By: Tori Nagudi
Photos by: Kate Clark
If you’re a Georgetown student, you’ve likely endured the ordeal of Intro to Philosophy. Though reflecting on this experience may not be entirely pleasant, it is my hope that you’ll still remember Aristotle’s “doctrine of the mean”, an idea proposed in Nicomachean Ethics. This beautiful sliver of insight states that in every interaction we should attempt to strike a perfect balance. From my very partial perspective, we should attempt to embody this principle in our everyday lifestyle. Life should be a masterpiece, and every season a new canvas. Philosophy aside, I’ve curated these choices, places, and things to offer you a bit of artistic inspiration this fall. Try out my recommendations to explore somewhere new, or skip to the bottom and discover how to reimagine your room.
If you’re looking for a cozy meal…
Warm & Homey | Nostalgic | Elegant
Pop by Martin’s Tavern on a chilly night to savor a piping hot bowl of French onion soup or enjoy an order of French fries with an old friend. The antique decor, Motown playlist, and mahogany booths are sure to make you feel sentimental. If the atmosphere doesn’t win you over, the delicious seafood and steak dishes are sure to make Martin’s a neighborhood favorite. Since the price point can get a bit steep, try an appetizer off the late-night menu if you’re looking for a casual bite and a quality experience.
Trivia: Martin’s Tavern is a staple amongst both current and aspiring politicians (that is, the Philodemic Society). It was here that a young John F. Kennedy once proposed to Jacqueline Onassis, inspiring the restaurant to rename their table ‘The Proposal Booth’. Due to the tavern’s rich history among Washington influencers, each booth is uniquely named after a frequent patron.
If you’re seeking an escape…
Bridge Street Books
Eclectic & Whimsical | Colorful | Charming
If boredom ails you, make your way over to the last block of Georgetown and give yourself permission to become lost in Bridge Street Books. Despite its tiny perimeter, the boutique bookstore is an emporium stacked from ceiling to floor with selections both classic and unconventional. I go for the curated philosophy section, but others may enjoy the contemporary literature or foreign magazines. I’ve seldom visited without seeing Joe, a friendly Swarthmore English alum, single-handedly manning the store. If you have the good fortune of running into him, definitely ask for a book recommendation.
An Existentialist Reading Guide:
- Human, All Too Human | Friedrich Nietzsche
- The Second Sex | Simone de Beauvoir
- Being and Nothingness | Jean Paul Sartre
- The Sickness Unto Death | Soren Kierkegaard
- Being and Time | Martin Heidegger
- The Stranger | Albert Camus
To add some depth and intensity to your wardrobe…
Rag & Bone Leather
High Quality Construction | Sophisticated & Moody | Modern
Rag & Bone is an NYC-based boutique that’s gained quite the reputation for its minimalism and subtle edge. Though most elements of its collection have high price points, the leather pieces are investments that will prove themselves to be worth the expenditure. If you have a bit of pocket money to spare this season, pick up some staple pieces at their original boutique, or stop by Intermix and Cusp, which also carry Rag & Bone inventory. For autumn and winter, I bought a pair of their ‘Walker’ alligator print ankle boots. If you dare, I’d also recommend attempting to pull off a subtle black leather jean. You’re sure to gain clout if you hit the right balance.
For a feminine day perfume…
Kate Spade Live Color Fully
Pleasant Floral Notes | Airy & Romantic | Full-Bodied Freshness
After an exasperating weeklong perfume expedition, Kate Spade’s “Live Color Fully” was the perfume that finally ended my seemingly-hopeless quest. Described as “lightweight and luxurious”, a singular note of this gardenia-based scent is enough to sell you for life. I’m not ashamed to admit that I smell my rollerball sometimes, although my friends have been embarrassed every time I’ve caught them stealth-sniffing me. This fragrance is the quintessential everyday perfume, classy enough for an interview but intriguing enough to wear to dinner with someone new.
