Rancho Las Lomas

Lily the white tiger

Lily the white tiger

Are you looking for something fun to do on a weekend? Or do you need a great date venue for Valentine’s Day? I found this great place called Rancho Las Lomas. It’s located in Trabuco Canyon near the famous biker bar cook’s corner. I was looking at Groupon and that is how I stumbled across this amazing place. If you are looking to get married I would highly recommend this place. I have been married for years so I have not had a reason to check this venue out. They now also do zoo tours, wine tasting and beer tasting on weekends when they are not booked with a wedding.

Rancho Las Lomas wine tasting

Rancho Las Lomas wine tasting

I was so excited about this purchase that I got a few other couples to join us. To be honest I thing that is the only way I could get my husband to go. When I made the purchase I didn’t know that they also had other cocktails that you could try besides wine. This is a private estates that has everything from exotic white tigers, zebras, and lamas on the grounds to private cottages that you can stay overnight in.  Everyone that went with us had so much fun that we booked an additional trip to stay overnight with our families before we even left that night.



We brought the whole family back a few weeks later to stay in the cottages. I have two girls that are 6 and 2 years old so staying overnight with a white tiger was very exciting as you can imagine. When we arrived in the morning the grounds keepers took us around and let us watch them feed Lily the tiger. I truly feel this was such an amazing experience that my daughter will not soon forget. The Groupon is still available http://www.groupon.com/deals/rancho-las-lomas if you wanted to check it out.

Hanging out on a swing

Hanging out on a swing


Decoration Storage in a Small Space

Living in a small space? Or, did you read my previous blog and purchase an entire new holiday decor that you don’t know where to store? If so, the likelihood is that you’re already using all the closet space your apartment home has to offer.  So where do you put all of the newly acquired seasonal decorations? Well, in order to answer this question, you’ll have to think outside the box…literally!

Sure, you can incorporate the clever storage ideas shown in the picture below.

In fact, you can get more ideas like this from other clever storage fanatics here   and here! But maybe you’ve got traditional storage bins that are large and bulky, and you’ll need more space for those. I’m proposing you try ‘open design storage’. This entails you going through the items you currently have stored away and deciding whether or not you think they’re worthy enough to display out in the open as part of your home décor. Sounds crazy, I know! But by doing this you may find that your items are more accessible and that you have more space to store all the new and upcoming seasonal décor that you’re about to purchase.

So, let’s look at a few non-traditional ways of creating more storage space for your Camden apartment home.

    • If you have a lot of shoes on your closet floor, this idea is for you. Clear out all of those shoes from your closet floor and try displaying them in an armoire, preferably glass or see-through. Ladies, I recommend this for you as it will add a feminine appeal to your room and free up ground and wall space for some of those heavier storage boxes that tend to be harder to store away. For the guys, I recommend using cubby holes that match the furniture in your room, as shown below. You can even add additional removable shelving with small decorative storage bins and inexpensive plastic dressers to the floor of your closet.
    • Clear up space in your linen closet by storing your towels out in the open on a wine rack in your bathroom. If your towels match your bathroom décor, then it will look cohesive and clean.
    • Install cubby holes or regular shelves above your bed, night stands, and dressers for more shelf space. Not only will this give you more open storage space but it will give your room more depth.

The possibilities with open storage design are endless! The ultimate goal of trying open storage design is to display show-worthy items you’re currently hiding in your storage spaces, thus, creating storage space for the items you don’t want guests to see. And if you’re still needing more storage space after trying at least one of these ideas, contact the front office to see if your Camden community offers storage units for rent. Good luck!

It’s That Time Again! Spring Cleaning!!


Spring time is just around the corner and we all know what that means! Yep… the dreaded spring cleaning that comes to haunt us once a year. We all know it is coming but if you are like me then you avoid it like the plague. Anything is better than the dreaded spring cleaning event that takes place yearly at your home. Hopefully these easy quick tips will help the annual festivities go by as soon as possible and as painless as possible.

