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Spring Edition

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Balanced Living Tip
Fun or Frugal? Smart Ways
To Spend Your Tax Refund
There it is, staring you in the face like the last golden
ticket: your tax return. Maybe you will be happier
spending it on a much-needed splurge, or maybe you’ll
thank yourself by using it to safeguard your financial
future. Either way, here are some ideas on how to
spend or save your refund for many happy returns.
For The Fun Of It: Indulge In Your Urge To Splurge.
You’ve managed to stay on budget and tuck away
some funds for a rainy day. Now, you deserve a little
indulgence. As long as you’ve planned for the future
and don’t have any major debts, fun can definitely be
in your forecast with these smart takes on splurging:
Go For Quality, Not Quantity. Instead of hitting
the sales and buying everything in sight, think
about what you want and do a little research if
necessary. For example, instead of 10 new outfits,
you could buy five quality pieces and a meal at a
new restaurant you’ve wanted to try. When you
choose wisely, you’ll get more satisfaction and
enjoyment in the long run.
Make Plans To Get Away. According to a study
that measured the effect that vacations have on
overall happiness, it turns out that the planning
and anticipation of a vacation can boost overall
happiness for up to eight weeks in advance.
Consider An Experience. Did you always want
to take a photography class or want to try scuba
diving? Go for it! Sometimes experiences prove to
be far more rewarding than material purchases.
FirstService Residential
A Message from
Michael Mendillo
President, East
“Quality of life is paramount to all us. This is
especially true to the readers of this publication
by virtue of the community they choose to live
in – all with an exceptional staff and a great
network of homeowner volunteers who work
hard to enhance the lifestyle of every resident in
the community. To support them, FirstService
Residential has a team of experts working
behind the scenes, armed with a depth of
applicable experiences and resources. These
help greatly strengthen our associates’ ability to
fulfill their responsibilities and make your great
community even better.
As the largest provider of lifestyle management
services in the country, we have the leadership
team and a wealth of resources available to
provide unparalleled services in the industry.
Our regionalized structure also allows for
delivery of consistent services and access to
best practices, etc. Our Lifestyle team consists
of executives who are 100 percent offline from
direct day-to-day management and serve
as a resource to your on-site management
team and community by providing input and
best practices on topics such as amenity
management and innovative programming. Our
associates welcome your feedback to ensure
we are providing consistent, attentive service to
you, our valued client. We strive so that we are
Making a Difference. Every Day.”
Spring 2017
Page 2
Smart Ways To Spend Your Tax
Refund (cont.)
Spend Part Of The Money On Someone Else.
Spending money on someone else boosts more
happiness than spending money solely for your
own pleasure. So go ahead and take your mom
out to dinner or donate some much-needed
items to a local charity. The lasting return on your
happiness will more than make up for the amount
you spend.
Frugal Finances: Smart Ways To Prepare For Your
Future. Your tax return can also be a great way to
get you on track to reach your financial goals. Here
are some sound strategies that can reduce financial
stress and position you for a brighter fiscal future:
Build A Healthy Emergency Fund. An emergency
savings account can cover nine months of living
expenses—just in case you lose your job or run
into an unexpected financial emergency. One tax
return will not fund the entire account, but it will
provide a healthy starting point. To build the rest,
set up ongoing automatic deductions directly
from your paycheck or primary checking account.
Refinance Your Mortgage. If the going mortgage
rates are at least 1% lower than the rate of your
current mortgage, one of the best investments
you can make is to refinance. You’ll pay fees
up front for the process, but what you’ll save in
interest will likely make up more than the initial
costs. To find out how much refinancing your
mortgage may cost and if it’s right for you, read
the Federal Reserve Board’s Consumer’s Guide to
Mortgage Refinancing.
Make An Investment In Education. If you’re
looking to invest in your own career, use your tax
return to fund college courses, graduate school or
professional training. Your employer may offer to
pay for all or part of any job-related education, so
ask first before you make the investment. If you’re
looking to fund your children’s or grandchildren’s
educations, a 529 Plan may be the way to go.
