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The no-spend challenge

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A financial writer set out to spend no extra money for a year.

Michelle McGagh and her husband vowed to pay bills, but not to buy coffee, clothes, or a beer at a pub. They didn’t eat out or even buy gas. Instead she rode her bike everywhere all the time.

She spent only $35 on food every week, so she had to plan cheap meals.

What happened? At the end of one year she saved $23,000.

She admits the effort was not easy. She missed having face cream and fresh flowers. She missed socializing with friends at a pub. And they missed her.

On the other hand, she also found new ways to have fun for free and she realized how much money she frittered away. McGagh wrote about her extreme challenge in her book, “The No Spend Year: How you can spend less and live more.”

McGagh’s challenge was extreme–but what if you could spend nothing extra for just one month. Could you save money? Definitely.

According to Bankrate.com, the first thing to do is decide why. It could be to pay off a big bill that is coming or pad your savings account, but the goal should mean something to you.

Next steps:

– Eliminate any optional expense that comes out of your checking account such as subscriptions. They will take your money next month.

– Eliminate luxuries and start thinking of some things as luxuries. For example, cable TV. You could get rid of Netflix for $10 a month or cable for $120, or both.

– Make a barebones food plan and stick to it. No prepared foods. Make your own cookies. This is nearly its own challenge. Can you spend $100 a week or less on food?

– Cellphone: No extra overages or get rid of the plan, if you can.

– No restaurants or pubs. Plan some things to do that are free.

Then count your cash at the end of the month!

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Dr. Seuss character word game

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Ted Geisel (Dr. Seuss) half-length portrait, seated at desk covered with his books / World Telegram & Sun photo by Al Ravenna.

Dr. Seuss would be celebrating his 114th birthday on March 2nd. Can you fill in the blanks to form the names of Dr. Seuss characters?

1. G _ I _ C _

2. L _ R _ X

3. F _ X _ N _ O _ K _ S

4. T _ I _ G _ N _ A _ D _ H _ N _ T _ O

5. S _ E _ T _ H _ S

6. T _ I _ W _ C _

7. M _ C _ T _ E _ U _ T _ E

8. S _ U _ K _ N _ A _ O _

9. M _ R _ I _ K. _ O _ N _ Y

10. D _ I _ Y-_ E _ D _ A _ Z _ E

Don’t look yet!

OK Scroll down.

ANSWERS:
1. GRINCH
2. LORAX
3. FOX IN SOCKS
4. THING ONE AND THING TWO
5. SNEETCHES
6. THIDWICK
7. MACK THE TURTLE
8. SOUR KANGAROO
9. MARVIN K. MOONEY
10. DAISY-HEAD MAYZIE

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Recipe for a healthy, happy life

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There are no magic pills or secret elixirs to create a healthy, happy life. There are mainly just small decisions we make every day.

Maintain a schedule. For most, work frames our schedules. Within that frame, however, it’s important to have routines. Have time to relax, exercise, to touch base with other people. Go to bed at the same time and get 7 to 8 hours of sleep, according to the Harvard Health Letter.

Get out and about. Even if you have a desk job, take frequent opportunities to get up and walk, even just to get a drink of water. Movement maintains flexibility, balance, and strength. Even a little movement in spurts of 15 minutes or so is better than none. Take the stairs. Park away from the store entrance.

Eat well. Many doctors recommend a plant-based diet of vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fruits added in healthy proportions to animal-based foods. Eat-in moderation.

Silence, meditation, prayer. Take a moment every day to clear your mind and rest in silence. According to Harvard Health, a research review published in JAMA Internal Medicine in January 2014 found meditation helpful for relieving anxiety, pain, and depression. For depression, meditation was about as effective as an antidepressant.

Forge community and family. Friendships and community can be found in social, religious, or other groups with shared interests. Friendships can grow from activities. Family usually forges the most long-lasting relationships. But whatever path is open to you, remember that strong social connections increase your chance of longevity, and may even help you recover faster from illness.

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March Celebrity Birthdays!

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Barbara Feldon, actress (Get Smart), Pittsburgh, PA, 1941. NBC Television, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Do you share a birthday with a celebrity?

1 – Jensen Ackles, 43, actor (Supernatural), Dallas, TX, 1978.

2 – Chris Martin, 44, singer/songwriter (Coldplay), born Exeter, Devon, England, 1977.

3 – David Faustino, 47, actor (Married…with Children), Los Angeles, CA, 1974.

4 – Chaz Bono, 52, author, television personality, born Chastity Sun Bono at Los AngeleS, CA,

5 – Dean Stockwell, 85, actor (Quantum Leap), Los Angeles, CA,1936.

6 – Connie Britton, 53, actress (Nashville), Boston, MA, 1968.

7 – Bryan Cranston, 65, actor (Breaking Bad), San Fernando Valley, CA, 1956.

