Posts Tagged ‘NoVA’

Fashion Myths Ruled Out

Posted by Editorial / Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

Photo courtesy of helenvray/

By Helen Ray

Getting dressed is similar to a game, where obtaining the perfect look involves a strategic method to get to the goal in mind. Like any other game, there are rules in the world of fashion that help govern what fashion savvy people decide to wear. While some rules set standards— like what’s appropriate for a night out verses an interview, others, like not wearing white after Labor Day, just seem outdated and silly. Since fashion is ever evolving, there’s no need to stick by the same rules our grandmother’s did, so here are a few fashion rules that we love to break. 

You shouldn’t mix metals

This rule claims that when layering accessories you must stick to one metal. Not only is this rule hard to follow but it’s unnecessary—your gold studs do not clash with your silver flats. In fact, intentionally mixing metals is stylish because it adds texture and glam to any outfit.

You can’t wear athletic shoes with a non-athletic outfit

No longer does wearing athletic wear in public mean you have to be going to or coming back from the gym. Pairing athletic sneakers with a skirt or dress is a style that is fresh, feminine and functional. 

Horizontal stripes make you look bigger

This rule has managed to resonate with women young and old for generations. But stripes are a wardrobe necessity; they look great when pairing with patterns and are seen on the runways season after season. Some stripes can even make you look thinner.  If you’re hesitant about wearing horizontal stripes try wearing thinner stripes and either tucking the shirt in or adding a belt to a dress to accentuate your waistline.

You can’t wear black with navy

Just because two neutrals look similar to each other doesn’t mean can’t be worn together. Black and navy together creates a look that is sleek and sophisticated and is a color combo that when you finally decide to dawn, isn’t as daring as our grandmother’s would lead us to believe.

Shorts are only for the summer

Sure, shorts are perfectly functional and trendy in the summer, but they can also be a chic piece to wear all year long, and let’s face it, pleated wool shorts were not made for August. By choosing the right materials and laying shorts with thick stockings and boots you can create a warm and versatile winter look. 

You can’t wear white at someone else’s wedding

With summer being prime time wedding season it seems unfair to rule out one of the season’s hottest colors. In reality, there is little a person can wear to a wedding that would take away from the showcased couple—especially when one is sporting a couture gown. Jazz up a little white dress at a wedding with funky accessories and unique patterns if you feel the need to exaggerate your separation from the bride. 

Lessons to Avoid the Psychos

Flipping through channels on my TV the other week I came upon a comedian boiling down online dating.

The guy, a contestant on “Last Comic Standing,” was riffing on the concerns of men vs. women when it comes to meeting a romantic interest and transitioning from digitally connecting to the real thing.

Guys’ biggest fear, according to the comedian: I hope she’s not uggo.

Ladies’ biggest fear, according to the same comedian: I hope I don’t die. I hope my head stays on my body after this date, and I survive.

Hearing this, my first reaction was to laugh. Then, I realized my laughing, nay my cackling, was because of how true the statement was.

On nearly all of the dates that I’ve gone on lately, especially as a product of Tinder, I’ve showed up and the man I’m meeting feels the need to make some statement about how I compare in person to my pictures:

“You look like your pictures.”

“You look better in person.”

“Your pictures seem like they’re recent.”

Or even some vague reference to women and what they post to show how they look, such as “You never know what someone’s actually going to look like in person.”

Literally, these are all statements males have made. God forbid a woman is five pounds heavier than they anticipated, less busty or somehow not their physical ideal. 

I understand that some women lie and post photos that are not a true reflection of how they appear at the moment. Clearly men do, too. I met a date once who, unbeknownst to me, was bald. His photos clearly showed him in hats or with a full, thick head of brown wavy hair. False advertising much.

In my experience, it’s the men that put so much stock in this photo/in-person match. God forbid she’s not as hot as imagined.

I’d also have to agree with the comedian on women’s worries. Yup, I’ve entered a date and thought the same things I did before skydiving, “Here are the steps I need to take to make sure I stay safe.”

Yet when the person is someone you discovered on a website or app, there’s this extra uncertainty and fear factor. Is he who he says he is? Is he a he? Do I even want to find out?

