Successes and Strides in Breast Cancer Research

The five-year survival rate for women with breast cancer has steadily increased in the last twenty years to nearly 100 percent for stage 0 and stage 1 patients (Cancer.org). Important studies, fund-raising, and support from survivors and families have significantly impacted the outlook for this disease—and have pushed research to new heights.

  • Researchers have sped up computerized imaging to identify tumors more quickly, making prognosis and treatment faster. (USC)
  • Advancements in genetic testing have made diagnoses and identifying risk factors for breast cancer much more reliable. (American Cancer Society)
  • Successful studies in immunotherapy and other medications are giving patients many more options for treatment outside of chemotherapy. (Cancer Research Institute)
  • There are more than three million breast cancer survivors living in the US, because of increased awareness and improved research. (American Cancer Society)
  • Improved awareness and support for breast cancer survivors and families have dramatically enhanced quality of life after diagnosis. (Breastcancer.org)
  • The FDA continues to approve medication that not only combat growth of the disease, but also reduce side effects of treatment. (National Cancer Institute

Cleaning Up the Leaves

A stroll through leaves can be the best of times, but cleaning them up can be the worst of times—unless you know how to do it efficiently and effectively.

Tips for leaf removal

  • Check with your township first to see what’s allowed and what leaf-removal services it offers.
  • Use a lawnmower or a leaf blower to mulch leaves, and spread the mulch around your yard for better grass.
  • If you have a compost pile, add your unmulched leaves to it.
  • Add leaves to your garden to create soil-enriching garden mulch (also known as leaf mold).
  • Choose your favorites, dry them, and incorporate them into seasonal home decor or crafts.

Tips for leaf raking

  • Bend at your knees, and stand straight instead of hunching over.
  • Be patient: wait until all or most leaves have fallen to avoid repeat work.
  • Let leaves dry before raking; wet leaves are heavier and difficult to move.
  • Mind the wind, which can make a mess of your leaf piles.
  • Rake your leaves into manageable piles on a large tarp for easier disposal.

End of Summer Road Safety

Next to Thanksgiving and Christmas, Labor Day is one of the busiest driving days of the year. As families pack their cars and head to the beach for some last-minute summer sun, the roads can become quite busy.

Here’s how to make the most of your trip, and get to your destination safely and efficiently!

Prepare for the unexpected. 
It seems no road trip is complete without a few bumps in the road, but whether or not you do encounter any hiccups, you’ll be glad you were prepared with an emergency kit full of essentials, like pliers, a tire pressure gauge, and water.

If conditions aren’t right, postpone. 
There’s nothing worse than trying to force yourself to drive, despite bad weather, lack of sleep, or other dangerous conditions. If you aren’t feeling up to the drive, don’t get behind the wheel, or ask someone else to takeover.

Allot plenty of time. 
There will be traffic—it’s unavoidable in some cases. However, you can plan ahead by checking if any major roadways are under construction and try to find an alternative route. It’s also a good idea to check your GPS an hour or so before you leave for an ETA. Keep in mind, roadways are busiest between 4PM–10PM.

Avoid the busiest travel days. 
Without a doubt, Monday and Friday are the busiest travel days of Labor Day weekend. If you can help it, avoid heading out during the daytime on these days. Instead, head for your destination late on Thursday and pack up late Sunday or Monday.

Make your own adventure. 
Sometimes a trip to the beach or lake isn’t worth the hours spent in bumper to bumper traffic, especially when there’s bound to be an exciting adventure right in your own backyard. A staycation is a great alternative that doesn’t involve the dreaded task of packing.

Traveling this Labor Day? Make sure you’re road trip ready with an arsenal of travel snacksgames, and other tips.

Coworking Spaces Are the Future of Office Life

If you’ve ever worked out of a coffee shop to get away from the house, feeling frustrated with the noise and atmosphere, then you should try out a co-working space in your area. These flexible, low commitment office spaces are growing rapidly at a projected 42 percent in the next year and revolutionizing the meaning of “workplace.”  

What a co working space is  

A co working space is a building that offers working areas for people who need affordable, reliable space outside of the traditional office, coffee shop, or home office. There’s a variety of groups and individuals from different professions, and companies sharing one building at any given time during business hours.  

Who uses the space? 

