At the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History – Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards Exhibition

My favorite part of the Smithsonian was Nature’s Best Photography, a photography contest now in its second decade as a memorial to Windland Smith Rice. All the large-print photos were breathtaking, full of color, contrast, humor, and of amazing subject matter. I really recommend taking a look if you’re in DC before the exhibit closes in January – there’s still plenty of time! Here are some of my personal favorites…

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The National Mall

I wore sandals for me and JC’s National Mall adventure. Stupid me. We toured the White House and walked to the Lincoln Memorial; walked through the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum; and all the way around toward the Capitol. My feet easily hated me within 20 minutes.

But at least I can say I walked the entire National Mall by foot – though a minute accomplishment, I’m pretty proud. It was such a beautiful day anyway, and it wasn’t hard to keep going with a great travel buddy who more or less walked my pace.

Highlights-

  • Lincoln Memorial – what architecture! The ceiling had great colors shining through; and the grandeur of Lincoln’s statue was just awe-inspiring
  • MLK Memorial – not only is the memorial beautifully designed (ROMA Design Group based in San Francisco!), but the quotes that lined the stone throughout the memorial were well selected.
  • Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History – science museums are always a hit with my inquiring mind but this is definitely my favorite, maybe because of their Live Butterfly Pavilion. So cool!! And I couldn’t resist becoming a member just so I can subscribe to their amazing magazine.
  • Meeting Jason at his place of work at the Capitol. It was his last day, but at least we got to see our friends Fayzan and Madeline before we left DC.
  • Watching a quiet session of Senate in the galleries. I’d love to go back for a heated debate (hint, Jason).

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Asian Pacific American History Month in DC

We had a big first day in DC for the vacay. Jason aka Boyfriend aka Stankho brought us to some amazing events in honor of APA history month, which has brought more attendees this week than ever before- especially thanks to Obama speaking at the APAICS banquet last night. Unfortunately, me and my travel buddy JC didn’t get to see that, but at least we partook in today’s festivities which were well worth walking in my heels all day.

First, let me give you some background about Jason. I went to undergrad with him at UCLA and became such good friends. I knew from the getgo that he was destined for great things. (If youre reading this, Boyfriend, I don’t mean any of it.) Upon graduation, Jason had already landed an internship at the White House, and since then, he’s been working at the federal level non-stop. After working for Congressman Mike Honda, he’ll now be working for the Office of Public Engagement at the White House. Needless to say, I’m so proud of all he’s accomplished thus far, and I know he’s not even close to topping it just yet. (Again, Boyfriend, I don’t mean it.)

With APAHM and his great network, he coordinated our itinerary to include the APAICS leadership briefing at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, an AAPI for Obama briefing at the Democratic National Committee building, and the Asian Pacific American Heritage Ball at the Chamber of Commerce. What a first day to ever have in DC! It was an eventful day to start off my mini-vacay, all thanks to my (not) awesome Boyfriend, Jason Tengco, whom you should keep in mind if he ever runs for office.

I met some amazing officials who are all doing some insane work at the federal level, like Congresswoman Judy Chu, chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, and Kiran Ahuja, executive director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. I implore you to look up Kiran’s work- her office is doing some great things to advance the API community in education, economic, health, and housing issues, to name a few. The initiative itself is the largest of its kind dedicated to a particular population, so that in itself is a huge deal. I got to briefly speak to her at the Heritage Ball about how the initiative is addressing API arts advocacy issues – definitely my highlight of the day, just speaking to an official who is so down to earth, easy to speak to, and has a great sense of humor.

We finished the night off with dinner at Black Finn and drinks at Barcode, a great way to unwind after some heavy networking and schmoozing. I hope to see the same friends we made tonight at Jason’s hapy hour tomorrow night!

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Well, hello, DC!

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I just landed in DC and I’m already enjoying the trip. One of my favorite things to do in any city is using a good metro system. I don’t usually have a great sense of direction but subway systems were made to be dummy proof which I’m so thankful for! And it helps when stations like that at L’Enfant plaza have cool lighting and architectural features.

Cheers to DC!