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Are you planning a move during COVID-19? You’re not the only one. 15.9 million people moved during the first six months of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a recent MYMOVE study. The study, which looked at USPS® mail forwarding requests from February to July, found that the total number of moves during coronavirus increased compared to the same period last year.
We also found that temporary moves increased by 27%, and people left large, densely populated cities like Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Chicago in unprecedented numbers. Read more about that study here.
If you have plans to move during the pandemic, take precautions to keep you and your family healthy. Follow our coronavirus safety guide to prevent the spread of the virus on Moving Day. If you’re a college student moving out of the dorms for winter break, here are some tips and resources to help lighten the load and keep you safe.
Winter months and the pandemic can add stress and anxiety if you’re experiencing housing instability. If you’re facing possible homelessness or are at risk of a lease ending during coronavirus, our guides connect you to resources and expert advice.
With the cold season already upon us, there’s no better remedy than cozying up in a nice, lovely cabin somewhere surrounded by nature. Snuggling up next to the fireplace with a good book or maybe a mug of hot cocoa would probably sound pretty appealing to anyone. It’s the perfect way to relax and just enjoy the simple things in life.
In our hunt for that ideal spot in the U.S., we came across a myriad of stunning cabins, cottages and chalets across the country and while it was no easy feat selecting just 10 from the hundreds of absolutely gorgeous hideaways, we can guarantee that any one of these would be perfect for that getaway vacation you’ve been looking forward to. Without further ado, if you’re up for a virtual journey of the dreamiest vacation cabins out there, check them out below (in no particular order).
A Black A-Frame
Location: Kerhonkson, New York
Nestled in the Catskill Mountains, this pretty little A Black A-Frame is just gorgeous – both the inside and outside. Initially a hunting lodge built back in the 1960s, the cabin was modified in the early 1980s to include all of the necessary features for a lovely retreat in the mountains. It’s also just minutes away from the Ashokan Reservoir, Kingston, New Paltz and Minnewaska State park, so there’s plenty to explore around it.
The Vermont A-Frame
Location: Manchester, Vermont
Another stunning A-frame cabin not far from Vermont’s Bromley Mountain Ski Resort, The Vermont A-Frame is ideal for all of the ski enthusiasts out there. It’s got room for six people and boasts many attractive amenities such as a fully-equipped kitchen, a mini library, outdoor fire pit and more. The best part? It’s also pet friendly, so you can bring your furry friend along, too.
Stone City Treehouse
Location: Hardwick, Vermont
Not your typical tree house, the Stone City Treehouse looks like it was pulled straight out of the Harry Potter movies. Here, you can take in all the beautiful scenery and enjoy the wonders of nature – like a night sky full of stars or that satisfying feeling of crinkling leaves beneath your feet. There’s also a sparkling spring nearby and a firepit where you can relax by yourself or with friends.
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
There’s nothing better to fight off the winter blues than a wooden cabin packed with lush plants and a shelf full of books. To that end, the retro urban elegance of the Ashpine House makes it a lovely and cozy place to spend at least a few days. And, if its location near the Middlesex Fells Reservation outside Boston doesn’t convince you, then the interior photos most likely will. Filled with many one-of-a-kind spaces, this cabin will be an experience that you’ll remember for years to come.
Olive Woods House
Location: Town of Olive, New York
An outdoor dining area, proximity to the Ashokan Reservoir, a firepit and other stunning features are available at the Olive Woods House. It’s easy to picture a lovely day here spending time around the fire, comfortably wrapped in a blanket and watching the sun set behind the Catskills Mountains.
Whiskey Ridge Chalet
Location: Big Bear, California
Everything about this chalet conveys coziness. From the color scheme to the comfortable chairs and wood-burning stove, it’s all you could want and more. Perfect for some quality time with family and friends, the Whiskey Ridge Chalet is also near the slopes, guaranteeing a really fun stay here.
Valley View Cabin Catskills
Location: Margaretville, New York
Here’s another great escape from the big city. Valley View Cabin is located in the Catskills and welcomes anyone longing for a breath of fresh air – pets included. Just 2.5 hours from New York City, this magical spot has some of the most amazing views of the mountains. Plus, if you’re the outdoorsy type, know that there’s also skiing and hiking nearby.
Location: Poconos Pines, Pennsylvania
Sit back, relax and enjoy the wonders that the lovely Sedwick Chalet has to offer. It’s right in the heart of the Poconos, and if the colorful interior doesn’t impress you, the piano and outside dining area surely will. It’s especially beautiful in the fall with all of the golden and brown leaves perfectly adorning its deck.
