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Marilyn Campbell

Stories by Marilyn

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Herald Spring with Fun Patterns and Bright Colors

Lively springtime accessories and flowers can make a room seem more cheerful and seasonable.

With yellow and blue flower buds starting to poke their way through the ground, you might be forgiven for believing that spring is actually coming this year. Even if your yard still looks like a winter wasteland, however, one place to make spring a reality is on the home front. Designers say there is fun to be had. Use bursts of bright colors, energetic patterns and spring accessories to create a seamless transition into the new season.

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Clean for Spring

Local organization experts offer tips to help with spring cleaning.

Betsy Fein found herself in the middle of a spring fling in Fairfax recently. She wasn’t at a festival or involved in a new romance, but in the midst of organizing a cluttered bedroom that was littered with piles of shirts, pants, shoes and books. Spring often means renewal and local organizers like Fein are offering suggestions for clearing out winter clutter. From closets that are overstuffed with wool sweaters and down coats to kitchen drawers overflowing with batteries and appliance manuals, they offer suggestions for getting organized without getting overwhelmed.

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Local Designer Honored

Alexandria tastemaker blends a variety of styles.

Old Town Alexandra-based interior designer Anna Kucera has a knack for helping her clients turn their fanciful ideas in to concrete realities.

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Keeping up with Neal Gillen

Potomac attorney, open-water swimmer doesn’t slow down.

The fog was thick in San Francisco as waves crashed against the rocks in the Pacific Ocean. It was a cold morning and 73-year-old Neal Gillen found himself fighting against the current, gulps of salt water burning his mouth. Far from his Potomac home, he was heading for Alcatraz.

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Seniors Rush to Yoga

Yoga teachers, research point to health benefits for seniors.

Shortly after 10 a.m. on any given Tuesday or Thursday morning, 84-year-old Lola Wulchin can be found slowly stretching into a downward facing dog pose or lunging into a warrior one posture. The Vienna resident has been a yoga devotee at East Meets West Yoga Center in Vienna for slightly more than two years. In fact, she credits twice-weekly, gentle yoga practice with boosting her health and improving her quality of life. "I had been bothered by a lot of neck pain from arthritis," said Wulchin. "I had seen a pain management doctor who gave me shots, I had physical therapy, but I still had neck pain and very little range of motion."

How to Age in Place Safely

Local experts suggest techniques and programs that can help seniors stay in their homes longer.

The AARP reports that nearly 80 percent of adults age 65 and older want to remain in their current homes as long as possible. That population is growing. According to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Aging, the population 65 years or older numbered 39.6 million in 2009. By 2030, that number will grow to about 72.1 million. While people are living longer and healthier lives, there are still barriers to aging in place, including medication management, self-care, socialization and transportation. But there are innovative strategies and initiatives to help combat these roadblocks.

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New Food for Spring

When Dara Yaffe Lyubinsky was growing up in Potomac she always enjoyed cooking, whether it was with her family and friends, or for her synagogue. Today, she’s passionate about cooking fresh, seasonal meals. Lyubinsky, like many chefs and culinary enthusiasts, is looking forward to strolling through farmers markets and creating fanciful spring dishes with the season’s freshest bounty, especially as she prepares to return to D.C. from New York. However, she and other chefs are making the most of the available spring produce even if warm weather seems a like a distant dream.

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How To Prepare for New SAT

Local experts say working hard in class is the best way to be successful.

Linda Mitchell and her 15-year-old daughter, Alexis, say they don’t really know what to expect when Alexis sits for the SAT college admissions exam in 2016, but they’re not too worried at this point. Two years is a long time.

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Art Educators, Galleries Celebrate Youth Art Month

Experts say art can teach valuable life skills.

Brightly colored self-portraits, landscapes dotted with spring flowers and hand-carved sculptures fill a gallery at the McLean Project for the Arts in McLean. All of the art was created by local school children. Meanwhile, in Alexandria, parents and tots dip their fingers in glue, clay and paint to create collages, sculptures and paintings.

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Tips to Get Your Home Ready for Spring

Experts suggest a yearly spring maintenance check-up.

With warmer weather just around the corner, it’s time to focus on your home.

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Getting Your Garden Ready for Spring

Local experts tell you what you should do now, in spite of the cold weather.

It doesn’t feel like spring. Last week’s snow made it seem like warm weather might never arrive, so planting a garden might be the last thing on your mind. However, local gardening experts say this is the ideal time to start preparing your landscape to yield colorful spring foliage. Bill Mann, of Behnke Nurseries in Potomac, Md., said spring garden preparation plans differ from year to year. "It depends on the landscape beds you have and whether or not you’re planning to put in a vegetable garden," he said.

