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10 Things to Know About Living in Philadelphia

10 Things to Know About Living in Philadelphia

Wedged between New York and D.C., Philadelphia has long been one of America’s most overlooked and underrated cities. The Birthplace of America, Philly is the nation’s sixth-largest city and one of its top cultural, culinary, employment, sports, music and education destinations. It’s a fresh, cosmopolitan city, and living in Philadelphia means you have nearly anything you could imagine to do, eat, visit, see and cheer for.

Philadelphia is a unique and diverse city, much more than the Liberty Bell, cheesesteaks and Rocky. It’s an inviting, connected community compromised of nearly 100 distinct neighborhoods from the gleaming skyscrapers of Center City to the rowhouses of South Philly to the rolling estates of Chestnut Hill. Whether you’re packing up for your move to Philly or just considering a relocation to the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection, there are many wonderful things you need to know about living in Philadelphia.

1. Philly has a great climate if you like having four seasons

No matter which season you enjoy frolicking in, Philly is the perfect climate to experience all four seasons. Philadelphia is a temperate Mid-Atlantic city with the best of all worlds, just 50 miles from the Jersey shore and 70 from the Pocono Mountains.

Summers in Philly can be hot and muggy at the peak of the season, with average highs just under 90 during July. Winters are cold but not bitterly, with daily temps during the holiday season straddling the freezing line. Rain can be expected a quarter-to-third of the days each month, with about 20 inches of snow each winter.

septa train philadelphia

2. Commuting is relatively easy by car or public transit

Philly commuting is convenient compared to most of its Northeast Corridor counterparts. The average one-way work travel time is just more than half an hour, with more than 20 percent using public transportation.

For automotive commuters, Philly’s transportation network couldn’t be simpler. Interstate 95 lines the eastern edge of the city, the I-76 Schuylkill Expressway divides West Philly from the rest of Philly and I-676 (Vine Street Expressway) and US Route 1 (Roosevelt Boulevard/Expressway) run east/west through the city. Broad Street, America’s longest straight boulevard, forms Philly’s north/south backbone.

SEPTA operates a convenient public transit system, which includes a number of commuting modes. This includes the Broad Street Line subway and Market-Frankford elevated train, which travels north/south and east/west, respectively, 131 bus lines and eight light rail and trolley routes.

3. You have to learn how to talk Philly to live here

Every city in America has its own dialect quirks, but Philly has a language all its own every newcomer must eventually absorb. From your first “yo,” you’ll quickly learn every jawn (which can literally mean any person, place or thing).

“Jeet?” is what you’ll be asked if someone wants to know if you’ve eaten yet. They may want to share a hoagie (don’t ever say “sub”), grab pasta with gravy (tomato sauce) or a cheesesteak “whiz wit” (covered in melted cheese and fried onions). Wash it down with some wooder (what comes out of the sink) or a lager (ask for that and you’ll get a Yuengling beer).

Where are you going to go? Maybe “down the shore” to the Jersey beaches, out to Delco (Delaware County) or to Center City (never call it “downtown”) on the El (the elevated train). That’s where yiz (plural “you”) are headed.

And everyone loves talking about the “Iggles” (or “the Birds,”) the championship football team.

4. Philly is the City of Museums

More than any city in America, history lies down every street, many of which the Founding Fathers once walked. Independence National Historical Park, the most historic square mile in the nation, includes important sites like Independence Hall, Liberty Bell, City Tavern, Christ Church, Franklin Court and more.

Nearby in Old City are the National Constitution Center, Museum of the American Revolution, Betsy Ross House, the first U.S. Mint, Elfreth’s Alley and National Museum of American Jewish History.

But Philly offers so much more, including world-class museums dedicated to art, culture, science and education. In the Parkway Museum District, must-visit attractions include the Philadelphia Museum of Art (and the Rocky steps), Franklin Institute Science Museum, Barnes Foundation and Rodin Museum.

Elsewhere around the city are amazing spots, including the Mummers Museum, Academy of Natural Sciences, Magic Gardens urban mosaic, Mütter Museum of medical oddities, Eastern State Penitentiary and even the Museum of Pizza Culture.

Philly cheesesteak

Photo courtesy of Michael Hochman

5. Philly cuisine is much more than cheesesteaks

Sure, everyone loves cheesesteaks and every Philadelphian has their favorite steak joint. But Philly also claims a slew of other iconic dishes.

Hoagies are a party staple, but many swear by the roast pork sandwich, with provolone and sautéed broccoli rabe, as the city’s signature sandwich. Philadelphians eat 12 times as many pretzels as the average American and you’ll find soft pretzels in the Philly figure-eight style on every corner.

Breakfasts wouldn’t be Philly without scrapple or pork roll, two pan-fried pork-based dishes. And dinner can include tomato pie (cheeseless rectangle pizza on focaccia served at room temperature), Old Bay-flavored crinkle-cut crab fries or snapper soup, which is exactly what you think it is.

For dessert, grab a “wooder ice” (kind of like Italian ice but not) or a Tastykake (more of a lifestyle than a snack food line).

And Philadelphia isn’t just for casual eats — some of America’s greatest restaurants live here. Israeli spot Zahav was named Best Restaurant in the country, and Pizzeria Beddia the Best Pizza in America. Other award-winning spots abound, including South Philly Barbacoa, vegetarian destination Vedge and 20 restaurants citywide from decorated chef Stephen Starr.

But all cross-sections of Philadelphians can agree on one thing — everyone loves Wawa, more of a culture than a convenience store, with more than 40 locations throughout the city.

6. Philly is the best music city on the East Coast

There would be no American music without Philadelphia. The city is home to one of the nation’s greatest music histories as the birthplace of Philadelphia soul, American Bandstand, Gamble & Huff and “Rock Around The Clock.” Artists hailing from Philly span the spectrum from Hall & Oates, Chubby Checker, Patty LaBelle, Boyz II Men and Will Smith to The Roots, Meek Mill, Diplo, Dr. Dog, War On Drugs, Kurt Vile, Dead Milkmen and Joan Jett.

Philly is also one of the best cities in America to see and hear live music, with a slew of iconic music venues of every size. Music pours nightly out of legendary clubs, such as Milkboy, Johnny Brenda’s, Boot & Saddle and Kung Fu Necktie, concert halls like The Fillmore, Union Transfer, Theater of Living Arts and Tower Theater and outdoor amphitheaters with stunning vistas BB&T Pavilion and Mann Center.

7. Philly is one of America’s great college towns

Philadelphia is one giant college town. There are more than 340,000 college students living in Philly spread across nearly two dozen four-year campuses. Thanks to college sports, Philly’s top five major universities (that make up the Big Five) are nationally known and include Temple, St. Joseph’s, La Salle, the University of Pennsylvania and Villanova (which actually sits outside the city).

University City in West Philly is home to Penn, as well as Drexel and the University of the Sciences. And scattered elsewhere around the city are historically-black Lincoln University, Chestnut Hill College, Thomas Jefferson University (on two campuses), Pierce College and Holy Family.

There are also a number of creative and performing arts schools in Philadelphia, including the University of the Arts, Art Institute of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and Curtis Institute of Music.

Phillies

Photo courtesy of Michael Hochman

8. Sports are life in Philly even if we like to boo

You may have heard. In Philadelphia, we love sports. Unlike cities like New York or L.A., Philly has just one team in each of the major sports, so every fan is on the same page. Except for college basketball where the city is divided among a half-dozen Division I programs.

Philadelphians bleed team colors and everyone from every walk of life pays attention. Often, the city’s collective mood is based on yesterday’s result. So, if you want to walk into nearly any conversation in Philly, be sure to know the Birds’ playoff chances or who your favorite Flyer is. But Philly fans don’t take lack of hustle or effort lightly, and a subpar performance will bring out the notorious boo-birds.

9. The cost of living in Philly is pretty good

As the sixth-largest city in the nation and keystone of the Northeast Corridor, you’d expect Philly to be expensive. Actually, it’s pretty average. The overall cost of living in Philadelphia (as of Q1 2020) is just 110 percent of the national composite. Compare that to its neighbors like New York (246 percent), D.C. (160 percent) and Boston (148 percent). In fact, Philadelphia’s cost of living is cheaper than many major cities like Denver, New Orleans, Miami, San Diego and Baltimore.

The same goes for housing, as well. Philadelphia is only 13 percent over the national index average for housing costs, much more affordable than other East Coast cities and metropolises around the country like Phoenix, Dallas and Portland. For renters, an average Philly one-bedroom leases for just $2,127 a month (compared to the national average of $1,621), just a pleasantly-surprising 17th most-expensive in the nation, cheaper than Sacramento, Boston, Seattle or Oakland.

10. Philadelphia is one of the great American cities

Philadelphia is a beautiful, friendly, progressive city for anyone moving here or just thinking about it. It’s a hub for technology and finance and home to a dozen Fortune 500 corporations.

It’s a retail center with high-end city malls, vintage and boutique shopping corridors and Jewelers’ Row, the oldest diamond district in the nation. It’s a haven for those seeking outdoor adventure, including massive Wissahickon Valley and Fairmount Parks. And a destination for family fun at spots like the Please Touch Museum and America’s oldest zoo. It’s even one of America’s most walkable cities.

Living in Philadelphia

Philly is a great place for lovers of music, beer, history, shopping, sports, theater, coffee, biking, art, dining and more. Whatever your passion, you’ll find it living in Philadelphia.

And with a head start on what’s listed here, you’ll be welcomed with open arms and find out quickly why we’re known as The City that Loves You Back.

Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rental property inventory of one-bedroom apartments. Data was pulled in October 2020 and goes back for one year. We use a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
Population and income numbers are from the U.S. Census Bureau. Cost of living data comes from the Council for Community and Economic Research.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.
Header image courtesy of Michael Hochman.

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Published at Tue, 27 Oct 2020 13:00:46 +0000

How to Reheat Steak Like a Master Chef

We’ve all been there: You wake up the day after an amazing night out or a well-executed dinner party, thinking longing thoughts about the leftover steak in the fridge.

