Wednesday, December 30, 2009

10 Easy Tips to Live Stronger in 2010

Back by popular demand. Want to feel better, look better, and live as if you’re a finely tuned sports car? Here are 10 more tips that’ll keep you feeling, looking, and living better...and enjoying life however long you live.

1. Take A Baby Aspirin Daily (81 mg.) reduces your risk of heart disease.
2. Let Grapefruit Be Your Friend. Grapefruit lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol.
3. Find A Mate. Happily married people have lower blood pressure.
4. Treat Yourself To A Massage. A massage will soothe away your stress.
5. Have An Apple. It’s true...an apple a day lowers your risk for heart disease.
6. Get A Pet. Studies show man’s (and woman’s) best friend really is just that.
7. Whistle A Happy Tune. Sing, whistle, or listen to music reduces stress.
8. Dress Your Salads. Leafy greens, high in antioxidants, protect your heart.
9. Go Wild With Watermelon. High in lycopene, it protects you from cancer.
10. Eat Chocolate! Dark chocolate, high in flavonoids—is good for your heart.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2010 New Years Resolution - Lower Your Intake of Trans-Fats!!

Trans Fats In Your Food—
Just How Dangerous Are They?

It’s becoming one of the most frequently used ingredients in many foods...and it’s one of the most dangerous! Trans fats, also known as hydrogenated oils, are in everything from crackers, cake mixes, snack foods, cookies, breakfast cereals, microwave popcorn to french fries. Trans fats get their name from a distinct chemical structure. When manufacturers want a more solid, stable form of oil to make their products, they bubble hydrogen gas through vegetable oil. Sounds harmless? But what they are doing is changing the chemical structure of the fat.

Trans fats raise your level of bad cholesterol (LDL) and can also decrease your HDL, (the good cholesterol). Combined, these two effects put you at risk for developing heart disease. Trans fats also have been implicated in an increase risk of type 2 diabetes, colon cancer and other cancers, and aging, according to recent studies. But don’t despair, there are plenty of healthy alternatives to trans fat foods at your neighborhood health food store. Just be sure to always check the labels on all foods for this hidden danger.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Do Your Part to Stay Green in 2010

8 Simple Tips For Saving Fuel

Gasoline prices at the pump can take a toll on your pocketbook. Here are eight ways you can save the next time you “filler-up.”

1. Fill your gas tank in the morning or late evening when it is cool outside. It will help reduce fuel evaporation.
2. Service your vehicle regularly. A poorly tuned engine can increase fuel consumption by up to 50%.
3. Avoid excessive idling. Turn off the engine if you’re idling more than two minutes. Idling increases gas consumption by one gallon per hour.
5. Shop for the best price. When your fuel gauge is half-full start looking. Buying gas at wholesale clubs can save you up to 12 cents a gallon.
6. Park in the shade. You’re less likely to use your air conditioner if your car is cooler. When driving on the highway, keep your windows up to reduce air drag, which can reduce your gas mileage by10%.
7. Make sure your tires are inflated adequately. Under inflated tires can increase fuel consumption by 5%.
8. Avoid “fast starts.” They not only increase fuel consumption, but increase tire wear.
9. Replace old or broken windows in your home.
10. Upgrade your home heating to more efficient standards. 2010 will be the year to make changes and invest in your future.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Save Money Without Any Pain

5 EASY Money Saving Tips

Would you like a few new, creative ways to save a little money? Here are five tips to help you keep a little more “green” in your pocket:

1. Shop only when you need something. Don’t shop for fun unless you are hunting for a bargain.
2. Learn to do things yourself. Instead of hiring a painter, learn how to paint your kitchen like a professional. Want to landscape your yard? Take a free class at your local home improvement store on landscaping...and then do the work yourself.
3. Live within your means. Hold off on purchases until you can pay cash.
4. Research future purchases. Find the best value for your money. Avoid cheaply made items that end up costing you more in the long run.
5. Explore thrift stores and garage sales. Sometimes you can find high quality items at low prices.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Do NOT Reheat Your left Overs in Plactic Containers

Why Health Experts Never Use Plastic In The Microwave

Could using plastics in the microwave be dangerous to your health? The answer is “yes,” according to important news from John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

There have been many stories circulating about the safety of microwaves, heating, plastics and food. Some have focused on dioxin, a known carcinogen. Dioxin occurs in our environment, primarily from the incineration of waste materials, according to Dr. Rolf Halden, at John Hopkins Bloomberg School. People are exposed to dioxin mostly from eating meat and fish rich in fat. But it may not be the sole offender.

There are other concerns we should consider, according to Halden. There’s a group of chemicals called “phthalates” that have been added to some plastics to make them flexible and less brittle. If you heat these plastics, it can increase the leaching of phthalates from the containers into your food.

Many scientific studies have shown that when you heat up an object, the chemicals are more likely to release into the environment. This is the same with plastics...and possibly the plastic packaging in some microwave meals.

Another chemical, diethylhexyl adipate (DEHA), is also used to make plastics more flexible. DEHA exposure can occur when eating certain foods wrapped in plastics. “It’s true that substances used to make plastics can leach into food,” says Edward Machuga, Ph.D., a consumer safety officer in the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “But the levels are low.”

What should you do? People should use heat resistant glass, Corning Ware or ceramic containers for heating food in the microwave. Don’t use foam or plastic carryout containers from restaurants or margarine tubs in the microwave, according to the FDA. And never use plastic storage bags, grocery bags, newspapers or aluminum foil in the microwave.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Work to Lose Your Belly After the Holidays

How To Get A Leaner Stomach

If you’re like most of us out there you’d like to lose a little around the middle. The easiest way to get rid of stomach fat is to reduce your carbohydrates. These are foods many of us love to consume: crackers, chips, white bread, cakes, cookies, candy, pizza.

But if you’re really serious about losing your belly, there are some easy ways to do it, and it doesn’t require medical intervention. First, start by eating lean meat (chicken, turkey, and seafood). Eliminate breads, pasta, rice, baked goods, candy and alcohol for two weeks, so you can train your body to live without the cravings. Limit fruits for the first two weeks, but you can eat lots of veggies.

At week three you can add a small serving of rice, pasta or bread two times a day. Continue to eliminate refined sugars from your diet. Next issue we’ll discuss where you go from here.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Stop Talking and Start Chalking

The Power of One Small Step…

Are you having trouble losing weight? Saving money? Or reaching some of your goals? Here’s an interesting approach to life: Instead of trying to achieve the “big goals” try something small. For one minute a day, try making a small change. Sound intriguing?

Author Robert Maurer, “One Small Step Can Change Your Life,” says here’s how it works...instead of crash dieting, try taking one thing off your plate. Or, if can’t seem to find the time to exercise...walk one minute a day in front of the TV. Maurer’s clients reported that small steps led to big changes...one client lost 40 pounds with this approach.

Maurer says using small steps helps people overcome their fears and roadblocks. Small steps can reinforce and build good habits. Here are a few suggestions: Overspending? Take one item out of your cart before checking out. Feeling a little down? Take time to notice and cherish one small moment of joy a day. Craving fast food? Go ahead, but order the children’s meal.

Try it for a day, and then maybe a month, and see what happens.

Watch What You Eat Before Bedtime

What You Eat Can Profoundly Affect Your Sleep!

Your daily diet can have a great impact on your night’s sleep. First, be sure you are getting enough calcium and magnesium. You can get it by eating milk, yogurt, beans, dark green vegetables, or a taking vitamin supplement (1,000 mg. to 1,300 mg. are recommended as a daily target for calcium consumption). Along with calcium, pay attention to consumption of these foods before bedtime:

 Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Of course caffeine is a stimulant and even though alcohol is a relaxant, it will switch gears in the middle night and wake you up when it wears off.
 Choose a good evening snack. These would be yogurt, bananas, figs, nuts, turkey, tuna, and whole-grain crackers. These foods are rich in trytophan, an amino acid the brain uses to produce the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is critical for a normal night’s sleep.
 Evening snacks you definitely should avoid. Bacon, cheese, chocolate, ham, potatoes, sugar, sausage, tomatoes, and wine are the foods to skip if you want a restful night’s sleep. They all contain high levels of tyramine, which increases release of the stimulant norepinephrine into the brain.

If diet changes don’t work, try an occasional herbal sleep aid like Valerian or the excellent homeopathic sleep remedy Calms Forte – formulated from safe minerals and herbs.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

People Who Walk 20 Minutes a Day Live Longer!!

Walk Your Way To Excellent Health and Long Life!

According the U.S. Centers for Disease Control the most beneficial exercise we can do on a regular basis is…walking! All you need is a good pair of shoes and few hours a week to do a simple aerobic conditioning activity that really works. The benefits are substantial – walking helps your heart, lungs, circulatory system, and controls body weight. The positive impact of walking is similar to that of running or jogging without stressful wear and tear on your joints, knees, and shins. If you don’t follow any other exercise program, just simple outdoor walking could add many healthy years to your life.

 A Brisk Walk Is Best. You should be able to carry on a conversation and have your breathing slightly elevated.

 It’s Easy—Just Walk 20 Minutes A Day. Start slowly, and then build up to longer, faster paced walks. Stretch your muscles (especially the calves and hamstring muscles) before and after you walk. For the best benefit, make a commitment to walk everyday. A recent study in Germany found that walking just two hours a week can cut your risk of heart disease in half!

 Walking Relieves Stress And Invigorates Your Mind And Body. Walking will make your heart stronger, improve your lung capacity, and the efficiency of your breathing. Walking circulates more oxygen through your body and is very effective in lowering your blood pressure. A regular walking routine can be your best preventative medicine – greatly lowering your risk of stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, and even depression.

 People Who Walk Live Longer. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted an 11-year study of 2,896 adults in their late 50’s who had been diagnosed with diabetes. Researchers found those subjects who walked just two hours a week had a 39 percent lower death rate from all causes! They speculate that if every healthy person in the United States walked briskly just 30 minutes a day, the incidence of many chronic diseases would go down 30 to 40 percent. So grab your shoes and get walking…your body will be glad you did!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Smart Home Improvement Ideas

Q. We’re selling our home soon, but don’t want to spend much money on home improvements. Are there any inexpensive ways to fix up our home?

