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Fall is here! Now if you’re like me, a feeling of anxiousness rushed over you when you read that in fear of having to put away the BBQ for the season and succumb to the “pumpkin spice fill in the blank treat of the week”.  But fall is a great time for hot, home cooked meals, and no I don’t mean casseroles for days.  A very under-appreciated tool of the kitchen is the crock pot.  It’s great for those who work a full 8-10 hour day but still want/have to put a full meal on the table after work.  It’s super easy and convenient.  The slow cooker allows you to put in all your ingredients, set it to the proper heat setting and walk away for hours while dinner is made. If that doesn’t deserve the hashtag of multitasking I don’t know what does. Here are some basic, yet helpful do’s and don’ts of slow cooking and a recipe or two of my recent meals.

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IMG_8194No one likes to complain and no one likes a complainer.  Sometimes, it’s not the words that are said, it is the way the words are said.  Customer experiences can be misinterpreted or lost if they aren’t offered in an informative manner.

Anything you need to convey to a business can be offered as feedback instead of a complaint.  “I didn’t want to complain.” Complaints conjure unhappy people and carry a negative association that’s often complimented by an emotional reaction.  On the other hand, feedback is not only appreciated, it is welcome.  Businesses see feedback as a pulse check on their real-time operations.

In the multi-family industry, we get our share of complaints.  We lease and manage housing for the general population so complaints come with the territory. But feedback is reserved for the organizations that want to hear from their customer.  When you seek feedback, you are afforded an opportunity to resolve issues before they turn into a problem.

Feedback offers a perspective that may not have been obvious to the employees of the business.  Sometimes on-site teams need your feedback to support and validate their budgets and purchase requests.   It’s important to tell a company what you liked about their service.  You can point out an exceptional employee or offer a simple fix to a frustrating process.  Don’t be afraid to tell them what you don’t like because you are offering valuable customer intel.  They pay big money for the same information in focus groups and surveys.  Things may seem obvious to you but it’s not always so obvious to a business owner or customer care employee.  Multi-family is no exception.  Some pretty intense situations can occur and when they do, we have to maintain a calm demeanor and muscle through it with poise and respect.  Since the properties are operated by humans, it is possible our teams can miss something.  Please bring it to their attention.

Feedback Tree

Many organizations diligently seek feedback.  Camden is very interested in knowing about your experience.  Each resident living in a Camden Community is offered two random surveys per year.  A survey is available anytime a customer receives service through our maintenance department.  In addition to paying customers, every prospective renter is offered a survey and asked about their experience.  Camden wants to know how their teams performed and how they stack up.  They want to know what a Camden experience looks like through every set of eyes.  When you ask for feedback, you will get it.  As the feedback rolled in, Camden employees were empowered to make changes based on customer requests.  Camden turned a corner when they realized the magic of proactive customer care.  It wasn’t long before they created a site to house inquiries and show progress.  That site is called “Voice of the Customer”.

Both customers and suppliers want respectful consideration and diligence from one another. When people do good things, tell them.  When people do nice things, thank them.  When a business exceeds your expectation, tell them (and then write a  review).  When a business drops the ball and misses the point, offer them feedback on what went wrong from your perspective and give them an opportunity to correct it. Don’t shy away from giving feedback to a business because that feedback is precious.  Don’t short-change a business because you think you are “complaining”.

 

The energy was very perceptible, as I rode into the VIP entrance of the Georgia Dome for the Atlanta Falcons versus Tampa Bay Buccaneers football game. The crowds paraded towards the dome, for what turned out to be a big win for the Atlanta Falcons. Even though attending a NFL football game is exciting, I was more excited about the opportunity to share the experience with my Camden family via my Twitter feed. Imagine if you will something big happening and you can’t wait to call your family to share. That’s how I feel, when I have the opportunity to experience super cool events  and the opportunity to represent the company I work for.

Lights, camera, action.

Lights, camera, action.

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Fall is my favorite time of the year! I love to see the leaves on the trees change colors and the smell of pumpkin flavored anything! I wanted to share some of my favorite fall DIY projects that I found on Pinterest. Whether you live in a home or right here at one of our beautiful Camden communities, I feel like anyone could do some of these full simple projects and incorporate it into your home! Enjoy reading and get crafting! Happy Fall Everyone!

Craft #1- Halloween Painted Jar Luminaries

I found this super cute idea that was pinned from www.craftsbyamanda.com. This is an easy DIY craft that you can do with your kids. All you have to do is get a clear jar, paint the outside a color of your choice and then put a face on it with black paint. You can illuminate them at night with a battery power LED light or a candle! Super cute and way too easy!

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Craft #2 – Popsicle Stick Scarecrow Magnet

I’m a mom so I am always looking for fun things to do with my son. This craft idea was pinned from www.thisgirlslifeblog.com and all you need is a few simple items to make this cute scarecrow magnet! For detailed instructions on this project, visit the website listed above! This is a small fall decoration that you can post of your fridge and it doesn’t take up any space so it is great for apartment living.

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Bonus: Banana Pumpkin Spice Milkshake

I know this isn’t a craft but this was a recipe that I just couldn’t pass up! This is a super yummy fall milkshake recipe that I found on Pinterest that came from www.wholeandheavenlyoven.com!

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Ingredients:

  • 5 large bananas, completely frozen and cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1-1/4 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Whipped cream for serving

Instructions:

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Pulse several times until mixture is smooth. Spoon milkshake into glasses and top with whipped cream. Serve immediately.

