Helpful Apps that Can Help You Save Money

Helpful Apps that Can Help You Save Money

Your smart phone can help you be smarter with money.  From budgeting to coupons, there's an app for that.  #GoodLivingStartsHere

Patio & Balcony Gardening 101

Patio & Balcony Gardening 101

Just because you live in an apartment doesn't mean you can't grow a beautiful garden.  From colorful flowers to delicious veggies, we've got a few tips to help your garden grow this spring.

MLB Opening Day: Fun Facts About the Baltimore Orioles

MLB Opening Day: Fun Facts About the Baltimore Orioles

We couldn't be more excited for the start of baseball season in Baltimore!  To celebrate opening day, we've compiled a list of fun facts about our beloved O's!

Slainte! Where to Celebrate St. Patty's Day in the Charm City Area

Slainte!  Where to Celebrate St. Patty's Day in the Charm City Area

Even if you're not an Irishman (or Irishwoman), you can celebrate like one in and around Baltimore.  Here's a list of the best St. Patrick's day activities in the Charm City Area.

Community Spotlight: Olde Forge Townhomes & Hallfield Apartments (Nottingham, MD)

If you're looking to move to Baltimore County, be sure to take a tour of Olde Forge Townhomes & Hallfield Apartments in Nottingham.  We offer great apartment living and the privacy of townhome living with the conveniences of a rental community, on-site management, and 24-hour emergency maintenance.

Convenient Commuting

Nottingham, MD is located just off Interstate 95 and hosts major through-ways including White Marsh Boulevard (MD-43) and Bel Air Road (US Route 1).  Whether you're commuting to White Marsh, Towson, or downtown Baltimore, you're just a short drive away.

Major Employers

There are plenty of job opportunities in the Nottingham/White Marsh area.  The White Marsh Business District is home to companies including Kaiser Permanente, Ikea, Xfinity/Comcast, ADP, Adecco Staffing, among many others.

Parks & Trails

Olde Forge Townhomes and Hallfield Apartments are situated near several area parks: Honeygo Run Regional Park, Angel Park, Belmont Park, Linover Park, and more.

Honeygo Run Regional Park is home to a large fenced dog park, baseball and sports fields, a 3/4 mile walking trail, wooded hiking trails, playground, pavilions, grills, and picnic areas.  Also located at Honeygo Run is an indoor recreation center that is home to Baltimore County Recreation Council programs.

Angel Park is located in nearby Perry Hall and is Baltimore County's largest playground designed for special-needs children.  Features include a Braille panel, wheelchair accessible playground accessories (including a shaky bridge), zip lines, and more.  Quiet spaces have been created for children who have sensory conditions where they can take a break.

Other area parks to enjoy are Belmont Park, Cowentown Ridge Park, Gough Park, Indian Rock Park, Linover Park, Lorely Community Center, Nottingham Park, & Perry Hall Park.  More information can be found on the Baltimore County Parks and Recreation website.

Arts & Entertainment

iFly Baltimore is a new indoor skydiving experience located at The Avenue at White Marsh. iFly allows you the experience of free falling while in a controlled wind tunnel.  "Flights" last approximately 60 seconds.  Several people may be scheduled for a given flight, so bringing your friends & family makes the experience more fun.

If you're looking for an authentic retro experience, a short drive east to Bengie's Drive-In Theatre makes for a great evening out.  Bengie's has the largest movie theatre screen in the US and is now digital for a stellar viewing experience under the stars.  For current movie listings, check out bengies.com

Weber's Cider Mill Farm in Parkville is a farm market open to the public March-December.  During harvest seasons you can pick your own produce or stop by the gift shop for some home decor or homemade goodies including pies, cakes, pastries, fudge, and ice cream.  Fresh turkeys are also sold for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but should be pre-ordered.

For a little pampering, book an appointment at The Spa on The Avenue.  This spa has a 4.5 star rating on tripadvisor.com and offers services from manicures/pedicures to massages and hair services.  Packages are available from the Essentials Package to the all-inclusive Cinderella Package.  Be sure to check their website for current specials and discounts.  Active duty military, DoD, and first responders receive a 10% discount on all products and services with valid ID.

AMC Loews Movie Theater, also located at The Avenue at White Marsh, is a 16-cinema theater which includes IMAS and 3D movie experiences.  Discounted tickets are available for seniors, active duty military, and students.  For the latest listings and to purchase tickets online, check out amctheaters.com. 

Shop 'Til You Drop

If you're looking to move to a community near great shopping, Olde Forge and Hallfield are perfect for you.  Just a few minutes away are The Avenue at White Marsh, White Marsh Mall, Nottingham Square, and Honeygo Center.

Find the latest fashions at Old Navy, Loft, Chico's, and Men's Wearhouse at The Avenue.  White Marsh Mall is home to Hollister, H&M, Aldo, Express, American Eagle, and more.

