My Favorite Spots in DC

My Favorite Spots in DC

3 summers ago, I made my first move to Washington, DC and began to call this wonderful city home.  Like any major city, there’s plenty of spots everyone tells you that you have to make it to you and I will say, DC’s tourist spots are wonderful, but I think there are so many spots that people miss and overlook when they come to this area and they truly miss some of the wonder that DC has to offer. I’m giving a little insight into my favorite places in the city and some of the places I’m hoping to make it to very soon.

My favorite spots:

  • The Kennedy Center. I missed out on this spot for far too long and I had NO idea what I was missing.  Seeing a show in the opera house transports you back to a time of old Hollywood glamour.  The views from this place are also unbeatable. It is a spot that many people skip over, but making time even just to check out the rooftop is so worth it– you can see the monuments, Virginia, and my favorite area, Georgetown.

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  • See the monuments at night.  If you’re in DC, you definitely have the monuments on your must-see list but if you’re only seeing them during day, you are missing out on some of DC’s prettiest sights.  There’s such a special feeling to the monuments at night and I think it is one of the most calming sights. It is worth checking out.
  • The Portrait Gallery.  The Portrait Gallery is off the path of the National Mall, but it is one of the best Smithsonians DC has to offer.  Seeing the portraits of every President throughout the year is an amazing and engaging way to get to see a part of America’s history.

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Places I want to visit:

  • Dumbarton Oaks.  Dumbarton Oaks is a historic estate in Georgetown that I have been meaning to visit for years, but haven’t made my way to yet.  It is an absolutely gorgeous house and grounds and I really hope to get the chance to explore it this summer.

 

  • The Wharf.  The wharf is on most people’s list of places to visit in DC, but with its distance from Georgetown, I have never gotten myself down there.  It is a spot that I think has so much life and culture (and views) and I really want to see this fun area.
  • Old Town, Alexandria.  Though not DC proper, Alexandria is a spot I really want to check out.  Coming from a small town, I always love getting to explore spots that remind me of home.  I’m hoping to make a trip to Alexandria this holiday season to join in the festivities there.

 

DC is such a fun city and there are so many places to check out!  These are just a few of my absolute favorite places and the places on my always growing wish list.  What are some of your favorite DC spots?

 

Take a Break

Take a Break

You make your plans and life makes other ones for you.  

I had no intentions of taking a social media break at all this summer.  I blogged while on vacation and was planning to start my job, settle into my new place, and keep going with the blog as usual.  Life didn’t think that was the best plan for me and I decided to follow that cue: I took a two week break from my blog and Instagram.  

The break happened naturally– I would sit down to write, but I didn’t have the words or energy to say anything.  To put it simply, I was experiencing complete burn out. I blogged through the school year, finals, and then my vacation.  I felt like I was blogging because I had to, but I didn’t feel like I was creating content I was truly proud of. I felt like I had gotten to a point where I wasn’t being a service and I was a bit lost from my own personal mission statement of serving others, as my mind focused more and more on growth and following.

So, when life got busy and the words escaped me, a break felt like the exact move I needed to take.  And, not having social media did make a difference. I could take more effort to settling into my new house and new job.  I could spend time with friends and be fully in the moment, not thinking about my posting schedule. And the amazing part was that during this break, I felt my creativity skyrocket again.  I constantly was having ideas for blog posts and Instagram photos and stories. I felt like I could see why I started blogging again: to share my life in the hopes of helping someone else.

So, I recommend taking a break every once in a while.  In a culture that praises hustling and hard work, taking a break feels almost impossible.  But, when you push yourself constantly, you burn out. You need the break to recharge and find your direction again.  You might find yourself feeling better than you ever did at the end of it.

 

Exploring Southern California: Part One

Exploring Southern California: Part One

With the school year finished and my internship not starting until the beginning of June, I had some rare free time.  This summer, I am filling this otherwise dead time with a trip to Los Angeles. I am so excited about this trip and to share little snippets of my day both here and on Instagram.  I love to travel and I have always wanted to get to know the West Coast better, so I am loving the opportunity to travel and see all that this area has to offer.

Day One: Travel Day!

Call me weird, but I always get SO excited for long flights because I love getting to disconnect and catch up on movies.  I am a total movie junkie, so six hours on a plane just watching movies is the best to me. This time, I watched Mary, Queen of Scots, I Feel Pretty, and Smallfoot.  Mary, Queen of Scots is one of my favorite historical figures and Saorise Ronan is one of my favorite actresses so I was thrilled to finally get to watch this movie! If you’re a European history lover, I would recommend it, but if not, it might not be your type of movie.

After getting into LAX, we picked up our luggage and rental car and drove a little over an hour to our hotel, Marriott’s Newport Coast Villas.  We checked in, dropped off our luggage, and went out for dinner at Sol Mexican Cocina.  I cannot say enough good things about this restaurant!  We had shrimp taquitos for our appetizer and I got the chicken street tacos as my entree and they were AMAZING.  Our waitress was so kind and even gave us a dessert, which was so tasty I never even had time for a photo. We are making plans to get back to this restaurant asap.  After dinner, we returned to the hotel to get some much needed sleep.

