Celebrating the Good Life, Tastes and Trends in Northern Virginia

NVSL Magazine

Gum Tree Farm: Raised in Virginia, Made in America

Farm to Fashion is a tedious path paved with hard work. Unlike conventional industrialized apparel production, the design arm of Franny’s farm, Gum Tree Farm Designs, controls the process from sheep to the sale of finished garments.

Retail across the United States and in the Northern Virginia region is experiencing a paradigm shift: a return to the requirement of quality and craftsmanship is on the rise.  Over-processed and artificial are not what the people want.  When it comes to shopping for food, the home, and for self care, consumers are returning to the comfort of knowing how and where things are sourced, grown, and made.  Across the  Northern Virginia region, residents and travelers enjoy the trend of Farm to Table dining, and now, thanks to the efforts of local farmers, high quality and locally sourced products are becoming available for apparel as well thanks to retailers like Gum Tree Farm.

Franny Kansteiner and her family own Gum Tree Farm in Middleburg, Virginia. Franny was excited to raise her children on a farm where they could grow their own vegetables, educating her kids in the reality of where food actually comes from and the work that it takes to cultivate it.  Early on, along with their beloved horses, they introduced three sheep to their farm.  Over the years, those few sheep have grown into a flock of 100 Merino sheep.



Beyond being a farmer and shepherd, Franny is an avid knitter,  committed to her craft so much, that she even spins her own yarn. She was quick to recognize the treasure that she was shepherding on her very own farm. Merino sheep grow fleece coveted in the fashion world for its high quality and performance properties of softness, elasticity, breathability, static resistance, and ease of care.   Merino wool is an active fiber that reacts to changes in body temperature, keeping the wearer warm in cold weather and cool in warmer temps.

Farm to Fashion is a tedious path paved with hard work. Unlike conventional industrialized apparel production, the design arm of Franny’s farm, Gum Tree Farm Designs, controls the process from sheep to the sale of finished garments. This is a game changer for the fashion industry.  In the mainstream process, one company owns a single step of the process, but Franny has her hand in the whole shebang, from sheering, to garment design, to order fulfillment.

For Gum Tree Farm Designs, the process begins with the breeding and birth of Franny’s lambs, something most of us haven’t thought much about.  Then, the lamb must grow for up to a year into a healthy sheep and begin producing fleece.  As the number of sheep Franny cared for grew, so did the amount of sheered wool.   One sheep produces about 10 pounds of wool each year that must be sheered, or shaved, annually for the basic care of the animal.  Thus was born her mission to do something meaningful with her sheep’s wool.   As Franny would say, “I backed into the apparel industry by accident.”

Once the fleece is sheared, it needs to be cleaned, eliminating a year’s worth of debris that has collected.  After cleaning, the wool goes through a carding and combing process, removing knots and straightening the fibers in preparation for spinning.  The nechanical twisting together of fleece fibers creates the yarn. Gum Tree Farm’s wool gets spun into yarn which is used to create hand knitted sweaters and baby accessories.


This article appears in its entirety in the Winter 2018 issue of NVSL Magazine.  To continue reading, purchase at issuu.com and at Harris Teeter and Wegmans in Northern Virginia.  Or, subscribe today at http://www.northernvirginiastyle.com/subscribe/

Article by Jennifer Chatman

Photos by Jessica Monte

Gum Tree Farm Showroom
10 South Liberty Street
Middleburg, Virginia 20117
(540) 592-9561


Celebrate George Washington’s Birthday at Mount Vernon

Celebrate George Washington's Birthday at Mount Vernon

Free Events for Washington’s Birthday at Mount Vernon Estate

Visiting George Washington’s Mount Vernon during the official celebration of Washington’s Birthday is truly a treat. The historic estate of the United States’ first president rolls out the red carpet to recognize George’s big day, with special events, presentations and, best of all, free admission for all visitors on days when special celebrations will occur.

Image courtesy of George Washington's Mount Vernon

The birthday celebration on Monday, Feb. 19th, includes a series of unique festivities in recognition of the unmatched contributions that George Washington made to the early success of the United States. They include:

  • Presidential Tribute (10-10:30 a.m., at Washington's Tomb)
  • Official Observance Ceremony (10:30-11 a.m., on the East Lawn), with visits by George Washington and his contemporaries.
  • Special Military Demonstration (11:15-11:45 a.m., on the Bowling Green)
  • Character Performances (11 a.m.-1 p.m., in the Upper Garden)
  • Syrup Tastings (11 a.m.-2 p.m., in the Vaughan Lobby, in the Mount Vernon Inn complex)
  • Character Performances (2-2:30 p.m., on the Bowling Green)
  • Public Wreath-laying (3-3:30 p.m., at Washington's Tomb)

On February 22, Washington’s actual birthday, guests can enjoy a patriotic concert and also observe a moving ceremony honoring new citizens. Free birthday cake (while supplies last) will be available in the Vaughan Lobby.

Admission to the estate is free for all visitors on Monday, Feb. 19, and Thursday, February 22, Washington’s actual 286th birthday. (That’s a savings of $20 per adult and $12 per child 6-11. Admission for children 5 and under is free all the time.) Special events will occur throughout the three-day weekend of February 17-19, and on the 22nd.

