Miss Your Basement?

March 26, 2012

A new kind of home has opened in Florida: It’s theTransformation House in Harmony Transformation House and it comes with its own Spacement©, a flex space like no other, especially if you miss that basement you had up north.

By opening a door and stepping up to the Spacement©, you find space that can be used for air-conditioned storage (Florida basement), a bonus area (grandchildren’s space), bedroom(s), bathroom(s) or a mixture of all. This flexible space can include one or two baths and two or three flex rooms.  And no matter what configuration the homeowner selects, the static mechanical, plumbing and electrical design coincides.

 Built in the town of Harmony by Wetherington Builders, the 2,500 square-foot, energy-efficient home is being certified by Tracy DeCarlo of One Stop Green Home Certification.

For more information, visit http://www.homebuildinglessons.com/TDBlog/2012/02/20/transformation-house-energy-efficient-flexible-green-and-accessible-3/

 

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Milestones

July 15, 2011

Last weekend, Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees achieved a milestone only 27 other major league baseball players have ever done in more than 100 years of America’s Pastime — 3,000 career base hits. And he did it with a home run.  We saw the excitement in his face as he rounded the bases and, we were just as excited for him.

We are a society of milestone lovers, whether personal or otherwise. When we decide to lose 20 pounds, and we reach that plateau, we relish in that feeling of accomplishment. We also love seeing someone else succeed — Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition is a pretty riveting show.

And it does not have to be just about numerals. It can be firsts, or lasts, the latter of which we are collectively celebrating right now as the last Space Shuttle — Atlantis — completes its mission. Quite a milestone.

Other milestones have nothing to do with numerals or rankings: getting married, having a baby, buying your first home, graduating from anything. These events and others sprinkled throughout our lives make us feel good, special.  

No doubt, milestones are one of the keys to happiness. We are happy when we reach them; we are happy when others do.  

So relish those milestones. Derek Jeter did. And so did we.


Giving the Gifts Of Gardening and Fitness

December 7, 2010

 

Volunteers from Get Active Orlando (GAO), the organization that acts as the City of Orlando’s link to health and fitness initiatives, announce the debut of three new community gardens in the Orlando area. Utilizing grant monies from the Blue Foundation, this year GAO funded five school- and youth-based gardens designed to teach children the importance of healthy eating.

Sunrise_Elementary_Garden
Sunrise Elementary Garden

 

The new gardens –the New Image Youth Center Garden, 

Reeves Terrace Recreation Complex Community Garden and the Sunrise  

Elementary School Garden — also promote physical activity. 

“It’s a special feeling to have these gardens up and running at a time of the year associated with bountiful feasts and giving thanks,” notes GAO Chair Leah Nash. She says two other gardens — the Fern Creek School and Community Garden and the Orlando Day Nursery Garden — are scheduled to open by the end of the year. 

 For more information or to become involved with GAO, please visit www.getactiveorlando.com.


Where Do We Begin?

June 18, 2010

Strategic mortgage defaults, childhood obesity, oil drilling and the devastating BP oil spill, one-in-ten unemployed. This list lies heavy on many hearts right now.  It is hard to turn a blind eye to the challenges that lie before us today.

And it’s really the uncertainty that keeps most Americans today on edge, not the actual problem at hand:

People with money walking away from mortgages even though they have money. When will it end? Has we lost our morals? The wealth that could be destroyed in this manner is incomprehensible.

Childhood obesity. 33% of kids are morbidly fat. We are turning out young adults at a record pace too overweight to even defend our country. There is plenty of blame to go around — parents, the media, fast food companies, soft drink conglomerates, and past government programs come to mind. Does anyone see this changing any time soon? 

Unemployment. It’s been between 9.7 and 10.0 since last August. We are getting complacent that one out of every ten of us are not working.

