An American Girl in Washington

All is chaos

Posted in All about moi by AGinDC on 25 February 2011

I should be used to this by now.  Living from a suitcase, complete insecurity about where my life will be in the next 24 hours, lack of funds or lots of funds that I for some reason can’t get to, etc.  This is called: My Life.  However, the older I get this only gets more frustrating and more serious.  Let me give you an idea of where my life is as we head into the weekend:

1.  After a long and harrowing battle we finally got our checks at the firm at the very last minute today.  But, since I just opened my account 27 days ago and they hold all checks that are deposited less than 30 days after opening for an entire week, I can’t deposit it.  And the bank that issued the check?  Only open til 5pm.  So that’s out.

2.  After another long and harrowing battle the apartment that I am hoping to move into finally started running my application today but I won’t find out until tomorrow.  I’m pretty sure I’m not going to get it so I’ve also been making backup Craigslist lists to get started on as soon as I find out.  So that will be fun.

3.  After sleeping on Ferr’s air mattress on the floor of his studio apartment for the last week I am moving to an air mattress on the floor of the spare bedroom of Bax’s apartment in Triangle, Virginia.  Never heard of it?  Me either.  And I’ve been there.  It feels a little like that town in Deliverance, but without the Cosmopolitan flair.  I will be at Bax’s until I have a place to live.  Which means possibly commuting from bumfuck VA into Metro Center using an old Bronco that Bax has generously offered me.  So that will be good.

4.  A super awesome person at the firm gave me two passes to a 24-hour Best Picture movie marathon that I should skip but can’t because, well, it’s 24 hours of movies.  So that’s Saturday blown.

5.  I’m supposed to be reading a book for a new book club on Sunday night that I ordered and had sent to my new PO Box before I realized that DC is the hood and the post office closes the ENTIRE BUILDING when the customer service desks close.  This is new, and more than a little obnoxious.  So now I will never check my mail again.

6.  If, by some miracle, I do get this apartment I’m supposed to move in on Sunday.  The movie marathon ends around 10 am, I have an alumni brunch at noon, a book club for a book I haven’t read with people I don’t know at 6pm and an Oscar party at 7.  So that’s totally possible.

7.  I have absolutely nothing to wear to any of the above things.

8.  I hate my hair.

So that’s my life right now.

What am I wearing?  My new grey Nine West boots that are totally cute and probably slightly inappropriate for work but they’re new and my life sucks so I wanted to wear them and I did.  With J. Crew matchstick jeans in a dark wash, my mom’s vintage Dior button down (I wasn’t kidding, I really don’t have any clothes and am repeating.  A lot.), and the grey Jackie cardi that I’m going to burn.  And pearls, the only things that have kept me sane today.

Yup.  That’s about it.  I’ll write again if I survive the weekend.  Cross your fingers that I’m not still homeless on Monday.

Have a great weekend, at least one of us should!

AGinDC

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I <3 President's Day (and not just because of our sexy POTUS)

Posted in Just another day in DC, Work Wear Daily by AGinDC on 22 February 2011

Happy four day work week!!  Don’t you just love it when Friday comes sooner than expected?  I do.

This weekend was a great POTUS day weekend for me, for many reasons.  First, I moved away from The Palace.  Even though it’s sad (I have a really depressing blog post that I’m not sure if I want to publish) and even though I’m homeless at the moment (thank God for good friends with air mattresses!), it’s a relief to finally be out rather than thinking about it all of the time, and it’s so nice not to have to avoid the glances of a really creepy picture every time I walk out of my room.  That being said, the apartment I have on hold is tenuous at the moment and my life is, as usual, unsure.  Oh well, c’est ma vie.

This weekend was also fantastic because I finally met the wife of a really good friend of mine, DH.  DH and I have been friends for almost three years and I never met his wife but now that he’s moved to DC and she and the kids are following soon, we finally met!  She’s gorgeous and totally sweet and I’m super excited for her to come to DC so we can be besties.

