Archive | November, 2018

Stay Safe During Holiday Online Shopping

Black Friday has passed, but there are still online shopping deals to be had between now and the holidays, whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas—or just exchanging gifts with loved ones.

But nothing ruins the perfect shopping trip online than your identity being stolen and having to make all those calls to replace your credit cards and try to restore your credit. How can you avoid that happening? Here are our tips for safe online shopping! Check back next week for our tips on brick and mortar shopping. (Yes, people still go to stores.) Continue Reading →

Continue Reading

Keeping Your Pets Safe During Thanksgiving

Don’t let that cute face and puppy-dog eyes fool you into giving your dog a turkey bone!

It’s easy to get excited about Thanksgiving, especially if you’re not the one doing the cooking! But one thing is guaranteed is that there will be a lot of wonderful, rich food around this time of year, and our four-legged friends are fully aware of the savory goodness going on around them. Tempting as it may be, please be careful about “treating” your pets this time of year, especially dogs. Here are some fantastic tips from California veterinarian Dr. Bonnie Franklin:

– Put the trash away where your dog cannot find it, and make sure that trash cans cannot be accessed by your dog. They can be persistent when something delicious is inside!

– The leftover turkey sitting on the carving table, or left in an available trash container, could be a dangerous feast for your dog. Turkey bones may splinter and lodge in a dog’s mouth, throat or esophagus or lodge in the GI tract. Anything used to tie up or wrap the turkey, such as strings or bags and packaging, may also cause an intestinal blockage that can become life-threatening.

– High-fat foods, such as turkey skin, are not well tolerated in dogs. They may develop gastrointestinal upset or even pancreatitis, a potentially life-threatening disease.

– All those delicious chocolates around the house are toxic to your pup if eaten in sufficient quantities. Small dogs do not need to eat much chocolate to run into trouble. Dog-proof your chocolate, and also consider what is in it. Macadamia nuts can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors, hyperthermia, and paralysis. Grapes and raisins in small amounts can cause kidney failure in dogs.

Onion and garlic can also be harmful to dogs and cats. Ingestion of onion/garlic powders or raw or cooked bulbs can cause damage to red blood cells, which could result in anemia. Garlic is approximately 1-5 times more potent than onion, and concentrated powdered forms (e.g., garlic powder, onion soup mix, etc.) are more potent than in its raw form.

Xylitol, a commonly used sweetener, is extremely toxic to dogs. Sugar-free gum has xylitol, as does sugar-free candy, breath mints, baked goods, peanut butter, cough syrup, children’s chewable vitamins, mouthwash, and toothpaste, to list a few.  Even small amounts of xylitol can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure, or even death in dogs.  Xylitol is estimated to be 100 times as toxic as chocolate to dogs. Dogs love to chew “ABC” (already been chewed) gum.

– Ingestion of raw yeast dough can be life-threatening to dogs. Moisture from stomach juices combined with the dog’s body heat enables replication of the yeast and development of a rising ball of dough in the stomach which can cause painful gas and dangerous bloating.  Signs seen with bread dough ingestion include severe abdominal pain, bloating, vomiting, lack of coordination, and depression.

– We all know smoking is bad for us, but nicotine in low doses can be fatal for our dogs. Nicotine may cause coma and death. Nicotine patches, lozenges, nasal sprays, gums, inhalers, e-cigarette cartridges, cigarettes, cigars, and cigarette butts are sources of concentrated potentially deadly nicotine.

– Some festive plants and flowers may be toxic such as amaryllis, hydrangeas, lilies, Sweet William, some ferns, Sago Palms, Baby’s Breath and more.  The ASPCA lists toxic plants and flowers on their website. If you believe your pet has eaten something they should not have, call the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline 888-426-4435 and go to the pet ER immediately. Signs of a problem may be depression, pain, sudden changes in behavior, vomiting, diarrhea, and shivering.

Pine needles, pine cones and other holiday decorations if eaten could potentially cause intestinal blockages or perforation.

– Watch for potential escapes! Sometimes all the new people visiting can cause a mild-mannered dog or cat to become nervous.  Guests who are unfamiliar with pets, especially yours, may leave the door open or the gate, and your pal is on the move.

Everyone at BMR Insurance Agency wishes you and your family (including your pets!) a great Thanksgiving Holiday! Don’t forget we’re here for you if you have questions about your policy or coverage: Call us at 714-838-1911 or send us an email: Don’t forget to follow us on LinkedIn for all the latest and best information and advice on all insurance matters.


Continue Reading

Electric Scooters: Eco-friendly or Dangerous?

If you’ve been hearing about cities adopting these electric scooter programs, where people can rent a scooter, get to their destination and just leave them, you might think they’re a good idea. As with all good ideas, there can be a downside.

For instance, nine people have filed a class-action suit against two electric scooter companies: Bird Rides, Inc. and Lime, and their manufacturers, Xiaomi Corp. and Segway Inc. Each of the nine people were injured by electric scooters, and are suing the companies for gross negligence, claiming the companies knew their products were dangerous and allowed them to be used in a way that made injuries inevitable. Continue Reading →

Continue Reading


World Kindness Day is November 13th. It’s the perfect compliment to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. There are opportunities everywhere to do random acts of kindness and we’ve put together a list to help us all#bethespark.

