Camden Kindness within our Values

Amber Cleveland, becoming a Camden legend in Raleigh, NC

Amber Cleveland, becoming a Camden legend in Raleigh, NC

In Raleigh, North Carolina, there is a Leasing Consultant named Amber Cleveland.  She joined Camden as a temp in August of 2014.  Shortly after that she became a full-time employee.  Amber sets a stellar example of Camden Excellence. Amber leaves a lasting impression.  She’s a hugger. Every time she hands over the keys to a new resident, she stands up, stretches her arms out, wraps her arms around our new neighbor and belts out in song: “Welcome HOOOOOOOOOOOME!!!!”. (PS: She also happens to have been a Hollywood finalist on Season 2 of American Idol so she actually sounds amazing.)  Not everyone can pull that off.  In fact, no one else in our office can do that.  With Amber, I can’t imagine her NOT doing that.  And she doesn’t stop that connection after they move in. But that’s a different story for a different day.

Today I had the occasion of going to lunch with her at the mall.  As we parked and walked into the mall, we were engrossed in conversation.  Walking toward the entrance and out of the corner of my eye I briefly noticed an elderly woman taking painfully slow and careful steps.  I wasn’t overly concerned because I was totally immersed in conversation.  Until I realized Amber was no longer with me.  She had stopped and was asking this woman if she needed help.  I could now see that the woman was in desperate need of a hand or even a hand rail.  Amber offered her arm, asked her where she needed to go and who was coming to get her.  As you can imagine, it took quite some time to get her inside.  Amber found a place for her to sit while she waited, got her some water and told her we would be back to check on her in a short time.

Caught on Camera - Camden Values in Action

Caught on Camera – Camden Values in Action

As I’m writing this, I can’t begin to explain what it felt like to be one of the many people that had no intention of stepping out of their world to take on the care and responsibility of someone in need.  How many times have I encountered someone in need and thought that surely someone else was on their way to help them?  The best I could do in the moment is what anyone would do…pull out their phone and snap a photo.

As we walked away, I turned to Amber and thanked her for being such a kind human being.  She said, “I would hope someone would do the same thing for my parents, wouldn’t you?”

Amber returned shortly to find her new friend sitting with her husband.  She introduced herself and made sure they were ok.  We then proceeded to have lunch a couple of tables away.

As Amber’s supervisor, I am moved that Amber “Lead by Example”.  She is exactly the kind of person that lives by Camden’s values without effort.  Each year, Camden employees select their peers to be honored for Achieving Camden Excellence.  Amber shows every sign of being a future A. C. E. Award Winner.  Although she hasn’t been honored with the prestigious award yet, I can’t imagine it will be long.

Camden's Values remain the guidepost for our operations.

Camden’s Values remain the guidepost for our operations.

Camden’s’ values represent guideposts that would benefit anyone wanting to be a better person.  As a manager with Camden, I have always kept this list close and have often made decisions in difficult situations by simply referring to “Always do the right thing”.  Camden’s values are the heart of my loyalty to this organization.  I’m grateful that today I witnessed Camden’s Values in action. If we all helped someone in need, would anyone be in need?

3 Hair Care Products I Can’t Live Without: My Beauty Bag Part Two

3 Hair care products I can't live without

In My Last Beauty Bag post revealed the 6 skincare products I can’t live without. Today I’m excited to share the 3 hair products that I use every day!

Shampoo and Conditioner: I rotate back and forth between Schwarzkopf BlondeMe and Schwarzkopf BC Bonacure Repair Rescue. It smells great, doesn’t leave a residue and I can buy it in a very large bottle at Ulta. #Done

Hair Styling Product: Before I blow dry I use Kerastase Paris Forme Fatale All-Over Bodifying Gel. This is heat activated, so blow dry immediately after applying. When I keep my hair longer I will also use Sealed Ends BC Bonacure Repair Rescue by Schwarzkopf. I’ve never found success with dry shampoo, I have very fine and oily hair, but I have been able to get an extra day on my locks when I use Kerastase V.I.P. Volume In Powder Dry Volumizing and Texturizing Spray. #You’reWelcome

Hair Styling Tools: My hair dryer of choice is the FHI Heat Technique Hair Dryer. I am extremely uncoordinated and have never been able to fully style my hair with a hair dryer, so I also use the ghd Gold Professional 1” to style. Pro Tip: Use hair clips whenever styling your hair, I’ve found that using them actually saves me time. I prefer the ones that don’t have teeth since my hair will develop a crease very easily.

