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Rental Report: Earth-Friendly Living in Arlington

by ARLnow.com Sponsor | August 21, 2014 at 2:40 pm | No Comments

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Editor’s Note: This biweekly sponsored column is written by Rick Gersten, founder and CEO of Urban Igloo, a rental real estate firm that matches up renters with their ideal apartments, condos or houses. Please submit any questions in the comments section or via email.

These days, earth friendly living tips are everywhere. Most people know the basics: change the light bulbs to LEDs, use non-toxic cleaning products, take reusable bags to the grocery store, and of course the 3 “R”s: reduce, reuse, and recycle. We have a few more suggestions for taking care of Mother Nature and yourself while living in an apartment.

Size, Direction and Windows – When looking for a place, consider a smaller unit. A smaller apartment is easier to heat and cool. Think about the size of the windows. We all love a lot of light, but floor to ceiling windows may be an issue if not properly insulated, and of course the extra light generates heat, which requires more energy for cooling in the summer. The extra heat may be welcome in the winter, but if not properly insulated, you could be battling the winter winds coming through the windows.

Same theory goes for the direction of the windows. If the apartment gets the afternoon western sun, it is going to get much warmer in the afternoon. If you really like having that afternoon light on the weekend, you can at least keep the blinds closed during the day when you are at work to help keep it cool.

Recycling – We mentioned recycling above, but sometimes the building recycling doesn’t accept all items. Think about items such as water filters, compact fluorescent light bulbs, ink cartridges and electronics. Most likely, you have to go the extra mile for these items. Water filters like a Brita filter can be recycled through the Gimme 5 program (which has drop bins at most Whole Foods). Gimme 5 also has an app where you can earn Recylebank Rewards for dropping off your items.

Arlington County accepts electronics, most for free, and small fees for things like TVs and computer monitors. Take your CFL’s to your local Lowe’s or Home Depot, as most have bins to recycle those. While you are there you can check to see if they have battery recycling. You didn’t think you were supposed to throw those in the trash did you? How about earning cash rewards for recycling ink cartridges? Both Staples and Office Depot will take your ink cartridges and give you points towards cash rewards to use in their stores.

Air Quality – Most of us know to changing our air filters helps with not only air quality but efficiency too. But what else helps with air quality in the home? Less carpet for one. Carpet and furniture are treated with several chemicals including flame retardants. Not to mention they trap dust, dirt and allergens. So finding a place with wood, concrete or tile in most areas definitely improves the air quality in the home.

Find out what kind of paint they are using in the building. Many buildings are switching to low VOC, which stands for Volatile Organic Compounds, paints. Low VOC paint helps lower harmful chemicals in the air. Another tip with paint — the lighter the color, the lower the VOCs because the more pigment in the paint increases the level of VOCs, however there are some brands that use no VOC pigments. The simplest way to improve air quality is to get some plants. Plants purify our air for us and improve mood. If you don’t have a green thumb try plants like a Zeezee Plant, Dracaena or Philodendron, which are pretty low maintenance.

Buy Local – The local food movement continues to gain popularity, and luckily in Arlington and the Metro D.C. area there is no shortage of local markets to pick up healthy treats. In Arlington, you can find a farmers market in Clarendon, Courthouse and Crystal City. Nearby in Alexandria, the Old Town Farmers market takes place every Saturday. And of course the trek to Eastern Market via the Orange or Blue Line is always worth it.

Lastly, look for LEED Certified apartments. These newer apartment buildings are built to certain efficiency standards set by the EPA. They will have better insulation, building materials and Energy Star appliances. They will also use low VOC paints, and most likely have excellent recycling programs. Need help on where to find a LEED apartment in Arlington? Find a local agent for help. Below are just a few LEED certified apartments in the area.

Have a rental-related question you’d like Rental Report to answer? Email it to info@urbanigloo.com.

Ask Adam: Mobile Real Estate Apps

by ARLnow.com Sponsor | August 19, 2014 at 3:30 pm | 505 views | No Comments

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Adam Gallegos of Arlington-based real estate firm Arbour Realty, voted one of Arlington Magazine’s Best Realtors of 2013 & 2014. Please submit your questions via email.

