VIP Alexandria Magazine | November 2021

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NOVEMBER 2021

NOVEMBER 2021 • 1


KRISTEN HELPS YOU

Find Home HOME OF THE FREE, B E C A U S E O F T H E B R AV E .

Washingtonian's Best Real Estate Agent 2018-2021 Northern VA Magazine Best Real Estate Agent 2018-2021 DC Modern Luxury Real Estate Award 2020-2021 2021 RealTrends America's Best Real Estate Professionals 703.851.2556 | kristenjones.com | kristen@kristenjones.com | Licensed in VA 109 S. Pitt St, Alexandria, VA 22314 | Equal Housing Opportunity

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A I YA N A AT E L I E R . C O M NOVEMBER 2021 • 3


New Year's Eve Festival of Music & More!

WHAT ARE YOU DOING NEW YEAR'S EVE? Join us in Old Town Alexandria!

Family friendly. Affordable. Entertainment for all ages.

TICKETS ON SALE NOVEMBER 1 More Details . 4 • VIP ALEXANDRIA MAGAZINE

WWW.FIRSTNIGHTALEXANDRIA.ORG


NOVEMBER 2021 • 5


FROM THE PUBLISHER As a Military Spouse who owns her own business, I understand the unique challenges that come with living the military life as well as those that come with running the show and having all of that responsibility resting on my shoulders. Naturally, I’m a huge advocate for veteran and milspouse owned businesses, and Alexandria has some amazing examples of both. Welcome to the biggest issue of VIP Alexandria yet! Join us in celebrating and getting to know these amazing businesses and their exceptional owners, their stories, their struggles—and all the things that make them so unique. A goal, since day one of this magazine, has been to bridge the gap between the local military community and Old Town, bringing them together to make them both shine.

NOVEMBER 2021

While you get to know some of our local heroes and their businesses, read about Greg Gadson, a real-life badass who plays an inspiring character on the big screen and never let the physical challenges he faced get in the way of duty or his dreams. The Battleship actor is someone I particularly admire—especially since the movie is one of my favorites. Lucky for us, Gadson lives right here in Alexandria, and he gave us the honor of sitting down for an interview. Welcome to the issue—we hope you enjoy getting to know all of these incredible people as much as we have. Go out and support them and their businesses and tell them how much you admire their perseverance and sacrifice.

KELLIE GUNDERMAN P U B L I S H E R , V I P A L E X A N D R I A M AG A Z I N E

FLIP • CLICK • TAP

W H E R E P R I N T + D I G I TA L C O L L I D E

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O N T H E C OV E R : G R E G G A D S O N


CONTENTS FEATURES 19

C H A M B E R S P OT L I G H T: J O R DA N W I L H E L M

26

V I P W E D D I N G : A N N C O N A N T + A L E X R U LO N

36

L I S A A N D E R S O N : AC U P U N C T U R E I N D E L R AY

38

TO R R E B OY D : M AS T E R P L A N T H E R A P Y

40

B O N N I E E VA N G E L I S TA + A N D R E W R O S A D O : WO O D L AW N P R E S S W I N E RY

42

L AU R A H ATC H E R : L AU R A H ATC H E R P H OTO G R A P H Y

44

C H R I S C R U M : C R U M ' S S AU C E

46

C H R I S S S M I T H : T R I D E N T AT H L E T I C S

48

T H E U LT I M AT E T E A M : T H E G R E G G A D S O N S TO RY

60

W E L L N E S S I N T H E M I L I TA RY C O M M U N I T Y

66

VIP PROFILE: CHRIS REESE

76

W H AT ' S I N H E R B AG ? C E L E S T E C R U TC H F I E L D

84

T H E H A Z E L O D E S S A R H O D E S S TO RY

88

S U P E R M O M : JAC K I E M U N N

92

A L X I M PAC T: A R T S P I R E

19

38

EVENTS 10

20 26

P R O F E S S I O N A L WO M E N ’ S N E T WO R K C O F F E E & C O N N E C T I O N S TO G O

12

T E DXO R O N O C O B AY PA R K

15

U N I T E D S TAT E S S E N AT E F E D E R A L C R E D I T U N I O N RIBBON-CUTTING

20

D1 RIBBON-CUTTING

22

CARS & COFFEE

24

THE HIDDEN MANSION REEMERGES

32

M O U N T V E R N O N ' S FA L L W I N E F E S I T VA L

40 42

A N D S U N S E T TO U R 54

H O P S N S H I N E FA L L F E S T I VA L

56

S O N O M A C E L L A R 3 0 0 TH C I G A R N I G H T

58

2 N D A N N UA L O L D TOW N OYS T E R W E E K SHUCKING COMPETITION

62

L I V E AT L E N A' S

64

PAS S I O N AT E LY P E T S 1 4 T H B I RT H DAY PA RT Y

70

V I L L AG E B R AU H AU S O K TO B E R F E S T

72

D E L R AY A R T O N T H E AV E N U E

78

B I S H O P B O U T I Q U E 1 0 T H A N N I V E R S A RY

80

W I N E G A L L E RY 1 0 8 4 T H A N N I V E R S A RY

82

ANGEL WINGS

83

WA L K TO B U S T C A N C E R

84 88 66 78

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VO LU M E 3 • I S S U E 9

PUBLISHER KELLIE GUNDERMAN M A N AG I N G E D I TO R C RYS TA L M O S S E R A N D E R S O N E D I TO R A N D R E W G AT E S S O C I A L M E D I A M A N AG E R N ATA L E I G H W E B E R AC C O U N T E X E C U T I V E S M A RT H A C A R U C C I J O R G E M A RT I N E Z S TA F F W R I T E R S AMY ARMSTRONG L I E S E L S C H M I DT CONTRIBUTING WRITERS AMY BEGNAL P H OTO G R A P H E R S JULIE CARRASCO JEFF HEENEY V I C TO R I A M A N C E J O S H WAT K I N S C OV E R P H OTO G R A P H E R J O N AT H A N T H O R P E

W W W.V I PA L X M AG . C O M VIP ALEXANDRIA ALEXANDRIA MAGAZINE MAGAZINE 88 •• VIP


November is a month that undoubtedly reminds us to express and give gratitude. I am so thankful for my ZEN team, our loyal clients, my friends, and my family. As we navigate through this month of thanks, we should also be looking ahead to the month of giving. ZEN has amazing gift set offerings that will give your friends and family the gift of luxury hair. Fine hair, dry hair or somewhere in between, we have the perfect gift set for you and yours. Bonus: The styling product in the set is FREE! Another bonus is that each gift set is beautifully packaged and ready to be gifted. Just ask a ZEN stylist which gift set would be best for your intended. Not only do Kevin Murphy products deliver on their promises with the finest ingredients that nature has to offer, but they also will send your senses and hair to a happy place.

love, maria elizabeth

HYDRATE-ME.WASH

Quench dull, parched hair with this nourishing shampoo infused with Kakadu Plum and Shea Butter, that will replenish your locks with much needed moisture.

HYDRATE-ME.RINSE

A luxurious hydrating and smoothing conditioner that provides an essential moisture boost to nourish dry, damaged hair, leaving it with a healthy looking glow.

SHIMMER.SHINE

just one of the many gift sets we have available!

Add a little shimmer to your shine with a light refelctive treatment mist that smells just as good as it looks Infused with Vitamins, it’s a shimmering spritz of goodness!.

118 N Fayette Street, Alexandria | www.salondezen.com | 703.549.1400 NOVEMBER 2021 • 9


Professional Women’s Network Coffee & Connections To Go photography by jeff heeney

The Chamber ALX recently hosted a safe and outdoor morning networking event in John Carlyle Square Park. Members participated in The Chamber ALX's famous ice breaker question and had the opportunitiy to hear from Focus Data Solutions CEO and Alexandria volunteer extraordinaire, Elizabeth Chisman Moon, who shared her journey.

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love & togetherness The Family Circle Plate will set a tone of love and togetherness in your home. Serve up cookies, or hang on your kitchen wall using the pre-made hole in the back to insert a wire loop. Handcrafted in West Bank by fair trade glass and ceramic artisans working with our partners, Hebron Glass.

10% MILITARY FAMILIES DISCOUNT

thank you for your service.

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

www.tenthousandvillages.com/alexandria

Struggling to find time to evaluate your IT SERVICES?

The Peace-of-Mind to Change Providers

Having the Solutions First Managed Service Program and the opportunity to work with Focus Data Solutions gave us the peace-of-mind we needed to change IT providers. Their wholistic approach to our IT needs sets them apart from our previous providers. COVID showed us that comprehensive management and responsiveness is of paramount importance. You would be hard-pressed to find a provider that can deliver as well as Focus Data Solutions.”

