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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Alarming Facts Drug Companies Don't Want You To Know

Fact: Between 1997 and 2001, drug companies tripled the amount of money they spent on direct-to-consumer advertising for prescription drugs -- the ads now seen so frequently on television and in newspapers. The number of retail prescriptions rose from 2.4 billion in 1997 to 3.1 billion in 2001. Those prescriptions carry a total yearly price tag of at least $200 billion, with the cost rising about 12% per year, approximately six times the rate of inflation.

But doesn't the increased use of medications signal better health for Americans? Not necessarily. To learn more about the claims made by drug companies, Bottom Line/Health spoke to Marcia Angell, MD, former editor-in-chief of the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine.

Claim: The increased costs of drugs reflect large investments in research and development (R&D).

Fact: Drug companies spend more than twice as much on "marketing and administration" as they do on R&D -- 31% of sales, compared with 14% in 2003.

Drug industry sources say the R and D cost per drug is $800 million, on average. An independent analysis by the nonprofit consumer advocacy organization Public Citizen shows that the real cost is probably $100 million or less.

Actually, the big drug companies don't develop most of the novel medications. These drugs, such as the cancer medications paclitaxel (Taxol) and imatinib (Gleevec), mostly are the result of taxpayer-funded research at academic institutions or the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or research at small biotechnology companies.

Claim: New drugs are constantly being brought to market.

Fact: Of the 487 drugs approved by the FDA from 1998 through 2003, only 32% contained new active ingredients and fewer than half of those (14% of the total) were classified by the FDA as improvements over older drugs.

Most "new" drugs are chemical variations of older drugs already on the market -- so-called "me-too" drugs. Companies try to grab a piece of a profitable market by producing a medication similar to a top-selling drug.
Example: Mevacor, approved in 1987, was the first cholesterol-lowering statin in the marketplace. Now, there are five more, all variants of the original -- Lipitor, Zocor, Pravachol, Lescol and Crestor. Even though Lipitor and Zocor are the top-selling statins, no head-to-head studies have been conducted comparing their effectiveness with lovastatin (the cheaper generic form of Mevacor) when taken at equivalent doses.

Claim: Scientific studies on drugs are reliable.

Fact: Drug companies have always sponsored almost all research on their drugs, but now they control how the research is done and if it will be published. Much of this research is seriously flawed, presenting results that cause both doctors and consumers to believe that drugs are a lot better than they are and have fewer side effects than they do. What's more, only favorable results are published. Unfavorable results rarely see the light of day.

Claim: Doctors' prescribing habits aren't unduly influenced by drug companies.

Fact: In 2001 the drug industry employed approximately 88,000 sales representatives to visit doctors in their offices and hospitals to promote their products -- roughly one representative for every six practicing physicians.

In 2001, drug companies paid more than 60% of the costs for continuing medical education for doctors. Meetings of professional societies, such as the American College of Cardiology and the American College of Physicians, now are largely sponsored by drug companies.

Knowing this, do you think the prescribing habits of America's doctors are based only on objective evaluations of their patients?

What You Can Do To Protect Yourself Against Drug Industry Tactics.
Ignore drug ads. An ad is meant to sell something, not educate or inform. Drug ads are no different. There's a good reason that direct-to-consumer drug ads are illegal in every other developed country (except New Zealand).

Be skeptical about new drugs. When it comes to drugs, newer doesn't necessarily mean better. There are exceptions, but you should make sure your doctor is relying on scientific evidence, not just a sales pitch from a drug company.

Watch out for "me-too" drugs. If a drug is being advertised on TV, It's probably a me-too drug. The drug company is trying to convince doctors and patients -- usually in the absence of any scientific evidence -- that the "new" drug is better. Double whammy: The new drug usually costs more.

Always ask for an equivalent generic or over-the-counter (OTC) drug. Doctors tend to prescribe what the drug company reps who haunt their offices are pushing. There may be a cheaper alternative that's just as effective. Ask about it.

Beware free samples. Drug reps give doctors free samples of expensive drugs. When the sample runs out, both doctor and patient are in the habit of using that particular drug. If you accept a free sample, be sure there is a compelling medical reason to take that drug.

Don't be easily convinced that you have a new disease. Do you really need to take the me-too antidepressant paroxetine (Paxil) for "social anxiety disorder", when you thought you were just shy?
Give your doctor permission not to prescribe. Many doctors assume correctly, in many cases that a patient won' feel satisfied unless he/she leaves the office with a prescription. Tell your MD: "If I don't need a prescription drug, don't prescribe one."

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Ten Things You Should Never Buy On Black Friday

Black Friday and the following Cyber Monday do represent days when you can get really good deals. But there are a handful of items that top mine and nearly everyone else’s Christmas list that will not be good deals that day or for the rest of this month. To get the best deal, the trick is to wait. Hold off on buying these 10 things until December or January to get the lowest prices of the year.

What pray tell are these items? Like we said they are items that frequently top our Christmas lists. Let’s go through them and examine why it’s better to wait to buy these items till the holiday season is nearly over. 


You’ll see advertisements in every major retailer shouting they’ve got this year’s hot, new toy for the kids on sale and you should buy from them. Well they got it half right. They probably do have that toy on sale that your child or grandchild asked Santa for. But they’re telling a white lie when it comes to price.

Toys are never a good item to purchase way in advance of Christmas and that includes buying it on Black Friday. Between this Friday and Christmas retailers will mark down toys each week they don’t sell out. To get the best deal on any toy your child wants wait until the week of Christmas to buy it.


Every man wants a thinner, lighter, more high-tech television for Christmas that’s why they are such popular gifts each year. It’s also why retailers put so much of their stock on sale on Black Friday.

I want you to take a second look at the ad’s you’ve seen for new TV’s. Are they for brands you know and trust? Probably not. The TV’s that go on sale on Black Friday tend to be ones by third tier manufacturers.  

If you wait a few weeks, till the end of December the name brand TV’s will go on sale and they’ll be at rock bottom prices. Holding off till late December can snag you a brand name TV for 20-25 percent off list price.

