Boca Raton is HOT! Like, really, really (real estate) hot. Redfin just released its predictions for the hottest neighborhoods (including the hottest Boca Raton neighborhoods) to look for in 2017. I’m proud to say Boca took ALL 3 SPOTS in the West Palm Beach category.
To rank the neighborhoods that are heating up the most, the brokerage analyzed hundreds of millions of page views to Redfin.com and homes that users favorited to monitor for price and status changes. The analysis also takes into account insights from local Redfin real estate agents who specialize in Boca Raton neighborhoods.
Between the massive amounts of cookie baking, late nights of gift wrapping and the addition of hundreds of twinkly lights to our Boca Raton house this month, any measure that helps to lower our January energy bill is a welcome one. And let’s be honest, who couldn’t stand to save some money this holiday season? In my ongoing effort to streamline our family budget, I have been actively seeking out ways to save energy this holiday season at our home.
The best online resource I’ve found? Go figure, it’s from our energy company itself: Florida Power & Light. Make it your New Year’s resolution to visit their site year round for energy (and money) saving tips and tricks: FPL.com/EasyToSave
Until we ring in the New Year, here are 9 easy ways from FPL to not only save much needed dough, but to also save energy this holiday season:
1. Learn to love theLED lights – Did you know LED holiday light strands consume 70% less energy than incandescent ones? According to the U.S. Department of Energy, it only costs $0.27 to light a six-foot tree for 12 hours a day for 40 days with LEDs compared to $10 for incandescent lights. Whoa! We used LEDs in our holiday decorating this year indoors and out.
Our daughter really enjoyed lining up these mini LED trees outside our front path. And, the pathway lights are solar-powered!
2. Eliminate inflatables – Besides inflatables (in my opinion) being super tacky, these decorations can cost anywhere from $2 – $9 each per month! Consider supplementing your outdoor holiday display with wreaths, ribbons, flowers, garlands and other (less tacky) energy efficient decorations.
3. Use automatic timers – Don’t leave your lights on and decorations inflated all night long! Install a timer so they turn off once your household is asleep.
4. Embrace extension cords – Instead of using additional strings of lights to add length to your holiday displays, keep a couple of extension cords handy when decorating.
Cooking & Baking for the Holidays
5. Choose glass or ceramic pans for the oven – I had no idea that these pans heat up faster than metal ones! They also allow you to set the temperature 25 degrees lower than a recipe suggests for the SAME COOKING TIME.
6. Stop peeking – Ovens tend to lose a lot of heat when they are opened. They also require significant energy to heat back up to the appropriate temperature. Instead, when you have to sneak-a-peek, turn the oven light on and look through the window.
7. Use your slow cooker – Smaller appliances like slow cookers, microwaves and toaster ovens can be much more energy-efficient for side dishes or small meals.
Holiday Shopping Guide
8. Opt for energy-efficient electronics – When it comes to buying gifts for your loved ones, opt for a laptop over a desktop computer. Fun fact: Laptops require 50-80% less energy than a desktop.
9. Let the star guide you – Always look for the ENERGY STAR® logo when purchasing larger electronics or appliances. These models can reduce energy usage up to 40%! We’re even opting to use our LED TV as our holiday fireplace this year. Perfect for South Florida. 🙂
All of these tips will certainly help my family save energy this holiday season! And, Modern Boca Mom wants to help you save energy year-round with a special GIVEAWAY of an ecobee3 lite smarter wifi thermostatworth $169.00.
Sponsored: This how to save energy this holiday season post was sponsored by FPL. All opinions expressed in this blog post are my own and not influenced in any way by the sponsor. Any statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with provider. Please refer to this site’s Disclosure for more information. I was compensated for this post, but that does not impact my views or opinions.
The last thing that a MBMom-to-be should have to worry about is how to design the perfect nursery for her Boca baby. Furniture, color, accessories – the list seems never ending! That’s why we sat down with interior design expert Lindsay Biondo, founder of Get Decorated.
While providing traditional interior designer services, Get Decorated’s unique business feature is that they also specialize in online home decor services. Moving the design process online is especially helpful for busy families and moms-to-be, who don’t have a lot of extra time. Lindsay shared with us some of her favorite tips on how to design the perfect nursery.
How to Design the Perfect Nursery for Your Boca Baby
Transitional Pieces: Invest in furniture pieces that you will be able to use as the child grows. For example, use a dresser that includes a removable changing top. That way, when you no longer need it for changing, you can just swap it off and be left with a normal dresser; and if you have another baby shortly after, you won’t need to worry about buying a new changing table!
