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Susan Langenstein
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Doylestown  PA 18901
 Phone: 267-446-6201
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Susan Langenstein

My Blog

Brrr! Better Car Care Tips for Winter Weather

January 12, 2018 1:41 am

You aren't the only one who needs to bundle up in the winter. Your vehicle, too, needs some special care in the colder months. The non-profit Car Care Council offers six quick tips to help your vehicle perform at its best during cold weather months.

Keep the gas tank at least half full; this decreases the chance of moisture forming in the gas lines and possibly freezing.

Check the tire pressure, including the spare, as tires can lose pressure when temperatures drop. Consider special tires if snow and ice are a problem in your area.

Have the exhaust system checked for carbon monoxide leaks, which can be especially dangerous during cold weather driving when windows are closed.

Allow your car a little more time to warm up when temperatures are below freezing so that the oil in the engine and transmission circulate and get warm.

Change to low-viscosity oil in winter as it will flow more easily between moving parts when it is cold. Drivers in sub-zero temperatures should drop their oil weight from 10-W30 to 5-W30 as thickened oil can make it hard to start the car.

Consider using cold weather washer fluid and special winter windshield blades if you live in a place with especially harsh winter conditions.

Source: Car Care Council

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Winter Advisory Travel Tips

January 12, 2018 1:41 am

Whether you're dreaming of hitting the slopes or packing your bags for some fun in the sun, traveling during the cold season comes with its own quirks. Here are eight winter advisory travel tips from Travel Leaders Group:

Book early. Contact a travel agent who can help you avoid peak travel dates and travel times. Even if you must travel within a certain range of dates, the time of day you travel can help cut down on the amount of time you sit driving below the speed limit during heavy traffic or flying at peak times which might make it harder to land a reservation on the next flight out when yours is canceled. For example, you may want to avoid the first or last flight of the day depending on the start and end time of the storm since these flights have a higher frequency of being canceled.

Sign up for travel insurance. Often airlines will issue travel waivers that allow you to rebook your ticket away from the affected dates at no additional charge. You should take advantages of these when they post. However, for those instances where you may miss a flight because you were stuck in traffic or your ship sailed without you when your flight was canceled or delayed, travel insurance can be your saving grace to recoup all or part of your travel investment.  

Get travel advisories or weather alerts delivered to your phone. There are several apps that allow you to receive email or text message notifications from your airline about your flight's status. A app can keep you updated about conditions. Also, an all-in-one mobile solution is an efficient way for business travelers not only to receive text notifications about flight delays, cancellations or gate changes, but also to reach live travel agents 24/7 to assist with flight disruptions or flight reservations.

Pack a winter safety kit. Whether you're driving or flying, prepare for possible delays with a few essentials. Pack a small extra bag with an extra sweater, gloves or small throw, as well as water and high-energy or high-protein foods such as granola bars or beef jerky. You may also want to pack a toothbrush and toothpaste, a change of underwear and any needed prescription medications. Remember also a flashlight, extra batteries, or phone charger, a first aid kit and a good book.

Consider larger airports and travel light. If you suspect there may be severe weather threats during your time of travel, consider flying from a larger airport. Larger international airports will have a greater chance of more alternate flights, and they are also better equipped to clear runways faster or with de-icing of a plane. If you travel with only a carry-on, you'll be in a better position to change flights quickly in the event of a cancellation.

Stay on the main roads. If you're driving between destinations, stick to major highways or well-traveled roads. Not only are they likely to be plowed more quickly, there are other people who can come to your rescue easily should you need assistance. Travel also during daylight hours or when car repair shops or convenience stores are more likely to be open. If you're stranded in your vehicle for an extended period of time, run your engine for only a few minutes once or twice an hour to stay warm and conserve gas. While the car is running, be sure to slightly roll down a window to keep carbon monoxide from building up inside.  

Go west. For those looking for a temporary respite from the cold, they could go west to Arizona or south to the Caribbean. You don't have to be a Baby Boomer to become a snowbird every winter. With many Americans and Canadians having the flexibility to work from home or remotely, it may be worth avoiding the coldest weeks of the year by working from someplace sunny.

