1. Inside the Valor II

    Liz Reuth, Neal Communities E-Marketing Manager takes us for a tour inside Neal Communities’ Valor 2 Kitchens in Lakewood Ranch Florida. A smart design with a beautiful open concept kitchen, dining and living space give this space an open and airy touch. The space is great for entertaining guests and with a double sink facing the living room, Mr. and Ms. Homeowner can stay engaged with the guests while cleaning up! Large cabinets surround the Valor 2 kitchen making it perfect for the cook in the family to store pots and pans along with counter space to house all cooking gadgets. If you don’t believe us, just see for yourself!

     
     

    Valor II is a contemporary 1,162 Sq. Ft home perfect for a single family. Featuring two bedrooms, two bathrooms and an open concept kitchen, living and great room; this is a home full of modern charm. A family friendly community with budget friendly prices. Come experience it for yourself!

     

     

     


  2. Boca New staff member and club expansion plans!

     The Boca Royale community is growing and so is our family as we welcome experienced General Manager, Ian Fetigan to the Boca Royale Golf & Country Club team!

    With more than 20 years of successful, hands-on management experience in the hospitality, non-profit, and private country club industries, Fetigan brings a wealth of knowledge to the Boca Royale team in all areas and will be an invaluable asset in our expansion and enhancing an already thriving club.

    The Boca Royale community will be expanding over the next few years. New staff, new dining menus and a perfectly manicured golf course are already setting Boca Royale apart as one of the finest golf and country clubs in the region with a reputation for delivering a quality, Florida lifestyle.

    Neal Communities is building homes within Boca Royale and offers homeowners a variety of new home options at Boca Royale. The builder offers single-family homes from its Cove and Signature Series, and paired villas from the Coral Series. Homes range in size from 1,434 square feet to 3,262 square feet. Homes are nestled amidst existing and established oaks and preserved land.

    Located right off of 776, Boca Royale has access to shopping, beaches, and entertainment. For more information about the community and country club, please go to www.bocaroyale.com or call 941-475-6464.

     


  3. A Night to Remember

     

    A few weeks ago John Neal Homes hosted a very special Realtor® event celebrating the opening of their newest model home in the Haddington neighborhood of Country Club East in Lakewood Ranch. Homes start in the $400’s and up in this community depending upon your lot and upgrades. Their new Palmavera model offers a spacious, refreshingly open floor plan that overlooked a small lake.

    Inside the spacious kitchen, John Neal Homes had brought in the celebrity Chef Tommy Klauber, and his staff from Polo Grill and Fête Catering and Ballroom, located on Main Street in Lakewood Ranch.

    The honored guests enjoyed a wine tasting with about eight various wines to try from Michael’s Wine Cellar. An array of hors d’oeuvres from Fête Catering, were served. From Moll’s Mac & Cheese Balls to hand picked Mini Blue Crab Cakes with a sweet chili dipping sauce; each appetizer was to die for.

    While guests toured this stunning home, John Neal was available to answer any questions about the property and the available upgrades. Meanwhile, Chef Tommy Klauber, demonstrated how to make his Sarasota Seafood Pan Roast.

    This surely was a night to remember! Good wine, good-looking food, gorgeous homes and great cooking skills.

     

     


  4. Say Goodbye Stress this September

    Life can be completely overwhelming. Balancing work, personal, financial and family priorities can be tough! For those with kids, fall schedules can be packed with soccer practices,

    cross country meets, football games, school functions, and other activities that stretch you too thin.

    It is important to find time to do activities that help you cope and overcome stress.  Here are a few tips to manage anxiety and help lower your stress levels.

    Physical Activities- According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension. Elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem.  Exercise may improve mental health by helping the brain cope better with stress. In one study, researchers found that those who got regular vigorous exercise were 25 percent less likely to develop depression or an anxiety disorder over the next five years. As a Neal Communities resident, many of our communities offer amenities to make exercise easy!

