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How to Turn a Bad Day Around

June 2nd, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Live Well, Work Well

shutterstock_84719821Life is full of unexpected frustrations. Running late, spilling coffee on yourself or getting into an argument can start your day off on the wrong foot. The good news is that you can control your mood and prevent these obstacles from ruining your entire day.

The most important thing you can do is to focus on the positive. Studies show that when you’re positive, you have 23 percent fewer health-related effects from stress, you’re 31 percent more productive, you’re 40 percent more likely to receive a promotion and your creativity levels triple.

Here are a few ways to turn a bad day around:

  • Pinpoint the concrete reason for your frustration and address it immediately.
  • Write down or recite three things you are grateful for.
  • Choose not to be a victim of your frustration. Make a conscious effort to be positive.
  • Set realistic expectations for your day.

Negative emotions can be contagious. It is worth taking control of your mood—not just for yourself—but for those around you.

View more Live Well, Work Well tips here.

5 Things …

June 2nd, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Hedda's Hints

5 Things to Do Immediately If You Get in a Car Crash

shutterstock_153095987

A car crash can run the spectrum from a minor annoyance to a life-altering tragedy. And even if you’ve been in one before, the emotions and stresses associated can make it difficult to remember what to do in the immediate aftermath. We asked law enforcement officers, mechanics, auto insurance agents and legal experts for their advice on what steps to take after a car crash, including all the details that are easy to forget, and how to protect yourself and your money.

Step 1: Call Emergency Services (If Necessary) & the Police (Always)

If anyone is injured, call 911 immediately and describe the situation and any injuries with as much detail as you can so the proper services can be dispatched.

Even for small fender-benders where no one is obviously injured, it’s always important to call the police and file an accident report. First, you never know if what looks to be minimal damage is actually more insidious, and if there’s no police report, it’ll be your word against the other party’s if you need to involve insurance companies, and that can be a losing game. Be sure to ask the officer for the accident report number — you’ll need this for your insurer. If there are witnesses, ask them to stick around to speak with the police, and at the very least get their contact information so the police can speak with them later.

The police don’t determine fault; the insurance companies do. However, the police do want a factual report of what happened. Most car crashes aren’t criminal investigations, so you can give an honest account of what happened, but you should be careful about some of the things you say. And if you can, listen to the other party when they speak to the police to make sure the facts aren’t misrepresented. (Below, more details on what not to say, what to tell your insurance company and when you might need a lawyer.)

Step 2: Assess the Damage

If the crash left your car in the middle of a busy road, your instinct will probably be to move it, but proceed with caution. You can legally move your vehicle, and if you do, you should snap a few pictures of the scene first— but only do these things if it’s safe to do so considering the traffic and circumstances of your collision. We asked Mechanic Matt, a certified ASE Master Technician for Metromile, how drivers can tell if their car is safe to move after a wreck:

  • Look for leaking fluids near the front of the vehicle and don’t move it if you see a lot.
  • If you smell gasoline, the car isn’t safe to be near — never mind drive.
  • If you have a flat, don’t move the vehicle. And if any part of the car’s body (like a plastic bumper) is touching the tires in any way, you could get a flat if you attempt to drive.

Matt adds that any odd noise or smell could mean the car’s mechanical or electrical systems are compromised and your best bet is to call a tow truck. If you do decide to drive, be cautious and pay attention to how everything is working: make sure the brakes feel normal, that it’s easy to steer and make sure no new smells or sounds appear as you drive. If you’re unsure whether you can or should move your vehicle, wait for the police to advise you.

Step 3: Exchange Information With the Other Party

Always exchange information. Even if you think you’ve gotten off lucky and your stop-short fender bump incident left no real damage (as far as you can tell), you still must exchange contact information and insurance information with the other party. Write down:

  • Names of all drivers involved in the accident
  • Address and phone number of the drivers involved
  • Year, make, model and license plates of the cars involved in the accident
  • Insurance policy numbers

If the other party offers cash in lieu of exchanging info and calling the police, don’t accept. Not only could you miss out on future auto insurance claims payouts, it’ll be your word against theirs, and you could be held liable later, even if the wreck wasn’t your fault.

