Monday, September 26, 2016

Sweepstakes: KEY Pledge

As you may know, young children are continuing to be exposed to liquid laundry packets in the U.S. In fact, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, in 2015 there were over 12,954 exposures to liquid laundry packets in children 5 and younger. To help raise awareness on these accidental exposures, The American Cleaning Institute is educating parents and caregivers through its KEY Pledge campaign on the importance of practicing laundry safety at home. The campaign shares tips on preventing these types of accidents from occurring, specifically by keeping laundry packets up high and out of reach and sight of young children, and kept in its original container. ACI urges consumers to take the Pledge to a safe laundry room and routine. And, by taking the Pledge you are automatically entered to win $2,500 for a laundry room makeover!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Smart Safety: Car Seat Tips

Did you know that according to the CDC, accidents are the leading cause of death among children in the United States? September 18-24, 2016 is Child Passenger Safety Week, an annual event put together by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrations (NHTSA) to raise awareness for car seat safety.
Check out these 10 different car seat safety tips  to teach parents the ins and outs of car seat safety from a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician, Allana Pinkerton.

Healthy Habits: Hair Regrowth

The iRestore Hair Growth System was recently launched in August. Hair loss has many causes—including hereditary, medical conditions, stress, and post-pregnancy—and emotionally impacts those who experience it. With the iRestore, those struggling can find satisfaction, improved self-esteem, and confidence in growing thicker, healthier hair.

I had a chance to interview the team to learn more.

What are some common causes of hair thinning and hair loss?
The most common cause of hair thinning and hair loss is androgenic alopecia. It is a hereditary condition also known as male pattern baldness or female pattern baldness that is inherited.Life changing events can cause hair loss like an event where you experienced physical trauma or emotional shock or events like pregnancy or menopause.

How do people with hair loss typically cope?
Two options many people tend to use are minoxidil and finasteride. Minoxidil is a topical solution while finasteride is an oral supplement; both of the products help to promote hair regrowth and enhance hair strength and volume.More expensive options are multiple visits with a laser therapy specialist, or receiving a hair transplant.

What sets iRestore apart from other options?
The iRestore Hair Growth System is a hands-free device that uses lasers and LEDs to stimulate cell metabolism and increase blood flow to regrow fuller, thicker hair while you read a book, surf the web, or watch TV. This side-effect free solution allows you to use a safe, non-invasive hair growth treatment to improve your appearance and still maintain good health in the long run without relying on drugs.

Thrifty Thinking: Ways to Cut Your Insurance Prices in Half

If you’re one of the millions of drivers who pay high car insurance premiums each year, you’re not alone. While car insurance is mandatory, there’s no law that says you have to pay an arm and a leg for it. Here are a few easy ways to cut down your car insurance bill that don’t include increasing your deductible.

Reduce Any Unwanted Coverage
If you drive an older vehicle, check with your insurance agent to make sure you’re not actually over-insuring your car. Insuring your car for more than it is worth means that you may be overpaying on your car insurance. If you’ve had the same rate for years, it may be time to double-check your potential savings. Remember, if you’re in an accident and your car is totaled, your insurance provider will likely only cover the value of your car at the time of the accident, not at the time you purchased it.

Get Different Quotes
Get insurance quotes before you purchase an automobile. Most of the time, car purchasers don’t investigate the cost of insurance until they’ve signed the papers. Car insurance is controlled by more than just the estimated value of the car. Your car insurance payment could increase based on how likely the car is to be stolen, how costly the car is to repair and a host of other factors. Do research on how much car insurance payments will be on the car you’re interested in buying so you’re not blindsided by a huge insurance cost when you’re already stuck with the vehicle.

Bundle to Get a Discount
Bundle all of your cars! Multiple-car discounts are very common. If you have two cars that need to be insured, put them both on the same policy. A simple phone call to your agent to get this set up can sometimes save you $50 to $100 dollars a month.
Drive Safely
Many car insurance companies will provide you a “safe driving” discount if you go multiple years without an accident or any violations. Some companies even offer a small device you can plug into your car. This device tracks your speed and other factors, allowing insurers to determine, through the collected data, if you are a cautious and safe driver. Depending on their thresholds, you could receive a hefty discount.