NIC K GEHRIG / Redmon Peyton & Brasw ell / Alexandria, VA

1020 Princess Street Alexandria, VA 22314 703-836-0080

focusdatasolutions.com

Request your assessment now at focusdatasolutions.com/systems-assessment

NOVEMBER 2021 • 11


photography by jeff heeney

TEDxOronocoBayPark recently hosted its 2021 event at The Garden. Featuring local and national voices under the theme of Ripples, the mission of the event was to bring the community together to share a TED-like experience. This marked the second annual event after a hiatus due to the pandemic. The Ripples theme was an illustration of the compounding effects of actions in our ever-changing world. Following the talks, attendees enjoyed heavy hors d’ouvres and an open bar while networking with the speakers and one another.

TEDxOronocoBayPark is made possible by community sponsors, which include: The Goodhart Group, Building Momentum, Mind and Media, XML Financial Group, Alexandria Country Day School, ALX Community, Alexandria Makers Market, CARR Workplaces, and the Episcopal High School. 12 • VIP ALEXANDRIA MAGAZINE


Give yourself and your team the space they deserve. Schedule a tour today! Light filled private offices starting at $650 per month.

NOVEMBER 2021 • 13


Hello Neighbor. Say hello to your new neighborhood credit union.

Bowman Branch Braddock Station STABILITY. SECURITY. SERVICE. since 1935

Madison St. & N. West St.

1310 Braddock Place | Alexandria, VA 22314 across from Braddock Metro • garage parking & validation available

ussfcu.org/BowmanBranch

Membership eligibility required. Federally insured by NCUA.

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photography by jeff heeney

The United States Senate Federal Credit Union recently celebrated the opening of its flagship HQ branch in Alexandria with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The new headquarters building, which is located directly across the street from Braddock Place Metro Sation, is nicknamed the Bertie Bowman Building after the credit union's longest serving board member. “It is with full hearts and extended gratitude that USSFCU honors Mr. Bertie Bowman as the organization's first and only Board Member to receive Emeritus status for his extended service to the U.S. Senate and the United States Senate Federal Credit Union." - Timothy Anderson, USSFCU President & CEO

Following remarks by Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson and Alexandria Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Joe Haggerty, bank leadership posed for pictures and guests enjoyed libations as they explored the new space.

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Service. Integrity. Results. Contact Aaron to set up your listing strategy session today!

Aaron Podolsky

202.271.3050 | podolskygroup.com aaron.podolsky@compass.com podolskygroup

Compass is a licensed real estate brokerage that abides by Equal Housing Opportunity laws. Information is compiled from sources deemed reliable but is not guaranteed. All measurements and square footages are approximate. This is not intended to solicit property already listed. Compass is licensed as Compass Real Estate in DC and as Compass in Virginia and Maryland. 1004 King Street, 1st Floor, Alexandria, VA 22314 | 703.229.8935

“Where Great Service Sells Cars”

www.alexandriatoyota.com 3750 Richmond Hwy Alexandria, VA 22305 NOVEMBER 2021 • 17


REAL ESTATE ABCs

BROUGHT TO YOU BY LET TERS D AND V

DREAM HOME + VA LOANS Vets, active and retired Military: Build your dream home with a VA Construction Loan - these include new construction and renovations on existing homes.

L L O R T E XT M AU R E E N T O D AY ! ITC APAYS TO KNOW YOUR ABCS

Maureen Clyne (c) 703.967.8884 • (o) 703.518.8300 (e) mclyne@mac.com 310 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

Member FINRA & SIPC

 Investment Management  Education Funding  Retirement Planning  Wealth Management McLaughlin Ryder Investments has built a solid reputation as a trustworthy, knowledgeable, full-service investment firm. Our focus is on providing investment advice with integrity and first-class personal service.

Shawn P. McLaughlin, AIF® Founder, President & CEO

1421 Prince Street, Suite 200 Alexandria, Virginia 22314

www.mclaughlinryder.com

703-684-9222

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the chamber alx spotlight

photography by liesel schmidt

Jordan Wilhelm's 10-year active duty career in the Army was filled with unique experiences. “I deployed multiple times to Afghanistan and Iraq and ran homeland protection missions for domestic Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) support throughout the East Coast. During my time in EOD, I was able to see how a large organization can still rapidly evolve and innovate to meet changing requirements,” recalls Wilhelm, who reached the rank of captain. “The integration of capabilities to detect, mitigate and counter chemical, biological and radiological threats was a big part of my experience. Though it sounds saccharine, I truly was honored to work with the best in the world. The ingenuity, dedication and resilience of the people I encountered during my time in the Army impressed on me the importance of building systems and organizations that can convene experts who care, point them to a problem, provide them the tools they need, then get out of their way.” Off active duty since 2015, all of that now comes into play as the owner and founder of the Critical Mass, LLC, a global consulting firm and fast-growing womanowned small business that supports international security assistance programming and implementers. “We help build and sustain impact and capability in difficult operational and bureaucratic environments through building teams, uplifting or 'un-sticking' ongoing operations, strengthening organizations, designing

and delivering strategic messaging, ensuring local sustainability and monitoring and evaluating results. We facilitate technical, program and policy experts around the world as they collaborate on security challenges as varied as understanding public health disinformation in Eastern Europe to countering WMDs in North Africa.” As a resident and business owner in Alexandria with her husband, who is also a military veteran and works as Director of Programs at the Critical Mass, Wilhelm found the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce to be an invaluable resource. “The Alexandria Chamber has been with the Critical Mass from its beginning, helping us navigate the mechanics of starting a business, providing key introductions to foundational elements of our business and now serving as a partner in our growth and helping us define our longer-term strategy,” she states. “It’s been great for our geographically-disparate employees to feel the support and camaraderie of a vibrant hometown team. It’s also just a great group of people to know, and I’d highly encourage other businesses in the city to consider joining.” NOVEMBER 2021 • 19


D1 TRAINING ALEXANDRIA GRAND OPENING

photography by jeff heeney

D1 Alexandria recently welcomed athletes of all ages to celebrate their grand opening! Guests enjoyed athleticbased stations, snacks, pro-athlete appearances and a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

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YOU SET THE GOAL, WE HELP YOU GET THERE. WE OFFER FOUR AGEBASED PROGRAMS: • Rookie (7-11) • Developmental (12-14) • Prep (15-18) • D1 Adult (18+)

The goal is simple: to continue to train athletes who are dedicated to their sport or their fitness goals, regardless of age or athletic background. 6550 LITTLE RIVER TURNPIKE, ALEXANDRIA, VA 22312 (703) 935-5762 | WWW.D1TRAINING.COM/ALEXANDRIA NOVEMBER 2021 • 21


photography by jeff heeney

Craftsman Auto Care recently presented an incredible car showcase in the Manchester Lakes Shopping Plaza. The event was open to the public and the free admission also included coffee, door prizes, live music, an auto trivia challenge and an open shop tour. Car entries were all donated to a local charity.

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LOCAL OFFICE

CALL. SWITCH. SAVE. Matthew McCarthy 4617 Duke St, Alexandria geico.com/alexandria-mccarthy 703-236-1366 | ¡Hablamos Español! Some discounts, coverages, payment plans, and features are not available in all states, in all GEICO companies, or in all situations. Boat and PWC coverages are underwritten by GEICO Marine Insurance Company. Homeowners, renters, and condo coverages are written through non-affiliated insurance companies and are secured through the GEICO Insurance Agency, LLC. Motorcycle and ATV coverages are underwritten by GEICO Indemnity Company. GEICO is a registered service mark of Government Employees Insurance Company, Washington, DC 20076; a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. subsidiary. GEICO Gecko® image © 1999-2021. © 2021 GEICO. 21_662671044

safe • secure • climate-controlled • fully sprinklered storage

VARIOUS SIZES NOW AVAILABLE FOR SALE!

DominionLux

A GARAGE CONDOMINIUM AT DOMINION RACEWAY

Socialize with like-minded car enthusiasts at our private owner’s club. Includes direct access to 2-mile road course & NASCAR Oval. Located just south of Fredericksburg.

DOMINIONLUX.COM | 703.623.8440 NOVEMBER 2021 • 23


CARLYLE HOUSE HISTORIC PARK

The Hidden Mansion Reemerges photography by julie carrasco

Carlyle House recently hosted "The Hidden Mansion Reemerges" Exhibit Opening. Guests enjoyed drinks and hors d'oeuvres on the Magnolia Terrace before embarking on a guided experience of the building's restoration by NOVA Parks.

