Posts Tagged ‘Arlington’

Transforming Arlington

Jay Fisette, chairman of the Arlington County Board.

Jay Fisette, chairman of the Arlington County Board. Photo by Erick Gibson.

Arlington planners focused on smart growth and innovation decades ago. Now their plans are paying off, as Arlington attracts new business, new industry and new investment, and gains a national reputation as a place to live, work and play. —Allyson Jacob

The views are similar: planes at Reagan National Airport take off and land with regular rhythm. The Capitol dome and the Washington Monument dominate the skyline. Bikes, buses and cars fill streets lined with up-and-coming restaurants and retail shops. Though they reside in separate corridors—Arlington Economic Development (AED) in the Clarendon Boulevard Court House building and the new offices of Disruption Corporation on Crystal Drive—they represent a vision and a plan for the county.

For a decade or so, Arlington has been considered a great place to live, work and play. American urban studies theorist Richard Florida, writing in Atlantic Cities in 2012 as a follow-up to his 2002 book “The Rise of the Creative Class,” named Arlington the most creative class county in the United States, second only to Los Alamos, New Mexico. Florida, a former professor of public policy at George Mason University, currently directs the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, is a global research professor at New York University and is the founder of the Creative Class Group.

Popular opinion on Florida’s theories might be cooling, but his research into economic development, and into which elements make a successful urban environment, have consistently pointed to Arlington as a model of what it takes to attract and retain a creative core of residents that support and grow an economy. Arlington has the highest density of 25 to 34 year-olds in the country. All that talent has brought new businesses, startups and venture firms to the area.

Twenty years ago, Arlington was a government town; Rosslyn to Ballston was an “old, deteriorating corridor,” according to Jay Fisette, chairman of the Arlington County Board. Now it’s a destination for cutting-edge industry and venture capital firms.

Fisette is in his fifth term as chairman of the board, and for nearly 17 years, he’s been working to ensure that Arlington is a center for smart growth—a term originating from the Environmental Protection Agency that involves mixed land use, a variety of transportation and housing choices, walkable neighborhoods and encouraging the community to collaborate in decision. The result is a county is labeled “innovative” as well as smart.

“Arlington County was an innovative organization before I got here, in the context of planning land use,” Fisette says. “Smart growth (means) not doing it the cheapest, fastest way, (but being) strategic.”

Innovative initiatives abound in Arlington County: a community energy plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 75 percent by 2050, and a 10-year capital infrastructure plan that includes broadband fiber initiative for public facilities and schools—which now includes leasing broadband lines to the private sector— are just a few. “(You need) courage, creativity and planning,” says Fisette. “Local governments that are good are thinking long term, thinking outside the box, beyond the next profit and loss statement or election.”

A recent example: TandemNSI. The company is a public–private partnership between the Commonwealth of Virginia, AED and a private venture capital firm, Amplifier Ventures, founded and managed by Jonathan Aberman. TandemNSI launched in February 2014 to “better connect federal research and development labs with a highly curated community of innovators in cyber, data analytics, additive manufacturing [3D printing], robotics and geospatial engineering,” according to Jennifer Ives, former director of innovation and strategic partnerships and current advisor to the company.

TandemNSI helps private companies take advantage of declassified technology to build solutions for national security. “When tech is declassified, the private sector can commercialize,” Ives explains. “The Commonwealth is involved because [declassifying and commercializing tech] helps grow and create a larger job market. How do you leverage the technology? Create new businesses around it.”

Aberman founded TandemNSI out of the Ballston Innovation Initiative, a similar and successful program he funded and piloted in 2013. When he and Ives were looking for a physical location for TandemNSI, Arlington was a natural fit, says Ives. “Arlington has three [national security] agencies—Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Office of Naval Research (ONR) and Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR)—clustered within two blocks of one another. Arlington is the ‘bullseye.’”

More companies are making bets on Arlington and taking advantage of the smart growth and innovation that Fisette and his predecessors have worked to obtain. Ashburn-native Paul Singh has divided his time between Silicon Valley and the district for most of his adult life, starting, selling and investing in companies. His most recent creation is Disruption Corporation, a research company for the private investment market. One arm of Disruption is the Crystal Tech Fund (CTF), a $50 million venture fund for entrepreneurs that are between seed and Series A funding rounds.

