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3 great reasons to finish your basement

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Are you wondering whether to invest time and money into finishing your basement? Here are three good reasons to go for it.

1. To lower your heating and cooling bills
An unfinished basement is often uninsulated, making the rest of your house more difficult to heat and cool. Since a key step to finishing a basement involves insulating the walls and floor, a positive side effect of undertaking this project is having a comfortable temperature throughout your home.

2. To expand your living space

Whether you want to make a playroom for the kids, an office for you, or a home theater for the whole family, the basement is the perfect location. If space allows for it, you can also convert it into a small apartment, which might be ideal for your adult children or elderly family members.

3. To add value to your property
If you decide to sell your home, a finished basement typically provides a 50 to 75 percent return on investment. In addition to the increase in value, your property will likely be more attractive to potential buyers.

Keep in mind that renovating a basement may not be as expensive as you think. This is because you can choose different materials than those used in the rest of your home. In fact, the same hardwood flooring that’s ideal for a living room is a terrible option for a basement due to the higher risk of moisture problems.

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Treat yourself to an at-home honeymoon

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Restrictions put in place during the pandemic make it challenging, if not impossible, to travel to most prime honeymoon destinations. And once you arrive, who knows what restaurants and attractions will be open. So, while white sandy beaches and European cafés may be out of reach, a romantic staycation should hardly be considered settling for second best.

All the comforts of home
First and foremost, you don’t have to worry about contracting the coronavirus if you choose to honeymoon from the comfort of your home. Additionally, you’ll avoid the hassle of preparing for a trip — no need to renew your passport, get vaccinated, convert your cash, or buy travel insurance. Plus, you won’t have to pack, and you can be sure that the bedding hasn’t been used by strangers.

Indulge in an array of luxuries

Under normal circumstances, a trip to Paris or Tahiti would set you back a few thousand dollars. Without airfare and hotel bookings eating up your budget, you may be able to afford one or more indulgences. For example, you could:

• Order all of your meals from restaurants and get them delivered right to your door.

• Splurge on a high-end sectional sofa, king-size bed, or home theater system.

• Surprise your partner with designer lingerie and drink only fine wines every night.

Honeymooning at home allows you to start your life as a married couple in the comfort and privacy of your own home while indulging in food, wine, and gifts.

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The perfect dress for your body type

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One of the most important factors to consider when searching for the perfect wedding dress is what silhouette will best flatter your figure. While the consultants at a local bridal boutique can offer more personalized recommendations, here are a few basic tips for some common body shapes.

• Hourglass. Show off your natural curves with a sheath dress or a mermaid gown, and accentuate your chest with a sweetheart neckline.

• Pear-shape. Choose an A-line or ballgown silhouette to accentuate your natural waistline, and balance the full skirt with a boat neckline or cap sleeves.

• Rectangle. Create a sexy silhouette with a bias cut or fit-and-flare dress in a lightweight fabric, and opt for a V-neckline and low back.

• Diamond. Select a gown with a flared skirt and thin straps or a detailed bodice that will draw attention to your upper body.

• Inverted triangle. Balance your proportions by pairing a high neckline and long sleeves with a slit or asymmetrical skirt that emphasizes your legs.

• Round. Opt for the flowing skirts of an empire-waist gown, and provide support for your chest with a boat neckline and an elegant off-the-shoulder look.

Keep in mind that these are just guidelines, and the important thing is that you feel comfortable and beautiful in the dress you choose.

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5 things to consider when choosing your wedding cake

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As one of the key components of most weddings, decisions about the cake shouldn’t be left until the last minute. Here are five factors to consider before you order yours.

1. The number of guests
You want to make sure there’s plenty to go around. However, it would be a shame to waste your money on an excessively large cake and have to throw some out.

2. The wedding theme

The cake is as much a part of the decor as the flowers. Don’t hesitate to bring a copy of the invitation, color samples, and pictures of the decorations to guide the baker.

