Summer 2015 Recap

According to some folks, summer is officially over.

Goodbye Summer Hello AutumnThis summer, like many summers, did seem to fly by at times. But there were many days (weeks, even) where I could have sworn the heat had slowed the passing of time, leaving me there to melt. DC set several heat records this year, including a record of 51 days above 90°F in 2015, and we’re still not safe from more heat to come. (I haven’t forgotten that freakish 80° day the first December I moved down from New Jersey.)

At some point towards the end of July, I realized my blogging game for the summer was not there. I began editing a “Summer Favorites” post to make up for all the monthly favorites I had missed, like how the post was originally titled “July” favorites when I realized I hadn’t even done June. (or May or April…)

Originally, I was going to push forward and try to get some individual event recaps posted, but here’s my new plan: give you a broad overview of what my summer has been like and then retroactively do those individual recaps. They are already delayed anyway, so what’s another few weeks, I guess? Versus having a more timely summer recap?

So, let me tell you about a few things I did this summer, with more detailed available on asterisked* ones. (Don’t hold your breath if you’d like to see those, but do let me know and I’ll put extra effort in pushing those out even though they won’t be timely anymore.)


May 2015
… I started a new job with a DC startup. After spending a decent amount of time doing part-time work, it was nice to settle back into a full-time role, regularly spend time in DC, and be around other people. Plus, I was excited to work with a small team versus where I was last summer, as I felt I got really lost in corporate America with my job then.

… I attended my friends’ – Alex and Cindy’s – wedding*. This was big because not only do I rarely get to go to weddings, but this was a XANGA WEDDING. I met Alex through that good ol’ blogging platform, and his wedding turned into a bit of a Xanga reunion for a lot of his friends. I was able to meet some folks that I have only ever interacted with online, as well as see some of my other Xanga friends who I haven’t seen in years. Xanga forever! Blog friends are real friends!

Our reception table with the bride & groom (in the center to my left) (I’m the one in the green dress — I KNOW I only wear green once a year but Cindy loved that dress)


… I spent most of my time with my new job, trying to settle into my role and juggling start-up hours. But I was still able to find time for fun!

… I went to the Kennedy Center to watch NSO Pops: Let’s Be Frank, a Frank Sinatra tribute medley show. I adore Sinatra, so getting to see Broadway stars sing some of his best hits alongside the National Symphony Orchestra was a lot of fun. Frank would have been pleased, I think. Plus, afterwards, we were able to stick around at the My Way Soirée, where there was more music and fun to be had.

Let's Be Frank
Quick photo op at the Kennedy Center with some Sinatra-inspired props and hats

… I went to the Baltimore Yelper Party, aka Yelp’s Secret Agent Soirée at Baltimore’s Horseshoe Casino. I busted out my prom dress for the first time since high school in accordance with the formal dress code and Ben busted out his tux. This was the first Yelper party that I was attending and not working at, because I had to rush there from work in DC.

Guys. I love photobooths and I am a BEAST at the silly picture. Here’s me and Ben channeling our inner secret agents.

… I moved out of my apartment, as my lease came to an end on the 30th. It was rough trying to pack and move with my hours getting longer and longer, but I somehow was able to manage thanks to my dad and boyfriend helping me a lot on the last day with getting furniture into a Uhaul! My parents were also getting ready to sell their house at this point, so I was simultaneously going back to their place to pack and move there as well.

Empty room
My comfy bed and dresser full of clothes and other junk used to be right there…


… I left that new job, as I quickly realized that it just wasn’t a good fit for me because of what the role demanded of me. I learned a lot and met a lot of great people during my short time, and it was a really valuable experience, but it simply wasn’t for me and that’s okay. In addition to the job not being a great fit for me, I needed to leave because of upcoming full-time opportunities.

… I participated in my first-ever hackathon*. Hacking Journalism was held at the Washington Post and had the goal of engineering solutions to better utilizing data in the journalism industry. While I’m not in journalism, I do think that it’s an important industry as I feel very invested in the news and how people consume the news. Also, I love data. This was a really fun way for me to learn about how hackathons work in a lower-stress environment than a standard one, and I was able to make some new friends along the way! Bonus: I wasn’t as useless as I thought I’d be, given that I am not a developer or a data scientist at a data science development hackathon. Score!

