Thursday, June 28, 2012

Making Your Bed to Make you Happy

Making your bed in the morning can sometimes seem like an impossible task.  You're running late for work, you're mad at your alarm clock, and you just want to get that first cup of coffee so you feel human again.  Besides, you're just going to unmake it again at night, right?  Apartment Therapy.com shares how making your bed, a task that really takes less than five minutes, can bring you happiness and other benefits.

According to Charles Duhigg's "The Power of Habit", if you make your bed every day you will have better productivity, be better at staying on your budget, and be happier.  Making your bed is what is called a "keystone habit", meaning practices that can effect other habits.  Duhigg says, keystone habits "help other habits to flourish by creating new structures, and they establish cultures where change becomes contagious."

The author of "The Happiness Project", Gretchen Rubin, reports that when she was asking people questions for her book, making the bed was the top change that people brought up again and again as inspiring their happiness.  The author of Apartment Therapy's article decides to try it and finds that making up her bed makes her ask her children to make up their beds, which in turn makes her want to pick up their rooms, do the laundry, clean the kitchen, etc, leaving her with a clean house and peaceful state of mind by 8am.

Give it a try.  You just might find that making your bed up first thing in the morning makes you feel super productive before you've even gotten dressed.  At the very least, it will keep you from jumping back in!

Looking for a great San Antonio apartment to increase your level of happiness?  Apartments Now San Antonio can get you there today!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

$5.5 million Customs Facility Considered for F1 Flights

A $5.5 million Customs Facility is being considered by the city for Austin Bergstrom Airport to handle the extra traffic that is expected to be generated by Formula One racing, Statesman.com reports.  The concern is that the current customs and immigration facility at ABIA isn't big enough to process Formula One charter flights.

The city would pay for the facility rather than trying to get the organizers of Formula One to pay for it.  Officials have the perspective that if incoming international travelers are not processed quickly and efficiently, it will tarnish the city's image.  The city also plans for the new customs building to handle large European commercial flights that the city is hoping it can attract.

The city plans to expand its permanent customs and immigration facility, but hopes this temporary facility would be used for about three to five years.  The hope is that it will help with other large events such as South by Southwest and the Austin City Limits Music Festival.  The future benefit to Austin is the reason that Circuit of the Americas, the race organizer, does not believe they should have to contribute to the cost of the facility.

There is no way to predict how many charters ABIA will see due to the race, because charter carriers do not have to let an airport know they are coming until 30 days before they arrive.  Based on the experience of other cities, officials expect Austin to get several chartered jumbo jets carrying 350 or more people from around the world in the days before the race.

The alternative to building a temporary facility is to route flights to Dallas or Houston and then require race attendees to get a flight to Austin or to drive or take a bus to get to their final destination.  The worry is that this would not boost Austin's image as an international travel destination.  The other worry is that even if it is approved, there is not time to get the facility finished before the race, which is expected to happen in November.

Looking for an apartment that feels customized for you?  Call Apartments Now today and let us help you get into the place of your dreams!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Food Bank to Expand

The food bank is set to expand, My San Antonio.com reports.  The project was announced yesterday and will expand the food bank to 200,000 square feet and cost $15 million.  It is an especially important project in a city where 25% of children live in poverty.

The project got its first big boost of $4 million in funding from New Markets Tax Credits, which was established by Congress in 2000 to jump start economic growth and fight poverty.  The funding comes from investors who are rewarded with tax credits for helping to incite growth "in designated low-income areas."  The facility hopes to raise the other $11 million by fundraising.

The increased space means that many more people will be able to receive help getting fed in San Antonio and the areas around it.  In 2007, the San Antonio Food Bank and the agencies it works with served 25,000 clients a week.  They now serve 58,000 a week.  It is the 14th largest food bank in the country and not only offers food to those in need in San Antonio, it receives donations of food and other items and distributes it to other agencies in Southwest Texas.

