Biden Gains Momentum in Manhattan and Brooklyn, While Trump Continues the Lead in Staten Island

Biden Gains Momentum in Manhattan and Brooklyn, While Trump Continues the Lead in Staten Island

Former Vice President Joe Biden shocked the world with his Super Tuesday revival, and he is now on the right path to the Democratic nomination against President Donald Trump in November.

Thanks to the wide support he received from Black voters and the consolidation among Democratic moderates, Mr. Biden seized primary victories across the nation, clinching wins in key states such as Michigan, Florida, and Arizona. Now, the question is no longer Bernie vs. Biden, or progressive vs. moderate, but more so if Mr. Biden could unite the Democratic party and beat President Trump.

Each quarter we at RentHop review the fundraising data released by the FEC with the hope of providing insights to voters. Our study for Q4 2019 for key cities such as Des Moines and Las Vegas shows that a city’s contributions might align with the outcome of the caucuses and primaries, and we believe that it would also shed light on the general election.

 
Below are our key findings in New York City for Q1 2020:

  • From Jan 1, 2019 to Mar 31, 2020, Biden attracted 6,382 unique donors, whereas Trump gained 3,656 unique donors.
  • With Mayor Pete dropping out of the race, Manhattan voters shifted their support to Biden. As of Q1 2020, the Biden campaign attracted 4,845 unique donors in Manhattan, a 112% growth from 2,281 at the end of Q4 2019.
  • While Brooklyn, as of Mar 31, 2020, was still Sanders’ base, the number of unique donors contributing to Biden’s campaign jumped 232% this quarter, from 249 to 826.
  • Among the 217 zip codes included in this study, 201 are blue zip codes. Meanwhile, Biden leads in 99, or 46% of the zip codes. We expect this number to continue to grow as Democratic voters consolidate their support.
  • 17 NYC zip codes are becoming “bluer”, including 11434 (Queens), 11691 (Queens), and 10310 (Staten Island). This means that the Democratic support is growing in these zip codes.

Which Candidate Does Your Neighbor Support?

The interactive map below highlights New York City and its zip codes. More detailed, the map shows where each zip code stands, politically, and which presidential candidate is leading in each zip code. You can click on the zip code polygons or select from the drop-down menu to learn more. For a more detailed analysis of how candidates are doing in the same zip code, view the corresponding interactive line graph above the map.

 

Blue zip codes are zip codes where the aggregated number of unique donors of all Democratic candidates (including past candidates) is higher than the number of unique donors received by Republican candidates (including Trump, Sanford, Walsh, and Weld), and red zip codes are areas where the Republican candidates attracted more unique donors than all Democratic candidates combined.
 

Looking at the map and the chart above, we can tell that Senator Bernie Sanders was the front runner in the City of New York in Q1 2020, but as Vice President Biden seized primary victories in other states and positioned himself as the presumptive party nominee, more donors were turning to his campaign. In March, the Biden campaign attracted over 2,000 unique donors, pushing the total unique donor count to 6,382 as of March 31, 2020, around 74% more than what Trump had attracted.

When breaking down the contributions by borough, we can see that Biden’s unique donor base composes largely of Manhattan voters. In fact, of the 10 zip codes where Biden gained over 100 unique donors in Q1 2020, nine are located in Manhattan. 76% of the donors who have contributed to Biden’s campaign are in Manhattan. While Brooklyn, as of Mar 31, 2020, was still Sanders’ base, the number of unique donors contributing to the Vice President’s campaign jumped 232% this quarter, from 249 to 826.

Trump’s fundraising effort, on the other hand, seems to be slowing down in New York City. From Jan 2020 to Mar 2020, Mr. Trump only gained 20% more unique donors in the city. Of all the unique donors the incumbent President has attracted in the past six quarters, 31% are from Manhattan, and 28% are from Queens.

Democrats Are Taking Over these Zip Codes

 
In addition to analyzing which candidate leads in each zip code, we also noticed that certain zip codes are becoming “bluer” from Q4 2019 to Q1 2020. In total 17 zip codes went from neutral to blue, whereas the Republican party has yet to successfully flip any zip codes in New York City. Below are some highlights of these zip codes.

  • Zip code 10271 (Manhattan): Democratic donor share went from 50% to 86%. Four of the donors contributed to the Sanders campaign, and two to other past Democratic candidates. Trump attracted one unique donor in this zip code. Biden, meanwhile, has yet to generate anything in this zip code.
  • Zip code 11434 (Queens): Democratic donor share went from 50% to 78%. Seven of the unique donors contributed to the Biden campaign, and six to Bernie 2020. Trump attracted five unique donors in this zip code.
  • Zip code 11417 (Queens): Democratic donor share went from 47% to 61%, making it a light blue zip code. Trump, however, is still the unique donor leader in this zip code, with 10 unique donors as of Q1 2020.
  • Zip code 11691 (Queens): Democratic donor share went from 50% to 62%, making it a light blue zip code. Trump, however, is still the unique donor leader in this zip code, with a total of 11 unique donors compared to Biden’s four as of Q1 2020.
  • Zip code 10310 (Staten Island): Democratic donor share went from 50% to 60%, making it a light blue zip code. Most of the Democratic support in this zip code, however, was driven by past Democratic candidates, such as Pete Buttigieg, Tulsi Gabbard, and Bernie Sanders. Biden received contributions from only three unique donors in zip code 10310, compared to Trump’s 15 as of Q1 2020.
Biden Thrives in these Zip Codes

As he became the presumptive Democratic nomitee against President Trump in November, Biden finally started gaining momentum in New York City after months of flat numbers. Below are some of the zip codes where the Biden campaign saw the most quarter-over-quarter growth.

  • Zip code 11225 (Brooklyn): 14 unique donors, +1300% Q/Q
  • Zip code 11205 (Brooklyn): 11 unique donors, +1100% Q/Q
  • Zip code 11203 (Brooklyn): 9 unique donors, +800% Q/Q
  • Zip code 11358 (Queens): 9 unique donors, +800% Q/Q
  • Zip code 10037 (Manhattan): 11 unique donors, +450% Q/Q
Unique Donor Leaderboard – Biden

 
Below are the top 10 zip codes where Biden received the most support.