As much as I love every product I use and am normally really loyal to them, I also LOVE to learn something new that I should be using. Monthly subscription boxes are a great way for me to test and learn about new products!

Another great way for me to get the latest on beauty products? You guys! Please share with me below what you have in your Beauty Bag!  And, keep an eye out for my third Beauty Bag blog post.

cheryl eimer

Cheryl Eimer is the Regional Marketing Director for Camden’s Charlotte, Raleigh and DC Metro markets. She and her cat Petey have lived all over the U.S. and are excited to be back on the East Coast. In addition to perfecting her beauty regimen, Cheryl hopes to travel to Switzerland, a trip she plans to take next year!


Monthly Subscription Boxes- Are They Worth the Hype?

As someone who is a frequent lover of all things social media, I am easily influenced by what others recommend. One of the most popular trends of the moment is monthly subscription boxes. In 2015 you are now able to get anything from clothing to food to crafts to pet supplies all via mail. These boxes have revolutionized the decision making process by simply opting in and out of paying for the month. Now you are able to try something new that you may never have known about by paying anywhere from $1-$100 a month.

Some companies, such as Birchbox, offer a “personality” quiz prior to receiving your box. These help assess what they will send you based on demographics as well as personal features.

Personally, I have tried ipsy, Birchbox, Dollar Shave Club, Barkbox, Lip Monthly, Just Fab, Graze and Starbox. I asked Camden residents and employees if they participated in monthly subscription boxes, and the response was overwhelming. As a result, I am going to share the ones that came up, and you can decide, are they really worth it?

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Camden Cares Dallas-Serving Our Community

Part of Camden culture is serving our communities. Since we are a national company, we are able to give back in many different cities across the US through various organizations. Every year, the team members in each city come together for our Camden Cares events.  As a new member of the Dallas team, I recently participated in our fall event. Not only was it a great way for me to meet my new peers from the 13 Dallas Camden communities, but it was also an opportunity to get out into the neighborhood to give back.

I recently moved from Austin where I was able to participate in multiple Camden Cares events. It was a pleasant surprise to find out that the Dallas event was partnered with the same organization we had worked with in Austin, Rebuilding Together. “Rebuilding Together strengthens the lives of people in our most vulnerable communities by providing low-income homeowners with critical home repairs, accessibility modifications and energy-efficient upgrades.”

Dallas team members with the homeowner.

Dallas team members with the homeowner.

Partnering with Rebuilding Together allows Camden a platform to share our time and resources. In Austin, Dallas and Houston, Camden team members help to clean and refurbish homes through painting, landscaping, and upgrading appliances and fixtures. It was so rewarding to see tangible results from our efforts while also getting to know the homeowners we were helping. Each Camden Cares event is not only rewarding for those we are serving, but also for us as Camden employees.  Here are some quotes from Camden team members who worked on homes during the recent event in Dallas:

“The Camden Cares event was very humbling. To be able to get out into the community and help people that are in real need of help was an eye opening experience. It certainly has given me a new perception, and I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in this event.” – Patrick, Assistant Maintenance Supervisor at Camden Farmers Market.

“It’s great to work for a company who promotes community activism and charity.  I also think it’s nice that Camden cares not just about how their residents live, but also how people live in the communities in which their properties are located.” – Alexis, a Farmers Market leasing consultant who is new to Camden.

Camden Cares pic

Camden team members from across Dallas work together to paint the outside of a home.

Check out some of the other projects from Camden Cares events in Tampa, Charlotte, and Denver!

