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Summer Sun Protection

July 21, 2017 5:17 pm

With summer here and kids out of school, everyone wants to be outside doing something. Whether you’re sunbathing, swimming, going to the beach, or barbequing, protection is essential. There is such a thing as too much sun and you can’t protect yourself or your loved ones enough. In the continental United States, exposure to UV rays during peak hours of the day, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., is the most hazardous. Consequences of overexposure or unprotected exposure include sunburns, wrinkling, early aging of the skin, and skin cancer. There are several easy options to protect your skin from the sun, but the CDC recommends: sunscreen, clothing, hats, sunglasses, and shade.

sunscreen

Sunscreen
Sunscreen is available in a variety of sun protective factors (SPFs). It is suggested to use SPF 15, with both UVA and UVB defense, or higher for the best protection. Sunscreen does wear off, requiring reapplication every two hours, after you swim, or after activities that make you sweat. It is also possible for sunscreen to expire. If there is not a date on the sunscreen, assume it has a shelf life of three years. Expired sunscreen does not protect you in the same way that new sunscreen will.

Clothing
Uncovered skin is always at risk for the consequences of exposure. Wearing loose-fitting clothing, long-sleeved shirts and long pants, will offer the best protection from the sun’s UV rays. If this kind of clothing is not practical, at least commit to wearing comfortable summer clothes with other forms of protection, like sunscreen.

Hats
Wearing a hat with a wide brim will shade your face, ears, and back of your neck, protecting those areas from UV rays. If you prefer other hats, make sure the uncovered areas of your neck and head have been applied with sunscreen of at least SPF 15.

Sunglasses
Sunglasses protect your eyes from the bright light of the sun and UV rays. Wearing sunglasses shields your eyes, reducing the risk of cataracts, and the sensitive skin around your eyes from the sun. Most sunglasses sold in the United States block both UVA and UVB rays, regardless of cost or brand.

Shade
Retreating to the shade during midday hours will not only give you a cool place to stand or sit, but you can reduce your exposure to the sun. An umbrella, tree, or other shelter like the shaded side of a building can give you relief from the heat and sun. However, you should still apply sunscreen and/or protective clothing even in the shade.

Getting that perfect summer tan may be your top priority for this summer, but do it safely. For more information about protection from the sun, refer to the CDC website or hotline.

Storage Tips For Apartment Living

June 28, 2017 3:56 pm

You may have less square footage than a house, but these 12 apartment storage ideas will help you to hold on to the things that you love and stay organized.

  1. Take a vertical leap – In a smaller space, you will want to organize your storage on the vertical rather than the horizontal. Use hooks to hang things on walls and inside of closets. Install tall cabinets and bookcases with more shelves.

 

  1. Be a basket case – Baskets are decorative and versatile. You can use them anywhere to store dry items and reduce clutter.

 

  1. Bring down the curtain – Traditional doors use up floor space to open and close. Hang a curtain to cover a closet or small room. It will slide rather than swing to allow access.

 

  1. Embrace your inner furniture – Many furniture items have storage options. Ottomans, coffee tables, and benches often have space for storage inside or underneath.

 

  1. Mix and match – Over the door closet organizers such as those used for shoes can store any item that fits the pocket. Use your imagination.

 

  1. Sweep it under the bed – If your bed is resting on legs, you may have unused space under there. Bed risers boost the height of your bed for additional space. There is a variety of under the bed storage containers on the market.

 

  1. Take a shower – There are many kinds of shower caddies available that serve as storage for bottles, razors, and sponges. Some shower curtains also have mesh pockets. If you are crafty, you can add some.

 

  1. Book it – If you love your books, you will know the challenge of where to keep them. Fortunately, books look nice, so use them to decorate. When stacked next to a chair, larger books make a convenient side table.

 

  1. Create some tension – Tension rods come in different lengths and can increase hanging potential in any cupboard or closet. You can also use them to hang curtains to partition a space.

 

  1. Peg it – You can use pegboard in any room to convert a blank wall into storage space. It can be purchased or cut to fit and has a variety of purposes.

 

  1. Make an entrance – Provide hooks, shelves, and storage at the entrance to reduce clutter. If things like hats, jackets, and purses have an assigned place in the entry, they are less likely to creep into your living space.