However, the best thing about President’s Day (except celebrating the gorgeous man currently residing in the White House and the fact that we’re not skipping school and staging protests to get rid of him…)?  SALES!  I am in desperate need of work clothes (of any clothes really) but am also broke (although less broke than I have been), so I have been frantically looking for clothes that don’t make me look like I have Richard Simmons on speed dial and that I won’t have to move into a motel that charges by the hour to pay for.  After spending hours in two different Filene’s Basements I left dejected, demoralized, and depressed and decided to shop away my sorrows at Nine West.  One pair of $20 heels and a pair of $60 boots later and my spirits were considerably lifted.  I then marched of to Banana, bought a really cute satin floral blouse (a different color than this link and way less expensive, plus an extra 25% off) and called it a day.  Today I am wearing my cute new crimson patent leather (I know, me and the patent leather.  Just call me Pollyanna.) pumps, my taupe BR slacks and my new BR blouse.  I had to put a silk cami under the blouse to remain appropriate and topped it with my trusty coral J. Crew Jackie Cardi. I actually like this outfit.  It’s comfy, very textbook in the mix of colors, solids and a patterned shirt but light and feminine and the flouncy sleeves mean I don’t have to wear a cardi in this ridiculously hot office and can still look adorable and office-appropriate.  Stacy and Clinton would approve.

How did you spend your POTUS day?

Have a great Tuesday!

AGinDC

This week in food trucks- 14 Feb

Posted in Food Tastes Better on a Truck by AGinDC on 18 February 2011

One of the most fun things about working downtown in a job that actually pays more per hour than the cost of a cheap meal is that I have regularly been able to indulge in a previously extravagant treat, the food truck lunch.  For six months now I have been reading about all of the amazing mobile dining options available to the average DC workaholic but I haven’t been able to try them out.  So, this week I decided to start eating lunch on my feet on a regular basis.  And for an average cost of $8, this is something I can do often.

So, every morning around the time that I’m starting to get hungry (which is usually shortly after breakfast) I click onto Food Truck Fiesta and figure out who’s going to be in Metro Center for lunch that day.  Then I choose between the options and head on down.  This week, I ate at Sauca (@eatsauca), Meathead Mobile Eatery (@wheresthemeat) and Red Hook Lobster Pound (@lobstertruckdc).

At Sauca I had the Mumbai Butter Chicken on grilled flatbread.  It was warm, delicious and buttery.   A good lunch but I’m really picky about my Indian food and this was missing some spice.  I’m not sure what, but something wasn’t right.  But, for an $8 meal on a truck, it was pretty darn tootin’.

The day I went to Meathead it was my only option and I honestly wasn’t looking forward to it.  The thought of a giant plate of meat made me feel ill and none of the sauces or combinations sounded good.  But, it’s food, and I was hungry, so I went.  First of all, this was the first sunny day that we have had in 3 decades so I was already in a good mood.  So was everybody else and people were chatting to strangers like this was a small town in the South and we were all related.  Second, this was gray dress day which made me super happy anyways.  And third, my $8 Oink Oink was freaking out of this world.  Never have I had pork seasoned so well.  And I hate cole slaw but on this sammy?  I would even take seconds.  From now on, where there’s a Meathead, there’s a me.

Today it was Friday, and beautiful and I wanted a long lunch so Mrs CH and I went to the Red Hook Lobster Pound.  Definitely on the expensive end of the food truck scale, you have to really want this meal because not only are you paying for it, but you’re standing in line for a long, long time.  This will clearly only be a rare treat for me.  But, that being said, the lobster is delicious.  I mean, really good.  And I went to college in Mass and Mrs CH is from there so we knows good lobster.  But the serving is tiny considering the cost ($15 for just the roll, $18 for the roll plus chips and a soda) and eating it felt like just an appetizer.  I guess thems the breaks when you’re eating lobster in the South from a truck.  But it was definitely delicious.

