7 Household Items with Multiple Purposes

Posted on Sun, Jan 22, 2017

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We’re all looking for quick, easy ways to solve household problems.  Surprisingly many solutions are already in our homes.  Our friends at AARP Magazine have compiled a list of household products that can have many purposes.  Here are a few of their suggestions. 

Beer

To beer lovers, doing anything with a brewski other than drinking it is sacrilege. But beer has many other creative household uses, including to clean jewelry and copper (let it soak, then polish with a soft brush), and as a skin-soothing foot bath. You can even use the foamy thirst quencher as lawn fertilizer, because the sugar stimulates plant growth and the acids kill harmful bugs and fungi.

Tea

There are many health and beauty secrets hiding inside that little tea bag. Apply a cool water-soaked tea bag to insect bites and rashes to ease itching, or soothe inflamed skin from sun or razor burns. The tannins in tea constrict blood vessels, which can help heal bruises and stop bleeding (particularly bleeding gums), and reduce puffiness and dark circles around the eyes.

Toothpaste

Your teeth aren't the only thing you can clean with toothpaste. Use it to polish jewelry and chrome, remove scuffs from leather shoes and shine ivory piano keys. A thin layer of non-gel toothpaste will also keep your bathroom mirror from fogging up, as it will your swim/ski/safety goggles if you rub a little inside, on the lenses.

Cat Litter

You may already know to carry some in the car with you in the wintertime to provide added traction when stuck in an icy spot. But you can also use a tub of cat litter to keep damp places — like boats, RVs and basements — dry. And it works better than rice for drying out a wet cellphone. Bonus tip: Use cat litter to clean up oil and grease spills in the garage.

Dryer Sheets

Fabric softener dryer sheets have many other uses, and can sometimes even be used after they've done their primary duty. Put once-used dryer sheets between every couple of books on the bookshelf to keep mold and mildew away, or tuck them into drawers and closets to keep clothes smelling fresh. They also make excellent wipes to clean the tub and shower.

Dish Soap

If you're cheap — and green — try using dish soap as part of an inexpensive, environmentally friendly weed killer. Just mix one tablespoon of dish soap with one cup of salt and one gallon of white vinegar. Use a watering can to apply the mixture directly to the foliage of the unwanted flora, and you'll be weed-free in no time.

Baking Soda

Probably no other household product has more uses than good old-fashioned baking soda, which was originally developed by the ancient Egyptians to use in painting hieroglyphics. In modern times it can be a remedy for sunburns, bee stings and upset stomachs. It can also be used as an underarm deodorant, a mouthwash and to put out a fire in a pinch. Of course, baking soda eliminates odors in the refrigerator and elsewhere.

Dean and Draper

We hope that you have found some inspiration for expanding the use of some household products,ideas for solving problems in a pinch, and even tipa for saving some money in this article.  We also have some great ideas for giving you the insurance your need and answering your questions.  Contact us.

Dean& Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. Dean & Draper Insurance Agency specifically disclaims any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with Dean & Draper Insurance Agency. By providing this information to you, Dean & Draper Insurance Agency does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you.  The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

©2017 Dean & Draper Insurance Agency All Rights Reserved.

Topics: Money Saving Household Tips

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday

Posted on Sun, Jan 15, 2017

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On Monday, January 16, 2017 our nation honors the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. with a federal holiday.  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is the only private American citizen to be honored with a federal holiday. 

History

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement and successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.  August 28, 1963 marked a pivotal moment in our nation’s history as the March on Washington took place in Washington D.C. Dubbed the “the greatest demonstration of freedom in the history of the United States” by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the historic event attracted more than 240,000 Americans demanding equality in jobs and civil rights. 

I Have a Dream

Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech went on to become the best political speech of the 20th century according to a 1999 panel of more than 130 scholars.  In addition to marking the largest demonstration in Washington D.C., the march was also one of the first to be televised. Over 5,000 police officers were present and not a single arrest was made during the demonstration.

Campaign for MLK Holiday

The campaign for a federal holiday in King’s honor began soon after his assassination in 1968. On November 2, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law and it was first observed on January 20, 1986.  The bill passed the House of Representatives by a count of 338 to 90, a veto-proof margin. 

