Apartment Living

7 Little Games To Play With Your Dog In Small Spaces 

7 Little Games To Play With Your Dog In Small Spaces 

If you own a dog in an apartment, you have surely run into the difficulty of combining adequate exercise with the space restrictions that come with apartment living. Especially during poor weather or long winter evenings, it can be tricky to get your dog tired enough.  

Unfortunately, lack of mental and physical stimulation not only results in a bored dog, but can actually create behavioral issues such as reactivity towards other dogs, frequent potty accidents or separation anxiety. 

It is much easier to prevent these than to fix them — which is why these indoor dog games are the perfect way to tire out your dogs and keep them happy and healthy. Even just five minutes of playing with your canine friends every day will make a noticeable difference in their behavior and focus. 

Jump The Leg 

Sit on the floor, stretch one leg out in front of you and put your foot against a couch or wall. Now toss treats to both sides of your leg, so that your dog has to jump over it to get them. This repeated bouncing motion is very tiring for dogs — akin to humans jumping straight up in the air over and over — and even a few minutes of this will leave your dog panting. Make sure that you only play this on a surface with good traction, to prevent any accidents. 

Crate Race 

training dogs inside

Put a treat in your dog’s crate. Show him and let him run into the crate to get the treat. Repeat this a couple times. Now you put the treat into the crate and walk a couple of steps away with your dog. Formulate a call like “Ready… steady… go!” and let him run into the crate. Repeat this a couple times. 

If your dog is good at the last step, you can move further and further away from the crate. Eventually you can let him race to his crate even from another room or the hallway. Running to his crate and eating the treat will become more challenging and fun the further you move away. 

This game is not just fun for your dog, but will also strengthen the positive association with the crate and make it a happy place for your dog. Especially for apartment dogs, it is very important to be able to settle quietly and happily in their place. 

Blanket Trick

dog games with blankets

Take a blanket or beach towel and put it on your floor. Now hide some treats underneath it and let your dog figure out how to get to them. Dogs are not naturally good at understanding that they have to lift one corner to gain access to the cookies underneath. Solving this food puzzle will really work your dog’s brain. If he solves it, repeat it a couple times. Repeating brain games will teach your dog to pay attention to his thinking process and strengthen his memory. Over time you will also see a positive effect on his overall obedience skills from this, because the better he can think and remember, the better he will behave overall. 

Pillow Tower 

Take several pillows. Start out by stacking two pillows and luring your dog up on them with a cookie. If this proves to be no challenge, take a third pillow! It is tricky for your dog to jump up and keep a proper balance, as the softness of the pillows will make the little tower unstable. In competitive dog sports, exercises on unstable surfaces like this are used frequently to increase the dog’s strength and coordination. By practicing your dog’s skills in these areas, you can challenge him in novel and creative ways.  And if your dog is successful with three pillows, try four or even five! 

Treat Burrito 

Take your blanket or beach towel again and put it on the floor in front of you. Distribute treats on it. Now take one end and roll up the blanket, just like a yoga mat. When you have it all rolled up, present it to your dog. Now it is her turn to figure out how to get all the treats inside the treat burrito. Again, unrolling it usually does not come to the dog’s mind right away, so the puzzle fun will keep her entertained for quite a while. 

Sniff Box 

dog searching box for treats

Take a cardboard box and fill it with crumpled-up newspapers. Now drop treats in there and let your dog use scent to find them. This is a great activity especially for anxious dogs, as sniffing is a very calming activity. In fact, just a few minutes of sniffing can significantly lower a dog’s heart rate and reduce stress. If your dog is afraid or nervous, daily sniffing can vastly improve the overall mood and behavior.  

Cookie Bopping 

Note: this might be a game that you only play in the bathroom, as it can get messy.

Take a salad bowl and fill it with water. Now put some treats in there, or even just your dog’s regular dry food. Let her dive in to get the goodies. This game can be a real thinking challenge and also strengthen your dog’s confidence. Many dogs start out not understanding how they can get the treats and only learn over time to effectively snatch them out of the water. 

