International Day of Peace

Each year, September 21 is International Day of Peace - or Peace Day. Created by the United Nations in 1981, Peace Day provides a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to peace above all differences and to contribute to building a culture of peace.

Peace Day can be used as a platform to start good conversations with your neighbors. You can host a simple gathering with residents to take a moment to celebrate peace in the midst of our chaotic and uncertain world. It can be a great opportunity to provide an act of care for your residents.

We found some ideas you could incorporate into your celebration on Pinterest.

There are many ways to celebrate peace - peace in the midst of a racially charged environment. Peace in the midst of war. Peace in the midst of divisive politics. Peace in the midst of your own neighborhood. Whatever you focus on - we pray it's an inspirational event that brings people together in a new way.

Happy hosting!

Super Bowl Party Ideas

You’re a party-planning pro, but even the pros need fresh ideas. We have created a Pinterest board for all your big game needs. That way you can have more time to do things like hanging out with your neighbors.

Football food is easy, and serving your snacks in something simple like a paper bag can change your color pallette and provide a natural element to an otherwise colorful party while also saving you money.

We know you’ve probably got a huge stash of chalkboards in your event closet - break them out for decorations, food labels, and photo booth props. If you’re not a great artist, there’s good news… those Xs and Os are easy enough for a kid to draw.

Butcher paper is another great way to add a football theme to your decor. Draw out your most strategic plays (or just make something up), along with labels for your food. It’s also a great place to add a reminder to your guests to hashtag all photos posted online.

Create an Instagram-worthy photo backdrop for your guests. If you search “photo booth backdrop” on Amazon, you’ll see hundreds of affordable options (we especially like this one). Be sure to encourage your guests to tag your property and use their designated hashtag, so that your awesome event can serve double-duty as a marketing tool. Your property manager will love you for it. And, don’t forget the photo props! They sell those on Amazon too.

And for your guests who aren’t exactly football fans, there’s always the commercials. We found printable bingo cards, and you can partner with local vendors to get prize donations.

Speaking of partnering with local vendors, don’t forget to ask for help! There are many local businesses looking to market to your residents, so invite them to provide catering, prizes, or another special aspect of your event (let them bring in a professional photo booth or bounce house).

We’ve got more ideas over on our Super Bowl Pinterest board. Happy hosting!

Let's prep for February, shall we?

February is right around the corner. We’ve gathered 10 ideas for resident events to save you time as you plan your calendar:

  1. American Heart Month: There are so many ways you can celebrate this month, from hosting a CPR training class (to find an instructor, call your hospital’s education department, or reach out to your local American Heart Association chapter), host a Couch to 5K training group, or sign your residents up for a local race (even better if you create shirts for your community). You can also host a healthy cooking class or invite a local fitness instructor for a heart-healthy training session.

  2. Black History Month: Check with your local museum to see if there’s an exhibit you can invite your residents to that features black history, or feature history from your town to help educate your residents. For more ways to celebrate, we found a resource here.

  3. Love Your Neighbor Month: Okay, we admit it… we made this one up. But what better time to show your residents some love than during the MONTH OF LOVE? You can use this as a resident appreciation event, or encourage residents to show neighbors love through an organized activity or contest.

  4. National Canned Food Month: Organize a canned food collection, and invite someone from your local food pantry to visit your residents and educate them about how they serve your community. Or, take your event on the road and help stock the shelves for them!

  5. Super Bowl Sunday (February 4): The possibilities for this event are endless, which is why we have created a Pinterest board for you. Super Bowl parties and Apartment Life go together like chips and salsa.

  6. National Pizza Day (February 9): As if we need an excuse to eat pizza? Host a special offsite gathering at a local pizza place and feature a pie named after your community. Or, host a Take & Bake Pizza Party… you provide the ingredients and pizza boxes, and help residents put together a dinner to go. Again - anything you can do to personalize your pizza or cocktail names to your community will add “sparkle” to your event. We’ve got lots of pizza ideas here.

  7. Valentine’s Day (February 14): You can host an event for adults, for kids, for singles, for just about anybody. We all need love, and this is a great chance to show love to your residents. We’ve got a full Pinterest board here.

  8. Love Your Pet Day (February 20): Here’s your chance to tie your Yappy Hour to a national holiday. Invite your mobile pet groomer, find a local pet boutique to donate goodies, and partner with other local vendors for the “human” treats.

