- The Scout Guide -

Preserving Beautiful Spaces

We cherish the history of our Virginia countryside and the many historic spaces that remind us of a distant time. Today we’re checking in with Jane Covington of Jane Covington Restoration who is carefully preserving that long, rich narrative – one building at a time.

Covington’s team has restored pre-Revolutionary churches, country estates, farm houses, and even a former furniture factory. With thoughtful attention to detail and a passion for preserving the story of a space, Jane Covington Restoration has given many a forgotten edifice a gorgeous NEW lease on life – including this recently completed historic, Virginia country home.


The Before

PicMonkey Collage.before

Often, what an older home lacks in modern comforts, it makes up for in charm, antique elements and craftsmanship of yore. As Jane explains,

It was the client’s dream to live in an historic home but this space had not been touched since the 1970s and was badly in need of updating.  Typical of an older home, there was no closet space, the bathrooms were abysmal, and the kitchen space cramped and dark.”

The Makeover

PicMonkey Collage.after

Of course with every renovation there are challenges, but when you start with good bones and a solid foundation, the sky is the limit. Jane describes her carefully implemented plan to add needed modern upgrades to the space, while preserving the character and history that made it unique,

“The house lent itself to architectural changes. We opened up the kitchen and added a master suite, complete with walk-in closet and generously proportioned bath.  We did all of this while leaving the historic spaces with original moldings and woodwork in tact.  Despite the needed upgrades, we didn’t want things to look too ‘new,’ so we refinished the floors by hand to keep the soft edges and refurbished the historic windows rather than replace them, leaving the stunning wavy glass in place.”

Going Green + Savings

Possibly the most impressive aspect of this restoration was how the homeowners financed the project. Jane explains,

The client was very committed to ‘going green’ and we worked with some exciting high performing, low VOC products and reclaimed materials. As a bonus, we completed all of this work financing the cost with the renovation tax credit, representing a substantial savings to the client.”

“we worked with some exciting high performing, low VOC products and reclaimed materials. As a bonus, we completed all of this work financing the cost with the renovation tax credit, representing a substantial savings to the client.” — Jane Covington, Jane Covington Restoration

 Whether you’re looking to restore a new (old) home, bring life back to a cherished historical structure in your community, or offer new purpose to a “formerly functioning” barn, corn crib or stable on your property, consider Jane Covington Restoration for the project – and preserve a beautiful historic space of your very own.

…be sure to tell them SCOUT sent you.

Jane Covington Restoration








Marketing Your Business


Crystal McKinsey :: Advertising Smart

We’re tapping into local experts all month to help you jump-start your new year goals! Today, business owners take note, Crystal McKinsey of McKinsey Development is talking effective marketing in today’s “multi-channel” marketplace.



Not too long ago, business owners had just 3 choices in advertising: print, radio, television. Today two new players (the internet and the smartphone) have created both potential and confusion. They’re constantly evolving, creating more and more “channels” for advertising all vying for the same audience. Moreover, “the big three” are forced to evolve and complicate things even further for all of us. It is enough to make a business owner want to run for the hills.

As Crystal explains, “we’re talking thousands of different advertising combinations, and hundreds of different advertising channels competing for your marketing dollars…and, if you aren’t strategic in your decision making you could end up with nothing to show for your investment but invoices!”

“we’re talking thousands of different advertising combinations, and hundreds of different advertising channels competing for your marketing dollars…if you aren’t strategic in your decision making you could end up with nothing to show for your investment But invoices!

Now that she has our attention, Crystal says, “don’t panic.” There is a method to overcoming the madness:

1. Seek professional help. If you don’t have a trusted marketing adviser or agency with demonstrated results navigating through these channels with you–find one. You are a busy business leader focused on delivering premier products or services. Bring someone on who is focused on helping you be in the right places, at the right times in an engaging and compelling manner.

2. Don’t abandon what’s working for you–supplement it. There’s a lot of pressure to make the marketing leap to digital and social. That being said, if you have tried and true traditional advertising strategies that work for your business, keep them! Supplement the traditional with the progressive to make sure you are remaining relevant without jumping ship completely on strategies that are delivering for you.

3. Double your marketing budget. Yes, this is a bold statement and there will be instances when this recommendation is not applicable to your specific type of business. But, most small businesses are not allocating enough money towards marketing. As the wise adage goes, you must spend money to make money, and you have to do more than dip your toe in the water to see results “in a world with a thousand channels.” A good rule of thumb for measuring success is a double return on your marketing investment. If you invest $50K in marketing over the course of the year, you should increase your revenue by at least $100K (note that this will vary by industry and your respective profit margin–ask the professional help referenced in the first point). If you are just starting out and you don’t know how much to allocate towards marketing, use an objective-based budgeting approach. If you are aiming for a million dollar year, budget according to SBA marketing spend recommendations for your industry as a starting point (typically 7-8% of your revenue goal).

