Servicing DC, MD & VA

SPF Claims Fall Short

July 1st, 2016 | Comments Off on SPF Claims Fall Short | Posted in Live Well, Work Well

sunscreenAccording to a new study from Consumer Reports, 43 percent of sunscreen products do not live up to the sun protection factor (SPF) claims on their bottles.

Consumer Reports found that 13 out of the 35 sunscreen lotions tested had an SPF of less than 30, despite claiming to have at least an SPF of 30 on their labels. The majority of products that fell short on their SPF numbers did so by 10 to 15 points. However, some products were labeled as SPF 50, and were only found to have an SPF of 8.

The study found that sunscreens with active chemical ingredients like avobenzone and ecamsule performed better during testing than those with natural ingredients like zinc oxide.

For more information about the report and to see the top performers, click here. To promote further sun protection, the American Academy of Dermatology encourages people to wear protective clothing when going outdoors and to stay in the shade when possible to reduce the risk of skin cancer.

View more Live Well, Work Well tips here.

It’s Raining Lawsuits

July 1st, 2016 | Comments Off on It’s Raining Lawsuits | Posted in Insurance Discount Strategies

Do You Need An Umbrella Policy?

shutterstock_222746809It’s impossible to predict whether you might lose a lawsuit resulting from a car accident or an accident on your property. Nor is it possible to predict the amount that might be awarded to the winning party, an amount that you would be responsible for paying. To protect yourself against the possibility of devastating financial loss from these unforeseen events, you may want to purchase anumbrella policy.

What Is an Umbrella Policy?
An umbrella policy protects your existing personal assets and future personal assets (like wages, your inheritance or that lottery you’re planning to win) against the cost of losing a lawsuit over a car accident or an accident on your property. If you were to lose such a lawsuit, you would likely have to pay the winning party for costs such as medical expenses and lost wages, which can quickly become very expensive.

You don’t have to be wealthy to need an umbrella policy – even if you don’t have any assets, your wages can be garnished.

An umbrella policy picks up where your auto and homeowners insurance policies leave off. It has a high deductible because the deductible is designed to be met by your other policies. Expect to pay around a few hundred dollars a year for this coverage.

SEE: Protect Your Personal Assets

What It Covers
An umbrella policy provides excess coverage above and beyond what is provided by your homeowners and auto insurance policies. As an example, let’s say your auto insurance pays $300,000 of medical expenses per accident and your umbrella policy is for $1 million. If you are sued for $900,000, your auto insurance would pay $300,000 of the damages and your umbrella policy would pay the remaining $600,000. Umbrella policies usually provide roughly $1 million to $5 million of additional coverage, and it is possible to get more if you have lots of assets to protect.

What about the legal expenses you’ll incur if you’re sued? With umbrella policies, legal expenses are covered on top of the policy amount. The policy may also pay you if your appearance at legal proceedings causes you to lose pay from work (for example, if you are an hourly employee or if you don’t have any personal or vacation days available). Since the insurance company’s money is at risk when you’re sued, it’ll want to protect that money with its own legal team, possibly a better legal team than you could afford on your own.

In addition to covering you for accidents on your property or car accidents you are found to be at fault for, an umbrella policy can also protect your dependent children (for example, if your daughter causes a car accident), any accidents caused by you or your dependent children while operating a watercraft, accidents that occur on rental property you own and personal injury lawsuits arising from slander, libel, defamation of character, false arrest, detention or imprisonment, abuse of process, malicious prosecution, shock/mental anguish and possibly more. Be sure to consult your specific policy for details.

What It Doesn’t Cover
An umbrella policy is a form of personal insurance, so it won’t protect you from lawsuits related to a business you own. This includes babysitting, or “compensated child care” in insurance lingo, by the insured (because that would be considered a business). However, your policy may still cover your children if they babysit part-time on someone else’s property.

SEE: Insurance Coverage: A Business Necessity

Umbrella insurance also does not cover activities like drag racing or any other high-risk, unnecessary use of your vehicle. Also, it may not cover all types of vehicles, such as recreational motor vehicles, truck tractor trailers, farm tractors or trailers, or more generally, vehicles exceeding a certain weight limit, such as 12,000 pounds. The policy won’t cover damage to your own car (your auto insurance should provide for that) or damage to your own property (your homeowners insurance should cover it).

