1st Lake Blog

Arranging Your Apartment According to Feng Shui Principles

Arranging Your Apartment According to Feng Shui Principles

What is Feng Shui? You’ve probably heard about the practice in movies, books, or television shows. Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese practice that invites positive energy, or “chi” inside your home. Improving the flow of energy inside your apartment can boost your mental and physical health.

Chi has been described as the glue that binds your life together with the elements. The elements include wood, metal, water, fire, and earth. Each element can be represented in different pieces of furniture or decor.

Be Organized

A disorganized home can lead to chaos. Dirty dishes, unfolded clothes, and cluttered cabinets and countertops can create a stressful environment. If you have a beautiful natural stone counter in your kitchen like marble or granite, the last thing you want is to cover it up with clutter. If you are beginning to practice Feng Shui, you’ll need to organize your apartment before moving forward.

It can feel overwhelming to begin this process. Start with a small closet or bedroom. Filter out clothing that you don’t wear anymore or items that are just collecting dust. Donate them to a local nonprofit. Then, organize what’s left into a new system. Get rid of items that you do not need.

Don’t think of this process as decluttering. You are creating new space inside your apartment. While it’s not the end of the world if you replace this open area with new items, just make sure the area stays organized over time.

Remove Obstacles

We’re not getting philosophical here. I literally want you to think about the path inside your home. Are you moving around furniture to walk through your apartment? If so, it’s time to adjust the placement of your furniture.

You might be overlooking these physical obstacles in your life. It’s a nuisance that impacting your mental health more than you would think. Take the time to properly move furniture around your apartment. Figure out what floor plan works best for you and the chi inside your apartment.

Separate Your Work and Rest Space

This is another major rule in Feng Shui. When creating a floor plan inside your apartment, you will need to separate work and rest space. It’s tempting to place a desk and computer inside your bedroom. But this practice will restrict the flow of positive energy inside your apartment. You will not be fully relaxed if you walk into your bedroom and relive your work day. Set up a workstation in a high-energy area like the kitchen, a small office, or a spare bedroom.

You will want to create a calming environment inside your bedroom. This is where you unwind after a long day. Place the head of your bed against a wall, so the piece of furniture is facing a door. This will allow you to properly recharge as you sleep. You will also want to avoid having too many electronics inside your bedroom. A blaring TV or radio will distract you from meditation and reflection each day. 

Understand Your Colors

It’s important to understand how the color inside your apartment can influence your mental health. Strategically adding different color palettes inside your home can eliminate stress, boost your mood, and rejuvenate your soul.

Blue and green are calming colors that should be used in bedrooms. Red is a passionate color that can bring life to a room. Neutral colors can also be used in communal living spaces.

Brighten Your Entryway

Energy enters and leaves your apartment through the front door. It is important to create a positive and welcoming environment through your main entryway. Like other rooms inside your apartment, you’ll want to properly declutter this area. Do not have shoes, jackets, or purses blocking the entryway.

You can make more space or compliment the doorway with decor, flowers, or a special door mat. You can really personalize this area and make it your own. You can also add more lightning inside or outside the entryway. By doing this, you are creating an inviting and spacious area. It invites positive energy into your apartment. And if you are properly practicing Feng Shui, that positive energy will stay.

Buy More Plants

There are plenty of benefits to adding fresh plants inside your home. From a Feng Shui perspective, plants bring life energy inside your apartment. Greenery can bring vibrant energies and moods inside your home. Plants represent health, vitality, and relaxation.

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Cook Up These Tasty Snacks for a Viewing Party!

March Madness is here! If you’re hosting viewing parties in your 1st Lake home and feel overwhelmed with what to cook for your guests, start here! We’ve rounded up our favorite appetizer and snack recipes from New Orleans’ most celebrated chefs so you can add a little Louisiana to your football-watching party this weekend.

Creole Quesadillas from Chef John Folse

Now that crawfish are back in season, we can’t think of a better way to incorporate them into your game day offerings than in a melty, cheesy, and oh so spicy quesadilla. This recipe from Chef John Folse will certainly score you some big flavor points.


