3 Things to Consider When Looking for an Awesome Apartment

 

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This May marks our second year living in our current apartment. It’s crazy how fast time flies by, but it also got me thinking about how difficult it was to find a place that really feels like home. That’s why I thought it would be nice to share some of the things I learned.

Let me just start by saying I am not a Realtor and these tips are from my own personal experience. But, I do feel like I have some experience with finding a pretty awesome apartment as I’ve lived in apartments as a renter for quite some time and everyone is jealous of my home. I say that modestly, of course …

All jokes aside, my apartment is pretty decent: it’s cheap, it’s all inclusive, has lots of parking, close to everything and it’s unique. But most important, it suits us.

Finding a home that suits your needs and wants isn’t easy though. I’ve looked at some pretty terrible apartments in my search for this little gem and so I’ve decided to share some of the lessons I’ve learned on the way.

I believe that when you’re searching for your new home, it’s important to know exactly what it is you want and right it down. Here are some things to consider on your next apartment hunt:

1. Pointing out the obvious here – you need to decide where you want to live.

Do some research on the city and then the neighbourhood. This is especially important if you have children, because us parents know that the school district is the all mighty decision maker when it comes to finding a place to live. But you also have to consider what kind of amenities you want nearby and what your future neighbours will be like. If you’re young, living near a college may not bother you, but if you’re raising a family or enjoy the quiet it would.

Write a list of all of the things that are important to you when it comes down to the city/neighborhood you want to live in.

Some things to consider when it comes to the neighbourhood:

  • Downtown or suburbs?
  • Nearby playground or dog parks?
  • Transit – bus stops, bike lanes or walking trails. What is your main mode of transportation?
  • Schools?
  • Shopping centres or nearby stores?

2. Now consider the type of building you want to live in and what kind of features are important to you. 

I personally lived in a typical apartment building and hated it. Now I live in a duplex and love it. It all depends on what kind of building you prefer and what’s included. And one more thing that people tend to look over, the landlord. Is this someone you feel is a fair, honest person who will fix things when needed and be understanding?

Write a list of what kind of building you would be okay living in, and what features you want/need.

Some things to consider when it comes to the actual building:

  • Number of bedrooms?
  • Parking spots?
  • Laundry facility?
  • Balcony or outdoor space?
  • Are pets allowed?
  • Smoke free or not?
  • Does it have a pool or gym?
  • And of course, the landlord.

3. The most important thing to consider: how much does it cost and what can you afford?

They say to keep your rent plus utilities no higher than 30 to 40 per cent of your monthly income. That means if you make $3000 monthly you should look for an apartment that’s about $1000 a month for rent. Of course, the cheaper the better, right?

Write down your monthly income and divide it by 30 per cent to find out what you can afford.

Once an apartment meets all of your criteria you really just have to go with your instincts. If you walk into a place and it has you feeling nauseous, that’s an obvious sign to get the hell out of there. But if you’re left feeling giddy and excited after viewing a place make sure to get that application in ASAP.

What were some of the things you considered when looking for a new place to live? What advice would you give to someone looking for a new apartment?

Peace,
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3 Things to Consider When Looking for an Awesome Apartment appeared first on Peace and Chaos.

How Working At An Art Studio Changed My Life

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Three years ago in April I started a job that forever changed my life. I was lost, confused and unhappy back then, but now, because of my experience there, I have accomplished so much in life, including: started a blog, opened two Etsy shops, went to college, started freelancing, and most importantly, gained the confidence to do all of that and more. That why I decided to update and re-post this.

It was a really difficult year for my husband and I in 2011. I had quit a part-time job I really enjoyed for a full-time job I hated because we needed the money. My part-time job was bringing in less than $100 a week, barely making a dent in our family budget. The full-time job was in a factory, hours were from 7 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and I was always tired. I quit after three months, not caring at that point about the money.

I desperately searched for work but couldn’t find a job any where. The longer I went without a job, the less interviews I was able to get and the gap in my resume increased drastically.

Finally in March of 2012 I came across a job advertisement. It was for an art studio looking to hire youth who were having trouble finding employment. Clearly this was the answer! I immediately called them and spoke to one of the women who were in charge of hiring. She instructed me on how to apply and what the interview process was.

Within a few weeks I started what I felt was a dream job. And it continued to be a dream job all the way through from April until September, when my temporary employment, along with the other five youth, ended. My time working at the art studio was by far the best time I had at any job. Every day was exciting, and while some people complained about the endless drawing and painting, I always looked forward to working on a new piece.

As much as I loved the visual art aspect of spending my time there, the most rewarding part was the fact that this was more than just a job; it was in fact a government program to help youth gain employable skills and to work on a career goal after the program ended.

