For this week’s blog, I wanted to write up a post about my recent trip to see the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC. It’s been a lifelong dream of mine, and this year it worked out that I could travel down to my country’s capital to see them! I feel so lucky to have had such perfect weather for my visit, and this trip helped me refocus and recommit to my goals!

Day 1: Wednesday

I took a half-day at work so I’d be able to drive down during the day so as not to hit traffic. I wore a really cute outfit, but sadly I didn’t get any pictures of me wearing it! When I got there I had all these grand plans of going out to a nice dinner and then watching our favorite YouTubers, but what ended up happening is I was so tired from the three-hour drive that we just had Taco Bell and I passed out during an Elden Ring stream. Whoops!

Day 2: Thursday

We had talked about going to a nice mall together, and chose today to do so! I got up early again and went for a run before getting ready. It was a nice, cool, grey day so I dressed a bit warmer. Here’s my outfit:

Sweater: Axes Femme JSK: Mille Fille Closet Shoes: Lodispotto Jacket: Ank rouge Bag: Angelic Pretty

My boyfriend talked me into going to a slightly fancier mall than we originally planned to. I’m really happy he did as they had an American girl store! I was beyond pumped to see it, and I got really emotional as American girls bring back a lot of happy memories. I was a huge American Girl doll fan growing up, and a lot of my dolls were purchased by family members who have since passed away so they are very special to me! 

I took this exceptionally dorky picture of me outside the store, but oddly enough I didn’t go in. Despite often saying I’ve dealt with all of my internalized misogyny, I think it’s something I still have to combat on a daily basis. My boyfriend was very sweet and urged me to go in if I wanted to, but I got too nervous about what they’d think about an adult woman in a store for young girls and chickened out. I really regret that! I would have loved to have seen the nice displays for all of the dolls. I’m really bummed about it! On the bright side, I’ll be able to visit American Girl’s San Francisco location when I visit Sarah and Shelby this upcoming spring. I’m really looking forward to it! We’re even going to bring our dolls which will be really special. (My favorite girl is Elizabeth, Felicity’s best friend)

Apart from the American Girl store, they also had a few other really nice shops! 

I got some bubble tea and some really yummy red velvet iced coffee.

My boyfriend was kind enough to buy me a few lipsticks I wanted as well as a Calvin Klein dress, and a really comfortable dress from Old Navy. I don’t purchase fast fashion, but I decided that these would be rare exceptions as I really, really liked them.

With our bags in hand, we left and headed off to a small cafe for a very yummy dinner!

I had a really yummy savory salad and half a sandwhich!

Naturally, after dinner, we went home, changed into our comfy clothes, and watched more Elden Ring.

Day 3: Friday

At long last today was the day we were going to see the Cherry Blossoms!

Typically, I wake up around 6:30 every morning, so I was up at around 8 and I just couldn’t go back to bed, I was too excited! I got up and puttered around for a bit before doing some online shopping. (As if yesterday’s shopping wasn’t enough) There were a few secondhand pieces I’d been waiting on until I got paid, so I made a little morning out of deciding which ones to buy and which ones to skip. I settled on a Maison de Fleur Madoka bag, a Maison de Fleur Kuromi bag, Liz Lisa’s Heart Wreath JSK in pink, and two Lodispotto blouses. I’ve been super into MDF bags as of late, they work so well in everyday life. They are perfect for my lifestyle, and they get a lot of usage from me!

I had some sakura macarons that I had purchased at the mall for a light snack. I don’t eat breakfast, so this was a very unusual treat! 

I enjoyed watching more Elden Rings playthroughs and just enjoyed the morning before it was time to get ready!

Normally, I do my hair in a very symmetrical way but today I opted to do a different style! I’m a creature of habit so it’s very unusual for me, but it worked out really well! I loved how it turned out!

From the time I scheduled my time off, I knew I wanted an OTT look. I was going to see the Cherry Blossoms, I wanted head to toe pink. Normally, I feel like I have to ‘tone it down’ but I decided I really wanted to go for it! I spared no expense, no pink item was to be left behind! This was a childhood dream, and I was determined to live my most OTT life! I ordered the Kuromi and Hello Kitty limited edition Sakura 2022 charms, I wore my real pearl earrings, and I brought out my best purse. I was going for it! 

Despite the confidence I try to exude, I’m actually really insecure about wearing pink and a hyper-feminine fashion. I’m naturally really muscular and growing up I was more of a ‘butch’ type than anything. While I enjoy traditionally feminine hobbies like sewing and knitting, my favorite thing to do is run or weight lift. I love being outside at the shooting range with a good shotgun. I’m an avid outdoorswoman and I’ve actually won fishing competitions. The point is, I often feel ‘not girl enough’ to wear pink, almost like I haven’t ‘earned it’. It’s really hard for me to break out of the mentality that I should be like so many of my friends who are committed to a single aesthetic. Compared to them, I feel like a fraud at times. Then I remember friendship is about companionship, not comparisons, and I snap out of that misogynistic mindset. Today was about embracing one side of myself and doing so unapologetically. 

I did my makeup first like always, but instead of getting dressed in front of the mirror, I chose to dress in another room and then go and look. It was such an incredible moment seeing myself as I wanted to be, a pink princess! The delicate frills made my heart swell with joy and I felt so happy to be wearing a dress I loved so much! 

Of course, I immediately had to take some selfies to show my girls! 

After some selfies and making sure everything was packed, off we went! We drove down to the train station, got on, and were on our way into DC!

The train ride was about 30 minutes, so not bad at all! To be honest, I really like riding the train. It brings back a lot of warm memories of riding the Tube when I lived in London. Plus, I hate driving so public transport is a blessing. 

