Be the Hero of Customer Service

Can you Be the Hero of Customer Service?

Check out the really great article below by Gary Gregory, Community Manager at Camden Addison. We love his tips for great customer service! Connect with Gary and check out this article plus more on Linkedin.

Can you “Be the Hero” of Customer Service?

Photo Credit : www.franceskakookt.nl

The Tale of The Ultimate Picnic and the Shameless Plug

Did you know that July is National Picnic Month?

In my opinion, picnics are highly underrated and so underdone. Sitting at a table for a meal, day after day, can be quite mundane. However, eating outside on a beautiful day is, well, absolutely heavenly. Ask someone what meal they usually have had or thought about for a picnic and more than likely, they will say lunch. But don’t limit yourself because you can certainly have a breakfast or dinner picnic. Remember, this is your picnic.

In order for you to have a bomb picnic, you need to have the essentials:

The spot.

First you need a spot. A city square, a lake shore, a backyard, a park, the beach, a little piece of undiscovered grass off that trail by your apartment, a rooftop…the possibilities are quite endless really. Just make sure you think about things like temperature, sun exposure, bugs (ant hills can be a killer) as to make the most out of your picnic.

A beautiful day.

Needless to say, you need a beautiful day. That doesn’t mean it has to be 72 and sunny necessarily, but that it should at least be comfortable. You don’t want the only thing that you are thinking about on the picnic is that you are too hot or too cold to enjoy yourself.

The blanket.

Photo Credit : www.babble.com

Photo Credit : http://www.babble.com

Make sure it’s soft and big enough for the number of people that will be picnicking. If it’s just two, it won’t need to be as big as it does for a family. Old comforters are perfect or you can take more than one blanket to cover more area. I think the more color and patterns, the better. But hey, that’s just me.

The basket.

Really any form of food and dinnerware transportation will do but there is something so classic about the basket, isn’t there?  You can find tons of picnic baskets on the web and even in some stores. Some even with built in blankets and dinnerware. Kind of a one stop shop if you don’t feel the need to personalize the basket. Make sure to get some sort of cooling device like ice packs or even a separate cooler perhaps for any food that needs to be kept cold.

The Dishes & Silverware.

Now this is completely up to you. You can go all out with real deal dishes and silverware (especially if you are on a romantic picnic trying to woo someone or if it’s a special occasion), you can do paper, plastic or even melamine (this is a great lightweight, inexpensive, virtually unbreakable and reusable product). I love the idea of melamine not only because of the above reasons but because of the variety or patterns. Can you sense that I like patterns?

The Food & Drink.

Photo Credit : www.crealoo.com

Photo Credit : http://www.crealoo.com

Remember when I said there would be a shameless plug? Here it goes. I recently purchased a Zoodler. This is a contraption that makes noodles out of zucchinis. Whaaaaaaaat? Oh yes it does. This thing is amazing. You can serve it warm like spaghetti noodles or room temp/cold which would be perfect for a picnic as you more than likely won’t have a heat source. I swear by it. You won’t regret it. OK. Plug over! Now with the food and drink make sure you put things on ice that need to be kept cold so it doesn’t spoil. The best thing is a combo of items. Those that need to be cold (just remember to put what is leftover back in the cooler) and those that can be served at room temp and/or left out for a couple or three hours without the risk of going bad. Here are some great recipes to get you on your way to the ultimate picnic.

The Company.

Photo Credit : www.bbzlimo.com

Photo Credit : http://www.bbzlimo.com

Ah yes. The company. This is the best part of the picnic. You can take your kids, the whole family, your better half, your mom, dad, best friends or even make it a quadruple date. The company is what actually makes the picnic.

Have an amazing summer and start planning your ultimate picnic!

Shocking ways to use a Magic Eraser: It Works!

One of my favorite Camden blog posts, Shocking ways to use a Magic Eraser, inspired me to re-think the way that I clean my apartment. When I got to the question in this post, “Wouldn’t you love to find a way to minimize your cleaning efforts and maximize your domination of the visible reminders of everyday living?,” I answered, “YES!”

