Monday, January 31, 2011

Gas Prices Reach Record High for January- How to Save at the Pump

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.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Time to Recharge Your New Years Resolutions!!

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 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.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

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.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Make Yourself Indispensable at Work

Did you know that how you dress, speak, work, and act might be sending a message to your boss saying, “When it’s time to cut someone, choose me?”
You can make yourself indispensable by avoiding these mistakes, says Ronna Lichtenberg, author of It’s Not Business, It’s Personal: The 9 Relationship Principles That Power Your Career. Here are five tips that can make you indispensable at work:
1. Pitch in when others ask for help. You’ll make friends and allies at work.
2. Strive for excellence not perfection. Be willing to take on a new task. Also, if you make a mistake, admit it and find a solution.
3. Keep an eye on your appearance. Your boss may think your appearance is a reflection of your work.
4. Network with people at your level or people who are in a position to promote you.
5. Take things in stride. Your ideas may be passed over sometimes, but don’t take it personally.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Learn How To Organize And Get Things Done

Do you feel like you’re always working to keep up, but don’t really get anything done, especially around the new year? In his best-selling book Getting Things Done, David Allen gives you an effective time management system to help you organize your stuff, your work activities and your personal life.

Allen’s key idea is to start with a “mind sweep” ─ get everything out of your head and down on paper (or other written form). Once your mind is cleared, your productivity goes up and you can focus on creative action. His five basic stages of mastering your personal or professional “workflow” are:

1) Collect. Capture anything and everything that is on your mind.
2) Process. Decide what each thing means. Is it something you should do? Do it now or later? Can you delegate it (and track on a “Waiting For” list)?
3) Organize. Place the items in categories, such as Projects, Calendar, Next Actions and Waiting For, and sub-categories of your choice. (To help you visualize this, he includes a diagram for navigating through the processing and organizing phases of your workflow.)
4) Review. Go over Calendar and Action lists daily and do a weekly customized review to get clean and current.
5) Do. Make choices about your actions based on what you can do, how much time and energy you have and your priorities.

Another one of his most popular methods is the “two minute rule.” If any task can be completed in less than two minutes (for example, a quick email response), do it immediately. Stop putting those little things off.

Allen says Getting Things Done is “just advanced common sense.” But once you learn how to get everything under control, real change begins.

Millions of people around the world have found that his methods work. To order the book, search for “Getting Things Done” at

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Are You Talking To Your Kids About The News?

We’re all exposed to a barrage of news from the media and internet 24/7. While access to information is good, many of the stories and images -- from school violence to natural disasters like the earthquake in Haiti -- may be disturbing to kids. Here are tips to help allay their fears and put the news in perspective:

 Be aware of what they’re watching and monitor age appropriateness. Kids between the ages of 6 and 10 are most vulnerable to the news.

 Watch the news together. Discuss current events and listen to what your child has to say about them.

 Be sensitive to how you respond to a news event. Kids are always listening, even if they’re in the other room.

 Talk about how you can help, particularly in the case of natural disasters.

For information and guidance, go to

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Improve Your Vision With Berries!

The Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University has discovered that the humble blueberry and its European cousin, the bilberry are a uniquely rich source of the powerful antioxidant, anthocyanin. Anthocyanin gives grapes, blackberries, and blueberries their deep blue-violet coloring.

Bilberry extract has been used in Europe and Japan as a natural vision-enhancer for years. Beta-carotene combined with 400 mgs. of bilberry have been shown to significantly improve the ability to see in dim light, especially at night. Bilberry extract appears to strengthen the tiny blood vessels behind the eye and prevent macular degeneration.

There is strong research-backed evidence that anthocyanin may protect the brain cells from the wear and tear of extended life. They shield the neurotransmitters from age-related changes in the brain. The antioxidants in blueberries could help preserve our memory, as we get older. The Nutrition Research Center suggests eating fresh blueberries for the maximum benefit, or substitute a good bilberry extract from the health food store.