Location: Upper Jay, New York
Rustic charm and retro vibes is what you’ll experience at Warner’s Camp in the Adirondacks. With Lake Placid, Whiteface Ski Resort and Keene looming nearby, adventure is never too far. Originally a fishing homestead, the historic guesthouse accommodates up to 12 people and was recently renovated to include a warm fireplace, four stunning bedrooms and an exterior barrel sauna.
The Hunter Barnhouse
Location: Jewett, New York
Take a moment to marvel at the lush greenery that adorns the interior of The Hunter Barnhouse. Built in 1845, this cabin is the definition of comfort and relaxation. With Kaaterskill Falls, North-South Lake and Colgate Lake nearby – as well as several hiking and skiing spots – you’ll never run out of activities here, regardless of the season.
With so many exciting options for escaping the city life (even for a little while), it’s hard to pick just one. However, we’re positive that no matter which one you choose, you’ll be sure to have a great vacation and a well-deserved break at one of the dreamy cabins on this list.
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Does your pet go through toys faster than you can get new ones? You’re not alone. Buying new toys every other week can be a hassle, so why not entertain your fluffy friend with some engaging, homemade toys?
These seven DIY projects are quick, cheap and easy. Plus, most of them use items you can find around the house. So give them a try and your will pet love them just as much as the store-bought kind.
Cats: Gingerbread catnip toy
Thisgingerbread toy by DIY Blonde will keep your cat entertained for hours and is also an adorable addition to your home. To get started, you’ll just need some basic sewing supplies, card stock and catnip. Your cat will become obsessed with this one in no time!
Cats: Upcycled mouse
Thislovely little mouse is the result of a minimalist sewing project and also enables you to upcycle any piece of old clothing that you may have around the house. Soon enough, you’ll be making these sustainable presents for all of your cat-parent friends.
Cats: DIY Tent
While toys will certainly keep your cat entertained, it’s no secret that the easiest way to a cat’s heart is to give them an excellent hiding spot. With that in mind, this cat tent hack does just that in the easiest way possible. You can even set one up in every room of your apartment!
Cats & Dogs: Braided toy
Thesebraided toys by Legacy Loop Crochet are perfect for a tug-of-war game with your pup. All you’ll need is an old T-shirt, some scissors, a ruler and a little patience. Or, if you want something sturdier, you can also use an old pair of jeans.
Dogs: Snuffle ball
Snuffle toys are all the rage this year, and for a good reason. They’re ingenious balls and mats which hide treats inside to stimulate your pup’s senses and work out its brain muscles. This guide is an excellent way to build your own using items you already have around the house. Sure, you can also buy them, but why would you when they’re so easy to make.
Dogs: Water bottle chew toy
If you’re looking for a no-sew, no-cut project, it really doesn’t get much simpler than this water bottle hack. Just grab a small water bottle, wrap it in an old sock and secure the end. Your dog will have the time of his life! Best of all, you can replicate this hack in a snap whenever the old one gets worn out.
Bunnies: Cardboard house & toys
Finally, if you’re a proud bunny parent, you’re in luck. These lovely cardboard toys are the perfect fit for these energetic little critters, and you can quickly build five different toys in a single session withthis tutorial by Holland Loop Sisters. Just grab some carboard, string, and a few treats and get to work!
Do you treat your furry friend with homemade toys? If so, let us know in the comments below and we might feature your hack on the list!
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At RENTCafe.com, the perfect apartment nearby is just a click away.
As the pandemic continues to drastically change the New York City real estate landscape, we at RentHop wanted to explore how rent prices have been affected this past year. To do this, we analyzed rental price data from every neighborhood in the city and compared these prices to this same period last year. Our results shed light on the current dynamic of the market and uncovered the few neighborhoods that have surprisingly weathered the storm.
Summary of Findings
We compared 1-bedroom median net effective rent prices in each NYC neighborhood between Q3 2019 and Q3 2020.
Rent prices dropped an average of 6.25% across all neighborhoods we studied.
86% of neighborhoods saw rent prices decrease over the year.
Only 11% of neighborhoods saw a rent increase; Inwood was the sole Manhattan neighborhood to see an appreciation.
Coney Island was the hottest neighborhood of the year, with prices increasing 7.78%.
Little Italy was the coldest, with prices decreasing 17.24%.
New York City renters have strong negotiating power, with many landlords doubling their concessions since last year.