Q. I started looking for a good iPhone app to use during my home search and was a little overwhelmed. Do you have one that you recommend?

A. I have tried a bunch of different real estate apps and have narrowed them down to my top three favorites.

Mobile real estate app1) Homesnap is the one I use most often. If I want to learn about a home and whether it is for sale, I open Homesnap and press a button on the screen like I’m taking a photo of it. It pulls up a map and asks me to confirm the home I am interested in. I am then provided with details such as the following:

  • Estimated value
  • Sales price and listing data, if it is for sale
  • Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Lot size
  • Square footage
  • Year built
  • Parking
  • Historical sales data
  • Comparable listings
  • SmartZip HomeScore and InvestorScore

I can sign up for notifications when the price changes. I can even request that a competitive market analysis (CMA) be delivered to me.

In short, it’s the perfect nosey neighbor tool!

2) Maybe I’m a little biased, but I like using ArbourMobile.com when I’m searching for a specific address, city or zip code. It’s quick, accurate and has up-to-date information provided by the local multiple listing service (MLS). It allows me to display results in a list or on a map.  It provides all the listing detail including Walk Score. If I were in the market for a home, I would be inclined to use the favorites, notes and share functionality as well.

3) I like to use Zillow when I want information about real estate outside the DC area. Like if I’m on vacation dreaming about owning a beach house and wondering what the Zestimate is for the house next door. I would prefer to use Homesnap in these situations, but they currently have a limited service area.

In a previous article, I have listed some additional apps that may come in handy during the home buying process.

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Rosslyn’s LeagueApps Builds ‘More Fun’ Rec Sports Platform

by Ethan Rothstein | August 18, 2014 at 12:45 pm | 491 views | No Comments

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Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders and funders. The Ground Floor is Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

LeagueApps' workspace in UberOffices in RosslynMost people who have played recreational sports have experienced at least one frustration associated with the leagues: everything that doesn’t involve playing in the actual game.

Making the peripheral parts of rec sports easier was the stated goal of LeagueApps when it launched in 2011, and the company has tried to do just that for a growing roster of 600 leagues around the country. LeagueApps provides a platform for leagues, such as Arlington-based D.C. Social Sports, to manage registration, payment, rosters and other processes that go into organizing rec sports.

“We offer an all-in-one solution for your sports league,” LeagueApps Director of Product Management and “point guard” Gautam Chowdhry told ARLnow.com from LeagueApps’ ÜberOffices space in Rosslyn. “A lot of leagues now are doing things on three or four different systems. They’re managing the league with an excel spreadsheet or they’re using another software that’s not optimized for sports teams.”

Rec sports have significantly increased in popularity in the last five years, Chowdhry and Chief Product Officer and co-founder Steve Parker said. That’s especially true in the D.C. area, where the populace’s transience lends itself to “social sports” leagues, which revolve more around making friends and drinking than other rec leagues.

“There’s people moving in and out, they’re looking for activities, things to do after work,” Chowdhry said. “There’s also the idea of extended adolescence. People are getting married later, they’re moving into the cities, they’re looking for activities.”

A screenshot of Nakid Sports' website, developed by LeagueAppsLeagueApps was originally a sports Meetup-type company called Sportsvite, which is still around and owned by the same group. Launched in 2008 as a way to bring people together to play sports, Parker and his co-founder Brian Litvack soon found that the greater demand, and opportunity, was in making the leagues more accessible and functional online. In 2010, the group decided to pivot, and launched LeagueApps a year later.

“Our ultimate goal to make the experience in participating in sports for the players, parents and coaches easier and more enjoyable,” Parker said. “What you’re doing on the field is what matters. That’s where the fun is, that’s where the excitement is. Everything around that is friction and a nuisance of logistics.”

This year, LeagueApps started catering to youth leagues as well, trying to gain a foothold in a market that’s 10 times the size of adult sports. “It just made sense to tool our product so it could work in both markets,” Parker said.

The company started out bootstrapped, Parker said, but they’ve taken a few rounds of angel investments as they’ve grown. The team is now up to 22 people with office in New York City and San Francisco, as well as Rosslyn. Later this year, Parker said, LeagueApps is eyeing a Series A funding round to carry out their ultimate vision of a complete platform with new levels of service.

