Category Archives: HOME & GARDEN

How to Power Up Your Savings Each Month with FPL

Why is it so hard to stick to a budget, mamas? There’s always some amazing clothing sale or impulse purchase that sucks me in. And monthly bills? Hardly any companies actually provide you with ways to SAVE money. Except for one. Here’s how I power up my savings each month with FPL:

How to Power Up Your Savings Each Month with FPL

1. Monitor your air conditioning

Have you seen those “Your Wife is Hot” (better get the A/C fixed) billboards on the side of I-95? They crack me up every time, but #TRUTH! I would pretty much pay anything to keep cool during South Florida’s scorching summer months.

Did you know the average A/C unit lasts about 15 years in Florida? According to FPL, over time your A/C will lose efficiency. However, yearly service and maintenance can help extend its life. If your current air conditioning system is more than 10 years old, has needed frequent repairs, or if you have noticed that it is running longer to keep your home comfortable, it may be time to consider buying a new one. Yikes.

Purchasing a new A/C is a big (and expensive) decision. But if you are thinking about replacing your A/C before it stops working, you may be eligible to take advantage of FPL’s $150 rebate toward the purchase of a new qualifying unit. A new energy efficient cooling system could save you $ on your energy bill! Time to power up that savings!

Visit FPL’s Residential Air Conditioning program page to learn how to qualify.

savings each month with FPL

2. Download the new FPL app

FPL just released a fantastic mobile app that helps you manage your home energy bills with a tap of a finger! FPL customers can use the app for:

  • On-the-go, instant access to monitor energy usage
  • To see how weather impacts their bill
  • So they receive important alerts and reminders
  • To report an outage
See energy-saving tips + download the app on FPL.com

Seeing the secret inner energy workings of my house is totally satisfying. Download it today!

savings each month with FPL

3. Power down when you’re not home

The amount of money I save on energy while away may not be life-changing, but every little bit helps right? Here’s a tip: Before you head out on vacation, make sure you leave your A/C on, with the fan switch in the “auto” mode and set the thermostat to 82 degrees or higher. The A/C alone can account for over 50% of your energy usage.

If you have a pool, your pool pump can be the second biggest energy user. FPL suggests running your pool pump four hours per day in the winter, and six hours per day in the summer. If you have a multi-speed pump, be sure to talk to a certified or registered pool contractor on how to set it while you are away.

The third biggest energy user? A traditional, tank-style electric water heater keeps your water hot day and night so it’s available when you need it. If you’re not going to be home, you’ll save energy by turning it off. See how to look for your tank’s on/off switch. If you’re going to be away for an extended period and don’t have an on/off switch, you may want to turn off the circuit breaker to the hot water heater.

savings each month with FPL

Lighting can be the fourth largest energy user for homeowners. Make sure to turn off your lights when you leave for vacation and consider using automatic timers.

Perhaps now you’ll get inspired to power up your savings each month with FPL! Hope you liked these tips, MBMoms. 🙂


Sponsored: This powering up your savings each month with FPL was 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 compensated for this post, but that does not impact my views or opinions.

How Boca Moms Really Save their Energy

OK, truth time. It seems like all I heard from my South Florida moms this summer was how broke and exhausted everyone was. Sure, there were sunny vacation days and happy moments according to social media. But for many, sleepless nights with babies (and/or toddlers), work, camp, home improvement projects, family expenses, trips and activities made most weeks feel like a tiring race to the finish line.

Everyone seems to want two things as we head into the fall: MORE energy and to spend LESS money.

Aside from recommending a reputable housekeeper and babysitter…and perhaps a regular fitness class, I really can’t help you too much with your physical energy. However, I can help guide you with ways to spend less money on your home’s energy courtesy of my friends at FPL. 🙂 There’s also a really cool giveaway at the end of this post, so keep reading!

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How to Savor Spring Evenings in Boca Raton with Your Family

Longer days and lighter evenings are here, which means it’s time to move those dinners outdoors!  With the recent ‘spring forward’, we gained an extra hour of daylight in the evenings…even though it was a brutal week getting used to that time change. Here are some ways to make the most of springtime with your family PLUS a great deal for MBM readers to help celebrate the minted 9 year Anniversary!

