Another Busy Week

Hello and happy Friday! I have been a little bit low mood this past week, maybe from just being so busy and maybe from the transition from hot and humid to gloomy and rainy. (I haven’t seen the sun in almost a week, now…) But I’ve been doing a lot of fun stuff so I thought I’d share a bit of that here today!

2017 DCFemTech Awards

This year, several of my friends and colleagues were recipients at the DCFemTech Awards, celebrating women in technology in the DC area and their work. It’s really inspiring to see so many women getting recognized and encouraged, and I am proud to work alongside them.

Great turnout from my coworkers to support Hareem!

I was also able to see some friends from college that I hadn’t seen in a while, as well as get an ~exclusive~ after-hours look at the Washington Post headquarters and newsroom!

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Congrats again to Angela and thanks (again) for the tour!

Daybreaker: Music on the Brain

My first time attending a Daybreaker event was on my birthday back in December. I really loved the concept when I first read about it: early morning dance parties fueled by coffee, juice, and a love of dance rather than by sex, drugs, and alcohol, which aren’t my motivations for dancing.

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This month, Daybreaker partnered with the Kennedy Center, one of my favorite institutions in DC and of all time, to put on a great dance party on the terrace. It was crazy hot and humid but I had an awesome time dancing with my friend Megan at her first Daybreaker. Both of us saw friends we knew and had an amazing time sweating and dancing before a Friday work day.

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Megan and artist Yoko Shen, who performed a haunting piece to end the pre-work evening

InnoMAYtion Hackathon

On Saturday, I mentored a hackathon for the first time! I worked with Think of UsThink of Us to help think of ways to make their website for parenting teens in the foster system easier and more appealing for people to use. It was strange being one of the more experienced developers on a team, considering I’m still not very confident in my skills yet, but it was fun to work with that team and I learned a lot about the resources that are available to parenting teens and their caregivers.

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Cat Yoga

My friend Jen’s birthday was yesterday and I wanted to do something with her before she went out of town for her birthday weekend. We had talked about DC’s cat cafe, Crumbs & Whiskers, before but I hadn’t gone. I figured that even if Jen had gone a bunch of times, as an avid cat lover, it would still be a treat for me to take her to enjoy cats and pastries.

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Little did I know that Crumbs & Whiskers has recently been offering Sunday yoga sessions. WITH THE CATS. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life, even though I was frequently startled by how often I would find a cat where I was going to put my hand or foot. Those precious kitties were worth all the allergic sniffles I experienced, and I got a great yoga session out of it, too!

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I also enjoyed a delicious brunch with Jen afterwards, and just remain so grateful to still be friends with this great girl I met at college orientation.

EdibleDC Eat/Drink Local

I recently won tickets (thanks BrightestYoungThings!) to EdibleDC magazine’s Eat/Drink Local, where I was able to sample so many delicious foods from local vendors all over DC. From local oysters to truffled gnocchi to blue (!!) cashew milk and an entire pizza, my belly was delighted to sample so many delicious foods and drinks from the area. I have been known to give the DC food scene a really hard time, but it’s because I know there’s so much potential and I want it to be better! It’s gotten so much better over the past 2 years and I can’t wait to see how much more it grows.

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You know I’m a sucker for a photobooth, especially if one of my favorite companies – UrbanStems – is helping run it!

Foodelicious Night

Did you know that the DC mayor’s office has a special division dedicated to Asian Pacific-Island affairs? It’s true! MOAPIA (Mayor’s Office for Asian Pacific-Island Affairs) has been putting on events all month for AAPI Heritage Month and I was able to attend Foodelicious Night, where 3 of DC’s most famous Asian and Asian-American chefs performed cooking demonstrations for us and let us taste it after! We had:

  • Chef Erik Bruner-Yang, the phenom chef who runs Maketto, one of the trendiest and most critically-accalimed restaurants in all of DC, period, and cooked for us a delicious Cambodian curry
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  • Chef Nobu Yamazaki, of the best sushi restaurant in DC, Sushi Taro, which recently won a Michelin star in DC’s first Michelin guide, and prepared for us 2 different sushi rolls
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  • Chef Xiaolong Hu, from Panda Gourmet, the best Chinese restaurant in DC that is famous for being the go-to authentic spot for Chinese embassy employees who are craving real Northwestern Chinese food, prepared for us pork belly buns

This was a really fun event because the chefs all had a lot of personality and prepared really amazing foods for all of us. It was such an incredible way to celebrate Asian cuisine in DC and how easily you can recreate it at home!

