Day: April 1, 2019

Personality Profile

Nina Tisara – Still a Force to Reckon With!

By Bob Tagert Nina Tisara – Still a Force to Reckon With! There have been many individuals that have had a profound effect on the City of Alexandria over the years and this month’s profile is one of kindest persons I have ever known to unite a growing city – Nina Tisara. In the early 1980s, Old Town Alexandria was comprised mostly of the first 6 blocks of King Street from the waterfront to Washington Street. In the early years the OTBA (Old Town Business Association) was founded to help organize and coordinate the businesses east of Washington Street. That all began to change in 1983 when the King Street Metro opened and Alexandria had rail service. Nina Tisara opened her photography business on King Street in 1990 – two years after we started publishing the Old Town Crier. We have used several of her images over the years. I guess you could say we have been running a parallel course along the way these last thirty plus years. Before becoming a full time photographer, Tisara worked for the Air Force where she was an archivist for their photo library. One of her bosses thought that if you are selecting photos, you should know something about photography. Tisara thought that was a good idea and took a class offered by an airman. She later enrolled in NOVA and while developing her film in the lab, she met a fellow photographer who worked in sales at the Gazette newspaper in Old Town Alexandria who told her they needed a photographer. “I was shooting plants at the Botanical Gardens, so I took some of the images and met the editor of the paper, Jim Goldsmith,” she tells me. “Can you shoot something that moves faster than a plant?’ he asked. “He reached…

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Beauty & Health, Spiritual Renaissance

9 Lessons from the Mat

By Peggie Arvidson   9 Lessons from the Mat If you’ve been reading along for any amount of time you know that I’m a big believer that life, or the Universe, likes to toss a few curveballs in from time to time to make sure we’re on our toes. How we deal with the curveballs is a big indicator of how well we deal with life in general. No one gets out without dealing with uncomfortable and downright painful stuff. So-called “spiritual” people are not immune either. At the moment I have multiple friends dealing with a parent’s illness, facing scary issues with their children and addressing rifts in their personal relationships. Each of these people are good people. Each is dealing in their own way and some days are better than others. Yet everyone (myself included) seems to find the silver lining, recalibrating to the positive before long. Coincidentally (or not) we all have a personal yoga practice. While I’m not a yoga instructor, I have been practicing yoga somewhat faithfully for 12 years. That doesn’t make me a better yogi than anyone – if anything, it reminds me how important it is to get on my mat and practice. Practicing yoga keeps me grounded, literally, and helps me find my balance when my life feels like it’s out of control. Here are 9 things I’ve learned from my yoga practice in trying times. 1. Yoga doesn’t keep score. Showing up on my mat means just that – showing up. Yoga doesn’t keep a scorecard of how long it’s been since my last practice, nor does it care how wobbly or crabby I am. It’s just there, waiting to meet me. That gives me the freedom to be where I am and do whatever I can to find my…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, To the Blue Ridge

Blooming in April

Blooming in April by Julie Reardon It’s that time of year, when everyone’s invited for an up close look at the homes of the rich and famous in Virginia. Because, we admit, there’s a little voyeurism in all of us. We love to peek through the windows and behind the closed doors and walled gardens of others, especially the wealthy. So even if you aren’t an avid gardener, Historic Garden Week in Virginia offers a rare chance to visit a few of the area’s loveliest estates during a time when they’re all dressed up in spring colors. This year there are over 200 homes to tour over 8 days statewide, starting April 27th through May 4th. Because of Easter, Historic Garden Week is later than usual this year (next year, the dates will be April 18th – 25th) but you can get in the mood in Warrenton April 6th with the Discovery Publications’ 9th Annual Home and Garden Show, held this year at Fauquier High School from 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is only $5 per person (children under 12 free). For information visit Historic Garden Week is sponsored by the Garden Club of Virginia and its local chapters and for 2019, some of the most beautiful gardens, homes and historic landmarks statewide will be open during “America’s Largest Open House.” This 8-day event provides visitors a unique opportunity to see unforgettable gardens at the peak of Virginia’s springtime color, as well as beautiful houses and historic sites. Garden Club members create over 2,300 flower arrangements that decorate each property to add to the beauty. Back in 1927, a flower show put on by the Garden Club of Virginia raised $7,000 to preserve some of the trees on the lawn of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, a huge sum at…

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Exploring VA Wines, Wining & Dining

