Tysons, VA

Founded in Vienna, Virginia, by an immigrant black woman from West Africa, The Scripture Company is the embodiment of a mission driven company. In the founder’s words, “Our mission is to create products that inspire women to seek spiritual wholeness, practice self-care and improve well-being.”

Their all-natural scented soy wax candles are inspired by powerful women whose legendary stories of survival, bravery, intelligence, tenacity and success are told in the Bible.

The four debut fragrances Queen of Sheba, Ruth, Hadassah and Proverbs 31 contain notes like bergamot, sandalwood, zesty lemon, florals like blue lilies and heavenly honey. These are the type of candles that you can smell through packaging and leave a room with hints of its presence long after the wick is snuffed.

The founders have perfected their signature candle making formula making them a strong contender against high-end designer brands. The candles are hand-poured in small batches and allowed to cure for several weeks before they are sold. They burn cleanly and evenly and infuse a room with exceptional scent.

It’s refreshing to see such mission-oriented brands emerging during this tumultuous COVID-19 period. Scripture is one such company that gives us all hope that there are still rainbows at the end of the storm.

Their holiday line themed Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh is now available for sale and pre-order via their website. Holiday pop-up shops will also be announced soon via their website.

Follow them on Instagram @thescripturecompany, or shop online at www.thescripturecompany.com.

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Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and M.D. with McEnearney Associates in Vienna. You can follow Laura on Instagram at @LauraSchwartzRealtor or her Facebook page. Laura can be reached at 703-283-6120 or [email protected].

“Throughout Vienna’s history, the Freeman Store has been a store, home, train depot, hotel, hospital, officers’ quarters, fire department and historic site — the building is on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places.” — The Historic Vienna, Inc. website

The Freeman Store is an iconic stop on downtown Church Street, next to the Vienna Town Green (which is the host of many events throughout the year), next to the W&OD, the gathering spot of the annual “Church Street Stroll” and tree lighting/menorah lighting at the holidays.

You’ll find the store has some of the cutest Vienna-centric gifts like blankets, water bottles, tea towels, pillows, ornaments, notecards and more. Mostly made by local artists, these are sold by the Freeman Store to support efforts by the Historic Vienna activities and programs. In the basement, you’ll also find a used book store.

Normal Business Hours (non-pandemic) March through December: Wednesday to Sunday, 12-4 p.m.; January and February are by appointment only.

**Starting Thursday, November 26 through December 20, the store will be open Saturday and Sunday 12-3 p.m.

They have random online pop-up sales with contactless pickup, but you’ll need to check the website for those date announcements, or follow them on Facebook or Instagram.

This is a great place to find house-warming gifts or gifts for people leaving the area, holiday gifts, ornaments, or keepsakes.

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Shop small from the comfort of your home this holiday season at the Creative Collective Virtual Holiday Pop Up, starting November 20.

For the past two years, Creative Collective has held a holiday pop-up at Tysons Corner Center featuring small, local businesses. This year, due to the pandemic, they are moving the pop-up online.

The Creative Collective Virtual Holiday Pop Up will feature videos from local creative makers, designers and curators.

“Our customers love meeting the people behind the products, learning about what inspires them and about their creative process. These videos help our customers make that personal connection with our local business partners,” said Aurelou Cole and Wendy Whittleton, owners of Creative Collective.

The Creative Collective Virtual Holiday Pop Up will showcase products from these local, predominantly women- and minority-owned businesses. “We love supporting small, local businesses. They have great products, and we hope this virtual holiday pop-up will help them during this very difficult time to continue to grow,” Cole and Whittleton said.

The Creative Collective Virtual Holiday Pop Up begins November 20. Follow the action at Creative Collective’s Instagram and Facebook pages (@creativecollectivepop).

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Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in Vienna. You can follow Laura on Instagram at @LauraSchwartzRealtor or her Facebook page. Laura can be reached at 703-283-6120 or [email protected].

I can’t believe Thanksgiving is right around the corner.

I find it incomprehensible we’ve been battling COVID-19 for nine months! I am also coming to grips with our own personal reality that my family will be (lucky enough) to spend Thanksgiving as a foursome instead of with our usual extended family.

Looking at the silver linings, that also means that I’m trying to take advantage of that and do things unconventionally. I tried to persuade my boys to do a seafood main, but that didn’t go over like I had expected, so we’re doing a small-scale turkey dinner. We’ve also contributed dinners to two families who needed help, so don’t forget about the different options to help others this year.

