Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Try to get 30 Minutes of Moderate Exercise

Don’t Read This Sitting Down

Do you sit at a desk all day and become a couch potato on the weekends? Recent studies have shown that those who sit most of the day have an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, heart problems and other diseases. That’s because the enzymes that burn fat shut down, slowing your metabolism and possibly lowering your beneficial cholesterol.

Even if you do exercise regularly, you need to move your muscles frequently (called non-exercise activity) throughout the day. Follow these tips:

Try to get 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day. When you’re not exercising, don’t remain sedentary for long. Get up and move, whether that means walking to someone’s office (instead of sending an e-mail) or going to the copy machine. Even standing burns calories since you tense your leg muscles and shift your weight from one leg to the other.

Turn off the TV. You’ll burn more calories doing almost anything else, such as playing games with the kids, cleaning the house or walking the dog.

When you do watch TV, change your seating. Watch it in a rocking chair (yes, it burns energy!), sitting on a therapy ball or riding an exercise bike. Move around during commercials, which can take up 20 minutes each hour

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Five Spices To Boost Your Brain

By “spicing up” your life, you can be helping your brain. Recent studies have shown that spicy food can preserve brain function and help prevent disease. Add these five tasty spices to your diet to reap the benefits:

Turmeric. Called the “ultimate health spice,” turmeric contains curcumin and is an ingredient in curry. Studies have shown that it may help prevent Alzheimer’s and lessen the pain of rheumatoid arthritis. Sprinkle it on your broccoli or mix a spoonful in a warm glass of water and drink it down.

Ginger. This spice may make you smarter if combined with ginkgo biloba. It also may help treat Parkinson’s disease and migraine headaches. Try drinking it as a hot tea.

Garlic. You already love this one, but did you know it increases blood flow to the brain? In a 2007 study, garlic helped fight brain cancer cells.

Saffron. A saffron extract has been found to be effective in treating people with depression.

Cinnamon. Eating it helps with blood sugar control, but just smelling it boosts brain activity. It also speeds the way your brain processes visual cues. Chew some cinnamon gum before your next bike ride.

Monday, September 27, 2010

On-Line Banking Dangers

If you bank online, or are looking for an online bank, don’t get caught up in these sneaky traps…
• Some banks offer no-fee checking to attract customers, then start charging fees within a year…
• Online banking may not be secure. If you don’t have a firewall on your PC, a hacker could obtain your account information…
• When online banks merge, depositors may lose access to funds for a week or more…
• Some online banks charge odd fees. For example, a fee if you sign-up for online bill payment, but never use it.
Scammers also create web sites with web addresses similar to those of legitimate banks, then collect personal data from unassuming clients who access the scammer web site by mistake.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Free Advice…From a Lawyer?

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, September 23, 2010

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, September 22, 2010

How To Save A Bundle On Homeowners Insurance!

Mounting claims from natural disasters have caused a colossal jump in the cost of homeowners insurance. With wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and mold taking a toll on property, homeowners’ insurance claims skyrocketed resulting in significant price hikes for consumers.

Over 51 million households saw price increases between 2001 and 2003, according to a study by the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers Association of America. Here’s some important advice to help you reduce the cost of your homeowners insurance:

1. Raise Your Deductible. You can significantly reduce the cost of your homeowners insurance by raising your deductible to at least $1,000.
2. Keep Your Home In Good Condition. Make sure that your roof is in good shape. Fix any minor leaks or problems. Make sure the heating, plumbing and electrical systems are in good condition. Also, make sure to repair any drainage problems around your home.
3. Keep Your Credit Score High. Insurance companies use credit insurance scoring to determine who to insure and for how much. Your score depends on your credit report score and your claims history. To improve your credit score pay down your debt, close credit cards, and correct any credit report errors.
4. Avoid Filing Unnecessary Claims. Filing several small claims can result in rate increases and in some cases even being dropped by your insurance carrier.
5. Comparison Shop. Look for an insurer that has a good claims record. Every few years compare your policy with other reputable insurers. You may find a better value. Always buy a policy that pays the true replacement value for any loss.
6. Keep Your Policy Up-To-Date. Review your coverage each year. Make changes to the policy, if, for example, you increased the value of home (remodeling or building an addition). Conversely, reduce coverage for items that may have depreciated.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Nicely Landscaped Homes Sell for MORE

Q. How important is landscaping in buying or selling a house?

A. Good landscaping can increase your home’s resale value by 14 percent, according to the Associated Landscape Contractors of America. Better curb appeal may speed up the sale by as much as six weeks.

