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A Global Toast to the Bean: Uniting Coffee Lovers on International Coffee Day



October 1 Marks the Day for Caffeine Aficionados to Explore, Celebrate, and Sip Anew.

October 1, 2023, isn’t just the first blush of autumn or another ordinary day on the calendar; it’s a day that unites millions in their love for a particular beverage: coffee. As International Coffee Day dawns, cafes, roasters, and kitchens around the world will froth with activity. Whether it’s a comforting latte or an intense espresso that gets your motor running, there’s no better time to celebrate the world’s most popular stimulant.

Coffee is much more than just a morning pick-me-up. It’s a social ritual, a conversation starter, and, for many, an art form. What began as an obscure drink in the Ethiopian highlands has evolved into a global phenomenon, experienced in a multitude of ways across continents. From the espresso bars of Italy to the third-wave coffee shops in Portland, every culture has its unique way of enjoying this age-old beverage. Some like it hot and black; others prefer it iced and frothy. But regardless of the preparation, the allure of coffee is universally felt.

International Coffee Day isn’t just for the habitual coffee drinker who sticks to their usual order. It’s an open invitation to explore new avenues in the world of coffee. Why not take this occasion to buy a bag of freshly roasted beans from your local coffee roaster? Or, if you’re more adventurous, how about exploring some of the seasonal specialties that many cafes and restaurants offer? Whether it’s the pumpkin-spiced latte that heralds the fall or the intriguing espresso martinis that are redefining coffee culture, there’s something for everyone.

One of the notable shifts in coffee culture over the past few years has been the increasing focus on local sourcing and sustainability. Many local roasters are now forming direct relationships with coffee growers, ensuring not only the highest quality of beans but also fair practices and sustainability. It’s no longer just about the cup you hold in your hand but the journey those beans have made from farm to grinder to cup.

As we approach October 1, let’s pause to recognize the transformative power of this simple bean. It fuels our mornings, serves as an excuse to catch up with old friends, and even shapes the geography of our cities (how many of us have chosen our homes based on proximity to a beloved coffee shop?). This International Coffee Day, let’s not just sip on something delicious; let’s celebrate the complex and enriching world that coffee has created for all of us.

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Harnessing the Power of Positive Thinking: A Roadmap to Emotional Wellness



Embracing Optimism as a Tool for Personal Growth.

In a world often shadowed by negativity and stress, the power of positive thinking emerges as a beacon of hope. It’s not just a feel-good mantra; it’s a practical approach to life’s challenges. This article explores the transformative impact of optimism on our mental health and overall well-being.

We’ve all been stuck in traffic, dealing with a flat tire, and feeling overwhelmed by life’s demands. These moments test our resilience, tempting us to succumb to negativity. However, embracing a positive mindset can significantly alter our emotional landscape.

Positive thinking isn’t about ignoring life’s problems but approaching them from a place of empowerment and hope. When faced with adversity, our natural inclination might be to spiral into worry and despair. Yet, the simple act of shifting our thoughts can profoundly affect our mood.

The idea of changing one’s life by changing one’s thoughts isn’t new. It’s a principle rooted in various psychological theories and has been a cornerstone of self-help philosophies. But how does this work in practice? Can positive thinking make a difference when life feels spiraling out of control?

The answer lies in the science of the brain. Our thoughts have a direct impact on our emotions. By consciously choosing to focus on positive aspects, even in difficult situations, we can create a more hopeful narrative. This doesn’t mean ignoring the negative but not letting it dominate our mindset.

Consider a bad day at work or a conflict in a relationship. These situations can easily lead us down a path of negativity. However, we can shift our perspective by actively focusing on positive outcomes or lessons learned. This shift isn’t just about feeling better in the moment; it’s about building resilience for future challenges.

The power of positive thinking extends beyond personal benefits. It influences how we interact with others and perceive the world around us. A positive outlook can improve our relationships, enhance work performance, and contribute to a more compassionate society.

But let’s address a common misconception: positive thinking isn’t a magic cure-all. It requires effort and practice. It’s about making a conscious choice every day to look for the silver lining, even when it feels elusive.

