Year: 2018

One Million Light Festival Coming Soon to One Loudoun

The Holiday season and lights go hand in hand. Celebrate this holiday season by visiting a light display like nothing you’ve ever seen before: LightUP Fest. One Loudoun is bringing LightUp Fest, an eight-week exhibition that combines the latest lighting technology and artisan crafted lanterns, to Loudoun County beginning November 8.

LightUp Fest will span over 20 acres of land and will feature more than one million lights, making it one of the largest displays on the East Coast. With 77 stunning, differently-themed installations, LightUP Fest is a magical experience you won’t want to miss. This showcase of the world’s variety of heritage, tradition, and culture will run nightly from 5:30-10:30 pm starting November 8, 2018, to January 2, 2019.

LightUP Fest

The exhibit’s four major themes are Tour of Fantasy, Freedom America, Mysterious East, and Magical World. One of the featured highlights unique to this exhibit is the display of the Capitol Hill Building. All of these displays celebrate a rich cultural heritage with traditional Chinese lanterns and state-of-the-art lighting technology.

LightUP Fest

What makes this incredible light festival even better is that attendees are also able to partake in entertainment, food, interactive activities and more! The LightUP Fest will feature free daily performances from acrobats, dancers, and musicians, as well as interactive arts and crafts experiences. All age groups are welcome to participate in sugar puppet making, calligraphy, portrait sketching and rice carving, amazing talents you just have to see for yourself. But, if you’re like me, the cuisine plays a big part in the overall experience. Fortunately, LightUP Fest is on the same page –  there will be a diverse lineup of food from around the world ready to be enjoyed.

LightUP Fest

LightUP Fest

The exhibition concept is designed by Zigong Lantern Festival and Trade Group, which has over 30 years of experience producing displays in more than 300 cities in China and over 30 countries worldwide. The Festival was brought to the United States in 2014, with Atlanta being the first to experience its magical elements. The display has since been exhibited in both Houston and Phoenix.

LightUP Fest will be open daily from Nov. 8, 2018 – Jan. 2, 2019, 5:30-10: 30 pm, at One Loudoun, 44 Freetown Blvd, Ashburn, Va. 20147. There will be FREE parking available for all attendees.

Admission to the event is $29.99 for an adult and $19.99 for kids ages 3 – 12. Children under 3 are FREE. There are also discounted family packages and special rates for students and seniors. The military, police, and firefighters with proper identification are welcome to attend for free every Tuesday. For more information, please visit www.thelightupfest.com or email info@thelightupfest.com.

The Most Instagram-Worthy Spots at One Loudoun and a **Contest Alert**

In a world of social media, many of us have been in this dreaded modern-day crisis before: your Instagram game is lacking a little. When it comes to the ever so sacred ‘gram, it can be tough to keep up with pics of Stacy’s puppy eating watermelon with sunglasses on or the tropical travel photos that Mike posts on a regular basis (constantly wondering how he gets those). The good news is, you don’t NEED a cute puppy or to travel hundreds of miles for some quality IG content, and you might have already guessed where we suggest getting some!

Even if you aren’t into Instagram, are more of a Facebook lover, or simply don’t delve into the social media world, people also come to One Loudoun for their holiday photos, prom pics, etc. But, the places we are about to take you are hands down the most picture-perfect locations here at One Loudoun.

The Murals

Slated for completion at the end of this summer, these murals are soon to be THE most Instagram-worthy spot in all the land! Or, Loudoun County that is. In case you haven’t already seen the articles from LoudounNow, the Loudoun Times-Mirror, the Loudoun Tribune, or theburn (sorry, can you just let us brag a little?) the largest murals around are now right here at One Loudoun!

One Loudoun Murals

For all of you artsy types, there’s no need to head into the city for a street art backdrop when you can walk a few feet from your evening at The Alamo and get a cute new Instagram pic right then and there. As we were shooting amidst these sky-high beauties, even a construction worker (in the middle of building new Miller & Smith homes at Upper West) shouted, “That’s definitely picture worthy!” We would have to agree that these bee-cycles really play up our Instagram feeds perfectly.

