This time last Saturday, I was crawling out of the most plush sheets and pillows at the Poplar Springs Inn and headed down to the cozy lounge for some early morning coffee and fresh breakfast pastries.
After a long Friday at work, we drove just 30 miles South down Route 28 to find a gorgeous 200 acre property with an early 1900s mountain stone mansion turned into an upscale lounge and restaurant with an attached 22 room inn and spa. We arrived around 8pm and had a 5 star meal with Chef Kenneth Hughes in The Manor House Restaurant before heading to bed for our early morning spa appointments.
Even though the Inn was booked full on Friday night, I was one of the early risers on Saturday morning. I actually was able to spend about an hour alone reading the paper (when's the last time you did that?) and enjoying a hot cup of coffee while looking out over the picturesque fall foliage.
I found a plush spa robe in my closet and headed down to the Poplar Springs Inn Spa for 4 hours of spa appointments. When I checked in, the spa staff asked me to pick from a selection of aromatherapy scents that would be used as a component throughout my services. I was whisked back for the most relaxing 90 minute make-you-fall-asleep massage. After the massage, I was directed to my aesthetician and spent the next hour with her while completely hydrating my skin.
After the services, I was offered to spend a few minutes relaxing in the hot tub or sauna before meeting Melissa, the spa director, for my manicure and pedicure - served with a glass of chilled white wine!
By this time, it was almost 1pm and Melissa offered us the Spa Menu to have lunch delivered in the spa lounge overlooking the pool once our treatments were over. I ordered the Poached Lobster Salad which is probably the best thing I've ever eaten. EVER. It was Melissa's recommendation to order it - and when someone works on-site and makes a recommendation, it's best to take it!
After our Poplar Springs Inn Spa treatments, Melissa surprised us with tickets to the Virginia Gold Cup with the Poplar Springs Inn team and owners. They had a really fancy set up with their chef on-site creating gorgeous displays of jumbo shrimp, carved meats, lamb chops -- and of course, complete with top shelf adult beverages.
I never even knew about this little hidden gem that is SO close to home. Even if you only make it out for a date night at The Manor House Restaurant - or even brunch on Sunday morning, it is definitely worth a gorgeous drive through the countryside to find it!
You can stay connected with The Poplar Springs Inn on Facebook or spend a day at their Wellness Retreat on November 15th. Thank you to Melissa and The Poplar Springs Inn team for inviting us out to spend a wonderful weekend getaway with them!
Luise Estelle co-founded Astoria Laser Clinic and Med Spa in Tysons Corner after having been a veteran in the Spa and Beauty Industry for more than 20 years. Luise had previously been in sales and marketing for Neiman Marcus and Dior. Her past experiences instilled in her the brand standards of successful corporate beauty companies. “This has taught me the importance of providing the BEST service and making the impossible possible for every person that walks through my door.”
Describe yourself in three words:
Compasionate, hardworking, and competitive.
What do you consider your greatest professional achievement?
Coming to the U.S. from Germany and to find the best and newest procedures in the beauty industry.
What are your professional goals for the next six months?
To grow my business and be the best in servicing clients in the Northern Virginia area. We specialize in Laser and Med Spa treatments that are trending in the US, and particularly in Europe. European spa treatments have always taken a lead in the industry, and I’m excited to share them with the customers in Northern Virginia.
How does your company stay connected through social media?
Social media is a great marketing tool for my business. We use social media to create events and to let the public know about special pricing and current beauty and spa trends.
What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
At this time in my life I am exactly where I like to be! I love the Spa Industry in making women look and feel their best. I do take days out in the year in the year to travel, I like to work hard and I always reward myself by going on little getaways with my husband.
What website do you visit every day?
Facebook, LinkedIn and web-sites related to my field to get ideas for promotions.
What is your favorite drink- and where can you find it in NOVA?
Martinis! …and beer, which can be found anywhere in Northern Virginia – just as long as I have good company to share with!
What are your favorite people/places/things in NOVA?
This is not in Northern Virginia but I love all of the museums in Washington DC - there is so much to learn!
What is your goal for retirement?
I do not believe that I will ever completely retire, maybe slow down and work less. Every day I receive new energy and learn so much from seeing people. I probably take longer vacations to Europe to see my family.
Do you have any advice for women who would like to start their own company?
Failure does not mean stop trying and a “No” does not always mean “No”! Find what you love to do, become an expert in that field and work harder than you ever worked before in your life.
This is a great time in the U.S. to start a business. Everything is changing fast and there is always a new opportunity waiting right around the corner!
We had a wonderful time on Thursday night at our Girls Night Out & Meet Up at Hyatt Fairfax in Fair Lakes! Check the pictures below -- and you can see the full album on our Facebook page. Be sure to tag yourselves and go ahead and RSVP for our next upcoming events! We have a book club meet up at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner and also our annual charity event in November -- this year benefitting Autism Speaks.
Another wonderful Girls Night Out event at Parallel Wine Bistro in Ashburn! The full photo album is up on our Facebook page. Please tag yourselves!
