Month: October 2014

Social Media Message

5 Marketing Challenges For Anyone Who Likes Setting (and achieving) New Goals!

Now, more than ever, the fall months seem to be the opportune time for challenges. From the #ALSicebucket to the 30-Day fitness challenge, we seem to have become a society that gets a kick out of setting (and meeting) hard to reach goals. It is with this in mind, that I invite you to keep a few marketing challenges in mind. Keep your eyes on the prize, but don’t set an unattainable goal. Stick to your marketing calendar; it’s too easy to get side tracked and say, “I’ll get to it tomorrow.” Find a great mix of songs that are sure to jump-start your creativity. Read, read, and read some more. If you don’t open yourself up to new ways of thinking, then you will soon find that you have on ‘creative blinders.’ Stick with those blog posts and keep them original! You never know when your future customer is going to decide to read one of your posts; so make each post the best that it can be. Excelling at the above challenges will help you to stay disciplined, create exceptional work, and improve your marketing capabilities. But then again, I might be a bit biased as I start on my own 100-Day Writer Challenge and #100HappyDays. What can I say, a good challenge is the perfect way to keep me motivated as the beautiful fall foliage begins to beckon. Written by: Laura P. Parker Laura P. Parker is a full-time freelance writer and marketing guru. For more marketing tips or consultation advice please contact her at

Notes from the Publisher

Publisher’s Notes October 2014

As a very pleasant September comes to a close we can begin to bring out the long pants and sweaters…fall is in the air. This fall may be quite unlike any before…we will be watching the Nationals in the post season for the second time in three years, with hopes that they can make it to the World Series. Our other favorite team in Baltimore also has a chance to make it to the World Series, and wouldn’t it be great to see the Nats and O’s battle it out for world champion. No matter what the outcome, the Maryland, Virginia, D.C. and Baltimore areas would come out winners. Worldwide attention would be concentrated here! As the Civil War 150 years later continues, Doug Coleman takes us to Saltville in Smyth County, Virginia. Of critical importance, the salt marshes provided salt to cure and preserve meat…no salt…no meat…you lose the war! Doug also enlightens us to the “dead” who show up and participate in the reenactments…Happy Halloween! While Lori Welch Brown is on her honeymoon, Bonnie Browning is filling in for Single Space. See what Bonnie has to say about the “Love” boat. When Lori returns to writing her monthly article she will be armed with a lot more material as she begins to find out what “Double Space” will be like. Happy anniversary to Landini Brothers Restaurant for 35 years of serving excellent food and drink. Check out our Dining Out column and see why this restaurant has become an Old Town institution. October is also Virginia Wine Month and our Road Trip this month will give you a little of the history of Virginia wines and a little about the wine trails that you can travel. On yet another sad note, our friend Jim Parker passed away in…

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Dining Out, Wining & Dining

Dining Out – Landini Brothers Inc.

Landini Brothers Inc. Celebrating 35 years of bringing Tuscany to Alexandria, we thought it time to share this experience with our readers. Certainly we know the restaurant, as we have been customers for over 25 years. Over the years some things have changed, we have grown older, some employees have gone and new ones have come on board, but the quality of food served and the service has been consistently great. If you check the yelp reviews you will find that most are overwhelmingly favorable but there are a few that are negative. I do believe that most of those folks are negative by nature and really don’t get the true dining experience. They should stay at the “Garden”. Ever since I began going to Landini’s (as the locals call it), I was impressed with the volume of business they did, and not just on weekends, but during the week as well. I soon learned that this was the place that attracted politicians, celebrities, the well-heeled and regular folks like me. It is a place you can make your own. The bar is usually filled with regulars on any given day of the week and especially at happy hour, although there are no special drink prices, the seats are always filled. During the day the bar becomes a place for many locals and visitors to grab lunch. There is an extensive lunch menu with 6 to 8 specials added each day. The prices are reasonable with pastas going from $12.95 to $14.95 with the option to place a half order for $9.95. The other entrees, including their popular veal, come in at $14.95. They also offer an assortment of Panini sandwiches with either their truffle French fries or delicious potato salad. My favorites for lunch are half orders of either…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

