Day: January 3, 2018

Arts & Entertainment, High Notes

Kygo, A : Welcome to The Midnight Show

High Notes By Ron Powers Welcome to The Midnight Show Remix DJ and producer Kygo, a takes us on a sonic flight with her latest EP, The Midnight Show, escorting us through a cosmos which transcends genre by seamlessly melding classical composition, sensory stimulating synthesizers, soul nurturing pianos, beautifully toned guitars, and a healthy dose of pop appeal guaranteeing the music captures the attention of listeners no matter the moment, the mood or their personal music tastes. The Midnight Show is an exciting and unpredictable listen although it only includes two tracks. With that in mind, I promise this project will leave you wanting to hear more of Kygo, a’s work. Let’s take a deeper look at the two featured songs. Midnight Flight of the Bumble Bee immediately grabs us with a guitar riff that pierces deep, sticks with you for a long time, and drives this Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov original into new realms. A hard hitting, arena sized rhythm and groove section makes the song accessible to all listeners forcing our bodies into uncontrollable head nods, body rocks, and foot taps. A dissonant and busy violin riff accents the arrangement with context and texture as it mimics the flight of the bee through this masterfully crafted bed of enticing sounds. Maintaining an atmospheric, dreamy soundscape, this song would easily fit into a shoegaze/dream pop/indie pop playlist with ease. The second track of The Midnight Show features one of my favorite classical pieces, The Moonlight Sonata by Ludwig van Beethoven. Midnight by Moonlight Sonata, the Kygo, a version, kicks off with the iconic Beethoven piano melody which is guaranteed to infect the depths of your sensory system. Building into a lush, hypnotic and uplifting wall of synths, an infectious and memorable guitar riff, and an inspiring barrage of energetic frequencies, this…

Continue Reading

Grapevine & Vintner Profile, Wining & Dining

Warm Up In Wine Country: 5 Loudoun Wineries That Will Warm Your Soul This Winter

By Nancy Bauer Warm up in wine country 5 Loudoun wineries that will warm your soul this winter Steve Carell’s hot wax scene in the 40-Year-Old Virgin is an apt metaphor for 2017, but it wasn’t all misery: Finally, Virginia’s long-suffering grape growers were rewarded with a copious crop and, for many, a vintage year. It is seasons like 2017’s that inspire dreamers to invest in the industry with new vineyards, and that salves the wounds of old hands still smarting from the widespread losses of chardonnay and other early bloomers during the late frosts of 2016. As for the rest of 2017, let’s toast to leaving that one in the rear-view. Later, Bucky. Buh-bye, Felicia. It’s time to focus on rejuvenation, Virginia-wine style, with a full winter’s worth of backroad drives and welcoming hearths. So we asked an expert to help us kick off 2018’s Grapevine column. Jennifer Buske works in the Loudoun County tourism office, and she’s rounded up some Northern Virginia wineries with big fireplaces and homemade soup. Warm thanks to Jen for the travel tips, and warm wishes to all of you for a happy, healthy, cheer-filled new year. While winter brings colder weather and occasional wishes for warmer days, there are so many wonderful aspects to this blustery season. For starters, there is nothing better than sitting by a cozy fire, listening to the crackling of the wood and soaking in the warmth of the dancing flames. It’s also the perfect time of year for enjoying red wine while watching the snow fall and for savoring the flavors and smells that come along with a warm bowl of soup. This winter season enjoy toasty fires, hot soups and true Southern hospitality in Loudoun, VA where many of the county’s 40 wineries stay open year-round, offering…