Don’t Drive A Lot? Tell your Insurer
A few insurance providers offer discount programs if you drive under a certain number of miles per year. For example, if you drive less than 7500 miles per month, you may qualify for a discount of $20 a month. You may have to provide odometer readings to the insurance company in order to qualify.

These easy-to-follow tips can add up to hundreds of dollars in savings per year. With the cost of car ownership, maintenance and gas, being a driver can get pricey. While it may be attractive to search for cheaper insurance providers or to lessen your coverage, you may not have to cut corners or give up benefits to get a reasonable and manageable rate. Drive worry-free, not money free.

For more tips on all things car related, visitBlitzify.com, check out our blog, and download the Blitzify app that is revolutionizing the way motorists search and shop for automotive services.

About Blitzify
Blitzify is a new mobile application that connects customers and automotive service providers through a comprehensive and innovative mobile platform that is changing the way people buy and sell
automotive services. The app merges data from local market research, information from service providers, special offers, testimonials and ratings and reviews from customers into a user-friendly interface giving the user out-the-door, real time price comparisons.  For more information, visit www.blitzify.com.

Fun Freetime: Great Places for Instagram Shots

The travel experts at Gogobot, the leading tribe-based website and app for personalized recommendations on the best places to stay eat and play, are right there with you. Of all of the glorious things fall brings – think crisp days, changing leaves, cozy sweaters, pumpkin spice everything and the gorgeous late afternoon sun – perhaps the best of all is the opportunity for parents to capture their baby in that adorable Instagram-worthy autumn pic.
 
Since babies are the perfect models for Autumn and all its stunning colors and settings, here are Gogobot’s favorite spots to get that perfect Instagram. Check out some of our favorite Fall Baby pics from the gram and get inspired to set your #BabyInstagramGoals for the season!
 
1.     Pumpkin patches -- Bates Nut Farm (San Diego, CA), Pumpkin Hollow (Piggott, AK), Anderson Farms (Erie, CO), The Great Pumpkin Farm (Clarence, NY), PEANUTS Pumpkin Patch & Express (Bryson City, NC)
 
2.     Apple orchards -- Menghini Winery (Julian, CA), Jones Creek Farms (Sedro-Woolley, WA), Sky Top Orchard (Flat Rock, NC), Kiyokawa Family Orchards (Mt. Hood, OR), Dwight Miller Orchards (East Dummerston, VT)
 
3.     Sunflower fields -- Sunflower fields are most common in South DakotaNorth DakotaMinnesotaKansasTexasColoradoNebraska, and parts of California.
 
4.     The woods -- For that iconic fairy-tale wood setting (and better yet, changing leaves!), the Redwood National Forest (Californa), Blue Ridge Parkway/Mountains (North Carolina), White Mountain National Forest (New Hampshire), and Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Tennessee) are major bucket list-worthy settings.
 
5.     Harvest festivals & markets -- Find vegetable baskets, hay bales, or even better, a cornucopia, for your backdrop at your local farmer’s market. Some biggies in some of our favorite cities are: Little Italy Farmer’s Market (San Diego), the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market (LA), and Union Square Greenmarket (NYC) – but most small to medium cities have a good market these days.
 
6.     Barns & farms -- Most urban areas have a farm that’s open for visits and maybe picking within driving distance (think Emma Prusch in Silicon Valley, Bartlett’s Farm in Nantucket, Goebbert’s near Chicago – bonus for pumpkin shots here – or Harbes Family Farm near New York.)
 
7.     Anywhere there’s a pile of leaves! -- Red, yellow, and gold leaf piles in places like Aspen (CO), Catskills (NY), The Berkshires (MA), Montpelier (VT), and again, those Great Smoky Mountains (TN) are just begging to be Instagram-med.

Shopping Savings: Baby Depot at Burlington

At Baby Depot at Burlington, you can get the same brand names that you love and trust for up to 60% off the average retail price. A one-stop-shop and savings all in one place – what could be easier!? From strollers and cribs, to gates and booster seats, Baby Depot has all you need and more.

