Save Money With Your Phone

I really, really do love to save money!

I really, really do love to save money!

I don’t know about you, but I feel like every time I turn around I am paying more money for the things I use every day: after dropping so much in the fall, the cost of gas is rising every time I pass a station; the cost of produce is going through the roof; your amazing Camden apartment just sent you a rent increase; the phone bill keeps going up. Sheesh! A dollar just doesn’t go as far as it used to! I wish I had time to be one of those super couponers, but between work, kids, husband and just life in general, I barely have time to squeeze in a shower much less comb through circulars to find a good deal! At the end of last year I was introduced to two phone apps that promised to reward me for shopping at my favorite stores. Despite a great deal of skepticism, I decided to give Shopkick and Ibotta a try just for the month of December. I was pleasantly surprised at the results! Let me tell you a little about my two new favorite apps.

  • Ibotta – This is a free app that awards rebates on items you purchase every day.
    Ibotta is a great way to get rebates on your purchases.  photo courtsey of Ibotta.com

    Ibotta is a great way to get rebates on your purchases.
    photo courtsey of Ibotta.com

    Ibotta has partnered with major stores that can be found in close proximity to any of our Camden communities. The list in my area includes Kroger, Target, Walmart, Whole Foods, CVS, Walgreens, and many, many more. The list of rebates changes on a regular basis, but it consists of regular grocery items like milk and cheese, but also specialty items such as organic coffee and frozen dog treats. You will find several items that you can submit rebates for on every shopping list you create. You simply unlock the rebates by performing simple tasks such as watching a very short video or answering a quiz. Once you have purchased the items you have unlocked, you snap a picture of the receipt with your phone and upload it to the app. Ibotta says the funds will be deposited into your account within 24 hours, but in my experience it usually takes less than an hour. Once you have accumulated $10 you can cash out your funds by either redeeming them for a gift card to Amazon.com, Best Buy, iTunes, Starbucks and a few others, or you can transfer the total to a PayPal or Venmo account. In just 2 months I have earned a total of $257.30 by just shopping for my regular home staples! I personally have decided to transfer my rebates to my PayPal account so that I can save some spending money for an upcoming Disney World vacation. I love free money!

  • Shopkick – This is also another free app that rewards you for simply walking
    Shopkick gives you points for just walking into a store.

    Shopkick gives you points for just walking into a store.

    into your favorite stores and scanning various items while you are doing your regular shopping. Since a visit to Target, Kroger or Walgreens seems to be pretty much a given on any day, it makes sense to earn points while just going about my normal routine. You can also link credit cards to your account to earn points for purchases at store like Best Buy, Macy’s and American Eagle Outfitters. These points can be redeemed for gift cards to many different retailers like Target, Old Navy, Coach, and Tiffany & Co. You can even use your points to buy an iPad or KitchenAid Mixer. Since I signed up in December I have accumulated over 22,000 points which is enough to redeem for almost $100 in gift cards. Again, free money for simply doing the things I do every day!

I know there are many more apps that can either save you money or actually pay you for shopping. Ibotta and Shopkick are two of the most popular and reliable apps out there, but I might try a couple others after seeing the success I’ve had so far! If you have any great recommendations, please feel free to leave them in the comments below! I hope you can find some great, innovative ways to save money! Happy Shopping!

courtesy of jazzercise.com

Jazzercise Ain’t Your Momma’s Workout

Have you been looking for a new workout to maintain your 2015 resolutions? I have the workout for you, and yes, you did read the title of this post correctly…it’s Jazzercise! I started Jazzercising about a year ago and not only has it changed my entire outlook on exercising, but it has also changed my life! Seriously! Here’s how:

  • In less than one year, I have lost nearly 30 pounds! Just by going to Jazzercise an average of 3 times a week.
  • I sleep better and am more awake throughout the day- Goodbye 2:30pm cup of coffee!
  • As I started to workout more, my eating habits just naturally got better because I learned that if I ate a chocolate donut in the morning, it would slow me down in Jazzercise.
  • This part still amazes and excites me: My skin and hair have both become healthier!
  •  And the best result from Jazzercise? I feel 100 times better about MYSELF.

I got into Jazzercise through a friend who was sick of me complaining about how fat I was going to look in my wedding dress and I gave her the same reaction that you probably have right now and that I get from a lot of people: “What? No way am I sweating with ladies wearing leg warmers clapping their hands to soft jazz hits of the 1980s…” Well, I’m glad I finally joined her for class one day because I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The Jazzercise that I thought I knew is not what Jazzercise is today. Every week there are new dance routines from Top 40 artists like Pitbull, Britney Spears and Meghan Trainor. In a one hour Jazzercise Dance Mixx class you get a total body workout and it’s fun!