But let’s talk dessert. Maybe you’re a pumpkin or pecan pie kind of person, or maybe you go for an apple crisp like me. Or maybe this year you want to go crazy and get an ice cream cake. Whatever you’re looking forward to indulging in, I’ve got some ideas for you below.

Lots of local restaurants are also doing Thanksgiving dinners to go, so check with them if you’re looking for the whole shebang.

  • My favorite apple crisp is from The Fresh Market. Hands down.
  • Pie Gourmet — Try their chocolate cream pie, but they want orders by tomorrow, November 17. They also do savory pies if sweet isn’t your thing!
  • S’mores Pie from Amphora Bakery
  • Custard from Kiln and Co
  • Chocolates from Cocoa Vienna
  • Flourless chocolate cake (gluten free!) from Bazins
  • Hot Chocolate Bombs by Whisked by Mukta. These are so fun for kids, and my husband declared this the best hot chocolate.
  • Pastries from Sweetbites in McLean
  • Anything from Best Buns! They have a few specials for Thanksgiving that require 48-hour notice, including white chocolate cheesecake, pumpkin pie and chocolate bourbon pecan pie.
  • Chocolate Chip Espresso Cookie Dough Pie from Northside Social. (Pro tip: Try their quiche or pastries for breakfast as well)
  • Vienna Farmer’s Market local Savagely Good — they have gluten-free chocolate torte and key lime pie, but my kids love their cinnamon rolls.
  • A little treat just for the kids? Try a cake pop from Vienna local Delicioso Decor.
  • Another unexpected treat: 100 percent vegan, gluten- and soy-free custom cakes from plant-based Viva Sol.

One more thing — if you know anyone over the age of 70 spending the holiday alone, Medium Rare is delivering free meals to them.

No matter how you choose to spend your Thanksgiving, from my family to yours, wishing you a healthy and happy holiday.

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Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in Vienna. You can follow Laura on Instagram at @LauraSchwartzRealtor or her Facebook page. Laura can be reached at 703-283-6120 or [email protected].

What a year 2020 has been — highs and lows for everyone — but our community has a need for support for those struggling to pay rent and buy food.

I often see posts about ways to help and, especially at the outset of the holidays, now is a good time to explore some options on where to put your resources should you have any to give. We have A LOT of great organizations around to help, so depending on what speaks to you, I’m offering some options below (which also looks different than in years past). 

One thing I might offer: If you’re looking for a more direct impact in your own community, call your local school and ask if any of the families need help. The front office staff should be able to find out what families are in need at this time. 

If you’re looking for a larger organization to support, check out these options:

Britepaths

In a non-pandemic year, Britepaths offers the option of adopting a family at Thanksgiving where you can bring them food to cook a Thanksgiving meal themselves. However, due to COVID-19, they can’t facilitate the direct delivery of food this year. Therefore, Britepaths is looking for gift card donations for families to go shop for food themselves. Learn more here.

Food For Others

Food For Others distributes food to more than 2,600 local families in need each week. They collect food throughout the year, but especially around Thanksgiving, they need items like cranberry sauce, stuffing, green beans, pie filling, gravy and canned sweet potatoes. Find out more here.

Bringing Resources to Aid Women’s Shelters (BRAWS) (Vienna)

BRAWS was started by a Vienna local, Holly Seibold, to help bring menstrual supplies, underwear and bras to local women and girls in need in the area. They work with school districts, shelters, food pantries and other community organizations. To learn how you can donate supplies and/or funds learn more here.

The Lamb Center

The Lamb Center is a day-time drop-in homeless shelter where individuals can eat, take a shower, do laundry, get housing and job counseling, see a nurse or a dentist, and more — for free. They are accepting donations of cleaning supplies, travel hygiene items, clothing and juice. Get more information here.

Additionally, Vienna’s own Social Burger provides a weekly meal to the Lamb Center, which you can also sponsor. 

SHARE of McLean 

SHARE has a Holiday Celebration, which is their biggest event of the year. They need volunteers as well as donations. You can also sign up to host a food drive to help stock their pantry, which they use to give food and gift cards to families in need. They have in-person volunteer hours, which may involve moving furniture, sorting clothing or restocking the shelves. If you want a more hands-on interaction, you can also greet and register the clients.

