RE/MAX 440
Tim Lugara

Tim Lugara
423 North Main Street  Doylestown  PA 18901
Phone:  215-348-7100 1632
Office:  215-348-7100
Toll Free:  800-360-7100
Cell:  215-917-8673
Fax:  267-354-6961

Tim's Blog

Tis the Season: Stop the Stomach Bug in its Tracks

February 13, 2017 1:00 am

While you may have gotten your flu shot and stepped up your vitamin C intake to beat the common cold, another culprit to defend against is the norovirus - otherwise known as the stomach flu.

According to GOJO Industries, the makers of Purell, norovirus typically peaks between December and April, and is extremely contagious, even up to two weeks after an infected person feels better.

Symptoms usually appear 12 - 48 hours after first exposure to the virus, and last approximately one to three days. Here are some common ways norovirus is spread:
  • Eating food or drinking liquids that are contaminated with norovirus, most likely prepared by an individual who is infected
  • Touching surfaces or objects with the virus on them and then putting your hand or fingers in your mouth
  • Having direct contact with a person who is infected with norovirus, for example, by sharing food, utensils, etc.
The good news is there are ways you can reduce the spread of the stomach flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends following these steps:

Keep your hands clean. It may sound basic, but frequent hand washing with soap and water is one of the best ways to avoid catching the virus. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60 percent alcohol can be used in addition to handwashing.

Disinfect frequently touched surfaces. Immediately disinfect and clean contaminated surfaces with a disinfectant and cleaner formulated to kill norovirus.

Wash laundry thoroughly. Don’t forget sheets, pillowcases and throw blankets.

Wash fruits and vegetables when preparing food.

Stay out of the kitchen when you’re sick. Leave the meal-prep to another family member or order take-out.

Of course, don’t forget to call your doctor for additional advice and to make sure you’re not dealing with something more serious. In the meantime, make the above steps part of your everyday routine.

I hope you found these insights useful. Contact me for more helpful home advice and real estate information.

Source: GOJO Industries

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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How-To Impress Your Valentine

February 10, 2017 12:57 am

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, thoughts turn to making the best possible impression on that special person in your life. It’s not about how much you spend or which hard to get reservation you manage to get. Too often we measure our feelings against a sum of money spent. But it’s really not about that. It’s about putting some thought into what you do, to let that person know that you see them: you really see them!

Do you have a skill?

Can you sing? Paint? Draw? Write a poem? Take a beautiful photograph? Do you have a skill that you can leverage to create something that will show your love that you spent actual time to give them something from your heart?  

Serenade them with their favorite song. Create a painting for them that they will love. Write a poem to express everything you’re feeling. These are all special ways to show your intended that you care.

Think activity versus gift

One of the best gifts you can give is your time. Spending time together doing something meaningful is far more romantic than a box of chocolates and a bouquet of flowers. Is your valentine a book-lover? Take them to their favorite store and hand them a gift card to spend there and then, while you wait patiently. No tapping your foot! Does your love have an interest in marine biology? A trip to the aquarium followed by a picnic might be the ticket. The key is to be tuned in to their interests and to come up with something you can do together that speaks to those passions. There’s nothing like noticing the details to create that magical spark.

Take care of the details

Be ready for all eventualities by ensuring that you’ve thought of them. Planned a picnic? What if it rains? What’s Plan B? It turns out your date is allergic to shellfish and you’ve booked a table at a seafood restaurant? Don’t let that happen. Make sure you know what you need to know, going in, and leave nothing to chance. That attention to detail will be noted and appreciated, even if the words aren’t spoken. 

Be confident

Confidence is about feeling good in your skin. So if you’re afraid of flying, a helicopter ride over the city is likely to leave you a sweating, hot mess. In other words, not exuding confidence! Don’t get dressed up and booked in at the most expensive restaurant in the city if you don’t have the funds for an appetizer there! You will be off your game all night.

In order to make your date feel good, you need to feel good. Pick an activity that allows you to be you too. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make an effort: you can’t just show up after your soccer game, sweaty and gross and hope that your date will be thrilled to see you that way. But you don’t need to be something you’re not. If they don’t like you for you, it probably isn’t a good match anyway.

Be on time!

This one cannot be stressed enough. Being ten minutes ‘fashionably’ late may be cute in the world of cocktail gatherings, but when your date is sitting on tenterhooks waiting for your arrival, being late is just off-putting and not likely to lead to romance.