Every visit to the famed 18th century estate should include a tour of the president’s colonial mansion, which has been restored to its 1799 appearance under the careful eyes of the Mount Vernon Ladies Association, which owns and operates the estate.

Photo Courtesy of George Washington's Mount Vernon

From the second-floor Chintz Room, one of the six primary bedchambers in the three-story home, to the Mansion cellar, where visible evidence remains of each of the many expansion projects completed at the property, every nook and cranny offers a fascinating insight into the life and times of one of America’s original great statesmen.

Other customary highlights of a daily visit include stops at any of the 12 original buildings that remain where they were constructed during Washington’s residency, including kitchens, a salt house, a smoke house, a wash house, an ice house and stable.

Reconstructed slave quarters, a greenhouse, blacksmith shop and “necessaries” (which are clustered close to the mansion for the convenience of guests) are also near the famed mansion.

At other nearby locations, guests can enjoy seeing a working gristmill and distillery, and a 16-sided barn where horses thresh wheat as they tread around the interior of the nearly round structure.

The Mount Vernon Ladies' Association was the first national historic preservation organization and is the oldest women's patriotic society in the United States. The care that the association bestows on Mount Vernon is obvious to all visitors, and never more so than during a special event like Washington’s Birthday.

More information about special events, the history of the facility, maps and more is available at www.mountvernon.org.

Article by Rob Doolittle

Reston Used Book Shop: Where Books & People Meet

Reston’s Used Book Shop is the place “Where Books and People Meet.” Reston’s Used Book Shop on Lake Anne Plaza, which is has been operating as a community resource and business for close to 40 years, is everything that the avid reader looks for in a bookshop.   The bookshelves are packed with new titles, hard to find titles and historic books.  Inside the shop you’ll find a welcoming children’s section with comfy sofas for community readings, book clubs and gatherings.

Currently, Susan Burwell and her husband Bud own and operate Reston’s Used Book Shop, purchasing it in 1999 from its original owners Sue Schram and Sue Wensell.    When the Burwells purchased Reston Used Book Shop, they expanded to create the cozy reading rooms and add space for more additional inventory.

Readers who are looking for a literary community will be inspired by the approach that the Reston Used Book Shop (RUBS) offers; instead of asking all Club Members to read the same book and discuss it during Book Club nights, RUBS Book Club members bring whatever they are reading or have read to share and discuss with others. At each meeting RUBS passes around a list of the books discussed and posts it to their Bulletin Board which is available to view in the Reston Used Book Shop.

Reston Used Book Shop is located at:
1623 Washington Plaza
Lake Anne Plaza
Reston, Virginia 20190

Be sure to stop by Reston Used Book Shop and then visit Lake Anne Coffee House or the Lake Anne Brew House.   What’s better on a cold winter day than a good book and a warm beverage?



February Favorites in Northern Virginia

NVSL’s February Favorites

February may be the shortest month of the year but it is jam-packed full of fun and socializing.  We’ve put together this guide to help you enjoy a multitude of occasions from  art gallery openings, craft and local wine gatherings, live theatre and cabaret, as well as outings that will hit the spot for your favorite foodies.

Arts & Crafts

The Clay and Metal Loft Grand Opening

Announcing the Grand Opening of The Clay and Metal Loft this February, Leesburg’s newest art studio and teaching space. Located in the heart of Leesburg in the Virginia Village Shopping Center.  The Clay and Metal Loft will house the working studios of local potter, Amy Manson, and Goldsmith/Jeweler, Ann Andre as well as provide 2 spacious and fun classrooms for adult and children’s art programming.

Leesburg’s First Friday, February 2, 6-9 pm
The Clay and Metal Loft
27 Fairfax Street
Leesburg, VA 20175

Cooley Valentine’s Ladies’ Night

Make a ceramic heart-shaped textured bowl (similar to the image) to add to your favorite Valentine memory. Cooley Gallery Instructor, Joe Straka will teach various texture techniques and will then glaze and fire your piece to be picked up at a later date.  To register, visit https://the-cooley-gallery.myshopify.com/products/ladies-night-valentine-bowls

Tuesday, February 6, 6:30 pm – 9:30
Cooley Art Gallery
The Cooley Gallery
9 N King St, Leesburg, Virginia 20176

Farmhouse Sign Sip & Craft at Parallel

Enjoy a glass of wine as you create a farmhouse chic framed sign with faux boxwood greenery (12 x 16 before frame). Relax, catch up with friends, learn new skills, and leave with a complete, ready-to-hang piece of custom home decor. $50 registration fee includes one glass of wine, an instructor-led craft workshop with all supplies, and step-by-step instruction and assistance. To sign up, complete the registration form:  https://goo.gl/forms/gqmsnMuYbYmdFBA13   Please message or email aviarygirls@gmail.com with questions.

Sunday, February 11, 3 pm – 5 pm
Parallel Wine & Whiskey Bar
43135 Broadlands Center Plaza Suite 121, Ashburn, Virginia 20148



Dance King Studios

Learn to Dance: Tango, Swing, Salsa
Monday Nights in February, 7:45 pm
26 W Market St, Leesburg, VA 20176

Corks & Cupcakes

Join Bluemont Vineyard for a wine pairing perfect for any love story! Indulge in a series of 3 pairings, featuring your favorite Bluemont wine and Georgetown Cupcakes. Bring your Valentine, your Galentine, or your Partner in Wine!
Guests must be 21+ with a valid ID to enjoy the pairing. Tickets are $25.00 per guest.

Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, February 9th-11th & February 16th-18th, 11 am – 5 pm
Bluemont Vineyard
18755 Foggy Bottom Rd, Bluemont, Virginia 20135


Eddie Merlot’s Girls Night Out

Join the Northern Virginia Housewives at a Girls Night Out Meet Up and Networking Social at Eddie Merlot’s at One Loudoun! Grab a girlfriend and join for shopping, mingling, and meeting new women in the community. It’s FREE to attend, but please register 1 complimentary ticket per guest via Eventbrite: https://eddiemerlots2018.eventbrite.com/For sponsor, vendor, swag or advertising information, please email our marketing coordinator: rebecca@novahousewives.com

Thursday, February 22, 5 pm – 8 pm
Eddie Merlot’s
20350 Minot Drive, Ashburn, Virginia 20147

31st Annual YMCA Chocolate’s Galore and More

A little over 3 decades ago the YMCA Loudoun County got the bold idea to partner up with local restaurants and chefs to showcase their culinary talents for the community through a night of music, dance, free-flowing champagne and culinary bliss.

The recipe of fun, food, and philanthropy was a huge success. Hosted by our premier partner, Lansdowne Resort and Spa, and with an attendance of more than 800 people, the evening is one of Loudoun’s Finest and Culinary and Social Events of the Winter Season.

The signature portion of the evening is the BEST TASTE and BEST PRESENTATION COMPETITION as Loudoun’s most popular restaurants compete in the Desserts and Hors d’oeurves categories. Dishes are evaluated and judged by 5 professional food critics and our event guests. Winners are announced towards the end of the evening for Critic’s Choice and People’s Choice for BEST TASTE and BEST PRESENTATION.  Tickets are $50 and may be purchased here.

Friday, February 23, 7 pm – 11 pm
Lansdowne Resort and Spa
44050 Woodridge Parkway, Leesburg, Virginia 20176



Date Night

Groundhog Day on Groundhog Day

Come celebrate 25 years of the Bill Murray classic! At first, Harold Ramis’ GROUNDHOG DAY seems like a typical Bill Murray comedy, with the iconic leading man standing one step away from the rest of humanity, always quick with an ironic insult. But the film cleverly turns Murray’s sarcastic outsider persona against him, and the film evolves into a sweet fable about humanity. Tickets available at https://drafthouse.com/northern-virginia/show/groundhog-day

Friday, February 2, 7 pm – 9 pm
Alamo Drafthouse DC Area
20575 Easthampton Plz, Ashburn, Virginia 20147

Stage Coach Theatre Company Presents Fly Me to The Moon Cabaret at The Salamander Resort & Spa

Join Stage Coach Theatre Company at the Salamander Resort to fall, heart first, into some of the greatest love songs of all times, performed New York Cabaret style by some of the best local talent in the area. Be serenaded this Valentine’s Day! Fall in love again! $59 ticket price includes heavy hors d’oeuvres and the show. NOTE: Additional booking fees and tax will be added. Wine, beer, and soft drinks will be sold separately. To make your reservations for Salamander Resort, please call 540-326-4070. Mention that you are “Friends and Family” when you call to receive 25% off your ticket price!

Sunday, February 11, 3:30 pm Doors Open, Show begins at 4:00 pm
Salamander Resort, 500 N. Pendleton Street, Middleburg, VA 20117

Lansdowne Resort Romantic Getaway

Eescape to Lansdowne Resort in Northern Virginia. Cuddle up to this warm and cozy experience made for you and someone special on your next Virginia romantic getaway. Enjoy luxury accommodations and share champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. Indulge in a romantic meal, then gather round the fire pit for s’mores and let the sparks fly. To reserve your getaway, visit https://www.destinationhotels.com/lansdowne-resort/special-offers/celebrate-romance-package Use code NVSL to save $300 in credits towards a 3 night getaway.

The Celebrate Romance Package includes:
– Deluxe overnight accommodations
– Bottle of champagne and chocolate covered strawberries
– $100 dining credit per stay
– Buffet breakfast for two in Riverside Hearth
– One standard in-room movie
– S’mores kit upon check-in to use at the fire pit on the Outdoor Terrace

Ongoing in February
44050 Woodridge Parkway Leesburg, VA 20176
(703) 729-8400


Looking for more ideas?  Check out this article.


Wreath Making With Holly Chapple

In this essay, columnist Linda Carducci reflects on her time at Hope Flower Farm, home of renowned florist and floral educator Holly Heider Chapple.  Hope Flower Farm sits on 25 acres in Waterford, a quaint town in Western Loudoun County.  Hope Farm, as it is known around town, is a  playground for floral design and teaching, Hope Flower Farm promises a relaxing, educational environment for designers and non-designers alike. Farm-to-table dinners, styled shoots and workshops, Hope Farm is  destination for all creatives.

Holly, Sydney, and Jack the Cat greeted me when I arrived at Hope Flower Farm in Waterford, Virginia. What a pleasure to watch Holly and Sydney pull the elements together: colors, side pieces, candles, and greens were arranged to the  best advantage on the mantle.

