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Top 10s

Top Ten Tuesday: Our 2017 Favorites!


2017 definitely had its ups and downs! One thing it totally brought was GREAT television, movie, podcast, and book moments.

We’ve been chatting behind the scenes here about our favorites and we’d love to share them with you.

We also would LOVE to know what you think. We asked you guys on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram what your recommendations are.

So, please share and tag a friend! The more you know...

Without further ado, here are our 2017 Top Ten Faves.



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1) Boss Baby- “Alec Baldwin as a Baby Jack Donaghy. Yes!" -Chris Jones, Editor

2) The Last Jedi- "It’s just one of those movies you've got to watch in the theaters!" Leigh Anne Van Doren, Publisher and Karen Charney, Webmaster

3) The Disaster Artist - With 'The Disaster Artist,' James Franco transforms the tragicomic true-story of aspiring filmmaker and infamous Hollywood outsider Tommy Wiseau. “James Franco was awesome!” Chris Jones, Editor

4) Moana - “It’s one of the best movies Disney has made in years! An instant classic.” Megan Walsh, Advertising Associate and Brenda Sapanghila, Social Media Director

5) The Accountant - Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) is a mathematics savant with more affinity for numbers than people. Using a small-town CPA office as a cover, he makes his living as a freelance accountant for dangerous criminal organizations- Julie Brosnan, Advertising Associate

6) Spiderman Homecoming- “I was honestly surprised how much I liked this movie. It doesn’t have that Marvel feel, but in a good way. I also appreciate that Peter Parker is actuall a teen, like in the comics.” -Brenda Sapanghila, Social Media Director

7) Cars 3- “My boys loved it and so did I.” -Brenda Sapanghila, Social Media Director and Chris Jones, Editor

8) Jumanji-  “My co-workers at my other job all tell me it’s hysterical!” -Karen Charney, Webmaster

9) Baby Driver - Talented getaway driver Baby (Ansel Elgort) relies on the beat of his personal soundtrack to be the best in the game. After meeting the woman (Lily James) of his dreams, he sees a chance to ditch his shady lifestyle and make a clean break. - Leigh Anne Van Doren, Publisher

10) American Made - “It’s dark, but hands down the BEST movie I saw all year.” Leigh Anne Van Doren, Publisher



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1) Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes To Those Who Create It, by Charlemagne Tha God - “I love origin stories and learning about the early careers of successful influencers.” -Chris Jones, Editor

2) Welcome To The Goddamn Ice-Cube, Blair Braverman “I love a good non-fiction adventure story!” Brenda Sapanghila, Social Media Director

3) Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert “Not new to 2017, but one that I constantly come back to when I need inspiration or a reset.”-Brenda Sapanghila, Social Media Director

4) Name Of The Wind, The KingKiller Chronicles, Patrick Rothfuss “It’s a classic fantasy right up there with Tolkien. There I said it. Rothfuss is absolutely brilliant at creating entire worlds and deeply complex characters.” -Brenda Sapanghila, Social Media Director

5) Harry Potter, The Prisoner of Azkaban and The Sorcerer’s Stone “Awesome books for reading out loud to your kids!” - Megan Walsh, Media and Advertising Director, and Brenda Sapanghila, Social Media Director

6) Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, Trevor Noah - Autobiographical comedy book written by the South African comedian Trevor Noah. His unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth - Chris Jones, Editor

7) Turtles All The Way Down, John Greene -Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis. -Leigh Anne Van Doren, Publisher

8) Braving The Wilderness, Brene Brown - In Braving the Wilderness, Brown redefines what it means to truly belong in an age of increased polarization. With her trademark mix of research, storytelling, and honesty, Brown will again change the cultural conversation while mapping a clear path to true belonging. -Chris Jones, Editor

9) The Silver Music Box- A captivating cross-generational novel from German author Mina Baites about a Jewish family divided by World War II and an inheritance with the power to bring them back together. "I couldn't put it down." - Karen Charney, Webmaster

10) Uncommon Type, Tom Hanks - This is Tom Hank’s first collection of his short stories. They are surprising, intelligent, heartwarming, and, for the millions and millions of Tom Hanks fans, an absolute must-have! - Leigh Anne Van Doren, Publisher


