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Colleen Gular


Colleen Gular
423 North Main Street | Doylestown, PA 18901
Phone: 215-348-7100 | Office Phone: 215-348-7100 | Toll Free: 800-360-7100 | Fax: 267-354-6836
Cell: 267-266-2084 | email: cgular@remax.net

My Blog

Tips to Keep Your PC Clean and Quick

September 4, 2012 3:16 am

What you don't know can hurt you when it comes to what's hiding in your PC. From "naturally" occurring registry errors to more insidious threats like spyware, hidden problems can slow your computer performance to a crawl or even cause it to crash.

A little proactive maintenance, however, can go a long way toward preventing problems. Keeping your PC "clean" and running at its best is as simple as establishing a routine maintenance schedule and using the right kinds of software to address the most common problems.

Here are three key "cleaning" tasks that you should perform on a regular basis (at least once a week):

Run a registry cleaner

If your computer is slower now than when you first bought it, the problem may be registry errors. Installing and removing software, playing online games, application crashes and upgrades of software problems can all create "natural" errors in your PC's registry. They accumulate over time and the more errors you have, the higher the likelihood that you'll experience trouble.

Out spyware

Did you know that 61 percent of PCs have spyware on them? And of those infected, 92 percent of users didn't know spyware was present on their computers, according to a poll by AOL and the National Cyber-Security Alliance.

Spyware - software that gets installed on your computer without your knowledge or consent - is considered a serious security threat. Not only can spyware collect information about your Internet usage, it can install additional software, hijack your browser, change your computer settings and slow down your computer performance.

Scan for spyware daily if you are on the Internet often and download frequently. Many companies offer completely free anti-spyware software for download.

Be vigilant to viruses

With so many other computer threats cropping up, it may be easy to overlook virus protection. But viruses continue to be a major threat to computer security, costing consumers and companies billions of dollars worldwide each year to prevent virus transmission and clean up after infection.

The best defense is a good offense when it comes to computer viruses. Subscribe to virus protection software that provides constant updates since new viruses emerge and old ones evolve into new forms every day. Scan for new viruses at least once a week - more frequently if you are a heavy Internet user or receive large volumes of unsolicited email.

Source: www.liveinformed.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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A Pet Owner's Guide to Disaster Preparedness

September 4, 2012 3:16 am

With hurricane season upon us, pet owners must be prepared on all levels - including being prepared to protect their pets. If you’re wondering what you can do to keep your pets from becoming victims of a disaster, these tips on disaster preparedness will help you keep your dog, cat or other animal safe should disaster strike.

1. Make sure your pet is microchipped and always wears a collar or harness with his microchip tag and town license tags.

2. Always keep your pet up to date on vaccinations.

3. If you need to evacuate, know where the nearest shelter is or have a designated evacuation site. If the shelter or site does not allow pets, have a pre-arranged place to bring your pet, such as a relative's home or pet-friendly motel.

4. Each pet should be in his own carrier clearly marked with all of his and your information. Even if your pets have shared a crate in the past, an emergency situation could stress them out and cause them to be more agitated than usual.

5. Prepare an Evacuation Kit including: photocopies of all veterinary records; copies of all registrations and proof of ownership; a two week supply of food and directions for feeding; a two-week supply of water; a can opener; emergency contact list including your vet and alternate vet, pet-friendly motel, relatives, local animal shelters, police, fire and Red Cross; medications including directions and name of pharmacy; leash and collar.

Take the time now to prepare an emergency kit for your pet in the event of a disaster.

Source: Royal Flush Havanese

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Tips on Handling Water Damage

September 4, 2012 3:16 am

If a home or office has experienced water damage, it is important to locate a water damage repair company that is well trained and has the equipment to completely dry the structure as quickly as possible.

Water damage is progressive and items that could be restored within the first 48 hours of the damage occurring may not be restored if emergency response is delayed. Although the homeowner might be tempted to use a shop vacuum or call a company that only has equipment to dry carpet, remember that water will wick up walls and travel under base molding and sill plates. It will penetrate through floor coverings into sub-floors, even causing water damage in rooms below.

In addition, if humidity inside the structure is not controlled, items that were not originally damaged could be damaged as a result of absorbing moisture from the air. Structures that are not dried out quickly and properly can become a food source for mold growth, which may require professional mold removal.
In the event of water damage, do the following:

• Stay calm!
• Turn off the breaker in the damaged area before unplugging or removing any electrical devices located on the wet carpet.
• Place aluminum foil under the legs of any furniture that’s in contact with wet carpet. This might help prevent furniture stains on the carpet.
• Lift draperies away from wet carpet.
• Pin up upholstered furniture skirts that may get wet.
• Remove books, shoes, paper goods, fabrics, potted plants, and other items, which may stain wet carpet.

