guilty because I remembered the worst lie I ever told.

I was sharing a flat and fell in love with a Catalan guy who lived with me. I didn't tell my mother, of course. I left the flat in July because I was going on holidays and my heart was breaking at leaving this guy (we actually live together in Barcelona now so happy ending). So my Mum brings me into town. She goes shopping and I go to pick up my deposit. She leaves me the keys to the car cos I say I'll be back first and promise to be back at the car in an hour. I go to pick up my deposit. Get it in like five minutes. Go up to my old flat to spend time with boyfriend. Make out and cry and promise to love forever etc. for way too long. Realise time is passing but say Fuck it, I CANNOT LEAVE THIS MAN. Finally Mum calls, says she's back and where am I? I lie, say that the landlady delayed giving me money, say I'm on my way. Kiss some more. I get back to the car and my dear mother who gave birth to me and fed me and loves me is standing outside the car soaked wet because? We were in Ireland, it rained a lot, she was waiting in a big carpark with no shelter and her stupid ungrateful bitch of a daughter was late because she just HAD to kiss this guy 1500 times.

On our drive home I stuck to my story about the landlady causing a delay and not giving me the money right away. My mother got all defensive on my behalf and promised to go see that lady and teach her a lesson in manners. I felt shame. Deep shame. But I could not tell her the truth and I still don't dare to.

So my question to you, pretty mother-to-be (enough sucking-up or should I continue?) who is wise and caring (enough yet?) and knows all, is this: Should I tell my mother why I was late that day?  This question was really lame. I am very sorry. Feel free to ignore. And send me sweets :-)

Guilty daughter

No. What good would it do?

It would ease your guilty conscience, of course, but seriously, that's a selfish reason to confess a sin. (We'll completely ignore the cosmic/spiritual ramifications of unconfessed sins, because I'm really tired and don't feel like getting into it.)

Basically, you know you did a shitty thing and you feel badly about it. You won't do it again. Your mom will probably be hurt by the truth (unless she completely LOVES your significant other and has a sense of humor about young-things-in-love-and-the-stupid-shit-they-do). And even if she DOES have a sense of humor about things like that, no mother wants to hear about her daughter's make-out sessions. I would just leave it alone.

Dearest Amalah,

My husband and I were recently in DC, as he was interviewing with several graphic design firms in the area.  We totally fell in love with the city, and swore we would live in one of those cute apartments near the zoo.  And then we found out that living in a run-down 1 bedroom shack near the zoo can put someone behind $1900 smakaroos a month.  That might not be a lot of money for some people, but  A.) My husband is an entry level designer and won't be making enough to cover that kind of rent, B.) I'm 4 months pregnant, and seriously doubt someone is going to hire me when I'll be out on maternity leave in 5 months, and C.) Did I mention we won't have a lot of money?  One of the firms my husband interviewed with is flying him up there to interview him again, and it is looking more and more like we'll be moving to the area. Here is where I throw myself to your mercy, Amalah, Queen of all things, and ask of you, is there ANYWHERE in DC proper, that's cute, safe (relatively at least), and... affordable?  Bear in mind, we'll need 2 bedrooms (child on the way).   I'm quickly realizing that there may be no way that we can live in the cute and wonderful town of DC, and may have to *gasp* commute!  Please, PLEASE help!!


Oh man. Renting in DC. It's a fucking nightmare.

We haven't tried to rent in this area for about four years now, but DC real estate in general is absolutely insane. Everybody wants to live in the same tiny, overcrowded neighborhoods and somehow, everybody seems to have millions and millions of dollars. I am not sure if these people actually HAVE millions of millions of dollars or if the entire population is mortgaged up to their eyeballs. We bought our tiny condo (technically one bedroom, one bathroom + loft, which means legally speaking, we can't even list as a two-bedroom unit) several years ago for a price that seemed horrifically high to us -- and the damn place has still  practically doubled in value. Our next-door neighbors sold their near-identical unit for a fucking half million dollars.


And while we're tempted to sell at these prices, there's kind of the little question of where we'd move TO, since anything slightly bigger than our unit in the neighborhoods we like seems to have extraneous zeroes in the price. So we're staying put and just trying not to elbow each other in the head too much in the bathroom every morning.

