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Thomas Skiffington,  CRS, GRI, CRB, ABR, ePro, CLHMS, SRES, RECS, CDPE, ECOBROKER
Thomas Skiffington, CRS, GRI, CRB, ABR, ePro, CLHMS, SRES, RECS, CDPE, ECOBROKER
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Perkasie, PA 18944
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Office Phone: 215-453-7653
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Tom's Blog

Juicing 101: 5 Beginners Tips

July 20, 2013 3:48 am

It’s no longer just celebrities, world-class athletes and alternative-lifestyle hippies turning to green smoothies and freshly juiced vegetable and fruits for improved health, says nutritionist and juicing pioneer Cherie Calbom, MS.  

“People from all walks of life are looking for proven ways to lose weight, energize, sleep better, strengthen their immune systems, and have brighter skin and a younger appearance. They’re also juicing to help their bodies heal from a variety of ailments,” says Calbom, author of a new book full of juicing tips, tricks and recipes, “The Juice Lady's Big Book of Juices and Green Smoothies.”

“No matter your diet, juicing offers a shot of goodness – nutrition, minerals, phytonutrients and more – that you might not otherwise get,” Calbom says.

Whether you’re just getting started or you’ve been juicing awhile and want to optimize the experience, Calbom shares some important pointers that will help.

• Fruits & veggies happiness studies: Plenty of new research shows that adding more produce to your daily diet can benefit your mental health and sense of well-being. In one analysis of the eating habits and moods of 80,000 British adults, researchers at Dartmouth and the University of Warwick found that those who consumed the most fruit and vegetables every day rated themselves as significantly happier and more satisfied with their lives than those who ate lesser amounts. Research shows that the well-being score for people who ate seven to eight servings of vegetables and fruits per day was consistently three points higher than for those who ate little or none.

• More studies ... Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health concluded from a study of 982 Americans that those who exhibited the most optimistic outlooks on life also had the highest blood levels of carotene, a key antioxidant that’s delivered by a colorful array of produce: dark green spinach and kale, carrots, and sweet potatoes, and vibrant yellow or orange fruits like peaches, papayas and cantaloupe, among others. And “juicers” should consider starting at a young age. A study of 281 adults with a mean age of 20, conducted at the University of Otago, New Zealand, showed that those who reported the highest daily intake of fruits and veggies also declared they were happier, calmer and more energetic than those who ate less. 

• “Do I need to juice; can’t I just eat produce?”: This is a common response, but the reality is that most people in today’s society – especially those who are booked from morning to evening with a busy lifestyle – rarely get an optimal amount of produce throughout the day. A half-cup of veggies is a serving and ¾ of a cup of juice equals one serving; chewing seven to eight servings of produce every day requires much more effort and time than drinking fresh juice for some of the servings. That makes people much more likely to benefit from juice, she says.

• Flavor diversification: Some people soon fall into creative ruts because they stick to the same basic ingredients, and that can be a disincentive for sticking with juicing. Diversify! Try gourmet and exotic juice blends, or even plant-based ingredients you simply haven’t yet considered, some of which may include: butternut squash, one-inch ginger chunks, beets with leaves and stems, Brussels sprouts, and fennel bulbs with fronds. “Juicing is not about just using common fruit ingredients – spice it up and experiment with healthy vegetables; it works!” Calbom says.

• An exotic example: A fennel-watercress-cucumber blend juice is an excellent way to mix up your typical cocktail. It includes: 1 handful of watercress; 1 dark green lettuce leaf; 1 cucumber, peeled if not organic; ½ fennel bulb and fronds; 1 lemon, peeled if not organic. Cut produce to fit your juicer’s feed tube. Wrap watercress in lettuce leaf and push through the juicer slowly. Juice all remaining ingredients. Drink immediately; this portion serves one.

Cherie Calbom, MS is the author of 21 books, including the best-seller “Juicing for Life,” with 2 million copies sold in the United States and published in 23 countries.  

