February new releases: T.V., books, music, movies and books

Posted by Editorial / Friday, February 5th, 2016

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Courtesy of Island Records

Wonderful Crazy Night

Download Feb. 5
Music legend Elton John reunites with band members, collaborators and producers to bring his 33rd album, the first since 2006, to fruition.

Symptoms of Being Human
On shelves Feb. 2
Teen Riley Cavanaugh starts a blog to vent over frustrations about being the new kid at school, having a congressman as a father and about identifying as a boy or girl—it’s fluid. The therapist-suggested exercise is working, until someone finds out who she is.

Zoolander 2

In theaters Feb. 12
Derek Zoolander and Hansel go back to the runway and back into the action of clandestine jobs as they help Interpol find those who are behind killing the world’s most beautiful people, all of whom died with Zoolander’s signature look.

Better Call Saul

On the tube Feb. 16
Better Call Saul could be called the Rookie of the Year for the critical acclaim this spin-off of Breaking Bad had last season. The weekly episodes return on AMC to follow the small-time lawyer before he got caught up in the meth game.

Local sommelier shares recommendations for Valentine’s Day treats

Posted by Editorial / Friday, February 5th, 2016

By Cynthia Jessup

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Courtesy of Michael Pearce

First the melting of snow and now the melting of hearts; people are soon to become smitten. Love is given special attention during the month of February. When people think of Valentine’s Day, they become abuzz on how to express their affection. Nothing sets the mood like chocolate and wine. Local wine merchant Michael Pierce, owner of The Wine House, says: “Chocolate and wine pairings are actually quite difficult because of the adverse pairings on the palate. The wines usually associated with these pairings are sweet wines, also known as dessert wines. In creating complementary pairs, it requires tasting of the wine and picking out its best components and using our imagination.” He describes three sample pairings and how they react with one another. These wines are available for purchase should you desire after sampling them. 

A sparkling white wine, moscato d’asti, which is imported from Piedmont, a region in Northern Italy, is joined by a white chocolate-covered grape. With the alcohol content of 6 percent, the wine and its natural bubbles clean out the palate with the sweetness of the grape and leave a sweet and crisp aftertaste. Similar outcomes can come from a pairing of white chocolate bread pudding, fruit pies or cake.

Another combination of this contrary couple is a dark chocolate crisp with velvety red wine, malvasia d’asti, also from Piedmont, Italy. The alcohol content of this wine is 7 percent. Other things that can be served with this dessert wine are chocolate mousse or anything with a sweet marinade sauce.

A robust ruby port imported from Portugal is served with a sample of richly textured chocolate covered bacon. It can be also served with serving of cheese or red fruit desserts.The bitterness of the chocolate highlights the hearty texture and sweet flavor of the wine. So like wine, people find their significant others by complementing personalities.

The Wine House will be hosting a chocolate and wine pairing event in honor of the Chocolate Lovers Festival.

Chocolate Lovers Festival at The Wine House

3950 University Drive, Suite 212, Fairfax

Feb. 6, noon


Find all our Sex, Love and Ghosting articles on this month’s pop-up blog here.

Northern Virginia’s concussion wake-up call

Posted by Editorial / Friday, February 5th, 2016

For every concussion reported, experts estimate 26 are ignored or treated at home. Medical providers across the region are working to change that by increasing awareness about concussions and making it easier for people to get the care they need fast.

By Sarah Markel 

northern virginia magazine, northern va magazine, nova magazine, cover story, concussions, wake-up call, medical experts

Courtesy of Snaptitude/Adobestock

As head athletic trainer for T.C. Williams High School, Marjorie Franke stands on the sidelines of every football practice and every game watching for signs of injury—particularly concussion.