Bring a little something

If you’re not doing ‘gifts’, it’s still a good idea to bring a little something to your date. It doesn’t have to be big or even very expensive: a single rose can have more impact than a dozen long stems. Her favorite book. Extra points for a signed or first edition! A jigsaw puzzle that is made from a picture of the two of you. A monthly subscription box to his preferred coffee company. That’s the gift that really keeps on giving! Whatever they are into, think about it and offer a token. Even a handmade card with an inside joke written in it will be something to make them laugh and remember the evening fondly.

On the ‘don’t’ list
- Don’t drink too much. That’s just off putting.
- Don’t brag too much. About what? Anything. Work, money, friends...
-- Don’t complain about your ex. At all.

If it’s a new relationship, these are all true but even a more long standing attachment needs to be preserved and worked at.

The best first impressions are made when everything seems effortless and fluid, where conversation flows and time flies by in the blink of an eye. If you both are enjoying your time together, that will leave the best impression of all.

Source: PeopleLooker.com.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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These Foods Can Boost Your Immune System

February 10, 2017 12:57 am

Being healthy doesn’t have to be a hassle. You can add these five foods into your diet to help you feel your best all winter long no matter if you’re trapped indoors, traveling, or just in your day-to-day activities.

Eat colorful fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins and minerals.  Reach for red and pink grapefruits, oranges, kiwis, and berries. Choose cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts. These fruits and veggies are not only loaded with essential vitamins and phytonutrients, but they are also rich in antioxidants which give your immune system a boot and help build up your digestive track.

Add in pistachios as a heart healthy, protein rich snack. Pistachios are also rich in antioxidants and the heart healthy fats to help your body absorb vitamin E.  Vitamin E is needed by the immune system to fight off invading bacteria. Pistachios are also rich in vitamin B6 which also helps prevent infection and create healthy red blood cells your body needs.

Look for omega 3 fatty acids and selenium which are found in shellfish, salmon, mackerel, and herring.  These foods help white blood cells produce a protein which helps clear flu viruses out of the body. Omega 3 fatty acids reduce inflammation in the body by clearing the lungs pathways. This can help protect from colds and respiratory infections.

Make yogurt your go-to breakfast or snack. Yogurt contains probiotics; “healthy bacteria” that your body needs to keep your immune system strong and keeps your digestive free of disease causing germs.  Yogurt is also filled with protein that keeps your body energized and strong.

Spice up your food with turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon.  These spices are especially known to contain antioxidants that help to protect your cells and keep inflammation in the body down.  I add turmeric to soups, eggs, rice, and poultry. Fresh grated ginger brings warmth to any beverage. Cinnamon can be sprinkled on oatmeal, cereal, yogurt, and easily added to anything you bake. 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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What’s With All the White Lies?

February 10, 2017 12:57 am

Many of us have told a white lie from time to time. Research shows that 80 people of people are willing to tell a white lie now and again. Whether it's out of the goodness of your heart (you just can’t tell your friend how her new haircut looks), or to get out of an awkward social event, white lies are often told.  But what are the most common ones?

These were the top 10 most popular white lies that respondents to a OnePoll survey would admit to:

- "I'm on my way!" - More than 62% of people admitted to saying they were somewhere they weren’t.

- "I got stuck in traffic!" - 53% of respondents used busy roads and transport as their excuse for being late.

- “I like your outfit!” – Protecting feelings, or protecting themselves? Either was, 53% of people copped to telling this white lie.

- "It was on sale!" - Although more popular amongst women, almost 45% of people told the occasional fib about how much they were spending.

- “I’m ill!” - 44% of people said they’ll occasionally pull a sickie to get off work.

- “My phone ran out of battery!” - 41% of respondents dodged a conversation by blaming their technology.

- "I only had one drink!" – 36% of respondents said they’d understated how much they’d put away.

“I didn’t have any signal!” - 44% of people just didn’t want to pick up the phone.

- 35% of people said they had lied about spending time with loved ones.

- 32% of our respondents admitted to "boosting" their CV a little bit.

Source: OnePoll

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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How to Protect Your Customer’s Privacy

February 9, 2017 12:57 am

If you run a business, then you know the customer is king. But what about the customer’s privacy? Help your business be more thoughtful about what information is collected and how you can protect that data and foster trust, with these tips from the NCSA.

