We're traveling south to Richmond for Thanksgiving and the only store within a few miles of my mom's house is a Food Lion -- so that's where we make most of our quick runs for our Thanksgiving meal. Food Lion just launched a one-stop website where you can save time and money with your favorite Food Lion coupons and brands called the Food Lion MVP Coupon Hub. I just checked it out - and you can sign in easily using your Google account or your Food Lion MVP account.
There are two types of coupons offered - load to card or print at home coupons. You can search for specific items and filter by expiration date and coupon value -- and then load the deals straight to your MVP card ready for your next shopping trip!
To help you get a jump start on savings -- we're giving away a $100 Food Lion Gift Card. So, go out and start saving at your local Food Lion! Enter below via rafflecopter to win! Contest will run through Black Friday.
Last week we were invited into härth at the Hilton McLean in Tysons Corner for a special "Foodie-in-Training" dinner for B with Executive Chef Luc Dendievel, who joined harth in May of this year. Prior to harth, Chef Luc managed food & beverage operations at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel and its critically-acclaimed French bistro, Café du Parc. The recently launched fall menu and soon-to-launch Foodie-in-Training menu are Chef Luc's first at harth.
Chef Luc is a huge proponent of exposing kids to different foods early on -- and involving them in the culinary process from the start. I found out that when he takes his own children grocery shopping, he has one rule: they can pick the food -- BUT they have to choose at least one item they have never tried before. Chef Luc also makes sure preparing these new foods is a hands-on learning experience for his children. It is this philosophy that inspired his Foodie-in-Training menu, a three course menu, aimed to cultivate healthy, mini-gourmands, so sophisticated that parents will want a bite! (which I did do!)
The a la carte menu includes a selection of starters, main plates (B loved the pork and veal meatballs), desserts, even mocktails! B thought he was hot stuff while sipping on Chef Luc's fancy "no-jito". Each menu included fun facts about the ingredients such as härth's rooftop honey supply and truffle oil.
While B ordered off of the Foodie-in-Training menu, I checked out the new fall menu. I recommend the saffron steamed mussles, beet and goat cheese salad, and the NY Strip Steak! Check out the pics below from our meal :)
Special thanks to harth at Hilton McLean in Tysons Corner for inviting us in to sample the fare!
Want to strike a pose with Beyonce or meet Obama in the Oval Office? Come to Madame Tussauds Washington, D.C.and you can! Madame Tussauds is a highly-interactive wax attraction that invites guests to meet all 44 U.S Presidents, A-list celebrities, and many more!
Madame Tussauds DC is offering an exclusive giveaway to readers of Real Housewives of Northern Virginia! One lucky child will receive a free birthday party for 10 guests held at Madame Tussauds!
One winner will receive the Red Carpet Affair Birthday Package, including: Admission, scavenger hunt, celebrity statue, wax hand, gift bag, 2 cake pops, and fruit juice!
Additionally, readers of Real Housewives of Northern Virginia blog will receive a 20 percent discount on a special event held at Madame Tussauds when they mention the promo code “real housewives.” *This is an exclusive offer for blog readers only and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. It is offered on a first come-first served basis.
at my birthday/blogiversary party on Friday night, Booth-o-rama brought out an event photobooth to capture all of the fun we were having -- check out the pics below and browse the full album on my facebook page!
I can't make it to every event I'm invited to, so I sent my awesome neighbor Stephen and his gf to go check out the pre-screening for me!
guest post by Stephen Diehl
Short Spoiler Free Movie Review: Big Hero 6: Normally when it comes to a comic book movie, I'm chomping at the bit to see it like a little kid (Editor's Note: Those that know the author know that this is definitely true), but when it came to "Big Hero 6" I wasn't quite so sure. Having been a fan of comics since I could read (or at least had the ability to make sense of pictures), I was surprised to hear that "Big Hero 6" was actually based off of Marvel Comic's characters. This was news to me until I turned to the Source of All Knowledge for further enlightenment. Google helpfully pointed out that I'd actually seen the comic book years ago although it hadn't really registered. It is worth noting that while this is a Disney movie production of a Marvel comic, there isn't much emphasis on the fact that it is based on a Marvel comic (absent is the ubiquitous page turning "Marvel" logo during the opening credits), perhaps in a conscientious effort to not have this movie associated with the more unified and cohesive universe gradually established in the Iron Man and Avengers movies. Now that I've gotten those geeky little details out of the way I'll get on with my actual review which is what you, my dear readers, are here for.
