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baby, it’s sold outside!

Kristen JONES The weather outside might be frightful, but we've got something delightful! Spring is just around the corner, and the market will be heating up, so now's the perfect time to start thinking about selling your home! Call me to discuss getting your home listed and showcased in the best way. I will work with you through every step of the process, whether you need your home renovated or updated, from picking out paint colors and lighting fixtures, then we'll stage it to sell quickly. If visions of a SOLD sign are dancing in your head, we'll make your dreams come true!









703.851.2556 | kjones@mcenearney.com www.alexandriabykj.com | 703.549.9092 Old Town Office | 109 S Pitt Street, Alexandria VA 22314

Discover the Washington, D.C.’s Capital of Christmas Gaylord National’s Christmas on the Potomac is the ultimate holiday destination with over a dozen holiday events, spectacular decorations, amazing shows and more including ICE! a walk-through attraction carved from over two-million pounds of ice. ICE! Featuring Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! * NEW Reindeer Rush Tubing * NEW Feast with The Grinch * Cirque Dreams * Ice Skating Photos with Santa * Mrs. Claus’ Christmas Traditions and much more! NATIONAL HARBOR, MD

Stay overnight to experience it all! Tickets and Packages on Sale Now.

ChristmasOnThePotomac.com |

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MOVING THIS HOLIDAY SEASON? Alleviate The Stress And Move With The Best. We Are Your Solution!



www.d1moving.com | (703) 608-9472 d1movingnova 4 • VIP ALEXANDRIA MAGAZINE


It’s amazing to look at the calendar and realize that we’ve reached the last month of the year – and that we’ve already reached our third issue! It’s extremely exciting, and we couldn’t be more grateful to everyone whose continued support has made it possible. As we get into the thick of the holiday season, we want to take time to remind everyone to #shoplocal, but also to shop with thought and intention! Don’t buy a gift just to fulfill an obligation or meet a perceived expectation. Narrow your gift list to the people in your life who really matter to you, and consider giving nonmaterialistic gifts: collections of special family recipes that have been passed down for generations, offers to babysit for friends who need a night out, spending time with elderly neighbors who need company, or offering to help a work colleague with a creative project. They are likely to always remember and cherish these gifts of time and heart, and you might not have to spend a dime. If you’d like to give the gift of an experience, think about what will mean the most, and ask your family and friends how they would like to create memories together. This could be an itinerary to spend your next summer vacation together, buying tickets to wine tastings, visiting a holiday wonderland (like NOVA Parks’ Ice & Lights or ICE! at Gaylord National), taking someone special someone to see The Washington Ballet’s performance of “The Nutcracker,” or planning a spa day. Whatever you do, you’ll do it together, and that experience will create memories that you’ll always share. Naturally, the end of the year causes us to reflect on the past 12 months at the same time as we start thinking about new goals for ourselves in the upcoming year. We might be thinking about how we want to improve our health and wellness, setting sights on making changes to our careers, or making new plans for our families. To keep things simple, we are encouraging you to choose one word to carry with you into 2020. Be sure to visit pages 76-77 for a great article + exercise that will guide you through the process! Use the new year as a blank slate for inspiration to make this your best year yet! #newyearbestyear With a new year comes new futures, and part of that new future for many is marriage! We do love a good wedding, and we can’t wait to present our first ever BIG Bridal Issue in February. Filled with all kinds of great info on weddings and featuring Alexandria’s own Monte Durham of “Say YES to the Dress: Atlanta,” this is one issue that we vow will wow you! We’d like to encourage brides, vendors, venues, and wedding photographers to reach out about how they can be featured, so please contact us online! We can’t wait to spend the next year with you, and we look forward to many more to come. Have a wonderful holiday season, friends! We wish you the merriest and best!




PUBLISHER Kellie Gunderman EDITOR Anne Charboneau CREATIVE DIRECTOR Regine Orme DIRECTOR OF SALES Lisa Delnegro PHOTOGRAPHERS Jeremiah “JD” Davis Julie Carrasco David D’Agostino Catherine May Taylor JD Watkins WRITERS Alexandria Lindstrom William Lynch Jeanette Wages DISTRIBUTION Nana Kwaku Ampofo Jack Vroom



49th Annual Scottish Chrsitmas Walk


44th Annual Alexandria Turkey Trot


Art on Tap


Fair Winds Fall Harvest + Beer Pairings


Veterans Day at Mission BBQ


Pets for Vets D.C. at Aslin Beer Co.


Veterans Day Ceremony


Ten Thousand Villages Annual Bag Sale


Cafe 44 Charcuterie Board + Wine Class


Business After Hours at Halt, Buzas & Powell


Holiday Pop-Up at The Shoe Hive


Holiday Crafting + Cookie Decorating Workshop


George Washington Whiskey Festival


Alexandria Cider Festival


5 Years of Ascend


OTBD Annual Party


TSALT Holiday Preview Party


Smoke + Mirrors Mystery Soiree


Fall Harvest Ball


Ice + Lights: The Winter Village at Cameron Run


Alexandria’s Christmas Tree Lighting


Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights


Flowers on the Sidewalk with Kristen Jones


The Cookie Crawl


Alexandria Makers Market at Port City


4th Annual Keep the Homeless Warm


Torpedo Factory Ball

MAINSTAYS 14 Calendar of Events 20 Salute to Service: Dog Tag Bakery 32 VIP Wedding: Aubrey + Tyler 62 Give • Care • Share: 24-Hour Yogathon

FEATURES 26 New Year, New Smile: Dr. Kathleen Mullaney 38 Christmas on the Potomac: Gaylord National 43 Winter Fashion: Featuring OTBD 52 Holiday Home Tour 58 #ShopLocal Holiday Gift Guide 66 Old Town Elf Patrol 68 The Washington Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” 76 One Word New Year’s Resolutions 77 One Word New Year’s Resolutions Activity 78 First Night Alexandria


All issues of VIP Alexandria are available FREE on our website?

www.vipalxmag.com 8 • VIP ALEXANDRIA MAGAZINE


on the cover We would like to extend a very special & heartfelt “thank you” to the stunning women who braved the wind & bitter cold with us to bring our beautiful holiday cover + winter fashion feature to life! When VIP Alexandria Magazine debuted, this photoshoot was just a dream. Thanks to their generous support, and that of our readers, it has become a reality! Cheers to the Old Town Boutique District & this new, exciting VIP tradition! Be sure to support all of our local boutiques this holiday season by shopping small & with intention.

From left to right: Megan Podolsky (Owner of Mint Condition, 529 Kids Consign & OTBD President), Maria Elizabeth (Owner of Salon Dezen), Katya Ananieva (Owner of She’s Unique), Alicia McCaslin (Representing The Shoe Hive), Stephanie Parkes (Fashion Influencer, representing Periwinkle), Tiffani Phelps (Representing Bishop Boutique), Jeanette Wages (Owner of The Wellness Cooperative, representing TSALT)

Cover Photography by Jeremiah “JD” Davis



| The 49th Annual Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend + Parade

Story + Photography by Catherine May Taylor

The recent 49th annual Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend celebrated Scottish culture in Old Town. Activities included the parade, heather and greens sales, a Taste of Scotland sampling event, and holiday home tours. All proceeds throughout the weekend went to The Campagna Center, which provides enrichment programs for children, teens and adults in Alexandria. The parade featured some of Alexandria’s own Scottish clans; Scottish bagpipers and drummers; dancers; classic cars; and Santa Claus. This Mayor Justin Wilson year’s grand marshal was Virginia Tech president Tim Sands.

The McFadden Family

The Wolf Family

Michelle Fishette + Harper Hillers


Karin Porter, Mike Higgins + Karmey

Colleen + Linda Krieger


Vice Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker

Marlowe + Orson Cushing

Brendan, Mary-Beth + Erica Thompson

Miriam + George Riedmiller

The Alspach Family

Alexis Shontere + Bobby Good

Sally + Megan Brett

Amelia Bilbao + Harrison Kircher

Luca + Liam Hoyos








| 44th Annual Alexandria Turkey Trot

Story + Photography by Jeremiah “JD” Davis

More than 5,000 people participated in the 44th annual Alexandria Turkey Trot in the heart of Del Ray. The flat, 5-mile course began and ended at George Washington Middle School. Participants included professional and amateur runners of all ages and skill levels, competing for best times and cash prizes. Cash prizes were awarded by age groups. The first Alexandria Turkey Trot took place in 1975, though the first turkey mascot didn’t make an appearance until 1977. Heidi Busby + Katie Flaherty

Sisay Mojo + Dagnchew Ketema

Lara, Chiara + Mike Jason

Anne, Chris + Emily Beall

Marjorie + Eugene Trosterud

Lashanta Harris

Diego Jaldin + Dennis Sanchez

Brenda Baldwin, Lynn Byers, Barbara + John Kornylo

Elizabeth + John Earle

Elizabeth Finn


December 2019 - January 2020 Calendar of Events DECEMBER 14

Seek Out Light by Alexandria Choral Society Holiday Program

3pm & 7:30pm, Westminster Presbyterian Church At 3pm, the shorter, kid-friendly holiday program is packed with seasonal choral favorites in which you and your family will have several opportunities to sing along with the Alexandria Choral Society. Expanding upon the matinee performance, the longer evening program, starting at 7:30pm, includes works by composers such as Elizabeth Poston (Jesus Christ the Apple Tree), Susan Labarr (Huron Carol), Kathleen Allan (The Frost), and more! www.alexandriachoralsociety.org

DECEMBER 14 - 15

A Victorian Christmas

11am, 12:30pm, or 2pm, Lee-Fendall House Bring the whole family to experience a Victorian Christmas at the Lee-Fendall House! Enjoy traditional decor, seasonal crafts and story time, sweet treats, photos with Santa, and holiday shopping. www.leefendallhouse.org


First Night Alexandria 25th Anniversary

All-day Event, Various Locations Celebrate the new year through the performing arts. Retail stores, churches, museums, and public buildings are turned into performance venues to showcase incredible local and regional talent during this family-friendly event. Recent performers include Grammy-nominated rock and roll guitarist, traditional jazz, country bands, and a rising pop star, as well as clowns making balloon sculptures, face painters, and magicians for children. www.firstnightalexandria.org


