1. Spring Cleaning- Tips For Organizing

    Spring is in the air, which means like it or not, spring-cleaning is here too.

    Every spring, we clean, organize, and realize how much stuff we accumulate over the course of the year! Keep organized by using some of the tools below.

     

     

     

     

    Baskets

    Shelving and small baskets can be used in every room of the house to help keep things tidy. In your bathroom, use hanging baskets to store towels, toilet paper, make up, or  other products  as these image below from ourfithouse.com. If you hang shelves, you can also store items or use the extra space for decorating by adding a picture frame or candle.

     

     

     

     

     

    Bins

    Plastic bins can be used to store large and small items, depending on the size of the bin you purchase. Organize your medicine by its’ uses, store hardware, sewing materials, office supplies,  crafts, hair supplies, and more in an organized fashion. Larger bins can be used to stash clothing items such as swimsuits, flip flops, hats, scarves, and more.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Racks/Tiers

    It seems that kitchen cabinets fill up so fast with clutter! Get creative to stay organized! Using small towel racks on the inside of doors is a great way to store pots and pans lids. Using a small rack is a great way to store cutting boards. And do you have a huge selections of spices and cooking supplies but limited space? Use tiered shelving to stack spices.

     

     

    Bookshelves

    Bookshelves are great ways to store lost of things without a space  appearing cluttered. They can be used in kids rooms as storage space as well. Try adding baskets into the different shelves and labeling them with toys, crafts, clothes, or whatever it is you are looking to store.  You can place decorative items on the top of the shelving unit too!

     

     

    These were some great ideas we found on Pinterest, but there are hundreds of more for you to discover! Visit Pinterest and see what fun ideas you come up with. Happy Spring Cleaning!

     


  2. Simple Decorating Tips to Change Up the Look of YOUR Home

    It’s a new year, why not create a new look for your home? Sounds good, right? But for many folks, this is usually a time of year when they are focusing on paying off holiday bills and don’t have a whole lot of disposable income to re-design their homes.

    Here are some simple (and inexpensive) ways to change up the look and feel of your home without spending a fortune! A simple trip to Home Goods, Kohls, Target or Pier One should do the trick!

    1. Pile on the pillows! Pillows are a simple way to add a splash of bright color into your living or family rooms. Mix and match with different styles, colors and fabrics!
    2. Buy new bedding. To change the look and feel of your bedrooms, start by changing the bedding. A new comforter and pillows will make the entire room look different. Why not go bold and try experimenting with burgundy, red or magenta?
    3. Rearrange your furniture. By simply moving your furniture around you can create an entirely new room.
    4. Move your artwork. This is an easy and fun way to give a new look to your rooms! Also, add mirrors to create an open and roomy atmosphere.
    5. Try an accent color. If you are not ready to paint your entire house, why not start with just one accent wall? This adds dimension and creates a dramatic feel to any room.
    6. Add a few area rugs or accent rugs. Shopping for area rugs and accent rugs is a whole lot less expensive than replacing flooring or carpet. Lay the rugs out on the diagonal for a welcoming effect.
    7. Illuminate with lighting. Swap out lamps or buy new lamp shades to add some illuminating effects to any room.
    8. Time for new towels. Kitchen and bathroom towels come in many different styles and colors! Let your imagination run wild! You can theme your kitchen and your bathrooms just by incorporating new towels into the picture!

  3. What are YOUR New Year Resolutions?

    ‘A goal without a plan is just a wish’ – Larry Elder

    This time of year many people start putting pen to paper and coming up with their potential New Year’s resolutions. All the usual suspects are typically included in the list:

    • Lose weight
    • Eat healthy
    • Quit smoking
    • Exercise

    January 1st rolls around and we eagerly tackle our resolutions. All goes well for the first couple of weeks and then BOOM! We fall off the proverbial wagon and once again slip back into our normal habits. We feel defeated and ashamed and vow to NOT break our New Year’s resolutions…..next year!

    So, why do so many people fail when it comes to keeping their New Year’s resolutions? Like the old saying goes: People don’t plan to fail, they fail to PLAN.

    When tackling your New Year’s resolutions this year, why not try incorporating an action plan for each item? This will serve as your ‘blueprint’ to obtaining your goal.