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Whimsy Meets Elegance

Potomac designer creates playful yet polished home for family of five.

When an active family of five approached Potomac interior designer Sharon Kleinman and asked her to give their home a makeover, they wanted a whimsical yet polished space.

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Kitchen Confidential

From light-filled to dramatic, local designers create dream kitchens.

When Allie Mann of Arlington, a designer and senior interior specialist at Case Design/Remodeling, Inc. was tasked with giving the first floor of a McLean, Va., home a face lift, she had to think free-flowing and airy.

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Arlington Family Outgrows Home but Stays Put

Family builds addition to accommodate their growing needs.

When a family of five realized that they’d outgrown their home in the Cherrydale neighborhood of Arlington, they pondered two options: purchase a new home or build an addition onto their existing home. They decided to stay in their home.

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The D.C. Design House Designers Announced

Some of the area’s top designers competed for an opportunity to donate their talent to transform a local, grand home into a showcase home. Local designers chosen to help transform the 2014 DC Design House include:

Local Author Turning Book Into Screen Play

Great Falls Writers Group: Evening with the Authors.

A local author is planning to put the story of her life on the silver screen. Sixty-one-year-old Mindy Mitchell of Reston is writing a screenplay based on her book, "Lube of Life: A Tribute to Sex, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness in the Boomer Age," which she released last year along with her co-author, 63-year-old Edward Land of Hampton, Va. "The content [and] energy contained in our book, ‘Lube of Life,’ would adapt easily to film: a comedic yet poignant tale of late-in-life love," said Mitchell. "A ‘When Harry Met Sally’ all grown up."

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Creating a Harmonious Family Life

Local experts offer tips for keeping your family happy.

As Elizabeth Rees drove her daughter and two of her daughter’s friends to a library reading group recently, the Alexandria mother of three admits that she felt like a chauffeur at first. But she had a change of heart after hearing sounds of laughter.

Incorporating Math and Science Into a Child’s Day

Simple suggestions for supporting math and science learning.

Maria Kennedy was driving her 5-year-old son to pre-school when he asked a question that stunned her. "Mommy, why is the sun following us?" Kennedy, who says she was stuck in rush-hour traffic and running late for work wasn’t sure how to respond.

Celebrating a Second Lifetime

Local doctor undergoes second bar mitzvah at the age of 83.

When Dr. Scheldon Kress was called to the Torah as a bar mitzvah 70 years ago, some important family members were missing from the coming of age ritual: his parents. Last month, Kress, who never knew his father and whose mother died when he was 8, had a second bar mitzvah. This time, family surrounded him: his wife of 59 years, Rose; his three children; their spouses and his seven grandchildren. The ceremony was held at Har Shalom, a Potomac synagogue. “It was thrilling to see my children and grandchildren contribute and realize that the event was so meaningful for them. [It was] something that they would remember through their lifetimes, and it would inspire them,” said Kress, who is a physician and still practices medicine. Boys become a bar mitzvah when the reach the age of 13. Because Jewish tradition says 70 years is a lifespan, the age of 83 is an opportunity to celebrate another bar mitzvah, though not everyone chooses to do so.

The Secret to Lasting Love

Three local couples share their secrets to a happy marriage.

Valentine’s Day is two days away. During this time filled with love and romance, three Potomac couples reflect on their relationships and what has kept their marriages strong.

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Home Design: What the Pros Know

A look inside the homes of some of the area’s top builders.

Remodeling industry professionals spend their days helping clients create dream homes, adding quartzite counter tops and outdoor, stacked stone fireplaces, turning ideas and photos into functional, chic living spaces.

Help for Dry Winter Skin

Skin care experts suggest hydrating solutions that range from nutrition to treatments.

Andrea Myers and her two young sons say that one of the challenges of winter is dry, itchy skin. Her boys, aged six and four, can only stand wearing soft clothing, because rough fabrics like denim irritate their skin.

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Consistent Bedtimes Linked to Improved Wellbeing in Children

Local experts offer suggestions for helping youngsters get a good night’s sleep.

When the clock strikes 9 on any given evening, 13-year-old twins Timothy and Danny Gulyn and their 11-year-old twin brothers, Christopher and Jonathan, know that it’s time for bed. Whether they are on vacation during the summer or at their Arlington home on a school night, the siblings follow a consistent routine that has them tucked-in at the same time every day.

Cooking for the Cold

Local chefs suggest hearty, bone-sticking recipes

On a frigid winter day, you might find Chef Cary Prokos preparing chicken for a long soak in a red wine marinade for Coq au vin, standing over a cauldron of bouillabaisse to ensure that his scallops, rockfish and other seafoods are seasoned with hefty proportions of saffron and garlic to create a hearty soup. His goal is to create meals with enough brawn to stand-up to the ravenous, cold-weather induced appetites of the patrons at his Potomac restaurant, Normandie Farm.

