5 Absolutely Incredible Travel Destinations for 2019

1. Naxos, Greece

This undiscovered Greek island gem boasts beautiful, clear cyan blue waters, small town charm, and a rich history – all with a much lower price tag than many of it’s more popular counterparts. A quick ferry ride from Paros, it’s sister island, Naxos if the perfect Greek island to discover for families and honeymooners. Rent an ATV and spend your day open air cruising along the coast while popping into pool and beach bars as you go. At night, enjoy a romantic walk along the main street and marina or people watch while indulging in gelato in the Old Town.

2. Sorrento, Italy

Lesser-known Amalfi Coast addition, Sorrento, packs an incredible Italian punch without the crowds. Located just west of Positano, on the northern edge, travel bugs can revel in all of Italy’s glory in this seaside town. Snack on local lemon slushy sweet treat, a granita, and lounge in the sweet Italian sun at one of the town’s ocean-side beach clubs. At night, sip on an Aperol Spritz at one of the many charming outdoor restaurants.

3. Copenhagen, Denmark

Experience Scandinavia in Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen. Widely known for it’s foodie culture, minimalist style and bicycle-first city structure, Copenhagen is an untapped and incredibly interesting travel destination for 2019. Take the high speed train across the water to Sweden in 1 hour, and tell all of your friends you visited two European countries in one day.

4. Marrakesh, Morocco

This up and coming destination, located in Northern Africa, has become somewhat of a hot spot for world travellers in the past number of years, and for good reason. With a mix of old and new, Marrakesh offers both the modern, updated shopping streets of “New City” yet manages to robustly contrast this glitz and glamour with the preserved, authentic “Old City”, just a few blocks away. If you dare, venture into the food stalls in the main square to sample foreign delicacies, or try your hand at bartering with a local vendor in the winding, open air shops called the ‘souks’.

5. Singapore

Sip swanky cocktails in a rooftop infinity pool as you watch the sun set over this Asian metropolis. Owing it’s recent skyrocketing fame to the film, Crazy Rich Asians, Singapore has no shortage of exciting activities to offer. Adventure out on a night safari, take in some the destination’s botanical gardens, or soak in the city’s unique skyline on the Singapore Flyer; Asia’s answer to the UK’s famed London Eye.

As you plan your travel for 2019, keep in mind that any exciting trip can soon leave you reeling if you risk adventuring without travel insurance. Get in touch with our knowledgeable team to learn more about protecting yourself while you travel with a travel insurance policy today.

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7 Healthy Holiday Appetizers You Need to Make ASAP

healthy fruit and cheeses for Christmas

Healthy Holiday Appetizers To Lighten Up Your Holidays

Christmas may often become a time when our waistlines endure a little stretching, but with a bit of planning, intentionality, and these delicious and healthy holiday appetizers, you’ll be able to enjoy a happy, healthy holiday season.

When entertaining, or visiting those closest to you during this festive time, try to stay on track by following these helpful tips.

1. Ciao, Bruschetta

If you’re able to find some ripe, juicy tomatoes in the middle of winter, you’re well on your way to creating a delicious, nutritious holiday snack. Chop tomatoes, drizzle with heart-healthy olive oil, minced garlic, aromatic basil and serve over thinly sliced baguette rounds. Try opting for a whole-wheat baguette for added fibre, or spreading the toast round with goat cheese and drizzling with balsamic glaze for an extra flavour punch.

This healthy holiday appetizer will serve up a healthy dose of lycopene thanks to the tomatoes, and fill your belly with healthy vegetables, too.

2. Guacamole with Crudite

It’s no secret that avocados have really grown in popularity over the past few years, and for good reason. This green gem is loaded with potassium, healthy fats, and fibre, which will fill you up – the right way – so that you have less room to overindulge on sweets. Whip up a simple and easy batch of guacamole and serve in a beautiful bowl, with a side of freshly sliced vegetables to dip.

3. Lean and Mean Meatballs

Lighten up festive holiday meatballs by swapping out regular ground beef for it’s leaner counterparts; either chicken or turkey. Meatballs provide a good source of protein, and ensuring you use chicken or beef will reduce the amount of fat in each tasty treat. Try to sweeten the sauce using a reduced amount of sweetener, and opt for honey or maple syrup over white sugar.