How Often Should You Play? 

little games for dogs

You can play these games with your dog every single day. Your dog will let you know when it becomes too much: If he is noticeably unmotivated or slow, you should take a day off. Different dog breeds vary a lot in how much and how often they want to play and train. While some dogs from working breeds such as German Shepherds can play all day long, others — for example a Pug — want to have their well-deserved breaks. 

Just like people, dogs have a daily rhythm of activity and rest. They usually are most awake in the mornings and evenings. Especially at night, they can be pretty pushy and needy for attention. Try out the games above during this time and see if it makes your dog calmer and easier to manage.  

If you have more than one dog, you might need to separate them for the games so that they do not interfere and show resource guarding tendencies. If the dogs enjoy the games they might become pretty protective over the treats. It is best to be safe and not let them get into any struggles over whose turn it is. 

About the author: Steffi Trott is the founder of SpiritDog Training, an online dog training program. She strives to bring positive, science-based and fun training to dog owners all over the world. She lives with her own three dogs in Albuquerque, NM. They compete in the dog sport of agility and enjoy playing games together daily. 

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Published at Thu, 28 May 2020 08:30:02 +0000

Apartment Living

How Soon Are COVID-19 Rent Protections Expiring?

How Soon Are COVID-19 Rent Protections Expiring?

In late March, the federal government passed the CARES Act, which banned evictions for 120 days in many rental apartments. This no-eviction period is fast expiring, leading many renters to wonder what their options are if they still cannot pay rent – a likely scenario given that unemployment has not improved since the pandemic began – when the CARES Act runs its course. Here’s everything you should know about the CARES Act expiring and what it means for you.

CARES Act expiring

When does the CARES Act expire?

The CARES Act stipulates that its eviction and fee protections for late or missed rent payments expires 120 days after March 27, when the law was passed. On the 2020 calendar, this translates to July 25. Although this date is roughly two months away, many apartment dwellers are already worrying about how they will make ends meet. Democratic congresspeople have introduced legislation called the HEROES Act that would extend the current evictions moratorium and introduce additional rent relief funding, but Republican congresspeople have promised not to pass the bill.

Even if the HEROES Act is passed, no federal laws thus far have called for a rent cancellation. This means that, whenever the national eviction moratorium expires, tenants will have to pay all the rent they previously owed. If they fail to do so, they may face eviction, fees, and other potentially devastating consequences. However, some states have taken measures of their own.

Does my state offer extra protections?

Some, but not all states, are beginning to plan for extra renter protections once the CARES Act expires. In Iowa, for example, Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds called for a rental assistance fund with money to be sourced from the aid that the federal government provided the state when the CARES Act was passed. 

Similarly, in New York, state senators have passed legislation that pools together $100 million for tenants to use toward paying back rent from April through July. State Senator Michael Gianaris has said that, similarly to in Iowa, federal money will be used for this tenant fund. The legislation is currently awaiting Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s signature and approval.

For a list of current state protections regarding COVID-19 rent relief, click here. You can also contact your city council or local municipal board for more information and resources (or to advocate for additional pro-renter legislation).

How else can I receive monthly payment assistance during COVID-19?

Rent payments aren’t the only monthly bills with which tenants may struggle. In many states, local utility companies have introduced programs that lower users’ monthly costs. Other companies have pledged not to cut access to their utilities during the pandemic. You can find some examples and additional information here.

If you own your apartment rather than renting it, you may be worried about making your monthly mortgage payments. Many loan servicers and banks have enacted special waiver programs for apartment owners struggling with finances during the pandemic, and forbearance may be a viable last resort. You should also keep in mind that the 60-day initial period covered under the CARES Act has expired, and only federally-backed mortgages qualify for CARES Act mortgage relief. For more information on these mortgage relief options, click here.

Published at Tue, 02 Jun 2020 13:06:41 +0000

Apartment Living




Have you ever met a real live hero? When we were children, our heroes were larger than life. Take Superman for instance a fictional character created in 1938 with Action Comics. He had the following powers: superhuman strength, agility, heat vision, X-ray vision, superhuman breath that could freeze things or blow like the wind. Best of all he was “the man of steel” who could fly! We have been idolizing heroes in movies, books and folklore for centuries. We could sure use one now to swoop in and solve all our problems.