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Summer Camp: Start Planning Now

Applications for many camps open in January.

The frigid January temperatures can make summer feel like a distant fantasy of sunscreen and popsicles, but it’s actually not that far away. If you have children who want to attend camp after the current school year ends, now is the time to start planning, said experts. In fact, registration for many camps begins this month.

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Creating Books with Children

Experts say helping little readers become authors can deepen a love of reading.

K.J., 8, and his sister Kalina, 3, love reading books, particularly books they’ve written themselves or with their mother. In fact, K.J. is an avid reader of both homemade and traditionally published books, and his sister is following in his footsteps.

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Kitchen Organization for the New Year

Local organizers, designers and culinary experts offer smart tips for making space and clearing clutter.

If organizing an unruly kitchen, one where there never seems to be enough space for storage containers and pots and pans, is on your list of resolutions this year, the project might be less daunting than you think. From creating a system for grouping spices to keeping plates in easy reach, local experts share secrets for a well-maintained kitchen. Hang pots and pans inside pantry doors, says Sallie Kjos of GreyHunt Interiors in Chantilly. "It organizes them, but decoratively can look effective."

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Top Designs of 2013

Local builders look back on their most impressive spaces.

From outdoor patios with the comforts of indoor family rooms to a stark white bathroom replete with Carrara marble flooring, local designers said they’ve created some spectacular living spaces in 2013. Their personal favorites may be surprising, and include a lot of kitchens and bathrooms.

Trendiest Color for 2014: Radiant Orchid

Local designers offer tips on using this exotic hue tastefully and share their own color predictions.

It has been called exotic, vibrant and even magical. Now it has been named the 2014 color of the year: orchid, or radiant orchid to be exact.

Bathroom Organization for New Year

Simple strategies for storing bathroom essentials.

Cluttered bathrooms where the medicine cabinet contains everything from batteries to old toothbrushes and a linen closet where towels and sheets are intermingled with flashlights and scrub brushes can be the bane of anyone’s existence. However, a new year can offer a fresh start in one of the most-used rooms in one’s home.

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Spiritual Wellness in the New Year

What is it and how does one achieve it?

As we begin a new year, many are focused on their spiritual health and well-being. In fact, the National Wellness Institute names spiritual wellness as one of the seven dimensions of overall wellness. It’s essential in life, say experts.

Cures for Cabin Fever

Creative ideas for housebound parents and children.

Winter brings frigid temperatures, icy roads, snow and often school closures. While sledding and building snowmen are fun, hazardous weather conditions mean much of the time is spent indoors, and soon the novelty of time off can become cabin fever. Local child education experts offer activity suggestions for filling those long winter days. Susan Friedman, executive editor for digital content at the National Association for the Education of Young Children and a Bethesda resident, suggests parents encourage a child’s natural curiosity. "In the same way that school classrooms have activity centers, parents can create boxes that focus on different activities like playing dress up with clothes, hats and neckties," she said. "You can create a box with art supplies and a box with games or puzzles."

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Home for the Holidays: Surviving a Long Trip

Keeping children entertained on lengthy airplane rides.

Liz Henry is nervous about her upcoming flight to San Francisco. It’s not TSA regulations or long lines that are causing her anxiety, however. It is traveling alone with her three children — all of whom are under the age of 6.

Teaching Children To Be Charitable

Experts say modeling, nurturing are keys to raising generous children.

Elena Santiviago walked her 6-year-old son down the aisle of a grocery store near her Arlington home. They picked up five boxes of toothpaste and two bottles of mouthwash, several bars of soap and a few sticks of deodorant. The shopping trip was part of a school project in which students fill holiday stockings with personal hygiene items for the homeless.

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Art Educator Releases Two Books

Stories offer children and parents innovative ways to explore art.

Elizabeth Augenblick Smith, 10, spent a recent Saturday afternoon gluing strips of brightly hued tissue paper to create a collage. There were no rules or guides to follow.

Gifts for the Foodie in Your Life

Local gourmets share their favorite products for the food lovers on your list.

Whether you’re shopping for a seasoned cook or a budding culinary enthusiast, buying presents for a foodie can be a daunting task. What’s the best pan? The coolest gadget? The latest trend in desserts? Local gourmets come to the rescue with culinary goodies to entice even the most discerning of food aficionados.

Holiday Décor: Make It Sparkle

Local designers offer suggestions for home decorating.

’Tis the season for decking the halls. Whether your style is traditional and colorful, muted and demure or metallic and glittery, three local designers offer distinct holiday decorating ideas to spark your creativity.

