What's New on Netflix 2018


After watching the Golden Globes and Oscars you probably have a long list of movies you need to see. Here's a round up of 28 new films that you can find on netflix now. Did you know netflix is celebrating it's 20th anniversary this year?

The Library of Congress





The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world and the main research center for Congress. The U.S. Copyright Office is also located in the library.  Founded in 1800, the library has millions of books, maps, manuscripts, photographs, films, drawings and 800 miles of bookshelves. Half of the library’s book collections are in foreign languages. The books are shelved in three buildings. The manuscript division holds papers from 23 Presidents. They have the Gutenberg Bible, one of the rarest books in the world. The library also collects documentation on  American Indian music and spoken word. It’s free to visit and use and a great resource for scholars and researchers. Since it's a research library, the books are only allowed to be used on the premises. Anyone over the age of 16 may use the collections, you just have to get a free reader card with your photo on it. 

When I was a kid my mother used to always take me to the Library of Congress to study as we lived nearby and I haven't been back in many years. On my recent visit to the Thomas Jefferson Building, the highlight was the Great Hall which is 75 feet tall made of a marble floor and has a stained glass ceiling. It's a beautiful building with marble columns, staircases, mosaics and paintings. The building was full of tourists, many taking the free guided tours offered several times a day. 

Some of the most historic items in the Library's collection are on display in the halls of the Thomas Jefferson Building. You can see the "original rough draft" of the Declaration of Independence, Lincoln's First Inaugural Address,  handwritten speeches from George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, oral accounts from 9/11 First Responders and an Apostles Edition of The Saint John’s Bible which measures 2 x 3 feet when open with 160 illuminations. Alexander Hamilton's papers are available online. 

President Jefferson signed into law legislation to establish a permanent building for the Library of Congress and also a permanent Librarian of Congress was appointed to oversee the Library. Two years ago Carla Hayden, became both the first female and first black person to hold the position of Librarian of Congress.

The Jefferson Building has a coat check and lockers to keep your bags. They also have wifi. The Library buildings are fully accessible and wheelchairs are provided at the Jefferson Building ground floor information desk. 


Thomas Jefferson Building
10 First Street SE
Washington, DC 20540
Monday - Saturday 
8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.



Spring Cleaning Your Closet


Even though the weather is still really cold, spring is on the way as evident by the blooming magnolia and cherry blossom trees. Spring is the perfect time to really clean out your closet. This has been something I've been wanting to do for a long time but absolutely dreading it. But I have so many clothes I need to toss that I don't wear anymore. One of my new years resolutions was to have a tranquil home. My goal for my home is to be light and airy and not overflowing. I want to be able to find what I'm looking for and have my home always be company ready. I think this will help me live a calmer life. I'm relying on the lessons I learned in Marie Kondo's books on decluttering.

Rule #1 for Kondo is to not waste money on organizational solutions. The most important principle of the book is that you must purge before your organize. She frowns on the idea of buying organizing bins because that only encourages you to store more unnecessary things. So I pulled out the storage bags I had under my bed and emptied out the clothes that I have been storing but haven't worn in years and have no plans to wear again!

Then I attacked my bathroom cabinet and dumped out the storage bins that have a tons of makeup samples and half used products that I will never use again. I filled a whole grocery bag with that stuff! Next up I emptied the junk drawer in my kitchen, that was such an easy, doable task. And then I tackled my entryway with my collection of free tote bags. You know they all seem so useful, but I don't need 50, right? Then I cleared off the kitchen counters of paper clutter. With the easy stuff out of the way, I felt a bit accomplished and ready to do the hard work in the closet.

Reduce the Amount of Clothes You Own
Kondo says to not  keep something just because it might become useful and to be confident in your decision to throw things out. Kondo recommends you do a "joy check" on your clothes, put them on and ask yourself will you really wear them again. If no, thank the clothes for the wonderful memories they gave you. My next steps was to discard old coats, my high school prom dress, and college sorority gowns.  I got rid of all of my birthday dresses because those were one time occasion dresses no matter how sentimental.  I got rid of  most of my cheap necklaces. Then I took every shirt out, tried it on, and decided what to toss.

I've had some luck selling clothes on Tradesy but decided it was just easier to bag everything to donate. I requested a donation bag from Thredup which is an online consignment store. They send you a huge plastic bag that you can fill with clothes. It has a pre-paid printed FedEx label on it.
They will either sell it on their site, taking the photos for you or donate it to the charity of your choice. It's super easy and simple!

My activewear collection has gotten a little out of control and spilling out of my drawer. I seem to tire of things quickly and always buying more yet never getting rid of anything. That's one of the most popular things ThredUp sells so I threw a bunch in my donation bag.

Previously I tossed all my old electronics. What I haven't tossed yet: old purses, books, cds, free t-shirts, "painting clothes", and old costumes. I'll save that for my next clean out session. I found how easy  it can be to tackle one small task in the name of a better home. As everything I accomplished here I did on a Sunday afternoon. I've set up a system to help me not end up with an overflowing closet again. I've cut back on my clothes spending and set a policy of tossing one article of clothing for every new one I buy. I still use the stylebook app religiously to see what is in my closet. It tracks what dates I've worn what clothing so I know what hasn't been worn in awhile.

At the end of the day you have to realize that you don’t need all of this stuff. It won’t make you happier. And your home should not make you feel overwhelmed or stressed.

Visit to the Portrait Gallery


With all the rainy weekends we had last month I found a lot of indoor activities to keep me busy. You might have seen on the news that the Obama's official portraits were unveiled and now on display at the Portrait Gallery.  On the second floor of the museum is the "America's Presidents" exhibition which just reopened last fall with portrait paintings of all the Presidents. The line was so long to see Obama's portrait they had to move his portrait to the third floor. The line is to have your picture taken with his portrait, but if you don't want that, you can do a quick walk by picture like I did. The guards don't allow you to stop! lol There's a separate line for Michelle's portrait on the first level.



The Obamas' selected two African-American artists to paint their portrait. Michelle's portrait was painted by Amy Sherald who is a portrait artist who only paints African-Americans in paintings that address social justice. President Obama's painting is by Kehinde Wiley who has a similar background to Obama. Wiley was born to an American mother and Nigerian father and he did meet his father until he was an adult. He is a portrait painter who is known for his highly naturalistic paintings of African-Americans. The floral background is full of chrysanthe­mums the official flower of Chicago, jasmine from Hawaii, and the African blue lilies are for his late Kenyan father.




Also on exhibit through April 15, 2018, is the Marlene Dietrich: Dressed for the Image. It's a photography exhibition celebrating the life and unconventional fashion of the German film icon.


My favorite long time exhibit is the Electronic Superhighway: Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, by Nam June Paik. It consists of  300 TV screens outlined by neon lights where the TVs in each state show clips from that state such as the Wizard of Oz and Martin Luther King. The pic below is from last year.


The museum has lots of interesting events. Last fall they had a Day of the Dead celebration with traditional Mexican dance and food. Last month they had events for the Chinese New Year celebration. Admission to the museum is free as are their events.


National Portrait Gallery
8th and F Streets NW (G street entrance has a handicap ramp, the other side of the building has a lot of steps)
Washington, DC 20001
11:30 AM - 7:00 PM daily
Closed December 25
There are free lockers to keep your coat. Backpacks are not allowed to be worn.