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Coverage for Your Valuable Articles

January 6th, 2017 | No Comments | Posted in Personal Tips, Trips & Traps

shutterstock_230632888The holidays are over and the season for gift giving has come to a close. Do you know if your valuable articles are adequately covered? High value personal articles, like jewelry, art and collectibles, may not be covered under your homeowner’s policy.

Contact Hedda today and find out if your valuable articles should be scheduled to be provide adequate coverage!

Making Resolutions Last All Year

January 6th, 2017 | No Comments | Posted in Hedda's Hints

making_resolutions_last_for_the_entire_year-1Making Resolutions Last for the Entire Year

The new year usually comes along with new resolutions—spending less, being more active and so on. However, keeping a new resolution a few months down the road can take some serious dedication. Here are a few tips to ensure that your resolutions will last all the way until 2018:

  • Don’t set a goal for the whole year. Although it can be tempting to set a numerical-based resolution for the entire year—such as losing a certain amount of weight or saving a certain amount of money—it can be just as easy to push these goals off until it’s too late. Instead, try to focus on what you can do on a regular basis.
  • Be specific. Generic goals can be much easier to ignore. While a goal like “exercising more” may seem like a good idea, it’s easier to follow through if you’re specific. Make a schedule for when, where and how you’ll accomplish a specific goal.
  • Only do one step at a time. Resolutions are meant to last for the entire year, not just for a week or a month. Don’t try to overexert yourself early in the year by doing too much too quickly—instead be sure to stay consistent and take your resolutions one step at a time.
  • Find a partner. Doing resolutions with a friend or family member can help you stick to your schedule. Plus, a little friendly competition can help you stay motivated!
  • Know when to take a break. Although it’s important to stay regular with your resolutions, remember that it’s OK to take a break every now and then. That way, you’ll be able to come back to your goals with a relaxed and refreshed mindset.

HOME

Using Space Heaters Safely

Although space heaters are a great way to warm your home during the cold winter months, they can also present serious home fire hazards. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), space heaters are involved in 79 percent of fatal home heating fires.

To ensure that your home is both safe and warm this winter, keep these space heater safety tips in mind:

  • Only purchase space heaters that have a mark from a reputable certification agency, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
  • Check for safety features when you’re purchasing a heater—such as an automatic shutoff and heating element guards.
  • Check your space heater’s cords before you use it to ensure that it doesn’t cause an electrical fire.
  • Never use space heaters to warm bedding, or place them near any flammable materials.
  • Turn off space heaters whenever you leave the room or go to sleep.
  • Pay extra attention to children and pets when they’re around space heaters.
  • Don’t place heaters in congested or high-traffic areas of your home. Additionally, make sure that cords don’t present a tripping hazard.

AUTO

What to Look for When Buying a Used Vehicle

Buying a used vehicle can be a great and inexpensive way to get on the road. However, you need to be extra careful when buying a used vehicle to ensure that it’s safe and in good condition.

Here are some things you should always check before you buy a used vehicle:

  • Look for any wear or scratches around the vehicle’s dashboard. This could be a sign that the odometer has been tampered with.
  • View the vehicle from all angles—including from the ground—to check for wear and tear.
  • Check for a damp or moldy smell in the vehicle’s interior. This could be a sign of water damage.
  • Take the vehicle on a test drive to see how well it performs. Also, pay attention to any clanking or grinding noises that could indicate damage.
  • Ask a salesperson to see under the vehicle’s front hood. Additionally, you should ask if the vehicle has a printed history report, so you can see if it’s been in any accidents or had serious maintenance done.

Facts About the Flu

January 6th, 2017 | No Comments | Posted in Live Well, Work Well

fluThe flu is an infection of the respiratory tract caused by the influenza virus. It usually causes mild to severe illness, but sometimes it can cause fatal complications.

Flu Symptoms

A person who has the flu often feels some or all of these symptoms:

  • Fever and/or chills
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Cough and/or sore throat
  • Nasal congestion
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Stomach ailments such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults)

How the Flu is Spread

The flu spreads primarily when someone coughs, sneezes or talks, allowing the virus to become airborne and then infect other people. It can also spread if a healthy individual touches a surface that was previously touched by an infected person, and then the healthy individual touches his or her own mouth, eyes or nose. People are typically contagious from the day before symptoms start until seven days after symptoms appear.

The timing of the flu virus is very unpredictable and can vary from season to season. Flu activity most commonly peaks in the United States between December and February; however, seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue as late as May.

