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Remember that time you sat in front of a TV or computer, ate a meal, but didn’t savor a single bite?

Mindful eating is the act of being conscious of the flavor, texture, and smell of our foods as well as our thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations as we eat. This requires one to eat slowly and genuinely relish each bite.  It is not a diet, but mindful eating can help us achieve a healthy weight.

Eating mindlessly is an unconscious habit of eating without paying attention to what, how, why or how much we eat.  Have you ever sat in front of the TV or computer and eaten a meal, but didn’t savor a single bite?

This is an example of mindless eating and it can be triggered by external factors such as stress, food advertisements, or when the time of day tells us to eat. Mindless eating often includes “comfort foods” chosen to soothe our emotions, rather than to nourish our bodies.  Eating mindlessly or while distracted, we tend to ignore our bodies’ “full signals” and consume excess calories, which can lead to weight gain.

To begin eating mindfully, start by asking some of the following questions:

  • Am I hungry?
  • Why am I eating this?
  • Does my body need this? Does this food promote health or not?
  • Pay attention to how full you are before, during and after eating.
  • Notice the colors, smells, textures, and flavors of your food.
  • Investigate where your food came from: Was it grown on a local farm or processed in a factory? Who prepared it? 
  • Notice how the food makes you feel while eating it
  • Be aware of cravings and what triggers them: Are you bored? Lonely? Tired? Angry?  You may discover that you eat to mask uncomfortable feelings or emotions.

Keep a food journal of what you eat and your mood, hunger, and fullness levels before and after eating to increase your awareness of your eating habits.  Once aware, you can make small changes one at a time, to help develop a mindful relationship with food.


  • Eating seated (rather than standing at the fridge or counter)
  • Eating undistracted (rather than in front of an electronic device)
  • Eating with your non-dominant hand 

(Fun fact: one of my clients broke her wrist and lost eight pounds in the month that she used her non-dominant hand to eat.)

One benefit of mindful eating you may notice is an increased enjoyment of food as you slow down and savor meals.  You may learn to enjoy healthy food and how it makes you feel. 

You may slowly begin to realize that unhealthy food does not taste as good as you previously thought and it does not make you feel good. You may also learn to eat when you are truly hungry and stop when you are full, but not stuffed. All of the above benefits of mindful eating may naturally lead to some weight loss.

Finally, as you start to enjoy the experience of being present as you eat, you may become more present in life and enjoy life more.

From walking to paddling, doggie exercise is important

Do you own a dog? If so, you may sometimes ask yourself if your four-legged friend is getting enough exercise.

Exercise is essential for dogs to live happy and healthy while under your care. Dog owners always ensure that their pet is getting enough food throughout the day. However, food alone is not the only factor that affects a pet’s health and well-being.

Making sure your dog is active is just as crucial as balancing their diet.

We may think that our energetic furry friends must be getting enough exercise by running around the house. However, the amount of exercise a dog needs varies by the kind of dog it is, its age, and its weight.

If you have a small breed of dogs, such as a Pomeranian or a corgi, they may not require as much exercise as a larger breed like a German shepherd or a golden retriever. According to PetMD, an average of 30-60 minutes of daily activity is necessary to maintain your dog’s health. Pets with special needs may require different types of exercise suggested by their vet.

Giving your pet the necessary amount of exercise is a simple matter of finding out how much activity they require. Often times, a walk or a jog around your neighborhood will be more than enough to keep your furry friend happy and healthy.

Aside from exercising, taking your dog out daily is a perfect way to bond with them, which positively affects their mental health. Making time in your daily schedule to be with your dog outdoors can be as much of an enjoyment for you as it is for them. Always remember that our pets are happiest when we are around, but especially when we are spending time with them.

The Manassas Park Department of Parks and Recreation knows the importance of including pets when discussing family health. That is why we created our annual Doggie Paddle, which brings together dogs and owners from all over the area to enjoy a nice day of swimming to help keep everyone active. Our 9th Annual Doggie Paddle will take place at Signal Bay Waterpark on September 8, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Dogs will be able to jump into the lazy river, splash in kiddie pools, and run through sprinklers while parents socialize and talk about how cute they are! There is a limit of two dogs per handler, and proof of distemper, parvo, and rabies must be shown in order to enter.