The other night a former soldier in the Army wanted to take me out. He lives in Laurel. Actually, his employer’s putting him up in a hotel in Laurel and then on weekends he returns to the remote part of Pennsylvania where he has a house. Not exactly geographically ideal, but he seemed kind and complimentary, so I agreed to meet him—if he abided by a few rules.

Now, I’m not the rules type. “The Rules” has never been my Bible. I have a serious spontaneous streak, and I live an unstructured, freelance lifestyle. Still, I value, you know, having a head and living, so I decided to take some control. Army guy met me in D.C. where I wanted to eat. He parked his car, I walked over to the tavern. Afterwards, he went his way and I went mine. And, because a drone isn’t penning this post, I did, in fact, live to tell the tale.

As I go on dates, especially ones arranged by Tinder, here are the safety precautions I’ve started taking. The goal isn’t to be a buzzkill but also not to be a sucker at someone else’s mercy or put in a really horrible, awkward position if he skews toward jerk (though, let’s face it, there will be awkwardness):


Stay in your neighborhood, at least for the first date if you have any qualms. At first this felt really selfish to me, to have someone come to me. But then I realized that I live in a central area that has amenities, so this is not a huge ask. Any guy worth his salt, too, should be willing to head your way. Keeping close to home can allow for a quick escape, too, if it comes to that.

Don’t reveal certain personal tidbits just yet. Your last name, your kid’s name are better saved until it’s clear you’re not dealing with a serial killer.

Don’t friend him on Facebook. Particularly if you link up on social media prior to the date, then the date turns out to be a dud or, worse yet, one you never want to remember again, this gets messy. Being connected on whatever app or site first brought you together is enough for starters.

Tell someone know where you are. This is an oldy, but goody that needs to make a resurgence. Let a pal know that you’re at that taqueria down the street or just that you’re out that night with “the scruffy guy we talked about.” It may seem cliche, but he or she can text and create a reason for your departure should that be necessary.

Trust your instincts. Whenever I listen to that little voice in my head I make the right call. When I put her in a corner like Baby in “Dirty Dancing,” no good comes. Go with your gut in love, not to mention life.

Oh, and be the girl in your photo. Represent yourself correctly and at least the guy is getting you. If he doesn’t like it, forget him. Plenty more singles are online.

Just be careful parsing through them.


Keep Your Cool: Jeans and Tanks Re-purposed

Posted by Editorial / Monday, July 14th, 2014

By Helen Ray

You know the heat is too much when you wake up and it’s already 90 degrees. You want to dress trendy but you know more then likely you’re just going to end up feeling sweaty and wanting to hide away in the air conditioning. You’re wondering ‘what’s the point in dressing up’? So, you opt for a classic look– something that’s comfortable, familiar and appropriate for multiple occasions. We’re talking about the good ole jeans and tank look. And yes, we love our jeans and tanks, but just because we’re opting for a simpler outfit doesn’t mean it has to be boring. To help inspire your heated mornings we’ve put together four looks you can keep your cool in, while being comfortable and still feeling fabulous. 

Leather tank and white jeans

Photo courtesy of helen-ray/

Leather tank, white jeans, red flats, necklace and bag

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Strong is the New Skinny: Four Ways to Get Your Muscle On

4 Ways to Get Your Muscle On

Photo courtesy of Edyta Pawlowska/

By Helen Ray

The trending mantra “strong is the new skinny” has made a wave in women’s health in recent years.  Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook are seemingly flooded with images of women flaunting their six packs over six ribs.

This world of strong women has even welded their own celebrities including Virginia native, Christmas Abbott, who is a well-known CrossFit enthusiast, NASCAR’s first female pit crew member and mega-muscle woman. If becoming the next G.I. Jane is an interest to you, here are some exercise routines and nutrition information you can adopt to suit your new muscle needs. 

Is a general strength and conditioning technique that incorporates functional moves such as squatting, jumping, pulling and lifting, performed at high intensity. CrossFit varies workout routines by following a workout of the day (WOD) method so you avoid a monotonous routine.  CrossFit is great for people who get bored at the gym easily, who don’t have a lot of time to work out and who thrive off working in groups.  