  9. National Margarita Day (February 22): Again, we thought EVERY DAY was National Margarita Day? Bring on the tortilla chips, the guacamole bar, and create some signature margaritas named after your community or hometown attractions. Invite a mixologist to educate your residents, or pair it with a build your own taco bar. You can also offer “mocktails” for folks who prefer to avoid alcohol.

  10. Oscars Night (February 24): Awards shows are a lot more fun when you watch them as a group. Here’s a great time to connect your movie-loving residents and bond over shared movie tastes. We’ve got ideas here.

Need more ideas? Check out our Apartment Life Pinterest Boards, or click here for even more February holidays to celebrate. And, comment below to share YOUR awesome ideas with your fellow teams. Happy hosting!

Canva 101: Sharing Designs

What's an Apartment Life Coordinator to do if their fellow team is a Canva pro, but they are... um... not? Well, sharing is caring! Canva has a great feature so you can share your designs with friends. Here's how:

Here are our full Canva calendar & Canva event flyer tutorials. Be sure to check out all of our Canva 101 posts in the "Canva 101" category. Happy designing!


To learn more about being an Apartment Life Coordinator, or to refer a friend and receive up to a $200 referral bonus, check out our website. If you work in the apartment industry and want more info about how to hire us for your community, read this.

0 Likes

Canva Design Basics

Whether you feel like design comes naturally to you, or you don’t, there are some fundamental design rules that good designers follow. Here are just a few tips to help your event flyers and calendars in Canva go from good to GREAT!

Find great pictures

  • Free Stock Photo Websites: There’s a variety of free stock photo websites that you can use. What’s great about free stock photos is that you can have a clear conscience (stealing = bad). All you have to do is use the search engines in the sites below to find what you’re looking for, then download high-resolution, great quality images.

https://negativespace.co/
http://stokpic.com/
https://kaboompics.com/
https://freerangestock.com
https://unsplash.com/
https://www.pexels.com/
https://pixabay.com/
https://libreshot.com/

  • Photos with Artist’s Permission: Flickr Creative Commons is another great place to find high quality photography. You can search under the “Attribution License” category, contact the artist, and ask if you can use their photo for your flyer. Typically, artists are flattered and just ask for a small attribution link or their name small on the flyer somewhere.
  • Google Image Search (the right way): I would not recommend just snagging a photo off the internet without checking/crediting the original source. But if it’s super generic (like a gravel background or a white wall), just make sure the image is high quality and labeled for reuse. When you use the Google Image search engine, make sure your settings look like this under your search bar in the “tool” settings:
google search bar.png

 

Stay away from images with a white background

Download clear PNG files instead of JPG files. Every JPG will have a white background. You can also search “PNG vector” after whatever you’re searching for if you’re downloading logos (like from a restaurant or your apartment complex). This will weed out all the white background images, and bring the images with a clear background into view. If you’re doing some kind of partnership with another company, ask them if their marketing department can send you a “high resolution PNG with no background” so that you can represent both their company and yours well.

 

Font Pairings

When it comes to fonts, more is never better. When putting your designs together, choose no more than TWO fonts and stick to them per design. Here are some general guidelines:

One font: Create contrast by using bold and light-weight versions of the same font.

one font.png

Two fonts: When choosing two fonts, choose between these options for the best modern design look:

two fonts.png
  • Condensed bold font + sans-serif font
condensed bold.png
  • Serif font + sans-serif font
serif and sans.png

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Less is more. Don’t feel like you have to fill up the entire page with text, pictures and design elements. White space/breathing room/margin is good for design and helps your audience to process the information being communicated.
  • Hierarchy matters. Try not to make everything huge and bold. Titles are important, so make those larger, sub-headings (3-4 points smaller) can be used for dates and times, and then any other descriptive information should be in 12- or 10-point font.
  • Establish a consistent color palette. The whole rainbow is amazing… in the sky :)
    • If you’re using an image, pull colors from the image to form your color palette and make your design more cohesive and professional. Need help figuring out which colors are in your image? “Eye Dropper” is an open source extension for Google Chrome which allows you to pick colors from various sources. Get it here: http://eye-dropper.kepi.cz/
    • If you’re using mostly shape elements and text in your design, we like colourlovers.com for pre-made color palette ideas.
  • Use pre-made templates. Canva has an extensive selection of free templates you can use to drop in images and text hassle-free! If you’re new to this whole design thing, let the Canva professionals do the work for you!

