@livemore Commute less & imagine life with more time to live
Reduce Holiday Stress
Winter Driving Tips
What To Know Before You Go
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what’s on for the holidays
holiday facts and realities
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The holiday season is a joyous time to spend with family and friends, but it can also be a stressful time, balancing the demands of family, festivities, shopping, holiday parties, and work. In this edition of @livemore we hope to provide you with some tips and information that will assist you in “navigating” the holiday season to make this year’s winter festivities just a tad bit more enjoyable, and certainly less stressful. First, JiJi Russell has laid out some great tips that will help you decompress while you enjoy the holiday season. Her insights into how to reduce your stress and tips for making you relax a bit more should help provide the baseline you need to slow down and enjoy the season.
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We are also including a lot of information that should assist you in navigating your travel during the upcoming months. AAA has put together a splendid set of reminders and tips to help you make your winter travels safe and enjoyable. And how could we overlook one of the most enjoyable elements of the holidays – food! We have included some great, healthy food-centered tips to get you through the season without coming out of it a few pounds heavier. So, from the @livemore family, we wish you the best of the holiday season and look forward to seeing and hearing from all of you in 2016 where we will continue to Live More and Commute Less!
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before things get Crazy: stress management advice for the holidays bY JiJi russell
As the holiday season picks up momentum, many people find that stress has a tendency to creep in (or blast through the door), revealing an underbelly to the “season of joy.” Consider the landscape of copious social interactions; abundant beverages and food (much of it unhealthy); hyper-active shopping; and keeping pace with an unusually packed calendar. The more-of-everything norm that often characterizes this time of year can cause a hyper-stimulated state, amounting to an affront to your nervous system. Overstimulation certainly can amplify stress.
intensity rising If you jump right into the holiday season with a fasterbetter-more mentality, you might be setting yourself up for elevated stress levels. When our bodies perceive stress, our nervous system triggers the “fight or flight”
response. This “signals a cascade of events to help us survive a life-threatening situation,” says Geo Derick Giordano, MSc, a registered medical herbalist. Our heartrate and blood pressure rise; our blood vessels constrict; and we become hyper alert,” says Giordano, who teaches workshops and coaches individuals on dealing with stress naturally. Ok, so maybe we’re a little amped up. Any harm in that? According to Giordano, yes, because in this state, “Our adrenal glands produce adrenaline, norepinephrine, cortisol and aldosterone, all of which allow us to respond to emergencies swiftly, to maintain homeostasis of our critical body functions, and to perform in a crisis. In small doses it is good and necessary as a survival tool and learning mechanism. In continual excess, it can be damaging, causing chronic and acute
health issues ranging from heart disease to cancer.”
Consider this The decibel level of parties, musical events, and kid-related activities; the visual stimuli that we take in when we shop or attend social events; the pressure to entertain; socialize; or eat party foods — it can all add up quickly. If you’re overwhelmed just from reading this, take heart. There is good news: A little awareness and change of habit might create more meaning and eliminate the need to clean up the mess (you!) in the wake of the holiday season. Here are some ideas to consider before saying “yes to everything.” Give yourself permission to say no. Ask yourself if a proposed party or event will provide both strength (cohesion with your colleagues, for example) and
levity. Ideally, it should be both fun and meaningful. It should build you up rather than break you down. If you think it will drain you, opt out. Limit the to and fro.
Choose to shop locally, in your own town or nearby, where you can walk outdoors from store to store. Fill in the gaps with online purchases. Forget the shopping malls. They can be highly overstimulating
home ride – a great option for Your College student Home Ride is a bus service that provides economical solutions to your student’s transportation options in returning home for the holidays. The service also decreases the number of single occupant vehicles on our highways during this high peak period, and helps the environment. Home Ride provides weekend and holiday bus service from Radford University, Virginia Tech, James Madison University, and the University of Virginia to Northern Virginia, Richmond, Hampton, Harrisonburg, and Charlottesville. For more information on departure and pick up locations, schedules and tickets, visit the Home Rides website at www.homeride.com or call 800- 553-6644.
for the eyes, ears, nose (that perfume lady will get you!), all the while challenging you to be meek and mild as someone steals your parking space.
Ask for collaboration. If you are planning an event; helping out with your child’s event at school; hosting a meal, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If everyone brings a dish, for example, no one person gets stuck in the kitchen. If everyone hangs one snowflake, your arms won’t be as tired as if you had hung 20.
Take a time-out for you. While a “spa day” might have to wait until January, think of creating a habit of re-sets where you physically turn off external stimulation and take a few deep breaths. If you are inclined to stretch or practice a contemplative movement like yoga or tai chi, then make your practice a habit as well. As for two minutes of only breathing, though, you might be surprised by the benefits it can bestow.
steady on While party foods tend to harbor excessive sugar, salt, and heavy ingredients
three more tips for staving off stress Consider giving up or reducing “C.a.t.s.” which are known to cause fluctuations in energy and mood. C=caffeine a=alcohol t=tobacco s=sugar
make a goal of seven to nine hours of sleep a night. sleep is a necessary event for emotional health and for keeping stress hormones at bay.
make a cut-off time for all electronic communications, and stick to it! bringing your attention inward helps with resiliency; while constant communication with others interrupts attention on yourself.
