Lauren Bruce Wodicka

Lauren Bruce Wodicka

Introducing Lauren Bruce Wodicka! Lauren is an artist and interior designer and  refinishes furniture for Charlene. Charlene finds unique pieces when she goes antiquing and Lauren refinishes for Charlene to use at events. These pieces can come with the Charlene Experience or  can be rented from Charlene's vault for an event! Lauren's been busy recently working on a bunch of furniture; check out some actions shots below!

 

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Some of Lauren's recently completed furniture for Charlene:

Lauren also painted this bar cart and coffee table for Charlene! The first two pictures show the bar cart in action.

Lauren received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from James Madison University and then continued her studies at the Art School of Lorenzo de Medici in Florence, Italy. Lauren has been selling her artwork and furnishings in the Northern Virginia area ever since she graduated. She does everything from canvas paintings, pencil portraits, architectural drawings, custom paint finished on furniture, interior renderings, to interior design! Check out some of her work below.

You can see more of Lauren's work, browse the art she has for sale, and find her contact information on her website: http://laurenbrucestudio.com

Shrubs

Shrubs

Here at Charlene's Kitchen we have been obsessed with shrubs lately, as you've probably noticed from posts on our various social media accounts. However, not everyone knows what shrubs are or what they're used for.  Thus, we have decided to dedicate a whole blog post to shrubs!

In short, shrubs are sweetened vinegar-based syrups used to make cocktails (or mocktails!).

Shrubs originated in England in the 17th century and were originally used to preserve fruit as an alternative to using citrus juice. Shrubs fell out of popularity when home refrigeration became mainstream, but they resurged in popularity in 2011 and 2012. 

Shrubs are made by combining fruit (or vegetables or herbs) with vinegar and sugar. We prefer using turbinado sugar in our shrubs; raw sugar makes the final product better. Later, the pieces of fruit are strained out, leaving behind the delicious syrup!

Shrubs can be used to make an infinite variety of drinks. They can obviously be mixed with alcohol to make cocktails, but they can also be mixed with water or soda water to make mocktails! Mocktails are all the rage right now-- they're a great non-alcoholic option and much fancier than serving soda!

Charlene's Kitchen shrubs come in four varieties: Meyer lemon, cucumber, strawberry balsamic, and blueberry lavender. Our shrubs can be be part of a full Charlene Experience bar at your next party or they can simply be picked up to go in our store! Each 8 ounce bottle costs $18. Try it out the next time you place an order!

Blog Post by Emily Kiernan, newest member of Charlene's Kitchen

T.C. Williams Class of 2017 | Amherst Class of 2021

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All About Paige

All About Paige

Introducing Paige Tibbe, our multitalented photographer and artist at Charlene's Kitchen! Paige does all of the photography of Charlene's Gray Farm in Pennsylvania as she is from Charlene's area. Paige even occasionally comes down to Alexandria to do shoots for Charlene here! Paige took all the the pictures from the Locke engagement party that we posted on our Facebook and Instagram. However, Paige is an artist first and a photographer second; she just gradated from Seton Hill University with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Studio Art and a minor in Art History! Check out some of her amazing art below:

A self-portrait of Paige

A self-portrait of Paige

Here is some of Paige's gorgeous photography:

And here is some of the photos that Paige has taken of Gray Farm:

Charlene is so happy to have Paige as a part of her team and loves working with her! To see more of Paige's art, go to https://www.paigetibbeart.com

Charlene's Kitchen Calligraphy

Charlene's Kitchen Calligraphy

Introducing our new in-house craft person, Lisa! She is our calligraphy and lettering expert here at Charlene's Kitchen! Lisa is a professionally trained graphic designer. We have her busy with wedding decorations, labels for cheeseboards, stickers for bottles, signs for events, and more! Lettering and signs like these come with the Charlene Experience, but Charlene will occasionally throw a few onto a regular cheese board!

Here are some shots of Lisa in action:

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Check out some of Lisa's beautiful work:

Garden Week 2017!

Garden Week 2017!

This week is Garden Week! Charlene has been participating in Garden Week for the past ten years and wouldn't have missed it for anything. The Alexandria Garden Tour was on Saturday, April 22nd and featured the homes of three of Charlene's clients.

Two of the homes featured on the 2017 Alexandria Garden Week tour. The home on the right belongs to one of Charlene's clients!

Two of the homes featured on the 2017 Alexandria Garden Week tour. The home on the right belongs to one of Charlene's clients!

