Saturday, July 23, 2011

Cool Things I've Done this Summer

In the midst of all the summer's mayhem, I often fail to mention the very cool things I have been able to do/see as part of the TFAS summer program, so I've decided to list them now.

  • Listen to a lecture by Russ Roberts
  • Sit on the House floor
  • Watch the Capitol Fourth concert on the lawn of the Capitol (ok, I actually didn't get to see the concert because of torrential thunderstorms, but I was there, waiting....
  • Hear Donald Rumsfeld speak
  • Speak with lots of great professionals in the nonprofit field including Bill Hanbury, Executive Director of the United Way of the National Capital Area and Les Lenkowsky, former CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service
  • Be briefed about international issues at the State Department
  • Hear Robert Egger speak
  • Visit the World Bank

Monday, July 18, 2011


Three cupcake locales in three days!

1. Lauren and I visited Crumbs located near Metro Center on Friday. Known for their large cupcakes-many of which contain some sort of icing filling-Crumbs is relatively new to DC. Renee raved about the cupcakes last summer before they had yet to arrive, so I was eager to try them this summer. I ordered a Cookie Dough flavor and Lauren chose the Blackbottom Cheesecake. The cupcakes were tasty. We both used forks to eat the cupcakes, a tactic which I am not particularly fond of with the smaller breed, but these cupcakes seemed to require it. We especially loved their size and selection, but the composition was nothing too breathtaking.

2. On Saturday, Lauren and I sampled two new locales. First up was Alexandria Cupcake in Alexandria, VA. The store was the most gourmet of the bunch, featuring a small selection of delicate flavors like Rosewater (my choice) and Lemon (Lauren's). The price and size of the cupcakes were comparable to the other's we'd visited, but the atmosphere seems that of a small bakery.

3. The second shop that day was a lesser known store also in Old Town Alexandria called Lavender Moon Cupcake. The shop was much larger than Alexandria Cupcake allowing customers to actually linger in the store and enjoy their treats at tables. The decor is hippy-esque, much more undone than Hello Cupcake! for example, with a relaxed atmosphere to match. The flavors were some of the most inventive that we had seen. Lots of fruit flavors including blood orange, raspberry peach and lemon blueberry. Unfortunately, Lauren and I chose to save our cupcakes until we arrived back at the apartment which I think sacrificed some of their integrity, but we were impressed none the less. We especially loved the icing!

As we eat our way through the summer, we add mementos from the shops to our cupcake wall. I must admit, our wall looks rather weak. Our busy schedules the past three weeks have made us rather lazy, but with only two weeks left, we are hoping to step-up our game and decide once and for all where the best cupcakes lie. Stay tuned!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

I attended my first National's game last Friday night and would like to take a minute to commend the National's on their marketing!

As you may know, the National's baseball team is not the best in the MLB, a reality which has likely posed challenges to their marketing reps.

But, rather than throw their hands up in dismay, they took it as a challenge from which to gain an edge. Consider the following...

1. The National's stadium is gorgeous. Carefully constructed so not as to obstruct the beautiful DC skyline, the stadium boasts a neat, multi-level layout.

2. The games appeal to all age groups: families, retirees, twenty-somethings. Everyone comes to the games; if not for the game itself, then for the company, the beer, the chili dogs. Fact remains, it doesn't really matter why they come, so long as they purchase tickets.

2.5. To confirm, we aren't just talking about any chili dogs. We are talking about the Ben's Chili Bowl half-smokes. I vouch for their deliciousness.

3. Free things. A hat when I arrived at the stadium and t-shirts tossed during the game.

4. Racing presidents. Believe me, you wanna check this out:

5. Coordinating the Metro system to accommodate for the game traffic. Bravo! You've outdone yourselves, really.

In conclusion, the team may not be very good, but I had a hearty ball game experience nonetheless.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

No Better Place

I enjoyed my second Independence Day here in DC with Michael this past weekend. We were sure to jam-pack it full of barbeque, fireworks and fun in the sun.

After an early office closure on Friday, we headed to the Spy Museum (along with a hundred other tourists). I had heard mixed reviews about the place, but as an admitted nerd, I thoroughly enjoyed my visit. Reminiscent of Disney World, there was close attention to detail in order to create a kind of "experience" for visitors.

