Monthly Archives: April 2009

DC and Virginia Area Auto Insurance Tips for Driving in Spring Rain

Following are some tips now that the snow’s gone, but rain is here, from your Fairfax and Loudoun County Insurance agents at NOVA Insurance Group, in South Riding, VA.

With the dawning of Spring often comes a deluge of rain showers and thunderstorms. While a soft Spring rain may seem innocent enough from the safety of your home, even a gentle shower can cause major problems here in Virginia (Fairfax & Loudoun Counties) on the road. Thousands of car accidents each year are caused by rain and wet roads—and motorists who don’t know how to drive on them.

During and after a rainstorm, a film of water quickly forms on asphalt roads. This sheath of water causes tires to lose traction, which means drivers can easily lose control. However, slippery roads are not the only danger to driving in the rain. Drivers also lose visibility during a rainstorm. Heavy rain can be absolutely blinding, fogging up the windows and even blocking your headlights. These things all add to an extremely dangerous situation.

If you find yourself on the road during a rainstorm, follow these safety tips to ensure you arrive alive:

Be especially careful when the rain first starts. When the roads are dry for a long period of time, engine oil and grease builds up on roads and highways. As soon as the first drops of rain start to fall, the water mixes with this build-up making the roads incredibly slick. This is why the first few hours of a rainstorm can be the most hazardous for drivers. If the rain continues to fall for a few more hours, the water will eventually wash away the greasy build-up.

Read more Northern Virginia and DC area auto insurance tips for driving in heavy spring rains…

DC Business Executives – Win at all Costs?

Following is an extract of a really good newsletter this month from one of DC’s leading Personal Executive Coaches and HR Strategy Consultants, James Bowles, of Northern Virginia.

“This newsletter is the third in a series of 5 dealing with bad habits. It is again based partly on the book by Marshall Goldsmith called “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There”. I would highly recommend this book as you reflect on improving yourself by eliminating your own bad habits.

I received a lot of positive feedback on last month’s newsletter about bad habits in the area of communication, and how saying too much in certain situations can have an unintentional negative impact. Since we have learned by now that many successful people convince themselves that their bad habits are strengths, these may be hard to recognize and also hard to let go of. In fact, these bad habits may be points of pride that we do not really want to change. However, they need to be corrected early, before they become problems that prevent career advancement.

This month, we will look at more bad habits in the category of the “winning at all costs”. Winning is a natural behavior, and is feels great. Very few people begin a game of chess hoping to relish in the feeling of defeat. In Corporate America, there is an even bigger premium on winning. Winning companies are rewarded by bigger budgets, higher stock price, retention plans, etc. Traditional performance management systems reward individual performance, so winning employees get promotions, more money, favorable treatment, etc. Winning is good.

The problem with winning is that it starts to creep into the wrong situations. We start to compete over things that don’t matter. We look at teammates or other company employees as competitors, even when we have a common goal. We start to do things to promote ourselves, or to keep others at a disadvantage. Intentional self promotion and undermining of others is not a bad habit in my opinion, but bad behavior. The bad habit is when we do this unintentionally with no knowledge that we even have a bad habit that needs fixing!

Here are some examples:”

(read more about this very important personal coaching goal and habit…)

Ladies’ Northern Virginia Driving Clinic offered for Free – by Curry’s Auto, Chantilly VA – 4/23

FREE Northern Virginia Ladies’ Driving Clinic – April 23 – 7-9 PM at Curry’s Auto Service of Chantilly, VA

Arm yourself with the knowledge needed to survive on the roads of Northern Virginia!

Northern Virginia Womens Driving Class - Ladies Driving Clinic

Presented by Miriam Schottland of the DRIVELAB.

Register Here

Journalists – Find More Information Here about this press release.

Make sure your Fairfax or Loudoun County Auto Insurance is up to date!

