1st Lake Blog

No Valentine? No Problem with These Fun Ideas

Valentine’s Day is a sweet way for couples to acknowledge one another. But what if you’re single? Don’t fret. We’ve collected five fun ideas for treating yourself this Valentine’s Day — no plus-one required.

Valentine’s Day Ideas if You’re Single

Order a Decadent Meal…

With apps like Postmates and Uber Eats now available in New Orleans, you can have gourmet cuisine delivered straight to your door. Just think of how much more comfortable you’ll be on the couch in pajamas than waiting at a busy restaurant.

…or Fall in Love with a New Recipe

Channel your inner celebrity chef and whip up a new recipe for dinner. We like browsing The Kitchn — they even have a special post with “12 Recipes for a Solo Valentine’s Day Celebration.”


Photo via The Kitchn.

Grab Your Gals (or Guys) and Head to the Movies

Round up some fun-loving friends, and go see a movie. Opt for a comedy or thriller, and definitely plan to spring for popcorn and candy.

Take a Day Trip

Sometimes, getting out of town means getting a fresh, new perspective. If your schedule permits, plan for a day trip just outside of the city. We’ve got a few ideas here.


Photo courtesy Nottoway Plantation on Facebook.

Remember, It’s About Love

The holiday is all about love, so think about how that might translate into non-romantic meanings. Give your mom or friend a call and let them know you love them. Offer some extra snuggles to your pet. Or pamper yourself with a pedicure or beauty treatment for a little self love.

Top Websites for Affordable Art and Decor

Decking the halls might be reserved for the holidays, but you can deck the walls any time of year. Even better? You can do it on a dime. Keep scrolling for the best places — some predictable, some unexpected — to find affordable home decor online.

12 Websites for Affordable Home Decor

One Kings Lane — You’ll have to sign up for this site, but it’s endless fun to browse. Sure, some of the decor and furniture are investment pieces, but keep an eye out for frequent sales and specials that help keep your budget in check.

Society6 — Find a print or pattern you love on this site, and put it on just about anything: prints, pillows, shower curtains, rugs, and more. Many designs come from independent artists and have a quirky, colorful vibe.

ModCloth — You might know about this vintage-inspired shop for its cute clothes. But ModCloth also has a great home and decor section featuring blankets, pillows, prints, rugs, string lights, chandeliers… the list goes on…

Wayfair — The commercial jingle is true: Wayfair really does have just what you need, whether it’s furniture or a poster frame. The website giant also several awesome retail partners you’ll want to check out, like Joss & Main, AllModern, Dwell Studio, and Birch Lane.

JC Penney — This established department store has a surprisingly fresh, modern home section online (you definitely won’t find this stuff in the store).

Etsy Head straight to the “Home & Living” section on this mega-site, where you can find unique, handmade products tailor-made to your tastes.

Fab — Best suited for those with a modern design aesthetic, Fab offers bright, playful products that just make your home feel cheerier. Keep an eye out for sales!

CB2 This Crate and Barrel spinoff has a fresher feel than its predecessor, favoring clean lines with the same quality you’d expect from its parent company (but at a lower price).

H&M Home Just like ModCloth, this clothes-minded store also has a great home section. The overall vibe is serene and European. We particularly like the linens and decorative pillows.

Poppin’ — This website is technically for office spaces, but the clean, cool lines also look great at home. And if you have a home office, this is the place to stock up on furniture, fun accessories, and more.

Hautelook Part of the Nordstrom family, this website requires you to sign up, but it’s totally worth it for the amazing sales that happen every day on chic home products.

World Market Yes, there are two locations in Greater New Orleans, but the online site has options that you won’t find in store! Plus, they often have deals on products and shipping.



What Makes NOLA “One of the Most Dynamic Cities in America”? Worth Magazine Answers

We know New Orleans is a pretty great place to live — but did you know that Worth magazine made it official in 2016? The editorial team chose New Orleans as one of its 15 most dynamic cities in America. Along with major hubs like Atlanta, Denver, New York, San Diego, and San Francisco, New Orleans ranks among the most desired places to be, telling “a remarkable story of rebirth, reinvention and growth,” said Worth editor in chief and chief content officer Richard Bradley in a press release. 

New Orleans named one of Worth Magazine’s Most Dynamic Cities

New Orleans shines bright as a dynamic city!

