Search

1st Lake Blog

Reasons to Exercise Outdoors this Spring

Spring is just around the corner, and that means it’s time to start enjoying the outdoors again. And while everyone seems to be looking forward to beach vacations and picnics in the park, you should also consider taking your exercise routine outside of the gym. Although it may be tempting to stay inside — climate control, predictable conditions, and convenience are three major factors — studies show that there are many physical and psychological benefits to exercising outdoors.

Read on to learn a few major benefits of outdoor exercise!

Outdoor Exercise Equals an Improved Mood

Studies have also shown that individuals that exercise outdoors “score significantly higher on measures of vitality, enthusiasm, pleasure and self-esteem and lower on tension, depression and fatigue” in comparison to those who exercise inside. Activities such as walking, jogging or gardening can make one feel more connected to nature. They also increase exposure to sunlight and vitamin D.

Many First Lake Properties have outdoor amenities like nature paths and swimming pools, placing your “outdoor gym” just a few steps away.

Low Cost

If your budget doesn’t allow for a costly gym membership, the solution is right outside your front door. According to ACE Fitness, the cost of a gym is commonly cited as a major barrier to regular exercise. In addition to cost, it’s often time consuming to travel to and from a gym. Traffic, parking, and other factors can add up to several additional hours to your exercise regimen, leaving no time for leisure after a long day at work. 

Taking your fitness routine into the great outdoors provides an immediate, low-cost solution. Low-traffic neighborhoods and nature trails are just waiting to be explored!

Wind Resistance & Natural Challenges

If you’ve been using a treadmill this winter, consider finding a scenic pathway for your jogs instead. Studies show that when running on a treadmill, runners expend less energy due to a lack of wind resistance. Natural terrain also forces runners to stride differently, causing them to flex their ankles more. Exercising in a constantly changing environment causes your body’s connective tissue to become more adaptive, and may prevent certain injuries over time.

Now that you know all that you stand to gain from spending more time outdoors this spring, check out our beautiful residential properties and prepare for a springtime full of activity with 1st Lake!

 

 

 


Mattress Shopping 101: Signs It’s Time & What Kind to Buy

Sleep experts say that we spend about one third of our lives sleeping, which is probably more time than we devote to any other activity. And if you’re like us, you cherish every hour of rest. Taking care of your mattress – and knowing when to buy a new one – will keep you from missing out on optimal sleep and all the health benefits associated with it.

A mattress’s age, the quality of sleep it provides, and your personal health concerns all play major roles in determining when it’s time to move on to a superior sleeping arrangement. In this article, we’ll explain a few signs that it’s time to replace your mattress, as well as how to choose one that suits your personal needs.

Knowing When It’s Time

First, it’s important to take an inventory of any health issues that are affecting your quality of sleep. Have you recently been diagnosed with arthritis or sleep apnea? If so, it’s essential that your mattress is helping rather than hurting your condition. If your mattress has been around for a while, it’s likely that it’s not providing you with optimal comfort.

The National Sleep Foundation says that while there is no strict rule about when to replace your mattress, most of them have a lifespan of about eight years. Finding worn or sagging spots in the middle or at the edges of your mattress typically means your bed surface has seen its better days, and will often lead to stiffness and discomfort upon waking. Nights of tossing and turning or waking up when your partner moves are other signs it’s time to find a new sleeping surface.

Do you always feel tired? Do you expect your best nights of sleep on business trips or vacations? In addition to physical signs of wear and tear, it’s time to get a new mattress if you sleep better away from home, or if you prefer to sleep on your sofa. If any of these things sound familiar, you’re not meeting your full potential for restful sleep.

Once you’ve decided that it’s time to move on, the following tips will ensure that you purchase the mattress that best suits you.

bella bedroom

Buying a Mattress

The first step in buying a new mattress is understanding your personal sleep needs. The mattress that is best for your neighbor may not be best for you. Due to age and body type, each one of us has different sleeping requirements that change over time. To begin, try the Better Sleep Council’s mattress shopping quiz – it’s a great way to determine your priorities before entering a mattress store.

Once you’ve assessed your needs, you’ll need to actually spend time shopping! Your mattress should feel comfortable to you, which means you’ll need to search for the right fit. While it’s not ideal, enduring the awkwardness of laying down in a mattress outlet will pay off. Sleep educators suggest trying out any mattress for at least 15 minutes before deciding to buy it. 

Consider your budget and bedroom space. Before you buy a mattress, it’s important to know which sizes will fit in your bedroom. If you’re unsure about the specific dimensions of a mattress size, the Better Sleep Council has created a comprehensive guide. And if you’re pinching pennies, don’t worry! Expensive mattresses aren’t necessarily good mattresses. The Mattress Nerd has created a great mattress buying guide that includes standard prices, negotiation tactics, and shopping outlet recommendations so that you can get the most comfort for your buck.

