Celebrating the Good Life, Tastes and Trends in Northern Virginia

Northern Virginia Style & Living Magazine

Holiday Happenings Across Northern Virginia

Your Holiday Celebrations: Enjoy the Region, Support Your Local Small Businesses & Artists, and Do it in Style!

The holidays are here! From holiday displays to winter celebrations, to visits with Santa or watching a parade, the Northern Virginia region offers much to see and do that will keep help you celebrate through end of the year. So, whether you are looking for holiday cheer or searching for the perfect Thanksgiving pie, here are a few seasonal events that you might want to check out.


Christmas in Old Town Alexandria Northern Virginia Style & Living Magazine
Image credit: R Kennedy for Visit Alexandria

Christmas in Old Town Alexandria – Named one of “America’s Top Holiday Towns” in 2016 by USA Today and a “Top 10 Christmas Town” by HGTV, old town Alexandria offers an authentic holiday experience. The City of Alexandria hosts events including the annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, the Scottish Walk weekend, the Holiday Boat Parade of Lights, candlelight tours, Christmas in Camp, and a variety of holiday concerts.

When: Various. Check website for dates for individual activities.


Pie at Northern Virginia Style & Living Magazine
Blueberry Crumb Pie at Nall’s Market

Nalls Farm Market – Driving toward Winchester on Rt. 7 east, you’ll find Nalls Farm Market in Berryville, VA. From the road, Nalls Farm Market looks like any country roadside stand but there’s something special inside – a pie shop. From the instant you arrive and breathe in the freshly baked pie aroma, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported back to Grandma’s house. The smell is nothing short of baked bliss. This is a great place to pick up your holiday pies but order early!

Hint: Try the Apple Nut Caramel but you can’t go wrong with any of them.


Bull Run Festival of Lights Northern Virginia Style & Living Magazine
Bull Run Festival of Lights, Photo by NOVA Parks

Bull Run Festival of Lights The Bull Run Festival of Lights is a 2.5 mile drive-through holiday light show combined with a holiday village and carnival. The seasonal light display features 40,000 animated lights set to music with displays including penguins, snowmen, candy canes, jumping deer, Santa’s workshop, Frosty the Snowman, tin soldiers, elves and Santa.

After viewing the lights, you can enjoy visiting the Winter Wonderland Holiday Village that features amusement rides, an ice skating rink, entertainment, shopping, contests, food, and more.


Festival of Lights: November 22, 2017 – January 7, 2018. Hours: Monday – Thursday & Sunday: 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., Fridays, Saturdays & holidays: 5:30 to 10 p.m.

Village and Carnival: December 8, 2017 – January 1, 2018. Hours: 5:30-9:30. Monday – Thursday, 5:30-10 p.m. Friday-Sunday and Holidays. Santa will be at the Village until December 23. 

Snowflake Stampede: – Saturday, November 18, 2017, 5:30 p.m. Enjoy a 2.5 mile fun run or walk and a special preview of the Festival of Lights on foot.



Festival of Lights City of Fairfax Northern Virginia Style & Living Magazine
Festival of Lights and Carols in the City of Fairfax

City of Fairfax Festival of Lights & Carols  Enjoy a day of holiday cheer and festivities including lunch with Santa, s’more’s by the yule log, ice sculpting, hot cider, face painting, Christmas tree lighting and caroling in Fairfax city

When: December 2nd 2017, 11AM-7PM


Fredericksburg Arts & Crafts Show Northern Virginia Style & Living Magazine
Fredericksburg Arts & Crafts Show

The Fredericksburg Arts & Crafts Show offers a wide variety of quality handmade items.
You will find unique gifts for people on your holiday list. Maybe you’ll pick up a little something for yourself as well.

When: December 1st, 2nd, and 3rd 2017

Holiday Parade Since 1985, the Fredericksburg parade has become a downtown Fredericksburg holiday tradition with bands, marching units, and floats, followed by Santa and Mrs. Claus.

When: December 2nd, 2017 at 5:30pm


Christkindlmarkt Northern Virginia Style & Living Magazine
Christkindlmarkt in Haymarket

Christkindlmarkt After a 3-year hiatus, Christkindlmarkt returns this year for a taste of old Germany. If you’ve ever strolled through the traditional Christmas markets in Europe, you’ll love the Christkindlmarkt in Front Royal.

When: December 2nd, 2017


Village at Leesburg Northern Virginia Style & Living Magazine
Image courtesy of Village at Leesburg

Village at Leesburg Christmas Tree Lighting Santa arrives by horse-drawn carriage to light the Musical Tree. This 5-story tall tree with a snowfall topper and more than 15,000 dazzling lights performs daily music and light shows. The festivities include horse-drawn carriage rides, live performances, holiday characters, cozy fire pits and more. You are encouraged to bring a toy to be donated to Toys for Tots.

When: November 18th, 2017 3:00PM-6:00PM

Christmas Village at Leesburg Animal Park Northern Virginia Style & Living Magazine
Christmas Village at Leesburg Animal Park

Leesburg Animal Park Christmas Village – The Leesburg Animal Christmas Village has a new indoor facility that will be decorated with beautiful holiday ornamentations and the outdoor common area will showcase thousands of lights. You can have a photo with Santa, with live animals, or participate in the bonfire and marshmallow roasting. While you’re there, you can pick up a Christmas tree or a wreath at the onsite farm market.

When: December 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22 & 23 from 6-9 PM

Holidays in Leesburg Fine Arts & Craft Show Northern Virginia Style & Living Magazine
Holidays in Leesburg Fine Arts & Craft Show

Holiday Fine Arts and Crafts Show at Ida Lee Recreation Center This annual show features more than 95 local and regional artisans with fine, handmade creations and products including candles, stained glass, carved wood, jewelry, leather products, table linens, and much more. Admission is free to the public and door prizes are drawn every hour. 

