An American Girl in Washington

That Moment When You Feel Like an Accidental Hooker

Posted in All about moi, Just another day in DC by AGinDC on 11 November 2012

For anyone who has ever seen Secret Diary of a Call Girl, you know the story of how Belle became an escort. She had a one night stand and the next morning the man was gone but there was money on the nightstand. Just like that, a prostitute was born.

The same thing happened to Carrie Bradshaw, but she chose the high road, marrying just one man for money instead.

I had my own version of this happen a few weeks ago. No, I didn’t get paid for a one night stand and go running to the new DC Madame. What I got paid for was completely legal.

A few months ago the director of a wonderful non-profit here in DC emailed me out of the blue and asked me to MC an awards banquet that they were holding this fall. Totally shocked and honored, of course I said yes. The day arrived, I mc’d the banquet, had an awesome meal and a great time, and as I left for home she gave me a thank you card. Oblivious, I threw it in my bag and headed back to H St. It wasn’t until I got home and opened the card that I realized there was money inside! What? There I was thinking I had volunteered and I got my first paid speaking gig! Thrilled and surprised, I realized that I had just had my very own Belle du Jour moment. And I didn’t even have to take my clothes off.

I love DC.



A Return to Blogging

Posted in All about moi, Just another day in DC by AGinDC on 2 July 2012

The last seven and a half months of my life have been really really up and really really down. Mostly up, literally, since I spent that time traveling 117,000 miles, mostly in the air. I got to go to Alaska, twice, spent a lot of time in Cleveland and Sacramento, spoke on a panel with John Legend, and met a lot of very cool people. I got a tan in Miami, watched Field of Dreams in Iowa, partied at South by Southwest and spent more time in New York than I had in years. Of course, I also only spent four days of month at home, effectively paying rent for my shoes, had to deal with a lot of corporate bullshit and marginal ethics and just plain assholes and spent a lot of time very, very unhappy. And there are a lot of things I believe in, but being unhappy isn’t one of them. Life is too freaking short and I am 15 months to 30. I almost always believe I can do bad all by myself, so I chucked the deuces to the corporate non-profit life, packed my bags one more time, and took the Boltbus back home to the District. And it is glooooorious.

Last week I actually rode the Metro while reading the Express. I saw my friends. I went to happy hour! I even got my mail the same week it was delivered. It was incredible. I’m home, and it’s wonderful. Especially because now I finally have the time to start blogging again. Rather than spending my hours compromising my value system and wishing I was working on Michelle in Training, I’m home, having poolside work sessions, lunching at my favourite hot spots, and unpacking my apartment, which has been boxed up since I moved in March. The beauty of living in a city that rocks as much as DC is that every time you come back you get to rediscover it’s awesomeness all over again. My Friday night dinner at Founding Farmers had my taste buds dancing, I forgot how good the chicken and waffles and Farmer’s Fizz is. My lunch meeting at Chopt was a reminder of why they should name my perfect salad after me (seriously, it’s incredimazing). Even waiting for the single-tracking red line on a Sunday night while a French guy complained to me held a certain charm and je ne sais quoi. Yes, French man, the metro is slow. No, it is not coming. Yes, you can walk. All the way back to Paris.

I’m home. I don’t know for how long. I don’t know what’s next. I do know that I will not be applying for jobs, let’s see… ever again. I have no desire to work for anyone else for another day in my life. People are idiots. And unethical. And men. Yes, I will be taking full advantage of my Southwest black card. I’ll be writing from Houston and Vegas this month, in case you’re interested. And yes, I will doubling the number of events I throw in this town. Even traveling so much I still managed to throw at least one event a month in DC. Because that’s how I roll. But now that I’m back and my two year DCversary is coming up? It is on. As Elton John would say, the bitch is back, and ready to establish her kingdom. Finally.

Laissez les bon temps people. Le bon freaking temps.


