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Got Plans?

The Going Out Gurus
Thursday, December 16, 2010; 1:00 PM

The Going Out Guide staff discuss great ideas for local entertainment, dates and family fun.

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Alex Baldinger: Welcome in to Got Plans this week, everyone. Hope you're enjoying the snowfall from somewhere warm and that your afternoon commutes aren't too mucked up.Before we get started, a quick reminder that you can keep up with us through Twitter (@goingoutguide) and on facebook.com/goingoutguide. We've also got weekly e-mail newsletters that are quite helpful, if you ask us (scroll down to Arts & Living).NOW -- We have a terrific giveaway today: Two tickets to Saturday's Wizards/Heat matchup. Yes, that means you can boo LeBron once again, and with more lust now than before!In honor of LeBron's much-derided "Decision" TV special this summer to publicly announce his jilting of Cleveland, we're asking you: What is your most regrettable nightlife Decision of recent months?We'll leave that wide open to interpretation. Best response gets the seats.And with that, let's roll.

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snow plans?: Best place to ride out a winter-weather rush hour in Capitol Hill?

Fritz Hahn: Depends if you're driving or not! For me, I wouldn't mind be stranded at the Tune Inn for a couple of rounds of bourbon-and-PBR boilermakers and a big warming patty melt to fight off the cold.Another option: Staking out a spot by the Skee-Ball machine downstairs at the Pour House. Will definitely give you something to do to pass the time.

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Mid-20s 1st REAL Date night: Hey GOGusI am taking a girl out this Wednesday night and having a bit of difficult time finding cool things to do. I have found a few things like For the Love of DC 2.0 and possibly ice skating (although i think 32 degrees is a bit cold for that) and or/Frankies Factory @ Rock and Roll Hotel (but not sure how good its gonna be.)Point being I would like to stay away from the traditional sit down restaurant type of deal. Do you have any good ideas? Thanks

Alex Baldinger: Hmm, have you tried Estadio yet? Strikes me as an excellent spot for a fun first-date. You can order as much or as little as you like since it's tapas-style, the vibe is very fun and laid back, and once your vessel of porron hits the table, any first-date jitters will fly out the window, perhaps by necessity. Yes, it's a sit-down, but it is far from traditional, by D.C. standards.

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New Tradition?: Hi guys,The fam has to shake it up this year so that my sister can go with her husband to visit his family this Christmas Eve. So it's me and the parents. We're going to see Oklahoma at Arena Stage, but wanted to do dinner first. Any tips on who will be open? Thanks!

Stephanie Merry: I just tried calling Next Stage, the restaurant inside Arena Stage, to see if they'd be open, but no answer. I'm guessing if there's a show, it will be open. If you want something more upscale, you could always splurge and head to CityZen.

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WIzards Tickets?: Is this how we do it?

Stephanie Merry: Yes. As Montell Jordan would say: This is how we do it. You also need to amuse us with a funny story, though...

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Worst Nightlife Decision - New Year's Eve Edition : I was 19 years old, a freshman in college, and it was New Year's Eve. My girlfriends and I were excited to spend our first New Year's Eve together and planned a big night out downtown. We rented a hotel room in Georgetown, got all dolled up, and trotted with our fake IDs to Tony & Joe's for a "classy" pre-dinner. After sitting at our table and showing the server our fakes, we got kicked out. With a few hours to kill before going to the party at a club (I believe it was Lulu's is that even still open?) that we had way overpaid for, we decided to go back to the hotel room, order chinese take out, and pre-game with a nice bottle of Popov vodka and diet coke. We somehow ended up stumbling to the club, where we were ultimately denied because we were visibly way too drunk, and way under-aged. We learned our lesson, and although it was a horribly planned night all-around, definitely a New Year's Eve to remember.....or not to.

Alex Baldinger: Pregaming with Chinese food??

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Fancy shoes: Hi Gurus,Got a fashion-y question for you today. My very good friend is getting married in NY in a couple of weeks and does not have shoes for the wedding yet. She'll be here in town next week and I'd like to take her shoe shopping - where are some good options for very high end, fancy shoes (preferrably in DC)? I was in Bloomies over Thanksgiving and was sorely disappointed in their shoe department!Thanks!

Holly Thomas: Hu's Shoes in Georgetown is the obvious choice -- very fashion-forward, very high-end. Simply Soles in the Georgetown mall is another good one; plenty of glittery, sparkly pairs to be had, and the options might be a little more wedding-day-friendly than Hu's. Otherwise try Neiman Marcus and maybe the Anthropologie Accessories store in Chevy Chase.

