If clients are overwhelmed by figuring out all they need to do to get their houses ready for fall and winter, hand them a short checklist of projects to tackle.


1.    Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and replace batteries on November 2nd when daylight savings ends.

2.    Inspect and clean and boilers and water heaters.

3.    Turn down the temperature of your water heater to 120°F.

4.    Hire a HVAC professional to inspect, clean and tune up your furnace.

5.    Replace your furnace filter monthly.

6.    Caulk and weather-strip around windows and doors to make them as weather-tight as possible. Check out Lowe’s site for good tips.

7.    Hunt for and seal air leaks. Don’t forget to check small spots, such as outlets and switches, recessed lighting, door bottoms, and behind cupboards. can help you through the process.

8.    Install and learn to use a programmable thermostat. When you’re home, keep the temperature as low as you can to still be comfortable. Kick the temperature back by 10 to 15 degrees (do the opposite in summer) when you’re out or asleep for eight hours. The strategy can save about 10% a year on your heating and cooling bills.

9.    Close your fireplace damper and only open it when you’re going to burn fires.

10.    Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators.

11.    Change the direction of your ceiling fan to push warm air down from the ceiling.


12.    Drain outdoor faucets and store hoses.

13.    Clean window wells.

14.    Clean gutters and downspouts to prevent ice dams.

15.    Look for cracks and damage to the roof and chimney and have them repaired.

16.    Rake leaves and shred them for mulch.

17.    Cover the central air conditioning unit and remove window units.

18.    Clean and store garden tools and get out your winter gear.

19.    Stock up on all the tools you’ll need for winter — shovels, brooms, ice scrapers, and eco-friendly ice melt.

20.    Put the garden to bed and prep it for spring.


Home improvements: Key interior design trends for the autumn season

Here are some of the key design trends for the autumn/winter 2014 season that can be easily incorporated into any home interior project.

fall pillow

Impact of accent colours: For the autumn of 2014, opt for a versatile colour range with soft geometric prints and contrast. Sofas and accent chairs should remain in neutral colours, such as rusty orange or mustard yellow.

sheers  Window sheers are back: Transparent, fresh and bright are the words that best describe living and dining window coverings this autumn. It is an easy way to add a little extra drama without having to sacrifice a beautiful view.



Be unique: One-of-a-kind pieces, such as an entry chest or coffee table, will be trending this season. Introduce a different and unique piece into your home.

A splash of colour: Accent walls remain an easy way to add colour to a room and warm up the tone of your living area. Dramatically enhance your space by coating an accent wall in a bright shade.

Old and new: Combining vintage and modern is a key trend this season. The look introduces contrast and is a great way to incorporate a favourite antique.

Saturday August 30, 2014 – Concert

Daytona Beach Bandshell’s Star Spangled Summer Concert Series Never Stop Believin’ – The Ultimate Journey Tribute Show

  • Time: 7:15 pm
  • Location: Daytona Beach Bandshell
  • Price: Admission is free and open to the public

Daytona Beach Bandshell’s Star Spangled Summer Concert Series presented by Ocean Walk Shoppes and the Boardwalk Merchants officially kicks off summer in Daytona with free concerts and fireworks displays.

An experience both locals and visitors alike look forward to every summer, the Star Spangled Summer Concert Series is an annual summer free concert series that takes place on Saturday nights at the world’s most famous beach’s historic Bandshell located at 250 N. Atlantic Avenue directly behind Ocean Walk Shoppes. The public is invited to bring their entire family and enjoy the Star Spangled Summer Free Concert Series every Saturday from May 24th through August 30th at 7:15 PM, followed by a fabulous display of fireworks over the Atlantic Ocean at 9:45 PM.

Admission is free and open to the public. Bandshell parking is available at the nearby Ocean Center garage and surface lots. Enter the Bandshell area through the Ocean Walk Shoppes from A1A or the overpass from the parking garage. Rental chairs are available. Additionally, while appreciating cool evenings with live music under the stars, concert attendees may stroll the boardwalk and Ocean Walk Shoppes and enjoy food, drink, rides and games. Fun for the whole family.

Visit Our Website For More Information

Chef du Jour: Cory Hassett

 Cory Hassett

Cory Hassett

Special to the Daily News  By Special to the Daily News

Published: Wednesday, August 27, 2014 at 10:17 AM.

