Day: January 3, 2023

Pets, Places, & Things, Road Trip

2022 In the Rear View Mirror

By Bob Tagert As is our practice every January, we revisit our Road Trips from the previous year. In 2022 we were finally able to hit the road with less worry about masking up and the stigma of the pandemic lightened up. Whew! February – Harrisonburg, VA February found us on the road to Harrisonburg in the central Shenandoah Valley of the Commonwealth. The city has come to represent a large community of ethnic and linguistic diversity in recent years. Over 1,900 refugees have been settled in Harrisonburg since 2002. Language learning software Rosetta Stone was founded in Harrisonburg in 1992 and the multilingual “Welcome Your Neighbor” yard sign originated in Harrisonburg in 2016. This part of the Commonwealth is home to James Madison University and Massanutten Ski Resort. It is also in close proximity to the Shenandoah Wine Trail wineries and lots of outdoor activities. The food scene in Harrisonburg is as diverse as its residents – a good place for you “foodies” to visit. March – Leonardtown, Maryland We decided to “Rediscover a most Exceptional Place”…Leonardtown. Many of you may recognize the name Leonardtown since it is famous for sponsoring the annual oyster-shucking championships held at the St. Mary’s County fairgrounds. Although most of Southern Maryland is surrounded by water, the only water access to Leonardtown is Breton Bay which leads to the Potomac River. Today, historic Leonardtown remains the only incorporated municipality in St. Mary’s County with its own elected mayor and town council. The town is experiencing a renaissance of its downtown as witnessed by the recent and continued openings of several new restaurants and businesses, some which are located in historic buildings. The ever changing Leonardtown Wharf is open as a public attraction for both locals and tourists, Facilities for boating, kayaking and canoeing are…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

The Harbor is In S-L-O-W Mode…..

By Lani Gering ….with the exception of the 20th Anniversary of MAGFest, aka Music and Gaming Festival, taking place at the Gaylord Resort from the 5th through the 8th. This year’s gathering is classified as a SUPER MAGFest! I was introduced to MAGFest several years ago. I was living in the Harbor at the time and on one of my “walkabouts” I saw literally hundreds of people pretty much dressed the same (faded jeans, plaid shirts and a several in what I would call odd costumes) unloading case upon case of water, energy drinks, etc. in front of every hotel in the Harbor. It appears that being a 24 hour-a-day gamer is very dehydrating. Here is the Readers Digest explanation of MAGFest: MAGFest, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization — that’s right! MAGFest is more than just a fun musical festival to party at several times a year! Our status as a non-profit organization is a way for us to further our mission statement, which is: MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE THROUGH VIDEO GAMES. We achieve this through numerous events, such as Super MAGFest, MAGWest, MAGStock, and Bit Gen Gamer Fest. During these events, we also support other not-for-profit organizations, such as Child’s Play. Other primary goals of MAGFest include: -To educate the public about video game music, art, and history. -To promote public appreciation of video game music, art, and history. -To preserve for posterity the culture and history of video games. Being of a certain age I immediately thought that this was a gathering of teenagers and college kids who hung out to play video games. Upon closer inspection, I saw people from every age group gravitating to the Resort to “begin the games”. It really is pretty sophisticated and fodder for some amazing people watching. For…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Single Space

A Vision for 2023

By Lori Welch Brown Is it me or was 2022 mildly to moderately crappy? In retrospect, for me it was akin to riding my bike across a long, flat highway. In other words, it was a grind, days to be flipped on the calendar. And, December was especially brutal. A sweet little five year old boy my husband and I had come to know died unexpectedly. Heart wrenching. Everyone seemed to be going through something big and heavy. Maybe it’s always been that way and/or I’m noticing it more because I’m getting older and that’s what happens. People get sick, bury parents—or even children—divorce, etc.  Cancer, addiction and grief seemed to be the buzzwords for the year, and that’s just flat out wrong. So, I’m envisioning a brighter, more joyous 2023, and I’ve come to realize that’s an inside job. Maybe 2022 felt like I was dragging around a wet blanket because I was the wet blanket. So, instead of a facelift, I’m giving myself an uplift. Of course, many of us start the year with some resolutions that fall apart with the first hang over of the year. I’ll probably make some of those because at this point it’s a solid tradition. This year, however, instead of using them as failure points to beat myself up about, I’ll use them as directional compass points to guide me towards SMART goals. Another thing I love to do is create a vision board. If you’ve never done one, I highly encourage you grab your glue sticks and old magazines stat. Besides giving a purpose to that stack of mags gathering dust, you can make a fun girls’ night out of it. Everyone brings their fave mags; I usually provide the poster board, glue sticks, scissors, and wine. We all gather around…

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Go Fish, Pets, Places, & Things