Startup companies  

A business in its first stages of operations won’t always be able to afford buying their own building, but they still need that collaborative environment to keep making strides toward eventually purchasing one. 

Freelancers  

Freelance writers, photographers, and everyone else who doesn’t have a tie to any company, can benefit from the professional environment away from coffee shops and their home office.  

Working from home/telecommuting 

Growing trends in career decisions have a lot to do with flexibility. Working remotely via telecommuting is huge now. Individuals who telecommute frequently or all the time can now feel like they have a tangible office space every day to focus.  

The appeal of them 

Cost effective  

Most coworking spaces are rented by the day or month, with little to commitment. People who are unsure of their need for space over time can rent per day without fear of being looped into a contract. If you do choose to rent for a few months, it is far cheaper than buying your own space or renting a building.  

Different atmosphere 

As humans, we thrive off change and innovation. So many people are tired of the traditional workplace and desire to have the opportunity to work in different spots, not being tied down to one desk every day.  

Meeting other people  

Coworking spaces give people the opportunity to work next to people they’ve never met. There is a sense of community among those who seek out these unconventional offices, and some even host community events and mixers.  

Future of co working spaces 

Bigger spaces 

Physically, it’s projected that co-working businesses will purchase larger buildings and expand their locations to house more people as they find out about these spaces.  

Collaboration between companies 

There is potential for small companies using these spaces to interact and collaborate on projects. This can help those startup companies and others who need with small businesses.  

Next time you’re working from home and feel stuck in the house, and Starbucks just won’t cut it, see if there’s a coworking space near you! Oftentimes these places will give trial offers and starting discounts.  

Crab in the Sand-wiches

What looks like a crab but tastes like delicious tuna? This sandwich, which is made to look like a clawing red beach-dweller!

Ingredients

  • 2–4 cans of tuna
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • ½ cup mayo
  • ¼ cup mustard
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4–8 croissants, cut in half
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Asiago cheese, sliced
  • Black olives

Instructions:

  1. Drain water from the tuna, and place it into a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Combine the red onions, green peppers, garlic, and parsley together in a separate bowl. Add to the tuna.
  3. Add in the mayo and mustard, and mix well. Sprinkle in salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Place a piece of lettuce on the bottom piece of a croissant, and spoon some of the tuna mixture on top. Place a piece of cheese onto the tuna, and finish with the top piece of croissant.
  5. Take two toothpicks and place an olive onto each. Stick into the top of the sandwich for eyes. Repeat the final two steps with the remaining croissants. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

United States Retail March 2019

Despite unexpected strength in consumer spending, Thursday’s report on retail sales caused a little reaction. Beyond that, major economic news was scarce this week, and mortgage rates ended nearly unchanged. 

Since consumer spending accounts for about 70% of all economic activity in the U.S., the retail sales data is a closely watched indicator of growth each month. In March, Retail Sales jumped 1.6% from February, which was far above the consensus forecast of 1.0% and the largest monthly increase since September 2017. This followed a small decline in February. The wide swings in consumer spending seen in recent months likely have been due to several factors. Unusually high levels of volatility in the stock market during the fourth quarter were one reason. The government shutdown which took place in December and January was another. In addition, the size and the pace of issuance of tax refunds this year have played a role. Changes in the withholding tables have resulted in smaller refunds on average, and the IRS has been a little slower than usual in distributing them.

The most recent release of the monthly survey of homebuilder confidence from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) showed a further rebound from the weakness seen at the end of last year. During the fourth quarter, the index unexpectedly plunged from the upper 60s to the mid-50s, but it has since returned to levels around the current reading for April of 63. When the index is above 50, it generally indicates positive sentiment among home builders.

Looking ahead, Existing Home Sales will be released on Monday and New Home Sales on Tuesday. Durable Orders, an important indicator of economic activity, will come out on Thursday. First quarter GDP, the broadest measure of economic growth, will be released on Friday. In addition, news about trade negotiations between the U.S. and China could affect mortgage rates. Mortgage markets will be closed on April 19 in observance of Good Friday.

10 Summer Moving Tips

Moving in the summer when a lot of people do can be such a challenge. But if you prepare well, moving will be definitely easier for you.

