Ditch the Grinch and Choose Your Own Holiday Adventure: New Ways to Slay this Controversial Time of Year

The holiday season is a whirlwind, whether you are captivated by the magic, or stuck in a repetitive groundhog day-like list of must do’s.  No matter where you fall on this scale, breaking the mold and trying new things can feel rejuvenating during a time where many of us are in a rut relying on coffee and spiked eggnog to get through.  You may even find yourself inspired to create some new traditions! Volunteer:  This is something you can do on your own or with friends and family, including kids.  There are so many options out there that allow you to provide some real support without a long term commitment being required.  Nothing zaps the holiday doldrums like the opportunity to be of service to others and feel the real spirit of the season. Here’s a great list of ideas!   Up your skills in the kitchen:  Instead of letting another year go by wishing you had more impressive selections to bring to parties or the office potluck, actually do something to up your game!  Cooking classes are a great way to channel your inner chef and take your culinary game to the next level. Learn how to throw down some impressive creations (or the experience will at least give you some funny stories and fond memories).    The Hill Center is a great resource for this, or you can check out some other classes in the DC area!   Make wellness a priority: This time of year it’s harder to prioritize a routine that focuses on daily self-care.  Sign yourself up for something that will allow you to treat yourself to a much needed indulgence for the mind, body and spirit. You can make an appointment for Massage or Reflexology, learn more about Aromatherapy, or even put on your boogie shoes and take some dance lessons. Celebrate the power of the Winter Solstice and start the New Year off with mindfulness and healing (instead of hangovers and overspending)!   Spend some time outside and in nature:  Spring, summer and fall are the seasons that really tend to steal the show for outdoor activities.  We all know those people who are part arctic fox and really keep up their enthusiasm when the temperatures drop, but the truth is many of us start spending a lot more time indoors by December. Bundle up and have an adventure! The Arboretum is still an incredible place to visit this time of year, and the Sculpture Garden now has a skating rink. You can hike or bike with a local meet-up group, or go see the lights at the National Zoo!   Learn more about local DC history:  If you haven’t already visited the Anacostia Community Museum, this current exhibit is a great excuse to check it out.   See a holiday show:  There are some fun options out there that are appropriate for all ages (and a nice break from the Nutcracker).   Go see a movie on the big screen:  Instead of Netflix and chill, get off the couch and head to the Miracle Theatre on Barracks Row.  This month they are featuring holiday favorites such as It’s a Wonderful Life, Elf and The Polar Express.  Added bonus: wearing a festive sweater will entitle you to a discount.    

Happy Holidays!

Every year we have the pleasure of helping Brent Elementary deliver Christmas trees–it’s always a great time, and one we look forward to! Plus, if we’re lucky, we might just get to pass off a letter to Santa. This year we moved into our new warehouse, so that’s one thing we can cross off our wish list, but I’m sure we’ll think of something else as we continue to grow as a company. Hope you’ve digested that Thanksgiving turkey by now, because it’s time for latkes, gelt, and arroz con gandules, or whatever your family enjoys for the Holidays–I know our General Manager Jason makes homemade candy canes, for one!

Happy Holidays, from our big Bookstore family to yours!

Thanks again!

