RE/MAX 440
Mary Mastroeni
mmastroeni@remax.net
Mary Mastroeni
731 W Skippack Pike
Blue Bell  PA 19422
PH: 610-277-2900
O: 215-643-3200
C: 610-213-4878
F: 267-354-6212 
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Mary's Blog

Americans Want to Live a Better Quality Life

May 20, 2011 11:27 am

RISMEDIA, May 20, 2011-Nestle Waters North America Inc., on behalf of its six regional spring water brands, recently announced the findings from its recent "Better Things in Life" survey. Included in the results, 95 percent of Americans consider spending time in nature among the best things life has to offer.

In fact, nearly every American polled (98 percent) considered visiting America's national parks one of the best ways to enjoy nature. With 394 national parks as objects of desire, America offers numerous ways to enjoy nature's awe-inspiring beauty. When taking in the best of this country's breathtaking landscape, Americans want to head west, setting sights on the Grand Canyon National Park (49 percent) and Yellowstone National Park (47 percent) as the top choices for national parks to visit.

However, the survey also revealed time as the biggest barrier-and solution. Seventy-nine percent of Americans feel they do not have enough time to enjoy nature's offerings and nearly three-quarters of Americans (74 percent) say that spending time enjoying life's pleasures takes a backseat to work and other day-to-day responsibilities. Furthermore, four out of five Americans (81 percent) agree that "me time" is an important part of making the most of life.

"Finding time to enjoy the quality things in life-such as nature-is an important step to making our lives more fulfilling," says Angela Barile, Group Marketing Manager, Nestle Waters' Regional Spring Water brands.

In an effort to help Americans make time for nature and the things they find rewarding, Nestle Waters is launching the new "Better Things in Life" Sweepstakes for each of its six regional spring water brands. By visiting the website for the spring water brand in their region between May 13, 2011 and November 30, 2011, Americans can enter for the chance to win a grand prize trip for four to their choice of one of our country's 394 national parks along with hundreds of other prizes including tickets to theme parks and local sporting events.

For more information visit www.arrowheadwater.com.

Copyright 2011 RISMedia, The Leader in Real Estate Information Systems and Real Estate News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.


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Good News for Class of 2011: Hiring Market for College Grads is on the Upswing

May 20, 2011 11:27 am

RISMEDIA, May 20, 2011-"You're hired." This is the phrase new college graduates long to hear. And for the first time since the global economic recession began in 2007, the Class of 2011 can look forward to hearing it in abundance, reports CareerCast.com, a national job search site and Going Global, the leading provider of country-specific employment information in their new Class of 2011 Hiring Market report.

U.S. companies are hiring in greater numbers than they have been in years and hiring projections are up nearly 20 percent over 2010, according to the new CareerCast.com/Going Global Class of 2011 Hiring Market report.

"Nationwide, the highest demand is for graduates with bachelor's degrees in engineering, business and accounting, followed by medical and communications grads. With the right skills and a diploma in hand, Class of 2011 graduates can look forward to hearing 'You're hired' in abundance," says Mary Anne Thompson, founder, Going Global.

Graduates may find the most promising job opportunities in the Northeast where hiring projections are up more than 25 percent from last year. While government employers dominate this region, jobs are also plentiful in the finance, insurance and real estate sectors, accounting and engineering.

"For example, Philadelphia is one Northeast city rising out of the recession," says Tony Lee, publisher, CareerCast.com. "It was hit hard, but certain sectors- particularly law, education and health care-have bounced back quickly."

Hiring expectations in the Midwest are up approximately 20 percent. Minneapolis-St. Paul is seeing a surge in health care hiring, along with an abundance of jobs in pharmaceutical and computer/electronics manufacturing; the finance, insurance, and real estate sector; and accounting services.

While some cities were hit hard during the economic downturn, others with robust industries, like the IT industry in Seattle and the life sciences industry in Raleigh, have been able to provide more consistent job opportunities throughout the recession.

The job market for new college graduates is expected to remain stable in the near future. This means that graduates of the Class of 2012 and beyond can relax a bit, take a deep breath and continue to work hard on the skills employers are seeking.

For more information, visit www.goinglobal.com.

Copyright 2011 RISMedia, The Leader in Real Estate Information Systems and Real Estate News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.


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Hike, Bike and Paddle Your Way through the Adirondacks

May 20, 2011 11:27 am

RISMEDIA, May 20, 2011-This summer, visit Lake Placid and discover the Adirondacks' terrain-wild and rugged, beautiful and scenic-on foot, bike or boat. Home to New York's highest peaks, pristine waterways and thousands of miles of marked hiking trails, the Lake Placid region offers unforgettable outdoor adventures for explorers of all ages.