Now, Start Sleeping Soundly

There comes a time when all mattresses have served their noble purpose and must be left behind. If you know when to say when, we guarantee you’ll be catching better z’s in no time – and who doesn’t want that?


Simple Ways to Start De-Cluttering Your Space

We are all guilty of letting things get a little cluttered at home sometimes. A kitchen counter stacked high with unopened mail… Clean clothes piled up on a bedroom chair… A bathroom cabinet filled with dated toiletries and barely-used beauty products…

You are not alone. The clutter can become a problem if you continue to let it happen, though. Guests might feel uncomfortable sitting in a living room area with a shoe collection a Kardashian would be jealous of. A dining room lined with reusable shopping bags isn’t a great place to host friends for game night. Visitors might not enjoy sharing a bedroom with exposed stacks of old papers and file folders you were “getting around to clearing.” Before it gets too bad, it can get a lot better! Not only will your loved ones feel more welcome in your tidy space, you’ll feel more confident in hosting them in your spacious and neat 1st Lake home!

Start New Habits. Slowly.

It would be pretty stressful and exhausting to try and organize everything at once! According to Zen Habits, “When your home is filled with clutter, trying to tackle a mountain of stuff can be quite overwhelming. So here’s my advice: start with just five minutes. Baby steps are important. Sure, five minutes will barely make a dent in your mountain, but it’s a start. Celebrate when you’ve made that start!”

Want to go even further than just organizing your mail? Open it as soon as you get it! That way you can quickly discard unimportant letters. You might also be opening something that needs your immediate attention!

Zen Habits then suggests starting with your paper possessions like mail, magazines, and important documents. First, sort through and designate a home for that disheveled mail pile. If you have a console in your entryway, consider adding a small tray with tall sides to the table. If you really want to organize your mail, add a few trays to the table – one for important mail and bills, one for junk mail or magazines, and one for outgoing mail. No room for a table or console? There are plenty of wall-based organization products you can hang up in your entryway to hold your keys, bags, sunglasses, and yes, your mail!

If five minutes isn’t enough, Apartment Therapy guest-professional organizer, Nicole Anzia says, “It’s much better to spend a few hours — 2 or 3 — on one project or space. This way you’ll feel motivated to do more, not be burned out by the process.”

Go Room by Room

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. If you have de-cluttering goals for every room in your house, it’s best to go one room at a time. That way you can focus entirely on that room’s purpose and specific de-cluttering needs instead of half-starting your work then bouncing around to other rooms.

Sort your kids’ art area by category, throw away scraps and empty paint bottles, and create designated areas for each supply.

Use this room-by-room guide by The Spruce to hit the ground running on your de-cluttering efforts!

Accomplish Each Goal in Its Entirety

Whether it’s the 5-minute task of organizing your mail pile or the 3-hour task of cleaning out your closet, you’ve got to finish what you’ve started. Sure, it might make you anxious. It might feel too overwhelming. It might keep you from doing something social. But the feeling of accomplishment and achievement well surpasses any feelings of stress!

If you know you’re absolutely going to wear it, keep it. If you’re on the fence or you haven’t worn it in years, it’s best to donate it!

You’ll be proud you put away your living room line-up of shoes. You’ll be proud you organized that tangled mess of electronics cords and earphones. You’ll be proud you donated your clothes and shoes to people in need. Once you start adjusting to these new habits and routines, you’ll never look back! Starting small will open the door to more efficient habits, so don’t be afraid to tidy up, organize, and de-clutter! You’ll love the space you created yourself!


Romantic Ways to Spend Valentine’s Day at Home

Happy Valentine’s Day! We know it might be difficult to plan a romantic date after celebrating Mardi Gras all weekend, so we’ve rounded up a few at-home date options you can use for inspiration this February 14th. 

Your 1st Lake home is the perfect setting for a relaxing and intimate Valentine’s Day date. In fact, you can shower your loved one with mini-dates all day long without having to leave the house. Starting with…

Breakfast in Bed

Start off your day of love with breakfast in your cozy 1st Lake bedroom.

Start your Valentine’s Day with a sunrise meal in bed.

They’ll love waking up to a tray of homemade pancakes, scrambled eggs, and fresh fruit. Cooking your loved one’s breakfast is a meaningful and thoughtful beginning to a warm and affectionate day! 

Candle-lit Day Spa Indulgence

Line your 1st Lake bathroom’s spacious soaking tub with flickering battery-powered faux candles, then fill it with an essential oil-scented bubble bath.

An at-home day spa is a great way to show your loved one how much you care about easing their minds.

We like lavender for its calming and relaxing capabilities. A moody, candle-lit bubble bath will make your loved one feel royally loved. 

