Monday, May 23, 2011

Enough with the JUNK MAIL!

Marketers no longer must purchase mailing lists to send you junk mail, they can use "saturation mail" through the post office.  This makes it easier and cheaper... and perhaps the result is you'll be getting more of it.  In fact, that is the goal of the US Post Office.  They need the revenue.

It may be what the post office wants, but it is what you want?  Do you like junk mail?  What about SPAM?  There are things you can do to control both.  At these web sites you can opt in or out of receiving several types of marketing materials.  Check them out. ~ A site where you can register to choose what catalogs you want to receive or those you want to block. If you dig deeper you can get your name off lists for charities and product offers. ~ Don't want offers from credit card companies and banks?  Here's where you opt out of those. This non-profit group got its start in the ecology/green movement and over 1.3 million households now manage what comes into their mailboxes.  You can even cancel your phonebook!

Stay tuned to Living In Lo Co for more local insights! 
Interested in the real estate market?  Check out The Real Estate Whisperer blog for invaluable secrets and truths about the market and the industry....and get your news tidbits fast by joining us on Facebook at

Most importantly, know that real estate is local and specific to YOUR circumstances,
so for personalized advise, contact me directly:


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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Real Estate Tax Exemption for Disabled Vets

If you're a disabled vet in Loudoun County, you've been waiting for this.  The forms are available and you can now apply for the exemption for your real estate taxes. 

Real estate taxes in Loudoun are pretty high, mostly related to growth in recent decades.... somebody's got to pay for those schools, roads and the other infrastructure here.  I do enjoy the benefits of living and Loudoun, and honestly, don't really mind paying for them. 

That's probably what our Vets here thought, too... until they became disabled.  With less income, it becomes much more of a burden to pay for all of that infrastructure.  And now they can get a pass! 

I would just like to take this opportunity, from the bottom of my heart, to thank ALL our Vets for their many sacrifices... sacrifices I am not brave enough to make personally.  What would I do without you?  You are all HEROS to me.

Here's the email from Loudoun with details:

Loudoun County Commissioner of the Revenue, Robert S. Wertz, Jr. reports that his office has forms available for veterans to claim the new real estate tax exemption authorized by Virginia voters last November. This legislation provides for an exemption from Loudoun County real estate taxes on the principal dwelling and up to three acres for veterans with a 100 percent service-connected, total and permanent disability. Persons desiring the exemption are required to file the necessary form and provide qualifying documentation. This exemption is also extended to the veteran’s surviving spouse, so long as the death of the veteran occurred on or after January 1, 2011, the real property is maintained as the survivor’s principal residence, and he or she does not remarry.

The new form may be obtained online at, by calling the Commissioner’s Office at 703-737-8557, or in the Commissioner’s offices in the County Government Center in Leesburg or the Loudoun Tech Center in Sterling.


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Monday, April 11, 2011

Homes in Loudoun

Are you looking for a home in Loudoun County? 

There's a new blog in town! Check out

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Friday, April 8, 2011

How to Find Your Lost Dog or Cat

Here in Loudoun we are big animal lovers.  In fact, on the Leesburg, Va fan page, we are often posting about lost or found dogs and cats, and one of my greatest joys in administering that page is the number of times we're involved in reuniting lost pets with their scared and lonely owners.  So I wanted to do a post on what to do when your pet is lost.  Check it out:
  1. Look for your pet.  Cats that are normally indoor cats don't go to far and are usually hiding close by.  Animals can also be injured, and may not be able to come to you. 
  2. Call the local Animal Shelter and register your lost pet.
  3. Setting traps for cats is encouraged - they hide well and will not come to you if they are scared.
  4. Find that great picture of your pet (maybe a couple) and post them on your facebook page, community pages (like the Leesburg page) and any fan pages of local animal companies or organizations (like rescue organizations, the local shelter, vets, and groomers).  Ask that they all "share" the announcement.
  5. Notify your vet.
  6. Make flyers and posters.  See tips here.
  7. Hand out your flyers to neighbors and visit the local pet stores, vets, groomers and shelter.  If the pet was lost in unfamiliar territory (while on vacation, after a recent move, etc). Be sure to do this kind of outreach in areas where your pet may go, as well as where they were lost. **
  8. Put up your posters. See tips here.
  9. Tag your car.  See tips here.
  10. Visit ALL the local animal shelters, even a few counties away, and continue to revisit the local pet stores and pet adoption organizations. *
  11. Register your lost pet online pet finder services like these:,,
  12. Contact local papers - often they will put free ads for you to announce your lost pet.

