Birthday Bucket List Ideas

– Jennifer Elkhouri

A friend on Facebook recently celebrated a birthday and posted his birthday Bucket List — a list of things he would like to accomplish or experience over the next 12 months; with the number of items on the list equivalent to the number of years you are turning the following year. So if you are turning 24, your list will have 25 items on it; if you are turning 80, you will have 79 items on your list. My thinking is: be sure most items on your list are achievable and affordable — OR — limit yourself to twelve really amazing items and focus on doing one per month.

I was really drawn to this idea of a Birthday Bucket List — partly because my friend had some really neat items on his list (get ordained, finally do a respectable flip off a diving board, take boys on their first backpacking trip, surf on the east coast, see my abs, document the whole list), but also because of the definitive time limit to it. Traditional Bucket Lists are so open-ended that many of the experiences aren’t achieved because the list is just “out there” without any time goals. [I’m guilty of this.]

I thought it would be neat to compile a list of 25 ideas for Birthday Bucket Lists — some my own, some borrowed from others (like my friend), and I would love to hear your ideas as well!

  1. Attend CureFest in DC.
  2. Try to recreate a recipe of a dish from your favorite restaurant.
  3. Visit a museum you’ve never been to before.
  4. Visit a small town and learn something about their history.
  5. Have coffee with someone 45 years older or 45 years younger than you.
  6. Visit a new state.
  7. Start a savings account (or, if you are all set in that category, start a savings plan for a child-in-need).
  8. Go see a concert in the summer.
  9. Go for a mile long walk in the snow.
  10. Read a book from Thomas Jefferson’s recommended reading list.
  11. Take a free course from Harvard.
  12. Make a change to your hair color or hairstyle.
  13. Pray for a stranger you meet doing errands.
  14. Teach a child something.
  15. See a ballet, symphony, or opera. If you frequent those already, go see a battle of the bands at a local school.
  16. Commit to serving one day a month for a non-profit or cause near to your heart.
  17. Perform a Random Act of Kateness.
  18. Take a 30 day challenge.
  19. See a play hosted by a local theatre group.
  20. Buy a really nice staple item for your wardrobe.
  21. Watch the sunset.
  22. Watch the sunrise.
  23. Spend an entire day “not connected” (no phone, no internet).
  24. Go see a drive-in movie.
  25. Send a hand-written note to commend a worker at a company who went above and beyond.

I truly believe our creator wants us to live well — not in a selfish sense where we are only living for ourselves. He wants us serve and love others and He also wants us to enjoy the beauty of life that He has created. I think a Birthday Bucket List is a great way to ensure doing that!

 

A little story about a hair salon, a non-profit, and a solar powered ventilation system …

– by Jennifer Elkhouri

How does a hair salon, a non-profit that serves the adult autistic community and a solar powered ventilation system even go in the same sentence? It almost sounds like one of those, “a duck enters a bar jokes,” right?

We were introduced to Legacy Farms in 2015 after hearing about their agrarian-based job skills training program they were offering for our local adult autistic community. We really liked what Legacy LegacyFarmsLogoFarms was doing and selected them as our July 2015 Community Outreach Partner. This year, Legacy Farms has a special project they’ve asked us to help with, and we are super excited to help!

Legacy Farms is a nonprofit, green care venture providing employment support services and agrarian based vocational training to adults with autism and other developmental and social challenges. In short, Legacy Farms teaches people with disabilities the skills they need for entry level positions in Northern Virginia’s agribusiness and agritourism industries, then connects them with local employers in need of help.

Over the last two years, the Legacy Farms Summer Garden Project has been responsible for placing over a half a dozen individuals with autism at Sunset Hills Vineyard, Tarara Winery, and A Farm Less Ordinary. This year, Legacy Farms is expanding their services to provide year-round programs, beginning with their new greenhouse. Legacy Farms donates 60% of their food to Loudoun Hunger Relief and other local organizations in need; providing year-round growing opportunities is vital to keeping food flowing to those in need and will provide year-round training to our local adult autistic community.

Monticello-Solar-Powered-Ventilation-SystemMany of the participants in the Summer Garden Project have sensory sensitivities — extreme heat and cold can deter them from learning and cause anxiety. And, a greenhouse can get REALLY hot in the Summer. Another challenge Legacy Farms was trying to solve is to ensure their fruits and vegetables flower so that they will produce. Many plants will not flower at temperatures over 85 degrees. Legacy Farms was looking for a way to keep their participants cool and anxiety-free and at the same time, keep the program as green as possible. After extensive research, Legacy Farms decided on a Monticello Solar Powered Ventilation System for the greenhouse. The commercial fan, exhaust louvers and thermostat are all made in the USA. The unit’s capability can produce more than 2 times the needed power to operate the fan at 100%, which allows for future expansion of needed greenhouse options such as lighting and heating.

