Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.

Are you looking to make a few renovations to your home this summer but worried about the strain it might have on your budget? Better yet, are you unable to make renovations BECAUSE of your budget? Rest assured. You can have your cake and eat it, too. This summer, add a little splash of green to your home (I hear that color is in this season) and use the three "re" rule:

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.

You will find hidden gems in your own home, cut down on costs, and help the environment. There is really no down side to this approach.


Reduce your product waste by investing in reusable items. The most common and practical example of this is buying a water bottle (Britta or Bobble has filtered water bottles). Sure, the water bottle costs about $10.00 and I promised that you wouldn't spend any money... but think of all of the money that you will save by drinking tap water through your filtered bottle rather than buying packs of plastic water bottles at the grocery store - not to mention the plastic you will save.

On average (before I switched to a filtered water bottle), I consumed about four or five waters a day. That's about 35 waters a week. On sale, a pack of 24 water bottles is about $4.00. Therefore, each water bottle costs about $0.17. So I was paying roughly $5.95 a week on water bottles. Keep in mind that my Bobble costs about $10.00 and the filter lasts for three months. In three months, I would have spent about $70.00 on water cases alone, as opposed to the $10.00 for my filtered water that also cuts down on environmental waste.

Another great tip to reduce energy and money spent is to keep the lights off during the day. Let's face it, the middle of summer in Florida is hot and bright. Open the curtains and turn off the floor lamps. The temperature in your home will not change, and you will notice more refreshing light throughout each room. Not to mention, your electricity bill will drop drastically.

The "reduce" portion of your home renovations does not really include renovating your home. Instead, it focuses on tricks within the home to free up some of your budget for later renovations.


Virtually everything in your house can be reused in a different capacity to add a fresh look to any room. However, if I listed every item conversion, this blog post would quickly turn in to a novel. Therefore, I will focus this section on the conversion of the coffee can. Pretty much everyone has a coffee can of some sorts (all types can be used) and there are endless possibilities for a coffee can's use - not to mention they are really easy to spruce up!

My favorite use of a coffee can (the taller, tin kind) is a storage container in my kitchen. I store my flour, sugar, and other supplies in these containers. The renovation is simple: paint the tin any color that you would like. I usually use a lighter color that coordinates with my other kitchen decorations. Then, paint a rectangle across one side in black chalkboard paint (about $3-$5 at Michaels). Write in chalk whatever you are storing in this particular container. Use ribbons to add your own touch of pizzazz!

Or cover the cans in colorful paper and turn them sideways to create a pyramid of storage...

Maybe you are looking to add something special to your outdoor patio for the upcoming summer parties? Use your tin cans as lanterns or center pieces. Paint the cans whatever color you would like, then use a small-bit drill to drill whatever decoration you would like. For the lantern, attach a light socket to the bottom of a wire and hang it. For the candle, just place a small tea candle in the bottom of the can and let it shine!


Recycling is very similar to reusing. Essentially, it is the art of finding something that you would ordinarily throw away and using it for something else in your home. One of my favorite crafts in this category is recycling old clothes for coasters. Here is the "how-to" from ThrifyFun:

Old shirts or leftover fabric make great coasters. Braid strips of 1 1/2 inch strips of fabric and tie several together if you want larger coasters. Take the braided strips and lay them next to each other creating circles. As you wind the braided strips, stitch them with similar colored thread and needle by hand. They make great coasters and can be washed.

You can also hang these in groups on accent walls for a little pop of color!

Hope these little tips free up some of your budget and add that extra little pop of special to your home decorations!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Memorial Day Off the Beaten Path

For most people, Memorial Day weekend means one thing: beach. What could be better than setting up on the shore for three days without the interruption of emails or phone calls? Of course, everyone in Florida is probably thinking the same thing, so you are going to face a huge crowd at any beach this weekend. And don't head to the mall for refuge, because you will only encounter all of the frantic shoppers taking advantage of the Memorial Day sales.

So how do get out of the house on Memorial Day without confronting the throngs of people attempting to relax with you?
                                                         It's simple. Stay off the beaten path.

1. Go to a state park.
    Pack a picnic and bring a Frisbee. The wide open air and sunshine will give you the relaxation
    that you crave, while still providing many opportunities to run and play for any children you might 
    be bringing. When it gets too hot in the afternoon, relax under the trees or find a pavilion with a
    grill to have some lunch.

2. Rent a Canoe or Paddle Board
    You can still enjoy the water without having to bring out your black belt to claim your spot on the
    sand. Most canoe and paddle board companies rent by the hour, half or full day. Head to the beach
    or find some back waters that are a little calmer (and possibly more shaded) and enjoy some
    relaxing time on the water.

3. Take a Food Journey
    Go to your favorite beach area, but instead of heading to the water, take this opportunity to check
    out some of those restaurants that you've always wanted to try, but never quite find the time. Pick
    three or four restaurants that you want to try and taste a little bit at each. At the first two, order an
    appetizer. At the third, order an entre or two (to split, of course). Finally, order dessert at the last
    restaurant. While everyone else is frying in the sun, you can be in the air conditioning enjoying the 
    ocean view and the delicious food!

Above all, stay safe this weekend and make sure that whatever you do, have some fun and relaxation!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Facts About Flood

© 2011 Statewide Insurance, LLC.

 Hurricane season is just around the corner and recent studies in the insurance industry have shown that the majority of Floridians are not properly insured to take on the heavy storms.

While some damages from storms are covered under homeowners insurance policies—such as wind (although, you should check with your agent because each policy is different)—the most common form of damage is not protected by homeowners insurance. Even more alarming is that 83% of Americans are not covered for this damage.

Flooding is the most common form of damage, making its path of destruction through Florida mainly during hurricane season. Three out of the eleven most hurricane-prone counties in the U.S. are located in Florida. In 2008, flood loss payments totaled $2.6 billion in the U.S. The following year, the catastrophic loss claims totaled $11.1 billion.

Shockingly, 25% of all flood claims occur in Preferred/Low Risk zones.

The first step to protecting yourself is knowing your options. If you are in a flood zone, your only option is to buy the flood insurance. If you are not in a flood zone, you have a few more choices.

Based on the statistics of flood claims and the increasing tumultuous nature of hurricanes, flood insurance is a good option for everyone. If you are not in a flood zone, then your policy cost will be directly correlated to your homeowners dwelling amount.

For example, if the dwelling coverage on your homeowners policy is $100,000, the premium amount for your flood insurance is $310 annually. The rates increase in small increments as the dwelling amounts increase. This annual premium is a small price to pay when compared to the price of flood damage.

At Fearnow Insurance, we strongly recommend for every home in Florida to be protected by flood insurance. For more information, contact Michelle Odell at (813) 689-8878 ext. 231 or at

It’s not too late to protect yourself from Florida’s most catastrophic natural disaster.