"The Intersection of Business, Blogging, and Branding"
Great night out last night as I launched a new series to connect bloggers and business owners in Northern Virginia. My goal with this quarterly series is to go beyond networking in a unique opportunity to build relationships between the Beltway's business owners, marketing directors, and social media influencers.
Speakers at last night's event
Keynote Address: "Social Media Success in Business"
Dr. Shannon Ginnan, Medical Director and Owner of Medalase Aesthetic Centers
Closing Remarks: Souny West, Owner of W Salon VA
and Board Member of the Young Executive Society (YES) Tower Club of VA
Over the weekend, I was fortunate enough to be invited to The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner to participate in their Stay, Play and Write campaign. My mom and her girlfriends were already planning a trip to Tysons Corner Galleria to do some holiday shopping - so I figured it'd be the perfect time to coordinate with them and have a girls getaway. My mom and her friends arrived from Richmond early to get their shop on, so I wasn't surprised when she called to tell me that they had already checked into the room. I was surprised, however, when she said that we had THE RITZ-CARLTON SUITE... like... all 1800+ square feet!
All I could think is that I might be sleeping in the same bed that Harry Styles
The suite greeted us with double doors, a foyer, three bathrooms, king bed, formal dining room with seating for 8, kitchen, and a spacious living room with fireplace. Also -- the suite offers club access to the concierge lounge with 5 food and beverage presentations each day.
I was treated to a seat at the last class in the Fall Epicurean Series on Saturday with the Executive Pastry Chef, Fred. I posted this before, but each Saturday in October, The Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner offered opportunities to cook with their team. I actually ran into a nice lady at the cooking lesson who said she was there because she read it on my blog... pretty cool! If they start this series up again in the future, I'll be sure to post the schedule. For now, you can check their calendar of events
for more happenings.
Anyways, the class was 3-4:30... and I probably would have a lot more to say, but they paired three of the four desserts with cocktails in those 90 minutes and I was just happy I didn't fall off of my bar stool. Chef Fred was pretty amazing and he made everything look SO easy. I am inspired enough to try to make creme brulee at home - his tip was to go straight to home depot and get a blow torch. I think I can handle that! Check out the sweet potato bread pudding, milk chocolate and caramel rounds, sweet potato pie, and pumpkin spice creme brulee:
Aside from enjoying the complimentary food and beverages in the club lounge, we also dined in ENTYSE Wine Bar & Bistro. Since there were 5 of us, we went ahead and made a reservation for 8pm. Good thing we did because it got packed. There was an awesome Latin trio performing - and I've been told that it's one of the only upscale places in the area with live music on the weekends.
For dinner, everyone in our party ordered surf and turf or the filet... you can't go wrong with either option. For breakfast at ENTYSE Bistro on Sunday morning, I had their famous eggs benedict with jumbo lump crab cakes. It was supposed to be a "shopping weekend" in Tysons... but I think we did way more dining then shopping.
The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner is the perfect spot for a weekend getaway - so close to home, but so far removed from the busy hustle and bustle of Northern Virginia.
I was provided with a complimentary stay at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
my 2nd annual BLOGIVERSARY is coming up next week! check out the goodies that have been rolling in for the swag bags. can't wait! this year, we'll be at The Winery at Bull Run on Wed, Nov 6 from 5-8pm
. ticket sales from the event will benefit the Meant to Live Foundation. check out the facebook event
Over the weekend, I was invited up to NYC for an all-expenses paid trip to catch a taping of the new Bethenny
talk show and launch party. I was treated to a quick flight and a beautiful room at the W Hotel in Times Square. Here are some pics from the weekend -- check out Bethenny's new talk show airing this week!
Final Cut: Petite Filet
Between my dad being quite the poker player and my brother being the luckiest man on Earth, there was no better destination to celebrate their birthdays (50 and 25, respectively) than Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races
. To make the night special, we made a reservation at Final Cut
. The high end, contemporary steakhouse was hidden like a gem inside the flashy casino.
Before we even made it to the casino, we all gave my mom hell about wasting her time on the nickel slots. They are her absolute favorite. Of course, she had to play "just $20" before dinner. This time, my mom sat right down and won FOURTEEN THOUSAND nickels. That's quite the return on a $2 bet!
We headed over to Final Cut and sat in the lounge until our table was ready. After being greeted and seated, we were directed to the iPad on the table to preview the drink menu and place our orders. The wine list
was extensive -- over 9 pages long and 300 selections. I was a little overwhelmed... so I ordered Grey Goose Martinis and domestic beers from the iPad and awaited their arrival. Insider Tip: All Martinis are $5 Wednesday-Sunday 5pm-7pm at the bar.
For appetizers, we selected the Shrimp Cocktail and the Seasonal Oysters. The oysters at this time of year are from the Choptank River (what a coincidence as I've vacationed on the Choptank twice already this summer!). They were very fresh and paired perfectly with the bold horseradish in the cocktail sauce.
