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Moving Day Tips You May Not Have Thought Of

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I am moving. After the initial excitement of moving to a new community, (of course, it is a Camden) and a huge apartment home, came the dread of packing. This will be my fifth move since 2011. Between moving from a roommate situation, to being by myself, to moving in with my fiancé, I have acquired a lot of stuff. Our main focus for moving this time around is to purge as much as possible before going into a huge new space.

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Glass of Water

30 Day Water Challenge: Are You Ready For It?

Summer season is officially here and with it comes the HEAT! The weather temperatures across the US are on the rise and there doesn’t seem to be any sign of relieve from this summer heat. With temperatures reaching in the upper 90’s and even the 100’s in some parts of the region, this is the time of year when water
consumption is most crucial. I can probably think of at least 10 other things that I would rather pick up and drink other than water, but water consumption is so important in extreme heat.

As we all know, water is so important for our health in so many ways. Water makes up about 2/3 of our bodies and we wouldn’t be able to survive without it. Each and every day our body loses water due to natural processes by our bodies so we must replenish the water loss by in taking water every day. This means we need to be drinking water even when we are not thirsty. Since I tend to gravitate towards anything other than water, I have challenged myself to a water challenge in order to ensure that I am drinking enough fluids throughout the day. I will admit, this looks a bit scary to me but I love the idea and concept behind it! We all need a little motivation to drink our daily water! So everyone grab their jug and let’s get it ready for our daily water challenge!

The water challenge is very simple. You challenge yourself to drink a gallon of water every day for the next 30 days. No sweetened or carbonated drinks are allowed. Zero alcohol is allowed. Come up with a drinking plan to get all of your water drank within the day. You don’t want to drink all of your water all at once, so divide your day up with the amount of water you will drink by designated times. That is why this jug is an awesome tool to gage your consumption throughout the day. You can mark your jug with goals and time frames from top to bottom so you can stay on track with your goal. Add a few fun motivational statements on your jug to keep you going as you work through the gallon!

water jug

Now you may be asking, what is the benefit to me drinking a gallon of water every day? Answer: Because it is healthy for you!

I understand that you are probably looking for a little more than that. We all realize that drinking water is the healthy choice but why should you give up the sweet tea, cokes, or alcohol? It is not easy and I am certainly not saying that it is or it will be, however, I do feel like the benefits of the water challenge are worth trying out! Most things that are new to us require adjustments, but then we get used to it and it becomes part of our routine.

1. Your bathroom sessions will be more pleasant. You will eliminate toxins from your body by frequent urination but you will also cleanse your colon with a perfect poop every morning.

2. Your skin will look and feel healthier. Ladies the wrinkles will begin to disappear and become less noticeable!

3. Weight loss! Who doesn’t love to lose a few pounds? It will not be any extreme weight loss; however, you will lose a few pounds during this challenge. Some people lose up to 10lbs within the 30 days.

4. Your body will thank you! Your body will feel better, look better, and function better!

5. If you look and feel better then you will certainly want to live better! You can live in excellence at one of our many Camden Apartment homes that are located across the country.

drink-water

Summer is here and let’s face it… It is hot outside! Nothing is better than water on these hot summer days! So now is the perfect time to start and master this water challenge! Join me as we tackle this challenge together! Together we CAN do it! Are you up for the challenge?

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Easy DIY Wall Collages Using Photos

I mentioned in a Wear + When post I previously wrote that I tend to have hard time figuring out how to decorate large wall spaces in my home. My last post was a DIY post on how to create large decorative fabric boards. One of my other go-to secrets? Wall collages.

I use these everywhere in my house. I love framed black and white photography, so that makes it easy to do. Of course, I have a huge collage of framed black and white wedding pictures that takes up a large wall in my dining/living area.photo collage

I probably invested the most time and money into creating this particular collage, since it is intended to highlight our wedding day. The frames pictured here are from Pottery Barn, and again, were a bit more of an investment. I was very specific about how I wanted these photos laid out, so I was very selective about which size and shape frames I purchased.

If you look closely, the smaller pictures on the outer edges of the collage sort of mirror each other. For example, one side features the bride more, while the other features the groom, then I put photos of us together in the center. I will say, hanging these and figuring out the spacing on them was a challenge, due to the fact that all of the frames are different shapes and sizes. Lucky for me, my husband is a very patient man, and spent a long time getting this hung just right for me!

The next photo collage I have in my home is a little more affordable, because you build on it over time. Every time we have some sort of life event (think maternity pictures, newborn pictures, Christmas pictures, 1st birthdays, etc.), I try to hire a professional photographer to do a quick little shoot so I can have those pictures added to an ever-growing wall collage in my hallway. Of course, a lot of people are much better with a camera than I am, and can take their own photos, have them printed in black and white, and achieve this same look while saving a few bucks!

Our house is set up so that off of the living area, there is one long hallway where all of the bedrooms are off of. I hate not having anything on those walls so I thought this was the perfect place to start this collage. As of right now, it features pictures from our maternity shoot with my daughter (we will have another maternity shoot coming up in September!), her newborn photography session, as well as a few pictures from a family session we did for our Christmas cards last year. I also hired a photographer to shoot my daughter’s first birthday party, so I have those pictures to add as well, I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. This is probably my favorite collage in my home because it sort of feels like a timeline of our family, and it is so fun to walk down the hall and look at the progression of pictures.

