Hosting a Party in Your Apartment

hosting

When you live in an apartment, it shouldn’t mean saying no to entertaining guests. Small spaces can certainly make for good parties just as well as larger ones. Keep these things in mind when you’re arranging your next get-together:

Give the Neighbors Notice

Politely let your neighbors know that you’re planning on having a party at least a few days ahead of time. Consider inviting them, too!

Check the Noise

Before the party, test noise levels by playing music on your stereo as loud as you want it for the party and going downstairs or upstairs to see how much it travels. If you live upstairs, know that the noise will probably affect the people below you and give thought to adding extra soundproofing measures.

Timing is Everything

Have a cutoff point for your party. This can be based on the day of the week – if your party is during the week it should end earlier than if it is on a weekend. Remember that your neighbors may have early morning work or classes!

 

(photo credit: http://danielyunhx.com)

Best Of: This Year’s Halloween Party Picks

Best of Halloween

Halloween is almost here! If you’re planning on throwing a great Halloween bash at your apartment this weekend, but you’re still looking for some inspiration, look no further. Here are the best fun, new ideas for your big soiree.

Start with: Decor

It’s easy to find yourself in an endless Pinterest loop looking at party ideas. There are so many different directions you can take your Halloween party theme in, but these are a couple favorites:

 

Glow in the Dark

Glow in Dark

 

This Martha Stewart slideshow shows you how to turn your apartment into the perfect glow in the dark wonderland

 

Unconventional Color

Conversation pumpkins donut pumpkins

If you’re not ready to let go of fun, bright summer colors, you’re in luck with Studio DIY’s pumpkin decorations. Change it up and keep the colors this Halloween with Donut Pumpkins and funny PUN-kins.

Black and White

boo

For a more sophisticated Halloween style, try a black and white theme. This is a versatile theme to use- you can keep it classy and a little on the romantic side, make it juvenile and quirky, or make it extra spooky.

 

Try these Floral Moon Pumpkins or DIY Ghost Pinatas

floral moon ghost pinatas

Next, Drinks!

 

Pumpkin Jello Shots

jello shots

Yum! Pumpkin everything, but especially these. Get the recipe here.

zombie cocktail

An iconic tiki cocktail which fits the bill for Halloween with a name like, “Zombie”. Pair with a cool looking glass like Sugar and Cloth did in this photo and it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser at your party.

 

Don’t forget The Costumes!

 

Easy DIY Costumes

diy costumes

Here’s a great collection of easy to make Halloween costumes! You don’t have to be a giant popsicle, but hey, if you want to…

 

 

(title photo credit: sinnymadeline.tumblr.com)

 

Kitty Cat’s Apartment Paradise

cats

Do you have cats? Do you absolutely adore your cats? Thought so. Well, you don’t have to spend $35,000 in additions to your place like this guy (http://www.cubebreaker.com/cat-house/) to make your kitty happy, but you can easily make a fun environment for your fluffball to play in while you’re at school or work.

One of the easiest ways to make a kitty cat playground is to find sturdy (I want to emphasize the sturdy part here) floating shelves which you can mount to your wall to form a walkway of platforms your cat can travel between. Cats love to hang out on surfaces way up high and watch the goings on from above. Make sure you know what kind of walls you have, what weight the shelves can hold, and that you have them mounted properly. Safety for your cats is of the utmost importance! (Make sure you check with your apartment managing staff to see if it is okay to hang things on the wall first.)