Enjoy the snow. And there are those who feel it just wouldn't be winter without the snow, despite the cold. Whether you are a skier, snowboarder or just want to lounge at the spa on a snowy backdrop, places such as Aspen, Jackson Hole, or Banff, Canada, can provide the perfect setting.

Source: Travel Leaders Group

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Beating Winter Workplace Blues

January 11, 2018 1:06 am

Cool weather and less light can bring a dip in moods--especially if you spend most of the daylight hours stuck inside an office building. Accountemps shares five tips to help employees beat the winter blues and boost their mood and productivity at work.

Stay active. Take a brisk walk outside (weather permitting) or hit the gym during lunch to clear your mind and get energized to tackle your next project.

Nourish yourself. When you're hungry, snack on fresh fruit or nuts. They're much better for your body and focus than sugary or greasy selections from the vending machine.

Make time for small talk. Sometimes the best ideas come from casual conversations. In between tasks, grab coffee or lunch with a colleague.

Set goals for the year ahead. Now is the time to think about your career objectives and what you would like to accomplish in the coming year. Write them down and have a discussion with your manager about your goals.

Pursue professional development. Explore the idea of attending seminars and workshops to gain new skills, build your network and increase your marketability.

Source: Accountemps

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Reducing Credit Card Debt: 6 Ways

January 11, 2018 1:06 am

Like many Americans, you may be looking for a way to bring down your credit card debt. To help, the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) offers the following six tips.

Pause some spending. Identify any automated payments that can be eliminated or temporarily paused while you're paying off debt. Consider delaying or reducing large annual expenses, such as vacations or holiday spending, for one year. These temporary changes can help you pay off debt faster.

Reduce your interest rates. Take an inventory of all your credit cards, including the interest rates and minimum payments. Next, call your credit card companies to ask if they will waive any late payments or reduce your interest rate.

Eliminate your most expensive card first. Pay the monthly minimum on each card to avoid fees. Apply any left-over money to the highest interest-rate card first. Once this card is paid off, take the amount you were paying and apply it to the card with the second highest interest rate while continuing to make minimum payments on all other cards. Repeat until you have paid off all your credit cards.

Create a written budget . A written budget will help you stay out of debt in the future. Allocate some of your spending to an emergency fund so that you are prepared if a job loss or health crisis arises. Check in with your budget each month.

Set financial goals and focus on the long-term. What is most important to you? Do you want to save for a home or go back to school? Articulate your goals so you're more driven to reach them. The changes you make in the short term are temporary and purposeful and will help you reach future goals.

Toast yourself. Being debt free is an important milestone that is worth sharing and celebrating. Create a memory – a visit with a friend or a social media post – that you can recall when you are tempted to overspend again in the future.

Source: National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA)

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Are You at Risk for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

January 9, 2018 1:56 am

Everyone who uses oil, natural gas, liquid propane, or wood and pellet stoves should make sure their heating system has been cleaned and inspected within the last year. If the burning of fuel is incomplete, carbon monoxide gas can form and build up in your home, health experts warn.

Since this deadly gas by-product has no odor or warning properties, a carbon monoxide alarm is the only way to know if it’s building up in your home.

If you have a carbon monoxide alarm, it’s important to test it to make sure it works. If you don’t have one, what are you waiting for?

Be sure to place the carbon monoxide alarm in your living space, preferably close to bedrooms or where you spend the most time. You can also place another carbon monoxide alarm in the basement near the furnace as an early warning signal.

If you heat your home with electricity and use a portable generator or a stationary home backup generator during power outages, it’s very important to have a working carbon monoxide alarm because deadly gas can enter your home around window casings, door frames, and penetrate through outside walls.

Sometimes it's hard to tell if you have early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning because those symptoms can resemble the flu. A headache, feeling light headed and sleepiness are common to both illnesses.

If there are people in the house and a number of them develop symptoms around the same time, carbon monoxide gas may be seeping into your living space. The longer you’re exposed, the more dangerous it is.

