Apartment Life Welcomes New President

Help us welcome Pete Kelly, Apartment Life's new President.

Working closely with Founder Stan Dobbs, Pete will oversee the expansion and continued development of this unique organization that is passionate about sending CARES Teams into apartment communities to change the world, simply by loving their neighbors.  He shared with us why he was drawn to Apartment Life: "The thing that excites me the most about Apartment Life is that it's all about community. My life was changed because of community, and I've become convinced that community is the single most important ingredient in helping others experience life-transformation." 

Pete has spent his entire career serving with Cru in a variety of roles. He has worked internationally and in local and regional roles in the United States. In 2006, he took Cru to New Orleans as the City Director of Student Programs, establishing five new student chapters in southern Louisiana. Pete also served as Executive Director of Leadership Development, leading regional HR directors across the country from 2008-2012. Most recently, he has been the Executive Director of Development for Cru’s Campus Ministry.

Leave Pete a warm CARES Team welcome in the comments below!


Are you part of a current or former CARES Team who knows of someone who would make a wonderful CARES Team member? If so, you can REFER A FRIEND and be eligible for our referral bonus up to $200.

Would you like more information on what it means to be a CARES Team? Visit our website today. You can fill out a quick info form and someone will contact you with more information. And, don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter (@aptlife), and Instagram (@aptlife) – and use the hashtag #CARESteam.

Stretching Your Event Budget: Getting Vendors Involved

CARES Teams are always looking for ways to stretch our budgets by getting vendors involved in what we do. As a CARES Team, our value is maximized by hosting creative events and getting a lot for a little. Getting vendors involved can seem like a daunting task, but with the right preparation it shouldn't be hard at all.

On our property, my wife and I have a very tight budget for a 420 unit property. That said, we have honed our sales pitch to get vendors to give us what we need for very little. The following are some tips and tricks for doing more with less:

Finding Sponsors
  • Tour the city and local retail. Take one Saturday per month and spend a couple of hours just hunting down potentials.
  • Look for restaurants/retail that is opening soon or just recently opened. They are usually looking for creative ways to market their product – and we can give them just that!
  • Go into existing restaurants and retail and CONFIDENTLY sell what we do and how we can PARTNER with them. Template provided below.
  • Take a look at city websites, village retail newsletters, Facebook pages, and city newspapers to see if there are any events coming soon that you can piggyback on. Many times they are free and fun, and you can just add value. Some CARES Teams have piggybacked on 5Ks by providing branded shirts for anyone in the community who wants to run in it. Community concerts in the parks are always fun as well.
  • Look for timely partnerships. For example, after a severe storm, contact the local auto hail repair shops, and let them know that you would be happy to give them exclusive access to your market in exchange for hosting/and or catering an event. Let them attend and pass out collateral.
  • One of your biggest vendor advocates is going to be your cable/internet provider rep. They will almost ALWAYS help fund at least one event a month because most of the time, the properties offer a monopoly. Our rep sponsored a $2,000 event to help sell one of his products. He raffled off Amazon gift cards and even gave away a 50 inch flat screen TV. All we had to do was let him in with his salespeople to try to convert residents to their product - a win-win for us both.
  • Use your personal connections within your web of influence. Many of us have tons of friends in our life circles. Some are business owners who would be willing to pitch in financially to market their product. Networking within your circle of friends can sometimes be the best thing you can do. Most people are happy to get to be a part of what we are doing so they will go leaps and bounds to help us out because they love us. They may even have amazing ideas that we haven’t thought of. Talk about what you do. Ask people for help and ideas!
  • Ask your Program Director and/or other regional CARES teams for contact information. If you already know the Marketing Manager’s number for the vendor, you don’t even have to go in to the place, you can just call. When you score a vendor, share the information with the other CARES teams in your region. Begin keeping a list of vendors and contacts for each vendor so you can continue to use them down the road.
Perfect Pitch

Some things to keep in mind when pitching what we do to potential vendors:

  • Timing is important: Keep timing in mind when you're going to a place of business. Are they always super busy on Saturday night? If so, that's probably not the ideal time to go in and ask to speak to the manager. As a general rule, restaurants have a "down time" between 2-4 p.m. If you can go on a weekday, that would be ideal. If you see a line out the door, it's not a good idea to wait in it and then ask to speak to the manager. If the vendor is busy, make a note to come back, or ask when the best time to come back to speak with the manager is.
  • Look professional: Wear your name tag. Take your business cards. Wear professional clothing and get a sitter for the kids. If you look the part, they will take you more seriously.
  • Be confident: Many times our CARES teams get this idea that if vendors help us out with events, they are doing us a huge favor. That is just not the case. We are doing them a huge favor by allowing them exclusive access to a closed off market, many times in their own backyard. For example, if your property has 275 units, this represents a market of 500+ people in the area, and you are literally handing them access to that market. They don’t have the opportunity to door hang on your property. You can give them a month’s worth of free advertising by placing their logo on your monthly calendar and promoting their product on Facebook, email blasts, text blasts, Instagram, Twitter, and however else your property promotes events.
  • Create a mock calendar/flyer: Create a calendar using our templates that already has their logo on it and a flyer that you can take and physically show the vendor how you will promote their product. This will make getting a “yes” more likely because you are showing them professionalism. You are showing them the benefits of partnering with us and value in the partnership. We can tell them until we are blue in the face to no avail, but when you show them, it’s a whole new dynamic. • Facebook shoutouts: Apartment Life has begun giving periodic shout outs to vendors who have partnered with us at events on our company Facebook page. With more than 17,000 Facebook fans, this alone gains them a lot of exposure!
Example

Ask to speak to the manager on site.

“Hi, my name is Jody and this is my wife Natassia. We are the CARES team at the (Name of Apartment Community). As the CARES Team, we act as the event planners for the community and host several monthly resident events. We have a July Fourth pool party coming up and would love to partner with you guys by marketing your product in exchange for raffle prizes.”

Generally they will ask what you would like for your prizes. Know what you will ask for before going in.

“We would like to raffle off a $40 gift card to your establishment, and in exchange we will be able to positively promote your product via flyers, our community Facebook page, Instagram, and Twitter to help gain your business some exposure.”

Whether you have a large or small budget, these tips and tricks may help you go the extra mile and make a great event an unforgettable one.

--Written by Jody Anderson, Program Director for North Texas    and an active CARES Team with his wife, Natassia.

--Written by Jody Anderson, Program Director for North Texasand an active CARES Team with his wife, Natassia.


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Are you part of a current or former CARES Team who knows of someone who would make a wonderful CARES Team member? If so, you can REFER A FRIEND and be eligible for our referral bonus up to $200.

Would you like more information on what it means to be a CARES Team? Visit our website today. You can fill out a quick info form and someone will contact you with more information. And, don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter (@aptlife), and Instagram (@aptlife) – and use the hashtag #CARESteam.

Spoleto Festival {Concert In The Park}

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Remember our post about the Cooper River Bridge Run? Well, we've got another team highlight and event idea like it! Kristen & Brent learned of a concert that was going on across the street from their community and saw a great event opportunity. It was a Concert In The Park event that was part of the Spoleto Arts Festival, a local community event. They didn't have to organize the big event or set up/tear down a thing! They used their budget to purchase tickets and drinks for their residents, and ordered hundreds of koozies with their apartment community's logo, hashtag, and website on them for marketing. They had such a blast at this low budget, low maintenance, high community involvement event!

concert2

Wondering what's going on in your area this summer? We've got pinterest boards for each of our regions with CARES Teams. They're full of links to local event calendars and resources!


Are you part of a current or former CARES Team who knows of someone who would make a wonderful CARES Team member? If so, you can REFER A FRIEND and be eligible for our referral bonus up to $200.

Would you like more information on what it means to be a CARES Team? Visit our website today. You can fill out a quick info form and someone will contact you with more information. And, don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter (@aptlife), and Instagram (@aptlife) – and use the hashtag #CARESteam.

The Cooper River Bridge Run

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Kristen & Brent are our CARES Team at The Boulevard in Charleston, SC. They recently hosted a couple of really neat events centered around a big, annual event that goes on in their community: The Cooper River Bridge Run. Here's the lowdown:

They hosted a morning event and an evening event!

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The morning event included handing out water bottles, bananas, headbands, and shirts with their property's logo on them. It was a great marketing opportunity for their Greystar property because they handed out thousands of items with the property's logo. They also hired an '80s band (a big hit that scored the team and the property some time on the 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. news) to play while the runners were waiting for the race to start.

