As our internships come to a close, we’d like to thank everyone who read this blog, made comments, and came along with us on a journey to be better interns and community advocates. Over our month of blogging, we explored the best places to eat in D.C., gave you tips on how to impress your boss, and talked about some hard-hitting and often unaddressed activism issues in the AAPI community.

Even more importantly, as the weeks went by, the four of us at Capitol Goods became quite close friends. We certainly fought and argued, but in the end, everyone learned to swallow their pride and put the integrity of our project first. I’m excited to have earned 3 life-long pals (who will allow me to crash at their place when I’m visiting San Fran and New York. Right, guys?).

I’m proud to have been involved in this labor of love with such an intelligent and close-knit team. Thanks, CAPAL, for making this a summer that we won’t soon forget!


For more from Brittney, you can visit her at Another Beautiful Thing.

Thirsty for Happy Hours

For our concluding week of blog posts, I decided to give you guys a look at the locations I have been to for Happy Hour. I enjoyed each location but there are a slew of other bars and restaurants that deserve to be on this list as well. So, I implore you all to explore the various watering holes in DC and let us know in the comments section of other places we should mention in this list. Bottoms up!

Jazz in the Garden @ the National Gallery of Art on the National Mall

Entrance is FREE! It’s held every Friday during the summer. The jazz music is awesome! The downside is that the garden gets so packed with people. I saw people literally crawling under bushes and squeezing into every nook and cranny for a spot to park themselves. However, I think it is worthwhile to go at least once for the experience. Drinks are also quite expensive and the lines for drinks can get really long.

201 Bar

201 Bar is one of the nicer bars that I have frequented. It’s a bit more on the expensive side, but it wasn’t too crowded and the noise level was manageable. It was nice to just sit around with colleagues and friends with a beer and talk without yelling every word. It is also right by Union Station so if you work around there, it’s a pretty convenient walk.

The Park at 14th

So this place is supposed to be a night club and really hoppin’. They also have pretty good deals for happy hour! The prices alone are enough to attract me to go again. However, it can get really crowded and super loud! This is the place to be if want cheap drinks and to pretend to be able to hear other people talking.

Dirty Martini

It’s in Dupont Circle (close to Foggy Bottom) and the happy hour drinks here were even cheaper than The Park at 14th. Although the happy hour menu is very limited, you can still get beer for $3 and wine for $5. But other than these prices, there really isn’t anything special about this place. Although, they did have a live jazz band come in and play/sing.

Other locations?

There are plenty of other places out there that I still have not tried yet. There are places that have ALL DAY HAPPY HOUR SPECIALS on certain day(s) of the week! I will update the name of this place when I figure out the name. I only listed the ones I have been to in case you need some help choosing a place. The point is that this is DC and there is plenty of variety and choices when it comes to socializing and drinking!

If you’re interested in the DC Nightlife, I’ve been told that U Street, Dupont Circle, and Adams Morgan areas are the places the go. Check out these places while you’re in DC and ENJOY YOUR FREE TIME!

Raise your glasses!


Capitol Goods’ Top 10 Things to Do in DC/Northern Virginia

In no particular order…..

1. Visit all the Smithsonian museums at the National Mall.

Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian

2. Eat a delicious, macaron-topped cupcake from the Cupcake Wars winners, The Sweet Lobby in Eastern Market.

Sweet Lobby's Salted Caramel Cupcake w/ Salted Caramel Praline Macaron on top

Sweet Lobby’s Salted Caramel Cupcake w/ Salted Caramel Praline Macaron on top

3. Go see the passing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery as well as the statue of Iwo Jima.


Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Arlington

4. Eat a bowl of homemade Japanese ramen at Toki Underground on H street—about a mile off from Union Station Metro—but be prepared for a half hour or forty minute wait.


Ramen….the Toki special

5. Shop ‘til you drop in Georgetown and go kayaking at the nearby Potomac River.


6. Spend the day lounging around the park and perusing the many bookstores, shops, cafes and bars at Dupont Circle.

7. Walk around Old Town Alexandria and be sure to visit the Torpedo Art Factory on the waterfront.

8. Take silly, touristy pictures at all the national monuments—and don’t forget to go to the Capitol as well as the Library of Congress.