The bill also established the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday Commission to oversee the observance of the holiday and Coretta Scott King, MLK’s wife, was made a member of this commission for life by President H. W. Bush in May, 1989. 

Dean and Draper

Please join us in honoring a remarkable man and an amazing point in American history. 

Dean& Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. Dean & Draper Insurance Agency specifically disclaims any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with Dean & Draper Insurance Agency. By providing this information to you, Dean & Draper Insurance Agency does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you.  The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

©2017 Dean & Draper Insurance Agency All Rights Reserved.

Topics: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday

Small Changes Mean Good Weight Loss

Posted on Mon, Jan 09, 2017

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Here we are at the beginning of a New Year.  In considering the changes we want to make in our lifestyles, weight loss is the #1 New Year’s Resolution in 2017.   How many of us say we want to lose weight – 21.4%. 

Why are we fat?

  • We eat too much. For over 30 years, we have been trained to eat 20 percent more. And now we are almost 20 percent overweight. Bingo!
  • We're apt to move less. So we don't burn as many calories.
  • Half or more of what we eat is "dead" food. Dead food has no nutrients. We call it dead because refining takes out almost all of its vitamins, minerals and fiber. It's super-tasty, super-digestible and you can eat a mountain of it without feeling full. But it's dead, and it's making us sick and fat.

Being successful in that weight loss effort escapes most of us.  So we have some great ideas for making small changes that can create success in your resolution.  In their article in AARP the Magazine, Why Eating Dead Food Is Bad for Your Health, authors Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge, M.D. have  suggestions on making the dietary changes easier.

What Is Dead Food?

Filler: This is everything we're taught to love: bread, white rice, white pasta, sugar, chips, soft drinks.

Processed food: Prepared items top this list: frozen meals, snacks, desserts. And weird stuff like ketchup.

Fast food: Think of your beloved french fries, cheeseburgers, milk shakes, griddle cakes and anything else that can be fried.

An Eating Strategy for Life

Build the perfect plate.  Your plate should be 50 percent veggies and fruit, 25 percent whole grains, and 25 percent meat, poultry or fish.

Quit the Clean Plate Club.  Your sainted mother was wrong — it's bad to clean your plate. The iron rule: Exercise more; eat less.

Don't drink your calories.  Sugar-laden colas, milk shakes and sports drinks are awash in calories but don't make you feel full.

Limit the booze.  Having one or two glasses of wine a night is fine. Having 17 is not.

If you have diabetes ... eat right.  Your body needs insulin to digest carbs. But eat the wrong kinds of carbs and your insulin system can go haywire.

Here's why: Your gut turns all carbs into sugar. When that sugar hits your bloodstream, insulin is released and your muscles use the sugar for energy. Great. The problem is that dead food has no fiber, so it goes through your digestive tract quickly. Your body sends out an ocean of insulin to mop up all the sugar. Phew! But now there's no sugar in your system and you're hungry again. An hour or two after eating a mountain of slop, you're ravenous. The result? The insulin system breaks down and you end up with diabetes, amputations, blindness, heart attacks. Awful.

Dean and Draper

We hope you found some good ideas in this blog for meeting your weight loss goals this year.  We want to support you in your search for good insurance solutions, too.  Contact us.

Dean& Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. Dean & Draper Insurance Agency specifically disclaims any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with Dean & Draper Insurance Agency. By providing this information to you, Dean & Draper Insurance Agency does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you.  The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

©2017 Dean & Draper Insurance Agency All Rights Reserved.

Topics: Small Changes for Good Weight Loss

Standing on the Edge of Making New Year Resolutions

Posted on Sun, Jan 01, 2017

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It’s New Year’s Day and in between football games, potentially you are considering making some commitments for improving your life for 2017.  In our blog last year, we gave you tips on making and keeping those resolutions.  This year we have turned our attention to what smart people are doing in the hopes of finding better ways to approach this annual self-improvement task.    

20 Things Smart People Don’t Do

Let’s begin our quest with some excerpts from Life Hack’s article “20 Things Smart People Don’t Do.”

They don’t feel defeated just because they need to reevaluate their convictions.