But how does one go about restoring the tantalizing tenderloin to its former glory without inadvertently turning it into a disappointing and rubbery throw-away? The answer is that there isn’t just one way. Depending on what equipment and time you have at your disposal, there are several ways to achieve a satisfying and restorative effect.

The best methods for reheating steak

Before jumping in to reheating steak, it’s important to consider what different cooking methods do to your food.

The oven, for instance, leverages dry, hot, moving air to heat your food from the outside in. This, of course, runs the risk of dehydrating the food in the process.

The microwave, by contrast, uses radiation to heat your food from the inside out by exciting the water molecules that keep your food moist to begin with. This, too, comes with the risk of irreparably altering the texture of your meal.

Finally, contact heating, as in a pan, uses a single, hot surface to heat your food quickly from the outside in. But the single surface often lends itself to uneven heating. This should not discourage but inform your process. It’s far simpler than it seems to work with these particularities to achieve a truly optimal and delicious effect.

How to reheat steak in the oven

reheating steak in oven

Again, remember that the oven tends to dehydrate easily. Thus, it’s important to use a “low and slow” approach. Reheat the steak at a lower temperature for a longer period of time. This will ensure moisture retention and even heating.

  1. Preheat your oven to a low temperature like 250 to 275 degrees
  2. Place your steak on an elevated rack inside of a baking sheet to allow the air to move around all sides of the steak
  3. Place the tray in the oven and let the steak warm until it reaches an internal temperature of 110 to 130 degrees, about 20 to 30 minutes
  4. This should be perfect, but if you want the crust to feel crispy again, feel free to quickly sear the steak in a grill pan over high heat for about 30 seconds per side

How to reheat steak in a frying pan

reheating steak in frying fan

Pans are great at heating food one side at a time. But if you’re trying to get ready for your lunch break in a hurry, you don’t have time to flip and wait.

  1. Start by using a large pan with enough room to add your steak with plenty of real estate to spare
  2. Scoot the steak over so that it’s touching the wall of the pan, then scoot the pan over so that the part of its bottom that the steak is sitting on is not directly under the burner. This will make sense soon.
  3. Add about one-quarter cup water to the opposite side of the pan, the side over the burner, making sure not to let water pool under the steak
  4. Crank the stovetop up to medium, cover the pan and let the steak cook for about 10 minutes, flipping once
  5. This will avoid heating one side of the steak and will instead encourage a gentle heating of all surfaces of the steak
  6. If you desire a crispier surface, feel free to quick sear the steak afterwards using the same method as is listed above

How to reheat steak in an air fryer

reheating steak in air fryer

With the advent of new kitchen tech comes new means by which to cook and re-cook everything under the sun. An air fryer, for instance, uses the same basic premise as a convection oven (hot, moving air) to cook your food in a manner that produces a similarly crispy texture to frying but without all that oil.

  1. Since we’re talking hot, fast air, cooking quickly to avoid dehydration is a must
  2. Pop your steak in the frying tray, and set the fryer to 370 degrees
  3. “Fry” your steak at that temperature in three-minute sprints until the internal temperature of the steak reads 110 to 130. This will ensure food safety and a nice medium-rare to medium doneness.
  4. No re-searing necessary

How to reheat steak in the microwave

reheating steak in microwave

We would be remiss if we did not note that cooking steak in the microwave, even the second time around, is truly sacrilege. But if you insist, just know that you’ll likely sacrifice a little bit of tenderness in the service of convenience.

  1. Start by slicing your steak into uniform slices or portions to ensure even heating
  2. Place your steak on a microwave-safe dish, and sprinkle a little bit of water on the plate
  3. Cover the plate with plastic wrap
  4. Set the microwave to medium power. This will ensure the steak doesn’t turn to jerky on the outside before the inside is even warm.
  5. Medium power will require a slightly longer cook time so nuke it in minute-long sprints until the internal temperature of the steak reads 110 to 130 degrees.
  6. Feel free to re-sear for texture

Select your method and dig in!

Ultimately, there’s no such thing as a truly bad steak. No matter how you choose to reheat steak, take into consideration what your cooking method means for the heat and texture of your finished product. Otherwise, you can’t go wrong. Warm up some mashed potatoes as a side and dig in!

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Published at Mon, 26 Oct 2020 13:00:48 +0000

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Apartment Living

The Must-See Room in the San Francisco Decorator’s Showcase

The Must-See Room in the San Francisco Decorator’s Showcase

How’s everyone doing out there? It’s been another hot minute. How are you holding up? So much is coming at us seemingly every second – it can be hard to keep the day of the week straight. I don’t know about you, but I’m grateful to design for being a welcome distraction when I just need a moment. Even if it takes me three weeks to finally write about it.

Case in point, the San Francisco Decorator’s Showcase. It is one of my favorite design events of the year. I mean what’s not to love? You get to tour a mega-mansion in the city’s famed Pacific Heights neighborhood that’s been newly transformed by extremely talented designers who heap reams of creativity into their rooms.

The Showcase house is a go-to source for major design mojo and truly over the top ideas. After a six month delay, the 2020 Showcase is happening right now – just entirely virtual! While it’s sad to not get to physically walk through the space, the bonus of an online Showcase is anyone can see it.

But I do wish I could experience this beautiful kitchen in person. Designed by Regan Baker, this room showcases a unique mix of color choice and contrasting materials to create a light, airy – dare I say cheerful – kitchen. We could all use a little cheerfulness these days!

As you move through the expansive kitchen – the complete space actually includes two entry points, a built-in breakfast nook and a walk-in pantry – there is a truly unique mix of materials that juxtaposes warm and cool, light and dark, raw and honed yet they all play nicely together.

One such moment of dramatic contrast is the range area you see above. Everything comes into play here from the marble countertops to the custom ceramic backsplash created by local Bay Area artist Linda Fahey (whose store Yonder Shop was one of my mainstays pre-pandemic). All that is mixed with deep warm cabinets displaying spices and oils, while the brass hardware acts like jewelry. The disparate elements balance one another nicely.

A second moment of dramatic contrast is the placement of this custom black hutch. The hutch’s curved top plays off of other curved lines you find in the room, from an arched entryway to the rounded back of the dining sofa and even the beveled edge of the counters. I’m a big fan of furniture pieces that incorporate both closed storage but also room to display prized pieces. I spy lots of Tina Frey and Heath Ceramics in this hutch!

The dining nook continues the juxtaposition theme – pairing multiple wood tones with a custom dining sofa clad in periwinkle boucle. The black table and my favorite U-candle from Glaze also in black add drama and tie in the black hutch. It’s a truly unique mix.

As you move into the pantry the vibe shifts slightly. Gone are any pastel hues. While this is still a very elevated space, it has a more utilitarian look sticking with a consistent palette of warm wood, brass and marble. A built-in coffee station with Heath Ceramic mugs is always a good choice.

Aware of the fact that people of color have long been under-represented in the design industry, Regan Baker Design committed to doing the work to being part of the change.

Regan chose to use her platform to highlight the work of Black female artists throughout her Showcase space. Through the process of discovery and curation, the artists whose work and stories resonated with Regan and her team were Christa David, Marie Alexander, Lauren Pearce, and Tawny Chatmon.

Showcasing different art styes from portraiture to collage, these pieces add another beautiful layer of storytelling to Regan’s already wonderfully layered space. Scroll to see their pieces and be sure to watch the video of interviews with the artists at the end of this post!

design by regan baker, photography by suzanna scott, styling rosy friedman

Published at Tue, 29 Sep 2020 23:22:17 +0000

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Apartment Living

Seven Questions About Apartment Space That Aren’t Square Footage

Seven Questions About Apartment Space That Aren’t Square Footage

Based on your preferences and lifestyle, you will need a certain amount of space in your apartment. While hunting for your new apartment, you might wonder just how much (or how little) square footage you’ll need. But sometimes, it’s not all about the amount of space you have. Here are seven questions about apartment space that aren’t about square footage.

1. Do I need a workspace?

If you work from home, you might want a separate room for your office. Having a separate office improves productivity because you can focus better when you regularly work in the same environment. However, if you are looking at a studio apartment, you probably won’t have a separate office, but you can always use a section of your room as an office space. 

Seven Questions About Apartment Space That Aren't Square Footage

2. Is there a dining area or dining room?

Some apartments have dining areas and dining rooms, whereas others might barely have a kitchenette. In smaller apartments with less space for eating and preparing food, you’ll need to make the best of the space you do have. For example, some tables can be used to work and eat, or if you don’t have an office, a dining room can also serve as your office if you have the right table and seating.

3. Do I have friends over a lot?

When you invite more than one friend to your apartment, you might struggle to fit everyone in your living room. That’s why your living room furniture arrangement is essential to consider if you often have multiple people over. On the other hand, if you don’t invite many people over or you have a small living room, minimal furniture such as a couch and coffee table may suffice. 

4. Do I have large items to store or place?

If you have extra square footage in your apartment, fitting bulkier furniture might not be an issue. And bulkier furniture isn’t just decorative – larger furniture provides some soundproofing from the outside world by minimizing the amount of sound that travels into your apartment. On the other hand, if you are interested in a smaller space, there are various multifunctional, space-saving furniture items you can use.

5. How big of a bed do I need?

Picking the right bed is a key apartment decision. Some people decide to sleep on an extra-long twin-size bed to save space, but with more apartment space, you can choose a wider bed so you have more room to move around. If you need more space than a twin-size bed or if you have a partner who often sleeps in your bed with you, a full-size or queen-size bed may be better for you.

6. What is my new furniture budget?

If you upgrade to a bigger space but don’t have furniture to fill it, can you afford to spend money to do so? Perhaps you have some money to buy a few pieces of furniture, but not a ton, and in that case, you can use thrifting apps to buy affordable furniture in good condition. If you don’t have enough money to buy any new furniture, moving to a smaller apartment you don’t have to fill with furniture may be a more budget-savvy move.

7. How big is the average apartment?

To know how your options compare with others, know the average size of an apartment. In 2019, the average U.S. apartment size was less than 900 square feet, and Seattle has the country’s smallest apartments, with an average size of approximately 711 square feet. Manhattan and Chicago’s apartments are second-smallest at approximately 733 square feet each.