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J O N DAV I D S A LO N

SPRINGFIELD: 6720 COMMERICE ST., SPRINGFIELD • 703.924.3835 ROSSLYN: 1800 WILSON BLVD., ARLINGTON • 704.248.0480 FAIRFAX: 12233 FAIR LAKES PROMENADE DR., FAIRFAX • 703.815.0100 LEE HEIGHTS: 4522 LEE HWY., ARLINGTON • 571.867.9956

109 N Fairfax St, Alexandria, VA 22314 • @twiststyl

JONDAVIDSALON.NET

Joyeux Action De Graces HAPPY THANKSGIVING

BRUNCH SATURDAY + SUNDAY 9AM-3PM

LUNCH MONDAY - FRIDAY 10AM-3PM

DINNER SUNDAY-THURSDAY 3-8PM FRIDAY + SATURDAY 3-9PM

November Specials! SHASHUKA

( WE E K E N D B U R N C H , O N LY )

HOUSE APPLE CIDER CLOSED ON THANKSGIVING

119 S ROYAL ST, OLD TOWN • (703) 535-8151 • FONTAINEBISTRO.COM

NOVEMBER 2021 • 25


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VIP WEDDING

Ann Conant + Alex Rulon words by liesel schmidt photography by amy and kyle catholic photographers

While swiping right doesn’t always yield anything more than a short-term fling, when Ann Conant and Alex Rulon swiped right after seeing each other’s profiles on Bumble in July 2017, they were starting something that would last forever. An executive assistant in the government, Ann was equally matched to Alex, a Coast Guard officer working in a similar role at the Coast Guard headquarters. The two hit it off. After dating for three years, Alex knew he never wanted to swipe right on anyone else. He popped the question at Sky Meadows State Park in Delaplane, Virginia on November 29, 2020. “We were supposed to go to Ann's parents for Thanksgiving, but canceled lastminute due to a possible COVID exposure,” Alex recalls. “So Ann cooked a turkey for the first time and we had a quiet Thanksgiving alone. We'd been to Sky Meadows before, and after feeding the chickens at the farmstead, I suggested we take a walk up a large hill with a beautiful

view. At the top, we sat down on a bench to enjoy the vista, where I asked Ann to marry me. We found out after the fact that my maternal grandparents got engaged the same weekend 60 years before.” Eight months later, on July 31, 2021, Ann walked down the aisle at the Basilica of St. Mary in Alexandria wearing an off-the-shoulder ivory lace gown with blush undertones and an illusion neckline. After exchanging vows and being pronounced married, Alex and Ann joined their family and friends for a reception at Gunston Hall in Lorton for a reception catered by Rocklands BBQ with on-site grilling and signature drinks of mint juleps and Aperol spritzes. After dining and dancing, the couple cut into their stunning cake: a two-tier lemon pound cake with raspberry filling and buttercream icing. Making the day even sweeter, guests were also treated to a selection of pies and pastries provided by the Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe. NOVEMBER 2021 • 27


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Say, “I do” on the historic grounds of With 550+ acres of breathtaking landscape on the Potomac River and an indoor facility, your opportunities are endless. Schedule a tour and start planning an event for the history books, today! Call 703.550.9220 or email nicole.ryan@gunstonhall.org.

www.GunstonHall.org | Mason Neck, Virginia NOVEMBER 2021 • 29


From start to finish, the entire day was memorable—and made even more so by the guests who attended. “We had people travel from all over the world to be at our wedding, including Hong Kong, Japan, Spain, California and Hawaii,” says Ann. “We also had four branches of the military represented at the wedding. Alex was previously active duty in the Coast Guard and is currently serving in the Reserves—as are many of his friends who attended— and I have brothers who either currently serve or have served in the Marine Corps, Army and Navy.”

Church/Ceremony: The Basilica of St. Mary - Alexandria, VA Reception Venue: George Mason’s Gunston Hall – Lorton, VA Photographer: Amy and Kyle Catholic Photographers – Emmitsburg, MD Wedding Planner/Coordinator: Larissa Wedding Designs – Arlington, VA Florist: Blue Ribbon Floral – Washington, DC Catering: Rocklands BBQ Cake/Desserts: The Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe – Arlington, VA DJ/Entertainment Services: Event Entertainment, LLC Reisterstown, MD Dress: Bridals by Cyndi - Turnersville, NJ Rentals: Sammy’s Rental Inc. - Manassas, VA Transportation: Fleet Transportation Rings: Kings Jewelry – Alexandria, VA Hair: Cheryl Goldsmith - Arlington, VA Make Up: Erika K Beauty - Stafford, VA

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Naturally, there were details of the wedding that were very reflective of Ann and Alex. “We are both history nerds, so not only did we have our reception at a historical site, but we also named our tables after founding fathers and historical figures of the time,” Ann says with a smile. After being sent off with well-wishes, the newly married Rulons honeymooned in the Finger Lakes in New York, with hopes to take their originally planned trip to the UK sometime in the future.


Quality

at a Competitive Price

Everyday

Diamond Engagement Rings Impressive Selection .. Endless Possibilities

KingsJewelry.NET 609 King Street Old Town Alexandria 703-549-0011 Family owned and operated for 65 years.

Open Thurs 10am-8pm Mon-Sat 10am-6pm Closed Sundays

NOVEMBER 2021 • 31


Fall Wine Festival & SUNSET TOUR

photography by jeff heeney

George Washington's Mount Vernon recently hosted its annual Fall Wine Fesitval and Sunset Tour. Guests who purchased tickets were invited to bring a blanket and relax on the East Lawn overlooking the Potomac River while sipping on unlimited samples from Virginia wineries. George & Lady Washington even made an appearance on Piazza.

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Say it with your eyes!

HONORING ALL WHO SERVED

THANK YOU TO OUR VETERANS! Thursday, November 22, 2021 Glory Days Grill would like to thank our veterans for their service by inviting you to dine in with us on Veterans Day! With proper ID , veterans may enjoy one FREE APPETIZER OR A REGULAR ORDER OF BONELESS OR GRILLED BONELESS WINGS! *

GLORYDAYSGRILL.COM

WINK LASH ART

300 S. Washington St., Suite 202 Alexandria, VA 22314 WinkLashArt.com

★ ★ ★ *Proper ID includes: U.S. Uniformed Services ID Card, U.S. Uniformed Retired ID Card, current Leave and Earnings Statement (LES), veterans organization card (ex. American Legion, VFW), US Department of Veterans Affairs ID Card, photograph of yourself in uniform, wearing uniform, DD214 and citation or commendation. Regular order of wings include 8 count of boneless or grilled boneless wings. Dine in or To Go. Not valid with any other coupon, discounts or the Uniform Discount. Valid only on 11/11/21 at NOVA, MD, NC and WV locations. VET DAY

NOVEMBER 2021 • 33


SONOMA CELLAR'S 300 TH

Cigar Night Sonoma Cellar recently celebrated its 300th Cigar Night. Cigar Night is hosted on the Sonoma Cellar outdoor patio every Tuesday evening and features UpTop Cigars and Taco Tuesday Specials.

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LET ’S STAY... WARM, COZY + CHIC! BELLE SLIPPERS | $88

FAYE WOOL HAT | $68

TURTLENECK SWEATER | $298

101 S. ST ASAPH ST., ALEXANDRIA (571) 312-5443 @SHOPMINTCOLLECTIVE

Your “Recognized & Rewarded” Store.

Alexandria 301 S. Washington St. 571.312.4705 NOVEMBER 2021 • 35


changing lives through fitness AND FUN.

PASSION • COMMITMENT • DYNAMIC TRAINERS 410 Calvert Ave. Alexandria, VA 22301 240-230-7705 | staff@tridentathleticsva.com www.tridentathleticsva.com

THE VIP ALEXANDRIA MAGAZINE FAMILY 36 • VIP ALEXANDRIA MAGAZINE

Paid for and authorized by Annetta Catchings for Mayor


"The willingness of America's veterans to sacrifice for our country has earned them our lasting gratitude." jeff miller

join us in supporting our local, veteran + military spouse-owned businesses

NOVEMBER 2021 • 37


military spouse entrepreneur profile

LISA ANDERSON

Navigating Change

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ACUPUNCTURE IN DEL RAY


As the owner of Acupuncture in Del Ray, Lisa Anderson helps her patients deal with imbalances and improve their health. Primarily, she works with women who are improving their fertility and those who have hormonal imbalances. “Acupuncture is for everyone,” she says. “I create customized treatment plans which include shifts in diet to support healing, herbs and, of course, acupuncture. I spend time educating patients on ways they can improve their own health at home.” For Anderson, “home” is an interesting word. Married to an active Army Reservist for the past 13 years, life is an adventure, though she admits she didn’t know what to expect in the beginning. “You learn to get comfortable with not knowing what life has in store for you and become flexible about your plans because they will change often,” she says. “You also learn to ask for help often because your neighbors become like family. And you learn that the amazing bonds you make are for a lifetime. It has been an extremely rewarding experience meeting and connecting to so many families and supporting each other. I am constantly amazed at the warmth and kindness military families show each other, especially when you are new to an area.” Stationed in New Mexico and Alabama before coming to Virginia, it was when they reached Alexandria that Anderson created her practice. Then, in 2016, they faced a move to Massachusetts, leaving Anderson with a decision. “I didn’t know how to keep the practice open

and still support my family,” she recalls. “I knew it was an important move, and we needed to stay together under one roof, so I enlisted the help of a trusted colleague and found an employee and made it work. I put my patients in capable hands and created a whole new normal work schedule. I made it work, and the military has taught me not be afraid to change what 'successful' means to me.” Now with one more move under her belt, Anderson and her family are back in Virginia. “I secretly love the moves because we get to go through our things, especially the kids, and donate and purge things all the time,” she says with a laugh. “Yes, it’s a hard part of life, but military spouses really have moving down to a science. I love to redecorate our homes and repurpose our treasured things. I always get excited learning a new city, and the kids get into it too. They always celebrate when I can find my way to the nearest grocery stores and parks without the GPS.”

