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Say yes to this fabulous historic home in Old Town!
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When Monte Durham’s contract with TLC expired in March, he realized he needed to do something else. The star of Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta was told that the network would be going dark because of the pandemic, and Durham quickly decided to go back to his roots as a hairstylist and open a boutique in Old Town.
“My goal is to inspire, educate, and hopefully motivate people to go to the next level with their look,” Durham told ALXnow.
Durham is opening Salon Monte this Saturday, September 12. At 6:30 p.m., Mayor Justin Wilson is scheduled to cut a ribbon for the 825-square-foot salon at 210 S. Union Street. That’s next door to Hotel Indigo and across the street from the Union Street Public House.
Why go to Salon Monte? It’s simple, Durham says.
“We’ve got location and valet parking,” he said. “The big hubbub about this is that it’s new. It’s fresh, it’s invigorating. You’re going to be serviced totally differently.”
The bridal image consultant, who lives in Belle Haven, was filming Say Yes to the Prom in New York City when the pandemic struck, and by mid-March was back home when he got the news that the network was going dark.
“In the midst of all of that, our contracts expired,” Durham said. “Are they going to reinvent the wheel? Who knows. So, while we’re waiting on that, I thought, ‘You know what? Ten years of traveling and going back and forth, if we don’t film again, what can I do? Well, after all I am a hairstylist.”
Durham is still appearing at wedding events, including the upcoming Alexandria Wedding Showcase this Sunday, September 13. He’s hired a hair director and a client service director to work with him in his boutique.
“When a father looks at the price of a wedding dress and says, ‘She’s only gonna wear it one day,’ I go, ‘Okay. I want you to ask your wife where her wedding dress is,'” Durham said. “They always know exactly.”
The salon was far from finished a week before the opening, but Durham said when finished it will include his private studio with a large portrait of his style icon Jackie Kennedy, shampoo lounges and all of his own personal hair care products.
“Everything in the salon is custom because it’s small,” he said. “The lampshades cost me an arm and a leg, but they look so good.”
Planning on getting hitched in Northern Virginia? The upcoming 2020 Alexandria Wedding Showcase will feature dozens of vendors from throughout the region to help you and your beloved on the most important of days.
Alexandria resident Monte Durham, host of TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta,” is headlining the event by hosting a VIP brunch and a fashion show, which will feature dresses, tuxedos and hair and makeup by local businesses. Durham plans to open his own salon in Old Town Alexandria later this year.
Last year, Alexandria Living Magazine took over the wedding showcase from Visit Alexandria, the city’s tourism bureau, which started the event in 2016. The event will be held on April 26, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Westin Alexandria Old Town (400 Courthouse Square) and will feature more than 60 local vendors, including florists, caterers and dressmakers.
“Last year, there were more than 450 people who attended the showcase,” Beth Lawton, co-founder and publisher of Alexandria Living, told ALXnow. “There’s no deadline, but we’re selling out quickly.”
“We’re really focusing on making this an experience,” Lawton added. “One of the salons is talking about doing consultations, we have a fitness studio doing one-on-one meetings and a lot of our booths are going to be offering prizes of their own. So, you’ll be able to possibly win a lot of free stuff for your wedding, which is great because the average wedding costs more than $30,000.”
As far as prizes go, the Westin is giving away a grand prize of 250,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, which can be used toward plane tickets, hotel stays and more.
“Essentially, a couple who wins this will be able to spend eight nights in France or Hawaii,” Lawton said.
The event will also be featured in the March/April edition of Alexandria Living Magazine, which will be full of wedding-related stories.
“Alexandria is one of the most romantic cities in the world, and this event really shows how the city is a great wedding destination,” Lawton said. “Weddings require so much. You need the food and wine, you need a venue, the dresses, the tuxes, the flowers, hotels for people coming in from out of town, transportation, gifts. There’s just so much that goes into weddings, even small weddings, that it’s not too surprising that there are so many businesses in the area that can support that.”
Tickets for the event are $20 for those who register before April 10, $25 for regular admission, $35 for couples and $50 to also attend the VIP brunch.
Additionally, for those who want to devote their entire weekend to weddings, the Carlyle House will host its free, annual wedding open house from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 25. Couples are invited to meet wedding vendors, tour the facility and talk about getting married at a historic site in the port city.