I’m embarrassingly easy to spot in our group selfie gif…

… I worked at the MD Burbs Yelper Party, aka Yelp’s Celebrity Affair at the Bowlmor in Rockville. People had great celebrity costumes and the food was kind of INCREDIBLE. Easily some of the best food provided by vendors of any Yelper party I’ve been to, because sometimes vendors bring food that you’re just not that excited about. Every vendor nailed it at this one, from the whole roasted pig near the entrance to the Filipino spread in the back. Even though I bled to set up, it was really worth it to see everyone have as much fun as they did.

Our costume contest winners were Miley Cyrus, Diana Ross, and……. Magic Mike


… my family kicked off the month with a yard sale. I realized that yard sales actually give me major anxiety, as I really don’t like selling things, much less personal belongings. Plus, we had people coming in and out of the house looking at furniture, people started showing up at 6:30 AM (the listed start time was 9 AM………), and we had a really steady stream of people the entire time. BUT our neighbors across the street had a really adorable lemonade stand, and that honestly made things so much better.

… I went to my friend Annie‘s 30th birthday party*, which was this incredible Harry Potter-themed affair. Seriously, Annie and her crew put in SO much work and it paid off big time. It was the best Harry Potter party I have ever been to, from the decorations to the photo booth to the food to the costumes. It ended with some fun in the pool and watching some Harry Potter movies, of course.

“Look tough, look gangsta!” – Hogwarts or BUST (birthday girl rocking the Marauder’s Map dress)

… it was back to the Kennedy Center to see see the musical Once. I remember when “Falling Slowly” won an Oscar back in 2008 and falling in love with the song. (Oh yes, there were covers recorded with friends, impromptu performances in parks…) I never saw the movie, so being able to see the full story play out was a magical experience. It’s a simple but really emotional story, and the stage performance was so fun. I highly recommend seeing Once if it comes to a theater near you.

… my one year chip-free anniversary came and went. I can now eat chips without crying (too much). Some harmony has been restored to my life.

… I went to my first-ever county fair*, the Montgomery County Fair (even though I don’t live in Montgomery County). I rode the Ferris wheel in time to see golden hour, pet a bunny, watched my friends play a bunch of games, ate a footlong corndog, and had an overall blast.

Our gorgeous view from the top of the Ferris wheel

… I took my brother and his friends to a welcome back dinner at Fogo de Chão because it was DC Restaurant Week and they had just returned from spending the summer in San Francisco. There was a lot of food and I was able to get to know my brother and his roommates a little bit better. Also, we spent the evening walking about to see the monuments at night, which I am never able to do so I was extra grateful for that opportunity.

… I worked at the DC Yelper Party, aka Yelpchella at the Embassy Row Hotel. This is one of the coolest places in DC, design-wise, and I got to finally wear the flower crown I made with my friend a year ago, eat a lot of delicious food, dance the night away, and get a shot at Arabic Internet fame! (Shoutout to the ladies who didn’t speak English but have photos of me on each of their iPads, and to one of these ladies who has a husband who has video of me dancing on his phone.)

Me, trying in vain to get the folks who were recording videos of me to join me in the dance circle

… I attended Diner en Blanc*, an internationally-held outdoor white party. This involved a lot of hunting for an all-white outfit, putting together the meal, and hauling of furniture for what can easily be summed up as an incredible Instagram op. But it was a lot of fun sharing that experience with all those strangers and seeing some previous coworkers again! (This post is nearly finished, so keep an eye out for it. Read about it here!)

My view while setting up our tables — a sea of DCers donned in white on a hot summer’s day

It was an eventful summer, and I’m sorry I haven’t been sharing it in a more timely manner here on the blog. Please tell me which of these you want to hear more about. There is for sure a Diner en Blanc post coming, but everything else that is asterisked will likely just get shelved because I don’t think anyone wants to hear about them this late. Do let me know if I’m wrong!

What were some of the highlights of your summer?
What are you looking forward to for the fall?

{See also: Summer 2015 Favorites}

Small, but this time, Busy!

Yesterday’s list was a last-minute kind of blog, but it made me feel productive after an unspectacular day.

Today already felt productive because several of my tasks were back-to-back, which made me feel very busy. So, at the risk of ruining a good thing, I thought another bulleted list would help artificially inflate my sense of accomplishment!