Bright Spots in the Job Market – Search-Engine Gurus #3

This Sunday’s Parade Magazine, as found in the Washington Post, highlighted its regular feature “What People Earn”. Aside from the ridiculous earnings attributed to professional sports and actors, most of those surveyed indicated their average salaries (assumed they kept their jobs) continued to slightly rise – with the better outlooks being in schools, hospitals and government services – vs. manufacturing, construction, retail and finance. The Washington DC region is certainly suffering – but perhaps less so than other regions, particularly because of (1) its association with the Federal Government job market and (2) its very high numbers of small businesses providing technology or technical-associated services.

One such service is Internet Marketing, also termed “Search Engine Optimization”, “Search Engine Marketing” and/or “Social Media Optimization” – depending on the business case. Parade Magazine indicates the following “Bright Spots” in the job market, nationwide:

1 – Police Officers
2 – Speech Therapists
3 – Search-Engine Gurus
4 – Registered Nurses
5 – Internal Auditors

This is probably the first time that this job category “Search Engine Gurus” has been recognized so publically; while the industry’s been around a while, and growing very strong, the combination of difficult economic conditions, loss of marketing budgets, and growth of online activity by consumers paired with great new social media and Web 2.0 tools is making this profession very attractive, very quickly.

There’s a catch, though – it’s not so easy to quickly learn, and the fundamental skills are a unique pairing that’s not easily found – good writing and marketing acumen, paired with decent web programming and statistical analysis.

Good help is also very hard to find overseas, through outsourcing via “Elance” for example – especially for marketing businesses in North America. South Asian-based bidders on USA-based projects through Elance typically provide at least 75% of the responses, but usually don’t demonstrate proficiency in written English either in their proposals or their own websites. Here’s a recent example, from a bid for SEO services: “You may surly ignore our resent feedback as we were close for renovation”. This bidder is asking the hiring manager (1) to ignore negative feedback, (2) to to actually understand this sentence, and (3) to ostensibly overlook the very bad grammar and hire this firm for their writing skills.

Therefore, there does exist a lot of great opportunity in this market, and this profession – especially if you’re a decent writer, have a modicum of web skills, and a real drive to succeed in a services-based industry; and most work is online, virtual, out of your home! Great jobs for ex-professional Moms, in particular.

Read more about Search Engine Marketing from the local Washington DC-area Search Engine and Social Media gurus at KME Internet Marketing (Loudoun, VA); there’s also an immediate need for SEO help from those looking to leverage their skills and background into this very “bright” profession.

Northern Virginia Moms Rock On for a Cure – 2009 Leukemia&Lymphoma Society Woman of the Year Candidate!

Calling all Moms! (and Dads, business owners and employees, everyone else interested in helping a great cause AND bringing fantastic recognition to the DC/Northern Virginia area philanthropic community – your name in lights online, as well!)

Check out this great “Rock for a Cure” event being put on by the “Moms for a Cure” Team coming up May 2nd in Reston, 7-11pm, with live entertainment, limited open bar, and Mother’s Day charity gift boutique & silent auction – in support of our local Northern Virginia candidate for the national 2009 Leukemia&Lymphoma Society Woman of the Year.

Here are the current “Platinum” Donors:

Kelly McLaughlan of KME Internet Marketing and Fundraising in Northern Virginia is also part of Team “Moms for a Cure”, providing “Social Media for a Cure” Internet Marketing and Social Media support for this very important nonprofit regional fundraising event, with National visibility for both the charitable event and corporate sponsors.

Spring Personal, Office & Home Repair, Cleaning, Renewal!

Spring is Here!

“If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would go to more dances. I would ride more merry-go-rounds. I would pick more daisies.”   By Nadine Stair

During this time of new growth and fresh starts, it’s a fantastic time to organize and reinvigorate yourself. Spring home cleaning, yard and garden preparation, important document organization and tax filing, winter clothes and decoration changeovers, home repair and remodeling, window replacement and energy-efficient upgrades, personal business coaching– these are all opportunities to nurture your life into a year of fresh opportunity and success!

Both spring and fall are commonly chosen times for devoting extra attention to cleansing and renewal, though any time of year is a good time to reorganize. Spring, however, is a particularly motivating and exciting time of year to fulfill your sense of accomplishment and engage new-found initiatives.