One Loudoun Murals

Central Park

PARKS ARE IT. Every time we see photos on Instagram with greenery in the background they get an automatic double tap (this is a “like” for those of you who aren’t on the app). Over the bridge and through the park, to Instagram greatness we go, Central Park has everything you need to show off your #ootd (outfit of the day) or your puppy running in the sunshine. Take that Stacy! Swings, benches, tunnels, trees, ponds, beautiful blue sky and a breeze through your hair are all you need. As we walked away from the tunnels in the park, we turned back to see a group of teens using this same spot for a photoshoot. Trendsetters? Definitely.

One Loudoun Central Park

The Barn

Yes, you’ve seen it before – but we couldn’t resist leaving without capturing this beauty! Over here at the Barn, we have seen One Loudoun fans using this gorgeous structure as a backdrop for years, but we thought we would include it as a friendly reminder to all of you newer One Loudoun regulars. The deep red exterior with blinding white trim make this one of the most coveted photo-op spots, and we can almost bet you’ll end up on Pinterest after settling on this for your family photoshoot.

One Loudoun - The Barn

A gorgeous bar fixture, a cocktail, or a dish that foodies would drool over

Unless you’ve been under a rock, One Loudoun has one thing that sticks out to every visitor, and that is, that we #LOVE us some good food. Award-winning restaurants and unique eateries make any meal an opportunity for your Instagram followers drool on the other side of their phone screen. Need a suggestion on where to go? Visit our Happy Hour Guide for cocktail inspo or the Pati-Oh Experience for where to get natural light shining ever so perfectly onto your burger.

One Loudoun - Restaurants

The Plaza

Especially if you have little ones running around, the best spot to grab a few candid snaps is definitely The Plaza. Hang out in the shade of an umbrella, let them run around wildly in the fountains, and you have a perfect “look how cute my kids are” photo just like that!

One Loudoun Alamo Fountain

Hidden corners and decorative walls

If we learned anything from this photoshoot, it’s that there are ‘grammable spots around every corner and you might just find one where you didn’t expect to! For instance, a rustic wall next to Matchbox, flowers cascading next to a staircase, or trendy metal art pieces on the side of Uncle Julio’s. If we do say so ourselves, it’s hard to find any nooks that aren’t aesthetically pleasing here at One Loudoun – or at least with a few photo filters.

If you know anything about One Loudoun, there are sure to be other IG-worthy spots popping up soon. But for now, it’s your turn to show us your favorite Instagram spots at One Loudoun!

Contest Details

The next time you are at One Loudoun, snap and post a photo on Instagram, include the hashtag #OneLoudounGram and you could win a $100 gift card to a One Loudoun merchant of your choice! Anyone can enter and you have until September 3rd to post. GOOD LUCK!

P.S. You can thank us later for those triple digit likes you just received on your new Instagram photo #winning

The Making of Our “What’s Next” Commercial

Anddd… ACTION! If you were anywhere around One Loudoun over the past few weeks, you may have noticed that it had turned into somewhat of a Hollywood set. What is always a fun adventure at One Loudoun, was for a few days, a huge production during the making of our “What’s Next” commercial, which will be airing (drum roll please…) THIS SUMMER!

Meet the creative crew

The Masterminds – Jeff and his production team from Lot 7 Media

Jeff and Lot 7 Media production team

Taking time to make everyone comfortable and relaxed is Jeff’s forte, and he was always open to suggestions or ideas from everyone else. There is no need to describe the energy Jeff brings to set when we can just show you, he is like a trick candle that just won’t burn out. See intense gaze through the lens and arms flailing in pics below. We also think he has coined the phrase, “I don’t like that idea. I LOVE it.”

Glam Guru – Meredith Ehler

Meredith is an extremely gifted makeup and hair stylist and she even knew some of the other people on set from previous sessions at her studio. Give Meredith a few minutes and some good lighting and she can make you look like you’re fresh off a Vogue photoshoot. She made all of our talent look flawless, as Beyoncé would put it.