Megan’s Birthday Dinner

Last night, I met up with Don, Megan, and several of their friends for a birthday dinner to celebrate Megan! (Fun fact: She actually has the same birthday as Jen!) It was a lot of fun seeing some of Megan’s friends that I haven’t seen in years, or since her wedding last year, or just since the last time we all hung out. (Please tell me it’s normal to have trouble hanging out with friends at a higher frequency as an adult, it is very frustrating to me…)

It was a lot of fun to see everyone and to see Megan twice in one 7-day period!


It’s Memorial Day weekend in the United States, and I’ll be spending it resting, cleaning, and maybe checking out some online sales!

How will you be spending the (long) weekend?
How was your week??

Infinity Rooms, Disco Fashion, & An Assassination| week in review

Happy Revenge of the Fifth and Cinco de Mayo for the people of Puebla. Please be sure to observe respectfully and enjoy the magic of Star Wars on this lovely Friday.

This week has been one of my more eventful weeks, especially as I’ve been doing a lot of DC things and exploring parts of my base city that I haven’t in the past. (I arbitrarily posted on Instagram every day in April, and most of those were San Francisco latergrams, so many people reached out to me thinking I had moved to SF. Nope! I just hadn’t gone out very much in April. ūüėÖ)

INFINITE KUSAMA // I cannot believe that I was able to see Yayoi Kusama’s exhibit at the Hirshhorn a second time, and this time it was through my own tickets! I’ve been trying to get tickets literally every single Monday since the ticketing system opened up, but every week ended with disappointment. BUT I finally was able to get them AND they were for an early morning slot, so I brought Ben and my friend Vivian to see Kusama for the last time on Monday, as her exhibit will be leaving DC and headed to the next destination for her tour. I’ll try to put together a dedicated post with photos and a video if possible, but if you’re able to catch Infinite Kusama when it comes to your city, I highly highly recommend it. It’s a bit stressful with the lines and the short time limits in each room, but it is really accessible art and I find a lot of peace in the patterns that helped calm the artist’s mind.

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“All the Eternal Love I Have for Pumpkins” – Yayoi Kusama, 2016

TIM GUNN & DISCO FASHION // On Tuesday, the Library of Congress hosted Tim Gunn to talk about the fashion of disco as part of their month-long celebration of disco fashion, history, music, and culture. I got there early because my ticket had some nonsense about “ticket does not guarantee admission, we recommend arriving 30-45 minutes before doors open” but almost bailed because I was not in the mood for that nonsense, ya know? I don’t even watch Project Runway! I was thinking this and singing a little bit under my breath (I think it was “Till There Was You”, if you were curious) and it was an absolutely perfect day, weather-wise. The Library of Congress is this gorgeous building, and I was glad to see there was no line winding outside yet, so I started hurrying towards the entrance. As I walked up the steps, I noticed a few meters in front of me were a man and a woman. As I got closer and closer, with my hustlin’ pace, I realized:

I was walking about 10 feet behind Tim Gunn.
To go to see Tim Gunn speak at an event.

No one paid me much mind? They didn’t ask me to back up, and I feel like if I wanted to, I might have even been able to just walk through the staff-only door that he and his handlers went through. There was a funny incident at the security check, where the security guard asked for a handshake from Tim Gunn because he and his wife were fans… but I had my arms out waiting for him to wave the metal detector wand over me… and it was a wee bit awkward. (Also awkward: me trying not to bother Mr. Gunn because celebrities are people too, so instead of asking for a photo or anything I just said “thaaaank you…. and hiiiiiiiii~” when he held the door open for me.)

