An American Girl in Washington

El Centro and a new business!

Posted in Cocktails, again by AGinDC on 27 May 2011

Last night was so much fun, it made up for the sudden onset of massive humidity.  After an office party, I headed down to Jin for my friend’s happy hour.  Latoya Grant (better known as Evolving Elle at Southern Girl in the City) is a dear friend of mine and last night she announced that she’s starting her own PR firm!  I am so proud of her and incredibly excited, Latoya is passionate and talented and I think will make a huge splash in the District.  She even has her very first client already!  So, if you need any PR/Communications work done, check out her blog for more info on the website launch and how you can hire her.

After Jin (which was a nice, simple space for a few drinks or an event, but definitely nothing special), I headed to dinner with DBax and Darius (I’ll be telling you all about him and his new biz after his launch next Wednesday).  We went to El Centro, which I have been absolutely dying to try.  O.M.G.  It was incredible.  First of all, make a reservation.  There was definitely a line outside.  Thank goodness for OpenTable.  Second, have the guacamole.  It’s incredible.  We got the medium spicy and it was extraordinary.  I also had the lavender margaritas.  I love anything lavender, especially with champagne, but I had never had a lavender margarita before.  They were delicious.  Do it.  For an entrée I had the carne asada, also incredible.  Darius had the shrimp and crab enchiladas, which were great, and DBax had the cactus tacos, also incredible.  The service was great, and even the ambiance was romantic and social, which was a surprise since we were in the basement.  Basically, I loved it, and I plan to come back often, hopefully in the future to enjoy lavender margaritas and guac on the rooftop garden.  I highly recommend.

The amazing food in DC is absolutely not helping my diet.  But it’s so good, I’m happy to just work out twice as much!

Have a great Memorial Day weekend!  I’m filling mine with food, drinks, friends, and a new roommate!

AGinDC

The Gibson- my new favorite place

Posted in Cocktails, again by AGinDC on 26 May 2011

Courtesy of savvyhousekeeping.com

Last night I finally, finally went to The Gibson.  I have been dying to go there since before I got to DC, when I read somewhere about the new speakeasy phenom and how amazing the cocktails and ambience are at some of the smaller, classier, more hidden parts of DC nightlife.  Since I have always been a fan of all things underground, I knew immediately that I needed to visit.  The fabulous Lombardis agreed that I would love it and they were right!  I was not disappointed.  The bar is quiet, dark, small and yet has tons of different rooms, and features a – soundtrack of the kind of jazz that makes you want to take the bassist home with you.  The one-page revolving cocktail menu featured drinks like The Set Up (my personal favorite) and other titles that were clearly thought up by bartenders who are trying to be just a little to clever.  But the drinks are strong, well-crafted and feature lots of champagne, bourbon, and gin- just my style.  I also loved going on a Wednesday night because it wasn’t crowded, it’s not the kind of place that’s filled with obnoxious 22-year-olds just looking to get wasted and obnoxious old men just looking to hook up.  It’s the perfect place to sit in a dark corner and get to know someone over a fantastic cocktail and superbly seasoned roasted nuts.  This will definitely be a regular stop for me at either the beginning of the end of an evening out.

After The Gibson we got patties at Patty Boom Boom, the Jamaican dancehall on U.  I had jerked chicken, spicy beef and Caribbean vegetable and they were all delicious.  And for 3 for $5, these bites are perfect when you need a snack or need something to soak up all of the rum from the bar upstairs.  It’s too bad they don’t sell them until 8pm, but if you’re on U Street and it’s late, these patties are way better than the Ball Park franks and canned chili they sell at Ben’s.

Another good night on the town and the week’s not even over yet!  Sadly, the humidity has decided to come out to the party too, which means we’re in for a long and sticky summer.  At least now I have a new favorite place to cool off.