“I went to Bishop O’Connell and Fairfax High School and my memories [of Arlington] are clouded,” Singh laughs. “We would go to Court House or Clarendon and get hammered. Arlington was suits and defense—corporate. That’s what the industry was. Now, tech is the future.”

Companies in the CTF portfolio (six as of press time) can opt to work out of Disruption’s offices if they choose; Singh’s perch on the 10th floor is spacious with room to expand. Part of the reason Singh bet $50 million on Arlington is a local ace in the hole: commercial real estate giant Vornado owns 26 buildings in Crystal City, and Singh likes the idea of working with a single entity.

“Vornado is one of the largest real estate companies in the country,” Singh says. “[I can call and say] ‘Danny Boice from Speek [a CTF company] wants to live close to work.’ One landlord can roll out the red carpet.” But it’s more than convenience. Vornado has invested $10 million in the CTF. (Singh is quick to mention that Vorndao didn’t get special terms.) “They want to build a city. I need to build a city where the importance of tech is outlined. What we do here will vastly influence all the other [industrial] sectors,” he says.

“Tech isn’t a bunch of kids in a corner watching porn,” Singh adds. “It’s entering the mainstream. We’ve never done a good job explaining why tech is important.” With Disruption, Singh plans to change that.

When asked where he will be in five years, Singh’s response echoes the goals stated by Aberman and Ives: “Push[ing] circles of venture capital, high-growth companies and economic development together.” In Arlington.


Arlington County By the Numbers

25.8 square miles

215,000 (Jan 2014 est.)

Pop. Density:
8,332 per square mile

71.3 percent of adults in Arlington have Bachelor’s degree
or higher

(September 2014)

Technically, It’s Still Summer: 7 Session Beers To Cool You Down Without Lighting You Up

Posted by Editorial / Thursday, September 11th, 2014

Session Brews

BadWolf Responsibly / Photo courtesy of Claire Ainsworth of Bad Wold Brewing Company.

By Nicole Bayne 

The juxtaposition of hot weather and football season makes a lighter, low alcohol beer the solution to long days of imbibing in the sultriness of September. While higher ABVs will keep you warm as the temperature drops, session beers let the sipping continue for longer. Old Bust Head Brewery specializes in session beers, or what the industry describes as beer with an ABV (alcohol by volume) of under 5 percent.

“Good beer is about balancing many good flavors and enjoying these flavors with alcohol [being] one small component,” says Charles King, brewmaster, managing partner and part owner of Old Bust Head. Ease your transition into fall with these low alcohol brews. 

Here are seven session beers brewed in Northern Virginia. 

BadWolf Brewing Company Responsibly, 3.8% 
Manager Claire Ainsworth says this “lightly hopped saison” will help you stay refreshed for the remaining hot summer days. / 9776 Center St., Manassas

Blue & Gray Brewing Company Kirkland’s Kolsch, 5%
“Smooth like a lager, fruity like an ale,” says owner Jeffery Fitzpatrick. This authentic German summer beer is fermented at 58 degrees and only available until the end of September. / 3300 Dill Smith Drive, Fredericksburg

Capitol City Brewing Company The Solid Session IPA, 4.4%
“Flaked oats gives it a creamier feel,” says manager Claudia Gutierrez. This IPA is certainly mild, but you can still find the hops.  / 4001 Campbell Ave., Arlington

Read the rest of this entry »

Show & Tell with Italian Store’s Robert Tramonte

The Italian Store’s vintage Berkel slicer.

Photo by Mollie Tobias (Slicer).

The Italian Store’s Robert Tramonte and his $10,000 Meat Slicer.

You’re not gonna keep that here, are you?”

That’s how Robert Tramonte, the owner of Arlington’s The Italian Store, was greeted by his wife when he brought home a four-foot-tall, 275-pound, vintage Berkel slicer.

Her attitude changed—“I don’t know how to say it,” jokes Tramonte. “She loves it.”—after she witnessed how it transforms Prosciutto di Parma.

