Month: August 2021

Let's Eat, Wining & Dining

Deep-Fried Soft Shell Crabs

By Charles Oppman Deep-Fried Soft Shell Crabs Now that we’re approaching the end of soft shell crab season we should be thinking about frying up a few of these fabulous crustaceans while we still have them. The soft shell crab is one of the South’s greatest contributions to American cuisine. Soft shells are a delicacy in every sense of the word. They can be sautéed or deep fried. A soft shell is a common blue crab that’s harvested during the early stages of molting, when the crab sheds its smaller shell and before a new, larger shell forms. The crab should be cooked before the new shell begins to harden.   A bit of pre-cooking preparation needs to be done. The crab needs to be cleaned.   To clean soft-shell crabs, hold the crab in one hand, and using a pair of kitchen shears, cut off the mouth and eye parts. Lift one pointed end of the crab’s outer shell; remove the gills by pulling them out. Repeat on the other side. Turn the crab over and pull off the small flap known as the apron. Rinse the entire crab well and pat dry. Once cleaned, crabs should be cooked immediately.   Only buy crabs that are alive. If they don’t move when touched, they’re dead and you won’t know when they expired. Smell the crabs. Like other seafood, soft shells should odorless or smell like the ocean. Avoid buying frozen crabs as they lose most of their body fluid when they thaw out and appendages tend to break off. Soft shells should only be consumed during the season, which varies with the latitude. Soft shells are great with French fries and coleslaw or as a po’ boy sandwich. Any po’ boy should be made on a crunchy French baguette….

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Beauty & Health, Fitness

Does Working Out in the Hot Weather Burn More Calories?

By Nicole Flanagan Does Working Out in the Hot Weather Burn More Calories? A friend and I went out for a run last week, the temperature outside was still about eighty-five degrees and humid. As you can imagine, it took all of five minutes at a reasonable pace and we were both covered in sweat before we were even breathing hard. My friend asked me if we were burning more calories running in hot weather. I said no, we are just dehydrating faster than if we were running in cold weather. When you go for a walk in one hundred degree weather don’t be fooled that the sweat pouring off your body is excess fat just melting away. The fact is that you will burn about the same number of calories walking in hot weather than you would walking in cooler weather. If you were to step on the scale immediately after your workout you will initially weigh less, but once you re-hydrate, you replace the water weight that you lost during the workout. The most important thing to remember when working out in hot conditions is to keep your body hydrated. Your body can burn calories much more effectively if it is well hydrated, so the more water you drink the better you will feel, and the better your body will be able to cool itself. When working out in warmer weather, you should be doing whatever you can to keep your body cool in order to avoid any heat related illnesses. The same goes for exercise classes like hot yoga. A hot room may offer some advantage in terms of muscle flexibility, but as for calories burned it is going to be about the same as a cooler yoga class. As for those individuals who believe that working…

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Pets of the Month, Pets, Places, & Things

Pets of the Month August 2021

Pets of the Month August Aggie & Chloe 4-year-old pug mix Chloe and her best friend, 10-year-old hound mix Aggie, are best buds looking to find their family…together.  But don’t worry, you won’t feel like a third wheel with this dynamic duo; they love their human friends and will be climbing all over themselves – and you – to see who can get the most snuggles!  Learn more at Mickey Looking for a little guy with a BIG personality?  Look no further Mickey!  This 9-year-old Chihuahua mix is technically a senior, but don’t let him hear you say that.  He’s got a pep in his step that can only be matched by his cuddling capabilities.  Lapdog alert!  Learn more at Frankie The award for best head tilts goes to…Frankie!  At 70+ pounds, this American bulldog mix may seem like a tough guy, but we have it on good authority that he’s just a big marshmallow!  He’s been working hard to lose over 20 pounds, and we think he’s looking pretty good.  Frankie is currently enjoying a stay with one of the AWLA’s amazing foster families, so to learn more about Frankie and schedule time to meet him, please email or call 703.746.4774.

Financial Focus, Pets, Places, & Things

Charitable Giving Considerations for 2021

By Carl Trevison and Stephen Bearce   Charitable Giving Considerations for 2021 If the COVID-19 pandemic’s far-reaching impacts have you looking to enhance your charitable giving, be sure to remember these tax-related considerations for 2021:   Cash gifts. A special rule for this year allows taxpayers who do not itemize deductions to claim up to $300 ($600 for joint filers) for gifts to qualifying charities. If you do itemize, cash contributions to qualified charities in 2021 might be used to offset up to 100% of your adjusted gross income (AGI) (60% of AGI for cash gifts to a donor advised fund or 30% for cash gifts to a private foundation). This means that if you’re in a position to make generous gifts, you may potentially offset all of your taxable income. In addition, cash gifts could be used to offset Roth IRA conversion income or capital gains realized upon the sale of real estate or a large position in a single investment. If you’re unable to itemize but would like to, evaluate the possible impact of bunching several years’ worth of charitable contributions into one year. This may increase your itemized deductions above the standard deduction threshold so you can potentially receive a tax benefit for those gifts. Review your income and deductions for the current year and the next few years with your tax advisor to determine what is the best timing for those bunched contributions.   Qualified Chartitable Distribution (QCD). For taxpayers age 70½ or older, a QCD allows you to gift up to $100,000 per year directly from your IRA to qualifying charities. QCDs are tax-free distributions and count toward satisfying your required minimum distribution (RMD). Remember that, while RMDs were waived for 2020, they must be taken for 2021. No deduction is allowed for a QCD…

