Intern Search: The Weekly RAG: A Summer Picnic

When I was a child, I used to detest my initials. I used to get teased and called names like “dirty rag”, but as I grew older I realized the creative value of having those initials and began to use it to my advantage (someday I’m determined to own a VW Bug with the license plate “ragbug”) So, for my first post to Capitol Hill Style I decided to create my version of a regular post–“The Weekly RAG”. First, I want to share with you all one of the things I’ve been dying to do this summer: go to a picnic at The Hillwood Estate. Because of the recent heat and humidity I haven’t gone yet, but this has given me plenty of time to plan out the perfect picnic!

The first step to planning a picnic is to purchase a well-equipped picnic basket. While I have been lusting after the Wicker Picnic Basket from Williams-Sonoma, I also can’t get myself to justify spending $250 on a picnic basket. A more reasonable option is the Bahamas Picnic Basket Cooler Tote for 4.



This tote picnic basket is easy to carry, well organized and is insulated to keep all your goodies nice and cool in the summer heat!

The next step is to find a picnic blanket for you and your diners to sit on. has plenty of styles from which to choose and most of them roll up and are easily carried away after your picnic is over.

Now it is time to prepare food for the picnic. Make sure that you plan the meal wisely because of the summer heat—be careful when bringing meat to a picnic to avoid any kind of contamination or a dip into the “danger zone” when bacteria can grow. When preparing picnic food I usually try to stick to a few options of salads (asian slaw, black bean and corn salad, etc…), some fresh vegetables for people to munch on, plenty of fresh fruit for desert and lots of cold water for people to drink. One of my picnic favorites is Food & Wine’s Shrimp and Noodle Salad with Ginger. The flavors are complex but not overbearing on a hot day, and I can easily find all the ingredients the recipe calls for at my local grocery store. 

A picnic at such a beautiful estate like the Hillwood Gardens deserves an equally beautiful outfit. I love this sundress from ModCloth. The neckline and delicate patterned skirt will complement the fabulous meal you’ve prepared and make you look like the perfect picnic hostess.  Just make sure you pack a Tide pen with you just in case you get any dirt on you or spill anything on this stunning white dress. 


Scandinavian Sweetheart Dress ($89.99,

When you’re sitting out in the sun, if you’re like me, the last thing you want is your hair getting in the way. I usually end up pulling my hair up into a bun to keep it out of my face and out of my food. I like dressing up a simple bun with a decorative headband like this one. It keeps hair out of my face and fancies up what might normally be a boring bun.

Bow Headband (Etsy, $30)

Now all you need is a few friends, a sunny day and a grassy spot. Happy picnicking! 


    leave a comment

  1. Abern says:

    Got to love a Modcloth fan!

    July 14, 2010/Reply
  2. Dr. Jean Grey says:

    I like the clothing choice, like the DC-centric picnic idea suggestion at Hillwood.I’ve never heard of it, now I might check it out. One note: I could do without the food commentary. There are multitude of food blogs out there and I don’t want to see CHS turn into a food-fashion hybrid blog. The previous applicant seemed like she could have gone that way as well judging from her personal blog.

    July 14, 2010/Reply
  3. Jenna says:

    I actually really liked the recipe, because it wasn’t the point of the post but added a little something extra (sort of like Belle’s awesome cocktail recipes!). Plus, it sounded delicious! And Modcloth all the way!! She clearly has a grasp on the idea that it doesn’t have to be designer to be adorable and chic. Also, the RAG story cements my first impression that she’s sassy and I love that! No one wants to read a boring blogger.

    July 14, 2010/Reply
  4. Mary says:

    I like adding the recipe and picnic basket, but fashion still needs to be primary. Belle’s cocktails are the perfect guide – dress first, then a (short) description and then the cocktail. So start with an occasion (picnic, dinner party, afternoon at the museum, baseball game, BBQ, whatever) show what to wear, and THEN add any cute extras like recipes or entertaining tips.

    Also, like many of us were saying with yesterday’s intern post – this needs a lot less text and more photos. I imagine that’s a problem most of the potential interns will make because they’ll think what they’re giving is “not enough,” but nobody is going to read through a screen of boring blocks of text.

    July 14, 2010/Reply
  5. B says:

    I’m all for food being included – just as long as it doesn’t become the forefront of the article. I think that adds a little extra something… it’s a little different… and it’s fun – and not completely off topic.

    July 14, 2010/Reply
  6. LT says:

    Definitely more likeable than Jessica, but she’s young. Very young. If that’s the direction you want to go with CHS…noted, and I’ll be skipping the RAG posts. As an over-30 reader, I have a hard time relating.

