How to Share a Small Space

RV_Dirty-RoomHaving a roommate—or even a significant other—living with you in a small space can be challenging, especially if one or both of you has a natural aversion to housework. There’s not a lot we can do about the other people you share a space with, but we can certainly help you be the best housemate you can be. Here are some helpful tips:

Declutter

Decluttering is the act of taking knickknacks and seldom-used decorative items and putting them in a designated space or in storage. The old adage, “A place for everything and everything in its place,” might be a bit trite but it’s good advice to live by. The more stuff you have lying around, the less space there is for you. When space is at a premium, wasting it on clutter is like stealing it from your roommate. Continue reading

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Community Holiday Parties

447314_77744158stockxchngThe holidays are a good time to meet your fellow residents in your community.  In our usual busy life schedules, we sometimes do not make the time to introduce our families to other residents and this season allows a good reason to arrange some community parties.

First decide if it is best to have an outdoor theme.  If you plan on inviting numerous neighbors, a barbecue or luncheon setting might work, or sometimes the communities have a lounge room area that rents for free.  You should check as early as possible with your leasing office if your community has a lounge room since these schedules fill up early with other residents who also want to schedule their holiday parties.

Most lounge rooms  have everything you need for parties, which includes a lounge area, television, kitchen area with appliances, and usually is next to the community amenities, such as a game room, or near the swimming pool.

Another option is reserving the media room if your community offers that amenity, but be sure to take advantage of that possible option and book the room as early as possible. This option to rent the community media room allows you to not worry about entertaining unanticipated or unknown  guests that may come into your home, and ensures your house remains clean and safe.

You can easily reduce costs of invitations by sending emails which the leasing office 4b_lobby_stageprobably has web addresses for the residents and usually offers free computer service that allows free paper print outs where you can either make flyers to post or drop nicely printed invites in your neighbor’s mailboxes.

At these parties, it is always a good time to discuss a neighborhood watch program or how to improve the safety of your community.  To lower costs on these neighborhood parties, either have light appetizer party theme during the day. You could also have an early evening party and just order pizzas or other low cost food items and drinks.

Since many leasing offices already have a Christmas tree and decorations set up during this time in various rooms, check to see it they allow parties in these areas which would help save on decorating costs!  So reserve your rooms quickly and meet your new neighbors!

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Decorating Your Apartment for the Holidays

Renters-Voice_Holiday-TreeEven the most spacious top-rated apartments can pose a bit of a challenge when it comes time to decorate for Christmas. No other holiday seems to demand quite the same amount of sheer space devoted to the celebration of its glory. To help overcome these challenges, here are a few simple, clever ways to show off your joy in the spirit of the season with little need for square footage.

The 2-D Christmas Tree

The tree is always the centerpiece of any Holiday celebration — but what if you just don’t have the floor (or coffee table) space to devote to it? Try this: gather a bunch of Christmas tree boughs (often available cheap or free from any Christmas tree farm), and tie the wide ends to a piece of twine or cord. Put the widest boughs on the bottom, and the smallest ones on the top. Done carefully, you’ll end up with something that looks very much like a Christmas tree and can be hung from one of those drywall-safe sticky hooks and decorated with lights and ornaments just like the standard 3-D version. Continue reading

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Tips For Finding a New Apartment

shutterstock_35362069Why do people look for a new place to rent? Someone may have a change in jobs or even an increase or decrease of salary. Those seeking a new place to live would still want to live in a better place or improved locality and/or neighborhood. One of the first things to take into consideration is the decision to find the best apartment for the best rent.

It is important to find an apartment where the landlord is either on site or a telephone call away. If possible interview the landlord and ask what he or she will cover if something were to go wrong. If there is another onsite person then make sure you ask what hours they keep and ask for their phone number. For instance, if the toilet were to leak who should you call?

When you meet with the landlord or property manager make ask if the apartment has a security system or if there is a guard. Ask about crime in the area and ask if anyone had shutterstock_70872643any concerns about safety. Do your own research by calling the local precinct and ask them for a current police report on the neighborhood.

Your comfort and safety should be of utmost concern to you and you should keep both at the top of your list. If the apartment does not fit both those basic needs, then you should not rent and keep looking. It is important that your mind is at ease when you are in your new home.

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Four Nifty Holiday Party Ideas

four nifty holiday party ideasWho doesn’t love a good holiday party?  It is a great excuse to eat sugary treats and sip champagne!  But even the most festive person can get a little tired of the same old party.   If you are thinking of hosting your own bash this holiday season, try one of these holiday party ideas.

DIY Party

Do you believe the best kind of gift is a handmade gift?  We do too.  Spend a weeknight or even a Sunday afternoon with your friends making homemade goodies.  Things like flavored olive oils, bath salts, and jewelry are perfect to make as a group. Simply share the costs and you all walk away with a few gifts for loved ones.  Don’t forget to provide sugar cookies and snacks to make it an official holiday party.

