Best of Spring 2015 – Washington, DC

Now that winter is over, and the trees are in bloom, I am excited for Spring and eager to share my 2015 list of The Best of Spring – Washington, DC .

Cherry Blossoms – Every year, hundreds of thousands of tourists descend on the Washington, DC region to revel in the beauty of Cherry Blossom trees and the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival http://www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org/.  The current forecast for peak bloom, according to the National Park Service, is April 11-14. Make a plan to see them in person before they are gone!

Cherry Blossoms at the Washington Monument

Cherry Blossoms at the Washington Monument

Washington Nationals baseball – The local team made a huge winter splash by signing 2013 Cy Young Award winning pitcher (American League, 2103) Max Scherzer. With current stars Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper also leading the team, big things are expected from the Washington Nationals in 2015. We may never again openly say “World Series or Bust” but the expectations are certainly high for the Nats this year. Opening Day is April 6th. Check out the schedule and get your tickets. Play Ball!  http://atmlb.com/1FFMLHy

Nationals Opening Day 2015
Waterfront Dining – DC has an abundance of great waterfront views. Why not take advantage and enjoy it with your favorite meal or beverage. Find out more here: http://dcmetroplus.com/dining-category/incredible-waterfront-dining-in-dc/

Bicycle and running paths – Washington, DC and the surrounding neighborhoods are adorned with hundreds of miles of beautiful trails. Whether you walk, bike or run, find your favorite path and enjoy. http://bikewashington.org/trails/

National Zoo – Everyone knows that bears hibernate for winter, but come spring there is no place better to see lions, tigers, bears, and of course pandas, than at the National Zoo. Admission is free (parking extra). Metro accessible.  http://nationalzoo.si.edu/

Panda at Washington National Zoo

Great Falls and assorted hiking trails – In city adorned by brilliant man-made monuments, we often forget the wonder that Mother Nature created, with Great Falls being among the very best in the area. If you’ve never hiked the Billy Goat Trail, or have not done so in a very long time, you owe it to yourself to get out there this spring. http://www.localhikes.com/Hikes/Billy_Goat_A_8872.asp. For more hiking trails http://dc.about.com/od/hiking/a/BestHiking.htm

Annapolis, Middleburg, Skyline Drive and more – There are many places to visit within an hour or so drive of DC. Whether it’s the quaint towns of Middleburg and Annapolis or the hiking trails and spectacular views of Skyline Drive (http://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/waterfalls.htm) there is so much to see and do near Washington. Baltimore and the famed Inner Harbor is only an hour away http://baltimore.org/about-baltimore/inner-harbor (* plan accordingly for weekend and rush-hour traffic).  Photo below was taken in the Virginia countryside – part of the Shenandoah Mountains.

View from a moto ride 8.31.14

Celebrate Planet Earth – Celebrate the earth, music, and life in general, with a huge Earth Day concert. Earth Day on the Mall on April 18th with a mega-sized free concert, featuring No Doubt (w/ Gwen Stefani), Fall Out Boy, Mary J. Blige, Train, Usher, etc. http://bit.ly/1FdAxXQ

This is just a small sample of the wonderful outdoor activities available in and around our Nation’s Capitol.  So get outside and enjoy the Best of Spring – Washington, DC style!

*All photos were taken by Steve from 4Staff.

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Respect for Valor

Veteran’s Day 2014

Honoring our veterans, and all servicemen/servicewomen, at home and abroad.

The Concert for Valor is being held in Washington, DC on Tuesday, November 11, 2014. The Concert for Valor was created to bring artists and celebrities together to honor the courage and sacrifices of retired veterans, active military personnel and their supportive families.

To show your support, please visit http://www.theconcertforvalor.com/ and follow the “support” tab.

Happy Veteran’s Day!

Wall with flowers

Yoga Style Staffing – What a flexible workforce can do for you

 

 

Yoga Work

Staffing companies are to human resources departments as yoga is to your body. The goal is to be flexible and fit!

According to the American Staffing Association, U.S. companies rely on staffing services to provide temporary jobs “in the millions”. Three million people are employed by staffing companies every week, and eleven million temporary and contract employees are hired by U.S. staffing firms over the course of a year. (source: http://www.americanstaffing.net/statistics/facts.cfm)

Clearly Staffing Services provide true value. Here are 10 great reasons for using a staffing service:

1. Fill ASAP needs – Helping out clients when they find themselves shorthanded at the last minute.
2. Improve morale and relieve stress – Bringing in additional help when your staff is overworked will help improve morale and relieve potential burnout or stress.
3. Screening, testing and reference checking – Staffing services take specific and necessary steps to ensure that clients receive capable and qualified staff.
4. Compliance – Staffing services protect you by following all proper hiring procedures and legal requirements, including I-9 verification and (following) EEO policies.
5. Build relationships – By getting to know clients and their individual needs, staffing companies are able to find the “perfect” fit.
6. Try before you buy options – When taking advantage of temp-to-hire opportunities, clients can see if candidates are a good fit, prior to making a qualifying job offer.
7. Avoid Unemployment Claims – Since the temporary employee is an employee of the staffing service, there are no unemployment issues if their services are no longer needed by the client. This helps reduces costs and the anxieties associated with “letting people go”.
8. Specialization – Staffing services often have specialty areas. By focusing on their core strengths and expertise, staffing services can find candidates that clients are often unable to find via their own resources.
9. Familiar faces – Many temporary employees are requested back for future assignments, providing value as a proven resource; someone who is familiar with the client’s environment and the duties of the assignment.
10. Flexibility – Temporary staffing provides flexibility by allowing clients to scale their workforce when adding staff due to vacancies, business peaks and large projects. Conversely, clients who rely on temporary staff can decrease staff during slow periods and periods of economic uncertainty.