As my instructor, Jane Luco, who has been a Jazzercise instructor for 35 years in the Houston Heights explained, “Jazzercise works all your muscles in all directions, strengthens your flexibility, improves your coordination, works your brain, relieves stress and builds brain cells because you are learning on your feet.” Even though I didn’t know what I was doing at the beginning, I was able to relax and laugh at Jane’s sharp humor, which helped me forget that I was even exercising!

Just like I tell all of my friends, I encourage you to try a Jazzercise class. In my opinion, it is a workout that nearly anyone can do and have fun with! It’s easy to walk into your first Jazzercise because there’s no intimidating equipment or judgment from others. You may feel like the new kid, but everyone was the new kid at one point so you’ll be met with encouragement and support. To prove this, I invited my teammates from the Camden Marketing Team to join me for a class. Every one of the girls that went had a blast and felt so welcomed by the group. They also felt their sore muscles the next day…

Posing before our workout

Posing before our workout

In case this article didn’t convince you that Jazzercise might be the workout for you, then check out this video! After you try Jazzercise for yourself, then comment on this post and let us know what you thought.

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DIY and Creative Solutions to Overcome a Tricky Floor Plan

Each Camden property throughout the nation has unique floor plans. Have you ever come across the floor plan that is a fantastic price, but there is something about the floor plan that scares you? Maybe there are angled walls in the bedroom, or perhaps your bedroom does not have a door? As a Leasing Consultant, I try my best to paint the picture of how to decorate a floor plan that may seem like a challenge at first sight, but in reality is the perfect apartment. As hard as I try, sometimes you just need to see a furnished apartment to see how it will work out.

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Lyndsay’s floor plan

At Camden Fairfax Corner, we have over 70 floor plans. Each one has a characteristic that makes them special. From our 650 square foot studios to our 1488 square foot 3 bedrooms, we have floor plans that work with every lifestyle, and every piece of furniture. There are a few apartments that at first glance seem like a challenge, but I see them as an opportunity for creativity.

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Photo courtesy of Good Housekeeping

How to keep your apartment mostly clean most of the time

Keeping my home clean is a constant struggle. Should I do it all on the weekend? Should I clean one room each day? Here are a few tips on how to keep your apartment mostly clean most of the time, so you don’t feel like you’re living in a mess.

Photo courtesy of Good Housekeeping

Photo courtesy of Good Housekeeping

Make your bed

Your mom always said it and she was right – you should make your bed. It’s an important task because it helps you feel like you’ve accomplished something, no matter how small, and that there is at least one thing in your house that is neat and orderly.

Photo courtesy of animal-kid.com

Photo courtesy of animal-kid.com

 

Vacuum frequently (or get a Roomba!)

I have to admit that I HATE vacuuming, but I do it all the time because I can’t imagine walking on dirt in my house. My solution? A Roomba. I LOVE my Roomba. I can literally vacuum my whole apartment while I’m cooking dinner. Who doesn’t love multitasking? Plus you might be able to coax your cat to ride it around the apartment.

Photo courtesy of keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

Photo courtesy of keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

 

Always do your dishes

Doing the dishes has got be my least favorite chore. Walking in the kitchen and seeing a sink full of dishes is one of the most disheartening feelings. If you just wash the few dishes you have each day, there won’t be that feeling of dread when they’ve piled up.

Photo courtesy of purecleaners.com

Photo courtesy of purecleaners.com

 

Keep the laundry moving

I used to only do the laundry on weekends, but that made it an all-day task. It’s so much easier to rotate the laundry loads each day. You will always have more available clothes on hand and you’ll never feel like you can’t leave the house for all the laundry you need to do.

Hopefully these tips will help you to keep your Camden apartment mostly clean most of the time. These are just some easy tips that will hopefully free up your weekend and keep your stress to a minimum.

Story Behind the King Cake at Mardi Gras

Have you ever wondered what the story is behind the King Cake that is served during Mardi Gras?

The Mardi Gras or Carnival season officially begins on January 6th or the “Twelfth Night,” also known to Christians as the “Epiphany.” Epiphany comes from a Greek word that means “to show.” Jesus first showed himself to the three wisemen and to the world on this day. As a symbol of this Holy Day, a tiny plastic baby is placed inside each King Cake.

King Cake Photo courtesy of: www.bettycrocker.com

King Cake- photo courtesy of: http://www.bettycrocker.com

The King Cake tradition is thought to have been brought to New Orleans from France in 1870. A King Cake is an oval-shaped bakery delicacy, crossed between a coffee cake and a French pastry that is as rich in history as it is in flavor. It’s decorated in royal colors of PURPLE which signifies “Justice,” GREEN for “Faith,” and GOLD for “Power.” These colors were chosen to resemble a jeweled crown honoring the Wise Men who visited the Christ Child on Epiphany. In the past such things as coins, beans, pecans, or peas were also hidden in each King Cake.