ACUPUNCTURE IN DEL RAY 3140 COMMONWEALTH AVE, ALEXANDRIA, VA 22305 703.472.9103 ACUPUNCTUREINDELRAY.MYKAJABI.COM

NOVEMBER 2021 • 39


veteran entrepreneur profile

TORRE BOYD

Words over weapons

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MASTER PLAN THERAPY


After serving eight years in the Army Reserves, Torre Boyd knew that she was meant for another kind of service—one that used words, rather than weapons. “I've always known that private practice would be something that I would do,” she says. “I wanted to create a space for people to express themselves, grow and work through patterns that no longer serve them. Also, as a veteran[-owned] and minority woman-owned business, I wanted to show people that there are providers that look like them and that therapists are humans as well. There is this misconception that therapists are older white men or women and opening my practice showed others that therapy isn't monolithic.” Counseling is deeply rooted in her and it served her well during her time in the Reserves. “My proudest accomplishment in the service was mentoring and providing guidance and leadership for future soldiers to excel in the Army as well as in life,” Boyd notes. While a career in the Army was never her goal, Boyd’s time in the Reserves is something she considers invaluable. “I had been involved with JROTC throughout school and excelled at the program,” she says. “I was also aware of how joining could provide me with tools that would be useful throughout my life in addition to providing me with an opportunity to create and nurture lifetime friendships. I've had family that served and knew that was a path I was interested in pursuing. My time in the military prepared me to be a business owner by throwing

curveballs my way and allowing me to figure out how to overcome those challenges. It also allowed me to meet people from all different types of backgrounds and life experiences and to be able to learn from them.” After becoming a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor in Virginia and Texas, Boyd launched Master Plan Therapy in August of 2020, creating a telehealth practice that caters to working professionals and entrepreneurs. “I help high achievers to trade in their checklist of perfectionism for life satisfaction,” she explains. “We have been able to serve people in a multitude of ways, from serving the LGBTQIA+ community and providing presentations on mental health to working with other organizations and businesses to de-stigmatize mental health in the community and in the workforce.”

MASTER PLAN THERAPY 703.982.0918 HELLO@MASTERPLANTHERAPY.COM MASTERPLANTHERAPY.COM

NOVEMBER 2021 • 41


military spouse + veteran entrepreneurs profile

BONNIE EVANGELISTA +ANDREW ROSADO

The perfect vintage WOODLAWN PRESS WINERY

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Like fine wine aged to perfection, the relationship between Woodlawn Press Winery owners Bonnie Evangelista and Andrew Rosado is full-bodied and complex, layered with joys, heartaches, years of challenges that have tested them and love that has kept them together. Both lovers of wine, the fact that they now make wine together is a testament to the strength of their marriage and their mettle as entrepreneurs, creating a legacy for themselves and their children. In Woodlawn Press Winery, they see something that may pass down through generations and live on, long after they are gone themselves. Before becoming a winemaker, Rosado served as an Army officer for four years, branching as a Chemical Officer, though he served with a Patriot Air Defense Unit for the majority of his Army career. It was during his time in the Army that Rosado started making wine at home, though the idea to actually turn the hobby into a business didn’t come until seven years later. By that point, he’d been separated from the Army for six years and chased a string of jobs that left him unfulfilled. “Starting Woodlawn became this opportunity for Andrew to build and grow something for himself and his family, allowing his creativity to be seen and thrive,” says Evangelista, who works as a Contracting Officer for the DoD Joint Artificial Intelligence Center by day and a “winery aficionada" by night.

Now, Rosado serves as the operational manager and face of the winery to their customers, handling all of the operations and logistics for the wine production. He is also the Customer and Sales Manager and can be found behind the bar most days the winery is open. Meanwhile, Evangelista provides business administrative and accounting support in addition to managing most of the business development and marketing activities. “Overall, building the winery together is a testament to us as a couple,” says Evangelista. “We have similar values that I think allow us to be whatever we need to be in the moment: business partners, mom or dad, husband and wife, whatever. We never want to stop growing professionally or personally, so we’re usually very supportive of each other to try new things at the winery. We may disagree on what to try, but it’s the learning that happens after you try that we crave. Working together as business partners has also brought to light what our priorities as a family are and helped us decide together what efforts we want to be intentional about making happen in our lives. It is so easy for the business to consume everything we do, so we must intentionally create time and space for us to have downtime individually, as a family, or as a couple. We have to want these moments enough that we are willing to say ‘no’ to everything else and plan these moments.”

WOODLAWN PRESS WINERY 8733-B COOPER ROAD, ALEXANDRIA, VA 22309 703.828.7120 WPWINERY.COM

NOVEMBER 2021 • 43


veteran entrepreneur profile

LAURA HATCHER

Commanding the camera LAURA HATCHER PHOTOGRAPHY

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While most people would fail to see the similarities between photography and military service, Laura Hatcher finds a deep connection to the two that not only makes her love her job as a professional photographer, but excel at it. “I know why this brings me so much joy,” she says. “I’m back in command. At my studio, I’m in control. I get to put people’s fear at ease. I’m solving problems. I’m doing all the things I learned in the military.” Joining the Navy in 1987, Hatcher climbed the ranks with determination to prove that she could exceed expectations that were placed on her because of her race and gender. “I always made a point of doing anything a man could do, just as well, if not better. But as women, sometimes that means we have to work twice as hard,” Hatcher says. Her hard work took her far in her military career, and Hatcher served as the first Ship’s Intelligence Officer for the USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH (CVN-77), receiving not only recognition but also a kiss on the cheek from the ship’s namesake, President Bush, in 2009. She also served as Commanding Officer, Navy Expeditionary Intelligence Command in Dam Neck, Virginia in 2011 and retired as a captain in 2018. A year after retirement, Hatcher realized that she wanted to pursue something that would allow the creativity she had long abandoned to shine. That something was photography. The majority of Hatcher’s clients are veterans, allowing her the opportunity to mentor “above and beyond” photography as they face transitioning out of military life. The greatest reward she finds in her job is helping veterans preserve their legacy through her photography. As a result, Hatcher was awarded the 2021 Trailblazer Award by the Virginia Department of Veteran Services. Recently, SBDC Alexandria endorsed her as their 2021 Veteran of the Year nominee.

As a photographer and veteran, Hatcher memorializes military ceremonies and enjoys projects that capture a piece of history. During the summer of 2021, she and her youngest son followed and documented over 20 women motorcycle riders from Portland, Oregon to Arlington, Virginia. Harley Davidson and Women’s Motorcycle Tours sponsored the event to commemorate the 100th (+1) anniversary of the 19th Amendment—the women’s right to vote. Partial registration proceeds supported Final Salute, Inc., a non-profit that provides homeless women veterans with safe and suitable housing. In addition to events and ceremonies, Hatcher specializes in professional headshots. She lives in Alexandria with her husband and three sons. Her studio is located in Old Town Alexandria.

LAURA HATCHER PHOTOGRAPHY LAURAHATCHERPHOTOGRAPHY.COM IG.COM/SPIKENAVY

NOVEMBER 2021 • 45


veteran entrepreneur profile 46 • VIP ALEXANDRIA MAGAZINE

CHRIS CRUM

Quiet heat CRUM'S SAUCE


There’s a special mindset and determination required to successfully launch a business, not to mention dedication to the task at hand, a vision for the future and a plan to execute. It also takes logic—knowledge of when to pivot and change the strategy, when to bring in more help, when to hunker down and wait for the perfect opportunity and when to push ahead no matter what. As the owner and founder of Crum’s Hot Sauce, Christopher Crum possesses all of those things— characteristics that serve him well in business and were crucial during his 10 years in the Army from 1994 until his honorable discharge in 2004. A "quiet professional, Crum served as a Special Forces Engineer Sergeant in the 10th Special Forces Group, during which time he was often in the thick of the action, serving two tours in Kosovo between 1999 and 2001 as well as two in Iraq in 2003 and 2004. After his separation from the Army in 2004, Crum got a contract job with Triple Canopy, which took him back to Iraq in 2005. Throughout it all, Crum always maintained his sense of home by keeping container gardens. By happy accident,

he found himself growing peppers—and so were sown the seeds of Crum’s Hot Sauce. Crum now works with his partners, brothers Doug and Russell Clift, who share his vision and help support the company’s forward motion. Without the help of his co-founders, the Clift brothers, Crum might have never gotten the brand off the ground. Offering a variety of flavors that run the gamut from slightly sweet and smoky to those with some major heat balanced by a tinge of fruitiness, the line of sauces have gained a following that proves Crum’s vision and his knowledge. More special than the flavor of the sauces, however, is the ties that Crum’s Hot Sauce has to the Green Beret Foundation (GBF). Crum's Hot Sauce donates five percent of their annual profits back to GBF. “I’ve lost friends to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and cannot comprehend the pain and loss their families have endured,” says Crum. “The Green Beret Foundation takes care of the needs of families in a variety of ways, so we’re proud to be able to give them financial support to help further their work.” In addition, Crum’s Hot Sauce also sponsors the Green Beret Classic golf tournament at the Army Navy Country Club.