So that was this week’s food truck adventure.  In case you’re wondering, they all take cards which is really nice.  Who knows what next week will bring.  Does anyone have a favorite?

Happy long weekend!

AGinDC

Alright, so I’m inconsistent

Posted in Work Wear Daily by AGinDC on 17 February 2011

One of my biggest problems when teaching first grade (other than the coke-snorting, sexually harassing, crook of a principal I had to deal with) was that in place of a brain I have two hamsters who are alternately sleeping, eating, or dressing each other in the remnants of the costume closet from Saturday Night Fever.  As such, it is impossible for me to be consistent.  I would set up new incentive programs and forget the next day, set up new disciplinary systems and have to be reminded that they existed, or even start reading a new book because I forgot we were still reading the old one.  It’s amazing those poor kids learned anything at all.

Sooo… you can hardly be surprised that I forgot the little wardrobe inventory I started doing when I started this job.  Which I still love, by the way.  Mostly because I’m getting paid but also because this firm is amazing.  Anyways, I mostly started doing the wardrobe inventory because I tend to forget what I’ve already worn (see:  hamster comment above), how it looked on me and whether or not I liked it.  Since nobody reads this blog anyways (except the Rev, hi Rev!), I figured it was as good a place as any to keep a log.  I bought one of those wardrobe programs for my mac once and even spent an entire Saturday inputting all of my clothes.  Then, no surprise, I remembered it about six months later. I also started because I am constantly looking for wardrobe inspirations (I think I wrote about this in a previous post, but who can remember?) so I figured if some poor Girl Friday is out there looking for ideas of what to, (or not to) wear, maybe she’ll Google her way over here.

Another disclaimer:  One day I’ll try to figure out Polyvore.  Until then, use your imagination.

So, on Monday I wore a gray pencil skirt (my little secret: the zipper was broken but I really wanted to wear it anyways so I just slipped it on and wore a shirt that more than covered the gaping hole in the back.  Nobody noticed!) with a vintage Dior white and blue pinstripe button down that I swear my mother bought in college in the 70s and which I stole when I went to the same college 30 years later.  It’s still perfect.   And that’s why you buy designer.  I wore that under a navy silk Ann Taylor cardigan.  Navy patent Prada ballet flats.  Very college-girl-goes-to-work outfit.  It worked.

Tuesday I wore a tan BCBG pencil skirt (can you tell, I’m obsessed with pencil skirts) with a navy silk shell (also love those shells, they dress everything up, from skirts to jeans to pajama bottoms) and a coral J. Crew Jackie cardi.  Black patent Prada chunk heels.

I just realized that today is Thursday, which means I’m missing an outfit.  No idea what it was.  Oh well.

Today I’m wearing a gray v cut Super 120s dress from J. Crew and black patent Anne Klein wedges. I love dresses, they’re so easy.  I also love that I can wear a sleeveless dress with NO SWEATER because the weather is goooorgeous outside.

So, here’s another reason I’m making this log.  I just realized that I’ve worn patent leather shoes every day.  Odd.  But, I’m also still mostly working with the wardrobe from that one suitcase I brought from law school, with a few additions, so I’ll give myself a break.  This log should be getting a lot more interesting over the next few months.

Anyways, last post of the day.  I’m off to another event tonight so I’m sure I’ll have plenty to tell!

Happy Friday Eve!

AGinDC

P.S.  Hi Mrs CH!  To all of you who don’t know the future Mrs, she always comes to work looking very adorable.   I approve.  😉

UPDATE:  The dress I was wearing yesterday must have been great because the doorman at the Marriott stopped me this morning and said, “When are you wearing that dress again? You should wear it all of the time.”  While this was marginally creepy, the dress wasn’t low cut or short or anything and I did look totally adorably professional, so I decided to take it as the compliment that I’m sure it was meant to be.   And yes, I am definitely planning on getting more like it.

