Shopping In Gainesville’s Newest Hot Spots


Gainesville’s commercial landscape has grown dramatically over the past decade alongside the growth of the University of Florida and other neighboring colleges and universities. This growth has attracted some of the biggest retail names to the area, making Gainesville a prime location for shopping. Even better is the way new commercial areas like Butler Plaza and Celebration Pointe are bringing stores together with a community feel.

Butler Plaza has been located along Archer Road in Gainesville for a number of years – it began in the 80’s and has grown tremendously since. Butler Plaza has recently added even more stores to its large Butler North/Butler Plaza/Butler Town Center community. Butler Plaza includes more than just specialty retail stores. There are grocery stores, restaurants, service providers, and large box stores all available in the same shopping area. Shopping here is not only convenient due to the great number of stores available, but is also pleasant and fun for an afternoon stroll with friends to grab coffee. Check out Butler Plaza’s website for a full directory list and map of the area.

Celebration Pointe strives to connect community to retail to entertainment to the great outdoors with its grand vision. While Celebration Pointe is still in its beginning stages, the plan is to be a central hub where people can enjoy being outside while still being close to the conveniences of city life. The development is focused on being pedestrian-friendly and combining residential areas, office spaces, retail stores, entertainment, dining, and lodging all in one area. Celebration Pointe will also host year-round events, including concerts in their outdoor gathering space, the Green. The new Bass Pro shop is already open in Celebration Pointe and other retail stores will soon follow. Celebration Pointe aims to be a destination more than just a shopping center.

Spring Cleaning Your Apartment Can Be Fun!


Finally! Spring is here. We can officially stop being depressed about the long and dreadful winter months, which dragged on like always. Thankfully Gainesville doesn’t get what other parts of the country consider a dreadful winter, but who’s going to complain about the onset of spring either way?

With the milder, more pleasant warm weather of spring comes the opportunity to throw open your apartment windows and doors and let the fresh air in. This is the best time to do so before the mosquitos get too bad, too! Letting fresh air circulate through your apartment can dramatically improve your mood and can help keep you breathing clean air.

Getting some fresh outdoor air in your lungs may also help motivate you to do some spring cleaning. Maybe you’re moving soon after graduation or the end of the semester and it’s better to get a head start on things. Or possibly it’s just been a while since you’ve given your abode a thorough cleansing and it’s the perfect time to hop to it. Either way, spring cleaning doesn’t have to be drudgery. It can be a fun and rewarding process to keep you healthier at home and lift your spirits!

Play some music Cleaning is much more fun with some peppy tunes to work to. Make a playlist of your favorite motivating music on iTunes or Spotify to accompany your spring cleaning regimen. Then get grooving and tidying!

Think of the workout you’re getting You’d be surprised how many calories you’re burning while you’re cleaning! Tasks like scrubbing, vacuuming, carrying laundry, or climbing a ladder all burn calories!

Time to do some thinking Tasks which require little focus, such as doing the dishes, the laundry, and so forth are great ways to relax and zone out while not being distracted elsewhere. The simple task occupies your hands and you can let your brain work on projects or ideas all the while. I do some of my best thinking while doing the dishes!

Follow your nose Cleaning itself helps make your apartment smell good and fresh, but it’s fun to find a good smelling essential oil and add a few drops to soapy water when you’re cleaning. You can choose an uplifting scent like orange or lemon oil, or a relaxing one like lavender to channel how you want to feel when you’re at home in your apartment.


Eradicating the Pet Hair in Your Apartment


My dog is a canine version of Pigpen from Peanuts. He’s surrounded by a cloud everywhere he goes. However the cloud isn’t dirt so much as it’s a cloud of dog hair floating around him and trailing behind, leaving a mess in its wake. It’s a never-ending and inevitable mess because it’s highly unlikely I’m going to decide to shave all his fur off. So aside from shaving your pet, opting to only have hypo-allergenic non-shedding pets like poodles, or not having pets at all, there have to be some solutions, right? Thankfully I’ve found there are some helpful tricks for keeping animal hair at bay and off your furniture and floors.

Rubber household cleaning gloves are a phenomenal tool when cleaning up pet hair. A pair of yellow dish gloves from the supermarket are all you need to pick up pesky pet hair up off your furniture. After you put the gloves on, dampen them with a little bit of water and use short strokes with the side of your hand to pick up the hair.

