VIP Alexandria Magazine | May 2020

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MAY 2020






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PRIVATE VIRTUAL TOURS | VIRTUAL LISTING & BUYER CONSULTATIONS AVAILABLE The market is still moving and we are still working to help support you and your real estate goals.

The market is still moving we to areget still to help support you and your real estate goals. Contactand Kristen theworking inside scoop on the Alexandria market. Contact Kristen to get the inside scoop on the Alexandria market.



ALEXANDRIA SPECIALIST | $33M+ SALES IN 2019 703.851.2556 | ALEXANDRIA SPECIALIST || $33M+ SALES IN 2019 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 | Equal Housing Opportunity

703.851.2556 | | 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 | Equal Housing Opportunity


MAY 2020 • 3

hello, alexandria! Sitting down to write this month’s Publisher's Letter was one of the most difficult things I have done in a very long time. I have spent hours typing and deleting and typing and deleting. How can anyone sum up the past six weeks into a few small paragraphs? Are there even words? Nevertheless, I'm going to try this again but, this time... we'll keep things simple. To the small business owners who are making impossible decisions. To the healthcare workers and public service professionals working on the frontlines. To the first repsonders who continue to serve. To the parents juggling homes, pets, children, virtual school and jobs. To the teachers who are going above and beyond. To the separated military families whose homecomings have been delayed. To the children who are afraid and confused. To those seeking hope, support, friendship and courage... We see you. We hear you. We're with you. This issue is dedicated to you.

PUBLISHER / ART DIRECTOR Kellie Gunderman EDITOR Warren Gunderman SALES EXECUTIVES Andrew Gates Jeanette Wages STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Magdalena Papaioannou

kellie gunderman

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Dr. Eleni Boosalis, Dr. Megan Brown, Shells Karle, Brandy McCarthy, Dr. Kathleen Mullaney, Dr. Shara Posner, Liesel Schmidt, Betsy Weissman, Abby Wolverton CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Spencer Bentley, Sarah Marcella, Pixel Empathy, Michael Rekola, The Smiths Photogrpahy, Catherine May Taylor, Giovanni Tario, Bobbi Wages, Tim Yantz




Story by Andrew Gates


With gyms closed in not only Alexandria, but all across the state, many are wondering how to fit their normal fitness regimens into their daily lives. Gyms and physical therapists provide four important functions to staying fit: classes, equipment, community, and routine. Without these components, it can be hard for people to feel motivated or even able to work out. But worry not! Many gyms, physical therapists, athletic stores, or yoga studios are offering services remotely online.

CLASSES Balanced Yoga is one example of a studio offering options online. They are offering classes on their YouTube channel throughout the quarantine to help you relax and stay in shape. Whether you can spend eight minutes or an hour, Balanced Yoga has options for you to help you stay limber and manage stress during this tough time. Owner Ingrid Aardahl highly recommends the “Healthy Backs Level 1” and “Yoga for Neck and Shoulders” classes. If you are just getting started, she also recommends the spine and psoas stretches - it's only eight minutes and does a great job stretching the muscles that get tight from sitting for a long time. If you would like to see something specific, email balancedyogaburke@gmail. com and they'll make a video for you! Club Pilates is another studio offering online options. Right now, you can enroll in virtual classes through their “Virtual Class Package”. If you are interested, visit for more information. For those of you looking for physical therapy, Resurgent Sports Rehab has online options for you in the form of telehealth sessions. As Resurgent Sports CEO Dr. Kerri Kramer Webb says, “We've been performing telehealth sessions for most of our current clients and have received great feedback regarding the value of our video sessions." Visit to learn more about telehealth sessions with Resurgent Sports Rehab.


Apart from providing classes and instruction, the next function that a gym provides is the equipment that many individuals may not have at their home. While some local gyms in the community are helping to remedy this situation, the reality is that most of us simply will not have access to the same equipment that we normally do. Once again, Balanced Yoga can help. Balanced Yoga is delivering yoga gear to anyone who needs mats, blocks, straps and lacrosse balls. Check out their online store for a quality yoga mat that will help you feel supported in every class. Email to arrange delivery. Potomac River Running is another local company delivering athletic equipment and apparel to you! With services like virtual shoe fittings, an online store, and over-the-phone service, they are sure to help with all your fitness product needs. Visit for more information. Of course, it is one thing to purchase small equipment and another to get larger equipment. But even if you are looking for larger equipment or items that you cannot easily purchase, that does not mean you are out of luck. It simply means you need to modify your workouts. MAY 2020 • 7

My day job for nearly five years has been in the fitness retail world. Working at a small athletic store leading up to the first few days when businesses around the country began to close, I saw a big rush of customers coming into the store to say, “My gym just closed, but I still need to work out. What do I do?”

If the weight room is more your thing, that becomes a bit trickier. Obviously, this is where having the right equipment comes in handy. But once again, that does not mean you are out of luck. Rather, it means you may have to change your workout instead of cutting it altogether.

If cardio is your thing, my first suggestion is to run outside. If you are traditionally a treadmill runner, this transition should be fairly straightforward from a biomechanical standpoint. Your muscles are already accustomed to the running movements and your joints are already accustomed to the impact from running. If you are traditionally a stationary bike or elliptical user, then my suggestion is to start slow and ease into it. Don’t go at the same level as you would on the machine, as your body will need some time to adjust to the movements and the increased impact level.

Pushups, planks, sit-ups, or Russian twists are extremely beneficial strength-building exercises that require no equipment whatsoever. Looking to add some extra weight to any of these exercises? Try adding heavier objects to your back as you do your pushups or planks, or hold a heavy object in your hands as you sit-up or do twists. This could mean filling a backpack with textbooks or other heavy items. In one example, I saw a friend of mine put a trash bag full of books on his back in order to provide some extra resistance while he did a straight plank. Feel free to get creative with it!

As of now, running outside is still permitted as part of the Governor’s stay-at-home order for Virginia. For those not accustomed to running outside, keep in mind a few things. First, stay vigilant and aware of your surroundings. While many people enjoy running with music or headphones, I do not recommend it. Running outside requires constant awareness of your surroundings, from which music and headphones can often distract. I would also advise against running in groups until the coronavirus crisis is over. If you need company to keep you motivated, maybe run with one other person you live with, but try to keep at least six feet apart from other people. Most trails in the area like Mount Vernon, Four Mile Run, or the WO&D trail tend to be about six feet wide anyway.


Some people may have access to a horizontal bar or beam that can be used for pullups. If you have access to a pullup bar, pullups are a fantastic upper-body exercise. Looking to add some more resistance to pullups? Try tying a something heavy to your waist, ankles, or feet. That can be as creative as attaching a carton of cat litter to your waist or wearing weights on your ankles (a regular carton of cat litter is about 20lbs by the way).

COMMUNITY For many people, adapting exercises to be equipment-free still might not be enough. Many people still need the community aspect that comes from gyms in order to keep them going. For that, use what you have in order to create your own community. Since being relegated to our own home gyms, a friend of mine and I have been giving each other weekly challenges and updated one another on our progress. This is a great way to keep yourself and others motivated and to keep yourself accountable. It’s as simple as texting a friend and saying, “Hey man, let’s do 500 pushups this week.”