  • Zip code 10023: 96% Blue, 428 unique donors contributed to Biden’s campaign.
  • Zip code 10024: 97% Blue, 400 Uunique donors
  • Zip code 10021: 93% Blue, 358 unique donors
  • Zip code 10128: 93% Blue, 328 unique donors
  • Zip code 10028: 91% Blue, 282 unique donors
  • Zip code 10011: 98% Blue, 277 unique donors
  • Zip code 10025: 98% Blue, 272 unique donors
  • Zip code 10022: 89% Blue, 243 unique donors
  • Zip code 10003: 98% Blue, 219 unique donors
  • Zip code 11201: 98% Blue, 209 unique donors
Unique Donor Leaderboard – Trump

 
Below are the top 10 zip codes where Trump received the most support.

  • Zip code 10314: 51% Red, 101 unique donors contributed to Trump’s campaign.
  • Zip code 10022: 11% Red, 100 unique donors
  • Zip code 10028: 9% Red, 91 unique donors
  • Zip code 10128: 7% Red, 83 unique donors
  • Zip code 11209: 24% Red, 81 unique donors
  • Zip code 11375: 18% Red, 75 unique donors
  • Zip code 10312: 56% Red, 72 unique donors
  • Zip code 10021: 7% Red, 70 unique donors
  • Zip code 10065: 11% Red, 69 unique donors
  • Zip code 11235: 41% Red, 69 unique donors

Methodology

The campaign donations data was retrieved from the FEC covering all individual contributions dated between Jan 1, 2019 and March 31, 2020. The city and zip code shapefiles were retrieved from the U.S. Census Bureau. In terms of unique donors, we deduped by names, zip codes, and committee names. We adopted 5-digit zip codes for this report as not all candidates collect 9-digit zip codes. People who have changed their names or moved in between donations could artificially inflate these numbers.

Frequently Asked Questions about Our Election Studies

 
1. Why would Trump be leading in a Blue Zip Code?

This is related to the nature of the primary. As we all know, there were as many as 31 Democratic candidates competing for the nomination, and so the support was divided among them. Meanwhile, while the Republican Party has 3 candidates running, all the support is gravitating towards Trump, and therefore he alone could receive support from more unique donors than any single Democratic candidate. Now that Joe Biden is the likely nominee, we should start seeing some changes.

2. Why should we care about unique donors?

While the dollar amount raised is important for candidates, we believe that it is more crucial to understand how many unique donors each candidate has attracted, as each unique donor potentially means one vote, and by measuring donor counts, it gives us a better idea of how many people support each candidate.

3. How is the party majority calculated?

The party majority is calculated using the aggregated unique donor count of a party and the aggregated unique donor count from Jan 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020. For instance, if Democratic candidates attracted a total of 200 unique donors, and the total number of unique donors within a city is 500, the Democratic share would be 40%. In terms of the color shades, purple areas are whether neither the Democratic candidates combined nor Trump has more than 55% of the donors. Light blue and light red represent zip codes where the party has 55% to 70% of the donors, and blue or red represents a majority of 70% and more.

Published at Wed, 06 May 2020 13:20:39 +0000

Life Insurance and Health Insurance: What You Need to Know

Life Insurance and Health Insurance: What You Need to Know

As you get older, you learn that monthly expenses can start to add up once you start including costs of insurance. Having adequate insurance provides peace of mind in knowing that if something were to unexpectedly occur, you and your family are financially protected.

Because life and health insurance are technically optional, many question whether or not they actually need to pay for these policies each month. We will discuss the basics of both life insurance and health insurance to help you determine which coverage works best for your individual situation. 

Life Insurance 

Life insurance is important to have, especially once you obtain assets or start a family. The main purpose of life insurance is to pay out a death benefit to your chosen beneficiary or beneficiaries to replace lost income, medical expenses, and outstanding debts in an unexpected passing. You may be offered life insurance through your employer, but in the case that this coverage is not sufficient enough to supplement your income, you may choose to look into private life insurance policies. 

There are various types of life insurance to consider and because the different types can serve different purposes, it is best to take into account your financial status, lifestyle and reason for purchasing life insurance to determine which policy works best for you. The two main types of life insurance are term life and whole life policies.  

life insurance policies

Term Life Insurance 

Term life insurance policies are set for a certain number of years (anywhere from 10 to 30 years) and expire once the term ends. If you were to pass away before the end of the term you selected, your beneficiary would receive the death benefit payout that you chose when you selected the policy. However, if you do not pass away during the term of the policy, your coverage expires. You will pay for this policy with either an annual or monthly premium that has been determined based on your coverage amount, term and other factors such as your lifestyle and health status.  

To obtain a term life policy, you must take a medical exam where underwriters will look at various health risk factors, which will weigh into the cost of your premium. Term life insurance policies are usually less expensive than whole life policies because there is no cash value to the policy. Remember that since term life insurance policies take your age and health into account, younger individuals can lock in a much lower rate by purchasing life insurance earlier in life. 

settling insurance policies

Whole Life Insurance 

A whole life insurance policy, which can be referred to as a permanent life insurance policy or cash value policy, has three main types of policies to choose from — whole, universal and variable. Whole life insurance policies essentially serve two purposes: to provide a death benefit to your beneficiaries to cover your lost income, final expenses and outstanding debts. This type of policy can also be used as an investment because part of the premium you pay will go into a tax-deferred savings account that you can borrow upon at a later date if you choose to do so.  

Remember that if you borrow against the policy, that will reduce the death benefit amount. Because whole life insurance is also used for investment purposes, the premium will be much higher than a term life insurance policy. However, if you choose to cancel the policy after you have paid for it, you are entitled to some of the cash value.  

mother son playing

Determining the Type of Policy to Choose 

While there is no right answer to this, it’s important to consider the personal reasons for purchasing life insurance. If you are looking for an investment and are financially stable enough to fund a whole life insurance policy, this may be the right choice for you. However, if you are looking to provide support for those that depend on you financially at a lower rate, a term life insurance policy might prove to be a better option. 