Read the rest of this entry »

Check out fat-biking: winter fun at its best

Posted by Editorial / Friday, February 5th, 2016

KopoPhoto/Adobe Stock

KopoPhoto/Adobe Stock

By Cynthia Jessup

The snow limits what you can do outside. So what’s a person to do with all that restlessness? Cyclists rejoice—you can now get out and enjoy the snow on a fat bike. A unique and fun challenge during the winter months, “Fat bikes are a fast-growing trend as more people learn how comfy and convenient these bicycles are. Fat biking during the winter is a great way to stay active and avoid SAD and winter weight gain.” With winter being here, Sara Villalobos, community outreach director of My City Bikes, notes, “icy roads can be risky for any cyclist and should be avoided if at all possible, but fat bikes are a more stable bike for these kinds of conditions.” A bike that’s easier to ride in snow so just be mindful of the slick ice when using them.

What is fat biking?

“Fat biking” is riding a fat-tire bike, or “fat bike.” Fat bikes are a type of off-road bicycle with large rims and tires that are specially designed for riding on soft, slushy, unsteady terrain like snow and sand. They’re perfect for winter biking because they roll on snow more easily than a traditional bike and they’re very comfortable.

What do you need?

A fat bike is a particular style of bicycle. There is a very broad range when it comes to fat bikes based on their materials and construction, but the low end starts at around $500. Because fat bikes can be ridden year-round—they’re especially comfy for mountain biking—people can be confident that they’ll get plenty of use out of the bike. If a new fat bike is out of the budget, swapping out regular mountain bike tires for seasonal tires is an alternative that can make your bike better equipped to roll over the snow. Of course every rider at every age needs to wear a bike helmet.

How can you get started?

You don’t need any special skills to go fat biking, just a fat bike, a helmet and some strategically layered clothing. Because fat bikes are designed for the types of conditions that usually keep people inside, they’re ideal for staying active in winter. This is especially true for people who may have joint issues that prevent them from traditional winter sports like downhill skiing. Biking in general is a low-impact sport, and fat bikes let people at any skill level stay active year-round. People can take advantage of the recent snowfall and bike their favorite bike paths for a scenic ride, or check out a regional mountain biking trail like Laurel Hill or the trails at Meadowood. TheMy City Bikes Northern VA and My City Bikes DC apps will give novice riders a great set of beginner-friendly bike paths and trails to choose from. You can also visit a bike shop likeA-1 Cycling in Herndon and Manassas to take a test ride and learn more about the bikes themselves.

Are there meetup clubs or groups?

Mountain biking clubs like MORE have regular group bike rides around the region that are a great place to meet new people and enjoy off-road cycling in good company.

U.S. adds 151K jobs in January; 3 cases of Zika in DC

Posted by Editorial / Friday, February 5th, 2016

By Jenny Cutler Lopez

U.S. added 151k jobs in January

[ WTOP ]

Authorities seek Arlington couple after possible rabid fox attack

[ Washington Post ]

3 cases of Zika found in DC area

[ WUSA9 ]

Adnan Syed’s new trial enters third day

[ NBC Washington ]

Sexuality on the table: Q&A with artist Jessica Kallista

Posted by Editorial / Thursday, February 4th, 2016

By Jenny Cutler Lopez

Jessica Kallista, 46, Collage Artist

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Exploring Gender. (Left photo) Jessica Kallista; (Right photo) Jessica Kallista in “Shift Freedom”

Italy 1945. Painter Carol Rama’s first exhibition is shut down by Turin authorities. Her paintings depict erotic and psychosexual tendencies and “the female form as vulnerable, powerful, and dangerous,” according to Artnet News.

New York 1985. The Guerrilla Girls form as an anonymous feminist art collective. Thirty-one years later, one of the members explains to Stephen Colbert that their motivation is “every aesthetic decision has a value behind it, and if all the decisions are being made by the same people (the billionaire art collectors), then the art will never look like the whole of our culture … Unless all the voices of our culture are in the history of art, it’s not really a history of art, it’s a history of power.”

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Dating Safety? There’s an app for that.

Posted by Editorial / Thursday, February 4th, 2016

 By MacKenzie Reagan

safety, safetrek, dating, app, dating app, safety app, iphone, smartphone, app store

Courtesy of Zach Winkler


OK, you’ve been on your date from one of the dating apps we suggested. It went swimmingly, but now it’s late at night and you need to walk home. Here’s another app you should download: SafeTrek. We talked to founder and CEO Zach Winkler to get the inside scoop.