Whether you’re looking for a large apartment or a smaller one, square footage isn’t the only factor to keep in mind. You can find the best apartment based on your furniture preferences and lifestyle – you can make your apartment hunt easier.

Published at Mon, 19 Oct 2020 17:25:46 +0000

Sustainable Living: Shopping Bulk with Reusable Containers

In our Sustainable Living series, we look at how tenants and homeowners are changing their apartments to be more sustainable.

Bulk items, such as loose oats and nuts, are often packaged in thin single-user plastic. Like all plastics, this packaging is not biodegradable and usually takes 400 years or more to break down. Additionally, plastics decompose into toxic particles, and microplastics travel in the air and are deposited in ways that harm the environment.

How can you reduce your plastic usage and move closer to a zero-waste, eco-friendly lifestyle? Here are some tips for shopping with reusable containers to reduce your plastic packaging waste.

Wide-mouthed storage jars

When going to the grocery store, bring some weck jars with you. Weck jars have wide-mouth openings, rubber seals, and glass lids. They come in various sizes, and their shape makes placing your goods into them while shopping super convenient. Weck jars are also suitable for storing and freezing liquids.

Other storage jars

Wide-mouth Mason jars are also handy to store your food while grocery shopping. They can hold many kinds of items and keep a tight seal. They can also withstand being heated and sterilized repeatedly without damage, and their glass can be easily cleaned. You can remove loose ingredients like grains from their original packaging and pour them into clear Mason jars. 

Funnels

Although you’ve brought your containers to the grocery store, how do you get your bulk food into them without making a mess? Bring a set of funnels with you to prevent your goods from spilling all over the supermarket aisle (and perhaps yourself) when you transfer them to your containers.

Cloth reusable bags

Canvas, polyester, or nylon cloth bags are eco-friendly and hold more items than regular grocery store plastic and paper bags (which are usually flimsier than reusable bags). They’re also much more comfortable to carry, so you can more easily transport your goods without worrying about your bags coming apart and your bulk goods spilling. Your supermarket might sell them, and you can find many reusable cloth bags online.

When shopping for a reusable cloth bag, look for washable bags. You should wash your bags regularly for basic hygienic purposes – they carry a lot of food, which means microorganisms can grow in them without regular cleaning. You may also want a bag with a drawstring or something to tie it closed, as food can occasionally spill out of unsealed bags. 

Use additional plastic bags you already have to take everything home

After getting your first reusable bulk food containers, you may still have many plastic bags from your previous grocery runs at home. Don’t throw them out if they’re not damaged; reuse them. Bring additional plastic bags to fit all your groceries on large grocery runs. If you’re transporting heavy grocery items, then thicker, large plastic shopping bags are better.

Can I use these bulk storage items for fruits?

You might struggle to fit fruits into jars and cloth bags, but they should be fine in your plastic bags. Alternatively, fine-weave or mesh bags can be great for fruits. Choose containers that both suit your food and the environment to work toward the zero-waste lifestyle you seek.

Published at Thu, 15 Oct 2020 07:30:37 +0000

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Apartment Living

Home Tour: A Perfectly Autumnal Oasis in CT

Home Tour: A Perfectly Autumnal Oasis in CT

I know many espouse shopping vintage as the only way to inject “authentic personality” into your home. I wouldn’t say I disagree. I enjoy the vintage scavenger hunt as much as anyone, but sometimes you need more expedient options. And if those options look as good as these fall pieces from Anthropologie do, I’m totally ok with that.

I posted about Anthro’s latest collaboration last month and their hits just keep on coming. I’m the first to admit I’ve often thought of Anthro pieces as overly whimsical, feminine and a touch too cottage chic, but this new editorial shows that it all depends on your context. A beautiful home designed by famed architect Richard Neutra certainly helps. This one is for sale FYI!

But what this home tour really illustrates is that a piece can take on a totally different personality in a different environment – so really you shouldn’t rule an option out at first glance. Really think about how something will look and feel in your space regardless if it’s modern or bohemian-inspired.

I could not be more obsessed with this wood cabinet. It has a really unique a mesh overlay, a travertine top an gorgeous rounded corners.

Also I have to mention that this mix of wood tones is giving me all kinds of inspiration for our new cottage. And since I only have about 10 weeks to renovate and furnish the entire house, I’m fully ok with unearthing some gems – big box store or not.

This entire home is a beautiful study in mixing soothing neutrals, a variety of texture and a feeling of pieces being collected over time. But you didn’t have to wait years to stumble across the perfect treasure. And there’s no shame in that!

As we shift into the new season and really think about making our homes our sanctuary from both the colder temperatures and from Covid, you can think out of the box while still shopping within one.

I spy the gorgeous foraged branch work of Colin King.

photography by Nicole Franzen, styling by Colin King for Anthropologie.

Published at Tue, 06 Oct 2020 05:52:17 +0000

Welcome Fall in Style with an EPIC $7.5K Giveaway

After six months of cooking nearly every meal at home, I’m the first to admit that my rotation of go-to recipes have gotten a little….tired to say the least. I can’t actually tell if my family is more tired of eating them or I’m more tired of making them. But with Covid showing no signs of taking leave and a new season upon us, it’s the ideal time to kick your home cooking repertoire up a notch. I think trying to make even the smallest moments a bit more special is going to help us ride this out.

To assist you in doing that, I have an incredible giveaway all about entertaining. The Weston Table $7.5K Social Grilling Giveaway features the incredible wood-fired OFYR Grill, a bevy of cooking tools and six months of insane goodies – like lobster and wagyu beef – delivered right to your front door. You’re going to want to enter, I promise.

Welcome Fall in Style with an EPIC OFYR $7.5K Giveaway on Apt34

When experiencing a real life version of Groundhog’s Day, it can be a little challenging to differentiate one moment from another. But I’ve realized if you take a little time to make the effort, you can create joyous memories even in the darkest of times.

Case in point, I don’t know why I waited so long to enjoy oysters during Stay At Home. I won’t be making the same mistake again. So go now, get whatever special treat food you love and enjoy it this instant. There’s a Youtube video on how to do virtually anything (although I won’t sugar coat it – it took more than a hot second to get the hang of shucking oysters). But all good things are truly worth the effort.

Welcome Fall in Style with an EPIC OFYR $7.5K Giveaway on Apt34Welcome Fall in Style with an EPIC OFYR $7.5K Giveaway on Apt34

But let’s have a convo about the OFYR Grill. Cooking on the OFYR Grill is entirely new experience – but oh so fun. Since it is wood fired, the OFYR is the perfect addition to your outdoor space as we move into colder weather. It’s a fire pit and grill all rolled into one. And with a grill plate that measures a full 39″ in diameter, it has social distancing built right in! So go ahead, invite members of your pandemic pod over and enjoy an evening outside (with masks of course!).

Inspired by the historically communal nature of cooking, the grill itself has this amazing, deep flat rim that allows for cooking at different temperatures all at once – so you really can whip up a feast. I got really ambitious and made a pot of clams, grilled both oysters and lobster, steak, smashed potatoes, corn on the cob and at the last second threw on other veggies just for fun. I even cooked an eggplant in the open flame! Pro-tip: watch the newest season of Chef’s Table that just came out. It is all about BBQ and fire-based cooking – it’s the ultimate motivator.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that Weston Table has been kind enough to offer Apartment34 readers an exclusive $100 OFF the OFYR Grill with the code WTAPT34 at checkout. CLICK HERE to shop.

Welcome Fall in Style with an EPIC OFYR $7.5K Giveaway on Apt34 Welcome Fall in Style with an EPIC OFYR $7.5K Giveaway on Apt34

Enjoying a meal in your outside space is one of the easiest ways to shake up a monotonous routine. And it doesn’t matter if you have an expansive backyard or a teeny tiny balcony. You can throw down blankets and enjoy a intimate picnic or set a beautiful table. Whatever feels special to you. I like to bring out some nice dishware – something different from what we use everyday – light a few candles and open a bottle of wine to make everything feel a little more fun. Serving butter-soaked lobster tail also helps!

Welcome Fall in Style with an EPIC OFYR $7.5K Giveaway on Apt34 Welcome Fall in Style with an EPIC OFYR $7.5K Giveaway on Apt34 Welcome Fall in Style with an EPIC OFYR $7.5K Giveaway on Apt34

While I’ll have to wait to throw my dream backyard BBQ with my OFYR Grill until we can kick this pandemic to the curb, I can already envision the massive party we’re going to have when this is all over. For now, I’m planning on grilling up tasty treats for a few epic at-home date nights. Now for deets on the giveaway!

THE WESTON TABLE SOCIAL GRILLING $7.5K GIVEAWAY PRIZE PACKAGE:
• OFYR Classic 100 Grill. The winner may choose which color they prefer (Corten or Black)
• OFYR Spatula PRO
• Staub Cast Iron Cookware Package curated for the OFYR Grill including an Oval Fish Pan, 7.5” Round Gratin, Rectangular Tray, 4 Quart Round Cocotte, and 13” Double Handled Fry Pan
• Tournant eCookbook Farm to Fire Cooking with the Seasons
• 6-month subscriptions to Snake River Farms Wagyu Beef Subscription Box, the Lobster Shop 6-Month Lobster & Assorted Seafood Subscription Box and Hama Hama 6-Month Oysters Subscription Box (delivered every other month for one year)

ENTER TO WIN: Follow @weston_table on Instagram HERE and sign up HERE to be qualified to win!

And don’t forget, if you can’t wait to find out if you’re the big Weston Table Social Grilling Giveaway winner, I have an exclusive code for $100 off an OFYR Grill and 10% off at WestonTable.com for you. CLICK HERE to shop and be sure to use the code WTAPT34 when you check out.

original photography for apartment34 by andrea posasdas creative

Published at Thu, 01 Oct 2020 16:30:21 +0000

Categories
Apartment Living

Top Things to Do in Pittsburgh, PA

Top Things to Do in Pittsburgh, PA

Uniquely situated on the confluence of three majestic rivers, Pittsburgh is a beautiful and fun city for both visitors and residents. Everyone, regardless of age, can find something to do that matches their interests and have an experience they will never forget in Steel City. Whether you are just visiting or looking for apartments for rent in Pittsburgh to move here, these top attractions and activities are guaranteed to keep you entertained.