4. Bacon-Wrapped Dates

Yes. We just said bacon. While these divine little indulgences may seem counterintuitive, dates are actually packed with fibre, among many other health benefits. Slice pitted dates down the middle, add a spoonful of goat cheese, then wrap each packet in one third of a slice of bacon. Secure with a toothpick, and bake on a cookie tray at 350 F until the dates have softened. These delicious treats incorporate whole foods and provide both fibre and a touch of protein from the goat cheese – much better than many alternatives.

5. Carrot Fries

Peel and slice carrots, season with cumin, salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Roast the sticks until tender and serve with a nutritious dip like tzaziki.

6. Buffalo Chicken Celery Boats

Simply pick up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, pull chicken from bones, and toss with hot sauce in a bowl. Slice and trim celery sticks, fill with spicy chicken mix and drizzle with blue cheese dressing or crumbles of blue cheese.

7. Corn and Bean Salsa

Dice a few bell peppers and an avocado, and rinse and drain a can of black beans and corn and toss them together. Season with the juice of a lime, salt, and a spoonful of juice from a jar of banana peppers. Serve with baked tortilla chips for dipping.

Enjoy a ‘lightened up’ holiday spread this year by incorporating some of these delicious healthy holiday appetizer ideas today!

Taking care of your health is an important piece of enjoying a long, happy life. Ensuring you are covered with life insurance allows you to live worry-free that if anything were to happen, your loved ones will be covered financially.

Learn more about life insurance coverage, or speak with one of our experienced team members today about getting protected.

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5 Thoughtful Tips for a Stress Free Holiday Season

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5 Outstanding Tips for a Stress Free Holiday Season

Christmas, and the holiday season in general, can be a time of tremendous stress for many. Avoid the overwhelm by planning ahead and keeping these helpful tips for a stress free holiday season in mind.

1. Follow in Granny’s Footsteps

Remember the good old days when people, like Granny, paid with… cash?

Overspending is one of the holiday season’s major contributors in causing financial stress.

This year, leave your plastic at home and pay in cash.

If you’re married, start by sitting down with your partner or setting time aside alone to create a Christmas budget – and stick to it!

Get envelopes together with each person’s name on it, and fill the envelope with the right amount of cash. When it’s gone, the shopping spree ends.

By having a clear and concise plan for Christmas spending, and avoiding access to imaginary unlimited amounts of money available on credit cards, you’ll ease the financial stress inherent with uncontrolled spending.

2.  We’re Gonna Wrap Around The Clock Tonight

Bill Haley might have been on to something.

This year, instead of being consumed by the shopping frenzy, and then engulfed in a pile of last minute wrapping projects, take the time to wrap each gift you purchase as you purchase them.

By tucking into the storage box full of wrapping supplies early, you’ll also be able to purchase staples like clear tape or ribbons as you go instead of having those added to the already long list later on.

stress free holiday season

3. Eat The (Christmas) Frog

Any fan of self help books will be familiar with Brian Tracy’s famous phrase – eat the frog – which encourages the largest, toughest tasks to be tackled first.

The top-to-bottom list of cleaning tasks required to get your home in host-worthy condition can often become a major stressor when combined with all the other demands of the holiday season.

Tackle the deeper cleaning tasks like wiping down the baseboards or cleaning the inside of your oven as early on as possible, and don’t be afraid to enlist the help of your family!

4. Choose Empathy

It’s easy to let expectations run high around the holiday season and allowing this mindset to take root can often lead to disappointments and extra stress.

Hoping for the perfect gift from that special someone?

Praying Aunt Ethel won’t hit any nerves with awkward topics and intrusive questions at the dinner table?

It’s easy for extra family time around the holidays to become stressful but by choosing to approach any disappointments with empathy, you won’t only make for a more peaceful party but a less stressful experience for yourself.

Try to understand their point of view, circumstances or reasoning behind their actions and instead of scoffing at them and allowing yourself to become upset, choose to let it go.

5. A Card Counts

Getting caught up in trying to make everyone in your life feel considered and appreciated during the holiday season can become consuming.

Release the expectations that you may put on yourself of having to give a gift to everyone who matters in your life.

By writing a present purchasing list that includes everyone from the milk man to your dentist, you’re setting yourself, and your wallet, up for disaster.