But now due to Covid-19, we are seeing a new brand of hero. Or are we seeing everyday people doing random acts of heroism? We have been studying heroism for years. What happens during a dangerous event that causes that one person to risk his own life for someone he has never met? In a crowd the “herd mentality” where most people do not want to get involved as it none of their business, makes anyone who steps up to help a hero. Mr. Rodgers said “Always look for the helpers” when in trouble.

Cardinal Property Management carefully navigated through the uncharted waters of the pandemic by creating transparency between their corporate office and their on-site management teams. Through discussion and surveying their employees about concerns and fears, Cardinal Group created a benevolence fund called “Cardinal Heroes”. Their people can nominate a coworker that they believe has acted as a hero. These are leasing and maintenance teams on the front lines in apartment communities without any superpowers doing extraordinary acts of heroism. This has given their teams a sense of pride and a feeling of community in a time when it is too easy to go down the rabbit hole into despair.

Nurses, doctors and emergency first responders unlike Superman did not even have enough personal protective equipment to handle the onslaught of sick overwhelming their hospitals. Then heroes from all over the country began to sew masks and create makeshift PPE out of what seemed like thin air. People trained in any related medical industry went to help on the front lines at great personal risk. First responders were working double shifts even with the very real fear of their own health and safety. But like Superman they had the power of their convictions and the courage to see them through.

From the people who are employed by grocery and pharmacy stores, to our on-site property management teams helping to keep our apartment communities open, these people are unsung heroes. Seemingly normal people who under the most extraordinary of times provide vital services so we may have a roof over our heads and food on our bellies. Churches and food banks and their parishioners are providing food to their communities. Celebrities and young children are donating time, PPE and funds to help the close to 15% of unemployed workers due to social distancing mandates and business closers. So, you see we all have the superpowers of love, creativity, compassion, bravery, strength of conviction and valor. Superman would be proud of us! He knows that there is a little bit of him in all of us. Will you be  a superhero to someone?

Published at Thu, 14 May 2020 12:30:48 +0000

Apartment Living

Sneak Peek – My Yard Makeover Reveal

Sneak Peek – My Yard Makeover Reveal

yard makeover on apartment 34

If you followed this little ole’ blog nearly eight months ago, you may recall that I started yet another project at This Old Victorian. This time it was tackling a major yard makeover. Thankfully, the massive project’s (near!) completion came in the nick of time. Since shelter-in-place began, we’ve relied on our yard daily. I’m hoping to give you a detailed tour of the entire space and a recap of our whole design process very very soon. The transformation is just as dramatic as our interiors. If you’re feeling impatient – or need something to fill up your SIP hours – definitely check out the before tour of the yard on my IGTV.

Obviously our outdoor spaces are critical now more than ever. No matter if you have a postage-stamp-sized patio or an expansive backyard oasis, you want to make sure it’s living up to its full potential. Since I’m not at liberty fully reveal our yard design juuussst yet, I thought I’d at least offer some inspiration in the form of all my favorite pieces for outdoor spaces. From seating and long-lasting outdoor cushions, to accessories like fire pits and planters, outdoor pizza ovens and lawn games, now is the time to invest in getting your yard in tip top shape.

I have a feeling we’re in for a loooong summer friends. Let’s make the best of it, shall we?

What yard projects are you currently working on??

For more outdoor space inspiration, CLICK HERE.

landscape design and construction by Beth Mullins of Grows Green Landscape Design, photo by moi

Published at Mon, 18 May 2020 23:16:21 +0000

Apartment Living

Expert Interview: Avoiding Aesthetic Monotony in Your Rental during Quarantine

Expert Interview: Avoiding Aesthetic Monotony in Your Rental during Quarantine

If you’ve lived in your apartment for a while now, it is sure to carry your unique style with it. However, being indoors all the time can make the apartment feel a bit too flat, since you’ve probably gotten used to the layout and the overall look of your design. That’s why it is a good idea to look for design tips and implement some creative solutions for avoiding aesthetic monotony in your rental.