Neil Richardson, licensed insurance agent at car insurance comparison company The Zebra, offers a word of caution when speaking with the other party: “Refrain from saying anything to the other party or anyone else that could implicate you of fault if there is even a question about who caused the accident,” he says. “The police report will be reviewed (in addition to pictures, driver statements, etc.) to determine fault, and if you apologized or made an offhand comment about not paying attention, for example, then you are opening yourself up to be deemed ‘at fault.'” Whether speaking with the other driver, the police officer taking the accident report, or a representative from either insurance company, sticking to the facts will generally result in the most positive outcome.

Step 4: Document the Damage

Photos of the scene and of any damaged vehicles can contribute to police reports and can help determine liability and expedite the claim for your payment. If you find damage later and haven’t documented it, you could be on the hook for repairs.

While smartphones can take great photos, Matt advises drivers to focus on quality over quantity. He says there’s been a trend lately of people sending hundreds of pictures, only a few of which actually show the damage. Some advice for documenting the scene:

  • Start with some photos from four to six feet from the vehicle and move in closer if you need to highlight something. For example, if your vehicle was hit in the driver’s front corner and your front bumper, hood and driver’s headlamp are damaged, take a photo showing the entire front bumper and the driver’s side of the vehicle, and then move in closer to show the damaged components. Repeat if you have multiple areas of damage.
  • If you can, take comparable photos of the damage to the other vehicle and of the other party’s license or ID card and license plate, too.
  • Always take photos of all four sides of the vehicle.

Step 5: Call Your Insurance Company

This one is simple: always call your insurer. Richardson recommends calling your insurer as soon as possible after a wreck — at the scene, if you can. This allows you to provide them with the most accurate and up-to-date information before you forget anything important, and will also provide peace of mind that your company has you covered. Your company’s claims representative knows that accidents are stressful — they’re there to help.

Information you’ll need to provide for your insurance company:

  • Names of all drivers involved in the accident
  • Address and phone number of the drivers involved
  • Insurance policy numbers of all drivers involved
  • Year, make, model and license plates of the cars involved in the accident
  • Photos of the damage to the vehicles
  • Brief description of what occurred at the accident scene
  • Police report, if possible
  • Contact information for any witnesses

With this information, your insurer will have an adjuster contact both parties and get their statements about what occurred. The adjuster will then review the police report, witness statements and photos. If the insurance company determines that their customer was at fault, they will start the process of getting the other party’s vehicle repaired, and if the other driver is found at fault, their insurance company will begin the repair process for you.

If fault is disputed, there will be a claim investigation during which your insurer will represent you, and both insurance companies will come to a determination – in some states, each driver can be found partially responsible. Even if you’re sure you aren’t at fault, it’s best to tell your insurer about the crash. For one thing, they’ll need to work with the other party’s insurance company directly to confirm fault and get repairs started. For another, if you file with your insurance company first, you can get your repairs taken care of faster, even if the other driver was at fault. Your insurer would then bill the other driver’s insurance company for repairs.

Telling your insurer about an incident isn’t the same as filing a claim. Sometimes it can be betternot to file a claim after a wreck, for example if the wreck was your fault and you want your insurance to kick in for repairs to your vehicle, but this is something you should weigh carefully later, not at the scene of a crash. But many insurance companies actually have stipulations in the contract that customers must let them know about anything that might lead to a claim, and Richardson says violating this contract can lead to denial of your claim or cancellation of your policy altogether.

Ideally, practicing safe driving habits will help you minimize the cost of auto insurance. It can also help to keep your credit in good shape, because insurers in many states evaluate credit when determining a driver’s insurance premiums. You can see two of your credit scores for free every month on Credit.com to get an idea of where you stand.

