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1st Lake Blog

Last-Minute Hostess Gifts

This time of year, it’s not uncommon to have several parties or get-togethers to attend. Here are a few ideas on hostess gifts or home gifts you can bring along with you to show your gratitude. These beauties aren’t confined to the holiday season — bookmark this post for future parties, too!

holiday gifts

There’s always time to grab a fun and thoughtful hostess gift!

7 Last-Minute Hostess Gifts

An herb bouquet. Head to the grocery store and pick up an array of fresh herbs like rosemary, sage, and thyme. Then, bundle them together and tie with an elegant ribbon for a rustic-chic bouquet that’s also quite functional: your host can use it as fragrant decor or incorporate it into his or her cooking routine!

A bouquet of tapered candles. We’ve got another non-floral bouquet idea: candles! Tapered candles are a must-have for creating dinner party ambience, so your host will be grateful to have them. Remember — scent is a matter of personal taste, so opt for unscented. Plain white is classic, but if you know their color scheme, you can choose a hue that works with their decor.

Specialty chocolates. Pick up a few bars of dark chocolate at the store, and tie them together with a ribbon. Who doesn’t like chocolate?!

A magazine… with a subscription. Grab a copy of your favorite home magazine, like Real Simple or Better Homes and Gardens, and wrap it up for your host. Order them a subscription online and let them know you’ve just gifted them a full year’s worth of great reading when they unwrap their first issue.

Pretty paper napkins. Search for packages of paper napkins at stores like T.J. Maxx or even grocery stores like The Fresh Market. Choose a few complementary packages, and bundle them together with twine. Fabulous and functional.

A steel water bottle. Brands like Swell (and Sip by Swell at Target) offer high-quality, steel water bottles that retain both hot and cold temperatures. Find them in a variety of cute prints!

Pet treats. If your host has four-legged friends, why not bring them a gift instead? Create a simple basket stocked with pet treats and toys as a fun hostess gift alternative.

 


How to Hang Artwork

You’ve just scored an amazing piece of artwork… but now you have to hang it. Making sure your art is level and at the right height can be intimidating and requires a little bit of math, but check out our infographic below for a step-by-step guide on how to hang artwork. Whether you opt for a single, show-stopping piece or a detailed gallery wall, artwork can give your home a museum-like feel. Let’s hang!

How to hang wall art.

How to Hang Artwork (Infographic Text)

Deck the walls: How to hang artwork
Before you break out the nails and hammer, read this! Whether you want to hang asingle piece or create a dynamic gallery wall, here’s what to do:
Measure. Follow along with most galleries, and hang your art at eye level. This means the center of the piece should hit at 58 inches. Turn the frame over, and measure the distances between the wire and thetop of the frame. Measure the total length of the art, and divide in half. Measure 58 inches on the wall, add the total of half of the art’s length, and subtract the distance between the wire and the top of the frame. Place the nail in this spot! If you’re creating a gallery wall, make sure the centerpiece hangs at eye level,and build out from there.
Secure. Use a good ol’ hammer and nail, or choose a picture hanger for heavier pieces.
Hang. Carefully hang your artwork. You may want to use a level to check that it’s straight. 
Admire. You know what to do! Sit back and enjoy your new, gallery-worthy space.

 


Renting for Two: 3 Apartment Hunting Tips for Couples

It’s not hard to find countless tips and best practices for apartment hunting online, but what if you’re looking for the perfect apartment space for you and your significant other?

While apartment hunting individually or as a couple can be similar in many ways, there are certain factors to consider that are unique to approaching the process as a pair – just like deciding how to spend the holidays or making big purchases. If you’re launching into an apartment hunt with that special someone, check out these 3 things that’ll make the process faster, easier and more enjoyable for both of you.