Monday, January 24, 2011

More "Green" Homes to be Built in 2011

Q. I’m planning to buy a “green” home. What do I need to look for?

A. Here are some of the features you should look for, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB):

Energy-efficient. Look for appliances, windows and water heating systems with ENERGY STAR® ratings and efficient lighting fixtures and bulbs. Renewable energy sources further decrease energy consumption in the home.

Water-efficient. Look for programmed, low-volume irrigation systems, rainwater collection systems, wastewater treatment systems and hot water recirculation systems.

Resource-efficient. The home should use strategies to reduce heat gain in the summer and heat loss in the winter. It should contain renewable materials and recycled-content materials in carpets, tiles and concrete formulations.

Indoor Air Quality. The heating, air conditioning and ventilation system must be appropriately sized. Look for low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints and finishes.

To ensure the home is “green,” look for the Green Certified mark issued by the NAHB Research Center.

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

Sunday, January 23, 2011

How To Protect Yourself And Others On The Road

Could you pass a written driver’s test – today? The results of an online GMAC Insurance survey showed that nearly 1 in 5 licensed drivers – 38 million Americans – probably wouldn’t! Here’s what you should do to brush up on the Rules of the Road and make yourself safer.

 Take the National Drivers Test. Go to Answer the 20 questions from state exams and study up on the ones you missed. You also can download it to Facebook and challenge your friends.

 Review Local Traffic Laws. Many states post them on a .gov website.

 Avoid these top driving mistakes that cause crashes:
• Multi-tasking while driving. Say “no” to: texting, phone calls and eating!
• Following too closely. Leave 2 seconds between you and the car ahead.
• Failure to yield on a left turn. Check for cars or people in your path.
• Incorrect merging. Merge carefully but don’t stop.
• Backing up. Don’t rely on the mirrors. Look over your shoulder.

 Consider a refresher course. AARP offers an online Driver Safety Course geared to drivers 50 and older. Plus, taking it may qualify you for a car insurance discount.

 Keep your brain sharp by subscribing to a computer driving program. CogniFit sells a Senior Driver program that starts with an assessment of 10 cognitive abilities essential for safe driving, including visual scanning and response time. It’s probably good for everyone!

Get help from your car. The next time you’re car shopping, look for a model that offers new “smart” technologies such as Distance Control Assist (which applies the brakes when you’re following another car too closely); Blind-Spot Detection (which alerts you about vehicles in your blind spots); and Night Vision Systems (which give you a vision of the road ahead with a infrared beam

Friday, January 21, 2011

Newest Remodeling Trends

Q. What are some remodeling trends for 2011?

A. According to a poll of builders and developers for CBS Moneywatch by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, the overall trend is to take on small projects while you wait to do the really big ones. Here are some specific trends to watch for if you’re remodeling or selling soon:

• Updating bathrooms. It’s cheaper than doing a kitchen but you need to keep a close eye on your budget.
• Warming up the house with earth tones and metallic features, such as aged bronze or distressed hardware.
• Opening up rooms. More people are taking down interior walls and opening up spaces in older homes.
• Going green. The focus is on energy-efficient upgrades.
• Paying in cash. Instead of taking out a loan, people are picking and choosing what they can do with the cash they have.
• Hiring good contractors. Asking questions and being more diligent about choosing quality contractors is on the rise.
• Spending time outside. The trend is to fix up outdoor spaces with a deck and landscaping.

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

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Avoid Those Germs On A Plane

Germs thrive in public places, particularly your next airplane flight, where you share your space and mostly recirculated air with your fellow passengers. While the airlines do their best to keep things clean and the air is filtered, use these tips to avoid coming down with something you didn’t go up with.

Stay hydrated, but take your own water. Low-humidity cabin air dries out your sinuses so drink fluids (preferably non-alcoholic). While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is taking a more active role in monitoring aircraft drinking water, plane tank water may be filled from local sources and repeated storage can cause bacterial growth. Best advice: buy a bottle of water after you go through security to take onboard.

Carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes. Wipe all surfaces, especially if you’re traveling with kids.

Don’t dig around in the seat pocket. You don’t know – and you don’t want to know – what’s been in there (everything from used Kleenex to leftover sandwiches). Keep your reading materials and snacks in a handy carry-on bag.

