From Rachel Nania. She is a nanny by day and a writer/DC-culture seeker by night. Nania writes about everything from food, to health, fashion, art and District lifestyle. In her spare time, she enjoys studying yoga, biking across the city, walking her dog and writing on her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania.
This week, Borderstan caught-up with Jessica Erfer and her husband, Sgt. Michael Gonen, who just returned from a seven-month civil affairs deployment with the Marine Corps in Afghanistan. The last time we sat-down with Jessica, she was busy organizing a day of makeovers for local Marine wives at Bang Salon on U Street.
Since then, Jessica’s been keeping busy with her congressional affairs job at the Pentagon, welcoming her husband home from overseas and moving apartments.
Luckily, Jessica and Michael took a few minutes out of their busy schedules to chat with us about everything from “Game of Thrones” (books vs. television), doggy medical insurance and their upcoming move from the heart of Borderstan to the border of Logan Circle and Shaw.
Borderstan: The last time we spoke, you were organizing and hosting a day of pampering for local Marine wives at Bang Salon on U Street. Can you tell us a little bit about that day? What was the motivation behind the idea and how did it all work out?
Jessica: I worked with Bang about six years ago and kept in contact with people there. I knew that our unit was not doing much in the way of programming for the spouses, specifically, so I emailed the manager at the salon and asked him if he would be interested in setting something up. I told him that I would do most of the legwork if he could sponsor the event.
To be honest, it was a nugget of an idea I had early on in the deployment; and in January, one of the wives asked me how it was going… So I got on it! The owner of Bang gave me the green light, we had a lot of people donate products for goody bags and the woman who did the makeup for my wedding even volunteered to help out. I believe we had six local women participate.
Borderstan: Did the day result in any drastic makeovers? Were there any surprised husbands who didn’t recognize their wives?
Jessica: No, it was more pampering. One of the women had a baby during the deployment, so she hadn’t had her eyebrows done or her hair cut in a long time – that sort of thing. There was nothing crazy involving a major cut or color.
Borderstan: Do you have anything in the works for similar events in the future?
Jessica: We’ll see! DC doesn’t really have a strong military community, so it would be nice to build one and keep these events going.
Borderstan: And now that your husband is home, what is your favorite thing to do together?
Michael: Catch-up on all the TV I missed! “Community,” “Parks and Recreation,” “Up All Night,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Game of Thrones”… I’ve almost caught-up on a few of them, but obviously have a lot to watch.
Borderstan: You mentioned that you are in the middle of a move — are you going far?
Michael: Logan Circle. It’s literally one mile. (All eyes focus on Lucy, the four-and-a-half-year old Mastiff, who just had a doctor’s appointment. She saunters out to the balcony at a sluggish, drug-induced pace.)
Jessica: But we are downgrading on the balcony; the new place has a Juliette balcony, and as you can see, our dog loves the balcony. We call her the Mayor of Swann Street because she patrols everyone that walks by.
Borderstan: That sounds relatively easy — a move that is nice and close!
Jessica: Not really… We will have to pick out all new restaurants!
Borderstan: Where is your favorite place to eat in your current location?
Jessica: Probably Rosemary’s Thyme Bistro. It’s so good.
Michael: That is where she hosted my surprise party when I returned home… I am very easily surprised. Even when there are a ton of hints and I should totally pick-up on what’s being planned, I never have any idea.
Borderstan: So then, I have to ask… When did you move to Borderstan? And what brought you to the area?
Michael: I moved to the area after I graduated from GW [The George Washington University] in 2003. I am definitely a city person.
Jessica: I guess I bought this place [their current apartment] in 2008. And work brought me here. But we really do love the area.
Borderstan: Did you meet in Borderstan?
Jessica: No. It’s so DC, but we met on the Hill… but we got married in Dupont Circle! And have lived here since.