9. Go hiking at Great Falls Park in McLean or have a picnic at Gravelly Point Park in Arlington, by the Ronald Reagan Airport (DCA).

Planes flying over Gravelly Point Park

10. Eat Korean BBQ in Annandale and emerge from the restaurant smelling like what is in your stomach.

Art, Baby: Hirshorn Museum

What do D.C. interns do for fun? They write this blog They find new places to explore, new food to try, and make crazy memories. For our final full week of posts, we bring you the sights and sounds that we will miss most about our nation’s capital.

During last year’s internship, when I was still a 20-year old excluded from D.C.’s world of happy hours and nightlife, I had to find creative ways to spend my time after work. Creative is just the word I’d use to describe the Hirshhorn Museum, a modern art installation that houses the craziest, wackiest, and most thought-provoking art I’ve seen. Located near the Air and Space museum, Hirshhorn is the satirical hipster of the Smithsonian family, boasting a sculpture garden in the back that makes you feel that you’ve fallen deep into Alice’s wonderland.

photo (1) photo (2)

My favorite sculpture in the museum is currently ‘Venus of the Rags’, which takes the traditional pose of ancient Venus statues and juxtaposes her against the decaying bits of our clothing. I see it as a commentary on our wastefulness (she has all these clothes, but nothing to wear) and our consumerist culture.

As for sculptures like the following…well, I’m not sure how to interpret this one..


Whatever your kink, Hirshhorn hais sure to satisfy. Be sure to take a visit to the basement, where Barbara Kruger has created a charged photomontage that addresses conflicting perceptions of democracy, power, and belief. Known for her political pieces, Kruger doesn’t shy from questioning the status quo. For those of you who don’t think modern art is truly art, I can hear Kruger whispering, “But who made you believe that?”

Image from Huff Post



Overview of Depression and Suicide in the APA Community (Part 1)

I’d like to start off today by sharing a personal experience.  I spent one summer in China a couple years back.  I was staying at one of dorms at a university.  Thankfully, most of the students I befriended were able to speak English.  I definitely would not have been able to survive the summer because my Mandarin was terrible!  While some of the girls I met and I were walking through campus to go shopping, we passed by a large crowd of people.  It was by a laboratory building I often frequented to visit a friend.  It turns out that a student had jumped not too long ago.  The police/ambulance hadn’t even arrived yet.  A professor at the school told me that this kind of thing occurs frequently each year.

Depression and suicide is common among all races and genders and it is a serious problem.  However, I would like to observe why it is a prevalent problem among Asian-Americans.  This post is purely based on my experiences and thoughts and I am not an expert of any of this.

From the National Alliance of Mental Illness’s (NAMI) Fact Sheet on Asian American Women and Depression:

“In many Asian cultures, the stigma surrounding mental illness is so extreme that it is thought to reflect poorly on family lineage. It limits the education, prevention and treatment within the community and is further exacerbated by the stereotype of the ‘model minority.’ The stereotype of the highly successful, well-educated and upwardly mobile person can sometimes make it difficult for Asian women to accept their ‘flaws.’ They feel they must live up to high standards and succeed in all areas (e.g., doing well in school, helping to support the family; taking care of elderly family members and maintaining a job).” (emphasis added).

Mental illness and depression are frowned upon and viewed as a sign of weakness.  I believe that in some countries in Asia, there is no word for “depression” as well.  Cultural pressures create these types of problems.  The unwillingness to accept the existence of these types of problems exacerbate the problem.

  • Being the perfect daughter/son is almost expected in many families.  Parents battle others to win as the parent who has the better child.
  • While this might apply to many other countries as well, the Korean culture still has a “males are superior” type mentality and remains predominantly patriarchal. The women are expected to be submissive, domestic housewives, who constantly cook and clean, while the men “bring home to bacon”. This type of mentality creates pressure on both sexes.  This is also the reason why many Korean men are violent against women.
  • The girl who jumped from the building in China did so because she grew up being told that everything will always work out.  She was researching in the laboratory, working days and nights–even sleeping overnight in the lab. She was told that hard work will always lead to success. And when she didn’t get any success, she felt that she was doing something wrong. She felt like her life in the lab was pointless. She lost direction.