As with most things high tech, if you’re buying the latest and the greatest versions on the market, you’re not going to be getting a huge discount. To get the best deal on a new TV look at last year’s models. If you are waiting for a little monetary help from Santa Claus to buy a new TV, don’t worry great post-holiday sales stretch into the first weeks of January. So you don’t need to rush out the day after Christmas to buy.


This is the second worst time of year to be buying jewelry, the only time worse is the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day. Despite the ad’s proclaiming sales and deals at every jewelry store across America they are anything but right now.

Despite this fact, December is the most popular month to get engaged. If you absolutely must buy a diamond ring or any other kind of jewelry wait until the days just before Christmas, you might be able to get a little bit knocked off the list price.

If you can wait, you’ll get the best deal of the whole year in the summer months. AS you probably guessed there is no demand for jewel encrusted baubles during that time so jewelers hold big sales to try to entice customers to buy.

Cell Phones

Cell phones have become the go-to gift for kids over the last five years. Since Apple released their new iPhone two months ago I’m betting many teenagers will be unwrapping it on Christmas day.

If you plan to give this gift this holiday season hold off until later on in December to buy it. There may be a good deal here and there on Black Friday depending on where you live, but for the most part the longer you wait, the better the deal you’ll probably get. AS with a few other gifts on this list, the last few days before Christmas will net you the best deal on a new cell phone.

The second cheapest month to buy a new cell phone? June. Cell phones have become the go-to gift for graduates.

Holiday Collectibles

Those reindeer mugs and holiday themed dishware you see for sale at department stores are cute, but they are not cheap this time of year. Stores started putting holiday collectibles like china, stemware, dolls, ornaments, and such on their shelves earlier this month.

You won’t be getting any kind of deal on them on Black Friday or anytime in December. You’ll have to wait till after New Year’s for prices to come down off list price. That goes for Christmas decorations too, you have to wait till the season is over for the deals to show up.

The caveat to waiting is that there are no guarantees that the item you want will still be in stock. Holiday collectibles are sold in very limited quantities. So if you see something you just have to have, I recommend you buy it now, just know you are paying full price.

Exercise Equipment

Those of us who are looking to get a head start on our New Year’s resolution to lose weight this year, should resolve themselves to wait till January to do so. As with cell phones a few lucky people may find great deals, but the majority will be found after the New Year rolls in. That’s when retailers know most people buy exercise equipment so they hold major sales to entice customers to purchase fitness gear from them instead of their competitors.

Calendars and Planners

By this time of year you start to realize you need a new calendar. Appointments and kids activities need to be marked down for the next month or two but you need next year’s calendar in order to do so.

Even though we all need a new one, right now is the absolute worst time to buy one. These and other office items are at full price and will stay that way until after New Year’s. By holding off on buying a new one until January you’ll save yourself 20-40 percent off list price. Not a bad deal if you can wait.

Winter Apparel

You’ve probably been receiving tons of coupons over the last week from your favorite retailers. They want you to think you can get a great deal on a coat, boots, sweaters, and other winter apparel if you come to their store on Black Friday. The coupons probably seem like a great deal, most likely you’ve gotten ones advertising 10-20 percent off, along with any sales they’ve promised. But you’ll get an even better deal if you can wait to purchase any of these winter items till mid to late January. By then retailers will have moved most of their winter merchandise to the clearance rack.

Digital Cameras

One thing I know for sure is that every big box electronics retailer will be advertising deals on their digital cameras this Friday. The deals will seem good, but they’ll get even better if you can hold off until February.

You see the Consumer Electronics Show is held every year in January. This is where every manufacturer shows off their new models. After January 10th the show will be over and retailers will begin to mark down their 2013 models to make room for the next generation cameras. The longer you hold off, the better the deal you’ll get. You’ll start to see the deals roll out in January and get better and better through February.

Bedding and Blankets

Who doesn’t love getting a super soft throw blanket to curl up with while the temperatures are dropping? These and other bedding essentials are great gifts, but retailers are not running great prices on them right now.  Bedding and other linens fall to their lowest prices of the year after the holidays during the annual “White Sale” which occurs in mid-January and early February.

While having to wait another week to get going on your Christmas list and find good deals definitely isn’t fun, knowing that you will be getting a better deal than everyone else who is scrambling around on Black Friday sure is! Being a last minute shopper is never desirable, but it can yield you some amazing deals. So if you are dreading fighting the crowds and trying to find parking on Friday don’t feel you have to go out! It pays to wait if you are planning on purchasing any of these 10 items for people on your Christmas list.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Best Almond Croissant Recipe On Earth

Almond Croissant by Fran├žois Payard

Croissant dough:

Pastry flour: 1.7 cups
Baker flour: 1.7 cups
Sugar: 1/3 cup
Salt: 1 1/3 tbsp
Ameliorant: 1 tbsp
Yeast: 2.2 tbsp
Butter: 2 3/4 tbsp
Milk .85 cups
Water .85 cups
Butter for folding: 3 cups

Place the dry ingredients (pastry flour, baker’s flour, sugar, salt and ameliorant), yeast and room temperature butter in a mixing bowl. Add the milk and water on slow speed until the desired texture is reached. Knead 1 minute on second speed. Make one portion of dough of 1400 g and prepare a block of butter (700 g) for folding. Butter should be flattened into a square. Place the dough in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll out. Place the butter (flattened into a square) in the middle of the dough. Fold the four edges of the dough in like an envelope. With a rolling pin give one turn to the dough or one fold. Place in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Give the dough a second turn. Place in plastic wrap and return to the refrigerator. Let the dough proof 2 hours. Take the dough out from the refrigerator and give the dough a third turn. After the third turn, roll the dough to a ¼ inch thickness or place through the sheeter machine at 2.5. Cut into 30 triangles.

Once you cut the triangles make a little cut in the middle of the base of the triangle and roll every croissant. Place the croissants on baking trays. Allow croissants to proof 45 minutes to 1 hour. Egg wash the croissants twice to give them a beautiful, shiny color. Bake for 12 minutes at 195°C. Once the croissants are cooked allow them to cool. Normally we always use the croissants from the day before to make the almond croissants. They need to be a little drier. The next day we slice the croissants in half and dip both halves in warm syrup (see recipe below). Fill the croissants with a mixture of pastry cream and almond cream.
Close the croissants. On the top we add a mixture almond cream and pastry cream and a few slices of almonds. Place the croissants on the silpat and bake again for 40 minutes at 180°C.