 Q: What was the inspiration behind SafeTrek?

A: We started back at the University of Missouri. There are these blue lights on campus [that students can press to alert campus police], and our university was paying tons of money [to operate them]. We thought it was ridiculous because [realistically] no one could use them [if they were in danger]. At the same time, there was so much crime on campus. We figured, what if you could just have a button where you could hold it when you were feeling unsafe and then police would be notified? After talking to a couple friends, we realized there was something there, so we started building it and it just grew from there.

Q: How did you go about making the app?

A: My background is in computer science. We started it with a business and [business development] person. We did all the development and initial concept and launched it on the App Store. I’ve developed many apps for the App Store before, so I had experience doing that. Once it launched, it turned into a business. For the past two years, it’s become our full-time jobs.

Q: How does it work?

A: Let’s say you’re walking home late at night and you’re feeling unsafe, maybe someone’s following you or you’re just paranoid. You open up the application and press and hold on the big blue button in the middle of the screen. Keep holding it as long as you’d like until you get back to your car, your dorm, your apartment, whatever, until everything is fine. Release the button and you have 10 seconds to type in your four-digit PIN. If you don’t type in your PIN, we’ll notify your local police department of your exact location and emergency, and we even give them the capability to track you. Then our call center will be there to make sure that you actually get help, even if you can’t talk or you don’t know where you are. Let’s say everything is fine: You enter your four-digit code, it’ll cancel everything, no one’s notified.

Q: How do you coordinate with local law enforcement?

A: In the United States, there’s about 6,000 911 call centers that cover all the [emergency services]. One of the biggest challenges to actually getting SafeTrek working was [figuring out how to] integrate with those people. So we built technology behind the scenes that allows them to get our information very quickly, but if you think about home security systems work, we’re very similar—we have several 24/7 certified emergency call centers with 70 dispatchers that are there 24/7 who take the information that we get from our users so that it gets to the correct local police department.

Q: How do you hope to grow SafeTrek in the future?

A: Right now, we have just over 400,000 users, and it’s been growing pretty organically because of the nature of the safety application, so we’ve been really excited about that. Moving forward, [we're] looking at new ways to trigger SafeTrek. Right now, it’s “hold until safe.” You can walk home without having to worry about what might happen if something bad happens to you. But it doesn’t solve [other cases] like domestic violence or realtors showing a house, so we’re trying to come up with new products that leverage our ability to connect with police departments but with new triggering mechanisms, like maybe a hardware button or something like that.

Find all our Sex, Love, and Ghosting articles on this month’s pop-up blog here.

Obama proposes pay raise for fed, military personnel; Gun safety advocacy group targets Gov. Terry McAullife

Posted by Editorial / Thursday, February 4th, 2016

By Jenny Cutler Lopez

Everytown for Gun Safety targets Gov. Terry McAuliffe

[ Washington Post ]

Loudoun county juvenile charged for bomb threat

[ Loudoun Times-Mirror ]

Rockville kennel sued after dog dies during care

[ WUSA 9 ]

Obama to propose pay raise for federal, military personnel 

[ WTOP ]

Fall in love with these 5 unique dating apps

Posted by Editorial / Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

By MacKenzie Reagan

Over 1,260,000 singles in Virginia use eHarmony. But maybe you haven’t yet  found Mr. Right (or Mr. Right-now) on a traditional dating site. Here are a few lesser-known dating apps to try.

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Courtesy of vitabello/Adobestock



Think Yelp, but for humans. Lulu lets women rank men on a scale of one to 10 and add hashtags to further classify potential mates. Sound cruel? Don’t worry, men can’t see their ratings. But they can download the app and add flattering hashtags to their profiles to try and boost their chances. (The app recently changed its policy so that only men who sign up for the app can be rated).

Pros: You can anonymously warn your girlfriends of guys who #CantTakeAHint.