Use caution in the lavatory. Washing your hands with soap and water is great, but the lavatory surfaces are probably contaminated. The whoosh of the flush sprays water and potential germs. Remember to use a paper towel on the door handle when you leave.

Touch your face as little as possible. Many people have had their hands on the seat belt, the tray table, the arm rests and the overhead rack. After you touch them, don’t pick up those germs by immediately rubbing your nose and mouth. It’s also smart to BYOP (bring your own pillow) and blanket.

Don’t spread your own germs. If you have a cold yourself, try to change your travel plans or at least try to contain your own coughing and sneezing!

Build up your immune system. Eat right and get plenty of sleep to naturally fight any nasty germs you might encounter. Some frequent flyers have good luck taking a vitamins and supplements to boost their immunity.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Who’s Checking Your Credit?

Here’s another reason you should order a copy of your credit report every year. Because lots of other people are looking at it! The Fair Credit Reporting Act says a company must have a legitimate reason to do so. Here are some of the people who might:

 Lenders. A good credit score helps you qualify for the best rates on mortgages, car loans, credit cards, etc.
 Insurers. Many home and auto insurers use your score to help determine your rates.
 Landlords. They view your credit as a measure of your responsibility to pay bills on time.
 Potential employers. With your consent, they can look at your score but they don’t get to see as many details as lenders.
 Government agencies. They can only look at limited information.

When a business checks your credit report because you made an application for a credit card, loan or other service, a “Hard” inquiry gets recorded on your credit report. These inquiries impact your credit score. “Soft” inquiries (made by you or a business you already have an account with) do not affect your score.

You are entitled to order a free credit report from each of the three U.S. national credit bureaus every year. Make sure you go to the only source authorized by law at

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Is Microphilanthropy For You?

Charitable giving comes in many forms, but the latest trend is toward microphilanthropy, which involves direct interaction between individual donors and projects. This giving is popular because donors can give small amounts that make a big difference and choose where their money goes.

Some examples include, which funds specific project requests from teachers in U.S. public schools;, a marketplace that connects donors to 1,000 pre-screened grassroots charity projects around the world;, which assists families who are unable to pay their monthly bills; and, which is peer-to-peer micro-lending to the applicant of the donor’s choice.

You can check out these organizations, get tips on setting your philanthropic goals for 2011 and research more than 5,500 other charities by visiting, an independent charity evaluator.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Improve Your Posture Now To Prevent Pain Later

There’s something you can do right now to look better and prevent years of backaches, headaches and other painful symptoms as you get older: Pay attention to your posture. To combat years of poor habits, including slouching in front of computers and TVs, here’s what you should do:

• Learn about correct posture. Your Mom was right, but there’s more to it than just standing up straight. It means maintaining your spine’s natural curves. You have to train your body to stand, walk, sit and lie in positions where the least strain in placed on supporting muscles and ligaments.

• Take the wall test. Stand with your head, shoulder blades and buttocks touching a wall with your heels 2-4 inches away from it. Slide your hand behind the curve in your lower back. You'll feel about one hand's thickness of space between your back and the wall. If there's too much space, tighten your abdominal muscles. If there's too little space, arch your back. Walk away from the wall and maintain this posture.

• Keep your body in alignment when sitting. Rest both feet flat on the floor while keeping your knees level with your hips. Sit with your back against the chair, using a cushion if you need support. Stretch your head toward the ceiling and tuck your chin in slightly. Keep your upper back and neck straight and shoulders relaxed (not rounded or pulled backward).

• Exercise to strengthen your core. Start with easy stretches and exercises (check out Work up to taking classes in Pilates, yoga and strength training. If you already have back or other physical problems, talk to your doctor before you start a program, and work with a physical therapist or personal trainer.

