Tax Refund? Spend It On Your Apartment!

The silver lining of tax season is the tax refund – and deciding how you’re going to spend it! Some people use it for a fancy night out or a vacation, but we think you can transform your apartment into a fine dining establishment and vacation-worthy spot available for enjoyment every single day of the year. Did you get a little lagniappe from tax season? Here’s how to spend it!

kitchenaid mixer

A Kitchenaid stand mixer turns you into a Food Network-worthy home chef. (Photo credit MyOrganizedChaos.net)

For Foodies

Make your apartment a foodie paradise with smart purchases that create a restaurant-quality feel at home. A few ideas:

Vitamix blender. These high-performance blenders are perfect for at-home juicing, quick smoothies, and icy summertime treats.

Kitchenaid mixer. Another pricey – but totally worthwhile – kitchen appliance, the Kitchen-Aid mixer is a stand mixer that makes baking a breeze. But it doesn’t stop there. Use it for the fluffiest, dreamiest mashed potatoes or make homemade bread using the dough hook attachment.

Modern silverware. Upgrading your silverware to something hefty and sleek can instantly change the feel of a weeknight dinner. Crate + Barrel has several modern options like the Aero flatware, featuring matte black, aerodynamic handles.

For Homebodies

Who needs a vacation when your apartment is as sumptuous as any hotel? Here are a few upgrades you can make with tax refund dollars.

A cashmere throw. Cashmere isn’t just for winter. Because it’s a natural fiber, it’s moisture-wicking and provides the softest, lightweight warmth any time of year (even in summer when the cranked-up A/C gives you a chill!).

A bold art print. Head to Society6 for a variety of affordable art prints that add a major impact to bare walls. Browse framed options – you’ll pay a little extra but the gallery-quality look is gorgeous and sleek.

Bamboo sheets and towels. Bamboo is an ultra-soft natural fabric that transforms showers into a spa-like experience. Bamboo sheets make it easy to fall asleep comfortably and quickly via a smooth and soft feel against your skin.

 

Learn to Make Healthy Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs are a decadent Southern treat – and practically a requirement during spring! Though eggs provide a good source of protein, when they’re prepared with traditional mayonnaise the result is high in fat and sodium. Enter this not-so-devilish recipe from Cooking Light. Read more at 1stlake.com
Greek yogurt and homemade pickled onions create a healthy spin on deviled eggs. (Photo courtesy Alana G Kelly on Flickr)

Deviled eggs are a decadent Southern treat – and practically a requirement during spring! Though eggs provide a good source of protein, when they’re prepared with traditional mayonnaise the result is high in fat and sodium. Enter this not-so-devilish recipe from Cooking Light.

Greek yogurt cuts down on fat and calories while the use of homemade pickled onions (made in the microwave!) in place of store-bought relish reduces sodium while also offering major flavor. We, for one, are never buying relish again.

Ingredients

  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onions
  • 2 tablespoons plain reduced-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons canola mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha or hot pepper sauce such as Tabasco
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Recipe

Add water to a large saucepan to a depth of 1 inch; set a large vegetable steamer in pan. Add eggs to steamer. Bring water to a boil over medium-high heat and steam eggs, covered, for 16 minutes. Remove from heat and place eggs in a large, ice water-filled bowl for 3 minutes.

While the eggs steam, combine 1/4 cup water, vinegar, and sugar in a medium-size, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 2 minutes or until boiling. Stir in the onion. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes, then drain.

Combine yogurt, mayonnaise, mustard, Sriracha or hot sauce, pepper, and salt in a medium bowl and stir well to combine.

Peel eggs and discard shells. Slice eggs in half lengthwise. Add 6 yolks to the yogurt mixture (discard the 2 remaining yolks or reserve them for another use). Mash with a fork until very smooth. Stir in 2 tablespoons of red onion.

Spoon the mixture into egg white halves (about 1 tablespoon in each half). Garnish egg halves with remaining red onions and, if desired, chives.

 

Celebrate the Oldest NOLA Neighborhood at French Quarter Fest

French Quarter Festival is one of our favorite New Orleans spring festivals. Starting Thursday, April 9 and running through Sunday, April 12, French Quarter Fest features more than 1,700 local Louisiana musicians on 23 different stages. Food is another huge draw – traditional New Orleans favorites like cochon de lait po-boys and, of course, crawfish are tough to resist as you stroll through Jackson Square and along the riverfront at Woldenberg Park. While there’s simply no way to see and do everything at French Quarter Fest, we’ve collected a list of areas and activities to seek out while you’re there.

french quarter fest 2014

Swing dancing lessons are part of French Quarter Festival. (Photo courtesy Flickr user Ipung_zan)

The Entertainment

You’ll find big acts like Allen Toussaint, Ellis Marsalis, and Rebirth Brass Band performing on the larger stages, such as the Abita Stage at the riverfront and the Jackson Square Stage in (where else?) Jackson Square. However, the smaller stages are nothing to scoff at! Head to the Cajun/Zydeco Showcase stage on Saturday or Sunday where you’ll experience traditional two-step dancing. In French Market, you’ll find swing-dancing lessons set to live hot jazz.

