Sunday, September 06, 2009

JCAs Shop Michelle O's Closet at the White House!

Well, not exactly... But did that get your attention?

Here's what did happen. A few lucky Washington, D.C. area JCAs became major VIPs for a day as we took an unforgettable trip to... the White House!

Sure, any tourist can gaze upon the lawn of the White House and marvel at this significant national landmark. And some fortunate folks can even get invited to tour the East Wing, the site of numerous elegantly appointed reception halls, tea parlours, and ballrooms where important social gatherings and affairs of state have occurred over the centuries.

But a select few -- the truly lucky and well-connected among us -- will ever have a chance to tour the inner sanctum: the West Wing. The Situation Room. The Oval Office. The place where all the real action happens. And not just on TV.

That's exactly where we were graciously invited last Saturday by none other than Cleo26, a longtime Aficionada and organizer extraordinaire. In attendance were Cleo26, dinagideon, Slastena, Rosa, Kelly, and myself. Thanks to Cleo's persistence and diligent planning efforts (over the whole summer, mind you) -- not to mention serious connections -- we were able to take an exclusive tour of the East and West Wings of the White House. We even got to study the details of the furniture in the Oval Office. And, did you know that those strapping Secret Service lads that roam the White House are not only strikingly handsome but extremely knowledgeable? They provided us with a thorough review of the art and historic specimens that decorated the Oval Office and beyond.

Plus, they were nice enough to take our pictures! Here, the Aficionadas following our East Wing Tour:


And some close-ups:




Here we are after our West Wing Tour:







We also got to tour the famous press room where the Prez is often seen enlightening the general public on the intricacies of policy, politics, and international affairs. Interestingly, this frequently filmed and heavily trafficked room is actually much smaller than it appears. Even more interesting is to walk through the aisles and read the inscriptions at each seat which specify where the invited correspondents sit. You can really tell which media outlets are important and who gets relegated to the back row. Notably missing from the hallowed hall: a J.Crew Aficionada reporter seat. We'll have to write the First Lady and remedy that!

Here we are orating from the press room podium. Why yes, those are our press passes for the day!





And speaking of the First Lady, a number of us seriously considered sprinting off from the designated tour and making a beeline for Ms. O's closet. She would understand, we just know it!

But that's not all! As if a private tour of the White House wasn't enough to impress even the most jaded Washingtonians among us -- including almost-native dinagideon, and yours truly, a 20-year veteran of the Washington scene -- a red-carpet lunch at the Occidental Grill put this fairytale day over the top. A hallmark of the Washington political and social scene since 1906, this luxurious dining and drinking destination is located one-and-a-half blocks from the White House and is next to the prominent (and equally lush) Willard Hotel.

As luck would have it, they were in the midst of D.C. Restaurant Week, an annual extravaganza of where the area's finest food spots offer specially priced menus to sample their unique cuisine. The mouthwatering lunch menu at the Occidental included an out-of-this world starter, entree, and dessert for just $20.99. We enjoyed such delightful delicacies as "Smoked Trout Filet with a Salad of Upland Cress, Apples and Jicama Served with Cider Mustard Vinaigrette," "Chilled Nalls Farm Melon Soup with Diced Strawberries a Touch of Midori Cream and a Sprig of Mint," "Cold Poached Salmon with White Gazpacho, Halved Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes and Bell Pepper Relish," "Grilled Marinated Chicken Paillard Served with Frisee and Radicchio Salad, Beech Mushrooms and Zucchini - Basil Sauce," and "Warm Valrohna Chocolate SoufflĂ© Cake with Bitter Sweet Chocolate Sorbet and Grand Marnier Sauce." Yum! Other goodies not to be missed? The "Goulart Sparkling Mojito" with muddled lime, fresh mint, Bacardi rum & simple syrup topped with Goulart rose sparkling Cava, and the “Pennsylvania Avenue” Punch , their summer time hit composed of Pyrat rum with a mixture of fruit juices & Chambord. Oh, and the exceptional service.

A big thanks to Rosa for organizing the unforgettable luncheon at the Occidental. Here we are savoring dessert following our spectacular meals:



All the ladies looked supremely elegant in their J.Crew ensembles. Despite the overwhelming humidity that embraces the swamp-turned-nation's capital each August (so please pardon my hair), we managed to channel chic sophistication and ladylike charm which evidently turned heads everywhere we strolled. Had Ms. O herself been in town, we're certain she would have joined us for a libation and maybe a riveting discourse over the merits of this season's pencil skirts and ruffled blouses. But alas, maybe next time....

