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Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in Vienna. You can follow Laura on Instagram at @LauraSchwartzRealtor or her Facebook page. Laura can be reached at 703-283-6120 or Laura@GuidingYourMove.com.

Tomorrow is National Taco Day, on Taco Tuesday no less! You know I love talking about food places, so indulge me on this one!

Plus who doesn’t need an excuse to eat tacos?

Here are some local favorites to try:

  • Taco Bamba — Who will donate $1 for every taco sold to Smile on the World, up to $1,200/store
  • Mama Tigre — They also have great vegetarian options like the Cheese Tikka Tacos
  • Anita’s
  • Tippy’s Taco House
  • District Taco
  • Rango’s Tex-Mex
  • Bartaco
  • La Campesina — Tex-Mex and Salvadorean Food

Some of the larger chains are also running promos tomorrow if you like them:

  • California Tortilla — Every purchase on October 4th gets you a coupon for a free taco during a visit from October 5-11
  • Taco Bell — If you sign up to be a rewards member, you can get a Taco Lover’s Pass for $10 via their app. The subscription allows you to get 1 of 7 tacos every single day for the next 30 days.
  • Chevy’s — $3 per taco for build your own taco bar (this runs every Tuesday!)
  • Rosa Mexicano — Will have half price tacos all day for every Tuesday in October
National Taco Day
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Live Fairfax is a bi-weekly column exploring Fairfax County. This recurring column is sponsored and written by Sharmane Medaris of McEnearney Associates. Questions? Reach Sharmane at 813-504-4479.

It’s that time of the year to pull out your favorite pair of boots and adventure outdoors to make those fall memories. In this video, I will be showing you around one of our family’s favorites, Cox Farms.

If you have visited Cox Farms and are ready to add a few others to your list. Here are some of our additional favorites, and check out our recent post here for more details.

Pumpkin Patches with Fall Festival fun included:

Cox Farms — From famous hayrides to corny Corundum, giant slides and Field of Fear, there is something fun for all ages.

Great Country Farms — Pick your own pumpkins and apples or get lost in a corn maze while you savor their famous cider donuts. If you’re up for real excitement, shoot pumpkins from a cannon, feed P-Rex, the pumpkin munchin’ dinosaur, or pick the winning pig in the annual running of the swine at The ‘Oinkin’tucky Derby Pig Races.

Reston Farm Market — Loads of fun, games, activities, pumpkins and so much more.

Leesburg Animal Farm — Pumpkin Village Fall Fest is packed with fun family activities from giant hill slides, moon bounces wagon ride, petting zoo and so much more.

Maybe a Fall Festival isn’t your thing. There are also local pumpkin patches that will still guarantee some fall fun and yumminess on a smaller scale:

Whatever you decide, I hope you get out there and have some fall fun!

Best,
Sharmane

Explore Fairfax with Sharmane Medaris of McEnearney.

Sharmane Medaris | Live Fairfax | www.soldbysharmane.com | Sharmane@mcenearney.com | @soldbysharmane | 813-504-4479 | 374 Maple Avenue Suite 202, Vienna, VA 22180

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Rehab 2 Perform

Your new physical therapy and sports rehab experts in Tysons Corner.

Rehab 2 Perform is bringing their fitness focused physical therapy company to Tysons Corner!

R2P serves the community with a modern approach to Physical Therapy and Sports Rehab. Providing a personalize plan of care with 1-on-1 sessions, Rehab 2 Perform sees an array of clients ages 8 to 88 ranging from the active adult, competitive athlete, and those just looking to be more active.

The new location, just off 495 and Leesburg Pike, features an open concept that feels more like a gym and an athletic training room rather than a medical office, and provides an amazing atmosphere that is engaging and welcoming.

Whether it is the daily aches and pains, or a major injury from overtraining or playing sports, their experienced staff focuses more on movement, providing the education to reduce the risk of re-injury, and empowering you to lead a healthier and active lifestyle.

Check out what Rehab 2 Perform has to offer and how they can get you back in the gym, on the field of play, or just chasing the children in the backyard pain free! Accepting all major insurances, including Tricare, R2P will have you Ready 2 Perform for Life.

Learn more at Rehab2Perform.com, or Schedule a FREE Injury Consult Here. And check out their Free Guides & Resources to help you Perform Now!

Research shows that practicing savoring positive experiences can improve your life satisfaction, resilience, and overall happiness.

This biweekly column is sponsored by The Mather in Tysons, Virginia, a forward-thinking Life Plan Community for those 62 and better.

When you’re having a good day, or even a good moment, do you savor it?

If so, you are actively boosting your overall happiness and even your health. Savoring is defined as the ability to notice positive experiences and engage in thoughts and behaviors that enhance your enjoyment of the experience.