Russ and Nick, probably getting hungry
  Thanksgiving has rolled around again, and as always we were hard at work both delivering and eating turkey! This year we were happy to help give out turkeys again–it’s important for us to get moving before the holiday, when we’ll be crashed on the couch digesting.   Last year we talked a little bit about what we’re thankful for, so I polled my coworkers to see a little more about what’s on their list this year.   –Erika G. is thankful to have her sweet dog, Gus. Trust me when I say that ‘dog’ topped quite a few admin lists. The cat lovers did not come out to represent their faction.   –Kristen is thankful for New Kids on the Block and Ninja Turtles. Oddly enough, this didn’t top many lists. Have we taken NKOTB and Teenage Mutants for granted? Be sure to thank your favorite boy bands this year, including sewer-dwelling crime fighters.   –Laura is thankful for a plethora of things that she found it difficult to narrow down. However, she did list food more than once, so we definitely know who the true hero of her Thanksgiving is. Meanwhile, we’re thankful that Laura was able to return to our Admin team this year.   –Mary is thankful for having her family close by–especially since her brother makes great mashed potatoes.   –Matt is thankful for his son, and birds of prey. The second is just to spite me, though I have to admit his son is pretty alright.   –Aspa, looking back, was unable to tell us what she was thankful for because she was too busy being scandalized by the fact we all enjoy stuffing so much. I know she’s thankful for many things, but stuffing* is not one of them.   –Mike is thankful to have a partner in raising his daughters that he trusts so completely that he hadn’t even thought about it till I asked him, which means his wife probably deserves extra food this year. And presents.     –Jimmy is thankful for getting to go on an amazing vacation this year, traveling to Japan, Vietnam, and Thailand. You better believe we made him do a slideshow of photos–gorgeous! We’re thankful (and jealous) too!   –Jackie, my beloved work-soulmate, is thankful that she “carved out a life filled with love and special people, Hank is the Scooby to [her] Shaggy, and [she is] filled with more gratitude and less Jersey attitude”, which made me laugh so hard I had to include the full statement.   –Aaron is thankful for new sauces, which makes me feel bad for all the old sauces he’s pushed aside. Et tu, Brute?   –VJ and Jason, I believe, did answer this question, but were so overshadowed by the ongoing chaos of stuffing vs not-stuffing I literally cannot find their answers. I can only assume they both said they were thankful for stuffing.   As always, we have so much to be thankful for at this time of the year. All year I am thankful for friends and family, and for coworkers who work hard, laugh loads, and warn me just how sappy a ‘thankful’ post can get. I’m thankful for this company, and for the clients that make it possible. I’m thankful for the organizations we work with who do their best to make the world a better place. I’m thankful that even in times of disaster or tragedy when the world seems so overwhelming, you can always find a shining light or two to remind you to keep fighting for what is right.   For Thanksgiving? Oh, I’m definitely thankful for stuffing.   I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving, fought through Black Friday, celebrated Small Business Saturday (thank you!), treated yo’ self for Cyber Monday, and are currently enjoying giving back for Giving Tuesday. I hope you all have something to be thankful for all year round, because once again, we’re thankful for you.     *Please note that Aspa insists that stuffing is called dressing, which is wrong. And even if it isn’t wrong, this is my article. Them’s the breaks, kid!  

Small Business Saturday!

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It may be tempting to get caught up in the hoopla of Black Friday madness or want to check out shopping deals from the comfort of home on Cyber Monday.  But please don’t forget to support all the wonderful independent businesses by getting out there for Small Business Saturday on November 26th!  Many of your local shops will also be offering promotions, and it’s a chance to enjoy the fun of chatting with store owners, running into neighbors and getting some real one of a kind finds.  Here’s a few ideas if you’re feeling stuck.
 
Hello, books anyone? – Of course we highly recommend a trip to Capitol Hill Books (as in, if you haven’t been, you must go), and also suggest checking out our friends at East City Books to search for amazing gifts for all those readers in your life or just to treat yourself during this stressful season.
 
Exercise lover in your life? – Sustainable brands of clothing and gear from Summit to Soul, a class pass to Be Here Now Yoga or a giftcard for a massage from Freed Bodyworks.
 
Pets are people too? Howl to the Chief has a large selection of goodies for dogs and cats as well as giftcards that can be used in the boutique or for services such as grooming and pet sitting.
 
Kiddos? Labyrinth Games & Puzzles is newly expanded and full of exciting gift ideas for kids (and adults) of all ages.
 
Home is where the heart is?Fragers Hardware and Garden Center is a good place to scope out both practical and interesting gifts, and Hill’s Kitchen literally has something for everyone who likes to cook, eat, drink or entertain. (and who doesn’t?)
 

Thanks, You!