If you’re not keen on putting things in the wall, which is totally understandable, there is a great list of IKEA hacks for cats here on Apartment Therapy’s website: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/ikea-hacks-for-cats-215022

Aside from being affordable, the beauty of IKEA hacks for cats is you can go to IKEA and see that pretty much anything with trays, baskets, or shelves can be converted into a kitty playground. For instance, this example sums it up pretty well:

 

before after

The Safe Way to Keep Your Apartment Spider-Free

spiders

Spiders are a wonderful part of the ecological structure. They help keep pesky insects in check, which most people are thankful for. The bad part is, when it starts getting cooler outside, these little eight legged things come inside and hang out with all of us. Frequently, they are relatively harmless. Unfortunately some arachnids are venomous and potentially very dangerous. Widows and Recluse spiders are native to Northern and Central Florida and both can cause severe illness or permanent tissue damage, so it’s needless to say they are not always welcome inside the apartment.

If you want to keep the spiders out, you can buy a regular chemical based spray to kill them. But these chemicals are harsh and also potentially dangerous to yourself and your pets. There are simple, natural solutions to thwarting spiders: they dislike vinegar, citrus, and peppermint. Mixing ingredients in a spray bottle, combine water and about 15 drops of essential oils, or use equal parts water and vinegar. Shake the contents well and spray around the interior perimeter of the apartment. Remember to shake the bottle well anytime before you use the solution.

Another alternative is using sticky glue traps, which you can find in the supermarket. Make sure to keep your apartment neat and clean. The less mess you have, the less there is to attract pests of any kind. Always check your shoes before you put them on (spiders love a nice dark environment and frequently hide in shoes) and shake out clothes or blankets that have been lying around before you use them.

(photo credit: brainlesstales.com)

What Do You Look For In a Neighborhood?

nieghbrohood

If you’re thinking about your approaching lease renewal date and wondering if it’s time to try a new spot, one of the first things to consider is the neighborhood location. It’s possible that the neighborhood has less to do with your judgment than the actual apartment itself, but most likely you’ll want a happy balance between the two. Here are some things to ask yourself or keep in mind during the apartment hunting process:

Proximity to work or school How long of a commute are you willing to make every day? Do you have a car or do you need to walk or bike to your destination?

Crime rate While you may be able to find much lower rent in an area with a higher crime rate, is that something you are willing to compromise on? This affects how much effort you put into securing your living space and your belongings, as well as your peace of mind.

How walkable is the neighborhood? One of the great perks of living in a city apartment is the amount of restaurants and shops nearby. Would you like to be able to walk to the grocery store or coffee shop instead of driving?

Noise level Consider the possibility of ending up in a noisy area. There may be train tracks or a highway nearby. If you are in a college town, you could find yourself in the midst of all-night parties several days a week.

Character How important is aesthetic appeal? You may also finding yourself in search of a neighborhood with some history. Pleasant surroundings can have a surprisingly positive effect on your daily activities!

 

(photo credit: georgettecrimson.tumblr.com)

Entertaining Essential: The Bar Cart

bar

With a plethora of holidays approaching, it’s inevitable that you’ll host guests in your apartment for one occasion or another in the near future. Whether you want a station for cocktails, tea, French pressed coffee, or simple bottled drinks, the bar cart does serious double duty. It’s both functional and an attractive way to display what typically hides in your cabinet. The open shelving on the cart provides a frame-like display of your glasses and bottles, making it easy to tie it in as a piece of furniture in your room.

We have established it looks nice and is also functional. The best is yet to come: not only is it functional, but it’s amazingly functional because generally bar carts are mobile. That’s right, you can put it in any room and change your mind as much as you want! Everybody needs a little room to change things up. So if you’re short on space in your living room, you can use the bar cart as shelving there or somewhere else until it’s time to entertain and rearrange to accommodate guests. Brilliant!

Bar carts tend to be pricey in stores like Pottery Barn and Crate and Barrel, but with a watchful eye kept on flea markets and thrift stores, you can scoop one up for your apartment relatively cheaply. For inspiration on how you can style your bar cart, check out this HGTV slideshow here.

