Thursday, May 31, 2012

5 Summer Living Tips

Summer Living comes with its own host of challenges, and Apartment Therapy.com has some great tips for 5 things you probably have lying around your apartment right now that can make your summer a lot less challenging.

Hate bringing the sand from the beach home with you after a day at the ocean?  Before you get in your car, put a dash of baby powder on your sandy bits, then brush the powder and sand off with your hands, a shaving brush or a makeup brush.

Tired of being food for those pesky mosquitoes?  Try a fan!  Apparently the wind not only keeps mosquitoes from being able to land on you, it blows away the carbon dioxide you exhale, which is a major attractor of the nasty creatures.  Also, a fan will cool you down and prevents the sweat and body heat that those little bloodsuckers love.

Accidentally drop your phone or IPod in some water?  Try removing the battery and then placing your object in a container with uncooked rice to absorb the moisture.  If sand gets into your phone, use a bulb syringe to blow any sand particles out of the cracks.  Never use compressed air, as that can damage the inside of your device.

Ever buy berries and be frustrated that they turn moldy or soggy before you can eat them?  The solution is to mix one part vinegar and ten parts water and put the berries into it as soon as you get home from the store.  Drain and rinse (rinsing is not completely necessary as you won't be able to taste the vinegar), and put the fruit in the fridge.  The vinegar kills mold spores and other bacteria that might be hiding on your berries.

Lastly, you can use a little toothpaste on the inside of your goggle lenses to keep them from fogging up when you're taking a dip!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

New Eastside Apartments to be Built

257 New Apartments will soon be built at the southeast corner of 11th Street and I-35, Statesman.com reports.  Today, Austin-based developer Forestar Group, Inc. said that it will partner with Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds LLC to begin construction on the new complex in the next month.

Canyon-Johnson, a private equity fund owned by Magic Johnson's company and Canyon Capitol Realty Advisors, also worked with Stratus Properties Inc. to build the W Austin Hotel and Residences downtown.  The new complex will be at 807 E. 11th Street and will be called Eleven.  The first part of the project will contain 83 units and is slated to be complete by late July of next year.

The complex will include studios, lofts and one and two-bedroom units, however rents have not been announced yet.  Residents will be able to take advantage of downtown and Capitol views as well as a pool, rooftop deck, courtyard with outdoor living area, a clubhouse and a fitness facility.  Eleven will be a four-story building above a two-story parking structure.

The new project will capitalize on Austin's tight rental market and will join a host of new mixed-use retail and office buildings, restoration projects and city projects that are going into the area.  The City and the Austin Urban Renewal Agency have already put nearly $20 million into the East 11th Street neighborhood in an ongoing effort to attract more private developers to revitalize the area.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

CPS Energy Projects Lower Energy Bills

CPS Energy projects customers will see lower bills this summer, My San Antonio.com reports.  The utility said that customers can look forward to bills that are approximately $22 a month lower this summer than last year.

CPS made this prediction based on the fact that June, July and August 2012 are projected to have more regular temperatures, causing CPS to state that the average residential use of 1,500 killowatt-hours a month will cost $148.  June-August 2011, average use was over 1,700 kilowatt-hours which cost an average of $170 per month.

The company used a computer program to compute predictions for this summer's temperatures based on the average temperatures for the last 15 years.  Using this program, they discovered that this summer won't be as hot as last year.  They are also offering customers a chance to further lower their bills by providing 24,000 free home energy management systems to utility-users.  The systems could help customers lower their energy usage by as much as 10 percent.  To use the Consert Inc. system, you must have internet access and a house with electrical wiring up to current code.

The special meter is hooked into the home's air conditioner, water heater and pool pump, if applicable.  The customer can control the units through a website and set the individual components to go off when they aren't home and to come back on when they are about to return.  In this way, they can reduce electricity usage when it's not needed.

During peak energy usage, CPS may use the energy management system to remotely adjust a heater or air conditioner for a short amount of time to prevent brownouts.

Looking for a great new San Antonio apartment to stay cool in this summer?  Call Apartments Now to help you find the perfect place!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Reducing Noise Levels in Your Apartment

Reducing noise levels in your apartment can be a must for any renter, especially if you have noisy neighbors, thin walls, hardwood or tile floors, or any/all of the above!  Wikihow.com has some helpful tips on drowning out the noise of your fellow apartment-dwellers.

Your first line of defense against excess noise is carpeting and rugs, which are excellent at absorbing sound.  If you have hardwood or tile floors, which tend to cause sound to echo, use area and throw rugs to dampen the sound, the heavier and larger the better!