File photo (top) by James Cullum
Beyer Says House Democrats Working to Protect Postal Service — “So many of you are writing, calling, and urging us to act to protect the US Postal Service. We share your anger and frustration about what Trump is doing and your alarm about what it could mean for the election. And we ARE working to stop him.” [Twitter]
Noah and Josephus Lyles Win First and Second in 200 Meter Race in Monaco — “Lyles raised a black, fingerless-gloved right fist before getting into the blocks to win a 200m in his first international race of the season, conjuring memories of the famous 1968 Olympic podium gesture. He clocked 19.76 seconds, leading a one-two with younger brother Josephus.” [NBC Sports]
ALIVE! Gives Food to 900+ Households — “916 households received food at today’s Truck to Trunk food distribution. Thanks to everyone who made this possible- donors, volunteers, Department of Community & Human Services, City of Alexandria, VA; Volunteer Alexandria; Alexandria Sheriff’s Office, City of Alexandria, Virginia; Police Department, City of Alexandria, Virginia; Transportation & Environmental Services, City of Alexandria, Virginia and ALIVE! Staff!” [Facebook]
Monte Durham’s Salon Opening at Waterfront Next Month — “The chic boutique salon, located next door to Hotel Indigo, will feature Durham, who got his start as a hair stylist before heading down the bridal path to a hit reality TV show, TLC’s ‘Say Yes to the Dress – Atlanta.'” [Alexandria Living]
Chris Daughtry of American Idol to Play Virtual Concert for Birchmere — “Next week, Chris Daughtry presents his virtual “Live from Home Tour” on Aug. 18 to benefit 19 venues across the country, including The Birchmere in Alexandria, Virginia.” [WTOP]
Today’s Weather — “Partly cloudy early. Scattered thunderstorms developing in the afternoon. High 83F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 50%.” [Weather.com]
New Job: K-8 Teacher — “SchoolHouse is a new, innovative education startup that helps families to form Learning Pods, and matches excellent teachers with those Pods. A Pod is a group of approximately 4 – 8 students, of the same or similar grade level, who are learning, growing, and socializing together.” [Indeed]
TV Show for Monte Durham’s New Salon? — “There is a possibility that Durham’s salon will be the premise of a new show. ‘I am very proud to say that I have been tapped on the shoulder by a production company out of L.A. that has signed a contract to do a sizzle reel on the hair salon, hopefully to take that to a network and sell it so we’ll have a show on that,’ Durham announced at a Visit Alexandria meeting last month.” [Alexandria Times]
Alexandria BBQ Restaurant on Local TV — “Tommy McFly visit[ed] Myron Mixon’s Pitmaster in Old Town Alexandria to see what it takes to cook award-winning barbecue.” [NBC 4]
Beyer Campaigning for Mayor Pete — “As Pete Buttigieg struggles for momentum going into the South Carolina Democratic primary and Super Tuesday, two members of Congress from the Washington region are traveling the country to promote his presidential campaign. Reps. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and Anthony G. Brown (D-Md.) were early endorsers of the 38-year-old former mayor of South Bend, Ind., who they say has the personal story and calm demeanor to unite a nation divided by Donald Trump’s presidency.” [Washington Post]
New Bubble Tea Spot in Old Town North — “Ya-Gút St. Coffee & Treats ‘is the place for all things sweet,’ said Dustin Ngo from behind the counter of one of Old Town North’s newest businesses. The specialty shop opened in January at 682 N. St. Asaph St. next to its partner restaurant, Sunday in Saigon… The shop serves coffee drinks, unique pastries, bubble tea and gelato.” [Alexandria Living]
Whole Foods Donating to Local Nonprofit — “Now through the June 1, 2020, you can support The Child & Family Network Centers (CFNC) in Alexandria when you bring your own bag at Whole Foods at 1700 Duke Street. By bringing your own bag, you’ll save on the five-cent bag fee, which will automatically be donated to CFNC.” [Zebra]
Art Program for Residents in Recovery — “This fall, the Alexandria Residential Treatment Center (ARTC) partnered with Heard, a local nonprofit, to offer art workshops for individuals in recovery. An Alexandria-based creative arts initiative, Heard partners with nonprofits and local governments to provide marginalized and at-risk adults the opportunity to be heard through art and creativity with workshops in creative writing, visual arts, poetry, dance, etiquette and improvisation.” [City of Alexandria]
