The Game Plan


Casual and cool Fourth of July looks

Posted by Editorial / Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

By Claudina Hannon
The Fourth of July is characterized by spending time with friends and family, eating delicious barbecue and, of course, fireworks. But no matter how you spend Independence Day this year, it is wise to make sure you wear light, breathable clothes that show the patriotic colors while still being fashionable. Here are some ideas for a stylishly casual Fourth of July for you and for the guys.

The outfit

Olivaceous romper. Photo courtesy of

Olivaceous romper. Photo courtesy of

Rompers looks great on all body shapes, and this Olivaceous version has a nice bright blue and white print that can definitely be worn on other occasions.
If you prefer solid colors, the following Zara dress is nothing but chic simplicity on a hot summer day.
Zara dress with pockets. Photo courtesy of

Zara dress with pockets. Photo courtesy of


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A comprehensive list of online Fourth of July sales

Posted by Editorial / Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

By Claudina Hannon

4th of July sales in Northern Virginia

Photo courtesy of Michele Paccione/

Now is the chance to snag some great deals on summer essentials with these Fourth of July sales.

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A Cut above the Rest

Posted by Angela Bobo / Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

Maria-Alejandra Avellanda, creator of Mars Vida

Photo by Erick Gibson.

Maria-Alejandra Avellanda, creator of Mars Vida, brings smaller-cut swimwear with a South American flair to Northern Virginia.

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July’s local Sales & News

Posted by Angela Bobo / Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

July 4 sales

Photo courtesy of Marilyn Volan/


Super Sale at Potomac Mills
Potomac Mills will be hosting a Super Sale from July 3-5. Customers can expect deep discounts on top of the typical savings of up to 70 percent off items at over 200 stores.

Mystique’s Red and Blue Sale
Mystique Jewelers will offer 20 percent off anything red and blue throughout the month of July. To find out how to score some beautifully colored gems, stop by the store or visit the website [].

Acme’s Iconic American Designers Sale
Those eager to spruce up their home should look no further than Acme Mid-Century + Modern during the Iconic American Designers Sale. From July 3-5, customers can receive 10 to 20 percent off furniture, clocks, lighting and more from George Nelson and Ray & Charles Eames.

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Negative space nail art tutorial

Posted by Editorial / Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

By Claudina Hannon

A great way to show off your nail art skills this summer is by painting simple geometric shapes and leaving the rest of the nail bare—hence the name negative space. This technique, as seen in many  spring/summer 2015 runway shows, is minimal and modern. We are always impressed to see how the professionals do nail art, so we decided to see if it was a task that we could achieve on our own. Follow the three easy steps below to achieve your on-trend mani:

What you’ll need

Photo courtesy of Claudina Hannon

Photo courtesy of Claudina Hannon

Nail polish remover: Beauty Secrets Acetone Professional Nourishing Nail Polish Remover

Nail polish: OPI’s My Vampire is Buff

Top coat: ORLY Glosser 

Small tip nail art brushes

Glass dappen dish

Painter’s tape

Step 1

tutorial - nails 1

Photo courtesy of Claudina Hannon

Place painter’s tape on your nails to cover places where you want the negative space. We found painter’s tape to be less harsh on nails than regular tape. You may also use a base coat before this step.


Step 2

Photo courtesy of Claudina Hannon

Photo courtesy of Claudina Hannon

Paint your nails, as you normally would. Don’t be afraid to paint over the tape—you don’t want to miss any spots. We used two coats of My Vampire is Buff.  Wait for nails to dry completely before the next step.

Step 3

Photo courtesy of Claudina Hannon

Photo courtesy of Claudina Hannon

Remove the painter’s tape carefully and clean up any imperfections with acetone-dipped nail art brushes. Finish with a top coat and your manicure is complete. 

Online clothing stores to spice up your summer

Posted by Angela Bobo / Monday, June 29th, 2015

Searching for the perfect summer pieces to add to your wardrobe can become less than thrilling once you realize that your favorite stores do not carry the items that you are looking for. With most storefronts also offering the ability to shop online, you rarely deviate outside your favorite places even when you shop virtually. If you have already browsed some of the top local boutiques and you still find yourself in a serious style rut, it might be time for a refresh. Below we offer nine under-the-radar online boutiques to inject your summer style and beauty with some much-needed spice.

photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of



A curated mix of contemporary luxury lines like McQ by Alexander McQueen, T by Alexander Wang and Cushnie et Ochs blended with lower-priced brands like Citizens of Humanity and Rag & Bone.