For our meats, we went with the traditional Filets and Prime Rib. At Final Cut
, all of the steaks are hand cut to order, seasoned with kosher salt and tri color peppercorns, then broiled at 1600 degrees to create a thin charred crust that seals in the natural beef juices.
Our waiter suggested a few sides to pair with our main courses: Truffle Mac and Cheese, Horseradish Mashed Potatoes, Grilled Asparagus, and Creamed Spinach. All items were a la carte.Insider Tip: Every Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, Final Cut is offers a special three course Chef's menu that includes an appetizer, entree and dessert for just $39.99 per person.As we enjoyed our meals, we had a chance to meet the chef who explained to us his philosophy behind the restaurant. The best part -- he took a piece of the land at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races and reserved the space for an on-site garden. The staff at Final Cut takes turns tending to the garden and many of the ingredients in the menu items come directly from farm to fork compliments of the green thumbs of the staff!
We hardly had room to finish our meals when we realized we still had to check out the desserts. We slowed down with a cup of French press coffee before completely enjoying Tahitian Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee with Fresh Berries and Sweet Cream & Chocolate Lava Cake with White Chocolate Grand Marnier Mousse. We were so full (and some of us were pretty broke after losing a large amount of coin at the roulette tables) that walking back to our cars was almost like a chore. Insider Tip: Complimentary Valet is offered for guests at Final Cut.
While we weren't so lucky at the table games, we definitely hit the jackpot with the family birthday celebration at Final Cut. Our pockets may have been empty, but our tummies were very full!
*special thanks to Final Cut for inviting me out to dine at their restaurant and providing dinner for my family.
all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Who doesn't love a party? And to top it off with some of my favorite bloggers and Bethenny, I couldnt turn down the invitation! To stir up some chatter about her new show
, Bethenny Frankel
brought her #CallingAllMyGirls tour to the Altitude Lounge at the W Hotel on Tuesday for an invite-only launch party. Bethenny is just as beautiful and hilarious in real life as she is on TV. Check out the event photos! Bethenny's new show launches on September 9th
Last night, I hosted a blogger happy hour at Ozzie's at Fairfax Corner. It was great to see old friends and connect with new bloggers and business owners in the area! It was such a fun event, I'm thinking of hosting it monthly... keep your eyes out for details of the next event!
1. Enjoy a Brewery Beer Tasting: Capitol City Brewing Company
, Mad Fox Brewing Company
, Sweetwater Tavern
, Dogfish Head Alehouse
, Lost Rhino Brewery
, Gordon Biersch
2. A macho guy's dream date: Blue Ridge Arsenal
followed by a steakhouse with Guinness on tap.
3. Grab charcuterie/cheeses to go from Red Apron Butcher
and relax in Strawberry Park
while watching the Epic Mosaic concert of the week
– you could even cap it off with a unique movie experience in Angelika
4. Split the mussels and an entree at Cock & Bowl
& try a new Belgian beer. Then have a Belgian waffle for dessert.
5. Let him be a pilot for a day and arrange a flight lesson at Freeway Aviation
. Pack a picnic to share afterwards. (We did this for Father’s Day – it was awesome!)
6. Monuments by Moonlight Tour
7. From Old Town Alexandria, take a boat ride across the river to catch a Nationals Game.
8. Walk through Clifton and read the historical markers along Main St. Have dinner at the Clifton General Store
followed by drinks at Trummer’s on Main
9. Dinner at J&G Steakhouse
at the W Hotel in DC followed by dancing and drinks at the rooftop POV Lounge and Terrace
10. Join the weekly New Balance run together
on Thursday night or hike Great Falls National Park
11. Taste and tour the first legal distillery in Loudoun County since before Prohibition: Catocin Creek Distillers
12. Get your swing on at Top Golf
13. Comedy club and then Czech pilsner and sandwiches at Lost Dog in McLean
14. Dinner at Iron Bridge Wine Company
in Old Town Warrenton. Afterwards, walk over to Molly's Irish Pub
for beer and listen to the band play. And then walk down to Claire's at the Depot
for coffee and dessert.
15. Visit Old Town Alexandria for a walk along the river followed by cocktails at Chart House
16. Arlington Drafthouse
for dinner, drinks, and a movie.
17. Adult Go Karting
– no kids allowed!
18. Take a short trip over to Shepherdstown, WV. Stay the night and have dinner at the Bavarian Inn
where the meals are hearty and the wine and beer list robust!
19. Dinner at District Chophouse and Brewery
...then a midnight tour at the Crime and Punishment Museum
in DC. The best way to experience a museum with your date: handcuffs!
20. Metro down to the Verizon Center to catch a sports game. Afterwards, take a quiet walk to either Fogo de Chao
21. Take a trip over to The Organic Butcher
in McLean and then prepare a meal at home together.
22. Pack a picnic and walking shoes, and head to the base of Reagan National Airport to Gravelly Point Park
. Lay on a blanket by the Potomac River and watch the planes take off/land right above you.
