Monday, March 30, 2015

Get Into the Best Shows and Concerts for FREE!

Lots of people do this… and they all rave about the experience! Volunteer as an usher or backstage crewmember for your local concerts, plays and outdoor music festivals. You’ll have to do a little work before or after the show, but expect to have lots of time to enjoy the entertainment. Here’s the trade-out- volunteers usher people to their seats, set up chairs, give out programs and do clean up after the event. If you do a good job, my times you are on a “first call” list for future events put on by the promoter or theater. With ticket prices going up into the 3 figures, this can save you hundreds of dollars per year on top-quality cultural events and concerts.

Monday, March 23, 2015

10 Proven Strategies For Strengthening Your Family!

Is the quality of your family life important to you? According to a recent Harris poll, the majority of working men and women place the highest value on a work schedule providing plenty of time for family. We sure don’t need to look very far to discover the challenges families are facing today. The good news is there are quick and easy ways to strengthen your family and promote each other’s personal growth. Here are 10 positive key strategies that you can use today to improve and strengthen your family now…and for years to come. 1. Make Family Your First Priority. Strong families spend lots of quality time together. We’ve all heard the well-known quote, “How do kids spell love?” T-I-M-E! Strong families spend lots of positive time working on family projects and playing together. And they enjoy being together too. 2. Appreciate One Other. Strong families appreciate each other’s unique qualities and contributions and express their feelings openly. Make a commitment to compliment each other at least once each day. 3. Foster Communication. Strong families listen to each other, respect each other’s opinions, and avoid interrupting. One of the most valuable ways to foster communication is by having at least one meal together each day. During the meal, make it a point to engage everyone on their daily experiences, discoveries, challenges and goals. 4. Strengthen Commitment. Strong families work together to solve their problems. They may not always agree, but they are willing and able to bring things out into the open and to talk about them. 5. Create Traditions. Strong families stay connected – another reason for having at least one meal together each day. Also, give your children the gift of friendship with their cousins, aunts, and uncles by keeping in touch regularly. You’ll be giving them happy memories and friendships to last a lifetime. 6. Set Rules and Expectations. Strong families set and put into practice clear guidelines and limitations. Family members take responsibility for their actions. 7. Support Each Other. Strong families support one another during challenging times. When family members feel valued by one another, they know they have someone they can turn to for support. 8. Identify Your Family’s Strengths. Have each family member write down something he/she likes about each family member (animals included!). Put them up on a bulletin board or refrigerator magnets for everyone to see. 9. Set Achievable Family Goals. Setting and achieving family goals, even if they are small, cultivates success and creates unity. Set goals together whether it’s saving for a family trip, a car, or a new home. The ideas are endless. 10. Strong Families Love Unconditionally. Strong families love with unconditional acceptance that builds strong heart and faith connections.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Use a financial gift from a relative as a down payment

One out of four first-time homebuyers uses a gift to make the down payment. Tax law allows gifts of up to $13,000 a year without tax consequences to the giver or recipient. (The amount is adjusted annually so check publication 950 for the current figure.) You could get a gift from two parents or two friends (for $26,000) without paying a gift tax. Using a gift for a down payment helps you buy a home even if it’s not Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-approved. The best advice is to contact a knowledgeable REALTOR® and discuss this subject before you start looking for homes. Buyers also have the option of borrowing from their 401K savings accounts to purchase a home. For more information just give me a call. Do you have a question you want answered? Feel free to call me at 206-226-0565. or email me at

Monday, March 9, 2015

5 Things To Never Carry In Your Wallet

Do you even know all the things that are in your wallet or purse right now? • Multiple credit cards. Carry just one card or possibly a debit card. Don’t carry specific credit cards (like a department store) or gift cards unless you’re going on a shopping trip. Good idea: Do a wallet inventory and photocopy all the cards you own so you can report their loss and replace them if necessary. • Your social security number. With this most important key to your identity and your name, thieves can do everything from opening new accounts to filing false tax returns. Good idea: Memorize your number. • Your passport. If you’re going overseas you must travel with it, but that doesn’t mean you have to keep carrying it around. Good idea: Carry a photocopy and leave the original in your hotel lockbox. • Checks. Your checks show your bank routing and account numbers, and thieves often sign them and get away with it. Good idea: If you must carry checks, take just what you might need for that day. • Password list. No one can remember all of them, I know. Good idea: Use an encrypted tool to store your password like the SplashID mobile app or for your computer.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Relieve Computer Pain

If you spend a lot of time sitting in front of a computer, you may be experiencing fatigue, as well as aches and pains in your neck, back, shoulders, eyes, wrists, and legs. Relieve the discomfort by following these tips: STEP #1: Give your body support to avoid aches and pains: • Invest in a good lumbar chair and adjust it so your feet rest comfortably on the floor. Press your bottom against the back of the chair and use a lumbar cushion that causes your lower back to arch slightly. Keep your knees in line with your hips or raised slightly above them. Never slump or slouch forward. • Sit close to the desk so your upper arms are parallel to your spine and your elbows are at a 90-degree angle to the keyboard. Put the mouse close to the keyboard to keep your arm from being fully extended. Give your wrists proper support so they rest in a neutral position. • Place the monitor so your gaze is aimed at the center of the screen, which should be 15 to 25 inches away from your eyes. STEP #2: Move regularly to avoid stiffness and eye strain: • Stand, stretch, and walk at least a minute or two every half hour. To stretch, reach both arms above your head. Grasp each elbow and lean gently to each side and feel the side of your body release tension. • Avoid “computer vision syndrome” (headaches and eye strain are symptoms) by using the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look away 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds. STEP #3: Stay hydrated and nourished to avoid fatigue: • Drink water (or other fluids) to flush out some of the mineral build-up that occurs in inactive muscles. • Eat healthy snacks like fruit and nuts at your desk to maintain your energy and productivity.