“I literally take the slice out and I hold it up in the air and you can see through it,” says Tramonte. In fact, he insists that this “work of art” (he also compares the slicer to a Ferrari), can cut meat thinner than its electronic successor.

For electric-powered devices, “the blade is so fast that it causes friction and the friction also creates a little heat,” says Tramonte. “Due to that you can’t ever get a slice as thin as you can on the fly wheel. It’s sort of a physics thing.”

Since discovering the vintage Berkel’s slicing prowess, Tramonte has become a collector. In addition to the circa 1951 model 115 (pictured), he also owns a smaller 1937 Berkel and is considering a third from 1954.

Tramonte originally bought his Berkel to use for tasting demonstrations at The Italian Store’s second location in Westover and with its debut set for December, unfortunately, his wife might get her wish. —Stefanie Gans

(September 2014)

Keeping Up with Kim

Posted by Editorial / Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Fashion designer Kim Elleen

Photo by Erick Gibson.


Fashion designer Kim Elleen showcases her fall collection and spills details on balancing two careers, while facing the challenges of producing locally.

In this area many women are multi-taskers, but very few can juggle two full-time, equally challenging careers and remain as chic, seemingly well-rested and good-natured as Kim Elleen. By day, she is the chief Washington reporter and columnist for the Boston Herald churning out daily political content for the newspaper. By night, she creates custom ready-to-wear pieces in her Arlington studio for her namesake label. “I do have insomnia so that comes in handy,” she divulges. “Sometimes I will wake up in the middle of the night with a design idea, I’ll drape some fabric that I got or return some emails—at least I get a jump on the next day.”

As the daughter of a seamstress, Elleen began officially designing four years ago when she grew tired of ill-fitting, off-the-rack pieces and seeing the same It dress on multiple women at events. Now she creates mostly dresses (“because it’s a whole outfit on the go”) in her signature mix of prints, colors and comfortable fabrics tailored for busy women that range between $150 and $300.

The affordable price point is a benefit of designing in the area, although the sourcing of the fabrics still proves to be a challenge. “The prints I design myself and I do it through a company that’s based in North Carolina (Spoonflower) because I can’t find a place locally that’s affordable and easy. If there were such a place here, I would love to give them the business opportunity,” she says. Despite her growing clientele, don’t hold your breath for a department store takeover. This is one designer you will have to keep on speed dial as she remains committed to delivering affordable custom couture on a one-on-one basis. –Angela Bobo

Boston Herald reporter and Fashion designer Kim Elleen

Photo by Erick Gibson.

(September 2014)

September’s Can’t-Miss Events

Edited by Jessica Godart

Alexandria Fall Art Show

Photo courtesy of Alexandria Convention and Visitors Association.

112th Annual Alexandria Festival of the Arts
Hosted on King Street, the festival transforms the historical main street into an outdoor gallery fixed with jewelry, sculptures, photography, ceramics and more all stretching over six blocks. Attendees will have the opportunity to purchase some of the art on display, all of which totals over $15 million. / Alexandria / Sept. 13 & 14


Arlington Police, Fire & Sheriff 9/11 Memorial 5k.

Photo courtesy of Arlington Police, Fire & Sheriff 9/11 Memorial 5k.

2Arlington Police, Fire & Sheriff 9/11 Memorial 5K
In memory of Sept. 11, 2001, this race raises money from its thousands of participants that will go towards charities such as American Red Cross, Wounded Warrior Project and the Pentagon Memorial Fund. The race will begin in Crystal City and runners will pass the Pentagon during the course. / Arlington / Sept. 6



Photo by Ross Halfin.

3Aerosmith & Slash Live at Jiffy Lube
Mixing Guns N’ Roses’ Slash with Aerosmith? As frontman Steven Tyler sings, “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing!” On one of the last stops of the Let Rock Rule tour, the combo will rock the stage at Jiffy Lube Live from the pit to the lawn. Think you’ll ever see a show like this again? “Dream On.” / Bristow / Sept. 6


50th Golden Anniversary Jaguar Club Car Show

Photo courtesy of Bocman1973/

450th Golden Anniversary Jaguar Club Car Show
Jaguars are on the prowl in Reston Town Center as they mark their 50th anniversary of the XKE and the 25th anniversary of the XKJ. The displayed cars will include a new Jaguar F-Type as well as a 1927 Swallow. Heads up, Market Street will be filled to the brim with the King of the Urban Jungle: Jaguars. / Reston Town Center / Sept. 21




(September 2014)


Out of Chaos, Order by Design

By Jennifer Shapira

Birch & Platinum elfa décor study wall from the Container Store.