A Hunting Lodge in Downtown DC

Posted in Cocktails, again by AGinDC on 25 May 2011

Courtesy of azcoverme.com

Last night I had the privilege of going to Shelly’s Back Room with my friend KHam and a bunch of other guys.  I kind of love being the only girl in the group and at a classic DC cigar bar it was a blast.  Shelly’s is not a place for people with allergies, people who don’t like smoke or anyone with an aversion to plaid.  But if you like cigars, scotch, intelligent conversation and a really good meal, Shelly’s is the place.  Everything I own now smells like cigar smoke but I don’t care, it was worth it.  While drinking my Macallan (the only scotch worth drinking) I met a lot of guys who once again reminded me why I so love DC.  Some of them work at non-profits, trying to affect policy through art, religion, corporations or community action.  Some of them work for Congress.  A couple were interns, of course, the season has begun, and still others were just passing through.  All were brilliant, and as we took turns surreptitiously checking our iPhones and Blackberrys for news of the NY-26 race, I knew this was the kind of crowd I could hang in.  P.S., Paul Ryan, will you marry me?

Last night reminded me of how excited I am for the summer.  With all of the interns and summer associates and new grads coming to town, this is a time for parties (cocktail party at the firm tomorrow, woohoo!), brunches, and making lots of new friends.  However, last night it also occurred to me that I have almost been in DC for a full year!  August is my DCiversary.  I can’t believe it.  The time has absolutely flown by and even though a lot of it was really, really hard (unpacking all of my winter clothes this weekend finally allowed me to admit how hard this winter really was.  Armed only with a peacoat, a pair of ballet flats and $4 H&M gloves I couldn’t think about how poor, hungry, and cold I was until I finally got through it.  Looking at all of the scarves, coats, hats and boots I should have had made me more grateful and more proud of how hard I worked and the fact that maybe, at least for a little while, I’ve made it through that part of my life) I am so happy to have made it to the summer, and so thrilled to spend the next few months celebrating in the city.

Back to work now, another thing I’m grateful for.  I’ll definitely be back at Shelly’s for the scotch and the cigars, yes, but mostly for the good conversation.

Enjoy the weather!

AGinDC

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Finally, home

Posted in All about moi by AGinDC on 24 May 2011

The last couple of weeks have been crazy.  The weekend before last I drove to North Carolina for a friend’s graduation at Wake Forest.  It was a blast and absolutely beautiful and so nice to see one of my best friends in one of my favorite states.  Then last week was insane, I was working like mad to make up for missing last weekend and the coming weekend, plus I had a delicious lunch at Zengo with a friend who starts her bar class tomorrow (Good luck Yosh!), I watched the PBS Freedom Rider’s special at Southern Belle’s house, had a meeting for the events committee for Capital Cause that I just joined (lots of great stuff coming up, I’ll keep you posted), met with my chiropractor twice (the man is a miracle worker), had happy hour with a bunch of the under 30s at work, and rented a car and packed up for a whirlwind recon mission back to Ann Arbor.  I left at 2am on Saturday, drove to my storage locker in Ann Arbor (a nine hour drive), packed up all of my earthly belongings (about five hours) and drove to a hotel just outside of town.  I stayed at a Courtyard Marriott and wow have they revamped.  They’re renovating all of the Courtyards to include a snazzy first floor with new executive centers and lobbies and- most importantly- a bistro/bar.  After my super intense day I have never been so relieved to see a bar and after a burger and fries, two margaritas and a cosmopolitan, I finally crashed in my room and slept like a vampire at noon.  The next morning at 6 I packed up and drove back to town.  It only took 8 1/2 hours to get back- I really wanted to get home- and then I spent two hours unpacking the car and a few hours unpacking boxes before I fell into a deep sleep.

Foolishly, I woke up the next morning honestly thinking that I was going to get up, work out, and go to the office.  Hahahaha.  My body had other ideas.  My muscles decided to remind me that I am not, in fact, a 16-year-old boy and retaliated against my weekend mission with such force that I decided to stay in bed and work from home.  It worked out well though because once the painkillers took effect I made use of my last day with the rental car and bought shoe racks from the Container Store and a filing cabinet and office chair from CB2.  I then spent the rest of the day working and watching Indiana Jones in my PJs.  I got hungry later and finally, finally discovered really good beef chow mein.  I have been on the hunt for good chow mein in this town for months now and somehow I get something different every time I order.  This time, I had a long discussion with the woman at Yum’s Carryout who informed me that New York chow mein is lo mein here and I decided to trust her. OMG, so delicious.  IDK what’s up with the mislabeling but from now on, Yum’s is for me.