On Saturday, we explored Alexandria, VA via the King Street Metro stop on the Blue line. The town is very accessible with a free trolley for easy shuttling up and down King Street. First, we enjoyed brunch at O'Connell's Irish pub. Then we made quick work of the rest of the street thanks to the debriefing Dana had provided as to the best sites including the Gap Outlet and Candy's Candies. We departed Alexandria via the water taxi which docks at the Georgetown waterfront. I vow to make a return trip with Lauren and Sarah to Alexandria Cupcake as we continue on our cupcake tour.

The boat trip gave me a whole new perspective of the city; I managed to snap some great shots of the monuments and other DC sights. On our return to Georgetown, we rested for a bit and then ventured just down to Wisconsin to eat at Los Cuates, a Mexican restaurant that I had been dying to try. The place was packed and for good reason. The food was delicious! Luckily, I didn't finish my plate and was able to enjoy it a second time for lunch yesterday.

The next morning, we trekked across the Key Bridge to Roosevelt Island, a 91 acre wilderness preserve that commemorates President Theodore Roosevelt. The Island is snaked by a 2 1/2 mile trail and features a 17 foot bronze statue of the President. Again, this adventure offered a new perspective of the city because through the trees, we caught glimpses of the Georgetown skyline.

After our morning hike, we returned to the apartment to prepare for that night's Capitol Fourth Concert dress rehearsal. Consider this one of the foremost insider tips: the Capitol Fourth Concert holds a full dress rehearsal the evening before the actual concert. Before venturing to the Capitol lawn to settle in for the performance, we had lunch at Old Glory on M street. It just wouldn't have been the 4th of July without some finger-licking BBQ. I opted for the foot long hotdog topped with chili and cheese and couldn't have made a better decision.

Amazingly, we left the restaurant unscathed by BBQ sauce or other condiment stains and made our way to the Capitol lawn. We made it through the security line, carved ourselves a spot and were just beginning to get comfortable when an announcement came over the loud speaker asking everyone to leave the lawn in preparation for foul weather.

We headed to Union Station, the closest thing near the Capitol that could offer shelter to such a large crowd. The sky became ominous with frightening rapidity leaving us drenched with only 500 ft. left in our journey to the front doors. On the bright side, Michael had never explored Union Station, so although many of the shops were closed, we were able to enjoy the beautiful architecture while we waited out the storm. Much to our dismay, even after the weather cleared, the dress rehearsal was cancelled for public viewing so we returned to Georgetown without having witnessed the performance.

Nonetheless, we capped the weekend off well. Kristen invited us to watch the fireworks from her new place near U street. We joined the rest of the neighborhood on the large hill outside, crowding the streets and preventing any traffic from crawling through. The view wasn't great, but the atmosphere was inspiring. The crowd was representative of the diverse neighborhood, but despite our differences, there we stood united as Americans.

There truly is no better place to celebrate our country's birthday than in Washington, DC!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Alumni Weekend

It is hard to believe that we are beginning week four of the program! Of course, it always seems further ahead to me as I have begun preparing the week five schedule in the office.

This past weekend was Alumni Weekend. We welcomed alumni from across the world back to Washington on Friday with a Rooftop Reception atop the National Association of Realtors building. The view was awesome with both the Capitol and the Washington monument visible.

On Saturday, we held a BBQ for current students, alumni, faculty, staff and mentors. The BBQ featured two IPVS fundraisers, a raffle and cornhole tournament. Together the groups raised over $800!! We are so proud of all of their efforts. They were clever, creative, diligent and organized. For example, the cornhole committee boosted their proceeds by hosting a guessing contest to determine how many popcorn kernels were present in a tower of tupperware.

The proceeds will be combined with the profits of the other five fundraisers held throughout the summer to benefit the IPVS grant. Awarded each year to a nonprofit focused on youth and education, the IPVS grant typically totals near $2000. The grantmaking process is an integral part of the students' summer experience in the IPVS program because it allows them to learn and practice many skills needed in the nonprofit sector as well as directly impact the DC area. The students are broken into seven committees, each assigned a different fundraiser to plan and host. In addition, they form an eighth committee that reviews the grant applications and presents the finalists to the rest of the class. Together, the class votes to determine the organization that will receive the grant.

