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It’s the Middle of Summer! Let’s Refresh on Pool Rules and Etiquette!

It’s official: Our pools are open for the 2017 season! Grab your bathing suits and swim trunks and get ready for some fun in the sun at your 1st Lake pool! Whether you live at Bella Ridge, Crossings, Lakes of Chateau Estates, Turtle Creek, or many of our other properties throughout Greater New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Southern Mississippi, you can enjoy the water in a tranquil environment.

Palmetto Creek’s spacious pool area has seating for sunbathers and snack eaters!

There’s nothing more peaceful than a sparkling pool – unless distracting noise, glass bottles, and other nuisances are happening around you. We’re so lucky to have respectful residents, but it never hurts to know what rules we’ve established to ensure your swimming experience is enjoyable. In addition to basic pool rules (not entering the pool after hours, for example), we think pool etiquette is equally important. Read up on how to be on your best behavior before your next swim session.

 

Bella Ridge’s pool features in-water lounge areas, shaded gazebos, and tables for groups.

Pool Etiquette at 1st Lake Properties

  • Children under 12 must be accompanied and supervised by an adult. We love when kids have a blast at the pool, but we also don’t want there to be any accidents. Kids under 12 must have an adult with them in order to swim and play poolside.
  • No pets allowed. While we love our furry friends and are happy to accommodate dogs within our apartment homes and at dedicated dog parks, we do not allow animals at the pool. Service animals are an exception.
  • No glass bottles. Broken glass can lead to serious injury. You can use non-breakable containers, such as thermoses, paper, or plastic cups.
  • Keep things clean! Always clean up after yourselves and make sure you have all of your belongings before exiting the pool.
  • Keep your tunes turned down. Music is a fun addition while you’re relaxing poolside, but be mindful of others who might not appreciate loud music. Use headphones or keep the volume at a minimal level.
  • Be mindful of spray sunscreen. We always advocate wearing sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun, and spray formulas are a popular option because they’re easy to apply. However, you don’t need to spray everyone else around you! Try misting it into your hand or step away from others so that extra spray doesn’t blow onto them.
  • No diving into the pool, including cannonballs! Diving or jumping into the pool can cause quite a splash (literally) – you wouldn’t want to ruin a fellow resident’s favorite book or magazine.

Citrus Creek West’s canopied pool is ready for its summertime swimmers!

Remember, pools are open now through Sept. 30, 2017. Enjoy — and don’t forget your sunscreen!


Summer Cookout Recipes

Outdoor dining and summer just go hand in hand. Plus, since many of our 1st Lake Properties feature outdoor grilling and patio areas, it’s easy to host an al fresco event for friends and family. Get cooking with this easy summer cookout recipe menu: start with Vietnamese-inspired grilled wings, then pick from two sides and two desserts (or make ’em all!).

chicken-wings

Grilled chicken wings with plenty of sides and sweets. (Photo via Pexels)

Summer Cookout Recipes

The Main Event

Saigon Chicken Wings

These wings from Food & Wine pay homage to Vietnamese cuisine (ever-popular in New Orleans!)

Ingredients

  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 medium shallots, chopped
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, tender white inner bulbs only, chopped
  • One 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/3 cup Asian fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for basting
  • 12 whole chicken wings (2 1/2 to 3 pounds)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped unsalted dry-roasted peanuts

Recipe

  • In a mortar, pound the garlic, shallots, lemongrass, ginger and sugar to a paste. Stir in the fish sauce, lemon juice and the 1 tablespoon of oil. Alternatively, puree the ingredients in a mini-processor. Transfer to a large bowl.
  • Make 3 deep slashes in the meat part of each chicken wing. Add the wings to the bowl, stir to coat and marinate for 4 hours at room temperature, or preferably overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Light a grill. Thread the chicken wings on bamboo skewers, splaying each wing as widely as possible; reserve the marinade. Brush the wings with vegetable oil and grill over a medium-hot fire for 6 to 8 minutes per side, basting them once or twice with the reserved marinade, until crusty. Do not baste during the last 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken wings to a platter and sprinkle with the peanuts. Serve at once.

Savory Sides

Potato Salad with Celery and Herbs

Ingredients like fresh dill, parsley, and dijon mustard add a bit of elegance to this classic recipe from Country Living. Bonus points for being able to be served warm, cold, or at room temperature!

Ingredients

  • 3 lb. red new potatoes
  • Kosher salt
  • pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • ¼ c. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 4 stalk celery
  • ¼ c. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • ¼ c. chopped fresh dill
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs

Recipe

  • Place the potatoes in a large pot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Add 2 teaspoon salt, reduce heat, and simmer until the potatoes are just tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and run under cold water to cool. Cut the potatoes in half or quarter if large.
  • Meanwhile, grate 2 teaspoon lemon zest into a large bowl, then squeeze in the juice (you should have about 3 tablespoons juice total). Whisk in the oil, mustard, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper.
  • Add the potatoes and celery to the bowl and gently toss to coat. Fold in the parsley and dill and top with the eggs, if desired.