In a world rife with uncertainty and stress, embracing optimism is more than just a feel-good strategy; it’s a necessary tool for emotional survival. By cultivating positive thoughts, we not only improve our own lives but also contribute to a more hopeful and resilient world. Remember, the power of positivity lies within each of us, ready to be harnessed for a brighter, more fulfilling future.

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Poinsettia Perfection: Tips for Long-Lasting Beauty



How to Keep Your Poinsettias Thriving Beyond the Holiday Season.

Poinsettias, the vibrant red and green plants synonymous with holiday cheer, can remain a beautiful addition to your home long after the festive season. These seasonal favorites can retain their splendor for months with extra care and attention to detail. Here’s how you can ensure your poinsettias stay as fresh and bright as the day you brought them home.

The key to a healthy poinsettia begins with its location. Place your plant near a source of bright but indirect light. Direct sunlight can be too harsh, but insufficient light will cause the plant to lose its vibrant colors. The right balance of light will keep your poinsettia looking lively and colorful.

If your poinsettia comes in a pot wrapped in decorative foil, a common presentation during the holidays, it’s important to modify it for the plant’s health. Punch holes in the bottom of the foil to prevent water accumulation, which can lead to root rot. Place the plant on a saucer to catch any excess water that drains out.

Watering your poinsettia correctly is crucial. Always use room-temperature water to avoid shocking the plant’s roots. Slowly pour water into the pot until it begins to drain out of the bottom, then discard any water that collects in the saucer. Over-watering is a common mistake; it can cause the leaves to turn yellow and fall off. Conversely, under-watering will result in wilting and leaf loss. To gauge the plant’s watering needs, check the pot daily until you establish how much water it uses. The top quarter-inch of soil should be dry before you water again.

Fertilizing is also an essential part of poinsettia care. Once a month, apply a water-soluble fertilizer following the manufacturer’s instructions. This will provide the nutrients to keep the plant healthy and promote continued growth.

Following these simple guidelines, your poinsettia can thrive well beyond the holiday season, bringing a touch of color and joy to your home. Proper light, careful watering, and regular fertilization are all it takes to extend the life of this festive plant. With these tender care tips, your poinsettia can remain a beautiful reminder of the holiday spirit all year round.

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The Royalty of Gestures: The Nod



Like the variety of words Eskimos use to describe snow, the “nod” has infinite meanings and offers endless, nuanced shades of communication. A nod can simultaneously speak virtually every language yet never utter a word. A nod can be heavy or weigh nothing. For these reasons and more, the humble nod is considered by many to be the Royalty of Gestures, an art form: side to side, up and down, or down and up.

The most common nod sighting is when two males cross paths – happens every day if one steps out into the world. (Generally speaking, women may not nod in passing, though there are exceptions.) It’s an eye-to-eye male thing whose origins probably date back to when we were still in the cave, and it was critical that one’s intentions not be misunderstood. First, a meeting of the eyes and then a nod of friendly feelings.

Ninety-nine times out of one hundred, the nod begets a return nod so that the nodders know all is well in their respective worlds. Handshakes come from the same place. Occasionally, the noddee doesn’t return the nodder’s gesture: Bad hair day — Nothing personal. Even rarer is a bounce-back scowl: Angry man — Potential danger. Danger, where the benefits of casting a nod are most informative. There are some people for whom it’s best to keep one’s distance. Here’s a perfect example where, without saying a word, a nod is telling us something — And we should listen.

There are regular nods and “up-nods,” whereby the head is gently snapped up and back down, whereas a regular nod is down and back up. The regular nod is employed almost exclusively with males you don’t know, feeling out for that communication of peaceful intentions, whereas the “Up Nod” is reserved for friends or acquaintances and often accompanied by a verbal acknowledgment as in “Hey, Joe” Up Nod.

On occasion, women may demurely smile back at an appropriate male’s nod, one whose meaning is respectful, where there is a mutual understanding that there is no intent to encourage anything further. Think of it as a tip of the hat. But never a return nod here. And there is the side-to-side nod in company, which usually means either a simple no or when secretly done with great subtlety in a delicate situation: “Shut up.”