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All of the frames for this collage were purchased from West Elm. I chose these because they are square with a 5×7 photo size. The fact that they are square makes it easy to select the photos you want, without having to worry about the orientation (portrait or landscape) of the photo. All of the frames line up perfectly and I am able to choose whichever photos I want!

My go-to photo printing place is Mpix. Mpix allows you to upload whatever photos you want printed into separate albums (similar to Walgreen’s), and select what you would like to have printed. They have a huge range of sizes, and the photo quality is really great.

I have different types of wall collages all over my house. These are just the ones I have done of photos. Stay tuned for the second part of this post, which will feature a couple of other ways to decorate large walls using different types of collages! To read my Large Wall Decor post, click here.

xo, Loren

About Loren: Loren is one of our Simply Camden guest bloggers! She is a fashion blogger with a keen eye for home decor. She lives in Houston, TX with her husband and daughter and her two fur babies. Read more of her Bio here.

HAPPY BASTILLE DAY!!

A DAY OF LIBERATION… A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE

 

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Did you know, the French celebrate an Independence Day, and that it is in the month of July? Although the day is different, the concept, and reasons are the same; if you find this to be as interesting as it was to me, then maybe you could appreciate this story

 

 

 

Eiffel Tower Picture : Yann Caradec from
Paris, France/ 14 July 2011

Would this be considered a “Cultural Divide”? The U.S emphasis and “cultural” symbolism of Independence has always been a “4th of July” celebration. I now have a different appreciation and of course, a different perspective. Maybe I missed it in my World History class but, I have never heard of this “Bastille Day”. This conversation came about, when I went to the mailbox today. There were a couple of flyers from a few different businesses marketing their promotions, using “Happy Bastille Day” printed on the front. Curiosity got the best of me, and here I am. Again, I had never heard of this day so, I felt the need2nd Basstille Day to know more and share with you a little world history, as well as shed some light on my own perspective. Here’s a little, of what I gathered in my own words about Bastille Day, and why it is important to the French.

In the late 1700’s, France was ruled by King Louis XIV. There was a “fortress”, called Bastille used as a prison. On July 14, 1789, the people of France stormed this monarchy and succeeded in liberating themselves from what was considered a “constitutional monarchy”. To this day, that particular revolutionary uprising represents Reconciliation, Unity, and the Pursuit of Liberty. Doesn’t that sound the same as why we celebrate the 4th of July? Did you know there are over 50 cities in the U.S. that celebrate “Bastille Day” with military parades, French foods, music, and art.

                                                                                                                   Photo Courtesy of en.wikipedia.org

 

In fact, Camden has several properties located in some of these cities such as Houston, Baltimore, and Orlando, where if you are looking for something to do for a quick getaway vacation may be just the thing to celebrate. This celebration could last throughout the whole month of July depending on the city.

Photo Courtesy of Dr. Phillips Center

More than Just the Mouse: Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

More than Just the Mouse: Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

 

If you are not from Orlando, you tend to think that all there is to this great city is Walt Disney World. I moved to Orlando about 3 months ago and I will admit that I love going to Walt Disney World but I wanted to learn about what else there was because there had to more than just “The Mouse.”  Luckily, I was given the opportunity shortly after moving here when a friend of mine invited me to join her at Dr. Phillips Center for the Preforming Arts in downtown Orlando to see a Broadway show. I love the arts so I jumped at the chance and was not disappointed.

I drove downtown to Dr. Phillips Center and was already in love with the architecture of the building. It is a large and beautifully powerful building with modern touches of glass and steel that flow perfectly with the surrounding area. I walked up to this building’s entrance with its large windows and knew that I was being welcomed to enjoy a wonderful night submerged in the arts. The front doors opened to a grand white and walnut staircase in the center of the room that made me feel like I should be dressed in some beautiful, flowing ball gown to match the splendor. And that was just the stairs! I climbed those stairs and noticed these pristine white flowers in vases at the top of each level of the stairwell which just added another level of beauty and class to this space.

I walked to my seat and felt like I was in the kind of theater you would only see in Europe or New York City; beautiful, creamy walnut paneling and rich, royal blue seats.  The theater still has modern elements, but the color pallet brings that beautiful sophistication and tradition that you would expect in a night with Broadway. I had an eye full of beauty and art before the show even started!

The show was amazing and I was immensely entertained, but, needless to say, I was in awe from my first step walking into Dr. Phillips Center. I felt like a little kid looking around at everything with fresh eyes and my mouth open in wonder (luckily, I didn’t look it or my friend would’ve said something to me). The building in and of itself is worth seeing and the shows, plays, and other events that are held there are just icing on an amazing cake. If you live in the area and you have not been to Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, you are truly missing out! Be sure to view their schedule at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts and plan your trip soon, especially our residents at Camden Orange Court since you are only blocks away!