Certain individuals could benefit from purchasing a term life insurance policy, such as new parents looking to provide protection to their minor children for a given period of time. Newly married or engaged couples who might be combining assets or obtaining property together and depend on the other’s income to pay for these assets are also good candidates for life insurance. Another group of individuals who could benefit from a term life insurance policy specifically are aging parents who are looking to subsidize care that their adult children may have provided or to leave a legacy through their life insurance once they pass.  

aging citizens insurance

Lastly, a group that is often overlooked for obtaining life insurance is college students or young adults whose parents may have cosigned on a private student loan with them. This is because if a student unexpectedly passes before the debt is paid, the parents could be left responsible to pay the remaining balance. 

Health Insurance 

Health insurance subsidizes medical expenses such as prescriptions, doctor visits, surgeries and hospital stays by contributing to some or all of these expenses that you may incur. The types of health insurance available can vary greatly. Still, it is important to consider the costs associated with purchasing a policy and the costs associated with not having a policy. 

Health insurance can be obtained privately, through the government, or through an employer, so it’s important to check the regulations in your state to determine the best option for your coverage. Many states offer financial assistance to help pay for premiums if you make below a certain amount of money. If you are under 26, you can stay on your parents’ health insurance even if you are no longer considered financially dependent or don’t live with them. 

happy mother daughter

If this is not an option or you are over 26, most employers will offer some form of health insurance that you can opt into once you start working for the company or after a waiting period ends. This is usually less expensive than purchasing a private plan, and sometimes employers have different levels of coverage that would best suit your needs. Consider your personal health needs when looking into a plan and carefully read the terms of each option that is available to you. 

If you are younger and relatively healthy, you might be able to get away with carrying a catastrophic policy with a high deductible either through your employer or state’s marketplace. A catastrophic policy has lower monthly premiums but has a higher deductible that must be met before you have any coverage. For example, if you go to the doctor once or twice a year, you would most likely pay for the price of the visit in full but would have saved each month on paying higher premiums. However, if you have a major health issue occur, you will only owe up to the deductible, which could save you thousands, considering you wouldn’t be responsible for the full price of the medical issue. 

doctor appointment assessing health

Furthermore, if you have a spouse or children, you are eligible for a family plan or a spousal plan that also covers their medical costs. Remember to compare your company’s health insurance offerings to your spouse’s to make sure your family is obtaining coverage that makes the most sense. Look into the different tiers of plans offered and consider how much you go to the doctor’s in a given year to make sure that you are not over-insured and paying more than you need to have the highest level of coverage. 

Once you hit certain milestones in your life, it is important to be adequately insured to protect your future financial stability, your family and your assets. Life and health insurance both serve this purpose by protecting your income and your health while also giving you added peace of mind. Remember that with careful consideration and research, you can ensure that you are adequately covered without paying extra for this coverage, giving you peace of mind for your future. 

Discover Apartments Near You

At RENTCafe.com, the perfect apartment nearby is just a click away.

APARTMENTS NEAR ME

Published at Thu, 21 May 2020 10:11:35 +0000

Home Buying and Selling During the Pandemic: What You Need to Know

Home Buying and Selling During the Pandemic: What You Need to Know

Technology and good-old-fashioned creativity are helping agents, buyers, and sellers abide by COVID-19 health and safety practices while getting deals done.

Some buyers are touring houses virtually. Others visit in person while remaining at least six feet from their agent. Sellers are hosting open houses on Facebook Live. Appraisers are doing drive-by valuations. Buyers are watching inspections via video call. Masked and gloved notaries are getting signatures on doorsteps.

“We have had to make some adjustments, for sure,” says Brian K. Henson, a REALTOR® with Atlanta Fine Homes / Sotheby’s International Realty in Alpharetta, Ga. “Everyone is trying to minimize face-to-face interactions. There have been some delays, but mostly, deals are getting done, just with tweaks.”

Here’s what home buying and selling during the pandemic looks like.

Showings Go Virtual

The rules around in-person showings vary by city, county, and state. Some allow them and some ban them. Check with your state, county, and local government to get the latest on business closures and shut-down rules.

Agents have conducted home tours via FaceTime and other similar tools for years. But these platforms have proven invaluable for home buying and selling during the pandemic. Real estate sites report a surge in the creation of 3D home tours. Redfin, a real estate brokerage, saw a 494% increase in requests for video home tours in March.

“I’ve done several FaceTime showings,” says Henson. He conducted virtual showings before COVID-19, too. He recently closed a deal on a home the buyers only saw on video, he says, but hasn’t yet done so during the pandemic.

In places where in-person showings are allowed, agents wipe down door handles, spray the lockbox with disinfectant, and open up the house, closets, everything for a client. “We leave all the lights on so no one touches switches, and we don’t touch cabinets or doors during showings,” Henson says.

Safe-Showing Guidelines

The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, which produces HouseLogic, recommends only one buyer enter a home at a time, with 6 feet between each guest. NAR also recommends agents have potential buyers wash their hands, or use hand sanitizer when they come in the door. They should also remove their shoes. No children should be present at showings, either.

“We’re living in extraordinary times and unusual circumstances. If you have the ability to work, you have to be creative,” Mabél Guzmán, a Chicago real estate agent, told NBC News. Guzmán, who is also vice president of association affairs for NAR, has put together a video offering tips and strategies for virtual showings during the pandemic.

Down Payment Help

Many organizations offering down payment assistance to first-time home buyers have temporarily suspended the programs or changed the rules. You can check the status of programs in your area at the Down Payment Assistance Resource site.

Desktop, Drive-By Appraisals

Appraisers are essential workers in many areas, so home valuations are continuing. But often remotely. New, temporary rules from the Federal Housing Finance Authority allow drive-by and desktop appraisals for loans backed by the federal government.