Here are ten tips you can follow for an easier move:

  • Think about this: Can I handle the move alone? or do I need to hire a licensed moving company for a full-service or partial-service move? The answer to this depends on your family’s budget, available time and lifestyle. Before you choose a moving company to help you, get quotes from atleast three companies so you can compare and get the best deal. Packing calculators can help you gauge the number of boxes and packing materials you will need.
  • Plan where each box or furniture will be placed in your new home before you pack them. Taking pictures of each room in the new house can make this task easier. Write down where each item should go and what needs to be assemled first. Make sure to bring this list with you on moving day. Cross out from the list each item as it is placed in its new room. This will making moving orderly and smooth.
  • Create a system when packing and start early. This will enable you to move within your time frame in an organized manner. Go to Moving.com to complete a free change of address and to schedule utilities. Go through your things one at a time – one cabinet, one storage box, one room at a time. Divide your things among these categories: for charity, give to a friend, recycle, trash, pack now, or keep handy until moving day. With each room or bin you clear out, the task of packing becomes less overwhelming. 
  • Plan on what to do with the kids on moving day. Think if you’ll leave them in daycare or if you’ll have a friend or family member take care of them. Dont forget to thank them or give them a thank you gift. Another option would be to set up a corner where they could play or entertain themselves on your new home on moving day.
  • If you have a pet, make plans for them too. All the hustle and bustle can be stressful for man’s bestfriend. Bring them to a pet daycare or leave them with a willing friend on moving day.
  • Secure small items. Some big things (furniture, appliance) need to be disassembled. You’ll need to have a container for small parts like screws. Make sure they’re sealed and marked so nothing gets lost.
  • Packing cleaning products and toxins (such as pesticides or bleach) can be quite hard to manage. Get rid of as much as you can But be careful in doing this. Dispose of them in an eco-friendly way.  If you don’t know how, get information from your city’s waste disposal department. For those that need to go with you, pack them securely. Put them in a sealed container and make sure they’re marked clearly. Keep them away from other stuff especially like your children or pet’s stuff.
  • Think about getting full value insurance. This insures the protection of your belongings. In the event that something will be lost or damaged, that item will be replaced or there will be cash settlement based on the current market value regardless of the age of the item. It may cost more with a professional mover but the peace of mind that it can give you will be worth it. Do not settle for the required minimum coverage of 60 cents per pound. If something bad happens, it won’t be able to cover what was damaged or lost.
  • Know your rights as a consumer. For interstate moves, do you research in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) or contact the state agency in your state. FMCSA requires interstate movers to offer arbitration to settle disputed claims. If you’re having a hard time with the moving company or they threaten to hold your belongings for an illegal reason, report them to the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

12 Red Flags That Should Raise Concern

According to HouseMaster, a major home inspection company with offices in more than 390 cities in the United States and Canada, atleast fourty percent of homes in the market have at least one major flaw. Kathleen Kuhn, CEO and president of HouseMaster says, “Virtually every ‘used’ home needs some repair or improvement,” “That’s to be expected. But with today’s high prices, you want to make sure that you are aware of any major problems in a house you are considering purchasing, and what it will take to remedy the situation.”

Based on HomeMaster’s findings from more than one million home inspections, here’s a list of the most serious home defects to look out for:

  • Aluminum wiring
  • Cracked heater exchange
  • Chimney settling or separation
  • Defective roofing and/or flashings
  • Environmental hazards including radon, water contamination, asbestos, lead paint, and underground storage tanks
  • Horizontal foundation cracks
  • Insect infestation — termites or carpenter ants
  • Major house settlement
  • Mixed plumbing
  • Moisture in the basement
  • Undersized electrical system

Most of these defects can be repaired, says Kuhn. But it might you cost you a lot depending on the gravity of the damage, especially if it involves major systems. This is one of the factors you housld consider in buying a house. For example, buying a new air conditioning compressor will cost you about $1,200. A basement with damaged plumbing can cost you about $5,000 to fix. If you decide to start negotiations with a house you want to buy, there should be a provision for backing out in case the home inspector finds too many or too much problem.

Eric Tyson and Ray Brown, authors of Homebuying for Dummies says, “If the property inspectors find that little or no corrective work is required, you have little or nothing to negotiate.” “Suppose, however, that your inspectors discover the $200,000 house you want to buy needs $20,000 of corrective work for termite and dry-rot damage, foundation repairs, and a new roof. Big corrective work bills can be deal killers.”

