Diane Minguez
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RE/MAX 440   Diane Minguez
1110 North Broad Street  Lansdale, PA  19446
Office Phone: 215-362-2260    Phone: 267-575-6818  Fax: 267-354-6882  Cell: 267-575-6818
dminguez@remax.net

My Blog

Make Emergency Planning a Priority

January 4, 2018 12:41 am

(Family Features)--With plummeting temperatures and winter storm season near, it's time to refresh your family's emergency plan. Not only is it necessary to ensure you have the right supplies on-hand, it's also important to know how to safely execute your plan and use items like portable generators.

In addition to preparing a first aid kit and practicing an escape route, a portable generator is an integral part of many families' emergency planning. Portable generators allow users to stay warm through cold winter months, providing reliable backup energy during power outages.

While portable generators can minimize the inconvenience of unexpected power outages that can come at any time during a severe storm, they do come with some risks.

The Portable Generator Manufacturers' Association recommends keeping these safety precautions in mind to safely use your portable generator and avoid the dangerous risks of carbon monoxide build-up:

- Know that you cannot smell, see or taste carbon monoxide, so proper use of portable generators is crucial.
- To avoid dangerous carbon monoxide accumulation, always "Take It Outside." This means you should never run a portable generator indoors in areas such as garages, basements, crawl spaces, breezeways, sheds or other partially enclosed spaces.
- Always place a portable generator downwind and point the engine exhaust away from occupied spaces.
- Avoid placing a portable generator near windows, doors or vents, as carbon monoxide gas can accumulate and potentially be drawn indoors.
- Always read the operator's manual first and follow the manufacturer's recommended precautions and procedures.
- Install battery-operated carbon monoxide alarms in your home. Replace the batteries and test the alarms regularly to ensure they are in good working condition.
-  Learn to recognize the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning: headache, nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath, weakness and fainting.
- If you feel sick, dizzy or weak while using a portable generator, get to fresh air immediately and call 911 for emergency medical attention.
- Always refer to the generator's owner's manual for further information about safe operation and potential hazards.

Source: Portable Generator Manufacturers' Association

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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7 Tips for Beating the Winter Blues

January 4, 2018 12:41 am

The hustle and bustle of the holidays are over. The bills are coming in, and we wake each morning to days that are dark, cold and short. Little wonder many people experience the “winter blues,” a scientifically accepted syndrome known as Seasonal Affective Disorder that leaves us sad, bored, or fatigued.

If you find that your mood is falling as fast as the temperature, medical experts tell Real Simple editors that making a few simple lifestyle changes can help to boost your spirits:

Get more light – Open the blinds and curtains at home and work to let in as much natural light as possible. Get out in the sunshine when it is available, and try to sit as close to the light – even artificial light – as possible.

Eat a bit of chocolate – It’s widely accepted by the medical community that a bit of chocolate can enhance your mood and relieve anxiety, But while going overboard on sweets and carbs can provide a temporary lift, take care, because the ultimate let-down can actually increase depression.

Exercise – A Harvard University study revealed that walking fast for 30 minutes a day five times a week, or exercising under bright lights can be a genuine mood booster. (Winter may be the best time to join a gym.)

Turn on the music – Several studies have shown that listening to cheery, upbeat music can significantly improve your mood.  

Plan a vacation – Experts say the very act of planning a trip – checking out maps, routes, and hotel or resort options – can increase your overall contentment.

Help out – It’s a known fact that volunteering at a local shelter, food pantry or any charitable organization can improve mental health and general satisfaction.

Get outside – Even in cold weather, spending some time outside can improve focus and lower stress levels.

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5 Clean-Teeth Eating Tips

January 4, 2018 12:41 am

Even if you brush and floss daily, the food you put in your mouth can impact the health of your teeth. The following tips from the American Dental Association will help keep teeth in tip-top shape regardless of what you eat:

Put down the brittle. Hard foods like peanut brittle and sticky foods like dried fruit wreak havoc on our teeth. Opt for less hard and sticky options like chocolate which rinses off more easily.

Limit your carbs. Starchy foods like sweet potato casserole tend to get stuck between our teeth which could result in plaque buildup. Be sure to clean between your teeth daily to remove any unwanted food that is left behind.

Cheers! Decadent drinks and super sugary cocktails can dry out your mouth or stain your teeth. If you choose to raise a glass, be sure to follow it with a glass of water to help rinse away sugar.

Pucker up. A squeeze of lemon may make a cup of tea more refreshing, but too much citrus can erode enamel. A better choice would be milk as it may benefit tooth health thanks to high amounts of calcium and other nutrients.

Reach for the scissors. Teeth are not made for opening packages and can be cracked if used as a stand-in for scissors. Rather than chewing through a hard-to-undo plastic package, grab something to help you cut it.

