RE/MAX 440
Roxanne Christy
4092 Skippack Pike, P.O. Box 880
Skippack  PA 19474
 Phone: 610-584-1160
Office Phone: 610-584-1160
Cell: 267-252-0567
Fax: 267-354-6977 
rchristy@remax440.com
Roxanne Christy

My Blog

The Top 5 Most Haunted Destinations in America

October 20, 2014 1:38 am

Every town has a ghost story, but some destinations embrace their haunted pasts in a way that attracts an influx of tourism during the Halloween season. The travel experts at Hotels.com® have named the five best Halloween travel destinations stemming from spooky literature, film and folklore.
  • Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.: Home of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" author Washington Irving, this quaint Hudson River Valley town one hour north of Manhattan transforms into a festive Halloween celebration in October. Visitors can tour Irving's Sunnyside estate, hear live readings of the short story and visit the famous Sleepy Hollow Cemetery that served as its setting.
  • Salem, Mass.: Infamous for the Salem Witch Trials of the 17th century, this city outside of Boston draws visitors year round with various tours, museums and a thriving witchcraft culture. The festivities are amplified in October, when the annual Haunted Happenings celebration offers a variety of attractions, including haunted houses, theatre performances, films and parades.
  • New Orleans, La.: While most tourists visit New Orleans for its nightlife and music scene, the city is also renowned for its vampire folklore, which has inspired a number of novels and films. In addition to various vampire walking tours that are offered around the French Quarter year round, New Orleans also hosts several vampire-themed events around Halloween, including masquerade balls, cocktail parties and book signings.
  • Estes Park, Colo.: Located at the base of Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park is famous for being home to The Stanley Hotel, which inspired one of the most popular modern horror novels of our time. The hotel offers haunted tours to the public and hosts a number of Halloween events, including a masquerade ball and a murder mystery dinner. Visitors can also try the Redrum Ale at Estes Park Brewery or get dressed up for the Estes Park Community Trick-or-Treat event downtown.
  • Charleston, S.C.: In addition to being South Carolina's oldest city and having a rich haunted history, Charleston also has connections to Edgar Allan Poe. Bulldog Tours offers a private tour of locations that purportedly inspired Poe's work, including the Unitarian Churchyard that is said to be haunted by the subject of his last completed poem – Annabel Lee. Nearby Sullivan's Island, where Poe was stationed in the military, is home to the Edgar Allan Poe Library and Poe's Tavern, where diners can order from an extensive themed menu.
Source: Hotels.com

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How to Make Your Home Safe for Trick-or-Treaters

October 20, 2014 1:38 am

If you’re expecting trick-or-treaters at your home this Halloween, take time to rid your yard of any potential hazards that can compromise a child’s safety. Follow these steps for a fun and safe Halloween in your neighborhood. The costumed crowd, and their parents or guardians, will thank you.

Secure your entryway. Before trick-or-treaters come bounding up your doorstep, look for trip hazards like loose pavers or extension cords. Guide children around these dangers with markers, or restrict access completely.

Avoid using flammable materials in your décor. According to FEMA, more fires occur on Halloween night. Swap out the candles in your jack-o’-lanterns for LED alternatives, and be cautious when using seasonal flammable décor, like hay or dried cornstalks, which can easily catch fire if too close to heat sources.

Light up the night. Aside from keeping all porch lights on, consider turning the lights on in rooms that have windows facing the street. If you have a longer walkway, add tea lights or glow sticks to light the path.

Contain your pet.
Costumes can sometimes spook dogs, even those who are normally well behaved around strangers. Set your pooch up with a comfortable space inside and away from the front door.

Source: Zillow

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Safely Operate Your Portable Generator

October 20, 2014 1:38 am

(Family Features) In a variety of situations, portable generators can supply temporary or remote electric power. From emergencies to recreational and construction activities, portable generators become a welcome addition to any instance when power is needed. For outdoor events such as tailgating, hunting and camping, an inverter generator is a quiet, reliable option. These temporary power sources can be used to power televisions, radios, small appliances, fans and space heaters. However, it is important for operators to understand that there are risks involved when operating a portable generator.

"Portable generators are helpful in various situations, but the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning caused by their improper use are very real," said Joe Harding, representative for Portable Generator Manufacturers' Association (PGMA).

Before using one of these helpful devices at your next event, there are a few things to remember in order to keep friends and family safe.

