Celebrating International Women’s Month

There are many reasons to love March. The official arrival of Spring. Spring break. St. Patrick’s day. March Madness. And International Women’s Day.

I celebrate women every day (my sisters, my BFFs, my team members), but I celebrate them extra in March. A few years ago I wrote about a few of my amazing innovative girlfriends.  This year, I celebrate this week’s International Women’s Day by highlighting some of my favorite DC-area women-owned businesses.

This Old Town beauty boutique is owned by Angela Sitilides, a former attorney and mother of four boys who decided that entrepreneurship and beauty were a more fulfilling career path. Her store, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this month, carries a curated assortment of skin (yes, including Alchimie!), bath & body, hair and makeup brands, along with amazingly delicious-smelling candles.

Betsy Fisher
My favorite clothing boutique in DC, the eponymous Betsy Fisher blends trendy and
conservative, as is necessary in the nation’s capital. Too busy to shop? Betsy will personally choose items she thinks will work for you and have them couriered to your home or place of business.

Hank’s Oyster Bar
An institution in DC, I must confess to having gone to Hank’s Oyster Bar for the first time just a couple of weeks ago, on a Saturday when I woke up craving a seafood tower… and realized that their first location (opened in 2005) is walking distance from my house. I don’t know owner Jamie Leeds, but I am grateful to her for helping with my random craving!

Ninotch, an Urban Retreat
Owner and therapist Tatiana Tchamouroff’s petite size belies her strength. She has been
offering therapeutic treatments and sports massage to the DC sports community for over 20 years, and I can personally attest that her hands are both powerful and magical. With locations in Bethesda and Tyson’s, her spas also offer facials, flotation therapy, and spray tanning. A must for the stressed out among us….

Salt & Sundry
Opened in 2012 in Union Market, this lifestyle boutique carries the most unique goods from independent designers both local and global. This is my go-to source for gifts (especially for that friend who has everything), and a favorite place to receive gifts from (most recently the most amazing gold-rimmed water glasses). Last night, at Moki Media’s Dainty Doesn’t Do It event, I had the privilege of hearing Amanda McClements, the founder of this boutique, moderate a panel – which made me love this boutique all the more!

What are your favorite women-owned brands and businesses?

BeautyView: Angela Sitilides, Owner, Bellacara

If you know me, you know I am persistent – not a nag, but definitely persistent. I also think that “No” is just the start of the conversation. These two characteristics came in very handy when I first met Angela Sitilides, owner of Bellacara. I loved her story… a lawyer who decided to instead do what she loves, and opened a fabulous beauty boutique (she now has two locations in Northern Virginia), and decided to visit Bellacara unannounced and bring her some Alchimie Forever products to try. Two weeks later, I stopped by again to get her feedback. “I don’t like your products” she said. “No problem, why don’t I bring you one of our men’s products for your husband,” I responded. And so our relationship started, as her husband fell in love with our aftershave gel. Thus, she became one of my first customers.

AP: What city were you born in? AS: Palm Springs, California.

AP: What city to do you live in? AS: McLean, Virginia.

AP: What is your middle name? AS: Beth.

AP: What is your astrological sign? AS: Leo.

AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? AS: I love interior design and if I wasn’t in the beauty business, I’d be an interior designer.

AP: What is your most prized possession? AS: My wedding ring.

AP: If you could have dinner with the person of your choice, who would it be? AS: Dead or Alive? So many choices.  Jesus….lots of questions!

AP: Describe your fashion style in three words maximum. AS: Classic, Fresh, Sophisticated.

AP: Do you wear a watch? If yes, what model? AS: I have a Rolex, but I never seem to wear it.

AP: Diamonds or pearls? AS: Diamonds, definitely.

AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? AS: Serums, layers of serums.

AP: What fragrance do you wear? AS: Acqua Santa by Linari.

AP: Botox or not? AS: Not…yet…never say never.

AP: Hair color: natural or not? AS: Not; are there any natural blondes over 40?

AP: What are your special diet tips, if any? AS: Keep it in check during the week, splurge on the weekend, back on the wagon on Monday.

AP: What do you do for exercise? AS: Walk, Zumba class, weights, and I am thinking about adding a barre class.

AP: What are three things that you always have in your fridge? AS: Egg whites, sparkling water, and strawberries.

AP: What is your cocktail of choice? AS: Pomegranate Martini.

AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? AS: Home is more important. When that is running smoothly, work is easier.

AP: How many miles do you fly per year on average? AS: Less than 2,500.

AP: What are your three top tips for travel? AS: 1. Pack your bag, then take 6 things out of it. 2. Take an ipad or tablet with you. Long layovers or delays are less dreadful if you can catch up on work or watch a movie. 3. Drink lots of water. You’ll step off the plane refreshed if you stay hydrated.

AP: 3 songs on your ipod right now. AS: 1. Skyfall by Adele. 2. So What by Pink. 3. I Want You Back by Cher Lloyd.

AP: What book are you reading right now? AS: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

AP: Quote to live by. AS: “Whatever it is…do it today.  Life passes you by while you’re waiting for the right time.”

AP: What is your worst pet peeve? AS: People who walk around with their cell phones attached to their ears and ignore human interaction.

AP: What time do you usually wake up in the morning, and how many hours of sleep do you usually get? AS: I wake up at 6:30 am and try to get a full 7 and a half hours of sleep.

AP: What is your favorite thing about the beauty industry? AS: Helping people feel good about themselves.

AP: Least favorite thing. AS: Beauty advertising. Those lashes on the mascara commercial are fake. I can help you have beautiful lashes, but no mascara is going to give you those lashes.

AP: Who is your mentor? AS: I would have to say an old friend of my Aunt’s named David Arnopole. He was an attorney and I looked up to him a great deal when I was a child. I went to law school because of him and if I hadn’t had that legal background, I wouldn’t have had the courage to start Bellacara.

AP: Words of advice for young women starting their careers today. AS: Figure out what you are passionate about and make that your career. It is very difficult to leave a lucrative career once you’re in it, even if you hate it. So make your passion that career and work to make it lucrative.