Professionals recommend that you invest 10 percent of your home’s value in landscaping. More than just plantings, this includes structural features such as lighting, outdoor rooms, fences and pools. Here are some helpful tips:

• Determine what you need. Are you landscaping to sell your home or to enjoy the property yourself for the longer term.

• Get professional guidance. Depending on the scope of your project and budget, consider hiring an arborist, a landscape designer or a certified landscape architect. Ask friends for recommendations or search web sites such as the one for The American Society of Landscape Architects.

• Develop a plan. Set your priorities ─ what needs to be done (have you solved that drainage problem?) versus what you’d like to do (put in an outdoor entertainment area). If you take a piecemeal approach, the result will look disorganized and cost you more money in the long run.

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

Monday, September 20, 2010

Don’t Get Caught In These Risky Investor Traps

You’re anxious to rebuild your nest egg but want to make sure you invest wisely. Here are some of the top products and practices you should avoid, according to the North American Securities Administrators Association:

Foreign Exchange Trading Schemes. Beware of salesmen who claim to have algorithms or propriety software programs that allow them to beat the market. State regulators have found situations where there are no trades; the money is simply stolen.

“Green” schemes. New energy-efficient technologies are popular, but be wary of those exploiting headlines related to the Gulf oil spill clean-up and “clean” innovations, such as wind energies or carbon credits.

Oil & Gas schemes. These investments tend to be unsuitable for smaller investors who can’t afford the risk. While ventures can be legitimate, some promoters structure their “general partnerships” to avoid securities regulation.

Affinity fraud. Scam artists like to prey on groups, such as church members and professional groups. Seek further information from an unbiased, independent source.

Undisclosed conflicts of interest. Demand that anyone giving advice or recommendations disclose how they are compensated.

Private or special deals. Although properly used by many legitimate issuers, private offerings have become an attractive option for con artists who steal money by promoting special deals.

“Off the Books” deals. Be cautious if your broker offers an investment on the side instead of one sold through his or her employer.

Unsolicited online pitches. Fraudulent investment scammers are now using social media (Facebook, Twitter, Craigslist, YouTube) to solicit unsuspecting investors. Approach any unsolicited investment opportunity with suspicion.

How do you avoid getting taken? Do your homework, be skeptical and only do business with licensed brokers and advisers. Check out any adviser before you invest at a site such as Report any suspicion of fraud to your state or provincial securities regulator.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Some Good College Advice…

If you just sent your son or daughter off to college, chances are you gave him or her plenty of advice. Here are three points you may have missed, thanks to Trent Hamm of

Don’t worry too much about picking a major early on. You don’t have to know what you want to do right now. Try things you’ve never done before. This is the time to see what does or does not interest you.

The biggest value you’ll get from college is your relationships with other people. Build relationships with students, professors, staff members, anyone you respect, admire and enjoy being with. They may help you with your career path and end up being your friends for life.

The biggest value you’ll get from your classes is transferable skills. You’ll learn to process information, manage your time and communicate (writing, speaking, presenting) with a variety of people. You’ll get as much value out of learning how to learn a particular subject (say, Western Philosophy) than you may get out of the specific subject itself. These are skills you’ll use no matter what career you pursue.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Should You Get A Flu Shot?

Despite all the publicity and serious worldwide concern about the H1N1 flu virus last year, many U.S. adults chose not to get vaccinated. As flu seasons approaches, here are some points to consider:

• The U.S. Centers For Disease Control reiterates that the flu is a contagious disease that can be life-threatening. They estimated that 60 million Americans contracted the H1N1 virus by March 2010. Some 270,000 were hospitalized and more than 12,000 died.

• The 2010-2011 vaccine will protect against 2009 H1N1 and two other flu viruses (an H3N2 virus and an influenza B). People who got the 2009 H1N1 vaccine (or had that flu) should still get the 2010-2011 vaccine.

• The CDC recommends that all people six months and older be vaccinated each year. Adults only need one shot while some children will need two. A new, higher-dosage vaccine will be available for people 65 and older. Most flu occurs from November through May. You should get the vaccine as soon as it is available in your area.

For flu prevention tips, see

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Need Pain Relief? Try This…

If you’re looking to relieve pain – try meditation. People all over the world have recognized the benefits of meditation for thousands of years.
And recent studies show even brief training in meditation can help ease pain.

