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Bill and Rachel Burke

Bill and Rachel Burke
701 W. Market Street  Perkasie  PA 18944
Phone:  215-453-7653
Office:  215-453-7653
Fax:  267-354-6810

My Blog

5 Travel Predictions for 2018

November 2, 2017 1:39 am

Hitting the road in 2018? You're far from alone. Booking.com has analyzed its data for 2018 travel to offer up the following predictions.

New tech frontiers. Immersive experiences will reach the next level in 2018, with travelers looking to technology to help better understand a destination or accommodation before they book. Artificial intelligence and digital technology are helping consumers turn the corner when it comes to smart destination intuition, reshaping the way we research, book and experience travel. Almost a third (29 percent) of global travelers say they are comfortable letting a computer plan an upcoming trip based on data from their previous travel history and half (50 percent) don't mind if they deal with a real person or computer, so long as any questions are answered. Over six in 10 (64 percent) of travelers say they would like to 'try before they buy' with a virtual reality preview, while 50 percent find that personalised suggestions for destinations and things to do encourages them to book a trip. Taking all the hard work and stress out of decision making, in 2018 technology will continue to guide us seamlessly to find the best stays and experiences for us.

From dream to reality. 2018 is the year to dream big as 45 percent of travelers have a travel bucket list in mind and the majority of those (82 percent) will aim to tick one or more destinations off their list in the coming year. The yearning for experiences over material possessions continues and drives our desire for more incredible and memorable trips. With dwindling patience, instantaneous appetites and empowered by technology, travelers in 2018 will seize the moment like never before.

Most likely to feature on a bucket list is seeing one of the wonders of the world, as almost half of travelers (47 percent) will look to tick this off in 2018. Over a third (35 percent) yearn to tantalise their taste buds by trying a local delicacy, 34 percent want to head to an island paradise and 34 percent are thrill seekers wanting to visit a world famous theme park. Adrenalin junkies should consider Orlando, Fla., The Gold Coast in Australia and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the top destinations endorsed by Booking.com travelers for theme parks. The other top travel activities to complete in 2018 are experiencing a unique cultural event (28 percent), learning a new skill (27 percent), going on an epic road or rail journey (25 percent) and visiting a remote or challenging location (25 percent).

Retro reboot. As well as new experiences, travelers will be revisiting their favorite childhood memories as part of their trips in 2018. Blending the future with the past, next year's travelers will be inspired to return to previously loved destinations and explore them in a whole new way. A third of travelers (34 percent) will consider a holiday they experienced as a child for 2018.

The popularity of these vintage vacations stems from the feelings of nostalgia and happiness the destinations evoke. Travelers say that former family holidays recall the fondest memories, even more so than childhood sweethearts or family pets. Millennials look set to be even more sentimental with 44 percent of 18 to 34 year olds keen to hark back to favourite family destinations. With 60 percent of travelers in 2018 intending to post on social media each day, we can expect to see these nostalgic places brought back to the future and captured for social posterity.  

Pop culture pilgrimage. With the world at our fingertips, we rely on many sources to inspire us to travel to new destinations. Tapping into our passions is one way of helping to identify the locations most suited to us - from culture and entertainment, to food and history. In 2018, television shows, films, sport and social media in particular look set to have an increasingly significant sway over booking decisions, as travelers turn to pop culture for their travel inspiration. Reading blogs or watching YouTuber recommendations will spark ideas for four in ten (39 percent) travelers and on-screen locations from television, film or music videos will win over 36 percent of travelers in the coming year. More than a fifth (22 percent) of travelers will be tempted by travelling for a major sporting event, with 43 percent of those considering a summer of football in Russia.

The top television program locations travelers most want to visit in 2018 are Croatia, Spain and Iceland inspired by Game of Thrones (29 percent), London as seen in Sherlock and the Crown  (21 percent and 13 percent), New York and Manhattan from Billions (13 percent) and Los Angeles viewed in Entourage (10 percent).

Walk your way to wellness. The trend for wellness getaways isn't slowing down for 2018, with almost double the amount of people planning to take health and well-being trips in 2018 compared to 2017 (from one in 10 in 2017 to nearly one in five in 2018). Trips enjoying particular prominence will be those that involve travelling on two feet. A brilliant way to take in the local landscape, walking will be the ultimate way to explore next year, with 56 percent of travelers saying they want to do walking or hiking trips in 2018.

Source: Booking.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Put Giving Twists on Holiday Traditions

November 2, 2017 1:39 am

(Family Features)--If giving is an important aspect of your holiday traditions, you may find yourself repeating the same activities year after year. While the giving feels good, it can also grow monotonous. This season, make your generosity feel fresh and new by putting your own unique twist on your favorite holiday traditions.