Make a list! I know the dreaded “list” that seems never ending. I’m here to tell you that it is ok! The list will truly help to keep you organized and it gives you something to check off as you complete. Senses of gratification as you see that list slowly coming to completion. Divide the list into rooms and make a list of each thing that needs to be completed in each room. As you complete the tasks simply check them off. You will win the battle with the list as you strategically work your way through it.


Time your chores. If you time how long it will take you to complete each task then it will make the time go by faster. If you know it will take 10 minutes to clean out a drawer in your kitchen then allot yourself those 10 minutes to complete a task on your list. Before you know it your tasks will be completed in no time at all. When we look at the “list” we tend to want to give up before we even start, but if you set time limits on each item then it will be an effective way of completing the daunting list because you can do it as you have time to do it. There isn’t any rule that says it has to be completed all at one time. We can work on it as we have the opportunity.

Multitasking will be one of your best traits during this time of year. Physicians always recommend that when excising that we watch television or listen to music to distract us and keep our minds off the exercising, the same practices can be used to complete the spring cleaning lists. Watching TV, listening to music, or talking on the phone can make completing the check list much more manageable.

Trash bags will aid quickly in sorting and determining what makes the cut and what goes to the trash or donation centers. Have a couple of trash bags for each room as you begin your cleaning regiment for that area. One trash bag needs to be designated as trash and another for donations. As you begin your cleaning having these bags readily available will save you trips to the garbage and having to clean up any more piles that come from separating what you are keeping or getting rid of.

Open up your windows. Who doesn’t love a little fresh air on a beautiful day? During the first days of spring we are all busting out of the doors to get outside and enjoy some fresh air and the warm sunshine. The warmth is inviting and just makes us feel better. Opening up your windows and bringing the outside in will help in making the spring cleaning more enjoyable. Listening to the birds chirping outdoors and feeling the warm sun rays on your skin always makes for a better afternoon. Enjoy it! Just because you are cleaning and organizing doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the outdoors as well. A little fresh air is always good and helps to air out the rooms from the being shut up during the winter months. So open up those blinds and windows and enjoy!


If you are like me the closets are always a wreck and it seems like there is always something we have stored in there. Trying to “de-clutter” my closet seems to be never ending so one trick that I started last year has been a successful tool in keeping my closet better organized is planning for seasons. If it is not in season then it is packed away in a storage bin. All winter way is stored away in the summer and all summer clothes are packed away in the winter. This simple technique has helped in ensuring that my closet is not packed all year long. When packing my clothes away for the season, if I haven’t worn it or it looks like it needs to be retired then it goes to a donation pile and not in the bin for storing. Quick, simple, and effective.

These binsa have solved my storage-challenged issues more than once...

Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be a daunting task. I know and understand we dread this time of year but we know that it must be done to make our homes clean, organized, and efficient. I am confident these quick cleaning tips will help you spring clean your Camden home this season and all year long! Happy Spring Cleaning!


A French Bulldog Is a Pretty Good Pet

Over the years, we have had a number of pets. Mostly due to my inability to control an uncontrollable love for animals. Occasionally, Mr. Perfect has been involved, but usually it is all me. Our first pet we had together was about 23 years ago, when I fell head over heels in love with a white french bulldog I saw on TV. There was a segment about this really cute little white french bulldog who adored everyone in the family except the teenage son. It only made sense that the family called in a dog psychologist. As it turns out the son never played with the dog or fed it or petted it, so the little frenchie had no use for him. Frankly, I don’t think I would like that kid either! During the story some of the quirks of the French Bulldog were revealed, but this did not deter me.

At the time it seemed liked no one had a frenchie in Tampa. This prompted Mr. Perfect to suggest we be mature about our pet decision and research the breed more. Although in this process, I learned of health issues and behavior problems (super stubborn – oh sure, they would mind you ….. eventually), I still had to have this dog. Mr. Perfect’s next suggestion was that we consult with breeders and our vet to make sure the frenchie was the right match for us. So we talked to breeders on the phone (out of state) and they told us we should go to some dog shows and meet the real dog and some breeders. So we did. Oddly, the breeders did not want anything to do with us! Well! Over time we made buddies with a breeder out of Orlando who connected us with a breeder in Michigan who had one female 5 month old puppy available. The breeder, Lloyd lived on a farm and fed his animals only organic/natural food that he made. WOW, I felt really good about this. I could just see that sweet little white frenchie!