To top the great weekend off, Michael joined me for the BBQ. We even entered the cornhole tournament together only to be ousted in the first round. Oh well, you can't win them all

Monday, June 20, 2011

Weekend Whirlwind

Since we last spoke...

I survived a very busy weekend complete with Jazz in the Garden on Friday, Service Saturday and Mt. Vernon and Movie Night on Sunday.

Jazz in the Garden was a wonderfully relaxing start to the weekend. We gathered in the Sculpture Garden around 5pm with hundreds of other Washingtonians and our picnic blankets. We secured a grassy spot near the stacked chair sculpture and enjoyed some jazz guitar until showers spoiled our evening. We fled to the safety of an Austin Grill, a tex-mex chain that offers hearty food at friendly prices.

After dinner, another round in the cupcake showdown ensued with a stop at Red Velvet Cupcakery in Chinatown. I was pleased with my Cookies and Cream flavor choice. In fact, we all enjoyed our choices (a downright miracle). Our rankings are a little different, but generally, Red Velvet placed somewhere in the top three.

I successfully led a group of 11 students in their Service Saturday project at the Capital Area Food Bank. We set out at 7:45am for a 9:00am start sorting food donations into appropriate category bins for further sorting. There was a visceral irony in sifting through these cast-off products, Trader Joe's chocolate bars and seasoned quinoa. Just weeks ago, these items sat on shelves, hallmarks of our successful American economy; now they lay discarded like trash because despite the fact that we produce more than we could ever consume, we cannot get these products into the hands of those in need. I appreciated the staff's dedication to reducing waste. We received very thorough directions to look past the dents and dings in packaging and remember that what mattered was the sustenance inside.

Summer months and a struggling economy meant fewer donations which equated to a shorter work day. This put my group first in line for pizza. {{Papa John's, of which I have eaten more times in the past week than in my whole life}} I especially enjoy the garlic dipping sauce which accompanies the pizza.

I finished Saturday afternoon by thoroughly exhausting myself with cleaning, laundry and grocery shopping.

Sunday brought my second trip to Mt. Vernon, George Washington's estate which overlooks the majestic Potomac River. Because I couldn't be home with Toby, visiting the homestead of the father of our country seemed an appropriate alternative activity for Father's Day. I feel some obligation to educate myself about George Washington considering my position as a Washington College student. In fact, school was forefront in my mind for most of the day for many reasons including some of the reasons below.

In the museum portion of the estate, I spotted Washington College on a map of schools with the name Washington in it. I also noted the same bust of Washington that appears outside of Hodson, spied the Code of Civility (which can be found posted across campus) and noted Washington's official signature penned on just about everything.

Finally the weekend came to a close with Movie Night, the first IPVS fundraiser of the summer. We showed National Treasure and the committee raised about $300 in concession sales and donations.

P.S.-The movie is even cooler when you recognize the locations of the filming. ;)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

"Power is not the means by which to change the world"

It is hard to believe that we are nearly midway through our second week of the program. Time is flying by!

Tonight we hosted an All-Institute guest lecture with Russ Roberts, Professor of Economics at George Mason University. In true TFAS spirit, he spoke on the advantages of small government. Having spent a year in the TFAS program already, I was familiar with the topic and took to his ideas rather quickly, but I am sure that not everyone took the same liking to the ideas which he presented. I appreciated the manner in which Roberts presented his viewpoints; namely, accessible, non-threatening and open for further discussion. I especially loved his quotation (which I have used to title this entry), one which he gave when he was asked by a student, how a single individual might make a positive impact.

This week also brings the mentor breakfasts (four total), our first IPVS site briefing and a hectic schedule change for the students (and staff).

Amidst the chaos, here is a list of recent accomplishments:
  • Learned 86 students names and faces
  • Mastered the mail merge
  • Received my first big-girl paycheck
  • Confirmed a service project all by myself
  • Only hung up on one person while working the front desk (sorry!)
  • Made a Ben & Jerry's pint last through three sittings

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Treadmill of Life

I apologize for the terribly cheesy metaphor, but it seemed to be best synopsis for this week.

