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Peter Ryan
4789 Route 309
Center Valley  PA 18034
 Phone: 610-791-4400 1958
Office Phone: 610-791-4400
Cell: 610-360-0820
Fax: 267-354-6890 
peterryan01@gmail.com
Peter Ryan

My Blog

Building a Home? Do This, Not That

January 31, 2017 1:36 am

Which home designs will yield the best results in terms of lifestyle and value? According to D.C.-area homebuilder, Miller & Smith, the following trends will change the way we occupy our living space. From technology innovations to creative ways to bring the outdoors in, the following do’s and don’ts serve as a great guideline for your living environment.

Do – Bring the outdoors in
Don’t – Keep it out
Whether it’s entertaining fireside on your patio or enjoying a rooftop sunset, today’s new homes are equipped with unique features that make it easier to become one with nature.  

Do – Go hybrid
Don’t – Stick with one style

Gone are the days of picking one design for your home’s interior. Today’s homeowners are creating their own unique aesthetic by mixing and matching modern and traditional design choices, rather than implementing one style across the board.

Do – Create multi-purpose space
Don’t – Stick to one room, one use

Instead of rooms that are relegated to one function or setting, today’s floorplans feature rooms meant for multiple purposes, multiple guests and multiple generations.

Do – Go open air
Don’t – Define spaces

Tear down those walls! Instead of limiting a room to a confined space, opt for a free-flowing floor plan that connects organically, and makes moving and living much easier.

Do – Hide features in the walls
Don’t – Take up space

Many new homes feature speakers, televisions and other items built right into walls and ceilings.  

Do – Connect your home with one device
Don’t – Get lost in a sea of remotes and gadgets

Instead of using multiple devices, the market’s most high-tech homes involve one central operating system and mobile platform.

Do – Make life easier and smarter
Don’t – Do it manually

New homes’ smart locks, keyless entry and other wireless features mean you never need to dig in your purse for your keys or remember which rock you hid your spare key under again.

Source: Miller & Smith

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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4 Ways to Stretch Your Health Benefits

January 31, 2017 1:36 am

(Family Features)--Often, employees enroll in medical insurance plans for protection against unpredictable events, sudden illness or serious health concerns that may result in expensive medical bills. Getting the most from your benefits requires understanding coverages and deductibles, as well as taking advantage of voluntary benefits, like dental, vision and hearing, to stay healthy and save money.

Avoid surprises. About 91 percent of adults in the United States are confused about what their benefits cover, according to a recent Harris poll. The best starting point is to review your plan so you understand the care and services covered. If you have a high-deductible plan, you will need to pay for most or a percentage of the health costs until reaching the individual or family deductible. Be prepared to pay any copayments or deductibles the plan requires before receiving care. Also, before scheduling appointments, ask for a cost estimate for the appointment, tests or service.

Preventive dental and vision. Many voluntary plans, such as dental and vision, offer preventive exams, such as routine cleanings and vision exams, that are fully covered. That’s because these preventive exams help to maintain and improve overall health and help reduce health costs. Voluntary coverage is affordable and many plans offer added incentives. For example, coverage for LASIK, dental, vision and hearing benefits can increase from one year to the next for those who continue to enroll and use their benefits. Members could earn monetary rewards to use for dental, vision, LASIK, orthodontia and hearing benefits, care materials and services simply by using their benefits and keeping the benefits paid out under a specified amount.

Medical screenings. Routine health screenings, such as mammograms, immunizations, colonoscopy procedures and prostate cancer screenings, which may be covered fully or in part by your medical coverage, can help you stay healthy and lower health care costs.

Get paid to save. Many employers encourage employees to save money by matching a percentage of the amount the employee contributes to the plan. If available, enroll in a Health Savings Account or Flexible Spending Account to set aside money to pay for health care costs.

Remember that these accounts are not a substitute for the coverage provided by voluntary benefits.

Source: ameritasinsight.com.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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5 Ways to Stick to Your Fitness Goals

January 31, 2017 1:36 am

Do you keep making fitness goals only to give up after a few months, weeks, or even days? You may be setting yourself up for failure. Read on for five ways to set yourself up for success with your fitness goals, whether they’re big or small.

Go to bed earlier. If you want an early morning wakeup or the energy for a post-work  workout, go to bed earlier to feel more rested in the morning.

