“It got to the point where I was finding all these great deals on Craigslist and sending them to my friends and my friends got tired of it,” Manning says. By 2013, she’d launched Exposed Brick DC, a blog of curated listings and rental deals meant to help Washingtonians navigate the intimidating rental market. As traffic picked up, people started saying to Manning, “You seem to really be obsessed with real estate. You know you could be a real estate agent?” In 2015, she got her real estate license and now splits her time between a job in political advertising, selling real estate and maintaining Exposed Brick DC’s blog and Instagram.
“I used to solely focus on rentals,” Manning says. “Now it’s evolved to more places that are for sale, which just kind of mirrors my own journey through D.C. real estate. I’ve been renting for a long time, now I want to buy something, so I wonder what’s out there to buy.”
The 31-year-old did recently buy a home — just not in the District. Manning and her husband wanted to take advantage of low interest rates so they bought a “weekend home” in Charlottesville, her hometown. They’re still searching for the perfect D.C. condo while renting a 600-square-foot apartment and don’t plan to be part of the pandemic-driven D.C. exodus.
“My hope is that people come back to the city because they want that city experience,” Manning says. “Both me and my husband were able to work from home but we haven’t left D.C. because we like it here.”
That love for Washington — particularly her Navy Yard neighborhood — comes through Manning’s perfect D.C. day.
What I really like about Navy Yard is being by the water. I love that you have easy access to the waterfront, but then you can go the other direction and be in historical Capitol Hill. We have a dog, Tonka — my husband is from Minnetonka, Minn., and Tonka is a popular name there — and we’re going to walk the Riverfront. It’s a nice escape. I also have a weird obsession with the new Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge that’s being built right now. They have an Instagram. I think it’s one of the most beautiful bridges that has ever been done. So I love walking by and seeing the progress, which is so nerdy. You can walk all the way to the end of Navy Yard and then walk up through Capitol Hill. Ideally the fences would be down and you could walk around the Capitol. It’s the best of both worlds: you get historical, you get old homes, you get the Capitol, you get the water.
I’m more of a breakfast person than a brunch person. For breakfast, I really want to go to Open City in Woodley Park because they have that one dish, the Open City Royale, where you can get eggs, sausage, a hash brown and French toast. It’s all the great, classic breakfast things in one dish. My husband Matt doesn’t like breakfast. He’ll probably get a black coffee and stare at me and be mad that I made him come.
I’m a really big reader, so I want to highlight some local bookstores. In Northwest, I went to Kramers all the time when I lived there. Now I go to East City Bookshop, which is near Eastern Market. I like supporting small, independent businesses, and even during the pandemic they’ve been really great. They teamed up with Mr. Henry’s: You could order a book online and go pick it up there at the restaurant. They had a little takeaway window where you could get your book and a burger, which is fun. I read a lot of nonfiction books. “The Vanishing Half” is everywhere right now and I recently read that. Jesmyn Ward is one of my favorite authors. “Sing, Unburied, Sing” was the best book I read last year — maybe in a really long time. My perfect day would definitely include browsing for books, getting one and starting one.
I like consignment furniture, vintage furniture and vintage home goods. Evolution Home in Alexandria is a really good consignment-furniture-slash-antique-booth place that I love to go to. I have this neat garden stool from there. It’s an elephant. You’re supposed to put a plant on it. There’s this nice guy that works there and he always remembers me when I come in and he helped me carry it to the car and he, like, named it and we talked about when we’re going to put it, so it was very sweet.
Also in Alexandria, there’s a really amazing gift shop called Patina that I recently discovered. It’s become my go-to place anytime I need to get a housewarming gift or hostess gift. It’s luxury home goods, expensive candles and trays and that kind of thing. They carry the china that I registered for our wedding and they have a jewelry designer that I like.
For dinner we’re going to Chez Billy Sud in Georgetown. It’s classic, well done French food. I love the way that it’s decorated — it’s this little townhouse with all this vintage art. They just have great service, and it’s one of those places where you could feel comfortable having lunch there alone. I bet Matt would get a croque madame, because it’s ham and cheese and it’s all melted and delicious. We’d share a bottle of wine. They have a good homemade pâté, but I don’t know if that sounds pretentious. I’m going to get steak frites, too.
Hains Point is another place that we’ve actually started going to more since the quarantine hit. We love taking the dog over there because it comes to a nice point, and we have a long leash so he can run and we’re not worried about him getting away. My husband is also an avid golfer, so he goes over there to hit balls. We could spend an afternoon there and he could hit balls and I could run with the dog.
I tend to get tired in the afternoon. I don’t drink coffee. I’m a big tea drinker. My indulgence would be a chai latte. They’re so good. In Navy Yard, Mah-Ze-Dahr is the new bakery that just opened. They’re out of New York, and they have a really delicious chai latte with oat milk. I love a chocolate croissant, too.
I recently went to Anchovy Social, which is the new rooftop bar in Navy Yard in the Thompson hotel. They’ve done a good job during the pandemic, and they have a good old-fashioned, my favorite happy hour drink. I feel like it’s hard to do octopus well, but they have a really good octopus appetizer.
This is kind of influenced by covid-19: I want to go to Compass Rose because you can literally get something from anywhere. You’ve got to get the khachapuri. The potatoes are really good. The kebab platter has chicken and steak. Really, I would get everything here during a dinner with friends. We are fortunate that a lot of the friends that we made early on have decided to stay in D.C. as well. For a lot of people, there comes a time where they realize a lot of their friends have left and it makes it harder and harder to stay. The groups of girls and guys that we hung out with in our early 20s, some of them ended up marrying each other, and we’re all still friends. We definitely have an original crew in D.C.