The work table was set up in front of the fireplace, framing the work area. A grapevine wreath, more grapevine, clippers, floral adhesive (glue), wire and various greens, moss, succulents, and other possible additions to the anticipated finished product were laid out on the work table.  The colors of the greens and other additions were not the bright holly greens of a Christmas wreath; instead they were more muted, more to the blues. Accent flowers were white and any ribbons muted in color.

The first order of business is to make the grapevine wreath, the frame for final creation.

Start with a loop, over-under, around, creating tension.  Weave your own wreath if you have the grapevine available. The grapevine should not be stiff.  However, you can purchase a prepared wreath, adding to it for desired fullness. Remember in winter there won’t be much available in the garden, so you will need to use evergreen foliage.

Holly Heider Chapple, Floral Educator and Owner of Hope Flower Farm in Waterford Virginia

Arborvitae, Camilla (preppy, clean look),  Cryptomeria (grows fast, a little unusual) provide the living material for the wreath, bringing the outside into your home. The the armature is the foundation for the wreath. Tuck the greenery into the armature. Use glue or wire, if needed, but with a tight and full wreath, you should be able to avoid using glue or wire.

Each wreath will be different. You can put greenery all the way around, or in an asymmetrical pattern leaving part of the wreath exposed. Your wreathe should reflect your personal preferences, so don’t be afraid to experiment with the design. Do avoid too much of a Christmas look. In this case, Holly chose to create an asymmetrical pattern.

She uses Cryptomeria, a stiffer filler, wired beneath the other greens to add fullness. The evergreen will last for weeks without water and will hold its color. The same with eucalyptus of which there are two types. The seeded eucalyptus sports berries while the Silver Dollar eucalyptus is bigger and looser. The difference in color adds variety and texture to the wreath.

Again, use wire or (floral adhesive) glue for fragile stems. Use Camilia for a clean, green leaf keeping in mind that there is always green in the garden, even in the dead of winter. Add mosses to make it more contemporary and use some binding wire to attach them.

To continue reading this article in its entirety, check out NVSL Magazine on issuu.com

Article by Linda Carducci

Photos by Alex Mangione

Edited by Jessica Monte

Winter Fashion to Get You Out and About

When winter weather provides cold days that seem unbearable, remember that your clothing is a great place to start for looking and feeling warm and fabulous.

Yes, it’s cold outside! When the temperatures in Northern Virginia are freezing, it can be hard to imagine leaving the house.  However, we all have places to go, whether it’s to work, running errands or meeting up with friends and family, life must go on no matter the temperature outside.  So when the urge hits to hibernate inside next to a fireplace, watch Netflix and drink hot chocolate, remember that all you really need is a good wardrobe and the right attitude and winter becomes bearable.

Here are a few tips on how to feel good, look good and stay warm during the cold days of winter:

First, consider a wonderful and warm winter fabric: denim. Not only is denim a flexible fabric that can be worn year round but denim can accommodate most occasions; it can be dressed up and dressed down, and with the right fit, flatters any body shape.

Here are a few looks to help you look fabulous in denim this winter:

Game night: Don’t let your friends down when invited to Saturday’s game night. Go! You are the best Pictionary player in Northern VA so you must be there to win. Cozy sweaters are a thing right now; add a pair of straight-leg jeans and a black bootie
boot and you are ready for the night. Friends will be glad to see you and will hug you more than usual due to your stylish cozy sweater.

Black sweater by Club Monaco, photo by Fashion Jackson

Date night: Date nights are a must and should not stop due to cold weather. It’s important that you keep that fire burning, especially during the winter, right? When headed to dinner and a movie with your loved one, it’s important to look a little
different than you do around the house. Yes, comfort is important and despite the discomfort of a cold winter night, be brave and bold; go ahead and wear your sexy stiletto heel boot when dining out, grabbing a drink or heading to a double date night with friends! Pair your boots with a slim-fitted jean, a turtle neck sweater and a blazer. This same look can be equally cute with a flat knee boot. Top it off with a bold red or pink lip and your look is complete. And not only are on trend and on point, but you’re warm too!

Image source: Getty/ Edward Berthalot via Pop Sugar

Outside fun: When winter outdoor adventures come calling you, be sure to dress for warmth and style yourself with layers. Layers, layers, layers add texture, interest and warmth! Comfy boyfriend jean are perfect for the outdoors in wintertime. They are loose and comfortable and offer enough leg space so that you can add a thin pair of leggings underneath. For more style on top, layer your tops: start with a cami or tank top, long sleeve tee and then a sweater. Wear a pair of fur lined cozy Ugg boots—no socks required, of course you can always wear socks too for that extra layer of warmth.

Ugg boots with boyfriend jean; image via Pinterest

Enjoy your winter weather! And look and feel fabulous wherever you go.  Email us with your fashion and style questions at style@northernvirginiastyle.com

Article by Breena Blake, www.MoreBetterBlues.com

Edited by Jessica Monte


From the Boardroom to the Boulevard: Sleepy Hollows Studio

Where Family Makes Music & Music Makes Family

If you were to attempt to search out Sleepy Hollows Studios on your own, you’d be up for a stiff challenge indeed.  It’s that way by design, achieved with painstaking effort, all the way down to misleading geo identifiers and location addresses on the internet.  So, only after receiving a speak easy style invite, would you find this underground studio tucked away in the middle of plain sight in historic Herndon, Virginia.

