Thursday, April 30, 2009

Calling all Hot Mamas

Last September personal trainer Vionna Jones opened her Hot Mama Fitness Studio in Bethesda just for you expecting and new hot mamas who want to get in shape and stay in shape. This Saturday, Hot Mama is hosting a special Mother's Day event for all mothers--veterans, grandmas, new moms--full of fun and freebies. In addition to free seated massage bring the babies for Hip Mama Bellydance and Mother/Toddler yoga. Kids can enjoy special activities and Devra Renner will be on hand in the morning to sign her book, "Mommy Guilt."

Also be sure to check out the new maternity lines at the always chic Daisy Too on St. Elmo. Owner Fabiana Zelaya is expecting her second child in August so knows from where she speaks. We'll be checking out a trunk show June 5 and 6 when local designer Jessica Boulanger of More of Me Maternity will showcase her new lines.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Local Artist Rocks the Red

Not only did Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals win Game 7 against the Rangers, they're immortalized in the artwork of Bethesda artist and popular Spin coach at my WSC, Anna Rose Soevik, ( who is busy painting portraits when she's not on a bike. Her recent show at Bethesda's John Matthew Moore gallery included a portrait of President Obama, and if you were at the Lincoln Ball after the inaugural you would have seen three more of Anna's portraits of the president on display at the National Portrait Gallery. Anna painted Capitals hockey phenom Alex Ovechkin for the Capitals' "Amazing Auction" charity event last month, but still has some signed prints of the Ovechkin available for purchase. You can find more of Anna's work in D.C. at Busboys and Poets and this summer at Wolftrap, where her portraits of performers will be displayed until they are auctioned for charity. She's currently painting Robert F. Kennedy's portrait for the National Book and Journalism Awards. Let's Go Caps!

Surreal Life of Hair

A couple of weeks ago I sprinted out of a writer's conference at Dupont Circle to interview celebrity hair stylist Ted Gibson at the Ted Gibson Salon and Hela Spa at the Collection at Chevy Chase. I returned in the nick of time for "Poetry Speed Dating" (don't ask) after getting both to meet a fellow military brat and a whole new look. The affable stylist also said he's shot footage for an upcoming reality show "Ted Gibson Beauty Universe" about everyday salon life (remember the emotive Jonathan Astin's "Blow-Out"?). Here's more of what we talked about:
ME: What's your favorite look at the moment?
TED: Shoulder-length and longer. Think about growing out your bob now.
ME: What about Kate Moss and Heidi Klum? They cut off their long hair.
TED: I think Kate Moss and Heidi Klum are icons. But I think what we're going to be seeing now is longer hair. I cut Annie Hathaway's hair off for her [for a movie]. So right now it's about shoulder length. We're growing hers out.
ME: Do chunky highlights still rule?
TED: I think it's a little more subtle now.
ME: How long have you been doing hair?
TED: I've been doing hair for about 20 years.
ME: Really? You look really young.
TED: Thank you. I'm 43.
ME: Tell me about your signature look.
TED: I'm really into very sexy, sexy hair--for all ages. I don't know any woman who doesn't feel that way.
ME: What is your favorite Ted Gibson product?
TED: Hair Sheets
ME: What would you do with my hair?
TED: I would make it very blond. You could handle more hair. It would be very, very hot.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Happy Birthday Ginger

Let's all wish Happy 1st Birthday to Gretchen Hitchner's Ginger, on Bethesda Lane. Visit the store for discounts, specials and more.

Have a happy Friday and enjoy the great weather this weekend!

Shopping for Labels for Love

Last night I attended the Labels for Love charity shopping event hosted by CityShopGirl and Bloomingdale's in Chevy Chase, not only for the great clothes and drinks, but because I wanted to meet CityShopGirl Kelly Collis Fredrick. Once I got in I immediately went to the bar for my Bloomie's Martini (a perfectly chilled Absolut concoction with pineapple) and there she was! Saying hello to me because...I already knew her. But as Kelly. (So there, my memory isn't as bad as it seems.) After we chatted I took my drink and bruschetta (courtesy of Lia's) to lean on a checkout counter where I met two women from Arlington. I don't usually go to Arlington because I always get lost. But one of them not only had sisters in my hometown of Albuquerque, she also had spent time in Tucson and had a fabulous purse and necklace she had made herself. More new friends. Now it was time to make the supreme sacrifice and shop to "give back." This was a charity event, after all, giving a portion of proceeds to Labels of Love, which supports local women's and children's causes. Ever crafty, I used my 20% coupon for a Laundry dress, which was already 40% off. Score! Weekend dress problem solved. That plus one more from BCBG made the night a shopping success. I made new friends, reconnected with old ones, had a martini, great food from local restaurants (Lia's, Lebanese Taverna, Georgetown Bagelry) helped support Labels for Love and saved money. All in one night.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Literature meets lingerie