When: December 2nd, 9:00AM-4:00PM and December 3rd, 10:00AM-4:00PM

Christmas Tree and Menorah Lighting in Leesburg Northern Virginia Style & Living Magazine
Christmas Tree and Menorah Lighting

Leesburg Christmas Tree and Menorah Lighting –The Leesburg community kicks off the holiday season with the town Christmas tree lighting, featuring performances from local elementary schools, high schools, words from the mayor, council and guest speaker. Join in a holiday sing-a-long and stay in town for the evening for Leesburg’s First Friday event. Local businesses and merchants will be open late to host some holiday cheer.

When: December 1st, 2017 at 6:00PM

Christmas Carriage Rides at the Village of Leesburg Northern Virginia Style & Living Magazine
Sounds of Christmas in Historic Leesburg

Sounds of Christmas Downtown – Historic downtown Leesburg will be dressed up in its finest holiday décor to welcome visitors to celebrate the season. Take a horse-drawn carriage ride, see the strolling carolers, or take a photo with Santa at Coldwell Banker.  

When: Saturday, December 9th & 16th, 12:00PM-3:00PM

Christmas at the Oatlands Northern Virginia Style & Living Magazine
Christmas at the Oatlands

Oatlands Historic House and Gardens – Visit the historic estate as it comes alive with afternoon teas, holiday house tours, a small works art show, shopping, wreath making, a Christmas cabaret and children’s theater. Oatlands Mansion will be decorated for Christmas and open for walk through tours through the end of December.  Each room of the 1804 Oatlands mansion will sparkle with unique decorations, some featuring materials from the gardens on the property. The holiday décor will also feature beautifully decorated Christmas trees throughout the home. The Mansion will close at 5:00 p.m. daily.

When: November 17th – December 30th 2017  

Santa Claus in Northern Virginia Style & Living Magazine
Santa Claus in Northern Virginia

Leesburg Christmas and Holiday Parade and Festival – Who doesn’t like a parade? Catch Santa and his friends parade down King Street, through the heart of historic Leesburg.

When: December 9th, 2017 6:00PM

Jingle Jam Tallyho Northern Virginia Style & Living Magazine
Jingle Jam at Tally Ho in Historic Leesburg

Jingle Jam Leesburg’s holiday rock n’ roll concert features many local and regional artists playing traditional holiday tunes. Proceeds benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Tickets will go on sale on November 13, 2017, at 5:00 am at Ida Lee Park Recreation Center, in-person sales only with a 5-ticket limit.   

When: December 9th, 2017. Check website for times.



Manassas Christmas Parade – Old Town Manassas celebrates the Christmas season each year with a weekend of old-fashioned family fun at the “Merry Old Town” celebration. The festivities include a Christmas tree lighting ceremony, the Manassas Christmas Parade, a gingerbread contest and lots of holiday activities for all ages.

When: December 2nd, 2017 10:00AM



Middleburg Christmas Parade, Photo Courtesy of Carol Guzy for The Washington Post

Celebrate Christmas in Middleburg On the first Saturday in December, the community is transformed into a Christmas oasis. A tree lighting, a Christmas parade, shopping, carolling, and more. Over 10,000 visitors make Christmas in Middleburg a family tradition. 

When: December 1st-2nd, 2017. Check website for times.


Mount Vernon Advent Calendar

Christmas at Mount Vernon  Christmas at one of Northern Virginia’s top attractions transports visitors back in time to experience the holidays like George Washington did with themed decorations, a gingerbread Mount Vernon, historical chocolate-making demonstrations, 18th-century dancing, and even a Christmas camel.

When: November 24th – January 6th, 2018


Lake Anne Plaza Christmas Northern Virginia Style & Living Magazine
Cookie decorating, Arts & Crafts, and See Santa Ride a Boat Around Lake Anne

Lake Anne Village Center  Welcome the holidays with a Lake Anne tradition of a petting zoo, entertainment, ornament-making for children, Faux Bear, holiday market vendors, and the arrival of Santa by barge. Santa arrives at 12:00 p.m. to visit with children on the plaza.

When: December 2nd , 2017 11AM-2 PM

Ice Skating Reston Town Center Northern Virginia Style & Living Magazine
Ice Skating at the Reston Town Center, Image Courtesy of Where Outside Is In

Reston Town Center Ice Skating Pavilion It’s that time again. From early November to mid-March, the Reston Town Center becomes an ice skating pavilion. The skate shop is stocked with over 500 pairs of skates ranging from size 8 toddler through men’s size 13, in both Figure and Hockey styles.

When: Visit website for details and times


NOVA Parks Winter Walk of Lights at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens Northern Virginia Style & Living
NOVA Parks Winter Walk of Lights at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens Winter Walk of Lights  Bring your family and friends to be dazzled by the magical Winter Walk of Lights at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, Virginia. Every year from mid-November until just after New Year’s Day, the garden is transformed into a half-mile, walk of lights. Revisit perennial favorites such as the animated Lakeside Lights, the Fountain of Lights, and the Holiday Nature Walk – and look for new displays each year. Put on your walking shoes and bring the family to experience a Northern Virginia festive tradition. Round out your visit by roasting marshmallows and sipping on hot beverages by the fire. 

When: November 10th-January 7, 2018

Wolf Trap Christmas Singalong; Image Courtesy of Wolf Trap

Wolf Trap National Park Holiday Sing-A-Long  – Sing Christmas carols and Hanukkah songs with the United States Marine Band vocal groups from the metropolitan Washington area. The audience is invited to bring candles to light during the last verse of “Silent Night,” the final song of the program. There is also a ‘Jing-A-Long’ during the singing of Jingle Bells, so bring a bell along with your candle. Admission is free and no tickets are required.