After unpacking my things I started to go through a little first world shock.  I moved to DC with one suitcase and after a very, very tough winter I had gotten used to living a minimalist lifestyle and rotating the same clothes (with a few new additions after I got my job) and had even started to think that I had too much.  Then reality hit.  I went from five pairs of shoes to 96.  I went from two jackets to 12.  From one hat to 14.  From no mugs to 25.  From 3 dvds to over 200.  I even now have two printers, two televisions and two dvd players.  It’s insane.  There is absolutely no excuse for such excess.  And the sad thing is, I gave a whole truckload of stuff to the Salvation Army in Ann Arbor and still had to throw stuff away that wouldn’t fit in the car.  I keep looking around my room absolutely shocked at how much stuff I have.  There are pictures on the walls.  Blankets and throws everywhere.  No place for my clothes and books.  I have to buy a dresser and another bookcase.  I don’t know what to do with myself.  I don’t know how I fit all of this into a dorm room.  I am very, very happy about the shoes though.  It’s all a little overwhelming.  I’m hoping to spend this weekend organizing things, maybe then I can get a handle on the explosion that is my bedroom.  It looks like Nordstrom Rack threw up on a Borders in there.  Sigh.

I’m happy though.  Almost everything I own (except for a few things at my mother’s house) is in DC now.  No more having to buy duplicates of things.  No more paying a storage fee.  No more splitting my life between regions.  For a girl like me, who moves every nine months, who hesitates when asked where she’s from, who loves storage lockers with an unnatural affection, having all of my stuff in one place is really, really nice.  My life will always be a little unstable (going into business for yourself does that) but being settled into a home for the first time feels great.  I own furniture for the first time in my life.  I don’t have a storage locker or an escape plan.  I’ve signed a year’s lease.  It’s terrifying.  Horrifying, in fact.  Because what if I can’t pay my rent?  What if I have to move on a dime?  What if, what if, what if.  But then again, what if everything is okay?  Hahahahaha, who am I kidding?

That never happens.

At least everything’s all right today.

AGinDC

My favorite things

Posted in Just another day in DC by AGinDC on 19 May 2011

I am currently in between road trips, North Carolina last weekend and Michigan this weekend and am working as much as possible and getting a lot of little (and big, I’m turning in my DC bar app today!) things done this week.  Hence, the radio silence.

However, yesterday a friend of mine called and said that she’s in DC with her dad for two days and can I give her a few of my favorite things to do?  They’ve both been before so I skipped all of the Mall stuff.  Here’s what I told them:

1.  Corcoran and/or Philips Collection– gorgeous collections, beautiful buildings and not free so they keep the riff raff (read: tourists) out.

2. Kennedy Center– Millenium Stage at 6 + amazing view

3. Tour of Capitol Building– view from the dome plus you might get a peek at Aaron Schock without his shirt

4. Mayflower Hotel– for high tea or drinks- for her dad

5. Shopping in Georgetown

6. Library of Congress

7. Folger Library

8. SCOTUS

9. Napoleon– for late night crepes and cocktails

10. Busboys and Poets– for literature and snacks

Did I miss anything?

80/20

Posted in All about moi by AGinDC on 12 May 2011

The last few days have been a whirlwind of activity and emotions.  Whether bored and going blind as I review thousands upon thousands of documents for 10- 12 hours a day or working out to an increasingly difficult series of dvds or undoing all of that good work with glass after glass of champagne and plates full of food that are far from the Kashi bars and grilled chicken I should be eating, this week has several times driven me to the point of maxed out stress, confusion, minor depression and even the verge (just the verge) of tears.  Today was the breaking point.  I love the firm but every two weeks getting paid is an adventure in bureaucracy and this week has taken the cake.  On top of that I just found a financial advisor who introduced me to a little something called the self-employment tax, and I met yet another friend’s new boyfriend and realized that all of my friends have managed to couple up while I’m still masquerading as the dateless wonder.  By the end of the day today, I was done.

Luckily, my friend Motown (his name has been changed because he apparently hates it when I use his initials) missed his train back to East of Jesus and met up with me for drinks at Vapiano.  I had just left dinner with a friend and wasn’t feeling up to socializing.  I already felt guilty that I had been so morose at dinner and by the time I got on the train to Chinatown I was barely holding back the tears.  While I waited for Motown I blasted Kelly Clarkson’s “How I Feel” and tried to center myself.  But, since he is always the person I talk to when I am in need of a good man’s perspective on the world (we fatherless children have to find other sources of masculine wisdom), we didn’t even get across the street from the station when I was already lamenting everything about my life, and, finally, as we sat down at the quiet end of a noisy table, I asked the question he was dreading, “What’s wrong with me?”.