Anyway. While I'm no expert on the DC rental market, I'll do my best to suggest neighborhoods based on what I know about housing prices. Everybody wants to live in the same cool neighborhoods in Northwest. Dupont, G'town, Adams Morgan, Cleveland Park. So you need to find the uncool, up-and-coming neighborhoods. They might be slightly sketchy right now, but GODDAMN, we almost bought a place on U St. NW but thought the neighborhood was kind of ehhhh, and now U St. is totally awesome and that tiny place is probably worth a hundred billion dollars or something.

(For non-locals who may be trying to follow this nonsense for some reason: DC has four quadrants. NW, NE, SW, SE. At one time, anything other than NW basically meant Drive-by Murderville, USA, but that's rapidly changing. SE is still pretty fucking terrible, but everybody hopes the new baseball stadium and waterfront attractions will change that. But still. I wouldn't live there with a baby. Yet. I mean, some people still want Marion Barry to be mayor again, and I'm sure he's just itching to bankrupt the city and destroy the Anacostia waterfront a second time.)

Northeast is really getting nice, but a lot of people can't shake the prejudice of having "NE" in their mailing address. We've considered moving there, but have yet to find a neighborhood we really like.

So I was going to suggest a few neighborhoods (Mount Pleasant, Takoma Park, Columbia Heights, Logan Circle) that are considered up-and-coming, but then I just did a quick search for two-bedroom apartments at The City Paper and Craigslist and holy shit, you're lucky if you can stay below $2,400 a month for anything that's not Southeast.

This isn't very encouraging, but we were never able to rent in the city before we bought our place. We rented in far-out 'burbs like Germantown and Gaithersburg to save money. Our commutes were terrible and the neighborhoods were your typical chain-restaurant-strip-mall suburban nightmare, but after going to rental after rental in the city to be the seventh couple to turn in an application for a run-down one bedroom that cost $1700 a month, we gave up and decided to stay in Maryland and focus on saving for a downpayment.

Then we moved into the city and proceeded to procreate. We're backwards like that.

I'm not sure what you're actually looking to spend in rent, but it does sound like the super-cute and super-safe neighborhoods in DC are out of your price range. I'm hoping some local readers can chime in and suggest a neighborhood that's slipped my mind for some reason or offer additional guidance, but for now? Get on Craigslist, get searching, drive through as many neighborhoods as you can and see as many places as you can. Oh, and use that pregnant belly to get preferential treatment.

(Let me say one more thing: Just like I will love and defend IKEA to the death, so will I defend living in DC. I love this city. Irrationally so. The suburbs make me nervous and twitchy and I have a reverse commute with no traffic and I can walk to everything on the planet. So there.)

(We also have to keep up our city cred for the other blog in our household.)

Questions for future Smackdowns can be sent to advice@amalah.com. Questions for past Smackdowns can no longer be sent due to technical difficulties with the space/time continuum.



re: Flowers

1. I send MrZ flowers a lot. I'm a dork. I even sent him a balloon boquet one time. I'm a huge dork.

2. MrZ BRINGS me flowers but does not send flowers because it requires the use of the phone and he is scared of the telephone. He's a huge dork.


I, too, have problems with my husband sending me flowers. He tried with the gifts for a while, and, although I do like video games and Tenacious D, I don't need the Tenacious D DVD (which has not yet been watched in its entirety) or a bazillion video games or anything like that. Now we just settle for him suprising me every once in a while with a night out on the town. It works for us. Plus my husband is sweet and handsome and wonderful, even if he is a little clueless. (But, yeah, thanks for the advice. It was good.)


omg, Narsgasm!

Curly Haired Girl

Sorry to bore all the non-DCers...

Corrine: You may want to look into the downtown silver spring, md area. They're totally cute-ifying the area with shops and a theatre and such and its near a metro and not a HUGE trek into the city. Plus both the Gramax, which is brand new, (and I think the Blairs) have some rent program where if you're below a certain income for the number of people in your household, then you get a reduced rent. If you're not working and your husband is entry-level, you might qualify. Otherwise the stuff out there is pretty reasonable regardless and nicer and newer. Also, don't discount large basement apartments in NW DC. One of my friends has a gorgeous two-bedroom basement apartment in NW and I don't think it's crazy expensive. One more idea: unless Metro is crucial, further up Connecticut has some cheaper two-bedrooms and is still near cool stuff. One friend just got one in the Ellicott House for $1900 and it's really nice, with two baths and a balcony.