He was SUPER hilarious. While he only briefly talked about disco and how the fashion was a very logical progression from the 60s and how important disco was for people in terms of finding acceptance no matter what, I learned a lot about Tim Gunn like:

  • He comes from a background in academia, and didn’t even study fashion in school.
  • He hates leggings as pants.
  • His feelings towards the Kardashians? Disdain.
  • Ditto for the current White House administration.
  • He and Anna Wintour are arch-nemeses and he is not ever invited to the Met Gala because he once told the New York Post that the most outrageous thing he ever saw at a fashion show was Anna Wintour being carried down 5 flights of stairs. To be clear, he wasn’t trying to imply that she couldn’t work a Manolo and understood that this was the quickest way for her to get to the next show without waiting for the elevator, as no one in 6-inch Manolos can beat security guards down 5 flights of stairs.
  • He once met Vivian Vance at the FBI headquarters when J. Edgar Hoover was the director. Later, when it came out that Hoover was a cross-dresser, he realized that he never met Vivian Vance…
  • He adores Heidi Klum. But not his other Project Runway judges.

He was so well-spoken and charming and funny and thoughtful and kind. I really have a greater respect for how honest and genuine Tim Gunn is and will keep an eye out for his future endeavors for sure! In the meantime, disco on.

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Also I was OBSESSED with that white skirt in the background. I spent half the interview staring at it.

HISTORY ON FOOT – LINCOLN ASSASSINATION WALKING TOUR // I was invited by my Instagram friend Albert to an instameet at the Ford’s Theatre. It’s a walking tour that takes you through downtown DC to several key locations that are settings for the conspiracy that was President Lincoln’s assassination. I cannot recommend this tour enough, as it’s led by a fantastic actor who does all these great voices for different people’s testimonies of the evening, and the walk itself is really lovely. I learned so much about Lincoln’s assassination and US history in general like:

  • The General Post Office building (now the Hotel Monaco) was the first all-marble building constructed in DC and housed the first public telegraph office.
  • The term “lobbyist” was coined in the lobby of the Willard Hotel, from which you can see the White House, the Capitol, and the Washington Monument.
  • While Mary Surratt was the first woman to be executed by the federal government for delivering a package for John Wilkes Booth (the man who shot Lincoln), her son, John Surratt, who was one of the lead conspirators, escaped trial and execution twice and died at the ripe old age of 72. Tsk tsk.
  • The Treasury Building’s basement is meant to survive an attack on the capital in the event of an emergency. It is where the president and other high-ranking government representatives would have been evacuated to.
  • Tad Lincoln found out about his father’s assassination a few blocks away, while attending a different show at a different theater, when someone burst into the theater in the middle of the show and shouted that the president had been shot.

There was so much to learn but I don’t want to spoil all the details of the assassination for you. If you have an interest in US history and especially if you’re interested in Lincoln’s assassination and the conspiracy surrounding it, book this tour. (It’s a little over 1.5 miles, 2 hours, at $17.)

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Adjacent to Ford’s Theatre is Star Saloon, where John Wilkes Booth stopped for a drink right before shooting President Lincoln

That was my week! I’m wearing my Star Wars shirt today and listening to a lot of John Williams at work. Have a great Friday and weekend everyone!

What do you have coming up this weekend?
What are some DC things that I should do next?
I really felt a deep love for the District this week because of the beautiful weather and the amazing fun events I got to do here that I can only do here.
Do you take advantage of the unique fun your town/city offers? (Tell me how if you do!)

Capital Solstice: A Pop-Up Black Tie Dinner Soiree

This past Friday, I was invited to attend the first Capital Solstice event in Washington, DC, put on by TTC POPUPS. It was a black-tie affair with a 9-course dinner with proceeds going to Becky’s Fund and appearances by local celebrities like Guy Lambert from WPGC 95.5 and Korto Momolu, 1st runner up of Project Runway season 5.

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I know I just threw a lot of information at you, so let’s take it slow.


GETTING READY for a black-tie formal event was a little bit stressful for me. I didn’t have any good option at home to wear, so I actually went to the mall Thursday evening trying to find a dress. I got so sick of looking at dresses that I felt physically ill. I found a dress that was okay, but with time running out and my patience (and stomach) wearing thin, I didn’t have much of a choice. We had been at the mall for something like 2 hours already, but the cashier that I took the dress to was busy with the customer in front of us, who had something like 20 articles of clothing to get checked out.

All righty then. Off we went in search of a free cashier. When we found one, I realized we were next to a clearance section of dresses that we hadn’t checked out yet. Despite how literally sick of dress-shopping I was, I wandered over and started looking. It was Ben who, upon realizing that I found a yet-untouched-by-us trove of dresses, found a dress in my size. It was fate. It fit perfectly, was formal enough (if you don’t wear a floor-length gown to a black-tie event, then when?), and guess what.

