Ms Cleaver goes to Washington 2012

If you follow me on twitter (@ms_cleaver) you'll know I spent the majority of last week at a work conference in Washington D.C. While I didn't have as much free time as I did on my last D.C. visit, I did manage to find a few times to sneak out and see some sights.

I was traveling light, so here's the trip in iphone/Instagram shots:

DC 2012 Mosaic

The photos above include:

And don't worry, I got plenty of work/networking done too!

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2011 in Review

Master Bedroom Mosaic

We became homeowners on Dec 31 of 2010, and a lot of this year was learning the in and outs of being homeowners. We removed what didn't want and started building in what we did. We peeled wallpaper and painted walls.

Snowpocalyspe 11:30am

Shoveled snow and learned the importance of roof-rakes.  (Hint: don't pile that much snow that close to your house)

Gardening Station in the Garage

Perennials were planted in the spring and bulbs were planted in the fall. Lawns were moved and leaves raked. Floors were swept and appliances replaced. And at some point along the way it stopped being their house and started being ours.

Karen & Chris

Starting the day after we moved in, we filled our home with friends: Pie Day, poker games, dinners and documentaries. The highlight was inviting over all our friends for a summer time barbecue and concert.



And we saw a little doggy online and decided to invite him to stay for the long-haul.


During Lent I wore skirts for 47 days and visited Washington D.C. for the first time.

Cherry Blossoms

Korea Memorial

In sewing, I got my own studio space and made a thing or two.


My creation

Fiber-wise, I learned how to dye and needlefelt.



I bought a loom and made a total of one scarf.

The pattern appears

I also did a fair amount of spinning, but haven't quite met my knitolution of knitting anything with handspun yet.

Tour de Fleece Skein One

Knitwise, this has been a huge year for me. I've released three patterns with Quince & Co., one with Twist Collective, and six on my own. I started a mailing list.

My creation

It's amazing to me how much has happened in one year, and how quickly that year has gone. There's snow on the ground outside now and it's a few days to Christmas. It's been a helluva year in the best way possible.

Merry Christmas everyone, and a Happy New Year!


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Ms. Cleaver Goes to Washington (Days 2&3: Nat'l Mall)



Day Two in DC began with brunch at Afterwords Cafe, which is, I am told, an Institution. I was leaning toward sweet, so I got the French toast. Excepting blah scrambled eggs, the food was good and the service was quick and excellent. I also appreciated the complimentary orange juice.

Escalator at Dupont

Suitably fortified for the morning, I walked a block to the Dupont Circle Metro station, which has the longest escalator I'd ever seen  - seriously. I found the DC Metro to be very user-friendly and and efficient. The fares do change by destination and time of day, but $5 was more than sufficient to get me to the Mall and back again.

Washington Monument

I came out at the Smithsonian station to a large crowd of people participating in an Epilepsy Charity Walk. One of the things that becomes quickly apparent is that the National Mall is equally a gathering place for locals and tourists. Throughout the day I encountered as many local joggers, kite fliers, and Frisbee players as I did international tourists with cameras.

The Mall itself is a very beautiful and, at times, very emotional place to wander.

Washington Monument

I started my tour of the monuments at the impossible to miss Washington Monument. It's hard to grasp the scale of it without standing right next to it. I checked for tickets to enter the inside, but by the time I reached the ticket stand (around 9:45ish) they were sold out for the day. I didn't mind one way or the other, so I continued my way west toward the Lincoln Memorial.

Kites on the Nat'l Mall

Located between the Washington and Lincoln Monuments is the relatively new World War II Memorial, which was for me the most striking, and emotional, of all the monuments.

WWII Memorial

The monument is ringed with a series of bas-relief panels depicting various scenes, a family listening at the radio, soldiers in the pacific forests, nurses tending to the wounded, etc. The sculptures did an amazing job showing emotion on all the faces. I'll admit as I went from panel to panel I began to cry.

WWII Memorial

The back center features the "price of freedom" wall, with one gold star for every 100 lives lost in the wall.  This combined with the panels puts a real human perspective on the war.