Upon entering and kicking off my shoes at the door, one thing becomes apparently obvious: if cleanliness is Godliness, then this place is a creative slice of heaven.  Visually, all the way down to the vacuum lines in the carpet and couches, nothing seems out of place. This place is a dream for a neat freak. In you knew Neal’s wife, that’s not by accident or just for an article photo shoot, it’s more of a way of life.  Neal sums it up: “Everything is on purpose. From the color scheme to the lighting to the amenities.  Our goal is to make everyone feel comfortable because that is when the best music is made.”

I was first introduced to Neal and his brother, Kyle, the foundation of Sleepy Hollows itself, through my wife.  One of her best friends from Herndon High School and college married Neal.  So, I’ve had a front row seat to watch the studio grow from its humble beginnings in Fairfax, Virginia, circa 2003, to what it is today: hosting local, national and global recording artists and providing custom music for small to large corporations such as ESPN, Verizon, the NBA Players Asociation, and AOL, just to name a few.  “To be able to spend time with my brother, one of my best friends, and do something creative, is my favorite part.  We have so much to show, and hear, for all the time we’ve spent together making music, and that will last forever.  Ideally, I will be able to say the exact same thing about my kids someday.”

What started as “two turntables and a microphone” in Neal’s bedroom in Aspen, is now a full service music and voice-over recording facility, boasting cutting edge technology, equipment and engineering.  In this day and age of the side hustle, that’s achieved through a network of friends, artists, sound engineers, musicians, and writers, many of whom have corporate day jobs, but are still in search of a creative outlet and release at night.   Neal, a partner at a Tysons CPA & Consulting firm, and Kyle, a prominent Program Manager at one of the nation’s largest government contractors, are the norm at “The Hollows.”  Neal states, “It’s as common for us to record CFOs and database engineers as it is bartenders and construction workers.  It really runs the gamut, just like the material we record.  It’s not unusual that I could be sitting at a board meeting at 10:00 am and then recording an up and coming college band at 10 that evening. And I love that.  I just wish there were more hours in the day.”


The Hollows adopted the mantra “Where Family Makes Music & Music Makes Family” and that shines through starting with the welcome you receive from everyone when entering the studio.  I have not visited the studio as often as I would have liked over the years, but like an old familiar face, it takes only seconds to feel right at home.

On this particular stop I found myself cutting up with members of RDGLDGRN, (pronounced Red Gold Green), a Reston based alt/rock hip-hop trio. They are home off their 2015 EP release and just about to kick off an eight stop tour across the US in support of their 2017 sophomore release album, Radio.

Andrei Busuioceanu, aka “Gold”, is a personal friend of Kyle’s, they used to work a corporate gig together back in the day, and when the group is in town they often choose to tweak their music here. Andrei shares, “What I like best about [The Hollows] is when we come back to the area, it feels like we aren’t at a studio at all.  It’s more of a place to chill and fine tune things for our group.”  Red follows with “Good local guys, doing good things locally and we support that.”

To continue reading this article, check out the latest issue of NVSL Magazine at issuu.com

Article by Chris Little

Photos by Vincent Sales

In the Buff Apparel: Interview with Founders Catherine and John Warren

The Passion of Entrepreneurs

John and Catherine Warren, an entrepreneurial couple in  Ashburn, Virginia sat down with NVSL Magazine Editor-in-Chief Jessica Monte to share their passion for In the Buff, an apparel line created in 2012 that is all the rage across Northern Virginia.   Be sure to check out this local business and look on point with a classic look for everyday wear, gym to a casual workday.

What inspired you to found In the Buff?

About twelve years ago, we were chatting about the apparel featuring animals on a shirt. The buffalo is a powerful animal.  We wondered, why not a buffalo?  Years passed and in 2011 I said to my wife Catherine, “Let’s try to figure this out.” We didn’t know what to do or how to do it.  We just wanted to get a buffalo on a shirt. We started with the idea of building a full line of apparel. With the help of a friend, we sourced material from Thailand. Today, we select the highest quality fabrics and materials for our apparel.

How did you come up with your brand name In the Buff?

We tossed around a lot of ideas. The brand In the Buff reflects the energy that the buffalo represents. Our apparel has a classic, vintage look. We carry good-looking tees, fleeces, and hats our clients like to wear.

On your website, you shared that you grew up in Dunkirk, New York, a suburb of Buffalo? What are some of your favorite parts of life in Buffalo?

Big extended families in Buffalo are part of what I love about the city. Love and passion for the city.  Even now,  if I met someone from Buffalo it’s an instant connection. People from Buffalo are passionate about the city.

Who is your apparel designed for?

Our client wants great design and high quality, comfortable fabric. Our color palettes change with the season and our fabrics are high quality,  soft and durable. In the Buff has grown beyond Buffalo, New York because of Northern Virginians and others around the U.S. who like the look and feel of our apparel.

What was one of your most memorable apparel sales thus far with In the Buff?

One of the first shirts I sold was to a woman in North Dakota. She wanted to replace her husband’s favorite and disintegrating buffalo shirt. She told me that it was “literally falling apart.” The deal was she had to find him another shirt with a buffalo on it that was simple, classic, and high quality.