Complications: How to Know When You Need a Lawyer

The biggest factor in deciding whether or not to contact a lawyer following a crash is if there has been an injury, says New York attorney Zev Goldstein. “If someone was hurt, especially if they were hurt badly, both parties need to contact a lawyer in order to be sure that their interests are represented properly.” Other reasons to consider a lawyer after a crash:

  • There was a fatality and you were at fault;
  • You’re having trouble with your insurance company;
  • The incident took place in a construction zone;
  • The police report is inaccurate, or lists you as at fault when you weren’t;
  • You have questions or confusions about anything beyond the basics;
  • If the other party obtains counsel (let lawyers deal with lawyers).

Source: finance.yahoo.com

Summer Can Be Risky

June 2nd, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Hedda's Hints

Summer can be the riskiest time of year

jet-ski
Summer is a season of recreational fun and personal relaxation; a blissful stretch blessed with balmy weather to enjoy long weekends with friends and family, the children and grandchildren off from school. Unfortunately, summer is also the riskiest season of the year.

Automobile accidents and related fatality rates alarmingly rise during summer months, particularly among teen drivers. Summer is also when people are more likely to become injured or ill due to heat stroke and water-related accidents. It’s also the riskiest period for someone ill or injured to have to go to a hospital.

Liability exposures

Summer brings us all a range of wonderful activities, but many of these pursuits are fraught with liability exposures — particularly for high-net-worth families and individuals. Summer may entail long vacations to far-flung locales, backyard parties by the pool and outdoor bar, guests staying at one’s homes and pleasure-seeking jaunts on diverse watercraft. But the warm weather also invites fire threats at mountain cabins, and hurricane winds and floods at coastal homes.

“Summer should be a season of stress-free fun with the family and friends,” said Dale Krupowicz, COO at Personal Risk Management Solutions, a New York-based insurance agency that serves a predominantly HNW clientele. “It can be, but only if the various hazards that tend to occur during this season are understood and addressed.”

Watercraft and water sports

Krupowicz noted a few atypical risks her high-net-worth clients confront during summer months. The first hazard is in watercraft and water sports.

“The risk with jet skis is that they’re often operated by teenagers and even younger children,” Krupowicz explained. “Typically, the kids have friends they’ve brought along who have no experience or training in how to safely ride these vehicles. If they’re injured, assuming the friends’ parents have given permission to ride the jet ski, the homeowner is usually covered by insurance. Nevertheless, there are still other coverage nuances that have to be considered.”

Krupowicz pointed out that routine homeowners insurance policies only absorb the owner’s liability if the jet ski is powered by a 50-horsepower engine or less. Many luxury jet skis like the Sea-Doo GTX 215 have twice that horsepower and more, with the capacity to reach speeds approaching 60 mph. “Hitting the water at that speed is like hitting cement,” she said.

With faster jet skis, the sleep-easy solution is to acquire personal watercraft insurance, which covers first-party and third-party liabilities involving a family’s sailboats, yachts and jet skis. It is important to note that typical watercraft insurance does not cover liabilities emanating from parasailing or hydro-powered jet packs. “It’s critical that customers talk to their agent or broker to determine if this coverage can be scheduled to help absorb these risks,” Krupowicz said. “If not, you’re on your own.”

Superyacht at dock

Big boats, big worries

Yacht ownership comes with a range of unique risks. More than 100 yachts today are as long as 225 feet, double the length of what was considered a “mega-yacht” a generation ago. These boats require the hiring of captains and crews. Much smaller yachts also need specialized professionals at the helm, but often people who have sailed their whole lives disagree with this.

Krupowicz explained, “We just had a situation with one of our clients who had never operated a large watercraft, [and] only had experience with smaller boats. We explained that […] as you upgrade, the experience level of the operator is extremely important. In this case, we told him that he needed to hire a full-time paid captain. If this condition was not complied with, the carrier would not provide coverage for his new yacht.”

