Holiday Lights in the Tampa Bay Area

As the holiday season is here, it’s time to go for a nice drive at night and see holiday lights! There are well-known neighborhoods, homes, and downtown areas that offer wonderful lights to view. Below are a list of some of the great light events around the Tampa Bay Area:

Holiday Lights in the GardensLocated at Botanical Gardens in Largo- take a stroll through the beautiful garden while viewing thousands of lights, lasers, and animated figures.

Symphony in Lights: Located at the shops at Wiregrass-this feature offers snow, a light show, and music!

Downtown St. Petersburg: Located all along Beach Drive-you and your family can enjoy dinner at one of the fine restaurants and then take a stroll around the park.

And if you are looking for specific neighborhoods, Tampa Bay Times has created a wonderful map with the locations of lights: Help Find the Best Christmas Lights in Tampa Bay

Holiday Events in the Tampa Bay Area

11237698006_538345bda7_mThis weekend was busy with Thanksgiving leftovers and holiday shopping! If you are worried about how you will fill up the rest of your weekends this month, below are links to numerous events happening in the Tampa Bay Area, as well as some weekday events:

Tampa Bay Times “Things To Do”

TBO “Ho-Ho-Ho Holiday Events”

There is so much to choose from-boat shows, Santa parade, “Snow Fest”, improv shows, and so much more! Happy December event planning!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is this week! That means family time, lots of delicious food, and cooler weather. If you will not be helping out in the kitchen this year, below are some ideas on what to do while you wait for the turkey:

  • Watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade
  • Play football
  • Play a board game
  • Play charades or Pictionary
  • If you have little ones visiting, have them pick 2 or 3 leaves from the yard and trace them on paper. They can then color and write what they are thankful for (and have them pick more so the rest of the family can join!).
  • Relax and enjoy the warmth of family and celebrating together.

thanksgiving website

Preparing for Thanksgiving

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!

What to do With all That Halloween Candy?

It’s been over a week and you still have bags of Halloween candy. Below are a few ideas on what to do with all that Halloween candy:

  • Freeze some. Place some goodies in a freezer bag and throughout the year, you can add some to ice cream to create milkshakes.
  • Bake it! There are countless recipes on candy brownies and cakes. Bake a couple and share with some friends!
  • Place some chocolates (depending on the kind) into your coffee and you have created a tasty mocha for the morning!
  • Bring some to work for a quick mid-day pick me up!
  • Save it for Holiday decor. Get creative and use some for the next gingerbread house!
  • Bring it to work again, but this time leave it in the break room to share with all.
  • Send a care package to a friend or drop it off at a local hospital for the nursing staff!

10 Things to do for Daylight Savings Day

www.public-domain-image.com (public domain image)

www.public-domain-image.com (public domain image)

Today, or more so tomorrow at 2am, is daylight savings time. Below are a list of 10 things to do on Daylight Savings Day:

  1. Reverse ceiling fans to “winter mode” which is essentially counterclockwise. This helps during winter months to pull the heat up to the ceiling and down along the wall. This will help keep your home warm during the winter. (For those who live in Florida, you may want to wait a few weeks or a month, it’s almost cooler out).
  2. Flip your mattress.
  3. Check the batteries in your fire/carbon monoxide alarm.
  4. Back up your devices. If you do not have an external hard rive to hold all of your storage needs, now would be a good time to purchase one and back up all the technology in your home.
  5. Seal any cracks along the windows and doors. Re-caulk around the tub, toilet, and sink if needed.
  6. Schedule a furnace inspection.
  7. Drain your water heater as suggested by energy.gov. Flowchart Explaining types of water heaters and maintenance
  8. If you have a chimney, call a certified chimney inspector to complete an inspection: Chimney Safety Institute of America
  9. Clean out the medicine cabinet and toss expired medicines and replace with new ones.
  10. Set you clocks back before you go to bed!

Here’s to a productive weekend and also a Happy Halloween!

