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27
Mar 18

Best Tech for Spring Cleaning

This is 2018, there’s pretty much nothing you can’t do without the assistance of technology. The same holds true for something as simple as spring cleaning. There are all kinds of gadgets to make the work easier, and apps to make the job organized. Take a look at the ones we’ve gathered below and choose your favorites when tackling the dreaded (or anticipated) deep clean of your apartment:

Apps
Cleaning Checklist helps you organize and manage household cleaning tasks and activities. Pick a room, select the task, and check it off when complete. Voilà!

BrightNest is for those who don’t even know where to start. This app is full of useful tips for cleaning specific parts of your home, like how to remove toilet stains or what essential oils keep your garbage disposal smelling fresh.

ChoreBank is great if you have kids that want to help. Assign a monetary value or activity reward to each chore and make virtual deposits to your child’s account. You can even text reminders to your kids!

Gadgets
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of Roomba, the house-cleaning robot. These bad boys can run upwards of $900, but critics claim it’s well worth the price.

Allergy sufferers: this one’s for you. Nothing says spring cleaning like purified breathing air. Molekule is the latest in air purification systems that is not only effective, but smart and innovative.

We stumbled upon a nifty little (affordable!) gadget that attaches to any standard household vacuum. The Dusty-Brush consists of dozens of tiny vacuum tubes that pick up dust and debris while leaving behind the important stuff, like nuts & bolts, craft supplies, and other small objects. Perfect for those hard-to-reach places like vents and the back of the pantry.

Twin Ridge

27
Feb 18

Why Leap Year?

Calm down, calm down, it’s not a leap year. That won’t happen until 2020 when we see another election and the Summer Olympics. We just got to thinking one day….why leap year?

The origins of the leap year date back to 46 BC, when Julius Caesar—under the influence of Sosigenes of Alexandria—introduced the Julian calendar. According to them, a year was considered to be not just 365 days, but actually 365.25 days (hence the need for a leap day/year). But what they didn’t realize is that the Tropical year (the time it takes the planet to make one revolution around the sun) is actually slightly less than that (about 365.242), and over a period of 400 years, the Julian calendar would end up having an extra 3 days. This meant certain astronomical events, like the Vernal Equinox, and festivals associated with such evens, like Easter, occurred out of sync with respect to their fixed dates.

By the year 1582, the difference in time had accumulated, and the calendar had fallen so out of sync with the Tropical year, it was off by 10 days! To fix this, Pope Gregory XIII—under the influence of astronomer Christopher Clavis—produced the modern Gregorian calendar we know today to correct this error by simply omitting those 10 days. Which meant that after Thursday, October 4, 1582, the next day was Friday, October 15, 1582. Which meant October 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, in 1582 technically never happened. Google it! Apparently there were riots in Europe because people felt like 10 days were taken away from their lives. Crazy.

Anyway, that’s why we have a leap year. But to compensate for the extra 3 days every 400 years, the Pope also added a rule that every century which is not divisible by 400 will not be a leap year. So the year 2000 was a Leap Year, but 2100 won’t be. Makes sense, right?

Note: even the Gregorian calendar is still off. Every 3236 years, the calendar gains an extra day.

Twin Ridge

24
Jan 18

Perks of Downsizing

Downsizing ain’t easy. Moving from a house to a new apartment can provide you with a brand-new start, but it may also come with many changes that can feel foreign or overwhelming. Change doesn’t have to be scary, though, here are a couple of the biggest things you can expect when you make the leap from house to apartment — and a look at how you can make the most of these opportunities!

Planning to Downsize
All you need to do is go on Pinterest or browse the magazine rack at the local market to find thousands of ideas about how to improve your life through downsizing. Lucky for you, downsizing is just part of the deal when you move from a house to an apartment. Here’s a closer look at how your new lifestyle embraces this trend.

Less space:
One of the most obvious changes you’ll encounter when you move from a house to an apartment is less living space. Apartments are designed for efficiency, which means that overall square footage will be less and individual rooms will be smaller.

Rethink your furniture —that oversized sofa may need to be traded for a sleeker version that fits better in your new space. The upside is that you have the perfect excuse to go shopping and play with a whole new look for your new home.

Limited storage:
You’ll probably have to take a good, hard look at everything that’s currently living in a closet, cupboard, or drawer, and decide whether or not you can live without it. Some new renters use this opportunity to declutter their lives, while others learn to love the world of storage units.

It can be revitalizing to get rid of extra baggage you’ve been holding on to simply because you have a place for it to hang out. But if you have items you can’t bear to part with (Grandma’s china), it’s pretty affordable to rent a storage unit where your precious mementos will be safe and sound.