Camden Cares OC Stand Down event

Camden Cares OC Stand Down event

I have always been a big believer that you need to give back to the community around you. I’m fortunate to be able to work for a company that allows you to give back to the community . On September 26, I had to opportunity to go to OC Stand down at the old Tustin Air Base. My co-workers and I worked in the kitchen washing dishes, we helped to serve our Veterans and we helped check people into the event as they arrived. I had the opportunity to sit with Bob a Vietnam Veteran and here some of his stories.  We have the freedom that we do because of people like him that fought to keep our freedom.  It actually made me a little sad that I didn’t ask my grandfather more about his time in the war while he was still alive. We are the ones that are going to be able to pass on that history by telling our kids the stories that we are told.  Take the time to ask someone there history and you may make a new lifelong friend.

Working in the kitchen at OC Stand Down Charity event

Working in the kitchen at OC Stand Down Charity event

On September 11th we went to our community’s fire departments and police station and brought them lunch from Boudins and cake. These are the men and woman that protect us daily. Sometimes we get wrapped up in all the events that we have going on that we forget to stop and say thank you. I know that the term pay it forward comes to mind when I think about volunteering. It’s the little things that can make a big difference. You can donate your old cloths to charities that need it. You can recycle your cans and bottles and save that money that you make from that to donate to a school to buy books. Even if you just saved your spare change and then donated that at the end of the year to the charity of your choice. You would be making a difference even if you don’t have the time to donate.   If we all just picked one day a year to do something nice like buy a coffee for a person in line that looks like they need it then it might just change the world and the way people think.

 

I wanted to write about a great restaurant in our neighborhood called Andrei’s Conscious Cuisine and Cocktails, it’s located at 2607 Main St. in Irvine. The restaurant offers a wide variety of food and drinks and has a great happy hour menu! They use seasonal fruits and vegetables, emphasizing Mediterranean flavors.  It’s great having a restaurant around the corner that you can walk to and consistently have great food and service! Andrei’s has a very spacious inside area with bar and a great new addition of an outside patio with heaters.

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Andrei’s has been very generous to Camden Main and Jamboree Apartments also. They have sponsored resident events and given gift cards. Andrei’s also offers 25% off to the residents of Camden Main and Jamboree on Saturday nights!

Andries Continue Reading »

The minute the first day of Fall arrived everyone noticed! There is something about the Fall that makes people happy and cozy. Being the person that I am, I went on the hunt for reasons why. I read many articles and this is what I was able to find.

photo courtesy of theguardian.com

photo courtesy of theguardian.com

Crisp Breezes: Something about the first moment the cool Fall air hits your face. It can happen anywhere and at any time of day and somehow it is fresh every time. For those of us that live in naturally warmer areas, the season shift from Spring to Summer is sometimes unrecognizable – hot and muggy for both seasons. When Summer finally transitions into Fall, the change is most welcome. The crisp breezes represent that “Welcome” that we all long for after a scorching Summer.

Nature Hikes/Walks: Nature becomes more beautiful in the Fall. Littered with varying shades of brown, yellow and orange the trees can sometimes look as if they were taken directly from a Monet painting. This color scheme can create a relaxed, tranquil atmosphere making hikes and walks the ideal way to spend down time.

photo courtesy of heirloomphilosophy.blogspot.com

photo courtesy of heirloomphilosophy.blogspot.com

Fall Fashions: We wait all year to wear our trendy hats, scarves, riding boots and dark colors. Fall is the perfect time to do this. With temperatures that are neither warm nor cold, this can help expose the fashionable creativity that many of us hold inside the majority of the year.

Halloween: Who does not love Halloween? If you are young, you love going trick-or-treating and stuffing bellies with endless amounts of candy. If you are an adult, well what could be more fun than a nice evening out in costume with a ghoulishly stylish drink? Halloween gives us all a chance to channel our dark side and creativity in the costume department.

photo courtesy zirkon777.de

photo courtesy zirkon777.de

Haunted Houses/Ghost Trails: What more can I say than: creepy house, abandoned, cracked windows, leaves falling from trees, darkness, crispness in the air?… Creepy huh? I know more than one of us out there finds haunted homes fun!

photo courtesy of jesuitcrusader.org

photo courtesy of jesuitcrusader.org

Pumpkins: Pumpkins are EVERYWHERE! Every corner, every porch, ever store, every candle – Pumpkins are the representatives of the Fall. Eat them, drink them, carve them and Starbucks them – Pumpkins are all the rave!

photo courtesy of ctfitclub.com

photo courtesy of ctfitclub.com

Scents: I love the Fall scents that start to make their way to the store shelves. Whether it be Bed, Bath and Beyond or Yankee Candle – Fall scents are all in! The scent of Pumpkin Spice, Autumn Wreath or Autumn leaves can warm the heart and soul as well as your home.

photo courtesy of margiestibora.com

photo courtesy of margiestibora.com

Fall Foods: Ok, I know we have visited this already, but Pumpkin EVERYTHING! If I hear the words ‘Pumpkin Spiced Latte’ just one more time (hehe)! Apple Ciders (mmmmm), Turkey, Squash, Stuffing, Cranberry….. oh, and the list goes on! We love Fall food, do we not?

photo courtesy of weather.com

photo courtesy of weather.com

So, after much research and reading of my own Blog, I believe that it is safe to say that: We love Fall!

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