I know many espouse shopping vintage as the only way to inject “authentic personality” into your home. I wouldn’t say I disagree. I enjoy the vintage scavenger hunt as much as anyone, but sometimes you need more expedient options. And if those options look as good as these fall pieces from Anthropologie do, I’m totally ok with that.
I posted about Anthro’s latest collaboration last month and their hits just keep on coming. I’m the first to admit I’ve often thought of Anthro pieces as overly whimsical, feminine and a touch too cottage chic, but this new editorial shows that it all depends on your context. A beautiful home designed by famed architect Richard Neutra certainly helps. This one is for sale FYI!
But what this home tour really illustrates is that a piece can take on a totally different personality in a different environment – so really you shouldn’t rule an option out at first glance. Really think about how something will look and feel in your space regardless if it’s modern or bohemian-inspired.
I could not be more obsessed with this wood cabinet. It has a really unique a mesh overlay, a travertine top an gorgeous rounded corners.
Also I have to mention that this mix of wood tones is giving me all kinds of inspiration for our new cottage. And since I only have about 10 weeks to renovate and furnish the entire house, I’m fully ok with unearthing some gems – big box store or not.
This entire home is a beautiful study in mixing soothing neutrals, a variety of texture and a feeling of pieces being collected over time. But you didn’t have to wait years to stumble across the perfect treasure. And there’s no shame in that!
As we shift into the new season and really think about making our homes our sanctuary from both the colder temperatures and from Covid, you can think out of the box while still shopping within one.
Based on your preferences and lifestyle, you will need a certain amount of space in your apartment. While hunting for your new apartment, you might wonder just how much (or how little) square footage you’ll need. But sometimes, it’s not all about the amount of space you have. Here are seven questions about apartment space that aren’t about square footage.
1. Do I need a workspace?
If you work from home, you might want a separate room for your office. Having a separate office improves productivity because you can focus better when you regularly work in the same environment. However, if you are looking at a studio apartment, you probably won’t have a separate office, but you can always use a section of your room as an office space.
2. Is there a dining area or dining room?
Some apartments have dining areas and dining rooms, whereas others might barely have a kitchenette. In smaller apartments with less space for eating and preparing food, you’ll need to make the best of the space you do have. For example, some tables can be used to work and eat, or if you don’t have an office, a dining room can also serve as your office if you have the right table and seating.
3. Do I have friends over a lot?
When you invite more than one friend to your apartment, you might struggle to fit everyone in your living room. That’s why your living room furniture arrangement is essential to consider if you often have multiple people over. On the other hand, if you don’t invite many people over or you have a small living room, minimal furniture such as a couch and coffee table may suffice.
Picking the right bed is a key apartment decision. Some people decide to sleep on an extra-long twin-size bed to save space, but with more apartment space, you can choose a wider bed so you have more room to move around. If you need more space than a twin-size bed or if you have a partner who often sleeps in your bed with you, a full-size or queen-size bed may be better for you.
6. What is my new furniture budget?
If you upgrade to a bigger space but don’t have furniture to fill it, can you afford to spend money to do so? Perhaps you have some money to buy a few pieces of furniture, but not a ton, and in that case, you can use thrifting apps to buy affordable furniture in good condition. If you don’t have enough money to buy any new furniture, moving to a smaller apartment you don’t have to fill with furniture may be a more budget-savvy move.
7. How big is the average apartment?
To know how your options compare with others, know the average size of an apartment. In 2019, the average U.S. apartment size was less than 900 square feet, and Seattle has the country’s smallest apartments, with an average size of approximately 711 square feet. Manhattan and Chicago’s apartments are second-smallest at approximately 733 square feet each.
Whether you’re looking for a large apartment or a smaller one, square footage isn’t the only factor to keep in mind. You can find the best apartment based on your furniture preferences and lifestyle – you can make your apartment hunt easier.
If you live in Boston, you are probably no stranger to moving truck permits. Aside from packing everything in boxes and contacting the movers, you also need to apply for a moving truck permit and post the “no-parking” sign so you don’t have to stack up everything on the corner of your street on the moving day.
Moving truck permits in some ways reflect the housing demand in the city of Boston. While the number of issued moving truck permits usually surges each year from August through the first couple of days of September in accordance with the college move-in days, generally speaking, the more moving truck permits issued, the more real estate activity there is.
As one of the major cities hit hard by COVID-19, Boston saw a huge decline in renter demand. In our report this year, we examined how the pandemic has affected the Boston housing market, specifically by looking at the number of moving truck permits issued.
The number of moving truck permits issued by the city is down 14.7% this year
Figure 1 below summarizes the number of issued moving truck permits with an expiration date between January and September, from 2015 to 2020. In total, 11,885 permits have been issued so far in 2020, 14.7% less than the same time period in 2019.
