Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Time to Redecorate?

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.

How To Create a Healthy Money Lifestyle for Kids

We all want our kids to do well in life...and not make some of the mistakes we might have made. Here are seven important money strategies to teach your kids that will serve them well throughout their lives:
1) Don’t carry debt. Avoid credit card debt. It’s expensive money! In fact, about 30% of college graduates will enter the workforce with $10,000 to $25,000 in credit card debt and other loans.
2) Pay yourself first. Have your children open an investment account and regularly have them put away money for goals and emergencies.
3) Set up a budget and track your expenses. Help your children set up their own budget, and teach them how to track their income (from allowances, gifts, money earned) and expenses.
4) Don’t compare yourself with others. A friend may drive a fancy car and wear expensive clothing, but they actually may be deeply in debt.
5) Don’t trust anyone with your money. No one cares as much about your money as you do.
6) Invest in a Roth IRA, and/or a market index when you start earning money. To reach long-term goals investing is a must.
7) Money doesn’t buy happiness. Money can make life easier when you don’t have to struggle financially to make ends meet. But money can’t buy love or happiness.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

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.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Maintain Strong, Healthy Bones

“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, June 26, 2009

“ICE” Campaign Can Save

In Case of Emergency

A campaign encouraging people to enter an emergency contact number into their cellular phone’s address book under the heading “ICE” (In Case of Emergency) is spreading throughout the world.

Originally established in the UK, ICE allows paramedics or police to be able to contact a designated relative or next-of-kin in an emergency situation – which could be vital in a life or death situation. Almost everyone carries a cell phone, and with ICE, paramedics or emergency workers will quickly know who to contact. In many cases, the friend or relative may even know the medical history or other important information of the injured person.

Setting up your “ICE” is easy. Simply select a person to contact in case of emergency, then enter their phone number in your phone’s address book under the description “ICE.” That’s all there is to it!

Reduce Your Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s research is a hot topic, and could have a big impact on your life. There’s an estimated 4.5 million cases in the U.S. reports the Alzheimer’s Association, and that number is growing. But there’s hope!

You may reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease by taking two important vitamins, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Vitamins C and E are the focus of many research studies, which indicate they may reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers have found that antioxidants may absorb damaging free radicals in the brain and prevent cell damage.

A Johns Hopkins study found that people taking both Vitamins C and E were 64% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease four years later. The recommended daily doses for Vitamin C are 500 to 1,500 mg, and 400 to 1,000 IU of Vitamin E daily. Be sure you check with your doctor to determine which dose is best for you.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

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.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Keep Yourself Safe From Animal Borne Diseases

The pace is quickening. The headlines can be downright frightening...and every day the dangers of animal-borne diseases are growing. Does the thought of diseases like Mad Cow, SARS, West Nile Virus, and Monkeypox make you a little queasy?

There’s also Rabies, Salmonella, Tularemia (rabbit disease), Lyme Disease, and Avian Influenza (bird flu). Today, more than 50 percent of all viral and bacterial diseases threatening humans come from animals, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. What are these dreaded diseases and where do they come from? Here’s information you should know, and important tips for avoiding them:

West Nile Virus. Virus transmitted through mosquitoes.
SARS. Virus first transmitted through civets (catlike animals) in China.
Mad Cow Disease. Viral disease caused by eating contaminated tissue from cattle.
Monkeypox. Virus transmitted through animal bites from rodent pets, prairie dogs, rats, mice, and squirrels.
Rabies. Viral disease often transmitted through the bite of an infected animal.
Salmonella. Bacterial disease usually caused by drinking contaminated water, or eating contaminated eggs or chicken.
Tularemia (rabbit fever). Bacterial disease usually caused by ticks, deer flies, rabbits. Also caused by drinking or eating contaminated food or water.
Lyme Disease. Bacterial disease usually caused by deer ticks.
Avian Influenza. Virus usually transmitted by birds. Birds excrete the virus; human-to-human transmission is rare.