 

  1. Do your homework – There is an abundance of storage solutions on the market today. Spend some time researching new gadgets to fight the clutter. It may also spark some DIY ideas that can save you cash.

 

 

Try these 12 apartment storage ideas to make the most of your space and reflect your style. You do not need a huge amount of square footage to relax and appreciate your living space.

Fire Safety Tips

June 18, 2017 6:48 am

You can protect your apartment from house fires with some easy to follow fire safety tips. Fire protection safety tips include simple things to do that keep a home safe throughout the year, including identifying fire escape routes and general fire protection safety.

Best Fire Safety Tips

  • Don’t leave items in the stove or on the range unattended while cooking to prevent house fires. Keep flammable items including cleaners, solvents and paper or fabric away from the stove at all times.
  • One of the best fire safety tips includes extinguishing candles when leaving the room. Don’t leave them burning, even if occupants will be gone “for just a minute.” Make sure candles are completely out when retiring for the evening.
  • Prevent house fires by ensuring smokers exercise some caution. Never smoke in bed and be wary of vintage bedspreads, linens and carpets, which are often flammable. Don’t leave the room when a cigarette is burning and prevent smoldering embers in ashtrays from setting fire to the garbage by running water in the ashtray before throwing away the ashes.

Summer Fire Safety Tips Help Prevent House Fires

  • Be aware of fire prevention rules when using fireworks outside the house. Keep a bucket of water and a hose at the ready in case they are needed and stay away from patches of dry grass. Exercise caution when lighting fireworks and make sure friends and family only watch the display from afar.
  • Summer fire safety tips include keeping a careful watch on the barbecue. The National Fire Data Center estimates grills are the cause of more than 6,000 fires every year. Douse coals after use and don’t overdo it with the lighter fluid; sometimes barbecue fires can be hard to start, but they will flame up hours later. Don’t overfill propane tanks and ensure that the fuel line connection is solid before using a gas grill. Keep all grills in open areas to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

Using the Best Fire Protection Systems

  • Identify all of the fire escape routes in a home. Determine whether the home needs additional fire escapes or portable fire ladders added to any room in the house.
  • Plan escape routes in case of a fire; it’s one of the best fire protection systems available for a house. Make sure everyone knows what to do in case of a fire, and consider doing some practice fire drills in the home, too.
  • Smoke detectors and home fire alarms can help prevent injuries in case of a fire. Smoke detectors are inexpensive and sometimes available for free from the local fire department, and they are still one of the best fire protection systems available.
  • Test smoke detectors and home fire alarms when changing the clocks in the spring and fall; it’s an easy way to remember that “it’s time” to keep a house safe.

What To Look For In A Rental Insurance Policy

June 17, 2017 5:16 am

If you rent your home or apartment, you need renter’s insurance to protect yourself and your possessions. Many renters wrongly assume that their landlords carry insurance that will replace the items in the home or apartment in the event of a disaster, but for the most part this is not the case.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While landlords do indeed carry insurance on the properties they own, that insurance covers the physical structure itself, not the items contained within each individual apartment. If the apartment building burns down, suffers flooding or falls victim to some other natural disaster, you will not be able to rely on the landlord’s insurance to protect your belongings.

 

Renter’s insurance is designed to fill in the gap between the coverage the landlord has for the building and your own individual needs. Renter’s insurance is generally very inexpensive, so there is no excuse for not carrying it.

 

Do Your Homework

If you are in the market for renter’s insurance, you need to make sure you are getting the best deal for your money and that you have the coverage you think you do. As with any type of insurance purchase, you need to do your own due diligence and research your coverage options carefully.

 

One of the most important things to look at when choosing a policy is the extent of your coverage. Some policies will pay the actual cost of items that are damaged or stolen, while others provide full replacement cost.

 

That distinction can be very important, especially if you own a lot of electronics and computer equipment. Items like televisions, laptops and tablets can depreciate quite rapidly, and that $1,000 flat-screen TV you bought a few years ago might only fetch $200 in today’s market. If you opt for actual value coverage, you could be out $800 when it comes time to replace a lost television.

 

Living Expenses

Renter’s insurance pays for more than just the items inside your apartment. If you are displaced due to a fire or other natural disaster, your renter’s insurance policy may pay part or all of your living expenses.