The final hurdle is how to fit this all into your daily routine. For many, the gym is a place to go before or after work. Many have their designated time of day they make “gym time”. Without that scheduled time, it can be hard to fit it into your day, especially for those with kids working from home. That is where breaking up a workout can be a solution. Since you are no longer going to a physical gym, the need no longer exists to fit all your workouts into a designated block of time. If it normally takes you 30 minutes to do your workout at the gym, why not break it up into six five-minute workouts, or four seven-minute workouts throughout the day? For example, if you normally do four sets of a workout, do one set four times throughout the day. In this way, you can fit it into your schedule when the time arises. Do a set before breakfast, another before lunch, another before dinner, and another before you go to bed. Before you know it, you’ve just done your full workout, but you’ve spread it out throughout the day. All in all, switching over to a now all-home-gym workout is going to be an adjustment for everyone. No regular gym-goer is going to be able to simulate their regular gym experience at home. But with some exercise adaptations, with some goal setting with friends, family, or maybe just yourself, and an adjustment to your schedule, you can stay fit and stay healthy without the gym.

Which brings me to another point; you should have a goal. Without a goal, there is no direction. Instead of saying to yourself or to your friend, “I want to start doing pushups,” give yourself a specific target; “I will do 500 pushups this week.” Without that guidance, it won’t get done. Instead of asking yourself if you can do more, say this is what you will do and find a way to get it done. I wrote a story last month for another publication about two local runners who ran a marathon entirely on their own. There was no race, no time, no crowds, no spectators. But they did it anyway because it was a goal that they had set for themselves. Obviously, most of us are not going to be able to go out and run a marathon. This is admittedly an extreme example. But regardless, this is a great example of people setting a fitness goal, committing to it, and seeing it through. Texting friends your fitness goals, posting in Facebook groups or on Twitter; these are great ways to stay connected to your community and keep both yourself and others motivated. MAY 2020 • 9



Story by Dr. Shara Posner, Back To Health Center

You are most likely working from home these days, perhaps homeschooling your children, or just spending time keeping up with all the news as a result of COVID-19. Working from home in your PJ’s may sound like a dream but in reality, you may be rethinking that sentiment. Maybe your home workstation looks like a kitchen table or an ottoman? Your desk chair is a dining chair or the couch? Does this sound like you? Poor ergonomics and posture can lead to aches and pains, resulting in back, neck, shoulder, and wrist pain or injury. Truth is most of us were not prepared for this however, you can make very simple changes to create a setup that keeps you and your family pain-free. Here are six ways to set yourself up for success.

1. Lift your laptop. If you are using your laptop at the kitchen table, be sure that it is not positioned too low. The top one third of your screen should be at eye level. Try placing a few books or a box under the laptop so you can look directly at the screen, limiting leaning forward and bending your neck to look down.


2. Lift your chest, turn on the core & watch your wrists! Imagine a hook in the front of your chest, lifting you upwards. Feel the elongation of your spine to the ceiling. Roll your shoulders backwards and pull your shoulder blades down your spine. Pull your belly button into your spine. Place your arms at your side and bend your elbows to a 90 degree angle to meet the keyboard. Be careful to not rest your wrists on the table and or laptop.

3. Go wireless. Wireless gadgets can make or break a workstation! Wireless mouse and keyboard are my only recommended purchases if you are working on a laptop. If you are raising your laptop you will need these gadgets to keep you comfortable when typing. A headset is also a great option if you’re feeling strain in your neck when using your cell phone.

4. It’s all in the chair! No Herman Miller at home? No problem. If the chair isn’t cushy and your bottom is sore try raiding your linen closet and placing a thin cushion or folded sheet on the chair. Take a towel

and roll it up placing it between your lower back and the chair. This rolled up towel will provide a great lumbar support and help to prevent lower back pain

5. Stand up! Find a larger box and place it under your laptop and stand. You can also try alternating throughout the day between the sitting and standing postures. Stand when you are taking calls or watching videos for a start!

6. Take frequent breaks. Practice the Pomodoro Method. Set a timer and every 25 minutes reward yourself with a stretching break for 5 minutes. On the 4th cycle take a 30 minute break and restart. During the short breaks roll your shoulders backwards and depress them down your back, stretch in a doorway, stand up and stretch your quadriceps, kick your straight legs backwards, and raise your arms over your head. Don’t forget to give yourself the physical and mental space to stay healthy. During the 30 minute breaks you can go for a walk, exercises, eat or maybe just spend that time in meditation. For more tips and workstation consultations you can find Dr. Shara at her office in Old Town. Please don’t hesitate to stop by so that she can help you get “Back to Health.”

Chiropractic Care for Adults and Kids Cold Laser Therapy Kinesio® Taping Massage Therapy Acupuncture Cupping Reiki Healing Therapy

1 4 1 4 P r i n ce S t r e e t | S u i t e 1 0 0 A l ex a n d r i a , VA 2 2 3 1 4


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VIP WEDDING Story by Liesel Schmidt Photography by Catherine May Taylor


Halloween is a time for dressing up in costume, playing a part, and hiding behind made-up personas. But when Lindsey Freshwater and Yesica Rodriguez Barragan met the Friday before Halloween in 2018, the two women’s genuine personalities drew them together, creating a lasting bond that withstood time and distance to become true love. “A twist of fate brought us together at a new queer-friendly bar in Adams Morgan,” says Lindsey of the night the two met. “Yesica was in town from New Jersey, visiting her best friend Valeria in D.C. that weekend. She approached me, and we hit it off right away. A few days later, we went on our first date.” That date was the first of many, though the couple lived in different cities—Yesica in New Jersey, Lindsey in D.C.—until August 2019, when Yesica moved in with Lindsey. “Despite the distance, we spent almost every other weekend together from when we first met until we moved in together,” Lindsey recalls. And on their one-year anniversary, the couple took their relationship to the next level when Lindsey proposed at POV, the sophisticated rooftop bar and lounge at the W Hotel in D.C. “The view is stunning during the day, but especially spectacular at night when the monuments are illuminated. The sun was setting, and the light was just right, with the Washington Monument silhouetted by the setting sun. It was an intimate moment, shared by just the two of us, and it couldn't have been more perfect,” she goes on. And while the civil ceremony on January 24, 2020 during which Lindsey and Yesica officially exchanged vows might not have been their idea of a dream wedding, the couple found the perfect

way to celebrate their union by having a “pretend” wedding the following day. Officiated by a friend, the wedding was an intimate one, attended by Lindsey’s parents and around 30 of their closest friends, followed by a reception at The George. “Although my sister Lauren couldn’t be there, she had planned a special speech for us and had asked my mother to deliver the speech for her. Unfortunately, my mother had forgotten a page at home, but Lauren had been watching on FaceTime and stepped in to deliver the rest. When she was finished, there wasn't a dry eye in the house!” Lindsey says. There in spirit were Yesica’s family, who were unable to travel the distance from her native country of Colombia. Truly a day filled with love, the gathering was a happy one, with friends and family supporting the union of two souls. And though the women might easily have met and lost contact, it was their complete lack of artifice and their willingness to show one another their true selves that made their chance meeting turn into a happily ever after.

the details

Engagement Rings: King's Jewelry | Venue: The George Photographer: Catherine May Taylor Planners: William Lynch & Chase Whitley Dresses: (Lindsey) Lovers + Friends, (Yesica) REVOLVE Shoes: Ted Baker | Makeup: Kiara Cornejo Flowers: William Lynch | Cake: Bittersweet Catering MAY 2020 • 13


KEEPING THE TEAM TOGETHER Story by Jeanette Wages | Photography by Bobbi Wages


Sitting outside Virtue Feed and Grain on a beautiful spring day, you would think it was business as usual. Yet even with people walking up to the local staple, business is far from normal right now. Staff walking around in masks and gloves serving take-out orders on their second day working, having reopened after taking a month off to help with flattening the curve. That was not the vision Will Smith and his family had when taking over the restaurant two years ago, but this is their (hopefully temporary) new normal. Virtue is located on the beautiful historic waterfront of Old Town Alexandria, which made it the perfect location for the Smith family to expand their restaurant portfolio which included restaurants in Key West and Louisiana among others. Smith’s father was a Navy Pilot which made him slightly familiar with the area before his daughter asked to attend

