Washington D.C.

How to Prepare for a Work Trip

DC Metro

I haven’t been back to Washington, D.C., home to my alma mater, since 2015. So, when a work event came up on the calendar, I jumped at the chance to head south and spend some time in the District that I once called home.

I haven’t attended many out-of-state work events prior to my current job, so I thought I would give a rundown of how I prepared myself—and what I will be packing.

1. Make sure your itinerary is set before you leave: This may seem obvious, but you wouldn’t believe all of the questions that I’ve pondered while packing. How will I get from the airport to the hotel? What if my flight is delayed and I get to the event late? I’ve even thought of questions like, “what’s considered an allowable expense when traveling?” I’ve always operated under the principle that it is better to be over-prepared than under, so I’ve made sure that all of my confirmations are printed out, in a safe place, and that the dates of my travel and stay are correct. If you use a different last name at work, such as a maiden name, make sure that you have the necessary identification in that name—and that all of your documents match up. Nothing could be worse than missing your flight because your ticket was under one name and your drivers license another.

2. Bring extra work clothes: Even though my trip to D.C. will be brief—and I know what I’m going to wear to the event—I still packed an extra set of event-appropriate attire. You never know when a sudden downpour (which is common in D.C.), could ruin your great idea of wearing those cute suede Vince Camuto heels with your black and white dress from Loft (yup, that’s what I’m actually planning to wear). Thus, it never hurts to bring a pair of black slacks along and a chic blouse.

3. Pack snacks: Work events can be fun, but they can also be tiring and stressful (read: leaving scant time for meals). I’ve learned to travel with granola bars at all times, and it is a must when I am going to be on the road for an extended period. I love Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter Fiber Bars. They don’t have a tremendous amount of sugar, like others do, and they keep you satisfied. I recently tried an RXBAR in the peanut butter flavor and will be bringing those along to D.C. as well. With three egg whites and two dates per bar, they are almost a meal themselves.

4. Take your vitamins: You’ll need plenty of energy—and coffee—to make it through those 12+ hour days. Between time in the airport, flying, and then hitting the ground running, I always travel with a few packets of Emergen-C. Not only are they great for immune support, which you may need after flying, but with tons of B vitamins, they’ll keep you going strong. I’ll also be bringing a bag of Healthy Delights B-12 soft chews for times when I don’t have water handy (and cannot drink an Emergen-C). Packed with 2,500 mcg and tasting like a Starburst, it’s hard to stop at just one little gummy.

5. Explore (if time permits): Even though I lived in D.C., each time I go back I notice all of the changes that have taken place since I left. It’s interesting to see how neighborhoods have developed over time, but I am looking forward to returning to some of my familiar places. In D.C., Dolcezza in Georgetown, Cheoff Geoff’s, and Z Burger, are all tried and true favorites. On this visit, I hope to check out the cat cafe, Crumbs & Whiskers, and would love to hit up The Spy Museum, if there is time.

How do you prepare for a work trip?

Since I will be traveling, there will not be a post up this Friday. I hope you all have a great rest of the week and weekend!

The April Agenda

April Flowers

It has come to my attention that I completely forgot about documenting my March agenda last month. Perhaps that’s partly because most of March was consumed with figuring out what constituted a low-iodine diet and in preparing for an I-131 whole body scan (which never happened due a snowstorm that hit the East Coast that week). So, yeah, March wasn’t exactly fun, nor did I feel very productive (but I was hungry for most of the month).

Since my health testing is temporarily on hold (through no choice of my own), I have decided to live it up a bit this month. With the weather improving daily, I want to spend more time outdoors and less time in front of my computer.

Here’s what’s on my agenda this month:

Go: I feel like I haven’t traveled much this year, so when I was asked to go on a work trip to Washington, D.C. at the end of the month, I jumped at the chance. Having spent two years going to college in D.C., I am always thrilled at the idea of returning—even if it is only for a day or two. While I won’t have much free time, I see a visit to American University and at least a couple of hours in the Georgetown neighborhood in my future.

Read: I have many books on my reading list, but sadly have not gotten to any of them. A fellow blogger recommended reading The Hopefuls, which happens to be set in Washington, D.C., and with my upcoming trip, it seems like the perfect read to bring along.

Try: I have wanted to try pilates for a while now as it is a nice complement to my yoga classes. So when a studio based in New York City and with locations in the Hamptons reached out to me on Instagram, I was elated. Unfortunately, with my busy schedule I have been unable to allot a day to driving an hour each way and taking a class, but now that the weather is nicer and the days are getting longer, I am ready to give it a go.

See: I never thought I would say this (and perhaps I’m too old to say this?), but I kind of want to see Beauty and the Beast. Is that wrong? I vaguely remember seeing it as a child, but after I heard the soundtrack on my way to work the other day, let’s just say my interest has been piqued. Have any of you seen it? Did you love it? I have been hearing good things.

Do: Two words—cat cafe. Yes, you read that correctly. I have been following Crumbs & Whiskers, a cat cafe based in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, for a while on Instagram. So you know I have to pay them a visit in person when I am in D.C. (trying not to take a cat home will be the hard part). To date, Crumbs & Whiskers has facilitated the adoption of 256 homeless cats, which is a mission I whole heartedly support. With every purchase from the cafe, a shelter pet is able to be fostered with Crumbs & Whiskers while they wait for a forever home. If you need a daily dose of cuteness, I highly suggest you follow them on Instagram.