Build the Bench: Developing the Team to Win the Game

Build the Bench: Developing the Team to Win the GameIt’s late on a Sunday afternoon, down to the last few minutes on the clock, a tied score with a win on the line and millions of fans watching; this is the moment when a head coach is looking to the bench for a player who will run the ball to win the game, not a player who is going to fumble.

The corporate world is no different. Every business wants team members on the bench and on the field that possess the ability, courage, and willingness to take on greater challenges. But how to accomplish this? It takes hard work to build a successful team.

As Camden’s Head Coach I realize we need to build our bench just like the Pros by recruiting new talent and retaining current team members while developing individuals and equipping them with tools to be the next generation of leaders. This led to the company-wide initiative: Build the Bench.

My  goal is for our employees to be happy and successful. Build the Bench is the plan to provide that with a concentrated focus on finding and developing Camden’s next generations of leaders. That doesn’t happen overnight. You have to create a gameplan for employee development and happiness, so I have formed a Task Force of Camden Senior Executives and challenged them with vetting our gameplan:

  • The Draft: building the team by retaining current team members and bringing in new talent through an onboarding process that cultivates them for growth and development.
  • The Pre-Season: creating training and career development opportunities to prepare the team for success.
  • The Season: recognizing and celebrating the wins along the way through actionable analysis.
  • The Franchise: keeping up the momentum for continued wins season after season.

Camden’s Build the Bench initiative is still in its conceptual phase. As we get it off the ground I am dedicated to sharing our measurable goals and feedback. Look for stats updates as we Build the Bench at Camden.

Malcolm Stewart

Malcolm Stewart is Chief Operating Officer of Camden Property Trust and Chairman of Camden’s Investment Committee. Mr. Stewart is responsible for all property operations across the United States. He is actively engaged in community services and an active supporter of the Texas A&M University Corps of Cadets.


Camden Cares 2015: Charlotte Family Housing


This years Camden Cares event took place at Charlotte Family Housing located in the heart of Uptown Charlotte, NC. As stated on the Charlotte Family Housing website,, “the mission of Charlotte Family Housing is to empower homeless families to achieve long term self sufficiency through shelter, housing, support services and advocacy”.

On September 24th, 2015, Camden Cares arrived to assist in achieving this mission alongside the Charlotte Family Housing staff.

Our tasks included pressure washing buildings and sidewalks, painting hallways and stairwells, cleaning and repairing outside equipment, general landscaping, cleaning and organizing rooms indoors and organizing and preparing donations for give away.

Donnie and Walter of Camden Dilworth are pressure washing away!

Donnie and Walter of Camden Dilworth are pressure washing away!

The Camden Charlotte team separated into groups in order to get the job done. Both office staff and maintenance staff teamed up and combined forces to make sure each task was handled efficiently and successfully.

Marisa, Rachel and Richard - mixing a little fun along with mixing a little paint!

Marisa, Rachel and Richard – mixing a little fun along with mixing a little paint!

The Camden Cares initiatives are always eagerly awaited because it gives many of us a chance to volunteer our time and to mingle with the colleagues that we may not see on a day to day basis. I had a chance to speak to some of my coworkers regarding their experiences. First time Camden Cares participant, Elizabeth Machesky, Leasing Consultant at Camden South End told me that she “enjoyed the experience. It was nice to get together with other employees in Charlotte who [she] does not normally get to see and be able to give to the community at the same time. [She] loved to see everyone working together to give back to the community.” When I asked Elizabeth if she had many other opportunities to volunteer she told me that “she always volunteered with [her] church, so it was nice to volunteer with [her] co-workers”.

New construction team members from Southline and Gallery posing away!

New construction team members from Southline and Gallery posing away!

This year Camden Charlotte has welcomed many new employees to the family, Elizabeth being one of them. These events are such a great way to show what Camden is all about and initiate our new colleagues with lots and lots of hugs, a Camden requirement!

DM Carrie perfecting the garden!

