Amy DuVall still can’t believe she’s baking Italian cookies for a living in Alexandria. The owner of From Politics To Pastry says its surreal to be her own boss, especially after nearly 20 years of rubbing elbows on Capitol Hill as an environmental lawyer and lobbyist.
“So far, everything is working out well,” DuVall told ALXnow. “I will say that I am definitely more relaxed. It’s very surreal to not have a boss. I mean, other than taxes and laws, but to not have somebody to report to is very surreal.”
DuVall found herself at a crossroads in 2016, after then-President Obama signed the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act into law. The legislation, which significantly updated the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, took up most of DuVall’s time and energy. With the Act wrapped up, she asked herself, what should she do next?
“I have this great therapist who asked me what I did for fun,” DuVall said. “I told her how much time I spent in the kitchen, and she asked why I couldn’t do that for a living. And I laughed at her. I really did. I was like, because that’s not what I went to school for. Not only is it not a way to make a living, but it’s just what I do for fun.”
DuVall left the corporate world in 2018, and her journey was filled with twists and turns along the way. For instance, after getting accepted to attend the renowned L’Academie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg, it abruptly closed. Instead, she would teach herself how to bake by taking online courses and watching videos.
She started selling her Italian cookies at farmers markets in 2018, and then launched in February 2020. The pandemic forced DuVall to stop selling at the markets, though, and all orders are now made for pick-up at her house in the city’s Rosemont neighborhood.
DuVall said she appreciates being able to live on a more flexible schedule.
“It’s frustrating at times because I have no help, but it’s also extremely rewarding,” DuVall said of her business. “Nobody can take credit for the success except for me. That’s been pretty cool.”
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If you had a chance to enhance a child’s future with a time commitment of less than 2 hours a week, how would you respond? You have that opportunity right now to join over 200 Alexandrians as a reading tutor volunteer with the Alexandria Tutoring Consortium (ATC).
ATC tutors work with one child in kindergarten, first, or second grade in Alexandria public schools who need extra help with reading. Tutors meet with their Book Buddy 1-2 times each week for 30 minutes October-May at school, during school hours. Many struggling readers only receive one-on-one instruction through this program, and it makes all the difference. Last year, ATC served 195 children, of whom 82% ended the year reading on grade level and 96% made substantial reading gains. But the need is great, and we are still seeing learning lags from the pandemic.
This year, ATC plans to significantly increase the size of the program to reach over 250 students and to serve every elementary school in Alexandria. This is very exciting news, but we will only succeed if we can recruit more tutors. ATC trains you, matches you with a child, and provides ongoing lesson materials and support.
If you have been thinking about buying your first home or haven’t owned one in the last three years, THIS IS FOR YOU!
In the DMV area, it can be difficult to save the downpayment necessary for you to get into your own home. We have a solution. The Funder’s Summit!
We have assembled a summit with different municipalities to tell you how to access their funds for your home purchase.
Mark your calendars and join us for the Family Fun Fall Fest on Saturday, October 7, 2023, from 11am – 2pm!
This FREE in-person event will be held at the Shoppes at Foxchase, located at 4641 Duke St, Alexandria, VA