Tuesday, April 29, 2014

DC Part 3: White House & Cocktails

Do you want to hear something kind of shameful but also understandable? So we bused into DC on Wednesday and had a dinner reservation at Blue Duck Tavern at 8:45 PM. D and I had planned on getting cocktails and being cool and glamorous after dinner but I sheepishly announced that I was feeling sleepy, D sheepishly agreed that she was tired, and then we sheepishly came to the decision to head straight to bed after dinner instead of dancing the night away. I guess this is what happens when you're in your mid-to-late 20s, huh?

It worked out for the best though. Because we got such a good night's sleep, we were able to do a lot of stuff during the day on Thursday (hello, Cathedral and Dumbarton Oaks) and by evening, we were still going (kind of) strong. So, after dinner, we headed towards the W Hotel for drinks and we purposely took a route that would take us past the White House so we could say "What up?" to Obama and friends.

Friday, April 25, 2014

DC Part 2: Dumbarton Oaks

The second fun activity we did in DC (not including the food adventures) was Dumbarton Oaks. Dumbarton Oaks is a mansion and garden which used to be owned by the Bliss family, who turned the property over to Harvard U. in 1940. It's a gorgeous place that must be visited if you're in the DC area during the spring, summer, and early autumn. It's open from 2 PM to 5 PM all year. The museum portion is free; regular admission to the gardens is $8 and $5 for students, seniors, and babies.

If you recall from my DC Part 1 post, my camera had some issues so the following photos are from my iPhone. I also didn't take quite as many photos as I wanted to because my phone battery was dying and we needed to book an Uber back home (I'll talk about Ubers in a separate post) so I had to be quite conservative. Nonetheless, I think I captured some decent shots.

Dumbarton Oaks is about a 10 to 15 minute walk from Georgetown.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

DIY Garden Markers 2014

I'm interrupting my series of DC posts to bring you this year's garden markers. We planted our garden this past weekend and I've made some homemade garden markers, yet again. Last year, I made a sort of fancier marker with the veggies and fruits painted right on the sign but this year, I went for something much simpler and I love it.
You'll need:
wooden ovals ($0.29 each at Michaels)
flat wooden dowels (you need around 2" for each sign)
acrylic paint & brushes
wood glue
clear sealing spray
stamps (optional)
Start by painting the wooden ovals with a base color. I just went for a simple white but you could use black or a color. I think next year, I might try gold or silver. Let the paint dry for a few minutes.

Monday, April 21, 2014

DC Part 1: Washington National Cathedral

The DC trip was so much fun and I'm excited to share my photos and experiences with you. One thing that made this trip extra nice and decadent was that it was relatively local and the duration of the trip was rather short so I was able to pack a small bag with several outfits. My travel companion and I both love fashion so it was fun for us to be able to do an outfit change before dinner both nights.
So, we rolled into town around 6PM and started off our trip with lots of food. You can check out the food-related stuff over on my food blog. I haven't shared it just yet but the posts will be up soon.

Friday, April 18, 2014

J's Birthday

Last weekend, I was invited to celebrate my favorite friend's fiancĂ©'s last birthday in his 20s. We had dinner and drinks at EN Japanese Brasserie. Normally, I'd share this on my food blog but since there are some fun fashion-y party shots mixed in, I decided to just throw them all up on here.
We had a little private room upstairs that had a dining area and then an open area. The restaurant even personalized the menu! It was a prix-fixe meal ($65) for a decent amount of food.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

How To: Unplug on Vacation

I am incredibly grateful for this internet age. This blog wouldn't exist without it, or if it did, it would be in a completely different form - I'm imagining a sort of journal-scrapbook hybrid. I love being able to play a game on my iPhone any time I'm made to wait (e.g. bank queues, Chipotle ordering queues, post office queues, basically all queues), it's great to be able to order clothes from the comfort of my bed with just a few clicks, and Google can provide the answers to 90% of my questions.