And so began my cleaning test. It was just the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and me. And I must say, every one that I tried, WORKED! I was so impressed with how well it worked, that I filmed my favorites.

Don’t just take my word for it, try it yourself. Try cleaning every item on this list with a Magic Eraser and prepare to be amazed! Then comment with your favorites!

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FIFA Fever

I have never been a big sports fan. In fact, some would even go so far as to describe me as an “anti-sports” fan. To be honest, I never intended on ever attending a sports event in again, let alone watch them on TV. As a child, I played soccer for 3 seasons, and decided it was not for me. From that point on, sports were not of any interest to me. I attended a University where football was almost as important as academics were. Again, I attended 4 games in 4 years. Everything changed on June 8, 2015.

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It’s OC Fair Time!

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Who doesn’t love the OC Fair? Rides, shows, games, and the crazy food concoctions, which the fair is known for! But did you know the history of the OC Fair?

“Shortly after Orange County was created in 1889, the Orange County Community Fair Corporation was formed. This group put on a small fair in 1890 that included a horse race and a few exhibits in Santa Ana. In 1894, another group, the Orange County Fair Association, Inc., took over the organization of the Fair. The First Orange County Fairs were primarily livestock exhibitions and horse races. At the turn of the century, a “carnival of products” was added and the Fair become an annual event. The Fair was held in Santa Ana but after World War II it was moved to Huntington Beach for two years and then back to temporary ground on East Fruit Street in Santa Ana.  In 1916, the Fair was taken over by the newly organized Orange County Farm Bureau and relocated to Anaheim, across the street from the Orange County Hospital. In 1925, a rodeo and carnival were added. After 20 plus years the Fair was moved to a new site, Costa Mesa, and it soon was designated as the permanent Fairgrounds.” The OC Fair has offered a unique variety of entertainment over the years including record-breaking Ferris wheel rides, cattle drives down city streets and beaches, top musical groups and stunt shows.

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Zodiac

How True Are You to Your Zodiac Sign?

I know many of you are thinking; Really? Astrology? I get it. Actually I get it ALL the time! I am known for my slight… and I do mean slight… obsession with astrology and how it plays a role in the people we are today and the people we become. Do I live by it? Absolutely not, however, it is fun to research it and see how a person’s sign correlates to their actions and behaviors. There is a whole wide world out there of astrology that even I don’t know about. I am not a diehard astrological guru but I am very interested in the theory and tend to find myself researching it regularly.

Astrology is the study of the influence that distant cosmic objects, usually stars and planets, have on human lives. The position of the sun, stars, moon and planets at the time of people’s birth (not their conception) is said to shape their personality, affect their romantic relationships and predict their economic fortunes, among other divinations (entertainment.howstuffworks.com). The most common thing that most people think of, including myself, is their zodiac sign. Don’t know your zodiac sign? Click here to find out now. I normally always ask when someone’s birthday is when I first meet an individual. Once I know their birthday I am able to quickly determine their zodiac sign and then I have an idea of what to expect from that person. Now many people would say that I am prejudging and that regardless of what their zodiac sign is, no two people in the same sign are exactly the same. I would absolutely agree with that statement, and although it is helpful in some degree, I do not base my opinions solely on a person’s zodiac sign.

Zodiac Sign

Have you ever wondered why you click with certain people and others you don’t? Or perhaps you don’t know why you tend to behave a certain way or view life a particular way? A lot of these questions can be answered based off of your zodiac sign. Of course your family background, the way you grew up, education, past and present experiences also plays a large part in that as well. However, believe it or not, your zodiac sign shapes a lot of your thoughts and perceptions. Some signs are naturally drawn to one another as they share some of the same basic fundamentals while others completely repel and it is hard to find a commonality between the two. We all have encountered those people that you get that instant connection with and you immediately get along with that person. Is it possible that your zodiac sign is naturally compatible with one another? Each zodiac sign has what I call a “common foundation”. The common foundations are the basic traits, thoughts, and behaviors for that particular zodiac sign. With than being said, yes you will find a lot of these common foundations in about 90% of people with the same sign; however, life’s experiences, educational background, and personal experiences, etc. will alter people therefore ensuring that no two people are alike.