The Language of Tasting Wine

By Doug Fabbioli The Language of Tasting Wine Tasting wine has been a process that many have made fun of over the years. You have to admit that it is kind of an odd process, seeing that we taste different food and beverages all the time, but don’t always put words to the process. When you listen to an expert describe a wine or a dish, one could be impressed at the detail, or turned off by a boorish display of self-importance. I am always amazed as we watch the Food Network and listen to people taste things. We can’t taste these things, we can only rely on their words and the look of the food. Vocabulary, presentation and connecting with those around you is important in getting your message of wine understanding out without turning people off. I often find myself describing a wine as the offensive side of an American football team as some people can relate to that example. The base of acid, tannins and alcohol are the line giving balance and structure to the wine. These pieces may not make the highlight reel, but they are critical to overall success. The fruit aspect would be represented by the quarterback. That is often the main player that shows from the vineyard and gets a lot of the credit. When looking at oak character, minerality and spice characters, I think of the other offensive ball handlers. All of these pieces come together to create a dynamic and flavorful beverage that folks like to consume and talk about. One of the more conventional tools to use in describing wines is an aroma wheel. This piece can help through general descriptions narrowing them down to relatively specific flavors and aromas. So if you smell fruit in a wine, the wheel…

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Pets of the Month, Pets, Places, & Things

Pets of the Month

Harper, Adult, Spayed Female, Calico Rabbit Harper isn’t one to hop with the flow.  This outgoing gal knows her mind, and if that’s set on snoozing the day away, that’s just what she’ll do.  But don’t think that Harper doesn’t love her people.  She, in fact, prefers them to her fellow rabbits!  Harper would love to spend her days side by side with her special someone and that might just be you! Adoption profile: Adoption information: Photo courtesy of Alison Lane Photography Nicky, Adult, Spayed Female, Grey and White Domestic Longhair Nicky here! People stop me all the time to tell me how b-e-a-u-tiful my long, grey fur is! I am very friendly and love the touch of my human. I like it when my chin is scratched and will rub up against you with the loudest purrs!  I’m also an independent lady, and sometimes I like to sit quietly and just ponder life.  I would love to sit with you as we think about where our lives will go from here…hopefully together! Adoption profile: Adoption information: Photo courtesy of Alison Lane Photography Oreo, Adult, Neutered Male, Black and Grey Australian Cattle Dog My name is Oreo and I will work for treats! Seriously, I’m a little bit of a show-off with my tricks, but my shelter friends say it’s OK to brag a little bit! Oh, did you want to see me “sit”? No problem! How about a “down” or a “paw”? Done! I’m just a big, smart fella waiting for the perfect home to be allll mine. If you’re looking for a buddy who has brains AND brawn, I’m your man. Come meet me and my big beautiful brain today! Adoption profile: Adoption information: Photo courtesy of Shelley Castle Photography

Arts & Entertainment, High Notes

Va Va Voom by Bangups

By Ron Powers Va Va Voom by Bangups I was visiting a friend a few days ago and while we chatted, my friend’s son was in the living room playing a snowboarding game called “Steep”. One of the songs on the game’s soundtrack grabbed my attention so I naturally “shazamed” it. The band I discovered is called Bangups. The song is Va Va Voom. And although it’s been out since 2016, I really want to tell you about it. Va Va Voom is the second song off the Bangups’ third release (Candy Cigarettes). It begins with a three-octave lead guitar line followed by punk rock power chords, bass, and four-on-the-floor drums. My initial impression of the song was Sex Pistols meets Weezer meets Lady Gaga. I particularly love the drum sound. Not surprising seeing as Steve Albini (Nirvana producer) recorded the album. After the intro we hear a stripped-down verse arrangement of kick drum, fuzz bass, and vocals. Not only is this song musically and melodically compelling it’s also very impressive lyrically. And although the theme “boy likes girl” is common, Bangups’ lyrics are anything but that. Here’s four lines from the song that says it all… “You’re the seismic spike shaking up my volcano The headline news the F6 tornado My nuclear bomb my apocalyptic dream My zoo’s on the loose my eyes are glued to the screen” Next the pre-chorus comes in. Here the Bangups lift the energy just enough to increase interest while leaving plenty of headroom for the chorus to pop. Then we hear a screaming-pitch-rising guitar sound which blasts us into a perfectly crafted chorus. If I wasn’t already convinced the Bangups knew what they were doing when it came to constructing song, I certainly was when the chorus kicked in. Va Va Voom has…

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Financial Focus, Pets, Places, & Things

How to Maintain Your Lifestyle in Retirement

By Carl Trevison and Stephen Bearce How to Maintain Your Lifestyle in Retirement You may have heard the rule of thumb that you need to replace about 80% of your preretirement income if you want to maintain your current lifestyle when you retire. But like many rules of thumb, that advice is much too general for most people, says Herbert Poole CFP® CRC®, Retirement Development Consultant for Wells Fargo Advisors. To help ensure that you can actually live as comfortably in retirement as you do now, Poole says you need to identify what your desired lifestyle costs. Next, you’ll need a saving and investing strategy that matches your income needs. Here are the key questions for you and your financial advisor to consider: What’s my ideal retirement age? This is both a financial and a quality-of-life question, says Poole. Financially speaking, you need to determine when you’ll have amassed enough savings and investments to stop working. You want to be able to comfortably live on withdrawals from your accounts — without running out of money. On the nonfinancial front, think about what you really want to do during retirement (Travel? Start an encore business?). “Ask yourself: ‘At what age could I retire and still be healthy enough to do these things?’” Poole suggests. As you get closer to your actual retirement age, you can home in on when you can afford to leave work. “Depending on your situation, working just a year or two more than you planned could make a big difference in how much money you have available to live on later,” notes Poole. How much money do I need to support my current standard of living? This is perhaps the most important question to explore. “However, you’d be surprised by how many people answer this question by…

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Business Profile

Brandywine Living….