Episcopal High School, officially bringing the family up from Key West and opening this chapter in their lives. “The location checked off everything we were looking for: historic district, lots of foot traffic, and on the water. We are very fortunate to have a lot of tourists, but our locals are very important for business. We want to be the local place, tourists go.” Smith explains. The team at Virtue feels more like a family and have definitely made a name for themselves with locals who come in to see their favorite servers, bartenders and managers just as much as they come in to enjoy the food or one of the most robust bourbon selections in the area. When COVID19 started hitting the news and businesses began to figure out their strategies to keep their customers and staff safe, the Smith family decided to shut their doors for a short time. Smith says their number one goal MAY 2020 • 15

"They were getting paid to stay home, but our team wanted to get back to work, that’s how much they love what they do.” was to keep the team together. “We didn’t want to let anyone go if we could. We have a great team and we wanted to keep them together.” The Smith family managed just that and continued to pay their staff as if they were still working from their midMarch shutdown until they reopened for carryout on 1 May. “They were getting paid to stay home, but our team wanted to get back to work, that’s how much they love what they do.” says Smith. Director of Operations and Executive Bourbon Steward, Tom Gale, AKA Big T, emphasizes the family feel of not only the staff but the community. “This is a family owned business. We’re family oriented and we wouldn’t serve anything here that we wouldn’t serve our own families. There is something for everyone from chips and dip to Louis XIII.” Extending the family feel even further, Smith talks about how there is no competition in Old Town. “Other restaurants are colleagues, not competition. It’s a small town in the middle of a big city.

If we run out of something, we can walk across the street to another restaurant and they will help out and we do the same for them.” Looking forward, Smith and Gale know the restaurant industry is going to have to make changes. Currently running curbside pickup and delivery is the name of the game and they don’t see it going away in the near future, but they want to maintain their focus on the experience. “It’s the historic building, the decor, the service, it’s an experience to come to Virtue and that’s what people love. We hope to get back to that.” For now, they will continue to give the best experience to their customers from a safe distance and with all the extra precautions possible to keep their staff and customers healthy and happy.

Virtue Feed & Grain reopened for takeout on May 1. The staff has selected favorites from the menu, including bottled beer and wine. Virtue Feed & Grain is committed to keeping our community safe, accepting credit cards only for now. | 106 South Union Street, Old Town Alexandria | 571-970-3669 16 • VIP ALEXANDRIA MAGAZINE

MAY 2020 • 17

The Coolest Way to Lose Fat Everything You Need to Know About CoolScupting© Story by Jeanette Wages | Photography by Michael Rekola

We’ve all been there; you’re working out regularly, you’re eating mostly healthy, but still have those stubborn “trouble spots” you just can’t seem to get rid of. For a lot of us, invasive procedures and surgeries don’t seem worth the the scarring or time off of our daily lives. There has to be a better way to treat these spots to achieve that perfectly toned look you’ve been working for so hard. Enter the Cool Contour team with CoolSculpting© and CoolTone™ technologies.

What is CoolSculpting©? CoolSculpting is the world’s #1 non-invasive fat-reduction technology. It effectively targets diet and exercise resistant fat by freezing the fat cells, which then flush out of the body over the course of 2-4 months. CoolSculpting© undeniably sculpts and contours your body. Best part? Once the fat cells are gone, they are gone for good.


What is CoolTone™? CoolTone™ by CoolSculpting© is the latest innovation in body contouring. CoolTone™ is a noninvasive, FDA-cleared body treatment that uses Magnetic Muscle Stimulation (MMS) technology to strengthen, tone, and firm the muscles of the abdomen, glutes, and thighs. A toned look can be difficult to achieve, even with exercise, training and healthy eating, but CoolTone™ can help you maximize your results! By using MMS technology to bypass skin, fat, and nerves, CoolTone selectively targets muscle, triggering powerful muscle contrac™tions that your body could not otherwise achieve on its own. Instagram Influencer and model, Andrea Kuoni, raves about her experience. “It’s a clean, comfortable facility and they offer multiple machines to allow for many treatments at once — for multiple patients.“ You don’t have to be a model to

love Cool Contours. Jennifer Kim and her team pride themselves on a peaceful, judgement free environment where each person gets a personalized treatment plan with a Master-Certified Specialist who realizes that no two bodies are alike. Kim explains, “CoolSculpting© is absolutely noninvasive and allows our patients to get back to daily life without skipping a beat. The technology is FDA-cleared and leaves patients with a beautiful and natural-looking reduction. There is no scarring, needles, or need for missing work or valuable family time! We love CoolSculpting© because it allows our clients to shift their self-perception, yet does not disrupt their busy lives.” Getting back to life with no recovery time is definitely something we can all get behind. Also, with your time in mind, they offer DualSculpting which allows you to have more than one zone worked on during a session. Cool Contours is a CoolSculpting© only boutique and one of the first in the nation to offer CoolTone™. They can stand 100% behind every treatment because it is all they do. If you’re curious about CoolSculpting© or CoolTone™, give Kim and her team a call for a virtual consultation. Then come in, sit back and relax with some Netflix and leave on the way to the body of your dreams.

We love CoolSculpting© because it allows our clients to shift their self-perception, yet does not disrupt their busy lives. - Jennifer Kim, Owner

Cool Contours | 3020 Hamaker Court, Suite B105 | Fairfax, VA 22031 (703) 260-1131 | | MAY 2020 • 19

In Celebration of The Month of the Military Spouse, Defense Credit Union Council is proud to bring you:


SUZIE SCHWARTZ Story by Kellie Gunderman | Photography by Magdalena Papaioannou

Most military spouses embark on their journeys with their own, personal ideas of what a life dedicated in service to their country will look like. Few of these men and women are mentored in advance, and even fewer have a true understanding of the fascinating, challenging, and chaotic world they are about to enter. Most will find themselves quickly wishing that military life had come with a handbook; advice and guidance on how to overcome the various struggles they could have never anticipated. But like all circumstances, each is unique. From deployments and ‘motherhood on the move’ to employment seeking and loss, there is one thing that all military spouses eventually come to realize - They are not alone. Champions for military spouses, like Suzie Schwartz, have worked diligently to ensure that military spouses are able to come to this self-realization sooner rather than later. You are not alone. It doesn’t sound too complicated, does it? You would be surprised. Imagine leaving the only home you’ve ever known, saying goodbye to your family, your friends, a job that you love. You pack everything that defines your life into boxes and move across the country or across the world, to be with the person you love. Eventually, that person is forced to kiss you goodbye and


board a plane for a distant land. It could be weeks or months before they return. In that moment, how does a military spouse know that she/he is not alone? Many military spouses believe Suzie to be a pioneer. For more than four decades, Suzie has been building a community for military spouses by providing a safe space for them to seek out support, direction, mentorship and friendship. For someone far away from family and embracing independence for the first time, this support can often mean the difference between living life to the fullest or succumbing to situational depression. Raised as a child in the military, Suzie always believed that she understood what becoming a military spouse would entail. And though her husband, a dedicated service member, proved to be the perfect man for her, she found the beginnings of her life as a military spouse to be very lonely. “I had left my home and teaching job to relocate with my husband to another state. I knew no one. He went to work at 5:00am each day and I was home alone.” Suzie was not interested in joining any clubs. She had always viewed the Officer’s Wives Club (OWC) as more for her mother’s generation. However, once she was able to look

"If I could offer all military spouses one piece of advice, it would be to never rule out any opportunities to make connections."