Women Giving Back (WGB) (Sterling)

WGB is an organization that supports women and children with the basics to get back on their feet. Please check their site to see what items they need. You can drop them off locally at First Excel Title just outside of Oakton at 3201 Jermantown Road Suite 350 in Fairfax. The store throughout the rest of the year needs clothing, accessories, shoes and kids clothes. Learn more here.

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The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact every aspect of modern-day life, from the way consumers buy their groceries to how employees connect to corporate systems. Learning is no exception.

Since the outbreak, online learning has become more central to people’s lives. And many plan to continue the trend: More than half of American adults who expect to need more education or training post-pandemic say they would do it online, according to an August 2020 survey by the Strada Education Network.

Yet not all online education is created equal — and IT pros looking to invest in a program should compare and contrast options carefully.

Whether pursuing a full-time master’s degree to deepen IT expertise or seeking a certificate to boost content knowledge in a specific area, there are many reasons why Virginia Tech’s 100% online Master of Information Technology program (VT-MIT) is a superior choice for IT leaders.

The U.S. News & World Report’s Best Online Programs report ranks Virginia Tech’s MIT degree the nation’s fourth best. The program blends coursework and offers twelve areas of specialized study for a diverse education.

Courses are taught by world-class faculty experienced in translating a robust academic experience to an effective online format. For nearly 20 years, the VT-MIT program has relied on a two-tiered system of master faculty and distance learning instructors who together deliver a superior online classroom experience that encourages peer-to-peer support, faculty-to-student mentoring and real-time engagement, making VT-MIT a leader in the online education space long before COVID-19 forced other programs to go virtual.

Students can also expect to reap these advantages:

  • Increased Flexibility  Students can choose their own timeline and toggle between full- and part-time schedules, depending on employment status and current workload.
  • Greater Convenience –– A combination of synchronous and asynchronous online classes allows students to learn anywhere, anytime — ideal for remote workers unsure of when they may return to the office.
  • Enhanced Value Students can earn a VT-MIT degree at a universal tuition rate (no residency required) from a well-respected public institution.

Today’s IT professionals must act fast to keep pace with a rapidly evolving IT environment. Experience and specialized IT skills are critical to making the right technology decisions, at the right time. With the flexibility of an online VT-MIT degree or graduate certificate, IT leaders can strike the perfect balance: earn a respected credential that will help them confront the technological challenges of the 21st century while accommodating new realities.

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As the COVID-19 pandemic extends, many professionals are taking this time to prepare for the future by investing in graduate education. And there might not be a better time to do so.

Whether it’s the increased flexibility in classroom formats, frozen tuition rates, relaxed admission requirements, or reduced interest rates on student loans, there are plenty of reasons why students feel like this time period is a unique opportunity for them to build the skills and professional network they need to advance their career.

While fall classes have already started, there are still options for individuals who want to take advantage of graduate study opportunities before next year’s back-to-school season. Virginia Tech’s local Evening MBA program offers a spring entry term with classes starting January 19.

The Evening MBA is a top 20 nationally ranked program designed with maximum flexibility for working professionals.

Students choose their own course load each semester, so those dealing with job uncertainty or working parents with new childcare demands can find the right workload for them and even easily switch between full- and part-time status.

While classes typically take place in-person on weekday evenings at Virginia Tech’s conveniently located Falls Church center, the current environment shifted instruction mode to primarily online, with some classes still offering an in-person option.

The flexible program format contributed to what associate director of MBA recruiting Rebecca McGill described as a “significant increase in applications and enrollments for the fall term.” She added that many also chose this time to apply because they can “take advantage of relaxed GMAT/GRE test score requirements that have never been offered before.”

For spring applicants, the Evening MBA reduced the number of years of work experience required for a test score waiver from ten years to five.

McGill expects the increased application trend to continue for the spring term “as more and more individuals use this time to invest in themselves and their future.”

Applications for the spring semester are due December 1. Learn more at evening.mba.vt.edu.

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Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in Vienna. You can follow Laura on Instagram at @LauraSchwartzRealtor or her Facebook page. Laura can be reached at 703-283-6120 or [email protected].

The wind and rain yesterday had me checking my drains and downspouts, but I know not everyone has a fall “to do” list for prepping their home for the winter.