If you commit a crime (such as driving under the influence) and are forced to pay restitution, an umbrella policy won’t cover it. Likewise, intentional acts, such as sexual harassment, discrimination, intentional bodily injury, intentional property injury and other willful and malicious acts by the insured are not covered. (As the old saying goes, “crime doesn’t pay”.)

Furthermore, an umbrella policy does not provide you with excess health insurance coverage. Most health insurance policies have annual and lifetime limits on what they will pay. If you’re concerned that those amounts are too low, you will need to purchase more comprehensive health insurance, because an umbrella policy won’t help you.

These are just a few examples of things that an umbrella policy generally will not cover. Because there are quite a few exclusions, if you’re concerned about being covered for a specific event, ask your insurance agent if an umbrella policy will cover it and, if not, what additional policy you can purchase to protect yourself.

Underlying Insurance Requirements
Because an umbrella policy is designed to be a form of secondary insurance, it will have underlying insurance requirements. This means that you’ll have to have a certain amount of auto insurance and homeowners insurance coverage as a condition of being approved for an umbrella policy. The underlying insurance requirements will vary depending on the company you get your umbrella through, but typical coverage includes:

  • Auto insurance bodily injury coverage of $250,000 per person/$500,000 per accident
  • Auto insurance property damage coverage of $100,000 per accident
  • Homeowners insurance personal liability coverage of $500,000

Additionally, some umbrella insurance providers will require you to have your auto and homeowners insurance with them before they will issue you an umbrella policy. Sometimes having all of your policies with one insurer saves you money, but sometimes it doesn’t – switching your homeowners and auto insurance policies to the umbrella provider can potentially make umbrella insurance more expensive than just the umbrella insurance premium itself. If you don’t already have the underlying insurance required by an umbrella policy, this will also effectively make your umbrella policy more expensive.

Things That Increase Your Risk of Being Sued
If you always take public transportation and don’t own any property, you are much less likely to need an umbrella policy. On the flip side, there are a few things that increase the likelihood of requiring an umbrella insurance policy:

  • A long commute
  • Driving during rush hour, when drivers are more likely to get into an accident
  • Your home has a swimming pool
  • You own a dog
  • You frequently have guests over

The Bottom Line
Just because you aren’t at high risk of being sued doesn’t mean you are at no risk. Even if you are very careful, umbrella insurance can be thought of as bad luck insurance. The safest course of action is to be insured. And remember that as your financial situation changes, you may need to add more coverage in the future.

Source: investopedia.com

14 ‘Health’ Foods

July 1st, 2016 | Comments Off on 14 ‘Health’ Foods | Posted in Personal Tips, Trips & Traps

…Worse Than a Donut

By Olivia Tarantino

Let’s not sugarcoat it: We’re consuming way too much sugar—but it’s not just coming from junk food anymore.

Americans finally figured out that sugar is bad. How bad exactly? High consumption of the sweet stuff has been linked to health issues that range from obesity and type 2 diabetes to heart disease and stroke. And thanks to mounting consumer awareness, sales of the sugar industry’s golden child—soda—have declined so much over the past 11 years that 2016 will be the first year in recent history that the per-person consumption of “health-conscious” bottled water will surpass soft drink sales. Sorry not sorry, Coke.

Unfortunately, marketers started to pick up on the fact that people are looking for more healthy options and are now slapping misleading labels of health-centric phrases like “whole wheat,” “gluten-free,” and “low-fat” on foods that are full of as much (and many times, much more) sugar as a Dunkin Donuts sugar raised donut. (Which, for your reference, is 4 grams.)

These health halos usually cover up a bunch of junk in disguise, which can inevitably get in the way of even your most dedicated weight loss efforts. Here at Eat This, Not That!, we don’t want you to fall prey to the health-food guise—which is exactly why we’ve rounded up some of the sneakiest sources of added sugar. Now you can see for yourself how much sweet stuff has been injected into these fake health foods.