Other watercraft risks involve worker injuries and illnesses, as well as first- and third-party bodily injuries and property damage. There are also stringent insurance coverage requirements based on maritime law. With regard to the latter, owners of vessels with a captain and crew are required to have Jones Act coverage, which is similar in some respects to workers compensation insurance.

Most insurance policies forbid the racing of both powered and sailed watercraft, although such coverage can be acquired from specialized insurers. There are also territorial limitations on where owners can pilot their vessels. Venture beyond the geographic limits in the policy and the insurance may be nullified.

Clearly, anyone taking a yacht off the coast of Somalia is making a dangerous decision given the severe risk of pirates. But even hottravel destinations like Cuba remain largely off limits. Although longstanding trade and travel restrictions formerly in place with that country are being lifted, American boat owners cannot simply sail into local ports without proper authorization.

First, the owner, passengers and crew must qualify under one of the 12 general licenses or a specific license issued by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control authorizing travel to Cuba. However, the license alone does not allow someone to take a yacht to the island. Additional licenses are required, including an export license from the U.S. Commerce Department and permission from the Coast Guard to enter Cuban territorial waters. Absent these permissions, a maritime insurance policy may not be worth the paper it’s printed on.

Pool party

Travel threats

For many people, summer is a time of travel, and many affluent families indulge in extraordinary trips to faraway places. Krupowicz mentioned a client of hers that went on safari with his family in Africa where, regrettably, the health care infrastructure is well below the standards of more industrialized nations.

We all hope if we are injured or become ill in a foreign country that we will receive immediate, quality medical care. This is not the case across much of the globe. “Fortunately, there are a few insurers that will evacuate an injured policyholder to a hospital in another country that has first-rate health care equipment, doctors and services,” Krupowicz said. “The same insurers often will provide ancillary services, such as contacting the policyholder about the growing risk of civil commotion in a country or an imminent storm that is en route.”

Outdoor parties

Many HNW families and individuals host outdoor parties in summertime — as do we all. If the home has a swimming pool, the risk of injury or death from drowning to children and adults gives deep pause for consideration. For children under age 5, drowning is the leading cause of accidental death, with rates exceeding those of traffic accident fatalities. Most of these deaths occur in home swimming pools.

For adults, a swimming pool and alcoholic beverages are a combustible mix. At a 2015 dinner party at a Beverly Hills house, a young man was found floating dead in the pool. The victim was reportedly intoxicated and did not know how to swim. He appeared to have slipped and fallen into the pool when the party’s guests were not present.

To limit this devastating possibility occurring at a house party, Krupowicz offered a simple solution — hire a lifeguard. She also advised that all of us, but particularly high-net-worth people, should buy an umbrella liability insurance policy with high limits of financial protection. “What’s great about this insurance is that it resides on top of all your other liability coverages, helping ease the family’s financial concerns over watercraft, vacation travel, parties — you name it,” she said.

Absent such concerns, summer can be enjoyed to the fullest.

Source: propertycasualty360.com

Swimming Pools & Insurance

June 2nd, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Insurance Discount Strategies

10 swimming pool insurance and safety tips

Editor’s note: This information first appeared on iii.org and is adapted and reprinted here with their permission.

Whether you have a luxury in-ground pool, or plan to blow up an inflatable kiddie pool, it is important to consider the safety implications.

There are an estimated 7.4 million swimming pools and five million hot tubs in residential or public use in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Furthermore, there are over 3,400 fatal unintentional drownings in the United States each year, with more than one out of five drowning victims being a child 14 years old or younger, according to the CDC.

The Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) suggests taking the following steps if you own or are considering purchasing a pool or spa:

1. Contact your town or municipality

Each town will have its own definition of what constitutes a “pool,” often based on its size and the depth of the water. If the pool you are planning to buy meets the definition, then you must comply with local safety standards and building codes. This may include installing a fence of a certain size, locks, decks and pool safety equipment.