And here’s where a hair salon, a non-profit and a solar powered ventilation system meet. We are looking to raise $1400 so Legacy Farms can purchase this essential system for their program. We will be donating $1 from every haircut in April to meet the goal which will get us about half way there, but we need YOUR help to reach $1400! You have the opportunity to add a donation at checkout on your visit in April, or you may donate now via the button below:

 

DonateNow

Helping our neighbors who have suffered brain injuries.

BIS_Woodbridge-6Every day the unthinkable happens … a car accident, a fall, a stroke. For thousands of children and adults in our community who have sustained a brain injury, stroke, or concussion, navigating a way forward after these kinds of traumatic events can be challenging. Brain Injury Services is there to help and has taken a leadership role in developing community based services specifically for residents across Northern Virginia, Fredericksburg, and the surrounding counties who have sustained brain injuries. Each year, Brain Injury Services assists over 600 individuals and families to help build the skills and confidence they need to lead productive and fulfilling lives.

We encourage you to take five minutes to watch this video where you can meet and hear from our local neighbors who have been blessed by service from Brain Injury Services.

Our philosophy is simple: No two people are alike. And, since the brain defines each of us, controls how we think, move, act, and feel, no two brain injuries are alike. Brain Injury Services designs a plan based on the needs and goals of each individual. Whether it is finding Sherida a secure place to live or helping Katy’s family find their new normal, Brain Injury Services strives to help all of our clients achieve their best life and dream the impossible.

This March, Salon Khouri is donating $1 from every haircut from our Fairfax and Dulles locations to Brain Injury Services to help support our local brothers and sisters who have experienced a traumatic brain injury. Please take a moment to visit their website to learn more.

$40 Instant SK Cash toward Coppola Keratin Treatment or Airwave Curling Treatment

We have an amazing, limited time promotion! Now through March 11, 2017, you receive $40 instant SK Cash toward a Coppola Keratin Treatment* or an Airwave Curling Treatment.

AirWaveBeforeAndAfter

Airwave Before and After – beautiful, subtle, soft curl.

 

Keratins

Coppola Keratin Treatments smooth the hair cuticle – removing frizz and therefore reducing blow dry time.

 

* Cannot be combined with other offers or promotions except our new client referral gift card. Cannot be redeemed for cash or other services. Promotion applied toward full Coppola Keratin Treatment or Airwave Perm Curling Treatment only. The Airwave is available only at our Fairfax location. Valid from February 17, 2017 through March 11, 2017. Limited appointments available.

Ellie’s Hats: Our February Community Outreach Partner

Ellie's HatsEllie’s Hats is a Northern Virginia Non-Profit who seeks to bring joy and help to local families whose children are battling cancer. Ellie’s Hats was inspired by a sweet NoVa girl, Ellie Whitfield, who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in the Spring of 2013. After losing her hair from chemotherapy, Ellie began to wear different fun hats to school to help express her personality. Her P.E. teacher, Jay Coakley, noticed her affinity for “fun and cheery hats” and organized a hat drive to provide Ellie with a broader selection of hats to wear – and thus was born Ellie’s Hats! Thousands of children across the country now receive new hats through Ellie’s Hats.

In addition to providing joy to kids battling cancer by providing unique, fun hats, Ellie’s Hats collects gift cards and other items to give to local families whose children are battling cancer. Also, in 2014, Ellie’s Hats worked closely with Team Mathias to introduce a Cure Childhood Cancer License Plate in honor of Mathias Giordano to help spread awareness about childhood cancers. Mathias, diagnosed in 2012 with Osteosarcoma, inspired thousands through his determined cheer, his powerful courage and his extreme kindness. Mathias passed after a 28 month battle in December 2014.

We are so honored to partner with Ellie’s Hats by selecting them again as our February Community Outreach Partner. We will be donating $1 from every haircut this February to this amazing, local non-profit. Also, you too can help Ellie’s Hats directly by going to their upcoming fundraiser on March 10th at Blackfinn Ameripub in Ashburn.

ElliesHatsHappyHour

Freezin’ for a Reason in 2017!

This is our third year jumping as a team into the ice cold water of Lake Anne. But, we sort of have a soft spot for kids, particularly kids fighting life-threatening diseases such as cancer. We encourage you to join our team and jump with us! Or, make a donation to support our jump. No amount is too small! We have learned that little makes big and appreciate every dollar you donate to support Camp Sunshine.

2016 SK Team Polar Dip Jumpers

2016 SK Team Polar Dip Jumpers

This year, we are again jumping in memory of precious Kate Rhoades. Kate was just four years old when she lost her battle to leukemia on Jan 12, 2016 after a sudden and unexpected relapse. To know Kate was to love her. Her sweet little smile and curiosity about life was contagious. We will never forget her and are honored to jump in her memory so that we can share her story with others.