MAY 2020 • 21

"You don’t get the opportunity to travel around the country and the world just for fun. You travel to learn and listen and make a difference. I believe I did make a difference and I have no regrets." Over the years, Suzie has not only embraced her life as a military spouse by traveling the world and meeting new people, but also made it a point to spend as much time and energy as possible in supporting military spouses who have joined the ranks behind her.

beyond her preconceived notions and visited one of the OWC events, she met Honey Jennings who remains a dear friend to this day. “If I could offer all military spouses one piece of advice, it would be to never rule out any opportunities to make connections.” It is that message that has made Suzie one of the most respected members of the military spouse community. Armed with determination and an influential platform, the possibilities to support the military spouse community seemed endless. But it was Suzie’s love of building meaningful relationships and encouraging others to do the same that led her to discovering her true mission: providing military spouses with opportunities to gather, tell stories, support one another, network and, of course, make connections. Through her own experiences and the stories of others, Suzie developed an understanding of the needs of military spouses that led her to host her very first event. What should have been a simple lunch sparked a tradition that would go on to become one of the most coveted events of each season.

“I started my lunches when my husband was a threestar General. He was often too busy to host dinners, so I decided I still loved to entertain and bring spouses together. I started planning a lunch for each holiday; Valentine’s Day, Easter, Independence Day, Halloween. I also host a Christmas Candy Cane Tea Party for about fifty people.” 22 • VIP ALEXANDRIA MAGAZINE

Suzie was proud to dedicate her life to military spouses, and not only through her lunches. In 31 years, with fifteen moves under their belts, Suzie and her husband were offered the opportunity of a lifetime. General Norton Schwartz would become the next Air Force Chief of Staff. “It was an honor and it was honestly the best experience of my husband’s many years of service.” Suzie would now have the connections and ability to reach more military spouses with her message and to make real changes that would help their families. “We never dreamt he would be selected for the position, but we came in and did our very best for four years. As a Service Chief spouse, you truly have the connections and ability to affect change… if you choose that role. I believed it was an obligation to help families and be their advocate.” One of the causes that Suzie has given voice to over the years is military spouse employment. “Employment remains a huge issue for military spouses. It is not that they cannot find a job, but it is difficult to maintain a real career with upward mobility and real leadership opportunities,” she explains. A recent Department of Defense survey (released prior to the COVID-19 pandemic) found that a quarter of military spouses were unemployed. It’s a statistic that has fluctuated over the years, but the simple fact remains that military spouses are in need of more support, opportunities and understanding from potential employers. Suzie points out that “in today’s highly mobile society, it is ridiculous to use moving as an excuse to not offer a military spouse a job. Everyone is mobile these days, whether they move from the area or

just move to a different job.” She believes that members of the local community can help alleviate some of these employment struggles by simply reaching out to connect with the military spouse community. Suzie also urges companies that are hiring to look into the Department of Defense’s Military Spouse Employment Partnership Program (MSEP), which allows them to commit to hiring military spouses. Hiring our Heroes (HOH) is another great option. After a distinguished and successful career, General Schwartz retired from the military in 2012 but Suzie continued to advocate for military spouses and their families. She became a passionate supporter of the Military Child Education Coalition. She sits on the boards of the Fisher House Foundation and the Air Force Enlisted Village Board of Directors. She has performed key roles on the Air Force Charity Ball Committee, actively participated in the White House Joining Forces Initiative and continues to support Sesame Workshop for military families, Operation Homefront, the Armed Services YMCA and the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors. With so many new connections of her own, Suzie would continue to host her famous lunches in an effort to bring more military spouses together with the people who could help them most. “After my husband retired, I did think long and hard about what I wanted to do with my new life. What could I do that would not take away from the new Chief of Staff and his spouse. I love to entertain and I thought I could continue with my lunches!” In 2013, shortly after settling into her new home and hosting her first Halloween-themed lunch, Suzie was contacted by Military Spouse Magazine. They invited Suzie to write a monthly column and become a representative for their publication and the Military Spouse of the Year program in the DC area.


Employment remains a huge issue for military spouses... -Suzie Schwartz


Now Armed Forces Insurance manages the Military Spouse of the Year (MSOY) Awards program, which honors military spouses from each service branch, and Suzie is still a representative and out there facilitating new connections between military spouses. “I am honored to be a mentor to this great spouse community. MSOY gives military spouses a platform to let their passions shine and to meet others who are also engaged and working to make life better for the military community. It has been fun and amazing to watch them shine and to grow and blossom.” Suzie professes that these individuals make her proud every single day.

"Suzie is a kind soul who saw the potential in me and provided me with an opportunity to learn from her. She shared her life experiences as a military spouse with me and inspired me to pursue goals that I never thought were possible to achieve. I will forever be grateful for her guidance and kindness and I'm forever grateful for her mentorship." - Brittany Boocher, Military Spouse MAY 2020 • 23

Suzie’s work with Military Spouse Magazine and the Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year program has allowed her to use her dining room table to provide networking and social opportunities for the spouses affiliated with them. “I enjoy bringing these young spouses together with representatives of the national military and veteran service organizations I have met along my way. We send out invites and usually host ten people. Sometimes the spouses all know each other, while other times no one knows anyone else. I always tell them that this is a ‘working lunch,’ so be ready to tell your story.” In addition to the connections that have been made in her home, Suzie’s events also provide opportunities for military spouse entrepreneurs. “The lunch itself is always catered by a military spouse. The e-vites are designed and sent by a military spouse. A military spouse facilitates the lunch on the day of the event. Favors are made by a military spouse.” Through her many activities in support of military spouses, Suzie epitomizes the leadership adage, ‘practice what you preach’.

When asked if she could have a re-do, Suzie does not hesitate to tell anyone and everyone who will listen that she would live this life all over again in a heartbeat.

“I am amazed at how lucky I have been to have traveled the world and made friends around the globe. My life has been exciting and while it has been nothing like I had ever imagined, it has been and continues to be an exhilarating journey. I feel like I have made a difference in this world. What more can a person ask for?” Suzie currently serves as the Military Spouse of the Year Consultant for Armed Forces Insurance. To read more from Suzie in Military Spouse Magazine, visit

A NOTE FROM TONY HERNANDEZ CEO, DEFENSE CREDIT UNION COUNCIL When I think about Military Spouse Appreciation, there is no one who deserves more appreciation than our own individual spouses. I am very thankful for my wife, Jennifer, and all she has done (and continues to do) to make our family succeed over my 25-year Air Force career and in my current CEO role! Throughout our 14 moves, 3 command assignments, and various MAJCOM roles, Jennifer is the hero in my book! Plus, I am even more proud of the fact that even today, Jennifer continues to mentor and lead many spouses through difficult transitions; finding them an affordable home, getting them financial advice, and making a number of essential job connections to help their families succeed.


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MAY 2020 • 25

Photo by Sarah Marcella

WTF IS GOING ON HERE? A Letter from Betsy Weissman, Owner of sculp'd Of all the business scenarios I planned for as the owner of my fitness studio, sculp'd, managing through a global pandemic never made it onto my list of worst-case scenarios. What does this feel like? It's just like riding the scariest roller coaster, after eating a corn dog and fries, and they won’t let you off the ride. Here is an inside look into the mind and wild thoughts of a small business owner trying to survive through COVID-19. sculp’d forcibly goes from 75 in-studio classes a week to zero. From 18 employees and instructors to three. I cut as many expenses as I can, call the landlord, call all suppliers & vendors. I close the doors, and encourage my staff and clients to shelter at home. I talk to my webmaster every day – we get our YouTube Channel launched. I update the website, learn WordPress and start coding on The new website is ready to go. Maybe I should go into web design? Two weeks in and sculp’d has over 10,000 streams from our free videos. Amazing! We are killing it! We are going to make it!

