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The Importance of Good Posture

February 4th, 2016 | Comments Off on The Importance of Good Posture | Posted in Live Well, Work Well

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Posture is something that most people don’t think twice about. We tend to sit or stand in whatever way feels the most comfortable at the time. However, poor posture can wreak havoc on a person’s body, causing back and neck pain, muscle fatigue, digestive issues and even breathing problems.

Many Americans work at jobs where they spend most of their days sitting in front of computers. They then often go home and continue to sit after a long day at work. In the winter, individuals may spend even more time sitting when temperatures drop and outdoor activity becomes more difficult.

Spending many hours a day sitting and looking at a computer or a phone can lead to tight muscles in the back of the neck and upper back, which places stress on your bones and joints. Slouching or sitting in a scrunched position can also compress your abdomen and interfere with normal digestion.

To avoid the dangers associated with poor posture while sitting, make sure your computer monitor is at eye level to avoid straining your neck by constantly looking down. In addition, avoid holding a phone on your shoulder throughout the day. Instead, use a hands-free device like a headset or one with Bluetooth capabilities. Taking the time to stretch and strengthen core muscles can also help correct muscular imbalances.

Poor posture is something that affects you more over time. By taking steps now to be conscious of your posture, you can decrease your chances of developing joint pain and improve your overall well-being.

View more Live Well, Work Well tips here.

7 Tips for Health Care Spending

February 3rd, 2016 | Comments Off on 7 Tips for Health Care Spending | Posted in Personal Tips, Trips & Traps

February 2016 Festivals and Events

February 3rd, 2016 | Comments Off on February 2016 Festivals and Events | Posted in Spotlight on the Community

shutterstock_308871815The Washington, DC area and its surrounding communities in Maryland and Virginia host lots of annual festivals and special events. All dates, prices, and activities mentioned are subject to change, so please check the official website or call to confirm information. Please note that most of these events are held each year and the dates are updated as available.

Alexandria Restaurant Week
Through February 7, 2016. More than 45 restaurants will be offering special menus and pricing to entice visitors to dine in Alexandria, Virginia, just five miles south of Washington, DC. The restaurants are offering either a three-course pre-fixe dinner or dinner for two, both priced at $35.

Super Bowl Parties in Washington DC
February 7, 2016. Looking for a fun place to watch the game in Washington, DC?  Local restaurants will offer special food and drink promotions. See a guide to some of best parties in the DC area.

Winter Theater in Washington DC
With dozens of performances around the region, here is the schedule of the top shows for the 2016 season.

Washington Wizards Basketball
See NBA games live at the Verizon Center or enjoy the national broadcasts throughout the season.

Washington Capitals
The NHL Hockey team plays at the Verizon Center. Find information on tickets, schedules and more.

Chinese New Year Events
Throughout the month, enjoy a variety of special celebrations honoring the Year of the Monkey in the Washington, DC area.

Black History Month
Throughout the month of February, remember the contributions of African Americans in the United States with numerous events and cultural programs.

Summer 2016 Camp Fairs in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia
Various dates in February. Do you know what your kids are doing this summer?

Attend a camp fair and find out about a variety of day and sleepaway camps in the Washington, DC area.

Chocolate Lovers Festival
February 6-7, 2016. Old Town Fairfax, Virginia. Enjoy a festival of everything chocolate! See the Chocolate Challenge, an arts contest featuring breathtaking art made completely of chocolate, sample chocolates, historic re-enactments, children’s activities, craft show and more.

Clarendon Mardi Gras Parade
February 9, 2016, 8 p.m. Arlington, VA. The parade celebrates Fat Tuesday.

Valentine’s Day
Find suggestions for Valentine’s Day in the Washington, DC area, including romantic restaurants, romantic getaways, chocolates, flowers, gift ideas and more.

George Washington’s Birthnight Banquet and Ball
February 13, 2016, 5:30 to 11 p.m. Ballroom of Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, Alexandria, Virginia. Enjoy an 18th century banquet and English Country Dancing, a dessert collation, toasts, and character re-enactors.

Cupid’s Undie Run
February 13, 2016. Run around the U.S. Capitol Building in your Valentine’s themed undies to raise money for the Children’s Tumor Foundation.

President’s Day in Washington, DC
February 15, 2016. Visit Washington, DC on President’s Day and pay tribute to America’s most famous leaders. Find out about special Presidents’ Day events held throughout the Washington, DC area.

Mardi Gras Celebrations in Washington, DC
Celebrate Fat Tuesday at a variety of events including parties, parades, balls and family days.