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Albert Einstein 

Sooner or later, our convictions are challenged and sometimes they will triumph, sometimes they will be trumped. Smart people constantly challenge their convictions; they do not discard them.

They don’t dwell on their errors.

“I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Thomas Edison

It won’t make you neither weak nor foolish, if you know when to give up. It will only give you more time to work on your comeback.

They don’t hesitate to learn from their mistakes.

Mistakes are there to remind us of our flaws, and force us to mitigate the impact they have on our lives.  Learning from your mistakes means finding what is worth salvaging from your unfortunate experience, realizing what went wrong and finding a way to avert it in the future. Smart people use this input to work on themselves, and change the things they have the power to change.

They don’t give up on their ideas just because other people don’t agree with them.

“The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”  Steve Jobs

A wise person knows when he or she should push the envelope and stand firm when the situation takes a turn for the worst.  We are all entitled to constructive feedback on why our ideas or products are not satisfactory.   Constructive criticism can be used as a precious insight for the future.

They don’t lose the opportunity to broaden their experience

“As I look back on my life I realize that every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was being re-directed to something better." Anonymous

Making ongoing endeavors towards progression in various areas is indeed what a smart person would do.  Even old or proven findings are never left alone, they are re-examined, redefined, and updated. 

Some Lighter Ideas for Your Resolutions

Just in case you need some inspiration for those New Year Resolutions, here are some suggestions from our British friends, Metro.Co.uk.

 

When you say ‘Let’s meet up soon’, actually do it.
Use your trainers to exercise three times a week instead of just buying them because they make you look cool.
Eat sensible wholesome food before going out instead of drinking on an empty stomach and hitting the fast food hard on the way home.
Delete the Facebook app from your phone and only log in to check it once a day.
Don’t overthink everything. Sometimes it’s ok for things to go wrong or people to not like you.
Call your Mom – it’s boring but she’ll like it.

Dean and Draper

Naturally we have another suggestion for your New Year’s Resolution list – having your insurance reviewed.  Being a responsible adult gets tiresome at times.  We will make reviewing your insurance a pleasant experience and will help you get the coverage you need.  Contact us.

Dean& Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. Dean & Draper Insurance Agency specifically disclaims any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with Dean & Draper Insurance Agency. By providing this information to you, Dean & Draper Insurance Agency does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you.  The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

 ©2017 Dean & Draper Insurance Agency All Rights Reserved.

 

Topics: Insurance Reivew, New Year Resolutions

Holiday Food Safety Tips

Posted on Sun, Dec 18, 2016

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The Holidays are here and give us a great excuse to eat, drink, and be merry.  We have some tips to help you avoid serving up Salmonella or other harmful germs.   Of course, you want your guests to enjoy your party, food, and company so we suggest that you take a moment to check our list of tips.  First, check out the USDA Food Safety Infographic.  

Wash Your Hands

Be sure to wash your hands with soap and water before and after preparing food, after touching raw meat, raw eggs, or unwashed vegetables, and before eating or drinking.

Cook Food Thoroughly

Meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs can carry germs that cause food poisoning. Use a food thermometer to ensure these foods have been cooked to the safe minimum internal temperature. Roasts, chops, steaks and fresh ham should rest for 3 minutes after removing from the oven or grill.

Keep Food at the Proper Temperature

Bacteria can grow rapidly at room temperature. After food is cooked, keep hot food hot and cold food cold. Refrigerate or freeze any perishable food within 2 hours. The temperature in your refrigerator should be set at or below 40°F and the freezer at or below 0°F.

Don’t Eat Raw Dough or Batter

Dough and batter made with flour or eggs can contain harmful germs, such as E. coli and Salmonella. Do not taste or eat unpasteurized dough or batter of any kind, including those for cookies, cakes, pies, biscuits, pancakes, tortillas, pizza, or crafts. Do not let children taste raw dough or batter or play with dough at home or in restaurants.

Keep Foods Separated

Keep meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs separate from all other foods at the grocery and in the refrigerator. Prevent juices from meat, poultry, and seafood from dripping or leaking onto other foods by keeping them in containers or sealed plastic bags. Store eggs in their original carton in the main compartment of the refrigerator.

