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.
Did you know all Peak Management residents receive 10% off monthly rent at any YourSpace Storage location? The newest YourSpace Storage in Nottingham is convenient to our residents at Hallfield Apartments, Olde Forge Townhomes, and Satyr Hill Apartments. If you live or work near Nottingham, be sure to check out this location and take advantage of this great discount.
The cold weather is upon us and there are many ways to heat up your home without burning a hole in your wallet. Here are a few ways you can cut your energy costs this winter.
As the temperatures begin to drop, heating bills can go up. You can reduce energy consumption by making simple adjustments within your apartment or townhome.
· Schedule an energy audit through the BGE Smart Energy Savers Program. One of BGE’s Smart Energy inspectors will provide a one-time walk through of your home and find ways you can save money and reduce energy consumption.
· Reduce your hot water temperature to 120-degrees Fahrenheit. If you need assistance with this, contact the service team.
· Replace lightbulbs around your home with new, energy efficient LED bulbs.
· During the day, allow sunlight to illuminate your home so you can keep the lights off. Be sure to close your curtains and lower blinds as the sun goes down to keep heat in your home.
· Change your air filters seasonally. Our teams are out for regular air filter changes throughout the year. Contact our service department if you require an additional filter change.
· Turn off all electronics when not in use including computers, printers, cable boxes, and phone chargers. Easily shift everything off by plugging items into a surge protector and shutting the surge protector off.
· Clean the coils behind your refrigerator (they can get quite dusty) to increase efficiency and keep your refrigerator running smoothly.
· Lower the temperature when you’re heading out for the day and raise it when you return.
Reduce Your Water Usage
· If you notice any water leaks, contact our service department immediately or submit an online service request.
· Take showers instead of baths and keep them to about 5 minutes.
· Turn the water off while brushing your teeth. Two minutes of running water is gallons wasted.
· Run the dishwasher and laundry machines only when the loads are full. If you must run a half-load of laundry, be sure to adjust any settings on your washing machine accordingly.
· When thawing frozen food, avoid using running water. Plan to thaw food in the refrigerator instead.
· Use bath towels more than once. Fewer laundry results in water and energy savings.
Other Fun Ways to Save
· Cook large dinners and take leftovers to lunch for work. Warming winter soups are perfect for this as you can make a large pot and have enough left over for several days. Many soups taste better the next day, too!
· Download the GasBuddy app for your smartphone to scout out the lowest gas prices in the area.
Fall is upon us and the holidays aren’t far behind. This time of year is a great time to start thinking about ways to put away money for holidays, winter vacations, and to boost your savings account. Here are a few ways you can keep more money in your bank account this fall.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Take showers instead of baths. Showers use less water and require less energy for water heating than baths.
- 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!
This Sunday, the Baltimore Ravens kick off their football season against the Buffalo Bills. Celebrate the start of another great football season by throwing a tailgate party! With a little planning you'll score a touchdown with your friends and family!
- reate a Guest List. Consider the size of your home when creating your guest list. Note the location of your TV and the number of seats available for people to comfortably view the game. Also take your budget into consideration. Unless your party is a pot-luck or BYOB, you'll have to determine the amount of people you can invite to keep your party within budget. If your neighborhood has a community center, you can contact the leasing office to see if it's available for rental.
- end the Invites! Using free services such as eVite or Facebook Events are great ways to spread the word about your party without incurring the cost of printed invitations. eVite allows you to customize your invitations with a football theme. These services also allow you to easily track who has responded and who has not.
- ind Additional Chairs. If your guest list outnumbers the seats in your living room, you may need to borrow some folding chairs from a friend or neighbor, purchase a set from your local home goods store, or maybe even rent a few from a nearby party vendor. Be sure to have enough tables or TV tables available for people to use for their plates and drinks.
- et in the Spirit! Dress yourself and your home in gameday colors. Find streamers, table cloths, disposable plates, and napkins in your team's colors or use football-themed styles to make your tables look like a football field. Oriental Trading, Party City, and other party sites have a wide range of options for you to turn your apartment or townhome into the ultimate cheering section. Be sure to have your clothing and any accessories for gameday ready to go! For fun favors, consider grabbing some team-themed eye black for guests to put on when they arrive or some temporary tattoos.