6:00 a.m. '80s dance party anyone?

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Then, Kristen and Brent hosted a relaxing evening event on race day for runners and their families to enjoy on The Boulevard property. They had a low-country boil for dinner, complete with a small acoustic band (made up of people they knew). This was also another great marketing opportunity for the property (and CARES) because people could come in, see the property, and experience first-hand what CARES has to offer. Not to mention the biggest impact…

Getting to connect with tons of people from around the community!

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How could you get more involved in your city's community? Is there an annual event that happens in your backyard or one that you could easily set up a tent/station at?

bridge run fest night

What about marketing for your apartment community by representing them? This Greystar Property Manager, Regional Manager, Senior Managing Director of Real Estate, and more "high-ups" really enjoyed this event. They gave public kudos for it and have asked that it happen more often!


Are you part of a current or former CARES Team who knows of someone who would make a wonderful CARES Team member? If so, you can REFER A FRIEND and be eligible for our referral bonus up to $200.

Would you like more information on what it means to be a CARES Team? Visit our website today. You can fill out a quick info form and someone will contact you with more information. And, don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter (@aptlife), and Instagram (@aptlife) – and use the hashtag #CARESteam.

Winter Event Decorating Ideas

The craft stores have had Christmas decor up since about June. Really. We won't talk about how way-too-early, or not, that is. Either way, there are LOTS of green and red when you see decorations for Christmas, but isn't there more?

I'm so glad you asked! I'd love to show you lots of different ways to stylize all of your winter events. I hope these ideas spark some of your own!

white
white Collage

(Sources clockwise from left: 1, 2, 3)

sparkle
sparkle Collage

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rustic
rustic Collage

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red
red Collage

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blue
blue Collage

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Be sure to check out our Winter Events Pinterest board for lots more looks, recipes, and drink ideas for your winter-time events!


Are you part of a current or former CARES Team who knows of someone who would make a wonderful CARES Team member? If so, you can REFER A FRIEND.

Would you like more information on what it means to be a CARES Team? Visit our website today. You can fill out a quick application and someone will contact you with more information. And, don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter (@aptlife), and Instagram (@aptlife).

Money Saving App

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Have you heard of Walmart's neat new app for your phone?  It's called Savings Catcher. You scan the receipt when you leave the store and if there are better deals for what you bought in the area, it gives you the difference on a gift card! What?! Helping you save money?! Yes, please.

All you have to do is scan you receipt!  It will save money by giving you money back AND it will save you time by not having to store-hop. We should have a debate about which is truly more valuable - money or time.

Happy Saving!

*Apartment Life does not endorse or partner with any stores.


Are you part of a current or former CARES Team who knows of someone who would make a wonderful CARES Team member? If so, you can REFER A FRIEND.

Would you like more information on what it means to be a CARES Team? Visit our website today. You can fill out a quick application and someone will contact you with more information. And, don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter (@aptlife), and Instagram (@aptlife).

5 Ways to Enhance Your Party With Butcher Paper

Things I love about butcher paper: It's cheap (a roll of 700+ feet will cost you about $35 and last you FOREVER), it's versatile, it's neutral, and it's trendy. It can allow you to add the kind of details that your guests will remember without hurting your budget OR taking a lot of time, and like my favorite pair of neutral heels, it can go from casual to fancy without any effort. Here's a quick list of the 5 Ways to Enhance Your Party With Butcher Paper:

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Butcher paper creates neutral runners that will make your tables look fuller while putting the spotlight on your place settings and centerpieces. Even something as simple as butcher paper + colorful disposable plates can make your guests feel spoiled. For centerpieces, look for items you already have lying around your apartment and just group them together down the middle.

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Instead of a traditional table runner, use butcher paper as a table cloth and then draw on your place settings. Black paper with white chalk mimics the look of a chalkboard (at a fraction of the price). You don't have to be a great artist to hand-draw your placemats - the trick is to place your dishes/glassware/silverware out so that your drawing adds a quirky "frame" to each place setting.