& Other Stories

Not necessarily under the radar as many customers shop its sister store, H&M, daily. But it is still worth checking out this slightly higher-priced line that offers must-have clothing and accessories in addition to bath and beauty products.

Chic Wish

This trendy site offers a plethora of items ranging from floral sheaths and bohemian blouses to shirtdresses and short suits at a steal.

Boutique 1861

An affordable and eclectic mix of modern clothing with a twist and vintage fashions; plus the overall design of the website with its scrolling text in French and English feels refreshing.


Simple and modern pieces made with quality materials. The true standouts on this site are the leather goods and accessories.


This New York-based brand boasts the perfect leather jacket, basics in interesting prints and on-trend monochrome pieces in quality materials at a mid-range price point.


This womenswear line brought to you by Bonobos offers frill-free basics, great-fitting denim and breezy dresses.


Fans of Nasty Gal and Urban Outfitters will enjoy this Australian brand. With most items between $20 and $200, it is a worthy option for the trend-driven post grad.


One part e-commerce and one part beauty blog, this website offers beauty lovers a chance to purchase indie organic brands, French pharmacy staples and cult favorites.


How makeup artists prep for date night

Posted by Editorial / Thursday, June 25th, 2015

 By Claudina Hannon

We recently spoke with Chanel makeup artist Mario Lopez del Cid, founder of the Mario Lopez del Cid Makeup Institute in Lincolnia and one of the exclusive makeup artists for the Miss Universe Pageant, so he can answer one of the unnerving questions every woman asks herself before a date: How should I do my makeup?

When it comes to date-night makeup, there are two suggestions to keep in mind: Do your makeup according to your destination, and make sure the makeup look also complements your hair and outfit. We’ve narrowed down the endless date possibilities into two practical scenarios, casual and formal dates. Lopez del Cid shared two date night-friendly looks with us and gave us some easy tips for flawless application. These two makeup looks are bound to wow your date.

Casual Date

This soft, feminine look is perfect for a casual summer date, since it emphasizes on pink hues all over the face. Similar makeup looks were actually seen at Matthew Williamson, Derek Lam and Guy Laroche spring/summer 2015 runway shows.

Photo courtesy of Inga Ivanova/

Photo courtesy of Inga Ivanova/

Mario’s tips for achieving this look:

  • For contouring, use the original beauty blender sponge.
  • Focus on contouring the cheeks to show off your cheekbones.
  • For round face shapes, contour all over the face to balance to your features.
  • Use different shades of pink for the eyes, cheeks and lips.
  • Applying lashes will enhance your eyes and will give you a more doll-like look.
  • Use a creamy black liner on the inside of your eye, top and bottom, to provide subtle lines.

Mario’s picks:  Chanel Vitalumière Aqua foundation, Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Sticks for contouring, Sephora Collection Moonshadow Baked Palette – In The Nude, Diorshow mascara, Tom Ford lip color, Shiseido ‘The Makeup’ Luminizing Satin Face Color blush.


Formal Date

We immediately think of smoky eyes when we think of makeup for a formal occasion, but this minimalist smoky eye look is simple and elegant. It adds drama on your eyes without overdoing it because after all, it is summertime. Even Tom Ford, Diane von Furstenberg and Chanel showcased similar makeup looks on their spring/summer 2015 runways.

Photo courtesty of Vera F/

Photo courtesty of Vera F/

Mario’s tips for achieving this look:

  • Using a concealer or eye shadow base all over the eyelid before applying the eye shadow is a must
  • When applying the dark eye shadow, lightly tap the brush on the center of the eyelid (the area below the eyelid fold) as if you were painting.
  • Then, swipe the brush from side to side to cover up any missing spots. Here is where you decide how dramatic you want the smoky eye—cover more parts of the eyelid with this motion to add intensity.
  • Use a bronzer to enhance the cheeks. Brush in toward the top of your ears.
  • Apply a peach or coral blush on top of the bronzer for a touch of lighter color.
  • Use a highlighter on the parts of the face where there are no contours.
  • Use a light peach or nude colored lipgloss to finish off the look.

Mario’s picks for this look:  Chanel Vitalumière Aqua foundation, Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Sticks for contouring, Estée Lauder Iridescent Ball Highlighter, Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz, Smashbox palette for the eyes, Shiseido ‘The Makeup’ Luminizing Satin Face Color blush.