Barbecue Ranch Pasta Salad

The Spicy Southern Kitchen blog serves up a smoky take on pasta salad that’s sure to be a hit with grownups and kids alike.

Ingredients

    • 1 pound pasta (such as cavatappi) cooked al dente
    • 1 cup Hidden Valley Honey BBQ Dressing
    • 1/3 cup sour cream
    • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1 cup canned corn, drained
    • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
    • 1/2 small red onion, finely diced
    • 1 1/2 cups diced cooked chicken
    • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
    • 1 cup corn chips

 Recipe

  • Place cooked pasta in a large bowl.
  • Stir together Hidden Valley Honey BBQ Dressing and sour cream and pour over pasta. Toss to mix.
  • Add all remaining ingredients, except corn chips, and stir to combine.
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve and sprinkle corn chips on top just before serving.

Sweet Finishes

Stone Fruit Pouches

Alton Brown’s recipe for stone fruit pouches is practically made for the grill.

Ingredients

  • Creme fraiche or vanilla ice cream for serving

Recipe

  • Heat coals of grill or fire pit. Cut 8 (18 by 18-inch) squares of aluminum foil. Lay down double thickness of foil and divide gingersnaps evenly among the 4 squares. Divide fruit evenly and place on top of gingersnaps. Dot with butter.
  • In small bowl mix sugar, salt, and lime zest. Sprinkle sugar mixture evenly over fruit, drizzle with juice and brandy and seal packets. Once coals are ash covered, lay packets over them and cover with lid of grill. If cooking in a fire pit carefully try to partially bury packets in hot coals.
  • Cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and open carefully, as steam inside packet is very hot. Serve on plates as is or spoon into shallow bowls and top with creme fraiche or ice cream.

Berry “Pizza”

This recipe from Woman’s Day features the jewels of summertime: bright, juicy berries. We like that it can be served cool or at room temperature, making it easy for outdoor dining.

Ingredients

  • Flour, for the parchment
  • 1 (16-oz.) package refrigerated sugar cookie dough
  • 2 tbsp. Strawberry jam
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 lb. strawberries, hulled and cut into pieces
  • 1 1/2 c. blueberries
  • 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 c. confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 c. refrigerated whipped topping (Cool Whip works well)

Recipe

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and dust a piece of parchment paper lightly with flour. Shape the cookie dough into a circle, then roll out smoothly on the parchment into a 12″ circle or three 1⁄4″-thick circles. Place the parchment and dough onto a cookie sheet and bake until golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer the cookie (still on parchment) to a wire rack and let cool for at least 15 minutes.
  • As the cookie dough bakes, whisk together the jam and lemon juice in a large bowl. Add the berries and toss to coat. With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the whipped topping and beat to combine.
  • Spread the cream cheese mixture onto the cooled cookie, leaving a 1⁄2″ border. Top with the berry mixture.


Things To Do in New Orleans This Summer

A city known for letting the good times roll, New Orleans also knows how to take it easy — especially during the summer. Time seems to slow down in the balmy, summer months. With a little more sunlight and a lot more free time, summer offers lots of ways for you to enjoy the Crescent City. We’ve got a few ideas below!

Lounge by one of our many 1st Lake Properties pools.

Find What Floats Your Boat

With proximity to Lake Pontchartrain, Bayou St. John, City Park’s Big Lake, and the Mississippi River, Greater New Orleans just beckons for you to don your best nautical gear and hit the water. Whether you learn to sail on Lake Pontchartrain, rent a kayak for a tranquil afternoon along Bayou St. John, canoe in City Park (or maybe take a gondola ride), or traverse the Mississippi on the New Orleans Ferry or Steamboat Natchez, you’ll enjoy picturesque views and sea breezes.

See What’s SUP

Standup paddle boarding is a great workout, and it also offers some fantastic views when you rent through NOLA Paddleboards right on Bayou St. John. Paddle sessions are $35 (reservations required) and includes a short, complimentary lesson to help get you started.

Pack a Picnic Lunch

Summertime and picnics just go hand in hand. And in Greater New Orleans, there are tons of awesome spots for a picnic. Try City Park, Lafreniere Park, or Kenner City Park, as well as quiet spots along Bayou St. John or Lakeshore Drive on Lake Pontchartrain. Need ideas on what foods to pack? Take a look at our recipe archives here. These easy, no-bake recipes are also great contenders since they can be served at room temperature.

Take a Staycation

Sometimes, a quick road trip is all you need to feel like you “got away.” We have a detailed list of nearby places that will have you back to sleep in your own bed! Take a look and get planning here.

Fest

It’s just not summertime without some hot New Orleans festivals. Check out ESSENCE Fest over 4th of July weekend; San Fermin en Nueva Orleans (Running of the Bulls) happening July 7-9; Bastille Day Fete on July 14; Satchmo Summerfest Aug. 3-6; White Linen Night on Aug. 5; and Dirty Linen Night and Red Dress Run on August 13.