Do not attempt the following:

• Don’t use a home vacuum, since electrical shock may result, as well as certain damage to the equipment itself.
• Don’t place newspaper in traffic areas to walk on, since newspaper ink transfers easily to wet carpet fibers and may result in permanent staining.
• Don’t walk on carpet any more than necessary. This will keep the damage from spreading to unaffected areas.

Source: Rainbow International

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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3 Simple Steps to Improve Your Fuel-Efficiency

August 31, 2012 9:12 am

One-third of travel for the year takes place during summer and more than three-quarters of those trips are taken by automobile, truck or RV. As summer draws to a close, drivers are encouraged to continue following these three simple steps to improve their fuel-efficiency and reduce their carbon footprint.

Practicing EcoDriving produces the highest mileage from every single vehicle—regardless of size or age--and can reduce gas use and carbon emissions significantly by as much as 15 percent or more. Here are three easy EcoDriving tips that can help many consumers start driving green:

-Turn the engine off when waiting at a curb to save more than half a gallon of fuel for every hour that would have been spent idling.
-Tire pressure changes an average of one PSI for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit change in temperature, so maintaining proper tire pressure can improve gas mileage by about 3 percent. This can earn drivers a free tank of gas every year.
-Avoid rapid starts and stops. This is not only safe, but it can save more than $1 per gallon, according to the U.S. EPA, while improving fuel economy by up to 33 percent.

During summer driving months and even through the beginning of Fall, gas prices tend to rise, but green driving can always lessen the impact.

Source: EcoDrivingUSA

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3 Pitfalls to Avoid When Paying Your Kitchen & Bath Contractor

August 31, 2012 9:12 am

With the market gradually recovering, more homeowners are spending money on remodeling projects. If they are not careful, homeowners can end up paying more than they ever expected. Here are some valuable tips on how to avoid three of the most common pitfalls.

Pitfall #1: A homeowner makes a large deposit, then gets no work done.

This is one of the most common scams among unscrupulous contractors. They ask for a big deposit or to pay for all of the materials upfront, then the homeowner never hears from them again. To avoid this pitfall, homeowners should not pay for work or materials upfront and should avoid any large deposits.

In some states, it is against the law for contractors to ask for more than 10 percent or $1,000 (whichever is less) for a downpayment. They cannot legally ask for upfront payment for materials or work. The one exception is if the contractor is ordering customer-requested custom materials.

Pitfall #2: Suppliers or subcontractors come after the homeowner for payment.

Homeowners are responsible for suppliers and subcontractors who do not get paid on their job. They can even put a lien against the home where they did the work. To avoid this pitfall, there are several strategies a homeowner can use:

-Pay the supplier or subcontractor directly.
-Issue joint checks to the contractor and supplier/subcontractor.
-Get an unconditional lien release from suppliers/subcontractors.

Pitfall #3: Homeowner is liable for an injury on the job, including lost wages.

If the general contractor does not have valid insurance, the homeowner is liable for any injuries on the job. This includes paying lost wages, if someone gets hurt and cannot work for a period of time. To avoid this pitfall, check that the general contractor has valid liability and workman’s comp insurance.

Of course, the easiest way to avoid these and other potential pitfalls is to work with a reputable contractor who has a history of paying suppliers and subcontractors on time.

Source: Cornerstone Design & Remodel

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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7 Positive Strategies for Managing Aggressive Behavior In Children

August 31, 2012 9:12 am

As the school year starts, teachers (and parents) may worry about how to handle a child who is having a "meltdown." Some children may fall in a puddle of tears and sob, while others yell and scream. What can be the hardest to handle is when a child becomes aggressive and hits, bites, shoves, throws things or kicks, possibly hurting themselves and others in a fit of anger or frustration.

Although aggressive behavior must be stopped, great harm can be done if an adult restrains an upset child in a way that is physically unsafe for the child or for the adult; acts worried or angry about the child being upset; or shames the child for losing control. Firm, kind, matter-of-fact adult intervention is necessary for everyone’s emotional and physical safety.