Calvert County Restaurant Week
February 19-28, 2016. Enjoy special fixed-price menus at many of the county’s best restaurants.

DC Rollergirls
February 20, 2016. DC Armory, 2001 East Capitol Street, SE Washington, DC. Enjoy watching the region’s all women’s roller derby team compete.

Adventures in Travel Expo
February 20-21, 2016. Washington Convention Center. Learn about a wide variety of adventure travel packages and tours, attend educational seminars, meet leading travel writers and participate in free hands-on activities.

Annapolis Restaurant Week
February 22-28, 2016. Dozens of restaurants in Historic and greater Annapolis will be offering three-course, price fixed meal selections at a cost of $15.95 for lunch and $29.95 for dinner.

Washington Jewish Film Festival
February 24-March 6, 2016. The annual event shows films with Jewish themes and encourages a dialogue about a variety of issues.

Intersections Arts Festival
February 26-March 6, 2016. Atlas Performing Arts Center. The arts festival at the Atlas Performing Arts Center in Washington DC, features visual art, film screenings, literary readings and dance, musical and dramatic productions by more than 30 artists and cultural institutions.

White House Easter Egg Roll Ticket Lottery
2016 Dates to Be Announced. Free tickets will be distributed via an online lottery. Don’t miss your chance to attend the annual event on Easter Monday on the White House grounds.

Capital Home & Garden Show
February 26- 28, 2016. Dulles Expo Center, Chantilly, VA. Enjoy a one-stop shopping resource with hundreds of exhibits with the latest remodeling and decorating products and services.

Source: dc.about.com

Pursuing an Encore Career

February 3rd, 2016 | Comments Off on Pursuing an Encore Career | Posted in Lifestyle

Pursuing an Encore Career in Retirement

What Makes a Good Leader?

February 3rd, 2016 | Comments Off on What Makes a Good Leader? | Posted in Lifestyle


Simple Ways to Improve Your Management Skills

What makes a good leader is the use of effective management skills such as spending 50 percent or more of their time listening carefully.

Great leaders understand that some of the best leadership qualities entail listening to others with undivided attention.

When was the last time you actually listened single-mindedly to one of your staff members?

Can you remember when you last listened to someone without interruptions or distractions from either telephone calls or drop-in visitors, when you just focused intently on the person speaking with you, ignoring all else? When CEO Alan Mulally arrived at Ford, he used a technique he had refined at Boeing. He found a way to instantly shift the senior executives on his team from talkers to listeners by changing the way he evaluated his team’s performance.

“It always comes down to incentives. What’s the incentive for someone to behave differently? Is it recognition, time, or more money? No. It’s usually visibility,” he said. “When you give a speech, you’ll be scored by the audience.”

So those executives who were smart enough to leave lots of time for Q & A got better grades than those who lectured. And those managers who encouraged a dialogue with the team came out on top.

Great leaders with excellent management skills encourage input and change, and the best way to measure them is based on feedback they get from their best people. People usually give the best scores to leaders you trust and to leaders who listen.

The Most Essential Leadership Qualities

Integrity is perhaps the most valued and respected quality of leadership and one of the most important management skills you need to attain. By saying what you’ll do and then doing what you say, you will build trust around your team.

Do you stand up and speak out for what you believe?

Do you demonstrate the courage to stay the course when the going gets tough and the outcome looks uncertain?

What makes a good leader is the ability to stay calm and in control, especially when everyone around them is wondering whether it’s the right decision or if it was a mistake to commit to a particular course of action.

When you exude confidence in yourself, in the decision, and in the people around you, you instill the same feelings and attitudes in others.

Leaders have what is called “courageous patience.” Between the decision and the result, there is always a period of uncertainty when no one knows if the effort is going to be successful.

To be a successful leader, you must strive to have these essential leadership qualities. If you have lived with this feeling many times in your career, you’re in good company.

What Makes a Good Leader?

To be successful as a leader, you need a combination of two ingredients: character and competence. You need to be a person of integrity. Someone people trust and are willing to follow.

To be trusted in business, you must be trustworthy. You must believe in yourself, your company, the essential goodness of your products and services, and in your people.

You need to believe that you are offering an excellent product or service in every way, one that makes a difference in the lives of your customers.

You must lead by example and obtain management skills that inspire others to join you in the exciting project of building a great company. At the same time, you must become excellent at the key capabilities and functions of leadership and set yourself on a course of continuous improvement throughout your career.

“You need the humility to remind yourself that you’ve got to get better at everything you do,” insisted Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos. “I don’t know about you, but I’m never done growing my company or myself.”