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We know you're always looking for creative gifts for your new neighbors or favorite manager - don't forget to wrap it well. You can repurpose that extra paper into gift wrap and pair with simple embellishments such as twine or leaves (don't let anybody see you snap off a few leaves from the landscape around you... shhh). Need more ideas for welcome gifts and manager gifts? Don't forget to subscribe to our Pinterest boards.

food table

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This is a trend we see all the time in our CARES Teams' instagram photos (check out #CARESteam for hundreds of event photos on Instagram, and don't forget to follow us @aptlife). Write your food labels directly on the table to take your event to the next level. We also love the idea of draping the paper over the side of the table and stenciling the menu (see Trail Mix Bar). With something as eye-catching as that, you don't have to invest in any more decorations!

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Your butcher paper can become the focus of your event. Whether you use it as an interactive feature by asking your guests to write their New Year's Resolutions, predict the winning team of a football game, or even leave an inspirational quote, your guests will love becoming part of the decoration. Butcher paper can also make for an easy photobooth background. If you're not an artist, find a volunteer to turn that backdrop into a unique work of art, and of course, post all of the photobooth pictures on your community's Facebook page. Or, create a fun activity for kids by using butcher paper as the canvas for their works of art. PS - adults like to make things too!

CARES Teams - what other ways have you used butcher paper to enhance an event? Share your ideas with us in the comments below!


Are you part of a current or former CARES Team who knows of someone who would make a wonderful CARES Team member? If so, you can REFER A FRIEND.

Would you like more information on what it means to be a CARES Team? Visit our website today. You can fill out a quick application and someone will contact you with more information. And, don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter (@aptlife), and Instagram (@aptlife).

Engaging All Residents

Our CARES Teams have told us they need tips for engaging with difficult-to-reach residents. It could be that they're shy, or there's a cultural barrier keeping them from connecting, or maybe they're just too busy. Whatever the cause, we hope to spark some ideas to reaching ALL of your residents. We found this article by Jim Diers, a professor in Seattle with over 30 years of world-wide community building experience. Here is a brief summary of his article on Broad and Inclusive Community Engagement:

Start where people are. Begin with the kind of community you have. If it's not engaged yet, that's okay. Take what you have to work with and don't get bogged down with how you want it to look. While our ultimate goal is a strong, inclusive, deep community, it takes time to get there. And that's okay. Figure out where people are and relate to that.

If you have members of your community who are from a different culture or religion, try to connect them with individuals who are from similar cultures. Invite them all over for dinner, a smaller setting and potentially less intimidating than a large event, to introduce them to one another. This can be a great opportunity for you to get to know all of them better as well.

Find out what people love, what they are passionate about, and what motivates them. Then, connect them with these things. If they love a type of food, incorporate it into your next event in an effort to help them feel more comfortable attending. People who regularly attend events will come anyway, and you may draw out some people who have never attended before.

If you have a particularly shy or introverted individual you are trying to engage, they may respond better to community service events, especially if they have a particular task to do. Maybe they are an expert organizer or designer. Host an event where several residents who specialize in things can come showcase their skills. They can set up "booths" and invite other residents to visit and find out tips for organizing, or graphic design, or goal setting. Or maybe your resident loves to work on cars - host a Car CARE Event and let your resident take the lead.

Keep people involved. Give your residents a reason to keep coming back to your events. Connect like-minded people with one another so those relationships can turn into friendships. Engage in genuine conversation to connect with individuals on a deeper level. Invite people who enjoy having a job to do to help with your events.

These are just a few ideas to get you started and help spark other ideas. If you're a current CARES Team, we have some great resources on our CARES Team Toolkit for engaging a diverse range of people.


Are you part of a current or former CARES Team who knows of someone who would make a wonderful CARES Team member? If so, you can REFER A FRIEND.

Would you like more information on what it means to be a CARES Team? Visit our website today. You can fill out a quick application and someone will contact you with more information. And, don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter (@aptlife), and Instagram (@aptlife).

Bunting 101: 10 Ways to Dazzle Your Guests

Bunting is an easy way to add color to your food table and make your party festive. Here are 10 ways to make your own bunting, whether you're a seasoned sewer or a paper-and-glue kind of party planner:

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Whether you already have fabric scraps lying around, or if you snag a coupon and run to your local fabric store, this bunting requires no sewing and leaves a big impression. This is a great project for kids to help with - just pop in a movie and start cutting scraps and tying them onto a piece of twine. Here's a great tutorial to walk you through the steps (Note - this can be time consuming if you're doing it by yourself. Also - be sure to tie your knots properly so they scraps lie flat).