“We ultimately want to transform the experience that people have when they participate in sports activities,” he said. “That means a better experience, mobile, re-thinking all the things they do, how they engage with that sports experience, engaging with the league itself, the participants. We’re in the early stages of conceiving that.” (more…)

Your Beermonger: Water, Water Nowhere

by Ethan Rothstein | August 15, 2014 at 9:45 pm | 414 views | No Comments

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Editor’s Note: This sponsored column is written by Nick Anderson, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway).

Much like winemakers, chefs, and cheesemakers, there’s a strong conservation streak that runs through brewers.

GreenBiz recently ran a good piece illustrating the efforts that breweries of all sizes are making to ensure they are as sustainable as possible. It’s smart business sense to save energy to keep costs down, of course, but that’s not the sole motivation at play with beer. At the heart of good beer is the quality of its ingredients: the hops, grains, yeasts, and, most of all, the water used to create it.

Water is, and always has been, the single most important factor in brewing. Elements found in local water supplies have influenced the styles of beer made in various locations all over the world (perhaps most famously in Munich, where the hardness of the water led to the development of less hoppy Lagers).

So what happens when a brewery’s water supply starts to dry up? Breweries in California are starting to find out, as a three-year drought has begun to choke brewery growth predictions and has many looking for new locations (and water supplies) to use in their production.

The L.A. Times reported at the end of July that Bear Republic Brewing Company (Racer 5, Red Rocket Ale, Hop Rod Rye) has cut its expected growth rate from 35 percent to 15 percent this year because of the shortage of water from its source, the Russian River. Bear Republic has facilitated the creation of two new wells, but the mineral content of well water requires a filtration system to ensure the consistency of the final product; an additional expense to the brewery.

Bear Republic hasn’t been alone in feeling the effects of California’s water woes: MillerCoors and AB/InBev have both taken steps to reduce their water consumption over the past few years, especially at their California facilities. The L.A. Times article also reported that Lagunitas has cut its water consumption by 10 percent over the past two years, and has started incorporating well water into its production.

Lagunitas executives told the Times that they’re concerned the state may require them to switch to well water completely, which may have an impact on beers produced there in the future (though the brewery has already installed a filtration system for the well water it currently uses). Even before the most recent drought concerns, Bear Republic was worried that its 8 million gallon per year water use cap would negatively impact growth.

So what’s a West Coast brewery to do? If you’ve been following the beer industry over the past few years, you’ve already seen the answer in action: go East. Bear Republic is reportedly exploring the options breweries like Sierra Nevada, Lagunitas, New Belgium, Oskar Blues, and (soon) Stone have already enacted and opening a brewery on the East Coast (Lagunitas stands out by having opened their second location in Chicago).

The influx of breweries in the area of Asheville, N.C., to take advantage of the Smoky Mountains’ water supply is inspiring others to find new water sources of their own. Whether this leads to a future where breweries play a game of “musical chairs,” jumping from one available water supply to the next, remains to be seen. In the meantime, California breweries are left in the same position as many Golden State residents–praying for rain.

Until next time.

Nick Anderson maintains a blog at www.beermonger.net, and can be found on Twitter at @The_Beermonger. Sign up for Arrowine’s money saving email offers and free wine and beer tastings at www.arrowine.com/mailing-list-signup.aspx. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com. (more…)

NOVA Legal Beat: Damages for Age Discrimination?

by ARLnow.com Sponsor | August 13, 2014 at 2:30 pm | 430 views | No Comments

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Editor’s Note: This sponsored column is written by Mathew B. Tully of Tully Rinckey PLLC, an Arlington firm that specializes in federal employment and labor law, security clearance proceedings, and military law.

Q. Before firing me, my supervisor used to tease me about being too old. He put me through much emotional distress and it has only worsened because I cannot find new employment. If I win my age discrimination lawsuit, what kind of damages can I expect to receive?

A. When it comes to damages, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which protects workers 40 years of age and older from age discrimination, differs from other federal anti-discrimination laws.

