Help Others Learn: Salon Services for a Fraction of the Cost

Many students leave the prestigious Graham Webb Academy for top of the line salons or come back now and then to touch up their skills in contemporary hair trends. Graham Webb lets you take advantage of their learning process!

I’ve heard rumors that the only setback is that hair services can take a little longer because students are supervised. Basically, you participate in the learning process but services are no less professional than a top-of-the-line salon but way, WAY less expensive.

As a returning full-time student myself, I’ll be sure to look into Graham Webb for my next haircut. Located in Rosslyn, Va., Graham Webb isn’t far at all for those living in Northern Virginia or the city.

Hair isn’t all they do: Graham Webb does manicures make-up applications and manicures for $10 each. Take a look at the great prices on client services offered by Graham Webb students.

Five Guys Fries; Washingtonion’s Best Burger

Five Guys was completely a phenomenon to me when I first moved here. In North Carolina, there were similar cheap but delicious burger joints but nothing quite compares to this.

How many fries can you stuff into a lunch bag-sized paper bag? A lot! Five Guys serves up a whopping serving of fries for under $3. Though I’ll be honest, I don’t eat beef, I’ve heard really good things about Five Guys. I go with my friends for the fries though and they’re a great deal!

Check out the store locator for a Five Guys in the D.C. area closest to you.
Read a review of Five Guys. 

Bike from Georgetown to Gravelly Point to Old Town

Having a bike in D.C. is great fun. If you have one already, you’re all set for free fun. If not, check out this information on renting bikes for a day. Start at Big Wheel Bikes in Georgetown if you don’t have a bike because here, you can rent a simple bike for $25 per day. If you do have a bike, I’d recommend starting at Gravelly Point in Arlington, along the Potomac, because the parking is better and the views are nice.

The Mount Vernon Trail goes all the way to Washington’s Mt. Vernon estate but for those seeking a leisurely ride, Old Town is a great turn-around point. Along the way, stop for a packed lunch at one of the memorials.

Read the Wikipedia article on Gravelly Point. 

On the Wine Kick: 2007 Virginia Wine Festival

Now that I’m stuck thinking about the great, cheap fun Virginia wineries can offer, I have to let you know about a not-so-kept best secret: the Virginia Wine Festival.

I missed it in 2006. The 2007 Virginia Wine Festival won’t take till September next year but it’s worth marking your calendars for now. When I went, I wasn’t expecting anything huge but it exceeded my expectations.

For just about $20, plus the cost of shmoozing your designated driver with water bottles and/or food items, you can literally taste every Virginia wine made and then some! The festival takes place about 2 hours from D.C. in Great Meadows, Va. in a large field, surrounded by the mountains.

Similar to the Linden Vineyards experience, this one is a great way to get out of the city for a day and enjoy the beautiful views (and tasty booze). Okay, a little corny. Wines come in flavors I didn’t even realize existed, like blueberry.

Living the Good Life in Virginia Wine Country

Overlooking Linden Winery vines
Upon first moving to Northern Virginia, my roommates at the time insisted they were going to spend every Sunday touring the wineries in the area. At first, I was a little leary, having often thought any winery worth visiting must certainly exist in Califorinia or Italy but not in Virginia.

After some manipulation, I jumped on the bandwagon only to realize I was completely wrong about Virginia wineries (well, most of them). Not long after a couple of Sunday drives out into the countryside, I discovered my favorite winery so far: Linden Vineyards. Linden is only a little over an hour from D.C. but it’s shocking the relief from the city life you feel as soon as you arrive. I simply cannot describe it! You must go!

Wine tastings are free. During most of my visits, we go through about 3 red and 3 white wines…each about a 1 ounce pour. Since you’re buying the wine on the premises, it’s much cheaper than it’d be in the store, somewhere in the neighborhood of $15. Select cheeses and meats are a little pricey ($6 for a small block of cheese) but you can bring your own picnic as long as you eat it on the tables in the grass.

From Linden’s site: “For those interested in greater depth, on the weekends we offer a special reserve cellar tasting ($12). You can sign up for it when you arrive. We taste our special single vineyard wines and older vintages. It happens every 45 minutes beginning at 12:15.”

There are plenty of great opportunities at Linden; they often offer seminars and such. Just start with the free wine tasting and lovely ambiance. The photo that accompanies this entry was taken by me when I brought visiting family to Linden. They loved the views.

Spend Less on Dry Cleaning, More on Self

After getting an office job I realized there was this little thing called business casual attire that could possibly ruin my life if I let it. In a flash, I understood why my mother had stressed so much about the dry cleaner, often only picking out clothing that was machine washable and thus, forcing me to do the same. All of the appreciation I owed her filled me completely with guilt for she had slaved away while I lived at home ironing my shirts so they were crisp and nice. I was determined to find a less abrasive solution than having to do the thing I hate most in this world: iron. At first, I was also very poor.

Dry cleaning can add up. Through an acquaintance, I learned of ZIPS Dry Cleaners, a formidable force in the D.C. area. For just more than $1, you can get your button-downs laundered and pressed, just like mom used to do.

I realized after a while that ZIPS was best for my blouses and business casual pants, maybe a jacket here and there. They also do alterations though I’ve never used their services myself.

Cheap Ethiopian Cuisine in Adam’s Morgan

Meskerem, an Ethiopian restaurant located on popular 18th Street in Adam’s Morgan, is a great steal. It was my first experience with Ethiopian food ever and one of the first places I ate out in D.C. Ethiopian is suitable for many tastes and offers sampler platters, tons of vegetarian options and large portions!

Many of the tasty entrees at at Meskerem are less than $10 and they also offer cheap Ethiopian wines by the glass. Often you have to pay for entertainment and atmosphere in D.C. restaurants but Meskerem includes that in their affordable price. Get to know the Ethiopian tradition while you eat on low stools surrounding a bowl-shaped table.