Mount Washington and Duquesne Incline

Mount Washington is one of the most charming places in Pittsburgh due to its prime location offering the most incredible city views. The Duquesne and Monongahela Inclines are the two funiculars that take people to the top of the Mount where they can enjoy some of the best restaurants and walks. For those wanting to get away from the downtown while still keeping an eye on it, this is the place to be.

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Located in Schenley Park, the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is more than what its name indicates. It is also a City of Pittsburgh historic landmark and one of the locations listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The gardens founded in 1893 feature a wide variety of plants, as well as elaborate, formal gardens in various styles, from Roman to English to Japanese, to name a few. So, make sure to grab your friends and family and head out there for a relaxing, informative experience throughout 20 indoor and outdoor gardens.

Andy Warhol Museum

Dedicated to the one and only Andy Warhol, the museum bearing his name is the largest in the nation focusing on the art and life of just one artist. It is located in the North Shore which makes it easily accessible for those either living in Pittsburgh or just visiting for the weekend. Be sure to check it out and enjoy some of the artist’s famous artwork in person.

Carnegie Museum of Art

Another place for the art lovers, but also a great day with the family spot, the Carnegie Museum of Art features a wide variety of art collections, from ancient to modern to contemporary. Located in the eastern part of the city, the museum is a great way to spend a day or an afternoon wandering through famous artwork from around the world.

Bike the Burgh Tours

Offering a historical bike ride through the city, the Bike the Burgh Tours allows you to learn about Pittsburgh while riding a bicycle. A 3-hour tour takes you through some of the most beautiful and popular areas of the city, while allowing you to engage in some moderate exercising. If you are a tourist, you can rent a bike there, while as a local you can bring your own bike and just ride along.

Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium

One of the largest establishments featuring a zoo and an aquarium in the U.S., the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium are a must see for those either visiting the city or living here. A great spot for both children and adults, the zoo allows anyone who is interested to come and discover their natural connection with animals. So, make sure to put it on your list!

If you are currently looking for apartments for rent in Pittsburgh, rest assured that no matter what part of the city you choose for your next home, you will find plenty of things to do in your free time.

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Published at Fri, 02 Oct 2020 09:45:26 +0000

Expert Interview: Jessica Love of Urbane Design Shares Her Secrets for Decorating a Rental on a Budget

expert advice interior design
Jessica Love, Interior Designer of Urbane Design

We love interior design, and many of our readers do as well. Although some renters are afraid of going for big makeovers for their place, we believe that all homes must be shown love, and you should personalize your apartment to fit your style. Of course, there are many ways to do this without breaking the bank (or your lease), so pick and choose the tips that fit your budget.

To help you out with some practical advice, we have taken to the experts to share their top tips for easy décor. Today, we share the insight of Jessica Love from Urbane Design, an Austin-based interior design firm. Their mission is to engage with you in a collaborative process that will help define your space and create the perfect décor for your home. Thank you, Jessica, for your tips!

We asked Jessica for her top advice for decorating an Austin rental on a budget. Here’s what she told us: 

Decorating a rental property can often seem overwhelming. There is an inordinate amount of decisions to weigh, from the financial investment and the aesthetic payoff. It’s important to decide which areas you can learn to live with and which you cannot, and definitely want to change. Below, we have listed the areas on which you can focus to get the best bang for your buck in a rental property.

What’s the best place to start when wanting to upgrade or decorate a rental?

  • Firstly, No Excuses

easy decor ideas for rentals

Photo credit: Sarah Natsumi Moore

Your home — rental or not — is your sanctuary and your confidence starts at home. It doesn’t matter if your lease expires in a year or if it prohibits you from using nails on the walls. There are so many renter-friendly options, and therefore no excuses when it comes to decorating your home. Why do we think we have to wait to buy a home to purchase quality furniture, art, etc? Let’s start loving and enjoying our homes today!

  • Invest in Versatile Pieces

In my opinion, one of the great things about being a renter is that you have the option to move once your lease expires. With that in mind, it’s important to choose versatile furniture pieces, rather than items that fit perfectly in your current space. Making smart selections such as a modular sofa or a dresser that could double as a TV stand in another room is a wise decision.

Read any design blog or DIY advice column and you will find paint on every single one. It’s always important to get your landlord’s permission to paint your walls before you do, and in many cases a nice neutral will be perfect. Typically, it’s a win-win for both parties, as a nice new coat of paint will improve the property. Worst case scenario, you can offer to paint the walls back to the original color before you move out.

  • Peel and Stick Wallpaper

wallpaper decor rental bedroom

Photo credit: Sarah Natsumi Moore

There are a number of options nowadays when it comes to temporary wallpaper. It’s literally a big sticker and most of them can be installed over existing wall texture. Peel, stick and enjoy. When it’s time to move out, peel it back and the wall will be exactly as you found it. We love wallpaper as accent walls, in smaller areas, for instance behind a bed or sofa.

Never underestimate the power of good lighting. It could be as simple as swapping out an existing fixture in a room, and that will transform it completely. If that is not an option, invest in a great table lamp and floor lamps instead. You can take these with you to your next rental, so think about getting versatile pieces.

What are some of the most effortless ways to upgrade your place?

It’s always a great idea to bring the outdoors in. Plants are inexpensive and go with any décor style. For a smart investment, look for easily maintained plants that improve indoor air quality as well.

  • Window Coverings

decorate on a budget

Photo credit: Rudy Lara

Let’s face it, getting a rental with nice window coverings is certainly a score. Assuming you’re not so lucky, consider an inexpensive curtain on a rod or bamboo shades to cover unsightly windows. We love curtains because you can take them with you and chances are they will fit the windows in your next rental as well!

Whether your rental has unsightly carpets or cold laminate floors, a good area rug will be the perfect addition. Rugs add color and texture to a room, and the best part is, they are yours forever and ever! We recommend investing in a quality rug that truly fits your style and you could see in your forever home.

What are some essentials for décor?

art office rental apartment

Photo credit: Jacob Bodkin

It’s never too soon to start an art collection. So many people wait to buy “the perfect home”, but then they become overwhelmed with the amount of options and the decision fatigue that typically comes with buying art. Buy pieces you love and they will never go out of style. When possible, we are always advocates of supporting your local art community.

  • Decorations

Finish off that versatile furniture with plush pillows and throws, and adorn your walls with cherished photos, wall-hangings and art. Layer in those accessories and potted plants. You’re going to feel like you truly are home in no time!

We also wanted to know what local hotspots she has to recommend for buying furniture & décor items, because it’s important to support our local businesses.

decor ideas rental apartments

Photo credit: Jacob Bodkin

Shopping on a budget? No problem! Never underestimate the power of Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. We find great deals on these platforms all of the time. Here’s a pro tip: love something at West Elm or Crate and Barrel? Try searching your favorite store find in these search engines. Most people will list the purchases they made in such a store in hopes of getting some money back on those items. Often it’s that someone forgot to measure their space and purchased a discounted item that they could not return, or simply wanted to declutter their place and it didn’t fit their style anymore. We love mixing the old with the new, it gives a warm feeling to any space. Don’t forget about your local antique stores and auction houses. Often times, you can find great deals at low prices!

And finally, we love DIYs, since they’re so friendly and inexpensive. Here’s Jessica’s top tip for how you can improve your rental on your own.

Painting will refresh a space quicker than any other item on your wish list. We also love revamping the hardware on cabinets and installing new light fixtures for a fresh look.

We hope these tips can help you get started on your journey to beautify your home and turn it into your own, personal sanctuary. Remember that it should always tell your personal story, so infuse the place with whatever it is that truly feels like you. Thank you again, Jessica, for all of your insights and amazing advice. You can check out her work on the Urbane Design website for some additional inspiration.

Photo credit for featured image: Sarah Natsumi Moore

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Published at Wed, 30 Sep 2020 09:35:26 +0000

Categories
Apartment Living

UDR Blog | A Part of Life

UDR Blog | A Part of Life

Apartment living is a lot more fun when you have a furry friend to share the experience with. Dogs can take a decent chunk out of your paycheck, so you need to make sure you budget for everything, including vet costs, food and more, before you bring a new pup home.

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Apartment Living

6 Ways to Save on Your Energy Bill When Working From Home

6 Ways to Save on Your Energy Bill When Working From Home

In 2018, way before the world opened up to the idea of working from home, the average monthly consumption, per person, of electricity was 914 kWh. Even then, many people took the time to reevaluate their energy usage and make positive changes to cut back on their footprints and save on their energy bills.

Now, many of us are facing much higher rates of consumption because we’re always home.

This has some doubling their electricity bill and stretching their internet usage to the max. The average electricity bill in 2018, in the US, was $117.65. What are you paying today?

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Working from home can create a huge drain on your utilities, but there are ways to cut back. Remembering these simple steps can help save money on your energy bill.

vampire appliances

1. Control vampire appliances

While the name makes them sound devious, vampire appliances are everyday items that continue to suck electricity even when they’re not in use. Simply keeping them plugged in means they’re stealing away valuable energy and costing you extra. Some of the biggest culprits in this category are:

  • Cell phone and laptop chargers
  • Video game chargers and console plugs
  • Computer printers
  • TVs
  • Stereos
  • Coffee makers
  • Electric toothbrushes

You can unplug most of these items when they’re not in use. It’s easy to keep chargers next to outlets, but not always plugged in at the ready. When you remove your electronics from their charger, even if it’s your toothbrush, simply unplug the charger, as well.

The same goes for your coffee maker and any other appliance that runs a clock or lets you program it. Those are the parts taking your electricity all the time. When you’re done with them, unplug them.