When: December 2nd,  4PM



Warrantor Christmas Parade Northern Virginia Style & Living Magazine
Warrantor Christmas Parade

The Warrenton Christmas Parade The Warrenton Christmas Parade is returning after winning the “Best Annual Event” for a fifth year in a row from the Piedmont Lifestyle Magazine. The parade will travel down historic Main and Mayor Powell Duggan and his special guest will illuminate the town’s Christmas tree on the courthouse steps at the conclusion of the parade.

When: On December 1st, 2017 6:00PM



The Shenandoah Conservatory Symphony Northern Virginia Style & Living Magazine
The Shenandoah Conservatory Symphony


The Shenandoah Conservatory Symphony Shenandoah Conservatory’s premier performance series featuring a dynamic line-up of music, theatre and dance by the conservatory’s own award-winning faculty and students, as well as unforgettable performances by internationally acclaimed guest artists. With more than 150 performances annually, the Conservatory Performs is the region’s most robust and diverse performing arts presenter.

When: Various performance dates in November and December

Cocktails at Christmas at the Belle Grove Plantation

Cocktails at Christmas at the Belle Grove Plantation Belle Grove is an authentic 1797 Manor house located in the northern Shenandoah Valley near Middletown, Virginia. It was built by Major Isaac Hite and his wife Nelly Madison Hite, sister of President James Madison. Join in for this festive cocktail party that has become an annual tradition. Each year they create a special cocktail featuring Copper Fox Distillery’s Belle Grove 1797 Whiskey. The evening will also include holiday music and the opportunity to tour the decorated Manor House lit by candlelight.

When: December 10th, 2017 5:00 PM


Article by Jan Johnston Osburn

Edited by Jessica Monte

Tchaikovsky & the Nutcracker in Northern Virginia

Tchaikovsky’s Ballet: A Staple of the Holiday Season

Northern Virginia Style & Living Magazine
Northern Virginia Style & Living Magazine Celebrates Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker

Anticipating the holiday magic means looking forward to family and friends, gift giving, food, drinks, and merry cheer-making.  And, it’s also the time where we anticipate The Nutcracker.  It’s the quintessential holiday ballet that has become synonymous with the season.

The Nutcracker was the first ballet I had ever attended. From the moment I laid eyes on Drosselmeyer, the ornate sets, glistening costumes, and remarkable choreography, my eyes were fixated on the stage.   This is what makes The Nutcracker so compelling. Ballet is a unique art form and through dance, we are touched which makes it a must-see piece of holiday culture.  Fortunately for those of us in the Northern Virginia region, there are a number of companies putting on Nutcracker productions.

Sugar plum fairy Northern Virginia Style & Living Magazine
Northern Virginia Style & Living Magazine

Check out the links below to find the nearest Nutcracker Ballet to you.

Gainesville Ballet School – Hylton Performing Arts Center, 10960 George Mason Circle, Manassas, Virginia.  The full-length ballet features international guest dancers, faculty and students of the award-winning arts organization.

When: Friday, Nov. 24th, 2017, 2pm and 7 pm

Academy of Russian Ballet – Hylton Performing Arts Center, 10960 George Mason Circle, Manassas, Virginia.

When: Saturday, November 25, 2017. 2pm and 6pm

Classical Ballet Theater  –  Ernst Community Cultural Center, Northern Virginia Community College, 8333 Little River Turnpike, Annandale, Virginia.

When: Saturday, November 25, 2017 2:00pm, Saturday, November 25, 2016 7:30pm, and Sunday, November 26, 2017 2:00pm

Metropolitan School of the Arts  –  Ernst Community Cultural Center, Northern Virginia Community College, 8333 Little River Turnpike, Annandale, Virginia. “Nutcracker in a Nutshell”, 30-minute version for younger audiences, Metropolitan School of the Arts at 5775 Barclay Road in Alexandria, VA.

When: Sunday, November 26 1:00 pm – 1:45 pm

Fairfax Symphony Orchestra – George Mason University Center for the Arts, Fairfax, VA. The FSO and the Fairfax Ballet present the timeless holiday classic.

When:  Saturday, December 16, 4pm

Center for Ballet Arts  –  Rachel Schlesinger Concert Hall, 4915 E Campus Dr., Alexandria, VA

When: Saturday, December 16th,  3:00 & 7:30 PM and Sunday, December 17th @ 3:00 PM


Article written by Jan Johnston Osburn

Edited by Jessica Monte

Riding Boots: In or Out for Northern Virginia

Here’s What Fall Fashion in Northern Virginia Looks Like:


The big question for fall fashion in 2017 seems to surround the long popular riding boot, a fashion staple for many women in the fall and winter seasons.  The riding boot, inspired by equestrian fashion, may be on its way out as a fashion go-to in Northern Virginia.   We at Northern Virginia Style & Living Magazine thought the perfect place to find the answer to the riding boot dilemma would be to ask the experts: the very women who live in Northern Virginia.

Here is what they had to say:


I think they’re still in. However, I’m seeing the short ones all over the place modeled after the Paddock boots which are everyday wear for equestrians. ~ Virginia Costa, equestrian and mom of 3


I think Hunter/Uggs are more popular BUT I think riding boots are definitely still in.  ~ Ami Dodd, owner of Energie Goods


Definitely!!!  Love them!!  They’re classic, but can be edgy and different too.  They work with jeans, or more dressed up.   ~Gena Casagrande, parent liason Loudoun County Public Schools


IN! 🙂 The perfect fall accessory, in my humble opinion. I see them everywhere-especially with a flannel shirt and puffy vest. ~Erin Washington, writer at Rookie in this Mom Game


I think that traditional riding boots are fine to wear, but they aren’t the latest trend. I see lots of ankle boots being worn. I really think it’s a time of anything goes—but the ankle boots are the most fashionable/trendy. ~Angela Rabena
Native Barre Instructor


I have worn the same pair of brown Frye boots for years. I don’t really care if they’re in-style…I’m not exactly a fashion guru!  Ashley Campolattaro, Founder & Co-Executive Director, The Step Sisters