If not treated quickly, exposure can cause brain damage and death. If you think you may have carbon monoxide
poisoning, get people and pets out of the house immediately.

Once outside, call 911 from a cellphone or neighbor’s house.

Questions about placement of carbon monoxide detectors, warning equipment and battery vs. hardwiring or other technologies should be directed to your local building official or fire marshal.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


7 Practical Ways to Improve Organization

January 9, 2018 1:56 am

Many of us wish we were more organized. From the state of our home, to our business and finances, organization can make much of life easier, or more difficult. The following tips come from Time Timer, a trusted tool for organizational professionals, families, schools and businesses to help people manage time more effectively by visualizing how time elapses.

Declutter and put everything in its place. If this seems overwhelming, set a timer for 20 minutes and do a blitz pick up.

Make a list of everything you need to do this coming year, month and week, and then prioritize which tasks are most important.

Do the boring (to you) tasks first and get them out of the way instead of spending time dwelling on having to do them.

Break up big jobs into manageable chunks of time so they seem less daunting. Some even suggest breaking up your resolution into chunks to make your goal more attainable.

Schedule breaks in your day. Take a walk, grab a cup of coffee, check your social media accounts and then get back to work with a fresh mind.

Audit your time weekly and make adjustments. Did you spend too much time on email? Set specific times for email and then turn off your push notifications. Whatever it is that’s a time parasite, rearrange the time spent on it.

Set firm boundaries so that work doesn't creep into life too much and vice versa. There are sometimes exceptions, but the 9 p.m. work emails are not usually a crisis, are they? And how much time of your work day are you spending looking at a friend's baby registry? Allow yourself a few minutes and then get back to work.

Managing time is key to getting and staying organized. A tool that helps one understand and track their time better can help them reach all of their 2018 goals.

Souce: Time Timer®

Published with permission from RISMedia.


6 Ways to Fight the Flu

January 9, 2018 1:56 am

(Family Features)--As temperatures drop, the spread of cold and flu germs rises. Start the year off healthy and be sure to rid your home of lingering germs that may be hiding in places you don't expect.

"I always recommend the flu shot - especially when officials are predicting a harsh flu season like this year - good nutrition and plenty of sleep, but there are other healthy habits we can all develop to help keep ourselves and those around us healthy during cold and flu season," says Dr. Tanya Altmann, pediatrician, best-selling author and founder of Calabasas Pediatrics. "Vaccination is important, but there are other preventative measures that we should all keep in mind."

These tips from the experts at Clorox can help you prevent the spread of germs:

1. Get Vaccinated. Even though it's well into cold and flu season, it's still important to get a flu shot if you haven't already. Vaccination is the first step in flu prevention. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend a yearly flu virus vaccination - even if the vaccine's efficacy fluctuates - for almost everyone 6 months and older.

2. Keep Hands Washed. Hands touch so many things throughout the day. It's important to wash your hands often, including after using the bathroom and before preparing or serving food. Germs can spread by touching your eyes, nose or mouth after coming in contact with a contaminated surface. Those areas are common entry points to the body for germs, so try not to touch your face or eat until you wash your hands.

3. Stay Home If You're Sick. Even though you may not want to miss work or school, it's important to stay home to prevent the spread of illnesses to those around you. Even at home, make sure to cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue to prevent the spread of germs to your loved ones. Lastly, try your best to make good use of your time off from work or school to rest, relax, eat well and recover from illnesses.

4. Follow Health Guidelines. It's important to eat right (fill up with fresh fruit and veggies, vitamin D and probiotics), get some exercise (at least 30 minutes a day of moderate intensity) and get plenty of sleep (at least 8 hours per night) to help boost your body's ability to fight the effects of cold and flu viruses.  

5. Be Aware of Your Environment. Be aware of illnesses going around in your community so that you can take extra precautions to avoid them, or know when to seek medical attention if you do get sick.