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Cooking Classes in DC or Montgomery county?: I want to get my husband a cooking class for Christmas (honestly, he's okay with it!). Something basic, a 1-4 classes during the weekend. Any recommendations on something local and fun?

Lavanya Ramanathan: In MoCo, there's a great school, actually: L'Academie de Cuisine, where they've got all sorts of pastry, knife-skills and cooking classes, including vegetarian. There are even a ton of couples classes, which is kind of the best Christmas present, isn't it -- one where you get to enjoy it, too?

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Current : Hi Gurus,I have plans to meet a group of friends at Current in Dupont Circle this Saturday. I'm usually more of a bar (Rocket Bar, Big Hunt) type of gal. I think have the dress code down but am unsure of what to expect at Current? I've been to Eighteenth Street Lounge before. Is the vibe similar? Thanks!

Fritz Hahn: Current's crowd is a little more upscale/uptight than ESL's. More loungey, less dancing. (That Current's upstairs doesn't have a dedicated dance floor is a reason for this; it also means it's more crowded by the bar.)If you get into the music -- mostly house and Top 40 remixes -- it can be fun. The sake cocktails are solid. And don't forget to check out the bathrooms, but remember to close the door behind you.

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Restaurant for a foodie: Hi, please help. My husband's bday is on xmas eve, so you can guess how hard it is to plan something special for him. He's a big foodie, loves Komi restaurant but ofcourse they're booked up. I tried several restaurants, including Citranel (spelling?), tried reserving the day before and the weekend after xmas eve. No luck. So I'm on the hunt for a nice restaurant and some sort of activity to celebrate with him. Suggestions please please please?

Justin Rude: There are a number of great restaurants that may still have spots available. I would try 2941, , Poste, Corduroy, Galileo III (Roberto is offering a special 7 fishes menu for $60 per person), 701, Rasika and Vidalia.

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Hallowean Face Paint Decision 2010: Went out as Charlie Chaplin, replete with white face paint and pencil-thin mustache. Great fun, but, by the end of the evening, all the make-up around my mouth had worn off from making out with various characters.Lesson learned: Never paint your face if you're going to be rubbing up against other folks. Another lesson learned: don't get so sauced that you make out with random strangers on a Saturday night.

Fritz Hahn: This is a lesson in two parts. Congrats.

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Music, record stores: Having just moved here from Seattle, I'm looking for a record store in DC that caters to my snobby hipster northwestern indie rock tastes - any independently owned local record stores in the District similar to an Easy Street or Sonic Boom?

Alex Baldinger: Crooked Beat in Adams Morgan (2116 18th St. NW), Red Onion Records (1901 18th St. NW) and Som Records (1843 14th St. NW) are three of the biggies in D.C. proper. You'll also want to keep an ear out for the D.C. Record Fair which happens every few months at Black Cat or, more recently, U Street Music Hall.You'll also definitely want to check out Rock 'N Shop this Sunday at the Black Cat. There will be vinyl.

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Snow Decisions: It was the Snowmeggadon last year. I grew up in Northern VA and know that it's not possible to leave the house in any amount of snow, let alone that much...but boyfriend from Chicago, scoffed at DC-area snow-weenies, and I decided to give it a try. We ventured out on the metro to a coworker's party in VA --took forever to get there, but we carefully noted the time of the last train. Had some fun, then headed back to metro to find it closed up for the night. Bicker in the snow for awhile about whose fault it was (his, obviously), try to get a cab to DC (impossible), end up slinking back to coworkers apartment, defeated, and asking for somewhere to sleep. Don't leave home in the snow.

Alex Baldinger: Worst Decision: Trusting the Metro.

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Good theater in Washington DC: Hey GOG's,This isn't my usual question because I never think about going to the theater in the District. I've decided to expand my horizon and go as a treat to myself during the holiday season. I've looked but nothing appeals to me. Have any of you seen any great performance that I might have overlooked?Grateful for your ideas.Thanks

Stephanie Merry: It would help to know what you nixed, but here are a few options. One of my favorite current productions is "Oklahoma!" which theater critic Peter Marks also adored. On the other end of the spectrum is "Wife Swappers," which is as raunchy as it is hilarious. "Mojo" is a pretty gritty show, but that may appeal to you if you're not into sort of stereotypical theater. Keegan Theatre's "Golden Boy" about a violinist turned boxer also seems like a good bet.

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Day out in DC: The in-laws are coming to visit for Christmas and I'd like to plan a day out for them on Dec 23rd. They've seen most of the museums, but I'd like to arrange some other unique to DC activities. I have reservations for the Capital tour and was thinking lunch nearby (Old Ebbitt or the Willard maybe?) Do you have any suggestions for lunch or another nearby activity? Thanks!