Decorate your new apartment or townhome with the latest accents from Pier 1 Imports, Target, Ikea, and Yankee Candle.

Dining

No matter the cuisine, you'll find it in the Nottingham/White Mars area.  From American to Asian, we have some top picks listed below by cuisine.  Click the links for menus, hours, and more information.

American

Mexican

Seafood

Asian

Indian

Moving Services

Once you're ready to move in to Olde Forge Townhomes or Hallfield Apartments, stop by nearby YourSpace Storage at Joppatowne for moving boxes, moving trucks, and self storage services (Peak Management residents receive 10% off monthly rent).  YourSpace Storage is located just a few miles north of Olde Forge/Hallfield on Pulaski Highway in Joppatowne, MD.

 

 

Apps to Help You Organize Your Closet without Leaving Home

Apple App Store Image

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to clean out your home this year, it’s never been a better time to declutter thanks to the latest technology.  We’ve compiled a list of the best apps for helping you tackle your clutter this year – all without stepping foot outside of your home.

1.       Stylebook – Use this app to organize your closet, select outfits, and find fashion inspiration.  By taking photos of your clothes and loading them into Stylebook, you can mix and match your pieces while lounging on your couch.  Stylebook’s team of experts also provide outfit ideas, clothing care instructions, and more.

2.       Poshmark You can buy and sell unworn clothes using the Poshmark app.  Kind of like an eBay –without the bidding - for clothing, simply upload a photo of the item(s) you want to sell, enter a description and price, and wait for a buyer.  Buyers & sellers are able to communicate through the app to negotiate prices or discuss more details about the item.  Sellers earn 80% of selling price for each item priced $15 or more.  For lower-priced items, a $2.95 commission applies.

3.       thredUP – Selling on thredUP is easy.  Simply request a “Clean Out” bag from the company and fill the bag with women’s or children’s clothing that qualifies, and thredUP does the rest.  Sellers earn a percentage of the final selling price ranging from 10-80%. 

4.       Tradesy – If you have luxury and designer items to sell, Tradesy is the place to do it.  The Tradesy app walks you through the selling process from uploading photos to selecting a sale price.  Shipping labels are provided by Tradesy when an item sells and all returns are handled by Tradesy.  Tradesy fees range from 9%-12%, depending upon whether you choose to be paid by store credit or in cash.

5.       Mercari  - You can sell almost anything on the Mercari app from housewares to clothing.  Start by uploading a few photos of your item and a description.   Mercari sends you shipping labels once your item is sold.  Selling fees are 10% of the listing price.

6.       LetgoThis is one app that allows you to sell completely for free.  You can sell almost anything on Letgo for free to someone in your local area.  However, this app acts more as a “Craig’s List” type listing service than an eBay-type sales platform.  Sellers and buyers are responsible for all communication, setting up pick up and shipping, and determining final pricing.  Letgo does not get involved in resolving disputes.

7.       Gone – Gone is an app for selling electronics you no longer use.  Although Gone does not collect commissions or charge selling fees, they determine the final price for the item you wish to sell.  This is an easy, hassle-free way to get rid of any old devices that you no longer use. 

Decorating with Pantone's Color of the Year: Greenery 15-0343

Copyright 2017 Pantone

Copyright 2017 Pantone

Pantone has chosen Greenery as it’s color of 2017.  Using this color in your home can add a refreshing, natural pop of color.  Color inspirations can be found on Pantone’s color of the year page and there are several great palettes to help inspire you when decorating.  The Transitions palette includes last year’s colors: Serenity & Rose Quartz so you can easily update any styles from last year.

Check out the slideshow below for some great design inspiration from area shops.  Also, see below for more information about purchasing these items, including web links.  All images are copyright of their respective companies.

 

Sources:

1.       Bath and Body Works – Sunlit Garden 3-Wick Candle, $22.50

2.      Bath and Body Works – White Tea & Pear 3-Wick Candle, $22.50

3.       Kirklands – Lavender and Heather Mix Wreath, $29.99

4.       Kirklands – Half Tulip Wreath, $24.99

5.       Two Sisters – Marble Artichoke Coasters, $44.99

6.     Overstock.com – b.b.begonia Blossom Reversible Design Outdoor Area Rug, $114.49

7.     Bassett Furniture – Basecamp Apple Green Quilt, $179.00

8.     Bassett Furniture – Array Green Decorative Pillow, $99.00

9.     Bassett Furniture – Sommersby Area Rug, $699.00

10.   Pier 1 – Green Leaf Stoneware Bowl, $2.98

11.    Pier 1 – Green Garden Stool, $99.95

12.   Pier 1 - Luca Green Oval Chair, $149.95

13.   Pier 1- Carmelo Palm Green Melamine Dinnerware, $6.95-$7.95

14.   Ikea – Strandmon Ottoman in Skiftebo Green, $89.00 & Strandmon Wing Chair in Skiftebo Green, $279.00

How to Find the Perfect Neighborhood

Finding the Perfect Neighborhood

The first step in finding your new home or apartment is selecting the neighborhood that best fits your needs and lifestyle.  Doing your homework when finding a new area to live is one of the most important steps you can take in your home search. 