Meredith Ehler makeup and hair stylist

Setting the scene

On Wednesday, with about 12 different scenes to shoot, we were racing around One Loudoun like it was Mario Kart. With energy up and the weather finally cooperating, it was time to meet up with our talent. By the way, when we say talent, what we really mean is people like YOU – not models or actors. We had the family next door, familiar faces from around One Loudoun, and people who love to spend time here.

To start the shoot, we envisioned what the perfect morning would look like waking up in your new Miller & Smith Upper West home, and only one thing came to mind – with a dog! Cue the excited “awwwws!” We headed over to the model home and had our adorable puppy friend on the set, waking up, and then going for a walk in Central Park. Ruff day, right?

Upper West Dog - Ashburn, VA

Fortessa Tableware Solutions and Sterling Restaurant Supply
We headed over to Fortessa Tableware Solutions and Sterling Restaurant Supply next, where we had the help of a fabulous employee who works in the office and was gracious enough to jump into the scene. She was already dressed perfectly for the part and was an absolute natural. To be honest, she might have a future career in television.

The crew then hurried over to Matchbox, and as soon as we walked in, we knew that the hostess was perfect for the job. Her smile; infectious, her skin; glowing, and her demeanor; the friendliest. Just a few takes and the shot was finito!

Matchbox

After a long morning, we went for a lunch break at Uncle Julio’s because we can always count on two things there: amazing food and amazing service. Something on the menu struck our fancy and when it arrived at our table, it was like we all had the same thought. This beautiful spread (pictured below) NEEDED to be in our video shoot and as it turns out, it was brand new to the menu.

Enter: the fam squad. You may recognize this adorable family from around One Loudoun, as they are residents and longtime fans of the community. With their table set, and knock knock jokes at the ready, the Dodd family perfectly emulated a fun lunchtime experience at One Loudoun.

Uncle Julios - Dodd Family

If you haven’t met the most stylish person at One Loudoun, let us introduce you to Devon, store manager at Scout & Molly’s Boutique. Of course, she was ready for the part of walking down the sidewalk with her fashionable friend and then going in to shop at the boutique. She’s had a little bit of practice for sure!

The next few scenes were a bit different, as they featured winners from our Facebook contest. The first couple met us at The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema for a casual date night scene. We’ll call these two the “love birds” because their chemistry was undeniable and they were #relationshipgoals. We then found out that Lynne and Nick have been together for 20 years and have 4 children together. Be still, our hearts!
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

Last on the agenda was a romantic dinner scene at Eddie Merlot’s and our second set of contest winners, Grace and Kevin, just happened to be celebrating their anniversary on this very day. See those lovey dovey eyes? That is no acting people, that is true love!

THE NEXT DAY

Upon arrival for the wrap of this commercial, Kay, the Assistant Manager at Scout & Molly’s Boutique, had an arrangement of vibrant, flowy spring outfits to choose from for the last scene. Being at Scout & Molly’s was a clip straight out of a movie because the energy Kay had came alive and made our One Loudoun experience that much more enjoyable.

Scout & Molly’s Boutique

Once the outfit situation was under control, we scooted on over to Uncle Julio’s (we aren’t trying to pick favorite, we swear) for some much-needed enchiladas and a fan fav drink called the “The Swirl”. You are going to have to use your imagination on this one because it was so dang good that we didn’t even have time to snap a picture. One sip, two sips, gone!

Did we mention it was the first day of summer? Which means… THE LONGEST DAY OF THE YEAR! Which also means… waiting for the sunset took extra-long, but we wanted to capture the perfect shot. When the sunset finally began, it was lights, camera, action! Cones blocked the road, lights draped the trees, a drone flew overhead and the excitement of spectators took off.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the on-set scoop of the “What’s Next” commercial! Don’t forget to keep an eye out for it to air, and also, keep your guesses coming on what’s next here at One Loudoun!