Birch & Platinum elfa décor study wall from the Container Store. Photo courtesy of the Container Store

The result of Kacy Paide’s work is often evident in tears of happiness and in grateful hugs. Paide, an organizing expert at The Inspired Office, helps clients tackle the insurmountable. But once they learn to take control of an aspect of their life, that realization is thrilling and reciprocal.

“I worked with a woman a couple years ago who won a couple of hours of my time at an auction. I walked in, and it was a really, really big project in a small apartment. Paper everywhere, kind of like a hoarder situation,” Paide recalls, “and I said: ‘OK. With the two hours we have, where do you want to use me?’ And she said: ‘With the paper in my dining room.’”

Taking baby steps, Paide devised a system that the woman could use for collecting bills and action projects; “I think I left her with five color-coded file folders. And she hugged me. She had tears in her eyes and she said: ‘I have hope for the first time in my life.’ And that was my happiest moment as an organizer because it wasn’t about the room looking different, it was that she took the first step and she saw the great change that could happen in her life from just a tiny change that we made in those two hours.”

Driftwood & White elfa Walk-In Pantry from the Container Store. elfa melamine and ventilated shelves make room for everything from canned goods to kitchen appliances, and smooth-gliding drawers with translucent label holders provide storage space for linens, paper goods or recyclables.

Driftwood & White elfa Walk-In Pantry from the Container Store. elfa melamine and ventilated shelves make room for everything from canned goods to kitchen appliances, and smooth-gliding drawers with translucent label holders provide storage space for linens, paper goods or recyclables. Photo courtesy of the Container Store

Paide specializes in taking control of cluttered home offices, but she’s also tamed a nature-loving woman’s unruly collection of animal pelts in Pittsburgh and restored order to an electrical engineer’s unsightly Northern Virginia desktop/office thanks to a desperate call from his company’s HR department. And while those jobs may be extreme organizing, on a day-to-day basis Paide works with new clients and checks up on others, sometimes via Skype in far-flung states (California, Idaho) and countries (United Kingdom, Finland).

“There’s so much variety in what I do. I meet so many different people,” says Paide. “I always like to say: disorganization does not discriminate. All socio-economic classes—male, female; young people, old people—you name it. It’s like a great equalizer.”


Office Order
Closer to home, Paide recently helped with Tecla Murphy’s before and after home office renovation in Arlington. Murphy’s previous space had been a hodgepodge of furniture: two mismatched desks, utilitarian but underutilized filing cabinets and an outdated desk chair. Not unlike most situations Paide regularly walks into, bulging folders, papers and office supplies were strewn across all surfaces. She methodically set about trashing, recycling and filing, taking care to note what would make the transition from old office to new.

Paide credits Murphy with the wise decision to involve her before the carpenter started the renovation so she could purge as much as possible before the streamlined space was built out. She helped account for a tailored and accurate number of clever niches, from out-in-the-open mail slots to hidden cabinet space. On the opposite wall sits one very long, uninterrupted multi-use desk, which doubles as a dedicated spot for children to do their homework.

Murphy set about transforming more than just her workspace; she was eager to increase her total body wellness. So, at the suggestion of her physical therapist, she added a temporary platform desk from Vienna-based Stand Steady to her desktop to encourage her to sit less while she was in the office working.   

“After [the home office] was totally built out and beautiful, I went back and we did another session where we put everything back together again,” says Paide.

DIY home organization.

Janice Rasmussen transformed a boy’s bedroom into a home office.

Creative Corners
A trained eye helps when carving out niches in the home to make room for order, but so does creativity.