One of her favorites was her client Leslie Arail's home. Charlene loved everything about it-- it was tastefully done, the perfect size, stunning, great for entertaining, and had beautiful gardens. To quote Charlene, "love love love!" 

Fred Lowther, another of Charlene's clients, was also featured on the tour. His home was more formal than Leslie's but just as beautiful!

Charlene has been an avid gardener her whole life. From growing herbs for cooking to making floral arrangements to attending garden weeks, she does it all! Charlene is also obsessed with wood! Charlene in the midst of building and landscaping for a bed and breakfast called Gray Farm. She loves getting wood from the trees in Pennsylvania; she even owns her own wood splitter! The next time you come into our location in Old Town, look around and you will see tons of slices and pieces of wood that Charlene uses for the Charlene Experience. She uses cherry wood for smoking meat, white birch for props for events, and is currently working on turning back walnut wood into cheese boards!

Check out some of the things Charlene has been working on at Gray Farm lately:

Planter full of succulents made out of a chopped down tree.

Planter full of succulents made out of a chopped down tree.

Lovely garden herbs!

Lovely garden herbs!

The black walnut that is currently being turned into cheese boards.

The black walnut that is currently being turned into cheese boards.

Rock wall with succulents.

Rock wall with succulents.

Walkway at Gray Farm with moss and stones.

Walkway at Gray Farm with moss and stones.

If you're interested in seeing more of the lovely Gray Farm and staying updated on its progress as building continues, check out Charlene's Pinterest board just for Gray Farm: http://pin.it/gbbr-vc

What does the Charlene's Kitchen staff eat?

What does the Charlene's Kitchen staff eat?

At Charlene's Kitchen, the staff is constantly being asked what we eat. Everyone always wants to know where their hairdressers get their hair done and in the same way they want to know what their caterers eat! Here are some of the things we make and eat while at Charlene's Kitchen:

Turkey burger with spinach pesto, lettuce, heirloom tomato, and Sriracha mayo. Charlene is obsessed with fresh heirloom tomatoes in summertime and loves to get a variety of colors and sizes from the farmer's market!

Turkey burger with spinach pesto, lettuce, heirloom tomato, and Sriracha mayo. Charlene is obsessed with fresh heirloom tomatoes in summertime and loves to get a variety of colors and sizes from the farmer's market!

Hot dog bar with assorted fixings. With the hot dog bar everyone can make their own dogs the way they like them and even mix fun flavors together like avocado and mustard!

Hot dog bar with assorted fixings. With the hot dog bar everyone can make their own dogs the way they like them and even mix fun flavors together like avocado and mustard!

Mini turkey burger with Pennsylvania relish, onion, tomato, and cheddar cheese.

Homemade pizza with lobster, reggiano cheese, tomato, zucchini, garlic, shallots, and shiitake mushrooms.

Homemade pizza with lobster, reggiano cheese, tomato, zucchini, garlic, shallots, and shiitake mushrooms.

Veggie burger with avocado, cherry tomatoes, basil aioli, and an over easy egg. 

Veggie burger with avocado, cherry tomatoes, basil aioli, and an over easy egg. 

Mixed greens salad with avocado, roasted beets, reggiano cheese, arugula, chives, shallots, and balsamic drizzle. The perfect dish to go with our homemade pizza!

Mixed greens salad with avocado, roasted beets, reggiano cheese, arugula, chives, shallots, and balsamic drizzle. The perfect dish to go with our homemade pizza!

Bacon-less BLT with tomato and pea shoots. Light and refreshing and perfect for our resident vegetarian, Denaya!

Bacon-less BLT with tomato and pea shoots. Light and refreshing and perfect for our resident vegetarian, Denaya!

Po'boy with breaded shrimp on a ciabatta roll with lettuce, garlic aioli, spinach pesto, and tomato. Just looking at this picture made us crave these shrimp po'boys again!

Po'boy with breaded shrimp on a ciabatta roll with lettuce, garlic aioli, spinach pesto, and tomato. Just looking at this picture made us crave these shrimp po'boys again!

Yet another turkey burger with bacon, spinach, and cheese. If you can't tell, we love turkey and veggie burgers!

Yet another turkey burger with bacon, spinach, and cheese. If you can't tell, we love turkey and veggie burgers!

Denaya, a Charlene's Kitchen employee for over five years now, always looks forward to lunch at Charlene's as the highlight of her day. She recently cut meat out of her diet and has still found delicious options to eat. Just last night she took a vegan crumble lasagna home to her family and came back this morning raving about it! Even though it's vegan, the meatless lasagna is loved by some of the biggest meat-lovers out there!

