The Reliable Source Live

Jan 22, 2014

Washington Post columnists Helena Andrews and Emily Heil were online to discuss your favorite gossip, celebrity sightings and their recent columns.

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Past Reliable Source chats

Howdy chatters, and a happy snow day to you!  It’s been a fun week, and Helena and I are starting to get in the swing of this gig. We hope you’re enjoying some of the new features, like My Favorite Spot, and Throwback Thursday.  Between Michelle Obama’s birthday bash to members of the Miami Heat taking over Washington, it’s been hotter than usual in Washington this week, nevermind what your weather apps tell you.


What’s on your mind today? 

Barbara Bush sort of seems like a kick, doesn't she?

Totally! Babs Unplugged.  Also, I thought it was funny that she talked about how she loves Bill Clinton. The post-White House life of first families is so interesting, no? 

Have any details on Michelle's 50th thing leaked? How is it possible we know so little about an event that so many people attended? Where are the Instagrams, people?

I know right! We hear that phones were confiscated before guests entered the party and folks were strictly advised that it was going to be a "no social media" night. So far only Beyonce (because, hello, she's Beyonce) has posted pictures on her official Tumblr account--really cute stuff with presidential dog Bo and the diva's daughter Blue Ivy. But even those photos were pre-party. 

Will either of you be there Saturday? I was a little surprised to see that our most local Nat, Ryan Zimmerman, is not on the list (he's from VA Beach, his wife from Annandale, and they live in Great Falls) while Clippard is coming in from Tampa (poor him! I'd have stayed in Tampa!), Storen from Indiana, Stammen from Ohio, etc.

Hmmm, didn't know about the fan fest, though it sounds like fun. Disappointing that our local fave won't be there -- I'm a big Zim fan (we share a birthday and we are both UVA alums, so I'm sure we would be BFF if we ever met). 

These 50th birthday parties. Thoughts? I don't begrudge anyone a celebration, but my 30th is coming up and I'm planning on a movie and maybe some Chipotle. The big, 500 person parties just don't sound like that much fun. Do they do it out of obligation (like how the royals in England have to turn it all up to 11)? Or are first ladies generally outgoing, extroverted personalities who love that sort of thing?

Sounds like you subscribe less to the Michelle Obama/Hilary Clinton school than the Eleanor Roosevelt one.  Her moto: “The more you forget your birthdays as you grow older, the younger you stay.”

It all depends on the FLOTUS. The Obamas are social people with a ton of friends--celebrity and civilian. The president even said in a recent  interview that with the first daughters growing up he plans to kick up his social wattage. Last year Michelle Obama just had a quiet dinner at Cafe Milano. Fifty (as well as 30) is a pretty big milestone. 

Okay, Claire McCaskill's apartment - wow. What are the chances of Reliable Source doing a political version of Cribs? I want to see which other politicians risk it with white armchairs!

Peeking inside people's homes is a major interest of mine -- there's so much to learn about someone.

And white armchairs are about as risky as most pols would go, I'd think. No boom boom rooms, alas. 

So Barack Obama always has a protein bar and Honest Tea, apparently. If you were president, what would you make your lackey carry around for you? Mine would probably be a Snapple, a change of outfit for when I realize I'm wearing sweatpants and my ex just sat down a few tables over in the coffeeshop and a boombox for when I really need my own theme music.

OOh, I love the idea of having a personal sherpa. And access to theme music! Mine would carry the approximately 23 lipsticks that live at the bottom of my bag at any given moment. And since we're in fantasy land, an invisibility cloak so I could evesdrop anywhere. 

My personal genie would be very familiar with my penchat for roasted almonds, Clinque everything and fancy bottled water. Also I'd want a pair of stylish flats on hand at all times. 

Do you take sightings of DC celebrities out of town? My brother was on a Southwest flight with Bryce Harper on Monday from Columbus, OH to Las Vegas. My brother said he got off a plane coming from Baltimore. Boarding position: A2. Sat in an aisle seat towards the front of the plane. Louis Vitton carryon bag. My brother recognized him by comparing the tattoos he could see with pictures from Bryce's twitter account.

We love to know what our local celebs are up to when they're outside the DMV! So, yes, non-local sightings are most welcome. And I have to say, kudos to your brother for his tattoo-matching skillz. Now... anyone spy our designer-bag toting outfielder IN Vegas? 

And those were clearly professional snaps, or at least the ones I saw were. I guess you learn a thing or two about keeping the lid on things when you're president.

Also, let's remember that although the party was at the White House it wasn't an "official" state dinner or anything. The Obamas paid for it themselves. It was (as much as it could be at the most famous address in the country) a "private" affair. Our tipsters told us everyone there really let their hair down and tore up the dance floor. It's a lot easier to feel comfortable enough to party without worrying about what might show up on Twitter or Instagram the next morning. 

Does he still work for the Obama Administration? He's doing ads for ObamaCare but maybe it's pro bono work? Was nice when he lived in DC.

The actor-turned-staffer left his job at the White House in 2011, but, like many former WHers, remained a citizen of Obamaworld. The president picked him last year to serve on spot on the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (along with celebs like Kerry Washington, Alfre Woodard, and Forest Whitaker), so he's still around sometimes...

Who do you think has the coolest or most unexpected pad in DC?

Coolest pad in DC? Drumroll please... My vote goes to this crib 

Years ago I went on a tour of homes of members of Congress, all on Capitol Hill. It was ILLUMINATING -- Trent Lott's huge house looked like a Mississippi mansion inside, Neil Abercrombie's was full of Hawaii-themed knick knacks, and Pete Domenici's was *spartan.* Hardly anything there.

Sign us up for THAT tour!

Many members of Congress have fascinating offices, too. Some are really tastefully decorated, while others are crammed full of junk and mementos. Rep. Charlie Rangel's was stuffed with African art and memoribilia, and Rep. Paul Broun's has dead animals (hunting trophies!) everywhere. 

Thanks for gabbing with us, guys. We chatted fiftieth birthday parties, Nats, celeb sightings and congressional cribs. Join us again next week--same Reliable time, same Reliable channel. 

In This Chat
Helena Andrews
Helena Andrews is the co-author of The Reliable Source. Follow her on Twitter @helena_andrews.
Emily Heil
Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen. Follow her on Twitter @emilyaheil,
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