When the croissants come out of the oven we let cool down. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar for a beautiful and rustic look like my grandpa used to do in the old days.


Water: 2.1 cups
Sugar: 2.4 cups
Rum: 4 3/4 tbsp

This recipe may make a little extra syrup. We always have a little extra because it is difficult to know how much we will need depending on how dry the croissants are. The syrup can be reused the next day.

Almond Cream (1 kg):

Sugar 1.06 cups
Almond Flour 1.06 cups
Eggs 1.06 cups
Flour (all purpose) 2 tbsp
Vanilla Extract 1 tsp
Rum 2 tsp
Butter 1.06 cups

Place the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl with the paddle. Mix on medium speed until the mixture is well combined and smooth. Add the almond flour until well combined. Add the eggs in three stages, making sure that the eggs are incorporated before starting the next stage. Add the remaining ingredients. Make sure that the mixture is very smooth. Place in a container and refrigerate.

Pastry Cream (375 g):

Milk: 1.06 cups
Yolks 3 tbsp
Sugar 3 1/3 tbsp
Pastry Cream Powder: 1.6 tbsp
Butter 1/2 tbsp

Heat the milk in a sauce pan. Combine the sugar and the pastry cream powder. Whisk in the yolks to the sugar until they are light in color. Whisking rapidly, add about a ½ cup of the boiled milk to the egg yolks in order to equalize the temperature of the two ingredients. Pour the egg mixture back into the milk, scraping the bottom and sides of the pot constantly with a hand whisk to prevent lumping. Continue stirring vigorously for several minutes over medium high heat until the preparation thickens and boils. Turn off the heat and mix in the butter until it is smooth. Place the pastry cream in a container and cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming on the surface. Cool the pastry cream quickly by immersing the container in an ice bath.

The real process of making croissants at Payard is to make all the dough in the morning and then in afternoon we add the square of butter and give the dough two turns before leaving for the day. The next day we turn the dough a third time and then roll the croissants. This insures that the croissants are freshly made and rolled every morning for an incredible quality.

Do's And Don'ts Of Art Collecting

DO some homework. Check out exhibitions, prices, and, most of all, what the artist creates that might interest you. The Internet has changed everything. Most of the time, it is easy to research an artist via a website.

DON'T make a gallery owner your art advisor. Galleries are great places to visit, but remember that gallery owners are in the business of selling. They will be high on their wares no matter what. Avoid the hard sell, the promise of how prices for the artist's work will surely soar, the "better get one now" pitch… that sort of stuff. No one can predict an artist's market.

DO some traveling. There is nothing wrong with living in Kansas and buying art at a local art gallery. But if you strive to put together a collection of beauty, interest, and value, you must go to New York City. Since WWII, Manhattan has been the hub of the art world, and every artist longs to exhibit there. Want to find new and exciting talent? All art roads lead to The Big Apple. Look about the multitude of galleries both old and new, big and small.

DON'T expect the average interior decorator to fill your home with fine art. They are adept at "furnishing" a residence with art objects for a hefty fee. But virtually none will ever be worth anything. Often, for nearly the same budget, the homeowner can become a collector of material of value. So maybe there isn't the sense of immediate gratification. Patience is a collecting virtue.

DO pay heed to the words of art critics and reviewers. Their observations are born of knowledge, objectivity, and an intimate connection with the art trade. If they say some up-and-comer is worth watching, watch that artist. And, if you like the work, consider buying it.

DON'T buy art at a gallery that runs "sales." Prices for viable artists—established artists whose work may or may not appreciate—invariably rise, but they NEVER go down. Never. Steer clear of mall galleries and ersatz art emporiums that are really framing stores in disguise. And those weekend hotel-lobby extravaganzas promising "original oil paintings." If you want to match a painting to the hues in the couch cushions, call your decorator.

DO maintain a sensible art-buying budget. You don't have to mortgage the house to collect quality art. Collecting does cost money, but it is not how much money you spend—it is what you spend your money on.

DON'T "invest" in copies, facsimiles, or reproductions. They are worth nothing—tangibly or emotionally. All collectors, whether or not they recognize it, desire satisfaction in a work of art. Something outwardly bogus will never deliver.

DO develop and follow your own collecting eye, taste, and spirit. Shy away from trends, who celebrities buy or endorse, and who just caused a sensation at the Venice Biennale. Art collecting is one of the most personally rewarding of endeavors if you stick to your own emotional and visual guns.

Don't consider becoming an art collector if any of the previous "do's and don'ts" make little sense. There are always baseball cards, Beanie Babies, and vintage wines to collect.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

How To Get A Room At A Sold Out Hotel

Ask the hotel when cancellation penalties will be charged for the date on which you want to arrive. Then call the hotel on the morning of that day. Rooms will usually be available because people have just canceled  their reservations.

Four Shotcuts Doctors Take When Giving You A Checkup

1. Blood Pressure

This vital sign is usually checked in one arm while you're sitting down. But for more accuracy, blood pressure should be checked in both arms while you're lying down. Why both arms? Because a difference in blood pressure between one arm and the other may indicate a blockage in one of the large blood vessels. To be significant, the difference should be 15% or more. Also, if you're taking blood pressure medication, your doctor should check you a third time, immediately after you stand up. If the pressure drops by more than 10%, you may need to change your dosage.

2. Lymph Nodes

Doctors usually check the lymph nodes in the neck, but often neglect the nodes in the groin and underarms. But checking all the lymph nodes is important since swollen nymph nodes may signal infection and other symptoms.

3. Pulse Points

Your doctor may check your pulse in your neck or groin but may skip your feet. If pulse strength differs in these 3 areas, it could be a sign of peripheral arterial disease.

4. Lab Tests

Most docs check your cholesterol, liver and kidney functions and your blood sugar. But other levels  that should be checked are

Magnesium - Low levels of this mineral can cause fatigue, generalized pain and or muscle spasms. It can also increase risk of heart attack.

Zinc - A low zinc  level can lead to frequent infections.

