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Can I change my rescue dog’s name?

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Do you adore your new rescue dog but dislike their name? If so, don’t feel like you’re stuck calling your pooch something you wouldn’t choose yourself. In fact, in some cases changing a dog’s name can be beneficial, especially if they were mistreated in the past. A new moniker can help your dog make a fresh start in a happier, more loving home.

It may take a few weeks to get your dog used to responding to the new name, but it’s not hard to do. Be consistent about using it and always say it in a happy, enthusiastic manner. Keep treats in your pocket during the adjustment period. Every time your pup responds to the new name, give them a treat. The idea is to get your dog to associate the new name with rewards.

If you prefer to make the change gradually, try using both names. For example, if you want to change Charlie’s name to Max, call him Charlie-Max for a week or two. Once he gets used to responding to the combined name, drop the old one.

While you shouldn’t do it often, don’t feel bad about changing your pup’s name. Dogs don’t identify with them the way we do. If they respond happily when you call them, it’s due to their eagerness to please you and not because of the name itself.

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The 12 essentials of a dream wedding

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A wedding is the event of a lifetime. This special day has to be perfect, hence the importance of taking care of even the smallest of organizational details. You don’t want to forget anything, whether it’s a reservation, a fitting, or a trial run for your menu and hairstyle. Here’s a checklist of the 12 key elements you’ll need to take care of along the path to your dream wedding.

1. The ceremony, the officiant, and the reception
Are you going to have a civil or religious wedding? Have you asked your best friend to unite you in wedlock? And will the reception be in the country, on a cruise ship, or in a hotel ballroom? Make sure the location you choose can easily accommodate all your guests. You’ll also want to think about signing a marriage contract or prenuptial agreement.

2. The meal and the wedding cake
There are loads of things to think about when organizing the meal: the format; the menu; a children’s menu; the bar; and the wedding cake. Say, why not set up a candy bar? And don’t forget to ask about your guests’ food allergies.

3. The atmosphere
What theme will you choose to set the tone for your wedding: a color, a culture, a historical period? Which DJ will get your guests out on the dance floor? Will you surprise everyone with a unique first dance?

4. Photographer
How will you immortalize your wedding: photos, videos, or both? Remember to plan for an indoor photo session in case Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate on your big day.

5. The invitations
Don’t wait until the last minute to send out your invitations if you want all the important people in your life to be with you for this celebration. Remember to indicate the theme and dress code. And do think about including self-addressed stamped envelopes for those essential RSVPs.

6. Wedding bands
Your wedding bands are the symbols of your love; choose them with care. Do you both want gold, silver, or with diamonds? Discreet or extravagant? With or without an engraving?

7. Beauty appointments
Hairstyle, manicure, waxing, and makeup: leave nothing to chance if you want to be stunning on your big day. Make your appointments for just the right time; you don’t want your roots to be visible under your veil!

8. The dress, suit, and accessories
The outfits of bride, groom, and wedding party should be coordinated. Will you be a vision in white or will you choose to add a colorful note? And will the perfect dress feature something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue?

9. Flowers and decorations
Have you chosen a color scheme for your flowers and decorative accessories? What are your favorite flowers? How will the tables be dressed?

10. Transportation
Will you arrive by boat, car, horse-drawn carriage, or maybe even by parachute? Whatever your choice, be sure to take your dress and the weather into consideration.

11. Guest favors
A personalized trinket, a gourmet sample, or a home decor object: have you found the perfect wedding favor to thank your guests for joining you?

12. The honeymoon
A truly idyllic honeymoon shouldn’t break your budget. Are you tempted by an exotic island or a vibrant city? Choose the destination and the timing carefully to stay in line with your means.

Get out your calendar, get set, and reserve!

Make your reservations early in order to secure the top experts in every domain. Remember that their talents are in big demand.

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Easy but awesome photo booth ideas

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Are you planning to set up a photo booth at your wedding? If you do, your guests will love hamming it up in front of the camera, and you’ll wind up with a slew of fun, candid mementos. Here are some backdrop ideas for a photo booth you’ll love.