The mutual understanding nod happens when two or more individuals bob their heads in collective agreement, up and down for yes, or side to side, together, for no. The up nod doesn’t apply here. Meditation precedes the “all-knowing” nod. Also, be careful with your “Auction nod”. An accidental nod at the wrong time at an auction could buy you a castle in Spain that you couldn’t pay for in a million years.

A raised eyebrow often serves in place of a nod, reserved mostly for male-female encounters. But we can’t all do that, and so have to fall back on the nod, providing an appropriate invitation has been sent. A nod here is usually not as effective as an arched eyebrow thrown at the right time.

A nod is an acknowledgment, a courtesy, an answer, an opinion, a question, a yes and a no, and, with a shrug of the shoulders, even a maybe.

There’s so much more. Here we’re just scratching the surface on the art of nodding.

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Malls May Be Dying, but Santa Still Thrives: A Journey Through Time and Tradition



Where will the kids see Santa in an era of declining malls? The evolution of Santa Claus and the future of this cherished holiday tradition.

The Dawn of a Jolly Tradition
In the bygone era of yesteryears, children’s knowledge of Santa Claus was primarily gleaned from stories, newspapers, and cherished books. Santa, the mythical figure who embodied the spirit of giving, was a distant yet beloved character in the hearts of children worldwide. However, the dawn of a new tradition was on the horizon, and it was about to change how families experienced Christmas’s magic.

In 1891, a pivotal moment occurred in retail and holiday celebrations. James Edgar of Brockton, Massachusetts, donned the iconic red suit and bushy white beard, becoming the first Santa Claus to grace a department store. This momentous event marked a sea change in the world of retail, as children from near and far began arriving by train to catch a glimpse of this legendary figure. While Macy’s in New York City also lays claim to hosting the first Santa, it was James Edgar’s portrayal that set the archetype of Santa as a jolly, rotund grandfather figure, as reported by New

From Downtown Stores to Mall Santas
As the 20th century progressed, the landscape of Santa sightings underwent a transformation of its own. By the late 1990s, Santa had largely bid adieu to the freestanding downtown department stores, which had begun to decline in popularity. Instead, he found a new home in the heart of America’s booming malls. It was a symbiotic relationship; malls provided a hub for holiday shoppers, and Santa brought in the families, creating cherished memories captured in photographs.

Yet, as we step into the year 2023, a pall of uncertainty hangs over America’s shopping malls. With only 700 malls still in operation, a sharp decline from the apex of mall culture in the 1980s when there were 2,500, according to Business Insider, the landscape is indeed changing. However, Santa Claus remains a stalwart presence, proving that the allure of the holiday season transcends the ebb and flow of retail trends.

A Profitable Tradition Endures
In the face of adversity, Santa continues to thrive, drawing entire families for professional photos amid glittering backdrops. Gone are the days of modest North Pole sets; today’s high-end shopping centers, like the Grove in Los Angeles, adorn towering 100-foot trees, while Paramus Park Mall in New Jersey boasts an extravagant 10-room Christmas village brimming with festive goods for sale.

Even smaller, ailing malls manage to summon the holiday spirit for a few precious weeks each year. Take the Military Circle Mall in Norfolk, Virginia, which was razed earlier this year. It managed to welcome crowds during the last weeks of 2022, infusing an otherwise dark and vacant space with the luminance and warmth of one last Christmas celebration.

The Uncertain Future of Santa
Yet, malls face a sketchy future, and the implications are far-reaching. Small towns may soon find themselves devoid of department stores or malls, leaving us to ponder the fate of Santa Claus. Will your UPS driver don a red suit and exclaim a hearty “ho ho ho” while delivering presents to your doorstep? Might you order up Santa delivery as casually as your favorite burrito? Could the age-old tradition of meeting Santa shift to a virtual realm, with families Skyping Santa from their living rooms?

As we stand at this crossroads, the future of Santa culture remains uncertain. What is certain, however, is the enduring appeal of this beloved holiday tradition. In the face of changing retail landscapes, Santa Claus, that symbol of generosity and goodwill, will find a way to continue spreading joy and brightening the hearts of children, young and old.

