1st Lake Blog

Stay Cool By The Pool With These 4 Refreshing Poolside Drinks

It’s hard to decide which summer month is hottest in Louisiana, but August is usually in the running. When it’s this hot, there’s nothing better than a dip in the pool. Unless it’s a refreshing poolside drink, of course.

We’ve decided to combine the two best summer activities into one, with a list of recipes for some delicious poolside beverages. Read on to learn 4 simple recipes that will keep you cool by the pool!

Photo by A Classic Twist

Sparkling Blueberry Lemonade 


A simple summer twist on a classic recipe:

Serves: 6
Prep time: 10 mins

  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 can Ocean Spray Sparkling Blueberry Pomegranate juice
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 8 lemons)
  • 3 cups seltzer water


  1. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the water and the sugar to create a simple syrup. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes until it thickens slightly. Pour in a cup, and let it chill.
  2.  After the sugar has chilled, in a pitcher, combine the lemon juice, seltzer water, and the blueberry juice. Add in the simple syrup to taste. Serve over ice, with fresh blueberries to garnish.

Photo by SkinnyMs. via Pinterest

Piña Colada Smoothie (Non-Alcoholic)

Everyone can get in on SkinnyMs.‘s non-alcoholic version of a drink so good, pop songs have been made about it:


  • 1 cup lite coconut milk
  • 2 cups pineapple chunks
  • 2 tablespoons honey, optional
  • Enough ice to make it slushy


  1. Add all ingredients to a blender, blend well, and serve.

Cucumber-Mint Water

Drinking plenty of water is a good idea in hot weather. Southern Living turns that bit of common sense into a stroke of brilliance by adding a few crisp, refreshing ingredients:


  • 12 slices of cucumber
  • 4 slices of lime
  • 4 large sprigs of mint
  • 28 ounces of water


  1. Combine the cucumber, lime, and mint in a 32-oz. Mason jar. Muddle until lightly crushed.
  2. Add the water; seal and shake for 30 seconds to combine.
  3. Serve over ice. The infusion will keep in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
  4. Authors’ note: Use filtered tap water or bottled spring water for the freshest-tasting results. 

Photo by Lucas Allen via Pinterest

Rum & Tonic (An After-the-Pool Treat)

We’ll finish this list off with a simple cocktail recipe from Food & Wine that will help you settle into the warm summer evenings:


  • Ice
  • 2 ounces white rum
  • 5 ounces chilled tonic water
  • 2 dashes of lemon bitters
  • 1 lemon wheel, for garnish


  1. Fill a chilled highball glass with ice.
  2. Add rum, tonic water and lemon bitters and stir well.
  3. Garnish the drink with the lemon wheel.

Stay Cool by the Pool with 1st Lake!

Find the perfect poolside for you at one of our properties, and enjoy the rest of the summer with 1st Lake! 



1st Lake’s Moving Guide to the Northshore

The Northshore, named for being on the north side of Lake Pontchartrain, is formally known as St. Tammany Parish. The parish is among the fastest-growing in Louisiana, and several of 1st Lake’s apartment communities are located there. 

Planning a move to the Northshore? You’re in luck. We’ve put together a Northshore moving guide that’ll prepare you to make the most of your new home as soon as you arrive!

Things to Do 

The Northshore is full of things to do, both outdoors and indoors. 


The St. Tammany Trace is a 31-mile biking and walking path that connects five of the Northshore’s communities: Covington, Abita Springs, Mandeville, Lacombe, and Slidell. The Northshore is also near plenty of bodies of water. If you enjoy being on the water, take a kayak or canoe out on Bayous Cane, Castine, and Lacombe, or the Tchefuncte and Bogue Falaya rivers. There’s also Lake Pontchartrain, of course. 

Located on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain is Fontainebleau State Park, a 2,800-acre park that offers camping, hiking, and even a small beach. The nature trail in the park is home to over 400 species that are native to the area.


