Whistle While You Work: Weekly Cleaning Party

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Living with roommates has its ups and downs without a doubt. Having friends nearby is always a plus, especially if you are tight-knit, close friends who share daily celebrations and commiserate over daily struggles. But no matter how well you get along with someone, delegating housework can be a real chore (shame on me for that horrible pun). So when something is a boring task, just turn it into something fun!

Throwing a weekly cleaning get-together not only helps you get the dirty work done, but gives you time to really catch up with what’s going on in your roommates’ lives. Sit down with your fellow cohabitants and pick one evening a week which suits everyone’s schedules. Then designate how many and which tasks need to get accomplished in that evening that get put off during the rest of the week (like vacuuming, mopping, taking out the trash or recycling). Either have each person decide which task to tackle or make it as fair as possible by drawing tasks blindly out of a hat.

Add the fun! Have everyone contribute a small snack item, split a bottle of wine or your favorite non-alcoholic drink, and throw on a cleaning playlist to listen to while you work. Making the activity a social one will help you accomplish your goals and may even become a favorite event during the week. You might find yourself looking forward to cleaning night!

2016 Fall Favorites For Your Apartment

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The fall season always seems to be a little bit magical. It’s the transitional period between summer and winter, in which everything gradually slows down, cozies up, and settles in. While the weather in Gainesville may not turn cold and the leaves take a little longer to turn, the season is nevertheless upon us and apparent in its many other manifestations. I don’t necessarily redecorate solely for fall, but adding in some festive touches are always appealing when beginning a new season. These are some of my favorite picks for embracing autumn through interior spaces.

Constellation Lights This UO lighting option is amazingly cozy looking for fall and surprisingly different from what I’ve been seeing elsewhere lately. Urban Outfitters currently only offers the wall light in Virgo and Sagittarius, BUT you could easily put together a metal constellation yourself and wrap string lights around it for the exact same effect.

Velvety Pillows Fall always makes me think of rich, luxurious colors and materials. These velvet throw pillows from Crate and Barrel embody the vibe really well and come in fall-perfect colors to boot. You can also choose to get them with feather down inside or a synthetic alternative if you are allergic to the down.

Foxy Bottle Opener Anthropologie’s is great at the whimsical – this could be used all year round, but little woodland critter motifs here and there are definitely a whimsical fall touch. The metallic brass bottle opener is so nice looking, it’s almost sculptural and can be left out on a coffee table for a little bit of shine.

Gold Dipped Tea Set Warm drinks + awesome fall colors = amazing apartment. Serve up your favorite hot drink to guests in these colorful cups or put them to work on a display shelf to liven up your fall palette.

Halloween Movie Night: Cult Classic Edition

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Halloween movies are some of the absolute best movies in my oh-so-expert opinion. You can go so many different routes – traditional horror, goofy comedy, stop animation, bizarre and whimsical, and more. Some of the most enjoyable ones are not always the big blockbusters, but the underappreciated cult classics that steal my heart. So this year when you throw your Halloween party at your apartment or when you have a weekly movie night, try one of these indie bad boys.

The Evil Dead – This film is incredibly popular these days, but it wasn’t originally so popular and is still considered a weird cult classic in its own right. It’s low-budget, gory, strange, and surprisingly funny. It starts off slow, but it will pull you in and have you saying “what exactly just happened?” in no time.

Mystery Science Theater 3000’s Manos: The Hands of Fate – If you want something to make you laugh this Halloween, enjoy what is considered one of the world’s worst B movies commentated on by the cast of MST3K. Watch as a family vacations at a creepy motel, only to find the staff there isn’t exactly what they seem. While you watch, robots Crow, Tom Servo, and show host Joel poke fun at this hilariously bad thriller.

Rockula – Easily one of the goofiest screwball vampire comedies, it’s chock full of bad puns, innuendo, and cheesy 90’s humor. Rockula is a vampire who is condemned to live forever and continuously watch the love of his life die and get reincarnated. He has to break the spell somehow, but messes up every time until…well you’ll see. Definitely a great pick for a movie night with friends.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show – A huge cult favorite. Watching it annually is excellent, but seeing it performed live every year is even better! Dance the Time Warp, throw rice, and play with water guns while watching RHPS’s strange musical rendition of what would happen if you and your fiance accidentally ran into a castle full of Transylvanian transvestites and space aliens. I mean, how could that go wrong?