Buy Smart: Oftentimes, parents will gravitate towards classic toy items for their baby room. A beautiful, expensive toy trunk may seem like a good investment at first, but you might find that it’s harder to integrate the style into the room in the future. Rather than splurging on something that your child may potentially outgrow, check out some alternative options from places like IKEA.
I love to source IKEA for these kind of items – they have such great options in a variety of colors!
Color: Try to work with a gender neutral color palette. Rather than going for an all pink girl’s room, use a combination of teal and blue and white. You can always add a more feminine accent, like the chandelier we used in the picture above. Also, if you use a color palette that is more sophisticated, it will create way more opportunities to shop for products. You don’t need to limit yourself to strictly baby stores – bring in some design that also makes you feel comfortable. You will be spending a lot of time in the nursery too!
Just remember – you should have fun designing the perfect nursery for YOUR FAMILY! Make sure you choose pieces that are both comfortable and beautiful. Using these tips, you will create a room for your baby that is functional, stylish and trendy. Perfect for the Modern Boca Mom. 🙂
I have wanted a bar cart for a really long time. Probably since Mad Men started airing (it premiered in 2007 by the way…OMG). Now that we have a house with a formal living room versus a tiny one-bedroom apartment in NYC, my cocktailing dreams have finally come true! I treated myself to the Winslow bar cart from Z Gallerie for my birthday this year and dove deep into Pinterest to find the best bar cart styling tips. These were my favs…
Bar Cart Styling Tips:
1. Incorporate Flowers
Who doesn’t love fresh flowers? Ok, me. They are fine occasionally, but tend to be expensive and short lived in my opinion. I go for the silk variety and had this tulip arrangement made with resin that looks like water. (I have my own silk flower “lady”, Flowers by Aja, 561-866-3636).
Every styled bar cart that I liked included flowers, even my top inspiration Atta Girl Says.
2. Display Lemons & Limes
Every cocktail needs a garnish! Showcase real or faux lemons and limes in a pretty bowl or vase. It adds beautiful colors to your bar cart display and is really inexpensive.
3. Book It
If you need to create different heights, so your bar cart accessories can be seen better, put your cocktail books to good use (besides making cocktails of course).
I pulled books with different shapes and sizes out my library and used them to raise the flower arrangement on top of the cart, for example.
4. Show Off Your Crystal
When it comes to impractical (yet beautiful) glassware, crystal is at the top of the list. Display your prettiest, rarely used glasses on your bar cart for show and keep the everyday wine glasses in your kitchen cabinet.
Our wedding toasting glasses look mighty fine next to our Russian vodka and Dominican rum…
5. Shakers and Straws
Set out your cocktail shaker and put mini stirrers/straws in a shot glass (or regular straws in a pretty glass tumbler). When making cocktails you’ll want every tool at your fingertips!
Ohhh…so this bar cart is basically my cocktail tool box. I get it now.
Back-to-school time this year was busy for soooo many reasons. #dailybocaavery started preschool at Grandview Preparatory Schooland our family spent much of the summer working and traveling, so I felt like we were still playing catch-up. I swear, I just needed one more week! In the spirit of positive change and to celebrate our daughter’s entry into “big kid school”, we decided to transition her out of her toddler bed and give her nursery a big girl bedroom makeover!
Boca Raton Big Girl Bedroom Makeover
The first update: the bed. The one we chose for our big girl bedroom makeover is from IKEA. It’s so cool! You can keep it as a twin/daybed/sofa OR you can pull out the section with the storage drawers underneath and it opens up into a Queen bed (2 mattresses stack on top of each other, so you just slide one over).
I can see it becoming a huge help when Avery starts having sleepovers or we need an additional guest bedroom.
The big girl bedroom makeover bedding I chose is from JCPenney. I had a heck of a time trying to find pink throw pillows to compliment the black, white and grey modern floral design.
Big Girl Bedroom Makeover Decorations: Collaboration is key!
As for the decorations above the bed, I re-purposed two white shadow boxes that previously held “baby mementos” and had #dailybocaavery decorate unfinished wooden letters from Amazonin various shades of pink, grey and black. It was a fun project!
Thankfully, we didn’t have to replace a lot of the furniture in the room. I was able to move two pink wardrobes and a bookcase to other areas to maximize space and storage for our growing Boca girl.
Big Girl Bedroom Window Treatments
We upgraded the curtain rods to a sturdier model from Bed Bath and Beyond after baby/toddler Avery yanked on them too many times to count. She loved choosing the finials– glass balls in pink of course!
Summer has come to an end and your kids are finally back in school! With the extra 2 minutes you have in the morning, do you happen to look around your house and think, “I’m ready for a change, but is this a good time to buy or sell a Boca Raton home?” Your friends at drop off might think you’re crazy. But, it turns now that now is actually a great time!