Compatibility

What does your name mean? Have you ever thought about it? Not what it means in the baby book of names that every pregnant mother searches through to find a name; but the real meaning behind the name and what it really means and signifies. And what was it about your name that stood out to your mother when she decided to name you? Perhaps it was a family name passed down? Or perhaps you are named after a favorite car or athlete, or is it something more? Curious to know more? Click here to find out! It is amazing how a name correlates with a person’s personality traits, perceptions, and beliefs. Have you ever read a name meaning and thought to yourself, “Oh! That is so me!”? There is a reason why you can relate to it! It is all part of the stars and in the design of YOU. You are named what you are named for a reason. The fact that your name most of the time “fits” you and the meaning behind it “describes” you and more than likely ties right in line with your character traits of your zodiac sign is not a coincidence.

Zodiac Wheel

Try doing a little research on your zodiac sign. Do you find the characteristics true to yourself or have people described this about you? How true to your zodiac sign are you? You may actually be surprised just how many of the traits and characteristics that resemble you and that you are able to relate to. If you are embarking on a new relationship, do a quick google search on zodiac compatibility and see if you two are compatible! If anything it will give you some fun stuff to talk about and it might help you to better understand that particular person. It really is just fun and games and for pure entertainment purposes, but you will come across some things that will make you go “Hmmmm”. Just beware once you start coming across those “Hmmmm” moments you will begin to dig a little deeper and then a little bit deeper. It can become addicting!

Thinking

Make sure you are doing all of this fun zodiac research in one of our beautiful Camden Apartment Homes. Several of the communities host a wide array of social events in which I am sure you will find your zodiac match. Happy researching!

Image taken by Josh Barrow

To Screen or to Scream

Summer time means tanning time, but that also means UV rays and sun burn. Are you using the protection you need? Better yet, are the products you are using giving you the protection you think you are getting?

“Nearly a third of sunscreens tested by Consumer Reports fell short of the promised SPF protection, missing the mark by anywhere from 16% to 70%.”

Out of the 34 sun screens tested, only 15 made it on the recommended list. So how did the consumer report reach their conclusion? They had volunteers apply sunscreen, soak in water and exposed them to UV rays to see if the skin reddened. Is your sun screen on the recommended list?

  1. Vichy Capital Soleil 50 Lightweight Foaming Lotion, SPF 50, at $5.94 an ounce
  2. Coppertone Water Babies SPF 50, at $1.31 an ounce
  3. Equate Ultra Protection, SPF 50, at $.56 an ounce
  4. No-Ad Sport SPF 50, at $.63 an ounce
  5. Ocean Potion Protect & Nourish, SPF 30, at $1 an ounce
  6. Aveeno Protect+Hydrate, SPF 30, at $3.33 an ounce
  7. Up & Up Ultra Sheer, SPF 30, at $1.63 an ounce
  8. Banana Boat SunComfort Continuous Spray, SPF 50+, at $1.83 an ounce
  9. L’Oreal Quick Dry Sheer Finish (spray) 50+, at $2.44 an ounce
  10. Coppertone Sport High Performance AccuSpray, SPF 30, at $1.58 an ounce
  11. Equate Sport Continuous Spray, SPF 30, at $1.33 an ounce
  12. Coppertone UltraGuard, SPF 70+, at $1.38 an ounce
  13. Neutrogena Beach Defense Water + Sun Protection, SPF 70, at $1.62 an ounce
  14. Caribbean Breeze Continuous Tropical Mist (spray), SPF 70, at $2.75 an ounce

When purchasing any product, it is important to read and understand the label terminology. For example,  broad spectrum means you are being protected from both UV and UVA rays.

There are cool summer styles you can rock to minimize over sun exposure.

  1. Bring out the floppy hats and fedoras
  2. Apply sun screen 30 minutes before being exposed to the sun
  3. Cool off at your dazzling Camden pool
  4. Bring your friends and if you’re not a Camden resident, what are you waiting for?