  • Emailed a bunch of strangers to schedule meetings
  • Scheduled meetings with the ones who responded
    • Those also happened to be some of the more absurdly good-looking people at the company
  • Had a productive meeting with my manager
  • Ate lunch with a really old friend
  • Walked even FURTHER to eat lunch
  • Dialed into a conference call
  • Picked up a headset for that Britney Spears feel/so I can type and be on the phone
  • Made decent progress with an assignment I’ve been working on since Monday
  • Befriended the girls working around my new desk assignment
  • Got a telemarketing call on my work phone
  • Wore a Snow White hairbow without anyone commenting on it
  • Found the coathook in my cubicle so I don’t have to hang my coat on my chair anymore

Phew, now I feel better about hitting a productivity wall around 3:30 today and really only being busy for about 2 hours.

What small accomplishments are you celebrating today?

P.S. I made a joke about using 2 teabags yesterday despite not being at a rave. Some people didn’t get the reference, so here it is:

New Week, New Job

This was an exciting week because it was my first week at my new job. Whoo! I feel really lucky to have been hired, because I felt like I didn’t know even how to start finding a job. I worked at the research lab where I spent my whole undergraduate career for my first “semester” post-grad, so it felt almost like an extension of school. I was still going to campus every single day. I had been going to that lab for over 4 years already. Even though I was working, I knew that my lab job was just a security blanket, helping me delay entering the real world for just a smidge longer after making some really big life decisions the day after I graduated. So, not only was I still hoping to be a child forever, I was venturing into a completely new career path without a lot to really back me up for it. I applied to a bunch of places and couldn’t even get so much as a “Sorry, the position as been filled” email, let alone an interview. My family was starting to worry about me, which translates to a lot of unwanted (and sometimes unhelpful) advice. Luckily for me, I got a referral from a friend and that referral lead to an interview! I got the notice about my interview while I was in China, which was great because I could calm my family down a bit. I was super nervous about my interview, and while practicing, my boyfriend pointed out that I tended to ramble and got bitter talking about “past obstacles or difficulties and how I overcame them”. The morning of the interview, I was pretty panicked about those things, and then I panicked about parking because the parking garage was teeny and had almost no spots open. (Turns out I was in the wrong garage. Go figure.) My interview went really well, though, and I got my offer really soon afterwards! That was a few weeks ago. This week, I had to wake up at before 6 for the first time in months. UGH XD Waking up early has never been a strength of mine, but I have a pretty long commute, one of the many things that has made the DC metro region infamous. I’ve actually done this commute before, as I used to have a research internship at Georgetown and my new office is in the same area. My new commute consists of me  driving to a metro station and then taking that to DC, where I walk to the office. And then in reverse so that I can go home. BEFORE, I drove to the train station, took the train to DC, took the metro, and then walked to the office but with my hours being as strict as they are, the inflexible train schedule was wearing me very thing. Several people have asked me why I don’t just drive to work if I have to spend nearly 2 hours commuting each way, every day. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha lemme tell you why:

  1. With DC traffic being the crapstorm that it very reliably is, especially during the freakishly long rush hours, I would end up spending at least an hour and a half on the road each way.
  2. During that time, I wouldn’t be able to do what I can do on public transportation, like read, eat, write, or sleep!
  3. Driving in traffic — and especially DC traffic — stresses me out a lot. I have mild anxiety regarding driving during rush hour and, these days, regarding driving in DC as well. It’s a great city but the driving is such total poop because the roads are bad and the drivers are, too.

So, seeing as how I would only save maybe 15 minutes total every day by driving, and the cost for those 15 minutes would be no naps, no reading, and no snacking… I’m really happy with my decision to take the train XD Plus, I do just really like riding trains. (That Amtrak writers’ residency? Sounds like a dream.) Anyway, I’m a real-world working girl now! That’s so crazy to consider. I always thought that I’d be in school until I was close to 30 but here I am. Not in school. Working full-time. What in the what. There are a whole bunch of other grown-up things that I need to figure out now, like moving closer to DC so that I don’t need to spend 4 hours of my day commuting, and 401Ks, and health insurance… <groan> I’m also struggling with updating my professional wardrobe, as I usually only needed to be business casual a few times a semester, at most, and now I need to have enough options to switch it up for a daily basis. D: That stuff can be handled later. But for now, I feel like I can resume my life. I was in such a funk feeling like I wasn’t going anywhere in life and being an extrovert who spent nearly all of her time alone. It was killing me. Things are looking up a bit now, though! I’m even getting new business cards, this is real business, you guys. Do you have a nice commute or is the worst part of your day? If you went straight to work after graduating, what did you do? If not, where did you go instead?