In a desktop appraisal, the appraiser comes up with a home estimate based on tax records and multiple listing service information, without an in-person visit. For a drive-by, the appraiser only looks at the home’s exterior, in combination with a desktop appraisal. The Appraisal Foundation has put out guidelines for handling appraisals during the pandemic. Here’s the FAQ.

And here are specific new appraisal guidelines by agency:

On the other hand, some private lenders still require in-person appraisals, which are allowed even in areas with shutdown orders. Private lenders hold about 35% of first-lien mortgages, according to the Urban Institute

When appraisers come to your home, they should adhere to Centers for Disease Control guidelines, including wearing gloves and a face mask, keeping at least 6 feet apart from anyone in the home, and asking if the homeowners have been sick or traveled recently to a COVID-19 hotspot.

Inspections Via Live Video

Inspectors are now often working alone, no buyers in tow, and using hand sanitizer and alcohol wipes. The National Association of Certified Home Inspectors advises inspectors to videotape their inspection so clients can watch it at home later, or to use FaceTime or other live video chat apps to take their clients along on the inspection, virtually. They can also call clients with their findings after they’re done.

The American Society of Home Inspectors has also issued guidelines for inspectors so they keep themselves and the homeowners safe while providing an accurate assessment of a home’s condition.

Mortgage Rates and Locks

With mortgage rates fluctuating quickly and closing times taking longer than usual, some lenders are extending mortgage rate lock periods. You can grab a good rate and hang on to it even if your lender takes longer than usual to process your loan.

But the protocol depends on the lender and the loan. Some lenders are offering this for all loans; others for refis. Check with your lender about its policy.

Related: How to Get Home Financing

Employment Verification

An important step in getting a mortgage is proving the borrower has a job. In pre-coronavirus days, lenders called the borrower’s employer for a verbal verification.

The Federal Housing Finance Authority, which oversees Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and federal home loan banks, has relaxed the rules for loans backed by the federal government because so many businesses are closed.

Lenders for federally backed loans now accept an email from an employer, a recent year-to-date paystub, or a bank statement showing a recent payroll deposit as proof of employment.

Walk-throughs

Home buying and selling during the pandemic means real estate agents can conduct the final walk-through via video with their clients. Or they can just open the home and have buyers walk through on their own. Henson says he still accompanies his clients, but stays six feet away and has them wash their hands when entering and exiting the house. Everyone’s wearing masks, too.

And, of course, when the buyers take possession, they should disinfect.

Remote Notarization Depends On Where You Live

About one-half of states have permanent remote online notarization (RON) policies. These allow a notary and signer in different locations to sign electronic document, usually by use of video apps like Zoom or FaceTime. Notaries will watch you sign either a paper document or do an electronic signature on an e-doc, via camera.

Some states have rolled out temporary rules allowing RON. Here’s a state-by-state list of notary law updates, and the type of remote notarizations allowed. The number of states allowing remote notarization could grow as federal and state pandemic legislation expands.

Closings Get Creative

Traditional closings, where everybody gathered around a big table to sign the final papers, are no longer possible. Title companies and banks are getting super creative in dealing with the limitations.

A Minnesota company, Legacy Title, rolled out a drive-thru closing service at one of its offices in an old bank branch building. The title company rep sits in a bank teller window and handles the closing papers while the customer sits in their car. Legacy completed 14 closings in the first week it offered drive-thru service.

Then there are drive-by closings, where the entire transaction takes place in cars. Masked and gloved notaries meet buyers in parking lots and pass documents through car windows.

“I had a closing where the buyer sat in her car the whole time. The attorney came out to her car, gave her paperwork, had her sign in her car, and my buyer never got out of her car,” Birmingham, Ala., agent Isaac McDow told WBRC television.

Says Georgia-based agent Henson, “I’ve had closings the last three weeks [that] I’ve been asked not to attend. There was one where the seller signed two days before buyer. Then the seller came back two days later and signed.”

Henson, who is also licensed in New York, has had to extend closing dates on two sales there since. Co-op boards won’t let non-residents into buildings ­­­– not even an electrician who needs to make repairs as part of an issue that came up in the inspection. He left the closing with an open-ended date.

“It’s all about being really flexible right now,” he says.

TIP: Find out if your county recording office can complete the deal online.

Student Loan Relief

Finally, if you’re also trying to swing your student loan payments, know that federal student loan borrowers get an automatic six-month break in loan payments from April 10, 2020, through Sept. 3, 2020. Thanks to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, they also won’t be charged a dime of interest in that time.

Learn more at the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau’s site.

Keep in mind that payment suspension only applies to federal loans owned by the Department of Education. Some help may be available to borrowers with private student loans and other loans (like Perkins Loans and Federal Family Education Loans) that aren’t covered. But it’s not automatic. Reach out to your student loan servicer for information.

So, Should You Buy or Sell?

The real estate industry is creatively and safely responding to the situation, and mortgage rates remain low. Your agent is a great source of information about home buying and selling during the pandemic to help you feel comfortable. But, ultimately, it’s a question only you can answer.

Related: 5 Questions to Ask Your Agent When Buying a House

Published at Fri, 01 May 2020 21:31:14 +0000

Sneak Peek – My Yard Makeover Reveal

Sneak Peek – My Yard Makeover Reveal

yard makeover on apartment 34

If you followed this little ole’ blog nearly eight months ago, you may recall that I started yet another project at This Old Victorian. This time it was tackling a major yard makeover. Thankfully, the massive project’s (near!) completion came in the nick of time. Since shelter-in-place began, we’ve relied on our yard daily. I’m hoping to give you a detailed tour of the entire space and a recap of our whole design process very very soon. The transformation is just as dramatic as our interiors. If you’re feeling impatient – or need something to fill up your SIP hours – definitely check out the before tour of the yard on my IGTV.