  • Do not run portable generators inside homes, garages, basements, crawlspaces, sheds or other partially-enclosed spaces, even if using fans or opening doors and windows. Carbon monoxide can quickly build up in these spaces and linger for hours, even after the generator has shut off.
  • Only operate a portable generator outside, far away from windows, doors and vents to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide gas accumulating and potentially being drawn toward occupied spaces.
  • Install battery-operated carbon monoxide alarms or plug-in alarms with battery backup according to the manufacturer's instructions. Smoke alarms cannot detect carbon monoxide gas.
  • Always place your portable generator downwind and point the engine exhaust away from occupied spaces.
  • The symptoms of low-level carbon monoxide poisoning can be similar to those caused by other illness such as cold, flu or food poisoning. If you suspect you or a family member are experiencing any of these symptoms due to carbon monoxide poisoning, get outside to fresh air immediately and call 911 for emergency medical attention.
  • Always refer to the generator owner's manual for further information about safe operation and potential hazards.
Regardless of the events requiring the use of portable generators, safety precautions should be considered in order to reduce risks of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Source: PGMA

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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7 Cardinal Rules to Retirement Planning

October 17, 2014 1:38 am

An onslaught of retiring baby boomers; the uncertain duration of Social Security funding; difficulty with workplace retirement accounts like 401(k)s—even if these factors were stronger than they are now, you’d still have a heavy burden in managing your finances during retirement, says financial planner Carl Edwards.

“Financial planning for retirement has always been a daunting prospect; the current landscape simply makes your preparation that much more crucial in using your assets well,” says Edwards, a highly credentialed consultant and owner of C.E. Wealth Group, (http://www.cewealth.com).

“Many advisors and clients rely too much on single product lines. This misuse often gives products and the financial industry in general a bad name. Advisors who are restricted in the types of financial products they can offer or understand may not provide the best advice. Independent and credentialed planners, on the other hand, don’t have their hands tied in what they can offer clients and may provide better advice.”

Edwards reviews seven essential points that everyone should know regarding retirement planning.

• Avoid trying to time the market. Markets often move in cycles and some investors believe that they can boost their investment returns by buying at the bottom and selling at the top. The problem is that investors are terrible at correctly predicting market movements and multiple studies have shown that market timers usually end up with significantly smaller retirement savings than buy-and-hold investors. While it can be stressful to see your portfolio plummet during a market correction, it’s important to stay calm and focus on your long-term strategy.

• Use risk-appropriate financial vehicles. Retiring can be a risky business. The days of relying on employer-provided pension plans are largely over and retirees now have to deal with risks including investment, inflation, healthcare, longevity and others. Though the total elimination of risk isn’t possible, we can manage many of them through competent retirement planning and a clear understanding of factors like your goals, time horizon and financial circumstances.

• Invest in the most tax-efficient manner. Taxes can take a big bite out of investment returns, which is why we stress tax-efficient planning with our clients. While taxes are just one piece of the overall financial puzzle, it’s important to structure your investments so that you are able to keep what you earn.

• Complete a cash flow analysis.
Retirement will involve major changes to your finances. Sources and timing of income will change and financial priorities may shift as you start generating income from retirement savings. A cash flow analysis will identify spending patterns and help ensure that you have enough income to support your retirement lifestyle.

• Guarantee your required income. For many retirees, having income that is not subject to market fluctuations is an important part of their retirement plan. Many will have at least some level of guaranteed income from Social Security or defined benefit pension plans. However, if you are worried that your expenses exceed your guaranteed income, a financial advisor can help you explore options for additional streams of income for life. Guarantees are subject to the paying ability of the income provider.

• Utilize longevity planning.
Today’s retirees are living longer than ever and many worry about outliving their assets. Longevity planning is about preparing for a happy, comfortable and independent retirement and can help ensure that your wealth lasts as long as you need it to.

• Consider the effects of inflation.
Inflation is one of the biggest issues facing retirees because they are disproportionately affected by rising prices. Escalating food, fuel and medical costs can devastate a retirement portfolio unless these costs have been factored into your planning. Positioning your retirement portfolio to fight inflation is critical to ensuring adequate income in retirement.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Six Ways to Save on Halloween

October 17, 2014 1:38 am

Did you know that Americans will spend a projected $75 per person in their household for Halloween this year? While that number might seem steep, particularly if you have kids who plan to dress up, there are plenty of ways to save money on costumes, candy, decor, and more. Follow these tips from authority credit expert Creditnet.com to avoid getting spooked by your credit card bill this Halloween.