If you can hold off the moving until October or even December, that's when prices start going down and you can probably find something at a reasonable rate. At that point you can probably even negotiate with people a bit, since you're presumably a good, responsible tenant with a baby and all.

Good luck!


I heard an idea once that I have been itching to try-but never have. Send your hubby flowers with a note that says "please take me home to your wife". Maybe he'll get the picture.

My hubby sent me flowers at work years ago and I accidently left them in the car. He vowed to never give me flowers again.

He has kept his vow.

And I am sad about it.

Good thing he's hot.


Re DC living:
I spent 2 out of my 4 years so far in DC living in NE, on the Hill -- in addition to checking out the places Amalah mentioned (you never know, you could luck out -- my place on the Hill was so cheap because the landlord lived in ND and had no clue that rent prices were going through the roof), I would check that out. I know a few young families that live there and absolutely love it. Places in NE and SE that are pretty close to the Capitol (up until about 10th Street in NE (maybe farther) and the first several numbered streets going SE) are nice, and very family-friendly. Best of luck!

suzanna danna

My husband sent me flowers to my work place two weeks into our relationship. I started crying so hard and called my mom and was all hicuppy, "Mahoohooommm!!!!.. Heee-HeeeHee...Seeheeeheeennnt.." She was like, "BABY!, WHAT did He Do TO YOU!" Like she was going to go all carnival crazy psycho on his ass if he hurt her baby. I calmed down and explained that I was just touched that he sent me flowers and she stopped bowing up. Heh.
I bring home odd arrangements (bird of paradise and the like) to my husband regularly to make things not one sided on the flower giving deal.


I just have to pipe up for my place in Southeast. We have a beautiful 2BDR on Capitol Hill, near Eastern Market and Barracks Row on an adorable block. I would raise a baby in our neighborhood in a heartbeat -- it would be ideal, actually. There is a lot more to SE than Anacostia (which I've never even seen or been to)! (I don't think your advisee could find a place here to fit within her budget, but she should know that she does not have to look solely in NW.)


I agree about the city thing. Nothing against those who love the suburbs, but the 'burbs make me feel twitchy.

Granted, we get a lot of, "but, isn't there a lot of crime there? Can we really visit you and not die a horrible death?" But it's worth it for a pork chop sandwich at 4am and a 1 1/2 block walk to the bar and never having to drive our car unless we're visiting suburban people (which, how do people who commute from the suburbs to the city afford gas now? It's $40 to fill up the damn Hyundai every few weeks!).


My husband got me roses one time and it had all these greens in it that took away from the flowers I thought....so I threw it out! Well, come to find out he had paid like 6 bucks extra for "Greens"!! I felt like crap!


LOVE the flower question.
i've often wondered how to go about that as well....


I am one of the weird women who do not like getting flowers. I agree with the husband who would rather give gifts that last longer. On the other hand, my husband is a Jason type. Flowers for no reason fairly regularly. I am sorry, but I've managed to break him of the habit. However the tactics I used should work in reverse! I pointed out that, thoughtful as he was being (and yours is surely being with his longer lasting gifts), gifts are to make the recipient happy, not the giver, and therefore their wishes and desires should be the primary motivator.

Good luck with it!


more DC renting blah blah:

OK, now, I heart the city big time. Luckily got to live there most of the time in a comparatively dirt-cheap dorm room. However, moving back after being in the Peace Corps? Working for an NGO? We gave up on the being in the city coolness, in exchange for a palatial apartment in Arlington. WHICH I WILL TOTALLY JUSTIFY by spouting off about how if Virginia had ponied up its land LIKE IT PROMISED TO, Arlington County would have been SW DC. We had a really nice 1 BR in a high-rise for UNDER $1100/mo. WITH A POOL. AND PARKING. And there were some totally hip neighborhoods quite close (Clarendon, Shirlington), and I could still take public transpot. Now I'm out in bumfuck surburbia thanks to the whole "wanting to buy, and not some studio, thanks" thing, but I highly recommend Arlington. The End.

Also? I'm a Washingtonian subscriber, so if I get the famous Amalah edition earlier than the masses, I'll scan it in for you all.


