What an Incredible Conference!

incredible groupWith chef Dennis Stanley of Chantel’s Cakes and Pastries, Dorri C. Scott, Publisher/CEO hosted the reception dessert for the Incredible Factor conference in Reston, VA!

Do Brunch with Dorri!

Brunch with Dorri

So You Want To Write A Book!


Lila HOME is Where the Heart Is

Everyday our hearts beat over and over to allow us the opportunity to laugh, smile, work, play, love and be a part of this world. The center of our physical world tends to be our surroundings, our dwellings, our homes. Unlike the natural beating of a heart, we have to help our homes pump us full of warmth, life, love and laughter. Luckily, there are people in the world (us interior designers) who can help you do this! – Lauren Riddiough Clement of Lauren Nicole Designs

lila home ashburn vaWe expect a lot out of our homes: to be organized, warm, inviting, unique and full of character, just as we expect a lot out of our bodies to stay fit and healthy. So like an exercise regime or a healthy diet, efforts must be put into your home as well. Maybe your home just needs a face lift  Clients call us and say, “I just can’t pull it all together. I feel stuck, unfinished, HELP!”

The right pillows, lighting, tables, picture frames, artwork, and draperies can breathe new life into a room. Or maybe you are in need of a total room design. Either way, the first step is to identify the goals then to devise the plan and then the execution/BIG REVEAL comes last.

lila home ashburn vaWhen doing the walk through of your home, I always start at the front door. Your main entrance or foyer is the first chance that you have to make a statement to your friends and family. You want to set the tone here and usually it does not take too much to do so. Consider a good-sized rug that is meant for high traffic, a WOW chandelier and a coat rack or element of function to make your guests feel at ease.

Moving into the home, the family room and kitchen are what is often called the ‘HEART’ of the home. You want to make sure that your core, your command center of your home has the following elements:

  • Color, texture and pattern: This is where the personality and character of a home is displayed. Whether you like big blooming florals and bright colors or you go for more geometrics and neutral tones, either option can look great when done properly but that scheme reflects who you are and what your home is all about.
  • Function: You want to make sure that you have plenty of seating- whether it is you and your family or 10 of your closest friends from book club, you all want to be comfortable. Do you need lots of hard surfaces for entertaining or storage for kid’s toys? A beautiful room is only good if you can live in it!
  • Finishing touches: This means art work, proper lighting, accessories, all of the pieces which make a room feel complete and full of character.

lila home designs ashburn vaWe depend on our homes just as our bodies depend on our hearts. So we have to keep both of them happy, healthy and updated.

Whether you need a few table top accessories or an entire new room plan, we can help!
Lila HOME Designs
20916 Stubble Rd Ashburn 20147

The Heart of the Matter

“It’s not what we think, feel, or say – it’s our decisions that reveal who we are and what we stand for.”

the heart of the matterWomen wear many hats and the stress of it all can sometimes work against us. We want to ‘bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pan, and never let him forget he’s a man!’ Indeed, that drive to have it all and be all that we can be, makes us tired, distracted, overwhelmed, cranky, and sometimes that five letter word that makes me itch. As someone who finally had to rip the “S” off of my chest to regain balance and control in my life, I want to share with other women how to operate from the heart at home, at work, and everywhere.

It really comes down to our choices; the little choices that we make each day that reveal what is really important to us. At a pivotal point in my career, I had to decide whether my husband’s career and my kids would be subordinate to my job. There was no precedent for a woman to be successful at higher levels who had a primary role in raising children. Now, I don’t have anything against having help and actually engaged a nanny to be with my kids because I often worked late and traveled internationally. However, I made a choice that I wanted to be the major influence on shaping my kids values and thinking in early childhood. I made a conscious decision that being a parent was my most important job.

That was the beginning of a shift in my thinking. Another shift came when I learned how to ask for and receive help from others. Yet another came when I admitted that I was a work alcoholic and started making choices that better served my family. It was the beginning of me learning to operate from the heart. Pressing through conflicts in relationships and continuing to reach out because I care and I know it’s important. I realized that “home” is something you bring to a place. When you operate from the heart, you feel at home everywhere you go and you make others feel at home too.