CRUM'S SAUCE TO ORDER ONLINE OR FIND A LIST OF LOCAL DISTRIBUTORS: CRUMSSAUCE.COM

NOVEMBER 2021 • 47


veteran entrepreneur profile

CHRISS SMITH

Never out of the fight

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TRIDENT ATHLETICS


As a member of Seal Team 5 and other Special Mission units for 12 years, Chriss Smith had to be in top shape at all times. Even after separating from the Navy, the mindset that he had developed remained a driving force and Smith used that drive to start his own CrossFit gym, co-founded with his wife. “The military showed me that anything is possible if you are willing to work hard for what you want. But first, you have to know what you want,” says Smith. “Otherwise, you're just spitting in the wind. It provided structure, discipline and intentionality to move toward your goals, connect with people and build strong teams and teammates. It offered a culture that I needed at the time to grow. It taught me how to lead and how to follow and provided me with opportunities to fail, fall down and get back up and try again—a couple of valuable lessons that directly correlate in the business world.” Since opening in 2010, Trident Athletics has been a place for athletes of all levels to come and work out, push their limits and reach new goals. It’s also been a place for community. “We have a unique ability to connect with all types of athletes, meet them where they are in their fitness journey and provide support and guidance through their journey,” Smith says. “Sprinkle a few challenging but doable workouts in there and you have the magic sauce to change people's lives, both inside the gym and out.”

Boasting a training cadre of 30 trainers ranging from 11 years’ experience to three months, Trident is not only an athlete training gym, but also a coach’s training gym. “Most of our trainers are homebred, meaning that they were first members who loved what they experienced within the gym and now want to pass those experiences on to other members,” Smith explains. As a business owner, Smith finds fulfillment in ways that, while less adrenaline-inducing than Special Missions, are still intensely satisfying. “I absolutely love creating meaningful relationships,” he says. “Athletics is just one avenue I use to make an impact with others. I love the smiles when people do something they thought they could never accomplish. I love the energy that we create, a ripple of positivity and accomplishment in our community. But most of all, I love giving high fives.”

TRIDENT ATHLETICS 410 CALVERT AVE., ALEXANDRIA, VA 22301 240.230.7705 TRIDENTATHLETICSVA.COM

NOVEMBER 2021 • 49


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The Ultimate Team THE GREG GADSON STORY

words by amy armstrong + liesel schmidt photography by jonathan thorpe Special thanks to Rex Management's Noe Landini and Dave Thompson

NOVEMBER 2021 • 51


It’s a word that has long been a part of Greg Gadson’s ethos, a way of life since he was a linebacker for West Point’s Black Knights. It’s been foundational to his life from days plowing through the fray of solid players on opposing teams under the bright lights of the gridiron to his career in the Army. And in 2007 when his Humvee in Iraq was hit, teamwork once again came into play as all the men inside were thrown into the air from the force of the explosion. The event was irony at its worst. Gadson was, at the time, on the way back to headquarters after attending a memorial service for two young men that served in the same brigade who had been killed four days earlier when an IED (improvised explosive device) exploded, striking the vehicle. “That’s when I got hit,” Gadson says. “My mindset at the time is that I am still literally trying to process the sacrifice of these young men and their families, and then, BAM! I get hit. I am thinking, 'son of a b*tch.’ I knew it was an IED.” It may have been anywhere from 10 seconds to a full minute between the time the vehicle was struck and when Gadson realized he was laying on his back on the ground. He can’t remember. He doesn’t know. What he does remember is the 15,000 lb. Humvee propelled from the ground. He was in the front passenger seat when the explosion sent him flying out of the vehicle, seeming as if slow motion took over.

“I’m mad. I am cursing. I’m flying through the air, mad. hitting thecursing. groundI’m and coming to athe rolling I’m I am flying through air, stop on back, I’m wounded. I cannot move, hitting themy ground and coming to a rolling stop on my and this is serious. A thousand thoughts go back, I’m wounded. I cannot move, and this is serious. through your headgoin a very short of A thousand thoughts through your headperiod in a very time.period The last thing said is, ‘God, I don’t short of time. TheI last thing I said is, ‘God, I want don’t to dietohere,’ andand then I was want die here,’ then I wasout.” out.

That’s when Gadson’s definition of “teamwork” stepped up, playing a crucial supportive role for him. Gadson believes that a team isn’t limited to a specific organization 52 • VIP ALEXANDRIA MAGAZINE

at a certain time, such as what he experienced playing football. Rather, his version is that a true team lasts forever. The actions of his former football teammates proved his definition accurate when they learned of his injury. “One of my former teammates met me at the hospital in the green zone when he found out I was wounded,” Gadson says. “He was with me all the way to Germany. He was allowed to accompany me and fly with me.” Gadson’s only memory of that is what others told him. Still, it doesn’t diminish his appreciation. Another football teammate met him at Walter Reed. Yet another was serving at Walter Reed as a doctor and was in charge of Gadson’s rehabilitation. “I was never alone,” he says. Over the next weeks, Gadson’s team became even more important as he faced a challenge that he never foresaw when rushing the 50-yard line on the field all the years before. The Humvee explosion caused massive trauma to his lower extremities, requiring the field medics to pump 129 pints of blood through his body throughout the first night. He was stabilized in Germany and then transferred Stateside to Walter Reed, where he underwent surgeries every other day to repair blood vessels and clean his wounds.


interested. “I wasn’t ready to retire. I made it known to the Army that I wanted to continue to serve,” Gadson says, adding that the military was not paying him for how fast he could run, at least not at his higher rank. “I did have to go through the process and make a case that I could still contribute.”

A week later, the blood vessels in Gadson’s left leg could no longer sustain blood flow. He started to bleed to death. The application of a tourniquet by a quickthinking ICU nurse saved Gadson’s life as he was taken to the operating room for an amputation. The next day, the blood vessels in his right leg failed. Doctors tried removal of a vein from his left bicep, attempting to save the leg. At the time, he was no longer in an induced coma and could communicate clearly with his doctors. “It was never going to work as it was intended,” Gadson says. “I had already lost the left leg. I said, ‘Get rid of it.’” The decision was a logical one in Gadson’s mind. He believed his quality of life with two prosthetic legs would be better than with one prosthetic and a struggling biological limb. Besides, he wasn’t finished serving his country. Because of his condition, however, Army leadership told him he could be medically retired. Gadson wasn’t

NOVEMBER 2021 • 53


My viewpoint of our national journey is that laws and regulations can change behavior, but a man or a woman has to change their heart.

He made the point that colonels are deployable even without biological legs. They aren’t on the front line; they are evaluating information, and that isn’t accomplished by legs. His point was validated. Unfortunately, US military action in Afghanistan and Iraq brought a significant increase in the numbers of personnel returning with serious, life-altering injuries—something that military leadership never expected. Having gone through injury and recovery, Gadson was an obvious pick to head up the Army’s new wounded warrior group with its specific mission to provide extended care for its wounded and help those members transition to new occupations or retirement. He served two years as the director of the Army Wounded Warrior program before assuming command of Fort Belvoir in Fairfax, Virginia in 2012 and later retired from active duty in 2014. Now, Gadson is a sought-after motivational speaker appearing at elementary and high schools as well as major universities. His story is shared with professional football players—particularly the New York Giants. He’s also co-owner of Patriot Strategies, a government contracting firm. Together with several former West Point football teammates, he jointly owns and has launched an app with the goal of helping users identify their own cultural and ethnic biases. Aptly named CulturePop, the app’s website 54 • VIP ALEXANDRIA MAGAZINE


advertises it as “the only profile-free and personalized employee application to accelerate the inclusive and inquisitive culture.” Noting the social upheaval of summer 2000, Gadson said the United States must come together to address the challenges of our past. “My viewpoint of our national journey is that laws and regulations can change behavior, but a man or a woman has to change their heart,” Gadson says, adding that the new app gives users the opportunity to anonymously evaluate their own biases. “We need to understand our thoughts and our perspectives. Unless we learn to appreciate our fellow person, we are not going to make significant change. We’ve got work to do, and I want to be part of that work.” As significant as his work behind the scenes is, Gadson has also left his mark on Hollywood. Playing the role of Lt. Col. Mick Canales, a double-leg amputee whose recovery is interrupted while fighting aliens invading Earth, he became part of a team once again, working on the 2012

blockbuster movie, Battleship. Filming in 2010, it had been three years since Gadson felt the true connection of teamwork. “My favorite part of filming was working with everybody. It was not a particular scene. It was the teamwork,” Gadson says. “Teamwork is what I was missing in my life at that point. The movie gave me a team, a mission, a focus.” Teamwork continues to be paramount in Gadson’s life, the only way that he believes the challenges of life are surmountable. From his time at West Point to life post-Army, he’s seen the importance of having a team in his corner, watching his six. And no matter the time or place, he will always be there for his team—and they, for him.