The Food

Come hungry to French Quarter Fest: iconic restaurants like Galatoire’s, Antoine’s, and Court of Two Sisters are just a few of the many food vendors. At French Quarter Fest, tips at all beverage stands are split amongst the musicians. Be sure to add a tip to the bucket to thank them for their incredible music!

Getting There

Many of our properties, especially those in Metairie, are just a short drive from downtown New Orleans. However, be aware that French Quarter Fest brings in a lot of traffic, so you’ll want to avoid parking in the French Quarter itself and seek parking garages in the Central Business District instead (there’s even a Park-n-Ride shuttle available.)

New in Town? Learn Our Top Tips for Moving to New Orleans

Moving to New Orleans? Here are the top tips you need to know

Moving can be an exhausting process when you’re simply relocating to a new neighborhood – so it’s no wonder that a move to a brand-new city can be intimidating and overwhelming! We hope our apartment moving checklist will be a helpful tool for preparing you for moving to New Orleans, but once you’re here, there’s plenty to learn.

New Orleans is a beautiful, vibrant city bursting with history and culture. There’s music around every corner and delicious food to satisfy any palate. People love New Orleans because of how unique it is, but that can make things hard for NOLA newbies! Check out our top tips for moving to New Orleans and living like a local. If you have any questions or are still searching for the perfect place in Greater New Orleans to call home, please contact us – we are here to help you find your perfect new apartment!

New Orleans biking

Bicycles are a popular mode of transportation in the French Quarter (pictured) and elsewhere in New Orleans. (Photo courtesy Flickr user Shawn Harquail)

Bikes are a great way to get around New Orleans.

Bikes are one of the most enjoyable ways to experience the city. In addition to exploring a wealth of trails around New Orleans and the surrounding areas, cyclists can also take leisurely rides through iconic areas of the city like the French Quarter and the Garden District. Several local shops like Bayou Bicycles and The Bike Shop can help you find a bicycle that’s right for your needs. Not quite ready to purchase a bike? Test drive… er, ride… a rental to give you a better idea of city biking. Bicycle rentals and tours are available all over the city.

New Orleans is a great place to build a career.

While the tourism industry is still booming, their are more and more job opportunities for young professionals in the greater New Orleans area every day. Did you know that New Orleans leads the country by 53% in number of startups-per-capita, and that we were voted a top city for woman-owned companies and young entrepreneurs? New Orleans was also recently ranked as one of the best cities for women in tech fields, outranking even Silicon Valley?

New Orleans is blazing trails in education.

New Orleans offers private schools and charter schools to meet the needs of students and families. Just last year, New Orleans closed the last five of its traditional public schools in favor of the charter school system. Governor Bobby Jindal hopes the charter school system will serve as a model for the rest of the country; the Washington Post called the endeavor “a grand experiment in urban education for the nation.” The charter school system and private schools give parents an unprecedented choice in where they send their children to receive an education. For more information on K-12 educational opportunities in NOLA, visit the New Orleans Public School System or Jefferson Parish Public School System.

No one uses North/South/East/West directions.

The city of New Orleans is wedged between multiple bodies of water, including the Mississippi River, Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Borgne. In an old city such as this one, standard directions are useless. Instead, we give directions in terms of proximity to bodies of water or landmarks. Think “downriver” or “towards the Lake” and you’ll be fine.

A place by lots of other names is still a sweet place to call home.

New Orleans is a city of many nicknames. You’ve probably heard it called The Big Easy, thanks to our laid back lifestyle. Maybe you’ve also heard it referred to as the Birthplace of Jazz, or the Crescent City? Our unique culture, a mixing pot with hundreds of years of history behind it, has also garnered us the nicknames America’s Most European City and the Northern Most Caribbean City. As for fitting in with the locals, the nickname you need to know is also the shortest – just call it NOLA. (Short for New Orleans LA of course.)

We say things a little differently around here.

Perhaps the toughest part – and the most fun part – is adopting New Orleans’ unique vernacular. The city has lots of hard-to-pronounce words that will make or break you: say it wrong, and people will know you’re an out-of-towner! We’ve collected a few of the toughest pronunciations to keep you sounding like a local as you navigate the city.

Tchoupitoulas

What it is: A street.
How you say it: Chop-a-tool-us. You can also use its abbreviation, Tchoup, pronounced “Chop.”

Calliope

What it is: A street.
How you say it: While people are split on this one, most people in New Orleans pronounce it Cali-yope. (Rhymes with “nope.”)

Lagniappe

What it is: A word that means “a little something extra.”
How you say it: Lan-yap.

Burgundy

What it is: A street.
How you say it: In New Orleans, people emphasize the second syllable for this word. Pronounce it Bur-GUN-dy and people will know you’re in the know.

New Orleans

What it is: The best city ever!
How you say it: Quite simply, it’s New Or-lunz. Not New Or-leanz.