turkey It’s the perfect time of year to be thankful. Now, we here at Bookstore Movers do advocate being thankful year round, but we can’t help but get all wrapped up in the holiday season–ha. Wrap. I, for one, am a huge holiday fanatic. I’d like to present, unabashedly, an incomplete list of what we are thankful for: -Coffee: We wouldn’t be here in the morning without it. Quick estimate in the morning? Thanks coffee. -Delicious meals: Just in time for Turkey Day! Whether you have traditional stuffing (yum) or mofongo (yuuuum), delicious meals are a huge perk of the season -That there’s not Christmas music playing in the office: Apparently some people just aren’t ready. -That I’m not at the office and can play Christmas music: They can fight me. -Holidays: I’m a sucker for them. Fall and winter are rife with holidays! Halloween? Done. Thanksgiving? On that. Christmas? Of course! Hannukah? For sure! New Years? The best! Tres Reyes? You better believe it! You just watch my holiday flow. -Friends and Family: This answer is on every thankful list because it’s always true, and we have so many friends and family to be thankful for here. Some of us are lucky enough to be working with their family through BSM. Others are even luckier that they aren’t working with their family. In either case, we are always working with our friends, and I can’t tell you how thankful I am for that. -Our clients: You make this all possible. This is not an exaggeration. Our clients, especially our repeat clients, not only give us work for one day, they spread the word through reviews and referrals that allow us to gain more work. Not only do they trust us with their moves, they then trust us with their friends and family by suggesting us to others, and we couldn’t be more grateful. You give us the opportunity to deliver turkeys and Christmas trees to families, to help schools move books, and to get out in the community in general and do some good. We appreciate everything you do. You allow this local company to exist and flourish. So, thank you. Yes, you, with the bright eyes and perfect hair or lack thereof! We’re thankful for you this year, and we hope you’re surrounded by good food and great friends, with a grateful heart and a full stomach. You deserve it.  

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How to Tell if You’re Moving into a Haunted House

  If you’ve ever been house hunting, you know just what a difficult, stressful time it could be.  There’s so much you have to pay attention to: is this house in a good school zone? How is the water pressure in the shower? Which directions are the windows facing; is there enough light for your plants, and will the sun shine in your eyes in the morning?  The list is endless!  One of the most important questions on said list, of course, is whether or not your new house may be haunted by the restless spirits of the dead. While it is best to ask beforehand, sometimes it may take a little bit of time for hauntings to become clear.  Here are some simple ways to diagnose a spirit infestation, with effective ways to clear up your problem for good! Have you placed something down and then immediately lost it?  Some people will chalk this up to moving stress, but that’s just the stress talking. Clearly this is the work of otherworldly forces. This is one of the first major signs of hauntings. If you want to test if a residence comes pre-haunted by the post-deceased, the best way would be to put something really, really cool on the ground, turn around, and shout “I sure hope no one takes my cool stuff!” The best solution to this problem would be to break out the Ouija board, say hello, and spell out “Don’t touch my things, ghost jerk!”  Usually, writing your name with a permanent marker on all your belongings helps too. Are your books and/or furniture constantly floating with an ominous hum? There are many playful spirits who enjoy making things hover, and significantly more malicious spirits! This is most likely to happen in haunted libraries and living rooms, and the plus side is it looks totally awesome! At this point, you don’t even have to think of a solution because you basically have the coolest floating library ever. If you insist upon having a stationary, less-cool library, if the spirit is repeatedly throwing copies of embarrassing books you tried to hide on the lower shelves of your collections, or if there’s a creepy clown doll anywhere in your house ever, you could try moving to a house not built on a cemetery.* If you hear the horrible beating of a tell-tale heart, you probably should not have killed a man. This one is on you.  For shame. Have you been haunted in multiple locations? Oftentimes, this will start as a benign childhood haunting–odd drawings, whispers at night, and blaming your all-too-real imaginary friend for horrible deeds are common symptoms. This could move on to more violent incidents as a teen, including hovering or thrown objects (see above), paranoia, and sweaty palms. As an adult, you may move into a new home to find pictures of yourself as a child with your name on the back in some unknown handwriting, or your long-lost childhood doll, still wearing it’s ratty Victorian dress but now missing both its eyes. If this is the case, the spirit is likely haunting you instead of any specific location. The good new is the house you’ve bought is not haunted at all!  The bad news is you are condemned to live with what is possibly a demon, and they never do dishes or pay rent. Bummer. Hopefully, your new home is phantom-free! Just be sure to steer clear of hitchhiking ghosts and spirit boards in order to keep your home in pristine condition. If at any point you become aware of any new presence, go through whatever items may have recently been brought in the home.  Are they ancient, and pulsing with power you cannot comprehend or explain? Were they owned by someone who met a terrible, violent end? Are they literally human remains?  All items in these categories should be sent to Goodwill or to lesser-liked relatives. Just play it safe and your home will be happy and haunt free! *Full disclosure, there are dead people everywhere.  There are dead bodies, decomposing, deep under your feet right now.  There is literally no escaping it.  Sleep well.