I'm a former Washingtoner (and MISS IT! And am VISITING Labor Day weekend, YAY!), and I have to second the love for Arlington. Apartments in Arlington are totally reasonable, and I loved living in Pentagon City (even if I was living in CityCat's living room, because I was a poor student and all).


Emilie, you're so right. The areas around Eastern Market are awesome. I didn't mean to totally bash SE (although I see that I kind of did) -- I meant that while everybody has their hopes pinned on a waterfront rebirth, I think it's way too early to be moving to that particular part.

Of course, in a couple years we'll probably all be kicking ourselves for not buying property there earlier and retiring as bazillionaires.


I will also chime in with DC rent commentary. I'm not entirely sure what the Eastern Market area's rents are like, but I believe it's comparatively cheaper, and I can vouch for the area's cuteness and adorability. There are some buildings that look a tad sketch, but there are so many cute restaurants and shops. And Eastern Market itself is fantastic. Great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Another neighborhood that I hear is in the very early stages of up-and-coming is the Trinidad neighborhood. Friends of mine were thinking of buying a house there. I have another friend who lives at 1st and T NW and he says things are buildling up around the New York Ave. metro stop as well.

However, I should qualify all of that by saying that I haven't lived in DC for six months. Rents could have doubled in those areas since I've moved.

Lisa B

To the lady who doesn't get flowers... If that is your biggest gripe, you are so freaking lucky. I am insanely jealous of YOU. My hubby "forgets" Christmas and my birthday. He's done it so much that I no longer expect or ask for anything. Don't even ask about Mother's Day and Valentine's Day. I'm lucky to get a card. Most of the time, the card isn't even signed and is still in the plastic bag from the grocery store and is all beat up because it fell between the seats in the car.

I'm just saying... count your blessings. And if he's attentive, kind and turns out the be a great father, let the buying of the flowers slide. Because trust me, there are men out there who do much less in their relationships and honestly think they should win an award for coming home at night after work instead of spending their time in a bar.


Okay, I have to admit that I am glad my husband is going to DC/VA nearly every week now, so I can score my own copy of an Amalah-featured Washingtonian when it comes out (good GOD, I hope that did NOT sound as stalker-esque as I think it did). hee hee


I wholeheartedly agree with Lisa B ... been there & done that. Who cares about the flowers if your man is loving, caring, and at home with you every night?? I've gotten bunches of flowers from some real creeps in my day.

All hail Amalah, the Pretty Chosen One .. you do look very holy in that photo. Almost ethereal.


Oh - just finished the post and I totally 2nd your motion on living in DC vs. the 'Burbs. They make me feel itchy and claustrophobic for some reason. We may have to move to the area next summer and I LOATHE having to give up my nice REAL house with a YARD. Of course, in our stupidity we sold our rental property in the VA 'Burbs earlier this year thinking we wouldn't HAVE to move to the area after all. I realize now it was wishful thinking on MY part that we wouldn't have to move. Stupid, Stupid, Stupid, Stupid, Stupid, Stupid, Stupid, Stupid............


Corinne- DC proper was out of my price range too. I live in Silver Spring, but not downtown. I love my neighborhood--there are lots of parks, a community pool, kids playing, and Rock Creek Park and Sligo Creek Park are *this* close. Did I mention my house is across the street from the Forest Glen Metro station and, like, 5 block to the 495. Love it.

The other side of the Red Line is very nice as well, and more city-like, which seems like something you want. Bethesda is it's own city and is very accessible to DC. Friendship Heights/Chevy Chase can be fun too and there are a lot of new apartments in that area, not too far from a Metro station. Good luck.


Ok, I am also a DC Metro area reader. I live in Takoma Park in a house that was converted into apartments. We have the entire first floor of the house for such a reasonable price that we haven't been motivated to look into buying.

I generally feel icky about suburbs, but Takoma Park is different to me. It's got a quirky vibe that is all it's own. There are NO generic strip malls, etc and the people are really quite neighborly. It's a great place for young families and it's a 15 minute metro ride to that DC neighborhood you loved. We do that trip many weekends, but often TKPK is entertaining enough.

I also have some friends who live near Eastern Market and love it. I think there are affordable cute nooks and cranies, but you have to really dig around and get in the trenches to find the best deals. I find that alternatives to big apartment buildings have been the best apartments i've ever had here!

ok, that's my rant


As someone who lived in both silver spring and eastern market, I would recommend eastern market all the way. I lived at 6th and independence two years ago and the neighborhood was great (the food at eastern market is to die for). As of two years ago I wouldn't rent east of 8th street or south of D street. That area has probably gotten bigger but I don't know.


