Meet Stephanie: Jewish Social Media Rockstar of the Week!

Stephanie Arbetter is a DC social(media)ite with a whole lot of Southwestern flair. Hailing from Dallas, Texas, this quick-witted, outgoing, cocktail loving lady is one you should definitely get to know. Lucky for you, we got the exclusive 1:1 right here.

Oh, and after you read this, you should check out Stephanie’s secondary persona TipsyTipsDC. Because, well, she has a lot of tips on getting tipsy in DC.

stephanie with popsicle

Allie: How did you wind up living in DC?

Stephanie: I’m originally from Dallas, Texas. I moved to DC because I wanted to get involved in the travel and tourism industry, and there are a lot of opportunities for that in DC.

Allie: Is DC a lot different from Dallas?

Stephanie: Everybody in DC has come here because they are very passionate about something. They are very driven and dedicated to their jobs, and they are interested and focused on personal development. I really like how worldly and cultured DC is.

Allie: What is your favorite social media platform and why?

Stephanie: Twitter. I’m obsessed with Twitter. That’s primarily where I get my news. I think people are more raw and unfiltered on it; you get a sense for what people are really thinking. Instagram is a little more fake. But I love Instagram stories. I stopped doing SnapChat. Facebook is a little too public, so I keep my content closer to my vest on Facebook. It’s great for big news that you want everyone to see.steph with friends

Allie: What’s the secret to a great Instagram post?

Stephanie: The people who stand out are the ones who are most authentic. People have a really good sense of knowing what’s fake and who’s trying too hard. Also, if you have to ask if this is too much or if this is oversharing, it probably is.

Allie: How do you balance living in the present and being on social media?

Stephanie: Take one or two pictures, and then put your phone away and enjoy the moment. Do not take pictures throughout your meal or your trip. Do not have your phone out with you when you’re trying to experience a hike, or a waterfall, or a sunset. It sucks when you have your phone and you’re just waiting for that perfect moment, so you can’t enjoy it.

Allie: What are you doing for the 4th of July?

Stephanie: I am going to my friend’s pool party, and then I am hosting a few friends on my rooftop because I live near the National Mall. You can see the fireworks from my rooftop. I love the Fourth of July. I love that everyone just takes a break and enjoys themselves.

Allie: If you could have 3 celebs in your entourage, who would they be and why?

Stephanie: Mindy Kaling, because she’s super funny and I feel like we’d be best friends. Lin-Manuel Miranda, because I’d be entertained all the time. Malcolm Gladwell, because he’s so smart and would keep me thinking and guessing all the time.

Allie: Do you have any goals for your year ahead?

Stephanie: There is something in DC for anything you are interested in, but it’s really on you to take advantage on that. I want to better take advantage of DC and get involved in different nonprofit and Jewish organizations this year.

Allie: What is your favorite Jewish holiday and why?

Stephanie: Yom Kippur. I love that everyone just disconnects, and at the end everyone comes together. While it’s really serious, it’s also really festive and full of traditions. Break the Fast is one of my favorite things every year. I love that on Yom Kippur you can take a day to be for yourself.

Allie: Who is the coolest Jew you know?

Stephanie: Josh Malina, he’s just awesome.

Allie: If you could eat at only 3 DC restaurants forever, what would they be?

Stephanie: Rasika. I love their Chicken tikka masala. Zaytinya. Le Diplomate, they have the best burger and fries. I’m a major foodie, and I also love cocktail bars like The Gibson and Morris Bar. I have a cocktail Instagram account called TipsyTipsDC.

steph with drink

Allie: What are you most excited about this summer?

Stephanie: Fun travel plans. I’m going to Vermont, Dallas, and Chicago. And this winter I’m going on a volunteer trip with JNF to Israel!

Allie: Complete this sentence, when Jews of DC Gather…

Stephanie: Someone always starts Jewish geography.




The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Meet Jourdi: Jewish Food-Instagramer of the Week

Food lovers rejoice! The amazing human behind @District_Foodie is ready to set down her plate, set aside her iPhone, and chat with a big fan (me) about her successful Instagram account, favorite Jewish foods, and why Bruce Springsteen holds a special place in her heart. Dig into this exclusive interview with Jourdi Tobias, AKA: @District_Foodie! WARNING: Food cravings may ensue – so, we encourage you to #treatyoself to a Valentine’s Day goody while reading.

Allie: How did you wind up living in DC?

Jourdi: I went to University of Maryland – go Terps! And I got a job here after school, am from the area and have always loved it, so I wound up staying.

Allie: What do you love most about living in DC?

Jourdi: I love that it feels like a city, but at the same time, it doesn’t feel too overwhelming. It’s been easy to find great friends and feel a part of the community, and I also really enjoy the food scene here.

Allie: So I hear you run a popular food Instagram account…..

Jourdi: Yes! One night, my friends and I were in New York and trying to figure out where to go out to eat. They were all looking at photos on Instagram to decide where to go. As someone who has always been passionate about trying new foods, and loves going out to eat, I realized that I wanted to be that person in DC who helped others figure out where and what to eat. So, I started a food Instagram account, District Foodie.

