Easy DIY Halloween Costumes for the Whole Family

With just weeks until Halloween, it’s probably about time to start thinking about Halloween costumes, if you haven’t already. You could head to the store and check their supply, but sometimes it’s even more fun if you get to work on creating your own costumes. Here are some easy, do it yourself Halloween costumes that you can start gathering the supplies to create so you are ready for work parties, neighborhood gatherings and trick or treat adventures!

For Couples 

Salt & Pepper: One dresses in white, the other in gray or black. Don’t forget to create some hats! A simple hat could just be disposable round pans, with holes cut in it or circles of construction paper attached. You could also cut out an S and P to tape to your fronts.

Pirates: Grab a bandana and maybe an eyepatch. You can go all-out with the rest of the outfit or piece together a simple pirate costume with what you already own. You can add a pirate’s hate or a sword if you wish, or consider a hook hand!

For the Kids

Arthur: From the kids’s cartoon, you can simply grab some jeans, a yellow sweater, fake glasses and a headband with brown round aardvark ears attached (consider some pink inside the brown, maybe even with some glitter for an added touch!).

Cat: Dress the kiddo in just about any color you want and add a set of cat ears, which are available at most stores with costumes for pretty cheap (maybe even a local dollar store!). For a black cat, just dress in all black; a tuxedo cat can be dressed in black and white; a tabby cat can be dressed in orange. Don’t forget to draw on some whiskers!

Pumpkin: A simple costume to make for smaller children; just grab a plain orange onesie and cut out black construction paper to make the eyes, nose and mouth of your pumpkin! 

Ghost: Depending on the age and preferences of your children, a ghost costume can be created out of a white sheet thrown over their heads, with holes cut out for eyes; or it can a white onesie, T-shirt or full outfit with a ghost like face taped to the front (eyes and maybe a mouth).

For the Whole Family

If you’re looking for family or group costume ideas, consider one of the following:

  • Winnie the Pooh and Friends
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks
  • Harry Potter and friends
  • The Peanuts Gang
  • M&Ms

If you’re planning on buying or selling a home in Florida, let The Edge Group at Keller Williams help. The Edge Group has offices in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Ft. Lauderdale, and our friendly agents have the knowledge and experience needed to make your experience quick and convenient.

Basic Fall Lawn Care Tips for a Lush Lawn

Creating that perfect outdoor space to relax in, play in and entertain in all year long takes a lot of work. It can seem as if there’s an endless list of things to do to have green grass, beautiful flowers and trimmed trees without fallen leaves on every surface beneath them. Fall is the perfect season for outdoor barbeques and parties, with friends and family gathering in your outdoor space. If your lawn is in the front yard, it can help to increase curb appeal and give your home that well-kept look. That’s why it’s important to understand at least the basics of fall lawn care.

Seasonal care requirements for the fall

Reseed your lawn: Usually, turf renovation is done during the fall months, before the ground freezes but after the hot summer months. You can reseed your entire lawn, or target just browning or thinned out areas.

Fertilize grass and other plants: This is often done in the fall, in conjunction with reseeding. When you fertilize, you feed the plants the nutrients it needs to grow and flourish, creating a beautiful display of color in your yard. 

Pest control applications: The time of year you should apply a pesticide depends on what pest you are targeting. 

  • For weeds, this is often done in the spring, as a pre-emergent herbicide, to stop the seeds from germinating. It can also be done with a post-emergent application during the summer or later months of the year (when you see weeds coming up). 
  • If you need to target an insect infestation, you can apply an insecticide as soon as you notice it. 
  • When disease takes over your lawn, shrub or tree, applying a fungicide that targets that disease can help. Read the label for application rates and targeted fungi.

Regular needs on a weekly or monthly basis

Water: You’ll want to do this more than just once a week, but the exact frequency will depend on your plants’ needs, soil moisture levels and rainfall. One size fits all may not work for your yard. A professional can help you get your irrigation system set up to a schedule that can benefit your yard. 

Mow: Mowing your grass is important to keep it healthy. When you regularly mow, you help get water and fertilizer to the soil, where it can be taken in by the roots. Most of the time, keeping grass between two and three inches is good. This height will help encourage deeper roots and reduce weed problems. 

Mulch: Mulching around your plants (and in your grass, especially during renovation) can help with weed control and maintaining a proper soil moisture level. Mulching can be added to your to-do list when you notice the past mulch application has thinned.