In the Adirondacks, bikers, cyclists and thrill seekers alike can explore quiet country roads, scenic mountain passes and rugged off-road terrain. Bring your bike and discover all the Lake Placid cycling routes including the Ironman loop, the Wilmington Notch, Pine Pond and Whiteface Mountain-all feature picturesque mountain panoramas.

For hiking enthusiasts, the region provides easy access to over 2,000 miles of designated Adirondack trails-from family-friendly excursions to challenging mountain treks. Lake Placid is the perfect base camp for hikers ranging from those aspiring to climb every one of the High Peaks, to families and friends eager to simply get outside. Whatever your experience level, the many Lake Placid hiking trails accommodate all ages and abilities.

If water recreation is your forte, it's easy to make a splash in the Adirondacks. The region is home to 3,000 lakes and ponds and more than 30,000 miles of streams feeding 6,000 miles of river. The Village of Lake Placid sits on the shores of Mirror Lake and is a short walk from Lake Placid.

The waterways provide navigable flat-water and whitewater for paddling, boating and plenty of fishing. Launch a canoe or kayak from the shore, consider a Lake Placid whitewater rafting excursion on the nearby Hudson River or embark on an Adirondack camping adventure and paddle to an island campsite.

Whatever your Adirondack adventure entails, don't miss popular Lake Placid events and annual competitions including the Lake Placid Marathon on June 12, 2011, the Lake Placid Horseshows June 28-July 3 and Ironman Lake Placid on July 24, 2011.

Lake Placid is a four season destination in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains, offering diverse experiences, outdoor adventures, unique events and an ever-changing backdrop to complement all life's activities. The charming Main Street is lined with a variety of shops, restaurants and attractions. Plan your summer vacation to Lake Placid and take advantage of Adirondack lodging packages from the many Lake Placid hotels.

For more information, please visit www.lakeplacid.com.

Copyright 2011 RISMedia, The Leader in Real Estate Information Systems and Real Estate News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.


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Improving Energy Efficiency Tops Wish List When Remodeling Home

May 20, 2011 11:27 am

RISMEDIA, May 20, 2011-Homeowners concerned about high energy bills have put energy conservation home improvements at the top of their must-do list this year this spring. They are looking for green living upgrades that save money without sacrificing space or style.

Because heating costs are typically one of the highest and most variable home expenses, homeowners are considering energy-efficient zone heating options when embarking on home renovation projects.

Craig Shankster, President of Morso USA, has seen an increase in fireplace makeovers in the last few years. "Finding and eliminating wasteful drafts has lead many homeowners to install efficient wood stoves and inserts that transform inefficient open fireplaces into high performing heating zones," he says.

Homes without chimneys or fireplaces can install a fireplace insert with an innovative zero-clearance enclosure. This is an excellent zone heating option for those in the process of a renovation or new build looking to outfit their homes with the advanced technology of a fireplace insert and class A chimney.

Since buying a wood stove is much like buying furniture, you will find a wide-choice of models that match every lifestyle and design interest, including antique, traditional, classic or modern. While evaluating the right size, heating capacity and look of your future wood stove, we recommend that you also consider these three eco-wise tips:

1. Only evaluate approved wood stoves equipped with a non-catalytic combustion system that exceeds EPA standards and are currently tax credit qualified.

2. Look for an eco-friendly seal and a recycled ingredients label that lists the many ways that a stove manufacturer has gone the extra mile to produce the highest quality and most energy efficient wood stove, possible.

3. Similar to grocery shopping, seek out the equivalent of an "Organic Section" in your local fireplace hearth store to compare the quality standards, eco-wise content, and warranties.

Additionally, if living by green principles is important to you-and it should be- properly burning local wood in a high efficiency wood stove is an environmentally-sound action. Given that the use of sustainably-harvested, properly processed and seasoned wood for energy displaces the use of fossil fuels, the result is a net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Today is a great time to invest in a wood stove so you can actually keep some green cash in your pocket. The Federal Bio-Mass Tax Credit extension provides a 10 percent tax credit up to $300 for the purchase of a new biomass heating appliance in 2011. This tax credit helps homeowners save on energy costs by utilizing renewable biomass fuels such as wood.

To find out more about wood stove options, visit www.morsona.com.

Copyright 2011 RISMedia, The Leader in Real Estate Information Systems and Real Estate News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.