University of North Carolina at Charlotte researchers found that
students who received a single hour of mindfulness training over three days significantly reduced their awareness and sensitivity to pain. Other studies show that meditation is particularly helpful to people who suffer from chronic back pain, fibromyalgia and migraines. Here’s how you can get started:

 Understand that most types of meditation have four elements in common: 1) a quiet location, 2) a specific and comfortable posture,
3) a focus of attention, and 4) an open attitude.

 Try this 3-minute exercise called A.C.E. recommended by Psychologist Elisha Goldstein, PhD. Do it several times a day:
• Awareness. Spend 60 seconds becoming aware of what is happening right now in your thoughts and emotions.
• Collecting. Spend another 60 seconds collecting your attention on your breathing. Notice where you are breathing most prominently ─ your nose, chest or belly.
• Expanding. Spend another 60 seconds expanding your awareness into your physical body and noticing sensations like tingling, warmth, pain and coolness at specific sites.

 Practice. Dr. Robert Bonakdar from the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine says the idea is to relax your body and become aware of your pain without judging it or fixating on it. Instead of running away from pain, come to terms with it. The reduced tension helps ease pain.

 Educate yourself. You can buy books and tapes on all kinds of meditation techniques (mindfulness meditation, mantra meditation, relaxation response, guided imagery etc.) or seek out information on the internet. Try different techniques to see which one best suits you. If you have chronic pain, you might consider taking formal training.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Be a Smart Online Shopper

How to Protect Your Privacy

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 (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.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What Food Manufacturers Don’t Want You To Know

If a product is advertised as “natural” and “organic,” it’s good for you, right? That’s not necessarily the case. While the U.S. Food & Drug Administration has taken some enforcement actions against companies, food labels still need improving. Don’t be fooled: Here’s what to look for to select the healthiest products for your family.

• “Zero trans fat.” That may be true but it could mean the product is high in saturated fat. Be sure to read the Nutrition Facts label for the full story.

• “Low calorie” or “Reduced fat.” Compared to what? Chances are the company has a previous, higher calorie version of the product.

• “Made with real fruit.” That may be in the form of a concentrate and the primary ingredient may be sugar. You’re better off eating an apple.

• “Natural.” This word isn’t regulated. To be sure a product is natural, buy from a local farmer or buy food that is certified organic by the USDA.

• Ingredient label tricks. Since ingredients are listed in order of their proportion in the product, the first three are what you’re primarily eating.
A manufacturer may use various sugars (sucrose, high-fructose corn
syrup, dextrose etc.) in the product so the word “sugar” isn’t listed first.

• Combining healthy ingredients. The actual amount of the healthy ingredients may put them at the end of the list. By combining them into a “blend” or “mix” they can make it to the top.

• “Yeast extract.” It’s a labeling trick to hide monosodium glutamate (MSG), which can cause side effects for people sensitive to this additive.

• Using the word “wheat.” All flour derived from wheat can be called “wheat flour,” even if it’s processed. The key is to look for “whole grain wheat flour” on the ingredient list to make sure you’re eating whole wheat.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Overpriced Homes May Sit for Months, Even Years

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.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Five EASY Memory Boosters!

Have you misplaced your keys again? If you’re like most people, it’s an occasional annoyance. But if it’s happening more frequently than you’d like to admit, maybe it’s time for some memory boosters to help strengthen your mind. Here are five easy tips to improve your memory power:

1. Keep Items Where You’ll Need Them. Keep your keys by the front door;
eye glasses in the same place everyday, and wallet/purse in the same location.
2. Keep A Notebook With A Calendar. Keep names, phone numbers, important
dates, medical information, to do lists, and a notepad. Carry it with you (or
carry a small notepad), so you can jot down information as needed.
3. Minimize Distractions. Focus on one thing at a time. Turn off the TV or radio
when you need to focus your attention on a task.
4. Exercise Your Mind. Read, do crossword puzzles, play cards, chess, or a
musical instrument to keep your mind active. Watch television shows like
Jeopardy or Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.
5. Take Care Of Your Body. Go for a walk, swim, or bicycle. It’ll clear your
mind. And remember to eat a balanced diet and get enough rest!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Be Prepared for Your Next Trip

How To Be Safe, Not Sorry
On Your Next Trip

Everyone loves to travel, but there are some precautions you should take just to be on the safe side. Use these travel security tips to help make your next international trip stress-free:

• Be prepared in case your passport is lost or stolen. If your passport is lost, you must immediately notify the embassy or the State Department and report details of the incident. Take copies of the passport, birth certificate and marriage certificate for each person on your trip. You’d need these documents to authenticate yourself to authorities.

• Leave your itinerary and the numbers or copies of your passport with a friend or relative. You also can register your travel for free with the State Department so you may be contacted in case of a family emergency or because of a crisis in the area in which you are traveling. Go to for more details.