Pouring a Legend

By Steve Chaconas When looking into the tournament goodie bag 40 years ago, the pack of Zoom centipedes on the bottom of the bag didn’t interest me. No legs, no tail, no nothing. Just a French fry-shaped slab of plastic.  Not catching my interest, how could it interest a fish. So, I stashed them in the bottom of the boat for a few years. Preparing for another tournament, we found fish were biting Carolina rigged lizards. Lots of them. Not wanting to burn up the supply, the bag of centipedes volunteered to be a place keeper. Surprisingly, these do-nothing baits produced bigger fish. Excitement and anticipation followed and a trip to the local tackle shop came up empty. There was no internet, no Amazon, and no way there would be centipedes for the impending tournament. Seeing a frowning face, my wife suggested making some. Impossible I said. Never having poured soft plastics or even knowing anything about it, I was at the mercy of my spouse. She gathered up some plaster of Paris and took the single remaining centipede and poured the molding solution over the bait and the next day, we had a single cavity mold. Using old soft plastics and the microwave, a centipede was born. However, after cooling, it was learned that plastic shrinks when cooled. Putting the baits back in the mold, more plastic was poured. Since coloring wasn’t an exact science, this homemade version was a laminate. A few days later the two-tone bait performed like magic. I loved it and so did the fish. So intrigued with this bait, it became my primary lure, not only for Carolina rigs, but for split shot and drop shot rigs. It was so effective that my guide clients wanted to take a few home to try in their home…

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Beauty & Health, From the Trainer

Cast a S.P.E.L.L on Stress!

By Ryan Unverzagt I hope all of you had a memorable holiday season and happy new year! After all of the hustle and bustle that the holidays bring (gift returns, credit card bills, writing thank you notes, tolerating shopping crowds), it’s very easy to accumulate stress.  Everyone has their own unique way of handling stress, but I would like you to consider these healthy ways to cope with it all. Stretch Your Muscles: Flexibility is one of the most neglected aspects of staying healthy. It’s not only good for your muscles, tendons, and joints, but it also can have a calming effect. Take a few minutes each day to gently stretch the major muscle groups of your body (Neck, shoulders, chest, torso, low-back, hips & legs). Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds several times a day. Your local health professional can show you safe, effective stretching techniques to help relieve that stress. Practice Progressive Relaxation: This is a relaxation technique that you can do sitting in a chair at work or lying in a bed. It involves tensing particular muscle groups for 10 seconds, and then releasing that tension for 20 seconds to help reduce anxiety. It will take some time and practice before you really notice the benefits. For example, clench your fist firmly for 10 seconds then slowly release that tension and remain relaxed for 20 seconds. Do not hold your breath during any of these exercises (flexibility too). Progress your way to other muscle groups and focus on releasing the tension completely. A quiet place is helpful to practice progressive relaxation. Ease in To the New Year: Approach the New Year slowly. Give yourself time to get back into a new routine or return to your pre-holiday mode. Listen to Your Favorite Music: Music is…

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Beauty & Health, Fitness

Starting the New Year Off Right

By Nicole Flanagan I love a new year. It almost seems like we can start all over, finally become that wonderful, productive, healthy, happy person we’ve always wanted to be. The trouble is, the enthusiasm to make changes, especially with exercise and diet, tends to fade once we realize we can’t change everything overnight. If you want to make lasting changes, there are three things you can do to make your resolutions work all year long: Adjust your attitude, change your lifestyle and come up with a plan for success. If you have the wrong attitude about fitness, you’re already setting yourself up for failure. Most people look at exercise as: * Punishment for bad eating * An obligation * Painful * Time consuming * Impossible to sustain over a long period of time * Boring If any of these sound familiar, how long do you think you’ll stick with your program? Nobody wants to do something painful, boring or obligatory. Before you throw yourself into weight loss, get yourself a more positive attitude about exercise and figure out a new way to look at fitness. Try a different perspective and look at exercise as: * A break from a stressful workday * A way to boost energy and mood * The only time you’ll have to yourself all day * A chance to get totally physical and let your mind rest * A chance to reward your body for working so hard * A way to improve your quality of life immediately One of the resolutions on every one’s list is weight loss.  Remember that losing weight and maintaining that weight loss is a lifetime prospect. You will never stop working to maintain your fitness and weight. So, before you start that same old diet or exercise program, ask…

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Arts & Entertainment, Special Feature

Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day

The fight to make the Martin Luther King Jr. birthday a holiday took 32 years, a lot of campaigning, and guest appearances including Stevie Wonder, Ted Kennedy, and the National Football League. King’s birthday was finally approved as a federal holiday in 1983, and all 50 states made it a state government holiday by 2000. Officially, King was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta. But the King holiday is marked every year on the third Monday in January. The King Center in Atlanta has a detailed chronology of how the efforts, starting shortly after King’s death in 1968, paid off in the long run. It wasn’t an easy task for holiday supporters, who had to push hard in Congress to get the federal holiday created. A second battle took place to get individual states to also recognize the holiday, with often emotional disagreements in two states. Today, the King holiday serves multiple purposes: It honors the total legacy of King; focuses on the issue of civil rights; highlights the use of nonviolence to promote change; and calls people into public service. The struggle to get the holiday recognized reflects all these topics, along with some interesting twists and turns along the way. Representative John Conyers introduced the first motion to make King’s birthday a federal holiday in 1968, just four days after King’s assassination in Memphis. It took another 11 years to the federal holiday to come up for a vote on the House of Representative’s floor in 1979. The bill needed a two-thirds majority to pass, but it fell five votes short with a 252-133 count, despite a strong organizational effort from the King Center, and support from Congress members and President Jimmy Carter. The holiday’s supporters regrouped and intensified their efforts. Musician Stevie Wonder helped in 1981 by releasing…

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Beauty & Health, First Blush

Bye, Bye Winter Blues!