Source: American Dental Association

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Best Cities to Score Your Dream Job

January 3, 2018 3:20 am

Do you have a brand spanking new career and are wondering where to use it? GOBankingRates.com released a list of the best cities to score some of the hottest jobs right now, and what they pay in each location. How did they come to these conclusions? To identify the top three cities for the best jobs in the nation, GOBankingRates looked at U.S. News & World Report's list of "Best Jobs of 2017" and found the positions in each industry with at least 10,000 projected new openings over the next decade. GOBankingRates then looked at job listings on ZipRecruiter to determine which cities had the highest average salaries for each job, and of the top three cities, which had the most available job openings.

Read on to see where you stack up.

Best Cities for the Top Positions of 2017

Civil Engineer
No. 1 City: Los Angeles, $80,500
No. 2 City: Chicago, $76,500
No. 3 City: Houston, $76,000

Computer Systems Analyst
No. 1 City: Los Angeles, $85,000
No. 2 City: Fort Meade, Md., $83,500
No. 3 City: Phoenix, $76,500

Dentist
No. 1 City: Dallas, $127,000
No. 2 City: Houston, $117,500
No. 3 City: Miami, $115,500

Elementary School Teacher
No. 1 City: San Diego, $44,000
No. 2 City: Atlanta, $42,000
No. 3 City: Philadelphia, $40,500

Financial Adviser
No. 1 City: Jacksonville, Fla., $78,500
No. 2 City: Cleveland, $75,500
No. 3 City: Hartford, Conn., $73,500

*Positions are listed alphabetically and do not indicate ranking.Source: GOBankingRates.com

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3 Ways to Throwback Style

January 3, 2018 3:20 am

(Family Features) - When it's time for a bathroom or kitchen upgrade, some of the greatest inspiration may come from another time entirely. Some of the most on-trend styles of today are actually throwbacks to bygone eras.

Learn how to make your updated spaces pay tribute to re-emerging trends and add your own modern touches with these three new-again looks.

Retro-Modern
A retro-modern design is unique in every way, with elements transitioning from the historically unfitted 1920s to 1950s charm and eccentricity. The result is a space that represents many eras and design styles, and the kitchen is the perfect space to bring this look to life.

Use contrasting finishes, colors and textures to uniquely define a small space. For example, a modern cabinet scheme in a dark stain or paint contrasts beautifully with stainless steel hardware and a pop of color to break up the cold nature of stainless steel.

Then bring some uniformity with an option like Shaker decorative legs, which adds to the multi-era design feel.
Deriving from the Shaker lifestyle and tradition, the tapering effect offers a beautiful yet simple design feature. Integrate the look across multiple elements, such as a wooden-style tapered leg icebox, along with stainless steel tapered legs on wall and peninsula cabinets, which can pair nicely with stainless-steel hardware and a grooved countertop.

Accessories are an important part of kitchen design, which is why they should be kept top of mind when building or designing that dream space. Features such as removable under-sink baskets and a double wastebasket kit lend ultimate practicality.

No matter the era, lighting is a must for a functional kitchen space. A carefully crafted, multi-layered lighting design is an essential component of a dream kitchen. An option like Hafele lighting makes it possible to illuminate cabinetry, delivering ambient, accent, task and decorative lighting to create the right mood for any space.

Elegant
A beautiful, ornate bathroom with plenty of traditional features can truly be an interpretation of elegance in design. Plan for an abundance of luxurious, spa-like elements to achieve this look. Incorporate features such as warm hickory covering every inch of the walls and built-in lighting to set the tone for a relaxing atmosphere. Then incorporate antique-styled mirrors and glass hardware to create contrasts amongst the rich tones and texture.

You can create a distinctive alcove effect by situating the sink vanities directly between matching cabinet ends and recessing two mirrors into the wall. A decorative arch valance can add beauty and function, as this is an ideal place to tuck away lighting that provides depth and visibility.

Let a large soaking tub take center stage between the sink vanity and a custom makeup area. While you can rely on cabinetry for functional features, it's also a way to continue adding elegant touches, such as a beautifully crafted tub skirt and arch that complements the vanity area.

No luxury bathroom is complete without a stand-alone makeup alcove outfitted with unique features like drawer dividers (perfect for hair accessories) and countertop hideaway cabinets. Consider creating a focal point using rounded spindles to create depth and allow the custom makeup section to stand out in the design. Lastly, embellish the distinguished look with molding options that highlight the feature areas and create a defined line around the room.

An elegant, spacious master bathroom is luxurious and functional, proving that practicality can be used in a glorious way.