Knowing the totals is not good enough. By comparing the number of moving truck permits issued by month in the past six years, we could better understand the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Figure 2 below breaks down the number of issued moving truck permits by month, covering the period from January 2015 all the way through September 2020.
The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the U.S. was reported on January 20, 2020, and on February 1, Boston announced its first confirmed case. As cases soared, the city entered the lockdown in mid-March. Moving came to a halt in April, with the total number of moving truck permits issued fell to 458, the lowest since January 2015 and 47.7% fewer than April 2019. The number continued to stay low through June, putting downward pressure on rents. In Boston, one-bedroom median rent was down in 2.6% year-over-year in June 2020, according to RentHop data.
While August topped all previous months in terms of the number of moving truck permits issued in recent years, mostly because of the college move-ins (for most colleges, the move-ins were twice as long), remember, many students moved into dorms, not rental properties, and the surge might not fully represent the demand in the Boston rental market. Once the move-in madness passed, the rental demand could fall again. Based on the data, it looks like September 2020 is on track to be the worst month of September compared to previous ones. The pandemic has driven down the rental demand across Boston – one-bedroom median rent currently sits at $2,350, 6.0% lower than last year.
West Roxbury, Seaport, and Fenway-Kenmore Experienced Drops in Permits Issued
While overall fewer moving truck permits have been issued so far in 2020, some areas saw more significant drops compared to others. The map below highlights Boston zip codes as well as the number of permits issued in 2020, the year-over-year change, and the difference from the yearly average (2015- 2019). The darker the shades, the fewer permits were issued compared to 2019.
Of the 40+ zip codes included in this map, zip code 02132 (West Roxbury) saw the largest drop in the number of issued moving truck permits (22 permits, YoY -53.2%), followed by zip code 02210 (Seaport), which saw a YoY of -46.7%. Table 1 below features the 10 zip codes with the most number of moving truck permits issued so far in 2020. Note how the numbers are all lower compared to the same period in 2019.
Rent Dropped in Some Zip Codes Amid Moving Downtrend
In addition to grouping and analyzing issued moving truck permits by their expiration dates, we also explored the relationship between rental prices and moving truck permits. To assess the correlation between year-over-year median rental price changes and differences from average yearly issued permits, we plotted the two against one another and calculated the correlation coefficient.
We noticed a slight positive correlation (R2 = 11%) between the year-over-year rent change and the difference from the yearly average of permits issued among zip codes, which states that as zip codes experiencing fewer moving activities compared to the yearly average from 2015 to 2019 saw bigger price drops.
This report examines how COVID-19 has impacted the Boston rental market, specifically through the number of issued moving truck permits and rental rate changes. The moving truck permit data is made public by Analyze Boston. Median one-bedroom rents and year-over-year median rent growth by zip code were calculated using RentHop’s proprietary listing data. For the regression analysis, we included only zip codes with over 10 moving truck permits issued in 2020.
Our previous Boston Move-In Day studies can be found here:
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There are sales, and there are sales. The ones so good you forward them to your group chat. The ones where you double-check the price because you just can’t believe it’s real. Well, friends, this is that type of major sale. Right now, you can score a whopping 50 percent off All-Clad’s Stainless Steel 12-inch fry pan with lid on Amazon as part of its early Prime Day deals. Marked down to just $99.95 (normally $199.99), this isn’t just any pan; it’s the one we named the best stainless steel skillet on the market last year. It’s also so good, our editor-in-chief Faith swears by it.
Put simply: This is the pan that will get you through the day. The low, sloped sides allow easy access for flipping omelets, but they’re high enough to keep things contained — no matter how overzealous your stir-fry technique may be. It also includes a lid to retain heat while steaming vegetables or simmering sauces. Plus, it’s big: The wide, flat bottom can hold up to four chicken breasts, so if you’re looking to make one-skillet meals, this is your pan. As Faith says, “It’s heavy, cooks evenly, and has enough surface space for searing or sautéing a whole meal.”
And, well, it’s All-Clad, so that means superior construction. As our Lifestyle Director, Lisa, explained, All-Clad is so good, “you can go with the less expensive D3 pans and still end up with the best cookware out there.” And this pan is made with their signature bonded three-ply material — an aluminum core surrounded by stainless steel — that equals more even heat distribution. So you can make pancakes without one burning because it’s on the “hottest part” of the pan. The stainless-steel starburst finish means it’s stick-resistant (but there’s nothing a little vinegar and water can’t take off), and it’s oven-safe up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can sear that pot roast on the stovetop before moving it to the oven. And thanks to the rivets that securely attach it to the base, the handle won’t ever get loose or shaky, so forget about marinades and juices that slosh everywhere.
