Florida Back-to-School Tax Free Weekend 2016 Starts Today

Florida Tax free Back to School Shopping WeekingWe get three days of tax free back- to-school shopping this weekend. The tax free weekend lasts Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Many online stores will also provide tax free shopping for certain items.
Florida Department of Revenue details what items are eligible for the tax free promotion. Not much has changed over the years in regards to is taxable and what is not taxable. But it is always beneficial to take a fresh look at what is included. On the Florida Department of Revenue website there are answers to frequently asked questions and examples of what is not taxable this weekend.

Frequently Asked Question about the tax free holiday.

Hillsborough County Library and HART Hispanic Heritage Art Contest

PaintingSupplyHillsborough County Library, along with HART (Hillsborough Area Regional Transit) are teaming together to create two different Art contests from children in Kindergarten through 12th grade. The contest will be to honor and celebrate Hispanic Heritage. There are 2 different categories based on grades. Those in kindergarten through 5th grade can participate in a bookmark contest. The winner will have and image of their bookmark displayed on a Hartline bus and there will be 100 professionally printed bookmarks. The second prize winner will also have the image of their bookmark on a HART bus, and also 5 professionally printed bookmarks. The category for 6th through 12 grade students will be a poster design contest. The second and first prize winners of the poster contest will have an image of their poster appear on a HART bus. The second prize winner of the poster contest will have 5 professionally printed posters, while the winner will have 10 professionally printed posters. Entries will be received between September 1st and September 30th.

Official information can be found on the Hillsborough County Public Library web site.

Florida’s Tax Free Weekend 2015 Starts Today

Save During Florida's Tax Free HolidayThis year Florida gets an entire week of tax free shopping.  The Tax free holiday runs from Friday, August 7, 2015 to August 16, 2015.     In more recent years we have only had a tax free weekend, but now we have over a week to take advantage of the no taxes on certain items.  The tax free holiday is designed to give shoppers a break on back to school items, but anyone can participate in the event.    Florida has certain restrictions on what items can be tax exempt and they have supplied a document with more specifics on the items.  Several items the fall in the categories clothing, school supplies, electronics.  Somethings that you may be surprised to see on the list of tax exempt are diapers and diaper bags.     Of course stores will be competing for you money; so keep your eyes out for sales.  Those that want to purchase big ticket items, like computers or tablets, will see great savings by not having to pay taxes.

Tax free items List Click Here

If you see a deal for back to school items during this week, please let us know by posting below.

Tampa Bay Lightning in 2015 Stanley Cup Final

NHL Stanley Cup

NHL Stanley Cup

The match-up is officially set for the 2015 National Hockey League (NHL) Stanley Cups Finals. The first team to earn its way into this years final was the Tampa Bay Lightning as the representative from the Eastern Conference. This will be the team’s second opportunity to play for The Cup, which they claimed in 2004 after a hard-fought seven-game series versus the Calgary Flames.

In the conference finals, the Lightning came up against the New York Rangers, the top-seeded team in the league. After taking a 3-2 series lead going into Tampa Bay for a chance to clinch the series and play for the league championship, the Lightning were unable to close out the series with a big lopsided loss at home. As a result of the Lightning’s disappointing loss, they would have to earn its way into the finals on the Rangers’ home ice at Madison Square Garden.

Thanks in large part to a stellar goal-tending effort by goalie Ben Bishop, the Rangers’ offense was completely shut down after 22 shots on goal, allowing the Lightning to claim victory with two third-period goals. Alex Killorn got the scoring started with his 7th goal of the playoffs at 1:54 into the third period with Matthew Carle and Valtteri Filppula earning assists on the play. At the 11:17 mark, Ondrej Palat scored the team’s second goal on passes from Tyler Johnson and Ben Bishop. From that point on, the Lightning were able to keep Rangers sharpshooters at bay to secure the 2-0 victory.

The effort by Bishop was in sharp contrast to his game six exploits where he was pulled from the game after giving up five goals in the 7-3 loss. In this one, he was able withstand two power-play opportunities in the second period for his second 2-0 shut-out of the series.

The following day, the Chicago Blackhawks scored four goals in the first two periods to hold off the top-seeded Anaheim Ducks 5-3. The victory gave the Blackhawks a 4-3 series win and earned them the opportunity to represent the Western Conference versus the Lightning in the Stanley Cups finals scheduled to get under way on June 3 @ 8:00 pm EDT. As the number two-seed from the Eastern Conference, the Lightning will have home ice advantage over the third-seeded Blackhawks. These two teams figure to be evenly matched based on a 1-1 series record on the season with both teams claiming home victories.