Decide to write out a thoughtful and personalized card for individuals in your life that you’d like to include, and if you have the time, consider a batch of home baked Christmas cookies instead of a gift, to show you care.

Do you have any go-to tips that you follow around Christmas to create a stress free holiday season for you and your family? 

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Demerit Points in Alberta: 9 Things You Absolutely Need To Know

demerit points alberta chart

Demerit points in Alberta are incurred on your driving record when you are convicted of a traffic offence. The following 4 important facts about demerit points in Alberta will help you better understand the regulations and consequences involved with receiving demerit points while in Alberta.

1. This chart listing Demerit Points in Alberta

As this demerits point chart shows, demerits range from two (2) to seven (7) points, depending on the seriousness of the offence.

2. Exactly How Long Demerit Points Stay on Your Record (When do Demerit Points Expire?)

Scratching your head, wondering “how long do demerits last in Alberta?” 

The short answer is, demerits last for 2 years on your driving record in Alberta. Demerit points in Alberta operate on a revolving basis; this means that demerit points do not last forever.

Demerit Points for Drivers with a Class 5 License

For drivers with a Class 5 license, license suspension will occur once 15 demerits have been accumulated over a two (2) year period. At eight (8) demerits, a written notice will be mailed to the driver as fair warning. 

Demerit Points for Drivers with a Class 7 License (GDL)

For Class 7, or GDL-licensed drivers, a  license suspension will occur once eight (8) demerits have been accumulated, and a written notice will be mailed to the driver once they have accumulated four (4) demerits.

3. How Long Will my License be Suspended?

For Class 5 drivers, the initial license suspension is one (1) month long.

If 15 demerits are accumulated for a second time within a one (1) year period, the license suspension will be three (3) months long.

If 15 demerits are accumulated for a third time within a two (2) year period, the license suspension will be six (6) months long and the driver may be required to stand before the Alberta Transportation Safety Board.

For Class 7/GDL drivers, the same time periods and suspension lengths apply, but they are invoked once the driver accumulates eight (8) demerits, not 15.

demerit points alberta

4. How Can I Reduce The Number of Demerit Points On My Record?

Many local Edmonton driving schools offer courses directing aimed at reducing demerits; however, not every course offered at Edmonton driving schools is approved, so be sure to check beforehand.

If a driver successfully completes an approved defensive driving course before they have accumulated eight (8) demerit points, they may earn a demerit point reduction of three (3) points.

5. Exactly How To Check Demerit Points in Alberta

If you’re wondering how to check demerit points in Alberta, a quick trip to your local Alberta Registry is all it takes. Simply request an updated driver’s abstract, which will cost around $25. At the registry, you will be able to choose between having a 3, 5 or 10 year demerit history report pulled.

Can You Check Demerit Points Online?

In Alberta, there is no way to check demerit points online. In order to check the number of demerit points on your record, you will have to visit your local registry.

Demerit Points can Affect Insurance Premiums

Demerit Points can Affect Insurance Premiums

Have one of our experienced insurance brokers provide a complimentary policy review today

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6. How Many Demerit Points Are Given for Distracted Driving in Alberta?

Distracted driving is no joke. Besides the risk of both injuries and fatalities, distracted driving also comes with a hefty price tag.

Drivers found to be driving distracted in Alberta will be faced with a minimum $287 fine, as well as three (3) demerit points.

Think texting is the only distraction while driving? Think again. 

Distracted driving demerits in Alberta can be handed out for:

    • Holding, viewing or manipulating a cell phone or other electronic device
    • Using a GPS system while driving
    • Reading or viewing any printed material
    • Writing, printing or sketching

    • Personal grooming or hygiene

Accumulating too many demerit points can affect your ability to drive, the cost of driving and the cost of insurance. Be street smart by keeping this crash course on demerits in Alberta in mind and keep those roads safe!

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Distracted Driving in Alberta [2019]

7. Demerits for Running a Stop Sign in Alberta

“You’re in a hurry to get things done, yeah, rushin’, rushin’ till…” you’re handed  a few demerit points for failing to stop at a stop sign. 

Failing to stop at both a stop sign, and an intersection where the lights are flashing red will earn drivers 3 demerit points in Alberta.