Renting in some of the country’s top cities usually comes with a hefty price tag. But, if you’re not set on moving to New York or San Francisco, there are some great affordable alternatives for you, albeit in smaller cities.
So, we went apartment hunting and looked at an extensive number of listings across the country, with the main criteria being rents less than $500 per month. While such a low monthly rent for an apartment could sound like an impossible mission, we set out to defy all odds and find the best, most impressive rentals out there.
You may get a small-sized apartment with this budget, but you’ll also have access to numerous amenities and convenient locations. Although it might be hard to believe there are such affordable options out there, we can guarantee that all of them are 100% real because they come directly from property managers, as do all the listings on rentcafe.com.
Without further ado – and in no particular order – here’s what $500 per month can get you in ten affordable U.S. cities:
1. Greenville, OH
Living in Greenville means more than just living in a historic town with affordable apartments. It’s also fun! Here, you can spend your time visiting museums, parks, theaters, bowling alleys or just stay at home and enjoy the 624 sq. ft. you wouldn’t normally get in popular cities for this price. What’s more, you also get access to a basketball court, a BBQ/picnic area and a basketball court.
Is Wichita renowned for its lavish parties and entertainment? No. But are there lots of fun things to do around there? Also no. However, living in Wichita does come with a quaint, suburban lifestyle in which you have access to plenty of parks, great restaurants and coffee shops. And with only $481 per month for a studio apartment, you’re sure to enjoy this lovely city as you lounge away at the pool or spend time with friends at the community clubhouse.
While it’s no Las Vegas, Wichita is where you can enjoy living a slow-paced life, including visiting museums and taking in all the beauty at the numerous art galleries in the area. And with all the money you save on rent and the cost of living, you can still afford to visit those livelier cities whenever you crave some fun.
3. Lawton, OK
You might not find amazing touristy spots in Lawton, but that’s for the best – nobody likes crowded cities anyway. This city is located in southwest Oklahoma, and those looking to move here should know that there are some great Lawton apartments for rent – without having to shell out half the paycheck every month.
Specifically, this lovely 440 sq. ft. studio comes with modern features, spacious closets and plenty of cabinet storage. Plus, a Hibachi Grill area and an year-round heated spa are just some of the perks that come with living here. But, if you need more, know that there’s also a 24-hour fitness center, exciting resident events, a DVD library and much more.
4. Amarillo, TX
An average city, with an average population, but with better than average rent prices. Living in Amarillo has its own perks and one of them is the chance to rent this one bedroom apartment in a complex that offers a BBQ/Picnic area, an outdoor fitness courtyard and two sparkling pools to relax at after a long day at work.
Plus, the apartments come with air conditioning, fireplace and newly-upgraded interiors, as well as vaulted ceilings – not to mention the property’s outdoor grilling area and gazebo.
5. Indianapolis, IN
Indianapolis is one of the best places to put down roots and it’s also a good example of how affordable rentals can be found in larger cities as well. In particular, a great find among the many Indianapolis apartments is this cozy studio that goes for just $528 per month. It features balconies, central AC and a swimming pool where you can relax as much as you want.
Furthermore, its location in Lawrence means you can easily reach any central location, as well as popular entertainment spots like Grassy Creek Park or Buffalo Wild Wings.
6. Searcy, AR
You may not have heard of Searcy until now, but if you’re looking to move to a small city, then you’re in luck, because this is the smallest one on this list. And, it’s also the only one that offers a 2 bedroom apartment for the incredible price of only $460 a month. Here, a gazebo, lakes and ponds – as well as a club room with a kitchen and fireplace – are just some of the great benefits you get when living here.
As a matter of fact, living in Searcy might be just the right option for you as you’re sure to find many great bargains in the area. Plus, it’s just 50 miles away from Little Rock.
7. Shreveport, LA
The charm of living in a city that offers great food and lots of green spaces is amplified by its low rents and cozy rental communities. Specifically, a clubhouse, three sparkling pools and two tennis courts are just some of the amazing perks you get for $500 per month at this property. Living in Shreveport also means that you’re just minutes from popular restaurants and bars, and this particular property is also located near numerous shopping options.
8. Jackson, MS
A capital city with beautiful scenery and lovely suburbs make Jackson one of the best places to call home – and the rents here are just the cherry on top. Jackson apartments, in general, are quite affordable, and for $450 a month, you can rent this one bedroom apartment that comes with many benefits, such as a balcony, air conditioning, a BBQ area and much more.
If living in a coastal town such as Queenstown is not enough to convince you, wait until you hear about the square footage. Although some apartments in Queenstown could go for higher prices, you’ll spend just $440 a month for this one. For that kind of money, you get to enjoy living in a 729 sq. ft. apartment with high ceilings, efficient appliances and large closets. It’s also located within minutes of commercial and retail spaces.