Lavanya Ramanathan: Or swing up to Chinatown to have some fun shopping at the holiday market -- you could even make a stop at Poste for some mulled wine and gingerbread, as Fritz suggested last week.

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NYE 2011: Hey GOG this will be my first NYE being 21+! Between Park at 14th and Lux Lounge for NYE, which would you choose? Also, whats up with all of these clubs offering dinner buffets for NYE? Is it realistic to expect to be able to get some food or should I come fed like I originally intended?

Fritz Hahn: Park is going to have a slightly older crowd with much more fancy attire, and it's going to be jammed. (I've been by in the past.) Also, $40 just to get in? Lux will be more fun, especially if you can get a group of friends in with you, and that open bar from 8 to 10 -- included in the $20 ticket -- will allow you to pregame there without having to barhop.As far as NYE buffets -- in my experience, they're going to be bar food (wings, quesadillas, etc) and there will be lines. I wouldn't risk trying to fill up on the buffet if you have a long night ahead of you.

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Regrettable Nightlife Decision: Not quite nightlife, but happened at night, so I am going for it. As I was taking the bus home yesterday, I dawdled a bit walking home from the bus stop (looking in store windows), before I realized that I had no real food at home. I decided to go to Earls Sandwiches to get a pork and fries sandwich (best sandwich ever, anywhere), but got there 5 minutes after they closed. Dejected and freezing, I decided to forgo walking to any of the other nearby food establishments, and instead eat whatever I could scavenge back home. And thus, I got to sit on the carpet, eating crackers with leftover latke toppings (onion relish and dill dip) while enviously watching top chef and lamenting my inability to plan ahead for anything.

Fritz Hahn: For future use: Galaxy Hut serves food until at least 10. I got a very good burger at Arlington Rooftop Bar and Grill at like 9:30 last week, too.

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Most regretable nightlife decision - not going out: A few weeks ago I decided to forgo a sure to be fun pub crawl to go out on a date with a guy I had just met watching football during the day... Big mistake - he is one of the most boring people I have ever met. He has a love affair with Google Maps and proceeded to tell me how spends hours looking stuff up on Maps. I wish he had brought it up sooner and maybe I would have stuck to my original plan.

Alex Baldinger: Perhaps he is an aspiring cartographer and you need to be more encouraging of his passions?!No that's unlikely. Sounds like a poor decision.

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worst.decision.ever.: my worst nightlife/real life decision was last dec 26....celebrating the end of christmas as well as a former sorority sister's birthday. we were out in baltimore. started the night at her house pre-gaming with a BOTTLE of firefly (btwn 3 ppl). the we walked to some bars in canton, drank some more, eventually i got separated from the group, got lost on the streets of baltimore, lost coat, purse, keys, cell phone, everything....yet somehow managed to find my friend's apt at like 4am without any major injuries....dont try this at home kids, im a professional :/

Stephanie Merry: PSA for the day: Don't split a bottle of firefly between three people.

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Re: First Real Date Night: I'd second the Estadio recommendation though would note that most small plates are in the $8-14 range and thus, get expensive quickly. Other similar ideas are Jaleo/Oyamel/Kushi. And not to get all Patti Stanger on you, but dinner/drinks is a solid first date because you actually get to talk to your date. Skating, museums, and concerts are fun, but activities make it difficult to chat. Maybe get more creative on date number 2?

Alex Baldinger:

Lavanya Ramanathan: A lot of Patti Stanger types also are anti dinner/drinks as a first date, because a.) if the date is going badly, it's hard to leave in the middle of dinner and b.) It puts a lot of pressure on people to "perform." I stand by activities like a cool walk or a festival or museum (not a concert, because it's loud) because you can see whether you share interests and actually have fun instead of feeling trapped in another tedious dinner. Good question for coming chats though -- what makes a great first date??

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Fashion question: Help! I have to find a dress for a February wedding in Chicago. Would this dress be appropriate? http://www.alexiaadmor.com/d931ms-strapless-mesh-sequin-dress-with-p-481.htmlI'm 38, if that matters. If that's not a good dress, what would you suggest?? IThe last wedding I've been to was my own and I'm kind of lost as to what to wear!

Holly Thomas: What a fun dress! If the wedding is in the evening and will be on the formal side, I think this could work. If it's an afternoon wedding, a dress that's both strapless and sparkly might be a bit much -- this one has some glitter but a bit more coverage; these options from J Crew are strapless but understated. And actually, the "weddings & parties" section of dresses on the J Crew site is chock-full of good deals -- now's a good time to scoop one up if 2011 has a lot of weddings on the books.

