Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Let Them Eat Cake

Photo courtesy of Marie Antoinette's Gossip Guide to the 18th Century

Zazu is widely known for our highly-styled Christmas tree creations, and this year will be no exception. Less known is the fact that all our themes have been planned nearly a year in advance.

It's true. The first week in January, the elves set off for the holiday markets in anticipation of inspiration. What will adorn Virginia's best dressed trees next Christmas? Is pewter going to be THE color (yes) ? Bows on top(no)? Will we get flocked this year(it's possible)?

We've got two days to see all the offerings at market, four hours to design the themes, and a day and a half to run around and actually make the buying part happen. There are nine different themes this year! Trust me, it's super fun!

Then, we keep all our plans and themes a BIG FAT SECRET until our unveiling at our annual holiday party in October. Well, not this year! We've decided to let just one cat out of the chapeau just this one time...

This ... year's ... showstopping ... window display ... will be ... (drums rolling now?) Marie Antoinette! Quelle surprise!

There were many reasons for this choice: 1) I love all things French (especially cheese) 2) my family was planning a trip to France this summer and I was already getting super-excited, and 3) it was a good excuse to have cake at our unveiling party.

Little did I know how prophetic this choice would be. It was not meant to be a social commentary, or even a little snide-aside. However, if the current economic situation does not improve, it will be off with her head come December 26th!

(There was no crystal ball in play on this one, folks. Remember, this was all schemed up back in January!)

Please come see our Marie and all her finery.

There will be cake.

Zazu's 5th Annual
Holiday Open House
Thursday, October 23, 2008
5 pm - 9 pm

20070 Ashbrook Commons Plaza
Ashburn, Virginia 20147
(703) 858-9298

Monday, September 29, 2008

Shear Genius in Ashburn

I have never ever been happy with my hair. It is super-fine, limp, and I have been told that it is turning gray in parts that I can't even see. As far back as I can remember, dealing with my hair was one of the biggest challenges and most time-consuming part of my get-up-and-go routine. Did you notice that I said, "was"?

About a year-ish ago, one of our Zazu customers, Anna Michelle Jackson, let us know that she had opened up a hair salon in Ashburn called
Modern Concepts.

Anna Michelle and her business partner, Cathleen, had been long-time supporters of Zazu, so I challenged them with rescuing my failing follicles.

Before and after pictures speak volumes!

Always great with words, Anna Michelle shares her own thoughts ...

The scent of fall in the air is invigorating, but when I looked in the mirror at my hair color, invigorating is hardly how I felt. Why is it that highlights look so great in the summer sun, but as soon as the weather cools so does our color! I have already indulged in this fall’s jewel toned clothing; a rich amethyst blouse and an emerald top are mocking my dull flat color from my closet. Time to get to work and formulate a new invigorating me!

I have one of the best occupations; I am a hair stylist! I am the stylist to Ashburn’s super- star Moms and Divas! I make women feel good about themselves all day long. They tell me their woes as I color and shape their tresses. Today it’s my turn to be the guest in my salon, bye-bye to my blah color.

So I stand in front of our wall of color tubes, the possibilities are endless, but I mix some copper, a little gold, and a smidgen of red to create that jewel tone look in my hair, perfect! I choose to use Schwarzkopf color, a German cream color line that creates amazing grey coverage with low ammonium and has vibrant reds. One of my stylists applies my re-growth area and then we mix a similar blend of “Personality Color” - this is also known as a glaze - for my washed out ends. A glaze is a semi-permanent color that deposits rich color with a lot of shine and conditioning. It is the answer to the damage left by the summer sun. My glaze is applied and so I wait to process with a People magazine in one hand and a glass of wine in the other.

Thirty minutes later its time for the best part of my day, the shampoo! Our shampoo assistant has put me asleep on many occasions, she has a magic touch! She uses Sudzz Cashmere shampoo and Moxee conditioner, the aroma fills the air and I can feel my hair soak up its goodness. My hair feels like silk as it slides through the brush, the heat and the noise of the dryer keep me in my Zen like state. The dryer turns off, and I am turned to the mirror to reveal the new me! Invigorating is a good word it is exactly how I feel - my color is rich and shiny deep and beautiful like a garnet or a ruby.

Our make-up artist comes over and compliments me on my new color as she leads me to her station. How many times have you changed your color and used the same old make-up, or use the same make-up from season to season? She touches up my foundation with a loose mineral, flawless finish. Rich brown on the eyes, highlight the brow, and the crème de la crème a lip pluming gloss in copper. Even I need a make over from time to time. I feel great; I think its time for a new purse to match my fall mood, happy times!

- Anna Michelle Jackson

Friday, September 26, 2008

What Not To Blog

We have come up with literally tens (hey, we just started) of topics to discuss here on our new blog, so the thought came up that we should have some sort of policy on what we will not discuss on this public forum.  Doesn't that sound official? An actual "policy."  Seriously, we don't always just make stuff up as we go along ... really.