For devices where it’s harder to reach the outlet, like the TV, consider plugging everything into a power strip with a longer cord. This makes it easy for you to reach the on/off switch on the power cord. Turning the strip off when you’re done binge-watching your favorite show means a little extra cash to rent the movie going straight to streaming.

cell phone charger save on energy bill

2. Drain the power

It’s not an irrational fear, especially when working from home, to worry about your laptop or tablet running out of power at a crucial moment. We get busy and don’t always keep an eye on our power levels when finishing up an important project. The safety net, for some, is to keep their devices plugged in at all times. This way, power always stays at 100 percent. This tactic might be OK if you’re only home for part of the day. But working full-time from home, it’s a huge energy drain.

Consider only charging your device in short spurts during the day to give it an energy boost. A perfect time for a recharge is when you walk away for lunch or take a bathroom break. Concentrate on getting it back up to 100 at night, when you’re done working.

Doing this not only helps you save on your energy bill, but it’s also good for your device’s battery. According to TIME, fully charging your battery stresses it out and can wear it down faster. We’re already pushing our devices to the limit as we work from home. Let’s try and keep the battery working as long as possible.

computer being put to sleep

3. Put it to sleep

Does your computer stay on even when you walk away from it? Have you turned off sleep mode to make sure you don’t miss a single notification during working hours? If so, you’re burning up electricity. Engaging power management features or putting your computer to sleep can save you up to $50 per year on your electric bill. That’s huge.

You can also save more by using office equipment with an ENERGY STAR® rating. These computers, monitors and printers all naturally use less energy to perform the same tasks as energy-sucking devices. They’ll also power down automatically when not in use.

After two hours of sleeping, remember to turn your devices off. You’re clearly done with them for the day (hooray).

man at computer save on energy bill

4. Manage your lighting

Whether your home office is at the kitchen table, inside a closet or in a dedicated office space, lighting is key. It’s also expensive. If you haven’t already, convert the bulbs in your office to LEDs. They not help you save on your energy bill, but the average LED bulb lasts about 25,000 hours. An incandescent bulb only makes it 1,200 hours.

After you’ve taken care of the bulbs, seek out sources for natural light. If you’re working in an area with windows, open up the blinds. Rely on natural light, if you can, for at least part of the day, giving your bulbs a break.

Always make sure to turn off all lights when you leave a room.

woman in blanket

5. Control the temperature

Most office buildings are notorious for unregulated temperatures. One office is freezing. You’re wearing a sweater in summer and using a space heater. Another is so hot you dress in layers all winter so you can have short sleeves while at work. Your apartment won’t be so problematic. The issue is that you’re home all the time, so your thermostat is constantly working.

When you’re not home, it’s possible to adjust your thermostat to temps that make it less likely to run as often. It’s important to have a comfortable temperature when working, which means you’re using more electricity to regulate the temperature in your apartment. When you’re not home, you don’t need to maintain that temperature. Just a single degree adjustment can save you money. This slight change isn’t noticeable either, so consider it a way to save a few bucks.

You can also bite the bullet and alter your thermostat by a few additional degrees. You’ll notice this, but you’re working from home where there’s no dress code. If you get cold, you can wrap up in a heavy blanket and still type. If you get hot, you can sit at your desk in clothing fit for the pool. Keep something business-appropriate close by to throw on for those conference calls, but revel in a lower electric bill.

person on cell phone save on energy bill

6. Cut back on data usage

While your router doesn’t technically use a large amount of electricity, having it on all the time, always working for you, drains another essential utility when working from home — data. You need this as much as you need electricity in order to get your work done, but there are limits.

Maxing out your data limits each month not only means your devices are working overtime to raise your electricity bill, but you’re at risk for paying internet overages. Being resourceful with your internet usage can work hand-in-hand with lowering your electric bill. Just remember, even when you’ve put your computer to sleep, it could still drain your data.

To avoid this, make sure to:

  • Turn off location services on your phone while you’re home
  • Download music and videos instead of streaming
  • Use an internet browser that automatically compresses data like Google Chrome
  • Turn off the streaming device on your TV before you turn off the TV. They all keep streaming even when the TV isn’t on.
  • Use some of your phone data instead of your Wi-Fi. This saves electricity too!

If you don’t mind lowering the quality of the video you stream, that also helps save data. However, if you have a 4K TV, you most likely want to use it. Either way, with your devices working less to give you what you want, you’re saving data and some power.

Save on your energy bill

It’s time to stop asking yourself how to save money on utilities, and start taking action. There are a lot of easy ways to make big changes in your electricity bill, and even save some internet data in the process.

The trick is to turn these small actions into regular habits. Put reminders around your office at the start and in no time it will feel like a routine to unplug energy-hungry devices or check that your computer actually fell asleep when you finally get to walk away for that second cup of coffee.

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Published at Fri, 25 Sep 2020 17:40:01 +0000

10 Things to Know About Living in Omaha

Omaha has been called “America’s best-kept secret,” because you may not know a lot about the city before coming here, but once you’ve been to Omaha, you don’t want to leave. With a world-class zoo, impressive museums and a culinary scene that rivals any city, living in Omaha ranks among the best places in the country.

Plus, when one of the richest people in the world — Warren Buffett — calls Omaha home, you know it must be a good place to be. Here are the top 10 things you need to know about the Big O.

1. Cost of living is much lower than in other cities

Omaha continually ranks as one of the best cities to love economically. While it’s the 40th largest city in the United States, its economy is among the best in the country. The cost of living is about 7 percent less than the national average, which means groceries, utilities, transportation, healthcare, housing and miscellaneous goods will be more affordable.

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Living in Omaha also offers a major rent advantage over other cities. With the national average for a one-bedroom apartment at $1,621, renting an apartment of similar size in Omaha will cost about $945 per month.

With several outstanding neighborhoods to choose from, it may come down to interests or drive time when deciding where to live.

  • Benson is a must-visit district in Omaha. It’s an older neighborhood, but one of the city’s most eclectic, known for its outstanding restaurants, bars, art galleries and unique shops. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment is about $683 a month.
  • The Aksarben area (Nebraska spelled backward) was once home to one of the best horse racetracks in the United States. Men wore suits and women dresses for a visit to the track, placing bets, as some of the best thoroughbreds ran for trophies. Today, it is a mix of business offices, retail, entertainment and college. With newer apartments and condos centrally located among activities, such as the farmers market, rent in Aksarben-Elmwood Park runs about $1,303 a month.
  • With several major companies located in downtown Omaha, the Old Market is a popular destination. The area is home to old architecture that’s been refurbished to house businesses, retail and entertainment venues. Living in the Old Market adds to its charm, where rent for a one-bedroom apartment averages $1,019 a month.

living in omaha omaha aquarium

2. World-class attractions beckon you

Living in Omaha offers a slew of impressive attractions. The Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium annually ranks among the best zoos in the world, including being named the top zoo in the world at least once. With about 130 acres of indoor and outdoor attractions to explore, including the world’s largest indoor desert and the largest indoor rainforest in North America, you can easily spend the day roaming the African Grasslands, with elephants, giraffes and lions, as well as the Asian Highlands, home to animals you’d find in Asia’s jungles and mountains, such as the red panda.

The zoo brings a taste of the Pacific Northwest to Omaha with its Sea Lion Shores, a one-acre exhibit with a 275,000-gallon pool and an underground viewing area, where you can watch sea lions swim and dance in the water.

Peek into Omaha’s history with a visit to Durham Museum, once Omaha’s main train depot with 10,000 visitors passing through during its heyday. Today, the museum features permanent exhibits, such as railroad displays, pioneer and Native American exhibits, as well as special exhibits, such as Pulitzer Prize-winning photos.

Art enthusiasts enjoy visiting Joslyn Museum, with works highlighting the classics, as well as pop culture. With free admission, the museum is a fun way to spend a few hours. An outdoor sculpture garden highlights Midwest history. Kaneko Gallery and Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts feature contemporary art exhibits with a tinge of social commentary.

Nature lovers enjoy the city’s parks, including Zorinsky and Standing Bear, where you can kayak, canoe, hike, run and enjoy fresh air and open spaces. Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue is home to more than 17 miles of hiking trails in what’s considered Omaha’s urban forest. The forest also features Tree Rush, with about a half-dozen ziplines, along with rope obstacle courses.

3. Omaha is a sports event mecca

Who needs professional sports when you have a top-level college basketball team and attract major events? The Creighton Bluejays have long been a popular college team in Omaha, selling out the CHI Health Center Arena Omaha since moving to the 18,000-seat stadium in the early 2000s.

As a member of the Big East, some of the nation’s best teams – including Villanova – take on the Bluejays each season. Creighton annually challenges for the Big East title, winning it during the 2019-20 season, and competes in the NCAA basketball tournament on a regular basis.

Speaking of the NCAA, March Madness often finds its way to Omaha. From opening-round games, featuring powers such as Oregon, to the Midwest Regional featuring Kansas and Duke, Omaha supports college basketball’s championship tournament.

As the home for the College World Series for more than 50 years, Omaha is the destination for all Division 1 baseball teams. The June classic brings the nation’s final eight teams to town for an 11-day event that attracts more than 300,000 fans and millions of TV viewers. The CWS includes fan activities, such as games and attractions, as well as beer gardens and concerts.

American swimmers have competed at the U.S. Swim Trials in Omaha since 2008 for a spot on the United States summer Olympics team. The nationally-televised competition attracts thousands of fans to the CHI Health Center Arena over eight days.

omaha food

4. Omaha’s culinary scene rocks among the best

Featuring several James Beard Foundation-nominated chefs, including Omaha’s only female nominee, the city’s culinary scene challenges the best across the country. From multi-nominee Clayton Chapman’s Grey Plume farm-to-table concept to David Utterbeck’s sushi bar Yoshitomo, Omaha’s chefs challenge your palate.

Au Courant Regional Kitchen in Benson, home to another James Beard nominee, Benjamin Maides, features a “New European” cuisine based on regional ingredients. Jenny Coco, a self-taught chef and James Beard nominee, creates original dishes at J. Coco.

Not to be forgotten are Omaha’s traditional favorites, such as classic steakhouses Cascio’s, Gorat’s and Johnny’s Café. Italian fans will enjoy dinner at Lo Sole Mio, Roma and Malara’s. For a fun dinner, try one of Omaha’s best burgers at Stella’s or Dinker’s.