Oh the Places You’ll Go: When New Years Resolutions and Moving Goals Collide

It’s that time of year again when the holidays are behind us, the cold is upon us and the hope of something great to come is in the future. What do new years resolutions and moving have in common? You’d be surprised that many things we often resolve to do better come January also double as helpful tips when preparing for a move. De-Clutter: Many of us long to live simpler, cleaner lives and this mission can get a jump start right in your home. Start by checking out what’s lurking in your cabinets. Why keep a waffle iron you use twice a year when you could just go out for waffles instead? Look through your stash of vitamins, make up, and bath and body products to see what is outdated, expired or in need of a major clear out. Also be honest about what clothes, shoes, coats and accessories you really wear when examining your closets. Do you have excess furniture or are you paying to keep pieces in storage you don’t really need? Most of us are guilty of having at least a few embarrassing boxes of shame that never even get unpacked in between moves with unknown contents inside. If you are not sure where to begin, do a little bit at a time, and see each mini-project you tackle all the way to fruition. And if you made the decision to part with some belongings but have no idea how to re-home your unwanted stuff, we often recommend A Wider Circle, the Habitat Restore, the Salvation Army or Freecyle as great options to explore. Many animal rescues and shelters like the Washington Humane Society will gladly accept your extra sheets and towels as donations, as well as other gently used pet items you no longer need such as outgrown crates, beds and harnesses. This is a great way to free up some space in your home and make your next move easier, while helping others at the same time.   Expand your Horizons: It’s not uncommon in the new year to resolve to volunteer with a nonprofit, learn a new skill, launch a hobby you’ve always been curious about or explore different places. And while you are tutoring kids at a local school, learning to cook Thai food, taking an art class or hiking the trails of DC, you are not only becoming a well-rounded and interesting person, you are actually setting yourself up to be more successful at moving too. We provide our customers with a lot of helpful pre-move information and tips that when read, absorbed and put into action takes a lot of the stress out of moving. The same way you conquered your fear and walked into that Soul Cycle studio for the first time, you can handle all the different challenges that come your way throughout the moving process. If you reserved a spot with Bookstore Movers, you’re already on a great track! But take it a step further by getting to know all the moving rules and regulations where you currently live and at your new residence. Reserve elevators and loading docks. Purchase street permits. Scope out important details like walking distances and narrow staircases and let us know in advance so we’re prepared. Think of us as partners in this life adventure and your move as a project to sink your teeth into. Feel inspired by the changes that are coming instead of overwhelmed. A positive attitude can go a long way to mastering new challenges successfully and makes the experience feel more enjoyable.   Manage Finances: We all know how expensive it is to live in the DC region, and it’s a constant balancing act to stick to a budget. Modest housing choices can free up cash flow for eating out, travel and the occasional shopping spree. If you are good at keeping spending splurges in check you might feel comfortable designating more money for luxuries at home. Who doesn’t want a strong financial plan in place for the new year? The key in all of this is making smart choices and recognizing the difference between what is necessary for you and what is a budget busting indulgence . When moving, a similar balance is key. Many people are tempted to go for the cheapest option out there. We may not be the most inexpensive option, but we offer a top quality service by being licensed and insured, hiring only the best movers and investing in their training, and providing an experienced support team that gives excellent customer service from start to finish. So if choosing a reputable company with a great track record seems worth the extra money but puts you at the top of your budget, where is it possible to save? See if you can find free boxes or borrow bins. Pack carefully and minimize the number of loose items which are notorious time wasters. Transport small items yourself. Be flexible with your moving date and be willing to move on a lower volume day such as in the middle of the week if it’s possible for your schedule. Avoid moves during peak summer months if possible. And for those of you that just don’t have the time, and determine it to be worth every penny to have extra help, there are also some great optional services to give you the support you need. We offer a reusable plastic bin rental program that includes delivery and pick up. You might choose to schedule one of our packing crews if you need help getting your belongings wrapped and packed into boxes before the move. This can be everything, or to keep costs down you can opt to handle some packing yourself and hire professionals to tackle just a portion that you find especially daunting such as the kitchen, your huge book collection or all the fragile items. An excellent moving experience with real professionals can be affordable if you plan. Consider the days of enlisting your friends to lug heavy furniture up the stairs with nothing but pizza to thank them officially over.   Whether you just moved, want to move, need to move or never want to move again, you can resolve to kick 2016 off in a way that will make you feel prepared for any change that might come your way!