Are you at risk for any of these diseases? Here’s vital information that can you protect you, your friends, and your family:
1. Wash your hands frequently with warm water and soap.
2. Keep a clean environment.
3. Don’t own exotic pets or wild animals.
4. Protect yourself from ticks. When hiking, tuck your pant legs into your socks. Use insect repellent containing DEET.
5. Don’t keep reptiles if you have young children or are pregnant. They
transmit diseases, particularly salmonella.
6. Protect yourself from mosquito bites. Remove any standing water from
areas around your home. Use insect repellent containing DEET.
7. Take any sick pets to a veterinarian.

For more information on the dangers of animal related diseases, go to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s web site at www.cdc.gov/healthypets.

Monday, June 22, 2009

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.

Looking For Love?

Surfing for love is now more popular than ever. With over 50 million people surfing for love on-line, Internet dating has gone mainstream. Whether you 20, 30, 40, 50, or older, all you need is a computer and email. The most popular dating sites are: Americansingles.com, Date.com, Match.com, Persons.yahoo.com, SeniorFriendFinder.com, ThirdAgeConnections.com. Each have a monthly fee ranging anywhere from $24.95 to about $29.00.

You can visit these sites to see which one might appeal to you. There are also specialty sites geared to your age group, religion, or ethnic group.
After you’ve found a site you like you can post your profile on one of the sites. You’ll want to make your profile interesting and appealing, but don’t oversell (or undersell) yourself. Secondly, be specific about what you want. Tell a little bit about yourself (hobbies, interests, special skills). You can even post a picture of yourself.

When dating, don’t expect too much. Most people e-mail several times before meeting. Your first date should be short and always in a public place. Lastly, you may want to check out your on-line dater. Do they really work at the company they said they did? It’s best to be safe.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Management Speak

MANAGEMENT SPEAK: That’s very interesting.
MANAGEMENT SPEAK: You have to show some flexibility.
TRANSLATION: Do it or you’re FIRED
MANAGEMENT SPEAK: We have an opportunity.
TRANSLATION: You have a problem.
MANAGEMENT SPEAK: You obviously put a lot of effort into this.
TRANSLATION: This is awful.
MANAGEMENT SPEAK: In a perfect world.
TRANSLATION: Just get it working and get it out the door.
MANAGEMENT SPEAK: You need to see the big picture.
TRANSLATION: My boss thinks it’s a good idea, and you’d better agree.
MANAGEMENT SPEAK: We’re going to follow a strict methodology here.
TRANSLATION: We’re going to do it my way.
MANAGEMENT SPEAK: We have to leverage our resources.
TRANSLATION: You’re working weekends.

Wisdom to Help…

• Find a way to serve others and your life will have meaning.
• Compliment three people everyday.
• Take a brisk 30-minute walk everyday.
• Be bold and courageous.
• Never underestimate the power of a kind word or deed.
• Set short-term and long-term goals.
• Take time to smell the roses.
• Improve your performance by improving your attitude.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Inexpensive Home Repairs Add Value!!

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.

Answer the Door With Your Telephone!

Picture this: You’re in the shower and then it invariably happens....someone rings your doorbell. It’s at times like these, it would be easier to answer a conveniently located telephone, right?

Well, now you can! The Smartphone “DoorBell Fon” Door Answering System, enables you to answer the doorbell from your home telephone. When a visitor presses on a small panel that serves as your doorbell, the “Fon” rings your telephone inside with a distinctive ring. You can pick it up to talk with the visitor from the safety and comfort of your home. If you’re already on the telephone when someone rings, the call goes to your call waiting feature.

Now you can screen visitors before you open the door! For more information on the smart phone of the future, go to www.SmartPhone.com.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Soft Addictions: Are You Hooked?