23. Atlas Arcade in DC
: Old school arcade games, 80s music and movies playing, and a bar.
24. One word: Chima
25. Nosh on the Fried Chicken while enjoying the art and poetry at Busboys and Poets
26. Hop on his motorcycle and take a ride through the countryside to Middleburg, VA. Enjoy drinks outside at the Red Horse Tavern
or a fancy meal at Red Fox Inn
27. Cozy up at the Illy Espresso Bar
or at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner. Or, stop by on Thursdays for the fresh sushi bar at Entyse Wine Bar and Lounge
28. Take a CulinAerie
cooking class together.
29. If he’s the outdoor type, surprise him with a daytrip to Bass Pro Shop
in Ashland, VA. Have lunch at Islamorada Fishing Company
. For dessert, enjoy a treat from the fudge shop.
30. Go fishing at Riverbend Park
. You can rent a fishing pole and a row boat right at the park. All you have to do is show up!This list was compiled with the help of some of my lovely readers. If you have a date night idea for him that's not on this list, please share in the comments below!
We woke up early Saturday morning and headed out to Mosaic District
to check out the boutiques, noshables, and specialty stores that I've been seeing all over my news feed. I had a Visa gift card to spend (compliments of Mosaic) - and I'm giving away a $100 gift card so that you can #DiscoverMosaic
I was ready to get my shop on, but upon pulling into the parking garage, I caught a glimpse of a Jumbotron on the side of the Angelika Film Center
playing Scooby Doo cartoons. B, my four year old, immediately insisted that we go check it out - and I agreed. There were families planted in Strawberry Park laid out with blankets, picnic breakfasts and coffee while the kids ran through the fountain/sprayground area. Each Saturday morning at 9:00am, Mosaic District hosts this fabulous kid and family-friend event: Cartoons and Coffee
. I happily put my shopping trip on the back burner for B & Scooby.
My first stop after Cartoons and Coffee was to Alex and Ani
. I had heard great things about this store from my friend, Jenn, who had been desperately awaiting their opening at Mosaic District earlier this year. Once inside, I loved the vibe and fell in love with their stackable bracelets! Think charm bracelets, but instead of adding beads to a single bracelet, you can stack bracelets that have cute (or meaningful) charms, colors, birthstones, symbols, etc. To top it off, Alex and Ani is an eco-friendly company with their products made in the USA. Alex and Ani
Next stop was Ah Love Oil and Vinegar
. The Italian in me could hardly wait until 11am for their doors to open.
Two perfectly aligned rows of polished metal dispensers filled with specialty oilve oils and vinegars lined the entire length of the store. After sampling the selection, two of my favorites were the oils infused with Bacon and then a hot hot hot habanero. In addition to their namesake, they also carry pastas, cook books, and even a line of olive oil-based skin care products that smoothly glazed my hands. Ah Love Oil and Vinegar
B had been such a sweet helper at the first two stops (he even sampled the Habanero olive oil!) that when we walked past Dawn Price Baby
, there was no way I could say "no". Everything inside the store looked like it could be made into a board on Pinterest
. If I had a daughter, this store would bankrupt me with theirTea Collection
summer dresses. They carry everything you need for kids - from strollers to name blocks. This will be my new go-to spot for baby shower gifts. We may have grown out of the baby stages - but toys are always a hit! B picked up a fancy airplane to carry around for the next 2 hours. Dawn Price Baby
You may know that I have a fancy for South Moon Under
. I've worked with them on a few events
in the past and absolutely love their summer beach style. At the last event
, I was so busy playing host that I only had a few minutes at the end to shop. With B and his new airplane to keep him busy, I had a chance to check out their shoes (boots for the fall are now coming out) and chat with the store manager, Marie, about the new fall arrivals and trends. Marie also shared that she's just recently started ablog about bikini fashion
- perfectly fitting for her! South Moon Under
Our last stop was lunch. With lots of options, I chose our destination after spotting one familiar word on some marketing collateral beyond the glass window: HOAGIE. I'm from Central Pennsylvania where hoagies run wild - and it's rare to see an eatery "down here" with a hoagie on the menu. Our lunch at Taylor Gourmet
was fresh, minimally processed, and worth every calorie.
Afterwards, we zipped around the corner for some artisanal Italian gelato at Dolcezza
. We both picked out Lemon Ricotta Cardamom and people-watched while customers in the store actually spoke Italian. Buono!
| Twitter Taylor Gourmet
If you want a chance to #DiscoverMosaic - Enter below to win a $100 Visa Gift Card!
About Mosaic District: Mosaic is elevating the community experience to a new standard by creating a vibrant,sophisticated environment that connects families and friends together. The unique experience is created through a hand-selected mix of retailers & restaurants, intelligent urban-design and our passion for enabling authentic community engagement.
Mosaic brings all of these together to create Washington DC’s most innovative retail & entertainment community.
**Giveaway sponsored by Mosaic Distrcit. I was compensated with a Visa Gift Card for this promotion. All thoughts and opinions are my own.