I hope you’ll take into consideration some of these suggestions to get your house ready for the colder months. I’m including some of my favorite vendors below, but if you want my full list of go to people, you can download it for free here.

  • Clean your gutters! You may need to do this a few times depending on how many trees are around your home, but make sure you check that the gutters stay empty to allow rain/snow somewhere to go! My go to: Maple Leaf and Gutterman Services.
  • Check your drains, especially if you have basement stairs — the easiest way to prevent water in your basement is to keep the drains free and clear of debris! You can do this yourself. Also check gutter downspouts that they’re not blocked by leaves or other debris.
  • Have your chimney checked and cleaned. You want to have it checked for cracks to make sure the smoke doesn’t blow back into your house. I use Chimney Doctor (they give a 10% off coupon if you say a realtor referred you). If you have gas fireplace and need help, call Mike at Nova Green Energy.
  • Get rid of the leaves! Town of Vienna has leaf collection, but in case you miss your day, or just want to bag up the leaves and dispose of them, my go to is Victor’s Lawn Services (703-593-7776) or [email protected].
  • Having any issues with your appliances? Call Vienna local Master Appliance Service.
  • Winterize your hose bibs! When our temp drops below freezing, your water lines to the outdoor can freeze and then burst. Find the shut off valves and turn them off, then turn on the hose bibs outside to let all of the water drain out. Leave it like that until the weather warms up again next spring. If you know where your shut offs are, this is easy to do yourself. If you need help and need a plumber, try Hicks Plumbing, Don’t forget to bring hoses inside.
  • Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors! Make sure there are new batteries installed and if the device is more than 10 years old, replace it!
  • Have your HVAC serviced. This should be done twice a year, but you don’t want to run into an unexpected issue. I use Mannix Heating and Cooling.
  • If you’ve just moved or just bought a home, go buy a shovel now! You can get them at McLean Hardware.
  • Holiday Décor! One of my neighbors already has their white holiday lights up and it brought so much joy just seeing them! If you’re looking to have holiday lights installed, many landscaping companies will do it. You can also try Shack Shine, Wheat’s, or Christmas Illuminations.

Bonus Tip: Have a long list of general to-do items you want repaired? Change out some lights, touch up painting, or change some tile? My handyman can do it all: C&M Handyman.

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With the heightened emphasis on continuous sanitation and comprehensive disinfecting of residential and work environments, it’s remarkable to find a professional cleaning company that is managing to save clients an average of 10 percent on cleaning costs.

Northern Virginia commercial and residential cleaning specialists WellNest Professional Cleaning has developed data-driven, evidence-based methods that allows them to clean when and where it is most efficient, and in doing so, has discovered cost-effectiveness that remains within budgetary restraints.

In other words, WellNest Professional Cleaning is working smarter, not harder. Here’s how:

The vetted, trained and dedicated “certified infection prevention” crew members of WellNest reallocate the frequency of cleaning from low-traffic areas to high-traffic areas by assessing building usage, density, traffic patterns, construction materials and ventilation systems. Applying the results of these studies, cleaners address areas of more frequent need with modern technologies, including electrostatic sprayers, autonomous vacuums, an autonomous floor scrubbers.

The combination of strategic emphasis and technological advancement is, indeed, working smarter, not harder. And each assessment is customized based on the client’s particular needs.

This innovative approach to cleaning has proven successful for WellNest since its inception in 2016, advancing the company to today’s status of 40 full-time employees — each trained by a janitorial industry veteran of 20-plus years — and helping thousands of commercial and residential clients throughout the region. Clients include office buildings, residential apartment buildings, banks, law offices, churches, private schools, fitness facilities, art studios, day-care facilities and, of course, home residences.

WellNest considers itself a strategic partner with its clients, emphasizing two-way communication, trust and transparency. During the pandemic, sanitation and disinfecting the work and home environment is more crucial than ever — it only makes sense to do it the smart way while remaining within or below budget.

Book a commercial client consultation or book a residential or move-in/move-out cleaningContact WellNest at [email protected]llnest.com or call 800-791-2878.

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Your child is invited to an online Halloween Math Escape Room on Friday, October 30 at 4 p.m.

The Russian School of Mathematics has created this online event where kids will solve mystery brainteasers, spooky riddles and eerie puzzles to find out the way to escape from our chilling adventure.

Join us dressed in your favorite costume and invite your friends to get into the holiday spirit together.

Register now for the October 30 event!

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