 

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Planning Ahead: Financial Tips for Travelers

July 20, 2013 3:48 am

Summer is the season of travel. However, nothing cuts the fun short like a stolen wallet or passport. Below are several tips for keeping your money safe while on the road.

Financial professionals agree that the safest and most convenient way to travel with your money is to take a small amount of cash with you. Another good idea is to carry a debit or credit card along for the trip. These cards are convenient while traveling because they are easy to carry, easy to use and often offer the lowest fees and the best exchange rates.

Let your community bank know when and where you will be traveling so that you will avoid any potential denials or fraud alerts when out-of-the-ordinary transactions are presented. This is crucial for international travel.

Find out what ATM or debit card fees you may be subject to around the country and abroad.

Make copies of all the cards you'll be carrying. Take a copy with you and give a copy to someone you trust back home. Be sure to also include the customer service phone number.

Bring a list of emergency phone numbers. Be sure to get a number for your bank that you can call if you're out of the country.

Many credit cards provide travel accident insurance and traveler's assistance. Ask your community bank what special services are available through your card.

Check your available balances before you leave. Know the limits on how much cash you can withdraw or purchases you can make.

Sourcr: www.icba.org.

 

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10 New Uses for Household Items

July 20, 2013 3:48 am

You know that egg carton you threw out in the trash? Tear the top off the next one, and stow the business half in a desk drawer. It’s the perfect way to keep rubber bands, push pins, paper clips and more in neat, uncluttered order.

So prompts lifestyle blogger Brit Morin, who offers 10 more ways to get double duty from ordinary household items:

  • Disposable ice packs – Fill small balloons partially full and freeze them. Pack them in an ice chest for a colorful way to keep food and drinks cold on the move.
  • Package opener – Hate that clamshell packaging that seems impossible to open? Use a can opener to slice through one side of the plastic.
  • Add a key – Save your manicure by using a staple remover to pry open a key ring to add or remove a key.
  • Melon baller – An ice cream scoop used as a melon baller will give you larger, prettier portions of fruit for your next company platter.
  • Candle lighter – Don’t burn your fingers using a match to light those birthday or outdoor candles. Light the end of a strand of spaghetti and use that as your lighter.
  • Bathroom caddy – Short on bathroom space? Hang a plastic shoe organizer on the back of the door to hold curling iron, hair dryer, big bottles of body lotion and more.
  • Jewelry holder – Keep bracelets, chains and necklaces from snarling by storing them individually in the cups of a plastic ice cube tray placed in a dresser drawer.
  • Shoe holder – Don’t throw out that empty cardboard wine carton. Laid on its side in your closet, it can behave like a cheap shoe organizer to keep your shoes off the floor.
  • Pool noodle boot keeper – Done with your pool noodles for the year? Cut them in half and stuff them in your boots to help the boots stand up in your closet.
  • Herb chopper – Protect your fingers by chopping herbs with a pair of scissors instead of a knife. Snipping them directly into the bowl, platter or measuring cup saves washing the cutting board, too.
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Word of the Day

July 20, 2013 3:48 am

Usury. Charging a higher rate of interest on a loan than is legally allowed.

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Q: What Is the Best Way to Find a Real Estate Agent?

July 20, 2013 3:48 am

A: Begin by asking someone that you know.  Friends, relatives, co-workers, or neighbors who have recently purchased a home can give you a firsthand account and attest to the agent’s professional abilities.  Sometimes an agent you contact will refer you to another one who works more closely with buyers and sellers in your neighborhood. Once you have a list of names, interview at least three agents and ask questions about their community knowledge, professional experience, and commitment – some agents work full time; others only work at nights and on the weekends.

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How to Make Working at Home Work

July 18, 2013 5:40 pm

(BPT) - Working at home is a growing popular trend. The 2010 U.S. Census reports 9.5 percent of the population spends at least one day a week working at home - an increase of more than 2 percent since 1997. Technology is making it easier for employees and self-employed workers to set up a home office and conduct business.

