DC is inherently a shy city.  If you visit for under a week you think its grand sweeping streets and majestic monuments are poignant and a bit overmuch. If you live here for under 2 years, you think everything here is about power and who has less degrees of separation from the President or the Chief Justice or the Director of an agency. You find it a bit pretentious. Somewhere near the 5 year mark (less if you are really adventurous) you discover that you couldn’t possibly live anywhere else.

Version 2The sidewalks are clean, the architecture is huge and comfortable at the same time, and the history is everywhere and interesting. The people at first seem faceless, we are all just passing through, and you’re just one of the crowd…but eventually you find your way into your neighborhood. Sometimes it is your actual neighborhood, but more often than not it’s more like a tribe. You see the same people at the same places all the time. Your ‘neighborhood’ may be spread across the city, but it’s dynamic and interesting because of that. They push you to discover new things, meet new members of the tribe, relax with you in the comfort of all the things you have in common. It’s an organic occurrence and that’s why it’s powerful.

The one problem is the cost of living (and the traffic but there is nothing I can do about that). It is among the highest in the country. DC is shy and super classy and has expensive taste. At least that’s the way it seems from years 5-8. Once you’ve earned DC’s trust and she counts you among her closest friends that’s when you start to notice a trend. The rent will always be high. Restaurants tend to be expensive. At first glance.

Everyone knows the Smithsonians are free. That is just the beginning. From bottomless brunches to workshops, concerts, movies in the park, jazz in the garden, and so much more DC offers a host of ways to make up for that rent that is eating up most of your paycheck.

IMG_2056I started this blog in 2014 to highlight how unique the bar scene in DC had become. I was enthralled with the hand-crafted cocktails and the personalities behind them. I believe we are reinventing the roaring 20s with one caveat, we have a less than booming economy. We are all the struggling artists that drank and wrote and painted and sang their way through Paris. We just don’t have the luxury of cheap rent.

When, at the end of January 2015, I stepped away from my comfortable paying jobs with their steady income and fabulous benefits to step into my own right as an artist (Interior Design), I realized I had to get creative in another way. I had to find all those cost-effective ways that I could enjoy this vibrant city on an unsteady income.

So join my tribe as I attempt (and I daresay achieve) living well, more fully, and more enjoyably with little or no money to spend on entertainment. I’ll faithfully log my discoveries, tips, and ideas here so you can benefit and become one of DC’s most trusted friends.

Logo created and copyrighted by Justin Lloyd Designs.

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