*  I really stress visiting the local animal shelters personally.  I lost a dog many years ago and was told repeatedly that there was no dog matching my dog's description there.  When we visited in person guess what we found?  Our dog.  He'd been there 2 weeks.
*  I also stress visiting more than one animal shelter.  My sister was renting a home in Berkley County WV, and her children let her 3 dogs out.  One came home by himself.  My sister tried to do all the "right things" including contacting local shelters about her missing dogs.  Six months later, she was at a picnic in Steven City, VA when someone showed up at the picnic, apologizing for being late, they had adopted a dog in Leesburg, VA... guess whose dog it was! What are the chances?  Somehow the dog ended up in the Loudoun County dog shelter, and after several weeks was given to a rescue organization who held frequent adoption events in Leesburg.  The chances of this happening are so astronomical I can't even fathom how it came together.  Sadly, the third dog was never returned.  The lesson here are that dogs can travel far and live on their own for a very long time - check with shelters even beyond the county where the dog is lost, and also with the rescue organizations (frequently). 
** When I was young, I had a dog that was "in love" with a neighbors dog when we lived in Oakton.  We moved to the Aldie area and my dog went back to his "girlfriend's" house many times - every time he could break away.  It's a long journey, the first time it took him 2 weeks, but after awhile he got the route down pat and he could make it there in a couple days. 
** When I was a teen, my dog got loose in Fauquier County (near Warrenton).  He returned to our home in Aldie on his own within 2 weeks.
** About 8 years ago, my cat (who we were trying to "make" an indoor cat and who was destined to be an indoor/outdoor cat) ran out our door and my husband chased him trying to get him back.  The cat was scared and ran and ran.  Eventually he wanted to come home, but had gotten lost running away.  He was found (thanks to our posters in the neighborhood) by a neighbor 2 streets over at a house that looked a lot like ours and which was also at the end of a culdesac.

Pets are our best friends.  Here in Loudoun we love our pets.  If you have a lost pet, please always post it on our facebook page - with nearly 4K residents online there, we can help you get the word out quickly to a wide audience.  We've been instrumental in reuniting several owners and their pets, and anytime there is a need, we want to be part of the solution.

This list of helpful hints and resources is brought to you by

Vicky Chrisner

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Thursday, April 7, 2011

RUN ME HOME (Benefit Race in Leesburg for Lo Co Adoption & Foster Care)

Keller Williams Realty supports "RUN ME HOME", an event to benefit children in Loudoun County by raising awareness and funding for Loudoun County Foster Care and Adoption.

When: Saturday, April 30, 2011, 7:30am
Distance: 5K, 10K, and Kids Fun Run
Course: The race features a fast and scenic course in Historic Leesburg, VA running along the W&OD trail. 

More information: Facebook @ Run Me Home or

The event is being coordinated by Brian Whritenour, Founder of Run Me Home and a fellow Keller Williams agent from our Loudoun Gateway Office.

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Monday, April 4, 2011

Cinderella Is Coming to Leesburg Again This Year!

Cinderella is coming!

Yes, ladies (and guys), Cinderella will be back in Leesburg at the National Conference Center in Leesburg in November, and she wants you to come to her tea party!  Tickets are now on sale, and at the moment are still at last year's price, so hurry because a price increase is expected. 

We're also looking for sponsors and volunteers.  If you've been before I know you'll understand there is a full six months worth of activities that take place before we can pull off such an event.  If you're interested, please contact Ann Kerr at 540.338.9040 or

To learn more about last year's event, visit ~ you can not purchase tickets this year from that site yet.  It has not been updated for the 2011 event.

