"There's no place like home. . . there's no place like home. . . there's no place like home." Home for The Belt Team is Vienna, Virginia. Please stop by frequently and share with us all the things about life in Vienna that make Vienna truly the best place to live.

Welcome to Vienna, Virginia

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Celebrate Christmas Around the World

Looking for a wonderful respite from the craziness of the malls & shops?

Or maybe you need some Christmas music to get you in the holiday mood?

Perhaps you're curious what carols are sung in other parts of the world?

If so - there's a wonderful concert happening in Vienna this Saturday (December 20th). Vienna Choral Society is presenting "Nowell e Navidad - Christmas Around The World".

Not only will you hear the Vienna Choral Society (who are top notch!), but you will be treated to guest performances from the children of the Bridges Choir and the Vienna Jammers! (Sounds like this show will be rockin!)

In addition to traditional Christmas carols, they will share songs sung in Latvia, Scandinavia, South America & the West Indies. What fun! You can travel the world, without leaving your seat, AND the show is family friendly. Children under 14 are free with a paying adult. (Seniors get a discount too!). You can buy tickets online or at the door. Shows starts at 4:30PM at Vienna Baptist.

Live music is just one of the many things we love about living in Vienna. And it sounds like this is a do not miss event!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Hearts of Gold in Vienna

There's a quote from Maya Angelou that goes like this:

"Remember, people will judge you by your actions, not your intentions. You may have a heart of gold -- but so does a hard-boiled egg."

Well, I am happy to say there are no bad eggs here. The people of Vienna have true hearts of gold.

How do I know?

Well, here's just another example.

Last week an urgent message came across my email from CHO. CHO is an ALL volunteer organization in Vienna that helps the poor in Vienna, Dunn Loring & Merrifield. (And yes - they unfortunately do exist right here in our midst.) They provide emergency financial assistance, meals on wheels, transportation, food, clothing and more.

Well - last Saturday was supposed to be CHO's annual toy shopping day for approximately 400 needy children. Five days before the event, CHO found out that the company who normally makes the biggest donation to support them each year would not be able to donate. Christmas was in jeopardy.

Out went an emergency notice to their ListServ and I posted it on my Facebook page.

Less than 24 hours later a little birdie told me that the problem was solved because of two big Vienna hearts.

One of my Facebook friends happens to be Sandy Booze, Office Manager for Sekas Homes. She saw my post, did some research & brought CHO's plight to the attention of another person with a great big heart - the owner of Sekas Homes, John Sekas.

John & his wife Darcy immediately reached out to CHO with an offer to make them whole and that same day CHO received a check. They are people of action, not just people of good intentions. And this is not the first time the Sekas Family has been so generous. In fact they have quite a reputation in the community for doing things like this.

Christmas for 139 families happened last Saturday thanks to John & Darcy Sekas and many hearts of gold in the Vienna community. Kudos to them and to the many volunteers at CHO.

If you would like to donate to this wonderful local Vienna organization, you can find details on how to donate to CHO here.

(And if you want to live in the awesome Town of Vienna, VA - you can search Vienna homes for sale here!)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Road Trip!

"Road Trip!"

Who doesn't love hearing those words?

So spontaneous sounding . . .  

Filled with excitement . . .

Potential adventure in the air . . . 

And you KNOW it's going to be fun!

Well - if you're looking for excitement, adventure, spontaneity & fun - but you don't have time to REALLY take a road trip - then you'll want to get a ticket for this season's first show from the Vienna Choral Society.

Vienna Choral Society has four shows planned this season (their 28th season!). And "Road Trip" is the inaugural event. December brings "Nowel e Navidad" (Christmas Around the World). In March they will present "Text & Sound" (When Music Paints A Thousand Words). And May's Concert for a Cause will be "Someone To Watch Over Me" (Everday Heroes). This last concert will be in partnership with the 2015 World Police And Fire Games, the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department, and the Vienna Police Department.

This Saturday's show (October 18) will be an evening of music about people, places, unforgettable memories, and the open road. So grab your friends for a road trip and get your tickets online here. Shows starts at 7:30PM at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax (2709 Hunter Mill Road in Oakton).

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

4 Things To Know About Vienna For Your Next Cocktail Party

Next time you go to a cocktail party in Vienna, and you hit an awkward patch of conversation, here are four conversation starters:

1. Did you know that the entire student body at Madison High School was assigned the same book for summer reading? It's called "Peak". Have you read it?

2. Why do you think the Town of Vienna has so many mattress stores? You'll find Sleepy's, Mattress Discounters, Savvy Rest & Urban Mattress all within a few blocks of one another. (I'm wondering if Vienna really is a sleepier town that I think!).