It’s ‘all about the hair’ in the NoVA dating scene

Posted by Editorial / Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

By Claudina Hannon

Ladies, did you know that blondes tend to have more long-term relationships than brunettes? Or that 40 percent of single men consider nice smelling hair a turn-on? In case you had any doubt about the importance of first impressions, findings from a and Wella survey show the crucial roles your hairstyle and hair color play when going on dates. The survey was conducted on 1,000 users, who shared their preferences and perceptions of women based solely on their hairstyle and hair color choices.

Photo courtesy of Ashley Page of ANP Photography.

Photo courtesy of Ashley Page of ANP Photography.

To put the survey’s results to the test, these two companies recently hosted a hair-styling event for 18 users at PR at Partners in Alexandria before sending them off to a local dating mixer. The lucky ladies had the opportunity to get a blow out and select one of four hairstyle techniques based on the survey’s top preferred hairstyles. The “Love is in the Air” menu had the following selections, along with corresponding survey statistics for each style:


  • Romantic Waves: “Almost half of single men find women with curly/wavy hair to be sexy and irresistible.” Also, “Single men ages 30-39 consider women with a curly or wavy hairstyle to be more down to earth than any other hairstyle.”


  • Sleek and Straight: “According to a quarter of single men, straight and sleek hair gets you one step closer to a ring.” 


  • Dreamy Up-Do: “[If you wear your hair pulled back] Almost 50 percent of single men think that you are down to earth.” 


  • Sexy Braid: “A quarter of single men think women with braided hair are sporty and adventurous.”


Photo courtesy of Ashley Page of ANP Photography

Photo courtesy of Ashley Page of ANP Photography

Here are stylist Mauricio Rivero‘s tips on achieving the Romantic Waves look:

1) Spray volumizing gel in the roots before you blow dry

2) Create curls that go away from the face on each side

3) Alternate curls’ directions on the back of the head for a more natural look

4) Give the curls a moment to set before gently shaking them loose with your fingers while tilting your head back

But what about color? Here are other interesting stats to keep in mind next time you consider a color treatment: Only 14 percent of single women who have never colored their hair have gone on six or more dates in a year, as opposed to the 64 percent of single women who do color or highlight their hair and have gone on that many dates. Bottom line: There is a hairstyle and hair color for everyone’s preference.

Shop Talk: It’s All Good Consignment

Posted by Angela Bobo / Monday, June 22nd, 2015

It’s All Good Consignment

Photo by Erick Gibson.

Destination: Located in the nostalgic Westover neighborhood in Arlington, with architecture reminiscent of 1950s small-town charm, this popular consignment shop can be found a couple of  doors down from its sister store, Finders Keepers Boutique & Home.

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16 swimsuits for the entire family

Posted by Editorial / Monday, June 22nd, 2015

By Claudina Hannon

With the official start of summer just around the corner, we can now start shopping for swimsuits for each member of the family. Even when we’re just going to the neighborhood pool, it’s great to look the part with this season’s trendy swimsuits for parents and kids. But since each family member can potentially have very discriminating taste when it comes to fashion, we’ve selected a couple of options for each family member in two categories – sporty and stylish. Whether you seek simplicity, comfort, bright colorful patterns, or fashion-forward designs, we’ve got you covered. 

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Clockwise: For him - Polo Ralph Lauren Logo Embroidered Swim ShortsBurkman Bros Waves Boardshorts. For girls - Nike Girls’ 2-Piece Tonal Static Bikini SwimsuitNike Girls’ One-Piece Spiderback Frequency SwimsuitFor boys - Under Armour Kids Shorebreak BoardshortVolcom Little Boys’ Big Mon Board ShortsFor her - Zimmermann Hyper Asymmetric BikiniLisa Marie Fernandez The Genevieve bikini.

Sporty swimsuits provide a bit more coverage and padding than average swimsuits. The guys’ sport swimsuits tend to be longer in length for beach sports and at times have extra pockets.


Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Clockwise: For him - Boohoo Breton Stripe Swim ShortsBOSS BODYWEAR Springfish Swim ShortsFor girls - Accessorize Bora Bora Placement SwimsuitBillabong ‘To Dye For’ Two-Piece SwimsuitFor boys - Hatley Treasure Island Boys’ Swim Trunks, a&f Board ShortsFor her - Mara Hoffman Rising Palm bikiniMara Hoffman Harvest cutout printed swimsuit.

What defines these swimsuits as stylish are mainly the detailed designs, like fringe and cutouts, as well as the tropical prints and bold patterns. These are definite stand-out swimsuits, but in a great way.

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