Keeping your 2019 Fitness Goals

Its half way through January so we’re all starting to wear down a little on our New Year’s Resolutions of staying fit and eating clean. You may be needing a little more push to keep your momentum going, and this is it! You want to feel and look your best, and I’m sure you’ve been doing so well, but it gets tiring and hard to keep going. We have some endurance tips to help you keep pushing yourself to reach and keep your goals. Keeping your health up is more of a mental game than it is physical.

  • You can create a habit in 21 days. Keep going! It’ll get easier! Don’t think that after 21 days it’ll magically become easy as pie but it’ll gradually get easier the farther you get.
  • The better you feel, the more painless it’ll be. The more you eat clean and work out, the less difficult it’ll get. Eating those foods and making time for exercise will become more routine and less work for yourself. You’ll start to feel less like you’re working so hard at it.
  • It’ll keep your immune system up so you should be less susceptible to that winter drag cold and flu stuff. When you get sick, you give up a little and stop trying so hard. It’s an easy excuse for yourself to not exercise and eat something that’s quick and easy. Eating healthy foods and working out with strengthen your immune system and keep you healthier.
  • Schedule your time appropriately. You can schedule long and short work outs for specific days. Be sure to schedule yourself some time for fun activities, and some quiet time for yourself. Enjoy a night off from your hard work!
  • Make sure to reward yourself as you go. Sometimes the finish line seems too far away and it gets hopeless. A small reward can keep you going and motivated for a long time!

We’re working our hardest to make this year the best year yet! While you’re on your productive streak here in January of the New Year make sure that you update your home and auto insurance. It’s always good to look over your coverages and make sure that it’s exactly what you want, if you need to make any changes you can get that done asap. You’ll also want to make sure that all of your winter toys are insured and all of your summer toys have storage coverage on them!

If you have questions or need help then call us at 616-897-1515, we’re your local, Lowell insurance agency!

How to Make New Year’s Resolutions and Keep Them

Happy New Year’s everyone! What an exciting time. We’re sad to see 2018 go but we’re also so excited for what 2019 will bring! Most of us are taking this time during the cold weather to prepare for the New Year, set our goals, and then make plans for how we’re going to accomplish our goals. This is our fresh start, now we keep our momentum going and we spring into 2019, ready to get things accomplished so we can grow!

I’ve already started my long list of things that I want to accomplish in 2019 and it’s a mix of a Goal List and a To Do List. It isn’t limited to “New Year’s Resolutions” but can also include goals, bucket list activities, normal activities and to-do items that you need to get done! Either way, all of our lists are pretty similar. So we have 3 tips to help you make your list in a way that you know you can done in 2019! 

  1. Make your resolutions obtainable. You don’t want to set yourself too many, or too high, of goals. Your list may start to look impossible and it’ll much harder for you to get started. Fighting procrastination starts with setting obtainable goals that still push you to work harder. After you’ve made your list, take a second look at it and make sure that you aren’t getting ahead of yourself.
  2. Set a timeline or schedule for yourself with milestones to help reach your goal. Again, these milestones will need to be set at a pace that will make you work hard but that isn’t too much for you to handle. Make sure you’re being realistic with yourself so you don’t fall too far behind or get too ahead either. Slow and steady wins the race.
  3. Set rewards for yourself as you go and one big reward for once you reach your goal! These will be incentives for you to help push yourself through the tough times. When you’re really struggling, you’ll have that small reward to look forward to and help get yourself across the finish line.
  4. Spend some time on your resolutions. If you can’t put the time in now, you won’t be able to put the time in that’s required to actually accomplish your resolutions. Make sure you take your time and get them right this time so that when December comes around you won’t be wondering why you haven’t gotten anything done yet.
  5. Find someone who motivates you and share your resolutions with them. They can help keep you on track, remind you of your priorities, and pick you up when you’re feeling down. When there’s two of you, you can count on each other to keep going, don’t’ give, and work harder. You’ll definitely want someone around to keep you accountable by the time Spring gets here and your life speeds up.

