Documenting the Days

D.C. Trip with Guest Blogger Bennett Poss

Over a month ago Bennett and I went to D.C. to visit some of our friends and explore. D.C. is one of my favorite places but Bennett had never been there before. I was so excited to show him all of the reasons I love it so much. I asked him to write about our six favorite places for the blog since it was all new to him. I bring you D.C. by Bennett. 

*Note - This trip was documented by our iPhones as I forgot to bring the charger for my nice camera. This was also before we either of us had an iPhone 6. It was slightly tragic. 


1. Tour of the Capitol

The capitol is pretty cool. They have bills and representatives and senators and old artwork and flags and such in this building.  I think the president has even sat in a chair at times in the building.

While we were there, we got a personal tour by a very nice intern through representative Dave Loebsack's office. We got to see live debate in both the House and the Senate and that was a treat. The House was discussing the contentious and interestingly bipartisan bill about authorizing funds to aid Syrian opposition to ISIS. It was a rare moment where votes did not fall along party lines and both sides disagreed/agreed with it for separate reasons. It was satisfying to see reps speak about an issue using their own reasoning instead of party talking points. The Senate debate was just two dudes talking about how much they loved mountains and trees and why they should approve a national park bill. I just imagined how jealous everyone watching C-Span was that we were there LIVE.

2. Library of Congress

The Library of Congress was basically the most majestic place you could think of to waste time on the internet while you avoid working on that important assignment (which you may or may not be doing now). It just feels like you would get a ton of work done there. Fun fact, the LOC (as the kids say) is the second largest library in the world, behind the blandly named British Library. Another fun fact is that if you took the time to read all of the books in the LOC it would stretch from Earth to the Moon six times, weigh more than 8 blue whales, and you would die at some point before you accomplished this (Poss, et al. 2014).

3. Supreme Court Tour

The Supreme Court was rather imposing. It was built to be a "temple of justice" and they definitely hit the mark with the building design.  We got to see where court was held and hear dandy little tidbits about how the court functioned. For example, the majority of cases submitted each year to the court are from prisoners appealing their sentence. You know the old saying, you lose a 100% of the appeals you don't file. Also, when the justices discuss cases amongst themselves, no one can speak twice until each justice has spoken once. I don't know how they enforce that.

4. Monument Bike Tour

It was my idea to try using bikes to explore the monuments. Allison was concerned because (allegedly) she had not ridden a bicycle since she was 10. We threw caution to the wind and she biked it like a natural. She didn't even run into a pedestrian or Thomas Jefferson or anything. It was a nifty way to get to around the monuments and experience the natural beauty around them. The monuments are actually part of the national parks system and they have rangers at each one to give an informative and inspiring speech about them. One of the rangers just kept telling us we were the only ones who could prevent forest fires. Weird.

5. Newseum

There is an endless supply of excellent, free museums and national treasures on display in D.C. A group of people got together and decided to buck that trend by making a museum that actually cost a little scratch to get into. And they did a bang-up job. The Newseum has very compelling exhibits and reminders important historical events and how media coverage of them has informed us and shaped our understanding of them. It is a unique project that explores an interesting space between spectating, participating, creating, reporting facts, disseminating opinions, and the increasingly blurry lines between "social media" and "news", "history" and "current events." Plus, it had like roughly 10,000 units of old Anchorman 2 promotional stuff. I couldn't tell if this was a commentary on society and consumer-culture, or just a surplus of leftover swag. Probably just swag. 

6. Eastern Market 

It's Allison again, I couldn't talk Bennett into writing anymore. The Eastern Market is always one of my favorite stops in D.C. because I love any place where I can buy a vintage brooch and have a cup of coffee in the same place. Al, my good friend of Her Bearings recently moved to D.C. so I was lucky enough to spend time with her through the week and have a shopping partner at the market. 



Bennett and I fit in much more. We went to lots of museums, went floating, hung out at trendy Whiskey bars, played Skee ball, went to art galleries, drank lots of coffee, and saw really important things that you can't take photos of like the Declaration of Independence. Special thanks to Anne Pick for letting us crash at her place and being our tour guide for the week! 


See you soon D.C.! 

Documenting the Days - My Golden Birthday

I recently celebrated my Golden Birthday and turned 29 on August 29th. I was dreading my birthday, I hate getting older. I especially hate that I am almost 30. ::shivers:: I always imagined that by the age of 29 I would be on a 30 under 30 list, have a solid skin care regimen, carry a passport full of stamps, and be able to keep a plant alive for more than three weeks. About that . . .

To make my birthday even more dreadful this year, my grandma had heart surgery on the day of my birthday at the Mayo Clinic (she is back home now) and Bennett worked a 30 hour shift and thus for gone the whole day plus some. My birthday plan was to mope around and watch Lifetime movies after work while eating Chinese food in bed to mourn being in the last year of my twenties. 

A few days before my birthday, my friend Amanda was road tripping across the country stopped in Iowa City. She got her nose pierced on a whim and I went with her while she was here. I loved how it looked on her and instantly wanted one.  I decided it would be fun to get a gold stud in my nose for my golden birthday and figured getting my nose pierced would give me something to look forward to and shift my attitude towards the day.

Amanda right after she got her nose pierced in Iowa City.

Amanda right after she got her nose pierced in Iowa City.

I was a little too nervous to go by myself so I asked Andrea and Justine, two of my close Iowa City friends, if they could witness the piercing. Not only did did they agree to come, they documented the entire thing, amused me by wearing tiny party hats, got me the most thoughtful and unique presents, and made me laugh the whole night. I was so glad that I reached out to ask for support on a day that I was expecting to be awful because it turned out being the complete opposite. I also felt the love from afar from all of the messages and gifts that everyone sent me. It took the sting of 29 away - so thank you. I have the coolest friends.

During the piercing Justine and Andrea were like paprizzi (or soccer moms) taking multiple photos of the process. Here is a small sample of the photo album, the last photo cracks me up - it is me coming out of the piercing place and you can see Justine in the mirror taking a photo of me leaving. I love how it turned out!

The final product. 

So cool.

So cool.

Documenting the Days - HOBY Training Institute

I just returned from Houston for the HOBY Training Institute (TI) representing Iowa HOBY. For Iowa HOBY I serve on the corporate board, am the Director of Recruitment, and I am assisting with planning the program. TI is a conference for HOBY volunteers to learn from each other and get ideas and resources.

Each state submits a gift basket to represent their state and be raffled off. I filled our gift basket with some fun Iowa items from Raygun, one of my favorite stores (check them out), among other Iowa things. There is also an awards dinner where Iowa took home a handful of trophies. 

The trip was the perfect end to my summer adventures. I came back inspired and excited to get to work on all of my ideas. The trip was also great because I got to spend time with HOBY family and met some great new people who are now a part of my HOBY circle.

It is difficult to explain to others all of the reasons I love my HOBY friends. Being at TI, I realized one of the reasons I enjoy being around HOBY people is because of the conversations. A lunch conversation can range from examining the plot of a recent episode of the Real Housewives to your opinion on the effectiveness of the #ASLBucketChallenge to a deep discussion about the religious beliefs of the household you grew up in.  And that is why I love being around HOBY people. 

We also got to spend a little bit of time out in Houston. I had some Tex-Mex, went line dancing where I attempted to learn the Texas Two-Step, and made sure to have a shopping excursion to one of the biggest malls in the country. 

Here are a few photos from the awards dinner that make me smile.