Individual Acts of Kindness

1. Complain less – Remaining positive in a negative situation makes you a leader.

2. Volunteer to run an errand for a neighbor or relative if they are under-the-weather or over-whelmed.

3. Go to Goodwill and leave a $5 on a shelf in the toy aisle. Some child and mom will be thrilled at the find.

4. Plant a tree. It’s good for our environment and life.

5. If you see your neighbor forgot trash day – wheel out the trash bins.

6. Send an encouraging email. – Short and sweet can make someone’s day.

7. Buy lemonade from a kids lemonade stand. Leave a big tip!

8. Animal shelters always need blankets and towels. If you have any old ones, call and see where to drop them off.

9. Animal shelters also need food and treats – buy a few cans or bag of dog food and drop them off.

10. Make a handmade card and surprise someone with something unexpected.

11. Bring reusable bags to the grocery store.

12. Make an effort to learn something new about a co-worker.

13. Leave an extra generous tip.

14. Be polite on the road.

15. How about sending a postcard? – Can be from anywhere with a fun note.

16. New neighbor coming in – bake some muffins and pick up some orange juice – they’ll welcomes the pickup.

17. Uses matches over a lighter – Because lighters are disposable, 1.5 billion end in our landfills each year.

18. Give away your parking spot. Through in a couple coins when you leave – it will make someone’s day.

19. Foster A Pet Up For Adoption. If you’re not prepared to make the leap of adopting a pet, give fostering a try! There are many animals that need placement. 

20. Tutor someone you know at something you’re good at. It can be cooking, or swim lessons, or multiplication tables. Anything at all.

21. Leave a positive recommendation on LinkedIn. It’s a great lift for someone.

22. Run/Walk a 5k for a cause. Bring some friends in on it.

23. Thank someone every week – write 52 thank you notes each year, one every week to a different person.

24. Ask a senior about their past. Listen and learn.

25. Set goals for yourself. Whether for today or a year or 5 years – it will help take you there.

26. Leave a surprise in your mailbox for your mail carrier. It could be anything from treats to a gift certificate to a simple note that says, “thank you!”

27. Bake someone a cake. Yummmmmm.

28. Donate books to your local library – or DVD’s.

29. Share your favorite recipe.

30. Have friends who have kids in sports? Go to a game and cheer them on!

31. Leave a surprise in a library book. Could be a dollar or a positive note.

32. Buy lunch for the car behind you in a drive thru line. Especially if it’s a service man.

33. Buy someone’s meal in a restaurant that strikes you as needing some help. It could be a family with a disabled child or an elderly person undergoing some medical challenges. You can arrange payment with your waitress.

34. Going somewhere fun? Bring someone a souvenir.

35. Let your day begin and end with being thankful.

Continue Reading

Your Thanksgiving Game Plan

With Thanksgiving less than three weeks away, it’s not such a crazy idea to check off a few totally doable items off the list. It’s not about cooking the entire feast weeks ahead, but instead laying out a game plan while you have the time. So when the Macy’s Parade pops up on the TV, you’re confident and ready to go. HIKE!

Food52 Test Kitchen Director Josh Cohen is a list-maker through and through. “Do all the hard thinking way ahead of time,” he tells me. “Break everything down into simple steps, so that as the holiday gets closer, you can shut off the anxious part of your brain and know that the big decisions have already been made.” It’s a lesson in self-care, really, which is something we could all use during this bustling holiday season.

First, write out the menu (with an eye for make-ahead dishes). “Look carefully at each recipe,” Josh says. “Is there an equal balance of dishes that can be made ahead of time versus dishes that need to be made at the last minute? If your menu consists entirely of recipes that need to be made at the last moment, then you’re setting yourself up for failure.” Don’t forget to assign some dishes out, too; you don’t have to cook the whole feast yourself.

Next, make a shopping list so you don’t have to worry about it later. “This is one of the keys to feeling calm and happy as the day approaches,” Josh tells me. “If you have a detailed list of every ingredient that you need to buy, where you will buy it from, and when you will buy it, then your holiday prep becomes a much calmer experience.”

Finally, make a prep list. “This is different from your shopping list,” Josh says. “Your prep list breaks down every moment of cooking that needs to happen for all the food to appear on the table. Which bit of cooking can happen three days ahead of time, what can happen two days ahead of time, what needs to happen two hours before guests arrive, that kind of thing. Here’s where you can also note which dishes should be served hot versus room temperature—I like to serve roasted vegetables at room temperature but mashed potatoes hot.”

Thank you Food52 for the Thanksgiving Tips.

Continue Reading

What Are the Safest Cars for Teens?

You might see your teen as this age, but they are grown up and ready to drive.

Let’s all remember back to the time that we got that first set of keys. After all the driver’s ed, all the practice, and the terrifying DMV testing, we finally got to drive on our own! It is an exciting time, even for teens these days. (When I got my license, there was no Instagram to post a pic of my car on…different times!)

But now we’re parents, and those babies of ours have suddenly transformed into young adults with their very own driver’s licenses. But what keys should we be handing them? How about keys to a car that could save their life in an accident? Yes, that’s what every parent wants. Continue Reading →

Continue Reading