Tuesday, December 27, 2011

10 Ways to Look and Feel Better Today!!

We all want to feel better, look better, and live as if we are a finely tuned instrument, or well-maintained vehicle.

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

Monday, December 26, 2011

10 Strategies For Strengthening Your Family!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 23, 2011

Turn Your ho-hum House into a Lovely Showplace

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!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Famous Last Words…

• It’s fireproof.
• What does this button do?
• So, you’re a cannibal?
• It’s probably just a rash.
• Are you sure the power is off?
• The odds of that happening have to be a million to one.
• Which wire was I supposed to cut?
• But where is the mother bear?
• I’ve seen this done on TV.
• These mushrooms are edible.
• You hold it, and I’ll light the fuse.
• It’ll hold both of us.
• This doesn’t taste right.
• I can make the light before it changes.
• Nice doggie.
• I can do that with my eyes closed.
• Well, we’ve made it this far.
• That’s odd.
• Now watch this.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Public Speaking Tips From The Experts!

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Oops…The E-Mail That Got Away

Remember that email you sent…and then wished you hadn’t. Maybe you inadvertently passed on some business information that was a secret, or data that wasn’t quite right. Well, you’re not alone. Now there are a few new programs on the market that can delete or recall your email—even after you’ve sent it!
Authentica, Inc. offers encryption technology that lets you look at e-mails but it does not save, copy, print, or forward them. And you can recall or kill off your
e-mails, even after they’ve been opened by another person.
Omniva Policy Systems offers an e-mail “shredder” that lets you specify a “detonation time” of from 30 minutes to years after the e-mail is sent. And even while the e-mail is still live, the receiver must have a special password to read it. Visit www.authentica.com or www.disappearing.com for more information on this revolutionary technology.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Kitchen Wisdom

• Coat your cheese grater with cooking spray before grating cheese. It will be easier to use and to wash.

• Before measuring honey, corn syrup, or other gooey, sticky substances, run the measuring spoon or cup under hot water before using. The sticky liquid will slide right out!

• Soften butter quickly by grating it.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Most Important Purchase Of Your Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Dangerous Clothing

Doctors warn that your wardrobe may be leading to your pain and other problems! Pants that are too tight around your waist can cause heartburn. High heels increase a woman’s risk of knee osteoarthritis. And, tight neckties raise the pressure in your eyes and can lead to glaucoma.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Fire Protection For Your Home!

Many homeowners are aware of fire safety precautions for the inside of the home, but how often to you think of the exterior of your home? The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) suggests clearing a 30-foot radius around your house by removing vegetation which could provide a path for fire to reach your home.

Additionally, if you have paints or other highly flammable materials, be sure they are properly stored in a safe location away from your home.

Finally, FEMA suggests that you look into replacing your roof with a material that is more resistant to fire than asphalt or wood shingles. A small amount of time and money may prevent the spread of exterior fire and successfully protect your family and cherished belongings.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Cure Snoring In 7 EASY Steps!

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

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

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

Saturday, December 10, 2011

What’s Your Money Personality?

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.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Q. Should You Ever Buy A House That Is An “As Is” Property?

A. It really depends on the house and the situation. There may be two reasons a house is marketed as an “As Is” Property. The first may be because the seller just doesn’t have the money to make the necessary repairs, and wants to get out from under the cost of repairing the property. Bank owned homes are discounted and generally sold As Is, however you can still have an inspection and back out for any reason.

The second reason is much more difficult. A word of caution is in order. The house may have serious problems! Something serious may be defective...so buyers beware. Generally speaking, an “As Is” property tends to have a major structural or functionally obsolete (i.e. expensive!) problem. Typical problems may range from a faulty roof, termites or serious termite damage, problems with the foundation, leaking pipes or other plumbing problems, to problems with a pool/spa just to name a few.

It is in the buyer’s best interest to have a home inspection completed and all the problems documented, so that the buyer is aware of any potential problems with the property.
If you are buying or selling a home and need competent and caring representation, please call me at 206-226-0565.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sweet Drinks Number #1 Source Of Calories

How many soft drinks or other sugar-added drink do you consume a day? One, two, five, or more? There’s an alarming trend occurring in the American diet—soft drinks and other sugar-added drinks are becoming the main source of calories. According to researchers at Tufts University, the average American consumes enough sweet drinks each day that add up to more calories than any other food source.

In the study, researchers collected data to study the relationship between obesity and certain foods. What they found was shocking! Two-thirds of the people sampled reported that they consumed enough sweet drinks to provide them with more daily calories than any other food source. Want to lose weight? Limit your sweet drinks.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Negotiating On The Job

Would you like to improve your job negotiation skills? A recent survey conducted by the Society of Human Resources Management and CareerJournal.com, found that both employees and HR specialists are willing to talk about salary, but they differ on other issues.