If you collect it, protect it: Follow reasonable security measures to protect individuals' personal information from inappropriate and unauthorized access.

Be open and honest about how you collect, use and share personal information: Clearly communicate your data use practices and any features or settings you offer to consumers to manage their privacy.

Don't count on your privacy policy as your only tool to educate consumers about your privacy practices: Communicate clearly and often what privacy means to your organization and the steps you take to achieve and maintain consumer privacy and security.

Create a culture of privacy in your organization: Educate employees about their role in privacy, security and respecting and protecting the personal information of colleagues and customers.

In addition to your privacy practices, do your due diligence and monitor partners and vendors: You are also responsible for how they use and collect personal information.

Source: SOURCE National Cyber Security Alliance

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Tax Time: Five Tips to Ensure an Accurate Form W-2

February 9, 2017 12:57 am

Tax season is a troubling time for many of us as we wade through forms and paperwork from the preceding year.  The American Payroll Association, has five W-2 tips to ensure your W-2 is accurate this tax season.

1. Get your hands on all of your W-2s. If you received compensation from more than one company during 2016, you will need to obtain a W-2 from each business. If you haven't received your W-2 by February 3, contact the company's payroll department to request a 'reissued statement.'

Did you earn $600 or more from a single company for freelance or contract work? You need the Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income, instead of a W-2. You may be responsible for all taxes on those earnings.

2. Ensure your Social Security Number (SSN) matches your social security card. Your name and SSN on the W-2 must match your social security card to receive the social security benefits to which you are entitled. If they do not match, ask your payroll department for a corrected W-2.

3. Compare your W-2 to your final paystub. 

Items to review on the W-2:

A.  Box 1 will differ from your final 2016 paystub year-to-date gross pay if you participated in a 401(k) or other employer-sponsored savings plan.

B.  The Box 3 total should not exceed $118,500 – the 2016 social security wage base.

C.  Boxes 1, 3, and 5 will be different from your final 2016 paystub year-to-date gross pay if you use pre-tax dollars to pay insurance premiums or for transit benefits, or to contribute to flexible spending accounts.

4. Check for tax credits. Depending on your eligibility, you may qualify for thousands of dollars from the Earned Income Tax Credit. Read the back of the W-2 copy B, C, and 2 to determine your eligibility.

5. Put some money in your pocket! If you receive more than $1,000 in refunds adjust your Form W-4 to more closely match your tax liability. By updating this information, you could give yourself an instant raise.

SOURCE: American Payroll Association
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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How to Move During the Winter

February 9, 2017 12:57 am

Moving is rarely fun, but in the winter, it can be downright miserable. From frigid temps to icy roads, there are many challenges with moving in the colder months. Below are a handful of helpful tips from Ross Sapir, CEO and Founder of Roadway Moving.

Make sure your electric is turned on early. Before you move in, be sure that all utilities have been turned on so you can comfortably enjoy heat and light for your first couple nights.

Avoid any falls. Clear the driveways and walkways of snow and make sure you salt the icy areas so you and your movers are safe walking to and from the trucks

Have a back-up plan. If a winter storm is threatening your move, make sure you've already spoken to your moving company to see if they have a policy in place for any unexpected date changes.

Protect your home. Going in and out of your home during the move will drag salt and dirt all over your floors. Avoid this by laying down plastic or cardboard boxes for protection

Dress in layers. Moving boxes in and out will work up a sweat so make sure you have the proper clothing on that you can either add layers when you go outside or take off layers once you get inside.

Source: Roadway Moving.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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5 Smarter Ways to Keep Your Home Warm

February 8, 2017 12:57 am

(Family Features)--When cool winds are blowing and the temperatures outside take a dive, even a well-insulated house may feel the chill. Simply kicking up the thermostat can be expensive and depending on your home’s circulation, you may still have areas that need an extra blast of warmth. Cozy up with these tips for heating up your living space.

Check for gaps and cracks. Poorly sealed windows and doors are among the biggest sources of heat loss in a home. Not only do those imperfections let heat escape, they also let in the cold. If you can see daylight, there’s definitely a problem, but even less visible gaps and cracks can be problematic. Clear plastic sheeting is one temporary DIY solution for windows. It’s also easy to replace the weather stripping around doors.

Rely on supplemental heat. When it’s impractical to completely eliminate drafts, or other measures aren’t fully correcting the problem, you might consider a home upgrade to your cooling and heating system. One of the most efficient products on the market is a floor-mounted indoor heating system, designed to ensure the whole room warms up evenly and quickly.