In case you haven’t noticed, there aren’t many homes for sale in Boca Raton. In fact, there aren’t many in all of Palm Beach County. In June 2016, our median home price reached a year-to-date high, while the total inventory of homes available is still low. Traditionally, families want to be settled into their new home before school starts.
But not in Boca.
We have such a strong school district that families are comfortable moving during any time of year. If you’ve thought about listing your house, go clean out your playroom and get ready to sell!
Is Now the Time to Buy OR Sell a Boca Raton Home?
No one likes to be pressured into making a quick decision, especially a busy family. It’s hard enough juggling work, school and playdates. But, plan to move fast in the current Boca real estate market. Homes that are priced correctly (in line with recent sales and comparables) are taking less than 45 days to sell. Using a real estate professional to price, market and sell your home will make the process much easier and efficient.
Financially speaking, most of us need to sell our current house before we can buy our next one. Rest assured that closing on one and buying the next can easily be done. There are still some great buys in Boca! Working with someone who knows the market well will ensure you find not only a great investment, but a fabulous new home for your family!
From our NEW Modern Boca Real Estate Mom, Jennifer Gene:I traded in wiener whistles for binkies and use my poker skills to negotiate deals for my real estate clients. As a mom, I can relate to the young family looking to buy their first house. Or, to the parents looking to sell a home they raised their family in. Knowing what out-of-state grandparents want in a 2nd home and understanding that rental properties can be both necessities and investment opportunities are key! I’ve sold over $10 Million dollars of real estate in South Palm Beach County while having 2 kids under two. And, I haven’t missed a bedtime story yet!
It’s amazing what a little color and styling can do to improve the look of a room. If you follow @modernbocamom on Instagram, you may have noticed that we’re working on redecorating our house this year (one room/space at a time). I’ve been lobbying for a Boca Raton guest bedroom makeover, but it was rather low on the house priority list because of the expense of our recent pool and patio renovation.
But when you happen upon an unbelievable Memorial Day weekend bedding sale, you have to go for it right?
Boca Raton Guest Bedroom Makeover: BEFORE
Lovely, but sooooo beige….
I hung up our silk floral monogram from our wedding…which I kind of dug. Most of our houseguest entertaining involves people who attended our 2011 nuptials, after all. 🙂
We purchased new queen size bedding for the guest room from Sears(of all places!).
Since the day #modernbocadad and I moved into our “forever home” 2.5 years ago, we have been wanting to make over our Boca Raton patio and pool. Our pool was built in 1981 and while our ages may be close to equal, it was in much rougher shape than I.
See all those spots? No matter how hard we tried to clean them, black algae would constantly settle in, especially during the hot, summer months. The pool’s surface had worn away in many places due to its age and, in my opinion, was an eyesore considering it was a focal point of our house.
So, we solicited several bids for the resurfacing project and decided to work with Lee Johnson of Johnson Pool Plastering (email@example.com) because they agreed to try to rehab the existing tile around the border of the pool. I loved it– it was retro! And, it was in surprisingly good shape despite a few missing tiles (which they happily replaced).
I was in this project for the long haul, thinking the pool resurfacing process would take several days or weeks. It was done in less than 72 hours.
Johnson Pool Plastering drained our pool overnight, gave it a little chlorine bath and scrubbed away the algae. Then, they re-grouted all of the tile and replaced the fittings around the jets and drain and patched potential crack/leaks.
By the end of the first day, a bonding coat was applied to the pool and we were waiting for it to dry. Watching this process was better than HGTV for us.
On day 2, Johnson Pool Plastering applied the surface we selected by hand.
We selected Blue Gem. Cool huh?
The end result? Beautiful.
Johnson Pool Plastering did amazing work. We hired a pool cleaning service to take care of the pool for the first several weeks. A new surface needs to be brushed a lot at the beginning and we didn’t want to take any chances. It was a good investment.
So once we had the pool finished, we toyed with the idea of redoing the deck (according to Lee, “everyone in Boca is doing travertine”). But, we ended up deciding to budget for it for spring 2017. Hey- you have to have some home improvements to look forward to, right? Our pool screen enclosure is still in good/great/excellent shape.
But that didn’t mean I couldn’t move forward with a little summer Boca Raton patio makeover…
Boca Raton Patio & Pool Makeover
This Boca Raton patio setup did the job, but it was very basic. We inherited the wicker pieces from my parents and purchased inexpensive chairs and a nice grill at Home Depot when we moved in.
