Posts Tagged ‘Northern Virginia’

West End Wine Bar and Pub survives opening weekend in Purcellville

Posted by Ainslie Campbell / Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

 By Ainslie Campbell

Photo courtesy of Justin Garrison

Photo courtesy of Justin Garrison

With a full house both Friday and Saturday, West End Wine Bar and Pub’s opening was “a little overwhelming,” says executive chef Justin Garrison.

Read the rest of this entry »

Meet Your Local Heroes: Sisters Helping Breast Cancer Survivors

Area women who have made it their life’s mission to help breast cancer survivors thrive.

By Sophia Rutti

Step Sisters' Ribbon Run / Photo courtesy of Jessica Monte Photography

Step Sisters’ Ribbon Run / Photo courtesy of Jessica Monte Photography

To say that Bonnie Bell is a breast cancer survivor is to take away from her true accomplishments. She did more than just survive her 20-year, on-again-off-again battle with cancer. In the face of two different forms of cancer, four different moments of diagnosis and countless days full of poking and prodding, Bell found a way to thrive rather than just survive.


Bonnie Bell of B&B Health Boutique in Winchester / Photo by Robert Merhaut

“It doesn’t matter how many times you have cancer. Every time you hear it, it’s a scary word. You never want to hear the word,” Bell says. 

“When it came to my cancer, my family didn’t want to talk about it. I had to be the pepper one. When I did chemotherapy, I made sure my husband was at work, my kids were at school, and I did it on a Friday so I could get back to work on Monday. Friday when I got home, I knew I had to get home, get some sleep, throw up and get back to being cheerful Bonnie. I couldn’t show the sickness to my kids.”
Her boutique, B&B Health Boutique in Winchester, is bright and inviting on the outside like any other lingerie store, but Bell’s specialty is fitting women who have had mastectomies. She has been doing fashion lingerie fittings for the last two years, but she started her career in 2008 as a custom fabricated prosthetic fitter.

When going through the process of finding a place for her own prosthesis, Bell experienced a series of white walls and hospital rooms. She complained that the rooms felt too medical and impersonal, until she finally found one with a boutique feel.

“When I walked out of there, I knew that was what I need to do. I teared up and was just overcome with emotion. That was April 2008. By October 2008, I opened my doors.
“It took me years, as a woman, to feel pretty and sexy again,” says Bell. “Wearing the nice lingerie and bras around the house, it just feels so good. It is so important for women, especially survivors, to feel sexy again after their illness.”

Bell spends her days at the B&B Health Boutique fitting women all day long, whether they are breast cancer survivors or not. A self-proclaimed “boob girl,” she not only wants to help women with or without health insurance to receive their prosthesis, but she also wants to educate young women and their mothers about how to properly wear bras to take care of their breasts and their bodies.

Through her health boutique, Bell wants to help as many women as she can, whether that means signing petitions to send to Capitol Hill or raising money to help ease the burden of women suffering from breast cancer locally and internationally and making sure they receive the prosthetics needed.



ONLINEStepSistersHeadshot - Angela

Angela Fuentes of The Step Sisters / Photo courtesy of Jessica Monte Photography

Step by step, the president and treasurer of The Step Sisters, Angela Fuentes, works to support local women suffering from breast cancer.  

The Step Sisters organization has been a successful fundraising venture, with its goal being to raise money for the Avon Walk for the Cure, since it was founded in 2005. Now, however, with the help of President Angela Fuentes, who joined Step Sisters in 2009, the organization is focusing on helping people at a grassroots level. The Step Sisters organization works to improve the quality of life for local women in a real and tangible way.

“We felt like the AVON Foundation and research is great, but we knew our little organization wasn’t going to be the one to find the cure. We wanted to see our dollars directly go to and help somebody in the local community as opposed to just going into a pool of funds that go to different research organizations,” Fuentes says.

The Step Sisters organization helps women with breast cancer and their families cope with the disease and their treatment as best they can by raising funds and directly giving back to local women who are receiving treatment at either Inova Loudoun or Inova Fairfax hospitals with the help of professional nurse navigators.