Food Prep – an Easy Weekday Hack

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Food prep is a really popular thing to do to get your week organized. I am a master of food prep and spend a few hours every weekend cooking and freezing food that I can eat throughout the week. Don’t let it scare you – food prep can be easy and take so much stress off you as you rush to pack a breakfast or lunch in the morning.

I am pretty worthless at home on weekdays. I don’t want to cook, clean or do anything that doesn’t involve watching Game of Thrones. This can make it hard because I also pack my breakfast and lunch every day to save money. So, my shortcut? Prep it ahead of time. My favorite food prep item is a breakfast bowl. This is a cheap, healthy option to a breakfast sandwich or taco. Here are my steps:

  • Have all your ingredients and plastic bowls ready.
  • Sauté potatoes and add a little in each bowl.
  • Sauté vegetables and add on top of the potatoes.
  • Cook ground turkey and add on top of the vegetables.
  • Scramble eggs and add on top of the turkey.
  • Put a slice of cheese on top of each bowl.
  • Throw on the lids and pop in the freezer!

Here’s a quick video to show you how I did it.

Now you’ve got your bowls frozen you can just pop them in your Camden microwave when you’re ready to eat one! Play with the ingredients to make your breakfast bowl as delicious as you want it.

Check out the series on Food Network or Netflix!

“You’ve Been Chopped”…Not!

One of my favorite television shows is the Food Network phenomenon, Chopped. Four chefs compete to win $10,000, where they create an entrée, dinner, and dessert while being judged on creativity, taste, and appearance. After my marathon of Chopped, I am inspired to add more salt and pepper and try different recipes; however, being a full time employee, I need creative dishes that take twenty minutes. Below are a few of my favorite quick and easy ways to make dinners.

My favorite appliance to use is my Ninja Crockpot. It’s easy to throw in some chicken broth, spices, vegetables, and chicken breast and you have a delicious meal. Recently, I decided to try using beef and make a stew. The recipe I found was super easy! All you need is beef stew meat, your favorite vegetables (i.e. carrots, celery, onion etc.), potatoes, garlic, and beef broth. I added some peppers and mushrooms which added more texture! It is easy to throw together in twenty minutes and to slow cook while you are at work. You can find the complete recipe here. ninja beef

When you have hit snooze too many times in the morning, preparing a crock-pot dish is not ideal. This next recipe I have mastered is for those mornings. I take chicken breasts, (cutting them long ways in half allows them to cook faster), add some olive oil and spices, and vegetables and bake for 20-30 minutes on 350 degrees. Broccoli or zucchini and squash make for a wonderful vegetable choice. My favorite spices to use are fresh garlic, lemon zest, and thyme.  For when I need to change it up, I have used a canned of green beans and substituted the olive oil for Kraft Light Italian dressing. My inspiration for this recipe came from this sitelemon chicken

These recipes have helped me master the basics and feel more comfortable with adding new things or substituting different spices. One thing that really helps making dinner convenient is having a spacious kitchen. Camden offers great size kitchens with plenty of counter space and cabinets to store your tools. And did you know, in select Camden’s, cable and internet are provided. So I can watch Chopped and cook in the kitchen.

American Red Cross Blood Drive

Last month Camden Main & Jamboree participated in our first blood drive! The bloodmobile came to our community from 2- 8 pm, fully staffed with nurses and volunteers. It was a great day watching our residents and community members take time out to donate to such an important cause. Our results exceeded the goal of the Red Cross for the day. We had 23 donors, 16 of those were first time donors, and collected 20 units. This will help up to 60 patients at the local hospitals!

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The American Red Cross consists of a network of donors, volunteers and employees who share a common mission of preventing and relieving suffering to those in need here at home and around the world. There are 5 service areas that the Red Cross focuses on:

Disaster Relief: The Red Cross responds to over 70,000 disasters in the US every year ranging from home fires to hurricanes to earthquakes. In these events the Red Cross provides food, shelter, health services to families and communities. They will also work with other agencies and organizations to provide services to the victims. Continue reading

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