Gadson made his acting debut in Battleship, a 2012 American science fiction naval war film, as Lieutenant Colonel Mick Canales, playing a war veteran who regains his appetite for the fight when Oahu is threatened by an alien attack. Director Peter Berg, a New York Giants fan, had witnessed Gadson's relationship with the team. This, in addition to Gadson's picture featured in National Geographic, inspired Berg to cast him as an army officer trying to recover from the loss of his legs. FUN FACT: While filming Battleship, Gadson ironically followed the advice of family and friends when he "broke a leg." It was, in fact, his prosthetic limb that broke and delayed filming for a short period of time. NOVEMBER 2021 • 55


photography by jeff heeney

Hops N Shine recently hosted their annual Fall Festival. The family-friendly event featured pumpkin painting for the kids and fall food specials as well as a new fall cocktail menu for the 'big kids' to responsibly explore!

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MAGAZINE

MOST INSPIRING WOMEN OF ALEXANDRIA Each year, VIP Alexandria Magazine selects 15 local women to be featured in the Annual February ‘Go Red for Women’ Issue as Alexandria’s Most Inspiring Women of the Year. Nominations are accepted and recipients of the award are selected based on their recent achievements and willingness to support their community and fellow female professionals. The Go Red for Women Issue is also used to raise awareness and donations for the American Heart Association’s ‘Go Red for Women’ Initative. To nominate a local woman for the Go Red For Women Issue of VIP Alexandria Magazine, please email hello@vipalexandriamag.com NOVEMBER 2021 • 57


2ND ANNUAL OLD TOWN OYSTER WEEK

Shucking Competition photography by jeff heeney

Old Town Business Association recently celebrated Old Town Oyster Week with Oyster and Guinness pairings available all week long, but the excitement did not end there. Participating restaurants gathered at Vola's Airstream Patio where their chefs put their shucking skills to the test for the 2nd Annual Chef's Shucking Contest. In the end, The Wharf took first place with Fish Market in second and Vola's Dockside in third. Following the contest, guests enjoyed live music by Driven to Clarity, drinks and, of course, oysters prepared in various ways by the participating restaurants.

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Cheers to 35 Years of Good Times & Great Memories

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Wellness in the Military Community

BROUGHT TO YOU BY DEL RAY PSYCH & WELLNESS story by amy begnal, eds, lpc, military spouse

"While suffering is inevitable and universal, we can always choose how we respond.” - Edith Eger As a military spouse and clinician, I’ve recognized over the years how mental health resiliency skills are emphasized and inherent among military families. For me, these skills emerged as I learned to adapt to military life while pursuing a career in mental health. My hope is that individuals will feel inspired to intentionally implement the following skills to augment the power of choice. “Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, nonjudgmentally.” - Jon KabatZinn By increasing awareness of how we respond to the alltoo-common military demands, we begin to notice how our internal experiences of external circumstances impact our overall wellbeing. A seemingly adopted skill I’ve recognized in many military spouses, including myself, is the power to focus on the present moment. Present, non-judgmental awareness allows us the opportunity to avoid otherwise uncomfortable experiences of anxiety, fear and frustration at events that may occur in the future. Practicing mindfulness preserves energy by dissipating threat responses from catastrophic anticipation of an event or outcome that has not yet transpired. This energy is essential to our ability to plan and implement solutions when the need arises. 60 60 •• VIP VIP ALEXANDRIA ALEXANDRIA MAGAZINE MAGAZINE


“Radical acceptance rests on letting go of the illusion of control and a willingness to notice and accept things as they are right now, without judging.” - Marsha Linehan In addition to practicing mindfulness, military families demonstrate acceptance of circumstances outside their control. Military families tend to accept and tolerate disruption of career goals or children's education, lonely holidays and the loss of shared pivotal moments (including pregnancies and the birth of children during deployments) and continuously bid farewell to connections and community. These losses are a constant reminder of the reality of our experiences and what little control we have over them. Radical acceptance is not helplessness nor hopelessness; rather it’s recognizing that suffering is unavoidable and that resistance to suffering only creates more suffering. Acceptance is the only viable option that supports us in tolerating distress through implementing problem-solving skills like productive planning, recognition of strengths by remembering one’s success in managing past adversities and tapping into additional resources or community. In practicing these skills, military families often develop a great sense of flexibility, resiliency and some great stories.

“We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can’t have both. Not at the same time.” - Brene Brown In her book, Rising Strong, Brene Brown defines vulnerability as “having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome.” Military families know vulnerability. They welcome it in order to build supportive relationships and create a sense of belonging. Vulnerability is the key to fostering connections that inevitably remind us to practice radical acceptance as a community, to use humor and creativity in efforts to make the difficulties that accompany military life just a little more tolerable and to offer validation, empathy and resources compassionately.

MEET AMY BEGNAL, EDS, LPC Amy Begnal, EdS, is a Licensed Professional Counselor at Del Ray Psych & Wellness, LLC. She has a strong desire to work with individuals, families or couples who strive to experience an increased satisfaction in their relationships with themselves or with others. Amy offers a gentle and non-judgmental therapeutic. Amy is dedicated to altruistic efforts including supporting military families, homeless outreach, domestic abuse advocacy and animal welfare. Additionally, she is a mother and a wife who enjoys exploring the outdoors, traveling, engaging in physical activity and seeking opportunities for personal growth. Visit Del Ray Psych online at www.delraypsych.com

“Frustration at not having things exactly as we want is often accompanied by an irrational, but pervasive sense of isolation.” - Kristin Neff In her research, Kristin Neff reminds us that the word "compassion" means “to suffer with.” She differentiates self-pity, which contributes to insecurities, feeling insufficient and isolation, with compassion through the recognition of common humanity. Military communities have an incredible opportunity to implement compassion through shared experiences and universality. The courage to build such relationships, accompanied by the acceptance to repeatedly say farewell, is a shared experience for military families. NOVEMBER 2021 • 61


Oktoberfest

photography by julie carrasco

Lena's Beer Garden recently celebrated Oktoberfest with beer specials, German fare and live music by Justin Trawick & the Common Good.

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NOVEMBER 2021 • 63


photography by victoria mance

Passionately Pets recently celebrated its 14th birthday with the purrr-fect paw-ty! Passionately Pets has been serving the pet lovers of the Del Ray community for 14 years, so it's no wonder why so many furry friends (and their humans) came out to celebrate prior to the annual Del Ray Halloween Parade. The event featured something for everyone, including a dog fitness course from Wholistic Hound, nail trims from Pawsh Dog Wash, Pups n Paint run by Project Second Chance, cookie decorating & sweet treats from Sugarcoated Bakery, bandanas from Handmade by Antje, Passionately Pets Shop, live music by November Morning and tacos by BrewFoodVA.

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life is precious, war is constant + beauty can be born out of calamity words by liesel schmidt photography by chris reese

additional three months of activation, I shot over 2,500 photos and collected hundreds from my fellow Marines,” Reese explains. “The result was simply a video ‘cruise book’ of our tour of duty that was shared with everyone in the unit. Consequently, my work caught the eye of others and by 2005, we turned these photos into a traveling tour that visited cities across the country over the next two years. The exhibit caught the eye of the

An avid photographer from an early age, Chris Reese was lucky to have a front-row seat to some of the most spectacular images of the Middle East conflict during his military career. Those scenes brought home not only the moments of war, but the moments of peace. When he was called to active duty in 2003 with the Marine Corps 4th Civil Affairs Group based out of Anacostia Naval Station, Reese owned a business that included a focus on digital photography and video production. Naturally, when he left for war, he took his camera with him. By then, Reese had been a Marine for 11 years—serving from 1992. He would eventually serve 12 more years until 2015, mostly as a reservist. Because the Marine unit didn’t have a billet for a combat correspondent, the job fell to Reese. “Over my seven-month deployment and NOVEMBER NOVEMBER 2021 2021 •• 67 67


[the] Marine Corps headquarters in the Pentagon, and they recruited me to join the combat correspondents’ group. My final years in the Corps were spent supporting national public affairs and community outreach events.”