DC Celeb Spotting

Posted in Just another day in DC by AGinDC on 17 February 2011

Whoever first said that DC is Hollywood for Geeks should be given a medal (after seven months of slaving away in crowded gyms in this town, I’ve decided that whoever said DC is Hollywood for Ugly People should be shot.  There are way too many beautiful girls here.).  Being one of those said geeks (hello, lawyer) I have had some encounters this week that have set my heart racing, my sweat pouring and my eyes glazed over in barely concealed awe more than once.

First, while waiting for my fake big brother DH to meet me at Afterwords for brunch on Sunday I saw (no, stalked, for twenty minutes) Elena freaking Kagan.  OMFG.  I couldn’t believe it was her but there was no mistaking.  And she was buying books!  At Kramer’s (because only a Supreme Court Justice can afford to buy books at Kramer’s)!  All by herself!  It was amazing.  I was trying not to stare but I’m sure I looked like a total idiot.  My first SCOTUS justice in public!  So much better than seeing them in a crowded room giving boring lectures in law school.  Score!

Then, on Tuesday night I volunteered at a benefit for the local non-prof that I have been working with since I got here, the Washington Literacy Council (donate!) and I saw (I was too starstruck to actually speak) Thomas Friedman, told Barney Frank (sigh) where his table was and said hello to Vince Gray and a couple of Congressman who were so not exciting after F&F.  P.S. Yes, Barney Frank is as adorable in person.

It pays to be a geek in the capitol city and I am so excited to be living in a place where I get to see my real-live heroes and not flash in the pan celebrities with more collagen than intellectualism.  I mean, Thomas Friedman writes books.  Good ones.  That matter.  Who in the real Hollywood can say that?

Geeks rule.

AGinDC

Checkin’ out the locals

Posted in Just another day in DC, Local Arts and Artists by AGinDC on 16 February 2011

This weekend Bax and I decided to check out some of the local shops on U Street.  I always walk by them but it’s been so cold that I haven’t wanted to go in.  And, truthfully, not having any money doesn’t exactly make one want to window shop in super awesome local boutiques.  But, now that I am temporarily gainfully employed, I thought it would be fun.

We started at Urban Escape at 17th and Florida because Bax was in desperate need of some product to tame his ever-frizzier hair.  A gorgeous stylist, Kamilah, helped us out and hooked him up with a styling wax that will hopefully take him from grizzly to gentile without passing greasy on the way.

Next we headed down U and stopped in at Caramel, a gorgeous boutique with lots of really comfy and unique clothes for men and women.  She also had a lot of jewelry made by independent artists and she features local artists on the walls.  The current artist is Rita Nayak and I am obsessed.  I have been dreaming about one of her paintings and am pretty sure I’ll be back next week to buy it.  Her work is bright and colourful and feminine and absolutely gorgeous.  I love it.

Our other favorite store was RCKNDY, a super posh home store with lots of beautiful furniture that I hope I can afford some day.  But they also had lots of fun little novelty items and they had a fantastic NPR map of the country that I bought as a Valentine’s Day present for Ferr, who loves NPR.  In fact, it was playing at his house when I gave it to him!

I love local shops and DC has so many unique little place with gorgeous items that you can’t get anywhere else.  They also have the nicest people who aren’t at all pretentious, unlike some other cities that I often take the Bolt Bus to.  😉

Now that the sun is coming out, I plan to spend a lot more time exploring the local shopping scene.  After a long winter, I’m in need of some serious local retail therapy.

Do you have any favorite local shops to recommend?

Happy Wednesday!

AGinDC

Day two and I still love it

Posted in All about moi by AGinDC on 10 February 2011

Today was fun because it was the first time I’ve ever done doc review.  They don’t make summer associates do the boring stuff.  But actually, it’s kind of fun.  You get to read other people’s emails and look for that one smoking gun.  It’s sort of like Patty Hewes meets Columbo.  I love it.