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Come Home to a Luxury Bedroom

Local designers unveil inviting spaces that are perfect for dreaming of sugarplums.

Bedrooms are no longer just for sleeping, at least according to some local designers. They’re for relaxing and watching television, but they’re also for reading and for eating a lazy weekend breakfast. In fact, some modern bedrooms are probably larger than their owners’ first apartments. Three local tastemakers unveil master bedrooms that are so opulent and amenity-filled that it’s surprising their owners ever want to leave.

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A New Luxury Kitchen for the Holidays

Designers describe the perfect spaces for baking, cooking and entertaining.

With the holiday season in full swing, many people are finding themselves spending more time in the kitchen. Whether you hate to cook or love it, it can be more enjoyable when done in the kitchen of your dreams, complete with state-of-the-art appliances and custom-made marble topped islands.

The Holiday Blues: Cope and Prevent

Mental health experts say being realistic and seeking support can help you avoid holiday stress and depression.

While the holiday season is filled with parties, shopping, decorating and other festive activities, mental health experts say it often brings unwelcome guests as well: stress and depression. While they can be difficult to manage when one is in the midst of a bout, with a few strategies one may be able to prevent both before they ruin the holiday season.

Combating Holiday Stress

Local experts suggest turning to yoga and meditation to relax.

Marybeth Montoro says her entire body relaxed as she lay stretched out on a yoga mat for savasana, a relaxation pose, at Pure Prana Yoga Studio in Alexandria, while her yoga instructor guided the class through a breathing practice.

Staying Fit During the Holidays

Staving off extra pounds during the season of sweets.

Patty McAndrews works out with a trainer twice a week at of TRUE Health and Wholeness in Arlington. She found that restarting her fitness regimen about two months ago has strengthened her abdominal muscles and toned her body.

Holiday Recipe Makeovers

Strategies for keeping traditional treats healthy

When Alice Jenkins saw her doctor two months ago, he diagnosed her with high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and suggested she change her diet and lose about 30 pounds. Lawson, 45, started a diet program and has lost nine and a half pounds, but now that she’s in the midst of the holiday season, she’s concerned about losing the strides that she’s made with her dietary changes. "I have a large family and we get together a lot during the holidays," said Lawson, who lives in Alexandria. "There is always sweet potato pie, macaroni and cheese, and deep fried turkey."

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Navigating Local Holiday Craft Shows

Supporting local artisans and getting one-of-a-kind gifts

Madeline Marzilli plans to start making her Christmas list right after her Thanksgiving house guests leave this weekend. On her list will be one-of-a-kind items for family and friends that she hopes to pick up at some of the local holiday craft shows.

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Opportunities to Serve Others on Thanksgiving

Local charities in need of help from the community.

Rahsan Baatin bikes to his Arlington, Va., office on most days. He runs every day. His wife Victoria swims each morning. The two are gearing up to spend Thanksgiving morning running The Trot for Hunger, a 5k race to raise more for the local charity SOME (So Others Might Eat).

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Keeping the "Thanks" in Thanksgiving

Focusing on gratitude on a day reserved for feasting.

"Pilgrims," said James, 5, as his mother helped him fasten his helmet for a hockey lesson at the Cabin John Ice Rink near Potomac. "Turkey and pie," said his 6-year-old classmate Aiden. Both boys were responding to a question about the meaning of Thanksgiving.

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Creating a Beautiful Thanksgiving Table

Local designers offer suggestions for laying the perfect tablescape.

While food preparation can be all-consuming on Thanksgiving Day, the table décor also plays a major role in a Turkey Day feast. Whether your style is subdued and casual or chic and sophisticated, local designers offer ideas and inspiration for table settings that are as delectable as the meal itself.

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Getting Ready for Guests at Thanksgiving and Beyond

Ideas for prepping your home so that visitors feel welcome.

When Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season next week, it will mean an onslaught of house guests for some. Local style gurus offer simple ideas for getting your home ready for visits from friends and family.

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Learning to Create an Organized Holiday Season

Local pros offer tips for staying on track from Thanksgiving and beyond.

"If you’re organized, you’ll definitely experience less stress this holiday season," said professional organizer Susan Unger, of ClutterSOS in Vienna. "If you figure out what your goal is and map out everything in advance, you won’t find yourself staying up late wrapping presents and other chores and you’ll have more time to spend with family and friends."

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Teaching Children to Make Holiday Gifts

Local art experts offer crafty gift ideas.

Gifting your child’s teacher, grandparents or other family members with holiday cheer doesn’t have to add another line item to your budget. Homemade gifts from children are among the most cherished, say experts, and creating them can be as memorable for the child as the recipient.