For instance, while victims of race, sex, national origin, or religious discrimination can receive under federal law a monetary award for their pain and suffering or emotional distress caused by the employer’s unlawful conduct, such compensatory damages are not extended to victims of age discrimination. Instead, the ADEA limits its relief to “judgments compelling employment, reinstatement, or promotion, the recovery of unpaid minimum wages or overtime pay, and reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs,” the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals noted in Ahlmeyer v. Nevada System of Higher Education (2009).

In the ADEA, Congress explicitly stated the law’s purpose is “to help employers and workers find ways of meeting problems arising from the impact of age on employment.” The 9th Circuit in Ahlmeyer noted that this intent resulted in a “narrower scope of the ADEA [that] is reflected in the more limited relief Congress afforded plaintiffs.” Hence, there is the ADEA’s exclusion of compensatory damages for pain and suffering and punitive damages. These types of damages are available under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

To an extent, the unavailability of compensatory damages for pain and suffering and punitive damages in ADEA cases can be offset by the availability of liquidated damages in cases where the employer willfully discriminated against the employee or applicant because of his or her age. Similar to willful violations to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which provides minimum wage and overtime protections, willful ADEA violations require the payment of lost wages and an equal amount as liquidated damages.

Only relief in the form of “amounts owing as unpaid wages or unpaid overtime compensation” can be doubled. Front pay, such as unrealized stock option appreciation, cannot be doubled, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals noted in Greene v. Safeway Stores, Inc. (2000). While not the same as compensatory damages for pain and suffering and punitive damages, this doubling of lost wages can represent a significant award.

For instance, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that the plaintiff in Loveless v. John’s Ford, Inc. (2007) was entitled to liquidated damages because a jury had found his employer willfully violated the ADEA when it terminated his employment. After the plaintiff worked at an automobile dealership for 28 years, his supervisor told him he was being “retired.” The supervisor said he wanted to hire “younger, more aggressive Managers, people that he [could] groom to the way that he does business.” The supervisor also referred to another older employee as a “dinosaur.”

A jury decided the employer willfully discriminated against the plaintiff on the basis of his age and awarded him $250,000 in back wages. A district court later denied the plaintiff liquidated damages because “such an award would bestow a windfall” on him. However, the 4th Circuit ruled the plaintiff had “suffered a pecuniary loss of $250,000, and thus a liquidated damages award would not bestow a windfall on him.”

Workers who believe they have been subjected to age discrimination should immediately contact an employment law attorney.

Mathew B. Tully is the founding partner of Tully Rinckey PLLC. Located in Arlington, Va. and Washington, D.C., Tully Rinckey PLLC’s attorneys practice federal employment law, military law, and security clearance representation. To speak with an attorney, call 703-525-4700 or to learn more visit fedattorney.com. 

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Ask Adam: Ballston Townhomes

by ARLnow.com Sponsor | August 12, 2014 at 2:30 pm | 1,916 views | No Comments

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Adam Gallegos of Arlington-based real estate firm Arbour Realty, voted one of Arlington Magazine’s Best Realtors of 2013 & 2014. Please submit your questions via email.

Q. Given your thoughts on the Ballston condo market, what kind of impact do you foresee for the three townhouse communities triangled between N. Glebe Road, Wilson Blvd, Carlin Springs Road, and Vermont Street?

A. I can’t think of any reason why the townhomes around Ballston wouldn’t be poised to ride the same wave of appreciation that I spoke about in my recent article about Ballston condos.

I’ve been particularly interested in a townhome for sale in Ballston Green that is currently listed at $1,230,000. According to the tax record, it was purchased new from Madison Homes in January of this year for $953,675. If they get their price (which is a big “if”) then it would be almost a 29 percent jump in less than a year. Even with high demand and low supply of newer townhomes, this will be an extraordinary amount of appreciation compared to any location in the region.

The specific townhomes you are describing have been selling quickly this year. The average number of days on market for the last six months is only five days. Thats even faster than the popular townhomes at Clarendon Park, which are currently averaging 18 days.

The key variable I see for the Ballston townhomes you mentioned is their updates. Some are 32 years old so you get a wide range of upgrades, if any at all. The homes that have been rented out for the last 10 years and have original finishes throughout are going to slow down average appreciation for the neighborhood as a whole.