- reate the Menu. If you're planning a potluck, it's best for guests to bring side dishes, appteizers, and desserts. The host is usually responsible for creating the main dishes. Great game day options are burgers, hot dogs, barbeque, pizza, and Buffalo wings. Stadium-themed side dishes and appetizers include nachos, mozzarella sticks, dips with chips or crackers, pigs in a blanket, deviled eggs, guacamole, and crab dip. A vegetable tray is also a nice touch and can be homemade or purchased at your local grocery store. If ordering pizza, it's best to order the day before and set a delivery or pic-up time so your guests aren't waiting hungry for pizzas ordered during prime hours. Whether you cater your event or cook the food at home, plan to have a little extra food as many people tend to graze over the course of a football game rather than sit down to a full meal. Buffet-style layouts are the best option for tailgate-style parties.
- uench Your Thirst. If your party is BYOB, you'll need to provide non-alcoholic beverages for your guests. Stock your fridge with water and soft drinks for everyone. If kids are attending, grab some juice boxes or kid-friendly drinks. Make some iced tea and lemonade to give people a few other drink choice and the option to create Arnold Palmers. If your party is not BYOB, be sure to grab enough beer or other hard drinks for all of your guests. Selecting a few different types is best, including light beers, lagers, and ales to suit different tastes. Setting up a poll for your guests on eVite or Facebook is a good way to gauge the tastes of those attending. Gluten-sensitive people can't drink traditional beer, but gluten-free options are available and most hard ciders and meads are great gluten-free substitutes.
- et Up Your Viewing Station. e sure your TV is viewable to all guests. If you have more than one TV, you can bring extras out into the living areas and play multiple games at once.
- Relax, Have Fun, and Cheer Your Team! Once the game has started, most guests will turn their attention to rooting for their team. A few other ways to have fun are to make predicitons for the overall score, winner, number of field goals, etc. and have a prize for the winners. NFL Trivia is a fun way to spend pre-game time competing against friends.
Who will you be rooting for this weekend?
Summer is the perfect time to get together with family & friends. Potluck parties are a great way to host gatherings without the stress of cooking for a crowd and also sample new dishes! Use this guide to make your next potluck a success.
- Choose a Theme: If you'd like to keep dishes consistent, choose a theme such as Asian cuisine, Mexican food, American BBQ, etc. Of course you could also do a true potluck and not set any parameters!
- Assign Dishes: To ensure that your party doesn't feature 12 desserts or nothing but appetizers, be sure to ask guests to bring a particular course. Don't forget side dishes, salads, appetizers, desserts, etc. Typically, the host creates the main dish and will fill in any gaps as needed.
- Choose Your Setting: Outdoor picnic areas in the community are a great place to host your party, weather permitting. If your community has grills, cooking can be done in an outdoor social setting. Be sure to pack two coolers ofice: one for keeping drinks cold, and another for your guests to use in drinks. Keep a backup plan in case of summer storms - guests may need to move indoors to your home. You can also book the community center for a larger crowd or to use as backup space for rain or heat alternatives. Be sure to contact your leasing office to reserve this space!
- Determine the Flow: Design your party area so that no one is overcrowded in one area. If you're hosting a seated dinner, set the table ahead of time and be sure there are enough serving dishes and utensils to divide dishes for each end of the table if it's a large crowd. Alternatively, you can set up a buffet-style party and have one table for food. Arrante the food so it flows from salads to main course to side dishes. Don't forget to add a stack of plates and utensils at the start of the table for your guests. Pre-wrapped utensils in napkins can speed up the line so guests can easily grab everything they need in an easy-to-carry pack.
- Keep Early Snacks Ready: Since most food won't be on hand when your first guests arrive, be sure to have snacks ready for your early guests. Great options are chips & dip, deviled eggs, mini eggrolls, etc. Keep these in line with your theme if you have one.
Do you have a potluck party scheduled? We'd love to hear about your plans in the comments!