3. The design
In addition to choosing the shape of the cake and the number of tiers, consider what decorative elements you’d like to incorporate. Fresh flowers, edible gold leaves, and chocolate lace are just some many choices.

4. The flavor
From praline mouse to passion fruit, you might be surprised by how many options are available. Fortunately, most cake shops offer tastings to help you make your choice.

5. The ingredients
If you have a limited budget, determine if you favor high-quality ingredients over a refined look. You should also consider if any of your guests have allergies.

Contact cake shops in your area to schedule a consultation and make sure your cake checks all the boxes.

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Who can you turn to for help investing?

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Whether you’re working toward purchasing a home, financing your children’s education, or enjoying a comfortable retirement, you need to invest your money wisely. For most people, this means turning to a qualified investment professional. Here’s who you can count on to help you grow your savings.

• Stockbrokers. A stockbroker can buy, sell, and monitor investments on your behalf or simply give you advice on how to invest your money.

• Financial advisers. Also called a financial planner, a financial adviser can assess your current situation and help you develop a comprehensive financial or retirement plan.

• RIAs. A registered investment adviser (RIA) performs the same tasks as a stockbroker, but with an important difference: they can’t receive commissions by recommending specific financial products and are compensated by taking a percentage of the assets they manage for you.

• Accountants. A chartered accountant can review your tax situation and help you save on your tax return. They can also assist you when making a large purchase such as buying a home or after receiving an inheritance.

When deciding whether to work with a particular investment professional, always ask about their education, experience, and certifications. In addition, find out how they’re compensated (through client fees, commissions, or a combination of these) to determine whether there are potential conflicts of interest.

Finally, bear in mind that even when working with an experienced professional, investing always entails some amount of risk. Before making decisions about how to manage your money, you should evaluate your ability to withstand financial losses if your investments do poorly.

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Eco-friendly alternatives to de-icing salts

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Salt has long been relied on to ensure roads, sidewalks and other outdoor surfaces are free of ice in winter. Unfortunately, chemical de-icers tend to get washed into waterways where they harm wildlife and poison aquatic ecosystems. If you’re looking for an environmentally conscious way to make sure you don’t slip on your driveway, walkways, and stairs this winter, here are some eco-friendly alternatives to salt.

Natural
There are several non-toxic materials that can be used on icy surfaces in winter, including:

• Sand. This abrasive substance provides traction on the ice at any temperature, whereas salt isn’t effective in extreme cold.

• Beet juice. The sugar in this biodegradable liquid lowers the freezing temperature of the water, which helps prevent the formation of ice.

• Coffee grounds. In addition to providing traction, these dark granules absorb heat, which helps to melt snow and ice faster.

• Alfalfa meal. While it should be used in moderation, this natural grainy substance is highly effective at melting ice and providing traction.

Man-made
Alternatively, you can lay down anti-slip ice carpets in the fall. These textured mats are designed to adhere to icy surfaces, provide traction, and prevent slipping.

Keep in mind that an effective way to prevent the formation of ice on stairs and walkways in the first place is to clear away snow as soon as possible. You should also make sure to always wear sturdy boots and use ice cleats to help you keep your footing in slippery conditions.

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7 reasons to buy Fairtrade food

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As a consumer, you have the power to support environmentally sustainable practices, and other just causes by making purchase decisions that reflect your values. Here are seven reasons to buy food and other goods that have the Fairtrade label.

1. The Fairtrade system ensures small-scale farmers and workers receive an equitable income by setting a minimum price for major commodities such as fruit, nuts, rice, and spices.

2. The Fairtrade system pays producers a premium, in addition to the minimum price, to be invested in social, environmental, and economic projects in their community.

3. The Fairtrade standards help protect the environment by requiring (and teaching) farmers to adopt sustainable agricultural practices such as limiting the use of pesticides.

4. The Fairtrade standards and carbon credit program support projects implemented by small-scale farming communities to increase their resilience against climate change.

5. The Fairtrade standards prohibit gender discrimination and encourage the creation of programs that empower women to become entrepreneurs and community leaders.

