We’re Wearing Jeans to Benefit ARNO Animal Shelter

Friday the 13th might be considered unlucky, but we’re changing all that with latest Jeans Day. Not only will our employees luck out with permission to wear jeans to work, but Animal Rescue New Orleans will also benefit – in order to be eligible to wear jeans, employees must bring a donation of $5 or more for ARNO.

barkus parade

This sweet ARNO shelter dog is all dressed up for the Barkus Parade. (Photo courtesy ARNO on Facebook)

You already know our commitment to animals – our new Bella Ridge property has a dedicated dog park, and many of our properties are pet-friendly – but you may not be aware of our ongoing relationship with ARNO. Our recent December pet drive benefited this no-kill shelter, and we saw great results! 1st Lake residents raised $228 cash, $260 in checks, and more than $300 in gift cards, plus plenty of donated items like food and supplies. Thank you for your help!

Our Feb. 13 Jeans Day is limited to employees, but we always encourage our residents to contribute to the community by helping ARNO!

Here are a few ways you can participate:

Adopt or Foster an Animal

ARNO has many cats and dogs who are eligible for adoption. Darla, Alfalfa, and Spanky are a trio of pups looking for a new home, for example, while Amy is a sweet adult cat ready to cuddle. Contact ARNO for more information, and review their materials for adopting and fostering.

Volunteer

Taking care of so many animals is hard work for the ARNO staff. They rely on volunteers to help, and you can be part of that! Assist with animal care, dog walking, kennel and cage cleaning, laundry, or even fun tasks like playing with kittens. Volunteering at ARNO also counts toward school service hours.

Donate

ARNO accepts monetary donations, gift cards to places like Wal-Mart and Petco, and specific goods like sponges and trash bags. ARNO’s canine residents need Purina One Dog Chow and Puppy Chow, canned dog food, and four-foot-long leashes. If you’d like to donate on behalf of their feline residents, bring Purina One Cat Chow, Purina One Kitten Chow, or large-size litter pans.

We can’t wait to wear our jeans on Feb. 13 to support this amazing animal shelter!

Go Coconuts for Zulu with These Easy Coconut Recipes

King cake is popular this time of year, but it’s not the only way to celebrate Mardi Gras. Check out some recipes inspired by one of our favorite parades, Zulu.

The krewe rolls on Mardi Gras Day, Feb. 17, in Uptown at 8:00 a.m. Perhaps you’ll get one of their prized coconuts, but if not, no problem! Whether you prefer savory or sweet, we’ve got your coconut fix right here with these easy coconut recipes.

coconut macaroons with chocolate

Who needs king cake when you have coconut macaroons? Honor Zulu with these cookies and other coconut recipes. (Photo courtesy Dennis Wilkinson on Flickr)

Toasted Coconut Brussels Sprouts

The exotic flavors of coconut create an intriguing flavor combination alongside Brussels sprouts while toasted coconut flakes add a satisfying crunch. Hearty enough for a vegetarian main, this dish is also the perfect side for a steakhouse dinner at home.

Cranberry Coconut Trifle

With Mardi Gras falling close to Valentine’s Day, we think this recipe is a delectable way to celebrate both. Surprise your sweetie with a cranberry coconut trifle – pops of red cranberry tie in Valentine’s colors while coconut, of course, says nothing but Zulu. You can follow the instructions for the homemade sponge cake, but we won’t tell if you use store-bought ladyfingers instead.

Baked Coconut Shrimp

This classic dish is healthier when baked. The dipping sauce continues the theme of exotic flavors – curry, rice vinegar, and orange zest are spicy and bright. Serve as an appetizer or pair with a simple salad for an elegant weeknight dinner.

Slow-Cooker Coconut Ginger Chicken & Vegetables

You had us at “slow-cooker.” This one-pot meal is a wonderful and warming dish to come home to – simply put assemble all the ingredients and let the slow cooker do the work while you’re at the office. Chicken thighs are a budget-friendly choice, but you can swap boneless, skinless chicken breasts for a more health-conscious meal.

Coconut Macaroons

Five ingredients and you’re on your way to moist and chewy cookies. They’re also gluten-free! Drizzle them with chocolate for extra richness and depth of flavor.

 

Did You Know? More Millenials Rent than Buy

Several recent articles have shown a growing trend in real estate: many millennials are opting to rent rather than buy. We think this is a great option that falls in line with important lifestyle perks of renting. Take a look at some of the reasons why renting is a viable, long-term option for millennials.

moving boxes

Moving on up! Millenials prefer to rent because of unbeatable amenities like pools and gyms. (Photo courtesy Robert Donovan on Flickr)

Affordability

Buying a home not only requires money up front for a down payment but also a monthly mortgage in addition to property tax, insurance, and possible homeowner’s association fees. Homeowners are also responsible for their own maintenance and repairs plus the usual utilities, water, and trash. Conversely, apartments keep it simple: rent and utilities.

