International talent Jessica Speckhard’s ethereal art

Posted by Editorial / Monday, November 30th, 2015

International artist and jewelry designer Jessica Speckhard speaks about her move to Northern Virginia and her new art studio in McLean. 

jessica speckhard, northern virginia magazine, artist, nova magazine, mclean

Courtesy of Speckhard

Jessica Speckhard is definitely not an artist to stay put in one place. She grew up in Northern Virginia, but because of her father’s career in the U.S. government, she was given the opportunity to live in Europe. While there, she visited places like Greece, where she worked with French artist Louis Bourgeois. In 2009, she had her first solo show in Kolonaki, Greece, and just the next year she had her second solo show in the Athens Xclusive Designers Week. Her work has been seen by and sold to well-known art collectors all over the world.

In 2010, she arrived back in the U.S. to live in New York and later in Washington, D.C., and started a jewelry line, Second Daughter, in 2011. In 2013 Speckhard decided to settle in McLean and open a studio that showcases her digital photography, video and performance art; in her pieces, she creates an ethereal child wonderland that pulls from her own nomadic life.

Out of everywhere she’s been, why McLean? Not only did the artist have a desire to raise her 6-year-old daughter in the suburbs where she grew up, but she also was looking for a slower paced life than the one she had in New York.

“In many ways I find it easier to work on my art living in McLean because there is a slower pace of life for me compared to when I was living in New York. I have more time to reflect on my work and to dig into whatever piece [or] subject matter I am working on,” she says.

Speckhard hopes to bring to the area a new perspective on art. She wants people to get excited and motivated to try new media or digital media, her favorite art forms.

“I think there’s a misconception that people in the suburbs are looking for more decorative art versus serious art, but I don’t think that’s true,” she says.

McLean has also brought Speckhard an opportunity to expand by catering to those in the area through commissioned pieces. “People want to me to come and take pictures of their families and incorporate those photos into pieces for them,” she says. “I really enjoy this kind of work, and it’s a very natural progression for me. I have always used my own family in my art.”

205 W. Jefferson St., Studio 5E, Falls Church

How to talk about ISIS and terrorism with your children

Posted by Editorial / Monday, November 30th, 2015

By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D

northern virginia magazine, nova magazine, how to talk to your kids about isis

Courtesy of shutterstock/pixelheadphoto

The recent terrorist attacks in Paris have shaken the hearts and heads of many around the world. And since the Paris attacks, upsetting event after upsetting event has occurred, compounding the effect on our collective psyche as a nation: ISIS’s additional threats of further inhumane violence in New York City and Washington, D.C.; the diverted Air France flights; the attacks in Mali on a Western hotel; the high alert terror status in Brussels; the exposed Syrian refugees attempting to enter the United States with fake passports.

And while we are all upset by what his happening right now, our children are the most at risk emotionally as a group.

As a child psychologist, I have been dealing with the emotional impact of terrorism this past week with a number of my child and teen patients. While I am perforce in the role of treating children with emotional and behavioral struggles, there are times when larger societal issues can enter the therapy space—and this is one of those times. Many of my child and teen clients have broached the topic of terrorism with me this week and with a heightened sense of anxiety.

Children have asked, “Do you think ISIS will attack the United States?” and “How do you win a war with people who will just blow themselves up right in front of you?” and “Do you think this will lead to World War III?” And these questions are eerily similar to the questions that child and teen patients asked of me in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The anxiety children expressed in my office in 2001 and now in 2015 is not surprising inasmuch as the need for safety and security is a very real human and universal need; and even more so for children who do not possess the internal resources—intellectual or emotional—to understand, make sense of or tolerate complex topics such as terrorism.

It is my hope that the problem of ISIS and global terrorism will be solved by our world leaders sooner than later, and I offer the following recommendations to parents on how to talk to your children about ISIS and terrorism now:

1. Check your anxiety level before talking to your children about ISIS or terrorism. Children can be very perceptive to how their parents are feeling, so make sure you are calm, reassuring and confident if and when you choose to discuss the topic of ISIS and terrorism.