And, stay tuned to to get the updates on sponsorships and events as they announced.

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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Little League Baseball Opening Day Ceremonies

Central Loudoun Little League held opening day ceremonies, despite the threat of rain, this morning at Good Times Park in NE Leesburg.

There are 976 kids registered in CLLL this year, which includes 22 coach pitch teams.

Little League is open for kids aged 4 to 12.  Last year, Little League adopted a rule allowing children as young as four years old to join.  Loudoun just adopted the rule this year.

FETCH, the Loudoun Hounds mascot, came out to help inspire and motivate during the Opening Day Ceremonies.  The kids loved meeting him personally.

See more photos at

This message brought to you by Vicky Chrisner, a Real Estate Sales Consultant, wife, mom and long time community member of the Dulles area who currently makes her home in Leesburg, VA.  Managing blogs like these and the Leesburg, VA facebook page are a labor of love. They are created and maintained for the benefit of friends, neighbors, and clients as a community resource.  Please enjoy! And, whenever you need real estate services, please think of her first...after all, now you have a friend in the business.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Home Sales by Season

I am often asked about what our local seasonal cycles are for real estate, so I thought I'd pass along this chart (thanks MRIS) for real estate sales volume in Loudoun County since 2006.  Despite fluxuations due to weather, tax programs, loan programs, interest rates and many other things, this chart shows a definitive cycle for our area.  Lowest sales have been occurring in January and February and the highest number of sales usually in June of every year. 

Keep in mind, this chart represents closed sales.  Most residential contracts are 30-60 days in contract (of course, with short sales that is longer, but I am speaking "generally" here). 

Is your home listed yet?  If you're thinking of selling this year, you may want to get a jump on things.  Buyers are out in force now, and are looking.  Many people won't put their homes on the market until June (they'll wait until school is out, etc), so often the early bird does get the worm.

Vicky Chrisner

Also see:
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Tell Congress Our Mortgages Need to be Deductible!

Congress is looking at many potential revisions to the tax code, including limiting the tax deductions for mortgage interest. This change could truly have a negative impact on our local & national real estate market. We need to let Congress know we want the mortgage interest deduction to be left alone! Click the link, follow the prompts.

Contacting Congress is easier than you'd think: CLICK HERE!

* * *
Vicky Chrisner

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Taste Test Tuesday!

It's Taste Test Tuesday!

OK, I will admit that I am stealing the "game" from, but I liked it.  Every Tuesday I will post pictures of 2 or more homes and ask for your favorite.  I might shake it up a bit just for variety, but in this case, I have posted 2 pictures of Single Family Homes, both in Loudoun County, both currently for sale, and both priced the same.  So, which do you like? 

Like "The Real Estate Whisperer" on Facebook and let us know!! Tomorrow, I will post details on the facebook page, and you'll learn the price location and other such fun facts about both homes.

If you are looking for a home like these or any other, I'd love to help!

Vicky Chrisner

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Monday, March 28, 2011

WANTED: Single Family Home, SW Leesburg

Well... actually, if you own a home in Leesburg or Loudoun and you'd like to sell, please call me so we can talk!  I'd love to help you sell it.  But, today, I am actually in search of something in particular.... and I am hoping to find it in the neighborhoods listed above.

The good news, if you're planning to sell this year, is the market is looking good.  Buyers are out in force.

In the meantime, feel free to make sure of these online resources:
I can't wait to hear from you!

Vicky Chrisner Keller Williams Realty

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Bored? Get Out and Explore!

Bored?  Get out and explore.  If you're looking for things to do in Leesburg, Virginia, we've got you covered!

For the week of March 28-April 3, our calendar is chocked full!  You'll find free concerts, Karoake night, Parents Night Out, Ladies Night, First Friday, Spring Horse Trials, Toastmasters and even Breakfast at Kettermans! 