The event is $5 per dog and is cash only. Unruly dogs will be asked to leave, and female dogs in heat will not be allowed in the event for the safety of all dogs and people attending the event. We hope you will join us and keep your pets as healthy as they can be!

The Manassas Park Community Center is located at 99 Adams Street in Manassas Park, VA. Managed by the City of Manassas Park Department of Parks and Recreation, the facility is home to basketball courts, a swimming pool, wellness areas, special events, and recreational classes.

For more information visit us at or call at 703-335-8872.

For the first time ever, the new Cirque Italia gold unit is coming to Woodbridge

Don’t miss the fun August 16 – 19 at Potomac Mills 

Did you know Cirque Italia has two traveling shows?

For the first time ever, The new gold unit is coming to Woodbridge with the state of the art water show you don’t want to miss! 

Cirque Italia has grown to the point where the next logical step can only be to expand operations and double our presence at the national level. In response to our wonderful fans all over the U.S., and with over 90% of shows being sold out, NOW is the perfect time for a substantial investment.

Beginning in 2017, Cirque Italia, the first traveling Water Circus, introduced a second unit, the Gold Unit: a luxurious experience where technology and performing arts are mixed to create a one-of-a-kind show. Now for 2018, a brand-new performance has been created.

This new performance will feature an ultra-modern water curtain that controls every droplet of water meticulously. Audience members can expect to see words and beautiful patterns as the waterfalls to the ‘lagoon’ below.


Cirque Italia is ready to provide a breathtaking experience. This new stage by itself is enough to amaze the most demanding audience, and synchronized with the most creative display of superhuman talent – the result is simply out of this world!   

The latest trends of the industry are challenged with every Cirque Italia appearance and this 2nd unit is not going to be any different. A careful casting selection has united the best artists from all over the world. This production will feature acts all the way from Russia to Mexico. Cirque Italia believes in multi-culturalism as one of our strongest assets.

Packed full of incredible acts, there is no room for boredom. The variety presented is exceptional.

For those who enjoy whimsy, we have an Avatar. There is almost no bodily limit for our contortionist, Ricardo, as he bends in ways you would never have imagined.


Our incredible wheel of death performance features a front summersault flip, something you will be hard-pressed to see anywhere else. If that doesn’t get your head spinning, perhaps our five roller skaters and their incredible tricks and turns will.

And although Cirque Italia does not use animals in our performances, this year we will be featuring amazing lifelike elephant puppets. They are so well made, you might just think they are real.

Whether it’s a futuristic laser act or mesmerizing aerial performances, the show has something for all tastes and expectations. One thing Cirque Italia sets out to accomplish is to create a type of world-class entertainment suitable for all age groups. 

This new second unit also follows the same strict animal-free policy that makes the Water Circus stand out from other circus entertainment shows. The “magic touch” of the Italian entrepreneur Manuel Rebecchi, President and Owner of Cirque Italia, added to the flawless direction of the COO, Chanté DeMoustes, and has turned this once romantic project into a successful production known and acclaimed all over the country.

Don’t miss the opportunity to be amazed and transported to a fantastic realm where your deepest dreams can — and will — come true. For more information visit and make sure to check all our social media accounts.

Tickets can be purchased now starting at $10 – $50 depending on availability.  Cirque Italia offers one free child admission with every full-priced paying adult ticket in levels 2 or 3. This offer cannot be combined with any other offers, discounts or deals. Please call 941-704-8572 to find out the promo code for this location.

Eight shows will he be held at Potomac Mills mall located at 2700 Potomac Mills Circle in Woodbridge from Thursday, August 16 to Sunday, August 19.

Woman found stabbed to death on bed

MANASSAS — Police said they found a woman inside a home who died of stab wounds, and that the person who called 911 is the one who killed her.

From Prince William police: 

Murder Investigation – On August 13 at 8:51PM, officers responded to a residence located in the 8300 block of Rolling Rd in Manassas (20110) to investigate a death. The caller contacted police after he had discovered his roommate, identified as an adult woman, lying in her bed suffering from multiple stab wounds to the upper body. Rescue personnel responded and pronounced the victim dead at the scene.