like butter, which are better in smaller amounts, healthy eating during the holidays can provide a source of strength and resilience. Giordano suggests that “maintaining good blood sugar regulation by eating a breakfast with protein, good fats, and plenty of fruits and vegetables goes a long way to stabilizing our stress response.” Fuel up properly before the long, busy days. Giordano also says using adaptogenic herbs like “ginsengs, rehmannia, holy basil, schisandra, ashwaganda, and licorice root help modulate our internal stress response and strengthen our adrenal glands.” These can be found in teas; tinctures; and even edible powders or capsules. When the party cocktails flow, and the tendency to become ever more mirthful emerges, do yourself a favor and drink a glass of water or seltzer after each alcoholic beverage. Perhaps this will slow your consumption, and also keep you better hydrated. This holiday season, choose your activities and involvements consciously and judiciously. Set yourself up to mitigate stress and cultivate the energy and attentiveness so that you can enjoy the people and events that truly make for joyful moments. JiJi Russell is a corporate wellness coordinator and a yoga instructor, specializing in stress management.
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holiday feasts – sumptuous options that won’t break the belt bY andrew witham
The holidays represent a time of getting together with family and friends and, more often than not, having big meals stacked with appetizers, drinks, and dessert. Tell me you don’t go into the holiday season thinking – I’m going to have to hit the gym in January! Historically, the holidays are about good comfort food and visiting with family – the beginning of cold weather and a lot of holiday time off usually means big meals and extra calories. It doesn’t have to be that way! A few great recipe ideas demonstrate that you can eat great meals over the holidays without fearing that you will be “Jabba the Hutt” come January. Here are a few nice options for your pleasure this holiday season.
While turkey represents a fairly low fat staple during the holidays, there are some even better options for main dishes if you want to broaden your horizons and not your waistline. Eggplant, and other root vegetables, offer hearty alternatives that can be prepared in many different ways and are nutritious and filling. The recipe below will add an “Italian” flavor to your table and is a great alternative to the ham, roast, or turkey staples that typically adorn holiday tables.
Zucchini eggplant lasagna ingredients 1 large eggplant, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
2 teaspoons olive oil 3/4 cup chopped onion (about 1 medium onion) 3 garlic cloves, chopped 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes 1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped 1 cup (8 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese Cooking spray 1 (8-ounce) package precooked lasagna noodles 2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices 2 1/2 cups (10 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Preparation 1. Preheat oven to 350°. 2. Arrange eggplant slices in a single layer on several layers of paper towels. Sprinkle evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt; let stand 15 minutes. 3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic to pan; sauté 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, oregano, red pepper, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 4. Combine basil, ricotta, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a small bowl. Spread 1/2 cup tomato mixture into the bottom of a 13 x 9–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 4 noodles over tomato mixture; top with half of eggplant and half of zucchini. Spread ricotta mixture over vegetables; cover
with 4 noodles. Spread 1 cup tomato mixture over noodles; layer with remaining eggplant and zucchini slices. Arrange remaining 4 noodles over vegetables, and spread remaining tomato mixture over noodles. Top evenly with mozzarella. Cover with foil coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 25 minutes or until browned. Cool for 5 minutes.
sides farro – a wheat-based grain (not gluten free) can serve as a great substitute to those bread heavy stuffings that are typically served during the holidays. This particular recipe includes colorful butternut
squash, red onions, carrots and almonds. A true winner on any holiday dinner table.
ingredients 4 cups unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson) 2 cups uncooked farro 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 cups diced peeled butternut squash 1 cup chopped red onion 1 cup thinly sliced carrot 3/4 cup thinly sliced celery 3/4 cup almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped 3/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preparation 1. Bring stock and farro to a boil in a large saucepan; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes or until farro is al dente. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving cooking liquid. 2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add squash, onion, carrot, and celery; sauté 5 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup reserved cooking liquid. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook 7 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir squash mixture into farro mixture. Stir in almonds, parsley, thyme, sage, salt, and pepper. Spoon into an 11 x 7-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve. Stir in additional reserved cooking liquid as needed just before serving.
Cauliflower-instead of Potatoes
Cauliflower offers a great substitute to potatoes and can be prepared in many different ways – including mixing half and half with potatoes to make mashers that are far less carbohydrate/calorie intensive. This particular recipe – Gratin of Cauliflower with Gruyère - bursts with nice flavor.
ingredients 1 medium head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets (about 2 pounds) Cooking spray 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
2 teaspoons butter 1/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese, divided 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives 1/2 cup finely chopped onion 1 garlic clove, minced 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preparation 1. Preheat oven to 400°. 2. Place cauliflower in a 2-quart broiler-safe baking dish lightly coated with cooking spray; coat cauliflower with cooking spray. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt; toss. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes or until almost tender. Cool 5 minutes. 3. Preheat broiler. 4. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat. Stir in panko. Stir in 1/4 cup cheese and chives. 5. Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until almost tender, stirring frequently. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk; bring to a boil. Cook 3 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 1/4 cup cheese, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, parsley, and
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pepper. Pour milk mixture over cauliflower mixture; toss. Top evenly with cheese mixture. Broil 3 minutes or until golden brown and thoroughly heated.