1.  Know Your Apartment Negotiables & Non-Negotiables in Advance

Discuss apartment search as a couple in advance

This is a largely ignored step that can save couples a ton of hassle and disagreements. Before launching into your couple apartment search, make sure to write separate lists of each of your apartment negotiables and non-negotiables. Then, combine all your non-negotiables into one list and make this your starting point. If the list seems too long, try to cut it down by eliminating items that both of you don’t feel strongly about. Completing this exercise before going into the process will be instrumental in avoiding nasty surprises later on.

For example, are there certain locations that won’t work for one of you? Is a community pool a necessity or are both of you willing to forgo that amenity? Questions like these can help both partners get on the same page and narrow down the apartment search criteria – separating the necessities from the “icing on the cake” items will help speed up the apartment search process tremendously.   

2. Split the Apartment Search to Double the Efficiency

Researching separately when apartment-hunting as a couple

Okay, we get it, you do everything together. However, when it comes to apartment hunting as a couple, this may not be the most efficient strategy. We suggest maximizing the fact that there are two of you – you can cover twice as many locations, online resources and showings if you split the search process between the two of you. While there will be times when you need to research a listings site or attend an apartment appointment as a pair, tackling some of the legwork separately can make your apartment search twice as effective.

To avoid any miscommunication or confusion, make sure to keep each other in the loop through cc’d emails, pictures and regular touch bases. As far as visiting apartments solo, that’s what FaceTime is for.

3. Establish a Soft Timeline

Establish a soft timeline for apartment search

When you first decide to rent, you’ve most likely discussed a feasible timeline for research, appointments, application process, etc. However, it’s best not to place a hard deadline on when to make a decision. Unless there are factors such as a new job or the birth of a child to consider, it’s best to leave plenty of room for research, discussion and changes of heart. Renting an apartment as a couple should never be approached in a rushed fashion, and if one person isn’t 100% on board with a particular place, it’s best to wait rather than try to convince them otherwise.

Apartment hunting with a significant other can be an exciting time but can turn ugly if both parties aren’t open to reaching common ground. It’s important to consider your partner’s point of view while being clear about your own needs and non-negotiables. As long as you know what to stand firm on and what to let go, you’ll be moving into both of your dream apartment in no time!

Finding the ideal apartment is a big part of the puzzle when moving as a couple but there are many other moving-related tasks to consider as well. If you’re moving in the near future, check out CableMover’s Custom Moving Guide for personalized tips, tools & timelines for your move – your way. 

Guest blog by CableMover


Holiday Activities in Metairie, Kenner, and River Ridge

Jefferson Parish must be on the nice list, because there are so many fun activities for us to enjoy this holiday season! Whether you live in Metairie, River Ridge, Kenner, or elsewhere in the Greater New Orleans region, we’ve got you covered with a veritable winter wonderland of holiday happenings.

Happy holidays!

Our present to you: all the holiday fun you can handle in Greater New Orleans!

Holiday Activities in Greater New Orleans

Music and Theater Events

Jefferson Performing Arts Society Presents: The Ultimate Christmas Show

This holiday variety show and Christmas pageant runs Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. from Dec. 2-11. If you’d like to catch it during the week, enjoy a special Thursday performance on Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $25; call (504) 885-2000 for more information.

Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts’ “Steel Poinsettias”

A comical riff on “Steel Magnolias,” this play has a Christmas-themed twist and just as much Southern sass. Catch it Dec. 2-3; Dec. 9-10; and Dec. 16-17 at various evening and matinee times. Tickets are $30; call (504) 461-9475 for more information.

The National World War II Museum’s “A Vintage Christmas”

Singing vintage tunes “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” in perfect harmony, the vintage-chic Victory Belles conjure up an era gone by during their show, happening throughout the holiday season. You can even catch a show on Christmas Day! Buy tickets in advance to reserve your spot.

Jefferson Performing Arts Society Presents: “The Nutcracker”

An absolute holiday classic. Last year, JPAS’s performance of “The Nutcracker” was named the best ballet presentation of 2015 at the Big Easy Classical Arts award — you won’t want to miss it! Get your tickets online (from $40) for Dec. 17 at 7:30 p.m. or Dec. 18 at 2 p.m.