2. Consider your audience when determining what you share or do not share with your children on the topic of ISIS and terrorism. Regardless of the concerning or upsetting information we as parents receive via the media, we must always be mindful of what our children are capable of handling before discussing things. Thus, your child’s age, maturity level and threshold for worry/anxiety are all things to consider before discussing ISIS. Just as you would not discuss natural disasters or school shootings in the same way with 4-, 8- or 16-year-old children due to developmental differences, you would not do the same for the topic of ISIS with your children of varying ages.

3. Teach your children about ISIS and terrorism. By educating your children about ISIS, they will understand things better, which in turn will serve to decrease their anxiety. It is important to be clear and accurate with the information you share, and keep your points and message simple. What does the abbreviation ISIS mean? Who are the Sunnis and the Shiites? What is a caliphate? Perhaps you could find educational articles or sites on ISIS and terrorism on the Internet that you can read with your children. For a younger child, simply introducing the concept of good versus evil is a nice way to help the child begin to understand why people sometimes do bad things in the world. Using movie characters or actual events that may have occurred in your child’s life (e.g., a bullying episode) may also prove helpful. For children 8 years and older, the Newseum in Washington, D.C., has recently reopened its wonderfully informative exhibition, “Inside Today’s FBI.” The exhibition explores the ways in which the bureau is fighting terrorism and cybercrime. From 9/11 to the Boston Marathon Bombers and various other cybercriminals and crimes, older children and teens can learn about terrorism via the mixed media and actual artifacts from those tragedies.

4. Minimize your children’s exposure to the media. Turn off the news. News agencies have been on fire with terrorism stories since the Paris tragedy occurred. And while ISIS and terrorism is a newsworthy story, such widespread exposure can cause increased anxiety for our children.

5. Another way to help your children get control over the things they can control is to have an action or emergency plan in place within the home. This is an excellent time to teach your children about keeping doors and windows locked and maintaining polite but appropriate boundaries with strangers. Choosing a location other than your home for your family to meet in the event of an emergency is also important. Having a designated out-of-state contact is also advised. Writing down necessary information in advance (e.g., phone numbers and email addresses of friends and family members, passwords, account numbers, social security numbers, etc.) and having copies on-hand for family members would also be helpful should cell phones, the Internet or landlines not work. Putting together a disaster kit in the event of an emergency is also a good idea. Having food and water for at least 72 hours is recommended, as well as having other sorts of supplies (e.g., a working flashlight, a first-aid kid, cash, etc.). If you can afford a premade 72-hour emergency kit, purchase one. The American Red Cross sells them online. During this time of anxiety, uncertainty and potential unsafety, it is also important to remind your children to be vigilant of their surroundings and to know how to discuss and report any out of the ordinary situations. The Loudoun County website has posted an informational guideline, “If You See Something, Say Something,” which outlines the steps we as citizens can take in our community every day in order to ensure safety.

Legendary Holocaust survivor Dr. Viktor Frankl wrote, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Certainly, the space we find ourselves in due to ISIS’s recent acts of terrorism is a tragic and anxious one, but we must maintain our resolve for what we believe to be good and humane, not only for our own growth and freedom as adults, but, more importantly, for the growth and freedom of our children.



Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D, is the founder and director of Ashburn Psychological and Psychiatric Services. Dr. Oberschneider has been featured on the Good Morning America, CNN and other popular media spots as a mental health expert. He has also received the Washingtonian magazine “Top Therapist” honor for his work with children and teens.

Iraq War vet, mother of 2 slain in Planned Parenthood shooting; Freddie Gray case cop William Porter to face trial

Posted by Editorial / Monday, November 30th, 2015

By Jenny Cutler Lopez

Iraq War vet, mother of 2 slain in Planned Parenthood shooting

[ ABC News ]

Freddie Gray case: Baltimore cop William Porter to face trial

[ NBC News ]

Bus carrying students overturns in VA; 1 serious injury, dozens of minor injuries

[ WTOP ]

Survey shows what’s important to Northern Virginia commuters

[ Fairfax County Times ]