WWII Memorial

WWII Memorial

Next up was the Lincoln Memorial. With the Lincoln (and Vietnam) Memorial, my experience was akin to seeing American Gothic in a museum - it's cool, but the imagery is so familiar, its hard to see it as anything other than the image.  The one surprise was the pennies people left on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in memoriam.

Lincoln Memorial

Vietnam Memorial

It was the memorials I was most unfamiliar with (WWII, Korea) that held the biggest impact. I think that impact was furthered by the fact that I knew people who had fought in those wars, whereas I didn't know anyone who had fought in Vietnam.  The life-sized sculptures at the Korea Monument in particular made it easy to image my father-in-law among them.

Korea Memorial

After the emotion of the war memorials, it was a nice change of pace to the beauty of the Tidal Basin and its 2,000 blooming cherry trees located mostly between the FDR and Jefferson Memorials.

Cherry Blossoms


Cherry Blossoms

Blazer: J. Crew Outlet

Sweater:Manu, made by me

Shawlette:Ishbel, made by me

Cherry Blossom Pin: FDR Memorial Gift Shop

Denim Skirt: Old

Boots: Naturalizers

Jefferson Memorial

Cherry Blossoms and Bridge

Jefferson Memorial

After I visited the Jefferson Memorial I worked my back to the Washington Monument, completing a five-mile loop of the major monuments. By this point my feet were killing me. I thought my boots were comfy, but not comfy enough for five miles. But the walking wasn't done yet - I only had one free day in DC, so I had to see more.

National Mall Walking Tour.jpg

After an encouraging phone call to Mr. Cleaver back at the home front, I pushed on Eastward to the Smithsonian Museum of American History. I enjoyed both the pop-culture-y bits like Julia Child's kitchen and the ruby slipper, as well more educationa exhibits like Science in American Life.

Sam & Friends

Julia's Kitchen

Ruby Slippers


Exhibits on American reactions to Atomic Energy and the Labor movement seemed especially timely in light of recent political events.

The American Twins

I was excited to discover the gallery of First Lady inaugural ball gowns at the museum and thought of how striking it was to see Michelle Obama's dark-skinned mannequin after rows and rows of white mannequins just a few exhibits away from a sit-in lunch counter.

Michelle Obama

After several hours at the American History Museum, I went to the far end of the mall to satisfy my geek leanings at the Air and Space Museum - unfortunately I only had about 30 minutes to do a whirlwind tour do to some dinner plans, but it was well worth it.

Air & Space

Gemini IV

Air & Space

Air & Space

My last day in DC was mostly spent at my conference (I tried to look very work-y).

Looking Work-y

Dress: Notary Dress, made by me.

Scarf: Vintage, purchased at Ferdinand.

Fortunately, I had five hours between the end of the conference and my flight time, so I got so see the one thing I missed the day before - the Capitol.


Unfortunately, my coworker and I were too late for the tour, but we went to our Senators' office in the Russell building and got passes to the Gallery, which was very cool. Even cooler, I got to witness a roll-call vote for the confirmation of a NY District Court Judge.

Senate Gallery Pass

All in all, it was a very satisfying first trip to Washington D.C. I'd love to go back and spent more time there with Mr. Cleaver, particularly at the other Smithsonian museums.

For a listing of all the places I visited, check out the Google Map of my Trip, with all the locations mentioned here and in yesterday's post.

Ms. Cleaver goes to Washington (Day 1)

White House South Lawn

As mentioned in the last post, I've just returned from a weekend in D.C. for a work conference. It was my first trip to the Nation's Capitol and I tried to cram in as much as I could in the day and a half of freetime I had. My edited photo batch from this trip contained 94 photos, so I'm going to break up covering the trip into two, maybe three posts.  Read on!!

Dupont Hotel

I landed in DC around 2pm on Saturday afternoon and headed to Dupont Circle to check into my hotel. I stayed at the Dupont Hotel, located just on the circle.