Ballston Crossfit, 1110 N. Glebe Road Arlington, 22201

Crossfit Verity, 22710 Executive Drive Sterling, 20166


General Strengthening
There are some local gyms that specialize in strengthening, incorporating similar functional moves to build strength but don’t follow the intensity of CrossFit. These gyms are great for people who are looking for more personalized routines, who like working out  in a smaller group of people and if you’re not quite the competitive type.

Underground Athlete, 3150 Spring Street Fairfax, 22031 and 101 Executive Drive Suite D Sterling, 20166


Was adopted from the idea of generating controlled movements. It incorporates a unity of mind and body where you’re constantly trying to strengthen your “powerhouse”— the core of your body including your abdomen, lower back, inner thighs and buttocks. Pilates is great for people who want a general body strengthening and toning, who are introverts when it comes to working out and who believe in quality of quantity.

Inner Core Wellness, 2108-A Gallows Road Vienna, 22182

Mind the Matt,  3300 B Fairfax Drive, Arlington, 22201 and 2214 Mount Vernon Ave, Alexandria, 22301


Pole Fitness
This type of exercise has become very popular in women’s fitness as a way to hone strength and confidence. Pole fitness incorporates acrobatics and dancing for an ultimate workout that tones your core, arms and legs. It’s great for open-minded women who work out best in female-friendly zones and who want to work out in a unique and feminine way. 

Diva Fit, 4080 Lafayette Center Drive Suite 210 C Chantilly, 20151, 157 B Hillwood Ave Falls Church, 22046 and 317 Sunset Park Drive Herndon, 20170

Pole Pressure, 2304A Huntington Avenue Alexandria, 22303


While deciding the right workout is important for the appearance of your body, you also don’t want to neglect what you put into it. Danielle Omar, local registered dietitian/nutritionist, suggests keeping your calories up through protein intake and watching portion sizes. She also recommends increasing water intake since muscle is mostly made out of water, “you need to keep your water intake up to preserve muscle and to build more muscle. The more dehydrated you are, the less muscle you’ll be able to build.”

Not Traditional, Not a Problem: An Unconventional Outfit Guide for a Bride and Groom


Photo courtesy of Lisa Marie with Sweet Tea Photography.

By Helen Ray

Modern weddings have come far from the traditional structure of the chapel, white dress and even vows.

Weddings come in all shapes and sizes from using exotic locations to applying themes including Harry Potter and Star Trek. Planning a not so traditional wedding means a lot of detail and precision to make sure the vision becomes a reality; and that includes figuring out the perfect outfits for the bride and groom.

We spoke to stylists in the area about where to start the decision process and what different ways a bride and groom can sport nontraditional outfits— while remaining trendy, classy and comfortable on their big day.

Discover a story

Kara Allen, who’s been a stylist and image consultant in the D.C area for 12 years, suggests beginning with an idea based on what story the couple wants to tell. For a romantic theme with a 19th century French influence, look into period pieces such as a corset or big chiffon details. If the couple is looking for a retro vibe then suspenders, high tops and full skirts can be a unique way to incorporate the theme into outfits.

Feet first

Once a theme is figured out, the next step begins with the feet. Rhoda Wheeler, a NoVA and D.C. stylist for Urban Darling, believes footwear is an essential starting place for designing an outfit. There are multiple ways to sport different footwear that can be a functional, stylish or a personal decision of the bride and groom.

For a destination wedding on the beach, she suggests sandals and boat shoes for ultimate comfort and detail. Other shoe ideas include a favorite pair of sneakers, cowboy boots, loafers, a heel with a print or even rain boots. Find this adorable print Kate Spade shoe here

Kate Spade New York 'ivana' sandal

Photo courtesy of Nordstrom.

Play with patterns

Using different patterns and fabrics is an easy way to create a unique look while still wearing traditional pieces or for a bold unconventional look.  Wheeler suggests that men try a seer sucker suit; the look is unique and eye catching but also creates a sophisticated appearance.

Denim is another fun material to incorporate into a wedding, especially if the couple wants a rustic country look or if they just feel their best wearing a worn in pair of blue jeans. Some denim looks include: a chambray shirt with a black linen blazer and pants for a groom, incorporating denim with the bridesmaids and groomsmen with jeans, shirt dresses or jackets or using denim in colors such as black and white for a less dramatic denim look. 