Cook extras for the cookie exchange. A baking party is a wonderful way to kick off the holiday season. The delightful aromas and hours of laughter blend with the sweet treats for a cheery (and tasty) tradition. This year, instead of simply baking cookies to trade with your friends, encourage everyone to bake several extra batches and take them to a local soup kitchen or senior living community.

Extend a seasonal icon. The ringing bells and red kettles found outside of retailers across the nation are nearly as symbolic of the holiday season as twinkling lights and red-nosed reindeer. During the holiday season, more than 3 million families and children rely on The Salvation Army to provide them with a warm meal on Christmas Day or toys for their children. This year, the organization is making it easy to extend those kettle collections offline as well with the Fight for Good campaign, which allows you to create your own fundraiser, including setting a goal and designating the cause you'd like to support. Visit redkettlereason.org to create your own fundraising page and encourage friends and family to donate and start their own pages.

In addition, you can donate to the Red Kettle Campaign by dropping dollars and coins into the thousands of Red Kettles found in front of retail stores and on street corners, or donate your time by contacting your local Salvation Army for volunteer opportunities.  

Add a special pre-dinner starter. The holidays bring plenty of opportunities for celebratory meals, and it's the perfect time to ask everyone to lend an hour or two to a good cause. Instead of spending hours around a table, spend some of that time catching up while you volunteer at a food bank or other charitable organization. When you make your way on to dinner, your festive spirit may be even stronger for the difference you made together.

Travel with care. As you flit from one place to the next checking off your list of holiday chores, you may encounter any number of homeless and needy families. Instead of simply handing over a few dollars as you pass by, keep a supply of holiday care packages in the car. Include items like warm socks or gloves, toiletries and non-perishable snacks. You may even want to include an uplifting note to share some festive seasonal cheer.

Give gifts with meaning. If you're like most people, there are many on your shopping list who truly don't need a thing. Instead of wracking your brain, donate to a cause in their honor. It may be the foundation of a beloved alma mater or an organization serving orphans in the country where they honeymooned. The more personal the connection, the more gratefully it will likely be received. After making your donation, simply gift your recipient with a card that explains the contribution you've made in their name.

No matter which cause you support, a fresh approach to your charitable giving can renew your spirit and enthusiasm for helping those in need this holiday season.

Source: The Salvation Army

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Top 5 Factors That Put Your Home At Risk of a Break-In

November 2, 2017 1:39 am

Did you know that sixteen percent of Americans have experienced a home break-in? From open windows to a lack of alarm, there are a myriad of reasons that could put your home at risk. Below are the top five, in order, according to DIY home phone and security company Ooma.

1. Neighborhood or surroundings - 24 percent. Nearly a quarter of American homes are at risk simply based on their neighborhood or surrounding neighborhoods.

2. No alarm - 16 percent. Failing to install a home security system is the second leading cause of a home invasion, results show. If you can't afford an alarm system, placing a sign by your door claiming that you're protected may help sway cautious burglars.

3. An unlocked door - 14 percent. While only fourteen percent of Americans who have experienced a burglary say an open door was the cause, nearly 42 percent leave their doors unlocked, which is just begging for a (not so forced) entry.

4. An open window - eight percent. Windows come second to open doors. Never leave ground floor windows open when you leave the house.

5. Living in an apartment building - seven percent. According to Ooma's survey results, simply living in an apartment building ups your chance of a break in, as housing units see more foot traffic, and can be easier for strangers to enter without suspicion. Look for a building with front entrance security measures, like an ID swipe, key code, or porter.

Source: Ooma

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Business Owners: Draw in Millennials with Workplace Design

November 1, 2017 1:39 am

If you're a business owner or manager looking to attract more millennial employees, look closely at your office layout. According to a new study by IPSOS, on behalf of National Business Furniture, the way you layout your workspace can predict who will want to work there. Below are a handful of tips.

Customize spaces to fit departments and jobs. While employees in finance will want personal offices to manage sensitive information, more collaborative groups like marketing may work better in the open with desks clustered closer together for creative brainstorming.

Add portable wall panels to open cubicle spaces. Noise is one negative side effect of today's contemporary open office floor plan. Today, there are a wide range of creative portable screens and walls that can be quickly added for privacy and to act as a sound barrier.

Go green. Researchers in the Netherlands conducted a study that measured a 15 percent increase in productivity when "lean" workplaces with a bare-bones aesthetic were spruced up with green plant life. Introducing plants to an office environment has been reported to reduce absenteeism by up to 50 percent, and reduce minor illness by 30 percent.