Use the Pet Hair Magnet tool, which looks a little like a combination of a squeegee and a comb, to remove unwanted pet hair from your furniture, curtains, or even your car upholstery. Check the reviews on this site here to see how very popular this inexpensive little tool is.

Microfiber floor mops work great on hardwood or laminate floors to pick up pet hair because the static cling draws the hairs toward the mop head, helping you pick up more of what’s lingering on the floor. Sometimes vacuuming on hardwood floors can blow hair all over the place, making it harder to clean up.

Aside from these three helpful tips, keeping your pet regularly groomed will help control the hair situation as well!

Community Spotlight: The Retreat Apartments


If you want a unique living experience right by the University of Florida, take a look at the Retreat Apartments. The Retreat is not your average apartment complex – it’s broken into individual colorful cottages of varying sizes and layouts to fit your specific living arrangements. Get the feeling of living in your very own house in one of the Retreat’s attractive Craftsman style cottages with a beautiful attached green space. Layouts vary from two to six bedrooms, depending on how many roommates you plan on having and there are nineteen total floorplans to choose from.

Apartments at the Retreat go the extra mile for your rent dollar. Rental rates include a number of utilities: electricity, water, sewer, trash pickup, pest control, cable, and internet. This means you don’t have to add on much extra when you’re calculating your actual costs for living each month as well as fewer bills to keep up with! Attention to detail in individual apartments is one thing that sets the Retreat apart. Features like beautiful, durable granite countertops and large walk-in closets make everyday activities in your apartment more pleasant and a little easier. There are a number of community amenities that make life at the Retreat appealing and fun. If you like to go swimming or lounge by the pool, the Retreat has one of the largest swimming pools in Gainesville complete with a swim-up movie screen! Outside there is also a grilling pavilion for your next barbecue and a hammock grove to chill out in. Other great amenities include a computer lab, study rooms, a sauna, tanning bed, and gaming space. If you have pets, dogs and cats are both allowed with approval at the Retreat, so you can have the perfect new home to enjoy time with your furry friends.

With security deposits starting at only $100, schedule a tour soon so you can secure your next new home!

Kitchen Herbs it’s Smarter to Grow Yourself


Everytime I go to the grocery store in search of herbs like cilantro, basil, and so forth, I come home with a bunch and I use about an eighth of it. Then the rest sits in my refrigerator until it withers and becomes what I usually refer to as a “science experiment.” Needless to say, a lot of it goes to waste, which is not only sad but also not cost effective. Thankfully, if you have a kitchen window, herbs used often in cooking are actually pretty easy to grow yourself. It’s also a lot cheaper than buying them at the grocery store in the long run!

Start with a small potted plant from a farmer’s market or the hardware store. Provide natural lighting, good drainage, and regular watering to grow herbs you can use when you’re cooking meals. Most herbs are very simple and low-maintenance to grow, even in your apartment. If you want to increase the effectiveness of your window light, consider trying a greenhouse-style box, like one of these from IKEA.

In addition to being helpful when you need them for a meal, growing herbs can be good for improving air quality in apartments which sometimes feel stuffy or stale. Many herbs are also fragrant and make the air smell nicer.

Here are some of the herbs commonly used in cooking which you can easily grow in your kitchen window:

  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Mint
  • Rosemary
  • Parsley
  • Chives
  • Thyme
  • Lemongrass

If you want additional information on growing herbs, check out this article here! Check out another little bit of inspiration for small-space gardening here, too.

3 Great Ways to Make More Mug Space

My household prides itself on the eclectic collection of mugs that have been acquired over the years. These ceramic oddities are diverse in size, color, pattern, and design. Many were gifts, specifically chosen for the resonance they would have with the mug recipient. Others are oddball thrift store finds and are bizarrely humorous. Some are handmade by friends who are talented ceramicists. All in all, we have a LOT of mugs and we drink a LOT of coffee. So storing this many mugs gets tricky, especially in a place with little cabinet space. Thankfully, my roommate is incredibly creative as well as handy and she came up with three great ways to combat the problem.

  1. Built-in countertop mug cubbies This adorable idea is functional and pleasing to the eye. Use wood to build a simple box of shelves, divided up into varying sized cubbies for your different mugs. Either attach these shelves to the backsplash area above the countertop or leave it freestanding to store your mugs. Stain, paint, or decorate any way you want it to look. It’s an excellent way to utilize under the cabinet space.


