I don’t normally make New Year’s resolutions, but this year, I decided to take a few trips that had been in the planning stages for way too long. I knocked Madison off my list a couple months back, and this past weekend, I finally made the trip to visit my college stomping grounds in DC. I think DC is a great city; after four years of school there, I was ready for something different, but I honestly do miss living there sometimes…and I miss my two lovely girlfriends, Lauren and Nicole, all the time!

My whole trip was great. Everything I did with the girls was just so quintessentially DC. First, it was freezing there. Well, compared to 70 degree weather in LA, of course. I borrowed a huge puffy, knee-length coat from Lauren for the first two days, which I fell in love with a little bit and seriously contemplated buying for myself. Luckily I remembered the whole 70 degree weather thing before buying an expensive down jacket. Second, everyone is so dressed up! I forgot just how cute and preppy and professional everyone in DC looks. Seriously, I felt like I was in a crossover commercial for The Limited and Express. I showed up wearing booties with thick socks sticking out the tops, yoga pants, and a huge cable knit sweater. Luckily, I like trying to persuade everyone to dress that way, so I didn’t mind. Third, DC has some great happy hours. Because of #1 (cold) and #2 (professional jobs), everyone heads home at 5 p.m. on the dot, stopping at a bar or two to warm up and celebrate the end of a long workday. That’s what Lauren and I did on Thursday with our friend Amy.

We took a metro (another thing I miss!) back to her neighborhood to meet her roommate at another, later happy hour. The next day, we had a nice lazy morning before heading out into Bethesda. Lauren and I actually lived together during college in Bethesda, and the stroll down memory lane was really nice. I kept pointing out all the things that were the same — like Cafe Deluxe, the independent movie theater, and Smoothie King — along with all the things that have changed — Chicken Out is gone! There’s a Paper Source! THEY BUILT A WHOLE NEW STREET! We decided on an oldie for lunch – Tara Thai – for soup, noodles and more noodles.

A few weeks back, I heard a segment on NPR about a Degas exhibit in DC. Lauren is a dancer herself, and the exhibit was still showing, so it seemed like the perfect way to spend a Friday afternoon. We started at the Phillips Collection; I’d never been before, but the building was only two blocks away from my old job in Dupont Circle. Again, old…new…old…new…it’s so intense visiting a former home.

Also, check out the puffy coat. You can’t tell from this picture, but it goes down to my knees. Kind of awesome, right?

Since we were on a bit of a museum kick after the very beautiful but very small Degas collection, we decided to head over to the Smithsonians. Sometimes when you live in a city, you don’t do the touristy things there very often, if ever. But I went to the museums and monuments all the time during college! At the National Gallery of Art, we stumbled upon more Degas. I might like his sculptures even more than his paintings…

We headed home for lattes and pinning (yes, I signed both girls up for Pinterest over the weekend), followed by a night of photo-free sushi, dancing and 3am pancakes! In the morning, Lauren and I said our teary goodbyes, and I took a metro cross town to Nicole’s place.  The two of us spent most of Saturday just hanging out and catching up. We talked a bit about her wedding planning (!!!), which was especially meaningful because I finally met her fiance for the first time — hi Justin! Nicole is a vegetarian who also eats almost no dairy or fish, so we talked a lot about food too. She made a delicious vegan pasta with avocado for lunch.

After a late afternoon stroll around downtown Alexandria, we headed back to Nicole’s up-and-coming neighborhood in Northeast DC. She and her fiance live in a super adorable house that’s about a 15 minute walk from lots of bars and restaurants. The three of us had an amazing round of drinks before dinner  — bourbon + ginger = delicious!

For dinner, we went to a place that specializes in mussels cooked in all different kinds of broth. How cool is that?! We had fun with my camera while we were waiting on the food…

I think I convinced them both to put my camera on their registry after Saturday night! We started dinner with beers. I’m not much of a beer drinker…but when in DC, right?

Luckily Justin is good at sharing, so I ordered a super creamy butternut/sage broth for my mussels but also got to taste his spicy-style bowl! Both were delicious, although I preferred his version for sopping up leftover broth at the end. Don’t be fooled if this bowl looks small. It was a massive amount of food!

We also got some really good fries for the three of us to split. Before ordering, I told Nicole and Justin that I’d probably just eat a few fries. With mussels, I prefer french bread over french fries — but these were awesome and I easily ate my share.

After dinner, we decided to walk back to the house. We stopped in one of their favorite bars but were ready to call it quits and left after a few minutes. By the time we got home, Nicole and I were practically falling asleep. Well, actually literally falling asleep, as we both unintentionally dozed off. The next day, we went for brunch at Busboys and Poets. The original location was around while we were in college, but I never ate there then. I had no idea what I was missing…grilled raisin walnut bread sandwiched with Fuji apple slices, fig spread and Gorgonzola cheese. What a delicious combo! I would never think to make this at home, but why not? It actually would be pretty easy to recreate, as long as you use really good bread. The Gorgonzola is a must, otherwise the cheese taste would be mostly lost.

Nicole ordered a veggie burger, which led to a 15 minute conversation on ingredients and texture. I love that she’s a crazy food lady like me!

By the time we got back to her place, it was time for me to start packing my bag and heading home to LA. Nicole drove me to the airport and we soaked up our last hour together. After another hard goodbye, I guess I can at least say that I know we all three had a great time. I think all New Year’s resolutions should be as much fun as this one 🙂

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