Holiday Gift Guide: What to Buy for Your First Apartment

If you’ve just moved into a new place, first things first: check out our First Apartment Essentials list and Moving Checklist. After you’ve sifted through these resources, your next step is decidedly more fun – it’s time to decorate! With the holidays coming up, we’ve put together a gift guide on what to buy for your first apartment. Share it with family members or use it yourself to help create a chic, inviting space at home.

For the Entryway


A monogrammed tray is a great place to place mail and keys. (Photo courtesy West Elm)

Pretty storage. Ask for unique pieces like a monogrammed trayhooks, or a small side table so you have somewhere to place your keys and mail as soon as you walk in the door. Attractive storage helps alleviate clutter and create a streamlined – yet decorative – look.

For the Living Room

An area rug. Bringing color and comfort to your space is as easy as purchasing an area rug. Choose a neutral color scheme or pick a bright hue that complements your existing decor.

Artwork. Framed artwork instantly pulls your space together. Look for one oversized piece, or hang several together in a gallery-style arrangement.

Mirrors. Similar to artwork, mirrors provide that extra decorative pop on walls. The bonus? They’re much easier to gift than artwork – no mulling over which print to pick out or whether to choose something traditional or modern! Mirrors also maximize space by reflecting light, doubling their impact on a blank wall. Ask for a hanging mirror or a jumbo-sized one to lean casually against a wall (you may want to mount it for extra security, especially if you have pets or small children).

Throw pillows. Pillows are an easy way to add bright pops of color and texture; they can easily change the whole look of your couch or other upholstered items. As local interior designer Whitney Jones shared with us, “Pillows are a really good way to update a space and make an apartment look totally different without spending too much money.” Anthropologie, West Elm, and Target all have a wide selection of beautiful throw pillows.

For the Bedroom

Bedding. High thread counts are extra-sumptuous but can be pricey. Asking for high-end bedding as a gift helps cover the cost and treat yourself to something you’ll use every single night.

Throw pillows. For all the awesome reasons why, scroll up to the “For the Living Room” section!

For the Kitchen


KitchenAid blenders are a high-quality kitchen tool that will last for years. (Photo courtesy KitchenAid)

A blender. You can find them for $20, but when you have to replace them over and over, is it really worth the deal? Ask for a nice, name-brand blender, and you’ll be making smoothies and milkshakes for years to come.

Pans. Quality is key here. Non-stick saute pans from brands like Calphalon are expensive but will last and last. You can also look for a black steel skillet, which combines facets of cast iron and stainless steel into one seamless piece.

Knives. Just like pans, quality determines price. Extra-sharp knives do the work for you, tackling laborious kitchen tasks like chopping and cutting with ease. A chef’s knife and a serrated knife should cover most of your needs.

Early-Bird Tips for a Stress-Free Thanksgiving


Ideally, Thanksgiving is about spending time with loved ones and reflecting on all we’re grateful for. In reality, it’s often a time of major stress: did we bake enough dinner rolls? Does this side dish go well with turkey? Why is the gravy so lumpy?

While there’s not much to do for last-minute disasters besides take a long, deep breath, you can prepare yourself and your space in advance to ensure a successful holiday.


Check your spices for expiration dates — fresh flavors make all the difference in holiday cooking! (Photo courtesy Chris Martino on Flickr)


Take Stock of Your Kitchen

Simple tasks like checking expiration dates on your spices or counting how many usable plates you have can save you from last-minute mad dashes to the store on the big day. Make an ongoing list that outlines what you need, then plan on a shopping trip where you can purchase everything all at once.

Remember to check in on other dining necessities: ample utensils, wine glasses, dish-washing liquid, and paper towels can all be the difference between a seamless evening and a stressful one.

Consider an Easygoing Menu

Try to plan a menu that doesn’t rely on being served hot or cold. Dishes like wild rice salad, pecan or pumpkin pies, and even the turkey itself can be served at room temperature, hot, or cold, so no matter where you need to store them, you’ll ensure they taste delicious.

But What About the Bird?

A huge turkey is often the star of a Thanksgiving menu — but it doesn’t have to be! You can forego the fowl in its whole form and try dishes like a satisfying turkey pot-pie, roasted turkey breasts, or turkey osso bucco. If you insist on a full turkey, here are a few space-saving tips:

  • Use it as an opportunity to clean the fridge and get rid of any odds and ends you simply won’t use
  • Defrost a frozen turkey in a refrigerator over the course of several days once your fridge is clean
  • Or, defrost and brine your turkey at the same time using a cooler on your balcony or patio

Gear Up for Guests

Even if your out-of-town visitors have plans to stay elsewhere, you may want to consider preparing a guest room – just in case. Purchase a few travel-size toiletries so guests don’t have to use yours. Place items like toothpaste, a razor, a new bar of soap, and shampoo on top of a clean, colorful towel so guests will know it’s theirs to use.

Put fresh sheets on the guest bed, and stack a couple of extra blankets nearby. Stocking up on toilet paper is a necessity; fresh flowers, magazines, and water bottles all placed in the room are bonus points for hosts looking to make a special impression. If you don’t have a guest room, create an alternate space for guests to sleep with an airbed or even a feather mattress topper placed on the floor.

Yesterday’s Halloween is Today’s Thanksgiving

Scope out remaining Halloween sales to find decorative items and candy to have on hand for the Thanksgiving holiday. Often, candies have fall themes that are deeply discounted after Halloween – arrange them in a crystal bowl, and your guests can help themselves to bite-size treats leading up to the meal.

Post-Halloween sales are also a good time to purchase several pumpkins. These hearty gourds should last well through Thanksgiving and are a beautiful addition on the table, mantel, or on the front door.