Plus, if you’re a fan of the outdoors, then you should know that this property is surrounded by nature trails, perfect for spending your days wandering the woodlands.
10. Springfield, MO
Living in Springfield comes with everything you might need – and more. In fact, there’s enough entertainment and cultural options here so that you may never get bored, plus highly affordable rent prices. For just $500 a month, you get to rent a 700 sq. ft. apartment, which is definitely more space than you’d find in other cities for this amount.
Not only that, but the spacious apartment also comes with a basketball/volleyball court, a pool and a sun deck. What more could you want?
Disclaimer: Prices and availability valid as of September 18, 2020, and may be subject to change.
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Oh hi friend, just popping up for air between homeschooling and well, I guess I’m not getting air because the entire west coast is on fire and the air quality is some of the worst in the world. Did you hear that the presidential election is now less than 50 days away. Have you registered to vote? Ensured you’ll receive your mail-in ballot? Have a voting plan? CLICK HERE if not.
But I digress. As you might have seen last week, I have new project that is distracting me from impending doom – the Hood Canal Coastal Cottage and I have been diving deeeeep in design this past week as our timeline to get this baby done is mega short. Like six weeks short. But I’ll dig into all those details once we actually close and I can walk you through everything.
For now, let’s have a convo about bedrooms, shall we? We spend a lot of time in them right? I tend to work from mine late into the wee hours. One of the biggest trouble spots I’m running into with the Coastal Cottage are the bedrooms. I think bedrooms are my achilles heel (as was evidenced by our guest room in This Old Victorian. And the main bedroom. But who’s counting.) It just feels impossible to come up with something that seems interesting (without resorting to majorly expensive finishes or design elements and we are on a budget here people! More on that discussion to come as well).
Living spaces are my jam. I can walk into any type of living space and visualize what it needs almost instantly. Maybe it’s because bedrooms are usually just a box, and often a pretty small one that limits my thinking. I just have the hardest time coming up with innovative solutions for bedroom design. But one idea has been catching my eye in all my late-night scrolling – so much so that I just had to whip up this post for you.
My latest Idea to Steal (and the one I’m trying to convince the husband to let me do in the Coastal Cottage) is wall-to-wall headboards.
You might also call this look a bed ledge. The utility of wall-to-wall headboards are endless. It’s an easy way to inject another color, wood tone or texture to your bedroom. You can also use the wall-to-wall headboard to house bedside tables and lighting, saving floor space and keeping things minimal.
But I also love that the bed ledge offers the perfect spot to display pieces you love. From artwork to plants, vases or ceramics – you have a spot to add life and personality to your space without adding additional furniture to your room.
The challenge is with the wall-to-wall headboard is actually creating one. This isn’t an off the shelf solution. You’ll likely need to employ a carpenter or be very industrious with your DIYs to create something that works. I’ve seen very simple pine and even particle board versions that don’t seem too intimidating. But slatted wall-to-wall headboards or versions with more design detail could require a pro. I would argue the investment is worth it.
How about you? Maybe if this post gets enough comments, my husband will be convinced!
Is there a bright side to the global Covid-19 pandemic? Should we even think about looking for a bright side? The answer is absolutely “yes”. The downside of this situation can feel overwhelming and desperately sad. There is no shortage of bad news, but there are many reasons and benefits to remaining hopeful now and moving forward.
All over the world people found ways to connect during social distancing. From the Italians who sang arias from their balconies to neighborhoods in the US who met on their streets for dance offs. We learned to use new technology such as Zoom or Facetime for virtual happy hours and dinners. From a safe 6 feet apart, you can go for walks with friends and family. Have balcony fun and get to know your neighbors that live in your apartment building. My daughter has befriended a senior lady on the second floor of her apartment building. This daily interaction reduces isolation especially for her and creates smiles.
Do you feel the silence? During snowstorms when plane traffic is halted, silence feels like a warm blanket. Now the birds are in their element with less cars and planes in the air. With more time in our lives to explore new interests, bird watching as a hobby is on the increase. They are much easier to hear and spot when we do not need to filter through all the man-made noise. We can rediscover nature.
We can see clearly now and breath better in many cities all over the world. The media shows us photography of blue skies in Los Angeles. NASA says that the atmosphere is significantly cleaner. With the reduction of non-essential travel, the drop in pollution has been significant worldwide. Cleaner air promotes better health for people suffering from asthma and other respiratory related illnesses. This year with the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we are seeing many places with the best air quality in decades.