What do you think?! Believe it or not, #modernbocadad built, painted and hung the outdoor TV cabinet himself. It’s basic plywood! He also sprayed all of our existing wicker furniture with dark brown Rustoleum spray paint. Instant “new” accent furniture!
The indoor/outdoor area rug and runners are Safavieh from Overstock.com.Hey- I had to find creative ways to hide as much chattahoochee deck as possible. 😉
I really wanted wood/teak patio furniture, so we found this fabulous set on a website I hadn’t heard of before: Hayneedle.com. It has so many cute things! The sectional can easily be moved in pieces for many different seating layout options.
Target has apparently dubbed this, “the summer of lobster”, so I was able to grab so many cute pillows and doormats with lobster prints on them to decorate (#modernbocadad is from Maine, so I have become a little obsessed with the tasty crustacean).
The table lanterns are also from Target and I found some river rocks and electric candles to accent them at Bed, Bath & Beyond.
I look forward to one specific day every month. It’s the day that I book my regular Handy app housekeeper to clean all of the bathrooms in my house. I don’t mind doing housework (no seriously! As long as I have the time, it’s cathartic to me), but there’s something intimidating about deep cleaning three bathrooms all by myself. I need help!
I used Handy WELL BEFORE they reached out to me regarding writing about their services. In fact, I even think they were surprised that I knew the app hadn’t reached Delray Beach yet. Don’t worry moms, it’s in the works! They even recently launched a pool cleaning service. !!!
Since the app’s launch in 2012, Handy (www.handy.com) has become the United States’ fastest-growing on-demand home cleaning and DIY services provider: allowing users, through the intuitive Handy app or website, to instantly book trusted, fully-vetted cleaners or handymen, removing the stresses associated with housework and DIY.
Handy provides, on-demand and at competitive set prices, professionals for common (as well as specialist) household services: from home cleaning to furniture assembly; assistance in moving house to painting and decorating. Essentially, every MBMom’s (and perhaps every Modern Boca Dad’s) dream.
All bookings can be made online or at the tap of the Handy app in just three steps: users select their desired service; confirm their preferred time of service; securely pay online. Done. It’s so easy.
Payments are made through the credit card associated with the user’s Handy account. Prices are all inclusive of tip and all fees (although, I usually tip a little extra). Prices for Handy app cleaners cost an average of $35 per hour; handyman prices start from $45 per hour.
It is a personal investment in your home and your sanity that I think is worth the monthly booking. Why don’t you give it a try?
Sponsored: All opinions expressed in this blog post are my own and not influenced in any way by the sponsor. Any statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with provider. Please refer to this site’s Disclosure for more information. I received a complimentary cleaning session from Handy for review consideration, but that does not impact my views or opinions.
As a busy working mom of an almost 3 year old, I have become a little obsessed with certain concierge-type services that allow me to increase my mommy multi-tasking abilities. Here on Modern Boca Mom, I’ve written about concierge pediatrician, Boca VIPediatrics, and the mobile car seat cleaning service, Shiny Hiney. Now, I’d like to introduce you to the Washé app.
What is the Washé app?
It’s a new mobile app that brings the car wash to YOU at the tap of a touchscreen. South Florida’s first on-demand car wash (currently available in Boca and Broward County), Washé app connects car owners with mobile car washers that come to your home, workplace, or even where you’re out lunching— eliminating the need to find time to wash your car(s) or wait in long car wash lines (especially during season, ugh).
I tried the Washé app service out on the Modern Boca Mom-mobile and I would have to equate it to “a spa experience for your car.” Because let’s be honest, yours is probably pretty disgusting if you have a child or have traveled up the Florida Turnpike recently…
They came, they saw, they shampooed the carpets and wiped down every surface in our vehicle. The Washé vehicle didn’t even need a water or electricity hookup. Everything was run out of the awesomely branded Washé van!
I booked the Diamond Wash ($120) and Washé arrived and completed the job in less than 60 minutes. It was awesome! My car sparkled.
The Washé app is currently available for free download on the App Store and via Google Play. Simply create a personal account to place your order and to track the Washé washer’s ETA. In minutes, a Washé service provider will arrive at your vehicle’s location, determined via your smartphone’s location services. You can also schedule the wash for a time convenient for you.
And psst…I hear that when you download the app, you’ll receive $20.00 off your first wash using promo code: washefb
I loved it! I’m definitely planning on booking them again. A clean car is a happy car…with a happy mom driver!
Sponsored: All opinions expressed in this blog post are my own and not influenced in any way by the sponsor. Any statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with provider. Please refer to this site’s Disclosure for more information. I was given a free car wash for consideration on ModernBocaMom.com, but that does not impact my views or opinions.
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