3. Did you know the average home price in Vienna this year is up 8.7% over last year? When did you buy your house? (Side note: I built my house in 1986 and paid $139,700. It's now assessed at just under $700,000 and would likely sell over $800,000.)

4. I love trying all kinds of foods. Did you know there are more than 20 types of ethnic restaurants in Vienna - Greek, Mediterranean, American, Italian, Asian Fusion, Persian, Iranian, Irish, Afghan, Middle Eastern, Japanese, Latin American, Thai, Chinese, French, Vietnamese, Pakistani, Lebanese & Indian! What's your favorite?

Happy Gabbing!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Vienna Virginia - Meet The Neighbors

One of the things I love about living in Vienna is the people.

In fact, let's re-phrase that.

Probably the MOST important thing I love about Vienna is the people.

Vienna-ites are kind hearted & generous. Some have lived here for decades. And some are new transplants. You'll find senior citizens, young families, teenagers, empty nesters, singles & more. But after living here a while, what you realize is that Vienna-ites are the kind of people you like having as neighbors. And in a world where many people don't know their neighbors - that's kind of a cool thing.

The neighbors on my street are typical of what you find all over Vienna - whether in the Town limits - or in the neighborhoods in the surrounding Vienna zip codes. We have a few neighbors who have lived here since the homes were built in the 50's. And some who have torn down the old homes and built new homes for their growing families. Recently, my neighbors gathered for a "Men's Dessert Cook Off". A few months before that, it was for Happy Hour. The neighbors on the next block over have an annual Block Party. Gatherings like these happen all over town.

What I find interesting about living in Vienna, is that your neighbors often have all kinds of "mysterious" lives & careers. At one point on my block, we had an FBI agent, a CIA agent and a Fairfax County policeman all living within about 10 homes of one another. None of them really talked about their "day jobs", but we all certainly felt safe!

Vienna has also had its share of notoriety over time. "Back in the day", the Vienna Inn was known as the place to go if you were CIA - a good hangout where no one would blow your cover. At least that's how the story goes. And Vienna is also where Robert Hanssen lived. (Hanssen was one of the most well known spies ever arrested. And Foxstone Park in Vienna was where his "drops" were made.)

Keeping with the spy theme, you might also recognize the name of another Vienna resident - David Baldacci. Baldacci has written a myriad of well known novels involving the White House, CIA, Secret Service & more.

Quiet a few other "names" live in Vienna - whether professional athletes, politicians, CEO's - too many to list here. The thing is - when you live in Vienna, most people just aren't impressed by "names" and "what" you do. They are impressed by "who" you are. I've found that most of my neighbors are authentic, genuine good peeps. And that's JUST the way I like it!

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Fourth of July in Vienna & Northern Virginia

July 4th in Vienna is one of the days that our little town really shines!

Where else can you find the following:

  • Circus
  • Jimmy Buffet Tribute Band
  • Chili Cookoff
  • Pooches on Parade
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Antique Cars
  • Inflatables

Oh - and of course - FIREWORKS!

Start your day at the Vienna Community Center & Caffi Field for the July 4th Festival. It's from 11AM to 4PM. It's time to eat, drink & be merry. And I guarantee you'll either run into your friends or make new ones!

At 7PM, head over to Yeonas Park, where you can enjoy music from the popular local band Fat Chance. The Little League concession stand will be open just in case you didn't get your fill at the festival.

Then, settle in. because at 9:15PM - the fireworks show at Southside Park begins.

Now - in case you want to know about other options that are just a stone's throw away from Vienna, here is where else you can find fireworks in the Northern VA area:

  • Fairfax City: At Fairfax High School. Music begins at 7PM. Fireworks at dark.
  • Falls Church: George Mason High School. Music begins at 7PM. Fireworks at 9:20PM.
  • Herndon: Herndon Community Center. Rides at 5PM. Music & games at 6:30PM. Fireowrks at 9:30PM.
  • McLean: Langley High School: Grounds open at 8PM. Fireworks at 9:15PM
  • Reston: Lake Fairfax. Firworks at 9:15PM
  • Washington DC: the National Mall opens at 10AM. Parade at 11:45AM. Folklife festival 11AM to 5PM. Fireworks 9:15PM.
July 4th Festival & Fireworks - just another reason why WE LOVE LIVING IN VIENNA!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Hands, Minds & Hearts - Happy Anniversary Ms McClenahan

Recently, I got a message about a wonderful teacher in Vienna who is celebrating her 40th Anniversary. Can you imagine teaching for 40 years?! I can't myself, but I have a daughter who is a first-year teacher and so this struck close to home.

