Meg Biram here! I wanted to write the intro for today’s Street Style because Laura and Alyssa are friends of mine who have operated their business, Laura Hooper Calligraphy, in Old Town for years and while they have a huge following on Instagram, it’s not well-known that they are located right here in our community!
Laura and Alyssa, the sister duo behind Laura Hooper Calligraphy, are the perfect business pair. Laura has trained with three master penmen and is a certified instructor in American Cursive Handwriting. Being the actual calligrapher in the business, she’s as official as calligraphers get!
Laura has been in the calligraphy business since 2002 and is highly regarded in the wedding calligraphy industry. Her work has been featured on every wedding blog and in every national wedding magazine.
Laura convinced her sister Alyssa to start working for her full-time as Director of Operations in 2014. At the time Alyssa lived in Los Angeles and I only knew her via email. But a little over a year ago Alyssa not only moved to northern Virginia to be closer to Laura and family, but she moved right into my neighborhood and within a week we were hanging out regularly and over the past year I’ve gotten to know her and Laura well.
It’s fun to see sisters that get along so well, and not only run a business together, but additionally hang out with each other in their free time. They could not be more opposite in personality! It’s pretty funny to be around them and their sister banter.
Not only do they do calligraphy for high-end weddings and custom clients, but they also create tutorials and online courses which have been taken online by thousands and they have taught over 10,000 individuals through their in-person workshops.
Let’s talk style — Alyssa is a self-proclaimed non-shopper. She’s very smart with her money, saves a lot, and fashion just isn’t the place she spends her money (but she did admit to me that she will drop dollars on beauty products). Even though she chooses not to spend a lot of money on her wardrobe, she always looks amazing to me. She knows what works for her tall frame, light skin, and gorgeous natural red hair.
Laura on the other hand has told me she has a very full closet. More of a shopper that one. She always looks classy and comfortable.
Not only do we all chat business together constantly but it’s been fun forming such special relationships with other women in my community. I’m excited for you all to get to know Laura & Alyssa and welcome them officially to the Alexandria Stylebook community!
How do you spend your time?
Laura: If I’m not at work, or traveling for work, you’ll find me in my garden or possibly painting.
Alyssa: I’m generally in the LHC studio M-F, but on the weekends, I enjoy exploring vineyards and breweries around Alexandria, trying restaurants I haven’t been to yet, and finding hikes in the surrounding areas.
Laura: The Yacht Haven neighborhood of Mount Vernon.
Alyssa: Del Ray.
How long have you lived in Alexandria:
Laura: Since July 2013 when my husband was transferred here for work.
Alyssa: Just over a year.
What is your hometown?
Laura: Northridge, California (the Los Angeles area).
Alyssa: I’m from Los Angeles & moved here from Manhattan Beach.
What brought you to Alexandria?
Laura: My husband is in the military and he was transferred to the Pentagon.
Alyssa: LHC has been based out of Alexandria for the past six years and I worked remotely, but eventually did make the move myself as well to be able to come to the studio daily.
What would surprise people about you?
Laura: It always surprises people when they hear I’m an introvert because they usually find out about this while I’m teaching or speaking.
Alyssa: That I studied psychology in college.
You’re a superhero: what’s your superpower?
Laura: Writing super nice…
Alyssa: Teleporting so I could easily explore the world.
Laura: I love anything with Champagne but have recently been trying to cut down on my alcohol intake for health-related reasons.
Alyssa: Not a big cocktail drinker, but I love a good glass of red wine.
Last book read or movie seen:
Laura: I’m looking forward to seeing Downton Abbey soon so by the time this is published that will likely be the most recent.
Alyssa: Three Women.
Laura: I love sweets. It’s a problem.
Alyssa: Eating dark chocolate and sea salt covered almonds from Trader Joe’s. Almost every night.
Phrase you overuse:
Laura: I say “literally” and “like” far too often.
Facebook or Instagram?
Alyssa: Instagram! I deleted my Facebook account years ago, though I have a “hidden” account for work purposes only.
Laura: Totally weird but I just watched all of Silicon Valley thanks to my husband. It was pretty funny.
Alyssa: Unbelievable on Netflix.
Bucket list travel destination:
Laura: I would love to visit the Artic to see polar bears or Antarctica for the penguins. Perhaps a safari in Africa as well.
If you only could have one for the rest of your life: wine or coffee?
Define your style in three words or less:
Laura: Casual chic.