Whether it’s in Asia, the States, or anywhere else, one of the biggest reason young people commit suicide is due to the cultural pressure.

All Asians and Asian Americans need to be aware that this is a very common problem. Seeking help and treatment has proven to reduce the risk of suicide. There is no reason to be bound by cultural pressures.  The “model minority” stereotype, which also serves as a type of pressure, needs to be broken as well. There needs to be change one by one in order for a wave of change to occur. Moreover, the more information that is available, the less ignorant people will be about this issue.

For part 2 of our series on depression and suicide in the AAPI community, click over to Laura’s post here.

Snippet Thursday: David Chang & Momofuku

For those of you who don’t know about David Chang, he’s a Korean-American chef and owner of the Momofuku restaurant group in New York City. Chang started in the restaurant business only 9 years ago making delicious pork buns and Japanese ramen. But since then, he’s developed a unique style of modern cuisine, combining traditional Asian food with European cooking techniques. Among his many accolades include being named in Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People as well as having his restaurant deemed #1 in Bon Apetit Magazine’s Most Important Restaurants in America. By revolutionizing Asian cuisine in America, David Chang has become an inspiration for many, including the Asian-American community. So if you’re ever in New York, be sure to check out one of his 5 Momofuku restaurants. Also, enjoy the following clip from his appearance on No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain:

DWA: Drinking While Asian (The Unrealized Dangers of Asian Glow)


During the summer, it’s common for us interns to have a few drinks here or there during happy hours or on weekends. And many of Asians out there, alcohol usually comes with a side of Asian glow. Unbeknowst to many, this condition can be a serious health issue. And as it turns out, simply taking Pepcid AC won’t solve this issue.

According to studies published by the Public Library of Science, people who drink but suffer from Asian glow (They can be non-Asians too!) have a far greater risk of getting cancer. Esophageal cancer, in particular, is 10x more likely for those who turn red from drinking.

For those of you unfamiliar with this glowing problem (no pun intended), what happens is that, after having one or two drinks, many Asians begin to turn red in the face. This redness can also spread to the body down to the hands and legs. A feeling of dizziness and headache as well as a faster heartbeat also arises. Doctors say that this glow is caused by a genetic deficiency that is very common among the East Asian population (around 40%). When alcohol enters your body, it is first metabolized into acetaldehyde, which is actually a carcinogen that can cause DNA damage and other cancer-promoting effects. An enzyme in the liver, called ALDH2, then turns acetaldehyde into a harmless substance called acetate, which is then further digested. But for those of you suffering from Asian blush, your body is actually lacking the ALDH2 enzyme, and acetaldehyde can actually build up in your body every time you drink!

Along with the usual health risks of alcohol, including short-term incapacitation and long-term heart risks, many AAPIs now have the added privilege of a 10-fold likelihood of developing one of the deadliest forms of cancer known to man! Now I’m not arguing for anything extreme, like prohibition. There’s nothing wrong with a few drinks occasionally. But even a steady habit as seemingly harmless as 2 drinks a day can trigger the extreme susceptibility of cancer down the line for many Asians.

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa  “Should I have another?”

So if you have Asian glow, the next time you have a drink, keep this hopefully helpful lesson in the back of your mind. It’ll be an extra disincentive for you not to drink yourself into a stupor that night. Plus it’s also an additional reason for you to not develop a drinking habit/problem.

‘Till Next Week,


Don’t Call Me Fat: Asian American Body-shaming

Welcome to our second round of blog posts on AAPI issues. For previous posts on racial identity, click here.

Last week, at work (yes, at this internship), a fellow Asian-American coworker joked that I was “obese.” Another coworker chimed in that I might be considered a “pig.” You’re probably thinking that I should’ve run to Human Resources as fast as my chubby little legs could’ve carried me. Unfortunately, I was not all that fazed. You see, it wasn’t anything I hadn’t heard before—from my Asian-American family, friends, and myself.

When I was little in China, I resembled a watermelon, which earned me the name “Fei Mei” (fat little sister). But that was in another country, where people had grown up in austerity and where Botticelli’s women might have been persecuted for excess under the Communist regime.  Certainly, the girls in China are much smaller than they are in the US: I am 122 pounds, in the perfect BMI range for my age, and I still have to wear XL or XXL in Chinese sizes. On a trip back to China, a photographer remarked to me that I must like “fatty pork” because I was so much bigger than most girls he photographed.


