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Insider’s Guide: Abi Kallushi shares her favorite hidden gems

Abi Kallushi is an architect and collage artist who fell in love with Old Town after obtaining her master’s degree from Virginia Tech’s School of Architecture.

Abi Kallushi
Photo by Erick Gibson

Abi Kallushi is an architect and collage artist who fell in love with Old Town after obtaining her master’s degree from Virginia Tech’s School of Architecture. Now a resident and employee, she shares her favorite must-visit places in the area and more.

Social Media Visibility
A Creative DC, the Instagram and hashtag, is such a hub for the creative community. They have been supporters of my work and gave me visibility. Through that, Marta Staudinger, who owns Latela, saw my collages, and now I am being shown in her gallery and represented by her.

Makeup
Photo by Erick Gibson

Beauty
I love Mario Badescu products, Trilogy rosehip oil from Whole Foods, Glossier for foundation and lipsticks. I hate shiny lipsticks, but their [products] have a matte but creamy consistency. Nars concealer for my under eyes and their Mata Hari blush—that’s my favorite—also Makeup Forever mascara, which I just got from Sephora. I recently got a gel manicure at Image Nails in Old Town, and they did such a great job.

Shopping
I like Anthropologie because they have really flattering fits. Current Boutique, Twig Thrift Shop and Need Supply [as well]. My glasses are from Oliver Peoples, and I will wear nothing else. I am incredibly brand loyal to them.

Abi Kallushi collage art
Photo courtesy of Abi Kallushi

On Collage Art
I’ve always been interested in art. But collaging was born out of procrastination. I use the computer a lot for architecture, and it was my way of rebelling against the structure of my work. Architecture has to be very logical and make sense, but the collages were a way for me to just explore color and texture. I get to productively procrastinate.

Fitness
Pure Prana Yoga in Old Town—I really like the vibe there. I love their full moon and new moon classes. I would recommend those to everyone.

Old Town Alexandria
Photo courtesy of Andrea Izzotti/Adobe Stock

IG Inspiration
I love going alley diving, as I call it, in Old Town because there’s a lot of beautiful plants growing and textures. The buildings, the ground—the place doesn’t matter as much to me as the texture does, and you will find a lot of that in Old Town. I also made a collage of two of my friends sitting on a bench in Jones Point Park. At high tide the bench gets flooded, so I called it Super Chill Girls with Tons of Anxiety.

Food
I love Momo Sushi in Old Town. That’s a great date night place. For drinks and music, Basin Street Lounge on King Street is fun. I also like Stomping Ground [Del Ray] for brunch—they have the best fried chicken. And Northside Social [Clarendon] because I meet there for book club on Wednesdays.

(August 2016)

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