At this point in my life I had no idea what I wanted to do. I considered three completely different career paths; business, journalism and visual art. For as long as I can remember, going back to my childhood, I have been torn between wanting to be a writer, an artist and an entrepreneur. The only thing I was sure of was that I wanted to attend post-secondary, but for what? What would I do after the art studio?

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We were all given a notebook to record our research in and encouraged to choose three different paths, which I already knew, to compare the pros and cons of each.

Our supervisors were more like mentors. We could, and were even encouraged, to talk to them about anything we felt like. For me that included battling with my depression, which always seems to spike in the summertime, as well as my own confusion about the future. I suppose it was my first real experience with having a mentor and I sometimes wish I still had someone like that in my life, someone who isn’t family or already a close friend.

Another great part about working at the art studio was learning creative activities were like therapy in itself. Some days I would put on my headphones, listen to my music and get completely lost in my artwork. Nothing mattered then. Not my peers, or my bills, or even the outcome of whatever I was working on. I could forget all my worries and just focus on this one task, one small piece at a time.

It was during my time at the art studio that I learned I could start my own blog. At this time I had been following a few blogs, and even had a LiveJournal account a few years back, but it never occurred to me that I could actually have my very own blog. One of the other girls in the program told me about Blogger and Etsy and by the time my studio gig ended I had my very own blog and Etsy shop.

If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll already know that I ended up going to college for journalism. My passion for writing far outweighed my other options, although I still do hope to one day expand my business knowledge and continue drawing.

Being in such a supportive and artistic environment really pushed me to grow as a person. I had never believed I could do something like that before and it was all so exciting and new and I fell in love with it. The summer of 2012 was when I decided that I wanted to continue to learn how to live, how to love, and how to grow through creativity. I can barely remember who I was before then and I will never forget the people I met and the experience I had.

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For the past few weeks I’ve been doing a lot of writing, drawing and photography as part of a project I’ve been working on for myself. It’s funny to look back at when I wrote this last year and to see how my goals have changed. I once though I had to choose just one of my passions but in reality all I had to do was find a way to combine them.

I might start adding some of my artwork to Peace and Chaos. I’ve always enjoyed art and creating things. Do you guys think that’s something I should add? Also, what do you guys think about adding a new series about other success stories? I already have a few people in mind ;)

Can you remember a life changing moment you’ve had?

Peace,
signoff

How Working at an Art Studio Changed My Life appeared first on Peace and Chaos

6 Fun Indoor Planters

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1. Retro Bullet Planter / 2. Yellow Felt Planter / 3. Tiny Kitty Planter / 4. Ceramic Skull Planter / 5. Blue Ceramic Spiky Planter / 6. Polka Dot Fabric Planter

I absolutely love indoor plants!

When I was growing up my family’s home was a split-level townhouse. Our living room was half underground and the window was at ground level, but it was the entire length of the room letting in plenty of light. My mom had a variety of house plants growing along the windowsill, and on the outside was a vegetable garden. It looked beautiful!

When Nick and I moved into our very first apartment, the first house-warming gift we received was a planter with an arrangement of plants from my Aunt Angie. After that, we made sure to add more houseplants to our kitchen window. They eventually grew so big that we had to disperse them to other areas of our home because we couldn’t even see out of our window. Our neighbour above us even dropped off a few plants after admiring our current ones from outside through the windows.

After moving back in with my mom, my plants couldn’t get the sunshine they needed to live and our four foot tall aloe vera plant died along with the rest. It was a sad year, watching all of my plant-babies die. I knew that when we moved into our next place that Nick and I would once again have to build up an indoor garden, and we have.

Other than our mid-century bullet planter, our planters are pretty plain. Having a beautiful. decorative and fun indoor planters just adds that much more beauty to the natural living thing within it, which inspired me to curate this collection of fun indoor planters!

I can’t wait to start getting creative with how we store our precious plants.

What planter is your favourite?

Peace,
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How to Make Lentil Sprouts

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When Nick decided to go vegan out of the blue nearly seven years ago I decided to do it with him. I thought Nick would cave for sure, it being summer and all, with steaks and burgers constantly being made on my parents backyard BBQ, but I ended up being the one to give in. He’s been a strict vegetarian ever since, and I love being able to find tasty meals we can enjoy together.

I know there are about a zillion reasons to go vegan: health, environment, animal rights, etc, and so I try my best to eat a variety of vegan dishes throughout each week (although I have been considering giving it another try soon). One of the things that made it difficult for me as a vegan was my distaste for legumes and beans. Even after years of forcing myself to eat them for their health benefits, I still find myself shuddering at their texture.

Then, a couple of years ago I decided to try and make my own sprouted lentils because, hey, I like bean sprouts, why not make them at home myself?

It’s surprisingly easy to do.