Cons: You’re searching for a mate the same way you search for a good pizza place.


Blind dates enter the 21st century with Hitch, an app that lets users’ friends set them up. After logging in, would-be matchmakers pick two friends to introduce. The match-ees can then chat, knowing only the gender and age of the other person.

Pros: You’re matched with someone who’s been vetted by a mutual friend.

Cons: All the potential awkwardness of a blind date, now with faceless Internet communication.


Looking for a fellow dog lover? Look no further than Twindog, which works like, well, Tinder for dogs. While it’s designed for finding friends for your dog—also a noble pursuit—users can also use it to meet other dog lovers in their area.

Pros: You’ve already got the all-important “cat person or dog person” question out of the way.

Cons: People might not be as friendly/good looking as their dogs.


Is Lennon your religion? Could you never love a man who didn’t like Bowie? Is an appreciation of Britney a prerequisite for romance? Try this app that matches users by musical taste.

Pros: Picking a first dance song will be a no-brainer.

Cons: A mutual love for “Love Will Tear Us Apart” might not bode well for a relationship.


Trying to join the mile-high club? There’s soon to be an app for that. Launching this summer, Wingman works like Tinder, allowing users to flip through photos of other users on their flight.

Pros: Complimentary peanuts are a known aphrodisiac.

Cons: Try not to let the stale air and crying children ruin the mood.


Find all our Sex, Love, and Ghosting articles on this month’s pop-up blog here.

The highs & some really lows of Valentine’s Day

Posted by Editorial / Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

By Adrienne West

Some gifts hit the mark and others are disastrously bad.

 northern virginia magazine, nova magazine, northern va magazine, worst valentines gifts, best valentines gifts,

Courtesy of drubig-photo/Adobestock



Valentine’s Day is synonymous with red roses and hearts and flowers, right? That’s not always the case as shared by these locals. The answers to the questions of “best gift” and “worst gift” might surprise or inspire you.


Jessica, 31, McLean: “A horse from my husband was the biggest surprise and the most thoughtful.”

Ariana, 24, Reston: “A Pandora bracelet with special charms he picked out of my favorite things: elephants, volleyball, lacrosse, hearts and Paris.”

Gaby, 23, Great Falls: “A large topaz ring and a trip to LA were my favorites.”

Meghan, 28, Chantilly: “My favorite is my first one ever, a red rose with a little teddy bear.

Brandie, 33, Fairfax: “A diamond tennis bracelet because it was an unexpected surprise.”

Janice, 50, Sterling: “I got my engagement ring about 15 years after we married.  It was special because I had been waiting for it.”

Steve, 46, Fairfax: “My favorite and only gift I got was a handmade card from my daughter that I still have to this day.”

Roxie, 31, Manassas: “I hate Valentine’s Day, so my husband decided to propose on Feb. 13, and every year I get a gift that day. The nicest was the next year when he sent me a huge flower bouquet in England.”


Jessica, 31, McLean: “My ex-husband once gave me a half-eaten box of chocolates and a certificate to give him [sexual favors].”

Ariana, 24, Reston: “A week late, my ex told me he got me some wine to make up for missing V-Day, and when I asked if he got my favorite from Total Wine, he said ‘No, from 7-11 because I needed gas.’”

Gaby, 23, Great Falls: “I once got a perfume that smelled like something my grandma would wear.”

Meghan, 28, Chantilly: “The worst gift [was no] gift at all.”

Brandie, 33, Fairfax: “My ex got me a pretty pink coat, but it had a rip in it. He told me that he got it on clearance.”

Angela, 26, Alexandria: “My best friend got Glade plug-ins because her boyfriend thought it was sweet for her new house.”

Jenny, 40, Reston: “My husband gave me an artificial bouquet of orange and yellow flowers which reeked like old potpourri.”

Roxie, 31, Manassas: “Glow-in-the-dark book of sexual positions—worst because I hate V-Day, and it didn’t really even glow.”


Find all our Sex, Love, and Ghosting articles on this month’s pop-up blog here.


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