These seven intervention strategies may help you manage any aggressive behavior you may face in children:

1. Be prepared that children will sometimes have difficulty staying in charge of their behavior.
2. Identify and reduce causes of stress that trigger outbursts.
3. Teach children how to recognize and manage the feelings and actions that lead to unsafe behavior.
4. Create a plan for how to prevent and handle outbursts for every place the child might be.
5. As the adult in charge, understand and stay in charge of your own emotional triggers.
6. Be a powerful, respectful, adult leader when taking charge of an out-of-control child.
7. When you are caring for other people's children, make a plan ahead of time with the parents and/or your work supervisor about how to handle problems and what you are and are not authorized to do to manage outbursts and keep kids safe.

Children need to understand that all of their feelings are acceptable and normal, including anger. As adults, we can help our kids learn how to stay in charge of what they say and do even if they are feeling very angry or upset at that moment.

Source: Irene van der Zande, child safety education expert

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Natural Food Brands on the Rise

August 30, 2012 3:10 am

Natural raw organic foods are on the rise in the U.S. According to Super Market News, recent information released at the Canaccord Genuity Global Growth Conference indicates a growing and prosperous healthy food industry in the United States. Whole Foods Market, which recently announced plans to triple its number of natural food store locations, boasted a 36 percent gross margin over the last two quarters. General Mills announced that 68 percent of its retail products have been made healthier this year, touting reduced sodium and more whole grains, and Annie’s, an organic snack food line, released plans for two new products set to launch in early 2013. Natural food producer Wholesome Goodness also recently announced plans to sell products in Rite Aid stores nationwide.

While recent business performance seems to indicate a positive outlook for the healthy food industry, here are the top 10 superfoods recommended for those interested in natural, health or raw food options:
1. Walnuts
2. Blueberries
3. Avocados
4. Broccoli
5. Spinach
6. Whole grains
7. Yogurt
8. Salmon
9. Dark chocolate
10. Flaxseed

Source: MassageSchoolSanDiego.com

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7 Steps to Start The School Year Strong, Safe and Sound

August 30, 2012 3:10 am

Looking to give kids a better start to their school year? A new list of seven steps can help your child start the year off strong, safe and sound.  

1. Take a realistic look at your child’s emotional school-readiness.
Qualities like being more sensitive or less sensitive, more outgoing or more reserved, louder or quieter, are all normal and have both benefits and potential liabilities. The sooner children can learn to be in charge of their qualities, so that these are gifts instead of problems, the happier and more successful they will be. 

2. Be clear about both safety and learning expectations.
Tell your child clearly, 'I expect you to feel respected and safe at school. And I expect you to act in safe and respectful ways towards others.' Be explicit about what this means, using specific examples relevant to your child.

3. Make a plan for potential problems.
Children can suddenly find themselves struggling with some academic subject or having emotional or social problems with someone in their circle of friends. Explore ways to make learning and interacting with friends easier. Sometimes children need major support, but often a little bit of help can make a huge difference.

4. Stay in touch with what is going on at school.
Many children are tired of school by the time they get home and don’t give much information when asked general questions like, “How was school today?" At the same time, most children like to share what’s going on in their lives if they are listened to without being lectured or having to hear negative comments about themselves, their school, or their friends.

5. Offer support to your child’s teachers and schools.
Teaching is a hard job and schools face many challenges. Supporting teachers and not taking them for granted is vital to helping kids have a good experience at school. 

6. Prepare your children to set boundaries and to advocate for themselves.
In an ideal world, people would always be kind to each other rather than being mean to each other. However, even people who really care about each other annoy and bother each other sometimes. Rehearsing how to handle specific problems will help to increase confidence, reduce anxiety, and build competence. 

7. Advocate for your children when things go wrong.
Remember that, as parents, our job is to make sure that our children are in places that are emotionally and physically safe and with people who are creating a supportive, effective learning environment. If something goes wrong, be prepared to advocate in a respectful, powerful way for your child.

Source: Kidpower.org

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Second Homeowners Need Professional Help

August 30, 2012 3:10 am

With the sale of vacation homes surging, more current and aspiring second homeowners are seeking ways to supply cash flow or recover expenses by placing their properties in a professional management program - a tactic that’s ripe for success, according to industry experts. Purchasing the home is just the beginning, however. Making sure it’s updated and marketable is vital to compete in today’s travel marketplace, and to drive revenue for the homeowner.

Today’s second homeowners have a choice: rent and manage the property themselves, or engage a vacation rental professional. Rather than personally handling reservations, marketing, maintenance and more, many homeowners choose to partner with an area property management company to handle the legwork, even when the home is not rented. This could possibly translate into more rental bookings for a higher investment return.