Amenities & Attractions

Check out what the area has to offer in terms of shopping, healthcare, entertainment, parks, and more?  Visit the area grocery stores, restaurants, and shopping centers to see how the stores fit into your lifestyle.  If you’re a fitness buff, see if the community and surrounding area offer gyms, parks, and other services you like.  Outdoorsy folks can look into are recreation, lakes, rivers, hiking trails, and more.  Be sure to check out dining, nightlife, and other social activities in the area, too. 

A few great local & national resources for scoping out your new neighborhood are:

·     Baltimore County Tourism & Promotion

·       Visit Harford

·       Trip Advisor

·       Visit Baltimore

·       Visit Maryland

·      National Geographic City Guides (Baltimore)

·       Travel Channel Attractions (Baltimore) 

·         Yelp.com

 

Check Your Commute

Especially if you’re moving for a new job, be sure to drive the route to and from your desired community to work during your commute times before making a final decision on your home.   See how traffic influences your commute during various times of the day. 

If you’re researching from afar, a website or app like Waze or Google Maps, can give a pretty good estimate of drive times in and out of traffic.

If you walk or bike to work, check to see if your route has safe sidewalks, paths, or bike lanes.

 

Crime Rates & Safety

Crime statistics & reports are available online using services like Neighborhood Scout or on local government and police department websites.  It’s wise to research area crime statistics before moving into a neighborhood.  Keep in mind, crime has no address, and some crime happens in all communities.  Some resources for determining crime rates are:

·     Baltimore, MD Crime Map

·     Baltimore Police Crime Map

·     Baltimore and Maryland Crime Coverage

·     Baltimore County Crime Trends and Statistics

·     Harford County Sherriff’s Office

 

Talk to the Residents

When scouting out your new neighborhood, chat with area residents to see how they like living in the community.  Most will be happy to offer an honest opinion and provide advice on living in the area.  If researching from afar, search for local Facebook groups in that neighborhood or city so you can find honest answers about life in your desired neighborhood.

 

Check into Schools

Whether you have children who will be attending school, you’re taking some classes, or you’re interested in some career-advancing skills, checking into area schools is always a good idea.  Your realtor or property manager will be able to provide the community’s assigned public schools and you can find out more about them at greatschools.org.  You may be interested in visiting area private schools, colleges, or vocational schools as well.

 

Take it to the Streets

The best way to really find out what a neighborhood is like to spend some time walking around, shopping, and visiting it in person.  Spend a half day or a day in your desired areas to make sure they truly have what you need. 

 

 

Do you have other tips you'd like to share?  Join the conversation with us here in the comments or on our social pages!

Smart Home Technology for Apartment Dwellers

Copyright Samsung | Tech News Today

The smart home craze isn't just for homeowners.  There are many new devices that are perfect for apartment residents that can make your life easier with the push of a button.

  • SmartThings is a home automation kit that works with all sorts of devices including smart light bulbs & switches, outlets, Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Samsung Sensors, cameras, thermostats, speakers, appliances, remotes, and more. By downloading the SmartThings App, you'll install the hub for a range of smart products that can be controlled usting your phone.  Control your home while you're away, even have coffee brew and ready before getting out of bed.  For more information, visit the Samsung SmartThings website at smartthings.com
  • SmartSense Multi-Sensor is another Samsung product that is compatible with SmartThings.  This sensor allows you to detect movement on doors, drawers, and other items so you can add protection to your home or valuables.  Alerts are sent to the SmartThings app.
  • Philips Hue Lighting can change the feel of your apartment as you wish - without painting or redecorating.  You can change the color of the light bulbs to fit any mood whether you're looking for a warm, cozy lighting scheme or a cool party scene.  But these lights don't only change color on demand.  By downloading the Hue Camera app, the lights will automatically adjust to optimize TV and movie viewing.
  • Twist Bulbs are another smart lighting device, but these also include a small audio device.  Each tiny speaker installed in Twist Bulbs work together to create a full-home sound and light experience.
  • Nest Cam is a security camera that you can live stream anywhere at any time.  Alerts can also be sent if there is a change in sound or lighting so you can start viewing a live video stream on your device or computer.
  • The WeMo Switch by Belkin is a handy device that can help save on your energy bills.  This little device allows you turn devices and appliances off or on while you're away from home.  If you forgot to turn off your lights, TV, or anything else after leaving, you can do so easily from afar with WeMo.
  • Amazon Echo Dot, Google Home, and Ubi are voice-controlled assistants that can obey commands from playing music to ordering supplies all with the sound of your voice. 
  • The Roost Smart Battery is designed for use in smoke/CO detectors that has network and smart phone connectivity.  This will send you a notification on your phone when the battery is running low so you can change it before the beeps and alarms sound!