This bunting was made for... wait for it... LESS THAN $4! That's music to these budget-conscious ears! If you don't sew, this paper bunting tutorial will have you creating decorations in less than an hour.

For a new spin on a traditional decoration, instead of using ribbon or twine, use washi tape to connect your bunting. This tutorial combines two of our favorite things - washi tape and burlap (swoon) - and is another fast, budget-friendly project for you busy party planners.

Tassel garlands: they're just so chic, aren't they? Here's a great tutorial that will show you how to turn a stack of tissue paper into a tassel masterpiece. You can experiment with different types of tissue paper, adding sparkles, shine, and fun colors to take that high-end event to the next level.

If you're not afraid to do a little simple sewing, these mini garlands are easy to make and can be stacked and combined to create some fun combinations. You can cut your shapes out of scrapbook paper, construction paper, or felt, and combining different textures will add a new visual dimension for your guests.

This may be the simplest way to tackle bunting - simply cut out your triangles, punch two holes at the top, and string some twine through. Add more interest by using unique papers (hit up the scrapbooking section of your local craft store, and don't forget to use a coupon), a book of maps... even wrapping paper works great.

Another no-sew option for your bunting - you can use the mini clothespins or the full-size variety, and this option works with felt, fabric, or paper. We love these little hearts by this blogger.

Raise your hand if you made chain bunting out of red and green construction paper for Christmas as a kid. Well, turns out you can do it as an adult, too! It becomes more sophisticated when you use pretty fabrics or scrapbook paper. Here's a tutorial.

Make your traditional bunting nontraditional by using it in an unexpected way... like on a tablecloth! This one is for a beginner sewer, and can be re-used over and over and over (pick fabrics that could work with several different party themes to get a bigger bang for your buck, and time investment). Here's everything you need to get started.

Thanks Pinterest for the cutest idea ever. The coffee filters add so much pretty texture, and it's perfect for our Princess Party or something else with a feminine theme.


Are you part of a current or former CARES Team who knows of someone who would make a wonderful CARES Team member? If so, you can REFER A FRIEND.

Would you like more information on what it means to be a CARES Team? Visit our website today. You can fill out a quick application and someone will contact you with more information. And, don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter (@aptlife), and Instagram (@aptlife).

The Best Camera Is The One You Have With You

Animals - Category winner (iPhone Photography Awards):Michael O'Neal, US© MICHAEL O'NEAL

It seems like most of my friends have a DSLR Camera these days and I just about drool over idea of owning one! But here's the thing - I'm not a professional photographer. I want a souped up camera to take great pictures of my family but I don't want to lug all of the gear around to every outing. I want something small and compact that goes with me everywhere. This is probably why the cell phone inventors started putting cameras on these handy little do-dads we can't live without called "smart phones".

Brilliant.

Now, the downside to taking photos with your smart phone is that they don't always turn out the best. Fret no more! We've done some research on how to take the best possible pics with your smart phones. Here are the top five tips we found from the experts:

  • Lighting is everything. Take well lit pictures outside (cloudy days make for great lighting) and learn how to use your flash inside when you must.
  • Scoot closer. Try, at all costs, to avoid the zoom feature. When possible, just simply move closer to whatever/whomever you're trying to photograph.
  • Get familiar with your camera settings...and use them.
  • Get an app to help with focus, stabilization, and exposure.
  • Slow down. It may take a few tries to get a great shot and that's okay.

You can find all of the articles we read through and more on our Pinterest board, so be sure to check that out. And once you start playing around with your new-found-professional-smart-phone-picture-taker career (say, at some of your events!) put them on Instagram and tag us @aptlife!

Happy shooting!


Are you part of a current or former CARES Team who knows of someone who would make a wonderful CARES Team member? If so, you can REFER A FRIEND.

Would you like more information on what it means to be a CARES Team? Visit our website today. You can fill out a quick application and someone will contact you with more information. And, don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter (@aptlife), and Instagram (@aptlife).

Duct Tape Creations

Little known fact: Duck Tape makes over 100 different colors/prints of duct tape. Now, your life is complete...we know...ours too! When I was in middle school (no, I'm not going to tell you what year...) it was totally cool to make duct tape wallets. Is that still a thing? Probably not for today's tweens but for us older folks, it probably brings back some fond memories. Either way, crafting things out of duct tape is creative, fun, innovative, cheap... so let's have an evening dedicated to making duct tape creations!