What’s on your agenda this month?

Wandering in Washington, D.C.

American University, Washington, D.C.

Whenever I go back to D.C I feel very nostalgic. I remember being a young student, living on my own for the first time and departing as a college graduate who had had my own apartment, made some great friends and learned a lot about myself. I am so grateful for those years in D.C.!

My first stop is always The American University campus and visiting all of my favorite spots.

American University, Washington, D.C.

American University, Washington, D.C.

School of Public Affairs - American University

American University, Washington, D.C.

American University - Washington, D.C.

American University - Washington, D.C.

I lived at McDowell Hall my first semester and spent time reading and studying on the deck behind the dorm. It was the perfect place to get some sun and take in the beautiful D.C. weather.

McDowell Hall - American University

McDowell Hall - American University

McDowell Hall - American University

Walking around the Tenleytown area and stopping at my first apartment on Wisconsin Ave brings back good memories.

Wisconsin Ave - Washington, D.C.

No trip to D.C. would be complete without a meal at Z-Burger

ZBurger - Tenleytown

And Chef Geoff’s!

Chef Geoff's - Washington, D.C.

What’s a shop-a-holic to do on a beautiful day in D.C.? Head to Georgetown, of course!


Then have a leisurely lunch at Martin’s Tavern. Order the Fish & Chips…you won’t regret it! This Georgetown staple has been around since the Great Depression and has seen the likes of presidents from Harry S. Truman to George W. Bush.

Martin's Tavern - Georgetown

Follow it up with the best gelato in town! Head to Dolcezza and sample some of their indulgent flavors. I’m partial to the Valrohna dark chocolate. If you really want to splurge, order the Dulce de Leche latte and people-watch over coffee.

Dolcezza - Georgetown

Dolcezza - Georgetown

Dolcezza - Georgetown

Saving the best for last — catching up with my former roommate and friend, Steph, so we can tour AU and reminisce together!

American University Roomies

Life Lessons From My D.C. Days

American University - 2009 Graduation

I am excited to be visiting Washington, D.C. and to be back at my alma mater, American University today. It has been three years since I have been on campus, and six years this month since I graduated. Sometimes I’m struck by how much time has gone by since taking the stage that May day in 2009 and accepting my diploma, and other times it has felt like just yesterday I was packing up my first apartment and closing the chapter on my college years. Either way time has passed and a lot has happened in my life. I remember entering college as an equestrian, concerned with how I would juggle my schoolwork and my riding. Then two years later, having to adapt to leaving Long Island and making new friends as I transferred to American. And finally, transitioning into the real world as a college graduate and landing my first job.

Fast-forward six years and I am not the lawyer I thought I would be, or the girl with the masters degree teaching political science classes. It has taken me six years to realize who I am and who I am still becoming. Some lessons have come to me through setbacks with my health and in losing a good friend, while others have been a more natural progression. I am grateful for what time has taught me…things I could never have learned in the classroom. Today, as I reflect on those four wonderful years, and where I stand at the six-year mark, I thought I would share some of the lessons I’ve learned so far on my journey.

Be kinder than necessary…for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle. As someone left with an invisible illness after thyroid cancer (that would be you, hypothyroidism!), I know firsthand how hard some days can be for me. I endure a consistent state of exhaustion, and while my day must go on, it’s the little things that people do or say that I remember most. The sweet text from a colleague inquiring as to whether I would like Starbucks, the phone call from a friend that I’ve lost touch with, or just an acquaintance asking how I am feeling. Taking a few seconds each day to check in with the people around you can make a difference in someone’s day.

This too shall pass. Nothing is really permanent and change can be lurking just around the corner. So on those days where you answer one email and ten come to its funeral (almost everyday, for me), you find yourself running between meetings instead of outside, and breakfast and dinner meals are one-in-the-same, take a deep breath and remind yourself that soon the craziness will end and it will be a distant memory.

Say what you mean…and mean what you say. How often have you wanted to say something to a friend or co-worker, but let the moment pass? This happens to me often where I feel I should’ve offered someone a “congratulations,” or let them know how much I appreciate all they do. Don’t put off telling someone how you feel, and when you do, make sure it is sincere.

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Life is too short to worry about petty things that won’t matter in five years, and the things that are out of your control. Do the best you can every day, believe in yourself and don’t worry if you make a mistake. You will learn as you go on that setbacks are not the end of the world. They will help you realize that it either wasn’t the right time or a better opportunity will present itself…if you let it.

Illegitimi non carborundum. My good friend who passed away used to remind me of this saying all the time. It’s a mock-Latin phrase which loosely translates to mean “don’t let the bastards grind you down.” I always took it as worry about yourself, stand in your truth and don’t let negative influences interfere. Whenever a situation stresses me out, I always think of her and smile, as I repeat this phrase in my head. I swear, it gives you inner strength!

To all of the 2015 graduates, congratulations on your milestone and best of luck in your future endeavors. Don’t forget to enjoy your graduation day and keep in touch with the people that made your four-year journey rewarding!