Fall Fun at the National Harbor

Fall is in the air! Lots of activity is going on here in celebration of the season. Millers Farm’s has crisp local apples and a nice selection of mums on display every Saturday and Sunday along with their vast array of vegetables and baked goods; Stonewall Kitchen has their fabulous fall edibles and kitchen wares on display, football games are being aired on the Jumbotron down on the plaza and all sorts of football game day specials are being offered at Public House and Harrington’s Pub and Kitchen during the season. This is also a great time of year to take a spin on the Capitol Wheel for a beautiful view of the changing leaves up and down the Potomac River.   Construction continues at a fast pace on the building of the much anticipated MGM National Harbor Casino and our new luxury apartment complex, The Esplanade, has opened a leasing office at 163 Fleet Street. I have been watching the progress on this project from the comfort of my balcony and I can attest that it is going to be a very high class structure. It will truly be a “complex” complete with retail shopping and a new restaurant from the Minnesota based Granite City Food & Brewery group taking up 11,000 square feet of the first floor. Granite City currently operates the Cadillac Ranch bar and restaurant here in the harbor. The Walrus Oyster and Ale House is finally open for business after an arduous build out of the former space occupied by Ketchup on the corner of American Way and Waterfront Street. This restaurant is a welcome addition to the restaurant scene with its offering of all things “Chesapeake Bay” and more. Like any other new operation, they are still working out some kinks but you can…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

National Harbor – October Events

Miller Farms Farmers Market Saturdays and Sundays through October 10 am – 5 pm Fresh fruits and vegetables, baked goods, flowers and plants that suit the season. 11th & 12th Columbus Day Weekend:  National Harbor Goes“Pink” In celebration of Breast Cancer Awareness month, the Capitol Wheel, the Gaylord Resort and several stores will light up “pink” for the weekend.  A portion of all ticket sales for rides on the Capitol Wheel will be donated to two local charities supporting Breast Cancer Research. 17th National Children’s Museum Free Family Night 5 pm – 7 pm Enjoy free admission to the museum for the whole family, as well as hands-on activities and interactive programming in the theater and exhibit areas. Tickets available on a first-come, first-serve basis at the museum box office beginning at 5 pm on the day of the event. The museum is located at 151 St. George Boulevard. 26th Halloween Trick-or-Treat Celebrate Halloween early at the Harbor. Trick or treating will commence at all participating retailers from 11 am to 1 pm. Disney’s “Hocus Pocus” will be the featured movie on the Jumbotron in celebration and the farmers market will have many small pumpkins for sale. There will also be a pumpkin decorating station on site. This event is for children 12 years old and under. Written by: Lani Gering

Pets, Places, & Things, Single Space

Cruise Dating – Is there an APP for that?

I was on a cruise last week. We set sail from NYC to Bermuda for 7-Days on the glorious blue seas with all of the anticipation of two traveling singles, looking forward to a captive prospect pool of 4,000 people! Our own little city to navigate and charm. Exciting, glamorous…we even upgraded to a suite with a balcony…all the possibilities in the world! We weren’t planning on any additional upgrades but two were no brainers: Ultimate Beverage option (unlimited drinks for $54 per day) – CHECK! We will save money on this plan! And the Wifi Package – CHECK! We must stay connected. And we can’t wait to see how all the Social Media and Internet Dating sites work on a cruise! How else are we going to bubble sort through the 4,000 on this ship and decide whom to meet? All’s well and our spirits are high as we embark. Once on the ship and settled into a place at the first bar we spot, we stop to look around for the first time. All at once, panic sets in as we begin to absorb our surroundings: all the families, strollers, grandparents, couples….wait! WE MAY BE THE ONLY TWO SINGLE PEOPLE ON THIS BOAT.   Where are the rest of us? They must be on another special section of the boat waiting for us! I know, I know…let’s login to our dating apps and see who’s on the boat! After dozens of attempts and dangerously high data usage we realize there will be absolutely no connecting by proximity to other singles on this ship – these apps simply do not work off stateside. OK – light bulb! We’ll get rich by developing an app for Cruise Singles Dating that works onboard. But alas, this is not going to help us…

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Arts & Entertainment, Gallery Beat