These solutions can range from rethinking your layout and moving the furniture around, to painting your walls or adding some accents. Depending on your lease and your level of commitment, there are different options for you to try. Below, you will find some tips from interior designers on how to do just that.

add art colors

Also, as more and more people start working from home, another innovation is likely to pop up in your apartment: a home office or a workspace. Although many people think it takes a whole lot of space, that mustn’t always be the case. Check out what practical tips these experts have about creating a productive workspace.

Beth Diana Smith, owner of Beth Diana Smith Interior Design

interior design advice“Art and décor are both quick and simple ways to transform a space; plus, they’re easy to take with you when you move. If you’re not ready to make a large art investment, prints and digital prints are budget-friendly especially when you use places such as Etsy, Minted, and Juniper Print Shop. As far as retail décor goes, CB2, Jung Lee NY, and West Elm are great online choices.

When it comes to creating a workspace, keep it clean and create storage for the items that you want easy access to such as pens, scissors, AirPods, and charging cords. And you could easily do that now by using items you have around the house; for example you could use a mug for pens and scissors, a simple binder clip to help you keep the cords at bay, etc.”

Kesha Franklin, principle designer of Halden Interiors

interior design advice“With the standard restrictions that come along with renting an apartment, renters can sometimes feel like it’s not worth investing in decorating their home. But, there are ways to add interest in the space. One of my go-to recommendations is hanging art on the walls. A gallery wall in particular can make a great statement and show off your personal interests. Another cool visual option is removable wallpaper which has a big impact; it’s easy to install and won’t cost you anything to bring the apartment back to its original state when it’s time to move on to bigger and better things!

Let’s discuss the home office situation. Typically, a rental apartment means there is limited space. So, having a designated area to work from home during times like this can be a challenge. A few tips that I would offer are to find a spot near a window to pull on the outdoor energy to feel productive. You can also purchase a folding screen to create a work area with a small desk and chair, that you can use and keep visually separate from the rest of your living space. Lastly, a C-Table is a great option to easily use at your sofa where you can place your laptop, phone and notebook. They come in a variety of heights, widths and finishes and are aesthetically pleasing to compliment your existing décor!”

Mally Skok, founder of Mally Skok Design

interior design advice“I am an Etsy fiend. Nothing warms up a space like a fun Turkish or Morrocan vintage rug. The Etsy shipping is usually free, the vendors are reliable, and there’s a whole lot of bang for your buck. Also you can roll the rug up and take it with you when you need to move.

Colorful pillows are a way to make your space feel distinctly yours. John Robshaw has ready-made pillows that are gorgeous; if these are too pricey, you can always find some cheery ones on West Elm or Crate and Barrel.

There are some clever new ways of hanging pictures on the walls without a nail. I am all for piling up the things you have hanging around in your life — old posters, old photos or postcards. Buy ready-made frames off Amazon and go bananas on your walls.

Another great idea for a quick improvement is plants. Do some research on plants that do well with limited water and sunlight. There are many! Having another living thing in your space — even though it won’t talk back — will make your apartment a whole lot homier.”

Stacey Sheppard, founder of The Design Sheppard

interior design advice“When you live in a rented property it is often difficult to put your own stamp on it. Many landlords are not particularly flexible with what they allow you to do to a property, but there are plenty of creative ways in which you can adapt your home to avoid aesthetic monotony. Changing up your textiles is a great way to make a space look different. Adding new cushions, blankets, rugs or curtains/blinds is very simple. You can change them with the seasons and — by switching to a new color palette — you can give a room a whole new look.

Repainting is a cheap and easy option that has the ability to completely transform the look and feel of a room. You don’t necessarily even need to paint entire walls. Making a feature by painting geometric shapes in different colors can work wonders. Wall art is also a great way to add visual interest. If you aren’t allowed to hang pictures, consider investing in larger framed pieces and simply lean them against the walls. And don’t forget the power of plants. Plants are not only good for our well-being and our health, but they can really bring a room to life. Move them round to change things up, buy new ones to fill empty spaces or — even better — propagate your existing plants to breed new ones.

add plants

To comfortably work from home, you should design a space for your home office. You don’t need a huge amount of room to set up a productive workspace. There are plenty of space-saving desks on the market that will fit into narrow spaces, unused corners or even that fold away when not in use. Make the most of the space you have available by putting wall shelves up above the desk to store all your office supplies. If your landlord won’t allow you to drill into the walls, consider buying a freestanding shelving unit that has a small desk shelf built-in. It is extremely important to invest in a good office chair that supports your back and provides maximum comfort. Whatever your desk space is like, try to ensure you position it in an area of your home that gets plenty of natural light, is quiet and comfortable. You’ll be most productive when you enjoy spending time in a space.”

