Tuesday, August 3, 2010

White House Tour

So I've tentatively had plans to get to do a self-guided tour of the White House for the past few weeks, thanks to a friend of my friend, Rence (thanks Rence!). They're very hard to get without assistance with someone within the government sector, so I was very fortunate that everything worked out. You have to be background checked ahead of time, and they're wildly popular - I heard some people were turned away when trying to make reservations 6 months in advance. Initially I thought it might be scheduled for last Friday and when it didn't happen I was worried it wouldn't happen before I had to leave, but the tour was rescheduled for this morning!

View of the White House from Lafayette Square - I walk through this park on my way home most days! This morning I walked by on my way to my tour.

I was able to pick another person to bring, so I invited my friend Kevin, another summer DC intern from Ohio, and I was glad I did - he was as (if not more) excited than I was, and had lots of historical facts about certain things that made my trip better.

Kevin, in shirt and tie. I think we were the most dressed up people in line.

Security is understandably very tight - you can't bring anything in but your state ID and your cell phone, turned off - so I got up at 6 and scooted to work to drop off my stuff before the tour. A handy tip if anyone goes: our tour was slated for 8:30, but you can get in line and go on your tour pretty much any time you arrive. You'll just get bumped ahead further down the road if you're on time / past your time.

So from here on out I wasn't able to take photos, but luckily the White House museum website has great info/ photos, so I'll walk you through the rest of our tour. It comprised of the East Wing as well as the east side of the White House.

I got to peep into the Vermeil Room:

And the China Room:

And then headed up to the First Floor to see the East Room:

The Green Room:

The Blue Room:

Red Room:

And my personal favorite room, the State Dining Room:

Unlike the other rooms, this one seemed more subtle, and had really pretty white molding around the top. It felt airy and a little more open than the other rooms.

I think my favorite thing about the tour, however, was looking out the windows - it felt so surreal to have the same view that the President does on a daily basis, and to see the lawns and all the tourists staring towards you, rather than staring along with them.

We also were able to exit out the north entrance (the same entrance pictured in my first photo, from behind the gate) and there we managed to snap a few photos:

This was a really, really wonderful opportunity and I'm so happy we got a chance to do it. I live close to the White House, and every day it's a reminder of how special DC is and how many important things go on here on a day to day basis. It's a bit of a reflection of my summer - getting to do amazing things and trying to take all of that in, rather than just walking by and growing weary of all the crowds and tourists.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Looking forward

With my internship coming to an end, I've started thinking about what's to come. I've got some things lined up for the near future, and some more long term goals. One of them is to have a better presence with my work online and using digital platforms - it's just more elegant than sending a zip folder of all of my work.

To start I've put up my work as it is on issuu - a digital publishing site that has more of a look and feel of your typical magazine. I've provided a link below, take a look - I'd appreciate any suggestions. I'm also looking into projects I should tackle that I've never tried before - such as package and branding design, as well as menus or invitations. If anybody has suggestions or knows of anything that needs desperately redesigned (but has good content) and could be a good project, let me know!

Link here

Also - if anybody's got some last minute things I can't miss during my last week in DC, I'd love to have you send them my way. I have a few things planned, but it's mostly shopping for cheesy souvenirs : )

Off the beaten path

I've spent the last two weekends away from the traditional touristy events on my list, and enjoying time with friends in different parts of the city.

Last weekend I went swimming at a friend of a friend's house in Bethesda, and ate a yummy Bethesda bagel the next morning. I also went to a restaurant near Tenleytown called Comet Pizza and Ping-Pong. My friend Luke asked me if I wanted to go and I have a friend who works there, so I agreed to check it out before he mentioned the bands that were playing - his cousin's band from Columbus, and a band from Athens called the She Bears - which consists of a bunch of my friends from college and high school! So I was very excited to check it out.

(Image from DCbeer.com)

I was delighted with the place - while I was envisioning a cross between an arcade and a cheesy italian restaurant, the whole look of the place was retro and stylish, with some ping-pong thrown in for good measure.

(Image from New York Times Travel)

The food was great - I got a pizza with broccoli and a sunny side up egg on it, mostly for the novelty of an egg happening on pizza. But it was so good, I ate nearly all of it - and shared the band's mini-keg of some tasty beer. Since I sat with the band and they comped our table we got our food for free!

The show was also a great time, it was set in the little back room where most of the ping pong tables normally are. Between so many of my college friends in the audience and up on stage, I felt like I was back at school for an evening and had a great time.