Here’s hoping that everyone had a wonderful New Year and that we all recover quickly from the weight we gained over the holidays!

Happy New Year!

Turkey Dinner Giveaway 2018

It’s our favorite time of year, it’s time for our Turkey Dinner Giveaway! On Christmas Eve, every year, the Kyes family donates 250 Turkeys to families in Grand Rapids who needed a meal. Once again, we did this for the 2018 holiday season and our team had a blast!

Such a good time for fellowship and community! We handed out turkey dinners to people who asked for them through the schools and then we handed out turkey dinner’s door-by-door to those who said they’d like some. This is all thanks to the Kyes family for encouraging the giving spirit and for allowing the rest of us to come alongside them and help prepare that and experience it as well.

We’re so grateful for this tradition and we hope that it inspires other to show their giving spirits during the Christmas season as well!

Turkey Dinner Giveaway Team 2018

Winter Driving Safety

Its mid-December so if you haven’t gotten your vehicle ready for the winter season then now’s your chance! We have some Winter Driving Safety and a DIY Car inspection for you to guarantee you’re ready for snow and ice!

Our culture is naturally always rushing and anxious. This is the cause of a lot of auto accidents in the winter, people being in a hurry and not taking the necessary time to drive safely and cautiously. Training yourself to take the extra time to leave early and keep an eye on the weather can help you slow down your mentality and stay safe during the bad weather.

Let us know what you think of these and if you have anything to add!

DIY Car Inspection:

  1. Check ALL of your lights. Light bulbs are cheap and make a huge difference. Not just the normal lights but also the brake lights, blinkers, and lights inside the vehicle as well.
  2. Make sure your tires are updated. You’ll need grip on the road when the snow and ice hit. We all know that tires are expensive but they’re one of the more necessary parts to keep updated for the winter months.
  3. Windshield wiper fluid. In Michigan, we NEED this stuff for the bad roads. You’ll be completely blind without it.
  4. Get your oil changed on time to prevent any mishaps later on. Some of us wait until we’re about 2,000 miles over and then we go and get it done. In the winter, make sure your checking your oil regularly and getting that taken care of.
  5. Make sure your heat works! Not only is this important for your own warmth but also for defrosting or defogging your windshield.

Winter Driving Safety:

  1. Keep an eye on the weather. You want to be able to get an idea of what’s coming and prepare as best as you can. One of the main reasons for car accidents in the winter is people who are in a rush and aren’t being cautious enough. To help prevent that, leave early and give yourself more time so that you can feel comfortable driving safely.
  2. Know your route. You’ll need to know exactly where you’re going and how to get there so there’s no confusion and no danger of getting lost in a storm. This means getting your gps situated and ready to go before taking your car out of park.
  3. Stay alert and cautious. You may be driving as safely as you can but the people around you may not be. Keeps your eyes open and watch your surroundings.
  4. Have a “winter emergency kit” in your car in case you get stranded somewhere in the snow and ice. To include in your kit:winter clothes and boots, snacks, gas can, spare tire, windshield scraper (the one that also has a brush on one end), flashlight, batteries, blanket, water,gloves, first aid kit, hat, pepper spray, phone charger, jumper cables, and ratchet straps. Let us know if there’s anything we missed here!
  5. Consider adding roadside assistance to your auto insurance policy. Roadside assistance isn’t expensive at all and is a HUGE help when you need it. If you have roadside assistance, make sure to keep the dispatch phone number on your person and have your auto insurance policy number with you as well (this shouldn’t be a problem if you have your proof of insurance in the car).
  6. Keep your gas tank at least half full. There are plenty of reasons to get stranded in the winter so if we can prevent at least one of those things then we’ll be off to a good start!
  7. Assume the worst conditions while driving. If it looks like it may be a little slick, assume it’s a thick layer of ice and drive slowly.
  8. Keep in mind there are still deer all over Michigan and they can do some serious damage. Driving slowly and carefully could potentially prevent an accident or lessen the damages.
  9. Make sure you have good contact info for your insurance agent. If something happens and you need to get the claim filed asap,you’ll want to call them as soon as your able and the accident is cleared up.Give them a call sometime this winter to review what coverages you have and what to do in the event of an emergency.
  10. Consider adding coverage on your auto insurance policy. This is the time of year that you may want to add some comprehensive and/or collision to your vehicle. You never know what you may slide into and what kind of storms we’ll get. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Alliance wants to remind you to have a happy and safe last couple weeks of the year! If you need any help with your insurance before winter fully descends upon us, you can give us a call at 616-897-1515.

