On May 8, the Crystal City BID launched a colorful campaign to connect, support and lift up residents of Arlington County, specifically in the neighborhoods of Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard, as the global pandemic continues to spread.
The initiative—inspired by Busboys and Poets owner Andy Shallal’s #PaintTheStorefronts project—kicked off with the unveiling of several window-based murals, all of which feature images like sunbursts, oversized hearts, blooming flowers and messages of encouragement.
The artwork is hand-painted by local artists like Cris Clapp Logan, known for her watercolor illustrations, muralist Jeff Huntington, visual artist Juan Pineeda, arts organizer Chelsea Ritter-Soronsen and more.
While as of now, the intricate designs align the windows of restaurants and retailers, including Commonwealth Joe, Freddie’s Beach Bar, Jaleo, Los Tios, Enjera and Vintage Dress Company, local residents can expect to see more color in the coming weeks.
“As this initiative advances over the course of the month, residents, workers and visitors can expect to encounter additional bursts of color and messages of encouragement throughout the National Landing area,” said Crystal City BID President and Executive Director Tracy Sayegh Gabriel in a recent press release.
Along with the storefront beautification project, the Crystal City BID has hired local muralist team Brocoloco, which has transformed buildings in the region into beautiful pieces of art for the past decade or so, to create vinyl wraps that will cover two welcome boxes with frontages spanning over 20 feet. The team will also take to the sidewalk, producing 100 sidewalk decals with positive and amusing messages, scattered throughout the neighborhood. These projects are set to be complete by the end of May, and you can stay updated on the progress via social media.
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“You don’t come to a class, you come to practice and find whatever it is you need.”
This is how Jerome Schlafer, co-owner of newly opened Samskara Yoga & Healing, describes the concept he and business partner, Chelsea Snyder, recently debuted in the Dulles Retail Plaza of Sterling.
While this location is the duo’s first, Schlafer and Snyder are not new to the wellness community in Northern Virginia. Schlafer worked as a yoga instructor at Lifetime Fitness for several years before deciding to venture on his own and start Mats 4 Mindfulness, a project that delivers yoga mats to under-served populations around the world. Snyder, too, has a healing background, as well as experience in marketing and entrepreneurship through her digital and print publishing company, MojoWriting, LLC.
The first venture Schlafer and Snyder created together was the LoCo Urban Wellness Expo in 2018, which brought local businesses and entrepreneurs together to share their perspective solutions for better living.
Yet since they met just over two years ago, Samskara Yoga & Healing has been their passion project. While the physical location of the business is new, the pair has been leading practices for members of the community at local libraries, festivals and other neighborhood events for a few years, spreading their belief that yoga is a personal experience meant for all bodies.
“It was just about serving the community and making yoga accessible to anybody,” says Schlafer. “We are here for the people who you would not normally see in a yoga class, large bodies and small bodies, special needs, whatever it is. It was really happening and we needed a place.”
There are currently 14 teachers at Samskara who are all certified to instruct and have a similar understanding of the practice as Schlafer and Snyder. Classes currently offered at the studio include ashtanga, viriya yoga, vinyasa, yin, restorative and a few that the duo created themselves. There are also practices for kids as young as 12 months old, reflecting the owners’ belief that starting yoga from a young age is a great way for little ones to understand their own minds and bodies.
“We’re not serious,” says Schlafer. “We are going to help you relax. When you get to that point where things get tough, it’s about finding how you can release.”
The new site, which was once home to a My Gym, is tucked in a narrow space of the retail plaza, which will soon be easy to locate with the unveiling of its company logo atop the entrance. The studio is made up of three rooms—Journeys, which can fit about 50 people, Reflections (named due to its mirrored walls) and the Healing Room, home to the healing concept of the business that will bring in local experts in things like reiki or meditation for clients to utilize.
“I wanted to give people a space to ask questions and discover the various wellness solutions that exist,” says Snyder. “Bringing that to this space seemed like a natural part of what we are doing here.”