    There are many ways to set and achieve your goals. You must first start by setting SMART goals. This will make it easier for you to create your action plan. Here’s an example of how it works.

    GOAL: Lose weight

    Specific: Do you know exactly WHAT you want to accomplish?

    Measurable: Quantify your progress so you stay on track.

    Attainable: Can you reach the goal? Your goals should be challenging but also attainable.

    Relevant: How important is this goal to you?

    Timely: Have a deadline for your goals.

    Revised Goal:  “I want to lose 10 lbs by April 15th 2013. I will achieve this goal by walking for 30 minutes three days a week and I will go to the gym 3 days per week. I will limit the number of sweets and starchy carbohydrates that I eat to just 2 times a week. I will weigh myself every Monday to keep track of my success.”


  4. Holiday Gifts For Pool Lovers

    Finding the perfect gift isn’t easy. The most thoughtful gifts require some imagination, creativity — or at least a little research. If you have a pool owner on your list, you’re in luck! We’ve done some of that research for you and came up with great ideas for fun and useful pool-related items anyone would love.

     

    Get personal. These days you can customize almost anything. A set of personalized cabana towels, insulated can sleeves or a special pool sign would look awesome in their outdoor oasis. Or DIY and stencil their name on a USCG-approved life ring or a lifeguard chair. Purchase plans and ready-to-assemble kits online for a lifeguard chair that’s sure to be a big hit.

     

    Make it fun. When water is involved, adults are basically kids in larger swim suits, so they’ll appreciate a toy as much as any tot. There are all sorts of games designed for kids, such as wacky diving toys, but consider something the whole family can get in on. How about a friendly game of backgammon or an exciting round of table tennis? Floating versions put a whole new spin on these classics.

     

    Practical-ly perfect. You can’t go wrong with practical gifts such as festive plastic tableware, colorful pool towels or a drying rack. And one can never have too many floats! But opt for something they might not already own, like the Spongex Unsinkable Pool Float or zany Pool Petz for the kids.

     

    Waterproof their gear. Do some sleuthing to see whether they’ve invested in waterproof cases for their smartphone and tablet. If not, look no further! Lifeproof cases provide submersible protection that could save the day — and make them forever thankful they have a thoughtful friend like you.

     

    Fit for giving. Pool workouts become even more effective with aqua fitness equipment such as swim gloves, dumbbells and jogging belts. Who wouldn’t love to move their workout to the pool during hot summer months — or anytime for that matter?

     

    Light up their life. If you’re still stumped, consider a cool lighting gadget, such as the rechargeable Ocean Blue Nova Floating Pool Light or a floating fountain. Get lights and action in one with the Dancing Water Light and Fountain Show. There are a multitude of reasonably priced options online, at Home Depot and your local pool supply store.

     

    If you’re shopping for the pool lover in your life, the only difficult part will be deciding what to get! From inexpensive toys to splurge-worthy items, the perfect gift is just a click away.

     


  5. De-Stress Tips for the Holiday Season!

    The holidays are quickly approaching. It is at this time of year that our ‘to-do’ lists multiply in size! There are holiday cards to send, gifts to purchase, pies to bake, and trees to decorate. It oftentimes feels as though there are no enough hours in the day to accomplish all of our holiday tasks! This can led to an overwhelming feeling of STRESS.

    • Don’t let stress steal your holiday joy! Instead try these simple holiday tips for reducing your stress level and enjoying the season!
    • Create a list of ALL items that need to be accomplished. Once you’ve done that, rank the items in order of priority and assign a completion date for each item. This will give you control over your holiday tasks and allow you to create a systematic schedule for accomplishing them.
    • Learn to delegate tasks. Get the entire family to participate! Your younger children can address Christmas cards; your husband can organize all the holiday decorations; and your older children can assist you in the kitchen. Allowing everyone to be included creates a sense of teamwork.
    • Remind yourself to take time just for you! A bubble bath after a long day of shopping can lower your stress level.
    • Remember that ‘No’ is a complete sentence. Do not feel obligated to attend every event you are invited to. There are only 24 hours in each day, make the best use of your time.
    • Don’t forget to slow down long enough to savor the holiday season. Spending quality time with those you love and cherish is the highlight of the holiday season. You are making memories that will last a life time.