If however you really want to buy the house despite the needed repairs, there are several ways to proceed:

  • Ask the seller to allot enough money in the escrow to cover for the expense for repairs nad instruct the payroll officers to pay the contractors when the work is done.
  • The lender can withhold or part or all of the loan amount in a passbook savings account until the work is completed.
  • The sellers may give a credit for the work. Lenders may disapprove of this last alternative because there aren’t assurances that the repairs will be made.

Hire a qualified home inspector. Their fee usually ranges from $250 and $400. Look for home inspectors who are affiliated with organizations like the American Society of Home Inspectors or the American Association of Home Inspectors. These groups require their members to meet professional qualifications, and adhere to specific business ethics. You can also ask referrals from friends.

When you make an appointment with the home inspector, make sure you’re home. The money and time you spend on this is a wise investment for the future. As he goes throught the inspection, ask him about potential problems to expect and what warning signs to lookout for. Learn how they work and how to properly maintain them. “A pre-purchase inspection is your best protection against buying a home based more on emotions, rather than as a sound investment,” says Kuhn of HouseMasters.

14 Things to Consider Before Buying a Home

When you see a house that seems exactly what you’re looking for, you’ll feel the impusle to make an offer right away. A beautiful, airy and relaxing house can make buyers easily fall in love with it. But don’t allow your emotions to make you forget about what’s real.  Leslie Levine, author of “Will This Place Ever Feel Like Home?”  says, “Sometimes we want something so badly, we’re not willing to ask all the questions we should.”

A beautiful house may only mean a beautiful facade. A closer inspection is necessary to ensure that this is really the house you want. You may see a basketball hoop over the garage and assume the neighborhood is great for kids. But a closer inspection may show that it’s rusted and hasn’t seen a ball in a decade, and that other yards in the neighborhood have no jungle gyms or tire swings out back, Levine says.

  • Visit the house at different times of day
    One of the features you may love about the house is its large windows. But it can be a big problem at night when you have a peeping neighbor. If the house is beside or across a school, you may think of it  as an advantage. Visit the house during school hours so you can find out if you can handle the hustle and bustle that the school brings. You could visit a house in the middle of the day and think it’s a quiet neighborhood but it could be noisy and busy during morning or evening rush hour.
  • Go through recent newspaper archives
    You might find out that the neighborhood’s water supply has a high level of contaminant; or they’re thinking of putting a high voltage line through the house  you’re eyeing. Levine suggests,  “Make sure you’re getting information on what you can’t see.” It’s also a good idea to check with the county or city for proposed projects in the area.
  • Talk to neighbors
    How many of the people around you are actually homeowners? It will be hard to tell at first if most are rental houses.
  • Ask the neighbors if they have an association
    “Is there a newsletter for it? How often does the neighborhood get together? Do they have a block party every year?” According to Levine, “Even if you don’t plan to attend, the fact that they’re having a gathering says they care about their community, that they want to get to know each other, that they’re willing to socialize that way. People who behave that way are building a community. They’re going to look out for your kids; they’re going to look out for your house. It’s a nice, safe way to celebrate something.”
  • Ask the sellers
    The house may have had past problems that you need to know of. Even if they’ve been fixed, it’s still worth knowing so you won’t do anything that could damage it again. The house may have had water damage years ago because of an ice dam. Knowing this will allow you to prepare and take preventive measures. You might find a landscaping which might seem to be unlikely to you. But you might find out it was actually made to prevent basement flooding.
  • Get a home inspection
    According to National Association of Exclusive Buyers Agents, all houses have defects. Some may be obvious and most of it can be fixed. Being aware of the damage or potential problems of the house allows you to prepare for future expense or help you negotiate for a lower price. You should also consider having your house inspected for lead, radon and wood-eating pests.
  • Ask for records of past improvements
    If the house went through renovations or repainting. Ask if they could show you the receipts. If the whole project cost just $1,000, it means cheaper paint was used. Be prepared to repaint it soon. Getting these records isn’t always porrible but it’s worth the try.
  • Don’t assume remodelling will be easy
    If you talk to the seller about your ideas for future improvements, they might tell you more details you need to know. For example, you might notice a shower in an unexpected place. You’ll probably discover that there’s a structural problem that would’ve cost the previous owners a lot if they put a shower where it’s supposed to be.
  • Consider the view
    Levine says, “So many neighborhoods now have teardowns. So look at the two houses on either side of you. If this neighborhood has had some teardowns, one of those houses might be a candidate. And they may build some behemoth structure that affects your light or the way your house looks or your view.”
  • Check the utility bills
    You may love the house for its high ceilings, walls of glass or perfectly beautiful green lawn. But it might cost a lot to maintain them. The previous owner may have paid a so much for heating or cooling.
  • Consider the taxes
    It’s not enought that you look at the latest tax bill. Ask what the previous years tax bills were. In some areas, houses are re-appraised and taxed higher frequently. The house may seem like a good deal but with taxes that keep going up, you might want to reconsider. If you can’t get the information from the seller, you can also look for it in newspaper archives or ask your real estate agent about this. In some areas, the school’s funding come from property taxes. If this is the case, taxes will increase faster than in other areas.
  • Check with city hall
    NAEBA suggests checking the zoning of the neighborhood. You might also want to check any potential easements, liens or other restrictions that has something to do with your property. The seller should be able to tell you this but it’s better to do your own research. You can also ask your real estate agent about this.
  • Reconsider the bells and whistles
    Are you okay with a one-car garage? Are you comfortable with on-street parking?  You may consider a house with a pool as a perk but can you really afford one?
  • Explore the surrounding area
    This is especially important if you’re new to the city or state. Make sure you’re not moving into an ugly part of town. I’m also certain you don’t want to move in a noisy area. Find out if the property is near an airport, fire station, police station, hospital or railroad track. You might also want to live away from agricultural or industrial areas as they are prone to air pollution.