The culprit.

These cultural differences are expected and understood; my expatriate family might seem like the epitome of excess to our friends back home. What’s disturbing is that these remarks and attitudes don’t just stay in Asia—they seem to have migrated along with our immigrant parents and are still pervasive in our American communities. I can’t count the number of times that my parents or their Asian-American friends have remarked that I have gotten a little plump, or that my baby fat was going away thank goodness. These kinds of statements are made in earnest, and supposedly for our own good: how was I supposed to attract a husband, without being stick-thin and white as a lotus flower?

In my Asian-American community, being fat was a sign of shame. Whenever my friend Raina’s* mom picked us up for tennis practice, she would compare how skinny each of were and lament the fact that Raina was the heaviest, leading to some of the most awkward car rides ever. At some point, I realized that these fat-shaming attitudes were rubbing off on me: suddenly, I looked down on Raina for having extra arm fat, and I would weigh myself constantly to make sure that I wasn’t gaining any weight.

While it’s true that all Americans are obsessed with dieting and losing weight, I can’t explain to my American friends that it’s a whole different ball game when it comes to AAPI’s. Americans want to be slim, but the AAPI’s that I know want to be microscopic. For some AAPI fashion bloggers ( and, being able to fit into XXS sizes is a source of pride and the reason for their blog popularity. Some AAPI girls even diet before they go home for vacations, just so that their parents won’t call them fat ( . Not only are we constantly expected to uphold the ideal “small and delicate” Asian-American stereotype, but because of the shame involved in discussing our weight, we never get to have a healthy conversation about body image issues. All these factors add up to a maddening, inescapable circle of shaming and purging, all for a beauty standard that doesn’t make sense.

What’s more, I feel like body-shaming is the one topic that I cannot talk about with my non-AAPI friends, despite the fact that it’s the one that affects me daily. Any other topic about AAPI’s, including racial discrimination and hate crimes, leads to intelligent debate among my pals, but when I complain about Asian-American body-shaming, I am met with blank stares. “If you are fat, what am I?” my white friend would ask, to which I have to stammer that she is at a perfect weight. Which is true—even though she is 30 pounds heavier, she might be at her perfect weight for her culture. Whereas I am on the fat side “for an Asian”. However, there is just no way to bring up that issue in non-AAPI company without making it seem like I am humble-bragging.

The lack of discussion over this pervasive body-shaming has led me to feel estranged from both American and Asian cultures. While Americans admire curvaceous girls with golden tans, Asians are obsessed with skin-lightning creams and petite figures that look good in a tight qipao. I am both too chubby for my parent’s liking, but too skinny to fill out a bikini top. I tan easily, a fact that my American friends are jealous of, but I still carry an umbrella to block out the sun so I don’t tan too much, or else I will “look like a Mexican.” I am caught on the fence between two cultures, and what makes it worse is that staying on the fence makes me feel like I don’t belong in either.

I can totally fit into this qipao—if they don’t zip up the back.

As you can probably predict, this kind of cultural priming has probably contributed to thousands of eating disorders among Asian-American women. I was anorexic for a while, but I had to say “F that”, because I just love my fatty pork too much. That’s the reason I consider myself one of the lucky ones, because I can still have a good relationship with food. I can’t imagine the other Asian-American women who are out there counting calories and crying over a heartless comment by a loved one, women who can’t be happy with who they are because they are constantly bombarded with conflicting views of what to look like.

There is no easy solution. For most of us, the damage is done. I will never forget my Asian-American coworker’s astonished “You’re a HUNDRED AND TWENTY-TWO POUNDS?” for the rest of my life. And I’m scared that I might be guilty of transmitting these poisonous attitudes to the next generation, if my children ever see me compulsively dieting.

So for now, I will laugh off the comments (although I did talk to one of the coworkers about being insensitive, and he did apologize). I’ll eat my Mexican cheesy fries, and I’ll go to the gym for hours later to make up for it. It’s not an easy compromise—but since when has being AAPI ever been easy?

*Names have been changed. To read more from Brittney, you can visit her blog at Another Beautiful Thing.