If you’re more of an indoors person, there are lots of attractions for you in St. Tammany. In Abita Springs, the Abita Brewing Company and Abita Mystery House are popular places to visit.

There are also lots of historic sites in the area. The Dew Drop Jazz & Social Hall is home to a stage built in 1895 and hosted performances by Louis Armstrong and other historic jazz players. It now hosts great local music several times a month. Old Mandeville is home to the St. Tammany Trailhead, which features an outdoor theater with seasonal events, as well as the Trailhead Community Market, which takes place every Saturday from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Historic Downtown Covington is home to many charming restaurants and shopping locations, as well as the annual Three Rivers Arts Festival held every fall. The festival has been held since 1997 and now attracts over 60,000 visitors to the area.

Family & Kids

The Global Wildlife Center in Folsom is a fantastic place to have a family outing. Located in an area of St. Tammany Parish that is beautiful and sparsely populated, the Global Wildlife Center offers an incredible nature experience. According to the Northshore’s official website: “Global Wildlife is a 900-acre free roaming safari park. Gentle rolling hills and a lake, the absence of predators, and wide open spaces make it a serene habitat for thousands of animals from all over the world. Some of the furry friends you’ll meet at Global Wildlife include camels, giraffes, zebras, kangaroos, deer, bison, and more.”


Ruby’s Roadhouse in Old Mandeville has been the best place to boogie to live music since 1984. If you’re looking for a late night party, Ruby’s is the place for you. Just a few blocks away on the Mandeville lakefront is Barley Oak, where you can have great food and drinks while seated on the balcony overlooking the water.

In downtown Covington, have a cold beer and listen to live music at the Columbia St. Tap Room and Grill. Afterward, check out more music and mingle with the locals at Wharton’s Green Room on Columbia Street. For more nightlife options, check out the Northshore’s official website for the Rhythm & Brews itinerary, which provides some great insight on what to do in the area for fun. 

Let Us Help You Find a Home on the Northshore!

1st Lake Properties has apartment communities all over the Northshore in Mandeville, Covington and Slidell, and we’d love to help you settle into your new home! 


Packing Tips for Weekend Trips

Have you ever felt like getting away from it all? If work, relationships, or just your general routine are causing you stress, sometimes a weekend escape is necessary. We understand.

We also understand that deciding what to bring on such a short getaway can be difficult, which is why we’ve decided to share some tips on how to pack for your weekend trip. Besides, isn’t the whole point of your miniature vacation to relax? 

Read on for how to avoid overstuffing your suitcase if you’re getting away for the weekend.


Let’s start with the essentials: what you’ll be wearing. This is also where most people get in trouble. What you’re looking for here is versatility and comfort.


Shoes take up a lot of room. They aren’t ideal for squeezing into a bag or suitcase. That’s why you should choose one pair of footwear that you’ll be wearing all weekend. If your destination will have lower temperatures, wear a pair of low-key boots that will match with most winter outfits. If you’re headed to warmer areas or the beach, comfortable sandals or sneakers are all you need. 

Shirts & Pants

Blue jeans are your best friend when you’re packing for a short trip. You can wear them for an entire weekend if you need to. Plus, they match with just about anything. For the day, bring a few t-shirts or a polo. Pack a dressier shirt or top for the evening, just in case you end up having a nice meal or end up in an unforeseen situation where casual dress won’t cut it. 

Socks & Underwear

Bring the exact number of pairs you’ll need, plus one extra. Simple. 


If you’re unsure about bringing a laptop or tablet with you, ask yourself this question: Will it stress me out? If the answer is yes, leave them behind! Even if you need access to email, most people can get by with just their phone for a few days. If your goal is to relax and disconnect, don’t bring anything that will tempt you. It’ll save you space, too.

Odds & Ends

Remember to bring all the necessary bathroom accessories you’ll need: toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo (if necessary), deodorant, sunscreen, moisturizer…you get the idea.