Jump-start Your Retirement Savings. When
it comes to saving for retirement, it’s better
late than never. Even if you’ve never saved a
penny, you’ll be better off having something
than nothing. Does your employer match your
retirement contributions? If so, take advantage
of this money-making perk by putting as much
as you can into your 401(k). If you don’t have a
401(k), fund an IRA or open a Roth IRA—both
of which offer tax advantages over most other
investments and savings accounts.
Whichever route you choose, making a plan on how
you’ll spend your tax return is always a smart move.
A little forethought can help prevent regrets and
provide an even bigger reward in the end.
Featured Recipe
Breakfast Superfood: Acai Bowl Recipe
Bursting with nutrients and popping colors, acai bowls are similar to
super-thick smoothies garnished with your choice of toppings.
1 Frozen Unsweetened Pack of Acai
½ cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
1 Banana
1 Medjool Date pitted
½ Avocado pitted
Cacao Nibs
Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
1. Place acai, almond milk, banana, date, avocado and cacao powder in a blender. Blend ingredients until
smooth and creamy.
2. Place contents of the blender in a breakfast bowl and top with cacao nibs, granola, berries and
unsweetened shredded coconut.
Page 3
This year, we are making room for a wider variety
of vegetables on the dinner plate. From earthy
and unusual to vibrant and frilly, this year’s
trendiest vegetables are as eye-popping as they are
delicious, and we’re sharing exactly what they are,
where to buy them and the best way to enjoy them.
Purple Asparagus
Yes, there is such a thing as purple asparagus. It
was developed by farmers in the Albenga region
of Italy. The color comes from the high levels of
anthocyanin, a potent antioxidant flavonoid that
has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
While the stems of the asparagus have a deep violet
hue, the flesh is a pale green to creamy white color.
Taste It: Purple asparagus is less fibrous, which
means that it’s tender and can be eaten raw.
Even better, it’s sweet! Purple asparagus has
20% more sugar than both white and green
varieties. When cooked, purple asparagus has
similar flavors to artichoke, barley and almonds.
Cook It: This colorful veggie will lose some of
its vibrancy when cooked. All you need is a little
olive oil, lemon and sea salt to truly enjoy its
flavors. Grill it, sauté it, steam it—just make
sure you cook purple asparagus over high and
brief heat.
Quick Recipe: Marinate the purple asparagus in
some type of dressing that contains seasonings
or spices. Place the marinated asparagus onto a
baking dish, cover with aluminum foil and bake
at 300 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until
Buy It: To track down purple asparagus, people
are using the Speciality Produce App. You can
download it for iOS or Android and start your
hunt today.
Health Tip
The Trendiest and Tastiest
Vegetables of 2017
North America is late to the game on this one –
seaweed has long been a staple in more than just
sushi around the world for years. There are lots of
varieties of this ocean algae, which can be brown,
green and red (the most common for those tasty
sushi rolls). Since fresh seaweed doesn’t keep well,
it’s usually dried and can be rehydrated if necessary.
Taste It: Seaweed has a strong, salty ocean
flavor, but it’s not fishy. It packs a one-two punch
of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals
like iodine, magnesium, iron and calcium. With
all twelve essential amino acids, it’s also a great
source of protein and fiber.
Cook It: Seaweed adds its oceanic flavor to all
sorts of dishes, including smoothies and desserts.
Eat it baked, dried, cooked or raw. Try it sprinkled
on salads, soups, rice or pasta, and consider
adding some to your salt grinder for a savory note.
Quick Recipe: Combine a bit of wasabi and
a sprinkle of salt in ¼ cup water. Add one
tablespoon of soy sauce. Brush the mixture over
a sheet of nori, then lay another piece on top and
repeat. Cut the sheet in half, then each half into
strips. Bake for 20 minutes at 250º until crunchy.