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Gift Guide

 

The holidays are here! We’ve just recovered from the black Friday chaos and it’s time to get down to business for Christmas. Half of the population already have all of their Christmas gifts bought and wrapped, the other half hasn’t even started shopping yet. For the half of us that haven’t started shopping, we’ve put together a couple gift ideas for you! Shopping last minute isn’t a bad idea as long as you know what you want and you’re patient with long lines.  It can definitely be difficult if you don’t know what you want though. We want to make this as painless as possible so we can all take some time and savor the Christmas Spirit!

Clothing or accessories: This is an easy one, just find something that they’ve looked at 2-3 times and get it for them! If it’s ever been in their amazon cart then they want it.

Spa day: This one is probably more for the ladies but men shouldn’t count this out! A spa day is relaxing and essential for everyone!

Movies/books: These are gifts that can be used forever! A good movie can also be family time or a double date. A good book encourages creativity and exercises your imagination.

Cups (coffee mugs, glasses, travel mugs): We all carry our coffee, tea, and water with us everywhere we go. You can buy them a nice cup that fits their personality or make it themed after their favorite character!

Décor: A cute sign or painting for the house is never a bad idea! Get their favorite quote or bible verse to hang in their room or for their desk at work! It’d be a daily reminder!

Fuzzy socks: Good for ALL ages! Who doesn’t love some soft fuzzy socks to keep our feet warm during the cold weather?! Get them holiday themed or just as fuzzy as they get!

Soft blanket: Same as fuzzy socks. Good for all ages and sizes. Soft blankets are the backbone of winter weather. It doesn’t matter how many of these they already have, another soft blanket is never a bad thing!

Technology upgrade: This is unspecific on purpose because there’s so many opportunities! New phone, new charger, phone cases, amazon echo or google home, computer, tablet, accessories, etc. There’s no limit here!

Fun T shirt: These are a classic. Something funny and personal is always good, plus, we all wear t shirts so this won’t go unused!

Sports supplies: A good way to stay active and spend time together! Pick a sport or activity that they love and get them something fun for it! Whether it’s new active wear or an accessory specific to that sport, all of them are cool! A nice side gift for this would be a water bottle to go with, hydration is important!

 

Let us know if this was helpful for you during the holidays! What’s your favorite gift that you’ve ever received? We want to know!

Stressed about the upcoming Weekend?

Thanksgiving Desserts

Stressing about this Exciting Weekend?

This is what we’ve been waiting for since November 1st! Its Thanksgiving weekend and we’re ready to be filled to the brim in thanksgiving foods! Every year we eat until we can’t eat anymore and then we burn off the calories by shopping until we drop. It’s a wonderful time to be alive!

We’re overly blessed, here in America, and it’s important to take a moment and be thankful for everything we have. We’re the “busiest” country and we need to make sure that we take a step back this holiday season, and get a look at the wider perspective. Black Friday and Small Business Saturday can sometimes make us feel less thankful for what we already have so we’re going to all need to work on having gratitude during this time. First, we’ll stuff our faces with tasty food and desserts! Second, we’ll take a nap after all the turkey. Third, we’ll go shopping at the most insane hours of the day in order to ensure that we get the best presents for the best price possible.

We wanted to put something together to help everyone with this extremely busy weekend so we’ve included one of our FAVORITE recipes! This is our pumpkin roll recipe from Allrecipes.com and we LOVE it! If you make this then please let us know how it turns out!

