i am so so excited to share more with you all today from the two days i was able to spend at the white house in washington dc last week!
the entire experience is something i’ll never forget. it was a honor to receive the invitation and meet with the first lady herself, michelle obama! as someone who values movement coming from a past life of non-stop dancing, and now as a mother of three, i so appreciate her let’s move initiative to increase physical activity amongst our children and also embrace a healthier lifestyle when it comes to our food options.
in addition to touring the white house kitchen garden (and also helping plant the last few vegetables in preparation for the garden dedication), i was able to sit down with mrs. obama and 7 other family-focused editors and influencers for a full hour round table in the white house family dining room. my hands were pretty much shaking for a solid 15 minutes before it began (if you watched my instagram story from that afternoon, you’ll remember how shaky the video footage was i was taking in the dining room! haha! bless you, nerves.) once sitting together at the table, i’m pretty sure i jumbled most of my words together because i do not know how to play it cool whatsoever when it comes to these sorts of things and just geek out in the most awkward way possible.
you all had such great questions and thoughts on the topic of let’s move when i asked you on my instagram if there was anything specific you’d like me to ask. i made sure to thank the first lady for all she has done with this initiative and how appreciative so many of you are for the work that has begun, as it was apparent from reading through your comments! i told her about you all, and the comments that you left, and i said i hope she knows just how loved she is, and how grateful we are as mothers, school teachers, and individuals in general for the impact let’s move has made so far.
i asked her what advice she has for each of us, as individuals, how we can keep this kind of momentum going and keep this work moving forward. i absolutely loved everything she said in response. she said she always encourages people to start in their own personal universe. she went on to say that sometimes, particularly, we as parents, we start by thinking about the big picture. how we can change the entire school, or the entire community. and then it’s overwhelming and we can become frustrated and we’re like, “forget it.” but she said, “start small. start, as parents, with yourselves, number one. because we’re our kids first and best role models. so the first question is, what are you as a mom or a dad doing every day, or every week, to start getting into the good habits?” i loved that. so true. she went on to say that you’ll start expanding those habits to your kids, because if you aren’t incorporating a healthy lifestyle of eating and exercise, you can’t expect your kids to be doing it on their own. she also said these simple personal habits can affect others outside your family, like your friend group. she said, “i always brings my girlfriends into my journeys, my health and fitness journeys.” by expanding her whole philosophy to her best girlfriends, “so many of them have fundamentally changed the way they eat and live.” it changes their conversations, their households.
she also made a great point about how boys and girls move differently. boys will follow a ball into the middle of space. but she’s noticed with her own daughters that their movement motivation is social. women are the same way. so creating social groups of fitness and exercise, can be very beneficial. but by starting small, and being smart with our own lives, “slowly, if we are really committed to it, it expands in ways that you don’t even imagine.”
her philosophy to start small, and with yourself, really resonated with me. this has been a huge year for me personally as i’ve tried to incorporate wiser and better changes into my personal habits when it comes to exercise and food. it’s been a struggle to stay motivated and on top of it at times, but i do see how my habits trickle down into my family members often, for better or for worse. so hearing her thoughts on this subject only solidified my motivation to keep at it.
we weren’t able to take photos inside most of the white house (rest assured the rooms are stunning), but i was able to meet the first dogs, bo and sunny, just outside of it!
after our round table, we were able to head out to the white house kitchen garden for the dedication ceremony. mrs. obama planted the first garden at the white house since eleanor roosevelt’s victory garden. she said she is hopeful that every first family kind of builds on it in the future, since gardening has increased, community gardens especially. there are 50 percent more community gardens in DC alone! and it’s helping change the way kids see fruits and vegetables, when they have a hand at actively growing and taking care of them (mrs. obama often invites and gardens along side many DC school kids at the white house garden.)
the day before the garden dedication, i was able to garden a bit and plant the last vegetables of the season! despite not being dressed in the most appropriate gardening outfit (i didn’t know we’d be physically gardening until arriving that morning at the white house), i have to say all those years of having to plant and weed my family’s ginormous garden back home came in handy and i felt right at home in the weirdest way. (dad, i still hate weeding.)
during the gardening, we were able to get a look at the woodwork of the garden archway, table and benches designed and made by students and faculty at the university of virginia school of architecture. they bonded together wood gathered from all over the country including pieces from thomas jefferson’s home at monticello, james and dolley madison’s in virginia and also pine from the georgia home of martin luther king, jr.
seriously still can’t believe this happened. very thankful for the experience and also highly motivated to continue to bring better and healthier habits into my personal life, home and community. also a big thank you to popsugar for helping coordinate it all! i’d so love to hear from you all if there are things you’ve been doing in this area of your life that you see working for you, your family or friend group and community!
ps. for those curious, wearing this navy blazer with ruffles, these cropped wool flannel pants and these wooden clogs when gardening. and the second day when meeting mrs. obama, wearing a lace blouse that is sold out (but similar here and here), vintage skirt, same navy blazer and these camel pumps.