Outdoor Space on a Budget

Summer time is approaching and so are barbecues, pool parties, and naps on the porch. If your outdoor space is needing an update, below are some ideas on a budget:

  • Garage sales: Garage sale season is beginning to slow down as the weather is warming up. Look for some garage sales this weekend and next and see what interesting items you can find. Get creative and think about how you can repurpose an old coffee table or some chairs with some sand paper, paint, outdoor and protective sealant.
  • Thrift Stores: All kinds of items are dropped off and you may find some pieces to use for outdoor lighting and furniture.
  • Sales: Research online before heading to the store to see which places are offering the best sales on outdoor rugs, pillows, cushions, and other items you want for your patio.

There are so many ideas out there to create the kind of living space that works for you. Have fun searching and being creative!

Updating Your Kitchen on a Budget

maxresdefaultThe kitchen is the center piece of the home, a space that every family member and friend spends time in. So why not treat your kitchen and yourself to a little update? If budget needs to be considered, below are some ideas to give a fresh look for only a few hundred dollars:

 

 

  • If you have wood or builder stock cabinets- some sand paper, elbow grease, and paint can really freshen up the look.
  • Change or add knobs and handles to the cabinets
  • Add a back splash. There are many peel and stick options that can be affordable, easy to install, and look great.
  • Change out the faucet
  • Update the lighting
  • Add under cabinet lighting. This not only helps to illuminate your workspace, but also adds warmth and coziness to the kitchen.
  • Update your dishes, cups, and maybe your spice rack too.
  • Paint the walls

These updates range from a two day to just a one hour project. Any or all can really help to update and freshen the look of your kitchen.

Maintaining Motivation to Keep Eating Healthy

It’s allergy season, spring time, summer is coming, tax season… it can be hard to stay motived to stick to a healthy diet. Below are some helpful ways to keep yourself motivated:541063_10100923709844911_1747183116_n

  1. Start small- perhaps you’ve been eating dessert every night on top of some other unhealthy choices throughout the day. Skip dessert and have some tea or one small piece of chocolate instead. It takes 40 days to build a habit and with small changes each day, it makes it easier to attain your goals.
  2. Remember that the average amount of pounds to lose is 1-2 per week. Set realistic goals such as losing 5 pounds by the end of May instead of 15 pounds.
  3. Setbacks will happen. The weight-loss plateau is real, but keep doing what you are doing and maybe walk an extra 20 minutes to help keep you focused on your goals.
  4. Have a friend join you. It’s much easier to stick to a healthy diet when you are doing it with someone.
  5. Be patient and have a plan. It’s hard to wait to see the results, but keep at it! All good things take time and write down a plan to help you stay motivated. For example, you will make sure to prep your lunches on Sunday and find something exciting and healthy to eat for said lunches on Saturday before grocery shopping.

And remember, you may have a day where you just eat unhealthy. But don’t give up! Tomorrow is another day to start anew!

April Showers Bring May Flowers

So what flowers to plant and grow for this coming summer? The best plants to add to your garden this month are vegetables! Most will be ready to harvest in the summer and now is a good time as the soil is just about warm enough. Below are list of vegetables to add to your garden:

  • Beans (there are certain types best for Florida)
  • Sweet Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Watermelon
  • Peppers
  • Summer Squash
  • Tomatoes

Raised_bedThe weather has been nice and cool and should be cool the rest of this week. It’s a good time to add to the garden, trim back plants, pull weeds, and maybe add a decorative garden piece or two.  For more information on best ways to plant in Florida, visit the University of Florida’s Vegetable Gardening Guide and a blog post written last year with some other helpful tips on gardening

Surviving Allergy Season

allergy-18656_1920Allergy season has been upon us and it most likely has another month to go. Besides taking allergy medicine, what else can you do to help? Below are some tips to help survive the rest of allergy season:

  • Typically workout outdoors? You may want to consider doing your workouts indoors while the pollen is fresh.
  • As soon as you get home from work, take off your shoes and change your clothes. Allergens can be on your clothing without notice.
  • If you have a cat or dog that goes outside, wipe their paws before they come inside to take off pollen.
  • If you wear contacts and your eyes get super itchy during allergy season, you may want to consider wearing your glasses.
  • Vacuum and clean rugs, the couch, and any curtains at least once a month. Wash all sheets and pillowcases as well.
  • Clean out the drum, door, and rubber gasket of your washing machine. Mold and fungi can grow there and detergent is not enough to help. Use wipes with bleach to make it easier and keep the door open in between washes to help it air dry.
  • If your allergies are giving you an extra hard time this season, call your doctor and see if you need a prescription.

 

Impact and You!

Hurricane Windows or Impact Windows are a product that have become prevalent over the past 25 years. Born in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew, municipalities led by Miami-Dade in South Florida, saw the need for stronger window systems. Studies showed that if you were able to keep the exterior envelope intake during the storms (hurricanes), you have a greater chance of keeping the roof on the building in place and lessen the damage that could be created. To do this, the window industry didn’t have to go far to find a solution.

For years, the automotive industry had been using laminated glass for the windows in vehicles. Laminated glass is a type of safety glass that holds together when impacted with an object. In the event of breaking, it is held in place by an interlayer, typically of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) or ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA), between its two or more layers of glass. The interlayer keeps the layers of glass bonded even when broken, and its high strength prevents the glass from breaking up into large sharp pieces. This produces a characteristic “spider web” cracking pattern when the impact is not enough to completely pierce the glass. Unlike the automotive industry, the window industry is trying reduce the shards of glass from flying, as well keep the window intact and not fail or “blow out” of the building.