If You Get the Flu

If you contract the flu, it is important to take good care of yourself. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following:

  • Stay home from work! It’s your best chance for recovery, and you will avoid spreading the disease to others.
  • Get sufficient sleep.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Take over-the-counter (OTC) medications appropriate for your symptoms.
  • Most people do not need medical care, but consult your doctor if you are concerned. Also, seek immediate medical attention if you have any of the warning signs discussed on the next page.

Prevention

Serious complications can arise from the flu, including bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration and worsening of chronic medical conditions. This is why it is crucial to prevent contracting the virus in the first place.

These simple steps should be taken in order to avoid the flu:

  • Get a yearly flu vaccine. It is the most important step in protecting against the virus. Flu vaccines are needed on a yearly basis because the body’s immune response to a vaccination declines over time and because flu viruses are constantly mutating.
  • Take preventive actions. Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough. Try to avoid close contact with sick people and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Wash your hands often or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Take antiviral drugs if your doctor recommends them. These are prescription drugs that fight the flu by keeping the viruses from reproducing in your body.
  • Maintain a healthy immune system by eating healthy food, exercising, getting adequate sleep, controlling your stress level and avoiding smoking.

Emergency Situations

Occasionally, the flu can cause serious medical complications. It is important to seek immediate medical treatment if someone with the flu displays any of these signs.

In children, emergency warning signs include:

  • Fast breathing (or difficulty breathing)
  • Bluish skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Not waking up or interacting with people
  • Being so irritable the child does not want to be touched
  • Flu-like symptoms improve, but then return with a fever and a worse cough
  • Fever with a rash

In adults, emergency warning signs are:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve, but then return with a fever and a worse cough

Flu Vaccination

The CDC recommends yearly flu shots for all individuals over six months of age. Vaccination is especially important for people who are at high risk for serious flu complications, such as young children, pregnant women, people with chronic medical conditions and people 65 years and older. While there are many different flu viruses, the seasonal flu vaccine is designed to protect against the main flu viruses that research suggests will cause the greatest spread of illness during the upcoming flu season; however, it is still possible to become ill from a strain of influenza not included in the vaccine. Even so, antibodies from a vaccination of one flu virus can sometimes provide protection against different but related viruses, and all recipients of a flu vaccine will be protected from the two main A-strains of flu, which are generally considered the most dangerous.

Contrary to popular belief, you cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine.

There are several flu vaccine options, which will greatly expand flu shot choices for people who would otherwise be ineligible to receive a vaccination. The offerings include a four-strain vaccine and nasal spray; a high-dose three-strain flu shot; two egg-free versions; and a shot that does not go beneath the skin.

All vaccines protect against both Type A strains of influenza (h2N1 and H3N2), as well as a Type B strain. The four-strain, or quadrivalent, vaccine protects against both strains of Type B as well as the Type A strains. It has been difficult in the past to predict which B strain would become dominant in a given season, so the quadrivalent vaccine protects against both.

Additionally, a high-dose flu shot containing four times the usual dosage is offered to older adults and other people with weakened immune systems as a way of boosting their bodies’ responses to the virus.

Finally, people with an aversion to needles can choose to receive a “microneedle” version of the vaccine that is applied to the skin instead of the arm muscle.

Different flu shots are approved for people of different ages; there are even flu shots that are approved for use in people as young as six months of age. For many vaccine recipients, more than one type or brand of vaccine may be appropriate. Where more than one type of vaccine is appropriate and available, no preferential recommendation is made by the CDC for use of any influenza vaccine product over another. If you have questions about which vaccine is best for you, talk to your doctor or another health care provider.

Contrary to popular belief, you cannot contract the flu from the flu vaccine—but sometimes side effects mimic those of the flu, such as a headache, low fever and/or nasal congestion. However, these will only persist for a maximum of 24 hours.

These people should NOT get a flu vaccine without first consulting their physician:

  • Those who have had a severe reaction or have developed Guillain-Barre syndrome within six weeks of getting an influenza vaccination; and
  • Children under six months of age.
If you get the flu, stay home and take care of yourself.

Apps: Prevent Distracted Driving

January 6th, 2017 | No Comments | Posted in Apps

While everyone knows they shouldn’t use a smartphone behind the wheel, one in every four crashes still involves someone texting, snapping, sharing, or chatting on a mobile device. So how do we save ourselves … from ourselves? I’ve tested more than a dozen apps and gadgets that promise a fix.

DriveMode Wins Top Spot

Every major cellular provider offers something to help with distracted driving. I found AT&T’s free DriveMode app for Android and iPhone works the best, and after nearly six months of testing, is the only one that I still use every single day.

It turns on automatically when your car starts moving more than 15 miles per hour and silences text alerts. It doesn’t totally lock your phone down, though: anyone who texts will get a pre-configured response (like “I’m driving, will call you back in a minute”) and you can still access music, navigation, and select contacts on your phone with a single click. Parents can also set up the app notify them when a teen driver disables it.