There was one adorable little girl wearing this princess shirt who waved to me and asked if I was a princess. I died inside, it was just the cutest moment! I love interacting with young girls, I remember when I was that age how positive of an impact older girls/women had on me, so I like to think I can pass that along!

We only had one switch and then we were in the middle of the mall! It was really surreal that we could be in front of the Washington monument in less than an hour from my boyfriend’s apartment. We had to walk a bit to get to the basin, but I really didn’t mind it! There were a lot more people than I was expecting which really caught me off guard. It seemed like everyone was having a photoshoot!

I got some nice pictures of the details of my outfit, which I’ll post here! I made sure everything was as close to perfect as I could get it. It felt so nice to have everything match!

I still got to enjoy the beauty of the blooms, so I was happy! They were so pretty and we got some beautiful pictures! I even picked up a few souvenirs!

We spent a good amount of time walking around and just enjoying the natural beauty. I very luckily brought a pair of flats to change into once I had enough of having my picture taken. I would have been fine spending the whole day in heels, but I was worried about my heels holding up since I was wearing my favorite Lodispotto heels and I didn’t want to abuse them too much. 

After we got our fill of cherry blossoms, we sat in front of the White House for a bit and talked more about local/national politics which was nice! We tried to time it so we wouldn’t get stuck with the 5 o’clock rush hour traffic and we managed to do a pretty good job. We hopped back on the train and returned to our town, and I was really excited for the next part!

On the last trip to the area, I noticed this small, hole-in-the-wall Japanese restaurant next to the train station called “Maki” and I was like that’s it the next time we’re going there. I have always wanted to try real ramen, and not only did this place have rave reviews but c’mon Maki…as in Love Live! Maki?! (I know it’s the fish, but humor me for a moment) It was a yes from me. So we pulled in and immediately upon entering the restaurant I knew we were in for some good food. 

They had on a live stream of Shibuya 109 and I was like, wow so this is what living in a city is like, huh? I could get used to this! For reference, the only ramen place in an hour radius from my house has misspelled Takoyaki on their menus. 

Speaking of Takoyaki, I ordered some for an appetizer and good lord was it incredible. I ate all of it in about 2 minutes! The batter was so light and airy, and the octopus was cooked just right!

For those of you who are like, “Didi, what about your boyfriend?” Despite my diet revolving around fish, my boyfriend really does not care for it. He was more than happy to let me eat all the Takoyaki. In fact, he was like really into the water for some reason? 

It’s the little things I guess. 

He ordered chicken katusdon and I got tonkatsu ramen with pork, and oh man was it good. I knew the second it came out I was in for actual ramen and man was I right. It was so savory and full of flavor, I was blown away! 

My boyfriend’s dish looked really good too! It was funny, I kept looking at him and thinking, “Aren’t I supposed to want his for some reason?” 

Then it dawned on me, katsudon is from Yuri! On Ice. It all made sense then as I used to be a massive YOI fan back in the day. We had a good laugh about it and I did try some of his and it was really good! I’m excited to try some other dishes next time I visit.

I ordered a matcha crepe cake to go and we were all ready to go home when a store a block down caught my eye. It looked like some kind of market or anime store? I ventured in and was really pleasantly surprised to find a Japanese grocery store!

It had a whole wall of drinks and snacks! I was absolutely gobsmacked, I had never seen anything like it in my whole life! I got quite a few treats here. They even sold Dolly Wink lashes…in person! It blew my mind that all of these treats I’d only ever seen online could be sold in person. This is what I purchased from there!

I got some peach tea, which is really yummy, a pineapple drink, a tea (really good), and two sodas. The sodas are a bit overly sweet for me. I also purchased a facemask, some really yummy Hello Kitty Sakura hard candies, and rasberry and matcha kit kats.

After that, we stopped at another small store in the same area that sold more anime and Sanrio-themed things. I got a few items there as well and after that, we ended up calling it quits for the day. 

I picked up this amazing Kuromi pouch, I really needed a pouch for work to hold all of my office supplies. I got some cute stickers, a sakura clear file, and slippers.

When we got home we put on our comfy sweats and watched more Elden Ring playthroughs. It was the perfect end to a perfect day. As I sat on the couch eating my matcha crepe cake enjoying James yelling at the level boss, I reflected on how genuinely happy I was. I thought back to a little 13-year-old me visiting DC for the first time, and how I vowed to come back and see the cherry blossoms. I remember being so disappointed to leave DC and go back to my school where nothing but problems awaited me. 

I thought if she could see me now, how all the hard work, the blood, sweat, and tears, she’d be so happy. While listening to my boyfriend talk about the current RuneScape market while we watched Elden Rings, I thought I’d finally made it. I’d created the kind of life I wanted to live back then. 

This day felt like a reward for everything I’ve worked so hard for, and I was so genuinely happy it felt like I could burst. 

Matcha crepe cake and Sakura macaron

Day 4: Saturday

We stayed on this day and were generally more of hermits. We watched more Elden Rings and just relaxed.

Day 5: Sunday

I had to travel back on this day so I spent the morning packing and just generally tidying things up. We had a good lunch at IHOP and then said our goodbyes for now. It was a bit of a long drive back as I was still quite tired, so I put on some Last Podcast to the Left and just focused on driving. There were high wind alerts so driving was not fun. I’m lucky I made it back ok, as the high winds led to a nasty snow squall that caused a 50 car accident that killed three people a few hours after I got off the road. 

All in all, this trip was so much fun, and I already can’t wait to go back! It was a good break from work and let me have time to really think about my big goals and what I need to do to accomplish them. I’m really excited about everything that’s in store, and I’ll be sure to take you all with me!