Got more design tips for us? Leave them in the comments so others can learn! Happy Designing!


To learn more about being an Apartment Life Coordinator, or to refer a friend and receive up to a $200 referral bonus, check out our website. If you work in the apartment industry and want more info about how to hire us for your community, read this.

Intro Letters

Many of our teams and coordinators send out welcome letters to new residents. Why settle for a simple letter when you can add some flair with Canva? Each of these sample letters took me about 15 minutes. 

Canva Template Used: Events – Announcement - Nelson & Nelson Advertising  Title Fonts: Catamaran Bold and Norwester. Body Font: Cataraman Light  Note: Check the size of your document before designing. This one is set to a 5x7. If you want a different size, you will have to have the paid version of Canva.

Canva Template Used: Events – Announcement - Nelson & Nelson Advertising

Title Fonts: Catamaran Bold and Norwester. Body Font: Cataraman Light

Note: Check the size of your document before designing. This one is set to a 5x7. If you want a different size, you will have to have the paid version of Canva.

Canva Template Used: Documents - Annual Report - The City Council Presents

Title Font: Bebas Neue. Body Fonts: Arimo

Note: This template defaults to an 8.5x11 PDF.

Canva Template Used: Resume (There isn't a name for this one, but if you scroll down you can see the template.)  Title Font: League Spartan. Body Font: Open Sans.

Canva Template Used: Resume (There isn't a name for this one, but if you scroll down you can see the template.)

Title Font: League Spartan. Body Font: Open Sans.

Canva 101 | The Un-Calendar

Ah... the power of the minimal un-calendar. Two words when it comes to Canva & un-calendars... magazine template. They're like un-calendar gold. Check out a few below made from Canva magazine templates by our very own Canva legend, Melody Stadler (one of our Florida program directors and also a cares team). All it takes to customize is swapping out some images, swapping out/adding some text, adding custom logos, and done!

Click on the photos below to go straight to the original Canva template and start customizing for free. You can also find a ton more un-calendar friendly templates here!


Here are our full Canva calendar & Canva event flyer tutorials and be sure to check out all of our Canva 101 posts in the "Canva 101" category. Happy designing!

Canva 101 | The App

Did you know Canva has an app? I (not a graphic designer even a little) gave it a try and whipped up this little un-calendar in about 10 minutes, all from my phone. It's pretty handy if you're on-the-go and need to put a calendar/flyer together! Here are some steps:

1.png

Step 1

Once you download the app, open it and search for a template. I used a collage template, switched out the images, and added text.

2.png

Step 2

Click on the template you want to use, and this screen pops up. Like it says, 'tap something to start editing.' I started with the title as you'll see below.

3.png

Step 3

After I changed the title, I clicked on the plus sign in the bottom right corner (above). Then, these options pop up. I started by adding my event text & switching out images.

5.png

Step 4

I selected the "text" option from the menu shown above and chose the one that says "BARE ORGANICS" in the text options.

4.png

Step 5

I selected "image" from step 3 to get to this screen. Then, selected "image" again and searched for "mexico" for my Cinco de Mayo event. I chose a free image. The images that cost money are denoted by the 1 next to the stack of coins.

6.png

Step 6

When you add the text, you can edit it with the options seen here - font, size, color, style, etc..

Screenshot_20180417-174345.png

Step 7

I copy/pasted my whole text box so they would match for all three events. To do that, select the box/item you want to copy and click the three dots inside the circle icon in the top menu. Then, it pulls up these options. Ungroup will break up the top/bottom of the text box making them two seperate boxes. The next icon is the "copy" icon. I used this one! The next two icons change the "layers". They can put one item behind another, so it would put the text behind this image selected here.

8.png

Step 8

I updated the new text with my next event for the month and started searching for a mother's day image to use (see step 5).

9.png

Step 9

I added my third event photo/text. You can also resize the images by zooming in/out on your phone... like you do when using your camera (see below). 

10.png

Step 10

Make sure you have the text style, size, and color you want. Make sure everything is easy to read and you have the images just the way you want! Then click "share" in the top/right. You can share the design lots of ways: email, text, post, etc.

0.png

My final design!