1. Use Rewards Credit Cards

Many credit cards offer rewards or points for spending on everyday purchases. You can earn significant amounts of cash back, points, or miles just by buying candy and pumpkins from the grocery store, costumes online, or even DIY costume supplies from your local market. Halloween is a great time to maximize these credit card rewards and earn extra money on your Halloween expenses.

2. Consider Homemade Costumes


If you are at all crafty, get creative when preparing costumes for your family. In most cases, DIY Halloween costumes can be had for a fraction of the cost of their store-bought counterparts, and are often way more fun to put together. If you have kids who are old enough, get them in on the act of making their own costumes. Look to websites and online forums for inspiration to make easy costumes with plenty of personality.

3. Think Second-Hand

Kids' consignment stores are a great resource for Halloween costumes, especially since they are typically only worn once. You can find tons of adorable costumes in like-new condition, especially for younger children. Online yard sale sites are also a great place to look. And check with friends with older kids -- they may have hand-me-downs in the basement or garage. Shopping thrift stores for the components to a costume is also a smart way to save money.

4. Scour Your Own Basement

Do you have kid costumes from previous years that you can repurpose? Even small items like fairy wings or superhero masks can mean big savings if you don't need to buy these pieces again. You can also sell or trade old costumes to earn money to spend on new duds for this year's holiday. Consider organizing a swap with neighbors to get new-to-you costumes for free.

5. Think Outside the Candy Box

Non-candy treats to hand out to trick-or-treaters, such as pencils, erasers, rubber spiders, and other trinkets, are often much less expensive than candy. Another upside is that you can often return the items that don't get handed out. If you do decide to hand out candy, look for printable coupons. The day or two before the holiday is often the best time to buy.

6. Plan Ahead

If you are a newlywed, have a new home, or are otherwise low on Halloween decor, think ahead for next year by buying holiday items at deep discounts on November 1. By stocking your basement ahead of time, you'll have everything you need for next year at a fraction of the cost.

Source: Creditnet.co

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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How to Bring Your Halloween Home Décor Back from the Dead

October 17, 2014 1:38 am

(BPT) - Halloween has its fair share of iconic symbols: ghosts, witches, mummies and pumpkins, just to name a few. But if your home decor is becoming just as iconic, it may be time to change it up and take your decorating in a new direction.

There are many directions you can go with a decoration theme. Certainly, the colors of black and orange can be integrated into the decor with the use of pumpkins or candles; these items still scream Halloween and can be displayed elegantly.

"For a more sophisticated look, combine dark red arrangements of roses, cover them in black hat veiling so you see the roses through the veil and tie them together with black satin ribbon," Gary LaVasser, academic director in set and exhibit design at The Art Institute of California, suggests. "If you want to go a little further, place the arrangement on an inexpensive black placemat and drip dark red nail polish from a few rose petals onto the placemat. It will look like the roses are bleeding."

LaVasser also has these tips for alternative but sophisticated Halloween decor:
  • Use vintage Halloween toys from the 1930s, 40s or 50s as part of the design. If they are worn they'll have more character. Combine them with garlands of silk fall leaves available at most craft stores, tree branches or wheat and place on mantels or dining tables.
  • Paint objects black that are normally not this color. For example, jack-o-lanterns are orange so spray them black for a twist on a familiar item. Also, consider painting real flowers black. To make objects more interesting, select different black textures such as matte, glitter, satin, gloss or metallic paints.
  • The colors of fall are rich earth tones and these colors are also tied to Halloween. Add a little "punch" by using a deep purple color - it can be an interesting contrast to oranges and gold tones. Also consider using metallic gold, copper and pewter colors. You can paint leaves or pumpkins with these shades as well. 
  • Look for inspiration among different cultures and learn how they celebrate certain holidays or Halloween. A Latino tradition is Day of the Dead, which is observed on November 1st and 2nd. It celebrates family and friends who have passed and the decor includes folk art, candles, colorful flowers and bright ribbons.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Top 10 Things That Make Your House Spooky - and How to Fix Them

October 16, 2014 1:38 am

The Plan Collection (TPC) notes that having a haunted-looking house might be just the look you want once a year, but what about once Halloween's over? The company shares their list of the top 10 elements of a house plan design that can make any home the scariest in the neighborhood along with advice on how to fix them.