The Deepwater Horizon-BP Oil Disaster. Everyone is on pins and needles about this one. Worst-case scenarios could destroy the welfare of people and ecosystems from the Gulf to the Atlantic. I feel sorry for the families of the loved ones you were killed in the oil rig explosion who really were forgotten through this mess.

As the saying goes, this too shall pass. After all, we have survived the likes of world wars, cold war challenges, polio and the Great Depression.

Maybe I just worry too much. 

   


Living green has morphed itself

May 26, 2010

Living green has morphed itself. In a short couple of years, it has gone from being environmentally friendly and conserving energy to all things healthy. Just look at the homes that are currently being certified green by the Florida Green Building Council. The only Platinum Home — the highest designation available — is in Orlando, Fla., that indeed is not sexy green. It scored high marks not for its roof gardens or rain barrels, but for its low-VOC and no-VOC carpets and paints. The tight envelope of the home keeps out allergens as does the fresh air intake of the air conditioning unit. Moreover, Cambria countertops are installed in the kitchen and all bathrooms: Cambria is food safe since it is nonporous and food and moisture cannot penetrate the surface.

And it’s not only the sick buildings we are addressing; it’s the foods we eat that have become the newest green offshoot. It started with eating local foods to cut down on emissions and carbon footprints, but it has become a quest for eliminating obesity — especially in children — and returning our eating habits to those of our ancestors free of processed foods and out-of-control portions. The obesity factor has reached such a high scale that the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity was just released by First Lady Michelle Obama, which is aimed to reduce childhood obesity from 20% to 5% by 2030.

The greener eating craze has caused an uptick in the fight for exercise as well. It is not only a good diet that will keep you healthy, but it’s the regular exercise that so many people avoided way too long.

Indeed, it is the influx of baby boomers into their senior years that is really causing a stir.

If boomers are not kept healthy, their sheer numbers could crush even the best of health care plans.


Is Florida Getting Snubbed?

June 3, 2009

First it was The Associated Press earlier this year that said by reviewing driver’s license applications in Florida, there was a drop of 175,000 applications between 2003 and 2008.  Then United Van Lines’ 32nd annual “migration” study, which tracks where its customers moved from and their most popular destinations over the past 12 months, showed Florida had as many people move out as move in. It made folks wonder whether Florida had lost its allure.

Well, yes and no.  It is no coincidence that following the 2004 hurricane season that saw at least three major storms crisscross the Sunshine State like  a crazed banshee in the matter of six weeks, people may have put off their plans to relocate. While the state’s population actually grew by 2.2 percent in 2005, net migration did fall 13 percent.

But the real reasons Florida has seen its border crossings full of more tumbleweeds than New Yorkers is related to the economy. Dr. Sean Snaith, director of the Institute for Economic Competitiveness at the University of Central Florida, says the recession and the fact that the Dow lost 43 percent at one point, caused retirees to delay plans of moving to the Sunshine State.  “They had to push back their decisions,” the economist explains. “The influx choked up.”  Even worse, the state, like many, stopped producing jobs, so those not at retirement age are also in limbo about their plans to relocate. Throw in the fact that the cost of living has increased since the boom days of Florida migration, and it is easy to see why Florida’s allure may be changing. However, it may be short term. “As the economy recovers,” believes Snaith, “it will pull more migrants into Florida.” He says population growth should soon return to a normal 1.5 to two percent a year.

In fact, Snaith forecasts 2011 and 2012 will be good years for the state, especially the Orlando area, which is predicted to have the highest job growth statewide. Because of that, net migration will not affect Orlando as much since people will move from the coast to the epicenter of growth.

Finally, I leave with this statement by Wayne Archer, director of the Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Florida from a report this past winter in which net migration was being analyzed.  

“There are pessimists who think people are going to pack up and leave Florida, but when I stand outside on these clear winter days, I think ‘they’re not going far.’ As long as people keep moving here, the growth will bring us a correction that you won’t get in industrial states like Ohio, Michigan or Illinois.”

Besides, the beaches are still free, and the water is warm. Surf’s up!