Help Local Animals in Need with Our Pet Drive Benefiting ARNO Shelter

During the holidays, one of the greatest gifts we can give is helping others in need. That’s why 1st Lake Properties is hosting a pet drive benefiting Animal Rescue New Orleans (ARNO) in Elmwood. This no-kill shelter provides comprehensive care to stray and abandoned animals, providing a safe haven while also meeting each animal’s medical and nutritional needs.

We appreciate the hard work ARNO provides for our community each day – but they can’t do it alone. ARNO is in need, and we’d like all of our residents and friends to consider helping. Here are a few ways you can participate in our pet drive, which kicks off today and runs through Dec. 31:

Vega is one of several adoptable animals at Animal Rescue New Orleans. (Photo: ARNO on Facebook)

Adopt an Animal from ARNO

The shelter has many eligible animals who would make loving pets and lifelong pals for local residents. For example, Woodstock, a cat with beautiful markings, is a sweet soul looking for a forever home, and so is Sugar, a tiny adult pup with personality.

You also can foster animals on a temporary basis – this is a great option to test drive life with a new pet while also helping to alleviate the burden of the shelter.  Take a look at our recent post on animal adoption, or visit ARNO’s website for more information. Not ready to adopt or foster? You can…

Donate Your Time

ARNO is looking for volunteers who can assist in animal care, dog walking, kennel and cage cleaning, playing with cats and kittens, and helping with laundry. Volunteering is a great way to spend the weekend with friends and family, especially during the holidays. Plus, volunteering at ARNO counts toward school service hours. If you truly can’t spare the time, no worries. You can…

Donate Goods

In addition to monetary donations and gift cards to Wal-Mart, Petsmart, and Petco, the shelter needs specific goods to help their operations run smoothly and provide the highest quality care for its animals. For dogs, ARNO needs Purina One Dog Chow and Puppy Chow, canned dog food, and four-foot-long leashes. Similarly, their feline residents need Purina One Cat and Kitten Chow in addition to large-size litter pans. Sponges and heavy-duty trash bags (also known as contractor bags) are also items in need at ARNO.

We urge you to make a difference in the lives of animals by participating in this drive. Simply drop off your donations at any 1st Lake office from Dec. 15 through Dec. 31. We look forward to seeing what you bring in!


Holiday Decorating for a Small Space

‘Tis the season to liven up your decor, but sometimes a small space can present challenges you may not face in a traditional house. Check out our dos and don’ts for decorating a small space for the winter holidays.

Celebrate Christmas in New Orleans

Do think miniature. A 20-foot tree works for the White House, but a grandiose fir can be unrealistic when decorating a small space. Stores like Whole Foods and The Home Depot offer fresh, beautiful mini trees that have the look, feel, and smell of their larger counterparts. The trees might be small, but their benefits are enormous: they’re easier to transport (both to your home and out to the dumpster after the season), they’re cheaper to purchase, and they only have room for your most special ornaments.

Don’t let your festive dishware stay hidden. You probably have some fun holiday dishware at the back of your cupboard – maybe a themed mug or a set of dessert plates. Why not let these dishes take center stage during the holiday season? Fill a festive mug with fresh, white flowers for a wintry look for your desk or kitchen counter, or use holiday dessert plates as a tray for simple ornaments to create a festive display.

Don’t wait to wrap gifts. The winter season is often a time of giving, but we are quick to consider gift wrapping a chore. Instead, make a plan to wrap presents early, then place them around your apartment for a fun and festive look.

Do dress up your dining chairs. Whether you’re using them in the dining room or a non-traditional space like the bedroom or bathroom, dining chairs can benefit from a bit of holiday pizzazz. Tie wide ribbons to the backs of the chairs and suspend small, lightweight ornaments at the bottom. You can also hang pinecones from the back using this tutorial.


Wrap your presents in advance and place them around your apartment for a festive atmosphere. (Photo courtesy JD Hancock on Flickr)

Don’t forget about easy decorating opportunities. Coat racks, doorknobs, towel hooks, and any other hanging place can become a home for a wreath, festive scarf, ornaments, or other holiday items as part of your décor.

Do consider old-school crafts. Remember when you made paper snowflakes as a kid? Believe it or not, they can look incredibly chic and take up very little space. Place them in windows where they’ll catch the light and cast dancing shadows. Other space-friendly favorites include cranberry garlands (use dental floss!), tinsel stars, and fragrant citrus pomanders.

Don’t get hung up on what the holidays “should” look like. Who says you need a real tree or decorations galore? Displaying sentimental pieces or even a simple strand of lights over your doorway can bring festive cheer when decorating a small space. Plus, the fewer items you put out, the less there is to clean up after the holidays!


Home for the Holidays: Adopt a New Pet This December

When we hear the phrase “home for the holidays,” we typically think about friends and family convening together. But what about animals? So many animals in the area are in need of a forever home, and the holiday season sees more pet adoption than any other time of the year. With that in mind, we’d like to share some information about pet adoption. Many of our properties are pet friendly, and our new Bella Ridge community even offers an on-site dog park! Find out more about adopting a pet in time for the holidays:

Before You Adopt

Pets are a big decision. The Louisiana SPCA has provided a comprehensive checklist of things to consider before you adopt a pet, from lifespans to financial commitments. A new furry family member will also require a bit of pet-proofing to your apartment, so be sure to prepare your space for a new animal.