1. Eerie Architectural Style. Remember the rather "unique" look of the home in The Addams Family? Norman Bates' house on the hill in Psycho? Certain architectural styles - such as Victorian and the Second Empire style with its mansard roofs - have a long history in spooky literature and horror films. Ironically, we often associate these same styles with some of the most cheerful and charming places in the country - just think Disney's Main Street USA.

2. Lifeless Color Scheme. Dark paint colors, when used as the primary exterior color, can make almost any home look dreary, uninviting. Lighter paint colors that complement the design of your house are often the better choice for the exterior of your home. Reserve your use of darker color to areas that emphasize special features such as the trim or windows.

3. Ghostly Lighting. No one wants to knock on the door of a house without exterior lighting, but lighting features that cause heavy shadows along walk-ways or at entry points - creating that fear that something or someone might be lurking just ahead -- can be even worse. Redirecting the light features or using lower wattage bulbs is often an easy way to chase the ghosts away. If investing in new lighting, consider lamps that emphasize the beauty of your home's exterior features.

4. Zombie Landscaping. Those trees and bushes might have looked perfectly sized to the house for perhaps the first five years after planted, but don't forget... they're alive. Alive! Neglected trees and shrubs keep growing and need constant tending. Without attention, they end up surrounding your house with an "undead" feel. In addition to detracting from the house design, older, large branches are also a risk to your home in storms. Take those pruners and cut off some heads or at least give everything a good trim.

5. Suspended Maintenance. Most everyone puts at least some repairs off, but rigorous home maintenance is essential. Spring and fall are the best time of year to start checking fix-it projects off your list. Fix that step before you have to fix the entire stairs! If the exterior is starting to look dull consider power washing it. Touch up paint before a small problem becomes a big one.

6. Scary Windows. Small windows or windows covered with heavy drapery create a more somber feel. For small windows, use brighter window treatments to lighten the mood. Take advantage of any larger windows to bring outdoor light into the home.

7. Creepy Front Door. Ever have second thoughts before knocking on a front door while trick-or-treating? Well, the size and color of the entry door play a big role in making first impressions. If the front door feels uninviting, think about using a bolder, friendlier color such as a bright red, or chase away the shadows by strategically using lighting.

8. Bone Chilling Floor Plan. Small rooms and narrow hallways make for a cramped, uninviting floor plan. Consider an open concept floor plan if buying or building a house. If renovating, be sure to consult a professional before removing walls in your current home, as they may be "load bearing" walls, and will have to be replaced with other supports or structures.

9. Mysterious Staircases. Narrow staircases with walls on both sides can be dark and creepy. Lowering a wall to open the staircase up to the room or hallway below can go a long way to dispelling some of the dark, scary mystery and making your stairs more inviting.

10. Horrifying Home Décor. Dark, oversized furniture and heavy rugs can have a tendency to make a home feel less inviting. Stacks of stuff and excess clutter around the house? Not going to help the situation. Ask yourself if you really need all that stuff and if not, get rid of some of it.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Tips for Pumpkin Carving with Power Tools

October 16, 2014 1:38 am

Want to use items you may already have to save time and effort on your Halloween pumpkins? Mr. Handyman has perfected pumpkin carving using power tools. Power tools are sturdier than pre-packaged carving kits, and help you achieve better results. Mr. Handyman shares five tips to make your pumpkins front-porch worthy this year:

• Cut off the Top: To remove the top of your pumpkin, use a jigsaw blade at a 45 degree angle around the top to remove the lid. Watch how quick and easy it is to open the pumpkin.

• Gut the Pumpkin: Purchase a pumpkin gutter tool for around $10 and save 20 minutes compared to scraping the insides with a spoon. Simply insert the pumpkin gutter into your drill, tighten, and quickly clean the insides without damaging the seeds.

• Drill Perfectly Circular Eyes: Use a ruler and mark two evenly spaced places for the eyes. Then, insert coring bits into the drill and to easily cut perfect holes for the eyes.

• Chip Away Pumpkin "Skin": One of the biggest trends in pumpkin carving is chipping away the "skin" or outermost layer of the pumpkin. To get this look, download one of our pumpkin carving templates, outline your design on the pumpkin using a pen or thumb tacks. Next, place the tip of a woodworking chisel underneath the skin and push away from the outside edge of your design.