If the noise is coming from your neighbors on either side, rather than above or below, curtains, tapestries or other fabric wall-hangings can cut down on the bleed through to your unit.  Fabric helps to cut down on noise wherever you put it, such as on a wall, over the window (to reduce the amount of exterior noise) or used as a room divider.  There are also soundproofing wall-hangings, ceiling panels and room dividers which go even a step further in keeping loud noises from reaching your ears.

Are you being a good neighbor?  There are many ways you can reduce the amount of noise you generate, which hopefully will inspire your neighbors to do the same.  Make sure your stereo and tv are away from shared walls and keep them at a conservative volume, especially late at night.  Wait until the daylight hours to vaccuum or rearrange your furniture and don't wear your high heeled or hard-soled shoes around your apartment if you have hard surface floors.  Finally, use rugs in the places where things like shoes or kitchen silverware are likely to fall or be dropped and place felt pads under chair and table legs so that they don't noisily scrape across the floor.

Looking for a nice quiet apartment where you can live in peace?  Apartments Now can help!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Hiring Movers: Mistakes to Avoid

When hiring movers there are certain mistakes that a rookie can make that will wind up causing you headaches, not to mention money, in the long run.  About.com tells you what those mistakes are and how to avoid making them.

Your first mistake would be to only get a quote from one moving company.  You should get quotes from at least three, and preferably five, movers.  You can then research the movers and find out if their customers were happy with them or not.  Another mistake would be allowing movers to give you a quote without visiting your apartment.  You should always have potential movers visit your home so they can see exactly what they are moving to give you a more accurate estimate.  You should also create a household inventory list so the movers will have the exact list of what they are moving.

Choosing your moving company solely on the basis of them having the lowest quote?  Another rookie mistake!  Sometimes the lowest is not always the best.  You especially should be wary if the potential mover has a much lower quote than the other movers.  That could be a sign they're trying to lure you in with great specials, and then take advantage of you. It's also important that you ask the right questions of your movers.  Here is a list if you're at a loss of what to ask. 

Finally, be sure you know exactly what is in included in the price, and what are extra things you might be charged for, such as stairs, not having a parking space directly in front of your unit, or if the company has to repack improperly packed items.  That's it, now get out there and find someone to help you make your move as smooth as possible!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Parking Meters on SoCo?

Parking Meters on South Congress could become a reality, if the plan put forth by Councilmember Chris Riley is accepted.  The Statesman reports that Riley proposed putting meters in the area to try and appease both neighbors and South Congress Avenue merchants who have been engaged in a dispute over parking for over a year.

Under Riley's proposal, which he emphasized was just "a basis for continued conversation", parking meters would be installed on South Congress and the streets that intersect it.  There would be some sort of parking permit system for residents and South Congress employees on the streets that run parallel to South Congress.  The meters would be installed on South Congress from the Texas School for the Deaf to Live Oak street and also on the east-west streets for a couple of blocks to either side. 

If the plan were to pass, it would be the first wave of paid parking beyond downtown and UT.  Other potential districts that have been proposed are Rainey Street, West Campus, parts of East Austin and the north UT area.  Neighborhoods would have to apply for the meters to have them installed. 

Bouldin Creek residents don't seem to be enthusiastic about meters, either on South Congress or on other area streets.  In a recent survey, the majority of residents asked were against meters in both places.  Merchants aren't happy with the proposal either, and are upset about the falling through of an earlier agreement which divided parking off South Congress about equally between free parking for the public and resident spaces.

Looking for an Austin apartment where you have your very own parking space?  We can help you at Apartments Now!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mother's Day Gifts that are Personal

Mother's Day gifts that are personalized for your Mom are the ones she'll remember.  My San Antonio.com has some great ideas for getting Mom a gift that will stand out from the pack.

Rather than buying a card, get out the art supplies and have the kids MAKE a card for mom.  You can purchase scissors that will cut embellished edges at the craft store.  Add a poem that express your feelings for Mom and you're done!  As far as a gift, if you're short on cash, you can offer to do Mom's chores for her.  Go to those art supplies again and do something unusual like a "Helpful Zoo" made of animal shapes on paper with chores on them or trace flower cookie cutters for a chore bouquet.  Then Mom can redeem them anytime she needs some help.

Know what stores Mom likes to shop at, but not exactly what she wants?  Fancy up a plain old gift card by presenting it in a thoughtful way.  Wrap a spa gift certificate in a colorful towel or turban from the dollar store (or for a fancier touch, use a terrycloth bathrobe), put it in a pretty linen napkin or scarf, or put an iTunes gift card in a CD case with your art as the cover.

