How to Clean a Refrigerator: 5 All-Natural Fridge Cleaning Hacks

You’ve been there before. Craving a snack or looking for dinner ingredients, you open the fridge, and whew! What is that smell?

Sometimes, even after a thorough cleaning, fridge smells can linger. Read on for 5 all-natural  fridge cleaning hacks for freshening up your refrigerator. (These quick eco-friendly tips go far beyond the tried-and-true box of baking soda).

orange peel air freshener

Fill a hollowed out citrus peel with salt for an all-natural air freshener perfect for the fridge. (Photo courtesy

Eco-friendly Fridge Cleaning Hacks

  1. Coffee Grounds

Spread freshly ground coffee evenly on a plate or shallow dish, and place it in the fridge for 24 hours. The coffee will absorb any rogue odors and also give off an energizing scent. Not a coffee drinker? You can also place several tea bags (or loose leaf tea) on a plate for the same effect.

  1. Citrus

Choose your favorite citrus (we recommend navel oranges or grapefruit for their size, but lemons and limes will work, too) and cut it in half. Scoop out one half completely so you’re left with a bowl-shaped hollow. Fill with sea salt and place in the fridge for a citrusy, neutralizing scent!

  1. Vanilla Extract

This baking staple has a hidden purpose: creating a soft, lovely scent for your fridge. Pour a bit of vanilla extract into a small dish, then place a few cotton balls inside. The cotton will soak up the vanilla extract and slowly release its aroma into the fridge.

  1. Tomato Juice

Perhaps you’ve heard of tomato juice’s deodorizing powers for anyone who encounters a skunk. The same holds true for your fridge. Simply soak a cloth or sponge in undiluted tomato juice and wipe down your fridge’s surfaces. Rinse with soapy water, then wipe dry. You can repeat the process (or try substituting vinegar) for any lingering smells.

  1. Alka-Seltzer

Similar to baking soda, Alka-Seltzer is an oxidizing agent that can neutralize unpleasant scents. Drop a couple of tablets into a glass of water and place in the fridge to help mitigate odor.

Remember, setting your fridge at a proper temperature is an easy, preventive step to avoid odors in the first place. Learn how to ensure your fridge and freezer are at the right temperature here.

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Things to Do in Covington LA

Things to Do in Covington LA

Photos courtesy of Infrogmation and St. Tammany Parish on Flickr

Though Greater New Orleans gets much of the glory, the Northshore is a destination all its own. Just across Lake Pontchartrain, you’ll find Covington, LA, a robust community full of cultural treasures, historic homes, and delicious dining. You’ll also find one of our favorite 1st Lake Properties: Brewster Commons at River Chase:

brewster commons

Our Brewster Commons community is close to several things to do in Covington.

This peaceful community in Covington, LA, is located on the Northshore close to dining, entertainment, and retail. With cozy amenities like energy-saving appliances, self-cleaning ovens, granite counter tops and wood-finish flooring, you may not want to leave your apartment… but if you decide to venture out, here are a few of our favorite things to do in Covington.

Drink Tea at the English Tearoom

This charming spot transports guests to England via a piping hot cup of Earl Grey, organic Ceylon or jasmine tea (their full menu includes many more options). Whether you attend breakfast, lunch, or High Tea, save time for shopping afterward: their “Queen’s Parlor” shop is full of gift items, teas, and treats.

Check Out Covington Trailhead and Tammany Trace

Covington Trailhead is a picturesque spot with a railroad and outdoor space that hosts free community concerts in spring and fall, including the Rockin’ the Rails concert series. Covington Trailhead is also the start of Tammany Trace, a 31-mile paved trail for hikers and bicyclists connecting several North Shore communities like Mandeville and Abita Springs.

Get Dinner at Lola

Offering a contemporary rendition of Louisiana comfort foods, Lola is the perfect union of fine dining cuisine and family-style presentation. Mascarpone cheese grits, thyme pan gravy, and oven-roasted chicken with Abita Amber pan jus are just a few examples of how Lola’s chefs put an accessible gourmet spin on Southern classics.

Shop Local at the Covington Farmers Market

Vendors at the weekly Covington Farmers Market offer up plenty of homegrown goodness, including delicious local produce and carefully prepared food. You can shop their wares every Wednesday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at The Covington Trailhead or each Saturday from 8 a.m. until noon at the side yard of Covington Police Station (609 N. Columbia St.); they’re open rain or shine.

Go Wild With Wildlife

Get up close and personal with local wildlife at the Insta-Gator Ranch in Covington, as experienced tour guides walk you through the gator life cycle. The most adventurous animal lovers will even get the chance to pet a baby gator! Nearby, check out the Global Wildlife Center in Folsom, LA and take a safari tour where you’ll have the chance to meet giraffes, zebras, kangaroos and other animals up close and personal.

Get Cultured and Discover Local Artists

Each fall, Covington plays host to the Three Rivers Art Festival, which draws more than 50,000 visitors to the area. Regarded as one of the best art shows in the region, the festival showcases 200 talented artists and craftsmen. If you haven’t gotten your fill of local art just yet, stick around for a few weeks, because another long-running craft show takes place the first weekend each December at the Covington Fairgrounds. The annual Christmas Extravaganza Expo in Covington brings more than 500 artists from across the Gulf South to town.

Relax In Affordable Luxury at Brewster Commons

Tired from all that exploring? Relax back at Brewster Commons at the on-site pool featuring a hot tub and tanning deck. Or, if you’re burning off your meal from Lola, head to the fitness center stocked with the latest Precor equipment and a separate yoga room.

Reserve your new Brewster Commons apartment home today – a place to work and play in the heart of Covington.