Create an active workplace. Recent studies have found that prolonged sitting can increase health risks such as cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Employers can create more active workplaces today by incorporating standing-height or adjustable-height tables that allow workers to rotate between sitting and standing during the day.

Source: IPSOS, National Business Furniture

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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How to Get Your Family On Board for Your Destination Wedding

November 1, 2017 1:39 am

While having a destination wedding may sound like a dream, it can be difficult to convey that dream to your family and friends, who may be shy of making that kind of time and monetary commitment. Below are a handful of helpful conversation keys from Vacation.com.

- A destination wedding's guest list is typically smaller than a wedding at home. This really forces you to decide whose attendance is non-negotiable. If there is someone who might have trouble traveling long distances, don't forget that "destination" doesn't necessarily mean halfway across the world. A destination wedding travel professional can be invaluable with helping you figure out how those with special needs can travel safely.

- Weddings can bring up a lot of feelings—and not just for the couple. It can be hard for families to let go of their own visions for your wedding. But it's your wedding – and this is a great chance to explain why a destination wedding is so important to you.

- A destination wedding sounds so expensive, right? Wrong! Any wedding will have costs associated with it. However, research shows that a destination wedding can be more cost-effective than a traditional wedding: a destination wedding typically costs $17,000 for the ceremony and reception as compared to the average $32,600 price for a traditional wedding in a mid-sized U.S. city.

- Some people start thinking about their future wedding years before their partner is on the scene. And they talk about it, too, leading family members to believe that a destination wedding isn't really your choice. But people change, and your childhood dream wedding at the local country club might not fit your current vision. This is a great opportunity to explain to loved ones that a destination wedding is something that will give you wonderful memories for anniversaries to come.

- For any type of wedding, experts recommend sitting down and mapping out no-go dates, like cousin Jane's wedding the second weekend of April, and your brother's college graduation the first weekend of June. But listen, there will never be a single perfect time where no one in your family has anything going on. Choose what works best for you and remember: this is an issue that can affect weddings at home, too.

- It can be a leap of faith to have a wedding in a venue you might not be able to visit beforehand. This is the time to lean on a travel professional who can recommend venues they have worked with who have ultra-professional wedding coordinators.

- Getting a group from many places to one spot can be tricky. And that's why Vacation.com recommends you don't do it on your own. An experienced destination wedding travel agent will keep track of everyone's preferences, be a point of contact for your travelers, and even secure group rates for air, hotel and ground transportation. You're getting married – you've got enough on your mind; let your travel professional take the logistics challenges off your shoulders.

Source: Vacation.com.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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How to Get Ready for House Guests

November 1, 2017 1:39 am

Whether it's a pile of extended family members coming over for a holiday meal, or a week-long family reunion, prepping for guests can be a busy, dizzying time. Read on for a handful of ways you can get your home ready for guests.

- Start by running your washing machine and dishwasher empty. Clean machines make double-duty holiday cleaning more efficient and effective.

- Stash clutter when company is on the way by filling the family laundry basket. That way, important items don't get lost in the shuffle – you'll find them by your next laundry day.

- Wash all blankets, linens and towels your guests will need for a nice fresh feel.

- Put a "Forgot This?" box in the guest bathroom with extra toothbrushes, razors, antacids, cotton balls and other toiletries they may have forgotten to pack.

- Make room for holiday foods by taking everything out of the fridge, and discard anything expired, spoiled or unknown.

- Plan the serving pieces, utensils and cookware you'll need. Set them out to make sure they're clean and polished so nothing is left to the last minute.

- Have job assignments, such as taking out the trash or setting the table, ready for anyone who asks if they can help.Source: Lemi Shine

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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How-to Serve up Style in Your Bathroom

October 30, 2017 1:39 am

Looking to add some of your own personal style to your bathroom? Below are a few ways you can add a little oomph to your powder room.

Climbing plants. Climbing vines indoors can add a jungly, naturalistic element to your space. Some of the coolest vines for interiors are ivy, heartleaf philodendron, jasmine and betel leaf plant.

Art. Don't be afraid to add some unique art to your bathroom! A cool painting or sculpture can make a great focus piece.

Lighting options. From an interesting lighting fixture to a colored bulb or recessed lighting beneath, don't be afraid to get funky with your lights.

Mirroring. Add an expressive picture frame to the edge of your vanity mirror, or create an entire mirrored wall to open up the space and add light.

Playful patterns. If you're a fan of patterns, consider placing a bold pattern on your ceiling, floor, or one wall to make the space more interesting.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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6 Signs Your Heating System Is on Its Way Out

October 30, 2017 1:39 am

During fall and winter, your heating system is your lifeline. So if it fails in the middle of the cold season, it can feel physically, mentally and financially uncomfortable. Below, 128 Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electric, gives tips to homeowners about signs to look for that indicate a heating system is failing.