Backyard pool and spa

2. Call your insurance agent or company representative

Let your insurance company know that you have a pool, since it will increase your liability risk. Pools are considered an “attractive nuisance” and it may be advisable to purchase additional liability insurance. Most homeowners policies include a minimum of $100,000 worth of liability protection. Pool owners, however, may want to consider increasing the amount to at least $300,000 or $500,000.

You may also want to talk to your agent or company representative about purchasing an umbrella liability policy. For an additional premium of about $200 to $300 a year, you can get $1 million of liability protection over and above what you have on your home. If the pool itself is expensive, you should also have enough insurance protection to replace it in the event it is destroyed by a storm or other disaster. And, don’t forget to include the chairs, tables or other furniture around the pool deck.

dad in swimming pool with kids

If you have a pool, the I.I.I. recommends taking the following safety precautions:

3. Install a four-sided barrier such as a fence with self closing gates to completely surround the pool.

4. If the house forms the fourth side of the barrier, install alarms on doors leading to the pool area to prevent children from wandering into the pool or spa unsupervised.

In addition to the fences or other barriers required by many towns, consider creating several “layers of protection” around the pool, in other words setting up as many barriers (door alarms, locks and safety covers) as possible to the pool area when not in use.

3 girls in a backyard swimming pool

5. Never leave small children unsupervised—even for a few seconds.

And never leave toys or floats in the pool when not in use as they may prove to be a deadly temptation for toddlers trying to reach them who might then fall into the pool.

6. Keep children away from pool filters and other mechanical devices as the suction force may injure them or prevent them from surfacing.

In case of an emergency, know how to shut off these devices and clearly post this information so others can do so too.

7. Ask if pool users know how to swim. 

Learners should be accompanied by a good swimmer. If you have children, have them take swimming lessons as early as possible. And, do not allow anyone to swim alone.

3 kids in a small swimming pool

8. Check the pool area regularly for glass bottles, toys or other potential accident hazards.Also, keep CD players, radios and other electrical devices away from pools or nearby wet surfaces.

9. Limit alcohol use around the pool.

Drinking alcoholic beverages negatively impacts balance, coordination and judgment—and its effects are further heightened by sun exposure and heat. The CDC reports that alcohol use is involved in up to half of adolescent and adult deaths associated with water recreation.

10. Clearly post emergency numbers on the phone, in the event of an accident.

Keep a first aid kit, ring buoys and reaching poles near the pool. You may also want to consider learning basic water rescue skills, including first aid and CPR training. For additional information, contact the American Red Cross.

Source: propertycasualty360.com
Photo Source: shutterstock.com

Beltway Bambinos: Swim Lessons

June 2nd, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Spotlight on the Community
Swim lessons in and around Washington, DC provided by: Beltway Bambinos

Swim lessons are an important step in keeping children safe around the water. Lessons will also help your child gain confidence, stay active and alleviate any fears of water they may have while also learning lifesaving skills. Below is a list of some places and swim schools that offer swim lessons to individuals and groups. As always, let us know of any other places we should add to the list. For summer fun at water parks, pools and spray parks see this list.

DC Department Parks & Rec (Various Locations)

Wardman Pool (Woodley Park)

Sunsational Swim School (Shaw)

Cleveland Park Club (Cleveland Park)

Aqua Mobile Swim School (Various Locations)

Tenleytown Sports and Fitness (Tenleytown)

YMCA (Columbia Heights)

DCJCC (16th & Q St NW)

Arlington Parks & Rec (Various Locations)

Potomac Swim School (Ashburn, VA)

Montgomery County Parks & Rec (Various Locations)

British Swim School (Various Locations in MD & VA)

Inspect Your Deck

June 2nd, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Misc

5 inspection and safety tips for homeowners

Sadly, injuries and deaths from deck collapses are not uncommon. Just this past April, eight students attending Ohio’s Cedarville University were injured when a second-floor deck collapsed during a gathering at a home. None of the injuries were life-threatening, but the accident did result in broken and dislocated bones. Most interesting, perhaps, was the fact that the deck was built within the last 10 years, and not considered “old.”