Donnie Darko – Being a 90’s kid this film caught me at exactly the right age. Full of angst and confusion Donnie Darko lives in a world of social expectation, anxiety, and suburban “normalcy”. Donnie challenges authority, dives deep into the dark inner workings of his psyche, and tackles time travel, which all climaxes right on the evening of Halloween. This is my personal pick for the time of year – the soundtrack is the perfect 80’s dark wave mix, the dialogue is provocative, and the visuals are intense.

House on Haunted Hill – Vincent Price at his best in this classic creepy flick in which he invites people willing to spend the night in his haunted mansion $1,000,000 to be locked in for the entire evening…if they dare. Classic horror at its best.

5 Signs You Have a Grown-Up Apartment

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I am willing to bet you know a college apartment when you see one. My college apartment was full of cheap IKEA furniture and had no art on the walls, despite my degree path of choice….which was art. Thankfully my roommate and I were fairly civilized and kept things neat-ish, clean, and mostly tasteful. College is the time in our lives when we learn how to take care of ourselves, how to live on our own, and especially how to appreciate what our parents did for us before. It’s the point when you suddenly realize how exhausting keeping a home can be, or how you don’t know how to cook anything other than frozen pizza. But these things come with time and eventually (if you’re not already) you’ll be a master of these enviable life skills and given the illustrious title of, “functional adult.” Watch out world! If you’re not sure whether or not you’ve reached this level yet, let your apartment do the talking. Here are some telltale signs:

  1. There’s handsoap AND a hand towel in your bathroom Extra points if the towel has been changed this week!
  2. You don’t have sidewalk sale posters taped to your walls Exceptions being if the posters are framed and/or are vintage
  3. You own a vacuum cleaner The real key here is using it on a regular basis. Remember, crumbs are how you get ants.
  4. You have a doormat Look at you, all sophisticated and domesticated-like. Plus, having a doormat and allowing your guests to wipe their feet cuts down on the aforementioned vacuuming.
  5. There are food items in your refrigerator which are not single-serve microwaveable meals College is the best time to learn to cook! Experiment with new recipes and ideas since it’s likely that you’re the only one eating it. Then you’ll be ready for those future fancy dinner parties. Voila!

 

Apartment Deal Breakers

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When shopping for apartments, it seems everyone has their own set of specifics and must-haves. Which neighborhood is it in? What does it come with? Is it cool? As unique and individual as we are in our personalities, our criteria lists for apartments are very similar. So what is that you’re looking for in your next apartment?

When I was searching for my last apartment, it was a balcony, a washer and dryer, old-school character, and a safe location. I thought these were pretty basic standards for most people searching for apartments, but then I talked to a friend of mine who was also in the market. She showed me pictures of some places she had toured and we discussed the ins and outs of the apartments in question. I thought she had found the perfect spot, but she commented, “the kitchen is so small!” I thought back to my last apartment with a shoebox sized kitchen. I never minded having a small kitchen, but obviously having a sizable kitchen was on her list. It was even high enough on her list to be a total deal breaker.

So if you’re shopping with a roommate, remember to discuss the deal breakers and how high on your list they are. Prioritize features, rent, location, parking, and efficiency. What are the things you want most? What would be a plus, but isn’t necessary? Compromises are almost unavoidable when it comes to choosing somewhere to live, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t end up being your perfect home.

What NOT To Put In Your Dishwasher!

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Dishwashers are one of those amazing inventions that save us so much time and hassle. I’m always ecstatic when I’m living in an apartment with a working dishwasher because I might be the laziest person ever with the dishes. By the time dinner has been cooked and eaten, who has time or energy for dirty dishes? Unfortunately dishwashers operate with high heat and detergent that cuts grease can be hard on your nice dishes and utensils. It’s best to give thought to what does and doesn’t go in the dishwasher because it can ruin some of your dishes and cookware otherwise.