Under a very special and popular program, the Oprah Winfrey Show and The Container Store are teaming up to offer you a 25% discount on everything in The Container Store through April 13th!

Get the Coupon Here!

If you’re more focused on home repair, remodeling or handyman service needs, now that winter’s passed, contact your local handyman/home repair service provider very soon – before the backlog of spring orders and work really takes off (especially with external home renovations/repair).

Here’s a quick list of recommended home repair, remodeling, renovation and handyman service providers in our extended region, from Northern Virginia (Fairfax, Alexandria, Arlington, Loudoun counties) to the Piedmont areas of western Loudoun, Prince William and counties south and west.

Handyman Matters Alexandria, VA commercial and home maintenance, home repair and handyman services – provides services from bathroom remodeling to fencing and indoor/outdoor painting – service areas are focused in Alexandria and Southern Fairfax County (Burke, Springfield, Clifton).

Constructive Solutions Northern Virginia home improvement, repair and home renovation services – a professional, full service residential property upgrade, repair and maintenance company, delivering projects ranging from kitchen remodeling/installation to internal or external wood rot and repair, basement buildouts and bathroom updates. Constructive Solutions service areas are focused in Northern Virginia in Great Falls, McLean, Fairfax, Arlington and eastern Loudoun counties.

Handyman Matters Piedmont home and commercial property maintenance – provides all types of remodeling and renovations services from exterior and interior carpentry, plumbing and electrical work, to concrete/masonry repairs, roofing and senior safety home improvement. Handyman Matters also offers Gift Certificates, home inspection and Virginia real estate home staging and sales preparation services. The Virginia “Piedmont” area includes Clarke, Culpeper, Fauquier, Frederick, Western Loudoun, Prince William, Spotsylvania, and Stafford counties.

Architectural Construction distinctive, custom home building and high-end home renovation services in Great Falls and McLean can truly bring life to winter plans for significant home renovations, exterior facelifts or new, custom home architectural design and construction projects.

Contact Vinyl-Lite Window Factory for Northern Virginia windows and vinyl replacement windows – especially to take advantage of the new Virginia energy-efficiency tax credits available to homeowners and businesses.

Update, renovate, repair and remodel your business online real estate, on the Internet – looking to really emerge from this economy with a fresh start, new clients or donors, and a whole new look for your website and online marketing campaign? KME Internet Marketing can help – and we’ve got access to a variety of very unique, trusted partners to supplement our services – for example Trivision Studios of Chantilly, VA – for high-end audio/video projects and studio productions.

Looking for new or upgraded commercial cleaning services, office restoration, or other specialty cleaning and restoration jobs for offices and buildings in the Washington DC metro and Northern Virginia area – with or without secure access restrictions? Mister Kleen maintenance Company of Northern Virginia, DC and Maryland provides state-of-the-art technology, equipment and environmentally-friendly “green” cleaning services and janitorial contracts for any office environment, including highly-secure locations.

Time to detoxify yourself and your environment – look for Calcium Montmorillonite ionic mineral clay products from California Earth Minerals to help detoxify and cleanse your body, and detoxify and cleanse your koi ponds, waterways and landscape gardens.

It’s spring again – launch yourself into the new season with new dreams, energy and initiative!

Wounded Warrior Project and paws4people = paws4vets in West Virginia

The Wounded Warrior Project® [ ] and the paws4peopleTM foundation [], in Strategic Partnership, announce the creation and implementation of:

The paws4vetsTM Program, a Morgantown, WV based, unique and dynamic, K-9 centered, recovery/intervention program for Veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) and/or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). This program primarily uses dogs rescued from shelters prior to their being euthanized.

The AfghanDogZTM Program, a Morgantown, WV based, program designed to bring dogs from the war zone in Afghanistan to the United States. These dogs were adopted by American soldiers serving in Afghanistan. Some soldiers are able to bring the dogs they adopted home (to the U.S.) while others are not. These remaining dogs then become available to the AfghanDogZ Program.

The nonprofit paws4people Foundation is largely supported by donations and purchase of their online charity raffle tickets – support a Veteran, support a service dog, and possibly win great cash prizes…win-woof-win!

Read more here….