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Life on H Street

Posted in Just another day in DC by AGinDC on 31 January 2012

This weekend I moved to H Street NE. It was a devastating move. I really didn’t want to leave Columbia Heights. However, since I was absolutely devastated when I had to leave Adams Morgan (which I still miss and WILL get back to one day) and thought I hated CoHi when I moved there, I am assuming that pretty soon I’ll think H Street is the pants. Sigh. I hope so. Right now, it’s a little depressing. It’s soooo far away from everything. It’s mid-regentrification (rather than just-recently-regentrified like CoHi) which means I can’t help but think about the politics whenever I walk down the street, the closest metro is the red line (enough said), and because I’m now traveling 6 days a week I downgraded myself from my fabulous but expensive apartment to a cheap, windowless, humourless apartment. There will be no parties in this house. I feel like I’m living in a dorm room again, but at two-years-to-30, that’s not as much fun as it was back in the day. The good news is, I’m saving a ton of money, the other girls who live in the house are really sweet, and after less than 24 hours in the new place I know that I am ready for domesticity (the single kind Mom, don’t get excited). The better news is that I live in hotel rooms anyways so I just need to survive the trips to my insanely small bathroom and tears that fill my eyes whenever I look at my not-walk-in-closet on rare occasions. And, to top it all off, the reason I moved to H St was because I figured this was the perfect time to get to know a part of DC I might never otherwise live in and so I shall.

What I know about H Street so far:

  • The curious mix of herbal remedy shops with dashikis in the window, high end spas for six year olds and yuppie pubs has hitherto been unknown except in some small corners of Brooklyn circa March, 2003.
  • I am in Ward 6 (I miss you 1!!), more specifically, 6a, more more specifically, 6a06 (only DC could be this confusing). Andrew Hysell is my commissioner. I don’t know who he is, but he better not let me down.
  • I am very close to Fruit Bat, the only bar I know in H St, but one that I happen to really like.
  • I am also very close to Popeye’s. I have already eaten Popeye’s since the move. This is a problem.
  • I am also quite close to Taylor. I have eaten at Taylor. I like it. This is not a problem.
  • I am medium-far from Union Station, and it’s a decent walk with a long hill. This is a good thing. I like the exercise but I can still make it from home to the station with my suitcase obnoxiously rolling behind me.
  • I get live in “DC” rather than “Washington”

If you have any tips on awesomeness on H St that is not to be missed, let me know! I’ll be visiting as many as possible whenever I’m home and reporting back on what’s awesome and what, sadly, is not. I have been in DC for 18 months and this is my third address in my third neighborhood in my second ward in my second quadrant. I guess I’m going for the full tour!

Now though, I’m in Cleveland. Home of all that rocks.

That is all.


My Date with the President

Posted in Just another day in DC, Politics- as I see it by AGinDC on 13 September 2011

Yesterday afternoon I had the great pleasure of sitting five feet away from our absolutely scrumptious (if infuriating) Commander-in-Chief. Dress in a black suit that made him look positively anorexic, a white shirt and a polka dot tie, he was even cuter up close and personal than he usually is. Valerie J. looked as lady-in-power as usual in her lavender sheath, oversized white jacket and nude pumps. And me? I was sitting right in front of POTUS in a bright blue DVF wrap dress that he couldn’t have missed if he tried. Mind you, I didn’t do that on purpose, but whenever I go to the White House I remember that Valerie is always wearing something girly and bright and professional and I try to follow her example. After all, as much as it pains me to say it, I’m so much more like her than FLOTUS.

Anyways, I was at the WH for the Interactive One forum on the American Jobs Act and how it affects the African-American population. There was a panel discussion with several people including Melody Barnes (who was on MSNBC when I got home that night, using the same talking points), Trade Ambassador Ron Kirk, Deputy Secretary of the SBA Marie Johns (the nicest, most grandma-like administrator ever), and a few other senior staffers. They talked about the AJA, the provisions in it that provide more funding for small businesses, that create jobs for construction workers and new schools and to prevent teacher layoffs, the foreclosure assistance, and everything else. Like many things the President presents, this is an absolutely remarkable bill. But, like most things the President has presented in the past, it is unlikely that even 1/3 of it will pass. Our only hope? Election year. Yep, gotta love it. The old PO is back and the Repubs need the middle classes to forget how much we hate Congress. Soooo… maybe there’s a chance? Idk.

One thing I do know? Now that the President has seen me in a DVF wrap, he’ll probably be calling soon. 😉

I love living in Washington.


Education policy straight from the horse’s (Secretary’s) mouth

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

Yesterday was a really interesting day. Teach for America and the offshoot alumni political group Leaders for Educational Equality (LEE) hosted an event inviting TFA alums working in education policy, politics, and me (randomly) to come to DC (for those of us not already here) for a day on ed policy. We started with a basic (and still kind of boring) tour of the White House, then there was the obligatory hotel lunch and speakers (although the speakers were actually pretty interesting) and then we headed over to the Department of Education for a convo with Arne Duncan and some of his senior staff.

