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.  


How to Dress for Success: Internship Tips for Guys

When I was on summer break after my sophomore year of high school, I was preparing for my first internship/summer program. It was a medical program designed for high school students, and the information brochure mentioned something about a “business casual” dress code for orientation. I had no idea what that meant at the time, but when you’re 15, the word “casual” means basketball shorts, a t-shirt, and sneakers. So that’s exactly what I wore on my first day. Words alone cannot describe how embarrassing it was to be the only person in a group of 20 mistaken for someone’s lost child in the middle of orientation. And I’ll just let you all imagine how funny a 15 year old might have looked wearing oversized basketball shorts and a Nike tee under a giant lab coat in a group of 20 others wearing suits.

It’s pretty obvious to say that after that experience, I learned the importance of dressing well for any job/internship. And luckily for all of you, that’s my topic for today: work clothes for guys & general workplace etiquette.

The first tip I have for eager interns is to overdress for any interview and/or first day. When you don’t know what the office’s dress code is, play it safe by wearing dress pants, a dress shirt, at tie, and a jacket. Whenever you wear a suit, you’ll never be underdressed. But if you end up being overdressed, others will still think that you’re taking your first day seriously, which is a good first impression. During your first day, however, it’s important to make note of what your coworkers wear so that you get a feel for the office environment and come back more appropriately dressed the second day if not everyone wears a suit.

Workspace attire for men can generally be divided into 3 different categories: business, business casual, and casual.

Business is what I’ve already mentioned, dressing in a suit. This is usually for more conservative and professional jobs, such as banking, consulting, government, law firms, etc.


Typical components of businesswear

Don’t forget to iron your pants and shirts, buy a nice belt, and always dry-clean your jackets. And for those of you who really need to dress to impress, invest in a pair of cufflinks, polish your shoes, and find a pocket square. Dark suits are always preferred, unless you want to go through all that effort just to look like Colonel Sanders or The Riddler. Remember, you’re only an intern. So dress to impress, and don’t dress like an idiot unless you’re in upper management and can’t get fired by anyone.

Business casual is what I wear every day. Although I’m in a government agency, I noticed that no one on my floor really wears a jacket or tie. But I wouldn’t say that my case is always true in other federal agencies. Business casual is more of the norm in technology industries and more laid-back workplaces, but it’s quickly becoming more widespread in other business professions. What it means is simply that you wear nice pants and a dress shirt. Your pants can either be dark and ironed dress pants or sometimes even khakis. There’s also more room for variety when it comes to shirts. You can go for the classic fit or buy slim fitting shirts that don’t require ironing. Jackets and ties are optional, but nice shoes, socks, and a belt are still all required. Basically, think of business casual as how a banker or lawyer dresses when s/he is relaxing.


Classy, yet casual

A casual dress code is something that, as interns, you normally don’t find unless you’re working in research for engineering, biology, chemistry, etc. In other industries where you’re required to work with your hands and sometimes get messy, you also wouldn’t wear a suit. But casual attire can mean really anything from wearing jeans to shorts and a t-shirt. Again, if you’re not doing scientific research, I would advise against dressing casually, even on Fridays, because an important aspect of any job is meeting and networking with other people. In business, you’ll have a hard time doing any of this if you don’t look professional or even presentable.


Might be appropriate for working in a lab, but not much else

The point is, if you’re working in business, make sure to at least have dress shoes, shirts, and pants. Wearing a jacket and tie depends on the occasion/industry, but it’s always a good idea to play it safe on the first day. It’s pretty easy for guys. Just use common sense and don’t stand out from the crowd by being underdressed or just poorly dressed.

 ‘Till Next Week,



The Intern Day

Hi everyone! This is Julie and I have the honor of greeting you every Tuesday. I’m a noob blogger so please excuse any sacred blogging rule I break.

The four of us will be discussing different themes every week and each day, we will write about our own personal take on the week’s theme. As Brittney mentioned, this week is “Intern Lyfe”.

How do I explain my day? I work from 8-5. But what happens during those hours?

I’m currently a law school student working as a legal intern. So each day is different. A lot of the work depends on what cases are on the table and their current status. But most days, i’m researching, writing memos, or in a meeting with the other attorneys. At the end of the day, the department tries to make sure that you have a great learning experience. The work is hard but everyone is willing to stop what they’re doing and explain anything to you as long as you ask.


But I’ll be honest. I was not expecting this type of nurturing environment. I’ve heard so many stereotypes about lawyers that I guess I started to believe in them.

Most people in the office understand that this is an opportunity for you to get the most hands-on experience you can get. But there are also many interns who only look for something to put on their resume. The people you work with will only be willing to teach you if you make an effort to get to know them and learn from them. I guess this is pretty much how you differentiate between interns who are resume buffing and interns who genuinely want to learn. As for me, I’ll take on any opportunity for a project. I’m eager to meet someone new and I’ll walk into random offices with open doors. I’ve spoken to people about a wide range of topics from Supreme Court rulings and opinions to the Pinky and the Brain trying to take over the world. I hope that the gap between my age and the current college interns out there aren’t too far removed that you guys wouldn’t know about Pinky and the Brain…

Networking is the not-so-secret to success. Any and every opportunity can lead to something even greater. So interns out there! It’s not worth it to stay in a bubble. Get off your bum and get to know the people in your office.

I wouldn't be able to survive without Westlaw, coffee, and highlighters...

I wouldn’t be able to survive without Westlaw, coffee, and highlighters…

This post turned from talking about a typical day at my internship to an encouragement for other interns to do something more than just wait for work to come to you. But I want you guys to learn from my own experiences. I’m hoping that you guys can share your own experiences here and others. Some of this stuff might seem obvious but being in the workplace can frighten some people and the obvious suddenly seems impossible. I’m writing this to tell you that there is no reason to be nervous or scared and I’m sure that people will be glad to take a mini-break to talk to you.

So I’m glad that I was able to put my 2 cents in for this week (: I hope that this little tip helps at least one or two interns out there. Look forward to Daniel’s and Laura’s post later this week!

Until next Tuesday!


The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship

Welcome to Capitol Goods, a blog by four students interning in Alexandria, Virginia and Washington D.C. Our placement organization CAPAL, an Asian-American leadership group, has forced us together given us the opportunity to document our summer here in this blog.

Each of us has been assigned one day per week to post, and we’ll be covering topics like the events we attended, the cool spots in D.C. and VA, significant Asian-American political issues, as well as stories of our professional development. We hope that our experiences and tips can help out future interns. Here’s a picture of your 4 mentors now: (I’m the cute one in the green shirt, and I’ll be the one cheering you up on Mondays).


This week’s theme is “Intern Lyfe”, ’cause we ’bout that lyfe and we will be posting about the following topics:

Tuesday: Julie will be taking you through a tour of her day as an intern.

Wednesday: Laura will be giving you her tips on buying food on a budget and stretching out your stipend dollars.

Thursday is our “snippet” day, where we will upload “snippets” of our intern experience like the music we listen to, funny conversations we’ve had, photos from our adventures and crazy quotes from Daniel (he initially wanted to name this blog “Capitol Punishment”.)

Friday: Daniel will share his tips on finding housing and transportation in the area.

Although the main goal of this blog is to help out and entertain fellow interns and future scholars, I’m also excited to document our progression and development as young adults and friends. The title of this post, after all, is from the movie “Casablanca”, and I sincerely hope that this summer and the fun that comes with it will be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.



P.S. We had to take the above photo about 50 times because Daniel KEPT LEANING OVER.