 

What are your favorite new home devices?  Share with the community in the comments below!

 

How to Slash Your Utility Bill

How to Slash Your Utility Bill

Winter heating can increase your energy consumption, but taking a few small steps around your home can bring your utility bill down a few degrees.

  1. Check your registers.  Be sure none of your vents or registers are blocked by furniture.  Obstructed air flow can cause your heating or air conditioning to work less efficiently, increasing consumption.
  2. Open south-facing windows.  During the day, open the blinds and curtains on only any south-facing windows to let in some natural sunlight and heat.  Close them back up at night to trap in the warm air.  If you don't have drapes already, installing drapery at each window can act as an insulating liner, keeping heat trapped in your home instead of escaping through windows.
  3. Lower the thermostat.  Lowering the heat by 1 degree during the winter months can save up to 1-3% on your electric bill.  Although it seems like a small difference, this could save you hundreds of dollars per year on your bill - especially if you lower the heat by a few degrees.  While out of the house for extended periods, set the heat to 65-68 degrees and turn it back up when you come home.  If you're heading out for a winter getaway, lowering the thermostat to 58 degrees will provide extra savings.
  4. Control standby power.  Also known as vampire energy charges, this refers to energy consumption by small electronics that can quickly add up.  New smart electronics consume energy, even when it appears they are shut off.  Plug televisions, game systems, and other electronics into a power strip.  Turn off the power strip when the items are not in use to completely stop their phantom energy consumption.
  5. Purchase energy-efficient lighting.  New LED bulbs are great energy savers and often use 80% less energy than traditional light bulbs.  While these may be more expensive on the front-end, they last significantly longer and use much less energy.  Over time, these bulbs more than pay for themselves.
  6. Conduct a nighttime inspection.  Before going to sleep for the night, walk through your home to make sure no lights, electronics, or other devices are left on and running unnecessarily.  
  7. Make use of small space heaters.  If you're spending most of your time in one room of your home, use a small space heater to heat it up instead of heating the entire house. 
  8. Take showers instead of baths.  Showers use less water and require less energy for water heating than baths.
  9. Wash only full loads.  Don't run your dishwasher, washing machine, or dryer when only partially full.  To make the most of your energy use, save running these machines for when they are completely full.

Do you have other tips you'd like to share?  Please leave them in the comments below!

Community Spotlight: Avanti Luxury Apartments

Community Spotlight: Avanti Luxury Apartments

Community Spotlight on Avanti Luxury Apartments in Bel Air, MD featuring arts, entertainment, dining, and more things to do in Bel Air, MD!

#PeakFit: Work Out Without a Gym Membership at Your Community Fitness Center

If saving money and getting fit are New Year's resolutions for you, we can help!  Many of our communities have 24-hour fitness centers available to our residents, free of charge.  Save the gym membership fees and work out conveniently in your community.

Don't know how to begin?  There are so many resources online that can help you find the best workout plan for you.

If you're an aspiring runner, the website CoolRunning.com has training plans from "Couch to 5K" to advanced marathon training.  Downloadable apps for your phone can provide more customized options for you based on current fitness level, pace, and goals.  Try Nike+ Run Club, Couch to 5K, and Map My Run Trainer.  Share your runs with friends using Nike+ Run Club, Map My Run, or Strava.  These apps are like social media for athletes and can boost your motivation with fun challenges.  Use area walking paths, community roads and sidewalks, and our fitness center treadmills to train and you'll be able to stick to your new plan regardless of the weather!

Looking to gain strength?  We have your solutions with free weights, Precor fitness machines, medicine balls, and other strength training equipment.  Follow along with video courses using apps and websites like Daily Burn, Beachbody on Demand, Sweat with Kayla, and FitStar.  Many combine strength and cardio exercises and use HIIT to increase your metabolism while building muscle.

Indoor cycles and elliptical trainers are also available for a great low-impact cardio workout.  Cycling training programs can be found on the app CycleCast which specializes in gym bikes and indoor cycling workouts.  Peloton Cycle is another great app where you can live stream cycling classes to your smartphone or tablet.  Workout by Fitness 22 Ltd. is a full virtual personal trainer and workout tracker that can build custom workouts based on the equipment available, personal goals, and your fitness level.

If you have any questions about our fitness centers or other amenities, please contact our leasing team.  We are always happy to help!

Happy New Year!