Renter-to-be: I live in Columbia Heights and love it, however I don't have a child. My boyfriend and I share a huge basement 1 bdrm apt. and pay less than $1000/month combined. Two bedrooms in the neighborhood can be as cheap as $1600, although they're becoming more and more rare. If I were you I'd look for things labelled as 1 bedroom + den in an up and coming neighborhood as the lovely Amalah already mentioned. I mean until the kid's a little older they aren't going to notice that their bedroom is a small box. Other neighborhoods to check out: Petworth, Shaw, Brookland, and Ivy City.


i used to work at a hardware store where sold hot dogs/cheese dogs/sausages on the weekends. you could get a dog and a drink for under a dollar. what a deal! cashiers (me) were the chosen ones to run it, except we always ate (stole) more than we sold. i actually got into an argument over that stand and subsequently got fired/quit/walked out.

that whole post and the one small mention of food is what i pick up on. heh.


Firstly, you do look quite holy in the picture above. Nice touch. Also? I own six of the eight products you bought at Sephora. We should totally go to Sephora together.
Regarding living in DC: I haven't in 6 years, but I lived near Eastern market for a few years while I was going to school, and then I moved to G street in SW, and I loved it there. Very cute neighborhood, Metro just a few blocks away. And my 2 BR with hardwood floors and huge walk in closet? Was $600. Yes. $600. I now pay three times that for a TINY place in San Francisco. Sigh. I miss DC.


The bed slats that you use for most any bedframe from IKEA - if you can't use a boxspring - are called LADE... pronounced Lah-day.

And now you know.



Heather? I have five. Count me in, we're going shopping!


DC: well I don't live there, but my best friend does and I'm there several times a year. Like everyone else I love Georgetown and all the other pricey hoods but I have to chime in on the Arlington bandwagon. My friend had a GORGEOUS and HUGE townhouse near Clarendon. And her mortgage was significantly less than my 1 bedroom Los Angeles rent. Now she lives in Lake Potomac in a mini mansion. I miss Arlington.

Real Girl

Real Boy brings me flowers from Whole Foods when he gets groceries, and I love the sweetness. But as to the fancy, $100 bouquets for no reason, I just can't justify it in my head when that could be a shoe down payment...

Anyhoo, I'm so glad someone's finally talking about how great it is to raise a kid in a city! I grew up in Brooklyn in an honest to goodness urban fairytale of chalk hopscotch, double dutch jump rope, and roller skating on the pavement.

But oh boy these days the prices have jacked up so much that my folks' neighbors are moms who want to schedule their five year olds until 8 pm so there's no time for street games. Sad.

Oh, and there's the whole never-learning-how-to-drive thing. I still have to do that someday.


I lived in a gorgeous apartment in Rockville for 1000 a month. I hated the area, but my apartment was awesome.

When we move back to DC next summer, we're hoping to live in the Eastern Market area. I worked on the Hill, and the area is less expensive, but not really SE like Anacostia.


i hope you went with the right profile? the right profile is your best side. although blah blah blah worship etc all your sides are lovely OF COURSE but the right is loveliest.


Oh yeah, I forgot. LOVE Shaw, and it's totally the next big thing.


Another (former) DC girl who lived north of all the "cool" stuff on Connecticut (very close to Ellicot House, mentioned above) and then in Arlington. Had nice places and semi-decent prices in both. By the way, on that part of Connecticut you can walk to the Tenleytown or Van Ness Metro stops. It's a 10-15 minute walk, but totally worth it, in my opinion, to avoid driving.


Great smackdown this week! I liked the questions a lot.
I also LOVE getting flowers, and although they take one look at me and spontaneously decide to stop living, I adore them wholeheartedly for the five minutes they are perky and unwithered.
What with London being quite far away from DC and me never having been there, I have nothing to add in terms of the living quandry, good luck though.

Joke (yes that is my real name)

Try Capitol Hill! My friend just moved there and its affordable.


Hi Amalah.

I don't know if you follow Sundry, another fun online blog/journal/whatever, but ANYWAY, she became pg just about the same time as you and has just given birth.