Obviously our outdoor spaces are critical now more than ever. No matter if you have a postage-stamp-sized patio or an expansive backyard oasis, you want to make sure it’s living up to its full potential. Since I’m not at liberty fully reveal our yard design juuussst yet, I thought I’d at least offer some inspiration in the form of all my favorite pieces for outdoor spaces. From seating and long-lasting outdoor cushions, to accessories like fire pits and planters, outdoor pizza ovens and lawn games, now is the time to invest in getting your yard in tip top shape.

I have a feeling we’re in for a loooong summer friends. Let’s make the best of it, shall we?

What yard projects are you currently working on??

For more outdoor space inspiration, CLICK HERE.

landscape design and construction by Beth Mullins of Grows Green Landscape Design, photo by moi

Published at Mon, 18 May 2020 23:16:21 +0000

18 DIY Curtain Ideas That Will Instantly Give Your Room a Style Boost

18 DIY Curtain Ideas That Will Instantly Give Your Room a Style Boost

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.

When it comes to making a space feel homey, walls are usually at the top of the list for upgrades, whether it’s via paint, art displays, mirror gallery walls, wallpaper, and more. But there’s another area of your home that’s a prime candidate for high-impact upgrades: your windows!

My husband and I rented for years, and after getting settled in each time, our apartments never felt like “home”. We tried every rental hack, invested in tons of Command hooks, but overlooked a simple detail that in hindsight would have made a world of difference: We left all our windows with the cheap, plastic blinds. Learn from our mistake! Adding curtains is a great way to bring soft texture to your walls, tie different design elements of a room together, and make your windows look more finished and—dare I say it?—grown up. Don’t feel limited by off-the-shelf options—DIY curtains are a great afternoon or weekend project that’s affordable to boot. Say no to naked windows and get inspired by these DIY curtain ideas.

1. Hand-painted polka dot curtains

Mandi of A Beautiful Mess took a free-form approach to polka dots with her hand painted pattern. This slight twist on a classic makes these DIY curtains feel fresh and unique.

2. Modern farmhouse-inspired burlap curtains

This DIY burlap sack curtain—from Carissa of Bless this Nest—proves just how much curtains can bring that extra oomph and tie a room’s style together.

3. Boho-chic macrame curtains

While this macrame curtain is beautiful on its own, it would also look lovely layered over basic white curtain panels to give windows a bit more privacy, too. Emma of A Beautiful Mess shows how this curtain can be used in front of a closet as a breezy alternative to a door, too.

4. Cottage-style ticking stripe curtains

Besides the gorgeous ticking stripe fabric Stephanie of Celebrated Nest chose for her curtains, look at the handmade tassels sewn into the pleats! That extra detail can be both hard to find and expensive on store-bought curtains, making the DIY version worth the effort.

5. A DIY hack for adding length to pre-made curtains

Katie of A Beautiful Mess is blessed with extra tall windows in her 1800s home. While they’re great for enviable lighting, it can be a hassle finding ready made curtains. Steal a page from her DIY book and add a long, lace trim to stylishly gain those extra inches.

6. Crochet detailing for pre-made curtains

You’re not limited to lace when it comes to customizing pre-made curtains. Instead of using lace trim, Sarah of She Holds Dearly upcycled a vintage crocheted table runner to add character to her bedroom.

7. Colorful scarves-turned-curtains

Decluttering your closet? Don’t throw out those scarves! Upcycle your favorite pieces into a patchwork curtain for a new, functional way to display your collection.

8. Customized curtains with decorative edges

DIY trim is a curtain’s best friend. Annie of DIY Decor Mom had her heart set on Greek key curtains, but couldn’t justify their high price tag. So she DIYed her own for half the price! Try to imagine her stunning living room without that detail. It just doesn’t feel the same.

9. IKEA hacked linen curtains

Linen curtains have a beautiful softness & drape with a not-so-beautiful price tag. At least usually. Sarah of She Holds Dearly found an affordable set at IKEA and added a small tassel trim for a subtle and sophisticated look. Check out her full tutorial for a bonus hack for getting IKEA curtains pure white.

10. Sheer curtains with faux floral details

The light coming through these sheer curtains dotted with faux flowers creates a welcoming, soft glow. If you’re curious about upkeep, Natalie of Design Love Fest recommends giving them a hand wash with cool water for the occasional cleaning.

11. White curtains with colorful trim

Tasha of Kaleidoscope Living pulled together all the colors of her daughter’s room by adding a strip of statement paneling to plain, white curtains. And she did it without having to sew! This is also a great way to use your favorite pricey fabric without breaking the bank.

12. IKEA hacked pleated DIY curtains

Scroll too fast and you might miss this clever IKEA hack from Cathy of The Grit and Polish. She started with basic blush curtains and created her own pinch pleats for a classic take that looks completely custom.

13. DIY blackout curtains

Most blackout curtains are either ugly with a thick plastic look or shockingly expensive. Carmen of Living Letter Home didn’t settle for either, and shares how to turn your favorite curtains into blackout curtains.

Can you believe these curtains started out as plain, cheap drop cloths? Lisa of Shine Your Light worked her magic with some paint, stencils, and creativity to put the finishing touch on her dining room.

You can make similar custom curtains using plain white panels, too. Zoe of Crafted by the Hunts went with a modern stencil and cleverly coordinated her choice of navy paint with her other navy accents.

16. Geometric stamped curtains

If your DIY comfort level is somewhere between free-form painting and following a stencil, try DIY stamped curtains. You can create your own shapes and play with different layouts like Katrin of Northern Feeling to get a handmade, artisan feel.

Erin of Francois et Moi has several tutorials to walk you through the sumptuous world of indigo dyeing. You can use the dye with classic tie-dye folds or try your hand with a mudcloth-inspired technique.

18. Pom pom trimmed curtains

Mandi of A Beautiful Mess used trim in a different way and upgraded a basic panel set with contrasting pom-pom stripes. It’s fun and bold without being complicated to make.