In wardrobe news, today I wore a grey pinstripe J.Crew pencil skirt (what did women do before pencil skirts?  I shudder to think.) and a navy silk Ann Taylor one button cardigan with a grey cotton Ann Taylor tank with silk flowers.  I have the matching shell to the cardigan but it was too much navy and too too boring.  I wore it with crimson opaque tights and black patent leather Anne Klein wedges.  And basic 18″ 6mm pearls and pear studs.  It was cute but very corporate.  But pencils skirts look so good on almost everyone, it’s amazing.

So that’s about it for the day.  Tomorrow is jean day, which cracks me up because it’s so pathetic that fully grown adults get so excited about wearing denim to work.  Seriously?  Grow up.  But I’ll do it to blend.  Isn’t that what one does?

Also, if you’re looking for good websites for corporate wardrobe ideas, my two favs are Corporette and Capitol Hill Style.  I swear I read them five times a day.  Do you read any other good professional wardrobe blogs?

Happy Friday Eve!

AGinDC

I have a job! (kind of)

Posted in All about moi by AGinDC on 9 February 2011

Can a sistah give a shout out to Craigslist?  Holllaaaa!

I’ve been keeping track of CL on a regular basis looking for random jobs and gigs that might be of interest.  Usually they only ask for models, nannys, and random misspelled non-existent job descriptions and I keep it moving.  Occasionally I email someone about something and they don’t respond and I forget about it.  But, on Monday, I saw a listing for a contract attorney at a firm and I decided to write.  I heard back that night asking if I could interview the next morning.  Of course I could!  The interview was great and they’re clearly desperate (I think that has more to do with it than the strength of my interview…) so he said I was hired and asked if I could start tomorrow.  Why yes I could.

So, today, for the first time since before I graduated from law school, I got all gussied up in my professional gear (I took myself shopping in Georgetown yesterday and looked super cute in taupe bootcut trousers from Banana Republic with a dark lilac BR Monogram blouse with beaded straps, a dark grey J. Crew Jackie Cardigan and black Super 120s J. Crew blazer, Prada buckle flats and a gold and pearl necklace with little pink ribbons from Ann Taylor and cream pearl stud earrings. I recognize that this is basically the yuppie wardrobe of the century but it was still tres adorable.) and headed to work.  It has clearly been a while since I had a job because rather than feeling the sense of impending doom and depression that I usually get when I walk into law firms, I felt light and happy and excited.  The idea of being able to buy groceries without guilt was working its magic on me.  It also helped that this is a class action firm and they do amazing work on behalf of the little guy.  In fact, I may have found a new career path, because until today I had no idea that there are firms that actually do civil rights class action.  WTF Mate?? How did I not know about this??  There’s a way to do civil rights law and make firm money at the same time?? Sign me up!  I have never been so excited before.  Imagine getting paid to work for the little guy.  This is why Patty Hewes is my hero.  This job was serendipitous and it’s only the first day but the opening of this door is a revelation.  I am definitely going to spend the next two months or however long this lasts learning all about this exciting new career prospect.

It feels great to be employed, even if it is temporarily, especially since I have to start doing things like pay rent next month.  It also felt great to be wearing something other than the four pairs of pants, five sweaters, ten blouses, two skirts and one dress and one suit that I’ve been wearing for the last six months (okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit, but not by much).  With this new job I’ll actually be able to shop again!  I found a gorgeous dress at H&M that had been reduced to $5 (how much do I love H&M?) and the perfect cropped black jacket at Zara for $80 that will definitely be my springtime staple.  Finding the perfect black jacket is almost impossible and the one I really wanted was a Theory jacket for $320.  This one is gorgeous and affordable and I couldn’t be happier.

So, yaay for having a job and new clothes and all of those other feel good things like friends and shelter and lots and lots of wine.  Ferr and I celebrated with Chandon champagne last night and I have to say it was well deserved.

Even so, it feels weird being employed.  I’ve gotten so used to having nothing to do all day and part of me never really thought I’d get a job, even a temporary one.  One day it’ll be nice to be stable, but for now, I’m just happy to be getting paid.

Holla!