Maime-9It was quite a surprise, when I received a Polaroid photo of an ugly brindle, crooked tooth, wall eyed bulldog. Yikes. My rules included a strict “no brindle” policy. For some reason (probably because I live in a fantasy) I called Lloyd anyway, thinking positively that I could work my way to a white dog. Lloyd was quite a character and it was so nice talking to him. At some point he mentioned the dog cost $1,200 and 23 years ago this seemed especially impossible to me. As a sensible individual, this clearly had to be discussed with Mr. Perfect. We were almost married, this decision should be made together! It was the right thing to do. When Lloyd ask for my name, I told him it was Cindy Fredlund (Why did that come out of my mouth, my brain said. My name is not yet Fredlund). Lloyd said, that’s funny, I knew some Fredlund’s in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, (Population 3,000 and positively the frozen tundra most of the year). Iron River to be specific. He mentioned some names that I did not recognize, but after a few minutes we realized he knew my in-laws. It turns out, he and his parents lived two doors down and played cards on Wednesday nights with my father in-law and family.
As you can guess, I saw this as an omen and threw all reason out the window! Mr. Perfect would think this was a great idea. How could we not get her? I quickly negotiated a reasonable payment plan and the wheels were set in motion.

After Mr. Perfect recovered from shock, we decided to name her Maime. Maime was the name of Mr. Perfects grandmother who came from Sweden at the same time as Lloyds mother!

Maime arrived on a night when we were experiencing a huge thunder and lightening storm. She flew in the cargo section of an airplane and was transported across the airport on one of those luggage trams – open air. When we met her she was horrified and somewhat of a mess. Do not under any circumstance fly a dog in a cargo area, there must be a better way. It just can’t be necessary!

Never fear, we bundled her in a clean towel right away and loved her up all the way home. Once there, we gave her a warm bath and soothed her to sleep. She slept in bed with us, where she snored all night long.

Yes its true, when we first saw her and then again when she snored all night long, we may have had second thoughts for just a minute. But alas, this is a love story. It turned out that a brindle, crooked tooth, wall eyed, stubborn dog was exactly right for us. The neighbor kids called her a pig dog. People often ask us “What is that?” 13 years, Maime provided us with much affection and laughter and three sweet puppies. Two of those puppies were adorable soft white Frenchies (thanks to the great genes of their dad, a Champion named Bruno). But that is another story!MVC-016S-1

French bulldogs were bred to be companion dogs and they are masters at it. With a minimum amount of exercise and entertainment (compared to some dogs), they are a great apartment pet! Frenchies are easy to find now, you probably commonly see them walking around. There are a number of French Bulldog rescue sights, where you could find a great pup in need a forever home. To be fair, I’m madly in love with all animals. After a life time of having pets in my life I highly recommend it most everyone should have one. You will be entertained and loved unconditionally. Even if you’ve had the best pet ever already, there is always room in your heart for the next one.

I’m so proud of the work Camden does in our communities across the country, including supporting pet rescues. Over the years we have collected blankets, food and toys and donated thousands of dollars to better the lives of animals. We love pets at Camden and have a generous pet policy. Just today I met a very young Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy and a 9 month old Beagle, Catahoula, Mastiff mix! I cannot even tell you how sweet these babies were! These residents had just taken their dogs for a long walk – the key to a happy well adjusted dog. They also enjoy taking their dogs to the Camden dog park.

Check out these great adoption sites to learn more about the amazing french bulldogs available in Florida.