Published at Thu, 14 May 2020 19:30:00 +0000

How to make the most of your apartment’s fitness center

How to make the most of your apartment’s fitness center

How to make the most of your apartments fitness center

Drinking in fresh air while you workout may be a good motivator, but when the weather doesn’t cooperate, it’s not a practical option. You could spend a chunk of your hard-earned paycheck on a membership at a gym, but it’s going to be easy to find an excuse to skip your workout when you have a commute to the treadmill. Since your building boasts its own in-house fitness center, there’s no need to spend any extra money or travel further than a few hundred feet for a workout. Here are a few ways that you can make the most out of a fitness routine in your apartment’s own fitness center.

  1. Begin with just your bodyweight.
    Apartment fitness centers tend to vary in terms of the equipment they offer, but all of them tend to have one thing in common: limited space. So you might not see the wide variety of cardio and strength-training equipment you’d find at your typical gym. This just gives you the opportunity to simplify your workout. When you first embark on a fitness routine at the apartment gym, try skipping the equipment altogether and just using your own bodyweight. Moves like squats, lunges, and burpees torch calories and strengthen muscles, even in a small space.
  2. Strengthen your core.
    One muscle group that’s easy to shred with zero equipment and a small amount of space? Your abs. As long as your apartment fitness center has a mat, you can power through crunches, bicycle kicks, and grueling planks to really take your six-pack to the next level. If one is available, throw a medicine ball into the mix to add an extra challenge to your ab routine.
  3. Get creative with minimal equipment.
    If you do want to incorporate some of the available equipment into your workout, try creating a circuit that hits every part of the body from head to toe. Start with a round of bicep curls and tricep rows using the hand weights. Sink into a dolphin plank for intervals of 30 or 60 seconds. Then start squatting with a medicine ball or kettlebell in hand to strengthen those glutes and legs. Hop on the treadmill or elliptical for a minute in between each strength-training move to keep the heart rate high and the body burning calories.
  4. Try some supersets.
    Have you ever heard of a superset? If not, now’s the time to learn. When you’re working out in a small space, the superset is your best friend. It’s a pairing of two moves performed back-to-back, typically working two antagonistic muscle groups. For instance, you could do a set of deadlifts and then transition swiftly into a round of pushups. So, what’s the benefit of a superset? When you do this, the movement keeps your heart rate elevated, which means your body will continue to burn calories all throughout the workout.

Take Advantage of Your Building’s Fitness Center with These Workouts [DNAInfo]

Apartment Gym Workout [The Optimal You]

How to Create a Workout Program for a Small Apartment Gym [The Nest]

Published at Sat, 01 Dec 2018 20:50:41 +0000

Expert Interview: Avoiding Aesthetic Monotony in Your Rental during Quarantine

Expert Interview: Avoiding Aesthetic Monotony in Your Rental during Quarantine

If you’ve lived in your apartment for a while now, it is sure to carry your unique style with it. However, being indoors all the time can make the apartment feel a bit too flat, since you’ve probably gotten used to the layout and the overall look of your design. That’s why it is a good idea to look for design tips and implement some creative solutions for avoiding aesthetic monotony in your rental.

These solutions can range from rethinking your layout and moving the furniture around, to painting your walls or adding some accents. Depending on your lease and your level of commitment, there are different options for you to try. Below, you will find some tips from interior designers on how to do just that.

add art colors

Also, as more and more people start working from home, another innovation is likely to pop up in your apartment: a home office or a workspace. Although many people think it takes a whole lot of space, that mustn’t always be the case. Check out what practical tips these experts have about creating a productive workspace.

Beth Diana Smith, owner of Beth Diana Smith Interior Design

interior design advice“Art and décor are both quick and simple ways to transform a space; plus, they’re easy to take with you when you move. If you’re not ready to make a large art investment, prints and digital prints are budget-friendly especially when you use places such as Etsy, Minted, and Juniper Print Shop. As far as retail décor goes, CB2, Jung Lee NY, and West Elm are great online choices.

When it comes to creating a workspace, keep it clean and create storage for the items that you want easy access to such as pens, scissors, AirPods, and charging cords. And you could easily do that now by using items you have around the house; for example you could use a mug for pens and scissors, a simple binder clip to help you keep the cords at bay, etc.”

Kesha Franklin, principle designer of Halden Interiors

interior design advice“With the standard restrictions that come along with renting an apartment, renters can sometimes feel like it’s not worth investing in decorating their home. But, there are ways to add interest in the space. One of my go-to recommendations is hanging art on the walls. A gallery wall in particular can make a great statement and show off your personal interests. Another cool visual option is removable wallpaper which has a big impact; it’s easy to install and won’t cost you anything to bring the apartment back to its original state when it’s time to move on to bigger and better things!

Let’s discuss the home office situation. Typically, a rental apartment means there is limited space. So, having a designated area to work from home during times like this can be a challenge. A few tips that I would offer are to find a spot near a window to pull on the outdoor energy to feel productive. You can also purchase a folding screen to create a work area with a small desk and chair, that you can use and keep visually separate from the rest of your living space. Lastly, a C-Table is a great option to easily use at your sofa where you can place your laptop, phone and notebook. They come in a variety of heights, widths and finishes and are aesthetically pleasing to compliment your existing décor!”

Mally Skok, founder of Mally Skok Design

interior design advice“I am an Etsy fiend. Nothing warms up a space like a fun Turkish or Morrocan vintage rug. The Etsy shipping is usually free, the vendors are reliable, and there’s a whole lot of bang for your buck. Also you can roll the rug up and take it with you when you need to move.

Colorful pillows are a way to make your space feel distinctly yours. John Robshaw has ready-made pillows that are gorgeous; if these are too pricey, you can always find some cheery ones on West Elm or Crate and Barrel.

There are some clever new ways of hanging pictures on the walls without a nail. I am all for piling up the things you have hanging around in your life — old posters, old photos or postcards. Buy ready-made frames off Amazon and go bananas on your walls.

Another great idea for a quick improvement is plants. Do some research on plants that do well with limited water and sunlight. There are many! Having another living thing in your space — even though it won’t talk back — will make your apartment a whole lot homier.”