Interview With Alexandria’s Celebrity Salon Owner — “Picture this: Monte Durham, the debonair fashion director of TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta, strolls through Old Town Alexandria, his adopted home. Folks pass him on the street, and his keen eye for a chic coiffure assesses every ‘do. Finally, he spots his subject. ‘You need to come into my shop,’ he says in his charming drawl.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]
Reminder: MLK Commemoration Tonight — “The City of Alexandria planning to host a commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. [on] Wednesday, Jan. 15. The ceremony is scheduled for 7:30-9:30 p.m. at Beth El Hebrew Congregation (3850 Seminary Road).” [ALXnow]
‘Say Yes’ Star Opening Alexandria Salon — “The star of ‘Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta,’ Monte Durham, plans to open a hair salon in Old Town Alexandria, he announced this week. Durham, a resident of Alexandria, plans to call the salon ‘Monte.’ No word yet on an opening date.” [Alexandria Living]
APD Investigates Weekend Crashes — Alexandra police investigated a number of crashes over the weekend, including on the ramp to Telegraph Road from eastbound Duke Street, the intersection of North Beauregard Street and Seminary Road, the intersection of North Patrick Street and Madison Street, and the 500 block of North Columbus Street.
New Waterfront Cafe Under Construction — “Misha’s is moving forward on renovating the space for a second coffeehouse at 6 Prince St., near the waterfront, and that location is expected to have rooftop dining. A total renovation of the property is underway with the roof, floor and some walls being torn down.” [Alexandria Living]
Local Theater Staging Spooky Story — “The Little Theatre of Alexandria (LTA) is staging ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ from Oct. 19 – Nov. 9, 2019. Director Maggie Mumford said she is an absolute nerd about all things Shirley Jackson (novelist), and the novel upon which this play is based is what started that fandom.” [Gazette Packet]
Overheard on the Alexandria Police Scanner — “Scanner: APD responding to S. Pickett Street for a report of a man walking down the road, dribbling a basketball while wearing nothing but a jock strap.” [Twitter]
Nearby: Fire at Belle View Shopping Center — “More than 20 businesses were damaged overnight Sunday into Monday by a four-alarm fire at a shopping center in Fairfax County, Virginia. The fire broke out about midnight in the Belle View Shopping Center, located south of Old Town Alexandria and the Capital Beltway.” [NBC 4, WTOP]
Beyer Negates Trump’s Coronavirus Claims — “Nearly 194,000 Americans have died in a pandemic Trump lied to the country about. As Dr. Gottlieb points out, the coming cold weather months bring danger of new spread of the virus. Even after seven months of this Trump still has no strategy to keep Americans safe.” [Twitter]
Former Mayor Silberberg Says Taylor Run Restoration Will Hurt Environment — “Recent soil testing from Taylor Run, analyzed by Brookside Laboratories, showed a negligible amount of phosphorous in the soil of the stream bank. Restoration of Taylor Run will therefore have a questionable impact at best on the watershed – but the restoration work will have a devastating impact on the habitat and tree canopy surrounding the stream.” [Alex Times]
Kids Who Volunteer Can Get Scholarship — “Volunteering makes a difference. Prudential Financial and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) are recognizing the efforts Virginia youth have made to help in their communities during the pandemic.” [Zebra]
Salon Monte Opens in Old Town — “On the waterfront to cut the ribbon for @MonteDurham‘s Salon Monte! Welcome! (Insert joke about me at a hair salon—> Here)” [Twitter]
Board of Architectural Review Rejects Heritage Development — “If you’ve run out of shows on Netflix and you’re looking for some drama-filled entertainment, head to the city’s webcast archive and watch the Board of Architectural Review’s latest meeting.” [Alex Times]
Today’s Weather — “Cloudy early, becoming mostly sunny in the afternoon. High near 80F. Winds N at 10 to 15 mph. At night, Clear. Low 54F. Winds NNE at 10 to 15 mph.” [Weather.com]
New Job: Account Executive — “CareClix, a Northern Virginia based company and the world leader in the Telemedicine Space is seeking a few select individuals to join our Resellers and Independent Account Executive salesforce. Successful candidates in this position can expect first year commissions of lower middle to high six figures.” [Indeed]