WASHINGTON -- On Day 53 as first lady, Michelle Obama and her mother, Marian Robinson, traveled to the Georgetown home of Teresa Heinz Kerry for a luncheon with a small group of women.
The wife of Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) put together the March 13 informal gathering -- reported here for the first time -- to welcome Mrs. Obama and her mom to town.
"She was extraordinarily open and accessible and friendly and genuinely interested in the people who were there and what they were saying," said an attendee, Sally Quinn, a Washington Post columnist and co-moderator of the Post's "On-Faith" feature.
Quinn has known every first lady since Mamie Eisenhower. Mrs. Obama is the only first lady "who was not wary," Quinn said. Open, friendly and laughing, "she seemed like a real person," Quinn said.
During the presidential campaign the image of the native South Sider -- a graduate of Whitney Young High School, Princeton and Harvard Law -- got out of control. At times she was portrayed -- often by conservatives -- as angry and not loving her country.
That's been corrected.
Mrs. Obama's first 100 days have been just about flawless.
"She's focused on issues that are important in a local and national sense, but are not controversial," said Martha Joynt Kumar, a Towson University professor who specializes in presidential communications.
Mrs. Obama's issue portfolio is substantive -- and safe.
Healthy eating. Helping military families. Balancing work and family. Opening up White House events. Community service.
The past weeks have produced public events showcasing Mrs. Obama: planting the White House vegetable garden; bringing cooking school students into the White House kitchen; thanking federal employees at agency visits; dazzling Europe.
She's become a fashion icon. Her buff arms caught the nation's attention.
Very mindful of her historic status as the first African-American first lady, Mrs. Obama gave her first post-election cover shoot to Vogue.
In the world of women's magazines, covers featuring African Americans are rare.
"Mrs. Obama felt it was very important for young African-American girls to see someone like her on a cover of a major magazine," said Camille Johnston, Mrs. Obama's communications director.
On the private side, Mrs. Obama has spent time settling daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, and her mother into their new home.
She dines at times with Chicago pals Valerie Jarrett and Desiree Rogers, who have followed her into the White House, taking on very powerful roles -- Jarrett as senior advisor, Rogers as social secretary.
Last week, Mrs. Obama had a night out with Rogers.
"We did go to the theatre," Rogers said. "It was a good way for the First Lady to see a variety of the arts talent in the D.C. community."
Mrs. Obama's popularity is soaring -- with Democrats and Republicans. A poll taken April 14-21 found Mrs. Obama's favorability ratings -- at 76 percent -- have only increased in the last 100 days.
On Day 94, at a "take your child to work" event at the White House, Mrs. Obama reflected on her new non-paid employment.
"I think I have the best job in the White House."