Affordability Options For First-Time Buyers

Most first-time home buyers are eager to have their very own home but it has to be at a price they can afford. Smaller homes, fixer-uppers and cheaper commutes to work are the best options to look into.

The problem is, most firt-time home buyers expect more than what they can actually afford in a home. Coldwell Banker conducted an online survey with 150 of its brokers. The result of the survey yielded a strange trend among first-time home buyers.

Almost of the survey respondents said affordability was their top concern first time buyers. Yet, 81 percent are looking for move-in conditions. Only 7 percent are considering fixer-upper homes. The real estate company suggests looking into fixer-upper homes if you want affordability.

“In the past, first-time home buyers were willing to purchase older, more basic houses in an effort to save money and bhttp://www.doctilo.com/article_writing/index.php?e=33reak into homeownership,” said Jim Gillespie, president and chief executive officer, Coldwell Banker Real Estate, LLC. He adds, “It is important for first-time homebuyers to remember that by considering a fixer-upper for their first home purchase, they can build equity over time and later move up and into their second-stage home that better reflects their expectations.”

Buyers who choose to go with fixer-ups homes should have the house inspected by a professional home inspector. Buyers need to find out how much it will cost you on repairs. You might end up spending more than what you saved. Homes that need basic fixing or improvement can give already give you a lot of savings but you can even save more on houses that need major work. Again, buyers need professional help so you can determine if your savings on the house is more than the cost of repairs.

Another surprising discovery was that most first-time buyers wanted affordability yet they looked for bigger houses within the metro. The survey shows that 71 percent of first-time buyers wanted bigger houses than they were 10 years ago. A smaller home is less expensive because of smaller footprint and square footage. 41 percent were considering proximity. They were looking for a house near their workplace so they could save on gas. However, houses around economic centers are expensive. These properties bank on the value of convenience. Those who live in areas like this can save on travel time and gas money.

A good alternative to this is finding an affordable place far from economic centers but near a transit oriented development (TOD) or low-cost public transit. There is also the option for carpooling or car-sharing communities.

The survey also showed that most of these first-time buyers looked at five to ten homes before they decided on a house. But if you want to get the most for your money, invest more time in looking at houses. More houses, more opportunities for savings. Look at at least 10 houses. You can usually find big discounts from these: houses that had been on the market for at least 90 days; houses being sold by long-time homeowners; houses for sale from flipping investors who got unlucky; and houses from we-want-to-sell-real-estate banks.