 

Pumpkin Roll:

3 eggs, beaten

1 c white sugar

½ tsp ground cinnamon

2/3 c pumpkin puree

¾ c all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

2 Tbsp butter, softened

8 oz cream cheese

1 c confectioners’ sugar

¼ tsp vanilla extract

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter or grease one 10×15 inch jelly roll pan.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and pumpkin. In another bowl, mix together flour and baking soda. Add to pumpkin mixture and blend until smooth. Evenly spread the mixture over the prepared jelly roll pan.
  3. Bake 15 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove from oven and allow to cool enough to handle.
  4. Remove cake from pan and place on tea towel (cotton, not terry cloth). Roll up the cake by rolling a towel inside cake and place seam side down to cool.
  5. Prepare the frosting by blending together the butter, cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla.
  6. When cake is completely cooled, unroll and spread with cream cheese filling. Roll up again without towel. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. Sprinkle top with confectioners’ sugar and slice into 8-10 servings.

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/13731/pumpkin-roll-i/

 

Let us know how these pumpkin rolls turn out! Now, after we all feast, we’ll be out at the darkest hours shopping like our lives depend on it! You’re your caffeine and hang on tight. We’ve put together a brief list of black Friday dos and don’ts. Let us know how these work out for you!

DO:

  • Be polite to other shoppers and ESPECIALLY to all employees. They probably are just as frustrated as you are, if not more. One good, friendly face may change their entire weekend!
  • Have a plan and a route for what you need and where you can get it. You want to be efficient and quick with this so that you can get home, eat Thanksgiving leftovers, and get to bed!
  • Go with a group of people and keep your phones on you at all times! If you go with a group of 6-8 people, you can split off into pairs to create maximum efficiency.
  • Try to get all of your Christmas shopping done before December 1st so that you can relax and enjoy the holiday without the stress of shopping. Try to get everything wrapped too! That’ll save time and space, they can go directly under the tree instead of hidden in a closet!
  • Make sure to have coffee and nutrition so that you are health and fueled for a night of hard core shopping!

DON’T:

  • Think that your wants/needs are more important than other shoppers. We’re all trying to get our shopping lists completed and spend the smallest amount of money possible. We’re all in the same boat.
  • Be rude to employees, they’re trying their best to service a huge amount of people. This is the craziest shopping day in America and they probably have a lot more immediate problems than you do.
  • Don’t go alone. It’s a crazy day with all the hustle and bustle and then the lack of sleep on top of that, it’s best to go as a group.
  • Don’t go in without a plan! You’ll end up purchasing unnecessary items and losing more money than you save.
  • Put your shopping needs above eating/drinking/sleep needs. You need to be healthy to be happy so let’s make sure we’re hitting every area here.

So have a blast with your family and friends this holiday season! Tell us your thoughts on the pumpkin rolls and share your crazy Black Friday stories with us! Make sure your home is insured prior to having guests over and before the cold weather hits! Plus, with all the snow and ice that we got last week you’ll want to make sure your auto is covered appropriately too.

Make sure you give us a call with all insurance related questions: 616-897-1515!

Fall Back into Safe Running Habits

Fall Back into Safe Running Habits

Running and Thanksgiving are two things that aren’t easy to put together, but it’s somewhat necessary. When we have the holidays coming up, and we just know that we’re going to feast on the holidays, running becomes a part of our everyday routines. This may come at some inconvenient times due to the family events that we‘re all planning, the cold weather, rain/snow, and the shorter days. I agree that it’s hard to leave the comfort of your warm, cozy home to go out and run in the rain and freezing temps but for those of us who ARE doing that on the daily, here’s what you need to know.

November is National Running Safety Month and I know some people don’t think this is even a concern. So we’ve put together a brief blog to explain the hazards of running this time of year and some quick ways we can combat this to make it a safe place for all runners.

