Decorating with Flair… While Keeping it Fair

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Decorating is one of the most fun aspects of the holidays. It’s the time of the year when your lawn goes from the same everyday style to a winter wonderland. If you’re in a community with an HOA or are looking to keep everyone in your neighborhood happy, this one’s for you.

Keep it Tasteful

It’s very easy to get carried away with holiday decorations, Christmas and Halloween especially. Keep in mind, that while it’s on your own lawn, everyone in the neighborhood will be subjected to anything you place on display. If your Holiday lights create too much light pollution, you may need to keep them off during respectable hours so as to not wake any of your neighbors up. Lights that blink or are too bright can be subject to local ordinances as well. These rules vary by city or county and violations could result in ticketing and fining.

As tempting as going extreme Holiday decorating is, it’s not worth giving yourself a record.

Talk With Your Neighbors

If you’re new to the area or want to start decorating this year, try asking a community member about decorating policies for your community. Talking with the people who live around you creates a sense of Holiday cheer and helps you stay in good graces with people you could be living next to for a while. It’s not always possible to please everyone but stick with a good balance of your own tastes with your communities.

Community Policies

Does your community have an HOA? Does that HOA prohibit year round decorations, lights, or signage? Some communities are more lenient for the Holidays and are worth the quick chat with your association members to find out. Keep in mind that these rules and regulations are contractually enforceable in your neighborhood.

Keeping the Peace

There are a multitude of ways to celebrate this Holiday season. It may be Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or maybe nothing at all. Many neighborhoods are multi-cultural, and part of being a good neighbor is to respect everyone’s right to celebrate how they choose.

This is the time of year to think about each other.

If you have a theme for your front yard, be polite and kind about your presentation and do your part to keep peace in your neighborhood for the Holiday season.

Bottom Line

The best way to keep your Holiday Decorating stress-free is to research, talk with your neighbors and community members, and to be thoughtful in your planning.

 

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Fall Fun in Florida

maple-leaf-3680684_960_720The official start of fall has arrived (according to the calendar at least.)  While the weather is still quite warm here in sunny Florida, it’s still not a bad time to start planning some fun, autumn activities with the family.

Fall is probably the best time to enjoy the outdoors in Florida.  Hiking and camping are popular this time of year as well as biking.  Florida has a plethora of trails to explore throughout the season.  Homosassa, FL is another wonderful place to visit to enjoy wildlife in the great outdoors.  Manatees are active this time of year and plentiful in the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park.

If you are a fan of the theme park scene, head over to Epcot for the annual International Food and Wine Festival.  You can taste culinary delights from around the world without ever leaving your state!  For more low-key fun, check out your local farmers market or head to downtown Jacksonville for the their Jaxtoberfest celebration.  There will be plenty of delicious food and fun to kick off your fall celebrations.

When people think of fall, they usually think of leaves.  Contrary to popular belief, Florida does have a fall leaf season!  You will most likely have to travel a little to see it.  If you want to enjoy our state’s version of fall leaves, you can head to Torreya State Park in the Panhandle.  This area looks a bit different than most of the state and you’ll get to see some beautiful colors around late October.  You can also view lovely, red sugar maples in Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park which is located south of Tallahassee.  It’s worth these day trips to get a little exposure to one of the things people love most about autumn!

Whatever you decide to do, be sure to get out and enjoy all of the fun things happening across Florida during the fall season!

What to Know About Spring Allergies

AllergiesWhile springtime means warmer weather and beautiful blooms, it also means allergy season. With the trees and flowers popping up all around us, pollen becomes a major player when it comes to allergies.

Types of pollen

At the beginning of the season, tree pollen is most common, and as the season moves to mid-spring, grass pollen comes into play. Eventually, as we approach summer, we see weed-related allergies added to the mix.

Signs of pollen season

Common indications that pollen season has arrived include not only the trees and flowers in full bloom, but also the yellow-colored residue we see on our cars and other places. That is actually pollen itself and a clear sign that the stuffy nose you have may not be a cold-it could be allergies.

A cold vs. allergies

Many people have frequent colds and struggle distinguishing between a cold and allergies. However, fevers, chills and discolored nasal mucus are clear signs of a cold-not allergies.

Allergies are commonly distinguished by nasal itching, ear itching, throat itching, clear nasal discharge and sneezing. All of these are more likely to be seen with allergies than with the common cold, although the symptoms can overlap in some cases. Common sinus infections are also an indication of an individual with allergies.