Roaring ‘20s NYE Party

9pm, Village Brauhaus Show off your flapper dresses and suits as we rock out to Nick, Ian and the Machine! Village Brauhaus will be serving your favorite Haus appetizers all night. Tickets available at www.eventbrite.com 14 • VIP ALEXANDRIA MAGAZINE 2 • VIP ALEXANDRIA MAGAZINE



‘80s Night with DJ Infinite Sounds

10pm-1:30am, Daniel O’Connell’s Irish Restaurant & Pub Gather your crew to an ‘80s music disco with DJ Infinite Sounds at Daniel O’Connell’s. This exciting event recurs monthly on the first Friday of each month until April 3, 2020. Admission is free. www.danieloconnells.com/


9th Annual McLean Chocolate Festival 11am-5pm, McLean Community Center Taste the specialties of area chocolatiers, while also supporting McLean Rotary. There will be live entertainment and a children’s game room - plenty of fun for the whole family! Proceeds from this fundraiser festival benefit many local organizations and charities. www.mcleanchocolatefestival.com


The Great Bridal Expo 12-4pm, Hilton Alexandria Mark Center Make your wedding dreams come true and meet face to face with the best wedding professionals in the business. Everything for your wedding, honeymoon, and home is on display. Enjoy the stunning bridal fashion show, giveaways, prizes, live orchestra, and amazing DJs. Sample some of the best catering options, while you explore aisle-after-aisle of exciting and informative exhibits. www.greatbridalexpo.com


New Year Read-A-Thon

7pm-12am, Old Town Books Meet other local book lovers and enjoy cocoa, cookies, and a cozy lock-in marathon reading session. Pajamas, fuzzy socks, and a cozy blanket are highly encouraged! www.oldtownbooks.com THE HOLIDAY ISSUE 2019 • 15 NOVEMBER 2019 • 3

the arts

| Art on Tap

Story + Photography by Julie Carrasco

The Art League recently celebrated its eighth year of Art on Tap at the Torpedo Factory in Old Town. The artwork was creatively paired up with craft beers from local breweries. Local restaurants chose an artwork piece to serve as a muse for their appetizers. Guests enjoyed live music, hors d’oeuvres, sampled local craft beers, and viewed original artwork. At the end of the night, guests voted on their favorite artwork and took home an original Art on Tap beer glass as a souvenir.

Jared Grove, Aaron Misera + Angela Cambell

Isabel Gastulo + Danny Schexnayder

Alex Kitching + Lori Bagli


Dennis Condon + Jen Mellon

Chad + Sofie Reese

Nisha Tuttle + Chris Tyree

Julia Hubertz + Charlie Gorney

Evan Siegel + Aaron Blacksberg

Ivone Ekman + Steven Goldbaum

Alfonso Ong + Abol Bahadori

Kathy Demeter + Woody Hair

food + drink

| Fall Harvest + Beer Pairings at Fair Winds Brewing Company

Story + Photography by David D’Agostino

Brewmaster/CEO Charlie Buettner and Wagon Wheel chef Eric Reid curated a five-course meal inspired by the warm flavors and the aromas of autumn. Each dish was paired with a tasty craft beer from Fair Winds Brewing Company. Fair Winds is a veteran-owned business with a large tasting room, packaged beer, and a rotating lineup of food vendors and events. Dinner was served in the 30-barrel brew house in Lorton. From butternut-lardons crostini paired with Bodhi’s Last Ride IPA to pumpkin and rhubarb crisp served with double barrel-aged Ghost of the Mariner Imperial Stout, the sold- Charlie Buettner + Eric Reid out crowd appeared to enjoy each dish more than the last.

Heidi Love, Kellie Bailey, Martha Walsh, Meghan Pankow, Laura Murphy, Mindy Permut, Audrey Graziano + Laura Tucker

Emily Vincent, James Meehan, Tracy Davis, John Holmes, Sally + Chuck Mitchell, Shannon Bray, Mike Taylor + Johnny Mansfield

Michael Ostulnd + Johnny Mansfield

Kathleen Hernandez, Bryan Kiser, Roy Eichhorn, Mary Eichhorn, Ramiro Hernandez, Kathy Kiser, Jeff + Tiffany Royce

Kellie Bailey, Meghan Pankow + Laura Tucker

Bobby Murphy, Laura Murphy, Mike Love, Dan Walsh, Martha Walsh + Heidi Love



| Veterans Eat Free on Veterans Day

Story + Photography by Catherine May Taylor

Mission BBQ at Landsdowne Centre was packed and the line was out the door for their sought-after, delicious barbecue for their annual Veterans Eat Free event. Employees greeted everyone who came through their doors with a loud “Good morning!” and every customer was treated like family. Plenty of cake was also offered for those who served or were currently serving in the military. Six members of the Coast Guard Academy Glee Club sang a beautiful rendition of the national anthem, and were joined by five members of the Coast Guard Ceremonial Honor Guard. The crowd enjoyed the tribute and it was a wonderful addition to the day. LCDR Cynthia Channell, LCDR Amanda Fahrig, LCDR Michael Metz, LCDR Lisa Woodman, CDR Michael Krause + Capt. Kathryn Herty

SN Joel Vazquez, SN Matthew Lesyk, SN Xaviour Beasley, SN Alyson Fountain, + SN Melissa Miller-Honor Guard


Harry Lycan, Adrian Tamez

Sean Cumming + Rich Lawrence

| Pets for Vets D.C. at Aslin Beer Co.

Story + Photography by Jeremiah “JD” Davis

Aslin Beer Company celebrated Veterans Day by hosting Pets For Vets, which bought the first round of drinks for veterans from noon to 4 p.m. Pets For Vets connects U.S. military veterans with rescued animals to provide them both with a new start to life. Companion animals are proven to ease the transition from military to civilian life for veterans whom often encounter depression, loneliness, and anxiety. Matching rescue animals to veterans saves an animal from a shelter and makes life easier for a veteran returning home.

Sylvia Beck + Michelle Schroeder Madigan Elysa Marchicelli + Mike Lavelle

The Nolan Family


Marcus Berzat

The Anderson Family


| Veterans Day Ceremony

Story + Photography by Catherine May Taylor

This year’s Veterans Day Ceremony was held in Del Ray at the Mount Vernon Recreation Center and was led by the Friends of Captain Rocky Versace, which honors Alexandria’s fallen Vietnam War heroes. The event was well attended by veterans, current members of the armed forces, local residents, students, and civic dignitaries such as Mayor Justin Wilson and Vice Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker. The afternoon ceremony included some very memorable moments including a wreath laying commemorating Capt. Versace, and a performance by the the Alexandria Harmonizers and soloist Tony Colosimo of “Bring Him Home” from Les Miserables. Stephen Tracy of Bugles Across America then played a beautiful performance of taps, followed by closing remarks. Alexandria Harmonizers concluded the event by singing “God Bless America.”



A Sweet Mission Brought to you by Defense Credit Union Council • www.dcuc.org Story by Alexandria Lindstrom + Photography Courtesy of Dog Tag Bakery


The unmistakable aroma of fresh cookies and brownies baking, the tantalizing sight of colorful cakes and delicate pastries, the burr of coffee machines as artisan coffees are handcrafted throughout the day… These are the expected sights, sounds, and smells of a bakery, the anticipated norm of what you’ll find when you venture into these meccas of confectionary creations. And when you walk through the doors of Dog Tag Bakery in Georgetown, you’ll certainly find no shortage of such temptations. But venture a little further in and you’ll find so much more to this wonderful bakery than meets the eye; inside, these soldiers of sugar are carrying out a mission much greater than themselves – and their victory is sweet. Initially the brainchild of the late Father Richard Curry and Connie Milstein, Dog Tag Bakery is a venture as layered as a Napoleon cake, with the complexities of a mille-feuille. It sounds strange to say about a bakery, but they didn’t intend to simply to serve confections to those craving something sweet. Yes, that was part of the plan, as Milstein had previously run a bakery, and Curry was a baker and cookbook author. To be more accurate, however, the bakery was a vehicle for a larger purpose for the pair. Deeper than their love of butter and sugar was their shared passion for giving transitioning veterans with serviceconnected disabilities, military spouses, and caregivers the tools they needed to find their purpose. So together they launched Dog Tag Bakery in 2014, creating a bakery as well as a nonprofit organization offering a fellowship program designed to work with these individuals and set them up for success. The reason for their mission was simple, as both Curry and Milstein had personal connections to the military community – particularly military spouses and veterans with service-related injuries. Born missing his right forearm, Curry was uniquely familiar with the challenges faced by people with disabilities; as a Jesuit priest, he had been called to counsel amputees after 9/11 and had seen the challenges they faced transitioning into civilian life. Because of this, Curry was inspired to help veterans with service-connected disabilities find meaning and gainful employment post-service. For Milstein, the impetus came from the experience she had in running a New York bakery that employed low-income women, helping them get back on their feet and learn important life skills. Much like Curry, the effects of 9/11 changed her vision for her own purpose, as many of the women who worked in her bakery were military spouses who gave Milstein a greater awareness of the unique challenges and barriers to employment they faced.

Since then, Dog Tag Bakery has established itself as a great presence in the community, offering scratch-made baked goods including cakes, pies, cookies, Milstein’s ever-popular brownie, and a chocolate chip cookie recipe hailed as one of the best in the D.C. area. Dog Tag Bakery was also notably the chosen lunch spot for former President Barack Obama’s and former Vice President Joe Biden’s first sighting together after the Obama presidency in July 2018, and Obama has also purchased their cookies to share with veterans and their families living in the Bethesda Fisher House.