Yikes!  I’m terrible with fashion, but I would say they are fading.  Booties seem to be all the rage from what I see. ~Aimee Taylor, Marketing Alignment


More people seem to be wearing booties and less ridings boots. Unless you’re in horse country, so the booties are more in fashion. ~Anita Henry, owner of Rouge Boutique & Spa


I think similar to ballet flats, riding boots is a style shoe that will stick around for a long time. They have a classic style so they stand the test of time and have a low heel which makes them comfortable. The rounded toe looks good on anyone compared to a square or pointy toe.  They come in a variety of styles and colors (black and many different shades of tan/brown).  They look great with skinny jeans tucked into them and skinny jeans seem to be sticking around too! ~Elana Herman, Ashburn resident



In my opinion, tall flat riding boots are over.  They had a good, long run, but just like any trend, eventually the fashion world (and eventually consumers) craves something new. Riding boots became so mainstream and completely saturated our wardrobes, that they lost their ability to make an impact on our style. Ten years ago, they felt fresh and edgy, but now, they’re the beige paint of shoe options…nothing bold or noticeable at all.



In the last few years, we’ve been seeing ankle booties taking up the shelf space that was once dedicated to riding boots, and more recently, tall boots with a stacked heel and over-the-knee boots have become mainstream. Ankle booties can actually be a lot more versatile and flattering than knee-high boots, and over the knee boots will give your outfit wow factor riding boots once did! ~Jennifer Mackey-Mary, owner of Apple & Pear Wardrobe



I have many boots probably about 20 pairs but no riding boots just the ones that I actually ride horses with.  I’m a rebel.  I refuse to look like everyone else.  ~Sasha Creswick, stylist



Riding boots are in.. They are a classic fall look.  You can’t go wrong with the classic riding boot. You can up the ante by selecting a boot that has some detail. Like buckles, studs, decorative zippers, etc. Just don’t wear riding boots with loose fitting jeans… it looks terrible! Skinny jeans, leggings, skirts and some dresses are the key in putting together a cute fall casual look using riding boots. However, the ankle boot and high (over the knee boots) are the hot shoe of the season!! The ankle boot can have a tall heel, short heel, etc. You can dress them up or dress casual. Over the knee boots are fun, sexy and adorable when paired with the right outfit… But, not everyone can wear over the knee boots. ~Felecia Kluzinski



Whatever your opinion on wearing riding boots may be, we thought you might like to check out this lovely Fall 2017 boot guide by Jo-Lynn Shane.




The Joy and Hard Work of Equestrian Life

Equestrianism, also known as horseback riding, is a way of life for many who reside in Northern Virginia.  The good news about living in Northern Virginia is that even if you don’t ride horses, you can still enjoy the equestrian lifestyle that the horse community provides.   As local equestrian Virginia Costa recently shared in a sit down interview with us, “You can ride at the Salamander Resort in Middleburg, watch Olympic qualifying events in The Plains, tailgate at numerous races such as Gold Cup and 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!”  Our region has enjoyed a long and rich history for horseback riding that includes many of our public figures, including Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.  Farms, barns, horses and the people who love them are the majestic scenery of western Loudoun County starting in South Riding and Aldie and stretching out to Middleburg, the Plains, and Upperville.  The Bluemont Fair which is held each September in Northern Virginia always includes pony rides for children to enjoy.   Enjoying horses often involves lots of hard work for the owners, but the joy that these horses and the equestrian way of life provides  is well worth it to them.  The added benefit for those of us who enjoy spectator horse events is that these equestrians share their love for horses with us.  Another bonus is the beautiful quality and influence of equestrianism on fashion in Northern Virginia and across the world.

In the Winter Issue of 2018, which will be released January 4th, Northern Virginia Style & Living Magazine profiles Virginia Costa, a lifelong equestrian who fell in love with horses the first time she came across the Middleburg Hunt.   In her career as an equestrian, Virginia has hunted and done eventing and jumping. You can read a snippet of her interview below and the full interview in the Winter 2018 issue.

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!  My parents finally relented and I 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.  I eventually ended up fox hunting myself with that pony that I saved up to buy with Deep Run Hunt Club right outside of Richmond.

What kind of riding experience do you have?

I’ve been riding since I was 8. No one in my family rides but my parents brought me to see the Middleburg Hunt and then I begged to take riding lessons. I got involved with the United States Pony Club at a chapter in Richmond, Virginia. My mom researched it since I wanted to ride horses and our family knew nothing about them. It is a training and educational club—a great national organization that focuses on teaching horsemanship. I started out in eventing and then I switched to hunter/ jumper right before college. I rode for my college IHSA team at the University of Richmond and then continued training with my long term trainer and dear friend Ada Cosby in Richmond. I’ve been riding with Jonelle Mullen of TuDane Farm in Middleburg for the past few years.

What drew you to your horse Marco?

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.

How did you get Marco?

My trainer Jonelle Mullen 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!

Virginia Costa with her horse Marco, photo by Jessica Monte


As told to Jessica Monte

This article will appear in full in the Winter 2018 Issue of Northern Virginia Style & Living


Rainy Day Soups and Stews

Delicious soups and stews hit the spot when the weather turns cold.  Whether you dine in or dine out, these flavorful broths will warm you up.  What’s your favorite soup to savor when the cooler temps hit?  And where oh where do you love to nosh when a craving for soup hits?

Ravioli Soup by Judy Kim at Delish.com
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup by Ahead of Thyme


Spinach and White Bean Pecorino by the Judy Lab


Tasty Thai Sweet Potato Soup by Taste.com.au

Cooler Temps Means Fun Fall Hats in Northern Virginia

The temperatures are dropping and it’s the perfect opportunity to pull out your wool knitted caps and update your style with a fun fur or faux fur puff hat or slouch beanies.  These are a few popular styles around Northern Virginia; the blue slouch beanie is a favorite look for fashion maven Meghan Markle.