Did you catch up on all the projects that you thought that you never had time to do before? I have cleaned and organized everything from my attic to the linen closets and the food pantry. I thought that I had plenty of canned goods only to find that a can of green beans expired in 2018. My hurricane provisions from 2019 had expired too. Knowing exactly where I stood with non-perishables will help me be ready for hurricane season 2020. Catching up on my “to do list” had given me a feeling of accomplishment and control during a time when we have no control over a global pandemic. It was a more positive way to spend my time than binge watching news and obsessing about the pandemic. Trust me I spent too much time going from streaming news to local news providers. (Source: Bright Side)
To find the bright side of the any bad situation, it is best to try to have a positive attitude. It will not be an easy thing to do. Even if it is only for a few minutes a day, looking for the bright side can help you not to go down into a rabbit hole of despair. There are so many health benefits with a positive outlook. Can you chat with a senior shut in? Could you donate to a non-profit or support local shops and restaurants? Can we find ways to sustain clean air and continue to commit to a healthier global environment? That remains to be seen. I know that some good will result from Covid-19 pandemic. But it will be up to each of us as we find the new norm to be positive. I’m betting on us to win!
Among the many side effects of physical offices closing during the coronavirus crisis is the massive increase in people working from home.
As of this summer, a whopping 42 percent of everyone in the workforce is telecommuting full time. And both for those who have been working in a home office for a long time and those for whom this is a brand new experience, making your home office a place for productivity is a challenge.
With all the distractions — both physical and emotional — of working from your living room or home office, what better way to make your space your own than creating your own soundtrack to work to. But what’s the best music for working from home? Why is listening to music beneficial to your WFH life, and what genres best promote continued quality work?
The benefits of music while working
Why should you listen to music while working from home? Because music can help you be more productive, more creative or just happier. A silent room can be just as distracting as an over-stimulated environment. It can also drown out the sounds of your partner working in the other room, a cranky baby, a needy puppy, noisy neighbors or the sounds of the city.
Creates positive emotions
A happy worker is a productive worker. For many people, working from home is a new phenomenon and can cause worry about being distanced from co-workers and friends and falling into a poor mood which will affect the work.
It should be no surprise that the right music can make you happy. We all have that one song or one band that puts us in a good mood. And studies predictably confirm that happy employees are more productive and more efficient. In fact, more research shows that people who listen to music are happier than those who don’t. And who doesn’t want to be happy at work, even at home?
Brings the upbeat vibes
Music can also bounce out that 2:30 feeling, those times during the workday where you need a pick me up. In a normal world, that may have been a trip over to the office kitchen for a snack and/or gossip and a few moments away from your desk.
But when working from home, that midday lull can be alleviated with some upbeat tunes to kickstart yourself. Happy, uplifting music can also assuage the boredom of a particularly mundane or repetitive task and turn that project you were dreading into something much more appealing.
Drowns out distracting noises
The most practical use of music for working from home is lessening distractions. Back in the office, you were surrounded by people holding too-loud conversations, clacking away on keyboards or drowning you in the sounds of cold and flu season. Tossing on the earbuds took you away to a different place to concentrate on your tasks at hand.
At home, it’s the same thing, just different distractions. From barking dogs to kids in Zoom school to your neighbors running the vacuum way too often, a solid work-from-home playlist will keep you focused and on task.
Improves memory and cognition
It’s not just productivity that music heightens, but your memory and actual work performance. Sure, a great work-from-home playlist will get you excited and moving on that new project, but music can actually make your work better.
Recent studies have shown that listening to background music enhances episodic memory and improves your cognitive performance. Just imagine what the right background music can do to the quality of your work with better memory and optimizing your executive functions.
The best music for working from home
There are a lot of choices of music to listen to. Spotify alone defines nearly 2,500 different genres. But not every one of them is the perfect music for working from home for every person. You may be into melodic metalcore or Canadian indie or LGBT hip hop, but some genres promote productivity, creativity and concentration more than others.
Here are some of the best musical genres for working from home and keeping your day up and running between your morning coffee and your end of the day wrap up. And for each, we’ve provided some great work from home playlists to get you started.
Talk about staying power. Classical music dates back 500 years but remains popular today. Upwards of 35 percent of adults listen to classical, making it the fourth-most-popular genre — and the perfect background noise for your work from home. Classical music is many things at once: uplifting, moody, aural, familiar, mellow, inspiring — sometimes all within the confines of one piece or movement. And it’s a great WFH soundtrack.
The “Mozart Effect” theory says classical music makes you smarter, that it’s good for test-taking, studying and working, particularly creative work. Other studies have shown that classical music can boost your mood, increase productivity and even improve the quality of your work.
But classical music is a very broad genre spanning some 50 decades, so where to begin? One survey found that the Baroque period — think Bach, Vivaldi and Handel — fostered an increase in positive disposition and concentration.
Classical work-from-home playlists
2. Epic and anthemic music
Soaring. Moving. Epic. Anthemic music is a style that crosses genres from the biggest arena rock bands and ’90s modern rockers to country storytellers and jock jams. It’s music that gets you on your feet, powerful celebratory songs with memorable choruses that project triumph.