We hope these tips proved useful and you’re ready to embrace a bit of change. Even the simplest details can wake up your apartment, so don’t be afraid to experiment. Start small and build your way up to refresh your home.

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Published at Wed, 06 May 2020 11:51:30 +0000

Apartment Living

How Can You Get COVID-19 Rent or Mortgage Relief?

How Can You Get COVID-19 Rent or Mortgage Relief?

During the two months of the COVID-19 pandemic, stay-at-home orders necessary for public health and safety have resulted in massive unemployment, in turn affecting apartment renters’ and owners’ budgets. Rent and mortgage payments become considerably tougher to pay without income, and though there were some federal interventions to delay evictions and foreclosures at the start of the crisis, some temporary laws have since expired. Here’s the latest on how you can get COVID-19 rent or mortgage relief.

covid-19 rent mortgage relief

Federal COVID-19 rent relief regulation

Through the federal CARES Act passed in late March, evictions are banned for 120 days in many forms of housing. Under the CARES Act, tenants in federally-backed housing cannot be given an eviction notice before July 25. Thereafter, these tenants cannot be evicted until August 24.

The CARES Act covers many, but not all, rental situations. If your apartment is covered according to section 41411 of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 or the rural housing voucher program outlined in section 542 of the Housing Act of 1949, the CARES Act applies to you. Likewise, if your landlord has a federally backed or multifamily mortgage on your apartment, the CARES Act protects you from eviction. 

If the CARES Act applies to your apartment, your safety net expands past a ban on evictions. Your landlord is also banned from adding late fees or other penalties for missing rent. Despite these renter protections, the CARES Act does not free tenants of their obligations to pay their rent, meaning that even though this law may provide you with housing stability in the short-term, it might not do so in the long-term.

Federal COVID-19 mortgage relief regulation

The CARES Act also applies to apartment owners unable to pay their mortgages. Under the CARES Act, lenders and loan servicers may not foreclose on apartments and homes for 60 days following March 18. During this 60-day period, lenders and services are banned from starting foreclosure proceedings or finalizing any foreclosures that were pending before the pandemic.

Additionally, you can request a forbearance on your mortgage payments for as long as 180 days, and you can ask for an additional 180-day extension at the end of your first forbearance period. To explore this option, you must directly contact your lender or servicer, who will be banned from implementing penalties or any other extra fees, though all scheduled interest will remain part of your mortgage. 

Under the CARES Act, you technically do not need to provide documentation of any financial hardship you face due to COVID-19. If you remain able to pay your mortgage, do not exploit this documentation gap to receive unnecessary mortgage relief. Loan servicers and providers are currently inundated with unprecedented volumes of phone calls from apartment owners in desperate need of mortgage relief.

State COVID-19 rent and mortgage relief regulation

In addition to federal COVID-19 rent and mortgage relief regulation, individual states (as well as Washington, D.C.) have implemented their own guidelines regarding evictions, foreclosures, and other housing concerns. For a state-by-state list of eviction and foreclosure bans and other relevant regulations, click here.

Published at Tue, 12 May 2020 13:12:32 +0000

Apartment Living

RentHop Q1 2020 Rental Report – COVID Edition

RentHop Q1 2020 Rental Report – COVID Edition

How COVID-19 is Changing Renter Neighborhood Preferences in NYC

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted NYC more than any place in the country. Given the unprecedented health, economic, and social disruptions inflicted upon the city, it should come as no surprise that NYC apartment hunters are changing their preferences as to where to live. As one of the city’s largest apartment rental platforms, RentHop possesses a massive data set of rental leads giving us a unique insight into where prospective tenants are looking to rent in the current environment. In this quarterly report, we’ll analyze the trends in each borough, highlighting the neighborhoods seeing the greatest increases and decreases in leads year-over-year.