 

The policy may reimburse you for the cost of a hotel room or pay for the cost of moving to another apartment. It is important to read the policy carefully and understand exactly which living expenses are, and are not, covered.

 

Liability Coverage

In addition to paying for living expenses and reimbursing you for lost items, your renter’s insurance policy has another important feature. Renter’s insurance also provides liability insurance if someone is injured on your property. This liability insurance is similar to the coverage provided under homeowners’ insurance policies.

 

As with property reimbursement and living expenses, it is important to understand the limitations of your liability coverage. You need to know how much coverage the policy provides and under what circumstances you will be covered. If the policy does not provide enough protection, you may be able to increase your liability limits to get the protection you need.

 

Renter’s insurance is an important purchase, and not one to be taken lightly. Taking the time to understand your coverage and read the fine print carefully is the best way to make sure you have the protection you need.

5 Energy Saving Tips for Apartment Living

June 13, 2017 3:40 pm

Simple changes can make a big dent in your monthly expenses. Just use these simple tips to get started and see your energy consumption and bills go down!

 

#1 – Replace Your Light Bulbs

Take a tour through your apartment and make a list of all your light bulbs and their wattages. Then go shopping for new compact florescent or LED bulbs. You can save a lot of money simply by replacing those old light bulbs with newer more energy efficient versions.

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You can save even more money by looking for sales and stocking up on light bulbs at reduced prices. Compact florescent and LED light bulbs last longer than traditional models, but it never hurts to have a few spares on hand.

 

#2 – Insulate Your Window Air Conditioner

If you use a window air conditioner to cool your apartment, be sure it is well insulated. Check for gaps around the unit that could let cool air out and cost you extra money. Use foam insulation to seal those gaps and keep the cold air in your home.

 

If you must leave the window unit in over the winter, use a tight-fitting air conditioner cover. Better yet, find a spot to store the unit for the winter.

 

#3 – Use Your Electronic Devices Efficiently

Electronic devices like computers, televisions and gaming consoles play an increasingly large role in monthly energy bills these days. You can trim those expenses by watching how you use those devices. Use a power strip for devices that require frequent charging – things like cell phones and tablets. Turning the power strip off when charging is complete can save you money without sacrificing convenience.

 

You can save even more by shutting down your computer when you will not be needing it for a few hours. Shutting down your PC will not harm the components, but it will save you money.

 

#4 – Keep the Registers Clear

Whether you use baseboards or registers for heat, make sure the surrounding areas are kept clear. Stacking furniture up against baseboards and placing clothes over registers creates a fire hazard — and wastes electricity.

 

Those registers and baseboards need free air flow to work efficiently. Move furniture as far away as possible and make sure curtains do not hang near the heat. Be sure to vacuum those registers and baseboard units often to keep them free of dust. An accumulation of dust and debris can reduce the amount of heat that makes it into the room.

 

#5 – Save Money on Laundry Day

You can save money on laundry day by washing only full loads. Buying a drying rack for your apartment and consider using the dryers only for heavy items when necessary.

Beat The Summer Heat!

June 6, 2017 5:53 am

With the temperature going up again in Minneapolis, we have a few tips from our friends at Apartment Therapy to help you keep the heat at bay!

  1. Keep the curtains or the shutters closed: Keeping the sun from streaming directly in helps keep your place a little cooler.
  2. Hang a wet sheet in front of the window: when the air passes through the damp cloth, the moisture cools it off.
  3. In the same vein, try a bowl of ice in front of a fan: Let the cool air blow over you.
  4. Turn your fan around to face out: And blow the hot air out of the house. If you have a ceiling fan, turn it so it spins in the opposite direction and blows the hot air up and out.
  5. Arm yourself with a spray bottle filled with chilled water: Douse yourself liberally. As the water evaporates, it cools you down. You can also try plunging your hands into a bowl of ice water.

 

For more tips, visit Apartment Therapy!

Looking for U of M Living Options?

May 17, 2017 3:34 pm

At Sela, we have multiple living options available for students – from efficiency units for those living alone to larger apartments meant to share with roommates.

Check out our properties and availability for this summer and fall!

 

 

Apartment Living: Create A Bedroom Oasis

April 26, 2017 4:46 pm

One of the truest luxuries is creating the bedroom of your dreams. Even with minimal space & a limited budget, you can easily make this one a reality.