It’s music that makes you feel like you can take on the world and accomplish anything. Even finishing that spreadsheet or submitting that HR project right on time.
Anthemic or epic music can inspire grandiosity and motivate you to get through that tough assignment or meet that goal. It’s sports anthems like “We Will Rock You” or “Takin’ Care of Business.” Soaring contemporary classical pieces like “Fanfare For The Common Man.” Inspiring heart-pumpers like “The Rising” or “Born This Way.” Or genre-defining hip-hop like “Fight The Power” and “It Was a Good Day.”
Like athletes getting off the bus, focused and Beats headphones on, anthemic music makes you feel uplifted, empowered and ready for game time. Is it music you should spend all day listening to while you work? Probably not. But if you’re feeling tired, beaten or simply unmotivated, high-powered anthems might just be the answer to sitting up straight and showing your boss who is boss.
Epic and anthemic work-from-home playlists
3. Ambient music
Ambient music may have a reputation as just elevator music or random soundscapes, but it’s so much more. It could be a colorful house or techno playlist. World music or indie shoegaze. Synths or space rock. But no matter what the subgenre, ambient music makes for a distraction-free backdrop to your workday.
The pioneer of ambient music and the iconic artist-producer Brian Eno, who created the ambient music masterwork “Music for Airports,” described the genre as, “able to accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular, as ignorable as it is interesting.” Music that won’t steal your attention yet fills the silence while you’re working may be the genre for you.
There are as many exciting artists as there are classifications of ambient music. Sample the spacey sounds of Enya and Enigma, electronica of Aphex Twin, old school prog Pink Floyd and Moody Blues, ambient pop of Talk Talk or Nick Cave, downtempo chillwave of Kygo or Toro y Moi or atmospheric dream pop of Dizzy and The XX.
Ambient work-from-home playlists
4. Feel-good music
Ever walked into a dentist’s office and the local hot adult contemporary station is playing over the intercom? Of course. Because feel-good music makes you… feel good. No one loves the dentist’s office, but maybe you’ll feel a little better if Hall & Oates or Britney Spears is playing. Songs that bring a smile to your face and make you move your feet a little (but not too much).
Pop music designed to make you feel happy even while you’re toiling away at work is perfect for working from home. It’s possible your old office even had this pumping through the hallways or in the kitchen. Because feel-good pop can make the day go by a little faster.
As you’re rushing towards deadlines or unburying yourself from an email avalanche – or even if the boss has just been on your tail all day — sometimes you need to do a little walking on sunshine to bring your motivation back. None of this is meant to be deep and thought-provoking. Feel good music is supposed to be like a snack break or a candy bar, to stimulate the happiness centers of your brain and release that hit of dopamine to get you onto the next task.
But take care to avoid songs with narrative lyrics or story songs, as music that tells a linear story has been shown to be distracting to cognitive work. So, blast the Pharrell or Barenaked Ladies, but stay away from the Don McLean, Gordon Lightfoot and Harry Chapin.
Feel-good work-from-home playlists
5. Chill vibes music
Not every work situation calls for music that makes you move. Reading heavy text or concentrating on a difficult task might take something to ease the nerves and keep you relaxed. Some chill music — folk rock, smooth country or just good old classic acoustic rock — might be just what you need certain times during the day.
Acoustic or muted guitar, smooth vocals, light instrumentation and an uncomplicated beat is just the soundtrack for a stressful job or project. Cue up indie-folk jammers like Hozier, Dan Mangan, Phoebe Bridgers or Vance Joy, chill crooners including Ed Sheeran, Ingrid Michaelson or John Mayer, acoustic old-schoolers such as James Taylor, Cat Stevens or Rickie Lee Jones or just a great album of acoustic hits like Arkells’ “Campfire Chords” or something moody like “Folklore” from Taylor Swift.
But be wary of playlists heavy with your favorite songs. A study has shown listening to tracks with lyrics you know by heart, or “familiar vocal music,” can decrease your performance through distraction while you fight the urge to sing along, even in your head. Sounds like the perfect time to catch up on some new music you aren’t familiar with.
Chill vibes work-from-home playlists
6. Video game soundtracks
If you’re over a certain age, this category is going to make very little sense. But one of the best choices for music for working at home are video game songs. We’re not talking about 8-bit Atari beebop or Nintendo chiptunes. This is thematic, pointed and often soaring music specifically designed to enhance the video game experience.
Video game music is a marketing tool, designed to enhance your gaming experience. If you’re winding your way through a fantasy landscape or dodging enemy fire as you infiltrate enemy hordes, video game music can help you focus, keep your energy levels up or even just keep you playing. The same can be done with those soundtracks while you work alone in the living room.