“The nurse navigators know the patients so much better than we do, so they can make sure to help the ones who are most in need,” Fuentes explains. “It could be a physical need, like someone to watch their child or help to get to a treatment, or an emotional need, like being able to come home to a clean house and not having to worry about it after spending five hours at chemo. Or even a financial need—maybe a patient can’t afford transportation to get somewhere. The nurse navigators know who needs it the most at the Inova hospitals, so they order the service from one of our vendors, and then Step Sisters pays the bill.”

Fuentes knows firsthand the effect that support can have on one’s experience with breast cancer. As a breast cancer survivor herself, diagnosed in 2008, she experienced a double mastectomy and four rounds of chemo as well as an outpouring of support from her friends and family—so much support, in fact, that she had to buy an extra refrigerator to store all the meals that people were bringing her.
“Despite what I was going through and how hard it was physically and mentally and emotionally, I had the support, and I truly believe that is what carried me through everything,” she says. “Step Sisters allows me a chance to pay forward all the support that I received directly to other women in the area.”


ONLINETigerlilyMaimah and Noelle_Vithaya

Maimah Karmo of the Tigerlily Foundation and Noelle Karmo / Photo courtesy of Maimah Karmo

Breast cancer can affect a wide age range of women from 18 to 80, and Maimah Karmo of the Tigerlily Foundation lends a voice to those who are told that they are too young for their disease.

“I was diagnosed on Feb. 28, 2006, at 4:45 p.m.,” says Maimah Karmo, founder and president of the Tigerlily Foundation. The diagnosis for her, like for many women, was notoriously memorable, but unlike most women, Karmo was under the age of 40. She was only 31 years old when she found a lump in her breast and went to get it checked out by a doctor.

Karmo didn’t know much about the disease she was now being confronted with and was scared to find herself Breast cancer can affect a wide age range of women from 18 to 80, and Maimah Karmo of the Tigerlily Foundation lends a voice to those who are told that they are too young for their disease.

“I was diagnosed on Feb. 28, 2006, at 4:45 p.m.,” says Maimah Karmo, founder and president of the Tigerlily Foundation. The diagnosis for her, like for many women, was notoriously memorable, but unlike most women, Karmo was under the age of 40. She was only 31 years old when she found a lump in her breast and went to get it checked out by a doctor.

Karmo didn’t know much about the disease she was now being confronted with and was scared to find herself or even things like, ‘My boyfriend told me not to have a mastectomy because he said he wouldn’t find me attractive anymore,’” Karmo says of other women’s responses to her speaking out.

For the past nine years the Tigerlily Foundation has been working to educate women young and old about breast health and breast cancer prevention. They focus on things like how to talk to young women about breast cancer-related topics without scaring them, as well as educating people so that young women who go to doctors don’t get turned away just because they’re young and not taken seriously. The Tigerlily Foundation also helps the community with financial assistance for women in need and support for women whose treatment is over. For example, the organization offers many financial programs such as the At Home program that covers household costs through gift cards and the New Normal Program that covers the costs of treatments such as acupuncture, massages and even yoga.

“We’re able to make an impact through education; we’re able to change the lives of women suffering with breast cancer under the age of 45 on a local level, a statewide and national level. Breast cancer doesn’t have to be something young women are afraid of but that they are aware of, and when they find a lump they will find it early enough to treat it so that all these young girls can live a long, happy life,” Karmo says.


ONLINE1st Annual Andrea Roane Courage Awards

Renelda Peldunas-Harter and Susan Mills with board member Tammy Grey as she accepted the Andrea Roane Courage Award in October 2014 / Photo courtesy of Susan Mills

Renelda Peldunas-Harter, the president of The Loudoun Breast Health Network, looks ahead to help unburden local women suffering from breast cancer of their financial troubles. 

When it comes to her own experience with breast cancer, Renelda Peldunas-Harter, the president and finance committee chairperson of Loudoun Breast Health Network, prefers not to waste her time lingering on the past. Instead she focuses on the present women suffering. Still, her diagnosis in 2002 had an enormous impact on her life.

“I was asked by Dr. Virginia Chiantella, who organized us initially, to join, and I agreed because I was very fortunate during my treatment. I have good insurance that paid for most of my treatment, but there are a lot of women out there that didn’t have as good of insurance as I did, and those women need not only emotional support during their treatment, but they also need financial support,” Peldunas-Harter says.