The two could easily have stopped at opening a bakery. After all, with their backgrounds in business and talents in the kitchen, they surely could have succeeded in creating a shop selling sweets and other assorted eats. But when the meeting of their minds conceived of the greater vision, Curry and Milstein could hardly ignore the mission that was tugging at their souls. After securing nonprofit status for Dog Tag Bakery Inc. in 2012, the cofounding partners purchased their building in the heart of Georgetown in 2013. The pilot fellowship cohort was launched in June 2014 while Dog Tag Bakery was still under construction, and the bakery opened its doors to the public in December 2014. THE HOLIDAY ISSUE 2019 • 21

But those cookies are only half the story. Downstairs is, of course, the bakery. But the second floor is where the real work happens, and that work is what makes them proudest. “Truly, there is no other veteran service organization doing exactly what Dog Tag does,” said Milstein, who has carried on the legacy and the dream after the loss of Curry in 2015. “We run a high-touch, high-impact program that focuses on meeting the needs of the whole person. Our program goes beyond entrepreneurship and job training to provide individualized attention to each fellow’s needs and personalized assistance with identifying and reaching their goals. We work with humans, not just data points. Our five-month fellowship program gives our fellows the time and space to explore, learn, and ultimately make informed decisions as they identify and work towards their goals.” The fellowship program is unique in that it offers five months of a full-time, in-residence training held twice a year with business education, hands-on learning, skills development— called learning labs—as well as career exploration, the creation of a business plan, and the learning of wellness practices. Upon completion of the fellowship, each participant earns a Certificate of Business Administration from Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies and has learned the realities of entrepreneurship by rotating through Dog Tag Bakery’s departments. They also have the opportunity to explore a wide variety of civilian career paths and hone skills through partnerled sessions. For their capstone projects, the fellows create a 22 • VIP ALEXANDRIA MAGAZINE

business plan for their planned enterprises using the concepts they have learned. And throughout the course of the program, they practice various self-care disciplines to manage stress and build their resiliency.

"From funding our program to leading learning labs for our fellows, catering with Dog Tag Bakery, to spreading awareness of Dog Tag’s programming, our partners’ generous contributions of time, talent, and treasure make our mission possible." - MEGHAN OGILVIE Clearly, Curry and Milstein’s vision for Dog Tag Bakery was immense, and the significance of their “why” is one that truly resonates. So much so, in fact, that various organizations have seen the value in their work and have created supportive partnerships that have been pivotal in making the dream a reality. “Partnerships are one of the cornerstones of Dog Tag’s innovative programming,” said Meghan Ogilvie, CEO of Dog Tag. Dog Tag’s first employee, Ogilvie left her job in finance in 2012 to help Curry start what would later become Dog Tag Bakery. As their COO, Ogilvie helped bring Milstein and Curry’s vision to life and continues to serve today as CEO. “From funding our program

to leading learning labs for our fellows, catering with Dog Tag Bakery, to spreading awareness of Dog Tag’s programming, our partners’ generous contributions of time, talent, and treasure make our mission possible. While we do rely on corporations, foundations, and individuals’ philanthropic support, we strive to build partnerships that go way beyond just a check,” she continued. “A great example is our longtime relationship with Armed Forces Financial Network (AFFN). Along with the great training they provide, AFFN connected Dog Tag with their long-term partners at Fisher House. As a result, Dog Tag was invited to participate at this year’s Warrior Games, which proved to be a fantastic opportunity to make connections with organizations supporting our nation’s wounded warriors and build our recruiting pipeline.” The work that Dog Tag Bakery does to support veteranowned businesses is inspiring, as well. “When possible, we try to use veteran-made products in our recipes,” said Milstein. “For example, we source the sausage we use in our breakfast sandwiches from a veteran-run farm in Virginia and feature G-Dubbs hot sauces, which are made by an active duty member

of the U.S. Navy. We brew Compass Coffee, which was founded by two Marine veterans. We were one of their first big accounts, and they speak to our fellows and share the story of how they transitioned from service to founding and growing a local coffee company. We also sell a variety of products made by local veteran and active-duty entrepreneurs such as Harper McCaw Chocolates, which are made by a Marine Corps veteran.” The significance of all that they do is, perhaps, the reason for Dog Tag’s success. They have a deeper purpose, and that purpose is not only what continues to drive them as a company, but also what so greatly impacts those who know their story. “Fr. Curry and I were kindred spirits; and in Rick, I found someone who shared not only my spirit of service, but also my passion for empowering others to build meaningful and purposeful lives,” said Milstein. “While he is no longer here in person, I’m committed to ensuring that his legacy and our shared spirit of service lives on every day at Dog Tag, in everything from our life-changing fellowship program to our efforts to give back to our local community through regular food donations.” They work with intention and heart, and that is the most important ingredient of all.

Dog Tag Bakery is located at 3206 Grace Street NW, Washington, DC 20007 For more information, call 202-407-9609 or visit www.dogtagbakery.com THE HOLIDAY ISSUE 2019 • 23


| Ten Thousand Villages Annual Bag Sale

Story + Photography by Jeremiah “JD” Davis

Ten Thousand Villages Alexandria recently held their annual bag sale, and for the whole day, anything that fit into their shopping bag was 25% off. Ten Thousand Villages is a nonprofit network of retail stores that creates opportunities for artists in developing countries to earn income by selling their products in more viable markets than their own. The annual bag sale is the only time of year the entire store goes on sale, and it’s an opportune time for Alexandria locals to pick up handmade gifts for the holiday season. Through their annual bag sale, Ten Thousand Villages raises awareness for issues of fair trade, all while making the holiday season merrier for artisans and customers alike.

Kate McMahon

Eric Lopez + Jennifer Pichardo

Sarah Sentes Emily, Abigail, Robert, Ashely, Nathan + Madelyn Fletcher

Rob Wilkerson + Jennifer Lichtblu

Elizabeth Byrd

Eric + Tai Harrington

Kylie + Julie Malloy


Carrie Klett + Katherine Perry


r f oy

d l r o w e h t om gl o b l a ic h t e

a l gif ts

915 King St, Alexandria, VA 22314 • (703) 684-1435 www.tenthousandvillages.com/alexandria • alexandria@tenthousandvillages.com

food + drink

| Charcuterie Board + Wine Class

Story + Photography by Catherine May Taylor

Cafe 44’s classes have been upgraded, with executive chef Nicki Lewis now teaching the ideal charcuterie board for wine lovers. She recently tried the new class out on a few regulars and Cafe 44’s own CEO, Jula Jane.

Jula Jane, Gina Fitzgerald + Nicki Lewis

Three wines were the muse for the evening’s boards; Antica Chardonnay, Austin Hope Cabernet Sauvignon, and A to Z Oregon Riesling. Lewis excitedly shared how she chose the specific cheeses, meats, and accompaniments such as jams, honeycomb, and chocolate. For more information on Cafe 44’s classes, check their website at www. cafe44.com Gena Fitzgerald + Pam Rady

Hannah Lindsey

Joe Q


New Year, New Smile Featuring the Practice of Dr. Kathleen Mullaney, DDS FAGD Story by Alexandria Lindstrom + Photography by Jeremiah “JD” Davis

As we turn our attention to the upcoming end of one year and the beginning of another, many begin to place more focus on health. We often think about our diets and our exercise regimens (or lack thereof) because we want to feel better about our appearances and our self-confidence… But what about our smiles? An article by Vivian Diller published in Psychology Today in 2012 stated, “A person’s smile is the feature that elicits the most immediate and positive reaction from others… .” It also plays a big factor in how we feel about ourselves. The better the quality of our smile, the higher our level of self-confidence in showing off that smile – which is part of the reason maintaining dental health is so important. “I’ve seen 26 • VIP ALEXANDRIA MAGAZINE

my patients’ lives transformed when I improve their smiles,” said Dr. Kathleen Mullaney, a former United States Navy dentist who went into practice in 1995 in Old Town. “We’ve taken care of many patients here over the years who would not smile because of embarrassment about how their teeth looked; but once we improved the appearance of their teeth, it was amazing to see their smiles and see them feeling so much better about themselves.” A boost in self-assurance is only part of the equation when it comes to dental health, however. “Links between poor dental health and poor overall health and the development of diseases have been studied in depth by the National Institutes of Health, showing direct correlation between poor dental health and conditions such as COPD, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, as well as the occurrence of preterm birth and low birth weight,” Mullaney said. “In addition, having healthy nutritional habits has been shown to provide better health as we age, and it is important to have your teeth and bite functioning properly in order to maintain good nutrition.” A well-established presence in the dental community with many notable accomplishments, Mullaney has been awarded the prestigious Fellowship in the Academy of General Dentistry and is the published author of “The Window to Your Health: Achieving a Healthy and Beautiful Smile.”  She has also been named Washingtonian’s “Top Dentist,” Northern Virginia

Magazine’s “Top Dentist,” and Virginia Living’s “Top Dentist.” As a former officer of the U.S. Navy, she rose to rank of Lt. Commander during her eight-year career. However, some of her greatest rewards come from serving her community and her fellow veterans – especially those in need. “I’m extremely passionate about caring for veterans in need, so we’ve placed great focus on offering care to those who would otherwise not have access to it,” she said.

As part of that care, Dr. Mullaney and her team have hosted As part of that care, Dr. Mullaney and her team have hosted Freedom Day USA for the past three years, donating a full day of dental services to local veterans in need. “They are so appreciative, and many have told us that we have changed their lives. That makes us so happy.” Happy enough to smile, no doubt; and those smiles are mirrored in all their patients, both young and old. Fortunately, dentistry technology and methodology has led to easier solutions for straightening and whitening, and even correcting the length of teeth. “We have more beautiful, stronger, and more natural porcelain restorations and fillings that look so much better and no longer require metal; and we offer our patients dental numbing using ‘The Wand.’ Our digital X-rays require up to 80% less radiation, and the digital impression scanning and 3D printing we use greatly improves our accuracy as well as the level of patient comfort,” Mullaney said. In addition, they offer same-day treatment solutions including “teeth in a day” – an accelerated method of implanting teeth. Time is often of the essence, so they also provide one-hour teeth whitening, and Invisalign clear teeth alignment systems. For those with a fear of dental procedures, sedation options are available.

Dr. Kathleen Mullaney, DDS FAGD 700 North Fairfax Street #230, Alexandria, Virginia 22314 571-321-6778 | www.kathleenmullaneydds.com THE HOLIDAY ISSUE 2019 • 27


| Business After Hours at Halt, Buzas & Powell

Story + Photography by Jeremiah “JD” Davis

Business After Hours is a networking event for members of Alexandria’s Chamber of Commerce that gives local businesspeople time aside from their schedules to meet and collaborate with other key players of the city’s economy. Their most recent meeting was the last of seven annual events. The presenting sponsor was The Goodhart Group, a local real estate agency. A local CPA firm, Halt, Buzas & Powell, provided their 10th-floor office space with a balcony that overlooks Alexandria for the meeting. The event featured refreshments and drinks for guests to enjoy along with a view of the Potomac River.