Article and photos by Jessica Monte

Modeling by Lacey Tanner, Tyler Casagrande, Chris Little and The Warren Family

Forcing Bulbs: Your Inside Winter Garden

Flowering bulbs can satisfy your yearning for color and life during the cold weather and frigid temperatures of winter. It is easy to grow an inspirational indoor garden.  With a few simple ingredients and containers you can find around your home, you can force bulbs and grow pussy willow to enjoy all winter long.

Lightbulb container was purchased in Australia, however, similar ones may be purchased at local retailers in Northern Virginia.


The unusual asymmetrical shape of this container attracted us. We found this one at West Elm.
Floral stylist Jodi Cali prepares a warm but modern display of bulbs.
Lichen that grows on bark is an optional but stylish touch for your indoor bulb garden.


Create a grouping of bulbs for a fun display inside your home.
Another option for indoor gardening is a pussy willow plant in a simple container with rocks, soil, and moss.
Look for decorative lichen and moss in your outdoor winter garden. Lichen grows on tree bark. It adds a layer of style to your bulb display.
Observing new life in the midst of winter inspires us. Young gardeners especially enjoy watching bulbs root and grow.
Clementines are the fruit of choice in January and a clementine container is a convenient and attractive way to house your bulbs.
Even a cell phone holder can be a holder for your winter bulbs. A perfect way to add life to contemporary white and gray decor.




Rocks (we used small decorative white ones)





Note: Containers can be found around the home or you can find attractive ones at West Elm, Michaels, and at thrift shops.


1. Place rocks in the container.

2. Place bulb or bulbs in the container.

3. Add water so it just touches the roots.  Take care not to fill the container with too much water to avoid root rot.


4. Place container near a window so that your bulb has access to light.

5.  Enjoy watching your bulb grow and sprout beautiful indoor florals in the midst of outside cold temps.

Regarding the care of winter potted plants, like pussy willow:

Keep plant indoors till risk of frost has passed, keep well watered. After flowering, cut back to within four inches of the stem allowing new branches to come fo the following year. Plant outside in spring and keep well watered for the first year.
Article by Jodi Cali
Edited by Jessica Monte
Photos by Jessica Monte

Adventures Underground: A Balmy Winter Weekend Getaway in Virginia

Winter is prime time for a spelunking-centered vacay

As winter sets in, caves offer surprisingly balmy adventures. With interior temperatures hovering in the mid-50s, a subterranean visit to local caverns provides hours of active outdoor fun sans the extreme cold. From leisurely walking tours to rigorous guided explorations through wild caverns, the following resources will help you take advantage of the upper Shenandoah Valley’s unparalleled spelunking opportunities.

Skyline Caverns, Front Royal.

Opened to the public in 1939, Skyline Caverns is one of the few caves in the world where you can view anthodites. Made of calcite, the rare clusters of perfect, six-sided crystals blossom like sea-urchins from the cave’s ceiling. Tours are offered daily and feature about 1.8 miles of subterranean walking. $22.


Shenandoah Caverns, Shenandoah.

This hour-long walking tour takes you on a one-mile trek through 17 spectacular rooms. Inside, you’ll see the so-called “Diamond Cascade,” a massive tiered wall of pristinely glistening milk-white columns and stalactites hundreds of thousands of years old. Also, the one-of-a-kind “Breakfast Bacon” formations, the bizarreness of which landed them in the pages of National Geographic. Other draws include psychedelic light shows at “Rainbow Lake” — something you’re guaranteed to experience nowhere else, ever. $24. www.shenandoahcaverns.com

Luray Caverns, Luray.

Discovered in 1878, Luray constitutes the largest series of caverns on the East Coast and is the granddaddy of American grottos. With massive speleothems like stalactites, stalagmites, columns, mudflows, flowstone, and mirrored pools, a 1.5-mile hike through the caves offers eye-candy galore. A personal favorite is the smaller basins of water which, due to an excess of carbonic acid, feature crystal beds and translucent ice-like sheets over their surfaces. A much-heralded draw is the Great Stalactite Organ, a manmade lithophone that taps stalactites of various sizes to produce tones similar to those of xylophones, tuning forks, and bells. Performances are both eerie and oddly moving. $27. www.luraycaverns.com

Endless Caverns, New Market.

Located 3 miles south of New Market at the southern foot of Massanutten Mountain, at 6 miles long, Endless Caverns is the world’s 120th largest system. Fascinatingly, much of the cave still remains unexplored. Tours are 75 minutes long and include an imagination-inspiring uphill stroll through the Yosemite Room, and an exquisitely creepy cauldron-like formation that, while technically created by tens-of-thousands of years of dripping water, have the look of something designed by Macbeth’s Weird Sisters. www.endlesscaverns.com

To continue reading about additional caverns to visit this Winter, check out NVSL Magazine online or subscribe.



L’Auberge Provencale Bed & Breakfast / La Table Restaurant, White Post— The crowning culinary jewel of both Route 340 and the greater Shenandoah Valley, La Table is housed within a renovated stone manor dating to the dominion of Lord Fairfax, in 1753. “We have a AAA four-diamond rating and were founded in 1981 by a fourth-generation French chef, Alain Borel, whom, among a very long list of accolades, was named a Great Country Inn Chef by the James Beard Foundation in the early 90s,” prides concierge Christian Bentley.