• Sequins. For an old Hollywood feel, choose white, silver or gold. Or put a modern spin on it and choose reversible sequins that your guests can play with to change the look.

• Flowers. A wall of flowers is the perfect romantic backdrop. Match the blooms to your wedding colors or opt for white or red roses. Alternatively, create an ombre effect from light to dark using a variety of flowers in an array of hues.

• Balloons. The trick to nailing a balloon backdrop is to use balloons in various sizes and shapes. Choose pastel tones for a soft look or go for bright colors for a more whimsical touch.

• Wood. A wall of wood planks decorated with ivy and twinkle lights will make your guests feel like they’re hanging out on your back porch. This backdrop is well-suited to a rustic or country themed wedding.

Don’t forget to include props to take photos with. Frames, hats and mustaches on sticks are classic, as are comic book-style word bubbles with fun messages on them.

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For the love of singing

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You don’t need to have the voice of Pavarotti or Celine Dion to join a choir. All you need is a love of singing, because this is an art that can be learned. The voice is an instrument, just like the guitar or piano; all you have to do is learn how to use it. With practice, you can develop your musical ear and vocal abilities.

Some choirs are open to all who share a love of singing, regardless of ability. So, even if you are a beginner, it is possible to find a choir ready to welcome you. Singing in a group is also a great way to improve rapidly, as it allows you to draw on the experience of others. In addition, choral singing, unlike private singing lessons, develops a sense of harmony—both musically and socially.

There are choirs for all musical tastes. Some sing popular music; others sing from a liturgical repertoire, or classical or folk music. And if you loved Whoopi Goldberg in the comedy movie Sister Act, you’ll love singing in a gospel choir!

Singing in a choir is also an opportunity to share your passion for music, to work as part of a team, to socialize, and to surpass yourself. In a way, music is like a sport; it requires you to work your breathing and posture, it is excellent exercise for the back, and it is an activity that uses many different muscles in the chest and throat.

Do you like humming in the shower? Do you enjoy singing at the top of your voice during your solitary car rides? What are you waiting for? Join a choir!

You want to share your passion for music? Join a choir!

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Science of VDOT: Highway Safety

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Learn how VDOT works to improve safety on Virginia’s roads.

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Snowboarding 101: tips for beginners

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Are you thinking about taking up snowboarding this winter? If so, here are some tips to make learning this sport a little easier.

• Take lessons. Snowboarding isn’t an easy sport to learn on your own. A professional will teach you the basics of skating (propelling yourself using one foot), turning, stopping and controlling your descent.

• Avoid crowds. Choose runs that aren’t too busy, even if they’re a little more challenging than the overcrowded bunny hill. Having more room to maneuver will allow you to learn at your own pace, without worrying about getting in anyone’s way.

• Wear protection. Frequent falls are to be expected the first few times you hit the slopes on a snowboard. Protective gear like helmets and wrist guards will help you avoid serious injury.

• Learn to fall. Besides wearing protection, knowing how to fall is the key to not getting hurt. If you feel yourself pitching forward, keep your arms close to your body and try to land on your elbows and forearms. If you’re falling backwards, crouch and put your hands behind your neck to protect it.

You probably won’t master snowboarding on your first day out, but that’s okay. Most people need a few sessions or even a whole season to be truly comfortable on a snowboard. Take your time, have fun and keep trying.

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Cost of retirement: More expensive than you might think

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The cost of retirement can vary dramatically depending on where you live and what choices you make before you retire.

Ideally, you want to have enough social security and investments to maintain your current lifestyle.

While investment advisors routinely say $1 million in investments will ensure a happy retirement, this is not necessarily true. In high-tax states with high cost of living, a big retirement pot is probably essential. But, in lower tax states with lower cost of living, retirees might need about a fourth of that amount.

The key question is how you prepare before retirement.

– Run the numbers. Check with Social Security for an estimate of retirement income. But, remember your medicare and taxes will be deducted from social security, so that number will be lower.

