Do You Know Your Fireworks Laws?

dark-1845065_960_720It’s time once again to celebrate the 4th of July!  Millions of people will celebrate Independence Day throughout the country.  Often times, the first thing people think of when picturing a 4th of July celebration is fireworks.  While fireworks are very enjoyable to watch, there are some important things to keep in mind.

In Florida, many types of fireworks are illegal.  Though many people purchase fireworks and sign a waiver, this is actually a misdemeanor offense unless you are using the fireworks to frighten birds away from your crops.  As a general guideline, fireworks that do not fly or leave the ground are okay such as sparklers, colorful smoke bombs, and snakes.  Even fireworks such as Roman candles which seem tamer are not legal.

In addition to fireworks being illegal to purchase, many communities have restrictions in place regarding the use of fireworks in the neighborhood.  Board member Dan Isbell from Trillium of Brooksville communicated to residents regarding this issue.  “We live in close quarters and we need to be considerate of our neighbors and remain lawful,” Dan stated.  “Fireworks can disrupt needed sleep, can frighten babies and/or pets, and can cause tempers to flare.”  Most communities take a similar stance and will enforce the law regarding the use of fireworks.

This is certainly not to say you don’t deserve to celebrate the 4th of July while watching a beautiful fireworks display.  After some fun with cooking out and playing with sparklers, check your local area to find the nearest fireworks display.  These are abundant on 4th of July and often in the days leading up to it.  These shows are put on by professionals that have proper permitting and are able to do these displays in a safe manner.  Many of these displays are free also so bring the entire family to marvel at a lovely light show in the sky.  Most of all, have a safe and enjoyable Independence Day!

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How to Enjoy Camping in the Summer in Florida

campfire-984020_960_720When you think of camping in Florida, most people picture themselves doing this during the milder fall and spring months.  However, summer can still be a wonderful time to go camping in Florida with a little planning.  The time of year is especially ideal since kids are out of school and it can be a very inexpensive family activity.  Follow these tips to have an enjoyable and memorable camping experience!

Water, water, water.  During the summer, your best bet is to find a great camping spot near the water.  Many beaches offer camping.  This is a perfect location since you can spend the day having fun in the sun, and at night you are getting the breeze from the water to keep it cooler than what you would find inland.  Many parks with natural springs also offer camping.  The springs are perfect for an afternoon or evening swim to cool off.  Also, be sure to bring plenty of drinking water!

Keep cool and dry.  Summer in Florida is marked by rain and/or heat.  Prepare for this by bringing a pop up shelter.  This can be set up outside of the tent or over it to provide additional shade and serve to protect you from afternoon rain showers.  Bringing rain jackets or ponchos is also a clever idea.  You can bring sealable plastic bags to protect any electronics or food items from water.  Consider packing a couple of battery powered fans to keep you cool inside of the tent at night.

Don’t get bugged.  Everyone knows mosquitos can be aggravating during the summer.  Bring some bug repellant that includes deet as an active ingredient to discourage pesky insects.  Also pack some anti-itch cream to soothe any bites that do occur.

Have fun!  Plan activities that the family can enjoy during your camping trip.  Swimming is ideal during the hottest part of the day.  Mornings are a great time to go on a nature scavenger hunt and see how many plants and animals you can spot.  In the evening, break out the cards or board games.  Of course, you can’t pass up telling stories around a campfire while roasting marshmallows!  Most of all just relax and enjoy the break from the hustle and bustle.

Don’t let the heat stop you from venturing out to enjoy a camping trip with the family.  Camping is a fantastic way to unplug from the stresses of everyday life and spend quality time with friends and family.  With a few preparations and the right campsite, you will beat the heat and have a trip to remember.

The Importance Of Staying Hydrated During The Summer Months

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Summer means swimming, sports and other outdoor activities. It also means extreme heat and humidity. When you mix physical activity with the summer sun, it can be easy to become dehydrated.

There are several things to keep in mind before sending your kids off to summer camp, the beach and sports conditioning camps, or engaging in summer activities yourself.

Always have water handy

Many believe that eight glasses of water a day is standard for healthy hydration. However, you want to consider drinking at least 12 to 15 glasses a day during the summer months, especially if you are very active and frequently outdoors.

For those engaging in physical activity in the summer heat, such as runners and athletes, make sure to always have a water bottle with you and access to a water source for refills.

Listen to your body

Your body will send warning signals when it’s dehydrated, including extreme fatigue, haziness and dark urine. If you are experiencing these symptoms, grab a glass of cold water as soon as possible. Drinking water will immediately help you feel better and more alert.