Stacey Sheppard, founder of The Design Sheppard

interior design advice“When you live in a rented property it is often difficult to put your own stamp on it. Many landlords are not particularly flexible with what they allow you to do to a property, but there are plenty of creative ways in which you can adapt your home to avoid aesthetic monotony. Changing up your textiles is a great way to make a space look different. Adding new cushions, blankets, rugs or curtains/blinds is very simple. You can change them with the seasons and — by switching to a new color palette — you can give a room a whole new look.

Repainting is a cheap and easy option that has the ability to completely transform the look and feel of a room. You don’t necessarily even need to paint entire walls. Making a feature by painting geometric shapes in different colors can work wonders. Wall art is also a great way to add visual interest. If you aren’t allowed to hang pictures, consider investing in larger framed pieces and simply lean them against the walls. And don’t forget the power of plants. Plants are not only good for our well-being and our health, but they can really bring a room to life. Move them round to change things up, buy new ones to fill empty spaces or — even better — propagate your existing plants to breed new ones.

add plants

To comfortably work from home, you should design a space for your home office. You don’t need a huge amount of room to set up a productive workspace. There are plenty of space-saving desks on the market that will fit into narrow spaces, unused corners or even that fold away when not in use. Make the most of the space you have available by putting wall shelves up above the desk to store all your office supplies. If your landlord won’t allow you to drill into the walls, consider buying a freestanding shelving unit that has a small desk shelf built-in. It is extremely important to invest in a good office chair that supports your back and provides maximum comfort. Whatever your desk space is like, try to ensure you position it in an area of your home that gets plenty of natural light, is quiet and comfortable. You’ll be most productive when you enjoy spending time in a space.”

We hope these tips proved useful and you’re ready to embrace a bit of change. Even the simplest details can wake up your apartment, so don’t be afraid to experiment. Start small and build your way up to refresh your home.

Discover Apartments Near You

At RENTCafe.com, the perfect apartment nearby is just a click away.

APARTMENTS NEAR ME

Published at Wed, 06 May 2020 11:51:30 +0000

What My 11-Year-Old Daughter Taught Me About Decluttering

What My 11-Year-Old Daughter Taught Me About Decluttering

Decluttering and organizing makes you feel good. I know this. I experience it myself. I write about it. And yet, the most indelible way for me to learn this truth has been to watch it happen through my daughter’s eyes.

I guess the love-for-organizing gene skipped a generation—my mother has memories of organizing her closet as a child. I, on the other hand, have memories of not being able to play with my friends until I picked up my absolute disaster of a room. I certainly don’t remember deriving joy from an organizing session, or ever initiating one. No one could have predicted I’d be organized at all, let alone write about organizing! But my 11-year-old daughter has the knack. I’m still surprised by how she not only takes on organizing projects for herself, but completes them to a standard that impresses current-day me.

She recently decided to re-do her younger siblings’ toy shelves. She categorized each and every toy into its own basket and adjusted the heights of the shelves so that there wouldn’t be any ambiguity about which sized baskets went where. She found images of the toys online and created, printed, and laminated labels, which she affixed to the baskets with a hot glue gun. I was floored.

This skill, as grateful as I am that she has it, doesn’t only make me happy because her drawers are full of neatly folded clothes and her desk cabinet is orderly. (One less thing I have to worry about!) What delights me the most is that she understands the functionality that comes from a neat and tidy space, and how pleasant it is to be able to locate exactly the coloring book you have in mind. Her joy is that much greater because it’s a product of her own hard work. I know this is the best reinforcer for her and can set her on the path of lifelong organized living.

But even more than that, I am so glad that she is experiencing, over and over, how good organizing makes her feel. Not just because of the visible end result, but because of the emotional, mental, mood-boosting effect of both the act of organizing and the achievement of having turned chaos into order.

I have included my daughter in organizing her own toys and art supplies since she was very young. And when she makes messes (she still does!), I make her pick them up. Sometimes she gets annoyed about having to do it. But she inevitably gets sucked into the project and comes out refreshed, anchored, and even happy. I’ve occasionally sent her to organize something when she’s in a grumpy, restless mood and it’s the perfect re-set—one I need to remember for myself more often! Other times, however, she’ll decide to re-do her closet on her own, just like her Nonnie used to, or to go through her art supplies or desk drawers. The quiet pride and satisfaction she gains from the activity is inspiring.

My daughter has taught me that our space is something we can change and that taking charge of something when we the ability to affect it positively is empowering. She’s shown me that even when we don’t want to, pushing through the resistance and getting something done feels so good. She’s demonstrated, right before my eyes, that organizing can be a meditative practice, one that anchors us fully in the present moment and leaves us with an upbeat, can-do attitude.

Most of all, she reminds me regularly, through her example, that when I need a bit of that attitude myself, it’s right within reach.

Published at Sun, 10 May 2020 12:00:00 +0000

Nine Tips for Safely Moving During Coronavirus

Nine Tips for Safely Moving During Coronavirus

Social distancing measures for limiting the spread of COVID-19 have drastically changed the shape of everyday life. Restaurants, bars, offices, and other businesses in which people regularly tend to come within six feet of each other have been closed, with essential businesses remaining open under strict social distancing guidelines. Moving into a new apartment looks different now too, as both apartment hunting and the moving process itself tend to bring people closer than six feet apart. That said, safely moving during coronavirus is possible  – here’s how.

moving during coronavirus

1. Know whether movers are essential businesses

In most regions of the U.S., movers are essential businesses according to government pandemic regulations. However, this classification may vary by city and state. Be sure to check whether your state and city consider movers essential businesses – if not, you could face challenges safely moving during coronavirus and may want to consider postponing your move, if possible.

2. Decide whether you actually need to move

COVID-19 can be spread between two people less than six feet apart from each other by simply breathing or speaking, and if you hire movers to help you move, then all of you will be breathing and speaking in each other’s presence. You might thus want to postpone your move if possible. If you still decide to move, you can do so safely if you stick to the following steps.

3. Never tour apartments in person

During the COVID-19 pandemic, you should conduct all apartment showings virtually. Many companies have implemented virtual showing tools that can easily be used in place of traditional in-person visits. Once you’ve relied on these tools to find your new apartment and sign your lease, then you can begin making the right steps for your move.