2. Hanging hook mug storage When you run out of space on countertops, move up the wall. Attach metal hooks to the underside of small wooden shelves, which are then placed on decorative shelf brackets. Make sure the shelves are securely attached to the brackets to prevent the mugs from coming crashing down. Hang these shelves near your coffee maker for optimal placement.


3. Floating shelves If you’re extra handy, you can build simple, but effective floating shelves. This requires more power tools and space but pays off big if you’ve got the resources. In our case, we had an entire nook area to fill with shelves, which maximized the dish storage space. Make sure if you’re building load bearing shelves, they’re properly secured to the wall, into studs. This type of construction also warrants permission from your landlord as well!


Community Spotlight: Social 28 Apartments


When you’re a student in Gainesville looking for an apartment, and you want a fun, feel-good place to live that’s located right in the mix of everything going on. Social 28 apartments offer an ideal location for student life. They’re located right across from the UF campus, providing easy access to classes, university facilities, and campus activities.

The apartments at Social 28 are contemporary and chic – simple, clean design gives a modern cosmopolitan and Scandinavian feel to each apartment. Bathrooms come complete with large, walk in showers equipped with rainfall shower heads. Apartment kitchens have quartz countertops and European style cabinets.

If you’re a fan of hanging out with friends outdoors, apartments are available with balconies for a great view of the UF campus and surrounding city area. The building also sports a rooftop pool and a big screen outdoor tv, creating the perfect environment to chill out and get some sun after classes are done for the day. Other building amenities that make Social 28 a stellar choice are its clubhouse, fitness center, computer lab, hot tub, and game room.

Apartments are available in 2, 3, and 4 bedroom floor plans, with either 1 or 2 bathrooms. Lease terms are also flexible, from 7-12 months depending on your individual needs. If you’re thinking about summer semester or even the upcoming fall semester, contact Social 28 today to schedule a tour and secure your new apartment today!

Apartment Plants For You and Your Cat


Living with three cats comes with some pretty unique challenges – pulling a chair out from under the dining room table just to find that it’s already occupied, continuously removing cats from the kitchen counter (because, yuck), and realizing your earbuds are actually a really cool cat toy for the furry parties involved. I’m absolutely a self proclaimed cat lady, but one of the not-so-good parts of living with cats is their love of potted plants. Something about domestic cats makes them want to eat every green living thing in sight, which makes it hard for me to grow a bonsai or an orchid when and where I want to. This not only puts a damper on having plants because they end up leafless or with little teeth marks in the leaves, but because many houseplants are actually toxic to cats.

If you’re feeling bummed out because you love your cat more than a potted plant (like me), here is a list of plants you can have in your apartment that are absolutely safe for your cats to nibble on. Some of them are not just safe, but even good for them!

Wheatgrass This one can help aid your cat’s digestive system!

Cat Nip This one is pretty much a no-brainer


Spider Plants


Lavender This plant can be relaxing for both you and your kitty cat


For a list of plants which are toxic to cats, check here to make sure you’re not endangering your kitty.

Be Prepared! Stay Safe in Your Apartment

I had a rather fun little incident the other day, which totally put a damper on my weekend plans, when I decided to stub my toe on a folded up metal bench in the hallway. Well, I thought I stubbed my toe – I actually nearly removed the top quarter of my pinky toe (yuck, sorry!). Not only was this a bit of a shock to my system, but I realized I had absolutely no idea where the first aid materials were. So I had to call up my roommate and ask, which took time away from me attending to my immediate medical needs. One panic attack and a visit to the urgent care center later, I realized it’s incredibly important to be prepared!

These are the kinds of things we’re taught in elementary school and then we forget them since we rarely have to deal with them ourselves prior to leaving the nest. Then, suddenly we’re no longer under our parents’ roof and real life problems have to be faced head on. Hooray! So, not that you need to have a full-on zombie apocalypse bunker, but it’s a good idea to anticipate the small disasters. The red cross suggests keeping the following items in a first aid kit, in case of emergency:


  • 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
  • 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
  • 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
  • 5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram)
  • 5 antiseptic wipe packets
  • 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
  • 1 blanket (space blanket)
  • 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
  • 1 instant cold compress
  • 2 pair of nonlatex gloves (size: large)
  • 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each)
  • Scissors
  • 1 roller bandage (3 inches wide)
  • 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches)
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
  • Oral thermometer (non-mercury/nonglass)
  • 2 triangular bandages
  • Tweezers
  • First aid instruction booklet