Yoga Work 2

 

4 Staff, LLC is a full service staffing company that provides highly qualified personnel for Temporary, Temp-to-Hire and Direct Hire positions. Established in 2006 by two individuals with over 50 years of combined staffing industry experience in the Washington, DC metro area.

Give us a call: (202)347-1044
Visit our website: http://www.4staffllc.com
Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/4staffllc

The Best of Spring – Washington, DC

English: Japanese cherry trees (Sakura), a gif...

English: Japanese cherry trees (Sakura), a gift from Japan in 1965, adorn the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. during the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The Washington Monument is visible in the distance. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here comes the sun! After what seems like the never-ending winter, everybody must be ultra-ready for Spring.

To quote/paraphrase George Harrison and The Beatles,

It’s been a long, cold lonely winter…
It feels like years since it’s been here

Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It’s all right

Here Comes the Sun” – written by George Harrison from the Beatles‘ 1969 album Abbey Road.

Now that winter is over, and the trees are in bloom, I am excited for Spring and eager to share my updated list of The Best of Spring -Washington, DC .

  • Cherry Blossoms – The National Cherry Blossom Festival is an annual celebration that showcases the gift of 3,000 cherry trees that the city of Tokyo gave to our nation’s capital. www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org/.   This year’s peak blossom season is later than normal, due to an unusually long winter.  The current forecast for peak bloom is April 11-13 (Friday to Sunday this week), so make a plan to get out  and  see them in person before they are gone!
  • National Zoo – Everyone knows that bears hibernate and the birds fly south for winter, but come spring there is no place better to see lions, tigers, bears and more than at the National Zoo.  Best of all, you may get lucky enough to see the baby panda, Bao Bao.  http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/GiantPandas/default.cfm#BaoBao
  •  Annapolis, Middleburg, Skyline Drive and more – There are many places to visit within an hour or so drive of DC.  Whether it’s the quaint towns of Middleburg and Annapolis or the hiking trails and spectacular views of Skyline Drive, including several waterfalls http://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/waterfalls.htm, there is so much to see and do near Washington.  Even Baltimore and the famed Inner Harbor is less than an hour away http://baltimore.org/about-baltimore/inner-harbor  (* plan accordingly for weekend and rush-hour traffic)

Get out and enjoy the Spring.  After a very long winter, we all deserve it!

How I stopped being SAD – My personal cure for the winter blues (Part 2)

Well, it happened again. Yesterday, the government imposed a “snow shutdown” for the 4th day this year.  Is it any wonder that I spent part of my winter working in sunny Florida? 

If you are anywhere north of Florida, you have likely been through one of the worst winters in several years.  In my “neck of the woods”, the Washington, DC metro area, this year’s polar vortex has still created an unusually cold and snowy winter.  Due to snow, there were isolated days of government closures from November through March.  I feel cold just thinking about all that snow!  

If you read my previous blog about My Personal Cure for the Winter Blues, you may have noticed that it was entitled “Part 1″.  That portion of my grand experiment was spending two weeks in January working in Florida.  After returning to DC for two weeks in early February, I came back to Florida for Part 2 of my experiment.  The latter visit lasted an additional two and a half weeks.

The last thing I would want to do is brag about my ability to “work from home” when I made my winter home warm and sunny Ft. Lauderdale, Fl.  It seems almost cruel, and perhaps even stupid to tell this to friends, clients and co-workers who have been freezing their tushes off this winter.  My sincere apology if it seems like I am bragging.  I’m just fortunate (and thankful!). For starters, I’m single with no family ties, so it was easy for me just leave winter behind and take my work to a warmer climate.  Knowing how much I abhor winter, my business partner graciously cooperated with me and allowed me to work this plan without complaint. Thank you, Mark Roush!

I understand that most people are not in a position to emulate my plan.  However, if you have the type of job that lets you work remotely, and you crave sunshine and warmth as much as I do, I urge you to form a similar plan for next winter.  Until then, sit back and relax.  Spring is almost here!

Image

Ft. Lauderdale 2014 (the yacht is definitely not mine.  I am not part of the “new rich”)

At this point, I would like to thank Tim Ferris, author of the best-selling 4 Hour Work Week (The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich) for providing me with the idea and motivation to work this plan. Don’t let the book’s title fool you.  I am certainly not part of the “New Rich”. I am just a “regular Joe”, and my workday was always full day, similar to an office day back home.  However, as noted in Part 1 of my story, my ability to enjoy the warmth of South Florida (in my spare time), made this nearly 5 wonderful weeks of winter.   