    River’s Reach offers sand volleyball courts, a fitness center, canoe and kayak livery, and more.

    Boca Royale offers residents amenities such as an 18-hole golf course, tennis facilities, and more!

    Grand Palm offers residents fitness classes such as Zumba, Water Aerobics, and Yoga.  View the schedule to find when classes are held!

    Nutrition- The American Psychological Association suggests that 50% of men and women use food as a major coping mechanism for dealing with stress. The reason for this is because fatty and sugary foods in these times is because they release serotonin. Serotonin is the body’s “feel-good” chemical. To avoid gaining weight in stressful times, follow these tips:

    • Portion out the foods you eat so you are aware of how much you are eating.
    • Eat healthy snacks versus fatty or fried foods.
    • Think about what you are eating. If you feel pressed for time, try some of these 30 minute healthy dinners!


    Have some fun! Try a new activity to keep busy and meet new people. Many of our communities offer amenities to help you do this. Consider cooking out, lounging by the pool to soak in some Vitamin D, go for a long walk on one of the nature trails, check out nearby shopping, or consider attending some of the events thrown within your community!

    Life can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Follow these simple tips to relive some stress. Exhale tension. Inhale serenity.


  5. Kickoff Football Season with Recipes That Will Score Big

    Fall. There are so many things about this time of the year to be excited for. Cooler weather, pumpkin coffee, and the return of football just to name a few.

    Do you have people over for the games or hangout with friends? While arguments can arise on who will win, if the penalty was fair, or whom the referees seem to be favoring, one thing is for sure; the recipes we are about to share will be a hit. No ifs, ands, or buts about it!

    Bored of the simple and overused chips and salsa? Add some flavor by subbing guacamole.  Avocado is delicious and healthy so you can enjoy this snack guilt free. This recipe, from Jeanette’s Healthy Living is a winner!

     

     

    Guacamole

    Ingredients

    2 large avocados

    1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

    1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne, depending on how spicy you like it

    1/2 medium red onion, finely diced

    1 large tomato, seeded and diced

    1 tablespoon cilantro, minced

    1 garlic clove, minced

    Directions

    .     Cut avocados in half. Stick a knife in the seed and give it a twist to loosen seed. Pull out the seed using the knife. Use a spoon to scoop out the avocado flesh. Place avocado and lime juice in a mortar and pestle and mash until smooth.

    .     Add salt, cumin and cayenne and mash until well combined with avocado.

    .     Add onions and mix to combine.

    .     Add tomatoes, cilantro and garlic, and mix well.

    .     Serve with tortilla chips.

     

    If you are craving something a little more filling,  consider making these effortless meatballs, which only require three ingredients, to rally the teams!

    Meatballs

    Ingredients

    1 bottle chili sauce

    1 (14oz) can jellied cranberry sauce

    2 pound bag frozen meatballs

    Directions

    Are you ready for this? It doesn’t get any easier! Dump all of the ingredients into a crockpot and heat until the meatballs are warm.

    Saving the best for last, let us not forget dessert.  Check out these beautiful chocolate covered strawberries decorated to look like footballs! If you are brave enough to make these, make sure to refrigerate the chocolate dipped strawberries until the chocolate is hard enough to decorate with white frosting. 

    Whether you decide to cheer on the hometown team this season, the team with the cutest quarterback, or the team you’ve been following since you were born, offer these delicious football snacks to win over fans and score big!


  6. Do It Yourself Projects- Time to Get Crafty

    Do you enjoy making things from scratch, or repurposing old items and making them into something fresh and new? Or perhaps you are always looking for new ways to get your house more organized.

    Consider trying some DIY projects? With a little Pinterest inspiration, you will be surprised to learn that even you can be the next Martha Stewart, impressing your friends (and yourself) with organization ideas, recipes, and even crafts!

    To start, visit our Neal Communities Pinterest Page to get inspired! In this blog, we are going to outline how you can use wooden pallets to create beautiful and rustic home décor. You heard us correctly, wooden pallets.