5. Omaha’s music scene rocks

With major acts, such as Pink, Taylor Swift, Garth Brooks and Elton John, packing the CHI Health Center Arena, Omaha’s music scene is enjoying a run like it’s never had before. Performers, such as Sir Paul McCartney, have signed up to perform before nearly 20,000 fans.

Indie and small venue fans also enjoy catching acts in Omaha. With bands like 311 calling Omaha home, indie musical acts routinely take the stage at the Slowdown, Sokol Auditorium and Waiting Room. Omaha’s recording studios, including Saddle Creek Records, are also known for producing award-winning albums for indie and pop music icons.

6. The local beer scene is amazing

With more than a dozen craft breweries in the Metro area, Omaha’s beer scene picks up from where it left off when the classics — Storz, Metz and Krug — faded into memory. Kros Strain, Pint Nine, Lucky Bucket Brewing Co., Farnam House Brewing and Nebraska Brewing Company turn out amazing beer.

The Old Market’s Brickway adds whiskey, bourbon and rum to its craft beer. Some of the breweries, including Lucky Bucket and Nebraska Brewing, offer tours of their operations before you enjoy a brew in their taprooms.

Soaring Wings Vineyard and Brewing has been growing a variety of grapes in Sarpy County for nearly 20 years, producing award-winning wines since 2004. The winery features local musical acts during the summer, allowing for an enjoyable evening of wine and song. Soaring Wings started its own craft brewery in 2001, adding nine beers to 20 varieties of wine.

7. You can feel safe in Omaha

Omaha’s crime rate is similar to other cities its size. Living in Omaha you can expect pockets of high crime and areas where crime is nearly non-existent. From a high of 50 homicides in 2015, Omaha police have worked to reduce that number by nearly half each year since.

Other violent crimes have dropped about 10 percent since 2017. While most people believe north Omaha has the highest crime rate, it’s not considerably higher than in other areas.

omaha traffic

8. You can get anywhere in 15 minutes

There’s a reason Omaha is nicknamed the “15-minute city.” Truth be known, it’s actually more like 20 minutes. As the city grows and expands its boundaries, commuting becomes more of a challenge, thus resulting in increased traffic times.

With two major interstates running through the Metro, I-29 and I-80, traffic becomes congested during rush hour, which is considered 7-9 a.m. and 4-6 p.m. weekdays. Traffic on the major thoroughfares, both interstate and primary streets – Dodge, Pacific, Maple, and Center – can become parking lots at times when traffic overloads the roadways.

Otherwise, getting around Omaha is easy, with all the main streets running in east-west and north-south grids.

9. Omaha has excellent schools

There are six major school districts making up the Omaha Metro area, and each is highly regarded. The Omaha Public School district is the largest, and the most-challenged physically and financially.

Serving a wide range of students, from poorer sections of the city to the wealthier neighborhoods, OPS faces challenges, such as getting more students to graduate. The district’s seven high schools have a graduation rate ranging from 71 to 84 percent.

With that, the district has been recognized for outstanding academic programs, such as its magnet high schools, which focus on specific courses of study, including Omaha North’s science curriculum.

Suburban districts Elkhorn, Westside and Millard Public Schools rank high in national standings. With graduation rates from 87 to 98 percent, these school systems are considered among the best in the state. Papillion-LaVista and Bellevue school districts each enjoy graduation rates in the mid-90 percent.

10. Summer is festival season

Summer is a great time to live in Omaha due to all of the festivals held each year.

Taste of Omaha celebrates the city’s culinary scene over a three-day period on Memorial Day weekend. Normally held along the riverfront in Heartland of America Park, Taste of Omaha includes musical acts, games and vendors hawking all kinds of wares.

The following week, the Omaha Summer Arts Festival takes over a six-block area of downtown, hosting artists and bands from around the country. The festival season spans the area and runs through mid-July with suburban city celebrations, concerts, food and more.

Living in Omaha

Living in Omaha will exceed your expectations and you’ll soon be talking Omahan and celebrating Nebraska Cornhusker and Creighton wins. You’ll head over to Baxter Arena for an Omaha Mavericks college hockey game.

Dining out, theater and concerts are at your fingertips when living in Omaha. Area apple orchards and pumpkin patches will embrace you in the fall. As you decide where to call home, you can find the neighborhood of your choice here.

Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rental property inventory of one-bedroom apartments. Data was pulled in September 2020 and goes back for one year. We use a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

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Published at Thu, 24 Sep 2020 16:23:34 +0000

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Apartment Living

As NYC Exodus Continues, Sublets Rose 158% Year-Over-Year

As NYC Exodus Continues, Sublets Rose 158% Year-Over-Year

Summer months are historically great for real estate. This summer, however, has been a rough one, especially for landlords across New York City. The market has been grappling with high vacancies as New Yorkers flee to suburbs and other metro areas and companies extend their remote-working policies, which further hinders population inflow.

Citywide, median net effective rent in the month of August fell 5.2% year-over-year. Manhattan, specifically, saw a rent drop of 7.5%, from $3,284 in August 2019, to $3,039, as landlords offer more concessions in response to the high vacancies. Meanwhile, the median net effective rent fell 1.9% year-over-year to $2,795 in Brooklyn.

NYC Exodus Continues

As previously reported, this year we’ve noticed an unprecedented number of renters looking to sublet their apartments. The total number of sublet listings1 on RentHop went up 110% from April to May 2020 and has since been trending upward. In August, the total number of sublet listings increased by 9.8% month-over-month and is 158.2% higher than August 2019. This once again broke the record in RentHop’s 11-year history.

In our previous sublet reports, we highlighted that wealthy neighborhoods, particularly those in Manhattan, saw a steeper upward deviation from their 2020 average than other neighborhoods. This time around, the outflow from wealthy neighborhoods in Manhattan, such as Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen, seems to have reached its peak in July and has since died down slightly. The neighborhoods that saw the largest spike in new sublets in August 2020 vs. the first four months of the year were Yorkville (+643%), East Harlem (+464%), Astoria (+420%), Central Harlem (+327%), and Bedford-Stuyvesant (+300%). Most of these neighborhoods also saw a month-over-month increase in the number of new sublets from July to August 2020.

Brooklyn Replaced Manhattan as the Most Popular Borough

Grand Central was once the busiest hub in New York City. It’s now one of those eerily empty stops that make people wonder if New York City will ever be the same. According to CBRE via WSJ, only 9% of the office workers returned to their office after they were permitted to return to the workplace. This inversely drove rental demand in outer boroughs, as living in the city center and being close to work no longer justifies the rent premium many landlords ask for.

Bushwick was the most inquired neighborhood in August 2020, replacing Hell’s Kitchen. Meanwhile, Crown Heights rose to the second from the 8th in the previous year. Yorkville and Upper East Side, both used to be the most popular neighborhoods for rentals, had experienced significant changes in terms of renter inquiries.


1. As used in this study, “sublet listings” are listings created by apartment renters seeking to find a new tenant to take over the remainder of their apartment lease. In NYC, finding a subletter is widely considered the most effective way to get out from under a lease without paying the steep contractual penalties triggered by an outright lease break.

Published at Wed, 09 Sep 2020 12:50:11 +0000

Taipei Cracks Down On Airbnb Quarantines

We recently described the Covid-19 home quarantine process for various cities, including New York City and Taiwan. Today, Taipei Times reports that the city will no longer allow short-term quarantine rentals, citing dangers such as increased cross-contamination from large groups, and inadequate cleaning standards. Per usual, the punishment is both a financial fine and a public shaming – they will publish the names and addresses of landlords found to be in violation (sparing the guest it seems).

How Did They Know?

The government used their data analysis powers to identify about 80 or addresses that seemed overly suspicious. Each of these homes supposedly hosted 5 different groups over the past few months, triggering some red flags back at HQ. Also, keep in mind a local CDC official will visit your home early in the quarantine – eventually he or she figures out you are not all relatives or family friends.

What Is The Rule?

The rule is you may stay at an official quarantine hotel, booked accordingly, where each individual must stay in a separate room. The only exception is a parent caring for a young child; a husband and wife still must stay in separate rooms.

You may also stay at home, meeting certain conditions: either you are the owner, or you have a clear family, friendship, or employment relationship with the owner and are not providing compensation (company corporate apartments seem to be allowed – a loophole for sure).

A normal hotel is not allowed, as they do not have adequate procedures in place to enforce safety measures. There are simple things like knowing you need 3 meals a day, lots of extra water delivered straight to your room, and garage taken out regularly. They must also not allow the guests to leave their rooms at all, which means forgoing all of the other hotel amenities: lounge, gym, pool, restaurants, etc.

Worth The Risk?

Still, a search for “Quarantine Taipei Airbnb” still nets quite a few results. I imagine those disappear soon – or at least they do a better job concealing. It’s been a tough year for Superhosts everywhere, and while I don’t blame them for trying, I also agree with the government.

It is understandable that people choose to quarantine in an Airbnb – the entire family can stay together and keep each other company. There is more freedom to choose grocery or food delivery options. You can even have relatives stop by for socially distanced engagement during the 14-days (they shouldn’t use the bathroom apparently, unless you have a spare).

But with the extra freedom, there is much greater temptation to break the rules. Yes, the fine is significant for those who are caught, but in the end most government regulations and technology solutions still require a level of human compliance and good judgement. No one wants to be the cause of a major outbreak and ruin things for millions of others.

Published at Tue, 08 Sep 2020 00:35:46 +0000

Categories
Apartment Living

The Best Music for Working from Home

The Best Music for Working from Home

Among the many side effects of physical offices closing during the coronavirus crisis is the massive increase in people working from home.

As of this summer, a whopping 42 percent of everyone in the workforce is telecommuting full time. And both for those who have been working in a home office for a long time and those for whom this is a brand new experience, making your home office a place for productivity is a challenge.