The simplicity of this option is awesome. Fresh fruit (which is available year round now in almost every grocery store) brings color and a lightness to the end of a holiday meal. Add in some fresh yogurt, and you have a rich, healthy dessert alternative.
fresh fruit Yogurt Parfait ingredients 1/3 cup honey (original recipe specified 3/4 cup!) 3 cups plain yogurt 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 2 cups fresh fruit (strawberries, blueberries, peaches, cherries, etc.)
3/4 cup granola cereal (I suggest Granola)
Preparation Slightly soften the honey in the microwave so that it is easier to stir. Cool. In a bowl, combine the softened honey with the plain yogurt and vanilla extract. Using parfait glasses, layer the honey mixture alternately with the fruit and granola, ending with granola on top. Refrigerate until ready to serve. These are just a small selection of many healthy options that you can bring to the table during the holiday season. Look up some alternatives – you don’t have to end the holiday season feeling like a stuffed turkey!! Andrew Witham is a cook who recently moved back to Northern Virginia after operating a food truck in Arizona for 15 years. He currently is employed at Bernie’s Delicatessen and Gourmet Market in the City of Fairfax.
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AAA Mid-Atlantic Offers Recommendations For Cold Temperatures And Driving In Snow And Ice Harsh winter weather gives our vehicles a beating whether it’s a dead battery, a blown tire or frozen car lock. Drivers should prepare their vehicles prior to each winter season for use in ice and snow and brush up on how to drive in ice and snow. Emergency road service calls to AAA, especially for dead batteries and lockouts, always rise sharply when temperatures plummet. Between December 2014 and March 2015, AAA Mid-Atlantic rescued over 750,000 motorists across Washington, D.C., Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Thirty-nine percent of vehicles required a tow, 29% involved a battery issue and 16% involved a tirerelated issue.
Prepare your Vehicle for the Very Cold Weather.
When temperatures are predicted to fall below freezing, motorists need to make sure they have adequate levels of antifreeze, a strong battery, and de-icing solution for windows and locks. Vehicles should also have allweather or winter radial tires with excellent tread. Battery damage is cumulative, so while a weak battery may start on one below-freezing day, it may not during a string of them.
Emergency Road Kit.
AAA Mid-Atlantic urges motorists to keep a winter weather kit in their car. Kits should include a blanket, ice scraper, flares/reflective triangles, flashlight with batteries, jumper cables, bag of abrasive material such as
cat litter, shovel, cloth/paper towels, and a fully charged cell phone. Check tires, wiper blades and car batteries before hitting the road.
De-Icing A Car. Keep an extra ice scraper in your home should your ice scraper become frozen in the vehicle overnight. Deicing fluid should also be kept indoors should your door locks become frozen. Remove snow and ice from your car before leaving home to improve visibility and to make your car lighter and more responsive.
When To Drive. If conditions are icy, motorists should stay off the roads until road crews have treated the roads for ice, and then not until conditions are favorable for driving. Nearly
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one-quarter of weather related vehicle crashes occur on snowy, slushy or icy pavement, resulting in more than 1,300 deaths and 116,800 people injured annually, according to the Federal Highway Administration.
Do Not Use Cruise Control and Avoid Tailgating.
Normal following distances of three to four seconds for dry pavement should be increased to eight to 10 seconds when driving on icy surfaces. This extra time provides for extra braking distance should a sudden stop become necessary. Stay in the clearest lane; avoid changing lanes and driving over builtup snow. Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface.
Know When to Brake and When to Steer.
Some driving situations require abrupt action to avoid a crash or collision; in winter conditions the decision to steer or brake can have very different outcomes. When traveling over 25 MPH, AAA recommends steering over braking to avoid a collision in wintry conditions, as less distance is required to steer around an object than to brake to a stop. In slick conditions, sudden braking can lead to loss of vehicle control.
However, sometimes steering is not an option. Braking on slippery surfaces requires you to look further ahead and increased following and stopping distances. Plan stopping
distances as early as possible and always look 20-30 seconds ahead of your vehicle to ensure you have time and space to stop safely. Shaded spots, bridges, overpasses and intersections are areas where ice is likely to form first and will be the most slippery. It is important to adjust your braking habits as road conditions change.
Stay in Control Through a Skid.
Even careful drivers can experience skids. When a vehicle begins to skid, it’s important to not panic. Continue to look and steer in the direction the car needs to go. Avoid slamming on the brakes as this will further upset the vehicle’s balance and make it harder to control.
Drive Distraction Free.
Drive distraction-free and in the right frame of mind. Looking away from the road for just two seconds doubles your risk of being in a crash, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Enlist your passengers to help to carry out activities that would otherwise distract you from driving safely.
Holiday Festivities for the Family
What’s On Around Dulles
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November 18 Bull Run Festival of Lights
Wednesday, November 18– Sunday, January 3; Monday – Thursday: 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays – Sunday & holidays*: 5:30p.m. to 10 p.m. *(Holidays include Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve and New Years. Bull Run Regional Park Nov. 18 through Jan. 3. The Bull Run Festival of Lights is a NoVA favorite. Hop in the car and enjoy a very merry light and music show. Be advised: Fridays are one of the festival’s busiest days, so be prepared. Still, it’s one of the best days to go, as the carnival will be open until late! Bull Run Regional Park, 7700 Bull Run Drive, Centreville; 703-359-4633; Day) nvrpa.org/park/bull_ run_festival_of_lights; Prices vary.