Personal nooks offer comfort for sinking into good books

Posted by Editorial / Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

by Jennifer Shapira

The reading nook has a handful of humble and common features: a comfortable chair; a foot rest; a side table or a ledge to hold a book, a coffee cup and perhaps even a tiny bud vase; and good lighting. Roxanne Lumme is a firm believer in comfort first. “you have to be able to slouch,” she says. “You need to be able to get sloppy.”


northern virginia magazine, nova magazine, jennifer shapira, jen dowell photography, personal nooks, reading corner

Courtesy of Jen Dowell Photography (Reading Spot)

Imagine curling up with a good book in your tailor-made spot for reading. Bask in the idea of having a comfy place to kick back and put up your slippered feet. On the table beside you sits a cup of coffee or tea to begin your day, or a glass of wine to end it, as you turn to the colorful characters in a new novel or the fascinating facts of a nonfiction book.

But you don’t have to be an avid reader to enjoy an inviting perch. Such a dedicated spot serves as a private place for relaxing, decompressing and unplugging for a little while, providing a place for some “you” time. A reading nook can be anywhere; it can be simple in decor or highly designed.

Local experts say the reading nook has a handful of humble and common features: a comfortable chair; a foot rest; a side table or a ledge to hold a book, a coffee cup and perhaps even a tiny bud vase; and good lighting. A tasteful combination of these essential elements can create a nook anywhere in a home, even an outdoor patio or deck. Indoors, such a spot can be carved into the corner of any room, essentially stealing a pocket of space furnished with a couple of creature comforts.

Interior designer Suzanne Manlove hung a modest rope hammock in her secluded backyard. It’s a favorite season-specific reading-slash-napping space for both her and her husband.

“In the summertime, one of us might steal a few minutes in the hammock to read,” she says. “It’s really great because I’m out of the house, not thinking about what I have to do next.”

Sitting down with a good book is an opportunity to escape from our daily lives—for a little while, anyway, says interior designer Roxanne Lumme. Lumme has fashioned a couple of reading nooks in her own home both for her book-loving self and for her family.

Most often, reading nooks she devises for clients tend to be part of a master suite, where she might envision a pair of comfortable chairs as the basis of a nook. If a client loves to read, says Lumme, it’s not uncommon for her to say, “I really need to make sure I have a spot where I can do this.” Then there’s the book storage, which varies as much as the user.

For grown-ups, it’s nice to have built-ins with ample open shelving, but it’s important not to discount the convenience of a stack of books next to a reading chair or beneath a bedside table. That makes a space feel lived in, as long as the pile is orderly, Lumme says, and not “helter-skelter.”

In her daughter’s room, she added a funky chair she repurposed from her mother’s home, choosing an updated fabric that would grow with her daughter. “We didn’t want it to be too precious or too young,” she says.

Lumme also added a pouf to her daughter’s space because, like most people who like to kick back with a book, her daughter likes to put her feet up. After all, Lumme is a firm believer in comfort first. “You have to be able to slouch,” she says. “You need to be able to get sloppy.”

For a home in Washington, D.C., Andreas Charalambous created a modern take on the reading nook in a couple’s master bedroom. It’s nestled under the eaves, and natural light pours in through a dormer window. The wife, an avid reader, tried out a number of loungers before deciding on a Knoll Bertoia chaise. She knew she wanted to put her feet up, and she didn’t want an ottoman. She wanted a calm, Zen-like space where she could relax with a book. “That’s what she wanted, and that’s what she got,” says Charalambous. “She said, ‘I love it, and the rest is icing on the cake.’”

( November 2015 )


Shop Spotlight: Green Front Furniture

Posted by Editorial / Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

by Cameron Mellin

Green Front Furniture; Manassas Showroom 703-396-8560 

northern virginia magazine, nova magazine, robert merhaut, green front furniture

Photo by Robert Merhaut

 Aesthetic: There is a balance of aesthetics at Green Front, a store that provides vivid, brightly colored pieces through free-spirited carpeting and, thanks to their European importers, more classical colonial designs. “We like to think of ourselves as the opposite end of IKEA, straying from mass manufacturing and keeping both our prices and aesthetic aggressive,” says Steve Johnson, general manager of the Manassas store.