  6. Gobble Gobble! Happy Thanksgiving! Don’t forget the stuffing!

    Everyone has a favorite Thanksgiving recipe. Perhaps it is your grandmother’s famous oyster stuffing, or your mother’s incredible pumpkin pie, whatever it may be it is sure to conjure up fond memories of past Thanksgiving celebrations.
    Those tempting aromas drifting from the kitchen on Thanksgiving morning are enough to tempt any one’s taste buds!
    One of our family favorites at Neal Communities is a recipe that we’ve been serving for many years. Thanksgiving would not be Thanksgiving without cornbread and sausage stuffing!
    Cornbread stuffing, a Southern favorite, is a nice change from more traditional white-bread stuffing. Also, the stuffing is so easy to make that it’s sure to become a favorite side year-round.
    Ingredients

    •  1 pound sweet Italian turkey sausage, (about 4 links), casings removed
    •  2 cups finely chopped onion
    •  1 1/2 cups finely chopped celery
    •  1/4 teaspoon salt
    •  Freshly ground pepper, to taste
    •  2 pounds prepared cornbread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 12 cups)
    •  1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
    •  1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
    •  1 1/2-3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

    Preparation

    1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
    2. Cook sausage in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring and breaking up with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 10 minutes. Add onion and celery; cover, reduce heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add cornbread, parsley and sage.
    3. Bring broth to a simmer in a small saucepan. Pour 1 cup over the stuffing mixture and toss gently (the cornbread will break into smaller pieces). Add as much of the remaining broth as needed, 1/2 cup at a time, until the stuffing feels moist but not wet. Spoon the stuffing into the prepared pan and cover with foil.
    4. Bake the stuffing until thoroughly heated, about 25 minutes. Serve warm.

  7. Building Hope with Pink Pride

    Neal Communities participated in the ‘Make Strides Against Breast Cancer’ walk this past Saturday, October 27th and it was a HUGE success! We want to personally thank everyone who joined us either by making a donation or walking with our team ‘Building Hope with Pink Pride’. We were one good looking team of walkers out there on Saturday. And, we couldn’t have done it without the help of Kori Clark (wife of Chris Clark, Neal Communities’ Director of Construction) who designed our fabulous logo! Thank you Kori!

    Our team consisted of 40 participants and we raised over $3,200 for the cause. This surpassed our initial goal of $2,500 and put us in 4th place overall for company funds raised. Woohoo! Way to go team ‘Building Hope with Pink Pride’!

    If you would still like to contribute to the cause, you can until November 30th. Please click on the following link – and choose a specific person to donate to.

    Also, our fabulous Realtor Liaison, Gail Shane, conducted an interview with team captain, Raylene Gaines, on her radio show the morning of the event, which you can listen to at the following link – http://www.gailshane.com/

    Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women after skin cancer. Today, about 1 in 8 women (12%) will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in women (lung cancer is first). The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2012, about 226,870 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and about 39,510 will die from breast cancer. We all can do our part to help find a cure.


    Thanks again everyone for supporting this very important event.  Additional event pictures are posted on Neal Communities Facebook Page — https://www.facebook.com/NealCommunities

     


  8. November Farmers Market

    Bright like fresh lemons, as beautiful as a bouquet, and as soothing as a strum….this is how their website describes the Sarasota Farmers Market! And they couldn’t be more on target! For over 30 years, the Sarasota Farmers Market has been serving our community with local produce, plants, prepared foods and artisans.

    If you haven’t been to the Sarasota Farmers Market, you simply MUST add it to your list of items to experience! With over 70 vendors and over 5,000 sq. ft. of produce and plants, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Sample fresh fruits and vegetable, listen to local artists, and capture the essence of a true Farmers Market in your own town!

    The market is held every Saturday (rain or shine) from 7 am – 1 pm on Main and Lemon Streets in downtown Sarasota. Homemade jelly, fresh fruits and vegetables, and colorful plants and flowers are just a few items you will find as you stroll through the market.

    Bring your family, friends and four legged companions and make an event of it. There are freshly pre-packaged meals you can purchase as your stroll the market meeting the local farmers who grown and produce these culinary delights.