27 Reston Holiday
Parade, Tree Lighting, and Sing Along
Friday, November 27; 11:00 AM–10:00 PM; Reston Town Center
Reston Town Center launches the festive season at the 25th annual Reston Holiday Parade at 11:00 a.m. with Macy’s-style balloons, musicians, dancers, antique cars, characters, community groups, dignitaries, special guest emcees, and much more. The one-of-a-kind, one-hour, half-mile parade along Market Street also welcomes the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus in a horse-drawn carriage. Since 1991, rain or shine, the parade has been an annual tradition on the day after Thanksgiving. Celebrating “Home Sweet Home,” this year’s parade will honor the 25th anniversary of Reston Town Center, the meaning of home, and everything else that’s sweet. Before the parade begins, thousands of jingle bells will be handed out to spectators lining the route. After the parade, enjoy visits and photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus plus MiniTrain rides until 4:30 p.m. and street entertainment. The Clauses will return for the Fountain Square Tree Lighting and Sing Along at 6 p.m. Afterwards, there’ll be horse-drawn carriage rides on Market Street from 6:30 until 10 p.m. Proceeds from
the photos and rides benefit local charities. The acclaimed Ice Skating Pavilion is open all day and every day from November until March. Phone: 703-579-6720
Christmas at Mount Vernon
Friday, November 27 – Wednesday, January 6; 9:00 AM–4:00 PM; George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens Mount Vernon has decked the halls for the holiday season and invites you to celebrate this festive time of year with a special daytime program offered through January 6! Visit George Washington’s estate and see Aladdin the camel on the grounds, in honor of the camel that Washington paid to visit Mount Vernon in 1787. Stroll through the estate during the Christmas season and see sparkling holiday decorations, featuring 12 dazzling Christmas trees, and historical chocolate-making demonstrations. Experience Christmas how the Washington’s would have celebrated it on a tour of the Mansion. Go behind-the-scenes and
tour the rarely-open third floor of the Mansion. 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy, Mount Vernon, VA 22309. Phone: 703-780-2000; Admission Fee: $17/adults; $8 child. www.mtvernon.org
December 4 Christmas in Middleburg
Friday, December 4 – Sunday, December 6; 11:00 AM Friday–4:00 PM Sunday; Downtown Starting at 11 a.m. the Middleburg Hunt takes to the streets creating a spectacular sight as approximately 100 horses, riders in red coats and dozens of hounds come through the town. The Middleburg Christmas Parade begins at 2 p.m. as spectators line the sidewalks along Washington Street (Route 50) to watch as a unique assortment of floats, troops and bands march by in a mile-long parade. In keeping with the animal friendliness of the town, the parade includes over 700 horses, llamas, alpacas and dogs. Not to be missed are the antique fire trucks, children on floats, and of course,
Santa brings up the rear riding on a beautiful horse drawn coach. Through the day there are hayrides, choir performances, the Garden Club’s Christmas Flower & Greens Show and the Craft Show as well as shopping and dining in the town’s shops and restaurants, creating a day-long family festival for visitors. A Wine Crawl is the final element, allowing adults to wind down and relax while sampling wines from area vineyards, and foods in local restaurants. Phone: 540-687-8888. www. christmasinmiddleburg.org
4 Merry Old Town: Manassas Christmas Tree Lighting
Friday, December 4; 5:30 PM–8:00 PM; Manassas Museum Lawn Make time to enjoy oldfashioned family fun at the “Merry Old Town” celebration in Old Town Manassas! The holiday fun begins at 5:30 p.m. with holiday music and at 6:00 p.m. when Santa arrives at the Manassas Depot via VRE train. The Annual Christmas Tree Lighting will be at
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6:30 p.m. at the Manassas Museum. Take a free hayride around Old Town and go for a skate at the Harris Pavilion ice rink. Of course, Santa will hear the Christmas wishes of all the children at the Harris Pavilion gazebo. 9101 Prince William Street. Free admission.
4 Town of Leesburg Christmas Tree and Menorah Lighting
Friday, December 4th, 6:00 p.m.; Town Green. Join friends and neighbors and celebrate the start of the holiday season in Leesburg at the annual Christmas Tree and Menorah Lighting Ceremony on the Town Green. The festive ceremony will feature performances from local schools and a holiday message. The crowd will be encouraged to join in on a holiday sing-a-long and view the lighting of the Christmas tree and Menorah.
4 National Christmas Tree and State Trees
Friday, December 4, Ellipse in Washington, D.C. On December 4, announcement of the National Christmas tree route, standing and lighting will be announced. The National Christmas Tree will be lit every night through January 1. The Pathway of Peace around the National Christmas Tree is free and open to visitors 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily through January 1. The pathway loops around the National Christmas Tree and features 56 unique Christmas trees and ornament displays representing every U.S. state, territory, and the District of Columbia. Located on the Ellipse on Constitution Avenue side of the White House. Through January 1, 2016.
5 Herndon Annual Tree Lighting and Sing-Along
Saturday, December 5; 5:00 PM–6:00 PM; Town of Herndon Town Square Start the holiday season with this annual celebration. Carols, tree lighting, and a visit from Santa. Corner of Lynn and Elden Streets, Herndon. Sponsored by the Dulles Regional Chamber. 730 Elden Street. Phone: 571323-5301. Free admission.
