<![CDATA[Real Housewives of Northern Virginia - BLOG]]>Tue, 24 Nov 2015 11:42:22 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[VIP Concierge Services Beginning Black Friday at Fair Oaks Mall]]>Tue, 24 Nov 2015 19:27:14 GMThttp://www.novahousewives.com/blog/vip-concierge-services-beginning-black-friday-at-fair-oaks-mallPicture
Want to make your Black Friday Shopping a little easier? Fair Oaks Mall will provide a unique VIP concierge experience to shoppers beginning Thursday, Nov. 26 through Saturday, Nov. 28! Complimentary customer amenities will include golf cart shuttle services to/from vehicles, customer service brand ambassadors posted near every main entrance to answer questions and hand out exclusive coupons, free stroller and wheel chair rentals, and free bottled water available at the mall’s customer service desk (While supplies last).
Mall hours this weekend are: Thursday, Nov. 26, 6 p.m. -12 a.m.; Friday, Nov. 27, 6 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 28, 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Golf cart shuttles will run during peak mall hours. For more information, visit: www.shopfairoaks.com.

<![CDATA[HGTV's Santa HQ at Tysons Corner Mall]]>Mon, 16 Nov 2015 16:04:41 GMThttp://www.novahousewives.com/blog/hgtvs-santa-hq-at-tysons-corner-mallAfter a busy day of ice skating and lunch at Tysons Corner, Brennan wouldn't let us just walk past the beautifully decorated Santa HQ without stopping to see Santa himself! We had stopped by Santa last year, but we waited later in the season when there was a really long wait. The HGTV Santa HQ at Tysons Corner actually lets you book a reservation online so that you can avoid the long lines once you get into the mall. 

Santa HQ included a digital "naughty or nice" meter, a station to take an "Elfie Selfie". While we were in Santa's Workshop, we used our Elfie Selfies to star in our own holiday dancing elves video that was emailed to us! It was a really neat experience - and included an app that you can download for the kids to use while walking through the North Pole Observatory. The app lets you experience Elf-Ray Vision in 3D. If you can't download the app, there were iPads on-site for the kids to use.
My favorite part of Santa HQ: The family picture opportunity. When I look back at our family memories, I find that I don't have many photos of the three of us together -- unless it's a selfie that I've begged my two loves to take with me. Santa HQ has a family photo area when you can snap a picture before you get to see the big man in red.

Thanks to Santa's elves for walking us through HGTV's Santa HQ experience! For more information, you can check out My Santa Experience.
<![CDATA[Tysons Corner Ice Rink]]>Mon, 16 Nov 2015 14:54:45 GMThttp://www.novahousewives.com/blog/tysons-corner-ice-rinkPicture
On Saturday, I hosted a VIP event for bloggers and their families to check out the opening weekend of the Tysons Corner Ice Rink that's right on the plaza of Tysons Corner Mall. It is always fun to see my blogger friends - but even more fun when the kids get together! During the breaks, we warmed up on the couches by the outdoor fire pits and the brand new Earls Kitchen + Bar provided hot chocolate and treats for us to enjoy!
I haven't ice skated in probably 15 years... but I did take lessons when I was little. I was nervous to get out there, but it was just like riding a bike! After the event was over, we went to have a sit-down lunch and then saw Santa in the mall... and on the way to the parking lot, B asked us to take him ice skating AGAIN! We went back for a second round in the afternoon! Such a great family event -- I'm sure we'll be back for round 3!

<![CDATA[American Tandoor]]>Sun, 15 Nov 2015 15:35:13 GMThttp://www.novahousewives.com/blog/american-tandoorYesterday, we had lunch at the brand new American Tandoor restaurant at Tysons Corner. American Tandoor offers a fusion of authentic Indian dishes with a contemporary American twist. We tried a few things off the menu including the butter chicken, Tandoor scallops, and Mother's 24 Hour Dal, and spicy sheesh kabobs.

Of course, we had to try the fresh, super crispy naan - which was hands-down my favorite part of the meal. Dipping the naan in the butter chicken is heaven! Of course, no Indian meal is complete without a mango lassis. And if you're feeling adventurous, check out the "Mango Swizzle" -- authentic mango lassis with a splash of rum! There were also house made sodas on the menu. B loved the coconut soda.

If you go, check out the samosas filled with sweet potato and marshmallow or the saag paneer (my favorite!), a dish made creamy spinach and paneer cheese. 

A little warning: there's no kids menu. It was fine for us because B has never really been a chicken fingers kind of kid. He loved the rice, chickpeas, spicy kabobs, and lentils!
American Tandoor offers a brunch buffet on weekends from 10-3. Also, you can order an Indian inspired breakfasts like chocolate dosa waffles or eggs benedict on grilled naan with tandoor bacon!  You can check out the menu or make a reservation online: www.americantandoor.com.

ps, check out their Street Kitchen next door for grab and go authentic Indian street fare!
<![CDATA[Mo Willems' Elephant & Piggie's We Are in a Play returns to The Kennedy Center]]>Fri, 13 Nov 2015 15:28:45 GMThttp://www.novahousewives.com/blog/mo-willems-elephant-piggies-we-are-in-a-play-returns-to-the-kennedy-centerPicture
Brennan's FAVORITE author right now is Mo Willems -- so when I found out that one of Mo's plays is returning to The Kennedy Center over the holidays, I knew I had to share! His classmates enjoy the books so much that his first grade teacher requested that instead of getting her gifts for the holidays, parents send in Mo Willems books for the kids and the classroom!