The occurrence of deck collapse disasters tend to increase as the summer months approach and we spend more time outside. Homeowners should be aware of effective ways to inspect their outside areas to avoid decking disasters and be knowledgeable of their insurance options in case this unfortunate situation occurs.

Annual deck inspection 

In the United States alone there are estimated to be 40 million decks in use that were built 20-plus years ago, according to the North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA). Building codes, construction methods, and decking materials have changed considerably in those 20 years. Add in the fact that decks are outdoor structures constantly at the mercy of rain, sun, snow, and extreme temperature fluctuations, and it’s easy to see why an annual deck inspection is a smart idea.

Water damage, insect infestation, wood rot, and separation of the house and deck ledger board aren’t always visible to the untrained eye. NADRA provides a listing of qualified deck inspector members who must comply with state licensing and insurance requirements as well as adhere to a code of ethics (visit www.nadra.org for more information).

Fiberon Decking has created an informative infographic, “Check Your Deck,” provided below. Also, keep reading to learn 5 things you can easily do to keep your deck safe.

1. Inspect the wood

wood deck

Inspect several areas of your deck to ensure the wood is still sound. Specifically, check the ledger board, support posts and joists beneath the deck, deck floor boards, railings and stairs. Look for small hole in the wood or evidence of sawdust/wood dust. Examine any areas that are regularly exposed to water, tend to remain damp, or are in regular contact with fasteners. If you can easily penetrate the wood or if the wood is soft and spongy, you might have wood decay.

2. Flashing check

ladder leaning against second floor deck

Proper installation of ledger board flashing is critical, say decking experts. Flashing works to prevent moisture and debris from collecting between the house and the ledger board. Ensure that your flashing is installed behind the siding and over the top of the ledger board. Flashing should run the entire length of the ledger board and be free of any nail or screw holes. If you notice water collecting anywhere, add flashing or replace what’s already there.

3. Check your fasteners

outdoor deck

If you have wood decking, check for popped nails and pound them down or replace them. Tighten any loose screws. Replace rusted or corroded fasteners, as the corrosion can deteriorate any surrounding wood.

4. Prevent railing failure

deck railing

Deck railing is as much as safety issue as a style statement. In fact, more injuries result from rail failure than complete deck collapse, reports the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI). Push on your railing to ensure it doesn’t “give” in any way.

Ensure your rail complies with local building codes. That means a rail height of 36″, although 42″ is required in some states and for commercial applications. Measure the spacing between balusters.

To prevent small children and pets from squeezing through, the distance between each baluster cannot exceed 4″ for line sections and 4-3/8″ for stairs. What’s more, the “triangle” created between the stair tread, riser, and guardrail cannot be large enough to allow a 6″ sphere to pass through.

5. Light it up, safely

home wood deck with lights on

All electrical outlets, appliances and features must be code-compliant, childproof (if you have children or young visitors), and in good condition. If electrical cords are present on the deck, ensure they do not present a tripping hazard.

To learn more, visit How safe is your outdoor deck space?

Source: propertycasualty360.com

June 2016 Festivals & Events

June 2nd, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Spotlight on the Community

shutterstock_55909813The 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.

Free Summer Concerts
Find concert schedules for free family entertainment throughout the month in various destinations around Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia.

Free Outdoor Movies
Outdoor movies are getting very popular and there are a variety of venues to choose from throughout the summer. See the schedules here.

DC Capital Fair
Through June 5, 2016. RFK Stadium Grounds, Washington DC. The summer carnival features dozens of rides, games, foods and live entertainment.

Capital Pride
June 1-12, 2016.
A street festival and parade celebrate pride in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities in Washington, DC.

