Fun at the Maryland State BBQ Bash

We teamed up with YourSpace Storage at the Maryland State Barbeque Bash this weekend.  If you're in the Bel Air neighborhood, stop by and say hi!

 

Happy National S'Mores Day!

Smores Day

National S’Mores Day

 

Today is National S’Mores day and we want to celebrate with some delicious recipes.  Whether you’re making S’Mores around a campfire, in your kitchen with the oven or microwave, or at your community’s outside grilling area, these recipes are sure to bring you some joy!

Classic S’Mores

1.      Using a skewer or stick, roast a marshmallow over a campfire or grill until golden brown on the outside. 

2.      Place a few pieces of milk chocolate on a graham cracker square. 

3.      Spread the toasted, gooey marshmallow on another graham cracker square.

4.      Place the two topped crackers together to form a sandwich.

5.      Enjoy your S’More!

 

S’Mores Bars Recipe from Taste of Home

Taste of home has a great recipe for a S’Mores bar you can make in the comfort of your home – no campfire required.  Using marshamallow crème instead of roasted marshmallows makes this a simple way to enjoy S’Mores year round.

https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/s-more-bars

 

Peeps S’Mores

Do you have leftover peeps (those sprinkle-coated marshmallow chicks) from the spring holidays?  Replace marshmallows in the Classic S’Mores recipe with peeps.  The sprinkles caramelize to add some crunchy sweetness to your S’Mores.

 

Snack Works Easy Pan O’ S’Mores

Snack Works has a delicious recipe for making S’Mores for a crowd in the oven. 

http://www.snackworks.com/recipe/easy-pan-o-smores-57401.aspx

 

S’Moreos

Twist open an Oreo cookie and place it cream-side-down on one graham cracker square. Place your toasted marshmallow on the other half and a square of milk chocolate on top.  Press the two graham cracker halves together to form a delicious S’Moreo and enjoy.

 

Caramel S’Mores

Add a little caramel to your classic S’More for some extra sweetness. 

 

 

What do you like to add to your S’Mores? Share your favorite recipe with us on Social Media?

 

 

Keep Your Apartment Cool While Saving Money this Summer

Keep Your Apartment Cool While Saving Money this Summer

Keep your apartment or rental townhome cool this summer with a few simple life hacks.

How to Childproof Your Apartment

How to Childproof Your Apartment

Whether you’re welcoming a new bundle of joy to your home or a small friend is coming to visit, you want to be certain your home is safe and ready.  Use this checklist to make sure your apartment is ready for any little ones.

 

Throughout the Home

·        Be sure blind cords are safely secured to the wall.  A blind cord safety cleat (such as this one from Prime-Line products) or cord shorteners (such as these) will do the trick.

·        Rid the apartment of any odors including cigarette smoke, paint fumes, or harsh chemicals.  Cigarette smoke has been linked to SIDS deaths.

·        Invest in one or more pressure-mounted baby gates to block off areas of the apartment that are unsafe.  Be sure to put the baby gate up at night to keep the little one safely in their room.

·        Block off outlets with outlet protectors.  Be sure they fit securely and tightly so prying fingers can’t easily get them off.  A safe & aesthetically pleasing option is the KidCo Universal Outlet Covers ($9 for three from Amazon.com)

·        Move furniture away from windows where a child could climb up and potentially fall from the window.  Keep windows locked.

·        If you have stairs in your home, use baby gates at the top and bottom of the staircase.

·        Regularly check your smoke and CO detectors to ensure proper function and working batteries.

·        Create and memorize your family’s fire escape plan.

·        Secure any furniture that is a topple-hazard (such as bookshelves, entertainment centers, dressers, etc.).  Most furniture that poses such a threat will come with a wall attachment strap that can be mounted to the wall.  Store heavier items on the bottom shelves/drawers of such furniture and lighter objects at the top for extra stability.

·        Fasten your TV to the wall to prevent it from toppling over.

·        Crawl around the floor of your home to make sure there are no small objects such as food, coins, small toys, etc. that can present a choking hazard.

 

Entryway

·        Make sure your front door is locked and deadbolted, especially once the child is tall enough to reach the door handle. 

·        Keep the patio/balcony sliding doors locked and shut, as well.  Never allow a little one to play on the balcony or patio without adult supervision.

·        Store purses and bags high in the closet, out of reach of children.

 

Kitchen

·        Use cabinet locks & drawer locks to keep children out of cabinets and drawers – especially those that contain chemicals and cleaning products or breakable objects.  Try the Magnetic Cabinet & Drawer Latch System from Safety 1st ($35 for 4 from Amazon.com)

·        Keep hot foods and beverages away from the edges of counters & tables and well out of reach of children.

·        Install a stove guard or knob guards to keep hands away from knobs and burners.

·        Point sharp items downwards when loading in the dishwasher.  Keep your dishwasher latched at all times when it’s not being emptied or reloaded.

·        Lock the oven door while it’s in use or hot.

 

Bathroom

·        Use cabinet locks & drawer locks to keep children out of cabinets and drawers – especially those that contain chemicals and cleaning products or breakable objects. 

·        Place non-slip shower mats in the bathtub.

·        Store razors out of reach from the child and be sure it’s not in a place where it may fall during his/her bath.

·        Install a spout cover on the bathtub.  These protect against head injuries during bath time.  A cute option is the Moby Bath Spout Cover that looks like a blue whale ($13 from Amazon).

·        Keep trash cans out of reach.

·        Install a toilet lock on your toilets to prevent strangulation and/or drowning.  Check out the Mommy’s Little Helper Toilet Lid-Lok ($8 from Amazon.com)

·        Lock up medicines using a medicine safe, such as the Dreambaby Kiddy Lock Guard Child Safe Container ($34 from WalMart).

 

Bedroom

·        Keep all small objects, jewelry, and toiletries out of reach from little hands.  If these items are kept in a drawer, use a drawer lock to prevent access.

·        Never place a baby in a crib with fluffy pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals.  Keep the crib as clean and free of items as possible for safest sleep.

 

 

Note: This is not an exhaustive list of childproofing and additional steps may need to be taken in your individual circumstances.  Be sure to contact childcare experts such as your pediatrician as well as other online resources such as BabyCenter, Mayo Clinic, and WebMD for additional information. 

 

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!