Believe in Yourself

Management guru Jim Collins uses the phrase “Level 5 Leadership” to describe the characteristic of the best leaders, those who build great companies.

Out of all the existing leadership qualities, the most fascinating and distinguishing characteristic of level 5 is an often misunderstood trait: humility.

As it happens, humility doesn’t actually mean being humble . . .

People who are crazy enough to launch businesses as the economy is falling apart and then fight Goliath-size adversaries, are not exactly humble.

“Humility simply means you have a burning, driving, relentless ambition to serve and to win,” Collins told me, “Without the arrogance to delude yourself into believing that you are all knowing or always right.”

As a Level 5 Leader, you don’t believe you are perfect. You must, however, believe in yourself, and be convinced that you have what it takes to succeed and that you can get better. You are always looking for new ways to develop your leadership qualities and take your game to the next level.

Source: briantracy.com

Kids Learn Through Travel

February 3rd, 2016 | Comments Off on Kids Learn Through Travel | Posted in Lifestyle

7 Things Kids Will Only Learn Through Travel

shutterstock_183037556While in school they will learn to add, multiply and divide, read and write, recite poems and memorize the periodic table, find the seven continents on the map and amaze you with facts about Ireland, bugs and gravity to name just a few. But only travel will help them understand and value the lessons learned. So, take them beyond the stuffy classrooms and show them the world. The following things kids won’t learn in school, but through travel.

All they need to know about trains

“Two trains, 200 km apart, are moving toward each other at the speed of 50 km/hour each… When will they meet up?” This type of math problems used to drive me insane. Travel finally taught me that the only thing you need to know about trains is how to get on the right one, at the right time.

Each train is heading towards an adventure — for now that’s what I want my kids to associate with any type of transportation.

Good things are worth the wait

“I want it now.” I hear it all the time. My kids suck at patience, because I most certainly excel at being at their command. It comes as no surprise that taking them to theme parks gives me great pleasure. Why? Just imagine all the cool rides, but there’s line for each one and nothing I can do about it. Of course I, too, have to wait it out, but it’s a small price to pay to show them — some things are worth waiting for. And I hope it’s a lesson that will stick.

How it feels

“Ireland covers an area of 84,421 km2. The Impressionist Claude Monet created over 2,500 paintings, drawings and pastels. Sheep are pregnant for around 148 days.” I could go on for days. Looking things up on the Internet. Facts I knew and my kids will have to know by heart.

I want what only travel can give them.

To walk a kilometer in the Ireland’s bucolic landscape. Stand in Monet’s garden and see what captivated his attention for so long. Chase them while they chase the sheep in the field.

Then they can remember the facts, because they will mean something.

Math is money, money means adventure

“Math sucks.” I know, kiddo. Five minus one on paper is plain boring. I get it. In life Math tells a story. You have five bucks and you buy an ice-cream that costs two, how much do you need to get back? Or the aquarium’s entrance fee is 15, we have 20 will we have enough for the ice-cream when we leave? Travel makes Math a prerequisite.

It’s not numbers, it’s adventures, it’s possibilities, it’s ice-creams.

Nobody cares what your name is

“Hello. My name is…” Every time you start learning a language that’s lesson number one. But when traveling you rarely get to introduce yourself to anyone. Especially if you are just traveling through. Imagine asking for direction and going through the entire first lesson before.

I teach my kids how to say good morning, thank you, bye in the language of the country we are visiting. And how to order a croissant in France. That’s a priority not I am 35 years old.

Being on time matters

“Please hurry. I am going to be late.” After a few years I have realized that to my kids this is pure white noise. Even though she needs to be in school on time, it’s really not much of an incentive. Nothing really happens if she is a bit late. School will still be there.

Planes, trains and buses generally won’t. If we are not there on time, they will leave without us.


“Let’s go!” While schools show them how to run track, jump hurdles and lift heavy balls, travel makes them realize they must do it all at once, if they want to win. Chasing whatever is a sport that has serious consequences if they lose and it’s messy. It’s not just running, it’s running through an airport full of people, full of moving items, it’s carrying luggage and pushing strollers and rooting for our each other to keep going…

But sometimes it’s just a sport the two of us play when we are chasing our kids around, trying to keep up.

Schools are important, because they teach many valuable lessons about the world we live in. But by traveling and experiencing the world kids truly learn about themselves, about being open and flexible, friendly but smart, about adopting and dealing with problems, about enjoying life to the fullest…

Source: huffingtonpost.com