Archive for the ‘Lifestyle Trends & Tips’ Category
Friday, July 11th, 2014
You gotta love the sound of that.
Summer. It’s that brief, but wonderful time of year that brings your senses alive and your loved ones together. You can enjoy sizzling barbecues, plunge in cool ocean waters, and take in the electric atmosphere of a ballgame. There’s another summer activity that you’re sure to love the sound of – free concerts and movies!
Free Wednesday Night Concerts
First County Bank is honored to once again sponsor the summer concert series held at Calf Pasture Beach. This year’s series, which coincides with the 45th anniversary of Woodstock and the 50th anniversary of The Beatles, features some of the best tribute bands around celebrating the music of Jimmy Buffett, The Beatles, Johnny Cash, Eagles, ABBA, and more. You can also enjoy entertaining performances by regional rock and roll bands, including Bill Genuario and Destiny, The Royal Kings, Keith Marron’s Whistleville Band, and much more.
Free Outdoor Movies
In addition to the free concerts, you can enjoy free outdoor activities at Shady Beach located at Calf Pasture Beach Road. These kid-focused events, feature free face painting, karate demonstrations, and outdoor movies, including Monsters University, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs #2, The Lego Movie, and more.
Not in the Norwalk area? Many towns offer free movie or concert series through their park or recreation departments. It’s a great way to save money while making the most of the summer. Plus, you can always take advantage of the many playgrounds, parks, walking and hiking trials throughout Fairfield County. Try a new sport or activity – in addition being active and enjoying the outdoors, it’s also a great way to spend some quality family time together.
Thursday, May 15th, 2014
At long last, spring has arrived. And whether you’re planning to clean up, build out, or fix up this season, it’s a great time to invest your time and money in what will likely be the biggest asset you will ever own – your home. But fixing up your home this spring doesn’t have to break your budget. Here are five smart and simple projects you can take on that can actually improve your home and save you money:
- Clean out those gutters. Springtime is the season for rain. And the last thing you need is to have your gutters overflowing with water that could build up near the foundation of your home, causing significant damage over time. If you don’t mind getting up on a ladder, you can save money by cleaning the gutters on your own. Or, you could hire a professional for a few hundred dollars.
- Check your roof for damage. Snow, sleet, and ice from the harsh winter can take a toll on your roof. That’s why it’s a good idea to get out your binoculars and visually inspect your roof for misplaced or missing shingles. Arrange to have any shingles replaced by a professional or replace them yourself. Making roof repairs is a whole lot cheaper than replacing your roof altogether.
- HVAC unit installation/repairs. Having air conditioning is a wonderful luxury in the hot summer months. But if you’re going to invest in a system or make repairs to one you already own, spring is a great time to do it. You’ll pay more if you wait until the hot summer months when demand and prices are considerably higher.
- Plant trees. Spring is the optimal time for planting. It’s also a great time to save money on air conditioning costs by planting shady trees in areas of your house that are hot.
- Clean your refrigerator. Dirty coils in your refrigerator force your refrigerator to work harder, thereby making it less energy efficient. Use your vacuum cleaner to clean out the coils to help improve its performance and reduce your energy costs.
Other home improvement ideas in bloom.
Click here for more spring home improvement tips to save you money.
Friday, March 21st, 2014
It’s been a longtime coming, but spring is finally here. If you’re like most members of our communities your heating bill crept up as the temps continued to go down throughout the winter. Enough of that!
The Department of Energy has a list of easy-to-do tasks to help you cut down on your home energy usage (and expenses) as we spring forward into the milder weather months.
Friday, September 6th, 2013
With hurricane season upon us, First County Bank is urging customers to prepare by staying informed and creating emergency plans to protect against the potential threat of bad weather.
“Preparation is key to ensuring safety during hurricane season,” said Katherine Harris, President and COO of First County Bank. “When faced with natural disasters, the bank takes preparation seriously to ensure customers have access to accounts and services, deposits are protected and our community is well prepared.”
In addition, the bank has taken preventative measures to enhance safety during emergencies by developing extensive recovery plans, educating employees on best practices in an emergency and staying actively involved in the community to identify the need for assistance after the storm.
“Through a few easy steps prior to a hurricane, households can be well prepared for the storm,” said Harris.
First County Bank offers the following tips to ensure you and home are prepared for the unexpected:
· Create an emergency kit and develop family communication plans. The emergency kit should include first aid supplies, a flashlight, extra batteries, at least three days of non-perishable foods and water, towels and a supply of any necessary medications.
