Why do you love where you live? For me, it's culture! Culture in the traditional sense of theatre shows and in the non-traditional sense of shopping and eating.
Watching touring Broadway shows on the stage at the Kennedy Center or the National Theatre or original shows at the Signature Theatre, there are so many funny and inspiring and irreverent shows to be seen in and around the DC area.
Love shopping? Washington DC and its surrounding suburbs are dotted with many small businesses. To be honest, since moving to the DC area, it’s a very rare moment that I shop from a big box store - except for art supply stores, not many of those around as independent stores.
And can I take a moment to talk about the cuisine? I will not admit how much weight I've gained since moving here, but suffice it to say, its traced back to the tables of small independent restaurants. Cooking is not my forte so finding yummy food is a skill I have developed - okay Yelp and local magazine, it's still a skill to read through all the less than truthful reviews. With so many restaurants focusing on creating meals featuring local ingredients, it’s hard not to find a meal you'll love.
Another reason I love living in the local Washington DC area are the art markets and shows. I moved from Colorado Springs where there were so few art markets without driving to Denver or Boulder. The opportunity to meet so many artists that are so talented in their chosen vocation is one of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday afternoon.
Today, I'm introducing you to several of my favorite local female artists. From a jeweler that made one of my favorite necklaces - a longhorn - to an illustrator with a penchant for whimsy and the cutest Christmas gift wrap; a letterpress artist with a cheeky sense of humor to a Parisian trained chocolatier with delightfully designed chocolates; a scent master that creates unique scents that I've never found anywhere else to a bag and leather goods artist that steals my simple and chic heart.
Cindy Liebel Jewelry is based just south of our nation’s capital. Handcrafted sterling silver and brass jewelry from raw and sustainable materials, Cindy Liebel Jewelry features a variety of earrings, necklaces and gorgeous cuff bracelets. Read more about Cindy Liebel Jewelry here.
Chocolate...need I really say much more? Inspired by European techniques, local ingredients and beautiful designs, chocolatier Sarah Dwyer started Chouquette to share delicious happiness with the world. Read more about Chouquette Chocolates here.
Using a vintage Heidelberg windmill machine, Mariko of Miks Letterpress creates funny and sometimes snarky cards. If you are looking for modern letterpress calendars or gift tags, look no further. Read more about Mariko and Miks Letterpress here.
The Lavender Whim is a delightful paper product line based in the historical Elliott City, MD. Owner Jill-Ann illustrates whimsical creatures for cards, wine tags, and my favorite - gift wrap. Read more about The Lavender Whim here.
Stitch & Rivet is a bag and leather goods studio based in Washington, D.C. The design and pattern maker, Katie Stack, makes each piece from durable materials with an emphasis on quality construction. Read more about Stitch and Rivet here.
Pure Palette Scents is a small studio based in Woodbridge, Virginia. Owned by Usa, the scents in many her items are unlike anything you've ever had the pleasure of smelling. Read more about Usa and Pure Palette Scents here.
This is just a handful of my favorite Washington DC and surrounding area based artists and my picks for those looking to shop local this holiday season. And lastly, when considering your holiday purchases, please consider shopping local - be it with the lovely ladies above or with artists local to your area.