• Create Mini Pumpkin Bats: Spray cardboard and mini pumpkins with black spray paint. Cut the cardboard into wing shapes, take a chisel to cut slips on the sides of the mini pumpkins, and insert the wings. Drill holes in the pumpkins and insert small bolts for eyes. You can insert an eye screw on the top so you can hang a dozen of these around your front door using fishing line.

Source: Mr. Handyman

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The Least Expensive Fall and Thanksgiving Travel Destinations

October 15, 2014 1:38 am

Against the backdrop of rising airfares, new research from Fly.com reveals travelers can still save money this Thanksgiving and fall. But, to do so, travelers will need to fly westward.

Fly.com’s data study, which compared the average cost of flights to popular fall vacation spots in 2013 against 2014 prices, found that – with the exception of Dallas – the only destinations experiencing cheaper fares this fall are located in the western United States.

Surprisingly Hawaii, which is often associated with expensive airfares, offers the best deals for the Thanksgiving and post-Thanksgiving travel periods. In contrast, Florida’s continued popularity over the fall has played a role in rising fares. For instance, flights to Tampa between December 1-21 cost 25 percent more in 2014 compared with last year.

The Fly.com study also revealed that flights to popular fall destinations cost an average $105 more during the Thanksgiving travel period, but drop $123 post-Thanksgiving.

“To borrow the words of American author Horace Greeley, it is time to ‘go west,’” said Warren Chang, vice president and general manager, Fly.com. “For anyone still looking to use up their vacation days without breaking the bank, the West Coast and Mountain states offer something for every taste. There are also some amazing hotel deals out there for Hawaii and Los Angeles that can save travelers even more money.”

Source: Fly.com

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Keep Your Dog Safe on Halloween

October 15, 2014 1:38 am

(Family Features) Including pets in your family's Halloween festivities can be a fun addition to your celebration. However, with all the excitement comes the chance for pets to get into danger or trouble. You can head off potential problems and enjoy an evening of fun with some safety tips and smart planning.

Keeping your pet away from candy and other Halloween treats is especially important because so many favorites include chocolate, which is potentially toxic for dogs. It's also an ideal time to practice obedience commands with your four-legged friends, as crowds of unfamiliar people, costumes and lots of open doors can create temptations too hard to resist.

To include your furry family members while still keeping them safe during the fun, follow these guidelines.

Trick-or-treating together
  • Before hitting the streets, make sure your dog is socialized around kids, adults and other animals.
  • Bring water and treats to reward your dog for good behavior and reduce the desire to go for kids' candy.
  • Increase nighttime visibility with LED leashes, collars or harnesses.
Pawsitively good party manners
  • Before guests arrive, practice "leave it" or a similar command. This is useful to help pets avoid candy or food they might encounter on the ground. Trainers can help you get it down right.
  • Establish a rule that guests don't feed the dog candy or human food. A new interactive toy or long-lasting rawhide may keep your pup busy and out of temptation's way. Many ingredients commonly found in Halloween candy can be harmful to your pet. For example, xylitol, found in gum and candy can cause dangerously low blood sugar or liver disease in dogs. Chocolate can create a range of symptoms, from vomiting to abnormal heart rhythm to death. Even snacks that are healthy for humans, such as raisins, can cause a toxic reaction.
  • Prevent your dog from running out an open door by working on a "stay" command. Ask your dog to sit, and praise him when he obeys. While your dog is sitting, say "stay" and place your hand flat with your palm facing the dog. Wait 2-3 seconds then give your dog a treat. You can increase the time he stays by a couple of seconds every three repetitions, working up to 30 seconds.
  • If you aren't confident about your dog's abilities, keep him on a leash while the doorbell is ringing.
Costume comfort and safety
  • A costume should never constrain or bother your pet. If your pet isn't comfortable, try a strap-on costume that attaches loosely with snaps or around the pet.
  • Once a costume fits properly, make sure your pet won't trip on anything like a cape or ribbon. Check for little parts within chewing distance and keep identification tags on collars.
  • Throughout the evening, watch your pet and make adjustments as needed. You may need to cut or remove portions of the costume to increase a pet's comfort. The most important part of the evening is your pet's safety.
Source: PetSmart

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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