Having a costume box or closet is a thing.

New Orleanians love any excuse to party, parade and celebrate. And any excuse for a party means any excuse for a costume. After living here awhile, you’ll inevitably start to accumulate a random assortment of boas, wigs, costumes and other wacky wearables. Need to get started? Check out Fifi Mahony’s in the French Quarter for custom wigs and makeup, or visit Uptown Costume & Dancewear on Magazine Street at Napoleon or Southern Costume Company in the CBD.

The best way to feel like a local is to celebrate like a local.

Now that you know we love any excuse for a costume or party, be sure to take advantage of all of the festivities on tap any given weekend. Go to every festival you can your first year. New Orleans offers well-known big events like Jazz Fest and French Quarter Festival, as well as plenty of festivals with local flair like Bayou Boogaloo, Greek Fest and Po-Boy Fest. Be sure to also venture to surrounding areas, as the Southeast Louisiana region offers something for everyone. Kenner offers an annual Italian Heritage Festival each spring, while Covington plays host to the Three Rivers Art Festival each fall.

Mardi Gras is not limited to Bourbon Street.

Once you move to New Orleans and experience your first Mardi Gras as a local, you’ll soon discover there’s more to Mardi Gras than Bourbon Street. First off, it’s weeks worth of parades, balls and festivities. Second, most locals prefer to experience the parades far, far away from Canal Street. Watch the parades from the Uptown route along St. Charles Avenue, and seek out smaller walking parades like the Krewe of Chewbaccus. Mardi Gras is also not limited to Orleans Parish: there are parades in Metairie, the Westbank and on the Northshore, all with their own flair.

Not all of NOLA is cash-less.

Be sure to keep a little cash and a few coins handy, as not all New Orleans businesses accept credit cards. One of our residents told us, “I was really surprised when I first moved here at all of the shops and parking meters that do not take credit cards. If you want some hot beignets without a $3 ATM fee, remember to keep some green on you!”

New Orleans really does have four seasons.

However, they may not be the four that you’re used to. While it DOES actually get cold here in winter, and it definitely gets hot here in summer, the four New Orleans seasons you really need to know are: carnival season, crawfish season, snowball season and football season.

New Orleans sticks with you.

Once you’ve visited and once you’ve lived here, you’ll never be the same. The city has a way of pulling people back. With a culture and vibrancy like no other place on earth, you’ll want to make it your home too. Contact us today and learn more about making New Orleans your new hometown.

March 2015 Apartment Specials at 1st Lake

If the warmer weather hasn’t put a spring in your step, these incredible deals on apartments just might offer the extra pep you need. March into spring with our March Featured Properties, including up to $1,800 in savings at our newest property, Bella Ridge, and up to $50 per month in rent savings at Regency Club. Arbor Gate, Brewster Commons, and Lakes of Chateau Estates South are all part of the mix, too – check out the deals below, and call for more information!

brewster commons pool

Relax by the pool at Brewster Commons, one of our March featured properties.

March Apartment Specials

Bella Ridge – Get up to $1,800 in rent savings for your March move in (more than a month’s free rent on select floor plans!). This gorgeous new property features granite countertops, oval tubs plus a shower, wood-style flooring, kitchen islands, and an attached parking garage.

Regency Club – Enjoy up to $50 per month rent reductions and ask how to get 1/2 month free! This offer only applies to a few select units, so don’t miss out: call today.

Lakes of Chateau Estates North – Premium finishes such as crown molding, plantation-style blinds, recessed lighting, and double sinks offer a luxury living experience. Ask about how you can save on move-in costs at this beautiful property, which also has garage space available for monthly rental.

Lakes of Chateau Estates South – This property is full of amenities for outdoor enthusiasts, including walking paths, tennis courts, and a sun-filled swimming pool. Limited floor plans are available now – call today for more information.

Hickory Creek Central – This luxury property in River Ridge features split-level stairs, sunrooms, and patios in select units plus all the comforts of home like a washer/dryer and fireplace. Call now to find out more!

Arbor Gate – A full week of free rent plus $100 to put toward decorating are part of this month’s specials – not to mention a $99 deposit special, reduced rates, and reduced initial moving fees with select lease terms.

Brewster Commons – Select floor plans and this thoughtfully conceived community are at an all-time low. We’re offering half off your deposit plus waived administrative fees on select units.

Grand Palms – Reduced rates and moving specials are part of March’s specials, not to mention a $99 deposit special and waived move-in fees. With two pools, beautiful courtyards, and a playground, this property has lovely amenities for everyone.

Clearwater Creek – This River Ridge community is all about the amenities. Beautiful landscaping with fountains and creeks plus a pool provide a tranquil space for outdoor enthusiasts. Call today to find out how to make Clearwater Creek your home.

Crossroads – These renovated apartment feature washers and dryers in every single unit in addition to sunrooms that let in gorgeous natural light all year long. A tranquil setting of bubbling creeks and winding paths plus a secure access gate provide ultimate peace of mind. Call for more information.

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