Television Shows

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1) Jessica Jones-“Season 2 starts in 2018! Binge watch season 1 while you can. It’s so well written and is a superhero show without feeling like a superhero show. Don’t expect costumes and a perfect ending. Expect lots of snark and heart.” - Brenda Sapanghila, Social Media Director

2) Stranger Things- “It just gets 80s nostalgia right without being too on-the-nose. Excellent classic storytelling, too. And Winona Ryder!! Wow!” - Brenda Sapanghila, Social Media Director; Leigh Anne Van Doren, Publisher; and Karen Charney, Webmaster

3) Game Of Thrones, Season Finale, “That battle scene was better than any movie production I’ve ever seen. The whole series is pop culture must see, but specifically that episode.” - Brenda Sapanghila, Social Media Director and Megan Walsh, Media and Advertising Director

4) Vikings- If you love Game of Thrones, you’ll probably like Vikings. It’s inspired by the sagas of Viking Ragnar Lothbrok, one of the best-known legendary Norse heroes and notorious as the scourge of England and France. The show portrays Ragnar as a farmer who rises to fame by successful raids into England, and eventually becomes a Scandinavian king, with the support of his family and fellow warriors. - Megan Walsh, Media and Advertising Director

5) Vice Principals - An over-protective father is obsessed with becoming a principal and competes against the popular vice principal. However something happens that makes them work together to save the day. “It’s hilarious!”- Megan Walsh, Media and Advertising Director

6) Brooklyn Nine Nine -“It’s laugh-out-loud funny and exactly the feel good TV show we all need right now. It’s Scrubs, but at a police precinct. Everyone on that show is just on their game in every single episode.” - Brenda Sapanghila, Social Media Director

7) Schitt’s Creek- When rich video store magnate Johnny Rose, and his family suddenly find themselves broke, they are forced to leave their pampered lives to regroup in Schitt's Creek. “Season 4 starts January 24th! Binge watch the first season now. ” - Julie Brosnan, Media and Advertising Director

9) The Flash - “I'm a DC comics fanboy!” - Chris Jones, Editor

10) Travelers - Hundreds of years from now, surviving humans discover how to send consciousness back through time, into people of the 21st century, while attempting to save humanity from a terrible future.“I'm a big fan of time travel shows, and this one is on point.”- Karen Charney, Webmaster



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1) Afford Anything- “Afford Anything is a movement rooted in one idea: You can afford anything, but not everything — and that’s true not only for your money, but also your time, focus, energy and attention. Host Paula Pant dives all the way into this topic, but totally makes it approachable and fun.” - Brenda Sapanghila, Social Media Director

2) Call Your Girlfriend - “I just discovered this awesome podcast. Two best friends breakdown politics, culture, careers, movies, feminism, everything.” - Brenda Sapanghila, Social Media Director

3) Young House Love Has A Podcast -“Brain candy, but in the best way. This married duo behind the addictive Young House Love blog is even better behind the mic. The design tips are icing on the cake.” - Brenda Sapanghila, Social Media Director

4) The Art and Business Of Writing - Writing and business tips and advice, plus interviews with authors and writers, and creative professionals who influence the writing life. Created and hosted by our own editor, Chris Jones!

5) She Speaks Stories - If you loved our blogger Susan Wanderer, you’ll want to check out her podcast. Real stories from real people. - Karen Charney, Webmaster

6) Generation Why - “I’m a true crime addict.” - Chris Jones, Editor

7) Tell Em Steve Dave - Explicit, so maybe not the best to listen to on the way to school. Very funny though! The podcast is Two Comic Book Men and an Impractical Joker. “Not new, but I’m a long time fan”- Julie Brosnan, Media and Advertising Director

8) My Favorite Murder -“For all my true crime fans out there!”Julie Brosnan, Media and Advertising Director

9) This American Life - From Chicago Public Radio. “Real stories that make you think!” - Karen Charney, Webmaster

10) Your Move with Andy Stanley. From the Your Move website: The show is called Your Move because Andy does all the talking, so it needed a title that helps you remember you’re supposed to do something. Otherwise, it’s just a lecture, and that’s what high school was for. LOL "Good, practical advice on how to improve your relationships, your finances, and your spiritual life." - Karen Charney, Webmaster


What were your favorites?