Pre-Christmas, Christmas Dinner

This one is my favorite!  My husband and I host a full Christmas dinner every December before Christmas.  Some of our family members are not the best cooks, so rather than miss out on a delicious dinner and our favorite dishes, we have our own Christmas dinner that they don’t have to know about!  My one tip, keep it small.  We invite 3 other couples and ask each to bring their specialty and a bottle of wine.  Be prepared for a ton of food and fun.

holiday party ideaBeer Tasting Party

Forget the wine tasting parties.  Have a beer party.  Encourage your friends to bring their favorite craft beer or even something they have never tried before.  All you have to do is provide some snacks.  It is best to pick a few things that pair well with various types of beer.  Cheese, pretzels, something spicy, brownies, blueberries.  Yes, blueberries.  They pair amazingly well with a saison.

Game Night

Do people have game nights anymore?  For a holiday party idea, how about classic card games our parents used to play?  Maybe it is time to bring them back this holiday season.  Ask guests to bring something from their collection and you provide the classic cocktails, Rat Pack holiday music, and of course something festive to snack on.

Find Renter’s Voice on Facebook or Twitter and share your holiday party ideas

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Mickey and Mooch

Photo courtesy of Urbanspoon.com

Photo courtesy of Urbanspoon.com

Mickey and Mooch

“Charlotte’s Own Steakhouse”

Mickey and Mooch boasts a casually elegant atmosphere enabling guests to enjoy a fine meal worthy of Zagat Survey and Wine Spectator Awards at exceptionally reasonable prices! It’s ambiance suggests a Supper Club feel, offering live music several times a week.

An extensive wine list is available featuring House Varieties to Opus One.

Filet Mignon Fondue accompanied by a Gorgonzola Cream Sauce, Charleston Crab Soup with Sautéed Vegetables, Cream and Imported Sherry and White Truffle Fries garnished with Imported Romano Cheese headline the Appetizer Selections.

Salad Entrees include Mixed Greens or Caesar upgraded with Marinated Chicken, Atlantic Salmon, Filet Mignon or Sushi Grade Rare Tuna.

Chicken and Shrimp Pasta Entrees are offered with several preparation options.  Selections from the sea tantalize the palate as Chilean Sea Bass finished with Beurre Blanc, Charleston Shrimp and Grits in a light Cajun Cream and Jumbo Scallops, Browned in Butter or Blackened in Cajun Cream among the options.

Steaks and Chops are offered with Bernaise Sauce or Oscar. Steaks include Prime Cut Filet Mignon in 9 and 12 ounce portions, A 16 ounce New York Strip and 20 ounce Bone-In Ribeye.

Taste buds continue to be tempted by the succulence of an Imported Rack of Lamb as well as the Loin Pork Chop. One side item is included with each Entrée and includes Bleu Cheese Cole Slaw, Loaded Mashed Potatoes and Charleston She Crab Soup among the choices.

If your Sweet Tooth is beckoning for attention, decadence is presented in the Chocolate Mousse Cake or Crème Brûlée among the satisfying solutions.

Mickey and Mooch has two locations for your ultimate dining experience. Each location offers Al Fresco Dining seasonally as well as Valet Parking.

Reservations recommended!

Mickeyandmooch.com

Arboretum – 8128 Providence Road, Ste 1200, Charlotte, NC 28277 – (704)752-8080

Lake Norman – 9733 Sam Furr Road, Huntersville, NC 28078 – (704)895-6654

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Managing Holidays with the Family

holidays-1Most of us end up getting together with either all or part of our extended families for the holiday season. Our families are wonderful and loving, and the time we spend with them is something to look forward to….or not. A lot of us have a family member (or two) that we absolutely dread seeing. They turn a happy occasion into something that is filled with drama and very tiring. We can end up feeling guilty that we view these people with dislike: they are family, we should love them! No, you can dislike the personality/actions of a person and still love them. We also end up spending all this time and effort planning how the holidays SHOULD go, instead of enjoying the time we have with each other. We need to remember two simple things that can make our holidays with family memorable in a good way.