Upon further investigation, detectives from the Homicide Unit were able to determine that the caller and the victim had been involved in a verbal altercation earlier that day. The argument escalated when the accused stabbed the victim multiple times, ultimately killing her.

The victim and the accused were known to one and were tenants of the same residence. The victim’s body was transported to the Medical Examiner’s Office in Manassas for an autopsy. Following the investigation, the accused, identified as Willie Sykes DAWSON, was arrested.

                Arrested on August 14:

                Willie Sykes DAWSON, 68, of 8317 Rolling Rd in Manassas

                Charged with murder

                Court Date: September 19, 2018 | Bond: Held WITHOUT Bond



                The victim was identified as Gloria Jean PIPER, 60, of Manassas

Police identify victim in Manassas area murder

From Prince William police: 

Murder Investigation *VICTIM IDENTIFIED – Detectives from the Homicide Unit confirmed the identity of the victim killed at a residence located in the 8900 block of Rugby Rd in Manassas on August 10. The accused, identified as Dale Andrew WOLFE, has been arrested in connection to the death which stemmed from an altercation inside the residence. The accused and the victim were known to one another.


               The victim was identified as Terri Jo HILBRAND, 54, of Manassas

Murder Investigation [Previously Released] – On August 10 at 11:47PM, officers responded to a residence located in the 8900 block of Rugby Rd in Manassas (20109) to investigate an assault. A caller contacted police on behalf of her neighbor who reported that he witnessed a family member, identified as the accused, assaulting another person inside his residence.

When officers arrived at the home, they located an adult woman, later believed to be an acquaintance of the accused, unconscious near the front door of the residence. As officers were checking the home, they located the accused in another area of the residence where he was detained without further incident. The female victim initially located by officers was pronounced dead at the scene.

The investigation revealed that the homeowner, an 84-year-old man, was sleeping in his bedroom when he woke to the sound of a commotion inside the residence. Upon checking on the noise, he observed the accused physically assaulting a woman with a blunt object. The homeowner attempted to intervene and was pushed aside by the accused, sustaining a minor injury. The homeowner then fled the residence and went to a neighbor’s home where police were contacted.

The investigation further showed that the accused and the woman were involved in an altercation that escalated. After being detained, officers discovered that the accused had a laceration to his arm. Both the accused and the homeowner were transported to an area hospital for treatment. The deceased victim was transported to the Medical Examiner’s Office in Manassas for an autopsy and to confirm her identity. The victim’s identity will be released once a next-of-kin has been notified.

The investigation continues.

                Arrested on August 11:

                Dale Andrew WOLFE, 56, of the 8900 block of Rugby Rd in Manassas

Charged with murder

Court Date: September 25, 2018 | Bond: Held WITHOUT Bond

It’s that time of year: Top 13 things you absolutely must have for college

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: back to school!

For those of you heading off to college, that means you need to take along some necessities for maintaining as much of your lifestyle as possible in a sparsely furnished room with cinder block walls, also known as a dorm.

You’re smart enough to know you need to bring the basics — clothes, towels, sheets, blankets, toiletries. And you know you need pens, pencils, highlighters, notebooks — whatever tools of the school trade work for you.

But what about the rest of the stuff? We’ve put together some tried-and-true tips, based on the experience of students and parents, about what other items you might want to consider bringing.

Here are a baker’s dozen of the best ideas for you to choose from:

1. Coffee.

First things first: Get yourself caffeinated for class. If coffee is what you need to get going in the mornings, you might want to bring a small coffee maker. A Keurig-style machine can also give you hot water for tea, hot chocolate, soup or even an emergency dose of instant mac-and-cheese.

But mostly, it’s for the coffee. Sometimes, we’re all like Lauren Graham’s character, Lorelai, from The Gilmore Girls: “I can’t stop drinking the coffee. I stop drinking coffee, I stop doing the standing, and the walking, and the words-putting-into-sentences doing.”

2. Water bottle.

You also need to be sure to keep yourself hydrated. Many experts recommend drinking water first thing in the morning (even before that coffee). Lots of college cafeterias and even classroom buildings come equipped with water fountains (many of which are filtered) so you can keep that bottle full all the time.

3. Laptop.

Now we’re into the educational necessities, and a computer is at the top of that list. You’ll be using your laptop for everything from writing term papers to creating presentations to watching Netflix.