Want to surprise Mom in a big way?  Get her an IPad, Kindle or Nook and have it engraved.  Then put books she would like to read on it along with homemade coupons giving her free time to enjoy those books. You can also make a personalized IPhone case out of your photos at Casetagram.  

Of course, you can't go wrong with flowers or chocolates, but to really make them special, make sure you buy Mom's favorite flowers rather than the first bouquet you come across at the grocery store.  Want to give a sweet gift?  Make a candy wrapper for Mom's favorite candy bar that is also her Mother's Day Card.  Or attach pre-wrapped chocolates or truffles to straws or skewers using tissue paper or tulle netting, and stick them in a flower bouquet or potted plant.  If Mom likes coffee, you can dip plastic spoons in gourmet chocolate so mom can use them as delicious coffee stirrers.

Still living with Mom?  Give her the ultimate Mother's Day Gift and call Apartments Now San Antonio today to find the perfect apartment for you and move out!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Fake a Clean House

Faking a clean house.  It sounds ridiculous, but when you get word that last minute guests will be dropping by your apartment in mere minutes, you don't have time to do a thorough clean.  Luckily, Real Simple has your back with tips on making it look like you keep your place neat and tidy.

In the living room, keep one side of the couch cushions designated as for guests only.  When people are on their way, put that side up to show perfect fabric.  When they leave, flip it back.  Make stacks of magazines, books and other ephemera look neat by putting them in neat piles on the floor or table, or place them in a decorative basket.  Stain on the couch?  Hide it with a blanket or throw pillows.

Filthy kitchen plus a full dishwasher and sink?  Put your dirty dishes in a stockpot for the time being.  Take all the notes, drawings and magnets off the fridge and put them in a plastic bag you can sort through later.  Also, make sure to fold hand towels to hide stains by either hanging them clean side out on the oven handle or rolling them and stack them next to the sink.

Now it's time for the scariest room in the house:  the bathroom.  Keep your bathroom from making guests scream by running a lint roller over the bathmat to pick up hair, placing a bathrobe over the wet towels hanging on the back of the door, and hanging clean guest towels.  Finally, light a candle and wait for your guests to arrive!  Real Simple has tips for the other rooms of your house, but really, why not just close the door?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Small Space Tips and Benefits

Small Apartments need not feel cramped.  In fact, there are a lot of surprising silver linings to living in a petite place.  It's all in how you look at your situation (AND live in your situation)!  Apartment Therapy has some surprising benefits of living small to help you embrace your tiny home.

The biggest benefit may be that you have less to clean!  Of course, you absolutely have to keep your place neat as a pin, because not only do you not have less places to stash the mess, but you also often can see the cluttered area no matter where you are in your apartment.  Along with that, storage is at a premium, and so looking for unconventional solutions such as under the bed bins and shelving on the wall is a must.

You also really have to be clever when decorating a smaller space.  Every decision from furniture to layout is much more important when you are placing it in a diminutive area.  Along with that, you don't have room for as many possessions, so you must be relentless when thinking about what to keep and what to toss.  This means that you must shop carefully and be sure everything you do choose to bring into and keep in your home has real value to you personally.  Also, make sure the belongings you have are organized and have their own designated spots to keep your home from looking like a pack rat's den.

Follow these tips and more at Apartment Therapy and you'll find yourself loving, rather than loathing, your wee abode!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Gender Inclusive Housing Possible at UT by 2013

Gender Inclusive Housing may be implemented on the University of Texas campus soon, The Daily Texan reports.  At the most basic level, this means that students of different genders would be able to live together in dorm rooms, possibly as soon as the 2013-2014 school year.

The University Residence Hall Organization, which consists of about 50 student officers who represent all the students who live on campus, unanimously voted to pass a resolution asking the University to provide gender inclusive housing for students who would like it.  They did this after a survey found that 64 percent of the students living on campus are in favor of providing gender inclusive housing.

The University states that the purpose of this housing is to give options to transgender students, students who are discovering their gender identity, gay or bisexual students, students who would feel more comfortable rooming with members of the opposite sex, and students who do not wish to be identified by gender.  It would also benefit those who may wish to room with a sibling of the opposite sex or a disabled person and their caretaker. 

Currently, over 100 universities and colleges provide this option.  The next step will be getting approval from the UT Board of Regents and President Bill Powers.  Residence Hall Contracts for next year have already been signed, so gender inclusive housing could not be offered until at least the fall of 2013.

Looking for off-campus housing where you can choose who you want to live with?  Give Apartments Now a call today so we can help you find the perfect apartment!