Make sure you check back often!  Events are updated regularly

*  The Leesburg VA Facebook page and sites are managed by Vicky Chrisner, a Loudoun County Real Estate Agent, and all around local expert.  Have real estate needs? 

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Good Night Moon

March 19, 2011.... "Super Moon"

A celestial treat!  People around the world are talking about it... our moon.  Tonight, it is about 17,000 miles closer than usual, appearing 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than most nights. Scientists have dispelled myths that this "super moon" will wreak havoc or cause natural disasters..... I guess we'll know for sure by morning. 

Good Night Leesburg.  Good Night Loudoun.  Good Night Virginia.  Good Night USA.  Good Night Moon.

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patricks Day Events!

Have you checked out our events calendar on ?    Lots going on in and around town today!

This and every Thursday is $3 Thursday at Tally Ho where you can watch first run movies for only $3 per person. 

Since today is the 3rd Thursday of the month it's also "Girls Night Out" in downtown Leesburg.... so come on it and pick up a program at any one of the local businesses who will be open late night and offering all kinds of specials.

But, if you're looking for something "different", you're in luck, we have a long list of great events that come but once a are just a few....

You can't think St. Patrick's Day in Leesburg without automatically thinking about Spanky's Shenanigans on Market Street, where they invite you to "get your shamrocks off" there and to endulge in green eggs and beer, along with a full Irish menu, live music and free beads all day long.  What more could you possibly want?

Other best bets for St. Pats?  If you like the green beer scene, and don't want to miss a minute of March Madness, here are you best bets:   Bunkers Sports Cafe, & Sals NY Pizza, both on Market Street in Leesburg and Nicks Corner Grill in Brambleton (Ashburn). 

In Reston, just over the line into Fairfax County, Clyde's is hosting "The Running of the Leprechauns" beginning at 3pm, followed by Irish fun for all.... face painters, balloon twisters, a moonbounce, Irish music, dance and food. 

If that's not your style, maybe Grandale Farm has what you're looking for... you'll find no Green Beer there. They'll be celebrating St. Patricks Day with dinner specials, deals on good Irish Brews and "The Way Changers". 

The annual St. Patricks Day Party at the Carver Senior Center is pleased to be bringing in The Polka Dots who will perform a set of jaunty traditional tunes, and the Celtic School of Rythm will perform traditional Irish dance while partiers endulge in corned beef and cabbage. 

Check out info on these and other great events....

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Saturday, March 5, 2011

All things Local: Loudoun, Dulles and Otherwise

For a long while now, I have been managing and maintaining a facebook page for our community in Leesburg, Virginia ( and in less than a year with only organic growth, we have over 3700 fans.  There we discuss community happenings, upcoming events, promote fundraisers, swap tips and all sorts of things. 

The banter is quite engaging, but I have found many of the same questions get asked repeatedly, especially as we have new members, and then sometimes I can't put my hand on the information that other "fans" contributed... it seems to get lost in the newsfeed stream on the 'wall'.  So, I've come up with a solution! (I think)

We've launched a complimentary web site.  It's under construction right now, with only the home page and the calendar page (which uses a Google calendar that is imbedded) are complete...but check it out!  It's already becoming a popular resource for community members....and I hope you'll join the Facebook comunity, but if you're not a "facebooker" then perhaps you'll just enjoy our web site.  Either way, it's at your disposal!

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Youth Sports Opportunities in Loudoun

New to Loudoun? Welcome! If you're looking for sports opportunities for your children, Loudoun has many and below is a fairly comprehensive list of leagues and sports opps all around Loudoun!

High School aged children should check with their schools to see what team opportunities exist at the school. The list below includes opportunties for high school aged children and many opportunities for younger children. Most activities have a minimum age of 4-6.