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Bad Decisions: For Halloween, my friends and I had several parties to attend including a stint at Rock 'N Roll hotel. To make everything easier for us, we rented a limo and dubbed the night Limoween.About 3 stops and unsure how many drinks in, we stopped at a friend's party on the Hill. As we left the party, I was walking down the steep steps and did a comedic pratfall that ended with me falling about 15 feet down the stone steps.The wind knocked out of me, I walked up, right as rain and only a slight pain due to the alcohol. The night continued with a slight pain but nothing terrible.When I woke up in the morning, I could barely move because my back was so sore. One of my roommates had to come and roll me over so I could even just get out of bed.I can't tell if it was a good idea or a bad idea to continue drinking after the fall--would my back still have hurt so much? The limo was fantastic but perhaps drinking and limoing shouldn't go together.

Fritz Hahn: No, no, no -- drinking and limoing SHOULD go together. A cab would have been a much worse idea.

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This year I hate Christmas: Is there any place I can go to get away from it on the 25th. I would like to eat out but not a Christmas buffet. Should I just do Chinese and a movie?

Lavanya Ramanathan: One more personal suggestion: I like to just wander around the city, and stumble on whatever's open, who's out. It's a sure-fire way to have a weird/fun experience.

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U Street Regret: Being in my mid 30's now, I opted for a low key Bday last month with my wife by going to a nice dinner and a movie. We got home relatively early and were settling in when I started getting texts from friends who were on U Street. My wife, being the great person she is, insisted I go say hello and have a drink since a couple of them don't come to DC often and we live down the street. "I'll be back in an hour" were my last words. And I proceed to try and recapture my 20's by accepting various shots and new drink concoctions I've never heard of. Flash forward and my wife is yelling at me for getting home at 6am and I respond "stop I'm sick" and "I've been home since 3 but in the bathroom". How I survived that night I don't know, and I don't mean the alcohol. Definitely my most regrettable nightlife decision of the year.

Alex Baldinger: Sounds like it was your wife who made the poor decision by being so accomodating.Ladies: If you give your husbands an inch, they'll take a mile. Every time.

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Most Regretable Nightlife Decision: I'm a big movie fan, so a lot of my nighttime activities usually involve going to the movies. A month or so ago, I got a pass to see a preview screening of "Skyline." The screening was on the Thursday night before its official release, which is never a good sign for a movie's quality. The trailers looked so cool, and there was some decent buzz for it within the "nerd" community, to which I profess a connection. I decided to buck the trend and trek all the way into Georgetown from outside the beltway to catch what I thought might be a pretty cool, entertaining flick. I ended up seeing one of the worst movies ever, and even with my lowered expectations from the screening time, it didn't come close to reaching any sort of "cool" or "fun" factor for me. Not only that, I somehow forgot to place that essential napkin under the bag of popcorn, so I ended up leaving the theater with a huge butter-flavored topping stain on my pants.It was definitely one of those nights I should have just stayed home.

Stephanie Merry: Thank you for being one of the few to submit something PG-rated enough to post. Also, butter-flavored topping stain made me laugh out loud. Sorry.

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Alex Baldinger: Wow, some of you certainly have been a part of some awful decisions, but let's keep them PG-13, people. Can't print some of these!

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Brunch?: Hi! I'm in the never ending search for brunch. This go-around I am focused on Foggy Bottom. My group thinks Dupont and Logan are too far to trek. Can you suggest somewhere in Foggy Bottom or Georgetown for a group of 6 to brunch? Thank you!

Alex Baldinger: The consensus is Leopold's. Great brunch and dessert.

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Most Regretable Nightlife Decision-Halloween Part Deux: Going on a first date with a guy from match.com on Halloween while dressed as Wonder Woman. Awesome in theory but horrible in practice and a waste of an awesome Halloween costume.

Alex Baldinger: Was your date dressed up as well or just you?? I'm hoping it was the latter.

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Sweet Sixteen Party: Something fun for 6 to 8 15 to17 year old girls to do in DC, late afternoon-early evening Thursday 12/30. Restaurant already picked. Activity should allow them to giggle and chatter without disturbing others. They will be on their own (hovering dad not allowed), and will arrive via Metro from Bethesda. Thank you

Lavanya Ramanathan: Hi, can you tell us which restaurant, so we can make some suggestions around there?

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Fashion Question: First off, I am the girl with the blue suede boots from a few weeks ago and I have been rocking them ever since - thanks so much! Now I have another footwear-related question: what are the best snow boots for a Florida girl hoping to survive the winter?