The studio officially opened its doors on Friday, Aug. 23, with a week of free trials and is now starting its regular practice schedule, as well as workshop offerings, which you can find here. In the coming weeks, Schlafer and Snyder will be adding items to the space, including a take-one, leave-one book shelf with mental health-inspired books, and also a place in the front for people to purchase goods from local companies in NoVA.
For Schlafer, the design of the space, consisting of three curved walls throughout, is an essential element of the practice that goes on within it.
“We all have curves in our lives,” says Schlafer. “Everything moves in a flow but nothing’s ever a straight line. And so you can come here and find what you need, find your journey and just let it be.” // Samskara Yoga & Healing: 22000-102 Dulles Retail Plaza, Sterling; prices vary
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Doing the same thing every day can get a little boring. But thanks to the surplus of activities available at these adult day care centers in the region, your daily routine can have a little more variety. Whether you’re interested in taking up cooking classes or want to participate in full-time rehabilitation care, there’s something for everyone at these local centers.
Agape Adult Day & Home Care This facility in Alexandria is dedicated to providing a safe and supportive environment for those 18 and older who require varying levels of care, whether physical or mental. Each day, individuals will be picked up and brought to the center, where they can participate in activities ranging from exercise classes to cooking demos, and also utilize programs focused on rehabilitation, community service, dementia and more. // 6349 Lincolnia Road, Alexandria; prices vary
Arlington Adult Day Program This site serves as a local alternative to a full-time nursing home or assisted living facility, as the daytime services are both physically and mentally enlightening. Amenities available include social events like crafting, games and dance parties, as well as nursing care, interactive exercise classes and complimentary meals. While transportation is not provided to and from this facility, there are alternative transit and parking options available. // 2909 16th St. S., Arlington; prices vary
Prince William Adult Day Healthcare This center is a home away from home for those who can no longer remain on their own throughout the day. The site’s program includes group-based activities, such as music therapy, pet visits, holiday parties and more, as well as personal care and health monitoring for each individual. Thanks to the staff at Prince William Adult Day Healthcare, your loved one will have endless support and fun at this facility. // Dr. A.J. Ferlazzo Building: 15941 Donald Curtis Drive, Woodbridge; prices vary
Most people are very aware of the health benefits stemming from exercise and eating a balanced diet. But, in addition to fitness and nutrition, maintaining meaningful relationships can lead to long-term emotional, physical and mental health benefits, too, according to several studies published over the last decade.
A recent blog post from Harvard Medical School states that social connections help relieve harmful levels of stress, directly affecting gut function, insulin regulation, coronary arteries and the immune system in general. Plus, noted research from the post suggests caring behaviors can trigger the release of stress-reducing hormones.
While the benefits of relationships are clear, in order for them to be effective it is necessary for the quality of that relationship to be strong. Here, Linda G. Ritchie, Ph.D., owner of private practice Center for Life Strategies, LLC in Reston, shares her advice on maintaining a healthy relationship.
If you had to pick, what are a few essential things all couples should do in a relationship? It starts with respect for each other. That is the foundation. Being able to resolve conflict and still stay connected is essential, because relationships just don’t exist without conflict. You have to be able to resolve it, which takes skills that come with time. So, what makes a successful relationship is knowing how to interact with each other in a healthy way where both people feel heard and supported. That doesn’t mean each partner will always get their way, there’s always compromise, but it’s the feelings that are most important.
I work with people a lot on how to interact with others, with the people they are in intimate relationships with, specifically. Each person needs to know how to have a conversation, how to listen and how to validate the other person’s emotion, which isn’t necessarily intuitive. We all pick up what we know about relationships from our family of origin, and if you grew up where there was a lot of criticism, judgment and arguing, then that’s what you learn. You don’t know any better until somewhere along the line you learn a better way to act, resolve conflict. It takes practice, but eventually the relationship should be a source of joy rather than pain.
What are the mental health benefits of being in a stable relationship? The research shows that people in relationships live longer. Bonding is one of the essential elements for people, in addition to air, food, shelter and water. It really is a necessity and being in relationships with people, whether it be family, friends or a significant other, is necessary for well-being.
