Free and Affordable Healthy Activities

Ready to get moving? The Greater New Orleans area offers so many ways to stay fit and have fun while you’re at it. Whether you take advantage of an outdoor space like Lafreniere Park or go straight for a fitness class, we’ve compiled a list of free and cheap fitness activities to keep you healthy and happy.

lafreniere-park

Lafreniere Park in Metairie. (Photo via Lafreniere Park on Facebook)

Parks

Lafreniere Park — This 155-acre park features so many things to do, from a 2-mile jogging trail to an on-site, 20-acre lagoon ideal for birdwatching and immersing yourself in nature. The park features 2 distinct playgrounds, a carousel, and a splash pad for the kids, plus sports fields and a disc golf course. It’s the perfect place to stay active in the heart of Jefferson Parish!

City Park — City Park in New Orleans is one of the largest public parks in the country. Kids will love Storyland, the on-site amusement park, while adults can partake in healthy activities like canoeing, jogging, or golfing (mini golf, disc golf, and regular golf are all available for nominal fees). There’s also an on-site dog park – just remember to review dog park etiquette first!

Audubon Park — This park is free to enter, although you can pay a small fee for activities like tennis or horseback riding. A playground for kids makes it family-friendly, as does the Audubon Zoo on the premises.

Bike Trails

Tammany Trace — A “hike and bike trail,” Tammany Trace touts a whopping 31 miles of gorgeous scenery. The trail used to be a railway, but now it’s perfect for a leisurely stroll, upbeat jog, or bicycle ride to get some fresh air.

Lafitte Greenway — Recently restored, the Lafitte Greenway is a pedestrian and cyclist path that winds through the heart of New Orleans. A gorgeous respite from the urban landscape of the city, Lafitte Greenway features 2.6 miles of trail connecting downtown New Orleans to City Park.

Fitness Classes

Romney Pilates Community Class — Head to Uptown New Orleans every Saturday at 8 a.m. for a $5 community class at Romney Pilates (5619 Magazine St.). The space is absolutely gorgeous, and is directly across the street from a Whole Foods, so you can get your grocery shopping done, too! Plan to arrive early as this class tends to fill up quickly.

Free Zumba in City Park — At the Peristyle in City Park, you can partake in a free zumba class every Saturday morning at 8 a.m. It’s a great way to get your heart rate up and enjoy nature. We won’t say anything if you go to the City Park Morning Call afterward… you deserve it!

Yoga at the Cabildo — Enjoy a most beautiful view of the French Quarter for $12 at the Yoga at the Cabildo class offered Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays from 8:30 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. Friends of the Cabildo members pay just $8 per class.

Salvation Studio Charity Spin — Donate to charity, and get a free workout! Every Friday at Salvation Studio, donate $5 or more to the weekly charity or cause of choice, and you’ll be enrolled in their spin class for free. Think of how good you’ll feel after you help the community and complete a heart-pumping workout!

The Brown Bag Wine Tasting Party: Wining and Winning Don’t Have To Cost You

wine tasting post

At the Bella Ridge Brown Bag Wine Tasting Party, our residents and their guests tasted 8 different wines ranging from $6 – $38. Sip after sip, votes for the crowd favorites poured in.

Contending for the crown in the Merlot category, we had Chateau Ste. Michelle, Crow Canyon, Swanson Vineyards and Ramspeck. Among the Sauvignon Blanc contenders were Oak Grove Vineyards, Mohua, J. Lohr and Cake Bread Cellars.

The winners? You might be surprised.

Merlot

  1. Crow Canyon ($6)
  2. Chateau Ste. Michelle ($16)
  3. Ramspeck ($19)
  4. Swanson Vineyards ($38)

Sauvignon Blanc

  1. J. Lohr ($17)
  2. Oak Grove Vineyards ($8)
  3. Cake Bread Cellars ($30)
  4. Mohua ($12)

Turns out your wallet doesn’t have to take a hit for you to snag wine that’s the hit of the party! Win your friends over this weekend with a wine that’s surprisingly inexpensive and incredibly delicious!

 

To sip on something from this list, visit Martin Wine Cellar or any local grocer!