Retro
Going to the extreme with your aesthetic with a retro design is all about fun, with features such as pops of color in the tile behind the vanities or fun and whimsical wallpaper. A 1950s-style bathroom lets you play on your childlike senses. From bright colors to mixed metals and textures, this unique design style pays respect to the era of Car Hops, Airstream Travel Trailers and Lucille Ball.

The key to making a throwback-styled design work for your contemporary needs is all in the modern elements. Think along the lines of illuminated drawers and cabinets and base pull-out wire baskets. These fun twists of technology paired with retro-styled elements make for a winning solution.

When it comes to the vanities and cabinetry, remember that both style and color can bring your retro design together. Don't be afraid to step outside more traditional wood tones, and use unexpected colors. For the woodwork, look for details such as conical-styled, slender legs that add to the 1950s feel.
Reminiscent of days past, a fabulous '50s bathroom is the ultimate definition of an eccentric design.

Source: Wellborn Cabinet, Inc.

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5 Tips to Spark Connection Between Grandparents and Grandkids

January 3, 2018 3:20 am

Grandparents can be an emotional rock, a wise friend and a playful elder - the 'go-to person' when parents aren't available. Here are some tips for grandparents to build closer relationships with their grandkids:

Be in touch regularly.  That might mean Skyping or calling once a week, however you can connect with your grandkids. Don't just visit over the holidays.

Surprise them with outings. Pick them up early in the day and take them on surprise outings; only the kids' parents know where they are going, such as to a baseball game, a kayak or fishing trip, or a visit to a kids' museum or animal shelter. It could be something they've never done before.

Use terms of endearment. I call my granddaughter Keira 'Gumdrop' and I called my granddaughter Clara 'Cupcake.' My two young grandsons are 'Scooter' and 'Slugger.' When I say goodbye in person, in notes or on the phone, I always use the same phrase: 'I love you - big time!'

Encourage them to think outside the box. I like to brainstorm ideas for solving problems like city traffic. There is a right answer that is safe, and there is a home run that has risks. I ask them, what is the home run? What does it look like?

Do things they wouldn't expect grandparents to do. When I ran the New York City Marathon, my grandchildren couldn't stop talking to their friends about it.

Martin is a children's advocate and author who writes books with his granddaughter Keira Ely, including the bestsellers "The Case of the Missing Crown Jewels," and "SuperClara - A Young Girl's Story of Cancer, Bravery and Courage."

He founded the nonprofit Bridge to a Cure Foundation to tear down the deadly barriers impeding the timely development of pediatric cancer treatments and cures.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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How-To Be Generous Without Opening Your Wallet

December 29, 2017 1:20 am

Generosity doesn't always need to involve your checkbook. Below are a handful of ways you can be more generous - to family, friends, or your favorite cause - without opening your own wallet.

Give patience. Showing patience to a loved one is a great form of generosity. Whether you're teaching your teenager to drive or holding space for a friend, patience has value, so give a lot of it.

Give time. Volunteering is a wonderful - and free - way to be generous. Volunteer your time at a local shelter, animal sanctuary or learning facility.

Give space. You can hold emotional space for a friend going through a hard time, or physical space for your favorite charity. Do you have a big barn in the back or a cozy finished basement? Host a donation-based event like a movie night or dance party to raise funds for your favorite cause.

Give goods. Dig through your pantry or your attic to find canned goods, sporting goods, clothes or toys to donate to your local charity or drive.

Give services. Do you have a marketable service you could donate? Architects, lawyers, contractors, psychiatrists, artists and more can all donate a few hours a month of services to a non-profit organization in need.

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Kitchen and Bath Remodeling Trends to Watch

December 29, 2017 1:20 am

(Family Features) - Investing thousands of dollars in a kitchen or bathroom remodel can be daunting, but it doesn't have to be.

Check out some of these trends from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) to consider when planning your next kitchen or bath remodel.

Make your home smarter. It used to be that internet meant high-tech. Now, especially with the Internet of Things, it means easier access to entertainment and home security. Home automation is now a consideration when remodeling as WiFi can be used to connect affordable, easy-to-install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. These safety tools can be accessed from any smartphone or device, and should be considered when remodeling. Many of these smart devices, including thermostats and lighting fixtures, can support an energy-efficient home by allowing you to adjust the temperature or turn off lights, directly from your smartphone.

Design with accessibility in mind. Getting older may not be fun, but universal design can help support accessibility. However, accessible design isn't just for aging in place. Adopting universal design and accessible components can provide not only safety but comfort as well - no matter your age. Look for a remodeler who has been trained through NARI's Universal Design Certified Professional program. These remodelers not only know what options are available but typically have their fingers on the pulse of products that can make your life better, from scald-proof faucets to appliance types and installation, and grab bars in bathrooms.