Consider Community Perks
If you’re conflicted about saying goodbye to your house, our sweet apartment bonuses may help you greet apartment life with open arms.

Amenities:
A pool, hot tub, fitness room, and someone else to worry about landscaping and lawn care —what’s not to love? One of the biggest perks of going from house to apartment living is the resort-like amenities that many communities offer.

Be prepared to take full advantage of these extras. Community amenities provide the chance to relax, stay in shape, and make new friends who live just down the hall.

Security:
Living in close quarters with neighbors adds a lot of extra safety. It’s easier to get to know neighbors and spot when someone is lurking around who doesn’t belong.

In addition, some rental communities have security guards or extra measures like pass cards or security codes to enter buildings and communal areas. Ask the landlord what sorts of security is in place when you take a tour of the premises; you may be pleasantly surprised at the safety measures you’ll get for little to no added cost.

No matter the reason you’re moving from a house to an apartment, this change can be exciting. Prepare yourself to embrace apartment living and know what to expect by doing some thorough research before signing that lease.

4
Jan 18

Best Dog Breeds for Your Apartment

Thinking about adopting a dog? If you didn’t already know, we are a pet friendly community; in fact, we LOVE our furry residents. We have a few restricted breeds, however, so be sure to check with us before bringing home Fido. While almost any dog can potentially make a great apartment dog, we’ve narrowed down the breeds that, based on generalized demeanor, will be the best fit for your apartment.

Dachshunds
These adorable little “hot dogs” are expert snugglers who love burrowing beneath blankets and cuddling up to their loved ones. The smallest of the hound breeds, they do enjoy a good run – but the bonus here is that with legs just a few inches long, you can give them all the toy-fetching exercise they need right in the house!

Bichon Frise
Fluffy, French and altogether fashionable in appearance, Bichons shed very little, though they will need regular grooming to stay kempt. Energetic, loving and bright, the Bichon makes a wonderful companion. While they do enjoy a walk, they’re happy to be little movie-watching couch potatoes, as well.

Chinese Crested
These interesting-looking little love dogs come in a powderpuff and hairless variety. The hairless are very easy to maintain, as you might imagine – though they can get cold and should own a few sweaters! Weighing up to 12 pounds, they of course need regular walks but don’t require a large amount of exercise and do very well in apartments.

Miniature Pinscher
These dogs are like giant Dobermans that have been hit with a shrink ray! Miniature Pinschers (or Min-Pins, as they are often called) have a similar appearance to the Doberman, but are actually a distinct and older breed. Standing roughly 10”-12” tall at the shoulder, these tiny titans average out to about 11 pounds, and make wonderful watchdogs, as they’re alert and suspicious. Also adorable.

Shiba Inu
Are you an experienced dog owner who loves taking your dog out for exercise? If so, the foxy-looking Shiba, which hails from Japan, often makes one of the best apartment dogs! Shibas have lots of energy, so if running – either in tandem or turning your pup loose at the dog park – on a daily basis sounds like you, this is definitely a breed to consider.

Greyhound
We know. You’re probably thinking, ‘How can these dogs – with their racing backgrounds – be one of the best dog breeds for apartments?!’ But they are! Long, lanky and content to be lazy, the only thing greyhounds may demand of you is more couch space. They actually need very little exercise or grooming, and they’re wonderfully easygoing and quickly trained. What’s more, greyhounds are plentiful in rescues nationwide, and thus affordable to obatin.

Bulldog
Want a true couch potato? These wrinkly little lovers may not look like lap dogs, but as far as they’re concerned, they definitely are. Quiet, friendly and loving, bulldogs enjoy a good romp, but they’re fairly low-energy and very content loafing about with their loved ones . . . and a cozy apartment would suit just fine.

Twin Ridge

30
Nov 17

Protect Your Apartment’s Wifi

With identity thieving at an all-time high, securing your personal information is more important than ever before, and it can start with something as simple as ensuring that your apartment’s wifi password security, as well as your other passwords, are strong enough. But how do you create a secure password?