• Keep your bones strong. Maintain a healthy diet rich in calcium and vitamin D. To prevent osteoporosis (thinning of the bones), do weight bearing exercises such as walking, jogging and climbing stairs. Strong bones and good muscle support will help you make correct posture a habit.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

People Who Walk 30 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!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Your FREE Education is Available Online

Learn Almost Anything
Online For FREE

You don’t have to pay for a college degree program to learn over the internet. Whether you want to fix a leaky faucet, speak Chinese, or listen to a lecture on world history, there’s plenty of educational material available for free. Here are some good places to start (and some you might not have thought of):

• YouTube. It’s not just for funny videos any more. You can find tutorials on sports and home improvement as well as how to do the moonwalk! YouTube also has an education channel where you can view content from universities and other institutions. Go to and click on a category from Business to Social Science.

• The History Channel. On their site at you’ll find videos on such subjects as the Civil War, Great Inventions and Space Exploration. Check out the videos under “Topics” and “Great Speeches.”

• Go here for videos on math, science, social studies and more that you can use to help your kids with their homework.

• University of California-Berkeley. Go to to download hundreds of video or audio courses and on-campus lectures.

• The BBC. Visit to study everything from Italian to Chinese. Taking a trip? Learn essential phrases in 36 languages.

• Watch lectures on subjects from Computer Science to Mathematics and Law given by professors from universities such as Harvard, MIT and UCLA.

• This site is a guide to thousands of hours of the latest educational content on the web. Readers will be especially interested in the section on free e-books you can read on your computer.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Low-Cost 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” 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, January 11, 2011

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!

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Top 10 Secrets For Effective Weight Loss!

Are you overweight? You’re not alone. Obesity rates over the past 20 years have gone through the roof. The writing’s on the wall: we have become a nation of fatties! At least 25 percent of the population is dangerously obese, and there doesn’t appear to be an end in sight.

Being overweight is considerably more likely to lead to arthritis, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, experts say. In more than 70% of cases, obesity can be blamed on overeating fatty foods and high calorie treats. But don’t despair because there is hope. Here are 10 sure-fire secrets for losing weight and regaining the health and vitality you once thought was only a dream.

Here Are The Top 10 Tips For Losing Weight:
1. Cut Your Daily Intake Of Food By 25%. Smaller portions and less overall intake will bring about steady weight loss.
2. No More Crash Diets. Crash diets don’t keep weight off for long.
3. Control Access To Food. Have meals at specific times, and set aside no more than 20 minutes for meals.
4. Increase Activity. Here’s great news: A recent study reported that obesity dropped 10% for each hour of exercise a week.
5. Cut Back On Treats–Or Cut Them Out!
Eating treats can increase your odds of obesity by 50%. Eat only low-calorie carrots, popcorn, or apples.
6. Add Bulk. Eat high fiber foods that give a feeling of fullness, and reduce calorie intake.
7. Buy Low-Fat Foods. Only buy low-fat, low-calorie, lean, and light foods.
8. Adjust Serving Sizes To Fit Your Size. Serving sizes on packages are generally too high. It’s best to cut back 15-25 percent of the suggested serving.
9. Keep A Food Diary. Keep track of what foods are eaten daily and keep track of the amounts that are consumed.
10. Let Your Dog Help You Lose Weight. What?? Yes, that’s right. Join forces with your dog (who may also be overweight, studies show). A Veterinarian can figure caloric needs. Why not put Fido on the program...and you too can join in the weight loss program and have the support of man’s (and woman’s) best friend. It may be just the right weight loss program for both of you!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

New Reverse Mortgage Laws in Effect

Q. What changes have been made to laws on reverse mortgages?

A. First, a reverse mortgage is a loan that lets homeowners (age 62 or older) convert the equity in their homes into cash. The equity can be paid to the homeowners in a lump sum, a stream of payments, or as a supplement to Social Security or other retirement funds. No repayment is required until the borrower no longer uses the home as their principal residence.

Here are the key changes to the laws involving reverse mortgages according to the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2010:

• The loan limit has been increased from $362,790 (depending on home values in the region) to a nationwide limit of $417,000, and that can increase to as much as $625,500 in high-cost areas.
• Fees are now capped at 2 percent of the first $200,000 borrowed and 1 percent on the balance, with a maximum of $6,000. To protect seniors from aggressive marketing tactics, the law prevents lenders from requiring borrowers to purchase insurance, annuities or other products as a condition for getting the mortgage.