Home Remodeling Trends in Northern Virginia

New model homes are being built for families and residents across Northern Virginia . As a longtime veteran in the design industry, I have to say that these houses by far, are the most thoughtful I have seen in years when it comes to layout, useable space and maintaining that delicate balance between formal entertaining areas coupled with personal retreats. And yet, with all of the new construction, many of us have lived in our homes for some time now, and are constantly dreaming of all of the ways to personalize our homes.

Whether is a full kitchen renovation, or simply a facelift, today’s homes are reflections of our desire for a bright and open feel. So many folks have shifted from the deep beige and earth toned palette that incorporated stained Cherry and Maple cabinetry into cooler tones, and shades of bright white paint are on trend. Gray has by far been the number one choice for most residences in Northern Virginia.

However, the tide seems to be shifting. For example, when it comes to bathrooms, gone are the days of all stark white institutional designs- folks seem to be focusing on adding a bit more “bling” to spaces and incorporating more furniture style pieces. No more wall to wall frameless mirrors. Homeowners are selecting more dramatic mirrors that seem just as appropriate in afoyer as they do in a bathroom.

Pedestal sinks and builder basic vanities are being replaced by stunning, high – design, focal points. These gorgeous freestanding vanities are truly works of art. The design is not just one of aesthetic either- we are seeing more and more smart features- such as tilt out drawers, aluminum lined drawers for easy maintenance and most importantly- using every square inch for storage.

Faucets are clean, and sleek in design- this example has no exposed set screws. Clients are focusing on quality pieces they can source at a value for their daily use items and price isn’t necessarily the first feature they consider.

Lighting has become more elegant, whether it is placing a stunning chandelier that has most commonly been seen in master baths and powder rooms or simple elegant sconces, the overall light is more flattering, and not the standard vanity bar.

With a nod to historical homes, we are also seeing a lot of interesting textured tiles trending. As the ever popular farmhouse and industrial chic looks take over the design industry, this classic white washed brick ceramic offers the aesthetic that is popular and pleasing to the region’s taste.

In an effort to minimize different flooring on one level, it’s become more and more commonplace to see one universal product selected to span the kitchen, foyer, living room, dining room, office and even powder room spaces. These engineered vinyl planks, sometimes referred to as Luxury Vinyl, is the perfect solution. With the technology mimicking the look and feel of authentic French Oak, or Rustic Hickory, these products come with lifetime warranties, are 100% waterproof, and best of all- incredibly stunning.

Beautiful homes, whether new construction or a gorgeous home that you and your family have owned for years, are a part of life in Northern Virginia. Interior designers and home remodeling companies are a great place to start for bringing your vision to life.

Content by Alison Geare

Gluten Free Pancakes and Barrel Aged Maple Syrup in Loudoun County


After a busy night collecting pounds of candy or indulging in your favorite adult beverages, you and  your family could probably benefit from healthy and delicious  breakfast. Gluten free Blueberry Pancakes feature one of nature’s richest sources of antioxidants – blueberries. Fresh with blueberries, these pancakes are so delicious; we challenge you to have your guests give them a try even those who are not gluten-free.

We love to lop warm barrel aged maple syrup by Langdon Wood over a  stack of these gluten-free pancakes and top with blueberry (or a fruit that is in season) goodness. These gluten-free pancakes will make your day.

For directions on making these delicious gluten free pancakes, check out The Spruce.



Halloween Candy: Favorites

Tomorrow is Halloween and most of us have at least: decorated our homes, attended a Halloween party, visited a haunted house, and will go trick or treating.   And the Halloween celebrations, while all in good fun, can add up;  according to a 2016 article in Business Wire, U.S. “consumers are expected to spend an average of $82.93  with more than 171 million Americans planning to partake in Halloween festivities this year.”  A big part of the Halloween festivities is candy.   The National Confectioners Association reports that 76% of Americans will hand out candy this year.   We surveyed residents, business owners and leaders in Northern Virginia and this is what they had to say about Halloween and candy.  We asked:


1.  What is your favorite kind of Halloween candy?  
I don’t eat candy…I’m an orthodontist.  Haaa, just kidding.  Pez.  ~Dr. Casagrande of Northern Virginia Orthodontics
Milk duds. ~ Erin Washington, writer
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. ~Holly Chapple, owner of Gathered & Styled
 I really do love candy! My favorites are candy corns, Reese’s peanut butter cups, and gummy bears. ~Erin Dausch, co-owner of Chariots for Hire
My favorite Halloween candy used to be candy corn, however when we changed our eating habits it became whatever we can find that is gluten free and organic. ~Stephen Grant, GAM Printing

I thoroughly enjoy bite size candies.  Especially three musketeers or snickers.  OH!  And skittles. ~Alex Mangione Alex Mangione Photography

Reese’s cups are my favorite. My kids decide upon a reasonable number of pieces to keep and choose which candy to keep (usually they choose 20-25 pieces) and then they donate the rest to the troops at Costa Family Dentistry. ~Ali Basinger, personal trainer at One Life Fitness

Snickers bars. ~Dale Riggs, Park Manager at NOVA Parks Brambleton Golf Course

I love Reese’s peanut butter cups, especially when they come in shapes for holidays (like pumpkins for Halloween). ~Ami Dodd, owner of Energie Goods

Candy corn. ~Blue Ridge Supervisor Tony Buffington

Sugar Babies – they are a rare find in Halloween buckets though! ~Virginia Costa, co-owner of Costa Little Smiles Dentistry

Candy corn is a favorite and also mini Snickers or Milky Ways that I like to freeze before I eat them. ~Mark Metzger, owner of Highcliffe Clothiers

My favorite candy is Reeses. ~Heidi Milder, realtor for Gus Anthony

I am one of those odd balls that loves Candy Corn! After that, anything chocolate!  ~Dana Vinci, Lifestyles Manager for Brambleton Home Owners Association