Herndon Festival
June 2-5, 2016. Downtown Herndon, Virginia. The free summer festival features live entertainment, international foods, carnival rides and games, children’s entertainment, a business exposition, 10k & 5k races, a Fitness expo, fireworks and more.

Imagination Bethesda
June 4, 2016, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Bethesda, MD.  A children’s street festival featuring costume characters, face painters, dance troupes, theatre performances and a variety of hands-on arts activities.

Vintage Virginia Wine Festival
June 4-5, 2016. Bull Run Park, Centreville, VA. Enjoy samples by more than 50 wineries including over 250 award-winning Virginia wines, educational seminars on food pairing, fine art exhibits, children’s activities, food and live entertainment.

Washington Folk Festival
June 4-5, 2016, 12-7 p.m. Glen Echo Park. Presented by the Folklore Society of Greater Washington, the free festival features hundreds of musicians, storytellers, dancers, and craft vendors representing the rich cultural diversity of the Washington area. Audiences will enjoy American musical traditions such as bluegrass, blues, and swing as well as international traditions from across the globe. Rain or shine.

Annapolis Arts, Crafts & Wine Festival
June 4-5, 2016. The two-day celebration of the arts in Annapolis, Maryland features the juried works of more than 150 fine artists and craftsmen, wine tastings, food, live entertainment and activities for the entire family.

Dupont-Kalorama Museum Walk
June 4-5, 2016. Visit museums near Dupont Circle featuring free admission and special activities for all ages.

National Asian Heritage Festival
June 5, 2016, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. (New Date-Postponed From May Due to Weather) Washington DC. Celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with an Asian street fair in the heart of DC. Enjoy live entertainment and interactive displays.

Taste of Wheaton
June 5, 2016. Wheaton, MD. Enjoy a variety of food samples from local restaurants, live music and kids activities.

Northern Virginia Tour de Cure Bicycling Event
June 5, 2016. Reston, VA. Help raise funds and awareness about diabetes by participating in this annual event. All experience levels welcome.

Washington Nationals Baseball
The Major League Baseball’s National League East plays 81 home games each season atNationals Park. Enjoy a fun-filled day cheering on DC’s baseball team.

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

The Source Theater Festival
June 8-July 3, 2016. Source Theatre, 1835 14th Street, NW Washington, DC. See new works in theater, dance, music, visual art, film, puppetry, spoken word, poetry and hip-hop. Performances include three full-length plays, 18 10-minute plays and three Artistic Blind Dates.

Celebrate Fairfax! Festival
June 10-12, 2016. Northern Virginia’s largest annual community-wide celebration features live music, children’s activities, a community market place, a laser show and fireworks.

DC Jazz Festival
June 10-19, 2016. Enjoy more than 100 jazz performances at concert venues and clubs throughout Washington, DC.

Discover Strathmore
June 12, 2016. North Bethesda, MD. The annual open house features free music and dance performances, workshops, artistic presentations, food demonstrations, and more.

USAF Cycling Classic
June 11-12, 2016. Cycling event in Crystal City, VA to help members of the United States military who have sustained Traumatic Brain Injuries.

Celebrate Gaithersburg
June 12, 2016, noon-5 p.m. Bring the whole family to the annual Gaithersburg street festival, with live music, food, arts & crafts, amusements and more.

DC Primary Election Day
June 14, 2016. Voters go to the polls to vote for the Presidential nominee of their choice. Learn about voting in the District of Columbia.

Flag Day in Washington DC
June 14, 2016.   Washington DC celebrates Flag Day with a variety of patriotic festivals and exhibits

Taste of Reston
June 17, 2016. Reston Town Center. Enjoy a variety of food from the region’s finest eateries, live music, activities and games. Admission and parking are free. Tastings start at $1.

Columbia Heights Day
June 18, 2016. Harriet Tubman Elementary School, 11th & Kenyon Streets NW, Washington, DC. The community event includes live music, food, vendors, guest speakers, children’s activities and more.