Also, whether you’re driving or flying, you should bring some entertainment for the time you’ll spend getting to your destination. Remember your earbuds so that you can listen to audiobooks or music. Pack a fun book or deck of cards. And, last but not least, a phone charger

That pretty much does it. By following these tips, you should have plenty of space to pack everything you’ll need on your weekend getaway. Less is more in these situations, and keeping it simple will allow you to keep the stresses of your daily grind out of sight and out of mind, if only for a little while. After you’re all packed, you can get busy with relaxing!

7 Things To Do In New Orleans This Summer

Summertime is in full swing in the Crescent City. That means the temperatures are quite high. But so is the number of fun things to do, whether you’re trying to beat the heat or enjoy it to the fullest! 

Read on for our list of 7 things to do before the NOLA summer ends.

1. Slurp on a Snowball

New Orleanians love snowballs. During the summertime, cooling off with a delicious snowball is a must, and there are spots to get one all across the city. If you’re Uptown, a particularly well-known and historic location is Hansen’s Sno-Bliz. Hansen’s has been open since 1939 and is known for traditional and innovative flavors like Thai Basil, Satsuma, and others. Check them out at 4801 Tchoupitoulas.

2. Cool Off with a Splash 

New Orleans has plenty of fantastic pools to take advantage of this summer. If you live in one of our many properties in the New Orleans area, there’s a pool just steps away from your door!

If you’re looking to mix it up with a local crowd, spots like the Ace Hotel and Country Club are open to the public.

3. Visit the Aquarium

The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is an awesome, relaxing place to see all kinds of sea creatures. Don’t miss the albino alligator!

4. Participate in Tales of the Cocktail

The 16th annual Tales of the Cocktail is a “cocktail conference and family reunion” that features a schedule of over 200 different events, including seminars, tastings, competitions and networking events. The historic Hotel Monteleone will serve as the headquarters for this year’s conference, which takes place on July 17 – July 22. Visit the official website for more information on TOTC events!

5. Wear Your Whitest Whites, and then Get Them Dirty

On August 4th, join the crowds of people along Julia Street for Whitney White Linen Night, which takes places in the artsy Warehouse District. Galleries offer discounts, and there will be live music and refreshments. Just one week later, on August 11th, visit the galleries of Royal Street in the French Quarter for Dirty Linen Night! The streets will be filled with music and great food & drinks, as usual.

6. See a Concert at Tipitina’s…for Free!

The annual Foundation Free Fridays summer concert series has begun! Every Friday this summer, the iconic venue offers free admission to concerts featuring great live acts.

7. Visit a Museum

August in New Orleans is Museum Month. If you’re a member of one of the 16 participating institutions in the city, you’ll have the opportunity to visit all of the other museums for free. World-class museums like the National WWII Museum, the New Orleans Museum of Art, and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art are taking part in this great celebration of art and history. Grab a membership today and start planning your museum itinerary!

Let 1st Lake Help You Find the Perfect New Orleans Apartment this Summer!

Now that you know how to make the most of the summer in the Crescent City, check out our fantastic residential communities located in the New Orleans Area. Or, simply contact us if you have any questions or would like more information.

1st Lake’s Moving Guide to Baton Rouge

Are you planning a move to Baton Rouge?

Moving can be a stressful and tiring process, even if you’re moving just a few blocks down the road. Moving to a completely different city is more difficult and can sometimes be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve created a guide to moving to Baton Rouge. We hope that we can provide some information that will relieve a little bit of stress, and cause you to look forward to exploring your new home.

Read on to learn about the Baton Rouge area and what it has to offer!             

A Bit of History

As you probably know, Baton Rouge is the capital of Louisiana. In 1699, French explorers named the area baton rouge (red stick) when they discovered a reddish cypress pole that Native Americans had placed in the ground to demarcate different hunting territories.

Over the centuries, Baton Rouge has become a sprawling city. In fact, its somewhat “unplanned” quality is both charming and frustrating for locals.