Iron -  Elevated levels of iron can cause iron overload or hemochromatosis.

C- reactive protein, homocysteine and lipoprotein  Elevated levels of any of these 3 substances can pit you at risk for heart attack or stroke.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Frequently Asked Questions About Our Carpet Cleaning Services

 How much do you charge?

Usually, we don’t know without seeing what you have. There are different types of carpet, floors, drapes and upholstery soil, easy access jobs, hard to access jobs, and a whole host of other things that affect our professional fee. The fairest thing for you is to let us come out and see what you have, which is FREE. The information we gather determines the fee. Naturally, there is no obligation at all. And we don't adjust prices according to your zip code. Every potential client is treated fairly.

Why are you measuring wall to wall when half my carpet is covered with furniture?

Our fees are not based on the dimensions of the carpet or floor we’re going to clean. We take room measurements and use a proprietary formula to arrive upon a fair fee for our services.  The formula takes into account much more than just measurements, and we may even adjust the measurements down once we do some calculations.  Our average ticket for carpet cleaning is reasonable with no hidden fees for our all inclusive service. So there is no reason to fret.

How long does it take my carpet to dry?

Because of our all natural low moisture proprietary cleaning process, most of our carpet cleaning assignments dry in about an hour. So your carpet will be back in service almost immediately.

What do we need to do before you arrive ?

If you decided on our Freshen Up Open Areas Package 1, you need to do nothing since no furniture will be moved. If you decided on our Clean N’ Fresh Package 2, we will move your standard couch, love seat and chairs in the main living area. We will then clean the open areas of any other carpets. However, we do ask that you move smaller pieces of furniture like breakables, antiques, lamps, toys, delicate figurines,  or special medical and dental equipment and roll up small area rugs. We also ask that you do not block the access to toilets, laundry, kitchen or other sinks.

 Do you move appliances?

Since we are not licensed movers, our insurance carrier will not allow us to move or dis-connect washers, dryers, stoves, and refrigerators, freezers or other items that will not easily roll and do damage to floors.
Common sense also dictates that we cannot move pit groups, china cabinets, hutches, entertainment centers, large screen TV’s, pool tables, large antique pieces, wall to wall book shelves, pianos,  computer stations, office filing cabinets or other items that may be damaged by moving or that may cause us personal injury.
To prevent tripping over our power cords and equipment, we also request that children, pets and other family members be kept out of the area while we are working.

Do I need to leave heat or the air-conditioner on?

Yes. Please leave the air-conditioning on in the Summer and the heat on in the Winter.
For stone, no-wax and vinyl floors to properly cure, and for your carpets , drapes and upholstery to properly dry, the air conditioning must be turned on in the Summer and the heat must be on in the Winter. Please do not open windows before our arrival unless it is a clear, sunny Spring day or a warm dry Fall day. If there are circumstances that prevent you from turning on the air conditioning or heat, please let us know and we can schedule your work during the Spring or Fall.

Do we have to be home?

Not really, although it’s a good idea. Mainly because we don’t want to accidentally miss something that was really important to you.
If you have  to be
 somewhere , all we  need is a detailed description of any special concerns, and  your credit card billing information.

Why should I hire you?

First, every time we clean your carpets you get our exclusive 10 step cleaning process. Just click here to review them: 

Second, no other carpet cleaning company in the area has ever educated consumers like we have on this website. Whether you use us, or someone else, or clean your own carpet, we have told you exactly what you need to know to avoid pitfalls. You get complete transparency from us because we care about you and our reputation in the community. To discover how to choose a carpet cleaner you can trust, click here:

To avoid the most common carpet cleaning scams click here:

 Do you guarantee your work?

Yes, we have the best guarantee in the business : "You Must Be Happy Or Its Free".  So you can hire us without having to worry about lousy service or getting ripped off.

  Our Famous One Full Year Guarantee

Third, every residential carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning or drapery cleaning assignment is guaranteed  ONE FULL YEAR in writing.  So you get 365 days of free ongoing support in the form of our Spot N' Spill warranty. If you spill something on your carpet, upholstery or draperies that you can’t clean up, we’ll stop by and take care of it for free.

For Your Peace Of Mind, You Can Be Assured That Our Equipment Is Always Sanitized

Fourth, we clean and wipe down all our equipment with a natural sanitizer after each job. In addition, all our cotton towels and rags are always washed and fully sanitized with a natural  disinfectant. That's so you don't need to worry about us bringing  previous client's  germs and dirt into your home.

Are you fully bonded and insured?

Yes, we have genuine and real full-coverage liability insurance that covers everything.  Other cleaners with general liability policies only think they are covered, but we assure you they are not. Few people know this, but most liability insurance polices won’t cover damage to property that a service person is actually working on.
For instance, if a cleaner accidently breaks a priceless antique while he or she is cleaning your carpet, that’s covered. However, if the cleaner ruins your family heirloom carpet while cleaning it, most insurance  policies won't cover it. Here at Allstate, our  premium insurance  policy  covers everything.

Is your company criminal and drug free?

Since most of our clients are female, you won't have to worry about having an unfamiliar person in the  your home. That's because we are fully bonded and insured husband and wife team that respects your personal space, home, privacy and family. We  also pledge to be polite, tidy and fast. And for your peace of mind, we warrant that we are criminal, drug and alcohol free family onwed company.

Will your cleaning process disturb my children or my pets ?

Outside of having to use a vacuum cleaner in your home,  we  have the quietest cleaning process on the market and we won't disturb your children or pets.

What method do you use?

We use a proprietary low mositure, all natural , non-toxic  carpet  cleaning system that dries in about one hour. Since we are so conifdent in the effectivness of our cleaning system, we guarantee our residential work for one full year. That means if your spots come back within one year, we'll stop by and take care of your spots for free. 

Are your cleaning solutions safe for my children and pets?

Absolutely. Our main cleaning agent is made from fruit.  And we are a certfied green, all natural organic carpet cleaning company by the Carpet & Rug Institute and Green Seal.

Will you remove all my stains?

