Apartment Life

#PeakFit: The Best Streaming Services to Workout in Your Apartment

#PeakFit: The Best Streaming Services to Workout in Your Apartment

Some days you don’t feel like heading out your front door to the gym or even taking the short walk to your community’s fitness center, but you still want to work up a sweat.  When the weather is frightful or your schedule isn’t allowing for exercise away from your abode, a streaming service can be a great way to work up a sweat in your apartment.  Here are a few of our picks for affordable ways to work out at home.

Saving Money in the Cooler Months

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.

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. 

 

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!

Host a Summer Potluck Party

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.

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. 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!

Cheap Apartment & Townhome Upgrades: Shower Curtains to Brighten Your Bathroom

Cheap Apartment & Townhome Upgrades: Shower Curtains to Brighten Your Bathroom

You don't need a full bathroom remodel to upgrade the look of your bathroom.  We've got some great ways to brighten up your apartment or townhome bathroom with these stylish shower curtains.