5 Merry Old Town: 70th Annual Greater Manassas Christmas Parade
Saturday, December 5; 10:00 AM–4:00 PM, Historic Downtown Join us for the 70th Annual Greater Manassas Christmas Parade on December 5, 2015. Please visit www. gmchristmasparade.org for details, including parade route. Free parking for the parade is available in the parking
garage on the corner of Prince William St. and Main St. There is also timed parking available on the street. Handicapped parking is available in the BB&T parking lot located on Center Street and the 7-11 parking lot located at the corner of Grant and Center Street. Free admission. Rain or shine.
5 Holiday Fine Arts and Crafts Show at Ida Lee Recreation Center
December 5th, 9:00 AM4:00 PM and December 6th, 10:00 AM-4:00 PM. No big-box shopping here! This show features over 90 local and regional artisans selling hand-made items including candles, stained glass, carved wood, jewelry, leather products, table linens, and much more. Find something for everyone on your shopping list and a little
something to brighten your home this season. Admission and parking for this show are free.
6 Herndon Holiday Arts and Crafts Show
Sunday, December 6; 10:00am-4:00pm; Herndon Community Center. Over 80 artisans and craftspeople will exhibit and sell their work at this annual arts and crafts show sponsored by the Town of Herndon Department of Parks and Recreation. A variety of handcrafted items and fine art will be on sale including wreaths, quilts, jewelry, Christmas ornaments, decorations, original artwork, photography, stained glass, and more. 814 Ferndale Ave., Herndon, VA. Free admission and parking. Additional parking at the Herndon Centennial Golf Course.
12 Annual Leesburg Christmas and Holiday Parade
Saturday, December 12th 6:00PM
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On the second Saturday of December, the holiday spirit will be in full swing as Leesburg hosts the annual holiday parade starting at 6 p.m. The parade will usher Santa and his friends down King Street, through Historic Leesburg. The parade will begin at Ida Lee Drive and end at Fairfax Street. Parade participation is open to the public, including businesses, civic groups, teams, organizations, and community groups.
Holiday Facts and Realities The holidays –couched by some as “the most wonderful time of the year” -can, in fact, not be so wonderful if you’re totally stressed about travelling and getting gifts or cards to loved ones across the states, or around the world. As such, @ livemore believes that the more information you have, the better you can prepare yourself for the holiday “onslaught.” Below, we give you some facts, figures and important dates that should help you frame your plans for the holidays in a more prepared manner. That said – happy holidays from the @livemore fam!
The number of peeps travelling during this period of time – Turkey Day to the New Year – is the most of any time of year. The concentration of travel varies significantly, with Thanksgiving week being the most clustered, and the weeks between Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year, a bit more spread out. As an associated article points out - PLAN AHEAD – CHECK OFTEN – ADJUST AS NEEDED. So, who is taking a road/air/ train trip this coming holiday season? The numbers from last year (when gas prices were slightly higher than midOctober prices) bear witness to what to expect. Here we go – use these numbers and information to better plan your travel and holiday plans. • 46.3 million Americans expect to take a trip during Thanksgiving Holiday; • 89 percent of travelers (41.3 million) will travel by automobile; • 3.55 million Americans taking to the skies during Thanksgiving Holiday; • The average distance traveled during the 2014 Thanksgiv-
ing Holiday was 549 miles roundtrip - and Americans will spend an average of $573 during the holiday weekend; • Travelers allocated approximately 31 percent of their budgets to fuel transportation. In 2014 that would equate to about $178, so take that into consideration when making transportation choices for the Thanksgiving Holiday. • Today’s (October 15, 2015) national average price of gas is $2.29; last year at this time it was $2.85 per gallon.
The Rest of the Holidays (Turkey Day to New Year’s Day)
This time of year is hectic, to say the least, but travel plans and preparations for the holidays can be planned and anticipated. Here are a few facts and tips to help you be better prepared. • In 2014 AAA projected that 98.6 million people planned to journey 50 miles or more from home, a 4 percent increase over 2013. With the economy stable and gas prices presumably lower, this figure will probably be the same, or higher for 2015.
Every year, the US Postal Service (USPS) plays an integral role in making everyone’s lives more enjoyable during the holiday season. Last year the USPS made a concerted effort to get the word out that “This is our season!” USPS provided a lot of useful information on how many packages they move, and dates for which you should be prepared to ship your cards and gifts. Here is the breakdown and schedule for 2015.
December 20, Priority Mail December 23, Priority Mail Express
Busiest Mailing/ Delivery Days
• 12.7 billion cards, letters and packages will be delivered between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. (Holiday volume between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve for 2013 was 14.7 billion pieces; 2012 was 15.2 billion pieces; and 2011 was 16.5 billion pieces.)
Busiest mailing day for cards, letters and packages: Tuesday, December 15 Busiest delivery day for cards and letters: Thursday, December 17 Busiest delivery day for packages: Friday, December 18
Mail-By Dates for Domestic Mail December 15, Standard Post December 20, First-Class Mail
• The Postal Service is projecting 15.5 billion cards, letters and packages will be delivered from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve. The increase from last year is due to the increase in advertising mail and package volume;
• On average, the Postal Service processes 523 million pieces of mail every day. During the holiday season, that volume increases to 553 million pieces of mail daily. The increase from last year is due to the increase in advertising mail and
• The Postal Service expects to process about 640 million pieces of mail on December 15. The increase from last year is due to the increase in advertising mail and package volume (607 million in 2013; 658 million in 2012). • The Postal Service is projecting 470 million packages will be delivered this holiday season, a 12% increase over last year’s volume of 420 million. (2013 was 420 million packages; a 12% increase over 2012 volume of 383 million.) • About 3 million customers will skip the trip to the Post Office this year and use ClickN-Ship to mail packages — 10 percent more than last year. • Beginning December 3, the National Operations Center will be staffed around the clock, seven days a week, to monitor and coordinate mail transportation nationwide.