Overall, our report painted a bleak picture for real estate across New York City over the past year. As landlords scrambled to drop rents and offer concessions to keep tenants during the pandemic, prices fell across the vast majority of New York neighborhoods. In fact, out of the 85 neighborhoods we looked at, only 11% saw rents increase. Inwood was the lone Manhattan neighborhood to see an appreciation.
On average, across every neighborhood we studied, rents dropped a significant 6.25%. This was an even steeper decline when compared to the 5% average decrease that we reported on in July.
While rent drops were widespread across the city, pricier areas in Manhattan were hit the hardest. Places like the Fort Greene also saw a modest 3.7% rise. Coney Island saw the most growth with a 7.8% increase, though much of this was due to the opening of 1 Ocean Drive, a 22-story, 211-unit luxury oceanfront rental building. This building launched in December 2019, driving median neighborhood rents upward.
NYC Renter’s Market
The current climate strongly dictates a renter’s market. Our dataset shows that landlords across the city have been open to dropping gross rent prices, offering considerable concessions like free rent or reduced deposits, and in some cases even both. In particular, many luxury high rise buildings have increased their incentive schemes, doubling concessions since pre-COVID times.
Renters in New York should know that they have increased negotiation power at this time, and should always consider their options.
Neighborhoods With the Largest Rent Increases
Coney Island, Brooklyn — +7.78%
Kew Gardens Hills, Queens — +5.35%
Fort Greene, Brooklyn — +3.67%
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn — +3.13%
Briarwood, Queens — +2.75%
Neighborhoods With the Largest Rent Drops
Little Italy, Manhattan — -17.24%
Upper West Side, Manhattan — -16.67%
Chelsea, Manhattan — -16.18%
Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan — -16.16%
Flatiron District, Manhattan — -15.79%
This report analyzed the New York City rental market using millions of rental listings drawn from the RentHop database during the third quarter of both 2019 and 2020 (July 1 – September 30, 2019 and July 1 – September 30, 2020). Median one bedroom rent prices for each year were then compared to calculate the yearly percentage change in price.
Data was gathered for every neighborhood in NYC, excluding those with fewer than 50 rental listings over the respective quarter. It should be noted that given the low listing density in Staten Island, neighborhoods from this borough were excluded as they did not meet the minimum 50 listing sample size criteria. Sub-neighborhoods, such as Koreatown and Rose Hill, were combined into larger neighborhoods to ensure consistent comparisons and listing counts.
For more information on our methodology, or to contact our data team, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have you ever come across rats carrying bits and pieces of leftover food? Or maybe you’ve seen them in your kitchen and gone completely wild trying to kill them? It is known that rats are rampant in the city and live among us, taking refuge and shelter on the streets, and even sometimes in our homes. What’s worse is that rodents are a major public health problem, and more and more resources are invested in rodent inspection and prevention.
Each year, we at RentHop examine the data from major U.S. cities, hoping to help renters and homeowners make an informed decision when it comes to housing. This year, we again reviewed the rat sightings data, and what we discovered isn’t great. Our study this year includes Boston, Chicago, and Washington D.C., and unfortunately, all three cities saw a drastic increase in the number of rodent complaints.
Figure 1 below illustrates the number of rodent complaints from January through August in the past five years. In Boston, the number went up 33.5% to 3.42 rodent complaints/1,000 population. In D.C., the number is slightly worse. As of August 31, 2020, DC 311 has received 5,848 rodent complaints, or 8.29 complaints/1,000 population. This number is 30.7% higher than in 2019.
Chicago, a.k.a. the rat capital, not surprisingly, has had the greatest number of rat sightings/1,000 population among the cities included. The number reached its lowest in 2018 but has since been rising significantly. From January 2019 through August 2019, the city’s 311 reporting system received 28,249 rodent complaints or 10.5/1,000 population. This number since jumped to 34,501, or 12.8/1,000 population in 2020, a 22.1% increase.
Select one of the cities below to learn more:
Rodent complaints rose 33.5% in Boston
Founded in 1630 by the Puritans, Boston is one of the oldest cities in the United States and played a crucial part in our history. As we all know, old infrastructure often makes perfect habitats for rats. Rodents thrive in outdated subway systems, sewers, parks, and in foundations of old homes and buildings, and pose a threat to humans.
And this summer, Boston has to deal with a serious rodent crisis.