What do you think your favorite chef would name as a guilty food pleasure? A favorite snack after a long workday? A final meal?

The Daily News asks local chefs those questions and more as a part of its semi-regular series, “Chef du Jour.”

Chef Cory Hassett of The Original Waterfront Crabshack in Fort Walton Beach indulged us this time.

The Appetizer

Name: Cory Hassett

Restaurant: The Original Waterfront Crabshack (“The Shack”)

Hometown: Born in Lansdale, PA, but I claim Destin.

Age: 27 going on 46 going on 14.

Married: Might as well be.

Kids: Somewhat (Girlfriend has four great little boys.)

Culinary School: N/A Accounting major at USF

WhiskHand: Righty Tighty

Accolades: I don’t think there’s a place in this business for personal accomplishment. It takes a team to accomplish great things in restaurants, and I wouldn’t take notable accomplishments as personal accolades.

The Main Course:

What dish off your menu would you serve a loved one?

Typically anytime a family member or close friend comes in, I push whatever specials that I’m running on them. I use them as my guinea pigs.

After a long workday, what do you eat?

Catches a lot of people off guard, but I am a fast-food junkie, especially after a long day at work. Shout-out to all local Taco Bells.

What’s your guilty (food) pleasure?

Two things I could live off of are sushi and quesadillas. All day – everyday.

What’s your favorite flavor combination?

Sweet and spicy tends to be my direction. I don’t believe I have a “favorite,” but I like the way different flavors can hit the palate in a single bite.

Besides your restaurant where do you go out to eat?

I have no issue naming another restaurant when it comes to this one. I love the Red Bar in South Walton. Besides good food, I think they have a system in place that just kills a lot of issues other restaurants have. Limited items on the menu, typically no substitutions, cash only, yet always busy. It’s hard to fault it.

What are your pet peeves in the kitchen?

I have selective OCD. I can’t stand messy work stations or slow-motion people. Also, I am quite loud, sarcastic and eccentric and love having a good time, so no whiney quiet people in my kitchens! I also hate feeling uneven. So if you give me a “good-game” on one side, you better give me a “good-game” on the other.

If you could choose, what would be your last meal?

As simple as it sounds, I think my last meal would have to be one of my child-hood favorites, mac & cheese and hotdogs. Of course, it would have to be Boar’s Head hotdogs with casing and 4 cheese mac & cheese. Always have to church it up a little.

What’s your favorite food to cook with?

I’m not sure I could pinpoint a single food item or ingredient. So many different cultures of cooking incorporate like ingredients but coax different flavors out in different ways. I love to learn and change and take all kinds of foods and see which direction I can stretch it.

 After Dinner Drink

Want to participate? Readers can nominate a local chef, or chefs can participate with their own answers by contacting Features Reporter Lauren Delgado at 850-315-4406


Back to school

Summer is winding down. Back-to-school sales are in full swing. Maybe your kids have already started school again.

Here are 5 strategies for saving money and resources when getting the kids, whether they’re in grade school or heading to college, ready for the semester.

1.    Rent a text.  Before dropping hundreds of dollars on college textbooks, explore other options. Save money and paper by renting textbooks, buying them used, or by going digital. Try to get a list of textbooks you’ll before school starts to get a head start on finding the best deals.


2.    Eco-friendly dorm. Talk to your college-bound kids about ways to transfer the green habits they’ve learned at home to their college dorm experience. Be sure to send them off with some basic green gear, such as power strips, LED bulbs, and energy efficient fridges.

Take a look at Unity College’s TerraHaus to see an innovative, sustainable dorm and this blog.

For more about greening dorm life:

3.    October 8th, walk, bike to school. Organize your own event for International Walk to School Day on October 8. And instead of making it just a onetime event, use the day to build momentum and create interest in swapping pedal power for car rides all year. It’s better for kids’ health to get some exercise each day and walking or riding to school, of course, benefits the environment. to plan and organize your day, map routes, and learn about safety.