Would an animated movie obviously aimed at children capture the interest of this 30-something man? Yes, yes it would. From start to finish, I was fully engaged and was pleased to see that--although this wasn't a Disney Pixar movie--there was an animated short called "Feast" that played before the main feature that focused on an adorable canine. After watching the short I wasn't surprised to learn that John Lasseter (known for Toy Story, Cars, and many other beloved Pixar movies) was the Executive Producer of both the short and the feature film. As for the feature film, the basic plot is one you've probably seen a million times about an orphaned boy genius becoming a reluctant hero and saving the world with the help of the colorful cast of characters that make up his motley crew. Without revealing too much (and at least maintaining the "spoiler free" aspect of my review since this probably won't count as "short"), all of the familiar themes and morals you might expect in a Disney movie are there in this family-friendly film and the film includes myriad allusions and shared elements with many other movies and stories such as Batman, Iron Man, Iron Giant, Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, The Avengers, and even the recent Guardians Of The Galaxy movie.. Heck, even the setting ("San Fransokyo") looks like a happier version of the futuristic city from "Blade Runner". That said, the movie is greater than the sum of its parts, and there was plenty of humor for all ages. The kids in the audience seemed to thoroughly enjoy it, and I *may* have even heard the seasoned veteran critic sitting next to me chuckle once or twice. The main star really is the tubby robot that features so prominently in the trailers. The animation was crisp and well rendered. The often round shapes reminded me of "Lilo & Stitch," and the soundtrack harkened classical music such as "Night on Bald Mountain" which was previously featured prominently in the Disney classic "Fantasia". In sum, I wholeheartedly recommend taking the family to see this movie. Just be sure to stay until the very end of the credits to be rewarded with a little something extra that won't be lost on my fellow Marvel fans. To say anything more would spoil it. 'Nuff said.
guest post by Michael Wood, CSCS, Koko FitClub
The holidays are approaching, a time when proper nutrition and good fitness habits tend to go right out the window for many people. Some studies suggest that average weight gain is around 5 pounds per person during the Thanksgiving to December holiday season, yet other, newer studies claim that the average person gains about a pound. Sounds like good news, right? Wrong. The same studies show that, for most people, this extra pound of weight is never actually lost. So, think of it as permanent, and over the years, it can accumulate. In five years, that’s 5 pounds of weight that doesn’t go away. Ten years? Ten pounds. What’s worse, people who are already overweight tend to gain more than a pound over the holidays, and most never lose that weight.
Even people who exercise regularly act as though they have a free pass to eat whatever they want during the holidays. One marketing director I know told me that she once ate FIVE whoopee pies on Christmas Eve, simply because her sister-in-law only makes them once a year. With Thanksgiving meals, extra cocktails, holiday parties and get-togethers all strung together, we all start having visions of sugarplums dancing in our heads – or maybe just the sugar part...
According to nationally recognized fitness expert and Koko FitClub Chief Fitness Officer, Michael Wood, CSCS, holiday weight gain can be avoided with some simple strategies, while still enjoying some holiday cheer.
· Eat a healthy, high fiber snack before you head out to holiday festivities. (Something like fruit, veggies or oatmeal.) This will help you avoid overindulging in high-calorie party food.
· Don’t waste calories on mindless munching. Skip the chips, pretzels and peanuts and spend calories on the holiday food you really love. Or, nosh on crudité and fill up at the veggie platter.
· Liquid calories are a killer this time of year. At holiday parties, alternate your favorite adult beverage with ice water. It prevents dehydration and slows down your rate of consumption. Fewer calories AND fewer headaches.
· Don’t eat after 8PM during the week. Michael’s secret weapon against sneaking an extra slice of pie before bed? Toothbrush and dental floss. Brushing and flossing right after dinner is a great deterrent for late evening snacking.
· Finally, get plenty of sleep. Burning the candle at both ends trying to be everywhere and do everything will have adverse effects on the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your body, causing unhealthy food cravings when you aren’t really hungry.
· Keep exercising. If you don’t exercise regularly, start now and keep it going during the holidays. A simple goal of maintaining your existing weight over the holiday season will put you in a great place come New Year’s resolution season. Don’t have an exercise plan, or don’t know what to do? Koko FitClub can help. Koko offers a 30-day trial for just $30 with custom workouts and personal guidance every step of the way.
We now know that preventing holiday weight gain plays a big role in maintaining a lifelong healthy weight. And the good news is, it really doesn’t take much to keep holiday weight gain at bay. Eat well before the holidays, tag on a couple of extra cardio sessions each week in anticipation of indulging in your holiday favorites, and be prepared with a few strategies for when you are faced with the inevitable temptations of the season.
Need a little help starting a 30-day fitness plan of your own?
Join me and come check out Koko FitClub in Ashburn, Great Falls, Herndon and Reston for a 30-day trial, just $30. Meet our team of certified FitCoaches, experience all that the digital gym has to offer, and see how 30 days can keep you looking and feeling fabulous this holiday season.