Except for extreme pre-existing conditions, our carpet cleaning service includes the removal of every single stain we encounter. But some stains are permanent. And if there’s any chance they’ll come out, we’ll get them out. If we can't get them out, we'll attempt to dye them for you  at no extra charge. Most companies that provide this service charge $75 per spot. But we proivide it to you for FREE. If the dye sites of the fiber will not accept dye, then we won't charge you for the area in question. So using us to clean your carpets is really 100% risk free.

Can you get rid of severe cat or dog urine odor?

Most of the time we are very successful, and we'll try everything available to us from an organic and natural cleaning standpoint. However, if the contamination is severe, you may have to replace the carpet pad, and seal the subfloor. Every case is different, but we’re always willing to give it our best effort. Also, we will point out any special concerns during your free , no-obligation in-home carpet inspection

What can I use to spot clean?

 When you become our valued client, you will receive a bottle of our all natural  spotter absolutely FREE.  It's a $9.95 value, but you'll get a bottle at no cost every time you clean carpets, area rugs, upholstery or draperies  with us. If you have a spot or stain you can’t get out, we’ll come by and take care of it for you at no charge. That's because every cleint is covered by our Spot N' Spill program for one full year. If you're spots come back within one year after cleaning, then so do we!

Are you certified?

Absolutely. Our company is certified by the Institute Of Inspection Cleaning & Restoration, The Certification Registry Board and we are affiliates of the International Institute For The Conservation Of Historic & Artistic Works. We also have an IICRC Certified Master Restorer and Textile/Flooring Inspector on staff. That means we can also provide you with certified textile and flooring inspections, lab analysis and expert court testimony. Like a certified real estate appraiser, it means our opinions on textiles and flooring issues will hold up in court. We also keep abreast of global cutting edge technology and changes in our industry.

  To get a fast ,FREE and easy no- obligation expert textile or flooring consultaion anywhere in Mercer or Bucks counties, just call us right now at


Or click on the link below and fill out our convenient contact form.We'll get back to you promply
  Click on this link now:

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Alcohol Free Drinks For Any Occassion

Blueberry Bliss

¾ oz. sugar-cane simple syrup
¾ lemon juice
2 oz. Republic of Tea Blueberry Tea (Make tea twice as strong as indicated in directions)
1½ oz. lime Perrier
Place all ingredients except Perrier into a shaker with 2 ice cubes. Shake and strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Top with Perrier. Garnish with a lemon and lime slices.
Cocktail version: Reduce tea to 1½ oz. and add 1½ oz. gin. Strain into a highball glass with crushed ice. Top with 1½ oz. Perrier lime sparkling water.

Watermelon Sparkle

¾ oz. agave nectar
1 oz. pink-grapefruit juice
¾ oz. lemon juice
2 oz. Republic of Tea Watermelon Mint tea (Make tea twice as strong as directed)
2 oz. Perrier pink-grapefruit sparkling water
Place all ingredients except Perrier into a shaker and shake. Strain into an ice-filled highball glass.
Top with Perrier pink-grapefruit sparkling water. Garnish with a mint sprig.
Cocktail version: Reduce tea to 1½ oz. and pink-grapefruit juice to ¾ oz. Add 1½ oz. blanco tequila. Top with 1½ oz. Perrier.

Spicy Kiwi Martini

1 kiwi
1 piece of ginger (about the size of a quarter)
2 cinnamon sticks (Ground cinnamon can be used)
1 capful vanilla-bean extract
16 oz. distilled water
½ oz. agave nectar (sweeten to your liking)
1 lime (cut into 4 wedges, use one for garnish)
Makes 2 martinis
Blend water, kiwi, extract, ginger and one grated cinnamon stick.
Pour into shaker through a small strainer mesh and shake with ice; squeeze the fresh lime over it.
Strain into glass. Garnish with lime, fresh grated cinnamon and a cinnamon stick.
Cocktail version: Use 14 oz. distilled water and 2 oz. vodka.


1½ oz. pineapple juice
1½ oz. Celestial Seasonings Sweetened Mandarin Orange Spice tea
¼ oz. tamarind juice
3 cucumber slices
2 pinches of ground ginger
¼ oz. of fresh lime juice
Muddle cucumber in a shaker glass, add all remaining ingredients. Shake vigorously and strain into a cactus-salt- or sea-salt-rimmed coupe glass. Garnish with a cucumber slice or tamarind.
To make tea, steep 9 tea bags in 1 liter of hot water. Sweeten with 10 teaspoons of sugar. Keep refrigerated.
Cocktail version: Replace pineapple juice with 1½ oz Don Julio blanco tequila.

Altar Chi- Herbal Martini

3 oz. Altar Chi
1 lemon twist
Mix in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake, strain and serve in a martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Cocktail version: Reduce Altar Chi to 2 oz. Add 1 oz of premium vodka or gin.

Watermelon Cooler

One medium sized watermelon; de-seeded and with flesh chopped into pieces
Three teaspoons of freshly grated ginger
20 mint leaves
Puree the watermelon and ginger in a mixer.
Add a glass of water to thin the juice.
Pour into a jug and stir in the mint leaves.
Chill for at least an hour. Serve. Drink.
If you’re a little alcoholically-inclined, skip the water and add 350 ml of vodka or white rum. 







Thursday, August 15, 2013

How To Buy A TV

Plasma Vs LCD - Among  plasma, LCD, and LED LCD  your best bet is plasma unless you're looking for a set 42 inches or smaller. If you watch TV in a room full of windows with no curtains, then get an LCD.

Refresh Rate - For an LCD, this is the number of times per second a screen refreshes it's image measured in hertz. This does not apply to plasmas. The standard is 60 Hz, 120 Hz is much better, and 240 Hz is overkill. Just look for the words "refresh rate" not scenes per second (SPS) or TruMotion.

Buy Cheap HDMI Cables -Cheap HDMI are as good as expensive ones. So don't spend more than $5 max.

The 411 On 3D - Active glasses are expensive are heavy and use batteries. But they provide full resolution. Passive glasses are cheap, but since each eye only sees half the image, you're getting only half the resolution. Also the worst 3D is among the best of 2-D TVs.

Forget Smart Features - Don't concern yourself with built in smart features like Hulu Plus, Netflix, and HBO Go. All are available on a $100 Roku 3 external device.