Benefits of Being a 1st Lake Properties Resident

Obviously, we think it’s great to live at 1st Lake Properties – and we hope you do, too! We pride ourselves on providing modern, comfortable apartment living for each and every one of our residents, but did you know we also offer other perks? As 1st Lake Residents, you have access to several unique benefits. Take a look at these reasons why it’s easy and fun to be a 1st Lake Properties resident.

Seamless Transfer Between Properties

Did you know 1st Lake Properties features thousands of apartment homes within more than 70 distinct apartment communities? Perhaps you’re currently living in Metairie but are interested in making the leap to River Ridge, or maybe you’re interested in an apartment home in Covington. No matter where you’re looking to move in the Greater New Orleans area, 1st Lake Properties can deliver. What’s more, if you’re already a 1st Lake resident, we make it easy to transfer your lease for a hassle-free moving experience.

brewster commons

Our Brewster Commons community in Covington.

Maintenance Requests Made Easy

We pride ourselves on fast and easy repair service – and now you don’t even need to call! Residents have access to an online portal where they can log in and submit a maintenance request. Included maintenance is one of the very best things about renting (see more great reasons to rent right here), and our online portal makes it that much better.

Exclusive Resident Rewards and Discounts

In addition to maintenance requests, easy rent payments, and facility reservations, our online resident portal is also home to Resident Rewards. This free program is exclusively for 1st Lake residents, providing tailored deals and discounts whether you live in Metairie/Kenner/River Ridge or on the Northshore. Some of the current deals include discounts on restaurant meals, car washes, grocery delivery, veterinary caremoving services, dog grooming, and so much more. Head to the portal for full details!

Fun Events

Get to know your fellow 1st Lake residents at special events like movie screenings, food truck roundups, farmers markets, and more all hosted at select 1st Lake Properties. To stay tuned on upcoming events, keep an eye out on our blog and social media channels. Speaking of…

Blog and Social Media Access

Chances are, if you’re reading this, you already know about our blog and social media channels! We publish new stories each week on the blog, covering everything from recipes to décor tips to events and more. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter to stay up-to-date on all things 1st Lake.

 

 

 

Realistic Rental Redo: How To Organize A Closet And Maximize Space

Closets inevitably become disorganized, messy and cluttered if there’s no rhyme or reason to them, so to keep your closet in order, we have a few simple but necessary closet organization tips to follow. Usually closets never feel big enough, but with these space management tricks, you can maximize the size of your closet.

organized closet

Yes, a clutter-free closet is possible. (Photo courtesy Rubbermaid Products on Flickr)

How to Organize a Closet

Storage Compartments

Closet organizers like shelves and bins can do wonders for utilizing space. Storage units should be used for anything that isn’t on hangers in a closet, like shoes, accessories, delicates or foldable clothing. These kinds of dividers and containers can be placed below hung clothing to use that open space to make room for more items so they don’t all wind up on the floor, under the bed, or bulging out of dresser drawers. Bigger, clunky items like sporting equipment can be put on top of shelving.

closet before 1st lake

We used a real 1st Lake Properties closet to put our tips to the test. Here’s the “before closet.” It’s still pretty neat, but it can definitely be more organized.

To maximize space, store any items you aren’t actively using in boxes or baskets. Aim to place these at the very top of your shelving, along with sporting equipment and other large, infrequently used items. You can color code these boxes or baskets to help you know what’s inside without having to reach for them. Here at 1st Lake, we use blue baskets for bedding and brown baskets for books and other miscellaneous items. This creates harmony and peace in the closet and helps us maintain a clean, organized look.

closet after 1st lake

Storage boxes and shelving units make a huge difference!

As a general rule, you’ll want to store things in the following order:

  • Place most-used items at eye level
  • Place less-used items below
  • Place least-used items up higher

    bike closet bella ridge

    This closet at our Bella Ridge property is spacious to hold all your clothes… plus sporting equipment!