While Shopping

Keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood away from other foods in your grocery cart.  Buy cold foods last.  Ask the cashier to place your raw meat, poultry and seafood in a separate bag.

During Food Preparation

Use separate cutting boards for raw meat and ready-to-eat items like vegetables or bread.

Prepare uncooked recipes before recipes requiring raw meat to reduce cross-contamination. Store them out of the way while preparing meat dishes to ensure they don’t become contaminated after preparation.

Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of dishes to ensure they are fully cooked and safe to eat.  

Cooking a Roast?

Use separate cutting boards, plates and utensils for raw roasts and cooked roasts to avoid cross-contamination.

Wash items such as cutting boards that have touched raw meat with warm water and soap, or place them in a dishwasher.

To ensure the juiciest possible roast this holiday, use a meat thermometer. Once it has reached the USDA recommended internal temperature of 145 F, the roast is safe to eat.

Dean and Draper

Happy Holidays!  We wish you a bright season of love, laughter, and happiness.  If we can add to your cheer, please take a moment to let us know.  Contact us.

Dean& Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. Dean & Draper Insurance Agency specifically disclaims any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with Dean & Draper Insurance Agency. By providing this information to you, Dean & Draper Insurance Agency does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you.  The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

©2016 Dean & Draper Insurance Agency All Rights Reserved.

Sources

Center for Disease Control

Foodsafety.gov  

USDA

Topics: Holiday Food Safety

Holiday Crime Prevention

Posted on Sun, Dec 11, 2016

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The Holidays mean a big increase in the amount of people out and about.  People are often in a rush buying gifts, decorating their homes, visiting friends or traveling.  While their activity increases, most people are distracted and potentially not paying careful attention to what’s going on around them.  This week’s blog is about staying safe when you’re out among the crowds enjoying the Holidays. 

Thieves thrive on the fact that the police and store’s loss prevention staff have their hands full with amateur thieves who are hauled in for trying to steal the latest electronics or other easy targets.  The professional thieves are busy breaking into cars in the parking lots to steal gifts, cell phones, and electronics or stalking and robbing people who are alone. 

Shopping Safety

While you are out and about, here are some suggestions for increasing your safety.

Parking Garages

  • When parking your vehicle to go shopping, remember where you parked it! Always park in a well-lit and well-traveled area. Do not park in a remote, dark area.
  • Have your keys in hand when approaching your vehicle. You will be ready to unlock the door and will not be delayed by fumbling and looking for your keys.
  • Do not buy more than you can carry.  Plan ahead by taking a friend with you or ask a store employee to help you carry your packages to the car.
  • While walking to your car, be aware of those people around you. Look to see if you are being followed. 
  • Leave your cell phone in your pocket while you walk to your vehicle. Look for messages after you are in your car with the doors locked.
  • Put your purchases in the trunk of the car. If you drive an SUV or truck, cover your purchases so that they can’t be identified from outside the vehicle.

In the Stores

  • Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, con-artists may try various methods of distracting you, including working in teams, with the intention of taking your money or belongings.
  • Dress casually and comfortably.
  • Avoid wearing expensive jewelry.
  • If you discover that a credit card is missing, notify the credit card company as soon as possible. Don't assume that you misplaced it and will find it later.
  • Keep a record of all of your credit card numbers in a safe place at home.
  • Wait until asked before taking out your credit card or checkbook.  An enterprising thief would love to shoulder surf to get your account information.
  • Tell a security guard or store employee if you see an unattended bag or package. 

Driving During the Holiday Season

  • Drive definsively.  Traffic is heavier during the holidays.  Drivers also may have indulged in too many holiday spirits.
  • Everyone is in a hurry, stressed, and wants you to get out of the way.  Add an extra load of patience to your outings and be kind to those around you.

Next Week’s Blog

Our blog topic for next week is all about Holiday Food Safety for the food you serve and give.

Dean and Draper 

We hope that your shopping and gathering experience is fun and uneventful.  If you have questions about your insurance, we are here to give you great answers.  Contact us.

Dean& Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. Dean & Draper Insurance Agency specifically disclaims any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with Dean & Draper Insurance Agency. By providing this information to you, Dean & Draper Insurance Agency does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you.  The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

©2016 Dean & Draper Insurance Agency All Rights Reserved.