*As of this writing,  I’m back in Washington, DC, working hard and patiently waiting for Spring to arrive.

Stop being SAD – My personal cure for the winter blues (Part 1)

Hello 2014. It seems that I’ve been lax with my blog for a few months, but I will try to do better this year.

My company (4Staff, LLC) is in Washington, DC. It’s a beautiful city! To me, it offers some of the best of what big cities have to offer…a good transportation system (albeit a crowded one), plenty of parks and recreation, the culture of the Kennedy Center and Smithsonian Museums, several sports teams (professional and college) and a large assortment of restaurants that ranges from dives to fine dining. It has quaint areas for shopping and some of the finest monuments in the world. Yes, I love Washington, DC and all it has to offer.

The one thing I do not love about Washington is the cold winter. I don’t mean to whine. I know it’s not as cold as Green Bay or Boston, but DC winter, for my taste, is still far too cold. Although I have never been diagnosed by a doctor, I feel that I suffer from SAD – Seasonal Affected Disorder. This year’s polar vortex is certainly not helping either, with temperatures, often in the teens and rising no higher than the mid twenties. And, don’t get me started on the wind chill!

This year, I proclaimed to have a warmer and happier winter, so I hatched a grand experiment. My plan was to work remotely and trade-in my Mid-Atlantic winter in exchange for palm trees and delightful tropical weather. I’ve been working as an adult for over a quarter century and, aside for a few days here and there, I have rarely ever worked from home. Understandably, cell phones and laptops have made working remotely very possible, so I decided to give life to my dream of “no more winter”. Staying a few weeks with a very generous relative in Ft. Lauderdale, I knew that all I needed were a desk and a bed (I provided the laptop and cell phone). The end result is being in South Florida in January has made me as happy as a kid on Christmas Day. I’m able to start every day fresh and eager, instead of frozen-numb and worn out. For me, personally, I have eliminated all signs of “SADness”. And, because I’m working every day rather than goofing off and going to the beach, I can qualify my experiment as a definite success.

To be continued…

Spring in Washington, DC – Top Things to Do

Adorned with an abundance of blooming flowers and lush trees, stately homes and magnificent monuments, Washington, DC is so amazingly beautiful in the spring, that my words cannot do it justice.  However, eloquence aside, here are a few ways to appreciate Washington, DC in the Spring of 2013.

  • Washington Nationals baseball – I’ll admit it, I’m biased.  I love baseball.  To me, and to many baseball fans, nothing quite says “Spring” like the start of baseball season. The Nationals had their best season in 2012, making their first trip to the playoffs.  With a healthy team, and a few keys additions, much is expected for our local team this year.  Check out the schedule and get your Natitude on.  www.nationals.com
  • Bicycle and running paths – Washington, DC and the surrounding neighborhoods are adorned with hundreds of miles of beautiful trails.  Whether you walk, bike or run, find your favorite route and enjoy exercising in the great outdoors. http://bikewashington.org/trails/
  • National Zoo – Hibernation season is over for animals and humans alike. There is no place better to see lions, tigers, bears and more than at the National Zoo.  Best of all, the National Zoo remains free, and is also metro accessible.  http://nationalzoo.si.edu/
  • Outdoor cafes – DC has an abundance of choices for outdoor dining and libations.  Eat, Drink & Enjoy!  http://dc.about.com/od/restaurants/a/Diningoutdoors.htm
  • Gold Cup – With hundreds of tent parties and thousands of people all fancily dressed (giant hats are a major part of the unwritten female dress code), who would have thought that steeplechase races could be so much fun?!?!  This Spring’s Gold Cup is on Saturday May 4th.  It is located about an hour drive outside of Washington in The Plains, VA http://www.vagoldcup.com/
  •  Earth Day on the Mall – Join the eco-friendly movement on April 22nd. http://www.earthday.org/2013/

Saving the best for last, any “DC Spring” list would be incomplete without mentioning the fabulous Cherry Blossoms.  A photographers dream, and a romantic’s rationalization for spring fever, each year the Cherry Blossoms bring a flood of tourists and locals to gaze in splendid wonder at their marvelous beauty.

Bursting Blossoms

  • The National Cherry Blossom Festival – The Festival runs March 20th through April 14th.  Festivities include fireworks at the Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival on April 6th.  The annual Cherry Blossom parade on April 13th is followed by the Japanese Cultural Street Festival.

     The colder than average March and chilly start to April slowed the emergence of Washington, D.C.’s cherry blossoms.  Peak bloom was revised to April 6-10, with a more realistic expectation of April 8-11.  It’s  a VERY short peak window, so hurry and see them before they are gone!

    Visit http://www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org/ to keep up to date on peak bloom days and other festival events. 

    * While it was not my intent to recycle old posts, this post is an update of last year’s Spring blog.  For a review of that “Top 10” list, please visit:

    https://theguyfrom4staff.wordpress.com/2012/03/20/top-10-things-to-love-about-washington-dc-in-the-spring