Sort by Season

A simple way to organize your closet seasonally is to place your most-used items of the current season in a visible, accessible location. If it’s winter, place your summer clothes and bathing suits in storage bins so they won’t take up the needed space for jackets, pants and sweaters. If it’s spring time (or even if it’s not) spring cleaning is always a good idea. Take a closet inventory, and separate unwanted clothes to make room for what’s really needed. Then, donate those unwanted items and pat yourself on the back for doing something good.

Once you’re in good shape for a particular season, here are a few more simple tips on sorting your clothes:

  • Face all hangers the same way. A small tip that makes a big impact!
  • Consider color coding your wardrobe to help you see what pieces you have and how you can mix and match them.
  • If you have a shared closet space, use a divider (like a shoe hanger) to designate your own space. Speaking of shoes…

Organizing Your Shoes

Though a very famous character from a glamorous NYC show dismissed closet shoe organizers as unthinkably tasteless, real ladies should think twice before thumbing their noses at these handy space savers. Amazon.com, Kmart, Target, and other such retailers sell a variety of types of shoe organizers. Certain varieties are meant to be suspended from a hanging rod, like the kind in your average closet, while others are designed to hang from a door or sit on the floor. For maximum space saving, the shoe organizers that hang from a door are best. These contraptions hold anywhere from 10 to 30 pairs of shoes and most cost around $20, though there are many overly fancy varieties that cost upwards of $50.

Organizing Your Clothes

Vacuum storage is an excellent way to save valuable closet space. While it’s tough to separate winter and summer wardrobes in a place like New Orleans where “summer” and “not summer” are considered seasons, vacuum packing winter clothes and blankets can save a surprising amount of space. Stores like those mentioned in the previous section sell fancy bags with vacuum nozzles and zippers and such; but, you can achieve almost the same reduction in volume by storing items in a regular plastic bag, vacuuming the air out of the bag, and sealing the bag quickly. However, some styles of the store bought bags are made to be hung in a closet, which is a feature that is not so easy to duplicate at home. For items such as ties and scarves, you can but a multi-item hanger for about $10. On average, one such hanger holds between 10 and 20 ties or scarves.

One last thing to keep in mind is to make sure you devote enough time to organizing your closet. You may not be able to do it in 30 minutes, and you won’t want to leave the project half completed to come back to. It’s definitely worth the time it takes to organize, and should be done according to season. Happy cleaning!

1st Lake Properties has a large selection of New Orleans area apartments communities with ample closet space to make organizing a closet much easier!

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Quick Road Trips: Where to Go for a Getaway Outside New Orleans

Quick Road Trips: Where to Go for a Getaway Outside New Orleans

New Orleans has so much to offer, you could never leave and still find something to do every single day of the week. But sometimes, you need a change of pace without spending very much.

Sure, we’d love to hop on a flight to some exotic island, but with our wallets in mind, we’ve created a list of “staycations” – places outside the city that feel like a whole new world but are just a short drive away. Whether you head to the shores of Dauphin Island or the stately guest rooms of Nottoway Plantation, bookmark this list for a weekend getaway or a quick day trip… you deserve it!

Road Trips from New Orleans

Day trips from New Orleans.

Day trips from New Orleans.

Celebrate a Noted Ceramicist

Take the hour-and-a-half drive to Biloxi and visit the Ohr-O’Keefe museum, a non-profit museum that highlights the work of ceramicist George E. Ohr. While the O’Keefe component may conjure up images of desert flowers, it isn’t named for Georgia O’Keefe: instead, the O’Keefe portion of the museum’s name comes from Annette O’Keefe, the late wife of the former Biloxi mayor whose donation dollars were instrumental in bringing the museum to life.

ohr okeefe

Photo courtesy Ohr O’Keefe Museum of Art on Facebook

Famed architect Frank Gehry designed the museum, which is a work of art in and of itself. Comprised of five separate buildings, the museum includes dedicated spaces for special exhibitions, African American art, and ceramics.

Where to Stay: If you decide to extend your stay beyond a day trip, there are a variety of hotels within the area. Many even give you the option to test your luck at an included casino!

