Thanksgiving Preparations

Whether you are hosting family or doing a Friendsgiving this year, it’s always helpful to stay organized and plan ahead. Below are some tips to help you prepare for Thanksgiving:

  • Clean out your cabinets, fridge, and freezer to make room for all the extra food you will be preparing and have leftover.
  • If there is anything you can cook ahead and freeze- do that now. Most soups, pie crusts, bread, and turkey stock can be made ahead.
  • If guests are staying with you, wash all the sheets, blankets and pillow cases and plan out where everyone will be sleeping.
  • Count how many plates you have and figure out if you need to purchase or borrow more.
  • If you are planning on creating a centerpiece, make it now so you will not have to worry about it next week.
  • Look for any items on sale the next two weeks that you need and purchase them now.
  • Buy your turkey at least the weekend before Thanksgiving.
  • If you are doing a potluck, contact those who are bringing items and finalize the meal list.
  • And if you need help, remember to ask!

Happy planning!

Laughter Abounds at this Weekend’s Event

Ever seen the show Whose Line is it Anyway? Love to laugh? Enjoy skits on SNL? Well, this weekend is full of laughter as the Tampa Bay Improv Festival comes to town!

The fun begins Thursday night, November 17 at the Sunshine Center in beautiful St. Petersburg, Fl and ends Saturday, November 19th.

You can sign up to watch shows or take some workshops and give improvisation a try yourself!

A few troupes who will be playing include:

and so many more!

For more information, check out the links: Tampa Bay Improv Fest 2016

TBIF Facebook

The Improv Network

Home Show This Weekend!

gingerbread_house_essex_ctThe home experts gather this weekend at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. Come on out for ideas, advice, seminars, giveaways, exhibits, and so much more!

Check out the link for more information Tampa Bay Home Show

10 Ways to Celebrate Fall in Florida

September 22nd was the first day of Fall. Many innature-leaves-fall-neature Florida don’t typically feel this “Fall” until maybe December, but don’t let that stop your from celebrating this season!

Below are 10 ways to celebrate Fall in Florida:

  1. Go to the pool. It’s still extremely warm and excellent swimming weather.
  2. Make some apple sangria and place some cinnamon sticks in the glass for garnish. Enjoy while at the pool or beach!
  3. Buy a cinnamon broom from your local grocery story and let your house smell like “Fall.”
  4. Decorate your house! Just because it doesn’t look like Fall outside, doesn’t mean you can’t create some coziness and pumpkin spice smells inside!
  5. Bake some pumpkin chocolate bars, homemade applesauce, or a delicious pie. Share with some neighbors while sipping sangria near the pool.
  6. Attend a Fall pumpkin Festival. Go on a hay ride, look at some crafts, buy a pumpkin, and enjoy a simple, but fun time.
  7. Decorate your house for Halloween! It’s only a month away!
  8. Visit a theme park.
  9. Set up your fire pit in your backyard, invite some friends over, and talk about how much you love the fact you can still wear shorts and it’s almost October.
  10. Take a picture of the one leaf that changes color and think about the places you can visit that have Fall weather and then come home when you are ready.

How to Pay for Home Improvements

As you pull up to your driveway, you notice the scraped paint near the garage door, the overgrown weeds near your front door, and the broken screens and sash that make up your windows. Your house looks tired. It’s been beaten by the weather, well-lived in for many years, and in need of a refresher. How will you pay for this as the list adds on and on in your mind?

Below are a few options to consider in financing improvements for your home:

  1. Cash- nothing to pay back and no interest.
  2. Credit cards- an option if it’s a small improvement and you know you can pay it off in a few months.
  3. Home equity loan- your personal bank may offer the best option with lower interest rates. The term for paying off the loan can range from 5-10 years.
  4. Refinancing- This is a great option as long as you don’t spread the cost of improvements over more years than the renovation will last.
  5. Borrow from your 401k- You pay yourself interest while paying back your loan. The only caveats are that your retirement investment is lower and if you leave the job, the remaining balance is due immediately.

Whatever your option, your house will thank you!