It’s an improving area where the car dealership has been replaced by class A office space and new restaurants. The tired shopping mall will be replaced by a new structure and a fresh crop of retailers. You can walk to your local grocery store and weekly farmer’s market. The Ballston Metro station provides easy access to the Orange and Silver lines. Route 66 is only a stoplight or two away. I like the future of Ballston for condos, townhomes and the sprinkling of single family homes.

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Scratching Post: The Future Looks Bright

by ARLnow.com Sponsor | August 11, 2014 at 2:30 pm | 359 views | No Comments

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Editor’s Note: The Scratching Post is a column that’s sponsored and written by the staff at NOVA Cat Clinic.

Reduce inflammation. Decrease pain. Heal wounds. Unblock a blocked cat. Improve movement. Cure MRSA. Is there one tool that can do all of these things and more?  Yes — a therapy laser!

Our therapy laser is one of the best additions we made to our practice last year.  The improvements we’ve made to our patients’ lives through the laser have been so substantial; I’d like to tell you a little more about it.

Cat about to under laser treatmentWe have a Cutting Edge MLS Therapy Laser. It’s a Class IV laser, which means it puts out similar power to surgical and cutting lasers, but ours does neither of those things. Ours is also a cold laser, meaning you can leave it in one position against the skin and it will not get hot.

MLS stands for Multi-wave Lock System — the FDA-approved technology that uses two unique wavelengths of light. These different wavelengths work together to give improved results over traditional laser therapy. The light energy (called photons) from the laser penetrates about an inch under the skin into cells and stimulates cellular activity. This extra activity helps the cells to repair themselves. We’ve used our laser to treat such a variety of conditions.

On a regular basis, we use it after dental cleanings that involve extractions. It helps reduce inflammation and speed up the healing time of the gums. We have gotten excellent results by using the laser to treat arthritis as well. Kitties that haven’t jumped on the bed in months have been known to jump to tables and bookcases after just a few treatments.

We’ve also actually been able to unblock male cats whose bladders are blocked with a single therapy laser treatment. Wound healing is much faster with a few treatments, and our most exciting success stories are that we have cured two cases of MRSA.

Sometimes the fact that we have a laser seems a bit like science fiction, especially when seeing people and cats all wearing goggles. But the reality is that our therapy laser has really increased our standard of care and has provided such a benefit for our patients and clients.

We offer therapy laser appointments every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons with Ellen, our Licensed Veterinary Technician. If you have any questions or would like to set up an appointment to see if your feline friend could benefit from Laser Therapy, give us a call.

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Rosslyn-Based Snaapiq Gives Prizes for Photos

by Ethan Rothstein | August 11, 2014 at 12:00 pm | 727 views | No Comments

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Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders and funders. The Ground Floor is Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

Snaapiq co-founders Ryo Hang and Jacob PerlerLast year, Ryo Hang had an idea for an app that gives its users prizes for competing and winning contests with one another. The Shanghai, China, native thought he had a good idea, but he was missing something.

“I wanted to reward people for doing something, but I didn’t know how to monetize that,” Hang said.

At the same time, Jacob Perler, working for Deloitte in Rosslyn, wanted to start his own technology business, but needed a developer. The two found each other on CoFoundersLab, met for coffee at the Barnes & Noble in Clarendon and, a few months later, launched Snaapiq.

In that initial meeting, and in several subsequent get-togethers, the two co-founders decided that they would focus on creating photo contests — which they call “adventures” — with the winner getting prizes. Perler came up with the idea of having companies sponsor the contests and the prizes, essentially turning Snaapiq into a combined contest/marketing platform.

Screenshot of a Snaapiq contest“Ryo was very adamant about gameification and rewarding people for accomplishing tasks,” Perler said. “As we spoke about it, we landed on pictures and thought people would like to get prizes for their pictures.”

After five months, Hang and Perler launched a bare-bones app in the iTunes App Store. Perler lives in Rosslyn, where the company is based, and Hang lives in Sterling, Va., so they tend to work separately, although they have a membership to D.C.’s WeWork. When they sat down to coffee with ARLnow.com last week, Perler said they two hadn’t “seen each other in a couple of weeks,” but that hasn’t stopped them from being strong collaborators.

“Working together like this is helping build the company culture, which will be key to our success,” Perler said.