Terrence Chapman

Danielle Grant + Megan Weber


Stan Brinkley + Marco Fernandes

Lauren Creamer + Kari Steinberg

Ru Toyama

Tanner Tamro + Xiong Yang

Andy Powell + Adron Krekeler

Katharine Dixon

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| Holiday Pop-Up at The Shoe Hive

Story + Photography by Josh Watkins

Fancy, trendy, and well-respected were just a few of the sentiments expressed when shoppers were asked to describe The Shoe Hive. The Shoe Hive is owned by Elizabeth Todd and offers a large selection of women’s shoes, jewelry, accessories, and more. The Alexandria retailer recently opened its doors to various vendors for a cocktail hour-type shopping event. Guests were welcomed with a glass of wine to kick off the evening. The event featured a makeup artist and beauty products from Bellacara, handmade Christmas ornaments with custom calligraphy by Laura Hooper, and beautiful bouquets by Helen Olivia Flowers. Guests also enjoyed food from Stomping Ground by Nicole Jones. No matter which direction you looked, smiling faces and friendly interactions abounded.

Elizabeth Todd

Julia Capodicasa + Adam Perez

Alyssa Law + Caroline Campbell

Celthia Corsino

Angela Sitilides

Madeline Patierno Leigh Ramadan

Shmide Conserve


Mika Park

Nicole Jones

Laura Hooper


| Holiday Crafting + Cookie Decorating Workshop with Sugar by Bri

Story + Photography by Julie Carrasco

AR Workshop Alexandria recently hosted a Holiday Crafting and Cookie Decorating workshop with special guest instructor Bri Codiroli of Sugar by Bri. During the workshop, guests decorated three Thanksgiving-themed cookies and learned techniques in achieving the perfect holiday sugar cookie. Codiroli demonstrated icing techniques such as outlining and flooding, wet-on-wet, and wet-on-dry. This workshop was a perfect treat for the holidays! Katie Nguyen Wells

Maureen Goldman

Kelli Halzack, Sally Harte, Bri Codiroli + Megan Levanduski

Anne Wimberly Holman + Kristen Hardy

Alex Stephens

Sharelle Dailey + Janelle Freeman

Alyssa Lester + Michelle Jacobson

Jeanne Barton + Anne Merchant

Andrea Milano







Story by Alexandria Lindstrom | Photography by Molly Lichten Photography

Most people don’t believe in love at first sight, but for Aubrey Marshall and Tyler Love, it’s a phenomenon that’s more than just a myth – it’s exactly what happened when the two met in 2016. Their unexpected meeting in Nashville, Tenn., might have ended up like any other vacation romance: you lock eyes across the room, you chat for awhile and feel a spark, and then you part ways and never see each other again. If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll exchange numbers and pursue the beginnings of something longdistance. But eventually time, distance, and just plain life get in the way, and the person you met becomes a moment of the past, a romance that might have been. Fortunately for Aubrey and Tyler, however, their story plays out quite differently. “Of all the places we’ve been, somehow and some way, Tyler and I ended up in Nashville on the same day, at the same place, and at the same time,” recalled Aubrey. The amazement she still feels is evident in her voice. “Today, we know without a doubt that we were put in front of each other on that day because we were meant to spend our lives together. Being from Virginia, and

Tyler from New Jersey, we did not expect to meet our future spouses on a fun vacation away with friends; but the moment I locked eyes with Tyler, it was as though something connected between us, and everything stopped around me. And I knew. It was only for a second from across the room, but he remembers that second as clearly as I do,” she continued. Clearly, it was exactly the right time for the two, as they were both open to the possibility that this really was it. For the next few months, they chatted via FaceTime and talked on the phone for hours and spent almost every weekend together, deepening their bond across the miles and falling even more in love. When they felt the time had come to make a more permanent move, Tyler relocated to Virginia. Uprooting himself from New Jersey was just the beginning of the changes to come, and two years later, in July 2018, Tyler made the ultimate move. “Tyler’s mom and sister were in town visiting, and he wanted to take them to our favorite local spot, Cooper’s THE HOLIDAY ISSUE 2019 • 33

Hawk Winery & Restaurant. I was looking out at the fountain over the outside balcony, and I turned around to see Tyler down on one knee, asking me to marry him,” said Aubrey, who works as an elementary school special education teacher. “I was so happy that my first reaction was ‘OMG – are you serious?’ I will never forget how I felt in that moment. Minutes later, he surprised me again by having all of my best friends there to celebrate with us.”

and deep side cutouts. As 150 of their closest friends and family watched, the couple exchanged vows, making their love even more of a storybook tale with words of forever. “When we were at the altar for our vows, I became so lost in the moment with Tyler that it was as if no one else around us existed. So much so that I almost forgot to say I do! You can see the cute moment captured in our wedding video,” Aubrey said. After officially joining their hearts and their lives, the newly married Loves celebrated along with their guests at the reception, with delicious hors d’ oeuvres and a buffet-style dinner catered by Pampas Fox Catering on the grounds of the winery. Throughout the night, everyone broke out their finest moves on the dance floor while DJ Nate Clancy played, keeping the energy high and the love flowing until the happy couple cut into their cake – a lemon and raspberry confection covered in ivory fondant dusted in pearl luster made by Gateau Distinctive Cakes, accented with a pearl border around the base of each tier, fittingly topped with a gold “LOVE” topper and roses.

And they were there again to celebrate when the bride walked down the aisle toward her groom at Morais Vineyards & Winery, wearing a sophisticated white Martina Liana sheath dress with a sheer bodice and a plunging V-neck complimented by lace straps 34 • VIP ALEXANDRIA MAGAZINE

For Aubrey and Tyler Love, Love is more than a last name: it is a lasting bond that has made the impossible story a reality, and they can’t wait for the rest of forever.






Email us at weddings@vipalexandriamag.com We will connect you with one of our professional writers who will help you share your love story in VIP Alexandria Magazine’s February 2020 Weddings Issue. We will also work with your wedding photographer to design your feature, ensuring you look just a beautiful in print as you did on your wedding day! Accepting registrations through December 27, 2019


food + drink

| George Washington Whiskey Festival

Story + Photography by Julie Carrasco

Mount Vernon recently hosted the inaugural George Washington Whiskey Festival. About a dozen Virginia distillers offered samples of their finest whiskeys. Nationally known brands also offered whiskey for sampling and purchase and provided the public with a unique perspective on the history of whiskey from the 18th century to present day. Attendees also enjoyed a live panel discussion from experts deliberating the history of whiskey and distilled products. The festival also debuted a new batch of George Washington’s straight rye whiskey, which is available for purchase at Mount Vernon.

Coralia Durán + Carolina Muñiz

Jennifer Yi + Leo Cui

Eric Melusky + Patrick Pruitt

Joe Zauner + Kathleen Larrick

Joann Cabalar, Jaime + Gerardo Avila

Tom + Lisa Gale

Michael + Nora Knox

Andrew Keen + Alex Hoffman

Ryan Crice + Adam Stamfel


Erika Juan, Michael Juan + Evelyn Anido

Mark Smith + Stefanie Hook

Jessica Garonzik

food + drink

| Alexandria Cider Festival

Story + Photography by Catherine May Taylor

On a recent cool and cloudy day, Alexandria hosted the Alexandria Cider Festival at the historic Lloyd House in Old Town. Nine Virginia cideries were on hand and tickets for the event included tastings, a souvenir glass, and live music provided by the Folklore Society of Greater Washington. Alexandria’s own Lost Boy Cider represented, as well as Albemarle Cider Works, Blue Bee Cider, Bold Rock Cider, Bryant’s Cider, Buskey Cider, Castle Hill Cider, Courthouse Creek Cidery, Old Hill Cider, and Potter’s Craft Cider. The more original the cider, the longer the lines. Flavors such as Buskey Cider’s blueberry pancake and Courthouse Creek Cidery’s blackberry lavender were popular.

Elle Correll

Destiny Fritz + Deborah George

Be sure to check out www.ciderweekva.com to see their upcoming events.

Micheal Halbert, Kerry McClure + Cindy Palmer

Chris Lindsay + Andrew Dodds

Mark Abbott + Nathan Perry

Lindsay Langstaff + Tanner Mason

Jen + Bernie Cook

Erin MacDonald + Tara Andrews

Brigette Torrise, Georgia Stephens, Kelle Esherick, Kelly McCoy + Erica Colchao

Kody Kight



POTOMAC Story + Photography Submitted by Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center


Holiday cheer returns on November 15 when Christmas on the Potomac opens with more Christmas per square foot than any other attraction in the Washington, DC region. The nearly 2,000-room resort offers a holiday tradition that is open to both hotel guests and the public with miles and miles of activities for all ages including the incredibly popular ICE! indoor walk through exhibit fashioned from more than 2 million pounds of sculpted ice. Exclusive to Gaylord hotels, ICE!, presented by DEI, is famous for photos of those cozy blue parkas guests don before entering the colorful wonderland of sculptures, scenes, and slides all hand carved by artisans from Harbin, China. This year’s installation is bigger than ever as the 15,000 square foot “cold room” welcomes the classic holiday story, Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas! featuring scenes from the heart-warming holiday tale including The Grinch lurking through the chimneys of Whoville homes, The Grinch’s heart growing three sizes after realizing Christmas means a little bit more, and sitting down at the Who’s feast where The Grinch carves the roast beast. Also new in 2019, The Grinch fans will have the opportunity to meet the star of the show at the resort’s Feast with The Grinch breakfast. Diners can enjoy a buffet of Who-ville inspired items, table-side visits with The Grinch and Max, plus special touches Dr. Seuss fans are sure to adore. There’s even a new adventure inviting kids to follow clues through the resort looking for riddles and puzzles dreamed up by The Grinch as he attempts to steal Christmas. In The Grinch’s Wonderful Awful Idea Scavenger Hunt, solving clues leads to a grand prize and a change of heart for The Grinch. Christmas Village is just a quick sleigh ride from the North Pole where Santa waits for the Big Day welcoming children to share their Christmas wishes and take souvenir photos. A long list of activities for children of all ages includes an all-new adventure even Santa’s reindeer will love. The new Reindeer Rush Ice Tubing Hill offers all the fun of sledding with the added speed of ice. The new outdoor Winter Square overlooking the Potomac River will brighten holiday spirits with twinkling lights and festival decorations that include an outdoor Ice-Skating Rink and Tinsel Tavern, a new, over-the-top ugly sweater themed bar. Adult beverages and hot chocolate add to the cheer at this warm and cozy outdoor space. Inside the artfully lit Garden Atrium, revelers will be dazzled by the 55-foot suspended Starlight Christmas tree and nightly Christmas Miracles laser, light and music show magically reminding us that miracles live in all of us if we believe – and believe we will when snow starts to fall indoors! The Garden Atrium is also home to the newest version of Cirque Dreams Unwrapped, a spellbinding production of seasonal dreams

combining breathtaking choreography, music and showmanship from around the world. This intimate extravaganza on the stage and in the air will have guests on their feet and at the edge of their seats. The list of fun at Christmas on the Potomac is so long, even Santa will have to check twice to be sure not to miss a thing! Individual attraction tickets and flexible discount bundles including multiple attractions and experiences, along with hotel packages, are available on the resort’s website at www.ChristmasOnThePotomac.com