Our sculp’d squad knows we need their support – they will, of course, join our new paid platform. We just need to cover our expenses to get through this.

We’ll make it. Three weeks now and I think we are total rock stars! We changed our business model overnight and they love us. They really love us! In just three weeks, sculp’d went from zero online classes per week to 20 and we now have over 100 OnDemand videos in our library. Our total views top 15,000. But wait .... people aren’t converting to paid memberships. They are only using the free videos. What?

Did I totally screw this up? I became a Small Business expert on the loans and Payback Protection Program (PPP). I share my knowledge with all of the other Old Town Boutiques. Do this! Get ready for that! Prepare

sculp’d | Pilates, HIIT, Yoga & Barre Studio 703-567-4442 | 1103 Queen Street, Old Town Alexandria |


"PPP and SBA be damned. We will make it on our own – hard work and grit got us here and we can get through this." -BETSY Weissman

these documents! I woke up at 5 am on April 3rd to get my PPP application submitted first thing. I totally got this. sculp’d will get the loans and we can make it to June (?). We get a lot of member sign ups – for $99/mo they get to choose how they want to work out. 20 Livestream classes per week or anytime on the OnDemand video library. But not enough to sustain us. Can we hit our goals? Will we meet our expenses?



stronger YOU JUST GET





A sleepless night trying to figure out how I make payroll. Not for me but for everyone else. I cover expenses. I am inspired by the dedication of my team, clients and our first responders. I keep going. Alright, alright, alright. I keep pivoting and making it work. The PPP runs out of money. Harvard with their $40 billion endowment got it. An Energy Company with 915 employees got $20 million. WTF is going on here? I have one full time employee and a handful of part-time employees. Wasn’t the loan intended for small businesses like mine? We are done. Time to figure out how to shut down. Don’t talk to me about your PPP – happy you got it but, at the same time, I needed it,too. I Netflix. I signed up for Masterclass. I walk 5 miles every day trying to think, think, think. The way forward is becoming clear to me. Clarity around my team. This industry. What we need to do for the next year.

Our path forward. So many new ideas. We are going to use this as a launchpad to something even better. Live and OnDemand is a hit and it’s not going away. sculp’d is not going away. PPP and SBA be damned. We will make it on our own – hard work and grit got us here and we can get through this.


When will Virginia reopen? That is definitely not within my control. Will our members come back? That is within my control. Play to our strengths and finalize our sanitization protocols.


These last six weeks have passed in a blur. I have barely slept. This roller coaster ride is making me sick, for sure (but in that I’m so scared, I am going to puke, but I love it anyway kind-of-away.)

1103 Queen Street, Old Town Alexandria • (703) 567-4442

So, who’s in for the ride of their “fitness” lives? (But first, sign up for our monthly unlimited already!)


MAY 2020 • 27


ADAPTING in style FEATURING SASSY BOUTIQUE Story by Abby Wolverton | Photography by Giovanni Tario


MAY 2020 • 29


Abby Wolverton

When I opened my shop, Sassy Boutique, in mid-2019 in the Crilley Warehouse with my business partner, Sarah Bryen—owner of Old City Marketing, LLC — neither of us really knew what to expect. It was the first foray into brick-and-mortar for both of us and my first experience owning a business. Our attitude from the get-go: we’re taking our shot and whatever happens, it’s going to be an adventure. Nothing could have prepared either one of us for… you know, the end of the world! It certainly sounds cooler if I describe it that way — and sometimes it even feels that way—but despite the toll COVID-19 has taken on Sassy and countless other small businesses, I often find myself comforted by the age-old adage, "this, too, shall pass."


Dress: Byron Lars Castilian Red Rose


In the meantime, my partner and I have had to find ways to get creative in pivoting our business model to adapt to the crisis. We’ve been working on restructuring and redesigning our website to take direct orders online with a user-friendly interface. We’ve begun offering contactless pickup and delivery within Alexandria free of charge and shipping anywhere in the country for a flat fee!

Perhaps the most novel concept was the introduction of what we like to call “designer face masks.” We reached out to our friends John Otsuki—owner of Creative Cause Solutions in Harrisonburg, VA—and local bartender Michelle Hamo (Brabo’s). Both of them have worked very hard to create masks in a variety of cute cuts, colors, and patterns—including leopard, floral, camo and more!

John donated the first batch of masks he made to his local community in Shenandoah and the proceeds from his GoFundMe provided much needed support to workers he had to furlough due to the crisis. Meanwhile, Michelle, a valued member of our local service industry—all of whom have been deeply affected by COVID-19—has put her killer seamstress skills to good use by partnering up with Sassy. Nothing about this is easy, but we’re all getting by with a little help from our friends. I feel like I’m relearning the meaning of the word “community” as we’re all leaning on each other a little extra right now—and it’s a beautiful thing. Though this will all be over soon, you may as well look cute in the meantime. So come buy a mask and support small businesses! It’s our way of adapting so we can see your beautiful, sassy selves on the other side of this. I would say something about “making lemonade,” but I’ve used up my clichés for one editorial. Instead, I’ll quote my good friend Jeanette and say, “when life gives you lemons, lean into the bounce!”

Sassy Boutique | Crilley Warehouse Executive Offices 218 N Lee St. | Suite 107 | Old Town Alexandria oltownsass sassy_boutique_oldtown

ORDER A BLIND BOX TODAY! Call us. Choose your theme or shop virtually. We will curate the perfect box for you or a friend. SHIPPING IS FREE!

BLUE BOX 915 King St, Alexandria, VA 22314 • (703) 684-1435

Fun for Kids Around the World Empowering Sentiments

what will be in your box? MAY 2020 • 31



WE SHOULD ALL BE DOING DURING COVID-19 Story by Dr. Megan Brown, Owner Mind The Mat Yoga

Photography by Sarah Marcella

These past few months our lives have drastically changed. Our bodies, minds and spirits have likely changed too. We are stressed. We are sitting either too much or abnormally, given our lack of ergonomically correct home office space. Also, we are either trying to prevent illness or trying to recover from illness. Do these 5 exercises just about every day to address all of the above: Rib Mobility - Let’s keep our lungs healthy by improving the movement capacity of the rib cage. Side bending and rotation using your arms are key movements to open up the rib cage and improve lung function. Bridges - We are likely sitting too much these days. As a result, our hip flexors are tighter, our spines more compressed and our glutes (our bum muscles) weaker. Bridges target all of those negatives from sitting, including a bonus upper back treatment!


Standing Glute Kicks - Do this exercise every time you stand up. You only need to spend 10 to 20 seconds with these to help reset your spine and counter excessive sitting. Door Stretch - This move is a posture saver! This door stretch lengthens the pec muscles to allow you to pull your shoulders back and improve your posture without strain. Place your forearms up on the door frame in a “goal post” position. Step one foot in front of the other and lean in through the door.


Cardio - Current research strongly supports that cardiovascular exercise can not only prevent respiratory symptoms with COVID-19 but may also reduce their severity. So, get on out there and walk vigorously or run to your favorite podcast or playlist--responsibly distanced of course. Or stay home and stream my workouts from the safety of your home via I combine cardio, muscular conditioning, strength and flexibility. Dr. Megan Brown is a physical therapist, Pilates instructor and co-owner of Mind the Mat Pilates & Yoga founded right here in Alexandria, Va. Follow her on Instagram @drmeganbrown and @mindthemat for more info.





COMMUNITY Unlimited Yoga, Pilates, Boot Camps & Prenatal Classes

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WWW.MINDTHEMAT.COM • 703 683-2228


We miss you! Schedule your session today! Lessons & Consults Available!