Washington Soap Box Derby
June 18, 2016. Watch racers ages 8-17 compete in an All American Soap Box Derby on Capitol Hill.

Northern Virginia Summer Brewfest
June 18-19, 2016.  Bull Run Regional Park, Centreville, VA. Enjoy a beer festival with food, live entertainment and children’s activities.

Father’s Day
June 19, 2016. Looking for a special way to spend Father’s Day this year? Here are some ideas of ways to spend some family time with Dad on Father’s Day in Washington, DC, Maryland and Northern Virginia.

Manassas Wine and Jazz Festival
June 19, 2016.  Enjoy an afternoon of wine and live jazz in Old Town Manassas, Virginia.

AFI DOCS Film Festival
June 22-26, 2016. Film festival, sponsored by the American Film Institute, showing free films, and special programs at several locations in the Washington DC area.

National Capital Barbecue Battle
June 25-26, 2016. If you love barbecue you’ll love the food samples, cooking demonstrations, interactive displays and children’s activities at this sizzling summer festival on Pennsylvania Avenue, NW between 9th & 14th Sts.

Alexandria Food and Wine Festival
June 25, 2016. The street festival showcases local food and wine and includes live entertainment, craft vendors and children activities.

Wolf Trap’s Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods
Tuesdays through Saturdays, June-August 2016. Family friendly performances in music, dance, storytelling, puppetry, and theater. (recommended for children ages 5-12)

Smithsonian Folklife Festival
June 29-July 4 and July 7-10, 2016. Celebrate cultural traditions from around the world. The Festival includes daily and evening music and dance performances, crafts and cooking demonstrations, storytelling and discussions of cultural issues. This is one of Washington, DC’s most popular summer events.

UniverSoul Circus
June 30-July 24, 2016. National Harbor, MD. Enjoy a big top showcase bursting with action-packed performances, colorful lights, pulsating music and international soul.

Source: dc.about.com

8 Great Avocado Hacks

June 2nd, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle

Avocado is a glorious food. Those folks who know it show it with complete adoration. From finding ways to incorporate avocado into every meal to showing one’s love with avocado swag, fans of this green fruit are fierce.

For all you avocado devotees out there, we put together a list of the eight most essential avocado hacks because you deserve it. And because it’ll help you eat even more avocado.

1. OR You can quickly ripen a too-hard avocado by putting it in a paper bag at room temperature. If all goes well, it can mature to perfect guacamole-making texture in a matter of days. This may not be lightning fast, but it speeds up the natural process significantly.

2. If you need an avocado to mature faster than that, add an apple, banana or pear. The fruits emit ethylene gas, a compound that promotes ripening.

3. OR, if you really can’t wait, bake it in the oven. Slice the avocado, top with lemon juice, and cook at 300° for 10 minutes.

4. To preserve a perfectly ripe avocado you’re not quite ready to eat, pop it in the fridge. This will slow down the ripening process.

5. However, if you’ve already cut into that avocado, be sure to cover it before refrigerating —  lemon juice, apple cider vinegar or good ol’ fashion Saran Wrap will help keep it from turning brown.

6. If you’re out of breakfast dishes or baking pans or both, just use an avocado — this is also known as the eggocado. Just drop an egg into the hole of an avocado, bake until set and eat. Best breakfast around.

7. Get the most out of an avocado by cutting it into quarters and peeling the skin away. It’s the most efficient way to eat this fruit.

8. If you’re unsure whether an avocado is ready to eat, look underneath the stem. If the skin under the stem is brown, it’s too ripe. If it’s green, it’s good to go. And if the stem doesn’t come off easily, the avocado isn’t ripe yet.

Now you can go on and eat lots of avocados. And we’ve got the recipes to help you do just that.

Source: huffingtonpost.com

New Telemedicine Service

June 2nd, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Family Health & Safety
*click to enlarge

CareFirst Launches New Telemedicine Service ..