As of August 31, Boston 311 has received 2,368 rodent complaints in 2020, which translates to 3.4 complaints per 1,000 population. Now, while it might seem very few compared to Chicago or DC, this number, however, is 33.5% higher than the same period in 2019.
The CDC attributed such an increase to the coronavirus lockdown. The agency warned that a possible increase in rodent sightings as restaurants and other sources of food shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. It is worth noting, however, that the number had been increasing since January 2020, way before the first confirmed COVID-19 case and lockdown were announced in Boston. The rats were particularly active this past summer. August 2020 marked the worst month in the past five years, with a total of 530 rodent complaints filed to the city’s 311 reporting system. Could it be the warm weather? After all, winter 2019-2020 ended over 2°F above the twentieth-century average, making it one of the warmest winters on record.
Which neighborhoods are run by rats this year?
According to the city’s Inspectional Services Department, it is launching a campaign to reduce the rodent population that has been running wild around neighborhoods. Do you know if your neighborhood will be one of the firsts visited by the agency? Well, let’s find out!
The interactive map below indicates the concentration of rodent complaints in Boston. Neighborhoods in darker shades have a higher concentration of rodent complaints in 2020. It is highly possible that larger neighborhoods receive more complaints than smaller neighborhoods, and so we normalized the number of rodent complaints by land size. You can click on the polygons to learn more about each neighborhood.
The ISD will most likely show up in these neighborhoods
Downtown – 312 complaints in 2020, 502.3 complaints/sq mi
North End – 55 complaints in 2020, 277.4 complaints /sq mi
South End – 153 complaints in 2020, 207.6 complaints /sq mi
Beacon Hill – 56 complaints in 2020, 179 complaints /sq mi
Back Bay – 107 complaints in 2020, 171.5 complaints /sq mi
Rodent complaints spiked in these neighborhoods
South Boston Waterfront – 1 complaints in 2019, 7 in 2020 (+600%)
Allston – 75 complaints in 2019, 189 in 2020 (+152%)
Brighton – 99 complaints in 2019, 213 in 2020 (+115.2%)
Back Bay – 55 complaints in 2019, 107 in 2020 (+94.5%)
Mattapan – 23 complaints in 2019, 41 in 2020 (+78.3%)
Rodent complaints dropped in these neighborhoods
Longwood – 2 complaints in 2019, 0 in 2020
Chinatown – 29 complaints in 2019, 10 in 2020 (-65.5%)
Leather District – 8 complaints in 2019, 4 in 2020 (-50%)
Mission Hill – 40 complaints in 2019, 20 in 2020 (-50%)
West End – 3 complaints in 2019, 2 in 2020 (-33.3%)
Chicago wins the title of “Rat Capital”, yet again.
In our study from last year, Chicago ranked #1 as the “rat capital” in the country. The abundance of garbage and buildings in the Windy City makes it a great location for rats to seek shelter and food for survival. In 2019, Chicago 311 received in total 42,864 rodent complaints, or 15.9 per 1,000 Chicagoans, 10.2% more than in 2018.
And this year, rodents are once again on the rise.
As of August 2020, the Windy City has scored 34,501 rat sighting reports, 22.1% more than the same period in 2019. Indeed, the uptick in rodent sightings might be related to restaurants and other sources of food shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. It is worth noting, however, that the number had been increasing since January 2020, way before the food establishments were forced to close their doors.
May 2020 marked the worst month of May in the past five years, with a total of 5,203 rat sightings reported to the city’s 311 system, 131.7% higher than May 2019. The number continued trending upward throughout the summer, with 6,863 rodent complaints logged in July 2020 – that’s over 200 complaints per day!
Which neighborhoods are run by rats this year?
The interactive map below indicates the concentration of rodent complaints in Chicago. Neighborhoods in darker shades have a higher concentration of rodent complaints. It is possible that larger neighborhoods receive more complaints than smaller neighborhoods, and so we normalized the number of rodent complaints by land size. You can click on the polygons to learn more about each neighborhood.