Of course if you are in need of a professional marketing agency……we may know someone you can call.

McKenzieDevelopment_2014_OFAv3 copy

A full-service marketing firm, McKinsey Development brings a team of talent to the table (a ping pong table no less). That’s right, their boardroom table is of the ping pong variety – a telling tribute to the creative environment in which these innovative professionals thrive! Their dedicated team offer expertise in advertising, web development, public relations and more. McKinsey Development is posed and ready to help businesses meet their revenue goals. Here’s a few local MKD-assisted, success stories you may recognize…

Whole-Health-Challenge-Campaign The-Bridge-Home-Page-2 BROS_Pain-Ad_NOVADaily View MKD’s complete portfolio HERE, give them a ring today, and if you’re up for a game of ping pong – they’re in! Much success in 2015, be sure to tell them SCOUT sent you.


McKinsey Development

28 Blackwell Park Lane, Suite 204

Warrenton, Virginia




Living a Purposeful Life

Kim Forsten helps us find Focus & Yoga in 2015

Why do we do it?! Over schedule, over do, constantly on the gospinning our wheels but getting nowhere! Not to worry, there is hope. Turns out we can create purpose amid the chaos.

Kim Forsten, owner of Old Town Athletic Club and lifestyle and fitness guru, offers real insight into this “go-getter, get nowhere” epidemic in her blog, Kim’s Corner this month, but she’s sharing her thoughts with us here first. Read on, be inspired and learn how you can find focus, create tangible goals and give each day purpose.


“Imagine how your life would change if you knew exactly where you were going. If we all took a moment to establish a few specific goals each day, week, month or year, and went after them with purpose, our lives might feel more rewarding and less chaotic. Take a look at these short-term goals and think about which ones you’d like to see in your own life:

 -spend two hours more each week with my family
 -mindfully relax for at least 10 minutes each day
 -commit to 3 days of exercise each week
 -complete one project at work/home that I have been procrastinating
 -explore a new form of exercise and discover something I might really enjoy 

Now that we’re in January, consider all the fresh opportunities to set new and long-term goals for the year. Our lives can certainly stay busy, but we can feel better about how our hours and days are spent when there are tangible priorities and goals on the horizon.

Instead of go, go, go-ing into each day, steer towards something that’s important to you and your family. Be a goal-getter! Your accomplishments will amaze you.”

 - Excerpt, from Kim’s Corner. Find the full post at www.otac.com

As if these words of wisdom weren’t enough to help us find our “zen” in the new year, Old Town Athletic Club is also bringing us YOGA in 2015! Currently home to the Old Town Athletic Club fitness center, Warrenton Pilates and the Parisi Speed School this family-friendly, health and wellness campus will now include Warrenton Yoga. Sunday, January 18th, 3-5pm marks the celebratory grand opening of Warrenton Yoga and classes begin on Monday.


The new facility will offer well-credentialed yoga instructors dedicated to helping you realize the joy of a fit body and calm mind. The Warrenton Yoga studio is a 2,500 square foot built-to-purpose oasis and is host to hot and traditional yoga rooms. Class offerings are available for all levels, from beginner through advanced. Reserve your class today at warrentonyoga.com.

Thank you Kim Forsten for sharing your insight and for inspiring so many of us every day with your commitment to our better health and well- being. (A self -proclaimed OTAC-addict myself, I highly recommend the experience to all who will listen). Here’s to focus, purpose and Yoga in 2015! See you in the gym (and on the mat)…be sure to tell them SCOUT sent you!

Old Town Athletic Club

Warrenton Pilates

Warrenton Yoga

Parisi Speed School

361 Walker Drive

Warrenton, Virginia



January Loves


The decorations are down the visitors have headed home, and our January approaches with quiet reflection, fresh beginnings and best of all SNOW! We’re looking forward to it all and celebrating a few of our favorite things…

1. Snow Days: Sledding! It’s time to grab the sleds and head to the highest hill. If your family needs a newer version of this downhill necessity, Rankins Hardware in Warrenton has a plenty. Enjoy the ride!

2. Winter Play: Once the neighbor’s hill has run its course, we’re fortunate to have plenty of great skiing, snow boarding and ice skating close to home. And, for the die-hard skier and winter sport enthusiast, head for the real hills and charter a flight to your favorite Winter wonderland. Metropolitan Jets promises a hassle-free, five-star experience to the destination of your choosing. Truly the best way to fly to the best places to ski!

3. Time for Me: I love the holidays. Cooking for days, decorating the tree and wrapping every gift with a handmade bow. In hindsight, I may over do it a bit. This Santa’s helper is pooped by the new year and looking forward to taking in some downtime.

If the Yuletide took it out of you too, here’s a few options to consider. Just have a few hours? How about a soothing facial and massage at Salon Emage in Warrenton. Or, make a whole day/weekend of it and pamper yourself Salamander at Salamander Resort & Spa - they have a New Year, New You package that is just what you need to recharge and wind down.