• Don’t take your eyes off your laptop. Hundreds of thousands are stolen each year and 97 percent are never recovered. To protect yourself, remove any sensitive information from the laptop before you go and encrypt the data that’s on it. Take a security cable to attach it to a piece of furniture if you leave it in your hotel room. Better yet, you can actually buy tracking software that allows you to record a message (“Get your hands off me, I’ve been stolen!”) that will play when the thief turns it on.

• Purge your wallet or purse of extra credit cards, receipts and any reference to your social security number. Leave your checkbook and debit cards at home.

• Keep a grip on your valuables (especially in crowds). To thwart pickpockets, use security travel purses, bags, belts and money clips. If you’re a man, keep your wallet under your clothes or in your tightest pocket. If you’re using a fanny pack, secure the zipper by using a safety pin or a paperclip fastened to a rubber band around the belt strap.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Earnest Money is Negotiable When Purchasing

Q. I am saving money to buy a home, but I’m not totally clear on what the term “earnest money” means. What is earnest money?

A. First, let me commend you on saving money for a home. Buying a house is probably the most important purchase you’ll make in your lifetime – and having cash available gives you more options with your purchase.

Earnest money is an important factor when you’re making an offer on a house. When you make an offer to purchase a house, the “earnest money” is the deposit that shows the buyer you are serious about the purchase. The money opens the escrow and can be applied to the buyers’ down payment or closing costs.

The earnest money amount is negotiable. It typically varies depending on the price of the house and strength of the market. Generally, it’s recommended that your earnest money deposit be about two percent of your offered price. And although earnest money is not required by law in most states, it’s standard practice in real estate transactions.

When the seller accepts your offer and earnest money, the property is taken off the market. In a hot real estate market, a large deposit may impress a seller enough so they will accept your offer instead of someone else’s. However, buyer beware…it can also put you at significant financial risk if for some reason the transaction runs into trouble not covered by a contingency in your purchase agreement.

The Standard Offer And Purchase Contract stipulates under what conditions your earnest money will be returned if the contract fails. If you are in the market for a home and need competent and caring representation, please call me at 206-226-0565.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Every Step Counts

Walk Your Way To Weight Loss!

Would you like to get more exercise, but just can’t find the time? The America on the Move (AOM) program at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center says there’s an easy way to get moving. You can lose weight, and increase your energy by wearing a pedometer. A pedometer helps you monitor how much exercise you’re getting each day. More exercise adds up to weight loss and an increase in your energy.

Just by adding about 2,000 steps a day to your daily activities and eating 100 calories less, (about what’s in a slice of bread), you’ll begin to see results. Every step counts and you can see them adding up. You’ll be more likely to park farther away from work or the store in the parking lot. You could take a short walk after dinner in the evening.

And it’s trips to the gym, no exercise equipment to buy, and you can monitor how much exercise you’re getting during the day.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Top 10 Recruiter Pet Peeves About Resumes

Finding a new job may be the first step to getting ahead and making more money. One of the biggest roadblocks to your success may be your resume. A resume is a tool to let a potential employer know why you’re the right person for the job. When you’re looking for a job, how you present yourself to a potential employer is critical.

Human resources recruiters receive thousands of resumes a year. Typically, they look for a reason to eliminate resumes up front. Here are 10 of the biggest mistakes people make on their resumes:
1. Typo’s, spelling errors, and poor grammar.
2. Missing information (contact information, dates, or inaccurate dates).
3. Lengthy resumes. (Limit to two pages.)
4. Unprofessional email addresses.
5. Poorly formatted. (Use a simple, clean design.)
6. Functional resumes as opposed to chronological resumes.
7. Long, wordy paragraphs. (Use bullet-points.)
8. Unqualified candidates. (Make sure you meet the qualifications.)
9. Personal info unrelated to the job.
10. Use of false or misleading information. Lying about education, dates of employment, or experience.)
For valuable information about job seeking tips and resumes, go to

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Time to Cash in Your Extra Gold

Cashing In On The Gold Rush

If you haven’t already taken advantage of the high price of gold, follow these tips to get the most money for your items.

• Learn the lingo and shop around. Pure gold is measured by the troy ounce (just over 31 grams). Dealers often quote price per pennyweight (20 pennyweights equal a troy ounce), which sounds like they are paying more. Visit at least three legitimate gold buyers who are members of the Better Business Bureau, and don’t accept the first offer.