Alexandria, VA 301 S. Washington St. 571.312.4705 10

10 MAY 2020 • 33



Story by Jeanette Wages | Photography by Jeanette Wages & Courtesy of Catoctin Creek Distillery

Known for their unique, local rye whiskeys and gin, Catoctin Creek Distillery took a sharp left detour when COVID19 changed the restaurant and alcohol industry as we know it during an effort to flatten the curve. Once used to working evening hours, stopping by local restaurants to help develop and promote their cocktail menus with their products, John Shope and Avalon Haas now join their production team but not in a way either of them had ever planned, now they work in hand sanitizer production. When “wash your hands” started being something we all heard on the news, radio and randomly on the streets hundreds of times a day, the market was flooded with demand for hand sanitizer, a demand manufacturers couldn’t keep up with. The ownership and team of Catoctin Creek, quickly saw a way they could help the most in need of these supplies, giving brandy head and gin tail (the leftovers from the distilling process) concoctions to emergency responders and assisted living communities for them to make their own hand sanitizer. Seeing the appreciation people had for such a simple act, the team decided they could do more. Shope says by the time the team ordered supplies to create FDA Regulated hand sanitizer, they were already sold out of their first lot, it was all hands on deck including owners, distributors, producers and bottlers to bottle 400-1000 orders of hand sanitizer a day. Days look extremely different for Shope and Haas who miss the bartenders, managers and patrons they have built amazing relationships with. Nights of bar takeovers, cocktail competitions and tastings are on hold. But they are making the most of a hard situation for everyone, and they are having fun while they do it. “Everyone has new nicknames. We’re getting

used to being at the distillery at 9am, spending the day laughing at good jokes and great music, sometimes bad jokes and bad music. We’re being safe, but we are still coming together to make this thing happen because the demand is overwhelming.” While first responders and those most at risk are still prioritized for hand sanitizer, the rest of us can still stop by the distillery, our local ABC or order a shipment of our favorite Catoctin Creek spirits to show our support for their effort, as well as just to enjoy an amazing cocktail at home during social distancing. Until we raise our glasses together again, stay safe and drink local. At the time of printing Catoctin Creek Distillery has run out of hand sanitizer and are happy to be easing back into normal with production of gin, whiskey and brandy.

Catoctin Creek Distillery | 120 W Main St. | Purceville, VA 20132 (540) 751-8404 | MAY 2020 • 35

Katie Slattery MAY 2020 SPOTLIGHT

INOVA HEART & VASCULAR INSTITUTE Story by Kellie Gunderman Photography Courtesy of Invova Media Services

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen many members of the healthcare industry emerge to care for their communities. These dedicated men and women are being celebrated by all for their passion, courage and compassion. Katie Slattery, Assistant Vice President of Ambulatory Services for the Inova Heart and Vascular Institute, is no exception. From the start of the COVID-19 crisis, Katie has been leading her team to re-engineer every facet of her department’s care delivery model to ensure that patient and staff safety have remained a top priority. “The constantly changing situation has led to unprecedented anxiety and uncertainty so, as a leader, it’s been more critical than ever to stay calm, engage all of our team members in response planning and decision making, and also focus forward on how we will rebound for the devastating impact COVID-19 has had.” Following in her late father’s footsteps, who graduated from one of the first master of hospital administration programs in the country (Duke University) in the 1970’s, Katie uses his advice to guide her. “There are principles he taught me, both growing up and as I was entering the field, that I have incorporated into every single day of my career; namely integrity, humility, preparation and adaptability.” Katie is proud to emulate her father's genuine sense of interest and kindness when working with everyone, from environmental services staff and physicians to patients and their families. "The admiration I have for the work that my colleagues have done and continue to do... there are just no words. It is an honor to work alongside to support our patients."


The constantly changing situation has led to unprecedented anxiety and uncertainty so, as a leader, it’s been more critical than ever to stay calm, engage all of our team members in response planning and decision making, and also focus forward on how we will rebound for the devastating impact COVID-19 has had.

“Healthcare is an exceptionally diverse environment that attracts people from a wide array of ethnic, socioeconomic and educational backgrounds that all work together towards a common goal: providing the best care possible for our patients.” Though Katie has undoubtedly already made her father proud, she keeps charging forward, humbly admitting that success for any healthcare leader is marked by the ability to create a shared vision with a diverse and talented team. “In my position, success is largely dependent on building relationships with others so that we can effectively respond to challenges and change with honesty, candor and trust.” Katie’s Inova colleagues are proud of the environment she has created by listening and taking the time to understand the perspectives of others. In addition to enjoying working with others to achieve strategic goals, Katie revels in the fact that no day at Inova is ever the same. “I balance meetings focused on strategy, growth and outcomes with spending time in my operational areas. Sometimes I am here at the hospital for the entire day and other times I may visit multiple care sites to meet with physicians, leaders and team members.” This dynamic role may appear daunting to some, but Katie finds joy in working with so many different types of people in various environments. “Healthcare is an exceptionally diverse environment that attracts people from a wide array of ethnic, socioeconomic and educational backgrounds that all work together towards a common goal: providing the best care possible for our patients.”

Providing exceptional care to others is a mission that everyone in healthcare is extremely passionate about, which has always been one of the driving forces behind Katie’s decision to enter the healthcare industry. But it is Inova’s clear and strong commitment to provide world-class healthcare to each person in every community that made choosing ‘a home’ easy for her. “Inova has always been committed to supporting and promoting programs and services across the communities in which we live and work. In 2018 alone, our total community investment was $323 million and included investments in behavioral health services for families and compassionate care for victims of abuse, funding Medicaid and uninsured medical services, and redoubling our efforts to combat substance abuse and opioid addiction.” When Katie is not working alongside the Inova staff to lead the COVID-19 response within our community, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters at their home in Alexandria. “My husband has been the true hero in our family during the COVID-19 health crisis. He is teleworking full-time from home and singlehandedly managing our 3- and 5-year old girls while I’ve been at work. We have had to get very creative trying to keep them busy, especially on the weekends!”

Our Chamber has a responsibility to make Alexandria the ideal place to work, live and grow your business. As a member, The Chamber ALX becomes a channel to boost your brand, a resource to find opportunities and build relationships, and a seal of approval to give your business credibility in our community. Whether we're advocating on behalf of businesses to local government, hosting events to connect you with others, or giving visibility to businesses and nonprofits that Alexandrians should know about - we're working in your best interest. For more information on the 40 Under 40 Awards Program and The Chamber ALX, contact us at MAY 2020 • 37

DENTAL EMERGENCY DURING QUARANTINE? A Q&A BY DR. KATHLEEN MULLANEY, DDS The Commonwealth of Virginia allowed dental offices to reopen on May 5th. However, should there be a resurgence of Covid 19 infections later in the year and a quarantine is again imposed, these lessons learned will better prepare you to deal with your dental needs.

with some hydrogen peroxide and dry it with a Q-tip. Place the temporary cement inside the crown and put it back in your mouth and bite down for 5 minutes. Try to clean out the extra cement and let your dentist know what product you have used.

What should I do if I have a dental emergency during a quarantine?

Q: What do I do if I chip or break a tooth? A: Call your dentist to let them know. If there is no sensitivity to hot or cold, you should try to avoid chewing in that area of your mouth. Once your dental office is opened again, go in for an evaluation.

This is a question I received often from patients, friends and family. It is a question that you have most likely seen floating around on social media. We have been very proactive in our dental practice to reach out to each of our patients with some answers to the most common dental emergencies. First and foremost, it is important to understand what the symptoms are of a "true" dental emergency. These will generally present with pain, swelling, bleeding in the oral tissues and some signs of infection. If any of these occur, please call your dentist immediately. It is important not to delay if an infection is present, as this could easily turn into a bigger problem.