Rest

As the song goes, it’s “summertime, and the livin’ is easy.” Take time out to relax and unwind.  Sit by the pool. Read a great book. Add those extra little touches to your apartment to make it feel like home.


Top Workplace, Again!

For the third year in a row, 1st Lake Properties received recognition as one of the top midsize places to work in New Orleans!

Since the inception of Nola.com’s “Top Workplaces,” 1st Lake consistently ranked in the top three workplaces. With a 1st place victory in 2015 and a 2nd place victory each year following, our  team members continually prove their momentum and passion.

In addition to this achievement, 1st Lake also received the 2017 award for “the employer who encourages their team members to innovate new ideas.” Each quarter, team members submit company suggestions. Then at our company-wide quarterly meetings, we announce the top submissions, which become part of our business practices.

They say it takes a village to raise a family, and at 1st Lake we believe it takes a family to raise a company. Our 1st Lake family continues to grow, and we want you to be a part of what we’re doing.

If you want to join our team, visit our careers page!

Our 1st Lake team at the 2017 TopWorkplace Awards.

 


How to Prepare Your Apartment for Summer

Our very best tips to stay cool in summer involve one of our sparkling pools and a snowball from your favorite local stand, but sometimes it’s tempting to simply run the A/C at full capacity, open the freezer, and stand in front of it to cool down.

thermostat

Keep your thermostat at about 78 degrees for energy efficiency. (Photo courtesy Flickr user Philip Shoffner)

While we certainly don’t blame you (the Gulf South gets hot!), we do think it’s important to conserve energy. Using the following energy-saving tips for apartment dwellers is important not only for your monthly utility bill, but also the environment in general.

Air Conditioning

Don’t turn your A/C off during the day.

Your A/C unit will actually have to work harder to cool down your apartment if you only turn it on when you’re at home. Instead, keep the A/C running while you’re gone at a higher temperature… read more below!

Keep your thermostat at 79 for optimal energy use.

Did you know that for every degree below 79 degrees you set your thermostat, your bill will increase by as much as 3 percent? When you’re not at home, keep your thermostat at 79 for optimal energy use.

Replace your air filters monthly.

Keeping air filters clean is one of the easiest ways to not only save energy but also improve air quality at home. For best results, replace fiberglass filters monthly. The air filter keeps debris and pollutants out of your home’s air system, which improves overall HVAC performance and can even help mitigate allergy symptoms.

Invest in a fan.

You probably spend long periods of time in a certain part of your apartment, whether it’s at your desk on the computer or on the sofa watching television. For these stretches, it’s great to have a small, portable fan you can take with you to keep you cool. Rather than waste energy (and money) cooling down the entire apartment, point a fan your way to stay cool and comfortable economically.

Check your ceiling fans.

Like a portable fan, ceiling fans are a great way to stay cool. However, you’ll want to check to make sure that your bedroom fans are rotating counter-clockwise for maximum cool-down potential.

Lighting

Use CFL lightbulbs.

Most modern CFL lightbulbs no longer have that annoying buzz or hum, and they use about 70% less energy than incandescent bulbs, so there’s no excuse not to use them! Make sure that the CFLs you use are compatible with your lighting controls though, as most motion sensors and electric timers are not designed to work with CFL bulbs. Be sure to also only use bulbs labeled as dimmable on dimmer switches.

Opt for 1 large lightbulb instead of many smaller ones.

Use your lights in a smarter way. For more light, it’s better to use one large bulb rather than several smaller ones. For example, according to Entergy, one 100-watt bulb uses the same amount of energy as four 25-watt bulbs, yet it produces 50 percent more light.

Dust and clean bulbs and lampshades regularly.

In addition to our collection of cleaning tips, this one is simple: dust and clean bulbs and lampshades every so often – you’ll be surprised at the difference! You can get up to one-third more light from the same amount of money simply by keeping bulbs and shades clean.

Try blackout curtains.

If you like to sleep in, blackout curtains are a must. But they’re also great for keeping out the heat during the summer months. Pick up a cheap pair at Target, or line your existing curtains with blackout fabric available at retailers like JoAnn’s.

Kitchen

Optimize your refrigerator and freezer for efficiency.

Ideally, your refrigerator temperature should be between 37 and 42 degrees; the freezer should hover between zero and five degrees. Leaving town for a summer vacation? Use up the foods that will spoil, then turn your refrigerator up two or three settings (but keep the freezer’s temperature steady at all times).

Don’t overcrowd your fridge, as it can interfere with air flow and efficiency. The opposite is true for your freezer, however; freezers are typically most efficient when fully stocked.

Opt for the oven whenever possible.

Use the oven rather than the stovetop whenever you can, especially during the heat of summer. Insulated ovens retain heat much better and use less energy than stovetop counterparts, but be sure to use a timer, as opening the oven door lets up to 20% of the heat escape.

If you need a little culinary inspiration, BuzzFeed has you covered with one-tray oven dishes.

Did You Know?

Entergy offers a service called Level Billing to help you take control of your monthly utility bill. You can sign up for Level Billing on their website so your bill will be about the same price month after month.