Today, a tiny plastic baby is the common prize. At a party, the King Cake is sliced and served. Each person looks to see if their piece contains the “baby.” If so, then that person is named “King” for a day and bound by custom to host the next party and provide the King Cake.

Mardi Gras Day has a moveable date and may occur on any Tuesday from February 3rd to March 9th. It is always the day before Ash Wednesday, and always falls 46 days before Easter.

Information provided by: Manny Randazzo King Cakes

Interested in making a King Cake? Click Here!

Paying it Forward

I wanted to share a story about one of Camden Main & Jamboree’s own, Otto Ruano. Otto has been with us for 7 years. He is one of the most humble, genuine, hard-working people I’ve ever met. When Otto is not at work he is helping others through his church and at an orphanage in Tijuana, Mexico.otto5

 In 2007 a church member took Otto down to Casa Hogar Ebenb-Ezer, an orphanage, and immediately Otto and his wife wanted to be more involved and help out. Casa Hogar has 30 children ranging from 3-18 years of age and 6 full-time staff members. All the school-age children attend school so they have the opportunity to attend the University in Mexico. When you turn 18 you have a choice to go to the University and stay at the orphanage or if you don’t attend the University you have to leave. The young adults who do attend the University also help out with the smaller children.  The schools are a fairly long distance from the orphanage and on un-safe streets so Otto donated a van so the children would stay safe and away from the corrupt streets.otto4 Continue reading

The ideal places for Valentine’s Day in Las Vegas

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching; if you haven’t already decided where to go then you’re already behind! Valentine’s Day is known for chocolates, roses, and love. This is the one day of the year you really have to show the one you love romance! I am here to help guide you in the right direction on where to take that special someone. If this is your first Valentine’s Day, your anniversary, or the day you choose to propose, I have you covered on the place.

First Valentine’s Day

image courtesy of  googel

image courtesy of Google

So this is your first Valentine’s Day and you want to impress. Giada at The Cromwell is one of those restaurants that fulfill just that! You’ll get amazing Italian cuisine, great cocktails, delicious desserts and a beautiful view of the Bellagio Fountains and the Strip. Just make sure to ask for a table by the window!

The Proposal

Image courtesy of Google

Image courtesy of Google

Everyone knows Paris is one of the most romantic cities in the world, so taking your date to the Eiffel Tower Restaurant at Paris. Located eleven stories above the Strip, the restaurant serves gourmet French food with a view of the city’s lights below. You can customize your own proposal package to include everything from a seasonal tasting menu from the chef to a special window table, pick from a bottle of wine or Champagne, and you can’t forget the flowers and photos. You can even pick a special dessert that can house an engagement ring. If that’s not a proposal on Valentine’s Day, I don’t know what is!

The Anniversary

Image Courtesy of Google

Image Courtesy of Google

So now it’s your anniversary on Valentine’s Day which means your spouse has put up with your quirks for long enough, so it’s time to show them some love and appreciation.  The place to go for your anniversary in Las Vegas is Joel Robuchon at MGM Grand. Robuchon, known as the “Chef of the Century,” serves a six-course or a 16-course menu at his sophisticated restaurant. Over the course of the meal you will not only indulge in gourmet food, you will also enjoy a bread cart, cheese cart and a dessert cart at the end of your meal. This place will be sure to impress your sweetheart for years to come!

Of course if any of these restaurants are just a little out of your price rage you can always enjoy a romantic homemade dinner in the comfort of your Camden home!

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A Day at Camden College Park

I love working for Camden because we often get the opportunity to help out at other communities in need. I was fortunate enough to be able to spend a day working at Camden College Park for a day last week.

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Photo Credit: Camdenliving.com

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Welcoming Your Guests

“We’re about fifteen minutes away.” Music to my ears, when I am awaiting the arrival of a houseguest. It could be family, friends, or even a babysitting gig it doesn’t matter, I get pumped. I enjoy doing special things to make my houseguest feel welcomed and here are just a few tricks that make the experience memorable.

Beautiful nosh cheese plate, with fruit and pastrami.

Beautiful nosh cheese plate, with fruit and pastrami.

After a long day on the road or at the airport, your guest can work up quite the appetite. Providing some easy to manage small bites, is a great idea to knock the edge off before your dinner plans.

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The Marvel Experience

It's your turn to save the world!  photo courtesy of Marvel

It’s your turn to save the world!
photo courtesy of Marvel

Dallas nerds, rejoice! Are you still looking for something to do this weekend that doesn’t revolve around the Super Bowl? Your problem is solved! There is still one more weekend to enjoy The Marvel Experience at Fair Park. This production bills itself as “the world’s first hyper-reality tour” and, according to fans and critics alike, it does not disappoint.

Are you ready for your new job? photo courtesy of Hero Ventures

Are you ready for your new job?
photo courtesy of Hero Ventures

During this nearly 3 hour adventure you will join forces Continue reading