Snaapiq users upload photos for different adventures, like “coolest sunset” or “best hiking trail,” and Snaapiq’s algorithms rate each picture on a variety of metrics, including picture ratings in the app, and awards a prize to the winner. Snaapiq runs multiple contests a day and some of the prizes are worth more than $100.

About 90 percent of the contests on Snaapiq are sponsored by the company at the moment, with 10 percent coming from outside brands like D.C.’s Lindy Promotions and Urban Stems. The app has been downloaded about 20,000 times so far, and Perler said there have been more than 50,000 adventure uploads on the app. With a redesign coming in the next few weeks, he and Wang expect the number of users on the app to hit 100,000 within the next six months.

Screenshot of a Snaapiq contestBy that time, Perler said, Snaapiq should be generating revenue. They are in the middle of raising a $300,000 seed funding round, and Perler said they’re in discussion with angel firms and venture capitalists in D.C. and New York.

“A lot of people are excited, especially by our early traction after being completely bootstrapped,” Perler said. “In a year or two, we think we’ll be really taking off. We offer a unique compound value for advertising.”

Companies will want to work with Snaapiq, Perler says, because “every business runs contests all throughout the year.” And the contests that Snaapiq sponsors are worth spending the money on, Hang says, because “we’re giving away prizes, but we’re getting customers when we do.”

Despite the fact that brands are already running contests on their own on free sites like Twitter and Facebook, Snaapiq offers “native engagement,” according to Perler.

“We have highly engaged users and they are used to engaging with brands from day one,” Perler said. “Our users are used to seeing it. We can offer ads from day one, sending push notifications and integrate with social media.”

Brands can also use the winning picture in promotional materials, but a picture can’t be used if the user doesn’t win the contest, according to Snaapiq’s terms of service. When someone wins a contest, they’re more willing to engage anyway.

“One user won $250, which is a significant amount of money for a lot of people,” Perler said. “She emailed me a dozen pictures and posted about it on Facebook. $100 is an incredible amount to some people, so we think it’s a selling point as well as a social good.”

Your Beermonger: Holding On to the Summer

by Nick Anderson | August 8, 2014 at 1:30 pm | 508 views | No Comments

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Editor’s Note: This sponsored column is written by Nick Anderson, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway).

We’re into the first week of August, which of course means that fall seasonal beer releases are flooding the market whether we’re ready for them or not. After turning away a handful of Pumpkin Ales that hit the market in July, I’m giving in and taking some now (by the time this column runs, we should be getting our first 25 cases of Schlafly Pumpkin Ale at Arrowine, along with Pumpkin beers from AleWerks, Evolution, and Terrapin — not to mention Great Lakes’ Oktoberfest).

Autumn is often citied as the favorite season for beer fans, but over the past few years I’ve been increasingly won over by summer beers. Summer beach hangouts, cookouts, parties, and other get-togethers necessitate the light, flavorful character of Summer Ales, which are built to refresh and generally lower in ABV percentage. Yes, fall beers may be arriving early, but there are still some great summer beers for folks like me looking to hold onto the season just a little bit longer. Here are some summer seasonals that haven’t quite wrapped up their runs yet:

Bell’s Oberon: The venerable American Wheat Ale is still available in bottles and 16oz tallboy cans. Expect to see Oberon on shelves well into September, crossing over with Bell’s next seasonal beer, Best Brown Ale.

Three Brothers Drift: Unless I find a good excuse, don’t expect me to be writing about the Harrisonburg brewery’s summer Pale Session Ale again until my Best Beers of 2014 column at the end of the year. The second (and final) canning run of this 5 percent ABV treat is just hitting in NoVA now, so it’ll be available for a little while longer, though considering how much of it we’re going through at Arrowine, not for that much longer. Drift will return next summer for a longer production run; in the meantime, if you haven’t tried it yet, do so.

Anderson Valley The Kimmie, The Yink, And The Holy Gose: I keep expecting this to be gone every week when I try to order more, but no — there’s still a last little bit around. Not that I’m in any hurry to sell through it: at 4.2 percent ABV, with a hint of sourness not unlike the fabled Westbrook Gose that we can’t get in Virginia, Anderson Valley’s The Holy Gose has been one of my favorite beers this summer.

