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In the December 2015 Issue

Retail Therapy

Mix of New and Old Stores Usher in Holiday Season

by Stephanie Kanowitz

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It's the most wonderful time of the year to be in D.C. — and not just because the presidential election season is in full swing. Sprinkled among the capital's famed monuments and eateries is an impressive lineup of new stores that promise to raise Washington's status as a destination for more than politics.

CityCenterDC alone, for instance, continues to expand and is now home to 33 high-end retail locations, including Salvatore Ferragamo, Caudalie, Dior and David Yurman.

For this year's gift guide, we scoured this new shopping landscape for some of the best it has to offer, mixing newcomers with old standbys to create a gift list that speaks to D.C.'s style but caters to every price range. Happy holidays — and happy hunting.

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In the November 2015 Issue

Cosmetic Sanctuary

Looking Good Is More Than Skin Deep, Even In Conservative Capital Like D.C.


by Stephanie Kanowitz

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For many years, cosmetic surgery got a certain rap — usually bad, always concealed. People were outwardly disgusted by the idea of going under the knife to alter their appearance, but in reality, patients were flocking to clinics. TV shows such as "Nip/Tuck" helped bring the medical genre to water cooler conversations. Today, while cosmetic surgery hasn't completely shed its taboo status, seeking medical help to look better has become an accepted mainstay of our society.

Look at the statistics: In 1997, about 940,000 surgical procedures were performed. Last year, that number was closer to 1.8 million — an 82 percent increase, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. The top three most popular surgeries in 2014 were liposuction, breast augmentation and eyelid surgery, the society reported, and Americans spent $12 billion on invasive and noninvasive cosmetic procedures.

In the region that includes Washington, Virginia and Maryland, more than 312,000 cosmetic surgical procedures were performed in 2014, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

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In the June 2015 Issue

Universal Craftsmanship

Iconic American Furniture Maker Reflects on International Influences


by Stephanie Kanowitz

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Furniture maker Tom Moser prides himself on creating unornamented pieces derivative of 19th-century American primitive forms using hardy American wood, mainly cherry and walnut. But in talking with the 80-year-old designer — who recently reopened Thos. Moser Handmade American Furniture in Georgetown — a foreign influence becomes apparent. We sat down with him while he was in town for the reopening of his 5,500-square-foot showroom off M Street to find out where he finds inspiration after 43 years in the business, including about 35 years with a store in Washington.

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In the April 2015 Issue

Party Pro

Veteran Event Planner Webster Offers Tricks of the Trade


by Stephanie Kanowitz

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From the time she was able to help her father, a funeral director, straighten chairs, Lynda Webster was planning events. Today she runs the 20-year-old Webster Group, an event planning firm whose portfolio includes more than 600 events, some of which have been attended by ambassadors, foreign heads of state, U.S. presidents, military leaders, government officials and executives of Fortune 500 companies.

Webster, the wife of former FBI and CIA Director William Webster, got her professional start at the Willard InterContinental Washington hotel and also worked in marketing at the Watergate and the Four Seasons in Boston. Her shift to event planning came when the father of Queen Noor of Jordan asked her to handle an event by the nonprofit Save the Children. Since then, she has produced shows with Hollywood entertainers, events with the United Nations and been involved with the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Her biggest event to date was the 2006 dedication of the Air Force Memorial, which 43,000 people attended.

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In the December 2014 Issue

Shopping Capital

Washington Area Home To Holiday Gifts Galore


by Stephanie Kanowitz

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When you live somewhere, it's easy to take the beauty of the place for granted. But the Washington area has no shortage of beauty — or shopping for that matter, from cosmetics and cookbooks to high-tech gadgets and high-end experiences. That's why we stuck to local businesses for this year's holiday gift guide, although a few chains pop up now and again.

So while you wait for the wearable Apple Watch to come out, don't miss out on the hidden gems sure to satisfy the technology wizard, spa lover, theatergoer or child in your life. Additionally, we feature staycation options to help you get (re)acquainted with the beauty that Washington tourists experience, rather than the meeting rooms and office buildings that its residents often see.