Lt. Col. Dysart playing patty-cake with a child

It was the subjects of the photos that made such an impression, and Reese has his favorites among them. “The first is an elevated shot of the ancient Babylonian walls in the foreground with the newer Saddam-built walls off in the distance,” he says. “It is a reminder that [in] over 3,000 years of history, life is precious, war is constant and beauty can be born out of calamity. The second is a shot I took on our second day in Kuwait, when our camp fell under rocket and missile attack. A projectile landed 300 yards from our tent and sent a mushroom cloud high into the sky. Not knowing if it released deadly toxins into the air, we donned our gas masks and ran to the closest bunker, where we sat for two hours. I shot this image looking down the line of Marines hunkered tight, rifles in hand, waiting for the next move. It reminds me that life can often suck, but if you are mentally and physically prepared, you can overcome tremendous obstacles.” Since 2006, Reese owns and operates Revolve Solutions, LLC, located in Old Town, Alexandria. The service-disabled veteran-owned small business is now also a government contractor and has pivoted to be a services company focused on strategic communications, IT portfolio analysis, training and education.

Arches in newly rebuilt walls of Babylon

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Babylon ruins

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NOVEMBER 2021 • 69


OKTOBERFEST photography by josh watkins

Once again, Village Brauhuas in Old Town impressed with its Oktoberfest festivities. Bavarian Fest Kegs were tapped, offering the and and most original lineup you can find in the area. The authentic beers were paired with traditional Munich fare like half-roasted chickens, smoked turkey legs, schnitzels and sausages. Village Brauhaus guests and patrons slipped into their dirndls and lederhosen to enjoy the live music by Oompah bands that stopped by for a visit from all over the country.

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3RD ANNUAL SHOP LOCAL

Ask us how you can feature your product in our Shop Local Holiday Gift Guide! Reach over 65k people in one month for less than a cup of coffee per day!

hello@vipalexandriamag.com NOVEMBER 2021 • 71


photography by jeff heeney

Despite the power outage that effected most of historic Del Ray, the popular regional multicultural arts and music festival recently took place along Mount Vernon Avenue. Attendees were greeted by more than 300 artists, musicians, food vendors and children's activities. Be sure to venture out into Del Ray to shop at the boutiques and support the local restaurants that were forced to close on what should have been one of the busiest days of the year.

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What's FEATURING CELESTE CRUTCHFIELD introduction by liesel schmidt

While most people know Celeste Crutchfield as the owner of Kiskadee Boutique, she’s got a whole other layer under those stylish clothes. Throughout a 10-year career in the Air Force—six in active duty and four as a Reservist—Crutchfield was always a fashionista, something that wearing a uniform precluded. But while she shed the garb, the lessons that military service taught her still stay with her. "It taught me one of the most important things about being a boss owner, which is being a boss," she notes. "I gained a lot of experience leading others and working with a lot of different personalities." Being a business owner naturally comes with its challenges, not the least of which is balance. As the mother of two teenaged girls, Crutchfield works hard to make time for everything. “I make sure to prioritize them 76 • VIP ALEXANDRIA MAGAZINE

as much as I can,” she says of her daughters. “They will always be number one to me, so sometimes the business owner aspect can take a back seat for a moment. I let that go and know that not everything has to be perfect all of the time.”

1. Haute Shore Purse My purse is from a line we carry at the store called Haute Shore. I love that it is washable (made from Neoprene) and I'm a sucker for anything with a camouflage print.

2. Aesop Products I recently discovered Aesop on a business trip. I bought pretty much everything they make, but I keep these two items in my purse: the hand sanitizer and the face spray. They both smell amazing and fresh. They always lift my spirits.


3. Tide Pen The Tide Pen is a necessity. I am constantly spilling coffee on anything that is light-colored. The Tide Pen is my savior.

4. AirPods I always have my AirPods with me. Whether it's taking a phone call or listening to my favorite podcast or music, I use them multiple times a day. They also need a sparkly pink case to house them, of course.

5. Business Card Holder I give out a lot of business cards so I always have my cardholder filled up and ready to hand one out.

6. Reading Glasses We have really cute readers in the store. I love ones with spotted frames. If you have to wear readers, you might as well wear cute ones!

in her bag? 7. Challenge Coin

11. Finally, Sunglasses

This coin is the challenge coin from my last unit in the Air Force. If your unit has a challenge coin, you are supposed to keep it on you at all times. If someone whips out their coin and challenges you and you don't have it, you have to buy the round. Old habits die hard so I still keep mine in my wallet on the off chance I'm hanging out with military friends and they challenge me.

I love sunglasses and rotate pairs often. These happen to be from Kiskadee. I love the green frame on these.

8. Fenty Beauty Lip Products I'm a huge fan of the lip colors from Fenty Beauty. The colors are amazing and they stay put. This one is in my bag at all times.

9. Kindle E-Reader I always have my Kindle on me. I have to get in the pick up line early for my daughter's school. My Kindle allows me to read while I wait.

10. Phone

Of course, my phone. I consider it my fifth limb at this point. Repping the Broncos with my case, too. Speaking of phones, I keep my backup charger on me at all times.

sho p kiskade e.co m NOVEMBER 2021 • 77


B I S H O P

B O U T I Q U E

photography by julie carrasco

Bishop Boutique recently celebrated its tenth anniversary. Guests enjoyed charcuterie and wine, served by Paddy's Pop-Up Pub, as well as 10% off everything in the store. You can visit Bishop Boutique at 815-B King Street, Alexandria or shop online at bishopboutique.com.

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wine tasting

photography by jeff heeney

Wine Gallery 108 recently celebrated its 4th Anniversary with a special wine tasting. Guests also enjoyed a raffle, truffle chocolates, popcorn-based treats by Chef Leland of Sin Pop Snacks and awardwinning goat cheese by Firefly Farms.

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NATIONAL BREAST CENTER FOUNDATION

Angel Wings Once again this year, the Angel Wings, were a wellrecognized symbol of the Walk to Bust Cance which made their way all around the city of Alexandria during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. The original wings, painted by Alexandria resident and breast cancer warrior, Mary Edwards, and her family, were housed in Founder's Hall/South Block at 106 N. Lee Street during the month of October. Two large replicas moved around daily to local businesses, supporters, sponsors, restaurants, and more.

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photography by josh watkins

The National Breast Center Foundation recently hosted the 6th Annual Walk to Bust Cancer at Fort Hunt Park. The walk supports women in need battling breast cancer.

NOVEMBER 2021 • 83


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LIFE • LOVE • LEGACY

The Hazel Odessa Rhodes Story words by liesel schmidt

|

photos courtesy of hazel o salon

As an Army wife, Hazel Odessa Rhodes knew she needed to have a skill that would be easily taken to any station that her husband, Tom, was sent. It was this and her love of style and “all things girly” that inspired her to attend the Shelton Beauty College in Newport News while Tom was stationed at Ft. Eustis. The year was 1951. By 1965, Tom and Hazel had a child and had been around the world to France and back. They found themselves stationed at Ft. Belvoir. It was there that Hazel truly built her career as a beautician for a clientele of Army wives and her family grew through the addition of five more children—four of whom would later go on to join the Army themselves. Both Hazel and Tom were active in their community, making regular financial contributions and volunteering much of their time to local organizations, especially the church. Hazel joined the Woodlawn African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1968, ushered in the church, joined the choir, became President of the Food Bank and led several initiatives to support the sick and elderly in addition to working full-time with Fairfax County Food Services. After being sent to Vietnam in 1968 and

Thailand in 1969, Tom returned home and taught Sunday school as well as volunteered to serve on the Salvation Army's mobile food truck, serving soup and hot chocolate to those in need in the winters.

she used that time to connect with and counsel women, leaving their hair beautiful and souls refreshed. - Ni k i t a M o n t go m e r y

Generations later, Hazel served as her granddaughters’ inspiration for a salon in Old Town—one that, consequently, bears her name. Opened in 2019, Hazel O. Salon is one of the few in the country that fully services all hair types. With stylists from all backgrounds and specialties, the salon performs a wide variety of services that accommodate guests with textured hair, as well as those who do not. “My fondest memories of my grandmother are of her doing my hair and watching her do other women’s hair,” NOVEMBER 2021 • 85


the salon is a legacy because it embodies her story... it also provides an opportunity for women from different backgrounds within old town and alexandria to connect. says Nikita Montgomery, co-founder and co-owner of Hazel O., along with her cousin, Marcia Rhodes-Tyler. “While I heard a lot of laughs and counsel take place, I never saw much money exchanged. It showed me that doing hair was almost another form of ministry for my grandmother. She used that time to connect with and counsel women, leaving their hair beautiful and souls refreshed. The salon is a legacy because it embodies her story and what coming to the salon is about for many women,” Montgomery continues. “It also provides an opportunity for women from different backgrounds within Old Town and Alexandria to connect. I believe it honors my grandmother by acting as an escape for our guests. All of our clients note how warm the salon feels and the fact that they want to come back, which is exactly how it felt at my grandmother's home.” HAZEL O. SALON 108 N. WASHINGTON ST., ALEXANDRIA, VA 22314 703.566.6367 WWW.HAZELOSALON.COM

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PICNIC & PEONIES CELEBRATE ONE YEAR AT HUMMINGBIRD

photography courtesy of hummingbird

Hummingbird recently hosted a one-year anniversary celebration for Picnic & Peonies, Washington D.C. and NYC's premiere luxury picnic company. The event provided the two local businesses with the perfect opportunity to announce their new partnership. In true Hummingbird fashion, the luxurious evening consisted of signature wines and gourmet hors d'oeuvres, providing future Picnic & Peonies clients here in Old Town, Alexandria with a little, yet memorable, taste of the delectable catering options that are to come!