Thrifty Thinking: 4 Tips For Making Your Retirement Savings Last Longer

Many retirees and those nearing retirement express a common fear.
They worry about running out of money; finding their bank account drained with years of life still ahead of them.
“The reality is that a large percentage of Americans simply don’t have the kind of savings they need,”  says Chuck Price, president of Price Financial Group Wealth Management Inc. (www.pfgwm.com) and author of “Investing Simplified: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You.”
“When that’s the case, there are other strategies they’ll need to consider.”
His suggestions for stretching retirement dollars as much as possible include:
• Work longer. Nothing says you have to stop working at a particular age. You can continue in your career, find a new one or just work part-time. Even temporary employment can help keep the cash flowing so you don’t have to tap into your savings too much.
• Cultivate alternative income streams. You can reduce your reliance on your retirement portfolio by cultivating income streams. “This could be done through a side business or maybe by making investments outside your retirement portfolio that pay dividends,” Price says. “There are a number of ways you might be able to come up with some extra income.”
• Cut costs. Are there expenses you can get rid of if money becomes too tight? Maybe you don’t need to play golf every day or dine out so often. Are you paying for insurance on an extra car that you really don’t need anymore or for a motorcycle you rarely ride? “Retirement is supposed to be fun, I know, but in tough economic times you’ll have to make decisions,” Price says. “If your situation improves, you can add some of those luxuries back later.”
• Reconsider the financial help you give others. Older people often want to help their children and grandchildren financially, but you might need to cut back on your charity. “If your own survival and financial situation is being threatened, you need to pull back a bit,” Price says. “You’re trying to make your money outlive you, so it might be necessary in times of economic turmoil to reduce how much you provide to others.”
On the upside, Price says, it’s worth noting that expenses in retirement might not end up being as much as you think.
“Most people spend less money as they get older because they stop driving, traveling and buying clothes,” Price says. “The main exception is if there’s a need for long-term care, which can be very expensive.
“But most of my clients in retirement, usually after about age 80, aren’t spending anywhere close to what they planned for.”
About Chuck Price
Chuck Price (www.pfgwm.com) is president and wealth manager for Price Financial Group Wealth Management Inc. He also is author of “Investing Simplified: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You.” Price has more than 40 years of financial experience and hosts a popular radio show, “Investing Simplified,” that airs on Freedom 970 in Portland, Ore.

The Dressmaker Screening 9/26 Shoplace ICON (West End MN)

THE DRESSMAKER, starring Kate Winslet, opens in theaters in Minneapolis September 30. There is a free advance screening on Monday, September 26 at Showplace ICON (West End) at 7pm. For a chance to see the film for FREE before it hits theaters, download passes here.

Book Nook: The Identity of AngiArts

I recently had the chance to review a rather unique book, The Identity of AngiArts, a book that wants to encourage kids in middle grades to become creative thinkers. It comes at a time when many arts programs are unfortunately being minimized, despite the fact that schools with strong arts programs typically have higher-achieving students.

The book is a modern-day comic-book-style fantasy, focused around an art enthusiast who can travel through time and shares joy and peace through the arts. It's an interesting concept for a book, with very creative illustrations and a good message for kids.

Angi Perretti is an author, costume designer and an instrumental participant in promoting the city of Orlando to a world-class arts community. She is the founder of “Walking~Works~of~Art,” a philanthropy for the arts, and has previously published two other books: “The Chronicles of Angi Perretti” and “Swans of the World Habitats.” Perretti has three children and five grandchildren and hopes to inspire their awareness for reading and literary culture.

Book Nook: Sneaky Blends

I enjoy cooking, getting new ideas for food, and creating healthy, tasty recipes for my family. I used to have two extremely picky daughters, who thankfully have outgrown that phase, but I often snuck veggies and fruit into foods they already liked. It's still fun to get ideas to continue to do that, just to boost nutrition of family favorites, so it was great to get a chance to review Sneaky Blends, a cookbook with over a 100 recipes that use purees to improve nutrition.

I tried a variety of the recipes from the book, and anything that was a supercharged version of something I had made before continued to be a hit - my kids couldn't tell there was anything different, and my husband could, but still enjoyed it. Some things were brand new, and most of the recipes I tried, everyone liked.

If you have picky eaters, or just want to make your cooking for healthy, this is a great way to get ideas for lots of ways to pack healthy purees into your foods.