“We don’t always take the time to notice good things that are happening in our lives. Savoring is a way to make the most of positive experiences,” says Jennifer Smith, PhD, director of research at Mather Institute, an award-winning resource for research and information about wellness, aging and trends in senior living. The Institute is the research arm of Mather, the organization that is bringing The Mather, a forward-thinking Life Plan Community for those 62 and better, to Tysons, Virginia.

Dr. Smith has conducted several studies on savoring, and one involved surveying 267 older adults to measure their savoring, life satisfaction and self-reported health. “We found that the relationship between self-reported health and satisfaction with life was different for people with high and low savoring abilities,” she says.

“When savoring ability was low, people reported lower life satisfaction when their health was poor. However, those with a high ability to savor reported significantly greater satisfaction with life — even when they were in poor health. This suggests that the ability to savor positive experiences can help people respond more resiliently to health challenges.”

The good news is that you can practice savoring and strengthen your ability to pay attention to positive experiences, appreciate enjoyable or meaningful experiences and build positive feelings. Savoring does not necessarily have to occur during an event — it can occur when you anticipate an upcoming positive event or imagine a future happiness. Savoring can also take place when you reminisce about a past positive event, or when you recall how you felt during a happy experience.

Dr. Smith’s research showed that older adults who practiced simple five-minute savoring exercises twice a day for six or seven days reported higher resilience, greater happiness and lower depression compared to those who didn’t fully complete the exercise. There were three steps to the savoring exercise:

1. Think about a positive experience
2. Pay attention to positive feelings that arise
3. Take a moment to appreciate the experience

Find Your Happy Place

Residents of Life Plan Communities may not have to work as hard at savoring exercises: research shows that they have higher levels of happiness and life satisfaction than other people. The findings, based on surveys of 4,100+ residents in 122 Life Plan Communities around the US, are from the Age Well Study conducted by Mather Institute.

Released in 2021, the Age Well Study findings include:

  • Those who are satisfied with their daily life and leisure activities report greater overall happiness.
  • The personality traits of extroversion and agreeableness are both linked to greater happiness and life satisfaction.
  • People are happier and more satisfied when they have a greater sense of community belonging.
  • Approximately 92% of respondents were highly satisfied with the place where they live.

The Mather, projected to open in Tysons, VA, in 2024 for those 62 and better, is a forward-thinking Life Plan Community that defies expectations of what senior living is supposed to be.

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Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in Vienna. You can follow Laura on Instagram at @LauraSchwartzRealtor or her Facebook page. Laura can be reached at 703-283-6120 or Laura@GuidingYourMove.com.

Can you believe we’re approaching the last 100 days of 2022?

October 1 marks 100 days to go. Did you have goals for 2022 that you still haven’t achieved? I certainly do. Let’s do this together. Let me help you reach those goals, whether they’re investing in real estate, dropping weight, saving money, or being a better parent.

One of the awesome things about my job is that I know so many people in different industries and I love connecting them together to create mutually beneficial relationships. Here’s an example of some people that you should know… and if you’re looking for someone specific, please don’t hesitate to email me and ask. I don’t mind at ALL. This information sitting in my head doesn’t help anyone.

If you’re looking to get your finances in order

Call ReFrame Wealth. A fee-only, fiduciary financial planning firm in Fairfax, which is Women Owned, Vienna Mom Owned.

If you’re looking to be a better parent (this means so many different things to different people)

Listen to Rachel Bailey’s podcast or join her coaching club.

If you’re looking to make more mom friends

Join Vienna Moms. Playgroups are back! Mom’s night outs, social events, etc.

If you’re looking to figure out that long perplexing health problem

Reach out to Whole Body Health Chiropractic (soon to open in Vienna!). When you’re tired of doctors only treating the symptom, Dr David Gustitus digs deeper.

If you’re looking to invest in real estate

Me, obviously. I can help identify your long term goals with real estate investing and we can talk about what might work best for you.

If you’re looking to lose weight

This is a multi faceted approach. You can join a local gym (F45, Orange Theory, Pure Barre, Equinox, Evolution Health, CrossFit) or you can search medical care with a therapist, nutritionist, or other doctor. Figure out what you think might be your best approach — mental, physical, or internal.

What goals can I help you with this year?

Photo via Alexa Williams/Unsplash
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Get ready to dance at Reston Station on Sunday, October 9 at the first-ever Silent Dance Party!

Reston Community Center and Comstock at Reston Station are partnering to create a dance party like you’ve never heard before — in fact, only each individual dancer will be hearing the music.

Here’s how it works: DJs will spin music that you alone can hear through a headset. The community voted via Facebook in August on the genres of music — from Latin to Hip-Hop, to music from the 1960s to today.

