Best Friends Forever! Another weekend in DC...

My best friend Aynsley left for Florida a few hours ago and I miss her already! Along with her fiance, Mike, Ayns stayed with me for the weekend and it was great to catch up and spend time together since we hadn't seen one another since our Israel trip back in Dec/Jan. She just set her wedding date (Congratulations, can't wait for 10/10/10!!), so we spent a decent amount of time discussing wedding plans while in transit to our many weekend tourist destinations. A recap:
Friday evening, Aynsley's plane was delayed, so when she finally arrived, we scurried off for dinner at Clyde's in Georgetown. Unfortunately, we were seated next to an extremely noisy, rowdy group, but despite their hooting and hollering we had a lovely meal (a crap and artichoke dip appetizer, linguine with shaved parmesan and fresh tomato, and a scoop of strawberry cheesecake ice cream for dessert). Since we didn't make it to dinner until 8:45pm, we finished just after 10pm and called it a night.
Saturday morning, the journey began with a trip to the National Archives (the first photo in this entry is the exterior of the building), where the original Constitution, Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights are on display. We had to wait in quite a few lines to get into the main rotunda (it was remniscient of Disney World), but it was worth it to see these amazing documents. The Declaration of Independence is incredibly faded, so much so that you can barely see that there was any writing on there at all. They've got a few reprints that show what the document looked like when it was originally crafted, but it's weird to me that they weren't able to preserve it better (both the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are in substantially better condition, as was the Magna Carta which is much older!). The rest of the Archives was a bit of a disappointment, so we walked through the public vault exhibits quickly and headed to our next destination: the Hotel Tabard Inn!
I'd heard the brunch at the Tabard Inn was remarkable and we happily agreed! Aynsley and I shared the blueberry buttermilk pancakes and a scrambled eggs and cream cheese dish with home fries, and delicious, fresh-baked doughnuts on the side. They also served a bread/pastry basket filled with mini-muffins (carrot flavored and amazing) and soft, warm raisin bread. And it wasn't that expensive either! From there we headed to Madame Tussauds, a museum that I've wanted to go to for years!

The museum was lots of fun, and between the three of us, we took more than 50 pictures with the wax figures. It was a great time coming up with unique poses and trying on the costume pieces, like the faux fur coats in the picture above. I was sad that the Johnny Depp figure was out for "renovation" as that was the one I wanted to pose with the most (it would perhaps have been the closest I'd ever get to the real thing!). Overall, the museum only took 30 minutes to walk through (thus I was happy to have used my buy one, get one free pass to secure $10 admission), but I'm happy that I finally got to go!

After taking a brief shopping/browsing break and walking past the White House for the requisite DC pictures, we headed into the Court House area for dinner at Ray's The Steaks, a Virginia eating establishment known for having the best steaks in DC at the best prices. It was another great meal -- I had a fillet mignon (6 oz) with foie gras and porcini mushrooms, plus a glass of red wine, side orders of mashed potatoes and creamed spinach, a bread basket and a serving of cocktail nuts for less than $50 including tax and tip. Pretty amazing if you ask me and it all tasted great as well!

After dinner, it was back to Georgetown for an ice cream break at Hershey's and a viewing of The Proposal (amazingly funny and features the cutest fluffy white puppy you will ever see -- go see it if you haven't already!!).

Sunday was the final day of their visit and we spent the majority of it at the US Holocaust Museum. There were definitely some moments that hit home -- like seeing a replica of the Auschwitz entrance sign, the pile of shoes taken from Holocaust victims and an actual train car that 100 people were stuffed into during the ghetto/concentration camp phase of the war. The Holocaust will forever be close to my heart, and although sometimes it's difficult to view the videos and see the remnants of this tragic event, it is SO important that we all remember how one evil man was able to bring on the deaths of 6 million Jews.

We ended the visit on a high note by visiting the museum shop and getting the chance to speak to the husband of a Holocaust survivor. He was there doing a book signing for his wife's memoirs -- she died before her writings were found and her husband had them published for her posthumously. He signed my book and talked to us briefly about how she had always dreamed of being a writer and would be so happy to know that even after her death, she was able to share her story with the world and remind us that we must never let something like this happen again.