French Bulldog Rescue Network
Pet Finder
Florida French Bulldog Rescue Groups



Add a Little Marsala to Your Life


Image Credit: Pantone.com

The year 2015 has already started, and January is almost over. I was very excited to hear that Pantone released their selection for Color of the Year, and it is Marsala. Pantone describes Marsala as “Nurturing and fulfilling” and “this hearty, yet stylish tone is universally appealing and translates easily to fashion, beauty, industrial design, home furnishings and interiors.”

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Setting & Achieving your Goals

The beginning of a new year is a great time to plan your goals and how you will achieve them. After determining your goals, do a little bit towards them every day. I found this outline in Rent and Retain Magazine that might help you ask the right questions to yourself to get started:



Ask yourself, “Do I really want this”. Is this goal consistent with your beliefs and other goals? Can you really commit yourself to this goal or is it wishful thinking? If you achieve this goal, will it really make you happy? If you answer yes to these questions then proceed!


Is the goal really yours or is someone else pushing you? If you can’t own it, you won’t get there. Will your work towards the goal take you away from work or your other goals? Can you see yourself succeeding and achieving this goal? Continue reading

“Elsa, please…I know you’re in there…”


That right there is a frozen pipe ladies and gentleman. Let that soak in.

When living in an apartment, you can become liable for any damages if you do not follow the necessary precautions to prevent the pipes from freezing and bursting in your home. When pipes burst not only could your apartment flood but your neighbors as well and if you are on the third floor or higher, that could mean every apartment beneath you. Yikes. (This is a great time to put in a plug for renters insurance. All Camden communities require you to have renters insurance and thank goodness for that. You never know what kind of situation will happen and it’s imperative that you make sure it stays current and active while you live there.)   But alas, your pipes and your wallet do not have to suffer by following a simple to-do list. I personally did this yesterday before work because we received our freeze alert as our temperatures here in Raleigh went down to a single digit last night. Brrrrrrr. So check out the list below if you are under a freeze warning. Mind you, if you own a home, this would be perfect for you, too. This is not simply for those who live in apartments. Continue reading

How to be Happy in 2015 – 4 Positive Resolutions for the New Year


Every New Year, people always write down their resolutions. Sometimes they are specific and unreasonable, so I came up with four easy things to focus on this year to make sure that 2015 will be great.

Photo courtesy of spiritualboosters.com

Photo courtesy of spiritualboosters.com


A gratitude journal is a great way to remember to be thankful. All you do is write down five things every day that you are thankful for. It can be anything from a successful project at work to a hot cup of coffee that tasted so good. No matter how big or small, remembering to write down the good things can definitely change your attitude over time.



I know, I know. Every year people resolve to lose weight, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Just make small choices to be healthier and extend your life. Get a fitness app on your phone, start taking walks every day, or cut out one unhealthy meal a week. All those small changes can really make a difference and help you feel better. If you want, join a gym! There are a ton to choose from: LA Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness, The Exercise Coach – just to name a few.



Having a pet is proven to have great health benefits. Also, you’ll feel better taking care of a loving animal that needed a home. Pets can be your best friends and comforting companions. Not so fast, pet allergy people, you can get a fish and still reap the benefits. Check with your local Camden community for their pet policy.



Having a work-life balance is really important to your mental, emotional, and physical health. Make sure that you’re carving out time for your family and friends. We work a lot, but we don’t have a lot of time to spend with those we love. When it comes to children, you don’t want to miss precious moments that you can’t get back, so make sure you make the time for them!

These are just four simple goals that don’t take a lot of effort, but sure can make a huge difference in your life. Here’s hoping that your new year is full of great moments!

All Holiday Procrastinators Raise Your Hand!!

Is it really that time again? Holiday season is in full swing and beginning to wrap up just as quickly as it started! Every year it seems to appear quicker and quicker. If you are anything like me than you are absolutely not prepared for all of the festivities that taking place is the next couple of days! Every year I say it will be different next year and it always ends up being the exact same thing. So for all of you like me and have procrastinated and waited until the week of Christmas to start getting things done, here are some great holiday tips for shopping and great last minute gifts that get me through this stressful time of “really wishing I hadn’t waited until the last minute.” They get me through year after year!