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• Most of the travelers, 89.5 million, travelled by car, while 5.7 million went by air, AAA says, based on its annual holiday survey. The rest (3.4 million) went by train. Approximate breakout – 90.7% by car; 5.75% by air; 3.4% by train. • Americans spent an estimated $83 billion on holiday travel in 2014, according to a 2014 survey from Hotwire. $66 billion of this spending came from Christmas alone, and holiday-travel spending as a whole was estimated to be up $11 billion from 2013. Expect similar or higher figures for 2015
USPS Facts & Figures from 2014
package volume (545 million in 2013; 560 million in 2012).
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A Primer on the Dulles Area Transportation Association What does DATA do? Sure, you know DATA tries to save you time and money by encouraging you to leave your single occupant vehicle in the driveway and rideshare, take transit, telework or even bike or walk to work. Very simply, Live More Commute Less®! But in the event you don’t know how DATA tries to accomplish this… the key is events! From transportation fairs and bike rodeos to block parties and community days, DATA has planned or participated in more than a dozen events since the beginning of June, reaching literally thousands of commuters looking for a “better way to work.” Some of DATA’s events particularly those designed to acquaint businesses with the advantages of alternative commuting choices - are seminars on serious topics conducted in a business environment. In June, DATA’s Employer Council convened at the Hilton Washington Dulles Airport Hotel for a presentation on the new Telework!VA initiative, which gives businesses up to $50,000 in state tax credits and free
technical assistance to begin or expand a formal telework program. The Employer Council is a group of human resources professionals, facilities managers, and other executives interested in encouraging smarter employee commuting choices as a means of improving employee satisfaction, improving productivity and ensuring continuity of business while reducing congestion on area roads. DATA cooperated with Sully District Supervisor Michael Frey in mid-summer to present a working lunch – the Supervisor’s Transportation Summit – promoting vanpooling throughout the Westfields International Corporate Center in Fairfax. Joe Stainsby of Virginia’s Vanpool Alliance gave almost 20 property managers and employer contacts the lowdown on why vanpooling is a smart strategy for both individual employers and the business park as a whole. DATA also held a transportation fair at The Aerospace Corporation, participated in the Fairfax County Transportation Expo at the Fairfax County
Try transit...and we’ll give you $50. What a plus! Hop aboard Metro and leave traffic behind. Relax with the paper while the Fairfax Connector whisks you to your destination.
Talk to your Human Resources or Employee Benefits Manager about enrolling your company in the SmartBenefits® Program...there’s no charge! Ask him or her to call the SmartBenefits Sales Team. And before you know it, we’ll deliver your SmartBenefits card loaded with $50 worth of worry free commuting! CALL Your SmartBenefits Team
Ask about the Fairfax Plus50 Incentive Program
Kelly Woodward, Director of Sales and Marketing, of Dulles Area Transportation Association.
Government Center and passed out transportation literature and answered residents’ questions at the recent Reston Association’s Open House. But many of DATA’s activities are better described as “fun events with a message.” To kick off its annual Live More Commuter Challenge, DATA held its 2015 Live More Block Party at the Reston Town Center. Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William County transportation agencies participated, as did the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, vanpool providers vRide and Enterprise Rideshare, the Fairfax Connector, Commuter Connections, Clean Air Partners, Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project and more. As a public-private partnership, DATA also involved member Center for Vein Restoration, which conducted ultrasound health screenings on site. So much for the message!
But what helped attract visitors to the event was the addition of the Kona Hawaiian Shave Ice truck, serving up the chilly treat to more than 100 attendees. Cricket, the stiltwalking juggler, and fabulous face painter Arla, who’s decorated children attending events at the White House, helped create a party atmosphere. DATA invited attendees to play their Dice Drop game to win logoed prizes. Good information was disseminated…and a good time was had by all! In October, DATA will hold “Van-pire Diaries,” a Halloween-themed event at a busy park ‘n’ ride lot, with its partner agency PRTC in Prince William County. The “ghoul” of this event – which will be staffed by outreach staff in costume – will be to gather contact information from commuters interested in forming vanpools from this Prince William County location to employment sites in the 355-square mile DATA service area.