Continue Reading

Go Fish, Pets, Places, & Things

Major Expansion of National Harbor

By Steve Chaconas   Major Expansion at National Harbor Already serving thousands of tourists and convention travelers, National Harbor is adding housing for tens of thousands more residents. These residents will hopefully use the accommodations for reproduction.   National Harbor and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources have teamed up to increase and restore habitat for largemouth bass in National Harbor. Since 1985, when Subaquatic Vegetation (SAV) peaked, MD Tidal Bass Manager Joe Love says, “The submerged grasses in this largemouth bass nursery have virtually disappeared over the past decade and the spawning success of these fish has consequently declined.” This 10-year cycle of grass loss has put reproductive activities of largemouth bass in National Harbor on hold. Catch rates were less than half of what they were before when grass was established. Today, while the Potomac River bass population is in pretty good shape, the loss of these spawning grounds is of concern. When fish move into shallow flats, SAVs offer cover for spawning beds and for hatched fry to grow to juvenile size. Without grass, nests and fry are exposed to predators. The Potomac River axiom, “No grass, no bass” rings true for future largemouth generations.   Sheltered from North winds, National Harbor (formerly known as Smoot Bay) has been an important area for largemouth bass reproduction. The sand and gravel bottom combined with generally clear water made this former quarried land ideal for spawning. Nearly all of the SAVs in the National Harbor and that section of the Potomac are gone. Options to address the loss of SAVs included a creel limit, no possession, fishing closures or stocking. Enhancing or protecting existing grass habitat wasn’t practical or achievable.   Enter bass matchmakers Civil Engineer Dick Berich and retired MD State Trooper Scott Sewell. Avid anglers, they saw the need for replacing the…

Continue Reading

Arts & Entertainment, Gallery Beat

Dateline Miami: Urban Jungle of Art

Dateline Miami: Urban Jungle of Art By F Lennox Campello How many times have you heard me preach: If you are an artist or a gallery in the 21st century, you have to do art fairs? Here we go again: over a decade ago, the founders and organizers of an European fine arts fair called Art Basel (which of course, takes place in Basel, Switzerland), gambled on trying out an American version of their successful European “art fair” model and started one in the gigantic Miami Beach Convention Center, and they called it Art Basel Miami Beach or ABMB for short. In the decade plus since, that one mega international art fair radically revolutionized the way in which contemporary and secondary fine art is presented and sold as a commodity. It has spawned also multiple satellite art fairs in the Greater Miami area, all taking place at the same time during the first week of December each year. Because there are over a thousand galleries and tens of thousands of artists being presented all over the Miami area, art collectors, artists, celebrities, gallerists, actors, dealers, party animals, politicians, curators, and all the symbiots of the art world head to Miami during that week, and fine art rules the area (closely followed by dozens and dozens of private “art parties”). I’ve heard quotes where I have been told that about 20% of all the visual art sold on the planet each year (less auctions I assume) sell in Miami during that first week in December. This is the art world’s big dance! And because there is so much art being presented and offered for sale, at some many levels of the economic scales, while most mega collectors, the Hollywood crowd and the rest of the 1% all focus on the top…

Continue Reading

Beauty & Health, From the Trainer

Start the Year on the Right Foot

By Ryan Unverzagt Start the Year on the Right Foot It’s time to start putting those New Year’s fitness resolutions to work again. If you were lucky enough to receive a “fitness gift” as I recommended in my last article, now is the perfect time to put it to good use. Did you know fifty percent of people who decide to start exercising will drop out within the first six months? Why does this happen? Because it does take a little effort and worth-while time to develop a habit. I have a few ideas that can set you up for success this year.   Use the SMART Principle to set Goals: (Specific- Measurable- Attainable- Realistic- Time oriented) When setting your goals, be sure to consider all five of these principles, especially the time oriented one. If you don’t nail down a time frame, you are not holding yourself accountable and that’s when your exercise routine begins to fade away.   Keep an Exercise Journal: Writing down every workout may seem like a lot of work, but it will pay off in the long run. This provides a visual so you can actually look back at all the hard work you put in and bring you a sense of pride and accomplishment. Your journal should include specific things such as your goals, the time and date of the workout, list of exercises or lifts, amount of weight used, sets, repetitions, duration and intensity of your workouts, as well as how you felt that day. Another great asset of keeping an exercise journal is that you can track your progress (or lack of progress) to help you stay on track of your goals. You may discover that a change is warranted if you are not progressing toward your goal and that’s ok….