A. Here are just a few low-cost improvements (outdoor and indoor) that can really make a difference and help you sell your house at a higher price:

Outdoor Improvements:
You’ll also want to pay close attention to your home’s curb appeal. Remember, that first impressions count!
 Painting – While painting is not inexpensive, it is the best way to improve the appearance of your home.
 Replace The Front Door – If your front door is in poor condition, either paint the door, or replace it. You can also install quality decorative features (doorknobs, lock, knocker) to dress up the door.
 Repair Screens – Repair any screens. Your local hardware will do this for about $15 per screen, or you can do it yourself.
 Patch Holes In Walkways – Concrete patching costs less than $10 gal.
 Reseal Your Driveway – Repave your driveway if it needs it.

Indoor Improvements: The best way to add to your home’s value is to make sure your house is “sparkling” clean...so it shines!
 Replace Worn Carpeting. You can get quality carpeting installed at about $20 square yard, a good value that will transform the look of your home.
 Painting – A new coat of paint, in neutral colors, will brighten and add value to your home at a reasonable cost to you.

If you are in the market for a home and need competent and caring representation, please call me at 206-226-0565.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Asked to Give a Job Reference? Make it Count!!

Job References: When You’re Looking For The Precise Words To Say...
Have you ever been asked to give a job reference for someone you really didn’t have anything good to say about—and didn’t know what to say?
Well, now you’ll will. Robert Thornton, a Lehigh University economist and author of, The Lexicon of Intentionally Ambiguous Recommendation, offers some funny tips the next time you’re put on the spot:
• For the person who can’t get along with others: I am pleased to say this person is a former colleague of mine.
• For the person who doesn’t like to work very much: In my opinion, you will be very fortunate to get this person to work for you.
• For the person who is a criminal: He’s a man of convictions, or I’m sorry we let her get away.
• For the untrustworthy person: Her true ability is deceiving.
• For the unskilled worker: I most enthusiastically recommend this person with no qualifications whatsoever.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Why You Should Take Up Golf in 2010

The Best Reasons for Playing Golf…
• Beats mowing the lawn.
• Having a ball is par for the course.
• You can play without risk of
scandal (most of the time!). Bad Tiger!!
• There’s always a doctor nearby.
• The worse your game, the
better the exercise.
• Carrying clubs is socially acceptable.
• More fun than doing business
at the office.
• Putting is such sweet sorrow.
• Great excuse to take a walk.
• Rather sink a bird than hook
a fish.
• Old golfers never die. They
just putter out.
• There’s no par at the 19th hole.
• It’s educational. You learn the meanings of such words as slice, shank, divot, bogey, mulligan, hacker, worm burner, and duffer.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

This is the Right Time to Save Energy

10 Ways To Save BIG On Your Energy Bill (And Help Our Planet Too!)

Did you know that helping our environment can also save you money? According to the National Resources Defense Council, the two biggest offenders of global warming are cars and coal-burning power plants. What can you do about it? Here are 10 easy things you can do to save money on your energy bill and help reduce global warming:

1. Turn Off The Power. Turn of your lights, computer, stereo, and TV equipment when you’re not using them. You’ll begin saving money immediately.

2. Recycle. When you recycle your bottles, cans, newspapers and cardboard, you reduce CO2 emissions by up to 850 lbs. per year.

3. Drive A Fuel Efficient Car.

4. Walk, Bike, or Carpool. You’ll save money on fuel, improve your health, and help reduce CO2 emissions.

5. Use “Low-e” Thermal Windows and Doors. Consider these if you’re remodeling. They cost slightly more, but save a bundle in the long run.

6. Insulate Your Water Heater. Water heaters consume 20% of a home’s energy bill. Plus, lower your heater’s thermostat to 120F, and you’ll save 6% a year on your home energy bill and cut carbon dioxide emissions.

7. Replace Old, Inefficient Appliances. You’ll save money by buying high efficiency appliances – reducing CO2 emissions.

8. Make Your Home Energy Smart. You’ll save money on your home heating and cooling bills when you insulate, caulk, and weather strip your doors and windows. This also will significantly reduce CO2 emissions.

9. Use A Low-Energy, Low Water Use Washing Machine. Using warm and cold water will help you save money and reduce CO2 emissions.

10. Tire inflation. Under-inflated tires waste 5% of a car’s fuel cost. Keep tires properly inflated and make sure your car is well maintained. This will extend the life of your car, save fuel, and reduce CO2 emissions.

Friday, December 11, 2009

2010 is Bringing Big Changes to The World Wide Web!!

Internet Change Coming
The Internet is about to become internationalized. By mid 2010, domain names may be written in Chinese, Arabic, Korean and other languages. For the first time, users will be able to write an entire Internet address in a non-Latin alphabet, making it more accessible to millions of people in Asia, the Middle East and Russia.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

How To Get Your WALKABILITY Score

Q. What are “walkability” scores?

A. CEOs For Cities, a national network of urban leaders, commissioned a study released in August 2009 that explored the relationship between home values and walkability in various U.S. metropolitan areas.

Walkability is defined by the Walk Score algorithm, which calculates the closest amenities to a U.S. address. Scores range from 0 (car dependent) to 100 (most walkable).

The results showed that the walkability of cities translated into increased home values in 13 of the 15 housing markets studied. In the typical metropolitan area, a one-point increase in Walk Score was associated with an increase in value ranging from $700 to $3,000 depending on the market. The gains were larger in more dense, urban areas like Chicago and San Francisco and smaller in less dense markets like Tucson and Fresno.

Houses with above-average levels of walkability commanded a premium of about $4,000 to $34,000 over houses with average levels in the typical metropolitan area.

Walk Score is an approximation. It does not consider factors such as public transit, crime and topography. Lots of real estate agents, however, are adding the Walk Score to their listings. Go to walkscore.com to see your walkability number.

If you have any questions, or need capable and trustworthy representation, please call me at 206-226-0565.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Important News About Gift Cards

Use It Or Lose It: Making
The Most Of Gift Cards

Chances are you’ll give or receive at least one gift card over the holidays, but there’s more to buying and redeeming them than you think. Follow these tips to get the most for your money.

If you’re purchasing one…
• Only buy cards that clearly state the cost, monthly fees and expiration date.
• Include your purchase receipt with the gift card in case the recipient has problems with it.

If you’re using one…
• Know what you have. Is it a store card or bank card? Bank cards (Visa, MasterCard and American Express) are popular but they come with fees and terms. If you receive a bank card, register it online so you can get a replacement if it’s lost or stolen. (You’ll need to report it right away.)

• Use the total value of the card within six months. You’ll avoid fees and the possibility of the store going out of business.

• Try to use the card at stores that accept split payments (part card, part cash). While most large chain stores do, some stores don’t. The Consumer Federation of America says 10 percent of the value of bank cards is never used.

• Keep track of your balance (the store may be able to tell you). It’s easy to forget you have money left on the card. Any unused amount only benefits the store or bank.

There’s good news: Effective August 2010, a new law requires cards to be active for at least five years and prohibits companies from charging fees if gift cards are used within the past 12 months.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Beware of H1N1 Flu Fraud

With so much attention focused on the H1N1 flu virus, it’s important to be as knowledgeable as possible. Here’s what you need to know:

Immunizations are available. Get details from your doctor. If you do get flu-like symptoms, stay home and avoid contact with other people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says most people who have become ill with this virus have recovered without requiring medical treatment. For a list of symptoms and emergency warning signs, go to www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/sick.htm.

Beware of products that claim to diagnose, prevent or otherwise act against the virus. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cautions consumers to buy only FDA-approved products from licensed pharmacies. (The only two antiviral drugs approved for treatment to date are Tamiflu and Relenza.) For a list of unapproved products (from hand sanitizers to herbal extracts) and websites that have received a warning letter from the FDA, go to www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/h1n1flu/.

Monday, December 7, 2009

These Credit Card Changes Will Help Protect You

Has your teenager or college student been tempted by credit card solicitations? The Credit Card Act of 2009 will put an end to that. Effective February 22, 2010, these new rules will limit marketing and issuing credit cards to young people:

 Companies will not be allowed to issue a credit card to a consumer younger than 21 unless he or she has a co-signer over 21 or can show proof that they have the means to repay the card debt.

 Pre-screened credit offers must not be sent to anyone under 21.

 Companies are banned from offering gifts (such as pizzas or t-shirts) to induce college students to apply for credit cards on or near campus.

 Colleges, universities and alumni organizations will have to annually disclose the terms of any marketing or promotional agreements they make with credit card companies. Additionally, Congress urges colleges to require that students receive credit and debt management courses as a part of new student orientation.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

How To Complain Effectively

The customer may always be right, but sometimes you have to convince companies that it’s true. If you think you’ve encountered bad service, you not only have a right to complain, you have a responsibility. Here’s how to do it effectively:

 Decide what you want the company to do. Will you be satisfied with a refund, a credit, a repaired product or a replacement?

 Contact the seller as soon as possible. Talking to a customer service representative can solve many problems. Be ready with details and documentation. Be assertive yet calm (not threatening!) as you explain your position. Keep going up the ladder until you reach someone in a position of authority.

 If the issue is not resolved, write a letter to the seller’s national headquarters or the manufacturer of the item. Do your research since the manufacturer is often different than the brand name.

 If you are not satisfied (after a reasonable amount of time), file a complaint with a third party. In addition to complaining to the Better Business Bureau and your state consumer protection office, take your issue to the state or federal agency that regulates that particular business. You might also get help from a trade association or the local news media.

 If all else fails, consider filing a small claims suit or pursuing a dispute resolution program. You can get a directory of programs, including mediation, arbitration and conciliation, from the American Bar Association.

For more information, consult the “2009 Consumer Action Handbook”
a free 172-page guide from the General Service Administration’s Office of Citizen Services and Communication. You can order the handbook, which contains a directory of several hundred companies and a sample complaint letter, or download it at www.consumeraction.gov.

Friday, December 4, 2009

How to Make Money on a Remodel. Don't Go Overboard!!

Q. We are considering remodeling to increase the value of our home before we put it on the market. What are the best options and the most attractive add-ons for home improvement before sale?

A. Use some basic math before you invest in a home that you are about to sell. The American Homeowner’s Foundation estimates the total cost of moving to be at least 10 percent of your home’s current value. If your projected remodeling costs go beyond that, it would make better sense to put your money in your new house and not your old one.