These are compositions to encourage you to reach for that next level, whether it be in your first-person shooter, your epic fantasy adventure or your latest work project. It can help you avoid obstacles and collaborate with your friends, in the game or in the work huddle. This is the strategic music you’ll find in games like Bastion, SimCity, Thumper, Doom, Final Fantasy, Journey and Legend of Zelda.
Video game work-from-home playlists
7. Instrumental music
A study by two researchers at Middle Tennessee State University found students who listened to instrumental music scored higher on tests than those that listened to lyrical music. Logically, it makes sense. For some, a song with lyrics is akin to someone standing behind you talking while you’re working. In fact, an NIH paper showed that music needs to be lyric-free for it to promote productivity.
The great thing about instrumental music is it can literally be any music devoid of lyrics or words. Instrumentals exist in every single genre (well, maybe not a cappella or barbershop). No matter what music you enjoy, you can type away and crunch those numbers with soothing or inspiring music-only tracks bereft of those pesky words. Country, indie, classical, power ballads, skiffle, trip-hop — every genre has perfect instrumental music to fit your needs.
Instrumental work-from-home playlists
8. Nature and real-world sounds
Sometimes the soundtrack to your day doesn’t even have to be music. Filling your living room or home office with the sounds of nature can put you in a variety of moods, from motivated and amped to relaxed and attentive. The choices are endless and only limited by your tastes. Choose from classics like waterfalls, an afternoon thunderstorm, rustling leaves, a crashing surf, morning birds chirping or a crackling campfire.
The most useful noises don’t even have to be of the natural variety. Try something out of the box like rain hitting the roof of a car, an oscillating fan, a clacking train or a running washing machine. Are you really missing the office? Why not fill the silence with the actual background sounds of an office.
Is this still too disruptive? Help block out distractions with the neutral sounds of white noise. Just ask your smart speaker to play some.
Nature work-from-home playlists
Picking the right music for you
No one genre or music type is going to be exactly what you need every minute of the day. Take a cue from a music therapy concept called the Iso Principle. This technique calls for starting with music that mirrors your current mood and gradually ramping up to songs that match the mood you want to be in.
Start the morning with something slow that can ease you into your day without forcing you to be productive. Then, transition into some power jams that will increase your performance and get you pumped for finishing that big project or the day’s task.
Looking for a sweet spot to feed your day? One research report concluded that music clocking in at about 121 beats per minute was optimal for productivity. Think songs like “December” by Collective Soul, The Bangles’ “Manic Monday” or “My People” from Missy Elliott.
But no matter what genre you decide on, the only goal is to find what’s best for you. Studies show that while listening to music does aid in completing tasks quicker and improving cognitive thinking, how much it actually helps you concentrate depends on how much you actually like the music being played. So, find your jam, and get it done.
With less than 100 days until Election Day, multiple polls show that President Donald Trump is trailing former Vice President Joe Biden in key swing states, including Wisconsin. Another way to figure out if a candidate is performing, in addition to polling data, is by looking at his/her fundraising effort.
Each quarter we at RentHop review the fundraising data released by the FEC with the hope of providing insights to voters. Our study for Q4 2019 for key cities such as Des Moines and Las Vegas shows that a city’s contributions might align with the outcome of the caucuses and primaries, and we believe that it would also shed light on the general election.
Our key findings this quarter in Wisconsin include:
Trump leads in Wisconsin by unique donor count – the President has garnered support from 5,947 unique donors, whereas former Vice President Joe Biden has received donations from 2,393 unique donors as of June 30, 2020.
Of all 680 zip codes included in this study, 36.0% of them, or 245, are blue zip codes, including 53711 (Dane County), 53211 (Milwaukee County), 54601 (La Crosse County). [Unique Donor Map]
Meanwhile, 45.1%, or 307, are red zip codes, which consist of 54066 (Washington County), 53217 (Milwaukee County), and 53072 (Waukesha County). 18.8% of the zip codes, or 128, are purple, which means that neither parties have more than 55% of unique donors.
In Milwaukee County, Biden saw a big surge in the number of unique donors since February 2020. The number went from 99 to 473 by the end of June.
In Dane County, Biden surpassed Trump by end of March 2020, and has attracted 448 unique donors as of June 30, 2020, 106% more than what Trump has.
Which Candidate Does Your Neighbor Support?
The interactive map below highlights Wisconsin and its zip codes. More detailed, the map shows where each zip code stands, politically, and which presidential candidate is leading in each zip code. You can click on the zip code polygons or select from the drop-down menu to learn more. For a more detailed analysis of how candidates are doing in the same zip code, view the corresponding interactive line graph above the map.
Blue zip codes are zip codes where the aggregated number of unique donors of all Democratic candidates (including past candidates) is higher than the number of unique donors received by Republican candidates (including Trump, Sanford, Walsh, and Weld), and red zip codes are areas where the Republican candidates attracted more unique donors than all Democratic candidates combined.