For more information on Christmas On The Potomac at Gaylord National Resort, to book a room or package and purchase tickets, visit www.ChristmasOnThePotomac.com or call 301-965-4000 THE HOLIDAY ISSUE 2019 • 39


| 5 Years of Ascend

Story by Molly Bruh + Photography by Taylor Pascale

Ascend Cycle + Underground celebrated its 5th anniversary in November, with a weeklong celebration that ended with a community social at Charlie’s on the Avenue. Ascend recognized its members and loyal customers during this client appreciation week with giveaways, big discounts, themed rides, and special classes. While this celebration focused on five years of support from the Del Ray community, none of it would have been possible without the leadership of Kat Zajac. Thank you to Del Ray, our community of strength, for consistently showing up to become a better version of yourself. Ascend Cycle is a local, woman-owned, nonfranchise business that offers cycle and strength training classes, as well as health coaching and an online wellness community.



We are now hiring account executives, photographer + writers.

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


OF HEALTH Holiday Gift Certificates Available


1414 Prince Street Suite 100 Alexandria, VA 22314 703.683.7771 www.justadjustit.com



| OTBD Annual Party

Story + Photography by Catherine May Taylor

The Old Town Boutique District (OTBD) recently got together at Augie’s Mussel House in Old Town for a networking night out. Attendees celebrated with fabulous drinks, food, and of course looking their best. The OTBD showcases more than 30 unique shops right in Alexandria. From gifts, apparel, wine, and food – you can find something for everyone. Shopping local and supporting someone’s art or craft is truly the root of any city and its uniqueness. Visit www.oldtownboutiquedistrict.com and you’ll find a list of OTBD member stores and their wares. You can also find upcoming events, sales, and a monthly “Love Local” guide that features tips and trends. If you find you don’t come to Old Town Betsy Weissman, Megan Podolsky + Maria Elizabeth enough, OTBD shops might make you wish you lived there!

Katie, Ryan + Ruby Coslov

Paige + Brittany Patterson

Tayler Gibson, Samantha Malandrino + Rebekah Murphy

Maura + Patrick Burchette, Megan Podolsky + Penelope Norton India + Ryan Mertins

Jeanette Wages + Katya Ananieva

Alyson Foster, Jennifer Bonini + Kelly George


Marrisa Potts, Colleen Maloney, Megan Podolsky + Valerie Watt



Classic Duchess Blazer by Smythe, TSALT Sloan Collar Necklace by Jenny Bird, TSALT

Dress by Lucy Paris, Periwinkle Earrings by Elizabeth Cole, Periwinkle Headband, Bishop Boutique

Hair, Salon Dezen


Show Me Your Mumu Maci Skirt, Bishop Boutique Show Me Your Mumu Fatima Turtleneck Sweater, Bishop Boutique Hell Sandal by Cece Knot, Bishop Boutique Augusta Chain Phone Crossbody by Loeffler Randall, Bishop Boutique Pearl & Crystal Flower Earrings, Bishop Boutique

Chunky Sweater by Lurex, Periwinkle

As a jewelry girl, I'm looking forward to a few jewelry trends that I'm certain will be a big hit in 2020. I'm most excited about long bolero and tassel styles for layering, three-dimensional round shapes, larger size hoops and chain-links, and finally, wearing just ONE statement earring. Yes, just one! 2020 is looking fun and creative already. Bring it on!




Nova Top by Ulla Johnson, The Shoe Hive Empress Earrings by Lizzie Fortunato, The Shoe Hive

Leather Jacket by Seven for all Mankind, Mint Condition Dress by Valentino, Mint Condition Shoes by LK Bennett, Mint Condition


Polis Velours Pants by Zadig & Voltaire, TSALT

Metallic Leopard Suit by Tanya Taylor, Periwinkle Jewelry, She’s Unique

I’m excited to continue to explore different textures in the new year, combining rich fabrics such as fur, velvet, and sequins! Love the maximalist, ritzy look.”



Faux Fur Vest, Mint Condition Shoes by Stuart Weitzman, The Shoe Hive


Jewelry, She’s Unique

Show Me Your Mumu Maddison Dress, Bishop Boutique Delilah Bow Diamonte Belt by Loeffler Randall, Bishop Boutique Daith Heeled Bootie by Marc Fisher LTD, Bishop Boutique Sparkle Ball Drop Earring, Bishop Boutique

I am loving how glam and edgy rock’n roll are mixing together in 2020. Everything from neon to leather is a go and the 70’s will be influencing the fashion and hair scene. The shag cut will be everywhere this year and I would venture to say it will be THE haircut of 2020.

- MARIA ELIZABETH SALON DEZEN The Lennox Dress by Lucy, Periwinkle



| TSALT Holiday Preview Party

Story + Photography by Julie Carrasco

TSALT proudly hosted a holiday preview party for the public just in time for the holidays. This annual event is a great way for women to start their holiday shopping lists with all the amazing clothes TSALT has to offer. Shoppers can start a shopping wish list and TSALT will later email the list to their significant others so they can shop for all items online or in store. Guests enjoyed champagne and light hors d’oeuvres while trying on amazing pieces. And perhaps best of all, guests took home their own personalized wine bags courtesy of Laura Hooper Calligraphy. Tamara Saltonstall + Paige Nicholson

Marisa Gonzalez + Katie Coslov

Jen Tierney, Whitney Czyzia + Jody Brissey Aey Needham, Tamara Saltonstall + Megan Collins

Hope Dobrow + Amanda Byrne

Shoshanna Tanner

Adrienne Geis

Bunmi + Tayo Adeyiga

Shelbie Koch

Tess Mackey

Laura Hooper + Caroline Campbell



| Smoke + Mirrors Mystery Soiree

Story + Photography by Jeremiah “JD” Davis

The Smoke and Mirrors Mystery Soiree kept everyone on their toes recently at Woodlawn Mansion. The evening focused on discovering and assimilating clues scattered throughout the mansion and its property to solve a mystery; the mansion was rumored to be haunted and featured 1920s decor that added to the atmosphere of the evening. Participants dressed accordingly for the theme, and 1920s music by live performers accompanied the night. Participants also used the game night as a networking event as it is a popular pastime for Alexandria professionals. The night ended with a final performance by the band, food and drinks, and the answer to the night’s mystery puzzle.

Lily Matini + David O’Brien

Kelsey Scalers + Sifat Ahmad


Alexandria Attiliis + Susan Gray

Johanna Miller + Lee Ann Miller

Christina Canova + Matt Kubal

Jamie Duffy, Kent Duffy + Camille Piazza

Jose + Jocelyn Lopez


| Fall Harvest Ball

Story + Photography by Jeremiah “JD” Davis

Alexandria’s annual Fall Harvest Ball was recently held in Old Town at Gadsby’s Tavern and featured a 1770s-style ball with live music, English country dancing, a cash bar, and a seasonal dessert collection. During the 18th century, Alexandria celebrated the onset of fall and winter with a ball. This year, Alexandria locals dressed in cocktail attire along with their friends and family to keep the tradition alive. English country dancing consists of live musicians – including a violinist and in this year’s case a flutist – and several attendees holding hands while performing a specific series of moves in unison. The dance requires a lot of coordination! Several of these groups filled the ballroom and they danced the night away in each other’s company. Afterward, the crowd enjoyed desserts to conclude the night.

Ben Riesebeck

Anna Lynn Jurkowski

Sheila + Brian Oakes

Doug Cohen

Jane Pease + Dam McMahon

Abbey + Jonathan Mulberg

Michale Halbert

Kelly Wruck + Rebecca Dupont


Holiday Home Tour Christmas Decorating w/ William Lynch + Chase Whitley Story by William Lynch + Photography by Catherine May Taylor

It’s my favorite time of the year — Christmastime! The day after Thanksgiving, I crack open storage boxes filled with Christmas decor and start decorating for the holidays. Luckily for us, the fun doesn’t stop there, because, as interior designers, my partner Chase and I have the privilege to work with some amazing clients on designing festive and holiday-themed spaces in their homes and businesses. One of my favorites this year is a beautiful home in Old Town built in 1780. Our client, the local owner of the boutique TSALT, wanted to balance traditional holiday decor with sentimental items. Consummate professionals though we might be, Chase and I think it’s important to always decorate with sentimental items: ornaments collected over the years, goofy knick-knacks that your children or parents gave you, and other decorative items that have special meaning behind them. In our case, every year, Chase and I give one another a new ornament to add to our sentimental tree, so seeing it really warms my heart. The entire tree is just filled with memories and significance. However, because our client’s house is currently for sale, she really wanted to balance the sentimental things with decor that helps truly showcase her stunning home. We were inspired by the natural beauty of her home, so accomplishing the right look was just a matter of curation. It’s 52 • VIP ALEXANDRIA MAGAZINE




something that anyone can do, even if you don’t have a massive home. Balancing sentiment – no matter how silly or “unstylish” – with sophistication or tastefully charming decor will give you a look you love and make your holiday home one you’re proud to show off. Let’s start with my favorite part: the tree. Or, in some cases, trees. I love having multiple Christmas trees. I make sure that Chase and I get two trees every year – one that is more decorative and another that we hang our sentimental ornaments on – though if we had more space in our apartment, I would get a tree for every room! As I’ve said, this is my time to go over the top. This year, we recommended multiple trees to our client as well, so she could show both sentiment and style. In her kitchen, she decorated a tree with family ornaments, while the living room featured a more decorative tree. For the decorative tree in the living room, we drew inspiration from the yellow tones of the room and decided to use gold as the main color, then adorned it with beautiful gold ornaments and ribbons. After we added everything, however, it still didn’t look quite finished. Our client then found antler ornaments that her mother had made and given to her, so we added these as the final touch to this show-stopping tree. The great debate between Chase and me is always about getting real versus artificial trees. While I think artificial trees are almost sacrilegious, it was easily settled in this case, because of our client’s allergy to pine. With artificial trees, I don’t think it’s worth spending a great deal of money and getting a more “luxurious” artificial tree with plastic needles that are advertised to have a “real feel.” If you’re going to use an artificial tree, we always recommend buying a more inexpensive tree and then splurging on where it really counts: the decorations that will go on the tree. Those are what will most capture people’s attention, so don’t hold back!