May I Have This Dance?

To get the evening started, clear your 1st Lake living room and turn it into a dance floor for two.

Set that coffee table to the side, it’s dancing time!

It might seem silly, but there’s something tender about dancing to the songs that have shaped your time together. It’s a great reminder of all of the memories you’ve made with your loved one. 

Dinner Under the Night Sky

Many of our 1st Lake communities have beautiful gazebos and outdoor spaces you can use to host a twilight dinner. Our newest development in Covington, Artesia, has a spacious poolside grilling area that’s perfect for cooking an open-air Valentine’s Day dinner.

Prepare and cook your Valentine’s Day dinner like a pro!

After you’re done with dinner, share a toast to the lovely day you shared in the home you made together!

Let the love shine while you watch the sunset.

Feeling Inspired?

Your 1st Lake home is a great place to make memories without having to go far or spend a lot of money (maybe a little on some chocolates). The best part? No reservations. How are you going to spend Valentine’s Day this year? Share the love with us on our Facebook page!

 


A Guide to the Remaining Parades of Mardi Gras 2018

The first big weekend of Mardi Gras has officially come and gone, but there are more parades to come! Your First Lake home is probably already filled with beads, toys, and dubloons, but we think you should add a shoe or purse to your Carnival collection. There are plenty of parades left on the schedule, so take a look at this day-by-day line-up, and prepare yourself for the last few days of Mardi Gras 2018!

Wednesday, February 7

Uptown New Orleans

Krewe of Druids [6:00 p.m.] 
The Krewe of Druids doesn’t host a coronation ball or post-parade celebration, and their riders’ identities are never revealed to the public. This 200-person parade-only Krewe starts rolling from the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Magazine Street. They ride the traditional Uptown route, heading down St. Charles Avenue towards Canal Street downtown. Their final turn happens on the corner of Canal Street and South Peters Street.

Krewe of Nyx [7:30 p.m.]
The Krewe of Nyx parade will start immediately after Druids’ last float rolls. This all-female Krewe has grown in popularity since its founding in 2012. During the off-season, members spend their time hand-decorating the coveted Nyx Purse, which parade-goers vie for with comical signs and good old-fashioned pleading. Expect ornate floats, high-energy marching bands, and sequined handbags.

Thursday, February 8

Uptown New Orleans

The Knights of Babylon [5:30 p.m.]
The Knights of Babylon were established in 1939, and they’ve dedicated their parade to the preservation of traditional float design. The parade is lit by flambeauxs and their King’s float is still pulled by mules. The Knights of Babylon is the first parade of the night, and it starts on the corner of Magazine Street and Napoleon Avenue. It will follow the traditional St. Charles Avenue route to Canal Street downtown, where it will conclude.

The Knights of Chaos [6:15 p.m.]
Immediately following the Knights of Babylon are the Knights of Chaos. Much like Druids, the Knights of Chaos never reveal their riders’ identities, and their theme is only revealed once they start rolling.

Krewe of Muses [6:30 p.m.]
Established in 2000, the all-female Krewe of Muses is Thursday’s most-anticipated parade. The reason? Hand-decorated high heels! The Muses Shoe is considered a collector’s item to many Mardi Gras fans. The local, social, political commentary of this parade has become a major crowd pleaser, and their new signature float – a string of larger-than-life yellow rubber duckies – is a can’t-miss sight. If you want to get a Muses Shoe, a clever sign will help!

Who’s behind the mask? You’ll never find out!

Friday, February 9

Uptown New Orleans

Krewe of Hermes [6:00 p.m.]
Hermes was founded during the Great Depression to help ease the suffering of New Orleans’ most vulnerable. Named after the “winged courier of the gods,” Hermes is led down St. Charles Avenue by its costumed Captain.

Krewe d’Etat [6:30 p.m.]
The most satirical parade of the night belongs to the mysterious Krewe d’Etat. Their traditional floats are covered with sarcastic captions, outrageous props, and mildly inappropriate depictions of current events. Their Captains ride on horseback, their riders dress as skeletons, and their signature throw is a blinking skull bead.

Krewe of Morpheus [7:00 p.m.]
The final parade of Friday night, Morpheus, was established in 2000 as an inclusive Krewe that welcomes all interested riders to join. They aim to provide paradegoers with a traditional Mardi Gras experience. Morpheus starts on the corner of Jefferson and Magazine Street before heading up Napoleon and continuing down St. Charles Avenue.

Saturday, February 10

Uptown New Orleans

Krewe of Iris [11:00 a.m.]
The Krewe of Iris was formed in 1917, making it one of the oldest Krewes of Mardi Gras. The all-female parade boasts over 1500 members, and they uphold the traditional mystique of Mardi Gras by hiding their faces and wearing clean, white gloves. Isis’ route is a little different from its predecessors. It begins on Napoleon Avenue above St. Charles Avenue and turns left onto St. Charles instead of coming up from Magazine.