Tampa Bay Lightning win First Playoff Series Against Detroit

In a first-round matchup that pitted an Original Six powerhouse against a younger, 1992 expansion team, the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the old-guard Detroit Red Wings in seven games. The dramatic series sent the Lightning on to the Eastern Conference semifinals, while Detroit was sent packing. Despite sending 31 shots on goal, the Red Wings couldn’t put anything past Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop in the crucial game seven.

The Tampa Bay victory was made all the more dramatic by the fact that the Red Wings led the series three games to two going into game six, but Tampa Bay turned the momentum around with an impressive 5-2 victory. That also put Tampa Bay back on home ice for game seven, a key factor since the team had the best record of any team in the league during the regular season.

For most of game seven, the game looked to be going Detroit’s way, although the match was scoreless through two periods. That changed about four minutes into the third period, when Brayden Coburn – acquired by Tampa Bay midway through the season – sent a one-timer into the back of the net. The game continued to be tight throughout the third period, leading Detroit to pull its goalie for the extra attacker. Unfortunately, that strategy did not pan out as the Red Wings not only failed to score, but Anton Stralman added an empty-net insurance goal for the Lightning with just 1:18 remaining.

For an opening round series, the Lightning-Red Wings matchup was as dramatic as they come, with the teams trading games evenly through game six; game seven marked the first time in the series either team managed to win two games in a row. And the seventh game easily could have gone the other way, with Detroit significantly outshooting Tampa Bay and putting in a solid defensive effort. However, in the end, it was the flawless performance of 28-year-old Ben Bishop that made the difference and propelled the Lightning further into the post-season.

While Detroit hits the golf course, the Lightning move on to face the Montreal Canadiens, another storied franchise, and one that defeated the Ottawa Senators four games to two in its opening round series. The matchup promises to be just as exciting and hard-fought as the Tampa Bay-Detroit matchup.

Bucs Select Winston

With the first pick of the 2015 NFL draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston. The team, coming off a 2-14 season in which poor quarterback play contributed greatly to their record, decided to overlook Winston’s off-field problems in the hope that he can become the franchise quarterback they’ve never really had.

Before losing earlier this year in the college playoffs, Winston was 27-0 as a starter for the Seminoles, and a year before — in his freshman season — he was the recipient of the Heisman Trophy for being the best player in college football. He also led his school to the national title that year.

Few, though, question Winston’s skills, and he could have an immediate impact in the notoriously weak NFL South, especially with weapons such as Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson. He has already shown himself to be a quick learner and he could only be an improvement over last year’s starter Josh McCown, but he will have to reverse a trend of terrible quarterbacking that has been a hallmark of the franchise since its inception in 1976. Even Super Bowl winners such as Doug Williams, Trent Dilfer and Steve Young achieved most of their success after leaving Tampa Bay.

It’s safe to say that all eyes will be on the young man from Bessemer, Alabama when the Buccaneers open their season at home against the Tennessee Titans September 13.

Free Cones at Ben and Jerry’s

032910_0017_FreeScoopof1.jpgIt is that time again.  Ben and Jerry’s is offering free cones at select locations.  You can visit their website for specifics about the offer and find locations that are closest to you.   The free cones are offered between noon and 8 p.m.   Maybe after picking up the kids after school or after dinner you can go get your free ice cream.

Updated Belle of the Ball Prom Dress Donation

promdressRedSmallWe recently received updated information about the Belle of the Ball project and wanted to create a separate post to let you know about it.  The original post was from several years ago and we appreciate getting the update and wanted to make everyone aware of the changes.    Hopefully this can help a teen girl you know or maybe you can be of help to the organization.

Belle of the Ball Announces Spring Prom Shopping Dates, New Location in Clearwater
Non-profit organization Belle of the Ball Project will provide prom dresses to in-need, low-income high school girls on four Saturdays this spring at 1210 Holt Avenue, Clearwater. This is a NEW location. The charity is no longer located in the Seminole Mall.
The dates are Saturdays March 28, April 11, April 25 and May 9, and the hours are from 10am to 2 pm. These will be the only dates to receive a dress.

Dresses are available to all greater Tampa Bay area in-need, high school girls only. We respect the honor system. No referral letter is necessary. No appointment needed. A $1 donation is requested but not necessary.