Employees focus on bonuses, incentives, and time off, while HR specialists may be more willing to talk about flex schedules and relocation costs. (The survey indicated employees may have more negotiating power on non-salary issues.) Here are six valuable tips you can use for better negotiating on your job:

• Make sure to show your enthusiasm for the job at hand.
• Know your strengths and skills and explain why you’re the best person for the new job or raise.
• Use the right words and cite facts, “I’ve done the research, and the market reflects this salary.”
• Ask for what you want, and explain why you deserve it.
• Be open to what is presented and remain objective.
• Avoid talking about specific salary figures until the end the interview process; otherwise you may limit your options.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Surprising Way To Lower Your Cholesterol Naturally!

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), found that people who ate a lot of plant sterols and fiber naturally lowered their cholesterol by 29%. What are plant sterols? They are foods that many of us like to eat: avocados, walnuts, almonds, olives, eggplant, olive oil, and flaxseed.

The researchers found that people on the drug, Lovastatin, lowered their cholesterol by 30%, and people who ate a low-fat diet reduced cholesterol levels by 8%. What’s interesting about these findings is they show that a diet rich in plant sterols can be as effective as one of the most frequently prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs—and without some of the side effects associated with prescription drugs.

Adding these important foods can help raise your good cholesterol (HDL) while lowering your bad cholesterol (LDL). Note: If you’re on a cholesterol reducing medication, talk with your physician before making any changes.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Where’s The Cheapest Gas In Your Area?

If you’re looking for the least expensive gas in your area, go to gasbuddy.com or gaspricewatch.com. The gas prices are listed by ZIP code and the surrounding areas.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Good Night’s Sleep is Essential!!

The Power of Sleep...And the Dangers of Not Enough

Did you know that the quantity and quality of your sleep may be the biggest indicator of your health? Dr. James B. Mass, bestselling author of Power Sleep, and Cornell University professor, reports that sleep can have an enormous impact on your overall health, outlook and productivity. It may also be the biggest predictor of how long you live – even more than diet, and exercise!

How do you know if you’re getting enough sleep? Most people should get eight hours, experts say. If you fall asleep the minute your head hits the pillow, if you’re frequently tired, irritable, or if you have trouble getting up in the morning, you need more sleep. What can you do? Here are seven important strategies to help you get a better night’s sleep:

1. Maintain A Regular Sleep Schedule. Go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time every day; allow for at least 8 hours per night.

2. Keep Your Bedroom Dark and Quiet. Your body’s response to darkness is to produce an increase in the naturally-occurring hormone, melatonin – proven to produce a deeper, more restful sleep.

3. Exercise Daily. Exercising daily relieves stress and improves your overall health; however, avoid exercising right before bedtime.

4. Avoid Alcohol and Stimulants. If you have any trouble sleeping, avoid alcohol, coffee, caffeinated drinks, tea, chocolate, and nicotine.

5. Make Sure Your Bed And Pillow Are Comfortable. Choose the right bed (and pillow) for you. If you’re having trouble sleeping you may want to shop around for a new bed or pillow.

6. Put Your Worries In Jar. Write down any worries, put them in a jar, and let them go for the night. You can set aside time the next day to handle them.

7. Sleep Alone If Your Partner Keeps You Awake. If your mate is keeping you up with his/her snoring, sleep in another room.

Make it a priority!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Sure-Fire Tips For Improving Your Credit Rating…

A good credit rating in essential in today’s economic market. It can save you thousands of dollars when you apply for a mortgage, car loan, or when you want to finance any other big-ticket purchase. Here are six tips for improving your credit rating:
1. Check your credit report. Make sure to resolve any credit debt inaccuracies or disputes. Go to www.AnnualCreditReport.com for information on how to order your credit report.
2. Pay your bills on time. It’s especially important near the time you are applying for a loan.
3. Pay down, or pay off your credit cards. High debt will adversely affect your credit rating.
4. Don’t apply for new credit cards to increase your available credit.
5. Pay down your revolving debt. Also, pay down your debt rather than moving it around.
6. Manage your credit cards and installment loans responsibly. Paying credit cards and installments loans promptly will actually raise your credit rating.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Value of a Buyers Agent

Q. I’m thinking of buying a home soon. Should I get a Buyer’s Agent, or should I go it alone?

A. I recommend getting a Buyer’s Agent because the agent will be specifically representing you, and, because a Buyer’s Agent generally gets paid by the seller, you pay no commission. A Buyer’s Agent will take time to help you find the type of home you want, in the location you want, and the properties that fit your particular needs and desires. Research by the National Association of REALTORS® reveals that buyers find their home faster when they use a Buyer’s Agent.

A Buyer’s Agent can also help you with financing your home. The agent will determine how much you can afford and help you become pre-qualified to purchase a home. Getting pre-qualified puts you in a stronger negotiating position by letting the seller know you are serious and able to purchase the home. You hire a Buyer’s Agent by signing an agency agreement, which is legal and binding. If you have questions about Buyer Agency, or if you are buying or selling a home and need competent and caring representation, please call me at 206-226-0565.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Great Tip On How To Reduce The Cost Of College Tuition!

Millions of dollars available from private sector scholarships go unclaimed every year. Generally, it’s because parents and students don’t know how to apply.
For more information, send a self-addressed, stamped, business size #10 envelop to: The U.S. Commission for Scholastic Assistance, P.O. Box 650067, Potomac Falls, VA 20165-0067.