I really don’t like candy that much, but if I do eat something, it’s a Reese’s peanut butter cup. ~Gena Casagrande, parent liaison for Loudoun County Public Schools

Candy corn and Yorks. ~Sasha Creswick, Fashion Editor for Northern Virginia Style & Living

As a young reveler, 3 Musketeers candy bar. ~Jim Sisley, Tryst Gallery

Peppermint patties, oh! And smarties! ~Jennifer Chatman, Jennifer the Beholder

Kit Kat!! ~Anita, owner of Rouge Boutique and Spa

Milky Way ~Perla Arias, Loudoun County Public Schools

Kit Kat! ~Pratima Ranjan, owner of PS Reiki

Snack size Almond Joy ~My Pham, manager of Giant Foods in Ashburn


2. How will you spend Halloween?  
Trick or Treating with my kids. ~Dr. Casagrande of Northern Virginia Orthodontics
Trick or Treating with my daughter Amaya dressed up as Elmo. ~Erin Washington, writer
We go to a pre trick or treating Halloweeen party at our friends house.  We’ll have pizza & drinks and take pictures of all the kids.. This year, one of my neighbors created a really cool haunted house and a couple of our younger kids are taking turns being creepy clowns in it. While we take our youngest trick or treating, our teenage boys will be hiding in the shrubs with some of their friends at our house dressed as something ghoulish and will be scaring the poor kids that come trick or treating to our house!  Yikes! ~Erin Dausch, co-owner of Chariots for Hire
We always trick or treat with our kids. Leading up to Halloween our favorite event is the fall festival at Lucketts Elementary. We have been doing the cake walk for 25 years straight. ~Holly Chapple, owner of Gathered & Styled


I will spend Halloween working at my part time job, however my wife will be taking the kids to a Harvest Party at Cornerstone Chapel. ~Stephen Grant, GAM Printing


This Halloween I will be traveling to Orlando for work however I will be dressed as Shaggy from Scooby D0o.  The costume is my normal clothes so hopefully the TSA at Dulles will get it. ~Alex Mangione, Alex Mangione Photography


For trick or treat we always have a special Halloween meal of “mummy” dogs, witch fingers, brew smoothie and “deviled” eggs.    Then we head over to the neighbors and have a little fire, s’mores, drinks and trick or treat. ~Ali Basinger, trainer at One Life Fitness


I’m so lucky, Halloween is a packed day for me!! Meetings, my daughter’s class parties, working at the shop and headed home early to trick or treat. My family is dressing up in a Greek god/goddess theme this year. ~Ami Dodd, owner of Energie Goods


Trick or Treating with my kiddos.  ~Blue Ridge Supervisor Tony Buffington



With friends and neighbors trick or treating. ~Virginia Costa, co-owner of Costa Little Smiles Dentistry


I will spend Halloween  working at the store handing out candy to the kids and their parents. ~Mark Metzger, owner of Highcliffe Clothiers


I wait until the day of Halloween and decorate my yard to surprise the kids. It takes me all day. ~Heidi Milder, realtor for Gus Anthony


Trick or Treating with my daughter in our neighborhood. ~Dana Vinci, Lifestyles Manager for Brambleton Home Owners Association


For Halloween, we usually go to a friends house for a potluck dinner, and the kids trick or treat with their friends from there. ~Gena Casagrande, parent liaison for Loudoun County Public Schools


I have guests so early drinks and nibbles at my house and then we will walk around with the kids.  Alexa will be playing my Halloween play list that puts us in the mood! Normally I’ll dress up…Sadly my kids are older so they have become more independent and like to do their own thing. We always stay local love to move around and get together with the residents in our community. ~Sasha Creswick, Fashion Editor for Northern Virginia Style & Living


Attend the 60th Annual Leesburg Kiwanis Halloween Parade and then adult beverages and dinner with a couple of friends. ~Jim Sisley, Tryst Gallery


I will spend Halloween handing out candy while my husband trick or treats with our kids.  He goes all out on costumes.  However, leading up to Halloween night, we take advantage of some of the local ghost tours.  This year, we did one at Bull Run Winery and one with Loudoun Museum in Leesburg.  Most years we go to Ocelot Brewing’s Halloween party.  We have minimal decor outside, but we do have an inflatable, some spooky animation in the windows and lots of carved, lit pumpkins.  I do heavier on the holiday decor inside. ~Jennifer Chatman, Jennifer the Beholder


I will be at handing out candy at home, my neighborhood has lots of kids so I have to CANDY UP!!  ~Anita, owner of Rouge Spa & Boutique


At home, giving candy to the trick or treaters. ~Perla Arias, Loudoun County Public Schools


Sitting out on our porch with our pup giving out candy to all the neighborhood kids. ~Pratima Ranjan, PS Reiki

I will be spending my Halloween with my two kids, 2 nieces, 4 nephews and we are going “Trick or Treating”, after that a small family gathering at my house to celebrate my father’s birthday. ~My Pham, Manager of Giant Food in Ashburn


3.  What do you do with all the candy you and your family collect at Halloween?  
I let the kids eat it for about 2-3 days…then it disappears into the trash can.  ~Dr. Casagrande of Northern Virginia Orthodontics
My husband and I will probably have to hide any candy my daughter collects since she’s still not sporting very many teeth. If any Milk Duds are collected, I will not have to hide those. 🙂 ~ Erin Washington, writer
I go through everyone’s piles, check everything for safety, and find all of my favorites and promptly eat them!!   Then, they can bring in 2 pieces of their favorites with their lunches every day for a about a week or two. After that, we give our leftover candy to the school & they will donate it to our troops.  ~Erin Dausch, co-owner of Chariots for Hire
The kids keep their candy separated per child and are allowed to over indulge. ~Holly Chapple, owner of Gathered & Styled