Unbeatable Amenities

Even if a millennial chooses to buy his or her own home, it’s unlikely to compete with the types of amenities available at most apartment complexes. For example, our new Bella Ridge property features an attached parking garage and covered walking path, a resort-style swimming pool with a tanning ledge, outdoor cabanas, and a state-of-the-art fitness facility with brand-new Precor equipment (it’s also open 24 hours). What’s more, our Bella Ridge property doesn’t limit amenities to just humans. Bella Bark, an on-site dog park, caters to furry friends by providing them with a dedicated space for outdoor play. Looking beyond Bella Ridge? Our Lakes of Chateau Estates South property feature a private lake.

Free Time and Convenience

Residents who rent from apartment complexes like those we manage don’t need to worry about maintenance and repairs or yard work. For example, all of our properties features meticulously landscaped grounds that you can simply enjoy. If something breaks in your apartment, simply contact the office – we’ll take care of repairs quickly and thoroughly. With qualified staff taking care of tasks like landscaping and repairs, you won’t have to devote your weekends to mowing the lawn or repairing the sink. Renters can get outside and enjoy the day!

Proximity

Purchasing a home in a city like New Orleans can be expensive, especially with more young professionals coming to the area, but renters get the advantage of incredible proximity without the high monthly mortgage and insurance. Many of our properties are just a quick drive to sought-after areas like the CBD and the French Quarter – without the price tag.

A Tasty Treat: How to Grow Wheatgrass for Pets at Home

If you’re an animal lover and a plant lover, you may find that having pets and houseplants is mutually exclusive. Whether your cat decides to chow down on your latest floral arrangement or your dog knocks over an indoor fern with a vigorous wag of his tail, perhaps you’ve all but given up on gardening. We’ve got a solution: wheatgrass for pets.

cat eating wheatgrass

Let your pet chow down when you grow your own wheatgrass conventionally or hydroponically. (Photo courtesy weheartcats.com)

What is wheatgrass?

Wheatgrass is an easy-to-grow plant with a vivid green hue and modern, clean-lined aesthetic. It’s also got great health benefits, both for humans and pets. Cats will be drawn to the plant immediately, and gnawing on it is actually good for them! Wheatgrass neutralizes odors (no more dog breath) and is a great source of chlorophyll.

Dogs might not be as tempted to chew on it, but you can harvest and puree the grass, then freeze it in an ice cube tray and give it to your dog as a treat.

Here are a few ways to grow wheatgrass at home:

For DIYers

You’ll need wheat seeds (also called wheatberries), a container with drainage holes, soil, and a clean container. Once you have all your materials, cover 2 tablespoons of the seeds in water using the clean container, and soak for about 12 hours. Meanwhile, prepare the growing container by adding soil and, if desired, compost. Spread a single layer of seeds across the soil, then place the growing container in a bright place – but not in direct sunlight. Water daily, and watch them grow! For a step-by-step list, click here.

For Neatniks

Did you know you can grow wheatgrass hydroponically without the use of soil? This is a great option for people with frisky pets who are more likely to knock over a container. Several sites offer hydroponic growing kits, but we like this one from wheatgrasskits.com.

The Easiest Method

Most pet stores have wheatgrass (often relabeled as “pet greens” or “cat grass”) available. Purchase one on your next pet food run!

NOLA Takes Top Honors for Best Oyster Houses in the South

Southern Living’s blog, The Daily South, just posted their definitive list of the 10 best oyster houses in the south. Locals won’t be surprised one bit to learn that Acme Oyster House, Drago’s Seafood Restaurant, and Felix’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar all made the list! We love how these places let the flavors of fresh oysters shine through, and we especially love how close they are to several of our Greater New Orleans apartments. Drago’s, for example, is just 2 miles from Boardwalk Apartments, and our new Bella Ridge property (part of our January specials) is a 15-minute drive from Acme Oyster House’s Metairie location.

Drago's Oysters

Drago’s is one of several local restaurants named among the best oyster bars in the South. (Photo: Drago’s Seafood Restaurant on Facebook)

If you’re not a raw oyster fan, don’t worry. Acme, Drago’s, and Felix’s have plenty of other options to satisfy your palate. Take a look at some popular menu items with nary an oyster in sight:

Acme Oyster House

Boo Fries are the start to an unforgettable meal. Smothered in roast beef gravy and cheese, the fries are similar to poutine – with a Creole kick, of course. The grilled shrimp po-boy is another worthy pick.

Drago’s Seafood Restaurant

Lobster mac ‘n’ cheese, spinach dip, and blackened duck linguine are just a few of the decadent options at Drago’s. Those with food allergies will enjoy ordering from the restaurant’s extensive gluten-free menu.

Felix’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar

We won’t tell if you start off with dessert: Felix’s Creole Pecan Pie is a must-try. Classic New Orleans dishes like turtle soup, crawfish etouffee, jambalaya, and red beans and rice are all on the menu, too.

Prefer an Asian twist when it comes to seafood? Try out Kyoto 2 in Elmwood – it’s practically next door to Bella Ridge.

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