So, here is the official list of topics we will not be discussing on the wildly popular (hey, we're now on page two of Google!) Zazu blog, The Little Blog That Could.

  • Politics: Since we're just a bunch of gurlz - we can't handle the complexities.  We probably just need "more education and training."  How about just casting our ballot for the candidate who shows up in People magazine most frequently.  You know, that's how gurlz are.

  • Religion: Nope. Can't even come up with a funny/annoying comment about this one.

  • Sexual Orientation: So, you won't find a post regarding Clay Aiken's revelation that he is, in fact, gay filed under "No Sh*t, Sherlock."

  • Kids: We will not make you feel like less of a parent by chronicling the goings on of our enormously bright and talented kids.  However, if  they do something hysterically stupid (we've got teenagers), then ... "game on."  
Fair enough?  We at Zazu solemnly promise not to post about the above topics ever again as to not offend or alienate anyone or anything.



Thursday, September 25, 2008

What's In A Name?

The joke is... my brothers and I were definitely supposed to be royalty. At least by our namesake. We have very regal names and I suppose my mother was grasping a little bit when she named us all. We stuck with mostly family names which always makes things a little more interesting. Throwing a last name in the middle or even as a first name is a nice twist to all the usual "Johnsons" out there (that's a little jab to our 3 unrelated Johnsons that work at Zazu!)

Here at Zazu, we do tons of birth announcements and it is always fun to see what different name combinations mean to different people. I bet every one of you knows a couple who will not share their future baby's name. And it seems the pressure gets to some people.

"What if I don't like it after I have named my baby?" They may ask.
"Should I spell it the same old boring way?"
And some people are proud of their name ideas right from the start.

So what exactly is in a name? What does "Zazu" mean?

To find the answer you must read a cute little story we like to tell about our owner's genius idea to come up with the most fabulous name ever! (Not to mention the contents inside this place!)

It starts with the first two of her four children (God bless her!)
The oldest was unable to say his younger brother's name.
Should have sounded like "Carson". Instead it came out "zazzoo"
{Channel your inner child and say it quickly, he wasn't too far off!)
Which is cute enough to have inspired a store name, but after a visit to France she and her husband were walking around and saw the cutest little shop. The window display was fabulous and it had a pretty little awning over top… The name?... "Les Zazous"

It was destiny.


Brooke Millard Whittington, aka

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Super-Fun Time Wasters

In the few extra minutes I had to spare, I decided to check out Yearbook Yourself. I thought I would be satified with one fun shot, but ... ok, you see what happened ...

There is also a celebrity face-recognition "thingy" on My Heritage that likened my likeness to Sigourney Weaver. Hmmm, I wouldn't have thought of her. I promise I will let you know when it's time to "Elf Yourself".

If you've got the time to waste, try a new era on for size at Yearbook Yourself. And, please share it with us - we love to giggle!


Ten Reasons You Need to Blog for Business

1. Blogging is a free marketing tactic. As a small business owner, you have a limited marketing budget.  2. A blog is search engine manna!...

Times Are Tough, But So Are We

As the economic news gets even gloomier – gas prices at a ridiculous level, grocery prices that make you want to start your own crop, a real estate market bordering on disaster, and mighty, mighty banking institutions being bailed out by the government – who wouldn’t want to hide their money in a mattress?

So, how are mom and pop going to keep open the shop?

This is the question being posed to us at Zazu, a locally owned gift and stationery store in Ashburn, Virginia. Opened in 2004, we had hoped that this would be the year to see some benefit of all the hard work we put into establishing ourselves as the most fabulous shopping experience in the community. All the books we read told us that’s what would happen if we followed all the rules: develop a kick-butt brand, offer unparalleled customer service, fabulous and trend-setting products, and a moderate pricing structure. That’s when we got hit by 2008. Ouch!

So, being the creative and stick-to-it types, we needed an extension to our plan. As luck would have it, our CEO and Chief Decision Maker, Caroline Haddad, recently learned of a new marketing tool called, “the Internet”. What a fabulous invention!

When sales are down, marketing and prospecting at every opportunity is critical to get more feet pounding your carpet. On the horizon, we at Zazu see social networking and blogs as becoming the channels to shamelessly self-promote and widen brand awareness. Being creative-types (and soon to be techno-types) we have decided to embrace and conquer this new media.

On Tuesday, September 23, 2008 Zazu published its very first blog, “The Little Blog that Could”. We invite you to join our adventure as we explore this brave new world.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Birth of a Blog

After spending hours upon hours scrutinizing what our first post should be, I decided to handle it the way I do almost everything - just hit the button and see where it takes us!

Hope you enjoy the following YouTube video featuring "Gimme Dat Ding" by the Pipkins - every staff meeting here at Zazu begins with it. As another fun fact, it is one of the few songs I can play on the piano.