The party will feature the top three styles that voters chose. Dancers can change from one style to another — only they will know what’s on their own personal playlist. To dance, please bring a driver’s license to exchange for the headset.

“It’s hard to say what will be more fun — dancing to music you’ve selected or watching people dance to their music without hearing a sound,” said RCC Executive Director Leila Gordon. “Comstock is excited to host this unique event at the Reston Metro Plaza. It’s fun to try something new and exciting in Reston,” noted Tracy Schar, Comstock’s SVP of Marketing.

The party runs from 5-8 p.m. on October 9 at Reston Metro Plaza (atop the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station).

Admission is free. The party will also feature family-friendly activities for all ages, so bring the kids for this special event.

This sponsored column is written by the team at Arrowine & Cheese (4508 Cherry Hill Road in Arlington). Sign up for the email newsletter and receive exclusive discounts and offers. Experience Arrowine’s Tastings & Events. Have a question? Email thenose@arrowine.com.

Hello again! So, many of you participated in our cleaning the glass experiment? Shocking, isn’t it?

Now you are on your way to better-tasting, terrior-driven wine. And what do I mean by that?

Well, it’s a little complicated, but I do my best. The only reason to drink wine is for pleasure, period! And that means more than just “it tastes good.” A well-made wine is a companion, a friend, sometimes an antagonist, but always a good conversationalist. So it must speak eloquently of its birthplace. When tasting it, I need to recognize the lineage, that exact spot on the globe.

Unlike our ancestors, drinking wine today is an option, not a necessity. We don’t need wine anymore to survive. Fresh water is abundant, so wine is now optional. We don’t drink wine to live. Instead, we drink fermented beverages because they enhance our culinary experiences and please us.

What gets to me is no one talks about wines’ dirty little secrets. Sometimes, I feel like Frank Serpico; I just dated myself, but I love classic movies, so who cares? It’s a good analogy. When did speaking the truth become a liability? We are talking about wine, not national security. I don’t tolerate lazy, sloppy, or greedy winemakers. If you care, you are vigilant and proactive. We deserve a clean wine that speaks to us.

Today’s wines are cleaner and fresher than we drank forty years ago. And they should be. When you embrace science, you preserve terroir, which means uniqueness. Modern science allows a bottle of wine to reflect the exact spot it came from. So a well-made wine speaks to and talks to you like you have been there.

If a wine doesn’t smell and taste like fermented pure grape juice, meaning “grapey,” you have a problem! Wine is NOT supposed to smell like leather, mushrooms, wet-basement, barnyard, burnt tire, green pepper, bandaid, cloves, nail polish, green peppers, or dirt! But, if it does run, I will expand on the causes of faults in a future column.

There are tricks of the trade that remain “trade secrets,” and that’s a problem. For example, did you know your California Cabernet, Chardonnay, or Zinfandel can be technically sweet? The question I’m most frequently asked is, is it “dry?” Well, that depends, and it’s not as simple a question as you think.

Table wine should be dry unless the cuisine has a note of sweetness, which I’m sad to say is far too prevalent today. A winemaker can leave unfermented sugar in the wine to make it easier to drink — think Kendall Jackson Chardonnay, it was deliberately bottled with a slight but perceptible amount of residual sugar to make it appealing to the masses.

Classic European cooking has little, if any, sweetness. Therefore a dry wine is needed. A New World wine is in order if there is any hint of sweetness. Wines from the New World tend to be higher in alcohol from all the sun. Thus energy the vines receive. In the New World, we plant for “commercial” reasons and ensure success, so we grow grapes where we know they will ripen. If not, over-ripen.

Our ancestors weren’t so lucky. So they planted where they stood and had to figure the rest out. Unless you had well water, you couldn’t be sure the water floating downhill was pure enough to drink. Fermented beverages were necessary for survival, lucky us.

Cheers,
Doug

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This is a sponsored column by attorneys John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm located in Northern Virginia that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement and private sector employee matters.

By Kimberly H. Berry, Esq.

Early retirement is a consideration for many federal employees.

Federal agencies that are undergoing major organizational changes such as reorganization, reduction in force (RIF), reshaping, or downsizing can be given the option to offer federal employees voluntary early retirement based on the Voluntary Early Retirement Authority (VERA). The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) provides guidance on VERA here. VERA is the legal authority given to specific federal agencies so that they may offer early retirement options to employees.

VERA authority can provide a federal employee an opportunity to retire early with better financial options. In addition to VERA, federal agencies may also be given Voluntary Separation Incentive Payments (VSIP), which can range up to $25,000. OPM has published guidance on VSIP payments here.

