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Marilyn Campbell

Stories by Marilyn

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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.

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Tips for Holiday Card Photos

Local photographers offer suggestions for taking great family photos.

Amber Wilson has spent the last week scouring her computer files in search of the perfect pictures for her holiday card. One image missing from her collection is a shot of her entire family.

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Celebrating Thanksgiving Like a Chef

Local chefs and culinary experts share family stories and recipes.

As a teen, Chef Guiseppe Ricciardi’s Thanksgiving dinners were anything but traditional. Ricciardi , the proprietor of Dolce Vita and Dolce Veloce in Fairfax, moved to New York from Italy with his family when he was 14. His family celebrated Thanksgiving in their new country, but they put an Italian twist on the holiday.

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Holiday Cooking with Children

Local culinary instructors offer suggestions for bonding in the kitchen.

Maria Kopsidas recalls childhood holidays filled with turkey, sweets and merriment. Because she grew up in a family of professional chefs, cookbook authors and culinary enthusiasts, the stretch from Thanksgiving to Christmas always brings fond food recollections.

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Creating a Feast for the Eye

Local designers share ideas for a striking Thanksgiving table.

While a menu of turkey and gravy will satisfy the belly this Thanksgiving, a well-designed centerpiece that reflects the warm hues of fall will be a feast for the eyes.

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Choosing Art

Local designers offer tips on how to banish blank walls.

When Anne McCloud and her fiance, Mark Graham, moved into their Herndon home two years ago, with the exception of a large, deep red Chesterfield sofa, a present from Anne’s parents, the furniture they had was left over from graduate school: a tattered antique chair in need of reupholstering and two side tables.

Yoga Community Lauds New Smithsonian Exhibit

Sackler exhibit is first of its kind.

Yoga instructor Luann Fulbright of McLean moved her practice from the mat to a gallery recently when she joined diplomats, philanthropists, artists and fellow yogis at a gala to celebrate the opening of "Yoga: The Art of Transformation" at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington, D.C. It is the world’s first exhibition on the art of yoga.

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Reflecting on Success

During Women’s Small Business Month, local entrepreneurs offer advice.

After a career in television and radio, Potomac mother and entrepreneur Cari Shane carved out a freelance writing career for herself, penning articles for publications ranging from the Washington Post and its Sunday Magazine to Cooking Light Magazine. Fellow Potomac mother and marketing executive Julie Schumacher pitched Shane a story idea. Shane was intrigued, wrote the article, and the two women stayed in touch. Schumacher later came to Shane with another idea: The two women should create a company that would transform traditional public relations strategies for small and mid-sized businesses, also incorporating social media. Shane put her freelance writing career on hold and the two women formed a small business called sasse (pronounced “sassy”) agency. “Building a business with a platform for differentiation appealed to me,” said Shane. “Julie and I built sasse to help small- and medium-sized business get what they deserve, the chance to shout out about themselves the way big businesses do.”

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Halloween Fun Helps Those in Need

Tysons restaurant to host pumpkin carving event to raise money for local food bank.

Few things say Halloween like a carved pumpkin. Whether they’re smiling orbs on a front porch or eerie candlelit gourds in windowsills, jack-o-lanterns are an iconic symbol of Halloween. This weekend, however, the rib-skinned fall squash will also symbolize charity. A group of children get a lesson in pumpkin carving from local Executive Chef Eddie Ishaq of Wildfire, at Tysons Galleria, with all of the proceeds going to a local food bank. “I enjoy seeing all the smiles on the kids’ faces as they carve their pumpkins, and [I like] the fact all the money goes to a great cause,” said Ishaq. “I [also enjoy] passing along all of my carving skills.” Proceeds from the event will help support Food for Others, a Northern Virginia food bank. During the class, which will take place on Saturday, Oct. 26 from 3-4 p.m. at Wildfire at Tysons Galleria, parents and children will get a hands-on pumpkin carving lesson led by Ishaq. At the end of the class, the children will take home their creations.

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Pumpkin Carving Ideas

Local experts offer their best tips for creating your jack-o-lantern.

Whether your goal is to carve and decorate the best pumpkin on the block or simply use this fall gourd for Halloween inspiration, local culinary experts offer pumpkin ideas that will keep the season festive. Before embarking on a pumpkin carving project, take a look at the condition of your knives. “Generally speaking, a dull knife is a dangerous knife,” said Christine Wisnewski, a culinary instructor at Culinaria Cooking School in Vienna. “And a pumpkin, because of its size and shape, can be a challenge, even if you have good knife skills. If you use a knife, make sure it is sharp and work slowly.” Wisnewski generally advises eschewing chef’s knives for a pumpkin carving kit, usually found in supermarkets and craft stores. “The cutting tools may look less impressive than your best kitchen knife, but they do work well,” she said. “The small blades are deeply serrated and make quick work getting through dense pumpkin flesh.” Pumpkin carving kits are also a solution to the safety issue. “If the kids do want to carve, no one’s fingers are at risk with these little carving tools,” she said. “Our family has managed to get many years of use out of the tools that came with our first kits.”