Yes Virginia, There really is a Barnes & Noble at One Loudoun

Bookstores…archaic? Think again. A place like Barnes & Noble isn’t just there for the books. It’s the Tiffany’s to Holly Golightly, the Oz to Dorothy, the open water to Jaws. It’s a place that makes you feel like it was created just for you and yet somehow, all different types of people belong there, just like the many genres winding throughout the store.

Not only is the Barnes & Noble at One Loudoun brand new, but it’s different from any other location. It’s a mixture between a trendy café, bookstore, and the most popular corner of your college library.

When we entered the store, we bee-lined straight to the café in desperate need of caffeine and there’s no better sign of good coffee than the glorious green glow and signature Starbucks siren on the wall. After we ordered some Bucky’s (you can thank my dad for that nickname), we also decided to dabble in the food menu.

The menu items are carefully selected and there is something for everyone on it – think a cheese board, salads, soups, sandwiches, etc. The coolest part of the café menu isn’t really even the food, but the fact that the Barnes & Noble chef is Harrison Ford’s son, Ben Ford. SO, you’re really eating at a celebrity café! We ordered the tomato soup (highly recommended from a friend) and the heirloom tomato salad. Both were great, both were fresh and delicious, and both heightened our Barnes & Noble experience tenfold (although it also could have just been the caffeine).

Barnes & Noble Cafe - Soup and Salad

There was also a bar attached to the opposite side of the Starbucks counter, where we observed a group of friends presumably studying. They had a bunch of notebooks sprawled out and each had an adult beverage in front of them. Hey – if you’re going to work on the weekends, why not make it a little interesting? The bar, which by the way is a new addition to Barnes & Noble, has a nice selection of wines, beers, and ciders sure to please all.

Barnes & Noble - Cookbooks

By the pure force of B&N, I went into the store craving a new cook book. Envisioning one with a rainbow-colored salad or anything with avocado on the cover (yes, I am trying to be trendy), I set out for the cooking section. Browsing – OOH maybe this one! Browsing some more – but this one would look GREAT on my cookbook stand. Browsing browsing browsing – (insert celebrity here) uses this one, so I obviously need it.

Confession time: Not only did I leave with a cookbook that I’m sure will put me on the path to my own Food Network show, but I also left with a record. Guess what? I don’t even own a record player, but I couldn’t resist because records are back baby! The sound is incomparable and the nostalgia is overwhelming. The moral of the story being, you may go into Barnes & Noble wanting one thing, and walk out with something totally different, or multiple things that you didn’t even know you could purchase there. Guess it’s time to purchase a record player.

There are many unique features in this store, and what makes it even better is the open layout. Where Barnes & Noble stores from back in the day were more closed and sectioned off from one another, this store is an open book (see what I did there?). There was a cool kid’s corner with bright colors, mini chairs, a Lego table, and all of the children’s books you could dream of. For anyone who is curious, yes, they still sell the classics that you remember as a child like Rainbowfish and If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (I spent about 5 minutes reminiscing in the children’s section). There’s also a full Harry Potter display featuring books, games, toys, and anything you could think of that involves the magical series.

Admittedly, I hadn’t been to a book store in a long time – what with audiobooks, podcasts, and Netflix to keep me entertained. Walking into the Barnes & Noble at One Loudoun for the first time gave me an overwhelming feeling of something I used to love, and have now rediscovered. It seemed like I wasn’t the only one with this feeling since all of the seating throughout the store was taken when I tried to get a studious photo of myself amongst the stacks. Nothing beats the feeling of picking up a book, smelling the freshly printed pages, and seeing the progress made as you read your way through it whilst sipping a cup of joe, a nice cabernet, or IPA. But hey – don’t take my word for it, visit for yourself!

20427 Exchange St, Ashburn, VA 20147
(571) 298-8729
barnesandnoble.com

And the Oscar Goes to…The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema!