Topics: Holiday Crime Prevention

Holiday Decorating Safety Tips

Posted on Sun, Dec 04, 2016

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The Holidays are in full swing so we’re offering you some safety tips to make sure that your celebrations go smoothly.  Over the next three weeks our blog will give you ideas to keep your holidays fun and joyous.  Today our topic is Holiday Decorating Safety Tips, next week check out our blog on Holiday Crime Prevention, and on December 18 we’ll be talking about Food Safety Tips.

We would like to thank our friends at the National Safety Council, the National Fire Protection Association, and the Electrical Safety Foundation International for their valuable and timely tips on decorating your home for the holidays.

Connecting Your Decorations

Inspect electrical decoration for damage before use.  Cracked or damaged sockets, loose or bare wires, and loose connections may cause a serious shock or start a fire. 

Never connect more than three strings of incandescent lights.  More than three strands may trip the breaker or cause a fire.

Turn off all indoor and outdoor decoration before leaving home or going to sleep.

Do not overload electrical outlets.  Overloaded electrical outlets and faulty wires are a common cause of holiday fires.  Plug only one high-wattage appliance into each outlet at a time.

Sound the Alarm.  Test your smoke alarms monthly to make sure they work, and be sure to install smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms on every level of your home -- especially near sleeping areas.

Keeping Your Cool

Use battery-operated candles.  Candles start almost half of home decoration fires.

Keep combustibles at least three feet from heat sources.  A heat source that was too close to the decoration was a factor in half of home fires that began with decorations.

Protect cords from damage.  To avoid shock or fire hazards, cords should never by pinched by furniture, forced into small spaces such as doors or windows, placed under rugs, located near heat sources, or attached by nails or staples.

Water your natural tree daily.  If you have an artificial tree, be sure that it is labeled fire resistant.

Make sure your tree has a stable platform.  Use a tree stand with a wide, stable base.  Make sure that your tree is secure in the tree stand.

Dean and Draper

We hope that these tips will provide you with the information you need to keep your families and friends safe over the holidays.  When you have questions about insurance, we invite you to contact us for great advice.  Contact us.

Dean& Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  <u>ContactUs</u>..

The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. Dean & Draper Insurance Agency specifically disclaims any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with Dean & Draper Insurance Agency. By providing this information to you, Dean & Draper Insurance Agency does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you.  The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

©2016 Dean & Draper Insurance Agency All Rights Reserved.

Topics: Home Insurance, Holiday Decorating Safety Tips

Tips for Shopping Safely on Cyber Monday

Posted on Sun, Nov 27, 2016

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According to Adobe Digital Index, in 2015 online shoppers filled eCommerce cash registers with more than $5.8 billion in sales over the Black Friday weekend.  The biggest single day of online shopping for the whole year is tomorrow -  Monday, November 28, 2016.  Just how big will it be?  The IBM supercomputer Watson predicts a rise of 18% to 20% in Cyber Monday spending this year, to $2.4 billion from $2.0 billion last year.  US Today reports that 90% of online shoppers surveyed say low prices are most important to them.  86% say free shipping is next.   

Staying Safe on Cyber Monday

First, let’s begin with a reminder of some of the obvious yet still important tips.

Shop from a secure computer and use a secure connection.  Always look for the HTTPS lock symbol in your browser address window when performing an online purchase.

Use trusted vendors.  Limiting your shopping to established and trusted vendors also limits your exposure. Bookmark the most trusted online retail sites to make sure you don't get redirected to fakes.

If you're shopping from a tablet or smartphone on Cyber Monday, use a trusted vendor's app, not a web browser.

Don’t shop on public Wi-Fi.  When making Cyber Monday purchases, be sure to shop on secure Wi-Fi at home, not a coffee shop, airport, or other public network.

Use a different password for each account.  If you are able to remember your password, it’s probably not a great one. Security experts suggest using complex passwords that include a variety of numbers and characters, or long strings of random words. The majority of internet users have dozens of accounts, making it difficult to remember every password. To keep track, use a password manager or go the old school route and write passwords down on paper to be stored in a safe place.