The Three Essential Rules to Creating a Secure Password

Though passwords may seem like a hassle to remember, they’re a hugely necessary inconvenience. According to cybersecurity company IdentityHawk.com, they’re essential in the fight against someone stealing your data or even your identity. In order to ensure your password security, start by keeping these three rules in mind:

1.Passwords should be complex and long
While this may make your password more difficult to remember, it also makes it more difficult for a hacker to guess. Aim for a password that’s at least 8 characters long, includes both upper and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters such as %, # or &.
Passwords should not be easy to guess
2.It’s always tempting to use something simple like “password1” or even “123456,” but that’s one of the worst things you can do. Sequential numbers are actually the worst for hacks, according to SplashData, who collect information on data breaches. In fact, in 2015, “123456” was the most commonly used password found in hacks for the 5th year running.
3.Use a different password for every account
Using the same password for all of your accounts is just asking for trouble. Oftentimes during major data breaches, hackers will try using acquired passwords on other accounts just to see if they’ll work, meaning they could possibly gain access to your important financial information. If your memory just isn’t built for that kind of thing, try using one of the top password managers to ensure your password security.
How Do I Know If I Have a Bad Password?

Here is SplashData’s top 25 list of most commonly used–bad–passwords. If you are using any of these, change it. Now.

123456
password
12345
12345678
football
qwerty
1234567890
1234567
princess
1234
login
welcome
solo
abc123
admin
121212
flower
password
dragon
sunshine
master
hottie
loveme
zaq1zaq1
password 1
Instead, use these 3 simple tips for a better password:

Use passwords or passphrases of twelve characters or more with mixed types of characters
Avoid using the same password over and over again on different websites
Use a password manager such as TeamsID to oranize and protect passwords, generate random ones, and automatically log into websites
So what’s the best way to choose a secure password?

Choose a phrase with at least 8 words: This is my favorite sandwich in the world
Take the first letter of each word: timfsitw
Switch one (or two) to an uppercase: TimFsitw
Switch one to a number: T1mFsitw
Switch one to a special character: T1mF$itw
Add something unique from each site (i.e. add a “b” for banking, and “f” for Facebook, etc.)

Twin Ridge

14
Nov 17

You’re Doing Thanksgiving Wrong

If there’s one meal at which family drama is on full display, it’s Thanksgiving. Expectations and emotions run high, and there are a lot of moving parts to cause friction. Even Anthony Bourdain, who is seemingly immune to the criticism of others, feels the pressure to pull off the most anticipated meal of the year. If you’re hosting (and taking seriously) The Big Meal this year, you’ll need to read this before tackling anything related to it. There’s a lot you’re just plain doing wrong.

Below, a list of exactly what you’re doing wrong, according to Anthony Bourdain:

1. You start cooking on Thanksgiving Day.

Preparing your whole meal in one day— even two—is a recipe for system failure. Order your fancy farmer-raised turkey now. Or, if you are going to buy a more plebian bird from a regular market, get your hands on it no later than the Monday before Thanksgiving.

2. You’re not planning well enough.

Plan for three days—that’s right, three days—of full-on Thanksgiving prep. Make a list of everything that needs to get done and follow it. The Tuesday before Thanksgiving, you should be organizing your supplies and tools, making sure you have enough roasting pans, mixing bowls, and storage containers ,and banging out advance vegetable prep.

3. You’re not giving yourself enough time to thaw everything out.

Do not wait until Thanksgiving to lay out your non-perishables and frozen items. The vast majority of holiday turkeys are sold frozen, and it takes about six hours per pound to defrost in the refrigerator. No amount of prayer, salting, or hastily applied hairdryers can speed up this process if you’ve waited until Wednesday to thaw a 12-pound bird. Your microwave isn’t big enough. You can jolly it along a bit with a cold water bath, which thaws the meat at approximately 30 minutes per pound, but do not float your turkey in your bathtub.

4. You’re not saving the stock when it’s all over. It’s liquid gold for cold weather.

Stock is the underrated superhero of the Thanksgiving meal, the product that comes out of nowhere to save almost everything except your pie. You should make stock out of your Thanksgiving turkey carcass—but the use of a good, dark, gelatinous-when-refrigerated stock that you have on hand before the meal is what’s going to upgrade your stuffing and gravy. Buy about five to seven pounds of turkey wings and necks as the base for a deeply-roasted stock, or invest in a couple of quarts of the best-quality turkey stock you can find a few days (or weeks) before the holidays. Use the stock made from your Thanksgiving birds for winter soups and stews.

5. You only make one turkey? That’s cute.

Prepare a stunt turkey and a business turkey. To impress guests, roast and artfully arrange a small turkey, using any and all manner of garnishes and props, including (but not limited to): chop frills, rainbow pinwheels of skewered citrus fruit slices, maraschino cherries, curly kale, lit sparklers, and crisp, new $100 bills and/or gold leaf. While guests admire your artistry (and drink your Burgundy), carve the larger, roasted business turkey in the kitchen. The stunt turkey should be edible, of course. Use it to supplement the meal as needed, or lean on it entirely for care packages and day-after leftovers.