Learning to trust your heart requires taking some personal risks but making choices that are aligned with your values brings great rewards. Here are six questions to check whether you’re bringing heart to the matter:

  • Do I really understand the situation?
  • Do I appreciate how this situation feels for others involved?
  • Have I articulated my feelings to myself? To anyone else?
  • What might I regret if I make this choice?
  • Will I be proud to share how I came to this decision?
  • What story would I want to tell my grandchildren about this?

Personal accountability and courage to stand on your convictions is what distinguishes a woman in a crowd of followers and people pleasers. It’s true that home is where the heart is and since women are the heart of the home, life works best when we operate from our hearts.

By: Valeria Edmonds, Masterful You Coaching

Infant Dental Care

Advice for New Mommies and Daddies

By Dr. Angela Austin

As a pediatric dentist, I have the unique advantage of motivating and encouraging parents to take an active role in preventing dental disease, so problems don’t occur.

As soon as a baby is born, parents can be active in avoiding dental diseases and fostering good dental health for their child. Most people don’t even realize we can start the prevention process before our newborn’s teeth have erupted.

During the last three months of pregnancy the 20 baby teeth are almost completely formed in the bone. At birth there can be as many as 12 adult teeth starting their development.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advises that we start cleaning a baby’s mouth even before the teeth start coming in. Before teeth come in, use a clean damp washcloth and gently wipe the child’s gums. This will help reduce the decay-causing bacteria that form in the mouth, and start the healthy habit of daily routine dental care.

It is also recommended that your child see a pediatric dentist by 12 months of age. This appointment is for evaluation, guidance and education. At this visit a complete examination is performed and recommendations are given for home dental care, oral habits, diet choices and the correct use of toothpaste and fluoride. Many dental diseases can be avoided or treated more gently if found early.

Baby Teething Teething normally occurs from about six months to 36 months of age. Once a baby’s first tooth comes in, the other teeth follow in small groups until all 20 baby teeth are in. During the teething process, many children become irritable, drool a lot, suck on their toys, blankets, or fingers, and sometimes lose their appetite. While some discomfort is normal, teething does not cause fever, ear tugging, diarrhea, and flu-like symptoms. If your baby is experiencing any of these symptoms during teething, call your pediatrician. You can ease teething discomfort by offering your baby cool teething toys, or frequent cool drinks of water.

Baby Teeth

After the Teeth Come in…

Here are my top 5 pointers on taking care of those new teeth and preventing dental problems:

  1. Visit a pediatric dentist by 12 months of age.
  2. Do not allow sweetened liquids to bathe teeth for prolonged periods of time. The sugars in milk (human or cow), formula, fruit juices, or other sweetened liquids can contribute considerably to dental decay, so it is important to minimize the amount of time the bottle or sippy cup is in the mouth. Also, when sleeping, we rarely swallow; therefore, if a child falls asleep with sweet liquid in their mouth the danger of dental decay is much greater.
  3. Don’t put your baby in bed with a bottle/sippy cup filled with formula, milk or juice. If a bottle is needed to help your baby sleep, fill it with water. Replace the bedtime bottle with a special blanket, stuffed animal, or special bedtime routine, like singing a song, listening to a tape, or reading a 
  4. Did you know dental decay is transmissible (“contagious”)? If a parent or a caregiver has active dental decay (cavities) please try to avoid kissing the child’s mouth or sharing utensils. The decay-causing bacteria can be transferred to the baby, and start the process of making your child more prone to dental decay due to the bacteria that has been transferred to their mouth. Please take care of your dental problems.
  5. Pacifiers aren’t evil! Of course, ideally, we’d rather not have your child having these types of habits, but this type of sucking is completely normal for babies and young children. It provides security. In fact, babies begin to suck on their fingers or thumbs even before they are born. Taking the pacifier away too early may cause your child to replace the sucking habit with their thumb, which is a much harder habit to break. For all habits, we just would like to motivate our kids to cease the sucking habit by the time their permanent teeth come in (between 5-7 years old).

That’s it! Let’s get our children off to a great start and encourage them to have amazing smiles for life.