Forget About Ultra  UHD - Ultra UHD known as 4K TV provides 4 times the number of pixels  as full HD. But its a waste since nothing is broadcast in Ultra HD.

Prices You can pick up a good 42 to 50 inch TV for about $700, and you can get a great one for $1200 to $1500.

Inputs - Good TVs have at least 4 HDMI inputs.

Best Brands -Companies like Samsung, Sony, Panasonic, LG and Sharp have been around a long time. So they have huge repair networks and easy to find parts. Other brands may not.

Sound -In general, the thinner the  TV the worse your speakers will be. So either get a sound bar or learn to appreciate sound without the bass.    

Friday, August 9, 2013

Gourmand Grilled Cheese That will Thrill Your Luncheon Guests

First, look for a cheddar that has been aged about 1 year. If it was aged longer, it won't melt well. To quickly brin gthe cheddar to room temperature, microwave the pieces until warm or about 30 seconds. Th first two sandwiches can be held in 200 degree oven on a wire rack or baking sheet. The following recipe serves four:

7 ounces aged cheddar, cut into 24 equal pieces at room temperature

2 ounces Brie cheese, rind removed

2 tablespoons minced shallot

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

8 slices hearty white sandwich bread

First, process cheddar, brie and wine  in a food processor until a smooth paste is formed, about 20-30 seconds. The add shallot and and pulse to combine, 3 - 5 pulses. Combine butter and mustard in a small bowl. Next, working on a parchment paper lined counter, spread mustard butter evenly over 1 side of slices of bread. Flip 4 slices of bread over and spread cheese mixture evenly over slices. Top with remaining  4 slices of bread, buttered sides up. Then preheat 12 inch non-stick skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. ( Droplets of water should just sizzle when flicked onto pan ) Place 2 sandwiches in skillet, then reduce heat to medium low, cook until both sides are crispy and golden brown, about 6 to 9 minutes per side. Remove sandwiches from skillet and let stand for 2 minutes. Repeat with remaining 2 sandwiches.

Substitute Asiago for cheddar, finely chopped pitted dates for shallot, and oatmeal sandwich bread
for white sandwich bread.

Substitute Comte for cheddar, minced cornichon for shallot, and rye sandwich bread for white.

Substitute Gruyere for cheddar, chives for shallot, and rye bread for white.    


Epicurean Summer Grilled Corn Recipes

If you want to wow your cook out guests, then dress up your grilled corn with these incredible summer flavors. First, get yourself a disposable aluminum pan that will hold 6 to 12 corn on the cobs.

Next, whip the flavored butter of your choice. Just combine all the ingredients in a small bowl:


Mix 6 tablespoons of softened unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons minced basil, 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley, 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, 1/2 teaspoon salt & 1/4 teaspoon pepper


 Mix 6 tablespoons of softened unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons honey, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes


Mix 6 tablespoons of softened unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro, 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley, 1 teaspoon minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, 1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest, 1/2 teaspoon salt


Mix 6 tablespoons of softened unsalted butter, 1 garlic clove minced, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce,
1 teaspoon tomato paste, 1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Next, remove the corn husks from your corn. Then brush them generously with plain old vegetable
oil. This will keep them from drying out.  Then place them on a hot grill , turning occasionally until they are lightly  charred on all sides.( about 5 to 9 minutes )

Place your favorite butter mix into the disposable aluminum pan. Then place your corn cobs in the pan
and cover with aluminum foil. Place the pan on the grill and shake frequently until you hear the butter
sizzle. Then serve corn, spooning butter in pan over individual ears.      