    Many times, local business and stores have wooden pallets laying around that they will give you for free. Try asking larger department and grocery stores after deliveries take place. Another suggestion is many times people offer wooden pallets for free on Craigslist!

    Project One: Create the perfect patio table. Doesn’t this picture make you want to be sitting in one of those chairs, drinking lemonade with an old friend? One of the things we loved most about this particular table was the wheels on the bottom, allowing you to move it around as necessary. You have the ability to stain the wood whatever color you like! Check out this YouTube Video on how to stain wood.

     

     

    The second idea we loved was the idea of using the wooden pallets as a headboard. The wood immediately gives the bed a rustic look and paired with the white bedding, the headboard really stands out.  If this were our bedroom, we would place fresh lilacs on the nightstand for a spice of color – not to mention, we love how they  smell! Would you use this idea for your headboard?

     

     

    Even if you don’t consider yourself to be crafty, you might want to become crafty just to create this beautiful outdoor sofa! While the project might take more time than the others, the end result will be worth it! Decorate the finished product with colored pillows of your choice or swap pillows out based on the season.  Where would you place this new piece of furniture? Something about this chair makes us want to place it outside where we can sit in it and catch the sun set.

     

     

    What are some of YOUR ideas of things you would create using wooden pallets?  Whether you are a seasoned expert or a beginner in the craft department, with a little time and a lot for patience, you can create beautiful pieces like the one above. If you want to brush up on your skills before trying these at home, check out some local craft classes in Sarasota.  Plus, your local craft stores, such as Michaels, offers classes year round. Join in the fun and get building! Be sure to share photos of items you’ve created for your Neal Communities home on our Facebook page!

     


  7. Swimming Safety 101

    Summer is finally here! It’s the time of year when we can soak up the sun, drink lemonade, and relax in the pool whenever we want.

    If you have a pool, you are certainly lucky, but you also need to keep in mind the responsibility that comes with it.

    Did you know, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of drowning ranks 5th among the leading causes of unintentional death in the U.S? Sadly, one in five people who die from drowning are ages 14 and younger.

    Keep these tips from Waterscapes Pools and Spa, the masterminds behind Neal Communities’ casual and elegant pools, in in mind for a safe summer.

     Invest in a pool cover. Anytime your pool isn’t being used, place a cover over it. This will lower chances of someone falling in.

    Invest in a fence. It is recommended for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, that pool owners install a four-sided fence, at least 4 feet high.  Waterscapes will take measurements to create a custom fence for your pool and ensure all requirements are met.

    Consider an alarm. In accordance with the Florida Building code, Waterscapes installs a child safety fence and alarms. This is a removable mesh fence designed with the intent of creating a protective barrier around pools to keep young children and infants safe.  Due to the way it is designed, it is easy for adults to remove, supervise small children around, and replace when needed.

    Enforce No Diving. Make sure visitors know to jump in feet first to avoid head injuries.

    Enforce No Running. If you have a floor around the pool that gets slippery when it’s wet, encourage visitors to walk around your pool instead of running. This will help decrease the likelihood of an injury.

    Keep the water sanitary. Make sure you are cleaning the pool regularly and checking the water for a proper pH level. Otherwise, bacteria and germs can cause sickness and infections to swimmers.

    Keep an eye out. Never leave a child unattended at the pool. Even in a moment’s time, something could happen. Be sure to remove items that might tempt a child to enter the poo, such as beach toys or beach balls.

    Don’t forget the Sunscreen. Even on a cloudy day, your skin is still exposed to the sun. Be sure to lather up to avoid painful burns.

    It’s always a good idea to teach children how to swim if you have a swimming pool or to offer floating devices. The better swimmer they are, the more comfortable you will feel having them around the water. Local YMCA’s and other swimming school offer these lessons all over the Sarasota area.

    Now that you have these tips, jump on in and have some fun in the sun!