With all the enveloping warmth and charm of a traditional French countryside inn — there are antique furnishings and wall ornaments throughout such as heirloom 19th-century copper cookware from Avignon, France — and NYC culinary guru Eric Ripert’s former right-hand man Richard Wright helming the kitchen, L’Auberge is nothing short of a food-lover’s wonderland. Rooms from $199. Chef’s tasting menu with wine pairing, $135 and $89, respectively. www.laubergeprovencale.com

To learn about additional restaurants and accommodations on your next cavern adventure in Virginia, check out NVSL Magazine online or subscribe.

Article by Eric J. Wallace

Photos by Jessica Monte


The Equestrian: Virginia Costa

Virginia Costa fell in love with horses when she was just 8 years old. As a wide eyed young lady from Richmond, she was enthralled by the Middleburg Hunt when her parents brought her to see it while visiting friends in Purcellville, Virginia.

She begged her parents for riding lessons and eventually got involved with the United States Pony Club at a chapter in Richmond, Virginia —a great national organization that focuses on teaching horsemanship. She later advanced to hunter/jumper competitions right before college.

While attending the University of Richmond, Virginia rode for her college ISHA team and trained with her long time dear friend Ada Cosby of Manakin-Sabot, VA, who continues to be a large part of her life and riding. Currently Virginia rides and trains with Jonelle Mullen of TuDane Farm in Middleburg.

In this interview, Virginia talks about her intelligent and beautiful horse Marco, who she competes with in the Northern Virginia area.

How did you get Marco?

My trainer Jonelle Mullen has a knack for matching horses and riders and she helped me find him through Emil Spadone who imports a lot of horses from Europe. We were looking for a young horse that we could train for me to show. We looked at a lot of horses before finding him and he was worth the wait!

What drew you to him?

Oh gosh, with Marco it was love at first sight. He was so sweet like a big puppy dog. So cute. We tried him at a huge competition called Capital Challenge—it’s a large and busy horse show—he just trucked around in a ring of craziness and was calm, cool and collected. We knew he had a great brain and a great heart.

What made you want to start riding?

When I was 8 we visited with family friends who had a farm with horses in Purcellville. They went hunting with the Middleburg Hunt that weekend and we were able to watch – from then on, I was hooked! I have always loved animals but I was fascinated by horses after seeing the Hunt and would have done anything to ride. The tradition, formality and beauty of it all was so exciting to me as an 8 year old!  I pleaded, and my parents finally relented, and I finally saved enough money to buy my first pony (with a little help!) when I was 10. I had to work to pay for board and I was happy to go every day after school to clean stalls and feed him.  I eventually ended up fox hunting myself with that same pony with Deep Run Hunt Club right outside of Richmond.

How can the equestrian lifestyle be enjoyed by those who live in or visit Northern Virginia?

Whether you are a rider or a spectator, there is something you can enjoy.  You can ride at the Salamander Resort in Middleburg, watch Olympic qualifying events in The Plains, tailgate at numerous races such as Gold Cup, or spectate wonderful horse shows such as the Upperville Colt & Horse Show which is the oldest show in the country.  There are a number of Olympians who live and operate their businesses in Northern Virginia and the chance to watch them compete at a local venue is exciting!

What apparel do you recommend for equestrians?

I like Tailored Sportsman Breeches for equestrians, my Winston Show Coat for competing, and Ariat Monaco tall boots for the show ring.  For everday barn wear, I prefer Ariat paddock boots with custom half chaps from Journeyman Saddlers in Middleburg.

Virginia Costa with her horse Marco, photo by Jessica Monte


Interview by Jessica Monte

To continue reading this article, check out the Winter 2018 Issue of NVSL Magazine


Winter Skincare: Insights from a Local Apothecary

Anita Henry, the owner of Rouge Boutique & Spa, a specialty apothecary located in the quaint Historic District of Leesburg, Virginia is a fountain of knowledge and joy.   Customers cherish her shop and wisdom when it comes to healthy and safe skincare.

Henry got her start as an expert in skincare as the Beauty Director at Nordstrom. There, she evaluated new products and the ingredients that influence the health of the skin and entire body.  She gained further insight into the apothecary business interviewing designers of fine toiletries and perfumes.  Starting her own line of products came naturally.

“Dry skin is a common problem I see among my clients from the Northern Virginia region especially in wintertime.” Henry recommends a reliable formula to cure dry skin, exfoliate, cleanse, and hydrate.  “Dry skin must be exfoliated, fresh skin cells must be hydrated and protected.  I remind my clients that one bad winter can age you years.  In the winter, light reflects off of the snow and exposed skin is at risk for damage from the sun.”

An active lifestyle in Northern Virginia, outdoor exercise and simply running errands can increase sun exposure in winter. Sun damage can increase the visibility of fine lines and wrinkles.

Henry recommends a cleanser with a granular scrub or an enzyme that helps get rid of dead skin cells.  Products that include an enzyme that reaches down to the pores helps skin cells stay fresh and new. Once you have cleansed and exfoliated your skin, hydration is key.  Hydration keeps the skin cells plump and stimulates collagen production. In addition, she also recommends the inclusion of a serum for winter skincare.  Henry explains how a serum improves skin health, “It’s like giving your skin a drink of water. You can layer a serum followed by a moisturizing cream.” Lastly, Henry emphasizes the importance of wearing a basic SPF moisturizer.