Through the many programs offered by LBHN, Peldunas-Harter has found a way to help all the women suffering from breast cancer who aren’t prepared for the enormous impact that cancer has on all aspects of a person’s life. “We essentially help to get people over the bump in the road that is breast cancer,” she explains.

The LBHN, founded in 2007, does this through numerous programs that are funded by donations. The organization helps women in need receive financial help with things like medical bills, prescriptions, rent or mortgage payments, utility bills, groceries or any other expenses that may come up.

“We knew that we could put the money where it is needed most, with the people who are affected most, rather than donate to larger research organizations. Most of us will never be in a cancer trial, but we can help pay someone’s mortgage or help by giving someone the money for treatment or for their kids’ food or sneakers for school. That is where we get our payback, so to speak. We are helping people in our own community. We can see directly where the money goes,” Peldunas-Harter says.

LBHN also offers emotional support to women suffering from breast cancer. They dispense free wigs, head coverings and mastectomy bras as well as having one-on-one support available when the women just need to talk to someone. “When you’re diagnosed, you have a lot of questions, and it is nice to have someone to talk to who has already been through it. We listen to them and answer their questions to the best of our nonmedical ability, like: ‘Yeah, my scalp itched a lot too, and my hair fell out. This cream will help,’ just so the women know that they aren’t alone,” she says.

Despite the impact that breast cancer had on Peldunas-Harter, she does not linger on her experiences but instead focuses her firsthand understanding of the disease so she can help unburden local women in need.



–Raquel deSouza

Oct. 9, shotgun @ 1 p.m.
Bosom Buddies Rally for the Cure Golf Tournament
Join in on a silly and fun golf tournament where everybody can win and support the cause. All ages are welcome, and people can choose their own teams. Then enjoy a dinner and bid in a Chinese auction with all donated items. Last year the rally raised $9,000, and the organization is hoping to at least double that. / Hanover Country Club, 14314 Country Club Drive, Ashland; 703-798-8381; $65-$70 per person

Oct. 9-11
Pink Day
Give any donation to the Meadows Farms cashiers for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and get 10 percent off of your purchase. Saturday, Oct. 10, has the most activities, which vary by location. This is the third annual Pink Day, and in years prior there have been silent auctions, raffles, live music and face painting. / Meadows Farms Nurseries, multiple locations; free

Oct. 10, 7-10 a.m.
14th Susan G. Komen Tidewater Race for the Cure
The organization has a fundraising goal of $285,000, with 75 percent of that money staying in the area and the rest going toward the Susan G. Komen Grants Program. Help them out by wearing your best pink attire in this 5K race. Rain or shine, you can walk or run in support. / Neptune Park, 31st St. and Atlantic Ave., Virginia Beach; $15-$100

Oct. 16, 7-10 p.m.
Headliners for Hope
Mingle with 10-15 well-known local business professionals and entrepreneurs at this fundraiser and networking event. Each headliner has a goal of $1,000 with the help of sponsors and guests’ tickets, and 78 percent of the money goes to the Health Support Network, which gives free services to people impacted by cancer. / Belle Haven Country Club, 6023 Fort Hunt Road, Alexandria; $35-$45

Oct. 17 @ 8:30 a.m. & Oct. 18 at Noon
Breast Health Empowerment Weekend
Most people are familiar with the saying “knowledge is power,” and that is reflective for this informative event. Anybody can attend a free breast health symposium on the first day. If you want to make a weekend out of it, breast cancer survivors and women on hormone treatment can learn how to stay optimistic and continue to live life fully. / The Carter Hall Conference Center, 255 Carter Hall Lane, P.O. Box 250, Millwood; $49 per person

Oct. 17, 7:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.
9th Annual Pink Tie Gala Masquerade Ball
Dress up and dance for a cause at this ball hosted by Bon Secours Cancer Institute. There will be a dinner including items like grilled salmon and chocolate truffle cake. All of the net proceeds go toward the Central Virginia Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization. / Greater Richmond Convention Center Ballroom, 403 N. Third St., Richmond; $100

Oct. 18, 10 a.m.
Making Strides Against Breast Cancer
The American Cancer Society is hosting the 11th noncompetitive 3-mile walk at the nation’s capital. Donations will go toward their breast cancer research and educational services. Making Strides manager Tami Brown says ACS has invested $84 million in these efforts so far, the most of any organization. / Washington Monument, 15th St. and Independence Ave. SW, Washington, D.C.; no registration fee