Even if you make a stunning transformation of your once tired-looking property, don’t expect to push your home’s value past 20 percent of its current selling price. If your neighborhood has varied property values, target your selling price just under the most expensive and best-looking home in your neighborhood. The adjacent “showcase” homes will quietly reinforce your potential asking price.

As a primary rule, be practical about your choice of upgrades. Don’t try to turn your 60’s or 70’s style home into Cape Cod mansion. Upgrade only the details that define the house’s original style. Make your home look like it has been well maintained. Be sure the lighting, plumbing fixtures, and hardwood floors are in top condition. Many buyers will see past any “quick fixes” and wonder what isn’t right with the rest of the house.

The best remodeling can be made to the kitchen because it usually suffers the most wear and tear. Sometimes a good-looking, highly functional kitchen will be your “deal maker.” Adding a bathroom can also add value to an older home. Design touches such as a skylight, glass block windows, and ceramic tile on the floor and walls make it even more attractive to buyers. Be sure to upgrade your existing bathroom with matching paint, tile, and fixtures. If you’d like a copy of my FREE consumer report, “Homeowners Guide To Moneymaking Fix-ups” just call me at 206-226-0565 and I’ll send one over.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Start Your Day Right!!

Want To Stay Healthy and Slim?
Eat Breakfast!

A new study from Harvard University indicates that people who eat breakfast daily may be less likely to succumb to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Why? Eating breakfast regularly helps control your appetite throughout the day, which means you’re less likely to overeat later. A good breakfast also helps regulate your body’s blood sugar.

A study of 2,700 adults who reported eating breakfast every day had a 35 to 50 percent reduced chance of becoming obese, or developing insulin resistance syndrome. This syndrome is a precursor to diabetes in which the body experiences a loss of sensitivity to insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is key to regulating blood sugar.

What you eat is just as important as making sure you eat breakfast. Refined grain cereals and bacon and eggs had no effect on reducing the risk of obesity and diabetes. The best breakfast food is a whole grain cereal, especially oatmeal. A study reported in The Journal of Family Practice concluded that oat cereals work so well at lowering blood pressure, people who are taking hypertension medication can actually lower their dosage if they eat an oatmeal breakfast every day. Other studies have shown that oatmeal will lower cholesterol if it is eaten on a daily basis.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Time to Shop for a New Dry Cleaner? Avoid the "Special Handling" Charge!!

How to Stay Healthy and Save
Money with Your Dry Cleaner

Does it seem unusual to see an article about dry cleaners? Perhaps. But dry cleaners are one of the most complaint-ridden businesses in the United States, according to the Better Business Bureau. At the top of the complaint list are lost items and damaged garments.

Worse yet, some of the chemicals dry cleaners use can be downright dangerous! Clearly, there are reputable dry cleaners, but next time you drop off your items, here are a few tips for protecting yourself as a consumer.

 Always Ask For A Receipt. When you drop off an item to the cleaner, ask for a receipt indicating what you had cleaned. It’s helpful to include the size, color, and brand name if possible. When a dry cleaner acknowledges they lost a garment, they are supposed to pay the full price of a replacement. A detailed claim ticket will be your best argument.

 What To Do About Damaged Clothing? Damaged clothing is a different story. Dry cleaners refer to the Fair Claims Guide published by International Fabricare Institute to assess the depreciated value of damaged garments. One-year-old cotton suits, skirts, shirts in average condition get just 40 percent of their original price. A 5-year-old wool blazer will get you 15 percent of the actual cost. If they ruin an item classified as an heirloom (such as an antique Persian rug) demand fair market value for its replacement.

 PERC Is A Toxic Chemical. Most dry cleaners use PERC (prechloroethylene) a probable human carcinogen, to clean your clothes. The National Institute for Occupational Safety found that dry cleaning industry workers were 25 percent more likely to die from cancer than the general population. Remember, this chemical is on your garments. Take the plastic bags off, and air out your garments before wearing.

 Watch Out For “Meet Or Beat” Gimmicks. The BBB warns that dry cleaners are notorious for “bait and switch” advertising, where the dry cleaner claims he will match or beat a competitor’s price. The catch is you will have to walk in with the competing dry cleaner’s price list to qualify for the discount.

 Watch Out For The “Special Handling” Charge. Women are often charged more than men for dry cleaning similar items. Women’s shirts are a common item of contention that dry cleaners claim need “special handling” for a variety of reasons. Ask up-front if any women’s clothing needs “hand-cleaning” and how much you will be charged for the work.

 Ask Your BBB For Help If You Have A Problem. You may also go to Small Claims Court if you have a grievance against a dry cleaner. There is no guarantee small claims will get you a settlement, but sometimes the threat of action is enough to settle a dispute.

Taking a few small actions and asking the right questions of your dry cleaner can save you considerable money and headaches in the long run.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Six Must See Tips for Moving

Q. We’re planning to move to a new home soon. What steps can we take now to make our move go more smoothly?

A. Moving can be very stressful, but there are ways to help you tackle the task. Here are six quick tips to make your next move go more smoothly:

1. Have a garage sale well before you begin packing. That way you won’t be taking unnecessary items to your new home. (Here’s your chance to unload all the things you don’t want or don’t need any longer. You’ll be glad you did.)
2. Use sturdy, reinforced boxes. Go to a professional moving company to get the right boxes. Your grocer’s boxes just won’t do. Remember to pack your boxes carefully.
3. Use towels, blankets and pillows to separate pictures and fragile items. Pack all your glass items and dishes vertically and with packing materials to prevent any breakage.
4. Label all your boxes. Mark boxes with FRAGILE ITEMS on the outside.
5. Pack one box with essential items: coffee, tea, soap, toiletries, flashlight, plastic ware, snacks, paper towels that you can open when you arrive. Mark this box OPEN ME FIRST...that way you’ll have the essentials when you arrive at your new home.
6. Lastly, work with your moving company. Be sure to have your shipment’s registration number, and let the company know how to reach you at all times.
If you are in the market for a buying or selling a home and need competent and caring representation, please call me at 206-226-0565.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Go Cold Turkey on Bottled Water

How Safe Is The Bottled Water You Drink?

Don’t be fooled. The bottled water you’re drinking may not be any safer than your tap water. According the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), some bottled water sold in the United States may contain bacteria and/or chemicals. And 30 percent of bottled water sold in the U.S. comes from a city or town’s tap water!

The NRDC cited one incidence where a bottled water brand labeled “spring water” actually came from a well in an industrial facility’s parking lot. While they reported that most bottled water was safe, about 30 percent of the bottled water they tested contained bacteria, synthetic organic chemicals and inorganic chemicals.

In another recent study, Dutch researchers found 40 percent of the bottled mineral water they tested from 16 countries, (not including the U.S.) showed the presence of bacteria or fungi.

Why should you care? First, people with a weakened immune system (children, the elderly, people with cancer, kidney failure, or AIDS,) may have an increased risk of infection from bacteria. Serious infections can develop from legionella, a bacteria causing Legionnaires disease, pneumonia like illness.

Secondly, bottled water is expensive. A five-year supply of bottled water (8 glasses a day) costs about $1,000. The same amount of tap water costs $1.65.

There are some regulations on bottled water. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) requires that if water is taken from a municipal source and not treated, the label must say it’s from a municipal source. If, the water is treated (using common technology) there is no requirement to label the municipal source.

The NRDC concluded that bottled water “should not be assumed to be purer or safer than most tap water.”

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Time to Burn off Those Extra Holiday Calories

Not Getting Enough Exercise...
How to Get Back On Track

One of the best ways to stay fit is to have at least one athletic hobby: walking, swimming, bowling, tennis, golf, skiing, bicycling or even dancing. If you enjoy what you’re doing, you’ll stick with it.
Second, a workout partner can make the time go by more quickly, and you can have fun at the same time. Whether it’s a family member, friend or co-worker, a workout partner will encourage you on the days you may want to slide.
Third, hire a trainer if you have trouble maintaining an exercise program. A trainer can guide you through a program that works for you.
Remember to vary your workouts. This prevents overworking certain muscle groups, and it will keep you motivated.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Use IRAs and Roth IRAs to Purchase Investment Property

Q. A friend told me I can buy a retirement home using my IRAs to purchase property. Is this legal? And, if so, how do I go about doing it?

A. Yes, you can buy your retirement home using your IRAs, 401K, or pension. But there is a catch. You can’t live in the house until you can take the entire value as a distribution from your IRAs and that’s after age 59.5. Until then, you’ll have to rent it to someone else!

You can use IRAs and Roth IRAs to purchase property (homes...and even apartment buildings). You’ll have to do your homework, though. Most banks and brokerage firms don’t offer this service—it’s just too costly for them implement.

How do you set up this program? First, you can transfer your existing IRA, or roll over money from an existing plan (401K, pension) to a “self-directed IRA.” You’ll then need to have bank custodian oversee the account. They will receive an annual fee for this, typically .5 percent to 1.5 % percent of the asset. You’ll also need a property manager to maintain and rent the property. You are not permitted to manage the property, according to IRS regulations.

If you’re truly interested in pursuing this option, choose your investment wisely. Make sure you base your decision on the size of your IRA, the time between now and age 59.5, and your level of comfort with risk. For more information on investing with IRAs go to www.IraResources.com . If you are in the market for a home and need competent and caring representation, please call me at 206-226-0565.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Glass is Always Half Full in Our Home.

Teaching Kids
“How Live On The Bright Side”

Encourage, limit, help, show, and give. That’s a simple way to say it, but it’s true. Today there can be so many distractions, too many expectations, and unrealistic and realistic fears kids must face each day. Here are five simple strategies to help your kids learn how to live on the brighter side of life:

1. Encourage Your Child’s Special Talents. Research has shown that children who are encouraged to follow their talents by supportive parents are much more successful than parents who have high expectations and are critical.
2. Limit Your Child’s Exposure To News. The news can create an unrealistic perception of danger in your child’s day-to-day life.
3. Help Them To Find The Bright Spot In Their Day. Make this a daily ritual for your family, and have your kids write them down in a book.
4. Show Them Tools To Shake Off A Bad Mood. If your child is a little blue, spend time with him/her reading, talking, playing a game or musical instrument, or go for a walk together.
5. Give Them Hope. Plant a tree...or a garden. Rent a funny comedy. Go see a play. Turn on some upbeat music and get up and dance.