Has the time you spend watching TV gotten out of hand? Do you find yourself spending hours surfing the Internet? Or, maybe you’re like many people who are addicted to shopping...even when they don’t have the money! These are “soft addictions”—activities that zap your energy, and keep you from living a purposeful and passionate life.

Soft addictions may not threaten your health or your job, like the big ones do. We all know that drugs, alcohol, and gambling can ruin lives. (Although excessive shopping can put you at financial risk.) But soft addictions can cause family and marital stresses, and leave you feeling disconnected.

How can you reconnect? First, turn off the TV, and unplug the Internet. If this sounds too painful, start by doing this for one day and build up to three days. If you are addicted to shopping, cut-up all but one credit card, and promise to use it only for emergencies. Try this for one week, you’ll be glad you did!

Drug Patches...Are They Safe?

Today, many drugs are available in drug patch form. What are drug patches? They are transdermal drug-delivery systems. And are they really safe? Yes, according to researchers at the Mayo Clinic. They have fewer side effects because they allow for lower doses and a steady dose of medication. Patches bypass the liver and intestines and directly deliver the drugs into your bloodstream, which actually reduces side effects and liver damage.

Currently, drug patches are available for testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, narcotic painkillers, anti-nausea drugs for motion sickness and chemotherapy related nausea, nitroglycerine (for angina), and nicotine (to help people quit smoking).

There are some downsides however. Some people have reported hives where the patch has been applied; other patients have experienced some allergic reaction. The good news—researchers are developing drug patches for diabetes, Parkinson’s, depression, and asthma that will one day be available for use.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Expert Cooking Tips...

Eggs: The simplest way to tell if an egg is fresh it to observe its shell. If it’s rough and chalky, it’s fresh. If it’s smooth and shiny, it’s old. You can also place an egg in cold salted water. If it sinks, it’s fresh. If it floats, it’s old.
Cottage Cheese: Keep your cottage cheese fresh longer by storing the carton upside down in the refrigerator.
Measuring Corn Syrup, Molasses, and Honey: Dip your measuring cup or spoon either in hot water or brush it with oil before pouring in the syrup. This way, you’ll get all that’s in the cup to come out.
Milk: Rinse the pan with cold water before scalding milk to prevent sticking.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Real Estate Corner…

Q. My wife and I are thinking of buying a house as a rental investment. What should we know before taking the plunge?

A. Buying right is the “secret.” Your first step is to make sure the property is in an area desirable to tenants and suited for appreciation. Next, you want to purchase the property at a price and financing that will allow you to make a profit (and positive cash flow) while renting it out. Don’t forget to include any fix-up expenditures for getting the home in rental shape. You’ll need to create a budget of your expected rental revenue and all costs associated with owning the home – and be sure to allow for contingencies such as vacancies, unexpected repairs and maintenance, and tax and insurance increases.

Seek out the assistance of a competent real estate attorney to create a rock-solid lease document that protects you from problem tenants. You can use the document for future leases and tenants.

Determine whether you’re going to manage the property yourself, or pay a management company – and don’t forget to include management fees into your budget estimates. If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home and need competent and caring representation, please call me at 206-226-0565.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Skin Cancer Alert

Melanoma can be a deadly form of skin cancer, but it can be successfully treated if caught early. The key is to check the moles on your skin regularly. Make sure you have someone else regularly check your back and the backside of your legs. Here’s what you should look for:
• An asymmetric shape, where one half of the mole does not match the other.
• An irregular border where edges are ragged, notched, or blurred.
• The presence of a number of different colors, including shades of tan, brown and black, red and gray-blue.
• A large mole or one that increases in size is of special concern.
If you have a mole that has any of the above characteristics, see your doctor as soon as possible to have the mole evaluated. Don’t wait to make an appointment...it could save your life!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