Oct. 24, noon-6 p.m.
Belle Mode Intimates
Trunk Show
Find great deals at the trunk sale of the mastectomy product line Anita Care. Women are welcome to schedule an appointment before or just arrive for a walk-in to find their perfect undergarments. The store will have a 10 percent off discount with the proceeds going toward the local Tigerlily Foundation. Then learn about self-examination and other services from the Life with Cancer organization and Fairfax Radiology. / Belle Mode Intimates, 11889 Grand Commons Ave., Fairfax

Oct. 29, 6:30-9 p.m.
Think Pink & Blue Fashion Event & Awards Reception
The Men Against Breast Cancer nonprofit will present three awards and have a men’s fashion show. There will also be an auction of the “Newszdudes” for a lunch or dinner. These are men in the media who support the organization. Participants for the auction include WJLA anchor Leon Harris and NBC4 chief meteorologist Doug Kammerer. / Congressional Country Club, 8500 River Road, Bethesda

Nov. 7, 1-5 p.m.
Charity Bridal Event & Trunk Sale
The Brides Against Breast Cancer organization will bring about 500 bridal gowns on their final Virginia stop of the year. Buy your dream gown with discounts from 25 to 85 percent, and take it home that day. For every dollar made, 78 cents goes towards the Health Support Network. If you already walked down the aisle, you can donate your gently worn wedding dress. / Morais Vineyards and Winery, 11409 Marsh Road, Bealeton; $5 general admission and $20 for VIP event; 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Nov. 13, 6-9 p.m.
emPOWER Ball
Get glammed up and party into the night at this black-tie affair. At the awards banquet, celebrate and honor people who are educating the public about breast cancer. Also enjoy a cocktail hour, a three-course dinner and entertainment. Hyatt Regency, 7901 Tysons One Place; Tysons Corner

Year-round events

Vola Lawson Breast Cancer Memorial Fund
Previously known as the Alexandria Walk to Fight Breast Cancer, this fundraiser changed its name in honor of the passing of the walk’s founder, Vola Lawson. There will not be a walk this year, rather an online fundraising effort due to a decrease in donations. This fund helps uninsured Alexandria women get mammograms and other medical needs. / 2525 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria; $10 donation minimum

Volunteer for American Cancer Society
The organization could always use help making telephone calls, sending mail and getting supplies ready for events. You can help out at their Greenbelt, Maryland, office with preparing for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in D.C. or on the day of the event. Volunteers need to be 16 or older and need parental permission. / 7500 Greenway Center Drive, Suite 300, Greenbelt; 301-982-2161

Pink 365
You do not have to wait until Breast Cancer Awareness month to show your support. This is an awareness campaign where you can engage people in your community, whether at the local gym, school, company or doctor’s office, every day of the year. Raise money or educate people through text alerts, events and social media. / Free membership

(October 2015)

Bus Rides Become Art Exhibitions in Arlington

Jason Horowitz

Photo courtesy of Cynthia Connolly, Visual Arts Curator at Artisphere.

By Victoria Gaffney

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated to reflect new information.

This week, the humdrum Arlington Transit bus ride down Wilson Boulevard will start to look a little more interesting. Rather than the usual interior placards, commuters and passengers on the No. 41, 42, and 87 bus routes may find unique digital images instead.

Cynthia Connolly, Visual Arts Curator at Artisphere, is responsible for the change. On Tuesday, she and Arlington-based photographer Jason Horowitz got together and installed the next round of artwork for Connolly’s project “Art on the Art Bus.” 

Horowitz, who has ridden the Art on the Art Bus to see the exhibits of some of his friends, is excited to participate in the project. A longtime photographer, he says he focuses on looking at and reinterpreting the world through what he makes. Horowitz thought Connolly’s project was especially unique, saying “it didn’t conform to the way I usually work.” The small size of the bus placards added another layer of difficulty.