Coming out of a stable relationship can absolutely deteriorate one’s mental health, too.If you have somebody who is going through a breakup or a divorce, that can be emotionally devastating which deteriorates that essential need of bonding. It’s not uncommon for someone going through a divorce to be depressed and then that comes with a whole other set of symptoms that they then have to address.
What are some common challenges your clients deal with when it comes to long-term relationships? The most common problem is the inability to resolve conflict and still stay connected. The primary thing I do with couples is work with them on communication skills to be able to have a conversation rather than a fight. They need to know how to ask for change, express their own needs and share with their partner what they are feeling because nobody is a mind reader.
What are tips for keeping the romance aspect of a relationship alive? Consistent effort. I always equate it to keeping a healthy lifestyle: You can’t be in top physical condition and then just stop doing what you were doing because your physique will go away. You can go a day without eating well or working out, but if it becomes a habit you will see the deterioration. Relationships and romance are the same way. If you are in love, you did things to get there and you need to keep doing the same things to keep that romance. There needs to be alone time with your partner—without TV, phones and the children—just the two of you connecting and talking. There needs to be an effort to nurture and encourage that primary relationship.
Redskins training camp starts this month, but, back in May, the players donned their burgundy-and-gold jerseys and tossed around the football for an arguably more important reason. They welcomed more than 200 elementary school students from military and civilian families to Redskins Park in Ashburn for United in Play, an annual event hosted by former Redskin Derrick Dockery and his wife, Emma.
The couple founded Yellow Ribbons United when Emma’s brother, David, died serving in Afghanistan in 2012. The DC-based nonprofit strives to bridge the gap between military and civilian life with inclusive events and social action that expresses appreciation for the sacrifices military families make. Yellow Ribbons United puts a special emphasis on children in military families through events such as United in Play. On Armed Forces Day, the kids were treated to a day of games, activities and team-building exercises led by 22 members of the Redskins’ rookie class.
“My brother paid the ultimate sacrifice in his service to our country,” says Emma, whose father retired as a colonel after serving in the United States Army for 30 years. “As my dad always said, ‘In the military, you don’t make friends, you make family.’ That’s something that was never lost on me. I can’t pay it back, but I am committed to paying it forward. The families of our brave men and women in uniform deserve that.”
This was the sixth year for the family-friendly football event and, according to Derrick, the players love it just as much as the kids.
“It’s an honor to give back to military families across the region,” he says. “As a player, I always enjoyed the chance to connect with military children and I know these guys do as well. Nothing can unite kids from different backgrounds quite like sports.”
This post originally appeared in our July 2019 issue. To stay up to date with everything going on in the NoVA region, subscribe to our newsletter.
Some of the Sunday shows begin looking like carbon copies of each other during a primary season. The same set of candidates cycle through the various networks giving basically the same focus group tested answers to the same questions. But yesterday we at least got a bit more entertainment value when Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez showed up on This Week on ABC. The host brought up some #MeToo issues and AOC was quick to light into both Bill Clinton and Joe Biden. Given that Biden is running for the Oval Office now, they explored his “unwelcome contact” issues and the congresswoman launched into a meandering diatribe about how “not all women” are comfortable with his explanations and course corrections over all of the hugging and hair sniffing. (Free Beacon)
On ABC’s This Week, the freshman Democrat took issue with Clinton getting a “pass” on his sexual misconduct and Biden causing women “discomfort” with how he touched them. She told anchor Jonathan Karl that Biden not being suspected of serious sexual misconduct doesn’t mean he’s “sufficiently answered” accusations from women of inappropriate touching.
“I think that is an issue where there is a struggle, I’ll be completely honest. I don’t think he has—I wouldn’t say it’s an incredibly severe—like I don’t think voters think that he’s necessarily guilty of sexual misconduct or anything like that,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “I do think that there may be some discomfort, especially seeing some clips this week and, you know the week before, telling a 13-year-old, telling her brothers to watch out for her, and I think there are some things with female voters that it’s just not quite locked down.”