Tuesday was my book club, Saturday is a bridal shower, Wednesday was listening to Kerry Reichs discuss The Best Day of Someone Else’s Life, her book about the many weddings she's attended (at least 70 - on several continents) - a perfect mid-week bridge between events, accompanied by champagne and a smorgasbord of sweet treats and bites of salmon, chicken and crunchy shrimp (by J. Jackson of Entree Metropolitan) at lingerie and swimwear boutique SyLene (where you can also hold a bridal shower). Andrea Rodgers (blogger “Ask Miss A”) and store owners Cyla Weiner and Helen Kestler were our hosts as Kerry (daughter of writer Kathy Reichs) discussed her book, the act of writing and how she left a fast-track law career in DC to go on sabbatical and write this book. Though she said, “I had no idea what I was doing” she did have a subject (lots of weddings) and a sense of humor. But Kerry didn’t have to make it all up. She says much in the book is true. Even the parts that were cut. She actually attended a wedding in which a turtle was the best man. Sometimes it seems the truth is too strange even for fiction. There are lots of DC-area references in the book, which add to the fun. Though Kerry says there’s a focus on “the path not taken” in the book, the show must go on in life. I turned to the display of shower gifts for my Saturday-shower bride-to-be in preparation for her very Best Day. Look for Kerry's new book in the U.S. early next year.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

There's a (garden) party going on

As of right now it finally stopped raining and that’s a good excuse to celebrate. One way might be to check out Urban Chic ‘s garden-party/ spring trunk show in Georgetown tomorrow from 3 to 8. As designer Shoshanna showcases her spring and summer collection (which just arrived at Urban Chic yesterday), guests can nibble goodies, sip cocktails and receive a gift bag with their Shoshanna purchase. Food, drinks and goodie bags say party to me. If that’s not enough, keep going at Midtown on Connecticut Avenue for an after-party with an open Grey Goose bar at 8. If you can't make it, we'll fill you in right here. It’s party time.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Weekend break to party

The night the Lone Star State's most honorable guv Rick Perry threatened to secede from the U.S., we had tickets to hear the Texas-based Flatlanders at the Birchmere and thought we'd best get on our boots and get in the car before the Flatlanders needed passports. (Not that that would/could ever happen. The Flatlanders are way too cool to heed Rick Perry's raving ramblings.) Now that I'm older I love that the Birchmere (we'd been there already once this week for the Felice Brothers) makes people keep quiet in the main music hall and not block my view with annoying over-jubilant "dance" movements. I could totally focus on the warble of Jimmie Dale Gilmore's pure, angelic voice singing "Dallas" (okay, i jumped out of my seat and gave a Texas shout-out); when Joe Ely broke into the encore song "Gimme a Ride To Heaven Boy," the packed house gave in to pent-up energy and hit the floor hands in the air. The crescendo came when all five guitarists and fiddle player (and warmup act) Jenny Scheinman jammed to a frenzied mid-show climax. A woman at the next table said, "They're really good," and I realized, hello, drinking beer and downing burgers at the table right next to us was a whole table of long-time Bethesda friends. We caught up, and then those folks started ta lking to a man at the table behind them because they regularly see each other at the same bus stop on Old Georgetown Road. I wondered, “How many more of us are here anyway?” Wow, just think, if we had a music venue here, hmmm, let's say maybe in Silver Spring, we could all go there and not only buy tickets, but salads, burgers, Stellas, Buds, T-shirts and CDs--and we'd only have to drive a couple of miles. But so far, not happening. So we make the drive out to the Birchmere on a regular basis. And we love it. The Birchmere keeps on delivering the goods. And in MoCo, we remain grateful not only for the music, but for an excuse to wear cool boots and serendipitously catch up with neighborhood friends.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

De-stressing Prom Dressing

Time out for a public service announcement....

No matter how hard we try to “keep prom under control” it usually turns into a budget buster: Limo? Dinner? Flowers? Tux? DRESS?? Because lavish spending is now OUT and sensible living is IN, check out these options for giving or getting a dress that probably only gets, hmm, about five hours of use. Most kids change for the after-parties, and that long-coveted dress then goes into the closet where it collects dust long after the memories have faded. Many of you older girls may have a dress or a pair of shoes that you probably wore just once, now taking up precious closet space. If so, consider donating (quickly) to one of the following events. If you or a friend needs a dress, here’s the info:

On Saturday (April 18) Wheaton High School is holding The Knights to Remember Prom Project from 10am-1pm. Girls can line up at 9am (and must have a Montgomery County school ID). The dresses will go on a first-come, first-serve basis. Personal shoppers will present to help out. For more info about donating and receiving gowns, contact or; 301-929-2050.