Sixpoint RAD: Radler — essentially a version of Shandy developed for bicyclists (the word radler translates as “cyclist”) in German-speaking countries by mixing beer and soda–isn’t for everyone, but I love it so I was intrigued when Brooklyn’s Sixpoint brewery announced they were going to put a version of its own on the market. Using a fruit juice blend instead of a soda, RAD is a unique take on a distinct style; one I appreciated as an alternative to a Light Lager or sugary soda.

21st Amendment Hell Or High Watermelon: I was pleasantly surprised this week to find out another run of Hell Or High Watermelon will be arriving soon (likely within the next week or two). With its light, clean, fresh mouthfeel, Hell Or High Watermelon would make for a great summer beer even without the fruit added. In this case, though, the fruit is present without being overbearing or cloying. Hell Or High Watermelon becomes more popular every year, with good reason. (more…)

Rental Report: You Found a Great Place, Now What?

by ARLnow.com Sponsor | August 7, 2014 at 11:45 am | 362 views | No Comments

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Editor’s Note: This biweekly sponsored column is written by Rick Gersten, founder and CEO of Urban Igloo, a rental real estate firm that matches up renters with their ideal apartments, condos or houses. Please submit any questions in the comments section or via email.

Now that you’ve found the perfect place, the hard part is over, right? Well, almost. You still have some work to do, but it doesn’t have to be a headache. We have a few tips to help make your move a bit easier.

The Paperwork – First, you’ll need to change your address for all of your important accounts such as your bank, student loans, car loan, insurance, credit cards, cell phone provider and so on. Then you need to notify your family and friends. You may need a two-pronged approach for that since maybe your grandma doesn’t have email. There are some great options for “We’ve Moved” e-cards and regular mail cards. Get that set up and ready to go, so you don’t miss those birthday cards and wedding invites. Don’t forget about your magazine subscriptions. Most magazines allow you to do this easily online these days, and as long as you remember to forward all of your mail at the Post Office, you shouldn’t miss an issue.

More Paperwork – If you are new to the Arlington area, then you will have to do a few more things as you settle in. You need to get your Virginia Driver’s license. If you are bringing a car, you need to register it in the state of Virginia, and you will need to register your vehicle with the county of Arlington for your parking sticker and personal property tax. All of which should be done within 60 days or your move, unless you are military, in which case you may be exempt. And don’t forget to register to vote in your new district.

Set Up Utilities – Most likely, your new building will give you information on setting up utilities for your unit. But it never hurts to be proactive. This page shows all the utility services for the Arlington area. Check with your building or landlord to find out whether you have Comcast or Verizon service for cable and internet. You may have a choice.

Get Organized – Find a moving company or a moving truck. Start going through your things. Most likely, you have a lot of items to donate or throw out. Check out Good Donor to schedule a pickup of the items you plan to donate.

If you are handling the packing and moving yourself, an app like BoxMeUp is a great choice for staying organized. It is especially helpful if you will have some items headed to your unit, and others headed for storage. You can label your boxes with QR codes, and then enter a content description for the box. This way, you can easily search and organize your items without having to dig through boxes to find your party platters.

Moving can be an exciting and stressful time. Having a good plan of action can help avoid most of the hiccups. If this is your first big move, get some tips from family and friends as well. Somebody will always have a great tip, or remember something most of us forget. Happy Moving!

Have a rental-related question you’d like Rental Report to answer? Email it to info@urbanigloo.com.

Ask Adam: The Future of Ballston

by ARLnow.com | August 5, 2014 at 2:45 pm | 2,830 views | No Comments

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Adam Gallegos of Arlington-based real estate firm Arbour Realty, voted one of Arlington Magazine’s Best Realtors of 2013 & 2014. Please submit your questions via email.

I just watched the Ballston BID development plan video on YouTube. How do you expect the plans to effect condo values in the area? I’m interested in both the next couple of years when we’ll continue to be “under construction” in a big way vs. 2017 when much of it should be complete.