Day Two: The Richard Nixon Library & Museum and Exploring the Resort

I am a total history nerd and that is about to show through SO much.  One of my biggest bucket list items is I want to visit every Presidential Library in my lifetime.  Before this trip, I had visited the libraries of Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and Franklin Roosevelt.  When my dad pointed out that we would be near Richard Nixon’s Presidential Library this trip, I jumped at the chance to go and mark another Presidential Library off my list.

The library was truly fascinating.  I’ve studied Richard Nixon numerous times in classes, but I had never taken such an intensive look at him.  The library also really dives into Watergate, which I appreciated and found so interesting. My favorite part though was exploring the outdoor grounds.  Pat Nixon’s rose gardens are so beautiful, I kept stopping to look at every flower we passed. We also got to tour the house outside that Richard Nixon was born in and spent his early childhood in, which was a really cool and unique experience.  While this library was not my favorite of the libraries I’ve toured so far, I truly did enjoy it and loved the opportunity to learn about Richard Nixon from a perspective I haven’t had before.

After we finished the library, we stopped at Blaze Pizza for a quick lunch and then went back to our hotel.  It was too beautiful a day to stay inside, so we went out to explore the resort grounds a bit more. This place is so gorgeous, with views of the Pacific everywhere (including our room balcony!).  Everywhere on these grounds is stunning and I am truly in love with the resort and with the beauty of California.

Afterwards, we went for a late dinner at Reunion Kitchen + Drink in Laguna Beach.  I’ll be honest– I was mostly excited about this spot because I watched every episode of Laguna Beach and the Hills when I was in high school as a guilty pleasure.  Getting to go to the town where it all started, even if just for a restaurant, was super exciting. The food also was amazing at this restaurant, which was a wonderful end to a great first full day here in California.

Day 3: The San Diego Zoo

It has been about fifteen years since I last went to San Diego, so you could say my memories of the zoo and the city were pretty murky.  I did remember seeing pandas here, so you could say I was slightly disappointed today when I found out that the San Diego Zoo no longer has any giant pandas.  Despite this set back, we had a lovely day at the zoo!

Fun Fact: The San Diego Zoo has the largest colony of koalas outside of Australia.  I was SO excited to get to see the koalas and they were so adorable. They don’t do much, as they sleep approximately 22 hours a day, but they look like teddy bears when they sleep.  I could have spent hours just watching them.


After the zoo, we drove back to Newport Coast and grabbed dinner and called it an earlier night than we have been having.  Tomorrow, we are continuing our adventures and heading to Beverly Hills and yes… I will be singing this song the entire day.

Behind the Scenes: Getting the Perfect Shot

Behind the Scenes: Getting the Perfect Shot

Ask any photographer and they’ll tell you that for every one good photo, there’s {at least} 100 bad photos.  And the same is true for the Instagram generation!  Have you ever sat there trying to get that perfect selfie and before you know it, you’ve taken fifty photos and still haven’t found the one?  Eventually you get your perfect shot and boom…posted on Instagram.  To the world, all they see is your perfect shot and not the endless series of outtakes and deleted photos.

One of the reasons I started blogging was because I want social media and online media to be more transparent.  I wanted to have a personal platform where I could show reality online, so, today, I’m going to show you behind the scenes of getting my ‘perfect Instagram shot.’

Instagram No.1:

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This photo is my current Facebook profile picture.

For this photo, I decided to spin around and have photos taken continuously as I spun.  Needless to say, there’s some pretty funny ones:

Instagram No. 2:

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This is my most liked Instagram photo ever.

Here’s some of the outtakes:

The Importance of Behind the Scenes Moments

The Importance of Behind the Scenes Moments

I view Instagram and social media as an art form.  There is so much time and creativity put into it that often goes unnoticed.  And just like with any art, we want to get it perfect. Our feeds should be aesthetically beautiful, our captions should be perfectly palpable, and our writing should be eloquent and swift.  And, this work should be appreciated: it does not come without effort and it is desiring of art.

Yet, social media is different than any form of art before.  While you can paint a picture and put it up in a room, it is not thought that that picture encompasses you and your life.  When you post on social media though, your posts become you. They are your public representation world of who you are and what your life looks like.  People assume they know you when they see your profile. And to many, this assumption feels unfair, because it brings with it a new sense of responsibility.  We are responsible for showing reality in this art form, as much as beauty and perfection.

I think this responsibility is what is leading to the rise of behind the scenes posts right now.  Social media is a curation of moments, but when that’s taken to represent all of reality, it can be pretty harmful.  So, all of us, who spend our hours thinking about how we can create the best content possible now have something new to think about: how can we continue to make art we are proud of, while also showing reality for all that is.  Behind the Scenes posts do exactly this: they show the art process. They show what the day to day looks like, including the moments of no creativity and struggles. They bring reality into this curation of moments.

My challenge for you is to think about how can you bring reality into your social media presence?  How can you make your account a positive space, instead of a negative one?

I’ll be sharing a full blog post of behind the scenes moments from my latest Instagram later this week.