Last minute shoppers raise your hand! Why do we do this? Everything we really want is sold out and now we are forced with the dreadful “now what do I get” question that hits us as soon as we realize the one item that we intended to get is now gone. My solution is to have a plan B. Always have a plan B in mind during the holiday season when shopping is at its highest. Homemade or personalized gifts are truly always a hit. Who doesn’t love a fresh batch of homemade cookies, brownies, or pies? Whip a batch of Rice Krispy treats or some fudge to give to friends and family as a holiday gift. Bake and add to a nice holiday container that you can pick up you’re your local grocery store, Wal-Mart, or dollar store. Everyone loves a special homemade treat and they are easy and inexpensive.



Family photos are another great gift giving idea. A nice family portrait in a frame is always well received. People enjoy a great family photo to put out on display. Your relatives and close friends will appreciate the gift. Pictures of the whole family or of the kiddos will be a big hit! They can always change out the pictures at a later date in their new frame as well!

Booze is usually a great go too as well. If anyone that you are buying for loves alcohol then this would be an easy gift that you know they will enjoy. A bottle of wine is a great choice for the wine lovers on your gift list. If they are not into wine perhaps a bottle of liquor. For added uniqueness you can add a recipe for a drink that requires the type of liquor you purchased. With all of the flavored vodkas and brandy that has debuted, there are some fun recipes for drinks that can be created!


If you are the type who just wants to one stop shop, as in you are going to one store and one store only… then there is a quick guide that will help make that one stop shopping trip a success!
1. Make a list! Know who you are buying for and what you are buying. Check your list twice to ensure no one has been left off!
2. Find a store where you will be able to buy these items. A store that is multi-functional and has a variety of things will be your life saver! A Costco, Wal-Mart, Target, etc will be the easiest way to check several off of your list at one place.
3. Gift Cards! You can get a gift card to any and everywhere! The great thing about gift cards is that you can go to a local Walgreens or CVS and pick from 100’s! That is as convenient as it gets!
4. Shop either early in the morning or late at night. Store tend to be less crowded if you go after they first open their doors or later in the evening before they close. If you don’t do crowds, then strategizing your shopping times will save you frustrations and headaches.


The holidays are here regardless of whether we are ready or not! These survival tips will you get you through these last couple of days before the Christmas holiday. They have been a life saver to me for years now! Let’s vow together that next year we will not wait and be typical procrastinators! However, if we fail these tips will work great again next year!
Thinking of starting your 2015 in a new place?? Check all of the beautiful communities across the country that Camden offers at www.camdenliving.com.

We wish you a very merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Holiday Activities for the Whole Family

The holidays are a great chance to enjoy time with your children and plan some activities that only happen during this time of year. I’ve found some fun family activities in the Orange County area that could be a part of your holidays.


“The Nutcracker” At the Barclay Theater
December 12-24, 2014

Celebrate the season with visions of the Sugar Plum Fairy, her dashing prince and our heroine Clara, while a cast of over one hundred takes you back in time to mystical lands of old world charm. Family-friendly and affordable, this professional production of The Nutcracker features internationally acclaimed guest artists, Festival Ballet Theatre’s professional company dancers, and exceptional budding young talent from across the Southland.

4242 Campus Drive

(949) 854-4646

Frosty Treat Fun Mommy & Me Cooking Class - Irvine
December 22, 2014
11:00am – 12:00pm


The holidays are a time to bring the family together. With so many fun treats that can be made why not come together in the kitchen! Cooking with children is something not all grown-ups are comfortable with, not to worry! Child Development Specialist, Kunaal Kumar, is here to help guide grown-ups through the process of cooking with kids. Children will delight in making frosty, winter themed treats like Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Chips, Snowman Pizza, and a refreshing water infused with wintery yumminess.

$5.00 fee per one grown-up and one child pair. For children 2 years of age and up; Grown-ups. register online

Pretend City Children’s Museum
29 Hubble
Irvine, CA Continue reading