In some situations, like when swimming or at the beach, it may be harder to detect dehydration since you’re submerged in water. However, being in water does not hydrate your body. You still need to drink water to avoid dehydration.

Avoid sugary drinks and caffeine

If you are feeling dehydrated, reaching for a soda will not help the problem. The caffeine and sugar in some drinks cannot replace the fluids you lose when you sweat like water can, and they can actually dehydrate you even more. The same is true for alcohol.

It’s also important to have a diet that includes water-rich foods such as vegetables and fruits.

Staying hydrated is important as the summer months approach, and you should never put your health at risk by not consuming enough fluids. Make note of how much water you drink every day and talk to your kids about their activity and consumption habits as well.

Source: UCF College of Medicine

How to Spend a Rainy Memorial Day Weekend

edceee-78881-unsplashEven though the technical first day of summer is still about a month away, many consider Memorial Day Weekend to be the official kickoff to the summer season.  Families all over the state often take a day trip to the beach or have a backyard barbecue which are great options.  However, this year the Sunshine State is not forecasted to be so sunny.  What to do when rain comes to town for the long weekend?

Luckily, there is no shortage of fun, indoor activities for the family.  Here are some ideas on what to do this weekend if there is a washout for the local parade or barbecue.

  • Head to the theater. Movies are always a great rainy day activity and many anticipated movies usually come out over Memorial Day Weekend.  Browse for showtimes and purchase tickets online in advance to make sure you have a spot during the busy weekend.  Also consider checking out a local theater for any plays or other performances going on!  This can be a unique twist on the theater.
  • Learn something. Visit your local museum or science center.  It can be a great opportunity to learn about science, history, art, culture, and more.  If you have younger children, many museums have interactive sections geared towards the little ones so they can learn while having fun.
  • Have a friendly competition. Turn off the electronics and break out the board games or cards!  This is great entertainment for large groups if you need to move the party inside.
  • Get sporty. For some activity, head to the local bowling alley, indoor golf, or arcade.  Many areas are adding indoor sports complexes with a variety of activities so check Google to see if any of these are in your area.
  • Get your nerd on! It’s cool to embrace your inner nerd and what better place to do it than Megacon?  If you can make it to Orlando for Memorial Day weekend you can attend this event which is an homage to all things pop culture.  Enjoy the events and the guests that participate in often impressive cosplay.
  • Remember the reason for the holiday. If a sunny day is in the cards on Monday, many places will sponsor parades and other tributes.  You can also visit your local memorial garden and place decorations and wreaths for fallen veterans.  If it’s a rainy day, consider making some crafts with the kids to decorate with or honor those who sacrificed by writing a letter to someone currently serving.

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There are definitely lots of options when it comes to finding something fun to do over the three-day weekend.  Whatever you decide to do, enjoy time with family and friends and be safe!

7 Fun Ideas for Mother’s Day

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It’s that time of year again. The weather is warming, dreams of summer vacation are on your mind, and kids are excited about getting out of school.  While thinking about these wonderful things, it is important to remember another occasion – Mother’s Day!

While you likely appreciate your mom every day, this is a great time to take a moment and do something special with her to show her your appreciation and gratitude for all she has done for you.  Here are some fun ideas on how to spend Mother’s Day with your best friend since birth.

  • Get packing!  Mother’s Day is a great time to plan a weekend trip.  Check out some travel sites and pick a destination neither of you have ever been to before to experience together.
  • Find something new.  Does your mom like to shop ’til she drops?  Hit local thrift stores to see if you can find that hidden gem you never knew you needed or head to outlet malls to take advantage of some discounts.
  • Brunch it up.  Visit a restaurant you have both been wanting to try.  Be sure to do a quick Google search for Mother’s Day specials; many places have these.
  • Get some fresh air.  Is Mom a nature lover?  Visit a local park or go camping together.  You are guaranteed to get some good quality time.
  • Game on!  Is your family competitive?  Get all of the siblings together with mom to have a game day.  Just be sure to make sure Mom wins a few games on her special day!
  • Pamper yourselves.  Treat your mum to a pedicure, massage, or facial.  This is a great chance for you both to relax together and not have any worries on your mind.
  • Get a hobby.  Does your mom like to garden?  Maybe she enjoys visiting local museums.  Spend the day doing some of her favorite hobbies with her.  You might discover a new hobby for yourself!

Whatever you end up doing for Mother’s Day Weekend, hopefully it will be filled with great memories and happy times.  Let us know what you did for Mother’s Day at socialmedia@lelandmanagement.com.  We love to hear from you!

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

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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