A huge concern right now is the shorter days. For those of us who work 8am-5pm, it’s dark in the mornings before work and its dark almost immediately when we get out of work. On top of that, we also have rain and snow more often than not, so you’ll have that on top of the darkness. So if you’re lucky, you can run on your lunch break, otherwise, we need to come up with a more creative solution.

If you’re going to be running in the dark, you’ll need to wear brightly colored clothing. This is both easy and necessary. Purchase some neon yellow clothing and make that your running gear. I would recommend also wear a head lamp and a light up running vest. These are light weight and will make it easier for you to see and be seen by other people and drivers. You should also take your phone and ID and be sure to run against traffic.

Someone may also want to consider carrying a mace or pepperspray. This time of year the running trails are less busy and makes us more susceptible to danger. Keep your pepperspray somewhere easy and quick to reach. Some other things to consider would be a whistle or a self-defense ring.

The cold weather is going to make your body hurt. Be sure to set aside plenty of time for a warm up stretch (just some easy, light stretching) and then a good long, heavy stretch after your run. You need your muscles and joints strong and healthy for this time of year. Also, make sure your shoes have good grip for snowy and icy days! Not only are the cars dangerous in the winter elements but you could be a danger to yourself. You’ll want to keep your phone charged and on your person everytime you run in case you slip and hurt yourself.

With all of that being said, we want to wish you happy running and remind you to stay safe!

 

Employee Spotlight:

Congratulations to two of our employees, George Graham and Shad Breimayer, on their work anniversaries this month! George is finishing up his first year with Alliance and Shad is completing his 8th year. Both are such a delight to work with and we couldn’t be more grateful. A big congrats to both of them!

                                   

 

 

10 Trick or Treat Safety Tips

There’s no doubt your little ones are beginning to get excited about Halloween. You can’t blame them – what child wouldn’t start counting down the days to dressing up as a superhero, princess or firefighter while also getting free candy?

To make sure your family has the best Halloween this year, here are 10 safety tips:

  1. Never trick-or-treat alone. Always make sure you are either with your kids or they are in a group.
  2. Have a planned route before-hand. If you aren’t accompanying your kids, plan out where they’re going to go with their friends. Tell them what neighborhoods are good, which they aren’t allowed to go to and what’s deemed too far.
  3. Have a flashlight. You want to be able to see that candy right? It’ll also make your trick-or-treaters more aware to other children and drivers on the roads.
  4. Wear comfy shoes. Sure, Spider-Man might not rock sneakers with his outfit but you’re going to want your children to be comfortable for the long walk that night.
  5. Never accept rides from strangers or go inside strangers houses.
  6. Only visit well-lit houses. If a house doesn’t have its porch light on or any other indicators that they’re open for candy, it’s best to skip that house and move on.
  7. Don’t eat any candy that isn’t properly wrapped. A tummy ache will crush your child’s candy-eating dreams.
  8. Don’t run! Those costumes aren’t built for sprinters, so tell your kids to not be in such a hurry to avoid tripping over theirs or others costumes.
  9. Stay on sidewalks as much as possible. Don’t wander into the street and stick as close to houses as possible.
  10. Make sure your child can properly see and move comfortably. It’s fun to put down the cape and cowl of your favorite hero, but make sure they can see and enjoy the night properly and reduce the risk of getting hurt.

Alliance wants to wish everyone a Happy Halloween! We’d love to see your costumes, please share them with us! And you have a funny Halloween story then we’d like to hear that too! Let’s kick off this holiday season with a great start!

Alliance Insurance

 

Do Vampires Need Insurance

Dogs as Ghosts Many people walk around under the illusion that they don’t need insurance. Unfortunately, this illusion is a dangerous mirage that can create a perilous financial future for those who buy into it. In order to show you just how necessary insurance is for every individual, let’s talk about vampires.

Why Vampires?

Okay, so vampires don’t seem very relevant, but consider this: according to modern mythology, not only do vampires sparkle in the sun but they are also immortal, may be able to read minds, can have super strength and speed, and are generally less vulnerable than humans—as long as the sun isn’t out. So if there’s anyone who doesn’t need insurance, surely a vampire would fit the bill, right? Wrong.