Here are a few reasons why “going with a pro” could benefit some second homeowners:
  • Income: Vacation rental professionals earn homeowners money when a property would normally sit empty. It’s also common for property managers to earn extra guest loyalty and repeat visits by providing the guest services homeowners can’t when going it alone. They can also advise on local market conditions, travel trends, and how to expect and plan for seasonal occupancy demands.
  • Zoning and Legal Counsel: A professional evaluation is vital to determining whether a property is legally zoned for vacation rental business. Partnering with a manager also ensures the property will be operated under a proper tax ID and business license; and that the property meets ongoing inspection requirements.
  • 24/7 Attention: Vacation rental managers service the property, homeowners and guests 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with quick and professional responses thanks to fully staffed teams nearby. They commonly handle questions or emergencies after-hours, a time when homeowners may not be able to (or want to) respond.
  • Guest Services: Day-to-day guest operations are made easier for homeowners, as the professionals collect and process bookings and check guests in/out. Many companies also offer concierge services, which make a rental more marketable – think exclusive perks like a private chef, in-home spa treatments, free movie and video game rentals, grocery delivery options, discounts on activities, etc.
  • Marketing: Some of the biggest advantages to partnering with a professional are the in-depth programs designed to market their inventory. Companies may invest in high-resolution property video/photos, guest surveys, contests, promotional trade outs, brochures and rack cards, advertising, PR and more to drive additional business.
  • Housekeeping: Trained housekeepers keep managers’ vacation rental homes cleaned to hospitality industry standards. Inspectors are often deployed to each property before and after every guest, ensuring consistency and quality.
  • Property Maintenance: It’s standard for professionals to oversee services like lawn care, pest control, pool care, A/C service, etc. They maintain relationships with reliable vendors, and offer guests plans to cover accidental breakages. “Going with a pro” also assures homeowners that there are “eyes and ears” for their second home, versus a property sitting empty without being checked or maintained.
  • Interior Design: Many companies assist with staging and set-up for travelers, including ongoing support with insights and upgrades, and some even offer in-house interior design and property improvement services. Design pros provide detailed plans to meet market demands and make homes more profitable. For example, they can advise on repurposing spaces into game rooms or movie theaters, together with popular “extras,” designs and amenities vacationers look for.

For some second homeowners, hiring professional help may reap even more return on their investment, especially for time-crunched second homeowners. For more information, visit: www.DiscoverVacationHomes.com.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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End of Summer Pool-Closing Checklist

August 29, 2012 3:08 am

Summer is cooking itself to a simmering close, and it is time to think about when you will be closing down your pool. Closing your pool doesn't have to be a chore, though. Whether you are in a cold or not-so-cold climate, you will need to do a few things before you close shop. In the week prior to closing your pool you need to:

• Balance water (bring to pH 7.2-7.6) and make any necessary adjustments in calcium hardness, etc.
• Brush and vacuum.
• Shock the pool.
• Re-adjust the sanitizer, then add long lasting algaecide.
• Turn heater off.
• Reduce filtering times gradually over a week.
• Drag cover out and inspect and clean if necessary.
• Remove any ladders, ropes; clean and store.
• Clean around pool area.
• Clean and store pool furniture.

Try and close your pool before the leaves start blowing around. This will help you avoid fishing out a ton of leaves, which may cause an algae bloom in the spring.

• Drain pool water to below skimmer and blow out the lines with a shop vac.
• Plug return with stopper.
• Add special RV/pool antifreeze to skimmer lines, and return lines, if below ground, and shut them down.
• Drain filter of water.
• Inspect filter unit for wear and tear; remove multiport valve.
• Disconnect pump/filter unit if possible and store where they will not freeze. If not possible, then securely cover unit.
• Drag out and inspect water bags, sand bags or milk jugs, and fill them.
• For vinyl lined pools, reduce the chance of ice damage to your liner by floating several LARGE pieces of styrofoam in the pool.
• Roll the cover out over the pool and weight it down securely. During the fall season and before the winter hits, it is a good idea to pump off excess water from the cover. The cover will collect leaves and water and generally be a mess in the spring regardless, but you will reduce the time spent opening the pool and extend the life of the cover by keeping the junk off of it.

If you live in a warm weather climate and will not be using your pool during the winter months, reduce your maintenance schedule, since the temperature will still be high enough to promote bacteria and algae growth. Follow the same preliminary steps as above, and gradually reduce your filtering times.

Source: www.thefunplace.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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