Post Honey Bunches of Oats Whole Grain Honey Crunch
Nutrition: 1 cup, 220 calories, 3 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 150 mg sodium, 46 g carbs (4 g fiber, 12 g sugar), 4 g protein
Sugar equivalent of: 3 Dunkin Donuts Sugar Raised Donuts

It’s not really shocking that cereals with the words “froot” or “chocolatey” splattered on their boxes contain added sugar, but did you know that certain “healthy,” “whole grain” cereals are equally devious? When grabbing a box off the shelf, be sure to steer clear of the three C’s: crunch, crisps, and clusters. This trio is typically code for clumps of rice held together by sugar and fat, like in these Honey (aka corn syrup and caramel color) Bunches of Oats.

Ocean Spray Original Craisins
Nutrition: ¼ cup, 130 calories, 0 g fat, 0 mg sodium, 33 g carbs (3 g fiber, 29 g sugar), 0 g protein
Sugar Equivalent of: 7 Dunkin Donuts Sugar Raised Donuts

Fruit is healthy. In moderation, dried fruit can be healthy. But in many cases, these dehydrated chewy pieces of carbs might as well be candy. Not only are the natural sugars more concentrated in dried fruits than fresh, manufacturers will often coat dried fruit in even more sugar. And that’s especially the case for these craisins, as cranberries have the lowest sugar content of all fruits, which Ocean Spray took as an open invitation to inject them with as much cane sugar as seven donuts.

Ken’s Steak House Fat-Free Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette
Nutrition: 2 tbsp, 70 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 260 mg sodium, 16 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 12 g sugar
Sugar Equivalent of: 3 Dunkin Donuts Sugar Raised Donuts

They might be marketed as “light” and “fat-free,” but these salad dressings are loaded with salt and sugar to compensate for the lost flavor when companies cut out the fat. Both ketchup-based dressings—like French, Russian, and Thousand Island—as well as fruity vinaigrettes like pomegranate, raspberry, and even Ken’s sun-dried tomato, will typically include more added sugar than you might assume. Like, three donuts in only two tablespoons more than you’d assume.

Yoplait Thick & Creamy Peaches ‘n Cream
Nutrition: 1 container, 180 calories, 2.5 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 110 mg sodium, 31 g carbs (0 g fiber, 28 g sugar) 7 g protein
Sugar Equivalent of: 7 Dunkin Donuts Sugar Raised Donuts

Yes, some of the sugar in dairy yogurts is naturally-occurring in the form of lactose, but it’s the added sugar typical of fruit yogurts that you need to watch out for. While many fruit-on-the-bottom yogurts can attribute some of those extra sugars to real fruit pieces, Yoplait can’t make the same claim for this Peaches ‘n Cream flavor. The peach is just “natural flavor,” food coloring, and sugar.

Langers Mango Nectar
Nutrition: 1 cup, 140 calories, 0 g fat, 15 mg sodium, 35 g carbs (0 g fiber, 35 g sugar), 0 g protein
Sugar Equivalent of: 9 Dunkin Donuts Sugar Raised Donuts

Just because fruit is healthy doesn’t make fruit juice a waist-friendly pick. And labels that claim “made from real fruit” doesn’t mean much, other than the fact that at some point at least one slice of fruit came in contact with this concoction. This one from Langers is mostly filtered water, with some mango puree, citric acid, natural flavor, and lots and lots of sugar. Be wary of juice “cocktails,” which is code for “loaded with sugar.” Look for juices that are 100 perfect fruit juice, or, better yet, whip up one of these 50 Best Detox Waters for Fat Burning and Weight Loss.

Organic Gemini TigerNut Raw Granola: Banana Cacao
Nutrition: 2 oz, 330 calories, 14 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 5 mg sodium, 56 g carbs (14 g fiber, 37 g sugar), 5 g protein Sugar Equivalent of: 9 Dunkin Donuts Sugar Raised Donuts

Just because granola is usually paired with breakfast’s new golden child, yogurt, doesn’t mean it belongs in the picture of good health—especially this concoction. Granola is usually clumps of rolled oats stuck together with caramelized sugars, but Organic Gemini’s seems to be clumps of sugar disrupted by pieces of tiger nuts. Steer clear.

