Valentine’s Date Ideas in New Orleans

If you’re a 1st Lake resident of our metro New Orleans apartments in Metairie, Kenner and River Ridge, there’s plenty to do with your special someone during the most romantic of holidays, Valentine’s Day!

Romantic Restaurants – Food is kind of a big deal in New Orleans, and there are abundant options for excellent romantic restaurants with great ambiance. Some of the best include Lilette, Café Degas, La Crepe Nanou, Mimi’s in the Marigny, Café Amelie, Sylvain and The Delachaise.

new orleans park

Romantic City Park in New Orleans

Budget-friendly date ideas – A nice date doesn’t have to be expensive – there are many great ways to have fun in New Orleans on Valentine’s Day without breaking the bank. Some ideas for budget-friendly dates in New Orleans include a picnic at City Park or Audubon Park, taking a ferry ride to Algiers Point, riding the streetcar down St. Charles Avenue with stops along the way, sitting on the Riverwalk with beignets from Café du Monde or a muffaletta from Central Grocery, a matinee at the historic Prytania Theater, just to name a few.

Special Events – In addition to dining and budget-friendly activities, certain local businesses are offering special Valentine’s Day festivities. The New Orleans Museum of Art will host a special guided “Amour Tour” throughout the galleries. Emeril’s restaurants including Emeril’s, Emeril’s Delmonico and NOLA Restaurant will be offering a special Valentine’s Day menu with courses that are perfect for sharing.

If you’re looking for something special to pick up for your Valentine, there are lots of great shopping options, like Mignon Faget, Abeille and Sabai Jewelry Gallery for jewelry and Sucre or Blue Frog Chocolates for sweet treats.

Five Ingredients to Make Quick and Healthy Meals

If you are a busy person, like a lot of us, you may not have a lot of time to plan meals far in advance or make an elaborate dinner after a long day at work. But you can make sure you have your kitchen stocked with certain ingredients that work well with just about anything and are easy to create whole meals out of. Here are some ideas for essential groceries to have in your kitchen and what you could make out of them.avocado

Avocado – This naturally fatty and delicious fruit has a meaty texture that can instantly make a simple dish more substantial. Throw sliced avocado into a salad, spread on a piece of toast with a fried egg, or grill it or roast it, stuffed with your favorite fixings.

Eggs – Eggs are another essential food that can easily be built upon or added to, or just eaten by itself, that works for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Make an omelet or frittata with your choice of veggies, an egg salad sandwich, baked eggs with cream and herbs and a side of potatoes, or add a boiled egg to a salad.

Sweet Potato – This cousin of the potato is sweeter and healthier, and works well as a side or as a main dish. Stuff sweet potatoes with geens or grains, sauté it with kale, make a soup with it, put it inside a wrap, or make a casserole with it.

Greens – You can add practically any food to your choice of lettuce or hearty green to make a delicious, healthy meal. Make a salad with greens and fruit or vegetables, nuts and cheese; make collard greens with bacon or sausage; serve fish or pasta over a bed of spinach, add greens to a vegetable stir fry or anything you can think of!

Grains – Grains are another excellent base for a hearty meal. Use rice, cous cous, barley, farrow or grits and cook with your preference of produce to make several meals out of.

Beans – Beans are a great source of protein that can be used in a number of different dishes, including chili, soup, red beans and rice, black beans with plantains, a vinegary bean salad and bean burritos.

Check out more 1st Lake blog posts for more cooking tips and recipe ideas!

Roommate Interview Questions Checklist

If you need someone to share your apartment with, the roommate search should not be taken lightly, especially if you don’t know the person moving in. No one wants to be stuck with the messy, loud, annoying or the dreaded crazy, maniacal roommate.

The best way to ensure you make the perfect match based on your compatibility and satisfaction with a new potential roommate is to conduct an in-person interview, just like you would do if you were hiring someone for a job.

In addition, it’s always good to take an extra step and check references of past landlords or roommates to be really sure about the person you decide to live with. Use the following roommate interview checklist and compare with your own answers, preferences and the policies at your apartment community to find someone you can live in harmony with. Happy hunting!

Responsibility Questions

What is your job? How long have you been there?
Do you have experience living with roommates? What did you like/dislike about that dynamic?
Why are you leaving your current apartment?
How much are you currently paying for rent?
Are you prepared to split utility bills and shared expenses like toilet paper, garbage bags, detergent, etc.?
Are you willing to clean common areas like the living room, kitchen and bathroom on a regular basis?

Compatibility Questions

Are you a smoker or drug user?
Do you have any pets?
What’s your schedule like?
Do you plan on having company over often?
Do you have a significant other who will be spending the night and how do you feel about that from your perspective?
Do you have any serious illnesses or allergies I should know about?
What is your design aesthetic? How much of your own furniture or decorations will you be bringing to the apartment?

Tips Throwing New Years Eve Party At Home

There’s a lot of fun things going on in the New Orleans area for New Year’s Eve, but sometimes the best way to spend it is to throw a party at home. To be sure your party is fun and festive, we’ve got some pro tips for throwing an awesome New Year’s Eve party at home.

New Year’s Eve Party Tips

Party Punch – One of the first things that a party needs to be guaranteed awesome is some delicious party punch. Food and Wine Magazine has some exciting and creative punch recipes with unique combinations like rosemary, cucumber and Vinho Verde or apricot liqueur with basil and bitters. Impress your guests with these unusual and refined party punches!

Countdown – If you can’t be in Time Square to watch the famous ball drop on New Year’s Eve, you can still have it on your TV as a background at your apartment party! Pick out or create a great music playlist or station of fun party songs to play at the party. Leave the Times Square action on silent in the background, then when it comes time for the countdown, turn off the music and on the TV, and then back to the music again after the clock strokes midnight!

Decorations – There are endless possibilities for party decorations and to put your own personal creative touch on them, consider making them yourself! Options for DIY party decorations are cheap and plentiful, from a tissue garland, to a paper fork placeholder, handmade signs, cupcake liner garlands and much more. Check out some of these ideas from

Moving First Lease Tips

Signing your first lease, or a new one at a different apartment can be very exciting, but is also a big commitment. There are many factors you might not immediately think of that if not considered, might come back to haunt you later after you’ve signed on the dotted line. Use this checklist before you make this big decision to ensure the best experience possible in your new home.

What to Consider Before Renting An Apartment

Location – The location of your prospective apartment is one of the most important factors to consider. You should make sure that the apartment is conveniently located to where you work, to schools if you have kids, to grocery stores, etc. Not only that, but confirm that the neighborhood compliments your lifestyle.

Inspect – A big risk you run if your apartment is not inspected property before signing a lease is unforeseen problems that arise after you move in. When viewing the apartment, there are a few major things to check for quality and functionality. Make sure to turn on all the faucets, including the shower, to check for water quality and pressure. Confirm with your leasing agent the process of repairs if needed so you know what to expect in that scenario. Scan all appliances, walls, closets, etc. for any flaws or damage prior to moving in, and make sure to notate everything down on your Move-In Checklist and return it to your leasing agent.

Ask Questions – Because deciding to lease an apartment is a big decision, you should get all of your questions answered, no matter how minor they may seem. For example, check with your prospective apartment’s pet policy, as some have weight or breed restrictions. Confirm what utilities are included or not included in the monthly rent so that you can budget accordingly. Make sure you understand the community rules regarding guests and noise restrictions. In addition, double check the terms of renewal and date range of your lease.

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