To continue reading this article in NVSL Magazine’s Winter 2018 issue online, visit https://issuu.com/northernvirginiastyleliving/docs/nvslissue2

Anita’s Recipe for Chapped Winter Lips

Smooth plump lips are the best way to display lip color and gloss during any season.  Winter weather can lead to dry, chapped lips which can lead to truly pouty lips.  Fortunately, it’s easy to smooth and nourish your lips all winter long. Mix granulated sugar, honey, and a drop of organic coconut or olive oil. Then in rotational strokes, massage across the lips to remove dead, chapped skin. Apply a drop of the plain oil to hydrate your lips. 

Content by Anita Henry and Jessica Monte


Winter Whiskeys: Cope with the Cold

The winter season is in full swing and it is time to stock the shelves with some tasty offerings for visiting family and friends.  With a nip in the air, nothing warms the spirits better than a few ounces of a good bourbon.   No matter which way you enjoy it, neat, on ice, or blended in a cocktail, bourbon is a perfect accompaniment for any occasion!

First, let’s cover bourbon basics.   What does it mean to actually be categorized as Bourbon whiskey? Bourbon must be at least 51 percent corn –and– by law, must be aged in a brand-new, charred white oak barrel to be called straight bourbon whiskey. That means, a barrel can only be used once for bourbon and the bourbon must be produced in the United States.

With bourbon’s increasing popularity over the past few years, similar to the craft brew movement, the bourbon footprint in our local ABC stores has expanded which can make the task of buying a bottle of bourbon bewildering. Here are a few terms that you can expect to see as you peruse the aisles:

Single barrel whiskey (or single cask whiskey).   Single barrel whiskey is a premium class of whiskey. Each bottle comes from an individual aging barrel, instead of being created by blending the contents of various barrels. This process allows for uniformity of color and taste.

To continue reading this article,  visit https://issuu.com/northernvirginiastyleliving/docs/nvslissue2

To warm up and endure the cold in Northern Virginia this winter, try Brian’s homemade cranberry old fashioned.



1 orange wedge

1 sugar cube

Dash of bitters

Crushed ice

1/4 cup bourbon

2 tablespoons whole-berry cranberry sauce

Club soda

Garnish: orange twist and fresh cranberries

How to Make It

Mash orange wedge, sugar cube, and bitters against bottom and sides of a 10-oz. old fashioned glass using a muddler or wooden spoon. Fill glass with crushed ice. Stir in bourbon, cranberry sauce, and a splash of club soda.

Content by Brian Ventura
Featured photo by Alex Mangione

A Perfect Pairing: Macarons & Wine

No matter the season, Kim Moehnke, the owner of Pure Love Macarons, raises a glass to celebrate the pairing of macarons and wine in Northern Virginia’s wine region.  For every occassion from bridal showers to winter hostess parties, Kim and her Pure Love Macarons provide a plethora of ideas to entertain and delight your guests.

First, pairing wine with macarons will win praises from your guests at any occasion.  There are many options when selecting the wine. Crisp and light sparkling wines pair well with the delicate flavors of light macarons; think almonds, creamy cheeses, buttercream, as well as the sweet and tart flavors of fruit.  Full bodied wines with fruity notes pair well with richer chocolate macarons.

Below are three blissful pairings to enjoy at your next gathering:

1. Red Velvet Macaron paired with a Sparkling White.  While the fuller bodied wines compliment the chocolate flavors of red velvet, they may overwhelm the lighter cream cheese in this particular macaron.

To continue reading, purchase the Winter 2018 Issue of NVSL Magazine

Photos and content by Jessica Monte and Kim Moehnke

Photos by Traci Medlock

This article appears in its entirety in the Winter 2018 Issue of NVSL Magazine

Coping with Loss During the Holidays

When the holidays are not the happiest time of year . . .

“Christmas is coming; the geese are getting fat”….so goes the tune. Sounds and sights of the season.

Jingle bells, silver bells, Christmas bells, children laughing, presents, wrapping, shopping, decorating, cooking, eating, visiting, singing. Reds and greens, bathed in silvers and golds, in every corner, on every door. Smiling faces, Santa ho hos, lists of wishes and more. Much more.

For most, despite grumblings about not having enough time, traffic, store lines and scheduling challenges, it is genuinely the happiest time of the year. But, for others, Jingle Bell Rock is replaced by Jingle Bell Blues.

Loss, new or old, change the holidays from bright to dark. Smiles become forced, lethargy replaces enthusiasm, decorations are sparse if present at all. Cards don’t get sent, and ovens remain cold. Invitations go unanswered or declined.

What to do? You can’t ‘fix’ it, but you can bring a little light into the darkness. Be there. Fix a little treat. Bring a personal gift that says “I am thinking of you.’ Take time to visit. Share stories. Don’t forget to include the elephant in the room. Life will go on, but it won’t travel the same path, and the way may not be well lit. Light it with your attention, your compassion and the spirit of love that rings out with the Jingle Bells. They might not rock, but they you will be helping someone get through the holidays during a tough time.

If you or someone you know and care about are having a hard time this holiday season, please call Hotline 800-273-TALK (8255).   You are not alone.

Much love to all,

The Team at NVSL Magazine

Written by Linda Carducci

Edited by Jessica Monte

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