Product spread: Their rugs are courtesy of mom-and-pop shops out of Pakistan and India. Their upholstery and wooden works are handmade by Amish communities in Pennsylvania and Ohio. “There has been a shift in the American consumer, a push to buy more domestic products with a history behind them,” says Johnson. Any one of Green Front’s 12 Manassas showrooms that make up the warehouse complex provide that story, the buyable works ranging from the Virginia designer to artists from across the pond. “We have a Theodore Alexander collection in show right now, [and] every piece [is] handmade by the English designers,” states Johnson. “And our Moroccan rugs were hand-selected from Berber artisans in the North African mountains.”

Clientele: The range of pieces reflects almost any taste, from contemporary to traditional. Shoppers can find anything from leather furniture and media consoles to decor pieces often filling the pages of popular home design catalogs. The warehouse houses any type of piece to decorate a home.

Wallet Wonders: At Green Front Furniture, which is based out of Farmville with a Manassas showroom up and running, the focus has always been on bringing the consumer a true work of art, without the marked-up price to match. “When we explore new manufacturers, we try to ‘buy right’—to get high-end furniture at low margins,” according to Johnson. And those low margins find their way back to Northern Virginia buyers now able to find locally crafted works on a budget.

( November 2015 )











Road Hog

Posted by Editorial / Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

I have a lot to learn about cars—and can’t get enough time behind the wheel of one.

By Susan Anspach

northern virginia magazine, nova magazine, voices, susan anspach, road hog, matt mignanelli

Illustration by Matt Mignanelli

When you move to a new neighborhood, as I recently did, you get to know your neighbors by their cars. There’s a lot you can tell about me from my car: that I have a car seat-aged child I allow to carpet the backseat with graham cracker crumbs, board books and half-gnawed plastic animals; that I still listen to CDs by artists who haven’t been popular since 1998; that, for having never repaired the hood dents from a two-by-four that flew into us off the back of a semi, I don’t overly concern myself with aesthetics.

Read the rest of this entry »

How to spot Northern Virginian archetypes on Black Friday

Posted by Jenny Cutler Lopez / Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

By Jenny Cutler Lopez

What happens when Northern Virginians plan strategic Black Friday shopping operations? Two worlds collide. A world in which a wild-eyed escaped lunatic breeds with a take-no-prisoner soldier. Want to know how to spot the five most common Northern Virginia personality types in the shopping aisles this Friday? Read our handy guide to surviving the biggest shopping day below.

Read the rest of this entry »

The real lives of Northern Virginians: Liz Keith

Posted by Jenny Cutler Lopez / Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

By Jenny Cutler Lopez

These Hands is a storytelling project to share Northern Virginian’s stories through a focus on how they used their hands in memorable moments of life.

liz keith, jenny cutler lopez, these hands, northern virginia magazine

Photo by Jenny Cutler Lopez

Liz Keith, 21, Reston

These hands:

Gripped a hockey stick.  “My dad was state department, so I was born in Seoul, South Korea. Then we lived in Reston for three years, Malaysia for three years, Reston for three years and so on. My parents have owned houses in Reston for 35 years. We lived by Glade Pool in a court the shape of a horseshoe when I was a kid, and there were three or four kids in every house. There was a playground nearby, but mostly all us neighborhood kids would make up games and play sports outside. We’d play street hockey. The oldest kid would watch out for cars, and two kids moved the net and two others made sure the little kids stayed on the sidewalk. I loved growing up there.”

Penned a response to Hamlet to graduate early. “When I came back from Malaysia, I lived off Lawyers Road, and there weren’t many kids in that neighborhood. Starting South Lakes (High School), it was way different. The people who still lived in Reston had all been on the same swim team, the same soccer team, the same basketball teams, girl guides, boy scouts. It was weird to integrate myself into that when I had been gone. Everything kept going without me, and it was so hard to fit in because Reston is so close-knit. I hated high school. By that point I was so done with everything. I wasn’t really into the high school drama. I was frustrated with overlapping of academics. I had to repeat a lot of stuff or take all these SOLs with no background in them. I decided in the spring of my junior year to graduate a year early. I needed one more English class to graduate. I took the English class that summer, and I got my diploma.”