· Identify an evacuation route and have a safe place to go. Establishing a plan before an emergency can help eliminate confusion and stress.
· Know when and where to evacuate, and know what you can and cannot bring to a shelter. Find out if your local emergency shelter allows animals and family pets or register pets at an animal shelter prior to a storm.
Thursday, May 16th, 2013
In 2010, Americans threw away about 250 million tons of garbage and recycled about 65 million tons. Recycling is vital to our planet as it helps make our environment clean, conserves materials, saves energy and reduces garbage in landfills. It is a valuable process, however it does require energy and labor to turn recyclable materials into usable materials again, and in some cases produces pollutants to do so.
Now, there is a process that is just as useful to the environment, that doesn’t require the melting down of materials, but rather requires imagination and a desire to turn something old into something new again. That process is called “Upcycling” – finding another purpose for an item that’s disposable and old.
In this Brass Magazine article, the author talks about the basics of “upcycling,” how to start and what to look for. Take it as far as your imagination goes – like messenger bags from old jeans, bottle caps into jewelry or even coasters out of corks. Who knows, you may even turn your upcycling into a business! http://www.brassmagazine.com/article/repurpose-driven-life-giving-old-items-new-image
Thursday, April 25th, 2013
On Monday, April 22, communities around the world celebrated Earth Day. Founded nearly 43 years ago in 1970, Earth Day was created by former U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson in response to the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill which had a significant impact on marine life in the Channel, killing thousands of sea birds, dolphins, elephant seals and sea lions. It’s considered the 3rd largest oil spill in the U.S. followed by the Exxon Valdez and Deepwater Horizon. In what’s been described as a ‘grass roots explosion’ the first Earth Day gained support of 20 million Americans across the country participating in activities focused on environmental issues.
In keeping with this yearly tradition of helping to sustain a healthier environment and protect our planet, the State of Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has put together more than 40 environmental tips to incorporate into daily living including activities such as attracting Blue Birds to your yard, clean boating and supporting your local farmer’s market. Visit: Environmental Tips for Earth Day and Every Day for tips and more!
Thursday, April 18th, 2013
When disaster strikes, if you have family or friends anywhere near the disaster zone, your immediate impulse is to reach out and make sure they are okay. However, this is not always easy as cell lines jam and land lines may not be working. What, then is the best way to reach out to loved ones during catastrophic events? And if you are impacted by these events, how do you reach out to your loved ones? Here are some important tips on getting in touch with loved ones during a disaster in this Wired Magazine piece: http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2013/04/loved-ones-contact-during-disaster. If you have other tips, please feel free to post them here.
Thursday, December 13th, 2012
With consumer sentiment the highest it’s been since the recession, shoppers are expected to open their wallets a bit wider this year. Will holiday spending leave shoppers in the red? Not if they plan wisely. Here are some tips to consider to help make the season more care-free and enjoyable:
• Develop a budget. Before you start shopping, develop a realistic budget. Consider your income, subtract your normal monthly expenses, and then add any savings to whatever cash is left over. If you need to use your credit card, think about what you can afford to pay back in January. Don’t forget costs beyond gifts, like postage, gift wrap, decorations, greeting cards, food, travel and charitable contributions.
Thursday, August 30th, 2012
With back-to-school upon us, stores are bustling with students getting ready to tackle the school year ahead. Along with the usual suspects like new clothes, supplies and books, smartphone apps have become a popular item among students. According to Nielson, more than 50% of consumers in the U.S. have smartphones, a 3% growth since last year, and that number is growing among teens and college students. It’s not surprising that developers are quickly churning out apps that help students keep organized and support their learning. In this CNET article, executive editor Robert Cheng showcases several useful smartphone apps to help students and even parents get ready for the back-to-school season.
Friday, July 13th, 2012
Image courtesy of the Stamford Museum & Nature Center
The Farmer’s Market is a tradition that dates back more than 350 years with local farmers selling fresh, chilled, savory products and produce bursting with flavor! If those adjectives sound familiar they ought to as they also describe First County Bank’s Tasty Ad Campaign! When it comes to Farmer’s Markets, in addition to sharing adjectives, we share the philosophy that locally grown food (or locally grown business) is better for you and the local community! Plus, local Farmer’s Markets are a great place to gather with friends and family in your community.
While a few Farmer’s Markets opened in the spring, many throughout Connecticut opened this month including one of our favorites at Stamford Museum and Nature Center! For an updated list of Farmer’s Markets near you, check out the 2012 Guide to Fairfield County Farmers’ Markets. Do you have a favorite Farmer’s Market? Please share – we’d love to hear about it!