For low-income, in-need, high school girls only.

Donations of dresses can also be made at the distributions, dates/times listed above. For other year-round donation sites and more information about Belle of the Ball Project call 727-386-4502 or visit our web site:http://www.belleoftheballproject.com or Facebook at Belle of the Ball



Half Off Cheesecake Slice at the Cheesecake Factory Today

The Cheesecake FactoryThe Cheesecake Factory is offering any slice of cheesecake at half price. The promotion started yesterday and continues today to celebrate National Cheesecake Day. Wednesday was officially National Cheesecake Day, and the Cheesecake Factory began offering the half off special on that day. Today is the second and final day to take advantage of the half off any slice cheesecake special.

Certain rules apply:

Offer valid July 30th and 31st. For dine-in only. Only one slice per guest. Valid in US & Puerto Rico restaurants only.

Florida’s Tax Free Weekend This Friday Through Saturday

LittleGirlShoppingBagFlorida Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday is from August 1st through August 3rd. During this time you pay no sales tax on qualifying items. Don’t let the name of the holiday confuse you. You do not have to actually purchase the item for use as a back to school supply for it to be tax exempt. However there are some items that cannot be purchases for business purposes, like personal computer and other related accessories.

Some of the general rules of the tax free holiday:

No tax is due on the sale or purchase of any article of clothing, wallet, or bag, including handbags, backpacks, fanny packs, and diaper bags, but excluding briefcases, suitcases, and other garment bags, with a selling price of $100 or less per item.

No tax is due on the sale or purchase of any school supply item with a selling price of $15 or less per item.

Personal computers and certain computer-related accessories may qualify for the exemption. The exemption applies to the first $750 of the sales price of a qualified item, when purchased for noncommercial home or personal use.

Detailed information About 2014 Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday.

Schiano’s Sad Season

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers ended Sunday’s game in a way that represented their 2013 footaball season; on the losing side.  Once again, the Buccaneers end a season with no post-season hope and wondering how things went so very wrong.  This is the 6th  consecutive season that the Buccaneers have not made the playoffs and the second one under Head Coach, Greg Schiano.  The previous seasons were under fired coaches Jon Gruden and Raheem Morris.  Now Schiano has been dealt the same post-season pink slips that his predecessors received.

Drama has surrounded the Buccaneers this season.  Fomer starting quarterback Josh Freeman left mid-season with a lot controversy.  NFL officials traveled down to Tampa to find out who leaked confidential information about Freeman having to take drug tests.  After weeks of internal turmoil that spread over into the papers, Freeman was released by the Buccanners.

There was also the MRSA outbreaked that sidelined several players this season.  Some teams went to the extra effort  of hiring special cleaning crew after the Buccaneers played at their stadium.

Now the Tampa Baby Buccaneer organization hopes that that they can cure the dismal football season that they have been experiencing.  First, they have released General Manager Mark Dominick and Head Coach Greg Schiano.  Now, they are looking for a new coach and it will probably have to be someone with some significant NFL coaching experience.  Maybe they can coax Dungy to comeback and help build the team up to something that will have the power needed to win games.

Tampa Bay has had hard seasons that made many fans desert them, but true fans know and believe that they will win again.

10% OFF at Target This Weekend

For those that are still doing holiday shopping or any other shopping, Target is providing 10% off all purchases this weekend.   It seems super altruistic, but it is because of the credit card woes that they having been experiencing.  If you have not hear, Target servers were hit by hackers that have stolen credit card information of shoppers that made purchases at their stores.

One customer has already said that $1,200 has been fraudulently taken from her debit account.     She said that there were 6 different debit transactions of $200 on her account.

Of course the 10% off will not solve the damage already done, but many shoppers are still taking advantage of the 10% promotion this weekend.    Those that use a Target Red Card will also get the additional 5% off.

Recalled Sweet Lambie Baby Crib Bumpers

Sweet Lambie Recalled Crib Bumper

Sweet Lambie Recalled Crib Bumper

Sweet Lambie baby crib  bumpers have been voluntarily recalled from Pottery Barn.  These bumpers were sold in the Pottery Barn Kids and Outlet stores, catalogs, and online from April 2009 to June 2012.   There have been complaints that thread separated from the bumper and entangled babies, including an occurrence of thread wrapping around one baby’s neck.