We hope these tips will help you enjoy a peaceful, fun holiday. Happy Thanksgiving to all of our current and future residents at 1st Lake Properties! We are thankful for you!

Gabriel Townhome

Lease a stunning townhome in Kenner’s coveted Gabriel Subdivision!

This custom home resides within a gated community just minutes from downtown New Orleans and the Metairie CBD. Centrally located near shopping centers and entertainment venues, Gabriel Subdivision is the ideal place to live.

Our Kenner townhome spreads over 2,400 sq. ft. with 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, a downstairs master, a double car garage, granite counter tops, a cozy fireplace, a beautiful sunroom, a tranquil courtyard and more.

Luxury 3 BR, 2.5 BA home in the prestigious Gabriel Subdivision in Kenner! Monthly rent: $2,895 Deposit: $2,895 on approved credit; prices subject to change. For questions and inquiries, call Pelican Bay Apartments at 1-866-742-1968 or email


This home at 84 Palmetto, Kenner, LA, 70065, is a luxurious hideaway that will exceed your highest expectations in home living.

This home features amenities like: Gas Stove | Fireplace | Outside Entrance | Granite Coutnertops | Kitchen Island | Ample Cabinet Space | Pantry | Double Sink | Double Oven | 3 BR, 2.5 BA |Downstairs Master | Stand up Shower and Jacuzzi Tub | Large Walk-in Closet | Sun Room | Courtyard | Expansive Dining and Living Combo | Double Car Garage | Extra Driveway | Washer/ Dryer Hookups |End Townhome

Tour by appointment: Leasing office located at 2150 42nd St., Kenner, LA, 70065

See Who’s Moving to the Suburbs in NOLA

In a recent survey on behalf of the National Association of Home Builders featured on, results showed that 66 percent of millennials wanted to live in the suburbs, compared with just 10 percent of millennials who preferred urban living. In New Orleans, this same trend has emerged, with more people (millennials in particular) opting for suburbs like Elmwood, Kenner, River Ridge, and Metairie over downtown.

We’ve already explored how renting is an enticing option when compared with home buying, so renting in the suburbs presents a doubly beneficial scenario for young professionals and anyone looking for a new space to call home.

bella bedroom

Ready to cozy up to a spacious, brand-new apartment just outside the city?

Apartments in the suburbs – and 1st Lake Apartments in particular — often give renters more bang for their buck with larger square footage and better amenities than buildings in downtown New Orleans. Let’s take a look at two new apartment buildings, for example. First up is an apartment located in downtown New Orleans. A 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom apartment at this particular complex clocks in at just 904 square feet, and rent is $2,240 per month plus extra for parking.

Compare that with our Bella Ridge property – it’s brand-new, too, just like select downtown New Orleans buildings, and features added bonuses like an on-site dog park you simply won’t find at buildings in the New Orleans Central Business District. A 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom apartment at Bella Ridge offers nearly 100 additional square feet for a total of 996 square feet. It also features better amenities, a covered parking garage (not to mention free parking) and easy access to the shops, restaurants, and convenience of Elmwood. So it must be more expensive, right? Wrong. A one-bedroom at Bella Ridge starts at $1,295 per month. That’s nearly $1,000 less per month – plus more space and better amenities – than a comparable apartment downtown.

Bella Ridge is just one example of so many beautiful, lushly appointed properties throughout our 1st Lake communities, which span throughout the suburbs. River Ridge apartments, with their convenient access to both downtown New Orleans and Metairie, truly offer the best of both worlds – and at a better price with more space. It’s easy to see why moving to the suburbs is a popular option for young professionals and anyone else interested in saving money while gaining convenience, space, and amenities. Are you ready to make the move?



Soak Up the Sun: Pools Close on Tuesday, Sept. 8

With Labor Day Weekend just around the corner, we’re excited to usher in a new season, filled with cooler days and football games. Labor Day is also when we close our pools for the season. But there’s still a tiny bit of time to relax poolside – take a look at our perfect pool menu. Whip up a batch of crisp, pineapple basil tea and stuffed piquillo peppers with goat cheese perfect for snacking. Get the recipes below (and remember to only use plastic cups at the pool! No glass, please!).

1stlake properties pool

Remember, pools close on Tuesday, Sept. 8. Until then, enjoy!

Pineapple-Basil Tea

Tropical flavors are a delicious complement to a day at the pool. This easy recipe, courtesy of Southern Living, requires just a few ingredients for an inspired result – a unique take on typical Southern-style sweet tea.


  • 2 cups chopped fresh pineapple
  • 1 and 1/2 cups sugar
  • Water
  • 8 regular-size black tea bags
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil


In a saucepan, bring pineapple, sugar, and 1 cup water to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring often. Cool slightly and process using an immersion blender or in a regular blender. Strain the mixture.

Next, bring 3 cups of water to a boil and add tea bags. Boil for one minute, remove from heat, and cover and steep for about 10 minutes. Discard tea bags and stir tea into pineapple mixture. Stir in the fresh basil and 6 cups cold water. Serve over ice. 

Stuffed Piquillo Peppers with Goat Cheese

Smaller and sweeter than roasted red bell peppers, piquillos make for an elegant, bite-sized snack when stuffed with goat cheese, scallions, and a touch of mint thanks to the recipe from Martha Stewart. Even better? No baking required.


  • 16 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 jar piquillo peppers (about 15 peppers) drained with liquid reserved
  • 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped mint


Place goat cheese, scallions, red pepper flakes, mint, and reserved piquillo liquid into a bowl. Zest and then juice the lemons into the bowl (take care to strain the seeds). Mix until combined.

Next, using a small spoon or piping bag, fill the drained piquillo peppers with about 2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes for garnish. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.


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