How To Boost Your Charisma

In Just 5 Easy Steps…

Can we develop charisma? Yes, you can, says, D.A. Benton, author of Executive Charisma. Here are five skills you can practice to improve your charisma quotient.
1. Be confident. When introducing yourself say your name and then tell something about yourself. This helps to draw a question from the other person, and can lead the person into a conversation with you.
2. Walk with purpose. Pause before entering a room and project confidence as you walk into the room.
3. Use the double hand shake. When you shake someone’s hand, use the two-handed grasp. While shaking with right hand, your left hand grasps the person’s arm at or below the elbow.
4. Focus on your goal. Charismatic people know what they want and are passionate about it. Focus on what you want and how to get there.
5. Be a good listener. Listen when other people talk. Value their opinions and make eye contact.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Reduce Insurance Costs...

Would you like to learn how you can trim your insurance bills up to 20-30 percent? Here are five simple ways you can save on insurance:

1. Shop for the best price. This is the most obvious way to reduce rates. Contact various insurance providers in your area for bids.
2. Buy your home and auto coverage from the same company. Many insurance companies offer a discount when you sign up for both.
3. Increase your deductible. You can save up to 30% on your homeowner’s policy by raising your deductible from $250 to $1,000.
4. Install a security or fire alarm. You can save up to 20% when you have an alarm that notifies an outside company in case of theft or fire.
5. Take health and age discounts. If you’re a nonsmoker or if you’re over 55, you can receive discounts from many insurance carriers.

For more information, the National Association of Insurance Carriers (www.naic.org) has an outstanding website for consumers.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Here’s Important Financial Information

We can all use a little extra financial help. Here are four websites to help improve your money making decisions:
• Quicken Financial Network (www.qfn.com) This site is from the folks who produce Quicken and QuickBooks software. You’ll find investment information, budgeting calculations, and helpful tax tips.
• The Dollar Stretcher (http://www.stretcher.com) This site can be used for the entire family. You’ll find information on personal finances, college finance guidelines, mortgage financing, credit tips, taxes, and money and kids.
• Kiplinger (http://www.kiplinger.com) This is a versatile site providing information for retirement planning, safe investing, personal financial advice, and business forecasts.
• MetLife Online (http://www.metlife.com) Here’s a handy site to investigate how major purchases, health expenditures, or a new job will impact your financial situation.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

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.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Great Comedian!

Here’s a tribute to a man who gave us the gift of laughter...BOB HOPE.
• ON TURNING 70 “You still chase women, but only downhill.”
• ON TURNING 80 “That’s the time of your life when even your birthday suit needs pressing.”
• ON TURNING 90 “You know you're getting old when the candles cost more than the cake.”
• ON TURNING 100 “I don't feel old. In fact I don’t feel anything until noon. Then it’s time for my nap.”
• ON SAILORS “They spend the first six days of each week sowing their wild oats, then they go to church on Sunday and pray for crop failure.”
• ON NEVER WINNING AN OSCAR “Welcome to the Academy Awards or, as it’s called at my home, ‘Passover’.”
• ON WHY HE CHOSE SHOWBIZ FOR HIS CAREER When I was born, the doctor said to my mother, “Congratulations. You have an eight-pound ham.”

Interest Rates Affect You

Interest rates can have a huge impact on your finances, especially if you carry a lot of debt. Here’s some important information that can help you manage your money more successfully:
1. Credit cards. When the Federal Reserve raises rates, expect to pay more. It’s best to pay off your credit card debt, or switch to a card with a lower interest rate, Go to www.cardweb.com for credit card rates.
2. Home-equity line of credit. You can use your home-equity line of credit if you can pay off the amount you borrow within three years. If you’re unable to pay off the amount in three years, obtain a home-equity loan with a fixed rate. Go to www.bankrate.com for bank rates.
3. Mortgages. If you have an adjustable-rate mortgage you may pay more as rates go up. Financials advisors recommend an adjustable-rate loan with a five or seven-year fixed period.

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!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Top Dollar Sale?

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!

Neckties 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!