Yesterday, I was invited to take a hard hat tour of the brand new Springfield Town Center. Springfield Town Center is scheduled to celebrate their grand opening on October 17th. The old Springfield Mall has gone through a $250 million renovation and significant rebranding effort to erase the stigma of what used to be.
Springfield Town Center offers a 1.3 million square foot shopping destination that will host top brands including: Macy's, TopShop, Victoria's Secret, Michael Kors, J. Crew, Sephora, H&M, Forever 21, Chico's, Pandora, White House | Black Market, Nordstrom Rack and LOFT.
Dining collection at Springfield Town Center includes Maggiano's Little Italy, Yard House, Chuy's, Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill, and Nando's Peri Peri.
Regal Cinema has built a 12-screen luxury theater experience at Springfield Town Center. What's luxury about a movie theater? How about powered recliner seating and a cocktail lounge!
Family focused amenities include a dedicated children's court with a library of books, puzzles, and games designed with soft seating for story time and other events AS WELL AS a children's play area in the food court.
I was impressed by the new indoor/outdoor food court with seating for 600, complimented by a gorgeous fireplace. I can't wait until it opens! I'll definitely share more information about grand opening events as I receive them.
We have friends in the neighborhood who put their super active son in dance class because it's the only the only activity that keeps him in focus and moving for an hour straight - so I decided to check it out some classes for B too. Who knew there were SO MANY dance studios and schools in the area?!
A friend of mine connected me with Gretchen Vogelzang from Greater Washington Dance Center to help me understand what classes to select and what to look for when choosing a dance studio to join. Gretchen had a few key elements to look for:
What's their philosophy?
"The best thing you can do is to visit the studio in person and talk to the owner. Listen to how they describe their studio. Are they passionate or is this just a business to them? Do they put the children’s needs and safety at the forefront of their message? Do they love children? (Seriously… do they love children?!?) Or are they more interested in the status of the studio and it’s accomplishments?"
This is Serious!
"ANYONE can open a dance studio. Experience, knowledge and teaching ability are not governed. There is no licensing needed. When you think about the physical demands of dance training and combine that with a young, developing body the possibilities of sustaining an injury that could impact the child for life are very real.
As moms, we know all bodies are not the same! Alignment, flexibility, stature, strength vary greatly. An instructor who has no real knowledge of anatomy and kinesiology will not be able to understand these differences, and alter their teaching approach accordingly. Are there any cross-training opportunities for my child? Yoga, Pilates, Workshops, Intensives, Guest artists, Trips. You want to know the studio is up-to-date with their dance training efforts, and that they feel it is important to bring in artists or trainers from different fields to help your child receive a well-rounded movement education. Flooring is also key. Is it a state-of-the-art sprung floor? It should be!"
Smoke and Mirrors
"Beware of the smoke and mirrors! Boasting about awards is one way studios will entice you to join. The more important question to have answered is “What is the process of developing a successful dancer?” We have all seen the horror of over-the-top coaching on the television show “Dance Moms.” Yes, they have an award-winning team, but at what cost?
Observing some dance classes may be a good window into this process. Do the children fear the teacher? Is the teacher warm, but firm in guiding the dancers through the class? Does the teacher simply bark general instructions or does the teacher actually give individual corrections? How comfortable are you with the way the teacher treats the children?
Gretchen's final tip: The goal is to find a dance studio where your child can learn proper technique safely, be happy -- and your child can shine! Regardless of what they ultimately end up doing (professional performer or heart surgeon) they need the opportunity to become the best dancer they can possibly be. And, the bonus will be all of the wonderful skills they will develop – physical, mental and emotional - which they will carry with them throughout their life.
To connect with Gretchen Vogelzang and her team at the Greater Washington Dance Center, visit their web site or follow on Facebook.
Yesterday, we headed out to the Belfort Furniture BIG Back to School Ice Cream Social. Although it was not the best weather outside, B had a great time in the moon bounce, meeting the Belfort mascot Bucky, and listening to story time. It didn't hurt that they also were giving away free ice cream :)
With so much rain on Saturday afternoon, it was a perfect day to spend reading and enjoying this picture perfect cup of coffee at one of my favorite coffee shops (and it has a wine bar!) in Northern Virignia -- Northside Social in Clarendon. Be sure to try the homemade chocolate espresso biscotti!
We had such a blast last night as we hosted Margarita Monday at Coyote Grille in Centreville! It was our first mini meet up in the Centreville area and we had a fantastic group of women come out for a night of networking, mingling, and fun! Check out the full photo album on our Facebook Page.
Special Thanks to Tatjana and her team at Coyote Grille for hosting such a fun event! Event photography courtesy of Pretty in Pic Photography and Carrie's Family Photography.
Did you miss out on the fun? Check out our upcoming events!
Links I Love
A Little Nosh
Let Mommy Sleep
Tiny Steps Mommy
Very Busy Mama
Saved By Scottie
A Parent in Silver Spring
Play. Party. Pin.
Go Kid Trips