By Kim Putens The holidays are over and the winter blues have set in. You looked fabulous getting through the holiday parties, the trips to see Santa, and the late-night shopping adventures, but the hectic schedule and craziness have left you feeling blah. So, here’s how to survive the winter blues and look good doing it. Take care of your skin.  When your skin looks great, your makeup looks even better. During these cold, drab winter months, it’s easy for our skin to start looking dull and lifeless. A couple of ideas to jumpstart the appearance of your skin – apply a mask, experience a deep exfoliation, and apply a richer moisturizer. Try a mask that has rejuvenating properties. Masks that rejuvenate the skin work to exfoliate off dead skin and bring back its natural glow. These masks specifically get the blood flowing to the surface so that the skin looks youthful and glowing. A deep exfoliation will get rid of the layers of dull dry skin that have accumulated as a natural winter blanket on the skin.  Most over the counter physical exfoliants – the granular ones – will do the trick. Chemical exfoliants with glycolic acid are also very effective. Finally, make sure to apply a richer moisturizer than usual. These winter months are incredibly dry and impact the skin’s natural moisture levels. Using a proper moisturizer is important in providing relief and in diminishing the look of dry, aging skin. Take care of your hair.  For many of us, our mood and how we approach the day is dependent upon the way our hair looks. Frizzy hair, split ends, and lifeless locks are consequences of the dry winter months. Frizzy locks are very common. There are many ways to help the hairs lay flat. Try a deep…

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Let's Get Crafty, Wining & Dining

A Funny Thing Happened While in Cabo

By Timothy Long Approaching any situation with an open mind is tantamount to success in life. Life will often remind you of this fact. I was reminded of it recently, during a trip to Mexico. We were vacationing in Cabo at the beginning of December. A fun family vacation, one of the many that my wife’s brother sets up. I love the place. It’s beautiful. The only drawback to the trip is that the flight is over five hours long. There was a time that you would be served a meal on such a flight, but not anymore. The cart came around only once. We got a drink and cookie, lucky us. Makes paying that extra $50 for the checked bag totally worth it. So, by the time we land in Cabo, wait for our luggage, wait for our rental car, and then drive to the resort, we are starved. Our villa isn’t ready yet, so we stow our luggage and head to one of the resorts restaurants for lunch. I decide to have a beer with lunch. I know, big shock. They have the usual suspects listed: Corona, Tecate, Dos Equis, Modelo, etc. When given this list, I usually go with Dos Equis, the Modelo Negro, or the Modelo Especial. All three are good beers. I then spot a beer on the list that I do not recognize. It’s called Cabotella. And it’s brewed by Baja Brewing Company in Cabo San Lucas, which is right down the road from us. I knew that there was a brewery in Cabo, but my hopes were not high. It’s a craft brewery in Mexico. How good could it be? The Cabotella is a blonde ale. A blonde ale in the land of light lagers. I’m highly skeptical. My wife then points it…

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Exploring VA Wines, Wining & Dining

Working Together for Better

By Doug Fabbioli Working Together for Better When my family and I moved to Virginia in 1997, there were about 60 wineries in the state and only four in Loudoun County. I was hired to be the new winemaker and vineyard manager at Tarara Winery, just a few miles up the road from where we eventually bought our own farm. My new boss encouraged me to get to know the other winery folk and get involved with the industry associations that were around at the time: the Virginia Wineries Association and the Virginia Vineyards Association. These groups were focused (and still are) on growing and strengthening our industry through sharing knowledge of best practices, the marketing of our products, and getting the voice of the industry to our business representatives’ ears. As our industry has grown, more associations and organizations have started up to address specific groups or regions. Here in Loudoun, the Loudoun Winegrowers Association began with a focus on vineyard operations. Not long afterward the Loudoun Wineries Association came along to focus on tasting rooms and wine sales, along with many other related issues. Recently these two groups have merged, making a stronger, more cohesive, and efficient organization that hopes to achieve even more than in the past. The Loudoun Bed and Breakfast Guild, an offshoot of our industry, has many wineries signed on as associate members in order to collaborate in our efforts for our guests and visitors. On a local government level we have the Rural Economic Development Council. Although I no longer serve on this council, I spent over a decade helping this organization give the county guidance and feedback on issues regarding the future of all of the agriculture and rural-based business sectors of our county, including the wine industry. Another organization, Visit Loudoun,…

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