While these changes have made the mortgages more attractive, they aren’t for everyone. You should do your homework and talk with a loan counselor.

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

Friday, January 7, 2011

New Years Resolution - Don't Finish Your Plate

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.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Resolve To Follow These Fitness Trends In 2011

The American College of Sports Medicine has ranked the top fitness trends for 2010 based on a worldwide survey of fitness professionals. Make a New Year’s resolution to incorporate these trends in your family’s fitness program this year:

 Educated and experienced fitness professionals. As the fitness market becomes more competitive, consumers are realizing the importance of working with professionals who have been certified through accredited health/fitness educational programs.

 Strength training. This was once the domain of bodybuilders, but it’s now an essential part of a complete physical activity program.

 Children and obesity. This is the year to reverse an alarming trend of rising obesity rates by getting overweight kids involved in exercise.

 Personal training. As more personal trainers are educated and certified, they are becoming more accessible to a greater number of people.

 Core training. This training specifically emphasizes strength and conditioning of the stabilizing muscles of the abdomen and back.

 Special programs for older adults. Fitness facilities are offering more exercise programs for active older adults. Get your parents involved now!

 Sport-specific training. High school athletes are now training during the off-season to prepare themselves for their specific sports.

Pilates. This form of exercise that targets the core of the body has become a mainstay of most fitness facilities. If you haven’t already done so, try it this year to increase your flexibility and posture

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

5 New Skills to Bring into the New Year!!

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, January 4, 2011

How to Save on Your Insurance

Five Sure-Fire Ways To
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 ( has an outstanding website for consumers.

Monday, January 3, 2011

5 Foods That Fill You Up

If you’re watching your weight, you can eat more than salad for breakfast, lunch and dinner. These foods will help fill you up, not out:

• Oatmeal (not instant). It’s a healthy carb with a high fiber content.

• Eggs. Eat them for breakfast and you’ll have about 330 calories less than usual throughout the rest of the day.

• Dark chocolate. Researchers say compounds in dark chocolate slow down digestion and make you feel full longer. But don’t eat the whole bar!

• Soup. A Pennsylvania State study showed that people who had two servings of low-calorie soup daily lost 50 percent more weight than those who ate the same number of calories in snack foods. Choose broth or vegetables, not the creamy variety.

• Pine nuts. They contain pinolenic acid, which stimulates hormones that suppress your appetite. Plus, your mouth likes the crunch.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Years Goal, Get Fit in 2011

Your Challenge: Get
Your Family Fit In 2011

Do you start every new year by resolving to exercise more? You need a program like the President’s Challenge, which will help you and your family commit to daily physical activity, set realistic goals and track your progress during the year – plus it’s free! Here’s what you can do to make your resolution a reality.

Study the program. Go to Talk to your doctor to see if it’s right for you and your family. Sign up as an individual, start a group (a school class) or join one (it’s a worldwide program).

Know the goals. Adults (over 18) need to be active 30 minutes/day at least five days a week for six out of eight weeks. Or, achieve 8,500 steps/day on a pedometer. Kids need to be active 60 minutes/day in the same time frame.

Choose your challenge. Take the Adult Fitness Test (on the website) to estimate your level of aerobic fitness, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility and body composition. Kids and teens take the Physical Fitness Test, which includes curl-ups, shuttle run and endurance run/walk. You’ll take these tests over again to see how your fitness changes during the program.

Improve your fitness. You’ll add exercises according to the FITT principle: F (Frequency); I (Intensity); T (Time) and T (Type).

Choose from 100 activities, from biking or swimming to walking, dancing, yoga or skating. You can even choose the interactive video game, Wii Sports.

Move on to the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award Challenge or the President’s Champions Challenge. These activities will help make physical fitness an integral part of your everyday life.

Enjoy the benefits. You’ll know you’re helping your heart, building stronger bones, maintaining a healthy weight and having fun with your family.