Age of the system. The average lifespan of a heating system is 15 - 20 years. As a heating unit ages, it falls behind in terms of efficiency. A high-efficiency system uses less energy to run than a system that isn't, which typically means a lower monthly gas or oil bill. Band-Aid repairs on old units can easily waste money.      

Strange and unusual noises. Noises, particularly metallic or scraping sounds, can be an indicator that a service call is needed for repair. In the event that the homeowner detects such a sound, the unit needs to be turned off immediately for further inspection to prevent any further damage.

Uneven heating of the home. This can indicate a number of things, some of which can be solved by the homeowner. Furniture blocking vents can obstruct air flow, and dirty filters can restrict flow to the entire home. However, if these are checked and the issue still exists, a service call may be needed to clear obstructed ductwork or repair of the unit. When homeowners have one room that gets too hot while another doesn't heat, there is an unbalanced distribution of heat that could be very costly depending on the location of the thermostat.     
Increasing energy bills. Once your energy costs increase without a reasonable explanation, chances are your heating system isn't working as efficiently anymore. This is usually the case with older heating systems, but newer systems can also start to fail and become less efficient.     

Increasing runtime. If your heating system runs constantly, beyond adjusting for winter temperatures, it can be an indication of loss of efficiency or a thermostat issue. Excessive repairs. If repairs are becoming more frequent, expenses are increasing, and the same problems are reoccurring, it is most likely time to replace the entire unit. Replacing the entire unit with a current model will not only cut down on time and money spent on repairs and service calls, but will also help save on monthly energy bills thanks to newer energy-saving standards.

Source: www.call128.com.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Make Mealtime Meaningful for Families and Furry Friends

October 30, 2017 1:39 am

(Family Features)--Coming together for a shared meal is a simple yet important way for families to bond and create memories with one another. There's no better time than right now to bring everyone together around the dinner table - including your four-legged friends - for a delicious, healthy meal.

These tips can help make mealtime even more meaningful for everyone:

Have the family help with the meal prep. Pick a recipe everyone can help prepare, such as build-your-own pizzas, to make the dinner both a bonding activity and a rewarding experience when you get to eat your own creation.

Schedule mealtime for the whole family, including your pup. Your furry friend can enjoy sharing in the family experience, and with his own food bowl, he'll be gobbling that up, making it less tempting to ask for human food.

Establish a no-devices-at-the-dinner-table policy to encourage kids and adults alike to talk, engage and bond with each other. This quality time spent in the company of family can build cherished memories for years to come.

Opt for healthy options to keep everyone's energy levels up. This means working in plenty of fruits, veggies and quality proteins like chicken or salmon, sweet potatoes, lentils and more. These ingredients are also great for your pup and are included in many high-quality dog foods.

Whether it's once a week or every night, coming together for a shared meal is a simple gesture that can help bring families - and even furry family members - together. So grab a plate (or bowl) and enjoy your shared mealtime with the entire family.

Source: Nutro

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Cleaning House on the Quick and Cheap

October 27, 2017 1:39 am

We once met a woman who loved to clean house. She said it gave her a feeling of accomplishment. For many, however, it’s a thankless chore, and the sooner done, the better.

Consumer editors at Woman’s Day Magazine and the DIY Network offer seven ways to save time and money and still keep your home sparkling clean:

All-purpose cleaners – No need to buy cleaning solutions for a single purpose. Fill a squirt bottle with four tablespoons of baking soda and a quart of warm water. Use it to clean kitchen counters, appliances, inside the fridge and more – or add one-third cup vinegar to a quart of water to clean glass, countertops and even floors.

Burnt food on burners – Remove burnt-on food from stove burners by soaking them overnight in a zip-lock bag filled with a cup of ammonia.

Burnt food in pans – No need to throw out or replace that badly burnt pan. Heat a cup of white vinegar in it until warm. Remove from the heat and mix in two tablespoons of baking powder. After 15 minutes, rinse with warm water and voila!

Microwave magic – To degrease and clean the inside of your microwave, cook ½ cup of water mixed with ½ cup of vinegar in it for two minutes. A clean rag should wipe the mess right off.

Forget paper towels – They’re expensive and they often leave a residue. Buy a pack of micro-fiber cleaning rags that will clean better and can be used over and over again.

Zap the sponge – It’s a breeding ground for bacteria. Disinfect it often by squeezing it out and microwaving it on high for a minute. No need to replace it until it is shredding or smelly.

Shower curtain bath – If mold or mildew are attacking the shower curtain, throw it in the washing machine with a few towels, which will help scrub it, then hang it back up to dry.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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