  • It’s Not About You. You need to realize that their actions and words are not meant for you personally. These people may have bad things going on in their own lives, and their harsh ways are a result of those things. Have you ever been having a bad day, and you snapped at someone or reacted overly harsh to someone that didn’t have anything to do with the reason you were in a foul mood? Same thing here, don’t take things personally. Even if they say “Bob, I cannot stand the way you do your hair”, chances are they aren’t really upset with Bob. Their words are reflecting their inner unhappiness. Take everything said with a grain of salt, don’t overreact or respond in kind. You don’t want to later regret something you said out of anger.
  • You Don’t HAVE To. The large dinner, the magazine-worthy decorations…it doesn’t holidays-2all have to be PERFECT. This is your family; you need to suppress the urge to impress. The most important part of spending time with family at the holidays is just that – spending time with family. When it comes down to it, the thing you want your family to come away with is the absolutely wonderful time they spent with each other. This time should be spent laughing, telling stories, sharing memories, and filling the time with love. All your stress about whether the napkins are spotless and the turkey is just so, that is all unimportant. You are CREATING stress for yourself. Take it easy and focus on the important things in life.
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Must-Have Small Appliances for Tiny Apartment Kitchens

Red Blender
Tiny apartment kitchens are really a tough problem for would-be gourmets. When you don’t have space on the counter for your Vita-Mix, your Kitchen Aid, your Fry Daddy, your Cuisinart, your Crock-Pot, and your cutting board, you have to cut corners somewhere. But cut the wrong corners, and your culinary opportunities will plummet. Fortunately, many appliances common to larger kitchens can be compensated for – for example, doing your deep-frying in a wok over the stove instead of in a dedicated fryer.

Here are the small appliances your tiny apartment kitchen simply shouldn’t do without:

A Hand Mixer: A stand mixer like the $350 Kitchenaids might be nice, but the simple truth is that there’s very little you’re going to want to cook at home that requires that kind of power (or expense!) A $15 hand mixer will handle cookie dough, mashing potatoes, whipping cream, and pretty much anything else you need mixed. Continue reading

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Prepare Your Home for Thanksgiving

happythanksgivingBefore you race down to the neighborhood market to buy more decorative items for the Thanksgiving holiday, remember to engage in some no cost items for this festival party.

First, we should always remember to be thankful for what we have. Sure, it is nice to always want more.  We will always want to make more money, have a bigger home or a nicer car or to be an actual homeowner, but these are ephemeral things that will get old and always need replacement throughout our lives.  These temporary material items only provide a short transparent happiness with your self and to find true peace within, rearm yourself with a new Thanksgiving reminder that focuses on being thankful in all areas of your life.

If you focus your attitude on just being thankful for what you have, this helps to enjoy this holiday and does not cost you a penny.  This new attitude will ensure you have a happier holiday. Remember to set aside time to clean your house and ensure that you request,
in an early time frame, for any parking approval passes from your landlord.  Some apartments require pre-approved parking permits or any overnight passes for potential guests.  Further, some apartments allow cooking on a barbeque grill on your patios, while others require you to cook food on their outside community grounds area.

Do not forget to ensure that you inquire with your management’s staff whether you need to reserve certain areas if you plan to have guests and family on this special holiday so there are no potential arguments with other tenants on the space you wanted reserved for this event. Also, ensure that any decorations that are used in and around the outside shutterstock_11487733community grounds area are approved before you purchase potential unnecessary items.

Do not forget to inquire whether your apartment community offers a lounge area for rent and also ensure the pool area is not a problem with the number of people you are inviting.  Lastly, do not forget to bring plenty of film to take pictures to reminiscence this
Thanksgiving day.

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Deli Cordon Bleu

Photo Courtesy of http://jkoverweel.com

Photo Courtesy of http://jkoverweel.com

Deli Cordon Bleu

This recipe rivals the French versions of the typical Cordon Bleu, eliminating prep steps but definitely not sacrificing flavor! It is equally appealing as an entrée accompanied by Au Gratin Potatoes or rice pilaf and steamed asparagus with Lemon Butter or cut into bite size portions for a delicious appetizer.

 

 

1/2 Lb Deli Ham

1/2 Lb Deli Turkey

2 – 6 oz pkgs Shredded Swiss Cheese

Bread Crumbs

1 Stick Butter

1 Egg

1/2 c Half and Half (or Milk)

1/2 c All Purpose Flour

Toothpicks

Assemble the Cordon Bleu by layering a slice of ham topped by a slice of turkey. Top with shredded Swiss Cheese down the middle of the slices. Roll the slices carefully and secure with a toothpick. Repeat for remaining Ham and Turkey slices.

Place flour in a shallow bowl. Whisk egg and half and half together in another shallow bowl. Place breadcrumbs in a third shallow bowl. Coat each roll in flour, followed by dipping in egg and half and half and lastly rolling in breadcrumbs.

Melt half of the stick of butter in a large skillet on medium heat. Brown rolls on each side

Photo Courtesy of http://tigabaluarte.blogspot.com

Photo Courtesy of http://tigabaluarte.blogspot.com

adding additional butter if needed.

Serve whole rolls as entrees or remove toothpicks and cut rolls in bite size portions for appetizers. Mustard makes a flavor enhancing dipping sauce.

Recipe yields 8 – 10 entrée portions or 32 – 40 appetizer portions.

Make enough Cordon Bleu servings to share and enjoy!

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