Monday, November 23, 2009

De-Clutter Your Way to Happiness

Are You Hopelessly Disorganized?

Can’t find your keys? Missed an appointment? Still looking for that file you misplaced? Well, if you’re like thousands of people, searching for simple solutions to a big organization problems can be a problem!

There may be hope. Here are five quick tips to get (and stay) organized:

1. Keep an errand basket by the door for returning books, videotapes, dry-cleaning, etc.
2. De-clutter your junk drawer using plastic cutlery trays that come in a variety of sizes.
3. Keep a donation box in your laundry room or garage. Add unneeded clothing, books, toys, or small appliances and drop off monthly.
4. Do one small chore each day (dust, straighten one room, vacuum).
5. Have a key rack near the door with two sets of car and house keys. Remember the adage, a place for everything and everything in its place!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Time to Increase Your Intake of Dietary Fiber. It Could Save Your LIFE!!

Important News About
Blood Pressure

Here’s important news about lowering your blood pressure! In a recent study that appears in the Journal of Hypertension, researchers evaluated 25 studies on the effects of dietary fiber and blood pressure.
They found that by adding fiber to the diet, there was a reduction in both systolic (the top number in a blood pressure reading) and diastolic (the bottom number) blood pressure in patients with high blood pressure.

Today, over 50 million Americans and 1 billion people around the world have high blood pressure, so this finding comes as BIG news!
Dietary fiber includes fruit, cereal, fiber pills, and vegetables. In the study, the fiber intake ranged from 3.8 grams per day to125 grams per day. So, if you’re concerned about lowering your blood pressure, you’ll want to add more fruits, veggies, and cereal to your diet, exercise daily, and watch your weight. You’ll be glad you did!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Be Kind to Your Neighbor. It is Good For Your Health!!

Kindness Is Good For You!

When was that last time you noticed you were grumpy, then, out of the blue, someone does or says something nice to you? Didn’t it make you feel better…even a lot better?

When you are kind to other people, it also makes you feel good about yourself. And it’s good for your health. Researchers have found positive people have fewer health problems. In his book, It’s a Meaningful Life, it Just Takes Practice, author Bo Lozoff writes about the importance of being kind and building a better community. That community encompasses family, friends, co-workers, and the people you meet in your daily life (the bank teller, cashier, the parking lot attendant).

So as you go about your day, be kinder to your spouse, your kids, your co-workers, and wherever your travels take you. Then see if adding a little more kindness to your daily diet makes a difference in how you feel, how other people respond to you, and how others feel when you are kind to them. It’s a worthwhile experiment!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Happiness IS the Key to Success- Seven Easy Steps

7 Simple Steps To
Happiness And Success!

Are you feeling stuck on the roadmap of life? Have you longed for greater success and happiness, but haven’t yet hooked the brass ring?

Albert Schweitzer once wrote, “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” Here are seven steps you can take today to achieve more happiness and success in your life:

1. Believe In Yourself. Identify your natural talents and abilities. Do what you enjoy and what you do best. Truly successful and happy people find joy in their working lives. Invest your time in what you do best. Focus on your strengths and not your weaknesses.

2. Develop a Vision. First, define your path and start working your plan. Write down a vision for yourself and your life. Be specific. What do you want to accomplish? What do you want your life to look like in 5 years, 10 years?

3. Develop Good Habits. Happy and successful people choose good habits. If you’re watching too much TV, chronically late, or eating poorly, make a commitment to change your bad habits into habits consistent with your goals.

4. Show Gratitude. The happiest people are also the most grateful people. Count your blessings frequently and you’ll quickly start seeing a change in yourself and the world around you.

5. Take A Chance. Seize opportunities! Success and happiness does not come to those who sit and wait for it to be brought to them.

6. Give to Others. Studies reveal that the happiest people are also the most generous. Do, say, or give something nice to another and see how your own life improves.

7. Take Responsibility. You hold the key to your future. Take responsibility for your actions. Choose the work you like to do, and do it well. Ultimately, you are the master of your fate. You choose your own future by the decisions you make and the actions you take.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Great Time to Buy a Fixer!!

Q. We’re thinking of buying a fixer-upper as an investment. What’s the best way to find a deal without being taken to the cleaners?

A. Many people make good money buying rundown properties, fixing them up, and reselling them for a profit.

The best strategy for finding a profitable fixer-upper is to find the least desirable house in the most desirable neighborhood. Then, examine whether the cost of fixing up the property to its full market value will yield a significant profit.

You can find a fixer-upper in most communities—even in more affluent neighborhoods. One of the best ways to find a fixer-upper is to ask a real estate agent. Most agents have one or two properties they don’t like to show. You also can look for advertisements with phrases like “handyman’s special,” “needs TLC,” “or earn your down payment.”

The most profitable fixer-uppers will only need minor repairs like inside and outside painting, new carpeting and flooring, new light fixtures, new kitchen cabinets, landscaping, or a thorough cleanup. Look at properties that can be bought at 20-30 percent below what the house will be worth after fixing it.

Avoid homes that have serious flaws like a sinking foundation, structural damage, serious termite infestation, or that need a new roof. Also, avoid fixer-uppers that don’t fit in their neighborhoods, such as a two-bedroom, one-bathroom house in a neighborhood of three and four bedroom homes.

To get an idea of the finished market value, look at comparable properties in good condition. To determine the cost of fixing any existing problems, hire a good inspector. A competent inspector can save you from making a bad investment. You can call me at 206-226-0565 to find a great deal in this fast changing market.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

You are Being Watched...

Privacy Facts…
• In big cities, Americans are photographed an average of 20 times a day.

• Everything you charge is in a database that police, among others, can look at.

• Your cell phone calls can be intercepted and eavesdroppers can crib your access numbers with police scanners.

• You are often being watched when you visit web sites. Servers know what you’re looking at, what you download, and how long you stay on a page.

• A political candidate’s career was destroyed when a newspaper published a list of all the videos he had ever rented.

• Your employer is allowed to read your e-mail.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Time to Get a Carbon Monoxide Detector to Protect Your Family

Steer Clear Of This
Invisible Killer!

Do you spend time around gas-burning motors, generators, stoves or heaters? If so, this little article may save your life! CO (or Carbon Monoxide) poisoning is responsible for thousands of deaths per year. And because the gas is odorless, colorless, and tasteless, many times the inflicted aren’t aware of their exposure. Yet it can kill in seconds. Generally, the initial symptoms of CO poisoning include the feeling of being intoxicated followed by nausea. Here are a few tips for keeping you and your family safe from CO poisoning:
 Buy one or more CO detectors for your home and install them according to product instructions,
 Never spend time around a running gas-burning auto, boat, generator, stove, or heater without adequate ventilation,
 If you feel you’ve been exposed to CO, immediately get into fresh air and seek medical assistance.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Time to Shake Things Up a Little!!

Are You “Stuck In Neutral?”

Are you someone who puts things off until the last minute, or misses deadlines? Well, you’re definitely not alone. Everyone does it sometimes. But procrastination can lead to even more stress. Here are a few tips to help you manage your time and reduce your stress:

• Time Management. Use a schedule planner or notebook to plan your day or week. Use a timer or alarm clock to help you keep on track.
• Break Up Large Tasks. If you know you’re unable to concentrate on a project for three hours, divide your work into one hour blocks for three days.
• Plan To Play. Plan your work and plan your play. If you know you are going out for fun later, you will be able to start your work and concentrate on it now.
• Create Short-Term Deadlines. Many people feel they work better under pressure. But if you always work under pressure, you will increase your stress. Decide to reach some short-term goal before stopping your work for the day.
• Avoid Perfectionism. If you accept nothing less than a perfect performance, you may never get to work on a task because you’re worried that it won’t be perfect. Strive for excellence, not perfection.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Is Your Cell Phone Weakening Your Facial Muscles?

There could be more cell phone dangers on the horizon. Researchers in Florida recently studying more than 200 patients with tumors and other related conditions found that while cell phones may not necessary raise the risk of certain tumors, that doesn’t mean they are completely safe.

The intratemporal facial nerve, the one that runs through the middle ear just behind the eardrum, affects facial movement. Researchers noted that when people place cell phones next to their heads, this nerve is exposed to cell phone radiation.

Researchers found that tumors on this nerve can cause facial weakness and disfigurement. While cell phone radiation may not increase the risk of these tumors, cell phones are a relatively new technology.

Most cell phone calls usually only last a short time. But, there’s no way to know what may happen when people talk much longer on cell phones and over a period of many years. Here’s just one more reason to either limit your cell phone use, invest in a headset, or buy a hands-free cell phone for your car!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Real Seven Wonders of the World

Wonders Of The World Twist
A group of students were asked to list what they thought were the “Seven Wonders of the World.” Here’s what they came up with: 1) Egypt’s Great Pyramids 2) Taj Mahal 3) Grand Canyon, 4) Panama Canal, 5) Empire State Building 6) St. Peters Basilica 7) China’s Great Wall. As the teacher picked up the votes she noticed one student had not finished her paper yet. She asked the girl if she was having trouble with her list.
The girl replied, “Yes, a little. The teacher said, “Well, tell us what you have, and maybe we can help. The girl hesitated, then read, “I think the “Seven Wonders of the World” are: 1) To See 2) To Hear 3) To Touch 4) To Taste 5) To Feel 6) To Laugh 7) And to Love. The classroom was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. A gentle reminder that the most precious things in life cannot be built by hand.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Three Home Makeover Ideas

Real Estate Corner…

Q. I’d like to do a makeover on my house and make it the look more luxurious, but I don’t have a lot of money to spend. What do you suggest?

A. 1) You can make your home look more luxurious with a fresh coat of paint and a little bit of creativity. Try the new faux treatments and other new painting techniques. Your local home improvement store-brand paint usually runs about $30 per 5 gallons. Give your kitchen cabinets a clean, quick makeover by applying a coat of flat primer. After it dries apply a top coat of semi-gloss latex enamel.
Another trick: add crown molding where the wall meets the ceiling for a elegant style. Kits are available at home improvement stores.

2) Ceramic tile flooring can add luxury to your entryways, kitchens and bathrooms for $2-3 per sq. ft. If you’re handy, you can do the work yourself; otherwise installation is usually $2.50-3.50 per sq. ft.