6. You’re throwing away the fat.

Do not discard the copious amounts of grease your bird has generously provided you with; use it to boost flavor. Butter is good, but turkey fat is better for delivering quintessential flavor. Save the grease that runs off the roasted birds and use it for the gravy and as a moistening agent for your stuffing.

7. Don’t try anything crazy. This is not the time for wild experimentation.

Stick with tradition on Thanksgiving.  You have 364 days of the year to experiment with the cuisines of the world, your dehydrator, and your sous vide machine. Give the people what they want on Thanksgiving: the likes of buttery mashed potatoes, savory stuffing with mushrooms or chestnuts or oysters, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, cranberry relish, bacon-enhanced Brussels sprouts, creamed onions, pumpkin or apple pie with real whipped cream, and above all, a straight-ahead bronzed turkey, roasted in the oven.

8. You’re giving it all away at the end of the meal.

A good turkey sandwich, enhanced with a layer of stuffing and gravy, eaten in peace after your guests have gone, is the whole point of hosting Thanksgiving in the first place. By all means, send your friends and family home with care packages—but first, make sure you’ve tucked away enough additional stuff for yourself.

Twin Ridge

24
Oct 17

Halloween Treat Alternatives

Traditional Halloween treats include all oour obvious favorites: Snickers, Reese’s, Twix, Skittles, and the (yummy) list goes on and on. But this year you should stray from tradition and pick up some not-so-typical treats for the youngsters in your building. Trust us, they’ll get plenty of the tooth-rotting goodness, but they’ll welcome the alternative Halloween treats we gathered here. Many of these items can be purchased in bulk for an affordable price at your local dollar store:

Bubbles
Play Doh
Bouncing balls
Glow sticks
Cookie cutters
Keychains
Slap bracelets
Temporary tattoos
Notepads
Crayons
Stencils
Stickers
Slinky’s
Halloween rings
Book marks
Ink stamps

Twin Ridge

27
Sep 17

Fitness Center Etiquette

Our 24-hour Fitness Center is a great perk of apartment living, adding to your quality of life in more than one way. But your gym etiquette (or lack thereof) could make the wrong impression, turning off neighbors, potential friends and even management. Here are some tips so you make a good impression in your apartment community’s fitness center.

Dress appropriately
Workout clothes should be worn, not flip-flops or bathing suits. You never know who you’ll meet in your gym—a potential employer, a future date, or simply a new friend. It’s always beneficial to make a good impression, even when working out. Ripped or dirty clothes tell something about you, as does wearing something too revealing, provocative or downright offensive.

Leave Work Behind
You’ll want to be friendly at the gym, but the less you talk about work at the gym, the better. Most people go to the gym with one of two things in mind: getting a good workout, or decompressing from a stressful day. You certainly don’t want to be the one to wreck someone’s fitness regime or their chance at a little peace of mind.

Be Mindful of Conversation
If someone approaches you and starts a conversation, you may certainly oblige them. But if you’re short on time, do be honest and let them know. Tell them you’d love to talk more, and suggest another time. A nice, short friendly conversation is appropriate: just be sure to follow up.

The same goes if you don’t want to connect with a neighbor in the gym. Good etiquette includes being courteous and respectful. Perhaps you should bring your earplugs and iPod. It’s an easy signal that you want to work out without talking.

Great Gym Etiquette Guidelines
Follow these basic gym rules to avoid irritating anyone:

return free weights where they belong
don’t hog the cardio machines
(typically most machines have a 30 minute limit unless the room is empty)
turn off lights, fans and TVs when not in use
wipe off equipment after use

Besides boosting your health, the Fitness Center is a good place to meet your neighbors . . . so you’ll want to ensure you’re on your best behavior as you’re trying to get in your “best” shape. When you work on your manners and leave a good impression at the gym, it could pay off in more ways than just your physique.

Twin Ridge

23
Aug 17

Your Dishwasher Can Be Used For Other Things Too

Though it sounds crazy, your dishwasher is capable of washing so much more than just your dishes. Learn how this cleaning powerhouse can sanitize, clean, protect and extend the life of things other than dishes!

Shoes

Like our title says, you can put the sneakers in the dishwasher. (Just don’t combine them with your dishes). Shoes get a lot of wear and get dirty very quickly. If you have little kids running around who like to get their feet dirty, this is a tip you’ll definitely want to use.

