Emily Woods Gives Us Her View from the Hill on Life in our Nation’s Capital
If you’ve ever watched House of Cards (and let’s be serious, who hasn’t??) then you’ve probably wondered what life is actually like on Capital Hill. Is it all a carefully crafted political chess game like Frank Underwood implies? The Netflix show certainly had us wondering. To get the insider’s scoop I turned to my college girl friend Emily Woods who has lived Washington D.C. since July 2012. This go-getter moved to the city after graduating from the University of Cincinnati with her Masters in Architecture and an MBA (that’s right, this super sista doubled teamed her grad degrees!). Ever since she’s been rocking out life on the east coast as an architect at one of the country’s leading hospitality design firms. I sat down with her to find out what it’s like to be a Single Girl in the city, if politics really ruled all, and what the perfect day looks like in our nation’s capital. Secret- politics may play a crucial role in the conversation but a great glass of wine doesn’t fall far behind : ) Read on to find out more from this D.C-er!
Jen: It’s so great to feature you on the site! Why don’t we get started with you telling us a bit about how you ended up living in D.C.
Emily: After spending six years in undergrad and grad school in my home town of Cincinnati, and with only 3 and 6 month internships and study abroad interspersed to appease my travel bug, I was ready for an adventure someplace new. I was looking for a big city with plenty of culture, lots of people, and easy access to other cities. I had done an internship with the Dallas office of a fantastic hospitality design firm during grad school, and while Texas was not quite my style, their Washington D.C. office seemed like the perfect fit. So, after graduation, I moved here knowing only about three people.
J: Wow, so you had no experience with city but took the leap of faith and moved there. That was very ambitious of you! Now that you’ve settled in, what have you come to learn about the city?
E: I expected D.C. to be like other east coast cities I had visited. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love New York and Boston, but the people in those cities have their own agendas. In D.C., folks are much warmer and more welcoming. It almost feels Midwestern at times, which is nice for this Ohio girl! D.C. is a very young city, with everyone moving here from somewhere else (often straight out of college), so everyone wants to meet new people. That was a really pleasant surprise after moving here and not knowing many people.
J: That is a great surprise and not too far from what I experience when I moved to LA. Other than the Midwestern vibe and unexpected warm welcome, what are your favorite things about the city?
E: I love the kickball league I play with in the Spring, Saturdays on the National Mall are great, rooftop bars with views of the capital are amazing, and Georgetown in the spring (and fall) really can’t be beat.
J: Sounds like D.C. has a lot to offer, any favorite spots you can clue us in to?
E: Out-of-towners are always surprised to learn that Virginia is one of the biggest wine producers in the country. Just about an hour drive from DC are tons of fantastic vineyards that are really beautiful and actually make great wine! One of my favorite weekend activities is to hop in the car (or chartered bus/ rented limo for a more serious outing) and drive out to spend the day wine tasting, picnicking, and enjoying the beautiful countryside with friends!
J: I had no idea D.C. had a wine country close by! Besides having access to fantastic vineyards, what makes the city appealing for Single Girls?
E: In addition to quickly finding yourself with a circle of friends that you met at your favorite happy hour spot or playing kickball, everyone here is extremely well-educated and ambitious. You will meet people from all parts of the country, working to change the world in some new and interesting way, from the political types, to those who work for non-profits and think tanks, to great designers and teachers.
J: Any tips you can offer for other Single Girls in the city?
E: It’s amazing how easy it is to forget that we live in the capital of the free world and the opportunities that this fact allows us. You are probably here because you have a dream of changing the world in some small (or big!) way. Just put yourself out there and network; you never know the fascinating people you will meet in this city who will inspire you or help you to bring those dreams to life!
J: That’s great advice. Any extra tips you’d offer to other girls looking to move to the city?
J: When you want to escape the politics for a fun girls night out, where do you head?
J: And if you have girlfriends coming to visit. Where do you take them?
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1. 3 words I’d use to describe D.C.: Ambitious, political, young2. Best place to get a cheap mani/pedi: Acqua Nails Georgetown is my favorite spot just down the street from my office to head for a Friday afternoon mani/pedi with my work girls.3. I absolutely can’t resist eating: Rocklands Barbeque (You might not think of barbeque in DC, but trust me on this one.)4. When I’m hunting down a good sale I head straight to: The outlets in Leesburg, Virginia5. You know you’re a true D.C.-er when: You know that House of Cards is actually filmed in Baltimore and not the District