It was cheaper than that first dress because it was on clearance! Oh man, I perked up immediately after buying it and celebrated with a bubble tea and a huuuuuuge smile on my face.

Friday rolled around, I left work a little early, and I met my friend Monica to get ready. (Ben, upon seeing how much anxiety prepping for the event was giving me, made the wise decision to stay home Friday evening.) My hair didn’t quite cooperate, but it still behaved. We primped and left fairly early, fully prepared to hit a lot of traffic on our way to the venue.

Well, we arrived half an hour early, which we definitely did not expect, but it was a great chance to catch up with Monica, who I hadn’t seen in a long while.

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Photo: Nick Klein

And then we were in!Read More »

Eat DC: Food Trucks

In honor of Christine & Karen‘s upcoming trip to visit me in DC, I thought I’d share a little insight as to my planning process when it comes to what to show them when they are here. I am, by no means, an expert on the DC food scene, but these are the impressions I have of it. While we won’t be able to visit all of these places, I hope you will be able to at some point!


Food trucks¬†are kind of amazing and I don’t know why they seem like such a new thing to me. I mean, I’ve been chasing ice cream trucks down the streets for decades now, but I didn’t know this was an option for every other food imaginable! (Also, ice cream truck driver, stop ignoring me just because I’m not a small child, please.)

I don’t know if I can tell you the “most DC-est” food trucks that the District has to offer. This Eat DC series has taken a lot out of me, so I just thought I’d share some food trucks that are important to me, at the very least, and I think they’re important to at least a decent proportion of DCers as well. If you want to know where these food trucks are, you can check their individual Twitter/Facebook accounts or check resources like FoodTruckFiesta.

(Note: All DC food trucks operate for lunch hours on weekdays, typically 11-3, unless they are at a special event.)

Crêpes Parfait

The non-business side of the truck (Photo courtesy of crepesparfait.com)

This adorable truck with copper pans, a little windowsill flower garden, and French music playing is easily one of my favorite food trucks. In addition to delicious cr√™pes, which I lurve, owners Chef Mounir Elhilali and Roberto Catanuso are such sweet and kind gentlemen. It’s hard not to smile when you walk up to the truck, these two men smiling at you from underneath their berets, and get wrapped up in the feeling that you’re walking into a French bistro and not relishing your small break from the workday. You can get a gluten-free one, if you’d like, and they make their own lemonades and iced teas! Je vous adore, Cr√™pes Parfait!

Popular items include chicken crêpe, Nutella and banana crêpe,  and ham crêpe

Website: crepesparfait.com
Twitter: @CrepesParfait // Facebook: /CrepesParfait

TaKorean

Photo courtesy of takorean.com

I have long known about TaKorean, which serves — you guessed it — tacos of the Korean variety. There are now several trucks that serve Korean tacos, many of whom I frequent because the TaKorean lines are way too long for me. But TaKorean was the pioneer in the DC area, and their long lines are a testament to their success and the success of Korean tacos in DC. They now have brick-and-mortar locations in DC so that you don’t need to chase down their trucks anymore. If you are a big fan of bulgogi and kimchi in your tacos in DC, you can thank TaKorean for paving the way.

Popular items include kimchi slaw, pork bo ssam, and bulgogi tacos

Website: takorean.com
Twitter: @TaKorean // Facebook: /TaKorean

Basil Thyme

Photo courtesy of foodtruckfiesta.com

One of DC’s most popular trucks is Italian regular Basil Thyme. They deliver fresh ingredients and delicious Italian food on wheels, and can you blame the people for being so happy and willing to eat it? It’s one of our most-reviewed food trucks on Yelp, where folks sing praises of the friendly staff — like former IT salesman and co-founder Brian — and delicious food that doesn’t make you feel guilty and full of regret when you’re finished. (Especially because entrees come with a side salad that let you feel a little healthier!)

Popular items include cannoli, eggplant lasagna, and traditional lasagna

Website: basilthyme.com
Twitter: @BasilThymeDC // Facebook: /BasilThyme

Red Hook Lobster Pound

Photo courtesy of redhooklobsterdc.com

One reason a lot of DCers are so grateful for food trucks? Because they can some New England classics like clam chowder and lobster roll. On wheels! (The fun of food trucks is that your food is on wheels.) While many of our food trucks have several competitors — Korean tacos, halal food, etc. — there aren’t that many people peddling lobster rolls on wheels! For a taste of New England in a town that is increasingly embracing Southern comfort food (nothing wrong with Southern comfort food!), it’s nice to be able to settle in with a taste of Maine.