He decided to make something new for the project and traveled around shooting scenes primarily in Arlington with some in D.C. His images are not mere photos, however; they are abstract assemblages of shots taken over the course of an hour. His process begins by taking a series of photos of the same place. Then, returning to his studio, he assembles the shots in varying ways to create one image. The process allows him to “rebuild the scene, but in a more abstracted form,” he says.

Connolly first got the idea for Art on the Art Bus about a decade ago when she noticed the name for the Arlington Transit system was abbreviated “Art.” Initially she mistook this to mean there was actual art on the bus. When she saw one of the buses, however, she thought to herself, “I can get art on the bus.”

She wanted the work to be original, but people were concerned it would get destroyed. Connolly reassured them, “That’s the whole point; you just put the art on the bus and see what people do.” She started doing three artists a year in 2010, and the exhibits, which have featured various mediums including paintings, drawings and photos—have been quite popular. Not only does it improve the aesthetics of the bus, but the project as a whole also “changes your perspective of what art is and what it does for us,” says Connolly.  

For each artist, Connolly arranges a specific day for people to ride the art bus with her and the artist where she gives a little background on the project and the artist discusses his or her artwork. They ride a regular evening bus to a destination of the artist’s choice (perhaps a place to hang out or his or her studio). This year, Horowitz and Connolly will be riding the bus on April 8. Everyone will meet at 6:45 p.m. at the Court House Metro Route 41 bus stop to take the 7:04 bus down Wilson Boulevard to Horowitz’s studio. Attendees will have to pay the $1.50 bus fare. Horowitz’s art will be on the bus until June.

Obama requests Congressional approval for military force against Islamic State; Va. House approves marijuana for epilepsy

By Victoria Gaffney

Obama requests Congressional approval for military force against Islamic State

Virginia House approves marijuana for epilepsy
(Washington Post)

2015 dietary guidelines may no longer include cholesterol warning

Virginia House passes reform for A-F grading
(Loudoun Times)

White House may slow withdrawal of Afghan troops
(Washington Post)

Workhouse Explores the Rehabilitative Power of Art

Workhouse at Lorton

Photo courtesy of the Orsinger Collection at the Workhouse Prison Museum.

By Victoria Gaffney

The arts are entertaining—there’s no doubt about that—but they can also be therapeutic, restorative and healing. In prison, where people have little to occupy their time, turning to creative pursuits can be both enjoyable and liberating.

Next week, the former Lorton Prison, now home to the Workhouse Arts Center and the Workhouse Prison Museum, will take a closer look at the fairly common affinity for the arts in prisons. The lecture, “Coping with Life Behind Bars: Art and Music” will examine the rehabilitative power of both art and music, and is the second in the museum’s series, “Behind the Walls of Lorton Prison.”

The former D.C. Correctional Facility opened in 1910 and closed in 2001. The grounds are now open to the public (including, three schools, two parks and a large public golf course in Virginia).

Today, visitors can still see the craftsmanship of the former inmates when they look at the brick dormitories. Laura McKie, chair of the Workhouse Museum and History Committee says the prison’s model stemmed from the ideals of the Progressive Movement in the early 20th century in “an attempt to be self-sustaining.”

Known as a “prison built by its prisoners,” the inmates of Lorton literally constructed their own housing, down to the very bricks, which they too made by hand.  But these prisoners weren’t just craftsmen, a great many of them also liked to dabble in art. In fact, many prisons house artists, or at least prisoners who like to express themselves artistically.

For the art portion of the evening, the museum will display artwork by former D.C. prisoners, including some portraits and even some quirky, crafty pieces (such as a dominoes set and a purse). Historian Irma Clifton, who formerly worked at the prison, also plans to bring in some intriguing photographs.

The event will feature pictures of graffiti as the prison walls were the “prime source of art,” says McKie; despite the bleak canvas, however, “some of the work is quite amazing.”

Kevin Petty, former prison inmate at Lorton, will spearhead the music portion of the evening. While at Lorton he was a member of the musical group, “The Amazing Gospel Souls,” a group of about twelve other former prisoners, says McKie. Petty and his fellow members felt the restorative power of music both inside and outside the prison and still perform today.

The lecture is free and begins at 7:30 p.m. in the W-3 Theatre at the Workhouse Prison Museum. Attendees must register online in advance. Subsequent lectures include: “Keeping Sane While Doing Time: Religion, Counseling and Social Services” on March 11, “Fires, Riots and Escapes: Lorton in the Public Eye” on April 8, and “Life After Prison” on April 29.

