News & Politics

Washingtonian Today: Lawmakers Are on Instagram Now And You Should Probably Be Too

Photograph by Evy Mages

About Washingtonian Today

Washingtonian Today is not just another political news roundup. Instead, this daily morning brief provides local context on national news, catches you up on what’s happening at Washingtonian, points you toward super duper awesome things to do around town, and lets you in on some special events going on in-house. Sign up here to receive Washingtonian Today in your inbox every morning.

If you’re not on all social media, you ought to be: last night, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez hopped on Instagram story (dear olds: an Instagram story is a Moving Picture, but streamed live) and prepared food for the week while discussing policy issues. Nearly five thousand people tuned in to watch Ocasio-Cortez talk about criminal justice reform and more.

It’s increasingly likely that more lawmakers will embrace this medium; I wonder if we’ll get a Mitt Romney meal-prep series anytime soon…

Something you may have missed: Over the weekend, Michelle Obama brought her Becoming book tour to town. Here’s a dispatch from editorial fellow Adia Robinson who was reporting live from the event.

Michelle Obama is one of my idols. I highkey wanna be her when I grow up. She’s just so amazing and intelligent and accomplished and beautiful, and I have absolutely no idea where she gets the strength to put up with everything that she has. Listening to her and Valerie Jarrett was listening to two old friends chat and drop beautiful nuggets of wisdom. She touched on the most relatable things—I mean this is a woman who’s met the Queen of England, talking about people telling her she wasn’t “Princeton material” and being told she only got in because of affirmative action. People told me similar things! And I was just so inspired by how she refused to let herself be reduced by it.  And then President Obama showed up, with roses for Michelle, and everyone lost their shit. It was one of those really DC moments where you’re like “huh, I wonder why there’s more security all of a sudden–OMG IT’S A PRESIDENT.” And Obama was in full reckless uncle mode, talking about being attracted to Michelle’s legs when they first met and just joking and being carefree. Ugh, and the way that they look at each other. It was an amazing night.
Michelle Obama DC show
Photograph by Evy Mages
And that’s not all. Senior editor Andrew Beaujon has a life, too: on Friday he went to National Harbor, which he apparently does every year, to see “Ice!”

National Harbor’s Christmas is big even by American standards: 2 million lights, thousands of poinsettias, a 55-foot, 4,000-pound tree suspended in the atrium and lit by lasers are just the beginning of the completely bonkers holiday celebrations there. There’s also a very fun human-based circus show and “Ice!”—which requires 35 Chinese artisans who carve a themed display out of 2 million pounds of ice. This year the theme is A Charlie Brown Christmas, an easier sell, emotionally, than last year’s “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.” It’s beautiful and sad just like that special, and I managed to get a few photos in the 9-degree display before my phone up and quit on me. By the time we’d had hot chocolate and my kids had skated in the adjoining Christmas Village, we were fully in the holiday spirit and in denial that we had to get through Thanksgiving first. This is not an event for humbugs, but if your holiday spirit is like a tattoo that just needs a candy-cane spanking to emerge, “Ice!” will give you a solid whack. 

Photo courtesy National Harbor

And now for something completely different: This is how a nonprofit staffer who makes a $40,000 salary spends their money in one week.

Good morning folks and happy Monday! I’m excited to be kicking off this Thanksgiving week with you. You can always contact me, Brittany Shepherd, at or find me on Twitter. Sign your coworkers up for this newsletter here so you have something useful to chat about over the coffee maker.

What we have cooking at Washingtonian:

• Meet Washingtonian’s Business Hall of Fame Laureates of 2018, including José Andrés and Mark Ein.

• Leaving your baking to the professionals and the loveable amateurs on Great British Bake Off: order your Thanksgiving pie at one of these delicious bakeries around town. See? One less thing to fight with your family about.

• I asked, you answered: This is what DC residents like to do alone. Not satisfied with my list? E-mail me one thing you like to do solo.

Our pick for things to do around town:

LECTURE Monday’s Profs and Pints lecture at the Bier Baron, “Force vs. First Amendment”, will focus on First Amendment rights for far-right extremist or white nationalist groups. Mary McCord, visiting professor at Georgetown Law’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection, will speak about these extremist groups’ rallies in Berkeley, Portland, and Charlottesville, and how they’ve provoked counter-protesters. McCord led a lawsuit that banned individuals who participated in Charlottesville’s Unite the Right rally from participating in any protest or demonstration in the city while armed; she will discuss how almost all states have laws that prevent paramilitary activity, and how that is consistent with the First and Second Amendments. $12 in advance or $15 at the door, 6 PM.

Good reads:

• DC’s restaurant industry can be tough on staffers’ mental and physical health. So Laura Hayes asked professionals around town how they’d change the industry in the next five years to better suit their needs. (Washington City Paper)

Big events from Washingtonian

Every other dog but yours is ugly and you should prove it by submitting the pup for DC’s cutest dog contest.

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Staff Writer

Brittany Shepherd covers the societal and cultural scene in political Washington. Before joining Washingtonian as a staff writer in 2018, Brittany was a White House Correspondent for Independent Journal Review. While she has lived in DC for a number of years now, she still yearns for the fresh Long Island bagels of home. Find her on Twitter, often prattling on about Frasier.