DM Carrie perfecting the garden!

Among the volunteers were also members of our Camden Cares Committee. This committee is responsible for organizing many of the events and for serving as “go-to” people during the process. Longstanding member, Janette Hendershott, Community Manager of soon to be opening, Camden Gallery, told me that she is “filled with an overwhelming sense of pride to be a part of something so powerful. To see [her] Camden family members working side by side, cultivating shared experiences while making a positive impact on the community and the people in it, warms [her] heart.”

Russ of Camden South End hard at work!

Russ of Camden South End hard at work!

Camden Cares events do not represent time away from work but something far more important – time spent giving to those in need.

As a Camden blogger I had the ability to speak to a few different coworkers about their experiences. To share a few thoughts:

When asked about the most rewarding part of the Camden Cares event, Assistant Manager at Camden Ballantyne, Celina Del Toro told me she felt that “being able to give back to those in need and seeing the impact that our group effort had on those in Charlotte Family Housing” was her greatest reward.

Jose of Camden South End working that chainsaw!

Jose of Camden South End working that chainsaw!

Travis Lopshire, Leasing Consultant at Camden Dilworth, told me that although “running our business is important, our community and the people in it are far more important. [He] does not feel that Camden will get massive publicity from the event and he does not believe that it will increase the business of the day, but it is great to see our employer make a point in the fact that helping others simply because we can is much more important than the business that we could have done that day.”

Leaving our mark!

Leaving our mark!

The volunteer effort held a special place for each person volunteering. Regardless of their reasoning, the takeaways are positive.

When asked what could be taken away from the day at Charlotte Family Housing, Assistant Manager at Camden Gallery, Rachel McAdam noted that “so much more can be done when we work together” and Richard Moss, Community Manager at Camden Cotton Mills, felt inspired to “do more for the community both through work and with [his] personal time.”

The day was well spent and the work done was noticeable to both Camden employees and the Charlotte Family Housing Staff. Camden Cares left their mark, once again!

Camden Charlotte, NC!

Camden Charlotte, NC!

We all look forward to the next time we are able to give our time to make our community a better place.

Cute but not very pratical

Five “Must Have” Baby Items That I Did NOT Have to Have

I am pretty sure the reason my husband wanted to have a baby is so that he could buy the latest a greatest ‘must have’ items that they offer for babies and parents. So I’m here to let you learn from our mistakes (though my husband will probably still swear we need all the junk!).

  1. Any specialized snot sucker thing – Use the regular suction ball that they give you at the hospital, nothing will ever work better. We purchased a battery operated sucker and also the NoseFrida (look it up, it’s gross) and we used them ONCE, enough to find out that the old fashioned one works best.

    Use this!

    Use this!

  2. Expensive thermometers – Use the regular old one you’d use on yourself. Our nurse recommended just putting it under the baby’s armpit to get an accurate reading. It was a lot more dependable and fluctuate less than all the fancy electronic ones.
  3. Fancy digital baby bath tub – Yah, I’m sure a normal person would see right through this but we didn’t. I don’t think we ever even put batteries in it. It’s a tub, it’s for washing babies, it can’t get much simpler. Best was a cheap-o we got from Walmart to use instead!

    Not necessary!

    Not necessary!

  4. Bottle Steamer/Cleaner – This was another waste of time/space. It really doesn’t hold much and I felt like I still needed to give them a good scrub before and after putting it into the washer. It took just as long as boiling bottles. Though it takes a little elbow grease, the best option was to wash them with a brush, soap, and hot water (what a novel concept!).

    Not so much!

    No on this as well!

  5. Fake lawn looking baby bottle drying rack – Ok this one is cute but it doesn’t hold very much. I admit I still use it but I end up having to put most of the overflow stuff on a clean dish towel. If you can’t appreciate it for décor, definitely skip this one.

