News & Politics

The Blogger Beat: District, Schmistrict

This week, we talk to husband-and-wife bloggers Noah Wiese and Katie Knorovsky from District, Schmistrict.

Katie Knorovsky and Noah Wiese in their Logan Circle apartment. Photograph by Chris Leaman

Katie Knorovsky and Noah Wiese got married on May 25, 2007. Three days later, they packed up the car and drove from their native Iowa to DC in search of city life. Today, the pair consider themselves successful Midwest transplants: They live in an apartment in Logan Circle, Noah works the obligatory government job, and Katie, a freelance writer, has contributed to a number of local publications, including DC Magazine, the Washington Post Express, and The Washingtonian.

Last August, after Katie's one-year contract position at National Geographic Traveler expired, she set out to become a full-time freelancer. “Freelancing started a little slow,” she says, so she decided to start a blog to fill in the gaps. Once she got Noah on board, their blog, District, Schmistrict, was born.

The couple writes about anything and everything Washington-related. They tend to focus on their immediate neighborhood, but they also write about events, restaurants, stores, and more throughout the city. As for their audience, Katie says, “Both of our moms read it fairly religiously, and I have to imagine that our dads check in from time to time. Plus Noah’s grandma is surprisingly adept at the Internet, so it’s possible even she’s seen it.”

We caught up with Noah and Katie recently to talk about all kinds of coupley things—what it’s like to blog together, where they go for a date night, and where they go to impress the in-laws—and find out how they get their Midwest fix in Washington. Read on for their answers.

Five words to describe each other:
Noah: “Only need two: thugged out.”
Katie: “Defying odds, geekier than me.”

Your thoughts on blogging as a husband-and-wife team:
Noah: “I hope we can continue to improve our skills, focusing on the fundamentals and keeping our eye on the prize, until one day we can defeat all the other husband-and-wife teams and win the Married category of the World Blogging Championships (WBC).”
Katie: “Sometimes it’s a little scary to read the inner workings of Noah’s brain. I mean, I think I know him well, but then he crams six math puns into three sentences. I shake my head a lot.”

Favorite thing to do as a couple in Washington:
Noah: “We like going to Eastern Market to check out the flea market and poach samples from the food vendors. We’re also pretty big into bike rides during the three weeks of the year that the weather’s nice. But the joint activity we do most often is undoubtedly just taking walks through the city and exploring new neighborhoods. We’re painfully cheesy.”
Katie: “In the summer: packing a picnic, Connect Four, and riding our scooter to Fort Reno’s shows. Any time of the year: staying home to make vegetarian sushi together. Er, strike that—watching Noah make me sushi.”

Favorite thing to do alone:
Noah: “Remember how I said we like to ride bikes? Well, sometimes I like to ride at a somewhat more . . . advanced pace, and that’s easier to do by myself.”
Katie: “I’m a sucker for wandering through the used-furniture shops and boutiques along 14th and U streets—without Noah’s glazed-over looks silently pleading with me to hurry up.”

Best and worst things about Washington:
Noah: “Being part of the crowd at U Street on election night has most definitely been the best thing so far. I don’t think I really need to explain that one. The worst thing is having to go down to the damn Mall every time a visitor comes to see us for the first time. Okay, I guess that’s really not too bad, all things considered.”
Katie: “Best: Everyone’s favorite brass street band—the one with like six trombone players, including a little kid with a tiny trombone—that always makes sticky-hot days in the summer more bearable, especially when an impromptu dance party breaks out. Worst: All the people who take themselves—and their jobs—too seriously.”

Best DC neighborhood:
Noah: “Well, our readers would be shocked and dismayed if I didn’t say Logan Circle, so I’ll go with the obvious. But it really is true! The only thing that could possibly improve the LC is for RedRocks to relocate next to Vegetate. This is a campaign I hope to work on more in the future.”
Katie: “Logan Circle. I mean, come on! It was originally called Iowa Circle. (Yes, I tell that to every visitor we host, and no, they never care.)”

Worst DC neighborhood:
Noah: “I’m not controversial enough to really answer this one. Plus, I haven’t been to like 75 percent of the neighborhoods. I will say that Karl Rove and Alan Greenspan live in Palisades. Draw your own conclusions.”
Katie: “I don’t know if it’s the worst—and it’s not really a neighborhood—but the area around McPherson Square has always rubbed me the wrong way. It’s a sad contrast of velvet-rope decadence ignoring blatant poverty, with a bunch of dull office buildings thrown into the mix.”