With all the distractions — both physical and emotional — of working from your living room or home office, what better way to make your space your own than creating your own soundtrack to work to. But what’s the best music for working from home? Why is listening to music beneficial to your WFH life, and what genres best promote continued quality work?

person listening to music

The benefits of music while working

Why should you listen to music while working from home? Because music can help you be more productive, more creative or just happier. A silent room can be just as distracting as an over-stimulated environment. It can also drown out the sounds of your partner working in the other room, a cranky baby, a needy puppy, noisy neighbors or the sounds of the city.

Creates positive emotions

A happy worker is a productive worker. For many people, working from home is a new phenomenon and can cause worry about being distanced from co-workers and friends and falling into a poor mood which will affect the work.

It should be no surprise that the right music can make you happy. We all have that one song or one band that puts us in a good mood. And studies predictably confirm that happy employees are more productive and more efficient. In fact, more research shows that people who listen to music are happier than those who don’t. And who doesn’t want to be happy at work, even at home?

Brings the upbeat vibes

Music can also bounce out that 2:30 feeling, those times during the workday where you need a pick me up. In a normal world, that may have been a trip over to the office kitchen for a snack and/or gossip and a few moments away from your desk.

But when working from home, that midday lull can be alleviated with some upbeat tunes to kickstart yourself. Happy, uplifting music can also assuage the boredom of a particularly mundane or repetitive task and turn that project you were dreading into something much more appealing.

Drowns out distracting noises

The most practical use of music for working from home is lessening distractions. Back in the office, you were surrounded by people holding too-loud conversations, clacking away on keyboards or drowning you in the sounds of cold and flu season. Tossing on the earbuds took you away to a different place to concentrate on your tasks at hand.

At home, it’s the same thing, just different distractions. From barking dogs to kids in Zoom school to your neighbors running the vacuum way too often, a solid work-from-home playlist will keep you focused and on task.

Improves memory and cognition

It’s not just productivity that music heightens, but your memory and actual work performance. Sure, a great work-from-home playlist will get you excited and moving on that new project, but music can actually make your work better.

Recent studies have shown that listening to background music enhances episodic memory and improves your cognitive performance. Just imagine what the right background music can do to the quality of your work with better memory and optimizing your executive functions.

classical music

The best music for working from home

There are a lot of choices of music to listen to. Spotify alone defines nearly 2,500 different genres. But not every one of them is the perfect music for working from home for every person. You may be into melodic metalcore or Canadian indie or LGBT hip hop, but some genres promote productivity, creativity and concentration more than others.

Here are some of the best musical genres for working from home and keeping your day up and running between your morning coffee and your end of the day wrap up. And for each, we’ve provided some great work from home playlists to get you started.

1. Classical

Talk about staying power. Classical music dates back 500 years but remains popular today. Upwards of 35 percent of adults listen to classical, making it the fourth-most-popular genre — and the perfect background noise for your work from home. Classical music is many things at once: uplifting, moody, aural, familiar, mellow, inspiring — sometimes all within the confines of one piece or movement. And it’s a great WFH soundtrack.

The “Mozart Effect” theory says classical music makes you smarter, that it’s good for test-taking, studying and working, particularly creative work. Other studies have shown that classical music can boost your mood, increase productivity and even improve the quality of your work.

But classical music is a very broad genre spanning some 50 decades, so where to begin? One survey found that the Baroque period — think Bach, Vivaldi and Handel — fostered an increase in positive disposition and concentration.

Classical work-from-home playlists

rock concert

2. Epic and anthemic music

Soaring. Moving. Epic. Anthemic music is a style that crosses genres from the biggest arena rock bands and ’90s modern rockers to country storytellers and jock jams. It’s music that gets you on your feet, powerful celebratory songs with memorable choruses that project triumph.

It’s music that makes you feel like you can take on the world and accomplish anything. Even finishing that spreadsheet or submitting that HR project right on time.

Anthemic or epic music can inspire grandiosity and motivate you to get through that tough assignment or meet that goal. It’s sports anthems like “We Will Rock You” or “Takin’ Care of Business.” Soaring contemporary classical pieces like “Fanfare For The Common Man.” Inspiring heart-pumpers like “The Rising” or “Born This Way.” Or genre-defining hip-hop like “Fight The Power” and “It Was a Good Day.”

Like athletes getting off the bus, focused and Beats headphones on, anthemic music makes you feel uplifted, empowered and ready for game time. Is it music you should spend all day listening to while you work? Probably not. But if you’re feeling tired, beaten or simply unmotivated, high-powered anthems might just be the answer to sitting up straight and showing your boss who is boss.

Epic and anthemic work-from-home playlists

3. Ambient music

Ambient music may have a reputation as just elevator music or random soundscapes, but it’s so much more. It could be a colorful house or techno playlist. World music or indie shoegaze. Synths or space rock. But no matter what the subgenre, ambient music makes for a distraction-free backdrop to your workday.

The pioneer of ambient music and the iconic artist-producer Brian Eno, who created the ambient music masterwork “Music for Airports,” described the genre as, “able to accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular, as ignorable as it is interesting.” Music that won’t steal your attention yet fills the silence while you’re working may be the genre for you.

There are as many exciting artists as there are classifications of ambient music. Sample the spacey sounds of Enya and Enigma, electronica of Aphex Twin, old school prog Pink Floyd and Moody Blues, ambient pop of Talk Talk or Nick Cave, downtempo chillwave of Kygo or Toro y Moi or atmospheric dream pop of Dizzy and The XX.

Ambient work-from-home playlists

4. Feel-good music

Ever walked into a dentist’s office and the local hot adult contemporary station is playing over the intercom? Of course. Because feel-good music makes you… feel good. No one loves the dentist’s office, but maybe you’ll feel a little better if Hall & Oates or Britney Spears is playing. Songs that bring a smile to your face and make you move your feet a little (but not too much).

Pop music designed to make you feel happy even while you’re toiling away at work is perfect for working from home. It’s possible your old office even had this pumping through the hallways or in the kitchen. Because feel-good pop can make the day go by a little faster.

As you’re rushing towards deadlines or unburying yourself from an email avalanche – or even if the boss has just been on your tail all day — sometimes you need to do a little walking on sunshine to bring your motivation back. None of this is meant to be deep and thought-provoking. Feel good music is supposed to be like a snack break or a candy bar, to stimulate the happiness centers of your brain and release that hit of dopamine to get you onto the next task.

But take care to avoid songs with narrative lyrics or story songs, as music that tells a linear story has been shown to be distracting to cognitive work. So, blast the Pharrell or Barenaked Ladies, but stay away from the Don McLean, Gordon Lightfoot and Harry Chapin.

Feel-good work-from-home playlists

chill vibe music

5. Chill vibes music

Not every work situation calls for music that makes you move. Reading heavy text or concentrating on a difficult task might take something to ease the nerves and keep you relaxed. Some chill music — folk rock, smooth country or just good old classic acoustic rock — might be just what you need certain times during the day.

Acoustic or muted guitar, smooth vocals, light instrumentation and an uncomplicated beat is just the soundtrack for a stressful job or project. Cue up indie-folk jammers like Hozier, Dan Mangan, Phoebe Bridgers or Vance Joy, chill crooners including Ed Sheeran, Ingrid Michaelson or John Mayer, acoustic old-schoolers such as James Taylor, Cat Stevens or Rickie Lee Jones or just a great album of acoustic hits like Arkells’ “Campfire Chords” or something moody like “Folklore” from Taylor Swift.

But be wary of playlists heavy with your favorite songs. A study has shown listening to tracks with lyrics you know by heart, or “familiar vocal music,” can decrease your performance through distraction while you fight the urge to sing along, even in your head. Sounds like the perfect time to catch up on some new music you aren’t familiar with.

Chill vibes work-from-home playlists

6. Video game soundtracks

If you’re over a certain age, this category is going to make very little sense. But one of the best choices for music for working at home are video game songs. We’re not talking about 8-bit Atari beebop or Nintendo chiptunes. This is thematic, pointed and often soaring music specifically designed to enhance the video game experience.

Video game music is a marketing tool, designed to enhance your gaming experience. If you’re winding your way through a fantasy landscape or dodging enemy fire as you infiltrate enemy hordes, video game music can help you focus, keep your energy levels up or even just keep you playing. The same can be done with those soundtracks while you work alone in the living room.

These are compositions to encourage you to reach for that next level, whether it be in your first-person shooter, your epic fantasy adventure or your latest work project. It can help you avoid obstacles and collaborate with your friends, in the game or in the work huddle. This is the strategic music you’ll find in games like Bastion, SimCity, Thumper, Doom, Final Fantasy, Journey and Legend of Zelda.

Video game work-from-home playlists

7. Instrumental music

A study by two researchers at Middle Tennessee State University found students who listened to instrumental music scored higher on tests than those that listened to lyrical music. Logically, it makes sense. For some, a song with lyrics is akin to someone standing behind you talking while you’re working. In fact, an NIH paper showed that music needs to be lyric-free for it to promote productivity.

The great thing about instrumental music is it can literally be any music devoid of lyrics or words. Instrumentals exist in every single genre (well, maybe not a cappella or barbershop). No matter what music you enjoy, you can type away and crunch those numbers with soothing or inspiring music-only tracks bereft of those pesky words. Country, indie, classical, power ballads, skiffle, trip-hop — every genre has perfect instrumental music to fit your needs.

Instrumental work-from-home playlists

nature sounds

8. Nature and real-world sounds

Sometimes the soundtrack to your day doesn’t even have to be music. Filling your living room or home office with the sounds of nature can put you in a variety of moods, from motivated and amped to relaxed and attentive. The choices are endless and only limited by your tastes. Choose from classics like waterfalls, an afternoon thunderstorm, rustling leaves, a crashing surf, morning birds chirping or a crackling campfire.

The most useful noises don’t even have to be of the natural variety. Try something out of the box like rain hitting the roof of a car, an oscillating fan, a clacking train or a running washing machine. Are you really missing the office? Why not fill the silence with the actual background sounds of an office.

Is this still too disruptive? Help block out distractions with the neutral sounds of white noise. Just ask your smart speaker to play some.

Nature work-from-home playlists

Picking the right music for you

No one genre or music type is going to be exactly what you need every minute of the day. Take a cue from a music therapy concept called the Iso Principle. This technique calls for starting with music that mirrors your current mood and gradually ramping up to songs that match the mood you want to be in.