More Sophisticated Traps

Review credit card and bank statements regularly during the shopping season.  Malware can infect credit-card readers in stores, and unscrupulous cashiers often steal card numbers as well. If you find a transaction that doesn't match your purchases, your account may have been compromised. If so, contact your bank or card issuer.

Purchase with Credit Cards, not Debit cards.  Since debit cards have direct access to your bank account, you should really avoid using it online. If hackers gain access to this information, they have access to all of your funds.

Change your coffee pot’s password. Connectable devices will be a hot item this holiday season, whether they're coffee pots you can turn on with an app on your phone, a drone or a smart light bulb system. But they're also eminently hackable and most come with laughably easy pre-set passwords that take hackers only a few second to get past. When you're setting up your new gadgets, take the extra five minutes to reset the password they came with, so your device doesn't run the risk of becoming part of someone else's zombie botnet.

Be careful of package delivery notices.  Phishing emails that try to get you to click on a link that can install malicious software on your computer are a perennial problem. This year Intel Security says it’s seen an uptick in fake delivery notices.  These look like the common email notices sent out when something you’ve ordered online has been shipped. They might say, “Click here for expected delivery date,” except they aren’t from an actual store but instead from hackers.

Take Your Time

One of the best ideas for Cyber Monday is to take your time.  When you get in a rush to complete your order that’s when the mistakes can be costly.  Review your order, check the information on your order form, and then push that button. 

Dean & Draper

Wishing you a fun and successful Cyber Monday.  After your shopping is done, please let us know if you have questions about your personal or commercial insurance.  We’re ready to talk with you and welcome your call or email.  Contact us.

Dean& Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs..

The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. Dean & Draper Insurance Agency specifically disclaims any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with Dean & Draper Insurance Agency. By providing this information to you, Dean & Draper Insurance Agency does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you.  The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

©2016 Dean & Draper Insurance Agency All Rights Reserved.

Sources

We would like to acknowledge the companies and websites that contributed to our blog. 

Market Watch

Zone Alarm

USA Today

Tom’s Guide

Topics: personal insurance, Cyber Monday Safe Shopping Tips, comercial insurance

Tips to Reduce Holiday Stress

Posted on Sun, Nov 20, 2016

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The Holidays are just around the corner.  Possibly you’re already feeling the stress – families gathering for Thanksgiving, round-the-clock food preparation, polishing the silver, and making everything perfect.  Then there is Christmas only 31 days after Thanksgiving.  No wonder your stress levels are creeping up.

Our friends at WebMD have some great tips for reducing your stress throughout the season.

Do a little planning

  • Set a spending limit.Money is a huge stressor during the holidays.  How about setting a budget and sticking to it?  You’ll be glad in January when you aren’t getting huge credit cards bills.
  • Give something personal. Show love and caring with the meaningful gift of thanks.  Letting someone know how much you care about them can be done with words instead of an expensive gift.  Possibly your words are attached to a homemade gift. 
  • Work your calendar. Make lists or use an appointment book to keep track of tasks to do and events to attend.
  • Share your tasks with other people and make it fun.  How about spending time with family or friends and accomplish your tasks in a group?  Wrapping gifts, decorating, and even cooking is more fun when you share the task.
  • The art of saying “no.” First realize that you don’t have to accept every invitation that comes your way.  Be selective and say "yes" to events that you do want to attend.  Turn down invitations by saying “I already have plans for that evening.”  You don’t have to explain that those plans are for staying home wrapping gifts.
  • Be realistic.Don’t put pressure on yourself to create the perfect holiday for your family. Focus instead on the traditions that make holidays special for you. And remember that just because it's a holiday, family problems don't go away. If you have a hard time being around your relatives, it's okay to set limits on your time at events and visits.

Take Care of yourself

Okay, you can’t create a totally stress free Holiday season.  You can make some plans for dealing with the stress that arrives uninvited. 

  • Break time.When the crowd gets to be too much, spend some time by yourself.  A few minutes with your feet up, a nice hot shower, a short walk, meditation, or even relaxation breathing could be the break you need.
  • Stick to your regular schedule. Limit your alcohol. Staying as close as possible to your normal schedule is great for reducing your stress.  Leaving the alcohol out of the mix can be helpful as well. 
  • Ask for support. Depression is sometimes triggered during the Holidays.  Circumstances like the death of a loved one or a breakup in a relationship can be especially hard during the Holidays.  Consider getting help with your emotions.  Talk with your doctor about counseling and medicine for depression.