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Marymount Gears Up for 19th Annual Halloweenfest

University offers safe and festive Halloween celebration for disadvantaged children.

Local college students are working to ensure that some underserved area school children have a festive Halloween this year. Students at Marymount University, in Arlington, are turning their resident halls into themed wonderlands that run the gamut from Disney princesses to superheroes. The celebration is part of Marymount’s 19th annual Halloweenfest, scheduled for Friday, Oct. 25, 3:30-7 p.m. “Each year, Marymount University opens its doors to disadvantaged children in the area to provide a safe and fun place to celebrate Halloween,” said Ashley Wells, community outreach coordinator at the school’s Office of Campus Ministry. During Halloweenfest, children receive free Halloween costumes and take tours through the resident halls where they trick or treat for candy donated by students, faculty, staff and community members. After trick or treating, they spend time participating in activities on the basketball court of the university’s Rose Benté Lee Center. “The gym is completely decorated and children have a blast as they visit over 35 tables with different activities … like face painting, crafts and games,” said Wells. “A dinner … is provided for each guest.”

Creating a Spooky Halloween Dinner

Local culinary experts offer ideas for turning an ordinary meal into a ghoulish adventure.

Halloween dinner in Christine Wisnewski’s Vienna home is often a balancing act between healthy and sugary. On the sweetest holiday of the year, for example, the mother and culinary instructor at Culinaria Cooking School, also in Vienna, prepares a wholesome dinner for her eager trick-or-treaters, managing candy-induced sugar highs and inevitable post-confection lows.

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Reading About Halloween

Local literature experts recommend their favorite Halloween books for children.

Mark Burch, who lives in Oak Hill, recently browsed through the children’s Halloween book section at a library near his Washington, D.C., office. He had his three children in tow and an armload of books with covers that included carved pumpkins, willowy ghosts and witches in black hats. “We’ve got about 15 books,” he said. “I think the limit of books you can check out is 50 and we might reach it.” Children’s literary experts say the month of October is a perfect time for children to explore their imagination, address their fears and have fun reading with their parents. In addition to traditional Halloween favorites, local booksellers say this season brings forth new offerings in children’s Halloween literature.

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Choosing a Private School

Local educators offer advice on selecting the right independent school for your child.

Marta Soltes was sitting in an Arlington coffee shop recently pouring through catalogs and application packets from some of the area’s most elite independent schools. Her stack of brochures was almost as high as her extra-large latte.

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Find Spooky Inspiration Everywhere

Local artists suggest Halloween crafts to make with your kids.

Local artists say one of the best things about the month of October is the opportunity to find inspiration in nature and create spooky crafts that stretch from now through Halloween and beyond. Samantha Marques-Mordkofsky, of the Arlington Art Center, suggests finding inspiration in nature, such as the abundance of falling leaves in vibrant colors like red, orange and yellow. “We’re collecting leaves and other natural materials. You can take paper plates [and] decorate them with leaves and feathers, which is a cheap and easy thing to make,” she said. Kathryn Horn Coneway, of Art at the Center in Mount Vernon, believes in getting out into nature while temperatures are still mild. “Fall is a great time for taking art outside,” she said. “Let kids paint outside. If you use washable paint, it doesn’t take a lot of parental supervision.”

Madeira School Interns ‘Furloughed’ Due to Government Shutdown

Local students turn lost internship into a learning experience.

Katie Barack, an 11th grade student at The Madeira School, in McLean, was looking forward to spending the fall semester working in a congressional office, walking the halls of U.S. Capitol and getting a first-hand view of the legislative process. Instead, she’s strolling along the National Mall engaging in conversations with those whose lives have been affected by the government shutdown.

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Decorating for Fall

Local designers offer suggestions for bringing the harvest into your home.

The colors of autumn are all around as pumpkins and squash fill produce stands and leaves change from green to orange, red and yellow before falling from their branches. Local designers and tastemakers are unveiling home accents that bring the warm hues of the season into the home. Whether using pillows, throws or flowers, adding the colors and textures of fall requires less effort than one might expect. “Emerald green, orange and turquoise are three of the biggest color trends we’re seeing,” said Marcus Browning of European Country Living in Old Town Alexandria. “Throws and pillows are a given, but you can also tie in traditional and modern accessories with rugs, stained glass lamps with modern or intricate designs.” Small trays provide a canvas for highlighting color and adding functionality to a room, says Marika Meyer of Marika Meyer Interiors in Bethesda, Md. “Color and pattern are in right now,” she said. “I just purchased the C. Wonder ( navy and white chevron tray for my home. It adds a punch of color and freshness to a room. Preppy is back in a big way, too, offering lots of patterns.”