Express yourself with tile. While materials like stone and granite remain popular, additional trends for kitchen and bath remodels include textured tile and patterns in all shapes and textures. Changing tile in a kitchen or bathroom can add visual interest and be an easy way to express your personality.  

Personalize with color. Design trends continue to revolve around color. Color options range from the deep, saturated tones of ruby, emerald and sapphire to a soft and delicate palette of pastels. Whether you prefer strong, bold, intense colors or are looking for a more neutral palette, there is a hue to fit your style. Color can be used on everything including cabinetry, walls (even including the "fifth wall”), or ceiling, to appliances, tile and furnishings. The options are nearly limitless.

Good design doesn't have to be a fad. Today's trends provide ways to customize your home that reflect your personality, add comfort and create a safer environment. Find examples of how each of these trends can be included in your next kitchen or bathroom remodel at nari.org/consumers/trends.

Source: National Association of the Remodeling Industry

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Stay Safe on the Road This Winter

December 29, 2017 1:20 am

Road safety is important year round, but in the winter when weather can worsen driving conditions, it's important to be extra alert when you get behind the wheel. To assist, American Trucking Associations and America's Road Team Captains are spreading critical safety tips for traveling through adverse weather conditions.

Remove ice and snow from your vehicle. Clear your windows and roof of snow to ensure you have maximum visibility and avoid creating a hazard for the vehicle behind you. Do not allow ice and snow to create additional blind spots on your vehicle.

Slow down. Chances of a crash nearly triple when driving faster than surrounding traffic. Skidding becomes more likely at increased speeds, especially on icy roads.

Buckle up. A safety belt will not prevent a collision, but it will save a life.

Do not drive impaired. Driving is a great responsibility and your fellow travelers are relying on safe, attentive drivers to respectfully share the road and make good decisions.

Avoid impaired drivers. Report drunk drivers to 911 – after safely pulling over – and stay on the line to help locate the suspected vehicle. A call can save lives. Erratic breaking, weaving between lanes, straddling the centerline or taking excessively wide turns can all be signs of impaired driving.

Be aware of truck blind spots. Pass on the left where the truck's blind spot is much smaller. 

Keep your eyes on the road. Distracted driving is a major cause of traffic accidents and one of the leading causes of death amongst teenagers. Even just two seconds of distraction time doubles the chances of an accident. Use your cell phone when stopped and never text while driving. Technology gifts are popular during the holiday season, but should not be operated while driving.

Do not cut in front of large trucks. Remember trucks are heavier and take longer to make a complete stop, so avoid cutting quickly in front of them. Consider this: fully loaded tractor-trailers can take the length of a football field plus both end zones to make a complete stop.   

Prepare your vehicle for long distance travel. Before you head out to see your aunts, uncles and cousins, check your wipers and fluids and have your radiator and cooling system serviced. Simple maintenance before you leave your home can prevent many of the problems that strand motorists on the side of the road.

Prepare yourself for long distance travel. The vehicle needs maintenance and the driver needs plenty of rest and hydration to function at his or her best. If you feel drowsy, pull over and wait until you are more alert.

Leave early and avoid risks. Leave early to reduce anxiety about arriving late. Road conditions may change due to inclement weather or traffic congestion.

Be aware of the vehicle in front of you. Leave extra room between you and the vehicle ahead.

Source: American Trucking Associations

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Avoiding the Afternoon Slump

December 28, 2017 12:56 am

For most of us, nothing is more reliable than the afternoon slump - that time of the day where we hit a wall, our brain gets fuzzy and our eyelids start drooping. The usual course of action is to head straight to the Keurig or the closest Starbucks. But there are other alternatives.

According to Fitbit, the afternoon slump usually strikes between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m., and affects millions of people. What’s more, don’t beat yourself up - it’s most likely related to your body’s natural rhythm. According to experts, afternoon is one of those times of day when there’s a greater need for sleep. Ideally, the afternoon slump would be answered with a short power nap so that the body could rest and repair beyond what it usually does at night.

However, if a power nap is not an option - which it probably isn’t for most - Fitbit offers these other antidotes to the afternoon slump (in addition to caffeine!):

- Getting a full night’s sleep. The Center for Disease Control recommends getting at least seven hours sleep each night. Unfortunately, most people don’t, and sleep deprivation makes the afternoon slump even worse.
- Track your patterns. If you are getting a full night’s sleep, yet still slumping, jot down the time of day when you crash. Then start looking for patterns or triggers that may be contributing factors.
- Plan your day around your slump. Make sure you’re doing your most taxing work in the morning, and save more mindless tasks or errand-running for the afternoon slump. Getting up and moving can be just what the doctor ordered.
- Get some sun. Getting outside and grabbing some Vitamin D is a great way to refresh and recharge. So if you’re headed to the coffee shop, walk there!

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