Start the morning with something slow that can ease you into your day without forcing you to be productive. Then, transition into some power jams that will increase your performance and get you pumped for finishing that big project or the day’s task.

Looking for a sweet spot to feed your day? One research report concluded that music clocking in at about 121 beats per minute was optimal for productivity. Think songs like “December” by Collective Soul, The Bangles’ “Manic Monday” or “My People” from Missy Elliott.

But no matter what genre you decide on, the only goal is to find what’s best for you. Studies show that while listening to music does aid in completing tasks quicker and improving cognitive thinking, how much it actually helps you concentrate depends on how much you actually like the music being played. So, find your jam, and get it done.

Published at Thu, 03 Sep 2020 13:00:05 +0000

5 Apartment Gadgets That Will Make Your Life Better

It’s your home of tomorrow…today!

You always fantasized about all the cool stuff you’d finally get to have when you moved into your new place. And now, that day is finally here. But in an era of robot vacuum cleaners and digital AI assistants, it’s easy to get lost in a sea of options when selecting your apartment gadgets.

Which ones would make your life easier? Which ones would just be fun to have? And how much can you reasonably expect to spend?

The best apartment gadgets for your home

Anyone setting a household budget for the first time will tell you the cost of something isn’t the same as the price. The price is how much you spend on it. The cost is where that money can’t go because you just spent it.

The good news is all of these items will save you time and money in the long run. There are budget-friendly options and more deluxe versions of each, so shop around and see what you like. After all, it’s your apartment. You get to make the decisions.

These are the five apartment gadgets we recommend for your home.

1. Digital thermostat

apartment gadgets Digital thermostat

These gadgets will automatically learn your daily routine and automatically adjust to your preferred temperature based on the time of day. They come in different options from different manufacturers. They can be programmed and adjusted from your phone. Turn off the air conditioner when you’re out of town and turn it back on when you’re on your way home from the airport.

They come in a range of different options and price points, but some electricity and utility companies will give these away to customers for free. And it’s easy to see why. A smart thermostat will not only help you get smarter about the electricity you use, but it’ll help you consume less. And if everyone uses less power, that’s less of a strain on the power grid, especially at a time when air conditions are running 24/7.

They’re super easy to install and connect to your Wi-Fi and cell phone. Just remember to save the old thermostat so you can reconnect it when you move out.

2. Smart appliances

Smart appliances

Smart plugs are the perfect way to make your home a smart home on the cheap. Plug your coffee maker into one and boom — instant smart appliance. Do you forget to unplug your curling iron when you’re getting ready in the morning? Turn it off from your phone. Connect one to your crockpot so you can program it while you’re at work. Coming home late and don’t want your beef stew to overcook? Turn it off and then back on again so you have a piping hot meal ready when you walk in the door.

These are also a great solution if you want programmable smart lights but you’re on a budget. Set any lamp to an automatic timer so you never have to walk into a dark apartment again. Set them to turn on at night while you’re out so your pets aren’t stumbling around in the dark.

3. Lights so smart, they can mimic the sun

apartment gadgets smart light bulbs

But if you’re looking for a full upgrade to your lighting in your apartment, smart bulbs are the way to go. They come in a variety of different styles, features, connectivity and sizes for any room, even the kitchen. Bulbs like these from IKEA are inexpensive options that can be linked up with more expensive hub options like these from Philips.

And, as fun as it is to turn your living room into a disco, the best feature of many of these bulbs is the ability to mimic sunlight. Look for bulbs that burn at 5,400 Kelvin or 6,500K. Those lights can produce light the same wavelength of natural sunlight in the morning or at noon, depending on the bulb. These can be especially useful during those long stretches of gray skies and cold weather during the winter months. Lights that can recreate sunlight are often recommended as a way of helping alleviate the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder.

Another benefit of investing in some smart lighting is that will make your Zoom calls look better. You could invest in one of those trendy ring lights everyone is using, or you can improve the quality of your video calls by screwing a $5 smart bulb into your desk lamp and setting it up right behind your computer. The result is an inexpensive, customizable and programmable solution that will make your video chat look studio-quality.

4. Virtual white noise

virtual white noise

OK, this one isn’t quite as smart as the other gadgets, but it’s still a lifesaver. White noise will help you get to sleep at night. It’s science. And the best part is that you can do this one for free! There are dozens of apps that recreate white noise, rainforest sounds, thunderstorms, anything you want. If you have a small box fan, you can leave that in your room. Or, if you’re serious about silence, you can invest in this model.

And white noise isn’t just helpful for sleeping. Do you have loud neighbors and thin walls? What about a roommate that’s up all night playing video games? Drown out the sounds of blasting armies of zombies with something more relaxing, like ocean waves or the rain.

5. Charging while chilling

apartment gadgets wireless charging

Odds are right now, you’re in arm’s reach of two or three devices that need to be plugged in or charged up. And at the risk of sounding like an infomercial, carrying all of the necessary cables and cords and adapters is a hassle. Simplify your charging time with a wireless charging pad.

Many newer model cell phones already have this feature, along with the Bluetooth earbuds you love so much. Just put your compatible phone on the induction charging pad and it’ll juice up. No cables required. Invest in a larger model like this, and charge your phone and earbuds at the same time.

You want to be able to power up your devices no matter where you are, but leaving cables sticking out of walls is an ugly and unsafe solution. Pads like these are sleeker and disappear into your décor when not in use.

Welcome to the future with smart apartment gadgets

There are hundreds of web-enabled smart apartment gadgets aimed at making our lives easier. So, shop around and see what’s out there. Not everything out there might be perfect for your new home, but you’re bound to find something.

If you know what you’re looking for, you’re bound to find something that can save you time, hassle and if you’re lucky, a little bit of money.

Published at Wed, 02 Sep 2020 13:00:24 +0000

Categories
Apartment Living

Trader Joe’s is Selling $8 Coffee Plants—Here’s How to Take Care of Them

Trader Joe’s is Selling $8 Coffee Plants—Here’s How to Take Care of Them

Move over, Starbucks: Trader Joe’s latest collection of houseplants includes a very popular coffee plant. Available for $8, the plant’s deep-green leaves make a refreshing addition to your home. And, if you have a green thumb, ideal conditions, and lots of patience, you could maybe even start to grow your own beans.

Here are some things to consider when you go out to get your first coffee plant:

Can a coffee plant actually grow beans?

In theory, yes. But, in practice, it’s a lot harder (shout out to coffee farmers everywhere). In ideal indoor conditions, a coffee plant would need three to four years to sprout flowers. And, even after you pollinate the flowers by hand, you might only get a few berries.

How do I take care of a coffee plant?

The great thing about coffee plants is that, unlike many succulents, they’re easy to care of!

For sunlight, they should be kept under bright but indirect light. As for temperature, stay consistently above 65 F (18 C), and shield them from any harsh drafts during winter.

They’ll also droop when they’re parched, so it’s not hard to guess when to water. And, just like humans after a sip of coffee, the coffee plants will look alive once again a few hours after watering. Don’t forget to keep the soil moist and damp, but not soaking wet.

According to Real Simple, if you really want to grow your coffee plant—up to six feet tall—you can apply a balanced fertilizer once every two to three months in the spring and summer, as well as do regular pruning during early spring.

Once it has tripled in size, repot and repeat the process until it flowers.

What are common coffee plant problems?

Keep your coffee plant out of direct sunlight and be careful not to overwater. Doing so could lead to problems such as leaf drop and root rot.

How do I harvest my coffee plant’s beans?

After years of nurturing your coffee plant, it will have grown to six feet and enter its flowering phase. Depending on the variety that Trader Joe’s is selling, you may or may not have to hand-pollinate—the plant should self-pollinate if it’s Arabica, and should need cross-pollination if it’s Robusta. A coffee cherry will then grow six months after pollination, each berry able to yield one to two coffee beans. You can start picking once the colors shift from green to red.

How many of these coffee plants do I need to be self-sufficient?

Better Coffee at Home says that the average coffee drinker would need about 33 coffee plants to be self-sufficient. If that’s the case, you might need a bigger place.

Published at Tue, 01 Sep 2020 13:47:05 +0000

All-Clad’s 7-Piece Set Is More than 60 Percent Off—But Only for a Limited Time

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.

All-Clad has long been one of our favorite high-end cookware brands. Their robust lineup of shiny stainless steel, nonstick, and hard-anodized pieces are a favorite among professional chefs, restaurants, and even Kitchn editors! That’s why every time we spot a deal on their products, we’re quick to let you know. And right now, Macy’s is offering All-Clad’s classic 7-piece stainless steel set for just $300 (normally $840) as part of its huge Labor Day sale event.

The 7-piece set (exclusive to Macy’s) includes a 10-inch fry pan with sloped sides for easy tossing and flipping; a 2-quart covered saucepan with lid for preparing grains or hot cocoa; a 3-quart covered sauté pan with straight sides for one-pan meals or deglazing; and a 6-quart stockpot with lid for sauces and soups — basically everything you could possibly need to whip up a feast.

Each piece is crafted with mirror-polished stainless steel and has a three-ply bonded design with an aluminum center core that leads to fast, even heating on an induction stove. It’s also dishwasher-safe, but we recommend keeping a container of Bar Keeper’s Friend on hand for those hard-to-scrub spots.

“The pans heat quickly and evenly, with no hot or burn spots, and really are a pleasure to use,” said one happy customer who spent time researching sets before settling on All-Clad. Another reviewer was thrilled at the cookware’s high quality and durability: “Have been married for almost 35 years and needed a replacement cookware set. This set should take me well beyond my Golden Wedding Anniversary! Really like it!”

While you’ll probably want this set for yourself, it also makes a very thoughtful present, as noted by several reviewers who gifted the cookware. “The best money can buy. Got them as a wedding gift for my grandson and his bride to be,” said one generous grandma.

Whether you gift the set or keep it, you definitely can’t go wrong. In the words of one enthusiastic reviewer, “All-Clad is all that!”

Published at Tue, 01 Sep 2020 13:45:00 +0000