93 Fun Facts About New Jersey

If you live in or have ever lived in Jersey...you'll appreciate this...if not, you may be surprised!
New Jersey has the second highest per capita income in the U.S.
New Jersey has three counties in the top ten U.S. counties by income.
New Jersey was the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights (Nov. 20,1789)
New Jersey is a peninsula.
New Jersey is the only state where all of its counties are classified as metropolitan areas.
New Jersey has more race horses than Kentucky.
New Jersey has more Cubans in Union City (1 sq mi.) than Havana, Cuba.
New Jersey has the densest system of highways and railroads in the US.
New Jersey has the highest cost of living.
New Jersey has the highest cost of auto insurance.
New Jersey has the highest property taxes in the nation.
Cartoonist Thomas Nast (Morristown) created the popular image of Santa Claus.
New Jersey has the most diners in the world and is sometimes referred to as the "Diner Capital of the World."
Home to the less mysterious but the best Italian hot dogs and Italian sausage w/peppers and onions.
North Jersey has the most shopping malls in one area in the world, with seven major shopping malls in a 25 square mile radius.
New Jersey is home to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
The Passaic River was the site of the first submarine ride by inventor John P. Holland.
New Jersey has 50+ resort cities & towns; some of the nation's most famous: Asbury Park, Wildwood, Atlantic City, Seaside Heights, Long Branch, Cape May.
New Jersey was home to the Miss America Pageant held in Atlantic City.
The game Monopoly, played all over the world, named the streets on its playing board after the actual streets in Atlantic City.
And, Atlantic City has the longest boardwalk in the world,
Not to mention salt water taffy.
New Jersey has the most stringent testing along our coastline for water quality control than any other seaboard state in the entire country.
The "Trial of the Century" (the Lindberg Baby kidnapping) was held in Flemington.
New Jersey is a leading technology & industrial state and is the largest chemical producing state in the nation when you include pharmaceuticals.
Jersey tomatoes are known the world over as being the best you can buy.
You haven't lived until you have eaten New Jersey sweet Corn.
New Jersey is a leader in blueberry and cranberry production.
In 1642, the first brewery in America, opened in Hoboken.
New Jersey rocks! The famous Les Paul invented the first solid body electric guitar in Mahwah, in 1940.
New Jersey is a major seaport state with the largest seaport in the US, located in Elizabeth. Nearly 80 percent of what our nation imports comes through Elizabeth Seaport first.
New Jersey is home to one of the nation's busiest airports (in Newark), Liberty International.
George Washington slept here. Several important Revolutionary War battles were fought on New Jersey soil, led by  General George Washington. On Christmas Eve 1776 he crossed the Delaware to attack the Hessian troops at Trenton.
The light bulb, phonograph (record player), and motion picture projector, were invented by Thomas Edison in his Menlo Park, NJ, laboratory.
We also boast the first town ever lit by incandescent bulbs.
The first movie studio was in West Orange.
The first western was filmed by Edison in the hills of West Orange-"The Great Train Robbery."
Highest population density in the US
Home of the US Olympic Equestrian Team
Home to the United States Golf association (Far Hills)
The transistor was invented by Bell Labs in NJ
The telephone was invented in NJ
Samuel Morse's code machine was built in NJ (Morris Plains)
The first seaplane was built in Keyport, NJ.
The first airmail (to Chicago) was started from Keyport, NJ.
The first phonograph records were made in Camden, NJ.
New Jersey has the largest petroleum containment area outside of the Middle East countries.
New Jersey has the tallest water-tower in the world. (Union, NJ!!!)
New Jersey had the first medical center, in Jersey City.
The Pulaski SkyWay, from Jersey City to Newark, was the first skyway highway.
NJ built the first tunnel under a river, the Hudson (Holland Tunnel).
The first baseball game was played in Hoboken, NJ, which is also the birthplace of Frank Sinatra.
The first intercollegiate football game was played in New Brunswick in 1889 (Rutgers College played Princeton).
The first drive-in movie theater was opened in Camden, NJ, (but they're all gone now!).
New Jersey is home to both of "NEW YORK'S" pro football teams!
The first FM radio broadcast was made from Alpine, NJ, by Maj. Thomas Armstrong.
The Great Falls in Paterson, on the Passaic River, is the second highest waterfall on the East Coast of the US. In 1778, Alexander Hamilton visited the falls and was impressed by its potential for industry. Later as the nation's first Secretary of Treasury, he selected the site as the nation's first planned industrial city.
All New Jersey natives: (Actually 'Born, Raised 0r Settled')
Jack Nicholson, Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Jason Alexander, Derek Jeter Queen Latifah, Susan Sarandon, Connie Francis, Shaq, Judy Blume, Aaron Burr, Dionne Warwick, Sarah Vaughn,  Budd Abbott, Lou Costello, The Jonas Brothers, Alan Ginsberg, Yogi Berra, Larry Doby, Norman Mailer, Marilynn McCoo, Flip Wilson, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Edison, Frankie Valli, Charles Lindbergh, Whitney Houston, Eddie Money, Grover Cleveland, Woodrow Wilson, Walt Whitman, Jerry Lewis, Tom Cruise, Joyce Kilmer, Bruce Willis, Caesar Romero, Ice-T, Nick Adams, Nathan Lane, Sandra Dee, Danny DeVito, Richard Conti, Joe Pesci, Joe Piscopo, Fanny Brice, Annie Oakley, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Robert Blake, John Forsythe, Meryl Streep, Loretta Swit, Norman Lloyd, Paul Simon, Jerry Herman, Gordon McRae, Kevin Spacey, John Travolta, Phyllis Newman, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Eva Marie Saint, Elisabeth Shue,  James Fennimore Cooper, Admiral Wm.Halsey,Jr., Dave Thomas
(Wendy's), William Carlos Williams, Sammy Williams, Ray Liotta, Robert Wuhl, Paul Robeson, Ernie Kovacs, Joseph Macchia, Brian Williams, Charles Gibson, Martha Stewart, Andrew Fastow (!) and, of course, Francis Albert Sinatra.
You know you're from Jersey when . . .
You don't think of fruit when people mention "The Oranges."
You know that it's called Great Adventure, not Six Flags.
You don't put pineapple on your pizza.
And, you don't buy pizza at a national "pizza" franchise.
You've known the way to Seaside Heights since you were seven.
You know that the state isn't one big oil refinery.
At least three people in your family still love Bruce Springsteen, and you know the town Jon Bon Jovi is from.
You know what a "jug handle" is.
You know that WaWa is a convenience store.
You know that the state isn't all farmland.
You know that there are no "beaches" in New Jersey--there's the shore--and you don't go "to the shore," you go "down the shore." And when you are there, you're not "at the shore"; you are "down the shore."
You know how to properly negotiate a circle.
You knew that the last sentence had to do with driving.
You know that this is the only "New" state that doesn't require "New" to identify it (try . . . Mexico . . . York .! . . Hampshire-- doesn't work, does it?).
You consider putting mayo on a corned beef sandwich a sacrilege.
Or, ketchup on a hot dog.
You don't think "What exit?" is very funny.
You know that people from the 609 area code are "a little different."
You know that no respectable New Jerseyan goes to Princeton--that's for out-of-staters.
The Jets-Giants game has started fights at your school or local bar.
You live within 20 minutes of at least three different malls.
You refer to all highways and interstates by their numbers.
Every year you have at least one kid in your class named Tony.
You know the location of every clip shown in the Sopranos opening credits.
You've gotten on the wrong highway trying to get out of the mall.
You know that people from North Jersey go to Seaside Heights, and people from Central Jersey go to Belmar, and people from South Jersey go to Wildwood. It can be no other way.
You weren't raised in New Jersey--you were raised in either North Jersey, Central Jersey or South Jersey.
You don't consider Newark or Camden to actually be part of the state.
You remember the stores Korvette's, Two Guys, Rickel's, Channel, Bamberger's and Orbach's.
You also remember Palisades Amusement Park and Olympic Park.
You've had a boardwalk cheese steak and vinegar fries.
You start planning for Memorial Day weekend in February.
And finally . . .
You've NEVER, EVER pumped your own gas.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

How To Grill An Awesome Burger

1. Choose Fatty Meat  Start with chuck that is 20% fat.

2. Mix A Secret Powder Into The Meat - This incredible powder make you want one bite after another. To make it, combine 6 tablespoons of porcini powder, two tablespoons portabella powder, two table spoons of Worcestershire powder, two tablespoons onion powder, and two tablespoons of garlic powder. Use one tablespoon of the mixture per pound of meat. The powders can be purchased at specialty stores or online at Amazon.com.