Professional organizer Melanie Patt-Corner’s dining room also functions as her home’s library, making it the perfect backdrop for book club. From what she has seen throughout working in many homes, dining rooms are often underused. It’s no exaggeration to say she can count on one hand the number of times she’s been ask to organize a dining room. So she took that idea and applied it to her own home in Cabin John, Maryland.

Though she doesn’t fully employ the Dewey Decimal System, she admits her shelves are modeled on it. All fiction is alphabetical by author. And there’s a section on gardening; one on poetry; another on pre-Raphaelite art history, her favorite subject.

“I’m constantly reorganizing them and getting rid of old books,” she says. If a book “doesn’t pass muster for the dining room,” it gets shelved in her husband’s study.

Experts agree, creative uses of space is not rocket science; it’s about maximizing how you live in your home.

Professional organizer Janice Rasmussen recently made over a boy’s bedroom into a home office. After the son left for college, his desk was rehabbed with new drawer pulls, the room got a paint job and new lighting fixtures. His twin bed was sold on Craigslist and replaced with a daybed. The newly organized bookshelves and closet are shared between mother and son, but day-to-day, the space is wholly hers.

“It was really just depersonalizing the child aspect of it and making it more adult-oriented,” says Rasmussen, “which is why [along with painting and changing fixtures] we used artwork that was important to her. The room could function in a whole new way and when her son comes back home, he still sleeps in his bedroom.”

Rasmussen is also currently working on a niche carved from a previously underutilized family room closet. That pocket of space is being turned into a home office zone for the family, with a zebrawood melamine countertop and shelving from the Container Store’s elfa line. The family had removed the closet doors, and bookshelves held the children’s toys, but now the space has a new purpose and requires an uncluttered and more adult look and feel.


DIY Home Organization

C. Lee Cawley decluttered this home office. Photo courtesy of C. Lee Cawley.

Be Kind to Your Future Self
From her experience, Paide cautions, most people don’t sort through the “nitty-gritty” before a renovation, and they end up cluttering the new space with items that should have been trashed or recycled.

Do the heavy lifting first and the weight will be off your shoulders. You’ll be more likely to appreciate and keep up with the newly ordered space.  

The same goes for tackling any project, no matter how large or small. It might seem like common sense: experts say if you have five minutes, start something that you can finish in five minutes. If you have 30 minutes, stay focused for that time on a particular task. It doesn’t matter what the task is. What matters is what will make the most difference to you.  

Professional organizer C. Lee Cawley, of Simplify You, Inc., helps clients take to that concept with an oft-quoted mantra: Be kind to your future self. “It’s the idea of: What’s in it for me?”

That is, in a moment of exhaustion, it might seem like a hassle to hang your keys on their designated hook, she says. “But in the morning, when you don’t have to spend time looking for them, you’ll thank yourself.”  


Have a Few Minutes, an Hour, a Weekend? Get Organized

First-Hand Success 


(August 2014)

Have a Few Minutes, an Hour, a Weekend? Get Organized

DIY Organization at Home.

Photo courtesy of Elena Elisseeva/

Whether you have one minute or five, an hour or an afternoon, local professionals offer their tips to help you get organized. Consider their suggestions, try them out, get inspired—but remember that staying on task for a block of time is the key to accomplishment.

If you have five minutes:
Look around the space you are sitting in. What is the biggest eyesore? What is causing the most stress? Ask yourself what you can add or eliminate now to make it more functional or beautiful. –Kacy Paide

When I give talks, I always take a roll of empty paper towel roll with me and I say look through the roll, anything you see through that roll you can do in five minutes. It helps them focus on one tiny little area, so they don’t get overwhelmed. –Melanie Patt-Corner

Take charge of one shelf in your refrigerator. Take everything out and wash the shelf. Only put back the things that haven’t expired or aren’t moldy or ruined. Sometimes people get carried away and they’ll do a second shelf. –Melanie Patt-Corner

If you have 15 minutes:
Ask yourself what would give you the most immediate relief right now? This can be as small as a pencil cup or corner of the countertop. Zero in on clearing that space by tossing, trashing or moving things to other parts of the home or office that don’t belong. –Kacy Paide