BASEBALL (Incl. Tee Ball)
Central Loudoun Little League (Leesburg)
Dulles Little League (Ashburn)
Lower Loudoun Little League (Sterling)
Lower Loudoun Boys Football League (Sterling)
Upper Loudoun Little League (Western Lo Co)

Loudoun Co Parks AND Rec
Loudoun Freedom (travel, girls)
Town of Leesburg/Parks and Rec
Upwards Basketball-LCC/Dominion Academy

Loudoun Co Parks and Rec
Upwards Cheerleading-LCC/Dominion Academy
Town of Leesburg/Parks and Rec

Dance Academy of Loudoun
Creative Dance Center

Dulles Sportsplex
Loudoun Co Parks and Rec
Town of Leesburg/Parks and Rec

i9 Youth Football League
Loudoun Co Parks and Rec
Town of Leesburg/Parks and Rec

Dulles Sportsplex

Loudoun Co Parks and Rec
Town of Leesburg/Parks and Rec
Loudoun County Jr Golf Association

Loudoun Co Parks and Rec
Apex Gymnastics

(Ice) Ashburn Ice House
(Roller Hockey) Dulles Sportsplex

Dulles Sportsplex
Loudoun Youth Soccer Association
Town of Leesburg/Parks and Rec
Loudoun Co Parks and Rec

Loudoun Girls Softball
Lower Loudoun Softball
Western Loudoun Softball

Town of Leesburg/Parks and Rec

Town of Leesburg/Parks and Rec
Loudoun Co Parks and Rec

Town of Leesburg/Parks and Rec
Loudoun Co Parks and Rec

Dulles Sportsplex
Loudoun Co Parks and Rec

Town of Leesburg/Parks and Rec
Loudoun Co Parks and Rec
General Family Fitness/For Kids Sake

(And remember, if you're looking to move here... as a Loudoun County REALTOR, I'd love to help you~Click HERE to go to my web page!)

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Keller Williams Annual Coat Drive

The Keller Williams Realty office in Leesburg, VA does an annual coat drive, collecting gently used coats for those in need in Loudoun County.  The coat drive starts during the holiday season, and this year's drive went through January 15th... ending just a few days ago.

I am so thrilled to annouce  what a great success it was! The coat drive resulted in 312 coats, 17 scarves, 12 gloves, 22 ball caps, 5 pairs of boots, and 12 winter caps delivered to Loudoun County needy families.

Our agents and their friends and families contributed, as did community members who simply heard about the drive through word of mouth or internet sources like the Leesburg Va Facebook Fan Page.  It was a great community effort, and was coordinated by Angela Gammon, who runs a property management business from the Keller Williams Realty Leesburg office.  Many thanks to everyone for their generosity!

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Let Our Children Be The Light

In honor of MLK day today, I am choosing to tell you a personal story, a very real, personal story. If you grew up in a different environment, forgive the naivety from which this post comes. You see, I never witnessed much that I recognized as discrimination, but then again, our area was not very diverse... I mostly knew, went to school with and socialized with white people. And even when I did recognize a racist attitude, it was words, but not harmful actions or discriminatory practices like preventing employment or housing opportunities, and I thought that was the worst the world offered.

I was so oblivious. And then one day my eyes were forced open.

About 20 years ago, I had a boyfriend of Cuban descent, a first generation American. He was white, rather light skinned, and spoke English so fluently he was forgetting Spanish (his first language). He was a college graduate, a software engineer for Cable and Wireless, loved playing raquetball and was an all 'round good guy. Who would discriminate against him?

One night I got a call from him. He was crying. He never cried.

That night, he'd been playing basketball with some guys from work at the Hyatt by Fair Oaks. When he pulled out of the parking lot, he went the wrong way and had to make a U turn. Immediately he was pulled over... he thought perhaps there was a "No U Turn" sign that he'd missed.

He got out his license and had it ready for the officer as he approached. The cop took a look at his license and immediately read my boyfriends name (a very Hispanic name) with a very negative tone to his voice, and then followed with "Are you a Spic? Are you from Mexico?" Poor Armando didn't even know what do to, he stuttered a little and said "No, I was born in Florida."

"Well, you're all the same to me," said the cop as he opened the door of Armando's truck and told him to get out. Armando complied. He was searched and hand cuffed. While on his knees with his hands cuffed behind him, the cop kicked him in the back, pushing him onto the gravel, cutting up Armando's face, and bruising his back. The cops (there were more than one) searched and impounded his truck, all the while making hurtful comments to him about him being of Spanish descent.