Through a grant from the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, DATA will be able to offer considerable incentives to qualifying groups. There’ll also be cookies, cider, and mini Trick-or-Treat bags (with information on the “Van Do Attitude” program) to enhance the experience. DATA also brought its Dice Drop – a Plinko-like game where the sum of the dice determines the prize – to NRO All-American Family Fun Day, the Back 2 School Bash at Reston’s South Lakes High School, the Taste of Westfields, and Herndon Community Day. As DATA’s Live More Commute Less® initiative continues to try effecting behavior change by focusing on the positive benefits of leaving that single occupant vehicle in the driveway, it’s clearly important to educate. But sometimes, by making the “medium” as compelling as the message, learning can also be fun!
freedom of choice: virginia is bringing american values to transportation bY thomas fairChild
Is there anything more fundamental to the definition of being an American than freedom? Yet for the vast majority of Americans, large chunks of our day are dictated to us by having only one viable option for transportation: driving. Like eating and sleeping, transportation is a reality of life. Whether for work, shopping, medical appointments or school, all of us must transport ourselves in order to survive. How we travel to these necessary destinations should be a
matter of choice. Yet when we build our cities and roadways without considering options other than cars, our choice for transportation has narrowed to choosing between GM, Ford, Toyota, VW or whatever you want, as long as it’s a motor vehicle! That’s like offering a choice for dinner between McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, Five Guys or whatever you want, as long as it’s a hamburger. Such a “choice” doesn’t feel like freedom! Fortunately, times are changing across Northern Virginia. Transportation options are being expanded with new initiatives and strategic plans. A great example is VDOT’s current proposal to decongest car traffic on the I-66 corridor, which includes enhancements for transit, as well as new bike and pedestrian connections (For more information see transform66.org.) And the Fairfax Board of Supervisors recently passed a strategic plan offering a vision of transportation choice across the county with “comprehensive bike and pedestrian initiatives, bus and paratransit, road
and intersection improvements and expansion of Metrorail and VRE.” The same plan also commits Fairfax County to “focus planning and development activities around the creation of mixed-use communities served by multi-modal transportation options” (For more information see FairfaxCounty.gov/success.) Hurray! Choice is good for all. I encourage everyone to become engaged with these and similar initiatives across Northern Virginia as community involvement is crucial to planning successful new developments and creating viable transportation options. Working together, we will foster transportation freedom of choice across our region. As we plan for the future, let’s not forget that for millions of young, lower income, elderly and disabled Northern Virginians, automobiling is simply not an option. Without viable alternatives these Americans lose their independence, becoming dependent on others for their basic daily needs. For these persons, transportation choice is a lifeline of hope. I want to thank the @livemore
editors for giving my City Version 3 colleagues and me the opportunity to discuss transportation options and mixed use development in periodic articles. Our backgrounds at City v3 range from starting bikeshare systems, to implementing mixed use transit-oriented development, to creating technology tools that assist users in navigating multiple transportation options. We look forward to engaging @livemore readers on these topics and more! Tom Fairchild, is Principal at City Version 3, LLC – a Fairfax Countybased company that promotes and assists localities and businesses to create transit oriented development options. You can follow Cityv3 @ CityVersion3 & check them out at Cityv3. com.
DON’T TEXT & DRIVE
IT’S THE LAW!
Put the Pedal to the Pavement The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board recently approved a number of pedestrian (ped) and bicycle improvements throughout the greater Washington region. These projects, many of which may be in Maryland and the District of Columbia, are incredibly important to all of us who strive to create a multimodal system of transportation in the greater DC region. Although @livemore generally highlights the progress and projects that are directly in our “backyard,” it is also important for all our residents and employees to be cognizant of the progress (or lack thereof) of programs and projects outside the immediate Dulles region.
If we are serious about building a multi-modal transportation network – one that includes buses, rail, HOV, Express Lanes, highways, telework (IT infrastructure), bikes and pedestrians, then we really need to prioritize, synchronize and analyze what the options are – and what is actually happening to make this all work. And frankly, the first five modes mentioned above garner the most attention – the last three, not so much. So, we @livemore want to make our readers aware of some of the projects that are being funded in the next fiscal round of the Metropolitan Transportation region’s funding cycle, and see if there aren’t
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a few ideas that maybe we all think should be moving closer to the top. Not just the top five modes mentioned above, but all of the possible modes (and even technologies/modes we might not be thinking of right now) deserve our attention. In this edition, we look at the bicycle/pedestrian funding. In coming editions we will explore all of the other modal funded programs and we will highlight some “out of the box” ideas that we (our transportation leaders) and you (our readers) bring to our attention. The transportation planning and implementation process isn’t an easy endeavor. It takes years for most projects to come to the planning phase, much less to fruition. However, the public should voice their opinions and priorities – we @livemore want to hear them and will certainly move those forward to our regional leaders and readers. Please contact the editor@ livemore.us and let us know what you think.
fiscal Year 2016 bicycle/Pedestrian funding successes!
On July 22, the Transportation Planning Board approved funding for 16 projects. These projects were approved on the basis to improve “pedestrian and bike access and support transit-oriented development throughout the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.” Nine of these projects – totaling $420,000 – are funded under the TPB’s FY 2016 budget. According to the TBP, these projects have been prioritized in the budgetary process because they “address challenges of integrating land-use and transportation planning at the community level.” KUDOS to the TPB for their efforts and commitment to
making our greater Washington, D.C. region a better connected, integrated, and multi-modal community. Live More Commute Less, as the saying goes.