Buy It: Seaweed snacks can be found in grocery
and convenience stores everywhere. Check out
the ethnic food aisle of your supermarket for dried
sheets of nori, kelp or wakame.
For more trendy vegetables, visit:
Page 4
The Consequences Of Identity Theft
What most cyber thieves really want is information.
Once they know where you live, some of your
hobbies and habits, or — worst of all — your social
security number, they can use that information to
impersonate you online. That means using back-door
security questions to change your passwords and get
into your important accounts.
For example: If your online bank account is set up
to ask you a security question if you forget your
password, such as what is your favorite sports team,
it doesn’t take long to check out your Facebook page
to see who you were rooting for this season. If they
use this information to get your password, they can
empty your bank account quickly.
Identity Theft Can Lead To Other Issues Such As:
Credit Card Fraud: Cyber thieves can use your
existing account to make charges or open a new
credit card using your personal information.
Damage To Your Credit Score: Even if the credit
card fraud department sides with you, late
or missing payments may have already been
reported to credit score agencies. This can cause
damage to your credit score and make it difficult
to get credit or loans in the future.
Loss Of Benefits: If someone maxes out
your medical or retirement account without
your knowledge, you could be shut out of the
important benefits you need at the worst
possible time.
Legal Problems: Clearing up some identity theft
issues is difficult, and results in legal hassles
that may take months or years to resolve.
Understand The Threats
Major threats to your devices include the following:
Theft: Thieves can walk away with your physical
device, taking your passwords and information
with them.
Email Scams: Anyone asking for money or
personal information in an email — whether you
know the sender or not — is a red flag. Delete
these emails immediately.
Phishing: This is a more sophisticated email
scam that looks like it’s from a company you
do business with. It will ask you to submit
passwords or account information for an update,
driving you to a scam website or false form to
gather your data.
Viruses: These are often embedded in email
attachments or files downloaded from the
internet. They most often corrupt your computer
with a slew of popup ads.
Trojan Horses: Similar to viruses, these programs
are embedded in unreliable downloads and can
take over your computer to scan it for valuable
information, hack your webcam and more.
How To Keep Your Devices Secure:
Never Leave Devices Unattended
Use Complex Passwords
Be Skeptical About Emails Requesting Information
Install Security Software
Avoid Public Wi-Fi
Check Your Privacy Settings
When you know what cyber security threats are
out there, you’re in a much better position to
protect yourself and your devices. By keeping
your passwords a secret and following these tips
for online safety, you should be able to enjoy the
conveniences of the Internet without worrying that
your personal information will be put at risk.
Community Living Tip
Protect Your Technology: Cyber Security 101
Our smartphones and tablets make it possible for us to do so many things with convenience. They also
require us to put a great deal of your personal information out there — and it’s ripe for the taking. Here’s
what you need to know about keeping your devices secure and your online information safe.
Page 5
Home Living
How To Make Your Guest Room Feel Like A Hotel
Hosting house guests can be fun, but you and your guests can enjoy the experience more when you have
a comfortable place for them to call a temporary home. If you’re looking to add a little more beauty to your
extra bedroom, here are a few ways to quickly and easily make the space comfy-cozy for guests.
Step 1: Clean Up Your Space
If you’re like most people, your “spare” room is likely
pressed into service as a combination guest room
and office, or maybe it’s often used as a playroom
or craft room. Even if you just use the closet and
shelves for overflow storage, you’ll need to take care
of any clutter before guests arrive. Make surfaces
available for unpacking and make sure that there’s
plenty of empty space on the hanging bar for your
guests’ clothing as well. Before your guests arrive,
give the room a good cleaning, check all the light
bulbs and air out the room if it seems stuffy.
Step 2: Provide Extra Linens
A good night’s sleep is usually enhanced with fresh,
clean sheets. To start, your guest bed should have a
fitted sheet, flat sheet, a blanket and a comforter or
duvet. It’s a good idea to provide at least one extra
blanket folded at the bottom of the bed. A spare
pillow for each guest is a thoughtful touch to give
them the option to sit up and read before bedtime.