Pruning and trimming: Keeping shrubs and flowers trimmed and pruned can help to reduce the dead stems and leaves from taking up space. It also ensures that when you water and fertilize, you are getting that needed care to healthy parts of the plant that will use it.

If you’re planning on buying or selling a home in Florida, let The Edge Group at Keller Williams help. The Edge Group has offices in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Ft. Lauderdale, and our friendly agents have the knowledge and experience needed to make your experience quick and convenient.

Start Listening: International Podcast Day Recommendations

More than half of the adults in the U.S. listen to podcasts, at least occasionally. Are you one of them? On September 30, people around the world celebrate podcasts for International Podcast Day. 

What are podcasts?

Podcasts are audios that are usually free. Sometimes they are fictional, and sometimes they are factual. Sometimes, they are a mix of fact and fiction. There are thousands of podcasts, consisting of millions of episodes, in just about any genre you can imagine. Podcasts are incredibly popular in the U.S., and around the world — and are produced in more than 100 languages. 

If you have never listened to a podcast before, it is something to try out! Podcasts are great for busy people, as they can easily be listened to while commuting, running, walking, eating, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, or just about any task you can think of. 

Popular podcasts to try out

Here are some of the top podcasts featured in Apple’s podcast library that you can get started with, or add to your already full podcast list:

Business

  • HBR IdeaCast: For readers of Harvard Business Review, this podcast brings interviews with industry leaders about all things business.
  • Safe for Work: This podcast covers all sorts of work-related topics, like challenging coworkers, burnout or work-life balance. 
  • Business Wars: If you’re into some conflict in changing industries, check out this newer podcast that digs into case studies on two businesses in war with each other (think Blockbuster and Netflix).

News & Politics

  • The Daily: The New York TImes podcast discusses daily news and politics in a brief morning podcast each weekday so you can quickly get caught up on the topics of the day.
  • Today, Explained: From Vox, this podcast gives some explanation to what’s going on around the world every weekday.
  • Slow Burn: Each season, this podcast covers a political scandal in-depth. Past topics have included Watergate and Bill Clinton’s impeachment.

Comedy

  • Call Your Girlfriend: This conversational podcast is between two female friends, and covers just about every topic you can imagine.
  • My Favorite Murder: A true crime comedy podcast, this is hosted by two women who each discuss a murder or crime each episode, broken up by banter about their lives in LA.
  • My Brother, My Brother and Me: Three brothers answer questions from Yahoo and crack some jokes throughout these episodes.

With more than half a million podcasts, there are sure to be some you enjoy! Browse the podcast app on your phone to see if something catches your eye, and put your headphones in on your next jog, lunch break or cleaning day.

If you’re planning on buying or selling a home in Florida, let The Edge Group at Keller Williams help. The Edge Group has offices in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Ft. Lauderdale, and our friendly agents have the knowledge and experience needed to make your experience quick and convenient.

5 Ways to Decorate for Fall

Fall is right around the corner — literally when you look at the calendar. The first day of autumn is September 23. With the season change comes the desire for many to decorate their home with fall colors, pumpkins and warm, cozy blankets. Here are five ways you can make sure your Florida home is decorated for fall, creating a welcoming environment for your family and your guests.

1. Leaves and foliage

Fall leaves are often a tell-tale time of seasons changing and weather cooling off. You can use fall leaves and branches both inside and outside to decorate your home. Entryways, patios, living rooms and bathrooms can all feature bowls, wreaths or vases of fall foliage. Make some DIY decor, or purchase some from your local stores.

2. Table and dining room area

Make or purchase a centerpiece of fall foliage, pumpkins, pine cones or other small items that remind you of the season. You can even purchase live flowers or ferns, as well as candles or scented items to create a full autumn experience at your dining room table.

3. Throw pillows and blankets

As seasons change and there’s a chill in the air, you may want to add cozy blankets or decorative pillows that are themed or in fall colors. You can find Halloween or Thanksgiving specific items, or just find some in warm, autumn colors to create that warm, cozy environment for guests or just yourself. What better way to have a warm, inviting area to curl up after a long day at work or school?

4. Pumpkins

Paintings, wall decor, fake pumpkins or even real, home-carved jack-o-lanterns all feel like fall to many people. Find some that you love — or create your own. You can purchase pumpkins to decorate at your local craft store, or find some you love at a home goods store. There may even be some in non-traditional colors you can choose from to fit your unique tastes and home decor theme.