Q: How can I keep my teeth healthy since I am overdue for my cleaning? A: Try to brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day. Some of the over the counter mouth rinses that have fluoride in them can be good to use in the interim until you can get a professional cleaning and fluoride application. Many of our patients find the "Water Pik" quite helpful to use once or twice a day to keep their mouths cleaner. You can get this in a drug store or online.

We are also available to FaceTime with our patients and utilize "telemedicine" to discuss treatment options. Phone calls, FaceTime and "telemedicine" all allow dental professionals to discuss concerns with their patients. Typically, I can treat the patient with antibiotics right away and refer them to the necessary specialist should the need for a root canal or tooth removal be required.

Q: What do I do if I have a sore in my mouth or gums? A: Again, call your dentist to let them know. We do not want to ignore this if it is an infection. Often, for a minor sore caused by "trauma", you could try rinsing your mouth with warm salt water and peroxide mouth rinse. Again, this should clear up in a few days or you should reach back out to your dentist for a "telemedicine" visit.

Our goal is to keep our patients out of the emergency rooms for dental issues during a quarantine situation. Here are other popular questions, regarding your dental health that you may be needing answers to. Q: What do I do if my temporary crown comes off? A: Call your dentist and let them know. There are some pretty good "temporary cements" that you can get at the drug stores to hold you over for a while. Clean out the inside of your temporary


For Dr. Kathleen Mullaney, being a dentist embodies what she’s all about: her passion for service, for improving every patient’s smile, for caring for her family and for giving back to the community.

FITNESS WAITS FOR NOTHING. Begin your journey at home today. Join us at our studio when we reopen. Personal Training Small Group Sessions Body Transformations Custom Nutrition Open 7-Days/Week

Strength. Intensity. Community. Progress 277 S. Washington St., #120 (703) 721-3074 GetFitStudio_VA

We are looking forward to seeing your smiling faces soon! Team Mullaney is committed to providing you with the best dental care in the safest environment. From gentle cleanings to full mouth rehabilitation, we are here for you!


Kathleen Mullaney DDS 700 N. Fairfax Street #230 Alexandria, VA 22314 571-321-6778

MAY 2020 • 39

The Bentley Creative Agency



Katherine Barkman Story by Brandy McCarthy | Photography by Pixel Empathy & Spencer Bentley

Meet the beautiful Katherine Barkman, professional ballerina with The Washington Ballet. Katherine is from Bucks County, PA and began her ballet training with the famed Nadia Pavlenko at age 14. Just a short 4 years later, she joined Ballet Manila in the Philippines as a principal dancer. In 2018, Katherine won silver medals at two major world-renowned ballet competitions: the USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, MS and at the Varna International Ballet Competition in Bulgaria. It was at the USA IBC that Julie Kent, legendary American Ballet Theatre principal dancer and now Artistic Director of The Washington Ballet, announced Katherine before her round three performance “Grand Pas Classique”. “I remember being starstruck,” she says. “She was my biggest idol. A month later I had a message from Julie Kent inviting me as a guest artist for “The Washington Ballet Welcomes”. Shortly after, I was invited to stay as part of the company and I couldn’t have been happier! It was a dream come true.” Katherine is also an international guest principal at many festivals, galas, and full-length productions all over the world.

Since 2019, she has been a faculty member of The Washington School of Ballet and also teaches adult ballet workshops open to the public. Her classes are some of the most sought after at the studios. These days, she has been teaching her workouts online. Katherine is a ‘Role Model’ for Zarely, a ballet and activewear clothing line, and teaches classes regularly on their Instagram. She is also a ‘Russian Pointe Pro’ for Russian Pointe, a pointe shoe and dance wear brand, where she also teaches regularly on Instagram. During her workouts she shares her daily exercises for flexibility and strength and does a question and answer period at the end of the session. For those a bit more advanced, Katherine instructs a pointe class with World Wide Ballet via Zoom. World Wide Ballet connects dancers all over the world to learn from different teachers and dancers. But what would all the training and workouts be without the performances and the ballerina’s beloved tutu? Katherine has a secret; she has a magic tutu. Originally from the Bolshoi ballet, this magic tutu was given to Katherine by her teacher when she was 17. MAY 2020 • 41

Pixel Empathy

The Bentley Creative Agency

“Even in her state of disrepair you could tell she was special — and she fit me perfectly!” So, they revived the tutu and brought it back to life. Since then she says the magical costume has held her up onstage over 20 times and been to 7 different countries and 8 states. Together, they have won 3 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze medal and a Grand Prix. She says, “This tutu holds many memories and she forever reminds me to be resilient and to be brave, to become more than I am today. Thank you, old friend, for your magic and inspiration in every stitch.” Follow Katherine’s Instagram @katherine_barkman to see her upcoming schedule for ballet workouts and pointe work. Follow Jeté Society of The Washington Ballet on Instagram and Facebook (@twbjetesociety) for all the latest Jeté Society news and updates.

The Bentley Creative Agency

CStronger O V I Than D - 1Ever9

The performing arts like many industries has been gravely affected by COVID-19. Please consider donating to The Washington Ballet’s “Stronger Than Ever” campaign. Every gift will go to ensure that the ballet is able to return to the stage stronger than ever. Through the generous support of Eve and William Lilley, your gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $200,000. Donate at



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MAY 2020 • 43

GET BACK TO YOU with Your CBD Store®

Story by Shells Karle, Owner of Your CBD Store® Alexandria, VA Photography Courtesy of Your CBD Store® Alexandria, VA


Your CBD Store® Alexandria, owned by Alexandria resident Shells Karle, is celebrating the one-year anniversary of its store in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. Putting an emphasis on education and community, Karle has helped dismiss misconceptions about its hemp derived products. “Everything we do is focused on improving the lives of our customers. Most of our customers are looking for alternatives to prescription drugs and to limit the long lists of medications that come with many side effects. The response from Alexandria residents and the surrounding communities has been overwhelmingly positive.” The Alexandria location offers a comfortable and inviting environment where guests can learn about CBD, try samples, and feel empowered to make a confident choice on the best cannabinoid formulation option for them. “We are a plant science company offering cutting edge CBD, CBG, and CBN products. We will also be releasing our USDA certified organic tincture line later this month. Our dedication to bettering the community through transparent product information from high-quality premium product lines backed by third party laboratory testing make SunMed™ CBD products a refreshing new standard in the CBD space.” said Karle. “We are not just another retail chain offering CBD. I am a community store owner who truly cares about my customers and wants to educated CBD consumers around the DMV.”

Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, may be one of the most broadly therapeutic plant extracts of our time. It comes from the cannabis sativa plant, but our CBD is not from the USDA defined marijuana plant. It comes from “Industrial Hemp”. This distinction is what makes the extract legal as well as different in medical applications due to chemical uniqueness with high CBD quantities. Along with its lengthy list of therapeutic properties, it comes with the backing of the medical community, the World Health Organization, the nursing community, and the veterinary community. Since its creation, Your CBD Stores® around the nation have received thousands of 5-star reviews by customers across Google and Facebook. With a focus on quality, Your CBD Store®, has helped drive legislation in several states towards transparency and testing. Third Party lab reports as well as lot and batch numbers can be found on every product. Your CBD Store®, offers a variety of CBD, CBG, and CBN infused products that don’t require a prescription or medical card to buy. Our products, manufactured by SunMed, use a special CO2 extraction process to eliminate the need for chemical solvents to produce a high-quality, full-spectrum CBD. The CBD is then processed again to remove all traces of THC for the company’s broad-spectrum ND-THC (nondetectableTHC) products.