NOVEMBER 2021 • 87


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VIP SUPERMOM

Jackie Munn

ARMY VETERAN • MOTHER • NURSE • WRITER words by liesel schmidt

Wife. Mother. Nurse. Those are three ways many people see Jackie Munn, but there’s so much more to her story than meets the eye. Before becoming a nurse practitioner, Munn served in the Army as an officer, graduating from West Point in 2008 and commissioning as a second lieutenant. She was first assigned to Fort Lewis, Washington as a logistics officer before deploying with her unit to Basrah, Iraq from 2009 to 2010. During her time there, she managed a supply warehouse that provided more than one million meals and supplies to troops in southern Iraq. Afterwards, she moved to the DC area and worked at the Walter Reed Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, where she cared for wounded, sick and injured soldiers. After becoming captain, she was selected to serve in 2012 alongside teams of Green Berets in Afghanistan as a Cultural Support Team (CST) leader—before women were officially allowed to work alongside these elite all-male combat units.

“As a non-medical Army officer working in Afghan villages and clinics, I witnessed the traumatic toll caused by rampant inaccessibility to healthcare." - Jackie Munn

NOVEMBER 2021 • 89


I think it’s important that my children see that I am enthusiastic and grateful for my work. Particularly, I think it’s important that they see me using my talents and time to help others. - Jackie Munn

Department as a clinician. During the first year of the pandemic, she also worked with Arlington County’s COVID-19 Public Health Response Team as a contact tracer and vaccinator. With all that she has seen and done, Munn finds an outlet in writing. She received a writing fellowship through the National Endowment for the Arts in 2019, during which time she was a writer in residence at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts in Amherst, Virginia. Her work has been published in the Atlantic, the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post, Travel + Leisure, USA Today, Vox, Outside and the War Horse. Her NYT story about serving alongside two very different teams of Green Berets in Afghanistan was encouraged reading at the Pentagon Special Operations Command and retweeted by the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey.

It was then that Munn realized the path for her future after the military. “As a non-medical Army officer working in Afghan villages and clinics, I witnessed the traumatic toll caused by rampant inaccessibility to healthcare,” she says. “When I redeployed to Walter Reed, I saw the first-hand benefits of interdisciplinary teams providing wholistic healthcare. These experiences led me to pursue a career in the medical field.” After separating from the Army, Munn earned her master’s from Vanderbilt University’s School of Nursing, getting her license as a registered nurse and becoming a board-certified family nurse practitioner. She currently works for Arlington County Government’s Public Health 90 • VIP ALEXANDRIA MAGAZINE

With so much on her CV, Munn is clearly no ordinary individual. She’s determined, dedicated and driven. However, at the end of the day, no matter how long or hard, Munn takes off her scrubs and is just “mommy” to her six-year-old. At five months pregnant, she is also looking forward to having one more to come home to. As consuming as her work can be, she still believes it shows an important example. “I think it’s important that my children see that I am enthusiastic and grateful for my work,” says Munn, who lives in Alexandria with her husband and son. “Particularly, I think it’s important that they see me using my talents and time to help others. I hope it will inspire them to use their talents someday to care for their community and those around them. As a writer, I hope my children see that they can turn the things they're passionate about into meaningful work. By being a working mom, I hope that I can inspire them to pursue their own passions and to find what gives their own life meaning and purpose.”


NOVEMBER 2021 • 91


ALX IMPACT

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artspire presents the 13th annual

Alexandria Community Nutcracker INSPIRING, UPLIFTING & HEALING THROUGH DANCE story by martha carucci

Those who know Gennifer Difilippo say that if she could spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week helping others, she would. She works tirelessly to share her passion for dance and the arts, especially with those who would otherwise not have a chance to experience it. In 2015, after years of teaching dance, Difilippo started ArtSpire VA, “a multi-faceted non-profit organization that provides scholarships for youth to experience the fine and performing arts and inspires, uplifts and heals those in need through dance performances.” Difilippo said that ArtSpire VA came to be on a beautiful Saturday afternoon when she took a group of girls to dance at a convention for women who were survivors of domestic abuse. There, she saw the intense connection between the audience and the dancers. The girls realized that there was a bigger meaning to what they

were doing and that they could inspire people who were struggling in life. Hence, ArtSpire VA was born, and its motto became “Inspiration Through the Arts.” The group’s greatest achievement to date involved Maddie Davis, a little girl battling cancer. Difilippo’s dancers performed at an event called CureFest DC and connected with Maddie and her family, taking Maddie under their wing. “The girls fell in love with Maddie instantly,” Difilippo explained. They invited her to perform in the Alexandria Community Nutcracker and Maddie took part in the party scene. One of the ArtSpire VA dancers, Rylie Heiser, shared, “I started dancing for #teammaddie a few years ago and it is the most memorable chapter I have experienced. I vividly remember her constant look of optimism and her bright smile that I couldn't take my eyes off. My favorite moment with Maddie was when I got to take her on stage with me in the Nutcracker and her excitement to dance outweighed every emotion on stage that night and I am so grateful to have had her in my life.” Maddie passed away from cancer during the pandemic but left an ineffable mark on so many lives. Another facet of ArtSpire VA is its scholarship program, which Difilippo started when she coached the West NOVEMBER 2021 • 93


Potomac High School Dance Team. She realized that when students came to try out, many didn’t have training or dance shoes and didn’t return the next day. She hated to see them leave discouraged, saying that most of them just needed guidance. Difilippo saw a problem that

needed to be addressed, changed and fixed. She saw that there were so many kids in our own community without opportunities to learn from a professional teacher, dancer, musician or artist. To date, over fivehundred scholarships have been awarded with money raised from donations and fundraisers. The scholarships pay for an entire year of dance lessons and any other things the students can’t afford such as tights, shoes, leotards, etc. The scholarships also cover recital fees, costumes and tickets for the parents. “We don’t want these kids to look or feel different and we want them to have the complete and total experience that other students have.” Several scholarship program

“artspire va, I cannot thank you enough for putting a smile on our kids' faces. providing them with supplies to help get them through these tough times when they were already dealing with so much is truly a blessing. Art is an incredible source of mindfulness and therapy, and I cannot thank you enough. artspire is such an artspiration - cheesy but real! It is because of you that some of our neediest families and kiddos have hope, trust, belonging, resilience [and] encouragement to say the least...” - nicole, counselor, francis c hammond middle school

students have performed in the Alexandria Community Nutcracker and no one can tell the difference between them and the students who have been formally trained for longer periods of time. “At the end of the day, they are dance students. They are artists themselves,” Difilippo shared. ArtSpire VA also began an Art Supply Bag program, providing over 2,500 art supply bags to students who had nothing to use while at home during the pandemic. Difilippo heard from an art teacher that while she was trying to teach watercolors online during COVID, many students on the screen just sat there because they didn’t have any paper or 9494• VIP • VIPALEXANDRIA ALEXANDRIAMAGAZINE MAGAZINE


paint supplies. Difilippo believed that this disparity needed to be addressed and that it fell under the scholarship's mission of “the Arts for All.” Difilippo shared that “being part of a theater group, dance team, orchestra, etc. helps students and youth be part of something that can maybe help them get into college or further a career. Research has shown that kids who are part of teams or in the arts do so much better in school.” Thanks to Difilippo and her passion and tireless efforts, so many more young students will have opportunities they otherwise wouldn’t have to shine and inspire themselves and others.

NOVEMBER 2021 • 95


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photography by jeff heeney

Lost Boy Cider recently hosted the ultimate vintage market. Guests were welcome to stop by with friends, family and pups to shop the hottest vintage goods, clothes, records and accessories from nine local vintage vendors while sipping on the freshest hard cider from Lost Boy Cider.

NOVEMBER 2021 • 97


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Helping protect the front lines every day. Since the start of the pandemic, U.S. Air Force veteran Chris has led 3M’s collaboration with the DC-based FEMA COVID-19 Supply Chain Task Force to help ensure that U.S. healthcare workers are protected when it matters most. Learn more about 3M’s commitment at 3M.com/Together. 3M and “3M Science. Applied to Life.” are trademarks of 3M

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