We concluded our fun filled weekend with a reunion with an old friend at Starbucks and then an hour of quality time chatting before it was time for her to leave. I miss her already and can't wait to see her for her engagement party in October (or maybe even sooner than that!). Next up is my friend Melissa from UF. More then!!

4 Responses to "Best Friends Forever! Another weekend in DC..."

Jon responded on July 13, 2009 at 1:31 AM #

Hey Gabby:

I came across your Harvard Bound blog last night and, as a Harvard-hopeful myself, enjoyed getting a closer look and feel of what the HBS experience is like.

I was wondering if you might be willing to kind of "mentor" me or answer a few questions regarding acceptance to HBS. I am still about two to three years from applying as I'm going to pursue a Masters of Accountancy, but would love to get your input and feedback on things that I can do now to strength my application and position myself as an acceptable applicant.

If you are up for helping me, feel free to reach out to me at the following:


(Drop the characters except the obviously necessary one--I'm trying to avoid web spiders looking to add email addresses to SPAM lists!)

I hope to hear from you, Gabby! Thanks for your blog and insight.

Take care,


PS - If you choose not to contact me, will you please remove this comment so that my contact info doesn't remain public. Thanks!

Gabby responded on July 13, 2009 at 7:36 AM #

Hi Jon,

I appreciate your comment and am glad that you have found my blog useful. Unfortunately, I am extraordinarily busy this summer between internships, hosting friends and family, and touring DC so I'm afraid I don't have the time to devote to mentoring you right now. I also must admit that I'm probably not the BEST source for helping you refine and strengthen your application -- I don't work in the admissions office and don't know exactly what they are looking for, as it changes year by year and candidate to candidate. I would be happy to answer a few questions for you, though, so feel free to post them to the blog and I will respond when I can. Thanks for reading and best of luck with your Masters and eventual HBS application!


Jon responded on July 16, 2009 at 11:12 PM #

Hi Gabby,

Thank you for your reply and I completely understand the hectic schedule a break from school can provide. When you have time, I would love some feedback on a few questions:

1) What do you feel was the X factor in your acceptance to HBS? Was it your experience at Walt Disney World, a particular reference or HBS contact, GMAT score, an internship, etc.?

2) How have you enjoyed the case-method approach?

3) Did you apply to other B-schools? If so, why did you chose HBS?

I recognize that you are extremely busy, but you experience and insight would be invaluable and greatly appreciated if you have time to respond.



PS - When you get a chance, would you mind removing the comments I posted on 7.12.09 and 6.29.09 that contain my email address. Thanks, Gabby!

Gabby responded on July 20, 2009 at 10:48 AM #

1) What do you feel was the X factor in your acceptance to HBS? Was it your experience at Walt Disney World, a particular reference or HBS contact, GMAT score, an internship, etc.?

I don't think that students are accepted to HBS because of an "X" factor, although again, I'm not an admissions counselor, so I don't think I'm the best person to speculate about what they are looking for in candidates (other than the obvious). I think they are looking for unique, well-rounded candidates that have proved themselves in both academic matters and in the workplace. I know leadership is a big deal! I think you can judge fairly well by looking at what their basic requirements are for admissions, and by the "statistics" of recently admitted classes.

2) How have you enjoyed the case-method approach?

I like the case method a lot for qualitative classes, and less so for the quantitative classes. It's a very unique style of learning, and I definitely think it helps you retain information better. Cold calls are a bit scary at first, but you get used to them fairly quickly and learn how to approach them in no time. I wrote a blog that answers this question in greater detail (back in November '08 I think), so you might want to read that entry, too!

3) Did you apply to other B-schools? If so, why did you chose HBS?

The only other program I applied to was NYU, but I withdrew my application as soon as I heard that I had been accepted at HBS. I just knew that if I was going to spend a lot of money to go to business school, that I was going to go big and aim for the best business school I thought I could possibly get into. I was very impressed with the HBS campus/classroom experience/people/vibe when I visited for my interview, but to be honest, I didn't need much convincing. Who could reject Harvard, yanno? ;)