If you’re thinking about getting a Mac, or any other Apple device, this is the time to get in touch with the experts at Experimac Manassas because they have several Back-to-School specials now through Aug. 25:

• Get 15% off (up to $50) Apple laptops.
• Buy a MacBook Pro and get a free laptop cover. 
• Buy an iMac and get a free six-month performance tune-up.
• Prince William and Fairfax County school employees get 15% off (up to $25) any Apple product or repair.

Anyone looking for a college laptop should consider that Macs offer numerous advantages over their rivals, such as an intuitive operating system, built-in security defenses, and included apps and software. They’re renowned for graphics, video and music capabilities. And opting for a used or refurbished laptop is a great way to save money on college expenses.

If you already have an Apple laptop, the specialists at Experimac can perform diagnostics to be sure it’s in the best shape for the new school year. They can help you increase the speed of your Mac, store information on a hard drive or transfer data to a newer product.

As Ron Mosely, Experimac’s owner puts it, “We can get them running just as fast as — or sometimes faster than — new.”

Basically, these gurus can give your laptop the tune-up it needs to get you through the school year. And best of all — no reservation is needed and you can avoid those infamous long lines at the Apple store.

4. Cell phone.

Yes, this one goes without saying, but make sure you’ve got the right service plan. For instance, if you use a note-taking app, be sure you’ve got enough data to cover your needs.

And if your iPhone screen is cracked or damaged, you can get it replaced and get 50% off the screen protector you should have had in the first place at Experimac through Aug. 25.

5. Power cords.

Now that you’ve got your laptop and phone ready to go — along with anything else that needs to be charged — make sure you’ve got what you need to keep them juiced up. Dorm rooms are notorious for not having enough outlets, so be prepared with power strips, HDMI cords and extra long charging cables. An extension cord can be handy, too, but make sure they’re allowed where you’re going to be living.

6. Backpack.

Just like Dora the Explorer, you need a backpack to haul your stuff in. There are tons of options, colors and features out there. Ultimately, it boils down to what works best for your specific needs. 

7. Laundry supplies.

Yes, you have to do it yourself now, so you’re going to need the supplies: laundry detergent, fabric softener or dryer sheets if that’s your jam and possibly a lot of quarters. Plus, you need a sturdy basket to put it all in. And if you’re really prepared, you’ll also toss in a sewing kit for reattaching buttons that are bound to get lost.

8. Shower shoes.

Get yourself some flip-flops for walking to and from the shower — and for wearing in the shower. They don’t need to be fancy; cheap ones will do the job. But save yourself a case of athlete’s foot.

9. Umbrella.

You still have to walk to class even when it’s raining, so make it a sturdy one that can withstand wind gusts, keeping you and your books dry.

10. Dorm Decor.

This is very subjective. You can do as much or as little as you want here. The goal is to make yourself feel comfortable by creating the kind of environment where you can sleep and study, hang out with friends, or just chill. You can go all out with colorful bedding, string lights, tapestries, even peel and stick wallpaper. It’s up to you. As you will learn via a quick search of the words “dorm décor ideas,” there are myriad ideas online (and that’s before you look at Pinterest).

11. Command strips.

You’re going to need something to hang your decor on those cinder block walls, which means those handy peel-and-stick Command strips are about to be your new best friend.

12. Cold medication.

Here’s some real advice from a real college student — Hannah Kanfer, a writer for Her Campus at George Mason, which pretty much makes her an expert on what to bring.

“If you want to know how most of my bonus bucks were spent, it was me walking in to One-Stop at awful hours of the night just for Nyquil or some cough drops,” Kanfer wrote. “We should all just accept that you’re going to get sick at least once a school year (because college is a life-size petri dish), and if you’re one of the lucky ones who doesn’t get sick, give it to a friend in need (like me).”

13. And finally, snacks.

As Kanfer explained, “Not once during college did I think, ‘I have too many snacks.’ Admittedly, this tip may encourage the sophomore/junior/senior 15, but let’s be real, a bag of Cheetos always sounds good.”

Final advice: Don’t overdo it here. If you forget something, you can always get it later. Maybe your parents want an excuse to come visit or send you a care package. Or maybe you need a reason to spend a weekend back at home. Just don’t over pack; you’ll be fine.