Continue Reading

Beauty & Health, Fitness

Are You Feeling the Wintertime Blues? Ten Easy Steps to Turn Them Around

by David Edelberg, M.D. Are You Feeling the Wintertime Blues? Ten Easy Steps to Turn Them Around If you live in a sunny place like Florida then you probably won’t know what I’m talking about. The wintertime blues, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), usually begin when the days start getting shorter and the sky clouds over into perpetual gray. People with SAD dread October because the clocks move back an hour and, in a single day, autumn twilight becomes dark night.   Symptoms of SAD include depression, brain fog, easy sleepiness, carb craving, and weight gain.   At the very heart of the wintertime blues is a lack of the feel-good brain chemical serotonin. When the gray winter days in the Northern Hemisphere arrive, the serotonin you stored up in the sunny summer months starts declining. At the same time, your brain’s stores of sleep-inducing melatonin increase, making you feel like a hibernating bear.   Women are the major victims of wintertime blues because all women start life with less serotonin in their brains than men. But if you’re someone trapped in a SAD life, with no immediate prospects of wintering on the Costa del Sol, you can beat the wintertime blues and get your life back. Basically, you’ll need to pull out the stops and do everything you can to stimulate your brain to make more serotonin. This includes lighting up your life, exercising, taking a couple common supplements, and timing your intake of good carbohydrates throughout the day.   Here are 10 low-cost steps you can take right now to banish the wintertime blues:   Go outside and walk briskly with your face in the light — even if it’s gray outside — for 20 minutes every day. Both the light and the exercise will kick…

Continue Reading

Beauty & Health, First Blush

Scullery Secrets: Common Kitchen Items that Boost Your Beauty Routine

by Genevieve LeFranc Scullery Secrets: Common Kitchen Items that Boost Your Beauty Routine It’s January and more than a few of us are feeling completely spent from the holidays. Literally. The winter season is tough on our skin, hair and our wallets. After weeks of shopping and stacks of bills piling up, January is a time for thrifty resourcefulness. Smart beauty means never paying too much. Knowing a few do it yourself beauty remedies can really help you save money. This month it’s about taking a break from all the holiday madness—the overindulging with rich food and alcohol, and the staying up and out way too late—things that wreak havoc with our skin and hair. With dry, flaky skin and flat, static-stricken locks, it’s time for a little DIY at-home, self-pampering using inexpensive, common items you have around the house. After a season filled with honey-glazed ham, Christmas cookies, and approximately two thousand peppermint lattes, the fridge is probably the last place you want to turn to. However, there are more than a few excellent beauty ingredients hiding in your kitchen. Avocado acts as a great moisturizer and skin softener due to its high, unsaturated fat content. Mash the pulp into a paste for a quick and easy hydrating facial treatment. You can also combine plain yogurt and oatmeal to make a hydrating mask. Yogurt is especially good for dry, sensitive skin. Leave this concoction on for about 10 minutes for a wonderful skin softener. Legs can be a ghastly sight after suffocating under jeans and tights all winter long, so show your gams a little TLC by sloughing off the dry, excess skin. Add oatmeal or sea salt to your favorite body wash or gel for a really effective exfoliator. Or for an invigorating citrus scrub, dip half of…

Continue Reading

Financial Focus, Pets, Places, & Things

Setting Personal and Family Wealth Goals

By Carl Trevison and Stephen Bearce  Setting Personal and Family Wealth Goals There’s a Finnish quote, “Happiness is the place between too little and too much.” In our culture that’s so driven by having more, no matter what we already have, this can be a smart and helpful bit of advice. For families just starting to plan their financial priorities, budgeting can be a balancing act: paying bills, saving wisely in the event of emergencies, and investing in anticipation of children’s college tuition or your own retirement. The desire for more “stuff” actually can contribute to a financial bind for families. In many cases, a lack of financial priorities leads to overspending, leaving too little money to cover expenses and savings. As a result, many individuals have little choice but to continue working into their retirement years. For many Americans, however, retirement will span decades — and that key thought should be near the forefront of your planning efforts. Start by planning your journey.   Everyone should avoid the temptation to plow ahead with no plan, possibly because they think they don’t earn enough to save or because poor decisions have left their finances in such turmoil that they don’t want others, including family members, to know. You should never be embarrassed about what you make or the situation you are in. It might surprise people to know how many others are in situations similar to theirs. The worst thing you can do is nothing. Seeking help from a trusted financial advisor can help build your confidence, and most important, show you that you’re not alone on your financial journey. Set goals, ask the right questions, and find someone to help you.   Setting goals is critical to your financial wellbeing, and it starts with introspection and questions. For example,…