Providing relief

There are over-the-counter medications available for allergies. Allegra, Claritin, Zyrtec and Xyzal are common medications you can purchase at a drug store. These are all 24-hour, non-sedating medications known as second-generation antihistamines. These are safe to take daily for relieving chronic allergy symptoms. It is typically safe to switch between antihistamines if one isn’t working for you.

First-generation sedating antihistamines include Benadryl and Diphenhydramine, which work short-term for about six hours and aren’t recommended for chronic allergy symptoms.

If nasal congestion or drip continue to be a problem for you, consider adding a nasal steroid (brand names like Flonase, Fluticasone and Nasacort) along with your antihistamine. Some of these are available over-the-counter. One spray per nostril is recommended while your symptoms persist.

Other nasal sprays, such as Afrin, aren’t intended for allergy relief and are recommended to relieve cold symptoms only. Ask your allergist or primary care physician which is right for you.

Immunotherapy

Not all patients find relief from antihistamines or nasal sprays. If this is the case for you, you may want to explore immunotherapy. There are two kinds of allergy immunotherapy: allergy shots, or subcutaneous immunotherapy, and sublingual immunotherapy, such as tabs or drops taken orally. Allergy shots are known to be more effective, but if you aren’t fond of shots, the sublingual treatments are an alternative. The long-term goal of immunotherapy is to alter your immune system in order to relieve your allergy symptoms for good.  This result can’t be guaranteed and is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Other culprits

Because we live in the Sunshine State, many pollen sources can bloom year-round along with other allergy culprits. Some wide-spread factors causing allergies all year include dust mites, mold and pet dander.

If you have any questions about your allergies, visit an allergist who can test you to find out exactly what you are allergic to and work with you to find relief.

Source: UCF College of Medicine

What Can You Do to Avoid the Flu?

Flu PicThis year has been a particularly tough flu season.  The strain going around this year has infected many people and has been more severe than recent years.  The flu is a contagious virus that spreads through droplets that are produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.  It can also live on surfaces and be introduced into the body when a person touches his or her eyes, mouth, or nose.

How do you know if you have the flu?  Some people can easily mistake it for a cold.  Flu symptoms often come on very suddenly and can include a fever, sore throat, body aches, cough, headache, and fatigue.  If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is recommended that you visit your doctor.  Though antibiotics will not help the flu since it is a virus, your doctor still might be able to prescribe you a medication that can lessen the length and severity of the illness.  It is also important to stay home from work or school if you think you may have the flu to avoid spreading it further and risking getting others sick and then possibly getting infected again yourself.

Of course, none of want to have to deal with having the flu!  What are the best ways to protect yourself?

  • Get the flu vaccine. Even though this year’s vaccine is not as effective due to the type of strain, it still offers some protection.  It is not too late to get the vaccine and many insurance companies will cover it as well.  Each year, doctors recommend getting the flu shot since it is your best protection against contracting the flu.
  • Wash your hands regularly. Try to scrub your hands with soap and water often, especially after being in contact with someone that is ill or touching common surfaces. If no soap is available, use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid contact with sick people if possible. Sometimes this may not be practical if you are caring for a sick family member, but try to limit unnecessary contact with those that are ill with the flu.
  • Sanitize surfaces. Keep common areas in your home, work, and school space clean.  Disinfect things like door handles, desks, and don’t forget your technology!  Keyboards, phones, remote controls, etc. can often harbor a lot of germs since they are touched so often.  Wipe them down with a sanitizing wipe often.
  • Protect others. If you are sick and must be out, cover your cough and sneezes with a tissue and then throw the tissue away.  This will help protect others and also keep you from risking infecting yourself again.

These precautions can help keep you well during this flu season as well as future flu seasons.  Stay well!

5 Tools Everyone In The Community Association Management Industry Should Be Using

community

The community association management industry is large and can sometimes feel difficult to navigate  Whether you are a board member, resident, or a community association manager there are tips and tools out there that can help make your life easier.