When deciding to set up an office at home, one challenge many workers face is determining what computer to use - or purchase. Apple and Windows-based PCs are the two staples, and everyone has a preference on which system they prefer. Sometimes it's the user interface of one over the other that's preferred, and in other cases, how chosen programs perform on each platform determines what type of computer workers purchase. And often, workers just want to seamlessly blend in with the office environment, and purchase the same system for home.

With Parallels Desktop for Mac, the difficulty of choosing between the two platforms is obsolete. This software enables users to run all operating systems like Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows XP, Mac OS X, Google Chrome OS and more on a Mac without rebooting. This allows an at-home employee to easily switch between the system provided on work computers and the home computer, even if they're running different operating systems.

This allows at-home workers several benefits:

  • If you have a Mac and a PC, then Parallels Desktop software can simply move your entire PC onto you Mac so you have everything on one computer. If you don't have a PC, its wizard lets you simply add Windows and other operating systems to your Mac so you can do everything on one computer.
  • Save money because there is no need to repurchase software you already own. All of the PC applications you invested in can simply be moved to your Mac and run in Windows via Parallels Desktop.
  • Run both Windows and Mac systems at the same time, allowing you to work in a Mac program while using a Windows platform.

Copy and paste between documents running in both operating systems easily - which is not possible if you must reboot your Mac to change between OS X and Windows applications.

Another challenge working-from home employees face is taking the business on the road. Those who are self-employed often don't have the luxury of bringing business into the home office, and have to make the office mobile. This requires updating technology so email, documents and files can all be accessed from either a smartphone or tablet.

Another option is to access your computer remotely, allowing you to do everything you'd be doing at home while away. Parallels Mobile for iPad and iPhone lets you remotely access and run all of your Mac and Windows files and applications when you're on the go.

One final challenge is being able to handle the business errands without having to leave the office - or home. Banking, setting up conference calls or ordering supplies can all be done electronically using websites and downloadable apps. This technology allows a home-worker to make business deposits, connect with clients and have supplies delivered to the door - without having to leave.

Seamless connection is key to working at home, because any interruption in getting technology to work is lost time, and potentially lost business. Apps, using the same computer programs you've always used through Parallels Desktop for Mac and mobile devices will help any at home worker to keep all connections with the office and clients going strong.


Source:  http://www.parallels.com/desktop

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Driving with Dogs: Tips to Keep Everyone in the Car Safe

July 18, 2013 5:40 pm

(BPT) - It's only natural for man's best friend to stay close by his master's side, but for dog owners who drive frequently, bringing Fido along for the ride can be risky. The problem is particularly worrisome for older drivers; a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham showed that for people 70 years and older, crash rates were higher among those who frequently drove with pets in the car. But for many drivers, leaving precious pets behind isn't an option. The best compromise is to find solutions that will get you from point A to point B without compromising the safety of human or animal passengers.

Distracted driving is a growing concern and a loose pet in the car certainly numbers among the potential hazards that can take your eyes - and mind - off the road and lead to accidents. While older drivers might not be as likely to be distracted by texting or smartphone surfing, even those who have spent many years navigating the roads need to honestly assess how having a pet in the car can divert their attention away from the road.

To stay safe on the road when Fido is with you, remember these tips:

  • Don't allow pets in the front seats. Having a pet sit on your lap is obviously distracting, but if he's in the front passenger seat, the problem can be just as bad. In the front seats, your pet is more likely to be within your line of sight and obstruct your view of the road. An unrestrained dog in the front seats could also be easily injured if you have to slam on the brakes or swerve, or are hit from behind. The force with which airbags deploy also poses a safety hazard for dogs in the front seat - if you're in an accident and they inflate and hit your dog, he could easily sustain an injury.
  • Create separation. There are a variety of pet barriers on the market that can keep your pet from moving between the front and back seats of your car. Installing a barrier will help keep your pet out of your way and diminish concerns about him being propelled forward in case you have to make a sudden stop.
  • Restrain your pet. There are a number of options for pet restraints in your vehicle. Pet seatbelts and car seats will help keep a dog safely in place. Keeping a crate in the car is also a good option. Make sure it's secured and large enough so that he can stand up, turn around and comfortably sit or lay down. Add a soft pad in the bottom of the crate and it might just become your pet's favorite new way to travel.
  • Brush up on your driving skills. Today's driving environment is probably very different than it was when you first got your license. A refresher course, like those offered by AARP Driver Safety, is an ideal way to ensure that your skills are up to date. Brushing up on defensive driving techniques and the essential rules of the road will help keep everyone in your car safe - and you may even qualify for a multi-year automobile insurance discount from your insurance company (check with your agent for details). AARP Driver Safety courses are available in a classroom or online setting, in both English and Spanish.

Source: www.aarp.org/drive.

 

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Word of the Day

July 18, 2013 5:40 pm

Useful life.  The period of time over which a commercial property can be depreciated for federal income-tax purposes.  Also known as economic life.

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Q: Is It Best to Save for the Ultimate Dream Home or Begin with a Less Expensive Starter Home?

July 18, 2013 5:40 pm

A: It can take a long time to save for that perfect dream home.  Meanwhile, the market has been flooded with some of the most favorable mortgage interest rates in years.  Low rates make housing more affordable, which is why so many buyers have jumped on the home buying bandwagon.

Home-price appreciation has also been strong, making very solid gains in communities across the country.  In fact, home prices are expected to increase 2.5 percent to 3 percent annually over the next five years.

If you purchase a starter home today, you can potentially begin to build value that can lead to the purchase of a larger, or more desirable, trade-up home in the future.

 

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Winterize Early to Avoid Repairs

July 17, 2013 11:36 pm

(BPT) - Autumn is on the way, so don't fall behind on your seasonal home repairs checklist. It pays to know which renovations to tackle now, which repairs can wait until next season, and what preventative measures can help you avoid large-scale, costly repairs.

"While staying warm is top of mind for many homeowners this upcoming winter, it is important to note that in order to stay warm and dry, homes must first be functioning properly," says Bill Jacques, American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) president. "A home inspection can help homeowners prioritize maintenance projects as the seasons change and weather becomes more severe."

ASHI recommends fall as the ideal time to begin home inspector consultations and any necessary home repairs. Maintenance costs are generally lower when homeowners proactively prepare their home for winter weather instead of waiting to fix issues that appear.

Homeowners may want to consult with a professional home inspector on winterizing projects, including:

  • Cleaning gutters and downspouts - When ice damming occurs, water cannot drain from gutters and can sometimes seep into the home and damage ceilings and walls.
  • Roof, siding and shutter repairs - Heavy rains and high winds can call for window protection from shutters and the necessity of a sturdy exterior and roof for protection. ASHI recommends inspecting your roof, siding and shutters at least once a year.
  • Caulking cracks to stop cold drafts - Worn-out weather stripping around doors and windows allows cold air to seep into the home, which increases heating costs.
  • Inspecting chimneys - Adding a cap or screen to the top of a chimney will prevent birds nesting or animals entering. ASHI also recommends inspecting the damper for proper operation and checking mortar between bricks.
  • Checking batteries in carbon monoxide and smoke detectors - Many fires or cases of carbon monoxide poisoning occur during cooler months due to an increase in furnace and other heat source usage. If you have gas appliances, you need a CO detector for increased safety.

"The time to get serious about necessary home repairs is before the temperature starts dropping," says Jacques. "Once winter weather begins and your home has problems, you will be wasting money each month, so think about getting your home professionally inspected so you can keep the home in good condition and reduce problems from lack of maintenance. ASHI-certified home inspectors can help identify problems so you can keep your home in good condition."

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