We are very lucky to have a rock climbing wall at our gym -- so I've been taking B at nights to let him test his skills out on the walls. He absolutely loves it! He's taken on the more experienced tracks and he's been able to complete a few of them. He makes me such a proud momma! Plus, this is a sport where I get to sit in the air conditioning and watch -- not on a sideline in the heat being bitten by mosquitos. Score!
I was invited into the new Whole Foods Market in Ashburn to check out their brand new bar that serves not only wine and beer - but also Spirits! We had rum and Absinthe + locally made whiskeys and tonics. The drinks were strong and the tater tots - amazing! Loaded every way you could imagine. If you're making dinner for a date night, it'd be a fun stop at the bar for drinks and appetizers before you do your shopping!
Skin comes in so many types, from oily and acne-prone to dry and ultra-sensitive. It's common knowledge that skincare products are tailor-made to match these different skin types, but ethnicity is another factor that doesn't seem to get a lot of coverage. I'm mixed with Arab and Italian, so my skin is known to change with the seasons. I'll be super pale in the winter (I sometimes refer to myself as transparent), and in the summer I tan very easily.
Do products and services affect different colors of skin the same way? The truth is that in the world of skin care, ethnicity matters only some of the time. I did a little Q&A with Dr. Eliot Battle and the Cultura team to learn about some of the products and clinical procedures in which ethnicity makes a difference to help you pick just the right options for you and your complexion.
Dr. Batle, can you give me a little background on skin types?
Before we discuss cosmetic procedures, it's important to understand what gives different people different skin tones. In our skin, cells called melanocytes make melanin, or the brown pigment that gives skin its color. With the exception of a small subgroup of people who don't produce any melanin due to a genetic defect, the pigment is present in everyone, regardless of ethnicity. The difference is how the melanin is distributed.
People with light complexions tend to have small "packets" of melanin, called melanosomes, distributed in small aggregate groups throughout skin. Those with dark skin have larger melanosomes that are distributed more consistently.
Aside from giving us our looks, melanin plays an important role in keeping skin healthy. Darker tones are better protected against photoaging and other damage caused by the sun because melanin absorbs and scatters UV rays. People of African descent and others with dark skin often age "better," with fewer wrinkles. On the other hand, these people are at a higher risk of pigment irregularities, which can cause a blotchy or inconsistent appearance. This is why treatments that rely on pigment in the skin — typically laser and light treatments — need to be carefully considered for dark-skinned patients.
I am a HUGE fan of Laser Hair Removal - is it right for everyone?
Laser hair removal has been a game-changer for so many men and women around the world. The procedure, which usually yields a permanent reduction in unwanted hair, uses concentrated laser energy. This energy is absorbed by the pigment in the hair, which is why it's more effective on dark hair than light hair.
When it comes to laser hair removal, the best option for black patients and other people with dark skin is an Nd:YAG laser. This laser's wavelength permits it to bypass the melanin in the skin to reach the pigment in the hair. Because laser hair removal almost always requires several treatments spaced a few weeks apart, it's best to choose a practice that offers a variety of lasers. For instance, Cultura, which specializes in cosmetic dermatology in Washington, D.C., carries multiple laser devices to suit the changing needs of each patient as his or her hair gradually becomes thinner and thinner before disappearing completely.
Laser Skin Resurfacing is a big trend right now, do you recommend it for all patients?
Because it also involves a laser, laser skin resurfacing (and its gentler cousin, intense pulsed light) should also be used with caution by dark-skinned patients. These devices use laser energy to tighten skin and improve its texture, as well as reduce the look of pigmented lesions.
It's vitally important to choose a practice that frequently serves ethnically diverse patients. A laser treatment is far from being a "one size fits all" experience. An experienced aesthetician can walk you through your options to help you determine whether a particular laser is a good fit for you and your skin.
Are there any Skincare Products you suggest we look out for?