  1. If you are a board member, consider hiring a community association management company if you do not have one. Managing a community on your own can be both challenging and stressful.  Board members are volunteers and often other life demands are competing for your attention.  A community association management company can be a powerful tool to help you successfully manage your community and keep up with the ever-changing laws and regulations surrounding HOA and condominium management.
  1. Utilize a community website. A community website is a great investment for any homeowners or condo association.  A regularly updated website can be a great way to answer frequently asked questions from residents.  This can be a timesaver since it will cut down on phone calls and emails.
  1. Work with an attorney well versed in association law. Statues sometimes change and even existing ones can often be interpreted in different ways.  An association law attorney can be a great resource for your community anytime you need help understanding how certain laws apply to situations within your community.
  1. Get people involved. Managing a community is tough work.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help!  See if members of the community want to get involved in a committee or if they wish to volunteer for special events.  This will take some pressure off of you and also give your residents an opportunity to make a different in the neighborhood.
  1. Your governing documents. This sounds like a given, but it is still worth a mention.  Read your documents thoroughly and be sure to review them anytime you need a refresher.  This is your most important tool for effectively managing the community and deciding whether or not future amendments should be added if times have changed or if the culture of the community has changed.  This is another area where a community association management company can help.  They employ CAMs that are experts in governing documents and can help keep a community from making a costly mistake due to a misunderstanding.

We hope you find these tools useful when working with your association.  Leland Management has been in the association management business for 20 years and are well versed in all of these areas.  If you have questions about managing your association or are interested in community association management services, please reach out to us at info@lelandmanagement.com or 407-447-9955!

The Benefits of Being Thankful

giving-thanks-2Once again, the holiday season is upon us!  While there are many exciting and joyous times ahead, sometimes the stress of the season can get to us and cloud the purpose behind some of these festivities.  Let’s take Thanksgiving, for example.  Many of us get anxious about purchasing groceries, cleaning our homes in preparation for guests, and then cooking what is often the largest meal of the year!  What if we tried to take a moment to slow down and appreciate this holiday for what it is intended to be – a day to be around our loved ones and to think about what we are grateful for.

Being thankful is not just about being polite.  There are some real benefits to it that are backed up by science!  Spending just five minutes each day focusing on what you are grateful for can improve your physical and emotional health more than 10%.  This impact is the same as what you would feel if your income doubled.  Additionally, those that focus on being thankful often have better social lives.  Showing gratitude in our day to day lives makes us kinder and more appreciative which tends to have a positive effect on how others perceive us.

Thankfulness can also make us more optimistic and less materialistic.  Sometimes during this time of year, we can get caught up in the value of objects, but if you make it a point to practice gratitude in your daily life, you may find that you focus more on things like family, friends, and hobbies instead of material objects.  This can help improve your general outlook on your own life and circumstances.

With so many benefits associated with being thankful, what better time a year to start practicing?  Consider keeping a journal for the rest of the year and each day write a couple of lines of things you are grateful for.  Take your growing positivity and share it with others!  Consider working to get your neighborhood together for a Thanksgiving celebration.  You could do a potluck to spend time together or perhaps invite neighbors that might be alone during the holidays over to share in your celebrations.

This is also a good time to help the community.  Your association could consider hosting a food drive or get a group of volunteers together to help out at a local shelter or soup kitchen.  This is something that people of all ages can participate in and it can help remind you of all you have to be grateful for!

The holidays only come around once a year and can fly by in a blur of activity.  Try to take a moment to close your laptop, put down your cell phone, and truly enjoy the special things that happen this time of year and most of all, enjoy spending extra time with family, friends, and neighbors.  That is something to truly be thankful for!

 

 

Four Swaps To Upgrade Your Diet

Healthy SwapA healthy diet consists of fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, nuts and lean proteins such as chicken, fish and eggs. It is possible to switch to a healthier diet without making a dramatic change. Here are a couple of simple food substitutions that can transform your diet:

Have a protein smoothie or shake for breakfast

Sometimes, with our busy schedules, we do not have time to make breakfast. Instead of skipping breakfast or choosing bad options, try a protein smoothie. Ingredients like peanut butter, oats and Greek yogurt are natural ingredients that provide a protein boost. They will help you burn more calories all day, keep your energy high and balance your blood sugar. Smoothies from many retail outlets are loaded with sugar. When making your own, opt for fresh or frozen, no-sugar-added fruits which make your smoothie sweet. Sneak in some greens – like spinach or kale – to add to your veggie intake. (You’ll never taste them.)

Eat quality meats

When it comes to meat, try to avoid antibiotics, pesticides, hormones and mercury from grain-fed eggs and meats. Swap them for products from grass-fed, pasture-raised and free-range animals. If you are looking for fish, shop for wild-caught varieties.

Increase Healthy Fats

Some fats are good for you! Foods such as avocado, wild-caught salmon and olive oil are healthy. So are nuts like almonds, walnuts and pistachios. Try increasing these foods in your diet.

Cut the coffee

The caffeine in coffee can rev up your stress hormones. Try reducing your caffeine intake by switching to green tea. The caffeine is less, and you get the added benefit of healthy antioxidants. You can also try cutting down caffeine by mixing your regular coffee with decaf, or look for lower-caffeine varieties.