8 – Aidan Quinn, 62, actor (Practical Magic), Chicago, IL, 1959.

9 – David Hume Kennerly, 74, photographer, Rosenburg, OR, 1947.

10 – Carrie Underwood, 38, singer, Muskogee, OK, 1983.

11 – Bobby McFerrin, 71, jazz musician, , New York, NY, 1950.

12 – Barbara Feldon, actress (Get Smart), Pittsburgh, PA, 1941.

13 – Adam Clayton, 61, musician (U2), Dublin, Ireland, 1960.

14 –  Grace Park, 47, actress (Battlestar Galactica), Los Angeles, CA, 1974.

15 – Kellan Lutz, 36, actor (Twilight), Dickinson, ND, 1985.

16 –  Alan Tudyk, 50, actor (Firefly), El Paso, TX, 1971.

17 –  Hozier, 31, singer, songwriter, born Andrew Hozier-Bryne, Bray County Wicklow, Ireland, 1990.

18 – Queen Latifah, 51, singer, actress (Bringing Down the House), born Dana Owens, East Orange, NJ, 1970.

19 – Bruce Willis, 66, actor (The Sixth Sense), Idar-Oberstein, West Germany (now Germany), 1955.

20 – Spike Lee 64, director (Do the Right Thing), producer, Atlanta, GA, 1957.

21 – Kevin Federline, 43, dancer, Fresno City, CA, 1978.

22 – George Benson, 78, singer, guitarist, Pittsburgh, PA,1943.

23 – Chaka Khan, 68, singer, born Yvette Marie Stevens, Chicago, IL, 1953.

24 – Byron Janis, 93, pianist, born Byron Yanks, McKeesport, PA, 1928.

25 – Ryan Lewis,33, musician, Puyallup, WA, 1988.

26 – Keira Knightley, 36, actress (Pirates of the Caribbean), Teddington, Middlesex, England, 1985.

27 – Pauley Perrette, 52, actress (NCIS), New Orleans I.A, 1969.

28 – Lady Gaga, 35, singer, actress (A Star is Born), born Stefani Germanotta, Yonkers, NY, 1986.

29 – Megan Hilty, 40, actress (Smash), Bellevue, WA, 1981.

30 – Tracy Chapman, 57, singer, Cleveland, OH, 1964.

31 – David Eisenhower, 73, professor, West Point, NY, 1948

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Time management training: learn to make the most of your day

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Do you often wish there were more hours in the day? If you frequently feel overwhelmed by your commitments, time management courses can help you regain control of your life. Here’s what you can expect from this type of training.

What you’ll learn
In the spirit of effective time management, many training programs pack a lot of practical skills into a short period. After a one-day course, for example, you should know how to:

• Prioritize your various responsibilities

• Identify distractions and limit their effects

• Create an organized daily, weekly, and monthly to-do list

• Schedule tasks based on when you’re most productive

• Set realistic short- and long-term goals

• Delegate projects and commitments as needed

• Say no to things that aren’t a priority

• Adapt your schedule to unforeseen events

• Make time for effective, restorative breaks

How you’ll benefit
Good time management skills allow you to achieve a better work-life balance. They enable you to make the most of your day and overcome procrastination, thereby helping you to meet deadlines and achieve your goals. You’re also less likely to feel overwhelmed by your various commitments if you learn to effectively manage your time. This ability can help you reduce stress and increase your overall job and life satisfaction.

If you want to learn how to manage your time, consider signing up for a course offered by your employer or a local organization.

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How to refer a friend for a position at your workplace

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Do you know someone who has the right skills for an open position at the company you work for? While a referral could help both your friend and employer, you risk damaging your reputation within the company if the person you refer isn’t a good fit. Here are some tips to help you manage the situation.

Be honest
If you know that your friend has strong principles, but you haven’t worked with them, you may not know what to say. However, you should be upfront with your employer and say that you can’t speak to the person’s technical skills, but you can certainly attest to their character. This approach will help your friend get an interview without staking your reputation on secondhand information.

Be helpful

If you decide to refer someone for a job, it’s in your best interest that the person makes a good impression. Offer to look over your friend’s CV and help them prepare for the interview. Since you work for the company, you can provide insight on which of your friend’s skills and qualities will be most valued.

Be tactful
If a friend asks for a referral, but you don’t think they’re a good candidate, one option is to explain that you have a personal policy not to refer others because of the liability involved. If you do recommend a friend, make it clear that it’s not guaranteed they’ll get the job because recruiters take a variety of factors into account.

Finally, before you refer a friend, reflect on how you would feel about working with the person on a daily basis and, potentially, being their subordinate or superior.