  • 1 pound fresh crawfish tails
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup sliced green onions
  • 2 tbsps minced garlic
  • ½ pound wild oyster mushrooms
  • ½ pound sliced button mushrooms
  • ½ pound Chanterelle mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tbsps chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup diced Creole tomatoes
  • ½ cup diced yellow bell pepper
  • ½ cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 tbsp Creole seasoning
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • hot sauce to taste
  • 8 large tortilla shells
  • 1 pound grated Monterey Jack cheese


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. You may wish to substitute shrimp, crab, or even chicken if crawfish is unavailable in your area. In a large cast iron skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add green onions, garlic, and mushrooms. Sauté 3-5 minutes or until mushrooms are wilted. Add crawfish, thyme, cilantro, tomatoes, and bell peppers. Continue to sauté until juices are rendered and liquids have almost completely evaporated approximately 10 minutes. Season to taste using Creole seasoning, salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Place the tortilla shells on a large cookie sheet and sprinkle with a small amount of Monterey Jack cheese. Top with a portion of the crawfish stuffing and more of the Monterey Jack cheese. Fold each tortilla in half and bake for 7-10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the tortillas are slightly crisp but not over-browned.


Dooky Chase’s Shrimp Gumbo by Chef Leah Chase

The Queen of Creole Cooking, Leah Chase, shared her world-famous gumbo recipe with The Food Network so you can make your guests feel like they’re dining at Dooky Chase in your 1st Lake living room! The weather will be a little chilly this Sunday, and a big pot of gumbo is a great way to warm up the football crowd.


  • 1/2 cup peanut oil
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 pound small white shrimp (30/40), peeled and deveined
  • 8 ounces Creole hot sausage, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 8 ounces smoked sausage, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 8 ounces beef stew meat, cubed
  • 8 ounces smoked ham, cubed
  • 6 chicken wings, cut in half
  • 1 tablespoon file powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 dozen oysters, with their liquid
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground thyme


Heat the oil in a skillet over low heat and add the flour to make a roux, browning until golden about 3 minutes. Add the onions and cook over low heat until the onions wilt about 4 minutes.

Put the shrimp, sausages, stew meat, and ham in a 5-quart pot over medium heat. Pour the onion mixture over the ingredients and add 3 quarts water, the chicken wings, file powder, paprika, and salt. Bring to a boil and cook for 30 minutes or until broth reaches desired thickness.

Add the oysters, parsley, garlic, and thyme. Lower the heat and cook until the shrimp is pink, about 10 minutes more, before serving.


Bacon Wrapped Dates by Chef Emeril Lagasse

Bacon is always a crowd-pleaser in our book! Chef Emeril Lagasse’s Bacon Wrapped Dates are a tasty and perfectly-portioned appetizer to serve before the game begins. These individually served treats are the perfect blend of salty and sweet, and they’ll complement those commercial breaks nicely.


  • 24 Medjool dates
  • 24 Marcona or whole roasted almonds
  • 4 ounces honey goat cheese
  • 12 slices of very thin bacon


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Slice the dates lengthwise, on one side only, and remove the pit. Place an almond inside each date. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of goat cheese into the other side of the date and press both sides together to close.

Cut each slice of bacon in half. Wrap each date with a slice of bacon and secure it with a toothpick.

Transfer the dates to the parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, take out the toothpick, and turn the dates over. Bake for another 10 minutes or until the bacon is crisp on both sides.

Remove from the oven and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and let cool for 3 to 5 minutes before serving.


Cook Up Your Snacks in a 1st Lake Home

View a full list of our communities and find the right one for you today!

The Definitive Apartment Spring Cleaning Checklist

Spring is finally here and that means change and new beginnings. Not only with the weather, but in your apartment, too!

Whether you’re on the messy or neat-freak side of the spectrum, the spring cleaning tradition is always a good annual practice. Spring is all about fresh starts and rebirth, and the best way to rejuvenate your place is by following a spring cleaning checklist.

Besides regular chores like putting clothes or dishes away, sweeping, and cleaning the bathroom, this is your chance to pay attention to details. Time to store, sort, and get rid of extraneous clutter!

Use this as a guide for spring cleaning the areas of your apartment that aren’t usually on the cleaning to-do list. Here’s our definitive spring cleaning checklist!

De-clutter and clean your personal living space with our definitive spring cleaning checklist!

Spring Cleaning Checklist

Around the Apartment

  • Wax wooden furniture with paste wax after cleaning the surface with a damp cloth and dishwashing liquid.
  • Ensure clean window treatments by machine washing draperies or curtains and wiping down wooden blinds.
  • Change all burned-out lightbulbs.
  • Wipe off the dust on ceiling fans with a damp cloth or paper towel.
  • Vacuum and shampoo rugs with an industrial shampoo machine.
  • Use a duster on house plants like orchids or ferns. The plants will immediately look brighter and refreshed, plus you’ll be removing surface dirt and grime!