I was going out to eat and taking photos of the food anyway, so the account happened pretty naturally. The more I kept posting, the more popular the page started to be. Today, we have 15,000 followers! I think it’s been so successful because it’s food I actually try, and restaurants I go to and love, so everything is real!

Allie: Top 3 favorite DC restaurants?

Jourdi: Little Cocos – a really delicious Italian restaurant in Columbia Heights; Rasika – incredible Indian food; and Red Hen – also amazing Italian food.

Allie: What’s your favorite Jewish food?

Jourdi: Shawarma! I’d love a shawarma platter with everything – hummus, pickled onions, tzatzi, banana peppers, spicy peppers, and a pita on the side. I also am a big fan of potato latkes.

Allie: If you had a free day in DC to do ANYTHING you wanted, how would you spend it?

Jourdi: I’d start the day at a fun all-you-can-eat and all-you-can-drink brunch place, like AmBar in Eastern Market. Then, I’d walk around Eastern Market for a bit. After that, I’d head down to the National Mall and walk around the monuments. Even though I’ve lived in the DC area for most of my life, I still feel like a tourist every time I go see the monuments. I also would love to go to the Botanical Gardens because I love flowers. I’d unwind from the day with a nice dinner at a Michelin Star restaurant like Pineapple and Pearls, which I’ve never been to.

Allie: Any surprising facts about yourself you’d like to share?

Jourdi: My mom went into labor with me at a Bruce Springsteen concert.

Allie: Complete the sentence: When Jews of DC Gather…

Jourdi: There should be food and drinks!

The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Expectations vs. Reality: Reflections on the First Six Months After Graduation

I learned one lesson from the college graduation day that I did not attend: expectations hardly ever become reality.

I graduated from college in May 2017, but unfortunately was not able to attend the day I had spent the past four years working so hard for. Less than a week before the big day, I was diagnosed with strep throat and pneumonia, and given about four different prescriptions.

When the reality sunk in that I wouldn’t be able to walk across the stage with my cap and gown and have the graduation day I had dreamt of for so many years, I cried. A lot.  Although my friends and family were very understanding, it somehow did not ease the sadness and disappointment I felt.

I write about the expectations and the reality of my college graduation day because, the more I think about it, the more I realize it illustrates the journey of a college senior entering adulthood and, most importantly, the journey one faces in his/her first post-grad year.

The expectations for adulthood started way before graduation. There was a lot of pressure, from both myself and the people around me, to have my ducks in a row in time for college graduation. The questions from my friends and family were all the same: What are your plans after graduation? Do you have a job? What will your salary be? Where will you live? They never seemed to stop. It made me think that getting a job immediately, moving into my first apartment and living the “perfect” adult life were the only options I had.

This was all exponentially heightened when my friends and I actually earned our diplomas. I felt as if all of my friends were moving through life at warp-speed, checking things they needed to accomplish in order to become a “real” adult. On Facebook, I would see posts of friends getting new jobs or moving to new cities, and found myself immediately hitting the red ‘X’ in the corner of my screen due to pangs of envy, pressure, and failure filling my chest.

I desired that “perfect” life more than anything. I thought that all of my newfound freedom would give me time to start crossing books off my ‘to read’ list. I thought that earning money would allow me to not feel guilty about eating my way through every brunch place in the city. I thought that it would finally be time to have a social life perfectly curated for Instagramcomplete with close friends from college and many fun nights out in our nation’s capital. I thought that maybe, just maybe, I would even finally meet a nice Jewish boy who would be parent-approved.

However, none of this happened.

Instead, my reality was spending all of my free time looking for a job instead of reading for fun. My reality was saving my money to spend on things I needed for my new apartment instead of spending it on brunch. My reality was saying goodbye to some of my closest friends from college as they started their new chapters away from DC (where we all went to college).

Now that I have been out of school for six months, I find myself reflecting a lot on my experiences since that day I missed my graduation in May. While it might not be exactly what I expected, the reality I currently live is still pretty great. I have found a great support system in DC (shoutout to GatherDC’s Mini-Gatherings for helping with that). I have continued to explore and experience all that this city has to offer. I have continued to learn about myself, and what I want out of life.

In the past six months, I’ve learned that it’s okay if the path I end up paving for myself differs from the one I expected to follow, as there is no right way to go about things.

Your priorities might be different than the priorities of those around you, but that doesn’t mean they are wrong. Decide what is important for you to focus on, and commit to it. For me, that has been spending time with friends, and finding ways to live a Jewish life that is authentic to me.

I also learned that the choices you make are not permanent. It’s not the end of the world if you realize a decision you made turns out to not be the right one for you. It is important to be comfortable with change, and be able to go with the flow.

As I ponder what the coming six months have in store, I feel ready to greet them, even if my reality is different from my ideal.





About the Author: Bryna Kramer is a part of our “Gather the Bloggers” cohort of talented writers who share their thoughts and insights about DC Jewish life with you. She is originally from the small, southern town of Danville, Virginia. She’s been in D.C. for just over four years, as she moved here in 2013 to attend American University. When she is not busy covering the Wizards on a nightly basis or hosting her own podcast, Meet Us At Molly’s, you can find her binging television or brunching her way through the city. Follow her on Twitter.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.