Rescued four drowning people. “I’m one of six kids, and my siblings had all lifeguarded. So as soon as I was 15 and able to get my work permit, I went right to Reston Community Center and filled out an application.  At RCC, I’ve made four rescues. First one was a kid coming down the water slide and he didn’t resurface. The second one was a teenage boy who wasn’t a strong swimmer but wanted to be with his friends. He got nervous and started panicking. And then there was one time when there was a boy—maybe an 8-year-old but big for his age—in the middle of the pool, and he was trying to fix his goggles and tread water at the same time and started to go under. His mom went to go grab him, but she couldn’t grab him and tread water, so I had to jump in and put both of them on my tube. And then the last one was in the spa, which was scary because you don’t have very good visibility of our spa at Reston. So I didn’t see him go under. Someone yelled for me. The man in the spa was in his later 80s, and he fainted, went under. I back-boarded him out. I was worried he was having a stroke because I wasn’t sure if he couldn’t speak English or if he was just groggy. We called EMS.”

Clutched an autistic boy: “The year after high school, I took a year off and was hired as a full-time nanny by a family I’d babysat for occasionally. One of the children is severely autistic. He is in therapy all day. He’s nonverbal. I’ve known him since he was born. He was hitting every milestone until he was 2 and then started regressing. He won’t just walk next to you. I have to hold him so we can walk together [and] he doesn’t run off. After working with him full-time, I wanted to go into OT or speech therapy.”

Endured her brother John’s crushing grip. “John and his brother lived in an orphanage [in South Korea]. This family was supposed to adopt them but then they just adopted his brother. He was 16 and was just about to be moved to another house with the older kids. My parents wanted to adopt him. They’d take him for weekend visitation, but they couldn’t fully adopt him until I was born. They adopted him the day after I was born. As his celebral palsy got worse, he walked with canes, but as time went on, he got weaker and weaker and ended up needing to use his walker. He wanted to just use his cane sometimes, but it would put him off balance, so I would hold his left hand, which was his spastic side. He’d crush my hand without knowing it. Usually we’d link elbows. The medicine he was taking in the orphanage for his seizures deteriorated his bone marrow, so he’d get serious infections until he died …. I wear his ashes in this locket around my neck.”

Jerked a parachute cord to experience zero gravity. After her birthday two weeks ago, Liz skydived with her boyfriend over Warrenton. “Beforehand I wasn’t nervous, but I wasn’t crazy excited either. We got in this really small plane. We went up to 10,000 feet. I could see the mountains—they were just so beautiful. My instructor all of sudden slid me forward—I’m sitting on the edge of the plane, my legs are hooked underneath the plane, and I looked down and I’m at 10,000 feet, and I think that’s when it hit me. Then you drop, and you’re free-falling. It really scared me. I had so many butterflies. We pulled the chute and then floated and did circles. It was so pretty. Then we went on our backs, and we both pulled the cord to experience zero gravity. I definitely think it’s something to do once in your life.”


Other Northern Virginians profiled in These Hands

Christopher Turner

Thankful for a new life; boy who donates to mosque gets surprise

Posted by Editorial / Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

By Jenny Cutler Lopez

Gas prices are lowest in seven years

[ NBC News ]

Thankful for a new life

[ Fairfax County Times ]

7 year old who donated to mosque gets a surprise

[ ABC News ]

Terrific travel weather through Thanksgiving

[ Washington Post ]


How to keep it simple: Thanksgiving dinner for two

Posted by Editorial / Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock/bokan

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock/Bokan

By Jae O’Connor

Just because you don’t have the time or funds to travel this Thanksgiving holiday doesn’t mean you should skip the meal. Dinner for two (or even for one) shouldn’t be depressing; you can enjoy the same traditional favorites with these smaller-portion recipes. This stress-free cooking will keep you out of the kitchen and give you time to spend relaxing on your day off. It’s a holiday for you too, after all.