Continue Reading

Caribbean Connection, From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

“Old Year’s Night,” New Year’s Day

“Old Year’s Night,” New Year’s Day by Jeff McCord As years go….2017 will be remembered by many Virgin Islanders as the worst of their lives. It provides little consolation that the cause of the grief was Mother Nature rather than the usual culprits of war and greed. This December 31st, the West Indian notion of an “Old Year’s Night” needing to be ushered out seems particularly apt. The hope offered by a “New Year’s Day” is spreading throughout the islands with the return of electricity to many households. Cruise ship passengers and tourists are slowly, steadily coming back to enjoy the majestic scenery and virtually empty, pristine beaches. Still, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands are struggling. Tourism income remains depressed, while living costs and reconstruction expenses have never been higher. No doubt, this year some old folks introduced youngsters to the simple pleasures of traditional “Old Year’s Night” observances. The joys of preparing and serving kallaloo while sipping island-produced cane rum are ageless. We learn from patriarch Guy Benjamin’s classic book, “Me and My Beloved Virgins,” that kallaloo is “a mixture of edible leaves cooked together with fish, crab meat, pig’s tail and flour droplets seasoned to taste and eaten with a ball of fungy.” Fungy, still a staple of island dinner plates, is properly made from “boiled corn meal stirred to a thick consistency with butter, salad oil, lard and salt and rolled into balls.” Eating kallaloo on “Old Year’s Night” grants good luck for the New Year, especially for lovers. Serving this dish to your loved one that night means there will be a wedding in June. Many religious West Indians mark the final night of the year with prayer – a tradition dating to the Watch Nights of slavery times. Prayers then focused on freedom and…

Continue Reading

History, History Column

Robert E. Lee, the Marble Model

By Sarah Becker ©2018 Robert E. Lee, the Marble Model West Point classmates called Virginia-born Robert E. Lee the Marble Model, the Marble Man. He was nicknamed such probably for reason of heritage; his statuesque quality, dignity and bravura. Lee entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point on July 1, 1825, mostly because it was free. “We beg leave to recommend to your personal consideration Mr. Robert Edward Lee, a son of the late General Henry Lee of Virginia, as an applicant for admission to the Military Academy at West Point,” the Congressional signers wrote. “The assurances which we have received of the talents and attainments of this young gentleman, apart from the regard we feel for the military services of his deceased father, induce us to hope…for the admission.” A plebe cum cadet staff sergeant, Lee was born January 19, 1807, the fifth child of overspent Revolutionary War hero General Henry “Light-horse Harry” Lee and his second wife Ann Hill Carter. Robert E. did not live the “legendary Victorian virtue” as “celebrated in a thousand marble statues across the South.” His sense of Duty did not include the South’s “terrible hardening of the heart.” Lee emancipated his in-laws’ slaves on December 29, 1862; approximately three months after President Abraham Lincoln’s September 23 Emancipation Proclamation was published in draft. The Emancipation Proclamation became law on January 1, 1863. “Know all men by these presents, that I, Robert E. Lee, executor of the last will and testament of George W.P. Custis deceased, acting by and under authority and direction of the provision of the said will, do hereby manumit, emancipate and forever set free from slavery the following named slaves.” “[Lee’s] specialty was finishing up,” Alexandria school teacher Benjamin Hallowell said of young Robert’s studies. “He imparted a finish and…

Continue Reading