Depending on the location, size of the panels, and design pressures, the interlayer used in the laminate may be of different thicknesses or types. For example, a .060-in PVB interlayer is a typical thickness and type of interlayer for small missile glazed areas. Other stiffer, more structural, interlayers, in thicknesses of .090, provide better resistance to tearing when subjected to large missile impacts at higher design pressures. The strength and other properties of laminated glass can be tailored to meet specific needs. The driving force behind the type of protection you are “required” to have is based on the geographic location of your home. These requirements are based on the local municipality building codes.

The State of Florida has been the driving force behind the development and implementation of building codes regarding hurricanes. After Andrew, Miami-Dade led the way with stricter codes for windows. In 2001, the rest of the state adopted the 2001 Florida Building Code standards. Since that time, several versions have come about. Florida is currently under the 2014 FBC standards. Taking Florida’s lead, other states in hurricane-affected areas began looking at their standards. Shortly after Florida rolled out its codes, states like Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana adopted the International Building Code or IBC. States like South Carolina and North Carolina followed as well. Texas developed the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) for its protocols. All of these standards are designed to give a uniform standard to test and grade impact windows for safety and reliability to withstand hurricane-force winds and flying debris. But the term hurricane windows is a little misleading.

The benefits of these windows exceeds just those homes located in areas prone to hurricanes. Impact windows increase safety, noise reduction, and intrusion resistance. Burglars run once they try to smash one of these windows and realize that it is not going anywhere. Parents are not nervous when their small children play around a large picture window. And homeowners marvel just how much of the outside world’s noise no longer enters into the home. Impact windows are a great way to help reduce damage from severe thunderstorms that can have damaging wind. These types of storms can hit anywhere at any time. There is no replacing the peace of mind that a homeowner with impact windows goes to bed with.

As building designs and styles continue to evolve, many new features will come and go in the market place. One product that’s here to stay is impact windows. Their ability to add safety to any home provides you with more than just a return on investment. It provides you with the assurance that you have taken measures to protect your family and property from whatever life throws at you. For these reason, impact windows are an investment that all homeowners should evaluate.

Home Show This Weekend!!

Needing information on a remodel, renovation, or just want something different to do? This weekend at the Florida State Fairgrounds there will be a home show! There are over 900 exhibits that offer new products and services for your home! It begins Friday at 11am and the last day to attend is Sunday, also starting at 11am.

For more information, click the link below:

Florida’s Largest Home Show

Happy Weekend!

Events This Weekend in the Tampa Bay Area

The weekend ahead is packed with events! With all the fun, beautiful weather, and options to choose from- you are set to have a very exciting and full weekend! Below are a list of events happening in the Tampa Bay Area:

  • St. Petersburg is prepping for the annual grand prix. Head downtown for car racing action, good food, and other fun happenings throughout the day St. Pete Grand Prix
  • Plant City continues to host the Strawberry Festival through the 13th Florida Strawberry Festival
  • The Bay Area Renaissance Festival has this weekend and one more after that remaining. Enjoy time eating a turkey leg, dressing up in Renaissance attire, and watch some jousting! Bay Area Renaissance Festival

No matter what you choose, have a fantastic weekend!

Happy Leap Day!

Tomorrow we all get an extra day! Not sure how to spend your extra time? Below are Ten Things to make the most out of the extra day:

  1. Organize your calendar
  2. Clean out your closet
  3. Attend a craft class
  4. Create a time capsule
  5. Throw a leap day party with your friends
  6. Explore your city (Be a tourist in your own hometown)
  7. “Treat Yourself”- Take time to get a pedicure, manicure, buy something new
  8. Start a garden
  9. Try a new local restaurant
  10. Sign up to learn something you’ve always wanted to learn- such as improv

Happy Leap Day!!

Soft-Lite: What is a casement or awning window?

This week’s post is brought to us by our friends at soft-lite.com

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When deciding what style of window to put in your home, let the existing dimensional shape of the old window opening guide you to the best style available for you. In the 80s and 90s, many casement and awning windows were installed by builders; unfortunately, casement windows usually have to be replaced with casements.

There can be some drawbacks with older casements, however most of those drawbacks have been fixed by innovation. Premium vinyl casements windows and awning windows, such as those manufactured by Soft-Lite, are superior for several reasons:

First, it maximizes air flow and visibility because it swings outward to grab air passing by and brings it into the home.

Second, the casement dimensionally meets egress with the smallest size available by law. When egress is a must and you are limited by size, casements are your best option.

Third, unlike all the other window styles, casement and awning windows have their screens on the inside, which makes for easier removal.

Fourth, these are the only style windows that actually have a lever to tighten or compress the moving sash with Q-lon weather stripping – making it tighter than any other window. Consequently, the casement/awning is the most airtight of all styles of operating windows, which maximizes the warmth in the rooms to keep you comfortable year round.

One thing to be aware if is that most casements and awnings have ugly clips to hold their screen in place – but Soft-Lite is unique. With Soft-lite casement and awning windows, the unique pressure screen fits snuggly in the frame and stays in place. The rugged extruded screen frame is durable, plus color coordinated to match all six interior color options.