6. The Fairtrade standards require farm owners to provide safe working conditions and a living wage for their workers. Also, forced labor and child labor are prohibited.

7. The Fairtrade system encourages organic agricultural practices and rewards farmers with a higher minimum price for organically grown products.

If you want to support small-scale farming communities, look for food and other products that have the blue and green Fairtrade label.

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Front Royal
37°
Fog
7:22am5:28pm EST
Feels like: 37°F
Wind: 3mph NNW
Humidity: 97%
Pressure: 29.84"Hg
UV index: 0
WedThuFri
41/27°F
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Upcoming Events

Jan
29
Fri
12:30 pm Opioid Overdose and Naloxone Edu... @ Online Event
Opioid Overdose and Naloxone Edu... @ Online Event
Jan 29 @ 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
Opioid Overdose and Naloxone Education @ Online Event
Save a Life: Free REVIVE! Opioid Overdose and Naloxone Education January 29th The Northwestern Prevention Collaborative and Northwestern Community Services Board will offer a free virtual REVIVE! Training on January 29th from 12:30 pm to[...]
Jan
30
Sat
2:00 pm Paint Camellias with The Studio @ The Studio - A Place for Learning
Paint Camellias with The Studio @ The Studio - A Place for Learning
Jan 30 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Paint Camellias with The Studio @ The Studio - A Place for Learning
We will paint these beautiful camellias on Saturday, January 30th at 2 pm at The Studio. This will be the first in a series of floral paintings we will do over the course of 2021.[...]
6:00 pm Parent’s Night Out @ Code Ninjas
Parent’s Night Out @ Code Ninjas
Jan 30 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Parent's Night Out @ Code Ninjas
Help Code Ninjas Front Royal celebrate our Grand Opening! We are hosting our first Parent’s Night Out! $35 per child, space limited to 5! – Drop them off. Go have fun. Just remember to pick[...]
6:00 pm Robert Burns Night 2021 @ Virginia Beer Museum
Robert Burns Night 2021 @ Virginia Beer Museum
Jan 30 @ 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Robert Burns Night 2021 @ Virginia Beer Museum
Known in medieval Celtic culture as a storyteller, verse maker, and composer, the word ‘Bard’ has become synonymous with the world’s greatest poets. However, few are as celebrated as Scotland’s own ‘National Bard’, Robert Burns,[...]
Feb
9
Tue
10:00 am Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
Feb 9 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
The Warren Coalition, in partnership with Northwestern Prevention Collaborative, will offer area residents two opportunities to take a free, virtual Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training in February. This course is designed to provide information about identifying[...]
Feb
11
Thu
6:30 pm Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
Feb 11 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
The Warren Coalition, in partnership with Northwestern Prevention Collaborative, will offer area residents two opportunities to take a free, virtual Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training in February. This course is designed to provide information about identifying[...]
Feb
13
Sat
6:00 pm Parent’s Night Out @ Code Ninjas
Parent’s Night Out @ Code Ninjas
Feb 13 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Parent's Night Out @ Code Ninjas
Help Code Ninjas Front Royal celebrate our Grand Opening! We are hosting our first Parent’s Night Out! $35 per child, space limited to 5! – Drop them off. Go have fun. Just remember to pick[...]
Feb
15
Mon
9:00 am Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Feb 15 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Free tax preparation will be available again this year through the AARP Tax Aide at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Front Royal, Monday and Wednesday mornings beginning Feb. 15th. To make an appointment, please call[...]
Feb
16
Tue
10:00 am Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
Feb 16 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
The Warren Coalition, in partnership with Northwestern Prevention Collaborative, will offer area residents two opportunities to take a free, virtual Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training in February. This course is designed to provide information about identifying[...]
Feb
17
Wed
9:00 am Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Feb 17 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Free tax preparation will be available again this year through the AARP Tax Aide at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Front Royal, Monday and Wednesday mornings beginning Feb. 15th. To make an appointment, please call[...]