Here’s the video. It’s a bit over five minutes long, but most of the good stuff is in the early portion.
Despite saying that she doesn’t think “he’s necessarily convinced all women,” AOC wasn’t ruling Joe out entirely. She’s willing to support him if he’s the eventual nominee, but she also doesn’t sound like she plans to do anything to help him achieve that goal.
I’m sure she’s technically correct that Biden hasn’t convinced “all women” but he’s certainly convinced quite a few of them. One poll after another has shown that a solid majority of women do not feel that Biden’s behavior should be seen as disqualifying. Also, the guy is hanging on to a roughly twenty point lead nationally and you don’t manage that without significant female support.
There was one other nugget from the AOC interview that was only tangentially related to Biden. She was asked how she felt about the former VP’s multiple flip-flops on the Hyde Amendment. Her response was curious, to say the least. She first agreed that opposition to the amendment should be “a baseline for all candidates.” But she then went on to suggest that the Hyde Amendment isn’t really about abortion anyway. No… really.
“The Hyde Amendment is not about abortion per se,” she added. “The Hyde Amendment is truly about equality of health care and health care access for low-income women and women of color and women that get caught in our mass incarceration system.”
She’s introducing an amendment to roll back the Hyde Amendment. After listening to this interview I have to wonder if she’s ever even read it.
If you were watching any cable news yesterday you were likely treated to a number of split-screen moments as the Barr hearing unfolded at the same time that an apparently failed coup attempt was taking place in Venezuela. Most of the networks broke away at one point to cover some remarks by John Bolton on the subject. (More on that in a bit.) But if you happened to be watching MSNBC while all of this was going on, you might have caught one of the more bizarre bits of “analysis” to be broadcast in recent memory.
I didn’t happen to catch it myself (I was watching CNN), but the Free Beacon picked up on a segment where MSNBC hosts Brian Williams and Nicole Wallace were discussing the situation in Venezuela. After some of the usual chatter, Wallace suddenly declared (absent any evidence whatsoever) that it wasn’t entirely “clear” who the United States was backing in the standoff between dictator Nicolas Maduro and self-declared interim President Juan Guaido. The reason? Trump’s supposed collusion with the Russians, of course!
MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace said Wednesday that because of Russia it is “not clear which side we’re on” in Venezuela, as a news graphic flashed showing the Trump administration is firmly supporting the government’s opposition…
“I think one of the conundrums of the Trump presidency is because there’s been such a lack of clarity around foreign policy, around some key American adversaries like Russia, when these crisis come to pass, people are disoriented,” Wallace said. “It’s not clear which side we’re on, not that the side we’re on is everything. There are civilians on both sides. These stories are very disorienting for people.”
“I think these stories land in a very disorienting way to a country that’s been sort of pulled into politics on just about everything,” she added
This is simply stunning. At that same time that Wallace was saying all of this, the network’s chyron was literally declaring, “Venezuela braces for more turmoil as Trump admin supports opposition.” But perhaps we shouldn’t be too hard on Ms. Wallace. Maybe she doesn’t watch MSNBC. Still, the mendacity of that statement was breathtaking.
How much more evidence would anyone need? Their own network had just finished covering the interview with Bolton where he was still suggesting that we might have to send in troops to help eject Maduro. (Side note: I like John Bolton and have interviewed him a couple of times. But President Trump needs to get a leash on that guy once in a while. We don’t need another war in South America.) On top of that, the President has been out on social media backing Guaido all through this. In one thread he was threatening Cuba not to meddle in Venezuela’s affairs on the side of Maduro.
….embargo, together with highest-level sanctions, will be placed on the island of Cuba. Hopefully, all Cuban soldiers will promptly and peacefully return to their island!
Trump has repeatedly offered to have a plane standing by to whisk Maduro safely out of the country and create space for a peaceful transition of power. How anyone can interpret this situation as “unclear” (in terms of who we’re supporting) is simply bonkers.