About Michael Wood, CSCS
Michael Wood, CSCS, is Chief Fitness Officer at Koko FitClub, driving the development of integrated strength and cardio training and nutrition programs for Koko members nationwide. A nationally acclaimed fitness expert, Michael has conducted research as a Senior Exercise Physiologist at the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory at the Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, and has lectured at Boston University and the University of Connecticut. He has been named Boston Magazine’s "Best of Boston" Personal Trainer, and made the Men's Journal "Dream Team" list of the nine best trainers in the U.S.
*sponsored content provided by Koko FitClub
It's getting to be that time of year when company starts coming to visit for the holidays! My parents are arriving tonight to help me kick off "my" holiday season a little early and celebrate my Blogiversary and birthday this weekend :)
As if the stress of the holidays isn't enough, how about adding that frantic "let's get this house clean before so-and-so arrives" that always seems to happen at the last minute. Well, Maid to Please would love to take care of that for you -- and to help you out this holiday season, Maid to Please is giving away a $200 WHOLE HOUSE CLEANING!
Maid to Please was established in the DC area in 1991 and is one of the first companies to offer an instant quote online based on your selections. By combining the convenience of online customization and online payment with the peace of mind of having a trained, insured, and bonded cleaning staff - Maid to Please is able to offer a hassle free service to it's customers.
guest post by Patty Pierleonardi
Mickey Mouse has been a household name since 1928 when Walt Disney created this official mascot of the Walt Disney Company.
Speedy Gonzales is the Looney Tunes “fastest mouse in all of Mexico”, with his oversized sombrero and his exaggerated Mexican accent.
Stuart Little is the adventurous talking mouse, born to human parents in New York City, written by E.B. White in 1945.
The Steven Spielberg’s animated television series, Fievel’s American Tail, is about a family of Jewish-Russian mice who emigrate to the Wild West. The adorable Fievel Mousekewitz, steals the hearts of every viewer.
What do all of the above mentioned characters have in common? Yes, they are all mice and they are all depicted as cute and cuddly creatures that every little girl and boy want to have as their own.
Unfortunately, Disney World and the movies do not show the realistic side of mice, the harm that can come from their presence in your home, the health risks to humans and the destruction of crops and farms they can create.
Here are a few “eye opening” facts about the common House Mouse:
-House mice enter homes between October and February, looking for food, water and shelter from the cold.
-House mice eat between 15-20 times a day, not just cheese!
-House mice are good jumpers, climbers and swimmers. They can jump a foot into the air, allowing them to easily climb on kitchen counters. They are tiny Olympians!
-House mice can squeeze through openings as small as a dime.
-House mice have many predators so their life span is only about 5 months. Just ask Tom and Jerry!
-House mice can carry 200 human pathogens, including the Hantavirus and Salmonella. If that isn’t disgusting enough, each house mouse produces 40-100 droppings a day! They also leave micro-droppings of urine as they walk around your house. The good news is that they do not vomit!
-A female house mouse can produce up to a dozen babies every three weeks. This adds up to 150 babies a year!
So, if you spot a mouse in your house, it is probably safe to say there are others, or will be others soon. Octomom has nothing on a female mouse!
House mice can put your home at risk for electrical fires by gnawing through wires. Their small sharp teeth can leave gnaw marks on corners of objects they frequently travel along. They tend to build nests in soft material, such as insulation, pillow pets, stuffed animals and a snuggie here and there!
They are most active in the evenings and can be heard gnawing and scratching within walls. If you have an infestation, you can smell the urine, a distinct odor of a large rodent population. Purchase a black light and your world will never be the same!
To help control a mouse infestation, seal all cracks and crevices with caulking or steel wool. Store food in glass or metal containers with lids and clean countertops and floors immediately, since mice acquire most of their food from particles left on the floor and tabletops.
So, what we have learned is that the cartoon mice that we all love and know are not related to the real House Mouse at all. Mickey and Minnie have never had babies, I’ve never seen Speedy Gonzales urinate as he runs, and Stuart Little did not start an electrical fire at his parents New York City home by chewing the wires.
As the temperature drops, remember the saying “not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse”, DON’T BELIEVE IT! Call PMSI at 703-723-2899 or visit our website at www.mypmsi.com to rid your home of the House Mouse so you can enjoy your cartoon favorites without experiencing the real thing!
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!
Hi! my name is Andrea and I'm a not-so-average Northern Virginia blogger, mom, and transplant from the Midwest. I host Girls Night Out events, meet ups, and write about events and my adventures in the DC area. I love to travel, brunch, and drink wine with my neighbors! I'm known to live on the wild side and order Venti iced double shots at 5pm.