Looking at the map and the chart above, we can tell that President Donald Trump has been the fundraising front runner in Wisconsin. As of June 30, 2020, Trump has accumulated 5,947 unique donors. On the Democratic side, while support was split among candidates, more donors have turned to Mr. Biden’s campaign as he seized primary victories in other states and positioned himself as the presumptive party nominee. As of Q2, 2020, the Biden campaign amassed 2,393 unique donors in Wisconsin.
In Milwaukee, the largest county in the state by population, Vice President Joe Biden saw a big surge in the number of unique donors since February 2020. The number went from 99 to 473 by the end of June. In Dane County, Biden surpassed Trump by end of March 2020, and has attracted 448 unique donors as of June 30, 2020, 106% more than what Trump has. Meanwhile, Trump comfortably leads the fundraising game in counties such as Waukesha, Brown, and Racine.
Top 5 Zip Codes in Milwaukee County by Donor Count
Zip Code 53211: Biden’s 81 unique donors vs. Trump’s 25 unique donors
Zip Code 53217: Biden’s 89 unique donors vs. Trump’s 72 unique donors
Zip Code 53202: Biden’s 58 unique donors vs. Trump’s 27 unique donors
Zip Code 53207: Biden’s 12 unique donors vs. Trump’s 22 unique donors
Zip Code 53092: Biden’s 31 unique donors vs. Trump’s 69 unique donors
Top 5 Zip Codes in Dane County by Donor Count
Zip Code 53711: Biden’s 117 unique donors vs. Trump’s 37 unique donors
Zip Code 53705: Biden’s 136 unique donors vs. Trump’s 14 unique donors
Zip Code 53703: Biden’s 55 unique donors vs. Trump’s 8 unique donors
Zip Code 53704: Biden’s 54 unique donors vs. Trump’s 29 unique donors
Zip Code 53562: Biden’s 61 unique donors vs. Trump’s 46 unique donors
Top 5 Zip Codes in Waukesha County by Donor Count
Zip Code 53045: Biden’s 14 unique donors vs. Trump’s 68 unique donors
Zip Code 53072: Biden’s 15 unique donors vs. Trump’s 70 unique donors
Zip Code 53188: Biden’s 17 unique donors vs. Trump’s 49 unique donors
Zip Code 53186: Biden’s 16 unique donors vs. Trump’s 41 unique donors
Zip Code 53189: Biden’s 8 unique donors vs. Trump’s 40 unique donors
Unique Donor Leaderboard – Biden
Below are the top 10 zip codes where Biden received the most support.
The campaign donations data was retrieved from the FEC covering all individual contributions dated between Jan 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020. For President Donald Trump, the following committees are included: Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. (C00580100), Trump Make America Great Again Committee (C00618371), and Trump Victory (C00618389). For former Vice President Joe Biden, the following committees are included: Biden for President (C00703975), Biden Victory Fund (C00744946), and Biden Action Fund (C00746651). The state, county, and zip code shapefiles were retrieved from the U.S. Census Bureau. In terms of unique donors, we deduped by names, zip codes, and candidates. We adopted 5-digit zip codes for this report as not all candidates collect 9-digit zip codes. People who have changed their names or moved in between donations could artificially inflate these numbers. Unique donor shares are calculated using the aggregated number of unique donors contributed to Trump’s campaign and the aggregated number of unique donors contributed to Biden’s campaign. Past Democratic/Republican candidates are excluded from the calculation.
Frequently Asked Questions about Our Election Studies
1. Why would Trump be leading in a Blue Zip Code?
This is related to the primaries. As we all know, there were as many as 31 Democratic candidates competing for the nomination, and so the support was divided among them. Meanwhile, while the Republican Party had 3 candidates running, all the support gravitated towards Trump, and therefore he alone could receive support from more unique donors than any single Democratic candidate. Now that Joe Biden is the presumptive nominee, we should start seeing some changes.
2. Why should we care about unique donors?
While the dollar amount raised is important for candidates, we believe that it is more crucial to understand how many unique donors each candidate has attracted, as each unique donor potentially means one vote, and by measuring donor counts, it gives us a better idea of how many people support each candidate.
3. How is the party majority calculated?
The party majority is calculated using the aggregated unique donor count of a party and the aggregated unique donor count from Jan 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020. For instance, if Democratic candidates attracted a total of 200 unique donors, and the total number of unique donors within a city is 500, the Democratic share would be 40%. In terms of the color shades, purple areas are whether neither the Democratic candidates combined nor Trump has more than 55% of the donors. Light blue and light red represent zip codes where the party has 55% to 70% of the donors, and blue or red represents a majority of 70% and more.