The Kennedy Center presents the return of Elephant & Piggie’s We Are in a Play! in the Family Theater from November 25, 2015 to January 3, 2016.  Commissioned by the Kennedy Center, the family-friendly musical made its world premiere in the Family Theater on November 23, 2013. The production is written by six-time Emmy Award-winner and popular children’s book author Mo Willems and directed by Jerry Whiddon, with music by Deborah Wicks La Puma. 

The performance on Saturday, December 12 at 11 a.m. is sensory-friendly. Elephant & Piggie’s We Are in a Play! is recommended for ages four and up.

TICKET INFORMATION: Performances of Elephant & Piggie’s We Are in a Play! run in the Kennedy Center Family Theater from November 25, 2015 to January 3, 2016. All seats are $20.  Please visit the Kennedy Center website at www.kennedy-center.org or by calling Instant Charge at (202) 467-4600.

<![CDATA[StoneSprings Hospital VIP Grand Opening Reception + free Community Fall Festival]]>Thu, 12 Nov 2015 22:08:12 GMThttp://www.novahousewives.com/blog/stone-springs-hospital-vip-grand-opening-reception-free-community-fall-festivalandrea khoury
On Tuesday night, my friend Jenn and I went to the VIP Grand Opening reception for the new Stone Springs Hospital Center in Loudoun. If you pulled up and saw the lights, ice sculptures and live music, you never would have known you were at a hospital. StoneSprings Hospital Center is Loudoun County’s first new hospital to be built in 100 years and will bring much needed healthcare services to the area.

Every aspect of StoneSprings Hospital Center was thoughtfully planned to enhance the patient experience. StoneSprings Hospital offers the convenience of all private rooms, personalized attention, complimentary valet parking and an easily accessible suburban location with the top-quality professional expertise. StoneSprings is a vital member of the HCA Healthcare System, StoneSprings Hospital shares the strength of more than 163 hospitals across the United States and England, including Reston Hospital Center.

Join my family on Saturday morning at StoneSprings Hospital Center for the FREE Community Open House Fall Festival! There will be fun fall activities, including: Hot Coffee & Cider Bar, Behind-the-Scenes Hospital Tours, WINC FM Live Remote Broadcast, Teddy Bear Clinic, Ambulance & Fire Truck Tours and lots more! Check the Facebook Event page for more details.

Don't miss this free event that's fun for the whole family! For more information, visit: www.stonespringshospital.com.

<![CDATA[Fair Oaks Mall Sensory-Friendly Santa event]]>Wed, 11 Nov 2015 19:11:31 GMThttp://www.novahousewives.com/blog/fair-oaks-mall-sensory-friendly-santa-eventYou may know that I host events several times per month for different brands and organizations, but my favorite event of the year is about to take place on December 5th. I'm excited to announce that for the 4th year in a row, we've partnered with Fair Oaks Mall to host the Fair Oaks Mall Ice Palace Sensory Friendly Santa event!
How'd it start? A few years ago, I had a reader reach out to me to ask if I knew of any local malls that offered opportunities for children with Autism to experience Santa in a toned-down environment... and I was really sad to find out that at the time, not many of these events were offered. I immediately reached out to Fair Oaks Mall and asked if I could possibly host an event for my local readers and social media followers -- and without hesitation, they said YES!

To make it easier on the families, we are able to host the event in the early morning - before the mall music, noise, and long lines begin. Fair Oaks Mall generously covers the cost of the photos and supports Parents of Autistic Children of Northern Virginia. You can take a look at some of the photos from the very first Fair Oaks Mall Sensory-Friendly Santa event we did back in 2012.

This year's event is on Saturday, December 5th from 8am-10am. Families of children with special needs can register online and reserve a time slot by visiting the event page: http://bit.ly/sensoryfriendlysanta. This event is first come, first serve. Space is very limited.

Fair Oaks Mall has many special events going on throughout the holiday season including Santa Paws (opportunities for pet photos with Santa!) and VIP Concierge Services beginning on Black Friday. To see the full list of events, visit: http://www.shopfairoaksmall.com/events
<![CDATA[zpizza Jr. Chef Pizza Party]]>Wed, 11 Nov 2015 15:20:05 GMThttp://www.novahousewives.com/blog/zpizza-jr-chef-pizza-partyzpizza
Growing up, I remember how much fun we used to have on Friday nights when my mom and dad would let us have a "pizza party" with friends over at our house. We'd watch TGIF (throwback!) or sometimes we'd play Nintendo and be allowed to stay up until 11pm. It was always a big deal and a whole lot of fun memories were made! When zpizza asked me to throw a pizza party for B and his friends, I couldn't pass up the offer! But this wasn't any ordinary pizza party - this was a hands on, fingers dirty, make your own creation style of party that was perfect to bring our cul-de-sac together!

zpizza is an artisan-inspired pizza chain with a location here in Alexandria (and others across Northern Virginia). They delivered some of the Jr. Chef pizza kits to the house and we had everyone over on Monday night after school. To celebrate this special event (ps, I think this would be a PERFECT at-home birthday party idea!), we received the Jr. Chef party package that included aprons, chef Jr. hats, certificates and fun pizza-themed activities. By the end of the party, the kids to became “Jr. Chef certified”!

