May 2006 Newsletter
We hope you'll take some time to snuggle up and enjoy the newsletter about love, life and marriage! The big news this month is the Grand Opening Sale to celebrate our new Columbia studio location! We are excited to offer you this newsletter designed to help newlyweds with useful resources and advice and of course, we encourage you to keep dancing and romancing! We wish you a happily ever after! Sincerely, Mrs. Deborah Joy and Mr. Brian Block, Founders of The Wedding Dance Specialists
Home Sweet Home: Are Northern Virginia Home Prices Declining? by Brian Block Esq./Realtor
The question everyone wants to know: Are home prices in our area going down?
As you may be aware, the Northern Virginia real estate market has decidedly shifted from the strong seller’s market of the last few years to a much more balanced market. The key factor is the inventory of homes on the market. Inventory has skyrocketed with nearly 4 times as many available homes as there were last year at this time! For sellers, this means more days on the market, willingness to negotiate, and possibly offering incentives, such as contributions towards buyer closing costs. For buyers this is a refreshing opportunity in the market, where there is less competition for the same home and they have more time to make a decision on which home to purchase.
While some of the frenzy in the Northern Virginia housing market may have died down, values and prices are still rising albeit not as quickly as in the past. Contracts are still coming in at asking price, though not so many above asking like they were last year. The value is still present in our market, and you should expect appreciation in the 8-12% range for 2006 – still making Northern Virginia real estate an excellent investment. For more information on the current state of the Northern Virginia real estate market, or any of your real estate questions, contact Brian Block, Realtor/Attorney with RE/MAX Allegiance.
See my special offer below
Great Vacations: Explore England
Before we got married we visited my relatives in England. We passed mysterious Stonehenge on our way to the countryside of Devon and Somerset where my Grandmother lives. There, we visited the farm I enjoyed working on during my youth. In Devon. In London, we saw world treasures at museums such as Victoria & Albert and The British Museum. We admired the crown jewels at the Tower of London, experienced the sheer magnitude of Harrod's Department Store. WE toured Westminster Abbey, rode a double decker bus, enjoyed fabulous theatre in Leicester Square, marvelled at the realistic celebrity impersonations at Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum , and dined at Rules, the oldest restaurant in London.
Besides leaving England with a lot of lovely memories, we also left with my Grandmother's blessing!
Marriage Maintenance: Keeping the Love You've Found
Think about whether or not your marriage is just as romantic as it was when you and your partner first met? If it’s not (or even if it is), the following suggestions may help you to keep or put the magic in your marriage and maintain your love and partnership!
- Hold hands when walking in public.
- Schedule time for sex. Go to bed one hour earlier and set your alarm one hour earlier.
- Compliment each other on a regular basis.
- Say “I love you” every day – it is never too much.
- Laugh together.
- Plan a picnic at your favorite spot and spend the day together.
- Dress up, and spend the night at home with your favorite bottle of wine and music and slow dance.
- Cook a romantic dinner together.
- Be the first to initiate, don’t always wait for your partner.
- Flirt with each other.
- Hide a love note in your partner’s office or briefcase.
- Go for a long romantic drive and watch the sunset.
- Share your deepest feelings and fantasies.
- Rediscover the long passionate kisses that you used to have when you were dating.
- Don’t go for the finish, enjoy the journey.
Filling the Nest: Infertility Issues for Men
(reprinted in part from What to Expect When You’re Expecting)
If you're under 35 and have had frequent unprotected sex for more than a year (or at least six months if you're over 35) without conceiving, there's a good chance you or your partner may have a condition that's interfering with your chances of conceiving — but only a doctor can diagnose a fertility problem for sure. Researchers estimate that as many as one in ten couples have trouble getting pregnant. If you're one of them, that doesn't mean you'll never have children. Many struggling couples (some estimate 50 percent) go on to have children, but they often need extra time or medical intervention to get pregnant.
If any of the following conditions or activities applies to you or your partner, tell your doctor. Waiting a full six months or a year to try to conceive naturally may be a waste of your time. If you are concered about your fertility, you should talk to your primary care doctor or gynecologist. You should feel free to bring up any concerns or fears no matter how long you've been trying to get pregnant. Your doctor should be able to answer your questions or, if necessary, refer you to a fertility specialist for a complete workup.