University Life

The two major universities in Baton Rouge are Louisiana State University (LSU) and Southern University. Southern University is also one of the largest historically African American universities in the nation. LSU’s campus is beautiful, and boasts iconic Louisiana scenery: majestic live oaks, regal architecture with Spanish-tiled roofing, and magnolia trees. There is also a wide variety of gorgeous outdoor landscapes and nightlife options surrounding the area. We’ll get into more of that later…

Baton Rouge is home to thousands of college students. If you’re a sports fan, you’re in luck! Both schools have dynamic athletic programs, and college sports events & traditions are deeply rooted in the culture of the city.

Tip: If you want to immerse yourself in the sports culture of LSU, check out The Chimes on game day, located just a block outside of campus. It’s a bustling bar and restaurant with a fun university vibe.

Outdoor Activities & Attractions

As we’ve mentioned, Baton Rouge is full of beautiful natural landscapes that are worth exploring. The LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens at Burden is a collection of gardens, forests and wetlands. The experience of the Botanic Gardens is best summed up by their own mission statement: “The Mission of the Botanic Gardens is to promote the importance of plants and their environment to the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of the citizens of Baton Rouge, the state of Louisiana and the world.”

The Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center contains 103 acres of land dedicated to connecting people to nature, with winding pathways leading through beautiful swampland and forests. There are also over 180 parks in the area, so taking a hike, planning a picnic, or going for a jog can easily be done. Check out the BREC parks website to find a park near your residence.

There’s also plenty of history and educational attractions in Baton Rouge. It’s worth going downtown to see the “New” State Capitol, Old State Capitol, and the Old Governor’s Mansion. The Louisiana Art & Science Museum features exhibitions of internationally renowned artists, a permanent collection, a planetarium, and much more. The Capitol Park Museum is an in-depth exploration of the compelling twists and turns of Louisiana’s political history as well as Louisiana culture.


To begin, we’ll start with two very popular nightlife areas for students and young adults: Third Street and Tigerland.

Historic Third Street is located in Downtown Baton Rouge, and features many bars, late-night restaurants and clubs all within walking distance of one another. Try Blend Wine Bar for an upscale experience, and Boudreaux & Thibodeaux’s for live music and a more boisterous crowd. Tigerland is a collection of bars that has been around for several decades, the most iconic being Fred’s, which has been around since the 1980s.

There is more to do at night than mingle with students, however. There are local craft breweries like Tin Roof and Southern Craft, both of which offer great educational tours and tastings. For a classically “hipster” vibe, try Radio Bar on Government Street. The Bulldog on Perkins Road offers a selection of 81 draft beers and over 200 bottled beers.

When it comes to music, the Baton Rouge music scene is booming. Teddy’s Juke Joint is a wonderful venue that’s been a hangout for blues lovers for over 40 years, and is located on 16999 Old Scenic Highway just outside of the city. It was founded by Blues legend Lloyd “Teddy” Johnson. Baton Rouge is also home to the nation’s oldest blues festival (Baton Rouge Blues Festival), the Northgate Music & Arts Festival, as well as weekly concert series such as Live After Five that are held year round.

Boardwalk at Bluebonnet Nature Center. Photo by H.dryad via Wikimedia Commons.

Great Food

Most of Louisiana is a foodie’s paradise, and Baton Rouge is no exception.

For classic Cajun and Creole cuisine, try Parrain’s Seafood, Beausoleil, Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar, or Cecilia’s Creole Bistro. For a more contemporary dining experience, the White Star Market is a new “urban gourmet food hall” located in Mid City Baton Rouge, and offers a diverse and unique selection of food & drink. And we can’t talk about food in Baton Rouge without at least mentioning the iconic Louie’s Café, a 24-hour diner located just outside LSU’s campus.

Let 1st Lake Help You Find the Perfect Baton Rouge Apartment!

Now that you have a guide to Baton Rouge life, check out our fantastic residential communities located in the Baton Rouge Area: Spring Brook, Lake Towers, and Regency Club! Or, simply contact us if you have any questions or would like more information.