  8. Are you Ready to Cast a Line This Summer?

    The first week of June is recognized as “Fishing Week.” (As if you needed another excuse to go fishing!) Living near the beautiful Gulf of Mexico opens many opportunities to Neal Community residents to go fishing.

    But in order to not let something like this happen to you, keep these safety tips in mind.

    -Wear sunscreen- Not only will your skin hate you if you forget to lather up, but you’ll scare aware the fish, too.

    -Take a lifejacket. Can you float? Can you float better than a floatation device, such as a lifejacket? We didn’t think so, so make sure to have it packed.

    -Bring a buddy. There is safety in numbers, so use this as the perfect time to reconnect with an old friend.

    -Use your equipment responsibly- Check behind you before casting to ensure a nothing is behind you. Remember, you are fishing for fish, not trees or other fisherman.  Leave your tackle box in an area where you or someone else is unlikely to trip on it.

    -Pack a first aid kit. Make sure to have a kit stocked with band-aids, gauze, medical tape, and other survival items.

    So where can you reel in a prize fish in the Sarasota area? Check out this website for the locations of local saltwater piers, tips on how to prepare what you catch, and even seafood restaurants in case you just can’t wait until you get home and grill your own.

    Fishing isn’t a dangerous sport, especially if you follow these safety tips. So cast your line and enjoy your time fishing.

    “If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there’d be a shortage of fishing poles.” – Doug Larson


  9. Tips to Get Your Home Squeaky Clean

    Cleaning isn’t exactly on our list of “Favorite Things,” but who doesn’t enjoy having a clean and beautiful home?

    We found these cleaning tips on Pinterest and wanted to share.

    Cleaning a Shower head

    Simply put 1/3 cup baking soda, and 1 cup white vinegar in a zip lock bag. Wrap the baggie around the shower head and keep it in place with a twist tie or rubber band, letting it soak for 2-3 hours or overnight. Wipe it off when you carefully remove it. Looks as good as new!

    Removing scuff marks

    Try using WD-40 on a scrub brush. Seems odd, but works wonders.

    Stainless Steel Cleaner

    If your toaster, fridge, or even granite counter top need a wash, use 1 Tbsp. Cream of Tarter with a few drops of water. Rub it onto the appliance with a sponge brush and wipe it clean with a damp paper towel. The results will amaze you!

    Dirty Pans

    If you have cookie sheets or muffins tins that you’ve considered throwing away due to their appearance, don’t be wasteful! Instead, use tea tree oil to scrub it right off.

    Electronics

    If you have coffee filters lying around, use one to wipe dust off electronics such as TVs and stereos.

    For more cleaning tips you might not have thought of, check out the full article.

    Happy cleaning!


  10. Have some Fun this Month!

    The Gulf of Mexico is lined with beautiful beaches and has so much to offer Neal Community residents!

    If you are beach-goer, don’t miss the Siesta Key Sand Sculpture Contest. Held on May 4 near the Pavilion, this event is free and open for anyone to compete in. Read more about it.

    Foodies will love the 3rd Annual Food and Wine on the Pine event which features more than 30 wines, independent restaurant owners, and craft beers. Come eat, drink, and be merry!

    Fishermen and women can participate in the 82nd Sarasota Sports Fishing Anglers Club Tarpon Tournament held May 12-June 17. The $100 entry fee will benefit The Suncoast Charities for Children. Cast a line and join in the fun!

    If you are beer enthusiast don’t miss the Venice Brew Bash featuring great bands and well, beer! For only $30 dollars, you will have unlimited beer tasting, but you must be over the age of 21. This will be held from 4 p.m.- 8 p.m. on May 25.

    Don’t forget about Memorial Day! May 26 from 6p.m.- 9p.m. a Tribute to Heroes Memorial Day Parade will take place at Lakewood Ranch. Come for the music, food, drinks, parade, and fun! And certainly come to honor our troops.

    There’s so much to do and so little time. Make the most of your May by attending these events and more.