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Style Meets Function

A local designer creates a stylish and functional master bathroom in an Alexandria home.

Once a modest room reserved for bathing, the bathroom has become a showcase for cutting-edge design and luxurious materials. One Alexandria family discovered this when they decided to remodel the long, narrow master bathroom in their colonial home. “Our old fixtures were wearing out,” said homeowner Pat Smith. “Also the bathroom layout was choppy and dark. There was plenty of square feet, but [the space] was inefficient.” The family hired Arlington designer Allie Mann of Case Design/Remodeling Inc. to transform the disjointed, utilitarian space into an oasis with a larger shower and additional areas for storage. “The client’s request for the bathroom remodel was a more open, connected plan,” said Mann. “Before the vanity space didn’t feel connected to the rest of the bathroom … and the [entire] space felt disconnected. The client wanted dual vanities … and a more modern feel.”

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Choosing a Home for the Golden Years

Many options for retirement communities in the region.

Jim Harkin, 81, and his wife, Phyllis, 80, have little free time these days. Jim spends his days protecting and photographing wildlife on the 60-acre campus at The Fairfax, a Sunrise Senior Living Community, in Fort Belvoir. He helped build, refurbish and maintain more than 20 birdhouses on the grounds, including homes for tree swallows and purple martins.

The Taste of Fall

Local chefs and nutritionists offer healthy recipes for tasty fall dishes using seasonal ingredients.

When the temperature starts to drop and leaves begin to turn red and orange, you can often find chef Susan Limb meandering through local farmers markets, sorting through rough-textured, knotty sweet potatoes; tough, waxy butternut squash; and dusty, rose-colored apples.

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Art Matters for All Ages

Local experts say art classes help children develop new skills.

If you walk into Art at the Center in Mount Vernon on a Tuesday morning, you might find a group of preschool students and their parents or caretakers squishing potting clay with their fingers. In the same room, several other tots could be brushing an array of paint colors across art paper, making a mess but having fun. The children are part of the Center’s Art Explorers class, designed for children ranging from 18 months to 5 years old.

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Big Ideas for Small Spaces

Local designers offer ideas for decorating small rooms.

Whether one is sprucing up a small powder room or decorating a studio apartment, space limitations often pose a design challenge. However, local designers say that no matter how a small space’s square footage or how awkward the layout, there are plenty of decorative cures for small spaces. Whether one is sprucing up a small powder room or decorating a studio apartment, space limitations often pose a design challenge. However, local designers say that no matter how a small space’s square footage or how awkward the layout, there are plenty of decorative cures for small spaces.

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Wellbeing: How To Set Realistic Goals

Local experts say the key to success is setting achievable goals.

Laura Wheeler Poms, of Fairfax, set out to earn a doctorate degree and make a career change. As a wife, mother and working professional, the goal, she said, often felt lofty. “Writing my dissertation at times felt overwhelming, especially if I looked at it as one huge project,” said Poms, who now holds a Ph.D. in industrial/organizational psychology and is an assistant professor of global and community health at George Mason University in Fairfax. “I set goals like writing one page or doing one analysis each day and I was able to get it done. I also gave myself little rewards along the way.”

What Do You Like Best About Living in Arlington?

Arlingtonians Tell Us Why They Love Their City


Arlingtonians Tell Us Why They Love Their City

Back to School: Back to Lunch

Healthy lunchbox and after school snack ideas.

Healthy Lunch and Snack Ideas

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Easing into Back to School

End-of-summer tips to make the first day of school less stressful

Area experts provide advice on easing into back to school.

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Is Your Home Ready for Back to School?

Local designers offer tips for creating functional and stylish homework spaces.

Summer will soon come to an end, and children everywhere will be heading back to school and coming home with homework. To keep students engaged and excited, some local designers offer suggestions for creating a space so fun and inviting that your children will want to hang out there — even if that means doing homework.

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If You Are What You Eat, Eat Well

Local nutritionist turns personal challenge into book and health and nutrition practice.

When Teri Cochrane’s son was 18 months old, he was diagnosed with asthma and placed on a variety of medications, including steroids. Less than two years later, doctors warned the Reston mother that he would have frequent seizures, would never have a normal childhood and would never grow taller than 5 feet 4 inches. When Cochrane’s daughter was born three years later, she also suffered from health problems, including chronic, severe abdominal pain.

Keeping Pets Safe

Veterinary experts say common household items can harm animals.

Did you know that a bowl of grapes sitting on your counter can be fatal to your dog or that a bouquet of fragrant lilies could be lethal to a cat? Were you aware that a stick of gum might cause a life-threatening canine emergency? Veterinary experts say that while pet hazards are lurking around almost every home, many pet owners are unaware of them. From favorite foods to over-the-counter-pain relievers, a number of common household items are dangerous to family pets.