Of next greatest importance are the lights. Lighting on a tree is so crucial! Chase always makes fun of me for how I light a tree, because it is so tedious and intense. I’ve learned, however, that if you take the time, it looks absolutely amazing, which definitely makes the effort worth every second. I like to wrap each and every branch with lights. It’s also important to wrap branches deep in the tree because it gives the tree more depth. With both trees done, the next room we tackled was the library. Instead of adding another tree in this room, we decided to decorate the mantelpiece instead. Her house has some of the most beautiful original fireplace mantels, so we knew we needed to make those focal points. On the library mantel, we started with a base of magnolia. While I love traditional Christmas greens, Chase loves to forgo expectation, so we decided to avoid pine but still include greens that were both seasonally appropriate and long-lasting. Next, we added traditional red ilex berries. The deep reds and purples made red the obvious accent color here. Then, to finish it off and add more texture, we incorporated pinecones. In each room, we decorated in a way that highlighted the space in a unique manner, blending sentimentality and sophistication to achieve a look that was festive and immersive in the holiday spirit without being too much. As decorators and frequent dinner party hosts, the holiday season is such a fantastic time of year for us. There are so many directions that one can go with decor; and while it’s fun to push boundaries and try something new and unexpected, there’s also nothing wrong with keeping to tradition. The most important thing to remember is this: as beautiful as it may be, Christmas decor is the backdrop for what really matters—creating wonderful moments with family and friends.



| Ice + Lights: The Winter Village at Cameron Run

Story + Photography by Catherine May Taylor

Great Waves Waterpark, located at Cameron Run Regional Park in Alexandria, has transformed into a magical winter wonderland. With an ice-skating rink, Christmas lights from top to bottom, and festive holiday music, Ice & Lights is well worth a stop by this holiday season. If ice skating isn’t your thing, a stroll around the lights and displays is very peaceful at night. You can even grab some pizza or get into the park early to grab a seat by the firepits for roasting marshmallows. Igloos around the park offer shelter from the wind and make a great spot to relax. The park is great for all ages, and the lights and activities make for fun photo ops. Ice & Lights will be open until January 5, after which the ice-skating rink only will be open until February 29.

Caitlin Blunnie + Liam Datson

Rowan + Reid Hedrick


Carolyn Bolton + Kate Zickel

The Wordlaw Family

David + Sophia Barrett

Prajapati Family



bridal issue Glide across the ice at Ice & Lights, The Winter Village at Cameron Run Regional Park in Alexandria, Virginia.


NIGHTLY Ice Skating & Winter Village


Ice & Lights: The Winter Village at Cameron Run Regional Park 4001 Eisenhower Avenue | Alexandria, VA 22304 703-960-0767 | cameron@nvpra.org



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1. Back to Health Center • Lord Jones Royal Oil • 1000 MG CBD Oil • www.justadjustit.com 2. The Wellness Cooperative • Moon Beauty Roller • www.thewellnesscooperative.com 3. TSALT • SECRID Miniwallet in Rango Green www.tsaltstyle.com 4. She’s Unique • Reign Cuff (Goldfill) www.shopshesunique.com 5. Salon Dezen • Kevin Murphy Staying Alive www.salondezen.com 6. Cafe 44 • Chambong • www.cafe44.com 7. Paradiso Italian Restaurant • Tinazzi Wines • www.theparadisorestaurant.com 8. Dr. Kathleen Mullaney • Sonicare 9400 DiamondClean www.kathleenmullaneydds.com 9. Ten Thousand Villages • Sundial Compass www.tenthousandvillages.com 10. Patina Polished • Baobab Candles www.patinapolishedliving.com 11. The Spice & Tea Exchange • 7-Day Tea Cleanse • www.spiceandtea.com



| Alexandria’s Christmas Tree Lighting

Story + Photography by Catherine May Taylor

Even in the pouring rain, the city showed up en masse to watch this year’s Alexandria Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Despite it being a wet and cold evening, the ceremony went off without a hitch, as Mayor Justin Wilson – who was joined by the T.C. Williams High School choir, the Metropolitan School of the Arts, and of course Santa – lit this year’s tree. Under the direction of choir director Theodore Thorpe III, the T.C. Williams High School choir delighted the audience with carols and for a while it seemed everyone forgot they “Santa’s Spectacular” by the Metropolitan School of the Arts were standing in the rain. The Metropolitan School of the Arts performed “Santa’s Spectacular” and wowed everyone with their talent. This year’s tree fully illuminated the square and after the lighting, Santa started making his lists and checking them twice. Check www.alexandriava.gov next year for information about next year’s tree lighting.

Mayor Justin Wilson + Alex Wilson

Soriano Family

Councilwoman Amy Jackson, Ella + Byrce Jackson


Maria + Whitney Santander

Opie Family

Welty Family

Evans Family


| Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights

Story + Photography by Julie Carrasco

The Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights celebrated its 20th anniversary along Old Town’s historic waterfront. Attendees enjoyed dockside activities along the waterfront including a pop-up beer garden from Port City Brewing Company, holiday giveaways from 97.1 WASH-FM, and a Letters to Santa postcard station courtesy of Penny Post. Later in the afternoon, Santa and Mrs. Claus arrived by fireboat at the Alexandria City Marina to meet with children and their families at the Torpedo Factory Art Center. At sunset, the boat parade of lights began at the Alexandria Cole Johnson + Natalia Wood City Marina. Spectators could observe the parade from various viewing areas throughout Old Town. Many of the boats continued north toward The Wharf for the District’s Holiday Boat Parade.

Santa, Mrs. Claus, Eva + King Rubio

Spencer Lacayo

Kian Hajiha + Rayan Mendoza

Christine Karlik + Heather Lawrie

Chelsea + Scott Pierson

Lauren Larsen + Kate Casper

Erin + Maisie O’brien

Penny Widdle, Sarah-Marie Wood + Florence Widdle

Sam Puffenbarger + Drew Shaw



24-HOUR YOGATHON How Honest Soul Yoga + PenFed are supporing Our Military Kids Story by Alexandria Lindstrom + Photography by JD Watkins

When Suzie Mills began teaching yoga in late 2012 in her basement, she likely didn’t imagine that seven years later she’d be successful enough to build a mini empire with three fully realized local studios. Her initial goal was simply to share the benefits she’d experienced in her own life as a practitioner of yoga with others, but her dedication and passion led to rapid growth, attracting others to take up their mats and follow the flow. Mills is a former Air Force reservist and it was a deployment in Afghanistan that inspired her to open a business upon her return home. But she didn’t want to open just any business – she wanted it to be one that focused on health and wellness. Having experienced first hand the way yoga allowed her to reclaim a sense of wellbeing and enjoy physical movement in a way that counteracted the stresses of life in the reserves and wartime deployments, she enrolled in a yoga certification program with the intent to one day open a studio. And that day came in 2012, when she officially established Honest Soul Yoga. 62 • VIP ALEXANDRIA MAGAZINE

Its humble beginnings in her basement were short-lived, however, as Honest Soul soon moved to a brick-and-mortar studio in Alexandria in 2013. Three years later, fellow yogi and friend Julia Lopez joined Honest Soul to direct the brand and lead teacher development and became an official co-owner in 2018. The reason for their success could be directly attributed to their passion and ability to build a community within the studios, as Mills and Lopez truly embody what their brand identity would imply: living life with honesty, integrity, soul, and intention. It’s part of their practice as followers of yoga, and the sense of wellbeing gained from that is one they strive to pass on to their students. “At Honest Soul Yoga, you will be encouraged to move and challenge yourself, but also to witness your thoughts, manage your breathing, take stock of your feelings and sensations, and examine what it might be like to have a light and friendlier attitude towards yourself in the process. Because we empower

Suzie Mills + Julia Lopez, Honest Soul Yoga Owners

We knew that every single dollar was going to make a significant impact in the lives of these kids who have deployed parents. - Suzie Mills

Michelle Nelson + Shelly Criqui Christian Villalas, Janette Corcelius, Sarah Jayne + Faith Chang

our students to take personal responsibility for their effort and their mindset, our students work hard but don’t take themselves too seriously. As a result, many students tell us that they find they can move with more comfort and ease, have reduced their stress, are taking better care of their bodies, and are maintaining a healthy self-image much more easily,” said Lopez. Seeing these benefits are what drives them, but their desire to help others extends beyond those who attend classes in their studios. Inspired by this desire, Honest Soul hosts an annual 24-hour Yogathon. This year’s recipient was Our Military  Kids (OMK) and the PedFed-sponsored Yogathon raised nearly $13,000, which will fund dozens of grants for military kids.  “OMK felt like the perfect fit for this year’s Yogathon because they are a shining example that meaningful impact can be made with modest resources. Their average grant is $300, and each grant makes a huge difference.  We love working with organizations that are not only incredible stewards of the donations they receive, but also help people directly. With OMK, we knew that

every single dollar was going to make a significant impact in the lives of these kids who have deployed parents,” said Mills. “Military personnel and their spouses sacrifice so much over the course of their service to our country, and so do their children. It’s especially difficult for reservist families who don’t have the same geographic access as other military families do to services provided on base, and the children may not live in an area where they have many friends with military parents,” Mills added. “OMK is special in the way that they recognize not only the financial need and lack of access for reservist families, but also the emotional need that kids of deployed reservists have. The grants they provide help the children feel seen and appreciated and gives them the opportunity to take part in their favorite activities. It’s an amazing thing on so many levels.” For more information on Honest Soul Yoga, visit www.honestsoulyoga.com. To learn more about Our Military Kids, visit www.ourmilitarykids.org. THE HOLIDAY ISSUE 2019 • 63


| Flowers on the Sidewalk with Kristen Jones

Story + Photography by Catherine May Taylor

Kristen Jones Real Estate recently teamed up with Boxwood boutique to spread holiday cheer and teach clients and friends how to make the perfect floral bouquet. Joanna Szczerban and Boxwood boutique are known for their floral design classes featuring wreaths and table centerpieces. Jones took it to the next level and brought her clients and some newcomers, let them pick from a selection of beautiful engraved vases, and everyone got one-on-one time with florist Melinda Hunter. The bouquet would be the perfect holiday gift or accent for a party. After the lesson, Jones spoke with each person who attended the event and handed out tote bags filled with swag with her teammates.