For convenience, also provide a fresh, folded set of
towels for each guest. You can stack these neatly on
a dresser or desk where they won’t be missed. The
more you can anticipate their needs, the happier
your house guests will be.
Step 3: Going The Extra Mile
Your guests can be perfectly satisfied at step two,
but to really make your house feel like a special
retreat, try making up a basket of useful gift items to
welcome your guests into your home. You can pick
up a decorative bowl or basket at any local craft or
home goods store and fill it with soaps and lotions.
This can be unique to the guest if you have a local
soap maker to purchase from as a special souvenir.
Complete the bath basket with shampoo, conditioner
and perhaps a loofah or other bath scrub. Likewise,
you can fill a decorative cup or glass with fresh
toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss and mouthwash.
You can also help your guests have a comfortable
night by outfitting their bedside tables with water
bottles, a bookmark and a reading light. For a final
touch, place a night light in the guest room and
bathroom to help your guests find their way in dark
and unfamiliar surroundings.
Step 4: Add Entertainment
Though you’ll no doubt spend most of your time
together, it’s also wise to plan for some down
time. Consider leaving a stack of books or glossy
magazines in your guest room to browse through. It’s
also nice to include a local restaurant guide or a few
pamphlets about nearby attractions.
If you think about your house like a hotel, you can
type up a handy reference card for your guests,
too. Include details such as your Wi-Fi password,
important phone numbers, outlets to charge their
phones and anything else that would be useful for
your guests to know.
Step 5: Smart Guest Room Upgrades
For a five-star hotel level vibe, try shopping for these
convenient and comfortable pieces:
A Full-Length Mirror: An over-the-door mirror
is easy to hang either inside or outside of your
closet door.
A Folding Luggage Rack: These will tuck away
easily when your guests are gone, but they make
all the difference for unpacking those heavy
A Pillow Top Mattress: Instead of buying a new
mattress, a cushioned mattress pad or pillow
topper for your guest bed will feel heavenly after
a long plane trip or car ride and your guests will
drift to sleep in no time.
With these easy and considerate touches to your
guest bedroom, don’t be surprised when they make
plans to stay longer next time!
Page 6
Community Spotlight
Tidewater by Del Webb’s Blue Zones Project
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Tidewater by Del Webb hosted a Ribbon Cutting ceremony on March 2nd 2017 for residents and staff
to celebrate joining the Blue Zones Project and becoming a Blue Zones Community. The Blue Zones
Project’s mission is to inspire residents of the 55+ community to eat healthier, live longer, and embrace
new experiences.
To be acknowledged by the Blue Zones Project, the community offered a variety of social, educational,
and fitness activities to fully engage residents in the next chapter of their lives. From walking Moais
(small groups of people who walk together weekly for a common purpose) and plant-based cooking
demonstrations, to Pickleball and “Wine at 5” events, Tidewater offers robust activities and opportunities
to their residents to inspire them to live life to the fullest. The Tidewater community is located in South
Florida, and they are the first homeowners association in Estero to become a Blue Zones Project
recognized organization!
Community Spotlight
Hampton Pointe Community - Fire & Ice Social Event
The Hampton Pointe Community in Hardeeville, South Carolina hosted the social event “Fire & Ice”,
sponsored by Toll Brothers Inc. on February 10th. In cooperation with the FirstService Residential
Community Manager, Laphanie Banks, the event was created to celebrate the icy winter season and the
fiery flames of love kindled by Valentine’s Day. Volunteers in the community assisted with the planning
and decorations for the event. Attendees were encouraged to dress in the event’s color scheme of red
and white. A two foot tall “Fire & Ice” sculpture was displayed in the room as a pianist/vocalist performed
and serenaded residents with hits from the 50’s and 60’s. Residents enjoyed all the festivities including
the live music, tasty food and wine, and camaraderie of their fellow neighbors and friends.