5. Candles

Candles add warmth and coziness to just about any room, and with fall scents like leaves, berries, pumpkin spice and cinnamon, you can create a space that feels just like fall — even if it doesn’t feel that way outside yet.

If you’re planning on buying or selling a home in Florida, let The Edge Group at Keller Williams help. The Edge Group has offices in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Ft. Lauderdale, and our friendly agents have the knowledge and experience needed to make your experience quick and convenient.

Tips for Unpacking and Organizing Your New Home

If you’ve just moved into a new home (or if you’ve ever experienced moving into a new home, apartment or dorm room), you know the feeling of being surrounded by boxes and furniture just not in the right place. It can seem overwhelming and stressful to get a new place set up and feeling like a home. However, it doesn’t have to be! Here are a few tips for unpacking and organizing a new home so you don’t feel like it’s going to take forever to be comfortable in your new space.

Have an essentials box.

This should be one of the last on-first off the moving truck, and set in a place where it won’t get buried or lost in the moving mess. In the box, you can include anything you’ll need pretty immediately and anything you’ll need or want within the first few days. This box should have:

  • Medications
  • Toiletries (don’t forget the toilet paper in this box!)
  • Granola bars and other easy snacks
  • Coffee (instant or a coffee pot, filter and grounds)
  • Pet food
  • Some bandaids in case of emergencies
  • Trash bags
  • Phone chargers
  • Any important paperwork you may need

Prioritize your rooms.

Priorities may vary, and can change over the course of your life. The first priority if you have small children may be setting up the nursery or kid’s room. By setting up a crib or bed, changing table, rocking chair and other necessities, you can know that you have that space ready to go in the first few weeks in a new home.

This can also help slightly older children feel a sense of normalcy when their room has their bed, clothes, books and toys set up. It also gives them a space to call their own in a new house, where they may be a little uncomfortable or scared.

Tip: The wall decor can wait, if it needs to! As long as the room has the necessities for the kids, it's good to go.

Other priorities may be the kitchen so you can start cooking in the next few days, or a home office if you will be working from home at all during the transition. For the kitchen, just the essential pots and pans, as well as a few plates, bowls and silverware will suffice for now. In the office, the desk, computer, chair and any of the need-to-haves can be set up early on, with everything else waiting until later.

The garage can wait.

The garage unpacking and organizing can wait until last. You’ll probably end up putting boxes in the garage anyways in the meantime while you unpack the necessities. Just make sure you have the tools you need to assemble furniture handy so you aren’t frantically digging through the garage when bedtime comes.

If you’re planning on buying or selling a home in Florida, let The Edge Group at Keller Williams help. The Edge Group has offices in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Ft. Lauderdale, and our friendly agents have the knowledge and experience needed to make your experience quick and convenient.

Why You Should Add Fresh Flowers to Your Home

Fresh flowers are always a lovely treat to get from someone you love – but they can also be fun to just get for yourself. Most grocery stores have fresh flowers and plants you can add to your cart when doing your weekly shopping, and they don’t have to cost you a ton of money (you can save those more expensive, fancier bouquets for the special occasions you typically think of flowers for).

But why should you start adding in a few extra dollars a week or month to purchase fresh flowers for yourself? Aside from adding some beauty, life and color to your home, here are some benefits you can find from fresh flowers:

Flowers boost moods: It’s not just you – flowers make people happier. That’s the reason they are given to people who need a pick-me-up (like those in the hospital) and to say thank you or I love you on holidays like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. Studies have shown that flowers and plants reduce stress and anxiety and increase happiness. Many people see them as a sign of happiness, so boost your mood by adding a fresh bouquet to your home.

Flowers improve work: Flowers can improve your work life. If you work from home, place fresh flowers in your work area; if not, consider bringing some into your office. They can decrease stress, as well as increase your creativity. Flowers may also even boost your concentration. Sounds like a great way to get through a challenging project!

Flowers serve as decoration: You can even use flowers to decorate your living room, kitchen, office or bedroom. Seasonal flowers can add some varying color to a space, with different flowers rotating through each month. You can also add color to more monotone rooms, and brighten up darker spaces where natural light doesn’t always reach. One of the best things is that they make for quick and easy (and temporary) decorations, so you don’t need to spend hours creating a well-decorated space. Grab a vase, pitcher, jar or basket to hold your flowers, and you have a new decoration for the room!