fY 2016 transportation/landuse Connections (tlC) Projects
Arlington County — Low Stress Bicycle Network Mapping ($45,000) Planning to increase bicycle use among the “interested, but concerned” user group. District of Columbia — K Street / Water Street Bikeway and Pedestrian Connectivity Enhancements ($60,000) Address connectivity issues in Georgetown between the Capital Crescent and Rock Creek Trails. College Park — Citywide Bicycle Boulevards ($30,000) Create a plan to design bicycle boulevards along neighborhood streets. Fairfax County — Parking Demand and Trip Generation in Multifamily Developments ($60,000) Improve parking policies in consideration of current and future demand from multifamily developments. Fairfax County — Vienna Metrorail Station Area Bicycle Improvements ($45,000) Prioritize and design improved on-road bicycle facilities along streets that access the Vienna Metrorail Station. Gaithersburg — Improving Access to Transit ($30,000) Improve first and last mile connections to the city’s three major transit stations. Prince George’s County — Central Avenue Connector Trail 30% Design ($80.000) Design the first segments of the proposed Central Avenue Connector Trail, linking the Capitol Heights, Addison Rd, Morgan Blvd, and
Largo Town Center Metrorail Stations. Prince William County — Safety and Connectivity in a Planned Community ($30,000) Plan for the Dale Blvd and Minnieville Rd node and other connectors along the Dale Blvd corridor. Takoma Park — Parking Takoma Park ($40,000) Revise existing parking policies and programs in consideration of current and future demand. FY 2016 Transportation Alternatives Projects for Maryland College Park — Hollywood Road Sidewalks ($36,000) Install 1,200 feet of sidewalk improvements along Hollywood Rd, including near a neighborhood school. Frederick County — Mount St. Mary’s-Emmitsburg MultiUse Path ($128,839) Establish a multi-use path between Mount St. Mary’s and the downtown area of Emmitsburg. Frederick County — East Lincoln Ave Sidewalks ($46,000) Install 1,800 feet of sidewalk improvements along Lincoln Ave to improve access to area schools. Montgomery County — North Branch Hiker-Biker Trail ($2,000,000) Construct a trail connection between Rock Creek Trail and North Branch Trail. Montgomery County — MD 355-Clarksburg Shared- Use Path ($523,416) Create a link in the existing trail network along MD 355 between Little Bennett Regional Park Trail and the Frederick Rd Bike Path. Rockville — Falls Road East Shared-Use Path ($99,703) Install missing sidewalk segment between Dunster Rd and Kimblewick Rd along the east side of Falls Rd. Takoma Park — Lincoln Ave Sidewalks ($132,028) Installation of 1,900 feet of sidewalk improvements along Lincoln Ave between Elm Ave and Jackson Ave, involving five neighborhood schools.
Travel Tips – From Those Who Know The objective? Make your holiday travels as Live More as possible. The process – not so easy. So we have relied on some great advice from those who have been monitoring and commenting on the many ways/means you can make your holiday travels easier. The basic rule of thumb: PLAN AHEAD – CHECK OFTEN – ADJUST AS NEEDED. Let’s take these on one by one…PLAN AHEAD! Dude, if you’re booking a tic the day before Turkey Day, expect delays, frustration, and possibly missing mom’s great turkey dinner. PLAN AHEAD. Thanksgiving week and weekend are BY FAR the most travelled days of the year, be it by PLANE, TRAIN, AUTOMOBILE,
BOAT, BIKE, OR ON FOOT(which all you slackers/or well fit, who didn’t plan ahead are probably doing together). As such, simple advice follows from the gurus who know much, much more than I. (Maybe we can zipride to Toledo together on the 24th). CHECK OFTEN! Ok, you have a couple days vaca off from school and you know that leading up to vaca, those days, will be HECTIC!! Work deadlines, final exams, mom’s b-day (nah – you’d do that on Turkey Day), the “whatever” of travelling depending on how, where and how far you are travelling. Guy/Gal, you HAVE TO pay attention to what is going on outside of the 5-mile perimeter of your
life. Global warming aside, this is the coming of the winter months. Sure, you live in FLA/ SoCAL but you know what? You’re going to Minni----! Did you forget that? Maybe you’re not, but ya gotta fly through Minni----! These sportsteam betting sites will probably give better odds that you will win than your flight will be on time. Think ‘bout it? Simply put – check the weather (constantly, particularly if driving because holidays at truck stops are not a highlight), check your flights (constantly, because spending holidays in airports is only a slight step up from truck stops), and be adaptive. Which brings me to...ADJUST AS NEEDED!
This is actually where the fun starts, believe it or not (except with those small, tired, children that REALLY want to see grandma). There are things you can, and cannot, control – air traffic, the weather, road traffic, stressed out fam, and your frantic emotions - on occasion. There are some things you can control, such as the two previous items mentioned – PLAN AHEAD and CHECK OFTEN. If you succeed with these first two tasks – numero tres comes easy. You have PLAN B!! Weather and traffic issues are probably numero uno during this time of year. There are many apps to help you monitor these situations, take full advantage. All airlines have
online information on flight departure and arrival delays – not flawless, but it can help to avoid unneeded time at the terminal. Road conditions can be monitored through most states via dialing 511. There are also smartphone apps that you can download through simple searches. Amtrak has real time data on all their lines as well. Lastly, you need the “bail plan.” If things go south, well...maybe you should, too! – nothing like warm weather in the winter time – think about it! Then again, a nice staycation with the fam ain’t so bad either. Live More! Travel More!
@livemore is a bi-monthly publication that helps you get your time back by helping free you of the single-car commute.
Published on Oct 20, 2015
@livemore is a bi-monthly publication that helps you get your time back by helping free you of the single-car commute.