Vampire Insurance

  1. Vampires need life insurance. Why in the world would the immortal need a life insurance policy, you ask? Well, even the eternally undead are not impervious to fire, wooden stakes, silver bullets and the errant ray of sunlight. With a life insurance policy, a vampire can easily leave a suitable legacy while also providing the means for a fitting funeral.
  2. Vampires need business insurance. With thousands of years of life stretching before them, vampires must have a perpetual means for generating an income. Their independent spirit would likely create an entrepreneurial streak leading to the creation of their own businesses. Business insurance could help a vampire protect his business against liabilities, cyber theft, content damage and more.
  3. Vampires need home insurance. If a man’s home is his castle, then a vampire’s home is … well … really his castle because, as everyone knows, vampires would totally live in castles. But these castles wouldn’t be empty or filled with cheap furniture. Instead they would be filled with valuable antiques the vampire had collected over her several lifetimes. And, in the bedroom, an expensive casket for spending daylight hours away from the sun. In the event of a fire, theft, hurricane, or other covered peril, said vampire would rely on a home insurance policy to replace the value of her property and rebuild her palace.
  4. Vampires need auto insurance. What kind of car would a vampire drive? Well, one with a sense of irony might decide to travel around in a hearse. Others might prefer a car of regal bearing that complements their strength and power. Whatever car a vampire chooses, late night driving and searching for a midnight snack of jugular could someday result in an accident, theft or vandalism, not to mention the potential of an act of nature to bring destruction. Not only can an auto insurance policy protect a vampire against losses from damage done to his car, but it can also pay bodily injury and property damage liability costs.

The living dead might exist only in the hearts and minds of readers and moviegoers, but the risks that they would be exposed to are real and are faced by mere mortals every day. To get the policies that even a vampire would need, and maybe some they wouldn’t, give us a call today! 616-897-1515

5 Tips for Preparing Your Car for Winter

Fall is just about here and that means the hardest season for your vehicle is around the corner. Winter takes its toll on many drivers, particularly if you haven’t taken the time to do some basic maintenance on your vehicle.

Here’s what you need to know to reduce your risks of getting into an accident in slippery conditions and to help you get more life out of your vehicle.

1. Check Your Tires. First, you’ll need to check the tread-wear on your tires. Take a penny and place it in between your tread, with Lincoln’s head facing up. If you can see Lincoln’s hair, you need new tires. You’ll also need to check your tire pressure to make sure it’s at the optimum level for your particular vehicle. If you live in an area with chronically bad winter weather, you may want to consider purchasing snow tires for the winter season.

Prepared for Winter
Is your Car ready for Winter?

2. Replace Your Windshield Wipers. This is one thing that many car owners miss, and it can have serious consequences. The elements are hard on your wipers, and they should be changed twice a year, in spring and fall. Don’t forget to change the wiper on your back window if you have one!

3. Change Your Oil. As the weather cools down, you’ll need to make sure you’re using the right viscosity of oil. If you change your own oil, check your owner’s manual to make sure you’re using the recommended oil. If you’re having it done for you, just ask the shop to provide you with oil that’s right for winter.

4. Check Your Battery. The last thing you need when it’s cold is to end up stranded somewhere. Take your battery to a shop and have it checked to make sure it’s got enough power to get you through winter. If you’re getting your oil changed, many shops will even throw in a battery check for free.

5. Check Your Antifreeze. After the long, hot summer season, you’ll also need to make sure you’ve got the right levels of water and antifreeze in your car. The ideal mix is 50/50. It’s best to have the professionals take care of this one for you, unless you have experience in checking your antifreeze.

These five simple steps will help keep your car running smoothly all winter and reduce the risk of getting into an accident or needing a tow.

Have more questions on your options for vehicle insurance and what you can do to lower your premiums and reduce your claims? Give us a call today at 616-897-1515

Alliance Insurance