If you have 30 minutes:
Empty out a junk drawer and organize it. Use little boxes or plastic trays to contain small objects, and throw out all the little twist ties, old used-up pens and pencils and dead rubber bands. –Melanie Patt-Corner

Walk through your whole house with a laundry basket and fill it with items you don’t want anymore. Then bag them up and immediately put them in your car to donate. A lot of people have no trouble gathering up bags of things to donate. But then they leave them in the living room or basement for six months, which defeats the purpose. You want to get those bags of donations out of your house within 24 hours, or you will lose momentum and they will become part of the ongoing clutter. –Melanie Patt-Corner

If you have an hour:
Clean out your coat closet. Take everything out, and only put back what you wore this winter. Hang a pocket organizer on the inside of the closet door to organize mittens, gloves and small objects. Put baskets or bins or a small shelf on the closet floor to hold boots and shoes. Separate the shoes by owner, with a different basket or shelf for each person. –Melanie Patt-Corner

If you have an afternoon:
Toss. Toss. Toss. Challenge yourself to eliminate anything in your home or office that is useless, broken or ugly. Start with the low hanging fruit. Determine where the highest concentration of trash or donations are lurking and start there. –Kacy Paide

If you have a weekend:
Do a whole clothes closet. Take everything out of the closet, put all the clothes on the bed and only hang up things you have worn in the past one or two years and that still fit you. Put everything else in bags and donate them. It’s OK to keep a fancy dress or outfit that you only wear now and then as long as it still fits you. Don’t forget to go through all of your purses and shoes and larger totes as well. Don’t keep something just because you spent a lot of money on it; if you’ve never used it, will never use it or hate it, get rid of it. I organize clothes by season, and then within the season, by type of clothing and then by color. –Melanie Patt-Corner

(August 2014)

Seven Boozy Milkshakes to Try This Weekend

Posted by Editorial / Friday, August 22nd, 2014

By Allison Michelli

Whether stepping out for a night on the town or enjoying with burgers and fries, adult milkshakes are the ideal way to turn up while also satisfying your sweet tooth.


  • 1. FANFARE eatery, Spiked Shakes Add a shot of Kahlua, Frangelico or Bailey's Irish Cream to any regular milkshake on their menu for $4.00 more. Coming soon to their menu will be “Specialty Adult Milkshakes” like Hot Fudge Bourbon and Salted Caramel. / Photo courtesy of FANFARE eatery.

  • 2. Joe's Amazing Burgers, Bourbon Caramel Adult Milkshake A strong blend of Jack Daniel's whiskey, caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream. $10/ Photo by Jill Laroussi.

  • 3. Ray's to the Third, Shake and Bake Vanilla ice cream blended with caramel and chocolate sauce and a shot of Jim Beam bourbon. Don't forget the bacon on top! $10. / Photo by Cristian Cguilar.

  • 4. The Counter, Salted Caramel Adult Milkshake The best of both worlds: salty and sweet. Vanilla ice cream blended with Stoli Vanil, Baileys caramel and pretzels. $9. / Photo courtesy of The Counter.

Still feeling thirsty? Three more places for adult shakes.

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, 20575 E. Hampton Plaza, Ashburn.

Ted’s Bulletin, 11948 Market Street, Reston.

Vivefy Burger and Lounge, 314 William Street, Fredericksburg.



ISIS claims execution of journalist James Foley; Virginia prepares for gay marriage

By Carten Cordell

ISIS claims execution of journalist James Foley
(The Washington Post)

Virginia prepares for possibility of gay marriage

Drunk, naked motorcyclist hits 2 cars in Arlington

Silver Line Service gets Mixed Reviews from commuters

Rip Sullivan Wins Special Election for Virginia Delegate

Aides: McDonnell was ‘Mr. Honest’; Special election in Fairfax, Arlington

By Carten Cordell

Aides testify that McDonnell was ‘Mr. Honest’
(The Washington Post)

NORAD running aircraft exercises in D.C., Virginia and Maryland Tuesday morning
(The Washington Post)

Manziel lifts finger, but not the Browns, in loss to Redskins

Report: Loudoun County‘s income growth drives D.C.-area’s economy

Special election in Fairfax and Arlington to settle Virginia delegate’s seat

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