As you might have seen, I haven't blogged this week, but honestly, given my schedule, I'm just happy that I've had time to shower!

The students arrived on Sunday in a storm of suitcases. Check-in lasted until 4pm and then we held our first "break-out" session. Kristen and I bombarded them with information, but I think they were pre-occupied with meeting people, stocking their fridges and buying sheet sets to take in anything that we said.

That night, the other PAs and I hosted an ice cream which garnered an impressive attendance.

Monday and Tuesday also brought orientation sessions and yesterday marked the first day of their internships. We have made a lot of trips to and from campus.

Despite the busy schedule, I am enjoying the work immensely. It makes me realize that I certainly want to work on a program staff. I appreciate the opportunity to see my work through to fruition. I find the physical labor of the job to be a welcome break from office work and I couldn't wait to speak with the students. Kristen and I had studied their biographies and were able to identify many of them as they approached the registration table, a feat which impressed some and freaked out others.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Calm Before the Storm

Lauren and I kept good on our promise to return to pound this morning before enjoying crepes again at Eastern market. I opted for a savory crepe with egg, ham, bacon and garlic/chive cheese, but Lauren stuck with her favorite, berries and sweet cream (plus a little raspberry jam).

We browsed until Michael arrived for the day-- :)
Lauren purchased a hilarious t-shirt from Fuzzy Inc. ("It'll grow on you"-ha!) that features a bicycle with a mustache handle. I'm not sure if you've noticed, but mustaches seem to be a hot trend right now. (??)

I showed Michael around the area. The weather was beautiful so we wandered toward the Capitol and back again until we settled at The Banana Cafe, a Tex-Mex, Cuban and Puerto Rican piano bar. We munched on delicious guacamole and a Cuban pizza which offered very unique sweet and savory flavors.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Awkward stairs

Quite a long day at the office today, but thankfully, my great company made it a pleasurable experience. Our two hour meeting kicked off with current event trivia. Dana and I paired up to earn second place, but in fact, I contributed absolutely nothing, so Dana is the true winner. Shane had purchased candy as prizes which we quickly downed.

Before stuffing the registration packets--86 in all for IPVS--Shane treated us to pizza and ice cream treats. Kristen and I made marginal errors and finished by4:15pm, but Sarah and I stuck around late to help Lauren finish up some things and we left by 7pm. Our late commute brought unusual traffic, but luckily, the weather made waiting for the bus downright pleasant.

Lauren and I took advantage of the weather with a late run that passed through the Potomac Heritage trail, a wooded area just over the Key Bridge which passes along the Potomac River. I was surprised that I had never stumbled onto it before, but then again, that's what I love about DC: you're always encountering new people and places. I'd love to return one day for a hike.

On our way back onto campus, we were stopped by a reporter who was looking to capture resident's reactions about last night's armed robberies which took place in Georgetown. Not only was this a shocking story (which we had heard nothing of), but the interview caught us totally off guard. The reporter was from ABC channel 7, so keep your eyes peeled for our video.
Read more about the story (and see my name mentioned) here:

One final note for today: Georgetown is home to some of the most awkward stairs. I encounter these stairs every day on my way to and from work and let me tell you, they are just as awkward on the way down as they are on the way up. The landings are too large for alternating your lead foot as you would normally, but not big enough to produce any additional paces on any one landing. I am baffled.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

By sea, by, only by foot, by foot, by foot...

Like most of my past excursions in DC, these past two days have consisted of a lot of walking.

On Wednesday, we were planning to hit the grocery store after work, but lo and behold, right around 5PM we learned that Georgetown had begun a "brown out" that would last until 9PM. I had forgotten about these joyous events when Georgetown officials, in all of their infinite wisdom, decide to turn off the power off.

Faced with no air conditioning, refrigeration or cooking capabilities, we decided to forgo our original plans and opted instead for dinner at Thaiphoon, a great Thai restaurant where my family and I had eaten last year. The food didn't disappoint, but the fast service (which would have been welcome any other night), put us back on the street too soon, at which point we had no other choice but to look for dessert.

We walked in circles for some time before spinning out toward Foggy Bottom and then before we knew it, we had made our way into Georgetown on M. Without--might I add--finding dessert.