You could supply the tape or have people BYO. You can have ideas on hand for people to make (a couple of things you made before hand or an ipad out for people to browse our pinterest board for ideas) and/or allow people to bring things they want to make-over: chairs, switch plates, etc. You could throw in a contest and have people vote on who made the best duct tape creation. You could make duct tape flowers for manager gifts! You can decorate your plastic cups/plates/serving dishes in fun tape if you want to go all out or make other decor out of tape itself!

Browse our Pinterest board for oodles of ideas, crafts, instructions, inspiration, etc! We beg you to tag us on Instagram (@aptlife) to see what you all come up with!

Happy Creating!


Are you part of a current or former CARES Team who knows of someone who would make a wonderful CARES Team member? If so, you can REFER A FRIEND.

Would you like more information on what it means to be a CARES Team? Visit our website today. You can fill out a quick application and someone will contact you with more information. And, don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter (@aptlife), and Instagram (@aptlife).

Party Basics: Food Labels

Food labels are one of those little touches that can leave a big impression on your guests. It's like a topper on the cake - the cake is going to taste amazing, regardless of the decoration, but adding something really awesome to the top adds an element of "wow." Besides, in this age of food allergies and picky eaters, your guests want to know what it is they're eating. So let's kill two birds with one stone (note: We do not advocate killing birds... but we do advocate awesome parties.) and come up with some fun food labels.

 1. Butcher paper: We love butcher paper. Our CARES Teams love butcher paper. And every teacher in the history of the universe has loved butcher paper. You can order it by the roll on Amazon and use it again and again for your events. It fits just about every theme, and creates a fun, trendy feel to give that monthly pancake breakfast some extra sparkle.

2. Reusable picture frames: Frames are so versatile: You can paint the glass with chalkboard paint, or insert pretty scrapbook paper behind the glass and use a dry erase marker on the glass to label your food. Or, you can design and print your own labels on your home computer and simply slip them behind the frame. Purchase neutral frames that can fit with your many themes, or snag some from around the house and mix-and-match for an eclectic feel.

3. Clothes pins: They're inexpensive (my love language) and can add height and interest to your printed cards. And, the best part - you can use them over and over and OVER. You can spray paint them, bedazzle them, cover them in washi tape... there are so many great ways to dress them up, but even plain, your guests will love them.

Now... for the free stuff. I like free, don't you? Here are some free printable food labels from around the web!

And, as a special gift to our beloved CARES Teams, we have created some free printable food labels in two different sizes:

Food Labels - Fits 4x6 frame   |   Fits 5x7 frame

The bottom line: keep it simple, inexpensive, and re-usable. Happy labeling!


Are you part of a current or former CARES Team who knows of someone who would make a wonderful CARES Team member? If so, you can REFER A FRIEND.

Would you like more information on what it means to be a CARES Team? Visit our website today. You can fill out a quick application and someone will contact you with more information. And, don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter (@aptlife), and Instagram (@aptlife).

CARES Team Spotlight: Community Garden Movie Night

Phillip and Randi, CARES Team at The Brighton in Dallas, spice up their Monthly Summer Movie Night by hosting it in their community garden. Their event is a creative (and inexpensive!) way to bring summer blockbusters to your residents. One of the most legit pieces of this event is how much it costs to put it on. Let's do the math:

  • They use their own karaoke machine speakers. (cost: free)
  • They use a DVD Player they already own. (cost: free)
  • They scored a projector from a friend as a gift...anyone else have amazing friends like that? Don't forget to ask your church if they have one you can borrow. (cost: free)
  • They purchased the screen on Amazon with money from their monthly CARES budget for $180 (after the initial investment, you can use it over and over... for free).
  • They snag a movie from RedBox ($1) or from their personal collection. (cost: free)

We all like that kind of math when it comes to putting on programs with a wide reach.

Movies aren't the same without popcorn, so Phillip and Randi usually serve it from their leasing office, and as well as the cheap (and so amazingly good!) ice pops from the store. Most families bring their own blankets to spread out and chairs to sit in, which means minimal set up/tear down for the CARES Team.