Happy holidays — and happy shopping.

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In the April 2014 Issue

Designing a Dream

Washington's Seventh Annual Home Makeover Builds on Its Success


by Stephanie Kanowitz

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How do you make a dream house even dreamier? Make it a DC Design House. As part of the seventh annual event, which raises money for Children's National Medical Center, some of the area's best designers renovate every nook and cranny of some of Washington's finest living spaces. This year's makeover is being done on an almost 8,000-square-foot stone colonial from 1929 formerly owned by Marshall B. Coyne, founder of the Madison Hotel, which is now the Loews Madison.

"This year's house had a great history, with 60 years in the same family, and how amazing it is to have the DC Design House at Marshall Coyne's home ... which was filled with his [art and history] collections," said Susan Hayes Long, chairwoman and corporate board member for DC Design House. "We love a home with local history, mystery or something unique."

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In the March 2014 Issue

The Great Outdoors

Washingtonians Warm Up To Bringing the Inside Out


by Stephanie Kanowitz

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With temperatures this winter hitting record lows, most Washingtonians are eager to escape the polar vortex of 2014 and welcome spring, which officially starts this month. And with thoughts of milder weather come daydreams of sitting outside, admiring budding foliage and maybe even rolling out the grill.

Outdoor spaces such as patios, porches, decks and terraces used to be crucial parts of a house in the days of sleeping porches and no air conditioning, said James F. Rill, principal at Rill Architects in Bethesda, Md. They're still essential in new ways.

"The hottest thing is connecting yourself to the outside and to nature," Rill said. "We've done houses that are more exterior space than interior space."

What form that connection takes can vary greatly based on personal preference, where a house sits and how much sun and breeze it gets. But the main focus is on creating an outdoor space that is comfortable.

"It's like an outdoor family room," Rill said. "It adds spatially because a porch [for example] can make the inside of the house feel bigger. It allows you another room that has another flavor."

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In the December 2013 Issue

On the Holiday Hunt

Stores Galore Offer Bounty of Gift Options


by Stephanie Kanowitz

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As the holidays approach, things on Capitol Hill start to wind down for recess, but the rest of the District is starting to pick up. New shops have sprung up throughout the D.C. metro area in the past year, providing lots of new, locally owned places to find great holiday gifts at a variety of prices.

"Whether I'm in Georgetown, Bethesda or Tysons Corner, I'm consistently surprised by how much is available," said Arnaud Guillois, press counselor and spokesman for the Embassy of France. "From large department stores to one-of-a-kind boutiques, the average Washingtonian is spoiled for choice — and that's a good thing."

If none of these ideas in The Washington Diplomat's annual Gift Guide crosses something off your list, see what the fates have in store for you and buy a D.C. Lottery ticket. The Holiday Bonus Bingo 2nd Chance Contest runs from Dec. 1 to Jan. 11, 2014. Anyone who buys a ticket during those six weeks will get instructions on how to play. Prizes range from a $100 Amazon gift card to $25,000.

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In the June 2013 Issue

Up-Scale Perks

On World's Top Airlines, Sky's the Limit for Luxury


by Stephanie Kanowitz

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They say it's the journey, not the destination. But when the journey involves air travel, those long security lines, layovers and delays sure make the destination look good. To make voyages more enjoyable — perhaps even relaxing — especially for first- and business-class passengers, many international airlines are offering amenities on par with those at five-star hotels.

"As an international airline, we put careful consideration into services which make our flights enjoyable for all guests across all cabins, particularly on the long-haul routes," said Peter Baumgartner, chief commercial officer at Etihad Airways, the flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates.

From fine dining and onboard sommeliers to private suites and massage chairs, here's a look at what paying premium prices buys you in the air.