Slim Fit Denim Dress Shirt

Photo Courtesy of Nordstrom

Lengthy decisions

Long are the days where gowns need to hit the floor. High low dresses can be an exquisite detail that can add a fresh avant-garde look for a bride getting wed in a warmer month, on location or who wants a whimsical look. Another fun way to play with lengths is to incorporate a skirt. Full pleated skirts are elegant and beautiful, and when paired with a detailed top and strappy heel have all the glam of a dress.

 Accenting with accessories

Many brides focus on the dress for the big day, but accessories should not be overlooked. Accessories can add the finishing details to a look that maybe a dress can’t provide. Allan suggests getting in tune with your inner Elizabeth Taylor and use looks inspired by the glamorous actress where the main outfit is simple but paired with dramatic accessories.

Statement necklaces, a floral headpiece and bold make up are great ideas for women. And for men the accessories can include retro looks like a bowler hat and suspenders or funky modern pieces such as bolo ties or sunglasses.

'Bianca' Floral Beaded Head Wrap

Photo Courtesy of Nordstrom

Have fun

At the end of the day, the event is about the couple about to be married. They should feel happy, excited and most of all, comfortable in whatever they’re wearing. The outfits should resemble each person as an individual while also showing off the couple’s taste as one. 

The Pursuit of Curls

Posted by Editorial / Monday, July 7th, 2014

Curly Hair

Inga Ivanova/

By Helen Ray

While the summer weather brings about joyous cheers for most, to those with curly hair the humid weather prompts screams in fear of dry, unruly and frizzy curls. So, as we prepare for the middle of summer in the notorious swamp region we call home, we’ve reached out to two experts, Mona Harb, “curlyologist” and owner of  Lofty Salon, as well as Denise Viveiros of W Salon for tips and tricks on how to prepare our curls for the worst. After-all, all curly haired gals ever want is everyday perfect Carrie Bradshaw-esque curls, and is that too much to ask for?

The Cut:

Viveiros explains that a cut won’t eliminate frizz but the key to well-shaped and manageable curls begins with a pair of scissors. Harb agrees telling us that, “the cut is super important, you need enough length to pull down the curls but want it to frame the face and not be too short.” So, don’t skimp on who you go to for your cut–even if that means going to one stylist for color and another for your curls. 

Before and after mellow curls

Style by Mona Harb, photo courtesy of Lofty Salon

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Forget the crowds and bad seats, bring the theater to you

What You Need to set up Backyard Theatre

Photos courtesy of Nejron Photo/ and

By Jessica Godart

Summertime is the best time to relax outside and enjoy the beautiful weather with friends and family; so why not spend an evening watching your favorite movies in the comfort of your own backyard? These tips and products can help you create a cinema just outside your door.

Blu-Ray Player:
Of course you’ll want the best quality to put up on your own big screen and with the Samsung Blu-Ray Player you can hook it up to your projector and pop in your favorite movies to enjoy on the lawn.

Photo courtesy of

Samsung BD-F5700 2 Channel Blu-Ray Player; $94.69 


Projector Screen:
You’ll probably want something big enough to get the best quality out of your movie, but small enough to fit in your backyard. This 100-inch screen fits that perfectly and gives you the option to move it wherever you would like with it’s foldable stand.

Photo courtesy

100-inch D Tripod Portable Projector Projection 16:9 Screen 87×49 Foldable Stand 1.3; $79.95 


It’s a good idea to make sure your projector delivers the right resolution for the size of screen you plan on using. Research your sizes before purchasing.

Photo courtesy of

Epson V-S230 SVGA 3LCD Projector; $339.99 


Sound System:
Yes, the projector offers speakers but just in case they aren’t loud enough, be sure to have a back up sound system.

Photo courtesy of

Panasoni SC-HTB370 2.1 Home Theater System – 240 W RMS; $276.95


Lawn Chair:
If you run out of blankets and pillows, some lawn chairs work great for movie seats. With a cupholder and comfy back, you won’t need to get up for the whole movie.

Photo courtesy of

Room Essential Backback Folding Chair; $30.00

For help installing check out the local stores that sell the products you’re looking for. For example, Best Buy offers full installation of your products for a starting cost of $149.99.