The Jr. Chef pizzas come with non-GMO wheat flour dough made fresh daily with sides of organic tomato sauce, award-winning low fat mozzarella cheese (or vegan cheese) and a choice of two toppings like all natural pepperoni, avocado, pineapple or roasted red peppers. When you're at zpizza, all pizzas are brick-oven baked... at my house, we just threw them in the oven and they turned out delish! If you have any food allergies or avoidances, kids can even get Gluten free or Vegan Jr. Chef pizzas.

We had an awesome party - even the adults had fun! Check out our pics below! Special thanks to zpizza for allowing us to host the event!

*sponsored content provided by zpizza.
<![CDATA[Fair Oaks Mall to Celebrate the Holidays with Beloved ‘Peanuts Gang’]]>Tue, 10 Nov 2015 14:33:57 GMThttp://www.novahousewives.com/blog/fair-oaks-mall-to-celebrate-the-holidays-with-beloved-peanuts-gangPicture
Are you looking for the best place in Northern Virginia to take your children to see Santa this holiday season? Every year, I take B to check out Santa's Ice Palace at Fair Oaks Mall. This year, join Fair Oaks Mall to celebrate the launch of The Peanuts Movie, for a special family-friendly holiday experience is being offered exclusively at Fair Oaks Mall from now through December 24.  

Developed in partnership with 20th Century Fox, the iconic Peanuts characters will take center stage within unique, interactive Ice Palaces at each participating mall. The indoor holiday displays will feature a 30-foot dome complete with falling snow, a light show and other activities for the entire family.  “We are extremely excited to welcome the Peanuts gang to our Ice Palace holiday set this year,” said Teresa Truong-Chea, Fair Oaks marketing and sponsorship director. “Every year, we look forward to celebrating the magic of the season with all who visit.”
In addition, kids can watch special scenes from the new movie, create and compare their icy handprint alongside Snoopy and Woodstock, have their photo taken with a life-size graphic of Snoopy and his dog house and much more.
Fair Oaks will also offer the opportunity for families to visit with Santa Claus as part of the Ice Palace experience. Those who visit Santa will receive a complimentary gift. The Peanuts Ice Palace will be located in Grand Court West.
For more information, including holiday and Ice Palace hours visit www.shopfairoaksmall.com.

<![CDATA[Celebrating my 30th Birthday!]]>Mon, 09 Nov 2015 17:42:25 GMThttp://www.novahousewives.com/blog/celebrating-my-30th-birthdayIt's was a bittersweet moment for me as I came into the last days of my 20s. Over the weekend, I turned the big 3-0. While I was originally dreading this moment, I look back on how many amazing events, opportunities, and people I've connected with to make a positive impact through Northern Virginia Housewives.

On Friday night, we took our son down to my parents house for the weekend -- so I knew that my boyfriend had to have something planned for my big day! I woke up Saturday morning to breakfast in bed and was told that I needed to be ready by 10 if we were going to make all of our stops during the day.  When I came downstairs, I found my kitchen and dining room completely decorated with balloons and streamers - plus window coverings for the "birthday princess"!
After breakfast, we found ourselves at Breaux Vineyards overlooking the gorgeous mountains and changing leaves. We did a tasting and shared a bottle of wine under the heat lamps on the patio before we headed onto our next stop for lunch. 
Have you ever heard of The Goodstone Inn? I never had (can you imagine how hard it is to surprise me with a new place to go?) - and what an amazing experience it was. Nestled in the heart of Middleburg's wine country is this amazing property with little boutique-looking private cabins and a gorgeous inn with a private dining room. We had the last reservation of the lunch hour which allowed us to have the entire dining room to ourselves while we did the Chef's four-course tasting menu. I actually didn't take any pictures of lunch because I really wanted to enjoy the experience. Sorry there are no photos to share! After lunch and more wine -- it was definitely time to go home and nap!

I had no idea that there was more to come when I was told that a Reston Limousine party bus would be picking us up with a group of friends to take us over to Bobby McKey's dueling piano bar in National Harbor to celebrate! Friends started arriving (with champagne bottles in hand!) to share my 30th with me. If you've never been to Bobby McKey's, you're totally missing out. And as Bobby himself says, it's definitely a "two day experience" - complete with glow sticks, dancing on stage, and syringes full of jello shots... and it left me remembering that I'm not 21 anymore ALL DAY LONG on Sunday.
I felt like the most special girl in the world thanks to my boyfriend and friends that shared my birthday with me!  And thanks to you all, I'm lucky to be a part of this extraordinary community we've built together and I look forward to continuing to grow together. Cheers to the next 10 years!