    Cute but not very pratical

    Cute but not very practical

These are definitely not a rule of thumb but instead something I found out for myself personally. There are also probably dozens of other things I can add to this list (fortunately I didn’t fall into the Baby Bullet trap…just use a blender people!). If you’re like my husband and me then you will want to get your baby the best of everything possible but hope this helps to distribute that spending to more important things…like super cute baby outfits!


Fun and Cheap DIY Halloween Projects!

My favorite time of the year is upon us! I know I am not alone when I say I LOVE fall weather! It is a nice welcome from the hot and humid summer heat and it brings cooler temps and changing leaves. One of the things I love so much about fall season is the decorating! I enjoy bringing out the pumpkins, and leaves, and acorns. It is the official start to decorating season in my house and I look forward to it each and every year.

To kick off the decorating season is Halloween! Scary? Fun? Contemporary? The choice is yours! The possibilities are endless as you prepare to decorate your Camden home for the Halloween season. An even better part about decorating for his fun holiday is that there are several ways that you can decorate inexpensively and you can do it yourself! A DIY project with your family or friends is a great way to customize your projects and make them fun and original. I have a set of crafty boys at my house so we do all sorts of fun projects and set their finished products all over the home for all to enjoy. Not sure where to start? Try some of these ideas and I am sure your wheels will start spinning!

Coffee Cans/ Canned Foods:
Most of us are coffee drinkers. Keep your empty metal coffee cans because they are great to use in projects. You can use these in several ways. Take a metal coffee can and paint it a color of your choice. I typically pick black but feel free to use which ever colors fits your personality and décor. My boys will paint them black and then the real fun begins! They decorate them to look like scary monsters or witches or black cats for the season. You can glue eyes to the can to create part of the face. Construction paper or paint can be used to create the mouth or nose or warts or whatever you want to add to the can. Pipe cleaners are great additions as well because they can serve as arms, ears, horns, tails, etc. Want more of a 3D affect? Styrofoam balls are great additions to projects! They can be painted numerous colors and simply glued on to the can to give you the look you are after. Once you have painted the can and added all of your fun additions step back and look at your customized product that you created! These are cheap, cute, and personalized to decorate your home with!


The same principal with the coffee cans can be applied to canned food. These are smaller cans so they are perfect for adding small touches throughout the house. One of my favorite projects that I completed with the canned food is my letter cans! My boys painted the cans either solid black or solid orange. They cut out letters with either orange or black construction paper. We hammered small pin holes throughout the can. Once that was completed we glued letters to each individual can. The black cans received orange letters and the orange cans received black letters. My boys choose the word “Spooky” to spell out but you can choose whatever word you choose! Place a battery operated tea light in them and it is complete! You can add ribbon or other decoration to personalize even more if you choose. These cans line my fireplace mantel during Halloween. It is super cute with the dancing flames from the tea light and the best part is my boys created it themselves to add to our home holiday decor.

Milk Cartons:
Do you go through milk at your homes like I do at mine? I am always buying a gallon of milk! Recycle those empty milk cartons and use them in your Halloween decorations. They make perfect ghosts. Clean out your milk carton, use a black Sharpe marker to draw the eyes and the mouth, insert a battery operated tea light or clear Christmas light strands and you now have ghosts! Yes, it really is that simple

One of the easiest things to bring into the home to decorate and no it doesn’t have to be carved! The common misconception is that pumpkins have to be carved. That is false and in fact there are a number of ways to decorate a Halloween pumpkin without carving it! And you pick the size, color, and shape of the pumpkin you want to use! Use Halloween ribbon and tie a large bow at the top of the pumpkin and wallah! You have a decorated pumpkin! Want a little more than just ribbon? You can use glitter, buttons, stones, etc. to spell out words on your pumpkin. Spelling to the word “Boo” or “Spooky” with some fun stones and decorative ribbon makes for a cute pumpkin that fits right into the holiday season. My kids paint scary and happy faces on their pumpkins and they are creative and personalized. They each decorate their very own and are eager to show it off and for it to be on display. It is a fun project that they enjoy and its quality time spent together.