The criteria for the cities chosen includes entrepreneurial, cultural, philanthropic, and economic spheres. In particular, the Worth team assessed seven areas:
  1. Quality of life
  2. Business climate
  3. Sustainability
  4. Entrepreneurial community and environment
  5. Cultural offerings
  6. Civic leadership
  7. Urban innovation

Congratulations, New Orleans, on this incredible accomplishment! Whether you already live here or are thinking about moving here, one thing is for sure: it’s an incredibly dynamic place to live.

Realistic Rental Redo: 7 Instagram Interior Design Accounts to Follow Now

Genius doesn’t have to be 99% perspiration, as the old adage famously says. Go for 99% inspiration instead with these seven awesome Instagram accounts focused on fun, attainable interior design. Your thumb will do a lot of scrolling, but that’ll hardly make you work up a sweat.

7 Interior Design Accounts to Follow


This account is a favorite of ours because it’s based right here in New Orleans! Los Angeles transplant Dab shows off his eye for fun colors and funky accents with a subtle mid-century aesthetic. He’s big on gallery walls and indoor plants, two easy ways to incorporate interior design into your space.


Designer Grant Gibon proves that minimalism and eclecticism aren’t mutually exclusive. Use his Instagram account as a visual guide for how you can incorporate knick-knacks into your decor tastefully. Notice the Hunt Slonem painting in the photo below — he went to school at Tulane University!


A photo posted by Grant K. Gibson (@grantkgibson) on


With a subtle Scandinavian vibe, Kirsten Grove focuses on the essentials: clean lines, fresh colors, and plenty of natural light. Keep an eye out for quirky accents like hints of metallic or playful figurines that enhance her design style.


Chances are, you love her show “Fixer Upper.” But HGTV star Joanna Gaines’ pictures are just as fun to browse. Gaines blends rustic elements with feminine details for a country-chic look.


Follow this account for the fun name and the awesome recipes, sprinkled in with design photos that capture designer Melissa Coleman’s clean style.


Pet lovers will enjoy this account from a designer based in upstate New York. Her two pups are a big part of her cozy design style — and they’re definitely allowed on the furniture.

Settled in for a long winter's nap ❤️

A photo posted by Briana (@theyellownote) on


Another NOLA-based account to finish off the list! This fun stationery store in downtown New Orleans has a great Instagram account full of polished pictures sure to inspire. Like @theyellownote, the ladies behind @thegrovestreetpress love their pets, too.

Tuesday scene.

A photo posted by The Grove Street Press (@thegrovestreetpress) on


New Year, New Apartment: Here’s What You Need

Time to hit “refresh” on your interiors! A new year is the perfect time to take stock of what you have, and treat yourself to something new. Here’s what you need for rental resolutions:

Decorative lamps at this Creeks of River Ridge apartment tie the room together and add functional lighting.

Practical Magic

These items are a little bit boring — but trust us, they’ll help you keep your apartment feeling like home (and like-new) for years to come.

  • Vacuum cleaner: If your place features hard surfaces, this list on Amazon has you covered. They also have a list for carpets! And for the pet owners, the Hoover T-Series Pet Rewind is an affordable, effective option.
  • Cutlery: Cooking is a whole lot easier when you have the right tools. Invest in quality knives like a chef’s knife and paring knife, plus heavy cutlery like steak knives, forks, and spoons to create a restaurant-quality experience at home.
  • Pots and pans: What good are fancy forks and knives when you don’t have the right pans for cooking your food? Purchase a basic set, or opt for individual pots an pans: you’ll definitely want a sauce pan, frying pan, and large “multi-pot” for cooking pasta, boiling potatoes, and more. A cast-iron skillet is also an excellent, multi functional addition to your kitchen.
  • Everyday paper products: Wholesale stores like Costco and Sam’s are great for stocking up on paper products like paper towels and toilet paper. Buy in bulk — you’ll save money and time.
  • Tool kit: A simple, not-too-big, not-too-small tool kit is a must-have for apartment homes. Check out an in-depth review of an HDX tool kit here.

The Fun Stuff

These decor items are a surefire way to add style to your space.

  • Decorative lamps: Lamps marry form and function, adding ambience and  light to a room. West Elm has a wide variety that ranges from modern to whimsical.
  • Towels: These might not sound like fun, but hear us out — sumptuous, oversized towels can make even the quickest shower feel like a spa experience. 
  • Mirrors: Create the illusion of more space with decorative mirrors that can also double as artwork. Here’s how to hang ’em!
  • Carafe: Are you sensing a theme here? We’re head over heels for items that are beautiful and functional. A carafe — like this one from IKEA — is great for hosting dinner parties, but it can also be used as a vase.