8. How Many Demerit Points Are Given for Speeding in Alberta?

In Alberta, the number of demerit points that are incurred depend on how fast, or how many kilometres over the speed limit, that you were driving at the time of the offence.

Here’s a quick look at the number of demerit points that are handed out for speeding in Alberta:

  • 2 demerit points for driving 15 km/h over 
  • 3 demerit points for driving 15 – 30 km/h over 
  • 4 demerit points for driving 30 – 50 km/h over 
  • 6 demerit points for driving more than 50 km/h over

In addition to these guidelines, there is also one last penalty for speeding and that is for driving at “an unreasonable rate.” This offence sees 4 demerit points being assigned. 

9. How Demerit Points Affect Your Auto Insurance

There’s no doubt that there is a relationship between demerit points and insurance. While we wish it weren’t true, demerit points do in fact affect insurance rates. 

While it isn’t exactly a black and white issue, drivers that have received demerits on their record will most likely have to deal with raised insurance rates. 

Handed a Few Demerit Points?

Handed a Few Demerit Points?

Let our professionals provide you with a quick and easy quote today!

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In some cases, if the insurance company you are dealing with decides to consider you as a “tough” or “dangerous” client, they may decide that you will require high risk insurance. 

In this case, it really is best to speak with a professional insurance agent to explore all of your options and fully understand your situation. 

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6 Expert Winter Driving Tips for New Drivers

If there’s anyone in Canada who knows about snowy, icy, roads, it’s Albertans. Each winter, drivers in Edmonton are presented with challenging conditions and when it comes to new and less experienced drivers, a few winter driving tips are sure to help.

1.Three Point Check Before The Winter Months

Ensuring your vehicle is ready for the more challenging snowy and icy driving conditions ahead is a key component of safe winter driving. Be sure to check these 3 things on your vehicle before you hit the road this winter:

  • Check your vehicle’s wiper blades to ensure they are streak-free and provide an unobstructed view of the road
  • Have your brakes tested to ensure they provide firm braking capabilities
  • Check your tire tread to ensure they are in good form. Pro Tip: insert a nickel in the tire tread. If you are able to see the top of the Queen’s crown, the tread is insufficient.

2. Slow And Steady Wins The Race

Expect to experience slower travel speeds, congested roadways and collision delays, especially with first snowfalls.  Give yourself extra time to get to your destination.

3. Fuel Up

Rollin’ on empty? Think again. Keeping your gas tank at least half full will prevent gas line freeze-ups.

4. Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3

Not sure how a recent snow or rainfall has affected driving conditions? Before leaving your block, test your brake’s traction by braking suddenly. This will give you an  idea of how your vehicle will handle. Of course, be sure to check that there are no vehicles behind you before suddenly braking.

Remember, accidents raise auto insurance rates so be mindful behind the wheel.

5. Danger Zone

Take note of higher risk driving segments such as highways, deceleration or braking zones (stop lights, steep hills, curves or bends in the road). Bridges are also danger zones as they can ice more quickly than roads due to cold air passing above and below the driving surface.

6. Best Case Scenario

Did you know that the speed limit is actually just that – a limit? Speed limits are simply meant as a guideline for ideal driving conditions. Roads that are compromised by rain, snow, ice or fog are best navigated with a reduced speed, especially the danger zones listed above.

Help make Edmonton’s roads safer this winter by sharing these tips with the new and young drivers in your life. And remember, when it comes to auto insurance in Edmonton, keep your local neighbourhood insurance broker in mind, Sadler Insurance.

Declutter: Five Home Clutter Culprits and How to Fix Them

Living with clutter starts to become the norm the longer you have lived in your home, but have you yearned for the cleanliness and open feel of a decluttered living space? There may be several factors causing your clutter. Today we will discuss the top five home clutter culprits and how to fix them so you can truly enjoy your home.

 

Culprit: Kitchen Countertops

Over the years of using your kitchen, you start to end up with a lot of things that just pile up on the countertop, like daily use items that are too inconvenient to constantly put away. But never fear, there are several things you can do to fix your kitchen clutter issues. One of the best ways is to invest in some kitchen organization items to maximize the amount of space you can use in your cabinets and drawers. For convenience items you would prefer easily accessible, store them in stylish boxes or baskets to keep them out in the open while looking tidy.