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Go Fish, Pets, Places, & Things

“Catching” Up

By Steve Chaconas “Catching” Up In this fast paced world with email, Instagram, and social media posts, there’s nothing like a 6 hour fishing trip to get reacquainted with high school classmates. Fort Hunt High School was a huge school. Our class of 1973 had nearly 650 graduates. Alumni from all over the country gather every year to stay in touch at an annual reunion at Fort Hunt Park and via social media. A couple of us reunite on the Potomac River for an annual fishing trip. During our school years, we all fished. Why not, with the Potomac River right up the street. But then the river was nasty, polluted with forever contaminants and fresh raw sewage. But by the time we were in the waning years of school days, the river cleaned up. My buddies Duel Ballard and Keith Salo moved out of the area but maintained contact with those who just couldn’t leave the Alexandria suburbs. In the 70s Duel spent several years on the Fort Hunt Crew team, rowing up and down the river. Duel and Keith grew up in the oldest part of Fort Hunt territory, Hollin Hall. In fact, our baby boomer classmates provided a steady flow of students into one of the best high schools in the country. Nearly every home housed a Federal or future Federal.  Most of them enjoyed fishing. Flash forward to 0600 on a July morning, the same guys who couldn’t get up to go to school on time were at the dock ready to fish. We all anticipated a wonderful day, regardless of Mother Nature. But today she cooperated with fantastic weather and decent fishing. But, let’s face it, we weren’t out on the Potomac just to fish. We sped through 50 years chatting about our friends, teachers and…

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Beauty & Health, Fitness

Summer Makeup Tips

By Kim Putens   Summer Makeup Tips It has been an unusually hot summer.  I have been struggling with every aspect of my grooming.  Every product I put in my hair either feels sticky or does not perform at all.  With such thin hair, I rely upon my products to perform.  But, in this heat and humidity, it is almost impossible.  My solution:  a ponytail almost every day.   Most daunting for me, however, has been my makeup.  I need to wear makeup.  I have dark circles under my eyes – thanks to heredity – and my skin can be sallow when I get a bit of color.  The problem:  the extreme heat and high humidity make my makeup feel like it is slipping off my face.   I wonder if others are struggling with this same problem.  So, I thought I would offer some tips and solutions I have found that help to keep my makeup in place and looking good.   Tip #1 – Lighten Up.  All of us, despite our best attempts to cover up, will get a little bit of sun this summer.   This presents an opportunity and a challenge.  The opportunity – to lessen the number of layers of makeup you would normally wear.  The challenge – the colors we wear when we are paler will change when we get a hint of color.   My suggestions: Put away the foundation.  Either switch to a tinted moisturizer or wear nothing at all.  I would lean toward nothing.  Even a tinted moisturizer will feel heavy in extremely humid climates. Substitute foundation or tinted moisturizer with a powder or bronzer.  If you use powder, however, only dust on your skin lightly with a brush.  Please resist the need to blot with a sponge.  If you use a puff or…

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Personality Profile

John Todhunter-Man of Many, Many Talents!

By Bob Tagert John Todhunter-Man of Many, Many Talents! Over the years, most of the personalities we have written about were folks referred to us or people we met around town. John Todhunter does not fit that mold as we have known him and his wife Holli for many years. It was fun to find out just how diverse this guy is. “After I got my degree at UC of Santa Barbara I went to work as a research fellow at the Institute of Molecular Biology. From there, a few years later, I came to Washington and took a faculty position at Catholic University and was chair of the bio-chemistry program,” he tells me. While at the university he did consulting for pharmaceutical development as well as receiving an NIH grant. “You know, you can’t live on a professor’s salary,” he tells me with a grin. From there Todhunter was appointed by President Reagan taking a position at EPA and handled all of the programs in the US for toxics, chemicals and pesticides. This position required Senate confirmation which, by the way, went smoothly-something unusual these days. While at the EPA he built relationships with pharmaceutical companies that were developing drugs and other products. After three years, Todhunter left EPA and started his own company. When he was with EPA, and since he ran the whole pesticide programs, he had to go out and meet with agriculture groups all the time and also developed a relationship with the Department of Agriculture. “I got to know some of the folks in the Department of Ag and I admired them – they had tough jobs.” At this time Todhunter had been doing this chemical thing for so long, he had an epiphany… “Agriculture is the basis for civilization, I thought…I really need…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