  1. Backyard BBQ’s

Spend less time in the kitchen and take the cooking out back! One of the things I love about grilling is that I can hand off dinner to my husband and let him handle the main course! Whether it be as simple as hot dog and hamburgers, or gourmet salmon with grilled veggies, the options are endless. Keep the kids entertained with easy backyard games like cornhole or kickball.

  1. Sundowners at the Beach

The beach isn’t just for mornings or afternoons. Head over there with your family before sunset for a “Sundowner”. The kids can run around and play in the ocean or sand, while mom and dad enjoy some time together outdoors. Invite other families and pack some Naked Wines and cheese to make an event out of it!

  1. Picnic at the Playground

Pack up your dinner and take it to the park! Choose foods that are easy to set out and fuss free to eat such as pasta salad or sandwiches. Your kids will love the extra play time, and you’ll love tiring them out before bed!

Sugar Sand Park Science Playground Opening

  1. Refresh Your Living Room Look | minted 9 Year Anniversary

2017 marks an important milestone for our friends at minted – their 9 year anniversary online! To celebrate, they are running a special art and wedding promotion for customers through April 3 (2017). The minted 9 year Anniversary Event has some amazing, fresh options for spring…and they’re all on sale!

Think about it– when was the last time you changed up the art in your living room? 

minted 9 Year Anniversary

Minted’s Anniversary Event is a great opportunity to get a deep discount on Minted Fine Art in particular, which they rarely offer at anything other than full price. This spring, refresh a creative space in your home or start building out that gallery wall! 

minted 9 Year Anniversary

Don’t wait until the summer heat pushes you back indoors – take advantage of every extra minute this beautiful spring time has to offer!


Contributor Leigh Botha only recently joined the “Mom Club” this past August (2016) when daughter Cora was born! A graduate from the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management, she has always had a passion for hospitality and entertaining. Leigh is currently a Special Events Designer for Boca By Design at the Boca Raton Resort & Club which she loves because it allows her to use her creativity to bring her clients’ visions to life. 

Juggling a career and a family can be difficult, but she tries to make time for other things that are important to her such as running (some) mornings at 5am with the Boca/Deerfield Chapter of MRRT (Moms RUN this Town) and planning the social events for her sorority’s local alumni chapter. Leigh is especially excited for all the new events she will get to host for her family and friends now that she is a mom and the memories they will all have to cherish thereafter! 

The Hottest Boca Raton Neighborhoods of 2017

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.

hottest Boca Raton neighborhoods

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.

You can view the full report by clicking HERE.

hottest Boca Raton neighborhoods

hottest Boca Raton neighborhoods

Drumroll please…

The Hottest Boca Raton Neighborhoods are:
  1. Hidden Valley
  2. Boca Raton Square
  3. Boca Greens

hottest Boca Raton neighborhoods

What do you think MBMoms? Do you agree with Redfin’s picks? Comment below!

Save Energy this Holiday Season: 9 Easy Ways to Get Started

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.

Save energy this holiday season with Modern Boca Mom & FPL

The best online resource I’ve found? Go figure, it’s from our energy company itself: Florida Power & LightMake 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:

Holiday Decorating

1. Learn to love the LED 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.

Save energy this holiday season with Modern Boca Mom & FPL

Our daughter really enjoyed lining up these mini LED trees outside our front path. And, the pathway lights are solar-powered!

Save energy this holiday season with Modern Boca Mom & FPL

Save energy this holiday season with Modern Boca Mom & FPL

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.

Save energy this holiday season with Modern Boca Mom & FPL

Save energy this holiday season with Modern Boca Mom & FPL

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.

Save energy this holiday season with Modern Boca Mom & FPL

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.

Save energy this holiday season with Modern Boca Mom & FPL

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 thermostat worth $169.00.