The Pampered Pooch

Luxury accessories for well-heeled canines.

Marcia Schwartz strolled through the handbag section at a high-end department store at Tysons Galleria in McLean, Va., her eyes taking in the latest offerings from Prada. The companion at her side was not a personal shopper or a credit card-clad husband, however. It was a snow-white fuzzball with a rhinestone-encrusted collar named Cleopatra. Cleo, as she is most often called, is a Bichon Frisé.

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KidWX Connects Parents With Providers

Organization has an extensive online database of local resources from music classes to diabetes experts.

When Linda Nimmo and Jamie Finch were looking for resources for their children two years ago, they scoured the internet and local organizations for the right services. The effort was so time consuming that they both left their full-time corporate jobs and turned their quest into a way to help others.

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The Long Road

Experts offer creative ideas for filling time during long summer trips.

Packing up the car and leaving town for a summer vacation is an opportunity to spend time relaxing with family and friends. Getting to those destinations, however, can be grueling, especially when summer treks mean enduring long hours on the road. This is especially true for children.

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Students, Teachers Practice Science

There’s something for everyone at GMU’s VISTA science camp.

The thought of spending a summer immersed in science and math assignments is likely to make many students cringe. However, some Northern Virginia children are embracing the idea with a summer camp filled with projects that run the gamut from baking cookies in a solar oven to building a model roller coaster.

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Creating Fresh, Healthy Summer Treats

Local chefs offer recipes for refreshing, healthy snacks to keep kids satisfied during vacation.

Enticing children to forgo strawberry-flavored candy and choose fresh fruit in its natural form can be challenging. After all, lemonade, popsicles and cookies with milk are considered summertime classics.

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Safeguarding Jewelry During Summer Vacations and Beyond

Experts offer simple safety suggestions for protecting valuables.

Kenzie Campbell left her home recently for a week-long trip to care for her ailing father. While she was away, her Northern Virginia home was burglarized, and in addition to a flat-screen television and an iMac computer, the thieves got away with all of her jewelry.

Ideas For Summer Outdoor Entertaining

Local tastemakers offer design and decorating ideas for alfresco soirees

Summer is a time when many enjoy outdoor gatherings with friends and family. From soirees in small courtyard spaces to poolside barbeques for a crowd, warm weather is often synonymous with alfresco entertaining.

Building Classic Jewelry Wardrobe

Local style experts suggest investing in classic pieces.

From monogrammed pendants to leather wrap bracelets, a dizzying array of jewelry is on the market.

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New Local Home Design Studio Opens

Studio offers examples of many fixtures and finishes for homeowners.

Case Design/Remodeling, Inc. unveiled its new state-of-the-art design studio recently.

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Meatless Diet Could Prolong One’s Life

New study shows vegetarian and vegan diets could lower risk of untimely death.

Walk into Annie Mahon’s spacious kitchen on a day she’s cooking, and the first thing you’ll notice are fresh herbs and spices resting on her wooden cutting block. The second is a savory aroma wafting from a Le Cruset cauldron simmering on the gas cook top as chickpeas bubble until the outsides are a glistening alabaster and the insides are creamy.

Meatless Diet Could Prolong One’s Life

New study shows vegetarian and vegan diets could lower risk of untimely death

“The number one thing to do is to explore different types of vegetables. Think outside of green beans and corn.” — Bonita Lillie, registered dietician

Love after 50: Baby Boomers Need Romance Too

Couple chronicles their online dating experience in new book.

“Dating in your 60s is a lot different than dating in the 1960s, to be sure. Our message is one of hope and the courage to try one more time. Life is just too short.”   — Mindy Mitchell, coauthor of “Lube of Life: A Tribute to Sex, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness in the Boomer Age”

Rising to Boys & Girls Clubs ‘Youth of the Year’

With help of Boys & Girls Clubs, local immigrant student receives full college scholarship.

Today, Henry Lopez has a bright future, complete with a full scholarship to college. It wasn’t always that way, however, and he remembers being a preschool student in a foreign country, unfamiliar with the language and culture, fighting to learn, to fit in, to avoid falling into a gang.

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Designing a Colorful World

Local interior design experts offer suggestions for choosing paint colors for one’s home.

Choosing paint for one’s home can be a daunting task. Colors often look different on paint chips and fan decks than they do on interior walls. What are some of the secrets to making the right choices? Local interior designers offer suggestions.

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Happiness and Fulfillment in Golden Years

Mental health experts share factors that contribute to contentment

On most evenings, 96-year-old Dorothy “Dot” Brown can be found playing Scrabble or a game of bridge. A retired nurse who relocated to Virginia from Pennsylvania 11 years ago, Brown makes it a point to walk at least one mile each day and takes two Zumba or low-impact aerobics classes each week.