The topical products we put on our skin can also have unintended effects on color. Generally, harsh ingredients known for causing dryness or irritation can strip color away from dark skin. Ingredients to use with caution include:
Alpha-hydroxy acids (including glycolic acid and lactic acid)
These effects can be amplified if you already have dry skin.
Do you have any final tips or advice if someone is trying a new product or service?
If you're thinking of starting a new skincare regimen, always start with a patch test — a preliminary application of the product on a discreet area of your body.
thanks to Dr. Eliot Batle and the Cultura team for taking the time to share with me and sponsor this post!
On Tuesday night, I was sponsored by Vocal Point and Chelsea Collective to hit up the pre-grand opening party for Chelsea Collective at Tysons Corner. Although the parent company is Dick's Sporting Goods, Chelsea Collective is a smaller, boutique-like store focused on women. The store also has a community engagement leader that's sole purpose is to focus on building partnerships with the community.
Chelsea Collective carries name brands such as Nike and Under Armour, but also smaller brands like CALIA by Carrie Underwood, Lorna Jane, and Spiritual Gangster. Also, in the shoe department, I was shocked to find that they carry all of the athletic shoes you could imagine, plus Hunter rain boots! There are some cute casual wear items in the store too, so you could stop by and grab an outfit to go work out, or just go out!
One last tip, there is a "bra bar" and a "leggings bar" where you can be perfectly fitted into the right product for your shape and size... Who doesn't love a perfect fitting sports bra and leggings to lounge in? I'm totally sold!
The store's grand opening celebration is August 8 and 9. There will be in store styling demonstrations, complimentary refreshments, and the first 100 will receive a special gift!
You can follow the grand opening on social media using the hash tag #ChelseaCollective or check out their web site: http://bit.ly/chelseacollective.
Our friends at Pest Management Services Inc are giving away ANOTHER Michael Kors hand bag this summer! PMSI prides themselves on the outreach they do with the community --- and they know the best way to connect with the NOVAhousewives community is to give you something you'll love!
Enter to win the giveaway via the Rafflecopter widget below -- and continue reading on to find out more about the PMSI community outreach, sponsorships, and volunteer opportunities for their employees and team! Follow PMSI on Facebook for more giveaways too!
As PMSI has continued to grow over the years, so has their interest in community outreach. They are well known in the community for getting involved with local charities, and their employees are active in the volunteer world. Why is this important for PMSI? They are all about our customers. They have partnered with organizations that customers love, and PMSI feels a great sense of pride knowing that customers love us enough to want us to be a part of their favorite causes.
One area of community outreach they are involved in is local sports. For years, PMSI has sponsored local sports teams, both for customers' children and for employees' children. In Clarksburg, WV, they sponsored the Liberty High School’s team and were able to provide the entire team with brand new uniforms. On a bigger scale, PMSI was a sponsor for team U.S.A for the 2014 World Kayak/Canoe Championships that took place at Deep Creek, MD and had an amazing time working the event during the championship games!
During the holidays, PMSI is busy! For the last several years, you have been able to spot employees ringing the bell for Salvation Army, or gathering up food donations to help local families have a better Thanksgiving. They have participated in Toys for Tots Christmas toy drive, and they sponsor a family each year that is not fortunate enough to give their children a Christmas. PMSI employees are wonderful and love contributing to such a great cause!
Other notable events that PMSI has participated in include Touch a Truck, Relay for Life, and annual participation in local food pantries, both donating and volunteering. "We have also recently become involved in local schools by volunteering in their classrooms and sponsoring the Potomac Nationals reading program. We even had a group of kindergarten kids from John Kerr Elementary School come to our office for a field trip to learn all about insects and watch "A Bugs Life!" We have also gone into local classrooms to teach the students about bugs, and have been participants in multiple career fairs. We love supporting local schools and often make drop-offs of our bug bookmarks for kids to enjoy while they’re reading!"
