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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Touring the West Wing

We learned earlier in the day that we were approved to tour the White House West Wing (not the main White House where large groups tour) at 8:30 p.m. Can you say EXCITED???? Luckily, I packed a few dresses and sandals/heels for my daughter and I. As for my son, we had to make a trip to Macy’s for a quick purchase. Funny how most department stores have tons of clothing for little girls but rarely have much of a selection for little boys. Fortunately I found two Polo shirts and a pair of Polo pants for my son. I also found a cute pair of kitten pumps for myself. I had heels with me but considering how my feet don't do well in high heels for a long period of time, the kitten pumps were a good purchase.

Retailed at Macy's for $69.99 but are on sale today for $49.99

We were told to dress no less than business casual. This is what we wore (picture).

We're standing at the official press podium seen on CNN, etc. during daily/official press conferences given by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

Once we entered into the West Wing, not to be confused with the regular tour of the main White House, we stood for a few minutes in the reception area. We were immediately introduced to Valerie Jarret's Chief of Staff to the Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Relations and Public Engagement, Michael Strautmanis who I met previously at a cocktail party during the Congressional Black Caucus in September. He more than likely wouldn't remember me so I didn't mention this. I could just feel the power surrounding me. To our right was the infamous "Situation Room," and to our left was the Vice President's wing. We weren't allowed into either area. As we waited a bit, Melody Barnes, the newly married White House Domestic Policy Advisor, walked out and we were immediately introduced. She wore this beautiful lilac and silver scarf around her shoulders and I quickly complimented her on it. She was very pleasant and briefly chatted with us.

Melody shown here with the First Lady

The kids and I standing just outside of the Oval Office

We were not permitted to take photos inside of the White House but were given permission to take them in the Rose Garden, outside the promenade, and in the press room. Because it was late in the evening, many of our photos didn't come out very well.

During the tour of the Oval office and other parts of the West Wing, the kids showed minimal interest in what they were seeing. My son kept removing his sandals, and my daughter kept her eye on the fly on the wall. She has this thing with flying insects. I can't wait to tell the kids when they're older. My dad said my son felt comfortable taking his shoes off because he knew that the White House is being branded as "the people's house" so he felt right at home. Another highlight was an original painting of George Washington crossing the Delaware River. We were asked to find at least 10+ items that were questionable. One that stood out right away was a horse riding in a boat a bit larger than a canoe, as well as a soldier who looked like a woman. What? They also said the artist used the images of friends in most of the soldiers in the boats. Shady....

Me standing at the official press room podium.

Standing at this podium felt very natural to me. It actually sparked something in me. My undergraduate degree is in Public Relations which is why I felt at home behind this podium. I haven't officially worked as a publicist for seven years but once a publicist always a publicist. I have publicized activities for the Miss Brooklyn Scholarship Pageant and did a pretty good job if I do say so myself. I even made Page 6 of the New York Post which many take years to crack. I cracked it the first year. Anyhoo, I'm thinking of returning to the field in a year or two so watch out!

To wrap this up, the tour of the house was exciting. Peeking into the pristine Oval Office was inspiring. We saw the bowl of apples the POTUS mentions in interviews. Even though we were kept at a distance, we saw his personal family photos behind his desk. The history behind the office is amazing. I do plan to go back once we're granted a tour of the main White House. Honestly, I think I would have been more excited had we been able to tour the East Wing where the First Lady's staff is housed. I'm sure that day is coming.

To request an in-person tour of the White House, please click here.
For a virtual tour of the White House, pleack click here.


  1. Love this! What a great experience for the kiddo's (and you guys!)

  2. Following you back!! Great blog! LOVE the pictures!



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