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  • Joining the Trend Toward Victory Gardens

    Home gardening is booming these days, both as an outlet for Americans, and, according to sociologists, as a trend for millions turning toward a simpler, gentler lifestyle worldwide.

    Neighbors are exchanging herbs for oranges and more parents are providing the opportunity for their children to witness first-hand how food is grown from seed.

    A small, sunny patch in your backyard is all you need to start, and failing that, window boxes, containers or even pots on an apartment building rooftop can provide equal opportunity.

    If youre new to gardening, experts say to start with easy-to-grow veggies like zucchini and cucumbers, which tend to grow almost like weeds, lettuce, if you have enough space for leafy greens to spread out, and tomatoes, which do as well in hanging baskets as they do when staked in the ground. You can start your veggies from seeds, young plants purchased locally or from a catalog"and while youre at it, consider growing strawberries, a summertime favorite that can thrive in small pots or planters on a deck or patio.

    Apart from the purchase of plants or seeds and the cost of containers and potting soil, you will want to invest in a trowel, possibly a hoe, some gardening gloves and a watering can and/or a sprinkler attachment for the garden hose. Plant food, while a nice idea, is optional, and if youre not yet ready to venture into the store, curbside pick-up from most home stores is available almost everywhere.

    In all, your garden will be a minimal investment considering that, according to experts, home vegetable gardens produce on average more than double the value in fruits and vegetables than what they cost in materials and supplies. You can start small, spending far less than you may think.

    Most garden shops and big box garden stores offer free instruction on planting and maintenance, but you can learn a lot online. Many families today are making it a project to learn and experiment together.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • 4 Reasons to Invest in a Steam Room or Sauna

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • 10 Tips for Getting a Good Night's Sleep

    Do you find it tough to roll out of bed every morning? Are you yawning, feeling groggy and chugging cups of coffee throughout the day? News flash: You probably arent getting enough sleep.

    Sleep is essential for your mental and physical health. Most adults need 7 to 8 hours of shuteye each night, and the quality of sleep you get is just as important as the amount. If youre having trouble catching zs, making some changes to your routine might help. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, whose focus also includes sleep disorders, offers the following 10 tips for getting a good nights sleep:

    1. Stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day"even on the weekends.

    2. Exercise, but not too late in the day. Try to exercise at least 30 minutes on most days but not later than 2 to 3 hours before your bedtime.

    3. Avoid caffeine and nicotine. The stimulating effects of caffeine in coffee, soda, certain teas and chocolate can take as long as 8 hours to wear off fully. Nicotine is also a stimulant.

    4.Avoid alcoholic drinks before bed. A nightcap might help you fall asleep, but alcohol keeps you in the lighter stages of sleep. You also tend to wake up in the middle of the night when the sedating effects have worn off.

    5. Avoid large meals and beverages late at night. A large meal can cause indigestion that interferes with sleep. Drinking too many fluids at night can cause you to awaken frequently to urinate.

    6. Avoid medicines that delay or disrupt your sleep, if possible. Some commonly prescribed heart, blood pressure or asthma medications"as well as some over-the-counter and herbal remedies for coughs, colds or allergies"can disrupt sleep patterns.

    7. Dont take naps after 3 p.m. Naps can boost your brain power, but late afternoon naps can make it harder to fall asleep at night. Also, keep naps to under an hour.

    8. Relax before bed. Take time to unwind. A relaxing activity, such as reading or listening to music, should be part of your bedtime ritual. If possible, take a hot bath before bed; the drop in body temperature after a soak may make you feel sleepy, and the bath can help you relax.

    9. Create a good sleeping environment. Address anything in your bedroom that might distract you from sleep, such as noises and bright lights. Consider keeping electronic devices, such as TVs, computers and smartphones, out of the bedroom. Also, keeping the temperature in your bedroom on the cool side can help you sleep better.

    10. Dont lie in bed awake. If you find yourself still awake after staying in bed for more than 20 minutes, get up and do some relaxing activity until you feel sleepy. The anxiety of not being able to sleep can make it harder to fall asleep.

    If you continue to have trouble sleeping or consistently feel tired despite spending enough time in bed each night, talk to your doctor. A good nights sleep is vital for your well-being and ensuring youre recharged and ready to take on the day.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • Make Your Home Timeless With These Furnishings

    When it comes to interior design, it’s easy to get caught up in trends. Here are four timeless pieces that will be just as stylish years from now as they are today.

    Windsor Chair

    For a country cottage style, the Windsor chair is a perfect addition to any dining room. Pair this piece with almost any style of table, lavish or quaint, for a classic look.

    Oriental Rug

    Oriental rugs are one of the most classic pieces you can add to your home. These colorful and authentic rugs exude timelessness and can help pull a color scheme together.

    Tufted Headboard

    Create a cozy bedroom and add a level of classic sophistication with a tufted headboard that can conform to any design style you choose.

    Leather Club Chair

    If you’re looking to add some comfort and inspire relaxation and elegance in your workspace, a leather club chair might be the choice for you.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • How to Snack Right Before Bed

    That before-bed urge to root around in the fridge or pantry for an end-of-the-day treat can be a powerful force. Whether youre looking for a mindless munchy to accompany your TV-time or just trying to satisfy your late-night sweet craving, eating too close to bedtime, while enjoyable, is one of the common culprits involved in weight gain.

    Though for those night-time noshers, there may be hope. According to experts, eating before bed might not be so bad if you choose your snacks carefully. In fact, some say that certain foods may actually help boost your metabolism while you sleep, such as those rich in protein and complex carbohydrates. So before you reach for the chips or ice cream, consider one of these options instead, recommended by Cooking Light magazine:

    Whole Grain Toast and Hummus. Because its made from chickpeas, hummus is rich in vitamin B, which helps metabolize carbohydrates, protein and fats. The fiber in whole grain bread will help satisfy you and may also help you sleep better thanks to the magnesium in wheat flour.

    Cottage Cheese and Cherries. The protein content in cottage cheese may help your muscles repair themselves while you sleep, and boost your metabolism. Not only will tart cherries on top help sweeten this bed-time snack, their natural melatonin may help regulate your sleep cycle.

    Banana With Peanut Butter. A banana dipped into a tablespoon of nut or seed butter is a great choice for a few reasons. First, bananas are a fast-digesting carb, and fast digestion is what you want before bed. Theyre also rich in magnesium, which helps subdue stress hormones. The carbs will also help release sleep-promoting insulin.

    Plain Greek Yogurt With Blueberries. Not only a much healthier alternative to ice cream, the calcium in the yogurt will help your body create melatonin for a better nights sleep. The antioxidants in blueberries will help lower overall physical stress, which can also help in the sleep department. This healthy snack will also help you avoid waking up ravenous, resulting in better eating habits in the morning.

    The goal with these and other healthy night-time snacks is to help you sleep better, regulate your cravings and get an extra dose of the nutrition your body needs most.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

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