PMSI will continue to expand their involvement in the community and looks forward to working with more customers and the causes that are near and dear to their hearts. "A big part of who we are is being an involved, family friendly company, and there is no better way to show that than giving back to our community!"
I was invited to Huntington Beach, California for the brand new Hyundai Sonata Hybrid launch. I was one of a handful of women bloggers to attend -- but I had the BEST time! I was partnered up with my friend Vincent from SlashGear.com and we cruised up and down the Pacific Coast Highway to see how the car performed. I was spoiled when I asked him to make a pit stop at the Starbucks in Laguna Beach and take beach photos and he obliged!
I'm usually an SUV girl -- as I find myself hauling around a ton of junk all of the time -- but I acutally really enjoyed cruising around in the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and PHEV. With features like blind spot detection and rear cross-traffic alerts, heater steering wheel, hands-free trunk opener, and an awesome on-board display -- I'm pretty sure you would've thought you were in a $50k luxury vehicle.
Over the weekend, I had some pretty sweet tickets to the Tiger Woods Skybox on the 18th hole at the Quicken Loans National tournament being played at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainesville. I had NO IDEA how much fun a professional golf tournament could be... plus, it helps when your tickets cover food + alcohol. Check out a few of the pics from the Tiger Woods Foundation Skybox + my girlfriend and I in the Grey Goose Lounge!
Looking for a day trip from DC? We were invited to spend the day at National Harbor and discovered some of our favorite summer picks that made both mom and son happy!
Since we were coming from Fairfax, we drove into the heart of Old Town Alexandria and decided to take the water taxi over to National Harbor. Potomac Riverboat Company has a cute little cabana set up right on the dock in Old Town where you can snag tickets. The boats ran from Old Town Alexandria to the Gaylord Resort and then to the Commercial Pier at National Harbor.
Once we arrived in National Harbor, we found out that there's a local farmer's market set up right in the heart of American Way by the fountain. The farmer's market is set up every Saturday and Sunday, May through December, from 10am-5pm.
After a stroll through the market, B wanted to check out the Capital Wheel. With yesterday being such a hot day, I was thrilled to sit inside the air conditioned gondola and enjoyed every second of our 10 minute ride. From the Capital Wheel, you can see the Capitol building, Washington Monument, and over the Woodrow Wilson Bridge into Virginia.
After exploring a few of the retailers, we settled in for dinner. We made a dinner reservation at Fiorella and immediately found refreshment in their frozen Sicilian Lemonade cocktails -- probably one of the best frozen drinks I've ever had. So good that I might have had 2...
For appetizers, we ordered the meatballs and steamed mussels. Served next was the open-faced Fiorella Lasagna (which was big enough that it could have fed our whole table) and I ordered their roasted claypot fish of the day, which was salmon, prepared Calabrese-style with peppers, olives, and onions in a Pomodoro sauce.
As our dinner was ending, we could see that the Movies on the Potomac screening was starting and B wanted to check it out. We ran over to Goodies Frozen Custard and Treats, a cute 1950's inspired gourmet bakery and soda fountain in the middle of American Way, to grab a hand-spun strawberry milkshake to enjoy during the movie.
With so many fun things to do for families and kids at National Harbor -- I know we'll be back soon. I'm even thinking a date night or girls night out at National Harbor would be great for my next outing!
Special thanks to National Harbor for sponsoring our day trip!
Whole Foods Market Ashburn is hosting their sneak peek event: Whole Kids Block Party! This FREE family fun event is on July 26th from 2-4pm. Join them for live music, face painting, moon bounces, arts and crafts, grilling, ice cream, store tours, and a treats at the end!
Be one of the first to check it out before the store's grand opening on July 29!
This summer, we've been checking out the FREE family concerts in Herndon on Friday nights. I had never been before -- but the shows are awesome, the kids run free, and they serve food, drinks, and alcohol. Bring some cash for your kids to hit up the Dairy Queen tent!
Get there early to make sure you get a good seat on the lawn! More details: www.herndonrocks.com
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