Dean and Draper

If one of your stresses is over your insurance, we can certainly help you.  Use our expertise to get your insurance questions answered so you can scratch that item off of your list.  Contact us.

Dean& Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. Dean & Draper Insurance Agency specifically disclaims any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with Dean & Draper Insurance Agency. By providing this information to you, Dean & Draper Insurance Agency does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you.  The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

©2016 Dean & Draper Insurance Agency All Rights Reserved

Topics: Holiday Stress

Thanksgiving Turkey Safety Tips

Posted on Sun, Nov 13, 2016

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Thanksgiving is next week and we’re all thinking about that turkey and all of the fixins we’re going to eat.  To add just a moment of reality to our blog, according to the Calorie Control Council, the average American will consume 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day.  That’s 3,000 for the meal and another 1,500 for snacks and nibbles.  Yikes!

Wondering how much of that meal is turkey?  Americans will eat 46 million turkeys over this food fest holiday.  More turkeys are eaten on Thanksgiving than any other holiday including Christmas.  Getting those birds on the dinner table can be a challenge, so we thought we would offer some tips.

Thawing Turkey

According to our friends at Culinary Arts, there are 4 ways to thaw your bird and they don’t recommend 3 of them.  By the way, if you’re reading this article on Thanksgiving morning and your turkey is still in the freezer none of the suggested methods will work for you.  Click here for a connection to cooking a frozen turkey. 

Do not thaw at room temperature

Like on the kitchen counter, or the dining room table, or in any other room of your house.  Or dare we say it, the bathroom, thawing a turkey at room temperature is a terrible idea. Uncooked meat or poultry (including frozen) shouldn't be left at room temperature for more than two hours.

Any longer than that and you're just begging for a case of food poisoning. So, don't even think about this one.

Don’t thaw in the microwave

First of all, most microwaves are too small. If you have a turkey small enough to cram into your microwave, you don't really need to resort to this method in the first place. There's a better option for you a bit further down the page.

But even supposing you had some colossal microwave oven, this still would not be a very good plan. Given the number of different wattages, power levels, minutes per pound and other variables, the most likely outcome of microwave thawing is a turkey that's still frozen in some parts, while other parts are already cooked. Not good. Stay away from this method.

Don’t thaw in cold water

It's technically possible to safely thaw a frozen turkey in a sink full of cold water, but it won't be easy. The problem is, you need to allow 30 minutes of thawing time for every pound of frozen bird, and you MUST keep the water at 40°F or colder the entire time. For a large turkey, that means monitoring the temperature and changing the water every half hour for 12 hours!

What's so special about 40°F?  If the turkey gets any warmer than that, it gives dangerous bacteria a chance to multiply like crazy. So unless you're strictly committed to changing the water up to 24 times, don't bother with this method.  And by the way, whatever you do, don't try to thaw a turkey in HOT water. That's even worse. 

Do thaw your turkey in the refrigerator

Thawing in the refrigerator is the ONLY safe way to defrost a frozen turkey. Here's how to do it:

  • Make sure that your refrigerator is at 40°F or colder.
  • Leave the turkey in its original wrapper.
  • Place the bird on a tray or in a pan to collect any juices that leak out.
  • Keep it at the bottom of your fridge so that any leakage won't contaminate anything below.
  • Allow 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds of frozen turkey.

Storing Your Left Overs

Two-Hour Storage: Store leftovers in separate containers within two hours after cooking.

Three Days to Eat: Your leftovers will last 3 days in the refrigerator. Eat or freeze leftover turkey within that time period.

Dean and Draper

We wish you a Happy Thanksgiving filled with laughter, family, friends, and lots of wonderful food. 

Dean& Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs..

The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. Dean & Draper Insurance Agency specifically disclaims any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with Dean & Draper Insurance Agency. By providing this information to you, Dean & Draper Insurance Agency does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you.  The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

©2016 Dean & Draper Insurance Agency All Rights Reserved.

Topics: Food Storage, Food Safety, Turkey Safety Tips