Dupont Hotel

My hotel was selected by one of my co-workers, a former DC resident. The hotel itself it was sleek and modern and the bed was super comfy. But I really appreciated his choice because of the neighborhood. Dupont Circle is a bustling area with lots of shops and restaurants. It was very walkable and since it is close to George Washington University, there were lots of 20-somethings milling around, both of which made me feel very safe (a huge plus when you're traveling alone).

Curry Gold Wrap at Sweetgrass

For a late lunch, I stopped into Sweetgreen for undoubtedly healthiest meal of my trip.

Sweetgreen focuses on salads, salads as wraps, and frozen yogurt. They're very eco-friendly (literally everything is compostable) and they use local ingredients. It's a quick eat, the service line is similar to a subway, and there are communal tables for eating.  I selected the Curry Gold salad and had it as a wrap and it hit the spot - the curry flavoring had a nice warmth to it and the cucumbers and beets gave it a nice cool crunch.

Since I was meeting my coworker for dinner later that evening, I decided to explore the neighborhood some. I continued up Connecticut Ave, poking my head in a shop or two when I came across a sign for a yarn shop. Bingo!!

Looped Yarn Works

Looped Yarn Works is an adorable, friendly, and well-stocked shop in a second floor former apartment. The store is well stock with a variety of yarn and covers most of the major brands, including Cascade, elsebeth lavold, Malabrigo and more.  While I was in the store, there was a learn to knit class happily cruising along, and a few ladies knitting on the sofas. It was such a happy shop - the kind of place I'd choose as my go-to shop if I lived in the area. Of course, I picked up a few skeins of "souvenir yarn." :)

There were signs for a textile museum nearby, but it was too nice of a day to be inside for long, so I skipped it.

Looped Yarn Works

As if yarn wasn't enough, after I went back to the circle and crossed to the other side of Connecticut Ave, I stopped into Hello Cupcake for a bite of dessert.

Hello Cupcake "Lucy"

I wanted to try about five different flavors, but I limited myself to one (probably a good choice considering how much I ate over the weekend). Something light and pink seemed appropriate for a lovely (if cool) spring day, so I opted for the "Lucy" cupcake, which is lemon with raspberry frosting. The cake portion was serviceable, but the raspberry frosting was divine and clearly used real raspberries in it. I definitely want to try my hand at recreating something similar.

White House

Continuing southward on Connecticut, I walked a little under a mile until I reached Layfayette Park and the backyard of the White House. It's kinda amazing how, from this direction, it just appears out of a fairly normal looking neighborhood. It even seemed a little smaller than I imagined, but that may have more do with the distance between the fence where I stood and the White House itself.

Crowd at White House

There were a fair number of tourist and security everywhere. I quickly learned that in the National Mall area of DC there are blockades and barriers everywhere - a physical tribute to the security changes instituted post 9-11, and the ongoing upgrades and construction underway. Both of which meant that there were no direct routes to anything.

Renwick Gallery

Just off to the West of Layfayette park is the small Renwick Gallery of American Craft, part of the Smithsonian Museums. Since all the Smithsonian Museums are free, I popped in.

Glass Dress

The collection at Renwick is small, you could go through the museum in about 15 -20 minutes, but there are a few cool piece - especially glasswork.

Magnolia Blossoms

After Renwick, I toured around to the front of the White House  trying to spot Mrs. Obama's veggie garden, which I never saw, before heading back around to the park and taking my daily outfit shot because Lent doesn't take a break, even for DC.

Me and the Magnolias

Blazer: J. Crew Outlet

Shawl Collar Sweatshirt: Banana Republic Outlet

Denim Skirt: Old

Magenta Tights: Target

Boots: Naturalizers

For dinner, I met up with my coworker and some of his friends for dinner at Acadiana, a upscale take on Lousiana-style food. I had the duck, which had a delicious glaze on it. We ate and laughed and made friends with the Birthday party at the next table and I made it back to my hotel at about 11:45 - tired and full.

I'll cover the other two days of my trip later, but if you're interested, I've made a Google Map of my Trip, with all the locations mentioned here and *spoiler alert* on the other two days of my stay.

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