Plan a Romantic Date Night at Home with This Elegant Menu

Surprise your sweetie with a home-cooked meal – it’s a budget-conscious way to show you care, and you won’t have to compete with dining-out crowds to book a dinner reservation! We’ve outlined a complete, restaurant-quality meal below, including an appetizer, main course, salad, and dessert. While it may be a bit ambitious for a weeknight, the meal is a great choice for date night at home to serve during Sunday’s Oscars telecast. Bon appetit!

shrimp pasta

Try this champagne shrimp pasta recipe at home. (Photo courtesy Jeffrey W on Flickr)

Appetizer: Herb Coueur a La Crème

Typically a dessert, this savory take on the French dish coueur a la crème is perfect as an appetizer (the word “coueur” also means “heart,” in keeping with the date night theme!). The prep time is negligible in this make-ahead dish, but keep in mind that the cheese will need to strain for about 12 hours. Serve with crackers and fresh vegetables for an elegant appetizer. The best part? Any leftover coueur a la crème will taste delicious on a bagel the following morning.

Main Course: Champagne Shrimp Pasta

The addition of champagne is a romantic touch to this comforting meal. We love the use of angel hair pasta: it cooks up quickly and absorbs all the flavors of the creamy sauce. Make the meal come together even faster by purchasing peeled, deveined shrimp.

Side Salad: Fig and Arugula Salad

Fresh fig is an aphrodisiac, and its mellow, sweet flavors are the perfect contrast to bright and peppery arugula. The salad carries on the subtly Mediterranean notes of the meal with the addition of pine nuts (toast them first to bring out the flavor) and a drizzle of honey. Parmesan cheese is an apt topping to tie the meal together – it’s also used in the main course.

Dessert: Mexican Chocolate Pound Cake

Like fig, cinnamon has aphrodisiacal properties. Its floral notes also help intensify the semisweet chocolate flavors in this Mexican chocolate pound cake. Though the cake is plenty decadent on its own, we recommend serving it with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

February 2015 Apartment Specials at 1st Lake Properties

Mardi Gras may be over, but the party continues at 1st Lake Properties: our February Apartment Specials will give you plenty of reason to celebrate! From reduced moving costs at Lakes of Chateau Estates North to up to $1,800 in savings available at our new property, Bella Ridge, we have plenty of beautiful apartments in Greater New Orleans and throughout the Gulf South. Take a look at our specials now!

arbor gate

Arbor Gate is one of several properties offering enticing deals throughout February.

February Apartment Specials

Lakes of Chateau Estates South – Call now to find out about our reduced rates on select floor plans at this Kenner community. Amenities like a putting green and private lake perfect for outdoor enthusiasts.

Lakes of Chateau Estates North – Premium finishes like crown molding and plantation-style blinds set the tone for luxury living at this Kenner property. This month, we’re offering savings on moving costs – call to find out more.

Arbor Gate – This month’s special for Arbor Gate – a $99 deposit and reduced rates – provides you with unbeatable deals on thoughtful amenities like a state-of-the-art fitness center and tranquil green space. In Picayune, MS, this community also features reduced initial moving fees and lease terms on select units.

Regency Club – This January at Regency Club in Baton Rouge, LA, you’ll find up to $50 rate reductions plus up to 1/2 month free rent on select units. Perks like a sand volleyball court and tennis court will help you stick to your healthy New Year’s Resolutions.

Brewster Commons at River Chase – Get 50 percent off your deposit plus waived admin fees at this Covington, LA property. You’ll also find reduced rents on select units, which could save you $600 or more. Granite countertops and wood-finish floorings create a sense of luxury at this Northshore community.

Hickory Creek Central – This River Ridge community features alarm systems, fireplaces, and oversized tubs in all of its two-bedroom apartments. Call now to take advantage of two weeks free rent and special pricing on select units.

Hickory Creek East – Located just minutes from downtown New Orleans, this property boasts lush landscaping that creates a quiet respite perfect for relaxation at home. Select units feature special pricing and two weeks free rent, plus perks like free movie rentals.

Bella Ridge – Opening in March, Bella Ridge truly has it all: sparkling granite counter tops, an attached parking garage, an on-site dog park, soaking tubs, and much more. Be the first to live in your unit, plus save up to $1,800 with special rental rates on select units.

Repurpose Mardi Gras Beads with These DIY Crafts

Sure, you have your costume picked out, but is your home decorated for Mardi Gras? We’ll show you two different ways to jazz up your space just in time for Fat Tuesday. For both crafts, you’ll need Mardi Gras beads. Speaking of…

Whether you’re in need of beads or need to get rid of some, Beads by the Pound program – the Arc recycling center in Metairie not only saves you money but also provides green jobs and helps save the planet.

OK, do you have your beads ready? Here we go!


Make these Mardi Gras coasters using leftover beads and felt. (Photo courtesy

Mardi Gras Coasters


  • Beads
  • Felt cut into 3- or 4-inch circles (see How-To)
  • Fabric glue
  • Thread


First, measure your beads. Necklaces that are 24-inches long correspond perfectly with 4-inch felt rounds; necklaces that are 16-inches long fit with 3-inch felt circles. Find the point where the string of beads joins together (usually a deformed bead) and cut it off to make one long string rather than a necklace. Remove any medallions or pendants using pliers.

Place a dot of fabric glue in the center of the felt round. Attach one end of the bead string to the center dot, then wind around in a spiral motion, adhering with fabric glue as you go around. Continue until you run out of beads, then let dry overnight.

For a complete tutorial, visit Rust & Sunshine.

Mardi Gras Centerpieces


  • Beads
  • Glass containers
  • Tea lights


Simply place the beads in the bottom of the glass vessel, and place a tea light on top. Remember to never leave a lit candle unattended!

For color ideas and a complete how-to, visit Bustle.


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