Skinny Cow Vanilla Caramel Cone
Nutrition: 1 cone, 160 calories, 3.5 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 65 mg sodium, 29 g carbs (2 g fiber, 17 g sugar), 4 g protein
Sugar Equivalent of: 4 Dunkin Donuts Sugar Raised Donuts

It’s easy to think that ice creams that market themselves as “skinny” are the way to go if you don’t want to end up looking like a cow. Especially since many ice creams are loaded with saturated fats. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t light ice cream—it’s eating moderate portions of the normal stuff. “Skinny” ice cream is loaded with inflammatory oils, sweeteners, and chemicals to give it taste without all the added calories.

Nabisco 100-Calorie Pack, Oreo Thin Crisps
Nutrition: 1 pack, 100 calories, 0 g fat, 150 mg sodium, 19 g carbs (1 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 1 g protein
Sugar Equivalent of: 2 Dunkin Donuts Sugar Raised Donuts

Calories may be key to losing weight, but they shouldn’t be your guide to choosing which foods to eat. And that’s certainly the case for these Oreo Thins. Sure, they might only be 100 calories and can help you stick to your diet plan, but that doesn’t mean they’re “healthy.” With the two-donuts worth of health-harming sugars, you could end up being skinny fat if you make these a daily indulgence.

Pepperidge Farm Honey Wheat Whole Grain Bread
Nutrition: Per 1 slice, 110 calories, 2 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 110 mg sodium, 21 g carbs (3 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 5 g protein
Sugar Equivalent of: 1 Dunkin Donuts Sugar Raised Donuts

It doesn’t really matter how many whole wheats or grains you have, no slice of bread should have the same amount of sugar as a donut. Don’t be fooled by this classic marketing technique that feeds off of many people’s well-founded avoidance of refined, white flour. Companies try to replicate the same sweet taste consumers love from simple-sugar-laden white breads by stuffing whole grain loaves with even more sweet stuff. Make sure you’re grabbing the right loaf with our guide, 20 Best&Worst Store-Bought Breads.

Clif Bar Carrot Cake
Nutrition: 1 bar, 240 calories, 4 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 150 mg sodium, 45 g carbs (5 g fiber, 25 g sugar), 9 g protein
Sugar Equivalent of: 6 Dunkin Donuts Sugar Raised Donuts

If you’re recovering from a hard cardio workout, energy bars might be a good option to replenish spent glycogen stores. But if you’re grabbing one on the go and munching on them without breaking a sweat, you could be harming your health. Clif Bars, in particular, are teeming with added sugars—which are still bad news even if they are “organic.” In fact, the first ingredient is organic brown rice syrup, and also includes organic cane syrup, organic dried cane syrup (aka sugar), and barley malt extract.

Odwalla Strawberry C Monster
Nutrition: 1 bottle, 240 calories, 0 g fat, 35 mg sodium, 58 g carbs (0 g fiber, 48 g sugar), 1 g protein Sugar Equivalent of: 12 Dunkin Donuts Sugar Raised Donuts

Homemade smoothies are one thing; store-bought is another. These bottled smoothies overflowing (seriously, 12 donuts worth!?) with sugar, and many might justify it’s ok because most is naturally occurring. However, when fruit juice concentrates are added to sweeten products, it’s just as bad as adding high fructose syrup, as these natural sugars are lacking in fruit’s waist-whittling partner in crime, fiber.

Oat Revolution Maple & Brown Sugar Thick Cut Oats
Nutrition: 1 packet, 160 calories, 2.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 210 mg sodium, 32 g carbs (3 g fiber, 13 g sugar), 4 g protein
Sugar Equivalent of: 3 Dunkin Donuts Sugar Raised Donuts

If you don’t have 45 minutes to spare in the mornings to whip up a batch of fiber-rich, steel-cut oats, instant oats may feel like your only time-saving solution. (Psst. They’re not! Check out the wonder that is overnight oats.) But what they make up for in time saved, they lack in nutrients. And even worse, if you’re grabbing a packet of Oat Revolution Maple&Brown Sugar oats, they’re also packed with loads of added sugar.