Sleep in your workout clothes. This may seem a bit extreme, but for many, this tip is oddly helpful. Sleep in your gym shorts so you have one less step to take in the morning (after you hit the coffee pot, of course).

Enlist a buddy. Whether it’s a trainer, colleague or your best friend, having someone waiting for you at the gym or track will ensure you show up.

Pay yourself. Give yourself $1 or $2 for every workout you make, and subtract $1 or $2 for every one you miss. Save up for a dream vacation or a special splurge. Can’t seem to get this rolling? There are apps for that! Check your app store for fitness accountability apps.

Find a fun workout. If running seems worse to you than doing 10 straight hours of dishes, choose a different fitness activity. Do you enjoy yoga or swimming? Do that instead. By focusing on tasks you enjoy, you will be more likely to stick with it.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Do You Live in One of America's Kindest Communities?

January 30, 2017 1:30 am

If you are looking to live in one of the nation's kindest communities, a recent WalletHub survey can help. WalletHub calculated the Most Caring Cities in America - comparing 100 of the largest U.S. markets across 32 key metrics, including “homelessness rate," “percentage of income donated to charity” and “special-education teachers per capita.” Some key points of the survey include:

- Memphis, Tenn., has the highest share of income donated to charity, 5.4 percent, which is 2.8 times higher than in Laredo, Texas, the city with the lowest at 1.9 percent.

- Virginia Beach, Va., has the most volunteering hours per capita, 45.9, which is 2.9 times more than in New Orleans, the city with the fewest at 16.0.

Milwaukee has the highest share of residents who do favors for neighbors, 20 percent, which is four times higher than in Phoenix, the city with the lowest at 5 percent.

Lexington, Ky., has the highest share of sheltered homeless persons, 98 percent, which is 4.1 times higher than in Fresno, Calif., the city with the lowest at 24 percent.

Fremont, Calif., has the lowest child-poverty rate, 6.2 percent, which is 9.2 times lower than in Detroit, the city with the highest at 57.1 percent.

Lincoln, Neb., has the most residents who work in community and social services per 100,000 residents, 1,164.79, which is 3.3 times more than in Las Vegas, the city with the fewest at 351.25.

The listing is not without its peculiar metric, however. For example, Pittsburgh, which ranked 9th best among the top 10 cities on the survey also came in as 6th worst in percentage of income donated to charity per capita. And every one of the bottom five cities with the lowest percentage of workers who carpool also made the top 20 of best overall cities for kindness and giving - perhaps a reflection on urban density or the quality of public transportation.

Check out where your city ranks on kindness and charitable giving at wallethub.com/edu/most-caring-cities/.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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4 Mantras You Can Use to Be Happier Today

January 30, 2017 1:30 am

Some days, keeping a smile on your face may be a struggle. Whether you’re dealing with a stressful career, medical issues, or just feeling weighed down by your daily routine, repeating positive mantras can help shift your mood—if you’re open to it.

Below are four helpful happy mantras to lift your mood.

You can do it. Whether you’re under a huge deadline for work or trying to finish that last mile on the treadmill, telling yourself that you can do it will make your success more likely. Be your own cheerleader!

Just breathe. Feeling overwhelmed? Remind yourself to breathe. Pair this mantra with big, deep inhalations to feel calmer and happier.

Thank you. Gratitude goes a long way, and can shift your perception of things (and the way people perceive you) if integrated into daily life. Be thankful of getting to work safely, even if you had a longer-than-usual commute. Be thankful you have the funds to buy groceries, even when your list of errands seems endless. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

No judgements. This is easier said than done, especially in a world where other people’s lives are constantly popping into our news feeds. Annoyed at your co-worker’s cheesy engagement photos? Irritated that your college roommate seems to be traveling constantly, when you can’t even afford a staycation? Remind yourself to pay attention to your own life, and don’t judge or envy others for their choices.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Welcoming a Puppy Home

January 30, 2017 1:30 am

(Family Features)--Nothing is more heartwarming than the first warm nuzzle from a new puppy. With new pets, however, come new responsibilities and opportunities, which can often lead to New Year’s resolutions involving new furry friends.

“No matter the season, it’s always a moving and emotional experience when a puppy finds a new home,” says Eran Cohen, chief customer experience officer at PetSmart. “Our passionate associates are available to help bring pet parents closer to their pets so they can live more fulfilled lives.”