4.    Green service day. The 2014 Green Apple Day of Service on Sept. 27, 2014 is designed to get parents, students, and community organizations working on projects to improve local schools and make them healthier and more sustainable. Last year 200,000 people participated in projects that included cleaning schools, planting gardens, making repairs, organizing recycling programs, and conducting energy audits. Learn more about the event and find inspiration for your own project

5.    Swaps. Your kids’ gently used clothes from last year don’t need to end up in a thrift shop or a landfill. Organize a clothing swap among several friends or do a broader school-wide event. Keep in mind that this strategy also works for adults looking to freshen up a fall and winter wardrobe. Click these links for ideas and how-tos.

New Biggest Loser Resorts coming to Illinois and Florida

Fat farms? Hardly. Biggest Loser Resorts to open at luxury spots near Chicago and Jacksonville, Fla.

Those who want to shed a few pounds in style will have two new Biggest Loser Resorts to choose from this fall.

The fitness and weight-loss regime modeled after the TV show will be coming to luxury hotels in the Chicago area and Amelia Island, Fla.

The “resorts” aren’t stand-alone properties; rather, parent company Fitness Ridge Worldwide contracts for space within bigger hotels and resorts to run the Biggest Loser drill.

Guests have their own check-in, their own eating area, their own chef, and they don’t interact with other guests unless they’re enjoying other amenities, such as the golf course or the pool, a spokeswoman said.

Wannabe big losers spend $2,995 and up for a room plus a week of kickboxing, circuit training, water aerobics and toning classes as well as nutritious meals and cooking demos, and wellness education.

Like the TV show, the accent here is on being fit, eating well and education on how to keep it up.

Biggest Loser Chicago will open Sept. 6 at the Hilton Indian Lakes Resort & Spa in Bloomington, Ill., about 28 miles west of Chicago. “The Biggest Loser” TV trainer Dolvett Quince will appear at the grand opening (it’s free to attend, but you have to RSVP by Friday if you want to go).

This isn’t the first Chicago location for Biggest Loser. Last year, the company opened at the Eaglewood Resort & Spa in Itasca, Ill., but that contract was terminated. It also closed a previous site in Ivins, Utah.

Biggest Loser comes to the Villas of Amelia Island Plantation in Florida on Oct. 18. Guests add kayaking and paddleboarding through lush marshlands to its cardiac workouts at the Amelia Island site.

The two new resorts join the Malibu site held at Fitness Ridge and the Niagara sitein Java Center, N.Y.

The 16th season of “The Biggest Loser” will premiere at 8 p.m. Sept. 11 on NBC.

Stay on top of design trends when updating your home décor

Stay on top of design trends when updating your home décor

“Homeowners today are seeking inspiration in regional styles and designs,” says acclaimed designer, Eric Cohler, who has been listed as a top international designer by House Beautiful and Elle Décor magazines. “You don’t have to live in a certain area to catch its vibe.”

From flooring and wall paper to accents like textiles and cabinetry hardware, keeping up with this trend doesn’t have to be a time consuming, laborious or expensive endeavor.

Big Impact

Flooring can make a big impact and can complement the regional look you’re hoping to achieve. For example, consider giving your home an ocean-kissed look with Coastal Living Laminate Flooring from Armstrong. Or opt for a country, rustic feel with hardwood flooring, such as the HomerWood handscraped floors created by Amish craftsmen. Persian or Oriental style rugs can give your home a more exotic, eastern flair.

Small Touches

“With relatively little effort, you can update your look by swapping out the knobs and handles on your cabinets, credenzas and other furniture,” says Cohler.

Implementing your vision with the right hardware doesn’t have to be a confusing process. Narrow your search by checking out curated collections of hardware.

For example, the AmerockNOW program makes selection easy. Cohler, who cast his artist’s eye on its collections, categorized them into themed groups that clearly communicate a specific design aesthetic. Themes such as London Undone, Heartland, Lodge and City Beat can help homeowners identify hardware that resonates with their own home décor.

By keeping two sets of cabinet hardware on hand, you can keep the look fresh in your home with just a screwdriver and an afternoon.

More information about new products as well as design tips and regional trends can be found

Coordinated Look

While you shouldn’t be afraid to fuse classical and contemporary looks, don’t forget to complement the big picture items such as wallpaper and flooring with other design elements, like lighting, wall hangings, cabinet hardware and artwork. Many retailers offer design resources to help you execute whole-home coordination as you turn your vision into a reality.

To stay on trend, consider bringing a regional look to life in your home.