We have an exciting project in the works- stay tuned for upcoming opportunities this summer to eat like we do at Charlene's!

We are also now on Twitter! Follow us @charleneskitchn!

Blue & White Part 2.

Part 2 of last year's "Blue & White" blog post! (January 7th, 2016)

Charlene is pulling out pieces from her own collection in the vault, available for rent. 

From plates, to cups, to vintage quilts - mixups of blues & whites are great all year round!

Touches of red in the winter, touches of pink in the spring... blue and white provides a great base for any party decor!

A Photo of Charlene's blue & white in action this past Christmas. 

Thanksgiving Sides

It's that time of year when homes are filled with delicious fall aromas, and families gather around the table! Let Charlene's Kitchen make your Thanksgiving even more scrumptious with our list of homemade sides that will compliment any menu:

All orders must be placed via email to info@charlenes-kitchen.com by Sunday, November 20th.  Pick-ups will be available Monday, November 21st - Wednesday, November, 23rd. Please specify in your email if you would like to pick up on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. We will do our best to accommodate all pick-up time requests. Please bring cash or check when you pick-up.
 

Charlene's Kitchen will close on Wednesday, November 23rd at 3:00.

Green Springs Gardens

Charlene is always looking for beautiful outdoor settings to enjoy her days off (yes she does have them!). Green Springs Gardens is a local gem that is only about 15 minutes outside of Old Town.

Green Springs Gardens are lined with serene paths that are perfect for walking with friends or taking a meditative stroll. The park opens at dusk, and the benches by this pond would be a great place to sit and enjoy your morning coffee! The path by the pond leads you into the woods towards the Horticulture Center. It is a wonderfully calming path!

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Once you emerge from the woods, you are bombarded with the natural beauty of the land! There is a different kind of garden in every direction as the property has over 22 themed gardens total. The grounds offer inspiration for the home gardener, and the staff are happy to answer any questions visitors may have pertaining to gardening techniques, history, native plants, etc.

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Be sure to stop by the Horticulture Center to learn about volunteer opportunities, programs, and Master Gardeners. They also hold lectures, workshops, and tours about nature, horticulture, and history. 

See you Saturday, September 10th at the Fall Garden Day!

See you Saturday, September 10th at the Fall Garden Day!

Summer Day Trip

August is the time of year when everyone is ready for a vacation! If you don't want to go too far, but still want to "get away", take advantage of the surrounding rural areas. There are so many hidden gems within two and a half hours of here. Here are a few of Charlene's favorites that she passes on her way to her home state of Pennsylvania:

Clear Spring Creamery: You may have seen them at the DuPont or Arlington Farmers Market! They are a family dairy farm known for their delicious and humanely sourced products ranging from milk to eggs. Stop by their farm on your way to our next spot...

 

Knobhall Winery: A great place for the setting and ambiance alone! Charlene loves the house on the property and the relaxed vibe of the winery. It's a great place to sit down with friends, relax, and just forget about the world!

 

Spruce Forest Artisan Village: Charlene is an absolute bird lover!!! When she discovered that one of the resident artists, Gary Yoder, was a Master Bird Sculptor, she was thrilled! His sculptures are impeccable, and he spends about four years on each piece. The village is comprised of quaint, restored cabins. Each cabin has a unique history and serves as a work space for artists, crafters, writers, etc. It is free to visit the village, and you can tour the grounds and watch the artists at work! They have a great cafe on the grounds too, The Cornucopia Cafe, where you can grab lunch and a glass of wine.

The Cornucopia Cafe is tucked behind the Spruce Forest Artisan Village. It offers fresh local fare in a charming rustic setting. The view of the surrounding mountains and stream make the outdoor seating delightful! You might even catch one of the fly fishing classes at the stream! Be sure to visit the Grants Mercantile store too while you're on the grounds. It's a cute country store with a variety of gifts, home items, olive oils, and more!

The Auction Square Market Place, sometimes referred to as the "Boonsboro Antique Mall, is a great indoor flea market with a wide variety of vendors. You can easily spend a few hours looking through all of the collections. Make sure you bring your truck in case you need to haul off your new antique trunk or dresser!

After a long day of antiquing and hiking the Great Allegheny Passage, spend the night at the Savage River Lodge! The lodge is nestled in over 700 acres of State Forest lands making it a great getaway from city life.