The project will not only double the size of the facility, but will also double the size of the parking lot and move the five-acre urban farm to land where it can increase its size.  Nearly three quarters of those in need of food assistance are children and over 27 percent of Texan kids were at risk of going hungry in 2010.  In Bexar County, 26.8 percent of children or 118,000, reside in families with food insecurity.  The food bank plans to provide food to about 10,000 children a day over the summer.

Looking for a new apartment that fits your family's budget and other needs?  Apartments Now San Antonio can help.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Decorating Kids' Rooms for the Long Haul

Decorating Kids' rooms so you don't have to change them as soon as your kids' tastes change will save you a lot of time and money.  Statesman.com has six do-it-yourself projects from "Sell this House" Designer Roger Hazard to help you get more bang for your buck.

A headboard wrapped in fabric can take a plain bed frame from blah to spectacular.  This is a project you can easily do yourself by visiting the local fabric or craft store to choose from a plethora of child-friendly prints and colors.  Simply wrap the headboard and then use upholstery staples to secure the fabric on the back.  If you don't have a headboard, you can use a piece of fabric-covered plywood secured to the wall behind the bed.  As your child grows, you can change out the fabric to something more sophisticated.

Have a beat-up dresser that needs some pizazz?  Have a budding Picasso who loves to draw?  Combine the two by painting a thrift-store find in chalkboard paint.  You can even label each drawer which pictures or words depending on their age so the child quickly knows what is in it.  Give your child a piece of chalk and their imagination can do the rest!

You can also cheaply and quickly create art for your kid's room by taking photos of their favorite toys and framing them.  Another flexible way to display art is to use art shelves, or ledges.  This allows you to easily switch out art as your child's tastes change.

Looking for a rug that will stand up to children and their mess?  Carpet tiles such as Flor can be taken out individually and stains can be washed off and then the tile replaced.  Finally, creating a custom storage unit will provide a place to stash all those toys now and can easily become storage for books, cds, dvd's and electronics later.  Look for items like IKEA's Besta line which has doors that can be swapped out so you can choose bright colors for the early years and trade them out for more sophisticated rooms later.

Looking for a rental in Austin that will accommodate your family as it grows?  Apartments Now can help you find a place that will suit you for the long-haul.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Beach Readying your Electronics

Your electronics need extra care when it comes time to lay out on the sand. You may enjoy going to the beach, but all that water, sand, wind and sunscreen can be a death knell for your phone, tablet or camera.  Apartment Therapy.com makes sure you and your gadgets survive the summer!

If you prefer to read your magazines or books on a screen rather than paper, make sure you bring the best device for the job.  The Kindle has an eInk display which keeps the print dark and glare from being a problem, even in bright sunlight.  So ditch the iPad and bring your Kindle on vacation to enjoy the latest trashy summer read.

Of course you wouldn't bring your phone, tablet or other portable electronic into the water, but that doesn't mean it won't get splashed or a gust of wind won't knock sand into its seams.  Prevent catastrophe by keeping your gadgets in ziplock baggies.

Want to groove while you swim?  Bring a small waterproof speaker.  That way you can tote along your tunes wherever you go and make sure your picnic has a great soundtrack.

Sunscreen can wreak havoc on technical devices' finishes, so before you answer a call or snap a photo, make sure your hands are nice and dry.

Finally, sun can do a number on your electronics, so keep them in the shade to prevent them from getting too hot.  Also, just bring the bare necessities.  You are supposed to be enjoying nature, right?  Don't get too plugged in and keep some of those tech toys back at the apartment.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Dell Cutting Costs

Dell, Inc. is cutting costs to try to stay afloat amid increased competition, Statesman.com reports.  Dell's new program is intended to cut more than $2 billion in operating costs by 2016.

Dell wants to reinvent itself as an "end-to-end" IT solutions provider and plans to put most of those savings in its new business lines, which are more profitable.  They did not say whether the cost-cutting will include jobs. 