My daughter Melissa loves her job and she truly loves the children she teaches. She comes home exhausted, but happy almost every single day. But being the mother of a teacher has opened my eyes. As a parent, I always appreciated my children's teachers. But I never really understood fully what a vocation it is and how much sacrifice takes place. 

So when I got the email below from Amanda Jones, Assistant Principal at Chesterbrook Academy in Vienna, I was happy to post it here.

“Please come celebrate Helga McClenahan at Chesterbrook Academy in Vienna.  We are celebrating Ms. McClenahan’s 40 years that she has given to the community, preparing our children for Kindergarten.  

We will holding the SURPRISE party on Friday, May 30th from 4 to 6 pm at our school, 9525 Leesburg Pike in Vienna. Chesterbrook Academy will be providing snacks and a great time.  

We are hoping to have as many past students, families and co-workers there to celebrate with us as possible, so please spread the word!  

Everyone is welcome, but please RSVP to amanda.jones@nlcinc.com so we can plan accordingly.”

Happy Anniversary Ms. McClenahan. There's a saying "A teacher takes a hand, opens a mind, and touches a heart." It sounds like you have touched many!

Teachers like you are another reason why WE LOVE LIVING IN VIENNA!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


If you're a fan of Saturday Night Live, then you recognize this line from Christopher Walken's skit on Saturday Night Live back in 2000. It's often rated as the funniest SNL skit ever.

Well - if YOU are looking for some cowbell too - we have JUST the place for you!

This Saturday night, Vienna Choral Society presents their last concert of the season. It's called "Parodies and PDQ Bach". The concert will take place at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax (located on Hunter Mill Road in Oakton) at 7:30PM.

Now, you're probably wondering what "Parodies and PDQ Bach" means and what that has to do with more cowbell! 

If you're like me, and you hear the name "Bach", you might feel the need to stifle a yawn. (Yes, as a child of the 60's & 70's - rock n roll is a bit more my style.) But VCS actually has some pretty cool stuff up their sleeves (as usual!). And it involves cowbell. chicken solos and bird whistles. (Wait, what?!)

Here's what they told me about the concert: 

"This comedic concert is inspired by the works of one of the least well known, least respected members of the famous Bach family of composers - P.D.Q. Bach. His works were discovered (or some might say actually written) by Peter Schickele, a contemporary composer with a talent for parody and poking fun at musical convention.  We'll be performing several of these works, and other pieces in the same spirit.  It's tongue-in-cheek music intended to entertain as much as present music through a light-hearted unacademic perspectiveParodies and PDQ Bach is an evening of mockery, humor, and some gosh-darn sophisticated singing. Plus a few end-of-surprises that you won’t want to miss!"

You can get tickets at the door - or you can skip the line & order nowWe say grab the kids, grab a friend or grab a date and be there or be square! 

Vienna Choral Society - just another reason why WE LOVE LIVING IN VIENNA!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Slippers, Stories, Songs & Sweets!

Every family has a ritual that revolves around bedtime.

"Read it again Dad!" (In our house the favorites were "Goodnight Moon" and "Where The Wild Things Are". Though I'm, not sure how "Where The Wild Things Are" is supposed to make a child want to be left in a dark room all alone to fall asleep!)

"One more song Mom - pleeeeeease." (OK - this wasn't the routine in our house. I can't sing. But I know houses where they sing great nighttime songs.)

"Bless Grandma and  Grandpa and Johnny and Susie and  Muffin and Snoopy and and and . . ." "Yes, son it's great to bless the mailman, but it's time for bed!"

On Saturday, the Vienna Choral Society offers the opportunity for a family outing you've probably never experienced before. And it just might give you some fresh ideas for YOUR sleepytime ritual at night.

At least once a year, VCS does a "family-friendly" concert. This year's concert theme is "Lullabies". Not only will the performers be dressed in their jammies, but YOU and your kids can come in your slippers & pajamas too! How fun is that?!

And - VCS puts it right out there that they WANT kids to leave their seats. So no worries if your son or daughter is a wiggle worm! They say, "We go all out to engage the kids. Or at least get them to leave their seats, come to the front, and let the parents of the really young ones have a good five to ten minutes sans squirmy child in lap."

This year, in addition to the amazingly talented performers from VCS, you will hear the Mosby Woods Mustang Singers. And best of all, there will be a storyteller! Because no bedtime ritual is complete without stories.

The show will take place Saturday, March 15th from 4:30PM - 6:30PM at VBC (541 Marshall Rd SW in Vienna). You can buy tickets online & skip the line at the door. (Youth 14 and below are free with a ticketed adult. Adult tickets are $25. Seniors $20.)

And we hear they'll have cookies afterward.

Slippers, stories, songs & sweets. You can't beat it!