To help puppy parents welcome their pets home – and keep New Year’s commitments – PetSmart, the largest specialty pet retailer across North America, offers this expert advice on nutrition, socialization, essentials and health care to help keep pets happy and healthy.

Find a Veterinarian
A veterinarian should be your first call if your puppy gets into something that could potentially harm him or her. Vets are also great resources to keep you up-to-date on puppy care, like vaccination timing. Use a tool like the free askPETMD app, available in the Apple App and Google Play stores, to find a veterinarian near you.

ID Your Pet
While pets are getting acclimated to their home, and with people going in and out, it can be easy for them to slip out a door. Be prepared in case they embark on an unplanned journey around the neighborhood. To ensure you are reunited, outfit your pup with proper ID, including a personalized ID tag.  

Pup-Proof Your Home
Dogs love to chew, whether it’s on shoes or something more dangerous like wiring or extension cords. To protect them and promote positive chewing experiences, use toys or treats to occupy their time and allow them to chew safely. It’s also important to place household products like trash, laundry detergent and cleaning supplies out your pup’s reach.

Give Puppies Their Own Space
According to a survey commissioned by PetSmart and conducted by Wakefield Research, 47 percent of U.S. dog owners let their puppy sleep in bed with them seven nights per week. However, when it’s time for puppies to rest on their own, a puppy crate can perform double duty, providing puppies their own area away from stressors to nap and serving as a structure that promotes potty training.

Give Your Dog Time to Acclimate
Socialization is critical during a pup’s early years. While everyone may be ready to meet the new member of your family, consider introducing them to one or two people at a time, so the puppy can get to know them and warm up to their scent.

Research Nutrition
It may be tempting to feed a puppy human food, but they require specially formulated food and often have different eating schedules than an adult dog. Do your research, read labels and ask questions. Consider leading natural pet lifestyle brands, like Only Natural Pet, which offer formulas such as Puppy Power Feast food, as well as a variety of treats.

Invest in Training
Consistent training is an important responsibility of a puppy parent. Dogs crave love and praise, and a properly trained pooch will better understand what’s expected of him or her. If necessary, get help from puppy training experts to help ensure all family members are able to live happily in one harmonious pack.

Source: PetSmart

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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New Takes on Baby’s Room

January 27, 2017 1:18 am

If there’s a new baby coming to your house this year, you may be thinking about nursery room themes. If so, take heart from professional decorators, who say individual tastes are at the top of the list this year.

“While grey walls are popular, parents are choosing a variety of color schemes and themes these days, and gender is not a deciding factor,” according to California designer Allyson Becker.

From bright and playful to vintage cool, you may find inspiration from seven new moms who shared their design decisions with Parenting Magazine:

Nature’s bounty – Celebrate the great outdoors with grey walls and splashes of yellow, apricot and sage. Perfect for boys or girls, the scheme is easily carried out in baskets, area rugs, linens and window blinds.

Pink the modern way – If you want the room to look girly, but not too girly, stay with neutral walls, dark-colored furniture and soft pinks in the window coverings and rugs, livened up with a few hot pink accents.

Mellowed yellow – Perfect for either gender, a focus on yellow can be ‘tweaked’ with accents of aqua, grey or pale peach in the wall décor and window treatments.

Easy as ABC – Choose white or any neutral color for the walls and hang a set of colorful alphabet cards, classroom style, around the walls. Finish the décor in primary colors taken directly from the cards.

Off the wall – Start by choosing a children’s wallpaper pattern that delights you. Cover one wall with it, and use it as a springboard for selecting the wall color, rugs, lamps, and other accents appropriate to the wallpaper’s theme.

Chalk it up – Paint one wall with chalkboard paint, which actually becomes a canvas for baby when he or she is old enough to "paint" with chalk. Because the slate color is dark, accent the room with light, bright pastel hues.

Go on safari – The easy availability of giant-sized stuffed giraffes, elephant-shaped clothes hampers, and other safari animal accents makes this a solid design choice. Go ‘wild’ with color choices or stick with neutral. The theme is fun either way.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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How to Lower Your Chance of Heart Disease

January 27, 2017 1:18 am

As Americans age, their risk of heart disease grows. However, your rick heart disease can be thwarted with proper dietary care.  USA Medical offers the following three diet tips from the American Diabetes Association, whose community has a higher risk of heart disease:

Limit sodium intake. Excessive sodium in a diet increases the risk for heart disease. The federal daily recommendation allows up to 2,300 milligrams of sodium intake, but those with high blood pressure should drop their consumption to under 1,500 milligrams. Beware of restaurant meals and packaged foods that are often dangerously high in salt

Eliminate trans fats and limit saturated fat. Avoid red meats high in saturated fat such as lamb, beef and venison, and meats high in sodium such as bacon and ham. New York City registered dietitian Willow Jarosh explains that trans fats are "especially bad because too much can lower your HDL ['good'] cholesterol and raise your LDL—a double whammy to your heart health."   