The company believes it can grow its traditional end-user computing business to $47 billion by 2016, which was $43.4 billion in 2011.  By focusing on the most profitable product lines, Dell expects more than 5 percent of its operating income to come from the traditional part of their business.

CEO Michael Dell stated that Dell's client business is the most successful at attracting new customers in emerging markets.  The company then works tirelessly to add on to its sales to business customers by selling more leading-edge products, software and services.

Dell continues to buy new companies with technology they can then sell to enterprise business customers.  Dell has spent $10.3 billion so far on this enterprise and those companies have generated $9.3 billion in revenue since they were acquired.  The growth of this segment is averaging around 90 percent annually.

Not interested in starting a company in your dorm room like Michael Dell?  Apartments Now can help you find a great apartment that will meet all your needs!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

City Sued Over Towing and Booting Ordinances

The city has been sued by two towing companies over its booting and towing ordinances.  Bexar Towing and Premiere Parking Enforcement are both suing the city alledging that the limits San Antonio imposes on fees that can be collected are too low, My San Antonio.com reports.

Bexar Towing is suing the city over its towing ordinance, which sets the cost of towing from a private parking facility at $85 for cars and trucks shorter than 20 feet.  Premiere Parking then sued the city nine days later over its booting ordinance, which limits the cost of removing a boot to $35.
Bexar's lawsuit accuses the city of not complying with a state statute that gives private towing companies the right to request a towing fee study and to have the fees changed to be the "fair value of the services provided."  Bexar had been charging about $250 per tow to maintain its more than 3,000 contracts with private parking companies.  The Police Department issued more than 500 citations to the company last month because of their rates.

Bexar maintains that the city had agreed not to enforce the ordinance until a new tow study could happen because the $85 maximum that was passed in 2002 is too low.  The City Attorney said that customer complaints about the rates Bexar Towing was charging caused the police to issue the citations and that although a new study will be conducted within the year, private companies have to comply with the current regulations until then.

The city council passed an ordinance on booting last month that capped the fee, allowed parking violators a one-hour grace period and prohibited booting for a first violation.  Premiere Parking Enforcement says they object to the reduced fee and the grace period.  They also alleged that keeping track of first-time violations was too burdensome.

The City passed the boot ordinance after getting many allegations of predatory practices by towing companies and intends to continue to regulate the industry.

Looking for an apartment where you can kick off your boots?  Call Apartments Now San Antonio today to find a great new place that fits you like a glass slipper!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Too Much Stuff!

Too much stuff can so easily accumulate and fill your apartment with unneeded items.  Apartment Therapy.com has a great list of items that you've probably already got too many of and how to pare down.

Two or three sets of sheets, at most, for each bed is plenty.  You can pass those extra sets along to animal shelters or cut them into smaller strips to use for rags.  Same with towels; do you really need a new one each day?  Think about using a hair towel, a bath towel and a hand towel for an entire week.  You can then donate those leftover towels to the animal shelter along with your sheets!  Be sure to save a couple of large towels to bring to the beach.

In the kitchen, chances are you have too many glasses.  Unless you're a bartender, you probably don't need a separate type of glass for every type of drink.  Consider using stemless wine glasses you can use for everything.  Also, you probably have a jillion tupperware containers.  Cull your collection and only keep a few that actually have lids.  Throw the rest in the recycling bin.  Or you can get rid of the plastic entirely and go for ceramic or glass dishes that can go from oven to table to the refrigerator.  Another option is to buy stretch-to-fit covers that transform any bowl or plate into a container.

Cleaning and grooming products can also accumulate.  Weed out the stuff you don't use everyday to make yourself pretty and donate the rest to a homeless shelter or friends who might use it.  As for cleaning products, find one all-purpose cleanser that will do all the jobs you need and toss the rest.  Make-up is another place we can tend to hoard stuff.  If something's been around more than a year, it's probably full of bacteria AND you'll probably never use it, so throw it away.