Adorable Kate.

Adorable Kate.

2016 was a relentless year for cancer. Our local community lost several amazing kids to this disease – Kate, Alex, and Daniel. SK Stylist, Jelena Williams, also learned that her friend’s daughter, Savvie, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. We are also jumping to honor these sweet and amazing kids. Our heart is broken into a million pieces each time another child is taken by cancer. We hope Kate, Mathias, Gavin, Gabby, Erin, Delaney, Alex, Chris, Isabella, Casey, Kylie, Erin, Declan, Shannon and others who lost their battles too soon are watching us jump like maniacs into the ice cold waters of Lake Anne with tremendous grins on their sweet faces!

100% of money raised goes to send local families who have children battling a critical illness for a week of respite to Camp Sunshine. Camp Sunshine provides encouragement, relaxation, joy, and hope to children with life-threatening illnesses and their immediate families from around the world through the various stages of their journeys. The year-round program is free of charge to all families, and includes 24-hour onsite medical and psychosocial support. Camp Sunshine also provides bereavement sessions for families who have lost a child to supported illnesses.

We will be donating $1 from every haircut from both our Fairfax an Dulles locations this January to Camp Sunshine. Additionally, we will be drawing one lucky winner for a $100 Gift Certificate to Salon Khouri from everyone who donates toward our jump!

 

Epic inspiration from a boy named Mathias

by Jennifer Elkhouri

mathiasIf you want to see love, and I mean real love, just take a few minutes to scroll through photos on the Team Mathias Facebook page. I will warn you — there is such beautiful love displayed in these photos that you will be overwhelmed.

Mathias exuded love. Through his smile. Through his heart for others. Even while he himself was battling osteosarcoma, he was always thinking of how to help others and to put others before him. Selfless love.

You will see photos of Mathias’ brother, Troy, and Mathias’ mom and dad, Roya and Chris. And in those photos, you will see the tremendous love they have for each other and Mathias.

In other photos, you will see teams of people jumping into ice cold water for Mathias; hundreds gathering in a field to create a gigantic human yellow-gold ribbon for Mathias, and you will see many photos of breathtaking sunsets shot days after Mathias passed when the evening sky displayed colors that only seem possible in dreams. You will indeed see beautiful displays of love from Mathias, from his family, and from the community that surrounded him during his battle with cancer.

childhood_cancer_plate32You will also see lots of photos scattered throughout of Cure Childhood Cancer license plates — a plate that didn’t exist in Virginia prior to 2015. Mathias wanted so badly to spread awareness about Childhood Cancer and his passion inspired the ‘Mathias Bill’, or HB1319, which created a Cure Childhood Cancer specialty license plate available in Virginia. (Other states are following and creating specialty Childhood Cancer Plates! #Epic!) Roya worked with Jay Coakley of Ellie’s Hats, and Del. Tag Greason (R-32nd), to create the bill in honor of Mathias after Roya learned there was no specialty plate in Virginia for childhood cancer. Upon telling Mathias that there was no specialty plate to spread awareness about the disease he and many other children were battling, Mathias replied, “That can’t be right. Everyone knows what the pink ribbon stands for. We have to get the gold out there, Mom.” Our cars proudly display CC plates and we would love to honor Mathias by asking you to apply for a specialty Cure Childhood Cancer plate for your cars through the DMV. Let’s make the yellow gold ribbon as ubiquitous as the pink ribbon in honor of Mathias and other precious children who have lost their battle to cancer.

Mathias passed on December 7, 2014. I had never met him, but had been following his story on Facebook as our family prayed for him daily. We did little things from afar to support Mathias. I asked our kids if they would like to be a part of the giant gold ribbon mathiasribbongathering in to support Mathias — it was something we felt we could do to show our support and love for him. There was just something about Mathias that grabbed my heart. A lot of these kids do, but Mathias really drew me in. He was the kind of boy I wanted our son to grow to be – kind, loving, trusting in God, and with an excellent sense of humor to boot! Our family was devastated when he passed. I attended Mathias’ funeral and sat next to a group of young girls about Mathias’ age. I wept with them and shared my tissues. My heart was broken to pieces for Mathias’ family — for such a heavy and hard loss. It’s almost been two years and I still think of Mathias almost daily. I smile with joy when I see photos of Mathias. Our littlest yells out, “Mathias!” anytime she spots a Team Mathias bumper sticker, shirt or a CC license plate. I wave at drivers who have CC plates and smile, thinking of what an inspiration Mathias continues to be to so many.