 

Culprit: Bookcases and Shelves

Bookcases and shelves are great organizational furniture, but over time you can lose control of them. One of the best ways to fix clutter on bookcases and shelves is just to get rid of things you haven’t used in a long time, then sort books and items by size, colour, and type. Place alike items in piles with good spacing between them to give a sense of openness. A nice trick for bookshelves is only use half a shelf for books, and the other half for decorative items. Anything you don’t need on display, place in stylish boxes and store on the top or bottom shelf.

 

Culprit: Entryways

Entryways in homes can quickly get slogged with daily items such as keys, mail, clothes, boots, backpacks… the list goes on and on. A great way to start fixing this is to get a nice shelf where thing can be placed, and maybe a decorative bowl for your keys. Next, you’ll want to make sure you have hooks easily accessible for coats, a boot rack for any shoes and boots that come off right in the door, and a basket or two for other items like umbrellas. With modern living, having a charging station for mobile devices right at the entryway can be a convenient addition.

 

Culprit: The Closest

As you buy clothing over time, your closest can start to become a cluttered mess. A great way to solve this is to keep track of items you have worn over the last year or two. If you haven’t worn an item in a while, it may be time to consider donating it. Hanging rods aren’t often the most efficient use of space, so consider boxes, baskets, shelves and drawers. For seasonal items consider storing them in boxes or bags in the higher shelving areas when not in use.

 

Culprit: The Garage

Garages inevitably end up being the last resting place for a lot of boxes in your home. When decluttering a garage, you need to be realistic and get rid of anything you aren’t likely to use anymore, have a garage sale or donate the items. Once you are down to the essentials, start working on garage organization ideas, like shelves, pegboard systems and labeled storage bins. Hooks on the walls also work great to store things like bikes.

Once you’ve decluttered these five major problem areas, you are well on your way to an open and clean home you can feel more comfortable in.

How to Save Money on Gas in Your Home this Winter

There are many things about your house that affect the cost of your homeowner’s insurance. Some of these include the type of roofing (metal or shingles), building frame, and heating system. You must have heat in all areas of your home because if an item freezes in an unheated area, such as a pipe, your insurance may not cover it.

 What Type of Furnace do you Have?

If your furnace is older than 15 years, you should replace it with a new efficient model to offset high energy prices. In addition to saving money, modern furnaces give off less pollution and produce more heat. An Energy Star® certified forced-air furnace is recommended on the Natural Resources Canada website because it uses 6 per cent less energy.

Check your Furnace Temperature in the Winter

According to Stats Canada, you should have a programmable thermostat to optimize the operation of your furnace. The Canadian Centre for Housing Technology did a study to examine the impact of thermostat temperature on gas and electric furnaces.

The following is what the study discovered with respect to gas furnaces:

  • Using a daytime temperature of 22°C and a nighttime temperature of 18°C resulted in a 6.5 per cent savings.
  • Setting the temperature to 16°C at night and when the home was unoccupied during the day resulted in a 13 per cent reduction in the amount of gas used.

You can use the above as a benchmark for what you set your temperature to during the winter. When Edmonton goes through it’s common deep freezes you might want to adjust your numbers. There are other things to consider such as the type of home you have, if pipes freezing is a concern, and the needs of people in your home such as babies, small children, and seniors.

Monitor Water Heating Costs

Your water heater consumes quite a bit of energy (14 per cent to 25 per cent). If you don’t have an energy-efficient model you should consider buying one to save money on gas. It’s also recommended that your hot water tank is turned to 49°C to save on energy usage.

Use Your Dishwasher!

Did you know that washing dishes in a newer model dishwasher uses less hot water than if you clean dishes by hand? It might sound crazy because dishwashers spray water continually, but they’re really using less water. Washing dishes by hand uses up to 102 litres of water per load; while an efficient dishwasher can use as little as 11 litres.

So, how does using your dishwasher save money on gas? When you wash dishes by hand the water heater makes the water hot. When you use an energy efficient dishwasher it has a heater inside to warm up the water.

To save money on gas you need to have energy efficient appliances such as your furnace, hot water heater, and dishwasher. With the tips presented here you can save money on gas and still enjoy the winter season in comfort.