These days, this advanced technology also means that our work follows us wherever we go. If you've got a somewhat conventional office-y job like me, then you've most likely got an email account for your work that pings all day long, even at nights and even on weekends. Actually, this is probably true for most people who have unconventional non-office-y jobs too.

When I first entered the full-time job force about five years ago, my company handed me a flip phone to use for work and only the VIPs had company-issued Blackberries. That was then. Now everyone is always connected. In our office, basically everyone has an iPhone (dedicated to work) and we could all email each other at 3:00 in the morning, if we were so inclined. Obviously, smart phones are a great business tool and the list of pros is a mile long but there is one huge, ugly, glaring con: the emails and phone calls keep coming, even when you're on vacation.

Whether you're high or low on the totem pole, for some reason, it seems as though there's always someone who urgently needs something from you while you're away.
So, I've compiled some of my tips for what you can do to make your vacation more of a vacation. Keep in mind that this advice is definitely more suited for people who have my sort of lifestyle - working in an office-type setting where people love to phone you and email you regularly - but can be adapted to some other work situations too.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Giving Back

Though I am far from being a millionaire, like light-years (which is a distance, not a time duration but you get the gist) from it, I am quite lucky and fortunate to be living a full life surrounded by a family that I cherish, friends that I adore, and a pup that I obsess over. My lifelong dream as a kid was to become an artist but I also had a v. practical side which made me a math and science lover. My parents encouraged the latter. I ended up at college in the architecture school; a subject that I had assumed would be a harmonious combination of both of left brain and right brain strengths. When it turned out that architecture was not quite what I thought it would be I transferred to the engineering school where I found myself to be quite comfortable, despite the unpleasant smell wafting off of several unshowered students.

Changing majors was probably one of the best decisions of my life because I secured a job right out of school and I work for a successful engineering company that does work across the U.S. and internationally. I suppose that in my ideal world, I would be living in Paris just cooking and creating art and hanging out eating baguettes all day long. But I must admit, having a steady paycheck is awesome. It allows me the luxury of indulging in frivolous shopping, multiple holiday getaways every year, and a subscription to Netflix.

But, life is more than just a career and money, right? For a while, I had been looking for a way to give a bit of my time back to my community but I could never drag my butt off of the couch long enough to make any commitments. Luckily, the stars aligned themselves perfectly and I somehow managed to get my way onto the Mount Pleasant Animal Shelter list-serve. There are several ways for volunteers to offer their time but I've chosen to socialize cats and dogs. So, once or twice a week, I head to the shelter and just spend some time with cuddly and furry cuties who just want a little of my affection.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Bark for Life 2014

This past Saturday, I was at the Bark For Life event in a town nearby and it was so much fun. Bark For Life is organized by Relay For Life and fundraises money for the American Cancer Society. Lots of people participate and there are so many fun dog-related events. At ours, we had competitions for the best trick, dog and owner lookalike contest, longest sit, musical sit (like musical chairs but the dogs have to sit when the music stops), best bark, and a bunch more activities like that. There was also a police K-9 demonstration and an obstacle course so that some of the trained dogs could show off.
It was a lot of fun. I was there with Mt. Pleasant Animal Shelter, where I've been volunteering for the past few months. The event was able to raise about $10K, which is awesome, and I got to meet so many great dogs.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

racheerachh's Packing List & Tips

Usually when I'm going on holiday, I make an extensive packing list with each and every single item I plan on bringing, even down to which specific pairs of underpants I want to pack (I'm not even exaggerating). I have a few obsessive compulsions and being organized, knowing where things are, and making lists are high priorities.
I find that making a list is great not only for when I'm getting ready to depart on my fantastic holiday but also when I'm packing back up to come back home. I haven't left anything (important) behind in a hotel room in more than a decade. I owe this partly to the fact that years ago, I left my favorite teddy bear at a hotel in Boston and that traumatized me so greatly that I'm really vigilant when it comes to gathering my things at the end of a trip. I also tend to leave my things clustered to just one area of the hotel room to prevent items from being misplaced or forgotten.
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