3) New overhead lighting fixtures can change the look of a room and create a luxurious ambiance. Shop for off brands or contractor packs at home improvement stores that’ll save you money. If you are buying or selling a home and need competent and caring representation, please call me at 206-226-0565.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

4 Ways Google Can Help You

The number #1 search engine www.google.com may be able to help you in ways you never imagined...here are just a few:

1. You can enter your airplane’s tail number (in Google search box) to find out the airplane’s maintenance service record before you fly.
2. To find out about yourself (or anyone or anything else), go to www.googlism.com (Try this out...you’ll be amazed!)
3. Need something defined? Enter “define” in the search box, followed by a colon, space, and then what you would like defined.
4. Need a recipe? Enter a key ingredient(s) to get recipes for your next dinner party. Bon appetit!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Overeating Triggers...And How to Avoid Them

Why do we overeat? While not all of us struggle with weight (yes, there are a few out there who don’t) most of us do have triggers that can cause us to overeat and consume up to an extra 500 calories per day. Here are a four overeating triggers and tips on how to avoid them:
Emotional Triggers. Stress, frustration, and worry are just a few of the emotions that can trigger overeating. Have a plan to deal with these feelings without food...go for a walk, bike ride, or talk with a friend.
Situational Triggers. Overeating has a pattern. TV is a big food trigger. Focus on what you’re eating without any distractions (don’t watch TV or read while eating). Set a time to stop eating (after 7 p.m.)
Low Energy Triggers. People tend to overeat when they are tired and need an energy boost. Identify your low energy times, and plan to do something else (or have healthy snacks like carrots ready to eat).
Environmental Triggers. Lighting affects how much we eat and when we eat. The brighter the lighting, the less likely you will overeat.
If you’re plagued by overeating triggers, keep these quick tips in mind: take a walk, take a nap, make a phone call, leave the table, do 20 sit-ups, drink two glasses of water, brush your teeth, or check your email

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Latest News On Wrinkle Cures

With age comes wisdom, and with age also comes the dreaded wrinkles. While many of us continue to search for the fountain of youth, there is some new information on the latest therapies that help to remove or diminish wrinkles, and improve our skin as we age.

• Today’s lasers are better at removing spider veins, scars, birth marks, age marks, tattoos, and hair.
• Intense pulsed light therapy delivers multiple wavelengths of light in millisecond intervals. It works by inducing trauma to the skin just as lasers do.
• Light-emitting diode photo-modulation uses a single wavelength, promoting collagen and elastin production in skin. It’s less powerful than a laser, but promotes skin growth without trauma, and there’s no recovery time. You can do it on your lunch hour!
• New skin products like Revitol, Hydroderm, Avotone, and Prescriptive Intensive Rebuilding Moisturizer are now available that improve skin tone, and help diminish wrinkles.
For more information, go to The American Academy of Dermatology’s website at www.aad.org

Monday, November 9, 2009

Time To Turn OFF the TV

Here’s Another BIG Reason
To Turn Off The TV…

Watching TV may not only be mind-numbing, it can turn you into a couch potato. But here’s another reason to get rid of your TV habit. Consumers are paying high dollars for cable TV and satellite TV. Today, nearly 110 million American homes have at least one TV, and of those 68% receive a cable signal and 22% receive a DBS signal, according to Gary Shapiro, president of Consumer Electronics Assoc.

The average cable TV subscriber pays over $58.51 per month, while the average satellite TV subscriber pays about $57.72 per month, reports J.D. Power and Associates. This adds up to about $700 per year just for watching TV! Imagine what you could do with an extra $700 per year. You can take that money and invest it, and in five years at a 15% return; you’ll be almost $7,000 richer! In 25 years you could have $200,000–or a vacation home! Now, that’s worth thinking about!

I turned my TV off a year ago and do not miss it at all. I hope to never get TV in my house again. When it is gone you find other things to do. Trust me!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

It is Time to Consider Organic Produce.

Are the Foods You’re Eating Contaminated by Pesticides?

If you’re concerned about pesticides and your food, there’s some new information that you should know. Some of the most popular fruits and vegetables you eat every day are the most contaminated with pesticides, according to reports conducted by the Environmental Working Group, and Consumers Union. What are they?

Foods that were found with the highest pesticide levels were: Apples, Peaches, Pears, Potatoes, Spinach, Strawberries, Grapes, Cherries, Nectarines, Celery, Bell Peppers, and Raspberries.

The produce with the lowest pesticide levels were: Avocados, Sweet Corn, Broccoli, Bananas, Mangos, Papaya, Sweet Peas, Pineapples, Kiwi, Onions, Cauliflower, and Asparagus.

A 2003 study conducted by Seattle scientists and published in Environmental Health found that school children eating conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables are more likely to exceed EPA safety thresholds for organophosphate pesticides than children eating organic produce.

What can you do? To reduce your exposure to pesticides, always wash your produce, and buy organic whenever possible. What are the advantages of buying organic produce?
Organic foods have been found to contain more nutritional value and more antioxidants than conventionally grown foods, according to University of California, Davis scientists. Organic foods were found to have high levels of vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, and iron.

What’s the difference between organic and conventionally grown foods? Organic foods are grown in safe soil, and have no additives, or irradiated genetically modified organisms. Organic foods must be separated from conventional foods (in storage containers) so there is no contact with chemicals or pesticides. For more information, go to www.foodnews.org, or www.consumersunion.org.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Natural Remedies for Migraine Headache Attacks

Banish Headaches with These Amazing Natural Remedies

Do you suffer from chronic headaches? Headache pain is one of the top ten reasons for absenteeism in the workplace and schools. The migraine headache strikes 18 percent of women, 6 percent of men and (surprisingly) 8 percent of children. Migraines are throbbing headaches that affect only one side of the head and can be accompanied by vision complications, nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound. The duration of a migraine can last from a few hours to a few days.

A variety of foods, the body’s own hormones, and environmental stimuli can trigger migraines. Migraine sufferers should avoid beer, red wine, monosodium glutamate (used liberally in Chinese foods), certain cheeses, yogurt, and smoked fish. Sodium nitrate, found in bacon, cold cuts, and hot dogs is also a known cause. Caffeine and chocolate also may be connected with migraines.

Fluctuations in hormones can cause migraines. It can affect men, but it especially affects women during their monthly cycle – possibly due to fluctuations in estrogen and serotonin levels in the body. Sixty percent of female migraine sufferers have them in relation to their monthly cycle.

People on long-term prescription medications or painkillers like aspirin and acetaminophen can experience a “boomerang” effect when medications are stopped. The body may go into withdrawal, triggering a massive migraine. A magnesium deficiency may also trigger migraines, and has been correlated to the migraine-like symptoms of early fibromyalgia.

Can anything be done for sufferers of migraine headaches? The answer is yes. There are new prescription medications for treatment of migraines, but simpler natural solutions may effectively eliminate or lessen migraine suffering with less cost and side effects. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Watch what you eat. Keep a food diary, and notice the effects of the food listed above. If symptoms appear up to 18 hours after eating, avoid the food.

2. Try the herb “feverfew.” This potent herb reduces the release of serotonin and the production of an inflammatory substance known as prostaglandins. Both of these events in the body are associated with migraines. Taken regularly, it has been shown to prevent future attacks.
3. Take 800 mg. of L-carnitine a day. The amino acid L-carnitine decreases the sensitivity of the body’s nervous system to fluctuating oxygen levels, one of the key migraine triggers.
4. Take a calcium and magnesium supplement daily. These two minerals work in tandem to reduce the duration and severity of migraine attacks.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Beware of Nasal Spray Addiction. STOP Using it Immediately After Your Cold!!

Nasal Spray Dangers!
You can run the risk of addiction by using a decongestant nasal spray for more than three days. Nasal sprays constrict the blood vessels in the nose, enlarging the passage so that air can flow through. After three days you can suffer “rebound nasal congestion” when stopping. The vessels swell up again, leading you back to the spray for relief. Best bet? Either quit cold turkey and suffer for a day, or consider diluting your nasal spray with saline solution.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

How to Get a Free Credit Report. It is Your Credit and You Have a Right to View it for No Charge!!

Free Credit Reports
Now Available!

Now you’ll be able to get your free credit report thanks to the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act. The three national credit bureaus: Equifax. Experian, and Transunion are required to provide consumers with their credit reports for free once per year. Your credit report and score can affect your ability to buy a home, the rate you can get on a car loan and the terms of these loans. The score is based on a formula that evaluates your credit file. The higher your score, the less your credit risk to lenders. To get your free credit report, go to www.AnnualCreditReport.com.

You also can order reports over the telephone at (877) 322-8228. For further information and tips, go to the Federal Trade Commission's Web site: www.ftc.gov/credit.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What Doctors can Learn From a Blood Test

What Can You Learn From
A Simple Blood Test?

How many episodes of ER have you watched and wondered...what exactly does the CBC tell these actors turned doctors? A CBC (complete blood count) can reveal a lot about your health. The CBC measures your hemoglobin (a protein that allows red blood cells to transport oxygen and gives blood its red color). Low hemoglobin indicates anemia.

A hematocrit measures the volume that red blood cells take up in the blood. Elevated numbers may indicate dehydration, or it may be an early sign of cancer or kidney disease. Low numbers indicate anemia. Your white blood cells (WBC) fight infection and promote healing. A high WBC count indicates a bacterial infection. Very low numbers may indicate exposure to toxic drugs or environmental toxins, or other diseases.

Your platelet count indicates your body’s ability to initiate blood clotting. A high number may indicate anemia, inflammation or a more serious condition. A low number may indicate an autoimmune disorder, allergic drug reaction, or an enlarged spleen. Your physician may order additional tests if your blood measurements don’t fall in the normal range.
If you any questions about your CBC, be sure to ask your physician to explain the ranges and results to you.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Time for a Home Makeover? Easy Decorating Tips!!