  • Wipe down walls, ceilings, and fronts of cabinets to scrub off any old residue.
  • Clean the tops and sides of appliances such as microwaves, refrigerators, and stove vents.
  • Clean the freezer by turning off the power to defrost it, clear out all contents and wipe the interior with a solution of two tablespoons baking soda per one-quart hot water.
  • Clean crevices between appliances. Use a crevice attachment on your vacuum or a long, thin duster to capture grime between nooks and crannies.
  • Clean salt & pepper shakers and reusable condiment dispensers. Wipe and disinfect the outside of bottles and empty, clean and refill the containers.
  • Clean the inside of the microwave. Heat up water and lemon in a glass container for a few minutes prior to cleaning to make removing food particles a breeze.
  • Clean the inside of the fridge.
  • Check out more tips on de-cluttering your kitchen!

Living Room

  • Clean and disinfect remote controls and game controllers.
  • Remove any artwork from the walls, dust them and replace.
  • Take couch cushions and pillows outside, fluff them up, and leave them in the sun to air out for a couple of hours. Meanwhile, use a vacuum to clean out the crevices of sofas and armchairs.
  • Clean any curtains (follow their individual instructions) and wipe down windows both inside and out using glass spray.
  • Check out more of our living room de-cluttering and rearranging tips!


  • Discard old cosmetic or hygienic products.
  • Deep-clean the toilet using a bleach-based cleaning product.
  • Wipe down all baseboards to instantly brighten the bathroom and give it that “clean” feeling.
  • Wash your shower curtain and replace the shower curtain liner.
  • Disinfect and rinse all surfaces including the tub, sink, and faucets. If needed, clean the grout as well.
  • Polish surfaces like sinks, vanity, mirror, and even the toilet paper holder!
  • Check out more of our bathroom de-cluttering tips!


  • Clean washable pillows to get rid of any lingering odors or bacteria.
  • Wash all bed linens, including mattress covers.
  • Flip your mattress before replacing clean linens.
  • De-clutter any surfaces like nightstands or desks.
  • Clean floors and baseboards.
  • Remove and clean any artwork or mirrors.

Home Office

  • Clean monitor screens and keyboards of computers.
  • Get rid of any old papers, taking care to recycle when possible.
  • Rearrange daily-use items so that they’re within easy reach.
  • Store items you use less often, like a stapler or envelopes, inside your desk to keep your working surface clean.
  • Clean out your computer, carefully reviewing and deleting any old documents, emails, or photos to free up valuable storage space.
  • De-clutter bookshelves and drawers.


  • Separate out unwanted clothing and accessories (see below for how to donate these items).
  • Repurpose shower hooks to hang items like belts and handbags.
  • Enlist a friend – sometimes a second opinion can help you decide what suits you best and what you no longer need.
  • Invest in smart organization pieces like slim hangers and shoe organizers.


  • Change batteries in smoke detectors and make sure all units are thoroughly dusted.
  • Replace air filters.

Outdoor Areas

  • Wash windows.
  • Wipe down outdoor furniture.
  • Take care of any outdoor plants, perhaps repotting them or freshening up the soil.

Eliminate Extra Possessions

Part of making room for the new is getting rid of the old. It’s all about finding that perfect feng shui, and one of the best ways to do that is to take inventory of your possessions and evaluate what you want to keep.

We love the method outlined in Marie Kondo’s best-seller, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. The gist is this: starting with your clothing, go through all of your possessions, category by category, and keep only those items that spark joy when you hold them.

Once you’ve decided what to keep, you can pass on the remaining items to others in need. After you’ve gone through your drawers and closets and sorted your discarded items in a donation section, decide where to give them away. Use these places below for ideas:

Where to Donate Clothes and Household Items

Shelters – Community shelters in your area are a great option to donate your clothes and household items. Bridge House and Hagar’s House provide services to those in need in the southeast Louisiana region.

Online – Freecycle, Craigslist, and eBay are free and easy online tools to use to give away your old clothes or appliances. You can manage the entire process by listing the items you want to give away for free or sell and coordinate your own shipping or delivery.

Clothing Swaps – Another great way to pass on your unwanted items to someone who might be happy to take them, plus discover some new treasure of your own, is to participate a clothing swap. A clothing swap is a gathering of people who all contribute clothing that doesn’t fit or that they don’t need anymore, and anyone can take someone else’s clothing if they choose. If you don’t know of anyone having one, host your own and invite family and friends!

Salvation Army – The Salvation Army is always a great option that accepts all types of donations to sell for a discounted price to underprivileged people, or anyone looking for a bargain. Check your area for Salvation Army drop-off locations.

The Green Project also provides a recycling guide for the greater New Orleans area, with details about local organizations that accept donations of various materials.