Joanna Szczerban, Kristen Jones, Summer Hine + Melinda Hunter

Darryl + Jen Resio

Pam Jones

David Goldstone, Kathleen Goldstone + Kristen Jones

Melinda Hunter


Barb Morganfield

Virginia Bennett

Joanna Szczerban, Adrienne + Cary Becker

Bob Hughes


| The Cookie Crawl

Story + Photography by Julie Carrasco

Old Town recently hosted its inaugural Cookie Crawl. Participants received a commemorative tin to receive a cookie at each of the 17 participating stores. This holiday event was fun for the whole family and a great way to explore Old Town’s shopping district.

Gia Attiken, Owen Doxey, Liam Holley + Addison Doxey

Ashley + Brooke Lombardi

Elizabeth Fitzsimmons

Jeffrey Karikari + Courtney Clarke

Jeanne Behr + Amy Rutherford

Kendra Mclauchlan + Holly Carr Ismael Montecel + Jill Potkalesky

Alex + Lena Wilson

David Ovedovitz + Donnelly Bohan

Paige Alexander

Barbara Beach + Diane Fiske

Savannah Rogers, David Kuehn + Megan Natter


Story by Alexandria Lindstrom + Photography by Catherine May Taylor

Shopping local is extremely important for keeping money in the local community, but it can be easy to get caught up in all the holiday hype that focuses on shopping at big-box stores. For that reason, Old Town Boutique District (OTBD) makes shopping local a signature event by sending out their Elf Patrol to reward shoppers in Old Town who are carrying shopping bags from any OTBD store.

“We want to encourage residents and neighbors to shop small by rewarding them for shopping local during the holidays...” “We want to encourage residents and neighbors to shop small by rewarding them for shopping local during the holidays, which is so important because doing so supports all the hardworking individuals that have put their own money, blood, sweat, and tears into providing goods and services to their community,” said Alyson Foster, who operates Pure Barre of Alexandria, one of the businesses proud to participate in the Elf Patrol. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays, now through December 21, OTBD’s Elf Patrol will surprise shoppers with gift cards and other tokens of appreciation contributed by local shop owners. 66 • VIP ALEXANDRIA MAGAZINE



The Washington Ballet Presents

The Nutcracker Story by Alexandria Lindstrom + Photography Couresty of The Washington Ballet


“The excitement of knowing that we are a part of putting together a holiday tradition for so many Washingtonians is the best part of being involved with such an iconic production. For many, it’s not Christmas until they see our performance of The Nutcracker.” KYLE GRANT, PRODUCTION MANAGER

There’s something incredibly beautiful about ballet that commands attention, something unique and romantic that no over-engineered, technically enhanced screen production can replicate or replace. When computer-generated entertainment seems to take over our senses at every turn, it’s inspiring to know that the art of ballet is as captivating as ever.

For companies like The Washington Ballet (TWB), those productions are indeed a magical thing to watch; and as it dances into its 58th year of presenting The Nutcracker, TWB is looking forward to offering truly memorable performances by renowned dancers from all over the world as well local talents – in addition to a few somewhat unexpected guests – to their holiday party.

The captivation begins early, enchanting the hearts of little girls and boys with equal influence, as their natural affinity to connect with music through dance often starts before they’re able to form words. And as their connection grows, so too does their love of watching classics unfold on stage as graceful, gifted dancers tell mesmerizing tales without uttering a single word.

Those unexpected guests are actually part of what makes TWB’s production of The Nutcracker so unique and fun, as the ballet company has taken the iconic classic and almost turned it on its ear by D.C.-ifying it to make it more relevant to the local area and American culture, from the colonial era to modern times. But it didn’t start off that way. In fact, when it premiered in December 1961 at Constitution Hall under the direction of co-founder Mary Day and the choreography of legendary ballerina Alexandra Danilova, The Nutcracker was a strict performance of the classic score. But when Septime Webre stepped into the role of artistic director, TWB threw caution to the wind and performed a new version in 2003 that was D.C.-themed, set in 1882 Georgetown. The new version of the production incorporates important historical figures such as George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Harriet Tubman, Betsy Ross, and John Paul Jones. Now produced by artistic director Julie Kent and her husband,  Victor Barbee, who acts as associate artistic director, today’s performance features more than 100 dancers, including The Washington Ballet’s Company, Studio Company, and Professional Trainees as well as nearly 500 students from The Washington School of


Ballet. And popping in during Act 1 of the opening party scene to make cameos as The Ambassador and The Merry Widow are specially-invited local TV, sports, and political figures. “We also have a guest appearance by the  racing presidents, the mascots for The World Series Champion Washington Nationals,” said TWB’s public relations manager Barbara Berti. “Audiences go wild when they come on and dance to the timeless Tchaikovsky score that everyone recognizes.” That’s not all audiences go wild for, however, as TWB’s innovative and modern approach to the classic are rife with reasons to fall in love with the tale all over again. “There are so many things

that make our production special,” said Berti. “Our professional company is made up of dancers from all over the country and all over the world, so it very much reflects the diversity of the capital city. The visuals are also truly stunning, from the costumes and sets to the special effects, which include a magical Christmas tree that grows 30 feet, spectacular pyrotechnics, and even a hot air balloon that takes Clara up and away into the cherry blossoms at the end of the ballet. It’s all incredibly captivating to young

audiences who delight in seeing all this happen before their eyes. There’s nothing more magical than the holiday season, and this production delivers a lasting memory that audiences treasure with their family and friends year after year.” It’s also something that the production team and the dancers treasure being a part of year after year, as well. “I love revisiting the production and working on it each year,” said assistant production manager Karen Storms, who has been a part of TWB’s performance of “The Nutcracker for 14 years. She has actually never seen another version of the ballet. “There’s always something new that I see or learn, and I love making something

just a little bit better. It has a lot more props and scene changes than many of the other ballet productions I’ve done, which I feel is another thing that makes it unique. Also, having the opportunity to watch the kids grow up through the years and hone their skills as they come through the school is really wonderful.” “The excitement of knowing that we are a part of putting together a holiday tradition for so many Washingtonians is the THE HOLIDAY ISSUE 2019 • 71

“I think one of the most wonderful things about our production of The Nutcracker is that it teaches an appreciation of the arts to children at a young age...” STEPHANIE SOROTA, DANCER

best part of being involved with such an iconic production,” added Kyle Grant, production manager for TWB. “For many, it’s not Christmas until they see our performance of The Nutcracker, and we get to do our part to make the show a reality. That’s a great thrill for me, and I get such a feeling of accomplishment and great joy from that!” The dancers share in the feeling as well, knowing they are part of something that means so much to so many, no matter their ages. “It’s nice to participate in something that is a staple of the holiday season and brings in so many families,” said dancer Adelaide Clauss. “I love dancing to the iconic music, and it gives me a great sense of accomplishment when we finish the run at the end of the holiday season.” Fellow dancer Alex Kramer agreed. “I always feel such a sense of nostalgia since The Nutcracker has been performed for many generations, and I grew up with the show. In our case, this is such a unique D.C. production, which makes it all the more special, and no other production I’ve been in has the number of children we do, which also brings me great joy.” “I think one of the most wonderful things about our production of The Nutcracker is that it teaches an appreciation of the arts to children at a young age, as this is often their first time at a performance,” said dancer Stephanie Sorota. “I get especially excited because we get to dance so much 72 • VIP ALEXANDRIA MAGAZINE

during the ballet, and I love to dance – not to mention the fact that it’s D.C.-themed, but it also has dolphins! It’s fantastic!” The Washington Ballet will present performances at The Warner Theatre until December 29 as well as two matinee performances for D.C. public school children as part of their community engagement program. “The Washington Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker has become something of a holiday tradition for thousands of families over the past 16 years, and it is the signature production in the nation’s capital,” said Berti. Whether you love watching Clara’s dream unfold before your very eyes or can’t help getting swept up in swell of the music, “The Nutcracker is the perfect way to welcome the holidays, and The Washington Ballet takes the magic of it all to a whole new level. For more information on show times and ticket pricing, visit www.washingtonballet.org.


| Alexandria Makers Market at Port City Brewing Company

Story + Photography by David D’Agostino

An overflowing crowd convened at Port City Brewing Company for the inaugural Alexandria Makers Market Holiday Pop-up recently. The event featured Alexandria-based creators, makers, designers, and crafters, and provided an opportunity for attendees to purchase unique holiday gifts. Makers Market founder Alyssa Kovach was thrilled with the crowd, and especially thankful to Port City for hosting the event and allowing the market to move indoors when the wind whipped up. The brew house and hallways were lined with vendors and happy shoppers, many with a pint of awardwinning Port City craft beer in their hands.

Rebecca + Evelyn Ingram

Amy Eggers

Abigail Whitmore, Hannah Ryan + Paige Narner

Brittany Cox + Jennifer Fortnum

Michael + Kathleen Dobbyn, Haley Fanning, Jovani Santana, Joshua + Susie Noakes, Carly & Ty Hubicki

Alyssa Kovach

Elizabeth Doisy + Jonathan Boyer

Shana Oltmans, Fan Yang, Chris Wilson + Alan Cohn

Maritza Maxwell

Brad Kovach

Forrest, Solomon, Bethany + Mal Vanderbilit


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| Keep the Homeless Warm – 4th Annual Coat/Blanket Drive

Story + Photography by David D’Agostino

After volunteering to feed the homeless in D.C., a group of friends noticed that some of them were using street grates to keep warm and decided to do something about it. So each year when the weather turns cold, they gather in Del Ray at Charlie’s On The Avenue to collect donations. Within the first hour at this year’s collection, bags were overflowing with coats, blankets, scarves and more to keep the homeless warm. The donations will be distributed at the Feed the Homeless in D.C. event, held in Franklin Square and hosted by Food Dude USA Brandon Frye.