Source: UCF College of Medicine

Community Spotlight – Ventura at Turtle Creek

DSCN0194We are pleased to spotlight one of our beautiful communities located in Brevard County!  Ventura at Turtle Creek was founded in 2007 and turned over to homeowner control in 2012.  This gated condominium community is located in Rockledge.  With 160 units, this is the perfect place to get to know your neighbors and truly understand the meaning of the word “community”.

PoolVentura at Turtle Creek has a lovely pool area with a nature preserve and lake near the buildings.  The nature trail is a favorite for residents of the community since it provides a lovely place to take a run or a stroll and feel like you are away from the hustle and bustle of the city.  The residents enjoy getting together and meet annually for a Neighborhood Watch Meeting as well as an Ice Cream Social. Nature Trail

Since Leland began managing Ventura, the community has implemented preventative maintenance programs for all elements and systems, fully funded reserves, and have begun replacing all existing lighting with LED lighting.  The community association manager, Racheal Meade, appreciates the cohesive leadership of the Board, positive feedback, and consistent support from the membership of the association.  One thing that sets the association apart is the presence of an environmental committee that monitors and reports on the health of wildlife in the area.

We are pleased to manage Ventura at Turtle Creek and can’t wait to see all of the exciting events that will happen in the future!

Close Clubhouse

Why You Should Include Pumpkin In Your Diet

Pumpkin

Pumpkin-flavored everything is popular this time of year. But you don’t need to wait for fall to enjoy this nutrient-rich vegetable! Pumpkins are more than just Halloween decorations or pie fillings; they are low in calories as well as rich in vitamins and nutrients!

Benefits

Pumpkins are packed with vitamin A, which is good for your eyesight and immune system. One single cup or serving of pumpkin can supply your body with 200 percent of the recommended daily intake. Pumpkins are a great source of beta-carotene, which gives them their natural orange color. Because of this, consuming pumpkins can reduce your risk for heart disease and certain types of cancers.

Pumpkins can help with weight loss, too. There are only 50 calories per cup, and they are a great source of fiber, which slows digestion and can keep you feeling fuller longer.

How to incorporate pumpkin into your diet

  • Canned pumpkin is very flexible for cooking and baking. Instead of using oil or butter when baking, pumpkin puree is a great substitute. You can even use it in soups or sauces to thicken them. Be sure to read the label to be certain of all the ingredients. Some brands may add unnecessary sugar.
  • Roast pumpkin for an easy side dish.
  • Mix pumpkin into your smoothies

Credit: UCF College of Medicine

It’s Almost Back to School Time!

Back to SchoolMost of the Central Florida school districts will be kicking off the 2017 school year in the next week or two.  It’s hard to believe it is that time already!  This can be both an exciting and a stressful time for kids and parents.  We have a few tips to help ease you into the school year like a pro and make a great start for your kids (and you!)

  • Planning ahead is crucial! The more you can try to get prepared for ahead of time the better.
  • Start getting your children back to their school sleep routine now. This will help ease them back into it so it is not so difficult for them to fall asleep/wake up when the school year starts.
  • Post a family calendar so everyone can keep track of all of the activities the school year brings. Consider posting a second homework calendar to help keep everyone focused on what the kids need to do and when they might need some help from Mom or Dad.
  • Consider organizing some playdates with some of your kids’ classmates. Hopefully they are going back into the school year together so this will help reestablish those friendships that may have gotten neglected over the summer.
  • Check through last year’s school supplies in case there are things that didn’t get used. This can save you some money when you go shopping!
  • Use this time before school officially starts to get your kids accustomed to laying out their clothes for the next day the night before, packing things that will be needed in the morning before bed, etc. This will hopefully make those hectic mornings run more smoothly!
  • Make an inbox for school related documents. Teach your child to remember to put things that need a parent’s attention in the inbox and remember to check this inbox every day for things like permission slips or homework that needs review.
  • Make an age appropriate rewards program for your children. This will help add motivation for your child to meet important goals.
  • Don’t forget to carve out time for fun activities and happy family time. Don’t let yourself or your children get too burned out by working constantly.

Follow these tips along with anything else you can think of that will work with your family routine.  Don’t be afraid to give your child age-appropriate tasks to be responsible for during the school year.  This will help give your kid a sense of ownership and control over their day.  Most importantly, remember to work together as a family unit!  This can be a hard time for families, but you are all there to support each other so lean on one another when needed!

We wish you all a happy and successful start to the school year!