Dr. AngelA Austin is a Board Certified Pediatric Dentist located in Alexandria, VA. She speciali
6303 Little River Turnpike,Suite 345,zes in treating patients aged 1-21. She is also specially trained to treat special needs patients as well as patients with high dental anxiety. She is the owner of Alexandria Children’s Dentistry located at:

Alexandria, VA 22312.
Phone: 703-942-8404

The LEBANESE Taverna Story

A family opens their kitchen to the world

by Misha P. Enriquez

Food LowRes

I first met them in the ladies’ room. Gladys was doing her younger sister Grace’s make-up for the photo shoot. She had chucked her elegant blazer so she could work better; her own hair and make-up were already flawless.

Grace, not used to make-up, was joking about having her own private make-up artist. Back and forth, the banter was a constant stream. And I couldn’t help but think that here were two high-profile women, big-time restaurateurs, who, at that moment, were simply enjoying being sisters. Gladys and Grace Abi-Najm are the women behind the popular restaurant Lebanese Taverna. It’s been 33 years since the first restaurant opened and nobody would have guessed that the little hole-in-the-wall would become a top-rated restaurant with 11 locations across Northern Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC.

It all began in 1976: the war in Lebanon was taking a turn for the worst, and the Abi-Najm family—Tanios and Marie with their children Dory, Dany, David, Gladys, and Grace fled to the US with nothing but the clothes on their backs. “We came here with very little money,” Grace explained. “We went on a cargo ship without any belongings. We left so abruptly we didn’t even get to say goodbye to anybody.” The family of five arrived in Arlington, VA, speaking no English. Various aunts and uncles took them in until they could get on their feet; a church nearby even gave them clothes so they could survive the winter. Tanios and Marie took any job they could; the three teenage boys mowed lawns and delivered newspapers. Grace said, “My mom was just telling me the other day that my brothers would work odd jobs, come home, and give her all the money they’d earned. They’d work as bus boys till 2 or 3 a.m., then go to school a few hours later. They did that for years.” In 1979, after three years, they saved enough money to buy a small restaurant called Athenian Taverna. Scrimping on signage costs, Tanios changed only one word from the original name, and so Lebanese Taverna was born. The restaurant was a good fit for the young family: Tanios had always wanted a restaurant and Marie came from a long line of chefs. Not to mention, it saved them a lot on babysitters. “Our father wanted something to keep the family together, at the same time bring a part of Lebanon to where we were,” Grace explained. It was a one-family operation. The chefs, the parents, The staff, the kids, Everyone did everything, and even when they weren’t working, they were at the restaurant playing, doing homework, chatting with diners it was quite literally an extension of their home. At first, Lebanese Taverna served up the usual pizza, steak-andcheese, subs. But eventually, the customers got a whiff of the family’s meals, and the rest was history. “Customers would come to the restaurant and see us eating hummus and shish kebab and ask, what are you eating? They wanted to try it,” Grace recalled. “So we’d have daily specials featuring Lebanese cuisine, and eventually the whole menu became Lebanese.” “No one back then knew what Lebanese food was, or even where Lebanon was,” Gladys added. As we chatted, I confessed to them that even I didn’t know where it was, except generally in the Middle East, and if I hadn’t been eating lunch with them during the interview, I would have no clue what to call half the food on the table. But that’s the potential of food: a simple meal can introduce you not only to new tastes but to new cultures, people, and ways of life. “Our customers were willing to try new food, support a local business, support a family,” Grace said. “It wasn’t just the food that kept them coming back. They wanted to see us grow up. They’d help me with my homework because my parents didn’t speak English.” Lebanese Taverna may have been started by one family, but it was a whole community that built it. “I had many mothers, growing up. It was a new culture, and I had so many questions about womanhood. I couldn’t ask my mom, so I’d ask customers,” Gladys shared. “We all transitioned into adulthood in the restaurant, and all our customers watched us do that.” The Abi-Najm family valued the strong connection to the community. The customers they served became lifelong friends. “We’ve been around 33 years, and some people have been coming to us for that long,” said Grace. “We went to school with their children, grew up together. I met my husband at the restaurant when I was 4 years old,” Grace smiled. Little did anyone know that all the carpool rides and playtimes would blossom into romance many years down the road. Even today, newcomers will get a sense of that closeness: the welcome is warm, and the host will most likely remember a returning customer by name. The restaurants even have pictures of the Abi-Najm grandkids, because you can expect that the regulars will be asking about them. “It was the community that made us who we are,” Grace said. And that’s why they work so hard at keeping the spirit of community alive, and are passionate about giving back. “When we opened the restaurant, we opened our family, our hearts,” Gladys shared. “We give back to the community. We volunteer; we donate to over 900 organizations every year and hold a hundred events where we give away food.” Today, Lebanese Taverna has 11 locations: six restaurants, four quick service cafes, and a market, and they offer full service catering and cooking classes. Tanios and Marie have retired, although Marie has recently returned to the kitchen. She’s helping make sure that her recipes, all handed down and unwritten, are still executed with the same top quality as when she made them. The five siblings now operate Lebanese Taverna, each with a different specialty that allows them to collaborate with a kind harmony (and occasional head-butting) that can only come from being family. Gladys brings an artist’s eye and a can-do spirit to the restaurant. “If you need something done, you ask Gladys,” Grace said fondly. “She’s the person that helps present Lebanese Taverna to the world.” While Gladys is more comfortable in the spotlight, Grace, who operates the restaurants’ daily business, prefers being behind the scenes. “My sister is very determined, driven, and smart,” Gladys proudly described Grace. “She has more of a business mind than I do, and it’s a great addition to the restaurant. She’s a trend-setter.” If you visit any Lebanese Taverna restaurant today, it will probably be nothing at all like the original one. It’ll be about ten times bigger, the furnishings more posh, and the staff more than double in size. Nothing at all like the original one—except that at the heart, it remains the same. Here was a family who, one day, opened their kitchen to the world, and, with their food, offered a hand of friendship… and continues to do so today.

