It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks, but I finally have a few moments to share my not-so-glamorous, oh-so-fumbling tale of my trip to the White House. It all started with an email.
I opened my inbox on Tuesday afternoon to an email entitled, “Special Invitation to the White House.” Intrigued, I opened the email, not sure what to expect. It was, indeed, a “special VIP invitation for you to attend an exclusive event being held at one of the most prestigious residences in the United States: the White House.” Zoiks! I forwarded the email to my husband at work for his thoughts, and we both started trying to finagle childcare, work, etc. so that I could attend the event that was just SIX days away!
After seeing that DC hotels were $350+ because of the cherry blossoms, I put a call through to my girlfriend in Baltimore, seeing if I could stay at her place the night before the event (I’m in Philly, so it would have been a long drive to do it the morning of). After confirming that, I went into panic mode about my wardrobe.
You see, my friends, I have a uniform that I wear to work from home — yoga pants, tank tops and sneakers — which is not really appropriate for a White House business casual event. By this time it was Wednesday, which meant that I had TWO business days to get my clothing ordered and shipped to me (I don’t do malls, so all of my clothing is ordered online — it works out well because I use Ebates to get cash back on all of my purchases). There’s also the fact that I wear a women’s size 13 shoe and HAVE to order shoes online.
I placed my first order with ModCloth in the fall, for my trip to Portland to meet Darude, admiring their line of dresses but not having an occasion to buy one, so I knew that I would be searching for my outfit from there. In my mind, a White House event called for a dress, which narrowed down my ModCloth options to, well, about 270 options! From there, I knew that I wanted a dress with pockets and something with a pop of color.
After a couple of hours (seriously), and a consultation with my husband, I narrowed down my pick to three dresses. I won’t bore you, so I’ll get right to it — my choice was the Coach Tour Dress in Houndstooth with the Charter School Cardigan in Honey. I knew I’d be walking a lot in the city, and walking through the White House Kitchen Garden, so I wanted a pair of practical, yet stylish shoes — I settled upon a pair of black Mary Janes (but again, ordered 3 pairs of shoes to make sure I found ONE that would work). I also ordered an awesome pair of yellow tights, and paid $16 for rush shipping, but they didn’t arrive in time (Grrrr!).
Outfit in-hand, last minute hotel room booked (it was just easier than trying to get into the District at 8am), childcare booked, I was ready to go. And now for all of the unglamorous details. I stopped at a rest stop off of I-95 to get gas, and the unthinkable happened. I’ve seen it in videos, and now I was that person, you know, the person with the gas spilling out of the tank all over the ground (and her new shoes). The lever didn’t switch off and I was in lala-land, so it took me a second or two to realize that I had gasoline spilling out of my tank and all over my shoes.
I head into the store to let someone know and get cash for the hotel valet and housecleaning tips (I never carry cash), and the clerk already seemed to know that the pump had an issue (thanks for the warning) and the ATM wasn’t working. If you’re not familiar with the drive down, there’s really no place convenient to stop for cash, bathrooms, anything, unless you want a 20-30 minute detour. Without cash, I piled into my car and proceeded to breathe in noxious gasoline fumes the remainder of the drive into the District. My husband’s texting me that I should probably *just* buy new shoes when I get there, because the gasoline smell could pose a problem getting into the White House, while I inwardly fumed at the fact that he suddenly didn’t remember that I’m unable to just walk into a store and buy shoes off the shelf. Nope, these shoes would just have to work, damnit!
In an effort to pack light, I also bypassed bringing my laptop, instead packing my iPad and ordering a Bluetooth keyboard to be rush-shipped to me. It came just before I left, so I hastily threw the box into my bag and left — I found out that it needed batteries only when I was settled in my hotel room, planning to get a little work done (I had an insane week of deadlines, on top of losing two days of work to travel for the White House event). Instead, I found myself trekking around the city in search of somewhere to purchase batteries (if you’re not familiar with DC, the sidewalks in many areas roll up after 7pm, so…). Batteries in-hand, it was only then that I realized I had forgotten to get cash back for tips – crap! I’d figure it out in the morning.
The morning of the event, I awoke to a rainy day in the District. No worries, I had packed my trusty totes umbrella! Nope. My umbrella must have rolled out of my bag into the front seat of my car, which was now parked in a lot somewhere in the city. I called the front desk and they let me know that there was an umbrella in my closet; a big, not packable, definitely not stowable umbrella that would cost me $20 if I failed to return it (I almost wrote a reminder in marker on my hand because, forgetful!).
The White House event? Yes, I did make it there, you know, after my first two Uber drivers canceled on me. Snafus aside (look, I’m a mom, I can handle it!), it was a wonderful experience, aside from the gasoline and coffee spills. I was able to cover the event for Bonbon Break on social media, and publish an event recap with them as well — read all about it HERE.
You would never know I was so NOT put-together, thanks to ModCloth! In fact, my choice of color was a good one, as you can see from the official White House photo of the event:
The moral to the story, my friends, is that if you find yourself in need of a dress, or want to update your wardrobe with timeless, fashionable pieces, you should definitely check out ModCloth!
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