Whatever non-organic candy we collect we donate it to the candy collection at church. ~ Stephen Grant, GAM Printing


What we’ve done in the past is sort it out so that we have some for Halloween night then the rest goes in a bowl for the rest of the year.  Spoiler alert!  It didn’t last all year.  This year I will eat all the candy I get as soon as possible.  ~Alex Mangione, Alex Mangione Photography


I wish I could say we donate or do something really creative with our candy but honestly we spread it al over the floor, trade pieces and eat it all up!!  ~Ami Dodd


Eat a reasonable portion of our favorites and take the rest to work! ~Blue Ridge Supervisor Tony Buffington


Costa Family Dentistry And Little Smiles has a candy buy back program and the extra candy is sent to troops overseas. ~Virginia Costa, co-owner of Costa Little Smiles Dentistry


We don’t accumulate any extra candy and we have enough trick or treaters to clean us out however when there was a bit extra, truth be told …we ate it. ~Mark Metzger, owner of Highcliffe Clothiers


I take the left over candy to my office. ~Heidi Milder, realtor for Gus Anthony


I will tuck it away and allow my daughter to have so many pieces per day.  The entire family nips off of it gradually also but I don’t let her know. ~Dana Vinci, Lifestyles Manager for Brambleton Home Owners Association


The kids keep a small amount of their candy, and we donate the rest to Treats for Troops. ~Gena Casagrande, parent liaison for Loudoun County Public Schools


Donate to different businesses, charities and venues each year. ~Sasha Creswick, Fashion Editor for Northern Virginia Style & Living


I take it to office for visitors. ~Jim Sisley, Tryst Gallery


We eat our candy!  LOL.  If there is an organization collecting candy for the troops, we usually participate in that.  We use leftover candy to decorate sugar cookies shaped like turkeys (made by tracing my kids’ hands) for Thanksgiving. ~Jennifer Chatman, Jennifer the Beholder


No left over candy at our house, it is all given away.  ~Anita, owner of Rouge Boutique & Spa


I bring it to work for the teachers.  ~Perla Arias, Loudoun County Public Schools


We will give it away, except for the Kit Kats! ~Pratima Ranjan, owner of PS Reiki


I can easily tell you what my kids will do with all that candy. LOL! I usually, give them a couple of pieces a day for a few days and then a piece, then hide the candy and they forget. They get hyper really quick and 2 kids jumping around is not fun at all. HAHAHAH! ~My Pham, manager of Giant Food in Ashburn




Interview with a Costume Designer: Rowan Kelly Designs for Paxton Manor’s Shocktober

How did you become interested in costume design?

It started when I was a little kid. I loved to buy different kinds of costumes and combine them to make one unique costume.  Then recently, I made a really cool top hat that I decided to try selling on Ebay.   And then, someone bought it immediately.  I just started to make more and more. The top hat had a striped banner and two aged playing cards similar to what visitors will see at the Carnival of Souls feature at Shocktober. 

How long have you been designing costumes for Paxton Manor’s Shocktober? 

I started planning and coordinating over the summer, in July.  Matt Smith invited me several times  to show prototypes and he was impressed. I made the costumes for the Carnival of Souls, a new attraction at Paxton Manor. The suits are made specifically for that attraction: forgotten, wrecked, and very old looking.


Do you consider yourself someone who is interested in fashion and style?

I focus more on costuming than everyday fashion.

How would you describe your personal style?

I like to dress casual. I wear jeans, a flannel shirt, and a hoodie. I usually wear Vans.

The Carnival of Souls includes scary clowns.  Were you inspired by the movie It?

I did ask Matt Smith what he thought about the clown theme. I made a suit for Shocktober to show him and it is modeled after the Pennywise character.

What other costume design jobs have you had? 

Besides the Paxton Manor Shocktober, I like to specialize in making costumes that are cosplay for Comicon. I enjoy making costumes for people to wear to Comicon, as well as characters from movies. Two of my recent costumes I sold include the new Death Trooper from Star Wars and the Predator costume.

Do you have any ambition or dreams of working as a costume designer for other productions or possibly after high school as an adult profession?

It’s early for me but I really want to work on making suits and costumes for films.

Can you describe what your experience has been like working as a costume designer for Shocktober at the Paxton House?

It’s been amazing. Matt and George and the entire crew at Paxton are super helpful. I can make things on the spot or I can come in the next day with whatever they request.  Last week, I bought five more jumpsuits on a Sunday night. I start with a base jump suit from Aromark, Dickies, and sometimes eBay. Once I get the jumpsuits in,  I’ll visit stores like Michaels. I always include patches on my costumes for clowns.  I’ll either use a special glue or I’ll sew them on. 

Does the Director of Shocktober influence the costume choices you make? If so, how? 

After Matt and George see my prototypes, they’ll send me images of what they’re envisioning and I create suits that are unique and that can be used over and over again for different actors. My suits are durable and resist the scraping, etc. that bangs up the suit during the Shocktober performance. 

What kind of research did you do to prepare the costumes for this year’s Shocktober show?

Lucky for me this year’s theme was clowns. I already had a good idea on what to do. I searched for haunted attraction clown suits on the internet. I came across a suit I really liked; it was short with striped arms and striped legs. I knew some other clown costume ideas from other haunts. Most of the suits I created this year have that striped look. 

Also, one thing I added to the clown’s suits this year is putting icecream on the shoulders. You take silicon sealant and you slap it down the jumpsuit and make it messy.  Then you paint acrylic over it. It seals into the silicon and it looks like ice cream. 

Is there a time period or a style that you love but haven’t been able to incorporate or work with in one of the projects that you’ve done?

I focus on making suits for haunted attactions, movie suits and for Christmas. I plan to offer Christmas suits, like elf and Santa suits this year.

What is the most important lesson that you’ve learned in your career so far?