Here are her and baby Riley's pictures.



I've been reading for a little while now. I just thought I'd post. =)

I sometimes wonder how I can get my boyfriend to actually get me flowers as well. The real kicker? HIS MOTHER IS A FLORIST! He said its because he doesn't want to abuse his mom.

But my real reason for commenting... I live in the Maryland area. So I know a lot of people who work in DC, etc. A lot of them live around me - and it's an hour commute from where I am. There's a train station not too far from where I am, either. However... it's very expensive. If you go down a county or two south from me (if you want to email me, I'll tell you where I am...), it's a lot cheaper, so I've heard. There are also a lot of people who live in VA and commute up, but I'm not sure how expensive that is.

Good luck!


DC: I rent in NE DC at 9th and C and I love it. It is completely safe and I see lots of couples out walking with assundry newborns and toddlers. You will definitely find somethign cheaper than Adams-Morgan especially if you are willing to live in an English basement which there are lots of. We rent a 2-bedroom for what an efficiency would cost you in the ritzy neighborhood. I've also lived in SE around Eastern Market and loved it. Don't give up!

Bonanza Jellybean

Me thinks you might be a bit hard on your hair... from that picture you posted, I wouldn't think "assy" right off the bat. I thought it looked pretty good. As someone having a truly assy hair day involving a clip, much hairspray, roots and admission of total defeat, I can only stand in awe.

Sounds like you're redirecting your anger at IKEA to your hair. Take it out on IKEA- don't be one of those "BUT I LOVE HIM... YOU DON'T KNOW THE GOOD SIDE OF HIM" women on talk shows. Hold IKEA accountable for its behavior- that's the only way to get it to change.


My now-husband never was good at the flowers thing, and still isn't.

So our compromise was that I'd get a really kick-ass wedding ring. The clincher was that I could never-again whine about flowers. So now when I'm wistful for flowers, I look at the ring. If I really want flowers, I buy my own.

Not much help, I know. But compomises are everywhere.


As someone who lives in the epicenter of Eastern Market (3 doors down from Banana Cafe), it's full on gentrified. I agree with all of the other SE residents to safe it's totally child friendly. There are great parks with that plastic flooring for kids. depending on where you look the rent is cheaper. There are two option I can give you. 1. Check out the Ellen Wilson Houses which have a sliding scale (all of them are at least 2 bedrooms). 2. There's the apartment above mine. It's small (about 750 sqaure feet) but there are two (tiny) bedrooms and the rent is $1400. AND it's two blocks away form the metro. email me if you want more info.


I have lived in all 3 DC "states"- DC proper, MD (Rockville) and VA (Arlington), and I have to say I am a HUGE fan of Arlington. In my old apartment I had a view of the Lincoln Memorial, I can afford a cab to anywhere in the city, and I can walk to almost anything I need. I have friends who thought they could never leave the city who came to my apartment and decided to move instantly. They realized they were actually closer to Downtown and it was more easily accessible from Arlington than from where they were.

However, I will add this caveat. I work downtown and go to law school downtown- I am downtown 16 hours a day. With a schedule like mine, the safety and convenience of Arlington is critical. I definitely miss parts of living in the city, but for now I can trade those for a safer walk home at 10 every night, a dry cleaner and convenience store in my building, garage parking, and FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, NO COCKROACHES.

Here's my advice (that you have no reason to pay any attention to, because you don't know me). Move into a "DC area" suburb when you get here. Then take a year or so to figure out DC. There are a lot of areas and each has its own feel. Even among my closest friends, we totally differ in the areas we feel most comfortable in. It's easy enough to move out of a rental, and once you actually know where you want to live it's a lot easier to figure out what you can and cannot compromise on to make that happen.


Thanks for the answer :) We actually just moved in last week to Woodbridge, VA. We spent several days searching for apartments, and finally drove out of DC screaming "YOU FILTHY WHORE.... why do I still love you so?" and mourned the loss of the dream that we had of living in DC proper. I have however, made my peace, and have enjoyed living near IKEA, Potomac Mills, and various other wonderful things. Plus? I'm not the one commuting :) So... that said, I will keep all of those things in mind, and when we hit the big bucks (ha..ha..) we'll move in with the filthy whore we still love and want to be with... until then, we're here in the 'burbs.

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