For men the following factors can increase the chance of infertility:
•Infection with the mumps virus after puberty
•Chronic illness such as diabetes, cancer, or thyroid disease
•Testicular tumors, cysts or cancer, varicoceles
or if you currently:
•Take medications such as some steroids or antihypertensives
•Smoke tobacco or marijuana
•Use a hot tub or sauna regularly
•Go on frequent long-distance bike rides
Keep the Honeymoon Alive : Best Romantic Movies
An Affair to Remember
From Here to Eternity
Gone with the Wind
An Officer and a Gentleman
Prelude to a Kiss
Shakespeare in Love
Somewhere in Time
The Way We Were
When Harry Met Sally
On the Town
Event: The Capitol Movement Project
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, June 10
Location: Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. NW , Washington, DC
Details; The show features modern, jazz and hip-hop dances by the following choreographers: Adrian Bolton, Joseph Nantanovan, Thomas Ford, Darrin Henson, Liz Imperio and Lee Martino.
Event: Tappers With Attitude:
Editorial Review by Kirsten Bodensteiner reported on a December 2005 performance for The Washington Post:
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, June 10
Location: Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at Maryland University
Address: University of Maryland, University Boulevard and Stadium Drive, College Park, MD
Price: $25, students and seniors $20, ages 12 and under $15
Tappers from 8 to 18 took the stage Saturday night at Dance Place to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Tappers With Attitude Youth Ensemble. The dancers, who make the Knock on Wood Tap Studio in Silver Spring their home, are divided into three performing groups based on age and ability -- the Junior Company, the Apprentice Company and the Core Company. All ages looked well rehearsed; the rhythms were crisp and clean. They also demonstrated an impressive memory for movement -- among the three companies, 22 pieces were performed during the 21/2-hour concert. That's a lot of rhythm to remember.
Dance and Romance Date Night Ideas
Dance and Romance: 70's Salsa Nights At Habana Village
Event: Ache Productions Presents Old Skool Underground
Dates: Every Wednesday at 9:00
Location: 1834 Columbia Road, NW Washington DC 20009 (Adams Morgan)
Details: Featuring DJ (Jim) El Duro , spinning the best in of the 60's and 70's on Vinyl. No cover charge and jeans are OK. Drink specials, from 9:30-11:30pm include $3 for beers and $6 for Mojitos. Join EL Duro as he takes you back to the roots of Salsa.
Click here to learn more about salsa!
Vendor Special Offers
We have done market research, pre-screened and personally used these vendors and negotiated these savings on your behalf to save you time, money and energy so you can focus on enjoying newlywed bliss! Click on the banners below to view their websites.
Brian Block - RE/MAX Allegiance
Now that you are about to merge your life with your fiance, you may be looking to sell or purchase real estate. Click the banner below to leisurely view Northern Virginia Area homes from the comfort of your home. Brian Block is a Real Estate Agent and Real Estate Attorney. 703-626-0715. Present this coupon to receive:
1.Information about upcoming, local FREE Home buyer's Seminar with expert advice from a real estate professional and a mortgage lender. (value priceless)
1. A FREE HOME APPRAISAL (value $350)
2. 2 FREE private ballroom dance lessons when you use his services for purchasing your home. (value $170)
The Wedding Dance Specialists
Grand Opening Sale! Save 10% on private wedding dance lessons when you take ALL of your lessons at our new COLUMBIA location! Lessons may be scheduled up to one year after date of purchase. Sale expires June 15, 2006.
Whether you are newlywed who know someone who is getting married or an engaged couple planning a wedding, now's the time to lock in the rate! Gift certificates available.
Dollars and Sense :
Tips for Avoiding Credit Card Theft
Identity theft can happen to anyone and it’s important to take steps to protect personal information. Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal identifying information without your permission. The thief might obtain credit or open bank accounts in your name, make purchases using your credit card or even acquire a fake driver’s license or Social Security card in your name. Here are some tips to help you prevent being a credit card theft victim.
- Guard your social security number. Give out your Social Security number only when absolutely necessary or when required by law. Everyone ages 25 and older can expect to receive a Social Security statement in the mail each year. Check it thoroughly for any discrepancies.
- Memorize PIN numbers. When creating passwords or personal identification numbers (PINs), do not use the last four digits of your Social Security number, your birthday, your mother’s maiden name or anything else that could easily be discovered by thieves. And don’t write down your PINs or passwords. Instead, commit them to memory.
- Shred or finely tear any documents that contain personal information. This includes bank statements, credit reports, credit card offers, charge receipts, insurance forms, checks and bank statements.