At this point, we were practically emaciated and happily took refuge in Sprinkles where we refueled with cupcakes.

I chose chocolate marshmallow which was okay. Lauren and Sarah gave their cupcakes equally tepid ratings.

As Sarah pointed out, these ratings are especially telling considering that we had been searching for dessert for some time when we finally arrived at their door; we were hot, tired, borderline cranky and in desperate search of cake. One would think that if anything, our disposition would have given Sprinkles an advantage.

In conclusion, we give Sprinkles an "eh." The presentation was cute, but the flavors were subdued, the cake was dense and the icing was stiff (granted it was the end of the day).

Today also brought walking (surprise, surprise). We did finally make it to the grocery store albeit not without some challenges (i.e.-hail).

Luckily, our walk back from the store was not nearly as eventful. Now we have a full pantry of which I intend to go enjoy! Until next time, buh-bye.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend Part 2

After the hectic move-in on Saturday, we took a much deserved (if I may say so) lazy Sunday which included some browsing on M street and an evening run. We picked up a few supplies at one of my favorite stores, Paper Source, in order to create PA door decorations so the students will know where we live.

We spent much of this Monday watching or en route to the Memorial Day parade. TFAS scored some VIP seats in a viewing box which they happily handed over to the PAs. The viewing stand belonged to the organizers of the parade, the American Veterans Center, and included many current and retired military personnel as well as the parade marshals, Pat Sajak (Wheel of Fortune host) and Gary Sinise (Det. Mac Taylor of CSI: NY). We felt especially lucky to be out of the sun, but unfortunately, we were unable to escape the heat.

The parade was a wonderful demonstration of patriotism. The soldiers appeared like royalty in their neat, pressed uniforms of various decorums; golds medals and tassels shining bright in the afternoon sun. I felt like an outsider peering into the window of some inner sanctum as generations of soldiers exchanged salutes as they moved past in choreographed precession.

The announcer reminded the crowd that the Memorial Day parade was not established until 2005, a fact that seemed inconsistent with all of the pomp and circumstance which now characterized the festivities. It is a wonder how our own nation's capital could exist without such an event for so long.

When the parade concluded, we escaped the heat inside of tangysweet and treated ourselves to frozen yogurt.

Tomorrow brings a short work week culminating in the arrival of the students on Sunday. Can't wait! It should prove to be busy.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend Part 1

We got an early start to Memorial Day weekend when we got off at 3pm on Friday. Lauren, Sarah and I took the metro straight to Union Station. As we made reservations at the Capitol Grill, we realized that the Postal Museum was next door (and open for another hour and a half). The museum is probably overlooked by most tourists as it is far from the other museums, but I recommend it for a quick stop. The building used to be the post office for DC, but was replaced by a newer building in the 80s.

Granted, the museum does hype some of the stuff inside (like the section on mail security), but it had plenty of hands-on stuff for small children and a large collection of stamps that are quite beautiful. There is even a post-office attached to the museum~how cool!

The museum evoked some poignant emotions as I contemplated the glorious history of print mail. An industry that once occupied a highly respected place in our nation is now a dying art. While the stamps almost inspired me to become a stamp collector, they did prompt me to send some postcards.

After browsing the museum, we reverted back to our original plan and made our way into Union Station. Among other stops, we checked out ShoeWoo and bought two pieces of Belgium chocolate at Neuhaus Chocolatier. Delicious!! Find out more about Union Station at

The Capitol Grill was a great Friday evening dinner because of the relaxed atmosphere; we could really kick-back after our first week. Instead of bread, they bring soft pretzels before dinner and a bold, horseradish mustard. Sarah tried one of the many beers that they brew on site.

On the walk home from the metro, Lauren and I stopped for coffee at pound, our favorite coffee place by far (so far). We sat in comfy chairs by the window and chatted. We sure will miss that place now that we are in Georgetown, but we made a pact to stop there on weekends when we visit Eastern Market.

The next morning we perused Eastern Market before our cabs arrived for move-out. We had crepes for breakfast at the crepe stand. I ordered ham, apple, maple and muenster and Lauren chose peaches and sweet cream. We also purchased handmade, vintage headbands from a mother-daughter team from South Carolina, Treats for Tresses.