Maintain the correct balance and portions of a heart-healthy diet. Make fresh fruits and vegetables staples of your meals.  Focus on eating mono- and polyunsaturated fats.  Include tofu, beans, fish and lean meats for protein, and whole grains for nutritious carbohydrates.  Fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables such as asparagus and broccoli; don't make meat the main course of any meal.
SOURCE: USA Medical

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Yes, You Should Protect Your Child From Identity Theft

January 27, 2017 1:18 am

Many grown Americans take necessary precautions to protect themselves from identity theft. However, not everyone thinks about protecting their child from the same situation.

While child identity theft is not as common as identity theft among adults, it is still a risk. One in 40 families with children under 18 had at least one child whose personal information was compromised, according to the most recent survey by the Identity Theft Assistance Center and the Javelin Strategy & Research group (2012).

All it takes is a Social Security number – often applied for at birth – which can be paired with a different name, birth date and address to apply for credit. This is called a synthetic identity. And, for nearly 18 years, there is typically little risk of detection.

According to PNC, other warning signs your child may be a victim include:

- Notification by the IRS of unpaid taxes in your child's name.

- Notification that a child's Social Security number was used on another tax return.

- Receiving collection calls for a minor child

- Receiving bills in a child's name for products or services not ordered or delivered.

- Declined for government benefits because benefits already are being paid to another account using the child's Social Security number.

Parents can be proactive in protecting their child from identity theft:

- Never carry your child's (or your) Social Security card in your wallet or purse. Keep it in a safe place, where it is not at risk of being stolen.

- Pay attention to forms from schools, doctor offices and others asking for personally identifiable information about your child. Opt out if you can or use the last four digits only.

- Shred all documents that show your child's personally identifiable information before throwing them away, just as you do for your own documents.

Most importantly: Request a credit report for your child annually, using the child's Social Security number for reference. Every individual is entitled to one free copy of their credit report once every 12 months at www.annualcreditreport.com. If there is no credit history on record, then typically the child has not fallen prey to identity thieves.  If there is a credit history for a minor child, he/she has mostly likely become a victim.

Source: http://www.pnc.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Do Generations Work Differently?

January 26, 2017 1:18 am

As more millennials enter the workforce and boomers choose later retirements, multi-generational work teams are the norm. But do workers of different ages work differently, and if so, how?CFOs in a Robert Half Management Resources survey said they see the greatest generational differences in employees' communication skills, ability to adapt to change and technical abilities. Only 7 percent of executives noted there are no differences.

Communication style: Baby boomers tend to be more reserved, while Gen Xers favor a control-and-command style, the research indicates. Conversely, Gen Yers prefer a more collaborative approach to communication, and Gen Zers prize in-person interactions.

Change management: According to the research, Gens X and Y tend to see change as a vehicle for new opportunities, while Gen Z is accustomed to change and expects it in the workplace.

Technical skills: When it comes to building their abilities, employer-backed training is expected by all workers. Baby boomers and Gen Xers most value traditional instructor-led courses or self-learning tools; millennials, which include Generations Y and Z, prefer collaborative and technology-centric options.

Robert Half Management Resources offers five tips for managing a multigenerational workforce:

- Don't overthink it. Start with the understanding that everyone wants to do a good job and help the company. This commonality lays a strong foundation for relationship-building.

- Customize your style. Staff possess common attributes, but they also have individual needs. Tailor your management for each person's strengths, personality and aspirations.

- Go off-site. Host team-building events outside the office to give employees a chance to get to know each other in a different setting.

- Let newer professionals take the lead. Institute reverse mentorships, where less-seasoned staff advise and share their insights with veteran colleagues. Also invite team members from all generations to share their unique areas of expertise.

- Mix and match project teams. Put together groups with complementary skills and diverse perspectives. This can prompt innovation and new problem-solving techniques.

Source: Robert Half Management Resources

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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