Overall Lead Traffic Decline and Resurgence Since COVID-19

On March 20, Governor Cuomo ordered all non-essential businesses to close, and for residents to stay home as much as possible in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Not surprisingly, from March 23 through April 5 there was a dramatic decrease in average daily renter leads sent on RentHop.

By the numbers, the period of March 13 through March 22 saw a 45% drop in weekly lead count compared to the weekly leads sent by renters from February 10 through March 15. In other words, renters stopped looking for apartments in unprecedented numbers. This downward trend continued through the rest of March and into April.

However, this trend rapidly reversed by mid-April. The week of April 13 through April 19 saw a whopping 56% increase in weekly leads over the period March 23 through April 5. And this upward trend appears to be accelerating as a growing number of renters are more eager than ever to move out of the apartments they’ve been spending so much time within during the lockdown.

Increased Demand for Roommates

As the economic crunch caused by the pandemic is felt by New Yorkers, there appears to be an upward trend toward renters looking to move into a roommate situation rather than lease their own apartment.

Looking at the top 10 neighborhoods measured by roommate leads in NYC, eight out of the 10 neighborhoods saw significant year-over-year increases in renters inquiring about room shares. For example, Hell’s Kitchen saw a 227.4% increase in roommate leads, Hamilton Heights saw a 166.8% jump, and in Crown Heights, the number of room share inquiries went up by 83.6%.

Most Popular NYC Neighborhoods by Renter Inquiries

Top Growing Neighborhoods

With respect to renters seeking full apartments, certain popular neighborhoods have seen an outsized increase in renter leads year-over-year from the first quarter of 2019 to the first quarter of 2020. Looking at the most inquired about neighborhoods, the neighborhoods with the highest growth appear concentrated in Brooklyn and Manhattan, with Weeksvillle seeing a 116.8% increase in leads, Crown Heights a 52.3% increase, and Bay Ridge a 49.9% increase. Flatbush also saw a 49.4% jump in leads in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. In Manhattan, Hamilton Heights saw a 61.5% increase and Central Harlem a 35.3% increase. Meanwhile, lead volume in the East Village grew 32.8% year-over-year.

Top Declining Neighborhoods

At the same time, many popular neighborhoods in the city have seen a substantial decrease in renter leads year-over-year in the first quarter of 2020. The majority of these large declining neighborhoods are concentrated in Manhattan, with the Financial District seeing a 35.5% decrease,East Harlem a 18.6% decrease, and the Upper West Side a 12.1% decrease. Lead also dipped 10.1% in Gramercy Park. Meanwhile, Bushwick, the hip and artsy neighborhood in Brooklyn, saw a 29% reduction in lead volume year-over-year.

Top 10 Neighborhoods By Borough

Of these popular neighborhoods in Manhattan, the most notable increases in year-over-year leads were seen in Hamilton Heights (+61.5%), Central Harlem (+35.3%), the East Village (+32.8%), and the Upper East Side (+18.4%). The two declining neighborhoods were the Financial District (-35.5%) and East Harlem (-18.6%).

8 out of 10 of the most popular neighborhoods in Brooklyn saw an increase in year-over-year lead traffic, the most notable increases in leads were seen in East New York (+463.2%), Weeksville (+116.8%), Crown Heights (+52.3%), Bay Ridge (+49.9%) and Flatbush (+49.4%). The lone declining neighborhoods were Bushwick (-29%) and Ocean Hill (-10.7%).

Most of the neighborhoods in Queens saw relatively little change year-over-year compared to Brooklyn in Queens, with the exceptions of Flushing (+160.8%), Forest Hills (+67.2%), Long Island City (-24.2%), and Hunters Point (-19.9%).

Relative to the other boroughs, the Bronx saw a massive growth spurt in leads year-over-year, topped by Highbridge (+420.5%), Central Riverdale (+308.9%), Mount Eden (+252.6%), Kingsbridge (+183%), and Mott Haven (+73%).