Pottery Barn is offering a free replacement or gift card to those that have an affected crib bumper.   You can visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission(CPSC) website for more detailed information about the recall.   You can also report if you have had any issues with the bumper.     If you do have the a recalled please discontinue using it and do not sell or give it away.

2013 Tampa Bay Summer Camps for Kids

BoysBallsParents can sign their kids for summer camps that are all day or just a portion of the day.   An updated 2013 Summer Camp list is available.

Summer camps allow for supervised activity during the months that children are out of school.

Even if a parent is home during the summer, summer camp is a way for kids to get out the home and have fun.    There are summer camps for about every single activity or like.   There are music camps, soccer camps, science camps, dance camps, and more.

Costs of the camps do vary.  You will find that summer camps from city and county government agencies will cost less than most other places.  Spots for some locations do fill up fast.

Although most camps are for younger children, you can find several different classes and camps for your teens.

The list will be updated periodically, so check back often.  If you know of any camps not listed on the summer camp page, please leave a comment below telling us about it.

5 Florida Cities on Amazon.com’s Most Well-Read List

BoyReadMomIt seems many residents in the state of Florida are voracious readers.  When it comes to ranking on Amazon.com’s most read books list, 5 Florida cities are in the top 20.     There rankings were:  Miami #3, Orlando #5, Gainessville #15,Clearwater #19, and Tallahassee #20.  The list is based on the sales of books that are Kindle or print edition.  The ranking of the cities is based on per capita purchase of books and only includes cities with at least 10,000 residents.

Of course these may not actually be the most well read cities because all things were not taken into consideration.  There are other places where readers could have obtained books and many people do not just use Amazon.com as the source for book purchases.  In addition, some individuals get the books they read from the library.

Using the library to obtain books is great way to save money and still have an array of options.   In fact, having a public library card will not only give access to printed books, but also to electronic books.

But no matter how skewed the data might be, it is great to see that people throughout the state and the country are reading.  By the way, Alexandria, Virginia was #1 on the list.

Get a Free Comic Book from Local Tampa Bay Comic Book Stores

SuperMan, One of the free comics for National Free Comic Book Day

SuperMan, One of the free comics for National Free Comic Book Day

May 4th is Free Comic Book Day (Yes, there is a day for that.) throughout the world.     The website freecomicbookday.com has details about the free comic book giveaway and also a store locator for you to find comic books in your area.   Many comic book stores throughout Tampa Bay are participating in the giveaway.

Dark Horse Comics, DC Entertainment, IDW Publishing, Image Comics, and Marvel Comics are some of the publishers providing the comic books.   There are comic books that both and children will enjoy.   Some of the comics included are Superman, SpongeBob SquarePants, Hulk, and Star Wars.

Tampa International Airport Renovation Include Kids’ Play Area

TIAPlayAreaParents traveling through Tampa International Airport with their children will notice new play areas to keep little ones occupied.   There are now two soft play areas that have an aviation theme.  These are the similar to the soft play areas that are found in malls throughout the country and the Tampa Bay area.

PLAYTIME, the makers of the TIA kid’s play area are also the ones that make the soft play areas found at many malls throughout Tampa Bay.

Hopefully the time playing in the play areas will make the time traveling on the plane a lot easier for parents, their kids, and other passengers.

Free St. Petersburg Bridal Show on Cinco de Mayo

NOVA535 On May 5th there will be a free bridal show at NOVA 535 in St. Petersburg.  The event is from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., and is being co-hosted by NOVA 535 and Simple Weddings.   You can reserve you tickets online at http://www.SimpWed.com.

It is promised that there will be several vendors offering door prizes, along with free food from invited caters.

Even if your wedding is way in the future, visiting would not hurt since it is FREE.

The Fresh Beat Band Coming to Clearwater this December

The Fresh Beat Band

The Fresh Beat Band

Fresh Beat Band  little fans will have a chance to see them live at Ruth Eckerd Hall on December 12th.   At the end of the year toddlers and preschoolers will be able to sing along live to some of their favorite songs.

The Fresh Beat Band is a children’s show that airs on Nickelodeon stations, including Nick Jr. throughout the week.   It teaches music appreciation to the young viewers, and maybe a few things to the parents that watch along and have very little knowledge of music.   Even though the show is for preschoolers, they do have some catchy songs (my favorite is “Just Like a Rock Star.)”

You can now purchase tickets for the show from the Ruth Eckerd Hall website.  Current prices are $39.50 to $149.50.

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