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Only Half of Couples Discuss Finances Prior To Marriage

May 20, 2011 11:27 am

RISMEDIA, May 20, 2011-With wedding season upon us, many couples will focus on the transition from the single to married life, but not everyone is focusing on the financial aspect of that change. According to a new COUNTRY Financial survey, only half (51 percent) of couples addressed how they would manage their collective finances before marriage. Despite this, 86 percent of all married Americans reported being honest with their spouses about their financial state during their engagement.

When deciding on a money management style, 71 percent of couples elect to manage their finances completely joint. Another 21 percent take a partially joint approach. Eight percent keep their money completely separate. Just 26 percent say the transition from handling money matters alone to handling them together was difficult.

"Finances can cause friction in a marriage. It's important to maintain open communication and be on the same page before and during marriage, especially in uncertain economic times," says Keith Brannan, vice president of Financial Security planning. "Couples should determine who will be paying the bills and what type of accounts they will have. They should also outline a budget of their combined income and expenses."

Marriage timing affects financial transition

Couples married prior to the recession are more united in their financial matters and find joint money management less challenging than those married during or after the recession.

Seventy-three percent of couples married before December 2007 have completely joint finances compared to just 56 percent of those married after.

Those married prior to the recession found it significantly less difficult to transition to handling finances together than those married during or after (24 percent vs. 38 percent).

Despite having a more challenging transition, 66 percent of couples married during or after the recession discussed how they would manage their money before marriage. That is 17 percent higher than those married before the economic downturn.

Recession puts a strain on many couples' marriages

Nearly one in three (31 percent) couples say the recent economic downturn put a strain on their marriage.

Just 24 percent of those who worked with a financial planner say the recession put a strain on their marriage, compared to 35 percent of those who did not consult a planner.

Younger age groups were more likely to feel the strain of recent economic conditions. Forty-three percent of those 18- to 29-years-old say they felt a strain from the recession. That number is at least five points higher than any other age group.

To access video interviews about the latest COUNTRY Index data please visit www.countryfinancialsecurityindex.com.

Copyright 2011 RISMedia, The Leader in Real Estate Information Systems and Real Estate News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.


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Question of the Day

May 19, 2011 11:27 am

Q: How do you determine how much a home is worth?

A: The short answer: a home is ultimately worth what is paid for it. Everything else is really an estimate of value. Take, for example, a hot seller's market when demand for housing is high but the inventory of available homes for sale is low. During this time, homes can sell above and beyond the asking price as buyers bid up the price. The fair market value, or worth, is established when "a meeting of the minds" between the buyer and the seller takes place.

Copyright 2008 RISMedia, Inc., All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.


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Word of the Day

May 19, 2011 11:27 am

Urban renewal. The acquisition of run-down city areas for purposes of redevelopment.

Copyright 2008 RISMedia, Inc., All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.


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Many Americans Remain Unaware about Gout Risk Factors

May 19, 2011 11:27 am

RISMedia, May 19, 2011-A new survey from the nonprofit Gout & Uric Acid Education Society (GUAES) highlights an alarming awareness gap among Americans regarding the risk factors for gout, a chronic, potentially disabling form of arthritis which now affects an estimated 8.3 million Americans. Among the survey findings are that only one in 10 Americans correctly cited cardiovascular disease as a risk factor for gout, while only one in three Americans correctly reported that obesity is a risk factor, and less than one in five reported that diabetes and kidney disease are risk factors. GUAES released the survey findings in advance of its annual Gout Awareness Day on May 22.

Gout is a form of arthritis caused by an accumulation of uric acid crystals in the joints. The crystals form when there are abnormally high levels of uric acid in the body. Gout is one of the most painful forms of arthritis and the most common form of inflammatory arthritis. While gout affects more men than women, post-menopausal women and those with a family history of the disease are also are at risk. Gout can affect any joint in the body and is among the fastest-growing diseases in the United States.

People suffering from gout scored only slightly better than the general population, according to the survey findings, with one in five gout sufferers naming cardiovascular disease as a risk factor for gout, one in five citing diabetes as a risk factor, and one in two correctly reporting obesity as a risk factor.

Furthermore, the survey found that only one in five Americans are aware that family history can be a risk factor for gout, and only two of five patients knew that it can run in families. In contrast, three out of five Americans correctly reported that heart disease and diabetes can run in families.

"These survey findings are cause for concern considering that the incidence of gout has doubled twice in the past 40 years and that gout is associated with other serious health conditions which are also on the rise," says Brian F. Mandell, MD, chairman of medicine in Rheumatology and Immunologic Diseases, Center for Vasculitis Care and Research at the Cleveland Clinic, and a GUAES board member. "While it is somewhat encouraging that a majority of Americans recognize that gout is a life-long disease which requires constant treatment and attention, they are unaware of what may place them or their family members at risk."