What you’ll need:

  • Jar
  • Sprouting lid, cheesecloth, or some other type of material (I used a scrap of sheer fabric)
  • Elastic band
  • 3/4 cup dry lentils
  • 2 cups of water

Directions:

  1. First, rinse your dry lentils a few times in cold water.
  2. Place them in your glass jar with water. Then, cover the top of the jar with a screen or cloth, held on with an elastic band.
  3. Let them soak overnight, or for eight to 12 hours, out of direct sunlight.
  4. The next day make sure to drain them and rinse them.
  5. From this point on until their done, rinse with water and drain them every 12 hours.
  6. Once the lentil sprouts are about 1/2 an inch to an inch long, they’re done! Remove them from the jar, place them on paper towel to dry and keep refrigerated in an air tight container.

You should get about three cups worth! You can put them on wraps, in spring rolls, on salads, in stir-frys or on their own.

Have you ever made your own lentil sprouts? 

Peace,
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April Goals 2015

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I thought February was a busy month, but March was even busier!

With only three weeks of school left I’ve been scrambling to complete assignments, study for tests and applying for jobs (and working!). Unfortunately that meant Peace and Chaos got put on the back burner for a bit there. I was sad to have accidentally skipped March’s Rebel Book Club link-up, but before I knew it, the last Friday of the month had come and gone and I hadn’t even read a quarter of my book yet, let alone completed the review and post for it. I also skipped March’s Delightful Directory because I didn’t have anything worth sharing; I barely spent any time playing around online. I didn’t even watch much TV this past month.

Also, remember how I told you I had two job interviews? Well, I got the first job! A freelance writer position from home and I wrote three news articles and one blog post. It’s not a lot of hours, but it’s a step in the right direction. The other job interview was for a part-time job at my dream company, but unfortunately it didn’t work out. Boo. Can’t have it all I guess.

As for my March goals, well …

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March Goals:

Money: Start saving $1 a day. Nope. I didn’t save any money.

Health: Stop binge eating at bed time. I’d say about a third of the time I didn’t eat at bed time. I’ve noticed that my bad eating habits actually start at breakfast though, because I skip it. Then I skip lunch and don’t eat until dinner, so by 9 p.m. I’m starving. I have to fix this.

Home: Hunt for something bigger. We still want a bigger place, but I realized there are a lot of benefits to living in a small apartment. Instead, we switched bedrooms with Sidney and it works for now.

Marriage: Go on at least one date. Well we went on several! Mostly out to eat, or grab a pint, but it was enjoyable.

Parenting: Spend more time doing activities. And boy did we! We went tobogganing, cosmic bowling, to the movies, the park, for a bike ride, the library and even did some origami.

Social: Connect with at least one new person this month. And a big nope. But Nick and I have spent some time with our current friends, which is always nice.

Learning: Get good marks in school and submit entries into the journalism awards. Done and done! Wish me luck!

Now, for April things are about to get crazy. This month I need to focus on finding a job, getting back on track with my health and spending more time on things that matter now that school will be finishing up. – Note: I’ve decided that categorizing them is helpful, but sometimes categories change. They get passed because that part of my life is doing peachy-keen, and sometimes new ones appear that are needing some TLC.

I’ve decided to give April three words: Healthy, Productive, Creative.

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April Goals:

Money: Get a job! Like, a real grown-up job. I now have the credentials to do so, some experience under my belt and the drive to make this happen! Interview number three happens this Thursday!

Health: Well, now that I’ve realized my entire eating habits are all screwed up, I guess I should start by having regular meals at appropriate times. That would make sense, right? Breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack. :)

Home: I’m happy that we switched bedrooms. Sidney loves her new room, even if it is smaller, and I can now fit a desk in mine and Nick’s bedroom. What I really want to focus on in April, though, is fixing up my desk space so that it’s functional and inspiring!

Parenting: We had a lot of fun this past month getting out, playing and creating together. But, I’ve noticed that Sidney doesn’t get to play with many children outside of school. I’d like to set up at least a couple of play dates with a friend or her cousins this next month.

Work: I already mentioned that I’m looking for a job, but I also consider Peace and Chaos like a job, too. A part-time job, mind you, and it does need a bit more attention. I want to create an editorial calendar and complete my secret project this month!

Social: There’s a lot of great events in my city that I would love to attend. Capturing Cambridge has frequent events and Idea Exchange often hosts a variety of festivals and events, too. It would be fun to attend at least one or two.

Learning: Well, school is almost over, just three more weeks! Of course, learning doesn’t stop when school ends; it’s a forever kind of love. I signed up for a few online courses through my library and I plan to complete them in April.

Me: This is a special category, one that was recommended by Melinda last month, and I can’t believe I didn’t think of it myself! Duhhh! Anyway, I’m in desperate need of a haircut. I haven’t had one in well over two years and yes, my hair has grown a lot but I’ve realized I actually hate having long hair. Time for a new hairdo.

What are some of the goals you’ve set for yourself?

Peace,
signoff

 

*All photos are taken from my Instagram!