A few easy and inexpensive suggestions to get you started:

Add a bench to the end of your bed! 

 

There are some great low cost options.

Refresh your linen and bedding!

Get some luxe tips here.

Add flowers for both fragrance and beauty!

Get tips from none other than Martha Stewart on the art of arranging flowers.

Most of all enjoy the season with your windows open and enjoy the fresh air to celebrate summer!

 

 

Fabric Pots: Exciting Possibilities for Your Container Garden

April 12, 2017 4:06 pm

Pots made of breathable fabric are an exciting new development in container gardening. They offer several advantages over conventional plastic or terracotta pots. If you are planning to grow plants on your balcony or patio this year, here’s what you need to know.

Fabric pots are shaped like a traditional flowerpot, but they’re sewn from a sturdy non-woven material similar to landscaping cloth. Companies such as Smart Pots and Root Pouch manufacture them from BPA-free plastics. Some styles include handles for ease of rearranging your garden. The pots are available in a variety of colors, in sizes ranging from 1 gallon to 200 gallons. They are typically reusable for two or more seasons, and can easily be collapsed for storage.

One benefit of fabric pots is their influence on root development. While a conventional hard-sided pot causes roots to circle the perimeter and become root-bound, a fabric pot has the effect of air pruning. When roots encounter the porous material, the root tips are pinched off so that they stop growing laterally. Instead, they begin to produce masses of fibrous smaller roots, which enable the plant to more efficiently absorb water and nutrients from the soil.

Fabric pots also allow for better airflow and drainage so that roots don’t become waterlogged. A 2005 study conducted by Texas A&M University found that plants in fabric pots did not require more water than plants in plastic pots, and yet the soil in fabric pots was comparatively more cool and moist. This means that fabric pots can protect your plants from shock due to roots getting overheated in direct sunlight. The same study also found that rose bushes grown in fabric pots produced larger flowers than their plastic-potted counterparts.

Whether you grow your garden in permanent containers or start seeds indoors for spring transplanting, fabric pots can benefit your plants. They are versatile for use in a hydroponics setup, a patio garden, or even in your living room with waterproof saucers underneath. The many benefits of fabric pots make them an exciting new option for container-gardening enthusiasts.

Add The Outdoors To Your Apartment With Potted Plants

March 22, 2017 1:02 am

With spring coming on, we all enjoy spending our time outdoors (when it isn’t raining). To bring the outdoors in your apartment all year long, you can add potted plants and trees to make your home a retreat year round.

Choose plants and flowers that thrive well with minimal light and a limited amount of care, like a peace lily, African violet or a Boston fern. You’ll want to make sure that you keep a certain amount of natural light in your apartment to make sure your plants stay healthy and vibrant.

In addition to plants, you can add herbs to your potted plants to keep your kitchen stocked with fresh flavors without the added cost at the market!

Save Money: Grow Your Own Herbs

March 9, 2017 5:15 pm

Fresh herbs give a delicious boost to home-cooked meals, but shop-bought herbs can be expensive and tend not to last long. However, if you love herbs, but your budget is tight, there is good news–you can grow them yourself, indoors or outside. It doesn’t cost much, takes up very little space, and makes few demands on your time. Furthermore, you’ll enjoy a ready supply of your favorite flavors and a wider variety of fresh herbs than many supermarkets offer.

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Dill, parsley, basil, chives, sage, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and mint, among many others, can be grown outdoors in containers. Start these culinary herbs from seed or buy inexpensive young plants from a garden center. If you do decide to grow from seed, start your plants inside in spring using a seed potting compost before planting them out in a potting mix. Feed your herbs with seaweed plant food and water frequently.

Many herbs like sun, but if you have a shaded garden, don’t worry–one of the benefits of growing herbs in tubs, pots, or hanging baskets is that you can move these containers around to take full advantage of the sunniest spots in your outdoor space. If you live in an apartment, make use of a window box.

The herbs already mentioned can be grown inside too, with parsley, dill, and basil being among the easiest to grow. Sow seeds in good seed compost in pots with drainage holes. They will germinate quickly (sometimes parsley takes a couple of weeks) and your herbs will be ready to harvest after a few weeks on a sunny windowsill. You can maintain your supplies throughout the year by sowing more seeds at intervals. Feed your plants every couple of weeks with seaweed extract and water as required. Be careful when watering–herbs don’t like to sit in overly wet growing medium.