Annie’s Organic Bernie’s Farm Fruit Snacks
Nutrition: 1 pouch, 70 calories, 0 g fat, 35 mg sodium, 17 g carbs (0 g fiber, 11 g sugar), 0 g protein
Sugar Equivalent of: 3 Dunkin Donuts Sugar Raised Donuts

Yes, organic foods are raised without weight-inducing pesticides, but don’t let that blindside you to what you’re actually picking up. Organic gummy fruit snacks can be just as harmful to your health as “regular” brands of the sweet drops. For example, these Annie’s snacks’ first ingredient is organic tapioca syrup, then organic cane sugar, and then juice concentrates. If you’re craving something sweet, your best bet is to eat the real thing so you can get the satiating fiber and nutrients that come along with it.

VitaminWater Power-C Dragon Fruit
Nutrition: 20 fl oz bottle, 120 calories, 0 g fat, 0 mg sodium, 32 g carbs (0 g fiber, 32 g sugar), 0 g protein
Sugar Equivalent of: 8 Dunkin Donuts Sugar Raised Donuts

Don’t let your need for vitamin C justify this purchase (just pop a couple strawberries!). Vitamin Waters are far from what they’re marketed as and should typically only be drank if you’re a marathoner in need of replenishing carbs—not a person sipping on this pink beverage at their desk. Not only does this bottle serve up just as much sugar as a can of Coke, it also the sugar-equivalent of eight donuts. No amount of vitamins are worth that.

Source: www.msn.com

Fireworks on the Fourth of July

July 1st, 2016 | Comments Off on Fireworks on the Fourth of July | Posted in Lifestyle

Why We Watch Fireworks on the Fourth of July

Fireworks are a tradition ordained by the founding fathers, but have a dangerous past.

shutterstock_10829062Thought to be invented by the Chinese 2,000 years ago, fireworks have been a tradition of America’s Fourth of July celebrations since the country’s inception, with the founding fathers themselves seeing fireworks fit to mark the birth of their nation.

In a July 3, 1776 letter to his wife, John Adams declared that the signing of the Declaration of Independence should be a “great anniversary Festival” and “solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

A year later, Congress itself ordained the tradition, enjoying in Philadelphia “a grand exhibition of fireworks, which began and concluded with thirteen rockets on the commons,” according to the Evening Post. The celebratory firing of muskets, artillery and other explosives was a carryover from colonial days. “What was different about it is they began to have the fireworks represent the 13 states,” James Heintze, a retired librarian emeritus of American University and author of the “Fourth of July Encyclopedia,” says. “The numerical symbolism became very important for the Fourth of July.”

Boston also saw a fireworks display in 1777. In the following years, the tradition spread through the Boston area to New York and other cities, with various papers reporting colorful displays lighting the sky at the time.

Early Fourth of July celebrations through the 1876 centennial saw the popularization of set pieces, enormous platforms to which fireworks were attached, creating images of flags, bells and other Independence Day iconography that have lost favor since. Cities sought to outdo one another with their displays, with New York becoming the leader of fireworks celebrations, having 15 different displays throughout the city.

Pyrotechnicians – the best bringing the craft over from Italy – emerged as a profession in the early 1800s, as cities hired them to design and execute their exhibitions. This period also saw the rise of fireworks being sold to the public. By 1783, Philadelphia merchants were selling fireworks to its citizenry, including the very young, making the streets a dangerous place on the Fourth.

“Children would walk down the street in Philadelphia and would throw a lit firecracker on a table of fireworks a merchant was trying to sell,” Heintze says. In 1867, the Washington Evening Star reported one firm had received orders of orders 2,000 boxes of fireworks, 84,000 torpedoes and 190,000 roman candles. Terrible fires ravaged American cities and towns throughout the 19th century due to the excessive fireworks use. The pioneers also brought the practice out West, using dynamite instead of traditional fireworks to light up the sky.

Early attempts to regulate citizen fireworks focused more on the noise – celebrations would often start on July 3 and carry on for a day and a half – than the danger involved. It wasn’t until the turn of the 20th century that momentum to crack down on street fireworks started to grow, with the American Medical Association beginning to track casualties in 1903.

The mayor of Colorado Springs issued a ban on dynamite use in city limits in 1901. In other cities, associations emerged to promote “safe and sane celebrations” – including sports, games, contests and musical performances – to replace unorganized firework activity. In 1909, Washington, D.C., Chicago and Cleveland were among the first cities to hold such “safe and sane celebrations.” Cities continued to sponsor official displays in the hope that drawing crowds to sanctioned exhibitions could discourage amateur use.