Like I said... not a designer... but you get the idea :) Enjoy!


Here are our full Canva calendar & Canva event flyer tutorials and be sure to check out all of our Canva 101 posts in the "Canva 101" category. Happy designing!

Canva 101 | Our 3 favorite calendar templates

Canva has quite a few calendar templates to choose from... so just pick the one that vibes with your community the best! Here are three that we like. We picked these templates because they are stylish, simple, and require minimal customization. Which ones are your favorite?

Simple Vintage Photo Calendar.png

SIMPLE VINTAGE PHOTO CALENDAR

 

Teal and White Underwater Photo Daily Calendar.png

TEAL AND WHITE UNDERWATER PHOTO DAILY CALENDAR

Colorful Simple Shapes Monthly Calendar.png

COLORFUL SIMPLE SHAPES MONTHLY CALENDAR

Find all the calendar templates here: canva.com/templates/calendars/


Here are our full Canva calendar & Canva event flyer tutorials and be sure to check out all of our Canva 101 posts in the "Canva 101" category. Happy designing!

Canva 101 | Calendars & Months & Dates... Oh My!

Found your perfect Canva calendar template... but the dates are for 2017? I hate when that happens.

But don't worry... just scroll down to find the dates that match what you need (note, it might be October) and change the name of the month. Voilà! October 2017 becomes January 2018 in a jif (not to be confused with a gif).

Screen Shot 2018-01-11 at 2.26.16 PM.png

Here are our full Canva calendar & Canva event flyer tutorials and be sure to check out all of our Canva 101 posts in the "Canva 101" category. Happy designing!

Canva 101 | Finding the FREE Photos

Canva has so many images to choose from! And they're either completely free or $1. To find the free images, follow these steps:

  • Once you've settled on a flyer or calendar design template, your screen will look like this:
Screen Shot 2018-01-11 at 2.27.40 PM.png
  • You'll see "search" in the top left corner. 
  • Search for the type of image you want (food, happy people, trees, cocktails, etc.)
  • The free images will have the white "free" label on them. ("Pro" images are only accessible if you have a paid Canva account. "$1" images cost one dollar.
  • Use away!

Here are our full Canva calendar & Canva event flyer tutorials and be sure to check out all of our Canva 101 posts in the "Canva 101" category. Happy designing!

Canva 101 | The 10 Minute Calendar

Hi there! I'm Christy and I am not a designer... I repeat... NOT a graphic designer.

And, I was still able to make this calendar in 10 minutes. Here's what I did in pictures (with descriptions under each photo/step). If you're wondering how I got "there," just check the menu bar on the left side and/or top... and look for the yellow dots!


Here are our full Canva calendar & Canva event flyer tutorials and be sure to check out all of our Canva 101 posts in the "Canva 101" category. Happy designing!

Canva 101 | Calendars... Did You Know?

  • There are SIX pages of calendar templates in Canva.
    • To find: Click on "Find Templates" and then "Calendar." Or, simply search "calendar" in the templates section.
  • Not all of the calendars are free... because of the images used in them.
  • To  find the totally free templates, choose one template and "edit this template." Then look on the left side of your screen... you'll see all the templates listed there as well. The free ones say "free" on them. Like this: 
Screen Shot 2018-01-11 at 2.10.03 PM.png
  • To use the template you want and make it free, find the image within the template that's not free and replace it with a free one.
  • You can upload the Apartment Life logo ONE time (it's saved on the cares team toolkit) and it'll stay there for you to use every time your heart desires.
  • You can download your calendar in pdf, jpg, or png formats.

Here are our full Canva calendar & Canva event flyer video tutorials, and be sure to check out all of our Canva 101 posts in the "Canva 101" category. Happy designing!

Free CARES Team Resource - Chicfetti

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 4.37.27 PM.png

Some of our CARES Teams find Chicfetti very helpful in making easily customizable banners and many other free printables for events. To access the customizable, printable PDFs, just Like or Tweet the website. Simple! We’ve also added a link in the online CT Toolkit under CARES Program/Connect/Events/Free Printables - Decorating for Events. What other websites are helpful for you as a CARES Team? Share in the comments below or email bethewright@apartmentlife.org so we can share the love with all of our teams!

Happy Thanksgiving to Our Teams

CARES Thanksgiving.jpg
For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. Ephesians 1:15-21 (NIV)

To our mighty teams, today and every day, we are THANKFUL for you. May God richly bless your family.