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Moving with the Times

D.C. Streetcars Resurrect Bygone Era of Transportation


by Martin Austermuhle

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For a century streetcars crisscrossed Washington, D.C., ferrying residents, visitors and commuters from as far away as Cabin John, Md., and parts of Virginia to locations in Georgetown, Dupont Circle, Mount Pleasant, Capitol Hill, and the Navy Yard. By the time World War I began, more than 200 miles of streetcar tracks existed in the region, with 100 of those in D.C. alone.

But by 1963, that extensive network ceased to exist. Pressured by the ever-expanding use of the personal automobile and largely replaced by the more cost-effective public bus, the D.C. Board of Commissioners and Congress opted to tear up its tracks and sell off its streetcars. To date, the only reminder that streetcars ever ran in D.C. are small segments of rail tracks maintained for posterity's sake along two residential roads in Georgetown.

Now, though, D.C. officials are looking back as a means to move forward.

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In the December 2012 Issue

Season for Sharing

'Tis Time to Give and Receive With Style and Creativity


by Stephanie Kanowitz

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The Washington area is more than a nexus of politics and government. In recent years, it's become a haven for fine retailers and restaurants. It's a center of culture, education and entertainment. It's also home to some of the fittest, most health-conscious people in the country, attracting occasional thrill-seekers and exercise-devotees alike. In short, it has personality and style — and plenty of gifts to match both.

Each year, to ease some of the stress of the gift-searching season, we scour the region for ideas that appeal to all tastes and budgets, from a $15 towel, to an almost six-figure futuristic jetpack, to a down-to-earth shopping trip with one of D.C.'s top interior designers. They all add up to some happy, healthy holiday-sharing in the nation's capital.

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In the September 2012 Issue

Beauty Unbound

Trendsetting Transplants Help Washingtonians Put Best Face Forward


by Stephanie Kanowitz

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Beauty is like a fingerprint. Each person's is unique. So too is the way people see and practice it, providing plenty of clients for a multibillion-dollar industry here in the United States. But beauty isn't just an American obsession. To get a sense of how it is viewed and applied in other parts of the world, we spoke to five Washington professionals who received their training abroad.

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In the June 2012 Issue

Extreme Mall Makeover

White Flint Redevelopment Aims To Bring European Style to Suburbia


by Veronika Oleksyn

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The Luxembourg Gardens in Paris. Madrid's Plaza de Santa Ana. The Piazza Navona in Rome.

Not really what comes to mind when you think of American shopping centers.

But if all goes according to plan, Maryland's White Flint Mall, an aging concrete complex off congested Rockville Pike, could soon resemble these European landmarks. At least a little.

A sweeping redevelopment proposal for the 34-year-old institution envisions a mix of stores, residences, outdoor cafés and even a promenade in place of a strip of sidewalk where pedestrians currently fear being run over.

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In the December 2011 Issue

The Perfect Present

Gift-Giving Made Easy With The Diplomat's 2011 Guide


by Stephanie Kanowitz

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Photo: Fotolia

The countdown to Christmas morning and first night of Hanukkah is officially on. If you're still on the hunt for the ideal gift for your friends and family, we've got some ideas, from sweet cupcakes to a decadent $43,400 bracelet.

This year's gift guide is a little different from those of years past, though. Reflecting the eclectic shopping options in a city as diverse as Washington, more than half of the goods come from local, non-chain retailers, and not all big-ticket items are wildly out of reach, a nod to the continuing worldwide economic slump. So happy holidays — and even happier shopping.

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In the December 2011 Issue

Seasonal Stress

To Melt Away Holiday Tension, Treat Yourself to a Spa Treatment


by Stephanie Kanowitz

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Photo: Nectar Skin Bar

The Thanksgiving leftovers may finally be finished, but the anticipation of the holiday season is just getting started. Traditionally a time of comfort and joy, all the stress associated with party hopping and pleasing family and friends can take a toll. If worrying about finding the perfect gift or the perfect outfit to bid 2011 adieu has you feeling more Grinchy than cheery, local spas and salons have just the pick-me-up you need to re-energize this holiday season.

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Last Edited on January 5, 2016

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