The crowd mingles at Gloria Dittus's Kalorama home. The crowd mingles at Gloria Dittus’s Kalorama home.

The celebration of women in journalism that P.R. maven Gloria Dittus threw on Thursday night to kick off the weekend of festivities surrounding the White House Correspondents Association Dinner felt like a moment to take a breath.

On the terrace of Dittus’s Kalorama home, a band played R&B tunes, petals drifted across the surface of the swimming pool, and Washington media types fortified themselves on shrimp cocktail and wine for the onslaught of parties — and the imported celebrities who would be pouring in soon from New York and Hollywood.

For the moment, the homegrown crowd, which included Dana Bash of CNN, Washingtonian publisher Cathy Merrill Williams, CBS’s Jan Crawford, and the New Republic’s Julia Ioffe, as well as boldfacers like Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), CBS correspondent Nancy Cordes, C-SPAN host Greta Brawner, CNN’s Brianna Keilar, Teneo Holdings’ Juleanna Glover, and super-lobbyist Heather Podesta, still had the town to itself.

Talk turned to survival strategies for getting through (and maybe even enjoying) the gauntlet of parties that stretch from tonight’s cocktail soirees through Sunday afternoon’s bleary-eyed brunches.

Bash’s best tip: “Pace yourself,” she warned. But that will only get you so far, she admits. Bash, who plans to “limit” herself to about half a dozen functions, says being zonked is just the price you pay for having a good time. “You’re not going to sleep a lot, so you just have to suck it up.”

Lynn Sweet, columnist for the Chicago Sun Times, offered a sartorial caution for those planning to be on their feet for the next few days. “Tip number-one: wear comfortable shoes. Actually, that’s tips two, three, four and five.”

And CNN chief political correspondent Gloria Borger said it’s important to take time amid the flurry of parties for what’s really important. “Spend time with your husband!” she advised.