Krewe of Tucks [12:00 p.m.]
The Krewe of Tucks is the brainchild of a group of college students. Two Loyola New Orleans wanted to reignite the legacy of a defunct Uptown bar – named Tucks – as a new Mardi Gras Krewe. This wild and raucous daytime parade has a few handy signature throws  – Tucks-printed toilet paper and hand-decorated plungers. Paradegoers can expect rolls to fly over the oak tree branches on St. Charles Avenue resulting in a teepee’d stretch of New Orleans most iconic street.

Mid-City New Orleans

Krewe of Endymion [4:15 p.m.]
The culmination of Saturday’s parade line-up is the Krewe of Endymion. Considered one of Mardi Gras’ “Super Krewes,” the Krewe of Endymion pulls out all of the stops for their nighttime parade. Not only do they host an array of celebrity guests, their floats are some of the most spectacular creations to roll each year. Their signature float is also Mardi Gras’ largest creation. The extravagant and wildly popular Pontchartrain Beach float has nine sections and holds 300 of their 3,000 riders. This mega-parade starts on Orleans Avenue in Mid-City, turns down Carrollton, then heads downtown on Canal Street before pulling into the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for the Endymion Extravagana.

Sunday, February 11

Uptown New Orleans

Krewe of Okeanos [11:00 a.m.]
Be on the lookout for Okeanos’ Captain and King. Their intricate costumes are one of the parade’s many highlights! Catch the first parade of the day on St. Charles Avenue or anywhere downtown.

Krewe of Mid-City [11:45 a.m.]
This day parade is a delight to paradegoers young and old. Mid-City dedicates its parade to childlike wonder and joy, and every year they invite a boy and girl from the local Ronald McDonald House to serve as King and Queen of their parade. See this enchanting parade roll right after Okeanos.

Marching bands always get the crowd going!

Krewe of Thoth [12:oo p.m.]
The Krewe of Thoth is one of the longest parades of Mardi Gras. With over 1600 riders and a float count around 50 annually, Thoth is also one the largest. Thoth’s route begins near Audubon Park on Tchoupitoulas Street before snaking its way up Henry Clay Avenue to Magazine Street and then to Napoleon Ave.

Krewe of Bacchus [5:15 p.m.]
Super Krewe number two, Krewe of Bacchus, and its 1,000-member group are the last to roll on Sunday. The nighttime parade is a tribute to the god of wine, and it is one of Carnival’s most outrageous parades. The massive floats of Bacchus include two very famous primates, King and Queen Kong, and paradegoers are often seen slinging their beads back at the two rolling statues.

Monday, February 12 (Lundi Gras)

Uptown New Orleans

Krewe of Proteus [5:15 p.m.]
The Krewe of Proteus is the second-oldest Mardi Gras Krewe still in operation. Named after Poseidon’s son, Proteus is best known for its nautical-themed throws and its signature seashell float.

Krewe of Orpheus [6:00 p.m.]
Founded in 1993 by members that included legendary New Orleans musicians, Harry Connick and his son, Harry Connick Jr., this Lundi Gras Super Krewe lights up St. Charles Avenue with its bouquet-like floats. Orpheus is best known for its massive floral decor and signature float, The Smoky Mary – a high-tech locomotive-themed float complete with steaming action. Orpheus takes a slightly different route once it arrives downtown, though. Instead of stopping just after turning onto South Peters Street, Orpheus continues through the business district and into the convention center.

Tuesday, February 13 (Mardi Gras Day)

Uptown New Orleans

Krewe of Zulu [8:00 a.m.]
Coconuts! Get your Zulu Coconuts! The early morning Krewe of Zulu parade kicks off Fat Tuesday’s festivities in Central City. The parade works its way down Jackson Avenue to St. Charles Avenue where it turns and heads downtown. Upon reaching Canal Street, the parade takes a left turn up Canal and towards Basin Street. From there, Zulu winds its way up Basin to Orleans Avenue until it reaches its headquarters, the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club.

Try to get your hands on a Zulu Coconut, which is hand-painted by their members.

Krewe of Rex [10:00 a.m.]
The grandfather to some of Mardi Gras’ oldest-held traditions, the Krewe of Rex is the last major parade to roll on Mardi Gras Day. This Krewe is responsible for the establishment of Mardi Gras’ signature colors and the creation of the coveted Mardi Gras doubloon. Every year, Rex throws collectible float beads with pendants that represent each float’s theme. Please note: Rex actually rolls on the opposite side of St. Charles Avenue, which houses the mansion they toast from each year.