Women and Breast Cancer

By: Kathi Whitten


Even as you’re filled with shock and fear, you must nevertheless find a good medical team you can trust.Speak early with breast cancer survivors for building confidence. And get as much accurate information as possible for understanding your treatment options.

Have caring and supportive people around you during treatment. Family members and friends usually want to be helpful. Be very specific about your needs. Most people want to help but don’t always know exactly what’s needed.

Find someone to talk to. This could be a family member, close friend, clergy or a therapist. This is not the time to try to tough it out alone. Many women have been so used to caring for others that it may seem unfamiliar to them to accept assistance for themselves. But right now, treatment and self-care must be your top priority.

You’ll experience intense emotions at times. Anxiety and depression are common as women face this disease. Coping with cancer may also lead to feelings of loneliness, anger, grief, fear, guilt or hopelessness. It helps to have good internal coping resources such as journaling, meditation, guided imagery, prayer, and relaxation techniques.

While a range of emotions is to be expected, chronically high levels of stress and other emotions can lead to secondary conditions such as insomnia, irritability, tension, headaches, concentration difficulties and tearfulness. Seek help from your doctor or a therapist if you are struggling with these symptoms.

One of a woman’s biggest hurdles involves body image. Women are often concerned about appearance and continuing sexual function. Feelings and fears about loss and disfigurement can be strong. Women worry that partners may no longer feel attracted to them. Partners don’t always know how to comfort and reassure. Sometimes both may feel awkward, or even conflicted, about moving back into intimacy again.

It is very normal to fear that the cancer may reoccur. There are often “markers” (such as 5 years cancer-free) that take on great symbolic importance. Women sometimes fear becoming re-involved in their own lives until they feel more confident about their future.

It can be challenging for a woman to remain involved in family life or career when dealing with cancer. Even though this is a time when a woman must put all her resources into her recovery, she may suffer guilt that she is not able to be as active in other areas as she once was.

Professional help to deal with all the stress, depression or anxiety that often accompany breast cancer may be useful for many women and their families during (and even after) treatment. This is a time when women often learn how courageous they really are but it can nevertheless be a difficult path to try to walk alone.

It’s important to remember that men can have breast cancer as well as women, and that any serious illness can be a frightening and lonely time for the person who faces it. There are many resources available self-help groups, individual therapy, books and legitimate websites all help. Family or couple therapy may also help patients and families face the challenges of breast cancer.

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