Rats are roaming around in these neighborhoods
Grand Boulevard – 257 complaints in 2020, 147.8 complaints/sq mi
Printers Row – 5 complaints in 2020, 64.5 complaints/sq mi
United Center – 124 complaints in 2020, 106.3 complaints/sq mi
Sheffield & DePaul – 99 complaints in 2020, 263.3 complaints/sq mi
Humboldt Park – 1039 complaints in 2020, 231.7 complaints/sq mi
Rat sightings spiked in these neighborhoods
Greektown – 1 complaints in 2019, 12 in 2020 (1100%)
West Pullman – 191 complaints in 2019, 793 in 2020 (315.2%)
Gold Coast – 15 complaints in 2019, 47 in 2020 (213.3%)
Hegewisch – 10 complaints in 2019, 31 in 2020 (210%)
O’Hare – 2 complaints in 2019, 6 in 2020 (200%)
Rats are migrating out from these neighborhoods
Jackson Park – 2 complaints in 2019, 0 in 2020
Grant Park – 6 complaints in 2019, 1 in 2020 (-83.3%)
Printers Row – 17 complaints in 2019, 5 in 2020 (-70.6%)
Burnside – 30 complaints in 2019, 14 in 2020 (-53.3%)
Millennium Park – 2 complaints in 2019, 1 in 2020 (-50%)
Rodent complaints are up 31% this year in Washington D.C.
Washington D.C. is known for many things. It is the capital of the United States of America; it is a cultural center with many monuments and museums, such as the Smithsonian Institution; and it is a walkable and bike-friendly city with many bike lanes in the downtown area. What you probably don’t know about D.C. is that not only our president and government officials reside there, many, many rats also call it home, and this year, the District has seen a spike in rat complaints.
The number of rodent complaints has been trending upward in D.C. since 2016, but 2020 is by far the worst year. By the end of August 2020, D.C.’s 311 reporting system has received a total of 5,848 rodent complaints, 30.7% more than the same period in 2019.
The past summer was particularly bad for D.C. June 2020 marked the worst month since January 2016, with a total of 985 unique complaints made to D.C. 311 by Washingtonians. 37.2% more than June 2019. Could it be that people are more likely to spot rats when they are working from home? Or maybe as the restaurants closed due to COVID-19, these furry critters are forced to invade people’s homes? No one knows for sure. But what we do know is that some neighborhoods are seeing more rodents than others, and that’s bad news for the residents. Now, check out the map and see if your neighborhood is one of them.
Which neighborhoods are run by rats this year?
The interactive map below indicates the concentration of rodent complaints Washington D.C. Neighborhoods in darker shades have a higher concentration of rat sightings. It is possible that larger neighborhoods receive more complaints than smaller neighborhoods, and so we normalized the number of rodent complaints by land size. You can click on the polygons to learn more about each neighborhood.
These neighborhoods are run by rats this year
Columbia Heights, Mt. Pleasant, Pleasant Plains, Park View – 691 complaints in 2020, 526.3 complaints/sq mi
Shaw, Logan Circle – 213 complaints in 2020, 376.8 complaints/sq mi
Brightwood Park, Crestwood, Petworth – 847 complaints in 2020, 337.6 complaints/sq mi
Howard University, Le Droit Park, Cardozo/Shaw – 214 complaints in 2020, 297.9 complaints/sq mi
Union Station, Stanton Park, Kingman Park – 461 complaints in 2020, 287.7 complaints/sq mi
Rodent complaints surged in these neighborhoods
National Mall, Potomac River – 6 complaints in 2019, 35 in 2020 (+483.3%)
Woodland/Fort Stanton, Garfield Heights, Knox Hill – 3 complaints in 2019, 10 in 2020 (+233.3%)
Fairfax Village, Naylor Gardens, Hillcrest, Summit Park – 3 complaints in 2019, 9 in 2020 (+200%)
Cleveland Park, Woodley Park, Massachusetts Avenue Heights, Woodland-Normanstone Terrace – 22 complaints in 2019, 62 in 2020 (+181.8%)
Colonial Village, Shepherd Park, North Portal Estates – 4 complaints in 2019, 9 in 2020 (+125%)
Rodent complaints dropped in these neighborhoods
North Cleveland Park, Forest Hills, Van Ness – 4 complaints in 2019, 1 in 2020 (-75%)
Eastland Gardens, Kenilworth – 3 complaints in 2019, 1 in 2020 (-66.7%)
Saint Elizabeths – 10 complaints in 2019, 4 in 2020 (-60%)
Downtown, Chinatown, Penn Quarters, Mount Vernon Square, North Capitol Street – 89 complaints in 2019, 50 in 2020 (-43.8%)
Douglas, Shipley Terrace – 27 complaints in 2019, 16 in 2020 (-40.7%)
This study examines the rodent crisis in major U.S. cities, including Boston, Chicago, and Washington D.C. The rodent complaint data was retrieved from each city’s open data portal, and the population data was collected via U.S. Census Bureau. For this study, we limited the research time frame to January 2016 through August 31, 2020. We then geocoded the complaints using each city’s neighborhood shape file and normalized the complaint count by land size. This allows us to fairly rank each neighborhood and provide better insights.