There were so many neat crafts and delicious foods to choose from. It will definitely be a recurring stop for us in the weeks to come!

Then came the terrible, the dreadful, the absolutely awful move-out.

Okay, I'm exaggerating a bit. We actually lucked out considering that the all-day rain that they called for, never did show. BUT, trying to cram all of your belongings into a cab on a busy street and then unpacking those same items 15 minutes later, up a large flight of a stairs and through the windings paths of Henle Village is not my idea of a great time. On the bright side, TFAS paid for our cab rides which totaled over $80. (!!)

After move-in, we were too exhausted to even think about cooking dinner, so we ventured to M Street for dinner at Mr. Smith's, know for their burgers which they serve on long buns.

All of that excitement made us very happy to see our beds that night!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Enjoying this Time in Capitol Hill

I scurried out of work yesterday and met up with Ian for dinner at Matchbox, a restuarant that Dana had recommended. I was shocked to learn that he had never ventured to the Eastern Market neighborhood and I know he was definitely regretting that decision after he discovered how fun it was.

Happily, there was still some daylight left when Ian departed and I was able to take a quick run around the neighborhood. I'm amazed how little traffic there is once the commuters find their way out of the city. In that way, DC doesn't fit the stereotypical image of a city: constantly bustling 24/7.

After a shower, my roommates and I kept good on our promise to get coffee together that night. We chose a place named pound, just down from us on Conneticut. Lauren and Sarah each tried a nutella latte (Lauren iced and Sarah hot) which Lauren described as "adult chocolate milk." I ordered a horchata which was a delicious and very refreshing drink made from rice and milk, served on ice with cinnamon. I recalled Oscar's daughters ordering something similar when they treated us to dinner several months ago. My mother and I were so intrigued by the drink, that I just had to try it. It was a wonderful choice as I settled in for the night.

The coffee shop had a great atmosphere. The employees were all hanging around, competing to determine who could create the best design with the cappuccino foam. After placing our votes, we sipped on our drinks in the courtyard and then called it a night.

Today, we celebrated Dana's birthday with lunch at Lauriol Plaza, a Mexican restaurant. The food was great and so was the company! Back at the office, we have begun printing some of the materials for the students' registration packets; the printers are getting quite a workout.

Speaking of workout, I think I'll invest in a fitness ball of some sort to sit on at my desk because I'm getting really tired of my desk chair. I fidget far too much and like to make trips down the stairs to Kristen's office just for an excuse to move around.

The day ended with a soccer game near the Potomac. Kristen and Hailey invited me to play on their team. We lost terribly, but it was a good time. Over the season, they've recruited several players in some unusual ways including a cab driver, Muhammad, who was looking to join a team and take a break from his long route between Baltimore and DC.

I've really appreciated the welcome that my co-workers have given me and the other PAs. Inviting us to join in their game exemplifies their kindness.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Less Work=More Play

I arrived at work today to emails from some of my students; how exciting!! Given all the work they have been putting into this program, the staff are getting really excited to meet the students. I too am starting to get this feeling after working on the student biographies.

All of our hard work earned us a shorter work day; we got to leave at 4PM. We put the spare time to good use and got burgers and shakes at Good Stuff Eatery, Spike Mendelsohn's restaurant in Capitol Hill. ((He was a contestant on Top Chef Chicago)) This is the same place where I dragged poor Sara last summer. While we waited for our milkshakes, we chatted up one of the employees as to where Spike might be. He even called Spike in an attempt to locate him. He said that he loves to give autographs and photos and all I could think about was how cool a photo would be for my blog!! Fingers crossed. There is still plenty of summer left.
Check it out at highly recommend the milkshakes. Delish!

After early dinner, we made our way to the Capitol and along the Mall where some guys invited us to play frisbee. We figured that we should enjoy the last remnants of the cool(ish) weather before the summer heat settles in. One of the guys was a native who joked about how mundane the buildings seem to him after years of passing them. Right now I can't imagine that feeling. The buildings still captivate me. They are-- as Lauren and I commented yesterday--quite majestic, especially in the right light.