Now, for anyone who may have read this blog before (unlikely, I know), you may be thinking exactly what he asked me.  “Didn’t you just write about this a few days ago?”.  And yes, I did.  But the fact is, just because your head knows something doesn’t mean that your heart still doesn’t hurt because of it.  And I live my life by the 80/20 principle.  As long as I’m happy with something 80% of the time, I’m okay.  20% of the time, everything sucks.  20% of the time Bill Gates probably hates being rich.  Okay, maybe 5% of the time.  But still.  I have come to accept that not everything is great all of the time and if I like it most of the time, I can deal with the bad parts when they come around.  And they do come around.  And sometimes, that 20% really bites.  This was one of those times.

Motown wanted to avoid the conversation because he doesn’t like talking to women when they’re upset (apparently he’s learned this from his wife) but I told him to man up, deal with the fact that I’m probably going to bite his head off, and talk to me.  And he finally did.  And he was honest and told me the one thing that I really needed to hear.  “AG,” he said, “You’re not one of those girls who twirls her hair and flirts a lot and is readily identifiable as an easy lay.”  He went on from there, and what I basically got from this (he probably won’t agree) is that there are girls who are easy, there are girls who are fun and lighthearted, and there are girls like me who are super intense and can spend the entire evening in a bar talking about Newt Gingrich’s super awesome campaign video or rant about the fact that GE and Exxon are getting tax rebates while small business owners are going out of business because they can’t afford their taxes.

Basically, there are three types of girls: girls who live in the Playboy mansion, girls who get dates, and girls who should be dating Rachel Maddow.

This was, without a doubt, the most refreshing thing I have ever heard.  Because it’s true.  I know I’m super intense.  I’m researching how to start a salon a la 16th century France and told DBax I don’t play laser tag because I’m not a 12 year old boy.  I keep Google doc spreadsheets with lists of things to accomplish if I find myself with spare time.  And I update it monthly.  I just bought a waterproof notepad to put in the shower.  I’m not exactly chill.  And even with I’m out with friends and having fun and being my socialite self, the fact is that I probably do exude an air of Type A overachievership.  Toilette de Martha Stewart.  And I know it’s the last thing from sexy.  And yes, if I was a dude, I would probably run from me too.  But I never really thought about it that way until Motown said something.  And now I know.  Which is all I wanted.  I can handle being single for the rest of my life (and, given my affection for white furniture and expensive shoes, it’s probably best if I avoid having children) but I need to know why.  I need to understand what it is about me that has prevented me from having the normal social life that every other girl in her 20s enjoys.  I just need to understand what makes me unapproachable.  Now I get it, and I can move on.

And move on I did.  Back to my apartment, where after a tiny tub of ice cream and an episode of Castle I decided to write this blog post and go to bed.  I was going to work a little but the database is down.  Like I said, I guess I’m a little intense…

I’m going to North Carolina this weekend to the graduation of a good friend.  It’s the first time I’ve left DC (except New York) since I got here in August.  I think this is exactly what I need.  With the business and the firm and my insane social life and constantly trying to be productive, be active, build something for my future, I have found myself on the verge of a breakdown.  I need to take a weekend and relax, have fun, and have some North Carolina barbecue.  I need to celebrate something that is not all about me.  And then when I come back, I’ll be recharged and able to start again.

80% of the time I can be my overachieving, intense self.  But 20% of the time, I need to let go and have some fun.

Have a great weekend, and go to Artistic Aya’s trunk show at Bloomie’s!

Thanks for listening,

AGinDC

Brunches, Derbies, and lots of Castle

Posted in Weekend in Washington by AGinDC on 10 May 2011

This weekend was so much fun.  I actually can’t remember for the life of me what I did on Friday night so I’m guessing that maybe I just stayed home?  I really have no idea and my iCal is of no assistance in this matter.  Sigh.

