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.


DO’s and DON’Ts for Making the Most of Your Summer Internship

Based on the knowledge I’ve accrued during my own internship experiences (three under my belt, thus far) and speaking with working professionals, here are some short tips for making the most of your summer as an intern:

DO take every chance you can get to explore the city or locale where you’re interning. You never know what you’re going to see and who you’re going to meet, and who knows, maybe you’ll want to work in the same city after graduation. This is your chance to indulge in your touristy desires and see for yourself if DC (or any other city) is the right place, career and personality-wise, for you to settle down in the future.

*Recommended to me by a coworker (thanks, Stacy!), the Washington Post has an excellent website with resources for DC interns, such as budget bites in the city, summer events & checklists and etc.

George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria. The view is absolutely beautiful from the top.

On the other hand, DO prioritize your internship. You are here in DC, first and foremost, to work and learn in the most politically charged and engaging atmosphere you will ever encounter. This means knowing when to stop drinking at happy hour before you do something you’ll later regret in front of your coworkers and/or bosses. This means completing your projects in a timely fashion and staying late at work, when necessary. This means being proactive and asking questions when you’re unclear about a task or project.         

DO network. Julie has provided an excellent guide below for doing so. Get out of your office and go strike up a conversation with your coworkers. It can be about something as mundane as coding or as interesting as the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act!                                                          

DO display professionalism at all times. You just never know who is listening or watching. A professional attitude also extends to how you dress and how you carry yourself in the office. 

DO try to live with other interns for the duration of your internship. Not only will your rent be cheaper, but you’ll also be pushed to socialize and go to events in the city. Brittney and I can attest to the value of having a roommate who is also a fellow intern.                                        

DO NOT eat lunch alone. Unless, of course, you have work to do for your internship. Use the lunch hour as a time to network, connect with people in your office and/or in our team’s case, to discuss the direction of this blog.                                                                                                                              

DO NOT go on Facebook or social media websites at work, unless you’re a social media marketing intern or your internship requires you to visit those sites. Resist the urge, folks. 

DO NOT engage in office gossip. This is not “The Office” and you are not Michael Scott.


Source: NY Mag

DO NOT take your heels or dress shoes off under the table–no matter how uncomfortable your footwear may be. You’d be surprised at how many interns kick off their shoes at a conference table while they are in a meeting. It is unappealing, unprofessional and the last thing your fellow employees would want to see.                                                                                                              

DO NOT go to work if you are contagious. Nobody wants to see an intern yakking up a storm and spreading their germs in their work environment. Please do yourself and your coworkers a favor and stay home. It’s for the best.  


FEED THE INTERNS: Five Tips for Eating Well on an Intern’s Budget

1. Set a monthly budget for yourself.

Interning in one of the the country’s fastest growing food capitals, it is all too easy to burn a hole in one’s wallet by eating out at the many fine restaurants that dot the DC/NoVa landscape. Therefore, it is a good idea to keep track of your food expenses by setting and adhering to a budget.  If you’re a finance dork like me–or just really anal about your spending habits, you should create a Google or Excel spreadsheet, save your receipts (or remember the amount you spent) and record the amounts.

 Here’s a peek at mine(conditional formatting, FTW):


Note: If you also have a sweet tooth like me, you’ll want to set aside a budget just for cupcakes and macarons [I will literally starve myself for a week just to destroy a six-pack of those suckers–don’t tell my parents].

You should set two budgets–one for groceries and another for eating out. I eat at the pace of a gerbil, neglect to eat meat and vegetables and love my carbs, so a budget of $90 for groceries should tide me over for the entirety of my ten week internship. For the average adult, however, I would recommend $60 for a month’s worth of groceries and $70 (or less, preferably) for eating out. Another alternative for the smartphone users out there is Mint, a (free!) online budgeting tool that you can link to your bank accounts, credit cards and etc. to keep track of your spending.

2. Keep some basics in the pantry.

There are a couple inexpensive items that every intern/college student/broke graduate/starving artist should always have on hand. Peanut butter, Eggs, Milk, Bread, Oil, Pasta, Tomato Sauce and the requisite ramen. Off the top of my head, I can think of a few meals/snacks you can scrape together with just these ingredients: peanut butter sandwiches, egg sandwiches, egg noodle soup, peanut noodles, french toast, croutons, spaghetti and more. When you’re broke, you’ll eat anything (trust me…) and you’ll find inventive ways to create meals. This quote from one my favorite French authors, sums it up nicely: “L’esprit de l’homme est capable de tout” or the mind of man is capable of anything. Spill that tea, Maupassant.

My “pantry” (above), Brittney’s pantry (below)

ImageFact: Brittney subsists entirely on teriyaki sauce and Lean Cuisine

3. Mayonnaise is your best friend.

On the topic of mayonnaise, you can never go wrong if you have this condiment in your fridge (unless you’re like Mama June). It pulls the simplest things together in a form that you can throw onto a sandwich or roll. Got any leftover rotisserie chicken? Shred the meat, dump it in a bowl, add a dollop of mayonnaise with a shake of pepper (heck, throw in some diced celery if you want some texture), mix it all together, slap that shiz in between two pieces of toast and you got yourself a meal! If you see that your eggs are expiring soon, boil those bad boys, chop it up and repeat above. Chicken salad, egg salad, potato salad, salad salad–take your pick!

 4. Cook everything in bulk.

As an economics student, I maximize my utility/happiness by refraining from cooking as much as I can help it. Swear to god, I am almost too lazy to function (but not nearly as lazy as Daniel). Anyways, here’s the dealio: cook up a pound of spaghetti (lasagna, pasta salad, kimchee fried rice, whatever!), store it all in tupperware (sauce and pasta in separate containers), pop it in the fridge or freezer and nuke it in the microwave when ready to eat. Follow the above steps and you will be set for the week for less than the cost of a burrito bowl. Cha-ching!!

5. Follow these other tips.

  • Browse and take advantage of the circulars/weekly specials/coupons of popular supermarkets in your area, such as Safeway, Giant, Trader Joe’s and Whole Stipend Foods.

  • Pay attention to expiration dates for dairy and meat products. If an item is expiring soon, such as a roll of sausage, cook it as soon as possible and store it in the fridge for later consumption. Milk and eggs are usually good for a week after the sell by date–you also have the option of freezing your milk or any anything else for that matter.

  • When ordering a dish at the restaurant, immediately ask your server to pack up half the portion of your meal in a to-go container and serve you the other half. This way you won’t be tempted to gorge on your food–plus, you’ll have another meal for later.

  • Attend company or organization-sponsored events in DC which often provide FREE catered meals as well as plentiful opportunities to network with interns and stay informed about current issues. See: Brookings, National Journal, OCA. Also, be sure to RSVP to these events. Shout out to the CAPAL-sponsored WLP, every Wednesday evening at 6:30 in the Capitol Building!

Hope these tips are helpful and that these tips save you a couple bucks…or pennies, at the very least!

Until next time, fellow un(der)paid interns!