Released on a quarterly basis, the RentHop Rental Report analyzes the NYC rental market using the platform’s traffic and lead generation data. The lead volume, most inquired apartment type, and year-over-year changes are determined based on the inquiries sent by renters visiting the RentHop site. The median asking rent is calculated using all listings created in the previous quarter across all apartment types. Please email for a detailed report covering all NYC neighborhoods. Note that unlike other RentHop studies that analyze and summarize data using the Neighborhood Tabulation Areas, the RentHop Rental Report adopts a more granular neighborhood shapefile for the analysis, which is consistent with the listing search criteria on the consumer side.

Published at Mon, 27 Apr 2020 14:00:55 +0000

Apartment Living

Martha Stewart’s Post-Cleanout Pantry Is Actually Relatable—Even With 47 Types of Salt

Martha Stewart’s Post-Cleanout Pantry Is Actually Relatable—Even With 47 Types of Salt

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that organizing a messy area is an instant mood booster. That is, unless you’re the queen of clean, Martha Stewart, and have very high standards for both tidiness and good feelings.

Stewart posted to Instagram on Wednesday night, sharing that she finished tidying the “savory portion” of her pantry at 10 p.m. And while she admits that the space is “more useful now I know where everything is, I know what I have and what I do not have,” she also mentioned in the caption that “I do not feel as good as I thought I would.” 

She breaks down what she kept, which includes “forty seven types of salt, about twenty seven types of olive oil, most sealed thank goodness. Numerous kinds of vinegars, pastas. Many types of hot sauces and barbecue sauces. Lots of Asian ingredients for Japanese, Chinese and Thai recipes. Lots of liquor and liqueurs for cooking and baking. The serious stuff is in the wine cellar for parties or in the freezer for mixing drinks. Quite a few types of rice, grains, only one small jar of garbanzos—I don’t use very many dried beans.”

In the age of Instagram, it’s common to see celebrity pantries like Chrissy Teigen’s that are a bit more fantasy than function. In contrast, Martha’s very real-looking after is relatable, as fans mention in the comments. But it could also be contributing to her lackluster feelings about finishing the project.

I asked Apartment Therapy’s own Martha, Lifestyle Editor Taryn Williford, what Stewart could’ve done differently to improve upon her pantry. Here’s what she suggests:

It appears that this pantry is a bit deep, so I love Taryn’s suggestion for bins. An additional tip, following the advice of another kitchen goddess Ina Garten, is that everything must be visible. And for that, you can’t beat lazy susans. Stuff you’d normally have to dig for is now just a turn away.

Can’t wait until she tackles the “sweet portion” of the pantry.

Published at Thu, 07 May 2020 19:00:00 +0000

Apartment Living

This Bath Towel Looks Like a Throw Blanket, But It’s One of the Most Absorbent Towels I’ve Ever Used

This Bath Towel Looks Like a Throw Blanket, But It’s One of the Most Absorbent Towels I’ve Ever Used

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.

Some things that I repeat a lot on this site: “I’m a hot sleeper”; “I love linen”; and “I prefer a textured bath towel”. I am a Virgo, and I am nothing if not predicable. Because I write about products and shopping for Apartment Therapy, I’m lucky enough to get to try new products all the time, and I feel especially fortunate when I find a product that genuinely thrills me. It doesn’t happen often, and when it does I immediately tell you all about it—which is why I’m here today, letting you know that I’ve found another textured bath towel that I’ve fallen in love with.

My first foray into waffle weave bath towel territory was Snowe’s Honeycomb Towel, and since then I’ve taken a particular interest in testing out more waffle weave bath products. Because of their construction, waffle weave towels tend to be lighter weight and more absorbent than typical terry cloth towels, plus they’re known to dry quicker. And of course, they’re also more textured, which is a personal preference I haven’t been able to shake. I recently got my paws on Allswell’s Stonewashed Waffle Towels, and let me tell you: They’re a game changer.