(photo credit: hgtv.com)

A Healthier Pumpkin Spice Latte

pumpkin latte

It’s understandable why the pumpkin spice trend is so phenomenally huge – that stuff is downright tasty and seems to completely embody all aspects of Autumn. It’s a hot drink, full of pumpkin pie spices like cinnamon and cloves, it’s covered in whipped cream, and it has the obligatory shot of espresso to keep all of humanity chugging along. What isn’t to love? I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but unfortunately the beloved Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte should not be indulged in as regularly as most people like. Here’s why:

A standard (whole milk, whipped cream, the works) Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks contains 420 calories. It’s not simply the calories that make this drink something that should be consumed more in moderation, though. A Grande PSL also contains 50 grams of sugar, which is quite the dose for anyone.

Thankfully as of this year, Starbucks has re-released the Pumpkin Spice Latte. According to abcnews.com it is now made without its former artificial coloring and Starbucks has also added real pumpkin puree to the mix. This is a great improvement, however if you still want to make a healthier version and save yourself a lot of money at the same time, try one of these recipes:

The Kitchn’s Pumpkin Spice Latte

Unwritten’s Healthy Pumpkin Spice Latte Alternatives

 

(photo credit: autumncozy.tumblr.com)

Spring’s A Long Way Away: Commence the Fall Cleaning

closet

Most of the time we associate the emptying of closets and deep cleaning with spring, but there’s a good argument for repeating this process in the autumn months as well. Inevitably, most of us will have to change our wardrobe at least slightly to accommodate the cooler winter months. De-cluttering before the holidays is another reason to tackle the mess now. If there is less clutter, generally means there will be less additional holiday stress. If for no other reason, it’s good to divide the mess up into a biannual exercise instead of leaving it all for spring!

The first step is to remove everything from your closet(s) (Maybe just tackle one closet at a time!). Clean the floor and baseboards in your closet and dust the shelves. Organize your clothing items into piles: cool weather/winter attire, warm weather/summer attire. Then systematically go through one pile at a time and sort further: things to keep, things to donate, things to throw away. Once this step is complete for both summer and winter piles, pack away summer clothes and organize the winter clothes   Now you can take inventory of your cool weather clothes that are easy to look through in your freshly cleaned and organized closet. This will make it easier to see what you may need to add for the upcoming season!

(photo credit: pinkmintkiss.tumblr.com)

Your Genuine & Creative Space (That You’ll Want to Show Off)

art

The interior design and DIY world are full of people who seem really really good at this kind of thing. So much so, that it is incredibly frustrating to look at for too long! There are pages of perfectly lit, staged photographs of everything in coordinating trendy colors set against minimalistic Scandinavian backdrops. For those of us who don’t spend hours and hours being perfect Martha Stewart clones, here are some easy ways to make your home look great and like you put a whole lot of thought into it.

First thing on the list: stop buying cheap garbage at Pier 1 and Target because somebody else says it looks cool. What do you like? What means something to you? The most interesting spaces are decorated with things people have acquired over the years, not just picked up at the local decor shop. If you feel like you don’t have any of these things, think again because chances are you probably do (if you really don’t, we’ll get to that next).

Many things can be used as decoration if displayed properly. Small floating shelves featuring your favorite books’ covers make a great substitute for wall art. Not only do the covers add visual appeal, but the books can be a real conversation starter with a guest. You can also apply this same method to almost any type of object you tend to cultivate a collection of: vinyl records, hats, ceramic cups, musical instruments, small framed post cards or photos. With the right approach, you would be surprised at what you can make look like an interesting collection.

If you really are in need of some objects for the apartment, I highly recommend using the antique malls instead of contemporary decorating stores. Those stores are great for the utilitarian parts, like shelving, candles, and textiles. However, the finished room will come across as more relaxed and genuine if you pick objects to display which have had a life and use, rather than cheap things manufactured recently which look run of the mill. It’s amazing the kinds of unique and interesting artifacts you can find at the antique malls and flea markets. Challenge yourself to find something that really speaks to your decorating style!

(photo credit: http://foundandchosen.tumblr.com/)