It took me two years of going to inferior dry cleaners before I found this place. Here it is, my dry cleaning mecca. Why do I love it? Let me count the ways: 1) Reasonable prices and great customers service, 2) early morning hours so you can pick up on your way to work, and 3) skilled dry cleaners who can get out a stain without destroying the fabric and an easy to get to location with lots of street parking.
PROS: good service and reasonable prices
S and A is a super-tiny bead store in downtown Takoma. Although I love the more spacious Beadazzled in Dupont Circle, I also like coming here because the staff are relaxed and more likely to spend time helping beginners with their projects. Also, it's much easier to find parking here, than in Dupont Circle. A little further down Laurel from S&A are a couple of good vintage stores. If you're looking for cool fabric or buttons to complement your bead purchases I'd recommend stopping in at Takoma Underground and Polly Sue's.
I love Bead Fetish because not only to they have a truly ridiculous range of bead styles and quality for arts and craft projects, they also sell finished jewelry for lazy people like me who never get around to doing anything with the cool beads they picked up. The owner is admittedly not always very nice or attentive to newbies, but don?t let that keep you away.
PROS: huge selection
CONS: so many choices, it's overwhelming
Art Ellis is one of my favorite art supply stores on earth and I was lucky enough to live around the corner from them for 3 years. They have a small selection of the usual art supply suspects: sketch paper, brushes etc. Their specialty is imported and handmade printed papers. The entire bottom floor of their store is devoted to drawers filled with hundreds of types of specialty papers. I've bought everything from modern gold leaf Italian prints to rough handmade paper pressed with real flowers. All good for craft and scrapbooking projects. Check out the box of irregular cut samples--that's where the cheap deals are.
They also have a good selection of bookbinding materials. If you're looking for a wider selection of general fine art supplies, I agree with the earlier reviewer. Art Ellis has much nicer staff, but University Art on the next block is probably cheaper.
I stopped in this bookstore after visiting one of my favorite beauty supply stores, Blue Nile Herbs next door. It's a small, richly decorated store that specializes in african and religious books. They also have cards and gift-type stuff, like kente cloth bookmarks and art work. I didn?t buy anything because their prices were typical retail, there were no sales when I was there. But if you?re looking for an opportunity to browse before you buy, this would be a good choice.
An update: Sisterspace moved to a new location in August 2007: 7700 Georgia Avenue N.W.
Sisterspace is a member of that rare and dying breed, the feminist bookstore. They carry all sorts of books by, about and for women. Some of the books you could, in theory, find elsewhere or buy on the internet but the best part of the store for me is the staff. They're very knowledgeable and helped me find just what I was looking for, while pointing out a couple for books that they correctly guessed I would also like.
Unfortunately, Sisterspace lost their lease on U Street last year. I visited their bookstand at a community fair a few months ago and the staff told me that they were looking for a new location and are selling at events around the District in the meantime.
This church is show gorgeous it's worth visiting even if you don't see the Shrine Shop. But if you have time, I'd definitely recommend wandering around the store. They have lots of devotional aids, books on Catholicism, religious art, and the history of the Shrine, as well as cards and souvenirs.
PROS: lots a beautiful artwork
CONS: can be very crowded
I had the opportunity to spend several hours with a Little Flowers class and was very impressed with the teachers. The teachers, like the students, come from a variety of diverse ethnic backgrounds. They have male teachers on staff. That?s very rare for early childhood education centers. They also have more teachers per student than DC laws require. The teachers were firm but loving and all the kids seemed very happy. Little Flowers really encourages parental involvement. It's sometimes difficult to decide who's the parent and who's a teacher. Although it's relatively expensive, I would definitely recommend it.
Hyde Elementary is one of my favorite elementary schools in the District. The teachers are just incredibly dedicated to the students' well being. The school building is a warm, welcoming place with bright pictures everywhere. Hyde's main emphasis is character-building in addition to academics. The result is some of the sweetest, best behaved students in DC. When I've talked one on one with the students, they all had great things to say about the school--and that's very unusual. Also unusual is that Hyde's food service staff prepare homemade breakfast and lunches at the school. I've eaten them and can verify that they are yummy.
PROS: happy teachers and happy kids
I've worked with groups of students and teachers at Adams Elementary and they've always impressed me. The principal, Mr. Cartagena, recognizes the importance of integrating the school into the larger community. He, the teachers and the students are always looking for community events, service projects, and ways to involve the students in the world around them.
The school is ethnically diverse. The student population is probably about half African-American and half Latino.
PROS: great teachers, students must wear uniforms