Flowers are welcoming: One of the most common reasons people purchase fresh flowers is to create a welcoming space for guests. If you are hosting a party or having guests come stay for a few nights, flowers can create a warm, welcome environment Do you have a favorite kind of flower that you display regularly in your home? If not, these four reasons may help you find one to add to your space!

If you’re planning on buying or selling a home in Florida, let The Edge Group at Keller Williams help. The Edge Group has offices in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Ft. Lauderdale, and our friendly agents have the knowledge and experience needed to make your experience quick and convenient.

Create Your Own Backyard Oasis

Your home is your refuge from the stresses of the world. You relax, spend time with loved ones, plan your weekends and your vacations, host parties and holiday get-togethers and maybe even work in your home. But have you ever realized that your backyard is an extension of your home? You can create an outdoor living space for you to continue relaxing in, or one to participate in your favorite (or maybe even new) hobbies.

Brainstorm

What do you and your family like to do? If you like to host gatherings, maybe consider a lot of seating available for all your guests. If your child is the next soccer star, maybe you should put a goal in the corner for some additional at-home practice or family pick-up games. If you’re a grill master, a built-in outdoor kitchen might make sense for you. If you’re a gardener, some raised planter beds could be the center piece. If you have furry family members, consider some open spaces for them to run and play.

Everyone’s backyard is unique because their needs, wants and hobbies vary. While you brainstorm and scour Pinterest for backyard ideas, keep your list of wants and needs in mind (much like you did when house-shopping!).

Design

After you have an idea of what types of items you may like, it’s time to design! There’s a couple ways to go about this step. You can completely do it yourself, or you can hire a professional to design (and build) your backyard oasis. Or you may want to consider a combination of the two.

As you design it, sketch out what you may want where. Make a list of plants you can use and start looking at patio furniture that fits your desired look. Design your yard around a few key elements so you don’t overwhelm the space (think about that kitchen or mini soccer field you brainstormed earlier, or maybe a fire pit). If you need space to store all your outdoor toys, then consider a shed along the side yard.

Build

You’re ready to start purchasing and building your space! Create the kitchen, or just a simple grilling space, you want. Build the planter beds, or purchase some that you love. Buy and set up your patio furniture to relax in on the weekends and during evenings. Plant your garden or shrubs and flowers. Don’t forget the lighting, birdhouses, bird feeders and any other finishing touches you want!

Create a space that is yours for you and your family to enjoy.

If you’re planning on buying or selling a home in Florida, let The Edge Group at Keller Williams help. A beautiful backyard may be just what the next buyer is looking for — and if you are searching for a new home, a backyard can help make your decision so don’t forget to add it to your list of desired features! The Edge Group has offices in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Ft. Lauderdale, and our friendly agents have the knowledge and experience needed to make your experience quick and convenient.

4 Benefits of Getting Outdoors

Fresh air. Sunshine. Exercise. There are so many reasons to spend time in the outdoors. Whether it is passive activities like picnicking or laying on a beach, or active ones like running or hiking, you can find things to do and reasons to do them outdoors.

What exactly are some of these benefits you can gain from participating in outdoor recreation? Research says that people who live near natural environments – and take advantage of that proximity through spending time outdoors – are often healthier and happier overall.

1. Physical: Whether you work out alone or in a group, by taking your workout outside the gym or home, you can find new or different fitness activities. Build different muscles, get your heart rate up and breathe in that fresh air.

2. Health: Spending time outside can help you get better sleep, according to some studies. You will sleep deeper and longer, and wake up more energetic and alert, ready to take on the day. Being outside has also been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, and improve your immune system so you don’t get sick as often (or stay sick as long).

3. Mental: Increase your creativity and decrease your stress. By being outdoors you may find yourself more inspired to take on a new creative hobby or project — like photography, painting, poetry, writing, or sketching.

4. Social: When you start doing some outdoor activities, you may find they are more fun with friends and family – and you may even make some new friends along the way! Hiking, kayaking and participating in sports can be fun for children and adults alike, so find something the whole family can do together.

Whatever your outdoor activity of choice is, make sure you find somewhere close to home to enjoy it. From walking to running to biking to meditating, there are so many choices to enjoy the outdoors at parks, beaches, mountains, and even your own backyard.