Layer up. Especially when cooler weather first appears or makes a comeback, many homeowners forget to dress for the weather, even indoors. Trading in your t-shirt and shorts for long sleeves and pants can help push your comfort several degrees warmer, and even a couple of degrees can result in big savings on your heating bill. If extra clothes aren’t enough, invest in a few plush throw blankets and a cozy robe and slippers for more comfortable lounging.

Enjoy a crackling fire. If your home has a fireplace, use it. These features are often treated as ornamental, but they serve a true function. When paired with blowers, the heat from a fireplace can warm a significant portion of the house, well beyond the room where the fireplace is located. Before your first fire, take proper safety precautions, including checking that the flue is clean and open. Also be sure you have protective features such as glass or mesh covering to prevent popping embers, and be sure to create a barrier that keeps small children safely out of reach.

Decorate your way to warmth. Subtle changes to your decor can make a big impact on a room’s climate and comfort level. Two areas that can make a big impact: the floor and windows. An area rug is an addition that not only takes the physical chill out of a wood or tile floor, but adds visual warmth, as well. Although windows can be a major source of energy loss and drafts, they can also let in a natural heat source: sunlight. Use heavy draperies at night to block the chill and provide privacy, but during daylight hours, throw those curtains open and let the warm light shine.

Source: mitsubishicomfort.com.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Choose the Right Online University

February 8, 2017 12:57 am

For those with busy schedules, a family to take care of, or an already-demanding career, the option of earning a degree online is a game changer. However, not all online universities are the same, and it’s important to choose an accredited program that fits your needs.

WGU Texas offers these tips to help busy adults choose the right online university to stay on track with their goals.

Know your learning style. Learning in an online environment is similar to what you would expect in a more traditional brick and mortar environment. You will study, write papers, complete projects and take tests. Online, when and where you study and interactions with faculty and other students can be quite different. Earning your degree takes self-discipline with a strong commitment to earn a degree. You'll need to set aside sufficient time and effort to realize your goals. When choosing a school, one that offers a competency-based program allows you to study and learn at your own pace, apply what you already know and advance when you demonstrate mastery of the subject matter.

Understand the total cost of your education. Tuition at online universities varies widely. Before you make your decision, be sure to understand all of the costs. Compare tuition rates, books, fees and financial aid options of various schools. Speak to a financial advisor about financial aid, and only borrow what you need to graduate, as this will help keep costs under control without incurring unnecessary additional student debt. Another factor in your cost consideration should be the length of time you expect to take to complete your degree—the longer it takes, the more it is likely to cost.

Make sure the university is accredited and the degree is meaningful. Regional accreditation is the highest form of accreditation and ensures that employers and other academic institutions will respect and recognize your degree. The U.S. Department of Education publishes a list of regional accrediting agencies that are recognized as reliable authorities on educational quality and effectiveness of the institution. The degree program you choose should offer relevant and up-to-date curriculum to ensure that you'll earn the credentials you need for the job market. Ask for information about alumni placements, employer surveys and graduate rankings on national test scores.

Source: texas.wgu.edu 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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What Americans Would Give Up to See Their Team Win the Super Bowl

February 8, 2017 12:57 am

It’s no shocker that Americans love their football—especially when it comes time for the Super Bowl. But what would you give up to see your team win? That’s the question GoBankingRates asked their audience, and you may be surprised to read the results.

GoBankingRates asked their respondents to choose from one of the following, in exchange for their team winning the big game.

Would you rather:
- Give up your vacation days for one year
- Give up your annual bonus
- Give up your 401k
- Give up the total amount in your savings account

The result? Fifty two percent of respondents said they would give up an entire year's worth of vacation days in order to secure a win for their favorite team in this year's Super Bowl.

Additional Findings:

- 1 in 3 respondents said they would give up their annual bonuses to see their team win, the second most popular choice among all age groups.

- Perhaps surprisingly to some, more female respondents (57%) were willing to sacrifice a year's worth of vacation days over men (48%).

- Zero percent of those aged 35 years and above said they would scrap their 401k savings, compared to 12% of those ages 18-24.

- While women might be more comfortable giving up vacation days, they were 9% less likely than men to give up an annual bonus for a Super Bowl win.

Source: GOBankingRates.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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