Gallery Beat October 2014

Cuban artist Sandra Ramos, considered by many to be the leading Cuban visual artist of her generation, has been working feverishly for the last year to finish off a series of new works which are being showcased now in a show titled “Bridging the Past, Present and Future: Recent Works by Sandra Ramos” at The Katzen Museum at American University in Washington, DC. Curated by Diane Camber, this exhibition “is comprised of prints, video, collage, and installations created by Cuban artist Sandra Ramos. This artist reflects on the conflicting experiences of living in her beloved homeland with all of its many challenges. Her work often takes a narrative form in which she depicts herself as a child-like explorer or modern day Alice in Wonderland. Ramos’ prints and mixed media works feature exquisite craftsmanship and use of color and naiveté, tempered by wit and irony. This exhibition reflects the mordant wit for which Cubans are famous, as well as a kind of nostalgia and exuberance particular to the artist.” Ramos, who currently resides in the US, having finally had enough of Castro’s Workers Paradise, had previously visited the US many times, both for previous shows in other American cities as well as for museum art conferences (as invited speaker). Additionally, since her work is in the permanent collection of many prestigious American museums, such as The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York and the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) in Boston, it is refreshing to see the Katzen bring such an important artist to the DMV. Her work, which often delivers visceral commentaries dealing with taboo issues in Cuban society – such as racism, mass migration, freedoms and liberties and the impact of Communism on the Cuban psyche – began, in the 1990s, to place Ramos at the very…

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Personality Profile

Robert (Bob) Condon

Bob Condon, man about town and his wife Kathy, have been Old Town residents since 1997. They were pleased when they moved from the District to Old Town and count it as one of the smartest moves they ever made. Often seen in the local restaurants and watering holes, Bob’s elegant dress and casual demeanor is a product of his rise from the streets of New York City. Bob Condon grew up in Long Island and attended high school in Brooklyn, N.Y. After graduating Bob enrolled in St. John’s University. After graduating from the university, Bob enrolled in Georgetown University law school in 1958. Keep in mind that back in the 60’s Georgetown University was a huge source for future restaurant and bar owners, as well as a built in source of customers. This would play out in the years to come. By the time he graduated from law school, Bob was married and soon had children…four to be exact…three girls and 1 boy. The family moved back home to New York so Bob could pursue a career in law. He was hired by the New York County District Attorney’s Office and went to work for then District Attorney, Frank (Mr. Integrity) S. Hogan.   During his time in the New York County District Attorney’s Office, Hogan conducted many high scale and widely publicized investigations. Corruption and racketeering were high on his list. Concerning itself with both innocence and guilt, street crime and high-profile cases, the Hogan administration molded itself a national reputation based on resourcefulness, objectivity and honesty and Bob was with him every step of the way. “Those were the best 5 years of my life,” he tells me. “I learned how to practice law, how to look, act, and not draw attention to myself in a courtroom.” The…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, To the Blue Ridge

High tech dog training

This month’s column is a bit off of the normal beaten path since I’m not going to be writing about what is happening in the Blue Ridge in October like I normally do. I know most of you regular readers are familiar with the beauty this magnificent area of the Commonwealth offers during the fall so I am relying on you to dig into your memory banks and go ahead a plan a drive through the countryside. Recently, a friend asked how I trained my dogs, since they’re reliably well behaved and calm in public. She was surprised when I said I used an electronic collar for training them. “You use a shock collar?” she asked in disbelief. She—and many people—seemed ready to believe that electronic collars are cruel and inhumane. Because I had the collar in my training bag in my truck, I pulled it out and to her surprise the dogs crowded around it, excitedly wagging their tails and nudging my hand as if to say, “Me, me! Put it on me!” To my dogs, who wear it for every training session whether or not it’s actually used, that collar means they get to train with me one on one; they’ll get retrieves and they might even get real birds. Now, granted they are all hunting retrievers, and most also compete at high levels in hunt tests and field trials, so they do get more, and more advanced training than the average house pet. But for many performance dogs that work or compete at advanced levels of training, the electronic collar is an important part of the trainer’s tool kit. Just like with raising children, training dogs brings out strong opinions in people. Some believe in all positive training with no punishment (in dog training, these are called…

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