If you accomplish all these tasks, you’ll be well on your way to being completely spring-cleansed! Other than looking shiny and new, your living space will be rid of dirt and dust that you may have not even be aware of that can make you and your guests sick. So tie your hair back, put on those yellow gloves, and spring into action!

Looking to move in the spring?

Find your new home at 1st Lake Properties! Click here for a list of our apartment homes.

2024 Mardi Gras Parade Schedule

It’s officially 🎶 “CARNIVAL T-I-I-I-ME!” 🎶

With Carnival season comes purple, green, and gold galore, delicious king cakes, and the most fun of all – dazzling parades! To help prepare you for the season, we’ve curated a list of all the Northshore and Southshore parades. Keep reading for more and get your bead bags ready!

Photo by @mardigrasworld via Instagram



Krewe of Excalibur • Friday, February 2nd • 6:30 PM

Magical Krewe of Mad Hatters • Saturday, February 3rd • 5:00 PM

Krewe of Athena • Sunday, February 4th • 5:00 PM
Krewe of Atlas follows

Krewe of Symphony • Thursday, February 8th • 6:30 PM

Krewe of Athena • Sunday, February 11th • 5:30 PM

Krewe of Centurions • Monday, February 12th | LUNDI GRAS • 6:30 PM

Krewe of Argus • Tuesday, February 13thst | MARDI GRAS • 10:00 AM
Krewe of Elks Jeffersonians follows

New Orleans

Krewe of Chewbacchus • Saturday, January 20th • 7:00 PM

Krewe Bohème • Friday, January 26th • 7:00 PM

Krewe du Vieux • Saturday, January 27th • 6:30 PM

Krewe of Nefertiti • Sunday, January 28th • 1:00 PM

‘tit Rəx • Sunday, January 28th • 4:30 PM

krewedelusion • Sunday, January 28th • 7:00 PM

Krewe of Cork • Friday, February 2nd • 3:00 PM

Krewe of Oshun • Friday, February 2nd • 6:00 PM
Krewe of Cleopatra follows
Krewe of Alla follows

Krewe of Pontchartrain • Saturday, February 3rd • 11:30 AM
Legion of Mars follows
Krewe of Choctaw follows
Krewe of Freret follows

Knights of Sparta • Saturday, February 3rd • 5:30 PM
Krewe of Pygmalion follows

Knights of Nemesis • Saturday, February 3rd • 1:00 PM

Krewe of Barkus • Sunday, February 4th • 2:00 PM

The Mystic Krewe of Femme Fatale • Sunday, February 4th • 11:00 AM
Krewe of Carrollton follows
Krewe of King Arthur follows

Krewe of Druids • Wednesday, February 7th • 6:15 PM

Krewe of Nyx • Wednesday, February 7th • 6:45 PM

Knights of Babylon • Thursday, February 8th • 5:30 PM
Knights of Chaos follows
Krewe of Muses follows

Krewe of Bosom Buddies • Friday, February 9th • 11:30 AM

Krewe of Hermes • Friday, February 9th • 5:30 PM

Krewe d’Etat • Friday, February 9th • 6:30 PM

Krewe of Morpheus • Friday, February 9th • 7:00 PM

Krewe of Iris • Saturday, February 10th • 11:00 AM

Krewe of Tucks • Saturday, February 10th • 12:00 PM

Krewe of Endymion • Saturday, February 10th • 4:00 PM

Krewe of Okeanos • Sunday, February 11th • 11:00 AM
Krewe of Mid-City follows

Krewe of Thoth • Sunday, February 11th • 12:00 PM

Krewe of Bacchus • Sunday, February 11th • 5:15 PM

Krewe of Proteus • Monday, February 12th | LUNDI GRAS • 5:15 PM

Krewe of Orpheus • Monday, February 12th | LUNDI GRAS • 6:00 PM

Krewe of Zulu • Tuesday, February 13th | MARDI GRAS • 8:00 AM

Krewe of Rex • Tuesday, February 13th | MARDI GRAS • 10:30 AM
Krewe of Elks Orleans follows
Krewe of Crescent City follows