Before putting a pair of shoes in the dishwasher to be cleaned, give them a once-over to look for any extremely dirty spots that may need scraped or scrubbed off before going in the wash. Make sure the open part of the shoe is over the rungs of your bottom dishwasher rack and that the bottom part of the shoe is facing up. After that, run the dishwasher with your normal dishwasher detergent. Remember to turn off the “heat dry” option or you might end up with a shrunken pair of shoes. Remove them from the dishwasher once the cycle is finished. Let your clean shoes dry overnight.

FUN FACT: You can also clean your flip flops on the top shelf of the dishwasher.

Keys

Think about it – your keys go wherever you go and can get touched by a lot of hands. Your keys are probably covered in germs.

It’s not recommended to put key fobs in the dishwasher, but simple metal keys can be put in your silverware holder for a wash cycle. They’ll come out shiny and sanitized.

Dog Supplies

Dogs love their toys. They love them so much that they’ll claw and drool all over them. Needless to say, they need a little extra cleaning from time to time.

Most of your dog’s supplies can be run through the dishwasher. Skip the detergent and just use a little vinegar instead. Soaps often contain chemicals that are harmful to pets, but vinegar works as a disinfectant. Their dishes, plastic toys, collars and leashes (not made of leather), can all be cleaned in the dishwasher without the “heat dry” setting.

Makeup Brushes

These brushes pick up a lot of gunk after each use. Then, they get used again each day without a thought. A quick cycle in the dishwasher gets them clean and extends their lifespan.

Makeup brushes can go in the silverware holder to be cleaned and sanitized. Once a month is usually enough for this thorough cleaning. Ensure that the brushes are completely dry after you clean them.

Garden Tools and Hand Tools

It’s pretty obvious that your garden tools can pick up some dirt after each use. Other metal and hand tools with plastic handles can also be cleaned in the dishwasher.

After the dishwasher cleans off the grit and grime, do not use the “heat dry” option and remove the tools immediately to dry by hand. Drying by hand lowers the chance of rust forming on the tools.

Plastic Children’s Toys

It’s no wonder that your child’s toys might need a quick wash to get rid of all the germs they pick up: those toys get around.

Plastic kids toys of all kinds can be placed in the dishwasher for an easy sanitation. If you have a bunch of small plastic toys (legos, small game pieces, blocks, etc.), they can be put in a mesh bag so they don’t get lost and fall through the racks.

Important: Turn off the “heat dry” option to avoid any melted toys.

As you can see, your dishwasher works to clean more than just your dishes. Save a few minutes and use it to clean and sanitize other items around your house, you’ll be glad you did!

Twin Ridge

26
Jul 17

How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes

The beautiful weather in the summer makes you want to be outside all day and all night, but your enjoyment of the outdoors can easily be ruined by the appearance of mosquitoes. These bloodsucking flying pests seek out human hosts to feed on, but you have a few options to help keep your cookouts and pool days bug-free.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/rob_swystun/

The easiest way to get rid of mosquitoes is to eliminate the places they can breed. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in and around standing water, the bugs need only a small pool or puddle (around 6 inches in diameter and ½ inch deep at a minimum). Look for and drain any flower pots, decorative buckets or dishes, and even tarps that might cover your grill or yard items; if the tarp is loose, water can pool in the folds.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/teo/16560278/


If there are troublesome spots that seem to fill with water no matter what you do, look for “mosquito dunks,” or “mosquito bits.” These come in a small ring or handful of pellets that you drop right into the water, and they kill off the mosquito larva. They contain a biologic pesticide, mostly a bacteria that feeds on the larva, and are safe for children, pets and other wildlife.

If you are already in the midst of an infestation, there are a couple of ways to keep the bugs at bay.

Using essential oils, or burning a candle loaded with essential oils, is a time-tested method to keep insects away. Look for citronella or lemon eucalyptus oils, available as an oil, a spray or in candle form.

However, there might be an easier solution that could help keep flying bugs from pestering you. An electric fan could be the key to keeping your cookout bug-free. Mosquitoes and flies are not the strongest flyers, so a simple oscillating fan can help push them away from people and food. Additionally, mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide that we exhale, as well as other scents released when we sweat. A fan might help disperse these fumes, so you will be less of a target for the biting insects.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jeepersmedia/


If all else fails, it’s time to reach for the bug spray, which can give you a few hours respite from the bloodsuckers. Look for sprays that contain DEET or picaridin, two formulations that are reported as highly effective scientific studies and customer reviews. Picaridin is recommended especially if you find that a spray with DEET irritates your skin. Look for products that contain 15 to 30 percent DEET or 20 percent picaridin. Follow the safety instructions on any bug spray you buy and apply.

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