Holly Thomas: Hi, fellow Florida girl! I've been scouring eBay and thrift stores ever since the original Snopocalypse, looking for a good deal on Sporto or Sorel boots -- those two brands get my vote, but North Face, Columbia, Kenetrek and Patagonia make good options too. For traipsing around the city, you want something waterproof and probably stain-resistant, with a good shearling lining and some heavy-duty traction. I know a few people who swear by Hunter boots with fleece socks, so you might want to try that option for days that are more slushy, less icy. Typing that sentence just filled me with cold-weather dread.

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Clothing: I recently discovered a hole in a beloved cashmere sweater. Any tips on where I can take it to be repaired? MoCo or NW DC preferred. Thanks!

Holly Thomas: it's on the small side. If it's bigger than say, the tip of your pinkie finger, it's probably better to donate it to a shelter/charity shop/Goodwill.

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Krispy Kreme, Homeless Lady, Tide detergent, ihop: My going out story. Poor decisions all around. After recently moving to the DC area, not really knowing how the metro system works, a group of friends who all went to school around here and I decide to go out on a typical friday. Pre-game in Arlington and then head out to Dupont was the game plan. All is going well, we head to Mad Hatter, where, of course no one is dancing but the place is back. Well, I'm a guy and I like to dance. So, my friends and I started a dance party, all 5 of us . .slowly convincing other self-conscious 20-somethings to join us on the dance floor. about 10 shots later and a few beer chases. I'm clearly inebriated and we all decided it's time to head out.Waiting for the metro in Dupont, The last train for the night is coming and my brilliant self decides, oh wait. . I want to go to Krispy Kreme. Not knowing how to get around at all, with all my friends on the metro, I decide to ask resident homeless lady if she knows how to get to Krispy kreme. In exchange, I'd buy her a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts. She agrees. The homeless lady and I enjoy our donuts until I realize, I have no idea where I am and i'm still way too drunk. Oh yea, and I spent all my cash on donuts.I hail down the first cab I see and I tell him that i have no idea where i'm going i just need to get home. He starts driving and I end up in Anacostia. Excuse me Mr. Cab driver. This looks nothing like home. I'm scared Sh*tless and eventually. .we get back to arlington. I check my wallet, no cash. Mr. Cab Driver, can you take me to an ATM. No debit card, only credit. Mr. Cab Driver, I have no money.I barter with him for a half an hour and eventually he agrees that if i buy him . . .5 bottles of Tide laundry detergent, we are even. Here, Mr. Cab Driver, 5 tides and we are even. Now I'm in Ballston, across from the iHop. No Idea where i am. It's roughly 5 am. I decided to go to iHop, get the Breakfast Sampler and Coffee, crash there until 7am. . .when one of my friends finally calls me asking me where I am. Well, me and Maristka, the Russian waitress have been enjoying ourselves the past 2 hrs at the local ihop.Moral of the story: Never ditch the last train for Krispy Kreme, not matter how warm and delicious they are. sorry it was so long, details were necessary

Fritz Hahn: There is a screenplay in here. I can feel it.

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Wonder Woman response: He was dressed up (nominally) as a cowboy. I, on the other hand, was rocking a full Wonder Woman costume-boots, a wig and the golden lasso of truth.

Alex Baldinger: I love this. Wonder Woman and a half-hearted Cowboy. What was that conversation like?

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In need of a smoochin': Having a Christmas party tomorrow night and I MUST have mistletoe for the party. BUT I CAN'T FIND IT ANYWHERE!!! Any leads or suggestions? I've called a few florists, but no dice.

Stephanie Merry: I'm kind of crafty, so my first inclination would be DIY. Something like this. Cute, right? If you can't find a florist and you're not into felt and glue guns, then I bet Michael's will have plastic replicas if not the real deal.

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Wedding shoes: Some help for the woman looking for wedding shoes. If she is going to stop at Hu's Shoes, she can also stop at Cusp, Barney's, and Intermix in Georgetown. All carry high-end brands. However, if I were her I would head to Chevy Chase and go to the Jimmy Choo store at the Shops at Wisconsin Place. Also in Wisconsin Place is another Barney's Coop, and right next door is Saks, which has a great shoe section. If she strikes out there, she still has Neiman Marcus and the aforementioned Bloomingdales. Another option would be to go to Tyson's Galleria and hit the Stuart Weitzman store along with Saks and Neimans, and if none of that works, head to Tyson's Corner and try Nordstrom and Bloomingdales there.

Holly Thomas: Good advice from a serious shoe-shopper -- thanks!

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Let it snow!: My partner and I are planning on frolicking through the snow this afternoon - and also plan on walking around the city looking at lights. We just love making the Yuletide gay! Are there some great places to duck into for some nice cozy winter drinks?