For those who have not seen the video, it’s an animated rendering of what the future of Ballston may look like. It includes improvements such as:

  • Seating for outdoor entertainment in front of the Ballston Metro station.
  • Additional landscaping and water features in front of the Ballston Metro station.
  • The exterior of the Ballston Metro station is a colorful work of art.
  • Attractive landscaping has been added to the medians along Fairfax Drive.
  • There is an outdoor market in Welburn Square (901 N. Taylor Street).
  • A “beachfront,” “cloud” and “forest of knowledge” art projects are displayed in Welburn Square.
  • New trash and recycling receptacles.
  • A new Marymount University building on the corner of Fairfax and Glebe.
  • A gateway sign signifying the entrance to Ballston.
  • A new “parklet” on Glebe. I’ve not heard of this term before seeing the video, but it seems to be a tiny park area designed for relaxing and conversing.
  • Digital banners displaying points of interest.
  • Bocce court park outside Ballston mall.
  • Completion of the new Liberty Center block.
  • The fully renovated Ballston mall with outdoor facing shops and dining.

In my opinion the renovation of Ballston Common Mall alone will significantly improve interest in Ballston. The mall in its current form has been the black eye of Ballston since Ballston began shedding its rough-around-the-edges image back in the early 1990s. Not only is it going away, it is being replaced by an attractive building by today’s standards with shops and dining that will cater to the demographic who live along the Orange Line.

Clarendon has long been the leader in condo values and the highest cost per square foot in Northern Virginia. I don’t expect Ballston condo values to exceed those in Clarendon, but with improvements like the ones described above, I think that they will catch up.

I took the average cost per square foot for the last three sales at two comparable condo buildings — The Phoenix in Clarendon and Liberty Center in Ballston. The Phoenix is currently selling for a little over 2 percent more than Liberty Center. Going back to last year around this time, the difference was over 4 percent. Maybe the current improvements in Ballston along with speculation of what’s to come, is already closing the gap between Ballston and Clarendon condo values.

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Local Woof: Should My Dog Go to Daycare?

by ARLnow.com Sponsor | August 4, 2014 at 2:30 pm | 703 views | No Comments

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Editor’s Note: The Local Woof is a column that’s sponsored and written by the staff of Woofs! Dog Training Center. Woofs! has full-service dog training, boarding, and daycare facilities, near Shirlington and Ballston.

Many dog owners want their dogs to go to the dog park or attend daycare. Both are great places for dogs to be social, run and play and expend some of that excess energy. Dog owners are often rewarded within a tired and content dog.

But as the owner of two dog daycares, I can tell you that daycare is not good for all dogs. In addition, just because your dog enjoys daily trips to the dog park, does not mean they will do well in daycare. They are very different environments.

To begin with, visits to the dog park are usually limited to something between 30 minutes and two hours. Daycare is usually upwards of six hours. Dog parks are generally larger with fewer dogs per square foot.  The upside of daycare is that dogs are screened for aggression and are monitored by trained staff.

Daycare is a great environment for young social dogs. I often describe daycare like a frat party or a singles bar. Most people enjoy those venues when they are young, but become less and less tolerant of the “shenanigans” at those events as they become older. A similar thing happens at daycare, and we call that “aging out.”  It simply means that your dog is no longer enjoying the rough and tumble of the daily daycare scene.

Not all dogs love the company of lots of other dogs. Just like people, some dogs are introverts and some are extroverts. Some are rough and tumble types that like body slamming, running and wrestling. Some prefer a controlled game of fetch. Not all dogs like all other dogs, nor should they be expected to. Just like not all people become friends with everyone they meet.

So how do you know if your dog is enjoying daycare? First of all, don’t assume that because your dog is tired, they have had a lovely day of play. Stress is also exhausting. Start by listening to your dog. Are they pulling you up the steps to get in the door? That’s a good sign. Is your dog happy to see the staff? Also a good sign.

If you aren’t sure, ask a manager or supervisor at your daycare. Dogs who are stressed or unhappy are often much harder to care for, and hopefully your daycare manager will tell you honestly how your dog is doing.

Finally, don’t be angry if your daycare hints that your dog may no longer be appropriate for daycare. It is perfectly normal for dogs to age out, or decide they no longer feel like playing all day. Trust me, we want your business. But not at the expense of your dog’s happiness.

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

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