One other really cool part of this event (and The Brighton property in particular) is the community garden they have just started! If I could predict the future, I would say that lots of communities are going to be adding these. To bring awareness about the new community garden, they host the movie night there!

Which piece of your community's property needs highlighting or promoting? Have a new dog park? Host it near there! New playground? Host it by the playground!

A huge thanks to the Slaughters for sharing this event with us! Keep it up and thank you for your service as a CARES Team!


Are you part of a current or former CARES Team who knows of someone who would make a wonderful CARES Team member? If so, you can REFER A FRIEND.

Would you like more information on what it means to be a CARES Team? Visit our website today. You can fill out a quick application and someone will contact you with more information. And, don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter (@aptlife), and Instagram (@aptlife).

Super Secret and Exclusive Pop-Up Restaurant

Have you heard about the latest craze in food? It's the "pop-up restaurant"... a one-time (sometimes one-week or one-month, but always short-term) restaurant that a chef literally pops up. It's an exclusive, creative eating experience that your residents will love! Have a local chef that you love/follow/stalk online? Invite him or her out to host an exclusive Pop-Up Restaurant on the rooftop terrace of your community for one evening only, just your residents... all prepared by a professional, up and coming, local chef! Super cool, right? Why haven't we thought of this sooner?!

Can't hold one onsite? Take your residents to them! Check out Pop-Up Republic to search for local pop-up restaurants in your area and invite residents to come with you to try them out. This Pinterest board (not ours) has lists of events all over the US. You can try hitting up one of these chefs to come host a pop-up at your place for your residents.

Another way to do this event is to make it a fabulous fundraiser for a great cause. Here is a great "Pop-Up FAQ" and visit our Pinterest board for more ideas about this event!

Be sure to tag us (@aptlife) in your instagram pics of this event... we'd love to see and help spread the word!


Are you part of a current or former CARES Team who knows of someone who would make a wonderful CARES Team member? If so, you can REFER A FRIEND.

Would you like more information on what it means to be a CARES Team? Visit our website today. You can fill out a quick application and someone will contact you with more information. And, don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter (@aptlife), and Instagram (@aptlife).

June is Fresh Fruits and Veggies Month!

Can we all agree that the world (okay…maybe just America) needs to eat more fruits & veggies? Research tells us that doing so would solve lots of our health problems… so let’s celebrate National Fresh Fruits & Vegetables Month! Maybe if we celebrate fruits & veggies BIG enough, it’ll help our cholesterol, blood pressure, and heart disease… maybe? While we’re celebrating nature’s bounty with a watermelon seed spitting contest, a “Who can make the best sour lemon face?” contest, or bobbing for peaches, why not give some tips, tricks, and facts to help a sista (who needs to add color to her diet but hates anything that’s not a carb) out?

You could make this event all fun, games, and celebrating or throw in your desired amount of “education” along with it. Here are a few ideas we came up with:

  • Serve “in season” fresh fruits & veggies.
  • Label each fruit/veggie you serve with its health benefit {pictured}.
  • Make and serve dishes using fresh fruits/veggies and be sure to print out copies of the recipe for people to take home.
  • Display how many {2-4 cups of each depending on age, gender, & level of activity} fruits/veggies people need to eat and promote this calculator for people to find out for themselves!
  • Have a “salad building” party and provide out of the ordinary fruits/veggies. Great for kids!
  • Have a “try it out!” demo/table for how to  improve your skin with lemons. Be sure to try these out for yourself first!
  • Educate about food label reading or have a “Can you read it?” Food Label Reading Bee to see if people can pronounce what they’re eating (if I can’t say it… I don’t eat it!).
  • Talk about clean eating.

The possibilities are endless! Be sure to check out our Pinterest board for even more ideas (and events!) and don’t forget to tag us in your pictures on Instagram…@aptlife with the hashtag #CARESteam.

Spice up your events with decorative vases

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Flowers add so much color and personality to your events, but nobody has the budget for professional arrangements, and tackling them yourself can be intimidating. You don't have to spend a fortune to create a centerpiece that will wow your guests, if you follow a few tricks of the trade:

 

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1. Use an interesting vase. Whether it's a pair of rain boots, a painted bottle, or a mason jar, choosing a vase that's out of the ordinary will automatically make your flowers look prettier. Look for household items you already have sitting around that you can repurpose for a party.