Q. I want to redecorate our living space, but I don’t know where to begin. Do you have any decorating tips?

A. You can makeover your living space with these simple decorating tips:
1. Change your color palette. You can choose neutral and earth tones, such as whites, tans, beiges, and golds. A room of monotone decors appears more spacious. And you can dress up a room with white walls, a white sofa, and white or glass coffee tables with accented throw pillows, colorful table runners and placements, and decorative rugs.
2. Soften the lighting. Lighting adds warmth and drama to any room. A lamp or sconce lighting will provide more warmth and mood than overhead lighting. In your rooms, place your lamps and lighting arrangements so that they form a triangle of light in the room.
3. Rearrange the furniture. Try moving your sofas away from the wall. You can place two sofas in “V” formation with tables behind them. Or you can arrange the sofas so that they’re parallel to each other. Placing a rug between them creates a conversation area.
4. Create a focal point. Select a special focal point in your room: a piano, piece of art, picture, or floral arrangement. Make sure to hang your art and pictures at eye level. (Many people hang them too high.)
5. Create warmth. You can transform your dining room by adding lamps on each side of the buffet. Be sure to choose tall, sleek lamps to add drama to your dining area.
6. Experiment with ideas. Don’t be afraid to experiment with light, color, and furnishings. Use your own personality and charm to create the living space you’ll enjoy entertaining and spending time with your family.
If you are in the market for a buying or selling a home and need competent and caring representation, please call me at 206-226-0565.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Fight Osteoporosis Now!!

How To Maintain Strong,
Healthy Bones…For Life!

Nearly 10 million Americans suffer from Osteoporosis. By 2020, half of all citizens over 50 will be at high risk for developing the condition. In a recent report, “Bone Health and Osteoporosis,” U. S. Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona outlines important measures you can take to maintain strong, healthy and happy bones for life.

One of the most common myths, he says, is that only women need to worry about bone health. Osteoporosis affects men and women of all races. By age 75, osteoporosis is as common in men as it is in women!

Are you at risk? The first symptom of osteoporosis is a bone fracture. Other risk factors include: low calcium/vitamin D intake, a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, body weight less than 125 lbs, long-term steroid medication like prednisone or cortisone, eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia, and early menopause.

How to maintain strong bones? First, while bone weakness is evident in older Americans, strong bones begin in childhood. Here are four steps you can take today to prevent osteoporosis and maintain strong, healthy bones:

1. Get the recommended amount of daily calcium by drinking milk and eating green leafy vegetables, soybeans, yogurt, and cheese. (1,000 mg of calcium per day).
2. Exercise 30 minutes per day for adults; 60 minutes a day for children. This can be walking, running, or any weight-baring exercise.
3. Get Vitamin D (200 IU), which is produced in the skin by exposure to the sun. It’s also found in fortified milk and cereals
4. Your doctor can order a bone density test (DEXA), which measures bone density at the spine, hip, and wrist where most fractures occur.

For more information on osteoporosis, call 1-866-718-BONE, or go to www.surgeongeneral.gov.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Important Information for Shopping on Line

How to Protect Your Privacy and Be a Smart Online Shopper

Surfing the web has become part of daily life for over 240 million people worldwide (and growing). But new practices by many web merchants, combined with foul play from a few unscrupulous web tyrants, have made cyberspace not only inconvenient, but potentially dangerous.

Many web merchants are trafficking your personal information to other vendors and institutions. When you log on to a merchant’s web site, a small packet of software (the notorious “cookie”) is placed on your computer’s hard drive to track every mouse click as you shop or move about.

Many shopping sites function poorly or not at all without the cookie. For example, book seller Amazon.com (and its cookie) enables the site to remember your name, make buying suggestions based on previous purchases, and streamline order and shipping information. This tracking appears as a convenience when shopping, but the very same information can be used by the wrong people to cause great harm. Here are a few suggestions to safeguard your personal information and shop safely when on-line.

1. Read the web merchant’s privacy policy. Make sure you’re routed to a secure site when ordering. Expect to share personal information to make a purchase, however, don’t consent to your personal information being shared, sold or exchanged. The web site should offer you a simple “one click” way to remove your personal information from all of its lists.
2. Give your purchase 10 to 14 days to be delivered. Part of a multi-item order may be “back-ordered” and won’t be delivered on schedule. If you need a gift, consider a gift certificate. It can be delivered immediately by e-mail or relatively quickly by regular postal service.
3. Obtain and save an order confirmation number. An order number or UPS tracking number is frequently required to locate your purchases during shipping. If there’s a problem with your order, the confirmation number is your first line of proof and legal protection.
4. Check out the return policies when you shop online. Due to the expenses of shipping and handling, many cyber-stores will charge 10% to 20% re-stocking fee for returned or exchanged items. Larger retail sites are more likely to take responsibility for returns and waive re-stocking fees.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Research Shows Microwaves Remove Nutrition from Some Foods

Microwaving Zaps Critical Nutritional Benefits From Foods

Researchers have found certain methods of preparation and cooking, such as microwaving, can cause vegetables to lose many key nutritional benefits. Researchers found microwaved broccoli had lost almost 90% of three major antioxidant compounds - flavonoids, sinapics and caffeoyl-quinic derivatives, which are thought to have cancer-fighting properties. In contrast, steamed broccoli had lost only 10% of the same health-promoting compounds. Veggies should be cooked in a minimal amount of water to retain nutritional benefits.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

And in the End the LOVE You Take is Equal to the LOVE You Make. - 7 Ideas

Seven Secrets To A
Happier Marriage

Ah...marital bliss...if only it were true. You’re not married? Don’t stop reading! There’s valuable information ahead for having healthy and happy love relationships. This applies whether you’re the spouse, the boyfriend, the girlfriend, the dad, the mom, the child, or the grandparents.

Research shows it’s not the conflict that’s important in relationships, it’s how you manage the conflict. Here are seven secrets to improving your marriage...or any relationship that you want to enrich:

1. Keep Things Positive. If you want a happy relationship, researchers say you must be good-natured and friendly to your partner. Criticism and nit-picking are poison to good relationship building.
2. Follow The 1:5 Ratio. For every negative thing you say or do to your partner, you must balance it out by saying or doing five positive things.
3. Be Considerate and Respectful. Happy marriages and relationships are based on friendship and respect. Couples who like each other’s company and respect each other are more likely to stay together.
4. Don’t Try To Resolve The Irresolvable. There are times in a relationship that certain issues may not be resolvable. The key is to accept it and go forward.
5. Honor Differences. Couples who understand and accept each other’s quirks and idiosyncrasies are more likely to stay together.
6. Sometimes It’s Not What You Say, But How You Say It. Ninety percent of the friction of daily life is caused by the wrong tone of voice and word choice. Think before you speak. (If necessary, discuss conflicts while on the telephone, rather than face-to-face.)
7. Practice Relationship-Building Skills. Many couples think that, for things to improve, big changes must take place. Actually, making small changes in ourselves (acts of thoughtful kindness, compliments) can effect big, positive changes in your relationships.

Remember that marriage is like a bank account—you get out what you put in...with interest!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Six Home Health Hazards You can Avoid

Watch Out For These
Home Health Hazards…

Are you aware there may be hidden dangers lurking in your home? These little known health hazards could be causing you and your family health problems…and you may not know it. Here are six hazards you can avoid by eliminating them from your home, or being attentive to the potential danger:

1. Do not reuse plastic drinking water bottles. After exposure to air and mouth-borne bacteria, these bottles can contain enough bacteria to be a biohazard.
2. Throw out corroded aluminum cooking pans. Recent research has shown that foods cooked in these pans absorb toxic amounts of aluminum. This can result in kidney failure, affect brain function (possibly associated with Alzheimer’s disease), and possibly contribute to abnormal behavior.
3. Be careful using electric blankets, especially anyone with occlusive arterial disease (result of blockage in an artery). An electric blanket’s uncontrolled heat can cause gangrene by increasing metabolism, but not circulation.
4. Don’t take aspirin and Vitamin C together in heavy doses or long-term. This can lead to ulcers and gastritis.
5. Never burn or over-heat your food in the popular non-stick cookware. This can impart traces of toxic fluorocarbon resins to foods. Throw out pans if the non-stick surface becomes scratched or peels.
6. Use over-the-counter eye drops sparingly. They relieve redness by the action of constricting blood vessels in the eyes so they will look whiter. If drops are used frequently, they can develop permanent (and very red) varicose veins in the eyeball.

Monday, October 26, 2009

10 Ways to Add YEARS to Your Life

We all want to feel better, look better, and live as if we are a finely tuned instrument, or well-maintained vehicle. Here are the first 10 of 100 tips I’ll share over the coming months to get you started on the road to feeling, looking, and living better and increasing your chances for enjoying life.

1. Smile. Researchers at Harvard found that people with positive attitudes are more likely to have fewer heart ailments.
2. Take Monday Off. Researchers in New York found that missing a few days of work lowers your risk for stroke by 30 percent…not to mention most heart attacks occur on Monday morning!
3. Eat Oatmeal Cookies. University of Connecticut researchers found that eating oat-bran cookies daily can lower your LDL cholesterol by 20 percent.
4. Go To Bed Early. People who are fatigued have high levels of fibrinogen, a blood-clotting protein that reduces blood flow to your heart and brain.
5. Wash Your Hands. German scientists found people with high levels of antibodies from fighting infections also had more clogging of their arteries.
6. Read A Good Book. Need I say more?
7. Meditate 30 Minutes A Day. Researchers at Thomas Jefferson University found meditation may reduce depression and anxiety by up to 25 percent.
8. Drink Cranberry Juice. People who drink 8 ounces of cranberry juice a day increase their HDL cholesterol levels by 10 percent…reducing heart risk by 40 percent, according a New Jersey study.
9. Bike Your Blues Away. Biking was found to be as effective at relieving depression as antidepressants reported Duke University researchers.
10. Join A Group. People who have a circle of friends handle stress better and have less heart disease, according to University of Chicago researchers.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Family Time Should be Our Top Priority- 10 Great Ideas

10 Proven Strategies For Strengthening Your Family!

Is the quality of your family life important to you? According to a recent Harris poll, the majority of working men and women place the highest value on a work schedule providing plenty of time for family. We sure don’t need to look very far to discover the challenges families are facing today. The good news is there are quick and easy ways to strengthen your family and promote each other’s personal growth.

Here are 10 positive key strategies that you can use today to improve and strengthen your family now…and for years to come.

1. Make Family Your First Priority. Strong families spend lots of quality time together. We’ve all heard the well-known quote, “How do kids spell love?” T-I-M-E! Strong families spend lots of positive time working on family projects and playing together. And they enjoy being together too.