The Gaylord Lights Up At Night

By Lani Gering The Gaylord Lights Up At Night The Gaylord Resort in National Harbor had officially been open 25 days when I visited to get some updates for this column. If you are a regular reader, you will remember that we published information garnered from the marketing team at the resort in June with what we could expect when they re-opened the doors on July 1st and the majority of their plans came to fruition. #Potomac Lights The most impressive, in my opinion, is the Potomac Lights illuminated river walk that is running through the 18th of this month. I am hoping they keep it going all summer but they may have other fun plans for the beautiful waterfront space up their sleeves. The photos that are featured here don’t do the “show” justice since 90% of the displays have moving parts. There are 11 locations along the self-guided walk with interactive giant glow stones, an illuminated puzzle, and lots of lighting art. The light show that appears on the exterior of the Atrium is very impressive but way too technical for my photo taking capabilities so you will have to check it out in person. Even though the display is at its most impressive at night, it is well worth checking out during the day. There are some really interesting and beautiful new works of art throughout the grounds and lots of comfortable seating areas where you can spend some down time just taking it all in. One of my new favorites is the BIG BLUE CHAIR! It is a perfect place for a photo op! Replay at Pose Rooftop Lounge Pose was initially set up to be the Harbors “Night Club” when the resort first opened, however it never really took off and it has gone through…

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Let's Get Crafty

Give Me Hops, But Don’t Give Me “Bitter” Death

By Timothy Long   Give Me Hops, But Don’t Give Me “Bitter” Death “What’s your favorite kind of beer?” The bartender asked with a smile. “An open one.” I replied. She chuckles, probably out of politeness. It’s an old joke and not overly funny. I was visiting family and friends in Pittsburgh. Like most Pittsburghers, we are all of Irish and German descent. So, a bar is a fitting place to gather. The craft beer trend is alive and well in Pittsburgh, just like the rest of the country. There are breweries and brewpubs in every part of the area. We were in a Gastropub downtown called City Works. It’s a huge, wide open, brightly lit establishment with tons of televisions, and tons of beer. They carry over 90 beers on tap. My wife jokes that I am in heaven. She’s not far from the truth. “What local beers do you have?” I inquire. The bartender asks, “Do you like pale ales?” Oh yes. The Pale Ale. The sweetheart, the little darling of the craft beer industry. The name still brings back bitter memories of the beers being brewed in the early days of the American craft beer trend.  It’s loaded with hops and can often be bitter beyond belief. I am reminded of a quote from the Master Brewer of Brooklyn Brewery in the New Yorker in 2008:  “When a brewer says, ‘This has more hops in it than anything you’ve had in your life—are you man enough to drink it?’ It’s sort of like a chef saying, ‘This stew has more salt in it than anything you’ve ever had—are you man enough to eat it?’” Even the mere mention of hops makes many beer drinkers think of only one word, bitter. Over-hopped beer can be very bitter. It…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Road Trip

Havre de Grace Waterfront – Drawing Waves of Visitors

By Ashley Stimpson Havre de Grace Waterfront – Drawing Waves of Visitors Before it was a capital city contender, Havre de Grace was called Harmer’s Town. But when a visiting Marquis de Lafayette mentioned that the town reminded him of a charming French seaport called Le Havre-de-Grace, residents honored the Revolutionary War hero by incorporating under that name in 1785. (No need to channel your high school French when in town. Locals pronounce it HAV-er-dee-grace.) While the quiet charm Lafayette admired is still on display, Havre de Grace also feels very much like the busy crossroads that garnered the Founding Fathers’ attention. During my visit on a hot day in May, cars poured down Market Street, many with kayaks and stand-up paddleboards strapped to their roofs. Pleasure boats roared by on the wide Susquehanna River, which hugs the east side of town as it flows into the Chesapeake Bay. Trains rumbled over bridges. Joggers pushed strollers along the waterfront promenade, and weekend revelers spilled from seafood shacks and antique shops onto crowded sidewalks. While there are many modes to see the sights, Havre de Grace is a pedestrian’s paradise. To get from one end of town to the other only requires a trek of about 1.5 miles, a pleasant walk punctuated by museums, murals and gorgeous vistas. To make it simple, the city has continued to improve its self-guided walking tour along the Lafayette Trail, which meanders past just about every attraction Havre de Grace has to offer. Visitors who would like a narrated experience can download the DISTRX app and learn about each of the 57 stops along the route. One of those stops — and a good place to begin digging into the area’s history — is the Havre de Grace Maritime Museum and Environmental Center. Among the museum’s permanent exhibits, The John Smith Trail and the Susquehannocks is particularly enlightening for visitors curious to know what the Upper Bay and Lower Susquehanna looked like before European settlement. The…

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