Friday, July 8, 2011

DC Bucket List

As I prepare to leave DC I realize there are a number of things which I want to do but still haven't done.

To name a few:

Eat lunch in the Museum of Native American History - apparently the food court here is to die for, and extremely authentic. I'm definitely going to try this before I leave.

Go to the top of the Washington Monument. - Can you believe I haven't done this?! It's like the first thing you do when you get here, but I have never been. I must take in that view before I go.

Re-Visit the Smithsonian Museum of American History - This is my favorite Smithsonian museum, and the year after I got here it closed for renovations. It reopened a year after that but I haven't been back! I have to see Dorothy's shoes, and the Fonz's jacket one last time.

Visit Great Falls/ Old Rag - Living in Virginia means that I get all the awesomeness of DC, but I also get the beautiful scenery of rustic Virginia landscapes. I need to take advantage of that before I go.

The Newseum - I don't think I even need to explain this one, everyone who lives in DC knows that this museum is well worth the $20 admission.

Re-visit NYC one last time - I've been 3 times in the almost 6 years I have lived here, which makes me sad. I'm totally going again (and staying with Theo, even though she doesn't know it yet). I want to take in another Broadway show, and spend a night on the town.

Monticello - This is an easy day trip that I've never taken! I can't believe I have put it off for so long!

Arlington National Cemetery changing of the guard - it's really sad that I haven't seen this. I live less than 2 miles away.

Theodore Roosevelt Island - I must take a walk across the footbridge and visit this place.

Visit the National Archives - look at important papers... it's a must.

Whew! I think that's it for now, can ya'll think of anything that MUST make it onto the list?

Love, Tina Marie

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Pillowfights, Partying, and Piers: A Wedding for the Ages

I like aliteration.

Last week I was the Maid of Honor (MOH) in a fabulous beach wedding. My friend, and sorority sister Allie was marrying the love of her life... Dave.
They planned an amazing wedding on the beach, which all of her friends pitched in to help prepare for. It ended with a spectacular wedding day.

Beautiful beachfront ceremony.

The day started off with a pampering at the Aveda Salon. After manis and pedis the bridesmaids headed back to the beach house to get hair and makeup done.
Then we opened our bridesmaid gifts!

Wrap around towels with our names embroidered on them! So of course we had a staged pillowfight!

All the lovely ladies of Gamma Phi Beta... and Dave, photo-bombing us.

The reception was at her husband's family home (20 minutes away from the beach house). We danced all night.

The beautiful reception.

After the reception all us 20 somethings headed back to the beach house for an after party.
We proceeded to have tons of fun. About 4 am the bride fell asleep in her wedding dress... on the pier. I kid you not. It kills me that I don't have pictures of this.

I finally hit the hay around 5am central time... so 6am Tina time (EST).

The next day there was coffee... and donuts, and driving from Florida back to NOLA.

It was a freat wedding with wonderful people. I'm so happy for the bride and groom... plus, they are letting my crash in their guest room the first few weeks I'm in NOLA. Woo hoo for awesome friends!

Love, Tina Marie

PS- For those wondering, yes, I caught the bouquet. Again. :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Big News for the Big Easy

Last week I went to New Orleans for the second time this year. It seems as though I find myself there more often than any other place I visit. This time around, it was for a wedding, which I plan to blog about later. I had a fabulous time, which I always do. It was a few more points in the pro column... but perhaps I should back up and explain.

Over the past year I have really been feeling the need to change things up in my life. Last August I left my cushy 9-5 job and started searching for something I really wanted to do. I settled on the food service industry, and I've been catering for a few months now. I grew up with my mom owning restaurants, so while cooking for the masses is very different than "Support Contractor for the DHS", it wasn't all that unfamiliar. Still, I feel like I've been missing something. I knew what it was, no matter how much I tried to ignore it, I missed my family. The thought of moving back south entered my head. It's something I tried to ignore for a long time now. Spending time in NOLA last week put a few more points in the pro column, but still I wasn't convinced.

I like my life in DC, but, I don't love DC. I love the friends I have made here. My heart has been very torn. I kept adding the pro and con columns for staying/leaving and coming up with different results each time. Then I read an amazing book. "City of Refuge", completely made up my mind for me. It's a story about two families struggling during and after hurricane Katrina. I cried several times while reading it, and finished it in two days. I was convinced that there is no other place where I want to settle down. I know this might sound smug, but only a handful of people can really understand what it is to love a city. I think New Yorkers get it, and New Orleanians get it. There might be other cities that radiate personality, but I don't know of them. New Orleans is a hard city to live in, there is crime. Lots of crime. It's a poor city. There are few job opportunities. The list goes on and on. But there are also second lines, and mardi gras, and food, and friendly people, and the music, and the art, and the atmosphere. It's something you have to experience to understand.
Eventually I want to have a family, and I can't think of a better place to raise children. The city is filled with culture, and I want children who aren't afraid of anything. I want them to know that people are people, and whether you are black, white, young, old, poor, or rich, there are certain things that bring us all together as a people. The love of a great city is one of them.
So off I go. The moving date is still up in the air, but, for sure, I will be turning 29 in the big easy.

I'm totally going to miss DC, and the friends I've made here. Spending the majority of my 20's in this city really shaped who I am today. And I like who I am today. I owe a lot to the friends that I have made here, friends that are my family away from my family.

But, I'm not gone yet. I plan to make the most of these final few months. I'm going to play tourist in every way imaginable. I'm going to take walks at night by the capitol and soak in the scenery, and I'm going to say long tearful goodbyes to the ones I love.
For the next few months I'm going to use this blog to chronicle everything I do here, as I prepare to embark on the next stage of my life.

It should be fun.

Love, Tina Marie