The reason this app blew past the competition for me is because it’s super simple to use and eliminates the most common sources of distraction: phone calls, text messages, games and social media. You just set it and forget it. At the same time, it allows some interaction with the things I rely on, such as the Waze navigation app and streaming music via Spotify. Many safety experts argue that the only safe place for a smartphone in a car is in the trunk—but human behavior has already shown us that doesn’t work. (I’m not sure I could get anywhere anymore without Waze.)

AT&T DriveMode app works with other carriers, but the other providers have their own solutions too. Sprint’s Drive First app is great, but only available for Android phones. Same with T-Mobile’s DriveSmart app and you’ll have to pay $4.99 to get it to do what AT&T’s DriveMode does automatically. Verizon’s Driving Mode controls come straight from its Android Verizon Messages app, so it doesn’t work on iPhones either. It also disables texts and sends an auto-reply whenever you get a message, but it doesn’t turn off any other distractions. It also needs to be turned on manually every time you get in the car, unless you’ve paired it with Bluetooth.

Other Apps Worth Taking For A Spin

SafeDrive (free for Android and iPhone) makes a game out of staying off of your phone and I really like it. Instead of preventing you from looking at your phone, it awards you when you don’t. Whenever you’re in a car, a screen pops up on your phone that shows how many points you’ve earned. Leave your phone alone, and you earn points as you drive—but if you touch your phone, all of those points vanish. You can cash in your at your local gas station, and the list of other retailers is growing. Other SafeDrive users can even challenge you to see who racks up the most miles without using their phones. Winners get glory, and more points.

Focus — Screen Free Driving (iPhone) is another fun take on staying off your phone—kind of like smartphone shaming—but in an effective way. It launches when you start driving, and if you touch your phone, a voice sternly says, “hang up and drive.” If you don’t, the app gets downright angry, yelling phrases like, “lock your phone NOW,” “eyes on the road, Chief,” and even, “would your parents be happy with you if they knew you were doing this?”

It’s funny, impossible to ignore, and helps you realize how much time you really do spend sucked in by your smartphone. At the end of every drive, it gives you a road report showing how many minutes you’ve been distracted with your devices. That’s pretty eye-opening too. It’s free to download, but you can unlock extra features for $4.99, including how speeding reports for teen drivers.

If you absolutely need to stay plugged-in while on the road, try Android app MessageLOUD ($15.99/year). It’s a new service that automatically reads your texts and emails out loud as you drive. It works with Gmail, MS Exchange, Yahoo, Outlook, Office365 and Hotmail. It lets you delete, dismiss, auto-reply, or call back with a single tap or swipe—a lot like controlling your radio—without taking your eyes off the road. It’s still a fairly new app and more distracting than DriveMode, but a step up from having your phone in your hand and your eyes on the screen. The app makers are working on an iOS version now.

In theory, Siri should read my messages too, but I think I’ve dropped my iPhone too much and scrambled her brain. Everytime I ask, “read my texts,” she tries to Facetime someone named Dex.

Targeting Teens

This is an especially dangerous time for teen drivers. An annual AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study shows the highest number of teen deaths on the road occur during the year’s “100 Deadliest Days” between Memorial Day and Labor Day. When it comes to tech support, there are lots of options here, but my favorite is tXt Blocker ($7/month). It shuts down the phone completely when your teen is driving (and lets you set up “No-Cell Zones” to prevent texting from work or school) that teens can’t hack around. You can also track and find your teen through the tXtBlocker website and see reports on how safely they’re driving.

Source: usatoday.com

Rental Car Insurance

January 6th, 2017 | No Comments | Posted in U-Tube

Tips On What You Need To Know At The Counter

Rental car insurance can be confusing and frustrating. Learn what you need to do before you ever step foot in a rental car office.

January 2017 Events in DC

January 5th, 2017 | No Comments | Posted in Spotlight on the Community

shutterstock_528660904The Washington, DC area and its surrounding communities in Maryland and Virginia host lots of annual festivals and special events. All dates, prices, and activities mentioned are subject to change, so please check the official website or call to confirm information. Please note that most of these events are held each year and the dates are updated as available.

Winter Theater
in Washington DC

With dozens of performances around the region, here is the schedule of the top shows for the 2017 season.

Bridal Shows and Expos
See everything you need to plan an extraordinary wedding. Bridal shows include exhibits of bridal fashions, invitations, photographers, ceremony sites, music, wedding cakes, decorations, honeymoon travel and much more. See the schedule of shows around the Washington DC area.