Mahogany-Glazed Cornish Hen

o   1 Cornish game hen (20 to 24 ounces) split lengthwise

o   1 tbsp. butter

o   ½ tsp. grated orange peel

o   2 tbsp. apricot preserves

o   1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

o   1 tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce

o   2 tsp. Dijon mustard

o   ¼ tsp. salt

o   1/8 tsp. pepper

o   1 to 1½ c. chicken broth, divided

Click here for the full recipe


Roasted Turkey Breast (with Creamy Gravy and Cranberry Pomegranate Sauce)

o   1 full or 2 split boneless skin-on turkey breasts

o   2 cloves garlic, grated or pasted

o   1 stick butter, softened

o   ¼ c. minced fresh herbs

o   1 tbsp. lemon juice

o   Salt and black pepper

Click here for the full recipe


Easy Thanksgiving Stuffing for Two

o   12- to 14-inch loaf crusty French bread

o   1 shallot

o   1 celery stalk

o   3 cloves garlic, minced

o   1 tbsp. butter

o   Salt and pepper

o   2 c. chicken broth

Click here for the full recipe


Truffle Mac and Cheese

o   1 1/3 c. macaroni

o   ½ c. dry white wine

o   1 tbsp. truffle oil

o   1¼  c. chicken or vegetable stock, warmed

o   ½ c. parmesan cheese, finely grated

o   1 tbsp. flour

o   ½ block cream cheese

o   Freshly ground pepper

Click here for the full recipe


Roasted Corn Pudding in Acorn Squash

o   1 small (2lb) acorn squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeded

o   1 tbsp. clarified butter or olive oil

o   1 c. milk

o   1 egg, plus 2 egg whites

o   ½ c. fresh corn kernels (or more if you like)

o   ¼ tsp. anise seed, chopped

o   ½ c. chopped scallions

o   A tiny pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

o   ¼ tsp. fine grain sea salt

o   1/3 c. grated white cheddar cheese

Click here for the full recipe


Mashed Potatoes for Two

o   2 tsp. salt

o   1 large Yukon Gold potato per person (about 1/2 to 3/4 pound each)

o   1 tbsp. butter, or more as desired

o   1/2 c. milk or cream, or more as needed

o   1 oz. cream cheese (optional)

o   Freshly ground black pepper

Click here for the full recipe


Oven Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Fish Sauce

o   1 clove garlic

o   1 red bird’s eye chili

o   1 tbsp. sugar

o   Juice of a ¼ lime

o   ½ c. water

o   1 tbsp. fish sauce

o   1 lb. Brussel sprouts

o   2 shallots, peeled and quartered

o   2 tbsp. oil

o   Salt and pepper

Click here for the full recipe


Apple Pie for Two

o   1 c. all purpose flour

o   ½ tsp. salt

o   3 tbsp. cold shortening, cut into 3 pieces

o   3 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces

o   2 tbsp. cold water

o   ¼ c. water

o   1 tsp. lemon juice

o   ¼ c. granulated sugar

o   1 tbsp. cornstarch

o   ½ tsp. ground cinnamon

o   ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg

o   Few drops of vanilla

o   1½ c. chopped, peeled baking apples (such as Gala, Golden Delicious or Jonagold)

Click here for the full recipe


Croissant Bread Pudding with Dried Cherries, Bittersweet Chocolate and Toasted Pecans

o   ¼ c. dried cherries

o   ¼ c. pecans

o   Canola oil for greasing

o   2 c. heavy cream

o   1 vanilla bean

o   4 large egg yolks

o   1½ c. sugar

o   ¼ tsp. salt

o   3 day-old croissants

o   2 tbsp. coarsely grated bittersweet chocolate (from about 1 oz.)

Click here for the full recipe


Jae’s “Two-Thirds” Oreo Ice Cream Pie

o   2/3 gallon cookies and cream ice cream, softened

o   2/3 package Cool Whip

o   2/3 package original Oreos, crushed

o   1 Oreo pie crust

Combine ingredients in a large bowl and then pour into pie crust. Freeze overnight, slice and enjoy. You can also use the extra Oreos and Cool Whip for garnish, or crush the extra Oreos and add another layer to your pie.

Page 1 of 17312345...102030...Last »

Restaurant Scout