Liz + Zoey Schaefer

Louisa Taylor, Dexter Nobrega + Bonnie Furts

Dennis Payne + Kenny Garfinkel

Stacy Denise + Terri Black

Amy, Mark + Henry Eggers

Maribeth McCarthy + Luke Heilman

Christine + Andy Simmons

Volunteers- Dexter Nobrega, Terri Black, Katie Wethman, Kenny Garfinkel + Chris Rojahn

Elvin Yuzugullu + Katie Wetham

Laura Noble

Terry Burcham, Lindsey Swanson, Marlene, Cooper, Alex Vasilic, Wendy + Paul Moniz


ONE WORD New Year's Resolutions Story by Jeanette Wages

The New Year is fast approaching; how well did you do with last year’s resolutions? Did you lose 20 pounds? Did you make it to the gym after February? How much water did you drink? This year will be the year we all follow through…right? I try to approach my resolutions a little differently, because I know I’m human and life will get in the way of my goals to do yoga every day and eat more kale. Every year I pick a word, and for that year I focus on that word. I choose a word that encompasses something I need to learn, embrace, or feel in the coming year. For those who still want to lose weight, hit the gym, and drink more water, words such as health, strength, and fitness come to mind. Some other popular words are love, gratitude, healing, create, adventure, and passion. Last year I chose the word empowerment. Empowerment is about the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life. My goal for 2019 was to focus on empowering myself, my staff, and the community around me. It seemed like a natural fit for a life and empowerment coach. The universe decided its goal was to make sure I rose to the occasion, because this year, if nothing else, has been one storm after another. The year has made me stronger (though sometimes I felt far from strong) and much more confident in being able to rely on myself. My year started off with a bad breakup, which shaped a large part of my focus this year, pushing me to begin writing again, to do speaking engagements, and to share my story – including one I had not openly spoken about in 10 years. It also pushed me to realize I won’t always have someone to fall back on when times are hard. Through the rest of the year, I had struggles with my business, finances, dating, friendships, health – you name it and I probably dealt with it in 2019. But my resolution was to empower and become stronger. For 2020, I’ve chosen the word happiness. Now that I have worked through some major breakthroughs and realizations about myself (though I am definitely still a work in progress), I want my focus in the coming year to be finding happiness. Being happy won’t mean that life will suddenly fall into place, that I’ll win the lottery, and that I’ll find my soulmate, though I wouldn’t mind if those things happened, too. Happy will be about finding the joy in the journey. I will carve out time for myself without feeling guilty about the things I “should” be doing. Happy will mean writing three things I am grateful for in a journal every day, even when I spent the evening wrist deep in some Jeni’s ice cream while crying my eyes out to a Netflix romcom. It will mean providing works of service to others, helping those in my business, and crushing goals for St. Jude. It will mean finding contentment and peace with who I am, including my faults and weak moments as well as my strengths and moments in the sun. In 2020, I am bound and determined to laugh more than I cry, and to find joy in the little things along the way. Resolving to focus on one word as your theme for the year may seem weird and difficult to do, but if you chose a word that truly speaks to your heart and who you want to be in the coming year, you will see astronomical changes in your life and perspective of the world. Stay focused on your word by announcing it on social media and what it means to you, write it down somewhere you look every day, buy a piece of jewelry with the word on it, or even add it to your meditation mantra. Focus on it on the tough days and remember why you chose it. Then look back as 2020 comes to a close and notice how life and the world around you lifted you up to meet your goal, and be proud of how far you’ve come. 76 • VIP ALEXANDRIA MAGAZINE






First Night Alexandria Celebrating 25 Years of the Family-Friendly, New Year's Eve Celebration Story by Alexandria Lindstrom

Tonight we’re gonna party like it’s…2019… While perhaps not quite so epic as the end of a century, the close of a decade is still one that commands great excitement as the clock counts down toward midnight and everyone bids farewell to the old and welcomes the new. And as the very last seconds of 2019 tick down toward the first moments of 2020, the city of Alexandria will celebrate in a big way with First Night Alexandria and all of the festivities it brings. Now in its 25th year, First Night Alexandria offers a plethora of activities and performances designed to appeal to people of all ages. It is a cultural arts and entertainment event that provides an alternative to the traditional New Year’s Eve celebrations by hosting various performers, acts, and musicians all over town and welcoming everyone to take part. 78 • VIP ALEXANDRIA MAGAZINE

“First Night Alexandria is an evening of entertainment that is safe and fun, family-friendly, affordable, and alcohol-free and that showcases and supports the performing and visual arts,” said Marilyn Patterson, executive director of First Night Alexandria, Inc. “By providing a variety of music genres and interactive events, we’re able to introduce the public to a diverse range of performers and broaden their cultural experiences. Additionally, through the collaborative support of churches, museums, retail establishments, libraries, private clubs, buildings and offices, recreation centers, city-owned facilities, theaters, and hotels, doors are opened as these locations become venues to enjoy artistic expression.” And that artistic expression is both wide and diverse in its variety and appeal, including jazz groups, magicians, comedians, and

rock bands. All evening long, Old Town will run with contagious energy and fun, drawing an estimated 10,000 guests to experience the excitement and fall in love with the natural charms of this wonderful city. “There are close to 50 performers and artists curated to deliver this uniquely Alexandria experience, and that’s the kind of excitement and fun that attracts huge crowds to our city, which is wonderful for our local economy. It also shows off what makes Alexandria so special as a community,” Patterson said.

Truly, the lineup of talent for the event is impressive, almost nonstop in its offerings of things to see and do, both on-stage and off. Between acts, indulge in food truck fare to keep the munchies at bay, then burn off some calories while you laugh until you cry at the Pop Up Comedy Showcase at Shiloh Baptist Church, where you’ll be treated to six hilarious comedians delivering their best material. For those who love a good show, magician Mike Rose will keep his audience enthralled with spectacular tricks at George Washington Masonic Memorial.

Perfect for the younger set are four Kids Karnivals, featuring costumed personalities, face painters, interactive activities, and a creatively engaging New Year’s countdown in Old Town, ParkerGray, Del Ray, and the West End. For teens with big dreams of stardom, the First Night’s Got Talent Teen Talent Showcase is the perfect place to show off some skills.

No great party would be complete without dancing, and First Night Alexandria is no exception. Beginning at 10 p.m., the city will bust a move with the Rockin’ on the River dance party in the park, culminating at midnight with a breathtaking fireworks display on the Potomac River sponsored by MGM National Harbor.

And music lovers of all ages will have their pick of great performances to choose from, no matter their favorite genre. Among those featured at the George Washington Masonic Memorial are the wildly popular Earth Wind and Fire Tribute Band, while the Torpedo Factory Art Center will pair up The Grandsons and Bill Kirchen and Too Much Fun for performances that will liven up the night and keep things rocking toward midnight. Whether you’re in the mood for big band music, go for something more mellow, or even want to get your folk on, this is a festival that celebrates it all and welcomes new ears to hear.

With so much energy and anticipation in the air, it’s almost impossible not to get swept up in the spirit, and to feel the expectation that comes on the precipice of a new year filled with endless possibility. And as 2019 becomes 2020, First Night Alexandria celebrates that possibility to its fullest extent, reveling in every last moment of a great year. This last night of the year is becoming the first of a new one… and that’s definitely a reason to party! For more information on ticket sales, entertainment, and showtimes, visit www.firstnightalexandria.org THE HOLIDAY ISSUE 2019 • 79


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| Torpedo Factory Ball

Story + Photography by Julie Carrasco

The Torpedo Factory recently held its Anniversary Ball to celebrate the building turning 100 and the art center turning 45 years old. Guests enjoyed an evening of art, music, performances, and film. Lively swing music was provided courtesy of the Good Shot Judy band. An art exhibition called “45: An Anniversary Exhibition” was on display for the public. Guests also enjoyed the premiere of a documentary about the art center’s history created by Alexandria’s own Istrico Productions. The event featured living painted sculptures, live roving performers, a glass harpist, anniversary prints, appetizers, cocktails, and more.

Roweine + Shane Staszcuk

Deborah Reeve + Vince Ferrandino

Angela + Marc Esteve

Shelby Turner, Rebecca Rose, Dario Bianco + Garrett Bacon

Susan Makara, Ihor Makara, Susan Sanders + Laura Edwards

Chuck + Patty Williams

Jay + Alyssa Ross

Good Shot Judy band

Melissa + Chris Bender

Barbara + Andy Parker

Brianna Stimpson + Nora Kubach


Victoria Lee + Sophia Suarez

Dee Mandis + Matthew Johnston

Marcos Teixeira, Marian Van Landingham, Tatyana Schremko, Liang Wei + May Liu

Shelby Turner + Garrett Bacon

Dominique Lorang + Chris Leins

David Painter, Annemarie Feld + Dagmar Painter

Jamey Turner

Andrea Uravitch, Sushmita Mazumdar + Ruth Gowell


Kathleen Larrick + Cooper Larrick-Greenwood

Tessa Montini + Sahand Minaie

Poppy la Fae + Ainsley Thrasher

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First Night Alexandria Celebrates 25 Years by Rockin’ on the River! December 31, 2019 Glow Pa rty

ks Firewor t igh at midn ed by sponsor l Harbor ationa MGM N

, Concerts Comedy and Dancing all night!

Food Tru cks

d ivals an n r a K s Kid nt Show e l a T n Tee

Giveaw ays

www.FirstNightAlexandria.org #FirstNightALX


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VIP Alexandria Magazine | 2019 Holiday Issue  

Featuring Winter Fashion, 49th Annual Scottish Walk, #ShopLocal Holiday Gift Guide, The Nutcracker Ballet, Torpedo Factory Ball, First Night...

VIP Alexandria Magazine | 2019 Holiday Issue  

Featuring Winter Fashion, 49th Annual Scottish Walk, #ShopLocal Holiday Gift Guide, The Nutcracker Ballet, Torpedo Factory Ball, First Night...

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