• Stay clear of mail-in companies, which pay significantly less. If you use one, select one that offers free insured shipping you can track online. Remove jewels and photograph the item before you send it in.

• If the piece is an antique or has fine craftsmanship, have it appraised and sell it as jewelry.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Watch Those Vitamin E Supplements

Here’s Important News
About Vitamin E!

Check with your doctor before taking Vitamin E supplements! A recent study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University concluded that high doses of Vitamin E may increase the risk of dying from heart disease.

Once thought to decrease heart disease and protect against cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, thousands of people have been adding Vitamin E supplements to their daily regime. What should you know? The average person needs a minimum of 10 IU of Vitamin E daily, which you can obtain from foods like nuts, whole grains, spinach, or other green leafy vegetables.

What should you do? Check with your physician first before taking Vitamin E supplements. Warning: Never take more than 150 IU daily of Vitamin E.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Five Auto Maintenance Myths

Hit the brakes! You may be spending unnecessarily on car maintenance. Here’s how you can save money: For starters...make sure you read your owner’s manual! Most newer cars require a lot less maintenance than your family’s first car. Here are 6 more tips…
1. Oil Change. Some newer cars call for oil changes every 10,000 miles; the industry recommends every 7,500 miles. If you follow the factory schedule, your car will be in good shape well past the warranty period.
2. Lubricating The Chassis. Cars built in the past 10 years don’t require lubrication. Adding grease may end up costing you $$$.
3. Standard Tune-up. New cars have computer-controlled engines making the standard tune-up unnecessary. (No points and rotors...and some don’t have the standard distributor caps).
4. Flushing The Automatic Transmission System. Check your owner’s manual, but most manufacturers say it’s not needed until 60,000 miles.
5. Draining The Radiator. Most cars have closed systems and no longer need the radiator flushed twice a year. A new car’s coolant can last up to two years before it needs changing.
6. Changing Filters. Filters need replacing, but not at every oil change. Check your owner’s manual for recommended replacement intervals
For more information, or to find a mechanic in your area, check the Car Talk section of

Friday, September 3, 2010

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!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Do you think texting is just for kids

Why You Should Learn To Text

Do you think texting is just for kids? It’s more important than you think. Here’s why you should learn how to send and receive text messages (just don’t do it while you’re driving!).

It improves your chances of communicating when it counts. During an emergency, such as a natural disaster, voice networks can get congested and calls may not go through. Texts, which use less bandwidth, have a higher likelihood of being transmitted. Plus, if you’re texting, you are freeing up the voice lines for emergency officials to use.

You may soon be able to receive Presidential alerts on national emergencies, imminent threat alerts on things such as hurricanes or tornadoes, and child abduction alerts. The government is developing a nationwide system to allow participating wireless service providers to send these texts to their subscribers. A number of colleges and universities already have systems.

Your kids are used to communicating this way. You should know how to speak their language on a basic level. If you don’t know how, look online or ask them for a lesson.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Use the “New American Plate” guide

How To Prevent
Portion Distortion

Your mother’s old adage “finish your plate” isn’t the best advice anymore. Whether you eat out (restaurant portions are up 40 percent over the last 30 years) or eat in at home, portion sizes have grown out of proportion, causing many of us to consume extra calories and add unhealthy pounds. Here’s how to prevent portion distortion and help control your weight.

Know your terms. A portion is the amount of food you choose to eat for a meal. Big or small – the choice is up to you. A serving is a measured amount of food or drink, such as one slice of bread or 8 ounces of milk.

Read the Nutrition Facts Label. The Food and Drug Administration puts it there to tell you how many calories and how much fat, carbohydrate, sodium and other nutrients are in one serving of the product. You may think the 3-ounce bag of chips is one portion, but the label says it contains 3 servings.

Gradually reduce your portions. Try relating one serving size to everyday objects such as these offered by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute:
1 cup of cereal = a fist
2 tsp of peanut butter = a ping-pong ball
1/2 cup of ice cream = 1/2 baseball
1 medium fruit = 1 baseball
3 ounces of meat, fish or poultry = 1 deck of cards

Use the “New American Plate” guide. The American Institute for Cancer Research says to look at your plate and aim for meals made of 2/3 (or more) of vegetables, fruits, whole grains or beans, and 1/3 (or less) animal protein.

Repackage products. Buying large-size bags or boxes may save you money, but divide the items into single serving packages when you get home.

Don’t “supersize” at fast-food restaurants. It may sound like a good value but you know you’re eating more than you should. If you go for the larger-sized meal at any restaurant, be sure to share it with a friend or take half of it home for another meal.