Tax Free Weekend

Most schools begin the week of August 10th and tax free weekend is a great opportunity to purchase back to school supplies and new clothing! It begins Friday, August 5th and lasts until Sunday, August 7th. The main gist is that any clothing item $60 and under is tax free and for school supplies, it’s $15 or under.

Items that will not be tax free are:

  • Computers and computer-related accessories
  • Books not otherwise exempt
  • A clothing item that is more than $60
  • Any school supply item that is more than $15
  • Clothing or school supplies sold in theme parks, entertainment complexes or airports.

Happy shopping!

Creative Date Night Ideas

8645557468_7898ac7428_bAs summer comes to an end, its important to remember time with your significant other! Instead of just the usual dinner and a movie, below are some ideas for something different to experience together:

  • Lowry Park Zoo Sunset Celebration– The zoo is open until 10pm with food and drinks available .
  • The Box Theater Improv (1925 2nd Ave, Tampa, 33605) – Starts at 7:30 so you can catch a bite to eat or hang out with the performers after! $8 advance, $10 at the door for two shows- Dear Aunt Gertrude and The Escape Artisans lead the laughs tonight!
  • And for even more ideas, The Tampa Bay Times has ideas divided by category- even things to do if the kiddos are coming along too! Memorable Date Ideas in Tampa Bay

Whatever you decide to do, have a safe and enjoyable weekend!

Five Things to do Before Summer Ends

We are already half way through July and the school year will be starting soon! Before you miss the summer time, her are 5 things to do before it all ends:

  1. Visit the pool and/or beach! Soak up more sun and the exhilaration of jumping in a cool pool after being in the hot sun.
  2. Water your plants, but not too much! The plants and grass may be looking a little dry, but they only need 1 to 1.5 inches per week. Water your landscaping once or twice a week to encourage deep root growth. It will help your plants longterm and hopefully save a little money on the water bill. The best time to water is between 4am and 8am when the water won’t evaporate too quickly and not also saturate the ground for too long if watered at night.
  3. Get your car detailed. Once the school year begins, so does all the extracurricular activities that come with. There’s something nice about starting fresh and clean, even if you will need to give your car a good clean again in a few months.
  4. Squeeze in some more family time with a game night, craft time, or exploring something new in your own town (such as a museum, splash pad, event, and /or restaurant).
  5. Plan one or two more barbecues! It’s the best time to invite friends and family over to grill. Try to plan at least one more get together before everyone’s schedules get busier.

4th of July Events

The weekend of festivities, barbecues, beach time, fireworks, and non stop fun celebrating Independence day for our country is this coming Monday!! Events will be happening Saturday through Monday all around Tampa Bay. If you are looking for fireworks, parades, and other celebrations, check out the link below:

“Fourth of July Festivities”

If you are looking for a few other fun events-such as new movies, concerts, and a hot dog eating contest- Tampa Bay Times has an excellent weekend planner to help: Tampa Bay Times Weekend Planner


However you decide to celebrate this weekend, we wish you a very restful, fun, safe, and Happy 4th of July!!

Keeping Your Home Safe While Away

It’s vacation time and that means planning not only for your vacation, but also for your home and pets. It is important to take some steps to protect yourself and your home before traveling.

When traveling, avoid posting anything on social media such as Twitter, but do alert a close friend or family member. Have a close friend or relative gather your mail, newspapers, and complete quick checks around the house to make sure everything is fine. You can also go to the post office and have your mail placed on hold and delivered when you return.

Putting your lights on timers is a good investment. There are some that you can schedule to be turned on at certain times and even some that you can turn on yourself from your smartphone. This helps so that potential intruders think someone is home.

Installing high-grade window materials can also help keep your home safe. A1’s Impact windows are made with a super strong laminate that will add to the security of your home.

Remember to have a place for your pets to stay while away. If you hire a trusted pet sitter, that can also be helpful to keeping your home safe (someone is home!) while away. There are also plenty of pet-friendly kennels and boarding centers around town. Check the reviews and information on the site to make sure you find one you are truly comfortable with for your pet.

Happy vacationing!