- Carry a minimum of personal information. Don’t carry extra credit cards, Social Security card, birth certificate or passport in your wallet or purse unless you need it. As a precaution, make copies of your credit cards, and record your bank and investment account numbers.
- Monitor bank statements and credit card bills. Thoroughly check your credit card and bank statements each month for unauthorized or fraudulent activity. You should also pay attention to your billing cycles, and follow up with your bank or creditors if bills or statements don’t arrive on time.
- Secure your mail. Identity thieves have been known to raid mailboxes for personal information. Promptly remove delivered mail from your mailbox.
- Treat personal information with care. Don’t divulge personal information on the phone or the Internet, unless you have initiated the contact and know the company is reputable.
- Install a firewall. A firewall on your computer may help to prevent hackers from obtaining personal identifying information and financial data from your hard drive. And before disposing of your computer, remove data by using a strong “wipe” utility program. Don’t rely solely on the delete function to remove files containing sensitive information.
- Check your credit report. Review your credit report at least once a year to check for errors and fraudulent use of your account. Consumers can now get a free copy of their credit report annually.
Whatcha Cooking Good Looking? Poached Peaches in Champagne
2 large ripe peaches, preferably white
2 cups dry champagne
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 small vanilla bean
3 large strawberries
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/4 medium lemon, squeezed for juice
1 cup Whipped Cream
2 large mint leaves for garnish
Make a very light incision all around peach skins. Plunge the peaches briefly into boiling water, then into cold water, and peel. Place in a shallow pan and douse with champagne. Add the syrup and vanilla bean. Bring to a slow boil over low heat, and poach peaches at about 185°F, but do not allow boiling. If peaches are very ripe, they will be poached after 5 minutes.
Place peaches and syrup in a cool place, but do not refrigerate. Drain peaches, reserving the poaching liquid. Wash strawberries; remove any leaves, and purée in a blender or food processor. Place in a bowl and stir sugar into the purée. Stir whipped cream into the strawberry purée and add lemon juice.
Serve on round plates, or in glass dishes or small bowls. Line the bottom of the dishes with strawberry cream and arrange the cooled, but not chilled, peaches on top. Garnish each peach with a mint sprig. Serve the chilled poaching liquid separately in a sauce boat.
Yield: 2 servings
How Do You Eat That?
Artichokes: Pluck off the leaves and scrape the tender part between teeth, preferably after dipping in melted butter. Work your way to the delicate inner leaves, then use a knife to cut off the remaining small leaves and feathery innards. Cut the artichole heart into bite size pieces and eat with a fork.
Asparagus: Eat with fingers if served raw or eat with fork and knife if served with dinner.
Bread: Break bread into bite-sized pieces, and butter or dip in olive oil one piece at a time.
Fajitas: Place all fillings on the flat tortilla. Roll up and use fingers to eat fajita from one end.
Fondue: Spear bread, veggies, or fruit with fondue spear and dip into cheese or sauce. Remove food from spear using dinner fork and eat from a plate. Do not double dip. Spear uncooked meat and place spear in broth or sauce. When cooked, transfer meat to a plate using a dinner fork and cut into smaller pieces to eat.
Lobster: Wear a lobster bib to avoid splatters. Use a small fork to extract meat. Cut bigger pieces wit a fork and also use a fork to dip into butter. To clean hands, dip fingers into finger bowl and use lemon if provided.
Raw shellfish: Use a small fork to extract mussels, clams or oysters from the half shell. In an informal setting, you may quietly slurp shellfish from shells.
Soup: Using a soup spoon, spoon soup away from your body and quietly sip from the side of the spoon. Tilt bowl away from you and spoon up remaining drops.
Spaghetti: Twirl pasta with fork tines into bit size portions, and allow any dangling pieces to fall back onto your fork. You may also rest fork tines against the bowl of a spoon while you twirl pasta.
Steamers: Extract clam from shell using a small fork, and use a fork and knife to remove inedible neck. In informal settings, it is permissible to use fingers.
Love is like Magic
And it will always be,
For love still remains
Life’s sweet mystery!
Love works in ways
That are wondrous and strange
And there’s nothing in life
That love cannot change!
Love can transform
The most commonplace
Into beauty and splendor
And sweetness and grace!
Love is unselfish,
Understanding and kind,
For it sees with its heart
And not with its mind!
Love is the answer
That everyone seeks.
Love is the language
That every heart speaks.
Love can’t be bought,
It is priceless and free,
Love like pure magic
Is sweet mystery!