Do your research and know your merchandise. I have had several instances when I was buying supplies on Ebay and realized that the prices listed were not fair.  I was sure to buy elsewhere.

Rowan Kelly resides in Northern Virginia and attends the Flint Hill School.     You can purchase costumes by Rowan Kelly at https://rjfxstudio.weebly.com

October 29th is the last day to experience the 2017 Shocktober.  Visit http://www.shocktober.org

Shocktober at Paxton Manor supports the Arc of Loudoun,  a full-service organization with multiple programs and services that together provide an integrated and innovative environment for people with disabilities from childhood through adulthood. To learn more about the Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Manor, visit http://www.paxtoncampus.org

Interview by Jessica Monte

Photos by Vincent Sales

Lucchesse Boots in Northern Virginia

Recently we met up with Jim Sisley, a visual artist and painter who owns the Tryst Gallery in Historic Leesburg. Here, our Editor-in-Chief Jessica Monte sat town with Jim to talk with about the upcoming profile about his personal style, his artwork, community service and a bit about his personal and professional life for the Winter 2018 Issue of NVSL.

In the profile, Jim told us that he doesn’t really have a style mantra, and that for him, “It’s really about the season and what I’m doing over the course of the day.  However,  I tend to shop when I travel and I look for that one unique item that transcends the current fashion/trend.  I prefer fashion forward pieces with materials and design.”  And when it comes to his favorite shoe and boot, Jim’s upbringing in San Antonio Texas is a big influence on him.  His favorite boot?  Lucchesse.   If you haven’t heard about the legend of Lucchesse, you can read about the inspiring story of Salvatore Lucchese born in Sicily who would establish Lucchesse boots in San Antonio, Texas in 1883.  At first, their customers were the United States Army stationed in Fort Sam Houston.  Overtime, the Lucchesse brand has become equivalent with quality and has been worn by celebrities John Wayne, Bing Crosby, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Taylor Swift, and Luke Bryan.

Photo credit Lucchesse.com



In Northern Virginia, Lucchesse Boots and products are available for purchase at

Also, to view and purchase Jim’s artwork visit the Tryst Gallery’s Pulp Fiction Show which will be live until November 25th. Tryst Gallery Leesburg Historic District.

Stay tuned for the expanded profile on Jim Sisley in the Winter 2018 Issue of Northern Virginia Style & Living.


Fall, A Time for Letting Go

Fall has arrived and happens to be my favorite season! It is the transition into winter but is much more than apple picking and pumpkin-spiced lattes. It brings with it a magical change and an intensive energy that we feel; fall is a season when we can become more aware of what we need to release.  During the fall season, we are nudged to embrace the positive changes within us and in our lives, inviting beauty and enchantment as a personal harvest of all delightful things.
There is sense of shedding, revealing true colors and exposing all our beautiful aspects just as trees foliate letting leaves go when they are ready to fall. It signifies balance and transition, not resisting but allowing the flow of life to happen. During this time of change and shifting energy, our bodies are more receptive to releasing any self-defeating patterns and we are more open to new and positive transformation. It is an advantageous time to  welcome what the energy of the season and the earth offers.   The fall season allows us to release what no longer serves our greatest purposes.
Take this time to think of all the things you are ready to let go of to create space for what inspires you. Write it down and let it fly away with the winds of Autumn like fallen leaves. It’s time to recharge and embrace positive changes this season!
Written by Pratima Ranjan, Reiki Master/Teacher
PS Reiki
44927 George Washington Blvd, Suite 210
Ashburn, Virginia
Photos by Jessica Monte
To learn more about PS Reiki and the health benefits of Reiki, be sure to pick up a copy of the Winter 2018 Issue of Northern Virginia Style & Living.

Energie Goods: Apparel for the Active Northern Virginian Lifestyle

In 2016, Amie Dodd founded Énergie Goods with the ideal that people today are living with the mindset of dressing for work, fitness and play.  Her pop up shops, are all around Northern Virginia and provide apparel to people who are looking to go from their day to day tasks to whatever their fitness commitments of the day might be.

Ami Dodd decided to create a brand that provides athleisure clothing and products that are made by small companies and are of the highest quality.  Énergie Goods philosophy is that they are a brand  that unites people and communities through authentic connections and only carries products from small companies of high quality and standards. Companies that understand your needs and how transformative it is to feel great in your own skin. These products were hand selected to support and inspire you.”

Inside Ami’s pop up shop at the Reston Station Metro, a wide range of clothing for women, men, and children are available to support the active lifestyle shared by so many who live, work and play in Northern Virginia.  Currently, Énergie Goods is available online and at six pop up shops around Northern Virginia: Urban Pop at Reston Station, BE, Wishing Tree at One Loudoun, BeFit NOVA, Wheel House Mind Body Spirit, and Play Well Nook.

Ami’s passion for health and fitness as well as her high energy levels inspired her to create a brand that worked well with her active lifestyle as well as support a community and culture that wants to be able to move.  She says, “I love that when I wear Energie products, I am free to go to work, run errands, and then get my workout in whenever I am able to because I am already in athletic clothing.”

The path that lead Ami to Énergie Goods was an unexpected one.  She was attending medical school and teaching yoga when her father passed away due to health related problems.  For Ami, it was an eye opener and she began to examine the direction she wanted her own life to go in.   She became more and more active with teaching yoga and was a customer of the many women owned brands that Énergie Goods now represents.  Her role as a business owner though came naturally to her; both of her parents had owned and operated their own businesses so entrepreneurship is a lifestyle that she was familiar with.   Eventually yoga lead Ami to becoming a fitness clothing expert and for Ami that meant shopping ethically.

Ami continues to add products to the Énergie Goods brand as well as pop up shop locations.  “I love knowing that I am helping support other small business owners by sharing their products with my customers.”

To contact Ami and visit her Énergie Goods pop-up shops, visit https://www.energiegoods.com/faq-contact-ambassador-program




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