Decorating your home for any holiday does not have to be super expensive. There are several projects that you can do using things you already have to create your own decor that fits the personalities of your home! Perhaps you prefer to just decorate for fall so that it carries you through Thanksgiving! Here are some great tips to get you started into the fall season! Look around your home and let your imagination go wild. Wine bottles, paper grocery sacks, empty jars, old sheets, etc can all be transformed into fun holiday decoration.I am sure you will find all sorts of things you can use to make your beautiful Camden home holiday perfect!

Camden Cares – Tampa, FL – Paying it Forward at it’s Finest!

Helping the homeless, making paracord bracelets for our troops overseas, welcoming our veterans home
from an honor flight to DC… These are just a few ways that Camden employees volunteer to show our love and support for the community we live in. What I’m talking about is Camden Cares, a yearly nationwide effort. We’re more than just a community: we’re family!


The most recent Camden Cares event in Tampa, Florida where we helped paint the interior of the Starting Right Now campus, which is a program that meets the needs of the growing population of homeless families and children in Hillsborough County.

This was an extremely heartwarming event not only because of the bonds we made with our community and each other, but also because it was our second time helping Starting Right Now. Last year we helped paint the exterior of the campus and we also got down and dirty with some landscaping. We pulled weeds, cut branches from fences, we raked, and we planted. We poured our StartingRightNowLogoCamden blood, sweat, and tears into this incredible project.

We’re helping our community and we’re helping each other. We’re doing great things and we’re giving back to those who have given so much to us! When you do great things, great things begin to happen everywhere. It’s like a contagious happiness!

CamdenCares 2015-2

Keep following our blog to learn more about what Camden Cares is all about and to learn what we have planned for upcoming volunteer events – Because I’m happy!

#CamdenCares #CamdenHappy

September is Hunger Action Month

I recently had the opportunity to do some volunteer work. I have always wanted to help around in the community but always used the excuse that I didn’t have time, didn’t know where to start, and so on. I attend a large church, Church By The Glades, in Coral Springs, FL and they hosted a volunteering event throughout South FL with 1300+ volunteers coming together to make a big difference in one afternoon. This was a great opportunity and I didn’t want to miss out. There were so many options to choose from, and I decided to help at Feeding South Florida. They are the leading domestic hunger relief organization in South Florida, and together they rescue and distribute over 40 million pounds of food throughout the 4 South Florida counties- Miami Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Monroe. It’s very exciting for me to think that we have so many Miami Camden Properties throughout these areas. I actually drove past Camden Plantation and Camden Portofino on my way there!

Can you tell that I was so excited to be a part of this great event?

Can you tell that I was so excited to be a part of this great event?

There were 2 time slots, and having a 2 year old, my husband and I couldn’t volunteer together, so he took the morning shift, and I took the afternoon shift. When I got there, they had us meet up in a conference room where they showed us a video with some helpful facts and chatted about the different roles and split us up into groups -inspectors, sorters, and distribution . I was a part of the inspection team. We would gather foods donated from retail and local growers, and make sure that the food did not over exceed the shelf life, and was safe and healthy enough to eat.


We had over 100 volunteers in this group pic. Photo courtesy of Church By The Glades instagram.

We had over 100 volunteers in this group pic.
Photo courtesy of Church By The Glades instagram.

Being that I work for, Camden, a company that values teamwork and having fun, I am very comfortable with a little friendly competition. They told us at the beginning that the Morning Team sorted through 21,000 pounds of food, at the end of our shift we were told we sorted 23,000 pounds. It’s always fun to brag or “win” but when you are doing a good deed and know how many people you are helping, it makes it all worth it.

My experience with Feeding South Florida was truly a memorable and rewarding one and I am looking forward to working with them again in the near future. I enjoyed this experience so much so, that I’m looking forward to October 7th, as I will be helping out at our Camden Cares volunteer event along with my fellow co-workers. I can’t wait for you to read about our experiences there.

I would suggest everyone volunteer at some point in their lives. Get involved, get out there and do something good for others, I promise it will make you feel good about yourself too!