Alex Inspires Strength …

– Jennifer Elkhouri

Last March, we selected Alex’s Army Childhood Cancer Foundation as our March Community Outreach Partner. We shared with you the amazing grit this kiddo had since being diagnosed at age 5 with a Stage IV Wilms Tumor. On June 5th, 2016, we learned the heartbreaking news that Alex had passed after his 7 year battle with cancer. A part of us thinks he was beckoned to heaven by sweet Kate Rhoades for her 5th heavenly birthday so the two could be free, to bask in the glory of our creator — perfectly healed and perfectly whole. Hearing of Alex’s passing was a fierce kick in the gut, learning yet another precious child had lost their battle to the number one disease killer of children — one that is grossly underfunded in research and largely ignored by drug companies.

We love the mission of Alex’s Army Childhood Cancer Foundation and wanted to select them once again to be our Community Outreach Partner. The mission of AACCF is to raise awareness and funding for Childhood Cancer Research while providing Christian focused support to the Childhood Cancer Community. They do this through funding research for The Children’s Oncology Group, raising awareness at events such as Cure Fest, rallies and other events, and through their Prayer Pillowcase Project — handmade pillowcases embroidered with a bible verse that have been prayed over by those who make them.

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This July, we are donating $1 from every haircut to this unique, local non-profit. We would love to ask for your help, too! We are collecting fabric for AACCF to donate toward their Prayer Pillowcase Project. Please bring 1 yard pieces of a 100% cotton or a soft cotton blend to our Fairfax or Dulles locations this July.

We’ll also be practicing our push ups in the hopes we can once again join AACCF in trying to beat the Guinness World Record for the most people performing push ups at once. On April 8th, 2017, we attended the 1st attempt which had 1,108 people out of the needed 1,645 people to break the record! Why push ups? Hear the beautiful story shared by Jenni Green, Alex’s mom, on WGTS:

 

To love like Kate …

– Jennifer Elkhouri

Hello dear friends and SK Enthusiasts <3

I am asking you all, from the bottom of my heart, to please read this post. Don’t skip past it. I know each and every one of us are pulled in nine million directions on a daily basis, but please take just a moment to — pause — and take in these words.

I want so much to share Kate’s story to honor her life and her memory. Writing this will likely make me cry. I often cry when I think of Kate and her amazing parents, everything they went through and what they lost because of cancer. But writing this will also make me smile as Kate’s story is a story of love. She was here to LOVE and to show people how to love. And if Kate can impart a smile on even one person today through this post, that would be amazing. And my hopes run large, so I am going to add that we can spread awareness about childhood cancer through this post and even change lives through Kate’s story, here, in these pixels.

Kate was born June 5, 2011. She was a beautiful and perfectly healthy little girl, even if she decided to show up a wee bit early. Kate was ALWAYS surrounded by love at home, with Conan, her crazy dog; her most amazing Gamma as babysitter, and very loving mommy and daddy. And we can’t forget Kate’s Lovey, who went everywhere with Kate. In August of 2013, Kate was diagnosed with Pre-B Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. I have said this before and I will say it again — people hear leukemia, and a common response is, “oh, the good kind.” Please correct them — there is no ‘good’ cancer. And the only ‘good’ survival rate is 100%. Kate did amazing through the two years of chemo. There were awful days, and nausea and tears, but her body responded very well to the treatment and she was found cancer free quickly after beginning the treatment protocol for ALL. After her two and a half year treatment ended, Kate LIVED. She went to Disney World on an amazing Make-A-Wish trip. She went to the beach. She visited family. She started preschool!! Just four months after being off treatment, Kate relapsed. Within 15 hours of Kate’s diagnosis of relapse, she was gone. It was absolutely unexpected and a shock to everyone. I still feel like it isn’t real. I wish with my entire being it wasn’t real.

Kate was just four and a half years old when cancer took her, but she and her family have taught me and my family SO. VERY. MUCH. Be humble. Be silly. Love dinosaurs. Be good to your friends. Eat ice cream for breakfast. Love your family intensely. Love your children intensely. Never take one second for granted. Pay it forward. Giggle when you go down slides that lead into pools. Know that those we love who are no longer here are waiting for us, watching over us, but not missing us. Love others.

We will be donating $1 from every haircut this June to Kate’s Cause, in memory of Kate. We will definitely be eating ice cream for breakfast on Kate’s 6th heavenly birthday on June 5th. We would love for you to pay it forward with a Random Act Of Kateness and post on the Kate’s Cause Facebook page using the hashtags #RandomActOfKateness and #SKLove. Also, please plan on joining us at the Keg’s and Corks for Kids Cancer at Bad Wolf Brewery on September 10, 2017. This will be a FAMILY FRIENDLY event and we hope to see you there!

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Our May community outreach partner shares a few facts that can save your child’s life …

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Ashley Renee Thompson lost her life in a singular vehicular accident on June 10, 2003 — she was just sixteen years old. She was an advanced placement student, a competitive gymnast, and loved by her friends and peers. Her mother created The ART of Driving in memory of her daughter to increase awareness among teens and parents of the unique risks faced by young, novice drivers and to impress upon them the need for improved training, increased supervised time behind-the-wheel, and increased parental involvement. The ART of Driving is also advocating for improvements in driver education for our youth and seeks to change the mindset of teens and their parents that tragedies like this “won’t happen to me”.

Teen crash and fatality statistics are absolutely sobering:

  • 48% of all teen driving fatalities were single vehicle crashes.
  • Alcohol and drugs are NOT major causes for these fatalities – representing only 20%.
  • Inexperience and distractions are the leading cause of teen driving fatalities, particularly for 16 and 17-year-olds.
  • 54% of all teen passenger deaths occurred when another teen was driving.
  • The teen brain has not fully developed until the mid 20’s. They are susceptible to distractions, risk taking behaviors, and a limited capacity to multi-task.
  • 80% of crashes involve some form of driver inattention within three seconds before the crash.
  • The majority of teen auto fatalities occur on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Most of those deaths occurred between 9 p.m. and midnight.
  • 16 to 18-year-olds have the highest crash rate of any other age group.

So what can you do as a parent, grandparent, Godparent, Uncle, Aunt, friend to help save a child’s life? The Art of Driving has various resources to help. They can assist with starting a Teen Task Force at school or in a youth club or group. They will come speak at PTSA, Teen Night, Driver’s Education classes, SGA or any other interested group to help educate and enable our local youth to be more responsible and aware drivers.

We have once again partnered with The Art of Driving to raise money and awareness for this wonderful, local non-profit. We will be donating $1 from every haircut this May to The Art of Driving. There are a few ways you can help out as well:

  1. Register for the 3rd Annual Survive the 5 (with both 5k and 10k race options) to help raise awareness and support The Art of Driving educational programs and their scholarship fund.
  2. Have your child(ren) sign The Art of Driving Pledge.
  3. Purchase a copy of How the Firefly Got Its Name, written by Ashley when she was just twelve. (If your kids are too old for this book consider a purchase to donate to your local school library).

 

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Birthday Bucket List Ideas

– Jennifer Elkhouri

Birthday Bucket List

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

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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.

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

 

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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.

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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!

 

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