4. Contact movers – and ask questions

Ask any movers you’re considering about the steps they’re taking to minimize the potential for coronavirus to spread during moving. Be sure to inquire about their disinfecting and social distancing practices and ask how you can make their work easier. Additionally, just as with apartment showings, if your movers need to give you a quote for their work, set up a virtual estimate.

5. Start as early as possible

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused supply shortages and shipping delays. You should thus order all your moving supplies, such as boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap, and mattress bags as early as possible. Make sure to have these items home-delivered, as in-store visits should be minimized to reduce the spread of COVID-19. 

When your packages arrive, resist the temptation to use these boxes in your move. Instead, since COVID-19 can survive on cardboard for 24 hours, isolate your packages for that long, then unpack your deliveries outside if possible. For the same reason, using secondhand or recycling packing materials (other than those you accumulated long before the pandemic) may be dangerous. If you run out of packing supplies, consider packing your belongings inside your other belongings (for example, storing mugs and silverware in large kitchen pots).

You should begin your move by packing non-essential items such as decorations. This packing approach can help after your move, as you should isolate your boxes for 24 hours following your move before unpacking them. Doing so is much easier when your boxes don’t contain essential items.

6. Designate a staging space

During your move, you should minimize the number of trips your movers make in and out of your house. This way, you reduce the number of potential opportunities for COVID-19 to spread between you and your movers. 

To achieve this goal, designate one portion of your apartment as a staging space where you can place boxes after they’re taped shut and ready to move. On moving day, have your movers take out these boxes first, in as few trips as possible, and stay at least six feet away from them. Then, wait outside your apartment as your movers haul out your larger belongings such as beds, dressers, and tables.

7. Clean and disinfect before, during, and after

It’s common courtesy to clean your apartment once you’ve moved out. You should take extra care to clean and disinfect your apartment while you pack, during your move, and, if possible, after you’ve unloaded all your belongings. Do the same at your new apartment before your move and while you’re unpacking, too. Keep plenty of disinfectants, hand sanitizer, and hand soap available, and don’t forget to quarantine boxes for at least 24 hours when possible.

8. Don’t involve friends

Often, moving involves gathering a couple of friends and paying them for their help with pizza and beer. Since COVID-19 spreads through speaking and breathing, having your friends in such close proximity during your move could increase your chances of transmission (remember, COVID-19 can be transmitted by asymptomatic people). 

If you can’t do your move alone, keep your friends out of your move and hire professional movers. Make sure you’re all wearing face masks, minimizing the time you spend within six feet of one another, and disinfecting often. If anything, since your movers are professionals who complete multiple moves a day, they’ll be as diligent in these regards as you are. 

9. Don’t move if you’re feeling sick

If you’re showing any COVID-19 symptoms, then do everything you can to cancel your move. Symptomatic people are far more contagious than asymptomatic people and can easily spread the virus to people in their vicinity. This consideration may require you to structure your move with extra flexibility regarding dates and moving companies, but these additional steps shouldn’t stop you from moving if you need to. Safely moving during coronavirus is possible – you just need to be careful.

Published at Tue, 05 May 2020 15:01:46 +0000

This Bath Towel Looks Like a Throw Blanket, But It’s One of the Most Absorbent Towels I’ve Ever Used

This Bath Towel Looks Like a Throw Blanket, But It’s One of the Most Absorbent Towels I’ve Ever Used

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.

Some things that I repeat a lot on this site: “I’m a hot sleeper”; “I love linen”; and “I prefer a textured bath towel”. I am a Virgo, and I am nothing if not predicable. Because I write about products and shopping for Apartment Therapy, I’m lucky enough to get to try new products all the time, and I feel especially fortunate when I find a product that genuinely thrills me. It doesn’t happen often, and when it does I immediately tell you all about it—which is why I’m here today, letting you know that I’ve found another textured bath towel that I’ve fallen in love with.

My first foray into waffle weave bath towel territory was Snowe’s Honeycomb Towel, and since then I’ve taken a particular interest in testing out more waffle weave bath products. Because of their construction, waffle weave towels tend to be lighter weight and more absorbent than typical terry cloth towels, plus they’re known to dry quicker. And of course, they’re also more textured, which is a personal preference I haven’t been able to shake. I recently got my paws on Allswell’s Stonewashed Waffle Towels, and let me tell you: They’re a game changer.

When they arrived, I gotta be honest: I felt a little doubtful. This towel looks and feels much more like a throw blanket than a bath towel, with a thicker feel than most waffle weave options. It’s also… really pretty. Thanks to the very on-trend waffle design, pretty color (it comes in white, silver gray, and blush), and fringed ends, this towel could be draped over a bed or sofa and seriously no one would know the difference. When hung up in a bathroom, well, it’s capable of changing the entire vibe of the space. But how well does it work?

Again, first time I tried it out I felt skeptical. Would it be weird to wrap myself in a throw blanket after stepping out of the shower? As it turns out, this towel is just as functional as it is beautiful. I’m not exaggerating when I say that it absorbed water absurdly fast, and when I hung it up it dried in record timing. I was floored! It’s like all the best things about waffle towels combined with all the best things about terry cotton towels. The only downside is that it’s not quite as soft as those extra thick, fluffy towels you’re probably used to, but I will say that it’s much softer than other waffle towels I’ve tried. And personally, I’ll take better absorption and quick drying properties over an ultra soft feel any day.

Allswell is known for its budget-friendly bedding and bath products (I also have their mattress and love it), but their waffle towel is on the expensive end at $25 per towel. Right now though, the brand is running a Mother’s Day promo: 25 percent off with code PAMPERMOM, through May 10. If you’d like to go all in on these beauties, you can save by purchasing a bundle: 2 bath towels, 2 hand towels, and 2 washcloths, all for $81 plus an extra 25 percent off right now.

Published at Tue, 05 May 2020 18:00:00 +0000