RentHop is all about data and facts. Our data science team does annual studies on rental data as well as 311 complaints across major U.S. cities. To get to know the city you live in, take a look at our previous studies on rodent complaints, human/animal waste complaints, noise complaints, and more.
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We spend roughly one-third of our lives in bed, so when it comes to self-care, splurging on a set of luxurious sheets is a must. Let’s face it: When it’s cold outside, is there anything better than feeling cozy under the covers while reading in bed? Or maybe you need to get a great night’s sleep to wake up rested and refreshed for that early AM Zoom meeting? Bottom line: It’s time to upgrade your bedding. High-quality sheets come in many styles and fabrics, which makes choosing the material just as fun as picking the color. If you like a warm bed, then flannel is a good choice, while sateen is ideal for sleepers who prefer silky, soft material. Or, if your focus is eco-friendliness, choose bamboo. No matter your style, check out these nine perfect options to gift yourself or a loved one.
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Take Elle Hervin’s (@elle_the_home_bird‘s) UK bedroom, which should have boasted its original 1930s prettiness but instead felt like it had gotten stuck in the 1970s (and not in a good way). “The bedroom in its ‘before’ state was quite an assault on the senses!” Elle says. “It hadn’t been updated in around 45 years and you could tell from every corner of the room, from the ’70s wallpaper to the built-in, utility-style cupboards, and the clashing patterns. And don’t get me started on the carpet!”
Unfortunately, Elle couldn’t really salvage much of the room. “The sheer level of neglect in the bedroom meant that it wasn’t possible to use or even ‘make do’ for a while,” she explains. “It was smelly, dirty, and crying out for an entire makeover. In order to make it beautiful once again, the entire room needed to be ripped apart so we could start from the beginning.”
So she and her husband got to work tearing out the carpet, the built-ins, and layer after layer of old wallpaper.
In order to install a cozy fireplace as a centerpiece of the room, they knocked out plaster, “which was hiding the ‘hole’ where a bedroom fireplace would once have been,” Elle explains, and cleaned up the brickwork. The couple also made a sweet find on Facebook Marketplace, nabbing an original bedroom fireplace that they restored and installed.
“We then called in a plasterer to re-plaster the walls before sanding down the original floorboards and restoring them back to their former glory,” Elle says.
For the new and improved walls, Elle (in a funny coincidence) chose the peachy pink Farrow & Ball color “Setting Plaster,” knowing that it would brighten up a North-facing room. “It works so well against the black of the fireplace and complements the warm tones of the original wooden floorboards,” she says.
For decor, Elle went for “a vintage-modern feel” by incorporating both more traditional furniture and accessories—like an H&M Home pink rug—and more modern ones, like the large round mirror above the fireplace from The Cotswold Company.
If she were to redo the entire process, the only thing Elle might consider adding is “some paneling for that extra touch of grandeur!” But she loves the result, which she says cost around £2,000.
That success is all thanks to a bunch of successful research and planning. “Check out costings of plastering, floorboard restoration, and reinstating original fireplaces before you start pulling anything apart,” Elle advises. “Know how the light works in your room! When is it sunny and how long does the room get sunlight for? Pick colors and tones that work with the aspect of your room. And finally, create a mood board so that you can see how your chosen colors will work with your furniture and accessories before you spend any money.”
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.
2. Commuting is relatively easy by car or public transit
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Preheat your oven to a low temperature like 250 to 275 degrees
Place your steak on an elevated rack inside of a baking sheet to allow the air to move around all sides of the steak
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
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
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.
Start by using a large pan with enough room to add your steak with plenty of real estate to spare
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.
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
Crank the stovetop up to medium, cover the pan and let the steak cook for about 10 minutes, flipping once
This will avoid heating one side of the steak and will instead encourage a gentle heating of all surfaces of the steak
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
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.
Since we’re talking hot, fast air, cooking quickly to avoid dehydration is a must
Pop your steak in the frying tray, and set the fryer to 370 degrees
“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.
No re-searing necessary
How to reheat steak in the 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.
Start by slicing your steak into uniform slices or portions to ensure even heating
Place your steak on a microwave-safe dish, and sprinkle a little bit of water on the plate
Cover the plate with plastic wrap
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 HEREto 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.
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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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
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
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.
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?
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.
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.
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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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.