Your CBD Store® Alexandria, VA 301 S Washington St. Suite B, Alexandria, VA 22314 MAY 2020 • 45


THE QUARANTINED GIRL Story by Kellie Gunderman | Photography by Sarah Marcella



All entrepreneurs are known for their creativity, but over the past several weeks they have been forced to search deep down for more innovation than they ever realized they possessed. But for professional creatives like photographer Sarah Marcella someone who literally curates art for a living - finding ways to continue working during a time of quarantine was a bit more of a challenge. While working as the Creative Director and Photography of Stylebook™ in 2015, Sarah had the opportunity to collaborate with some of the most influential business women in the Alexandria area. Their grit, dedication, and community outreach showed her how our community thrives on small businesses. “This is why I love Alexandria. There is a passion for small business unlike anywhere else. The support and respect for one another inspires me daily.” It was from Sarah’s relationship with Old Town businesses like The Enchanted Florist, The Shoe Hive, Mint Condition, and TSALT that Sarah Marcella Creative was eventually born. “Before the heath crisis began, I was shooting 8-12 shoots per week and my busiest weeks had over 20 shoots. There was rarely a day that I wasn't prancing around with a smile on my face, camera in hand, shooting everything from portraits to fitness.” An extrovert through and through, Sarah thrives on working with others from behind the camera. But what does a photographer do when her clients are forced to close their doors and social distancing is being practiced? For Sarah, the choice was simple. Following in her father’s footsteps, Sarah comes from a long line of photographers and has learned from them, as well as from her own experiences, that there will be times when you're just not feeling inspired or motivated and that’s okay. It is in those moments that being kind to yourself is key. “Just allow yourself to know that whatever you're feeling is valid, whatever MAY 2020 • 47

inspired her over the years… but they may not be the type of people you would expect. “I decided that I wanted to recreate historical portraits, but instead of trying to recreate them to look the same, I focused on creating a satirical series that would also express different aspects of my own personality.” Using a camera with wifi built in and a mobile device to control the shutter, Sarah was able to step outside of her comfort zone by not just being the photographer, but also the model. “Overall, this project has, above all else, been a self-exploration. As someone who has struggled with body-conscious issues as well as overanalyzing flaws, this has really forced me to see the positives in my body. I’m not one to enjoy being in front of the camera. I get anxious and frustrated when I see portraits of myself. However, seeing my unedited self and nitpicking through hundreds of photographs to find the right one has brought me on a journey of self-love. It's pretty powerful and I challenge everyone to do the same during this time. We all deserve extra love right now.”

WE ALL DESERVE EXTRA LOVE RIGHT NOW. your situation may be.” The COVID-19 pandemic found Sarah and many photographers like her being forced to take a break from the profession they love so much. Finding new creative outlets to pass the time is what helped Sarah to eventually find her way back. “If you're looking to create but having trouble getting started, try what I did. The first few weeks I didn’t do any photography at all, rather, I started wood-burning. I started creating in a way I haven’t in years. Then I started making friendship bracelets. Next, I moved to learning macramé. Once I exhausted learning new hobbies, I found myself back behind the camera.” For someone who spends at least six days a week surrounded by people, Sarah decided to use the quarantine as a chance to get to know a new group of individuals who have



Sarah began by stepping into the role of Girl with the Stud Necklace, based on the famous oil painting by Dutch Golden Age painter Johannes Vermeer entitled, Girl with The Pearl Earring. “I wanted to capture the innocence and calm emotion behind the original artwork with a juxtaposition of my punk rock vibe.” Other creations from this project included American Goth, which took two hours of hair and makeup to prepare for and Quarantine Couture, which was shot with only eight rolls of toilet paper in various placements but then edited back into the photograph to create the beautiful illusion. “Even with my disclaimer, many people thought I actually owned that much TP!” So many of Sarah's followers were interested in this piece that she eventually released a behind the scenes video on her website.

Sarah wants to encourage all of her fellow photographers to use this unique time to take self-portraits. “You’re the easiest subject to experiment with - there's no judgement! Play with lighting, find your angles and try different poses. When you can finally shoot others again, you'll thank yourself for taking this time to practice.”

A combination of time, talent, the right equipment, and a larger than life imagination not only helped Sarah through a difficult time, but brought joy to so many in Alexandria as they sat on the edge of their seats waiting to see what historical figure they’d get to meet next! “This project has been a way for me to keep myself sane by laughing through the pain.”

Sarah Marcella Creative | 703.785.2686 | | @SarahMarcellaCreative MAY 2020 • 49


Family Dinner Package 12 DINNERS FOR JUST $175

Step One

Call us at 703-922-6222


Step Two

Setup your package. Choose from the menu options below. Your inventory is saved by your phone number.

Step Three

Let us know when when you would like a meal. Hot & Ready and Take N’ Bake available.


Medium Brick Oven 2-Topping Pizza • Torta Della Casa • Pasta Primavera • Chicken Parmigiana Lasagna (Meat or Vegetable) • Spaghetti (Meatball, Sausage, Meat Sauce • Eggplant Rigatoni Norma Salmon in Creamy Dill • Cheese Ravioli • Fetuccini Alfredo • Meat Tortellini • Calzone

Curbside Pickup or Delivery!

(703) 922-6222 | 6124 Franconia Road. | 50 • VIP ALEXANDRIA MAGAZINE


Mindfulness is a practice I promote both in therapy sessions and on a personal level on a daily basis. On some days it feels like a struggle to stay in the moment, while on others it flows with less resistance. According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, “Mindfulness is the awareness that arises from paying attention on purpose, in the present moment and nonjudgmentally”. Practicing mindfulness has been shown to decrease anxiety, stress, chronic pain, and depression among other things. The act of being mindful is something we are born with but quickly forget. The labels we place on our everyday experiences influence our emotions and our interpretation of the world. Focusing on the past and future can create intense sadness and anxiety for people. Since the beginning of the quarantine, I have been providing video-therapy for my clients and I have seen an increase in clients seeking treatment for anxiety and depression. I listen to people’s intimate feelings and thoughts as they cope with their entire world being “turned upside down” as one client put it. About four weeks into the quarantine, I noticed something interesting. People began saying, “I cannot plan for more than just today. Everything is so uncertain.” People were being forced into mindfulness. Clients initially expressed extreme anxiety regarding this realization. Then something happened. For one group of clients, depression hit after the anxiety settled. For another group of clients, a sense of calm emerged. I noticed some general differences between my two groups of therapy clients. Those who struggled the most had a difficult time staying in the moment. They displayed resistance to giving up control of their environment. The “shoulds” were prevalent in their dialogue. They displayed frequent catastrophizingimagining worse case scenarios. Their dialogue was filled with

judgment of everything including themselves. In contrast, the second group was coping well in the midst of this epidemic. These individuals were focused on the here and now. They were focused on what they could control in this moment and were not thinking about future plans. They had stopped resisting what was happening. There was an overall acceptance of what is and not what should be. They released making plans and practiced gratitude daily. They practiced self-compassion. What the quarantine had taught them was how to release what was not serving them. Many of them had spent years struggling to become more mindful. Now that their world had “turned upside down” it appeared they had stopped battling to control everything. There was a newfound realization that all they had attempted to control prior to the pandemic was not really that important. There was a discernment of what really mattered. Acceptance of the moment had granted them some of the inner peace they had been seeking. The future was out of their control and that was OK. As we continue to ponder the meaning of all that is happening in the world, let us all be aware of our thoughts and how they are making us feel. This too shall pass and some will find they are better equipped to remain calm when the storm has passed. Dr. Eleni Boosalis is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and the co-owner of Del Ray Psych & Wellness, LLC. She is passionate about working with people who are seeking to heal and evolve by using a holistic treatment approach.

MAY 2020 • 51