Red, White and Boom: Fourth of July Weekend Sales and News

Posted by Editorial / Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

By Helen Ray

In addition to cookouts, celebrating independence and a day off, the Fourth is  a great weekend to shop. So, if you find yourself wandering away from fireworks and into the mall keep your eyes peeled for great sales.

529 Kids Consign

Photo courtesy of 529 Kids Consign

Treat the kids to something special with a new outfit from 529 Kids Consign.  Stop by either one of their two locations in Old Town and Hollin Hall to score 25% off all full-priced summer items.   The store accepts and sells high-end brands with sizes ranging from babies to tweens; they also carry items for expectant mothers. The sale will be happening from July 3-7.

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Six Fashionable Reads for A Weekend Getaway

Posted by Editorial / Monday, June 30th, 2014

Fashion Books
Created on Polyvore by helen-ray

By Helen Ray 

There’s something about summer that seems to reignite my love affair with books. Maybe it’s the longer days, the promise of holidays or simply the desire to sit outside more; but every summer I find myself reuniting with my dusty library card and searching for the latest page turner to feast my eyes on. Since there’s a long weekend approaching, I’ve compiled a list of books that every fashion lover should immediately dive into. The list is a buffet of fashion novels that suits all tastes—including a style guide, biographies, history of fashion and even a fun murder mystery. Plus they won’t take up too much room in your Fourth of July weekend bag.

1.“#GirlBoss” by Sophia Amoruso

The highly anticipated novel, written by the founder of Nasty Gal, details her rise to success in creating the mega online store and gives straightforward career advice from the “girl boss” herself.

2. “Influenced” by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.

The superstar twins compiled a series of interviews with their biggest fashion influences. The interviews are genuine and thoughtful and are meant to provide insight into a few of the highly coveted roles in the world of fashion.

 3. “Tim Gunn’s Fashion Bible: The Fascinating History of Everything in Your Closet” by Tim Gunn and Ada Calhoun.

The title says it all. This is an informative and fun book that explains the history of fashion. Tim Gunn explains how western fashion has evolved with need to know tidbits about the origin of the clothes we love to wear. 

4. “Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life” by Justine Picardie

No fashion list is complete without Chanel. This biography is a tell-all tale of Gabrielle Chanel—from her meager upbringing to the monumental person she became.

5. “Spying in High Heels” by Gemma Halliday

This book is a total guilty pleasure. It doesn’t have anything to do with the industry, but it does involve one fashion obsessed protagonist and a thrilling murder mystery.   

6. “The Little Black Book of Style” by Nina Garcia

Fashion director of Elle magazine and notorious judge on Project Runway, Nina Garcia, dishes out her best tips, tricks and how to’s for a complete style guide. It covers everything from casual to formal wear, how to mix patterns and how to develop your own sense of style. 

Four Outfits for the Fourth

Posted by Angela Bobo / Friday, June 27th, 2014

Independence Day is right around the corner and with it comes a day full of patriotic themed activities. While many retailers are currently toting flag emblazoned items ranging from earrings to crop tops to sneakers, we have put together a series of looks inspired by it without taking such a literal interpretation. Whether you are sipping Americanos on a rooftop bar or relaxing in the backyard with friends and family, we have a look just for you.

By Angela Bobo


  • Opt for a sleek graphic skirt with a pop of red. The cropped button-up shirt remains classic, yet modern. Finish with bold blue accessories for a look that is vibrant and anything but traditional. Fourth of July Outfit #1 created on by angienaomi

  • Choose a swimsuit that can also double as a top with a pair of easy, breathable shorts. Top it off with nautical accessories and a cherry lip stain that won’t wash away in the water. Fourth of July Outfit #2 created on by angienaomi

  • Bypass mosquito bites by covering your legs with a comfy pair of distressed boyfriend jeans. A floaty camisole and straw fedora will keep you cool in the sun. Fourth of July Outfit #3 created on by angienaomi

  • If you are planning a romantic date night full of fireworks, you want to opt for a look that is functional yet fashionable. The denim dress won’t wrinkle while sitting on a blanket, and the sturdy wedge and crossbody bag make commuting easier (if you are venturing onto the National Mall). Fourth of July Outfit #4 created on by angienaomi



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