Take every opportunity to use your herbs. Harvesting them will encourage new growth and keep your plants healthy. Unless you want to collect seeds, snip developing flowers off your herbs so that the leaves stay lush. If you find yourself with a glut of herbs, there are a variety of ways to preserve them for future use. You can dry them, freeze them, or use them to make herb jellies, oils, and vinegars.

Growing herbs is a very pleasurable pastime. Once you’ve invested in a few pots, compost, seeds, or young plants, growing your own is an inexpensive way to provide a plentiful supply of aromatic plants for your kitchen. Parsley, dill, and basil will need to be replaced or sown afresh each year, but thyme, chives, sage, oregano, rosemary, mint, and other perennials will keep on giving for years. So, if you want to pep up your cooking with fresh herbs don’t want the added expense on your grocery bill, why not grow your own?

Tidy Up Your Apartment In 15 Minutes

February 21, 2017 3:04 pm

Of course everyone wants their home to be clean and tidy all the time, but sometimes that is not realistic. What can you do when your apartment is messy but you need it to look neat quickly? Maybe your parents just called to say they’re dropping by, or you forgot that your friend was stopping by for a glass of wine. You can’t clean everything with such a short deadline, but there are ways to make your apartment look neat and presentable in just 15 minutes.

Get Rid of Trash

If you have trash in your apartment, spend two minutes taking it outside or to the trash room. You don’t have time to inspect your house for every crumpled receipt and empty candy wrapper right now, but getting rid of most of the rubbish will make your kitchen look cleaner and remove any lingering smells that might be hanging around.

Tidy Up Clothing

Pick up all your dirty or discarded clothes and put them in a hamper or laundry basket out of the way of guests. Forget about the mess closet your wardrobe and focus on what people can see. This will create more floor space and less clutter immediately.

Stack It Up

Stack any other random clutter, like books and papers, and put decorous objects on top. This will give the illusion of order and coziness to an otherwise messy space. Simple piles of objects make you look like a person who likes to be surrounded by their belongings rather than someone who just forgot to clean.

Put Away Personal Items

Put anything personal, like medication and your private journal, into a drawer. You don’t need to worry about order right now, you just want to ensure that whoever’s visiting doesn’t get a peek into your private matters. Do a quick scan of each room and gather the items as you go.

Make The Bed

Your bed is the biggest thing in your bedroom, and if you live in a studio apartment, it’s the focal point of the room, so pull the covers over it quickly and straighten up the pillows. This will make everything look immediately more ordered.

Air It Out

A disorganized place can easily turn into one that smells stale, so open up all the windows (even if it’s cold) while you’re doing your quick-fire cleaning. Spray a couple of spritzes of something scented like air freshener, deodorant, aftershave, or perfume in each room, and close the windows before your guests arrive if it’s chilly.

Even if your apartment looks disheveled, these tips will have you covered when you need to impress and you don’t have a lot of time to get organized.

It’s Winter Carnival Time!

January 25, 2017 5:22 pm

With the snow falling again today, it makes perfect sense that the Winter Carnival kicks off tomorrow with the opening parade this Saturday! Be sure to visit the Official Winter Carnival website for all the activities.

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Don’t miss out on all the fun and be sure to save with the MTA offer for a free ride to the opening and closing parades!

Celebrate The Season: Holiday Cocktails

December 21, 2016 9:42 pm

Celebrating the holidays can be enhanced with special craft cocktails for the occasion. Our friends at HGTV have a great list of wonderful recipes that should appeal to every palate and can also be made as non-alcoholic drinks as well!

We know that we can’t wait to try the Cocoa Raspberry Heaven!

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Recipe:

1 oz. plus 1 tsp. raspberry liqueur (Chambord’s nice)
1 oz. white crème de cacao
8 oz. hot chocolate
whipped cream
1 fresh raspberry (optional)

Preparation:

  1. Pour raspberry liqueur and white crème de cacao in a cappuccino mug.
  2. Add hot chocolate and stir.
  3. Top with a dollop of whipped cream.
  4. Drizzle teaspoon of Chambord on top of the whipped cream.
  5. Top with a fresh raspberry.

Get more recipes here!