2. Appreciate One Other. Strong families appreciate each other’s unique qualities and contributions and express their feelings openly. Make a commitment to compliment each other at least once each day.

3. Foster Communication. Strong families listen to each other, respect each other’s opinions, and avoid interrupting. One of the most valuable ways to foster communication is by having at least one meal together each day. During the meal, make it a point to engage everyone on their daily experiences, discoveries, challenges and goals.

4. Strengthen Commitment. Strong families work together to solve their problems. They may not always agree, but they are willing and able to bring things out into the open and to talk about them.

5. Create Traditions. Strong families stay connected – another reason for having at least one meal together each day. Also, give your children the gift of friendship with their cousins, aunts, and uncles by keeping in touch regularly. You’ll be giving them happy memories and friendships to last a lifetime.

6. Set Rules and Expectations. Strong families set and put into practice clear guidelines and limitations. Family members take responsibility for their actions.
7. Support Each Other. Strong families support one another during challenging times. When family members feel valued by one another, they know they have someone they can turn to for support.

8. Identify Your Family’s Strengths. Have each family member write down something he/she likes about each family member (animals included!). Put them up on a bulletin board or refrigerator magnets for everyone to see.

9. Set Achievable Family Goals. Setting and achieving family goals, even if they are small, cultivates success and creates unity. Set goals together whether it’s saving for a family trip, a car, or a new home. The ideas are endless.

10. Strong Families Love Unconditionally. Strong families love with unconditional acceptance that builds strong heart and faith connections.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Trends in New Construction-Including LESS Space?

Q. We are thinking of buying a new home. What are the trends in new home building?

A. Buyers have their own personal preferences in what they like in a home. But a recent survey by the National Association of Home Builders found the top 10 new home trends:
1. No Living Room. Over 30% of homebuyers will buy a home without a formal living room, preferring special interest rooms.
2. Less Square Footage. For the first time in over 75 years, builders are producing smaller homes to meet buyers cost requirements.
3. Extensive Wiring. Wiring for high-tech equipment and entertainment is a must for new home buyers.
4. Activity Rooms. Many homebuyers want home offices, dens, exercise rooms, and game rooms.
5. Spacious Garages. Buyers want lots of storage space and workshop areas.
6. Traditional Exterior. Homebuyers prefer traditional American and European architectural styles.
7. Storage Areas. Homebuyers favor walk-in pantries, special interest cabinets, and walk-up attics.
8. Lower ceilings. Fewer two-story rooms are being built today.
9. Unique Kitchens. Over 78% of buyers want a walk-in pantry.
10. Future Options. Homebuyers plan for their future years. They want wide hallways, main floor suites, and walk-in shower stalls.
If you are in the market for a buying or selling a home and need competent and caring representation, please call me at 206-226-0565.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Protect Yourself From ID Theft

Free Advice…You Can Use!!

It’s a rarity to be sure...but here’s some sound advice that could save you lots of money, time, and trouble.
• When you order checks, print only your first initial on them. That way if someone takes your checkbook s/he will not know your first name, or how you sign your name...but your bank will know.
• Never place your social security number on your checks.
• Put your work phone number on your checks, not your home phone.
• Photocopy all the contents of your wallet (front and back). This way you’ll know what was in your wallet, account numbers, and phone numbers to call if your credit cards are stolen.
• Write only the last four digits of your credit card account in the “For” line on your checks. Your credit card company knows the rest.
Most importantly, call Equifax 1-800-525-6285, Experian 1-888-397-3742, Trans Union 1-800-680-7289, and the Social Security fraud line 1-800-269-0271 to place a fraud alert on your name and social security number. This process alerts any company checking your credit to contact you by phone before authorizing new credit.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Make Humor Part Of Your Day, It has Proven Health Benefits

Can Laughter Make You Healthy?

Laughter is strong medicine, so says researchers at Stanford University. The physical action of laughter actually increases blood flow and contracts abdominal muscles. It lowers stress, improves heart health, and can resolve conflict in troubled times.

Here are a few tips to help you add a little more laughter and humor in your life:
• Create a “humor first-aid kit” full of comedy tapes, joke books, funny stories, comics when you feel the need or urge to be silly.
• Take a humor break instead of a coffee break. Read jokes, listen to a funny tape, or create a humor notebook to help during difficult times.
• Remind yourself to have fun. It’s OK to lighten up.
• Go to a funny movie, rent a comedy, or watch an old comedy show.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Time to Move Past the Neckties?

Neckties May Boost Glaucoma Risk

Better loosen those neckties guys! Researchers have found that tight neckties might increase your risk of glaucoma. Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in the United States, and affects over 3 million Americans.

In a study published by the British Journal of Ophthalmology, researchers found an increase in blood pressure inside the eyes of men who wore too tight neckties. A tight necktie can constrict the veins in your neck, boosting blood pressure in the eyes to a dangerous level. So all you men out there…loosen up, it may save your vision!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Time to Purchase a New Sleep Set?

Could This Be The Most Important Purchase Of Your Life?

Ever wake up tired or sore from a night’s sleep? If so, you’re not alone. Many people suffer from sleepless nights and don’t know why. But did you know the likely culprit may “rest” with your mattress?

We all know that a good night’s sleep is essential for your health and wellbeing. So, if you’re not getting the best sleep possible, you may want to start shopping for a new mattress. It’s recommended that you replace a mattress every eight to 10 years. Here are a few tips to follow. First and foremost, don’t let anyone, (that includes pushy salespeople) tell you what kind of mattress you need. Your body will help you make that decision.

Before You Buy, Always Test The Mattress. How you sleep may have an impact on the best mattress for you. If you like to sleep on your stomach, you may like a medium firm mattress. If you sleep on your side, you may want a bed that is softer on your hips and shoulders. If you sleep on your back, you may like a firmer bed. Whatever position you prefer, let your body find the mattress that works best for you.

Traditional Coil Mattresses - The S’s Have It!
Coil-spring mattresses are the most popular mattresses on the market. The leading mattress manufacturers all begin with the letter S:
Simmons, Spring Air, Sealy, Serta, and Stearns & Foster. You can expect to pay about $299 for a twin set to $999 for a popular queen-sized model, and much more for the luxury mattresses. There are many less-known brands that offer the same quality, but for about $100 less. If you buy below these prices, you may find your mattress may not last long. The old adage, “you get what you pay for,” especially holds true when buying a mattress.

Latex Mattresses – A Good Idea For Allergy Sufferers
Latex mattresses are antimicrobial and antibacterial, so they don’t harbor dust mites — a leading cause of allergies. Many people like the softness and support found with latex mattresses. They are a bit more expensive than the traditional coil mattresses, from about $899 for a twin set to $1,499 for a queen set. Latex mattresses, however, are not suitable for anyone who is allergic to latex! Nature’s Rest is the leading manufacturer.

Foam Mattresses – A Revolutionary Idea
“Viscoelastic temperature sensing” foam mattress sales have taken-off in the last decade. NASA first developed the body-hugging technology, which uses your body heat and weight, to create “memory cells” within the mattress. The memory cells then adjust to your body’s form, providing comfort and support. Tempur-Pedic, and Strobel Technologies offer a twin bed for $999; a queen set at $1,399. You also will need to purchase a foundation for about $149-$300.

Air Beds – The Latest Craze
According to analysts, air beds are the fastest growing segment in the industry. They are popular because they offer dual controls for couples with different firmness preferences. Each person can adjust the firmness of the mattress, by either increasing or decreasing air pressure. Prices start at about $450 for a twin, and $1,700 for a queen-sized model. Comfortaire and Select Comfort are the leading air bed manufacturers.

Before you buy a mattress, do your homework. Check the retailer’s return policy. Mattress manufacturers generally offer a 10-year warranty, or more. Some retailers offer their own warranty. This is a plus because if you have a problem, you can avoid the hassle of returning the mattress to the manufacturer. Watch out for any extra costs. Some mattress retailers offer free delivery; some do not. Most retailers include the basic metal frame in the price; some do not.

Bottom line? If you not getting the best sleep possible, you may want to start shopping for a new mattress. It just might be the most important purchase in your life!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Getting Your Home Ready to Sell, 10 Easy Tips

Q. We are getting ready to sell our house. What suggestions can you give us to prepare it to sell for top dollar?

A. Buyers are looking for a home, not a house. They want a home they would like to have as their own, so focus your attention on making your home as pleasing as possible. Start by viewing your home at the entrance. Is it well kept and in good condition? If not, make the necessary changes needed to get you the most return for your home. Here are several steps you can take to make your home ready for show:

 Begin at the curb of your house. Sweep the sidewalk, mow the lawn, prune the bushes, weed the garden, and clean any debris from the yard.
 Clean all the windows—inside and out.
 Deep clean all rooms, furnishings, floors, walls, and ceilings. Make sure the bathrooms and kitchen are spotless!
 If your house needs painting, go ahead and make the investment. When you do, it’s best to choose neutral colors.
 Organize all the closets, and clear away all the clutter.
 Be sure the basic appliances and fixtures work. Fix any leaky faucets in the kitchen or bathrooms.
 If you have a small room and want to make it appear larger, add a mirror.
 Place several vases of fresh flowers, and plants throughout the house.
 Make sure the house smells pleasing. You can bake cookies, muffins, or simmer scented tea to add a pleasant aroma to your home.

Your accessories can enhance a room by setting a mood. Keep in mind a few interesting accents are better than a lot of knickknacks that clutter. Choose complementary accent colors and arrange them around the room.
You also may want to purchase some items specifically for decorating. Sometimes just by adding a few furniture pieces, pictures, lamps, plants, dishes and other items, you can turn your ho-hum house into a lovely showplace!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Time to Join Toastmasters International? Speaking Tips You can Use!!

Public Speaking Tips From The Experts!

You’ve just been asked to lead a meeting, introduce someone at a dinner or church, or give a speech in front of a large group. Are you feeling panicked?
If you’re like thousands of people, you may have a real fear of public speaking.
But there’s really no need to worry, says Janet Esposito, author of “In the Spotlight: Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking and Performing.”