Favorite spot for a date night:
Noah: “Let’s see, for the approximately one time a year that I get it together enough to take Katie out for a decent night on the town (I’m quite the catch, folks), we like to do the dinner-and-a-show thing, like maybe Rasika for eats and Woolly Mammoth for theater.”
Katie: “Vegetate for a fancier vegetarian meal or Veranda for a laid-back drink. Beyond the neighborhood, Woolly Mammoth makes a fun date (especially since we’re 25 and can still get cheap tickets).”

Best restaurant for impressing the in-laws:
Noah: “Katie’s family is way into Zorba’s. I’d like to say it’s the charming atmosphere and tasty dolmas that does it for them, but honestly I think the generous carafes of wine might leave more of an impression.”
Katie: “Noah’s mom likes the lefty bookstore and atmosphere at Busboys and Poets. For a nicer meal, Rice is sort of our go-to spot.”

Where we’d find you on a Sunday afternoon:
Noah: “If it’s the summer, probably at one of the many street fairs and festivals. For some reason, we keep going to these things despite the insane heat and suffocating crowds. I guess we just really appreciate culture. And egg rolls.”
Katie: “In line for a coconut macaroon at Eastern Market. Mmm.”

Where you’d live if not inside the city limits:
Noah: “Well, we’re not old enough for the suburbs, so if we leave DC it’ll probably be for a city closer to the parents. Although lately we’ve been thinking about packing a car and living the gypsy life for a while. Friends with couches, you’ve been warned.”
Katie: “Eh, we generally assume we’ll end up in Chicago eventually. Hopefully, before then we’ll escape to somewhere like Sweden or Finland or Slovakia.”

Where you shop for gifts for each other:
Noah: “I have impeccable taste in women’s fashion, so generally I can just pick something out from one of the boutiques along the 14th and U corridor. But men, be warned: I can only do this because of my aforementioned sartorial sense. Use extreme caution before trying this yourselves.”
Katie: “To be honest, I’ve never been a good gift giver (luckily, we’re not an overly gifty kind of couple). But I did sew Noah a messenger bag he takes to work every day. He picked out the fabric at Exquisite Fabrics, which used be on K Street but has since relocated to Georgetown.”

Metro or bus?
Noah: “During the week, the train without question, because it gets me to work every day. But I think we probably take the bus more often on the weekends. The new 14th Street Circulator is tops! Also, we’re very lazy, and the bus stop is closer than the Metro station.”
Katie: “Whichever is more convenient. These days I probably take the bus more often because it usually involves walking less. And I’m lazy.”

Michelle Fenty or Michelle Obama?
Noah: “I think if we’re talking kickboxing or some type of mixed martial art, M.O. without question.”
Katie: “Michelle Obama!”

Favorite spot for people watching:
Noah: “Our living room, because we’ve got a great view into the apartment building across the street.”
Katie: “Most days I’m more of a puppy watcher, which I like to do perched on a bench in Logan Circle.”

Thing you miss most about Iowa:
Noah: “You mean besides the rent? Because I mean, I really miss the awesomely cheap rent. But beyond that, I’m in a constant state of withdrawal from my favorite restaurants in Ames. And I guess it’d be nice to see my family and friends more often; those guys are pretty cool. Did I mention that I miss the rent?”
Katie: “The downtown Des Moines farmers market is up there. (You haven’t tasted real corn on the cob until you’ve bought it straight from the bed of a rusty pickup truck.) Also: $350 rent. And family and friends, naturally.”

How you get your Iowa fix in Washington:
Noah: “Going to farmers markets always feels vaguely Midwestern. And of course, any evening that involves Nintendo Wii and copious amounts of cheap beer always takes me back. One time, we took a field trip up to Iowa Avenue, which was pretty cool, if a little uneventful.”
Katie: “Pull on one of our hi-larious Iowa T-shirts (‘Don’t Meth with Iowa’ or ‘Iowa: Wave the Next Time You Fly Over’), which inevitably inspires a fellow statesman to strike up a conversation or at least giggle a little while walking by. And listening to [Iowa singer] William Elliott Whitmore’s gravelly voice the last time he was in town definitely made me nostalgic.”

Favorite local blog besides your own:

Noah: “I have a Prince of Petworth T-shirt, which I won in a blog contest. Believe me, it’s really fun trying to explain the shirt to a non-PoP reader without sounding like a huge dork.”
Katie: “I go in waves with which blogs I read. But I guess DCist and Prince of Petworth are my standbys.”

Next week, My Notting Hill’s Michele Ginnerty is up to bat. She answers our questions about home design and decor and gives us simple tips on greening a home, making a small space seem bigger, and lots more. Stay tuned!

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