° Crystal – dishwashers are hard on your dishes, so anything that needs extra care should be left out. Even if you have wine glasses that aren’t crystal, the delicate stems are reason enough to hand wash.

° Plated dishes / silverware – gold and silver plated (or real silver, especially) should stay far away from the dishwasher because it will wear off the pretty finishes.

° Cast iron – cast iron is incredibly porous and has to be cleaned carefully. Never ever throw cast iron in the dishwasher!

° Soft plastic – bottles and cups made from many plastics will melt in the high dishwashing temperature.

° Copper – copper is safe to put in the dishwasher, but it will affect the color and sheen of the dish.

°Travel mugs / cups – these cups with an outer and inner layer can get water trapped in the middle if they go through the dishwasher.

° High quality knives – they can crack or chip if thrown in the dishwasher with everything else. Always wash these by hand to ensure they stay in pristine condition.

 

Simplifying Through Color

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If you find yourself getting excited about decorating your new apartment (or redecorating your not-quite-as-new apartment), then you may also find yourself wading through an endless stream Pinterest boards, magazines, Instagram pictures, and blog posts trying to piece together a look for your space. And let’s face the fact that not all of us are great at coordinating colors and creating a well-designed space. Despite all the research I do, I’m actually not particularly good at it myself so I’m always looking for a great way to both simplify these things and do them well at the same time.

One fast way to streamline your decorating is by choosing a monochromatic color scheme. This is totally my favorite new way to make a space look polished and on trend. It makes your job a million times easier as the decorator (just pick a color!) and it works surprisingly well as a put-together, finished look.

Once you have your basic color picked out, look for paint, furniture, accessories, rugs, and other home decor in varying hues. For example, if you picked blue you can mix a range of different blues together, i.e., cobalt, ultramarine, cerulean, navy, powder blue, and so forth. The varying shades of blue are going to be what makes the space interesting. Try playing with patterns to add texture to the mix as well. And of course not everything has to be your color of choice – but you can use a majority of the one color and add in smaller more neutral pieces with it.

Here are three links to some awesome monochromatic interiors-

Le Bar Botanique (SF Girl By Bay)

Examples in blue, green, tan, and more from Apartment Therapy

A whole heap of monochromatic inspiration from Brti + Co

Getting Better at Mornings

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Right up there with doing my taxes and going to the doctor are mornings. Except mornings happen every day. Every day! Tragic. But the time comes in most people’s lives when mornings just have to happen and it’s most certainly better if they happen successfully and painlessly. But throughout most of my life mornings have been neither of these things. So as an adult, I’ve had to make some lifestyle changes in order to better conquer the beginning of the day. Everyone has their own way of handling the dreaded early hours of the day in which we are slow to move, slow to think, and would rather just snooze a few more minutes.

Preparation is key. The more you do the night before, the easier the next morning is. I like to have everything ready to go for the next day so I really don’t have to think about it in the morning…because let’s face it, I don’t think well in the mornings. And chances are I’m going to forget something incredibly important while I’m stumbling around trying to get myself put together for the day.

Getting into the habit of waking up at at the same time each day is what I’ve found to help the most. The fluctuation of bedtime and when you wake up can make it much more difficult to get up and be ready for the day ahead. Keeping a consistent bedtime and alarm time get your body into the physical habit of waking up and help you feel more rested and alert once you’re up. Once you’ve crawled out of your bed, it helps to really move around. Doing a quick set of jumping jacks or even just a minute plank gets your blood flowing and helps wake you up. Trust me, I’m not about to go through a whole workout routine right after I wake up but getting moving (even for a minute or two) can seriously help.

Once you’ve gotten the ball rolling, a good breakfast helps seal the deal. I’m not much into heavy breakfast foods, but lighter foods packed with protein help prepare you for the rest of your day. For lots of ideas on what to eat, check out these protein rich breakfast ideas. Last, but not least, a big cup of coffee because I’m convinced coffee is what makes the world go ‘round.