Outdoor Events

Kenner Christmas Village

Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through the holiday season, find caroling, holiday characters, crafts, food vendors, and entertainment at Kenner Christmas Village, 405 Williams Blvd. Admire beautiful Christmas lights and animated scenery, and don’t even worry about bringing your wallet — admission is free! (Of course, food and drink are additional costs.)

Christmas in the Park

Lafreniere Park hosts this dazzling event throughout its lush grounds. Explore LED light displays plus amusements like the Children’s Carousel ride. Admission is $5 per vehicle, so plan to carpool and save some cash! Christmas in the Park runs every Sunday through Thursday from dusk until 9:45 p.m. and on Friday and Saturday until 11:45 p.m. throughout the holiday season.

Lights at the Lake

Save Our Lake hosts this annual event at the New Canal Lighthouse on Lake Pontchartrain. It’s free to attend, but you can also purchase $5 raffle tickets for your chance to win a variety of prizes, including a staycation, restaurant gift cards, City Park memberships, and more. Call (504) 836-2205 for details on event times.

For the Kids

Deanie’s Seafood Holiday Kid’s Sing-a-Long

The French Quarter location of Deanie’s Seafood will host a kid’s event on Dec. 10, 11, 17, and 18 at 9 a.m. This family-friendly event includes complimentary photos with Santa, a full breakfast buffet, face painting, arts and crafts, a commemorative crawfish, and more. Tickets are $42 per person, and children under 2 years are free.

Teddy Bear Tea at The National WWII Museum

On Dec. 3, 10, and 17, treat the kids to tasty food, sweet treats, and live music. They can bring their favorite teddy bear as a “plus one,” but all young guests will leave with a new teddy bear to commemorate the event. Holiday songs, a photo station, and Santa are all part of the fun.

 

 


Cleansing Smoothie Recipes

smoothie-ingredients

Healthy smoothie ingredients. (Photo via Flickr)

‘Tis the season to overindulge. Fortunately, these cleansing smoothie recipes serve a multitude of purposes: they’re perfect for on-the-go fuel while you’re busy getting in the holiday spirit, and they’re packed with healthy ingredients that will help your body detoxify from the inside out. Follow along with these recipes for delicious drinks that can boost your immune system, provide key nutrients like fiber and potassium, and — most important — still taste great!

green-smoothie

A homemade green smoothie is packed with nutrients. (Photo via Flickr)

Cleansing Smoothie Recipes

Tropical Green Smoothie

This smoothie produces a beautiful green color and a hint of exotic flavor. Kiwi is a powerhouse for vitamin C, and pineapple and celery help keep you hydrated.

Ingredients:

  • 1 kiwi
  • 1 banana
  • 1/4 cup pineapple, roughly chopped (can substitute frozen pineapple chunks)
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 cup water (can sub coconut water for extra tropical flavor)

Recipe:

Combine all ingredients and blend. For a thicker smoothie, add ice and/or freeze pre-cut kiwi, banana, and pineapple in advance.

Antioxidant All-Star Smoothie

Berries are the star of the show in this smoothie, which blends up to a vibrant shade of purple. Oats add extra protein while berries boast antioxidants that can help stimulate the immune system and fight sickness.

Ingredients: 

  • 1.5 cups frozen berry mix (blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries)
  • 1.5 cups coconut milk
  • 1 cup purified water
  • 1/8 cup rolled oats

Recipe:

Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth. Substitute almond milk for coconut milk if desired.

Cherry-Chocolate Detox Smoothie

It’s dark and rich, but it’s also good for you!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon cacao powder (can substitute cocoa powder)
  • 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
  • 5 red endive leaves
  • 1/4 cup frozen dark red cherries
  • 8-10 oz. water
  • Stevia to taste

Recipe:

Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth. Substitute water for almond milk if desired to create even more depth of flavor.