6. Disinfect Hard Surface. Disinfection is a key step to help prevent the spread of cold and flu germs. The CDC recommends disinfecting frequently touched hard surfaces, such as doorknobs, refrigerator handles, light switches and faucets, with an EPA-registered disinfectant wipe. They help kill 99.9 percent of germs that can live for up to 48 hours on hard, non-porous surfaces.

Source: Clorox

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Spend 2018 Integrating 'Smart' Technology Into Your Home

January 8, 2018 1:21 am

You don't have to have a brand new 'smart home' to enjoy the convenience, safety, and peace of mind that smart technology can deliver. The new year will present an exciting time for homeowners hoping to integrate the latest smart home tech in the form of gadgets and apps.

For example, one of's "Top 20 High Tech Best Must-Have Gadgets for 2018" is the smart video doorbell from dbell ($139) that enables you to check who is at the door from your smartphone.

You can monitor it from your tablet, PC or TV, and every time a visitor presses the doorbell, the wireless and WiFi connected dbell lets you answer the door from wherever you are.

Lauren Smith at says the No. 1 item in her "Smart Home Tech Solutions For 2018" is the August Smart Lock ($139), which offers keyless access to your home with iOS and Android smartphones. And since it's battery-powered, it's always on.

Mike Prospero at says his choices for "Best Smart Home Gadgets of 2018" include a simple and inexpensive way to make any device "smart." Control the power going to the TP-Link HS105 plug from your smartphone, wherever you are, for around $30.

Prospero likes that the TP-Link's Kasa app also lets you create a schedule to turn the plug on and off, and has an "Away" mode that will turn your devices on to make it look like you're home. It can also be linked to other smart home devices, such as Alexa and Google Home.

Eric Griffith and Alex Colon at PC Magazine weighed in, as well, reporting that for 2018, the new Ecobee4 has added built-in Amazon Alexa voice service capabilities to its temperature, humidity, motion, and proximity sensors ($250). That means the 'smart' thermostat can do everything the Amazon Echo and its siblings can, such as control smart devices, shop, play music, and hear the latest news and weather, all using Alexa voice commands.

And if you have a home with lots of windows, window vacuums that are all the rage overseas are starting to catch on in the U.S. points to the Karcher line (starting around $50) as a point of reference.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Are You at Risk for Glaucoma?

January 8, 2018 1:21 am

January is Glaucoma Awareness Month in the U.S., and the experts at Lighthouse Guild have some tips for maintaining your eye health and staying on top of glaucoma detection.

Get a Yearly Eye Exam. Early detection and treatment are crucial. Comprehensive dilated eye exams can help detect glaucoma in its early stages, possibly preventing it from causing further harm and loss of vision. If glaucoma is diagnosed, your eye doctor may prescribe medicated eye drops, conventional or laser surgery, or a combination of both.

Dr. Laura Sperraza, director of low vision services at Lighthouse Guild, says, "The only way glaucoma and other eye diseases can be detected early is through an eye examination. Even if you don't notice changes in your vision, yearly exams should be a priority."

Warning Signs. There are often no warning signs of glaucoma. As the disease progresses, symptoms may include:
-Subtle loss of contrast (the ability to distinguish objects from their background). Diminished contrast sensitivity may affect your ability to detect curbs or steps.
-Difficulty driving at night.
-Progressive loss of peripheral vision increases risk when crossing streets, if moving vehicles are outside your line of vision, and may also cause falls.

Are You at Risk? Anyone can develop glaucoma, but you’re at greater risk if you’re over 40, or if you’re of African, Hispanic or Asian heritage. Diabetes, high blood pressure and a family history of glaucoma are also risk factors.

Source: Lighthouse Guild

Published with permission from RISMedia.


5 Little-known Facts About Introversion

January 8, 2018 1:21 am

Are you an introvert? Experts from CPP, Inc., the publisher of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) assessment have gone through decades worth of data on MBTI type to offer some of the most interesting and surprising facts, statistics and tips about the Introversion preference.