VERA and VSIP were designed to assist agencies that need to implement organizational changes while also making it possible for federal employees to receive an immediate annuity payment years before they would normally be eligible. The voluntary early retirement provisions are the same under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS).

Federal Employee Requirements for Early Retirement for FERS and CSRS

In order to generally be eligible to retire under VERA, a federal employee must usually meet the following types of requirements:

  • The VERA minimum age and service requirements set by statutes in the U.S. Code for CSRS and FERS employees (i.e., the employee has completed at least 20 years of creditable service and is at least 50 years of age or has completed at least 25 years of creditable service regardless of age)
  • Continuous employment by a federal agency for at least 31 days prior to the date that the agency initially requested the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) approval of VERA
  • The federal employee may not have received a final removal decision based upon misconduct or unacceptable performance
  • The federal employee must hold a position covered by the agency’s VERA authority or program
  • The federal employee must exercise their option under the VERA option during the agency’s VERA acceptance period

Other requirements can apply, but these are the major ones. It is very important for federal employees considering a VERA/VSIP offer to seek the advice of an attorney regarding their retirement issues prior to initiating the VERA process.

Our law firm represents federal employees that are considering early retirement and other federal retirement matters. Sometimes VERA or VSIP considerations can come up during settlement discussions involving a proposed removal or removal action. Our website has additional information on retirement options.

Contact Us

If you are in need of federal employee retirement law representation or guidance regarding VERA (early retirement) or VSIP (early retirement incentives), please contact our office at 703-668-0070 or through our contact page to schedule a consultation.

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Live Fairfax: Fall Festivals are here

Live Fairfax is a bi-weekly column exploring Fairfax County. This recurring column is sponsored and written by Sharmane Medaris of McEnearney Associates. Questions? Reach Sharmane at 813-504-4479.

The fun only picks up as summer turns to fall in our area. Maybe you are new to the area or just need some fresh ideas of how to fully experience fall in Fairfax County and the surrounding areas!

As a Florida girl, I still marvel at the fall foliage at the numerous parks and trails, and I love running as the weather cools down. (Check out my previous trail video!)

And fall festivals are definitely one-stop opportunities to honestly embrace all things FALL. If you are like me with 3 kids in tow, I am all about efficiency in creating memories. Here are few of our favorites!

Photo via Cox Farms
  • Cox Farm Fall Festival: September 17-November 7
    Cox Farms has hayrides, the corny Cornundrum mazes, giant slides, pumpkin smashing and of course yummy apple cider doughnuts — there is something for every age!
  • 46th Annual Falls Church Fall Festival: September 17
    This family-fun event features The Taste of Falls Church, a beer garden, live music, children’s entertainment, and booths from local crafters, businesses and civic organizations.
  • Oktoberfest at The Boro: September 17
    Enjoy a Polka concert, playing games in Boro Park, and crafts there is something fun for all ages.
  • Reston Farm Garden Festival: September 24-October 30
    This Reston tradition will guarantee a day of games, activities, pumpkins and more.

  • Mosaic Fall Festival: September 24-25
    Live entertainment, FRESHFARM Farmers Market, URBNmarket, Caboose Brewing Beer Garden, Wine Garden and so much more. NOVA Fall Music Festival is September 24.
  • Vienna Oktoberfest: October 1
    A day full of fun with a Beer/Wine Garden, food court, live music (including a German band), free children’s activities, children’s entertainment stage, acoustic stage and a festival marketplace
  • City of Fairfax Fall Festival: October 8
    City of Fairfax Fall Festival will have more than 400 arts, crafts, information, food and gourmet food vendors, children’s activities and three stages of music and entertainment for all ages.
  • Clifton Day Festival: October 9
    Marketplace with around 150 artisans, antique dealers, vintage sellers and other vendors. Live music, children’s activities, pony rides, a beer and wine garden, and other delicious food and beverage choices add to the fun.

Explore Fairfax with Sharmane Medaris of McEnearney.

Sharmane Medaris | Live Fairfax | www.soldbysharmane.com | Sharmane@mcenearney.com | @soldbysharmane | 813-504-4479 | 374 Maple Avenue Suite 202, Vienna, VA 22180

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Despite the economic uncertainty of 2022, FFXnow’s advertisers have helped us continue to report on your community.

We wanted to take a moment to thank those that have advertised with us so far this year, as of Sept. 1. This list includes a diverse range of businesses, nonprofits and governmental entities, some of whom have been long-term clients since our days of publishing only on Reston Now and Tysons Reporter.

To the long-term and new advertisers alike, we say: thank you for supporting local news in Fairfax County.

To readers: these sponsors make our local journalism possible, without paywalls, popups or other impediments. Please consider supporting them.

FFXnow’s 2022 advertisers include:

(The list above does not include those that have advertised through our new Community Content Hub.)

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