I'm thinking of checking out the bookstore down the street this weekend for some cheesy mystery novels set in DC. I think they would be super fun to read this summer while I'm living here, in and around the sights. Any suggestions?

The girls and I are also on the hunt for some cake balls. I had never heard of these curious specimens until a few weeks ago when Michael mentioned them. They sound delicious, but I've yet to find a place in DC (besides Starbucks) that really specializes in them. When I find them, I think I'd like to bring some in for the whole office. We are an office of nearly all women, so you can imagine that sweet treats would go over BIG TIME.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Why the Scenery Makes All the Difference

Everything seems better when it's cast in light of great scenery. Commuting, working, running, you name it, I guarantee it's easier when you do it in a place that entrances you.

Indeed, I had this experience today. I find myself continually mesmerized by DC sights and sounds. Walking to work is fun when you have beautiful architecture to examine and a 20 minute run flies by (although still not quite fast enough) when you cross paths with 50 other runners.

Guess it's safe to say that I am enjoying myself thus far.

Today was long. Our commute is around 45 minutes from door to door, but luckily it will shorten tremendously when we move into Georgetown. The day was full of orientation to the office and our responsibilities as PAs. Fortunately, we happened to arrive on a day of celebration: the entire staff gathered for Chick-fil-A lunch. Yum!

It really is a great work environment. Everyone was very friendly and welcoming. They strike a great balance between having fun and completing some serious work. I get the feeling that both are in store for me this summer. I'll admit, that two-week task list is pretty intimidating, but like Toby always says: one spaghetti noodle at a time.

Ok well, with a full day ahead of me, I'm off to bed.

One final lesson from today: don't forget the caffeine. Boy was I drowsy around 3PM. I think I'll remedy by bringing in my box of English tea for the office. Too bad I can't bring Mrs. Drake along as well. She sure does make a mean cup of tea. ;)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

TFAS Summer Part II: "I thought DC was laid on a grid!"

This phrase came out of my mother's mouth as we passed Park Cafe for the third time today, trying desperately to make our way to the my apartment on 6th Street. That's right. I'm baaaaack!

After completing the TFAS program last summer, I have been hired to work this summer as a Program Advisor (PA). Today I moved into my ((temporary)) apartment near Eastern Market and tomorrow, I will begin work at the TFAS office preparing for the students' arrival in June.

My Mom and I set off for DC this morning. A big thanks Mom, for driving me down. I know city driving is not fun--it included lots of stoplights, parallel & double parking, hazard lights, near Titanic-like collisions and general frustration. After stocking our fridge and snapping a photo of us on the stairs, Mom took off and left the three of us to fend for ourselves.

Let me stop there and provide you with some foundational information to help you make your way through this blog.

I have two roommates who are also working as PAs: Lauren Goldberg and Sarah Howard. However, there are six PAs in total. The other three are living together in a separate apartment (for now). Next weekend, we will be moving once again into Henle Village at Georgetown University. As you may remember, these are the same apartments that I lived in last summer as a student in the program. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), the apartments were not available yet so for now, we scored an awesome apartment near Eastern Market.

Our summer will be filled with work in the office from 8:30-5:30 from M-F and frequent evening and weekend events once the students arrive. We also function similar to RAs so we need to be on campus and available for assistance.

As if this weren't enough to keep us busy, we have also set a few other goals for ourselves.

1. Sightsee! The sights are never ending.
2. Blog so we can remember all of these cool things.
3. Interview, network and schmooze This may be more important for Sarah and Lauren as they are looking for jobs for the Fall, but it never hurt.
4. Take photos especially with our new buddies--crocheted octopi that we purchased at Eastern Market today: O-man, Oscar (aka-Little Nugget) and Ottie
5. Taste test cupcakes to decide once and for all whose are the best.

I'll also post about our eating adventures in a separate section. Tonight: I returned to Montmarte, a French restaurant that Michael and I dined for brunch last summer, but this time we stopped for dessert. We sat outside, as the weather is lovely-warm and breezy; however, I suspect this weather is short-lived and will soon be traded in for unbearable heat and mugginess (joy!).

Full day of work tomorrow. Talk to you soon!

P.S.-The photos will likely be all Lauren's.