3. Form Flat Patties - Make loose balls of meat 6 to 8 ounces in size, then flatten these balls into patties about 1/2 inch thick. Don't pack these patties  very tight , and don't leave the center thicker than the edges since thick in the middle patties don't cook evenly. Next, use two fingers to press a dimple roughly one quarter inch deep into the middle of one side of the patty. This divot prevents the burger from puffing up in the middle as it cooks.

4. Season The Patties On Both Sides with kosher salt and cracked pepper right before you grill them.
Season too soon and the salt will dry out the meat.

5. Let The Patties Cook Undisturbed on high  heat( 600F-800F)   for two to three minutes. Peak gently underneath after two minutes. If the patties lift easily off the grill and are golden brown underneath, it's time to flip them. If not, let them continue to cook for up to an additional minute. DO NOT poke, prod or push down on the patties as they cook. That just pushes juice and flavor out of the meat. Then move the patties away from the highest heat to cook further without burning.

6. Use A Meat Thermometer To Monitor Temperature After Flipping - Cook to 160 degrees for safety. You might want to consider buying a Thermapen digital thermometer favored by pros for its fast accurate readings. About $96 at Thermoworks.Com.

7. Let The Burgers Rest for 5 minutes before eating. This allows the juices to distribute throughout the meat and keeps the juice from spilling out onto your plate after the first bite.       

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Do It Yourself Face Lift Makes You Look Years Younger In Just 20 Days

If you've got wrinkles that you would like to reduce but you don't want injections or a surgical face lift, then Chinese facial acupressure may be the answer for you. Just use the following routines each day until you are satisfied with the results.

Forehead Wrinkles -  Begin at the top of your right foot,  in the junction between your big and second toes. Using medium to firm pressure, massage the point in a clockwise circle 10 times. Repeat on the left foot. Next, move to the backside of your right hand between your right thumb and index finger. In a clockwise circular motion, massage this point for 10 rotations. Repeat on the left hand.

 Then move to the  back  of your neck. Place both thumbs where your spine meets the base of your skull and move them two inches to either side until they each land in an indentation. Massage clockwise with firm pressure for 10 rotations.

Lastly, move your face. Place the pad of index finger a half inch above the center of each eyebrow. Massage with medium pressure in 10 clockwise right to left circles. Repeat the entire sequence three times in a single session each day. For deeper wrinkles, do the sequence several times throughout the day. You should notice a reduction in forehead wrinkles within 20 days.

Under Eye Puffiness - Place your index finger two inches above the inside of your right ankle between the bone and muscle. Do 10 clockwise rotations using medium to firm pressure. Repeat on the left leg.

Next, move to the backside of your right hand between your right thumb and index finger. In a clockwise circular motion, massage this point for 10 rotations. Repeat on the left hand.

Then with your arm at your side, bend your left elbow to make a 90 degree angle. Pinpoint the area located at the outside edge of the elbow crease between the bend and the bone. Use your index finger to massage 10 times in a clockwise rotation  using medium to firm pressure. Repeat on your right elbow.

Lastly, move to your face. Place your right index finger just to the side of your right nostril. Move the finger laterally to a spot directly underneath the center of your eye, in your sinus area.  Press in and slightly upward, performing 10 clockwise rotations. Repeat on the left side. Do the entire sequence three times daily. You should notice a reduction in puffiness under your eyes in a few days.

Friday, July 26, 2013

10 Ways To Choose A Great Nursing Home For Your Loved Ones

1. Visit During Meal Times- Mealtimes are when nursing home employees are under the greatest stress. When you visit, observe whether employees are interacting  with residents in a friendly manner. If so they'll probably treat residents well at all times.

2. Inquire About Agency Nurses - When a nursing home can't find enough permanent nurses, they hire agency nurses to fill the gap. Most homes use agency nurses from time, but it's a bad sign if 15%-20% of a home's nurses are provided by agencies. Ask the facility what percentage of nurses are from an agency.

3. Check Out The Physical Therapy Facilities - Insist on touring the physical therapy department. If the equipment doesn't look modern or expensive, then it's a bad sign. Also ask whether the physical therapist is on staff or on contract. Homes that have a therapist on staff make a greater commitment to rehab services.

4. Make Sure The Home Has A Five Star Rating The Medicare system website includes a star rating system on nursing homes. Avoid homes with an overall rating lower than five stars. You can view the ratings at www.Medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare  .

5. Check The Activities Schedule - Next time you visit, look at the activities schedule. Then look in at one or two activities. Is the activity really taking place? How many resident are there? Does it look like ther're having fun ? Make sure they're not clustered around a nursing station staring into space or at at TV. They should be chatting together, playing cards or interacting.

6. Take A Deep Whiff   Making a sub par nursing home smell is a tough challenge. So walk down corridors where doors to patients rooms are open and take a whiff. If the place reeks of urine, feces or large amounts of Lysol, then be suspicious.

7. Is It Really Private? Most homes offer shared rooms since they were built before the importance of singe rooms was recognized. If single rooms are not available, then consider how much privacy the home's shared rooms offer. Some have sturdy partitions and others have thin curtains or nothing at all.

8. Make Frequent Visits -Residents whose families visit often usually receive more attentive care. If you live far away, try to arrange for a friend , relative or concierge service to visit on a regular basis and give you update.

9. Avoid Getting Your Loved One Kicked Out -  Nursing homes cannot legally expel residents if they run out of money. So they must resort to Medicaid for payment. But nursing homes are allowed to send away residents that require more care than they can provide. Some greedy nursing homes expel residents who run out of money and claim that their care needs have increased. If this happens to your loved one, then file a complaint with your state's ombudsman through www.LTCOmbudsman.org

10.Don't Let A Hospital Rush You  If your loved one requires a nursing home care after a hospital stay, there's a good chance the hospital discharge planner will try to give just a few days to choose a nursing home. That's because the longer your loved one stays, the less profit they make. If the discharge planner  won't give you more time to choose a home, then threaten to file an appeal with Medicare if he or she won't relax the deadline. Most planners will back down because they don't want the paperwork hassles. But if you have to file an appeal, the hospital's patient advocate should be able to provide info on how to file. Or you can hire a long term care case manager for a few hundred dollars. Also, your local area agency on aging can help you find a local case manager. Or find one at:    www.cmsa.org