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Stress-Free Holiday Celebrations: Tips for a Relaxing Season



Simple Strategies to Navigate the Holiday Frenzy with Ease.

The holiday season, while filled with joy and festivities, often brings a whirlwind of stress and exhaustion. However, with a few practical tips and mindful approaches, it’s entirely possible to bask in the holiday spirit without feeling overwhelmed. Here’s how you can enjoy a more relaxed and fulfilling holiday season.

Shopping: Begin your holiday shopping early, especially when using online retailers. Avoid the last-minute rush by adhering to a general rule: aim to ship gifts by December 15. For late purchases, overnight shipping is an option, but keep track of each order to ensure timely arrival.

Decorating: Transform your space into a festive haven with just one or two tasteful displays. There’s no need to go overboard with decorations both inside and outside. Aim to complete your decorating by the first week of December for a stress-free holiday ambiance.

Baking: If time is short, let a local bakery handle your holiday treats. This approach saves time and allows you to enjoy a variety of professionally made goodies.

Christmas Dinner: Simplify your holiday meal. Instead of an array of side dishes, focus on a main course like turkey, rib roast, or ham, complemented by classics like baked potatoes, vegetables, and salad. A straightforward menu can be just as festive and far less taxing.

Family Visits: To manage demands for your presence, plan early. If balancing visits between two sets of parents, consider scheduling one for Christmas Day and the other for Christmas Eve. Alternative options include meeting on the Sunday before Christmas or the Saturday after.

Gift Wrapping: Save time with gift bags or boxes, adding just a simple bow for a touch of festivity. This method is efficient and presents your gifts in an attractive and hassle-free manner.

Personal Care: Maintain your normal sleep and exercise routines as much as possible. Embrace quiet moments to rejuvenate amidst the holiday bustle.

Holiday Eating: Approach holiday meals with moderation. Avoid going to dinners on an empty stomach, and try to sample small portions of different dishes. Stopping before you’re completely full can help you enjoy the variety without discomfort.

Dealing with Relatives: Prepare mentally for family gatherings. Resolve to enjoy the occasion despite any challenging dynamics, and remember to take things in stride.

The key to a stress-free holiday season lies in simplification and planning. By streamlining your approach to shopping, decorating, and entertaining, you can create a relaxed atmosphere that allows you to enjoy the essence of the season truly. Remember, the holidays are a time for joy and celebration, not stress and exhaustion.

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December Celebrity Birthdays!



Do you share a birthday with a celebrity?

Ozzy Osbourne, 75, singer (Black Sabbath), Birmingham, England, 1948. F darkbladeus, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

1 – Riz Ahmed, 41, actor (Rogue One), London, England, 1982.

2 – Dan Butler, 69, actor (Frasier), Huntington, IN, 1954.

3 – Ozzy Osbourne, 75, singer (Black Sabbath), Birmingham, England, 1948.

4 – Jin, 31, singer (BTS), born Kim Seok-Jin, Gwacheon, South Korea, 1992.

5 – Margaret Cho, 55, actress (All-American Girl), comedian, San Francisco, CA, 1968.

6 – Thomas Hulce, 70, actor (Amadeus), Plymouth, MI, 1953.

7 – C. Thomas Howell, 57, actor (E.T.), Los Angeles, CA, 1966.

8 – Kim Basinger, 70, actress (Batman), Athens, GA, 1953.

9 – Judi Dench, 89, actress (Shakespeare in Love), York, England, 1934.

10 – Melissa Roxburgh, 31, actress (Manifest), Vancouver, BC, Canada, 1992.

11 – Hailee Steinfeld, 27, actress (Ender’s Game), Thousand Oaks, CA, 1996.

12 – Lucas Hedges, 27, actor (Moonrise Kingdom), New York, NY, 1996.

13 – Emma Corrin, 28, actress (The Crown), Royal Tunbridge Wells, England, 1995.

14 – Vanessa Hudgens, 35, actress (Spring Breakers), Salinas, CA, 1988.