What Else to Do in Biloxi: Go on a fishing charter, visit the outlet malls in nearby Gulfport, or simply hit the beaches. With that in mind… 

Stay at a Gulf Coast Beach

The Gulf Coast is full of gorgeous beaches perfect for a getaway from New Orleans. Our recommendations? Bay St. Louis for its charming downtown, Dauphin Island near Mobile for a more rustic and nature-immersed feel, and Grand Isle to stay in state and experience a beautiful state park. All of these beaches are fewer than three hours away (Bay St. Louis is only an hour drive), but if you’re willing to drive even farther, we have two additional recommendations:

Destin, FL: The four-hour drive is worth every minute for sparkling blue waters and a charming town.

Photo courtesy The Pearl RB on Facebook

Photo courtesy The Pearl RB on Facebook

Rosemary Beach, FL: Just a bit farther from Destin, you’ll find Rosemary Beach, which has the same charming feel and beautiful waters. If you can spring for the Pearl Hotel, we say go for it – their high-style décor, incredible pool, and proximity to both downtown and the beach makes for a memorable vacation.

Holly Beach, LA: This coastal community in Cameron Parish is about a four-hour drive from New Orleans. You won’t get the same crystal-clear waters as Florida beaches, but the abundance of shells and serene, peaceful feel will keep you intrigued and in awe.

Experience the Past at Plantations

Plantations pepper the region just outside of New Orleans, serving as architectural reminders of the Antebellum South. While there are several to choose from, like Houma House, Oak Alley, and Destrehan Plantation, our top picks are as follows:

Laura Plantation: This plantation about an hour outside New Orleans is a little different than the vast and sprawling plantations elsewhere in the state. Because it was a Creole plantation where mixed cultures lived and work, Laura Plantation has a completely different architecture. You can also connect to the past more closely and realistically at Laura, where examples of slave homes and banana tree farms abound. If you crave the classic plantation style, Oak Alley Plantation is right next door.

nottoway

Photo courtesy Nottoway Plantation on Facebook

Nottoway Plantation: Nottoway isn’t just a plantation – it’s a resort. Drive about an hour and a half outside New Orleans, and you’ll have access to beautiful architecture and elegant furnishings, plus vacation-worthy amenities like tennis courts, a spa, an on-site restaurant, and live entertainment. Stay in the main mansion or choose from guest houses and cottages, some of which even have a private pool.

Visit a Museum that Honors Two Louisiana Pastimes

At first glance, aviation and lumber seem like an odd combination to appear in the same museum. But the Wedell-Williams Aviation and Cypress Sawmill Museum in Patterson is actually a fitting combination. The dual focus is a nod to two components of Louisiana history: Jimmie Wedell and Harry P. Williams formed an air service together in Patterson during the golden age of aviation in the 1920s, and Patterson – about an hour and a half drive from New Orleans – was once home to the largest cypress sawmill in the world.

Top 5 Road Trip Tips

Even a short road trip benefits from a little bit of planning and a little bit of packing. Here are 5 tips to help make your next road trip even better:

1. Plan for high-traffic areas. Are you planning on leaving New Orleans at 5 p.m. on a Friday? Probably not a great idea if you can help it. Instead, try avoiding peak rush hour times if possible, and always remember to plan ahead for the next town — for example, even if you leave New Orleans a little early at 3, you’ll be hitting Biloxi just as traffic starts to peak.

2. Consider joining AAA or another roadside assistance group. Louisiana roads have a real knack for banging up cars, from rock chips to flat tires. Joining a roadside assistance group like AAA ensures you’ll get free help and free towing in the event of anything that brings your car to a halt. These programs are typically pretty affordable — usually about $100 annually — and also include great member discounts on hotels.

3. Have cash and change handy. Don’t forget about toll money! Carry small bills and plenty of quarters in your car so that you can easily pay tolls on the way to your destination and on the way back. Spare change is also helpful in case you can’t get cell phone service: believe it or not, pay phones still exist — but you’ll need coins to get them to work.

4. Have your documents in order. License? Check. Registration? Check. Proof of insurance? Check. If you’ve decided to rent a car, make sure to keep any documents and receipts with you in the front glove compartment.

5. Bring a spare key. This simple little hack can help you avoid a major headache.

 

 

 

 

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