But, on Saturday I do remember what I did.  In the morning I had a Teach For American Women of Color brunch at the Mayflower.  I love the Mayflower and should really start going there for drinks, it’s so old-world refined, I love it.  The brunch was wonderful, lots of enthusiastic women, great food (that I couldn’t eat because of this diet =( ) and lovely spring dresses.  Of course, being a TFA event, they couldn’t just let us enjoy a brunch.  Oh no.  This brunch featured facilitated discussion (I swear) with norm-setting and group discussion and “next steps” and everything.  TFA really knows how to ruin a party.  Oh well, you have to love them for trying.  Let it never be said that Teach For America is not the most single-minded, focused and goal-oriented organization since Genghis Kahn and his merry men or whatever.

After brunch I researched the best bourbons while riding #42 (let’s take a moment to discuss buss $42, shall we?  When I left the house in the morning I thought to myself, “oh, the Mayflower, I’ll take bus #42” and then rode it until it stopped across the street, got out, and was there.  Why is this remarkable, you ask?  Because I didn’t even think about it.  In fact, when I got off the bus I headed off in the wrong direction because I thought I was going to the M Street Renaissance and not the Mayflower.  Apparently my subconscious has figured out how to get around DC with or without me, and now I don’t even have to think about how to get where I want to go.  Yaay!) and decided on Buffalo Trace, due to its unique origins and it’s supposed excellent compatibility with mint and julep.  So I walked to my local liquor store, feeling very pretty in my never-before-worn coral dress, teal belt, light blue cardigan and ballet flats, purchased my Buffalo Trace from a quickly emptying bourbon shelf and walked the three blocks to my friend Scarlet’s house.  Her name isn’t really Scarlet of course but she’s a Southern belle who throws fabulous parties so that’s what I’m calling her.  Scarlet was the host of the ugly sweater Christmas party that I probably wrote about before but am too lazy to link to.  She throws great parties in general but since she’s from Kentucky I knew her Derby party would be the best.  And it completely was.  There were so many mint juleps that I lost count of how many I had, she actually made a whole ham which we ate with biscuits and tiny cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches, there was betting on every race, and, of course, plenty of gentlemen in seersucker suits and ladies in wonderful hats.  The party was a blast and I will definitely make Scarlet’s house my traditional Derby-day spot.

After my 20-odd mint juleps and accompanying Southern feast I went home and watched Castle all night and did some homework for my law firm (yes, I’m still doing that.  Slooowwlllyyy).  On Sunday I kept up my Castle marathon (I only left the house to run across the street to Target to buy Season 2) and read all about starting a small business, starting a solo law firm, and starting a salon (more on that later.  and no, I don’t mean a hair salon).  I even started my business plan!  It’s all coming together one 1/2 step at a time…

On Monday night I enjoyed my second-to-last night in for the next few weeks.  I’m totally booked with happy hours, meetings and weekend trips for at least two weeks straight after tonight.  It’s going to be a busy but enjoyable couple of weeks.  So tonight I’m going to the chiropractor and going home to rest up for the days ahead.

Did I miss anything good last weekend?

AGinDC

Dinner at Clyde’s and my new chiropractor

Posted in Just another day in DC by AGinDC on 5 May 2011

Yesterday was a great day.

A) It rained, and I love the rain.

B) I have had back problems forever and I finally found a chiropractor!  Dr. Bronat is amazing.  Totally nice, very knowledgeable, and hopefully the witch doctor who will snap my spine back into submission.  I found him through a complicated algorithm of 1- Yelp (he had great reviews), 2- Google maps (he’s near the metro, Dupont Circle y’all!) and 3- He was fully booked but then somebody cancelled (either that or he played hard to get and I fell for it…).  Anyways, Dr. B is my first DC doctor and I’m super excited.  He’s also less expensive than a massage, which I really appreciate with my not-having-insurance self.  The first visit was $115 and subsequent visits are just $45!!  Sweet!

C) My Mount Holyoke alumni dinner last night was wonderful.  It was at Clyde’s in Chinatown.  The salmon was delicious, the brownie smelled divine but I’m on a diet so I didn’t eat it (too bad I ruined it with a cupcake today =/), and of course the people were wonderful.  I love being around MHC alums.  They’re all such nice and accomplished women who are only too happy to talk to you about the mundane details of the life of a 20-something and then give advice and encouragement and invitations to dinner.  Just what I need.