By the 1930s, stricter legislations began to curb fireworks sales on the state and local level, which is how pyrotechnic sales are regulated today. But economic downturns and budget constraints have led cities have to downsize or eliminate firework displays, often to the dismay of citizens.

This year, many are upset that firework displays have been cut on military bases across the country. It’s no wonder Americans hold the practice dear, as it not only harkens back to the first Independence Day celebrations, but to other patriotic traditions that have emerged since.

“It reflects our National Anthem and Francis Scott Key and what he saw back in 1814 when he was in Baltimore harbor,” Heintze says, referring to the origin of Key’s “The Star Spangled Banner.”

“The rockets’ red glare” may have referred to an American flag Key saw waving triumphantly during a battle in the War of 1812, but since it has come synonymous to the explosions in the sky Americans see every Fourth of July. “It seems to reflect something that’s truly American,” Heintze says.

Source: usnews.com

Free Summer 2016 Concerts

July 1st, 2016 | Comments Off on Free Summer 2016 Concerts | Posted in Spotlight on the Community

Free Summer 2016 Concerts in the Washington, DC Area

shutterstock_429166750Summertime brings a variety of free concerts to the Washington DC area. So, pack a picnic, grab your lawn chairs and head outdoors to listen to great local music. Here are some suggestions of places to find free concerts.

Military Band Concerts
The Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force bands perform on alternating days at a variety of destinations throughout the summer.

Just about every night of the season you can find a free concert.

U.S. Capitol
(West Front), National Mall. Military Bands perform throughout the summer. (See details above) Special concerts are also held in honor of Memorial Day, the 4th of July and Labor Day.

U.S. Navy Memorial
7th and Pennsylvania Ave.

NW, Washington, DC. The U.S. Navy Band performs on the Navy Memorial Plaza at 8:00 p.m. every Tuesday between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden
7th St, and Constitution Ave, NW, Washington, DC. Jazz in the Garden is held every Friday evening.

Washington Harbour – Georgetown
K Street NW. Washington DC. A variety of local bands perform on the plaza along the Potomac waterfront on Wednesday evenings throughout the summer.

Carter Barron Amphitheatre
16th Street & Colorado Avenue, NW, Washington, DC. A wide range of music is performed throughout the summer.

Capitol Riverfront
Yards Park, Washington, DC. Enjoy a variety of concerts on Friday evenings throughout the summer.

Fort Dupont Summer Theatre
Fort Dupont Park, Minnesota Ave. and Randle Circle, SE, Washington, DC.
Jazz concerts are Saturdays at 6 p.m.

Woodrow Wilson Plaza
1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC. Free concerts offered at lunchtime at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Building.

Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian
4th St. and Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC. Indian Summer Showcase, a summer evening concert series outside the museum’s main entrance on the Welcome Plaza, features Native music from throughout the Americas.

National Harbor
National Harbor, Maryland. Enjoy free jazz concerts along the Potomac River on Friday evenings.

Veterans Park, Norfolk and Woodmont Avenues, Bethesda, Maryland. Concerts include a range of music including jazz, rock, blues, international and swing.
Performances on Thursday evenings.

Glen Echo Park
7300 MacArthur Blvd. Glen Echo, Maryland. The concert series includes a wide range of music, from Clarence “The Blues Man” Turner, to QuinTango, to the Rockville Swing Band.

Gaithersburg City Hall Concert Pavilion
31 South Summit Ave, Gaithersburg, Maryland.A variety of performances are offered for children, adults and the whole family.

Rio Entertainment Center
Gaithersburg, Maryland. Live music is played outdoors on Saturday evenings.

BlackRock Center for the Arts
20105 Town Commons Road, Germantown, Maryland. Free outdoor concerts are available on Saturday evenings.

Strathmore Hall
10701 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, Maryland. Free outdoor concerts are held on Wednesday evenings throughout the summer.

Glenview Mansion
603 Edmonston Drive, Rockville, Maryland. On select Sunday afternoons free concerts are offered.

Rockville Town Square
Rockville, Maryland. Free outdoor concerts are held on the Square on Friday evenings. Kids nights and outdoor movies also entertain families throughout the summer.