    Having a local farmers market benefits both the producers and the consumers of these organic products. By purchasing from these local farmers, residents know exactly where their food comes from, and the ingredients are fresher and likely contain fewer chemicals than the same ingredients found at a local supermarket.

    Farmers Markets also help to stimulate the local economy. When people purchase from local farmers, they help to keep these farmers in business so they can continue to harvest a healthy crop every year. This helps to keep our community closer, as it creates direct ties between the local farmers and our local residents.

    Farmers Markets benefit not only the producers and consumers; they also are great for the environment and the community! So, won’t you join us this weekend at the Sarasota Farmers Market?

    To learn more, visit their website at http://www.sarasotafarmersmarket.org/

    Also, check out these other local farmers markets as well:

    BradentonFarmersMarket.com

    BridgeStreetMerchants.com

    Lwrfarmersmarket.com (Lakewood Ranch)

    North Port Farmers/Craft Market

    OldMiakkaFarmersMarket.com

    Farmhousemarket.org (Phillipi Farm House Market)

    SiestaFarmersMarket.org

    TheVeniceFarmersMarket.com

     


  9. Creating that ‘Fall’ Feeling in Florida

    Oftentimes in Florida, the difference between the end of summer and the beginning of fall can be nothing more than a few degrees being shaved off the thermometer. While we don’t get to experience quite the same colorful change of seasons like our neighbors up north, we can however ‘create’ the sensation of fall by following a few simple tips.

    1. Light scented candles around the room to capture the ‘smell’ of autumn! With fabulous fragrances like spiced pumpkin pie, evergreen forest, and gingerbread it’s easy create an autumn aroma in every room!
    2. Plant some fall flowers! Traditional fall plants, such as pansies, violas, snapdragons, mums, asters, cabbages, and kale, are reliable methods of injecting a splash of color in your yard.
    3. Bake an apple pie! There are so many fabulous recipes that remind us of fall!
    4. Make your own fall centerpieces. A quick trip to a craft store will provide you with everything you need to create a colorful fall centerpiece. Pine cones, vibrant silk plants, and other creative items will make your home a fall fashion statement.
    5. Travel north. Florida fall foliage, believe it or not, features brilliant hues and spectacular scenery. The changing colors of leaves in autumn is one of nature’s most beloved rites of passage — and makes for one of the most popular and inexpensive getaways for families — even in the Sunshine State. The Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail is a 30-mile circle along the east coast of northern Florida that cuts through four state parks (including Tomoka State Park), six local parks and 10 miles of up-close-and-personal ocean views.
    6. Check your local newspaper for Octoberfest, Halloween, and other fall events. It’s a beautiful time to enjoy the great outdoors!

    Looking for other fun fall ideas? Check out this website for things to do in our area!
    http://events.bradenton.com/bradenton-fl/events/fall+festivals


  10. Color is all the rage for 2013!

    Are you tired of looking at your old white kitchen hutch day after day but don’t want to invest in a new one? Why not breathe new life into it by adding a couple of coats of ocean blue paint? It will not only change the look of your existing piece, it will brighten and improve the look of your entire room!

    From pumpkin and light blue to violet and lime, bright bold colors are making a strong comeback in home decor! If you aren’t ready to paint your entire room an electric shade of fuchsia, you may want to consider adding colorful accessories like throw pillows, glass sculptures or candles to spice up a room. Or you may consider painting just one wall in a room as an accent wall. The wonderful thing about painting a room is that you are not committed. If you decide you no longer like your pumpkin spice kitchen after a few months, just paint over it!

    A splash of color can change the entire look and feel of a room. Children’s rooms can be especially fun to create by using bold colors and accessories. To get your creative juices flowing why not spend an afternoon touring some of Neal Communities’ beautifully decorated model homes? When we design and decorate our models we use a variety of colors, styles and themes to appeal to a wide variety of personal tastes by adding our pureSTYLE touch. Charlene Neal: pureSTYLE is a complete interior design service in which we offer interior design service to homeowners looking to “freshen up” their existing home, or applying our interior design expertise to your new, fantastic Neal home!

    The color forecast from the pros at Pantone reveals new colors that soothe, renew, and even surprise.