December Event Ideas

As you plan your December calendar, keep these events in mind!

General Observances

  • Universal Human Rights Month
  • Safe Toys and Gifts Month
     

December 1: National Pie Day

Could there be a better excuse for a dessert night?! Work with a local bakery, and ask for a discount when buying multiple pies. Or, try your hand at baking several different types. This is also a great way to get your church involved. Have members of your church (women’s group, moms’ group, singles ministry, etc.) each donate a pie for your event. You could even do a pie baking contest and have residents vote on their favorites... or do a pie-eating contest… either way, have a prize for the winner! Be sure to have milk and coffee on hand.

PS - There's also a National Pie Day on January 23. We don't know why there are two, but really, do we ever need an excuse to eat pie? No, we don't.

 

DECEMBER 5: Walt Disney’s Birthday

Host a Disney movie watching night for the kids… or the adults! There are so many Disney movies to choose from. Everything from The Jungle Book to Pirates of the Caribbean. If you have the budget or know a talented friend, hire a cartoonist or caricature artist to sketch pictures of the attendees. 

 

DECEMBER 10: Emily Dickinson's birthday (1830)

 Hold a creative writing class or host a poetry contest among your residents to honor this famous poet's birthday. Or, host a Kid's Club and have children write and illustrate their own books. You can also use this as an opportunity to start a book club at your property. 

 

DECEMBER 13: National Cocoa Day

Hand out hot cocoa at the mailbox or at the entrance of your property. This is a great way to get exposure to several residents. 

 

DECEMBER 16: Boston Tea Party occurred (1773)

Host your own tea party, with different types of teas and biscuits. 

 

DECEMBER 20: It's a Wonderful Life premieres (1946)

Rent the movie and host an early holiday party. Or, have the movie playing on the T.V. in your clubhouse while you host a gift wrapping event for residents. 

 

DECEMBER 21: First Crossword Puzzle (1913)

Host a game night and have a crossword puzzle contest. Make several copies of the New York Times crossword puzzle and see who can solve it first. Or, Puzzle Maker allows you to create your own crossword puzzle. Just list your words and the puzzlemaker does the rest. If appropriate, have a less difficult puzzle available for children. For children's crossword puzzles, check out this site

For a list of all of our Christmas events and flyers, click here. And don't forget about our ideas on our Pinterest page!


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.

Or, if you know of someone who would make a wonderful CARES Team member, REFER A FRIEND and be eligible for our referral bonus up to $200.

Don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram (@aptlife) – and use the hashtag #CARESteam.

Capturing amazing event photos

One of the most important but overlooked parts of being a CARES Team is getting pictures at events. If you have been a CARES Team for any amount of time, you have probably gotten to the end of an event and thought, “Oh no, we didn’t get any pictures!” 

Why pictures are important

Pictures tell a story so much better than words can. We can SAY that we had an amazing brunch event and hosted 80 people and everyone had a great time. Or we can SHOW groups of smiling faces taking part in the event and having a great time! 

Tips and Tricks

  • Take pictures with people in them – We love to see pictures of your epic decorations, but make sure you also snap pictures that capture “community in action.” 
  • Ask before you click – Most people are ok and will even give you a great smile, but you want to make sure you have someone's permission to take their picture.
  • Utilize your volunteers (or children) – Ask one of your volunteers at each event to be the event photographer. This will usually result in some pretty phenomenal pics and frees you up to do what you are there to do, which is connect with your neighbors. If you have children old enough to trust with your phone, task one of them to be your event photographer. 
  • Have your camera or phone readily accessible.
  • Make it a priority – Don’t just expect the other team member to take them. Both team members must go into each event with pictures being a priority. 
  • Don’t forget to post your photos on social media! Tag them with #CARESteam so the rest of our community can see and share your photos.

During an event, the last thing on your mind when you are filling ice chests, flipping pancakes, or connecting with residents is taking pictures, but afterward, you will be so glad you did. We LOVE seeing community in action, and we love to find ways to share the amazing things happening on your property!


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.

Or, if you know of someone who would make a wonderful CARES Team member, REFER A FRIEND and be eligible for our referral bonus up to $200.

Don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram (@aptlife) – and use the hashtag #CARESteam.