Alyssa: Casual neutral chic.
The go-to piece in your wardrobe:
Laura: Skinny jeans.
Alyssa: Jeans – I wear jeans almost every day!
Favorite trend ever:
Laura: Rompers and/or jumpsuits.
Alyssa: Skinny jeans – it took a while for me to get on board, but now I can’t give them up.
Favorite current trend:
Laura: Animal prints.
Alyssa: Leopard print & high-waisted jeans.
Beauty product you can’t live without:
Laura: Wrinkle cream for around my eyes/neck.
Alyssa: Face lotion.
Laura: Stella by Stella McCartney.
Alyssa: None, I prefer my laundry detergent, body wash and deodorant to be unscented.
Heels or flats?
Laura: Flats – I wish I could last more than an hour in heels.
Alyssa: Flats please!
Favorite room in your home:
Laura: I love my bedroom, as well as my living room. Both have huge bay and bow windows so that’s probably why.
Alyssa: TV/Living room.
Antiques, modern, or a mix?
Laura: My house is a mix of modern/traditional pieces.
Last item bought for your home:
Laura: A bay window for our master bedroom. It made a huge difference. I used to hate our master and now I love it.
Alyssa: New pillows for my couch.
Next planned purchase:
Laura: Currently hoping to replace our front doors. In terms of smaller ticket items, it will probably be a ton of holiday décor. I can never help myself….
Alyssa: A house! I’m currently renting but would love to purchase in the next year or so.
Favorite way to entertain:
Laura: I love a good deck barbeque when the weather permits, or hors d’ouerves served in our open style kitchen/living room. Especially at the holidays.
Alyssa: Wine and appetizers at home.
Clutter-free or well-lived in?
Laura: Clutter-free, but with my husband and two pups sometimes that is difficult.
Wallpaper — yes, totally modern or no, so dated:
Laura: I love wallpaper, just have to choose it myself. I can’t deal with the dated stuff from the 60s.
Alyssa: I like a good accent wall.
Your go-to work-out:
Laura: I’m currently into spinning at Ascend Cycle. I’ve been going there over 3 years and love it.
Alyssa: Spin class.
Most fun way to exercise:
Laura: I love outdoor fitness whenever possible.
Alyssa: I enjoy spin because I can focus on the music and not dwell on being exhausted, so I feel like anything with music is more fun than not.
Group exercise or solo:
Laura: I need a group so I actually show up and put in the workout. I am not motivated to do 40-50 minutes on my own, unless I’m walking.
Laura: Like most people, I’d love to lose 10 pounds, but really I would love to get stronger all around. I had some health issues earlier this year which lead to a decrease in working out, so I’ve been trying to get back on track.
Alyssa: I exercise for overall health.
Haven’t yet, but might be willing to try with coaching / encouragement:
Laura: I would love to try out a class at the new Rowhouse studio in North ALX.
Alyssa: Rowing – the new studio in Alexandria looks like it’d be interesting to try out!
Proudest fitness achievement:
Laura: This year I lost more than 20 pounds through diet and exercise and I worked so hard to do it. I’m still a work in progress but doing this and keeping the weight off has been great.
Alyssa: The first time I tried a spin class, about 7 minutes in, I thought I wasn’t going to make it any further and almost had a slight panic attack about being clipped in and in a dark room. That was over two years ago, and now I feel strong throughout the full 45-minute session.
Favorite spot in Alexandria:
Laura: I love going out on the front lawn overlooking the Potomac at the Mount Vernon estate. We are neighborhood friends, so you’ll usually catch me at any of the special events they host out there in the evenings.
Alyssa: The waterfront.
Last purchase in Alexandria:
Laura: Just got my hair cut over at Salon 46.
Alyssa: South Block.
Best coffee / happy hour / date night spot:
Laura: Virtue Feed & Grain is my fav restaurant in Old Town. Also love the new Oak Steakhouse restaurant for a nice night out with my husband or Kaizen over in Del Ray.
Alyssa: Coffee = St. Elmo’s / Happy Hour = The People’s Drug / Date Night = Captain Gregory’s.
Laura: I have several, most are related to animals – SeaLegacy, Humane Society International and ASPCA are a few of my top picks.
Alyssa: March of Dimes.
Favorite annual Alexandria event:
Laura: I love the holidays in Alexandria, starting with Halloween and onto Christmas, so anything related to those here in Old Town.
Alyssa: Wine Festival at Mt. Vernon.