When they arrived, I gotta be honest: I felt a little doubtful. This towel looks and feels much more like a throw blanket than a bath towel, with a thicker feel than most waffle weave options. It’s also… really pretty. Thanks to the very on-trend waffle design, pretty color (it comes in white, silver gray, and blush), and fringed ends, this towel could be draped over a bed or sofa and seriously no one would know the difference. When hung up in a bathroom, well, it’s capable of changing the entire vibe of the space. But how well does it work?

Again, first time I tried it out I felt skeptical. Would it be weird to wrap myself in a throw blanket after stepping out of the shower? As it turns out, this towel is just as functional as it is beautiful. I’m not exaggerating when I say that it absorbed water absurdly fast, and when I hung it up it dried in record timing. I was floored! It’s like all the best things about waffle towels combined with all the best things about terry cotton towels. The only downside is that it’s not quite as soft as those extra thick, fluffy towels you’re probably used to, but I will say that it’s much softer than other waffle towels I’ve tried. And personally, I’ll take better absorption and quick drying properties over an ultra soft feel any day.

Allswell is known for its budget-friendly bedding and bath products (I also have their mattress and love it), but their waffle towel is on the expensive end at $25 per towel. Right now though, the brand is running a Mother’s Day promo: 25 percent off with code PAMPERMOM, through May 10. If you’d like to go all in on these beauties, you can save by purchasing a bundle: 2 bath towels, 2 hand towels, and 2 washcloths, all for $81 plus an extra 25 percent off right now.

Published at Tue, 05 May 2020 18:00:00 +0000

Apartment Living

How to Make a Face Mask at Home

How to Make a Face Mask at Home

  • The CDC has recommended the use of masks in public areas to help slow the spread of coronavirus
  • Instead of buying one, you can make a face mask with the material you already have
  • Following these simple steps, you can create a mask in less than five minutes

Slowing the spread of germs is key during the coronavirus pandemic. You can do your part by keeping your apartment clean and wearing a face mask. But with masks in high demand, it may be hard to find one.

Instead of frantically searching for a mask, you can make your own with materials you’ve got lying around at home — in less than five minutes. Here’s how to make a face mask to fight the advancement of coronavirus.

What you’ll need

  • Cloth (bandana, tea towel, handkerchief, old T-shirt, etc.)
  • String (shoelace, yarn, a cut strip of T-shirt, etc.)
  • Paper towel or coffee filters

Supplies needed to make your own face mask

Step 1: Lay it out

Lay the cloth flat on a surface. The cloth should be a square that’s between a foot and a foot-and-a-half in width and length. If you’re using a T-shirt or large piece of cloth, you’ll need to cut it to the right size.

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Handkerchief used to make your own face mask

Lay your paper towel or coffee filters in the middle of the cloth. Fold or cut it to be between three and four inches tall and slightly shorter than the width of the cloth.

Handkerchief with paper towel to make your own face mask.

Step 2: Fold it

Fold the bottom of the cloth over the paper towel or coffee filters.

Handkerchief and paper towel used to make your own face mask.

Then fold the top of the cloth down.

Handkerchief and paper towel used to make your own face mask.

Step 3: Add the string

Lay your string in an upside-down “U” shape over the folded cloth, leaving room in the middle and on either side of the cloth.

Handkerchief, paper towel and string used to make your own face mask.

Step 4: Fold it again

Fold in the sides of the cloth over the string. Hold it up to your face and make sure that the folded cloth will cover your entire moth. Adjust as needed until it properly and comfortably covers your mouth.

Handkerchief, paper towel and string used to make your own face mask.

Step 5: Wear it

To wear your mask, hold the cloth up to your mouth and slip the closed end of the string over your head and above your ears.

Tying a make yourself face mask.

Pull the loose ends of the string to adjust the fit to your head and tie them together.

Tying a make yourself face mask.Finished make yourself face mask.

Stay safe!

Wear your mask whenever you leave the house to prevent the spread of harmful germs and protect yourself while you’re out and about. Make sure you wash your mask between outings to further protect yourself (and others) by either putting it in the washing machine or hand-washing with detergent and a little bit of bleach.

We all need to do whatever we can to slow the spread of coronavirus and something as simple as wearing a mask can keep you safe and healthy!



Published at Fri, 01 May 2020 12:00:54 +0000