Puppies and kittens are a popular choice for adoptions, but adult animals are often already trained and just as lovable. (Photo courtesy Found Animals Foundation on Flickr)

Holiday Events

The upcoming NOLA ChristmasFest in downtown New Orleans will have adoption specialists from the SPCA on site to answer any questions and expedite the pet adoption process. If you already have a dog, bring him to the Santa Paws pet costume contest and parade on Sunday, Dec. 21. Registration starts at 3:00 p.m., and all proceeds benefit the Louisiana SPCA.

Senior Pets

The Louisiana SPCA honored “Adopt a Senior Pet Month” in November, and although the month is over, we can still consider the benefits of adopting an older pet. Older animals are less likely to be adopted than their kitten and puppy counterparts, but these animals are already housebroken and often have the sweet, mellow temperament that comes with age.

Other Ways to Help

Even if you’re not able to adopt a cat or dog at this time, you can still help organizations like the SPCA provide quality care to animals in need. You can sponsor a specific animal for a more personal experience, or send a general donation. Donations to animal organizations in honor of a friend or family member also make great holiday gifts for the animal lovers in your life.

1st Lake Properties loves animals, too. In fact, we’ll be hosting a Pet Drive from Dec. 15-31. Stay tuned for more details!

Local Favorite: Bella Ridge Loves Kyoto 2

We’re so excited for our new Bella Ridge luxury apartment community! From incredibly modern interiors to an on-site dog park, this beautiful apartment complex offers luxury living with square footage, dedicated covered parking, and amenities that you just won’t find in downtown New Orleans.

The property is close to an amazing shopping center with stores like TJ Maxx, DSW, Ulta, and World Market, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find a local presence. In fact, one of Uptown New Orleans’ most popular sushi restaurants, Kyoto, has a second location just about a mile away from Bella Ridge near Elmwood Shopping Village. We’ve taken a closer look at Kyoto 2 to bring you the best of authentic Japanese flavors and the charm of a local favorite.


Enjoy fresh, authentic sushi at Kyoto 2, located near our new Bella Ridge property. (Photo courtesy Alexandre Chang on Flickr)

One of the best-reviewed items on the menu is the Poke Salad Roll. This dish takes elements of the classic Hawaiian raw salad and translates it into a sushi roll. Creamy avocado and a spicy chili dressing play with taste and texture while tuna, crabstick, and squid provide a trio of flavorful seafood. Veggie fans will love the Slow-Ya-Roll, not only for the clever name, but also for the combination of cucumber, avocado, asparagus, and sprouts. Creative rolls like the Funky Margarita and the Taco Salad combine quality seafood with surprising toppings (think spicy avocado sauce or a tangy vinaigrette).

A complete menu with appetizers, noodle soups, salads, and mains provides ample options for even the choosiest eaters. For dessert, the ginger ice cream and black sesame ice cream satisfy a sweet tooth with a welcome alternative to flavors like vanilla or chocolate.

One of the best parts about Kyoto 2 is that you can pick up takeout and enjoy Japanese-style favorites at home in Bella Ridge. Contact us now to find out more about the property and secure a lease. We’re already filling up!

Cranberry Conundrum? Here’s What to Do!

Thanksgiving leftovers are almost as much a tradition as the turkey itself – but sometimes, we can get tired of the same old dishes day after day. One of the things we always tend to stock up on a little too much is cranberry sauce. The tart, bright flavors of cranberry usually only end up on the table during the holidays, so who can blame us for going a little overboard? However, after Thanksgiving is over, we’re left with a cranberry conundrum: What do we do with extra cranberry sauce and cranberries? Get some inspiration with these tasty ideas.


Whether you’ve got extra cranberries or sauce, you’ve got plenty of creative options. (Photo courtesy catharticflux on Flickr)

Spicy Cranberry Salsa

With the addition of a sliced jalapeno, salt, cumin, cilantro, and the zest and juice of one lime, cranberry sauce becomes a sweet-and-savory salsa. Simply pulse the ingredients together in a food processor or blender. Pair it with turkey taquitos for a double-whammy of leftover repurposing.

Cranberry Grilled Cheese

We know cranberry sauce plays well with savory flavors like turkey, but it’s a surprising ingredient in classic grilled cheese. Simply pair it with bread, white cheddar, and plenty of butter, then grill up as usual. The result is a little bit messy – but totally worth it.

Cranberry Ice Cubes

Keep these colorful ice cubes in the freezer throughout the holidays. You can add them to smoothies instead of regular ice for seasonal flavor, pair them with sparkling seltzer for a festive and fun holiday beverage.

Cranberry Muffins

Cranberry sauce adds moisture and sweet tartness to hearty oat muffins. Portable and comforting, these muffins are perfect for an on-the-go breakfast or as an afternoon snack.

Cranberry Barbecue Sauce

This recipe couldn’t be easier: Mix a bit of cranberry sauce into your favorite homemade or bottled barbecue sauce. Cranberries add tart depth of flavor and a beautiful color. Use it to top smoked meats or as a dip for fries.

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