For an artisanal coffee experience…
Cosmopolitan | Millennial | Worldly
If you have a few hours to spare, carry some homework along and hop on the Dupont bus. Walk one block over and get settled into Emissary, a sophisticated cafe with Georgetown origins. This independent coffeehouse and bar is inspired by the ethos of “fika”, which is defined as “the Swedish notion of taking a moment to have coffee, slow down, and contemplate on your own, or to gather with friends, and savor the moment.” With specialty offerings like floral pour-overs, Teaism teas, and house-made vanilla espresso, you’re sure to find lots of flavors to savor.
For motivation to study…
Moleskine and Paper Source
Convenient l Life-Changing l Incentivizing
It’s phenomenal how buying new school supplies can change your study habits so miraculously. Sometimes all it takes for a dose of motivation is a velvety-smooth page and the continuous satisfaction of a sleek pen stroke. Pick up a buttery-soft leather bound journal from Moleskine, or perhaps the hardcover version instead which holds an even finer texture of paper. With an entire prism of color selections from cool mint to beige to vibrant teal, it’s completely feasible to buy one for every class. You could try Moleskine’s square-shaped pens for a novelty, or head next door to Paper Source for my best-kept secret: fountain pens. Fountain pens are akin to wifi: the first time you use one marks the last time you can live without it. Though the traditional models (Mont Blanc and such) are expensive collector’s items, a little-known fact is that supply stores like Paper Source sell stripped-down versions for less than five dollars. If you’re looking for the real thing, cross the street over to Sterling and Burke. The Pilot Varsity looks like a ballpoint but has the intricate nib of a fountain pen. Prefilled with ink and available in bulk, these pens have become an essential that I keep in every bag I own. Though it may be frustrating to find yourself unable to use ballpoints in the future, the transition will be as rewarding as any spiritual conversion. You’ll find yourself making excuses to write something…anything, and as such your class notes will rival the TA’s.
For memorable views and ambiance…
The Watergate Hotel
Avant Garde | Complex Architecture | Contemporary and Trendy
Here’s a little secret: you don’t have to pay for a room to enjoy this trendy hotel’s atmosphere! One of my favorite things to do with a spare afternoon is watch the sunset from the rooftop lounge. Most hotels charge a nominal fee, if any, to enjoy striking panoramic views of Washington… and a refreshing beverage. The Watergate’s rooftop has breathtaking views of the Potomac, as well as three other sides of skyline. Take the elevator up and order a margherita pizza for a peaceful off-campus adventure.
Five other activities to try soon:
- Take a walk with no destination and admire the foliage. Take along an unassigned book you’ve been meaning to read. Stop for hot drink in the first non-chain coffee shop you see, and order a new thing.
- Rent a zipcar and go apple-picking, or try your luck at a Christmas tree farm.
- Cozy up with a hot beverage, and unwind to our moody fall playlist.
- Choose a color scheme and print out 15-20 photos that compliment each other. Find an empty wall in your most common line of sight, and make a collage using double-sided tape. Change out the pictures whenever you’re inspired by something new.
- Climb up the hill on Wisconsin Avenue to check out the woods behind Glover Park. Watch the sunset, then warm up in a cozy eatery like Cafe Romeo for dinner.
For the home (dorm)…
The Art of Feng Shui
Natural l Symmetrical l Harmonizing
Pop into a few furniture stores such as my favorite Danish one, Bo Concept. Try your hand at practicing the ancient Chinese art of Feng Shui. In Feng Shui, it is thought that one can increase mood and vitality by adding living things to the room and creating symmetrical arrangements. This is primarily done by increasing the scope of elemental pieces. Choose an element and bring it home to make your living space more lively.
- Earth (grounding, protection, and stability) | stones, zen rock garden, sand, clay, pottery, potted plants, terrariums
- Wood (growth and creativity) | bamboo, bonsai trees, fresh flowers, wooden furniture
- Fire (purification, renewal, transformation, and expansion) | candles, incense, all types of lighting
- Metal (power, sharpness, intelligence) | rocks, crystals, gemstones, chimes, metal sculptures
- Water (purification and cleansing) | desk waterfall, essential oil diffuser, try getting a pet fish!
Whether you’re looking for a change of scenery, a new corner of town, or a pick-me-up purchase, these selections have been tested and approved by the pickiest person at Georgetown, yours truly. Best of luck in your adventures!