Thank you again to the divine Ms. Cleo, and to all the ladies that made this a truly memorable day!

Updates:

Check out Slastena's elegant recap of our swell White House adventure along with her photos. What a pretty ensemble! Always chic in her structured jackets, she totally rocked last year's Tulip jacket. That color looks like it was made for her!


Not to be outdone, dinagideon posted a stellar rendition of our daytrip which includes a review of the Twist-Sash dress that made her look positively ethereal! Her charming outfit, topped with a smart navy ruffled jacket and accentuated by polished Cole Haan Air Carma navy pumps, made her the belle of the ball. The real showstopper was her Banana Republic floral statement necklace - so fabulous!


Thanks again for a lovely and unforgettable adventure!

21 comments:

GingerSnap said...

This is such a darling post! It looks like you all had so much fun. It truly is amazing that you got to tour the White House and got to really get the "full tour" - wow! Also, you all looked amazing - I'm sure Mrs. O would have been impressed!

Slastena said...

What a fantastic recap of a truly amazing event!It was a wonderful day and I only can hope we will have more of those in a future!
I am so glad I got to know all of you lovely ladies- who are lovely not only outside, but inside. I guess one cannot be bad person and to love J Crew, right??!!!:))

PS. You are an amazing writer! Thank you for bringing the story to life!

Suburban Princess said...

Looks like you had a great time!
You all looked fabulous!

Rosa said...

Once again, you did a wonderful job with the recap of our wonderful experience.
And regardless of the awful humidity that day, everyone looked fabulous in J Crew.
Hope to spend time with all of you soon.

RatsOnParade said...

That is really REALLY cool. I'm speechless! Nevermind that you ladies put together such fabulous luncheons and shopping extravaganzas, but you're now becoming "ladies about the town" in the best and most awe-inspiring way! This so makes me wish I lived in the DC area, or at the very least I wish work would send me on more trips in that general direction (pretty please!) You all look like you have so much fun together -- and you look like you've become such good friends as well! Such a nice story -- thank you so much for sharing!

Elise said...

Oh WOW, this is so clever - you have the most gorgeous site here and I had to stop by to leave this comment for you – and to say hello of course ! Your posts are creative and original and you have interesting pictures. It's all perfect ! Thank you for sharing your site and best wishes....

3-Penny Princess said...

Slastena and Rosa - thank you for helping to make it an unforgettable day! I hope everyone enjoyed the tours and the amazing luncheon! Can't wait to see you at brunch and/or the next shopping session... stay tuned!

3-Penny Princess said...

GingerSnap and RatsOnParade - we should do a "destination" event sometime so you can all come up and party (and shop) with us! It would be great to have a JCA cross-country reunion sometime!

3-Penny Princess said...

Suburban Princess and Elise - thank you so much for looking at our pictures and sharing your thoughts! And thank you again for your compliments!

dinagideon said...

Hey! This was such a good write-up! I went ahead and linked to your write-up from my post about the White House to this post (and Slastena's post) because you both did such a great job, I had nothing to add...so thank you...

I cannot wait until we see each other again...it was truly a fun and very special day!

dinagideon said...

Oh, and P.S., I am a "Raised in Northern Virginia" kind of girl, but sadly the wonderful Commonwealth of Virginia only can claim my kids by birth! I was born in (hushed secretive voice) Lompoc, California. (Yes, I know...no one has heard of it...go find it on a map...for California, it is sort of in the middle of nowhere...)

3-Penny Princess said...

Oops, sorry for the error, dinagideon! I corrected the post to say "almost-native" which is almost what I am now!

I will add the links to your post and Slastena's post too - thanks for letting me know!

Rosa said...

Yes, I agree with 3PP. We should have a JCA conference or something like that. How fun would it be to meet fabulous JCAs from all over the country?

Kate said...

That is SO cool! I am jealous. I never got to tour the White House when I was in DC. I have always wanted to visit!

jcmama said...

I really enjoyed reading your exciting visit to the WH! And all you ladies looked fabulous. How fun!

sarah said...

This trip looks amazing! Lucky girl!

Beth Dunn said...

Lucky Duck! that sounds fab xoxo

Alexis said...

What an amazing time! You are a great writer- I felt like I was there. And the visuals were an excellent touch- you all looked amazing in your outfits! :)

Audrey said...

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Kristin said...

What fun. I'm so jealous! I really wish I had taken a tour when I live din the District. : )

Preppy Pink Crocodile said...

What an amazing experience!! Y'all look so lovely too!