Popular items include Connecticut style lobster roll, shrimp roll, and whoopie pies

Website: redhooklobsterdc.com
Twitter: @LobstertruckDC // Facebook: /RedHookLobsterPoundDC

PhoWheels

Photo courtesy of phowheelsdc.com

 

You know what used to cheer me up so much on bad days at work that were also dreary and rainy outside? Stepping outside the office and being able to pick up a steaming bowl of pho. PhoWheels is one of our best pho trucks in the area, and I’m so glad that trucks like them exist. Not only do they serve pho, they serve banh mi and banh mi-style tacos. (And you can get a poached egg for your pho or fried egg for your sandwich!) Also, people love the “chork” (chopsticks + fork) that they give you to eat your food with. Plus, they often partner with SnoCream Company, the snow cream bus. (AND THEY SELL MACARONS TELL YOUR FRIENDS.)

Popular items include pork belly tacos, eye of round pho, and banh mi with fried egg

Website: phowheelsdc.com
Twitter: @PhoWheels // Facebook: /PhoWheels


We’ve got more food trucks than we really know what to do with in DC. In the summers, we have a monthly food truck festival called¬†Truckeroo¬†that is a great way to check out trucks that don’t stop by where you work! I love the food truck scene and love sharing my favorites with folks.

Do you like food trucks? What are your favorites?
Is there a food that you wish food trucks served near you? 
(I wish I could get real NY style pizza!)

 

Eat DC: President-Themed

DC is one of the top foodie cities in America, but that means that much of our food scene looks the same as others. It’s a culture driven by young professionals who love burgers, brunch, and happy hours. What sets DC apart?

Well, the president lives here. Every president before him has. DC is distinct because of it’s importance in American politics and, subsequently, in US history. In terms of our food scene, this culminates in president-themed restaurants and bars.

Nothing screams DC more than a trendy restaurant that is dedicated to a US president.

Lincoln

The iconic giant armchair/booth (Photo courtesy of lincolnrestaurant-dc.com)

 

With Lincoln, we reach the¬†pinnacle of the DC food scene. Small plates? Check. Southern food? Check. Happy hour and brunch? Check. Trendy food items? Check. President-themed? HUGE CHECK. This¬†is easily one of the coolest places I have ever seen and one of the most DC places I can think of. It is a really nice gastropub with an impressive menu of small plates and drinks. It is also the trendiest tribute to an American president I have ever seen. Copper pennies on the floor, mason jar lighting, cast-iron skillets for serving your food, bathrooms labeled “Abes” and “Marys”, etc. I just really love how into the theme this place is. I mean, PENNIES. Because Lincoln! The cocktail menu commits also, as I fully expect from any themed restaurant.

Popular items include braised short ribs, mac and cheese, pot pie, Moscow Mule, and Lady Lincoln.

Come for happy hour, brunch, dinner, lunch, whatever. Come for the Lincoln-themed gastropub whenever you can!

1110 Vermont Ave. NW; (202) 386-9200; lincolnrestaurant-dc.com

Teddy and the Bully Bar

(Photo courtesy of teddyandthebullybar.com)

 

Actually owned by the same folks who own Lincoln, and actually, a pretty similar concept, as well. Lots of small plates and, guess what, they’re also into the farm-to-table goodness! The menu is meant to reflect Teddy Roosevelt’s love for comfort foods and game, since we all know he was an avid hunter. The vibe here is decidedly different from Lincoln. Where Lincoln is darker and cozier, Teddy and the Bully Bar is brighter and has more modern touches, like the mounted “animal heads” that are really 3D art.

Popular items include mac and cheese, brussel sprouts, scallops, Rio Roosevelt, and safari sangria

Come for happy hour, brunch, dinner, whatever

1200 19th St. NW; (202) 872-8200; teddyandthebullybar.com

The restaurateurs behind Lincoln and Teddy and the Bully Bar are actually coming out with another restaurant in the fall, so stay tuned for more from a spot called Declaration!