“Your audience wants you to succeed!” she says. “The key to success is in the preparation.” You can make your next public speaking experience a success by following these expert tips:

1. Make a list of material you want to cover. Outline your material, and then write down the words you want to use and revise as needed.
2. Check for accuracy, redundancies, and clich├ęs. Use everyday language that both you and your listeners are comfortable with. Avoid using a lot of technical terms and statistics.
3. Use a tape recorder and practice aloud until you are comfortable with your delivery.
4. Print your key points on index cards. You can refer to them while speaking.
5. Consider your audience’s level of knowledge on the subject. Be prepared to answer questions.
6. Picture yourself speaking with confidence in a loud, clear voice.
7. Don’t mention that you are nervous or that you have problems with speaking. That calls attention to something the audience hasn’t even noticed.
8. Focus on your message and the information your audience needs, not on yourself.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The NUMBER ONE Mistake you can Make When Selling

Q. We’ve just listed our home for sale and we’ve agreed on a listing price. How do we know if our home is priced too high?

A. In a hot real estate market, an overpriced home may sell easily. However in a softer market, an overpriced home may sit on the market for months. How long is too long? Well, it depends on the specific market. In general, if a home is on the market more than 3 months with no serious buyer interest, it’s usually a sign of an overpriced home.

The first buzz of activity usually occurs in the first month a home is on the market. During that time, there’s lots of activity: scheduled showings, REALTOR® tours and open houses. If agent activity is slow, it may indicate that agents think the home is overpriced and not worth showing to their clients. If your home is on the market longer than 6 months, and you have no buyer interest, there is either something wrong with the home, or it’s overpriced.

What are the tell-tale signs that your home is overpriced? The first thing to examine is other properties in the neighborhood. If your home is priced well above these properties without some specific reason, it may signal a problem. Second, how long has your home been on the market? If it’s longer than 3 months with no buyer interest, it’s time to think about a serious price reduction.

Finally, if you priced your home by taking your purchase price and added the cost of any remodeling, you may be disappointed. The value of your home is not determined by how much you have invested into it, but what the market is willing to pay. Be careful not to get “upside down” on your home by spending beyond its market limit with remodeling improvements. If you’re thinking of buying or selling soon, and require competent and caring representation, please call me at 206-226-0565.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Best Lines in Movie History

Top 10 Movie Quotes...
According to the American Film Institute, here are the Top 10 most famous movie quotes:
1. “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn,” Clark Gable in Gone with the Wind.
2. “I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse,” Marlon Brando in The Godfather.
3. “I coulda been a contender,” Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront.
4. “Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore,” by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz.
5. “Here’s looking at you, kid,” by Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca.
6. “Go ahead, make my day,” by Clint Eastwood in Sudden Impact.
7. “All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my closeup,” by Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard.
8. “May the force be with you,” Harrison Ford in Star Wars.
9. “Fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy night,” by Bette Davis in All About Eve.
10.“You talking to me?” by Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Seven Steps to a Better Night Sleep

Cure Snoring In 7 EASY Steps!

Is someone else keeping you awake at night? If your sleep partner is a snorer, chances are you need some tips to improve your sleep. Here are a few to help you through the night:

1. If your snorer is overweight, get him (or her) to lose weight.
2. Have your snorer roll over...no sleeping on his/her back!
3. Put three tennis balls in a sock and attach it to the back of his/her nightshirt. This prevents the snorer from sleeping on his/her back.
4. Buy earplugs for you.
5. Try using nasal strips for your snorer. They work.
6. Go to bed earlier than your snorer...you’ll be in a deeper sleep stage.
7. Get a white-noise generator to drown out the sound.

Usually, snoring is caused by allergies, congestion from colds, nasal blockages, a deviated septum, and even acid reflux. But snoring has also been linked to more serious medical conditions, such as high blood pressure or sleep apnea. If the snoring is severe, have your partner see a doctor to see what is causing the snoring.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

HELP!! How to Handle Money as a Couple

What To Do When Romance
And Finances Collide…

When couples disagree about money, you can bet there’s going to be trouble. The good news is most money problems can be solved by simply talking.
You may want to begin by asking yourself, “What’s Your Money Personality”? According to Olivia Mellan, author of Money Harmony: Resolving Money Conflicts in Your Life and Relationship, most people fall into one or more loosely defined money personalities:
• Spenders are the shop until-you-drop consumers who gain pleasure from buying. They don’t budget, prioritize or save.
• Hoarders like strict budgets and prioritize everything. They see spending money on entertainment, vacations, and any extras as frivolous.
• Avoiders put off money management because it overwhelms them. Since they don’t like budgets or keeping records, they often forget to pay their bills.
• Amassers like to stockpile their money to feel safe and happy. The bigger the pile, the more secure they feel.

So what’s your money personality, and what’s your spouses? This may help you understand your partner’s relationship to money. When it comes to talking about money with your partner, here are four strategies to help you on the road to better communication:

1. Timing is everything. When it comes to talking about money, choose a time when people are feeling good.
2. Stay positive. Don’t accuse your partner. Focus on how the behavior is making you feel, and look for solutions.
3. Be specific. For example, “I’m feeling concerned about the money we’re spending on this vacation.”
4. Assume win-win situations are possible! Find your common ground where both of you can agree and each get most of what you want.

Once you and your spouse have identified your individual styles, set-aside time to define common objectives and find strategies that work around your differences, so you can meet those goals. If your tempers begin to heat-up, agree to meet at another time when both of you are calmer.

Monday, October 12, 2009

If you have Kids you will Understand this

Kid Funnies...
 Trying to dress an active little one is like trying to thread a sewing machine while it's running.
 Two things small kids will share willingly: communicable diseases and their mother's age.
 Cleaning your house while your kids are at home is like trying to shovel the driveway during a snowstorm.
 Children really brighten a household; they never turn off any lights.
 An alarm clock is a device for waking people up who don't have kids.
 Shouting to make your kids obey is like using the horn to steer your car, and you get about the same results!
 Children can tell you that the sole purpose of a middle name is so they can tell when they’re really in trouble.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Department of Labor Wants You to Watch Your 401 (K) Statements

10 Warning Signs Your 401(K) May Be In Trouble!

The Department of Labor Anti-Fraud Division has put together a list of 10 warning signs that your 401(K) funds could be in jeopardy.
1. Your 401(K) or individual account statement is late or comes irregularly.
2. Your account balance is not accurate.
3. Your employer fails to transmit your contribution to the plan on time.
4. There is a drop in your account balance beyond normal market fluctuations.
5. Your 401(K) or individual account statement does not reflect your contributions.
6. There are investments on your statement that you did not authorize.
7. Former employees are having trouble getting their benefits paid on time or in the correct amounts.
8. You notice unusual transactions, such as a loan to the employer, a corporate officer, or one of the plan trustees.
9. There are frequent and unexplained changes in investment managers or consultants.
10. Your employer has recently experienced severe financial difficulty.
If you have any concerns about your 401(K), contact the U.S. Dept. of Labor.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Is This the Time to Buy an Investment Property?

Q. My wife and I are interested in investing in real estate. What should we know before we jump in and put down our money?

A. Investing in real estate can be a very profitable investment, but there are a few things you should know.
• Financing investment properties may have a higher interest rate than in a home where you reside. You also may be required by the lending institution to have a larger down payment.
• The secret to making money is to buy right. Choose a property that will appreciate over time. You want to buy an “average” home in a very strong neighborhood or area – then improve the property. Be particularly careful about the location of the property, and any future changes to the area.
• If you are handy at making repairs, and available to make them, buying a fix-up property can be profitable. Make sure you choose a neighborhood where the houses are well-maintained at a higher value.
• Lastly, you’ll need to become knowledgeable about landlord tenant legal issues whether you lease the property yourself, or enlist a management company to handle your property.
If you have any questions, or if you are buying or selling a home and need competent and caring representation, please call me at 206-226-0565.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Three Keys for Making Small Talk in a Social Gathering

Making Small Talk

Have you ever found yourself at a meeting or social event and been at a loss for words? Making small talk isn’t random. It follows a formula, says Bernardo Carducci, author of The Pocket Guide to Making Successful Small Talk. Carducci says you can anticipate where the conversation is going and plan ahead. Here are some tips to follow:

 Look for someone not talking with a group and use a simple opening line, “This appetizer (food) is great!” Or, mention something about the building or room. Then introduce yourself.
 If a conversation stalls, you can restart it with a compliment. “That’s a great suit (tie, jewelry, color of clothing), you’re wearing.”
 If there’s someone you want to talk to (but they’re talking in a group), meander over, introduce yourself to others in the group and soon enough you’ll be able to talk directly with that person.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Teach Your Children these Life Skills

Teaching Kids Life Skills

Teaching kids how to approach and solve life’s challenges is one of the biggest jobs parents face. Here are a few tips to help your children (or grandchildren) grow into self-sufficient and responsible adults:

• Teach Kids To Look For Solutions. When kids are faced with a problem, have them identify several options and solutions. Then you can help them choose which solution works best.

• Teach Kids Responsibility: Let kids know they are responsible for their actions. They have to do their homework, but you can offer them two “positive choice” options: Do you want to do it in 15 minutes or 30 minutes? Teach them how to organize, and give them the tools to stay organized (calendar, palm pilot, notebook).

• Teach Kids How To Make Good Choices. Giving kids choices empowers them to make their own decisions. Have them weigh the pros and cons of their choice, and let them make the decisions.

• Teach Kids How To Deal with Failure. Teach your children that failure is not personal, permanent, or pervasive (i.e. losing a soccer game doesn’t mean you’re bad at other things as well). Developing a positive explanatory style early in life will help your children live a happier, healthier and more successful adult life.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Cinnamon Offers Important Health Benefits

The Healing Magic Of Cinnamon

Did you know that cinnamon offers more than just a great scent and taste? It has important health benefits too. A USDA scientist, Dr. Richard Anderson, recently found that cinnamon imitates the effect of insulin in the body. A study of Type-2 diabetics found that people who were given between 1-6 grams of cinnamon per day reduced their blood sugar by up to 29% depending on the amount of cinnamon they were given.

In two other scientific studies, one that was published in Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, rats were given cinnamon extract to see if it would improve how they metabolized glucose. These findings may help scientists understand the role of cinnamon on the body, and open the door to much needed research. Taken a step further, cinnamon may also help people reduce their chance of developing diabetes and improve the body’s ability to balance blood sugars.