10 Tips for Staying Safe This Halloween

8004066789_2feaa517ba_bHalloween is this Saturday and many will be trick or treating, passing out candy, and attending costume parties. Below are 10 tips for staying safe this Halloween:

  1. Children 12 and under should be accompanied by an adult. If the kiddos are old enough to trick or treat this year, make sure to have a plan. Discuss the route they can take (make sure they are with a group), pack flashlights and have a time to be back home.
  2. Make sure to eat a nutritious dinner and bring some water so no one gets dehydrated.
  3. If you have visiting trick or treaters, make sure the path is well-lit and remove any debris or possible tripping hazards from the yard.
  4. Bring a flashlight and place reflective tape on costumes.
  5. When driving through neighborhoods, drive extra slow and be extremely watchful of pedestrians.
  6. If a sword or cane is a part of the costume, make sure it is very soft and flexible so no one gets hurt.
  7. If the costume has a mask, make sure it fits well or just wear a fitted hat so vision is not blocked.
  8. If make-up is being used, test a small area first for any potential allergic reactions. Make sure to wash all make up off at night so no possible irritants occur the next morning.
  9. Remind the children to only go into friends’ homes, never anyone you do not know. If someone says to come in for candy, say no and go to the next home that is less weird. Also, go to homes that have the porch light on and are well-lit.
  10. Make sure to check ALL candy before letting children partake. And do not accept any home-made treats, only fully wrapped and packaged, store-bought candy.

Remember to be safe and have a fun and Happy Halloween!

10 Ways to Add Instant Value to Your Home

Whether you plan to sell your home soon or in the future, it’s important to know the best ways to invest and add value to your home. Here are 10 ways to add instant value to your home:

  1. Spruce up the yard. Often, landscaping is not the first thought on what can add value to your home, but a nicely landscaped and clean front and back yard can really attract buyers and encourage neighbors.
  2. The front door. This is the first thing potential buyers will notice. It’s important to choose a beautiful front door that is great quality, such as A1 doors, and also one that coordinates with the style of your home.
  3. Maintenance and repairs. Often, we want to just spend money on the lovely things we can see. But if you need to update your plumbing, air conditioner, windows, etc. those things will add great value! Not only to the quality of your home, but also to potential buyers who will see that the home is well maintained.
  4. Paint. Paint can do wonders. Your walls will instantly look brighter and cleaner! If getting ready to sell, it’s best to choose neutral colors so potential buyers can see themselves living there.
  5. Updating the kitchen and bathroom. If you cannot afford a major renovation, simple updates will help. Replace old knobs, re-caulk, clean up the grout, fix any floors, replace faucets, and paint cabinets. These simple updates can again brighten and refresh the look of your home.
  6. Adding insulation in the attic if you already have not done so. This will also help save you money in the long run.
  7. Replacing the old garage door.
  8. If you have an overly large attic and the funds, renovating it into an extra bedroom or living space will also add value. It is instant square footage!
  9. Replacing floors. If you have old floors or wall-to-wall carpet, consider replacing with hard wood, engineered wood, or laminate.
  10. If you still have popcorn ceilings, consider getting those removed.

 

Any of these improvements will add value to your home. Whether you are preparing to sell or stay, you can also enjoy these new improvements!

10 Items You can Say Goodbye to Now

We all hold onto things thinking that we may use it one day or maybe someone will need it on that off-chance and we will be the ones to have that very item! Well, it’s time to get rid of those things that we just haven’t used. You can sell, donate, or just toss. A good rule of thumb is if you haven’t thought of it or needed to use it in over a year, it might be time to say goodbye. Below are 10 Items to start on today:

  1. Old Magazines
  2. Expired make-up
  3. Expired seasoning (if past due, the seasoning has lost its flavor!)
  4. Take-out menus you never look at
  5. Duplicate power cords
  6. Extra set of bed linens (2 per bed is helpful to have)
  7. Unused plastic containers (especially ones without lids) Most can be recycled!
  8. Clothing you have not worn in over a year. Keep the clothes you enjoy and really like to wear!
  9. Knick knacks that do not make you smile every time you see them
  10. Old/outdated party supplies/decor that you never care to use anymore.

You may find that while organizing and decluttering, you will find more things that you do not need or use anymore. Cleansing can help lessen stress and help you to truly enjoy every bit of your home!

 

10 Quick Tips

For the month of October, we will be doing a brief series of 10 quick tips!

Today, we will focus on 10 Quick Tips to add instant curb appeal for little cost:

  1. Paint your front door. Trendy colors have been ones that pop- a light blue, pastel yellow, and red.
  2. Pressure wash everything. It’s amazing what wiping away years of dirt and grime can help your home look brand new.
  3. Upgrade your house numbers.
  4. Upgrade your porch light.
  5. Add some hanging planters, vertical planters, or a small variety of potted plants on the porch and around the front of your home.
  6. Cover an exposed foundation with ready-made panels such as a faux stone or brick.
  7. Hide your A.C. unit and trash cans with fencing, plants or a DIY wall.
  8. Replace your old doormat with a fresh one.
  9. Add faux shutters to your front windows to add some layer and texture to your home.
  10. Place some faux stone or brick edging along your garden and sidewalk path.

Any of these tips will help to refresh your home and cost very little!