Krewe of Isis • Saturday, February 10th • 6:00 PM

Jean Lafitte

Krewe of Rosethorne • Saturday, February 10th • 12:00 PM


The Mystic Krewe of Music • Monday, February 5th • 6:00 PM

The Culinary Queens of New Orleans (TCQNO) • Tuesday, February 6th • 6:00 PM

The Krewe of Nandi • Wednesday, February 7th • 6:00 PM

Krewe of NOMTOC • Saturday, February 10th • 10:45 AM

Des Allemands

Des Allemands • Sunday, February 11th • 1:00 PM


Abita Springs

Krewe of Push Mow • Saturday, February 3rd • 12:00 PM


Krewe of Bush • Saturday, February 10th • 9:00 AM


Krewe of Olympia • Saturday, February 3rd • 6:00 PM

Carnival in Covington • Tuesday, February 13th | MARDI GRAS • 10:00 AM

Krewe of Bogue Falaya • Tuesday, February 13th | MARDI GRAS • 10:15 AM

Krewe of Mardi PAWS • Sunday, February 18th • 2:00 PM


Krewe of Folsom • Tuesday, February 13th | MARDI GRAS • 2:00 PM


Omega • Friday, February 2nd • 6:30 PM


Krewe of Tchefuncte • Saturday, February 3rd • 1:00 PM


Krewe of Eve • Friday, February 2nd • 7:00 PM

Krewe du Pooch • Saturday, February 17th • 12:00 PM

Pearl River

Krewe of Pearl River Lions Club • Sunday, January 28th • 1:00 PM


Mystic Krewe of Titans • Friday, January 26th • 6:30 PM

Krewe of Bilge • Saturday, January 27th • 12:00 PM

Krewe of Poseidon • Saturday, January 27th • 6:00 PM

Krewe of Antheia • Sunday, January 28th • 1:00 PM

Krewe de Paws of Olde Towne • Saturday, February 3rd • 10:00 AM

Krewe of Dionysus • Sunday, February 4th • 1:00 PM

Krewe of Selene • Friday, February 9th • 6:30 PM

Parade Into Your New Home!

From the Northshore to the Southshore, there are not only plenty of parades to experience but also plenty of properties for you to move into! See a list of our Northshore and Southshore properties and find the one that meets your needs today!

Where To Satisfy Your Cravings for King Cake in New Orleans

King Cake in New Orleans is a beloved and special tradition – and one you can only enjoy during the Carnival season. So it’s important to make the most of your King Cake window and try as many delicious renditions as you can!

Ask any local and they’ll tell you that King Cake in New Orleans is only eaten from Twelfth Night (January 6) through Mardi Gras Day. And there are so many bakeries, restaurants and special spots that serve up their own spin on the confection.

Need a good starting point to find the best King Cake in New Orleans? Here’s some must-try options for you to enjoy!

Manny Randazzo's King Cake is a must-try King Cake in New Orleans during Carnival

Manny Randazzo’s King Cake

Almost everyone has heard of the Randazzo family and their secret family king cake recipe is the stuff of legend in New Orleans. As the most well-known keeper of the family’s sweet treat, Manny Randazzo’s King Cakes offers everything from traditional King Cakes to special flavors like apple, lemon, and strawberry.

A bite of Manny Randazzo’s king cake is an essential part of the Mardi Gras experience – if you’re lucky enough to snag one!

Photo by Caluda’s King Cake via Facebook


Caluda’s, another classic king cake spot, is a go-to bakery offering a variety of traditional and non-traditional flavors both during the carnival season and year-round. Their 30-step baking process makes for a delicious and decadent king cake.

Either pick one up locally or order one for shipping!

Photo by @laboulangerienola via Instagram

La Boulangerie

This French bakery on New Orleans’ charming Magazine Street is the perfect spot to pick up a delicious King Cake. Well-known and popular year-round for their croissants and pastries, they offer traditional cakes alongside cinnamon, strawberry, almond, and pretzel flavors during Carnival. 

You can even grab a personal mini King Cake to enjoy on the go!

Haydel's Bakery serves classic King Cakes in New Orleans that locals love.
Photo by @haydelsbakery via Instagram

Haydel’s Bakery

Haydel’s classic king cake is famous around town. Made of Danish dough, hand braided with cinnamon and sugar, and baked to perfection, these treats are sure to be one of your top favorites with just one bite. 

Plus, they have many special flavors to choose from like praline pecan, cream cheese, strawberry cream cheese, German chocolate, and brownie chocolate chip!

Photo by @gambinosbakery via Instagram

Gambino’s Bakery

Gambino’s has been a well-known New Orleans King Cake spot for decades. Many call them the King of King Cakes and with good reason. Their classic King Cake is just that – fluffy dough, topped with icing, and drizzled with sugar, exactly how a King Cake should taste. 

Photo by @graciousbakerynola via Instagram

Gracious Bakery

If you’re looking for an adventurous flavor to try for your King Cake indulge, Gracious Bakery is the perfect place to start. Their delicious confections showcase some mouthwatering flavors like chocolate, almond frangipane, and nectar cream – they even have a bananas foster-flavored King Cake that’s definitely worth a bite!

Tried All Those and Still Want More?

Our friends at wrote a very extensive blog on all the king cake finds this city offers. Check it out here!