I have had a lot of issues with Arne and the job he hasn’t been doing over the last 2 1/2 years so I was really looking forward to seeing what he had to say for himself. It turns out, while I still don’t think he’s the end all and be all of education policy in America, they actually have done some pretty impressive things, and they are working hard over there. But, of course, like typical Democrats, nobody knows it. For a while I assumed they were sleeping on the job, but they have big ideas and are fighting to make them a reality. So, we’ll see. Plus, he not-so-subtly dissed Michelle Rhee which automatically made me love him.

Altogether it was a good day, an interesting opportunity to meet current and future educational leaders from all over the country, and I came up with a great project with a friend who teaches in SE that could turn out to be a really good opportunity for her kids! Definitely worth the trip.

And yes, this could have been a much more in-depth report but I missed a day at work and have a lot of catching up to do. =/ Oh well.


The first half of the week (+ the weekend!)

Posted in Just another day in DC by AGinDC on 4 August 2011

This is another one of those weeks when I was so busy living my life that I forgot to write about it! So much has happened. See below:


After visiting a party store for LilyPad (shameless promotion! Buy a tik!) I went out for drinks with a Republican friend who works in the house. This was probably a mistake, since all we talked (read: fought) about was the debt ceiling, and then a little cap and trade, and then the debt ceiling again. But, he’s a great guy and I’m a geek so it was fun. We started at Johnny’s Half Shell, then went to a dive bar I can’t remember and then ended the night at Vinoteca (champagne mint julep, yaay!). After Vinoteca we parted ways and crashed, the Republican had golf and work in the morning and I had to go cry about the debt ceiling.


On Friday night I noticed a sign at Vinoteca that said $10 mimosas, bellinis, and kir royales (a fav of mine) so I headed there with an adorable Texan and we had an amazing brunch. Seriously, the French toast with the bourbon soaked apples was so good, we decided to never again eat apples that hadn’t first been marinated in Buffalo Trace. Yummy.

After brunch I headed downtown for a planning session with a young man who is planning a men’s conference next summer. More on that later.

Then I went to Founding Farmers for dinner. It was as delicious as always. I had the salmon, greens, and mashed potatoes. Out of this world. Seriously, you just cannot lose at that place. Then we hung out on the rooftop of a friend’s apartment enjoying the gorgeous weather. Summer nights… love it.


On Sunday I did a lot of work, had a few meetings, and then went to Ping Pong Dim Sum, which was delicious. I’m used to going to really ratty places in the shady part of town for dim sum but this place was fantastic. I will definitely be back. After dinner I went to the Britney Spears concert (!!!!!), but I’ll be writing a special post about that later.


On Monday the girls and I went to a Nats game. Lots of fun. Lots of talk about boys. Lots of gin. No idea who won. Not even completely sure who was playing. I assume it was the Nats against someone…


On Tuesday I went to lunch at my new favorite place, Lincoln, with one of the new co-founders of Graham and Peters consulting. The food was great, the company was better, and of course I’ll be back. I then had a meeting with someone I met at my last lunch at Lincoln, a marvelous bookkeeper who helped me set up my new netbook (ugh, PCs) with Quickbooks and Neat Receipts and everything else a young entrepreneur needs to not pull a Tim Geithner in 20 years.

So that’s everything up to last night, which I will write about next!

Busy days, busier nights. Just how I like it.


Could this night get any more DC?

Posted in Cocktails, again, Just another day in DC by AGinDC on 22 July 2011

So, last night started out well.  I went to Lost Society, the new bar and restaurant on 14th and U.  I absolutely love it.  High-end, pretentious, amazing food (the french fries and bourbon bread pudding- OMG), Hendrick’s Gin, beautiful patrons, fantastic rooftop bar that I’ll visit in the fall.  I love it.  My Detroit bestie and I had a great time catching up (we email every day but actually have to Google cal a time to see each other!) and I really could have stayed all night.