He never got a ticket or summons that night, and was not taken into custody. He was never told why his truck was being impounded. He was uncuffed and left on the side of the road, without his truck, his jacket, wallet or even his ID~they were all still in the truck.  He was calling me from the hotel because he didn't know what else to do.

The next morning I took him to get his truck. The paperwork said the vehicle was towed because it had been abandoned and reported as such by the police.

Then I insisted that we go to the police station to file a complaint. There was no record of the stop the night before. We spoke (coincidentally) to an officer who was also Hispanic. He told us he'd experienced and witnessed such treatment and wasn't surprised, but urged us not to file a report.  We were told that the "offending officer" was nearing retirement, had always been "a biggot" and nothing had ever been done about the prior reports, since superiors always brushed everything under the rug. We were also warned of potential repercussions if we did proceed with the complaint.  Armando refused to proceed. I was so very angry, but they wouldn't let me file a complaint since I didn't witness anything.  It was a terrible, horrible incident and very eye opening for me.

I tell this story for the benefit of those of you, who like I was then, are naive. I know you're still out there.  I know where you're coming from.... but open your eyes.

Ever since that day, I see the world differently. I rather liked having the rose colored glasses on, but we can't change the world for the better if we don't see what's wrong with it.
A little more than 40 years after Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech, in many ways, we are living the dream that so many of us have adopted.  My children DO "sit down at the table of brotherhood" in friendship and love, with persons that have skin as many colors as the rainbow and they judge people "not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character". 

But we still have a way to go.  In my dream, my children will actively work toward ridding the world of prejudicial attitudes and always have the character to stand up for what they know is right.  I don't want them to let other people be mistreated because of the color of their skin, where they were born, or the name on their driver's license. I hope you'll share in my dream.  Teach your children to recognize wrong, and work to make it right. 

As Dr. King said "Hate will not drive out hate.  Only love can do that.  Darkness will not drive out darkness.  Only light can do that."  Let our children be the light.

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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Order Your Girl Scout Cookies TODAY

My girls would LOVE to have your order!! 
  • This year, the price is $4.00 per box.
  • Expected delivery is in February for initial orders.
  • Cookie Flavors are the same choices as last year (detailed below).
  • All cookies are Kosher.
Lemon Chalet Cremes
Vanilla sandwhich cookie w/ hint of cinnamon-ginger spice and a refreshing zesty lemon creme filling
* I am told these are Vegan!


Vanilla Cookies, covered w/ caramel, rolled in toasted coconut and striped with a rich, chocolaty coating

Dulce de leche (New 2009)
Inspired by confections of Latin America, these are bite sized cookies rich with milk caramel chips

Thank U Berry Munch: (New 2010)
Real cranberries provide a delightful tartness in these hearty cookies sweetened with creamy white fudge chips.  Yumm!
*  I am told these are Vegan.
CLICK HERE to get the recipe for a SALAD with these cookies, or trail mix or other recipe ideas. 

Tasty cookies topped with creamy peanut butter and covered with a chocolaty coating.  (Vicky's favorite)

Thin Mints 
Thin wafer, covered in a smooth chocolaty coating,
made w/ natural peppermint.  For Thin Mint Recipe Ideas, Click Here!


You may also purchase cookies to be donated or contribute to the troop's GIFT OF CARING
- our troop will be sending the donated cookies to soliders in Afghanistan/Iraq (if possible).  Alternatively, the cookies will be donated to our local food bank - Interfaith Relief.  Please specify if you'd like to donate to one of these causes. 


With your help, the Girl Scouts are building the leaders of tomorrow,
 changing the world for the better.... one cookie at a time. 

Learn more about the HISTORY OF GIRL SCOUT COOKIES by clicking HERE.

In Loudoun and Dulles, contact
to find out how to place your order.

Outside Loudoun, visit to find a troop near you!
*  Dietary Information for Girl Scout Cookies can be found here:

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