MBM_Giveaways_Banner

Enter below (ends 12/17/16 at midnight):


This post also contains an affiliate link. Please support Modern Boca Mom by purchasing the ecobee3 lite smarter wifi thermostat through this link.

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.

How to Design the Perfect Nursery for Your Boca Baby with Style Tips from Get Decorated

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

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!

How to Design the Perfect Nursery for Your Boca Baby

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. 🙂

Bar Cart Styling Tips from a 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

Bar Cart Styling Tips from Modern Boca Mom

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.

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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.

bar-cart-styling-tips-from-a-boca-mom-02

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…

bar-cart-styling-tips-from-a-boca-mom-05

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!

bar-cart-styling-tips-from-a-boca-mom-06

Ohhh…so this bar cart is basically my cocktail tool box. I get it now.

Cheers Boca Moms!

Big Girl Bedroom Makeover in Boca Raton

Back-to-school time this year was busy for soooo many reasons. #dailybocaavery started preschool at Grandview Preparatory School and 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!

Big girl bedroom makeover on Boca Raton

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.

BEFORE

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AFTER

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Big Girl Bedroom Makeover in Boca Raton
3 big storage drawers– we replaced the knobs that came with it for pretty ones from Home Depot

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.

I looked everywhere, but finally netted out at Amazon.com HERE and HERE. The pillow inserts were sold separately.Big Girl Bedroom Makeover in Boca Raton AER

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 Amazon in various shades of pink, grey and black. It was a fun project!

My husband spray painted the big arrow (from Target).

Big Girls Bedroom Makeover in Boca Raton

Big Girls Bedroom Makeover in Boca Raton

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Big Girl Bedroom Makeover: Furniture

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 Girls Bedroom Makeover in Boca Raton

Before After 02 Text

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!

Cambria® My Room Ball Finial in Pink Glass and Brushed Nickel (Set of 2)Quick View

Big Girl Bedroom Makeover in Boca Raton

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Big Girl Bedroom Makeover: Organization

We also designed a system for her school clothes utilizing colored drawers for each day of the week. It was so easy! I purchased 5 stackable shoe box drawers from the Container Store (in pink and purple of course). Then, I labeled each one with a day of the week in gold, metallic pen.

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Every Sunday, our daughter is now in charge of putting a school uniform, underwear and socks into each drawer. Getting dressed in the morning has become much less of a struggle!

I also invested in storage floor totes from Target for toys and dolls and matching bins for our massive collection of stuffed animals.

Big girl bedroom makeover in Boca Raton

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I am very happy with the way the room turned out, but  more importantly, #dailybocaavery loves it! The key to getting 12 hours of sleep out of our child each night was a bigger bed, apparently.

Money well spent!


This post contains affiliate links. If you click and purchase some of these items, I may be compensated. Please see this site’s Disclosure for details.

Is Now the Time to Buy OR Sell a Boca Raton Home?

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.

Is Now the Time to Buy or Sell a Boca Raton Home Featured

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!


Jennifer Gene Family 1

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!

Boca Raton Guest Bedroom Makeover

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

Boca Raton Guest Bedroom Makeover

Lovely, but sooooo beige….

Boca Raton Guest Bedroom Makeover

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. 🙂

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AFTER

Boca Raton Guest Bedroom Makeover

  • We purchased new queen size bedding for the guest room from Sears (of all places!).
  • I re-styled the existing bedroom accessories.
  • I hung up my “works of art” from all the Wine & Paint Nights I’ve attended at the Boca Raton Children’s Museum on the walls.

It was easy, but made such a difference!

Boca Raton Guest Bedroom Makeover

Boca Raton Guest Bedroom Makeover
So cozy! I really loved the layers in this bedding set…

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What do you think? The room now has some nice color contrast (floor/furniture/walls vs. bedding & accessories) and looks much sunnier, in my opinion.

It also has its own bathroom and this not too shabby view, so we expect to have a good amount of visitors this coming winter.

Boca Raton guest room makeover

Our living room renovation (which was a big one) and #dailybocaavery’s “Big Girl Room” are up next on my home to do list!

Happy summer (re)decorating Boca Raton!