After LS I headed to Lima with @EvolvingElle.  We had the world’s latest dinner reservation at The Park so we started at Lima with drinks and conversation.  There were two men in their mid-40s sitting at the table next to ours and of course they started flirting with us.  We kind of talked and the one with his left side to us was single but we couldn’t see the left hand of the guy on the right.  Didn’t matter though, they were in from out of town (of course, it is DC, after all) and we weren’t interested so after our one drink we left.  But not before I went to the bathrooms and Lima is now #4 on the “Best Places to Have Bathroom Sex in DC” list.  Let’s review:  #1: Buddha Bar, #2: Zengo, #3: Napoleon, #4: Lima.  Why?  Well, the first requirement is that there’s no obvious separation between the men and women’s bathrooms.  At Lima there’s just an open doorway and the men’s bathroom is around the corner but the women’s bathroom is actually in that open hallway.  I mean, hello?  Another requirement?  Doors that go floor to ceiling.  Done.  And the thing that makes Lima a unique and special bathroom sex snowflake?  There are LIGHT SWITCHES in the bathroom stalls.  Yep, exactly.  Done and done.  In fact, the only reason that they’re not above Napoleon is that the stalls are really really small (only hipsters need apply) and the reason for the light switches is because it’s bright as hell in there.  Darkness always wins out so Lima is stuck at #4 for now.

After Lima we went to The Park for our incredibly late dinner reservation.  Of course, The Park being The Park, they were unorganized, uncommunicative and late.  We waited over an hour past our reservation because they way over-booked.  They’re like the American Airlines of restaurants.  But the food is so good and it’s where the Bourgie crowd goes so… what’s a girl to do?  While we were waiting, who should walk in but the guy from Lima!  I swear.  So he talks to us for a while, buys us some drinks and, in my defense, I was so tired and hungry and not paying attention that it still didn’t occur to me to figure this guy out.  So we’re talking, it turns out he’s a state senator or some other underpaid, unimportant political position, and he ends up spending like the whole hour talking to me and even sat down with us when we had dinner.  Honestly, he was a pretty interesting guy so I didn’t really mind, but then, as he put his hand on my thigh (yes) and called me a “sexy innocent intellectual” (whatever that means) I noticed a picture of a totally adorable little boy on his phone.  Of course I asked him about it.  Of course it’s his son.  Of course he also has a daughter.  And then it finally occurred to me to look and of course he was married!  Hahahaha.  So pathetic.  I would have been more upset if a) he was cute, b) he wasn’t like 45, c) I had been remotely interested in him or d) it wasn’t past midnight on a Thursday and I just wanted to go home.  Instead, I just chalked it up to an experience as DC as smoking cigars at Shelley’s or pushing past tourists who stand on the left and joked about it in the car with my friends.  I love this town.

Oh, and the late-night dinner at The Park?  Delicious, but not worth the wait.

Have a great weekend!


CB2 and BBQ

Posted in Just another day in DC by AGinDC on 21 July 2011

Last night @ji_hee_ya and I joined a Meetup group for a special event at CB2.  Since basically my entire apartment is CB2, I was totally excited about the opportunity to get some styling tips from the staff.  The event was fun but even better was the free wine and the delicious cheese.  Also the free gift, a super adorable and very CB2-like exclamation point vase.

After the event Jihee and I were famished so we headed over to Old Glory BBQ.  I had the pulled pork sandwich and mac and cheese with a mint julep and she had collard greens, mac and cheese, really delicious sweet potato fries and something I can’t remember and a peach sangria.  It was exactly what you would expect from a BBQ place in Georgetown.  The nice thing is that they have bottles with different kinds of BBQ sauce on each table so you can pick your own.  But the thing that makes BBQ great is the slow cooking in the sauce, so getting a bun with dry meat and some seasoning sprinkled on it and having to douse it yourself was not exactly appealing.  The mac and cheese also had shredded cheddar sprinkled on top of it, which seriously made me doubt the contents of the bowl.  Both Jihee and I also thought the drinks were pretty weak.

Anyways, the company was great and I got some bad news yesterday so I really needed some comfort food.  Any mac and cheese would do.

The rest of the night was full of work and delightful conversation before I finally went to bed.  Sigh.  I can’t wait for Saturday.  I need to sleep in.


Is this place really that Lucky?

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

Not much to report from last night.  After work I had a phone meeting with someone from Capital Cause- really really good things coming, stay tuned!  Then I headed over to Lucky Bar (yeah, that dive on Connecticut next to Julia’s) to meet up with my usual Monday night group.  It was 50 cent taco night which was a horrible temptation since I’m on this diet, but I’m determined to make my last 20 days as good as the first 20 so I had half a beer and some conversation and went home to work on @lilypaddc.  And yes, I will be shamelessly promoting this expo until September 9th, so just get used to it.