This December, Salon Khouri is donating $1 from every haircut from both our Fairfax and Dulles Landing locations to Team Mathias. Additionally, we are collecting gift cards to donate to Team Mathias for Team Mathias Care Packages. Mathias wanted to create care packages for families of children battling cancer. He especially wanted siblings included! Gift cards from Bed Bath and Beyond, Target, Itunes, and Amazon are perfect for these Care Packages. And, for each gift card you bring to Salon Khouri for donation to a Team Mathias Care Package, we will enter you into a drawing to win a $50 Salon Khouri Gift Certificate as our way of saying thank you. Also, if you have a Cure Childhood Cancer plate, post a photo to our Facebook page to be entered into a drawing to win a customized Kevin Murphy Treat.Me hair treatment and blow dry!

Ensuring meals for our neighbors in need

We are so blessed and honored to be able to support our community. It’s one of the things we love most about being entrepreneurs! This November, we have once again selected Dulles South Food Pantry (DSFP) for our community outreach partner for our Dulles Landing Location and we have selected Western Fairfax Christian Ministries (WFCM) Food Pantry for our community outreach partner for our Fairfax location. Both non-profits serve by ensuring our neighbors have food on their tables. We will be donating $1 from every haircut in the month of November from our Fairfax location to WFCM and $1 from every haircut from our Dulles Landing location to DSFP.

wcfmlogoDullesSouthFoodPantry

We just love what these two organizations are doing for our communities by providing the most basic of needs to our friends and neighbors. In 2015, WFCM served 889 households with 32,776 bags of free groceries. In 2015, Dulles South Food Pantry gave over 95,000 pounds of food to our neighbors in need.

In addition to donating a portion of our November proceeds, we will also be collecting food items for both WFCM (Fairfax location) and DSFP (Dulles Landing location). Please see a list of needs below and please bring in non expired items only. To thank you for your generosity, for every item you donate, you will be entered into a raffle to win a Kevin Murphy Treat.Me conditioning treatment!

 Items Needed for WFCM

  • Canned tuna, ham, chicken, turkey or beef
  • Canned fruit
  • Peanut butter and jelly
  • Cereal and oatmeal
  • Beans – canned or dried
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Pasta and pasta sauces
  • Rice (small bags or boxes)
  • Canned tomatoes – whole, diced, or stewed
  • 100% fruit juice
  • Flour, sugar, oil

 

 Items Needed for DSFP

  • Fruit (canned, plastic or dried)
  • Instant mashed potatoes
  • Gravy (cans, jars or dry packets)
  • Boxed shelf stable milk
  • Tomato products of all kind
  • Corn bread or corn muffin mix
  • Dry mixes for rolls or pie crust
  • Canned tuna, chicken or meat
  • Crispy fried onions
  • Yams
  • Cooking oils
  • Pancake or baking mix
  • Breakfast cereal and oatmeal
  • Breakfast bars, granola bars
  • Grocery store gift cards

 

Tigerlily Foundation is making strides in the Metastatic Breast Cancer Field

Tigerlily logoWe are so happy to be once again partnering with Tigerlily Foundation, a local non-profit committed to educating young women around the world about breast cancer and empowering them to be their own best advocates. Tigerlily Foundation was founded by Maimah Karmo after she was diagnosed with breast cancer at just 32 years young. Thankfully, Maimah’s faith and tremendous family support got her through her treatments. She emerged on the other side a transformed woman and wanted to create an organization that would help other young women diagnosed with breast cancer.

Tigerlily Foundation recently partnered with Dr. Nikhil Wagle, of The Metastatic Breast Cancer Project, led by the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, a nonprofit academic research institution whose mission is to dramatically accelerate the understanding and treatment of disease. The Metastatic Breast Cancer Project is taking a new approach to cancer research itigerlilyalertsn which researchers partner directly with patients, who share their samples and clinical information in order to speed important discoveries. The project is being launched and funded by the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard — a non-profit academic research institution with a mission to dramatically accelerate the understanding and treatment of disease — and conducted in collaboration with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, and advocacy partners. The project’s goal is to reach out to patients with metastatic breast cancer around the country in order to study their cancer using cutting-edge genomic and molecular research studies performed at the Broad Institute by allowing patients to participate in these studies regardless of where they live. If you have been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer while you were 45 years or younger, you could help! Please visit the Tigerlily Foundation website to learn more. Additionally, you are invited to participate in the 5th Annual Young Women’s Breast Health Day on the Hill on Tuesday, 12/6/16.  The focus this year is related to metastatic breast cancer with Dr. Wagle participating. See the flyer below for more details.

This October, Salon Khouri will donate $1 from every haircut from our Fairfax and Dulles locations to Tigerlily Foundation. Additionally, we are participating in our 11th year of the Pink Hair for Hope campaign! Come in for a pink extension for $10 per strand with all proceeds going to breast cancer research funding through the Pink Hair for Hope project.

Tigerlily Foundation Young Women's Breast Health Day on the Hill

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