Today is Cinco de Mayo and this Arizona girl loooooves the 5th of May.  I’m celebrating with some new friends tonight, any suggestions on where we should go?

AGinDC

What a weekend

Posted in Weekend in Washington by AGinDC on 4 May 2011

On Sunday evening I was so excited to come in to work on Monday and write all about my fantastic weekend when, as usual, POTUS upstaged me with a thrilling midnight proclamation and the whole world changed.  Since then I’ve spent the last two days reading absolutely every bit of news on OBL and totally forgot that I even had a blog until this morning.  So, the weekend.

First, the new CB2 in Georgetown finally opened and since I’ve been waiting to have furniture for two months you know I was excited!  I got an invite to the Friday night opening party and my friend TG and I decided to start our evening there.  It was a blast.  The store is bright, colourful and modern, the DJ was fantastic, and there was free champagne, which I am ethically and morally opposed to turning down.  They also had fun swag bags with free votive candle holders that are now very romantically lining the windowsill in my bedroom.  Not that that windowsill has seen any romance… ever.  But a girl can light a candle and dream.

After CB2 we headed to the Hill to change and drink wine and eat Thai food (I can never get enough green curry) before we headed out to the event I’ve been waiting for for weeks… Hirshorn After Hours!  I’ve said a million times how much I adore the way DC institutions embrace the city’s young professionals and this event is yet another example why.  For just $18 the Hirshorn threw an amazing party.  Gorgeous people (again, who the hell is calling this place Hollywood for ugly people?), surprisingly fast bar service, another great DJ, and late-night art.  How much do you love it?  I ran into tons of people I know and met a few great new people and overall it was a fantastic evening.  This will definitely be one of my annual events and I can’t wait for the next great art soiree!

On Saturday morning I woke up bright and early and headed to CB2 with DBax.  I got impatient a few weeks ago and ordered my bed from CB2.com so now I was just looking for a couch and an office set. Of course, being the Type A lawyer that I am I already knew exactly what I wanted and had checked it out at the party the night before.  So, I bought a fabulous new office set and a new twin sleeper (my new roommate has a big couch so this is going in my bedroom!) and qualified for free shipping!  It’s all getting delivered tomorrow and I can’t wait.  After I bought DBax a thank-you-for-suffering-through-shopping-with-me drink at Thunder (I can’t wait til this diet is over and I can have a Thunder Burger), where I had a delicious Bellini, I went home and spent the afternoon working on law firm related business.  I’m desperate for a retreat but until I can find a weekend to get away I’m stuck snatching little bits of time to get tiny things done.  It’s frustrating and some days I feel like I’m not working at all towards my future but I’m trying.  And that’s a whole ‘nother blog post anyways.  Stay tuned.

On Saturday night DH and I went to Red Rocks Pizza, which everyone has been telling me to try.  I wish I hadn’t.  It’s simply not healthy for a girl to have such delicious pizza only a few blocks away!  I had the prosciutto and arugula pizza and a cucumber martini with my very favourite gin- Hendricks.  If any one ever wants to find their way to my heart, Hendricks gin is the way to do it.  It was all delicious but I can tell that this diet is working because I couldn’t finish the pizza or the martini!  Yaay!

Sunday was a pretty quiet day.  I had to cook for this week of my diet and I was hosting a book club that evening.  After cooking all day I was too pooped to make homemade goodies and had to resort to the best of what Giant had to offer.  Kill me now.  But, it was actually pretty good and there was enough wine that I don’t think anyone noticed that it was frozen food.  Ugh.  How mortifying.

After the book club I cleaned up, read a little, watched some Merlin, and went to bed.  Only to be woken up by the President.  Which happens a lot in my dreams, but not usually in real life.  So this was a pleasant surprise.

Monday was rather uneventful but on Tuesday Ferr and tried LivingSocial’s new instant deals (he works for them and we used to spend hours postulating on how this system would work.  Turns out, it’s just as great as we imagined!) and we got $20 worth of Wok and Roll sushi for $10.  Yum!

Tonight I’m headed to an alumni dinner for my undergrad alma mater which I am so excited about.  I’ll report back tomorrow!

Did I miss anything good this weekend?

AGinDC

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