Downtown Frederick
Baker Park, Frederick, Maryland. The summer concert series features musical performances in a variety of genres and styles on Sunday evenings.

Downtown Silver Spring
2 locations, Ellsworth Drive and Veterans Plaza. Free summer concerts feature a variety of musical styles – from swing, jazz and soul to Latin, rhythm and blues, and rock and roll.

St. Charles Sunset Concert Festival
10400 O’Donnell Place. St. Charles, Maryland. A variety of musical groups perform by the lake on Thursday evenings throughout the summer.

Netherlands Carillon
Route 50 and the George Washington Memorial Parkway, Arlington, Virginia. Performances Saturday afternoons.

Potomac Overlook Regional Park
2845 N. Marcey Road, Arlington, Virginia. Concerts held on Saturday evenings.

Old Town Alexandria
Concerts are held in a variety of locations in Alexandria, Virginia throughout the summer including Fort Ward Park, Oronoco Bay Park, Market Square, Canal Center and more.

Tysons Corner Center
1961 Chain Bridge Rd. Tysons Corner, VA. Free concerts are held on the Plaza on Friday evenings throughout the summer.

Reston Town Center
The annual free concert series features live bands on Saturday nights performing a variety of music including blues, swing, jazz, Latin fusion, bluegrass, zydeco, and more.

Lubber Run Amphitheater – Arlington
North Columbus Street & 2nd Street North, Arlington, Virginia. Free concerts are held throughout the summer at Lubber Run Park on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings.

Cherry Hill Park – Falls Church
312 Park Ave., Falls Church, Virginia. The Thursday evening concert series features local musicians of various genres.

Fairfax County Parks
A wide variety of free concerts are offered in a number of Virginia parks. Performances range from children’s puppet shows to big band, jazz, bluegrass, rock, classical and world music.

Herndon Town Green
777 Lynn Street, Herndon, Virginia. Friday Night Live! presents free outdoor concerts every Friday night.

Historic Leesburg
25 West Market St., Leesburg, Virginia. Saturday night free outdoor concerts are performed on the the front lawn of the Leesburg Town Hall.

City of Manassas
Harris Pavilion, 9116 Center St., Manassas, Virginia.

The Summer Sounds concerts are scheduled on alternate Saturday evenings throughout the summer.

Source: dc.about.com

How to Make a Flag Cake

July 1st, 2016 | Comments Off on How to Make a Flag Cake | Posted in Lifestyle
flag-cake Total Time:
2 hr 25 min

35 min

1 hr 15 min

35 min

Yield: 12 to 16 servings

Level: Intermediate


Nonstick cooking spray
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup stone-ground white cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons rainbow or red, white and blue sprinkles

2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
2 ounces chopped white chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup blueberries
One 16-ounce container strawberries
1 tablespoon apple jelly or apricot jam, melted
Special equipment:
Pastry bag
Rosette tip


For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch rectangular baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and coat again with nonstick cooking spray. Combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Whisk together and set aside.

Beat the butter with the granulated sugar on medium-high speed with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy, 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until combined, and then beat in the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low and beat in one-third of the flour mixture until just combined. Beat in half the buttermilk and then repeat, adding the flour in two more increments and alternating with the second half of the buttermilk. Stir in the sprinkles. Transfer to the prepared pan and spread the batter evenly. Bake until golden brown and the top springs back to a light touch, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 15 minutes in the pan.

Run a small knife around the edges of the cake to release the sides and turn the cake out onto a baking sheet. Remove the parchment paper and then flip again onto a serving platter or cutting board so the top of the cake is back on top. Cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting: Place the butter and salt in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Add the white chocolate and beat until fluffy. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar and the vanilla. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until very smooth and fluffy.

Transfer 1/2 cup of the frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a small rosette tip. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting.

For the garnish: Place the blueberries in six rows of 6 berries each in the top left hand corner of the cake. Trim and halve the strawberries lengthwise and make four rows of strawberries across the cake. Pipe 13 stars between the blueberries and use the remaining frosting to pipe a border around the bottom of the cake. Brush the berries with the melted jelly. Cut and serve.

Source: http://www.foodnetwork.com