The sad part is that I’ve always liked Nicole Wallace. She was one of the Republicans that MSNBC added to their lineup and I not only cheered on her show as her ratings grew but hoped that her presence might steer the network at least a small bit away from the far left fringe. But for some time now, it’s appeared that the opposite effect has set in. Wallace was once the comms director for George W. Bush, but these days she’s sounding a lot more like Rachel Maddow. Maybe there’s just something in the water cooler over at MSNBC that eventually gets to everyone.
Hey, do you remember all of the excitement over Betomania? It was all the rage for at least a week or so back in January or early February. Karen Townsend pondered the question a little while back, asking whatever happened to all the Beto excitement. At the time, she proposed that O’Rourke might run into some trouble making the transition from flavor of the week to a “regular” candidate needing to flesh out his proposals and stand out from the rest of the field. I’m sure that’s part of what we’re seeing, but this week Jack Shafer, writing at Politico, has identified another factor that may explain the missing candidate mystery. Beto’s earned media almost entirely dried up after most of the press found a new savior to fall in love with… Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
The Buttigieg boom has also benefited from the stumbles of our previous political shooting star, Beto O’Rourke. Was it only weeks ago that the press began swooning for O’Rourke like a drunken conventioneer, writing about him with the same frequency it does for Buttigieg today? The things that once seemed so appealing about O’Rourke to the press—the generalities, the platitudes, the offhanded charisma, the rolled-up sleeves—seem off-putting now. The clearest sign of the press corps’ O’Rourke infatuation was its routine reference to him by his first name in its stories—something it has moved on to doing with Buttigieg. Such shameful and transparent familiarity.
Having stripped the Kennedyesque Texan of his novelty, the press corps has dumped him for the Kennedyesque Hoosier like a speed-dater on the rebound from a Tinder relationship gone bad. Its transition to Buttigieg has been seamless, finding in him another candidate who speaks complete sentences, who likes the camera almost as much as it likes him, who subscribes to the usual Democratic articles of faith and scans like a lost episode of The West Wing.
A bit harsh, perhaps, but it certainly has the ring of truth to it. The town hall hosts at CNN and MSNBC have been shopping around for the ideal anti-Trump weapon and not doing much to hide those efforts. Beto initially filled the bill because of his high TV Q-score and his nearly successful effort to unseat one of the conservatives they despise the most… Ted Cruz. But the longer O’Rourke spent on his back roads journey to find himself (and America, I guess), the less grist he was delivering for the media mill. It was only a matter of time before his fans in the press moved on if a better opportunity presented itself.
Enter Mayor Pete. He came across as another ready for prime time face with an inspirational story. And unlike Beto, he was ready to give interviews to anyone, anywhere, any time, about anything. There were endless quotes available and heartwarming stories from his tenure as Mayor of South Bend. Sure, it would have been better if he’d been a minority or a woman, but at least he’s a married gay man, right? (That was another problem with Beto, by the way. Straight, white male. They’re just the worst.)
The amount of earned media showered on Buttigieg is rapidly eclipsing the love the press corps dumped on O’Rourke and it’s paying off for him in a big way. His fundraising numbers for the first quarter were impressive, if not record-setting. The latest national poll has him slipping ahead of Beto, though not by much (yet). If he manages to keep up with this pace and doesn’t shoot himself in the foot along the way he’ll be an actual contender.
But contender for what? The way things look right now, the eventual whittling down of the Democratic field will have to start some point later this year. (Probably after the Iowa straw poll.) There’s a good chance that we’re heading for a three-way race. It will likely come down to Joe Biden (assuming he gets in), Bernie Sanders and the person who is neither Sanders nor Biden. Beto is one of many hopefuls trying to land that third slot, and it will have to be somebody with more progressive bona fides than Creepy Uncle Joe, but not full-on, crazy pants socialist like Bernie.
Wouldn’t it be odd if the final three standing at the end were all white men? I’m not sure what that might say about the dawning of the age of intersectionality. But there’s still one threat hanging over Mayor Pete’s future. What if the press finds a new flavor of the week they like even better? Politics can be a cruel sport at times.