International Motorcycle Show 
January 6-8, 2017. Washington Convention Center. Th event showcases the latest sportbikes, dirt bikes, cruisers, scooters, customs, ATVs, aftermarket parts, motorcycle apparel and accessories.

NBC4’s Health and Fitness Expo
January 7-8, 2017, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Washington DC Convention Center. The annual event offers fun activities to motivate you to take charge of your health. Try a new sport such as golf, skiing or snowboarding with the virtual simulators. Check your body mass index, take a heart risk test, learn about ergonomics and much more.

Washington Wizards Basketball
See NBA games live at the Verizon Center or enjoy the national broadcasts throughout the season.

Washington Capitals
The NHL Hockey team plays at the Verizon Center from January through April. Find information on tickets, schedules and more.

Bethesda-Montgomery County Restaurant Week 
January 13-22, 2017. Restaurant Week specials return to Bethesda and some of Montgomery County’s top restaurants. Try some place new this winter.

Adventures in Travel Expo
January 14-15, 2017. Washington Convention Center. Learn about a wide variety of adventure travel packages and tours, attend educational seminars, meet leading travel writers and participate in free hands-on activities.

Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Events
The national holiday is January 16, 2017. Martin Luther King Jr’s Birthday is a day of honor and commemorative events at a variety of sites in Washington, DC. Events honoring the civil rights leader run throughout the month of January.

2017 Presidential Inauguration
January 20, 2017.  A week of festivities will include the Presidential Swearing-in Ceremony, Inaugural Address, Inaugural Parade and Inaugural Balls and Galas honoring the new President of the United States.

Trump Inauguration Protests and Rallies
January 19-21, 2017. Washington DC. A number of groups are organizing protests, rallies and even anti-inaugural balls to empower and unite those opposed to the policies of the incoming President. See the schedule of events.

Women’s March on Washington
January 21, 2017. Washington DC. The rally and protest will bring women and feminists together to highlight women’ s issues.

Home & Remodeling Show
January 20-22, 2017. Dulles Expo Center. 4368 Chantilly Shopping Center, Chantilly, VA. Find out what’s new in home decor, gardening, remodeling, and more. Meet hundreds of experts and check out thousands of products and services.

Roe v. Wade Anniversary Rallies
January 22, 2017. Thousands of Americans will march in Washington, DC on the anniversary of the date of the Supreme Court’s infamous 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Pro-lifers and pro-choice supporters will march in support of their stand on this controversial issue.

Howard County Restaurant Weeks
January 23- February 6, 2017. Participating restaurants will offer prix fixe chef’s menus with prices ranging from $10.17 to $40.17 (beverages, tax, gratuity not included) featuring local products, cut flowers, seafood, herbs, meats, eggs and game often paired with local wine or beers.

Washington Auto Show
January 27-February 5, 2017. Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place, NW Washington, DC. This special event features more than 700 new vehicle makes and models, live entertainment, celebrity guests and new car giveaways.

Chinese New Year Events
Various Dates, enjoy a variety of special celebrations honoring the Year of the Rooster in the Washington, DC area.

DC Rollergirls
2017 Dates to Be Announced. DC Armory, 2001 East Capitol Street, SE Washington, DC. Enjoy watching the region’s all women’s roller derby team compete.

Alexandria Restaurant Week
2017 Dates to Be Announced. More than 45 restaurants will be offering special menus and pricing to entice visitors to dine in Alexandria, Virginia, just five miles south of Washington, DC. The restaurants are offering either a three-course pre-fixe dinner or dinner for two, both priced at $35.

Sugarloaf Craft Festivals
January 27-29, 2017. Dulles Expo Center, 4320 Chantilly Place Center, Chantilly, VA Enjoy the crafts of 500 artists, including jewelry, wood, leather, clothing, sculpture, glass and more. Watch live entertainment and feast on a variety of foods.

Maryland Polar Bear Plunge
January 27, 2017. Annapolis, Maryland. During the charity event for Special Olympics Maryland, thousands of participants of all ages are daring enough to take a dip in the wintry waters of the Chesapeake Bay. The event includes contests and live entertainment. See More Polar Plunges in Maryland and Virginia.

Washington, DC Restaurant Week
January 30-February 5, 2017. Experience Washington, DC’s best restaurants at affordable prices. More than 250 of Washington, DC’s finest restaurants will be offering 3-course lunches for $22 and 3-course dinners for $35 for this gourmet event.

Summer Camp Fairs in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia
Various dates in January and February. Do you know what your kids are doing this summer? Attend a camp fair and find out about a variety of day and sleepaway camps in the Washington, DC area.

Source: dc.about.com