I am basically living out of my living room right now since one of my best friends is studying for the bar in my bedroom.  A few notes:  1) my CB2 twin sleeper is actually pretty comfortable.  2) the TV in the living room is way better than the TV in my bedroom (which is probably the 1st LCD ever) so now I am considering purchasing a new television set. 3) sleeping in a room with lots of light (we have a lot of windows) is a great way to wake up in the morning to work out. 4) There is no 4.

In other news, thank the gods for online chat support.  Otherwise I would never get anything fixed.

I read or saw or heard something yesterday that made me want to write a really deep blog post.  But I forgot what it was about.  Oh well.

Back to work!


My night in a Citizen Circle

Posted in Just another day in DC by AGinDC on 8 July 2011

Last night I attended a dinner with a community learning group in something called a Citizen Circle.  The point of Citizen Circles is for people from all over the community to join in peer-led learning groups that focus on different subject areas.  These circles happen all over the world but this particular batch of summer courses was initiated by HUB DC, of which I am happy to say I am now a founding member!

I’m always up for new experiences and wanted to try a Citizen Circle even though I am about as far from the community organizing hippie liberal that is usually attracted to this type of thing as possible.  Don’t get me wrong, I love community organizing hippie liberals, but I’m a fully establishment, overly educated, corporate-leaning elitist snob who thinks capitalism, white people, and the mainstream can play a positive role in the world.  A lot of this is the result of growing up in Seattle, when the WTO riots came around we didn’t really get it.  For us, the only reason we had theatre, art, music, parks, and most of our non-profits was because of Boeing, Starbucks, Amazon, Nike, and Microsoft.  Seeing the sign of a huge globalized corporation generally meant that we were getting free tickets to the art museum courtesy of Bill Gates.  As a result, I have a pretty positive image of what the money from business and giant corporations can do.  Look at the Gates Foundation.  And Warren Buffett.  And MacArthur Grants.  I have never understood why people would rather spit in the face of corporations than take their money and use it for good.  So, attending a meeting with people who are generally anti-everything is just not my style.

As you can imagine from the introduction, the evening did not go well.  The host was lovely and dinner was wonderful.  The same cannot be said about the conversation.  Unfortunately, the chemistry just wasn’t there.  On one side we had a 70-something year old man who was born and raised in Ward 8 and, although he has every good intention in the world, is too clouded by his personal experiences and lack of a world view to see that anyone who doesn’t share his background could ever be anything but evil.  Sharing his point of view was a small, young, white Georgetown student who was in the same place that all liberal white men in college get to about halfway through their first anthropology class, the “ohmygodijustfoundouti’mwhiteandeverythingidoisbadandeveryonewholooksdifferentthanmeisbetterandright”.  This, of course, shall pass, but for now he gets away with saying things like, “White people who are trying to help in poor communities are doing it for the wrong reasons” just as he spends time trying to help in poor communities.  Ahhh, college.

We also had the hostess, an incredibly smart and incredibly diplomatic community leader who is more skilled than I will ever be at making unreasonable people feel like they’re making a valid point while gently guiding them towards an end to the conversation.  And then there were two really sweet white girls who made really great points but were perhaps a bit too timid for the environment.

And then there was me.  I did what I usually did, sat and listened for as long as possible while I figured out where everyone was coming from and what they had to say.  Then I made my point, which pissed off the old guy because it was the exact opposite of his point, and then I listened for a while, made one more rather reasonable point (everything I said can be summed up by, “Well, actually, all white people aren’t evil and some non-profits are actually effective and while we’re trying to change the national education system it actually could be valuable for us to teach adult literacy in the community too.  #imjustsaying), and by the end, after one last rant by the old guy, we all decided that these meetings are not something we were interested in continuing.  Sad.  Except the old guy.  He wants to do this all of the time!  But like I said at the dinner, I’ve been doing theory and discussion for 10 years and I’m in action phase now.  I don’t have time to sit around and talk to people who are never going to change their minds.  The sad part is that the reason I wanted to do this was to get the points of view from other members of the community, especially people who were born and raised here.  But, I’d like to do it without getting yelled at and dismissed for having gone to college.

Oh well, I tried.  Maybe next time.


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