 

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2. Instead of one large vase, use several small bud vases or bottles.  This allows you to take one large floral arrangement and spread it out among several tables, and makes even the most florally-challenged host able to knock out gorgeous centerpieces by simply adding one or two flowers per vase.

 

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3. Wrap your vase in something that matches your theme. Washi tape is an expensive way to add color, or use twine and hot glue to create a neutral vase that you can use over and over. 

For more ideas on using decorative vases to spice up your parties, visit our Decorating Ideas page on Pinterest.

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Are you part of a current or former CARES Team who knows of someone who would make a wonderful CARES Team member? If so, you can REFER A FRIEND.

Would you like more information on what it means to be a CARES Team? Visit our website today. You can fill out a quick application and someone will contact you with more information.

Advertise with Chalkboards

Are you spending hours designing, editing, printing, and (last but certainly not least) hanging flyers? If you don't hang them, your [very beloved] maintenance workers/porters do! I remember these days as a part of my CARES service... climbing hundreds of flights of stairs to serve our residents and distribute a piece of paper I worked so hard on that promoted a fantastic event and led to amazing community building & life change! This idea probably won't replace flyers completely, but will offer some help promoting your fabulous events (and maybe save you a few extra steps). We love this idea for several reasons and want to give some super Kudos to Kelly (a CARES Team member at Elan Midtown in Charleston, SC) for the amazing job she did with these chalkboard signs!

Reason #1 we love chalkboard signs: It can be inexpensive (and fun!). You can choose to make your own, if you're {DIY}-ey, using a variety of frames, corkboards, mirrorsthrift store finds, etc. Or, you can purchase chalkboards from Hobby Lobby, Walmart, Michaels, etc. for a fairly reasonable price. Both options cut down your paper/ink costs significantly. This leads us to...

Reason #2 we love chalkboard signs: They're r-e-u-s-a-b-l-e. Think green, sustainable, hugging trees, that sort of thing. <3

Reason #3 we love chalkboard signs: Everybody's doing it [solid reasoning]!

What you'll need:

  • Store bought, {DIY}-ed, repurposed chalkboard of some sort.
  • Chalk: This blog recommends simple white Crayola chalk from the Dollar Store.
  • Chalk Ink/Markers: Starbucks uses these (well reviwed but a little pricy), you can find them at Hobby Lobby/Walmart, or you can make your own.
  • Our Pinterest board for some great ideas, ways to use color, font tutoirlas, and helpful tips and tricks!

Don't forget to post pictures of your signs on Instagram and tag us @aptlife #CARESteam!

 

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Are you part of a current or former CARES Team who knows of someone who would make a wonderful CARES Team member? If so, you can REFER A FRIEND.

Would you like more information on what it means to be a CARES Team? Visit our website today. You can fill out a quick application and someone will contact you with more information.

Decorating on a Budget - 5 Ways to Use Balloons

If you're trying to throw a fabulous event on a shoe string budget, then you've got to get creative with your decorations. Going BIG with balloons can add color and fill the space without emptying out your wallet.

1. Balloons as Centerpieces:

Whether you go with traditional groupings or try something new, just remember that your centerpieces should either be low enough to see over, or high enough that your guests can still talk across the table without craning their necks. After all, good conversation is the most important goal of the party, right?

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2. Hang 'Em on the Wall

Create a dramatic backdrop for your food table by attaching a large number of balloons to the wall. Whether you choose to go monochromatic or employ a variety of colors, it's an easy way to grab your guests' attention. These also work perfectly for a homemade photo booth backdrop.

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3. Jumbo Balloons

With jumbo balloons, a little (excuse the pun) can go a long way.

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4. Balloons on a String

This is a simple way to think outside the box. It works great for an outdoor event, or string them in a doorway or hang behind your food table.

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5.  Fill the Ceiling

It's not just for junior high dances - everyone loves a ceiling full of balloons. You can use helium, or dangle them from a string. It's an instant way to set the mood for fun.

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For more ideas, visit our Decorating with Balloons board on Pinterest.

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Apartment Life desires to be the change within apartment communities and exists to foster environments where apartment residents can build quality relationships with their neighbors through a renewed focus on community. Are you an event expert who is interested in becoming a CARES Team? Find out more here.