street style: ann dorman

Photo Credit: Sarah Marcella Photography

There are some people who just get stuff done. Ann Dorman is one of them. The owner of Meetings and Events of Distinction and executive director of First Night Alexandria, I met Ann the same way I seem to meet most folks these days — at a city government meeting.


It was the Holiday Summit last year and all the different groups in town were going over what their plans were. I was talking about Small Business Saturday on behalf of the Old Town Boutique District and mentioned it would be great if we could find a sponsor to print shopping bags that all the participating stores could use. Ann walked up after, asked how much I needed and said she would help me. I think within 48 hours I had a check and First Night Alexandria flyers to stuff inside our new Small Business Saturday bags. She didn’t need to deliberate or form a committee; she saw a cobranding idea to further her objectives and support the community and she just stepped up. On the spot.


That’s the kind of leadership it takes to make a mid-sized city like ours work.

Ann is one reason First Night Alexandria has become what it is today. She got involved in 2001 and that is when things really began to happen.


If you have lived in Alexandria you have seen First Night grow to become the best family celebration for New Year’s Eve in the Greater DC area. There are events all day including crafts, storytelling, comedy, dance, a fun hunt, and music for all ages. Kids can enjoy the Great Zucchini, jazz fans can catch local favorite Etufe, or watch local musicians participate for the second year in Battle of the Stars. The nights ends with a fireworks display on the Potomac River you won’t want to miss.

To find out more about the events or buy tickets, go to

How do you spend your time? With friends over a great meal with fabulous wines.
Neighborhood: We live in mid-town near TC Williams and hate when it’s referred to as the west end!
How long have you lived in Alexandria: We bought our first house in Alexandria in 1983 and have been in our current house since 1993. We LOVE living, working, and playing in Alexandria.
What is your hometown? I’m from a very small town in southwestern PA but grew up in New England before moving to Northern Virginia right out of college.
What brought you to Alexandria? When I first moved to Northern Virginia I dated a guy who was from Alexandria. We would come here to visit his parents and have dinner and I fell in love with Alexandria saying I was going to live here one day.
What would surprise people about you? I’m pretty shy until I get to know people and I once spent the day with George Foreman, escorting him around Columbus, Ohio.
You’re a superhero: what’s your superpower? My superpower is to wrinkle my nose and get three times as much done as humanly possible. There just aren’t enough hours in the day!
Favorite cocktail: A really nice French champagne.
Last book read or movie seen: Tom Brokaw’s The Greatest Generation
Guilty Pleasure: Date night at Restaurant Eve with my husband.
Bucket list travel destination: We did that to Italy a few years ago. It was SO worth the wait! Next is Sonoma County; haven’t been there is more than 20 years.
If you only could have one for the rest of your life: wine or coffee? Definitely wine! I have a lot of food allergies and already can’t drink coffee. If I’m ever told I’m allergic to wine I’m buying stock in Benadryl!

Define your style in three words or less: Casual comfortable
The go-to piece in your wardrobe: Turtlenecks
Favorite trend ever: Mini skirts – when I was 20!
Favorite current trend: Dressy jeans
Beauty product you can’t live without: Eye makeup!
Favorite fragrance: Lavender
Heels or flats? Definitely flats but I love chunky heeled boots

Favorite room in your home: Kitchen
Antiques, modern, or a mix? Definitely a mix
Last item bought for your home: Really nice wooden rockers for new patio
Next planned purchase: Would love new dining room furniture but that’s unlikely to happen. At this stage in our lives, we’re not planning big purchases.
Favorite way to entertain: At home with friends, good food, and wine (notice the theme?)!
Clutter-free or well-lived in? As clutter-free as possible with both my husband and me working from home.
Wallpaper: yes, totally modern or no, so dated: Hate it; have very little left in the house and want to be rid of it!

Your go-to work-out: Walking and my stand-up desk
Most fun way to exercise: Walking in Italy!
Group exercise or solo: Pilates
Fitness goal: Never be fat again
Haven’t yet, but might be willing to try with coaching / encouragement: Boxing
Proudest fitness achievement: Standing up and walking eight hours after spine surgery.

Favorite spot in Alexandria: Restaurant Eve and Unwined
Last purchase in Alexandria: Big one was new car from Lindsay Lexus but regularly wine from Unwined
Best happy hour / date night spot: The bar at Restaurant Eve
Favorite charity: Other than First Night it is the Alexandria Police Foundation
Favorite annual Alexandria event: First Night Alexandria!

Grey vest from Kiskadee.

  • The latest from Elizabeth

I spent the first part of my career as a copy-writer who helped elected officials brag about their support for entrepreneurs. Then I decided to get off the printed page and do it myself. The Shoe Hive made a splash on the fashion scene in Washington, and was named the region’s best shoe store in its first year. Fourteen years later, I have tripled the store’s size and also opened a sister store, The Hive. At The Hive, we offer clothing lines that are sophisticated and approachable like Rag & Bone, Tibi, Raquel Allegra, Ulla Johnson and Veronica Beard. We have tried to fill our racks with clothing you will want to wear all the time, elevated basics that are worth the investment.

Heard the buzz? The Shoe Hive & The Hive are a pair of luxury boutiques in Old Town Alexandria. Featuring both big name designers like Rag & Bone and Stuart Weitzman and smaller brands like AGL and L'Agence, our unique selection and impeccable service are what set us apart.

The Shoe Hive                         The Hive
127 S. Fairfax Street               301 Cameron Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
              Alexandria, VA 22314

703.548.7105                          703.548.7110

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