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Sunday, July 14, 2013

I'm not dead!

Hello, internet and friends! Its been a while, hasn't it?
First I want to completely and utterly apologize for being so non-existant over the past month. Life got ridiculously busy right after my last post, and once I finally got my feet back on the ground last week I've felt so pressured to constantly job hunt that I just haven't had a clear enough mind to put together a post.

But now that I'm snuggled up on the couch with a cup of coffee and all of the windows open, I'm finding the motivation to climb out of my little cave and say hello!

I absolutely adore traveling, and going new places- its one thing I wish I could do more. I had just gotten home from my parents house when I got a phone call from my older sister asking me if I would drive out to Virginia with her in the morning. She's planning on moving out to the DC area, and had 2 job interviews. Despite just being in the car for 2 hours, I agreed without hesitation to accompany her on the 10 hour drive out to the capitol. I'd never been to DC before, and figured I could roam the city while she went to her interviews.

The drive out was absolutely gorgeous. Hills, lush trees, sunshine, the perfect playlist, windows down, and silly gossip- what more does a girl need? (Possibly a glass of wine, but we took care of that upon our arrival).

We tried to thoroughly document all of the happenings on our drive out, but we missed the Virginia sign!! Too busy chatting... whoops!

Casual pit stop in West Virginia at good ole' Billie's Gas & Grub. Didn't try the grub, but lovely people :)

We stayed in a little hotel close to where her first interview was. Drove around the area to scope it out, picked up some pizza and wine for a late dinner, and then hit the hay for the morning! The area was absolutely beautiful- about 10 miles outside of DC and full of gorgeous old-American style homes. Unfortunately no pictures, since we were driving around in the complete darkness. Spooky!

The next day my sister dropped me off bright and early at the metro station, and I hopped on the first train to the National Mall. The Smithsonian just opened an exhibit a few weeks ago on the human genome, and so naturally (ha, no pun intended) it was the first place I had to go. I've never been to DC, or really roamed a city by myself for long periods of time (I'm a country gal, folks!) so the entire day was a complete adventure for me. Coming up out of the metro station into the middle of the National Mall, seeing the Washington monument on one end and the Capitol building on the other was such a neat moment for me. I wandered around for a bit, then trucked it over to the Natural History Museum to check out that exhibit. 

No photos of the genome exhibit because it was more of a hands-on exhibit, but it was absolutely amazing! They had all sorts of visual learning tools about medical and experimental genomics, and even a section on genetic counseling! It was completely wonderful to see so many different people fascinated by something I'm passionate about. There was also an exhibit about deep space, with a ton of brilliant photos of the cosmos. The pics I took unfortunately did not do them justice, but the exhibit was gorgeous in its entirety. They also had an exhibit on gems and minerals, which was just pretty to look at. The photo at the top in the middle is the "rainbow of minerals", and they had the Hope Diamond! The photo on the bottom in the middle was one of their many gardens, which was in the backyard of the Smithsonian Castle. The main thing I learned though, was I'm unfortunately an inch shorter than an elephant leg... Oh well, you can't win 'em all! I spent about 3 hours just wandering the museum- it was lovely. If you're in the area and haven't been to the Smithsonian before, I'd definitely check it out!

By the time I left, it was half past lunch time, so I rang my sister to chat about her first interview and hopped into the closest cafe to grab a bite to eat. I ended up at Cosi, a chain out on the East Coast that I've never heard of before. Had a salad and a gorgeous peach bellini lemonade while I chatted with some of the locals and read. It was raining, and I wanted to rest my feet, so I wasn't in a hurry to leave.

Tandoor chicken in a salad- yummy! :)

After re-fueling I high tailed it back out onto the streets to wander around all of the beautiful monuments. I saw just about everything! Unfortunately the Capitol building was having a huge IRS reform rally out front, so I couldn't get too close, but it was still absolutely wonderful. 

 Sister called right as I was leaving the White House (which I quite literally stumbled upon), and wanted to meet for dinner, so I hopped back on the metro and met her at our new hotel to freshen up. We decided to hit up U Street for something delicious, and after walking the lengths of ethnic restaurants and pubs decided that margaritas were in order. We stopped in at Alero, a little Mexican joint on the corner and got to work.

The food was absolutely amazing. Even coming off of a trip to Mexico a few months ago, I have to say that this may be the best Mexican food I've ever had. I had vegetable enchiladas, while Haley had the steak burrito- both incredible. Each dish came with all of the fixings- beans, rice, salsa, veggies, and of course, holy guacamole.

After we decided we could walk again, we wandered into a few pubs and bars to have a drink as we made our way back to the metro. Once back at our hotel, we took the lift to the top floor, to see the view from the sky bar. To anyone visiting DC who doesn't want to stay right in the city, the DoubleTree in Arlington was very reasonable and so nice. The hotel had so many different things to do- a bar, pool, restaurant, coffee shop, lounge, and not to mention the revolving rooftop bar, we actually had to debate whether or not we wanted to even venture out for dinner! Truly though, the hotel was beautiful and clean, and the staff was absolutely lovely- I would certainly stay there again and recommend it to anyone heading out that direction.

After getting over (if possible) the gorgeous view of the capitol city skyline, H and I sat down at a table by the window for one more cocktail before dinner. As the clock, or our phones, chimed midnight we toasted to my birthday, and then hopped down a few flights to our room to rest up for the journey home.

I don't know about you, but I'm feeling 22!

We woke up at the crack of dawn, packed our things, and bid adieu to the city. However, a debacle with the GPS took us right through the Pentagon parking lot and up close and personal with a few more monuments as we got lost trying to get out of the city. Considering the views though, and the lack of traffic, it was not a bad place to be lost at all!

We arrived back home just in time for me to throw on a party dress and head downtown to meet up with some friends for a small birthday celebration. I absolutely loved DC though, and am quite excited to officially have my sister moving out there in the next few months. Already looking forward to visiting her!

I definitely have more adventures to chat about, since a week later we were off to Vegas for our family reunion, but I've got a bloody mary, a front porch, and a sunny evening calling my name. Until next time! And I promise it won't be forever this time :)


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