Ciao Bella! Prom dress giveaway will be held the following day (April 19) at the Hilton Hotel in Silver Spring sponsored by the nonprofit Saint Anthony’s Bridal. There are currently drop-off boxes for dresses, jewelry and shoes (in excellent condition) at Brookstone in Montgomery Mall, MWTux at Lakeforest and at the Greenbelt Curves. To register and find out more about the event, go to

Ok, done. Now everyone can get back to what you were doing, maybe cleaning out a closet...?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Love and Cherry Blossoms

There they are - the cherry blossoms. Most are still stoically hanging on despite the nasty wind and rain. My Bradford pear shows off too with masses of white blossoms that cover my flowerbed beneath the tree, an appealing natural deshabille going on right outside my kitchen window.

I got an even sexier display of blossoms the other night at Ginger on Bethesda Lane, when owner Gretchen Hitchner hosted trunk show Sakura (“cherry blossom” in Japanese) by jewelry designer Suzanne Somersall.

Gretchen told me when her husband John proposed to her, he gave her a diamond ring with a temporary setting so she could figure out what she wanted. Five years later she discovered Suzanne Somersall's cherry blossom cocktail ring. Wha-la! Suzanne set Gretchen’s diamond in white gold along with pave diamonds to create a cherry blossom that will last.

Suzanne (who is just 25 and named Suzanne Somersall Allis after her grandmother) designs delicate jewelry in the most ephemeral of forms - delicate gold antlers in spiky splendor, simple starfish sporting delicate gems and - you guessed it - cherry blossoms. And these don't fall apart just because it's raining. In fact, Suzanne is planning another Japanese themed collection for fall. Why Japan? She says because her Marine husband Brian is stationed there.

The jewelry isn't the only thing sparkling at Ginger - check out the bejeweled sandals and don't miss the bin of gem-studded flip-flops.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

An Air Force brat who's traveled all over the country, I have lived in Bethesda, Maryland for much of my adult life--going on 22 years. My husband and I chose Bethesda because its once quiet, tree-lined streets and especially Wisconsin Avenue/Rockville Pike (which we thought for the longest time were two parallel streets) made me think of those idyllic towns with white picket fences I had only seen on TV--and they lead right into DC with nary a confusing turn or stint on the Beltway. 

Over the years, I've watched my little TV town become a thriving, sophisticated destination city. As a freelance writer and editor, I've covered the changes I've seen and felt firsthand. As it grew from having a few boutiques on what was "the other side of Bethesda," downtown Bethesda's retail scene rivals any metropolitan center.

The past few years have brought us The Collection at Chevy Chase--our own fabulous Nanette Lepore store, Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton and Barney's New York CoOp--and Bethesda's own Bethesda Row and Bethesda "Lane," a cobblestone pedestrian walkway lined by unique boutiques, most with a local connection. The owner of Blue Mercury is a Bethesda resident, as is Gretchen Hitchner, the owner of posh boutique Ginger. Lindsay Buscher and her husband hail from Howard County, where the Urban Chic owners reside on a farm. The owners of Cielo hair salon have a long history in the area. And there's so much more. Each is unique; each brings something special to our local scene, in the way of their personalities, merchandise and style. 

Oh, and I didn't forget Wildwood. the once-quiet little strip mall is lined with chic shops old and new, Madeline, Belina, Sequel and upscale gift and home stores, Red Orchard, Blanca Flor and Celadon Home, run by the owners of Celadon Spa who keep it local by partnering with Potomac resident Yasmine Agha, whose artisan chocolates are on Celadon's shelves among the potpourri, candles and upscale pet and cleaning supplies.

I hope you will visit my blog often and stay abreast of my meanderings about town and beyond. I'm not only present in Bethesda, but will visit Silver Spring, Northwest Washington and even Northern Virginia (if I can keep from getting lost). I often visit New Mexico, and I'll be shopping in San Miguel de Allende this summer. I was in Tokyo and Hong Kong last August and hope to see what's what in Kyoto this fall. 

Send me your thoughts and impressions, and let me know what you think is new, on the scene or should be, whether it be a store, a music venue, a work of art. Sometimes we just have to stop, pull ourselves in and remember the old standbys--where do we get the best writing paper? Do we still use writing paper? Remember the feel of heavy, creamy stock with a simple black initial? I know; so we're not spending right now. So what? We can still dream.

Make the most of today and stop to appreciate one thing you find beautiful--whether it be a cherry blossom blowing astray through the sky, a morning dove cooing on your deck, new mulch in a neighbor's yard--or a rich cup of coffee or glass of gorgeous red wine at the end of the day.