Stephanie Merry: How about some bars with fireplaces?

Fritz Hahn: The Willard's Round Robin bar is a festive spot with hot drinks, and the lobby is full of seasonal glitz and glitter.Poste has a lovely menu if you find yourself in Penn Quarter, with terriffic hot drinks and eggnog.

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Cookie Tin?: This may be a stretch, but do you have any clue where to buy cookie tins (not the kind filled with popcorn...) in the district? Target was a bust. I need to package up my holiday baked goods!

Alex Baldinger: Whenever I need something like that, I assume the answer is Bruce Variety. Give them a shot. If not, there's a hardware store and a Hallmark-type gifts store next door. One of them must have cookie tins.

Lavanya Ramanathan: I feel like I saw a ton of tins at Ikea. Maybe give them a call.

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regrettable decision, VA: my regrettable nightlife decision is the fact that i decided to live where i live (about 27 miles SW of the city) so long ago when buying my home. seriously impacts trying to enjoy the nightlife that you guys write about ;-). hmmm, while this may not have happened in the past few months, this year it's especially been thrown in my face due to a good percentage of friends being married with kids and no desire to 'trek' into DC like the old days...... i need new friends?? ;-p

Stephanie Merry: And your real estate lesson for the day...

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holiday: What restaurants or bars are the most decked out for the holiday in the area?

Fritz Hahn: Nellie's at 9th and U is a RIOT of colored lights right now. Over-the-top festive. On the other side of the coin, I like Martin's Tavern in Georgetown -- lots of wreaths and bows, but it feels more homey and old-world than like Santa exploded on the bar.Oh, and the Willard, natch.

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A Not-So-Good Night: It was the third night of freshman year. I had come back early in the morning from a frat house ... [CENSORED -- ed.]... as I ran down the staircases, and making quite a spectacle. It was the worst run of my life.

Alex Baldinger: Yee-ikes.

Stephanie Merry: And as someone who saw the original story, I'm pretty sure it was the worst night of her life, too...

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Worst NYE ever: My worst nightlife decision ever actually took place in Portland, Maine. A few years ago, I went to an expensive open bar party with a couple who were having some problems. They spent the night fighting; I spent the night waiting in line at the bar for drinks. Shortly after midnight, I decided to call it a night and go home. Because the lines for cabs were so long and I was drunk, I thought it'd be a great idea to walk home instead (about a mile walk over a bridge). It was roughly 30 degrees out and I was wearing a short skirt, fishnets, heels, and no jacket. I'm trudging across the bridge when I notice someone following me very closely. As he starts to get closer and closer to me, I sped up, until I was literally sprinting and didn't stop until I finally reached home. On the plus side, it kept me warm! The moral of the story: just wait for a cab, especially if it's the middle of the night in the middle of the winter in Maine.

Fritz Hahn: You think winters are bad here, people ...

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Cookie Tins: The Container Store sells TONS of them, all shapes, sizes and designs. I always get compliments on my cookie tins! (And cookies, of course)

Alex Baldinger: Ah. This also seems like a slam-dunk. Thanks.

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RE: FANCY SHOES: Very high end + wedding screams Christian Louboutin (or Manolo or Jimmy Choo or the like). So I'd head to Saks and Neiman Marcus in Chevy Chase. There's also a freestanding Choo store there.

Holly Thomas: More good advice! I'm going to add an observation -- the local Saks and Neimans certainly have plenty of Louboutins, Manolos, etc, but the in-store selection generally leans toward the conservative side, so looking at the website and visiting the brick-and-mortar stores are two very different experiences. But with so many chain shops/big-name stores floating around Chevy Chase, the chatter will be bound to find something there.

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Worst Nightlife Decision for All DCians: Taking the last metro home. That thing stops and waits for eternity at every stop. Regret not taking a cab every time.

Alex Baldinger: Depends on how far you've got to go. I used to have an apartment near Twinbrook Metro. As much as I hated last train rides, there was no way I was shelling out for a cab from downtown.

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Re: Most regrettable nightlife decision of recent months: Dear Gurus,With such an incendiary question, I think each of the Gurus should post theirs.Thanks

Fritz Hahn: I think I have mentioned on here before that my friends and I refer to going to Russia House as "making a bad decision." As in, "What do you feel like doing tonight? I dunno -- want to make a bad decision?" There are reasons for this, most of which involve chasing high-test Russian vodka with high-test Russian beer. And for some reason, in the middle of that second rocks glass of Putinka, you may start to forget that you're drinking vodka.