"Although roughly half of us prefer Introversion, Western society is in many ways just getting to know what this dimension of personality actually means, partly because it's more difficult to observe," says Rich Thompson, PhD, Director of Research at CPP, Inc. "While the most developed parts of the Extraverted personality type are outwardly observable, with Introverted personality type, those aspects are often not externally exhibited."

While many aspects of Introversion align with common perceptions, others are surprising. But the biggest takeaway is that Introversion is actually pretty complicated, and is manifest in all kinds of different ways. Here are a few things you may not have known:

1.  "Introversion" is made up of several distinct facets of personality

You may think of it as a single dimension, but there are actually many subdimensions that describe the complex nature of Introversion. Here are five:
- Initiating or Receiving
- Expressive or Contained
- Gregarious or Intimate
- Active or Reflective
- Enthusiastic or Quiet

2.  Introversion in the workplace: slower to hit "send", tougher to please

You may have observed that people who prefer Introversion will take more time to respond in meetings, but did you know that this extends to written communication, too? Folks with this preference are likely to take more time composing an email than those preferring Extraversion.

Tip: If you prefer Introversion and someone is expecting an email from you, experts recommend sending a 'holding email' to manage expectations while you gather your thoughts.

Furthermore, those with a preference for Introversion are 12 percent less likely to be satisfied in their job and 20 percent less likely to be happy at work than those preferring Extraversion. While we don't know exactly why this is, one reason may be that they're less likely to have their voices heard and it can be challenging to find quiet, alone time in the workplace.

Tip to include those who prefer Introversion in your group discussion: Slowly count to eight after you ask a question before moving on to the next subject.

3.  Some kinds of Introversion are common, some are rare

Men preferring Introversion make up 54 percent of the (male) population, but that's only part of the story. ISTJ preferences are the most common Introverted type for men, making up 16.4 percent, while INFJ preferences are only 1.3 percent, making them the least common. What's the difference? Among other things, people with ISTJ preferences tend to be practical, sensible, realistic and systematic, and others often see them as calm, reserved and serious. Those with INTJ preferences, on the other hand, tend to be creative, visionary and idealistic, and are often seen by others as mysterious, intense and individualistic.

Making up 47 percent of the female population, Introverted personality types are slightly less common than with men, but every bit as varied. INTJ preferences, the least common Introverted MBTI type among women at 0.8 percent, are typically rational, detached, critical thinkers with a penchant for conceptual, long-range thinking, and are often seen by others as private, reserved and aloof. On the other hand, women with ISFJ preferences, the most common Introverted MBTI type in the female population at 19.4 percent, are typically practical, realistic, cooperative and thoughtful, and often seen by others as quiet, serious, considerate and conscientious.

4.  Views on spirituality vary by Introverted type

Those preferring Introversion also show significant variance when it comes to spirituality, depending on their type. When asked if they believe in a higher spiritual power, of all those who prefer Introversion, those with INTJ preferences are most likely to answer 'no' (23 percent), while those who prefer ISFJ are the least likely to answer 'no' (11 percent). To put it in perspective, a 2016 U.S. Gallup poll shows between 11 and 21 percent of Americans not having a belief in God or a universal spirit.

5.  Many incorrectly estimate their own personality type

Curious about what Introverted type is most likely to estimate their type correctly, and what type is most likely to guess wrong? Of the eight types of personalities with preferences for Introversion, those preferring ISTJ are mostly likely to estimate their type correctly compared to their official MBTI results (and do so 55 percent of the time). Conversely, when taking the official MBTI assessment,  those with preferences for ISFP are least likely to be able to estimate their actual MBTI type (estimating correctly only 25 percent of the time). So what do those who prefer ISFP often think their type is? They often mistake their type for ISTP (7.5 percent of the time) and INFP (7.1 percent of the time).

What's the cause of getting the wrong MBTI type? There are many reasons, but one of the most common is taking a fake assessment, and unfortunately, these abound on the web. The authentic, scientifically-validated MBTI assessment is only offered through an MBTI certified practitioner or at

Source: CPP—The Myers-Briggs® Company

Published with permission from RISMedia.