4. Fresh Starts: The new year brings new beginnings and endless potential. Whether your looking to move more, eat healthier, stress less or achieve new business success, stay tuned to our blog this month. We’re talking to local experts to help you meet your the new year’s goals.

5. Tea Time: I love it when the kids are home for the holidays but I must admit, the quiet after the storm is quite nice too. I’m making my retreat my favorite chair in the sunroom this month, complete with a cup of hot tea and a great book – there’s nothing better!

My current read, The Hunt by local author Jan Nueharth is a real page-turner. The Hunt is set in our own Hunt Country, Virginia and carries the reader on a gripping, fast-paced adventure packed with love, scandal, envy, vengeance (and, oh yes…horses)! Find Nueharth’s series of thrillers (and a grand selection of other great reads) at Horse Country in Warrenton.

6. Notes of Gratitude: I’m always nostalgic after the holidays and find myself extra grateful for the loved ones in my life. These personalized notecards by Felix Doolittle add an extra special something to my expressions of gratitude. Find your Felix Doolittle favorite at The Outpost in Middleburg.

7. Cozy Wools: Wrap me up in wool this January! This gorgeous Irelands Eye sweater is only at Duchessa of Middleburg and is the perfect accessory to take on old man winter in style. LOVE!

Happy New Year all!

Live LOCAL this January and tell them SCOUT sent ya!


Food for Thought

The new year brings a new beginning, a fresh start and for some reason an intense urge for self-improvement. We resolve to better organize, exercise, eat, sleep, travel, correspond, budget and the list goes on. We find ourselves determined to make changes, lists, and endless promises to become a new person in the new year.

It can be overwhelming. But, according to our favorite RDN dietician and nutritionist, Carlene Thomas of Healthfully Ever After and author of The Wedding Wellness Workbook: Your Nutrition How-To Before “I Do”, if your goal is to be healthier in the new year the transition may not involve a complete overhaul. All we may really need is a new mindset and a better understanding of the food we eat and ourselves.

Here’s Carlene’s three simple tips to achieving a healthier you in the new year (and the best smoothie recipe of all time). You must try it!


 Carlene Thomas of Healthfully Ever After and author of The Wedding Wellness Workbook: Your Nutrition How-To Before “I Do,’” 

1. Ask yourself WHY you want to get healthier.

I talk about this a lot in my e-book but it starts with finding the why. WHY do you want to change? What is motivating you? It goes much deeper than ‘to look good in pictures’. Keep asking yourself why to every answer and eventually you get to the deepest motivator. It may be that you hated being picked on as a kid for your looks or that you are afraid of looking like your mother who never made health a priority. It’s never just getting into a dress or looking good in pictures.

2. Food you’re eating for pleasure, not for health, is a luxury.

Treat food indulgences like a luxury purchase. I have no ‘bad’ foods in my life. I just took a croissant class for goodness sake. And I’ve been known to literally drive across state lines for the best ice cream possible. Then there are women who are ‘on a diet’ and can’t have certain foods and will obsess about what they can’t have. Here’s the thing…quality matters. Be picky. If you want a treat it better be the best version of it you can find and you should savor the experience! That’s why I took the croissant class! Now that I know what home made croissants taste like I’m not tempted by any I see in the store, ever.

3. Don’t demonize one food group. In my experience people seem to think they are super cool or on trend for saying they’re avoiding 2-3 food groups. And oddly people praise this restriction. I always hear “Good for you!”. If they believe in that and feel that it has improved their life it’s fine but science and evidence drives nutrition. Nutrition is a science, it’s not something some guy with a blog that lost weight ten years ago does. If you ever have your doubts about a plan or a certain diet, question it. Do your research or ask a nutrition expert. Trends die, science and research don’t (although they do continue to evolve).

Finally, to kick-start the healthier you, Carlene (who usually reserves her best advice for her bride-to-be clients) also shared her favorite Smoothie Recipe (I made mine this morning and fingers crossed it is as good for me as it tastes). Enjoy!


Beauty Booster Smoothie: Mint Cucumber 

Serves 1

/// Ingredients ///

2 cups spinach

1 cup honey dew, cubed

2 inches cucumber, peeled and chopped

juice of 1/2 orange

1 oz of Sea Buckthorn supplement

handful of mint

/// Directions ///

Add ingredients to a blender and blend until absolutely smooth.



Special thanks to Carlene Thomas for her insight and to Middleburg Events Studio for turning us on to this mastermind of all things good and good for us. Of course if you are seeking one-on-one consultation to better nutrition and a healthier you, Carlene and Healthfully Ever After  is the perfect choice. We’re inspired. Hope you are too.

Happy New Year everyone. May it be happy and healthy!




A Christmas Wish

We wish you a home filled with family, friends and laughter, a holiday filled with found memories and good cheer, but most of all, we wish you joy this Christmas and all year long. XOXO, TSG Hunt County