I've got more to come from this weekend, but I thought I'd put together a fun little metro map of all the stops I've used on my trips around DC. I think I've done a pretty good job of doing a mix of touristy things and more authentic DC things - and there's still more to come before I go home!

(Click to make it full size)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A postcard - for you!

I haven't updated in awhile, I know! Things in my life lately have been a little hectic - trying to figure out what's next and what that might entail. I've been looking for jobs, housing, and everything in between.

But tonight I took a little break to design something completely fun and frivolous - a post card, for all my blog followers to print out and send to a friend, or write me a disgruntled note about not updating - and you know what? I feel like I've learned so much this summer that even my fun designs have gotten sharper. However, I've got lots of things to look forward to - a great upcoming weekend in DC filled with friends, and my family coming to visit two weekends after that!

If anybody's serious about a good print of this, I'd be happy to email you a PDF : D

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Georgetown Cupcake and Other Tasty Treats

Hi guys! My past week/weekend has been filled with lots of friends and sharing great food and drinks with them. It's been a really great and relaxing time.

Last weekend I got the chance to hitch a ride to Athens with some friends from school. I spent the weekend swimming, hanging out and trying new beers at the Brew Week festivities, catching up with my advisor over juice and treats at the Village Bakery, and getting Casa's Bodega. Twice. Needless to say, I enjoyed Athens food. : )

I'm sorry I don't have any photos to update from my weekend, because I really did have an awesome time! Between the long commute to get there and getting caught up in all the fun I let the cameras stay home this weekend.

However, my friend Mallorie came into town on Monday to sight see for the day and after I got off work we got even more delicious food, and I captured some of that. We swung by Bread and Brew for dinner - I went with some people from work for happy hour last week, and had liked the pizza, so I thought it'd be a good bet. This time we sat upstairs and I was very happy with their selection of vegetarian and vegan-friendly soups, salads, sandwiches and pizzas.

(Image from urbanspoon)

Then we set out in search of Georgetown Cupcake - Mallorie had it on her list of things she couldn't miss, and somehow we navigated through crazy Georgetown parking and a line out the door to get there! I was really glad we went - everything was cute and well designed, and the cupcakes were delicious.

I stuck with two types of Chocolate, my favorite, but they had a lot of unusual flavors that rotate during the week, like Honey Banana, Key Lime, and Salted Caramel. Mallorie even got a Blueberry Muffin flavored cupcake. I definitely want to go back to try their classic Red Velvet cupcake, and a Carrot one too!

Here's a video of our adventures - thanks to Mal for being such a good sport about my interviews and cupcake testing video! : )

All in all, it's been a whirlwind of a weekend and beginning of the week, but work has been going well and on top of it I've enjoyed relaxing with friends and taking the chance to try new things in DC.

To cap off my delicious weekend, I stopped at Whole Foods on my way home from work today to get some essentials - I was drooling over their vegetarian options - and got a few light and easy to carry non-essentials to treat myself:

Chocolate macarons and fresh raspberries.

In summary: yum!

Monday, July 12, 2010

DC Zoo

So this past weekend I went to the zoo with my friend Ryan - a fellow OU graduate who started his internship (in the photo department) today! It's nice to have a friendly face at work. Here's some video from our adventures:

Our goal - see the pandas! We had to wait in a decent line (I've never waited in line to see anything at a zoo before) but it definitely paid off:


The Zoo is actually part of the Smithsonian, so on top of having a lot of unusual animals, it was free. Always a plus.

Weird long neck turtles.

Craazy huge snake. I was glad there was glass between me and this guy.

Emu! I think I've seen ostriches but I don't think I've ever seen an emu.

I think the cutest little guys (besides the pandas) were the elephant nose shrews and the way they sniffed around with their noses. (Sorry, zoo posts aren't very informative, mostly just commenting on the cute animals.)

It was a very hot day - I think we stopped at every drinking fountain to refill our water bottles - but very enjoyable. I'm a little more than halfway through the major Smithsonian museums, so I think I'm making good progress.

Friday, July 9, 2010

4th of July Weekend - Blossom

So after the wedding my mom and I headed home to get ready for 4th of July festivities! Each year we head out to Blossom Music Center, a huge outdoor amphitheater. We get there early and sit out on the lawn with picnic food, listen to festive Sousa marches, and watch some great fireworks. I was a little sad I missed the festivities in DC, but I had a really great time hanging out with my family and keeping up the tradition.

It was probably the hottest 4th I can remember in awhile, but everyone had a nice time, and I really enjoyed the fireworks.