Orsinger Collection at the Workhouse Prison Museum
Workhouse Art Center
9601 Ox Road
Lorton, 22079

Silent Films with Live Musical Accompaniment at The Alden

Posted by Editorial / Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015


Silent Films, Bruce Lawton, Northern Virginia Magazine, The Alden,

Image Courtesy of Bruce Lawton

By Sophia Rutti 

For all the modern movie lovers out there it’s time to try something new, something a little less explosive, something a little more…well, silent. 

The Alden is presenting a “Classics of the Silent Screen” night on Feb. 4, at 7:30 p.m. 

There will be a showing of cinema’s very first cowboy “Broncho Billy” Anderson in his film “Shootin’ Mad” (1918) before a showing of “The Tollgate”(1920) that stars William S. Hart the “Clint Eastwood of silent film”. 

The films may be silent, but the event certainly will not be. Composer Ben Model will be accompanying the film by improvising a live score on the piano and Bruce Lawton, a film historian and preservationist, will give background and history about the movies. 

“They are both silent-film experts, and audiences get the chance to ask questions of them following the screening. Their love for the material is contagious, and their enthusiasm makes silent films accessible to everyone. ” Tickets are $12 for non-residents and $8 for MCC district residents. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Romney to make 2016 campaign decision Friday; D.C. to top homelessness record

By Christopher Penrith

Romney reported to make 2016 campaign decision Friday

D.C. on pace top 2013′s homelessness
(Washington Post)

Northern Virginia is one of the top 5 U.S. hubs for sex trafficking
(Fairfax Times)

House budget writers weighing a state employee pay raise based on rising revenue  
(Washington Post)

Offset Winter Blues with a Pair of Family Activities

Posted by Editorial / Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

By Victoria Gaffney


Winter family fun

Photo courtesy of milaphotos/

The holidays are over, and New Year’s resolutions are only just getting underway, but that doesn’t mean you need to sit at home avoiding the cold air just beyond your doorstep. Plenty of fun activities wait for you and the kids right around the corner.

Read the rest of this entry »

Be the Most Stylish Couple on New Year’s Eve with These Outfits

Posted by Editorial / Friday, December 26th, 2014

By Danielle Harvey

Most people look forward to New Year’s Eve for obvious reasons such as celebrating with friends and having an excuse to dress up. If you and your significant other need some inspiration then look no further. Here’s three outfit ideas to get you ready to fashionably bring in the New Year.



Photo courtesy of polyvore/dd-harvey

Photo courtesy of polyvore/dd-Harvey


Outfit details: (For Her) Top, Pants, Necklace and Shoes (For Him) T-shirt, Jeans, Jacket and Shoes

Read the rest of this entry »

Some Not-So-Ugly Sweater Party Outfit Ideas

Posted by Editorial / Wednesday, December 24th, 2014

By Cate Jensen

If you have managed to avoid the typical ugly sweater parties of the season, Christmas Eve might be your last chance to party with friends surrounded in questionable attire. So you aren’t into the theme? That’s okay. Just because you might not want to be dressed up in your grandmother’s old sweater with a giant present bow on your head (bah hum bug for those who think that is a bit too harsh) doesn’t mean you should miss out on the festivities. Skip the text and pair a chunky metallic sweater with a cheeky clutch or try a funky sweatshirt – you can still be stylish while embracing the holiday spirit.


 Around the Christmas Tree

Photo courtesy of

Outfit details: Metallic Cable-knit SweaterEmbellished Black Mini, Christian Louboutin Pumps in Jade, Sliced Cuff Bracelet, Ho, Ho, Ho Acrylic Box Clutch


Do You Wann Build a Snowman?

Photo courtesy of

Outfit Details: Snowman Sweater, Silver Tory Burch Crossbody, Embellished Silver Flats, Pleated Skirt in Sky BlueSnowflake Earrings

You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch

Photo courtesy of

Outfit details: Bah Hum Bug Sweatshirt, High-Rise Black Skinny Jeans, Marc By Marc Jacobs Crossbody in Kelly Green, Chuck Taylor High-Top Sneakers


Page 1 of 38312345...102030...Last »