Alex Baldinger: Mine took place during my college days in College Park -- land of poor decisions.Tuesday nights used to be Power Hour night at a now-closed place called Lupo's -- some of you probably remember this. It also happened to be $1 Miller Lites night at nearby Cornerstone. Needless to say, Tuesday nights were a great night to go out.But not when you have a crucial exam the next morning in a class called "Intermediate Theories of Political Science," especially when you never took the course's pre-requisite.Alarm went off mid-way through the 90 minute exam. I showed up with 20 minutes left. I did not pass the exam and ended up dropping the course.And that's partly how I ended up here.

Stephanie Merry: I'm anticipating this will be my worst nightlife decision: I forgot it was going to snow today, so I will be going from our holiday happy hour to various parties around town in three-inch heels (after numerous glasses of bubbly, no doubt). If I don't break my ankle, it'll be a miracle.

Lavanya Ramanathan: Instead of kissing my boo at midnight, I headbutted him.

Justin Rude: I can do it in five: Alcohol and fireworks... who knew?

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Mending cashmere: Parkway Custom Drycleaning in Chevy Chase is excellent at mending cashmere. And the price is shockingly (compared to their drycleaning) reasonable.

Holly Thomas: Parkway has a good reputation all around ... thanks for the suggestion!

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DC: Hey Gurus! I'm looking for something fun to do tonight with my friends before we all head out of town for the holidays. Metro accessible is a must and ideally DC or Arlington. Maybe some great live music or something interactive? Top three choices? Thanks!

Fritz Hahn: My top pick in Arlington tonight: Festive beers at Rustico Ballston or Galaxy Hut, and then over to Iota to see the annual Last Train Home holiday concert. Alt-country/roots rock/Americana takes on seasonal tunes and plenty of toe-tapping originals, too. You'll find yourself singing along. (Disclaimer: Last century, LTH lead singer Eric Brace had my job writing about bars for Weekend, but his band is fantastic.)

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Christmas Lights: Hi. My hometown paper used to publish a map with homes that really outdid themselves, Christmas-style. Does the Post ever do this? I don't remember seeing it. If not, they should. And if not, any ideas on where to view some awesome lights? My toddler and MIL can't get enough. Thanks.

Lavanya Ramanathan: Homes are fun to look at, but a lot of the pay-to-play light displays aren't too pricey, either, since they charge admission by the car, rather than the person. There's Bull Run and Gaithersburg has a Winter Lights Festival. Brookside Gardens has one of the few walk-through displays.

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AMICO: Fritz - American Ice Company opens tonight, have you gotten a sneak preview?? - Ashley, U Street

Fritz Hahn: I am waiting for my editor to finish reading my blog post about the two bars opening tonight: American Ice Company at 917 V St. and the Blue Banana sports bar in Petworth, right next to Looking Glass. I promise they'll be up shortly.But yeah, I'm completely stoked about American Ice Company. I think my review says that it's basically to U Street bars what U Street Music Hall is to dance clubs: A no-frills spot that knows what it is (a bar) and does it well without aspiring to too much else.

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Fashion Question: I'm going to the beach in between Christmas and New Year's, and need a bathing suit. I don't want to spend a lot of money, however (J Crew is my go-to for suits, and if I need to, I'll order something from them. I was hoping that maybe you would have an idea for a less expensive option. I checked Old Navy's site, and they don't sell suits in the winter (not surprisingly). Thanks!

Holly Thomas: Lucky you! Victoria's Secret stocks plenty of suits year-round -- scope out the clearance section for good deals. Venus is another option; if you're looking for something with more coverage/shaping power, try Land's End.

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New Year's Eve Birthday: Hey Guys and Gals!I had to submit early because I don't have internet access at my job. I'm turning 30 on New Year's Eve and I want to do something, anything this year! Last year it was dinner w/the family, the year before it was pizza and a few years before that I was deployed and celebrated in the desert. I would like to do something that's free and fun. I was thinking karaoke-but Im not sure, a lounge of some sort, but I don't have mucho dinero at my disposal. Sigh, I made tentative reservations for me and my girls(I'm a female as well :) ) at Bossa lounge in adams morgan. Any thoughts on this place? I would love to hear your suggestions and ideas for fun and relatively inexpensive this I can do to celebrate the big 3-0! Thanks!!!!!

Fritz Hahn: Shoot me an email (fritz dot hahn at washingtonpost dot com) and let me know what kinds of places you usually go to and I will do what I can to help.

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Mistletoe: Johnson's always has it - Van Ness St at Wisconsin

Stephanie Merry: Perfect. Thanks!

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Old, I am old: So many of these stories include the concept of "pre-game." Wow.A few weeks ago I was at Red Rocks, and there was a large party next to us. They were young and really loud, and all talking about how they were going back to someone's apartment to get drunk before they went out. (Yes, that's exactly what they said) (oh, and they were crass as well as loud and mean to the wait staff.)Anyhow, I don't get it. What's the point of going out once you're drunk?