For more information about the survey findings and educational resources for patients and medical professionals, visit www.gouteducation.org.

Copyright 2011 RISMedia, The Leader in Real Estate Information Systems and Real Estate News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.


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TrendWatch: Gas Prices May Pass $4/gal Nationwide

May 19, 2011 11:27 am

RISMedia, May 19, 2011-The dreaded milestone that consumers have been hoping to avoid going into this summer may be coming faster than anyone thought: gas prices could soar to over $4/gallon nationwide within the coming week, according to a Yahoo! Finance interview with Tom Kloza, chief analyst at the Oil Price Information Service.

"There's enough momentum to take us up there," says Kloza, who also notes that this weekend's 3.4-cent surge was likely a delayed reaction to deadly storms across the South that temporarily knocked out power at some oil refineries along the Gulf Coast.

Refineries located around the Great Lakes have also been shut down recently for scheduled maintenance, which has led to higher gas prices across the Midwest.

Prices have risen 88 cents since the beginning of the year, with no end in sight as the summer looms. Though prices are not currently expected to rise consistently throughout the summer, Kloza says that price spikes, most notably around the weekend of July 4, will drive prices up sharply from time to time.

Paul Citarella of FleetCards USA TrendWatch provides insight into the effects of a higher nationwide fuel price.

"Fleets are generally used to prices fluctuating, but crossing a threshold like the four dollar mark makes a lot of businesses stand up and take notice," says Citarella. "It makes people think harder about their fuel budgets when suddenly the price is a dollar more than they were paying just a few weeks ago."

Fleet owners have already felt the sting of higher prices nationwide. A recent survey by CNN of average prices by state showed that residents of California, Indiana, Michigan, New York, Alabama, West Virginia, Connecticut and Washington were already paying over $4/gal for gas, with Hawaiians paying the most at $4.59/gal. Mississippi residents are paying an average of 14.23 percent of their yearly income on fuel.

"The fortunate thing for businesses experiencing financial anxiety from these high prices is that the economic blow can be mitigated by smart, proactive fuel management," says Citarella.

Businesses bracing for the summer driving season should take time to examine their fuel spending and take care of any waste or inconsistency now before mistakes become even costlier. With a little bit of preparation and smart spending, the coming year can still be one of growth for fleets.

Copyright 2011 RISMedia, The Leader in Real Estate Information Systems and Real Estate News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.


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Home Canning Is Top Food Trend for Consumers Motivated to Eat Healthy, Fresh and Local

May 19, 2011 11:27 am

RISMedia, May 19, 2011-The resurgence of home canning continues to gain momentum with many food insiders identifying canning as a top food trend for 2011. Fueled by consumers' desire to live more healthfully and eat fresh, local foods year-round, more Americans than ever are turning to home canning. Leading the trend is Ball home canning brand with its 127-year history of producing high-quality glass jars in America's heartland. The brand will celebrate home canning by hosting the first annual National Can-It-Forward Day on August 13.

"Summer's bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables is upon us and there's never been a better time to learn how easy and rewarding canning can be," says Brenda Schmidt, Brand Manager for Fresh Preserving at Jarden Home Brands.

Home canning enables consumers to enjoy their fresh, locally grown foods all year long. In addition, fresh preserving lets consumers limit the amount of sugar or salt in foods they prepare and cook with no preservatives.

According to industry data, home canning product sales have risen nearly 35 percent over the past three years as popularity for fresh preserving grows. Jarden Home Brands, makers of Ball brand fresh preserving products, has also seen sales of the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving double in the last year.

National Can-It-Forward Day

On August 13, millions of food lovers curious about canning can learn the ease and benefits of preserving fresh food. Jarden Home Brands has teamed up with Canning Across America-a nationwide collective of cooks, gardeners and food lovers committed to the revival of the lost art of "putting up" food-to create the first annual National Can-It-Forward Day.

A free, live webcast hosted at FreshPreserving.com will feature a day of instructional canning videos as well as cooking demos. Viewers will be able to ask questions and post comments in real time as they participate along at home. The event will film at Seattle's Pike Place Market and those in the area are encouraged to participate in person.

Since canning is always more fun when shared with friends, Jarden Home Brands is also providing instructions for consumers to host their own Home Canning Parties as part of National Can-It-Forward Day. Online resources will provide simple instructions for getting started, including a checklist of necessary items, sample recipes and valuable coupons.

For more information about National Can-It-Forward Day, visit www.FreshPreserving.com.

Copyright 2011 RISMedia, The Leader in Real Estate Information Systems and Real Estate News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.


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