Millennials Tell All

Millennials Tell All: Why Camden is one of the best workplaces for Millennials

Camden was recently named #24 in the 100 Best Workplaces for Millennials in FORTUNE Magazine. At Camden, we are very honored and proud to have a ranking on this list. We asked a few Millennials to tell us why they love working for Camden!

Josh Parulian

“I love the focus placed on relationships and family, and the caliber of the employees I work around. They know how to work efficiently and how to have fun while working.” – Josh

Danielle Rivers


“As a millennial, what I love about Camden is that they value our generation’s opinion and ideas. Every year Camden will gather a group of millennials together called the ‘In Committee’ and discuss ways to keep Camden innovative and fresh!” – Danielle


Jason West

“I love the fact that I can be myself at work. I always feel like I am welcomed, and can speak my mind. It is nice to know my opinion counts.”- Jason


Lindley Cohen

“Even though we have a market cap of over $9 billion, Camden still has that small, close-knit company feel. The environment is very collaborative, with teams from all departments coming together to make the best decision for the company. As a result, I feel like I have built some great relationships (and friendships) with my coworkers, which is ultimately better for business.” – Lindley


Brandon Thomas

“Camden has been my professional home for almost 9 years now. They have taken an active role in coaching me and giving me the tools to better my career.  We have a family atmosphere and I’ve made some close friends. And, I take great pride in bettering our local communities through Camden’s charitable events.” – Brandon


Yadira Ibarra

“I love having the opportunity to socialize and build new friendships during the many fun events at Camden. Such as Taco Truck Tuesday, where we pushed a mini Taco Truck around the office to raise money for charity!” – Yadira

My Beauty Bag

Beauty BagEveryone has different preferences when it comes to beauty products, and although I am attached to most of what I use on a daily basis, I do love to find new products that work for others. With that in mind, I figured I would share what I use and why.

Disclaimer: I’m fair skinned with cool undertones, and I have combination skin that tends to be sensitive. My hair is naturally straight, fine and oily.

Body wash: Sabon Patchouli Lavender Vanilla Shower Oil.  The Patchouli Lavender Vanilla and the Vanilla Coconut are my favorite scents. The Body Scrub is a life changing exfoliator, especially living in dryer climates. I used to get weekly pedicures and can now, because of Sabon body scrub, go every three weeks (like a normal person).

Body Lotion: I start with a layer of Sabon Body Gel and then add Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen to any exposed body parts. You’ve got to protect what your momma gave you!

Face wash: I have tried it all, and no matter what the product is I’ve always come back to Proactiv Renewing Cleanser. Most malls carry this product in a kiosk and I’m able to Google the location nearest me each time I’ve moved. I’ve wanted to try out the oil cleansing method that’s all the rage, stay tuned for how that goes!

Moisturizer/Sunscreen: I use Olay Complete All Day Moisturizer with Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 15-Sensitive every day, and if I plan to spend the day outdoors I will add Neutrogena Ultra Sheer for Face.

Pro Tip: If you’re like me and prone to breakouts, use this on your neck and chest rather than regular sunscreen!

Night Cream: I recently started using ROC Retinol Correxion Sensitive Night Cream and definitely have seen an improvement in my skin! #Score

Self-Tanner: Bare Minerals Faux Tan has been the only self-tanner that has worked for me. It goes on very evenly!

Pro Tip: I do have some issues with it washing off unevenly, so be thorough.

As much as I love every product I use, and am normally really loyal to them, I also LOVE to learn about something new that I should be using. Please share with me below what you have in your Beauty Bag!

The new CamdenLiving.com

CamdenLiving.com Gets a Facelift. By: Kristy Simonette

“Guided by our values, we are committed to being the best multi-family company by providing living excellence to our customers.” – Camden Mission Statement

At Camden, we live and breathe those words. They are behind every decision we make for our customers and for our company. And so, we challenged ourselves to create an innovative website that meets our customers’ needs and redefines CamdenLiving.com.  We wanted to make sure that our new website would give our customers insight into our company – not only apartment homes but also see Camden as a Great Place To Work® *.

Our approach was this:

  1. The new website experience had to be simple.
  2. The new website had to be responsive design (basically, a fully functioning site regardless of the device– phone, tablet or PC – used to access the site).
  3. The new website had to provide a personalized experience and deliver relevant.

We used a method called Data-Driven Design to ensure that we focused on creating an optimal customer experience. Looking at tons of customer data points throughout our organization helped us to define features and functionality for the new site.  We listened to what our customers told us they wanted when looking for an apartment online and we made it happen. We added features such as detailed pet and parking policies and larger photographs in an easy to use media gallery.

The result is a website that allows online apartment shoppers to interact with our apartment communities and make informed decisions before they ever even walk through our doors. But, we aren’t finished there. Our website will constantly continue to evolve as we discover new ways to provide living excellence to our customers online.

It is time for you to experience the new enhancements!  End your apartment search on CamdenLiving.com.

*Camden was recently named by FORTUNE Magazine for the 8th consecutive year as one of the “100 Best Companies To Work For” in America.

Kristy Simonette Senior Vice President of Strategic Services & CIO

Kristy Simonette
Senior Vice President of Strategic Services & CIO

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!

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