Alamo - Logo and Movie Poster

The speeches, the wardrobes, the celebrity interactions — I don’t know about you, but I am completely exhausted on this post-Oscars Monday. Anyone who knows me knows that I need to see as many movies as I can before the show so that I can ooh, ahh, and be shocked by the “snubs”. More importantly, it eliminates FOMO (um..Fear of Missing Out of course!). This time, I decided to go to The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema for the first time ever. I’ve since decided that all past and future movie-going experiences are now ruined unless I go to the Alamo.

The Alamo - Cheers at Glass Half Full

You know how it goes, dinner, drinks, and a movie. Here’s the thing. The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is all three of these in one – think the date night trifecta. Eat dinner, sip on a brewski, and watch the highly anticipated rom-com that your significant other swears will be amazing, all at once. It’s like a movie theater for celebrities and fancy people, but in reality, anyone can go. It’s not like a regular theater, it’s a cool theater (winks and walks away).

We walked into the entrance of the theater and immediately noticed the high ceilings that opened up into a room with high-top tables and shiny booth seating around the perimeter. The deep red fan-patterned wallpaper and brightly lit Alamo marquee gave off strong vintage vibes like we were going to watch a “film” in the 1930s and I should have been wearing a feather boa.

Even though the main room reminded me of an old school Nickelodeon, rounding the corner we spotted the Glass Half Full – a full service bar inside the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema that gives the space a more modern feel. When we entered the bar, the bartender, Michael, was happy to answer our annoyingly long list of questions and also serve us one of the recommended 32 beers they had on draught.

The low down:
There is a full food menu (with some award-winning items) and a full-service bar which are both accessible to you from the Glass Half Full OR your seat inside the theater (keep reading, will explain). So, we each ordered one beer from Glass Half Full and walked from the bar into our theater, which almost felt like we were breaking an open container law somewhere. We were there to see The Post, which I was excited about because it stars two of my all-time favorite actors.

The way it works:
When you get to your seat (PSST you can reserve it!), there is a long skinny table that goes across the aisle. There are slots underneath of the table with menus, and on top are order sheets and pens. Find what you want (no judgement if you go for a milkshake AND cookies), write it on the order slip, put the slip in the slot in front of you, and VOILA.

The servers at the Alamo have been trained to be speedy or “ninja-like” as they describe. They grab your order slip when they see it in the slot, and bring out your order a few minutes later. The menu isn’t just typical movie-theater fare. We are talking pizzas, apps, sandwiches, salads, and even devoted sections to milkshakes and hotdogs. A movie theater after my own heart! It’s like a delicious drive-thru restaurant and movie theater all in one.

This is the cream of the crop when it comes to movie theaters. Think about it! If your kids want to go see a movie that just looks plain awful, at least you will have a beverage in hand and the option to make a delicious meal out of it. As it was in the beginning (cue dramatic music), the Alamo allows for every movie-goer to become completely immersed in the movie without cell phones and other distractions. If you even think about taking your phone out to text, you might as well be saying “Bye Felicia!” to watching the rest of the film.

The Alamo - Menu and Crowd

Though “The Post” didn’t win the award for Best Picture, I thoroughly enjoyed my true “movie-goer” experience at the Alamo. The truth is, I’ve been spoiled and it’s ok because I’m worth it and so are you! So, the next time you are dying to see a movie, don’t settle on stale popcorn accompanied by noisy teenagers in the row in front of you. Opt for the big winner when it comes to a luxury cinema experience!

One Loudoun Named One of the Top Neighborhoods in Northern Virginia

One Loudoun has been recognized by the region’s premier real estate agents as one of the most sought after communities in Northern Virginia by Northern Virginia Magazine. In the article, Robyn Burdett, an associate broker with Re/Max Living says,  “The idea of One Loudoun that’s tempting buyers is that you can park your car and walk everywhere.” Described as “Loudoun County’s downtown, the article also mentions One Loudoun’s long list of restaurants, the renowned Summer Concert Series, other features, and new additions such as the Barnes & Noble which opened a few months ago. The mix of our urban-style downtown with tons of family-friendly outdoor amenities and new homes from two amazing builders makes One Loudoun something to talk about!

Check out the full article here.