By Lani Gering Brandywine Living…. When we first decided to feature Brandywine in this column I knew it wouldn’t be like most of the other Business Profiles we have published since we usually feature small businesses much like ourselves.  Brandywine is anything but a small business since they have locations in 7 states along the east coast and are looking at will soon be opening another location in Potomac, Maryland. I wasn’t really sure of what my approach was going to be, either, since we normally highlight what a business has to offer, a little background about the owner(s) and what sets it apart from other like businesses in the area.  However…after sitting down with the Executive Director of the Alexandria location, Christian Randolph, and Samantha Tricoli, the Director of Community Relations, it all clicked. Many of you may be familiar with Brandywine Living. It is the newest addition to the adult retirement and assisted living community in the Alexandria area. Notice that the name isn’t Brandywine “Assisted” Living. There is a reason for that. The mind set they want their clientele to have is that they are residents just like in any other condominium complex in the area even though they may need a little special attention. The Alexandria location hasn’t been open a year yet and they are located in an area that is in transformation from industrial to multiuse much like many sections of our city. In the midst of the construction, the building is a gem. Brandywine Alexandria is beautiful inside as well and has one of the most welcoming foyers and second floor terraces in the city. The aquarium in the center sets the tone for your experience. I have been on the property for several events and have taken a tour. The photos don’t…

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Business Profile

The Circle of Life from the Perspective of an Adult Child: Tag, You’re It! 

Tag, You’re It! By:  Christian Randolph One would think a relationship between a parent and child has clear boundaries.  The path through life would be systematic, wherein the eldest child would have the rite of passage to leadership, boast the ability to make executive decisions, call the shots, and willingly accept the charge of being a deputized mandated reporter.  The youngest child would get a free pass on making major decisions, due to their youth and not fully developed judgment.   Regardless of the hierarchical position in the family tree, we sometimes discover we’ve been found, we’ve been tagged – and now we’re “it.” Children love to play games, and I specifically remember Tag and Hide and Seek being my favorites.  Fast forward from your childhood, say 30 years to today.   Perhaps there has been a loss of one of the parents, and/or a significant health decline has begun to take its toll on one or both of them.  The vibrant, independent parents you once knew have now become less active, lonely and struggling to make it on their own.  They may have not prepared financially for retirement because they were rearing a family, paying for piano lessons and college tuitions.  In their minds, retirement was light-years away, and they had plenty time to prepare; except they didn’t.  Our parents don’t want us to know that they’re in a predicament, so they hide it.  Their decline is hiding in plain sight, but they’re the strong matriarchs and patriarchs, so surely, this is not happening. They compensate, they “make it work”, but deep down, that 6th sense keeps you up at night worrying about them. We have busy careers in the prime of our lives.  We’re raising our own families and our spouses or significant others don’t know how to…

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Beauty & Health, Fitness

Beat Cardio Boredom

Fitness by Nicole Flanagan Beat Cardio Boredom Cardio is the key to a successful workout program and essential to heart health. The recommendation for cardiovascular exercise is at least 45 minutes most days of the week. There is no way to make the time go by any faster, however changing up the program and adding a little variety to the workout can make the task seem less daunting. Here are just a few ways to change up your workout. Find a hill that takes about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes to climb. Warm up for 15 minutes, moderate effort. You can also use a stationary bike and adjust the resistance in time intervals. Cycling Hills Hill climb 1: Stay seated, use moderate resistance. Recover by pedaling downhill in easy gear. Hill climb 2: Stay seated, increase resistance. Recover by pedaling downhill in easy gear. Hill climb 3: Sit halfway up the hill, then stand, using moderate resistance. Recover by pedaling downhill in easy gear. Hill climb 4: Sit halfway up the hill, then stand using hard resistance. Recover by pedaling downhill in easy gear. Hill climb 5: Stand the entire way using moderate resistance. Recover by pedaling downhill in easy gear. Hill climb 6: Stand the entire way using hard resistance. Recover by pedaling downhill in easy gear. Ride at a moderate effort for about a half hour, then cool down for 5 minutes at easy effort. Cycling Intervals Warm up for 15 minutes at a moderate effort. Pedal hard for 10 seconds recover for a minute of easy pedaling. Pedal hard for 20 seconds recover for a minute of moderate pedaling. Continue to increase hard pedaling in ten second increases until you have reached one minute of hard pedaling followed by a recovery of one minute. Repeat the intervals twice…

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