Fritz Hahn: Because if you're going out dancing, nobody shows up to clubs until 11:30 or midnight or even later. Who wants to be the first group in an empty club? You're going to have to kill time between dinner and clubbing somewhere. You can do it paying for overpriced drinks in a bar, or you can do it at home and save some cash for later. That's the short answer.

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New Years Eve - Fairfax County: Once again looking for ideas on celebrating the New Year in the suburbs.We'd enjoy a nice dinner, maybe even a bit of dancing.But we don't drink - seems the price of everything includes the upcharge for alcohol. While we don't mind others drinking around us, we just do not indulge.Any nice restaurants that serve a late dinner and don't charge for drinks we won't consume? Vienna? Reston? Herndon?

Fritz Hahn: Justin likes the idea of Trummer's on Main in Clifton, which has dinner seatings early that don't include the price of champagne. And then for dancing, I'm going to suggest that you head over to JV's, my favorite little Falls Church roadhouse, where there's an all-night party with a Beatles cover band, free snacks and much more... and no drinks included in the price.

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1st Real Date: Zoo Lights is free this year, and it would be a really cute date! Grab some hot chocolate and explore for a bit, and then head to Tryst or somewhere else nearby to grab something to eat. If the date is fairly early, you could also check out the Norman Rockwell exhibit at the American Art Museum (it closes at 7pm though) and then find something to eat around Chinatown. If you aren't limited to DC, check out what's playing at Arlington Cinema N' Drafthouse!

Lavanya Ramanathan: And Tryst has some great toddies and hot drinks, and an awesome plum punch to get you in a seasonal mood.I had a funny second date at the National Christmas tree a few years back -- tourists make for fun people-watching/commenting.

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Petworth!: Blue Banana opens tonight? So, will it be worth my time?

Fritz Hahn: It's a neighborhood sports bar with 10 50-inch TVs, a dozen beers on tap, half-price brews on Thursdays. It will get more interesting in early 2011 when they start booking cover bands on the weekends.But yeah, doors open at 6.

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Worst Decision EVER: A few of my friends and I wanted to go run (drink) with a local Hashing club (running/drinking club), so we found a local club that looked cool and had some upcoming hashes that looked pretty fun. We were all set to go and at the last minute, one of our group invited an old co-worker of hers to join us. Co-worker guy sucked to begin with, and then basically talked us out of going to the hash, how it was in a really dangerous part of town, we'd get shot, blah blah, sigh. Ok, we listened to him, we could have chose not to. So we ended up skipping said hash and planned to go the following week when the hash was in "safer" neighborhood...Forward to hash in said "safer" neighborhood and one of the regular hasher's approaches us to chat us up, get our story. We explain to him how we meant to come the previous week, but got talked out of it. His response? Big Mistake. Major. And proceeds to tell us the exploits of the previous week's hash. Short story: drinking in a field, being approached by curious cops who then blared music over their squad car sound system for a hash dance party, and ran the lights while said hashers are drinking in the field, are so intrigued they meet with the hash at the post-has bar once they're off duty. Oh, but it get's better. So the hash group heads to the after-bar, some underground soul food place, and they're hanging out, and then, wait for it, none other than Marion Barry shows up, makes friends with the hashers and hangs out all night...And we missed it.

Stephanie Merry: Cops blaring music? Sounds very Super Troopers-esque. I like it.

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Zoo Lights: is for kids, you know this right? I still regret paying $12 a few years ago to go.

Lavanya Ramanathan: Yes, it is for kids. But I'm a sucker for silly outings, and now that it's free...

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Post Graduation Dinner: My boyfriend is graduating this Saturday and is wanting to get a group together for a late dinner then go out. His friends generally like to stay around M street to go out so are there any fun/trendy restaurants or bars with good food near Georgetown? I'm hoping for a neat place not just an everyday restaurant. Thoughts?

Fritz Hahn: See if you can get a table at Pizzeria Paradiso on M Street -- amazing beers, fantastic pizzas. The only thing is that they don't take reservations.

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Alex Baldinger: Alright -- thanks to all who submitted embarrassing/unfortunate Decisions today.The winner of the tickets though is the one whose circumstances made us laugh the most: Wonder Woman, your Decision to go on a first date in costume with a half-hearted cowboy has won you the pair of tickets to the Wizards-Heat game. E-mail me, baldingera@washpost.com and we'll set you up!Don't get snowbound out there today, folks. I hear 3" is when society starts to disintegrate.Until then...

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