    July 14, 2010/Reply
  7. AL says:

    Love her, she’s cute and put a lot of effort into combing things together from the interwebs. But I agree, way too much text. Just show me with the picture and one sentence — I’m a busy working woman who reads severla hundred posts a day through my feeds reader so I have to move, move, move.

    July 14, 2010/Reply
  8. Alice says:

    Love picnics, and modcloth. I agree about the text, good overall, just needs a sharp editor’s pen to cut it down a bit.

    July 14, 2010/Reply
  9. Jessi says:

    Agree with Mary, but overall I like her ­čÖé

    July 14, 2010/Reply
  10. Melissa says:

    Conflicted here – like LT, I’m worried about her being so young, because I can see things accidentally going in a direction that would make me unable to relate to the posts… but I hate to judge her on the “maybe” because this post was terrific in my eyes. Yes, a little too much text, but I like how she combined a DC activity with the accessories and outfit needed. Perhaps in the future, it would be best simply to link to things like the recipe, to cut down on text.

    July 14, 2010/Reply
  11. Lauren says:

    I really liked her post! Sure maybe a bit text heavy but you actually got a sense of who she is and her style. I also like how she discussed her fashion “roots” if you will. I’d like to see more

    July 14, 2010/Reply
  12. AJ says:

    I think this post is great. I hope that Rachel gets to post here on a regular basis. What I truly loved first of all was that it didn’t seem as if Rachel was trying too hard. She let her personality shine through and it didn’t seem like she was putting on a front to appeal to the readers of this blog. She may be young, but I think a young voice would be a great addition to this blog. I’ve always found that young women in DC are usually more mature and MUCH better dressed than other women of her age.

    I think its great to have a post tied in with a weekend theme. Have you ever had someplace to be and stood in front of your closet in your underwear wondering how the heck you’re supposed to pull off a pencil skirt and a blouse as a ‘weekend outfit’ because that’s the only thing you’ve been buying lately? I’m looking forward to other posts by her along this vein. Like what to wear when you have to transition work clothes to the theater or what to wear to that office holiday party. If she has great enough taste to find that adorable sundress, I’m eager to have her post about office attire as well.

    Also if she reads this blog and is dedicated enough to it to apply for the intern position., she’s not going to be posting about her favorite new wardrobe she just bought made up entirely of Forever 21 shirtdresses. So I don’t think we have to be worried here.

    Overall great post. My vote is for Rachel! She seems the most genuine and fun.

    July 14, 2010/Reply
  13. A says:

    Great idea; especially taking it up to a weekly post – giving the reader something to look forward to! But, wayyyy to much text! I got bored. FAST. I want to see the dress first, then tell me about the picnic basket and food. I read other blogs for recipes.. I come here for fashion advice. She could have cut 100+ words from this post and we would have all had the same idea.

    July 14, 2010/Reply
  14. Cara says:

    I agree with LT and Melissa — age makes her a little unrelatable — but overall, not bad.

    July 14, 2010/Reply
  15. dh says:

    I like how Rachel set up an entire day for us. Yes, she used a lot of words but she painted a very pretty picture. She makes you want to join her on her picnic. I feel that Rachel brings a great (albeit younger) vibe to the blog. I like how she put together an outfit that seems very “southern chic” and gave options completely within an intern’s budget (which she is).

    I don’t think we can discredit her simply because she is 19. I agree with AJ, I highly doubt Rachel is going to post about the super cute dress she found at forever.

    I vote for Rachel! Her post was fun and really showed who she is!

    July 14, 2010/Reply
  16. Meg says:

    Disappointed that the “affordable” picnic basket was $85. Further cements my idea of her as just another rich GWU kid.

    July 14, 2010/Reply
  17. Hae says:

    Rachel had a great idea for pairing a DC activity with an outfit. I’m a big fan of the idea of more DC-centric posts, and I hope it is put into use by CHS… by another writer. While I adore ModCloth and bow headbands, I still find it hard to relate to her style of writing. It was a lot of text for very few pictures–which is fine–if the writing style was engaging. It is hard for me to tell whether she is posting items and declaring their prices affordable with the idea that CHS readers are well-established DC professionals and, therefore, she is catering to her audience… OR… she is comfortable with spending that much money because she has always been on an allowance via a parent’s credit card.

    I also agree with a post above that mentioned the fact that the outfit should be first, and then the setting or event in DC stated afterward. Either way, fabulous idea, but her style of writing bores me.

    July 15, 2010/Reply
  18. j says:

    It’s comforting to know that Rachel has ideas about what her role at CHS would be like (“The Weekly RAG“… cute!) but I question her price judgment. Granted, $85 is much more affordable than $250, but for a dress or a skirt, not for a picnic basket.

    And again, she’s super wordy, a little young, and an undergraduate student not working full time in the city.

    July 15, 2010/Reply