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Lean into discomfort to embrace personal growth

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It’s a natural human impulse – if something causes discomfort, we avoid it, and if we can’t avoid it, we seek to resolve it. When we squabbled with our siblings, we apologized and put hurt feelings to the side. We accommodate others to avoid frayed tempers and ugly arguments. We seek to resolve conflict, stay away from uncomfortable situations, and ignore troubling feelings. We dislike vulnerability in ourselves and in others.

But discomfort and failure are powerful teachers, and when we explore those uncomfortable feelings, we often come out the other side stronger, wiser, and more in touch with what we really want.

Think about what you have been able to accomplish in the past despite discomfort and adversity and apply those lessons to future challenges. Don’t berate yourself when you fall short – instead, reflect on what you could have done differently.

Author, researcher, and therapist Brene Brown writes that while “I am a screw up” and “I screwed up” sound very similar, there’s a vast gulf between them. The subtle change in language allows us to accept our imperfections without the crippling addition of shame. When we give ourselves permission to be imperfect, we are more able to embrace failure as a powerful tool for self-improvement.

The Buddhist nun Pema Chodron urges people to be gentle in the way they talk to themselves and think about why we say certain things when we experience failure. Ask yourself why you feel the way you do, and consider that maybe the real problem not that you are a failure, but that you are just hurting.

When we embrace our failures, lean into our discomfort and seek to grow and change, we also embrace humanity’s best qualities – empathy, kindness, generosity, and openness.

So the next time you experience a major disappointment, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, learn from your missteps, treat yourself kindly and emerge from your failure as a better, stronger person.

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Front Royal
30°
Clear
6:41am6:07pm EST
Feels like: 30°F
Wind: 2mph SW
Humidity: 67%
Pressure: 30.1"Hg
UV index: 0
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59/39°F
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Upcoming Events

Mar
3
Wed
9:00 am Community Blood Drive @ Front Royal Fire and Rescue Department
Community Blood Drive @ Front Royal Fire and Rescue Department
Mar 3 @ 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Community Blood Drive @ Front Royal Fire and Rescue Department
The Front Royal Police Department is sponsoring a blood drive on Wednesday, and all eligible donors are encouraged to log onto redcrossblood.org to schedule a donation of the GIFT OF LIFE! Jeff Farmer and the[...]
9:00 am Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Mar 3 @ 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[...]
Mar
9
Tue
6:30 pm Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Mar 9 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
This class is for all fitness levels and anyone who is looking to have fun dancing to a variety of music styles from hip hop to swing to salsa, all while EXERCISING! This class will[...]
Mar
13
Sat
10:00 am HSWC Polar Plunge @ Culpeper Lake at the 4-H Center
HSWC Polar Plunge @ Culpeper Lake at the 4-H Center
Mar 13 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
HSWC Polar Plunge @ Culpeper Lake at the 4-H Center
The Humane Society of Warren County “Polar Plunge” delayed from February 20 due to “too-polar” weather here in northwestern Virginia has been rescheduled to Saturday, March 13 – Don’t worry, it will still be a[...]
Mar
16
Tue
6:30 pm Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Mar 16 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
This class is for all fitness levels and anyone who is looking to have fun dancing to a variety of music styles from hip hop to swing to salsa, all while EXERCISING! This class will[...]
Mar
23
Tue
6:30 pm Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Mar 23 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
This class is for all fitness levels and anyone who is looking to have fun dancing to a variety of music styles from hip hop to swing to salsa, all while EXERCISING! This class will[...]
Mar
28
Sun
2:00 pm Pictures with the Easter Bunny @ Warren County Community Center
Pictures with the Easter Bunny @ Warren County Community Center
Mar 28 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Pictures with the Easter Bunny @ Warren County Community Center
Come join the staff of Warren County Parks and Recreation and get your picture taken with the Easter Bunny! Pictures will be taken and printed on site; upon departure you will be given an Easter[...]
Mar
30
Tue
6:30 pm Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Mar 30 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
This class is for all fitness levels and anyone who is looking to have fun dancing to a variety of music styles from hip hop to swing to salsa, all while EXERCISING! This class will[...]
Apr
3
Sat
12:00 pm Egg-stravaganza! @ Sky Meadows State Park
Egg-stravaganza! @ Sky Meadows State Park
Apr 3 @ 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Egg-stravaganza! @ Sky Meadows State Park
Eggs are popping up all over Sky Meadows State Park. Visit our egg-laying free-range chickens by taking our Chicken Walk. Go on an egg-citing Geocache adventure. Kids, use your scavenger hunting skills using clues from[...]
Apr
17
Sat
all-day Shenandoah Epic @ Caroline Furnace
Shenandoah Epic @ Caroline Furnace
Apr 17 all-day
Shenandoah Epic @ Caroline Furnace
This tried and true Epic 24-hour AR will test your biking, paddling, trekking, and navigation skills as you explore two state parks (one of them brand new!) and national forest lands. Join soloists and teams[...]