If you’re planning on buying or selling a home in Florida, let The Edge Group at Keller Williams help. The Edge Group has offices in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Ft. Lauderdale, and our friendly agents have the knowledge and experience needed to make your experience quick and convenient.

How to Start Volunteering in the Local Community

World Humanitarian Day is August 19, and it’s a day the United Nations dedicates to celebrating all humanitarian workers around the world who have put their lives in danger – and even lost their lives – fighting for humanitarian causes. This is a noble line of work, and very important in many places around the world. However, don’t feel you have to become a humanitarian worker to help others. In fact, many humanitarians got their start much smaller, and closer to home.

You can get involved in your local community, too, as a one-time or ongoing volunteer at a cause you care about. Many busy people don’t have time to commit to a large, long-term project, but there are other ways to make a difference in your local area. If you feel strongly about anything, there is bound to be a nonprofit organization or charity you can get involved with, whether it is by fundraising, volunteering your time or donating items. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

If Your Cause is…

Children:

  • Volunteer at the children’s hospital, spending time with kids or families as they deal with illnesses
  • Get involved in scouting, as a leader or volunteer
  • See if there are opportunities at local clubs or groups that work with children as a mentor, volunteer or sponsor

Animals:

  • Walk animals at the local animal shelter
  • See if you have a local rescue or sanctuary that needs any help
  • Host a pet food drive to donate to a shelter (check with them first to see if there are any immediate needs for a specific type of food)

Homeless:

  • Volunteer at the homeless shelter, chatting or playing board games with people staying there
  • Serve food at the shelter or a soup kitchen
  • Carry water, granola bars and small toiletry items you can hand out to homeless people you may see on your commute

Environment:

  • Take a walk or hike and bring a trash bag with you to pick up litter along the way (you may even be able to find a local group cleanup to participate in!)
  • Help educate people on the issues related to the local environment in your area, like pollution, litter or other things
  • See if there is a community garden or community tree planting event – or organize your own

If you have a favorite volunteer activity you’ve been involved with in the past, whether that is through school or church or even on your own, you can get back involved. Once you have, share with your friends and family to inspire them to volunteer in their communities as well.

If you’re planning on buying or selling a home in Florida, let The Edge Group at Keller Williams help. The Edge Group has offices in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Ft. Lauderdale, and our friendly agents have the knowledge and experience needed to make your experience quick and convenient.

5 Fun Tips to Stick with a Workout Routine

If you have never really gotten into working out – or you’ve just never been able to be consistent and stick with it – you aren’t alone. You’ve read all about the benefits of working out, and all the tips to get started. But sometimes, that just isn’t working for you. Even if you know how to start and why you should, getting up early or stopping on the way home from a long day at work is just not appealing. With a busy life, fitting in a solid, consistent workout schedule can be tricky. That’s why we have these five tips that can make working out more fun, so you will want to stick to your routine. 

1. Try everything.The problem may be that you’ve never found the right workout, the one you love to get out and do. Try everything from swimming to running to jazzercise to kayaking. You’re bound to like something that can help you get started on a healthier lifestyle. 

2. Sign up for something.Whether that’s a class or a race, having something on the schedule will give you dedicated time to do it, and something to work towards. Paying money for something is often a big motivator for people to actually follow through on their workout. 

3. Grab a friend.Just like many things in life, workouts are just more fun with a friend. Sometimes a friend is even necessary, like for a quick tennis match or 1-v-1 basketball game at the park. Join a gym with friends, or meet up for a walk once a week. 

4. Listen to something.Download some new music. Make a new playlist. Get a new audiobook. Find a new podcast to binge. Having something to listen to can make you more excited to work out, and it can make the time go by faster. Before you know it, an hour will be over – and maybe that audiobook will be, too. 

5. Set some goals.They don’t have to be related to weight loss or even lifting weights. You could decide you want to run for five minutes straight, without walking. You could decide you want to do five pull-ups, unassisted. You could decide you want to plan a huge hiking trip to the Grand Canyon. You could decide you want to do a kayak camping trip. Set some fun, realistic goals that you can work toward – because your workouts should be fun.

If you’re planning on buying or selling a home in Florida, let The Edge Group at Keller Williams help. The Edge Group has offices in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Ft. Lauderdale, and our friendly agents have the knowledge and experience needed to make your experience quick and convenient.

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