AGinDC

For a girl who doesn’t drive, I sure love a good car show

Posted in Just another day in DC by AGinDC on 3 February 2011

Yesterday I got one of those midday texts that I love, asking me to do something way better than what I had planned for the evening with people who I want to get to know better.  Sooo, when Graham Cracker and Bex asked if I wanted to go to the Washington Auto Show later that day, I was totally in.  Granted, after totaling two cars and owning three that have now reached their unfortunate demise (I wasn’t even in the same state when the last car was totaled), I’m a little less than enthusiastic about the automotive industry.  Buuuut, I do love a convertible, and the whole green car thing is pretty awesome too, so I figured I’d probably have fun.

It turns out that car shows are kind of awesome, for several reasons.  For one, there’s a sweet Porsche hybrid SUV that I kind of love.  There were also several gorgeous convertibles that all looked exactly the same from VW to BMW but that I would take nonetheless.  Audi has a $100,000 car that has wifi (awesome) and just about everyone has a sweet ride with some sweet green energy features that will probably never come out in real life.  Also, the mini cooper is wicked adorable.

The most interesting thing about the car show was the cookie-cutter spokesmodels who all look like their high school counselors wrote “Public Relations/Hostess” on their career evaluations and stuffed them in a drawer.  They all looked exactly the same and had that same “I answered a CraigsList ad to get here” look in their eyes.  It was sort of hilarious.

There was also a dancing chicken doing the Cupid Shuffle.  Wha??

Now that I’ve seen all of these gorgeous cars, I sort of want one.  This could be a problem.

Have you seen any great cars lately?

AGinDC

The Botanic Gardens, minus Hawaii

Posted in Just another day in DC by AGinDC on 2 February 2011

On Sunday, my friend Bax came in from Triangle, VA (don’t ask, it’s not a real place) and we headed out for a day on the town.  After spending what felt like hours looking for parking because he refuses to ride the Metro (he thinks he’s cooler in his car.  He’s not.)  we finally headed to Union Station for lunch at the Center Cafe.  I usually eat at Chipotle if I’m famished and Union Station is the only thing nearby, but the Center Cafe was actually pretty good.  It was also nice sitting on the second level and people watching as we ate our nachos and quesadillas.

After lunch we decided to go to the Botanic Gardens, since that was the only place on the Mall that I haven’t been yet.  It was gorgeous.  Not only is it the warmest place in town right now, but the plants and flowers are beautiful.  I’m not much of a horticulturist (I once killed a cactus) but I love flowers and am dying to take a class or something one day to learn more about them.  But even an ignoramus such as I could appreciate the incredible smell, the calm that comes over you in a room full of lush vegetation, and the amazing orchids.  Sadly, the Hawaii room was closed, but that just gives me an excuse to come back in March.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our last stop of the day was to the National Gallery.  Bax is reading the autobiography of a 16th Century Italian painter whose name I have by now forgotten.  Anyways, we decided to see if the artist had a piece at the museum (he did) and then raced to find it.  This was a serious bet, a whole dollar was on the line.  Being broke and more than slightly competitive, I was determined to win and I quickly discovered that being a girl can be incredibly helpful in these kinds of situations.  Or at least, it should have been helpful.  Sadly, as nice as the guards may have been, they weren’t too sure about gallery numbers.  So, after running around the museum like an ill behaved child on a field trip, I finally made use of the information desk (with Bax close on my heels) and found the mystery work of art first.  Turns out it was just a coin, but a beautiful one with a Pegasus on one side.  Either way, I got my victory shot and a dollar bill for my troubles.  After spending a good twenty minutes pondering and Googling a painting, I decided that this is definitely the best way to visit a museum.

To end the night, I went to a birthday party for a new friend at Logan Tavern on P Street.  Logan was just featured in DC Mag as one of DC’s restaurants that gets their food from local farmers and I was super excited to go.  All I can say is that my burger and fries were delicious, so if that’s the result of local farming, I’m all for it.

All together, a great Sunday in DC.  Love it.

Love ya!

AGinDC

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