For other income, you will be paying cash for taxes. Look at all your expenses. Medicare plus supplements and prescriptions could run more than you think. For example, some prescriptions could cost $100-$300 per month, even with a prescription plan.

– Get out of debt. The best strategy is to be out of debt before retirement. Aim for zero credit balances.

– Pay off the mortgage. In some cases holding a mortgage might be financially wise, depending on how much your investments are making as opposed to the interest rate on your mortgage. But good general advice is to pay off the mortgage before retirement.

– Transportation. Plan to have a late model car that is paid off before retirement. A car payment soaks up retirement funds.

– Emergency fund. Build one with at least 3 to 6 months of expenses. Emergencies won’t stop just because you are retired and you won’t have money coming in. You must avoid credit card debt.

– Long-term care insurance. Plan early to buy long-term care insurance when prices will be lower.

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Front Royal
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Upcoming Events

Jan
29
Wed
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Jan 29 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, January 29 and Thursday, January 30: Puppies are cuddly! Puppies are cute! Our stories, songs, and craft will be about our friends, the puppies! Siblings[...]
Jan
30
Thu
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Jan 30 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, January 29 and Thursday, January 30: Puppies are cuddly! Puppies are cute! Our stories, songs, and craft will be about our friends, the puppies! Siblings[...]
Jan
31
Fri
10:00 am Citizenship Day Workshop @ Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington | Hogar Immigrant Services
Citizenship Day Workshop @ Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington | Hogar Immigrant Services
Jan 31 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Citizenship Day Workshop @ Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington | Hogar Immigrant Services
On Friday, January 31, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington is partnering with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) to host its annual Citizenship Day Workshop. The workshop is one of six AILA is[...]
7:00 pm Love Revival – FREE Monthly Comm... @ Love Revival Ministry Center
Love Revival – FREE Monthly Comm... @ Love Revival Ministry Center
Jan 31 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Love Revival - FREE Monthly Community Dinner @ Love Revival Ministry Center
Free Community Dinner for everyone! Come enjoy a hot meal on the last Friday of every month at Love Revival Ministry Center.
Feb
1
Sat
10:00 am Books and Barks @ Samuels Public Library
Books and Barks @ Samuels Public Library
Feb 1 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am
Books and Barks @ Samuels Public Library
Come to our extremely popular monthly program that gives developing readers the chance to read and relax with a trained therapy dog.  For beginning readers and up.  Choose a time slot at registration, which begins[...]
11:00 am HSWC Polar Plunge @ Northern Virginia 4-H Center
HSWC Polar Plunge @ Northern Virginia 4-H Center
Feb 1 @ 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
HSWC Polar Plunge @ Northern Virginia 4-H Center
The Humane Society of Warren County will hold their 1st annual Polar Plunge event on February 1st at the Culpeper Lake, located at the Northern Virginia 4-H Center in Harmony Hollow. “Plungers” are asked to[...]
2:00 pm World of Lego @ Samuels Public Library
World of Lego @ Samuels Public Library
Feb 1 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
World of Lego @ Samuels Public Library
Children ages 5 and up are invited to explore all the amazing things you can do with Legos.  Registration begins January 1.
Feb
4
Tue
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Feb 4 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, January 29 and Thursday, January 30: Puppies are cuddly! Puppies are cute! Our stories, songs, and craft will be about our friends, the puppies! Siblings[...]
4:30 pm Novel Ideas @ Samuels Public Library
Novel Ideas @ Samuels Public Library
Feb 4 @ 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Novel Ideas @ Samuels Public Library
Children will explore popular books and book series through S.T.E.M. activities, games, food, and more! Tuesday, February 4 – Children will explore popular books and book series through S.T.E.M. activities, games, food, and more! After[...]
Feb
5
Wed
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Feb 5 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, January 29 and Thursday, January 30: Puppies are cuddly! Puppies are cute! Our stories, songs, and craft will be about our friends, the puppies! Siblings[...]