15 – Dave Clark, 81, musician (Dave Clark Five), London, England, 1942.

16 – Theo James, 39, actor (Divergent), born Theo Taptiklis, Oxford, England, 1984.

17 – Shannon Woodward, 39, actress (Raising Hope), Phoenix, AZ, 1984.

18 – Billie Eilish, 22, singer, born Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell, Los Angeles, CA, 2001.

19 – Jennifer Beals, 60, actress (Flashdance), Chicago, IL, 1963.

20 – Uri Geller, 77, psychic, clairvoyant, Tel Aviv, Israel, 1946.

21 – Kiefer Sutherland, 57, actor (24), London, England, 1966.

22 – Hector Elizondo, 87, actor (Pretty Woman), New York, NY, 1936.

23 – Susan Lucci, 77, actress (All My Children), Westchester, NY, 1949.

24 – Louis Tomlinson, 32, singer (One Direction), born Louis Austin at Doncaster, England, 1991.

25 – Barbara Mandrell, 75, singer, Houston, TX, 1948.

26 – Chris Daughtry, 44, television personality (American Idol), Roanoke Rapids, NC, 1979.

27 – Masi Oka, 49, actor (Heroes), Tokyo, Japan, 1974.

28 – David Archuleta, 33, singer (American Idol), Miami, FL, 1990.

29 – Marianne Faithfull, 77, singer, London, England, 1946.

30 – V, 28, singer (BTS), born Kim Tae-hyung, Daegu, South Korea, 1995.

31 – Sir Anthony Hopkins, 86, actor (Silence of the Lambs), Port Talbot, Wales, 1937.

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Aders Insurance Agency, Inc (State Farm)

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Front Royal, VA
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Upcoming Events

7:30 pm American Legion Community Band C... @ Boggs Chapel at R-MA
American Legion Community Band C... @ Boggs Chapel at R-MA
Dec 12 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
American Legion Community Band Christmas Concert @ Boggs Chapel at R-MA
The American Legion Community Band, located in Front Royal, Virginia, was formed in 1986 and has been playing concerts in the area ever since. The conductors and band members are all volunteer musicians from the local[...]
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Dec 13 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
7:00 am Pancake Breakfast @ Riverton United Methodist Church
Pancake Breakfast @ Riverton United Methodist Church
Dec 16 @ 7:00 am – 10:00 am
Pancake Breakfast @ Riverton United Methodist Church
Join us for pancakes, sausage, scrambled eggs, biscuits, sausage gravy, and juice/coffee! All are invited for this FREE event. Offering will be accepted.
10:00 am 10th Virginia Infantry Encampment @ Sky Meadows State Park
10th Virginia Infantry Encampment @ Sky Meadows State Park
Dec 16 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
10th Virginia Infantry Encampment @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. Journey back in time and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and smells of a Civil War Encampment during the holidays. Interact with the 10th VA Infantry, also known as the Valley Guards,[...]
1:00 pm The Nutcracker @ Skyline High School
The Nutcracker @ Skyline High School
Dec 16 @ 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
The Nutcracker @ Skyline High School
Italia Performing Arts is pleased to announce its own student production of The Nutcracker, a Christmas classic to be enjoyed by the whole family! When: Saturday, December 16th at 1:00 PM and 5:00 PM Where:[...]
10:00 am 10th Virginia Infantry Encampment @ Sky Meadows State Park
10th Virginia Infantry Encampment @ Sky Meadows State Park
Dec 17 @ 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
10th Virginia Infantry Encampment @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. Journey back in time and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and smells of a Civil War Encampment during the holidays. Interact with the 10th VA Infantry, also known as the Valley Guards,[...]
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Dec 20 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Dec 27 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
5:30 am First Day Hikes at Sky Meadows @ Sky Meadows State Park
First Day Hikes at Sky Meadows @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jan 1 @ 5:30 am – 1:00 pm
First Day Hikes at Sky Meadows @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area: While the American tradition of celebrating the New Year occurs at midnight on New Year’s Eve, other cultures celebrate by enjoying the sunrise on New Year’s Day. As part of the continuing American[...]