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Top Ten Places To See Christmas Lights In And Around Fredericksburg 2017

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How is Christmas just under two weeks away?? Are you ready? One of our favorite ways to get into the holiday spirit is by checking out Christmas lights, hot cocoa in hand, surrounded by family. Here are a few of our favorite places to do just that!


Top Ten Places To See Christmas Lights In And Around Fredericksburg






Concert in Lights-Every night on the green across from Bravo in the Village Town Center, watch a concert in lights! 6:30, 7:30, 8:30 and 9:30pm shows, with a Christmas Eve finale at 5:30pm. *Check out this week's live Ask The Expert for more info!

Paul's Bakery Light ShowWhat's better than doughnuts and christmas lights? Pull up to the parking lot adjacent to Paul's (2006 Lafayette Blvd.) and enjoy a small, local Christmas treasure. Admission is free. Visitors are invited to bring a donation for Toys for Tots. Donations are also accepted during business hours at Paul's Bakery and Paul's Young at Heart.

The Historic Fredericksburg Foundation's Annual Candle Light Tour- Okay, this one has sadly already passed for 2017, BUT you can still plan ahead for 2018! It's a rare opportunity to tour several of Fredericksburg's finest historic homes by candlelight at Christmas time.

Jingle Bell Carriage Ride- Ride in a horse-drawn carriage fitted with jingle bells through Downtown Fredericksburg. It's such a magical place to be this time of year! The Christmas lights and window displays are absolutely beautiful. From their website, "Bring the whole family to participate in our Most Popular Ride of the year. Indulge in some holiday fun; experience a jingle bell carriage ride, with holiday music, Christmas Popcorn, bring some hot chocolate and warm blankets to snuggle up in. We will travel down Caroline Street to see the orated store windows, past Kenmore Plantation, down Washington Avenue, then wind your way past Fredericksburg's official Christmas Tree."

5 Children's Christmas Tree in Hurkamp Park- The tree has been light this year, and shines beautifully every night. It's the perfect place to visit after a date night. Christmas lights are so romantic!


Worth The Trip:


Zoo Lights- So a trip into DC during the holidays may not be on everyone's wish list, but you have to make an exception for ZooLights at least once! "Join the thousands of visitors who make ZooLights a part of their annual holiday tradition. ZooLights includes live music performances, tasty winter treats, and plenty of opportunities for holiday shopping. More than 500,000 environmentally-friendly LED lights transform the Zoo into a winter wonderland."

Dominion GardenFest of Lights- Did you know the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden Richmond had a light show? It sounds like it's pretty spectacular. Especially at such a beautiful location. The Dominion GardenFest Of Lights is "a holiday tradition featuring more than half-a-million twinkling lights, hand-crafted botanical decorations, model trains, holiday dinners, fire pit with s'mores and hot chocolate (for purchase); nightly family activities & more. The region's ultimate holiday extravaganza!"

Illuminate The Night Light Show- In Doswell Va (Near Richmond). "As you drive through the park you will experience hundreds of thousands of LED lights synchronized to music from your car radio. The show features an 80-foot tunnel of lights, 50-foot Christmas trees, dancing snowmen and festive decorations. After the show, spend some time in Santa's Village, where fun awaits your whole family. There will be pictures with Santa, children’s activities, Christmas trees, food and more." Santa AND an amazing light show? What's not to love.

The Bull Run Festival Of Lights- Again, this is a bit of a trek, but totally worth doing at least once! They have "Over 40,000 lights set to music and playing every night."


Our Personal Favorite:


In your home, snuggled up by the tree with the people you love.- We can't think of a more cheerful place to enjoy Christmas lights than at home with family and friends.



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Pouches' Community Corner

Trains, Planes and Automobiles Kids' Race Series


From a small beginning, Cathy Weise of the Ron Rosner YMCA has developed an ambitious three-race series for kids for this summer, with the help of The Great Train Race, Shannon Airport, Dominion Raceway & Entertainment, the Fredericksburg Area Service League and Race Timing Unlimited.

Great Train Race Director Jennifer Taylor was one of the first on board.